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Vice President Venkaiah Naidu discusses bilateral cooperation in trade and defence with Serbian President

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Belgrade | India and Serbia on Saturday signed two agreements, including one on air services, as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and held “fruitful” discussions with him on strengthening cooperation in a number of areas, including trade, defence and IT.

Naidu, who arrived here on Friday, was welcomed by Vucic at the Serbia Palace.

During the visit, the two sides signed the agreement on cooperation in the field of plant health and plant quarantine and a revised Air Services Agreement.

“These agreements will contribute to further enhancing bilateral economic ties,” Vice President’s office tweeted.

“New impetus to the partnership that is gaining momentum! Vice President @MVenkaiahNaidu & President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic led delegation-level talks between the two sides where fruitful discussions on food production, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, defence industry, tourism & IT followed,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

The two leaders also discussed ways to strengthen economic cooperation and trade to expand the great potential of the partnership between two countries, he said.

“India is the largest global player in generic medicines and with the new Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, we have the potential to become the largest drugs manufacturer and exporter in the world, including in the East European region,” Naidu said.

“We greatly appreciate the growing interest and increasing popularity of Indian culture, especially in Yoga, Ayurveda and Homeopathy in Serbia,” he said.

Today India is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, Naidu said as he invited Serbian companies to take advantage of the favourable trade and investment environment in India as well as major policy initiatives like Make in India, Smart cities, Digital India and Start-up India by participating in these programmes.

“There is huge scope to promote collaboration in sectors like agriculture and food processing, science & technology, IT and Electronics, pharmaceuticals, education and tourism,” the vice president said.

The two leaders jointly presided over India-Serbia Business Forum meeting where leading businessmen were urged to explore new opportunities emerging in both the countries.

The two leaders jointly released the postage stamp of Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla, the great scientist from Serbia to commemorate 70 years of India-Serbia diplomatic relations.

Earlier, Naidu was accorded a ceremonial welcome by Vucic.

Yesterday, Naidu interacted with the Indian community in Belgrade and asked them to be part of India’s growth story.

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For million problems in India, there are billion solutions: PM Modi

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Narendra Modi

Mumbai | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said films and society are reflection of each other and like cinema, India too is changing with times.

The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema here. “The country is changing and finding its own solutions. If there are a million problems, there are also a billion solutions,” the PM said.

“Films have an important role in India’s soft power,” Modi said, while narrating how he was struck by popularity of Indian films overseas when he met and interacted with the leaders of foreign countries. He assured the film industry that effective steps are being taken to curb piracy and “camcording”.

“A single-window system for obtaining permissions for film shoots and related matters are on the anvil,” he said. Like the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, there could be a global film summit in India, the prime minister suggested.

“Films also play a big role in the growth of the tourism sector, which gives employment to even the poorest people, even ‘chaiwala’ makes money when tourism grows,” he said.

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Delhi court extends interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s aide till Feb 6

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe. “He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court. The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Zakir Naik case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 16.40 cr under PMLA

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New Delhi | The ED has attached fresh assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, it said on Saturday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a statement, said it had issued a provisional order for attachment of Naik’s assets, located in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The estimated value of the immovable assets was Rs 16.40 crore, the central probe agency said.

This is the third such attachment in the case by the ED. The agency is probing the case after taking cognisance of an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik, who is said to be based in Malaysia at present.

With the latest order, the total value of assets attached in the case by the ED stands at Rs 50.49 crore.

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