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INDIA AND WORLD

Amid churn in Indo-Pacific, US plays India versus China game

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with US, Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson in Washington DC, USA on Monday.   PTI Photo/PIB (PTI6_26_2017_000255B)

Ahead of his maiden visit to India, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has projected the US as the reliable partner India needs, positioning New Delhi and Washington as two “two bookends of stability” in the Indo-Pacific region which is being challenged by China’s “irresponsible” rise.

Courting India ahead of his first official visit to New Delhi next week, Mr Tillerson projected an upbeat trajectory of the India-US relations that have been on an upswing ever since President Donald Trump assumed office earlier this year. In a defining foreign policy speech at an American think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. Tillerson said that the US is “determined to dramatically deepen ways” to build an “ambitious partnership” with India, particularly with an eye on the Indo-Pacific region and China, which will have “far-reaching implications for the next 100 years.”
Going by Mr Tillerson’s comments, it would appear that the US is pushing for a renewed China containment strategy, with India as a key balancer against China’s assertiveness. Should India offer to be part of this strategy? Opinion is divided among India’s strategic establishment. Meera Shankar, India’s former ambassador to the US, has struck a note of caution. “It’s a culmination of the trend of strengthening strategic partnerships in the region by the US to balance China,” Mrs Shankar told India Writes Network. “A stronger India will ipso facto act as a balancer, without getting into overt containment strategy,” she said. The US should help to bolster India’s rise and capabilities, she said.

Diwali light for India-US relations: Trump lauds Modi & India, Indian-Americans

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Is it Diwali time for India-US relations? Clearly, there is a lot to cheer about, and the reassuring Diwali message from US President Donald Trump should light up the spirit of his “friend,” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a gesture reaffirming his commitment to deepening India-US relations, the flamboyant American president, along with his daughter Ivanka, celebrated the Hindu festival of lights – Diwali – at the White House. The Diwali bash was attended by many prominent Indian-Americans in the Trump administration, including Nikki Haley (US Ambassador to the UN), Seema Verma (Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and Ajit Pai (Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission). A video of the Diwali celebrations at White House was posted on the president’s Facebook page.
In hosting the Diwali celebrations at the White House, Mr Trump was continuing the tradition followed by his predecessors. But given the upswing in India-US relations during the first few months of his administration, despite initial apprehensions about policy volatility, there is a lot to cheer about how this vital relationship is shaping up.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US in June and his first meeting with Trump had set an ambitious, multi-layered agenda for upscaling India-US relations across the spectrum.

New era will see China closer to centre of world: Xi Jinping

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Unveiling his vision of a Sino-centric world order at the twice-in-a-decade leadership shuffle, Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to build China into “a great modern socialist country” by the middle of this century and exhorted the Chinese people to fructify the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.

“This is an era that will see China move closer to the centre of the world and make more contributions to humankind,” he said at the inaugural session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 18.

The 19th National Congress of the CPC is poised to be the biggest political shake-up in China’s recent history, and looks set to elevate and consolidate Xi’s status as one of the most powerful leaders of China.

Holding the tenets of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era aloft, Mr Xi reiterated the need to “work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation” even as he cautioned against “mechanically copying the political systems of other countries.”

Addressing over 2000 delegates in the majestic Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Mr Xi said: “We will unite the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them to a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and in the drive to secure the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”

Diplomacy/Defence

Kandahar attack: India calls for dismantling terror sanctuaries

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India, a leading development and strategic partner of Afghanistan, has voiced strong condemnation over the savage attack at Afghan army personnel and called for an⋅⋅⋅
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India’s cooperation crucial in checking Pakistan: Nikki Haley

Affirming India’s cooperation as the pivot of US administration’s new Afghanistan policy, US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley has called for India’s help in keeping⋅⋅⋅
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Austria’s Right-turn: Why 31-year-old anti-immigrant whizkid matters

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Marking a worrisome ascent of alt-right forces in swathes of Europe, the Austrian elections have paved the way for a resounding victory for a centre-right⋅⋅⋅
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The Quote Hanger

“ Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening ” Mahatma Gandhi

In Conversation

Competitive cooperation, not rivalry for India-China ties: Bhadrakumar

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After more than ten weeks of posturing and charged rhetoric during the face-off at Doklam plateau in Bhutan, India and China have signaled their intention to start afresh and improve their relationship. This was reflected in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the BRICS summit in Xiamen on September 5, when they decided to take a forward looking approach to the bilateral relationship.

In an interview with Soumya Nair, former diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar talks about India’s options in dealing with a rising China and the course of India-China relationship, post-Doklam.

Post-BRICS, India, China think anew: Manish Chand

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In an interview to AnchalAnand of News X, Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India and World and India Writes Network, decodes the Xiamen Declaration at the BRICS summit for the first time targets terror outfits in Pakistan, forcing China to toe India’s line on the terror issue.

Vietnam wants India to play a more active role in Southeast Asia: Envoy

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It’s a milestone year in India-Vietnam relations as the two strategic partners celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In this wide-ranging interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, Vietnam’s ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh outlines a vibrant picture of the trajectory of this crucial relationship and underlines the need for a more active role by India in Southeast Asia and the extended region. The envoy also underscored that the burgeoning India-Vietnam relations is not targeted at China or any third country and stressed on peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute through dialogue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described his Bharatiya Janata Party’s stunning victory in assembly elections in India’s biggest state Uttar Pradesh as historic and underlined

BJP’S UP VICTORY A VOTE FOR DEVELOPMENT: MODI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described his Bharatiya Janata Party’s stunning victory in assembly elections in India’s biggest state Uttar ...

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Basking in the glory of astounding electoral victory in India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh, the head of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party Amit

UP VERDICT REJECTION OF POLITICS OF CASTE AND DYNASTY: AMIT SHAH

Basking in the glory of astounding electoral victory in India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh, the head of India’s Hindu ...

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It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. Saffron is the reigning colour as wild celebrations erupted outside the BJP’s national headquarters in Delhi and UP’s capital city of Lucknow. Swamped by fervour of this huge victory, party activists splashed a rainbow of colours, distributed sweets and set off crackers.

HISTORIC MOMENT FOR BJP IN UP, CONGRESS SCORES IN PUNJAB

It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. ...

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In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and the epicentre of the country’s politics.

SAFFRON SWEEP FOR BJP IN UP, MODI WAVE SWAMPS RIVALS

In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar ...

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Exit polls broadcast by Indian television channels have projected India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

EXIT POLLS UPBEAT ABOUT BJP’S PROSPECTS IN UP

Exit polls broadcast by Indian television channels have projected India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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What they Say

I bow to beloved Bapu on Gandhi Jayanti : Modi

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“I bow to beloved Bapu on Gandhi Jayanti. His noble ideals motivate millions across the world, Mahatama Gandhi is as relevant to the world now as he was during his lifetime… for Mahatma Gandhi, cleanliness was more important than freedom.Let us all walk on footpath laid down by Mahatama Gandhi and fulfill his wishes.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on the occasion of 148th Birth Anniversary of Gandhiji

Protect interests of farmers, small industries: RSS chief

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“To control corruption, the Central government has taken various policy decisions, yet there is requirement of an integrated policy. Policy should address needs of industry,⋅⋅⋅
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Stop playing politics with terror : Swaraj

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“Terror groups continue to draw sustenance from support systems, including those based in South Asia. They continue to find support and shelter in countries which⋅⋅⋅
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BUSINESS WITH INDIA

You can become a soldier for a modern, prosperous India : Modi

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“If financial institutions (along with real estate) can help in making such infrastructure, it will lead to multiple benefits, you can become a soldier for⋅⋅⋅
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Transform, Energise & Clean Budget: Tax relief for middle class, MSMES; boost for farmers

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With the overarching mantra of Transform, Energise and Clean India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Union Budget 2017 in parliament on February 1. “Our agenda for next year is to transform, energise and clean India,” said Mr Jaitley.

CHINA CONNECT

Xi Jinping II: Notes on China’s foreign policy

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BEIJING: China’s President Xi Jinping has unveiled his plans for rejuvenation of China and the Chinese Dream at the crucial 19th Party Congress, but his⋅⋅⋅
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Human rights development with Chinese characteristics: China Foreign Minister

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The past five years since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November 2012 have seen an extraordinary journey by China.⋅⋅⋅
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Africa Rising

With OBOR on mind, India brands Asia-Africa Growth Corridor: People-centric & consultative

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Touted as an alternative and counterpoint to China’s One Belt, One Road project, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is set to be accelerated in days to come, with India signalling its intention to fast-track this transformational connective project that will encompass the two emerging growth poles in the world.

Modi’s African Safari may yield major economic gains for India

At first sight, it may appear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s African safari that begins on July 7 is yet another manifestation of his itch⋅⋅⋅
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As PM eyes new horizons in Africa, China factor looms

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When was the last time an Indian prime minister travelled to four African countries in one stretch? It’s a tough one, and is sure to evoke a long pause, followed by silence and murmurs of can’t remember. This question has been asked with a tinge of anguish many a time in Africa circles, but with Prime Minister Narendra Modi heading to Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania early this week, it’s going to be replaced, mercifully, by what’s next.

Culture / Books / Ideas

Culture

International Day of Girl Child: Long way to go for India

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In a landmark verdict on October 11, upholding the rights of over 20 million child brides of India, the Supreme Court ruled that sex with a minor wife, in the age group of 15 to 18, would be considered as rape and will be treated as a criminal offence. The court order came even as India along with the rest of the world commemorated the International Girl Child Day around the theme of ‘The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030’ to celebrate and empower girl children around the world.

According to a United Nations Population Fund report last year, India accounts for a third of the world’s child brides. About 47 per cent of girls in India are married before they turn 18. Though the trend of child marriages has been declining, India still has a long way to go to eradicate the menace completely. The latest Supreme Court order is a major milestone towards achieving that goal.

As part of United Nation’s international day to create greater awareness on the issues impacting girl children around the world and to promote steps for their empowerment, several countries have undertaken major programmes to highlight and support girl children and to end gender discrimination.

Cultural diplomacy poised for a bigger role, to promote Brand India: ICCR chief Amarendra Khatua

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Politics divides, culture connects. In Shanghai, a pact was signed between India and China to recreate Raj Kapoor’s 1951 classic Awaara into a contemporary Chinese opera.
Amarendra Khatua, the new director-general of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), who was in Shanghai to deliver the keynote address at the 18th China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF), struck an upbeat note on long-standing civilisational ties and promoting cultural exchanges in Tier-II and Tier-III cities in India and China. The joint theatrical remake of Awaara, which remains the most popular Indian movie in China, hints at more such collaborative cultural tie-ups India is set to pursue in days to come.
“Cultural diplomacy is poised to play a bigger role in India’s foreign policy calculus in days and months to come and promote Brand India,” said Khatua, a veteran diplomat who is also famous as an accomplished poet who writes and translates in English, Hindi and other Indian languages.

Namaste France: Celebrating Indo-French cultural connect

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Namaste France, Bonjour India! The cultural alchemy between India and France is for real, and is now seen in all its glory and myriad splendour in the moveable feast of Indian culture, songs, dance, films, plays and performances which has rolled out across cities in France, inviting the French to soak in the eternal wonder that is India.
The sheer scale of Namaste France festival is staggering and attest to the expanding canvas of India-France cultural relations: 75 days, 23 cities and the crème de la crème of India’s performing arts dazzling the French audience.

BOOKS / POETRY

Nobel moment for Kazuo Ishiguro, digger of inner truths

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  It’s a time of rejoicing and celebrations for all Kazuo Ishiguro fans, and those who relish his uncanny talent for excavating abyss beneath the⋅⋅⋅
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Isthmus of Time: Poems by Anshuman Gaur

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An Anthem for the Fallen Once the storm has passed Once the dust has settled down Who remembers the blood-sworn vow? The cloud serpent Again,⋅⋅⋅
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Booker glory beckons Amitav Ghosh

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The Booker glory beckons Indian novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh yet again. Having narrowly missed the Anglophone world’s most coveted literary honour in 2008, the⋅⋅⋅
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Why Write?

Mickey Spillane: The older, the better

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If you’re a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older⋅⋅⋅
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Samuel Johnson: Reading and making of a book

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The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make⋅⋅⋅
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Eudora Welty: Taking Life as it Exists

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“The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that⋅⋅⋅
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Travel

Nevada bets on India, to open tourism office soon

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Nevada, the US’ western state known for casinos and picturesque landscape, is betting big on luring more tourists from India. Nevada Lt Governor Thomas Hutchinson⋅⋅⋅
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Border-crossing: Supper in Sweden, Dinner in Denmark

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For those of us living in India, crossing over casually is a distant dream. Even though India and Pakistan were one over six decades ago,⋅⋅⋅
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