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India Speaks

Issue No. 88
November 2016

By: Jatin Kumar
Jawaharlal Nehru University

BILATERAL ISSUES
a. ALGERIA
1. President of India’s Message on the Eve of National Day of Algeria, New Delhi, 28 October 2016
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and the people of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria on the eve of their National Day (1 November 2016).

In a message to His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government and the people of India and on my own behalf, it gives me great pleasure to extend to Your Excellency and to the friendly people of Algeria warm greetings and felicitations on the occasion of your National Day.

I note with satisfaction the successful visit of Vice President of India to Algiers from 17-19 October 2016. The visit has enabled both countries to renew high level contacts and identify new areas for bilateral cooperation.

Please accept, Excellency, my best wishes for your personal health and well being as well as for the progress and prosperity of the people of Algeria”.
Source: Press Information Bureau 

b. JORDAN
2. Embassy of India hosted a “Bollywood Nite”, Amman, 6 October 2016
Embassy of India, Amman hosted a “Bollywood Nite” with a special screening of popular Indian film Prem Ratan Dhan Payo starring Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor at the Zara Centre, Amman on 06 October 2016. H.E. Lina Annab, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was the Chief Guest on the occasion. In her welcome address, H.E. Shubhdarshini Tripathi, Ambassador of India to Jordan thanked the guests for coming in large numbers, which showed the traditional warmth India had in Jordanian public. Ambassador Tripathi also promised to hold such cultural events at regular intervals in Amman as they brought people of our two countries together. Hon’ble Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan expressed her happiness at being able to attend the event and associated popular Bollywood cinema with happiness.

She told the audience of how popular Indian films were in Jordan and enjoyed by masses. She expressed her desire for more and more such films to be screened across Jordan. The film ran to a packed cinema hall and the audience were treated to delicious traditional snacks during the intermission. The films for non-commercial screening have been provided by the External Publicity and Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India. The Embassy is grateful to the United Creations L.L.C. for it's invaluable contribution to make the event hugely successful. For any further details please contact PIC Wing of the Embassy at pic.amman@mea.gov.in and follow our social media platforms: FB/Twitter/YouTube : @indiainjordan
Source: Embassy of India, Amman

c. KUWAIT
3. Visit of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit Delegation, Kuwait, 10 October 2016
A business delegation from Gujarat led by Dr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, IAS, Principal Secretary to the Government of Gujarat and Managing Director, Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Ltd. (GNFC) visited Kuwait from 9-10 October 2016. The delegation comprised representatives of Reliance Industries Ltd., Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd (Adani Group), GNFC, Kiri Industries Ltd., Dasaldhan Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., Thana Acid & Chemical Co., Dineshchandra R. Agrawal Infracon Pvt. Ltd., Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Invest India and KPMG in India.

On 9 October 2016, the Gujarat delegation held meetings with H.E. Khaled Al-Shamali, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Kuwait; CEOs of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), Petroleum Industries Company (PIC), Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI); and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC). On the same evening, KPMG, Kuwait organized a networking event for the Gujarat delegation with the participation of the members of Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Kuwait wherein an MOU for cooperation in promotion and development of economic and commercial exchange between the Government of Gujarat and IBPC, Kuwait was signed. On 10 October 2016, the delegation met H.E. Sheikh Yousef Abdullah Sabah Al-Nasser Al-Sabah, Director General of the Kuwait Ports Authority. Later on the same day, the Embassy in association with the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) organized a Business-to-Business (B2B) Meeting at the KCCI, wherein the KCCI delegation was led by H.E. Dirrar Yusuf Al-Ghanim, Board Member. The visiting delegation highlighted the advantages of investing and doing business in Gujarat during their meetings in Kuwait. The visit also provided an opportunity to the members of the Gujarat delegation to explore trade and investment opportunities in Kuwait, including collaborations and tie-ups with businesses and enterprises of Kuwait.

During their meetings, the Gujarat Delegation extended invitation to the Kuwaiti dignitaries to participate at the “Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017”, which is scheduled to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 10-13 January 2017.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

4. Launch of a Book titled “Women of Kuwait: Turning Tides”, Kuwait, 10 October 2016
The Embassy of India and the National Library of Kuwait will jointly launch on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 from 6 pm to 8 pm, the release of the book titled “Women of Kuwait: Turning tides” written by  Chaitali B. Roy. The function will be held at National Library, Arabian Gulf Street (facing Kuwait National Museum).

2. “Women of Kuwait : Turning Tides” is the story of Kuwaiti women who dared to pursue their dreams, at times against immense odds, and made interesting and far-reaching contributions to the evolution of Kuwait as a modern State. Interestingly, the first book of its kind will be launched in Kuwait on 19 October 2016.

3. “Women of Kuwait: Turning Tides” features prominent Kuwaiti women drawn from the arena of politics, diplomacy, education, sports, art, and business. The achievers include Dr. Sara Akbar, Dr Masouma Al Mubarak, Dr Moudi Al Humoud, Ambassador Nabeela Al Mulla, Sheikha Altaf Al Sabah, Fareah Al Saqqaf, and Lulwa and Balsom Al Ayoub.

4. All interested are requested to be present at the inaugural function.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

5. Indian Handicrafts & Handloom exhibition AND Know India Seminar on 23 October 2016 at Hotel Holiday Inn Salmiya, Kuwait, 17 October 2016
The Embassy of India, Kuwait is organizing an “Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition” at the Al Amwaj Ballroom in Hotel Holiday Inn, Salmiya on Sunday, 23 October 2016 from 11:00 am - 8:00 pm. The main aim of the Exhibition is to promote Indian Handicrafts and Handloom products in Kuwait. The Embassy in association with the India Tourism, Dubai is also organizing a “Know India Seminar” (7-10 pm) for the travel and tour operators in Kuwait on the same evening at the same venue in Al-Dana Ballroom to promote India as one of the most preferred destinations for tourists all over the world.

2. The “Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition” will give both Kuwaitis and foreign nationals a chance to see the display of a wide variety of Indian handicrafts and handloom products. A large number of Indian nationals are also expected to visit the Exhibition.

3. For more information about the “Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition”, Commercial Section of the Embassy may kindly be contacted on Tel: 22571193, Fax. No: 22525811 and Email: commercial@indembkwt.org.

4. The Embassy of India takes this opportunity to invite members of the friendly State of Kuwait & other nationals, and Indians to visit the “Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition” on Sunday, 23 October 2016 from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm at Holiday Inn Hotel, Salmiya.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

6. Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition, Kuwait, 24 October 2017
The Embassy organized an “Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition” at Holiday Inn Hotel, Salmiya on Sunday, 23 October 2016 from 11:00 am - 8:00 pm. Ambassador Sunil Jain inaugurated the Exhibition. The main aim of the Exhibition was to promote Indian Handicrafts and Handloom products in Kuwait.

The Exhibition was organized with the participation of some local companies importing handicrafts and handloom products from India. These included Lulu Hypermarket, Bulbul Palace, Indian Heritage, Mysore Textile, Indian Home, Sanskruti and Art Work.

The “Indian Handicrafts and Handloom Exhibition” gave both Kuwaitis and expatriates a chance to see an array of Indian handicrafts and handloom products on display. Several varieties of handmade carpets, brass show pieces, marble pieces carved and designed with organic colours, handloom saris, Kutras, ladies hand-bags, purses, antique pieces in wood and brass, jewelleries with semi precious stones, handmade furniture, table covers, cushion stools, cushion covers, framed paintings, etc., were displayed during the Exhibition.

The Exhibition attracted a large number of visitors, including Indians, Kuwaitis and expatriates of other countries residing in Kuwait.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait

d. LEBANON
7. Sanjiv Arora appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Lebanon, New Delhi, 31 October 2016
Sanjiv Arora (IFS: 1984) has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Lebanon. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

e. PALESTINE
8. Visit of  M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs to Palestine (08-09 November 2016), New Delhi, 13 October 2016
M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs will be visiting Palestine to Co-Chair the 1st Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between India and Palestine on 08-09 November 2016. The Palestinian side will be Co-Chaired by Foreign Minister of State of Palestine Riad al-Maliki. India and Palestine enjoy their historic bilateral ties. In order to give further impetus to this bilateral relationship, it was agreed to establish this JCM during EAM’s visit to Palestine in January 2016.

The proposed JCM would cover a range of issues that include cooperation in Economy, Energy, Tourism, Agriculture, Water and Environment, Education, Health, IT, Sports, Culture, Media etc. MOS will also be visiting Amman, Jordan on 10 November 2016 for bilateral talks with his counterpart and other dignitaries.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

9. MOU signed between India and Palestine for setting up of Palestine-India Techno Park, Ramallah, 31 October 2016
India and Palestine signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for setting up of Palestine-India Techno-Park in Ramallah on 31 October 2016. During the visit of Hon’ble President of India to Palestine in October, 2015, the announcement for setting up of park was made. Government of India has announced grant of US$ 12 million for setting up the Park with payment of US$ 3 million each on half-yearly basis for 2 years. Palestinian side has made the land available for the project. Once completed, the Techno-park will serve as an IT hub in Palestine with complete IT facilities offering a one-stop solution to all IT-related service requirements, providing state-of-the-art technology, hosting IT companies and foreign companies benefitting local business, Universities and other institutions.

The assistance is part of Government of India’s strong commitment to support Palestinian cause. The project will help job creation, business and other opportunities for young Palestinians.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

f. SAUDI ARABIA
10. The Hajj 2016, Riyadh, 23 October 2016
The Hajj 2016 has been very smooth and successful. Under the wise and guided leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the Saudi authorities made excellent arrangements to facilitate the pilgrimage with great comfort and safety at all stages.

This year 136,000 Indian nationals performed Hajj. They were ferried by over 700 Hajj flights from various embarkation points in India, who were received at Jeddah and Medina Munawwarah Hajj terminals. The Saudi authorities made wonderful arrangements to receive the pilgrims ensuring their comfort and safety. The arrangements at the Mashaer region Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa; the metro facilities as well as the health care arrangements were significantly satisfactory.

The Government of India profoundly appreciates the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and the Saudi authorities for the great support and warm hospitality extended to the pilgrims from India.
Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

11. H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called on H R H Sultan bin Salman, President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in his office in Riyadh today, Riyadh, 26 October 2016
H.E. Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called on H R H Sultan bin Salman, President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in his office in Riyadh today (26.10.2016). The discussion focused on enhancement of bilateral cooperation in the fields of handicrafts, restoration of national heritage and promotion of tourism. The Commission expressed keen interest in strengthening cooperation in the training programs by Indian experts in fabric, metal and wood works. Exchange of visits by experts in these fields is to be encouraged between the two countries.
Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

12. The Embassy of India, Riyadh organized a variety of activities in the school auditorium, 31 October 2016
The Embassy of India, Riyadh in cooperation with the International Indian School – Riyadh organized a variety of activities in the school auditorium this morning, to celebrate the 141st birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India.

2.  On the occasion, Ambassador Ahmad Javed addressed the audience comprising the Embassy officials, Principal, Vice Principals, Teachers and over 1000 students (boys and girls) in the school auditorium, highlighting the significant contribution of Sardar Patel to the freedom struggle of our country and to the founding of independent and united India.

3.      The following activities held on the occasion:
i. Students of KG participated in a colouring competition. The teachers of the section adorned the walls of the corridor with murals on the theme “Sardar Patel - the freedom fighter”.
ii. Students of Primary Section displayed their enthusiasm for the day by contributing information charts to be exhibited on the walls of the section. The theme proposed for the event was “The Man of Unity”.
iii. Middle Section students participated in an Essay Writing Competition on the theme “A Tribute to the Iron Man”.
iv. Secondary and Senior Secondary students took part in the “Book Reading” activity. Reading materials on the “Achievements of Sardar Patel” and “National Integration” ware shared among students.
v. Murals were put up along the aisles of the section, combined with informative and inspirational quotes by famous personalities.
vi. A 39-minute documentary “Man of Silence – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”, was shown to over 1000 students of senior classes in the auditorium.

4.      Ambassador also presented prizes to the students who excelled in the competitions.
Source: Embassy of Indi, Riyadh

g. TURKEY
13. President of India’s message on the eve of National Day of Turkey, 29 October 2016
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and the people of the Republic of Turkey on the eve of their National Day (29 October 2016).

In a message to His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of the Republic of Turkey, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government and the people of India and on my own behalf, I have pleasure in extending greetings and warm felicitations to Your Excellency and to the people of the Republic of Turkey on the occasion of your National Day.

Our two countries have rich historical links. Shared belief in democracy, secularism and market economy have built the foundation of our close bilateral ties. I firmly believe that our relations will get stronger in the coming years, bringing further benefits to the citizens of our two countries.

I would also like to take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for Your Excellency have continued good health and well-being and for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of the Republic of Turkey”.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi 

h. UAE
14. Official visit of M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs to United Arab Emirates (18-20 October 2016), New Delhi, 18 October 2016
M.J. Akbar, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs is paying his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates from 18-20 October 2016. During the visit, he will be meeting his counterpart UAE leadership and will hold official discussions covering the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest. In addition, he will be participating in the second edition of the India-UAE Economic Forum being held in Dubai from 19-20 October as keynote speaker. He will also interact with the Indian community in UAE.

India enjoys close and multifaceted bilateral ties with UAE, anchored on regular high-level visits and extensive people-to-people contacts. The recent visits of Hon’ble Prime Minister,  Narendra Modi to UAE in August 2015 and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India in February 2016 have elevated this relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Our well-balanced bilateral trade amounting to US$ 50 billion in 2015-16, make UAE our third largest trading partner. UAE is among the largest investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments. It contributes significantly to India's energy security and is the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2015-16.

About 2.6 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE. Their positive and well-appreciated contribution in the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement.

This visit will provide a useful opportunity to further cement our mutually beneficial bilateral ties with UAE.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

15. Navdeep Singh Suri appointed as the next Ambassador of India to UAE, New Delhi, 17 October 2016
Navdeep Singh Suri (lFS: 1983) has been appointed as the next Ambassador to United Arab Emirates.
He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

16. Nitin Gadkari (MORTH) visits UAE, Abu Dhabi, 18 October 2016
HE Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road, Transport, Highways & Shipping, Government of India visited UAE on 19-20 October. He was also a Keynote Speaker at the India-UAE Economic Forum.  During his address to the Forum, he mentioned that India was one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the present Government had substantially improved the Ease of Doing Business. He explained the positive initiative taken by the Prime Minister of India and the vast investment opportunities available in India.

He mentioned that Government of India had instituted targets for growth in roads and highways. The National Highway Authority of India had an AAA rating. An infrastructure group had been created under his chairmanship to resolve all issues related to clearances. Processes had been streamlined. The Government had also executed the exit policy. The strategy was to shift from “build road” to “move in India” through focus on efficient operation and network management for improving logistics sufficiency.

With regard to shipping, the Minister announced that all the ports are already linked as part of the Sagarmala, which is a programme for port-led development. This initiative would lead to manufacturing hubs in coastal region, good connectivity to ports as well as efficient ports.

The Minister also interacted with various CEOs and representatives of India Business Professional Group as well as other members of the business community.

Together with HE M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, he met senior officials of Abu Dhabi Investment authority and had discussions on promoting investment into India.
Source: Embassy of India, Abu Dhab

Note:

1 Crore = 10 million. Lakh = 100,000

For Lok Sabha and Press Information Bureau the items can be searched by Date and Ministries concerned.  

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, MEI@ND P R Kumaraswamy