Read about the Indian fishermen released by pakistan at Wagah border, the lifting of North Korean sanctions on four ships by the UN, the latest Indian edition to join the UNESCO world biosphere reserves and more …..
1) Pak hands over 86 Indian fishermen to India at Wagah Border:
- Pakistan handed over 86 Indian fishermen to India at the Wagah Border, a day after they were released by the authorities upon completing their one-year sentence for allegedly trespassing into Pakistan’s territorial waters.
- Some 87 Indian fishermen were also released on March 6 and today’s release of 86 brings the total to 173.
- The fishermen arrived here in the morning by train. The Edhi Foundation arranged buses for them to the Wagah Border.
- The fishermen were released after they completed their sentences of one year. Some 377 more Indian prisoners are languishing in the Malir jail out of whom 116 have to complete their sentences while the remaining 261 are undertrials.
- All the fishermen hail from Gujarat.
- One of the freed prisoners Nanu Jeta told Dawn News that he was grateful for the facilities extended to him by the jail staff here.
- Both Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often arrested for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location.
- In two incidents last month, Pakistan arrested 108 Indian fishermen and seized a total of 20 boats for what they called was illegally fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters.
2) Sensex opens 44 points down on profit-booking, Nifty below 7,700:
- The benchmark Sensex fell almost 44 points and the NSE Nifty slipped below the 7,700-mark in early trade today following profit-booking by investors after recent gains amid mixed Asian cues.
- The 30-share barometer declined 43.81 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 25,241.56, with IT, banking, technology, FMCG, and infrastructure stocks taking a big knock.
- The index had gained 608 points in the last two sessions on increasing prospects of a lower policy rate and sustained foreign fund inflows.
- Also, the NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,700-mark by falling 31.30 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 7,672.95.
- Brokers said that apart from profit-booking in recent gainers, mixed trend in other Asian bourses influenced sentiment.
- In the Asian region, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.37 per cent while China’s Shanghai Composite index was down 0.41 per cent in early trade today. Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.01 per cent.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.12 per cent higher in yesterday’s trade.
3) MoD to prioritise submarines, ammunition, aircraft under strategic partner model
- The Defence Ministry will prioritise high value contracts – ammunition for the Army, submarines for the Navy and aircraft for the air force – under the strategic partnership model that will select private companies for long term manufacturing projects, minister Manohar Parrikar has said.
- The minister announced that the new defence procurement policy has been finalised after a high level meeting on Monday but said that details of the strategic partner (SP) model will be firmed up later, as reported by ET.
- Parrikar said that conventional submarine acquisition plan – named P75 I – will be taken under the new model that selects one Indian vendor for a particular sector of manufacturing like warships or aircraft. The minister said that ‘one or two’ projects under the model could be rewarded by the end of this year.
- The defence minister also named ‘a fighter, a helicopter’ as one of the first to be considered. Another area for the SP will be ammunition for the Army with Parrikar saying that a firm 10 year order would be given to the selected company.
- As reported, the model has been under discussion for the last three months but has met resistance within the ministry and is likely to take more time before being finalised and sent for cabinet approval.
- The blacklisting policy will be a separate document from the procurement policy that is likely to be made public on March 28, the opening day of the MoD’s defence expo in Goa.
4) U.N. lifts North Korea sanctions on four ships at China’s request:
- The U.N. Security Council agreed to a Chinese request to remove sanctions on four ships the United Nations had blacklisted for ties to Pyongyang’s arms trade. The agreement came after China secured assurances the vessels would not use North Korean crews, a U.S. official said.
- China asked the United States on March 16 for help removing the ships from the U.N. blacklist, according to a diplomatic cable sent the same day from the U.S. permanent mission at the United Nations to a group of other U.S. embassies.
- The cable, reviewed by Reuters, showed wrangling between top diplomats from the United States and China over the tough new North Korea sanctions, weeks after Washington had presented a united front with Beijing, Pyongyang’s main ally and trade partner.
- While Washington has been the driving force behind the toughening international sanctions regime, China conducts 90 percent of the trade with North Korea and is the key to enforcing them.
- The ships were among 31 vessels sanctioned by the 15-member council on March 2 because they were linked to Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), a North Korean shipping firm known to transport arms and other illicit goods for the secretive state.
- S. and other Western officials have said all the original listings were carefully vetted before the ships were added to the blacklist. That list was appended to the sweeping Security Council resolutions implemented on March 2, following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January.
- The U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Security Council committee on North Korea sanctions agreed to the request after China secured written commitments the four ships would no longer use North Korean crews.
5) India’s Agasthyamala among 20 UNESCO world biosphere reserves:
- The Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve was included at the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere programme of UNESCO that concluded in Peru.
- The ABR covers the Shendurney and Peppara wildlife sanctuaries and parts of the Neyyar sanctuary in Kerala and the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.
- India has been campaigning for the inclusion of the reserve in the network for the past few years.
- With the addition of the ABR, 10 of the 18 biosphere reserves in the country have made it to the list, with the others being Nilgiri, Gulf of Mannar, Sunderban, Nanda Devi, Nokrek, Pachmarh, Similipal, Achanakmar-Amarkantak and Great Nicobar
- The ABR would benefit from the shared scientific expertise of all the other members of the world network. The State is expected to work for the conservation of nature at the reserve while it fosters the sustainable development of its population, said a UNESCO official.
- The ABR is situated at the southern-most end of the Western Ghats and spread over Kerala and Tamil Nadu and covers an area of 3,500 sq km at an altitude ranging from 100 metres to 1,868 metres above the Mean Sea Level.
- The area falls in the Malabar rainforests and is one of the noted hotspot areas because of its position in the Western Ghats, according to the management plan of the reserve. It is estimated that more than 2,250 species of dicotyledonous plants are in the area and 29 are endemic to the region. Many plants are considered endangered too.