Bilateral relations Current Affairs - 2019

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India-Saudi Arabia to sign Agreement on Strategic Partnership Council

PM Modi is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. He is visiting the country to attend the third Future Investment Initiative and to hold bilateral discussion with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. PM will sign minimum of 12 agreements during his visits in areas such as defence, civil aviation, infrastructure, non-renewable energy sector, etc.

Apart from this, PM Modi will sign a bilateral “Strategic Partnership Council” pact. India is the fourth country with which Saudi Arabia is signing the pact with. The three other countries are UK, France and China.

Strategic Partnership Council

  • The Council will include multiple sections from NITI Aayog, External Affairs Ministry and counterpart organizations from Saudi Arabia
  • The council is to be led by Mr Modi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
  • The Council will have two parallel tracks
    • Political, Security, Culture and society headed by both countries foreign ministers
    • Economy and Investment headed by India’s Commerce and Industry minister and Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.

Significance

  • The visit gains its importance as the visit comes three months after India ended the special status of Kashmir.
  • The Council being formed will open era of cooperation across various sectors like security, Trade, investment, defence and cooperation.
  • There are over 8 million Indian diaspora in the region.

Prime Minister Modi’s Israel Visit: Other Important Takeaways

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to Israel which is the first by an Indian prime minister to Israel resulted in the signing of seven agreements on areas including space, tech and agriculture. The other prominent takeaways of the visit are the following:

OCI card

Prime Minister Modi has assured faster facilitation of OCI cards for Jewish Citizens of Indian origin in Israel. He also assured that the OCI card will be given even to those people of Indian origin who had served in the Israeli government’s compulsory army service.

Air Connectivity

The launch of a new Air India flight connecting India and Israel was announced, the flight is expected to connect Delhi/Mumbai with Tel Aviv.

Israeli flower named after PM Modi

As a special gesture, a new fast growing Israeli Crysanthumun flower was named “MODI” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the Indian Premier’s visit to the Danziger flower farm, which is one of the leading floriculture companies of Israel having founded in 1953.

Strategic partnership

India and Israel have announced that they have elevated their ties to a strategic partnership as India has identified Israel as a major development and technological partner. Both countries have also agreed to combat growing radicalization and terrorism and expand co-operation in cyber security.

Indian Cultural Centre

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the establishment of an Indian Cultural Centre in Israel to enhance people-to-people contacts between the two countries. Israel’s has also voiced its strong support to promote the practice of yoga by designating June 21 as International Yoga Day.

Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund (I4F)

The $40 million Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund has been launched as a five-year technology fund with an aim at growing the business relationship between both the countries. The similar type of fund had boosted Israel’s ties with that of the US in the past 40 years.