Sushma Swaraj and John Kerry agree: There is urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Sushma Swaraj-John KerryNew Delhi: India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj today discussed at length with the US Secretary of State John Kerry the issue of terrorism by underscoring that it is the key challenge to the international community, and the foremost threat to international peace and security.

Ms. Swaraj briefed Secretary Kerry on the continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region faces from Pakistan.

At a joint press interaction, Ms. Swaraj said that both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists, nor must they act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organizations.

India’s Minister for External Affairs said that both reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D Company.

Ms. Swaraj said that Secretary Kerry and she also agreed on the need for Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice quickly.

Secretary Kerry and Ms. Swaraj spoke on the need to strengthen the international legal regime to counter terrorism. We agreed on additional measures to strengthen our counter-terrorism cooperation, specifically, to work for early operationalization of the Agreement on exchange of information on known or suspected terrorists. We will also intensify intelligence sharing and continue to work closely to get terrorist entities listed by the UN system, by coordinating our approach to the UN 1267 Committee.

They also had a detailed exchange of views on climate change and clean energy issues. Both our countries attach high importance to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, in the finalization of which President Obama and Prime Minister Modi played key roles.

Both leaders have agreed to scale up collaboration in clean energy and to quickly operationalize the various initiatives that were announced during Prime Minister’s visit to facilitate investments in this sector from US into India. We look forward to working with the US to ensure the success of the International Solar Alliance.

The two leaders also agreed to work together on the implementation of Agenda 2030, through its 17 Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are entirely consistent with many of our Government’s flagship domestic initiatives such as “Skill India”, Make in India”, “Swachch Bharat”. Given the fact that we account for 1/6th of humanity, success or failure in realizing Agenda 2030 or fulfilling the SDGs, will depend on the success achieved in India.

Ms. Swaraj thanked Secretary Kerry for his reiteration of continued US support to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and permanent membership of the UN Security Council. We both agreed that India’s enhanced global role is in mutual interest. They also had detailed discussions on the developments in our region, particularly Afghanistan. We have agreed to work together to strengthen the National Unity Government in Afghanistan.

It has also been decided to widen consultations to more effectively address the rapidly evolving regional and global situation. We will hold consultations on Africa and on multilateral issues within this year. We have also strengthened our cooperation in the area of peacekeeping. In this context, we recently launched the first UN Peacekeeping Course for African partners in New Delhi. This is an apt symbol of our partnership for peace, security and development in the wider world.

The two countries agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the area of maritime security. Our Trilateral with Japan has moved from dialogue into action in key areas of regional connectivity and HA/DR.

On the bilateral side, Indo-US partnership now covers every aspect of human endeavour. In this context there have been a series of sustained Ministerial exchanges in the areas of Defence, Finance, Urban Development, Commerce & Industry, Power, Environment and Forests, Petroleum and Natural Gas among others. More such exchanges are planned in the coming months.

Ms. Swaraj sought Secretary Kerry’s support for resolution of long-pending issues of totalization and the fee hike for H1B and L1 visa that impact our people-to-people exchanges, which is a vital source of strength for our relationship.

Kerry landed in Delhi yesterday for the 2nd US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. Today, he met with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and attended the plenary session of S&CD. The US-India S&CD concluded with a press interaction. He also met with Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines (Independent Charge), Piyush Goyal.

According ot Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department Mark Toner, Secretary Kerry also met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to discuss regional security, counterterrorism, and the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India. The Secretary emphasized that he looks forward to continuing engagement to further strengthen the bilateral ties.

Despite sluggish global trade, bilateral trade between India and US has crossed $105 billion: Nirmala Sitharaman

Newsroom24x7 Staff

United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker meeting the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge), Nirmala Sitharaman, in New Delhi on August 30, 2016.
United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker meeting the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge), Nirmala Sitharaman, in New Delhi on August 30, 2016.

New Delhi: Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that in an otherwise sluggish scenario for the global trade, the trade between India and US has gathered strength and the bilateral trade of more than $105 billion is a testimony to this fact.

Ms. Sitharaman was addressing the India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) plenary in the capital today. Those present included John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America, Sushma Swaraj, India’s Minister of External Affairs, Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce, United States of America, Dave Cote, US co-chair of the CEO Forum, Cyrus Mistry, the Indian co-chair of the CEO Forum and Rita Teaotia, Secretary to Govt. of India, Department of Commerce.

The Commerce and Industry Minister said in her speech that it has been the endeavor of both the countries to use the institutional dialogues like Trade Policy Forum and Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to address the issues being faced by the trade and to look at broader economic policy initiatives and I must mention that such engagements have been highly productive from the point of view of both the countries.

These mechanisms, Ms. Sitharaman pointed out, have provided appropriate platforms for sustained interaction between public and private sector to work together to identify newer areas of cooperation and to work around challenges and impediments to smoothen the flow of the relationship.

Our leaders, the Minister said, have agreed to an ambitious target of taking the bilateral trade to $500 billion and this would require both the sides to work in close cooperation and resolve impediments to trade.

Ms. Sitharaman further said that the initiative in bringing about the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is expected to overhaul the existing framework for dealing with insolvency of corporates, individuals, partnerships and other entities.

The Minister went on to underscore that there was significant progress on the recommendation of the CEO Forum as well as under our four work streams namely, Standards Ease of doing business Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Infrastructure and Smart cities.

In the last one year, the Minister said, there have been interactions during the Reverse Trade Mission visit from the United States; and collaboration between the Ministry of Finance and US Treasury relating to floating of municipal bonds to generate additional resources.

In pursuit of the Indian Government’s policy of minimum government and maximum governance, there has been a conscious effort towards making India a global hub for innovation, design and development Ms. Sitharaman said adding the Start Up India and Digital India initiatives are expected to provide the platform for entrepreneurs to pursue their business ideas in a conducive environment.

The launch of the India US Innovation Forum in New Delhi on Auhust 29 was a good beginning, the Minister said adding that she was confident that exchange of ideas and best practices on an ongoing basis would help entrepreneurs of the two countries.

Ms. Sitharaman also pointed out that in addition to bilateral engagement, India is working closely with the US and other key stakeholders in important international foras, including the WTO and International Financial Institutions like WB and IMF and the UN Security Council for institutional reforms and unfinished agendas. India is also negotiating some important regional and mega regional free trade agreements with our partners like the RCEP and India-EUBTIA.

CLICK HERE for India – US strategic commercial dialogue

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme opens September 1

Newsroom24x7 Staff

gold barsNew Delhi: The Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue fifth tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds.

Applications for the bond will be accepted from 1 September 2016 to 9 September 2016. The Bonds will be issued on September 23, 2016 and will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in Union Budget 2015-16 about developing a financial asset, Sovereign Gold Bond, as an alternative to purchasing metal gold.

CLICK HERE for Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2016 -17 – Series II

India and the United States sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)

Newsroom24x7 Staff

The US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar hold a joint news conference at the Pentagon, Aug. 29, 2016.

Washington: India and the United States have signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum Of Agreement (LEMOA) in Washington DC, USA on 29 August 2016.

LEMOA is a facilitating agreement that establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services between the armed forces of India and the United States.

Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services include food, water, billeting, transportation, petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communication services, medical services, storage services, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services, calibration services, and port services.

Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

Logistics support for any other cooperative efforts 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.

Provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services from one Party to the other would be in return for either cash payment or the reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services.

The Agreement does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.

The Agreement will significantly enhance the operational capacity of the Indian Armed Forces, including in their response to humanitarian crises or disaster relief.

CLICK HERE FOR JOINT PRESS BRIEFING BY US DEFENCE SECRETARY ASH CARTER AND INDIAN DEFENCE MINISTER MANOHAR PARRIKAR