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INDIA AND WORLD

Marrying India’s IT prowess with German technology

Barely six weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Germany, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s ongoing visit to New Delhi has set in motion a series of steps aimed at boosting defence and cyber security cooperation between the two countries.

The German minister met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28 and pitched for a win-win alliance of India’s IT prowess and German technology.

The minister noted that India has excellent human resource which is highly skilled in information technology, while Germany has the technology and knowhow. Working together would create a win-win situation for both of them, she stressed.

Focus on cyber security

According to recent reports, about one billion computers in Germany are infected with Botnet viruses, which makes the country vulnerable to cyber-attacks, making cybercrime a prime concern for the German defense industry. India too, suffered a loss of nearly four billion dollars due to cyber-attacks in 2014.

Holocaust course in Hungary: Remembrance and national identity

A news item likely to go unnoticed by most is that of a university in Hungary making a course on the Holocaust compulsory for all undergraduate students. It is not the content of the course (which is no doubt very important for a discussion on its possible impacts) but a larger context of remembrance- how it shapes national consciousness and its international ramifications- that this article deals with.

Recently, the Peter Pazmany Catholic University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Hungary, made a course on the holocaust, titled ‘The Holocaust and its Remembrance’, compulsory for all students in its undergraduate program. It’s the kind of news report that is likely to go unnoticed by most, but such an initiative deserves closer reflection and need to be placed in the larger context of remembrance – how it shapes national consciousness and its international ramifications.

Hungarian Jews, too, suffered terribly during the Second World War, with several thousand being sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, into forced labour camps and summarily executed on the banks of the Danube.

India, South Korea upgrade ties, sign 7 pacts

SEOUL: India and South Korea have infused a new energy into their multi-faceted partnership by upgrading ties to “special strategic partnership” and signing seven bilateral agreements in diverse areas.

“Our relationship started with a strong economic emphasis. But, it has also now become strategic in content,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.

“The decision to upgrade bilateral ties reflect how seriously we take the new framework of our relationship. Republic of Korea is the second country with which India will have a diplomatic and security dialogue in 2+2 format,” PM Modi said while addressing a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul.

Diplomacy/Defence

India needs long term solution in procuring defence systems

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to India in June for talks on the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative has been preceded by a series⋅⋅⋅
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Mamata to accompany Modi to Dhaka, land and water deal high on agenda

Against the backdrop of an upswing in India-Bangladesh ties, West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka⋅⋅⋅
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Pakistan should cooperate in fight against terrorism: Singh

PM Modi’s agenda for dealing with terrorism is to treat it as a global phenomenon, delink it from religion and take collective global action for⋅⋅⋅
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Diplomacy, In Pictures

Politics / Policy

Defence Manufacturing: In Search of a Composite Policy Framework

Amid reports that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set up a 10-member committee to draft an easy-to-comprehend and industry-friendly procedure that would cut down⋅⋅⋅
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Land acquisition: Learn from the States

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is putting all its political capital to amend “the growth-retarding” land acquisition law enacted by the United Progressive Alliance⋅⋅⋅
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My government not anti-minority: PM Modi

Amid concerns in sections of the international community about the safety of minorities in India, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined that there is⋅⋅⋅
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The Quote Hanger

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

In Conversation

Modi’s France visit to bolster strategic ties, focus on smart cities: Rakesh Sood

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India and France are set to galvanise their multifarious relations during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden trip to Paris. The two countries have a robust strategic partnership over the years, and are looking to push the envelope in a host of areas.
In this interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, (www.indiawrites.org), Rakesh Sood, India’s former ambassador to France, speaks about a cluster of issues that will be on the table when Prime Minister Modi holds talks with the French President Francois Hollande in Paris on April 10. He provided an overarching view of what makes India-France relations unique and how the forthcoming prime ministerial visit will impart a renewed momentum in areas of defence, nuclear energy and space and open up new avenues of bilateral cooperation.
(Excerpts from the interview)
Q) How do you look at the trajectory of the India-France relations at this moment? And how do you see the importance of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France, which is also his first visit to Europe?
A) India and France have had one of the oldest strategic partnerships. What do I mean by a strategic partnership? I mean that we have had long-standing cooperation in areas of defence, nuclear energy and space. Three areas that normally constitute strategic partnership, and particularly in recent decades we have also strengthened our cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing. So I think it is a very substantive relationship and French President Hollande was here in February 2013. Obviously, in 2014 we had our elections and so it is very opportune that Prime Minister Modi is now visiting Paris and other locations in France.

Reshaping Indonesia-India relations critical to 21st century Asia

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Vibrant democracies, emerging powers, and partners in the unfolding Asian resurgence. India-Indonesia relations have a rich past, and is looking to zoom into a rich future, bristling with possibilities. Co-founders and fellow-travellers of the Non-Aligned Movement, India and Indonesia have imparted a contemporary strategic dimension to their multi-faceted relationship. From President Sukarno gracing the first Republic Day celebrations of 1950 to India hosting Indonesia’s then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2011, the India-Indonesia partnership in the 21st century is acquiring new layers and depth.
The year 2014 saw a change of guard in both New Delhi and Jakarta, propelling self-made politicians from humble backgrounds to the top of the power ladder. The new leaderships in both countries are keen to seize the moment to infuse a new energy and vitality into this robust relationship.
Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org), caught up with Indonesia’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Dino Patti Djalal in New Delhi for a free-wheeling conversation on the entire gamut of India-Indonesia relations, and much more. In this probing conversation, the suave and eloquent deputy minister shares his views on the future trajectory of India-Indonesia relations, how the two countries can collaborate in areas like pro-poor technologies, a new kind of creative politics emerging in Indonesia and a radical transformation of the image of India from a country ridden with poverty to a country synonymous with enterprise and innovation. India used to be known as a country with a rich past, but now it is seen as a country with a rich future, he says presciently.

Africa has high hopes from Modi govt: Ethiopia envoy

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India’s multifarious relations with the resurgent African continent has deepened and acquired a new traction over the last decade or so, especially since the inaugural India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in New Delhi in 2008. India is set to host the third edition of IAFS early next year, which will bring the leaders and representatives of all 54 African countries to the capital Delhi, and is expected to mark an all-round acceleration of this burgeoning partnership. This will also be the first India-Africa Forum Summit, which will be hosted by the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi.

In this wide-ranging conversation with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and Editor of “Two Billion Dreams: Celebrating India-Africa Friendship,” Ethiopian ambassador to India Gennet Zewide strikes an upbeat note about the future trajectory of the India-Africa relations and hopes that this partnership will “tripled, multiplied and even quadrupled” under the new dispensation in New Delhi. The Ethiopian envoy, a former education minister of the East African country, the seat of an ancient civilization, also speaks about the win-win partnership unfolding between India and her country, and the transformative impact of India’s Line of Credit for the country’s sugar industry, which promises to turn Ethiopia from an exporter into an importer of sugar in days to come.

BUSINESS WITH INDIA

India tops World Hunger List, 194 million undernourished

India has the unfortunate distinction of being the country to have the maximum number of undernourished people (nearly 194.6 million), surpassing China (which comes at⋅⋅⋅
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PM Modi launches DD Kisan outreach to farmers

With enhanced agricultural productivity on mind, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated DD Kisan, a new 24×7 TV channel launched by the state broadcaster,⋅⋅⋅
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CHINA CONNECT

Prime Minister Modi’s Visit to China—The Myths and Realities

As the dust settles after the visit of Prime Minister Modi to China, it is time to take a calm and dispassionate look at where⋅⋅⋅
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South Asia policy after Modi’s China visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to China has whipped up expectations not only in India, but possibly across South Asia. There is need for⋅⋅⋅
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Africa Rising

Behind Al Shabaab terror in Kenya

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Al-Shabaab, a Somali militant group believed to be a part of the African terror syndicate comprising of groups such as the Al Qaeda in Maghreb⋅⋅⋅
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Al-Shabaab rocks Kenya University, massacre 147

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Barely a couple of years after the spectacular mall terror attack in the heart of Nairobi, Somalia-based al-Shabaab militants targeted a college campus in the⋅⋅⋅
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Ex-military ruler Buhari wins Nigeria elections

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Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari became the first opposition candidate in Nigeria’s history to win a presidential election, making him the numero uno of Africa’s⋅⋅⋅
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Culture / Books / Ideas

Culture

Mass yoga program at Rajpath on June 21st, PM to join in

June 21st was declared as International Yoga Day when the UN general assembly adopted an India-led resolution on the matter last year. To mark the⋅⋅⋅
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Well run, Modi!

Should it worry us that Modi sarkar resembles the Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, the greatest long-distance runner ever and not Usain Bolt, the 100-metre thunderbolt from⋅⋅⋅
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The Modi govt’s real test is yet to come

Governments today face scrutiny on their 100th day, sixth month, first year or some equally arbitrary period. Like surprise examinations in a school, they end⋅⋅⋅
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BOOKS / POETRY

And Then One Day: Naseeruddin Shah tells it all…

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Naseeruddin Shah comes across as an actor who knows his craft but does not take filmdom or stardom with any degree of seriousness. A rare ability to laugh at oneself, coupled with an acute understanding of the world of theatre and Bollywood. It is difficult to talk about one’s life with any kind of objectivity and Shah manages just that with his funny bone absolutely intact. Be it the boarding school at Nainital, the hallowed portals of NSD or the Film Institute of Pune, Shah breezes through it all, seeing it with the critical eye of the present and looking at this intelligent non-conformist young Naseeruddin as he hems and haws through life. Not having set goals and not having made the obvious choices, the journey is tough as the young protagonist stumbles along in the haze of marijuana.
Shah’s book has an extremely humane side to it where the reader does not feel in awe of a star but a human being on a journey that continues with all its rough and tumble in place. The book too, plays by its own rules – deciphering but not revealing the man who refuses to be slotted as a hero or a character artist in Bollywood and who chooses to be remembered and not revered for some of the most virtuoso acting skills in the industry.

My Book Story: When Things Fall Apart…

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“Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon⋅⋅⋅
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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

Border-crossing: Supper in Sweden, Dinner in Denmark

Arial photo of the bridge with ferry passing under

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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At the Equator: A tryst with Assange, Darwin and sea lions

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Ecuador is probably the only country in the world named after a geographical feature – the equator. Crossing over from the Colombian border post near⋅⋅⋅
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