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April 2017 - Bilateral Issues


  • India, Cyprus call for decisive action against nations sustaining violence factories
    India and Cyprus on 28th April called for decisive global action against nations sustaining violence factories in their regions. The two nations also discussed the need for creating a comprehensive global legal framework particularly through early conclusion of comprehensive convention on international terrorism. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades held detailed discussion on full range of bilateral relationship, regional and global issues. 

    Mr Modi said, Cyprus and India enjoy close economic ties and Cyprus is the 8th largest investor in India. He said, India offers excellent investment opportunities for Cypriot entrepreneurs. 

    Earlier, the two leaders witnessed exchange of four agreements in the field of air services, agriculture, shipping and culture education and scientific cooperation. The two sides also agreed on the need of early reforms of the United Nations Security Council. 


  • India and Sri Lanka sign MoU on cooperation in Economic Projects
    India and Sri Lanka have signed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Economic Projects. The MoU was signed after discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramasinghe in New Delhi.? 

    The MoU is an agenda o?r? a roadmap for the future and identifies projects and areas of bilateral economic and investment cooperation. 

    The main areas and the scope of cooperation are 500 Megawatt LNG Power Plant, an LNG Terminal/Floating Storage Regasification Unit in Colombo and a 50 Megawatt Solar Power Plant in Sampur. Upper tank farm in Trincomalee will be jointly developed by India and Sri Lanka? with fresh investment. 

    A Joint ?Working ?G?roup will be set up? to further discuss regarding a port, petroleum refinery and other industries in Trincomalee. The other areas of co-operation are Industrial Zones and Special Economic Zones in identified locations, important road segments Mannar-Jaffna, Mannar-Trincomalee and Dambulla-Trincomale Expressway, Railway sector development, container terminal in Colombo port as a Joint Venture and development of agriculture and livestock in island nation. 


  • India signs three agreements with Armenia
    India has signed three agreements with Armenia which will further enhance the bilateral relations. The agreements are in the field of cultural co-operation, youth affairs and peaceful use of space. 

    According to Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari, day long engagement with top Armenian leadership, Secretary East Preeti Saran said, this visit in the silver jubilee year of diplomatic relation has given a new vigour. 

    About the agreement on cultural cooperation Ms. Saran said, India is looking forward to ease the visa regime and focus on people to people contact. She also informed that Armenia has welcomed Indian cinema makers to choose Armenia as their destination to shoot. 


  • Indians with US visas to receive visa on arrival in UAE
    Indian nationals who hold a valid US visa or a green card will get a two-week UAE visa on arrival in the country from 1st of next month. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week circulated a letter to all authorities to grant Indians with US visa or green card to get UAE visa on arrival following a Cabinet decision last month. 

    Shaikh Khaled Bin Essam Al Qassimi, Chairman of Department of Civil Aviation in Sharjah, said the circular was followed instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The circular was given to all UAE borders points, including airports and ports. 

    The visa will be valid for 14 days, extendable for a similar period one time only. The validity of the passport must be not less than six months and the fee for an entry permit will be 1,750 rupees. 


  • US reaffirms India's designation as Major Defence Partner
    The US on 18th April reaffirmed India's designation as a Major Defence Partner and emphasised the importance of its strategic relationship as its National Security Adviser H R McMaster met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held talks with his counterpart Ajit Doval. 

    The US Embassy said, the two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including their shared interest in increasing defence and counter-terrorism cooperation. Mr McMaster, whose trip here marks the first visit by a top official of the Trump Administration, also met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. 

    The statement said, the visit was a part of regional consultations that included stops in Kabul and Islamabad. During the US official's meeting with the Prime Minister, the two sides discussed key bilateral and regional issues, including defence and counter-terrorism cooperation. 


  • India objects to China renaming six places in Arunachal Pradesh
    Taking offence to China renaming six places in Arunachal Pradesh, India on 20th April said inventing names of states of a neighbour does not make illegal occupation legal. 

    Responding to a query, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and will always remain so. 

    On 19th April China had announced that it has standardised official names for six places in the North-Eastern state and termed the provocative move as a legitimate action. 

    The Chinese move came days after Beijing lodged strong protests with India over the Dalai Lama's visit to the frontier state. 


  • EU, India agree to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation
    India and European Union have agreed on the need to strengthen the security cooperation particularly on the issue of counter-terrorism. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica Mogherini on 21st April called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 

    The two leaders discussed regional and global developments of mutual interest. Mr. Modi recalled his successful visit to Brussels in March last year for the India-EU Summit, and said that he is looking forward to the next summit to be held in India in October this year. 

    Ms. Mogherini also held delegation level talks with External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to deepening their strategic partnership. They reviewed progress on the commitments made during the last India-EU Summit including in the areas of counter-terrorism, migration and mobility, water partnership and climate change action. 

    The EU is one of India’s largest trading partners with bilateral trade in goods reaching 85 billion dollars in 2016. It is also the largest destination for Indian exports and a key source of investment and cutting edge technologies. 

    India seeks enhanced investments from EU companies in its Clean India, Namami Gange, Skill India, Start-Up India, Smart Cities, renewable energy and next-generation infrastructure flagship programmes. Both sides also discussed ways to take forward the India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement. 

    The European Union High Representative and Vice- President is on a two-day visit to India. 


  • India, South Korea ink MoU on cooperation between their shipbuilding yards
    India and South Korea on 21st April signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between their shipbuilding yards. The Indian side was represented by Secretary of Defence Production AK Gupta and South Korea was represented by his counterpart Chang Miyung Jin. 

    India has nominated Hindustan Shipyard at Vishakhapatnam whereas South Korea is yet to nominate its shipyard. This MoU is part of the 'Make in India' initiative of Central government. 


  • Modi and Turnbull agree to create jobs, investment to strengthen each country
    In a joint statement issued in New Delhi on 10th April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull agreed to draw on the strengths of each country to create jobs and investment and raise living standards. 

    Recognizing that an economically prosperous Indo-Pacific region is underpinned by stability and security, the two leaders underscored the importance of respecting the maritime legal order based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

    The Prime Ministers committed to deepening the bilateral defence and security partnership. A pact to significantly expand counter-terror cooperation was among six agreements India and Australia inked as the two countries called for strong action against those financing and providing sanctuary to terror groups. 

    The other MoUs signed provided for deeper cooperation in areas of health and medicine, sports, environment, climate and wildlife, civil aviation security and cooperation in space technology. Though the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement could not fructify during talks the two premiers directed their respective officials to hold early negotiations for the free trade deal. 

    PM Turnbull announced that the Australia had decided to join the International Solar Alliance put together at PM Modi’s initiative. The two leaders also remotely inaugurated a Nano-technology research centre jointly established by TERI Institute and Deakin University of Australia. 


  • India, Bangladesh firms ink pacts worth over $9 bn
    Companies from India and Bangladesh on 10th April signed pacts worth over $9 billion in New Delhi aimed at deepening partnership in sectors like power and oil and gas. 

    Among the MoUs signed in the presence of visiting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a facility agreement between Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (BIFPCL) and Exim Bank of India for debt financing for construction of 1,320 mw Maitree Power Project in Rampal in Bangladesh ($1.6 bn). 

    The MoUs include an implementation and power purchase agreement between Reliance Power and the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources for the first phase (718 mw) of the 3,000 mw power project at Meghnaghat, entailing $1 billion (out of a total proposed investment of $3 billion). 

    The agreement between NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) and Bangladesh Power Development Board for supply of power from Nepal envisaged an investment of $3.15 billion. Besides, the MoUs signed include those on LNG terminal use between Petronet LNG, India and Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla), among others. 

    The event also saw signing of pact between Adani Power (Jharkhand) and the Bangladesh Power Development Board entailing an investment of USD 2 billion and a power purchase agreement between Adani Power (Jharkhand) and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh. 


  • Cabinet okays signing of FoU on Cooperation in Hydrocarbon Sector with Bangladesh
    The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved signing of Framework of Understanding (FoU) on Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector with Bangladesh. It has also approved the proposal of the Ministry of Power for Signing of "Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection." 

    Special Purpose Vehicle will be established called Government e-Marketplace (GeM SPV) as the National Public Procurement Portal. Approval for setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as "an Institute of National Importance." 

    Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for listing of 11 Central Public Sector Enterprises on stock exchanges. CCEA has increased MSP for Raw Jute for 2017-18 the MSP to a level of Rs. 3500/- per quintal, this will protect the economic interests of the farmers. 

    Cabinet has also approved following: 
    • Measures to increase oil palm area and production in India.
    • Implementation of Supreme Court’s Judgment regarding Target Plus Scheme (TPS) under Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2004-09.
    • Transfer on lease of 6.5628 acres of Defence land to K V Sangathan at Air Force Station Kanpur for construction of school.
    • MoU on cooperation between India and Tunisia in the field of justice.
    • Cabinet also apprised of MoU between India and Russia for cooperation in Science & Technology.



  • India, UK agree to build range of capability partnerships
    India and the UK have agreed to build a range of capability partnerships focusing on varied aspects of military effectiveness. These include specialised training interactions and exchange of best practices in counter terrorism, counter improvised explosive devices, Air Force training, air safety, aircraft carriers, maritime safety, shipbuilding and UN Peacekeeping. 

    Both sides agreed to further strengthen their naval and maritime interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness through the bilateral technical agreement to exchange information to track terrorist and pirate vessels. 


  • France, India ink pact to upgrade Railways
    The French Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries signed an agreement with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for collaboration in areas such as high-speed and semi-high speed rail, modernisation of current operations and infrastructure, station renovation and operations, suburban trains and safety systems, operations and security. 

    On semi-high-speed, the parties had decided in 2015 to carry out a technical and execution study for upgrading the speed of passengers trains on the current rail corridor between Delhi and Chandigarh (244 km) up to 200 kmph. 


  • SASEC meets to boost trade & tourism
    India and six other South Asian countries on 3rd April pledged to improve intra-regional connectivity to boost trade and tourism generating 70 billion dollar incremental GDP and 20 million jobs per year by 2025. Besides improving people-to-people contact, they will develop gateways and hubs to expand the sub-region's trade and commerce to regional and global markets. 

    Finance Ministers of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Myanmar met in New Delhi to reshape the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) and came out with a vision to guide the sub-region's development. The member countries sought trade of petroleum and gas among themselves. 

    The SASEC also adopted operational plan, 2016-25, which defines the strategic objectives and operational priorities in transport, trade facilitation and energy as well as for the development of economic corridor. 


  • India, Malaysia sign $36-bn investment proposals
    Major Indian and Malaysian companies in the oil and gas, infrastructure and engineering sectors on 3rd April signed investment proposals worth $36 billion. As of December 2016, Malaysia was the 25th largest source of investment into the country, with $829 million worth of foreign direct investment (FDI). 

    Companies such as Adani Ports, Andhra Pradesh Gas Distribution Corporation and Natco Pharma signed 31 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Malaysian companies and industry bodies to facilitate investments in both countries. The developments were part of the visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to India. 

    India is the ninth largest investor in Malaysia, as of 2016, with nearly $300 million worth of investments across eight manufacturing projects, Razak said at a business forum. The prime minister also called for a speedy conclusion to the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which both nations are a part of. 

    The RCEP is a proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six with which this bloc has FTAs — Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. Negotiations, which began in 2012, was to have concluded in 2015. 


  • Andhra Pradesh and Malaysia ink pact to establish 4th gen Tech Park
    The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) and MiGHT Technology Nurturing Sdn Bhd (MTD) on 1st April signed a Memorandum of Understanding towards building the 4th General Technology Park in Andhra Pradesh. The MoU was exchanged at Hyderabad House in the national capital in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak. 

    MTN, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), will provide full consultation in the areas of feasibility, planning and development of the Tech Park apart from bringing in initial technology, according to a release. 

    As part of the MoU, both APEDB and MTN will develop a master plan for the project after an extensive feasibility study and the Phase 1 Technology Cluster will be subsequently developed. The 4th Generation Technology Park will cover an initial area of 250 acres providing greater economic contribution to the State. 

    The park will focus on new technologies through the application of Industry 4.0 best practices involving clean-tech, biotechnology, connected digital platforms, big data and robotics. The park is expected to attract private sector investments of about Rs. 650 crore in the first phase involving 75 SMEs and providing direct employment of 5,500. 


  • India, UK to set up National infrastructure & investment fund for green energy
    India and the United Kingdom have decided to set up a 240 million pound fund to finance clean energy projects in India. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said this while addressing media after the 9th India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue in Delhi. 

    Both India and UK are going to make a contribution of 120 million pounds in the Green Growth Equity Fund which will focus initial investments in India's rapidly growing energy and renewable market. The Fund will be a sub-fund of National Infrastructure and Investment Fund, which was set up by India in 2015 to finance Greenfield as well as Brownfield projects. 


  • Cabinet approves MoUs between India and various other nations
    The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Georgia. The agreement will help establish air connectivity between the two countries. 

    The Cabinet also gave its nod to the signing of the Collaborative Agreement with French National Research Agency (ANR), France for supporting the Belmont Forum Secretariat from January, 2015 to December, 2017 at a cost of 40 thousand Euros. The Belmont Forum, created in 2009, is a high level group of the world's major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils. 

    It also approved MoU between India and Bangladesh for fairway development of Ashuganj-Zakiganj stretch of Kushiyara river and Sirajganj-Daikhawa stretch of Jamuna river by undertaking necessary dredging jointly by the two countries. This will considerably reduce the logistics cost of cargo movement to North Eastern India. It will also reduce the congestion through the Siliguri Chicken’s Neck corridor. 

    Besides, the Cabinet approved MoU on passenger cruise services on the coastal and protocol routes between India and Bangladesh for starting regular movement of passengers and tourists in water crafts between the two countries. It also approved the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Mass Media and judicial sector cooperation between India and Bangladesh. 

    The Cabinet also gave its approval to the MoU between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and its French counterpart, Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), France to implement Technical Cooperation Program in civil aviation sector. The Technical Cooperation Program will be beneficial for enhancement of skills and expertise of AAI’s officers. 

    The Union Cabinet also approved the MoU between India and Australia on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. The area of cooperation includes the communicable diseases such as Malaria and TB, mental health and Non-Communicable Diseases and anti-microbial resistance and responding to public health emergencies. 

    The Union Cabinet was apprised of MoU signed with Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.P.A. of Italy on 31st January, 2017 on technical cooperation in railway sector. The MoU will provide a platform to Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector to promote safety, efficiency and sustainability. 


  • India-UAE cultural celebrations festival launched at Abu Dhabi
    The India - UAE cultural celebrations festival was launched at Abu Dhabi with a tribute video featuring both Mahatma Gandhi and late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - two iconic figures. The video took the audience through a journey of shared values, pluralism and multiculturalism between the two nations. 


  • India inks defence deals worth over $2 billion with Israel ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit
    India and Israel on 6th April inked mega defence deals worth over $2 billion for advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, which are designed to destroy hostile aircraft, missiles and drones at a range of 70-km, to further tighten the bilateral strategic partnership ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s impending visit to Tel Aviv in July. 

    The major deal was for the joint project between the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the Barak-8 medium-range SAM systems to initially include one regiment of 16 launchers and 560 missiles for the Indian Army. 

    The second deal to be inked was for a similar SAM system to be fitted on board the 40,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant being built at the Cochin Shipyard. 


  • India, UK to focus on energy efficiency
    India and the UK have defined energy efficiency and deployment of renewable energy as priority areas under the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Energy Sector. It was also announced that India’s public sector undertaking, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd has established operations in the UK by investing around £7 million in seven energy saving projects. 

    This was decided at inaugural India-UK ‘Energy for Growth’ Dialogue between Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, and Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

    The MoU was signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UK in November 2015. This Green Growth Equity Fund will have both two countries anchor an investment up to £120 million each in the joint fund which aims to raise around £500 million. 

    The agreed areas include innovation in smart technology to improve performance and reduce losses in India’s power sector; support for increased energy efficiency; enhanced energy access; work to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and its integration with the grid; decentralized energy scale up and sustainability; and support to States in renewable energy planning and deployment.


  • India offers $5-billion credit to Bangladesh
    India on 8th April announced an additional $4.5-billion concessional line of credit for implementation of projects in Bangladesh, and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment. The PM said the new $4.5-billion line of credit for projects in Bangladesh will bring India’s resource allocation to its neighbouring country to a little more than $8 billion over the past six years. 

    Apart from the funds and 22 agreements signed between the two countries, some more agreements would be signed on 10th April, by the Indian private sector. This would result in investment of over $9 billion in Bangladesh, a joint statement issued by the two nations said. 

    On 8th April morning, India and Bangladesh signed 22 agreements to boost cooperation in a wide array of sectors, including setting up more border haats (temporary markets). India would also train 1,500 judicial officers from Bangladesh. India had recently trained 1,500 Bangladeshi civil servants. 

    The two sides have also restored bus and train links between Kolkata and Khulna, and Radhikapur and Biral. The two nations agreed to optimize inland waterways and take steps to put in place a coastal shipping agreement.

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