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July 2017 - Bilateral

  • India and Sri Lanka sign MoU to develop village in Anuradhapura District
    India and Sri Lanka have signed a MoU to develop a village in Anuradhapura District at a cost of 30 crores Sri Lankan rupees. The village in the name of a famous Buddhist monk Sobitha Thero, envisages construction of 153 new houses, a multipurpose community building, internal water supply system and renovation of monk’s quarters & library. 

    The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Mrs. W.K.K. Athukorala, Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Construction in the presence of Parliament Speaker Mr. Karu Jayasuriya. The project is in line with Government of Sri Lanka’s policy of rehabilitation of rural villages for economic development. It will benefit 153 families residing in the village. 

  • India-Japan agreement on peaceful uses of N-energy comes into force
    India-Japan agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy has come into force from 20th July. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Ambassador of Japan to India Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu exchanged diplomatic notes in this regard. 

    The agreement was signed on 11th November in 2016 in Tokyo during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan. The agreement is a reflection of the strategic partnership between the two sides and will pave the way for enhanced cooperation in energy security and clean energy. 

    The agreement seeks to promote full cooperation between the two countries in the development and uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes on a stable, reliable and predictable basis. 

  • India extends assistance for construction of school buildings in Nepal
    India has extended an assistance of over 66 million Nepalese rupees for construction of school buildings in Nepal. The assistance under the Small Development Programme Scheme is for infrastructure development for education.Indian ambassador in Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri inaugurated one of the school buildings and laid the foundation for construction of another one under the scheme, according to a press release by the embassy. 

  • Annual naval exercise Malabar 2017 kick starts in Chennai
    The annual naval exercise Malabar 2017 got kick-started with the participation of the naval assets of India, the US and Japan in Chennai. 

    The flag officer of the Indian Navy Eastern Command Vice-Admiral HCS Bhisht said the naval drills are not targetted against any country. He clarified that it is for learning the best practices from each other. 

    The US flag officer and commander of the Carrier Strike Group 11 Rear Admiral William Byrne said the exercise gives out the message to the world that the three participating nations stand together in the strategic Indo Asia Pacific Region for the common good of all. First four days of the exercise will be having shore based activities and the at-sea portion will follow it for another four days. 

  • Cabinet nod for clarity on investment pact with Bangladesh
    The Union Cabinet on 12th July approved the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the Agreement between India and Bangladesh for to bring clarity to the interpretation of the existing Bilateral Trade and Promotion Agreement (BIPA). 

    The JIN includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including, the definition of investor, definition of investment, exclusion of taxation measures, Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), National Treatment (NT) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, expropriation, essential security interests and Settlement of Disputes between an Investor-and a Contracting Party. 

    With increasing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value before tribunals, an official statement said. 

    In another decision the Cabinet gave its approval for the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Center (ISARC) at campus of National Seed Research and Training Center (NSRTC) in Varanasi. 

    In addition to these, the Cabinet also approved the creation of three posts of Directors for the three new AIIMS in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra. 

    According to an official statement, the Cabinet was apprised of two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs). The first was between India and Bangladesh on cyber security cooperation. The other was between India and Palestine on cooperation in the field of information technology and electronics. 

    The Cabinet also gave an ex-post facto approval for signing a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) between India and Germany on cooperation in health. The Cabinet also enhanced the age of superannuation of Medical Officers of Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles from 60 to 65 years. 

  • E-visa facility for Uganda
    India has added Uganda to the list of countries to which it extends the electronic visa (or e-visa) facility. At present, India offers e-visa facility to only 18 of the 54 African nations. Following adverse reports from intelligence agencies, Uganda had been on the list of 36 countries, such as Egypt, Congo, Chad, Ethiopia and Algeria, which were not covered under the scheme. 

    The e-visa is an online pre-authorisation that allows visa on arrival through nine designated airports and three sea-ports for a 60-day stay. It entails a procedure that is easier compared to the normal visa process as applicants don’t have to visit the Indian mission and provide biometrics. Instead, it is granted on the basis of scanned documents uploaded by the applicant. 

    India is currently in stiff competition with China for the Ugandan import market. The East Africa nation is also home to a 30,000-strong Indian community, mostly Gujaratis. In the past, security agencies had reported the presence of several Mumbai-based underworld gangsters in Kampala, the country’s capital. This had discouraged India from extending the e-visa facility to Ugandans

    In March, the Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was in Mumbai, where he met heads of automobile and pharmaceutical firms and pledged to invest $100 million in India. 

  • Pakistan again turns down Indian request for consular access to Kulbhushan Jhadhav
    Pakistan has again turned down the Indian request for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, currently facing death penalty in that country. Jadhav was picked up by Pakistan army on alleged charges of espionage, terrorism and subversive activities. 

    India had requested Islamabad to grant full and early consular access to former naval officer Jadhav, as the two countries exchanged lists of prisoners lodged in each others' jails. 

    Pakistan has turned down at least five such requests since Jadhav’s arrest from Balochistan province last year. Pakistan foreign office said in a statement, it was a travesty of logic to link the case of Jadhav with civilian prisoners. 

    Earlier, the International Court of Justice at the Hague had told Pakistan not to execute the sentence till its further orders. 

    ICJ had also told Islamabad to give consular access to Jadhav. India said, Pakistan has violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying Jadhav access to legal and other assistance from India. New Delhi holds, he was kidnapped from Iran and dismisses Islamabad's allegations. 

  • 8th India-Bangladesh friendship dialogue held in Guwahati
    The three-day 8th India-Bangladesh friendship dialogue kicked off on 2nd July with both countries urging for each other to strengthen mutual trade ties and fight terror. 

    Bangladesh state minister for foreign affairs Md. Shahriar underlined the need for both the countries to cement ties for mutual growth and stated that a prosperous Bangladesh can contribute in the growth of India, the Bangladesh foreign minister urged the Government of India to provide market access for their products. 

    Praising the intrinsic relationship between the two countries, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal emphasized to ensure that respective territories of both the countries not be allowed to be used for any activities inimical to the other. 

    He said that terrorism remains one of the most significant threats to peace and stability in the region and urged both the governments to commit themselves to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. 

  • India, Israel to work together in various fields
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his "path-breaking" visit to Israel on 5th July. Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit the Jewish nation . 

    The government is looking to purchase Spike, an Israeli fourth generation anti-tank guided missile, developed and designed by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. Talks for the nearly $1-billion deal are expected to culminate this week, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-day visit to Israel. 

    India is Israel's biggest arms market, buying 41 per cent of its export between 2012 and 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global arms research institute. 

    If the Spike missile deal is finalised, 2017 is set to be a record year in terms of Israeli weapons sales to India. This April, marking the largest ever arms deal in the history of Israel’s defence sector, Israel's state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) inked contracts with India amounting to $2 billion. A few weeks later, IAI closed yet another major deal worth $630 million with India, in a project to be jointly executed with Bharat Electronics Ltd. 

    At the recently concluded Paris air show, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems unveiled its fifth-generation Spike missile with a significant increase in range and lethality. According to a statement released by the company, the Spike LR II “is an advanced multi-purpose missile, and can be launched from any Spike launcher”. 

    Having already secured its first customer, the company is to launch the new version in the fourth quarter of 2018. In India, Rafael’s Spike missile will compete with the Nag missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). 

    DRDO said the Nag is incorporated with many advanced technologies, including the imaging infra-red radar seeker with integrated avionics, a capability that is possessed by few nations in the world. 

    Though the DRDO test-fired its third generation anti-tank missile, the Prospina, also known as Nag, at the Pokhran range recently, the Indian Army has a total requirement of around 40,000 anti-tank guided missiles over the next 20 years. 

  • India, Israel sign seven pacts across sectors, to cooperate in fight against terrorism
    India and Israel on 5th July agreed to establish a strategic partnership in water and agriculture. To achieve the goal, India and Israel signed 7 MoUs in the fields of water conservation, Space, Innovation and Agriculture. 

    In a joint statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, the two countries decided to set up an Technological Innovation Fund worth 40 million dollars. India and Israel also decided to cooperate in the field of Space research. 

    Three MoUs were signed on the occasion between ISRO and the Israel Space Agency regarding cooperation in developing Atomic Clocks, Geo-Leo optical links and electric propulsion for small satellites. 

    In the field of water conservation two MoUs were signed on launching a national campaign for water conservation in India by sharing the experience of Israel in this field. Another MoU was signed on State Water Utility reform in India. 

    Israeli flower named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi: A new fast-growing Israeli flower was named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a special gesture to mark the first visit of an Indian Premier to the Israel. Israeli Danziger Flower Farm named Crysanthumun flower will now be called “MODI”. 

    The Danziger flower farm is one of Israel’s leading floriculture companies with approximately 80,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses specializing in the reproduction of plants. 

  • India, Jordan discuss ways to boost trade, investment
    The two day India-Jordan Trade and Economic Joint Committee Meeting concluded in New Delhi on 5th July. The Meeting was co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Jordanian counterpart Yarub Qudah. 

    On this occasion, the two leaders emphasized the need for diversification of bilateral trade and deepening their engagements for greater cooperation in investment sector. 

    During the meeting, the two sides also reaffirmed their mutual interest and discussed the roadmap for cooperation in various fields including fertilizer, customs, double taxation avoidance agreement, visa and consular issues, health and pharmaceuticals, micro, small and medium enterprises. 

    They also discussed maritime transport, rail transport, and air transport, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and smart grid development, information technology, higher education and vocational training and agriculture sector. 

    The two leaders also inked revised Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement between India and Jordan, aiming at boosting and diversifying bilateral trade relations, in addition to promote economic, trade and investment cooperation based on the principle of equity, non-discrimination. 

  • India Israel CEOs forum sets target to increase bilateral trade
    The India-Israel CEOs forum met for the first time in Tel Aviv on 6th July. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the forum where around 30 CEOs from two countries participated. 

    The CEOs Forum has set a target to increase the bilateral trade from the current 5 Billion US Dollars to 20 Billion US Dollars within 5 years. The Forum also set up 6 Joint Committees covering StartUps, Pharma and Life Sciences, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Energy and Water sectors. 

    The India-Israel StartUp Bridge was launched to encourage StartUps of the two countries to work together to come up with innovative solutions to tackle challenges in the Agriculture, Water and Healthcare sectors

  • SWAYAM launched at BRICS summit
    The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), SWAYAM platform which has already hosted over 480 courses online, research initiative IMPRINT and Smart India Hackathon was launched in BRICS summit held at Beijing. This is the fifth meeting of BRICS education ministers. 

  • India, Myanmar agree to ensure peace and security in border areas
    India and Myanmar have agreed to take all steps to ensure tranquillity along the border and safety and well-being of people in the border areas. During the recent meeting of 21st India-Myanmar National Level Meeting held at Nay Pyi Taw, the two countries discussed security, cooperation in prevention of drug trafficking, boundary matters, wildlife smuggling, visa and other issues. 

    According to an official release, India attaches utmost importance to the discussions under the framework of National Level Meetings which involve all agencies related to security and border management. 

    During the discussion, it was also agreed to hold next National Level Meeting in India next year. Indian delegation was led by Rajiv Gauba, Home Secretary designate, while Myanmar delegation was led by Maj Gen Aung Soe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. 

  • India joins US, Japan in Bay of Bengal drill
    Amid escalating tension with China on border issues, India is joining the US and Japan in a trilateral maritime drill, Malabar 2017, in the Bay of Bengal. The US, Indian and Japanese maritime forces will participate in the exercise, US Consulate-General, Mumbai. 

    The office of Lt Commander Aarol Kakiel, Commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70), Public Affairs, said naval ships, aircraft and personnel from the three countries will join Malabar 2017 which is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that has grown in scope and complexity over the years “to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific.” 

    The exercise will feature both ashore and at-sea training. While ashore in Chennai, training will include subject matter expert and professional exchanges on carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, damage control, explosive ordnance disposal, helicopter operations, and visit, board, search and seizure operations. 

    The at-sea portions will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal and are “designed to advance participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.”


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