Resurgence, Renewal and Renaissance. Democracy, Development, and Demographic Dividend. Trade, Technology and Training. 2015 promises to be a year when the narratives of a rising India and Afro-optimism are set to intersect, and impart a fresh resonance to the emerging vocabulary of the multi-faceted India-Africa engagement. The increasing convergence of interests, values and a burgeoning web of win-win opportunities will be crystallised in the third India-Africa Forum Summit New Delhi will host later this year. This will be the first India-Africa summit to be hosted by the Narendra Modi government, and will reflect the mantra of “skill, scale and speed” in dynamic and evolving relations between the two growth poles of the world.
The third summit also promises to be a milestone and will be much bigger and grander than the two previous summits held in New Delhi (2008) and Addis Ababa (2011) as this is the first time India is inviting the leaders of all 54 African countries to the forum summit. In this respect, the 2015 summit marks a new beginning as previously the participation of African leaders in the summit process was done on the basis of the Banjul formula, which entailed the participation of the leaders of around 12-14 African countries, who were represented at the summit in their capacity as the chiefs of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The decision to do away with the Banjul formula and invite all the leaders sends a powerful message across that the two sides are resolved to expand the scope of their partnership and infuse a new vitality into their common agenda.
The third India-Africa Forum Summit is, therefore, poised to be more than a showpiece diplomatic event, celebrating the exuberance, enterprise and energies of the two regions; it will be an occasion for review as well as charting the road ahead and pushing the envelope to harness new opportunities unleashed by the parallel and interlinked resurgence of India and Africa. The possibilities of mutually empowering cooperation are virtually limitless. By marrying African resources and Indian expertise, as former Ghana president John Kufuor has said famously, anything is possible.
It was the ‘Obama Moment’ for India’s young and restless dreamers. Barack Obama knows the power of oratory as he spoke in crisp, luminous sentences infecting the overwhelmingly young audience with his mantra of ‘The Audacity of Hope’ which made him the first black president of the US in a country which only a few decades ago discriminated on the basis of the colour of the skin.
In his parting shot before he wrapped up a three-day historic trip to India, Obama sang a full-throated song of India and spoke about the intertwining of the Indian and American dreams, and what the world’s oldest and largest democracies can do to make the world a safe and secure place in which women are respected, diversity is the way of life and religious tolerance is the clean air you breathe in.
At the town hall-style meeting at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on a wintry morning, he spoke warmly and eloquently about the promise of India, cited Swami Vikekananda’s famous invocation in his hometown Chicago a century ago as he addressed his audience as “sisters and borthers of India” and injected some robust common sense into what he has called many a time “the defining partnership of the 21st century.”
But what struck a powerful chord with the young audience was his paean to the power of youth and the limitless possibilities of human achievement as embodied in the American dream. “If the grandson of a cook can become president, and the tea seller can become the prime minister, so can young people from the humblest of origins dare to dream big and realise their aspirations,” he said to ringing applause.
India and America can be best partners as the world’s largest and oldest democracies are linked by shared values and dreams, said US President Barack Obama on his last public engagement in a town-hall meeting in Delhi as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Asia’s rising power.
Conjuring up a big picture view of what he has called one of the defining partnerships of this century, Mr Obama looked fresh and radiant as he spoke to an audience of young people and outlined what India and the US can do together to build a safe, secure and prosperous world.
“Of course, only Indians can decide India’s role in the world. But I’m here because I am absolutely convinced that both our peoples will have more jobs and opportunity, our nations will be more secure, and the world will be a safer and more just place when our two democracies stand together,” Mr Obama said, to much applause from audience.
Sketching out a broad canvas of global issues on which the two strategic partners can work together, Mr Obama enlisted India’s support for a global climate deal and warned that the world does not “stand a chance against climate change” unless developing and emerging countries like India reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Obama’s speech was his final engagement in a three-day trip that saw reinvigoration of bilateral ties across the spectrum and the resolution of the impasse over the commercial implementation of the landmark nuclear deal that transformed the relations between the two democracies ten years ago.
After his speech, Mr Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle, circulated among the audience, shaking hands, with the besotted audience frenziedly clicking photographs to cherish their Obama moment.
Personal chemistry, humble beginnings, endless possibilities, optimism about the future of India-US relations. In their first joint radio address, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and⋅⋅⋅
The visit of US President Barack Obama to India for the 66th Republic Day was laden with ‘symbolism’ which can be decoded as ‘US is⋅⋅⋅
Diplomacy, In Pictures
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi attending the global CEOs conclave, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on January 11, 2015. The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Arun Jaitley, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Smt. Anandiben Patel, the President of World Bank, Mr. Jim Yong Kim and the US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry are also seen.
In the immediate aftermath of the Peshawar carnage, Pakistan’s National Assembly and Senate approved the 21st Constitutional Amendment on 8 January 2015. This paved the⋅⋅⋅
GANDHINAGAR: Cooperative federalism, not competitive federalism – this was the picture that emerged from the hardsell of chief ministers of different states who tried to⋅⋅⋅
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.
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.
Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s trip to India, the Bretton Woods institutions have struck an upbeat note on the prospects of India’s economic growth.⋅⋅⋅
Buoyed by renewed global confidence in the India story, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised the bar by declaring a new ambitious target of scaling up the Indian economy 10-fold to $20 trillion. To make sure that his claim was not seen as grandiose showmanship, the Indian prime minister unveiled a raft of reforms, including reforming country’s the labyrinthine tax system to attract foreign investment and streamlining the governance system to make it faster and more effective.
Underlining the importance of fast-tracking institutional reforms, Mr Modi declared at a business conclave, organised by The Economic Times, that he was preparing the ground to turn India into a $20-trillion economy from $2 trillion. “In 20 years of liberalisation, we have not changed a command-and-control mindset. We think it is okay for government to meddle in the working of firms. This must change,” he said in New Delhi in a speech that was generously interspersed with the word reform and its improvisations.
However, in a carefully-worded formulation, the prime minister made it clear that his government would not cut subsidies that will adversely impact the poor. “I believe that subsidies are needed for them (poor). What we need is a well-targeted system of subsidy delivery. We need to cut subsidy leakages,” he told the country’s industry titans in New Delhi January 16.
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⋅⋅⋅
“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⋅⋅⋅
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⋅⋅⋅
How do you write? You write, man, you write, that’s how, and you do it the way the old English walnut tree puts forth leaf⋅⋅⋅
I wrote to find beauty and purpose, to know that love is possible and lasting and real, to see day lilies and swimming pools, loyalty⋅⋅⋅
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⋅⋅⋅