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INDIA AND WORLD

Hinduism compatible with secularism: Tharoor

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Dismissal of Hinduism is not needed for preservation of India’s secular values, but it has to be disentangled with the vision of the ‘Hindutva Brigade’ that has no place for other faiths, say veteran Congressman Dr Karan Singh and senior party leader Dr Shashi Tharoor.They expressed their view of Hinduism at a lively discussion on the book ‘Why I am a Hindu’ written by Mr Tharoor, a also a well-known author and a former UN diplomat.

The two scholars also cautioned against the Hindutva Brigade’s attempt to equate Hinduism with nationalism.Mr Tharoor targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his part BJP for trying to appropriate Swami Vivekanada on wrong grounds, Dr Tharoor said.

India a model for cultural diversity: Iranian President

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Offering Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid, a Sunni mosque in Hyderabad, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani sent out a strong message for the imperative need to end sectarian differences in Islam across the world. In India on a three-day visit, Mr Rouhani cited India as a successful example of the peaceful coexistence of various religions and ethnicities.
In his meeting with Muslim intellectuals, scholars and clerics in Hyderabad, the Iranian president denounced the attempts by the West to create fissures among the Muslim communities across the eastern world. He stressed on the need to embrace diplomatic solution to the troubles in the Middle East, instead of military solutions. Mr Rouhani is the first Iranian president to visit India after Mohammad Khatami’s pathbreaking trip in 2003.

Ramaphosa new president of South Africa, Zuma forced to quit

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Cyril Ramaphosa, a former deputy president and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, has been sworn in as South Africa’s new president following Jacob Zuma’s resignation. In his maiden presidential speech, the 65-year-old Ramaphosa promised to tackle the issues of corruption that became endemic under Zuma.
An anti-apartheid hero and South Africa’s charismatic leader, Zuma had to finally resign from the office of the president that he held for nine years. Cornered by the opposition’s threat of a no-confidence motion in Parliament and under pressure from the dominant faction within the ruling African National Congress Party that has been trying to oust him, Mr Zuma was unable to survive this crisis despite having dodged a number of corruption scandals and court judgements against his rule earlier.

Diplomacy/Defence

Modi’s first visit to Arunachal after Doklam

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With an alert China watching amid Spring Festival celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Arunachal Pradesh to inaugurate a host of projects with an eye on the upcoming elections. This is his first visit to the state since the Doklam standoff with China last year.China continues to raise strong objections to visits by Indian leaders to the state, parts of which Beijing claim to be disputed areas. China had kicked up a storm when President Ram Nath Kovind had visited Arunachal last year in November.
In Arunachal Pradesg, Mr Modi will be launching a new 24×7 Doordarshan channel, DD Arun Prabha, which will be the second channel dedicated to the northeast after DD North-East. Other inaugurations include the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre and the state’s Civil Secretariat complex in Itanagar. He will also be a part of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the academic block at the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science.

China challenge tops priority of India’s new foreign secretary Gokhale

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A key interlocutor in India’s diplomatic negotiations with China to defuse the 73-day long Doklam standoff that threatened to bring the Asian giants on the brink of a war, veteran diplomat Vijay Gokhale took charge as India’s foreign secretary on January 29. Mr Gokhale succeeded S. Jaishankar.

Widely acknowledged as an expert on East Asia, Mr Gokhale was India’s ambassador to China from January 20, 2016 to October 21, 2017 before moving back to the Ministry to External Affairs headquarters as the secretary (economic relations).
Well versed in mandarin, Mr Gokhale, the 1981 batch India Foreign Service officer, had previously held the posts of director (China and East Asia) and joint secretary (East Asia) in the MEA. He had also served as India’s ambassador to Germany between October 2013 and January 2016 and served in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi and New York.

Horror & despair in Kabul after terror carnage, India offers all possible help

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Mourning, horror and shock have enveloped Kabul in the aftermath of the worst terror attack in months. It’s a despair-laden Sunday for Afghans as the⋅⋅⋅
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The Quote Hanger

Assuming the chairmanship of ASEAN isn't going to do anything about improving the lives of people.   Aung San Suu Kyi

In Conversation

Vietnam envoy pitches for real code of conduct in South China Sea (Interview)

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The Special Commemorative Summit is poised to open a new chapter in the history of India-ASEAN relations. With India and ASEAN emerging as the fastest growing region in the world, there are enormous possibilities for expanding and diversifying this mutually energising relationship across the spectrum.
In this interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and World, Vietnam’s Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh argues that given India’s close historical and cultural connections and its growing economy, India should play a bigger role in the extended Indo-Pacific region. To fructify this huge potential, enhancing connectivity will be a potential game-changer in taking India-ASEAN strategic partnership to new heights.
Amid the churn in the South China Sea, the Vietnamese envoy also pitches for a real and abiding enforceable code of conduct and argues that the sea of Southeast Asia is an open sea of all countries, including India.

It’s time for India to play a bigger role in ASEAN : Indonesia envoy

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Building on their growing economy and a shared vision of a pluralistic and inclusive Asia, India and Indonesia are poised to chart new frontiers in their multi-faceted partnership. In this wide-ranging interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India and World magazine and India Writes Network, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India Sidharto R. Suryodipuro outlines core values that bind India and ASEAN and maps a robustly optimistic trajectory of India-Indonesia partnership.

(Excerpts from the interview)
Q) India is hosting Special Commemorative Summit, where all the ASEAN leaders are going to be present and they are also the guest of honour at the Republic Day Parade. It is indeed a unique moment in India- ASEAN relations. How do you look at the importance of the summit and the way ahead?
A) We will be celebrating 25 years of the India-ASEAN dialogue relationship and the changes that have taken place. We will not only be celebrating the adding of years, but also the changes that have taken place in Southeast Asia and India. Twenty-five years ago, the India-ASEAN relationship was sectoral, now it has been upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership. India has changed its “Look East” policy to an “Act East” policy. The commemorative summit would be an opportunity to add momentum to this growing relationship. It is an opportunity for India to further bolster its policy and also for ASEAN to do the same. It will also be an opportunity for India and ASEAN to address the changes that are happening in the world.

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.

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

Will feel proud to tell success story of 1.25 bn Indians in Davos: Modi

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” Will feel proud to tell success story of 1.25 bn Indians in Davos ” Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for Davos on Monday⋅⋅⋅
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The Indian diaspora has climbed to appreciable heights in almost all the countries : Kovind

“The Indian diaspora has climbed to appreciable heights in almost all the countries where it has found a home. It has contributed to the well-being⋅⋅⋅
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The relations between India and the US are not only for mutual interest. It goes beyond that:Modi

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“The relations between India and the US are not only for mutual interest. It goes beyond that. It will be for the greater benefit of⋅⋅⋅
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BUSINESS WITH INDIA

Indian economy to grow 7-7.5%: Economic Survey

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Ahead of the Union budget, the Economic Survey report for the fiscal year 2017-18 tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley projected a robustly optimistic picture⋅⋅⋅
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India jumps 30 places on ease of doing business global ranking; Modi hails it as historic

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In a major boost to the government which has come under severe criticism on its economic policies lately, India has jumped 30 places to reach⋅⋅⋅
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CHINA CONNECT

3 keys for unlocking India-China economic ties: New Steps, New Horizons

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President Xi’s report pointed out the right direction for developing China-India economic and trade relationship. In the future, following the principles of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, we will use three “keys” to unlock the potential of balanced and mutually beneficial China- India economic and trade cooperation in the “new era”.
With the guidance of our leaders and the guiding principles of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, India-China economic and trade cooperation will bring real benefits to our governments, business communities and ordinary people. It will become the bedrock and anchor of our bilateral relationship. With the development of this relationship, the day when “China and India speak in one voice, and the world listens” will come soon.

Arunachal row shadows India-China relations

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Ahead of the visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India, China has renewed its claims over Arunachal Pradesh. The visits by Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed in entirety by Beijing, has consistently elicited protests from China, and this time it was not different when President Ram Nath Kovind visited India’s easternmost state.

Africa Rising

Curtain falls on Mugabe’s rule: Rejoicing & concern

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Zimbabwe’s long-awaited moment of celebration has finally arrived with the 93-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe announcing his resignation after a reign of 37 years. On November 21 his letter, wherein he expressed his decision to step down from power to allow a peaceful leadership change, was read out by the speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, Jacob Mudenda. With his announcement, Mr Mugabe has saved himself from the ordeal of an impeachment hearing that had been initiated against him.

CII-EXIM Bank conclave in Kampala: India eyes East Africa opportunity

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India is set to accelerate its economic engagement with East Africa, the fastest growing region in the African continent and home to a large Indian diaspora, at a regional business conclave in Kampala.
The two-day India-East Africa business conclave, organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and EXIM Bank, will be inaugurated by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni in the Ugandan capital on November 20. India’s Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia is leading the high-profile Indian delegation, which includes top investors in Africa like Shobana Kamineni, president, CII and Sanjay Kirloskar, CMD, Kirloskar Brothers Limited. Many ministers from East African countries will be participating in the conclave.

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.

Culture / Books / Ideas

Culture

People of the Pacific Pearl: Frames that capture the vibrant world of Lima

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The Art Gallery of the Embassy of Peru in India recently came alive with frames capturing the happening life of 19th century Lima, the Peruvian capital. Organized jointly by the Embassy and the Delhi Photographic Club, the Photo exhibition titled “Retratos de Lima” (Portraits of Lima) showcases selections from the rich archives of Eugéne Courret, a French photographer who settled in the Latin American city in 1860 and documented the teeming life of a busy metropolis through his lens.

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.

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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