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Bilateral Current Affairs
January 2013 Bilateral Affairs
Author : Tejaswini
Category : Bilateral Current Affairs
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Current Affairs, Bilateral Current Affairs 2013, Current Affairs Jan 2013, Current Affairs 2012, Current Affairs 2013, Bilateral Current Affairs 212

January 2013 Bilateral Affairs

 

  • Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi, Minister of State for Petroleum & Natural Gas on 22 January, has said that India will soon send a delegation of experts to Niger for exploring possibilities of cooperation between two countries in the hydrocarbon sector. Responding to the proposal of her counterpart Mr. Foumakore Gado, Minister of Energy & Petroleum of Niger, at a meeting in New Delhi, Smt Lakshmi said Indian companies are interested to choose exploration blocks and invest in the oil Marketing infrastructure of the country. She also offered to provide training by PSUs like ONGC, GAIL, IOC to the Niger’s hydrocarbon sector personnel. Mr. Gado invited Indian delegation of experts in the oil & gas sector to provide them technical expertise in the hydrocarbon value chain. He welcomed Indian companies to invest in exploration blocks and other oil & gas sector activities. Mr. Foumakore Gado led a high level delegation of Niger at the meeting, which included Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Transport and chairman & Finance Commission of Niger.
     
  • Defence Minister AK Antony on 22 January called on the President of Myanmar U Thein Sein in NayPyiTaw. Antony conveyed the importance placed by India on enhancement of bilateral ties in all fields, including defence. He noted that the recent exchanges of visits between both countries at political and other levels had imparted a new momentum to the bilateral relationship. In the case of defence in particular, the defence minister noted that the two sides were working to consolidate ties, in mutual interest of both. He informed that the visit of all three Service Chiefs of India to Myanmar in the last 18 months reflected the desire of the Indian government to strengthen ties. These visits and other exchanges in the recent times had provided each side a better understanding of mutual concerns, needs and strengths. Antony stated that as neighbours which share a land and maritime boundary, both sides should work together to address common concerns. The Myanmar President welcomed the enhancement of bilateral ties between both countries in all fields. He stated that Myanmar can also play the role of a bridge between India and South-East Asia. The President also assured that Myanmar will not allow its territory to be used by anti-India insurgent groups. He welcomed the development of cooperation between the Armed Forces of both sides to deal with challenges along the land and maritime boundaries between both countries.
     
  • India and Sri Lanka on 22 January, signed two separate agreements on combating international terrorism and avoidance of double taxation, eyeing elevation of “robust” bilateral ties to building of a special economic partnership. The two key accords were signed after the 8th India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting held in New Delhi, discussed enhanced cooperation in a range of areas including civil nuclear energy. At the meeting, the Indian side was led by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid while the Lankans were led by his counterpart G.L. Peiris. The two sides also discussed the emotive issue of fishermen and rehabilitation process of Tamils in Sri Lanka besides the 13th Amendment of the Lankan constitution that gives autonomy to provinces. India and Sri Lanka are each other’s largest trade partners in South Asia. Khurshid said “Given the vast untapped potential, we have stressed the need for intensive consultations towards a more comprehensive framework for economic cooperation and building of a special economic partnership,”.
     

 

  • United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green called on Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Union Minister of Law and Justice, in New Delhi on 16 January, and discussed various issues of mutual interest. Lord Green is on a preparatory mission for the forthcoming visit of United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron. During the hour long meeting the two leaders discussed ways and means for enhancing the Indo-UK business relationship; streamlining of the visa regime for Indians in the UK; greater cooperation in the fields of science, health and education. The possibilities of opening up of legal service sector between the two countries also came in for discussion. Dr. Ashwani Kumar informed Lord Green that India attaches great importance to the unique and historical relationship between the two countries and that the Government of India remains committed to carrying forward the process of economic reforms and to establish an overall atmosphere in the country conducive to foreign investment. 
     
  • Railway officials from India and Bangladesh on 16 January decided to fast track some more rail links between the two countries. They also decided to study the feasibility of increasing the frequency of Maitree Express between Kolkata-Dhaka. The three-day inter-government meeting, which concluded on 17 January, discussed ongoing rail projects and feasibility of a few more rail connectivity points. For some of the projects, survey has already been completed while feasibility of new links is to be studied. The meeting also took up issues like streamlining of inter-country freight train operations. “With a view to increasing people to people contact between India and Bangladesh, it was decided to expedite the projects for opening rail links between Akhaura (Bangladesh) –Agartala (India), Chilahati (Bangladesh) – Haldibari (India), Shahbazpur (Bangladesh) – Mahishashan (India) and Birol (Bangladesh) – Radhikapur (India) and also examine the feasibility of establishing a rail link between Feni (Bangladesh) and Belonia (India),” said Indian officials. The meeting constituted a working-group to study feasibility of increasing the frequency of the bi-weekly Maitree Express. The train’s around 375-km run from Kolkata to Dhaka has two stoppages for immigration check, at Gede (on Indian side) and at Darshana (Bangladesh side). It takes 10–11 hours to cover the stretch. 
     
  • India, Vietnam signed MoU to Strengthen Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises
    India and Vietnam on 15 January 2013 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is directly meant for building capacity and developing institutional framework and identifying thrust areas and opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises in Vietnam.The MoU was signed during the 4 day state visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari to Vietnam. 

 

  • The Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma, who is on a two day visit to Mauritius, had a meeting with the Hon. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius on 9 January, at Port Louis. Mr.Sharma informed the Prime Minister of Mauritius that there was a need for deepening and diversifying trade and investment ties between the two countries. Towards this end, he stressed upon the need for making the Mauritius India Business Council (MIBC) a robust institutional mechanism for giving a boost to trade and investment ties by identifying the priority sectors and sectors of engagement. The identified sectors can be tourism, infrastructure, manufacturing and light engineering, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, health and life sciences, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and textiles. It was agreed that a Joint Working Group on trade and investment would meet before April, 2013 to work out the modalities for broadening and deepening the economic engagement between the two countries. Anand Sharma assured of full support for the development of the textiles sector in Mauritius. He stated that the three draft MOUs in the textiles sector proposed by the Government of Mauritius involving cooperation of the Northern India Textile Research Association (NITRA) and the Apparel Promotion Council of India with the Mauritian institutions would be finalized soon. He further stated that a delegation from India in the textiles sector will visit Mauritius shortly to establish institutional linkages. The Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister announced that 35 scholarships would be made available by India annually – 15 in the Institute of Apparel Management (IAM) , 10 in the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and 10 in the Apparel Training and Design Centre (AT & DC) . He further announced that 1000 trainees from Mauritius would be provided training for skill development in the textiles sector and 10 factories in Mauritius would be taken up by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) for compliance with the requirements of quality certification. Anand Sharma thanked the Prime Minister of Mauritius for consistently supporting India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the Security Council. Sharma announced that in addition to the existing Line of Credit of US $ 250 million (which was announced during the visit of the Prime Minister of Mauritius in February, 2012), buyer’s credit to the tune of US 100 million would be provided to Mauritius. 
     
  • The 10th meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological, Industrial and Cultural was held during 8-9 January 2013 in New Delhi. Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, led the delegation from India. The Kazakh side at the IGC meeting was led by Mr. Bulat Akchulakov, Vice Minister of Oil and Gas, Republic of Kazakhstan. The two Ministers signed IGC Protocol after conclusion of the India-Kazakhstan IGC meeting. The two sides reviewed progress with regard to various decisions taken at the 9th Inter-Governmental Commission meeting held in Astana on 12th October 2011.The discussions took place in 20 sectors of cooperation like Energy, Trade, Agriculture, IT, Science & Technology, Mines etc. Both the sides agreed that the current level of bilateral trade is not commensurate with the potential existing between the two countries and called for conscious efforts to increase Indo-Kazakh trade through the Joint Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation and the India Kazakh Joint Business Council. The meeting of the Joint Working Group on cooperation in hydrocarbon sector was held along with the IGC meeting. The next meeting of the Joint Working Group will be held in Kazakhstan. The dates will be agreed through diplomatic channel. Both sides also agreed that tourism provides the opportunity to strengthen the links between the two countries at human and cultural level. Both sides agreed that the 11th meeting of the IGC will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan. 
     
  • The Indian Diaspora has made the country proud through the significant contributions that they have made to the development of the nations which they have chosen to make their homes. Delivering the valedictory address at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held at Kochi during January 7-9, President Pranab Mukherjee said that it is a matter of pride that there are at least 5 Heads of States and over 70 senior political leaders such as Deputy Heads of State, Speakers and Ministers in various countries who can trace their roots to India. Highlighting the Indian Economy, Mukherjee said that India is the third largest economy in the world on the basis of Purchasing Power Parity basis. It too is the second fastest growing economy after China. It has managed to grow at a rate above 8 per cent. Due to the slowdown in the global economy and other factors, the growth rates have declined, from 8.4 per cent in 2010-11 to 6.5 per cent in 2011-12, and further to 5.4 per cent in the first half of 2012-13. He expressed hope the economic growth back to the level of 8 to 9 per cent. He called upon NRI’s to invest in India. Addressing on the occasion, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Mr. Vayalar Ravi said that Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has over the years, grown not only in size but also in its contents. Meeting under the overall theme of “Engaging Diaspora-the Indian Growth Story” this year a wide-ranging and interesting discussions were held in various sessions such as the Seminar on NRIs in the Gulf; on Skill Development; on Heritage and Diaspora; on engaging the young Overseas Indians; on India’s Growing Soft Power; and, on Science, Innovation and Technology. On the occasion of the centenary year of the Ghadar movement, a stamp was released by the Prime Minister. 

 

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