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September 2019 - Bilateral News



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived to participate in the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly after delivering an electrifying address in Houston to over 50,000 members of the Indian diaspora at a mega community event also addressed by President Donald Trump. Mr. Modi arrived at the J K International Airport a packed bilateral and multi-lateral agenda over the next five days including nine key speeches at high-level summits and plurilateral engagements during the UN General Assembly session and on its sidelines.

    India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin the country’s engagement and outreach at the 74th UN General Assembly will be unprecedented and will result in concrete, tangible, action-oriented outcomes. Around 63 countries have been invited to speak at the Summit, which will demonstrate solutions by governments, the private sector and civil society to reduce emissions and build climate resilience and adaptation.


  • PM Narendra Modi addressed Indian-Americans at the Howdy, Modi event along with Donald Trump in Houston on 22 September. This is the first time that Trump and Modi shared a stage together and addressed a record crowd of 50,000 Indian-Americans. US President Donald Trump announced that India and US are working together to fight radical Islamic terrorism. Both countries are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.


  • The India-US friendship, the Trump administration replaced the presidential seal with an India-US dosti flag emblem from the presidential lectern. As a matter of tradition, every lectern from where a US President speaks is it a joint press conference or an election speech or any speaking engagement either domestically or overseas carries a presidential emblem. The pleasant surprise to many, the presidential lectern had a circular emblem with the national flags of both the US and India.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States (US) President Donald Trump on 22 September, 2019 addressed the mega Howdy, Modi event here with over 50,000 Indian-Americans present at the NRG stadium. The event has been organized by Indian-Americans in Texas for Prime Minister Modi. This is for the first time that the leaders of the two largest democracies of the world were addressing a joint mega rally in the USA.


  • India is the largest regional contributor to Afghan reconstruction not shown any inclination to pursue a deeper defence relationship with Kabul. The US Policy In Brief dated 19 September and compiled ahead of the meetings of US President Donald Trump with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar met Special US Representative on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.

    India is the largest regional contributor to Afghan reconstruction, but New Delhi has not shown an inclination to pursue a deeper defense relationship with Kabul. The administrative messaging has compounded Pakistani concerns over Indian activity in Afghanistan. The Taliban which has been engaged in a war with the US-backed government in Kabul. India, on its part, would like to see an administration that is not inimical to its interests in Afghanistan. India has pledged $ 3.1 billion mainly for development and reconstruction projects. New Delhi provided Afghanistan with four military attack helicopters and trained some of its military officers at its training facilities in India but has refused to commit troops to Afghanistan because of its rivalry with Pakistan.


  • Saudi Arabia enhancing cooperation with India to combat terrorism, says Ambassador Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati. Nearly two weeks after drone and missile attacks on its vital oil facilities, Saudi Arabia is enhancing cooperation with India to combat terrorism including choking funds to terror networks and exchange of information and intelligence.

    India and Saudi Arabia are closely cooperating with each other in fighting terrorism. Saudi Arabia is leading the global campaign against terrorism, terror financing and extremism. His country is the founding member of a 68-nation strong Global Coalition to Counter ISIS and one of the founding countries of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Collation.

    Saudi Arabia has been siding with India in its campaign to rid the region of terrorism and pledged to extend all cooperation to effectively deal with the challenge. In the last couple of years, both countries signed several agreements in the field of security, including an extradition treaty.


  • The Australia India Council (AIC), an Australian government body, has announced Rs.3.32 crore grant that aims to promote stronger ties with India. The announcement was made by Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. The grant is provided to 11 new projects in India.

    AIC will allocate the grant to the Western Sydney University (WSU) and the Australian National University (ANU). These two Universities will be conducting the projects in collaboration with Indian organizations. AIC aims to build awareness and understanding between the people and institutions of the countries. The 11 new projects will include workshops on woman social entrepreneurs and an innovative programme on school children.

    WSU will conduct a series of workshops for the Australian and Indian women social entrepreneurs on innovative and sustainable social business models. ANU will conduct the Young Persons' Plan for the Planet programme. The programme aims to educate, connect and empower school students to collaborate internationally to deliver the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. AIC was established on 21 May 1992. It aims to advance Australia's foreign and trade policy interests by building awareness and understanding between the people and institutions of Australia and India.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in New York. These include Prime Ministers of Belgium, New Zealand and Armenia, and President of Estonia. In his meeting with the Armenia PM Nikol Pashinyan, Mr Modi stressed on the need to considerably enhance the volume of bilateral trade and investment. PM Modi also sought Armenia's support for concluding an expeditious trading arrangement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU) of which Armenia is a member.

    Mr Modi also thanked Pashinyan for Armenia's consistent support for India's candidature for the permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council. Mr Modi discussed bilateral ties during his meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

    During the meeting with his counterpart from Belgium Charles Michel, the two leaders agreed to intensify efforts on early conclusion of negotiations on the bilateral investment and trade agreement and enhance closer cooperation on counter-terrorism, multilateral institutions and migration and mobility. Mr Modi's fourth bilateral of the day was with President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid.


  • 9th India-China Financial Dialogue held to strengthen cooperation was held in New Delhi. A high-level Chinese delegation led by Ms. Zou Jiayi, Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, China interacted with the Indian delegation led by Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on wide-ranging issues of mutual interest. The India-China Financial Dialogue is a mechanism between the two countries with an aim to promote cooperation in the financial sector.

    During this dialogue, both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on macroeconomic situation and policy, cooperation in a multilateral framework, bilateral investment and financial cooperation. The two sides also committed to promoting a favourable environment to enable continuous growth of bilateral trade and investment, strengthen efforts to promote more balanced and healthier development of trade and economic cooperation.

    A Joint Statement was issued at the conclusion of the Financial Dialogue reflecting the mutual understanding and shared the vision of both the countries to further strengthen cooperation in the financial sector. The next round is to be held in China. India and China bilateral relationship has entered into a new era after the historic informal summit between Prime Minister of India and China’s President held in Wuhan in April 2018.


  • Exercise Tiger Triumph to be held In November. India and the United States are set to hold their first tri-services exercise code-named Tiger Triumph at Visakhapatnam and Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh in Nov 2019. The plan for this exercise was discussed during the Final Planning Conference for India-US Tri- Services Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief. For the first time, the US and India will be holding the tri-service military exercise.


  • The Quad foreign affairs meeting between the US, Japan, India and Australia held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York for the first time for a free and open Indo-Pacific. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne met to discuss the Indo-Pacific strategy.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, they discussed their shared interest in building a free and open Indo Pacific, denuclearization of North Korea and joint efforts to promote regional stability. Stating discussion involved their efforts to maintain and promote an open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific, and reaffirmation for Quad commitment to shared values and cooperation.


  • Estonia Ambassador to New Delhi Katrin Kivi,his country is willing to assist India in the development of a single multipurpose identity card in view of the country's experience in the domain of e-governance. The Ambassador's comments came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, where the two discussed ways to deepen cooperation in the domain of e-governance, cybersecurity, and innovation. Mr. Modi's meeting with Kaljulaid had come on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

    Home Minister Amit Shah on 23 September, 2019 had pitched for the idea of a single, multipurpose identity card for citizens covering "all utilities" from Aadhaar to banking and voting. The Home Minister at an event of the Registrar General of India had said that we can have just one card for all utilities like Aadhaar, passport, bank account, driving licence, voter card.


  • India along with Brazil, Germany and Japan have made a strong pitch for berths as permanent members in the reformed United Nations Security Council. In a Joint Statement the four countries reiterated their support for each other's candidatures as aspiring new permanent members in a reformed Security Council given the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security. There is a clear need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the United Nations to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representative.

    The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his three counterparts Ernesto Araujo from Brazil, Heiko Maas from Germany and Toshimitsu Motegi from Japan. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Bearing in mind that in 2020 the United Nations will celebrate its 75th anniversary, the G4 Ministers expressed their firm hope that the current session of the General Assembly will pave the way for finally moving on the call for an early reform of the Security Council, that was made in the 2005 World Summit by all the Heads of State and Government. The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India and Japan are four countries which support each other's bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the High-Level Segment of the 74th Session of United Nations General Assembly in New York. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global developments of mutual interest.

    Prime Minister reiterated India's support for giving priority to diplomacy, dialogue and confidence-building in the interest of maintaining peace, security and stability in the Gulf region, which is of vital importance for India. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, the two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on the situation in the region.

    Noting that India and Iran shared old and civilizational ties, the two leaders assessed the progress in bilateral relations since their first meeting in Russian city of Ufa in 2015. They especially mentioned overcapitalization of Chabahar Port and noted its importance as gateway to and for landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian region.

    During the meeting, it was agreed to mark the 70th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2020. Indo-Iran ties have been on an upswing in the past few years. Mr. Modi visited Tehran in May 2016. During the visit, India and Iran signed nearly a dozen agreements, centrepiece of which was a deal on development of the strategic Chabahar port.

    Later, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement providing for transport of goods among the three countries through the port. In February 2018, Mr. Rouhani visited India, becoming the first Iranian President to visit India in a decade. During his visit, the two sides signed a dozen agreements. Prime Minister Modi also met Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the sidelines of the session of UN General Assembly.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The proceedings of the UN will begin at 6:30 PM Indian Standard Time. Prime Minister Modi is likely to address the session between 8:00 to 9:00 PM Indian time. The Prime Minister is likely to highlight his government's key initiatives towards poverty alleviation, affordable healthcare and steps taken to combat terrorism and climate change.

    Experts believe that Mr Modi's much-awaited speech is likely to focus on establishing India's aspiration at the global level apart from talking tough on terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The Prime Minister's speech at UNGA comes at a time when India is ready to play a larger role on the world stage. India has made significant improvements in almost all international rankings and indices. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said that the country’s engagement and outreach at the UN General Assembly will be unprecedented and will result in concrete, tangible, action-oriented outcomes.


  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met and discussed bilateral issues with his counterparts and other leaders from a number of countries, including Brazil and Japan, on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

    India-Uganda ties are a textbook case for South-South cooperation. He said, Prime Minister Modi's visit to Uganda last year (2018) was the first bilateral tour by an Indian prime minister since 1997. The external affairs minister is expecting to work closely with his Japanese counterpart on India-Japan special relationship. Toshimitsu Motegi was appointed Japan's foreign minister earlier this month. Mr. Jaishankar also interactions with Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Croatia's FM Gordan Grlic Radman, European Union's Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini and the Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.


  • BRICS condemns all forms of terrorism, calls for early adoption of CCIT. Strongly condemning terrorism in all its forms, the BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa called for the need for an early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). The BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations held their annual meeting on the margins of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    The meeting was chaired by Russia in the country's capacity as the incoming BRICS Chair for 2020. The ministers reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. They expressed their conviction that a comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure an effective fight against terrorism. The ministers urged the need for concerted efforts to counter terrorism in accordance with the international law and under UN auspices, and stressed in this regard the need for early adoption of CCIT.

    They exchanged views on major global and regional issues on the UN agenda in the political, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, as well as on intra-BRICS activities. They underscored that the participation of BRICS countries in the work of the UN Security Council, including South Africa as an elected member for the period 2019-2020, is a valuable opportunity to maintain constant dialogue and facilitate cooperation on issues of peace and security.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina in New York on the margins of the High-Level Segment of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. In their first meeting since their re-election, Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for attending the special commemorative event organized by India to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. The two leaders reviewed the excellent state of bilateral relations and cooperation and agreed to maintain the momentum to take the India-Bangladesh relationship to new heights. The leaders reiterated their zero-tolerance approach to terrorism and violent extremism and agreed that a strong partnership in security had built trust and mutual confidence between the two countries.


  • India-funded school building inaugurated in Nepal. In Nepal, India's Deputy Chief of Mission Dr. Ajay Kumar inaugurated a new school building constructed with New Delhi's assistance of 38.60 million Nepali rupees. Many political and community leaders also attended the inaugural ceremony. The three-story building of Kuleshwor Awas Secondary School comprises 20 classrooms, separate sanitation facilities for boys and girls on each floor, an underground water tank, a septic tank and furniture.

    The school, established in 1989 by Kuleshwor Awas Pariwar Kalyan Sanstha, is run with community support. At present, over 800 students are enrolled in the school. Of them, over 50 per cent are girls. Most of the students come from marginalized sections of society. The newly built infrastructure is expected to boost the learning environment for students. Government of India is happy to be associated with the project which complements efforts of Government of Nepal in augmenting infrastructure in the field of education.


  • 20 countries, including France, Britain and India, have signed an agreement at the United Nations to stop the spread of fake news on-line. The signatories, which also included South Africa and Canada, committed to promoting independently reported, diverse and reliable information on the internet under an accord initiated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).


  • Indian Ambassador to UAE Navdeep Suri conferred with UAE Order of Zayed. Sheikh Khalifa conferred the Order of Zayed II first class. Mr Suri was given the honour in recognition of his efforts during his tenure and his contribution to the development and strengthening of relations between the UAE and India. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, presented the Order to the ambassador during a meeting at the ministry in Abu Dhabi.

    Sheikh Abdullah praised the ambassador for his role in bolstering UAE-Indian relations and wished him success in his future assignments. The relations between India and the UAE to even greater heights and to try to realize a vision outlined by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces recently presented the Order of Zayed, the nation's highest civilian award to Mr Modi for forging close ties between the two countries. The award was presented by Sheikh Abdullah, who thanked Mr Stellino for his work in strengthening ties between the countries and wished him the best for the future. The Italian ambassador thanked Sheikh Khalifa and all of the government bodies for their support in making his job a success.


  • The Defence Ministry of India announced a joint military exercise between India and Thailand as MAITREE 2019. The exercise is aimed to share the experience that is gained to counter-terrorism operations. The exercise will be conducted at Foreign coaching Node of Umroi in Meghalaya from 16 September to 29 September of 2019.

    • About 100 Indians and Royal Thailand army RTA soldiers will participate in this joint ministry exercise.
    • MAITREE 2019 is the third army engagement between India-Thailand. The counter operations exercise would be held in urban areas or in the jungle.


  • India will conduct a two-week special training programme for Maldivian civil servants in Delhi and Mussoorie. The training is part of a bilateral MoU on Training and Capacity Building Programme between the National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) and the Maldives Civil Service Commission (CSC), A 32-member delegation from Maldives arrived at the NCGG campus in the hill station of Mussoorie.

    The sessions on public policy and governance, ethics and accountability and redressal of public grievances, motivation, innovation, sustainable development goals, promoting tourism, regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region, India-Maldives relations along with visits to the Unique Identification Authority, Passport Sewa Kendra and Election Commission of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the Maldives in June emphasized India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy and assured India's full support to the Indian Ocean archipelago in realizing its aspirations for broad based socio-economic development and strengthening of democratic and independent institutions.

    One of the MoUs envisaged capacity building activities for 1,000 Civil Servants of Maldives at the National Centre for Good Governance over the next five years, it said. Under the agreement, 10 training programmes will be conducted from September 2019 to December 2020, according to the statement. India is the largest development partner for capacity building of Maldivian Civil Servants. A unique feature of the special training programme is that 70 per cent of the delegates are women officials. Union minister Jitendra Singh conveyed his wishes for the successful conduct of the training programme.


  • Mongolian President arriving in New Delhi on five day state visit. President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga is arrived in New Delhi on 19 September, 2019 afternoon on a five day State visit. He will be accompanied by a high-level official and business delegation. Mr Battulga will be accorded ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The visiting dignitary will meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Both sides will hold in-depth discussions on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues and will also review ongoing cooperation in fields of infrastructure, energy, disaster management, defence, security, culture and capacity building. A Banquet will be hosted by President Kovind in honour of the visiting President. Mr Battulga will also participate in an India-Mongolia Business Forum in New Delhi. During his stay, the Mongolian President will visit Agra, Bodh Gaya and Bengaluru. Mr Battulga's visit to India will be the first State visit by a Mongolian President in last 10 years. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Battulga had met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.


  • SITMEX-19 (Singapore India Thailand Maritime Exercise) Trilateral Exercise has commenced from 18 September 2019 at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The five-day-long naval exercise is held between the Indian Navy (IN), Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), and Royal Thai Navy (RTN).
    Aim:
    • SITMEX-19 exercise aims to enhance maritime interoperability between the participating navies. It also aims to provide experience sharing of best practices.
    • The exercise will strengthen the mutual confidence amongst the 3 navies in terms of development of a common understanding of procedures. The exercise will contribute significantly to enhance the overall maritime security in the region.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga on 20 Sep, 2019 jointly unveiled a statue of Lord Buddha at the Gandan Monastery in Mongolia via video. The Mongolian president is on a five-day visit to India. The golden statue with Lord Buddha holding a bowl was unveiled at a brief ceremony held at the prime minister's Lok Kalyan Marg residence. The Gandan Monastery is located in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar. Gandan is the largest and most significant monastery in Mongolia. Built in the mid 19th century, it is the only monastery where Buddhist services continued to function even during the Communist period.


  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has held long discussions on cross-border terrorism with the top Finnish leadership. The discussions were held amid Pakistan's bid to peddle fabricated stories on Kashmir after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status. The External Affairs Minister is on a three-day visit to Finland, the current chair of the European Union that supported India on the Kashmir issue. Mr Jaishankar on 20 September, 2019 held talks with Prime Minister Antti Rinne and his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto in Helsinki on a broad spectrum of bilateral relations. Mr Jaishankar tweeted that during his meeting with Haavisto, they had long discussion on terrorism. The two leaders reviewed bilateral relationship with special focus on green technologies. They also exchanged notes on regional issues.


  • Commerce, Industry and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal will be on a two-day visit to the UAE from 21 September, 2019. He will unveil the design of the four-storey India pavilion in the Opportunity District at the Expo site in Dubai. Briefing the media in Dubai, Consul General Vipul said that the pavilion would represent the rich history and culture of India, close ties between India and the UAE. The building will embody India's worship of nature and will be environment-friendly. It will also showcase the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi being celebrated this year (2019).

    Twenty-seven focus sectors have been identified to showcase India's advances in space, pharmaceuticals, information technology, renewable energy and telecom sectors and also India's strength in innovation and start-ups, the press release further stated. The Dubai World Expo 2020 is scheduled to take place for six months beginning from October 2020 to April 2021.

    Mr Goyal will also attend the meeting of 7th India-UAE High-Level Task Force on Investment. He co-chair the meeting with Sheikh Hamad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. According to an official release the two sides will deliberate on sectors like petroleum and natural gas, food processing, civil aviation, railways, renewable energy, infrastructure, shipping and construction where India will proactively seek FDI investment from UAE into India.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on way to the United States on a seven-day visit to attend the UN General Assembly meet and various other programmes. He made a brief halt in Frankfurt en route USA this morning (21 September, 2019). This year (2019), the UN General Assembly has the theme Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.

    In his pre-departure statement, the Prime Minister reiterated India's commitment to reformed multi-literalism, which is responsive, effective and inclusive. Mr Modi said that through his participation in UN events, he will showcase India's success in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. Prime Minister Modi will address the Indian community at Houston where he will be joined by the US President Donald Trump. Mr Modi said, the maiden appearance of US President in an Indian community event marks a new milestone in India's outreach to them.

    The Prime Minister will also interact with CEOs of leading energy companies in Houston. At an UN event on Universal Health Coverage, Prime Minister will share India’s achievements in providing health care for the needy through many initiatives, including the Ayushman Bharat Programme. Prime Minister Modi will be honoured with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Goalkeeper's Award during this visit. The award recognises his leadership in the field of sanitation through Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.


  • India and Mongolia signed MoUs on space cooperation and disaster management during the visit of the Mongolian President in India. The aim of the MoU is to provide a new dimension to the India-Mongolia strategic partnership.


  • India and USA plan to further strengthen their Strategic Energy Partnership launched in New Delhi. It includes larger energy imports from the US by the world’s third-largest oil importer state-run firms such as Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL). Petronet LNG Ltd may ink a deal with US liquefied natural gas (LNG) developer Tellurian Inc for around $2 billion in the proposed Driftwood project in Louisiana. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to the energy resource rich country where he will be addressing an energy round table in Houston China and India.


  • President Ram Nath Kovind on September 8 night left for a visit to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia during which he will hold talks with the top leadership of those countries to strengthen bilateral ties. To continue India’s engagement and boost the bilateral relations with Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia, President Kovind emplanes for State visits with a high level delegation. President Kovind will visit Iceland from September 9-11. He will then head to Switzerland and will finally reach Slovenia on September 15. He will head back on September 17.


  • President Ram Nath Kovind embarked on an official nine-day visit to Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia to enhance India's political and economic ties with the three European countries. During the first leg of his visit, Mr Kovind will arrive in Iceland and will hold talks with his Icelandic counterpart Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir. The second leg of the visit to Switzerland will begin on 11th of September.

    The President will have wide-ranging discussions with his Swiss counterpart and country's cabinet. The final leg of the visit to Slovenia will begin on 15th September, 2019 and mark the first-ever visit by an Indian President to the country. During the visit, Kovind will hold wide-ranging discussion with his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor and the National Assembly President.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the High-Level Segment of the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The Conference is being held at a time when India has assumed the COP Presidency from China for two years. The Conference is adding to the global discourse on issues relating to environment, especially land management.

    Union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar and Executive Secretary of UN Convention to Combat Desertification UNCCD Ibrahim Thiaw had jointly inaugurated the 12-day conference on 2nd September, 2019. It is witnessing participation of as many as 196 countries with over five thousand delegates from across the globe. Environment Ministers from around 100 countries are participating in the conference. Non-government and inter-governmental organizations, scientists, women and youth are also attending the mega event.

    Around 30 decisions with actions will be taken at the Conference that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts. The deliberations would lead to a final set of commitments, the New Delhi Declaration which would be signed by all member countries at the end of the session.


  • UNESCO and the Rajasthan government joined hands on to promote music, art and craft forms, and other intangible cultural heritage of the state to spur socio-economic growth of several artist communities. The project, which will run for around 3.5 years, will be implemented in Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner districts. The project will focus on cultural heritage and traditions.


  • 28th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Thai Navy is being conducted from 5 to 15 September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. INS Kesari and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship Kraburi are participating in the CORPAT. The Objectives of the exercise is to ensure effective implementation of United Nations Conventions on Laws of the Sea.


  • India’s permanent Representative to United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin has said that India supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. It is the Afghan people who will implement and bear the consequences of any agreements arrived at. Hence outcomes having constitutional legitimacy and political mandate and which are arrived at in an inclusive and democratic way can ensure stability. The Indian envoy's statement comes after the United States announced that the peace talks with the Taliban have been cancelled. The international community needs to continue its commitments made to the Afghan security forces in their fight against the scourge of terrorism.

    The Indian envoy hit out at Pakistan indirectly for providing safe havens to terrorists on its soil. The remarks came a day after India indirectly attacked Pakistan in the United Nations Human Rights Council for fabricating false narrative on Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had reiterated his call for direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Afghanistan’s volatile security situation is highly concerning, and cited direct threats to the Presidential election on 28th September, 2019, by anti-government elements that may discourage many Afghans from voting.


  • India and Iceland signed agreements on 10 September, 2019 to enhance cooperation in the field of sustained fisheries development and organize cultural exchange programme between 2019 and 2022. Iceland also declared exemption from Visa for Indian diplomatic and official passport holders. The agreements and MoUs were signed in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and his Iceland counterpart Gudni Johannesson in Reykjavik in Iceland. He also invited Iceland to be part of the international solar alliance led by India to promote solar energy worldwide. India supported the commencement of Hindi Chair at the University of Iceland and hoped that the teaching of Hindi language will begin soon.


  • President of India addresses India-Iceland Business Forum on the final day of his state visit to Iceland. Shri Ram Nath Kovind, addressed the India-Iceland Business Forum in Reykjavik, Iceland. India’s growth and commitment to sustainability and Iceland’s business strengths make for a natural partnership. Iceland’s capacity in the fields of geothermal energy, circular economy, financial services, fisheries, food processing, shipping, tourism and innovation. It is a pioneer in green technologies, be it carbon capture, energy efficient buildings or waste-to-wealth projects. The economic success is a India’s transformative growth programmes and next-generation infrastructure projects present immense opportunities for Icelandic companies.

    Indian market and Iceland’s business strengths can add significant numbers to them. Iceland can look at sourcing manufactured goods, fruits and vegetables, textiles, chemicals and engineering goods from India. India and Iceland in the pharma, healthcare and biotech space. Finance, hospitality and tourism services also present significant opportunities. Iceland’s technological prowess and India’s scientific skills could embrace each other to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the machine-intelligence age. Our Start-ups working on robotics, ecology and marine litter can be the potential anchors of our future engagement, in Iceland, India or in any other part of the world. The President will meet Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland at a working lunch hosted in his honour.


  • Sri Lanka new luxury train Pulathisi Express by Indian railways Make in India product flagged off. India and its southern neighbour Sri Lanka received a boost when a newly Make in India train rake was flagged off from Colombo Fort Railway station. The rake of the train was manufactured in the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai.

    Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Transport Minister Arjuna Ranathunga and Indian envoy to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu flagged off a new train to Polonnaruwa from Colombo Fort Railway station. The train was conducted under an Indian Line of Credit an on-board entertainment system, modular interiors and fully-rotating seats in Air Conditioned Chair cars for passenger comfort. ICF will manufacture six DEMU rakes consisting of 78 coaches in five variants. The order is being jointly executed by RITES and ICF under the India-Sri Lanka economic cooperation agreement.


  • India joined the world Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member. From 2019, India will be a member of Board of Members officially. Now India will be working with all the partners under the hub. It will focus on new research to address drug-resistant infections.

    • AMR is the ability of a microorganism to treat the antimicrobial resistance that continues intense round the world.
    • India is cheap to explore problems with antimicrobial resistance through the lens of one Health approach that ought to be supported by long-run commitments from all stakeholders.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for Vladivostok in Russia to take part in the 5th Eastern Economic Forum - EEF summit. The Prime Minister will also attend the 20th annual summit between Russia and India during the three-day visit. Strengthening bilateral relationship in field of oil and gas exploration will be high on the agenda during the visit.

    Both India and Russia want to move beyond the conventional cooperation in defence and nuclear civil cooperation to the new areas of economy. India attaches lot of importance to Eastern Economic Summit as the government wants to focus on having business engagement with Russia and other Far Eastern countries. India has full support from Russia on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and cross border terrorism. On the sidelines of Eastern Economic Summit, the Prime Minister is expected to hold bilateral talks with the Government Heads of Japan, Malaysia and Mongolia.


  • India and Japan discussed ways to strengthen the existing bilateral cooperation and adoption of new initiatives for achieving peace and security in the region. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh co-chaired India-Japan Defence Ministerial Meeting with his Japanese counterpart Takeshi lwaya in Tokyo. Describing it as extremely fruitful Ministerial Level Dialogue, India and Japan will continue working together to further deepen the defence ties between both the nations.

    The importance of the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between India and Japan in addressing regional peace, security and stability was also highlighted.

    The Indo-Pacific vision was also discussed at length during the meeting with emphasis on India's preference for a rules-based order along with centrality of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Mr Singh reached Tokyo on the first leg of his five-day visit to Japan and South Korea.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Vladivostok on 04 September, 2019 on a two-day visit to Russia. Mr Modi will attend the 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) beginning on 04 September, 2019 in Vladivostok. Prime Minister will also hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He looks forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with President Putin.

    Mr Modi will the chief guest at the Eastern Economic Forum. The EEF provides a platform for discussing issues aimed at expanding international cooperation in Asia-Pacific region and developing the economy of Russia's Far East. There are several sessions involving India at the EEF. Among them are harnessing the power of Youth, Logistics - a digital pathway, Human Capital in Eurasia, and the Russia India business dialogue. While several MoUs and B2B agreements are expected to be finalized by Business leaders on the sidelines of the summit, at least 12 will be exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and President Putin. His visit to the Russian Far East Region is the first by an Indian Prime Minister.

    A special stamp to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary will be released as part of efforts to boost cultural cooperation. An innovative App to popularise Yoga will also be inaugurated. Mr Modi will also visit the Zvezda ship-building complex. It will present a great opportunity to learn about Russia's exemplary capabilities in the ship-building sector as well as explore possibilities of cooperation in this area.


  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met speaker of the Maldives Parliament Mohamed Nasheed in Male on 03 September, 2019. The two leaders discussed with him ways to work together on shared goals. They will work closely to realise the shared goals of the two countries. Dr Jaishankar is in the Maldives to attend the 4th edition of the Indian Ocean Conference. Mr Nasheed also served as the fourth President of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012. He was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives and one of the founders of the Maldivian Democratic Party.


  • India, Japan to hold 2+2 dialogue on Indo-Pacific cooperation. India and Japan have decided to hold their first Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2) ahead of the Japan-India annual summit this year for “advancing cooperation towards peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region”. Accord on the meeting was reached by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya at the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue.

    The Ministers recognized that peace and stability of the Indian and Pacific Oceans are crucial for ensuring prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and the entire world, and had a frank exchange of views on the current security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including developments on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea. The Prime Ministers of Japan and India, in their vision statement in October 2018, had reiterated their commitment to working together towards a free and open Indo-Pacific. Mr. Singh is on a two-day visit to Japan, during which he also met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


  • The fourth South Asian Speakers’ Summit kicked off in the Maldives capital on 1 September, 2019 with the secretary general of the Inter- Parliamentary Union and senior lawmakers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The 2-day meeting focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The annual summit was organised jointly by IPU and the Maldives parliament.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the plenary session of 5th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) at Vladivostok in Russia on 05 September, 2019. Mr Modi is attending the EEF as the chief guest at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The EEF provides a platform for discussing issues aimed at expanding international cooperation in Asia-Pacific region and developing the economy of Russia's Far East. There are several sessions involving India at the EEF. Among them are harnessing the power of Youth, Logistics - a digital pathway, Human Capital in Eurasia, and the Russia India business dialogue.

    Prime Minister held bilateral talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the EEF summit Mr Modi also held talks Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad and President of Mangolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga. Mr Modi will visit Indian Business Pavilion in Far Eastern Federal University campus.

    Prime Minister arrived in Vladivostok on a two-day visit to Russia. Mr Modi held comprehensive talks with Mr Putin at the India-Russia 20th Annual Summit in Vladivostok. Addressing a joint press meet with Mr Putintheir talks,were aimed at finding new horizons of India-Russia cooperation. This includes opportunities in trade, security, maritime cooperation and working together to protect the environment, he said. India and Russia are against outside influence in the internal matters of any nation. Russia has backed India's move on Jammu and Kashmir, saying that the changes in the status are within the framework of the Indian Constitution. The countries also signed 15 agreements in areas such as defence, air, and maritime connectivity, energy, natural gas, petroleum and trade.


  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that spectacular progress made by South Korea over the past few decades has been a source of inspiration for India. He was addressing the Seoul Defense Dialogue in Seoul. Mr Singh reached Seoul on a three-day visit to South Korea. He also said the synergy that they see between India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and Korea’s ‘New Southern Policy’ has further strengthened their Special Strategic Partnership.

    India has always supported all efforts to bring about peace and stability on the Korena Peninsula and denuclearisation through Dialogue and Diplomacy. Earlier the visiting Defence Minister met Prime Minister Lee Nak-Yon. Their interaction was comprehensive and covered a wide range of issues pertaining to bilateral ties.


  • PM Narendra Modi visited Zvezda shipbuilding complex along with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 4 September 2019 and interacted with the management and workers of the shipyard. The shipyard is being set up on the base of the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center by a consortium of Rosneft, Rosneftegaz and Gazprombank. It will produce heavy tonnage ships, ice-class vessels, etc.


  • India and Indonesia have unequivocally condemned terrorism and the selective approaches in dealing with the global menace. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on three-day visit to Indonesia, held talks with his counterpart Retno Marsudi.

    During the talks, the two leaders discussed the entire gamut of bilateral ties and held talks on a number of regional, global, economic, political and security issues. Acknowledging that the two countries are close maritime neighbours, Mr Jaishankar in a press statement said, India values Indonesia as a key partner under our Act East and Indo-Pacific policy. The two countries also affirmed their shared interests in the territorial integrity and unity.


  • Indian tech entrepreneurs who participated in a cross border collaboration meet, jointly organised by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the Embassy of Embassy of India, Tokyo and the Japan VC Network, are likely to receive Series A/B /C level funds in the range of $2 million to $40 million. The two-day start-up pitch session held in Tokyo was part of Nasscom's ongoing efforts to accelerate global capital access to startups and promote technological exchanges between India and Japan. Some 26 Indian start-ups participated in the session. Following the pitch sessions, some 180 one-on-one meetings were held between these startups and Japanese investors.


  • Indo-Lanka maritime fleet exercise - SLINEX 2019 to be held from 7th September, 2019. Sri Lankan Navy is sending two ships to India to participate in the SLINEX 2019, the joint maritime naval exercise with the Indian Navy. The offshore patrol vessels, SLNS Sindurala and Suranimala left Trincomalee on 05 September, 2019 and are scheduled to arrive at the port of Visakhapatnam.

    The annual Joint Indo-Lanka maritime fleet exercise - SLINEX 2019 is scheduled to be held. The week-long exercise will be attended by 323 Sri Lankan navy personnel including the commanding flag officer of the naval fleet. The exercise features wide-ranging naval exercises including helicopter operations. The exercise signifies the desire of both countries to enhance co-operation and to further strengthen mutual trust and interoperability between the two navies. The navy will enable both navies to rehearse and improve own capabilities and enhance operational effectiveness required to maintain maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.


  • India announced a line of credit worth one Billion US dollars for the development of the Far East region of Russia. This announcement will prove to be a take-off point for India's 'Act Far East' policy. This Russian region is full of resources which provide an opportunity for Russia and its friends. Start-ups are India's strength and youth of India and Russia can work further with new technologies for development of both countries.

    Mr Modi firmly believes that the talent and professionalism of the Indian people will contribute to the development in the Far East region of Russia. The proposed Vladivostok- Chennai sea route, the relations of both countries will be further strengthened. The relation between India & the Far East is age-old as India is the first country which opened its consulate in Vladivostok.

    India and Russia have taken their relations beyond the boundaries of government ties to people-to-people cooperation. He expressed happiness at the signing of more than 50 business agreement in Voldivostok at EEF platform. Efficient battery production will not only be helpful for e-vehicles but it will also open the door for clean cooking in more than 250 million families in India.


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