Current Affairs – September 2012 Bilateral Affairs
- India on 17 september, offered a $40 million soft loan to Burundi, a mineral-rich country in eastern Africa, and signed a clutch of pacts in areas of rural development, education, and health and medicine to cement a burgeoning relationship.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks in New Delhi, with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is on a three-day visit, on a range of issues including a review of India’s capacity building initiatives in Burundi, deepening trade and investment, and UN reforms.After the talks, the two sides signed the agreements.Underlining India’s commitment to the development of infrastructure in Burundi, Manmohan Singh announced a new line of credit worth over $40 million to Burundi for a farm mechanization and food processing project.This will be addition to the $80 million line of credit for the Kabu hydroelectric project committed earlier.Manmohan Singh also urged the Burundi leader to facilitate Indian investment in agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturing.The two leaders discussed a host of regional and global issues, including the fight against piracy and the need for reforms at the UN Security Council.
- India and Egypt signed an MoU for cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration on 17 september,in New Delhi. The Election Commission of India and the Supreme Presidential Election Committee of Egypt will henceforth cooperate on initiatives designed to strengthen electoral systems and democratic institutions, besides training of personnel and human resource development. The MoU was signed between India’s Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath and Secretary General of Egypt’s Election Committee Hatem Bagato . Sampath said Egypt has evinced keen interest in the use of electronic voting machines and India’s voter education programme and techniques used for cracking election frauds.
- India and Burundi signed 3 Major Agreements and issued a Joint Statement:
President of the Republic of Burundi visited India from 17 to 19 September 2012. During this visit, India and Burundi signed three agreements-(i) Exchange Programme for Cooperation in the field of Education, (ii) Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Rural Development and (iii) Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. Besides, India also announced a Line of Credit of 42.38 million US dollars for Farm Mechanisation and Integrated Food Processing Complex in Burundi.
- India and Burundi issued a joint statement on that occasion. The major highlights of the joint statement are as following:
- India and Burundi agreed to further enhance the bilateral cooperation in view of the considerable untapped potential.
- Burundi thanked India for approval of a concessional line of credit of 80 million US dollars for the Kabu – 16 Hydro-electric project.
- Both nations agreed to continue strengthening cooperation in the areas of economy, trade and investment, finance, human resource development, culture, etc. while striving to expand cooperation into other potential areas such as agriculture, food processing, ICT, science & technology, health, mining etc.
- Burundi conveyed its support for India’s candidature for Permanent Membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council.
- Aiming to improve ties between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), “INS Sudarshini”, a sail training ship, began its journey on 28 September, from Chennai on a nine nation voyage. Director General, Naval Projects (V) Vice Admiral V K Namballa flagged off the ship, manned by five officers, 31 sailors, 30 Naval and Coast Guard cadets, from the Chennai Port Trust. During its journey, the ship would call on 13 foreign ports across nine nations to bolster friendship across the seas. The ship would take the ancient route of Indian mariners to South East Asia, it said, adding during its journey, the ship would spend a total of 127 days before berthing back at Kochi on March 29, 2013.
- India, Palestine against any outside interference in solving Gulf issues:
India and Palestine on 11 September, called for resolution of all the developments in the Gulf through dialogue without any outside interference. Visiting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exchanged views on regional developments, particularly the developments in the West Asian and the Gulf region. “There is a great degree of similarity in our views. We both agree that the developments in the region must be addressed through political dialogue and peaceful means without recourse to violence and outside interference, while taking into account the legitimate aspirations of all people,” Dr Singh said in a statement to the media after holding talks with Mr Abbas. Mr Abbas also expressed the commitment of his nation to resolve issues with Israel through negotiations, while calling upon the neighbour to stop all violence and illegal settlements. He thanked India for its continued support to the Palestinian cause and sought to underline that a “Palestinian state with its East Jerusalem as its capital” was all for living in peace with Israel. Responding to the Prime Minister’s call for early resumption of the peace dialogue between Palestine and Israel, Mr Abbas said both the states living in peace and security was the objective his government was aspiring forv
- India extended a credit of $10 Million aid to Palestine in a gesture of support:
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a support of $10 Million to Palestine during a meet with Palestine’s National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 11 September 2012. Palestinian president was here in Indian on a three day visit from 10 to 12 September 2012. Mr. Singh also promised his Palestinian counterpart about India’s backing for their full and equal membership of the U.N. the one that is threatened by US for veto. During the meet, both the sides inked three different agreements comprising information and communication technology, education and vocational training. The agreements were inked in presence of the Indian external Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and the member of executive committee of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Dr. Saeb M.S. Erakat. A MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been signed up to set up two schools at two districts of Palestine namely Abu Dees and Asera Al Shamalyeh, which will be named on the name of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. Cost estimated for the construction of the two schools is US$ 1.8 million and will help about eight hundred students of these districts to fetch quality education. The schools at Abu Dees and Asera Al Shamalyeh will be constructed in an area of 1700 and 1900 square meter with 10 and 12 classes respectively. In the second agreement, India will set a state-of-the-art information and communication technology center in Palestine to create IT experts and generate opportunities of employment. To make the center of Palestine self reliable, some of the IT professionals from Palestine will be trained here in India to a higher level. As per the third agreement, India will participate in providing vocational training to the women and youth of Palestine. The training will include technical and machinery know-how to. Prime Minister Mr. Singh stated that he supported the Palestinian cause to achieve independent, sovereign and united state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as a capital to the state.
- India, Myanmar and Thailand decided to implement Trilateral Connectivity Project by 2016:
India, Myanmar and Thailand on 10 September 2012 reviewed the eagerly awaited trilateral connectivity project and decided to make all efforts to implement this by 2016. This was done at the meeting of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Joint Task Force, which met in New Delhi. It was also agreed during the meeting that steps be initiated to address issues related to harmonisation of customs and immigration procedures at border check-posts to enable seamless movement of goods and people to realise the full potential of the trilateral highway.
- Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, on 4 September, said India and Pakistan would soon ink three agreements in the areas of customs co-operation, mutual recognition of standards and redressal of trade issues to give a fillip to economic activity. Addressing a Pakistani Parliamentary delegation at FICCI’s first India-Pakistan Parliamentary Dialogue, Mr. Sharma said India was ready to grant multi-entry and multi-city visas to businessmen from Pakistan. Mr. Sharma said there was a need to also open up more land routes to allow more people-to-people exchange and smooth entry and exit of business community from both nations. India recently allowed Pakistan nationals and companies to invest in India through the semi-automatic approval route. Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at $2.7 billion in 2010-11.Haider Abbas Rizvi, a member of Pakistan National Assembly, said that increase in trade and investment would help both sides to resolve other matters.
- India and Tajikistan on 3 September 2012 signed six agreements in the field of sports, health, culture, education, labour, textiles and energy. India and Tajikistan agreed to advance their ties to a strategic partnership in order to impart greater strength to the relationship through all-round co-operation and engagement. Both the countries identified information technology, biotechnology, mining, tourism, pharmaceuticals among other sectors as high potential area. After the agreements, it was decided that India would increase training slots for Tajikistan from 100 to 150 under India Technology and Eco Training Programme.
- Minister of State for External Affairs of India E Ahamed and Prime Minister of Niue, H. E. Toke Talagi signed a Joint Communique on the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Niue, at Cook Islands. Niue is a Pacific island country, which is a member of regional bodies such as the Pacific Island Forum and the Pacific Community and also of UNESCO, WTO and FAO.
Since 2002, India has intensified its cooperative relations with all countries in pacific island region. Niue, is an island of 1400 inhabitants, which is also known as the world’s first “Wi-Fi nation”, in which free wireless Internet access is provided throughout the country. Niue is also known as the ‘Rock of Polynesia’, and is situated 2400 km northeast of New Zealand .
- India and Pakistan on 8 September signed the much-awaited new liberalised visa agreement to boost people-to-people contacts between the two nations. The new pact, signed between External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, replaces a 38-year-old restrictive visa agreement. The new visa policy will ease restrictions on visitors from both the countries. In addition, senior citizens will be granted visas on arrival at the Attari and Wagah border in India and Pakistan respectively. Under the new arrangement, senior citizens will be granted a visa on arrival valid for 45 days. For the first time, group tourism will be part of the new pact which will also have other new categories, including multiple city one-year visas for businessmen and visa-on-arrival for people aged 65 years.