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2013 Current Affairs Special - Bilateral Affairs

January First India-US-Africa partnership in Agricultural Training
India and the United States inaugurated the first triangular India-US-Africa Partnership in agricultural training at the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad, on 6th January 2013 for 30 trainees from three African countries Kenya, Liberia and Malawi. The three-year triangular partnership program aims to improve agricultural productivity, strengthen agricultural value chains, and support market institutions in Kenya, Liberia, and Malawi. The programme is implemented by two of Indias leading agricultural training institutes include National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad, and the Chaudhary Charan Singh National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM), Jaipur This program will train 180 mid-level African Government and private sector agriculture professionals from Kenya, Malawi, and Liberia in agricultural extension practices, agri-business, and agricultural marketing.

11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held at Kochi

The Indian Diaspora has made the country proud through the significant contributions that they have made to the development of the nations which they have chosen to make their homes. Delivering the valedictory address at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held at Kochi during January 7-9, President Pranab Mukherjee said that it is a matter of pride that there are at least 5 Heads of States and over 70 senior political leaders such as Deputy Heads of State, Speakers and Ministers in various countries who can trace their roots to India. Addressing on the occasion, the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Mr. Vayalar Ravi said that Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has over the years, grown not only in size but also in its contents. Meeting under the overall theme of Engaging Diaspora-the Indian Growth Story, this year wideranging and interesting discussions were held in various sessions such as the Seminar on NRIs in the Gulf; on Skill Development; on Heritage and Diaspora; on engaging the young Overseas Indians; on Indias Growing Soft Power; and on Science, Innovation and Technology. On the occasion of the centenary year of the Ghadar movement, a stamp was released by the Prime Minister.

10th meeting of IKIGC held in New Delhi

The 10th meeting of the India-Kazakhstan Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological, Industrial and Cultural was held during 8-9 January 2013 in New Delhi. Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, led the delegation from India. The Kazakh side at the IGC meeting was led by Mr. Bulat Akchulakov, Vice Minister of Oil and Gas, Republic of Kazakhstan. The two Ministers signed IGC Protocol after conclusion of the India-Kazakhstan IGC meeting. The meeting of the Joint Working Group on cooperation in hydrocarbon sector was held along with the IGC meeting. The next meeting of the Joint Working Group will be held in Kazakhstan.

Anand Sharma Called on PM of Mauritius

The Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma, who is on a two day visit to Mauritius, had a meeting with the Hon. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius on 9th January, at Port Louis. Mr.Sharma informed the Prime Minister of Mauritius that there was a need for deepening and diversifying trade and investment ties between the two countries. Towards this end, he stressed upon the need for making the Mauritius India Business Council (MIBC) a robust institutional mechanism for giving a boost to trade and investment ties by identifying the priority sectors and sectors of engagement. It was agreed that a Joint Working Group on trade and investment would meet before April, 2013 to work out the modalities for broadening and deepening the economic engagement between the two countries.

India, Vietnam signed MoU to Strengthen MSMEs

India and Vietnam on 15th January 2013 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is directly meant for building capacity and developing institutional framework and identifying thrust areas and opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises in Vietnam. The MoU was signed during the 4 day state visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari to Vietnam.

Maitree Express between Kolkata-Dhaka

Railway officials from India and Bangladesh on 16th January decided to fast track some more rail links between the two countries. They also decided to study the feasibility of increasing the frequency of Maitree Express between Kolkata-Dhaka. The three-day inter-government meeting, which concluded on 17th January, discussed ongoing rail projects and feasibility of a few more rail connectivity points. For some of the projects, survey has already been completed while feasibility of new links is to be studied. In the meeting it was decided to expedite the projects for opening rail links between Akhaura (Bangladesh) Agartala (India), Chilahati (Bangladesh) Haldibari (India), Shahbazpur (Bangladesh) Mahishashan (India) and Birol (Bangladesh) Radhikapur (India).

India and UK discussed various issues of mutual interest

UKs Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green called on Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Union Minister of Law and Justice, in New Delhi on 16th January, and discussed various issues of mutual interest. Lord Green is on a preparatory mission for the forthcoming visit of UKs Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron. During the hour-long meeting the two leaders discussed ways and means for enhancing the Indo-UK business relationship, streamlining of the visa regime for Indians in the UK, greater cooperation in the fields of science, health and education.

India and Sri Lanka signed two separate agreements

India and Sri Lanka on 22nd January signed two separate agreements on combating international terrorism and avoidance of double taxation, eyeing elevation of robust bilateral ties to building of a special economic partnership. The two key accords were signed after the 8th India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission meeting held in New Delhi, discussed enhanced cooperation in a range of areas including civil nuclear energy. At the meeting, the Indian side was led by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid while the Lankans were led by his counterpart G.L. Peiris.

Antony called on the President of Myanmar

Defence Minister A.K. Antony called on the President of Myanmar U Thein Sein in NayPyiTaw, on 22nd January. Antony conveyed the importance placed by India on enhancement of bilateral ties in all fields, including defence. He noted that the recent exchanges of visits between both countries at political and other levels had imparted a new momentum to the bilateral relationship. In the case of defence in particular, the defence minister noted that the two sides were working to consolidate ties, in mutual interest of both. The President also assured that Myanmar will not allow its territory to be used by anti-India insurgent groups. He welcomed the development of cooperation between the Armed Forces of both sides to deal with challenges along the land and maritime boundaries between both countries.

India will soon send delegates to Niger

Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas on 22nd January, has said that India will soon send a delegation of experts to Niger for exploring possibilities of cooperation between two countries in the hydrocarbon sector. Responding to the proposal of her counterpart Mr. Foumakore Gado, Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Niger, at a meeting in New Delhi, Smt Lakshmi said Indian companies are interested to choose exploration blocks and invest in the oil marketing infrastructure of the country. She also offered to provide training by PSUs like ONGC, GAIL, IOC to the Nigers hydrocarbon sector personnel.

India, Bangladesh agreed to extradite criminals and terrorists

India and Bangladesh on 29th January signed two landmark agreements to extradite criminals and terrorists and liberalise the visa regime. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his Bangladesh counterpart, Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, signed the agreements on the first of the two-day Home Ministers meeting in Dhaka. If extradition of someone poses a threat to national security, either country may refuse the deportation request. No political detainee will be brought within the purview of the treaty. If a controversy arose during an extradition process, officials explained, the matter would be settled as per the laws of the country concerned. The other agreement provides for a friendlier visa regime for Bangladeshis.

India - Australia Joint Ministerial Commission held in New Delhi

The 14th Session of the India - Australia Joint Ministerial Commission convened in New Delhi on 29th January, 2013. The Commission was co-chaired by Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, India and Dr. Craig Emerson MP, Australian Minister for Trade and Competitiveness and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy. Mr. Sharma and Dr. Emerson emphasised the importance of closer trade and investment relations as a critical component of the strategic partnership. The Ministers underlined the importance of a solid institutional framework to facilitate future growth in bilateral trade and investment. In this context, they highlighted the priority they placed on the conclusion of a mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). The two Ministers have welcomed the launch of the Regional

Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations towards a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial regional economic partnership agreement.

India, Spain agreed Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy

Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy, on 30th January, met Spanish delegation led by Ms. Carmen Vela Olmo, Minister of State for Research, Development and Innovation. Both the leaders agreed to enhance research, cooperation and technologies in the field of Renewable Energy. Besides, research projects in the area of forecasting of wind power and fabrication of cost effective solar cells will be considered for financing by the Indian and Spanish governments. During the meeting, the two ministers agreed to initiate a second call for research proposals so as to encourage joint research and development activities between research institutions as well as industry groups of both the countries. India has the fifth largest wind power installed capacity in the world. Spain is the 4th largest producer of wind power and is top-ranked worldwide in terms of photovoltaic solar power capacity. The Solar Platform of Almeria (PSA), run under the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness is considered one of the largest and best R&D facilitates for Concentrating Solar Power Technologies.

Indo-Spain Tourism Promotion Forum will be set up

Union Minister for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi held bilateral discussions with Spanish Minister for Industry, Tourism and Trade, Jose Manuel Soria Lopez in Madrid on 31st January. Both the countries agreed to set up Indo-Spain Tourism Promotion Forum for building a dialogue between the stakeholders of tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India and Spain. Spanish side showed keen interest to invest in Hotel sector in India which has 100% Foreign Direct Investment. Both sides emphasized on direct air connectivity between India and Spain.

February India and Austria inked a social security pact

India and Austria on 5th February 2013 inked a social security pact at Vienna, under which the Indian professionals working in Austria would be exempted from paying the social security contribution of the country, if such payments are already made in India. Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Austrian Minister for Labour and Social Security, Rudoulf Hundstorfer signed the pact. The pact of social security between the two countries would also boost cooperation of the labour market expansion in Austria, the country that is a home for more than 17,000 Indian professionals.

Union Cabinet approved SPV for the TAPI Pipeline Project

The Union Cabinet gave its approval for formation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline Project and to permit GAIL India Ltd. to join the SPV on 7th February. The four countries involved in the TAPI Gas pipeline project, signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement along with a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA). To accelerate the project, parties have formed the Minister Level Steering Committee and Technical Working Group (TWO). Suitable provisions for security and safety of the pipeline have been made in the InterGovernmental Agreement (IGA) and Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement (GPFA). The SPV would take up the Feasibility Study and Design work of the TAPl pipeline to meet the agreed timelines for the project, as well as search for a consortium lead. GAIL, being a Navratna Company, is empowered to make an investment of this level for India. GAIL has agreed to make an investment up to USD 5 million in the proposed SPV that is TAPI Ltd. Based on an 'inprinciple' approval of the Cabinet on 18th May, 2006, India joined the TAP Project in April, 2008 and thereafter, the name of the project stood amended to Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-PakistanIndia (TAPl) Gas Pipeline Project.

PM of Bhutan visited India

Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley was on the home visit to India from 7-9 February 2013. During his visit to India he met with President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vice-President, Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister, P Chidambaram and Foreign Secretary-Ranjan Mathai. His visit was aimed at improving India-Bhutan bilateral relationship. Thinley is the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan from 2008, after Bhutan became a democratic country. Bhutan became the youngest democracy of the world on 6th November 2008.

India and Brazil signed for cooperation steel and mining

The Union Minister of Steel, Beni Prasad Verma recently led a delegation to Brazil to strengthen cooperation between the two nations in steel and mining. During the visit, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed by the Secretary, Ministry of Steel on behalf of Government of India and by the Executive Secretary (Mines and Energy) on behalf of the Government of Brazil on 7th February. The LoI inter-alia aims to promote and expand bilateral relations between the two countries in the mineral sector with focus on strengthening the supply chain for the growth of the steel industry in both the countries. The Letter of Intent aims to encourage investment opportunities in iron and steel related businesses by the Indian and the Brazilian companies in India and Brazil, facilitate exchange of technical know-how in developing the iron and steel production and other steel related raw materials, including pelletisation plants and other associated industries.

The Health Ministers of India and Bangladesh signed an MoU

The Health Ministers of India and Bangladesh signed an MoU on Health in New Delhi on 12th February. While Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare signed on behalf of Government of India, Dr. A. F. M. Ruhal Haque, Health Minister signed on behalf of Government of Bangladesh. The salient features of the MoU between India and Bangladesh are as follows: Exchange of medical doctors, other health professionals and experts: Development of human resources. Exchange of information on health. Medical and health research development. Regulations of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. Health promotion and disease prevention. Fostering cooperation for the development of culturally sensitive and effective public and professional awareness campaign including clinical are practices and best practices guidelines for healthcare providers and caretakers to benefit individuals and families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities. Any other area of cooperation as may be mutually decided upon.

India, Japan to strengthen cooperation in tourism

India and Japan have resolved to strengthen cooperation in tourism sector. This was decided at a meeting between the visiting Japanese Senior Vice-Minister of Tourism, Mr. Hiroshi Kajiyama and the Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi in New Delhi on 12th February. It was also decided that both the countries will identify areas for working together and explore new opportunities in tourism sector especially in the field of human resource development, exchange of tour operators, investment in the tourism sector and exchange of information related to tourism sector. There is a strong interest of Japanese Tourists in places connected with Buddhism in India. JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) has extended loan of 7,331 million Japanese Yen (Rs. 299 crore) for Development of Ajanta Ellora Conservation and Development Programme Phase II.

Agreement between Indian and French Railways

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and the Socit Nationale des Chemins de Fer Franais (SNCF), the French National Railways, for Technical cooperation in the field of Railways in New Delhi on 14 February. The MoU was signed by Vinay Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board, from Indian side and Mr G.Pepy, Chairman and CEO SNCF from the French side. Four areas of cooperation have been identified in the MoU. These are: 1. High speed and semi-high speed rail; 2. Station renovation and operations; 3. Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure; 4. Suburban trains. Under the High Speed Cooperation Programme, the Parties have decided to carry out jointly an operations and development feasibility project on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail. This project will be funded by SNCF with a support from the French Ministry of Finance. The MoU is valid for a period of 5 years and is extendable by one year with mutual consent.

India and France agreed to strengthen cooperation

India and France on 14th February 2013 agreed to strengthen counter terrorism and intelligence cooperation between the two countries during the visit of French President Francois Hollande to India. Both nations exchanged views on a number of bi-lateral, regional and multilateral issues. India and France also reviewed progress on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project and reiterated our commitment to its early implementation as soon as the commercial and technical negotiations, which have made good progress, are completed. Other Important India-France Agreements Both the nations agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of the modernisation of the railway, high speed corridors and network upgradation of railway stations. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) under the space cooperation programme jointly identified the means to pursue further cooperation. A pact was changed to increase exchanges between the sportspersons, artists, architects, researchers, teachers, students to improve people- to- people contacts. The cooperation between various Indian and French educational institutions was finalised. MoU was signed between Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and France's CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) CFA (Credit Facility Agreement) was signed for the Bangalore Metro Rail Project, Phase1 between Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the French Development Agency (AFD)

Canada Tourism Minister called on Chiranjeevi

Maxime Bernier, Minister of Tourism, Canada called on Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi in New Delhi on 26th February. Both sides resolved to strengthen cooperation in tourism sector. It was also decided that both the countries will identify areas for working together and explore new opportunities in tourism sector especially in the field of human resource development, exchange of tour operators, investment in the tourism sector and exchange of information related to tourism sector. The possibility of signing an agreement/MoU between India and Canada was also discussed.

March An MoU signed between India and UK

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and UK to strengthen their cooperation in Earth Sciences and Environmental Research on 1st March, 2013 in New Delhi. The MoU will allow the two countries to share information on meteorology, hydrology and climate variability. This MoU will allow the two countries to share information on meteorology, hydrology and climate variability. The MoU will also help in promoting exchange of scientific and technical capabilities. The Memorandum of Understanding will help India in improving the forecasting capability of various weather and climate-related phenomena by sharing the expertise and knowledge.

India proposed a hydrocarbon pipeline with Kazakhstan

India has proposed the idea of a hydrocarbon pipeline with Kazakhstan that would bring fuel through a five-nation route. India unveiled the concept of the pipeline, which in future could be extended to Russia, during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his visiting Kazakh counterpart Erlan Idrissov in New Delhi on 6 March. The proposed pipeline would cover about 1,500 kms (no study has yet been done), thus making it longer than the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline which will serve as the role model.

The Foreign Minister of Portugal, visited India

The Foreign Minister of Portugal, Paulo de Sacadura Cabral Portas visited India. This was his first official visit. Paulo de Sacadura Cabral Portas was accompanied by Minister of State for Culture of Portugal and a business delegation. The minister visited Goa and Mumbai with the delegation. During his visit, the Foreign Minister of Portugal held discussions with the Indias External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid. India and Portugal discussed bilateral, regional and global issues during the visit.

SSA was signed between India and Portugal

A Social Security Agreement (SSA) was signed between India and Portugal on 4th March 2013 at New Delhi. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas. The bilateral social security agreement would help in taking advantage of the emerging employment opportunities and strengthening the trade and investments between the two countries. India has signed the SSAs with 17 countries of the world and they are Belgium, Germany (Social Insurance), Hungary, Switzerland, France, The Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, Germany (Comprehensive SSA), Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Japan, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Austria.

India and Bhutan signed a currency swap agreement

India and Bhutan on 8th March 2013 signed a currency swap agreement for up to US $ 100 million to strengthen economic cooperation between two countries. The currency swap arrangement was signed between the Reserve Bank of India and the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMAB).The Agreement enables RMAB to make withdrawals of US dollar, Euro or Indian rupee in multiple tranches up to a maximum of US $ 100 million or its equivalent.

Britain and India clinched a multi-million-pound agreement

Britain and India on 14th March have clinched a multi-million-pound agreement to support industry and businesses by working together on the commercialization of research in key areas like energy and healthcare. As part of the deal, Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) sponsored by the Indian governments Department of Science and Technology and UKs Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will support UK and Indian businesses and academics in joint R&D and innovation projects over a three-year period. The latest agreement is the first-ever international partnership the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Britains government- sponsored innovation agency, has signed outside Europe. GITA, a not-for-profit PPP company, is promoted jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Technology Development Board of the Indian governments Department of Science and Technology.

India, Egypt ink 7 pacts and MoUs to boost talks

In a bid to deepen ties and strengthen economic bonds, India and Egypt on 19th March signed seven key pacts, including one on cyber security, after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi held bilateral talks in New Delhi. The two leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation in defence and at international forums like UN. Underlining that India and Egypt have enormous potential for deepening cooperation across the full spectrum of ties, Singh said economic partnership has rich possibilities.

22nd Executive Committee Meeting of the PPD held in Uganda

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad met Edward Ssekandi, Vice President of the Republic of Uganda on 25th March, 2013 during his visit to Kampala, Uganda to chair the 22nd Executive Committee Meeting of the Partners in Population and Development (PPD), an alliance of 25 member countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Recalling the close and historical ties between the two countries, both the dignitaries stressed upon the need to further strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation during the meeting. The Vice President recalled his very recent visit to India, stating that he was very well received then and was able to appreciate the advances made by India in fields such as telecom, petrochemicals and health and medicine. He stated that not only people from Uganda but also from developed countries were now traveling to India for health care.

7th annual IndiaJapan Strategic Dialogue held in Japan

External Affairs Minister of India, Salman Khurshid visited Japan on 26-27 March, 2013 to cochair the 7th Annual IndiaJapan Strategic Dialogue with the Japanese Foreign Minister. Both nations reviewed all aspects of the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership including bilateral, regional and international issues.

First meeting of South Australia-India Council held in Adelaide

South Australia on 25th March rolled out a 10-year strategy to enhance trade ties with India by holding its first meeting of South Australia-India Council in Adelaide. State Trade Minister Tom Kenyon said the strategy identified key sectors of the economy that could take advantage of India's rapid development and create local jobs. The council is being supported by an India team within the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE).

India and Liechtenstein signed a TIEA

India and Liechtenstein have signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) on 28th March at Bern, Switzerland. The Agreement was signed by Ms Chitra Narayanan, Indian Ambassador in Switzerland from Indian side and Madame Doris Frick, Ambassador of Liechtenstein in Switzerland on behalf of Liechtenstein. Salient features of the agreement (TIEA) with Liechtenstein are It is based on international standard of transparency and exchange of information. Information must be foreseeable relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Contracting Parties concerning taxes covered by the agreement. There is a specific provision that the requested party shall use its information gathering measures to obtain the requested information even though that party may not need such information for its own tax purposes. There is a specific provision for providing banking and ownership information. The agreement provides for the representatives of the competent authority of the requesting Party to enter the territory of the requested party to interview individuals and examine records. The Agreement has specific provisions for protecting the confidentiality of the information obtained under the Agreement. Information is to be treated as secret and can be disclosed to only specified person or authorities, which are tax authorities or its oversight body. However, the information may be used for other purposes with the express consent of the Competent Authority of the supplying State. The Agreement shall enter into force one month from the later of the notification. On entering into force, information can be exchanged if it pertains to taxable periods beginning on or after 1st April, 2013. The Agreement provides for the exchange of documents or information created in or derived from a date preceding 1st April, 2013, that are foresee ably relevant to a request relating to tax years beginning on or after 1st April, 2013.

India-Zimbabwe JTC Meeting held in Zimbabwe

The Union Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma on 29th March met the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai during his visit to Harare for the IndiaZimbabwe Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting. Sharma briefed the Zimbabwean Prime Minister on the fruitful discussions held at previous day between the two sides in the JTC meeting. Sharma informed the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe that India has offered various capacity building programmes, including scholarships and dedicated courses in bamboo craft development and handicrafts, that Lines of Credit (LOC) proposals worth US $ 400 million from the Zimbabwean side will be considered and Zimbabwe could also avail the Buyers Credit Scheme and the pilot 2 % Interest subvention scheme for projects in Zimbabwe.

April India and Singapore signed a new MoU

India and Singapore on 2nd April 2013 signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bilateral air services arrangement during the visit of Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh to Singapore. It rationalizes the capacity entitlements of both countries in terms of seats per week in each direction with a route specific cap for Singapore on each route. The MoU also enhances, by 10%, the capacity entitlement with India now entitled to operate 29,400 weekly passenger seats from India to Singapore and the designated airlines of Singapore entitled to operate 28,700 weekly passenger seats from Singapore to India.

A Treaty was signed between India and Azerbaijan

A Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters was signed between India and Azerbaijan on 4th April, 2013 in New Delhi. The Treaty was signed by Sushilkumar Shinde, Home Minister, on behalf of the Republic of India and by Mr.Fikrat Mammadov, Minister of Justice, on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

India and Tanzania signed a LoI

Government of India and the Government of Tanzania signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on 6th April 2013 at De res Salaam during the visit of Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma to the latter. The LoI aims to promote and expand bilateral relations between the two countries in the mineral sector with focus on strengthening supply chain for growth of the steel industry in both the countries. LoI aims that both the Governments jointly work for developing the steel industry and exchange technically qualified manpower for sustainable growth of iron and steel industry.

India and Russia signed a Regulation

The Government of India and Government of Russian Federation have signed on 10th April, 2013 in Moscow a Regulation defining the structure, functions and procedure of the Joint Commission which has been established by an Agreement signed on 21st December, 2010 in New Delhi in the field of Emergency Management. The agreement will enable both the countries to help each other in the field of prevention and elimination of the consequences of emergency situations. It will further strengthen the bond of friendship between the two countries and enhance the Indo-Russian Cooperation.

I&B Ministers of India and Bangladesh met on 11 April

Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Manish Tewari on 11th April met the Bangladesh Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu in Nerw Delhi and had extensive discussions on critical issues related to Information and Broadcasting Sector. During the discussions, both the Ministers agreed to consider a joint collaboration for production of a mega film depicting the War of Liberation. In this context, it was agreed to work towards a roadmap to finalize the proposal shortly. The Information Minister of Bangladesh also requested that the Government of India could consider providing the names of the soldiers who had laid down their lives during the War of Liberation. During the discussions, both the Ministers also agreed to explore the possibility of setting up of a Joint Working Group on the critical sectors of the Information and Broadcasting domain. The Working Group would provide a roadmap for future collaborations between the two countries. The Bangladesh Information Minister also requested the Minister for Information and Broadcasting to facilitate the down linking of Bangladesh TV Channels through the private distribution network.

India and Germany inked six key MoUs

India and Germany on 11th April inked six key MoUs including that for putting together US $ 7 million for next four years towards joint research in the field of Higher Education and a pact for a soft loan of US $ 1 billion for strengthening the green energy corridor. A pact to promote German as a foreign language was also signed by the two sides following the 2nd round of inter-governmental consultations in Berlin. A pact regarding the establishment of green energy corridor was also signed besides one in agriculture and establishment of a working group in infrastructure, cooperation in standardization, conformity assessment and product safety. Under the pact for the green energy corridor, the grid system in several states will be used to transmit energy produced by renewable and non-conventional means. Another pact for IndiaGerman civil security research was also signed.

Two MoUs were signed between India and Germany

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of Higher Education and a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) regarding Promotion of German as a Foreign Language in India. The MoUs were signed on 11th April by the Human Resource Development Minister, Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju at the 2nd Inter Governmantal Consultations held at Berlin. The HRM is accompanying the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his visit to Germany. The MoU chiefly supports a new jointly funded programme entitled Indo-German Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education (IGSP) to intensify institutional linkages and to open up new and innovative areas of cooperation.

India and Mauritius signed an MoU

India and Mauritius have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in New Delhi on 12th April, for cooperation in the field of election management and administration. The MoU was signed by the Chief Election Commissioner of India, V.S. Sampath and the Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius, Mr. Mohammad Irfan Abdool Rahman. Election Commissioners of India, H. S. Brahma and Dr. Nasim Zaidi; diplomats and senior officials of the Election Commission of India and Government of India were present at the signing ceremony. The major aims of MoU are - promotion of exchanges of knowledge and experience in electoral processes; exchange of information, materials, expertise and training of personnel; production and distribution of materials pertaining to electoral systems, voting technology, voters education and awareness, and participation of women and minorities in electoral

process. Election Commission of India has so far signed seventeen MOUs with Election Management Bodies and international organizations across the world.

May India-Seychelles Joint Commission Meeting held in New Delhi

The eighth India-Seychelles Joint Commission Meeting was held on 8th May 2013 in New Delhi. The Joint Commission exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest during the meet. Review of the ongoing cooperation between the two nations in different fields was also done and views were exchanged for expanding and strengthening the perimeter of the cooperation between the two sides.

Salman Khurshid, paid an official visit to the China

External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid paid an official visit to the Peoples Republic of China on 9 -10 May 2013. The two nations discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of concern to both sides. They also discussed the proposed visit to India of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. India and China also discussed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and regional trading arrangement. They also discussed their recent problem on the Line of

Actual Control during this visit. Both countries signed a new protocol to enhance cooperation between their foreign ministries, while working on a mechanism to step up coordination for providing timely information to the media.

India and Netherlands signed an MoU

India and Netherlands signed an MoU on Technical Cooperation in the field of Spatial Planning, Water Management, and Mobility Management at The Hague, on 14th May 2013 during the visit of Kamal Nath, the Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs. The MoU will enable greater cooperation in the areas of - spatial planning, urban and regional planning and development and architecture, water management in terms of water supply and sanitation and governance structures, transport management and transport systems and infrastructure, and energy-efficient and sustainable built forms.

India signed the 5th IBSA Womens Forum Resolution

Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath on 16 May, signed the fifth India Brazil South Africa (IBSA) Womens Forum resolution in New Delhi. Also signing the resolution were Lulama Xingwana, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Republic of South Africa, and Maria do Carmo Godinho Delgado, Secretary of Evaluation of Policies and Economic Autonomy of Women, on behalf of the Minister, Chief of the Secretariat of Policies for Women, Presidency of the Federative Republic of Brazil. The joint resolution stated that the three countries are committed to recognising the key role of government with the support of civil society.

MoU was signed between India and UK

India and UK have signed an MoU on cooperation in the field of health sector on 19th May 2013 at Geneva. The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Secretary of State for Health, UK, Jeremy Richard Hunt signed on the agreement. The main areas identified for cooperation in the MOU include: 1. Promoting exchange on healthcare policy in India and the UK; 2). Human resources for Health; 3). Regulatory issues; 4). Health technology development: 5). Primary healthcare; 6). Strengthening of public infrastructure and capacity; 7). Health security, including cooperation on infectious diseases, emerging infections and drug resistance. The Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK would work with India for this project. The priority for DFID and Government of India partnership is improvement of maternal and child health and reducing the burden of communicable diseases.

India and the US to expand co-operation in knowledge sector

India and the US decided to expand co-operation in knowledge sector on 16th May 2013. This was announced during a round table discussion on Advances in US-India Academic Partnership in Washington. It was also stated during the discussion that eight more awards finalized under the Singh-Obama Knowledge Initiative and jointly announced during the Indo-US strategic dialogue in New Delhi. Eight such awards were announced last year. There is a proposal to place young Indian faculty in best of US institutions to enhance their capabilities. Under this plan 126 post-doctorals have been selected. India sought US cooperation in promoting skill building through community colleges. Touching upon the possibilities of a wide ranging cooperation in education sector between the two countries, the co-operation should be supportive in the field of ICT, digital world, promoting quality research, innovation and boosting vocational education system. US $ 20 billion of additional resources will be pumped in the state system to ensure access and excellence in tertiary education through National Higher Education Mission (RUSA in Hindi). The round table was organised by Washington-based International Institute of Education to discuss the issues such as collaboration in the field of Community Colleges and promoting massive online courses and Technology Enabled Education. It also discussed students mobility, particularly encouraging US students to visit India. India and USA also discussed issued relating to improvement of school education, teacher educators, assessment of schools and community participation in school education.

A bilateral meeting between India and Switzerland

A bilateral meeting between Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Minister of Health Switzerland, Alain Berset, was concluded on 20th May 2013 at Geneva. The meeting was held on the sidelines of World Health Assembly at Geneva. The aim of the meeting was to give further impetus to cooperation in the field of healthcare. In the meeting, it was exuded that Switzerland will extend full support to India on global platforms in order to carry forward the pursuits of providing high quality generic medicines at affordable prices.

2nd US-India Homeland Security Dialogue held in Washington

The second US-India Homeland Security Dialogue was held in Washington on 21st May 2013. At the end of the dialogue, the two nations reaffirmed the commitment to, and importance of, bilateral homeland security cooperation between the US and India on common challenges faced such as terrorism, and countering violent extremism. It was decided to strengthen the global strategic partnership between the United States and India on issues ranging from cyber-security and megacity policing, to counterterrorism and countering violent extremism. India and USA reaffirmed the commitment of the two nations to work cooperatively on law enforcement issues, to combat common threats, improve bilateral cooperation through the development and application of innovative technology, combat the flow of illicit finances and currency counterfeiting, and to work closely to counter terrorism and promote cyber-security. In May 2011, the first Homeland security dialogue between India and USA was held in India.

China's new premier Li Keqiang visited India

China's new premier Li Keqiang visited India on his first foreign trip to the country ever since taking his office in March 2013. The four day tour lasted from 19 - 22 May, 2013. Both the countries are looking for speeding up their efforts to settle a decades-old border dispute and strengthen economic ties. The leaders of both the countries had a thorough exchange of views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common interest in a sincere and cordial atmosphere and reached broad consensus. Here is the list of documents signed during the visit of Li Keqian 1) Protocol between Indian and China on Indian Official Pilgrimage (the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra) to the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. With the signing of protocol, both the countries have agreed to conduct the Yatra every year from May to September. 2) Agreement on Work Programmes of the Three Working Groups under Joint Economic Group between Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India and China. The three working groups under the Joint Economic Group are: i) Services Trade Promotion Working Group ii) Economic and Trade Planning Cooperation iii) Trade Statistical Analysis. 3) MoU on Buffalo Meat, Fishery Products and Agreement on Feed and Feed Ingredients between Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India and China. It is directly aimed at strengthening mutual cooperation in trade and safety of buffalo meat, fishery products and feed and feed ingredients, and to meet the regulatory requirements with respect to safety, hygiene and quarantine, and is also supposed to deal with the growing trade deficit between the two countries. 4) MoU between the Ministry of Urban Development of India and National Development and Reform Commission of China on Cooperation in the field of Sewage Treatment, will enhance cooperation in the field of Sewage Treatment and ideas and knowledge sharing in the areas of mutual interest in the urban sectors. 5) MoU between the Ministry of Water Resources of India and The National Development and Reform Commission of China on Cooperation in the field of Water Efficient Irrigation directly aims at enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of water efficient technology with applicability in the area of agriculture and exchange of best practices. 6) MoU between the India and the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China on Cooperation in Mutual Translation and Publication of classic and contemporary works enables formation of a Joint Working Group which will coordinate translation and publication of 25 books of Classic and Contemporary Works of each side over a period of 5 years in to Chinese and Indian languages respectively. 7) MoU between the Ministry of Water Resources of the India and the Ministry of Water Resources of China upon Provision of Hydrological Information of the Yaluzangbu

/Brahmaputra River in Flood Season by China to India supposes china to provide India with information of water level, discharge and rainfall at 8:00 hrs and 20:00 hrs (Beijing Time), twice a day from 1 June to 15 October each day in respect of three hydrological stations on the mainstream Brahmaputra river. 8) Agreement between the Ministry of External Affairs, of India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of China to facilitate cooperation and linkages between Indian and Chinese cities and states/provinces. With this, both the sides agreed to identify sister cities and sister states/provinces in India and China with a view to establishing relationships between them in areas of mutual interest for enhancing greater people to people contacts.

Manmohan attended 2013 Annual Summit of the Prime Ministers

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had an Official Working Visit to Japan on 27-30 May 2013 for the Annual Summit of the Prime Ministers at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe. The two Prime Ministers held extensive talks on bilateral, regional and global issues on 29th May 2013 in Tokyo. Applauding the commemorative events held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2012, the two Prime Ministers reaffirmed that India and Japan, as the two largest democracies in Asia sharing such universal values as freedom, democracy and rule of law, enjoy very close and wide-ranging relations. Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed that Japan would continue its Official Development Assistance at a substantial level to encourage Indias efforts towards social and economic development, including in the area of infrastructure and human resource development. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Exchange of Notes for yen loan totaling 71 billion yen for the "Mumbai Metro Line-III Project, as well as the yen loan of the fiscal year 2012 totaling 353.106 billion yen for eight projects. Prime Minister Singh appreciated the pledge by Prime Minister Abe for the Campus Development Project of Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (Phase 2) for 17.7 billion yen and the "Tamil Nadu Investment Promotion Programme for 13 billion yen. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Agreement between India and Japan on Social Security in November 2012 and directed their relevant authorities in the governments to work towards its early entry into force. The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction with the progress in cooperation of creative industries and welcomed the successful launch of the Indian Design Mark developed by the India Design Council and the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress in implementation of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).

India and Thailand signed a treaty

India and Thailand have signed a treaty for the extradition of runaways wanted for terrorism, transnational crimes, economic offences and other serious crimes, which will shortly eliminate a safe refuge for criminals wanted in India and Thailand, on 30th May 2013. The extradition treaty between India and Thailand was signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first bilateral visit to Thailand. The treaty will help both the countries in expedited extradition of fugitives. This Treaty would further strengthen the relationship between two law enforcement agencies by providing a firm legal basis for their bilateral cooperation.

7th Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas to be held at Sydney

The Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi on 30th May announced that the 7th Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas to be held at Sydney, Australia from 10-12 November, 2013. He said that Sydney is the most important commercial city in Australia, and has a large Indian community. It is the best location on the Eastern sea board of Australia in terms of connectivity with New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The theme of this event is Connecting for a Shared Future The Indian Diaspora, India and The Pacific. The Regional PBD conventions are organized by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with the collaboration of the host Government, the Indian Mission, prominent Overseas Indians and Organizations catering to the needs of the Indian Diaspora. It is a flagship event of the Ministry, which provides a platform to Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), in the process of their engagement with the Government and people of India, for charting mutually beneficial partnerships.

PM paid an Official Visit to Thailand from 30-31 May

At the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid an official visit to Thailand on 30 and 31 May 2013. He was accompanied by the Minister of External Affairs, a high level official and media delegation. The Prime Minister of India presented a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya as a special gift to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as a symbol of the shared cultural heritage between India and Thailand. The official talks between Thailand and India were held on 30th May 2013 in a warm, cordial and friendly atmosphere, reflecting the excellent bilateral relations and friendship that exist between the two countries. The following agreements were signed during the visit: Extradition Treaty. MoU on establishment of Hindi Chair at Thammasat University. MoU on establishment of the Thailand-India Exchange Programme. MoU between Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency of Thailand and Survey of India for cooperation in the field of Mapping and Geospatial Technology Applications. MoU between Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, Thailand and National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization, India for cooperation in the field of Mapping and Geospatial Technology Applications. MoU between Financial Intelligence Unit, India, and Anti Money Laundering Organization, Thailand, on Cooperation in the exchange of Financial Intelligence related to Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

June CCI and ACCC signed an MoU

Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation at Canberra, Australia. The MOU was signed by Ashok Chawla, Chairperson, CCI and Rod Sims, Chairman, ACCC on 3rd June, 2013. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of the State Minister of Corporate Affairs Mr. Sachin Pilot. The MOU provides for sharing information on significant developments in competition policy and enforcement developments in the respective jurisdictions. It is recognized that it may be in common interest of both the parties to work together in technical cooperation activities as well as cooperate in appropriate cases, consistent with the respective enforcement interests, legal constraints, and available resources.

India and Germany signed an umbrella agreement

India and Germany signed an umbrella agreement on financial and technical cooperation in fields of energy, environment and management of natural resources on 6th June. This agreement displays the commitment of both nations towards strengthening the long-standing partnership between the two in field of development co-operation. Earlier, India and Germany had negotiated about 723 million Euros worth projects in 2012 as part of a pact on development cooperation between them.

India offered 150 m Dollars credit to Myanmar

India offered US $ 150 million credit to Myanmar for establishing a Special Economic Zone at Sittwe in Myanmar on 8th June 2013. The funds will be allocated from the Buyer's Credit Scheme under National Export Insurance Account. The offer was made at a meeting of the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma with the Myanmar President U Thein Sein recently in Nay Pyi Taw. Cooperation in energy sector also came up for discussion during the meeting. India appreciated the Myanmar Governments decision to allow United Bank of India to set up a representative office in Myanmar. Bank of India and State Bank of India would also be permitted to operate in the country.

Indo-Russian INDRA 2013 is scheduled

Indo-Russian INDRA 2013 military exercise is scheduled to take place in October 2013 at Mahajan field firing range of Rajasthan in India. The joint Military exercise will involve over 250 servicemen from the Eastern Military District and the same number of troops will be involved from the Indian armed forces. There will be a practice of joint planning and execution of antiterrorist missions and leading intelligence activities by the serviceman. In year 2012, The Indo-Russian Joint Military Exercise Indra 2012 was held from August 7-16, at Burduny training range in the Siberian Republic of Buryatia in Russia. The two countries have already conducted six INDRA-series joint drills since 2003.

India and Britain signed a pact

India and Britain have signed a pact to provide a framework for strategic and technical cooperation between the two countries on evidence informed healthcare policy and practice. The MoU was signed by Department of Health Research (DHR) Secretary V.M. Katoch and UK-based National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Chief Executive Andrew Dillon in London on 14th June, 2013. The MoU followed the signature of an overarching health agreement between UK and India at the World Health Assembly, Geneva, by the health ministers of the two countries. The pact aims at bringing modern health technology to people by encouraging innovations in diagnostics, treatment methods and disease prevention.

Salman Khurshid, was on a two-day visit to Iraq

Salman Khurshid, the Union External Affairs Minister was on a two-day visit to Iraq during 1920 June 2013. This is the first visit of any Minister from Indian to Iraq after 23 years in the war-raved country. The two nations discussed issues of bilateral and mutual interests including import of oil for energy security along with the avenues of partnership. During his visit, Khurshid met with the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki and his counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

John Kerry completed his India visit

The Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry completed his India visit on 25th June 2013. He was on three-day visit to India from 23rd June 2013 to 25th June 2013. He reached New Delhi along with his delegates on 23rd June 2013. This was his first visit to India as a Secretary of State of the United States.

India and Turkey have agreed to enhance their cooperation

India and Turkey have agreed to enhance their cooperation in the field of renewable energy. This was decided at a meeting held between the Turkish Energy Minister Mr. Taner Yildiz and Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Minister of New and Renewable Energy at Ankara on 27th June. Dr. Abdullah is visiting Turkey along with a high level delegation to explore greater opportunities for cooperation and collaboration between Indian and Turkey. He also dwelt on the success of the wind programme as well as the significant cost reductions in solar energy through the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). It imports over 90% of its oil, gas and fossil fuel requirement.