India has joined the world in welcoming the restoration of diplomatic relations between the once arch adversaries, the US and Cuba, after a gap of 54 years, a defining step that will also lead to an acceleration of relations between New Delhi and Havana.
The historic deal between the US and Cuba, which had frozen ties since Washington imposed a trade embargo on Havana in 1954, has elicited praise from leaders around the world. The embargo has still not been lifted as it is the prerogative of the US Congress, which is now dominated by the Republicans.
New Delhi, which has consistently maintained and nurtured diplomatic relations, with Havana, a kindred fellow-traveller in the Non-Aligned Movement, has promptly welcomed the historic move by the US. “India, which enjoys excellent relations with the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba welcomes the decision by both the countries to re-establish diplomatic relations,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, said in New Delhi on December 18.
India’s Vice-President Hamid Ansari travelled to Havana more than a year ago and underlined India’s intent to scale up bilateral relations with Cuba, an oil-rich Caribbean country that holds the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an influential group of 33 countries in the region. The removal of the US trade embargo, when it happens, will also lead to an upswing in economic ties between India and Cuba.
Sydney and Peshawar may be thousands of miles apart in different continents, but the hostage crisis in Sydney and the senseless killings of 132 children in Peshawar by hardened militants and criminals underline the insidious spread of terrorism across the globe. Against this backdrop, India, a repeated victim of terror attacks, has exhorted the world community to join hands to “decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism.”
Transcending boundaries and differences – this should be the operative mantra for the world to collectively fight the scourge of terrorism. For any ambivalence or half-heartedness on this front can spawn hundreds of such tragedies in the future, with innocent victims caught in the crossfire of state politics and the mindless terror machinery of warped-up ideologies.
Terror blurs boundaries, and widens the arc of sympathy. In the wake of the barbaric terror attack on an army school in Peshawar which killed 132 students, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi promptly picked up the phone and rang up his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and shared India’s “heard-rending sorrow and pain” at this horrific assault and stressed the need for joining hands to defeat the scourge of terror.
Mr Modi called Mr Sharif on December 16 evening, soon after the latter returned from Peshawar to Islamabad. In his telephonic conversation, Mr Modi “condemned in the strongest terms the brutal terrorist attack” and underlined that “this savage killing of innocent children, who are the epitome of the finest human values, in a temple of learning was not only an attack against Pakistan, but an assault against the entire humanity.”
In a compelling message, Mr Modi conveyed to Mr Sharif that “this moment of shared pain and mourning is also a call for our two countries and all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism, so that the children in Pakistan, India and elsewhere do not have to face a future darkened by the lengthening shadow of terrorism.”
Since the overthrow of the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been plagued by violence and instability. Different militias now control most⋅⋅⋅
Russia signed a ‘military cooperation’ agreement with Pakistan during the visit of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to Islamabad on November 20, 2014. This was the⋅⋅⋅
This year’s Kashmir and North-East floods, following last year’s Uttrakhand tragedy, have yet again highlighted the shortcomings in our disaster management and rehabilitation strategies —⋅⋅⋅
The battle for the minds and hearts of people in India’s northern state Jammu and Kashmir has moved into a high gear, with the turnout⋅⋅⋅
After a huge win in the general election in May this year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also captured political power in Haryana and Maharashtra by winning assembly election convincingly.
In the coming assembly election in states of Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand, the BJP is likely to emerge as the single largest party. It may, if not on its own, become the part of the government in alliance with other parties. This may bring its tally to 10 states.
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.
The multifarious ties between India and Britain are headed for a marked upswing. Moments after he met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane, British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “Relations with India are at the top of the priorities of UK’s foreign policy.” “Your’s is a very inspiring vision, U.K. wants to partner in any way we can,” Mr Cameron said in another tweet.
The British leader’s enthusiasm seems to be shared across the spectrum in Britain. Soon after the Modi-Cameron meeting, Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org), caught up with UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Baroness Sandip Verma, and found her brimming with enthusiasm about the trajectory of the India-UK relations and the India growth story.
The 55-year-old politician and businesswoman, who has been made a Conservative peer for life, is also a visible emblem of the success of the Indian diaspora in Britain. In this wide-ranging interview with indiawrites.org in New Delhi, the Amritsar-born Sandip Verma speaks about how Britain is eagerly looking forward to offering Prime Minister Modi “exceptional welcome,” the success of the Indian community in Britain and soaring expectations about the India story under the leadership of a reform-minded prime minister.
The United Nations will turn 70 in 2015. But the world body is increasingly looking like a relic of the past and is badly in need of reform to stay relevant amid the ceaseless flux in geopolitics in the 21st century. Amid the defining shift of power from the west to the rest and the emergence of India on the global stage, the case for the reform and expansion of the UN Security Council has become all the more urgent. In his maiden address at the UNGA, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a robust pitch for reform of the UNSC to “make it more democratic and participative.” “Institutions that reflect the imperatives of 20th century won’t be effective in the 21st century. The world in the 21st century has changed and will be changing at a faster pace. It becomes imperative that we formulate according to the changing times and new ideas of 21st century to sustain our relevance,” Mr Modi told delegates at the 69th session of the UNGA.
In this free-wheeling interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) in New York, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Kumar Mukherji speaks about India’s strategy for accelerating the reform of the UNSC, the enthusiastic support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the powerful council and the way ahead on Prime Minister Modi’s initiative to get the UN to designate an International Yoga Day.
The sun is set to shine brighter on the already robust India-UK relations, with British investors bullish about investing in India’s renewable energy sector that⋅⋅⋅
Change seems to be afoot in China’s dealings with the world. At a major conference on foreign affairs in Beijing on November 28-29, President Xi Jinping called on his colleagues to create a “more enabling environment” for China’s development. Xi’s remarks are nuanced and balanced and seek to distance China from its brash and assertive posture which has generated considerable unease in the regions neighbouring China.
At another level, China is signalling that it is a big power and wants to be seen in a more benign light as one, rather than being feared and distrusted , as it is at present.
At a third level, it also reflects a Chinese understanding that despite its impressive capabilities, it is still a relatively passive power as is evident from the Chinese absence in dealing with any of the serious global crises like Ukraine, Syria or Afghanistan.
On the day Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Gujarat on September 17, The Hindu newspaper published an op-ed called ‘Towards an Asian century of prosperity’ in which President Xi spoke of his country as the factory and India as the world’s back office, he referred to the new government in power bringing in new reforms. He spoke of deepened mutual trust by “strengthening strategic dialogue and enhancing political confidence.” The article was expectedly replete with bonhomie and optimism although India was not too happy being relegated to the back office. Nevertheless, Xi concluded by saying that he was “confident that as long as China and India work together, the Asian century of prosperity and renewal will surely arrive at an early date.” All this sounded wonderful.
Recently, Nigeria has been under tremendous pressure from armed rebels of Boko Haram. More than 100 people have been killed by this brutal terrorist group⋅⋅⋅
Africa will herald one of the most radical demographic shifts of the century. Latest estimates indicate that by the end of the century, 40% of⋅⋅⋅
BOOK REVIEW Book: Land Where I Flee; Author: Prajwal Parajuly; Publisher: Quercus A caustic grandmother, a lovable eunuch, and four orphaned siblings returning home to Gangtok after⋅⋅⋅
In these 20 stories Rinjing Dorji narrates how Uncle Tompa gets the better of others through his trickery. The ‘others’ here are usually the rich, the foolish, the virtuous, and the stubborn. While tales of Uncle Tompa are very similar to those of other tricksters like the Persian Mullah Nusruddhin, or the American Cayote, Uncle Tompa’s stories differ because of the centrality of sex in his adventures.
“There is no literature and art without paranoia. Probably there would be even civilization. Paranoia is the world. It is the attempt to make sense⋅⋅⋅
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,⋅⋅⋅
Ecuador is probably the only country in the world named after a geographical feature – the equator. Crossing over from the Colombian border post near⋅⋅⋅