Diplomatist Special Report: West Asia - North Africa 2018 WANA 2018 - Page 10

SPECIAL REPORT Important Treaties and MoUs between India and WANA region By ACHAL GAUTAM* W est Asia and North Africa (WANA) region comprises of 19 countries, divided into three groups namely, (i) 6 GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE) (ii) 7 West Asian countries (Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria) and (iii) 6 North African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia). The WANA region occupies an important position in India’s foreign trade. Foreign policy analysts in Delhi have often been frustrated in their attempts to decipher India’s policy towards the West Asia and North Africa – a region that supplies two-thirds of our energy supplies employs over 7 million Indians and accounts for over 110 billion dollars of trade. Government's role was always proactive looking towards the west, important treaties and agreements between India and WANA region say a lot about the special bond between the two geographies. India’s trade with the countries in this region is conducted in free foreign exchange. Mutual Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) treatment is accorded in respect to trade with most of these countries. Starting with one of the most strategic locations of the WANA region, India signed agreements with Djibouti on promotion and protection of investment, where both the countries shall encourage and create favourable conditions for investors to make investments in its territory, and admit such investments in accordance with its laws and policy. Similarly, PM Modi's personal bonhomie with Israeli PM is not hidden from the world, so the cordial relations are, both are based on the important pillars of mutual trust and non-interference, during the visit of PM Modi to Israel (July 5, 2017) both the leaders reaffi rmed the importance of bilateral defence cooperation over the years, it was agreed that future developments in this sphere should focus on joint development of defence products, including transfer of technology from Israel, with a special emphasis on the 'Make in India' initiative and recognizing that terrorism poses a grave threat to global peace and stability, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their strong commitment to combat it in all its forms and manifestations. Both the nations had vowed to increase 10 •West Asia-North Africa Prime Minister, President and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi at the Ceremonial Reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi the bilateral trade to almost 20 billion by 2020. During the visit of PM Netanyahu to India (January 15, 2018) both the countries ink 9 MoU for cooperation in the fi eld of Cyber-Security, Oil & Gas, Air transport, Film co- production, Homeopathic Medicine, Invest India & Invest Israel. Further Israel is now also looking to join hands with bodies like ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, and NASSCOM to nurture business in both the countries. India always believed in the two-state peaceful solution and thus Indo-Palestinian relations have been largely infl uenced by the independence struggle against British colonialism. India recognized Palestine's statehood following declaration on 18 November 1988; although relations between India and PLO were fi rst established in 1974. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat visited India Twice and endorsed cordial and friendly relations with India, from Indian sides several delegations visited Palestine. former president Mukherjee broke the ice visiting Palestine in October 2015, and marking it as the fi rst Indian head of state visit to East