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October 2019 - Bilateral News

  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for early operationalisation of the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) between India, Bangladesh and Nepal, if Bhutan needs more time to consider it. She made this statement in Azerbaijan after meeting the Prime Minister of Nepal on the sidelines of the NAM summit at Baku. Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Md Shahidul Haque Nepal agreed to the proposal of Sheikh Hasina.

    During the visit of PM Hasina to India early this month, the joint statement issued by both the countries had called for early operationalisation of BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement between the member countries who are willing and ready or to work towards a bilateral India-Bangladesh Motor Vehicles agreement. The Motor Vehicle Agreement between BBIN member states was signed in 2015 but it has not yet been operationalised as the upper house of Bhutan did not ratify it. It has some reservations about its environmental impact owing to increased traffic of heavy-duty vehicles.

  • PM Narendra Modi visits to Saudi Arabia on 28 October and will address the third session of Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative Forum. Mr. Modi will have a bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and hold delegation-level talks with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The visit of Prime Minister Modi to Saudi Arabia has two important components - the first is the strengthening of the bilateral relationship between the two countries and the second , where Prime Minister is the keynote speaker at the Future Investment Initiative Forum at Riyadh.

    India and Saudi Arabia are likely to sign twelve agreements in key areas like civil aviation, defence procurement, security cooperation, non-renewable energy sector during the upcoming visit. Most importantly, an MoU is likely to be signed to establish the Strategic Partnership Council for both the countries. Prime Minister Modi will hold bilateral talks with King Salman and delegation level talks with Crown Prince Mohd bin Salman. Around 2.6 million Indians are living in Saudi Arabia and send back remittances to the tune of 11 million dollars annually.

  • The Odisha government has signed a Letter of Understanding (LoU) with UNICEF to provide safe drinking water to every household in the state. The LoU was signed by the state housing and urban development department (HUDD) to provide 24-hour safe drinking water and the project has been named as 'Drink From Tap Mission'. The project will be launched on a pilot basis for about 1.2 lakh people.

  • India and France explore 3rd country projects in Western Indian Ocean region. India and France have taken concrete steps to firm up their strategic partnership in the western Indian Ocean part of their Indo-Pacific strategies, within two months of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to Paris. They consisting of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles in the western Indian Ocean currently meeting for the first time in the Reunion Islands (French territory) for exploring economic and development partnership.

    India has longstanding defense partnerships with Mauritius and Seychelles, its defense ties with Comoros and Madagascar are growing as part of India's Indo-Pacific outreach to ensure peace and stability. Indo-French defense partnership extends to the western part of the Indian Ocean. The joint statement issued after Modi's meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron had indicated enhancement in the Indo-French partnership in the western Indian Ocean. The swift implementation of the conclusions of the joint strategic vision of India-France cooperation in the Indian Ocean region, adopted during the state visit to India of President Macron in March, 2018.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Riyadh in Saudi Arabia with an aim to boost bilateral ties between the two countries in key sectors, including energy and finance. The visit is aimed at strengthening ties with a valued friend. He is scheduled to meet Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Energy Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, the new Foreign Affairs Minister of Saudi Arabia, Ahmad bin Sulaiman Alrajhi among others.

    Prime minister will hold bilateral discussions with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Security, trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts are the important areas of bilateral cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Prime minister will also address the plenary session of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Forum where he is likely to speak about the growing trade and investment opportunities for the global investors in India. Mr Modi's address at the FII, also called the Davos of the Desert, hopes to attract potential investors to India. At least 12 Agreements are likely to be signed during the visit covering areas like civil aviation, security-related matters, defence, infrastructure & non-renewable energy sector.

    An Agreement to establish a Strategic Partnership Council will also be signed during the visit. Prime Minister will also launch the RuPay Card during this visit. The Rupay card is expected to benefit not only the large Indian community but also Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. Saudi Arabia is the third country in the West Asia where RuPay will be launched.

  • The Pakistan government will issue tourist visas to non-Indian Sikhs visiting the Kartarpur corridor and other gurdwaras in the country during the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. Under the Kartarpur Corridor agreement between India and Pakistan, pilgrims coming from India for one day would not require visa but they can only visit Gurudwara Baba Guru Nanak. However, those coming from other countries will need a visa and be free to visit other religious places.

    The Pakistan government will issue tourist visas to (non-Indian) Sikhs coming from Europe, Canada and America for their visit to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur. Indian pilgrims will have to obtain a visa for touring other holy sites in Pakistan. India and Pakistan signed the historic Kartarpur corridor agreement on October 24. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Indian side of the corridor on 9th November.

  • The bilateral 'Exercise SHAKTI' between the armies of India and France will be conducted from 31st October to 13th November 2019 at Foreign Training Node in Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, Rajasthan. The joint exercise will focus on counter-terrorism operations in semi-desert terrain. The exercise aims at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the two armies.

  • The Centre has set a target of ensuring at least 70 per cent infants to have access to breast milk by the year 2025. The Target will subsequently be increased to 100 per cent. India has taken inspiration from Brazil's success in the field of human milk bank decided to adopt a similar model in creating a wide network of human milk banks.

    Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey told media in New Delhi after returning from BRICS Health Ministers' Conference in Brazil, member countries have decided to take coordinated efforts to reduce infant mortality rate, increase the access of breast milk to the infants and ensuring affordable medicine to all.

    Issues like primary health coverage, reduction of infant mortality, vaccination, availability of affordable medicines, Tuberculosis and universal health coverage dominated the deliberations in the Conference. The member countries appreciated India's Ayushman Bharat scheme for universal health coverage.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay a day-long visit to India on 01 November, 2019. The Chancellor will be accompanied by several Ministers and State Secretaries of the Federal Government, as well as a high-powered business delegation.

    During the visit, Prime Minister Modi and the German chancellor will co-chair the fifth Biennial Inter-Governmental Consultations. India and Germany have established a Strategic Partnership that is characterized by a high degree of trust and mutual understanding. The two Leaders have regularly interacted on the sidelines of multilateral meetings. Germany is a leading trade and investment partner of India.

  • French Deputy Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition Brune Poirson is visiting India. He will co-preside over the second Assembly of the International Solar Alliance on 31 Oct 2019. The International Solar Alliance brings together 80 States and offers concrete solutions that help reduce the cost of solar installations, particularly in developing countries.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Alberto Fernandez, the winner of Argentina's presidential elections.

  • India is an important trading partner of Saudi Arabia and the bilateral ties will grow further after the signing of the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement to coordinate on important issues, a senior minister of the oil-rich Gulf Kingdom said.

    Saudi Arabia is a major source of energy supply to India, Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi said that the two countries could do more in several sectors. India could be a great platform for East Asia, Central Asia and for Saudi Arabia. India, the world's third-largest oil consumer, imports 83 per cent of its oil needs.

    Saudi Arabia is its second-biggest supplier after Iraq. It sold 40.33 million tonnes of crude oil to India in 2018-19 fiscal when the country imported 207.3 million tonnes of oil. India also buys some 200,000 tonnes of LPG every month from Saudi Arabia.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will co-chair the 5th Inter Governmental Consultations (IGC) in New Delhi on 1 November, 2019. The two leaders will also hold talks and discuss a host of bilateral issues including economic partnership, trade, investment and agriculture. Entire gamut of bilateral issues including science, education, technology, people to people contact and cultural exchanges will also be discussed. Two countries are likely to sign around 20 agreements.

  • Two new countries Eritrea and Saint Kittis and Nevis have signed the International Solar Alliance's (ISA) Framework Agreement at its second Assembly held in New Delhi. With this 83 countries have so far signed the ISA framework agreement.

    Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy R K Singh who is also the President of ISA, emphasized the increasing importance of solar energy. This is very important in view of the climate change issues faced globally. He also elaborated the number of steps that India has taken to support the International Solar Alliance which India along France launched.

    At the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to increase renewable energy capacity to 175 Giga Watt by 2022 and committed for further increasing it to 450 GigaWatt.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to attend a key meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and participate in bilateral engagements with the Uzbekistan government. Mr Singh will represent India at the meeting of Council of Heads of Government of SCO in Tashkent. The leaders participating in the meeting are expected to focus their discussions on multilateral economic cooperation in the SCO region.

    This will be the third Council of Heads of Government meeting after India became a member of the SCO. The Defence Minister will also have bilateral engagements. He will hold a meeting with Major General Kurbanov Bakhodir Nizamovich, Minister of Defence of Uzbekistan, to discuss issues of bilateral defence cooperation.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Thailand on 02 November, 2019 to participate in the 16th ASEAN-India summit, 14th East Asia summit and 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). MEA Secretary (East), Vijay Thakur Singh said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will visit Bangkok on the invitation of the Prime Minister of Thailand. Ms. Singh said that as his first engagement, Prime Minister will address the Indian community at National Indoor Stadium in Bangkok.

    She said, during the event, Prime Minister Modi will release the commemorative coin marking the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev and Thai translation of Tirukkural. She said, Prime Minister will participate in India-ASEAN summit on 3rd November. She further said strengthening ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanism, enhancing connectivity, deepening economic partnership, enhancing cooperation in the digital domain including cyber-security are the key agenda of the India-ASEAN summit 2019.

  • India and the US have discussed a wide range of issues including measures to combat money laundering and terror financing. In a joint statement after 7th India-US Economic and Financial Partnership meeting in New Delhi, the two countries noted that they have developed a historic approach to tackling money laundering and combating terror financing.

    The Indian side at the meeting was led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while the US delegation was led by the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Both sides took stock of efforts undertaken to further improve mutual cooperation on a wide range of multilateral issues. Both sides not only discussed policies to stimulate growth but also deliberate on the significant steps were taken by the two countries to strengthen the financial sector. They also discussed investment in infrastructure and deepening of financial relations.

  • UNESCO has designated Mumbai as a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of FILM and Hyderabad in the field of GASTRONOMY. UCCN, created in 2004, is a network of cities which are thriving, active centres of cultural activities in their respective countries. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network now counts a total of 246 cities. The member cities that form part of the Network come from all continents and regions with different income levels and populations.

    They work together towards a common mission: placing creativity and the creative economy at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 7 categories for recognition under UCCN are Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Music, Media Arts and Literature. Previously, 3 Indian cities were recognized as members of UCCN, namely- Jaipur-Crafts and Folk Arts(2015), Varanasi-Creative city of Music (2015),Chennai-Creative city of Music(2017) Ministry of Culture is the nodal Ministry of Government of India for all matters in UNESCO relating to culture.

  • Dr Harsh Vardhan shares PM Narendra Modi's vision for inclusive health at G20 Okayama Health Ministers' Conference. India has highlighted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'Sab Ka Saath - Sab Ka Vikas - Sab Ka Vishwas' for inclusive health along with scheme -- Ayushman Bharat, at the on-going two-day G20 Okayama Health Ministers' Conference in Japan. Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who represented India at the conference in Okayama City, also highlighted Mr Modi's vision of FIT India Movement and Eat Right campaigns.

    The deliberations of the G20 Health Ministers focused on four major global health issues like the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, response to population ageing, management of health risks and health security management including Anti-Microbial Resistance and its containment. New Delhi is on the path to Universal Health Coverage and will contribute effectively in sustaining UHC at the global level.

    On Response to population ageing, Dr. Vardhan, during his intervention, shared India’s vision for its projected 20 per cent elderly population by 2050. The G20 countries about the efforts made by India to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality long-term comprehensive health care services to an ageing population. In his intervention, the Minister also made a mention of public health measures to tackle Dementia and the government's commitment to ensure dignity with care for its elderly. This opportunity was also utilized to have bi-lateral meetings with Italy, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

  • India-Bangladesh Stakeholders’ Meet begins in Guwahati on 22 October, 2019 with trade and connectivity high on the agenda. A 70-member delegation from both countries is participating in the two-day meet. The focus would be on improving its connectivity with the neighbouring country to get the best of the rest under Act East Policy for the host Assam.

    The idea of the meet is to put Assam at the focus point of India’s trade expansion with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The technical sessions will have discussions on connectivity aspects as the broad theme, with several sessions planned to specifically focus on road agreements, cross border surface route trade and port use agreements. The Business meet on agriculture, mines and minerals, tea and infrastructure will also be held during the meet.

  • India to sign Agreement on Kartarpur on Oct 23; Asks Pakistan to consider waiving fee on pilgrims. Islamabad that it is ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor but termed Pakistan's continuous insistence on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit to the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib as a matter of disappointment. It has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee.

    Understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India. In view of the long-pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalization of the corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on the 12th November, 2019, India has agreed to sign the Agreement.

    Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. It said India will be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time. Government of India has taken the initiative to put in place the state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji so that the pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Card can undertake visit to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind laid the foundation stone for Sri Sathya Sai Sanathana Samskruti Project at Sai no Sato, Kakegawa, Japan. Sai no Sato will be developed as a temple on the lines of Akshardham and Swaminarayan Temple to promote Indian traditional culture.

  • India’s first all-women-run automobile service workshop in Jaipur was inaugurated by Mahindra & Mahindra recently. This move is part of the company’s initiative called ‘Pink Collars’ to promote the recruitment of women in core productive roles. The Compact Qwik workshop has women in roles including technicians, service advisors, drivers, part managers and security guards.

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. The two leaders discussed issues of mutual and regional interest. This was their second meeting within a month. They earlier met on the sidelines of UN General Assembly Session in September. Mr. Jaishankar also met Afghanistan's National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah and Myanmar's Minister for International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin.

  • Indian and Chinese tourists will be exempted from visas to enter Brazil for tourism or business purposes. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that there will be no reciprocity in the beginning. US, Australia, Japan, and Canada are already exempt from short-term tourist and business visas. The next country should be India, he said during a meeting in Beijing, according to Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. Both India and China are part of BRICS.

  • India and the US signed pact on Science & Technology. The PM Narendra Modi led Union Cabinet approved the proposal for Agreement on Science & Technology Cooperation between India and the US on 24th October 2019. Under the agreement, both sides agreed to strengthen bilateral relations by a significant convergence of mutual interests in science and technology. Science and innovation-based public-private partnerships will be established.

  • Vice President Naidu met Afghan President Mr. Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku, Azerbaijan and discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest. Mr. Naidu is leading an Indian delegation to the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement.

  • India and Sierra Leone signed six agreements including extending a credit line of 30 million US Dollars for rice cultivation. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio committed to further strengthening bilateral relations. The two sides agreed that the United Nations need to be reformed to reflect the realities of today and address current global challenges.

  • The Netherlands King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima arrived in New Delhi on a five-day visit. King Willem-Alexander's trip will be his first state visit to India, following his ascension to the throne in 2013. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are arriving at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. The King and Queen will visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Kerala during their visit. The visit is expected to boost economic and political cooperation between the two countries.

  • The Maldives has called for better collaboration with Indian business entities to explore new avenues to diversify its economy. Maldives Minister for economic development Fayyaz Ismail said there is a huge potential in the economies of both the countries, especially in the quest to diversify.

    Medical tourism and food processing offer numerous possibilities. The minister said the close cooperation between Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led to a very good development between the two countries in the last year.

    Both the leaders share a special bond that has been instrumental in creating this atmosphere, besides the cultural and traditional relationship. Indian expo mainly focuses on exploring business opportunities between the Maldives and Kerala. It is being attended by several Indian companies in collaboration with FICCI.

  • India and the Philippines have committed to work closely to defeat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The Philippines and India have also agreed to deepen defense and maritime security partnership and to make it a key pillar of their bilateral cooperation. The President conveyed New Delhi's readiness to cooperate with Manila to strengthen the Space programme.

    Both sides are exploring to start direct flights, which will give a boost to connectivity. The two countries will set up a group of experts to research and document their ancient ties. After the talks, India and the Philippines signed four agreements covering maritime domain, security, tourism, science and technology and culture. President Ram Nath Kovind is on a two-nation tour to Philippines and Japan.

  • India-Bangladesh rail links will reopen. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina announced on 16 October 2019 that all the rail links with India closed after the 1965 war will be reopened. The first rail line between India and Dhaka was opened in 2008 when Maitree express between Dhaka and Kolkata was started. In 2017 Bandhan express was also started between Kolkata and Khulna.

  • India will host the 91st Interpol General Assembly in 2022 after a proposal received the overwhelming support of member countries at this year's congregation at Santinago in Chile. A proposal in this regard was given to Interpol Secretary General J├╝rgen Stock by Union Home Minister Amit Shah when the two met in New Delhi during Mr Stock's official visit in August.

    The 91st Interpol General Assembly in India in the year 2022 will be held as part of celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) had hosted the general assembly, where representatives of all member countries converge, in India in 1997. Rishi Kumar Shukla, the director of the CBI that represents Interpol in India as the country's national central bureau, moved the proposal in the ongoing 88th general assembly in Santiago following which it was put to vote. The general assembly of Interpol is an annual exercise hosted by member countries.

    All major decisions affecting general policy, the resources needed for international cooperation, working methods and finances are deliberated and discussed by representatives. Based in Lyon, France, Interpol is an international police cooperation organisation with 194 member states and 100 years of experience of international cooperation in policing. The organisation has 90-million records spread across 17 databases. Equipped with secure global data communication channel I-24/7, incident response teams, command and control centre, a worldwide network of NCBs, the organisation assist law enforcement agencies of member countries.

  • India and Bangladesh have signed an MoU that will enable Delhi to set up a coastal surveillance system radar in Bangladesh. The two countries signed seven agreements in New Delhi after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina. Both Prime Ministers welcomed the initiatives for the development of closer Maritime Security Partnership and establishment of Coastal Surveillance Radar System in Bangladesh.

    The coastal surveillance system will pave way for Indo-Bangladesh White Shipping Agreement in future. This will be useful amid growing terror threats via seas. Other agreements signed by the two countries include MoU for Standard Operating Procedure on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports and MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusecs of water from Feni River by India for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura. The two leaders also inaugurated through video-link three bilateral development partnership projects including on import of Bulk LPG from Bangladesh.

  • Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan will pay a three-day visit to Mongolia. The Minister will participate in the opening ceremony of infrastructure that Mongolia has already constructed for the Indian funded, Mongol Refinery project. The Mongol Refinery project is being developed under a line of credit of 1.236 billion US dollars extended by India during the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia in 2015 and subsequently enhanced during the State visit of the President of Mongolia to India. This important event will pave the way to open a new chapter in bilateral trade and investment relations between India and Mongolia. The construction of the 1.5 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) Oil Refinery Project with Indian assistance is a shining example of our friendship. On completion of the project, it will meet about three-fourth of Mongolian requirement of oil.

  • Second Informal Summit between PM Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping to be held in Tamilnadu. Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu is getting decked up for the second informal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping, on 11th & 12th October, 2019. After the success of first informal meeting between the two leaders in Wuhan in April 2018, this meet has raised the expectations of exploring new possibilities. The old seaport town of Mahabalipuram, now known as Mamallapuram, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the meeting between the two leaders can open the doors for exploring the historical and cultural connection between Mamallapuram and China. "Mamallapuram, a major sea port, was used to establish trade links with South-East Asian countries, including China around 6th century.

    According to historians, Chinese used to visit this place a long time ago for trade and pilgrimage. It is expected that the visit will make these ancient cultural connections strong and will help in increasing the people to people contact which has largely remained unexplored between two big Asian neighbors. Trade and tourism between Mamallapuram and China are expected to get a big fillip. Wuhan summit in 2018 opened the doors for high level engagements at an informal level, a format in which the two leaders can engage in discussions on varying subjects. It remains to be seen how Mamallapuram summit can move beyond managing the differences to actively shaping and cementing bilateral relations for the world to see.

  • Indian-American Sampat Shivangi to serve on panel of US health body. In US, Sampat Shivangi, an influential Indian-American community leader, has been invited to serve on the national advisory committee of a key health body dealing with mental health. Shivangi, a physician, has been invited by the US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M Azar to serve on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council. The appointment is for the term beginning immediately and ending on July 30, 2023. Shivangi thanked Trump and Azar for their consideration and the opportunity to serve. He is a recipient of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, 2017 for his contributions to India-US relationship.

  • Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the 9th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP Intersessional Ministerial meeting to be held on 11th & 12th October, 2019 at Bangkok in Thailand. This will be the last Ministerial before the 3rd Leaders Summit to be held on 4th November, 2019 in Bangkok. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the Summit. The 9th Intersessional Ministerial Meeting comes at a crucial stage where the RCEP is scheduled to be announced as concluded in November, 2019.

    The 28th round of negotiations for RCEP at the expert level was concluded at Da Nang in Vietnam last month (September, 2019). In this round of negotiations meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee was held in which senior officials participated in negotiations regarding market access on Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and Investment as well as on other areas like Rules of Origin, Intellectual Property and Electronic Commerce.

    Out of 25 chapters, 21 chapters have been concluded. Crucial chapters of Investment, Electronic Commerce, Rules of Origin and Trade Remedies are yet to be settled. Ministerial guidance will be sought on these issues during the Bangkok Ministerial round. The Ministers of participating countries will also discuss preparations for the 3rd Leaders Summit. Mr Goyal will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Japan, Singapore, China, Australia and New Zealand during the Bangkok Ministerial.

    In preparation for the crucial Bangkok Ministerial round, Commerce Minister held several consultations with Indian industry for firming up India’s position and for taking into consideration industry concerns and sensitivities. The Commerce and Industry Minister chaired several inter-ministerial meetings at the official level and also with Ministers of the key line Ministries. The focus and emphasis of the meetings chaired by the Commerce Minister was on putting in place appropriate safeguards including auto-trigger mechanism against sudden surge in imports from RCEP countries.

  • India calls for increased cooperation between FATF, UN to combat terror financing. In a veiled attack on Pakistan, India has condemned any direct or indirect financial assistance to terrorists and terror groups by nations that enables them to pursue their activities, including in defending criminal cases against them. Speaking at a General Assembly Sixth Committee meeting on measures to eliminate international terrorism, First Secretary and Legal adviser in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Yedla Umasankar called for increased cooperation between the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the UN to combat terror financing. The flow of resources meant to produce terror are required to be stopped by States for which collective inter-State efforts are required at regional and sub-regional levels.

    The FATF has a significant role in setting global standards for preventing and combating terrorist financing and the UN needs to increase cooperation with such bodies. India strongly condemns direct or indirect financial assistance given to terrorist groups or individual members thereof by States or its machineries, to pursue their activities, including in defending the criminal cases involving terrorist acts against them. India's comments came as on Pakistan's request, Mumbai attack mastermind and banned Jama'at-ud-Da'wah Chief Hafiz Saeed was allowed by an Anti-Terror Committee of the UN Security Council to withdraw money from his bank account for basic expenses. Saeed, a UN designated terrorist was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.

  • The United States has named PepsiCo India for the 2019 Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). The award will be presented in a ceremony on 31 October 2019. The award recognizes the company's efforts to save more than 17 billion liters of water. The company saved water through community water programmes which positively impacted 60,000 community members.

  • Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives celebrating Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary and legacy. Mahatma Gandhi's dedication to public service is an inspiration, and even when faced with incredible hardships and injustice, he never wavered in the fight for freedom, dignity and equality for all.

    The resolution was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 14 other lawmakers. India's Ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla welcomed the resolution. The resolution emphasised the influence of Gandhi's teachings on civil rights leaders around the world including Dr Martin Luther King.

  • India and Japan will hold a joint military exercise in Mizoram from 19th of October to 2nd of November, 2019. The focus of the two-week-long exercise Dharma Guardian will be to increase the interoperability between the two forces and enhance coordination in dealing with various security challenges including counter-terrorism. The Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) comprising 25 soldiers each, will participate in the exercise aimed at sharing experience gained during various Counter-Terrorism Operations in respective Countries.

    Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN is an annual training event, which is being conducted in India since last year (2018). In respect of Japan, it is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of global terrorism. The scope of this exercise covers platoon-level joint training on counter-terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.

    Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN –2019 : Joint Military Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN-2019 between India and Japan will be conducted at counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte from 19 Oct to 02 Nov 2019. Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces comprising 25 soldiers each will participate in the exercise. Its aim is to share experience gained during various Counter Terrorism Operations in respective Countries.

  • The 2nd edition of Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) of the navies of India and Bangladesh begun in Northern Bay of Bengal. Guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvijay and missile Corvette INS Kuthar are participating in the exercise along with BNS Ali Haider and BNS Shadinota from Bangladesh. The exercise aims at development of mutual communication and sharing of best practices between the two navies.

  • Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter to invest USD 100 billion in India in areas of petrochemicals, infrastructure and mining. India is an attractive investment destination for Saudi Arabia and it is eyeing long-term partnerships with New Delhi in key sectors such as oil, gas and mining. Saudi Arabia is looking at making investments in India potentially worth USD 100 billion in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining.

    Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil giant Aramco’s proposed partnership with Reliance Industries Ltd reflected the strategic nature of the growing energy ties between the two countries. India’s value chain from oil supply, marketing, refining to petrochemicals and lubricants is a key part of Aramco’s global downstream strategy.

  • Indian Embassy in Moscow in collaboration with the Russian State Duma will organise an exhibition dedicated to the mutual influences of Mahatma Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy on each other's work. The exhibition, curated by renowned Gandhian scholar, Dr. Birad Yajnik, will showcase the correspondence between the two great souls of the 20th century, tracing their relationship and the impact it had on their individual journeys. On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, the exhibition juxtaposes Tolstoy's Bread Labour and Gandhi's Satyagraha, and their understanding of truth, kindness and love being the solution for this world.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated two landmark projects in Mauritius through video conferencing. These are Phase-1 of the Metro Express and a new ENT Hospital. Both these projects will serve the people of Mauritius and they are symbols of India’s strong commitment to the development of the Island nation.

    Both India and Mauritius are diverse and vibrant democracies, committed to working for the prosperity of our peoples, as well as for peace in the region and the world. Inauguration of projects herald a new chapter in the shared history, heritage and cooperation between India and Mauritius. Indian Ocean Economy holds great promise for people of the two countries.

    People of Mauritius will be ever grateful to India. He said, Mauritius needs the blessings of Mother India for development. India is already involved in a number of projects in Mauritius including Hospitals and Housing projects. In 2016, India provided a Special Economic Package of 353 million dollars for the execution of five projects in the Indian ocean country.

  • 14th edition of Indo-Mongolian joint military training, Exercise Nomadic Elephant-XIV, will commence from 5th October, 2019. The exercise will be conducted from 5 Oct 19 to 18 Oct 19 at Bakloh. The Mongolian Army is being represented by officers and troops of the elite 084 Air Borne Special Task Battalion while Indian Army is being represented by a contingent of a battalion of RAJPUTANA RIFLES.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi on 05 October, 2019. The two leaders will discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties. The talks will revolve around trade and connectivity, development cooperation, people to people contact, culture and other issues of mutual interest.

    The two leaders will jointly inaugurate three projects. India and Bangladesh are likely to sign six - seven agreements in areas like transport, connectivity, capacity building and culture following the talks. Ms Hasina was the chief guest at the India Economic Summit which was organised by the World Economic Forum on 03rd & 4th October, 2019 in New Delhi.

  • 10th edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force will be organised from 7- 20 October 2019 at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra. The Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin meaning ‘Friends’ in the Dhivehi language since 2009.



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