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India, Venezuela sign deals to increase Oil Production

India and Venezuela have signed an oil production deals worth about 1.45 billion US dollar to increase oil production. 
●    The agreement was signed between Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Venezeulas Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), and Venezuela’s consortium Delta Finance BV in Caracas. 
●    The Indo-Venezuelan partnership created in 2009 is expected to double the daily oil production of San Cristobal field from 20,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil. 
●    Comment The agreement comes amid a severe economic crisis in Venezuela. 
●    It is seen as a way to boost oil production, pay off debts, obtain funds from other foreign partners, and increase the country’s oil income. 
●    Venezuelan crisis Venezuela’s economy relies on oil exports and it accounts for half of the Venezuelan government’s revenues. 
●    Recently, it has been severely hit by a drastic fall in oil prices and resulted in the Venezuela’s economic crisis.


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India, China Discuss Steps to Improve ties

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart met in Hyderabad on Friday for a day-long discussion on improving bilateral ties.
●    The meeting between Mr. Doval and Yang Jiechi is part of efforts to improve high-level interaction to deal with issues of mutual interest and concern. 
●    A former Foreign Minister, Mr. Yang was elevated to the rank of State Councillor over three years ago.
●    Despite India’s aggressive efforts, China is yet to relent on its opposition to New Delhi’s entry into the 48-member NSG. 
●    China has opposed the entry saying India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
●    Beijing’s technical hold in the U.N. on the ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar would expire in December, and India is hoping to persuade China to agree to its demand.

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India, Japan Likely to sign Civil Nuclear Deal

India and Japan are likely to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to Japan next week as the two sides completed the internal procedures for the much-awaited agreement.
●    The two countries had sealed a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy during Japanese Prime Minister Shiozo Abe's visit to New Delhi last December.
●    External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said both the countries have completed the internal procedures including legal and technical aspects of the text of the pact.
●    Japan is a major player in the nuclear energy market and an atomic deal with it will also make it easier for US-based nuclear plant makers Westinghouse Electric Corporation and GE Energy Inc to set up atomic plants in India as both these conglomerates have Japanese investments.
●    During his visit, Prime Minister Modi will have an audience with the Emperor of Japan and hold the annual summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


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India China NSAs to meet Next Week

Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi will meet next week to discuss New Delhi's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) and boundary talks.
●    Besides blocking India's admission into the NSG, China had put a second technical hold on New Delhi's move to bring about a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.
●    India has been pressing China to relent on its opposition, saying that vast majority of the 48 member group back India's case.
●    China is opposing India's membership on the ground that New Delhi is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
●    Pakistan has said India getting membership of the NSG will affect security in South Asia and derail "global non-proliferation".

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India Pakistan expel Mission Staffers

India expelled Pakistani High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar for spying on 27 October and Pakistan responded on the same day by declaring Surjeet Singh, an official of the Indian High Commission, as persona non grata. 
●    The Vienna Convention that regulates the diplomatic interaction between countries prescribes that diplomats and staff working in diplomatic missions should adhere to the laws of the receiving state. 
●    Diplomatic missions are kept under surveillance by the counter-intelligence agencies of host countries. 
●    As and when a country catches a diplomat blatantly and unacceptably indulging in the spy game, he is either caught in the act and is ordered to leave or, at times, even without being physically caught is asked to leave. 
●    Sometimes this process is undertaken discreetly and is not made public; on other occasions, the diplomat is publically declared persona non grata and is sent home. 


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India Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise Shakti 2016 Begins

The fourth edition of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise Mitra Shakti 2016 began on 24 October 2016 at Sinha Regimental Centre in Ambepussa, Sri Lanka. 
●    The exercise will continue till 6 November 2016.
●    The Indian Contingent is represented by a platoon from the Rajputana Rifles Regiment and the Sri Lankan Army is represented by a platoon from the Sinha Regiment.
●    In the initial two stages, both armies will get familiar with the respective methodology of such operations, each other’s arms and equipment and the command and control systems.  
●    It will then graduate towards tactical understanding to enhance inter operability while carrying out Counter Insurgency (CI)/Counter Terrorism (CT) operations.
●    Mitra Shakti series of bilateral exercises is one of the major bilateral defence cooperation initiatives between India and Sri Lanka since 2013. 
●    The previous exercise with the Sri Lankan Army was successfully conducted in September 2015 at Pune in India.

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Visit of Chief of the Air Staff to the Russian Federation

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha Chief of the Air Staff is on an official visit to the Russian Federation from 24 to 29 October 2016. 
●    The Chief of the Air Staff is visiting Russia on the invitation of the Commander of Russian Federation Aerospace Forces.
●    The visit is intended to take the existing defence cooperation between the Air Forces of the two countries to the next level. 
●    The areas of cooperation presently include military and technical cooperation, exchange visits and air exercises. 
●    During his visit to Russia, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha is scheduled to hold talks with senior military leaders and discuss a wide range of bilateral issues on the ongoing defence cooperation. 
●    He will also visit various Air Force and defence establishments.
●    Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha’s visit to Russia would provide further impetus towards increasing defence cooperation and deepening the bonds of friendship between the two Air Forces.

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India, US to Resolve Issues Related to Visa, Totalisation Pact

India and the US on Thursday committed to continue engagement to resolve issues related to visa, movement of professionals and totalisation agreement.
●    These issues were deliberated upon during the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative Michael Froman. 
●    They met under the 10th India- US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting.
●    The two countries acknowledged the ongoing discussions on totalisation and resolved to continue their engagement on the elements required in both countries in order to pursue a bilateral totalisation agreement.
●    India is insisting to start negotiations for the early conclusion of totalisation agreement or social security pact as its absence restricts movement of Indian IT professionals.
●    Both countries voiced concern about the unauthorised recording, including camcording, of films in cinemas and copyright piracy on websites, it said.

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India, Myanmar Sign Three Agreements

India and Myanmar on 19 October 2016 signed three agreements to boost the bilateral relations between the two nations. 
●    Keeping in view the sensitivity of each other’s strategic interests, the two nations also agreed for close security coordination in border areas.
●    The MoUs were inked in New Delhi after delegation level talks with the visiting State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi was on a three day visit to India. Agreements inked includes
●    MoU for designing an academic and professional building programme for insurance industry of Myanmar. 
●    MoU on Cooperation in the field of Power Sector: India has also offered to enhance power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar.
●    MoU on Banking Supervision between RBI and Central Bank of Mya

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India Invites Pak to Disaster Mitigation Meet

India has invited Pakistan for a disaster risk reduction conference to be held in Delhi in November. But Pakistan is yet to confirm its participation.
●    In all, 61 countries have been invited, and 38 have so far confirmed their participation.
●    The Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction will be held from November 3 to 5. 
●    A senior official said close to 4,000 delegates from across the country and 1,500 foreigners would take part in the conference.
●    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is closely monitoring the preparations. 
●    An official said the conference was a step towards establishing India’s supremacy in the region in effectively handling disasters.

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