From Abstention to Support

French pilots flying the Mirage 2000D and F1 prepare to take off at Mali's Bamako airport.

French pilots flying the Mirage 2000D and Mirage F1 prepare to conduct a strike mission from their currently deployed position at Mali’s Bamako airport.

From abstentia to then later criticism of 2011’s Libya intervention, India has shifted its traditional stance and come out in favor of France’s Mali intervention. As reported by the TOI on 11FEB13:

There appear to be three broad reasons. First, Indian support to the French operation in Mali is predicated on it being a primarily counter-terror operation… Second, India’s impetus to rush to the aid of Mali was also influenced by reports from the UN that some of the al-Qaida fighters may be from the Af-Pak region…Third, the lead role in the Mali intervention has been played by France. Indian officials said they have been “kept in the loop” by Paris from the beginning. In December 2012, during its last month at the UN Security Council, India co-sponsored a French resolution UNSCR 2085 that supported an African Union-ECOWAS military force in Mali. [Ergo] [t]he French military intervention in Mali has not prompted the expected negative reaction from New Delhi.

And, the target this time around is al-Qaida and its affiliated groups in that region, where India, like others, is developing economic interests. India’s reaction to the France-led operation in Libya in 2011 was much more negative. In fact, many in the Indian government believe that the Mali crisis was a natural blowback of the Libya conflict.

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India and Spain Sign MoU on Roads and Road Sector

A Memorandum of Understanding between India and Spain on the Roads and Road Transport Sector was signed by the Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Minister of Railways, Dr. C.P.Joshi and visiting Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ms. Ana Pastor Julián on 26OCT12.

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Anand Sharma Urges AWDC and Indian Diamond Facilities to Strengthen Linkages

Anand Sharma

The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma has called for institutional linkages between the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the diamond facilities in India, specifically in the areas of diamond and gem stone grading and sorting; research and development; certification; & cutting and polishing.

In a bilateral meeting with Mr. Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belgium, Sharma pointed out that trade between the countries is dominated at present by the gems and jewellery sector accounting for about 69.84% of the bilateral trade.

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India Signs TIEA with Monaco

Government of India and Government of Principality of Monaco have signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) on 31JUL12. The agreement was signed by the Minister of State for Finance, Shri S S Palanimanickam from Indian side and Counsellor of Government for Finances and Economy, Mr. Marco Piccinini from Monaco side. This is the ninth TIEA being signed by India.

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India and Poland Sign Audio Visual Coproduction Agreement to Enhance Bilateral Cooperation

The agreement establishes a legal framework for relations regarding audio visual co-production, especially films including animation & documentary films for the cinema and TV, as well as films intended solely for dissemination on analogue or digital data carriers. The agreement shall remain in force for a period of five years from the date of its entry into force.

The Agreement was signed between Smt. Ambika Soni, Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Mr. B. Zdrojewski, Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Polish Government at Warsaw.

The GOI has signed co-production agreements with Italy, UK, Northern Ireland, Federal Republic of Germany, Brazil, France and New Zealand.

Indian Navy & Royal Navy shares views on maritime operations

HMS Daring

To exchange and share views on the maritime areas of Anti-Piracy, Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief, Information Sharing, amphibious warfare training and submarine rescue operations, the Royal Navy(RN) Ship HMS Daring from the UK visited Mumbai from June 11 to 14. The ship is commanded by Capt Guy Robinson and has a crew of 227 personnel.

Indian Navy (IN) officials said that during her stay, the ship’s crew interacted with various personnel of the Western Naval Command. CO Daring and Naval & Air Adviser UK called on the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet Rear Admiral AR Karve.

The IN has traditional links with the RN and has come a long way in institutionalising the defence relationship between the two countries. Both Navies over the years have built up high levels of interoperability through conduct of Konkan Series of bi-lateral exercises.

However Note:

The British press also reports that the crew of HMS Daring donated funds to finance a health programme and the purchase of a much needed water purifier for a local school during their visit.

In addition, HMS Daring served as the ‘exhibition hall’ for British firms to display their technology and wares to the Indian market at a Defence and Security Industry Day.

(TOI 14JUN12)