Branding SDGs: Star power blitz & glitz to tell world about UN Global Goals

Press Briefing to present “The Global Goals Campaign”

- Mr. Richard Curtis, film-maker; 
- Ms. Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning; 
- Ms. Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General, UN Department of Public Information
Moderator: Ms. Margaret Novicki, UN Department of Public Information

Seven billion people, seven days and 17 goals. Call it Mission 7717, if you like, or simply Mission 17. Blending glamour, glitz, star shower and snappy story-telling, the staid United Nations, known for pompous well-meaning speeches, has launched an audacious path-breaking campaign to tell the world about its “Global Goals” of weeding out poverty, combating inequality and climate change by 2030.

Blending strategy with economic ballast, India, UAE raise the bar


There is a new upswing in India’s relations with the United Arab Emirates, home to 2.6 million-strong Indian community and New Delhi’s third largest trading partner after China and the US. Barely weeks after the successful trip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Gulf state in August, UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited India on September 2 and 3, imparting a fresh momentum to multilayered bilateral ties.

China mounts spectacular V-day parade, trumpets peaceful rise


In a spectacular show of strength, tanks, missiles and troops filed past the iconic Tiananmen Square in Beijing in perfect military precision at the victory parade on September 3. The parade was held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat. The military pageant, which involved 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of cutting-edge military hardware and 200 aircraft, made a compelling power statement and underlined China’s President Xi Jinping’s determination to make China the sole Asian power. Addressing a huge gathering at Tiananmen Square that included some major world leaders, President Xi said, “The aim of our commemoration is to bear history in mind, honour all those who laid down their lives, cherish peace and open up the future”.


BJP’s mentor RSS calls for better ties with Pakistan


With the relations between India and Pakistan drifting and going downhill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government received encouragement and support for better relations with Pakistan⋅⋅⋅

India issues travel advisory against travel to strife-torn Libya


Amid a sharp deterioration in law and order situation in Libya, India has issued a travel advisory to its citizens, cautioning them against considering travelling⋅⋅⋅

US, Saudi Arabia mend fences, Riyadh backs Iran deal

Salman Obama

At a time when West Asia is grappling with domestic issues and the rise of terror groups like the Islamic State, the relations between the⋅⋅⋅

Diplomacy, In Pictures

Politics / Policy

Battle half won: Government unveils OROP, veterans to continue agitation


Responding to the long-standing demand from ex-servicemen, the Indian government finally announced ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme on September 5. Many ex-servicemen called of⋅⋅⋅

Battle for Bihar hots up: PM Modi promises Rs 1.25 lakh special package

Modi Arrah

Moving on expected lines, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore for the state of Bihar, which goes to polls later this year. While the schedule hasn’t been announced yet, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaid, said the elections would be held before November 29, when the tenure of the present assembly expires.

Children in Indian Maoist Ranks


It has been known for long that Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Maoists in short, deploy children in their ranks. As reported⋅⋅⋅

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


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, (, 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


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 (, 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


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 ( 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.


Energy push: OVL buys 15 percent stake in Russian oil giant’s Siberia oil field


The global march of Indian companies continues with ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of the state-run ONGC, deciding to buy 15 percent stake in⋅⋅⋅

Reforms on fast-track: Small oil, gas fields to be sold to pvt companies

Oil and gas

At a time when the world seems to be cautious due to fragile global market conditions, India seems to be gung-ho in pursuing market reforms.⋅⋅⋅


India must support Renminbi’s entry into IMF’s SDR: CEA


India’s Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has suggested that India must encourage the entry of China’s currency Renminbi into the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF)⋅⋅⋅

Massive explosions rock Tianjin, 44 killed


A series of blasts hit the northeastern port city of Tianjin, which is around 150 km from the capital city Beijing on August 12. The⋅⋅⋅

Africa Rising

Seychelles President to visit India in end-August


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Seychelles has triggered a quid pro quo reaction. Seychelles’ President James Michel is scheduled to visit India in the last week of August. PM Modi had visited Seychelles earlier in March 2015.

Boko Haram threat: Over 2000 Nigerians deported from Cameroon

Cameroon deports 2000 Nigerians

In a bid to strengthen its security further and to combat Boko Haram, Cameroon has deported 2000 illegal Nigerian immigrants from its territory as a⋅⋅⋅

Obama’s plain-speaking in Africa: Corruption, terror top agenda


  Barack Obama has become the first US president to visit Kenya and Ethiopia, two of East Africa’s emerging economies. While there was plenty of⋅⋅⋅

Culture / Books / Ideas


Jesus Christ’s language resonates in Syrian village


Maloula, Syria: Far from the sounds of gunfire and civil conflict that embroil Syria lurks an oasis of faith and miracles in this tiny village⋅⋅⋅

Kerala Tourism plays it smart: Steffi Graf is Ayurveda’s brand ambassador


God’s Own Country could not have got a more charismatic poster girl.  There is no visible connection between Kerala and tennis, but the state’s tourism⋅⋅⋅

Yoga diplomacy

The impressive participation around the world on International Yoga Day is indeed a testimony to India’s immense reservoir of soft power. In his energetic engagement⋅⋅⋅


And Then One Day: Naseeruddin Shah tells it all…


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…


“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⋅⋅⋅

Booker glory beckons Amitav Ghosh


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⋅⋅⋅

Why Write?

Mickey Spillane: The older, the better


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⋅⋅⋅

Samuel Johnson: Reading and making of a book


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⋅⋅⋅

Eudora Welty: Taking Life as it Exists


“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⋅⋅⋅


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,⋅⋅⋅

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


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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