FREE Video based Current Affairs For competitive exams Click Here

October 2012 Bilateral Relations Affairs

 

  • India, U.S. and Japan on its third trilateral meet on 29 October 2012 discussed trilateral cooperation in maritime security and a route through middle or north of Myanmar leading up to Hanoi. The other major area of discussion was on exchanging of proposals for doing projects together in Africa as well as cooperating on the economic side in Afghanistan. The three countries were on cycle of talk which they completed following this meet. The talk began with their first meeting in Washington in December 2011 which was followed by next meeting in Tokyo in April 2012.Talking of maritime security the three countries discussed some specific areas of cooperation which will be productive in the next cycle of talks that is going to begin after the U.S. Presidential elections and with the settling down of next US administration.
  • Each side gave a strategic overview of the Asia Pacific. While Japan‘s Briefing was primarily focused on dispute with China over the Senkaku islands.India with discussing issues on Myanmar had taken up a trilateral connectivity initiative with Myanmar and Thailand that touched on a route through upper Myanmar that would lead into Vietnam. Also, US briefing was about its much-talked about policy of `pivot to Asia`, which is a move driven by the allure of emerging Asian economies, especially China and India.
  • An Rs 1,200 crore proposal for procuring 10,000 anti-tank guided missiles for the Army from Russia was cleared on 25 October by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The CCS cleared the proposal to acquire Russian-origin 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles for the Mechanised Infantry and Infantry battalions of the Army. The Konkurs-M are part of the weapon systems being procured by the force to augment the anti-tank arsenal in the Army. The Cabinet Committee had last week cleared the purchase of 25,000 Invar missiles for the T-90 tank fleet under a Rs 2,000 crore proposal. The Konkurs are part of the anti-tank weapon family of the force which includes the Milan anti-tank guided missiles which India has been buying from France and also license-producing it at the Bharat Dynamics Limited facilities here.
  • British High Commissioner to India James Bevan called on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on 22 October to ``engage in`` and ``strengthen`` diplomatic and business ties with the Gujarat government. The meeting follows the British government decision about a fortnight back to resume relationship with Gujarat which had been in a deep freeze since 2002 Godhra riots.
  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Embassy of India, Beijing is organizing the “India Show” concurrently with 6th China International Auto parts Expo from 26-28 October, 2012 in Beijing. The event is organized during this year which has been announced as the "Year of India-China Friendship and Cooperation", pledging to push the Sino-Indian strategic cooperative partnership to a new level. As part of India Show, CII will be leading a high-powered 19 member CEOs/ Business delegation led by Mr S Gopalakrishnan, President Designate CII & Executive Co-Chairman Infosys Technologies Ltd from 25-26 October 2012.CII is also organizing the India China Business Seminar on 26th October 2012 coinciding with the inauguration of India Show. Further, as part of the “India Show” an Indian wine festival is being organized by Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and an Indian Cultural and Dance Performance by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and CII attaches great importance to this show in enhancing the ties between two emerging economies and also in building “Brand India” in China.
  • V.Narayanasamy, Minister of State (PMO & PP), said India attaches highest importance to its relationship with Bangladesh. He welcomed Mr. Hossain Toufique Imam, Adviser to Prime Minister, Bangladesh and appreciated the meeting with him on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) Biennial Conference hosted by India on 25 October ,in New Delhi. This meeting had a very fruitful dialogue with Bangladesh that covered commencement of unfettered 24-hour access across the Tin Bigha corridor as well as duty-free import of all items, except 25. The Minister of State referred to the cultural identity of the people of Bangladesh and India and the age old relationship between the two countries since 1971. He also mentioned on the commonality between the two countries on health, education, and border issues. Narayansamy looked forward to a deeper engagement and interaction with each other on various issues of administrative reforms, pension, and best practices in the area of public administration and governance.
  • India and Spain on 26 October, signed an Audio visual Co-production Agreement in New Delhi, seeking to improve cooperation between the two countries in the audio visual sector. The Agreement was signed between Ambika Soni, Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Mr. Jose Garcia Margallo Y. Marfil, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Kingdom of Spain. The agreement establishes a legal framework for relations regarding cooperation between the two countries in the audio visual field thereby facilitating the development of the audiovisual industry. The framework for co production includes feature films, documentary and animation films. The agreement provides opportunities for both the countries to pool their creative, artistic, technical, financial and marketing resources to co-produce films. The co-production would provide an opportunity to create and showcase ‘soft power’ of our Country. Currently, as part of the initiative, the Government has signed co-production agreements with Government of Italian Republic in 2005, with Government of UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2005, with Federal Republic of Germany in 2007, with Federal Republic of Brazil in 2007, with Republic of France in 2010, with Government of Republic of New Zealand in 2011, with Government of Republic of Poland in 2012.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Railways and RENFE-Operadora and ADIF (Spanish Railways Infrastructure Manager) of Spain on technical cooperation in the field of Railway sector was signed by the Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Minister of Railways, Dr. C.P.Joshi and visiting Spain Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ms. Ana Pastor Julián, in New Delhi on 26 October. Under this MOU, both the countries are to promote cooperation and information exchange in the areas of High Speed Railway, upgradation of speed of passenger trains on existing lines, improving safety of train operations, modernization of Rolling Stock, construction and maintenance technologies for fixed infrastructure – Track, Bridges, Tunnels, OHE, Power Supply Systems, Signaling and Telecommunications and other cooperation in railway related technology developments.
  • The Government of India and the Government of Spain signed in New Delhi on 26 October, the Protocol for amending the Convention and Protocol between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain for avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital. The Protocol has been signed by the Union Finance Minister of India, P. Chidambaram on behalf of India, while Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margalloy Marfil signed it on behalf of Spain.
  • India on 22 October 2012 held its first 2+2 dialogue with Japan for enhancement of cooperation in the key areas that includes Maritime, Outer Space and Cyber Security at Tokyo, Japan. During the talks, both the nations agreed to hold a dialogue on Cyber Security on 5 November 2012. The Indian Delegation to Tokyo was led by the Foreign Secretary of India Ranjan Mathai and the Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and their counterparts from Japan were Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki and Administrative Vice-Defence Minister Hironori Kanazawa. Ashok Mukherjee, Special Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs would lead the Indian team to the Cyber Security dialogue between the two nations. The scheduled dialogues between the two countries are the results of the action plan initiated in December 2009 for advancement of the security cooperation followed by the meet of June 2010 at New Delhi. The potential expansion of India-Japan defence relations took a kick-start after the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda lifted the national ban on arm exports following the new guidelines announced under National Defense Program Guidelines in December 2010 in Tokyo. Japan can now sell military equipment and weapons with the purpose of peace-building and peace keeping operations. It can also join hands in weapon and military technology development with partner nations. Besides the traditional partner Russia, India’s defence partners at present are US, France and Israel.

 

###

 

  • India and Bulgaria will explore the possibilities of cooperation in Tourism Sector. This was decided at a meeting held between Tourism Minister of Bulgaria Mr. Delian Dobrev and Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai on 15 October in New Delhi. It was decided in the meeting that both the countries will identify areas for working together and explore new opportunities in Tourism sector especially in the field of Hospitality Training, Promotion, Marketing, Development and management of Tourist destinations. Both sides also exchanged views to explore the possibilities of promoting investment in the field of hotel industry tourism and infrastructural development. India allows 100% FDI in Hotel sector on automated basis. It was also agreed to explore the possibilities of enhancing air-connectivity between both the countries as lack of direct air connectivity between India and Bulgaria is one of the major reasons for small number of tourists traveling between the two countries. Mr. Delian Dobrev said Bulgaria with its beautiful mountains, the Black-Sea coast boasting of cities like Varna has become an attractive destination for Indian film Industry. Mr. Delian Dobrev is on a visit to India in connection with the 17th session of the Indo-Bulgarian Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation of which he is the co-chairman.
  • India and Indonesia on 16 October, decided to significantly enhance their defence cooperation with the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony declaring his meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Mr Purnomo Yusgiantoro as a ‘turning point’ and an ‘excellent beginning’. This was the first Ministerial level biennial defence dialogue between the two countries. The two sides exchanged views on a whole range of issues relating to regional and global security, bilateral exercises involving Services, training, co-production of defence equipment and ammunitions and visits at high levels. The defence dialogue mechanism at the highest level was agreed upon during the visit of Indonesian President SusiloBambangYudhoyono to India in January last year. The two sides noted with satisfaction that Defence Cooperation constitutes one of the principal focus areas of their diversified relationship. Encouraged by the success of the first Joint Exercise on Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare in India earlier this year, Antony proposed that the two countries should continue the joint exercises between the two armies on a mutually agreed frequency. Similarly, the two navies are regularly conducting coordinated maritime patrols (CORPAT). He also offered to Indonesia establishment of a formal maritime domain information sharing arrangement between the two navies.
  • The Prime Minister of Australia Ms. Julia Gillard on 17 October called on the President Pranab Mukherjee and held wide ranging discussions on bilateral and multilateral issues. The discussions covered issues relating to trade and investment, energy, supply of resources for India’s economic development, education, and people to people contacts. The two leaders also discussed cooperation in multilateral forums such as G-20 whose summit Australia will host in 2014. The President congratulated the Prime Minister on the launch of Oz fest in India and described it as a good initiative. He said India is committed to strengthen its strategic partnership with Australia. The President expressed appreciation for Australia’s support for India’s candidature in an expanded United Nations Security Council and said the two countries should work together in reforming the international financial architecture and equipping institutions like the World Bank with the resources they need. The Australian Prime Minister informed the President that she was gifting two saplings of Wollemi Pine for the Rashtrapati Bhavan. This tree was discovered in Australia in 1994 and its origins date back to time when the Dinosaurs roamed the earth. She expressed the hope they will flourish in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • India and Australia on 17 October 2012 announced the launch of nuclear negotiations for a civil nuclear deal that will enable the sale of uranium from Australian Capital city Canberra to New Delhi. The deal was announced by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on her visit to India. The deal is going to provide stretch in India`s civilian nuclear ambitions and will also strengthen bilateral ties between both the Countries. Earlier in 2011, the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australian Labour Party refused to sell uranium to India by specifying that India had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The actual Supply of uranium is going to take couple of years as negotiations for the safeguards agreement are complex and lengthy. Both the Countries also signed four other agreements, the most important of which is agreement on Student mobility and welfare in which they agreed to hold annual meetings at the summit level either bilaterally or during multilateral events. India and Australia also agreed to launch a Ministerial-level Dialogue on Energy Security, establish a Water Technology Partnership and start negotiations for an Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
  • Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Human Resource Development and Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, New Zealand co-chaired the first meeting of the India-New Zealand Education Council held on 19 October in New Delhi. The Council has been constituted to draw up a framework and devise mechanisms of co-operation and set the agenda for improving educational relations between the two countries. Both leaders renewed their commitment to collaboration and partnership in higher education. India and New Zealand expressed their commitment to earmark US $ 1 million annually to enhance the cooperative activities through specific programmes designed by the India-New Zealand Education Council. The programmes will include joint research, student mobility, faculty development, qualifications framework as well as vocational education and training, among others.
  • Six MoUs of cooperation between different institutions were also signed on during the meeting.
    • MoU between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Government of the Republic of India and Sport New Zealand of the Government of New Zealand on Cooperation in the field of Sports. The objectives of this MoU are to encourage and promote an exchange of programmes, experiences, skills, techniques, information and knowledge.
    • Educational Partnership Agreement between University of Delhi, India and Massy University New Zealand .
    • Memorandum of collaboration between Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU), India and the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
    • MoU between Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand and Jawahar Lal Nehru University of India.
    • MoU between Waiariki Institute of Technology of New Zealand and Punjab Technical University, India.
    • Educational Partnership Agreement/MOU between University of Delhi, India and Lincoln University/Asia-Pacific Football Academy has already been signed.
  • Pakistan’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain met Cabinet Minister of Petroleum and Natural gas of India, Jaipal Reddy in New Delhi on 17 October 2012 on the sidelines of an event PETROTECH 2012 and discussed avenues for energy cooperation, including the trans-regional project TAPI. Asim Hussain talked about the need of hastening work on the TAPI and the importance of demonstrating political will. He also stressed for setting up the economic modality by establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle or consortium duly empowered to take all necessary decisions. The TAPI is the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project that is also known as Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline, TAP or TAPI. It is basically a proposed natural gas pipeline that is developed by the Asian Development Bank. The project was started on 15 March 1995 by signing a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Turkmenistan and Pakistan for a pipeline project. Under the Proposed plan, the pipeline will transport Caspian Sea natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and finally to India.
  • The Defence Minister AK Antony will embark on a three-day visit to Indonesia, beginning on 15 Oct 2012, to take part in the first Ministerial level biennial defence dialogue between the two countries. The defence dialogue mechanism at the highest level was agreed upon during the visit of Indonesian President SusiloBambangYudhoyono to India in January last year. The defence ties between India and Indonesia have been progressing steadily ever since the two sides signed the Agreement on Defence Cooperation in the year 2001. The Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy regularly carry out Coordinated Patrols along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). The Armies of the two countries held the first joint exercise in India this year. There are regular training interactions between the Armed Forces of the two countries. Besides meeting the Minister of Defence of Indonesia, Shri Antony is also expected to call on President Yudhoyono and meet the Foreign Minister of Indonesia. The Defence Minister will return home on 17 Oct 2012.
  • The twelth meeting of the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation was held in New Delhi on 11 October. The Indian delegation was led by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and the Russian delegation was led by Shri AE Serdyukov, Defence Minister of the Russian Federation. The two sides expressed readiness to take all necessary measures to further expand the cooperation on a mutually beneficial basis. The Commission endorsed the Protocols of the meetings of the Working Group on Shipbuilding, Aviation and Land Systems, (WG SALS) and the Working Group on Military Technical Cooperation (WG-MTC) which was held in New Delhi on 27-28 August 2012 and 30-31 August 2012 respectively. The Commission appreciated the work done by the Co-Chairmen and Members of both the Working Groups and noted with approval the significant progress made in promoting bilateral military technical cooperation between the two countries.

 

###

 

  • Union Minister of Urban Development Kamal Nath and Ms. Nicole Bricq, Minister for Foreign Trade, Government of France signed an Administrative Agreement in the field of Sustainable Urban Development in Paris on 8 October. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kamal Nath expressed appreciation for the related work in the field of Sustainable Urban Development carried out in France and felt that India could benefit immensely from the French experience. Kamal Nath stated that both India and France would benefit from the Agreement, as it would provide an enabling platform for the officials, professionals, business leaders and local self-governing bodies to meet and share knowledge and best practices in the urban sector. He expressed the hope that this Joint Declaration would lead to enhanced cooperation and deepen the engagement between the two countries. He invited the international firms including French firms to participate in the process of making cities greener and more sustainable. Kamal Nath also participated in a business roundtable organized by the MEDEF International. The roundtable was attended by leading infrastructure companies. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister highlighted the immense challenges and opportunities that exist in the urban sector in India today. He informed that India would soon launch the next phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and that the Government of India is keen to encourage Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in urban sector, especially in larger cities, which would ease the process of investment and involvement in the burgeoning urban sector in India.
  • A trade mission, led by Washington governor Christine Gregoire, signed a ‘joint statement of interest’ with the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government for collaboration on trade, commerce and culture between the two states. The current trade mission, which is on a reciprocal visit to a 25-member delegation’s visit from Andhra Pradesh to Washington to promote Brand Hyderabad in particular and the state in general in 2010, comprised 50 members, including 10 companies that are into the information technology (IT) services business. The signing of the statement of interest is aimed at forging relationships in IT, biotechnology, skills development, agriculture, horticulture, clean energy, and health and hygiene. As part of the mission, Gregoire visited the Manikonda campus of Infotech Enterprises Limited, a Hyderabad-based provider of engineering services and Solutions Company. The commercial port city of Seattle in Washington state is home to multinationals like aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which is one of the clients of Infotech, Microsoft, Starbucks Coffee Company and e-commerce player Amazon.
  • Visiting US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on 10 October met corporate India leaders and discussed the recent American policy measures like the quantitative easing and the economic climate in the country. A majority of the business leaders mentioned that the recent decision of the Federal Reserve to inject third round of liquidity injection and its implications were discussed. Business leaders said that Bernanke explained what the strategy for QE3 (quantitative easing 3) was and assured us that the implications are not going to be as large as people fear. Finance Minister P Chidambaram during interactions with Geithner had expressed his concerns over the impact of the QE3 on commodity prices, as that will have a direct bearing on the government`s and the RBI`s efforts at controlling inflation and boosting growth here. Mortgage major HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh said the recent spate of reforms in the country, the need for the government do to reduce subsidies and boost growth were also discussed. Others present at the meeting included CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee, Kotak group`s Uday Kotak, Venu Srinivasan of TVS Group, Ishaat Hussain of Tata Sons and the US Consul General in Mumbai, Peter Haas. Both the visiting US officials had a series of meetings with top government officials, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram on 9 October in New Delhi apart from industry bodies and will be winding up their India visit with a series of meetings in the financial capital.
  • Japan and India on 10 October 2012 launched a joint research project into pricing structures in LNG markets. Japan’s industry minister Yukio Edano and Deputy chairman of Planning commission of India Montek Singh Ahluwalia, signed the agreement on joint research in Tokyo. Resource-poor Japan is on the hunt for cheaper energy, with the situation further worsened by the shuttering of all but two of its nuclear reactors amid public distrust following tsunami-sparked meltdowns at Fukushima. Japan is the world’s top importer of liquefied natural gas. India`s expanding economy also demand more and more energy keeping this in view both the countries agreed for a research project to study price structure.
  • Minister of Railways and the Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Dr. C.P.Joshi and visiting Federal Minister of Transport, Innovation & Technology of Austria Doris Burse signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 1 october,in New Delhi for strengthening long-term relationship and bilateral cooperation on road infrastructure and road transportation technology matters. Speaking on the occasion, the Railway Minister said that Austrian companies have been involved in some major projects in India, both in Road and Railway projects. Starbag, a construction major have done a project in New Delhi and have secured a contract worth 83 million EUROs from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.The company along with its Indian counterpart Afcons has jointly been awarded the Rohtang pass tunnel worth 250 million EUROs. Likewise Austrian company is designing a railway arch bridge in Jammu & Kashmir.Dr. Joshi said that a Memorandum of Understanding regarding Technologies Specific Cooperation in the field of Railways was signed between the Ministry of Railways, India and Federal Ministry for Transport Innovation & Technology of Republic of Austria in October, 2011.He said that the areas of cooperation have been identified in the fields of Tunneling Technology, Training and upgrading of skills like a psychological qualification test for locomotive drivers, Track maintenance as well as track monitoring & mechanised laying of track, Signaling & Telecom and Traction and Rolling Stock.
  • India and Austria signed MoU to strengthen bilateral cooperation on Rail and Road: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on 1 October 2012 between Indian and Austria to strengthen the long-term bilateral cooperation and relationship on rail and road infrastructure. The MoU was signed in between C.P. Joshi- the Minister of Railways and Road Transport of India and Highways and the Doris Burse-the Federal Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology of Austria during her visit to India. The identified areas of cooperation as declared by C.P. Joshi are tunnelling technology enhancement, training and skill up gradation like locomotive drivers’ psychological qualification test, track monitoring as well as maintenance. The memorandum also includes provisions of mechanised track laying, traction and rolling stock and telecom and signalling. As per the provisions of the MoU, there has been an agreement on establishing and encouraging relationship for communication and cooperation that is effective and continue for a long term. The understanding also includes exchange of information related to infrastructural development for roads, their management, administration, road safety and different areas of mutual interests that includes intelligent Transport Systems related to road transport technologies.

 

September 2012 Bilateral Relations Affairs

 

  • India on 17 September, offered a $40 million soft loan to Burundi, a mineral-rich country in eastern Africa, and signed a clutch of pacts in areas of rural development, education, and health and medicine to cement a burgeoning relationship.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks in New Delhi, with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is on a three-day visit, on a range of issues including a review of India’s capacity building initiatives in Burundi, deepening trade and investment, and UN reforms.After the talks, the two sides signed the agreements.Underlining India’s commitment to the development of infrastructure in Burundi, Manmohan Singh announced a new line of credit worth over $40 million to Burundi for a farm mechanization and food processing project.This will be addition to the $80 million line of credit for the Kabu hydroelectric project committed earlier.Manmohan Singh also urged the Burundi leader to facilitate Indian investment in agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturing.The two leaders discussed a host of regional and global issues, including the fight against piracy and the need for reforms at the UN Security Council.
  • India and Egypt signed an MoU for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration on 17 september,in New Delhi. The Election Commission of India and the Supreme Presidential Election Committee of Egypt will henceforth cooperate on initiatives designed to strengthen electoral systems and democratic institutions, besides training of personnel and human resource development. The MoU was signed between India`s Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and Secretary General of Egypt`s Election Committee Hatem Bagato . Sampath said Egypt has evinced keen interest in the use of electronic voting machines and India`s voter education programme and techniques used for cracking election frauds.
  • India and Burundi signed 3 Major Agreements and issued a Joint Statement:President of the Republic of Burundi visited India from 17 to 19 September 2012. During this visit, India and Burundi signed three agreements-(i) Exchange Programme for Cooperation in the field of Education, (ii) Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Rural Development and (iii) Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. Besides, India also announced a Line of Credit of 42.38 million US dollars for Farm Mechanisation and Integrated Food Processing Complex in Burundi.
  • India and Burundi issued a joint statement on that occasion. The major highlights of the joint statement are as following:
    • India and Burundi agreed to further enhance the bilateral cooperation in view of the considerable untapped potential.
    • Burundi thanked India for approval of a concessional line of credit of 80 million US dollars for the Kabu – 16 Hydro-electric project.
    • Both nations agreed to continue strengthening cooperation in the areas of economy, trade and investment, finance, human resource development, culture, etc. while striving to expand cooperation into other potential areas such as agriculture, food processing, ICT, science & technology, health, mining etc.
    • Burundi conveyed its support for India’s candidature for Permanent Membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council.

 

###

 

  • Aiming to improve ties between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), "INS Sudarshini", a sail training ship, began its journey on 28 September, from Chennai on a nine nation voyage. Director General, Naval Projects (V) Vice Admiral V K Namballa flagged off the ship, manned by five officers, 31 sailors, 30 Naval and Coast Guard cadets, from the Chennai Port Trust. During its journey, the ship would call on 13 foreign ports across nine nations to bolster friendship across the seas. The ship would take the ancient route of Indian mariners to South East Asia, it said, adding during its journey, the ship would spend a total of 127 days before berthing back at Kochi on March 29, 2013.
  • India, Palestine against any outside interference in solving Gulf issues: India and Palestine on 11 September, called for resolution of all the developments in the Gulf through dialogue without any outside interference. Visiting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exchanged views on regional developments, particularly the developments in the West Asian and the Gulf region. "There is a great degree of similarity in our views. We both agree that the developments in the region must be addressed through political dialogue and peaceful means without recourse to violence and outside interference, while taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all people," Dr Singh said in a statement to the media after holding talks with Mr Abbas. Mr Abbas also expressed the commitment of his nation to resolve issues with Israel through negotiations, while calling upon the neighbour to stop all violence and illegal settlements. He thanked India for its continued support to the Palestinian cause and sought to underline that a "Palestinian state with its East Jerusalem as its capital" was all for living in peace with Israel. Responding to the Prime Minister`s call for early resumption of the peace dialogue between Palestine and Israel, Mr Abbas said both the states living in peace and security was the objective his government was aspiring forv.
  • India extended a credit of $10 Million aid to Palestine in a gesture of support: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a support of $10 Million to Palestine during a meet with Palestine’s National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 11 September 2012. Palestinian president was here in Indian on a three day visit from 10 to 12 September 2012. Mr. Singh also promised his Palestinian counterpart about India’s backing for their full and equal membership of the U.N. the one that is threatened by US for veto. During the meet, both the sides inked three different agreements comprising information and communication technology, education and vocational training. The agreements were inked in presence of the Indian external Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and the member of executive committee of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Dr. Saeb M.S. Erakat. A MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been signed up to set up two schools at two districts of Palestine namely Abu Dees and Asera Al Shamalyeh, which will be named on the name of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Cost estimated for the construction of the two schools is US$ 1.8 million and will help about eight hundred students of these districts to fetch quality education. The schools at Abu Dees and Asera Al Shamalyeh will be constructed in an area of 1700 and 1900 square meter with 10 and 12 classes respectively. In the second agreement, India will set a state-of-the-art information and communication technology center in Palestine to create IT experts and generate opportunities of employment. To make the center of Palestine self reliable, some of the IT professionals from Palestine will be trained here in India to a higher level. As per the third agreement, India will participate in providing vocational training to the women and youth of Palestine. The training will include technical and machinery know-how to. Prime Minister Mr. Singh stated that he supported the Palestinian cause to achieve independent, sovereign and united state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as a capital to the state.
  • India, Myanmar and Thailand decided to implement Trilateral Connectivity Project by 2016: India, Myanmar and Thailand on 10 September 2012 reviewed the eagerly awaited trilateral connectivity project and decided to make all efforts to implement this by 2016. This was done at the meeting of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Joint Task Force, which met in New Delhi. It was also agreed during the meeting that steps be initiated to address issues related to harmonisation of customs and immigration procedures at border check-posts to enable seamless movement of goods and people to realise the full potential of the trilateral highway.

 

###

 

  • Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, on 4 September, said India and Pakistan would soon ink three agreements in the areas of customs co-operation, mutual recognition of standards and redressal of trade issues to give a fillip to economic activity. Addressing a Pakistani Parliamentary delegation at FICCI’s first India-Pakistan Parliamentary Dialogue, Mr. Sharma said India was ready to grant multi-entry and multi-city visas to businessmen from Pakistan. Mr. Sharma said there was a need to also open up more land routes to allow more people-to-people exchange and smooth entry and exit of business community from both nations. India recently allowed Pakistan nationals and companies to invest in India through the semi-automatic approval route. Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at $2.7 billion in 2010-11.Haider Abbas Rizvi, a member of Pakistan National Assembly, said that increase in trade and investment would help both sides to resolve other matters.
  • India and Tajikistan on 3 September 2012 signed six agreements in the field of sports, health, culture, education, labour, textiles and energy. India and Tajikistan agreed to advance their ties to a strategic partnership in order to impart greater strength to the relationship through all-round co-operation and engagement. Both the countries identified information technology, biotechnology, mining, tourism, pharmaceuticals among other sectors as high potential area. After the agreements, it was decided that India would increase training slots for Tajikistan from 100 to 150 under India Technology and Eco Training Programme.
  • Minister of State for External Affairs of India E Ahamed and Prime Minister of Niue, H. E. Toke Talagi signed a Joint Communique on the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Niue, at Cook Islands. Niue is a Pacific island country, which is a member of regional bodies such as the Pacific Island Forum and the Pacific Community and also of UNESCO, WTO and FAO. Since 2002, India has intensified its cooperative relations with all countries in pacific island region. Niue, is an island of 1400 inhabitants, which is also known as the world’s first “Wi-Fi nation”, in which free wireless Internet access is provided throughout the country. Niue is also known as the ‘Rock of Polynesia’, and is situated 2400 km northeast of New Zealand .
  • India and Pakistan on 8 September signed the much-awaited new liberalised visa agreement to boost people-to-people contacts between the two nations. The new pact, signed between External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, replaces a 38-year-old restrictive visa agreement. The new visa policy will ease restrictions on visitors from both the countries. In addition, senior citizens will be granted visas on arrival at the Attari and Wagah border in India and Pakistan respectively. Under the new arrangement, senior citizens will be granted a visa on arrival valid for 45 days. For the first time, group tourism will be part of the new pact which will also have other new categories, including multiple city one-year visas for businessmen and visa-on-arrival for people aged 65 years.