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India Speaks

Issue No. 93
April 2017

By: Jatin Kumar
IDSA, New Delhi

BILATERAL ISSUES
a. JORDAN
1. Dr. Fayez Tarawneh, Chief of the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan calls on Prime Minister, New Delhi, 11 March 2017
Fayez Tarawneh, Chief of The Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan called on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on March 10, 2017.

They discussed the shared commitment to strengthen bilateral engagement and the many opportunities in this regard. Dr. Fayez Tarawneh also exchanged views with Prime Minister on the situation in West Asia and the scourge of terrorism that calls for a comprehensive international response.

Dr. Fayez Tarawneh conveyed the greetings of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein to Prime Minister.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

b. KUWAIT
2. Indian Embassy organized a “Made in India Exhibition”, Kuwait, 12 March 2017
1. Indian Embassy organized a “Made in India Exhibition” in Holiday Inn Hotel, Salmiya on Saturday, 18th February 2017 from 10:30 am - 8:00 pm. Ambassador of India to Kuwait H.E. Mr. Sunil Jain inaugurated the Exhibition. The main aim of the Exhibition was to promote Made in India products, especially Indian Automobiles and Home appliances in Kuwait.

2. The “Made in India Exhibition” provided Kuwaitis, Indians and other foreign nationals a chance to see the display of a wide variety of Indian automobile and home appliances under one roof in Kuwait. A wide variety of Indian products ranging from tyres, motorbikes, trucks, buses, security solutions, batteries, air compressors, fans, mixies, tableware, cookware, televisions, refrigerators, etc., were displayed in the Exhibition.

3. Companies dealing in 30 Indian reputed brands viz., Ceat Tyres, TVS Tyres, Index Batteries, Apollo Tyres, Royal Enfield Bikes, Eicher Trucks, TATA Buses and Trucks, Ashok Leyland Buses, Godrej Security Solutions, Godrej Interio, Amaron Batteries, Laopala Tableware, Havells, Finolex, Onida TVs, Kenstar Kitchen appliances and Air Coolers, Videocon TVs and refrigerators, VIP Luggage, Force Mini Buses, ELGI Air Compressors, MRF Tyres, JK Tyres, Servo Oil, Mahindra pick-ups, Suzuki (Maruti Cars), Kent Water Purifiers, Balkrishna Tyres, Butterfly mixies, Pigeon mixies and cooking utensils, etc., participated in the Exhibition.

4. Display of Indian automobiles was a special attraction at the Exhibition. The Exhibition attracted large number of visitors throughout the day.
Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait 

c. OMAN
3. Indian Calligraphy Exhibition at the Omani Fine Art Society, New Delhi, 21 March 2017
An Indian Calligraphy Exhibition being held at Omani Fine Arts Society was inaugurated by H.E. Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al Rowas, Advisor to H.M. Sultan for Cultural Affairs, on 20 March 2017. Many Omani and expatriate calligraphy enthusiasts were present at the inauguration. The Exhibition will remain on display from 21st to 25th March 2017 and can be visited on all days from 9am to 1.30 pm and 4.30 pm to 8pm. This Exhibition was earlier displayed at the Promenade of Oman Avenues Mall from 21 November to 30 December 2016 under the first-ever Festival of India in Oman and had attracted a large number of visitors, both Omani and Expatriates. In view of the continued interest in learning more about Indian Islamic Calligraphy tradition, the Embassy has cooperated with the Omani Fine Arts Society to host the Exhibition of Indian Calligraphy at their premises in Sarooj. Over 40 pieces of Indian calligraphic work, artistically inscribed with selected verses from Holy Quran, are showcased at the Exhibition. The facsimile of a rare 7th century manuscript of the Holy Quran attributed to Hazrat Ali (R.A.), written in Kufic Script on parchment, is also displayed.

A list showing details of Exhibits is enclosed. Calligraphy has been an integral part of India’s Islamic traditions. Calligraphy in India has evolved over centuries to acquire its own unique characteristics. It is hoped that the Indian Calligraphy Exhibition will enable the people of Oman to become more aware of the history and development of Calligraphy in India. The Calligraphy Exhibition has been brought to Oman by Rampur Raza Library, which is a treasure house of Indo Islamic learning and arts. It was setup in 1774 by erstwhile Ruler of Rampur State, Nawab Faizullah Khan, who ruled the State up to 1794.

His inherited collection of valuable manuscripts, historical documents, Mughal miniature paintings, books and other works of art kept in Toshakhana formed the nucleus of the Library. Later, Nawab Muhammad Yusuf Ali Khan 'Nazim' invited well known calligraphers, illuminators and binders from Kashmir and other parts of India to Rampur to produce works of Calligraphy. The later Nawabs continued to enrich the collection.
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

4. Festival of India in Oman concludes with Indian food festival at grand Hyatt (15-19 March 2017), Muscat, 15 March 2017
The much-awaited Indian Food Festival in Oman was inaugurated on 15th March 2017 evening at Grand Hyatt in a ceremony full of Indian instrumental music, classical and folk dance, ghazals and Bollywood songs. His Excellency Salim bin Mohammed bin Said Al Mahrooqi, Under Secretary for Heritage, Ministry of Heritage and Culture of Oman, was the Chief Guest. The Opening ceremony was also attended by HE Nasser Mohammed Khaleefa Al Busaidi, Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HE Sheikh Hilal Marhoon Salem Al Ma’amari, Chief of West Asia Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and HE Saif Mohammed Al Ruzaiqi, Adviser Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Over 300 prominent Omanis, including businesspersons and officials, Ambassadors, members of diplomatic corps, expatriates and members of Indian community were present at the opening ceremony. The Indian Food Festival at Grand Hyatt will conclude on 19th March, 2017.

The Indian Food Festival at Grand Hyatt is the ultimate event under the Festival of India. Given the historical contacts between India and Oman, leading to intermingling of various cultural, including culinary, traditions of the two countries and presence of hundreds of Indian restaurants, in Muscat and other cities of Oman,  both the people of Oman and the expatriate community in Oman are familiar with various facets of Indian cuisine. The purpose of organizing the Indian Food Festival in Muscat is, therefore, to delight the people of Muscat with some lesser-known culinary traditions of India like Kashmiri, Bengali, Rajasthani, Gujarati cuisines. Thus, Indian Food Festival in Muscat provides food connoisseurs with an opportunity to enjoy those Indian cuisines which are not readily available in Muscat.

With the inauguration of Indian Food festival, the first-ever Festival of India in Oman, which commenced four months ago, has concluded. It may be noted that the Festival of India in Oman was inaugurated by Honourable Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, HE Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, on 15th November 2016, with a scintillating presentation of Indian ballet dance by Hritaal Dance Troupe at Al-Bustan Palace Amphitheatre, Muscat. Hritaal troupe had also performed in Salalah, Sur and Suhar. Thereafter, as part of the Festival of India, an Indian Calligraphy Exhibition was organized in Promenade of Oman Avenues Mall, Muscat. The Exhibition, which was inaugurated on 21st November 2016, showcased India’s Islamic calligraphy traditions and highlighted its contribution to development of the composite and diverse culture of India. The Calligraphy Exhibition will be again on display at the gallery of Omani Society of Fine Arts for a week from 20th March 2017.

The Calligraphy Exhibition was followed by presentation, under the Festival of India, of a bouquet of semi-classical, Sufi, folk and Bollywood music, songs and dances, brought to Oman by Dr. Soma Gosh and her troupe, who performed not only in Muscat at Al-Bustan Palace Amphitheatre but also in Salalah, Sur and Suhar. It was followed by mesmerizing performances presented last month by a folk dance troupe from the Jammu and Kashmir State of India. They had performed not only in Muscat but also in Salalah, Sohar and Sur.

The first-ever Festival of India in Oman was held by Ministry of Culture of the Government of India and was organized by the Embassy of India, in Muscat, which received full support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture and Heritage of Oman. Various events held under the Festival of India were enthusiastically received by the people of Oman, who attended them in large numbers. The Indian community in Oman also supported and participated in various events organized as part of the Festival of India not only in Muscat but also in Salalah, Suhar and Sur.

As is well known, the relations between India and Oman are historical and are traced back to over 5000 years. They have been characterized by regular cultural as well as trade exchanges. Since establishment of diplomatic ties in 1955, the historical relations have evolved into a strategic partnership, based on mutual trust and understanding. Since the people of Oman are familiar with many facets of Indian culture, under the Festival of India, some lesser known facets of Indian culture were presented with a view to highlight the diversity of Indian culture as manifested in its numerous art, music, dance, culinary and costume traditions. The first-ever Festival of India in Oman will be long remembered as an important milestone in development of friendly relations between the two countries. It has strengthened the bonds of friendship between the peoples of India and Oman. It has also contributed in creating more awareness in Oman about the diverse and unique culture of India.
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

5. Indian Food Festival in Oman (Grand Hyatt from 15-19 March 2017), Muscat, 6 March 2017
The first ever ‘Festival of India’ in Oman is being organized by Embassy of India, Muscat, with support of Ministry of Culture of India, from November 2016 to March 2017. It was launched by H.E Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, on 15 November 2016, at Al-Bustan Palace Auditorium, wherein an Indian ballet dance troupe ‘Hritaal’ presented a mesmerizing performance. Hritaal troupe had, thereafter, performed in Suhar, Sur and Salalah. As part of Festival of India in Oman, the Embassy had, thereafter, organized an Indian Calligraphy Exhibition from 21st November to 3rd December 2016 at Promenade of Oman Avenues Mall, Muscat. The Exhibition was followed by performances of an Indian semi-classical music troupe, led by Padmashree Dr. Soma Ghosh, in Muscat, Salalah, Suhar and Sur in January 2017. Thereafter, a folk music and dance troupe from Jammu and Kashmir State of India visited Oman in February 2017, as part of Festival of India, and gave scintillating performances in Muscat, Salalah, Suhar and Sur.

As the last event under the Festival of India in Oman, the Embassy will hold an Indian Food Festival at Grand Hyatt Muscat, which will commence on 15th March 2017 and conclude on 19th March, 2017. Given historical contacts between India and Oman, leading to intermingling of various cultural, including culinary, traditions of the two countries and presence of hundreds of Indian restaurants, in Muscat and other cities of Oman, both the people of Oman and expatriate community in Oman are familiar with various facets of Indian cuisine. The purpose of Indian food Festival in Muscat, therefore, is to delight people of Muscat with some lesser-known culinary traditions of India like Kashmiri, Bengali, Rajasthani, Gujarati cuisine. The Food Festival will, therefore, provide Indian food connoisseurs in Muscat an opportunity to enjoy those Indian cuisines which are not readily available in Muscat.

Two Chefs, selected by India Tourism Development Cooperation, will be visiting Muscat and will be working during the period of Food Festival with chefs of Grand Hyatt to prepare special Indian dishes. Chef Vikram Shokeen is presently working as Chef at ‘The Ashok’ and caters at Hyderabad House for events hosted by Ministry of External Affairs and Prime Minister of India. He has earlier worked at Hotel Jammu Ashok. He has contributed to culinary success of several prestigious conferences and events held at Ashok Hotel. He participated at Indian Food Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe. He is proficient in Mughlai Cuisine and has working knowledge of Indian regional cuisines like Rajasthani, Gujarati and Bengali cuisines. Chef Mohd. Imran has been working at Hotel Samrat since 1982 and is a master chef with excellent skills in Indian curries and Tandoori Food. He also has a working knowledge of regional cuisines like Bengali and Rajasthani cuisines. He has earlier participated in Indian Food Festival in Argentina. With Grand Hyatt chefs and visiting Indian chefs working together, the Indian Food Festival in Muscat is likely to become the most memorable and talked about culinary event of 2017. A write up on Indian cuisine is attached for further information. The Indian Food Festival will be inaugurated in a grand ceremony on 15th March 2017 at 1930hrs at Grand Hyatt. It will be the concluding grand event of the first ever Festival of India in Oman. The Festival of India in Oman will be long remembered as an important milestone in development of friendly relations between the two countries. It has strengthened the bonds of friendship between the people of India and Oman. It has also created awareness in Oman about the diverse and unique culture of India.
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

6. Press Release: Indian Embassy organizes B2B Meeting for participants of BIG SHOW, Muscat, 15 March 2017
Embassy of India, Muscat, organized a Business-to-Business (B2B) Meeting on 14 March 2017 at the Embassy premises for Indian and Omani companies participating in BIG Show Oman. H.E. Dr. Ali bin Masoud bin Ali Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Sultanate of Oman, was the Chief Guest. The B2B Meeting was also joined by H.E. Mohsin Khamis Al Balushi, Advisor, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and H.E. Redha Al Saleh, Vice Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Over 300 representatives of Omani companies from various sectors including ceramics & tiles, building materials, construction equipment, stones & marbles, concrete & cement, etc. interacted with representatives of 75 Indian companies which are participating in BIG SHOW Oman (13-16 March 2017) under the leadership of two leading Indian business chambers, namely the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO).

Indian Embassy has attached, as desired by the Governments of India and Oman, a high priority to promoting bilateral trade and mutual investments which constitute key pillars of the strategic partnership between India and Oman. India-Oman bilateral trade remains buoyant and reached US$ 3.89 billion during 2016 (January-December). The Embassy has been encouraging Indian and Omani companies to benefit from tremendous opportunities available for trade and mutual investments between the two countries specially in sectors like oil & gas, minerals and mining, manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure, engineering, power, IT, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, agriculture, etc.

The above B2B Meeting was a part of the Embassy’s endeavours to enhance contacts between business communities of India and Oman. Indian Embassy has been organizing similar B2B Meetings for Indian companies participating at other international trade exhibitions organized in Muscat. B2B Meetings serve as a useful platform for forging business tie-ups and contribute towards tapping the huge potential for trade and investments between India and Oman.

For more information about Indian companies participating in the BIG SHOW Oman or opportunities of doing business with India, please contact Indian Embassy at commasst@indemb-oman.org or +968-24684559.
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

d. UAE
7. Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates in the field of providing Energy Efficiency Services, New Delhi, 5 March 2017
Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE, to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation.

Under the MoU, the NPC will provide the following services:
1. Energy Assessment Services
2. Training & Certification of Energy Auditors
3. Demand Side Management.

Meanwhile, Al Etihad ES will provide the following services to all the relevant projects on a case by case basis:
i) Customer Support with UAE Government and Private owned organizations in the United Arab Emirates
ii) All local support for Field Auditing Professionals in the UAE
iii)  All local support for Training & Certification of Energy Auditors in UAE
iv) All support related to Demand Side Management of industries based in UAE

The MoU will enable NPC avail high value opportunities such as energy building and develop institutional mechanism in area of energy efficiency in Dubai and other Gulf Cooperation Council, (GCC) member countries. It will provide recognition and exposure to further build NPC's capacities and competencies in rapidly changing international business scenario. MoU will be a precedent for engagements with other International collaboration partners and will enhance NPC's visibility in arena. The MoU will help promote NPC in GCC member countries and will generate business for NPC in the area of energy.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

8. Cabinet gives ex-post facto approval to the MoU between India and the United Arab Emirates in the field of providing Energy Efficiency Services , New Delhi,  6 March 2017
Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Productivity Council, an autonomous body under the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and Al Etihad Energy Services UAE, to provide various services in the field of energy management and conservation.

Under the MoU, the NPC will provide the following services:
1. Energy Assessment Services
2. Training & Certification of Energy Auditors
3. Demand Side Management.

Meanwhile, Al Etihad ES will provide the following services to all the relevant projects on a case by case basis:
a. Customer Support with UAE Government and Private owned organizations in the United Arab Emirates
b. All local support for Field Auditing Professionals in the UAE
c. All local support for Training & Certification of Energy Auditors in UAE
d. All support related to Demand Side Management of industries based in UAE

The MoU will enable NPC avail high value opportunities such as energy building and develop institutional mechanism in area of energy efficiency in Dubai and other Gulf Cooperation Council, (GCC) member countries. It will provide recognition and exposure to further build NPC's capacities and competencies in rapidly changing international business scenario. MoU will be a precedent for engagements with other International collaboration partners and will enhance NPC's visibility in arena. The MoU will help promote NPC in GCC member countries and will generate business for NPC in the area of energy.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

9. Nurses Working in UAE, New Delhi, 31 March 2017
Government of India is aware of Healthcare Professionals Qualifications Requirements, 2014 issued by United Arab Emirates that prescribe the minimum qualifications of a Registered Nurse to practice in UAE as ‘Diploma in Nursing and Midwifery’ with minimum course duration of 3½ years.

After intervention from Govt. of India,   the Ministry of Health & Prevention (UAE) had clarified that the “Healthcare Professionals Qualification Requirements 2014” regulations are applicable only to new job applicants.  Further, those Nurses who are already employed by the UAE as Registered Nurses will be allowed to maintain their status and renew their registration as Registered Nurses. Those Nurses whose licenses have been changed from Registered Nurses to Assistant Nurses will be allowed to retain their status as Registered Nurses and their salaries will not be affected. The regulations are applicable to all nationalities without exception or exemption. 

The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste stated this in written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

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

1 Crore = 10 million. Lakh = 100,000

Compiled by Jatin Kumar

Jatin Kumar is Research Assistant at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), 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