relaxes visa regime for Pak nationals
Dec 27: India on Monday announced unilateral relaxation of the visa
regime for Pakistan nationals above 65 years and below 12 years.
It also offered student visas to Pakistanis on case-by-case basis
for studying in reputed Indian educational institutions. The decisions
were announced by Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran at a media conference
after talks on the first of the two-day dialogue concluding tomorrow.
also announced the extension of free medical facilities for Pakistani
children suffering from cardiac ailments in Indian medical institutions.
India had given free medical treatment to 40 Pakistani children.
Now, 20 more children will be accorded such a facility. Asked about
Pakistan's response to this, he said this was a unilateral decision
to be implemented by India and New Delhi would appreciate any reciprocal
gesture by Pakistan. The visa relaxation proposals would be notified
as soon as arrangements at the Wagah border were made, he said.
two Foreign Secretaries are holding the second round of the Composite
Dialogue process to resolve differences over Jammu and Kashmir and
seven other outstanding issues. Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and
his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Khokhar along with their official
delegations met here to hold two-day talks on issues listed in the
Composite Dialogue process and others like resolution of differences
over travel documents to run the bus service between Srinagar and
the Composite Dialogue structure, the Foreign Secretaries have been
assigned to discuss Jammu and Kashmir, Peace and Security and Confidence
Building Measures. Besides holding talks on these issues, they are
also expected to finalise a calendar of events for official level
talks on issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Terrorism
and Drug Trafficking, Economic and Commercial Cooperation and promotion
of Friendly exchanges in various fields.
two countries held the first round of the Composite Dialogue process
early this year with little success following which they agreed
to hold the second round.
Malaysia sign agreements to boost ties
DELHI, Dec 20: India and Malaysia on Monday signed three agreements
and 12 business-to-business agreements to give a new fillip to the
economic and political ties between the two countries. The visiting
Malaysia Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who arrived here
on Sunday on a five-day official visit, hoped that his visit would
help "widen" the area of bilateral ties. "We want
to deepen and expand our relations with India covering all areas,"
he told newsmen after being presented ceremonial reception at the
Badawi said he hoped his visit would help "widen" ties
between the two nations and make them "more comprehensive".
Mr Badawi, on his first visit to India after assuming office in
October last year, held wide-ranging talks with the Prime Minister,
Dr Manmohan Singh, on a host of important bilateral, regional and
international issues of mutual concern. Threats posed by terrorism,
UN reforms and Iraq situation were among the issues figured during
one to one meeting with Dr Singh, the two sides held delegation-level
talks in which senior Ministers including Defence Minister, Commerce
and Industry Minister and Civil Aviation Minister were present.
Three Agreements were signed in presence of the two Prime Ministers.
Prime Minister hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting dignitary.
many as 12 business to business agreements, encompassing wide range
of areas such as cooperation in the field of Information Technology,
Biotechnology, Agriculture, Satellite systems, Railways and Television
networks were signed in presence of Prime Minister Badawi during
business luncheon meeting with Confederation of Indian Industries
(CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
the day, the visiting leader called on the President, Dr A P J Abdul
Kalam, the Vice President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and held
meetings with the External Affairs Minister, Mr K Natwar Singh,
the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Shivraj Patil, and the Minister
of Finance, Mr P. Chidambaram.
Malaysian Prime Minsiter is accompanied by a high-level degelation,
including Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, Works Minister S Samy
Vellu, Energy, Water and Communication Minister Lim Keng Yaik and
Miniser of Higher Education Shafie Mohd Salleh.
first agreement signed in the presence of the two Prime Ministers
was between Antrix Corporation Limited ("Antrix"), the
commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation ("ISRO"),
and MEASAT Global Bhd. In this the two agreed to form a Joint Venture
Company ("JV Co") to pool their satellite capacities,
in a major move to develop a satellite neighbourhood for millions
of broadcasting and telecommunications customers across the wider
Asia Pacific region.
Joint Venture, which will be equally owned by the two companies,
represents a significant breakthrough and major step in the ongoing
cooperation between the Indian and Malaysian satellite sectors.
The JV Co will leverage capacity from both the high-powered Indian
INSAT and Malaysian MEASAT satellite fleets to provide commercial
satellite service across the wider Asia-Pacific region.
second agreement was a Letter of Intent by MEASAT Satellite Systems
Sdn Bhd. of Malaysia to Antrix Corporation on procurement of MEASAT-4
Satellite. With in the overall framework of cooperation of Joint
Venture, Antrix has proposed building and launching MEASAT-4 satellite.
The technical and financial aspects have been mostly agreed upon
and discussions are continuing over certain regulatory processes.
Signed by Tun Hanif Bin Tun Omar, Director, MEASAT Satellite Systems
from the Malaysian side and Mr K.R. Sridharmurthy, Executive Director,
Antrix Corporation from the Indian side.
third agreement was a Concession Agreement for the Development,
Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the Hyderabad International
Airport between Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India
and Hyderabad International Airport Limited. The consortium of GMR
Infrastructure Limited (GIL) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad
(MABH) has been selected by Government of Andhra Pradesh and Government
of India following a competitive bidding to develop Greenfield international
airport through Public Private Partnership (PPP) at Shamshabad near
Hyderabad at about 20 kilometers from the existing airport at Begumpet.
consortium as majority partner, will be responsible for the design,
finance, construction, operation, maintenance and management of
Hyderabad International Airport Project, through a special purpose
company viz. Hyderabad International Airport Limited (HIAL), in
which Government of Andhra Pradesh and AAI together hold 26 per
cent. The approximate cost of the project is Rs. 1,385 crores.
PM visit to strengthen economic ties
By Deepak Arora
DELHI, Dec 19: The Malaysian Prime Minister, Seri Abdullah Ahmad
Badawi, arrived here on Sunday on a five-day state visit that
is expected to give a big boost to bilateral economic cooperation
in diversified areas. The visiting dignitary will hold wide-ranging
discussions with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Monday
on a host of important bilateral, regional and international issues
of mutual concern. Threats posed by terrorism, UN reforms and
the situation in Iraq are among issues that are expected to figure
during the parleys. The two countries will sign agreements for
enhancing bilateral cooperation.
Malaysian leader will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the
forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday morning. Later,
the External Affairs Minister, Mr K Natwar Singh, and the Finance
Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, will call on him. He will also address
a luncheon meeting, organised by CII and FICCI. Mr Badawi will
call on the President, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, and the Vice-President,
Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, in the afternoon and hold official
talks with the Prime Minister, followed by signing of agreements
between the two countries.
Tuesday, the Malaysian leader will visit the Indian Institute
of Technology (IIT) here. The Jamia Millia Islamia University
will confer him with an honorary degree on later in the day. On
this occasion, he is expected to deliver an address on the concept
of Islam Hadhari or Civilizational Islam. The Petroleum Minister,
Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, will call on the visiting dignitary in
the evening. The Malaysian premier would also have meetings with
the UPA Chairperson and Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi,
and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr L K Advani.
Minister of State, Mr E Ahamed, and Secretary in the External
Affairs Ministry, Mr Rajiv Sikri, warmly received him at Delhi
airport. This is Mr Badawi's first visit to India after he assumed
office in October last year. The ruling coalition Barisan National
party registered a resounding victory in the general elections
in March this year.
is accompanied by Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, Works Minister
S Samy Vellu, Energy, Water and Communication Minister Lim Keng
Yaik, Minister of Higher Education Shafie Mohd. Salleh, Deputy
Minister of Home Tan Chai Ho, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mohd.
Sharif Haji Om, senior officials and a large business delegation.
He is also accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood.
Malaysia currently holds the Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM) and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
and Malaysia share historical and cultural links. Today, Malaysia
is India's largest trading partner among ASEAN countries, with
bilateral trade recording 3.2 billion dollars and projected to
cross four billion dollars this year. Malaysian companies play
an active role in infrastructure development in India including
in the construction of highways and ports. Similarly, Indian companies
such as IRCON, HMT, EIL, BHEL and IOC have been engaged in the
Malaysian industrial sector since the early 1970s.
is home to the largest number of Persons of Indian Origin numbering
about two million, who are integrated into the political, economic
and social life of Malaysia.
from New Delhi, Prime Minister Badawi will visit Agra and Bangalore
where he will visit Infosys, Biocon and Hindustan Aeronauticals
In Bangalore, Mr Badawi will address a business meeting orgnised
by the Confederation of Indian Industry soon after his arrival
on Wednesday and later participate at a banquet hosted in his
honour by Governor T N Chaturvedi at Raj Bhavan. On December 23,
he would visit the Campuses of Biocon and Infosys in the morning
and later visit the Indian institute of Science. He would leave
for Turkey the same night.
Badawi, who is accompanied by a large business delegation, hopes
to bag a large chunk of construction contracts in Asia's fourth-largest
economy and also expects to push New Delhi to lower palm oil duties.
India is one of the largest importers of Malaysian palm oil. India,
the world's biggest edible oils importer, is likely to increase
purchases as it needs more supply to cover increased consumption
and a delay in arrivals of domestic oil in the market, traders
imports 50 per cent of its annual edible oil requirement of nearly
9 million tonne, the bulk of which is palm oil from Malaysia and
New Delhi was expected to urge Malaysia to use its influence and
help create an Asian free trade market with ASEAN countries by
2015, a trade official said.
assumes the chairmanship of Association of South East Asia Nations
(ASEAN) in 2005.
firms have bagged contracts worth more than $2 billion for road
construction in India, including a role in an ambitious highway
programme connecting the four corners of the vast South Asian
country. In 1995, India passed a law to allow private participation
in highway building. This led to Rs 540 billion ($12.3 billion)
project to widen more than 13,000 km (8,000 miles) of highways
from two to four lanes.
now plans to encourage private investment in the shipping and
port sectors and help scrap old procedures that hinder growth
in maritime-related areas as part of a 14-year-old economic reform
programme. So far, 17 port projects costing Rs 40.5 billion have
already been approved, while 19 more involving Rs 34.8 billion
are under consideration or open for bids.
PM arrives on Sunday on 5-day visit to India
DELHI, Dec 18: Malaysian Prime Minister Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,
whose country holds the Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement
and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), arrives here
on Sunday on a five-day state visit to India to strengthen bilateral
Minister Badawi will bring with him senior Ministers from the
Malaysian Cabinet, including Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed
Hamid Albar; Minister of Works Dato Seri S Samy Vellu; Minister
of Energy, Water & Communication Dato Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik;
Minister of Higher Education Dato Dr. Hj. Shafie Mohd Salleh;
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Tan Chai Ho; and Deputy
Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Dato Seri Hj.
Mohd Shariff Haji Om; and senior officials and a large business
delegation, according to a spokesman of the Ministry of External
Affairs. He will also be accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Endon
will be Badawi's first visit to India after he assumed office
in October 2003, which was followed by a resounding victory of
the ruling coalition, Barisan National, in the general elections
in March 2004.
the visit, Badawi will call on President A P J Abdul Kalam and
Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He will have discussions
with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who will host a banquet
in honour of the visiting dignitary. Senior Ministers of the Cabinet,
including External Affairs, Home, Finance and Petroleum and Natural
Gas, will call on the Malaysian leader.
Minister Badawi, along with the accompanying business delegation,
will have an opportunity to interact with leaders of the Indian
industry at a function jointly hosted by the Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FICCI) and Confederation of
Indian Industry(CII) here. He will be conferred with an Honorary
Doctorate by the Jamia Millia Islamia. On the occasion, Prime
Minister Badawi is expected to deliver an address on the concept
of Islam Hadhari or Civilisational Islam. Apart from New Delhi,
he will visit Agra and Bangalore where he will visit Infosys,
Biocon and Hindustan Aeronauticals Limited.
and Malaysia share historical and cultural links. Today, Malaysia
is India's largest trading partner among ASEAN countries, with
bilateral trade recording US$3.2 billion and projected to cross
US$4 billion this year. Malaysian companies play an active role
in infrastructure development in India including in the construction
of highways and ports. Similarly, Indian companies such as IRCON,
HMT, EIL, BHEL and IOC have been engaged in the Malaysian industrial
sector since the early 1970s.
is home to the largest number of Persons of Indian Origin numbering
about 2 million, who are integrated into the political, economic
and social life of Malaysia. Malaysia will assume Chairmanship
of ASEAN next year.
Israel sign trade accord 25 years after peace treaty
Dec 14: Egypt and Israel on Tuesday signed their first strategic
partnership accord in trade and industry since their historic
1979 peace treaty. The deal signed with the United States will
lead to the establishment of joint industrial zones in Egypt from
where goods will be exported to the United States duty free.
Industry and Foreign Trade Minister Mohammed Rashid, and Israeli
Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, signed the accord in the presence
of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, and US Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick, an agency report said.
Indian to go to Iraq for polls
DELHI, Dec 8: The External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, on
Wednesday said that no Indian was being sent to Iraq for conducting
elections there. However, he said if Iraq wanted it could send its
people to India for training for the purpose. Replying to clarifications
sought by members in the Lok Sabha after his reply to a debate on
foreign policy, the Minister ruled out giving any guarantee for
the safety of the Indians working in the US embassy in Jeddah in
Singh said it was impossible to give guarantee to officials working
in the US embassy in Jeddah. He said of the two Indians who died
in the terrorist attack on Indians working in the US embassy in
Saudi Arabia, one was an official working in the embassy and the
other was a contractor. He said the Government had made a clear-cut
enunciation of its policy of not sending troops to Iraq that has
been endorsed by Parliament.
the same time, we have maintained our engagement with the friendly
people of Iraq. This has taken the shape of humanitarian and reconstruction
aid and more recently support for the forthcoming election process
in the country," he said. Mr
Singh said the restoration of political stability in Iraq is of
direct concern to India, which depends upon this region for a substantial
part of our energy supplies and also because 3.5 million of our
citizens live and work in this region.
India, he said relations with the US are special because we are
both vibrant democracies. "Our relations are being expanded
across the board. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met President
Bush in New York in September 2004, which resulted in a strong re-affirmation
of the strategic partnership between our two countries."
Singh stated that the Secretary of Defence, Mr Rumsfeld arrives
here on Wednesday. "Our perspectives on specific issues may
be different and that may lead to differences in policies. However,
we share a great and enduring affinity as peoples wedded to democratic
values and today there is such a broad range of interaction between
the two countries across the board that changes in the U.S. Administration
have not resulted in any uncertainty or doubt."
Minister said India-US relations are beginning to acquire a degree
of stability and predictability. "We are ready to work together
on shared concerns." He
stated "Our two million diaspora is a strong factor in this
relationship. On missile defence, we have given no commitment about
our participation. At this stage, we are being given technical briefings
and presentation on missile defence by the U.S."
said the U.S. Administration has approached the U.S. Congress for
the supply of a weapons package to Pakistan, including surveillance
aircraft and anti-tank missiles. The Minister said "the UPA
Government has expressed our strong concern over this move at very
high levels of the U.S. Government. We have pointed out that supply
of arms to Pakistan at a time when India-Pakistan dialogue is at
a sensitive stage, would have a negative impact."
said "we have also conveyed that U.S. arms supply to Pakistan
would also have a negative impact on the goodwill the U.S. enjoys
in India, particularly as a sister democracy. On the possible supply
of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan the U.S. Government has conveyed that
no decision has been taken and is not imminent. We have cautioned
the U.S. against such a decision. I would like to assure members
that in case of U.S. arms supply to Pakistan, the UPA Government
will not hesitate to take steps to ensure that our defence preparedness
is not compromised in any way."
Indo-Pak relations as "accident-prone", the Minister said
this has to be dealt with great restraint, wisdom and patience and
hoped its future does not lie in the past now. He said having been
India's Ambassador to Pakistan more than a quarter century ago,
he naturally has great interest in promoting good neighbourly and
cordial relations with the northern neighbour.
relations are accident-prone. We have, therefore, to deal with this
matter with great restraint, with great wisdom and patience,"
he said stressing "with Pakistan, we have put behind a reactive
policy, which frequently oscillated between euphoria and despair.
Emphasising that the two countries were engaged in a sustained and
comprehensive dialogue process, he said "I hope that the future
of Indo-Pak relations does not lie in the past now".
he said, would not be deflected by "transient developments
and often contradictory pronouncements from the other side of the
New Delhi's confidence in taking this process forward was reflected
in the number of wide-ranging Confidence Building Measures that
has been proposed by it. "We have offered Pakistan 72 CBMs
for them to study".
Israel set up Joint Study Group to boost trade ties
DELHI, Dec 8: India on Wednesday announced the formation of a Joint
Study Group (JSG) with Israel to further bilateral trade ties between
both the nations, which Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
hailed as a breakthrough in Indo-Israeli relations.
and Israel bilateral trade should cross over two billion dollars
in the current fiscal as our country has emerged as Israel's second
largest trading partner in Asia. The volume of bilateral trade has
set a new record every year," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath,
said and set a target of five billion dollars in three years and
argued that it was not impossible to achieve.
Minister said the JSG would furnish all the dry details on furthering
Indo-Israeli business prospects in the next few months following
which Indo-Israeli Cooperation Agreement would be signed.
Indian and Israeli businessmen at FICCI here, Olmert said "the
JSG is a breakthrough in our relations. As a result we would have
a comprehensive study on bilateral business relations," he
said and assured of a "genuine, friendly and open-hearted partnership
The Israeli Deputy Premier announced that both nations would sign
a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) later in the day on Research
said Israel is looking for partnership with India in Research and
Development, biotechnology, hi-tech products, IT, telecom and electronics
and pointed out that Israeli entrepreneurs desired to establish
a genuine and long-standing partnership with their Indian counterparts.
Russia should work together on new technologies: Putin
Dec 5: Russian President Vladimir Putin, asserted the need for New
Delhi and Moscow working together on innovative technologies as
he visited software major Infosys here on Sunday. During an hour
long-visit, accompanied by a business delegation and media personnel
from Russia, Putin met the senior management of the company and
addressed the employees.
was taken around the campus at Electronics City on the outskirts
of the city and provided an overview on the IT industry and the
company by Infosys Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer,
Nandan M Nilekani. In his address to Infosys employees, Putin emphasised
the need for India and Russia to work together on innovative technologies,
a statement issued by the company said.
Putin, Infosys Chairman and Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy, said
his visit was an affirmation of the special relationship between
the two countries.
Observing that the two countries had already successfully leveraged
each other's strengths across various industry sectors, he said
there were avenues that remained unexplored. "As our bilateral
relations expand in scope and depth, surely, Information Technology
will be one of the areas in which both countries can collaborate
for talent and knowledge," he said.
Russian President's visit to India's infotech hub has sent a strong
signal of Moscow's willingness to seriously engage India in improving
the bilateral economic relations in the sector, India's Ambassador
to Russia Kanwal Sibal, said today. "Putin, through his visit,
has sent a powerful signal of Russia's willingness to seriously
engage India in developing our economical relations in the frontier
sector," Sibal told newsmen, soon after Putin wound up his
three-day visit to India. Putin left here for Ankara, the capital
of Turkey, on a two-day official visit, the first by a Russian President.
Putin's visit as "successful from all points of issue,"
Sibal said both sides believe that the objective of the Russian
leader's India trip has been achieved.
think Russian President's visit here to Infosys in Bangalore is
very important in terms of what we can mutually explore in the IT
sector," Sibal said, adding that about 23 CEOs of Russian IT
firms accompanied Putin here.
are good at R&D and fast algorithms in high-end IT, we are good
at services and project management. It is a mutual strength we can
build and cooperate in future," he said. Sibal cited the MoUs
signed in the energy, banking and other sectors in New Delhi as
an opportunity for both nations to further boost their bilateral
backs veto power for India in UNSC
DELHI, Dec 4: The Russian President, Mr Vladimir Putin, has clarified
that India should have veto powers as a permanent member in an
expanded UN Security Council, according to a spokesman of the
Ministry of External Affairs. "In his meeting today with
the Vice President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and the Leader
of the Opposition, Mr LK Advani, President Putin categorically
rejected the interpretation given by some newspaper reports on
his remarks on Friday about veto powers in an expanded Security
Council," said the spokesman.
said Mr Putin had emphasised the need of retaining the instrument
of veto as a means of ensuring the effectiveness of the UN Security
In extending full support to India's candidature, the Russian
President felt that India, as a new member, should have the full
rights of permanent membership, including the right of veto, he
Putin said if India achieves a permanent seat in the Security
Council it could not be a permanent member of second rank, he
said. At a joint press conference with the Prime Minister, Dr
Manmohan Singh, Mr Putin had on Friday said "speaking of
the role of the veto and other existing tools in the UN, we should
say that we believe that it would be absolutely unacceptable to
erode such tools of the UN because otherwise the U N organisation
will lose its weight, lose its role, changing into some discussion
club - some new edition of the League of Nations," according
to the English version of Putin's remarks given by the Russian
Russia working group for IT pact: India and Russia have agreed
to set up a working group to draw up an inter-governmental agreement
on information technology, according Mr Leonid D. Reiman, Russia's
IT Minister. Speaking to newsmen in Bangalore, Mr Reiman said
that he had a meeting on Friday with his Indian counterpart Mr
Dayanidhi Maran in which it was agreed to establish the working
group of specialists who would prepare a draft agreement.
Maran would visit Russia on an invitation in the first half of
next year, added Mr Reiman after a round-table of 20 Russian companies
whose top executives interacted with leading Indian firms for
possible areas of cooperation. Russia was trying to make the round-table
a regular event and the inter-governmental agreement was expected
to be signed in the next edition, he said.
visiting Minister found India's software technology parks' model
very good and said Russia would try to create something similar
at home to accelerate IT growth. Russia would seek expertise of
Infosys Technologies Limited in this context, he said in a response.
Mr Reiman emphasised that Indian and Russian companies joining
forces and offering quality products for the 'third countries'
would be beneficial for both parties.
India was a leader in software, outsourcing and services and an
established player in sales and marketing, Russia's strength lay
in research and development. There was synergy to join hands by
leveraging each other's skills.
India plans to work jointly with Russia to tackle cyber crime.
India's Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT) plans to jointly
work with Russia to combat cyber crime, including virus and hacker
attacks in their computer networks, according to Mr Madhavan Nambiar,
IT Joint Secretary.
are trying to see how best our CERT can work with Russian authorities
on Information Security and prevent attacks by virus, worms and
hackers," he said in Bangalore.
his address at the Indo-Russian Information and Communication
Technologies Cooperation Conference in Bangalore, Mr Nambiar said
the cyber security plan was in the early stages, but CERT had
already signed a protocol on e-security with Russia. He said the
three areas of cooperation in the IT domain were software parks,
Information Security and Software services. The Software Technology
Parks of India (STPI) was in the process of setting up a software
park in Moscow, he said.
Russia agree to revitalise traditional ties
DELHI, Dec 3: India and Russia have given a new momentum to their
longstanding relationship by agreeing to further strengthen the
energy and military ties. India is looking to Russia's vast resources
to meet its growing demand for energy. Speaking at a joint press
conference after holding talks with the visiting Russian President,
Mr Vladimir Putiin, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said
"we have laid down several new milestones for expanding, widening
and deepening our cooperation with Russia."
and Russia also signed a joint declaration emphasising strategic
partnership between the two countries and taking note of the transformation
in the global environment in the recent past. The two countries
also signed accords on outer-space, long-term cooperation in the
field of joint development and use of Russian Global Navigational
Satellite System (GLONASS) for peaceful purposes, visa-free travel
for holders of diplomatic and official passports and cooperation
between the cities of Mumbai and St Petersburg.
agreement on outer-space and GLONASS was signed by ISRO Chairman
G Madhavan Nair and Director of Russian Federal Space Agency A Perminov.
India's Foreign Secretary Shyam Sharan inked the deal on visa-free
travel with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeev. Mumbai
Municipal Corporation Mayor Mahadev Deole signed the agreement for
cooperation with Valentina Matvienko, Governor of President Vladimir
Putin's hometown St Petersburg.
declaration said the governments would encourage investment by energy
firms in each other's countries. It said energy constitutes an important
part of the bilateral relationship. Considering the expanding energy
requirements of India, both sides stressed the need for employing
resources that were environment-friendly and available in sufficient
power plants offer a pollution-free and substantial source of energy
to provide for the sustainable development. Both sides are determined
to continue their cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, incorporating
innovative technologies to ensure energy security, with due regard
to their commitments to non-proliferation norms."
said the two sides also recognise the considerable scope for cooperation
in the hydro-electric and thermal power sectors. Russia is a major
exporter of oil and gas and India is emerging as a large consumer.
The two sides affirm their desire to cooperate in development of
new oil and gas fields and the means of their transportation in
Russia, India and other countries.
sides agree to encourage and assist investments in the energy sector
by Indian companies in Russia and those by Russian companies in
this sector in India. The Sides view cooperation in energy as an
area of priority attention in bilateral cooperation."
Putin backed a bigger role for India at the UN Security Council.
Responding to a question on New Delhi's long standing desire for
a permanent seat on the UN body, Mr Putin said "India is our
candidate number one in terms of enlarging the geographical representation
of the Security Council." However, he said he was not in favour
of veto rights to new members.
speaking about the role of veto and other tools present in the UN,
we should say that we believe it would be absolutely unacceptable
to erode such tools of the UN. Because, otherwise, the UN organisation
will lose its weight and lose its role changing into some discussion
club, some new addition of the League of Nations," he said.
in turn, has backed Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation
(WTO). Russia needs bilateral agreements with WTO members before
it can join the global trade policy group.
Dr Singh said problems faced by the Indian military in sourcing
spares from Russian arms manufacturers had been resolved. New Delhi
and Moscow share a strong friendship dating back to India's support
of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. About 70 per cent of India's
military equipment is of Russian origin. India has, however, in
recent years has moved away from its near complete dependence on
Moscow for weapons and now buys from Israel, South Africa and the
an expression of unhappiness over Washington's unilateral approach
in Iraq, the two leaders stressed the need for multilateral efforts
to resolve disputes. "The two sides expressed their concern
over the continuing violence in Iraq and underlined the necessity
for internal dialogue aimed at achieving a national consensus on
a new constitution and on restoring stability and security,"
Mr Putin and Dr Singh said in the joint statement.
Russian President, who arrived here this morning to a warm welcome,
would travels to India's technology capital of Bangalore on Saturday
before returning to Moscow. Mr Putin, who is accompanied by a high-level
delegation, was warmly received at Delhi airport by Communication
and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran and Foreign
Secretary Shyam Saran.
two countries have also agreed to reach an agreement within four
months on intellectual property rights in respect of all future
supply of defence equipment.
"We have agreed that this matter (IPR) should be resolved in
the next four months beginning January. The IPR rights will be respected
with regard to all future supplies of equipment," said Dr Manmohan
regards the existing agreements they will run through their course,
he said. Agreeing with the Prime Minister, Mr Putin said there was
only one technical issue that remained to be sorted out and he was
confident that it would be done in the next three-four months.
Prime Minister announced that India would honour the assurance given
by former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee that Russia would be treated
as market economy.
In his opening remarks, Dr Singh said their discussions covered
joint cooperative ventures in many areas and the problem of supplies
of defence spares has been resolved. He noted that the relationship
between the two countries went beyond the buyer-seller cooperation
into areas of research and development and joint production.
that the economic cooperation between the two countries was much
below expectations, he said the joint committee which looks into
the matter has gone into it with a sense of urgency. "I have
conveyed to President Putin that we will stand by what assurance
(former) Prime Minister Vajpayee had given in this regard. Russia
will be treated as market economy in the matter of anti-dumping
rules for anti-dumping investigations," the Prime Minister
Singh said they discussed energy cooperation and also peaceful cooperation
in nuclear energy. "Together we are fully satisfied with the
discussions. We are appreciative of Russia's sustained support to
India's case for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
said "we also had a useful survey of the situation in our neighbourhood,
especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. In all these matters there were
close similarity of views."
Putin said Indo-Russian strategic partnership was not influenced
by any circumstances and they full understood on all matters discussed
today. The Russian President said the decisions taken today would
further strengthen bilateral ties.
Russia plan fresh investment for developing BrahMos missile
DELHI, Dec 2: The Defence Ministers of India and Russia on Thursday
said they had ironed out the irritants in their military ties. Both
sides conceded each other's demands and resolved to evolve their
military partnership from that of a buyer-seller to active research
and development and joint export of armaments to third countries.
at a joint press conference, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced
that India had decided to concede Russia's two-year-old request
for a defence secrecy agreement that would ensure that the country
receiving high-end defence technology would not sell or transfer
it to another country. "The sooner the better,'' interjected
the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, when Mr Mukherjee was
asked about the timeframe within which the pact would be finalised.
Mr Mukherjee said the first meeting on the draft of the defence
secrecy agreement would be held in January and work would be completed
in another four to five months.
also partly conceded India's request for bank guarantees against
items ordered from the Russian military industrial complex. The
Russian Ministry of Finance will give a "comfort letter'' to
New Delhi in place of bank guarantees. India had been insisting
on such an arrangement because Russian military factories had sometimes
failed to meet the production schedule or after sales agreement.
India would have encashed the bank guarantees as a sort of penalty
in case Russia reneged on the delivery schedule. "The letter
of comfort is adequate,'' said Mr Mukherjee.
also addressed Russia's grouse of bilateral military exercises not
being held despite the latter enjoying close military ties with
India for several decades. It was decided on Thursday that Special
Forces of both sides would hold a joint exercise next year. While
India has held several army-level exercises with the United States,
it had tended to ignore Russia despite the commonality of equipment.
The ice was broken for the first time when India and Russia held
naval exercises off the eastern coast this year.
two sides also signed three protocols for fresh investments (estimated
at Rs 250 crores) for the development of the BrahMos supersonic
cruise missile. The Russian Government plans to issue an executive
order to scale up Russian investment in the joint venture. India
too has agreed to make fresh investments in the venture for making
supersonic missiles with an official range of just under 300 km.
The influx of funds would help produce nearly 400 missiles that
will be fitted on military platforms of both countries.
two countries also decided to work out "mutually acceptable''
conditions on leasing of long-range (and possibly nuclear-capable)
TU-22 bombers. On being asked whether the discussions covered leasing
of Russian nuclear submarines, Mr. Ivanov said the two sides had
talked of a package deal that would involve "appropriate projects''
for the Navy.
held on the previous two days saw officials focussing on the need
for steady supply of spares. Taking note of complaints by all the
three Indian armed services of tardy supplies of spares, Russia
agreed to provide maintenance and overhauling facilities in India.
In order to ensure economies of scale, military hardware of friendly
countries could also be refurbished at these places.
Mukherjee and Mr Ivanov signed the protocol of the Indo-Russian
Inter-Governmental Commission while different working groups pertaining
to military and technical cooperation signed two other protocols.
Israel review bilateral ties
DELHI, Nov 17: India and Israel reviewed their bilateral relations
at the 8th round foreign office consultations held here on
Tuesday. A joint statement issued Wednesday said the two sides
had wide-ranging and constructive exchange of views in the
spirit of friendship and mutual understanding.
discussions, which included a review of bilateral, regional
and multilateral issues, was held ahead of Israel's Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, Trade and Employment
Ehud Olmert's visit to New Delhi next month at the head of
a 100-strong business delegation.
External affairs ministry secretary Rajiv Sikri led the Indian
delegation at the consultation while Ambassador Amos Nadai
headed the Israeli delegation, the statement said.
decide to set up a JSC
DELHI, Nov 17: Sino-Indian cooperation in Science and Technology
is poised for a great leap forward with the two countries
taking an historic decision on Wednesday to set up a Joint
Steering Committee (JSC) to promote collaboration in diverse
areas including disaster management, IT, Pharmaceuticals including
Indian System of Medicine and non-conventional energy.
to a press release, the proposal for the JSC was mooted by
the Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal at the
Official Level Meeting with the Chinese side led by State
Councillor Ms. Chen Zhilli. This is for the first time that
such a high ranking Chinese Minister dealing with Science
and Technology has come to India. The JSC will be co-chaired
by the Ministers for Science and Technology of the two countries
and will have its first meeting in Beijing sometime next year
after its constitution through bi-lateral consultations.
Buried in Chaotic Scenes in West Bank
West Bank, Nov 13: Yasser Arafat was buried on Friday in chaotic
scenes of grief and gunfire at the compound where he spent
his final years encircled by the Israeli army and powerless
to realize his dream of a Palestinian state. It was the end
of an era for Israelis and Palestinians locked for decades
in a conflict of which Arafat was one of the most recognized
symbols, and stirred hopes for reviving Middle East peacemaking
for the first time in years.
condolences to the Palestinians, President Bush said he saw
a "great chance" for work toward lasting peace and
creation of a Palestinian state. Bush had in the past shunned
Arafat, branding him an "obstacle to peace." But
fears remained of an internal power struggle that could thrust
Palestinian territories into chaos and block diplomacy.
scenes of frenzied mourning, soil brought from the site of
Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque -- Islam's third holiest site --
was poured over Arafat's casket. A Palestinian flag and a
black and white headdress, his trademark, were placed on the
tomb of black and white marble. "With our blood and soul
we redeem you, Abu Ammar," the crowd chanted, using the
nom de guerre of their leader, who fought for decades for
a state he never achieved.
may sneak into India: FBI official
DELHI, Nov 1: A senior official of the US Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) quietly visited India last week to alert
intelligence agencies about the possibility of Osama bin Laden
sneaking into India, official sources said on Monday. The
Pakistan-based official also sought Indian assistance for
joint operations by Indian and US forces to nab the world's
most wanted fugitive if he crossed over from northeastern
Pakistan, the sources said.
official's visit followed reported spotting of Bin Laden in
northeastern Pakistan, close to the Pakistan-China-India border
tri-junction, they added. The sources said the FBI official
met senior officials of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),
Intelligence Bureau (IB), Border Security Force (BSF) and
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
said the FBI official appeared to have information about the
impending release of the latest videotape by Bin Laden, carrying
yet another warning against the US. A few days later, on Oct
29, an unidentified person delivered the tape to the office
of Al-Jazeera television in Islamabad.
the tape, Bin Laden warned the American people: "Your
security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al Qaeda."
He was referring to the Democratic nominee for the presidential
election John Kerry and President George W Bush.
spy planes picked Osama near NE Pak
DELHI, Nov 1: The Fox News Channel and a website with close
Israeli links have claimed that the Indian Air Force sighted
Osama bin Laden's convoy a few days ago near Tibet-Ladakh
region close to the North-Eastern border of Pakistan. According
to Debka.com - a website believed to be run by people close
to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad - bin Laden was
spotted between October 17 and 19 by an Indian Air Force reconnaissance
plane that picked him up close to the North-Eastern corner
of Pakistan bordering India and China.
surveillance aircraft were called in and identified the al-Qaeda
leader on the move with a 10-vehicle convoy of black Japanese
minivans, the website says. Four of the vehicles turned up again
on October 22 heading east towards the Chinese border. The
Fox Channel too made similar claims late Sunday night.
sources in the Indian military have dismissed the news saying
they had "no such" high-level exchanges with US agencies
and there was no such evidence on bin Laden. It
is well known that Indian intelligence agencies are extremely
upset with US agencies that sourced all possible information
from them after 9/11 while denying them any access to American
information including those regarding terrorism against India.
But it is not known if there was a drastic turn-around and the
present government - not so friendly like the earlier Vajpayee
regime and already going slow on its US engagements - is in
such an intense collaboration with US agencies.
is also doubt about the ability of Indian agencies to so accurately
nail a convoy and identify it as that of bin Laden so deep within
the enemy territory. India's primary abilities to monitor a
foreign land are based on a series of IRS satellites, aerial
reconnaissance by aircraft and signal intelligence. While the
IRS satellites have a resolution of around 5 meters, a plane
like Jaguar deep penetration fighter can monitor upto 80 kilometers
within enemy territory. But either cannot be so accurate in
picking up a convoy and identify them as that of bin Laden.
also has signal intelligence abilities that could be used to
intercept radio and phone communications.
some officials dismiss the entire report as an effort to misuse
Indian name on the eve of US presidential elections to salvage
the fortunes of George Bush, there are some within the intelligence
fraternity who believe that in the countdown to the polls it
won't be surprising if bin Laden is produced in US custody.
Debka report claims that bin Laden would be on his way to his
winter hideout and the latest video tape was taken before he
was sighted by IAF planes. The
bin Laden tape though was dropped at the gates of Al Jazeera
's Pakistan Bureau in Islamabad, there is no evidence of information
in the footage on the whereabouts of bin Laden.
says its sources are convinced that, after he gave orders for
the tape's release, bin Laden is headed to his winter citadel
in the Himalayas and will stay there until the spring thaw.
claims to be a self-supporting Internet publication devoted
to independent, investigative reporting in the fields of international
terrorism among other related fields that came into existence
not through media: India tells Pak
DELHI, Oct 26: Appearing not enthusiastic about Pakistan President
Pervez Musharraf's new formulation on the Kashmir issue, India
on Tuesday made it clear that any such proposal or suggestion
should be taken up only at the ongoing Composite Dialogue process.
Unwilling to get into another war of words on this issue through
the media that could hamper the current thaw in relations, said
New Delhi in a guarded response.
have heard these comments. We do not believe that Jammu and
Kashmir is a subject on which discussion can be held through
the media," according to Mr Navtej Sarna, spokesman of
the Ministry of External Affairs.
that Jammu and Kashmir was already one of the subjects in the
Composite Dialogue process, he said "So, if there are any
proposals, suggestions regarding that, that (composite dialogue)
is the forum we expect they will be brought to".
Delhi has repeatedly told Islamabad that the issue of autonomy
in Jammu and Kashmir was a matter of internal debate and discussion
within India and that there was no question of change of external
status of the State.
had yesterday suggested India and Pakistan could consider the
option of identifying some "regions" of Kashmir on
both sides of Line of Control, demilitarise them and grant them
the status of independence or joint control or under UN mandate.
propositions are being viewed here as indicative of a realisation
on Pakistan's part that the position held by it hitherto on
Jammu and Kashmir are neither sustainable nor practicable.
is felt that there still remained considerable distance to go
before a realistic solution is possible. The Pakistan President's
remarks are also not in tune with the observation made by Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting in New York last
month that any solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue cannot
be based on redrawing of boundaries or another partition.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will be visiting India in the second
half of November as SAARC Chairman during which he is expected
to hold bilateral talks with Manmohan Singh.
two sides have drawn a schedule for talks from November end
on eight subjects including expert-level meetings on nuclear
and conventional confidence building measures and on commencing
the proposed bus link between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.
Secretaries Shyam Saran and Riaz Khokhar are slated to meet
in December to chalk out the schedule for the second round of
meetings on the eight-point Composite Dialogue including Jammu
and Kashmir and peace and security. The Indian and Pakistani
Prime Ministers will get a chance to meet a second time during
the Saarc Summit in Dhaka in January.
supports India's claim to UN SC seat
DELHI, Oct 20: In a significant development, China has virtually
endorsed India's claim for a permanent member of the UN Security
Council, an issue on which Beijing had chosen to remain silent
till now. Speaking to a select group of journalists, Mr Tang Jiaxuan,
State Councillor and a former foreign minister, said "we
hope to see India playing a larger and constructive role in the
Security Council for world peace and development."
India as a "major" Asian nation with a large population
and one of the fastest growing economies, Mr Tang said "China
fully understands and endorses New Delhi's interest in playing
a bigger role in international affairs." Official sources
said that the issue figured in Mr Tang's talks with the External
Affairs Minister, Mr K Natwar Singh, on Tuesday night. On Wednesday
he called on the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and and also
held talks with the National Security Adviser, Mr J N Dixit.
Tang is leading a high-level delegation, including Vice Foreign
Minister Wu Dawei, Deputy Secretary General of the State Council
Chen Jinyu, Vice Minister for Culture Meng Xiaosi and President
of the Exim Bank of China Yang Zilin. Condemning all kinds of
terrorism, Mr Tang also hit at the West for following double standards
in this regard.
to a question on trade across Nathula Pass in Sikkim, he said
preparations were on to start border trade through the Nathula
Pass in the State. "Internal preparations for trade via Nathula
Pass are being made." This statement is clear indication
of the forward movement in the relations between the two countries
and that Sikkim's status as an Indian state is no longer an issue.
said border trade was in the interest of both countries, particularly
the people of the border areas. "We are ready to provide
more facilities for the conduct of border trade," he pointed
out. The agreement for border trade through Nathula Pass was one
of the major outcomes of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's
landmark visit to China last year. It signalled Beijing's recognition
of the 1975 merger of Sikkim with the Indian union. Till then,
China had described the merger as "illegal annexation"
by New Delhi.
Tang said an Indian border trade study group had visited Lhasa
in Tiber last month to discuss customs and other arrangements
to start cross-border trade.
also expressed confidence of an early settlement of the border
problem between the two countries, given the rapidly growing bilateral
ties. "We are making all efforts every possible way to find
a just, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the border
question." Mr Tang said "we have to continue the negotiations
based on the principles of mutual adjustment and seeking a just
acceptable solution, bearing in mind our mutual and expanding
interests." He said "negotiations will continue to move
forward and I am optimistic about future prospects."
his talks with the External Affairs Minister, Mr Tang discussed
the entire gamut of bilateral ties as well as international developments.
The two leaders considered ways to further enhance economic and
cultural cooperation between the two countries.
is Mr Tang's first visit to India after he took over as the State
Councillor in charge of foreign affairs in 2003. This post was
earlier held by the Vice-Premier, Qian Qichen.
the efforts to develop a trilateral dialogue between India, China
and Russia, Mr Tang said this could help develop a common vision
for the peace, stability and development of Asia and the world
at large. The Foreign Ministers of the three countries have already
a few meetings in this regard.
the evening, the visiting Chinese State Councillor, Mr. Tang Jiaxuan
called on the Prime Minister and conveyed the greetings of President
Hu Jintao and handed over a letter from Premier Wen Jiabao to
Prime Minister. State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan briefed Prime Minister
on recent developments in India-China relations which he said
had maintained a sound momentum. As a result of the efforts of
both sides, the bilateral relationship has entered a new phase
said that proceeding from a long-term and strategic perspective,
China is committed to the development of steady and sustained
growth of relations with India. He conveyed that China supports
a bigger role for India in the international community, including
in the United Nations Security Council.
Minister expressed satisfaction over the development of India-China
relations and expressed the commitment of the Government of India
to further develop bilateral relations and exchanges with China.
He noted the enormous scope for cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister expressed happiness that the Chinese Premier will
be visiting India at an early date and mentioned that a warm welcome
1954 visit to Vietnam of great significance: Hanoi
Oct 17: India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's visit
to Vietnam 50 years ago on this day is of great significance to
this country as he was the first foreign head of State to come
here just a week after its liberation, Vietnamese Foreign Minister
Nguyen Dy Nien, said on Saturday.
years ago, Prime Minister Nehru, was the first foreign Head of
Government to come to Hanoi just one week after its total liberation.
Accompanying him was his beloved daughter - Indira Gandhi. It
was amazing that the two most outstanding figures of India were
all present in Hanoi at that historic conjucture," Nguyen
Dy Nien told a special seminar held here to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of the meeting of the two leaders.
at that time 50 years ago, my colleagues and I took over the Ministry
of Foregin Affairs, and since then I began my career as a diplomat
and this historic visit is still fresh in my memory," the
Minister noted. He read out a poem penned by Ho Chi Minh to Nehru
in 1942, which was translated into English by Sivarama Krishnan,
former Indian envoy to Vietnam.
am struggling, you are active
You are in Jail, I am in prison,
Ten thousand miles apart, we have not met
We communicate without words,
Shared ideas link you and me
What we lack is personal encounter
I am jailed by a neighbouring friend
You are chained and fettered by the enemy.
Dy Nien said that Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Nehru, had struck
a friendship. "Uncle Ho had adopted Indira Gandhi as his
niece and even when she became Prime Minister she continued calling
Ho Chi Minh Uncle Ho." He said the meeting between Nehru
and Ho Chi Minh had helped forge a close cooperation between the
two countries in struggling for implementing the Geneva Accord.
close friendship and strategic sight of the two leaders have bonded
our nations together standing side-by-side to rise above all vicissitudes
of history," he told the admirers and fans of the two Asian
leaders. He said the the root of the seemingly personal ties between
the two were convergence of their national liberation ideals,
desire for peace, liberty and independece, prospertiy for the
country and solidarity among nations, determination to abolish
oppression, exploitation and power politics.
are the noble values and quintessence of Vietnam-India friendship
and solidarity, which have been crystallised from and tested over
times," he said.
Giap for closer ties with India
Oct 17: The legendary military hero of Vietnam, General Vo Nguyen
Giap, today called for closer economic and cultural ties with
India to match the immense depth and reach of the political relationship.
The 93-year-old leader, who received the visiting External Affairs
Minister, K. Natwar Singh, at his residence here, thanked India
for playing an important role in the development of Vietnam's
the meeting, Mr Singh conveyed respects and greetings from the
Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Congress President,
Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and on behalf of the people of India. Citing
the meeting between Prime Minister Nehru and President Ho Chi
Minh 50 years back to the day, he said that India and Vietnam
have very close relations and India has the highest respect for
its relations with Vietnam.
response General Vo Nguyen Giap, recalled the same meeting and
said he remembered not only Prime Minister Nehru but also his
daughter Indira Gandhi, whom President Ho Chi Minh adopted as
his niece. He went on to convey his greetings to the leadership
in India and pointed out the special aspect of the closeness of
the relations between the two countries.
also said that in his many visits to India, he had visited many
scientific and industrial institutions and emphasized that his
feeling for India was a profound one. Pointing out that many Vietnamese
students studying in India, he thanked the Indian Government for
all the help that has been received.
PM Clarke visit to boost ties with India
DELHI, Oct 16: The New Zealand Prime Minister, Mrs Helen Clarke,
accompanied by her husband, Prof. Peter Davis, arrived here Friday
on a five-day visit to India. She is here at the invitation of
the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Her visit would boost
Indo-New Zealand ties. India's relations with New Zealand are
warm and cordial.
spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry said "the visit
of Prime Minister Helen Clarke will be a timely opportunity for
the leaders of the two countries to exchange views and perspectives
on regional as well as bilateral issues of mutual interest and
discuss ways to take forward the relationship into a 21st century
business delegation, representatives of Indian diaspora and senior
officials from the Government of New Zealand will also accompany
the Prime Minister. The visit of the New Zealand Prime Minister
is the first in almost two decades, after Prime Minister David
Lange visited India in April 1985.
During the visit, Prime Minister Clarke will call on the President,
Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, and hold talks with the Prime Minister.
The External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, will call on the
will also address a combined gathering of the Confederation of
Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce
and Industry in New Delhi. On Sunday she leaves for Agra, and
then travel to Bangalore and Mumbai, before returning to the Capital
on October 20.
Mathrani next Ambassador to Croatia
DELHI, Oct 11: Mr Aneil Mathrani has been appointed as the next
Ambassador of India to Croatia, in succession to Mr K.L. Agrawal.
He is expected to take up his assignment shortly, according to
a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs.
not right to sign NPT: PM
DELHI, Oct 7: The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today asserted
that time was not right for India to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and also said that the Government would remove all
hurdles to attract more foreign investments, including that from
Germany. Addressing a press conference along with the German Chancellor,
Mr Gerhard Schroeder, following their summit-level talks here, Dr
Manmohan Singh said "we
are a nuclear power. We are a responsible nuclear power."
Prime Minister said that India acted with restraint and noted that
its nuclear doctrine was based on "no-first use". "We
have an impeccable record in export control and we would like to
work with like-minded countries on non-proliferation issues,"
said Dr Singh. The
circumstances were not right to sign the NPT, he said. "India
in any case fulfilled the commitments of a nuclear power."
Schroeder, who concluded a two-day visit here Thursday, said Germany
would support India to have closer relations with the Group of Eight
(G-8) industrial nations. "This is part of the strategic partnership
with India," he said, when asked if Germany would support India's
inclusion in the exclusive club. The
German Chancellor's visit was part of the annual summit-level interaction
the two countries institutionalised during his last visit to India
his Government's mandate to carry forward reforms, Dr Singh said
the UPA Government was committed to creating an environment conducive
to larger private investment, both domestic and foreign. The
Prime Minister said "in the months and years to come, we will
work together with all like-minded countries and our partner in
Germany to remove all the obstacles that come in the way of increased
German investment and technology flows and in promoting a harmonious
to his discussion with Mr Schroeder, he said the two countries had
agreed to set a target to double the bilateral trade in the next
five years. Mr Schroeder's visit, he said would lend momentum to
the strategic partnership between the two countries. The
German Chancellor said he was committed to promoting this partnership
and that much more needed to be done to tap the existing vast economic
said he would do everything possible to promote trade with India
and remove barriers that came in the way.
Chancellor Schroeder arrives
DELHI: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Wednesday arrived on
a two-day state visit to further strengthen bilateral ties with
India during which he will hold talks with President A P J Abdul
Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his first interaction with
the UPA Government. Schroeder was warmly received by Minister of
State for External Affairs E Ahamed at the Indira Gandhi International
Airport here on his arrival this morning.
He was accompanied by German Education and Research Minister Edelgard
Bulmahn, Parliamentary State Secretary Ditmar Staffelt and a high-level
official, business and media delegation. Schroeder will call on
President Kalam and hold extensive parleys with Prime Minister Singh
who will host a lunch in his honour. The German Chancellor will
deliver the seventh Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture on Peace and Stability
in a Globalised World at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here.
The visit is part of annual summit-level interaction between India
and Germany, which was institutionalised during Schroeder's last
visit to India in October, 2001. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee visited Germany in May, 2003.
India attaches great importance to the visit which is seen as a
landmark in bilateral partnership. It will provide an excellent
opportunity to review bilateral relations including cooperation
in economic and science and technology sectors. Schroeder will address
the Indo-German Economic Forum jointly organised by CII, FICCI and
the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce and inaugurate "Science
Circle", a network of Indian and German scholars and research
institutions on either side.
An MoU for enhanced cooperation in science and technology between
the Department of Science and Technology and Max Planck Institute
of Germany will be signed in the presence of Schroeder and Minister
of State for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal.
Indian officials said the visit will provide an opportunity for
both sides to review progress made on the agenda for the Indo-German
partnership in the 21st century, which both sides have adopted in
May, 2000 envisaging a new strategic dimension to the relationship.
Schroeder's talks with Indian leaders will cover regional and global
developments and provide an occasion to reiterate the shared view
on the need for reform of the UN Security Council and express support
for each other's candidature in an expanded Security Council at
the highest level.
The officials said India attached special importance to its relations
with Germany and was eager to expand and intensify bilateral relations
to a level befitting the strategic relationship between the two
countries. India views Germany as an important interlocutor for
it in G-8, EU and in the international fora. Germany is the largest
economy in the EU and third largest in the world.
is India's second largest trading partner within the EU and also
a major source of technology and investment. Both sides feel that
the bilateral trade of five billion Euros was well below the true
potential. The business interaction will examine ways and means
to augment bilateral trade and cooperation in niche areas of science
and technology for mutually beneficial partnership.
the 50th subsidiary of currency automation company Giesecke and
Devrient at Gurgaon, Haryana, Mr Schroder said Germany was hopeful
that the Indian economy would continue to grow at 6-8 per cent and
political framework and conditions would remain bright. "India
has grown by 6-8 per cent in the previous years and we expect it
to continue and India will remain a major player in global economy,"
said the political conditions were bright for the country's economic
growth and it was a win-win situation for both India and Germany.
He said this was because German companies investing here would provide
employment to Indian specialists who would have secure jobs because
of the technology used which was created in Germany.
needed excellent conditions for growth including a large pool of
computer professionals and engineers, he said. There was tremendous
potential for companies investing in the Indian market, he added.
The function was also attended by Haryana Chief Minister O P Chautala.
S Korea sign extradition treaty
DELHI, Oct 5: Ushering in a new chapter in their bilateral relations,
India and South Korea on Tuesday signed an extradition treaty and
an accord on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The treaties
were signed in the presence of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh,
and the visiting South Korean President, Mr Roh Moo-Hyun, by the
External Affairs Minister, Mr K Natwar Singh, and the South Korean
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Ban Ki-Moon.
Prime Minister and Mr Roh held over 90-minute meeting covering a
wide range of bilateral, multilateral and global issues during which
they agreed to establish a long-term cooperative partnership for
peace and prosperity. During the discussions, both sides noted with
satisfaction the steady development of relations between India and
the ROK since the establishment of diplomatic relations in December
a view to further strengthening relations, it was agreed to establish
a "Long-term Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity",
which will seek to take advantage of economic complementarities
and political convergences and also develop closer and more extensive
understanding and cooperation in regional and international affairs.
Minister and President Roh noted the decision to launch a new dialogue
on foreign policy and security by early 2005, covering regional
and international security issues, bilateral defence and service-to-service
exchanges and counter-terrorism. It was also agreed to further promote
exchanges and interaction in the defence field, including cooperation
between the Navies, coast guards and related agencies of the two
countries in areas like anti-piracy and search and rescue operations.
on expanding cooperation in the fight against international terrorism
would be carried out through various bilateral and multilateral
mechanisms. It was decided to step up efforts to take bilateral
economic partnership to a higher level, taking advantage of the
complementarities in the economies and synergies in trade, investment
and hi-tech areas, so that the full potential in this regard could
be realized. Both sides agreed to set a target of US$ 10 billion
for bilateral trade by 2008.
was also agreed to establish a Joint Study Group, composed of government
officials, economists and representatives of business community,
to take a comprehensive view of the bilateral linkages in trade,
investment and services and to come up with concrete suggestions
on expansion of economic engagement.
JSG will also examine the feasibility of a comprehensive economic
partnership agreement between India and the ROK. The JSG will start
its work latest by January 2005 and submit its report within one
year. Prime Minister welcomed investment by Korean companies in
India and said that the Government of India was committed to creating
a congenial climate for foreign direct investment.
Roh responded positively and remarked that Korean companies were
prepared to make a long-term commitment to India and that they were
in India to stay. He noted that the large business delegation accompanying
him, which consisted of CEOs and top executives of major Korean
companies, was optimistic about the prospects in India.
also referred to the proposal for a large investment by the ROK
company, POSCO in an integrated steel plant and associated facilities
in Orissa, which is under serious negotiation at present. Both sides
agreed to work together to encourage greater investments from the
ROK in India.
was decided to promote cooperation in various sectors, including
information and communication technology, infrastructure, petro-chemicals,
oil and gas field development including third country collaborations,
automobiles, shipbuilding, agriculture, and iron and steel manufacturing.
the afternoon, the Vice President and the External Affairs Minister
called on the visiting dignitary. President Roh will meet the President
this evening, who will host a banquet in honour of the visiting
dignitary. Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, UPA Coordination Committee,
will call on President Roh tomorrow morning.
the South Korean President was accorded a ceremonial reception at
the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan where he was warmly received
by the President, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minister and the
External Affairs Minister. Mr
Roh, who is on a three-day visit, said he was "deeply impressed
by the blue sky and the beautiful scenery filled with green."
to questions about the prospects of Indo-Korean relations, he said
Koreans were full of hope and expectations about the future in this
respect. "A large number of Koreans are full of hope and expectations
about the future." Asked about the North Korean nuclear problem,
he said "North Korean nuclear issue and inter-Korean relations
is often confronted by unexpected contingencies. It is only natural
that such circumstances occur.
because we are all working to bring about a peaceful resolution,
before long we will come to a peaceful settlement," he said.
Mr Roh said the Korean government is firmly committed to achieving
peace and prosperity on the basis of trust.
of Overseas Indian Affairs
DELHI, Sept 9: The Ministry of NRI Affairs has been renamed as the
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, according to a notification
issued by the Rashtrapati Bhawan, an official spokesman said. In
Hindi, the ministry will now be known as `Pravasi Bhartiya Karya
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government had created the new
NRI ministry under the Cabinet Minister, Mr Jagdish Tytler, but
there was no clear-cut work allocation to it. Overlapping of NRI-related
issues already under the charge of the External Affairs Ministry
added to the woes of the NRI ministry with the former unwilling
to give up areas under it.
sources said with the renaming of the ministry, its area of operation
would be broadened dealing with issues concerning Non-Resident Indians
(NRIs) as well as all overseas Indians, including People of Indian
Pak agree to launch tourist visa
DELHI, Sept 8: If no spectacular breakthrough was expected, neither
was a dramatic setback. Despite sharp differences over Jammu and
Kashmir and cross-border terrorism, India and Pakistan have agreed
to push ahead with talks to find a "peaceful negotiated final
settlement" for all bilateral issues.
External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, and his Pakistani counterpart,
Mr Khurshid Kasuri, capping the first round of the eight-subject
composite dialogue process, have agreed on13 proposals aimed at
confidence building, promotion of friendly exchanges and enhancing
trade and economic cooperation.
to continue "serious and sustained" dialogue, the two
countries on Wednesday agreed to discuss modalities for disengagement
and redeployment of troops in Siachen and decided to launch a new
these proposals, the two sides have set a positive tone for the
maiden meeting later this month between the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan
Singh, and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New York on the
margins of the UN General Assembly session.
statement issued on the two-day talks between the two Foreign Ministers
said the two sides would have meeting on all issues for starting
Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service. The proposed bus link has been
bogged down over the issue of travel documents with India suggesting
use of passports and Pakistan insisting on special document.
two sides decided to set up a mechanism to deal with the issue of
civilian prisoners and fishermen "effectively and speedily".
details of the statement, a spokesman of the Ministry of External
Affairs, Mr Navtej Sarna, said the foreign ministers expressed satisfaction
at the "progress made so far" and "positively assessed"
the developments in bilateral relations over the past year.
two ministers "reiterated the confidence that the composite
dialogue will lead to peaceful settlement of all bilateral issues,
including Jammu and Kashmir, to the satisfaction of both sides".
They agreed to continue with the "serious and sustained"
dialogue to find a "peaceful negotiated final settlement"
while expressing their determination to take the process forward.
the addition of the new category of tourist visa, Indian and Pakistani
tourists will be able to travel across the border. Under the prevailing
system, special group tours are permitted for visiting religious
shrines and people given visas to visit relatives across the border.
As a result, tourists often had to "invent" relatives
to visit each other's country.
Siachen, it was agreed that the outcome of the August 2004 meeting
of defence secretaries would be implemented.
Delhi and Islamabad had on August 6 agreed to discuss modalities
for "disengagement and redeployment" of troops in Siachen,
the world's highest battlefield, and hold further discussions on
them. Defence secretaries are expected to meet again on the Siachen
statement, released shortly before Kasuri left for Islamabad at
the end of his five-day visit, said the two sides agreed to hold
expert level meetings on Conventional and Nuclear CBMs. Under this,
they will also discuss draft agreement on advance notification of
the two sides chose to re-state certain formulations agreed earlier.
They reiterated their commitment to the principles and purposes
of the UN Charter, and their determination to implement the Simla
Agreement in "letter and spirit".
the reassurance contained in the joint press statement of January
6 this year, "they exchanged views on carrying the process
forward in an atmosphere free from terrorism and violence".
Musharraf had after a meeting with then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee
in Islamabad assured that territory under Pakistan's control would
not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities against India.
the talks, New Delhi conveyed its serious concern over increase
in the June and July in infiltration level and incidents of violence
in J&K and reminded Islamabad of Musharraf's commitment.
a step to encourage people-to-people contacts, further measures
would be initiated for facilitation of visits to religious shrines
and upkeep of historical sites, the three-page statement said.
new Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz will visit India later this year
as SAARC Chairperson. He will have his first meeting with Manmohan
Singh in Dhaka in January, 2005, on the margins of the SAARC Summit.
secretaries Shyam Saran and Riaz Khokhar will meet in December to
discuss overall progress as well as subjects of Peace and Security
including CBMs and J&K in the Composite Dialogue.
two foreign secretaries, who met here prior to the ministerial meet,
would also work out a schedule of meetings on the other six subjects
of the dialogue process -- Siachen, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation
Project, Sir Creek, Terrorism and Drug Trafficking, Economic and
Commercial Cooperation and Promotion of Friendly Exchanges in various
Natwar Singh has accepted an invitation by Mr Kasuri to visit Pakistan
and dates for it would be worked out through diplomatic channels,
the statement said.
was decided that railway authorities of the two countries would
meet to discuss the proposed rail link between Munnabao and Khokhrapar.
Biannual meeting will be held between the Border Security Force
and Pakistani Rangers in October this year, the statement said.
Control authorities of the two countries will meet in October/November
this year for discussing several issues including finalisation of
a Memorandum of Understanding.
two sides agreed have a meeting between Indian Coast Guards and
the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency in November, 2004 to discuss,
among other things, MOU for establishing communication links between
them. An Expert Committee will be established to consider trade-related
issues, the statement said.
two sides decided to undertake a joint survey of the boundary pillars
in the horizontal segment of the international boundary in the Sir
will be enhanced interaction and exchanges among the respective
foreign offices, including study tours of young diplomats/probationers
to each other's country.
the importance of availability and access to energy resources in
the region around South Asia, it was agreed that the Petroleum Ministers
of the two countries could meet to discuss the issue in its multifarious
statement said the talks, both at the Foreign Minister and Foreign
Secretary levels, were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere.
Bhutanese jailed for aiding Indian militants
By Deepak Arora
DELHI, Sept 5: At least 111 Bhutanese nationals, including seven
women, have been jailed in Bhutan on charges of aiding and abetting
Indian separatists. Six courts in the Himalayan kingdom delivered
the verdicts after "eight months of exhaustive proceedings"
in which 123 people were tried as "accomplices" and "accessories"
to the militants, according to Bhutan Government-run newspaper Kuensel.
persons received life sentence (above 20 years), five were sentenced
between 15 and 18 years, 14 people from 10 to 15 years and the rest
between four years and 10 years imprisonment in accordance with
the provisions of the National Security Act of Bhutan, 1992. One
person is still under trial at the Samdrup Jongkhar court,"
Kuensel said. Seven women were among those sentenced. Those convicted
include civil servants, road workers from the national work force,
private workers, business people, drivers and farmers.
convicted were found guilty of colluding with three outlawed Indian
separatist groups -- the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA),
the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Kamtapur
Liberation Organisation (KLO). The three rebel groups had earlier
maintained well-entrenched bases inside the kingdom to carry out
hit-and-run guerrilla strikes on soldiers in India's Northeastern
state of Assam and parts of the neighbouring state of West Bengal.
Bhutan launched a military offensive in December last year to evict
the rebels, smashing some 30 camps. It later claimed to have ousted
the militants from its territory.
of rations, livestock and other goods, facilitating and registering
of vehicles and two wheelers, transport arrangements and carriage
by mules, facilitating telephones and fax, sheltering and providing
food, receiving cash and loans and facilitating cash transfers,
providing storage facilities, association with militants, espionage,
receiving gratification were some of the offenses on which the accused
were sentenced," according to a court spokesman.
report said in determining the sentence, the courts took into consideration
"the degree to which the violation threatened the security
and national interest, the volume of commerce or assistance involved
and the extent of planning, and whether there were multiple occurrences".
spokesperson said "where such factors have been found to be
present in an extreme form or in case of violations during the time
of the armed conflict, the defendants have been awarded life imprisonment."
three Indian rebel groups were operating from Bhutan for the past
12 years though the Bhutanese government had repeatedly urged the
militants to leave the kingdom peacefully. The military operation
in December last came after six years of failed talks with the rebels
in Bhutan, a largely Buddhist kingdom of 700,000 people which has
close political ties with India. The government began arresting
people suspected of assisting the militants soon after the military
heinous crime of aiding and abetting the militants for personal
monetary gain and seriously harming the national interest is a crime
against the state," said the spokesperson. "Therefore
knowingly and intentionally aiding and abetting a crime against
the state is the worst offense that a citizen can commit and nothing
can redress for it."
spokesperson explained that although generally there was no liability
under criminal law unless there is a guilty mind, the plea by defendants
that they were not aware of the likely harm or did not have conscious
intent to jeopardise national security and sovereignty by rendering
assistance to the militants was not a valid defense. "Ignorance
of the law, does not excuse anyone that is of the age of discretion
and of sound mind from the penalty of the breach of it," said
National Security Act of 1992 states that "if any individual
should infringe the statute law of the country through ignorance,
greed or carelessness, he must abide by the consequences of his
illegal presence of the Indian militants was extensively debated
in the National Assembly since 1997 after the government came to
know that the Indian militants had clandestinely infiltrated into
the country across the porous border and were taking sanctuary in
the Bhutanese forests. In 1999, the National Assembly resolved to
punish all those who assist the militants according to the National
the recent 82nd session of the National Assembly, Assembly members
unanimously called for those found guilty of extending any form
of assistance to the militants to be tried and sentenced without
grave concern of His Majesty the King, the great distress of the
government and the serious anguish of the people had been repeatedly
and consistently voiced through the resolutions of the National
Assembly. It resulted in a military operation by a peace-loving
kingdom. Unfortunately, the situation was aggravated by the irresponsible
actions of these Bhutanese citizens," said the court spokesman.
Bhutan shares a 380-km unfenced border with Assam and West Bengal.
to send farm experts to Bhutan
DELHI, Aug 31: India has agreed to send two expert delegations to
Bhutan for preparation of draft proposals for extending suitable
technical and other assistance in the areas of Animal Husbandry
and Dairying and Agricultural Marketing. The delegations from Department
of Animal Husbandry and Dairying and the National Institute of Agricultural
Marketing will visit Bhutan in September. This
was the outcome of the Ministerial level meeting between the visiting
Bhutanese Agriculture Minister, Mr. Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup, and his
Indian counterpart, Mr Sharad Pawar, here on Monday evening.
sides felt that a meaningful Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) may
be entered into in suitable areas of cooperation after the Bhutanese
delegation makes a tentative assessment. The MoU would be a framework
for Indian assistance and participation in advancement of agriculture
and allied sectors in Bhutan.
desired to avail of technical and physical assistance in improving
the cattle breed, strengthening veterinary services, formulation
of cattle and fodder policies and embryo transfer technology. The
visiting delegation expressed keen interest in Indian assistance
for developing an Agriculture Marketing system in that country.
also requested that its technical experts be given access to all
India demonstration trials, scientific conferences and training
programmes conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research
(ICAR). Senior officials from the Department of Agriculture and
Cooperation, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, ICAR were
present in the talks.
Bhutan Minister arrived here on August 23 on a 11-day official visit
to India. Earlier last week, along with the Bhutanese delegation,
he visited various agricultural, forestry and livestock institutes
in Delhi, Karnal, Shimla, Solan and Dehradun. Besides Mr Pawar,
the visting dignitary also held talks with Mr A Raja, Minister for
Environment and Forests and Mr E Ahamed, Minister of State for External
visit of Mr Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup is important as it is expected
to further strengthen the close ties of cooperation and friendship
between the two countries in the field of agriculture and livestock.
Sangay Ngedup is the recipient of the Druk Thuksey Medal (Heart
son of Bhutan), the highest individual award of Bhutan, and Coronation
Medal. He has also held important positions in the country. These
include Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers and Head of Government
of Bhutan (1999 -2000); Bhutan's first Ambassador to Kuwait; Deputy
Minister of the Health and Education Ministry; and Secretary of
the Health and Education Ministry. Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup is no stranger
to Delhi as he is an alumni of St. Stephens College, Delhi University.
to strenghten agri ties with India
DELHI, Aug 25: The Bhutan Minister of Agriculture, Mr Lyonpo Sangay
Ngedup, is on a 11-day visit to India with a nine-member delegation
to explore possibilities of expanding cooperation between the two
countries in the field of agriculture and livestock. This is his
first visit to India in his capacity as the Minister of Agriculture.
has already benefited from the science and technological advances
in India. The experiences and the lessons learnt from the Operation
Flood, Green Revolution, the Himachal apple industry, seed research,
and marketing systems are some of the areas of interest that will
be discussed with the Indian authorities.
the end of the visit on September 2, it is expected that the areas
of cooperation in agriculture and livestock development, particularly
project financing, capacity development, and exchange of expertise
and information, will be identified that will further strengthen
the excellent ties of friendship, understanding and cooperation
that exist between the two countries.
Sangay Ngedup will meet his counterpart Mr Sharad Pawar, Union Cabinet
Minister for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
He will also meet Mr Natwar Singh, Minister for External Affairs.
He is currently visiting various agricultural, forestry and livestock
institutes in Delhi, Karnal, Shimla, Solan and Dehradun.
not responsible for Assam floods
By Deepak Arora
NEW DELHI, July 23: Bhutan has denied recent reports in a section
of Indian media that had attributed the worsening flood situation
in Assam to the breaching of the Tsatichhu Lake, about 35 km upstream
of the Kurichhu hydro power project in eastern Bhutan.
reports had stated that the Assam Chief Minister had written a letter
to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to urge the Bhutanese
Government to ensure "adequate measures to safeguard the dam."
There were also some reports to suggest that that the floods in
North Bengal were made worse due to "indiscriminate extraction
of boulders in Bhutan."
that these reports are factually incorrect, the Bhutanese Ministry
of Foreign Affairs has clarified that the Tsatichhu Lake breached
around 1630 hours on July 10. The Tsatichhu is a tributary of the
Kurichu river on which the hydropower project is situated. The lake
was formed by a massive landslide, which occurred on September 10,
2003, blocking the whole ravine and thereby forming a dam.
Ministry stated that the Kurichhu Hydro Power Project is a run-of-the-river
scheme that diverts the river through penstock pipes to produce
electricity and then join the main river course via the tailrace
channel. As the Kurichhu project is not a storage scheme, there
are no large volumes of water stored and hence opening of the gates
do not increase the flow to create floods downstream.
stated that a number of expert teams had visited the Tsatichhu lake
to assess the possibility of breaching it. The most recent visit
was by an expert team from India on June 5 and 6 this year. All
the expert groups had concluded that it was not possible to manually
breach the dam. To reduce the possible impact in the event of a
breach, an overflow channel was created to maintain the water level
in the dam. At the same time, early warning systems were enhanced
so that warning is passed immediately downstream to India in the
event of a breach.
Ministry stated that Eastern Bhutan and the whole Himalayan region
has been experiencing continuous monsoon rain in the past few weeks.
This finally caused the Tsatichhu lake to breach through the overflow
channel on July 10, 2004. All concerned in Bhutan and India were
immediately informed of the breach.
first waves reached Kurizampa, near the Kurichhu Hydro Power Project,
around 1800 hours and by 1930 hours, the water level had progressively
decreased. The maximum discharge recorded at Kurizampa was 5764
cubic metres per second at around 1830 hours as against 10,000 cubic
metres per second as reported in some Indian papers. Because of
prior information of the breach, an increase in water level of the
Manas river of about 4 cms per hour was noticed between 3 am and
5 am on 11 July. At that time, there were no reports of flooding.
Ministry stated that Bhutan and India have a comprehensive scheme
of flood warning that has been in place since the 1960s. This has
been instrumental in providing timely information to India thereby
allowing the Indian authorities to provide early warning to its
people that live along the flood zones.
the present spate of floods in Assam is not related to the breach
in the Tsatichhu lake, information on the breach was conveyed immediately
to the Indian authorities and based on which a high alert was issued
by the Central Water Commission. Therefore, the Ministry stated
that reports linking the breach in the lake to the floods in Assam
are totally incorrect.
media reports had also suggested that mining activities in Bhutan
might have worsened the floods in North Bengal. Here, it may be
mentioned that while there is minimal mining in Bhutan, Royal Government's
National Environment Commission and the Department of Geology and
Mines are strictly monitoring it and therefore, there is no question
of indiscriminate mining in the country. Any mining is carried out
in a scientific manner and with minimal environmental impact.
may also be mentioned that the Royal Government of Bhutan attaches
the highest importance to the preservation and protection of its
environment and would never undermine the safety and security of
our friendly Indian neighbours by carrying out any indiscriminate
acts of mining.
arms expo truly becomes international
By Deepak Arora
revamped T-72M1 tank, Israeli small firearms, the overhauled Acacia
and Msta self-propelled guns, and new combat tank-support vehicle
were some of the star attractions at the recently concluded Russian
Expo Arms - 2004. The large participation from some of the leading
foreign companies and the amazing display of weapons, combat hardware
and ammunition this year has given the expo a true international
stature, four years after it was launched.
first defense-industry exhibition was organized in Nizhny Tagil
(the Urals region) in 1999, involving no one else but CIS enterprises,
which supply accessories for Russian combat hardware. Multi-role
processing centers, which now operate at regional defense factories,
were featured at the 2004 arms expo by such leading companies as
Fehlmann and Scheeberger of Switzerland, France's Huron, Weiler
and Wenzel of Germany, Sweden's Seko Tools, and Japan's Mitsubishi.
to Cold War stereotypes, Western countries are helping Russia produce
additional weaponry; this became a real sensation at Russian Expo
Arms-2004. However, few people noticed that sensation. Quite possibly,
Cold War stereotypes are now becoming history. Frankly speaking,
cooperation between Russia's military-industrial sector and Western
defense industries no longer surprises anyone, according to RIA
Novosti's military analyst Victor Litovkin.
caused quite a stir in Nizhny Tagil, displaying its small firearms
in that legendary city and riveting the public eye. (The world-famous
Kalashnikov assault rifle was developed in Nizhny Tagil) It seems
that the Israeli display attracted more visitors, including gunsmiths,
than any other exhibits.
working with the famous Uralvagonavod factory in Nizhny Tagil offered
their unique concept for upgrading those sturdy T-72 main battle
tanks. Over 20,000 of these tanks were produced since the early
1970s. The T-72 is the most popular main battle tank in the world.
India alone had received nearly 2,000 T-72s, with the Russian army
still wielding approximately the same number of such hard-hitting
revamped T-72M1 tank demonstrated at the Russian expo features a
new fire-control system, which is stabilized along two planes, as
well as a new gun, which can be replaced, without taking the turret
off, a new 1,200-hp engine and other state-of-the-art weapons and
auxiliary systems. All this enhances its combat efficiency by almost
100 percent. The T-72M1's potential matches that of the new T-90
main battle tank. In the meantime tank-modernization costs make
up for just 25 percent of the new tank's price.
Russians have also overhauled their 152 Acacia self-propelled gun,
as well as the 152-mm Msta-S self-propelled gun, considerably enhancing
their combat efficiency all the same. Both weapons were shown off
in Nizhny Tagil by the Yekaterinburg-based Uraltransmash production
general designer Yury Butrin noted that both howitzers featured
new-generation fire-control equipment, which consisted of computers
and automatic "blind-sighting" systems, as well as a unique
positioning system, which was linked with satellite-navigation networks,
i.e. Russia's Glonass and GPS of the United States. These howitzers
can hit their targets in the real-time mode, receiving all essential
data from Pchela (Bee) and other remote-piloted aircraft.
their foreign hand-loaded equivalents, the Msta and the Acacia boast
automatic loaders, as well as air conditioners for enhanced crew
comfort. By the way, TV footage of the Iraqi war showed such hand-loaded
Uralvagonzavod enterprise displayed its combat tank-support vehicle
at the expo, with everyone flocking to admire it. Many foreign military
attaches, which are accredited in Moscow, were really delighted
to mention it. They flew over to Nizhny Tagil in order to learn
more about new Russian weapons. Meanwhile, all of the combat tank-support
vehicle's components attracted their attention.
know perfectly well that any well-advertised tank remains highly
vulnerable. Mines and rocket-launcher operators hiding in the bushes
can disable it. The thing is that the tank affords only limited
visibility to its commander, gun layer and mechanic-driver. In a
bid to cope with such threats, Uralvagonzvod experts have come up
with special equipment boasting numerous optical, thermal-imaging
and other data-exchange channels, as well as panoramic sights, for
all-round visibility. They can watch the battlefield round the clock,
penetrating smoke screens, too.
other words, the enemy is unable to spot this combat tank-support
vehicle, whose crew has enemy positions in its sights. Moreover,
this vehicle can fire through smoke screens. The vehicle's rapid-fire
30-mm gun's two barrels can be fired in tandem or separately. Add
to this four Ataka (Attack) supersonic anti-tank laser-guided missiles,
a large-caliber anti-aircraft machine-gun under the turret and some
other weapons systems.
combat tank-support vehicle will enhance the combat potential of
Russia's T-72M1, T-90S and T-80U main battle tanks several times
over. The same can be said about the US Army's M1A1 Abrams main
battle tank or the Israeli Merkava tank.
Norway set up Joint Commission
DELHI: India and Norway have signed an agreement to set up a Joint
Commission between the two countries at the Foreign Ministers level.
This structural framework would be used to give a new dynamism to
bilateral relations, especially in the commercial and economic sectors.
The agreement was signed soon after the visiting Norwegian Foreign
Minister, Mr Jan Petersen, held talks with his Indian counterpart,
Mr Natwar Singh.
two-day trade between India and Norway for the year 2002-03 is modest
US $ 167 million. The two leaders felt that there was a lot of potential
that can be actualized through setting up structural arrangements
and increasing the contacts, both at the official and industry levels.
the talks, the two leaders discussed ways to further consolidate
bilateral ties with special focus on enhancing cooperation in the
energy and oil sector. Norway is a major producer of hydrocarbons.
holding one-hour talks on Tuesday morning, the two leaders continued
discussions over a working lunch hosted by External Affairs Minister.
also took the opportunity to have a comprehensive exchange of views
on regional and international issues. Amongst the issues that were
touched upon were the recent meetings in ARF, the NATO meeting in
Istanbul, and the developments in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.
may be mentioned that Norway is involved in the peace process in
Sri Lanka and whenever they have had the opportunity they have come
and they have briefed India on what is happening and we have had
mutually beneficial exchange of views, according to Mr Navtej Sarna,
spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs.
his one-day visit to New Delhi, Mr Petersen also held talks with
the National Security Adviser, Mr J N Dixit.
signs MOU on EDC
DELHI, July 3: India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam on Entrepreneurship Development Centre
(EDC), a project taken up by New Delhi to set up centres to provide
entrepreneurship skills to people in the South-East Asian countries.
The External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, and his counterparts
from Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar signed the MOU in Jakarta on Friday.
Mr Singh is in Jakarta for the ARF meet.
Natwar Singh thanked the Ministers from the three countries for
their participation in the project giving India an opportunity to
share its developmental experience with them. "This perhaps
is the best way to provide our people the tools of economic activity
and self-employment," he said in a speech after the signing
three Foreign Ministers also thanked India for its generous gesture
in helping set up the EDCs. Vietnamese Foreign Minister called Mr
Singh his "guru and elder brother". "Since
the first ASEAN-India summit in 2002 in Cambodia, cooperation with
India has evolved comprehensively. India is an active dialogue partner
with ASEAN," he said.
MoU provides for allocating responsibilities for all the parties
concerned. They are the Government of India as the promoter, the
recipient countries and the Ahmedabad-based Entrepreneurship Development
Institute of India, which has been hired as the consultant. The
ASEAN secretariat is also a party as the EDC project has been initiated
under ASEAN's Initiative for ASEAN Integration programme (IAI).
India and Indonesia have agreed to increase cooperation between
the two countries in the fields of security, defence, intelligence
and law enforcement in order to combat international terrorism and
other transnational organised criminal activities.
Natwar Singh and his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirayuda signed
an MOU on combating international terrorism here as the two countries
recognised the need to strengthen cooperation at all levels to fight
the menace in a comprehensive manner.
MoU, signed between the two sides on the sidelines of the 11th ARF
meeting, will provide a framework for cooperation in preventing,
suppressing and combating international terrorism and other transnational
organised criminal activities through the exchange and flow of information
two countries will share intelligence, enhance cooperation between
their respective law enforcement agencies and strengthen capacity
building and capabilities through networking and programmes of training
two countries will also set up a Joint Working Group to effectively
implement the objectives of the MoU and meet once a year alternatively
in India and Indonesia and report to the Joint Commission.
official lauds Vietnam for reducing poverty by 40% since mid-1980s
the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Development Programme's
(UNDP) presence in Viet Nam, a senior agency official has praised
the country for reducing poverty by 40 per cent and transforming
itself "from a food-hungry nation to the second largest
rice exporter in the world."
Associate Administrator Zéphirin Diabré, who is
in Viet Nam recently, said land and price reforms helped reduce
poverty from well over 70 per cent in the mid-1980s to about
29 per cent. Mr. Diabré is meeting with government officials
and development partners to discuss UNDP's programme in the
country and the challenges faced.
UNDP and Vietnamese Government partnership in developing a new
enterprise law contributed to the creation of more than one
million new jobs, the agency said in a news release. Public
administration reform has also radically simplified a wide range
of bureaucratic transactions.
Nam is also largely on track to meet the 2015 deadlines for
the Millennium Development Goals, which were ratified by 189
nations at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, UNDP said. The
country is likely to become the first to publish its third report
tracking the progress made in achieving the goals.