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India Speaks

Issue No. 87
October 2016

By: Jatin Kumar
Jawaharlal Nehru University

BILATERAL ISSUES
a. ALGERIA
1. Satbir Singh appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, New Delhi, 7 September 2016
Satbir Singh (IFS: 1985), presently Additional Secretary in the Ministry has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria.

He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi

b. EGYPT
2. Text of PM’s statement to media in the joint media briefing with President of Egypt
Your Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, New Delhi, 2 September 2016
Distinguished Ministers and members of the Egyptian and Indian delegations; and,
Friends from the media,

I am delighted to welcome His Excellency Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, on his first state visit to India. Excellency, you are a man of many achievements, both at home and abroad. 1.25 billion people of India are happy to see you here. Egypt itself is a natural bridge that connects Asia with Africa. Your people are a voice of moderate Islam and your nation a factor for regional peace and stability in Africa and the Arab world. Egypt has always championed the cause of developing countries.
Friends,
President and I held extensive discussions on the shape and substance of our partnership. We have agreed on an action oriented agenda to drive our engagements.
An agenda that:
responds to our socio-economic priorities;
promotes trade and investment ties;
secures our societies;
helps build peace and harmony in our region; and
advances our engagement on regional and international issues.

Friends,
In our conversation, President Sisi and I have agreed to build on multiple pillars of our cooperation. We agreed to sustain and strengthen the momentum of high-level political exchanges. We recognized that strong trade and investment linkages are essential for economic prosperity of our societies. We, therefore, agreed that increased flow of goods, services, and capital between our two economies has to be among our key priorities. To this end, the agreement on cooperation in maritime transport signed today will be an important facilitator. I would also urge our private sector to take the lead in building new business and commercial partnerships between the two countries. To diversify the portfolio of economic engagement, we will also deepen our cooperation in agriculture, skill development, small and medium industry and health sectors.

Friends,
President and I are of one view that growing radicalization, increasing violence and spread of terror pose a real threat not just to our two countries. But, also to nations and communities across regions.

In this context, we agreed to further our defence and security engagement which would aim at:
Expanding defence trade, training and capacity building;
Greater information and operational exchanges to combat terrorism;
Cooperation on emerging challenges of cyber security; and
Working together to fight drug trafficking, transnational crimes and money-laundering.
As two ancient and proud civilizations, with rich cultural heritage, we also decided to facilitate greater people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges.

Excellency,
India appreciates the good work that Egypt has been doing during its current term on the UN Security Council. Our decision to consult more closely on regional and global issues, both at the U.N. and outside, will benefit our common interests. We agreed that the U.N. Security Council needs to be reformed to reflect the realities of today. We also welcome Egypt's participation at next week's G20 Summit. We believe it will add value and enrich the substance of discussions at G-20.

Your Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi,
Let me once again extend my warmest welcome to you and your delegation. I wish you and the Egyptian people all success. India stands ready to be a reliable partner in fulfilment of your developmental, economic and security goals.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

3. Banquet Speech of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at the banquet hosted in honour of H.E.  Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, New Delhi, 2 September 2016
1. It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you and your distinguished delegation. I had the privilege of receiving you at the Rashtrapati Bhavan not so long ago, last October, when India hosted the Third India-Africa Forum Summit.

2. Your first State Visit to India is indeed a landmark occasion for many reasons: firstly, as close friends, it is but normal for Egypt and India to regularly exchange high level visits. Our peoples represent two of the most ancient civilizations of the human race; since our early contacts centuries ago, our trade as well as cultural and scholarly interactions have flourished. The migration of knowledge and scientific thought between our peoples has, over this long period, shaped our mutual understanding.

3. In the modern era, too, our shared experiences and aspirations bind us. Both our nations have had to struggle to win our freedom from colonial masters.  Even as we were engaged in our own political, social and economic development, we gave strength and encouragement to other newly emerging independent states in our regions, we forged solidarity among developing countries, we nourished South-South Cooperation, and we led the Non-Aligned Movement.

4. The high esteem in which our Founding Fathers held each other- Tagore and Shawky, Gandhi and Zaghloul, Nehru and Nasser has inspired our partnership and shaped the way we have collaborated bilaterally and in multilateral fora as two independent nations.

Excellency,
5. The Friendship Treaty that was signed between India and Egypt in 1955 laid the foundation of our partnership. Article 1 of the Treaty provides that "there shall be perpetual peace, friendship and brotherly relations between India and Egypt and between their respective peoples".  No wonder it was possible for us to forge fruitful partnerships in areas as varied as defence and culture, agree on preferential arrangements in trade and work together, to our mutual benefit in the field of agriculture and science.

6. Since those early days, the world has changed and our nations have evolved. Today’s Egypt is developing fast and India is also on a very positive trajectory of progress and growth. There is a definite confidence in our youth, who are now, more than ever before, flag-bearers of our national spirit and our collective goals.  At the same time, as we are only too aware, the challenges that we face have also become more complex. Our respective regions are plagued by the shadowy spectre of radicalism that must be dealt with strongly and unitedly.

Excellency,
7. Your visit is taking place at a time when we both desire to infuse a new momentum into our relations and intensify our co-operation. Our economic engagement has been growing stronger through investments and enhanced trade flows as well as our partnership in a wide range of areas of our common interest.  India and Egypt share a convergence on regional and global issues. I am told more and more Egyptians enjoy Bollywood cinema, playing Holi, and practicing Yoga.  The 'India by the Nile' annual cultural event has emerged as the largest foreign festival in Egypt and a week-long celebration of the life and work of Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore has been popular with Egyptian scholars and artists alike. India is glad to see the establishment of the Indian Chair at Ain-Shams University in Cairo - the first in the Arab world.  We are looking forward to the first ever “Egypt on Ganga” festival to be held in India next year.

8. New modes of co-operation and collaboration are emerging and new actors are rapidly entering the stage. While we take satisfaction in the state of our relations, we continue to strive to achieve higher milestones. I therefore look forward, Excellency, to our work together to further strengthen our excellent bilateral cooperation.

To emphasise mutuality of our co-operation, I would like to recall the well known Egyptian proverb –                 

- which I will quote in English “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship”.

9. With these words, I once again welcome you, Mr. President, and wish you a very comfortable and fruitful visit to India.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I request you to join me in raising a toast to:-
* The health and personal well-being of His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi;
* The progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Egypt; and
* The ever closer friendship and cooperation between India and Egypt.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

c. ISREAL
4. Visit of Agriculture Minister, Tel Aviv, 19 September 2016
Minister for Agriculture and Farmers welfare Radha Mohan Singh visited Israel from September 18-20. In his meeting with Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel on September 19, Minister Singh expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation in agriculture between India and Israel. He visited various facilities including on desert agriculture, post- harvest management, dairy and drip irrigation and interacted with Indian post-doctoral scholars and officials receiving training in Israel, during the visit.
Source: Embassy of India, Tel Aviv

5. Embassy, with the support of Haifa Municipality, organized a ceremony to mark Haifa Day at the Indian cemetery in Haifa, Tel Aviv, 22 September 2016
Embassy, with the support of Haifa Municipality, organized a ceremony to mark Haifa Day at the Indian cemetery in Haifa on September 22. Ambassador Pavan Kapoor, Mayor of Haifa, Force Commander UNDOF, Military Attaches from various countries, IDF representatives and veterans, and representatives of various organizations laid wreaths at the war memorial on the occasion and soldiers from UNDOF formed part of the Honour Guard. Haifa Day marks the contribution of Indian soldiers in the liberation of Haifa during World War I.
Source: Embassy of India, Tel Aviv

6. President of India condoles the passing away of  Shimon Peres, former President of State of Israel, 28 September 2016
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has condoled the passing away of former President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres.

In a message to His Excellency Reuven Rivlin, the President of State of Israel, the President said, “I was deeply saddened to learn of the demise of Shimon Peres, former President of the State of Israel. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

In his passing, Israel has lost a statesman who made courageous efforts to achieve peace for his country and the region. The worldwide admiration and accolades that he received for his work - including the Noble Peace Prize, are a testimony to the values that he stood for.  Peres was a visionary who strongly believed in the power of knowledge, innovation and technology.

We, in India, remember Peres as a steadfast friend of our country, whose lasting contribution to the strengthening of the close bilateral partnership between India and Israel will be long remembered.

I warmly recall my last meeting with him in October, 2015, during my recent visit to Israel.

I would request you, Excellency, to kindly convey my deepest sympathies to his bereaved family. May the Almighty give them the strength to bear this loss.”
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

7. PM conveys his condolences to the people of Israel, on the demise of former Israel President Shimon Peres, New Delhi, 28 September 2016
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has conveyed his condolences to the people of Israel, on the demise of former Israel President Shimon Peres. "In former President Shimon Peres, we lost a key world leader and a friend of India. Pained by his demise. Our condolences to people of Israel", the Prime Minister said.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

8. Radha Mohan Singh Concludes 3 Days Israel Visit, New Delhi,  20 September 2016
Radha Mohan Singh to Foster Agricultural Ties between India and Israel Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Focused on aquaculture and research collaboration during 3 days Visit Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare,  Radha Mohan Singh concluded his three day Israel Visit. The Union Minister led a four member official delegation to Israel to deepen bilateral engagement in agriculture.

In his interaction with Agriculture Minister of Israel,  Uri Ariel on Monday,  Singh expressed satisfaction at the level of cooperation in agriculture between the two countries.  Singh also mentioned that there was potential for further collaboration in areas such as collaborative research, dairy and aquaculture. Israeli Agriculture Minister,  Ariel concurred that the potential between the two countries in agriculture was untapped.

Prior to the meeting,  Radha Mohan Singh visited the Agricultural Research Organization - Israel's premium institute in agricultural research. Union Minister was briefed about post-harvesting technologies and food processing, areas which offer bright prospects to Indian farmers.  Singh also interacted with almost 30 Indian post doctoral students pursuing research at the institute and elaborated about recent initiatives by the government to woo more scholars to strengthen scientific landscape in Indian agriculture.

Radha Mohan Singh also visited dairy facilities and a desert agriculture facility. Union Minister drew parallels between the geographical terrain in dry regions of India and the Negev desert where the desert agriculture facility was located. Productivity level of Israeli dairy is impressive and  Singh felt that Indian dairy growers could benefit from Israeli dairy expertise.

Singh also interacted with researchers and scientists of animal sciences department in faculty of agriculture, Hebrew University. During his visit to the department, Union Minister was introduced to aquaculture systems and fish breeding technologies capable of improving productivity levels manifold. The department also showcased featherless chicken, which could withstand high temperatures, bred by the department.  Singh said that there was scope for collaboration and absorption in aquaculture systems which was introduced to India delegation.

Union Minister visited the Shafdan Water Treatment Plant which is Tel Aviv's main treatment plant that also treats waste water from seven cities surrounding Tel Aviv.  Radha Mohan Singh discussed the possibility of joining hands with the plant on flagship schemes such as make in India and smart cities.

Agriculture has been a main area of cooperation between the two countries ever since diplomatic ties were established in 1992. Under a bilateral agreement, various Israeli centres of excellence have been established in various states, covering a wide span of fields such as fruits, vegetables, horticulture etc. A number of Indian officials receive training in Israel and minister, during the visit, interacted with almost 20 officials who are currently undergoing a training programme in Israel. Both sides are also discussing a bilateral scheme to promote bilateral collaborative research.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

d. JORDAN
9. Ambassador of India to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, H.E.  Shubhdarshini Tripathi, presented her Credentials to His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, Amman, 4 September 2016
1. Ambassador of India to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, H.E.  Shubhdarshini Tripathi, presented her Credentials to His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein at a solemn ceremony organized at the Basman Palace today.

2. As part of the Credentials ceremony, Ambassador Tripathi inspected Guards of Honour and laid wreaths at the tombs of Their Late Majesties King Hussein Bin Talal, King Abdullah I, and King Talal Bin Abdullah.
Source: Embassy of India, Tel Aviv

e. OMAN
10. FIEO and PHD CCI lead Indian Business Delegations to Oman, Muscat, 22 September 2016
Embassy of India, in association with Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), organized a successful Business-to-Business Meeting at OCCI on Wednesday, 21 September, with participation of over 180 businessmen, representing various Omani and companies.

The B2B Meeting provided an opportunity to Omani companies to interact with and enter into business ties with i) six-member Indian business delegation led by Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), visiting Oman to participate in ‘Food & Hospitality Oman 2016’; ii) nine Indian hospitals exhibiting in ‘Oman Health Exhibition and Conference 2016’; and iii) ten-member delegation led by PHD Chamber of Commerce &Industry, representing companies from various sectors including Food processing, IT, Logistics & Trading, Advertisement & Marketing, Engineering Components and Consulting & Training.

The event was graced by the presence of H.E. Mohsin bin Khamis Al Balushi, Adviser to the Minister of Commerce and Industry; H.E. Ayman Al Hasani, Vice Chairman of OCCI;  Habib Al Hasani, Director International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Dr. Mohamed al Sajwani, Deputy Chairman, Treatment Abroad Committee, Ministry of Health; Dr Walid Al Zedjali, Chairman Oman Medical Association, and many distinguished guests.

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador of India, H.E. Indra Mani Pandey, underlined the importance of frequent exchange of business delegations to benefit from the opportunities offered by India and Oman for mutual trade and investment, which is accorded the highest priority by the Governments of India and Oman.

H.E. Mohsin bin Khamis Al Balushi appreciated the efforts of the Embassy of India in enhancing India-Oman bilateral business relations and expressed hope that Omani businessmen and their Indian counterparts will be able to take advantage of the existing potentials for further business ties between India and Oman. He outlined the opportunities available under Oman’s 9th Five Year Plan, which underlines the goal of diversification of Oman’s Economy in sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, logistics, minerals and mining etc.
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

11. Vibrant Gujarat Delegation solicits Oman’s participation in Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017, Muscat,  8 September 2016
A high-level Indian business delegation from Gujarat visited Oman on 03-05 September to promote the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Summit, to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on 10-13 January 2017. The 8th edition of the Global Summit will provide an opportunity to interact with key policy makers, industry leaders, regulators and renowned businesspersons from over 100 countries under one roof. Many Heads of Governments will also be participating at the four-day Summit which will have B2B, B2G, CEO’s Conclave and SMEs Platform among many other attractions.

The 25-member Vibrant Gujarat Delegation, led by Principal Secretary to the Government of Gujarat State of India, had representatives from reputed Indian companies from various sectors including Aviation, Education, Financial Services, Gems & Jewellery, Hospitality, Industrial Equipments, Information Technology, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Power, Textile, Travel and Tourism.

The Delegation called on H.H. Sayyid Taimur Bin As'ad Bin Tarik Al Said, Assistant Secretary General, the Research Council (TRC); H.E. Dr. Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al-Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry; H.E. Mohammed Hamed Saif Al-Rumhy, Minister of Oil & Gas, as well as with senior Officials from State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), Public Establishment For Industrial Estates (PEIE), Public Authority of Civil Aviation (PACA), Sultan Qaboos University, Information Technology Authority (ITA), Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Tourism and Petroleum Development Oman. The Delegation also extended invitation to the Omani leaders to participate in Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017. H.E. Said bin Saleh al Kiyumi, Chairman of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), expressed the Chamber’s interest in leading an Omani business delegation to participate in the Summit.

Further, the Embassy of India, Muscat, and OCCI jointly organized a Roadshow where the Delegation showcased the investment opportunities in Gujarat, India’s business gateway to the World. The B2B Meeting that followed the Roadshow provided opportunities for exploring collaborations and tie-ups between the delegation and businessmen in Oman. The Delegation also solicited participation of Omani investors and businessmen at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017. For more information about the please visit: http://www.vibrantgujarat.com/
Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

f. QATAR
12. Embassy Open House, Doha, 30 September 2016
The monthly Open House to address urgent consular and labour issues/cases of Indian nationals in the State of Qatar was held at the Embassy on Friday, 30 September, 2016. This was the monthly last Open House convened by Ambassador Sanjiv Arora during his assignment of over four years in Qatar.

The Ambassador 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. Arvind Patil, 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 recently 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 139 and 77, respectively.

During the current year, the Labour and Community Welfare Section of the Embassy has received a total of 3017 complaints so far. The number of complaints received during 2015 was 4132.

The number of deaths registered in the Embassy this year is 203.  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 68 Emergency Certificates (ECs) in September, 2016. The Embassy also issued 18 air tickets to Indian nationals in distress for their return to India in September, 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.

Ambassador Sanjiv Arora inaugurated the 27th  Free Medical Camp, organized by Indian Community Benevolent Forum (ICBF) with the support of the Embassy and the Medical Commission of Qatar, and in association with Indian Doctors Club, Wellcare Pharmacy and other partners, for low-paid workers of Indian as well as other nationalities at  the Medical Commission Facility at  Abu Hamour  on  Friday, 23 September 2016. Nearly 1200 workers (the highest at any of ICBF’s Medical Camps) benefited from the Medical Camp at which voluntary service was rendered by several doctors and paramedics; Indian community organizations; students of Indian Schools and Embassy officials. Ambassador addressed the workers and volunteers on this occasion and interacted with a large number of them. The Medical Camp included a live demonstration of various Yogasanas for health and wellness by Yoga instructors. The workers showed keen interest in Yoga and many of them took part in practicing yoga exercises. http://indianembassyqatar.gov.in/pages/press_release_detail.php?id=180&page=1

Revised Timings of Consular Section18 September 2016
The timings of the Consular Section of Embassy of India, Doha from 21 September 2016 (Wednesday) will be as follows:
9: 00 AM to 12:15 PM:      Receipt of applications
4: 00 PM to 5:15 PM :      Delivery of documents after rendering consular service.
Source: Embassy of India, Doha

g. TURKEY
13. ITEC Day Celebrations 2016, Ankara, 29 September 2016
1. Ambassador of India, Rahul Kulshreshth hosted a reception to mark Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) day at the Embassy residence on 29 September 2016. A number of ITEC alumni from Turkey attended the reception.

2. The ITEC Programme was instituted on 15 September 1964 by a decision of the Indian Cabinet. This year 25 training slots under ITEC have been allotted to Turkey.
Source: Embassy of India, Doha

h. SAUDI ARABIA
14. Dharmendra Pradhan holds telephonic conversation with H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry & Natural Resources, Saudi Arabia, 20 September 2016
Minister of State (I/C) for Petroleum and Natural Gas,  Dharmendra Pradhan had a telephonic conversation with H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry & Natural Resources, Saudi Arabia. The telephone call was initiated by the Minister of the Saudi Arabia.

The two Ministers discussed various issues of mutual interest, including Petroleum, energy cooperation and global oil and gas scenario. H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih requested India to host the Ministerial session of International Energy Forum (IEF) in India in 2018. Pradhan agreed to the request

Pradhan invited his Saudi Arabian counterpart to visit India at an early date during which Petroleum energy cooperation can be reviewed and various pending issues could be discussed. He also welcomed Saudi Oil companies to invest and to do business in Indian oil and gas sector. Both leaders agreed amicably to be in touch regularly in future.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

15. President of India’s message on the eve of National Day of Saudi Arabia, 22 September 2016
The President of India,  Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the King and the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the eve of their National Day (23 September 2016).

In a message to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government, the people of India and on my own behalf, it is with great pleasure that I extend warm greetings and felicitations to Your Majesty and to the friendly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of your National Day.

Our close and friendly relations are based on millennia-old cultural and economic exchanges underpinned by extensive people-to-people contacts.

Regular high-level exchanges and fruitful interactions have enabled us to expand our mutually beneficial cooperation into a comprehensive strategic partnership. I am confident that our multifaceted bilateral ties will continue to diversify and strengthen in the years to come.

I take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for the good health and happiness of Your Majesty, as well as for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

Note:

1 Crore = 10 million. Lakh = 100,000

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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