1. Modi, Morrison conclude 9 pacts including a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement
Now India and Australia are in a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’. This came after a virtual summit between PM Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
In the virtual summit happened?
A total of 9 pacts were signed including Mutual Logistics Support Agreement and also issued a joint declaration on a ‘Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.’ Both the countries agreed to increase the number of meetings of PMs as well as defence and foreign ministers. This was first of its kind meeting between both the nations. Mr. Modi and Mr. Morrison are expected to meet in person at the extended G-7 summit to be held in the USA later this year where India will be a guest participant.
No talks on China –
This summit came when there was tension amidst India and China over the standoff at the LoC and Australia-China tensions over trade issues and differences over handling of the Corona virus pandemic.
However, the statement issued by New Delhi and Canberra mentioned that there had been ‘no discussion’ on China. Neither was discussed including Australia for ‘Malabar’ or ‘the quadrilateral maritime exercises’.
CSP and RCEP
India has signed Comprehensive Strategic Partnership(CSP) with UK, Indonesia, Vietnam and the UAE while Australia has CSPs with China, Indonesia and Singapore. The trust level required for trade will improve with the CSPs, said Mr. Morrison who also seeks India to reconsider the joining of RCEP(Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).
Missed Modi hug –
PM Morrison, who had to cancel his visits twice to New Delhi due to bush fire and this pandemic respectively said that he missed the famous Modi hug. In a lighter moments they both had tweeted about ‘samosas’ and ‘khichdi’ over the weekends.
2. Vande Bharat Mission set to break evacuation record
What is Vande Bharat Mission?
The mission is for Indian nationals stranded overseas due to coronavirus lockdown. Under this mission those who are stuck abroad will be brought back to India. The mission is one of the largest of its kind and hence in news.
Numbers game –
A total of 3,48,565 citizens have registered till now with the Indian diplomatic missions across the globe under this Vande Bharat Mission. Not all but by trying all means the total registered number 1,07,123 Indians have been brought back by commercial flights. Rest and more will be brought in the coming weeks, if needed the help of private airlines will also be taken, said and official.
How will the record break?
Before this big event in 1990 India had brought back 1,76,000 nationals by airlifting from Kuwait. This had happened after the invasion of Saddam Hussain’s Iraq. The final count of Vande Bharat mission is to go higher as the number of registrations haven’t stopped yet.
Who is doing what?
State-run Air India has so far operated 103 flights in the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission, which began on May 17 and will continue till June 13. In phase II the Indian Navy has also helped to bring back returnees from Sri Lanka & the Maldives.
In the third phase there are 38,000 Indians expected to be repatriated under this mission on 337 internation flights from 31 countries. The third phase will cover more sectors and create additional hubs in remote regions.
There is a significant increase in the number of returnees via land borders too with the finalisation of guidelines in this regard. More than 32,000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.