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April 2018 - Bilateral

  • Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of state sponsored terrorism strongly at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) 
    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raised the issue of state sponsored terrorism strongly on 24th April at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation where Pakistan's foreign minister was also present. 

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also attended a SCO meet with her counterparts in Beijing in a build up to the two-day Modi-Xi informal summit meet in Wuhan starting 27th April. 

  • Protectionism in all forms should be rejected
    India on 24th April said protectionism in all its forms should be rejected and reaffirmed its belief in an economic globalisation which is more open, inclusive and equitable, amidst new trade barriers cropping up across the world, especially in the United States. 

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers here raised the issue of protectionism. 

    The SCO Council meeting was also attended by foreign ministers Wang Yi of China, Khawaja Muhammad Asif of Pakistan, Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan, Abdyldaev Erlan Bekeshovich of Kyrgyzstan, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Sirodjidin Muhridinovich Aslov of Tajikistan, Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov of Uzbekistan, and Secretary General of the SCO Rashid Alimov, among others. 

    The SCO, a permanent intergovernmental international organisation created in 2001, comprises eight member states including India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russian, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its main goals include strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states, promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, and environmental protection. 

  • India, Mongolia to enhance bilateral trade, investments
    India and Mongolia on 25th April discussed economic cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, energy, services and IT. 

    In a joint media briefing with Mongolian Foreign Minister D Tsogtbaatar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Ulaanbaatar that the two countries agreed to explore ways to identify new areas of cooperation in all sectors of mutual interest and to enhance bilateral trade and investments. 

    Mrs Sushma Swaraj, the first Indian foreign minister to visit Mongolia in 42 years, said India sees Mongolia as a factor of stability in East Asia and believes that Mongolia's social and economic development is important for peace and prosperity in the region. 

    She said, India has emerged as one of the fastest growing large economies in the world and with its rich natural resources and strong aspiration for development, Mongolia can be an important partner in India's growth story. 

    During the Indian-Mongolia Joint Committee meeting on Cooperation, the two sides discussed pressing global challenges, particularly the scourge of terrorism and agreed to collaborate bilaterally and in the international arena to thwart the designs of those who extend support to terrorist outfits. 

    Both the countries have also agreed to explore the possibility of launching direct air connectivity between New Delhi and the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. 

    Calling upon the Mongolian business community to seize economic opportunities arising out of India's growth, she said, the two countries have agreed to remove institutional and logistical impediments to boost trade, tourism and people to people contacts. 

    India and Mongolia have close cooperation in trade and economy, science, health, agriculture, culture, education, communication and tourism. 

  • India agrees to send Buddhist relics for Vesak festival in Sri Lanka
    India has agreed for the most revered Buddhist relics from Sarnath to be taken to Sri Lanka for public exposition on the occasion of Vesak festival. 

    This is the first time relics from Sarnath are being brought to Sri Lanka from India, and special arrangements have been made for this purpose. They will be on public display at Temple Trees in Colombo for four days from 28th April

    High Commission of India in Colombo said in a statement that the Relics are yet another manifestation of the shared Buddhist heritage of India and Sri Lanka, which forms a spiritual bond between the two nations. 

    They are enshrined at Mulagandhakuti Vihara at Saranth, which is historically significant since Lord Buddha preached his first sermon 

    Anagarika Dharmapala, founder of the Maha Bodhi Society of India, played a key role in building Mulagandhakuti Vihara to restore the glory of Sarnath. The land and the Sacred Relics were gifted to the Maha Bodhi Society of India by the Government of India. 

    This is the second time that India has taken initiative to exhibit the sacred relics of Lord Buddha in Sri Lanka. The first time such initiative was the exhibition of the Kapilavastu Relics in 2012. 

  • Union Cabinet approves MoU between India, African nation in medicinal plants sector
    The government gave an ex-post facto approval for an agreement signed between India and an African island nation, Sao Tome and Principe, to increase cooperation in the field of medicinal Plants. 

    The memorandum of understanding was signed on March 14 this year, an official statement said. The decision was taken in the Union Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 

    The MoU assumes significance as there is global increase in traditional and alternative health care systems. It is resulting in world herbal trade which stands at USD 120 billion and is expected to reach USD 7 trillion by 2050, it said. "Moreover, there are large number of medicinal plants, particularly those found in tropical region, which are common to the two countries given similar geo-climatic factors," it added. 

    India is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity, having 15 agro-climatic zones. Out of the 17,000-18,000 species of flowering plants, more than 7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy. 

    About 1178 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 242 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tonnes per year. 

    Medicinal plants are not only a major resource base for the traditional medicine and herbal industry but also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27th April hailed the centuries old ties between India and China during delegation-level talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan. PM Narendra Modi told Chinese President that the two countries have a big opportunity to work together for the benefit of their people and the world. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said such informal summits should become a tradition between the two countries. PM Narendra Modi also offered to hold the next informal summit in India in 2019. 

    Prime Minister recalled that during the 2000 years of history, India and China together provided momentum and strength to the world economy and dominated it for around 1600 years. 

    PM Narendra Modi said the two countries together constituted for about 50 per cent of the world economy and another 50 per cent was shared by rest of the world for 1600 years. PM Narendra Modi also said the people of India felt proud that President Xi has twice received him out of the capital Beijing. 

    President Xi Jinping said the two countries have established closer partnership and made positive progress in recent years. He said in the past five years, they have achieved a lot and met each other on many occasions. President Xi Jinping said he believes in future and the two leaders could meet in format like this from time to time. 

    Earlier, the two leaders exchanged views on solidifying the India-China relationship at a one to one meeting as they began a two-day informal summit in Wuhan. PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping will have a series of meetings focusing on bilateral, global and regional issues during PM Narendra Modi's visit to China.PM Narendra Modi began talks soon after President Xi Jinping hosted a grand welcoming ceremony for him. 

    The summit in Wuhan is being seen as an effort by India and China to rebuild trust and improve ties that were hit by the 73-day-long Doklam standoff last year (2017). 

  • India and China strategic guidance to strengthen communications 
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home on 28th April after completing his three-day tour to China. The tour was remarkable both for its innovative informal setting and the vision behind it to reset India China ties at a new level of warmth and understanding. 

    Over the last two days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, held four rounds of one-on-one meetings and exchanged views on range of issues of bilateral and global importance. 

    According to the Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale….
    • Both the leaders agreed that a peaceful, balanced and stable relationship between India and China will be a positive factor for stability amid current global uncertainties
    • A significant outcome of the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping was to issue strategic guidance to their militaries to strengthen communication
    • Narendar Modi and Xi Jinping also discussed issues like trade and investment, enhancing people-to-people contact, climate change and digital empowerment in their wide ranging talks in Wuhan.
    • India and China also reaffirmed their opposition to terrorism in all forms
    • Both the leaders also agreed to hold more such informal dialogues between the two countries

  • India, China agree to undertake joint economic project in Afghanistan
    India and China have to undertake a joint economic project in Afghanistan. The understanding was reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the two-day informal summit which concluded in Wuhan on 28th April As per the understanding, officials of both the countries will identify the project in follow up discussions and work out the modalities. 

    This will be the first such project in Afghanistan by India and China. China's decision to team up with India in Afghanistan could upset Pakistan, which considers Beijing as its all weather ally. 

  • India, Sweden agree on innovation partnership
    India and Sweden have agreed upon an innovation partnership and a joint action plan after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven at Stockholm on 17th April

    The Joint Action plan is aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation in various fields including energy, clean technology and Trade. 

    The leaders of two countries said, these opportunities have enormous potential to create employment and sustainable development for people in India. Mr Narendra Modi said, India is focusing on issues like the urban transport and waste management which will improve quality of life. 

    Stating that Sweden has been supporting Make in India from starting onwards, Mr Narendra Modi said, Sweden can be India’s important partner in seeking innovative solutions for the development challenges that India is facing. 

    Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said, Sweden has kickstarted the Innovation partnership by providing 50 million Swedish crooners. 

  • India and UK have signed 10 agreements in several sectors including cyber-relationship, rejuvenation of Ganga and skill development
    India and the UK have signed 10 agreements in several sectors including cyber-relationship, rejuvenation of Ganga and skill development. 

    The two countries have agreed to an overarching cyber-relationship framework that among others enables the development of a common and shared understanding of the international cyber activity. 

    Under the agreement, the two sides will also discuss and share strategies to promote user confidence in the security of ICT products and services, promote cyber security product development and share information relating R&D. 

    On rejuvenation of River Ganga, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the UK-based Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 

    Both the nations also signed the MoU on Skill Development, Vocational education and Training and seek to promote greater collaboration in domains such as strengthening skill delivery in high demand sectors where UK has technical and skilling expertise. 

    In the area of regulation of safe nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes, an arrangement has been arrived at between Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India (AERB) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation of Great Britain (ONR). 

    A Statement of Intent between NITI Aayog and UK's Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has also been signed which will enable the two sides to explore the potential for regular engagement on technology co-operation in areas such as electric vehicles. 

    The two countries also inked the deal on cooperation in the field of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Sectors seeking to strengthen collaboration in livestock health and husbandry, breeding, dairying and fisheries. 

    Recognising the increased threat posed by international crimes because of its increasingly complex nature and the threat posed by organised crime, a MoU on Exchange of Information for the Purposes of Combating International Criminality and Tackling Serious Organised Crime has been signed. 

    An Addendum covering research in humanities and social sciences has been added to the 2004 Newton-Bhabha MoU, which supports research and innovation capacities of both sides for long-term sustainable growth. 

    All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Ayush in collaboration with the College of Medicine will set up a Centre of Excellence in Ayurveda and traditional Indian medicine. 

  • India-Guinea entered into agreements
    Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his Equatorial Guinean counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo held delegation level talks in the capital Malabo on 9th April. They reviewed entire gamut of bilateral relations and discussed ways of expanding that. 

    India and Equatorial Guinea signed several agreements for cooperation in various fields including traditional system of medicine, medicinal plants, Information and Technology and Health. 

    In the second leg of his visit, the President will travel to Swaziland and Zambia. President Ram Nath Kovind's three nation visit aims to further deepen India's relations with the African nations. 

  • India and Swaziland signed two agreements on Health and Visa issues
    India and Swaziland have signed two agreements in the field of Health and Medicine and Visa department on 9th April. 

    One of the agreement deals with granting of the visa waiver for the diplomats and officials holding relevant passports while the other is to ensure cooperation in the field of health and medicine. 

    The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on his maiden official visit to Swaziland as part of his three-nation tour in Africa. 

    President Kovind is on a three-nation state visit to the African countries- Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland and Zambia from April 7 to 12. 

  • India and Zambia sign four agreements that includes double taxation, Judicial co-operation
    India and Zambia on 11th April signed four agreements to strengthen the ties between the two countries. The agreements include one on Double taxation, Judicial co-operation, Establishment of Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Zambia and visa exemption on diplomatic passports and official holding relevant passports. 

    The agreements were signed after delegation-level talks between President Ram Nath Kovind and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu at Lusaka. 

    Both leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and discussed issues of mutual interest. 

  • IOCL, BPCL and HPCL and Saudi Aramco to jointly develop an integrated refinery
    In a big development in the FDI in petroleum sector, an Indian Consortium consisting of IOCL, BPCL and HPCL and Saudi Aramco have decided to jointly develop and build an integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex, Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. in Maharashtra. 

    The Saudi national oil company will supply half of the crude oil required for processing at the refinery. The MoU will bring together crude supply, resources, technologies, experience and expertise of these multiple oil companies with an established commercial presence around the world. 

    A pre-feasibility study for the refinery has been completed, which will be capable of processing 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day that will translate to 60 million metric tonnes per annum, or MMTPA. 

    RRPCL will rank among the world's largest refining & petrochemicals projects and will be designed to meet India's fast-growing fuels and petrochemicals demand. The project cost is estimated at around Rs.3 lakh crore. 

    The project would bring huge benefits to the region, the State of Maharashtra and the entire country in terms of large-scale employment generation, direct and indirect, as well as all-round economic development of the region. 

  • Union Cabinet nod to MoU with UK on illegal migrants
    The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the MoU between India and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on the return of Illegal Migrants. 

    The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The MoU will ensure the return of persons who have no lawful basis to be in the territory of the other Party after verification of nationality to its satisfaction. 

    The Cabinet has also given its ex-post facto approval for entering into Headquarters (Host country) Agreement between India and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and authorizing the Ministry of External Affairs for signing the Headquarter Agreement. 

    The Agreement was signed on 26th March, 2018. The Headquarters Agreement will institutionalize the functional arrangements between India and ISA. 

    The Union Cabinet also gave its approval for revision of pay and allowances of Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories. It will bring the pay and allowances of LGs at par with that of the Secretary to the Government of India. 

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has also given its approval for Exploration and Exploitation of Coal Bed Methane from areas under Coal Mining Lease allotted to Coal India Limited. The decision is in line with the Government's initiatives of 'Ease of Doing Business'. 

  • India, Morocco sign pact to promote mineral exploration
    India has inked a pact with Morocco under which focus would be laid on evaluation of potential mineral resources and promoting exploration and mining through participation of both public and private sector. The Memorandum of Understanding,MoU was signed in New Delhi on 12th April after the bilateral discussions between Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and his counterpart Aziz Rabbah of Morocco. 

    The Ministry of Mines said, in a statement that the focus of the MoU is on the development of the geological infrastructure for Geoscience Maps and geochemical maps, strengthening geological research and evaluation of the potential of mineral resources. 

    Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar also informed the Morocco Minister that the Geological Survey of India is a pioneer exploratory agency in exploration and is willing to assist Morocco in geological mapping and mineral exploration. 

    He said a specialized Training Institute of GSI can train the professionals of Morocco. 

  • India, China join ranks to negotiate with oil producers for better bargain
    Two of the world’s top three oil consumers, China and India, have decided to jointly draw up a strategy for sourcing crude oil from the international market. This grouping could expand, with South Korea and Japan as the other participants. 

    India and China have questioned on international platforms the practice of charging an Asian Premium by the oil producing nations. According to the plan, the two countries might source crude oil jointly from the West Asian region. China, India, Japan, and South Korea are the top four consumers in the world other than the US, which is the second-largest consumer. 

    Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Chairman Wang Yilin held a bilateral meeting in this regard on 12th April on the sidelines of the 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) in New Delhi. 

    The decision to cooperate on crude oil comes close on the heels of the elite league of Asian nations, China, Japan and South Korea joining hands to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan’s JERA, South Korea’s state-run Korea Gas Corporation and China National Offshore Oil Corporation had signed a memorandum of understanding to discuss opportunities of collaboration in the LNG business early this year. 

    According to the International Energy Agency, the demand for crude oil is expected to grow by 1.5 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2018 to 99.3 mbd, and for the next five years, 50 per cent of the incremental demand is set to come from China and India. 

    In 2017, China had surpassed the US in annual gross crude oil imports, importing 8.4 mbd, compared with 7.9 mbd for the US, while it was already the largest net importer (imports minus exports) since 2013. Besides, the two sides would also collaborate in other segments of business. Indian companies and China have held stakes in the same blocks already in countries like Iran, Colombia, Sudan, Syria, and Peru. While in Syria, both the countries had even jointly bid in the past. 

  • India, Russia sign seven MoU at Defence at Thiruvidanthai near Chennai
    India and Russia signed 7 MoUs at Defence Expo at Thiruvidanthai, near Chennai on 13th April. These MoUs were signed between the Indian Private Defence sector manufacturing companies and Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for manufacture, development of spares, sub-assemblies and assemblies of identified Russian origin platforms in use by the Indian Armed Forces. 

    The MoUs were signed during third India-Russia Military-Industrial Conference held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2018. 

    The MOUs related to manufacture of special operation vessels for underwater platforms, heavyweight torpedo, anti-torpedo defence system combat vehicles, manufacturing spare parts and providing service and maintenance of items and upgrade of optic electric sighting for Sukhoi aircrafts, providing jamming stations for MIG type helicopters and providing technical and logistic support for T90 and T72 tanks. 

    The Indian delegation was led by Secretary (Defence Production) Dr Ajay Kumar while Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of Russian Federation Mr Oleg Ryazantcev led the Russian side. The Russian delegation comprised senior representatives of the Government and representatives of the leading Defence Industries. Around 75 Indian defence sector manufacturing companies and 28 OEMs from Russian industry participated in the conference. 

    Deliberations during the conference were aimed to focus on needs for improvement of after-sales support of Russian origin defence platforms being exploited by Indian defence forces and also to facilitate domestic manufacturing of some of the identified spare parts through collaborations between Indian vendors and Russian OEMs. 

    Two rounds of India-Russia Military-Industrial Conferences were held in past, first one in March 2017 in New Delhi and second one in August 2017 in Moscow. 

  • India, China agree to continue process of high-level exchanges
    National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on 12th April held talks with the top official of China's ruling Communist Party Yang Jiechi in Shanghai during which both sides agreed to maintain the pace of high-level exchanges. 

    According to the Indian Embassy press release in Beijing, Mr Doval's visit is part of regular high-level engagements between India and China. It said, the discussions covered a wide agenda spanning bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. 

    The two sides agreed to maintain the pace of high-level exchanges, with a view to fully realise the potential of closer development partnership between India and China. 

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are due to be in Beijing on April 24 to attend different meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and interact with their counterparts on the sidelines. 

    The eight-member SCO in which India is the latest entrant along with Pakistan is due to hold its summit in the Chinese city of Qingdao in June in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to take part and hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

    Mr Doval and Mr Yang met in Shanghai instead of Beijing as Mr Yang preferred to hold it there as he is on his way back from China's Hainan province after attending the Boao Forum for Asia. 

    Mr Both Doval and Mr Yang are Special Representatives for India-China boundary talks representing their respective countries. This is the second meeting between Mr Doval and Mr Yang after the 73-day Dokalam standoff. 

  • India, Japan and the US held the 9th trilateral meeting in New Delhi 
    India, Japan and the United States held the 9th trilateral meeting at Joint Secretary, Director General, Assistant Secretary level in New Delhi on 4th April to hold consultations on regional and global issues of mutual interest. 

    In accordance with the directions received from their Foreign Ministers, who met in New York on 18 September last year on the margins of United Nations General Assembly, the officials explored practical steps to enhance cooperation in different areas. 

    The areas include connectivity and infrastructure development, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, maritime security, maritime domain awareness and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. 

    The officials reviewed the outcomes of the Trilateral Infrastructure Working Group that met in Washington in February and agreed to continue to collaborate to promote increased connectivity in the Indo-Pacific. 

    All sides agreed to remain engaged and strengthen cooperation in support for a free, open, prosperous, peaceful and inclusive Indo-Pacific region through partnership with countries in the region. 

  • Trial run of the first container train between India and Bangladesh was flagged off from Kolkata city
    The trial run of the first container train between India and Bangladesh was flagged off from Kolkata city on 4th April

    The train left for Bangladesh with 60 containers loaded with almost 1,200 tonnes of de-oiled cake, used as a raw material for animal feed. It will pass through Sealdah, Naihati, Ranaghat and Gede in India and Darsana and Ishurdi in Bangladesh before reaching Bangabandhu West station, 117 kilometres off capital city of Dhaka. 

    General Manager of Eastern Railway Zone, Harindra Rao, said the train would make customs procedures easier and deliver consignments before sunset. Reportedly, exporters' forums had been lobbying for container trains to help them save time and significantly cut costs. The frequency of the train will be finalized based on demand. 

    Currently, the trade between India and Bangladesh is largely road-based. Reportedly, it takes almost a month for an Indian truck to reach Bangladesh through the congested Petrapole-Benapole border, with customs clearance alone taking nearly 25 days. The train is also likely to resolve the capacity constraints of sea and land routes. 

  • SAHYOG- HYEOBLYEOG 2018: Indian, Korean coast guards hold joint exercise off Chennai coast
    Indo-Korean joint anti-piracy, search and rescue exercise 'SAHYOG- HYEOBLYEOG 2018' was conducted off the Chennai coast on 5th April. The Korean Coast Guard ship 'BADARO' took part in the exercise. Indian Coast Guard ships and an aircraft also took part in it. 

    An official release said, as part of the exercise, ships of the Indian Coast Guard and the Korean vessel undertook tactical manoeuvres and drills to counter piracy and carry out maritime law enforcement tasks off Chennai coast. 

    Indian Coast Guard deployed a Dornier aircraft to carry out sea-air coordinated search along with ICG Shaurya, Rani Abbakka, C-423, C-431 in the exercise. 

    The mission of the joint exercise is to develop working level co-operation and enhance inter-operability in the fields of maritime search and rescue, anti-piracy operations. 

  • India and Nepal have agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations
    India and Nepal have agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations in key areas of border security, connectivity, trade and agriculture. The two countries agreed to develop inland waterways for overall economic development of the region. 

    Aiming to expand cross-border rail linkages, the two sides have also decided to construct a new electrified rail line, with India’s financial support. 

    The rail line will connect the border city of Raxaul in India to Kathmandu in Nepal. India will also help Nepal in the field of agriculture through organic farming, soil testing and education in farming The decisions were announced in a joint statement issued after the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli 

    In a joint media briefing after the talks, Mr Modi assured his Nepalese counterpart that India remains committed to strengthening its partnership with Nepal. 

    He said, India would like to improve waterways and rail connectivity with Nepal and it has agreed to work towards a new railway line to connect Kathmandu. Mr Modi said, the two countries have strong relations in the area of security and are committed towards stopping misuse of open borders. 

    The Prime Minister said, there is a long history of India's contribution in Nepal's development and assured that it will continue in future. Prime Minister Oli stated that his government attaches high importance to further strengthening friendly relations with India. 

  • Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on three nation tour of African Countries including Swaziland and Zambia 
    (India President, Ram Nath Kovind, African countries, Swaziland, Zambia) 

    Indian President Ram Nath Kovind leaves for Equatorial Guinea on 7th April on a three-nation tour of African countries including Swaziland and Zambia. 

    The President is accompanied by Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping Mansukh Mandavia and four Members of Parliament. 

    The visit would further deepen India's relation with the African nations. In Equatorial Guinea, President will address its Parliament after meeting his counterpart. Besides holding delegation-level talks President Ran Nath Kovind will also address the Indian community. 

    In Swaziland, President will jointly inaugurate the Information Technology Centre located in the Royal Science and Technology Park with the King of Swaziland. Besides addressing the business meet, President will hold delegation level talks in Zambia and also meet Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, first President of Zambia.
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