Inaugural Session of WTO Ministerial Meeting begins in New Delhi

  • Commerce Secretary said that the existential challenges to the multilateral rules-based trading system are manifesting spate of unilateral measures and counter measures, deadlock in key areas of negotiations and the impasse in the Appellate Body.
  • The logjam in the Appellate Body is a serious threat to the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO and the implementation function of the Organization.
  • The fundamentals of the system are being tested through a tide of protectionism around the world vitiating the global economic environment.  The situation does not bode well for developing countries, including the LDCs.
  • The harm that the institutional failure due to the collapse of the Appellate Body will cause will be felt more in Developing Countries including LDCs who need the protection of the rules-based system more than developed countries.
  • There is an urgent need to engage constructively to preserve the system and come up with constructive solutions to the problem.
  • The situation in the WTO has spurred a strong discourse for reforming the WTO, which unfortunately is characterised by a complete lack of balance.  The reform agenda being promoted does not address the concerns of the developing countries.
  • Agriculture remains a key priority for a large membership of WTO representing the developing world.
  • Discipline on fisheries subsidies are currently under negotiation at the WTO with intense engagement to understand the issues and work out a meaningful agreement by December 2019.
  • The MC11 decision on fisheries subsidies clearly mandates that there should be an appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing countries.
  • It is important for developing countries including LDCs to collectively work for a fair and equitable agreement on disciplines in fisheries subsidies.
  • India believes that developing countries need to work together to protect their interests in the WTO negotiations through preservation of the core fundamental principles of the WTO.
In two-day meeting following issues are likely to be discussed:
  1. Finding a solution to the ongoing impasse in the Appellate Body on an urgent basis.
  2. Issues of importance and priority for developing countries including LDCs in the reform agenda.
  3. How to reinvigorate negotiating agenda on issues of critical importance for developing countries?
  4. How to ensure effective S&D for all developing countries including LDCs?

DRDO Successfully Conducts Flight Test of ABHYAS

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful flight test of ABHYAS - High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from Interim Test Range, Chandipur in Odisha today.
  • The configuration of ABHYAS is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and uses indigenously developed MEMS based navigation system for its navigation and guidance.
  • The performance of the system was as per simulations carried out and demonstrated the capability of ABHYAS to meet the mission requirement for a cost-effective HEAT.

Admiral John Michael Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations United States Navy visit to India

  • Admiral John Michael Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy, is on an official tour to India from 12 to 14 May 2019. His visit is intended to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and USA and also to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.
  • Indian Navy and US Navy interact regularly at bilateral and multilateral forums and participate in maritime exercises such as MALABAR and RIMPAC.
  • Regular Subject Matter Expert exchange also takes place between both the navies to institutionalise interoperability in various fields.
  • After being accorded Major Defence Partner status by USA in 2016, India – US ties have grown significantly in recent years.
  • The inaugural Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue conducted in September 2018 also facilitated new avenues for defence cooperation between the two countries.
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