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Jaipur Foot Camp in Karbala, Karbala, 21 November 2018

A 40-day Artificial Limb Fitment Camp is being organized at Al Kafeel Hospital in Karbala by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), a Charity Organization of India this month. It is funded by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The camp will be inaugurated on Saturday November 24, 2018 which will be attended by dignitaries of the Government of Iraq, Holy Shrine of Imam Abbas, Provincial Government of Karbala, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Iraq among others. A team of 10 official of BMVSS is arriving Karbala shortly for this purpose.

The camp aims to provide at least 500 Artificial Limbs to the needy people of Iraq identified by Al Kafeel Hospital. The brand of Artificial Limb, called Jaipur Foot, has gained international recognition for its extremely good quality, utility and affordable cost. This Camp is part of India’s Government of India’s efforts to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Iraq. The Embassy of India deeply appreciates efforts of Al Kafeel Hospital and Holy Shrine of Imam Abbas for organizing the Camp.Source: Embassy of India, Baghdad

Indian Business Delegation led by Trade Promotion Council of India visits Iraq (November 26-29, 2018), Baghdad, 22 November 2018.

A business delegation led by Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI), New Delhi, is visiting Iraq (Baghdad, Karbala, Najaf and Erbil) from November 26-29, 2018. It comprises of about 25 businesspersons belonging to food, agriculture and beverage sectors, such as rice, tea, spices, sugar confectionary, sesame, processed food, fresh fruits and vegetables, basil seeds, wheat and corn, pulses, etc.

In Baghdad, the business delegation is scheduled to meet H.E. the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Iraq and other senior officials of the Ministry of Trade. They are also meeting Chairman of the Federation of Iraqi Chamber of Commerce. Thereafter, the delegation is visiting Karbala and Najaf where they are scheduled to meet Chambers of Commerce and several prominent businessmen, including Al Kafeel Company of the Holy Shrine of Imam Abbas. In their last leg of the visit, the Indian business delegation is visiting Erbil to have interaction with the Chamber of the Commerce of Erbil and with local businessmen.

During the visit, there will be a number of Buyer Seller Meetings (BSM) between the business communities both sides in respective sectors. The visit of TPCI delegation of Iraq is an effort in the direction of further strengthening bilateral economic and commercial ties between India and Iraq.Source: Embassy of India, Baghdad


Visit of External Affairs Minister to Kuwait (October 30-31, 2018), New Delhi, 01 November 2018

External Affairs Minister (EAM) Smt. Sushma Swaraj paid an official visit to Kuwait from 30-31 October 2018 at the invitation of Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. This was her first visit to Kuwait and the first high level bilateral visit since the visit of Kuwaiti Prime Minister to India in November 2013.

EAM called on His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait who recalled the historical and friendly relations between the two countries. He appreciated the role and contribution of the Indian expatriate community in Kuwait’s progress and economic development and said that that cooperation must extend to other areas of the economy. Kuwaiti Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamd Al-Sabah, during his interaction with the EAM, while reiterating sentiments expressed by H. H. the Amir, said that there is vast potential in trade and investment which could be tapped between the two nations.

EAM later held wide-ranging discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait. The two Ministers reviewed the bilateral cooperation including in areas of Trade & Investment, Defence and Labour issues. They expressed satisfaction at the regular interaction between the two foreign offices. Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister acknowledged the dangers posed by climate change and accepted India’s invitation to join International Solar Alliance. Both sides agreed on need to move beyond oil trade as also explore avenues for trade and investment. Kuwaiti side also assured the EAM regarding expeditious resolution of cases pertaining to 80 nurses and Indian Engineers.

The visit witnessed the conclusion of two important agreements including the Agreement on exemption of visa for holders of Diplomatic, Official and Special Passports and the Agreement on recruitment of Domestic Workers.

EAM addressed and interacted with the Indian Community in Kuwait at the event organized by the Embassy. EAM’s visit to Kuwait helped consolidate the understanding between the two governments on entire gamut of bilateral, regional and international issues, and set out a road map for future high-level engagements.Source: Embassy of India, Kuwait


Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, New Delhi, 0 November 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.


The Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation between India and Morocco in investigation and prosecution of crime, tracing, restraint, forfeiture or confiscation or proceeds and instruments of crime. It aims to increase effectiveness in investigation and prosecution of crime, and in providing the necessary peaceful ambience which is a pre-requisite for the development of society as a whole. It will further be instrumental in gaining better inputs and insights in the modus operandi of organized criminals and terrorists, which in turn can be used to fine-tune policy decisions in the field of Internal Security.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)

Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, New Delhi, 08 November 2018.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Agreement between India and Morocco on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters.

Salient features:

Service of summons and other judicial documents or processes; taking of evidence in civil matters; production, identification or examination of documents, recordings;

The execution of a Letter of Request for taking of evidence in civil matters; and

Recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.


The Agreement will be beneficial for the citizens of both the countries. It will also fulfil the desire of both the countries to strengthen the bonds of friendship and fruitful cooperation in the Civil and Commercial matters, which is the spirit, essence and language of the agreement. This agreement between India and Morocco will enhance co-operation in the service of summons, judicial documents, letters of request and the execution of judgments decrees and arbitral awards.


Ties of India and African countries are from pre-independence era. India and Morocco have enjoyed cordial and friendly relations and over the years bilateral relations have witnessed significant depth and growth. Both nations are part of the Non-Aligned Movement. In the United Nations, India supported the decolonization of Morocco and the Moroccan freedom movement. India recognized Morocco on June 20, 1956 and established relations in 1957. India believes in the necessity of enhancing the domain of mutual co-operation with Morocco and realizing the importance of broadening the aspects of cooperation between both the countries in Civil and Commercial Matters.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)

Cabinet approves signing and ratifying the Extradition Agreement between India and Morocco, New Delhi, 08 November 2018

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved signing and ratifying the Extradition Agreement between India and Morocco. The Agreement will be signed during the proposed VIP visit from Morocco from 11-18 November 2018.


The Agreement will provide a strong legal base for the extradition of fugitive offenders who are accused of economic offences, terrorism and other serious offences in one Contracting State and found in another Contracting State. This Treaty will also strengthen bilateral relations to deal with criminal elements acting against the national interest of both India and Morocco.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


Indian Food and Agro Buyer Seller Meet in Jeddah, Jeddah, 09 November 2018

Indian exporters of four key commodities of rice, tea, spices and dry fruits will be meeting the major importers in Saudi Arabia during a Food and Agro Buyer-Seller Meet (BSM) organised by Consulate General of India in Jeddah in association with Jeddah Chamber and Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI). Twenty-five Indian companies from food and agricultural products sector, exporting rice, tea, spices and dry fruits, will be meeting the Saudi importers at the BSM which will be inaugurated by Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India in Jeddah and Hassan Ibraheem Dahlan, Secretary General of Jeddah Chamber on November 11, 2018.

The four commodities being focused on have great prospects for furthering Indian exports to Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a major food and beverages (F&B) market for India. The BSM will be an ideal platform for Indian participants to explore the business opportunities for trade, acquaint with new consumer trends and initiate marketing tie-ups and joint ventures.

Basmati rice export continuously dominates India’s rice export basket. India accounts for around 72% of the total Basmati rice produced and it offers India not just the leading producer tag but also very high product visibility in the world market.

Indian tea is among the finest in the world owing to strong geographical indicators, heavy investments in tea processing units, continuous innovation, augmented product mix and strategic market expansion. India is the 2nd largest producer and 4th largest exporter of tea in the world with a 23% share in global production and a 7.5% share in world tea exports. India exports tea to more than 60 countries globally with Iran, Russia, UK, USA and the Gulf countries being major markets.

Indian spices too are much in demand in the GCC countries, given their exquisite aroma, texture and taste. Saudi Arabia primarily imports pepper, chilli, turmeric, ginger and cardamom from India.

Saudi Arabia is India’s one of the most important trade partners and is a major FDI partner of India after the UAE in Gulf region. India’s export to Saudi Arabia was worth USD 5 billion in 2017. The major products exported by India to Saudi Arabia were rice, chemicals, refined petroleum oil and motor vehicles and its parts. India’s import from Saudi Arabia was worth USD 21 billion in 2017, amounting to a huge trade deficit of USD16 billion. The major products imported by India from Saudi Arabia were petroleum products.

India is seeking to reduce the trade deficit by enhancing exports in areas where Saudi Arabia is importing from the world. India exported F&B products worth USD 4.6 billion in 2017. During 2017, India’s total exports in F&B products stood at USD 33 billion while the exports to Saudi Arabia in this sector during the same period stood at only USD 1.43 billion.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)

Delegation of Indian Infra Companies Heads to Riyadh, Efforts on to Tap into USD 500 billion Mega City Projects, 26 November 2018

The Economic Diplomacy (ED) Division of Ministry of External Affairs and Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) is taking a delegation of representatives of top infrastructure, housing and allied sectors and entertainment industry to Riyadh, on November 27-28, 2018, to explore possible contracts and investment opportunities in the USD 500 billion futuristic mega city Projects being developed in Saudi Arabia. The delegation is being headed by Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, Manoj Bharti.

During the two-day visit, beginning on November 27, 2018, the industry representatives will interact with key decision makers of the Saudi Government and industry. The infrastructure projects are part of the Kingdom’s initiative to expand their economy through major structural changes by developing mega projects like NEOM, new roads and railroads, airports and sea ports, development of Qiddiya entertainment city and Red Sea Tourism Project.

With an aim to generate alternate sources of wealth and reduce dependence on oil-based economy, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Saudi Arabia in particular, are investing heavily in infrastructure development. The projects coming up in Saudi Arabia are part of ‘Vision 2030’, launched by the Kingdom, in order to shift from an oil-based economy to an industrial manufacturing-based productive economy.

The Vision 2030 is expected to open up new opportunities for Indian companies and professionals in various sectors like railways, hospitality, tourism, airport, housing, IT and entertainment.

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has recently issued more than 400 licenses to Indian firms. There is also scope for Indian companies to partner in the high speed 450-km railway line linking Mecca and Medina and construction of an airport in Jeddah.

Indian investments in Saudi Arabia is worth USD 1.5 billion and Saudi Arabia has invested USD16 million in India.

Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest trading partner of India with bilateral trade exceeding USD 25 billion in 2016-17. As India’s largest supplier of crude oil, Saudi Arabia accounts for about 20% of India’s total annual imports.

The 3.2 million strong Indian community is the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia and sends USD10 billion of annual remittances back to India.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)

Saudi-India Business Meeting Held in Riyadh, Riyadh, 28 November 2018

Saudi-India Business meeting was held with Council of Saudi Chambers during the visit of the Indian Infrastructure & Housing delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi delegation was headed by Kamel S. Almunajjed, Chairman of Saudi Indian Business Council and the Indian side was led by Manoj K Bharti, Additional Secretary, ED Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.    

Speaking to the Indian delegation, the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Javed, said that there are important changes taking place in Saudi Arabia and India is one of the 8 countries on the preferred list of Saudi Arabia. More proactive participation from Indian companies for business, trade and regional cooperation in being welcomed.        

Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, promised that the Government of India is committed to work for enhancing the relationship between the two countries and the Indian companies in this delegation are more than willing to bring their professional expertise to Saudi Arabia.

The meeting was attended by top officials and CEOs of companies of Saudi Arabia.

The Indian delegation is being represented by several leading infra and housing companies.

Construction for housing and infrastructure is a booming sector in Saudi Arabia with mega projects like NEOM, Qiddiya and Red Sea Entertainment being set up. There is also great opportunity for India to explore in the entertainment sector as the Saudi Government is aiming to curb the flow of people of Saudi abroad for leisure and entertainment and attract foreign tourists to Saudi Arabia.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


Visit of External Affairs Minister to United Arab Emirates (December 3-4, 2018), New Delhi, 30 November 2018.

Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of India would be leading a delegation of senior officials to the United Arab Emirates from 03-04 December, 2018 for co-chairing the 12th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting for Economic and Technical Cooperation with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE.

India and the UAE enjoy strong bonds of friendship, which are founded on millennia-old cultural, religious and economic interaction between the two regions. In the recent past, with the exchange of visits at the highest-level, the relationship has been elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. With nearly US$ 50 billion bilateral trade, the two countries are one of the largest trade partners for each other and have made robust investments bilaterally. The UAE is the sixth-largest source of our oil imports and hosts a 3.3 million-strong Indian Community.

Along with the Foreign Minister of the UAE, EAM would be inaugurating a Gandhi-Zayed Digital Museum in Abu Dhabi to mark the celebrations of 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and centenary celebrations of the birth of Shaikh Zayed, founder of the modern UAE. She would also interact with the Indian community in Abu Dhabi.Source: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

As part of the policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spellings and date format to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND P R Kumaraswamy