telecommunications and shipping. Intensive high-level exchanges with Sri Lanka provided a
further push towards development projects and greater synergy on issues related to peace and
security in the Indian Ocean. India stood by Sri Lanka with prompt assistance during the May
2017 floods. Prime Minister’s first bilateral visit to Myanmar gave much needed impetus to the
relations and deepened bilateral cooperation. The Line of Credit Agreement for post-2016
earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal worth US$ 750 million was operationalised.
Continued high-level exchanges, including the visit of His Majesty the King of Bhutan in
November 2017, have imparted fresh momentum to the multi-faceted bilateral relationship with
Bhutan. There has been steady progress in our hydropower cooperation, and the India-Bhutan
Trade and Transit Agreement, renewed in November 2016, entered into force in July 2017.
These additional trade facilitation measures led to a further enhancement in bilateral trade and
investment. The long standing relationship with Maldives was strengthened through cooperation
in the areas of defence and security, institution and capacity building, and assistance in health
and education sectors.
Cultural, digital and physical connectivity have emerged as significant themes in Indian
diplomacy. With the historic launch of the South Asia Satellite, India demonstrated its
commitment to sharing the benefits of our technological capabilities with our regional partners.
Lack of connectivity, both within India and in the larger South Asian neighbourhood and
beyond, is a constraint on both our capabilities and our competitiveness. Steady progress is being
made in our efforts to develop multimodal linkages with Myanmar and Bangladesh. The
operationlisation of the Chabahar Port in Iran is expected to deepen connectivity linkages with
our partners in Central Asia and on the International North South Transport Corridor. Initiatives
to develop connectivity were also taken through groupings such as BIMSTEC and BBIN, aimed
at enhancing logistics efficiencies in South Asia and South-east Asia and to boost economic
development. India also ratified the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers)
Convention in June 2017.
The Government continued to focus on engagement and deepening of India’s ties with all
major powers of the world, creating new pathways and mutually beneficial opportunities. In our
bilateral engagements with countries such as the USA, Russia, Germany, Japan, Australia and
France, the Government focused on the areas of greatest potential in each relationship. India has
leveraged the convergence of interests in these partnerships to increase the flow of trade,
investment and technologies into the Indian economy. Engagements with global leaders were
also held on the sidelines of multilateral engagements such as the UNGA, the G-20 Summit,
BRICS Summit, East Asia Summit and the SCO meeting.
India’s diplomatic approach and engagement with the wider world is reflective of its
confidence as a rising power capable of shaping the global discourse in the emerging multipolar
world. The emergence and shared understanding of the significance of Indo-Pacific and
reaffirmation of the importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and commerce throughout
the region, were some of the highlights of the Prime Minister’s highly successful visit to the
USA in June 2017. The interaction with the new leadership also reiterated bipartisan support for
further strengthening of India-USA relations and a commitment to cooperate in the fight against
the global scourge of international terrorism. Celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment
of diplomatic relations, the Prime Minister visited Russia in June 2017 and further strengthened
the decades old relationship by signing an agreement for Units V & VI of the Kudankulam
Nuclear Power Plant. The annual summit also identified new areas of cooperation between the