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February 2017 - Bilateral Issues

  • India sanctioned $340 million to Nepal for development programmes 
    India has sanctioned a soft loan of 340 million US dollar to Nepal for various infrastructure development programmes. Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae handed over the approval papers to Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister of Nepal Shri Ramesh Lekhak in the presence of Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu. 

  • India, Pakistan extend nuclear accident risk reduction agreement
    India and Pakistan have agreed to extend the agreement on reducing the risk of accidents relating to nuclear weapons for five years. The Ministry of External Affairs said, the extension has been done in accordance with article 8 of the agreement. The existing validity was up till on 20th February. 

    The agreement was signed in February 2007, under the agreement, the two sides have committed to notifying each other immediately in the event of any accident relating to nuclear weapons, which could create the risk of radioactive fallout or create the risk of an outbreak of a nuclear war between the two countries. 

  • Hamid Ansari meets Rwandan Senate President, vows to strengthen ties
    Vice-President Hamid Ansari on 20th February met the Rwandan Senate President Bernard Makuza in Kigali and discussed ways to cement bilateral ties. India and Rwanda signed three MoUs in innovation, aviation sectors and visa requirements during Vice President Hamid Ansari's visit to the East African country. 

    In innovation, the two countries will set up an entrepreneurship development centre in Kigali while in aviation, Rwanda Air will start services to India in coming months and both countries will mutually exempt visa requirements of diplomatic and official passport holders. 

  • India Uganda agree to cooperate in various sectors
    India and Uganda agreed to cooperate in the fields of vocational training, space program and peaceful use of atomic energy. This was announced in a joint press conference by the Vice President Hamid Ansari and Ugandan President Yoweri Kauta Museveni after one to one meeting in State House. Vice President is on a five days tour to two African nation Rwanda and Uganda from 19 to 23 February. 

  • India again asks China to declare Masood Azhar as proscribed terrorist
    India has once again told China about the urgent need to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar as a proscribed terrorist. Foreign Secretary Dr S. Jaishankar in a meeting with his counterpart Zhang Yesui said, the case of Azhar is being pursued by other countries also, not by India alone. 

    On demand of solid evidence by Beijing related to Azhar, the Foreign Secretary said, the fact that other countries are pressing the application in the UN sanctions committee shows that there is broad international support for this and concerns about Azhar's activities. 

    On NSG issue, Mr S Jaishankar said the Chinese side underlined that they are open to India's application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group but they have their own view of procedures which is somewhat different from most of the member countries of the group. 

  • India to provide financial assistance to Bangladesh for development of Sylhet city
    India has agreed to provide financial assistance to Bangladesh for sustainable development of Sylhet, a north-eastern Bangladeshi city. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Bangladesh's Economic Relations Division Additional Secretary Shah Md. 

    Aminul Haque and Sylhet City Corporation CEO Enamul Habib in Sylhet 23rd February. Under the MoU three development projects will be taken up in Sylhet. The signing was the follow-up of an earlier MoU which was signed by India and Bangladesh in April 2013 for the implementation of sustainable development projects in socio-economic sectors of Bangladesh. 

  • Hamid Ansari concluded two nations visit
    Vice President Hamid Ansari returned on 24th February after concluding his five-day visit of Rwanda and Uganda. During his two-nation tour, India signed three agreements in Kigali in the fields of innovation, aviation and visa regime. He visited Rwanda from February 19-21 and Uganda from February 21-23. 

    Ansari had on February 22 held bilateral talks with the top leadership in Kampala, including President Yoweri Museveni and Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi. 

    At the forum, India and Rwanda signed three MoUs to boost bilateral cooperation in areas of innovation, aviation and visa regime, which includes setting up of an entrepreneurship development centre in that country and starting of a direct flight to Mumbai. 

    At the India-Uganda Business Forum, Ansari emphasised that business ties with Uganda is a "key pillar" of the bilateral relationship and India is going to step up engagement with that country to send out a strong message to business communities on both sides to avail opportunities not just in Uganda but entire East Africa. 

    This was the first high-level bilateral visit to Uganda from India since 1997 and first high-level visit to Rwanda. 

  • India clears Rs 17,000-crore missile deal with Israel 
    Rs 17,000 crore deal has been cleared by the government for jointly developing with Israel a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) for the army, reflecting India's fast growing defence ties with the Jewish nation. The project will be implemented by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Israeli Aircraft Industry (IAI). 

    The MR-SAM, a land-based version of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) for the navy, will have a strike range of up 70 km. The deal envisages 40 firing units and around 200 missiles. 

    India is Israel's largest buyer of military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains. 

  • Sri Lanka, India jointly foundation stone 355 houses
    In Sri Lanka, the foundation stone for construction of 355 houses under Indian Housing Project was jointly laid on 14th February by Minister of Hill Country P. Thigambaram, and Deputy High Commissioner of India, Mr. Arindam Bagchi. 

    The houses are to be built in Bogawana estate on grant basis. The project is part of Government of India's commitment to construct 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka. Around 45,400 houses have already been completed in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Another 4000 houses will be constructed in the Central and Uva Provinces. 

    A grant per house of 9,50,000 Sri Lankan rupees is released directly to the beneficiaries in four tranches, linked to the physical progress. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will provide the technical assistance. 

  • Cabinet approves signing of air services agreement between India and Rwanda
    Cabinet has approved the signing of air services agreement between India and Rwanda. The agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between both the countries, bringing it in tune with developments in the civil aviation sector. 

    It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security. 

  • India, Croatia signs agreement 
    India and Croatia have signed an agreement to boost bilateral trade and enhance economic cooperation. The agreement was signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Martina Dalic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Government of the Republic of Croatia, on 14th February in Zagreb. 

    The present Agreement between India and Croatia would be a step in continuity as the last one expired in November 2009. Both the countries earlier signed an agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation in September, 1994 with an aim to promote and develop bilateral trade and economic relations. 

  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and Senegal in health sector
    Cabinet on 8th February approved MoU between India and Senegal in the field of Health and Medicine. The Medical Research, Emergency Relief, Traditional Medicine and AIDS Control are the main areas of cooperation under the MoU. 

    Cabinet was apprised the framework agreement between India and Vietnam on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes. The agreement was signed on 3rd of September 2016. 

    It was also appraised of MoU between India and France in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation. The agreement will ensure exchange of best practices and setting up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges. 

  • India, Russia holds high-level consultations on counter-terrorism
    India and Russia held high-level consultations on counter-terrorism issues in New Delhi. An official release issued after consultations between the two special strategic partners said that both sides shared views and assessment on the threats posed by the scourge of terrorism, including state-sponsored, cross-border terrorism faced by India. 

    They also shared concerns regarding the emergence of Afghanistan-Pakistan region as the epicentre of terrorism. They discussed successful experiences in curbing terrorism and countering radicalisation. 

    Both sides agreed that the UN Security Council Sanctions List processes for blacklisting various terrorist individuals and entities must be stringently complied with. Prospects for deepening engagement on counter-terrorism under the UN, BRICS and SCO mechanisms were also emphasized. 

  • India, Sri Lanka signs MoU to construct new multi-ethnic tri-lingual secondary school
    India and Sri Lanka on 2nd February signed a MoU to construct a new multi-ethnic tri-lingual secondary school in Polonnaruwa District of island nation. The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr.Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Secretary to the Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Education Mr. Sunil Hettiarachchi. 

    The School will be constructed using a grant of 30 crore rupees from the Government of India. The school would provide opportunities to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students to learn in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural environment. 

  • India eases visa policy for Afghanistan
    Indian embassy in Kabul has announced more relaxation in its visa policy for Afghans. The duration of 'Tourist Visa' has been enhanced to one year with continuous stay of 90 days during each such visit. 

    The government of India has also promoted and encouraged Afghan businessmen to visit India to further enhance Indo-Afghan trade ties. Henceforth, Afghan businessmen investing in India or having a large trade turnover with India, depending on volume of their investment/trade, shall be issued Indian visas for duration of 1 to 5 years.



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