News for 21st Dec (Monday)
1.       China and Russia have signed a Protocol to extend the ‘Agreement between Russia and China on Launches of Ballistic Missiles and Space Missile Carriers’. According to the agreement both the countries should notify each other before conducting ballistic missile test or space rocket launches. It ensures strategic stability in the Eurasian supercontinent.
2.       The first Maritime Theatre Command (MTC) of India is to be launched in 2021. The MTC will look after the 7,516-km long coastline, the entire Indian Ocean Region and the 1,382 islands. This is important to counter Chinese ever-expanding naval foot-print in the Indian Ocean Region.
3.       The United States recently imposed sanctions on Turkey under section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA. The sanctions were imposed for buying Russian made  S400 anti-Missile system. The United States has also reiterated its warning to India and other countries upon acquiring equipment from Russia.
4.       The World Bank recently approved 250 million USD to improve performance of existing dams in India and to improve their safety. The funds have been allocated to the DRIP-2, the second Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project. The allocated funds are to be utilized to strengthen 120 dams in the country.
5.       India and Austria have signed a MoU to create a framework in the field of Road Transportation, Road/Highways infrastructure development, management and administration, road safety and intelligent transport systems. This is to enhance trade and regional integration between the two countries.
6.       A project worth $400 million was signed between the Indian Government and the World Bank to protect India’s poor and vulnerable population affected by the adverse economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
7.       India and Bangladesh are set to reopen the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link after more than 5 decades to enhance the connectivity between the two countries. This is part of the commitment to revive and operationalize the six pre-1965 rail links between the two countries.
8.       India is to increase the share of Natural Gas in the primary energy mix of the country from 6.2% to 15% by 2030. In order to achieve this, 60 billion USD is to be invested over next four years to create rigid gas infrastructure in the country.
9.       India lost the first test match against Australia by 8 wickets.
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