India and the World – November 2013
_ India and Vietnam signed Eight Agreements
India and Vietnam signed eight agreements on 20 November 2013 in areas of defence and security, oil exploration, civil aviation and scientific research. India will also assist Vietnam in the modernization and training of the defence and security forces of Vietnam and agreed to give a 100 million dollar line of credit to Vietnam for defence purchases.
The agreements were signed by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Phu Trong in New Delhi after delegation level talks.
_ India and China set to hold 3rd Joint Military Exercises after five years
Indian and Chinese army are set to hold their third joint military exercises after a gap of 5 years. During the exercises the Indian army contingent of 150 people reached the Chengdu city on 4 November 2013 to take part in the anti-terrorism drills. The 10 day drill code has been named hand in hand was inaugurated in the Chengdu city on 5 November 2013. Earlier, the annual exercises began in 2007 and the first exercise was held in Kumming city of China, whereas the second round was held in India at Belgaum in Karnataka in 2008.
Further, the next round of exercise was called off by India after the General who headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir was denied the visa on the grounds that the region part of disputed territory. The contact between the two nations was resumed after China withdrew its decision and started issuing the regular visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir. This step facilitated a broad engagement between the two giant neighbours.
_ India and Kuwait signed five pacts to strengthen bilateral cooperation in Culture and Education
India and Kuwait on 8 November 2013 agreed to expand cooperation in key areas, which includes energy and investment. Five pacts were signed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in culture and education during the India visit of the Prime Minister of Kuwait, HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. During this India visit of the Kuwait Prime Minister to India five documents were signed including an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons, cooperation in the field of sports and youth affairs and exchange of cultural and information programmes, besides cooperation in the field of education.
_ India and Japan decided to strengthen their Cooperation in the Maritime Sector
India and Japan on 9 November 2013 decided to further strengthen their cooperation in the maritime sector as a part of the overall robust bilateral relations. The two countries agreed to enhance their interaction through the existing forums and through port-to-port exchanges. This was decided during the visit of Union Minister of Shipping G.K. Vasan, to Japan. India explained the developments that were taking place in its Ports sector and assured Japan that concerns regarding infrastructure and connectivity of ports are being addressed expeditiously. The ports in Ennore and Chennai are catering to the Japanese car exporters like Toyota and Nissan who have so far exported about 42000 and 300000 cars respectively from these ports.
During the talks, India thanked the Japanese government for its support to various Indian Ports and infrastructure projects through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It also mentioned the possibility of JICA assistance to VOC Port at Thoothukudi for the upcoming Outer Harbour Project. Japan acknowledged the existing cordial relationship between the two nations, assured that it will carry forward the momentum. Japan expressed its interest in shipbuilding and recycling industries in India.
_ Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari Visited Cuba
The Vice-president of India, Hamid Ansari on 30 October 2013 had a meeting with the former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro. This was the first ever bilateral visit from Indian side to Cuba. During the meeting, India and Cuba signed an agreement on co-operation in broadcasting. It is important to note that India and Cuba are the founding members of Non Aligned Movement (NAM).
Agreement signed between India and Cuba
• The Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on broadcasting between Prasar Bharti and Cuban Radio and Television Institute was signed on 30 October 2013.
• The MoU was signed by India’s ambassador to Cuba Chinthapalli Rajasekhar and vice-president of the institute Emillio Moises Garcia Borroto.
_ Fifth Session of India-Ukraine Inter-Governmental Commission held
The fifth session of India-Ukraine Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological, Industrial and Cultural Cooperation held in New Delhi on 13 November 2013. The Commission was chaired by E. Ahamed, the Minister of State for External Affairs. The Ukrainian delegation was led by Ihor Mykolayovych Prasolov, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. He was accompanied by a 15 member official and 12 member business delegations from Ukraine.
During the session current status and future prospects of cooperation in trade and investment, heavy/light industry, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, mining and metallurgy, science and technology, energy (coal, nuclear), transportation, agriculture and food processing, education, culture and tourism were reviewed. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India, and the State Administration of Ukraine on Medicinal Products signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Joint Ventures and Research and Development in Pharmaceuticals and Bio-pharmaceuticals.
The Ukrainian Business Delegation held an interactive session with Indian business community organized by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The Ukrainian side agreed to address the concerns of Indian pharmaceutical companies operating in Ukraine. Both sides also agreed to work on an agreement on simplification of visa procedures to ease movement of business people and tourists. The bulk of India’s exports of pharmaceuticals to Ukraine amount to about 375 million US dollars per annum.
India and Ukraine also agreed to increase trade beyond the existing level of 3.2 billion US dollars. The fourth session was held in Kyiv in June 2012 and the sixth session of the Commission will take place in 2014 at Kyiv.
_ India and Australia signed two agreements
India and Australia on 18 November 2013 signed two agreements in New Delhi during the visit of Foreign Minister of Australia, Julie Bishop to India. She was on four days visit to India from 15 November to 18 November 2013.
• Amendments on MoU between the Central Board of Excise & Customs of the Republic of India and the Australian Customs Service on Customs Cooperation on Mutual Administrative Assistance
• Statement of Intent between the Government of Australia and Nalanda University to Progress a three year arrangement towards a chair of Ecology and Environment Studies at the University
_ India and Russia decided to held a Joint Air Force Exercise in 2014
India and Russia on 18 November 2013 agreed to expand the range of strategic partnership in a significant manner in Moscow. The two countries will also hold a Joint Air Force Level exercise for the first time in 2014. The decision was taken during the 13th Meeting of the India–Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRITC-MTC) and it was co chaired by AK Antony, the Defence Minister of India and His counterpart of Russia, Sergey Shoigu. This decision was taken by the two countries within two days after commissioning of INS Vikramadatya into Indian Navy.
_ India and Vietnam signed Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners
India and Vietnam on 1 November 2013 signed a treaty on transfer of sentenced prisoners in the jails in the two countries. The treaty would allow prisoners of the two countries to be near their families and they will have to serve the remaining part of their sentences. This process will help to facilitate the process of their social rehabilitation. The treaty was signed from Sushilkumar Shinde, the Union Home Minister and Tran Dai Quang, the Minister of Public Security of Vietnam.
The two sides also held bilateral talks on security matters, issues of training, capacity building, cyber security, cyber crime, trans-national crime, terrorism and disaster management. The negotiations on the same line have been concluded with countries like Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil and Spain.
_ India and Malaysia Signed MoU to boost co-operation in Public Administration
India and Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 25 November 2013 to strengthen co-operation in public administration and governance as part of the efforts to enhance their strategic partnership. The MoU covers eight areas of co-operation including human resource management, e-governance, public delivery system, accountability and transparency, skills and capacity building and quality results.
The MoU was signed by Malaysia’s Public Service Department Director-General Mohamad Zabidi Zainal and the Secretary of India’s Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Sanjay Kothari. The MoU envisages cooperation via tours, workshops and conferences, sharing of public administration and governance information and expertise, common project implementation mechanisms and exchange of publications, state.