... for openness and credibility....



Travel Advisory for Indian Nationals travelling to Iraq, New Delhi, 19 February 2010.

In the wake of the precarious situation then developing in Iraq after the ISIS terrorists had taken over large Iraqi territories, a Travel Advisory was issued on 15 June, 2014 cautioning Indian nationals to avoid all travel to Iraq, until further notification. As the local security situation improved over the time, another Travel Advisory was issued on 04 February, 2019 allowing Indian nationals to consider travelling to the country except five Provinces as those remained affected by terrorism and violence.

A fresh Travel Advisory was issued on 08 January, 2020 due to the escalation of tension, cautioning Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to and within Iraq, until further notification, while assuring that our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq.

In modification and consolidation of the previous advisories for Indian nationals wishing to travel to Iraq, the following Travel Advisory for their intended visit to different areas in Iraq will take immediate effect:

i) Indian nationals may now consider travelling to the country except to the five Provinces of Iraq, namely Nineveh(Capital Mosul); Salahuddin (Capital Tikrit); Diyala (Capital Baquba); Anbar (Capital Ramadi) and Kirkuk.

ii) Indian nationals are advised not to travel to the above listed five Provinces in Iraq as these remain unsafe due to the prevailing security situation.

iii) Those Indian nationals wishing to travel for employment and already having work permits and appropriate visas may return to their jobs in the safe areas in Iraq other than those listed above as unsafe areas, and inform the Embassy of India in Baghdad or Consulate General of India in Erbil prior to travelling to Iraq.

iv) Those Indian nationals wishing to travel for religious purposes, and having appropriate visa and return air-ticket, may also travel for pilgrimage to the holy places of Najaf and Karbala. They should not extend their religious pilgrimage to the neighbouring Syria and not travel by road from Iraq to Syria or vice-versa. Source: Embassy of India, Baghdad.


Indian Delegation at Berlinale 2020 discusses collaboration with Jerusalem International Film Festival, New Delhi, 22 February 2020.

On the second day of Berlinale 2020, the Indian delegation met with a number of representatives from the Global Film industry who expressed their interest in working with India and keenness to participate for the 51st IFFI International Film Festival of India.

The Delegation met with Mr Lior Sasson, Head of Operations (Israel Film Fund) and Artistic Director of Israeli Pavilion, Ministry of Culture and Sports, State of Israel. Mr Sasson expressed interest in exploring opportunities for future collaboration with IFFI 2020. The two sides also discussed scope of working together to showcase India as a focus country at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, Israel and their participation at IFFI 2020.

The Delegation had a meeting with Ms Makhosazana Khanyile, Chief Executive Officer, National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa (NFVF). During the meeting, Ms Khanyile expressed her willingness to work with India on animation, Gaming and VR/ AR sector and IFFI. She also emphasised on developing strategies with India on exchange of skills, both digital and gaming. National Film Development Corporation (NFDC, India) has a co-production treaty with NFVF.

Indian Delegation also interacted with Ms Wendy Bendred, Right Stuff; Mr Claas Danielsen, CEO, MDM Online (German Film development board and Film Fund); Ms Mukhlisa Azizova, Chairman of Uzbekistan National Film Commission; Mr Mathew Takata, Senior Manager Feature projects international, Sundance Film Institute and Mr Marc Baschet, Co-producer, Movie - Lunchbox and representatives of Spain, among others.

The Indian Pavilion at Berlinale has been organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in association with Confederation of Indian Industry. Over 40 Indian film companies are participating at Berlinale 2020. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).


India Pavilion at Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE) 2020, Doha, 23 February 2020.

For the second consecutive year, an India Pavilion organised by the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) in collaboration with the Embassy of India, Doha, will be part of the prestigious Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE) 2020 scheduled to be held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) from 24-29 February 2020.

The India Pavilion will feature 27 exhibitors and showcase a complete range of products including studded jewellery with stones like rubies, emeralds, sapphires and pearls; plain and handmade jewellery. The collections include a wide range of contemporary, modern jewellery, with detailed and exquisite craftsmanship and designs inspired by European and Middle Eastern trends over the last few decades.

Some of the prominent Indian jewellers who will be part of the India Pavilion are: Amore Jewels Pvt. Ltd.; Belisma; Champalal and Co (Jewellers); Creative Overseas; Deepika Creations; De’viva Jewels; Full Moon Jewels; G.M. Products Pvt Ltd; GDK Jewels Pvt. Ltd.; Hia Exports; Iris Jewels; Jagan Nath Hem Chand; J H Jewellers LLP; KK Jewels; Kothari’s Jewellers; LS Enterprises; Lodha Jeweller; Lotus Gem; Mehta & Sons; M. L. Impex; Noor Jewels; Rishabh Durga Gems and Jewels; Shrians Jewels; Sital Dass and Sons; Sital Dass Son; Vihaan Exims Co Pvt Ltd; Zel Jewellers Ltd.

Gems and Jewellery have been identified as one of the Champion sectors by the Government of India to push growth in manufacturing and generate job opportunities. The Indian gems & jewellery exports to the Middle East region accounted for US$ 12.11 billion in 2019. Indian manufacturers had received an encouraging response from buyers across the world at DJWE 2019. This year’s edition of DJWE is also expected to attract a lot of attention of interested customers and connoisseurs of luxury jewellery items.

The India Pavilion at the DJWE 2020 is being spearheaded by GJEPC which was set up by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India (GoI) in 1966, as the apex body of the gems & jewellery industry in the country. Today, it represents over 7000 exporters in the sector. Headquartered in Mumbai, the GJEPC has Regional Offices in various parts of the country including New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Surat and Jaipur, all of which are major centres for the industry. The prime activity of the GJEPC is to promote gems & jewellery products in the international markets. Over the years, it has been organising a number of important trade shows held in India, such as the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS), IIJS Signature, India Gem & Jewellery Machinery Expo (IGJME). Above all, the Indian gems and jewellery industry has been following the highest ethical business practices, besides complying with world-class business standards, which has made India an ideal destination for sourcing quality gems and jewellery. Source: Embassy of India, Doha.


Visit of ICGS SAMUDRA PAHEREDAR to Dammam Port, Riyadh, 04 February 2020

As part of India’s strategic outreach and offshore deployment, Indian Coast Guard Ship SAMUDRA PAHEREDAR, arrived at King Abdul Aziz Port at Dammam for a three day visit. The visit is aimed at enhancing co-operation and understanding between important navies of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The goodwill visit aims to promote and further Defence Cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The historic visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to India as the Crown Prince in 2014, visit of the Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman to India in February 2019 and our Hon’ble PM to Saudi Arabia in April 2016 and October 2019 have been important milestones towards expanding our strategic partnership. Defence relations constitute a significant element of our shared strategic vision for the region and the regular visits by Indian Navy Ships and Indian Coast Guard ships is testimony to our strong ties.

India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations, reflecting centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties. Bilateral trade between the countries has shown remarkable growth and has registered substantial increase in recent times. The Indian community in Saudi Arabia is one of the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom and the ‘most preferred’ due to their expertise, sense of discipline, and law abiding nature. The Haj pilgrimage is another important component of the bilateral relations with over 2,00,000 Indians performing Haj every year.

Building upon the rich and longstanding relations that have existed between India and Saudi Arabia, both nations have developed warm relations in several spheres. The current visit seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries of the Indian Ocean and, in particular, to strengthen the existing bonds between India and Saudi Arabia.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India have embarked on a well charted journey towards enhancing the bilateral relations in multifarious fields some of which include exploring trade and business opportunities, infrastructure development, commerce, medical research, people to people exchanges in pursuit of cultural revelation, defence cooperation and military training. The increased frequency of ship visits and the assistance provided by the Kingdom for facilitating these visits is noteworthy. Defence relations constitute a significant element of our shared strategic vision for the region and the current visit is a testimony to our strong ties with the Kingdom.

Ship visits are symbolic of our desire to enhance our cooperation with the Kingdom in matters of defence. The visit of these Naval Ships will assist in promoting understanding and furthering interoperability between the two Navies. We look forward to further these Defence Cooperation mechanisms.

Indian Naval and Coast Guard assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region. In addition, they have also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with Hydrographic Survey, Search and Rescue and other such capacity building and capability-enhancement activities. The current voyage will contribute positively towards efforts to consolidate Inter-Operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas.

The ship was visited by the Hon’ble Ambassador of India, Dr Ausaf Sayeed, number of distinguished guests from the Royal Saudi Navy and Coast Guard, members of International Community, Indian Diaspora and School Children during its port call. Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh

Private Screening of Discovery Channel’s ‘Revealed: Humayun’s Tomb’ and Photography and Painting Exhibition (February 8, 2020), Riyadh, 11 February 2020.

The Embassy of India, Riyadh organized a private screening of Discovery Channel’s acclaimed documentary ‘Revealed: Humayun’s Tomb’, which showcased one of the most iconic monuments in Delhi built during the Early Mughal Period and considered by historians as a template for the Taj Mahal. The documentary also shed light on the work undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in partnership with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to meticulously restore the lost grandeur of the monument. The restoration project also led to creation of job opportunities for several people from the area, and significant improvements to the quality of life for the residents of the Nizamuddin area in Delhi.

The screening was followed by a photography and painting exhibition that was inaugurated by the Ambassador H.E. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed. Photographs of noted photographer K.N. Wasif, a renowned Saudi-based Indian photojournalist who has been working on the Indian architectural heritage project for several years, and paintings by artist Sabiha Majeed, an Indian artist based in Riyadh whose work has found a place in private collections all over the world, were exhibited.

The event was widely attended by diplomats, Saudi nationals and members of the Indian community. Source: Embassy of India, Riyadh.


First Consignment of Nagpur Orange Flagged Off to Dubai. New Delhi, 14 February 2020.

First consignment of Nagpur oranges was flagged off to Dubai on 13th February 2020 from Vashi, Navi Mumbai. Total 1500 crates were loaded in the refrigerated container from Vanguard Health Care (VHT) facility. Nagpur mandarin in one of the best mandarins in the world. Production of this fruit crop in central and western part of India is increasing every year. Mrig crop (monsoon blossom), which matures in February – March, has great potential for export since arrivals of mandarin fruit in international market are less during this period. According to Maharashtra State Agriculture Department 40 lakh hectare. land is under orange cultivation in Nagpur District and major orange growing pockets are Warud, Katol, Saoner, Kalameshwar and Narkhed in Nagpur and Amravati districts. In the whole region only one variety Nagpur Mandarin is grown.

For the implementation of the Agriculture Export Policy, (AEP) Nagpur District is being developed as a cluster for Nagpur Orange by APEDA. The APEDA officer in Mumbai has been nominated as a nodal officer for implementation of AEP and cluster development of Nagpur orange.

The first meeting was held on 30th October 2019 last year under the chairmanship of District Collector, Nagpur. After the meeting a cluster development committee of stakeholders was constituted consisting of APEDA, National Research Centre for Citrus(NRC), Nagpur, Agri Department of Nagpur District, VANAMATI Nagpur, Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board(MSAMB), Dr. Panjab Rao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (Dr. PDKV), Nagpur MSME, Plant Quarantine Nagpur and MAHA Orange.


Subsequently a Buyer-Seller Meet cum Training programme on Nagpur Orange cluster was held on 5th December 2019 at VANAMATI, Nagpur. Around 150 farmers from Nagpur District, Farmer Producers companies and seven exporters attended the training programme. Technical sessions and interactions between farmers and exporters was conducted in the training programme. The main focus of the training programme was to increase the exports of Nagpur orange in the Middle East countries and to brand Nagpur orange in the Middle East. It was also explained to all exporters the importance of labelling each fruit and crates of Nagpur orange while exporting.

A field visit was organised on 6th December last year with APEDA, MCDC, State Agriculture Department and exporters to orange growing area at Warud, Katol, Kalameshwar of Nagpur and Amravati districts. After the field visit exporters showed interest for exporting of Nagpur orange. The interested exporters again visited the same orange growing pockets in the month of January this year.

One of the exporters procured oranges directly from the farmers of Warud Taluka and brought them to APEDA funded VHT Facility at Vashi, Navi Mumbai. At VHT pack house the oranges were graded and sorted. New plastic crates were designed and developed by the exporter to carry 10 kgs per crate.

The International Trade in 2018 for orange was USD 10183 million. India produced 8781 thousand tons of orange in 2018-19 (orange includes Mandarin, clementine). Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).


Union FPI Minister inaugurates India Pavilion at GulFood 2020 in Dubai, India, 16 February 2020.

Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal today inaugurated the India Pavilion at 25th Edition of the GulFood 2020, Dubai being held from 16th to 20th February 2020. FPI Minister took a tour of the fair and interacted with the Indian exhibitors and urged them to make use of the platform of GulFood 2020 for facilitating tie ups between foreign investors and accelerate the pace of export of food products from India to the western market. The Minister, while interacting with the exhibitors, discussed the potential of business opportunities available to them in India, UAE and other countries.

The FPI Minister held one on one meetings with the companies involved in Food business in the UAE. Based on the discussions it was proposed to explore the possibility of setting up a fund for providing marketing support to launch Indian products in the UAE super markets.

During discussions with the India UAE Food security corridor project representative, the Minister proposed that existing MOFPI supported infra may be utilised to give a head start to the project. Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal emphasized on fast tracking the project and mentioned that all necessary support for grounding the project will be provided by the Ministry through Invest India.

Smt. Badal said that India and UAE have been amongst each other’s largest trading partners for the last several years. Currently UAE is the third largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching US$ 59.909 in 2018-19.

The Minister informed that the Food Processing Sector in India being a sunrise sector is poised for exponential growth and has emerged as a high growth sector due to its immense potential for value addition, ability to control inflation and ensure remunerative prices to farmers.

Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal informed the delegates that India is a huge and promising market with 1.3 billion population, increasing purchasing power, adequate availability of raw materials, availability of young and skilled manpower and a number of fiscal incentives that are being offered by the Indian Government for encouraging investments in this sector.

A number of steps have been taken to improve the environment of ease of doing business under the “Make in India” initiative of Hon’ble Prime Minister which focuses on making India a Global Manufacturing Hub. The regulatory mechanism for Food related industries in India has been aligned with the international standards making the Indian exports more acceptable to the global markets.

FPI Minister added that food items are one of the major Indian exports to UAE. While India is rich in production of food grains, fruits, vegetables & milk but lacks in processing infrastructure, UAE has surplus funds and technology available to create such facilities but lacks in availability of raw material. Thus a partnership between India and UAE can ensure Food Security for the Gulf nation in the times to come.

Union Minister interacted with several other companies and motivated them to increasingly focus on Make in India and providing organic solutions to further increase country’s exports. She also highlighted various initiatives taken by FPI Ministry to promote food processing sector in India. The Minister was impressed with the display put forward by APEDA and the members in the Indian Pavilion and extended her best wishes, assuring of full support for growth of Indian exports to enable future of prosperity, with India leading the way globally. APEDA is participating with more than 100 exporters in the Gulf Food.

The Union Minister highlighted the unique advantages offered by India along with supportive policy environment and exhorted investors from across the globe and UAE to avail the benefits of the schemes of the Ministry of Processing Industries to set up new enterprises in India. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal meets UAE Minister of State for Food Security on the side-lines of Gulfood 2020, New Delhi 17 February 2020.

Union Minister of Food Processing Industries, Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal met the Minister of State for Food Security in the United Arab Emirates(UAE), Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi today in Dubai today on the side-lines of Gulfood 2020. The two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the existing bilateral cooperation in the field of food security, with India being one of the largest food exporters to UAE. They further deliberated upon ways and means to further increase cooperation and collaboration in the sector between the two countries.

Both the Ministers discussed UAE investments in food corridors in India in accordance with the vision given by the top leadership of the two countries. Both Ministers mentioned that the two sides could also exchange information in new areas such as saline water agriculture. Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal highlighted the enormous potential for investments in the food processing sector in India and said that the UAE side stays positive on opportunities for investing in various areas of food processing such as cold chains, food parks, contract farming and logistics.

Earlier in the day, FPI Minister addressed a business roundtable on opportunities in the food processing sector in India. More than 50 prominent business groups, traders and investors participated in the roundtable. Union Minister highlighted steps taken by Government of India for ease of doing business and the investor friendly policies in food processing. Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal invited business groups to invest in food parks wherein Government of India gives support of up to Rs. 50 crore. She highlighted the Operation Greens scheme of Government of India for integrated development of tomato, onion and potato. She also emphasized that India can become a major player in organic food, especially the states in the North East. She invited UAE companies to participate in the first Organic Food exhibition being organized in Delhi on February 21-23, 2020.

The participants at the roundtable appreciated the various steps taken by Government of India for promoting trade and investment. The discussions resulted in valuable suggestions such as single window clearances for investments, standardization of certificates for food exports from India, recognition of organic products of India, support for SMEs in identifying new markets and marketing of Indian products. The event was organized by Consulate General of India, Dubai together with PIOCCI, UAE.

Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal held one-on-one meetings with various companies in trading of food products and investing in the sector. The Union Minister inaugurated the India pavilion put together with the assistance of APEDA at Gulfood 2020 on 16th February 2020. India is the largest participant in Gulfood with almost 300 companies and India's food exports to UAE stand at almost 1.8 billion dollars. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB).


Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh begins first day of DeExpo 2020 by holding meetings with his counterparts from UAE, UK, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan and Oman, New Delhi, 05 February 2020.

The DefExpo, largest of its kind, is being held for the first time in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh.

In the bilateral meeting with His Excellency Mohammed Al Bowardi, MoS for Defence Affairs of the UAE, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh exchanged views on further strengthening the cooperation in Defence Affairs. They expressed satisfaction at various dimensions of the ongoing Defence cooperation between the two countries. Welcoming the UAE Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh invited him to explore varied cultural and touristic potential of Uttar Pradesh. The warmth and bonhomie shared between the top leadership of both the countries over the years has resulted in transforming bilateral cooperation to a strategic partnership.

In the delegation level bilateral meeting with UK Minister for Defence procurement Mr James Heappey, Raksha Mantri underlined the growing ties between the two countries. The discussions while touching on various aspects related to defence cooperation, also focussed on opportunities to further enhance defence engagements between the two countries. They have agreed to meet again tomorrow to continue the parleys.

In the third meeting of the morning, Raksha Mantri held bilateral level talks with Her Excellency Uza Mariya Ahmed Didi, Defence Minister for Maldives. The Maldivian minister expressed her country’s gratitude for India’s assistance over the years and recently in bringing back Maldivian students from the Corona virus affected Wuhan region, China.

She underlined the opportunities that exist to further enhance defence cooperation especially in the Maritime domain, to which Raksha Mantri responded positively. Both the Ministers noted that Cooperation in the field of defence industry also forms an important part of strategic partnership between both the countries.

Major General Raiimberdi Duishenbiev, Chief of General Staff of Kyrgyz Armed Forces and Defence Minister of Kyrgyzstan met Raksha Mantri and discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to defence cooperation between the two countries. In a significant decision, Both leaders agreed that the Joint Exercise involving the Special Forces of India and Kyrgyzstan named Khanjar VII shall be held soon in India. It was also decided that the first Joint Working group between the two countries on Defence Cooperation would be held within the next two to three months.

Holding the last and fifth meeting of the morning with HE Badr Saud Harib Al Busaidi, Minister for Defence Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, Raksha Mantri stressed that Defence cooperation was the key pillar of bilateral relations between the two countries. Both Ministers discussed measures to further strengthen defence partnership, by enhancing joint maritime security exercises. Raksha Mantri expressed willingness of India’s defence industry especially Defence PSUs to work more closely with Oman.

The common theme among views expressed by the visiting dignitaries was to express gratitude for the invitation to visit DefExpo 2020 and conveyed their best wishes for the success of the event, which had proved to be an effective platform for sharing, collaborating and cooperating on various defence technologies. There was also unanimity on further exploring and strengthening bilateral relations with India, in particular in defence domain to expedite Joint projects. Raksha Mantri wished all the visiting delegates to have a pleasant stay here and invited them to visit the various tourist destinations in Uttar Pradesh. Source: Press Information Bureau (PIB)


OIC Condemns Violence against Muslims in New Delhi, Jeddah, 27 February 2020.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemns the recent and alarming violence against Muslims in India, resulting in the death and injury of innocent people and the arson and vandalism of mosques and Muslim-owned properties. It expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts.

The OIC calls on Indian authorities to bring the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of anti-Muslim violence to justice and to ensure the safety and security of all its Muslim citizens and the protection of Islamic holy places across the country. Source: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).


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