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December 2017 - Bilateral

  • India and Russia to remove trade barriers
    India and Russia have agreed to raise the level of the Joint Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation to that of Deputy Minister or Commerce Secretary level and creating a mechanism to discuss and remove barriers to trade. They also agreed for creation of Working Groups on Agriculture and Pharmaceuticals. 

    External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin met in New Delhi on 23rd December. They co-chaired the meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC). The two sides decided to actively promote inter-regional cooperation to harness untapped potential and expedite implementation of the Green Corridor for exchange of pre-arrival data between Customs Administrations of the two countries. 

    The IRIGC-TEC meeting noted the impressive growth of 22 percent in bilateral trade in 2016-17 and assessed the progress on issues concerning the most significant aspects of bilateral economic cooperation such as trade, economy, investment, industry, energy, transport, agriculture and space. The discussions also brought out action points for both sides which would assist in early realization of the full potential of this important relationship. 

    During his visit, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. 

  • India, Afghanistan launch 2nd air cargo route linking Kabul to Mumbai
    India and Afghanistan have launched the second air cargo route, linking Kabul to Mumbai on 27th December. The objective of the air corridors is to boost the export of fresh fruits and medicinal plants from Afghanistan. The first route from Kabul to New Delhi was launched in June. 

    Inaugurating the first cargo flight, Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danish said the air corridor is very important for the Afghanistan and the government is hoping that the neighboring countries even consider the economy in their political policy. 

    According to CEO of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, Atiqullah Nusrat, the cargo plane will carry 40 tonnes of fresh fruits from Kabul. The air corridors between Afghanistan and India are key to boosting exports to India and the rest of the world. 

    Afghanistan has, so far, exported 1,600 tonnes of fruits, worth more than 20 million US dollars, to India via the air corridor. 

  • Tripura CM Manik Sarkar inaugurates Indo-Bangla Friendship Park at Chottakhola 
    Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on 16th December inaugurated Indo-Bangla Friendship Park at Chottakhola in South Tripura district. Chief Minister said this park is a historic witness of friendship between Tripura and Bangladesh. The foundation stone for the 20 hectare park, which encompasses seven hillocks and a lake near the Trishna wild life sanctuary, was laid by the then Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni in November 2010. 

    Two statues of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi, were put up in the park which was earlier a base for Bangladeshi freedom fighters from where they launched operations against the Pakistani army in Noakhali, Feni and parts of Comilla district of Bangladesh. Space has been alloted to the Indian Army to set up war memoirs and memorials in the park. 

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurates 1st phase of Chabahar port in Iran
    The first phase of the Chabahar port in Iran was inaugurated on 3rd December by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. It has opened a new strategic transit route between Iran, India and Afghanistan. 

    External Affairs Ministry in a release said, Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration of the Phase-1 of the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar. The Ministry said, during his two day visit to Iran, Mr Radhakrishnan represented India in the 2nd meeting of the India-Iran-Afghanistan Ministerial-level Trilateral Meeting on Chabahar Port Development and involving the respective Ministers of Iran and Afghanistan. 

    In the Trilateral meeting with Iranian Transport Minister Dr Abbas Akhoundi and the Afghanistan Trade and Commerce Minister Mr Humayoon Rasaw, the three sides reviewed and positively assessed the progress in the development of Chabahar Port. 

    They reiterated their commitment to complete and operationalise the Port at the earliest that would contribute to bilateral and regional trade and economic development and also provide alternate access to landlocked Afghanistan to regional and global markets. 

    The three sides also commended the recent joint efforts which led to the transit of first tranche of one lakh ten thousand tonnes of wheat from India to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port. 

    The Ministers agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and focusing on Chabahar Port development under the Trilateral Transit and Trade Agreement at the Trilateral Meeting. The completion of the internal procedures on the ratification process by Iran is expected to lead to full and early operationalisation of the Transit and Trade arrangement between the three countries though the Chabahar. 

  • India, Israel to open centre for floriculture in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu 
    India and Israel are coming together to set up a centre for excellence in floriculture at Thally in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. 

    The centre, the first agro-technology development centre to be set up with Israel’s assistance in the State, would be officially inaugurated on 7th December. 

    The centre at Thally and a similar centre planned for vegetables to be established in Dindigul form the part of a three-year Indo-Israel agricultural partnership signed between Mashav and mission for integrated development of horticulture of the Agriculture Ministry. The Dindigul centre, specialising in vegetables such as capsicum, cucumber and tomatoes, is expected to be launched in January next year. 

    These centres would not only develop agricultural practices suitable for selected geographical regions, but would also transfer the best practices to farmers in and around. 

    More such centres of excellence are planned in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in near future, said Dan Alluf, an Israeli Embassy official. Centres in Karnataka would come up in Dharwar, Kolar and Bagalkot and would focus on vegetables, mangoes and pomegranate, respectively. The centre in Andhra Pradesh would come up in Kuppam and would work on both floriculture and vegetable research. 

  • India, Cuba sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in health sector
    India and Cuba on 6th December signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector. 

    Health Minister J P Nadda and Public Health Minister of Cuba, Dr Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda, signed the MoU in New Delhi. 

    Terming it as historic, Mr Nadda said, the MoU between the two sides is important for exchanges in the health sector and to develop institutional framework. He also suggested that a Joint Working Group be formed for implementation of the MoU. 

    The objective of this MoU is to establish comprehensive inter-ministerial and inter-institutional cooperation between the two countries in the field of health by pooling technical, scientific and financial and human resources. 

  • India joins Wassenaar Arrangement for country's defence and space programmes
    India joined the Wassenaar Arrangement after completing the internal procedures. The membership will facilitate high-technology tie-ups for country's defence and space programmes. India has become the arrangement's 42nd participating State. 

    External Affairs Ministry statement said that India's entry into the Arrangement would be mutually beneficial and further contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives. 

    The plenary meeting of Wassenaar Arrangement held in Vienna decided to admit India on 7th December. India's entry into the export control regime would enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

  • Urban Affairs Ministry inks agreement with German firm GIZ for technical cooperation in transport projects
    Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has signed an agreement with German firm GIZ for technical cooperation in the implementation of transport projects in Coimbatore, Bhubaneshwar and Kochi. 

    The agreement has been signed by the ministry's officer on special duty Mukund Kumar Sinha, and GIZ Country Director Wolfgang Hanning in the presence of Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. 

    An amount of around 29 crore rupees through GIZ is envisaged for this purpose over a period of three years. The main objective of the agreement is to improve planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport. 

  • India, Russia ink anti-terror pact
    India and Russia on 27th November agreed to help each other in combating terrorism. The agreement between the two countries for cooperation in tackling all forms of terrorism was signed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Russia's Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev in Moscow after they held wide-ranging talks. 

    The two strategic partners asserted that there were no good or bad terrorists and the menace should be fought jointly. 

    During the meeting, the ministers emphasized the strength of the relationship between India and Russia that has been consolidated over the past 70 years in all areas. A statement issued by the Indian embassy in Moscow said, the two ministers emphasized that cooperation in the field of security was an important aspect of this bilateral relationship. 

    Indian and Russian representatives also signed a joint action plan for countering the threat posed by narcotics. This agreement will provide legal framework for bilateral cooperation in this field. 

  • India, Greece sign Air Services Agreement
    India and Greece on 27th November signed Air Services Agreement and MoU on Cooperation in the field of New and Renewable Energy in New Delhi. The pacts were inked after talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and visiting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece Nikos Kotzias. 

    The two leaders held a detailed discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship. They also re-affirmed commitment to further expand cooperation in mutually beneficial spheres. 

  • India, Singapore agree to enhance security cooperation
    India and Singapore have agreed to further deepen security cooperation to collectively tackle the threat of terrorism. 

    In a joint statement after bilateral talks with her Singaporean counterpart Dr Ng Eng Hen in New Delhi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, India and Singapore remain strongly committed to tackle transnational security threats. On regional security, both Ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining maritime freedom of navigation and trade consistent with international law. 

    Both Ministers also discussed Singapore’s proposal to expand the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea to all ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting ADMM-Plus countries as well as to establish guidelines for air encounters between military aircraft, to reduce the risk of miscalculations. 

  • Indian and British Army exercise Ajeya Warrior at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, Rajasthan
    Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2017’, a fourteen days training exercise between the Indian and the British Army kicked off on 1st December at the MahajanField Firing Ranges, Rajasthan. 

    The training contingents comprise of one company (approximately 120 personnel) strength each from 20th Battalion, The Rajputana Rifles from the Indian Army and a similar strength from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment of the British Army. 

    Participating troops from both Armies had concentrated at the exercise location on 29 November 2017 for pre-exercise preparations. 

    The exercise started with address by Lt Colonel Sangram Yadav & Major David Granfield & unfolding of events that would take place over next two weeks.


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