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India Speaks

Issue No. 84
June 2016

By: Jatin Kumar
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

BILATERAL ISSUES
a. IRAN
1. Embassy of India, Tehran celebrates '2nd International Day of Yoga’, Tehran, 21 June 2016
Embassy of India, Tehran in collaboration with Danesh-e-Yoga Institute, Kanoon-e-Yoga Foundation, Parsian Fitness Club and Tabiat Foundation celebrated the '2nd International Day of Yoga' on 21 June 2016 at the Kendriya Vidyalaya School, Tehran.

Abdorrahim Jahangiri, President, Yoga Societies in Iran, Ministry of Sports & Youth, Islamic Republic of Iran was the Chief Guest.

Apart from him, senior Iranian Yoga Masters Mahdi Saiyadi and Niloufar Maleki; and Masoud Mahdavi, President of "Kaanun-e-Yoga", Mitra Kazemi, Managing Director, Parsian Fitness Club, Abdolhamid Movahedina'ini, President of "Daanesh-e-Yoga" and Ali Rahbarian, President, Tabiat Foundation participated and performed Yoga. Students of Kendriya Vidyalaya School also performed a few important asanas.

Ambassador Saurabh Kumar read out Prime Minister's Message and the Video clip of Prime Minister on the occasion of '2nd International Day of Yoga' was shown.

A book titled 'Practical Lesson in Yoga' by Masoud Mahdavi Pour and 'Special Issue of Yoga Magazine' by Danesh-e-Yoga Foundation was released.
The event concluded with Ali Rahbarian giving a Cultural performance with a group of 15 members.
Source: Embassy of India, Tehran

b. KUWAIT
2. Repatriation of mortal remains to India and claim of outstanding dues, Kuwait, 8 June 2016
A system is in place for most immediate repatriation of mortal remains of Indian nationals. The Community Welfare section of the Embassy has a dedicated team which make daily visits to hospitals, Police Stations, Detention Cell/Deportation Centres etc to enquire about unfortunate death incidents and to ensure that mortal remains of Indian nationals are sent to their native town/village in the shortest possible time. The Embassy contact details are available on its Website.

2. In case of natural deaths (heart attack, sickness, old age etc.), the mortal remains are airlifted to India most quickly depending on the efforts of relatives/ employer/ friends as well as availability of flights. In case of unnatural deaths (such as suicide, drowning, fire, traumatic injury, inhalation of gases etc.) and after clearing all formalities required by Kuwaiti law, the mortal remains of Indian Nationals are airlifted to the nearest airport in about 1-4 weeks time from intimation of death. The Embassy’s website has the latest position on disposal of mortal remains of Indian Nationals since July 2014. The table below provides a break- up figures with regard to deaths gender-wise along with its causes for the period 2013 to March 2016.

3.    In cases where sponsor in Kuwait of the deceased Indian refuses to pay for the aforesaid expenses and the family members of deceased are deemed destitute, the Embassy pays for airlifting of mortal remains by Air India (or other airlines, if the National Carrier does not operate on that sector). The expenditure is such cases are met out of ICWF. The cremation of mortal remains is not allowed in Kuwait.

4.    In case of unnatural deaths, the Embassy has been advising to the legal heirs of the deceased to appoint Embassy as their Attorney and send Power of Attorney and Legal Heir-ship Certificate, duly attested by the concerned authorities in India for filing a claim of death compensation on behalf of the legal successor. Death compensation cases related to work-site accidents & traffic accidents should be filed within one-year & three-year periods respectively, otherwise it becomes time barred. In this regard, the table below from 2014 to March 2016 may also be seen.

Compensation provided to the legal heirs of the deceased Indian nationals
The details of repatriation of mortal remains to India during the last two years are as follows. In 2014, a total of 559 Indians died in Kuwait, out of which mortal remains of 434 nationals were sent to India, with local burial in 125 cases. The Embassy paid for transportation in 29 destitute cases. The Embassy spent KD 4,013 on air freight and coffin box etc from the ICWF. Similarly, during the year 2015, there were a total of 611 deaths of Indian nationals. While mortal remains of 504 persons were sent to India, local burial was done in 107 cases after taking due consent from their family members. Free transportation of mortal remains was done in 35 destitute cases. The Embassy spent KD 4,456 on air freight charges and coffin box expenses. The table below shows the details of the repatriation of mortal remains of deceased Indian Nationals to India during the period from 2005 to 31 March 2016.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

3. Indian community members abroad were targeted by gangs of fraudsters, Kuwait, 8 June 2016
Government of India has recently come across several reports of frauds where Indian community members abroad were targeted by gangs of fraudsters. The modus operandi of these fraudsters is to call victims saying that the local authorities have initiated legal proceedings against them because they have submitted false information in their immigration papers, and that it can result in their arrest or deportation. These fraudsters would then demand money to be transferred urgently to a lawyer/consultant’s account saying that this lawyer/consultant has been appointed by Indian Embassy to assist the victim in his legal proceedings. However, to avoid any delay due to bureaucratic procedures, fraudsters will ask the money to be transferred immediately to the account, assuring the victim at the same time that the money will be reimbursed to him/her later by Indian Embassy. It is suspected that these fraudsters are using their hacking skills to access personal details of their targets and to off-guard their victims, they pretend as if they are Indian Embassy staff calling from the Embassy.

The Embassy advises all members of Indian community in Kuwait not to fall prey to such fraudsters’ calls. If any such calls are received by any member of the community, he/she should immediately contact Embassy officials in person (phone numbers are available on the website at http://www.indembkwt.org) so that necessary remedial actions are taken by this Embassy.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

4. Celebrations of Second International Day of Yoga (IDY) at Embassy of India premises on 24 June 2016, Kuwait, 26 June 2016
The Embassy held the 2nd International Day of Yoga celebrations at its Embassy premises on Friday, 24 June 2016 from 0600-1000 hrs, in association with ‘Art of Living’, ‘Sahaj Marg’, Artistic Yoga, Harmony House, ‘Sevadarshan’ and ‘AMMA’ Kuwait. About 1,000 persons mainly from Indian community plus some Kuwaiti nationals in Kuwait participated.

2. As per Common Yogic Protocol 2016, the volunteers from Art of Living, Seva Darshan and AMMA Kuwait performed the Yoga asanas on the stage and through the LED Screens installed at the two Consular Halls and at the courtyard of the Embassy, many yoga lovers performed the Yoga asasans in parallel, in these specially made Yoga halls. Further, Meditation and Pranayam session was held at the auditorium which was taken by ‘Heartfulness’ and ‘Harmony House’. There were powerful performances by volunteers from ‘Artistic Yoga’ and a young and dedicated team of volunteers, including women and children, from Seva Darshan who demonstrated various yoga asanas and the ancient form yoga-based Indian martial arts. There was also a Yogic dance performance by Latha Kanna and her dance group. Michelle, an artist and a volunteer of “Harmony House”, painted the entire mood of the 2nd IDY celebrations, which was greatly appreciated.

3. Dr Vinod K. Grover, Indian Doctors Forum made a presentation on ‘Stress Management by Yoga’ and Dr Prathap Unnithan, Indian Dentist Alliance of Kuwait (IDAK) made a presentation on “Lifestyle and Oral health” and shared some useful tips to maintain oral hygiene. IDAK also organized an oral screening camp for the benefit of the general public. The event was supported by Indian Business and Professional Council, M/s Larsen & Toubro, Air India and Indiansinkuwait.com. The event was covered by Kuwait TV Channel 2 and by local print and electronic media.

4. The event generated great amount of enthusiasm and wide spread awareness about Yoga and its physical and mental health benefits.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

5. Indian Ambassador hosted Iftar party, Kuwait,  28 June 2016
The Ambassador of India to Kuwait organized an Iftar party at India House on 23 June 2016. This was attended by the Ambassador of Kuwait to India, Kuwaiti Dignitaries and sixty prominent Indians. The function started at 6 PM and finished at 10 PM.

The event started with the traditional evening prayer at 6:45 PM. The guests enjoyed the hospitality at India House and the variety of Indian snacks laid out for Iftar. Some photos taken on the occasion are attached.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

c. OMAN
6. Indian Embassy in Muscat organized Second International Yoga Day, Muscat, 22 June 2016
Indian Embassy in Muscat organized, by working together with various Yoga Organizations in Oman, celebrations to commemorate the 2nd International Day of Yoga (IDY) in Muscat as well as in other key cities of Oman such as Salalah, Sohar, Sur etc. In Muscat around 3,000 persons including people of Oman, members of Indian community, members of other expatriate communities, Diplomatic Corps as well as students joined the signature event of IDY, the Yoga Session held at Oman International Exhibition Centre on 21 June 2016, at 2000 hours. It was for the first time in Oman that around 3,000 persons performed Yoga together under one roof.

2. Before the commencement of the Yoga Session, messages of Hon’ble Prime Minister and Hon’ble External Affairs Minister of India given on the occasion of 2nd International Day of Yoga were telecast. Further, two messages, in support of International Day of Yoga and to underline the need for people in Oman to practice Yoga regularly, from well –known Circuit Racer of Oman Racer Team Ahmad Al Harthy, and renowned Tennis Star Fatma Al Nabhani, were also telecast. While Fatma Nabhani could not attend the Yoga Session in person, due to her commitment to travel out of Oman, Harthy graced the celebrations with his presence.

3. Re-affirming the support of the Government and people of Oman, Minister of Sports Affairs of Oman, H.E. Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed Al Mardouf Al Saadi, joined the celebrations as the Chief Guest. He conveyed the Government of Oman’s abiding support to all the efforts aimed at promoting Yoga in Oman. Also present on this occasion was Guest of Honour, H.E. Mohammed bin Yousef Al Zarafi, Under Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other senior officers from Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Oman International Exhibition Centre extended its full support to the Embassy in making logistical arrangements for the mammoth Yoga Session.

4. The Embassy was assisted in mobilizing people and training them for the above Yoga Session by a number of Yoga Organizations working in Oman towards promoting Yoga, including Art of Living. Further, various Linguistic Wings of Indian Social Club also made significant contributions to the success of the above event. A number of Indian enterprises also coordinated with the Embassy in making various logistical arrangements and provision of Yoga mats, T-shirts and refreshments.

5. Further, Yoga Sessions to commemorate the 2nd International Day of Yoga were also organized in Salalah, by the Indian Social Club together with Art of Living at their Club premises, two Sessions at Sur by Sanskrit Yoga Group and Sur Yoga Samithi, and one Session in Sohar at Jindal Hall. Together, in these events, over 500 persons participated.

6. The numerous Yoga Sessions organized on 21 June 2016 were culmination of a series of events which were organized earlier in run-up to the 2nd International Day of Yoga. These events were organized by various Yoga organizations in Oman, including Art of Living, at their own initiative, in cooperation with the Embassy. In fact, some of these Yoga events were held at the multi-purpose hall of the Embassy and Embassy Lawns. With a view to provide encouragement to various Yoga organization in Oman to continue with their efforts to promote Yoga in Oman, Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, and other officers of the Embassy participated in various Yoga Sessions organized in run-up to the International Day of Yoga 2016. Their contribution to the success of the celebrations to mark the 2nd International Day of Yoga is highly appreciated.

7. It may be recalled that the United Nations had declared in December 2014, at the initiative of Prime Minister of India and with the support of all the member countries of the United Nations, 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. The UN General Assembly Resolution, adopted unanimously and co-sponsored by 177 member countries of the UN including Oman, has invited the member states to observe the International Day of Yoga, in an appropriate manners in accordance with the national priorities, in order to raise awareness of the benefits of practicing Yoga. The Government of India has taken the lead in celebrating International Day of Yoga worldwide with a view to popularize Yoga, which is an ancient Indian tradition, among the people all over the world. In view of its health and spiritual benefits, Yoga has become popular in Oman and other countries of the world and it is seen as a holistic health system for enabling the people to live healthier and happier lives. Indian Embassy in Muscat shall continue to work with all Yoga organizations, teachers, enthusiasts and practitioners to popularize Yoga among the friendly people of Oman and expatriate communities living in Oman.
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

d. QATAR
7. PM visits Workers Camp in Doha, 4 June 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Indian workers at a project site in Mesheireb in downtown Doha. Addressing the assembled workers, he said that his first engagement after arriving in Doha was to meet them. The Prime Minister said he is aware of the issues being faced by them, and will raise them with the Qatari leadership whenever he meets them. The Prime Minister who briefly visited a medical camp on the site, before arriving for the interaction, complimented the doctors for the good work they have been doing.

After concluding his address, the Prime Minister moved from table to table, interacting with groups of workers, and sat down to share a meal with some of them.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

8. India-Qatar Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister to Qatar, Doha, 5 June 2016
1. At the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, Hon'ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi paid a two-day official visit to the State of Qatar from 4-5 June 2016.

2. His Highness the Emir received Prime Minister Modi on 5 June at the Amiri Diwan and exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest. The wide-ranging discussions were held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.

3. During the visit, Prime Minister Modi also met His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the State of Qatar.

4. During the official meetings, the two sides recalled the historical ties between India and Qatar and noted that the mutually beneficial and traditionally close interaction, which has existed between the peoples of the two countries over several generations, had stood the test of time.

5. The leaders of the two sides expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral relations underpinned by the regular exchange of high-level visits. They welcomed the conclusion of various agreements/ MOUs during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Qatar. They acknowledged that these agreements and those already existing would strengthen the framework for the consolidation of friendship and cooperation between India and Qatar.

6. Both leaders appreciated the well-functioning bilateral institutional mechanisms in the fields of trade and investment, energy, defence and manpower and emphasized that the sectoral Joint Working Groups should continue to meet regularly to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. The two sides agreed to constitute an inter-ministerial High Level Joint Committee to regularly review all bilateral matters, as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.

7. Recognizing the existing goodwill, the two leaders agreed to further broaden and deepen bilateral engagement in diverse fields of mutual interest. They agreed to further enhance high-level political exchanges, defence and security cooperation, trade and economic relations and people-to-people linkages. They stressed upon the need for building a strong partnership for the 21st century between the two countries in keeping with their responsibility for promoting peace, stability and security in the region and the world.

8. Acknowledging that the agreement on Defence Cooperation signed in November 2008 provided the required framework to strengthen bilateral defence ties, the two leaders agreed to provide further impetus to these relations, including through joint exercises and enhanced training of naval, air and land forces, as also in the area of coastal defence. The Qatari side evinced interest in the opportunities offered under the 'Make in India' initiative for joint production of defence equipment in India.

9. The Indian side appreciated Qatar's participation in the International Fleet Review and DEFEXPO in India in February and March 2016, respectively, and the increasing visits of Qatari delegations to India's Naval and Coast Guard establishments. The Qatari side thanked India for its high-level participation, along with an indigenously designed and built guided missile frigate of the Indian Navy during DIMDEX in March 2016, and the regular goodwill visits of the ships of Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The Qatari side expressed appreciation for India's offer to conduct special training programmes for the personnel of Qatar Armed Forces and Coast Guard in India and in Qatar.

10.  The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean regions, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.

11. The two leaders expressed strong condemnation of the phenomenon of international terrorism, reiterating their firm resolve to cooperate together to root out this global menace which threatened all nations and societies. They noted that the spread of terrorist organizations at the global and regional level, and the significant rise in acts of terrorism directly undermined the international peace and security environment and endangered efforts to ensure sustainable growth and development.

12. Both leaders condemned all acts of violence, terrorism and extremism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations. They reaffirmed that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, civilization or ethnic group.

13. The two leaders highlighted the need to isolate the sponsors and supporters of terrorism and agreed that urgent action against all such entities, which support terrorism and use it as an instrument of policy, must be taken.

14. Both sides noted that addressing the menace of global terrorism should be based on a comprehensive approach which should include, but not limited to, countering violent extremism, combating radicalization and recruitment, disrupting terrorist movements, stopping all sources for financing of terrorism, stopping flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters, dismantling terrorist infrastructure, and countering terrorist propaganda through the internet.

15. The two sides discussed ways and means to further promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism, radicalization and for disturbing social harmony. They welcomed exchanges and dialogue between religious scholars and intellectuals of both countries and the organization of conferences and seminars to promote values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare, inherent in all religions.

16. Expressing appreciation of their ongoing bilateral cooperation in the area of security, the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence-sharing, developing best practices and technologies, capacity building and to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug-trafficking and other transnational crimes. The two sides further agreed to take action against illegal transfer of money. Both leaders welcomed the signing of an MOU on cooperation in exchange of intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and terrorism financing.

17. Both leaders highlighted that countering terrorism required a strong collective action by the global community. They further agreed to strengthen their cooperation in combating terrorism within the relevant multilateral institutions.

18. The two sides described bilateral trade ties as an abiding link between the two countries. Taking note of the excellent trade engagement, with the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, both sides agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties, particularly through diversifying the trade basket. They agreed to encourage regular participation in each other’s trade fairs and exhibitions and to facilitate trade promotion measures. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and Qatari companies in each other's market and agreed to further encourage such participation. To promote business to business and tourism linkages, they also agreed to put in place appropriate mechanism for expeditious grant of visas to businessmen and tourists of the two countries.

19. The Qatari side welcomed the participation of Indian companies in the infrastructure development projects in Qatar in preparation for the FIFA 2022 World Cup and the development plans under "Vision 2030 for Qatar”.

20. Prime Minister Modi highlighted the major initiatives taken by the Government of India for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ through simplification and rationalization of existing rules and relaxing of foreign direct investment caps in key areas, including interalia, railways, defence and insurance. Informing about the plans to create world class infrastructure in India through 100 smart cities; metro projects for 50 cities; modern waste management system for 500 cities; affordable healthcare within everyone's reach; sanitation for all by 2019; and a roof over every head by 2022, Prime Minister Modi invited Qatar to be a partner in India’s growth story.

21. Expressing his appreciation for Prime Minister Modi's vision to further accelerate India’s growth and development, His Highness the Emir expressed his confidence in India’s growth narrative. Noting their strong potential to provide Indian economy a positive thrust for growth, His Highness the Emir lauded the new initiatives of Prime Minister Modi including, "Start Up India", "Make in India", "Smart City”, and "Clean India” etc.

22. Recognizing the high growth rate and the existing potential of the Indian economy, the importance of partnering in India’s growth and acknowledging Qatar's significant investment capacity, the two sides discussed various avenues/instruments for Qatari investments in India, particularly in different asset classes and various infrastructure sectors as well as the disinvestments of Indian Public Sector Undertakings.

23. The two sides agreed to increase the level of participation in infrastructure projects in both countries. They further deliberated upon the importance of cooperation between Qatar Investment Authority and National Infrastructure and Investment Fund set up by the Government of India. The two leaders welcomed the signing of the framework agreement for participation of the Qatari institutional investors in the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund.

24. The two sides agreed for regular and timely exchange of information on available investment opportunities. Both sides also recognized the need for arranging regular meetings between Qatar Investment Authority and relevant Indian authorities and public and private sector companies.

25. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the growing bilateral trade in the energy sector, with Qatar being the largest supplier of LNG and LPG to India. The Indian side appreciated Qatar's contribution to India's energy security.

26. The two sides agreed to focus on enhancing cooperation in energy, covering the areas of training and human resources development and cooperation in research and development and through promotion of joint ventures in petrochemical complexes and cooperation in joint exploration in India and other countries.

27. The Indian side highlighted the interest of its energy companies to pursue opportunities of mutual interest in Qatar, with Qatar Petroleum and other companies, in order to jointly explore new fields as well development of discovered oil and gas assets and exploit the existing resources of natural gas and crude oil in Qatar.

28. The Indian side invited Qatar to invest in India’s exploration & production sector by bidding for the exploration blocks in India under the new "Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing” Policy and "Discovered Small Fields” Policy.

29. The Indian side invited Qatar to participate in the second phase of the strategic reserves storage facility being created in India.

30. The two leaders deliberated upon the need for strengthening bilateral cooperation in the financial services sector, including banking, insurance and capital markets. They decided to expand cooperation between the financial institutions of the two countries like Securities and Exchange Board of India and the respective Central Banks.

31. Recognizing that India offers world class medical treatment facilities at competitive cost, the two sides agreed to work towards enhancing cooperation in the health sector, including in the areas of health services, exchange of health personnel, health education and pharmaceuticals. Both leaders welcomed the signing of an MoU on bilateral Cooperation in the Field of Health between the Government of the State of Qatar and the Government of the Republic of India.

32. The Qatari side appreciated the initiative taken by Prime Minister Modi leading to the formation of International Solar Alliance. They acknowledged the importance of this Alliance in advancing new solar technologies worldwide.

33. The two leaders emphasized that the overwhelming response to the International Day of Yoga was a reflection of the global community's desire to come together to seek a balanced, healthier and sustainable future for the world. Prime Minister Modi thanked Qatar for its support to the First International Day of Yoga on 21 June 2015, including through the issue of commemorative stamps by the Qatar Post to mark the occasion.

34. The two leaders noted the role cultural exchanges played in bringing the peoples of India and Qatar together. The two sides agreed to expand bilateral cultural and sports cooperation, including frequent exchange of cultural groups and sports teams, and by collaborating in the field of cinema. Prime Minister Modi expressed appreciation to the Qatar Museums for its decision to celebrate Qatar-India Year of Culture in 2019. Both leaders welcomed the signing of the Agreement of Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Custom Matters; the MoU on Tourism Cooperation; and the First Executive Programme for the MoU in the field of Youth and Sports between the Government of the State of Qatar and the Government of the Republic of India.

35. The two leaders noted that people-to-people contacts were at the heart of India-Qatar relations and both sides would continue to nurture these relations. HH the Emir appreciated the role and contribution of the Indian community for the development and progress of the State of Qatar. The Qatari side briefed the Indian side on the reform in labour laws which would protect the interest of skilled and unskilled labour in Qatar. Prime Minister Modi conveyed sincere thanks to the Qatari leadership for hosting the Indian community and for ensuring their continued welfare and safety. Both leaders welcomed the signing of the MoU for Cooperation in Skill Development and Recognition of Qualifications.

36. The two leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia, Middle East and South Asia. They also expressed grave concern regarding security situation in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen and reiterated the importance of peaceful resolution of these issues through dialogue and political negotiations.

37. In the context of the UN reforms, both leaders emphasized the importance of an effective multilateral system, centred on a UN reflective of contemporary realities, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. They stressed upon the urgent need to pursue UN reforms, including of the Security Council through an expansion in both categories of its membership, to make it more representative, credible and effective.

38. Prime Minister Modi expressed his sincere gratitude to His Highness the Emir for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality. He invited His Highness the Emir to pay an official visit to India at mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted.
Source: Embassy of India, Doha

9. English rendering of the text of PM’s address to the Indian community, Doha, 5 June 2016
My dear countrymen,
In Qatar it seems, that all the Indians living here are standing together in a Qatar (literal Urdu word for ‘Queue’). Whenever you would have returned from Qatar to your village and your home situated in India, you would not have harboured the feeling that you have returned from a foreign land. However, the experience would of course not be the same, while going back to India from any other foreign country. It is the mental state-of-mind of Indians living in Qatar that they don’t disconnect from their birth land even for a moment. It is so because in a manner they are reliving India far-off on the soil of Qatar by following the Indian styles of living and speaking.

Be it global leaders or community, India’s stand at world stage has been tremendously enhanced. Everyone is being attracted and curious about India. Even you must have noticed a slight change in the perception of foreign people, while they meet along with you.

World’s positive outlook forms the foundation for the progress of a nation. When such small happenings instil a sense of trust and honour towards country in the heart of citizens, they experience an unrestrained feel to live and work hard for the wellbeing of nation despite facing uncountable problems there. You must be having this feeling today on this remote land. Even when you go to faraway Mongolia, an Indian there also feels that times have now really changed in India.

A little while ago, you were chanting ‘Thanks to Modi, Thanks to Modi’. This change is however not because of Modi, but because of 125 crore citizens of India. Pick up World Bank or IMF, all the international credit rating agencies are unanimously claiming that if there is a fastest growing economy all across the world, it is no one else but only India.

Recently, the GDP data of last quarter of the fiscal year gone by have indicated that India has witnessed 7.9 percent growth. But, do you know amid which circumstances India has demonstrated this impressive growth? India has notched up this progress despite facing awful monsoon and a terrible drought caused by it for two consecutive years. Here, you all would be watching Indian TV channels and know well that acute shortage of water, plight of livestock- and the two years of dreadful natural calamity have been the news headlines. And On the other side, world’s economy is in doldrums and even the best of the countries of the world are also undergoing an economic downturn. As an implication, global purchasing power has dropped down and has adversely affected Indian exports. Even In this desperate situation, India has been successful in clocking this high growth rate.

There was a time, when India’s treasury, including of both Centre and States, was shared by Centre and States 65 percent and 35 percent respectively. However, following the implementation of the suggestion of 14th Finance Commission, the situation has been completely reversed with 65 percent of the country’s revenue going to states and the Centre having to do with only 35 percent. Despite that, outstanding achievement of 7.9 percent growth is clear testimony to the fact that the India is progressing fast.

Even amid these critical situations, when we took up the rein of nation in our hands, we saw a great problem looming since last four decades, an issue which was straight connected with the honour and dignity of our army jawans, who dedicate their lives for safeguarding our nation. Government after Government came in power, made hollow promises and then disappeared from scenario, but the Jawan of my country kept standing at the same place staring at authority with hopeful glance. Just after forming our government, we took resolution to explore the solution of this long-standing issue. The economic burden may be huge but this can never be more than the prestige of our soldiers sacrificing their lives on the altar of motherland. We have accepted the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, the long sought after demand of ex-servicemen with thousands of crores of rupees of economic burden on government treasury. Despite that India is moving ahead achieving 7.9percent growth.

We all are well aware of the main topics of our talks, whenever 5-50 Indians collect together. If it is cricket season, then obviously the talk would be centred around the cricket, if it is Friday, then on a new movie and in absence of both, certainly on us, politicians. All these politicians are professional thieves and thoroughly corrupt. Corruption is rife on such a huge scale....etc. etc. Does this becomes the topic of your talks or not? Corruption has left our nation deep hollow, eating into its vitals like termite. But, we have decided that the termite of corruption has to be eliminated from our nation. However, how does this termite hollow out our country? Some scams that come to the fore even leave me in utter surprise, and then when they fall to your ear, what would happen to you, only God knows.

Take an instance of school students. Now, it is your common sense that after all, how school students can be a mean of corruption? Can you even imagine it? Can you? For you, corruption means in seeds, in land and such kinds of other things. Isn’t your perception about the corruption? But, this termite of corruption has entered in even areas beyond imagination. One of our states Haryana took the measure to link the students’ enrolment numbers with their Aadhar numbers and it exposed an astonishing and shocking fact. A large numbers of students were studying in private schools, but their names were also found in the records of government schools. Out of 50 students on school registers, only 10 were genuine. Why so? Because, these fake students were to digest midday meal subsidy. When these fake students were cleared of from thousands of schools, we saved crore of rupees of our nation. Now tell me, has corruption gone or not?

In our country, ration cards hold a huge significance for poverty stricken people. However, at the same time, these cards have opened the avenues of corruption. Still, we have just cleaned up the surface on corruption and a detailed clean-up still remains. But, don’t get amazed listening that just while cleaning the surface, we have detected 1.62 crore fake ration cards, and they might be provided with subsidized wheat, rice and kerosene. It means millions and billions rupee were spent on them, which we have saved now.

You can recall the time, not of remote past, when thousands of kitchen gas consumers would seek the recommendation of an MP, would always move behind him in hope of getting an LPG collection, as every MP would get 25 LPG coupons to dole out in public, but he used to make the people of his constituency obliged by doing so. We have however completely changed this scenario and have distributed nearly 3 crore LPG connections in just last one year. Moreover, we have brought in another significant change. Now LPG subsidy directly reaches in the bank account of consumers instead of gas agency. This is world’s largest direct benefit transfer scheme, making its entry in Guinness Book of World Records. But, what result this scheme yielded to us? When we started transferring subsidy, over 3 crore people didn’t turn up. It clearly means that these people were embezzling the public money.

You would be amazed that by these small steps while cleaning the surface, we have saved a huge sum of Rs. 36,000 crore per year by plugging these leakages and thefts in various government schemes. Such uncountable things, I can recount to you. We are making steady efforts to bring transparency, financial discipline and efficiency to the nation and consequentially, our country is currently forging ahead at a very fast speed.

If a child in the home have a sweet tooth and he consumes it despite his mother’s forbiddance and even climbing the topmost part of almirah, where mother has kept sweet considering it beyond his reach. In this situation, if mother imposes a complete ban on the sweets, even if she is extremely dear, does the child get angry with his mother or not? Does he make a tiff with his mother or not? I’ve too stopped the sweets of many and in doing so; I would have to definitely face somewhat problems. But it is the love and blessings of 125 crore citizens of India, which ever strengthens me to face these problems, work harder for all of them and accomplish something new daily for the cause of my nation.

You guys have enhanced the splendour and glory of India with your excellent way of behaviour, speaking, actions and thoughts. I express my heartfelt congratulations and greetings to the Indian community living here.

Yesterday morning, I visited Herat, Afghanistan to inaugurate Afghan-India Friendship Dam’, built up by India, which would provide water and power facilities to the farmers of 14 districts and lakhs of families. Thus, we are carrying out the task as per our timeless glorious tradition, which teaches us to be of useful for each human being of this world.

I’ve arrived Doha yesterday evening and since then I’m engaged in one or another task. There have been cordial and friendly relations between India and Qatar. I got the opportunity to hold detailed discussions with all the eminent dignitaries here.

The dignity and kinship, which they feel towards the Indian community living here, reflected from their each and every conversation. When the leaders of other nations I visit praise the achievements of our Diasporas, you can imagine how my chest swells with pride and joy. And for the same, you all my countrymen deserve huge commendations.

Now, I’ll be leaving to Switzerland, then US and then Mexico. In this 6 days tour, I’ve to cover 5 nations with more than 45 meetings and then I would return. Whatever I do here, would also do there with my single goal, my country, my nation. A lot of thanks to you all from the depth of my heart!
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

10. List of MOUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister to Qatar, Doha, 5 June 2016

THE TABLE IS AVAILABLE ONLY IN PDF FORMAT

Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

11. PM addresses Indian Community in Doha, New Delhi, 5 June 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressed and interacted with the Indian Community in Doha, shortly before leaving for Geneva.

Addressing an enthusiastic gathering, he told the Indian community in Qatar that they are never disconnected from India. He said India's image has been enhanced globally, and there is tremendous enthusiasm towards India across the world. He added that this change is due to the 125 crore people of India.

Global agencies are in agreement that India is today the world’s fastest growing major economy, the Prime Minister said, adding that 7.9 percent GDP growth has been achieved in the last quarter, despite the global slowdown.

The Prime Minister said corruption has troubled India for long, and his Government is determined to eliminate it.

He said that his Qatar visit witnessed fruitful and comprehensive deliberations that will usher in a new era of strong friendship between the two nations. He expressed gratitude to the people and Government of Qatar for their exceptional warmth and hospitality during this visit.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

12. President of India’s message on the eve of Accession Anniversary of Emir of Qatar, New Delhi, 5 June 2015
The President of India,  Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Emir and people of the State of Qatar on the eve of the Anniversary of Accession of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, The Emir of the State of Qatar (25 June 2016).

In a message to Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government, the people of India and on my own behalf, it gives me great pleasure to extend warm greetings and felicitations to Your Highness and to the Government and people of the State of Qatar on the occasion of the Anniversary of Your Highness’s Accession.

Our historical and friendly relations are anchored in millennia-old cultural, religious and economic ties, characterized by extensive people-to-people contacts. I am confident that our multifaceted engagement in different fields would further deepen and strengthen our ongoing cooperation for the mutual benefit of our two peoples.

I take this opportunity to convey to Your Highness my best wishes for your good health and well-being and for the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of the State of Qatar”
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

13. Public event to celebrate the Second International Day of Yoga, Doha, 21 June, 2016
During the official visit of Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, to Doha on 4-5 June 2016, the two leaders emphasized that the overwhelming response to the International Day of Yoga was a reflection of the global community's desire to come together to seek a balanced, healthier and sustainable future for the world. Prime Minister Modi thanked Qatar for its support to the First International Day of Yoga on 21 June 2015, including through the issue of commemorative stamps by the Qatar Post to mark the occasion.

2. Embassy of India is organizing, with the support and cooperation of the Government of the State of Qatar and Indian Cultural Centre and other community fora, a Public Celebration of the second International Day of Yoga on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 at 2100 hrs at Al Gharafa Sports Club Indoor Hall.

3. The programme will include remarks by Qatari dignitaries and Ambassador of India, a short film and demonstration by Yoga experts.

4. All are cordially invited. Dress for this occasion is informal and in conformity with local customs. Attendees are requested to bring a photo I.D.

5.  Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, in his address at the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 27 September 2014 had called upon the UN Member States to work towards adopting an International Day of Yoga.

6. India’s Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to declare 21 June as the International Day of Yoga was unanimously adopted on 11 December 2014, with a record co-sponsorship of 177 countries, including Qatar.

7. Embassy of India deeply appreciates the support and cooperation of all the concerned authorities in Qatar for the commemoration of the second International Day of Yoga.
Source: Embassy of India, Doha 

14. Qatar Embassy Open House, Doha, 30 June 2016
The monthly Open House to address urgent consular and labour issues/cases of Indian nationals in the State of Qatar was held by the Embassy at  its new premises [Villa No. 86 & 90, Street No. 941, Al Eithra Street, Zone 63, Onaiza (PO Box No. 2788), Doha] on 30 June 2016.  Ambassador Sanjiv Arora, Deputy Chief of Mission   R.K. Singh and other officials met all the complainants, discussed their problems and assured them that the Embassy would actively follow up their cases with the authorities concerned in Government of Qatar. Baby Kurien, Vice-President of the Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF), an active community association working under the aegis of the Embassy for the welfare of Indian workers, also attended the Open House.

An Embassy team visited the Central Prison and Deportation Centre this week to enquire about the welfare of detainees from India. The total number of Indian nationals in the Central Prison and the Deportation Centre currently is 129 and 98, respectively.

During the current year, the Labour and Community Welfare Section of the Embassy has received a total of ,2234 complaints so far. The number of complaints received during 2015 was 4,132.

The number of deaths registered in the Embassy till June, 2016 is 141. The number of deaths registered during 2015 was 279. The same numbers of deaths were registered during 2014 also.

On the basis of requests received from Qatari authorities for travel documents for Indian nationals in the Deportation Centre, the Embassy has issued 34 Emergency Certificates (ECs) in June 2016. The Embassy also issued 38 air tickets to Indian nationals in distress for their return to India in June 2016.

Indian Community Benevolent Forum [ICBF] continues to help Indian workers through various welfare measures, including provision of air tickets, financial assistance and medical help.

During his official visit to Qatar on 4-5 June 2016, the first engagement of Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India after reaching Doha on 4 June 2016 was to interact with and address Indian workers, and share a meal with them at ICBF’s 25th Medical Camp organized with Indian Doctors’ Association and with the effort and cooperation of Government of Qatar, Msheireb Properties and Embassy of India at Msheireb Downtown Doha Project. The assistance given by the ICBF to Indian nationals during June 2016 also includes three air tickets for destitute workers.
Source: Embassy of India, Doha

e. SAUDI ARABIA
15. Hemant H. Kotalwar, Charge d’ Affaires inaugurated the Tourism Road-show organized by Kerala Tourism at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Riyadh, 1 June 2016
Hemant H. Kotalwar, Charge d’ Affaires (Cd’A) inaugurated the Tourism Road-show organized by Kerala Tourism at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Riyadh.

In his address, Cd’A briefly touched upon the historical, cultural and trade ties between India and Saudi Arabia; facilities and enormous scope of tourism in India particularly in Kerala; healthcare tourism including Ayurveda, alternative and holistic treatment; fast improving tourism infrastructure in India, multi-lingual web portal etc. He lauded the untiring efforts of Kerala Tourism in promotion of India as a tourist destination of the world.

The Road-show started with a short video on Kerala backwaters. U.V. Jose, Director, Kerala Tourism gave an excellent power point presentation covering all features, facilities and aspects of tourism in Kerala and noted that there has been a significant surge in arrival of foreign tourists in Kerala in the last couple of years. Over 15 tour operators and hoteliers from Kerala put up separate desks at the road-show which had a presence of over 50 local tour operators from Riyadh.
Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

16. The 2nd International Day of Yoga was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 12 June 2016
The 2nd International Day of Yoga was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Embassy of India, Riyadh organized two Yoga events at the International Indian School, Riyadh separately in the Boys and Girls Sections. Over 500 students of different age groups participated in the celebration of Yoga Day by performing various Yoga asanas as per the Common Yoga Protocol. The Mission, this time, utilized the services of a Saudi Yoga instructor who demonstrated several Yoga asanas. 

Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

17. H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called on His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in his office, Riyadh, 21 June 2016
H.E.  Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called on His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in his office in Riyadh. The discussions focused on further strengthening and diversification of bilateral engagements to various fields between the two countries. His Royal Highness emphasized that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is very keen on consolidating multi-faceted ties with India. His Royal Highness expressed his desire to benefit from India’s expertise in the fields of arts, architecture, restoration of built heritages, handicrafts sector, carvings in the marble stones and wood etc. Ambassador Ahmad Javed assured His Royal Highness of all cooperation in further strengthening the cultural and tourism linkages between the two countries.
Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

18. H.E Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presented the ‘Letter of Credence’ to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Riyadh, 22 June 2016
H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presented the ‘Letter of Credence’ to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud today at Al Salam Palace in Jeddah.

In the ceremony, where Ambassadors of 11 other countries also presented their Letters of Credence, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques received the Ambassador and conveyed his greetings to the Head of State and Head of Government of the Republic of India. The King expressed his satisfaction over the friendly relations with India, reiterating his keenness on further consolidation of the same. He also wished the Ambassador a comfortable and successful stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Ambassador Ahmad Javed on his part conveyed the greetings of the Hon’ble President of India and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He further expressed his thanks for the warm reception and generous hospitality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ambassador also assured to put his best efforts in further strengthening bilateral friendly relations between India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and diversifying them to several fields of mutual interests.
Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

f. TURKEY
19. India condemns terrorist attack in Istanbul, Ankara, New Delhi, 8 June 2016
India strongly condemns the terror attack that occurred in Istanbul on 7 June 2016. We offer condolences to the bereaved families and wish speedy recovery to the injured. This dastardly act once again underlines the need for concerted action by the global community against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

g. UAE
20. Exercise Desert Eagle-II Concludes Today, New Delhi 3 June 2016
Desert Eagle II, which was the second in the series of bilateral exercises between Indian Air Force (IAF) and United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAE AF), concluded on 3 June 2016. This was a ten-day air combat exercise in which the IAF and the UAE Air Force undertook air exercises from Al-Dhafra Air Base, Abu Dhabi starting from 22 May 2016. It is pertinent to note that India and United Arab Emirates have strong bilateral relations which date back to more than hundreds of years. Both the nations have demonstrated keen resolve to engage each other in multiple facets and take the relationship to the next level. Defence Co-operation between the two nations gained momentum after signing of the ‘Agreement of Defence Co-operation’ during the visit of the Chief of Staff of UAE Armed Forces to India in 2003.

Exercise Desert Eagle-II saw the IAF Su 30 MKI participating along with Mirage 2000-9 and F-16 block 60 of the UAE Air Force. The Indian Air Force had participated previously in Desert Eagle I in 2008. While referring to the overall exercise, the team Leader Group Captain H Assudhani said “This was an excellent opportunity for both the Air Forces to learn from each other and exchange best practices which in turn would be mutually beneficial.”

A wide variety of missions were flown under the beyond Visual Range (BVR) environment with varied levels of complexities. Mission commanders from both sides participated in the Exercise and availed this opportunity to the maximum to draw valuable operational lessons. Despite the predominantly hot and arid conditions with temperatures well beyond 40 deg Celsius, IAF maintenance support staff succeeded in maintaining high serviceability state of aircraft and equipment.

Wing Commander Rochelle D’Silva, UAE
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

Note: The exact web links for the articles in the Press Information Bureau are non-functional due to technical reasons. They can be searched by Date and Ministries concerned.
1 Crore = 10 million. Lakh = 100,000

Compiled by Jatin Kumar

Jatin Kumar is a Doctoral candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Email

As part of the policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spellings and date format to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, P R Kumaraswamy