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RPower signs $1 billion pact for Dhaka project

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the project

Mains level: Complement this newscard with our other newscards on the IR with Bangladesh.


News

Agreement for Gas-based power plant in Bangladesh

  1. Reliance Power has signed agreements to set up the first phase of the integrated 750 MW gas-based power plant at Meghnaghat near Dhaka
  2. And 500 mmscfd LNG Terminal at Kutudbia Island in Bangladesh for $1 billion
  3. Largest Investment: This represents the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh and the largest investment in Bangladesh’s energy sector

Other particulars of the project

  1. Reliance Power will relocate one module of equipment procured for its 2,250 MW combined cycle power project at Samalkot in Andhra Pradesh, India for the Phase-1 project

Background of the agreement

  1. The firm had signed an MoU in June 2015 with the BPDB to set up a 3,000 MW, integrated combined cycle gas-based power project and a 500 mmscfd LNG terminal

[op-ed snap] India and Bangladesh: So near, so far

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Benefits for North-East India. Also, these projects is an example of good relationship between both the countries


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the projects of transportation system between India and Bankgladesh

Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express

  1. Recently, flagged off by the Prime Ministers of both the countries
  2. to follow in the tracks of the erstwhile Barisal Express, which was stopped during the 1965 war with Pakistan
  3. The two countries, especially India’s Northeast, stand to gain enormously from closer road and rail links

Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata Bus link

  1. Service on the 490 km Agartala-Dhaka route began in September 2003, and ran irregularly until January 2015, when it was stopped for security reasons
  2. Service was restarted in May 2015 on an extended Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata route (910 km)

TRAINS
Kolkata-Dhaka Maitree Express

  1. In 2008, rail links disrupted by hostility with erstwhile East Pakistan were reestablished, the 375 km route crossing the border at Gede on the Indian side and Darshana on the Bangladesh side

Agartala-Dhaka service

  1. A 15-km line between Agartala and Akhaura being built by the Indian Railways is set for completion by the end of 2018
  2. With this, a 37-hour journey that an Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata train can cover in less than a third of this time

Siliguri-Parbatipur link

  1. A line links Siliguri in North Bengal to Parbatipur in northern Bangladesh, by which India sent a 42-wagon consignment of high speed diesel manufactured by Numaligarh Refinery in Assam in March 2017
  2. But there is no regular goods train movement on this route, and passenger services are unlikely soon
  3. Because of trans-border crimes and infiltration in the North Bengal sector

BOATS

Kolkata-Dibrugarh waterway

  1. Kolkata-Dibrugarh waterway through Dhaka and Guwahati, started in 1844 by the East India Company and shut after the 1965 war, was recently reopened
  2. Heavy machinery and equipment for the Numaligarh refinery and Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh have been transported by this route

Road Transport

  1. In November 2015, seamless road cargo transport between Kolkata and Agartala through Bangladesh was tried out successfully under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)
  2. Regular services are yet to start

Northeast: the biggest beneficiary 

  1. The creation of East Pakistan — and subsequently, Bangladesh — significantly increased the distance between the Northeast and the Indian mainland
  2. Until 1947, a train to Guwahati from Kolkata took hardly 12 hours
  3. Today, despite increased speeds, the journey takes at least 18 hours by the fastest train, while a normal train — such as the Kamrup Express — takes almost 24 hours through Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri.
  4. Before Partition, people travelled from Guwahati to Kolkata via Lalmonirhat, in the Bangladesh district close to where the Brahmaputra crosses the border
  5. Trains between Assam and Kolkata through East Pakistan stopped in 1947; trains between West Bengal and East Pakistan stopped after the 1965 war

Not just strategic ties with Dhaka: Sushma

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: India Bangladesh relations and issues that still remain unresolved


News

Context

  1. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s 2-day visit to Bangladesh

Neighbours first, Bangladesh foremost

  1. India is following a policy of neighbours first, and among the neighbours Bangladesh is foremost
  2. Bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh have gone beyond a strategic partnership

Problem areas

  1. Both countries were working to resolve irritants in the spirit of “friendly relations and with the right intention”
  2. The water sharing of common rivers, particularly the Teesta, has long been pending

Peaceful cooperation

  1. Both countries reached to the peaceful solution of the land and maritime boundary issues

India, Bangladesh resolve to fight terror together

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:Not much

Mains level: Developments can be seen as counter measures against rising Chinese influence in the region.


News

Discussion on terrorism

  1. India and Bangladesh has discussed the common challenge of terrorism and resolved to fight the issue together
  2. Sushma Swaraj is in Bangladesh on a two-day visit

India’s projects in Bangladesh

  1. India has been extending grant assistance for small socio-economic projects in Bangladesh
  2. In the past three years alone, 24 such grant projects have been completed which include construction of students’ hostels, tube-wells, cultural centres, and orphanages among others
  3. Presently 58 projects, including city development projects in Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet, are under implementation
  4. The two nations have already agreed on the construction of a petroleum products pipeline
  5. It will link Siliguri with Parbatipur, for the benefit of the people of northwestern Bangladesh, as a grant in aid project
  6. The development is also seen as India’s attempt to counter rising Chinese influence in Bangladesh, where Beijing is trying to make inroads in infrastructure ventures

Scheme for Bangladeshi freedom fighters

  1. India will also offer five-year multiple entry visas for Bangladeshi freedom fighters and is planning a scheme for their medical treatment in India

Bangladesh, India set to sign USD 4.5 bn LoC deal on Arun Jaitley visit

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: What is LoC?

Mains level: Good relations with Bangladesh and other neighborhood has became more important due to rising Chinese influence in the region.


News

Line of credit (LoC) agreement

  1. India is signing an LoC agreement involving USD 4.5 billion to be spent for its infrastructure and social sector development

Other agreements

  1. Agreements for the Promotion and Protection of Investments’ would also be signed

Particulars of the agreement

  1. Bangladesh would have to purchase 65 to 75 per cent of the services, goods or works from the Indian market with the money to be provided under the third LoC
    (following the precedence of the previous two nearly identical agreements)
  2. Government agencies already undertook 17 development projects to be implemented with the upcoming USD 4.5 billion loan

Background

  1. The two countries signed the first LoC in August 2010 while the second one was inked in March, 2016

Back2basics

Line Of Credit – LOC

  1. A line of credit, abbreviated as LOC, is an arrangement between a financial institution, usually a bank, and a customer that establishes a maximum loan balance that the lender permits the borrower to access or maintain
  2. The borrower can access funds from the line of credit at any time, as long as he does not exceed the maximum amount set in the agreement and as long as he meets any other requirements set by the financial institution, such as making timely minimum payments

Dhaka to open diplomatic station in Chennai

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Indo-Bangladesh relations has become more important due to increased influence of China in the region. Article gives an example of rising Indo-Bangla Relations.


News

New diplomatic station

  1. The new station will focus on medical tourism and educational centres
  2. Both these areas draw thousands of Bangladesh citizens to India every year

Main focus

  1. The main focus of the new diplomatic station will be to address the needs of Bangladeshi citizens who visit India for medical and educational purposes

Why is Bangladesh significant for Medical Tourism industry?

  1. Bangladesh has emerged as the largest overseas user of India’s health services sector during 2015-16
  2. Reports suggest that out of the 4,60,000 foreign patients treated in Indian hospitals, nearly 165,000 were from Bangladesh

Modi-Mamata spat may cast a shadow on Hasina visit

  1. Event: Upcoming visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India
  2. Context: WB CM Mamata Banerjee’s political fight against PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive
  3. The visit was unlikely to witness any progress on the Teesta water-sharing issue because of these political differences
  4. The focus of the visit was likely to be on greater defence and maritime cooperation, and not on river-water sharing
  5. At the Budapest Water Summit 2016, PM Hasina said Bangladesh remained vulnerable as 92% of its surface water originated from outside its borders
  6. According to her, water challenges today are not the scarcity of water in absolute term; rather its equitable distribution
  7. Effective management of trans-boundary river water would serve a lasting and viable solution

Back2basics:

  1. Teesta deal has become more of a symbol than having a strong substance in it.
  2. The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September, 2011 but was postponed
  3. The Teesta river is said to be the lifeline of Sikkim, flowing for almost the entire length of the state.
  4. The river then forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal before joining the Brahmaputra as a tributary in Bangladesh.

What is Budapest Water Summit 2016?

  1. The Summit is organised by the Government of Hungary in cooperation with the World Water Council.
  2. The World Water Council is an international and independent organization which fight for better water management across the world.
  3. It’s just a think tank!

Note4students:

This news demonstrates the impact that the federal nature of our polity can have on our international relations. Although external affairs is under the Centre, the views of a state CM are impacting our relations with another country. This article is important for polity and international affairs.

Parrikar in Dhaka to boost defence ties

  1. Event: The first ever bilateral visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Bangladesh
  2. The visit was a way to revitalise India’s defence partnership with its immediate neighbours, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar, which share long land boundaries
  3. At present the defence relationship is limited, except some training and military-to-military cooperation
  4. This is also an attempt by India to offset growing engagement by China and Pakistan with Bangladesh on the defence front
  5. India is open to selling them platforms and is keen to extend cooperation in the naval area
  6. India is also keen on concluding a white shipping agreement to exchange information on commercial traffic
  7. The armies of India and Bangladesh have last week concluded the sixth edition of joint military exercise “Sampriti-2016”
  8. It focussed on counter-terrorism operations

Back2basics:


What is white shipping and how does it help in India’s maritime security?

  1. White shipping information refers to exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels
  2. Being aware of the identity of these vessels is imperative to preventing any potential threat from the sea from impinging on the coastal and offshore security of the country.
  3. The 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack is a case in point.
  4. Indian Navy has thus been working towards achieving complete Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) along with all other concerned agencies like the coast guard, customs, ports, fisheries, etc.
  5. India has signed white shipping agreements with several countries including United States and Singapore and is seeking similar agreement with more countries as part of its ongoing effort at developing an effective regional MDA.

Note4students:

There are some important terms here, such as white shipping and Sampriti. These can come in prelims. India has signed many white shipping agreements this year. These will provide valuable information so that India can better monitor the Indian Ocean. This news also demonstrates the closer relations between India and Bangladesh and how we are reacting to China’s inroads.

Dhaka seeks balance of strategic ties

  1. Issue: China’s government-to-government and private deals worth $38.05 billion have upgraded the Bangladesh-China relationship to a strategic partnership
  2. There is a debate in Bangladesh on a possible tilt in balance vis-a- vis Dhaka’s relations with New Delhi
  3. At present relations are at an all-time high under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
  4. Many experts, including key government leaders, see the growing Dhaka-Beijing relations as purely commercial and economic
  5. Others feel the need for a crucial balance under the new reality
  6. Dhaka has categorically said that Mr. Xi’s visit would not have any negative impact on its relations with other countries, including India.

Reviving Radio Bangla

  1. Context: Radio Bangla was discontinued in 2010 but with DRM, Radio Bangla will be active again
  2. AIR is using both FM transmitters and DRMs to reach out to India’s neighbours
  3. History: This radio transmission had played an important role in the liberation of Bangladesh
  4. India: Hoping to have specific programmes to interest listeners, like discussions on rising fundamentalism in Bangladesh, which poses a danger to India

What is simulcast transmission?

  1. What? It is the simultaneous transmission of an amplitude modulated (AM) and DRM in the same or a neighbouring channel
  2. Advantage: Both DRM and AM radios can receive a signal they can discriminate and demodulate
  3. Disadvantage: It can decrease DRM range
  4. Also, there can be local oscillator interference in the AM receiver, known as noise

What is DRM?

  1. DRM is the universal, openly standardised digital broadcasting system for all broadcasting frequencies
  2. Digitisation: DRM ensures the efficient and complete digitisation of those countries committing to the digital radio roll-out
  3. Advantages: DRM has the twin capabilities of anologue and digital transmission, which makes it perfect for simulcast modes
  4. It also has longer range than FM transmitters
  5. Disadvantages: DRM receivers cost around Rs. 15,000 and people may not buy such expensive receivers
  6. It would have been better to install more FM transmitters if the objective is to reach listeners

Govt goes digital for cross-border outreach

  1. Context: President Mukherjee will inaugurate a transmitter at Chinsurah later in 2016
  2. Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM): It is the cross-border broadcasting initiative & will kick start after inauguration of the transmitter
  3. It will provide cross border radio service to Bangladesh

India exports power to Bangladesh, gets Internet bandwidth

  1. Context: India trades 100 MW of power from Tripura for 10gbps of Internet bandwidth from Bangladesh
  2. Power: India currently supplies 500MW of power to Bangladesh through West Bengal
  3. Bandwidth: Import of bandwidth will help India strengthen telecom services and connectivity in the north-eastern region
  4. An international gateway for broadband connectivity will be set up at Agartala through which connectivity will be provided via Bangladesh

India’s major power deal in B’desh to beat China

  1. Context: BHEL would seal a contract to build a $1.6 billion power plant in Bangladesh beating Chinese competitors
  2. Plant: a 1,320-megawatt (MW) thermal power station in Khulna in southern Bangladesh
  3. Relief: for India, who has long fretted over Beijing’s encroachment in its own back yard
  4. String of Pearls: India believes Bangladesh is a part of China’s String of Pearls

Let’s know more about Border Haats?

  1. Border Haats will be established on a pilot basis at selected areas, including on the Meghalaya border,
  2. To allow trade in specified products and in accordance with the regulations agreed and notified by both Governments.
  3. Presently there are 4 Border Haats which are operational.
  4. In addition, both the Governments have agreed to further establish two Border Haats in Tripura and 4 Border Haats in Meghalaya on the Bangladesh border.

MoU between India and Bangladesh for Border Haats

  1. MoU between India and Bangladesh for Mode of Operation of Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border.
  2. These are common marketplaces which aim at promoting the wellbeing of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries.
  3. By establishing traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets in local currency and/or barter basis.
  4. Though not significant as a percentage of bilateral trade, these measures help to improve economic well-being of marginalised sections of society.
PIB

What is a Border Haat?

  1. Border haat allows small time traders and consumers of both the countries to engage in trading activities within the stipulated boundary and set period.
  2. People residing within a distance of 5 km from the border are entitled to engage in tax-free selling and buying.
  3. They allow trade in limited commodities with participation of buyers and sellers from both countries.
  4. In 2011, India & B.Desh countries opened their first border haat, reviving the traditional border trade after nearly 40 years

Tripura, Meghalaya to get six more border markets

  1. Union govt. has sanctioned a proposal to open 6 more border haats (markets) in its northeast frontier with Bangladesh.
  2. Currently, there 4 such facilities are presently functional in Tripura and Meghalaya.
  3. These 4 locations are Srinagar and Kamalasagar in Tripura, Kaliachar and Balat in Meghalaya.
  4. The people residing in far-flung border locations are getting benefit of trade transaction at border haats.

Let’s know more about SEBI?

  1. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India.
  2. It was established in the year 1988 and given statutory powers on 12 April 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.

SEBI vested with the following powers –

  • Approve by-laws of stock exchanges.
  • Require the stock exchange to amend their by−laws.
  • Inspect the books of accounts and call for periodical returns from recognized stock exchanges.
  • Compel certain companies to list their shares in one or more stock exchanges.

Sebi, Bangla regulator sign pact over co-operation

  1. The Sebi has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) on co-operation and technical assistance.
  2. The MoU is aimed at promoting economic links, enhancing investor protection, and development of capital markets.
  3. It also aims at enhancing investor protection and creating conditions for an effective development of securities markets in the two countries.

India, Bangladesh agree to share militant information

  1. India and Bangladesh agreed to share information on militants, while reviewing internal security and other cross-border issues.
  2. It is possible to eliminate terrorism and insurgency through bilateral understanding and intelligence sharing.
  3. There was a need to educate people on both sides, so that they do not cross the borders and abide by all international regulations.
  4. Bangladesh sought Indian cooperation in cross-border drug smuggling.

Indo:Bangla – Freedom after many midnights

  1. The resolution of maritime dispute with Bangladesh in 2014 and land accord recently, are one of the important diplomatic achievements of India’s foreign policy.
  2. The settlement of inter-country dispute involving territorial issues are always remarkable achievements.
  3. The enclave issue, which had its roots in partition led to denial of right to freedom and justice to many.
  4. Now, the ball is in govt.’s court to step up infrastructure and development initiatives to mitigate the trauma of citizens.

90% of enclave dwellers give choice of nation

India and Bangladesh will complete a survey asking each of the 51,000 people living in 162 enclaves on the border to give their choice of citizenship of either nation.

Now, China seeks maritime deal with Dhaka

  1. China has approached Bangladesh to sign a deal on blue economy and maritime cooperation in the Bay of Bengal.
  2. Do note that India had just signed a deal for joint research on oceanography of the Bay of Bengal.
  3. The Indo-B.Desh deal was signed between Univ. of Dhaka and India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

[op-ed snap] A next step called Teesta

  1. No breakthrough on the proposed Teesta water-sharing agreement.
  2. Bangladesh has delivered on its pledge towards zero tolerance for terrorism by extremely proactive in last few years.
  3. But, Indian side yet to deliver on its commitment of zero deaths on the India-Bangladesh border.
  4. There is a need to work together to discover practical and humane solutions to labour mobility, human trafficking and the movement of illegal goods across the border.

Indo-Bangladesh: On rivers and dams

Atal Bihari Vajpayee to get ‘Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award’

Bangladesh Cabinet approves 3 pacts to be signed with India

Modi’s Bangladesh visit: IT Centers & Border haat

[op-ed snap] Breakthrough in India-Bangladesh ties

Cabinet delinks Assam from new border pact

  1. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the long-pending – and controversial – Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh.
  2. However, it has de-linked Assam from the agreement for now. Why? Because of major protests etc.
  3. For now, we are settling the West Bengal and Meghalaya segments of the Indo-Bangladesh border.
  4. A Constitution amendment bill required for ratifying the boundary agreement is expected to be tabled in Parliament when the budget session reconvenes next week.

Rice sent via Bangladesh to reach Tripura

  1. The 8 NE states, including Sikkim, are largely dependent on Punjab, Haryana for food grains and essential commodities.
  2. The rice is being ferried via Bangladesh to avoid the long and mountainous surface road up to Tripura via Assam and Meghalaya.
  3. Following diplomatic parleys, the Bangladesh government in the first phase agreed to transport 10K tonnes of foodgrains for Tripura across its territory without charging any duty under a special transit facility.

Bangladesh wins Women in Parliaments Award

  1. Bangladesh is only country in the world where the PM, Parliament speaker, Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the house, and a major opposition leader are all women.
  2. In the World Economic Forum report it has been placed among the top 10 countries in the world in reducing gender gap
  3. WIP Award is based on the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.
  4. The report assesses 135 countries that represent more than 93 % of the world’s population.


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