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Cabinet approves MoU between India and Iran on the establishment of an expert group on trade remedy measures, New Delhi, 04 April 2018.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Iran on the establishment of an expert group on trade remedy measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest. The MoU was signed on 17thFebruary, 2018 during the visit of the President of Iran.

The MoU will promote cooperation between the two countries in area of trade remedies such as exchange of information, capacity building activities, cooperation in investigations related to anti-dumping and countervailing duty, etc. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)

Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff visits Tehran, Iran for Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) – 2018, New Delhi, 22 April 2018.

The 6th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and Conclave of Chiefs is being hosted by Iran at Tehran from 23 to 25 April 2018. The Chief of the Naval Staff is leading a four member Indian delegation for the event.

The IONS was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008. The forum seeks to enhance maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion on regionally relevant maritime issues that would lead to common understanding on the way ahead. The inaugural edition of IONS was held in February 2008 at New Delhi, with Indian Navy as the Chair for two years. This was followed by UAE from 2010 - 2012, South Africa from 2012 - 2014, Australia from   2014 - 2016 and Bangladesh from 2016 - 2018.

The IONS Charter of Business was agreed upon by the Conclave of Chiefs and brought into effect in February 2014. A relatively young forum, barely in its 10th year of existence, it has grown into a formidable organization with 23 members and 09 observers. As the founder nation, India will also be conducting commemorative activities in November 2018 at Kochi, for celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.

The visit of the Chief of the Naval Staff is also aimed at consolidating bilateral naval relations between India and Iran and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. Admiral Sunil Lanba will also hold bilateral discussions with the Commander IRI Navy, and other participating ‘Chiefs of Navy/ Head of Maritime Agencies’. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


PM announces ex-gratia relief of Rs. 10 lakh each to the next of the kin of those killed in Mosul, New Delhi, 03 April 2018.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has announced ex-gratia payment of Rs. 10 lakh each to the next of the kin of those who were killed in Mosul, Iraq. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


Study in India Campaign, Kuwait, 25 April 2018

On 18th April, 2018, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, launched the Study in India campaign to provide online access to the international students who want to study in Indian institutions. Under this scheme, premier educational institutions in India are offering more than 15,000 seats to eligible foreign students in various courses. All details are available at

2. Under the Study in India campaign, w.e.f. 26th April, 2018, a centralized admission portal will be operational through which any foreign student can apply at any of 83 participating premier educational institutions as per his choice, without paying any fee. A merit list will be prepared and seats will be allocated based on the rank and choice of foreign student. Provision has also been made to offer free ships ranging from 100% to 25% to more than 50% foreign students, depending on their merit.

3. The Study in India campaign will last from 1st May, 2018 to 15th June, 2018. Interested foreign students are requested to visit campaign website at for detailed information. Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait


Question No. 6148, Cooperation with Oman, Lok Sabha, New Delhi, 4 April 2018


Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the Government recognizes the need for broadening areas of bilateral cooperation with the Sultanate of Oman particularly in shipping, transport, infrastructure building, mining, logistics and tourism sectors and if so, the details thereof including the potential strategic benefits accruing to the Country in the Gulf region; and

(b) whether the Government also recognizes the need for a high level political engagement between Sultanate of Oman and India in order to boost economic relations and if so, the details thereof?




(a) Yes. India and Oman have agreed to cooperate in various areas, including shipping, minerals and mining, manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and fisheries, IT and IT enabled-services, skills development, innovation etc. Our relationship with Oman contributes to our existing strong ties with the Gulf region which holds vital stakes for us, including of diaspora, energy, trade, remittances, etc. Oman facilitates Indian naval ships conducting anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden.

(b) The recent visit of Prime Minister to Oman on 11-12 February 2018 has further strengthened our bilateral partnership with Oman across the sectors. Besides high level political exchanges, India and Oman have also established various institutional mechanisms to promote trade and investment including Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) held at the level of Minister of Commerce and Industry from both the countries. Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

Indian Embassy hosts Road show on Vibrant Tamil Nadu Global Food Expo and Summit, Muscat, 17 April 2018.

Embassy of India, Muscat, organized a Road show on ‘Vibrant Tamil Nadu Global Food Expo and Summit’ on 16th April 2018 at its premises, with a view to promote participation of Omani companies from food, agro-products and related sectors. ‘Vibrant Tamil Nadu Global Food Expo and Summit’ will be held in Madurai in Tamil Nadu State of India during 12-15 August 2018. Mr. Saif Sultan Al Shaibani, Director General for Trade Operations at Public Authority for Food Stores, was the Chief Guest.

Around 60 Omani Officials and representatives of companies from food, agro-products and related sectors attended the Road show. Presentations were made to highlight the opportunities offered by ‘Vibrant Tamil Nadu Global Food Expo and Summit’ for various stakeholders in agro-food, agri-business and related sectors of Oman to learn more about latest technological developments and innovations in agriculture, food and beverage sector, food processing, packaging, logistics, cold chain, cold storage and warehousing, etc. The facilities being offered by the organizers for the participants, including exhibition visits, business-to-business meetings, factory visits, networking, sight-seeing etc. were also highlighted.

Due to geographical proximity, growing air and sea connectivity and similarities in culinary traditions between India and Oman, India has traditionally been an important source for Oman’s import of food and agro-products. India’s food industry is currently valued at $258 billion and India is one of the top producers of various agro and food products of the world. India is ranked number one in world in population of livestock and production of milk and buffalo meat, number two in production of fruits and vegetables, eggs and goat meat. India is the third largest producer of broiler meat. India has the second largest arable land available for agriculture and it produced last year 278 million tonnes of food grains, including rice and wheat. Tamil Nadu is a key producer of various food and agro-products in India like rice, maize, pigeon pea, groundnut and millets, vegetables, fruits, spices, plantations and flowers. A sizeable part of Indian food, beverages and food processing industry is located in Tamil Nadu. 

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of India, Shri Indra Mani Pandey, highlighted the emphasis placed by the Governments of India and Oman to enhance bilateral trade and mutual investments. Noting that India has the potential to meet the requirements of food and agro products of Oman, Ambassador drew attention to the excellent and expanding air and sea connectivity between the two countries and similarities in their culinary traditions. Stating that India is a leading producer of various food grains and agro products as well as animal products, Ambassador informed that the two countries are engaged in exploring opportunities for bilateral cooperation to ensure food security of not only Oman but also other GCC countries. He invited Omani businesspersons and companies from food and related sectors to participate in ‘Vibrant Tamil Nadu Global Expo and Summit’. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat

Indian Embassy organizes B2B Meeting related to Healthcare Sector, Muscat, 24 April 2018.

Embassy of India, Muscat, is organizing an India-Oman Business-to-Business (B2B) Meeting, related to Healthcare & Medical Tourism Sector, aimed at facilitating interaction and tie-ups between representatives of 24 Indian hospitals and representatives of hospitals, medical institutions and other stakeholders in healthcare sector of Oman. Representatives of 24 Indian hospitals, led by Dr. S Sajikumar, Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Kerala & Chief Physician & Managing Director, Dhatri Group, are visiting Oman to participate in ‘IMTEC Oman 2018 Exhibition & Conference’ which in being held from 24-26 April 2018.

Within the framework of their strategic partnership, India and Oman have been engaged in cooperation in health sector. A MoU on Cooperation in Healthcare was signed during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Oman, which heralds a new era of cooperation in healthcare sector between the two countries. Indian hospitals have opened their branches in Oman. Indian businesspersons have also invested in hospitals and clinics in Oman. Indian doctors and paramedics have been working in health care institutions in both public and private sectors of Oman and they are reputed for their professional competence and personal care. People of Oman, who have traditionally been visiting India for medical treatment, are aware of the quality of Indian hospitals as well as Indian doctors and paramedics. India is a preferred destination for medical tourism for people of Oman. With finest doctors, world-class medical facilities and holistic healthcare options, India is known for providing quality health care at affordable cost. The above B2B Meeting is a part of the Embassy’s endeavours to promote medical tourism from Oman to India.

Indian Embassy has been striving to ensure that Omanis seeking medical treatment in India do not face any difficulty in obtaining medical visa. The Embassy issues Medical Visas on a priority basis. There is a separate counter for submission of Medical Visa applications at BLS Centre. Medical visa fees has been reduced to OMR 30.900 for visas valid up to six months and OMR 46.300 for visas valid up to one year. Medical visas are issued with double and multiple entries, on case-to-case basis. Applicants can apply with a report from an Omani hospital and an appointment letter from an Indian hospital.

With introduction of e-Medical Visa, it has become possible for people in Oman to obtain medical visas through a completely online procedure. E-Medical Visa is valid for three visits to India and costs around OMR 20.000. The duration of stay in India under ‘e- Medical Visa’ is up to 60 days. However, depending on recommendation of the concerned Indian hospital, Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) can allow extension of stay up to 6 months.

In order to facilitate foreign nationals, including Omanis, visiting India for medical treatment, Government of India has decided to open separate counters at Immigration points for speedy and smooth clearance of Medical Visa holders, initially at 6 International Airports viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Source: Embassy of India, Muscat


Arab Emirates on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector, New Delhi, 04 April 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Federal Transport Authority - Land & Maritime of the United Arab Emirates on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector. The MoU was signed on 10th February, 2018.

The MoU will enable technical cooperation in the following areas:-

a. Regulation, safety and technical investigation of accidents;

b. Station redevelopment;

c. Locomotives, coaches and wagons; and

d. Any other area jointly identified by the Participants.


The MoU will provide a platform to Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. The MoU will facilitate exchange of information, expert meetings, seminars technical visits and implementation of jointly agreed cooperation projects.


Ministry of Railways have signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation inter alia include high speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc. The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)




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