High-tech frontiers: India must become a member of CERN


    The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has emerged as the world’s leading laboratory for frontier research in physics. Recently, CERN discovered the Higgs Boson, the long sought goal of physics research at its Large Hadron Collider (LHC) facility which produces the world’s most powerful particle collisions. Starting off as a European organisation, CERN has broadened its outreach to non-European country membership, including India, which was granted the Observer status in 2002. While India has been participating in CERN’s activities, it is high time that India took the step of joining CERN as an associate member state, and eventually as a full member state.
    As associate member, India will have the right to attend and participate in both the open and restricted sessions of the CERN Council as also send representatives to the meetings of the organization’s Finance Committee. Indians will also be eligible for appointments as staff members at CERN on contracts of limited duration and as Fellows. India should finalise its associate membership of CERN without further delay and seek full membership in CERN. The proposal for associate membership has been pending with the previous government and should now be approved by the new government. This will be a great service to Indian science and open up many opportunities in the future

    Chalein Saath Saath: Celebrating Republic Day, with Barack Obama


    Marking a new energy and a milestone in the defining partnership of the 21st century, Barack Obama will become the first US president India will host as chief guest on the Republic Day in 2015.
    President Obama’s acceptance of Mr Modi’s invitation to come to India is nothing short of a diplomatic coup by India’s new prime minister, who was not too long ago shunned by Washington for his alleged inaction during the 2002 Gujarat riots, and denied a visa. More importantly, it’s a strategic masterstroke as Mr Obama’s visit – this is the first time the leaders of India and the US would have visited each other’s country within months – and sends a powerful signal across to India’s friends and adversaries alike in the region and the world at large. China will be specially watching the Obama visit as there is nothing Beijing is more apprehensive about than the growing cosiness and strategic compact between the world’s leading democracies. Pakistan, the perpetual griper, will obviously like to launch a diplomatic offensive, as it’s already doing with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urging Mr Obama to take up the Kashmir issue with Mr Modi during their January meeting. Islamabad will probably get the same frosty answer as George Bush said in Islamabad so memorably in 2006: “Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and different histories.”

    With Modi at helm, BJP ups stakes in J&K, Jharkhand


    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.
    Today, the BJP is in power not only at the Centre but also in Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. While in Punjab, it is a partner in a coalition government with the Shiromani Akali Dal; in the rest seven states it is on its own.
    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.
    Year 2014 has witnessed unprecedented rise of the BJP and marginalisation of all other political parties. The assembly elections as well as the Lok Sabha polls have adversely impacted the political fortunes of smaller, regional parties with a number of independents also coming down.


    Managing Indo-Pacific crises


    Tensions in Asia are rising over unresolved territorial disputes and sovereignty issues. In contrast to the immediate post-Cold War period, recent tensions are characterised by⋅⋅⋅

    The BCIM corridor: Any hope under the Modi government?


    The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC) seems to have caught the imagination of policymakers in this sub-region with renewed vigour ever since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang⋅⋅⋅

    War against ISIS: The picture is gloomy


    On September 11, 2014 at Jeddah, US Secretary of State John Kerry got together a rather reluctant bunch of 10 Arab States to sign up⋅⋅⋅

    Politics / Policy

    Congress Party: The irresistible death wish…


    The Congress party suffered a crushing defeat in the last parliamentary elections, and this despite vigorous and aggressive campaigning by the mother-son duo Sonia Gandhi⋅⋅⋅

    Fadnavis takes oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister


    The 44-year-old Devendra Fadnavis has been sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra, India’s western state and the financial dynamo of the country. Mr⋅⋅⋅

    Black money: Spotlight on 627 Indians with foreign banks accounts


    In a decisive push to India’s battle against the scourge of black money, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has submitted a list to⋅⋅⋅

    The Quote Hanger

    "Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being," - Prime Minister Narendra Modi

    In Conversation

    UK promises exceptional welcome to Modi, upbeat about India Story: Baroness Verma


    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 (, 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 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.

    UN reform process has acquired a critical mass: India’s UN envoy


    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 ( 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.

    Modi at Madison Square Garden: It will be a coming-out party for Indian-Americans

    ROnen Sen

    India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US will put the spotlight on the growing profile of the about 3-million strong Indian-American community. Cutting across castes, provinces and religions, around 20,000-odd Indian-Americans will be travelling from all over America for the largest-ever civic reception in honour of the Indian leader at the iconic Madison Square Garden.

    In this interview with Mr Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, Ronen Sen, India’s former ambassador to the US, speaks glowingly about the multifarious success stories of Indian-Americans in their adopted homeland and their role as bridge-builders in bringing the two vibrant democracies together in an arc of intersecting national interests.


    Sunny days for India-UK ties: Major push for renewables


    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⋅⋅⋅

    Modi kicks off economic diplomacy in Australia


    It’s Business with capital B as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the bilateral leg of his visit to Australia with a strong sales pitch⋅⋅⋅


    When Modi met Xi


    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.

    Hong Kong Protests: What it means for the Chinese leadership?


    hongkong-protestsong Kong is slated to have elections for the post of Chief Executive (CE) in 2017. However, there is a disagreement between sections of the Hong Kong civil society and Beijing on how these elections are to be conducted. In a nutshell, Hong Kong wants a free and fair democratic elections and not be told the list of candidates it can choose from. Beijing wants that it vets the final list of candidates, fearing probably a CE, who would be critical of government policies. Beijing’s desire to manage the political process in Hong Kong stems from the ‘one country two systems’ model whereby it continues to retain its influence.

    Africa Rising

    Demographic shift: Africa heading for population explosion


    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⋅⋅⋅

    US raises bar for Africa ties, billions to flow


    The first US-Africa summit ended on a high note, with US companies pledging investments worth $17 billion and President Barack Obama heralding Africa as a⋅⋅⋅

    US ups stakes, holds first summit with Africa


    Against the backdrop of the rise of Asian powers, most prominently China, in Africa, the United States is hosting its first summit with the resurgent⋅⋅⋅

    Culture / Books / Ideas


    China to be Guest of Honour at 2016 New Delhi Book Fair

    Xi flowers

    Seeking to build a knowledge bridge between the two ancient civilisations, India has selected China as the Guest of Honour at the New Delhi World⋅⋅⋅

    Australia’s cultural diplomacy: Ancient Shiva statues back in India


    Modi’s trip affirms India-Japan spiritual bonds

    Modi meditating

    Centuries-old spiritual connections came alive during India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan, as ancient civilisational linkages were reaffirmed by the message of harmony⋅⋅⋅


    A conflicted family reunion

    Land where I flee

    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⋅⋅⋅

    Demystifying Tibetan culture: Uncle Tompa’s profane adventures


    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.

    The Seduction of Delhi


    Nehru Park Flames of crimson, blue moon in full bloom,   birds transmuting into humans,   rocks permeated with love.   Nehru in dialogue with⋅⋅⋅

    Why Write?

    Colm Toibin: Of Hidden and Difficult Things


    I write with a sort of grim determination to deal with things that are hidden and difficult, and this means, I think, that pleasure is⋅⋅⋅

    Harper Lee: Of Divine Discontent


    Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself…It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his⋅⋅⋅

    Anais Nin: Creating a world of one’s own


    Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to⋅⋅⋅


    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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