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India and Tunisia have signed two MoU for co-operation in Information Technology (IT) and promotion of traditional handicrafts.

On 2 June 2016 India and Tunisia signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for co-operation in Information Technology and promotion of traditional handicrafts.
•    The MoUs were signed after the delegation level talks between the two countries in the presence of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid in Tunis. 
•    After the meet, the two nations also released a joint press statement saying that the entire gamut of bilateral as well as global issues was discussed. 
•    The two sides had discussion on bilateral ties focused on economic partnership and adding new areas of collaboration in IT and education.
•    The two sides also decided to enhance co-operation in counter terrorism.
•    Apart from this, Ansari also appreciated Tunisia's support to India's candidature to the expanded United Nations Security Council. 
•    He also invited 350 Tunisian citizens to India for training in different institutes over the next five years.
•    He said that the meeting of the India-Tunisia Joint Committee will be held later in 2016 and focus of the meeting will be promotion of tourism.

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Union Cabinet approves MoU between US and India to enhance cooperation in wildlife conservation

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing up of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between United States of America and India to enhance cooperation in the field of wildlife conservation and combating wildlife trafficking. 
•    With the approval, India will benefit from the expertise of the US Institutions in the field of wildlife conservation and management of wildlife areas and in combating illegal trade of wildlife and their derivatives. 
•    India and the United States of America are endowed with rich biodiversity and natural heritage and have established a network of Protected Areas in their respective territories. 
•    As there is scope for both the countries to share professional expertise to address priority wildlife conservation concerns, the MoU would provide a convenient platform for collaboration. 
•    Wildlife Forensics and Conservation Genetics: Useful in species conservation efforts and better scientific evidence collection in wild life crimes leading to better enforcement. 
•    Natural World Heritage Conservation: Facilitating the institutional capacity of the existing UNESCO Category -2 - centre at Wildlife Institute of India. 
•    Nature Interpretation and Conservation Awareness: Use of information technology in strengthening interface of forest managers with the people for sensitizing people, especially the youth and children in understanding complex issues of conservation of biological diversity.

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Railways and PEC University of Technology have signed MoU for setting up of Kalpana Chawla Chair on Geospatial Technology

Union Ministry of Railways and PEC University of Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of Kalpana Chawla Chair on Geospatial Technology for Indian Railways at the University.
Union Ministry of Railways and PEC University of Technology have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up of Kalpana Chawla Chair on Geospatial Technology for Indian Railways at the University. 
•    The MoU was signed in the backdrop of Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s Budget announcement in this regard.
•    The academic chair is being instituted in memory of Indo–American Astronaut and Alumnus of PEC Late Kalpana Chawla. She was the first woman of Indian origin in space.
•    The objective of the chair is to encourage research activities of Indian Railways in Geo-spatial Technology. 
•    It will also help to strengthen Railway projects where use of remote sensing data, Geographical information System (GIS) and global positioning system (GPS) is predominant.
 

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India and Australia have signed MoU to enhance research and development (R&D) capabilities in biotechnology

Seeking to stimulate and enhance the strategic research and innovation capabilities of the Indian biotech industry, BIRAC, a PSU under the Ministry of Science and Technology signed MoU with Horticulture Innovation Australia for launching a joint funding call.

•    The focus of the call is to undertake horticultural research in order to develop and deploy modern tools of plant biotechnology to improve crop productivity. 
•    The event was presided over by Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu and Vijay Raghavan.
•    Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) is a not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development and marketing company for Australia's horticulture industry.
•    It works collaboratively with industry, the Australian government and the nation's leading research institutions to deliver ground-breaking advancements in areas such as agri-technology, pest management, and trade and industry promotion.
•    Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products, or "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Art. 2).
•    Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with the (related) fields of bioengineering, biomedical engineering, bio-manufacturing, etc.

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China has signed two agreements with Sudan, its close ally in Africa to build 600-megawatt (MW) atomic reactor.

China signed agreements on 23 May 2016 with Sudan to build 600-megawatt atomic reactor.
The agreements were signed during a three-day visit to Sudan by a Chinese delegation led by Nur Bekri.
He is head of the National Energy Administration and deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission.
•    State-owned China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) signed two agreements with Sudan on nuclear power development which includes building a 600-megawatt atomic reactor.
•    The agreements may involve a blueprint for nuclear power development in the next ten years for Sudan and building the first nuclear power station in Sudan.
•    China already had a nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as it has built several nuclear power reactors and is currently building two 1100 mw reactors in Karachi.
•    The contract value or the type of nuclear technology to be used for the reactor was not disclosed.
•    Chinese nuclear companies are making huge inroads in global nuclear markets, including Britain and Argentina.

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India and Russia have agreed to export BrahMos

India and Russia have agreed ‘in principle’ to export the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, BrahMos, to UAE, Vietnam, South Africa and Chile.
•    BrahMos was developed jointly by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM), which in 1998 established the company BrahMos Aerospace. 
•    The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
•    Russia is the partner country in the BrahMos joint venture with its consent discussions with several other countries, including Philippines, South Korea, Algeria, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Singapore, Venezuela and Bulgaria .
•    BrahMos has: 3 times more velocity, 2.5 to 3 times more flight range, 3 to 4 times more seeker range, 9 times more kinetic energy. 
•    The missile has identical configuration for land, sea and sub-sea platforms and uses a Transport Launch Canister (TLC) for transportation, storage and launch.

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India Iran Afghanistan sign transport corridor pact

On 23 May 2016 India, Iran and Afghanistan signed the agreement on Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor.
•    The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Tehran.
•    The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate seamless transport of goods between India and Afghanistan via the Chabahar port that is strategically located in the South East of Iran.
•    This agreement is expected to bring down cargo tariffs and boost regional economic development.
•    Besides, India and Iran also signed an agreement for the development of the Chabahar port. This agreement is complementary to the agreement on Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor.
•    Under the agreement, India will develop the Chabahar port in Iran at an estimated cost of 150 million US dollars.

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The Asian highway linking India, Myanmar and Thailand has been put into service.

•    Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Chairman of the Kayin National Union General Saw Mutu Sae Po attended an inaugural ceremony of the service on 22nd May 2016, Xinhua reported.
•    With the 25.6-km-long section becoming operational, travel time between Thinggan Nyenaung and Kawkareik will be reduced from three hours to 45 minutes.
•    The construction of the Asian highway section started in 2012 with the assistance of Thailand.
•    The Asian highway runs from Moreh in India to Thailand's Maesot via Myanmar's Tamu, Mandalay and Myawaddy.
•    The section, also part of the East-West economic corridor of the Greater Mekong Subregion, will not only enhance trade between Myanmar and Thailand, but also contribute to better links among people in the region.
•    A cornerstone laying ceremony was also held at Myawaddy on Sunday for the building of Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Bridge No.2 to link Thailand's Maesot with Myanmar's Myawaddy.

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Iran and India sign deal on Charbahar Port

India, Iran and Afghanistan  on 23 May 2016 signed the agreement on Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor.
•    The agreement was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Tehran.
•    The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate seamless transport of goods between India and Afghanistan via the Chabahar port that is strategically located in the South East of Iran.
•    This agreement is expected to bring down cargo tariffs and boost regional economic development.
•    Besides, India and Iran also signed an agreement for the development of the Chabahar port. This agreement is complementary to the agreement on Trilateral Transit and Transport Corridor.
•    Under the agreement, India will develop the Chabahar port in Iran at an estimated cost of 150 million US dollars.
•    Two countries share some common strategic interests.
•    India and Iran differ significantly on key foreign policy issues.
•    India supports the presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan unlike Iran.
•    Iran is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India, supplying more than 425,000 barrels of oil per day
•    India is one of the largest foreign investors in Iran's oil and gas industry.

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