Here is the digest of important newspaper articles and quiz!
PMâ€™s visit to Iran
Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian PM in 15 years to visit Iran, the Shia majority country. India inked a number of pacts with Iran during the trip.
India and Iran signed a deal to develop the Chabahar port, situated less than 100 km from Pakistan’s Gwadar port. India will be spending $500 million for the development of Chabahar port. The move is aimed at cutting down the importance of Pakistan’s Gwadar port, built with China’s help.
Iran and India also signed a number of agreements to enhance technological, petrochemical and banking cooperation.
India also began paying back $6 billion in debt from past oil purchases. Tehran has been seeking to reintegrate into the global economic system following a landmark deal with world powers that lifted sanctions in return for limiting its nuclear program.
Energy projects are the main points on agenda of India, with the development of Iran’s Farzad-B oil field as one of the most important ones.
What is the importance of Iran to Indian foreign policy? – Independent India and Iran established diplomatic relations on 15 March 1950. During much of the Cold War period, relations between the Republic of India and the erstwhile Imperial State of Iran suffered due to different political interests non-aligned India fostered strong military links with the Soviet Union while Iran enjoyed close ties with the United States.
In the 1990s, India and Iran supported the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban regime. They continue to collaborate in supporting the broad-based anti-Taliban government.
Even though the two countries share some common strategic interests, India and Iran differ significantly on key foreign policy issues. India has expressed strong opposition against Iran’s nuclear programme and whilst both the nations continue to oppose the Taliban, India supports the presence of NATO forces in Afghanistan unlike Iran. Iran is the second largest supplier of crude oil to India.
After the sanctions were lifted on Iran recently India has been lifted India has been moving forward to improve its relations with Iran that had gone south due to the sanctions. India now sees Iran as a part of its three pronged strategy to maintain amicable relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.
Chabahar Port and Tri-lateral transition corridor
India has signed a series of agreements with Iran to develop and use the port of Chabahar to access Central Asia and Afghanistan. The first agreement, a bilateral, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modiâ€™s May 2016 visit, will provide India the right to develop and operate two terminals and five berths with multipurpose cargo handling capacities in the port of Chabahar for 10 years. India has opened up a line of credit of $500 million to develop infrastructure of the port.
At the same time an agreement Â for Trilateral Transport and Transit Corridor connecting Chabahar with Afghan road and rail network was inked with Afghanistan.
What is the importance of Chabahar port? Â
1) Chabahar port will open up transport avenues for India and provide access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. It can result in Indiaâ€™s greater role in Afghanistan post US withdrawal.
From Chabahar port, the existing Iranian road network can link up to Zaranj in Afghanistan. This road can then connect to the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram road – constructed by India in 2009 at a cost of Rs 680 crore â€“ and finally to Afghanistanâ€™s Garland highway.
This will give India road access to four major cities; Afghanistan-Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif but Kabul has already warned New Delhi to be ready for possible attacks by Pakistan-backed elements to delay the project. Future plan include an International North-South Transport Corridor through Iran to Russia and Europe.
2) Iran is also part of Indiaâ€™s larger strategy of North South Transport Corridor. The International Northâ€“South Transport Corridor is the ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road.
The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali.
Source: TheHindu, Livemint(Image)
Reusable launch technology for ISRO
ISRO did the test flight of RLV-TD represented the first step to master reusable launch vehicle technology.
Termed the Hypersonic Flight Experiment, it was the first of a sequence of four test flights to validate various technologies. Designed and developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at a cost of Rs. 95 crore, the RLV-TD weighing 1.75 tonnes used a thermal protection system (TPS) including 600 heat-resistant silica tiles and a Carbon-Carbon nose cap to withstand the high temperature during atmospheric re-entry.
What is the reusable launch vehicle technology? – A reusable launch system (RLS, or reusable launch vehicle, RLV) is a launch system which is capable of launching a payload into space more than once. This contrasts with expendable launch systems, where each launch vehicle is launched once and then discarded.
Orbital RLVs are thought to provide the possibility of low cost and highly reliable access to space. However, reusability implies weight penalties such as non-ablative reentry shielding and possibly a stronger structure to survive multiple uses, and given the lack of experience with these vehicles, the actual costs and reliability are yet to be seen.
SpaceX is a recent player in the private launch market succeeding in converting its Falcon 9 expendable launch vehicle into a partially reusable vehicle by returning the first stage for reuse.
Proposal for pact against parental abduction
Bring Our Kids Home, or BOKH – a coalition of parents in the U.S. – has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama to expedite a bilateral agreement for protection against parental abduction.
In 92 cases, more than 100 children have been taken to India from the U.S. by a parent, following marital discord. The U.S. Department of State formally sought Indiaâ€™s help in December 2015 in returning these children. India has not responded yet.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980 requires child custody cases to be adjudicated in the country of her â€œhabitual residenceâ€.
India has not signed the convention, but the U.N. Convention on Child Rights, which India has signed, says that â€œchild abductionâ€ in any form must be prevented.
India fears that signing The Hague Convention will force women who are victims of marital abuse to suffer rather than flee.
In a handful of cases, fathers took children from the U.S. to India, but many cases are about women fleeing from abusive husbands or in-laws. Several such mothers, who reached the U.S. on dependent visas, cannot fight divorce or custody cases in the U.S. and going to India is an escape for them.
What is the way forward? – There needs to be some clarity developed in handling cases regarding parental abduction. A 12-month time frame to negotiate an agreement with the U.S. Secondly, India could take a position in courts that the parent who lost the custody be allowed access to the child even as the case is being decided.
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