Buoyed by Bollywood, India, Armenia to focus on trade, tourism & connectivity

Mixing business, Bollywood, culture and diplomacy, India and Armenia, a strategically located country in the Caucasian region between Asia and Europe, have opened a new chapter in their bilateral ties by firming up a roadmap for upscaling economic partnership that will include greater trade, connectivity and tourism.
Building upon their cultural connections spanning centuries, the two countries signed three pacts in areas of peaceful uses of outer space, cultural connections and youth exchanges. The pacts were inked after wide-ranging talks in Yerevan between India’s vice-president Hamid Ansari and Armenia’s top leadership, which included including President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.
The vice-president’s visit has brought a new vigour and opened a new chapter in bilateral ties as the two countries mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, Preeti Saran, secretary (east) in India’s external affairs ministry, told Indian journalists in the Armenian capital on April 25.
The two sides zeroed in on agriculture, jewellery, stone-cutting and watch-making as focus areas for enhancing economic engagement. They also agreed on a series of steps, including the holding of a business conclave and liberalisation of visas, to enhance the quantum of trade and investment.
Given the surging popularity of Indian films in Armenia, Bollywood is set to play the role of a catalyst in boosting tourism. “Armenia has invited Indian film industry to shoot films in their country. A team from Bollywood is expected to come Armenia to explore the possibility,” said Ms Saran.
Armenian president told Mr Ansari that Bollywood films are popular in his country and his grand-daughter was fond of Bollywood music.
Against the backdrop of proliferation of radical Islamist terrorist groups in the Eurasian region, the two countries converged on a unified response to international terrorism.

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India to Pakistan: Abandon your futile quest, J& K is and will remain India’s integral part

Abandon your futile quest and stop abusing international fora for Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. This is India’s strongly-worded message to Pakistan which continues to rake up the Kashmir issue to divert the world’s attention from its relentless pursuit of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

“Our response to Pakistan is consistent. Abandon your futile quest. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so,” India’s Permanent Representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin said during a General Assembly debate on ‘Report of the Secretary General on the Work of the Organisation’ at the 71st session of the UNGA.

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Ansari backs Mali’s reconstruction: ‘India’s ties with Africa not transactional’

India’s outreach to Francophone Africa has acquired a new ballast with the first high-level visit from New Delhi to the land-locked West African nation, home to scholars, musicians and historians.

India has strongly rallied in solidarity with Mali, the gritty West African nation ravaged by terrorism, but is determined to script its resurgence. In a defining speech at the National Assembly of Mali, Vice-President Hamid Ansari underscored key pillars of the burgeoning India-Africa partnership and pledged India’s unstinting support for the reconstruction of Africa’s seventh largest state. Mr Ansari underlined that India’s relations with Africa go beyond merely transactional partnership, but is rooted in emotive people-to-people connections, political solidarity and an emerging contemporary partnership animated by mutual resurgence. Here are key highlights/excerpts of Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s speech at Mali’s parliament on September 30:

In recent years we have sought to close the distance that separates us physically. We were happy to welcome His Excellency President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta when he participated in the 3rd India – Africa Forum Summit hosted by India in October last year. We value the contribution of Mali to the success of the Summit.

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