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India and Egypt sign agreement in the area of Maritime Transport

India and Egypt on 2 September 2016 signed an agreement on Maritime Transport. The agreement would help the two nations to step-up co-operation on the seas not only in terms of maritime commerce but also in transit of naval vessels. 
•    The agreement was signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in New Delhi. President Sisi is on a three-day visit (1-3 September 2016) to India at an invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee.
•    Earlier in October 2015, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for signing of an agreement between India and Egypt on Maritime Transport. 
•    It was decided that the agreement would be signed on a mutually convenient date and venue.
•    They also called for the proposal to have the inaugural "Egypt by the Ganga Festival" in 2017.

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Prime Minsiter's Vietnam visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Vietnam ahead of G20 summit here was aimed at jointly piling pressure on China and to raise their "bargaining chips" with the country.
•    Given the South China Sea issue, Beijing-Hanoi relations have not been smooth over the past years. 
•    Negative emotions toward Beijing among the Vietnamese people have also been rising.
•    Under such a backdrop, Modi's visit to Vietnam has without doubt made Indians associate the tour with many strategic meanings, believing that New Delhi and Hanoi might jointly pile pressure on Beijing.
•    The fundamental reason behind it is the interests of India and Vietnam. 
•    New Delhi and Hanoi both wish to raise their bargaining position while having interactions with China, but neither of them wants direct confrontation with Beijing.
•    While such a possibility cannot be totally excluded, but it will not play a vital role either.

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Steel Minister invites companies and businessmen from UK & Luxembourg

Union Steel Minister Shri Birender Singh, who was on a 3-day visit to United Kingdom and Luxembourg, invited companies and businessmen from these two countries to invest in India and be a partner in India’s growth story. The Minister was accompanied by senior officials from Ministry of Steel and SAIL during this visit, which concluded with his arrival back to Delhi yesterday.
•    The Steel Minister met Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg Mr. Etienne Schneider. The meeting was attended by senior officials from both sides, during which various issues of mutual interest for both the countries, were discussed. Shri Singh highlighted the significance of Luxembourg from steel industry point of view and expressed gratitude to Mr. Schneider for taking a keen interest in business relations with India. He invited the Luxembourg government and businesses to explore opportunities for enhancing their business presence in India and assured of full support by the government.
•    During the visit, Shri Singh visited the offices of M/s. Paulworth and M/s. Arcelor Mittal, and had interaction with their top management representatives. He shared details of steps being taken by the central government in India to improve ease of doing business and to facilitate foreign investment. The Minister shared his vision for steel industry in India and termed R&D as the key driver for sustainable growth of the industry. Shri Singh stated that producers of steel will have to come forward and demonstrate advantages of using steel by executing innovative pilot projects. He exhorted the two companies to contribute their best in realization of this vision. Mutual collaboration on technology and development front can be advantageous for all the partners, for example, the Joint Venture between SAIL and Arcelor Mittal, he added.
•    Earlier on the first day of the visit, the Minister attended “International Conference on contribution of Sir Chhotu Ram in Pre Independence era” as the chief guest. He had extensive deliberations with the Diaspora and urged them to take active interest in India’s growth and development.

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President of India’s message on the eve of National Day of San Marino

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings and felicitations to the Government and people of Republic of San Marino on the eve of their National Day (September 3, 2016).
•    In a message to the Captains-Regent of San Marino, Mr. Massimo Andrea Ugolini and Mr. Gian Nicola Berti, the President has said, “On behalf of the Government, the people of India and on my own behalf, it is with great pleasure that I extend warm greetings and felicitations to you and to the people of San Marino on the occasion of your National Day.
•    India and San Marino enjoy a cordial and friendly relationship. We look forward to the further strengthening of our bilateral relations in areas of mutual interest for the benefit of our peoples.
•    I am happy to have this opportunity to convey my best wishes for your well-being and success and for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of San Marino.”


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India and the United States have signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement

In a significant departure from its policy of not entering into a military agreement with any major power, India has signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with United States which will allow their militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
•    The LEMOA, which sets a precedent for other future military pacts between the two countries, was signed Monday in Washington between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US counterpart Ashton Carter to facilitate opportunities for “practical engagement and exchange.
•    Agreement does not create any obligation on either party to carry out any joint activity and does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.
•    Maintaining that reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorised port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts”, it did underline that “logistics support for any other cooperative effort shall only be provided on a case-by-case basis through prior mutual consent of the parties, consistent with their respective laws, regulations and policies.

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India, Myanmar ink four agreements to boost bilateral cooperation

India and Myanmar have signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and bilateral relations between the two countries. 
•    These agreements were signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting counterpart President of Myanmar U Htin Kyaw in New Delhi. 
•    President Kyaw was on a four day visit to India from 27 August to 30 August 2016. He is the first democratically elected President of Myanmar to visit India.
Signed Agreements are 
•    MoU on cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy. 
•    MoU on cooperation in the construction of 69 Bridges 
•    MoU on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine. 
•    MoU on cooperation in the construction and upgradation of the Kalewa – Yagyi Road Section.

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China Starts Cargo Train Service to Russia

A cargo train left south China's Guangzhou City for Vorsino, Kaluga Region (113 miles south-west from Moscow) on Aug. 28 , China’s Xinhua reported.
•    It is the latest freight train route China has launched to boost trade ties along the ancient Silk Road. 
•    The train will travel 11,500 km over 14 days before reaching its destination. 
•    Its cargo includes garments, shoes, hats, cloth, lamps and lanterns, electrical appliances, and electronics. 
•    According to Xinhua, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, has traditionally depended more on maritime freight services. 
•    The new cargo train service saves 30 days compared with shipping services, and it costs just a fifth of the price for air transportation.
•    Russia’s Kaluga Region has set up a major logistics center in the Vorsino industrial park to handle 150,000 to 350,000 containers a year, the Russian media report.

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India and Germany have signed an agreement on vocational training

India and Germany on 22 August 2016 signed an agreement to foster conditions that will help create and improve workplace-based vocational training in India's industrial clusters.
The agreement was signed between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and German International Cooperation (GIZ).
•    Under the pact, German technical assistance will be used to enhance industry institute partnerships between Indian and German organizations.
•    It will help build capacity of local training institutions and foster industry linkages which will help adapt elements of the German dual system into the Indian context.
•    It will initiate a new project focused on adapting elements of the German dual system in select industrial clusters in India. 
•    The project will run for three years starting August 2016 with a budget of 22.6 crore rupees made available by the German Government.
•    It will be implemented in three selected clusters, which include the Automobile cluster in Maharashtra and Electronics cluster in Bangalore.

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Nepal Deputy PM Shri Bimalendra Nidhi visits NDMA 

The Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Shri Bimalendra Nidhi visited the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) office here today. Shri Nidhi's visit to NDMA acquires significance as Nepal is on its way to reconstruct itself after the massive earthquake that shook the country last year. 
•    Shri. R. K. Jain, Member, NDMA, made a presentation highlighting India’s experience in managing floods, avalanches, earthquakes and landslides, with special emphasis on post-disaster reconstruction efforts after earthquakes. It was discussed that India has a vast and varied experience in post-disaster reconstruction which may be useful to Nepal. 
•    Shri Ranjit Rae, Ambassador of India to Nepal, underlined the importance of institutional mechanisms for Disaster Management set up in India. The possibility of replicating a similar institutional set-up in Nepal was also discussed. 
•    Shri Nidhi was accompanied by Shri Bhrigu Dhungana, Joint Secretary, Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and officials from the Embassy of Nepal including Shri Krishna Prasad Dhakal, Shri Yadab Raj Khanal and Shri Hari Prasad Odari. 
•    Senior officials of Ministry of External Affairs and NDMA were present on the occasion. Shri Nidhi arrived in New Delhi yesterday evening as the special envoy of Nepal Prime Minister Shri Pushpa Kamal Dahal. He is in India on a four-day visit.

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India and Bangladesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and the Roads and Highways Department of People’s Republic of Bangladesh today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Dhaka. 
•    The MoU enables IOCL to send its trucks carrying Motor Spirit, High Speed Diesel, and Superior Kerosene Oil & Liquefied Petroleum Gas from Meghalaya to Tripura via territory of Bangladesh. 
•    The validity of this facility is till end September, 2016. Both sides have also agreed to extend the transit facility for a further short period on need basis. 
•    The work on the broad gauging of the railway track in the North-Eastern region has shifted the goods vehicle traffic on to the roads. 
•    Further, due to heavy rains in the region this Monsoon, the roads, including NH 44, have been affected resulting in non plying of goods trucks, including those carrying petroleum goods to Tripura. This resulted into a situation of scarcity of essential petroleum goods. 

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