Current Affairs - Summit, Seminars & Conferences
Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs represented India at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, where countries including G7 nations, the European Union, Brazil, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others discussed the Ukraine crisis. The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine also participated.
- Objective: The meeting aimed to discuss Ukraine's work with its allies to build broad international support for a peace blueprint to resolve the Ukraine crisis.
- India's Stance: While India has not explicitly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has consistently maintained that the conflict must be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.
- Bilateral Meeting: In a separate bilateral meeting, Ukrainian government expressed willingness to open a new chapter in its relations with India. Ukraine acknowledged India's position as an influential state, particularly as the G20 presidency, and hoped for concrete results in ensuring global security.
- Importance of Global South: The parties emphasized the significance of the participation of countries from the Global South in discussions regarding the organization of the Peace Summit.
On 22 May, 2023, during the third India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit, India unveiled a 12-step initiative to strengthen collaborations with Pacific Island nations.
- The inaugural meeting of the Forum for FIPIC was convened by the Indian Prime Minister in Fiji in 2014, followed by the second meeting in Jaipur in 2015, where various initiatives were announced for promoting development and well-being.
- Initiatives Announced By India: The initiatives announced by India include the FIPIC SME Development Project, solar projects for government buildings, provision of desalination units for drinking water, supply of sea ambulances, establishment of dialysis units, setting up of 24x7 emergency helpline, Jan Aushadi Kendras, and Yoga centers.
- India’s Earlier Support: India has supported Fiji and Papua New Guinea by providing indelible ink for their general elections and organizing healthcare initiatives such as the Jaipur Foot Camp in Fiji, where customized prosthetic limbs were provided to approximately 600 Fijians.
- India has also extended Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to Pacific Island countries and provided assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic by supplying vaccines and medical supplies.
- UN Development Partnership Fund: In 2017, India established the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, focusing on supporting sustainable development projects tailored to the specific needs and demands of developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small Island developing states (SIDS).
On 10th May, 2023, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises, Government of India, organised the first meeting of the National MSME Council at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
The meeting was held with a focus on Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance Programme (RAMP).
The key points of the meeting are:
- Objective: The meeting aimed to oversee inter-Central Ministerial/Departmental coordination, Centre-State synergies, and monitor progress on reforms mandated in the MSME sector, including the RAMP programme.
- RAMP Programme: The meeting was organized under the Central Sector Scheme "Raising and Accelerating MSME Performance" launched in June 2022.
- The RAMP programme aims to improve access to markets and credit, strengthen institutions and governance at the Centre and State levels, enhance Centre-State linkages and partnerships, address delayed payments, and promote green practices in MSMEs.
- State Commitment: The representatives from the states/UTs expressed enthusiasm about the RAMP programme and reaffirmed their commitment to making it successful.
On 25 April 2023, the first meeting of the India-Hungary Joint Working Group on water management was held in New Delhi.
- The meeting focused on the issue of groundwater over-exploitation in India and the need for proper water management practices.
- Six priority areas for cooperation were identified, including management of extreme phenomena, exploration and management of groundwater, rejuvenation of rivers and water bodies, mitigation of the impact of climate change on water resources, protection and preservation of the quality of water resources, and training and capacity building.
- The JWG organized a field visit for the Hungarian team to Varanasi to showcase successful interventions under the National Mission for Clean Ganga.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Interior of Hungary and the then Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (presently Ministry of Jal Shakti), Govt of India, on 16th October, 2016 with the objective to strengthen technological, scientific and management capabilities of both the parties in the field of water management.
- For implementation of the objectives of MoU, the Joint Working Group (JWG) was constituted with members representing both countries.
- Cooperation in water management among countries can promote peace, security, and long-term economic growth through open discussions and collaborative action.
On April 12, 2023, the 5th India-UK Home Affairs Dialogue (HAD) was held in New Delhi.
The meeting was led by Union Home Secretary, from the Indian delegation and Permanent Secretary, Home Office, from the UK delegation, along with other senior officials of both countries.
- During the meeting, both sides reviewed the ongoing cooperation and identified further steps that can be taken to explore opportunities and synergies in advancing cooperation in various areas.
- These areas include counter-terrorism, cyber security & global supply chains, drug trafficking, migration, extradition, anti-India activities in the UK including Pro-Khalistan Extremism among other issues.
- The Indian side specifically conveyed its concerns on the misuse of UK's asylum status by the Pro-Khalistani elements to aid and abet terrorist activities in India.
- India's concerns over the breach of security of Indian High Commission were also emphasized.
- The meeting concluded with both sides expressing satisfaction with the ongoing partnership and agreeing to deepen bilateral engagement and maintain the momentum for enhanced security cooperation between the two countries.
On April 3, 2023, the first India-Central Asia Culture Ministers' Meeting was held via video conferencing with the aim of promoting cultural cooperation between India and the five Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
- The participants discussed mutual historical and traditional links.
- They focused on strengthening cultural bonds between India and the five Central Asian countries.
- They spoke about the shared Buddhist heritage of India and Central Asia.
- The need for further cultivation and propagation of these spiritual bonds for harmonious relations was emphasized.
- The Indian side proposed a Joint Statement at the end of the meeting.
- The participants agreed to acknowledge the meeting and its continuance at regular intervals.
- This meeting marks a significant step towards deepening cultural cooperation between India and Central Asia.
On March 27-28, 2023, the Department of Telecom organized the First International Quantum Communication Conclave in New Delhi, in collaboration with CDOT, TSDSI, and IEEE Communications Society - Delhi Chapter.
- The event aimed to learn about latest advancements in quantum communication technologies.
- Experts from industries, academia, R&D centres, and government participated in this conclave.
- Possible applications of Quantum Technologies in building a secure communication infrastructure were discussed.
- Standards on 'Test Guide of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) System' and 'Quantum-Safe and Classical Cryptography System' were released.
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Skill Excellence Awards for 2022 were presented during the event.
Recently, the G20 countries, which account for 45% of the world's coastlines and over 21% of the exclusive economic zones, have collectively committed to promoting the sustainable development of the ocean commons.
- India's G20 Presidency prioritizes the blue economy, promoting sustainable and equitable economic development while addressing environmental challenges.
- The G20 forum offers an opportunity for countries to share best practices, collaborate, and create innovative blue finance mechanisms.
- The outcomes of the G20 forum on the blue economy should inform other international negotiations.
- The international negotiations include the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- The oceans play an essential role in the world's biodiversity, climate regulation, and economic well-being of coastal communities.
- The spirit of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future' should unite the global community for the well-being of our ocean commons.
- The stewardship of oceans is crucial for future generations, and international cooperation is necessary to ensure their protection and conservation.
On March 22, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced during an official side event at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York City that two billion people globally rely on water sources contaminated with faecal matter.
- The WHO called for universal access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene to improve global health on World Water Day at the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York City.
- Almost half of the global population lacks safely managed sanitation services and 29% lack a handwashing facility with soap and water at home.
- These conditions result in over 700 children under five dying every day from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and poor hygiene.
- A four-fold increase in the current rate of progress is required to achieve universal coverage by 2030, according to the WHO.
- Achieving these targets would help save 829,000 lives annually, which is the current number of people that die from diseases related to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene practices.
- The WHO reported these statistics at an official side event attended by representatives from India, Ethiopia, France, UNICEF, World Bank, WaterAid, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
- The event sought to explore how WASH (Water, sanitation and hygiene) and the health sectors could work together to improve health and achieve shared aims.
On March 15, 2023, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare inaugurated the 5-day cultural program "AgriUnifest" in Bengaluru.
- The event was organized by Bangalore Agricultural University in collaboration with ICAR and had participation from over 2500 talented students from 60 State Agricultural Universities/Deemed Universities/Central Universities.
- The objective of the All India Inter Agricultural University Youth Festival is to integrate Indian agriculture by connecting various Indian cultures, nurturing the talents of the youth of agricultural universities, and appreciating Indian cultural diversity.
- The minister emphasized the importance of utilizing the energy of India's young population and technology in agriculture to bring transparency and eliminate middlemen.
- He also highlighted the success of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme and the Khelo India program to encourage young talent in sports.