... for openness and credibility....



1. H.E. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Republic of India, meeting with H.E. Khaled Abd El Aziz, Minister of Youth amp Sports, Arab Republic of Egypt during World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, 5 November 2017

India and Egypt Have Great Synergy in Sports and Youth Affairs: Col Rathore.

Egypt Offers its Excellence Centres for Training Indian Sports Teams

Col Rajyavardhan Rathore Meets Egyptian Sports Minister

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, and Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Col Rajyavardhan Rathore met his Egyptian counterpart Khaled Abd El Aziz on the side-lines of World Youth Forum at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt today.

Col Rathore congratulated Aziz for Egypt qualifying for football World Cup in Russia 2018. Aziz on his part praised successful holding of FIFA U17 by India and expressed keen interest in Mission 11 Million (MXIM), football outreach program.

Recalling, recent dynamism in the ties between the two countries, Col Rathore said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Sisi of Egypt have met four times and have taken the relationship to a new level. Aziz praised Indian leadership for taking long term decisions in quick and decisive way. Col Rathore briefed him about the various initiatives by the Prime Minister on Financial inclusion, skilling the youth and the schemes like Start up India, Mudra and Make in India. “As two oldest civilizations, we need to forcefully implement the vision of our leaders for our youth. India is a nation of youngsters and we need to provide them an environment to realize their dreams”, said Col Rathore.

Aziz offered their centre of excellence like the Olympic Centre for short term training programme for Indian sports teams. Col Rathore informed him about the decision of hiring Egyptian trainers and support staff for squash. Col Rathore also asked the Egyptian Minister to encourage local students to take up seats in Indian universities meant for foreign students. Col Rathore mentioned the upcoming Khelo India School Games in December. “We want to change the attitude towards sports among the Indians. We wish to make sports aspirational” said the Minister.

Col Rajyavardhan Rathore thanked the Egyptian government for promoting strong people to people connect. International Day of Yoga this year invited enthusiastic participation from the Egyptian public in the holy month of Ramzan.

Col Rajyavardhan Rathore is attending World Youth Forum on behalf of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 52 countries are participating in the Forum. Four youngsters sponsored by the Department of Youth from India are also participating forming the part of strong Indian presence at the Forum. President Abdel-Fatteh Al Sisi will inaugurate the Forum later today. Source: Embassy of India in Cairo

 2. PM strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Egypt, New Delhi, 24 November 2017

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has strongly condemned the terrorist attack on a place of worship in Egypt. Calling the attack barbaric the Prime Minister expressed deep condolences at the loss of innocent lives and extended India’s unwavering support to Egypt in the fight against all forms of terrorism.

“Strongly condemn the barbaric terrorist attack on a place of worship in Egypt. Our deep condolences at the loss of innocent lives. India resolutely supports the fight against all forms of terrorism and stands with the people as well as Government of Egypt.”, the Prime Minister said. Source: Press Information Bureau, New Delhi


3. Arrival of the first consignment of wheat assistance to Afghanistan at Chabahar Port, Tehran, 1 November 2017

Chabahar Port: A gateway to new opportunities

The first consignment of wheat assistance to Afghanistan which was flagged–off by the External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani from Kandla port through a joint video conference on 29 October 2017 reached Chabahar port today.

A welcome ceremony was held at Chabahar port on this landmark occasion. H.E. Mehrdad Taghizadeh, Deputy Minister of Transit, Ministry of Roads, Transport and Urban Development of Islamic Republic of Iran, Deputy Governor General of Sistan Baluchistan province, Deputy in Port and Maritime organization and Ambassadors of Afghanistan and India participated in the event. Senior Officials from the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Urban Development, Ports and Maritime Organization, Representatives from Sistan Baluchistan Province and Chabahar Port Authority of Iran also attended the ceremony.

Dignitaries from all three countries welcomed this important milestone towards operationalization of Chabahar port and reiterated their commitment to increase cooperation to enhance connectivity between India, Iran and Afghanistan for mutual benefit and prosperity. Iranian Deputy Minister of Transit elaborated on the steps being taken for effective management of India-Iran-Afghanistan transit corridor to enhance regional connectivity. Deputy Governor General of Sistan-Baluchistan highlighted the immense potential of Chabahar port in transforming the province and the region. Ambassador of Afghanistan underlined pivotal importance of Chabahar port in development of Afghan economy. And Ambassador of India reiterated India’s commitment to the development of Chabahar port which he said would open new opportunities for trade and transit between the three countries and the region.

The consignment will be transported from Chabahar to Afghanistan by road via Milak border crossing, and will traverse the Zarang-Delaram road in Afghanistan which was built with Indian assistance. Six more shipments totalling 110,000 tonnes of wheat will be sent from India to Afghanistan via Chabahar port over the next few months. These shipments are part of the commitment made by the Government of India to gift 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to the people of Afghanistan. The contract for development of Chabahar port and Trilateral Transit Agreement were signed during the landmark visit of Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India to Iran in May 2016. Source: Embassy of India, Tehran


4. Cultural Relations, Rabat, 23 November 2017

6th Edition of FICMEC Nador Film Festival was organized from 07-12 November 2017 in the city of Nador on the theme ‘Memory of Oceans’. India was the Guest of Honour country at the event and was represented by Ramkishore Parcha, President, Delhi International Film Festival (DIFF). The inaugural function was held on 07 November 2017 where our Ambassador was the Chief Guest. The Assamese Film, ‘The Challenge’ by Nipon Dholua was India’s entry to the competition section of the Festival. Source: Embassy of India, Rabat


5. Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra (PBK) emerges as a Hub for Indian Diaspora, Muscat, 22 November 2017

Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra (PBK), inaugurated by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on 02 October 2016, located in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, has developed into a preferred venue for Pravasi Bharatiyas (Indian Diaspora abroad) to meet and hold various diaspora events. It has emerged as a hub also for deeper engagement of the Government with the Indian Diaspora.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra has various facilities, including an auditorium, with seating capacity for 300 persons, a Banquet Hall with seating capacity for 120 persons, several conference rooms, which can each accommodate 25 to 30 persons, classrooms for training sessions/workshops, and a restaurant area which can be used for larger sit down or buffet lunches/dinners to cater for up to 300 persons in buffet dinners and 24 guest rooms. It has a high quality in house catering service with round the clock security and professional housekeeping services. Besides, there is a modern Museum on Mahatma Gandhi, with significant level of digital character, and a Library comprising about 300 titles with orientation towards Diaspora related subjects and authors.

The facilities at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra, other than the Museum and Library, will be available on payment basis. The People of Indian Origin (PIOs), including Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees, Office Bearers of Indian Associations/ Business Chamberscan book the guest rooms by writing directly to Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra (, 24156430, 24156405). For booking other facilities, Indian Embassy in Muscat can be approached. However, requests for bookings for events of a purely private nature will not be accepted.

It is hoped that Indian Diaspora in Oman will avail the facilities at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra during their visits to India, particularly for organizing activities aimed at enhancing engagement of Diaspora in Oman with Diaspora from other parts of the world and with the Government of India, State Governments, public institutions and Indian business community. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat


6. Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Al-Quds University sign MOU to establish Chair of Indian Studies, Ramallah, 12 November 2017.

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Palestine today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an Academic Chair of Indian Studies at the University. Representative of India to State of Palestine H.E. Anish Rajan, signed the MOU on behalf of the ICCR while H.E. Dr. Imad Abu Kishk, President of Al Quds University signed for the Palestinian side.

During the signing ceremony, Representative of India, in his remarks, emphasized the importance of cooperation between the two countries in the field of education and stated that the establishment of this Academic Chair will further enhance bilateral relations in this important sector. As per the terms of the MOU, ICCR, in consultation with the University, shall appoint a Visiting Professor to hold the Chair. The Professor would contribute to the academic life of the University by engaging in teaching, research, mentoring, in addition to taking part in activities such as departmental seminars, conferences, lectures on India, etc.

This is ICCR's first ever Academic Chair in Palestine and is a major step in popularizing studies related to India in Palestine, thereby fulfilling ICCR's mandate of fostering and strengthening academic and cultural links between India and the world and also towards enhancing knowledge and awareness about India. ICCR also administers 50 scholarships annually to the Palestinian students to pursue Bachelors, Masters and PhD courses in prestigious Indian universities. The scholarship programme is immensely popular in Palestine and over 90 students from West Bank and Gaza have benefited from these scholarships since its inception in 1998. Source: Embassy of India, Ramallah

7. Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Ramallah, 25 November 2017

Prime Minister


On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I reiterate India’s steadfast support for the Palestinian cause. We hope for early realization of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel. India is an active development partner of Palestine, engaged in extending technical and financial assistance to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. We will continue to support the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine. To this effort, India has increased training slots for Palestine under our flagship Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme from 100 to 150 annual slots. Separately, educational scholarships have also been doubled in order to contribute to human development of Palestine.

India hopes for early resumption of dialogue between the Palestine and Israeli sides to move towards findings a comprehensive negotiated resolution. On behalf of the people of India, I extend my sincere wishes to the friendly people of Palestine in their pursuit of peace and prosperity. Source: Embassy of India, Ramallah

8. India provides US $ 1.25 million to UNRWA for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, Ramallah, 29 November 2017.

H.E. Anish Rajan, Representative of India to Palestine handed over a cheque of US $ 1.25 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as Government of India’s annual contribution for this year. In 2016, Government of India had enhanced its annual contribution from US $ 1 million to US $ 1.25 million to the UNRWA for the welfare of Palestinian refugees.

While discussing issues related to the refugees, Representative of India conveyed his appreciation for the commendable work being done by the UNRWA in the West Bank, Gaza and beyond and assured UNRWA of Government of India's continued support for their welfare activities in the region. Representative also noted that this year, the financial contribution is being made on a day (November 29) marked as International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. Source: Embassy of India, Ramallah


9. Statement on missile attack at Riyadh airport, New Delhi, 8 November 2017

We strongly condemn the missile attack reportedly targeting the Riyadh airport. We are deeply concerned at any escalation of violence that threatens the safety and security of innocent people. We also reiterate our commitment to fight against all forms of terrorism and violence. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

g. UAE

10. India's rank rises to 100 in World Bank's doing Business Report 2018, Abu Dhabi, 2 November 2017

The World Bank today released the Doing Business (DB) Report, 2018. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is pleased to announce that India ranks 100 among 190 countries assessed by the Doing Business Team. India has leapt 30 ranks over its rank of 130 in the Doing Business Report 2017.

The DB Report is an assessment of 190 economies and covers 10 indicators which span the lifecycle of a business. The table below provides a comparison of this year’s and last year’s report. India has improved its rank in 6 out of 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices (Distance to Frontier score). The credit for this significant improvement is credited to the mantra of “Reform, Perform, Transform” given by the Prime Minister, wherein a strong leadership has provided the political will to carry out comprehensive and complex reforms, supported by a bureaucracy committed to perform. The Government has undertaken an extensive exercise of stakeholder consultations, identification of user needs, government process re-engineering to match Government rules and procedures with user expectations and streamlined them to create a more conducive business environment. An extensive exercise is also undertaken to increase awareness among users about reforms to ensure extensive use of newly created systems.

This edition of the report acknowledges India as a top improver, with an improvement of 30 ranks compared to last year’s report, the highest jump in rank of any country in the DB Report, 2018. India is the only country in South Asia and BRICS economies to feature among most improved economies of the DB Report this year.

2.      Major achievements in the World Bank in the Doing Business Report

The important highlights of India’s performance are:

1.         Resolving Insolvency –

a.       Rank improved from 136 to 103

b.      Distance to Frontier (DTF) score improved from 32.75 to 40.75

c.       Strength of insolvency framework index increased from 6 to 8.5

d.      Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code created for efficient handling of restructuring & insolvency proceedings

e.       Professional institutes set up for handling restructuring & insolvency proceedings

2.      Paying Taxes –

a.      Rank improved from 172 to 119

b.      DTF score improved from 46.58 to 66.06

c.      Payments reduced from 25 to 13 in a year

d.      Time reduced from 241 to 214 hours

e.      Total tax rate reduced from 60.6% to 55.3% (% of profit)

f.       Post filing index improved from 4.3 to 49.31

g.      Enabled electronic registration, return & payment of ESI & EPF contributions

3.      Getting Credit –

a.       Rank improved from 44 to 29

b.      DTF score improved from 65 to 75

c.       Strength of legal rights index improved from 6 to 8

d.      Credit bureau coverage increased from 21.4% to 43.5% (% of adults)

e.       Increased coverage of security interest registration under SARFAESI Act

f.       Secured creditors prioritized over Government dues for purposes of recovery

4.      Enforcing Contracts – 

a.       Rank improved from 172 to 164

b.      DTF score improved from 35.19 to 40.76

c.       Cost reduced from 39.6% to 31% (% of claim)

d.      Quality of judicial process index improved from 9 to 10.3

e.       Dedicated commercial courts established

f.       National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) to monitor and manage court cases

5.      Protecting Minority Investors –

a.      Rank improved from 13 to 4

b.      DTF score improved from 73.33 to 80

c.       Strength of minority investor protection index increased from 7.3 to 8

d.      Extent of conflict of interest regulation index increased from 6.7 to 7.3

e.       Extent of shareholder governance index increased from 8 to 8.7

f.       Greater transparency requirements for interested parties’ transactions

g.      Greater shareholder protection through action against directors & claims for damages

6.      Construction Permits –

a.       Rank improved from 185 to 181

b.      DTF score improved from 32.83 to 38.80

c.       Procedures to obtain construction permits reduced from 35.1 to 30.1

d.      Time reduced from 190.0 to 143.9 days

e.       Cost reduced from 25.9 per cent to 23.2 per cent of warehouse value. Source: Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi

11. India will be the ‘Country of Honour’ in the Abu Dhabi Festival 2018, Abu Dhabi, 27 November 2017

India was declared as the ‘Guest of honour country’ for the prestigious 15th Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF) to be held in March 2018 in Abu Dhabi at a packed press conference held at the Emirates Palace Auditorium today on November 27, 2017.

The Festival will be held under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance. ADF 2018 will be a month long festival celebrating art and culture and selection of India as Guest of Honour country is significant in 2018 being celebrated as the ‘Year of Zayed’. ADF 2018 will gather more than 500 international artistes and 40 composers from 30 countries. Indian Artists of eminence will participate at the event and the highlights are:

·         The Merchants of Bollywood’ an Indian theatrical extravaganza;

·    ‘We The Living’ a classical Indian dance inspired by Rumi’s ‘The Human Being’ by Tanusree Shankar Dance Academy;

·        Performance of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, one of the 20th century’s greatest masters of Sarod;

·         Workshops by Gilles Chuyen, who has been trained in France in Folk, Modern Ballet and Contemporary dance styles and as choreographer and works extensively with Bollywood; and

·      Collaboration between Rajeev Kumar and UAE’s Mohammed Mandi, both eminent calligraphists, from India and UAE respectively.

·       Umm AL Emarat Park will showcase ‘The Raghu Dixit Project’ one of India’s most exciting live acts with some of the finest musicians. Navdeep Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE stated “It is a matter of pride that India has been chosen as the Guest of Honour for the 2018 edition of Abu Dhabi Festival. We look forward to working closely with Her Excellency Huda AlKhamis-Kanoo and her team to bring some of the finest elements of Indian culture to the arts loving people of Abu Dhabi.” Speaking about India’s role as Guest of Honour, Ambassador Suri continued, “Cultural effort that India or the Indian Community has made in this country has principally been directed toward the Indian Community. By collaborating with ADF 2018 we hope to supplement these efforts to take Indian culture mainstream and make sure that there is a much better understanding of an India beyond Bollywood. That is why the focus is on showcasing some of India’s magnificent diversity” He hoped that ADF 2018 will provide opportunity to non-Indians to enjoy Indian culture and Indians to enjoy cultures of many participating countries. Source: Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi

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