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Visit of Foreign Minister of Algeria to India (January 30-February 01, 2019), New Delhi, 01 February 2019.
H.E. Mr. Abdelkader Messahel, Foreign Minister of People's Democratic Republic of Algeria was undertaking a bilateral visit to India from 30th January to 01 February, 2019. During his visit, he held bilateral discussions with Smt. Sushma Swaraj,External Affairs Minister on a wide range of issues on how to further deepen relations between India and Algeria that include defence and security, fertilizers, space cooperation, Counter Terrorism, Education, ITEC etc. They also discussed regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
The visiting Foreign Minister was also the special emissary of H.E. President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He called on Hon'ble Rashtraptiji and handed over a letter from President Bouteflika. It may be recalled that H.E. President Bouteflika was the Chief Guest for Republic Day 2001.
During the visit, the following two documents were signed:
(i) Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP)
(ii) Agreement on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official/service passports with Algeria. Source: Embassy of India, Algiers
Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the Africa Day Celebrations at Vibrant Gujarat 2019, Gandhinagar, 19 January 2019.
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat,
Shri Vijay Rupani
Hon’ble Ministers and dignitaries from African Countries
Ladies and Gentlemen...
Today is indeed a historic occasion. We are organizing "Africa Day” for the first time during Vibrant Gujarat Summit. This is the first time that we are dedicating a day to an entire continent. This is a clear recognition of the enhanced importance we attach to the place of African economies in the development and growth map of the contemporary world.
I am particularly happy that this historic day is being celebrated on the soil of Gujarat. Just as Gujarat was the State which gave us Mohandas Gandhi, Africa was the continent which gave India the Mahatma. The occasion is also significant as it is being held during 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji and 100th birth anniversary of the iconic African leader Nelson Mandela.
It is therefore an honour for me to address this august gathering on this very special occasion. India has always shared a special bond with the people of Africa and supported their liberation from colonialism and from apartheid. As Nelson Mandela himself said "We would not be talking victory today if the example set by the young Republic of India had not been followed by the rest of the world.”
Pan- Africanism inspired the founding fathers of Africa and led to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity and its successor organization, the African Union.
This has been taken to a new level with the signing of the historic African Continental Free Trade Agreement in March last year to bring about economic integration of Africa, in keeping with Agenda 2063 Vision document. We view our substantive engagement with the African countries through the prism of our own experience. When we became independent, we found that external assistance came with conditionality, both overt and covert, with prescriptions that would have constricted our sovereignty and independence.
As Africa pursues Africa-owned and Africa-led development, we are determined to anchor our partnership on the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. We take pride in our model of cooperation with Africa which is demand-driven, consultative, participative, involves local resources, builds capacity and is based on Africa’s own prioritisation of its needs.
Prime Minister Modi has declared Africa as top priority in our foreign and economic policy. Articulating our Africa policy in 10 broad guiding principles during his visit to Uganda, he stated that our development partnership will be guided by African priorities. It will be on terms that will liberate African potential and not constrain African future.
In the last four years, our long-standing ties with Africa have acquired vibrancy and dynamism. There has been unprecedented intensification of our political engagement with Africa with 29 visits to African countries at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister, apart from several Ministerial visits.
Let me add that visits have taken place from both sides; in addition to the visit of 41 Heads of State/Heads of Government who attended IAFS-III, we have hosted over 35 leaders from Africa for various events in the last four years, in addition to Ministerial level visits.
Keeping in mind the unprecedented engagement with Africa, the Union Cabinet of India has taken the decision to open 18 new Embassies and High Commissions in Africa in the next few years, which will take the number of Indian Missions in Africa to 47. The first of these Missions has already been opened in Rwanda last year.
Africa has emerged as an important trade and investment partner. India Africa bilateral trade stood at US $ 62.66 billion for 2017-18 which reflects an increase of nearly 22 % over the previous year. India is ranked as the third largest export destination in Arica.
We are happy that the Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme announced by India for Least Developed Countries has benefitted African nations and contributed towards steady increase in our trade figures by extending duty-free access to 98.2 % of India’s total tariff lines. 38 African countries now enjoy the benefits of our DFTP Scheme.
We view the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area as yet another opportunity to boost trade and economic ties with Africa. With the positive effects of "democratic dividend”, the African continent has become and remained one of the fastest growing regions in the world.
In recent years, there has been a surge in Indian investment in Africa. India is the 5th largest investor in Africa with cumulative investments of US$ 54 billion. Our investments are steadily growing in the African continent in a range of sectors.
These include telecommunication, hydrocarbon, exploration, agriculture, Education, petroleum refining and retail, IT services, chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, automobiles among others. There is considerable potential to expand our business and investment ties further, especially in the areas of minerals and mining; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; infrastructure, high-technology manufacturing and information and communication technology.
Our Lines of Credit (LoCs), which are on highly favourable terms, have become popular and considerably expanded our development partnership with Africa. Currently, 189 projects in 42 African countries for nearly USD 11.4 billion are being implemented under Indian LoCs. These projects have had a positive impact in many African countries and are changing the lives of its people by covering a range of sectors like power generation and distribution, water related projects, especially in rural areas, agriculture, irrigation, railways, sugar plants, infrastructure and Information Communication and Technology.
In a new initiative, we have offered construction of Mahatma Gandhi Convention Centres in Africa as grant assistance, in the context of the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji. Our approach to Africa has focused on helping Africans realize their true potential in various fields through a number of capacity building programmes under the ITEC scholarships, ICCR scholarships and other training programmes under IAFS-III.
Our capacity building in Africa has been second to none and is benefiting thousands of Africans. I am happy that some of the African students in India have joined us today and I would like to extend a special welcome to these young representatives, who are the future of Africa.
To enhance cooperation with Africa in the Health and Education sector, an Agreement was signed in September 2018 to establish e-Vidhya Bharati Aarogya Bharati (e-VBAB) Network Project between India and Africa, which aims to provide tele-education and tele-medicine, thereby putting India’s knowledge and technical expertise at the service in African countries.
On the cultural front, last 4 years have been exceptional. Festivals of India were organized in 15 countries of Africa, in 12 for the first time. African cultural troupes have been regularly participating in Indian flagship events such as Surajkund Crafts Mela.
One of the most serious challenges toward international peace and security is the menace of terrorism. Many of the African countries like India are victims of terrorism. Consequently, preserving peace and security, countering terrorism and extremism is an important element of our engagement.
We are one of the largest contributors to UN Peace Keeping Missions and have participated in all the peacekeeping missions in Africa, playing an important role in the African continent. You are aware of the close security and defence relations we have had with many countries in Africa over the years.
We also support each other at international level and have common interests on international issues like UN Security Council reforms, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, cyber security and energy security.
An important element of our engagement is our connection with the Indian Diaspora. People of Indian origin, in whichever part of the world they are, be it the Western world, Gulf or the Middle East, Asia or Africa, have played a key role in socio-economic development of their adopted countries, while keeping Indian ethos, values and culture alive. While relationship with Africa is on an upswing, the challenge is to maintain this momentum and ensure that we build on the foundation of security, development and growth for the benefit of our peoples. I am confident that the 10 guiding principles given by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for enhancing cooperation with Africa will unlock the immense potential that our partnership still holds.
Africa today figures prominently on the foreign policy radar of India. I am happy to note that our relations have not just remained confined to political arena but have blossomed into a multi-faceted association where each one of us contributes something of significant value.
Strong India-Africa relations will go a long way in redefining the contours of the international order on more egalitarian lines. We should not expect anything less from this shining example of South-South cooperation.
Let me conclude by saying that, as Africa marches in its journey towards security, renewal and prosperity, India will remain a trusted partner, working closely with Africa for the economic and social empowerment of its people. Long Live India-Africa Friendship...
Thank you.Source: Embassy of India, Cairo
India takes over operations of part of Chabahar Port in Iran, New Delhi, 7 January 2019.
The Government of India took over the operations of a part of Shahid Beheshti Port, Chabahar in Iran during the Chabahar Trilateral Agreement meeting held there on the 24th of December 2018. The heads of Indian, Iranian and Afghanistan delegation jointly inaugurated the office of the Indian SPV - India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), at Chabahar. The physical take-over of the terminal area, cargo handling equipment and Office building was completed by 29th December 2018.
Commercial operations began at IPGCFZwith the arrival of a vessel. A Cyprus registered bulk carrier had arrived at Chabahar with 72458 MT of corn cargo. The vessel MV MACHERAS berthed at the terminal at 0130 hrs on 30th December 2018. Thus, IPGCFZ carried out its first cargo operation by discharging the imported cargo(ex-Brazil) using pneumatic un-loaders.
This step marks the beginning of a long journey. India has written a history with its engagement in Chabahar and is now leading the regional cooperation and joint efforts to support land locked Afghanistan. This is the first time India will be operating a port outside its territories.
India started interacting with Iran on Chabahar Port around 2003 but a major push was received in the second half of 2014, resulting in the signing of an MOU between the two countries for the development of Chabahar Port in May 2015. This MOU translated into a formal 10-year Contract for Equipping and Operating the Chabahar Port, which was executed on 23rd May 2016, during Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran . Since there were challenges in activation of the said contract, the foundation of an interim period contract was laid during the visit of His Excellency Dr. Hassan Rouhani,President of Islamic Republic of Iran to New Delhi in February 2018. Resultantly a formal short-term Contract between the two sides was signed on 6th May 2018.
The efforts of Government of India were fully reciprocated by PMO, Islamic Republic of Iran and Iranian Embassy in India, Indian Embassy at Iran, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance and NitiAayogfor guidance and continuous support in achieving this major milestone.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)
Cabinet approves Memorandum of Understanding between India and Kuwait for cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers, New Delhi, 23 January 2019.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing Memorandum of Understanding between India and Kuwait for cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers.
The MOU provides a structured framework for cooperation on domestic workers related matters and provides strengthened safeguards for Indian domestic workers including female workers deployed in Kuwait. The MOU is initially valid for a period of five years and incorporates provision for automatic renewal.
Under this MOU, a Joint Committee will be set up to follow up the implementation of this MOU.
The MOU will promote bilateral cooperation in domestic workers related matters between the two countries.
Around 3,00,000 Indian domestic workers deployed in Kuwait. This includes around 90,000 female domestic workers.Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)
Security, New Delhi, 02 February 2019.
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morocco on cooperation in the area of Cyber Security. The MoU was signed on 25th September 2018.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation for exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents between India and Morocco. Implementation of the MoU will result in significant mutual benefits in the Cyber Security sector, through institutional and capacity building with Morocco in the field of Cyber Security.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
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