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AUGUST 29, 2017

Doklam standoff ends as India, China step back

  • After weeks of diplomatic negotiations, India and China agreed to disengage from the standoff on the Doklam plateau, disputed between China and Bhutan, with a formula that saw China promise to make “necessary adjustments” to their troop deployments, after Indian troops withdrew back to their posts in Sikkim on Monday.
  • According to a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, the process of disengagement by border personnel had been “almost completed under verification” from both sides by Monday evening, indicating that no more troops were expected on the face off point at Doklam, which reverted to status quo ante June 16.

Essential pre-requisite

  • “Peace and tranquility in the border areas is an essential pre-requisite for further development of our bilateral relationship,” affirmed the MEA, which issued two statements on Monday.
  • “The Indian side has pulled back all its personnel and equipment to the Indian side of the boundary. In the light of the changes of the situation, on the ground, China will make necessary adjustment and deployment,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also said at a briefing on Monday. The agreement comes a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China to attend the BRICS summit from September 3 to 5. It also paves the way for a one-on- one meeting between Mr. Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 4, a senior government source confirmed to The Hindu .
  • Sources, however, denied reports that Mr. Modi’s visit to China had “ever been in doubt”, pointing to the fact that Indian ministers had attended all BRICS preliminary meetings despite rising tensions on both sides.
  • According to them, at the brief meeting between Mr. Modi and President Xi at the Hamburg G-20 summit, the leaders had taken a decision to give diplomacy a chance on the standoff.
  • “What is clear is that neither side wanted this dispute to overtake the relationship. What won was diplomacy, and the desire to see the big picture, and those in Beijing predicting war have lost,” said an official speaking of the parleys over the past few weeks, led by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and Indian Ambassador to Beijing Vijay Gokhale

Consolidated FDI policy charter released

  • The government has brought out the latest edition of its consolidated FDI policy document, which is a compilation of the changes made in the past one year in a single document.
  • It is an initiative aimed at ensuring greater ease of doing business in India and an investor-friendly climate to foreign investors so that the country attracts more FDI.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion said the new “circular will take effect” from Monday. For the first time, the document has included start-ups. As per the norms, start-ups can raise up to 100% of funds from Foreign Venture Capital Investors.
  • The document said start-ups can issue equity or equity-linked instruments or debt instruments to FVCIs against receipt of foreign remittance.

‘Reform labour laws to ease compliance’

  • The government should reform labour laws and make them more flexible to make it easier to do business in the country, the NITI Aayog said in an Ease of Doing Business report.
  • The report, based on an enterprise survey of 3,276 manufacturing firms, was prepared jointly by NITI Aayog and IDFC Institute and released on Monday by Union Minister for Law Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • “According to our survey’s finding, firms in labour-intensive sectors find compliance with labour-related regulations particularly onerous. This fact translates into enterprises avoiding the labour-intensive sectors,” according to the report.
  • The survey found that more enterprises in labour-intensive sectors reported that finding skilled workers, hiring contract labour and terminating employees was a major or a severe obstacle.
  • Such sectors also reported a significantly higher average time taken for environmental approval and more days lost due to strikes and lockouts, it said.