... for openness and credibility....

(Monthly Digest of Official Indian Statements on Middle East)



Launch of Admissions to Alumni (A2A) ICCR Scholarship Portal, January 17, 2018

The External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, launched Admissions to Alumni (A2A) ICCR Scholarship Portal today on January 17, 2018 at Mutthamma Hall, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi.

Educational cooperation is an integral part of mandate of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). ICCR has its own scholarship schemes and also administers a large number of schemes under various bilateral cooperation programmes. There are 17 scholarship schemes which ICCR administers on behalf of various Divisions of Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of AYUSH. These are important schemes like Special Scholarship for Afghan Nationals, Africa Scholarship Scheme, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Scholarship Scheme, Border Guard Bangladesh Scholarship Scheme...

ICCR offers scholarships for Undergraduate, Post Graduate, M. Phil, and Ph. D., levels, covering wide range of subjects under Science, Commerce, Humanities, Engineering and Management domains. There is huge demand for scholarships to study in India, particularly in science and engineering subjects. In addition to conventional subjects, ICCR offer scholarships for performing arts under Guru-Shishya Parampara. The programme attract foreign students from all parts of the world. Students from all over the world come to study Indian classical music and dance in prestigious institutes like Kalakshetra, Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra, Kathak Kendra, Gandharvamahavidyalaya, Kerala Kalamandalam to name just a few.

The ‘Admission-to-Alumni’ (A2A) portal inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister is an initiative taken by ICCR in coordination with the EGovernance and IT Division of MEA to move from paper based admissions to online scholarship portal. With A2A Portal, systemic needs of implementation structure – from the stage of admissions till the student completes his/her course and leaves the country, including matters related to financial and academic monitoring – will be addressed of this important programme which is aimed at generating goodwill for India.

Source: Embassy of India, Tehran  


Visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India (January 14-19, 2018), New Delhi, January 11, 2018

At the invitation of our Prime Minister, H.E. Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel is visiting India from 14-19 January, 2018. It would be the first visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu to India. On the occasion of commemoration of 25 years of establishing diplomatic relations, it was decided to exchange the visits of both the Prime Ministers. Accordingly, our PM visited Israel in July 2017, and during this visit, our relations with Israel were upgraded to a strategic partnership with special focus on agriculture and water. The programme of PM Netanyahu includes visit to Delhi, Agra, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

During this visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu will hold bilateral discussions with PM on 15 January, 2018. He will also call on Rashtrapatiji. External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj would call on Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both the Prime Ministers will attend the 2nd India-Israel CEO Forum Meeting to be held on 15th January. The first CEO Forum was held during the PM's visit to Israel. PM Netanyahu will also address a separate business event to be organized on the same day. He will also participate in the Raisina Dialogue on 16 January, 2018 and will visit Centre of Excellence in Agriculture at Vadrad and iCreate in Gujarat.

Both the sides are expected to conclude MoUs/Agreements in the area of cyber, space, film production and energy.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Remarks by Prime Minister at the India-Israel Business Summit, New Delhi, January 15, 2018

His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel,

Business Leaders of India and Israel,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of the Israeli Delegation on behalf of all my countrymen. It is an added pleasure to be with the CEOs of both countries. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I have just completed a fruitful interaction with Indian and Israeli business leaders through the bilateral CEOs Forum. I have high hopes from this interaction and partnership of CEOs, which started last year.


I have always had a deep regard for Israel and its people. I visited Israel in 2006 as Chief Minister of Gujarat. Again last year in July, I visited Israel, the first such visit from India.

It was a very special visit. I experienced at close quarters the remarkable spirit of innovation, enterprise and perseverance that drives Israel. There is new energy and purpose that has in-vigorated our ties over the last few years. It will help take our cooperation to greater heights. We stand on the cusp of a bright new chapter in India-Israel relations driven by our people and the mutual opportunities for betterment of their lives.

The role of business and industry is crucial in the transformation of our ties. It is your combined efforts that will add real value to our interaction and produce concrete successes. Given the scale of the Indian economy and the relevance of cutting-edge Israeli technologies for us, even sky is not the limit for what we may achieve together!


I am delighted that today we have launched the maiden call for joint R&D projects under the ‘India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (i4F)’ which was announced during my visit to Israel last July. This Fund, to be utilized over a period of 5 years, is a welcome opportunity to combine the talent pool of the two countries in pursuit of path-breaking technological solutions that can be commercially exploited.

I strongly encourage enterprises in both countries to utilize this platform. Equally exciting is the pickup in science and technology exchanges through joint R&D projects such as in areas like "Data Analytics” and "Cyber Space security”.

I am happy to note that the India-Israel Innovation and Technology Conclave is going to be held in India in July 2018. I hope this Conclave will spur co--development of new technologies. In fact, the ground-work for this will be started from iCREATE day after tomorrow. We are both going to Gujarat to inaugurate this campus, which is being developed as a leading innovation hub.


I am taking Prime Minister Netanyahu to rural areas of Gujarat because the real power of technology and innovation lies in the benefit it brings to the common man. Israel is universally known as the Start-up nation with a unique eco-system for innovation and incubation.

The credit for this goes to the Israeli entrepreneurs. You have made Israel a strong, stable and innovative economy. You have made a country of 8 million people, shine as a global power-house of technology.

Whether it is Water Tech; or Agri-Tech; whether it is food production, its processing or conservation; Israel has been a shining example with new breakthrough and advances. Whether it is physical or virtual security; whether it is on land, water or space; your technology has won admiration. In fact, hailing from a water deficient state in India, I have particularly admired Israel’s water efficiency.


In India, we have been taking steady steps over three years at both macro as well as micro-level, to make a difference. Our motto is: Reform, Perform and Transform.

The results are two-fold. On the one hand, our procedures, processes and systems are getting aligned with the best in the world. Secondly, we are able to maintain the pace of faster growth.

In spite of deep structural reforms, we are among the fastest growing major economies. FDI inflows are at an all-time high, with 40% rise. Tremendous work is being done to skill and employ the youth. 65% of our population is below 35 years of age and is hungry for technology-enabled growth.

This is our greatest opportunity as well as challenge. For this purpose, we have started the Start-up India campaign. There is vast potential for India-Israel partnership in this area. The India-Israel Innovation Bridge will act as a link between the Start-ups of the two sides. I have been saying that Indian Industries, start-ups and the academic institutions must collaborate with their Israeli counterparts to access the huge reservoir of knowledge.

India has size and scale.

Israel has sharpness and edge.

There would be many ideas and technologies that can be useful for or can be commercially scaled up in India.


Today, we have emerged as one of the largest manufacturing nations. But we are not done yet. We are positioning India as a global manufacturing hub leveraging the energy of our youth.

The ‘Make in India’ initiative is designed to help achieve this. Through these initiatives, combined with the new eco-system of a formal economy and a unified tax regime, we are trying to create a NEW INDIA.

We are particularly keen to develop India into a knowledge-based, skill-supported and technology-driven society. A grand beginning has already been made through Digital India and Skill India. To enable this transformation, in the last few years, my Government has undertaken substantial reforms.

We have resolved a number of regulatory and policy issues facing the businesses and companies. We have worked sincerely on ‘ease of doing business’ in India.

The results are there to see:

In the last three years, India has moved up 42 places in the index of Ease of Doing Business of World Bank;

We have moved up 21 places on the Global Innovation Index of WIPO in two years.

We have also moved up 32 places in last two years in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum - the highest for any country;

We moved 19 places on the Logistics Performance Index of 2016 of World Bank;

We are among the top 10 FDI destinations listed by UNCTAD But we will not stop.

We want to do more and do better.

To enable entry of capital and technology, most of the sectors including defence, have been opened for FDI. More than 90 per cent of the FDI approvals have been put on automatic route.

We are now among the most open economies. Just a few days ago, we have allowed 100% automatic route FDI in single brand retail and construction development. We also opened up our national carrier, Air India, to foreign investors.

Every day we are making it easier to do business in India. In taxation, we have carried out a number of historic reforms. The path breaking GST reform has been introduced successfully and smoothly.

It is by far the biggest business and economic reform India has ever done. With introduction of GST and of Financial Technologies and digital transactions, we have really moved towards a modern tax regime, which is also transparent, stable and predictable.


Several Israeli companies have joined hands with Indian companies for Making in India. Many others, especially those with advanced water technologies and agri-techniques, defence and security systems, and pharma knowledge have a foot-hold in India. Similarly, Indian companies have significant presence in several sectors in Israel like IT, Irrigation and Pharma.

Diamond remains a strong link in our trade. There are more business joint ventures today than before. However, this is just the beginning. Our trade with Israel has grown to more than 5 billion dollars.

But this is still well below the real potential. We must attain the full potential of our ties. This is not only a diplomatic imperative but also an economic one. I welcome your suggestions on how to unlock our combined potential. The spirit of innovation, adaptation and problem solving is inherent in both countries.

Just to give you an example:

Imagine the environmental and economic gains if we can collaborate to save wastage and if we can add value in our fruits, vegetables and horticulture! Similar is the case with water.

We have situations of plenty as well as scarcity of water. We have situations of food being thrown away even as there are many who go hungry.


India’s development agenda is huge. It presents a vast economic opportunity for Israeli companies. I invite more and more Israeli people, businesses and companies to come and work in India.

Along with the Government and people, the business community of India too is keen to join hands. I wish your companies and ventures all success. I assure you of my support and that of my Government wherever it is required. And I thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for his continuous support in fast-tracking India-Israel trade and economic collaboration. I am confident many successes lie ahead for our partnership.

Thank You!

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Press Statement by Prime Minister during Visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India, New Delhi, January 15, 2018

Your Excellency Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Shrimati Sara Netanyahu,

Members of the media,

It is a great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his first ever visit to India.

(My good friend, Welcome to India!)

Your visit, Prime Minister, is a long-anticipated moment in the journey of friendship between India and Israel.

Your visit is also a fitting climax to the commemoration of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.

As our first honoured guest in 2018, your visit marks a special beginning to our New Year calendar. It comes at an especially auspicious time as people all over India are rejoicing the arrival of spring, renewal, hope and harvest. The festivals of Lohri, Bihu, Makar Sankranti, and Pongal celebrate the splendour of India’s diversity and unity.


Last year in July, I carried the greetings and friendship of 1.25 billion Indians during my momentous journey to Israel. In return, I was overwhelmed by the generous affection and warmth of the Israeli people, led by my friend, Bibi.

In that visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I promised each other and our people to build a strategic partnership: of hope and trust and progress of diverse and cutting-edge cooperation, and of joint endeavours and shared successes Such a promise flows as much from the natural affinity and friendship that have linked us for centuries as it does from the compelling win-win case for engagement in almost all spheres.

And it is a measure of our shared ambition and commitment that six short months after that visit; your extraordinary visit is taking place to India.

Today and yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I reviewed the progress in our relations and renewed our conversation on the possibilities and the opportunities that beckon us and need to be seized.

Our discussions were wide-ranging and intensive. They were marked by the desire to do more. Prime Minister, I have a reputation of being impatient in getting results.

If I may let out an open secret, I know that so are you.

Last year in Tel Aviv, you had expressed the intent to cut down bureaucratic red tape with a machete and forge ahead with speed.

Prime Minister, I am happy to tell you that in India, we are well on our way to doing just that. We have imparted our shared impatience to the implementation of our earlier decisions.

The results are already visible on the ground. Our discussions today were marked by convergence to accelerate our engagement and to scale up our partnership.

We will pursue this in three ways:

First, we will strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touch the lives of our peoples. These are agriculture, science and technology, and security.

We exchanged views on scaling up the Centres of Excellence that have been a main-stay of agricultural cooperation by bringing in advanced Israeli practices and technology.

In defence, I have invited Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalized FDI regime to make more in India with our companies.

Second, we are venturing into less explored areas of cooperation, such as oil& gas, cyber security, films, and start-ups. You will find this reflected in the agreements that were just exchanged. Several of these areas are indicative of our desire to diversify and broad-base engagement.

And third, we are committed to facilitating the flow of people and ideas between our geographies. It requires policy facilitation, infrastructure and connectivity links and fostering constituencies of support beyond Government.

We are working with Israel to make it easier for our people to work and visit each other’s countries, including for longer work durations to bring people closer on both sides, an Indian Cultural Centre will soon open in Israel.

We have also decided to start an annual exchange of bilateral visits by 100 young people from science-related educational streams.


Thriving two-way trade and investment is an integral part of our vision for a strong partnership. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agreed on the need to do more in this direction. After the meeting in Tel Aviv last year, we will interact for the second time with our CEOs under the bilateral Forum.

I welcome the large business component that Prime Minister Netanyahu has brought along with him. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I also exchanged perspectives on the regional and global situation.

We reviewed our cooperation as a factor for stability and peace in our regions and the world.


Yesterday, as his first stop after touching Indian soil, Prime Minister Netanyahu joined me at the re-named Teen Murti Haifa Chowk to pay homage to the memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives a century ago in the Battle of Haifa in Israel.

We are both countries that have never forgotten our history and our heroes. And we deeply appreciate this gesture by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

As we look to the future of this exciting partnership with Israel, I am filled with hope and optimism. In Prime Minister Netanyahu, I have a counter-part who is equally committed to taking the India-Israel relationship to soaring new heights.

Finally, I am delighted to have the chance to be with you, Prime Minister, in my home state, Gujarat, day after.

There, we will have another opportunity to see the fulfilment of the promise, which our mutual cooperation holds in diverse areas such as agriculture, technology, and innovation.

I wish Prime Minister Netanyahu, Mrs. Netanyahu and the delegation a memorable stay in India.

Thank you very much. Toda Rabah

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India, New Delhi, January 15, 2018.

.S. No.

MoU / Agreement / LoI

Exchanged by

Brief description


Indian side

Israeli side



MoU on Cyber Security Cooperation between India and Israel

Shri. Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (ER)

Mr Yuval Rotem, Director General, MoFA, Government of Israel

It envisages cooperation in the field of cyber security to develop, promote and expand cooperation in the field of HRD through various platforms and arrangements such as training programmes, skill development, and simulator based hands-on training. It also envisages collaborating in the field of cyber security resilience, promoting B2B cooperation in cyber security and facilitating industrial summits.



MoU between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Energy on Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector

Shri Vijay Gokhale, Secretary (ER)

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

Through this MoU both the sides are looking to explore opportunities of long-term cooperative relationship and joint economic projects to enhance bilateral engagements in the field of Oil and Gas, inter-alia including collaboration in upstream sector activities; R&D and Technology; promoting institutional linkages between Universities and R&D establishment for mutually beneficial collaboration; and in the area of Start-ups.



Protocol between India and Israel on Amendments to the Air Transport Agreement

Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Secretary, Civil Aviation

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

This Protocol envisages entering into cooperative marketing arrangements, such as code share, bloc space or any other JV agreement for the purpose of operating the agreed services on the specified routes.



Agreement on Film-co-production
between India and Israel

Shri N. K. Sinha, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

This envisages to establish a framework for encouraging all audio visual media output, especially the co-production of films for the benefit of the film industries of both the countries and contribute to the economic growth of the film, TV, video and new media production for further development of cultural and technologies ties.



MoU between the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH and the Centre for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Centre on Cooperation in the field of Research in Homeopathic Medicine

Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

Envisages cooperation in the field of Research in Homeopathic Medicine, inter alia including establishment of a joint working group.



MoU between Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology for cooperation in the field of space

Dr. V. K. Dadhwal, Director of IIST

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

Envisages for cooperation in the areas of mutual interest in the field of space by establishment of JWG for research, educational and training programmes.



Memorandum of Intent between Invest India and Invest in Israel

Shri Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

The purpose of this instrument is supporting and developing cooperation between the two sides through exchange of information on investment opportunities, relevant laws and regulations, policies and government initiatives.




Letter of Intent between IOCL and Phinergy Ltd. For cooperation in the area of metal-air batteries

Shri Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, IOCL

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

This envisages to encourage joint R&D, deployment and manufacturing activities in the area of metal-air batteries for an array of applications, as stationary energy storage systems, electric mobility solutions etc.




Letter of Intent between IOCL and Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd for cooperation in the area of concentrated solar thermal technologies

Shri Sanjiv Singh, Chairman, IOCL

Mr Daniel Carmon, Ambassador of Israel to India

This LoI intends to encourage joint research activities in the area of concentrated solar thermal technologies including concentrated solar power generation, solar fuels, solar thermal storage materials, technologies, systems & concepts


Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

India-Israel Joint Statement during visit of Prime Minister of Israel to India, New Delhi, January 15, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India from 14 to 19 January 2018 closes a momentous twenty fifth anniversary year of India-Israel relationship and its growing partnership. The summit level meetings between the Republic of India and the State of Israel that commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel from 4 to 6 July 2017 have further strengthened the bonds between the two governments and peoples and have consolidated the foundation for their Strategic Partnership.

The two Prime Ministers share a common vision for the relationship. They believe that in the next twenty-five years the two respective countries should strive to raise bilateral cooperation in diverse sectors to a qualitatively new level in consonance with our Strategic Partnership.

Both sides are working together on a Five Year Joint Work Plan for strategic cooperation in Agriculture and Water. Both sides also agreed to deepen cooperation in innovation, business and trade, space, homeland security and cyber, higher education and research, science and technology, tourism and culture. The two prime ministers noted with satisfaction the commencement and implementation of India-Israel development cooperation - three-year work programme in Agriculture (2018-2020) under the stewardship of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV) and the Ministry of Agriculture of India aimed at increasing farmers’ productivity and optimization of water use efficiency. The two Prime Ministers were apprised of state of progress on the twenty-eight Centres of Excellence that are being jointly established in different States of India, and noted with satisfaction that seven more Centres of Excellence have become operational in the last six months since the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Israel. The two Prime Ministers will be visiting Centre of Excellence in Vadrad, Gujarat and will inaugurate the Centre of Excellence in Bhuj, Gujarat, during this visit.

The Prime Ministers welcomed the completion of all formalities for the launch of the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) that was announced during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel. During this visit, both the Prime Ministers will launch the first Call for Proposals under the fund to encourage enterprises from both countries to utilize this significant platform for undertaking joint R&D projects in innovative and futuristic technologies and products for the benefit of the two peoples. They underscored the role of youth in enhancing future collaboration in innovation, and have decided to commence an annual exchange of visits of one hundred youth from the science streams.

The two Prime Ministers commended the decision of the respective Ministries of Science and Technology to commence nine joint R&D projects in the areas of big data analytics in health care and security in cyber space, in pursuance of their decision in July 2017 to upgrade scientific and technological collaboration. Further, in order to build a strong network between the next generation of the best women scientists and technologists of the two countries, an India-Israel Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Symposium will be organized in October, 2018 in India. The two Prime Ministers also noted with satisfaction that the Heads of the Indian Space Research Organization and the Israel Space Agency have met in November 2017 to discuss the implementation of the two MoUs and one Plan of Cooperation signed between the two space agencies.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the initiation of cooperation between India and Israel in the energy sector with the signing of an MoU on Cooperation in the Oil and Gas sector that will promote, inter alia, collaboration in the upstream sectors, research and development in future technologies and start-ups in oil and gas. They also noted the intention of Indian public sector companies and Israeli companies to begin collaboration in the areas of metal air batteries for stationary energy storage systems and in solar thermal technologies, and urge industry on both sides to explore business collaboration in new energy technologies. Welcoming the initiative taken by India to establish the International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development in the context of climate change, Israel declared its willingness to become a Partner Country. The two Prime Ministers urge research institutions and industry to collaborate, including in third countries, to promote greater use of solar technologies through the International Solar Alliance.

The two Prime Ministers agreed that renewed efforts are required to realize the full potential for bilateral trade and investment, and took note of the next round of discussions between the two sides to be held in February 2018 in Israel. Underlining the role of the private sector in trade and investment, both Prime Ministers urged the private sector to actively explore investment opportunities in both countries, including through the India's flagship programmes such as Make in India, Start-Up India and Digital India. They also expressed their satisfaction that the India-Israel CEO Forum, established in July 2017 during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Israel, held its second meeting in India during this visit. In this context both Prime Ministers also recalled the importance of facilitating the movement of business persons through simplification of visa regulations, fast-tracking of visa applications, issuing of multiple entry visa, especially for the information technology and new technology sectors.

Recognizing the important contribution made by Indian caregivers in Israel, the two Prime Ministers agreed to embark upon negotiations in 2018 in order to move forward as speedily as possible and to the satisfaction of both sides towards an early bilateral agreement. In this respect, a delegation from India will be invited to Israel in the first half of 2018.

Noting that doing trade and business also requires better connectivity, the two Prime Ministers have decided to expedite the conclusion of an Agreement on Maritime Transport that will encourage greater business between the shipping organizations of India and Israel, and create new opportunities in maritime services and training. They hope that this Agreement will also encourage wider cooperation in development of maritime business and Israel’s participation in the Sagarmala Project.

The two Prime Ministers are convinced that enhanced people-to-people contacts will forge the strongest bonds of friendship between India and Israel in the future. They deemed it essential to enhance connectivity between the two countries through the signing of a Protocol Amending Air Transport Agreement to expand the scope of cooperation in the civil aviation sector.

An Indian Cultural Centre will open in Israel in 2018 in pursuance of the Prime Minister of India’s desire to promote greater cultural understanding. Both sides have signed an MoU in Film Co-Production in recognition of the role that films play in promoting people-to-people contact.

Both Prime Ministers agreed to holding Festivals of India and Israel in their respective countries in the Year 2019 as a further step to solidify friendship between the peoples of both countries.

Both Prime Ministers noted the readiness of Israeli companies to enter into joint ventures with Indian companies in the defence sector under the Make in India initiative. They consider it important to set the direction for developing more business models and partnerships for the joint ventures and joint manufacturing, including transfer of technology as well as joint research and development in defence and security fields. They call on the Defence Ministries to hold discussions in 2018 with active involvement of the public and private sectors, in order to create the basis for viable, sustainable and long term cooperation in the defence industry.

Recognizing the grave threat that terrorism poses to peace and security including from non-state actors, both Prime Ministers reiterated that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever and advocated strong measures against terrorists, terror organizations, those who sponsor, encourage or finance terrorism or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups. They also noted with satisfaction that the next meeting of the Joint Working Groups on Homeland and Public Security will be held in February 2018. They reiterated the importance of building comprehensive cooperation in counter-terrorism, including cyber-space, and welcome the signing of the MoU on Cooperation in Cyber Security between India and Israel.

The two Prime Ministers understand the significance of sharing their respective development experiences with other countries. They agreed to explore ways to develop joint programmes of assistance for third countries in the areas of training, capacity building, and the development of small projects in the agriculture, water, health-care and education sectors. They asked their respective Foreign Ministries to commence discussions in this regard in 2018.

The two Prime Ministers discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. They reaffirmed their support for an early resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians for arriving at a comprehensive negotiated solution on all outstanding issues, based on mutual recognition and effective security arrangements, for establishing a just and durable peace in the region.

The two Prime Ministers believe that durable and multifaceted cooperation is beneficial for the welfare of the people of both countries, and consider the next twenty five years as an opportune time to strengthen bonds between the peoples of India and Israel through activities that enhance understanding and create opportunities for mutual progress. They agree to continue high level exchanges and to maintain dialogue in all areas, and to work in practical ways for the benefit of their peoples.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Prime Minister Modi, the people of India and Government of India for their gracious welcome and hospitality.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi



Visit of Prime Minister to Palestine, United Arab Emirates and Oman (February 9-12, 2018), New Delhi, January 27, 2018

Prime Minister of India will be on a State visit to Palestine, UAE and Oman from 9-12 February 2018.

This will be the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine, and Prime Minister Modi's second visit to UAE and first to Oman. During the visit, the Prime Minister will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with their leaders, apart from participating in other events.

Prime Minister would be addressing the Sixth World Government Summit being held in Dubai at which India has been extended 'Guest of Honour' status. He will also meet the Indian community in UAE and Oman.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi  

Question No. 2723: Development of Chabahar Port, Lok Sabha, January 3, 2018.


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) the regions of India which are likely to get benefitted on account of development of Chabahar port;

(b) whether strategically and diplomatically, acquiring this port is important in view of the fact that China is also keen to get it;

(c) if so, the facts thereof;

(d) whether the Government has analysed the security concerns involved therein, especially since the port is close to Pakistan; and

(e) if so, the details thereof?



(a) to (e) Chabahar port's location on the south-eastern coast of Iran is expected to open up greater opportunities for promotion of trade and commerce, especially from the ports along India’s western coast, with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond.

India's participation in the development of Chabahar Port will provide India an alternative and reliable access route into Afghanistan utilizing India’s earlier investment in Zaranj-Delaram road built in Afghanistan, and also a reliable and more direct sea-road access route into Central Asian Region. Chabahar Port’s location at the Arabian Sea means that it would be able to skirt any challenges posed by developments in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.

The development of Chabahar port is also important because of the denial of direct land route access for transit and trade between India and Afghanistan. In fact, the first shipment of wheat assistance to Afghanistan was realized though Chabahar port in November 2017. This has demonstrated that Chabahar port is a viable and secure alternative for promoting regional connectivity among India, Iran and Afghanistan.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Question No. 2716: Jerusalem as Capital, Lok Sabha, January 3, 2018.


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the USA has recognized Jerusalem as part of Israel and if so, the details thereof;

(b) whether India has taken any diplomatic stand in this regard and if so, the details thereof;

(c) whether India still continues to recognize the Palestine cause vis-à-vis its independence and sovereignty; and

(d) if so, the details thereof and reasons for the continuance or non-continuance of the earlier foreign policy?



(a) Yes. On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the US is officially recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. He also stated that the US will begin preparation to move their Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

(b) to (d) Government has stated that "India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests and not determined by any third country”. India believes that the solution to the Palestinian issue should be based on relevant UN Resolutions resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel. India has voted in favour of a resolution co-sponsored by Turkey and Yemen on Status of Jerusalem brought at UNGA on 21 December 2017.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Question No. 2550: MoU with Israel, Lok Sabha, January 3, 2018.


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether India and Israel have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in various sectors;

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) the main features of the said MoU; and

(d) the details of its likely benefits for India?



  1. to (d) During the visit of our Prime Minister to Israel from 4-6 July, 2017, India and Israel signed five MoUs, a 3-year work programme and a Plan of Cooperation covering the areas of water, agriculture, space and science & technology. Details of the MoUs/Work Programme/Plan of Cooperation signed with Israel and its likely benefits for India are as follows:




Name of MoUs







MoU between the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Energy of the State of Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.

The MoU is aimed to put Water Conservation on the national agenda through a nationwide awareness Campaign and to promote re-use, recharge and recycling of water.

Awareness campaign on water Conservation, re-use, recharge and recycling of water would be helpful in dealing with water scarcity.



MoU between the Government of Uttar Pradesh of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Energy of the State of Israel on State Water Utility Reform in India

The MoU is aimed at bringing water utility reforms in UP through introduction of new technologies for monitoring and evaluation and to introduce integrated water resources management systems.

By bringing water utility reforms through introduction of new technologies will benefit people through integrated water management system.



India-Israel Development Cooperation Three Year Work Program in Agriculture 2018-2020 between Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel – MASHAV and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of the Rep. of India

The work progress is aimed at introducing of New Varieties of crops, Water management Technologies for agriculture, including Water re-use, Improving Post-Harvest Management and Developing Post Harvest Management systems(fruit & vegetables).

Introduction of New Varieties of crops, water management Technologies for agriculture and improving Post-Harvest Management will help in increasing the income of farmers.




MoU between the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India and the National Technological Innovation Authority of the State of Israel on the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)

The MoU is aimed at setting up India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F) with a contribution of US$ 20 million from each side for the development of innovation technologies with a special focus on water, agriculture and energy.

This will play a seminal role in enabling Indian and Israeli enterprises to undertake joint R&D projects leading to development of innovative technologies and products that have potential for commercial application which will enhance the lively hood of people.




MoU between the Indian Space Research Organization and the Israel Space Agency regarding Cooperation in Electric Propulsion for Small Satellite.

It is aimed at collaboration for building Small Satellites.

It will help in greater precision in resource mapping.




MoU between the Indian Space Research Organization and the Israel Space Agency regarding Cooperation in GEO-LEO Optical Link


To develop Optical Communication systems for space applications.

It will enhance the remote-sensing data coverage and will be useful in agriculture and weather forecasting.




Plan of Cooperation Between the Indian Space Research Organization and the Israel Space Agency regarding Cooperation in Atomic Clocks

To build atomic clocks for space applications.

It will improve the navigation and positioning application system.


Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Question No. 1941: Submission of Passport in Saudi Arabia, Rajya Sabha, January 4, 2018.



Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether in Saudi Arabia, crew members of Indian Airlines have to submit their passport with the immigration officer of that country during their stay over there;

(b) whether discrimination is done with the Indian crew members in Saudi Arabia by not giving them freedom of stay as is available to the crew members of other countries; and

(c) whether the Ministry will take necessary steps in this regard to bring the equality by negotiating with Government over there for persuading them not to submit passports of crew members as is done with the crew members of other countries?



(a) & (b) As per procedure followed by the Saudi authorities, all foreign flight crew members arriving in Saudi Arabia, irrespective of their nationalities or flight carriers, are required to submit the passports with the Saudi immigration authorities and in turn are issued ‘crew permit’ for stay.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Question No. 1936: Complaints of Indian Migrants in Middle East, Rajya Sabha, January 4, 2018.


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government has carried out any investigation on the poor living conditions of Indian migrant workers in the Middle East, if so, the details thereof, if not, the reasons therefor;

(b) whether Government plans to undertake measures to improve the living standards of these workers, if so, the details thereof, if not, the reasons therefor;

(c) the number of complaints received by the Indian Workers’ Resource Centre established in the UAE till November, 2017; and

(d) the number of complaints resolved till November, 2017?



(a) Indian Missions/Posts in the Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries mostly in the Middle East, from time to time, report about complaints received from Indian workers, regarding non-payment of salaries and denial of legitimate labour rights and benefits etc. Immediately on receipt of such complaints, the same are addressed by the Indian Missions by taking them up with the concerned local government authorities for immediate resolution. Moreover, Government of India has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs)/ Agreement on labour cooperation with 6 Gulf countries viz., United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Malaysia. Constitution of Joint Working Groups (JWGs) is one of the features of these MoU and meeting of JWG is held regularly to find solutions to bilateral labour problems.

(b) Sometimes the Indian Missions do receive complaints regarding living conditions in the camps of some employers. Whenever such complaints are received, the Missions immediately visit the camps to take up the issues promptly with concerned Ministry/Department, local Governments and employers to resolve the same.

(c) & (d) As per information received from the Indian Mission, the number of complaints received by the Indian Workers’ Resource Centre established in United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the year 2017 (till November) is 2216, out of which 2083 complaints have been resolved during the same period.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi

Question No. 1932: Hike in Expatriate Dependent Fee Imposed by Saudi Arabia, Rajya Sabha, January 4, 2018


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether it has come to the notice of the Ministry that there is an astronomical hike in expatriate dependent fee imposed by Saudi Arabia which primarily aims to send India families back to India;

(b) whether it would impact 30 lakh Indians staying in Saudi Arabia;

(c) whether the Ministry is also aware that from the next year the tax would be double and by 2020 the fee or family tax would be 4,800 Riyals; and

(d) if so, how the Ministry is planning to persuade the Saudi Government to refrain from imposing such tax?



(a) Yes. The Government is aware of introduction of expatriate dependent fee by the Saudi Government. The expatriate dependent fee being levied by the Saudi Government w.e.f July 1, 2017 is not India-specific and is uniformly applicable to all expatriates residing in the Kingdom.

(b) About 80% of Indian workers are engaged in blue-collar and semi-skilled jobs and are not allowed to bring families. Therefore, the impact of expatriate dependent fee will be limited to a small fraction of the resident Indian community. The imposition of expatriate dependent fee has not resulted in any decrease in numbers and the Indian community has increased from 3 million in February, 2017 to 3.25 million in September, 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

(c) The Government is aware that the expatriate dependent fee of Saudi Riyal (SR) 100 per month (SR 1200 per year) from July 1, 2017 on each dependent would be increased to SR 200 per month (SR 2400 per year) in July, 2018, SR 300 per month (SR 3600 per year) in July, 2019 and SR 400 per month (SR 4800 per year) in July, 2020 per dependent member of the expatriate family.

(d) The Saudi Government is exercising its prerogative and sovereign right by following this policy uniformly in respect of all foreign nationalities. The matter had also been raised during the visit of the Saudi delegation in July 2017 in New Delhi. The Government has been in regular contact with the Saudi Government towards safeguarding the interests and welfare of the resident Indian community.

Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi


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