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Virtual Buyer Seller Meet on agriculture and food products between India and Bahrain, New Delhi, 22 March 2022.
Embassy of India, Bahrain and the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India jointly organised India-Bahrain virtual “Buyer Seller Meet” on 22nd March 2022. The meeting was also supported by Bahrain India Society (BIS) and Bahrain Businessmen’s Association.
2. The virtual meeting was attended by more than 100 participants from both sides including representative from the Embassy of India, Bahrain, APEDA, Bahrain India Society, Lulu Hypermarket Group, Mega Mart, Al Jazira Group and major food exporters and importers from India & Bahrain. On this occasion, an e- catalogue for the virtual Buyer Seller Meet containing details of importers and exporters of India and Bahrain was released by APEDA. The participating Bahraini importers made presentations on opportunities available in Bahrain and stressed on improving connectivity and logistics to further promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation in this sector.
3. Mr. Piyush Srivastava, Ambassador of India to Bahrain, in his address highlighted importance of food security in light of emerging geo-political situation and international developments particularly the post Covid economic recovery efforts of the global community. He highlighted the strategic significance attached to food security by Bahrain and assured that Indian will remain Bahrain’s trusted partner and intends to intensify cooperation in terms of export and enhancing local production for Bahrain’s food security. He mentioned that this Virtual Buyer Seller Meet will be engaging and will lead to concrete business deals.
4. This meeting provided an opportunity for the two sides to discuss further avenues of collaboration through enhancing bilateral trade & Investment, organic sector development and technological partnership. In the context of the year 2023 being declared as the International Year of Millets at the UNGA, the two sides also discussed ways to meet the demand in Bahrain for millets, which are cereal crops with high nutritive value produced in India, given that India is the world’s largest producer of millets with over one-third share of overall global production. Source: Embassy of India, Bahrain.
5th India-Bahrain Foreign Office Consultations, New Delhi, 28 March 2022.
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Secretary (CPV&OIA), Ministry of External Affairs, GOI and H.E. Dr. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Khalifa Undersecretary (Political Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bahrain co-chaired the 5th round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between India and Kingdom of Bahrain in New Delhi today. Dr. Shaikh Abdulla also met Deputy NSA, Shri Vikram Misri and called on MOS for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan.
MoS Shri V. Muraleedharan fondly recalled his visit to Bahrain in August 2021 and expressed happiness at the increased high-level interactions between both countries which has led to further strengthening of bilateral relations. He also received Kingdom of Bahrain’s Instrument of Ratification of International Solar Alliance (ISA) from Dr. Shaikh Abdulla. MOS thanked the Leadership and Government of Bahrain for taking excellent care of the Indian community, including during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the FOC, both delegations discussed all areas of bilateral cooperation and reviewed the progress made since the 3rd High Joint Commission meeting co-chaired by EAM and FM of Bahrain in April 2021 in New Delhi. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the continued momentum in bilateral ties despite the restrictions posed by COVID-19 pandemic. India and Bahrain celebrated the Golden Jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations in October 2021. Both sides are looking forward to an early visit of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain to India.
Both sides agreed to further strengthen their cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, hydrocarbons and renewable energy, health and pharmaceuticals, IT, Fintech, food security, civil aviation, space, defence and security, parliamentary cooperation, culture, education and people-to-people connect focusing on youth, skill development and start-ups. Bilateral trade has shown upward trajectory and is likely to be the highest ever in F.Y. 2021-22 at more than USD 1.4 billion.
Both sides also discussed regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed congratulated Bahrain on the successful year of Presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2021 and on taking over the Chairmanship of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in November 2021.
Dr. Shaikh Abdulla, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (DERASAT), will also meet and interact with scholars and members of Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA), Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and India Foundation (IF). He arrived in New Delhi on 27 March 2022 and is scheduled to depart on 29 March 2022. Source: Embassy of India, Bahrain.
Press Release for buyer-seller meeting with the Tea Board of India (TBI) and the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce (BCC) organized by the Embassy of India, Baghdad, Baghdad, 08 March 2022.
A Buyer-Seller Meeting between the Tea Board of India (TBI) and the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce (BCC) was organized virtually by the Embassy of India in Baghdad for promotion of Indian tea. More than 15 prominent Iraqi tea traders and 25 Indian tea companies participated in the Virtual BSM for export of Indian tea. While addressing the interactive session, Ambassador highlighted the potential for Indian tea in the Iraqi market and called for concerted efforts by Indian companies to vigorously explore the opportunities in Iraq.
Ambassador presented an overview of the business and investment prospects, future trends, sectors of partnerships and regulatory provisions governing the trade and commercial activities in India. It was agreed that the Iraqi businessmen would look for opportunities in tea sector in trade shows and partnership summits and also invite Indian business delegations from Tea Board of India to conduct in-person Buyer Seller Meets. The TBI representative explained the various clusters of tea growing areas in India and the vast scope for the orthodox variety of tea is favoured by Iraq. TBI offered to receive a delegation of BCC traders to India in the near future.
Indian tea businessmen exhorted the Iraqi businessmen to explore Indian tea markets and assured that India has sufficient supplies of the orthodox variety of tea that Iraq imports, and in various price ranges. The meeting also touched upon resolving the existing issues Iraqi tea traders face while dealing with Indian imports such as cumbersome and expensive banking channels, transhipment costs and firm quality assurances of the products.
The Iraqi participants expressed views about their desire to look into the Indian tea market and called for easy payment methods and cost effective shipment methods. It was assured that the Commerce Section of the Indian Embassy will facilitate in every possible way to boost tea trade between Indian and Iraq, including facilitation of business visas. Source: Embassy of India, Baghdad.
Press release for Embassy of India, Baghdad participation in 13th Agricultural Week at Baghdad (19-25 March 2022), Baghdad, 21 March 2022.
Indian Embassy, Baghdad participated in the 13th Agricultural Week, an exhibition on agriculture equipment and food products, organised by Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture during 19-25 March 2022 in Baghdad International Fairgrounds. M/s Majd Al-Amal Company is the main executing agency for this exhibition.
The exhibition was attended by a large number of companies from Iraq and abroad, showcasing the progress made in the field of agriculture technology and agriculture extension techniques to maximise agriculture yield. Various firms from the food technology and catering sector are also participating in the fair.
The Minister of Agriculture H.E. Mr. Muhammad Karim Al-Khafaji and Minister of Youth and Sports, H.E. Mr. Adnan Dirja jointly inaugurated the Agricultural week. Sixty companies, including regional directorates of Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Industries are participating in this Expo along with private companies from Iraq and abroad.
The Indian Embassy participated in the 13th Agricultural Week and exhibited product catalogues, company brochures, pamphlets and other publicity material of leading Indian companies in the agricultural field including agricultural equipment manufacturing and agro-processing companies publicizing their goods and services were also displayed at the Indian stall with a view to disseminate amongst interested Iraqi clientele in the related sector. Iraqi companies expressed keen interest in India’s agricultural products and Iraqi Agricultural Minister quipped to visit to Indian stall that Iraqi procures 1/3rd of the requirement of its agricultural equipment from India. Source: Embassy of India, Baghdad.
Business Roundtable Baghdad Chamber of Commerce, Baghdad, 26 March 2022.
A Roundtable Conference was organized between Embassy of India, Baghdad in collaboration with Baghdad Chamber of Commerce on 26 March 2022. Prominent businessmen dealing with import of Indian tea and agricultural machinery and equipment, and agro-processing industry attended the Roundtable.
The Indian Ambassador highlighted the quality and cost-effective products and invited suggestions from the stakeholders for the importation of Indian products. He underscored the tremendous potential for Indian products in Iraq and the need to introduce the Indian products so as to increase their market share in Iraq.
With easing of the COVID related travel restrictions and opening up of the economic activities in different parts of the world, Indian business community and trade bodies an apex chambers of commerce are keen to invest in Iraq and make forays in the otherwise unexplored sectors of the Iraqi economy. Embassy is also facilitating prominent chambers of commerce and industry to visit Iraq and have a direct B2B meetings with their Iraqi counterparts with a view to broaden the Indian economic and trade footprint in Iraqi market. A trade delegation from Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will be visiting Iraq in May 2022 to explore business ventures in Iraq. The Tea Board of India has invited tea importers of Iraq to visit tea plantations and tea processing industries in India to get a first-hand experience of production of tea in India. The Iraqi business community was assured that business visas for Iraqi traders have been greatly facilitated by the Embassy within the shortest turnaround period. The Iraqi businessmen were also made aware of the trade fairs and various business events in multiple sectors being organized in India and call for their participation.
As one of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) activities, businesses and B2B meetings seek to enhance trade volume and investment flow between Iraq and India. Source: Embassy of India, Baghdad.
Visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India (April 3 - 5, 2022). New Delhi, 22 March 2022.
At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, H.E. Mr. Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, will pay a visit to India on 3-5 April 2022. The two leaders had earlier met on the side-lines of COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2021. They also had a telephonic conversation on 16 August 2021.
2. The visit by H.E. Mr. Bennett would be his first to India in his capacity as Prime Minister. This visit would take place on the occasion of the commemoration of 30 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel and 75 years of India’s independence.
3. India and Israel elevated their bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel in July 2017. Since then, the two countries have continued to deepen their strategic partnership, with a focus on innovation and research as two knowledge-based economies.
4. The visit by the Prime Minister of Israel is expected to further strengthen our excellent bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, including in agriculture, water, trade, education and science and technology. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh's telephone talk with Israel Defence Minister, New Delhi, 29 March 2022.
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh talked to Mr Benjamin Gantz, Minister of Defence of Israel over telephone on March 29, 2022. The call was initiated from Tel Aviv. Shri Rajnath Singh offered his sincere condolences on the loss of lives of innocent civilians due to recent terror attacks in Israel and said terrorism is a threat to the whole world and it does not have any place in the civilized world. He tweeted “Had a telephonic conversation with the Defence Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Gantz. Shared my condolences on loss of innocent lives due to terror attacks in Israel. Terrorism is a global menace which has no place in today’s civilised world.”
Mr Gantz appreciated the gesture and thanked the Raksha Mantri. He further informed Shri Rajnath Singh that his proposed visit to India from March 30-31, 2022 has been postponed due to some unavoidable reasons and new dates will be worked out through diplomatic channels. While looking forward to the visit, Shri Rajnath Singh said it would further strengthen defence cooperation between India and Israel. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).
‘Building a Solid Future’: India-Oman Business Meet on Building and Construction Sector, Muscat, 15 March 2022.
On the side-lines of the Oman Design & Build Week (ODBW), and Oman Real Estate Exhibition (OREX), an India-Oman Business Meet on Building and Construction sector was organized by the Embassy of India on 15 March 2022.
2. The event saw the participation of 23 Indian companies which are in Muscat, Oman to take part in ODBW and OREX, as part of a delegation led by the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO). From the Omani side, representatives of more than 30 companies and business houses from the Construction and Infrastructure sector attended the event for B2B interactions with the Indian companies.
3. The Business Meet – first such B2B event organized by the Embassy after the Covid-19 pandemic – was jointly inaugurated by H.E. Engg. Redha Al Saleh Chairman, Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sultanate of Oman and Ambassador of India H.E. Amit Narang.
4. During the course of the event, participants shared their experiences and discussed business opportunities available to both sides in these sectors. Indian participants displayed their strong credentials for enhancing exports to Oman and sought partnerships with Omani counterparts. With the economies of both Oman and India emerging from the pandemic with vigour, participants were enthusiastic about enhancing trade and investment cooperation and identified synergies for this purpose. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.
Ambassador’s Round Table on India-Oman Tourism, Muscat, 16 March 2022.
Close on the heels of success of India-Oman Webinar for Tourism Promotion organised on 8th February 2022, Embassy of India, Muscat organized a Round Table meet on India-Oman Tourism on 16 March 2022. at the Embassy. Around 40 prominent Omani and Indian tour operators participated in the Round Table.
2. A video showing facets of ‘Incredible India’ set the stage for in-depth discussions on strategies to promote inbound and outbound tourism. Shri Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India addressed the Roundtable by a video message. He exhorted the travel and tour operators to assist in making India a favoured travel destination for Omani tourists and highlighted key policies of GoI in this regard.
3. Ambassador Amit Narang stressed the triple advantages of familiarity, proximity and connectivity that make India and Oman unique partners in travel and tourism. He said that easing out of Covid-19 travel restrictions and resumption of scheduled international flights to India from 27 March 2022 will help the travel market to slowly and steadily return to normalcy. He mentioned the 500,000 free tourist visas scheme announced by Government of India since November 2021 and requested the participating tour operators to promote holistic packages to India, combining the already popular medical tourism with wellness, heritage and cultural packages to select destinations. Ambassador also noted that with over 26 million outbound travellers from India annually, Oman can benefit hugely by attracting Indian tourists with focused promotion and well curated packages.
4. During the event, participants shared their valuable ideas to promote India in Oman and Oman in India. Among the suggestions received included conducting regular B2B meetings, roadshows, FAM trips, participation in travel marts, social media campaigns, advertisement, connecting with universities, youth etc to promote two-way tourism. Sectors like adventure, medical, business, leisure, education etc were the highlighted in the interactive session offering newer opportunities for further growth.
5. The Round Table gave an excellent opportunity to leading tour operators of both sides to connect with each other for potential business collaborations. Participants appreciated the back-to-back initiatives of the Embassy and were confident about the prospects of rejuvenating the travel and tourism sector in both India and Oman. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat.
Joint Press Statement-Meeting between External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar and Foreign Minister of Oman, H.E. Mr. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi, New Delhi, 23 March 2022.
At the invitation of External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Minister of the Sultanate of Oman, H.E. Mr. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi, accompanied by a high level official delegation, visited India on an official visit from 23-24 March 2022. This is the first visit of H.E. Mr. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamood Albusaidi to India after his appointment as the Foreign Minister of Oman in August 2020.
2. EAM met the Foreign Minister of Oman for delegation level talks on 23 March 2022. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the close Strategic Partnership between India and Oman. Both the Ministers highlighted the high priority accorded by the leadership of both the countries to bilateral relations based on high mutual trust and respect. Both Ministers underscored that as neighbours united by the waters of Arabian Sea, both the countries have an important role in the maritime safety and security in the region.
3. Both the Ministers recalled the immense contribution of Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said in the development of close strategic partnership between both the countries. Both Ministers applauded the conferment of Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2019 on Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said by Government of India as recognition of his visionary leadership, his efforts to promote peace as well as his immense contribution in strengthening India-Oman friendship.
4. Both the Ministers positively assessed the multi-faceted India-Oman relations that span several areas of cooperation including political, strategic, defence, economy, energy, investment, space, mining, science and technology, culture, consular and humanitarian cooperation. They noted that while the traditional areas of cooperation are being further strengthened, new drivers of growth are expanding bilateral cooperation with new vigour and energy. Both Ministers welcomed the decision to expeditiously implement proposals for joint cooperation in space, mining, maritime and science & technology sectors.
5. Both sides noted with satisfaction the continued intensification of close interactions at all levels including telephonic conversations between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik; regular meetings and contact between Foreign Ministers; visit of Secretary General of Oman’s Ministry of Defence to India; meeting of Joint Military Cooperation Committee (JMCC); holding of Foreign Office Consultations; visit of India’s Chief of the Naval Staff to Oman; visit of Commander of Royal Navy of Oman to India; bilateral Air Force exercise in India; meeting of Joint Maritime Committee etc. Both Ministers welcomed the continued and sustained engagements under bilateral mechanisms in various fields between both the countries and agreed for holding the Joint Commission Meeting at the level of Commerce Ministers, India-Oman Strategic Consultative Group Meeting (Foreign Office Consultations), Strategic Dialogue and JWG on Labour at an early date.
6. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the continued momentum in defence cooperation as it remains one of the key pillars of the bilateral cooperation. Both the Ministers welcomed the timely renewal of longstanding MoUs on military cooperation & maritime issues between India and Oman. The Ministers welcomed the holding of 11th Joint Military Cooperation Committee Meeting (JMCC) in New Delhi in February 2022 which was co-chaired by Defence Secretary of India and Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence of Oman. Attesting to the trust and closeness in defence cooperation, Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence of Oman became the first foreign dignitary to embark on India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier - Vikrant. The two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made in military-to-military engagements, excellent logistics support provided by Omani authorities, and various ongoing infrastructure projects. Both the leaders noted that the first visit of the incumbent Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman (CRNO) to India in February 2022 will help in deepening cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman. It was agreed to initiate the exchange of White Shipping information expeditiously to increase the maritime domain awareness of both the countries.
7. EAM thanked the Omani side for taking excellent care of the large Indian community in Oman during the pandemic and lauded the cooperation between the countries during COVID pandemic. EAM noted that Oman was the first country in the region to accord approval to indigenously developed COVAXIN attesting to the close and friendly relations between both the countries. The Ministers expressed gratitude to each other’s countries for timely assistance during the pandemic. India’s assistance in supplying critical medicines, including Hydroxychloroquine and COVID vaccine and Oman’s assistance in providing ventilators, oxygen concentrators and other critical equipment during India’s second phase, was a humanitarian gesture well-received by both Sides. They noted that the Air-bubble arrangement has served the interim travel needs of citizens of both countries. The Ministers welcomed the forthcoming resumption of scheduled commercial passenger flights to their pre-pandemic capacity as per the bilateral air service agreement.
8. Both Ministers noted with satisfaction that the bilateral trade was not adversely affected during the pandemic and agreed that there is significant potential to enhance bilateral trade in tune with the depth of India-Oman strategic partnership. They underscored the need to enhance momentum in trade and investment linkages as the economies of both the countries show strong signs of post-pandemic recovery. The Ministers welcomed the progress and cooperation in resolving trade barriers in respect of critical agro commodities. Both Ministers noted with satisfaction that several investment ideas continue to progress, and agreed to pursue opportunities in areas such as renewable energy, green hydrogen, green ammonia etc. Noting the synergy between the National Green Hydrogen Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the vision of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik to position Oman as a global hub for green Hydrogen and green Ammonia, it was agreed to enhance cooperation in this area.
9. Both Ministers agreed to finalize negotiations of the bilateral protocol on Investment and Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (DTAA) at an early date in a spirit of mutual understanding.
10. Both Ministers attested to the strong potential of cooperation in renewable energy sector under the Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid.
11. The Ministers also exchanged views on recent regional developments as well as global issues of mutual interest. They affirmed their keenness to work together in regional and international organizations and forums in order to achieve their common interests. Both Ministers thanked each other’s governments for consistently supporting their respective candidatures at various international organizations.
12. The Ministers welcomed the signing of MOU between India Post and Oman Post for issuance of India-Oman Joint Commemorative Stamp. The joint stamp will highlight the millennia old shared cultural heritage between both countries and will be released in the last quarter of this year.
13. Both Ministers welcomed the signing of the Program of Scientific and Technological cooperation between the two countries within the joint committees programs. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Question No.3910, Indians Stranded in Saudi Arabia Deportation Centre, Lok Sabha, 25 March 2022.
3910. DR. T.R. PAARIVENDHAR:
Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:
(a) whether the Indians are stranded and kept in Saudi deportation centre due to COVID norms imposed by the Government of Saudi Arabia;
(b) if so, the details thereof along with the total number of Indian citizens stranded and kept in Saudi deportation centre as on date;
(c) whether any action has been taken/proposed to be taken by the Government for release of Indian citizens from Saudi deportation centre; and
(d) if so, the details thereof?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS [SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN]
(a) & (b) No Indian nationals are kept in Saudi deportation centres due to Covid norms imposed by the Saudi Government.
(c) (d) Does not arise. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.2477, RENEWAL OF INDIAN PASSPORT IN SAUDI ARABIA, Rajya Sabha, 24 March 2022.
2477. SHRI K. SOMAPRASAD:
Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state:
(a) whether Government is aware that the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia is not renewing the passport of Indian citizens whose ‘Ikhama’ are expired, if so, the details thereof;
(b) whether Government has instructed the authorities of Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia not to renew the passport without a valid ‘Ikhama,’ if so, the details thereof; and
(c) whether Saudi Arabian Government has demanded Indian Embassy not to renew the passports of Indian Citizens without a valid ‘Ikhama,’ if so, the details thereof?
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS [SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN]
(a) & (b) Our Mission/Post in Saudi Arabia are issuing a five year Short Validity Passport (SVP) to the applicants whose Ikhama has expired in order to facilitate the regularization of applicants stay in the host country. Once their visa is regularized, a full validity passport is issued. It may be mentioned that Ikhama/valid visa is mandatory for staying legally in Saudi Arabia.
(c) No. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Unveiled, New Delhi, 27 March 2022.
Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles, Government of India, today announced the unveiling of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at a press conference held on 28 March 2022 during his visit to the United Arab Emirates. Shri Goyal is in UAE to participate in ‘Investopia Summit’ and ‘World Government Summit’ being held in Dubai on 28th March 2022 and 29th March 2022 respectively. With this launch, the text of the India-UAE CEPA is now available in public domain.
India-UAE CEPA was signed on 18 February 2022 in New Delhi during the India-UAE Virtual Summit held between His Excellency Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Executive Council.
The salient features of India-UAE CEPA are as follows:
The India-UAE CEPA is the first deep and full free trade Agreement to be signed by India with any country in the past decade. The Agreement is a comprehensive agreement, which will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Customs Procedures, Pharmaceutical products, Government Procurement, IPR, Investment, Digital Trade and Cooperation in other Areas.
Impact or benefits:
CEPA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries. The CEPA between India and the UAE covers almost all the tariff lines dealt in by India (11,908 tariff lines) and the UAE (7581 tariff lines) respectively. India will benefit from preferential market access provided by the UAE on over 97 % of its tariff lines which account for 99% of Indian exports to the UAE in value terms, especially for all labour-intensive sectors such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, sports goods, plastics, furniture, agricultural and wood products, engineering products, medical devices, and Automobiles. India will also be offering preferential access to the UAE on over 90% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to the UAE.
As regards trade in services, India has offered market access to the UAE in around 100 sub-sectors, while Indian service providers will have access to around 111 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as ‘business services’, ‘communication services’, ‘construction and related engineering services’, ‘distribution services’, ‘educational services’, ‘environmental services’, ‘financial services’, ‘health related and social services’, ‘tourism and travel related services’, ‘recreational cultural and sporting services’ and ‘transport services’.
Both sides have also agreed to a separate Annex on Pharmaceuticals to facilitate access of Indian pharmaceuticals products, especially automatic registration and marketing authorisation in 90 days for products meeting specified criteria.
The negotiations for India-UAE CEPA were concluded in a record span of 88 days. The Agreement is expected to enter into force on 01 May 2022.
India and the UAE enjoy excellent bilateral relations, which are deep rooted and historical, sustained and nurtured by close cultural and civilizational affinities, frequent high-level political interactions, and vibrant people to people linkages. The India-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership initiated during the visit of Prime Minister of India to UAE on 16-17 August 2015, is the cornerstone of our multi-faceted bilateral relations.
Growing India-UAE economic and commercial relations contribute to the stability and strength of a rapidly diversifying and deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries. India and the UAE have been each other’s leading trading partners. These excellent bilateral economic and commercial relations have continued to enhance and deepen over time. From US$ 180 million per annum in the 1970s, India-UAE bilateral trade has steadily increased to US$ 60 billion (₹4.55 lakh crore) in FY 2019-20 making the UAE, India's third largest trading partner. With exports to the UAE valued at US$ 29 billion for the year 2019-20, the UAE is also the second largest export destination of India, while Indian imports from the UAE were valued around US$ 30 billion, including 21.83 MMT (US$ 10.9 billion) of crude oil. The UAE is an important source of India’s energy supply and a key partner of India in the development of strategic petroleum reserves, upstream, and downstream petroleum sectors.
The UAE is also the eight largest investor in India with an estimated investment of US$ 18 billion. Moreover, India and the UAE have recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby the UAE has committed US$ 75 billion towards infrastructure development in India. Further, in October 2021, Government of Dubai signed an MoU with the Jammu and Kashmir administration for real estate development, industrial parks, IT towers, multipurpose towers, logistics, medical college, super specialty hospital and more.
The India-UAE CEPA will further cement the already deep, close and strategic relations between the two countries and will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards, and improve the general welfare of the peoples of the two countries. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).
Union Minister Shri Anurag Thakur launches TEJAS skilling project at Dubai Expo, New Delhi. 27 March 2022.
On Day 2 of his visit to Dubai, Union Minister Shri Anurag Thakur today launched TEJAS (Training for Emirates Jobs And Skills), a Skill India International Project to train overseas Indians. The project is aimed at skilling, certification and overseas employment of Indians. Tejas is aimed at creating pathways to enable Indian workforce to get equipped for skill and market requirements in UAE. Addressing the audience at the launch, the Minister said India has a youthful population. The youth are the largest stakeholder in both nation building and image building. The Minister said that our focus is skill this population and provide the world with a large skilled workforce from India. Shri Thakur reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a strong partnership between India and UAE. Tejas aims at creating a 10,000 strong Indian workforce in UAE during the initial phase.
Shri Anurag Thakur also held a series of discussions with industry leaders from film and entertainment space in India and UAE. The day started with a meeting with Mr Olivier Bramley, CEO, Media & Entertainment, E-Vision. Other CEOs present at the meeting included Shri Neeraj Roy, founder of Hungama Digital Media and Shri Harit Nagpal, MD and CEO of Tata Play. Shri Thakur said India and UAE can work together on programming for Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. He invited UAE for collaboration in AVGC sector and said if there is a need changes in policy can also be implemented. The Minister also met prominent Indian film personalities like Shri Kabir Khan and Shri Priyadarshan in a discussion also attended by Film Commissioner of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission Mr Hans Fraikin. The Minister highlighted that India Pavilion has been a huge crowd puller and this proves the media prowess of India. Shri Thakur said that Media and Entertainment sector has the potential to take India to the world. Our postproduction capabilities and talent are now at par with the world. The Minister also invited attention of those present to the huge potential archive sector in India.
Subsequently Shri Thakur embarked on a visit to the India Pavilion at Dubai Expo where he also held a discussion with Minister of State for International Cooperation in the Government of UAE, Ms Reem Al Hashimi. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).
PERMANENT MISSION OF INDIA TO THE UN
UNSC Open meeting on Yemen, New York, 15 March 2022.
Thank you, Mr. President. I thank UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg and Under-Secretary General Martin Griffiths for their briefings.
2. It is unfortunate that the calls of this Council and the international community for a nationwide ceasefire and urgent de-escalation of tensions by all parties to the conflict, are yet to be implemented. Military operations continue, undermining the peace and security of not just Yemen, but the entire region. We strongly condemn the cross-border terror attacks using missiles and drones into the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that have resulted in the death and injury of innocent civilians, including Indian nationals.
3. Reports about possible use of Hadiyah’s Red Sea ports for staging maritime attacks are deeply worrying. Freedom of movement of the UNMHA (UN Mission to support the Hadiyah Agreement) personnel must be ensured to facilitate constant monitoring and reporting of any misuse of Hadiyah’s ports, which remain the primary gateway for Yemen’s humanitarian aid and commercial imports.
4. As outlined in UNSCR 2624 adopted last month, we demand the urgent release of the crew members of the vessel, Rwabee, whose onboard crew also includes 7 Indian nationals. They continue to be detained unlawfully. Regular access to them and updates on their condition must be ensured by Ansarallah, till they are released.
5. We welcome the signing of the MoU on FSO Safer. Swift action is now required to ensure the operationalization of the MoU to avert a potential environmental, maritime and humanitarian catastrophe.
6. We call upon all parties involved in Yemen to move from the battlefield to the negotiating table. In line with Council’s recent Resolution 2624, we emphasize on the need for sustained and focused diplomacy to bring political discussions back on track. In this regard, we note the commencement of wide-ranging inclusive consultations being carried out by Special Envoy Hans to finalize a comprehensive framework for a peace process. Such a framework should consider and address the legitimate aspirations of all Yemenis. We call upon all the parties to engage with the Special Envoy in these consultations without any preconditions.
7. In this context, the resumption of consultations between Saudi Arabia and Southern Transition Council is a notable development in the right direction. Sustained dialogue between the Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council is also essential for resolving the issues related to the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
8. We note that the multi-track approach of these consultations includes an economic track. We have repeatedly underscored the need to address the disruption in key segments of Yemen’s economy and its fragmentation. A sustainable solution to the unfolding humanitarian crisis lies in concrete economic measures that benefit the people of Yemen. Progress on the economic track can also build confidence among parties and feed into the political and security tracks. I request the Special Envoy to give due attention to this aspect in his consultations with the Yemeni parties.
9. Pending an economic recovery, the humanitarian aid operations are the only lifeline for millions of Yemenis. These aid operations are now at risk due to severe funding shortfalls. Yemeni women and children are bearing the brunt of the closure or scaling down of major UN aid programs. We hope that tomorrow’s high-level pledging conference would result in garnering enhanced support for the 2022 UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen.
10. India has centuries-old relations with Yemen, and our people-to-people ties remain strong. We have extended humanitarian help to Yemen in the past and we remain committed to do so today. And our doors have remained open for the people of Yemen even during the tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of Yemenis take medical treatment in our hospitals every year, and thousands of Yemeni students continue to pursue their studies in India. Last year alone, we issued more than 6000 medical visas and more than 400 student visas to the people of Yemen.
11. Let me conclude by reiterating India’s call for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire across Yemen. This must be followed by a robust and inclusive political process that fully respects Yemen’s unity, sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. We believe that with effective intervention by regional and international actors on the Yemeni parties, a lasting and inclusive political settlement in Yemen is achievable.
I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.
UNSC briefing/consultation on United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), New York, 16 March 2022.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Under Secretary General (USG) Rosemary DiCarlo for her briefing. I also thank Dr. Jazia Gebril for her remarks, and welcome the presence of the Permanent Representative of Libya to this meeting.
2. We have noted with concern the recent developments and political disagreements in Libya. We hope that all outstanding political issues could be resolved peacefully by the parties concerned, keeping the larger interests of the Libyan people in mind. In this regard, we once again reiterate the imperative for holding the Presidential and Parliamentary elections at the earliest. We have seen the enthusiasm among the Libyan people who have registered in large numbers to vote.
3. Holding of the elections in a timely manner would be necessary to carry forward the momentum generated by signing of Ceasefire Agreement in October 2020. In this regard, we appreciate the efforts of the UN to form a Joint Committee of representatives from the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to decide on the constitutional basis for holding elections.
4. We have also noted, including from the briefing of the USG, that security challenges remain serious in Libya, including reported mobilization of armed groups in and around Tripoli. There has been resurgence in terrorist activity, and continued violations of arms embargo are equally alarming.
5. The priority right now must be to ensure that elections are held at the earliest in a free, fair, inclusive, and credible manner. We hope that all parties in Libya can unite around this common purpose. We also call on the Security Council and the international community to support the Libyan people in this endeavour. There should be a clear message against violence of all forms that could undermine the progress achieved since 2020.
6. The sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Libya needs to be safeguarded. The political process must be fully Libyan-led and Libyan-owned with no imposition or external interference. We also stress on the need for concrete progress in the full and complete withdrawal of foreign forces and mercenaries. We need to plan for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups and non-state armed actors.
7. It is also important for the international community to focus its attention on the threat of terrorism in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region. We must ensure that terrorist groups and affiliated entities are not allowed to operate unchallenged in Libya. The report of the Secretary General has highlighted the presence of training camps of the ISIL and its affiliates in southern Libya. It is critical for the Security Council to focus and act upon the growing threat of terrorism in Africa.
8. India has traditionally enjoyed close and mutually beneficial bilateral ties with Libyan people, and we remain committed to supporting Libya and the Libyan people in their endeavour to bring about lasting peace and stability. I thank you, Mr. President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.
UNSC monthly meeting on the Question of Palestine, Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, 22 March 2022.
Thank you, Madam President. I also thank UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing on the implementation of resolution 2334.
2. Resolution 2334 was adopted by this Council to reaffirm the international community’s firm commitment to preventing the erosion of the two-State solution. It calls upon parties to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, to refrain from provocative acts of incitement and inflammatory rhetoric and stresses that all settlement activities must cease.
3. We remain deeply concerned about the upward trajectory of the violent attacks and killing of civilians. We have consistently advocated against all acts of violence. We urge all sides to take immediate steps for a complete cessation of violence.
3. The 1st of March judgement of the Supreme Court of Israel provides a temporary reprieve to the Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah. However, the issue of potential legal eviction of these families remains.
4. Tensions have remained high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood despite the Court’s decision that has ruled against an immediate eviction. It is unfortunate that provocative actions and statements have continued. Statements by community leaders and public figures should aim to reduce tensions and not incite them. We appeal for calm to be maintained and encourage all parties to exercise maximum restraint.
5. We call upon parties to refrain from any unilateral action that unduly alters the status-quo on the ground and undercuts the viability of the two-State solution. We need to urgently build on the recent positive developments and not slide back. The focus must be on addressing the urgent security and economic challenges, including the precarious financial situation of the Palestinian Authority, and charting a concrete path for discussing key political issues. An early return to the political course by launching credible direct negotiations on all final status issues is an immediate requirement. The absence of direct talks between the sides on these issues is not conducive to securing long-term peace.
6. India has consistently called for direct peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine based on the internationally agreed framework, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for Statehood and Israel’s legitimate security concerns. The UN and the international community, in particular the Middle East Quartet, must prioritize the revival of these negotiations.
7. India has been supporting Palestinian nation-building and capacity-building efforts under the India-Palestine developmental partnership for over three decades now. We also continue to assist the Palestinian refugee community through UNRWA.
8. Let me conclude by reiterating India’s firm and unwavering commitment to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel. There is no other alternative to a negotiated two-State solution.
I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.
UNSC Briefing on Cooperation between the UN & Regional & Subregional Organisations (League of Arab States), Statement by Mr Harsh Shringla, Foreign Secretary, New York, 23 March 2022.
At the outset, let me extend my felicitation to H.E. Mr. Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, for chairing today’s meeting on cooperation between United Nations and the League of Arab States. I also welcome the presence of the UN Secretary General and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States and thank them for their valuable insights. I would like to thank the representative of civil society, Ms. Razan Farhan Alaqil for her briefing.
2. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the delegation of the UAE for their steadfast stewardship of the Council for this month, as well as, for successfully piloting the Presidential Statement in the Council on the UN- League of Arab States cooperation
3. For over a millennia, the Arab world has been a cradle of human civilization. Given its strategic location, developments in the Arab world have influenced our shared history and they continue to have a profound impact globally. The challenges confronted by the region today and how we address them will have a critical bearing on international peace and security.
4. India and the Arab world share a civilizational relationship, underpinned by our strong people-to-people relations and commercial and cultural ties. Trade between India and the Arab region through the Indian Ocean had flourished for several centuries even before the advent of modern commerce. The Indian rupee was legal tender in parts of the Arab world not very long ago.
5. Today, countries from the Arab world are host to more than 9 million Indians and India’s wide-ranging partnership with these countries encompasses every aspect of human endeavour – from agriculture, trade, commerce and education to clean energy, counter-terrorism and new technologies.
6. India and the League of Arab States signed an MOU two decades ago for institutionalizing a regular dialogue process to forge a partnership for the future. It led to creation of the India - League of Arab States Forum, during which progressive co-operation in several fields like energy, environmental protection, investment, food security, science and technology and human resource development were agreed upon. Several other initiatives to deepen our engagement with the League of Arab States have also been conceptualized including the Energy Symposium, Media Symposium and the first edition of the Arab India Energy Forum which was successfully convened a few months ago.
7. The League of Arab States has contributed positively to security and stability in the region. Its Member States are significant troop and police contributors to UN peacekeeping forces. The Arab States are among the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to countries facing armed conflict in the region. The League has played an important role in the areas of mediation, conflict prevention and resolution in the region.
8. Today’s meeting provides us with a valuable opportunity to take a closer look at the cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. We underline that the League of Arab States can further contribute in our joint endeavour for peace, for the sake of the people of the region, in general and women and minorities, in particular. We take note of the positive trajectory of the cooperation, including through the UN Liaison Office in Cairo and the practice of annual briefings by the Secretary-General to this Council.
9. In this regard, I would like to submit four proposals; specific suggestions for consideration by the Council:
• First, there must be greater policy synergy between the two organizations. Regular and frequent consultations with the League of Arab States and its members on peace initiatives in the region would contribute towards achieving common solutions and meaningful outcomes;
• Second, efforts must be made to achieve comprehensive coordination at the field level, especially through regular coordination between the UN Special Envoys and Special Representatives and the League of Arab States;
• Third, engagement with the League and its members in post-conflict peace building through reconstruction and economic development is equally important; and
• Fourth, ensuring the stability of the countries concerned and the region, and the welfare of the people, especially women and minorities, should be at the forefront of all such efforts.
10. The cooperation between the UN and the League of Arab States is of critical importance when it comes to the Middle East Peace Process. Both organisations must take concerted efforts to support the reactivation of the Middle East Peace Process in line with the two-State solution, based on the internationally agreed framework and previous agreements between the parties. India welcomes the agreements for normalisation of relations between countries in the region, which we believe will contribute to greater peace and stability in the region.
11. Let me conclude by expressing India’s steadfast support for a closer, meaningful and sustained cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the benefit of the region. India will continue to partner with the Arab countries in their efforts to achieve regional peace, stability and prosperity and will continue to work with the League of Arab States in combating terrorism and in promoting tolerance and pluralism.
I thank you Mr. President. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.
UNSC briefing/consultations-Syria (political/humanitarian), New York, 24 March 2022.
Thank you, Madam President,
I join others in thanking Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen and Under Secretary General Martin Griffiths and ASG, League of Arab States Mr. Hossam Zaki for their updates.
2. A few days ago, we marked another tragic anniversary of the Syrian conflict. India has taken the consistent stand 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 Special Envoy has been making efforts to bring all sides together and facilitate the political process in line with resolution 2254. We support his proactive diplomacy, particularly recent efforts to reinvigorate the UN led process.
3. Towards this end, we welcome the convening of the 7th session of the Small Body of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva earlier this week. We hope that the three sides will come to a preliminary understanding on the four principles, i.e., basics of governance, state identity, state symbols, and regulation and functions of public authorities.
4. India has also been consistent in calling for supporting regional efforts to find long-term solution to the conflict. The progressive normalization of Syria’s relations with its Arab neighbours in the recent months is an encouraging development.
5. On the security front, we remain concerned with the overall situation in Syria. While the frontlines remain unshifted, the violence has continued in several places, particularly in the Northwest and north-eastern parts of the country. We continue to receive reports of shelling, skirmishes, and security incidents across frontlines, including increasing incidents of ceasefire violations. There is an urgent need for serious efforts towards a comprehensive ceasefire in Syria. Towards this end, we believe withdrawal of foreign forces is essential to realize the objective.
6. India has also been repeatedly calling for attention to the looming threat posed by resurgence of terrorist groups in Syria. UN designated terrorist groups such as ISIL and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, are gaining in strength not just in Syria, but in Iraq as well. We reiterate that global fight against terrorism cannot and should not be compromised for narrow political gains.
7. As the conflict in Syria enters its twelfth year, the basic needs of the Syrian people continue to be unmet. While the focus of the international community is shifting to humanitarian crisis arising out of conflict in Ukraine, it is important we don’t lose sight of Syria and suffering of Syrian people.
8. There is considerable scope for expanding crossline operations in the north west. We continue to encourage OCHA and other UN agencies to expend efforts to enhance cross-line operations.
9. We also continue to believe that it is critical to achieve progress on implementation of resolution 2585, concerning early recovery and infrastructure, not only on humanitarian grounds, but also in the context of building trust and confidence. The support of the international community to address the economic and humanitarian challenges remains integral to the success of the political process.
10. On our part, India has continued to extend developmental assistance and human resource development support to Syria. We welcome Syria joining the International Solar Alliance last month. India will continue to support the people of Syria in their endeavour for peace, stability, and economic recovery.
I thank you. Source: Permanent Mission of India to the UN.
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
Ankita Sanyal is a doctoral candidate at Centre for West Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She worked as a summer intern at National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi in 2014 and participated in Global Initiative for Academic Networks, lecture on “Jerusalem and Abrahamic Faiths throughout the Ages” (November 2016); ICSSR-sponsored workshop on “Research Methodology Workshop in Social Sciences” (February 2019); and workshop on “Second Intensive Course on Women’s Studies in Islam and Iran” at the University of Religions and Denominations, Qom, Iran (August 2019). She currently has many publications and has presented papers in national and international conferences. She received certificate on completion of Level Two Persian Language course. Her area of interest includes minority studies, gender studies, cultural studies, education, peace and conflict studies.
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