July 2019 - Bilateral News



  • The next edition of India and China military drill will be held in December 2019. The joint military exercise 'Hand-in-Hand' will be held in Umroi near Shillong, Meghalaya. The last exercise, which was the seventh edition, was held in Chengdu in December 2018. In Umroi, the two forces will focus on counter-terror operations, establishment of the joint command post and joint combat drill.


  • Palau signed the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement. Palau became the 76th country to sign the ISA Framework Agreement, which till date has been ratified by a total of 54 of the 76 countries. The ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 2015.


  • An Inter-Ministerial Committee has recommended ban on the crypto-currencies in India and imposing fines and penalties for carrying on any activities connected with it. The committee was constituted by the government in November 2017 to study the issues related to virtual currencies and propose specific action to be taken in this matter.

    The committee has also proposed that the Government keeps an open mind on official digital currency. The committee’s report, along with a Draft Bill has been received by the Government. It said, this report and Draft Bill will now be examined in consultation with all the concerned Departments and Regulatory Authorities, before the Government takes a final decision.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day official visit to Bhutan in August 2019. The visit will reflect the importance New Delhi attaches to its ties with Bhutan and would reiterate the government's emphasis on its Neighbourhood First policy. The two countries share a unique and time-tested bilateral relationship, characterized by trust, goodwill, and mutual understanding.


  • New India-UK bilateral scheme launched on Pilot basis. The UKEIRI Mobility Programme launched on a pilot basis to support Britain's universities to collaborate with Indian partners to facilitate the United Kingdom (UK) students to visit India during their studies. UKERI stands for 'UK-India Education Research Initiative'. It is an initiative of Universities UK International (UUKI) and British Council India. Objective: To fund students from UK to visit India.

    It aims to generate up to 200 opportunities for undergraduate students at UK universities to visit India by March 2021. Study in India programme will support national as well as institutional-level objectives to increase levels of outward student mobility from the UK to 13% by 2020. This target is set out in UUKi's Go International: Stand Out campaign.


  • India along with other BRICS nations called on all states to prevent the financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories during the meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers in Brazil on 27 July 2019. India was represented by Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways VK Singh. BRICS consists of five nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.


  • President Ram Nath Kovind has left on an official visit to three African countries -- Benin, The Gambia and Guinea. The seven-day visit will be the first high-level tour of any Head of State from India to the three West African countries.


  • The 2nd round of talks between India-Pakistan on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor was held at Wagah, in Pakistan on 14 July 2019. The meeting discussed the modalities and draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims on the corridor. It was agreed to allow five thousand pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor everyday.


  • The United States has enormous potential for growth in its relations with India and trade issues can be resolved due to friendly ties. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus was talking to reporters in Washington when she was asked whether the Trump administration was satisfied with the recent visit of two Office of US Trade Representative (USTR) officials to New Delhi for trade talks.

    US delegation headed by Assistant USTR for India Christopher Wilson was in New Delhi for a meeting with Indian officials. After the talks, India said the engagement was constructive. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met US President Donald Trump in Osaka on the sidelines of G20 Summit last month (June, 2019).


  • The UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was held in London on 15 July 2019. India and the UK agreed to set up three new bilateral working groups to tackle barriers in specific sectors including food and drink, healthcare and data services. The India – UK JETCO was established on 13th January 2005, to further develop a strategic economic relationship.


  • The Inter-Institutional Agreement between India and the USA in the areas of regenerative medicine and 3D bioprinting, and more has been approved. The objective of the agreement is to contribute towards the development of research and education of both the Institutions through academic collaboration. The joint research projects, etc. will be open to all qualified scientists and technologists.


  • UK's programme to boost Indian start-ups. The UK government has expanded its Go Global initiative to India. The aim is to give the country's most innovative and cutting-edge start-ups the skills they need to grow their business, build links with the UK's digital sector. It forms part of the UK-India Tech Partnership announced by outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in April 2018.


  • Sri Lanka and IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company) International Limited, under the Ministry of Railways, signed $91.26 million agreement for the up gradation of 130 km rail track. The rail track is located between Colombo and Jaffna in Tamil majority northern province of Sri Lanka. It was signed by Sunil Kumar Choudhury, Chairman & Managing Director, Ircon International Limited, and L.P Jayampathy, Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka in the presence of Hon. Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of Sri Lanka.

    It is under Indian concessional financing between Maho to Omanthai, Sri Lanka which is going to happen for the first time in 100 years. It includes 12 crossing stations, 7 halt stations and 78 level crossings. A new crossing station will be constructed between Medawachchiya to Vavuniya, Sri Lanka and 218 culverts and 90 bridges will be repaired or reconstructed as required.

    It will double the speed potential of the railway track from the current 60 km to 120 km per hour. India has committed Line of Credit (LoC) worth $1.3 billion for the development of the railway sector in Sri Lanka. They upgraded around 300 km of railway track and provided modern signaling and telecommunication system for around 330 km in Sri Lanka.


  • The French are preparing to mark their national day known as July 14th in France and Bastille Day abroad, with European Union leaders joining the French president for the world's oldest military parade. This year celebrates the 230th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris, a turning point in the French revolution that set the stage for the birth of the Republic.

    Armed forces from France and allied countries will march, drive, ride and fly over the central Champs Elysee. Leaders from key EU countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, have been invited to join President Emmanuel Macron as he addresses the troops. French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that he was creating a national military space force command that would eventually be part of his country's air force.


  • Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will hold bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi . The visiting dignitary will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The UAE Foreign Minister arrived in New Delhi on a three-day visit to India. The ties between India and the UAE have been on an upswing in the last few years.

    The UAE is also home to 3.3 million-strong Indian community, largest in the Gulf region. The visit is aimed at not only strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership but also to explore new areas of cooperation between the two countries. India and the UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relationship underpinned by historic cultural, religious and economic linkages. The UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner and fourth largest energy supplier.


  • UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 08 July, 2019. The visiting dignitary held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed relations in political, economic, investment, trade, energy and other sectors and aspects of developing and enhancing the existing ties in all fields.

    Both sides stressed the importance of combating extremism and terrorism in all forms. They also exchanged views on regional and international developments and other issues of common interest, especially developments in Syria, Libya and Yemen. The two leaders also expressed keenness to strengthen friendship and cooperation based on the strong bilateral and strategic relations.


  • India slams U.N. rights office report on J&K as continuation of ‘false narrative’. India and Pakistan had failed to improve the situation in Kashmir and not taken any concrete steps to address the numerous concerns raised in its earlier report. Last year (2018), the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released its first-ever report on Kashmir, urging action by both countries to reduce tensions.

    In Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from May 2018 to April 2019, the number of civilian casualties reported over the 12-month period may be the highest in over a decade. In Kashmir, accountability for violations committed by members of the Indian security forces remains virtually non-existent.


  • Border Security Force (BSF) has launched the operation ‘Sudarshan’ to fortify the ‘anti-infiltration grid’ along the Pakistan border in Punjab and Jammu. It was launched on July 1 and will cover the entire 1,000-kms length of the India-Pakistan International Border. The Border Security Force is the primary force guarding this frontier as the ‘first line of defence’.


  • India handed over 250 pre-fabricated houses to Myanmar in Maung Daw for use of displaced returnees. India had taken up the project under its Rakhine State Development Programme under which 25 million dollars are allocated for a period of five years. Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Saurabh Kumar handed over the documents related to the houses for use of displaced returnees from Bangladesh. Myanmar's Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr. Win Myat Aye thanked the Indian government for its assistance and recalled the growing bilateral ties between the two countries.

    India and Myanmar had signed an MoU in 2017 to contribute to the socio-economic development of the area. Another 22 proposals which include solar power related projects, construction-related projects, agriculture mechanization projects and capacity building projects are presently under consideration.


  • The second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held in New Delhi. It will be held under the chairmanship of NITI Aayog Vice Chairman RajivKumar and Deputy Minister of the Economic Development of Russia, Timur Maksimov. The meeting will focus on six core areas of cooperation, including developmentof transport infrastructure and technologies, agriculture and agro-processingsector and small and medium business support. The first Dialogue was held inSt. Petersburg in November 2018.


  • India is set to host the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP) of United Nations Convention to combat Desertification (UNCCD) from September 02 to 13. The global conference will be hosted at India Expo Mart Limited in Greater Noida. Ahead of COP-14, Minister also launched “Bonn Challange”, a maiden project to lay emphasis on India’s capacity for forest landscape restoration.


  • The bilateral trade between the two countries could reach 238 billion Dollars by 2025 from the current 143 billion Dollars given the present dynamics of the commercial engagement. In a report released on the occasion of its second annual leadership summit, the US-based group USISPF said, this growth will occur if trade grows by 7.5 per cent each year, as has been the trend for the last seven years.


  • Vihaan Networks Ltd (VNL) has inked a pact with Vietnam to develop digital villages. Vihaan Networks Ltd will offer solutions for advancing rural connectivity by developing digital villages in Vietnam’s underserved areas through solar-based cellular and broadband solution.


  • The 5th India-EU High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility was held in New Delhi. The discussion was held in a highly friendly and constructive spirit. It encompassed a wide range of issues of mutual interest in the context of migration and mobility along the India-EU corridor. Both sides reaffirmed that migration and mobility are important dimensions of the strategic partnership between India and EU and exchanged views on further initiatives and steps aimed at realizing the full potential of further strengthening cooperation in this area.


  • India and US will hold trade talks in New Delhi on 12 July, 2019 to discuss bilateral and economic issues. The US delegation is being led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson.

    The Indian side is being led by Additional Secretary level officer from Commerce and Industries Ministry. The visiting USTR delegation will also call on Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. This would be the first meeting on trade issues after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump in Japan on the sidelines of the G20 summit.


  • India and the United States have agreed to further grow their economic relationship and address mutual trade concerns. A US delegation led by Assistant Trade Representative Christopher Wilson held bilateral talks with a team of Indian officials headed by Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Sanjay Chadha in New Delhi.

    The two sides discussed the broad contours of bilateral trade and commercial ties and agreed to continue discussions for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. The meeting was aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties. It was in line with the mandate given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during their meeting at Osaka in Japan last month on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.


  • India and Pakistan to meet on 14 July on Kartarpur Corridor. The meeting will take place at the Attari-Wagah border to discuss the modalities of the corridor and related technical issues. India has high expectations from the upcoming meeting and hoped that issues like connectivity at the Zero point and visit of a large number of pilgrims on special occasions will be discussed. India will also raise its concerns over the security aspect.

    New Delhi had earlier conveyed its strong concerns to Pakistan over the presence of a leading Khalistani separatist in a committee appointed by Islamabad on the project. The construction work at the site of passenger terminal complex at Dera Baba Nanak, Punjab for Kartarpur Sahib is on full swing. The work has been planned to be completed by 31st October before the commemoration of 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in November.

    Construction work for the passenger terminal complex is also on full swing with more than 250 labourers and 30 engineers at the site working in three shifts. The terminal is being built on around 15 acres of land with comprehensive facilities to cater for approximately 5000 passengers per day for smooth movement of pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartapur Sahib in Pakistan with all public amenities. The work on a four-lane highway on the Indian side is in full swing.

    The highway connecting the Zero Point of the Kartarpur Corridor up to National Highway-354 is being constructed by the National Highways Authority of India. India is constructing a bridge at the Zero Point and has urged Pakistan to build a similar bridge on its side that will provide safe and secure movement of the pilgrims and address concerns regarding flooding.


  • India and Russia have held high-level talks in New Delhi to elevate bilateral co-operation to the next level in the field of space, including assistance in India's maiden human space flight mission 'Gaganyaan'. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Russia's space agency (ROSCOSMOS) led the two sides in the meeting held. The possibilities for the production of space systems in India were an important part of the discussions.

    Co-operation in futuristic technologies including new space systems, rocket engines, propellants and propulsion systems, spacecrafts and launch vehicle technology were also discussed. There have been frequent contacts between the two space agencies to finalise the details of the Gaganyaan Mission, which will carry Indian astronaut to space in 2022, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Independence.


  • The 7th Foreign Office Consultations between India and Brunei Darussalam was held on 24 June 2019 in New Delhi. The Indian side was led by Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary(East). The consultations provided an opportunity to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including political, trade and investment, defence, cultural and people to people contact.


  • India, South Africa, and Indonesia have boycotted the “Osaka Track" on the “digital economy". Countries boycotted the “Osaka Track"at the G20 leaders’ summit in Osaka. It undermined “multilateral" principles of consensus-based decisions in global trade negotiations, and denied "policy space" for digital-industrialisation in developing countries.


  • The United States Senate has passed a legislative provision that brings India at par with America's NATO allies and countries like Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation. The amendment provides for increased US-India defence cooperation in the Indian Ocean in areas of humanitarian assistance, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and maritime security.


  • India has asked Indonesia to urgently repatriate Indian seafarers, who have been detained on board commercial vessels in the archipelagic nation. Eighty-seven Indian sailors were reportedly detained in February by the Indonesian authorities for illegal anchoring in its territorial water. Indonesian officials have assured to accord the matter high priority in view of humanitarian aspect and excellent bilateral relations during the first India-Indonesia consular dialogue held in Yogyakarta.

    The Indian delegation was led by Sanjiv Arora, Secretary of Consular, Passport and Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs in the Ministry of External Affairs. The Indonesian delegation was led by Dr Andri Hadi, Director General for Protocol and Consular Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The dialogue also focussed on ensuring well being of Indian and Indonesian prisoners and facilitating mechanisms to ensure smooth and regular consular access.


  • The Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Maldives for the establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea. Male and Kulhudhuffushi are good prospects for introduction of ferry service from Kochi for both tourists as well as cargo. The proposed ferry service would contribute in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade.


  • The Union Cabinet approved the MoU between India and Morocco. It has been signed for developing, promoting and strengthening mutual cooperation between the judiciaries of the two countries. The approval will promote cooperation between India and Morocco in judicial and other legal areas and enable exchange of knowledge in infrastructure and information technology.


  • India to train 1800 Bangladeshi Civil Servants at Mussoorie. Eighteen hundred Bangladeshi mid-career civil servants will be trained at the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) in Mussoorie between 2019-2025. The first batch of 30 civil servants leaving for a two-week long training programme in Mussoorie paid a visit to the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

    The Bangladeshi civil servants are being trained at the National Centre for Good Governance based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in February 2019 in the Fifth meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC).

    Welcoming the participants to the training programme, acting High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh announced such trainings provide an opportunity to share experiences of administration between civil servants of the two countries. That civil servants of India and Bangladesh knowing each other would help foster deeper ties between the two countries.


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