#2 2015 April - July
Message from H.E. Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia Dear Readers of our Newsletter; Dear Friends of India in Sweden & Latvia, The number of pages in this Newsletter and the delay in publishing it testify to the number of events that have taken place since March 2015. To make up we have extended the period covered by this issue to July 2015. I hope you will excuse the lateness and read about our doings with continued interest. The landmark event of past months, indeed of India-Sweden bilateral relations, was the first-ever visit by the President of India to Sweden from 31st May to 2nd June. The warmth with which he and his delegation were received as well as the care with which his programme was prepared and executed ensured that the visit was a grand success. It provided an excellent opportunity for discussions on many issues of mutual interest, both political as well as economic. If the clear Swedish endorsement of India’s claims for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council was welcomed by the Indian side, the Swedish side was delighted at the announcement of the decision to grant Electronic Visa on Arrival for Swedish tourists and casual business visitors. Incidentally, the E-Visa entered into effect on 15th August, 2015. ‘Smart Cities’ was one of the main focus areas of the visit which should give a boost to bilateral interaction in this important sector, especially as a Memorandum of Understanding to promote cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development was signed during the visit. Several other important documents were also signed including four other intergovernmental ones and 17 MoUs for cooperation between Indian and Swedish educational institutions. The President was accompanied by an educational delegation as well as a large business delegation. Please read the details of the President’s engagements in the Newsletter including about the business conferences that were organized under the India Unlimited platform to coincide with the visit on the broad theme of ‘Make in India: Grow with India’. Over the last four months, we have also had other important political exchanges such as visits to India by the Swedish Minister of Infrastructure, Ms. Anna Johansson and of Defence Minister, Peter Hulqvist. From India, we had the visit of the Minister for Women & Child Development, Ms. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi. All the visits are expected to strengthen bilateral relations in the areas dealt with by these Ministers. We also had the dynamic, young Chief Minister of Maharashtra here to invite Swedish businesses to ‘Make in Maharashtra’. The cultural highlight of the year was undoubtedly the mega Indian Festival ‘Namaste Stockholm’ that the Indian Embassy organized on May 23 under the India Unlimited platform to prepare for the historic visit of the President. It succeeded beyond all expectations. Throughout the day, people thronged the ‘little India’ that had been created in Kungsträgården and enjoyed the culture, cuisines, crafts and creativity of India. The fashion show of three students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology received great applause as also the fantastic video-cum-live music & dance programme demonstrating the ‘Unity in Diversity’ of India. This ambitious project could be undertaken only due to the generous sponsors of India Unlimited and the support that we received from the Indian Department of Tourism and the Ministry of Textiles. An especially big thanks must go to the wonderful Indian community organizations in Stockholm (and beyond) who worked so hard to share their music, dance and food with the visitors. The last time anything similar had taken place was in the 1980s. At the risk of being accused of boasting, I can say that Namaste Stockholm was a GRAND SUCCESS. We are not only already planning next year’s edition in Stockholm (Saturday, May 21, 2016, block your calendar!) but also exploring possibilities of organizing similar events in other cities, particularly Gothenburg, Malmö and Karlskrona. If you would like to support us in any way, please send me an email. To get a first-hand understanding of the Swedish business experience in India, I met many Swedish CEOs over the last four months. The one common thing that emerged in all the meetings was a genuinely positive attitude towards India. Many of them gave me some useful suggestions about what India needs to do to facilitate and attract more foreign investments. With Latvia too, relations continue to grow. An important conference was organized on the theme of ‘Fostering India-Latvia Relations’, which included an international seminar on Ayurveda. We also had a business seminar focussing on Indian agricultural products. Last but not the least, notwithstanding the vacation period, the first International Day of Yoga on June 21 was celebrated with a large participation in both Sweden and Latvia. So watch out for the celebrations on June 21, 2016! I look forward to receiving the feedback of the readers through emails to email@example.com We plan to include them in our next Newsletter so don’t forget to write! Sincerely, (Mrs) Banashri Bose Harrison / (श्रीमति) बनश्री बोस है रीसन
Ambassador of India / भारि की राजदि ू
INDIA IN SWEDEN: HIGHLIGHTS
The Indian Festival: "Namaste Stockholm" -a grand success and prepares the ground for President of India’s historic visit After nearly three decades, a colourful Indian festival was organized in Stockholm on May 23 as a forerunner to the firstever Presidential visit from India to Sweden. Called 'Namaste Stockholm', this whole-day mega event was organized at Kungsträdgården (Royal Garden) in the heart of the city. The day began with Yoga, firstly with Wakeup Stockholm at 0830 hrs, coordinated by Yogobe, a Yoga community, blog and video service. It continued with a session with SATS, the biggest fitness company and ended with the Art of Living. The Yoga programme concluded with an address by Swami Jyothirmay on the spiritual dimension of Yoga. The Indian Minister for Women and Child Development, Mrs. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi formally inaugurated the event thereafter. The Minister of Sports of Meghalaya also participated in the inauguration along with the Former Swedish Minister for International Development, Ms. Gunilla Carlsson. The remainder of the day introduced the city dwellers to , what the Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison, in her opening address called, " the five C's of India - Culture, Cuisine, Crafts, Choice of destinations and things to do and buy and the Children & youth of the country". From 1130 AM to 6 PM, visitors saw a non-stop cultural performance which included classical and popular genres of music and dances of India performed by local community groups as well as professional artistes from Sweden and India.
Besides culture, the festival also presented travel opportunities in India with the active participation of the India Tourist Office and a delegation of seven Indian travel companies. Karnataka, the focus state of the festival exhibited its cultural attractions as well as its unique products. The Yakshagana and the Dollu Kunitha drum dancers won the enthusiastic applause of the audience. Indian craftsmanship showcased with three master craftsmen who displayed their impressive skills in the art of pottery, block printing and pashmina embroidery and weaving. The Women power of India was represented by the participation of FICCI Ladies’ Organization which brings together women entrepreneurs of India. A taste of the diversity and deliciousness of Indian cuisines was
provided by local organisations representing different regions of India as also some selected restaurants. The footfall of visitors through the day was around twelve thousand. In the evening, an audience of over five thousand were treated to a three-hour cultural performance which featured a fashion show presenting the works of three students from the National Institute of Fashion Technology and a 45-minute presentation on India ‘Unity in Diversity’ through the music and dance of different states of India, conceived and created by Ananya Dutta. Other highlights included performances by Padmashri Kathak guru, Shovana Narayanan; Swedish guitar Maestro; Johannes Moller and the young Latvia-based choreographer, Avik Nath and his troupe - Let Your Body Speak. The event was organized under the communication platform India Unlimited, created by the Indian Embassy in September 2013, along with like-minded Swedish and Indian partners and received significant financial support from the Indian Department of Tourism.
PRESIDENT OF INDIA PAYS LANDMARK VISIT TO SWEDEN
President was received by the Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel
The President of India paid a historic first-ever visit to Sweden from May 31 to June 1, 2015 at the invitation of His Majesty the King of Sweden. The President was accompanied by the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir; Members of Parliament: Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shri Ashwani Kumar; Members of the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and Lower House (Lok Sabha) respectively. He was also accompanied by senior officials and an educational delegation comprising several Vice Chancellors and Directors of leading Indian universities. A high level business delegation also accompanied the President to participate in a series of business conferences organized by the Indian Embassy in Sweden and Business Sweden. He was given a ceremonial welcome on arrival in Stockholm and rode in a traditional horse-drawn carriage accompanied by His Majesty the King of Sweden to the Royal Palace where the entire Swedish government led by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven greeted him. He then spent some time with the Royal family. Thereafter, he attended the reception hosted in his honour by the Indian Ambassador to meet the Indian community.
President spent some time with the Royal family
On June 1, 2015 the President's first engagement was a visit to the Parliament where he was received by Mr. Urban Ahlin, the Speaker and other Members of Parliament drawn from different
parties. After meeting with the Swedish Parliamentarians, the President had a bilateral discussion with the Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr. Stefan Lรถfven. During the meeting, Mr. Lรถfven was assisted by a number of senior Ministers including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Environment, Ms. Asa Romson; the Foreign Minister, Ms. Margot Wallstrรถm; the Defence Minister, Mr. Peter Hultqvist; the Enterprise and Innovation Minister, Mr. Mikael Damberg and Minister for Housing, Urban development & Information Technology, Mr Mehmet Kaplan. Six agreements/MoUs were signed in the presence of Hon'ble President and His Excellency the Swedish Prime Minister on June 1, 2015, including in the area of sustainable urban development and cooperation in the field of Micro, small & medium entreprises. Simultaneously, around 15 agreements were signed between Indian and Swedish Universities in a separate function hosted by the Swedish Minister for Education and Research, which would give a fillip to cooperation in the important field of education and human resource development. Thereafter, the Mayor of Stockholm and the President of the City Council hosted a lunch in honour of the President of India in the iconic City Hall. The President was also given a presentation on Smart Cities. From there, the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, accompanied by H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf travelled by boat to Stockholm's "Smart City" Hammarby Sjostad and interacted with Swedish companies which have technologies and products relevant for building smart cities, including Ericsson, ABB and Scania. In the evening, the Leader of Opposition Mrs. Anna Kinberg Batra called on the President to exchange views on bilateral cooperation. The same evening, a state banquet was hosted by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden in honour of the President of India. On the 2nd of June, the President visited Karolinska Institute in the company of their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden and participated in the round table meeting held in the Nobel Forum, where the Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology is decided annually. After the visit to Karolinska, the President and His Majesty participated in a Roundtable with CEOs of leading global Swedish companies including Ericsson, Volvo, Sandvik, Saab and Scania. The upcoming Swedish mid-size company 'Rusta' represented the retail sector. Thereafter, the President spoke on the theme of "India-Sweden Partnership- Co-creating a Brighter Future" in the business conference which had the broad theme of "Innovate, Make & Grow in India". His Majesty the King as well as other members of Royal family including the Queen,
Indian President and Swedish Prime Minister
Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel were amongst the audience. A special cultural programme which mixed Swedish and Indian music and dance followed his speech. Thereafter, the President hosted a return luncheon in honour of their Majesties and selected guests. In the afternoon, before leaving for Uppsala University, the President paid a farewell call on Their Majesties and was given a guard of honour at the Royal Palace. After the farewell the President proceed to Uppsala accompanied by the Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. The President's last engagement was a Public Lecture on 'Tagore & Gandhi: Contemporary Relevance for Global Peace' at the ancient and prestigious Uppsala University. A bust of Rabindra Nath Tagore was installed in this University last year to commemorate the centenary of the award of Nobel Prize to the poet Laureate. Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel graced the occasion. Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström introduced the President and made opening remarks. The 1200 plus audience listened with rapt attention to the President’s erudite speech. The President left Stockholm for Minsk, Belarus in the evening.
Minister of Women & Child Development visits Stockholm Mrs Maneka Sanjay Gandhi visited Stockholm from May 23 to 26, 2015. She met her counterpart Mrs. Åsa Regner, the Swedish Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality on May 25, 2015 and discussed issues of mutual interest. Earlier, on May 23, 2015, she inaugurated the Indian festival Namaste Stockholm. More than 200 persons attended a reception hosted in the visiting Minister’s honour by Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison on May 24. On May 25, she spoke in two seminars: on Travel and on Gender and Diversity. She released a publication of the FICCI Ladies Organization about Women Achievers of India. She gave two interviews to Swedish media in which, among other things, she provided detailed information on the various steps taken by the Indian government to ensure the safety of women and said that India was a safe tourism destination for all. Mrs. Maneka Gandhi was the first Minister of the new Indian Government to visit Sweden after the elections held last year in both countries.
Seminars in Stockholm & Gothenburg to promote ‘Make in India: Grow with India’ under the joint Embassy-India Unlimited platform
Under the India Unlimited platform coordinated by the Indian Embassy, for the second year, a number of conferences were organized in Stockholm under the overarching theme of ‘Make in India: Grow with India”. After the inauguration of the conference at the Grand Hotel by MOS for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, seminars were held on the following key subjects on June 1 & 2 in which many representatives from Swedish companies and members of the Indian business delegation which had accompanied the President participated including Smart Cities: Urban Mobility & Management, Local Waste to Local Fuel To Local Transport and Space & Innovation. For the first time, conferences were also held in Gothenburg in the City hall in which delegates from the Confederation of Indian Industry’s business delegation participated. Again the themes were selected to focus on areas of mutual interest such as Making in India – Sustainable Swedish Strategies in India and Smart City: from waste to value. The concluding event was a light-hearted Bollywood evening at the World Culture Museum.
International Day of Yoga celebrated enthusiastically in Sweden The main celebration of the first International Day of Yoga (IDY) in Sweden took place at the Volvo Ocean Race Village at Frihamnen in Gothenburg; the second biggest city in the country. Approximately 400 people of all ages and from all walks of life participated in the one and half hour yoga programme. Ms. Annelie Hulten, Mayor of Gothenburg inaugurated the programme along with the Ambassador of India. The Mayor acknowledged the benefits of Yoga and expressed the support of the city for such events in the future. The Ambassador thanked her and pointed out that this event was completely in line with the motto of the city which was “A Sustainable City – open to the World”. She briefly highlighted the value of Yoga for connecting body to soul and creating harmony within the individual as well as between the individual and nature; thereby reducing stress for everyone and promoting global peace. The main partner of the Embassy of India in organizing this celebration was Yogobe, the leading organization for promoting knowledge and practice of Yoga in Scandinavia (https:// yogobe.com/). The City of Gothenburg and Art of Living
extended invaluable support while technical assistance for live streaming was provided by Tech Mahindra, the leading Indian IT company. The first International day of Yoga (IDY) was also celebrated in Stockholm at the iconic Kunsträdgården in the city centre on 21st June 2015. The event was organised by volunteers from amongst the Indian origin community in Stockholm in association with the Embassy of India. Despite being the midsummer weekend and the start of the vacation period, a strength of approximately 120 people of all ages and from all walks of life enthusiastically participated in the one hour workshop which was conducted in accordance with the common Yoga protocol devised by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The public was made aware of the importance of all the asanas and the associated benefits. The keen interest in Yoga that was generated by the event could be gauged from the numerous post-event queries on the subject and the possibility to enroll in regular yoga classes. In addition to the event at Kungsträdgården, several other organisations like the Isha foundation and the Art of Living, Stockholm also conducted their own events promoting Yoga. The International Yoga day was also celebrated in other cities in Sweden such as Örebro, Malmö, Motala and Helsingborg.
India House opens to Stockholmers on Culture Night The Indian Embassy took advantage of an opportunity offered by Stockholm City to share some of India’s attractions with the residents of Stockholm. Every year, Stockholm City celebrates "Stockholm Kulturnatt" (Stockholm Culture Night) in the month of April by permitting free entry to many of the city's cultural high spots which also organize special events to attract the public. This year, the Embassy joined these celebrations for the first time by opening the doors of the Indian Ambassador’s residence to the public of Stockholm from 1800-2400 hours on April 25, 2015. The visitors got a glimpse of mini-India when they came to the residence. They were amazed and impressed by the range and beauty of the Indian artefacts displayed at the India House. They were shown a selection of films that have been made by the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs including on Yoga which attracted a lot of interest. Indian spices were on display for the visitors and Stockholmers also enjoyed the flavours of Indian tea and Indian snacks. Demonstrations were held to show how to wear sarees.
About 100 ladies tried out sarees and were delighted with the results and took many photographs. Brochures on India's tourist destinations were distributed and interested people were briefed by the Embassy personnel including the Ambassador and her spouse about what India offers to a foreign visitor. Bollywood songs sung by Mr. Deepak, an Indian IT professional enthralled the visitors. A flash mob was organized and the visitors danced to the beat of a Punjabi Bhangra. Between 4500-5000 people visited India House during Kulturnatt; encouraging the Embassy to make it an annual event!
IMPORTANT INDIA-SWEDEN HAPPENINGS
Ambassador visits LKAB Europe's largest and deepest iron mine Ambassador, Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison, visited Kiruna on March 31-April 1, 2015 to visit Europe's largest and deepest underground iron ore mine owned by the Luossavaara Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag (LKAB), which accounted for 90% of Europe's iron production. She was accompanied on her visit by Mr. Bo Krogvig, Senior Adviser of Public Affairs. She was first given a briefing by Mr. Krogvig and Mr. Anders Holstenson, Production Manager, who informed her that LKAB was one of the world's leading suppliers of iron ore pellets to the global steel industry. The iron ore available in Sweden is 60-70% pure and magnetized and after it undergoes various processes, it is exported as pellets which are not only produced in an energy-efficient manner but also require less energy when used to make steel. She was told that the mine never stopped and there were four shifts. To give her an idea of the volume of production, Mr Holstenson told her that with one day's drilling of iron ore in the LKAB mine, six Eifel Towers could be built.
Later Ambassador was taken on a visit of the mine. At the level of 550 metres underground, she was shown a documentary about LKAB in the very same auditorium, where the Arctic Council meeting was held in May, 2013 in which India was elected as an Observer. After the mine visit, she met the President and Chief Executive Officer of LKAB, Mr. Lars-Eric Aaro who made a presentation giving an over-view of LKAB's activities and priorities. He informed her that India's Tata Steel and Arcelor Mittal together accounted for about 30% of the company's sales at present. The Ambassador was very impressed with the efficiency and sustainability of LKAB's production processes as well as its excellent safety record.
CEO of Sandvik AB meets Ambassador Mr. Olof Faxander, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sandvik AB, visited the Embassy and met the Ambassador on April 7, 2015. Sandvik AB is one of the leading global Swedish companies which manufacture construction and equipment tools, furnace products and heating systems and other special materials related to construction. Mr. Faxander told the Ambassador about his recent visit to India. Apart from visiting Pune and Ahmedabad, Mr. Faxander had the opportunity to call
on Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi and said that he had found the meeting to be very interesting as well as inspiring. Ambassador recalled that Sandvik was one of the first Swedish companies which responded to the invitation by the first Indian Prime Minister Mr Nehru to invest in the newly independent India, which he issued during his 1957 visit to Scandinavia. Mr. Faxander told the Ambassador that Sandvik had already made large investments in India and was planning to increase its footprint by establishing a R&D centre.
Mr. Olof Faxander with H.E. the Ambassador
Replying to Ambassador's query about where India figured in Sandvik's global markets, Mr. Faxander said that at present India ranked 13th but with the vision of the present Indian Government and the consequent economic acceleration, he expected India to climb up the ladder very fast. He noted that India offered many advantages to foreign investors such as relative security of Intellectual property, knowledge of English and a very favourable labour cost-differential.
Ambassador meets CEO of Kemwell
Mr. Mikael Ericson with H.E. the Ambassador
Mr. Mikael Ericson, CEO of Uppsala-based Kemwell AB visited the Embassy to meet the Ambassador on April 9, 2015. Kemwell AB is part of the Indian company Kemwell BioPharma based in Bangalore. Founded in 1980, it is 100% dedicated to contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. It has multiple factories in India and acquired a solids manufacturing plant in Uppsala in 2006. Through the facilities in Sweden and India, Kemwell offers the entire value chain from early & late stage drug development services, clinical trial supply support, to commercial contract drug manufacturing. Kemwell BioPharma was voted the “Best Contract Manufacturers in India” by Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers in India (OPPI) in 2010. In 2015, it has been honoured as the “Best Contract Manufacturing Organization” at the BioPharma Asia Industry Awards.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra visits Sweden to promote ‘Make in Maharashtra’ Chief Minister of Maharashtra, H.E. Mr. Devendra Fadnavis led a five member delegation to Stockholm on April 15-16, 2015. The delegation included, among others, the noted Indian industrialist; Mr. Baba Kalyani, CEO of Bharat Forge (which owns a facility in Sweden); Secretary (Industries), Mr. Apurva Chandra and Managing Director (MD) of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Mr. Bhushan Gagrani. The Chief Minister and his delegation first visited the SAAB aircraft manufacturing facility in Linkoping. In Stockholm, their first port of call was the IKEA store at Barkarby where they were given a briefing on how IKEA works. Mr. Juvencio Maeztu, CEO of IKEA-India briefed the delegation about the company’s plans in India. IKEA has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Maharashtra Government and plans to have a strong presence in the state which contributes the most to India's GDP. A Business Seminar on ‘Make in Maharashtra - New Opportunities for Swedish companies’ was arranged by the Embassy under the India Unlimited platform at the Hotel Sheraton, which was attended by over 100 representatives of Swedish and Indian companies. In her opening remarks, Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison set the agenda by briefly describing Maharashtra State's special connection with Sweden as the state where the maximum number of Swedish companies are present for many decades. She recalled that Pune was the city where the Swedish companies went when they responded to the invitation to invest in India which India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru issued during his 1957 visit to Sweden. Ambassador made a brief presentation on ‘Make in India’. She highlighted that, as pointed out by Prime Minister Modi when he launched the programme in September 2014, India is the only country in the world where one can find the advantages of three Ds - Democracy, Demand and Demography. The MD of MIDC, Mr. Bhushan Gangrani showed a short film driving home the reasons why Maharashtra should be the preferred destination for foreign investors. He then elaborated on some of Maharashtra's strengths regarding land, electricity, water, connectivity, and availability of technically trained manpower. The next speaker, Mr. Sunil Puri, Vice President of Sandvik, which already has a strong presence in India, made a power point presentation on the company's activities in different sectors. He informed the audience of the many ways in which the State Government had facilitated the expansion of the
H.E. the Ambassador and the Hon’able Chief Minister
company’s operations and praised the initiative of setting up of Maharashtra Industry Trade and Investment Facilitation Cell (MAITRI) which was doing an excellent job. Mr. Baba Kalyani, Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Forge spoke next. He said that India’s GDP was set to go up from 2 trillion dollars to 6.5 trillion dollar by 2025, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. He forecast that India will exceed the GDP of Germany and Japan in 2025. He spoke about the potential for India to become even more technologically advanced and the contribution that Swedish companies could make towards this. He mentioned defence as a priority area where India wants to be as independent as possible and hoped that Swedish companies would enhance their presence in India in this sector. The Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, Ms Frederika Ornbrant was the next speaker. She said that are already around 50-60 Swedish companies present in Maharashtra. According to her, the reason Swedish companies prefer Maharashtra was the presence of a cluster of Swedish companies, opportunities to exchange experiences, availability of experienced skilled labour, an international business environment, proximity to clients and last but not the least, good schools for the children. She told the audience that healthcare and smart cities were priority areas for India and there are many opportunities for Swedish companies dealing with transport, energy and waste handling. She told the audience that Business Sweden has offices all around India and they would extend all possible help to Swedish companies that wanted to invest in India. In his closing address, Chief Minister Fadnavis began by telling the audience that Maha means big and Rashtra means country, thus Maharashtra is a big country within a great country. He said that Maharashtra was the engine for the growth of the nation as it has the biggest economy among its states. Thus if India has to grow at the rate of 8% then Maharashtra has to grow at the rate of 10%. He told the spell-bound audience that Maharashtra accounts for 15% to the national GDP, 30% of entire exports of India and 30% of FDI. He praised Prime Minister Modi’s initiative of ‘Make in India’ and said that the state Government has started the initiative of ‘Make in Maharashtra’ to support this national programme. As a first major step towards making it easier for foreign companies to do business in Maharashtra, his Government has established a ‘single window system’ whereby assistance is given for getting land, electricity, water and all other clearances.. He informed the audience that the state was now looking at the labour laws and consulting all stake holders to bring in needed amendments.
A lively Q&A concluded the session. As a surprise end to the seminar, a Maharashtrian folk dance was performed by the gifted danceuse from Bangladesh, Ms. Wahida Zennath, which enchanted the audience. Later in the evening Ambassador hosted a dinner in honour of the Maharashtra Chief Minister at the India House which was attended by over 30 CEOs and senior executives of Swedish and Indian companies.
Director of India's most popular film in 2014 'Mary Kom' - Omung Kumar Visits Stockholm This year the Stockholm Junior International Film Festival held in mid-April included the Indian film 'Mary Kom'; a story about Manipur rice farmer's daughter who charted her own destiny as a five-time world amateur boxing champion. Apart from being shown to the appreciative audience during the festival, the Indian Embassy arranged a special screening of the film in Kulturhuset, the central hub of Stockholm's cultural activities. The hall was totally packed. After the screening, there was an interactive session with the producer of the movie Mr. Omung Kumar who was in Stockholm thanks to support from Air India. The interaction was conducted by Marie Nyrerรถd, a well-known Swedish TV personality. Among other questions, she asked Mr. Kumar about the reasons for choosing a woman centric theme for his debut movie. The entire audience applauded when Mr. Omung Kumar replied that he wanted to inspire women in India and all over the world to follow their dreams and not to think that marriage was the end of the road. The Swedish Film maker Elisabeth Gustafsson and the Indian film maker Pooja Kaul were also in the audience and interacted with Mr. Omung Kumar. One of the questions asked by them was about his technique and whether it was specifically meant for an Indian audience. He replied that the film had been enjoyed by audiences worldwide and expressed confidence that the Swedish audience would also be able to relate to its universal message. At the end of the function Mr. Omung Kumar was felicitated by Ms. Ashwathi Pillai, an Indian origin young Swedish citizen who is the current under-15 Swedish National Badminton Champion. Ms. Ashwathi said she was really motivated by the movie. The icing on the cake: Mary Kom won the award for the best film in the Festival! Director Mr. Omung Kumar
Ambassador meets President and CEO of Atlas Copco Group The President and CEO of Atlas Copco Group, Mr. Ronnie Leten and Ms. Annika Berglund, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications and Government Relations called on the Ambassador on April 29, 2015. Ambassador welcomed them warmly to the Embassy and reminded them that the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru had visited the facilities of Atlas Copco in 1957 during his visit to Sweden and had invited them to invest in India. The company did so and was one of the first Swedish companies to enter India. Mr. Leten informed the Ambassador that Atlas Copco had steadily extended their operations in India. They had manufacturing facilities in Pune, Nasik and Hyderabad. They had established their factory in Pune in 1960 and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2010. They also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their factory in Nashik a couple of years back. He told the Ambassador that the Atlas Copcoâ€™s financial report was released last week and the profits from the India operations had gone up by 12%. He was very optimistic about future growth potential.
The Ambassador with the President & CEO of Atlas Copco
Mr. Leten appreciated the new Indian Government's initiatives to make it easier to do business in India. Ambassador told him that Atlas Copco's motto of 'Innovations for Sustainable Productivity' was of vital value for India's fast-expanding construction and mining sectors. She felt that the opportunities for Atlas Copco would multiply exponentially as the Smart Cities programme really takes off. Mining was a critical sector for India and the company could play a big role in making it more productive and sustainable.
NASSCOM delegation visits Stockholm On April 29 the Ambassador met the 24-member NASSCOM delegation who were in Stockholm for a two day visit as part of their Nordic region tour. The key objective of the visit was for the Indian companies to gain an exposure to the ICT environment of the Nordic countries and to provide them with networking opportunities with the local companies and agencies and to explore new business opportunities. (The National Association of Software & Service Companies (NASSCOM) is the premier trade body and the Chamber of Commerce of the IT-BPM industries in India. It has more than 1800 members, which include both Indian and multinational companies that have a presence in India).
Ambassador briefed them about the ICT sector in Sweden and pointed out that even though the size of the Swedish market is relatively small, there is huge potential for joint innovations that can meet India's priority needs as well as enjoy a global market at a subsequent stage. She mentioned the large number of successful IT start-ups that Sweden has produced and highlighted the opportunities that existed for having more active collaboration with such companies, which are very open to working with Indian companies. She cited the example of TrueCaller, one of the latest Swedish IT Unicorn companies whose growth was driven by the Indian market and which is now focussing on developing more products with Indian collaboration. She asked the delegation members to give their views regarding a possible Brainstorming Conference which would bring together Swedish and Indian IT companies to discuss next generation digital innovations. Mr. Shivendra Singh, Vice President of NASSCOM thanked the Ambassador for her valuable inputs.The members of the delegation informed the Ambassador briefly about the focus areas of their companies.They all expressed great interest in deepening their collaboration with Swedish counterparts. Many of them were enthusiastic about the idea of the joint India-Sweden IT Brainstorming conference that Ambassador had mentioned.
Cinema Indien The Embassy with the support of SF Bio and the National Film Development Corporation of India brought 8 films to the cinema lovers of Stockholm with the 2nd Cinema Indien, festival of Indian films organized from 7th to 10th May 2015. Thanks to Air India several noted Indian film personalities made the festival really special. The inaugural film was ‘Margarita with a Straw’, a story about a physically challenged girl which touched the heart of all viewers. The film makers Shonali Bose and Nilesh interacted with the audience after the show. Anindya Chatterjee, the noted musician and lead-singer of Chandrabindu, the popular band of West Bengal brought his first and highly successful film to the festival – Open Tee Bioscope about growing up in Kolkata which the audience enjoyed and appreciated. Last but not the least, Naseeruddin Shah , the well -known actor was present for the festival which included his film ‘Finding Fanny’ , an enchanting story of looking for lost love in the charming setting of Goa. Other films shown in the festival included acclaimed recent gems from Hindi cinema like Liars’ Dice, Ankhon Dekhi and on popular demand, Mary Kom as well as award-winning films in regional languages like Killa in
Marathi and Tasher Desh in Bengali. The festival ended with a well-attended Gala Dinner hosted by Mr. Bicky Chakraborty, President of Elite Hotels which featured one of India’s youngest celebrity chefs Saransh Goila. He launched his book ‘India on a Platter’ on the occasion and spoke about the huge potential that India holds for ‘Gastronomic tourism’. The culinary talents he revealed in the delicious dishes the guests relished in the dinner proved his point!
Tech Mahindra opens new office in Gothenburg On May 5, 2015, the leading Indian IT company Tech Mahindra expanded its presence in Sweden by opening a new office in Gothenburg, close to the headquarters of one of its biggest Swedish clients Volvo Cars. Mr. Vineet Nayyar, Vice President of Tech Mahindra and Head of its Europe operations Mr. Vikram Nair were present for this important event. Ambassador to Sweden, Banashri Bose Harrison, and Anneli Hultén, chair of the City’s executive committee together cut the ribbon at the inauguration. A Yoga session and refreshments concluded the ceremony. The 1,300 square-metre office can support up to 120 staff. Tech Mahindra said it will “harness the rich pool of talent” in the region by partnering with local universities.
Seminar on 'Making it in India Opportunities and Strategies for Östergötland' The Östergötland county took the initiative of organizing a seminar on the subject of ‘Making it in India - Opportunities and strategies for Östergötland’ on May 27 at Linkoping Castle. The event brought together speakers from India and Sweden to discuss different aspects related to the topic. Mrs. Lila Poonawalla, the well-known business personality from Poona who, as an employee of the Swedish company Alfa Laval rose to become its CEO in India, and then became the CEO of Tetra Pak, India gave the keynote address on the topic of Gender diversity. The welcome address was given by the Governor of Östergötland, Mrs. Elisabeth Nilsson followed by remarks by the Indian Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison on ‘Making Sense of India’. She said that India-Sweden relations had tremendous potential which could be unlocked with a better mutual understanding. She told the audience about the historic first-ever visit of an Indian President to India from May 31 to June 2, 2015 and
expressed complete confidence about the boost that the visit would give to cooperation in various fields, including Smart cities and Digital India, which were priority programmes of the Indian government. Other speakers included Mr. Håkan Kingstedt, chairman of Swedish India Business Council and former CEO of Sandvik India who spoke on the subject of ‘Why Care about India?’ and Mr. Gustav Wennerblom from Business Sweden presently based in Bangalore, who informed the audience about ‘Business Opportunities and Trends in India’. The last speaker was Mr. Gaurav Gupta from TechMahindra Ltd, Europe office in London who gave a presentation on “Leveraging ‘Make in India’ benefits”. The event was well-attended with representatives from Saab Dynamics AB, Sectra AB, Cybaero AB, SenionLab AB and Avionics AB among others. The Governor hosted a dinner for the speakers and the invitees after the seminar.
Ambassador meets President and CEO of Ericsson Ambassador met Mr. Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson at his office on 29 April 2015. Mr. Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President (Head of Business Unit Radio) and Mr. Ulf Pehrsson, Vice President (Government & Industry Relations) were also present during the meeting. Ambassador thanked Mr. Vestberg for sparing time for this meeting and briefed him about the ‘Make in India’ programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 24, 2014 and the 'Smart Cities' and 'Digital India' mission that were launched at the same time. She suggested that Ericsson could play a major role in these programmes. For example, Ericsson could collaborate with other Swedish and Indian companies to develop a Smart City project in which Ericsson could do the digital planning. This would make it possible for Indian and Swedish companies which have relevant technologies to create a Swedish Smart City in India like the Symbio City in Hammarby Sjöstad. Ambassador also requested Mr. Vestberg to explore the idea of opening an Ericsson Institute of Technology. This could help increase the supply of well-trained Engineers who could meet the requirements of Indian and Swedish companies, in India, Sweden and in the rest of the world. Mr. Vestberg informed the Ambassador that he would be visiting India later in the year. He said that India is the third
H.E. the Ambassador Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison and Mr. Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson
largest market in the world for Ericsson and a major focus country. Before leaving, the Ambassador was showed the model of the Global ICT Centre by Mr. Arun Bansal. At present they have three such Centres - two in Sweden namely Rosersberg and Linköping and the third in Quebec in Canada. Ambassador expressed the hope that Ericsson would set such an ICT Centre in India one day, sooner rather than later!
India Day celebrated at Blekinge Technical Institute The Indian students at the Blekinge Technical Institute (BTH) organized yet another successful India Day on May 12th, 2015. Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison was one of the chief guests of the event along with the Mayor of the City, Mr. Patrik Hansson and the Governor, H.E. Ms. Berit Andnor Bylund. The programme included informative sessions on India including exhibitions of art work by the students and panels prepared by them which provided data of different aspects of India including its different States and important programmes like ‘Make in India’. There was also an opportunity to try different Indian attires as also to taste Indian snacks, both proved to be very popular. The India Day concluded with a highly appreciated cultural programme which included classical and folk dance and music as well as Bollywood dances, a short movie made by the students and a fashion show.
Governor Ms. Berit Andnor Bylund tries out a saree. Also in the photo Ambassador Harrison and Mr. Gurudutt Kumar Velpula, Project Director, India Relations, BTH
Earlier in the day, the kick-off of the project ‘Partnership for Industries and International Studies’ took place in which representatives of a number of companies participated including ABB, Atlas Copco, SAAB, CSC and Compuver. This was followed by a press conference and a Lunch Round Table meeting with local industry representatives connected with the project. The project’s objective is to enhance the employability of foreign students of BTH, including the talented young people from India. Vice Chancellor Mr. Anders Hederstierna was present in all the programme of the day.
Ambassador Visits The National Library of Sweden On June 10, Ambassador of India Banashri Bose Harrison visited the prestigious National Library of Sweden located in Humlegården in Stockholm and spent two hours there. They were welcomed by Mr. Johannes Rudberg, Head of Division of Collection and Research Development, Mr. Janis Kreslins, senior
Academic Librarian for Research Affairs, Ms. Enrica Hallvarsson Head of the Foreign Languages Department and Mr. Amit Rathod , an Indian Origin staff member. They were taken around the beautiful building including the exquisite old Reading room. They were privileged to be shown some highlights of the collection relating to India including: the earliest map of India dating from 1550 created by Gastaldi, another map on Tranquebar from the 1720s drawn by the Lutherans and a third map which was a copy of a 19th century map originally drawn by James Rennell, well-known as the â€˜Father of the Indian Surveyâ€™; which was very interesting as it was probably drawn by a British officer as part of his training. They were also shown Bibles printed in India in the Konkani language and one in Sanskrit. They also viewed a Bhagwad Gita printed in France. A gem that was shown to them was a lovely guide of Indian Sceneries by a British officer James Grindlay from 1818 where all the illustrations were hand painted.
The welcoming team with the Ambassador in the reading room
After the visit, the Ambassador and Mr. Harrison were hosted by Ms Gunilla Hardenberg, the National Librarian and they discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the National Libraries of the two countries.
Governor of Reserve Bank of India's visit to Stockholm Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India visited Stockholm on June 24 to give the Keynote address at the macroprudential policy conference organised by the Riksbank, the Central Bank of Sweden. In the afternoon, he gave a talk at the Stockholm School of Economics. The event was organized by the Indian Embassy under the India Unlimited platform, in collaboration with Business Sweden and Sweden India Business Council. In her opening remarks, Ambassador Bose Harrison cited the recent UN report on World Economic State and Prospects, which had confirmed that India was presently the fastest growing economy in the world and mentioned that the analyst who had prepared the report had credited this achievement to the policies of the government and the central bank moving in the right direction.
Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
Dr. Rajan began his address by summarizing the situation prevailing in the Indian economy in 2013 and the factors that led to the sharp decline in the Rupee. He pointed out that Indian authorities were able to identify the reasons for the crisis and to address them within a short period. He argued that the results of the last elections in India had shown that people wanted H.E. the Ambassador Mrs. Banashri Bose Harrison
stability and steady growth. The government had responded by taking a number of measures to make this happen, including building up infrastructure. He invited Swedish companies to look closely at the opportunities to invest in infrastructure which held a huge potential. A lively question and answer session followed which was moderated by Mr. Klaes Eklund, Chief Economist at SEB and Advisor to Sweden India Business Council. Thereafter, the hundred plus audience which included representatives from businesses, banks, academia and media enjoyed refreshments which gave them a taste of India.
SWEDEN IN INDIA
Sweden's Infrastructure Minister Ms Anna Johansson visits India Sweden's Infrastructure, Minister Ms. Anna Johansson led a delegation to India from March 29 to April 2, 2015. On April 1, India's Urban Development Minister,, Mr.Venkaiah Naidu met them and gave an overview of the policy framework and other initiatives of his Ministry. He said the Urban development Ministry is undertaking three important projects at the moment. "One is the Smart City Project, second is rejuvenation of 500 cities with more than 1 lakh population and the third is developing heritage cities," he said. Minister Naidu also touched upon the massive â€˜Housing for All' scheme which targets construction of houses for all by 2022. He also highlighted his Ministry's priorities for enhancing the public transportation system using Metro Rail and modern buses.
The Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu meeting the Minister for Infrastructure of Sweden, Ms. Anna Johansson,
Speaking on the occasion, the Swedish Minister Ms. Anna Johansson said that Government of Sweden is willing to cooperate in the Smart City Project and India's sustainable urban development initiatives. Both the sides agreed to have further informal meetings to discuss the modalities before a formal Joint Working Group is formed. Minister Naidu suggested possible areas of cooperation such as sustainable and integrated urban planning and land use, integrated solid waste management, sustainable transport systems, water and sanitation management, Smart City and ICT applications, twinning of cities and transfer of green technologies. His Swedish counterpart responded that the government of Sweden is willing to cooperate in all these areas.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist on a visit to India Immediately after the successful first ever State visit by the President of India to Sweden, the Swedish Minister of Defence, Mr. Peter Hultqvist visited India from 9th to 12th June 2015. On the first day of the visit, he was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour. He also visited India Gate where he paid homage at the Gallant Soldiersâ€™ memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti. During the day the Swedish Defence Minister held talks with representatives from the Indian government and also met his Indian counterpart Mr. Manohar Parrikar. The two Ministers discussed issues of mutual interests concerning bilateral defence cooperation and the regional security scenario. They also exchanged views on rising scourge of terrorism and agreed to cooperate in this regard. The issue of participation of Swedish firms in defence manufacturing in India under the 'Make-in-India' initiative was also discussed. The two sides agreed to continue to explore opportunities for enhancing cooperation between defence establishments of both sides in mutually agreed areas. Mr. Hultqvist also travelled to the Southern city of Bengaluru on 11th June where, apart from an interaction with the Chief Minister of Karnataka, he visited the Defence Public Sector Enterprises like the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). Before the visit of the Minister Peter Hultqvist to India, the Ambassador had paid a courtesy call on him at the Swedish Ministry of Defence on May 4, 2015. The Minister spoke with satisfaction about the strong historical relations that the two countries enjoyed. He mentioned that the forthcoming visit by the President of India, which also happens to be the first ever Head of State visit from India to Sweden, is indeed an important milestone in Indo-Sweden relationship. The Ambassador thanked the minister for the meeting and assured him that India considers Sweden, a very important friend and a reliable partner who has always supported India's Security requirements. She also hoped that Sweden would continue supporting India as a partner in its ambitious "Make in India" programme.
INDIA IN LATVIA
Ambassador Harrison visits Riga for important meetings Ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison visited Riga on Friday, March 28, 2015 for a number of important meetings. The visit started with a breakfast meeting to discuss the possible ways in which modern medicine system could be combined with traditional medicine systems of India, particularly Ayurveda and Yoga so as to benefit the patients. Prof. Dr. Valdis Pirags, Faculty of Medicine, University of Latvia and Dr. Sigma Ankrava, Acting Director of Centre for Indian Studies and Culture, University of Latvia informed the Ambassador about the success of the new module launched recently for this purpose. Dr. Somit, an Indian Ayurvedic Expert from Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam & Research Institute, Coimbatore with which the University of Latvia had signed a MoU last year, said that there was a growing interest in Ayurveda in Latvia, as reflected in the fact that the course he had just begun to teach had already attracted 43 students. He told her that he would be taking about 30 of them to India for two months on a study visit to gain practical knowledge. He also informed Ambassador that the Latvian University is planning to open a ‘Centre of Research for Complementary Medicine’ which will do research on the effects on Diabetes of combining traditional medicine and modern medicine. The meeting was joined by Mr. Astitva Ginters, Yoga Expert and Ms. Premal Madina, Oddisi Dancer, teacher and Choreographer in Riga. The Ambassador informed the participants in the meeting that at India’s initiative, the United Nations had declared June 21 to be the “International Yoga Day”. She sought their assistance in celebrating this day appropriately in Riga, and briefed them on the vision of the Indian government. Later in the day Ambassador visited the University of Latvia and interacted with the students studying Ayurveda and spoke to them about the importance of Ayurveda in the modern day. The second programme was a seminar on ‘Promotion of Indian Agriculture Products’ which was organized for the second time by the Embassy in collaboration with the Indo-Latvian Chamber of Commerce (ILCC) and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), India. The President of ILCC, Mr. Kartik Desai, welcomed the guests and read out the Latvian Minister of Agriculture’s speech which was followed by a short film made by the Public Diplomacy division entitled ‘India – A Profile’. Thereafter the Ambassador gave a presentation on India’s agricultural sector. She spoke about India’s enormous potential in these areas. She informed the audience that India is exploring the benefits and feasibility of
planning to build a cold storage in Riga Port to make Riga as a hub for Indian products. Then the Ambassador invited H.E. Mr. Atis Lejins, Member of Parliament and Co-Chairman of India-Latvia Friendship Group to address the audience. Mr. Lejins talked about the warmth of the relations between Latvia and India and thanked the Ambassador for organizing such an event which would promote further bilateral cooperation between the two countries and said that he is looking forward to getting Indian Basmati Rice in Latvian markets. He further said that he would be visiting India shortly at the invitation of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and said that he and his wife were looking forward to this visit. The next speaker was Mr. Peter Odintsov, a Member of the Council of Norvik Bank. In his address, Mr. Odintsov mentioned that this was an historic opportunity for Latvia with the Prime Ministership of Modi Government so keen to further enhance international trade and business relations. He stressed that Latvia is the best transit/distribution center to CIS/Northern European countries. He told the audience that the Norvik Bank is trying to build Indian export and import communities and he had himself visited India and witnessed the quality of production. He said that India produces very quality products but lacks packing capability while Latvia has very good technology in packing. If Indian products are exported to Latvia, Latvia would help in packing in smaller quantities as required to further export to CIS and other European countries. He mentioned that the Norvik Bank and eromar Cargo Services are doing feasibility study with APEDA to build cold storages in Riga. They planned to have 6000 sq.mtr for this purpose, equally divided for cold storage, temperature control and for warehouses. During the visit of a delegation from the APEDA to Riga, they would finalize the plans for construction of an APEDA certified Riga Export Hub facility. The audiences were shown many Indian agricultural products and given a taste of rich aromatic Indian tea and coffee and Indian food. Ambassador’s programme ended with a meeting with Ms. Judite Dobele, Head of Department of Asia and Oceania in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They discussed bilateral matters as well as India’s participation in the forthcoming ASEM meetings.
Latvia-India international science forum with Focus on Ayurveda An international scientific forum, ‘Fostering Latvia-India Cooperation’, dedicated to cooperation between Latvia and India in the field of research, education and medical business
was inaugurated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The forum brought together researchers, experts and others interested in various academic fields, including linguists, experts in culture and religion, Ayurveda practitioners, environmental researchers from Latvia, India, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Russia, Lithuania, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Spain. At the opening of the forum, Viktors Makarovs, Advisor to the Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasised the traditionally close and dynamic relations between Latvia and India. Earlier this year, the Embassy of Latvia was opened in New Delhi, thereby increasing Latvia’s presence in India and offering significant support for Latvia’s universities and businesses. At the opening session, Dr. P. Ram Manohar, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the AVP Research Foundation, an Ayurvedic research institute from Coimbatore, presented ideas on the integration of Ayurveda into biomedical practices. The scientific forum’s lectures and events continued on 30th May at the University of Latvia, Turiba University and Pauls Stradins Museum of the History of Medicine. The participation of an official delegation from the Indian Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy) was deeply appreciated by the organizers. The scientific forum is the initiative of Prof. Sigma Ankrava, Head of the Centre for Indian Studies and Culture at the University of Latvia, and was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Latvian and Indian universities.
Education delegation to Riga Ms. Vrinda Sarup, State Secretary in the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development led a 3-member Indian Delegation to Riga for the 5th ASEM Education Ministers' Meeting on 27-28 April, 2015. Other members of the delegation were Prof. Ved Prakash, Chairman, University Grant Commission and Shri Rakesh Ranjan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry. Besides participating in the ASEM meeting, the delegation also held bilateral discussions with officials of the Latvian Ministry of Education.
Celebration of International Day of Yoga in Latvia The first International Day of Yoga was celebrated at the century -old 15-hectare Botanical Garden of University of Latvia in Riga on 21 June 2015. The event, which was jointly inaugurated by the Rector of the Latvian University; the Latvian Foreign Ministry
First Secretary for Asia, Africa and Oceania Division; and the First Secretary of the Indian Embassy, included performances of Yoga, Indian classical music and dance; talks on Yoga and Ayurveda in English and Latvian languages to mainly underscore the importance and relevance of Yoga and Ayurveda in the modern world for healthy living. 19 Yoga schools (out of the 45 official Yoga schools in Latvia) participated in the event. The Art of Living also took part in the event. About 15 stalls and camps were put up which promoted healthcare items and services, including Yoga and meditation. OV 1000 persons visited the venue. Despite being partially affected in the afternoon due to rain, performances continued on the covered stage and spectators held onto their grounds under the shelter of umbrellas, raincoats and Yoga mats to enjoy the high quality informative performances throughout the day.
India Tourism Roadshow in Riga With the help of the Indian Embassy, the India tourism office, Frankfurt and Ministry of Tourism a Tourism Roadshow in Riga was organised on 6th July, 2015 to promote travel to India. Mr. Girish Shankar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism was the keynote Speaker. Participants from India included 18 tour operators from India as well as a representative from Air India, Frankfurt Office. Around 30 tour operators with offices in Riga and nearby attended and had meetings with the Indian tour operators. The programme started with a brief introduction by Ms. Roma Singh, Regional Director, India Tourism Office Frankfurt followed by a presentation by Mr. Girish Shankar, Additional Secretary on the many attractions of India as a tourism destination for all seasons. Mr. Vinay Sharma, Acting Head of Visa and Consular Wing in the Indian Embassy in Stockholm briefed the attendees about the visa procedures including the recent introduction of Electronic Visa on Arrival for Latvian passport holders travelling to India for tourism or casual business. The event concluded with an Indian cultural performance, a buffet dinner and a lucky draw for trips to India. The Roadshow succeeded in generating interest among the travel community in Latvia to look at India as a tourism destination.
INDIA IN WORLD
Prime Minister Modi Visits France, Germany and Canada The Prime Minister visited France, Germany and Canada from 9 to 16 April 2015. All the three are highly industrialised democracies with which there is a significant potential for deepening the political and economic partnership. France The visit to France started with a ceremonial welcome in the
Prime Minister inspecting the Guard of Honour
morning of 10th April followed by two back to back roundtables – one with French CEOs with infrastructure as a theme, and the second with French CEOs with defence technology as a theme. The discussions focused on French participation in the ‘Make in India’ mission of Prime Minister’ Modi. The Prime Minister then gave an address at the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) where he praised the organisation for its many initiatives to preserve the world cultural heritage, including in India. The next day, Prime Minister Modi met President Hollande and also had delegation level talks. The two leaders held wide ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues reflecting their convergence in world views. They reaffirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership and agreed to further deepen and strengthen bilateral ties based on shared principles and values relating to democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights. Government of India conveyed to the Government of France that it would like to acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition at the earliest in view of the critical operational necessity for a Multirole Combat Aircraft for Indian Air Force. The two leaders agreed to conclude an Inter-Governmental Agreement for supply of the aircraft as part of a separate process.The Prime Minister also visited the Airbus facilities and the French space company CNES in Toulouse. Several agreements in the area of Defence, Nuclear energy,
Development and Technology were signed during the visit.
commemorative joint stamp to mark 50 years of cooperation in the space sector was also released during the visit. In the context of ongoing commemoration of the First World War in the two countries, President Hollande recalled the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers who gave up their lives a century ago fighting for France’s freedom. Prime Minister Modi also visited the Memorial at Neuve Chapelle in France which was built in the memory of martyrs and heroes from India who fought on the western front. Prime Minister meeting with the German CEOs at Hannover
Germany On the second leg of his three-nation tour during, PM Modi visited Germany for a on 12th and 13th April. Again, the focus was on obtaining Germany's support for the 'Make in India' campaign. The visit started with the Hannover Fair where India is a partner country this year. About 400 Indian companies participated in the fair. About 100-120 Indian CEOs attended the event along with nearly 3000 German delegates. The Prime Minister and Chancellor Angela Merkel jointly Joint inauguration of India Pavilion with Chancellor Merkel
inaugurated the ‘India Pavilion’. Both leaders spoke in favour of a free trade agreement between the European Union and India. Prime Minister Modi emphasized that this was important for the expansion of India as a manufacturing hub. The joint statement by both countries, among other things, established a joint working group on urban development. The Indian Prime Minister promised to set up a mechanism to help German companies invest and do business in India — something that has been done only for Japan and the US so far. In his address, at the Indo-German Business Summit, the Prime Minister highlighted the Government of India’s efforts to create an environment that was business friendly and where approvals for industry were dealt at a much faster pace. He
Prime Minister with Chancellor Merkel addressing a Joint Press Conference
also unveiled the Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Hannover and spoke about how Gandhiji had been a source of inspiration for the entire world. The Prime Minister also visited a railway station in Berlin keeping in view his government’s agenda of modernising Indian Railways. He also visited the Siemens facility there. While addressing a diaspora event in Berlin, PM Modi said that India would lead the way in dealing with climate change. The two countries also agreed to strengthen educational exchanges along with collaborations between universities. Canada
Prime Minister meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa
The last destination of this tour was Canada which the Prime Minister visited from 14th to 16th April. This was the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Canada in 42 years. During the visit, apart from his official interaction with Prime Minister Harper and the Governor General of Ottawa, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Prime Minister Modi interacted with the business and commercial leadership in Toronto as well as the Indo-Canadian community in both Toronto and Vancouver. Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Harper held detailed discussions to review the full spectrum of bilateral relations and exchanged perspectives on a range of regional and international
Prime Minister meeting with His Excellency David Johnston, Governor General of Canada in Ottawa
issues of mutual interest. They noted the historic significance of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada in advancing bilateral ties to a
strategic partnership and take it to a new level which could be described as “New Vigour: New Steps”. During the visit, thirteen agreements on skill development were signed reflecting the Indian government’s commitment to empower the youth of India with world class skills not only for India but for the global economy. The visit also saw the signing of the agreement on procurement of uranium from Canada for India’s civilian nuclear power plants along with MoUs in areas of Space, Civil Aviation and Railways. Additionally, various areas in the field of Defence and Security were also identified for joint development and manufacturing. Prime Minister addressing at the Diaspora event in Toronto
State Visit of President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to India At the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan paid a State visit to India from 27-29 April, 2015. This was the first visit of President Ghani to India after assuming the Presidency in September 2014.
The visit reflected the continuation of the
tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries established since 2002.
Vice President Md. Hamid Ansari and
senior members of government called on the President of Afghanistan. President Ghani's program in India also included an address at the historical Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and a meeting with President Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, laying the wreath at Rajghat
members of India's leading Chambers of Commerce. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also held extensive discussions to review bilateral cooperation activities and the international regional security environment confronting both countries.
Both leaders reaffirmed their
commitment to patiently and systematically work towards strengthening of the India Afghanistan Strategic Partnership, with a clear focus on the long term relationship between the two countries. President Ghani recognized the special role that India is playing in Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts through its capacity building programs and stated that the new Afghan Parliament will stand as a testimony to the friendship between the two democracies. He also welcomed India's decisions to provide support to the Habibia School, located in Kabul, and to support a program of the 'Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) in Kabul and its contribution to the Afghan Red Crescent Society's program to treat Child Congenital Heart disease (CHD disease).
President Ghani with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
President Pranab Mukherjee’s Visit to Moscow On the invitation of President Putin, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory Day celebrated to mark the victory of Russia in the Second World War, President Pranab Mukherjee visited Moscow from 7th to 10th May. This was the President’s first visit to Russia as the Head of State. Interestingly, he was the designated representative of the Government of India to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations in 1995. Grenadier Regiment of Indian Army at the Victory Day Parade
The President was accompanied by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha and Senior Officials. He also had a delegation of Vice Chancellors and Heads of national institutes with him. For the main event of the visit, the Victory celebration, a 75-member Indian Army contingent from the Grenadiers participated in the military parade in Moscow. During the visit, the President held a bilateral meeting with President Putin. He also had a separate meeting with Rectors of important Russian universities and Vice Chancellors of important Indian universities at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The President was conferred an honorary Doctorate by the Diplomatic Academy of Russia.
Addressing the gathering at the Diplomatic Academy of Russia where he was awarded an honorary doctorate
Nine agreements were concluded during the visit. One related to cooperation in the area of science and technology, the other eight were between institutes of higher education. The President also inaugurated the Namaste Russia cultural festival during his visit.
Prime Minister's Visits to China, Mongolia and South Korea Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a three-nation visit to China, Mongolia and Republic of Korea from 14th to 19th May , 2015. China
Prime Minister Modi with President Xi Jinping in Xian
Signing of various agreements in Beijing
Even though Prime Minister Modi had visited China earlier in when he was the Chief Minister of Gujrat, this visit was his first as the Prime Minister. The visit began in Xian, the home town of President Xi Jinping. The Prime Minister had a summit meeting with President Xi in Xian and also visited some places of cultural interest in Xian. From Xian, the Prime Minister travelled to Beijing where he was formally welcomed by Premier Li Keqiang. The two delegations had wide-ranging talks and a number of agreements were signed in sectors like mining, railways, education, Space cooperation, Tourism, Ocean Sciences, Ocean Technology, Climate Change, Polar Science and Cryosphere. Prime Minister Modi visited Tsinghua University where he addressed a gathering. A noteworthy part of the Beijing visit was the first ever meeting of the India-China State and Provincial Leaders’ Forum in which Indian and Chinese Chief
Ministers and Mayors participated. The last stop was Shanghai, where the focus was primarily economic. The Prime Minister interacted with with Chinese CEOs and also addressed a business gathering. Some business agreements were signed which, among others, related to the setting up of Industrial parks and Solar and Thermal power projects. The Prime Minister inaugurated a Centre for Gandhian Studies at the Fudan University. The visit held strategic significance, coming within the first year of Prime Minister Modi's term. Many issues related to Defence, Trade and Economic were taken up during the visit. On the sensitive boundary question, both sides agreed to continue exploring a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution and to make all efforts for maintaining peace and tranquility in the border region. The opening of two new consulates in Chengdu and Chennai was announced. Mongolia The first stop for the Prime Minister was the Gandan Monastery where he made the highly symbolic gift of a Bodhi Tree sapling to the Chief Abbott of the Monastery. This was followed by talks with the Prime Minister of Mongolia. The Prime Minister also addressed the Mongolian parliament, which was a rare honour as this was the first time the Parliament of Mongolia had a foreign leader addressing the members on a holiday.
Meeting with Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg of Mongolia
The Prime Minister met the President of Mongolia who hosted a luncheon banquet in his honour. The Prime Minister attended a mini version of the traditional Naadam festival which includes a display of horse racing, traditional wrestling and archery. A foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister for a proposed Information Technology Centre which India will set up in Mongolia. Numerous agreements were signed during the day long visit including in the fields of application of nuclear technology for curing of cancer in the National Cancer Centre of Mongolia, cooperation in solar and wind energy, traditional systems of medicine and homeopathy and setting up a joint Indo-Mongolian School in Ulan Bator. The visit was the first ever visit of Indian Prime Minister to Mongolia and took place against the backdrop of celebration of the 25th year of democracy in Mongolia and 60 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Prime Minister trying his hand at Archery during the Nadaam festival
Republic of Korea The Prime Minister who arrived in the Republic of Korea on the 18th of May had bilateral engagements and also participated in the 6th Asian Leadership Conference, organised by the Chosun Ilbo group. Prime Minister Modi and Korean President Park Geun-hye held substantive discussions in areas of mutual interest. They welcomed the rapid expansion and diversification of bilateral ties in recent years.
Prime Minister at the Wreath Laying Ceremony, in Seoul National Cemetery
In line with his Ganga Rejuvenation Plan, the Prime Minister also visited the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul, which is a stream that was cleaned up and is now a model for similar projects around the world.
Prime Minister and President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye at the delegation level talks
On the business side, the Prime Minister along with President Park Geun-hye attended an India-Republic of Korea CEOs Forum, followed by meetings with the CEOs of top Korean companies that have invested or are interested in investing in India. In view of the long standing cooperation in Shipping, the Prime Minister also visited Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan. A number of agreements were signed including the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention as well as for cooperation in the areas of shipping and logistics, audiovisual coproduction, transport, highways, electric power development were signed. In the Joint statement for the Special Strategic Partnership, both sides announced far reaching agreements in the field of Defence and Security including annual summit meetings, Joint Commissions led by Foreign Minister, increased military to military interaction and the establishment of a joint Vice Ministerial level defence and foreign affairs dialogue in the "2+2" Format.
Prime Minister addressing the CEOs Forum and Business Meet in Seoul
The visit was very important in view of the strong economic cooperation between India and Republic of Korea. India sees the Republic Of Korea as an indispensable partner in its "Act East" strategy. Bilateral trade between the two countries is about USD 16 billion. There are 300 Korean companies who invested about USD 3 billion in India and employ about 40,000 workers. Similarly, Indian investments in Republic of Korea is close to USD 2 billion, with the industry looking forward to greater access in the Republic of Korea to pharmaceutical and IT products.
State Visit by President of India to Belarus President Pranab Mukherjee paid a State visit to Belarus from 2nd to 4th June. The visit immediately followed the President's visit to Sweden, and as in the case of Sweden, was the first ever State visit by an Indian President to Belarus. The President was accompanied by the Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Shri Hansraj Gangara m Ahir, as well as Members of Parliament Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House and Shri Ashwani Kumar. A large Indian business delegation of around 120 persons as well as an Educational delegation comprising several Vice Chancellors accompanied the President and held discussions with their counterparts as well as concluded many agreements.
President at the luncheon Banquet hosted by the President Alexander Lukashenko, of Belarus
The Prime Minister of Belarus, Andrei V. Kobyakov called on the President as well as the Chairman of the Council and the Chairman of the House of Representatives, the two Houses of the National
Assembly of Belarus. The two Presidents addressed a joint business conference on June 4th which also marked the formal launching of the Grodno-II Power Project which has been refurbished by BHEL with the help of a line of credit of USD 55 million from India. Five MoUs and agreements were signed related to cooperation in textiles, standardization, capital markets and broadcasting. The President also unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Belarus State University, where he was also honoured with a Professor of honoris causa degree by the University.
President paying respect to the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Belarus University
Prime Minister's Visit to Bangladesh The Prime Minister of India paid a State visit to Bangladesh from 6th to 7th June at the invitation of H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. This visit, was Prime Minister’s first visit to Bangladesh and reflected the importance attached by India to the bilateral relationship. The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms Mamta Banerjee accompanied the Prime Minister. During the visit, Prime Minister held discussions with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and also called on the President of Bangladesh Mr. Md. Abdul Hamid. The visit was a historic one as the centerpiece of the visit was the conclusion of the long standing Indo-Bangladesh land boundary agreement with the exchange of exchange of instruments of ratification of the land boundary agreement 1974 and its 2011 Protocol. With the settlement of the land boundary and the earlier settlement of the maritime boundary, India and Bangladesh have completely settled their boundary issues which is an extremely important development. Two bus services, namely the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service and the Dhaka-Guwahati-Shillong bus service were flagged off by the Prime Minister along with the Chief Minister of West Bengal and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Prime Minister Modi also received the ‘Bangladesh Liberation War Honour on behalf of the former Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s initiative to honour the memory of Indian soldiers who had laid down their lives in Bangladesh’s Liberation War. Expressing satisfaction at the utilisation of the first Line of Credit by Bangladesh, Prime Minister Modi announced a second Line of Credit worth US$ 2 billion for undertaking various development projects. The many agreements that were signed during the visit included the renewal of the Bilateral Trade Agreement along with MoUs on Blue Economy and Maritime Cooperation in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, Prevention of Smuggling and Circulation of Fake Currency Notes, Human trafficking and Coast Guards, to name a few.
Prime Minister being received by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh
The two Prime Ministers and CM of West Bengal flagging of the Bus service
Prime Minister with the President of Bangladesh
Prime Minister Modi Visits Ufa, Russia for the 7th BRICS and SCO Summit On the 8th of July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in in the city of Ufa, Russia for a three-day visit to attend two key summits - the seventh meeting of BRICS on the 8th and 9th of July, followed by a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO on the 10th of July. This was the third time that Prime Minister Modi interacted with his peers in BRICS. He had attended the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza last year and had participated in the meeting of BRICS leaders in Brisbane on the margins of the last G20 meeting.
Prime Minister with other BRICS leaders at the 7th BRICS summit
The summit marked the entry into force the BRICS financial institutions: the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserves Arrangement (CRA). The Summit also included an agreement for cooperation in the field of culture and a MoU on a joint BRICS website. On the sidelines of the SCO meeting, Prime Minister Modi met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and two leaders exchanged views on issues of bilateral and regional interest. Both of them agreed that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. Both leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menace from South Asia. In the Joint Statement released after the meeting, the two sides agreed on the following steps: A meeting in New Delhi between the two NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. Early meetings of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers followed by that of DGMOs. Decision for release of fishermen in each other’s custody, along with their boats, within a period of 15 days. A Mechanism for facilitating religious tourism. Both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.
Prime Minister's Visit to Central Asian Countries In conjunction with his visit to Ufa, Russia for the 7th BRICS summit and the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Ufa, Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited five Central Asian Countries, namely Uzbekistan and Kazakhistan before the Summit (6th to 8th July) and Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan after the Summit (10th to 12th July ). This was the first visit of any Indian prime minister to the Central
Asian countries simultaneously since they became independent in 1991. Uzbekistan The Prime Minister arrived at Tashkent on 6th July and was received by the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev, who accompanied Prime Minister Modi for the entire duration of this visit. He also had a meeting with President Islam Karimov. Thereafter the two leaders met in a delegation-level format. Welcoming the first ever visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Uzbekistan, President Karimov noted that strengthening relations with India is one of the top foreign policy priorities of Uzbekistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasized that a strong strategic partnership between India and Uzbekistan is a key pillar of Indiaâ€™s engagement with Central Asia. During the visit, Prime Minister Modi had interaction with Indologists and Hindi language students. Tashkent is one of the leading centres of Indology in the world.
Prime Minister with President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan at Presidential Complex in Uzbekistan
Kazakhistan Prime Minister Modi visited Kazakhistan on 7-8 July and met with President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Massimov in Astana. The two sides inked five agreements, in defence, railways and uranium supply, sports and transfer of sentenced prisoners. In the joint statement issued during the visit, the two leaders noted the rising challenge posed by terrorism in many parts of the world and in their immediate region and underlined the importance of a stable and secure environment for peaceful economic development. They agreed to continue their active engagement in the fight against terrorism and extremism including exchange of information. The Prime Minister gave an important address at the Nazarbayev University, where he dwelt on the historic linkages as well as on the possibilities of taking the relations to an entirely new level keeping in view the development potential and programme and possibilities that exist between India and the Central Asian countries. The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Indian-Kazakh Centre for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology which houses a PARAM supercomputer gifted by India. The Prime Minister also attended a business event with leading CEOs from both sides. Apart from identifying a number of areas for closer economic linkages and trade, such as hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, fertilizers and so on; the two Prime Ministers formally launched the drilling in the Satpayev Block in the Caspian Sea by Indiaâ€™s leading Oil & Natural Gas Company ONGC Videsh Limited.
Prime Minister meeting with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov in Astana
Turkmenistan The Prime Minister arrived at Ashgabat, the capital of Tukmenistan on 10th July. He held extensive discussions with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual
Prime Minister and President of Kazakhstan at the Joint Press Conference in Astana
interest. The two Leaders expressed satisfaction at the continued development of bilateral relations based on deep-rooted civilizational, historical and cultural linkages and a shared interest in international as well as regional peace and stability. In Turkmenistan Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Centre for Traditional Medicine and Yoga. This is the first such centre that is going to be set up in this entire region with the participation of the Turkmen Government. Two Agreements for cooperation in the field of Defence and sports were signed along with five other MoUs. Kyrgyzstan
Prime Minister meeting with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan
Prime Minister calls on President Almazbek Atambayev of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkekmir Sariyev
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the capital Bishkek on the penultimate stop of his Central Asian tour on the night of 11th July. Notwithstanding the late hour, he was received with full ceremonies by the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan including a Guard of Honour. The next day, Prime Minister Modi met with President of the Kyrgyz Republic Mr. Almazbek Atambaev. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Almazbek Atambaev exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. Voicing grave concern over rising trend of extremism and terrorism worldwide, India and Kyrgyzstan today signed four Agreements / MoUs. The two agreements included one to boost defence cooperation and hold annual joint military exercises and the other to deepen cultural cooperation between the two sides. The defence agreement also aims at deepening bilateral cooperation in military education and training. It also envisages conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of experience and information, and exchange of military observers and instructors besides others. Two MoUs were also signed for cooperation between the Election Commissions of the two countries and on cooperation in the sphere of Standards, a move that will help economic relations. Tajikistan Tajikistan marked the last leg of Prime Minister Modiâ€™s eight-day tour of the five Central Asian Republics and Russia. He arrived at Dushanbe on the evening of 12th July where he was received by Prime Minister Rasulzoda.
Prime Minister inspecting the Gurard of Honour at the Ceremonial Welcome at Qasr-e-Millat in Dushanbe
Prime Minister Modi held wide ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and international issues with the President of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon. The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the excellent relations between India and Tajikistan. They noted that ties between their countries are based on shared history and cultural affinities between their people. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to take all necessary steps to transform bilateral relations into a multi-faceted strategic partnership for the mutual benefit of the people of both their countries. Expressing satisfaction at ongoing defence cooperation, which remains one of the main pillars of partnership between the two countries, the two leaders decided to reinvigorate official-level interactions in the
framework of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter Terrorism for strengthening cooperation in the fight against terrorism and instructed that the JWG meet at an early date. A Programme of Cooperation (POC) between Ministries of Culture of India and Tajikistan in the field of Culture for the years 2016-18 was signed. The POC envisages cooperation in the field of culture through exchange of expertise in protection, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage in both countries, exchange of information and experts and organization of cultural days in each otherâ€™s countries for greater cultural understanding between the countries.