PM Modi Visits in Belgium: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a day long visit to Belgium on March 30. In Brussels he met his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel and discussed bilateral and regional issues. Prime Minister also laid a wreath at a makeshift memorial at the Malbeek Metro Station for the victims of the recent terror strike in Brussels. During his visit India and Belgium vowed to work together to counter the “Misuse” of religion by groups and countries for perpetration terror acts, as they underlined the need for all nations to effectively deal with terrorism emanating from their soil or territories under their control. Just days after the March 22 multiple terror attacks in Belgium the meeting recognized the “Urgent need to disrupt terror networks, their financing channels, eliminate terrorist safe havens and facilities regular exchanges of civil society to promote peace and tolerance. India and Belgium pitched for resumption of the long stalled negotiations on the India-EU free trade agreement (FTA) on “Mutually” agreed terms” as both the leaders resolved to strengthen their bilateral ties. The negotiations for the free trade pact, officially dubbed as BTIA, have been held up since May 2013 as both the sides are yet to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for the IT sector. Both sides also discussed the various flagship development initiatives launched by India and agreed to explore enhanced cooperation in these areas, especially the smart Cities and the clean Ganga programmers.
India Saudi Arabia Relations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia in April 2016. In capital Riyadh he met king Salman bin Abdul-Aziz AI Saud at his royal palace and discussed bilateral and global issues-including world terrorism. During his visit India and Saudi Arabia decided to ramp up their counter terrorism cooperation as they asked all states to dismantle terror infrastructures where they happen to exist and reject the use of terrorism against other countries, seen as an oblique reference to Pakistan. The two countries also called on states to cut off any kind of support and financing to terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. Both countries also signed five agreements. These are: Cooperation in exchange of Intel related to money laundering terrorism financing and related crimes. Investment promotion cooperation between Invest India and Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. Agreement on Labour cooperation for recruitment of general category workers. Cooperation in the field of handicrafts. Technical cooperation between the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) and Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO). Modi Also visited the Masmak fort, a clay and mud-brick complex built around 1865, which is a major symbol of recapture of power by the AI Saud royal dynasty which has been running the country for over a century PM Modi also announced a 24X7 multilingual helpline for Indian expatriates, and said a move to regularize migration was in the worker resource centers in Riyadh and Jeddah to provide them help.
India and Iran Relations
Oil and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was on a two day visit to Iran in April 2016. He discussed with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar Zangeneh several outstanding issues related to the energy sector. He conveyed to the Iranian side that Indian companies could invest up to $20 billion and were interested in setting up petrochemical and fertilizer plants, including in the Chabahar Special Economic Zone, either through joint ventures between Indian and Iranian public sector companies or with private sector partners. He has requested Iran to allocate adequate land in the SEZ. He also urged Iran for a favorable treatment in the pricing of gas for India. The minister also wanted supply of gas at a competitive price and on a long term basis for the life of the joint venture projects that Indian companies were interested in setting up. India is also keen to set up a gas cracker unit and a liquefied petroleum gas extraction unit in Chabahar and ways of transporting gas to India from Iran including through a planned Iran Pakistan India pipeline. The two sides also discussed the award of rights to Indian firms to develop Farzad-B gas fields and the pending payments by Indian refiners towards Iran’s oil purchases.
US Defence Secretary Visits in India
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter was on a three day visit to India in April 2016. In New Delhi he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and discussed bilateral and regional security issues. In a significant decision that could have far reaching implications for Indian’s military positive, India and the US have agreed in principle on a logistics support agreement the first proposed in 2004 and resisted by the UPA government for a decade that would make it easier for both militaries to share each other facilitate military cooperation, especially for the flurry of bilateral combat exercises and humanitarian aid operations in the region. India and the US will also further bolster maritime security cooperation, which will include stepping up the complexity of its combat exercises and talks on anti-submarine warfare, but there are no plans for joint naval patrols in the contentious South China Sea or elsewhere.
India China Relations
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited China in April 2016. He met his Chinese counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan and discussed bilateral security issues. He stated that India attaches highest priority to its relationship with China and is committed to further develop the ties. Parrikar was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the headquarters of the Chinese military at Beijing by a contingent of PLA soldiers. He raised the issue of clarification of the line of Actual Control (LAC) with his interlocutors in order to ensure “Stability at the border”. The Chinese side agreed to enhance CBMs to bolster border management, but did not demonstrate particular enthusiasm in the clarification of the LAC. Neither side specifically raised India’s in principle agreement with the Chinese side indicated its concerns on this topic. Parrikar took up the negative fallout of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from Gwadar to kashgar during talks. The Chinese side, in response, noted India’s concerns, but highlighted the economic aspects of the corridor, which they insisted had nothing to do with defence or military aspects. On China’s role in blocking UN sanctions on Masood Azhar, head of the banned Jaishe Mohammad (JeM). Parrikar expressed his feeling that it was not exactly the right direction that they have taken. He pointed out that a coordinated line on terrorism was in the interest of both India and China.
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval also visited China in April 2016. He attended the annual 19th round of boundary talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. Both leaders had an extensive, deep and candid discussion on the 3,488 Km long Line of Actual Control, which remains undemarcated resulting in tensions between the two nations. India and China agreed to adhere to peaceful negotiations to settle the vexed border issue and reach a fair reasonable and mutually acceptable solution. Both nations have agreed to have a hotline at the level of Director General Military Operations (DGMO) and have additional border meeting points for troop formations on either side of the contentious Line of Actual Control, the defacto boundary between the two neighbours. He also called on Chinese premier Li Keqiang and discussed bilateral issues.
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