GS- 2nd Paper
Topic covered– India and its neighborhood- relations.
ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting
Along with 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting 7th East Asia Economic Ministers Summit and 16th ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting are also being held in Bangkok.
About 16th ASEAN India Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting
- Economic Ministers from ten ASEAN Member States and the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of India (“the Ministers”) met at Bangkok in Thailand for the sixteenth AEM-India Consultations.
- India and 10-member block of South-East Asian nations have agreed to review their free trade agreement, signed in 2009, to make it more business-friendly and boost economic ties.
- The India-ASEAN trade in goods pact came into force from January 2010.
- Under the pact, two trading partners set timelines for eliminating duties on the maximum number of goods traded between the two regions.
- The bilateral trade between the two sides has increased to $ 80.8 billion in 2018 from $73.6 billion in 2017.
India and ASEAN
- The 10 ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.
- India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of her foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy.
- India and ASEAN already has wide range of Dialogue Partnership and Summit Level interaction along with Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.
Economic Cooperation– ASEAN is India’s fourth largest trading partner.
- ASEAN India-Business Council (AIBC) was set up in 2003 to bring key private sector players from India and the ASEAN countries on a single platform.
- India is ASEAN’s sixth largest trading partner and sixth largest source of FDI among ASEAN Dialogue Partners.
- The FDI inflow into India from ASEAN in 2018 was USD 16.41 billion, approximately 36.98 per cent of total FDI flow into India.
- The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been completed.
- Political Security Cooperation- Faced with growing traditional and non-traditional challenges, politico-security cooperation is a key and an emerging pillar of our relationship.
- India’s partnership with ASEAN seeks to craft a response that relies on coordination, cooperation and sharing of experiences at multiple levels.
- Socio-Cultural Cooperation– Inviting ASEAN students to India, Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentarians, etc. Programmes have been initiated to boost People-to-People Interaction with ASEAN.
- Funds- ASEAN Multilateral Division offers project-based financial assistance to ASEAN countries. Financial assistance has been provided to ASEAN countries from the following Funds–
- ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund
- ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund (AISTDF)
- ASEAN-India Green Fund
- Delhi Declaration-To identify Cooperation in the Maritime Domain as the key area of cooperation under the ASEAN-India strategic partnership.
- Delhi Dialogue– India has an annual Track 1.5 event Delhi Dialogue, for discussing politico-security and economic issues between ASEAN and India.
- Since 2009, India has hosted ten editions of this flagship Conference.
- The 10th edition of Delhi Dialogue was hosted by the MEA on 19-20 July 2018 in New Delhi, with the theme, “Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Advantage”.
- ASEAN-India Centre (AIC)– To undertake policy research, advocacy and networking activities with organizations and think-tanks in India and ASEAN.
GS- 3rd Paper
Topic covered– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
National Infrastructure Pipeline
A task force to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the financial years from 2019-20 to 2024-25 has been constituted.
About the National Infrastructure Pipeline
National Infrastructure Pipeline will ensure that infrastructure projects are adequately prepared and launched.
It would include Greenfield and brownfield projects costing above Rs 100 crore each.
Each Ministry/ Department would be responsible for the monitoring of projects so as to ensure their timely and within-cost implementation.
It will help in stepping-up annual infrastructure investment to achieve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $5 trillion by 2024-25.
Need and Significance
- To achieve the GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs. 100 lakh crore) over these years on infrastructure.
- In the past decade (FY 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure.
- The challenge is to step-up annual infrastructure investment so that lack of infrastructure does not become a binding constraint on the growth of the Indian economy.
- Infrastructure projects will include social and economic infrastructure projects.
- To implement an infrastructure program of this scale, it is important that projects are adequately prepared and launched. In pursuance of this, an annual infrastructure pipeline would be developed.
- A task force to draw up a National Infrastructure Pipeline for each of the financial years from 2019-20 to 2024-25 has been constituted.
- The Task Force is chaired by the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.
Terms of Reference of the Task Force
- To identify technically feasible and financially/ economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in FY 2019-20.
- To list the projects that can be included in the pipeline for each of the remaining 5 years between FY 2021-25.
- To estimate annual infrastructure investment/capital costs.
- To guide the Ministries in identifying appropriate sources of financing.
- To suggest measures to monitor the projects so that cost and time overrun is minimized.
Motihari-Amlekhganj (Nepal) pipeline
PM Modi and PM Oli of Nepal jointly inaugurated a cross-border petroleum products pipeline via video conference.
- Motihari-Amlekhganj is the South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline.
- It is between from Motihari (Bihar) in India to Amlekhgunj in Nepal.
- Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline is of 69 km in length and having a capacity of 2 million metric ton per annum.
- It will provide cleaner petroleum products at affordable cost to the people of Nepal.
Golden Arrows Squadron
IAF resurrects 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ for Rafale.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’.
- It will operate the first squadron of Rafale fighter jets.
- 17 Squadron was formed at Ambala on 01st Oct 1951.
- It was then equipped with Harvard-II B aircraft.
- By 1957, Hawker Hunter aircraft were flown by the ‘Golden Arrows’. The Squadron converted to the Mig-21 M in 1975.
- The Squadron actively participated in Goa Liberation Campaign in Dec 1961 and in 1965 operations as a reserve force.
- 17 Squadron took part in the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and flew close air support, counter air and fighter recce missions, getting numerous gallantry awards.
- Golden Arrows participated actively in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ in 1999.
- On Nov 1988, the Squadron was presented ‘Colours’ by then honourable President of India.