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INDIA AND WORLD

Trump Talk at UN amuses & shocks world

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

US President Donald Trump’s maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly unfolded on predictable lines, except for its highly combative tone which left many veteran world leaders and diplomats in the audience squirming in their seats. From vowing to destroy North Korea, to calling Iran a “rogue state” and lashing out at terrorist organisations and countries that provide them safe havens, Mr Trump unleashed his rage at “America’s enemies.”
Speaking from the green-marbled dais he had once mocked as ugly, Mr Trump’s fury was largely directed at the “depraved” Pyongyang and its despotic leader Kim Jong-un whom he referred to as the Rocket Man on a suicide mission. “No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea,” he said. Mr Trump, who got elected in November last year on America First plank, vowed to “totally destroy” North Korea if it didn’t abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ top on Trump’s UNGA agenda

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The deepening standoff with North Korea and the Iran nuclear accord are expected to top President Donald Trump’s agenda when he delivers his debut address to the United Nations General Assembly session next week. He will meet jointly with the leaders of South Korea and Japan for lunch on Thursday to discuss the looming North Korean threat.
In a tweet on  September 17,  Mr  Trump mocked Kim Jong-un as the “Rocket Man” adding to his long line of inflammatory comments directed at the DPRK chief. He said: “I spoke with president Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!”
The Trump administration is getting increasingly vocal about the possibility of a military action if North Korea does not put a lid on its nuclear programme. The United Nations Security Council adopted a new round of sanctions on North Korea last Monday, reducing gasoline exports and crude oil supplies, in response to the nation’s sixth and largest nuclear weapons test. But the defiant regime responded with a fresh missile launch over Japan on Friday warning sanctions will only further accelerate its nuclear programme.
Speaking to CNN, US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said, “If North Korea keeps on with this reckless behaviour, if the United States has to defend itself or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed.”

Chinese media to India: Don’t try to use Japan to contain China

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There is nothing like the India-Japan connect that gives an ascendant and assertive China jitters. Given the bonhomie and bonding that was on display between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad and transformative outcomes that emanated from the summit meeting on September 14, the Chinese media’s backlash hardly comes as a surprise.
Dismissing the “growing intimacy” between India and Japan, the Global Times, the hawkish Chinese tabloid which led the propaganda blitz during the Doklam standoff, has warned India not to get into containment games with Japan.
“After the Doklam standoff, more voices in the Indian media instigate the country to step up cooperation with the US and Japan against China and exaggerate the geopolitical significance of closer India-Japan ties. Yet this to a large degree has exposed the vulnerable feeling of the Indian strategic circle in front of China”, the Global Times said in an op-ed article. It attacked Japan by saying “… Japan has been more narrow-minded in looking for allies globally to encircle China.”

Diplomacy/Defence

With an eye on China, India-US -Japan trilateral focuses on maritime security

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India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York City taking up issues of connectivity, security and respect for international norms. The joint statement of the ministerial meeting highlighted three key areas – maritime security, connectivity and proliferation.
On South China Sea and OBOR
In an oblique reference to China, the statement stressed the need for “freedom of navigation, respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes”. China’s aggressive posturing on South China Sea where it is ramping up its military presence and accelerating construction of artificial islands has caused considerable distress to the international community since the annual global trade flow through these waters amounts to many trillions of dollars.
China’s One Belt One Road Initiate also figured in discussions. It has been opposed to it from the very beginning since a major part of it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The joint statement called for the need to base such initiatives on “universally recognized international norms, prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity”. It may be noted that US had urged a return to status-quo during the Doklam crisis while Japan had actively supported India’s position.

Women Power: Swaraj, Ivanka Trump bond at UNGA

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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an invite to the US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump to be her father’s goodwill ambassador and lead the US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this year, it was hailed as a significant diplomatic move considering how Ivanka has emerged as one of the most influential people in the Trump administration.

Taking a step forward, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Ivanka Trump on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly summit in New York and discussed women empowerment and the upcoming entrepreneurship summit in Hyderabad which PM Modi is very keen on promoting to showcase the best brains of the country.

Indian diplomacy in times of flux: M.J. Akbar

The birth of a publication is always a reason for celebration. The birth of a publication at a time when print is under some strain is a cause for even greater celebration. But the birth of a print publication in a time of strain, on a subject that is of a close interest to the distinguished audience here, is perhaps the most welcome part of the evening. I hope the subject will actually determine the quality of the publication.

Foreign affairs and diplomacy are two of the most important aspects of government, have always been, particularly now in the current environment and context in which we live. Let me begin with a question that is immediate. What has happened in the last three years that is a significant change with the past? The first articulation of our foreign policy was made in March 1946 at the Asian Relations Conference and it is also an indication of how seriously the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru took foreign policy. He had already begun, in a sense, the concept of multilateralism, established it with that conference, at a time when the post-war world was still searching for some way forward. At a time when colonisation still seemed one power that the world would not easily get rid of.
Now, it’s only in hindsight that we can say that 1947 was a seminal year because, in a real way, Europe’s colonial power began with Britain’s success in India and it also ended with Britain’s collapse in India.
After the British lost their raj, it was only a matter of time before colonialism all across the world collapsed. But in 1946, certainly the spirit of Lord [Satyendra] Sinha was more prevalent. As a law member, he’d famously remarked about Mahatma Gandhi that: “I don’t understand what this man in a dhoti is doing, the British are going to be around here for 400 years.”
That was the prevalent wisdom and that was a prevalent assessment. He wasn’t far off from what conventional thinking in 1917 suggested and yet, when Gandhiji started, the Empire could not survive more than 30 years. The reason was that a man had come who mobilised the will of the people against an elite. Previously, all the colonial powers had to do was to confront and defeat local elites in order to establish their expansion. They never had to deal really with the people.


The Quote Hanger

Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.-JULES RENARD

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

India’s ties with the Caribbean region are historic and civilizational : 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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I do not believe in celebrating my birthday : Modi

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“I do not believe in celebrating my birthday. But it’s Vishwakarma Jayanti today and celebrating this day with so many people has been one of⋅⋅⋅
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We strongly condemn terrorist attacks : BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration

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” We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals. We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the⋅⋅⋅
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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

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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Doklam, China’s Strategic Calculus and India’s Policy Options

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It is almost two months since Indian and Chinese soldiers became locked in a standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim Sector. The faceoff was triggered when a team of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was prevented by Indian troops from extending a class-5 track in the Dolam Plateau area which is part of Bhutanese territory. The Indian Army acted in response to a request from the Royal Bhutan Army under the terms of the 2007 Bilateral Friendship Treaty. Moreover, the PLA’s track building is in contravention of the 2012 Agreement between the Special Representatives of India and China, whereby the status quo was required to be maintained in the said area until the resolution of the trijunction in consultation with Bhutan.
While many seem to know China, few understand it. In the desperation to engage the PRC, there is a tendency to lose sight of the bigger picture. Given the conflicting interests coupled with unresolved issues, relations between India and China are bound to be marked by contradictions, leading to frequent confrontations. However, through deft diplomacy, differences can be managed. While solutions to vexed problems may not be on the horizon, disputes turning into conflict can be avoided in the larger interest of both nations.

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

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.

Indian Muslims have forged an Indo-Islamic Culture: VP Ansari

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Hailing the Indian Muslims who have lived in a religiously pluralistic society over the years and for intermingling with the local culture, India’s Vice President⋅⋅⋅
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BOOKS / POETRY

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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Snowflakes of Time: Poems by Kanwal Sibal

 Why write poetry, when there are apparently more weighty and profitable things to do? Diplomat Kanwal Sibal, who has grappled with realpolitick and the chessboard⋅⋅⋅
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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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