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Press Release on virtual meeting between Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India and Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of Kingdom of Bahrain, 23 December 2021.

Hon’ble Minister for Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship of India, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and H.E. Mr Aymen Tawfiq Almoayyed, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kingdom of Bahrain held a virtual meeting on 23 December 2021.

Both Ministers praised the deep rooted, historical and multifaceted relations between India and Kingdom of Bahrain and the continued high-level engagement between the two sides despite challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic.

The discussions focused on opportunities for the young entrepreneurs of both countries, and the need for skilling and upskilling the youth to be employable in tomorrow’s labour market. H.E. Aymen Tawfiq Almoayyed briefed about various initiatives taken by Government of Bahrain in skilling and upskilling of youth with focus on employability and vocational aspects of education. He also appreciated the role of Indian diaspora in Bahrain in the Kingdom’s economic development. Hon’ble Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan briefed about India’s National Education Policy 2020 which gives focus on skilling & vocational training to suit an ever-changing workplace characterized by technological revolution and job pattern changes. Appreciating various initiatives of Bahrain as briefed by Minister Aymen Tawfiq Almoayyed, Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan stressed on collaboration between the two countries in these areas, and on learning from each other’s experiences.

Both sides agreed to form a Joint Task Force comprising of officials from both sides to formulate concrete proposals in the areas of education and skill development and sharing of each other’s experiences. Some of the areas identified included: Technology, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Energy and Fintech.

Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of Bahrain extended an invitation to Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan to visit Bahrain. Hon’ble Minister accepted the invitation and also invited H.E. Mr Aymen Tawfiq Almoayyed to visit India at the earliest convenience. Source: Embassy of India, Bahrain.


Starred Question No.189, Status of Chabahar Project, Lok Sabha, 10 December 2021.


Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) the present status of the Chabahar Port project;

(b) the organizations/groups/countries which have made investment in the project; and

(c) by what time the project is likely to be finalized?



(a) to (c) A statement is laid on the table of the House.


During the visit of the Prime Minister to Iran in May 2016, a Trilateral Agreement to establish the International Transport and Transit Corridor (Chabahar Agreement) was signed by India, Iran and Afghanistan. India is participating in the development of the first phase of the Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar Port in cooperation with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

2. The Indian company, India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), through its wholly owned subsidiary, India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), took over the operations of the Chabahar Port w.e.f. 24.12.2018. Since then, it has handled 160 vessels, 14,420 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and 3.2 million tons of bulk and general cargo. The Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar Port has handled shipments and trans-shipments from various countries including Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine, Oman, Romania, Bangladesh, Australia, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and UAE.

3. India has committed total grant assistance of USD 85 Million and a credit facility of USD 150 Million for development of Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar Port. As part of our commitment towards infrastructure development of Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar Port, India has supplied 06 Mobile Harbour Cranes (two 140 tons and four 100 tons capacity) and other equipment worth USD 25 Million.

4. The Chabahar Port has provided much needed sea-access to the landlocked Afghanistan. The port has also emerged as a commercial transit hub for the region. It is a more economical and stable route for landlocked countries of the region to reach India and the global market. Recently, it facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. India has utilized the Chabahar port to ship 75,000 MT of wheat as humanitarian food assistance to Afghanistan in 2020. Till date, a total of one lakh ten thousand tons of wheat and two thousand tons of pulses has been trans-shipped from India to Afghanistan. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Second Trilateral Working Group Meeting between India, Iran and Uzbekistan on joint use of Chabahar Port, New Delhi, 14 December 2021.

1. The second Trilateral Working Group Meeting between India, Iran and Uzbekistan on the joint use of Chabahar Port was held virtually on December 14, 2021.

2. The Meeting was jointly chaired by Dr. Sanjeev Ranjan, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India; Dr. Ali Akbar Safaei, Secretary, Deputy Minister and Managing Director, Ports and Maritime Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran; and Mr. Abdossamad Mumenof, Secretary, Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

3. During the meeting, the Indian side made a presentation on the operations of the Chabahar Port and informed that the Indian company, India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), through its wholly owned subsidiary, India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), took over the operations of the Chabahar Port w.e.f. 24.12.2018. Since then, it has handled 160 vessels, 14,420 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and 3.2 million tons of bulk and general cargo. The Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar Port has handled shipments and trans-shipments from various countries including Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine, Oman, Romania, Bangladesh, Australia, Kuwait, Uzbekistan and UAE.

4. The participants underlined the important role played by Chabahar Port during humanitarian crises as well as in enhancing regional connectivity. They also took note of the increase in transit traffic between Central Asia and South Asia through the Shahid Beheshti Terminal, Chabahar Port and discussed further development of transportation corridor.

5. Upon the invitation of the Iranian side, Indian side agreed to send a high-level delegation to Chabahar next year. It was decided to hold the third session of the trilateral working group meeting in India at a mutually convenient date. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Visit of Indian Naval Sail Training Ship INS Sudarshini to Bandar Abbas, Tehran, 22 December 2021.

Indian Naval Sail Training Ship INS Sudarshini entered Bandar Abbas port on 22 December 2021, as part of Operational Turn-round (OTR) and goodwill visit to further maritime relations between the two countries and navies. INS Sudarshini is built by Goa Shipyard Limited in India and based at Kochi, Kerala as premier sail training unit under the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. The ship has completed a decade of service with the Indian Navy and is presently commanded by Commander Srikant Venugopal. The ship is part of the 1st Training Squadron which provides ab-initio sea experience to sea trainees of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.

2. INS Sudarshini along with her sister ship, INS Tarangini form the sail training element of the squadron and have been imparting training to Foreign Trainee Officers as part of foreign trainee exchange programmes.

During her stay at Bandar Abbas, the ship will undertake various professional interactions with counterparts in the Iranian Navy, including sail training at harbour and sea. The maiden deployment of INS Sudarshini will add another chapter to the cordial relations and maritime cooperation between India and Iran. Source: Embassy of India, Tehran.


Unstarred Question No.2154, India-Israel Cooperation, Rajya Sabha, 16 December 2021.


Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) whether it is a fact that India-Israel cooperation during pandemic is very useful;

(b) if so, the details of partnership and business transactions made between the two countries; and

(c) the details of recent visit of diplomats to Israel?



(a) Yes.

(b) Since the global onset of the covid pandemic last year, the cooperation between India and Israel has been steered at the highest level. Our PM had telephone calls with the Israeli Prime Minister several times last year and this year (12 March, 2020; 3 April, 2020; 10 June, 2020; 05 October, 2020; and 01 February, 2021), during which the two leaders explored possible collaboration in combating the pandemic, including by improving the availability of pharmaceutical supplies, innovative use of high technology, cooperation in research and development efforts in the fields of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

PM Modi and the new Israeli PM Naftali Bennett met on the side-lines of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on 02 November 2021 and discussed cooperation in combating the pandemic, among others.

Soon after the outbreak of COVID pandemic in April 2020, India had sent medicines (5 tonnes of HCQs) and 50,000 N95 masks to Israel. Israel has helped us in the procurement of medical equipment including 247 flight-60 ventilators from an Israeli company in 2020. Israel also granted medical equipments that include 1718 oxygen concentrators, 3 Oxygen generation plants and 417 ventilators, during the second wave of the pandemic in India earlier this year.

During the recent visit of the External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar to Israel on 17-21 October, 2021, India and Israel agreed, in principle, for mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccine certificates for which the technical teams from both sides are in touch.

(c) Due to the travel restrictions related to Covid-19, most of the interactions have been held virtual including the 1st India-Israel Policy Planning Dialogue on 21 October 2020 and 16th Foreign Office Consultations on 07 December 2020. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


Inauguration of India – Oman Joint Art Exhibition, Muscat, 13 December 2021.

Embassy of India in association with Art and Soul Gallery is organizing an India–Oman Joint Art Exhibition at Art and Soul Gallery, Waterfront from 13 – 23 December 2021. The art exhibition brings together upcoming artists from both the countries and will highlight the beauty & culture of India and Oman. Students from Middle East College are also participating and exhibiting their paintings.

The Art Exhibition was inaugurated on 13 December 2021 by H.E. Amit Narang, Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman; Dr. Kiran G.R, Dean of Middle East College; Dr. Satish Nambiar, Chairman of Indian Social Club in Oman, and Mr. Alsayyid Nasr bin Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Vice President of Oman Post in presence of officials Oman government. The inauguration event was also attended by representatives from Board of Directors - Indian schools in Oman, senior representatives from the fields of art, culture, business media and friends of India.

Ambassador Amit Narang, in his welcome address stated that art and creativity act as cultural bridge between countries. He spoke about the strong relationship between India and Oman and expressed happiness over the truly Indo-Omani character of the exhibition, showcasing the creativity of both the countries. Ambassador interacted with all the artists and also thanked the curator of the exhibition.

The Art extravaganza on display at Art & Soul Gallery includes, over 50 art works by Omani and Indian artists. This wonderful exhibition will remain open for all and can be visited till 23 December 2021 from 9 am – 9 pm at the premises of Art & Soul Gallery at Waterfront Mall, Muscat. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.

“ITEC and Oman Vision 2040’ Strengthening India-Oman Partnership through Capacity Building, Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day- 2021, Muscat, 14 December 2021.

Embassy of India, Muscat, celebrated ‘Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation’ (ITEC) Day on Tuesday, 14th December 2021 in the Embassy Premises.  The function was attended by about 100 participants, which included ITEC alumni from Oman, comprising officials and professionals from diverse sectors who have participated in various training courses in India under ITEC Programme during previous years.  The function was also attended by many other officials from various Omani authorities/agencies, looking after training aspects of their employees.

H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid Al Saidi, Minister of Health, Sultanate of Oman was the Chief Guest on this occasion.  In his address, H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid Al Saidi lauded historically close relations between India and Oman.  He mentioned that participation of a large number of Omani nationals in various ITEC courses in India over the years had further strengthened the bonds of friendship between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Mr. Amit Narang, Ambassador of India to the Sultanate of Oman, noted that over the years, ITEC Programme has received a good response in the Sultanate and hundreds of Omani Officials have taken part in ITEC courses. Ambassador Amit Narang conveyed his appreciation to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Ministries and Organizations in Oman for their support in implementation of the ITEC Programme in Oman.

The Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was launched in September 1964 as a bilateral programme of assistance of the Government of India for capacity building of friendly developing countries. It has emerged as a key vehicle for India’s contribution to Human Resource Development of partner countries. Under ITEC Programme, Officials from more than 160 countries from Asia, Africa, East Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean as well as Pacific and Small Island countries are invited to benefit from India’s developmental experience. The ITEC Programme offers over 14000 courses annually covering diverse range of subjects from traditional areas like agriculture, SMEs, management, English language to IT, Science & Technology, biotechnology, etc. The skills which are being provided under ITEC Programme facilitate human resource development, capacity building, skill upgradation and empowerment.

Ambassador Amit Narang stressed that the Government of India is a strong partner in Oman’s journey to achieve objectives of ‘Oman Vision 2040’ for which Government of India’s ITEC programme can be a key facilitator.   Specialized training, human resource development and skill upgradation is an integral part of this journey for which ITEC is an ideal platform.  He committed that special customized courses can be organized dedicated for Omani candidates in their areas of interest.

The ITEC Day provided an opportunity to the ITEC Alumni, who have trained in India under this Programme, to get together at the Embassy to interact among themselves and share their experiences.  They spoke about the benefits of ITEC courses not only in providing knowledge and expertise but in giving them an opportunity to interact with trainees from other countries and learn more about India and its culture and traditions.

In the coming year, cooperation between Oman and India under the ITEC platform will be strengthened keeping in mind the needs and priorities of the Government of Oman under Oman’s ‘Vision 2040’. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.

ITEC Day-2021 - 14 December 2021, Remarks by Ambassador Amit Narang, Muscat, 15 December 2021.

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Assalam Wa’Aleikum,


At the outset, I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Obaid Al Saidi, Hon’ble Minister of Health, Sultanate of Oman for agreeing to be our Chief Guest for this celebration of ITEC Day-2021.

I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to Mr. Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Salem Al Shanfari, Minister Plenipotentiary and Chief of the West Asia Department and Mr. Malallah Mahmood Al-Balushi, Acting Head of Human Resources Department, MOFA.

We are also delighted to welcome the distinguished ITEC alumni who we consider our special friends.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Indian culture and tradition, acquisition and practice of knowledge is considered a noble vocation, equal in status to meditation on the Almighty and higher than the ideals of pursuing wealth and pleasure. More importantly though, Indian culture has traditionally also emphasized that sharing of knowledge is equally important.

This thought is beautifully expressed in one of our ancient texts as:

The repository of knowledge is like no other. 

It shrinks if collected, but grows when shared.

The ITEC program that we are celebrating today is a manifestation of this ancient philosophy of India, which emphasizes not just acquisition bur sharing of knowledge on the same footing.

Under the ITEC programme, India shares its knowledge and know-how for capacity building of other developing countries. It is however, not a one-way or a top-down process. It is a collaborative process in which India also gains by the sharing of knowledge and experience that this process facilitates.

As a result of India’s own rapid strides in development in the context of a large democracy, and due to the interactions fostered by ITEC, today there is a visible and growing awareness in the world about competence of India in providing technical know-how, training, skill development, consultancy services, etc.

Under ITEC Programme, over 14,000 diverse training courses are on offer annually to officials and participants from more than 160 countries. Launched in September 1964, the ITEC Programme has emerged as a key vehicle for India’s contribution to the human resource development of partner countries.

India and Oman have historical relations dating back thousands of years, which are underpinned by trade links and people-to-people contacts. In view of the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, it is our hope that training and skill development under India’s ITEC Programme is contributing to Oman’s goals towards developing its human resources and diversification of its economy. Moreover, the ITEC programme has also contributed to encouraging people to people relationships and inter-cultural exchanges between India and Oman.

Over the years, ITEC Programme has received a good response in the Sultanate and hundreds of Omani Officials have taken part in ITEC courses. Government of India has offered 125 slots to Government Officials and others from the Sultanate of Oman, for the period April 2020-March 2021, to undertake short-duration training programmes in a number of fields in reputed Indian Institutes.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted physical travel, Government of India is offering e-ITEC programmes in various premier institutes in diversified fields, which have also been well received in the Sultanate of Oman.

I am also happy to inform that our bilateral cooperation in training extends even beyond ITEC and presently a group of Omani diplomats are in India to attend 1st Special Course for Diplomats. This shows our strong bonding and relationship to work together for mutual benefit and development of our people.


His Majesty Sultan Haitham’s Oman’s Vision 2040 provides an excellent roadmap and platform to enhance economic competitiveness and social well-being, stimulate growth, and build a new Oman for its citizens.

India will be a reliable partner of Sultanate of Oman to realize the objectives of Oman Vision 2040 and ITEC is an ideal mechanism to align with Oman’s Vision 2040.

Skill upgradation, specialized training, human resource development are key priorities of the Oman Government in its journey for Vision 2040, and these can be usefully facilitated by India’s ITEC program.

I also wish to take a moment to thank the ITEC alumni for being here with us today. We hope that the training courses that you attended in India have been useful in your professions. More importantly, I hope the experience that you had in India will connect you as a lifelong friend of India and that you will contribute with your thoughts and efforts towards strengthening India-Oman relations.

This celebration is also an effort to bring all of you together. I invite you to interact with us and your fellow ITEC alumni during this event and keep in touch even after this event.

On behalf of Embassy of India, Muscat, I once again thank the Hon’ble Minister of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Ministries and Organizations in Oman for their support in implementation of the ITEC Programme in Oman.

I also take this opportunity to reiterate India’s commitment to strengthen and expand its strategic partnership with Oman, including in the field of training and skill development in full alignment with Oman’s Vision 2040.

Thank you. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.

1st ever Special Course for Diplomats from Oman concludes successfully, Muscat, 19 December 2021.

A group of 25 diplomats from Oman’s Foreign Ministry visited India from 05-18 December 2021 to attend the “1st ever Special Course for Diplomats from Oman” which was held at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS), Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi.

The special course was organized within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SSIFS and the Diplomatic Institute of Oman which was signed in 2018. Prior to this special course, fifteen diplomats from Oman have also undergone training at SSIFS.

The Special Course included modules on India’s foreign policy, economy, polity, syncretic culture, India-Oman bilateral relations, energy & maritime security, the Arab world & GCC, India’s relations with major powers, health diplomacy, climate change, digital empowerment, negotiation & diplomatic communication skills, and sessions on Yoga & Ayurveda.

Apart from class room lectures, the diplomats interacted with senior officials of Government of India and also visited Rashtrapati Bhavan, Election Commission of India, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and prominent media houses. They undertook study tours of historical and cultural monuments, including the National Museum & Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. Outstation tour of Agra & Fatehpur Sikri was also organized, which gave the participants a first-hand exposure to Indian history and architecture.

The Embassy congratulates all the diplomats for successful completion of the course and hopes that the course would have enhanced their understanding of India, its inclusive culture, its democratic politics and its diplomacy. The 1st ever special course reflects the special friendly relations between India and Oman and will contribute to strengthening of relations between the two countries. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.


Unstarred Question No.2248, Dubai Expo, Lok Sabha, 10 December 2021.


Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) whether India had participated in Dubai expo 2021 and if so, the details thereof along with States which participated in the said expo; and

(b) whether the official of the Government of Kerala was denied the permission to travel to Dubai for inspection of preparations of the Kerala State Exhibition Centre, if so, the reasons therefor?



(a) Dubai Expo 2020 is being hosted by Dubai from 01 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. It was originally scheduled from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 but was postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. The Indian Pavilion at the Expo showcases India’s growth and promise to the world economy; advancements in different fields such as S&T, IT and space; India’s art, culture, literature, cinema and cuisine; as well as different facets of the historic friendly relations between India and UAE. Various States, Government of India departments and private sector entities are participating in the Expo 2020 through the Indian Pavilion. The States that have participated at the Dubai EXPO 2020 so far include: Gujarat (1-14 Oct); Karnataka (15-21 Oct); UT of Ladakh (22 Oct-04 Nov); Telangana (5-11 Nov); Rajasthan (12-18 Nov); and Maharashtra (19 Nov-02 Dec).

(b) No, the delegation was advised to plan the visit closer to the dates of the State’s participation (24 December 2021 to 06 January 2022) to facilitate proper assistance for participation at the Expo. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

India and the UAE to wrap up the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by next month, says Shri Piyush Goyal, New Delhi, 13 December 2021.

The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal has said India and the UAE will wrap up the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) by next month. “Hopefully by the end of this month or next month, we hope to conclude them (the negotiations) so that this would probably be one of the fastest trade agreement between two countries ever made,” he said, addressing the India Global Forum, UAE-2021 through video conference.

Shri Goyal said the agreement will be a mutually beneficial win-win solution for both countries, “provide market access to each other. Some of the elements of the agreement are the first of its kind, particularly for both countries.”

Shri Goyal said, this year Indian economy has been able to “largely recover” from what it had contracted last year due to the “very severe lockdown” we had imposed to tackle the Covid. “We have been able to look at very attractive growth rates, - Second quarter, that’s July-Sep, we grew at 8.4% which is one of the fastest growing growth rates in the world today. Our investments are at an all-time high, we are getting some of the highest FDI or FPI in recent months. Indian businesses are showing more compliant growth, more profitability growth. In the last few months our exports have been at an all-time high, - both merchandise and in services.” Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).

India to be world’s leading partner in skilled manpower: Rajeev Chandrasekhar at EXPO2020 Dubai, Dubai, 14 December 2021.

India can be a world leader in providing skilled manpower across sectors, said Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India, during his visit to the India Pavilion at EXPO2020 Dubai. “India can be a leading partner for the countries in the Middle East, the Emirates and other countries across the world in creating a trusted, highly qualified and skilled manpower and entrepreneurs that can shape the future of the world economies,” he added.

Talking on India-UAE relations, Shri Chandrasekhar said, “India and the Emirates have a strong trade and investment relationship across sectors. This relationship will continue to grow, deepen, strengthen, especially in the post-Covid era to create economic prosperity and opportunities for people all over the world.”

Highlighting the significance of the India Pavilion, the Minister said, “The Pavilion represents India’s rising ambitions and aspirations to create opportunities for its citizens and collaborate with other countries to create a better, peaceful and prosperous world of the future. The Pavilion is guided by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of opportunity and prosperity for all in this New and Self-reliant India (Atmanirbhar Bharat).”

In his message to global investment community, Shri Chandrasekhar said, “The pandemic has shown to the world the resilience and capabilities of India – its entrepreneurs, government, and young population. Going forward, India’s ambition is to be a strong participant driving economic prosperity and growth across the world. We invite all investors from the middle east and around the world to come and be a part of the new India economic story and witness the resurgence, growth and revival of the global economy.”

Hon’ble Minister of State for Electronics, IT, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship also visited Germany  and USA pavilions at EXPO2020 Dubai. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).

Union Commerce Minister Shri Piyush Goyal interacts with Indian exporters and businesses to Enhance Market Access for India in UAE, Mumbai, 18 December 2021.

The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Shri Piyush Goyal chaired an interaction with the captains of Indian industry and heads of Export Promotion Councils in Mumbai today, to discuss certain opportunities for Indian businesses to expand their global footprint by leveraging the business platforms and infrastructure offered by UAE. Speaking about the immediate UAE opportunity presented by DP World and the Government of UAE, Shri Goyal said “We are looking for this to become a $10 billion opportunity for India and to also showcase Brand India on the global stage.”

Industry representatives welcomed the initiative and offered their ideas and suggestions to leverage its potential.

Shri Goyal added that our goal is to become the No. 1 Trading Partner of UAE. The Minister said, “UAE is a gateway to Gulf Cooperation Council and all of Africa".

The Minister welcomed Group Chairman & CEO, DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem for coming up with solutions such as provision of low-cost finance for Indian businesses.

Shri Goyal said that the goodwill built by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan are helping us have bigger ambitions.

The Minister thanked the exporters for participating in the deliberations to create a roadmap for expanding Indian exports not only to UAE but also using UAE as a springboard, to expand exports to GCC and other markets in Africa and elsewhere.

The Union Minister shared the highly favourable outcomes which can be expected from the India-UAE Free Trade Agreement, which is in the advanced stages of negotiation and finalization. “There is a lot of good news coming up, across several sectors, as we negotiate and finalize the FTA with the UAE.”

The Minister shared three examples reflecting India-UAE friendship. “For the first time ever, UAE allotted land for India to set up a temple. This is remarkable as UAE is celebrating 50th year of its formation and India is celebrating its 75th year of Independence. Secondly, UAE has committed $100 Billion for investment and infrastructure creation in India. And thirdly, the UAE-India FTA will be India’s fastest-negotiated FTA and the fastest-negotiated Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) ever between two nations, which also gives the maximum opportunity to India.”

Addressing the exporters and industry, Group Chairman & CEO DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, spoke about the UAE market and the opportunities available there for Indian products. “The Jebel Ali Economic Zone has hundreds of warehouses suitable for any trader who would like to see and feel the market. The time is right for India to seize the opportunity in the world market. There is a huge shortage everywhere, which India can fill.”

DP World official, Mr. Abdulla Al Hashmi presented to the industry the potential offered by the twin projects India Mart Traders Market and Jebel Ali Free Zone. “We want to support Made in India products, to enable them to be exported to the world."

During the discussions, Sharad Kumar Saraf, Immediate Past President opined that FIEO   decision to open India Mart Traders Market is timely and very important.

Naresh Bhasin, Regional Chairman, Council of Leather Exports stated that besides touch-and-feel, speed-to-market is an important aspect which customers are looking at. Capital cost is cheaper in the UAE and setting up India Mart Traders Market in Dubai will be very attractive for the leather industry, he added.

Amit Sarda, Member, Retailers Association of India (RAI) stated that the setting up of India Mart facility by DP World will further India’s goals of Made in India and Made for the World. “As MSMEs and start-ups drive up business, we need to talk about providing access to India Mart to them as well.” He said that in addition to providing warehousing facility, the Mart should also have a packaging facility.

Thiagarajan, Chairman, CII Western Region and Managing Director, Blue Star Ltd. said: “India-UAE bilateral relationship has led to tremendous growth in the past few years and led to creation of a framework for strategic partnerships. The interaction today is an example of the opportunities and relations that may emerge as a result of the strong bilateral relationship.”

Representatives of The Plastic Export Promotion Council, Engineering Export Promotion Council India, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Tea Board India, The Cotton Textile Export Promotion Council, Spices Board, Retailers Association of India, Apparel Export Promotion Council, The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India and others were present on the occasion. Apart from those present in person, more than 100 companies joined the conference virtually. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).


GA Plenary meeting on “The Question of Palestine” and “The Situation in the Middle East”, Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 01 December 2021.

Mr President, I take the floor to deliver India’s statement on the agenda items “The Question of Palestine” and “The situation in the Middle East”.

2. On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People observed on November 29, the Prime Minister of India extended his best wishes to the people of Palestine in their endeavour for statehood, peace and prosperity. In his message, he reaffirmed our relationship with the Palestinian people, which is based on deep-rooted historical and people-to-people ties. India’s support for a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict is consistent and well known. We hope for an early resumption of direct negotiations on the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The international community, the Middle East Quartet in particular, has an important role to play in reviving these negotiations.

3. Recent developments on the ground, however, could pose challenges for the resumption of the peace process. The continued acts of violence against civilians in both Israel and Palestine, as well as acts of destruction, are deeply concerning. We condemn these acts. Unilateral actions that unduly alter the status-quo on the ground and undercut the viability of the two-state solution must be avoided in the interest of peace and stability.

4. We are also worried by the violent incidents, provocation and incitement in Jerusalem. Given India’s historic connection to Jerusalem, the city and its holy sites have a special place in the hearts of millions of Indians, who visit them every year. The historic status-quo at the holy places of Jerusalem must be respected. We urge all sides to work cooperatively to defuse tensions and halt all provocations, incitement and violence in the city.

5. India welcomes the ongoing co-operation between Israel, Palestinian Authority and the regional countries. On our part, as a committed development partner of Palestine, India continues to provide developmental and humanitarian assistance to the people of Palestine both bilaterally through the Palestinian Authority and contributions to the UN. Even during the pandemic, work on our developmental projects in Palestine like the India-Palestine technopark, the Women Empowerment Centre and the construction of schools have continued to progress.

6. We also appreciate the work of the UN and its agencies in ensuring the delivery of critical aid to Palestinians. We call for regular and predictable transfer of aid, as well as for appropriate use of such aid. India remains supportive of UNRWA’s role in human development and delivery of humanitarian services. India has fully disbursed its pledged contribution for 2021. India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Shri. V. Muraleedharan participated in the recent UNRWA Ministerial conference in Brussels and renewed India’s commitment to continue to contribute USD 5 million to the Agency in 2022 also.

Mr President,

7. I reiterate the urgent need for resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine which will provide a sustainable platform to resolve all final status issues towards the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side, at peace with Israel. India stands ready to support all efforts aimed at the resumption of direct negotiations.

I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

UNSC Briefing on Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD), Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 02 December 2021.

Thank you, Mr. President.

I welcome Special Adviser Christian Ritscher and thank him for his briefing. I also welcome the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the meeting.

2. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has carried out inhuman atrocities against the people of Iraq. Victims of ISIL’s horrific crimes in Iraq also include 39 Indian nationals. ISIL has deliberately and indiscriminately targeted innocent civilians, including women and children. They have systematically committed genocide, torture, rape, slavery and kidnapping throughout the territory under its control in Iraq and Syria. The Seventh Report of Special adviser and Head of UNITAD again brings out the horrific crimes committed by ISIL.

3. UNITAD is contributing towards fighting this impunity of terror and ensuring accountability for these crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq. Accountability for these crimes, including those against minority communities in Iraq, is critical for achieving smooth reconciliation and sustained peace in Iraq. The ongoing investigations on attacks against the Christian, Sunni, Kakai, Shabak and Shia Turkmen communities and the strengthening of the initial case-briefs in the attacks against the Yazidi community will support the Iraqi government’s efforts aimed at national reconciliation.

4. The close partnership and cooperation between the Iraqi authorities and UNITAD is commendable. This is central to the effective delivery of UNITAD’s mandate. Joint work by the experts of Iraq Government and UNITAD – in investigations, mass excavations and development of case-files - will ensure that capacities are strengthened within the national investigative and prosecutorial system to ensure accountability in the long-term for the heinous crimes perpetrated by the ISIL. This holds true for the extensive support provided by UNITAD to the digitization of evidence in the possession of the Iraqi authorities and the ISIL-related case-files of the Iraqi judiciary.

5. The Secretary General’s recent biannual report on the threat posed by ISIL to international peace and security has highlighted the continuous expansion of the terrorist group and its affiliates in many parts of Africa and Asia, including in our neighbourhood. Therefore, we believe that UNITAD’s investigations will bolster our efforts in the fight against ISIL and terrorism. Especially, UNITAD’s investigations into the internal administration of the ISIL Treasury can provide valuable insights into revenue streams of ISIL and in preventing flows to ISIL and its affiliates in other parts of the world. UNITAD’s widening of the scope of financial investigations must also include the external sources of funding for ISIL.

6. We take note of UNITAD’s proactive efforts to share its findings with the Iraqi authorities on ISIL’s financial crimes. This must extend to other evidence and information collected by the Investigative Team as well. It is unfortunate that despite a lapse of more than three years, UNITAD has been unable to fully service the evidentiary requirements of the Government of Iraq due to a different interpretation of UNITAD’s mandate. We hope this will be rectified soon.

7. We welcome UNITAD’s continued investigation into the development and use of chemical and biological weapons by ISIL in Iraq. India firmly condemns the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anybody, under any circumstances. ISIL’s use of the Mosul University for a systematic program for producing and weaponizing chemical and biological substances is of particular concern. India has been highlighting the serious threat to international peace and security emanating from the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by ISIL and other terrorist groups. The international community needs to pay closer attention to this issue, since such a template could be replicated by terrorist groups in other places.

Mr. President,

8.    Last week, the victims of the dastardly 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks were remembered in India and several other countries.

9. Be it Mumbai or Mosul, India strongly believes that the credibility of our collective fight against terrorism can be strengthened only when we can ensure accountability for the grave and inhuman acts of terror committed by terrorists. We need to take strong measures against those who encourage, support and finance terrorism.

10. The people of Iraq have made immense sacrifices in Iraq’s fight against ISIL. Justice should be delivered to the victims of ISIL’s crimes, and their families.  This cannot happen until those responsible for the atrocities are held accountable. The full and timely implementation of UNITAD’s mandate would contribute to securing justice for those affected. I once again reiterate that India stands ready to offer its support to UNITAD in this regard.

I thank you Mr. President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

UNSC briefing/consultations on Syria (chemical weapons), INDIA STATEMENT By Mr. Pratik Mathur, Counsellor, New York, 08 December 2021.

Mr. President, we would like to thank Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu for her update.

2. We have taken note of the contents of the latest 98th monthly report by DG-OPCW submitted to this Council pursuant to UNSCR 2118. We also note Syria’s submission of its monthly report. We would like both OPCW and Syria to work constructively to resolve relevant issues expeditiously.

3. The CWC is a unique, non-discriminatory disarmament instrument for elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. India attaches high importance to the CWC, and stands for its full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation.  We support the collective efforts by all to ensure that the credibility and integrity of this Convention is maintained to the fullest.

4. India is against the use of chemical weapons by anybody, anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances. India has consistently maintained that any investigation into the use of chemical weapons must be impartial, credible, and objective, following scrupulously the provisions and procedure embedded in the Convention, and in conformity with the delicate balance of power and responsibility enshrined under it to establish facts and reach evidence-based conclusions.

5. As a member of the Council, India has been repeatedly cautioning against the possibility of terrorist entities and individuals gaining access to chemical weapons, including such entities in the region. The latest report of UNITAD has also brought out these connections. These linkages are a cause for concern and need to be acted upon.

6. Lastly, Mr. President, we believe that technical issues such as Syria’s chemical weapons file need to be dealt in an objective manner. Progress on these matters could potentially help the political track positively.

I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

UNSC Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East (Yemen), Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 14 December 2021.

Thank you, Mr. President. I thank Special Envoy Hans Grundberg and ASG Ramesh Rajasingham for their briefings. I welcome the Permanent Representative of Yemen to this meeting.

2. We are deeply concerned by the ongoing escalation of hostilities in Yemen. The military campaign of Ansarallah and the consequent intensification of fighting in Ma’rib Governorate and surrounding areas have caused large scale displacement and restricted the movement of civilians and humanitarian access to people in need in the Governorate.

3. Another development of concern is the shift in the frontlines in Hadiyah because of redeployment of Government of Yemen-aligned forces away from the Hadiyah port city. The move has resulted in Ansarallah taking up key positions in these territories. This has altered the political-security dynamics in Hadiyah. The civilian population has been displaced as well. We encourage the parties to coordinate all future redeployments with United Nations Mission to support the Hadiyah Agreement (UNMHA). We also condemn cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.

4. Yemenis continue to bear the brunt of this protracted conflict in their day-to-day life. While the Yemeni government, international and national aid organizations have exerted considerable efforts to alleviate their plight, the underlying causes of the humanitarian crisis have not been addressed. The considerable economic decline and the COVID-19 pandemic have only compounded the dire situation for the Yemeni people, children in particular.

5. We support UNOCHA’s call for concrete short-term and long-term measures that could help improve the economic situation in Yemen and welcome their efforts towards the establishment of an economic framework to address the issue. Measures such as regular payment of salaries of government employees, removing restrictions on essential commodities and humanitarian goods and, Foreign exchange injections through the Central Bank can bring about quick and transformative impact. International support – political and financial – is an essential requirement for the framework to be successful.

6. I also underscore the urgent need to address the issue of the SAFER oil tanker, which represents a serious threat that could cause an unprecedented environmental, economic, maritime and humanitarian crisis in the region. Ansarallah should prioritize a solution for repair and maintenance of FSO SAFER with a sense of urgency.

Mr. President,

7. As a long-standing friend of Yemen, India reiterates its call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire across Yemen followed by a robust and inclusive political process with full respect for Yemen’s unity, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

8. I call upon all parties to the conflict to end the fighting and engage unconditionally with Special Envoy Hans in his efforts to seek a political solution to the conflict. We support his inclusive approach to get all the parties in Yemen to the negotiating table. Such an inclusive approach must not only extend across parties, but within them as well through full and meaningful participation of women. We encourage him to continue his coordination with the countries in the region, as their cooperation would be critical to reach a long-lasting solution to the Yemeni conflict. We also call on countries in the region with influence on Yemeni parties to exert sincere efforts to restore peace and order in Yemen as it is in the shared interests of everyone.

I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

UNSC briefing on Syria (Political/Humanitarian), INDIA STATEMENT by Mr. Pratik Mathur, Counsellor, New York, 20 December 2021.

Mr. President,

I join others in thanking Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen and Under Secretary General Martin Griffiths for their updates today.

2. India has been reiterating since the beginning of the conflict that imposing external solutions cannot help in the resolution of the conflict. It is for the Syrians to determine and decide what is best for Syria and their own future. The decade long conflict and involvement of external players has adversely affected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

3. Special Envoy has briefed in detail his recent efforts to engage proactively with all the stakeholders, including his visit to Damascus last week. We hope these efforts will bear fruit soon and culminate in the next round of the Constitutional Committee meeting. While the holding of this meeting is important, the progress in the step-by-step approach articulated by the Special Envoy needs mutual trust among all parties, including the external players. The support of the international community to address the economic and humanitarian challenges remains integral to the success of the political process.

4. The recent diplomatic engagement between Damascus and other capitals in the region is reassuring which may positively impact the restoration of Syria’s membership of the League of Arab States.

5. Regarding Confidence Building Measures, we welcome efforts by the Syrian authorities to prioritize the return of the displaced Syrians to their areas of origin. We also welcome the recent announcement of opening of border between Jordan and Syria.

6. On the security front, we remain concerned with the overall situation in Syria, including the increasing incidents of ceasefire violations in North-West Syria. We call on all sides to desist from any actions, including military provocations like missile strikes that may lead to violence and disturbance in Syria. Further, growing influence of terrorist groups in IDP camps like Al-Rukban and Al-Hol needs to be urgently addressed and issue of repatriation of foreign citizens from these camp sites needs to be dealt with, on priority.

7. UN designated terrorist groups such as ISIL and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, as mentioned in Secretary General’s recent reports, have continued to gain in strength in Syria. Da’esh, has also continued to launch attacks in areas across Dayr al-Zawr, Hasakah and eastern rural Homs. The global fight against terrorism cannot and should not be compromised for narrow political gains.

8. The humanitarian crisis in Syria has not seen significant improvement in the recent months. We believe that a nation-wide comprehensive ceasefire is paramount to the interest of the Syrian people; it will also help to expand crossline humanitarian aid operations. In this context, we note that progress has been made to expand the overall humanitarian response and facilitate crossline access. In the northwest, we believe there is considerable scope for expanding crossline operations. The ongoing cross-border operations will continue to negatively impact on the sovereignty of the Syrian State.

9. In the northeast, crossline operations have become regular and sustained. In October and November, WHO delivered crossline shipments by road and air. We encourage OCHA and UN agencies to expend efforts to enhance cross-line operations.

10. Taking into consideration the difficult economic and social situation in Syria, which has been further compounded by the global Covid-19 pandemic and the onset of winter, there is need to scale up humanitarian assistance. As this Council looks towards renewal of the Syria humanitarian resolution UNSCR 2585 next month, it is critical to achieve progress with regard to the provisions related to "expanding the scope of the work in early recovery and increasing the resilience of the infrastructure in Syria".

11. On our part, India has continued to extend developmental assistance and human resource development support to Syria through grants and lines of credits for developmental projects, supply of medicine and food, artificial limb fitment camps and capacity building training programs. Since the beginning of the conflict, India has always stood by the Syrian people. Let me conclude by reaffirming India’s commitment to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned UN-facilitated political process in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.

UNSC meeting on the Middle East, Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 21 December 2021.

Thank you, Mr. President. I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for the briefing on the implementation of resolution 2334.

2. Resolution 2334 was adopted by this Council to reaffirm the international community’s firm commitment towards preventing the erosion of the two-State solution. It calls upon parties to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, stresses that all settlement activities must cease, and underscores the need to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues.

3. The recent developments on ground, as revealed in the Secretary-General’s report, indicate that resolution 2334 is yet to be implemented in its letter and spirit. Violent attacks against Palestinian and Israeli civilians have continued during the reporting period. So have the acts of destruction, provocation and incitement. We condemn all such acts. Prospects of possible eviction of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah remain high. Tension continues to prevail at the holy sites of Jerusalem. Settlement activity has resumed after a brief hiatus.

4. We call upon the parties to immediately make concrete efforts to reverse these negative trends. Unilateral actions that unduly alter the status quo on  ground pose serious challenges and undercut the viability of the two-state solution.  These must be avoided in the interest of peace and stability. Instead, parties must engage in constructive steps that create conducive conditions for the resumption of peace talks.

5. We acknowledge that some steps have recently been initiated in this regard. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have opened a channel of communication. Steps have been taken to stabilise the fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority and improve the socio-economic conditions of Palestinians, including through progressive easing of restrictions in the Gaza Strip for commodities and construction materials and increasing work permits for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza. Successful conclusion of the prisoner exchange talks would help the process further. We encourage everyone to build on such measures and create more avenues of co-operation, which can help overcome the trust deficit.

Mr. President,

6. India’s support for a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict is consistent and well known. We believe that durable and long-lasting peace can be achieved between the people of Israel and Palestine only through a two-state solution which entails the establishment of a sovereign, viable and independent State of Palestine, within recognized and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

7. Both the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for Statehood and Israel’s legitimate security concerns can be fulfilled through an open and direct dialogue between Israel and Palestine based on the internationally agreed framework. We reiterate that there is no alternative to direct peace negotiations between the parties.

8. Thirty years ago, the international community helped open a channel for direct talks between Israel and Palestine through the Madrid peace conference. A similar effort is required now to overcome the present impasse. India stands ready to support all efforts aimed at resumption of direct negotiations and facilitating the peace process to achieve a two-State solution.

I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.




Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) the total number of Indian workers employed in the Gulf countries;

(b) the total number of Indian workers that receive minimum wages, social security benefits and are not under exploitative work contracts;

(c) the total number of Indian workers that are presently languishing in foreign jails over violation of labour contract rules;

(d) whether Government has taken any measures to protect the rights and dignity of Indian workers in Gulf countries; and

(e) if so, details thereof?



(a) & (b) As per estimates, about 87,00,000 Indians are living in Gulf Countries. While the majority of those in the Gulf are workers, it is difficult to assess the exact number of Indian workers. Indian workers receive minimum wages as well as certain social security benefits, as available in the host country.

(c) As per records, 2,183 Indian workers are currently in jails of Gulf countries for violations of labour contract rules.

(d) & (e) The Government has established various mechanisms to ensure welfare and safety of Indian workers such as Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), Community Welfare Wings, 24x7 helplines, Open Houses in the Missions/Posts abroad. Pravasi Bharatiya Sahayata Kendras (PBSK), have been setup in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dubai that provide guidance and counselling on all matters pertaining to overseas Indian workers. The online MADAD portal created by the Ministry enables the emigrant workers and their family members to register their consular grievances online and track their redressal. India also has signed bilateral labour agreements with all Gulf countries to safeguard Indian workers. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Unstarred Question No.3438, Persons from Punjab Settled in Gulf, Lok Sabha, 17 December 2021.


Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:

(a) the details of persons from Punjab settled in Gulf and other countries during the last five years and the current year, category wise; and

(b) the number of people from Punjab brought back during the last five years from the Gulf and other countries who have been cheated by fake agencies/agents?



(a) As per information available with the Ministry, an estimated 1.35 crore Indian nationals were residing in various countries, including 88 lakh in Gulf countries.

As per records available in the eMigrate platform, 70501 Indian workers from Punjab were issued Emigration clearances during the last five years. These persons were workers proceeding to the Gulf and ECR countries on job contracts valid for 2-3 years.

(b) Government of India attaches highest priority to the safety, security and well-being of Indians in foreign countries. As per eMigrate, a total number of 417 complaints of different nature, including about fake agencies have been registered by the people of Punjab during the last five years. Timely actions are taken by the Ministry and the Missions/Posts abroad to the resolution of the reported grievances. The cases of fake agencies brought to the attention of Ministry/Missions and Posts abroad are shared with the concerned State authorities for appropriate action. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

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