Chairman of the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, Mr. Kwon E-hyock

Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Moon Hee-sang

Minister for Culture, Mr. Do Jong-hwan

Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Other members of Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation,

Distinguished dignitaries

Ladies and Gentlemen




Greetings to all

I am deeply honoured to be awarded the Seoul Peace Prize I believe that this award belongs not to me personally, but to the people of India. The award belongs to the success that India has achieved in the less than five years, powered by the strengths and skillsof one point three billion Indians. And so, on their behalf, I humbly accept the Award and express my gratitude. This award is a recognition of the philosophy that has given the message of वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम which means the entire world is one family. This award is for the culture that has given the message of peace even on the battle-field, as Lord Krishna gave the teachings of Bhagwad Gita during the battle in the महाभारत.This Award is for a land where we are taught

ॐ द्यौ: शान्तिरन्तरिक्षं शान्ति, पृथ्वी शान्तिराप: शान्तिरोषधय: शान्ति:।
वनस्पतय: शान्तिर्विश्वे देवा: शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्ति,सर्वँ शान्ति:, शान्तिरेव शान्ति, सा मा शान्तिरेधि॥
ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥

Which means:

May there be peace every  where in the sky in space,

all over our planet, in nature.

May there be eternal peace.

And, this award is for the people who have always put societal good above individual ambitions. And, I am honoured that this award is being conferred on me in the year that we celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I would like to contribute the Monetary award of Two Hundred Thousand dollars that one crore thirty lakh rupees to the नमामि गंगे Fund,our effort to clean a river that is not only held sacred by all the people of India, but is also an economic life-line to millions of my countrymen and women.


The Seoul Peace Prize was established to mark the success and spirit of the 24th Summer Olympics held in Seoul in 1988. India remembers the games quite well. Because they ended on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. The games showcased the best of Korean culture,the warmth of Korean hospitality, and the success of the Korean economy. And,not to forget, they marked the arrival of a new sporting power-house in the global arena! But,the games were also an important landmark in world history. The 1988 Olympics were held at a time of many changes in the world. The Iran-Iraq War had just ended. The Geneva Accords relating to the situation in Afghanistan had been signed earlier that year. The Cold War was ending, and there was great hope that a new golden age will soon Dawn. And for a while, it did. The world is better in many aspects today than it was in 1988 Global poverty has been steadily falling. Health-care and education outcomes have been improving. And yet, many daunting global challenges remain.Some are old, some new. A few months before the Seoul Olympics, the first public warnings about climate change were sounded.Today, it is recognized as a big threat to human-kind. A few weeks before the Seoul Olympics, an organization called Al-Qaeda was formed. Today, radicalization and terrorism have become globalized and are the biggest threats to global peace and security. And, millions of people around the world still remain without adequate and quality access to food, shelter,health-care, sanitation, power, and above all, dignity of life. Clearly, there is a lot more that needs to be done.The solution to the hard-ships we face is in hard work. And, India is doing her part. We have been working to improve the well being of the people of India - who form one-sixth of humanity. India is today the fastest growing large economy in the world with strong economic fundamentals. This has been possible because of the major economic changes that we have introduced. Flag-ship initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Clean India’ have contributed to visible socio-economic growth. We have focused on financial inclusion, access to credit, digital transactions, last mile connectivity, andsupport to small and medium enterprise so as to spread development across the country and enrich all the citizens of India. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is making India clean; From a sanitation coverage of around 38% in 2014, the number today stands at 98%! The Ujjwala Yojana is improving the lives of rural women through use of clean cooking fuel; Ayushman Bharat is providing health-care and insurance to 500 million poor and vulnerable people; and, Through these initiatives, and many more, we have contributed to holistic development and India's march towards achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In all our efforts, we are guided by Mahatma Gandhi's teaching that we should recall the face of the poorest and the weakest person that we have ever seen and ask ourselves if the step that we plan is going to be of any benefit to that person.


India’s growth story is not only good for the people of India but also for the entire world. We live in an increasingly connected world. As the third largest economy, our growth and prosperity will inevitably contribute to global growth and development. We are committed to make a peaceful, stable and economically inter-linked world. India, as a responsible member of the international community, has also been in the fore-front of our collective fight against climate change. Despite having a historically low carbon foot-print, India has been playing an active role in the global fight against climate change. At the domestic level, this has been done by unveiling a National Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions, increase forest cover, and replacing traditional carbon fuels with renewable energy supplies. On the international plane, we have partnered with like-minded countries to launch the International Solar Alliance, which aims to harness the clean and unlimited solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. We are one of the largest troop contributing countries for UN peace-keeping operations. And, we are proud to have been able to contribute to peace on the Korean peninsula. We have extended a helping hand to countries in need and participated actively in humanitarian work and disaster relief. We have carried out operations in conflict zones and rescued not only Indians but also nationals of many other countries. We have been an active and considerate development partner for other developing countries, with our guiding principle being to help in developing their physical and social infrastructure. Through these efforts, we seek to ensure that the benefits of a globalised and inter-connected world are equally experienced by all. Over the past few years, my Government has renewed interaction and forged new partnerships across continents. In the East Asian context, we have redefined our engagements with countries in the region, including with Republic of Korea, under our Act East Policy. I am glad to hear an echo of our approach in President Moon's New Southern Policy.


India has been the land of peace for ages. The people of India have practiced the concept of peace and harmonious co-existence for thousands of years. With hundreds of languages and dialects, many states, and major religions, India is proud to be one of the most diverse nations in the world. We are proud that ours is a land where people of all faiths, beliefs, and communities can prosper. We are proud that ours is a society based not only on tolerance, but on celebration of differences and diverse cultures.


Like Korea, India has also suffered the pain of cross-border strife. Our endeavour towards peaceful development has only too often been de-railed by cross-border terrorism. While India has been the victim of cross-border terrorism for over 40 years, all nations today face this grave threat which respects no borders. The time has come for all those who believe in humanity to join hands to completely eradicate terrorist networks and their financing, supply channels, and to counter terrorist ideology and propaganda. Only by doing so can we replace hate with harmony; destruction with development; and, transform the landscape of violence and vendetta into a post-card for peace.


Progress over the past year towards peace on the Korean peninsula has been heartening. President Moon deserves all the praise for the role he has played in overcoming the legacy of mutual distrust and suspicion between the D.P.R.K. and the international community, and bringing them to the discussion table. This is no small achievement. I state again my Government's strong support to the ongoing dialogue process between the two Koreas and between the U.S.A. and D.P.R.K.

As the popular Korean saying goes:

Shichagi Bhanida,

"A good beginning is half the battle”.

I have every confidence that with continued efforts from the Korean people, peace will soon prevail on the Korean Peninsula. Friends, I would like to end by quoting a portion of the 1988 Olympics Theme Song, because it perfectly captures the hopeful spirit for a better tomorrow for all of us: Hand in hand, we standAll across the land,We can make this world,A better place in which to live.

Gamsa Hamnida !

Thank you.

Thank you very much.




Read more: Prime Minister’s Acceptance Speech for the Seoul...

Union Home Minister inaugurates “Waste to Wonder” Park in South Delhi

The park sets an example of creation of ‘Wealth from waste', says Shri Rajnath Singh A Smart City cannot be imagined without a proper waste disposal and recycling system, says the Minister

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh said that waste disposal should be done properly for which the Municipal corporations will have to play a lead role. He was speaking at the inauguration of the “Waste to Wonder” Park under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) here today.

While giving suggestions to the Municipal corporations for waste disposal, the Home Minister said that this park has set an example for others, as for the first time scrap has been used to create ‘Wealth from waste’. The efforts should be made towards behavioural change of the people and proper arrangement should be made for waste disposal, he said. He added that a system should be developed for recycling of waste that can be reused. The products which cannot be recycled should be minimally used. Shri Rajnath Singh said that new ideas should be developed on how waste can be used in an innovative manner as was done by SDMC. He appreciated the dedication of the artists and officials involved in the endeavor who have completed the task of Wonder park in just 6 months.

On the occasion, the Union Home Minister paid tributes to the martyrs of Pulwama where CRPF jawans made supreme sacrifice.

Shri Rajnath Singh said that under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Swachh Bharat Mission has become a mass movement that has brought about perceptible changes among the people and resulted in targeted behavioural changes towards cleanliness and hygiene. “We cannot imagine a Smart City without a proper waste disposal and recycling system,” he said.

The Home Minister appreciated that today all municipal bodies are competing among themselves for Swachh Sarvekshan. He lauded SDMC for improving its rank from 202 to 32 in Swachh Sarvekshan, 2018 ranking.

Praising the SDMC for several environment friendly initiatives such as the use of solar panels, LED street light project and achieving 100% ODF (Open Defecation Free) target. He called upon all other municipal bodies to adopt the Best Practices for Sustainable Development.


The main attractions of the “Seven Wonders Park” are the different sized tall replicas of the Taj Mahal (20 ft.), the Great Pyramid of Giza (18 ft.), the Eiffel Tower (60 ft.), the Leaning Tower of Pisa (25ft.), Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue (25 ft.), Rome’s Colosseum (15 ft.), and New York’s Statute of Liberty (30 ft.). The seven replicas have been made with the scrap of automobile parts and other metal waste like fans, rods, iron sheets, nut- bolts, bicycle & bike parts, defunct sewer lines and age old appliances gathering dust in the 24 Municipal Stores. In all 150 ton scrap/waste has been used.

On the occasion, the Home Minister also presented appreciation letters to the artists involved in the establishment of waste to wonder park.

The Lt. Governor of Delhi Shri Anil Baijal and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.



Read more: Union Home Minister inaugurates “Waste to...

Your Excellency,

Yunmo Sung, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy,

Distinguished Business Leaders,


A very good afternoon. I am delighted to meet you all today in Seoul. This is my third interaction with the Korean business leaders in the span of just 12 months. This intensity is intentional. I wish to see more and more Korean businesses turning their attention to India. Even when I was the Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat, I traveled to Korea. Korea was, and still remains, a role-model of economic growth for me.


India today, a country of 1.25 billion people, is going through a great transition.

It is changing from:

· An agriculture dominated economy to an economy led by industry and services;

· An economy that is closed to one that is globally inter-linked;

· An economy that is known for its red tape, to one known for its red carpet.

India has emerged as a land of opportunities. While we work for realizing the ‘Indian Dream’, we seek like-minded partners. And, among them, we see South Korea is truly natural partner. India-Korea Business relations have come a long way in the past decade, and especially closer in the last few years. India is among top 10 trade partners of Korea and India is the 6th largest export destination for Korean goods. Our trade volume has reached 21.5 billion Dollars for the calendar year 2018. The negotiations to upgrade Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement have been fast-tracked to achieve the bilateral trade target of 50 billion Dollars by 2030. Not just trade, in investment terms also we are seeing a positive turn. And, Korean investments into India have reached a cumulative figure of almost 6 billion Dollars.


After my visit to Korea in 2015, we launched a Korea specific facilitation cell "Korea Plus” under ‘Invest India’ to guide, assist and handhold investors during the entire life-cycle of the business. Hyundai, Samsung, LG electronics have become trustworthy brands in India. And, Kia is soon to join this club. Over 600 Korean companies have invested in India. And, we aspire to welcome many more. And, to ease your path, Visa on Arrival for Korean nationals has been put in place since October last year. We encourage the presence of Korean Trade Offices in India. And, I am glad that we recently had the sixth office of KOTRA opened in Ahmedabad. Let me tell you a little more about what is happening in India now. The fundamentals of our economy are sound. We are well set to become a 5 trillion dollar economy in the near future. No other large economy in the world is growing at over 7% year after year. Hard policy decisions such as the introduction of Goods and Services Tax have been taken. In the last four years, we have jumped 65 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, to 77th. And, we are determined to move into the top 50 next year. We are one of the most open countries for Foreign Direct Investment today. More than 90 percent of our sectors are now on automatic route for approval. As a result of this and the confidence in India, we have received FDI worth over 250 billion Dollars over the past four years.


In India, we are also focused on making our growth inclusive. It is for this reason that we have taken strong initiatives for financial inclusion. In the course of the past three years, we have opened over 300 million bank accounts for those who never had a bank account. Now, 99 percent of Indian house-holds have a bank account and more than 12 billion Dollars have been deposited in these accounts. They now have access to affordable pensions and insurance. Under the Mudra scheme, we have extended micro credit worth more than 90 billion dollars to 128 million persons over the past three years. 74 percent of these loans have gone to women. We have leveraged the power of a biometric identity system, bank accounts and mobile phones, to deliver subsidies and services to the previously unbanked. Government benefits worth more than 50 billion Dollars are now transferred directly to the beneficiaries, thus eliminating leakages. We have taken huge strides in rural electrification. India is now recognised by the International Energy Agency as one of the greatest success stories in bringing about rural access to energy in 2018. In renewable energy, we have become the sixth largest producer in the world. This, and our initiative of the International Solar Alliance, will enable India to be a pioneer in moving towards a green Global economy. That is our commitment to a green and sustainable future. Through these steps, the way of life of our people in all corners of the country is being transformed. This, in turn, is transforming governance and public service.


Economic progress is closely tied to world-class infrastructure. Be it Transport, Power, Ports, Shipbuilding, Housing and Urban Infrastructure, there is huge demand in India while there are strong technological capabilities and capacities in Korea. We estimate the investment requirements in Infrastructure at over 700 billion Dollars by 2022. Under the Sagarmala Project, Port projects involving Investment of over 10 billion Dollars have been identified for award in the upcoming five years. It is essential to guide the growth of urban utilities and create smart cities which ensure sustainable and clean future for all. More than 500 million of India population will be urban by 2025 and this opens the scope for cooperation in building smart solutions in India. Recognizing the importance of supporting India’s infrastructure development, India and South Korea have identified 10 billion Dollars under Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund and Export Credit, to finance such projects. While aiming for fast economic growth, India is also rooted in the principles of ensuring sustainable economic growth. For example in Automobile sector, The National electric mobility mission aims for affordable and efficient Electric Vehicles. South Korea being a leading manufacturer of Electric Vehicles has a huge opportunity in this sector in India.


Research and innovation would be the driving force in 4th industrial revolution era. And, we do understand that the role of government is to provide the support system. In this regard, we have introduced flagship program Start-up India with 1.4 billion Dollars fund for four years to create a startup ecosystem in India. Under the able leadership of President Moon, South Korea has also unveiled a program to spend 9.4 billion Dollars by 2020 in a bid to increase capital supply for startups and venture-friendly environment. This synergy in policy regimes is a reflection of areas of common interest for both India and Korea. Our vision of an India-Korea Startup Centre – will provide a hub for Korean startups and Indian talent to freely communicate. South Korean National IT Industry promotion Agency has already opened their Indian office in Bengaluru to facilitate Korean startups to India. In the field of innovation, both countries have decided to establish ‘India-Korea Future Strategy Group’ and ‘India-Korea Centre for research and Innovation Cooperation’ to provide an institutional framework for future-oriented cooperation based on research, innovation and entrepreneurship.


It is our earnest desire to work with Republic of Korea more closely to realize the dream of our citizens. Efforts by the Governments will not be realized unless business leaders like you share the same dreams. I would like to conclude here with Korean expression:

हुंजा खाम्योन पल्ली खाजीमन

हमके खाम्योन मल्ली खम्निदा

I entirely agree with its meaning, that, "you would go fast if you go alone, but you would go far if you go together”.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.



Read more: Prime Minister's speech at 'India-ROK Business...

The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, chaired the fifth meeting of the Island Development Agency (IDA) held here today. The Island Development Agency reviewed the progress made towards the program “Holistic development of islands”. Bids for private sector participation in three tourism-based projects have already been invited by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration. They include eco-tourism projects in Smith Island & Long island and tent city project in Aves island. Bids will be invited shortly for one more project in Neil island of Andaman & Nicobar.


 Three projects in Lakshadweep have been identified for issue of bids. They include tourism projects in the islands of Kadmat, Minicoy and Suheli Cheriyakara. Environmental Clearance (EC), Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Clearance and all other clearances required for these projects are being obtained upfront, on priority, to attract more number of reputed bidders.


The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce has issued a notification extending tax incentives for investments made in manufacturing and service sector in islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. The tax incentives are

I). Central Capital Investment Incentive for access to credit (CCIIAC)

II). Central Interest Incentive (CII)

III). Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (CCII)

IV). Goods and Services Tax (GST) Reimbursement

V). Income Tax (IT) Reimbursement

VI). Transport Incentive (TI); and

VII). Employment incentive (EI)


Expeditious implementation of the above mentioned projects will provide high economic return to the private sector, satisfactory jobs and additional income to the islanders and enhanced revenue to the Government - a win-win situation for all. Above all, stability of the island eco-system will be maintained with effective execution of well-planned environmental safeguards.

A detailed presentation was made by CEO, NITI Aayog highlighting the current status of planned projects being implemented for islanders’ benefits. The status of implementation of decisions taken in the last meeting was also highlighted in the presentation.


The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress made since its last meeting held on June 30, 2018 when directions were given to focus on creation of recreational facilities along-with tourism infrastructure; implementation of renewable energy projects; incentives for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); development of a film city in an island etc.   

Key infrastructure projects such as operationalization of Diglipur airport for civilian aircraft and construction of a new airport in Minicoy Island have been accorded high priority by the Government. Four islands (Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep, Hutbay and Long) in Andaman & Nicobar and three islands (Kavaratti, Agatti and Minicoy) in Lakshadweep have been identified for seaplane operation. CRZ clearance has been accorded for ‘Middle Strait Bridge’ on Andaman Trunk Road. All these measures will improve inter-island connectivity significantly.

Digital connectivity will improve substantially in the islands with augmentation of satellite bandwidth and laying of optical fibre cable. Better communication services will facilitate setting up of Information Technology based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the islands.

In order to sustainably utilize the potential of Tuna Fish, ten deep-sea modern fishing vessels are being procured by Lakshadweep administration from Cochin Shipyard Limited. Export of sea food and coconut products is being encouraged to generate more employment opportunities in the islands.

Shri Rajnath Singh called upon all concerned to expedite implementation of ongoing projects which have been planned to create additional jobs for the islanders and improve inter-island connectivity. He directed that adequate care should also be taken for maintaining a clean, green and healthy environment in the islands. Home Minister appreciated collective efforts being made by all the Ministries for holistic and sustainable development of islands.

The meeting was attended by Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Admiral D. K. Joshi (retd); Administrator of Lakshadweep Shri Farooq Khan; Cabinet Secretary Shri P. K. Sinha; CEO, NITI Aayog Shri Amitabh Kant, Secretaries and senior officials from ministries of Home, Commerce, Tribal Affairs, Environment and Forest, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Telecommunications, Shipping, Water Resources, Earth Sciences, New and Renewable Energy were also present.





Read more: Shri Rajnath Singh chairs fifth meeting of...

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today addressed the Indian community in Korea. 

He thanked the Indian community in Seoul for the warm welcome they had accorded him.  

He said ties between India and Korea are not just on the basis of business contact. He said the main basis of the relationship between both countries is People To People Contact.

The Prime Minister referred to the age-old links between India and Korea, and recalled Queen Suryaratna who travelled thousands of kilometres from Ayodhya, and married a Korean King. He also recalled that recently on Diwali, the First Lady of Korea, Kim Jung-sook, had visited Ayodhya. 

The Prime Minister said that Buddhism had further strengthened these bonds of friendship between the two countries. 

The Prime Minister said that he is happy to note that the Indian community is contributing to development, research and innovation in Korea. 

He mentioned the popularity of Yoga and Indian festivals in Korea. He said Indian cuisine is also fast gaining popularity in Korea. He also spoke of the splendid performance of Korea in the Indian sport - Kabaddi - at the Asian Games. 

The Prime Minister described the Indian community all over the world, as ambassadors of India, whose hard work and discipline has raised India's stature worldwide. 

The Prime Minister said that India is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. He said that the world must know more about Bapu, and it is our responsibility to pursue this objective. 

The Prime Minister said that India's ties with Korea are strengthening, and both countries are working together for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. He noted that Indian brands are now present in Korea, and Korean brands are household names in India. 

The Prime Minister spoke at length of the economic development that has taken place in India recently. 

He said India will soon become a 5 trillion dollar economy. 

He spoke of the phenomenal progress made in Ease of Doing Business, and in Ease of Living. He also mentioned reforms such as GST and cashless economy. 

He mentioned that the world is witnessing a financial inclusion revolution in India. In this context he spoke of bank accounts, insurance and Mudra loans. 

He said that India's prestige is rising because of several achievements. He mentioned free treatment for the poor, the tallest statue in the world - Statue of Unity, and Digital India. 

The Prime Minister also spoke of India's developments in the field of clean energy, and the formation of the International Solar Alliance. 

The Prime Minister said that there is a new energy in India today. He also mentioned that tomorrow, he shall receive the Seoul Peace Prize, on behalf of the people of India, and the Indian diaspora. 

The Prime Minister mentioned the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj, and said the world was taking note of the cleanliness that had been kept at Kumbh this time. He exhorted the Indian community in Korea to promote tourism in India, by their own individual efforts. 




Read more: PM addresses Indian Community in Korea

1. At the invitation of Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India Shri Narendra Modi, and under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid his first State visit to India from 19-20 February 2019, where he was received at the airport by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The visit follows the official visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April, 2016 at the invitation of the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

2. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince was accorded a ceremonial welcome on February 20, 2019 at the Forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. President Kovind also hosted a banquet dinner in honour of His Royal Highness. 

3. Prime Minister Modi and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz held delegation level talks at Hyderabad House on February 20, 2019. External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj called on His Royal Highness.

4. India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties. Close geographical proximity, civilizational links, cultural affinity, natural synergies, vibrant people to people contacts. Common challenges and opportunities have added momentum to this robust engagement.

5. The bilateral discussions were held in the spirit of strong friendship that binds the two countries and their leaders. They expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation, which are marked by trust, mutual understanding, goodwill and respect for each other’s interests. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in diverse fields including trade, energy, security and cultural spheres since the landmark visit of the Prime Minister to Riyadh in April 2016 – a visit which served to enhance our engagement and take our relations to the next level.

6. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the recent changes initiated by His Royal Highness Crown Prince to bring in moderation and openness in Saudi Arabia while His Royal Highness the Crown Prince conveyed his appreciation for Indian model of ethos of inclusiveness, pluralism and tolerance.

7. The two sides re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen the ‘strategic partnership’ envisaged in the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ of February 2010 and reiterated during the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in February 2014 and the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016.

8. The two sides agreed to cement the existing ‘Strategic Partnership’ with ‘high level monitoring mechanism by the creation of Strategic Partnership Council led by the Honourable Prime Minister and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, supported by ministerial representation covering the whole spectrum of strategic relationships. 

9. Both sides welcomed the outcomes of the Workshop between NITI Aayog and Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnership (SCISP) organised recently in Riyadh. The Workshop has identified more than 40 opportunities of joint collaboration and investments across various sectors. 

10. The following MoUs were signed during the visit:-

(I) MoU on investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of India.

(II) MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism.

(III) MoU on cooperation in the field of Housing.

(IV) Framework cooperation programme between Invest India and Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

(V) MoU for cooperation on Broadcasting for exchange of Audio-Visual Programmes.

(VI) Agreement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) launched by Honourable Prime Minister Modi.

11. Taking note of the positive trend in the bilateral trade over the recent years, the two sides acknowledged the huge untapped potential available in the merchandise trade, particularly in the non-oil trade. The two sides appreciated the positive deliberations held during the 12th session of the India-Saudi Joint Commission Meeting held in Riyadh in February 2018, for enhancing cooperation in economic, commercial, investment, cultural and technological fields. 

12. The two sides stressed the importance of increasing trade volume between the two countries, and eliminating export barriers. 

13. The two sides agreed on further deepening trade and investment cooperation between the two countries by aligning the Kingdom’sVision 2030 and its 13 Vision Realization Programs with India’s flagship initiatives of "Make in India”, "Start Up India”, "Smart Cities”, "Clean India”, and "Digital India”. The Saudi side expressed its readiness to attract Indian private/ public sector investments and expertise, in the upcoming mega projects in Saudi Arabia. The two sides acknowledged positive transformation of economies of India and Saudi Arabia.

14. Both sides welcomed the key initiatives taken by both Governments to improve the ease of doing business, simplify and rationalize existing rules and relax the foreign direct investment norms in key areas.

15. Both sides welcomed the positive change in investment climate after the signing of the Framework Cooperation Agreement between the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Invest India during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Riyadh in 2016. The two sides urged the business communities to utilize the investment opportunities in both countries, especially in the fields of infrastructure, mining, energy including renewables, food security and technology transfer, and to further consolidate cooperation in the areas of skilled human resources in information technology, electronics and telecommunications.

16. Recognizing the availability of sophisticated infrastructure and logistical services in the Kingdom’s industrial cities and ports, His Royal Highness welcomed investments by Indian companies in the Kingdom for domestic and regional market access.

17. The Prime Minister welcomed the announcement of His Royal Highness to invest in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining, manufacturing, education and health potentially worth in excess of $100 billion.

18. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the first Joint Venture West Coast Refinery and Petrochemical Project estimated to cost US $ 44 billion and both sides agreed to expedite the implementation of the project, which will be the largest green field refinery in the world to be implemented in one phase. In addition, $10 billion through the Public Investment Fund and its technology partners, and other investments opportunities potentially worth $26 billion being explored.

19. The Prime Minister of India welcomed the investment from Saudi Arabia in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and other key sectors in India. In this context, both sides appreciated the signing of the MoU on investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) as it will pave the way for expanding bilateral economic cooperation.

20. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the intent by Saudi side towards investments in India, especially in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining, manufacturing, education and health.

21. The two sides welcomed the signing of MoU for Cooperation in the field of Housing and encouraged Indian companies to participate in the housing projects in Saudi Arabia.

22. His Royal Highness Crown Prince welcomed Prime Minister’s initiative on Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and hailed it as an important step towards disaster management.

23. Recognizing the importance of the energy security as a key pillar of the strategic partnership, the two sides expressed desire to grow bilateral trade in the energy sector, acknowledging Saudi Arabia as the world’s most reliable supplier of oil & gas and the key supplier to India. The two sides stressed on continuation of the India-Saudi Arabia Energy consultations. The two sides agreed to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy-sector to strategic partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes.

24. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to meet India’s growing needs for crude oil and petroleum products and substitute for any shortages that may arise as a result of any disruptions from other sources. 

25. The Prime Minister also welcomed the Kingdom’s participation in the India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs).

26. The Prime Minister of India welcomed the decision of the Saudi side to join the International Solar Alliance. Both sides noted the potential cooperation in the renewable energy sector not only in investment but also in Research and Development.

27. The two sides also agreed to cooperate in the areas of space, science and technology, including remote sensing, satellite communication and satellite-based navigation.

28. The two sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Skill Development to identify areas of cooperation, where the two countries can benefit from each other’s core competencies in important fields such as manufacturing, information technology, communications, and programming. 

29. The two sides welcomed the recent developments in India-Saudi co-operation in the defence sector, particularly in the fields of exchange of expertise and training, especially after the MoU on Defence Cooperation signed during the visit of His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to India in February 2014. In this context, they welcomed the outcomes of the recently held 4th Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation in Riyadh on 2-3 January, 2019.

30. The two sides agreed to hold the inaugural joint naval exercises at the earliest and agreed to further expand bilateral exercises in other domains.

31. Noting the potential and mutual benefit, the two sides agreed to cooperate and collaborate in joint defence production of spare parts for Naval and Land systems as well as supply chain development, in line with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vision 2030’.

32. The two sides agreed to work together with other Indian Ocean Rim Countries for enhancing maritime security, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries and safe passage for international trade. 

33. With regards to regional connectivity projects, both sides agreed that they should be based on international law including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

34. The two sides stressed the importance of regional stability and good neighbouring relations. His Royal Highness appreciated consistent efforts made by Prime Minister Modi since May 2014 including Prime Minister’s personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan. In this context, both sides agreed on the need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan.

35. Affirming that the menace of extremism and terrorism threatens all nations and societies, the two sides rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture. Both sides called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists perpetrating terrorism from all territories against other states; and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. The two sides also noted the need for concerted action by the international community against terrorism including through early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the UN.

36. Both sides called up on all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. They also called upon all states to deny access to weapons including missiles and drones to commit terrorist acts against other countries. 

37. The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness condemned in the strongest terms, the recent terrorist attack on Indian security forces on 14 February, 2019 in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir.

38. The two sides discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia and Middle East, in the light of their common interest in the regional and global peace, security and stability. Both sides emphasized Security Council Resolution (2254) with regard to the solution in Syria, and Security Council Resolution (2216), the GCC initiative, and the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue with regard to the solution in Yemen. 

39. The two sides expressed their hope for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant UN resolutions, to guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. 

40. To enhance further cooperation in the Counter-terrorism efforts and benefit mutually from real-time intelligence sharing, the two sides agreed to constitute a ‘Comprehensive Security Dialogue’ at the level of National Security Advisors and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

41. The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness reiterated to continue the ongoing close cooperation on a range of security issues, particularly on maritime security, law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration, and other transnational organized crimes.

42. Expressing serious concerns at the misuse of cyber space as a medium to promote subversive and extremist ideologies, the two sides welcomed the signing of MoU on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber Crime. Both sides agreed to promote cooperation including prevention of the use of Cyberspace for terror, radicalism and incitement to disturb social harmony.

43. The Indian side thanked the Saudi leadership for hosting a large Indian community and for ensuring their continued welfare and well-being.

44. Prime Minister thanked the Saudi leadership for designating India as the ‘Guest of Honour’ in the 32nd Saudi National Festival of Heritage & Culture – Janadriyah 2018. The two sides emphasized on further enhancing people to people contacts and strengthening the cultural cooperation by organizing Cultural weeks - ‘India Week in Saudi Arabia’ and ‘Saudi Arabia Week in India’ at regular intervals.

45. Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to Highness the Crown Prince for increasing the quota for Hajj pilgrims from India to 200,000 to reflect the latest census.

46. Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to His Royal Highness for ordering the release of 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails.

47. Both sides expressed the desire to broaden people-to-people interactions and to increase two-way tourism by addressing challenges with regard to consular and immigration related issues.

48. The Indian Government has agreed to increase the seats of Saudi Arabian Airlines from 80,000 Seats/Months to 112,000 Seats/Month and studies underway to increase that number substantially.

49. Both sides look forward to the integration of migration platforms of both the countries viz., e-Migrate and e-Tawtheeq to create a robust migration environment.

50. Both sides agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in the area of payment systems including RuPAY for the benefit of Indian community in general and more particularly the Hajj/Umrah pilgrims. The Prime Minister thanked His Royal Highness Crown Prince for sorting out the issue of "Iqamah” for the Indian Labour who were stranded in Saudi Arabia for no fault of their own, and resolving this humanitarian issue.

51. Both sides committed themselves to promoting reformed multilateralism through enhanced cooperation at multilateral fora and in international organisations, including in UN, G-20, WTO, etc. In this context, they emphasised the need for reform in global governance architecture such as UN Security Council, WTO, international financial systems, etc.

52. Both sides emphasized the importance of an effective reformed multilateral system, centred on a UN reflective of contemporary realities, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. They stressed upon the urgent need to pursue UN reforms, including of the Security Council.

53. The two sides also reiterated their commitment to working together to address fugitive economic offenders including through international organisations and institutions.

54. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of India for the warm hospitality extended to him and the accompanying delegation.



Read more: India-Saudi Arabia Joint Statement during the...

The Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi inaugurated the newly established Virtual Experiential Museum (VEM) in a Centrally Protected Monument under Archeological Survey of India, Man – Mahal, situated on the bank of the Ganges near holy Dashashwamedh Ghat at Varanasi today.

Virtual Experiential Museum has been established by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM) working under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. NCSM has worked hard to show a glimpse of various cultural aspects, tangible and intangible, of Varanasi through the use of modern and sophisticated virtual reality technology in this museum. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) helped in designing and curation of this Virtual Experiential Museum and also in preparing of script for various documentaries to be shown in this VEM.

A tour of VEM will be a unique experience for the visitors where they will get the experience of the holy ghats, classical music, weaving of sari, Ram Leela, 3D view of monuments, narrow lanes and betel shop etc. of Varanasi in an interesting way with the help of curved T.V. screen, paintings, touch screens and projectors etc.

The story of the descent of the holy Ganga on earth will also be shown to the visitors in a most interesting manner.

Before the setting up of VEM, the centrally protected monument observatory of Man – Mahal was conserved scientifically as this building was constructed by Raja Man – Singh in 1600 A.D., a close associate of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Later, in 1734, an observatory was constructed on the roof of this monument by Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur, which was planned by Samarath Jagannath to calculate time, prepare lunar and solar calendar, study movement & angles of star and planet.

Entry ticket for this museum with monument is Rs. 25/- for Indian and visitor from SAARC and BIMSTEC countries while for other foreign visitors, Rs. 300/- will be charged. The VEM will remain open from sun rise to sun set. The entry of children below 15 years is free.


Read more: Prime Minister inaugurates Virtual Experiential...


Suresh Prabhu with Ministers and Heads of Delegation from ASEAN countries


Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, inaugurated the 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit 2019 in New Delhi today.Addressing the inaugural sessionSuresh Prabhureaffirmed India’s commitment to the path of mutual progress and prosperity and said   that terrorism knows no boundaries, it needs to be addressed through collective reaffirmenttowards promoting regional peace, stability and development.  In this fight against terrorism and mindless violence, events like India ASEAN Expo and Summit acquire a unique significance, as it epitomises our faith and commitment towards a path of shared prosperity, progress and peace.

The Commerce Minister recalled the participation of ASEAN ministers during the ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo 2018, organised on the side-lines of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi in January, 2018 and said that it provided us the much needed opportunity to engage on promotion of trade and investment collaborations. He also recalled the informal Mini Ministerial of WTO hosted by India in 2018 which was attended by 52 countries,including many ASEAN partners.  Suresh Prabhu said that the core idea behind organising this 4th India -ASEAN Expo and Summit is to build upon the success of the previous events and carry forward the momentum of the relationship built up over the years.   He said that this Summit is a testimony of India’s dedicated efforts towards Act East policy.

India and ASEAN represent fast moving economies.  The global headwinds have caused a softening of the global growth from 3.1% in 2018 to 3.0 % in 2019.  According to the recently published United Nations’ World Economic Situation and Prospects Report 2019, India and ASEAN are set to outpace the global growth. India continues to be the fastest growing major economy and is expected to grow at 7.2% in 2019 and ASEAN at 5.2%, with many economies within ASEAN with a growth of more than 6%.  Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) countries in ASEAN are also on a higher growth trajectory. This is indeed a manifestation of the new emerging world economic order, wherein India and ASEAN have a significant place. 

The Commerce Minister said trade is a buckle that binds India and ASEANtogether and   India’s vision of trade is not limited to exchange of goods and services.  He asserted that India believes in trade that brings about mutual collaboration, promoteslivelihood opportunities, brings in shared prosperity and binds us to a common future and a common destiny.

ASEAN has emerged as one of the second largest trade partner of India in 2017-18,with a share of 10.58% in India’s overall trade.  Our bilateral trade has grown more than threefold from USD 21 billion in 2005-06 to USD 81.33 billion in 2017-18. Despite escalating trade tensions and tightened credit market conditions, India and ASEAN present an alternative story.  In the recent years India’s trade with ASEAN has rebounded from US$ 65.06 billion in 2015-2016 to USD 81.33 billion in 2017-18, posting an annual growth of 13.64%.  India’s trade with ASEAN from April 2018 to December 2018 has already touched USD 72.3 billion compared to previous year, which is a growth of over 20.5%, which is an indicator of our strong economic and business connect and holds the key to our future engagements.

India currently is working with ASEAN on multiple connectivity projects, through land, water, and air.   Our projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway, Kaladan Multinational Transit Transport Project, Project Development Fund for CLMV countries is crucial for our development. Exploring opportunities through connectivity projects will help India to remove physical impediments to trade with ASEAN countries and further integrate the two regions for better economic and trade relations. Increasing the rate of technology adoption and providing financing mechanisms is another challenge to expand growth.


The Minister said that India is constructively engaged in RCEP negotiations and believes that ASEAN will remain central to the economic integration of the Indo-Pacific region through RCEP.  Substantial progress has been achieved in the negotiations so far with the successful conclusion of 7 out of 16 chapters.  As negotiations have intensified, member countries are now engaged in bilateral pairing process to achieve mutually satisfactory and balanced outcomes, keeping in view each other’s sensitivities and aspirations.  As directed by our Leaders at the 2nd RCEP Summit in November last year in Singapore, we should all work concertedly towards early conclusion of RCEP and create a win-win situation for the greater prosperity of the people of the region.  A successful RCEP will lift the spirits of the global trade, which is facing challenges in terms of trade tensions amidst protectionism and unilateral measures.  Reiterating India’s commitment to make endeavours for successful conclusion of RCEP, Suresh Prabhuurged ASEAN colleagues to also engage in the review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreementto resolve the implementation issues being faced by our businesses on both sides. He also referred to successful accomplishment of 2nd Review of India Singapore CECA and signing of MRA in Nursing with Singapore.  This is a proof that we can continue to strengthen our bilateral relations, notwithstanding challenges faced by multilateral trading system.


During the last four years, Government of India has introduced several reform measures and initiatives, both through the legislative and executive routes in a wide range of areas including Goods and Services Tax, subsidies, labour, infrastructure, finance, investments as well as governance.   Suresh Prabhu said that most of the policy reforms that have been undertaken will bring transparency and enhance efficiency and open up immense opportunities for collaboration and investment. He also mentioned key flagship programmes like Make-in-India, Skill India, Invest India, and Digital India, which have improved the general economic and investment sentiments. Our mission is to bring in infrastructure, policies and practices that compete with best global standards to convert India into a global manufacturing hub. India has recorded a jump of 23 positions in the Ease of Doing Business rankings to be at 77thposition. We are now working towards improving Ease of Doing Business at States and districts within States of India.The government has identified ten ‘Champion Sectors’ under Make in India 2.0 that have the potential to grow at double digits and generate sufficient employment opportunities. These include, auto and auto components, biotechnology, defense & airspace, food processing and pharmaceuticals among others. The government has also announced 12 Champion Services for focused attention to promote their development.India has consistently improved its position in Global Innovationrankings and it now ranks at 57th position.


In last three years, the Government has embarked on a comprehensive programme to liberalize Foreign Direct Investments. Most of the sectors are now under automatic approval route. Foreign direct investment is now open for manufacturing in large number of sectors ranging from defence to pharmaceuticals, and several services including airlines, insurance, and single brand retailing. The government has also allowed 100% FDI in railways infrastructure like high-speed train systems, suburban corridors and dedicated freight line projects.


FDI policy now also includes start-ups. Start-ups can issue equity, equity linked instruments and debt instruments to foreign venture capital investors in accordance with FEMA rules. We have recently widened the definition of startups and have raised investment limit from Rs.10 crore to Rs.25 crore for availing tax exemptions to improve ease of doing business for startups.In the last four years, we have received FDI worth US$ 263 billion. This is 45 percent of the FDI received in last 18 years.


FDI in India is at a record high and India is among the top two emerging markets in the FDI Confidence Index.In the UNCTAD report 2018, India has been placed in the top three of the strongest economies of the future. 


Several reform measures have been taken in the power sector over the last few years whereby Indian power sector has improved significantly in terms of improved access to electricity, better financial health of DISCOMS and promotion of renewable energy generation. India has turned from a net importer of electricity to net exporter of electricity exporting around 5,798 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2017. From ranking 99th at the global level in 2014 in terms of electricity accessibility ranking (under Ease of Doing Business), India currently ranks 24th on this parameter.


One of the Government’s significant initiative for the people is the Medical Assurance Scheme called Ayushman Bharat. This shall benefit about 500 million people and will provide immense investment opportunities in the areas of health infrastructure, medical equipment manufacturing, and healthcare services.


India is experiencing rapid urbanization and to cater to this, Government has launched three mega urban schemes - Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All. Government’s plan to develop 100 smart cities and 500 AMRUT cities over the next five yearsoffer a USD 111 billion opportunity.


Leveraging Regional Value Chains (RVCs) is essential to take the India-ASEAN economic partnership to the next level. RVCs in the IT/ITES and apparel sector that already exist are evidence of the indirect benefit to skilling and development. With the introduction of GST in India, GVCs and RVCs will have a conducive environment to grow. The North East region, which is a development priority of the Government of India has great potential for this, in terms of natural resources and skilled labour. Also, India is a global hub for design and engineering R&D, that is critical to any value chain.As the global economy becomes increasingly digitalized, and technology as the great disruptor has the potential to be truly transformative, we have to be cognizant of the challenges and work together in the domain of cyber security and create regulation that is conducive to partnerships.


The Commerce Minister invited companies from ASEAN countries to take advantage of these opportunities for boosting trade with India and said there is immense scope for mutual collaboration in Services especially, healthcare, education, tourism, financial services, digital and artificial intelligence based services.  India can play a vital role in lowering healthcare costs in ASEAN countries, as India can provide international standard drugs and formulations at very reasonable cost.


Mr Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. EnggartiastoLukita, Minister of Trade, The Republic of Indonesia, Dr. Than Myint, Union Minister, Ministry of Commerce, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Ms. ChutimaBunyapraphasara, Deputy Minister of Commerce and Acting Minister of Commerce of Thailand, DatoLokman Hakim Bin Ali, Secretary General MITI, Mr. Lee Chuan Teck , Second Permanent Secretary, Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. DatoPadukaSidek Ali, High Commissioner of Brunei, Mr. BounnemeChouanghom, Ambassador of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mr. Pham Sanh Chau, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,  DatoPaduka Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of ASEAN and Dr.AnupWadhawan,  Secretary,  Department of Commerce, Government of India also spoke during the inaugural session.




Read more: 4th India-Asean Expo and Summit Inaugurated

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the International Conference and Exhibition on Energy and Environment: Challenges and Opportunities (ENCO 2019) today (February 20, 2019) in New Delhi. This Conference is being organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.


Speaking on the occasion, the President said that in today’s era of rapid technological advance, energy and environment are major concerns not only for developing countries but also for developed countries. Global trends show that coal will remain the predominant energy source for most countries, including India, while renewable sources will also grow. The President said that India is committed to provide power to all citizens at affordable cost as well as boost the national economy through an industrial revolution in tune with Industry 4.0. He urged participants of the Conference to come up with actionable ideas on environmental issues related to use of fossil fuels and viable alternatives.


Click here to see the President's speech




Read more: President of India inaugurates International...

Greetings, (Namaskar)

I warmly welcome Mr. President, his family and the delegation. It is a matter of great pleasure that two months after our meeting in Buenos Aires, I have this opportunity to welcome you today in India. On this occasion, I once again congratulate President Macri and his team for the efficient and successful hosting of the G-20 Summit in 2018. The leadership of President Macri was important for the successful hosting of the Summit. During the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires President Macri made the pleasant announcement that during the 75th year of India’s independence in 2022 India will be hosting the G20 Summit. For this I am thankful to him.


My fifth meeting with President Macri today reflects the fast and growing importance of bilateral engagement between the two countries. We have proved that the distance of 15,000 kilometers between the two countries is just a number. This visit of President Macri is taking place in a special year; This is the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. But the mutual relations of our people is older than this. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had traveled to Argentina in 1924. The immense effect of that journey has become immortal through his creations. Considering our shared values and our interests to promote peace, stability, economic progress and prosperity both the countries have given their relations the status of a strategic partnership. I and President Macri agree that terrorism is a very serious threat to global peace and stability. The brutal terrorist attack in Pulwama shows that the time for discussions is over now. Now the whole world unitedly needs to take concrete steps against terrorism and its supporters. Hesitating to act against terrorists and their anti-humanitarian supporters is also equivalent to promoting terrorism. As the G-20 countries, it is also important that we implement the 11-point agenda of 'Hamburg Leaders' Statement’ on countering terrorism. In this regard it is important that, we, both the countries are issuing a special declaration against terrorism after our discussions today. Our cooperation in the field of space and peaceful use of nuclear energy is continuously increasing. The Memorandum of Understanding signed today in respect of Defense Cooperation will give a new dimension to our cooperation in the defense sector.


India and Argentina are complementary to each other in many ways. It is our endeavor to take full advantage of this for our mutual benefit. Argentina is the powerhouse of agriculture. India sees it as an important partner for its food security. The work-plan of Agro-Industrial Cooperation between us today is an important step in this direction. India's success in the ICT field, especially JAM i.e. Jandhan-Aadhaar-Mobile trinity and digital payment infrastructure, we are ready to share with Argentina. We have set a goal in India that by 2030 at least 30% of our vehicles will run with electrical batteries. Argentina is a part of the Lithium Triangle, and it has approximately 54% of the world's lithium reservoir. Our joint venture 'KABIL' has started discussions with Argentina for cooperation in the mining sector.


In the last 10 years, our bilateral trade has more than doubled and have become in excess of US $ 3 billion. There are possibilities for significant increase in many sectors such as agriculture, metals and minerals, oils and gas, pharmaceutical, chemicals, motor vehicles and services. Today we have identified specific methods to enhance our commercial engagement. I am glad that representatives from many important Argentine companies have come with President Macri. I am confident that his talks with business leaders in Delhi and Mumbai will be useful. India was the first country to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with MERCOSUR in 2004. During the present Presidency of Argentina, today we discussed several measures for the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR trade.


There are millions of fans of Indian art, culture and spirituality in Argentina. Argentina's Tango dance and football is very popular in India. In order to bring people closer, agreements have been made between tourism and Public Broadcasting agencies for cooperation and exchange of cultural programs.


India and Argentina have good cooperation in international forums. For global peace and security and economic and social advancement of all people we accept the need of reformed multilateralism. Argentina has strongly supported India's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. South-South Cooperation holds great importance for us. I am happy to say that India will actively participate in the second high level conference of United Nations on South-South Cooperation in Buenos Aires in 2019. Our views are similar in the fight against climate change. I am very happy to welcome Argentina as a new member in the International Solar Alliance (ISA).


I once again express my gratitude for accepting my invitation to visit India. I hope that this journey is enjoyable for you and your family.

Thank you.





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