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INDIA AND WORLD

India, Australia, set to bolster Indo-Pacific bonding, defence ties

Australian_Defence_Minister

The Indo-Pacific bonding between New Delhi and Canberra is set to get stronger amid China’s assertive posturing in the region during Defence Minister Kevin Andrews’ ongoing visit to India which will focus on bolstering security ties between the two countries.

Mr Andrews’ visit to India comes ahead of AUSINDEX, the first-ever joint maritime exercise to be held between India and Australia in mid-September. The joint naval exercise between both countries will be held at the Visakhapatnam port in the Bay of Bengal.

In a column for the Hindu, Mr Andrews spoke about how India is an important player and a key partner in the Indo-Pacific region. Speaking about the relation between the two countries, he said as emerging powers both countries would seek to advance their own interests, while they would cooperate in some areas they would also compete in the other areas.

China’s V-Day and Contest for Power in East Asia: Indian response

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India is keenly watching the unfolding dramatic events in East Asia as these not only have a bearing on its recent “Act East” policy, but also on regional stability issues. At stake are not merely half of Indian trade, major investments, markets, technology flows that transit through this region but also the subtle messages of power transition between China and Japan in the short and medium term.
China is celebrating the “V-J [Victory over Japan] Day” on September 3 with a massive Beijing military parade. It is also the first time that Beijing would be inviting armed forces from abroad to participate in a national event and also the first time President Xi Jinping will be organising such an event. The previous military parade was several years ago on the 60th national day in October 2009.
today the increasing contest between powers in the region – as reflected in the rising nationalism and right-wing sentiments, higher defence allocations, military modernization and outreach – have contributed to spirals of tension.

UNGA president-elect in India: Modi to push for fast-tracking UNSC expansion

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Ahead of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), India’s top leadership is set to engage the President-elect of the UNGA Mogens Lykketoft and impress upon him the imperative of fast-tracking reforms of the UN Security Council.

Mr Lykketoft, a former speaker of Denmark’s parliament, will succeed Uganda’s Sam Kuetsa and will begin his UNGA presidency in September at the commencement of the 70th General Assembly session. He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The reforms of the UNSC have languished for years due to procedural quibbles and indifference of the permanent members of the UNSC, who are not keen to let emerging powers inside this exclusive club. India is hoping for for the launch of the text-based negotiations at the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, and this will be the key point of discussions between Mr Modi and Mr Lykketoft.

Diplomacy/Defence

India, France set to sign pact for Rafale jets

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India and France are set to complete the framework agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets as France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian began⋅⋅⋅
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Ahead of Xi visit, US, China lock into cyber war

US sanctions Chinese cos

The United States is contemplating sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who benefited from cyber thefts of valuable US trade secrets. The decision comes ahead⋅⋅⋅
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EU calls for emergency summit to discuss worsening immigration crisis

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Facing one of its biggest humanitarian crises in recent times the European Union (EU) has called for an emergency summit on migrants. The summit has⋅⋅⋅
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Diplomacy, In Pictures

Politics / Policy

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

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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⋅⋅⋅
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The Naga Peace Accord: Why Now?

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in a group photo at the signing ceremony of historic peace accord between Government of India & NSCN, in New Delhi on August 03, 2015.
	The Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh is also seen.

The Naga Peace Accord, a framework agreement as it has been termed, signed between the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) and the Government of⋅⋅⋅
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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

Battle against Black Money: Swiss banks ask Indians to disclose foreign assets

Credit Suisse

India has been grappling with the issue of black money stashed overseas with a bulk of it in different Swiss banks. Over the years, India⋅⋅⋅
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India’s forex reserves climb up

Amid global economic uncertainty and the downslide in the Chinese economy, there was some cheering news for the Indian economy as the latest Reserve Bank⋅⋅⋅
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CHINA CONNECT

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

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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)⋅⋅⋅
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Massive explosions rock Tianjin, 44 killed

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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⋅⋅⋅
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Africa Rising

Seychelles President to visit India in end-August

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

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  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⋅⋅⋅
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Culture / Books / Ideas

Culture

Jesus Christ’s language resonates in Syrian village

Amharic

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

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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⋅⋅⋅
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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⋅⋅⋅
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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…

chinua-book

“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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