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Andaman: 800 tourists stranded in storm at Havelock Island, Navy deploys ships for evacuation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Navy has deployed four ships to evacuate as many as 800 tourists stranded at Andaman and Nicobar’s Havelock Island due to torrential rains.”Civil administration requested the Indian Navy to assist them in evacuating 800 tourists stranded due to torrential rains and rough sea,” said a statement from the Indian Navy.Four Indian Navy ships – INS Bitra, Bangaram, Kumbhir and LCU 38 have been deployed at the Havelock Island to undertake evacuation of the stranded tourists. Many tourists have been stranded with no flights and ships due to rough weather. In several areas, there is no mobile phone or internet connectivity.Some tourists even sought help from the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. One such stranded tourists wrote, “@PMOIndia Sir! We are stuck in Havelock Island due to cyclone effect from last 2 days. Please help us to reach Port Blair.”A deep depression over Bay of Bengal is bringing heavy rains to the Havelock Island since the last two days. According to the Met office, this deep depression will turn into a cyclonic storm over the next 48 hours over Andaman Nicobar. Meanwhile, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the deep sea following the rough weather. On the other hand, ferry services Port Blair to Havelock Island and Neil Island have been stalled till the weather improves.

India to buy 12 US-2 amphibious rescue aircraft from Japan

India to buy 12 US-2 amphibious rescue aircraft from Japan


India’s Defence Ministry will agree on Monday to purchase 12 amphibious rescue aircraft from Japanese manufacturer ShinMaywa Industries worth $1.5 billion-$1.6 billion, the Nikkei news paper reported on Sunday.

Japan and India have been holding talks on the purchase of US-2 aircrafts for more than two years. ReutersJapan and India have been holding talks on the purchase of US-2 aircrafts for more than two years. Reuters

Japan and India have been holding talks on the purchase of U-2 aircrafts for more than two years. Reuters

Japan and India have been holding talks on the purchase for more than two years. It would one of Japan’s first sales of military equipment since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a 50-year ban on arms exports and it reflects growing defence ties between the two countries.

India’s Defence Ministry will approve the purchase of 12 US-2 aircraft at a Defense Acquisitions Council meeting scheduled for Monday, the Nikkei reported, citing senior ministry officials it did not name.

The deal will be included in a memorandum of understanding to be signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to Japan from Thursday to Saturday, the Nikkei said, citing the officials.

During the visit, Abe will also urge Modi to expand its usage of Japan’s high-speed train technology, the Nikkei reported.

Not just a pal: Nepal wants to bridge differences between India and China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pitching Nepal as a “dynamic bridge” between India and China, Prime Minister Prachanda floated a proposal for a trilateral strategic partnership during a meeting with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a media report said.Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ during the trilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit expressed Nepal’s desire to act as a “dynamic bridge” between the two Asian giants and to reap the benefit of playing such a role, The Himalayan Times reported along with a photo of the meeting.Prachanda “floated a proposal for trilateral strategic partnership among the three countries”, which Modi and Xi acknowledged as ‘significant’ and said they were positive towards it, the report said, citing a statement issued by his secretariat on the Prime Minister’s personal website.The Nepalese premier, who reached India to attend the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit yesterday, first held a one-on- one meeting with Chinese President Xi which lasted for around 20 minutes and later Modi joined them. The leaders discussed issues of common interests, Prachanda’s personal secretary Prakash Dahal, who is also his son, was quoted as saying.According to the statement, Prachanda said during the meeting that “we (Nepal) are located between two giant countries. We want to become a dynamic bridge between the two countries and reap the benefit”.”During the meeting, I put forth the issue of strategic partnership with emphasis,” Dahal said, adding that “the Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President said Nepal’s proposal on strategic partnership is significant and they agreed to it”.Noting that Buddha, Pashupatinath and Janaki connected Nepal, India and China, Prachanda was quoted as saying that Nepal can play a role of a bridge between India and China and help them build good relationship at present also. He further said Nepal was inching towards the goals of development and wanted to establish a balanced, friendly and strategic relationship with both the neighbours, the report said.The Nepalese premier also expressed his hope that the trilateral meeting could play a significant role in setting up an “epochal relationship” between Nepal, India and China, it said. In response, Chinese President Xi was quoted as saying that the size of the country did not bear much significance and Nepal could become a bridge between India and China. He also praised Nepal’s role in keeping an equidistant relationship with China and India while expressing belief that the relations between the three countries would strengthen in the future. Noting that the three countries shared “geographical, emotional and cultural friendship, Indian Prime Minister Modi said India was positive towards Nepal’s proposal on trilateral partnership,” the report said.Prachanda’s spouse Sita Dahal was also present at the meeting.

Britain’s PM Theresa May to visit India with eye on post-Brexit trade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>British Prime Minister Theresa May will lead a delegation of small and medium-size businesses to India in November as part of efforts to bolster trade with countries outside the European Union as Britain prepares to leave the bloc.The Nov. 6-8 trip, May’s first bilateral visit to a country outside Europe since she took office in July, will be in pursuit of her ambition of forging a new global role for Britain after it leaves the European Union, May’s Downing Street office said in a statement.The European Commission is responsible for trade negotiations for the EU and some countries have said they will not negotiate a new deal for Britain until it has actually left the bloc.”As we embark on the trade mission to India we will send the message that the UK will be the most passionate, most consistent, and most convincing advocate for free trade,” May was quoted as saying.She said past trade missions had focused on big business, but she wanted to adopt a new approach and would take small and medium companies from every region of the United Kingdom.Among them will be Geolang, a cyber security company based in Cardiff in Wales, Torftech, a biomass energy company based in southeast England, and Telensa, a company focused on high-tech wireless street lighting systems, based in Cambridge.May will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit, and the two heads of government will together inaugurate a tech summit in New Delhi.Liam Fox, Britain’s secretary of state for international trade, will join the visit, during which a number of commercial deals are expected to be signed.

How India’s army might avenge the Kashmir attack

With fury growing over the killing of 17 soldiers in Kashmir, India’s military establishment is considering the ways it could strike back – but options may be running out.

China blow to India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group hopes

India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) suffers a setback following China’s opposition.

NSG to take up Pakistan, India’s membership requests this week

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) 2016 annual plenary which begins in Seoul on Monday, will take up membership requests from both India and Pakistan on June 23-24.According to Dawn, Pakistan submitted its membership application on May 19, a week after India, which applied on May 12.With massive global support, India stands as a favourite to join the 48-nation group, with an active support from the United States, Russia, Britain, France and other world powers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China, however, stands as an obstacle to India’s application, arguing that it would enhance a nuclear competition in South Asia by isolating Pakistan.China wants NSG to admit Pakistan as well, pointing out that both India and Pakistan possessed nuclear weapons and had not signed the NPT.While China may not force the NSG to admit Pakistan, it can block India as new members are admitted with a consensus of the existing members.Pakistan reportedly fears that joining the NSG would increase India’s access to nuclear technology, which could also enhance its weapons programme, even if indirectly.After a June 7 meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House, US President Barack Obama welcomed India’s application to join NSG, and re-affirmed that New Delhi was ready for membership.Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to the NSG members, saying they should ‘agree not to block consensus on Indian admission’.India, though not a member, enjoys the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules for its atomic cooperation deal with the US.The NSG is one of the main tools for controlling the exports and proliferation of materials that could potentially be used in making weapons of mass destruction. It also tacks the black market trade of nuclear technologies.

NSG membership: India’s bid would ‘jeopardise’ China’s interests, says Chinese media

China’s opposition to India’s bid to join NSG took a more strident tone on Tuesday with it’s official media saying that it would “jeopardise” China’s national interests besides touching a “raw nerve” in Pakistan.Even as officials in New Delhi have been striving hard to downplay Chinese opposition to India becoming a member of the 48-nation grouping, China in recent days has been publicly vocal in its opposition.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China volunteered an official statement on Sunday which said that members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and called for “full discussions”.Official media here, which reflects government’s view, went a step further today by asking India not to let “nuclear ambitions blind itself.””Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a diplomatic journey, travelling halfway across the world with his top goal to garner support for his country’s entry into the (NSG)” ahead of the plenary meeting of the group expected to be held in Seoul on June 24.”The US and some NSG members have given a push to India’s membership bid, but the reported opposition from most countries, especially China, seems to have irritated India,” an op-ed commentary in state-run Global Times, the first write-up on the issue, said.The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. The group works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.The commentary noted that India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers in the region, keep alert to each other’s nuclear capabilities.”India’s application for NSG membership and its potential consequences will inevitably touch a raw nerve in Pakistan, its traditional rival in the region,” it said.”As Pakistan is not willing to see an enlarging gap in nuclear power with India, a nuclear race is a likely outcome.This will not only paralyse regional security, but also jeopardise China’s national interests,” said the commentary titled “India mustn’t let nuclear ambitions blind itself”.China has maintained that non-NPT signatories should not be admitted into NSG on the grounds that it would undermine efforts to prevent proliferation.

Narendra Modi praises India-US relationship

Narendra Modi has given a speech to lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Amazon to boost India investment by $3bn

Online retail giant Amazon says it will invest an additional £3bn in India, where it already employs 45,000 people.

Modi’s US visit: India cannot rise by ‘containing’ China, says Chinese state media

India cannot rise by “containing” China or picking one side against the other, a Chinese state- run paper said on Wednesday, taking note of the Indo-US ties which are being ramped up to an “unprecedented level”.”Four visits to the US and seven meetings with President Barack Obama in two years – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ramped up the India-US relationship to an unprecedented level. How the two countries will engage with each other has raised heated discussions,” an op-ed article in state-run Global Times said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Picking one side or camp against the other is not the way India will rise. New Delhi is looking into a multi-faceted diplomacy. The well-performing Indian economy will give incentives to the country to be more confident with multilateralism and to seek balanced international relations.
ALSO READ Modi in US: India-United States announce joint clean energy finance, pledge to ratify Paris deal”Although rivalling China in many aspects, India knows its great vision cannot be realised by bashing or containing China. Instead, they should expand cooperation, explore the potentials and build mutual trust for their own good. China is more of a help than a competitor for India. This will eventually constitute India’s fundamental understanding of China,” it said referring to Modi’s current visit to the US.With Modi’s visit, New Delhi hopes there will be breakthroughs in many aspects, especially business and trade, security cooperation and nuclear issues, the article titled ‘India’s vision cannot be realised by containing China’ said.
ALSO READ Modi in US: ‘President Obama’s ‘robust support’ shows India ready for NSG membership'”The transformation of the geopolitical landscape is the major driver drawing the US and India much closer.Washington’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific makes the US realise India’s strategic significance, economic potential and ideological commonality,” it said.
ALSO READ In PM Modi, Obama has found partner to boost Indo-US ties: White House”India hopes that by consolidating its relationship with the US, it could gain leverage in development and forge an international status that is worthy of its potential. Modi has riveted his interactions with the US on this simple outlook to make India a veritable powerhouse. He was eager to boost a broader and better economic relationship with the US.”He urged the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, a landmark deal promoting logistics and defence cooperation with the US and he also expects an endorsement from the US to help India become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the last step to solidify India’s status as a nuclear powerhouse,” the article said.As for Washington, it is always hoping that India could serve as its right hand to counterbalance China’s rise. But so far, Washington’s calculations donot work well. Turning down Washington’s invitation to join a patrol in the South China Sea, New Delhi has no intention to cast away its founding principles: independence and non-alignment, it said.”In the process of fulfilling its ambition to be a major power, India has always employed independent and pragmatic approaches. A balance between other major powers will be its primary and optimal choice,” the article added.

Highest civilian Afghan award to PM Modi is an honour for India, says FM Jaitley

India on Sunday thanked Afghanistan for conferring the country’s highest civilian honour — the Amir Amanullah Khan award — on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit there.Expressing gratitude to Afghan government for the prestigious award, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it was an honour not only for the Prime Minister, but for the whole country.Modi was conferred the award by President Ashraf Ghani yesterday during his short visit to Herat province in Afghanistan where he inaugurated a landmark dam built by India at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It’s a matter of great honour for India that the Indian Prime Minister has been conferred with the highest ever civilian award by the Afghan government. It is an honour not only for India’s Prime Minister but for the whole country for which we are grateful to the government of Afghanistan,” said Jaitley.Modi is the first Indian and is among a handful of foreign leaders to receive the award.Modi had also tweeted yesterday, “My deepest gratitude to the Government of Afghanistan for conferring the Amir Amanullah Khan Award.”The award is named after Afghan national hero Amanullah Khan who championed the cause of Afghanistan’s freedom. He was the ruler of the Emirate of Afghanistan from 1919-1929.About Prime Minister’s visit to Qatar, Jaitley said it will help India get more investments from the Gulf country.”In the last two years as the economy of India has picked up, the interest of global investors in India also has increased. The Prime Minister has today addressed the business community of Qatar.”The government there, the business community and the funds have been extremely keen on investing in India and the Prime Minister’s visit to Qatar will give a great fillip to that,” said Jaitley.The Prime Minister travelled to Qatar from Afghanistan yesterday as part of his five-nation tour.Modi today invited Qatar’s companies to “grab” the vast opportunities for business, especially in the infrastructure sector, in India, while promising to remove “bottlenecks” identified by them.

PM Modi visits Doha: Economic cooperation high on agenda

Doha: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Doha on Saturday on a two-day visit which is focused on giving a new push to the economic ties, particularly in the hydrocarbon sector, between India and the energy-rich Qatar.

Modi will hold detailed talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and address the business community of Qatar, a country which is India’s largest supplier of LNG requirements, accounting for 65 percent of the country’s
total imports last financial year.

On his arrival, Modi was warmly received by Qatar’s Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani at the

Prime Minister Narendra Modi  with his Qatar counterpart Emir of Qatar Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani during arrival at Doha airport on Saturday.   PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi  with his Qatar counterpart Emir of Qatar Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani during arrival at Doha airport on Saturday.   PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Qatar counterpart Emir of Qatar Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani during arrival at Doha airport on Saturday. PTI

“Reached Doha. India attaches great priority to strong ties with Qatar & my visit seeks to expand bilateral ties between our nations,” he tweeted on his arrival.

“I look forward to the various programs that will enhance economic & people-to-people ties between India & Qatar,” he said in another tweet.

He also tweeted some messages in Arabic language.

Modi will hold detailed talks with the Emir of Qatar on Sunday on a range of bilateral issues as well as regional and international matters of mutual concern.

The discussions are expected to focus on energy but various other aspects of the relationship will also come up during the talks, sources said in Doha on Saturday.

Qatar is an important trading partner for India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade in 2014-15 exceeding USD 15
billion. Qatar is also one of India’s key sources of crude oil.

At present, a number of Indian companies are involved in construction activities related to the FIFA World Cup being hosted by Qater in 2022.

Modi, who is in Doha on a two-day trip, will also address the Indian workers while visiting a labour camp. The Indian diaspora of over 6,30,000 form the largest expatriate community in Qatar and constitutes a substantial percentage of the country’s population.

The Prime Minister has been focusing on improving ties with the Gulf region which is crucial for India’s energy security. He has already visited United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Qatar in the last eight years. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Doha in 2008.

“India’s historical and close relations with Qatar are marked by mutually beneficial commercial exchanges and extensive people-to-people contacts,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said ahead of the visit.

There has been regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits in the recent past. The Emir of Qatar had visited India in March 2015. Previously, the then Emir of Qatar had visited India in 1999, 2005 and 2012.

From Doha, the Prime Minister will travel to Switzerland and then to the USA.

PM Modi wraps up two-day visit to Iran

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday wrapped up his two-day visit to Iran during which the two countries signed 12 agreements including a “milestone” pact on developing the strategic Chabahar port and pledged to combat terrorism and radicalism. “Khuda Hafez Tehran! A busy day of diplomacy ends as PM @narendramodi emplanes for Delhi,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi who held extensive talks with President Hassan Rouhani also called on Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei before heading home. During the visit, besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port for which India will invest USD 500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, which Prime Minister Modi said could “alter the course of the history of the region”. The bilateral agreements signed by India and Iran after detailed discussions between Modi and President Rouhani included one on setting up of an aluminium plant and another on laying a railway line to give India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The agreements, aimed at further deepening India-Iran ties in diverse fields, covered areas of economy, trade, transportation, port development, culture, science and academic cooperation. Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 15 years, came months after the lifting of international sanctions on Iran following Tehran’s historic nuclear deal with the Western powers over its contentious atomic programme. Earlier, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the country in April 2001.

India-Iran relations: Why Bollywood is our common language

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Iran, the BBC’s Vandana Vijay takes an alternative look at relations between the two countries.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to visit India next week

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will hold a special discussion with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his short visit to India next week. Sirisena, who is set to leave for London on May 1 to attend the Anti-Corruption Summit organized by the British Government, is scheduled to visit India on his return on May 13 on an invitation extended by the Indian Prime Minister, reports the Colombo Page.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has officially invited Sirisena to take part in a Hindu religious ceremony in Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh state.British Prime Minister David Cameron will host the landmark international summit in London on May 12. He had extended an invitation to President Sirisena when the two leaders met at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Malta last year.

Saudi King Abdulaziz Al Saud accepts PM Narendra Modi’s invitation to visit India

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Sunday accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to pay an official visit to India at a mutually convenient time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on the final leg of his three-nation tour in Riyadh will leave for New Delhi early on Monday morning.During their discussions on regional issues, the two sides emphasized the importance of the principle of good neighbourliness, non-interference in internal affairs, respect of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and resolution of dispute through peaceful means.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two sides also expressed their hope for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of international legitimacy, in a way that guarantees the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of their independent, united and viable state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.Prime Minister Modi expressed his sincere gratitude to His Majesty the King for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality. Earlier in the day, he held delegation-level talks with King Al Saud in a move to cement new momentum in bilateral ties between both sides and expand cooperation in diverse areas including trade, investment and counter-terrorism.In the final call before his departure, the Prime Minister met the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. Modi is the fourth Indian Prime Minister to visit Saudi Arabia after Manmohan Singh in 2010, Indira Gandhi in 1982 and Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956.

‘Selfie point’: Twitter on Modi wax statue

Indian social media is quick to use news of Narendra Modi getting his own wax statue as an opportunity to poke some fun.

India says U.S. religious freedom body has no right to judge | Reuters

WASHINGTON India on Friday explained its denial of visas for a U.S. government body monitoring international religious freedom by saying the group had no business judging the situation in the country.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said earlier that it had intended to send a delegation to India on Friday for a long-planned visit, but the nation had failed to issue the necessary visas.

A statement on the website of the Indian Embassy in Washington said the Indian constitution “guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens including the right to freedom of religion.”

It said there had been no change in policy with respect to visits from agencies like the USCIRF and added:

“We do not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pass its judgment and comment on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.”

On Thursday, USCIRF Chairman Robert George said the agency was deeply disappointed by the effective denial of visas for the delegation.

George said the USCIRF had been able to travel to many countries, including some such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, China, and Myanmar that were among the worst offenders of religious freedom.

Last year the United States ran into problems arranging visits to India by the head of its office to combat human trafficking and its special envoy for gay rights, despite a much-heralded fresh start in ties between the two countries under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Visiting India in January 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama made a plea for freedom of religion in a country with a history of strife between Hindus and minorities.

In its 2015 report, the bipartisan USCIRF said incidents of religiously motivated and communal violence in India had reportedly increased for three consecutive years.

The report said that since Modi’s 2014 election win, religious minorities had been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to his Bharatiya Janata Party as well as numerous violent attacks and forced conversions by Hindu nationalist groups.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

India PM in ‘happy birthday’ gaffe

Afghanistan’s president takes to Twitter to correct India’s leader – who had wished him happy birthday on the wrong day.

Facebook ‘colonialism’ row stokes distrust

Comments by a Facebook board member could put Mark Zuckerberg’s global plans on the back foot.

India social storm over Nehru ‘letter’

India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru is criticised over a fake letter in which he apparently criticises Indian freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose a war criminal.

Modi to hold talks with Hollande

French President Francois Hollande is due to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the second day of his three-day visit to India.

Cooperation with India on tax issues at good level: Switzerland

Confident of stronger bilateral and trade ties with India, Switzerland has said its cooperation on tax matters in terms of sharing information on suspected black money cases would continue at “a good level”.It has also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a state visit to bolster relationship between the two countries, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer told PTI in an interview. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maurer, who last night met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, said Switzerland is also keen to expand the relationship between industries of the two countries.Asked whether there could be greater cooperation on information exchange in tax matters, he said: “We have already agreed on more cooperation and this is working well and should continue. “We will continue the cooperation at a good level,” the head of Swiss Federal Department of Finance said.Over the past few months, both countries have been working closely on mutual administrative assistance. In recent months, Switzerland has disclosed names of more than a dozen Indians about whom information has been sought by the Indian government amid suspicion that their accounts in Swiss banks were being used for stashing illicit money.Swiss banks, known for their banking secrecy practices, have come under global pressure as countries, including India, are ramping up efforts to crack down on the black money menace. About the issues discussed with Jaitley, Maurer said, “We have good relations with India and we discussed our trade ties.”It is normal to speak to each other to discuss what are the issues, what are we doing. During the meeting, we also invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Switzerland on a state visit to further strengthen the relationship,” he said. “I hope that there is a good possibility for his visit,” he added.

Aamir Khan out of tourism campaign

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan says he respects the government decision to not renew his contract as ambassador for its “Incredible India” campaign.

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