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March 2019 - Bilateral News



  • ADNOC awards onshore block to Indian consortium. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited have been awarded the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, signed agreements awarding the exploration rights. The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council. The bilateral partnership between India and UAE is growing in many dimensions.


  • Indian-Sri Lankan armies to conduct military exercise Mitra Shakti.  The joint training exercise MITRASHAKTI - VI between Indian and Sri Lanka Army is being held at Diyatalawa in Sri Lanka.
    An Indian contingent of 120 Army personnel, including 11 officers arrived last evening to take part in the two-week long exercise. The exercise is an annual event held in India and Sri Lanka alternatively.
    MITRASHAKTI is one of the largest bilateral armies to army exercises conducted in the region. Based on the success of previous exercises, it has been recently upgraded from a platoon level engagement to a full Company level engagement.

    The exercise is designed to enhance interoperability and mutual understanding between both the armies and build a relationship based on professional respect, personal bonding and extensive training interaction. The exercise will help in building proficiency in tackling transnational terrorism, the conduct of joint tactical operations and building combat skills. This year, the scope of the exercise has been significantly increased wherein in addition to infantry based events; the participation of personnel from artillery, engineers, signals, army medical corps and special forces will also take place. The exercise would also involve sports fixtures and cultural events


  • India, Bangladesh to start cruise service from March 29, 2019. India and Bangladesh will start a cruise service from March 29, 2019 that would take passengers through the Sunderbans to Dhaka.
    The move aims to strengthen inland waterway routes between the two countries. Other than road and rail, India and Bangladesh also have very strong power connectivity through waterways. As movement of goods starts using inland waterways, so goods from India can go in the cheapest possible form up to Narayanganj and Dhaka in Bangladesh. People would have the option to travel through the Sunderbans on a luxury vessels up to Dhaka and back with border formalities being done at the crossing points in both countries.


  • India-African Union sign MoU on strengthening cooperation in healthcare sector. An agreement has been signed between India and the African Union to establish an India-Africa health sciences collaborative platform. The MoU will pave the way for cooperation in research and development, capacity building, health services, pharmaceutical trade and manufacturing capabilities for drugs and diagnostics. To carry forward the vision of a structured and concrete partnership in the health sector, the MEA partnered with Indian Council of Medical Research and had jointly organised the first India-Africa Health Sciences Meet in 2016 in New Delhi.


  • On 29 March 2019, India and Bolivia have signed eight MoUs on the second day of President Ram Nath Kovind’s three-day visit to that country. These MoUs were signed in the fields of culture, Visa waiver arrangement for diplomats, the exchange between diplomatic academies, mining, space, traditional medicine, establishment of Centre of Excellence in IT and Bi-Oceanic Railway project.

    Mr Kovind was also conferred with the highest State honour of Bolivia, “Condor de Los Andes en el Grado de Gran Collar” during his visit to Bolivia. President of Bolivia Evo Morales awarded him the Honour at a function held in Santa Cruz. President Ram Nath Kovind had extensive talks with his Bolivian counterpart. During the delegation level talks, a range of areas of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and multilateral fields have been discussed.

    Both countries have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen political and economic engagement. India offered 100 million US Dollar Line of Credit to Bolivia for financing development projects. Both countries also agreed on the need for reform of the UN Security Council to make it reflective of contemporary realities. President is in Bolivia on the second leg of his three nation tour. He is on a three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile from March 25th to April 4th.


  • India, Maldives agree to cooperate on defence, development, health.  The External Affairs Minister was on a visit to Maldives. In a meeting between the two counterparts, India and Maldives have decided to ramp up cooperation in various fields as the two nations restarted the Joint Commission talks after a break of 15 years.

    India and Maldives discussed cooperation in defence and security, trade, economic development partnership, connectivity, health, energy, HRD, culture and tourism. Following the meeting, the two sides signed MoUs on cooperation between Foreign Service Institutes of both countries and for cooperation sports and youth affairs. Three agreements on visa facilitation for diplomatic and official passport holders, development cooperation, and renewable energy were also signed.

    They agreed on a broad spectrum of issues for further collaboration, including development cooperation and enhancing people-to-people contact. Swaraj reiterated PM Narendra Modi’s words, saying that “India attaches the highest importance to further developing and expanding its relationship with Maldives on basis of mutual trust and sensitivity to each other’s interest.


  • Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on 11 March 2019. Bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest will be discussed during the meeting. Gokhale arrived in the US on 10 March 2019 in connection with the bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with his American counterparts, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.

    The Foreign Secretary is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the US administration and the US Congress. The visit is part of regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments and coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest.


  • The union cabinet approved a MoU between India and U.K. cancer research initiative. The MoU was signed on 14th November 2018. The India –UK .on Cancer research initiative will identify a core set of research challenges that address issues cancer by bringing together leading Indian and UK experts.


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