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January 2012 - 2

Bilateral trade between India & Japan to be $25 billion by 2014

Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh with his Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda, at a
joint press conference in New Delhi

India and Japan on December 28 set a target to increase bilateral trade to $25 billion by 2014 and increase investments and economic cooperation.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said India and Japan enjoyed warm diplomatic relations and the two countries should further step up business and economic cooperation. “We should capitalise on our complementarities,” Noda said while addressing a business meeting. He said India and Japan were stepping up cooperation in various areas including economic partnership.

Accompanied by senior officials and heads of leading Japanese companies, Noda was on a two-day official visit to India.

Addressing the meeting, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said: “The year 2011 is a watershed year in our relations as we signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which has begun a whole new chapter in our economic partnership, unlocking the true potential of trade between our two countries.”

“ I am hopeful that CEPA will further deepen economic engagement in terms of trade in goods, services, and investment; contributing immensely to mutual prosperity”. Japan is an invaluable and strategic partner in the process of India’s development. India-Japan has to play major role in the globally changing economic landscape, he added.

Sharma stated that, as a result of coming in to force of CEPA, the bilateral trade was likely to increase substantially and expressed hope that the target of $25 billion by 2014 would be achieved during the specified period. The bilateral trade between India and Japan during the year 2009-10 was of the volume of $10.36 billion. The bilateral trade during the year 2010-11 reached to $13.823.

Lauding Japan’s help for the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the Minister said, “The corridor envisages investment of $100 billion and we have now decisively moved from the stage of planning and design to the stage of implementation.”

On October 24, 2011, the National Manufacturing Policy was unveiled and seven industrial townships have been identified as the first National Investment and Manufacturing Zones based on models of sustainable development and smart communities, which has been perfected in Japan. The Japanese Government is committing $4.5 billion for implementation of this project.

Asking for Japanese Government to invest in infrastructure sector, Sharma said: “Over the next couple of decades, we will see massive expansion in Indian infrastructure. In the coming five years itself, we have targeted to invest over a trillion dollars in creating capacities of infrastructure which will further catalyse India’s economic growth. India has a structured energy dialogue with Japan, which seeks to promote a structured cooperation in this sector. India has made rapid strides in the renewable energy sector.”

“In the field of agro-processing, we aim to double our food processing capabilities in the next five years and the establishment of 64 Agro Processing Zones and Food Parks provides an area of immense opportunities. This is a segment where Japan can be an able partner to develop cross-sectoral linkages in the entire value addition chain,” the Minister said.

The Minister said: “India’s pharmaceutical sector is acquiring a global leadership position and Indian generics today constitute nearly a fifth of global supplies. Our pharmaceutical companies can be of immense value in providing affordable healthcare, which is much needed in a country of Japan’s demographic profile.”

India’s national anthem completes a century

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

India’s lilting National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana...’, completed 100 years on December 27.

First sung by a choir on this date in 1911 at the 26th session of the Indian National Congress in Kolkata, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was composed and set to tune by Rabindranath Tagore — the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 — days after the British government annulled its plans for the partition of Bengal.

Independent India’s Constituent Assembly adopted the first stanza of the Brahmo hymn as the National Anthem on January 24, 1950, after an intense debate that saw Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s ‘Vande Mataram’ lose out narrowly.

“It’s a proud moment for us. ‘Jana Gana Mana’ is not only the most beautiful song, but also a comprehensive description of our unity in diversity. It is the symbol of Indian unity,” said classical vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan.

In 1919, Tagore sang it at the Besant Theosophical College in Andhra Pradesh’s Madanapalle town. The college subsequently adopted it as their prayer song.

Within days, Tagore translated the song into English and along with Irish poet James Cousins’s wife Margaret Elizabeth Cousins set down the notation. The song came to be known as “The Morning Song of India”, which became India’s National Anthem.

Since then, the anthem has moved Indians both at home and abroad. They have sung it with passion, standing in unison, often shedding tears during intense emotional moments, be it on the sports field or even in a cinema theatre.

“It is truly the symbol of unity as it is the only song which people from east to west, north to south know and sing,” says Sahitya Akademi president and eminent writer Sunil Gangopadhyay.

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