Diplomatic roundup

President of India Ram Nath Kovind visited The Philippines and Japan

The Philippines (Oct 17-21)

India has always enjoyed friendly international relations with The Philippines and President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit on October 17-21, 2019, the first by an Indian President after Dr APJ Kalam’s visit in 2006, furthered the high level engagement that we have maintained with our eastern neighbours. The Philippines has been India’s strategic partner amongst ASEAN with the total revenue from trade standing at USD 2.3 billion (with USD 1.7 billion from Indian exports). With the two countries growing rapidly on the economic front, special attention was reserved for the development of local complementarities like the Build-Build-Build programme in The Philippenes and the Make in India campaign. During his visit, the Indian President also gave a keynote addresses at the India-ASEAN and India-Philippines business meets.

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind with the President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte

Japan (Oct 21-23)
President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Tokyo on October 21 to attend the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito of Japan. His visit comes after President Ramaswamy Venkatraman’s visit to Japan in 1990 to attend the enthronement ceremonies of Emperor Emeritus Akihoto, who stepped down in April 2019. During his visit, President Kovind visited the Tsukiji Hongwanji Buddhist temple and planted a sapling from the iconic Bodhi tree in India for the occasion. After attending the enthronement ceremonies, the President also addressed members from the Indian community in Japan and assured them of passing their best wishes to the Emperor.

President Ram Nath Kovind arrives at the Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

Vice-President of India Venkaiah Naidu visited Comoros, Sierra Leone and Azerbaijan

Comoros (Oct 10-12)
In the first high level visit to the Union of Comoros, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu arrived in Moroni, the capital, on October 10 for a three-day visit. He was extended a ceremonial welcome and was received by the President of the Union of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, along with members of his cabinet. During the bilateral and delegation level meetings, the Indian VP underlined developmental grants that have been extended to the Island nation and the need to form stronger and strategic bonds to further the diplomatic partnership between the two countries.

Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu being conferred with ‘The Order of the Green Crescent’, the highest civilian honour of Comoros, by Azali Assoumani, President of Comoros, in Moroni

Sierra Leone (Oct 12-14)
Travelling onward, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone on October 12 for the second leg of his tour as part of India’s Africa Outreach policy that is aimed towards strengthening diplomatic engagements with African countries covering an increased number of sectors.  During the three-day visit, the Vice-President called on the President of Sierra Leone, Brig (Rtd) Julius Maada Wonie Bio and met with the speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament Abass Chernor Bundu and foreign minister Nabeela Farida Tunia.

Mathew Sahr Nyuma, Deputy Leader of Parliament of Sierra Leone meets Vice-President Naidu

Azerbaijan (Oct 25-26)
Vice-President V Naidu led the Indian delegation to the 18th NAM summit with the theme for this year being “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world”. He arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 24 to address members of the Indian diaspora before delivering India’s National Statement during the plenary meeting of the NAM Summit on October 25-26. As one of the founding members of NAM, the largest gathering of world leaders after the UN, India’s stand at the summit is widely respected.

Vice-President Naidu meets Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, in Baku

External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar visited Serbia, The Netherlands and France in November

Serbia (Nov 7-9)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar meets Maja Gojkovic, Speaker of the Serbian National Assembly, in Belgrade. EAM held talks to further parliamentary cooperation and boost defense ties between the two nations.

The netherlands (Nov 9-11)
EAM Dr Jaishankar meets Stef Blok, minister of foreign affairs for The Netherlands, during his visit. They discussed mutually beneficial regional and global strategies.

France (Nov 11-12)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar calls on Emmanuel Macron, President of France, during his visit to Paris, where he spoke at the Paris Peace Forum on the benefits of digital vigilance and governance.

EAM Dr S Jaishankar also visited Italy, United States of America, Canada, Iran and Oman in December

Italy (Dec 6-8)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar visited Rome, Italy, on December 6-8 to attend the 5th edition of the Mediterranean Dialogues (MED), organised by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. Dr Jaishankar addressed a special session on India at the MED conference, highlighting India’s interests in the region. EAM also met with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and discussed the enhancement of relations between the two countries.

EAM Dr S Jaishankar with the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

USA (Dec 18-19)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar embarked on an official visit to the USA along with India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh. The two dignitaries arrived in Washington, DC for the second 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue on December 18. The US Secretary of State, Michael R Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper co-hosted their Indian counterparts. The two sides agreed to deepen cooperation on issues related to global threats, terrorism, disaster relief and advance maritime security.

EAM Dr S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with the US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper

Canada (Dec 20-21)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar visited Canada on December 20 for a two-day visit and held meetings with his Canadian counterpart, François-Philippe Champagne in Ottawa. During their meeting, the two dignitaries discussed issues related to cross-border terrorism and security. He also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and trade minister Mary Ng to discuss avenues to expand bilateral trade and investment.

EAM Dr Jaishankar meets Canadian trade minister Mary Ng in Toronto, Canada

Iran (Dec 22-23)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar visited Iran on December 22-23 to co-chair the 19th India-Iran Joint Commission meeting along with the Foreign Minister of Iran Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif. They discussed the progress achieved with regard to the Shahid Beheshti Port and also talked about the accelerated efforts to complete the Chabahar port (of which the former will be an integral part). Both these sea-ports have the potential to act as a gateway between the Indian subcontinent, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe.

EAM Dr Jaishankar in a meeting with Yusuf bin Alawi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman

Oman (Dec 23-25)
EAM Dr S Jaishankar visited Muscat on December 23 for a three-day visit. The visit was the EAM’s first to Oman after taking charge in May 2019, and focussed on enhanced engagement with the Gulf region and cooperation with Oman in the field Maritime Transport. EAM and Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, reaffirmed their shared interest in the stability and security of the Gulf region.

EAM Dr Jaishankar meets Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran