- PM to greet first container vessel on inland waterways in Varanasi
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue inaugurated by Union Home Minister
Defence & Security Issues
- East Asia Summit vows to step up anti-terror cooperation
Key Facts for Prelims
- 1st-ever India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise – Dustlik-2019 begins
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PM to greet first container vessel on inland waterways in Varanasi
In line with Government’s focus on improving connectivity to the North Eastern Region (NER), a landmark Container Cargo consignment recently sailed on inland waterways from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to Pandu, Guwahati.
- Another ship named MV Maheshwari sailed in National Waterway -2 (section of the Brahmaputra River, near Dhubri and Sadiya in Assam).
- The 12-15 days voyage will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).
ABOUT THE CONTAINER TRANSPORTATION:
- A ship named MV RN Tagore is moving India’s first container on Inland Vessel post-independence from Kolkata to Varanasi.
- Ship will embark on 12-15 days voyage on National Waterway- l (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2(river Brahmaputra).
INLAND WATERWAYS AUTHORITY OF INDIA (IWAI):
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence in October 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
NATIONAL HIGHWAY 1:
- The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank.
- It passes through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
- It is a section of the Brahmaputra River having a length of 891 km between the Bangladesh border near Dhubri and Sadiya in Assam.
- The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Tracie (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries.
WHAT IS IBP ROUTE?
- The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak).
- Two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways viz, Sirajganj-Daikhawa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj on the IBP route are being developed on 80:20 cost sharing basis (80% being borne by India).
In addition to the above, India and Bangladesh have agreement on declaration of additional Ports of Call under PIWT&T at Kolaghat, Dhulian, Maia, Sonamura in India, and Chilmari, Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Daukhandi in Bangladesh.
Both countries have also agreed on the following: –
- Badarpur as an extended port of call of Karimganj (Assam, India) and Ghorasal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh.
- Tribeni as an extended port of call of Kolkata and Muktarpur of Pangaon in Bangladesh.
- Protocol route Rajshahi-Godagari- Dhulian to be extended upto Aricha (Bangladesh).
- Inclusion of Daudkhandi-Sonamura stretch on Gumti river as new route.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue inaugurated by Union Home Minister
The Union Minister for Home Affairs inaugurated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue (SCOJtEx)-2019 in New Delhi.
- The Exercise was organized by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
- Its aim is to rehearse the disaster response mechanism, share knowledge, experience, technology & also for mutual coordination, etc.
- The participants of all 08 member countries namely China, India, Kazakhastan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan shall be participating in this exercise.
ABOUT SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION (SCO)
- Seen as a counter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), SCO is a Eurasian organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- These countries, except for Uzbekistan, had been members of the Shanghai Five, founded in 1996. After the inclusion of Uzbekistan in 2001, the members renamed the organisation to SCO.
- Its headquarters is located in Beijing, China.
- India, which has had an observer status for the past 10 years, was accepted along with Pakistan as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2017.
- It has now eight members: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
- SCO has Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Belarus as observers.
- The SCO has established relations with the United Nations, where it is an observer in the General Assembly, the European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
- SCO represents 40 % of global population, 20 % of global GDP and 22% of the global geographical area.
- After Gujarat Earthquake-2001, the ‘Owner Driven Reconstruction for Housing’ was first implemented in Gujarat which has now been adopted by many countries. Owner Driven Reconstruction is a participatory model which places homeowners at the center of reconstruction, integrating homeowner’s decisions on home design and site selection for house construction.
Defence & Security Issues
East Asia Summit vows to step up anti-terror cooperation
The 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in Bangkok, Thailand recently which was attended by the Government of ASEAN Member States.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 14TH EAS:
- The EAS declaration called to scale up efforts to deal with terrorism, radicalisation and transnational crimes by ramping up coordination with Financial Action Task Force.
- The countries expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-20).
- The East Sea (Sea of Japan) issue was also discussed as there are there were instance of acts that hinder legal economic operations in the sea, not respecting the international law.
ABOUT EAST ASIA SUMMIT
- The East Asia Summit is the premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region to deal with issues relating security and defence.
- It is a forum held annually by leaders of 18 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions.
- EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings.
- Apart from the 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.
- Since its inception in 2005, it has played a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.
SIGNIFICANCE OF EAS:
- EAS, representing nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population and over 20 per cent of global trade,is a mega gathering and is a testimony to the rise of Asia.
- EAS is a region of strong and fast growing economies. It is considered the third pole of world economy after the US and Europe. Its four major economic players namely Japan, China, India and Korea are among the twelve largest ranking global economies.
- Financial and monetary cooperation between ASEAN+6 or EAS countries could be an area of fruitful cooperation in view of the fact that their combined foreign exchange reserves exceed $ 3 trillion.
SIGNIFICANCE FOR INDIA:
- For India, EAS acts as an alternative to the APEC in which India doesn’t enjoy the membership.
- India’s membership to the EAS is a recognition of its fast growing economic and political clout.
- Act East policy of India:In order to build multi-faceted relations with ASEAN and other multilateral nations and strengthen bilateral relations India has emphasised upon its Act East Policies for which EAS will prove crucial.
- China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the nature of its growing investments has led the ASEAN countries to view India as a potential power that could balance a rising China.
- India’s strength lies in service sector and information-technology and Japan has a sound capital base. Thus, there are complementarities in trade and production structures of the EAS members.
- India’s deep cultural and civilizational links with the EAS countries are widely known. India can play a major role in cultural and people to people cooperation with the region, which can reinforce the economic momentum for community building.
- US has proposed the Blue Dot Network initiative that will set standards for big infrastructure projects committed by G20 countries.
Key Facts for Prelims
1st-ever India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise – Dustlik-2019 begins
The first-ever India-Uzbekistan joint military exercise – Dustlik-2019 begin at Chirchiq Training Area near Tashkent.
- India and Uzbekistan have also signed three Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of Military Medicine and Military Education.
ABOUT THE DUSTLIK
- The Dustlik exercise, to be conducted between India and Uzbekistan Army till November 13, will focused on counter-terrorism.
LOCATION OF UZBEKISTAN
- Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia.
- Uzbekistan shares land borders with 5 countries: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.
- It lies mainly between two major rivers, the Syr Darya (ancient Jaxartes River) and the Amu Darya (ancient Oxus River). Because of diversion of the Amu Darya and Syr Darya for cotton cultivation and other purposes, the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest inland sea, has shrunk to only about one-third of its 1960 volume.