Kyoto-Varanasi Connect: High noon for cultural diplomacy


    Feeding the fish to attract good fortune. Praying in a Buddhist temple. Twinning Kyoto and Varanasi in smart city bonding. Sharing notes on stem cell research. Blending the ancient and the modern, the spiritual and the scientific, cultural diplomacy has acquired a new resonance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day trip to Kyoto, a modern-day pilgrimage that kindles anew possibilities of diplomacy and the two nations coming together in pursuit of national resurgence.
    Thinking Smart – this is the game of the new diplomacy that’s going to renew old friendships and forge new coalitions to uplift India and help carve a friction-free Asian century in days to come.
    In Tokyo, there will be weightier subjects on the table – nuclear deal, investments, maritime security, Chinese assertiveness, the elusive Asian balance of power – but spirited cultural diplomacy in Kyoto has already softened the hearts, rekindled civilizational bonds and set the stage for transformational outcomes that will pitch India-Japan relations into a higher stratosphere.

    ‘Japan is India’s all-weather friend, China needn’t worry’


    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 30-September 3 visit to Japan is laden with great expectations and hopes of substantive outcomes, which can transform the geopolitical dynamics of Asia. In this conversation with, Sanjaya Baru, a well-known commentator on foreign affairs and Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, speaks about the unique character of India-Japan relations, Japan’s starring role in the development of India and his expectations from the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan. Baru, the author of The Accidental Prime Minister and Director of Geo-economics and Strategy at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, predicts a robust future of India-Japan relations and underlines that Japan is and will be India’s all-weather friend in days to come.

    India and Japan: The Power of Two

    modi and abe

    Metro, Bullet Trains, Buddhism, Business, Technology and Innovation. It’s a potent brew, which is made all the more heady by the common strategic intent to co-create an Asian renaissance. It takes two to tango. And India and Japan, Asia’s two vibrant democracies and leading economies, are matching their steps perfectly, and are set to take their bilateral ties to new heights during the August 30-September 3 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan.

    The maiden voyage of Narendra Modi to Japan as the leader of the world’s largest democracy and Asia’s third largest economy, is set to usher in a 3.0 phase in India-Japan relations. The launch of Japan-India Global Partnership in the 21st Century in 2000, the elevation of the ties to the level of Global and Strategic Partnership are some recent milestones in the variegated India-Japan relations. It’s time for a phase of enhancement and acceleration, and the leaders of India and Japan make a perfect pair to shepherd the multi-faceted India-Japan ties to a higher stratosphere.


    Modi’s Japan Visit: Security, the key driver


    Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on his way to Japan this weekend, making this the second major summit level visit he is undertaking since⋅⋅⋅

    Can Tokyo provide Modi his first big bang moment?


    A civil nuclear agreement is one of the key outcomes New Delhi is pushing for in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan that starts⋅⋅⋅

    Modi embraces Kyoto smart heritage city model for Varanasi


    Varanasi, the holy Hindu city which Modi represents in the Indian parliament, will be developed as a ‘smart city’, using the experiences of Kyoto. Kyoto, home to over 2000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, is renowned for its ability to merge the modern with the ancient, and is symbolic of the development of Japan – where cutting edge technology is used to preserve their historic legacy. The Kyoto-Varanasi pact has set the stage for rekindling civilizational ties between India and Japan, which will deepen the spiritual foundation for the burgeoning multi-pronged modern-day partnership.

    Politics / Policy

    Financial inclusion plan opens with a bang


    Imagine opening 15 million new bank accounts being opened in a day. The Narendra Modi government’s much-touted idea of universal bank accounts and ending “financial⋅⋅⋅

    Modi’s financial inclusion plan set for launch


    Financial inclusion – one of the pet projects of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to turn real with big-bang launch of the Pradhan⋅⋅⋅

    An enigma called defence technology fund

    Indian Army

    Delivering his maiden budget speech in July 2014, the finance-cum-defence minister had made the following statement in the context of defence production: “143.   In the⋅⋅⋅

    The Quote Hanger

    What we need now is not so much a romantic re-creation of the past but rather a rigorous study to adapt the best of the old traditions to modern times- Vishakha N.Desai

    In Conversation

    Vietnam is India’s all weather-friend: Vietnam envoy


    India’s multifaceted ties with Vietnam are poised to acquire greater strategic and economic weight. The visit of India’s External Affairs Minister to Vietnam August 25-26 is set to impart a fresh momentum to this burgeoning partnership, bound by a confluence of strategic, economic and energy interests. Sushma Swaraj’s trip will set the stage for the state visit by India’s President Pranab Mukherjee to Vietnam in September.

    In this exclusive interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network (, Vietnam’s ambassador to India Nguyen Thanh Tan speaks about Vietnam’s expectations from the forthcoming visit by India’s foreign minister, the growing knowledge partnership between India and Vietnam and predicts an all-round acceleration in bilateral ties in days to come.

    ‘India’s Look East Policy 3.0 is turning real’


    In this conversation with India Writes Network, Rajiv Bhatia, Director-General of Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and a former Indian envoy to Myanmar, speaks about the future trajectory of India’s multi-layered relation with Myanmar, the importance of the minister’s first visit to the South Asian country and New Delhi’s burgeoning relations with ASEAN and the East Asia region.

    Modi’s visit to Nepal: A fresh start, full of possibilities


    In this wide-ranging conversation with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network,, Mr Jayant Prasad, a former ambassador of India to Nepal, speaks about the importance of Prime Minister Modi’s August 3-4 visit to Nepal, the potential of hydropower cooperation which can transform Nepal into the richest country in South Asia, and his response to speculation about a developing India-China rivalry in the Himalayan state, a nascent democracy which is navigating its journey to national renewal.


    Modi to set up special Japan team in PMO


    Pitching for greater Japanese investment and clean energy tie-ups, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has underlined his commitment to second-generation economic reforms and unveiled a⋅⋅⋅

    India’s economy grows at fastest rate in two years


    The Indian economy grew at the fastest rate in over two years in the quarter ending on June. The Narendra Modi government-led reforms, combined with⋅⋅⋅


    China executes eight people for terrorist attacks

    China Terror

    China has executed eight people in the north-western region of Xinjiang, a region vulnerable to interethnic violence in China. The eight people were convicted of⋅⋅⋅

    China pushes austerity drive: Salaries for top executives to be pruned

    Louis Vetton

    It’s time for high-flying pampered executives of China’s state-owned enterprises to take a reality check. Going by the latest commandment by China’s president Xi Jinping,⋅⋅⋅

    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


    Shah Rukh Khan turns Interpol’s anti-crime ambassador


    Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is set to fight crime in real life, as he joins the Interpol as an ambassador for its Turn Back⋅⋅⋅

    Prayers at Pashupatinath: Connecting spiritually with Nepal


    Blessings, prayer and healing. After charming Nepal with his stirring speech in parliament, it was time for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to offer prayers⋅⋅⋅

    Germany beckons Indian students


    Destination Germany. Indian students seem undaunted by language barriers as they fly to the West European economic dynamo in staggering numbers to pursue higher education.⋅⋅⋅


    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.

    For Borges


    Silence is a Forest. Rootless words Perch on filtered sunlight, shadows dance with rhythm of swaying distance, dead wind caresses.   You are welcome to⋅⋅⋅

    Why Write?

    Haruki Murakami: Talent, Focus, and Endurance


    In every interview I’m asked what’s the most important quality a novelist has to have. It’s pretty obvious: talent. Now matter how much enthusiasm and⋅⋅⋅

    Maya Angelou: On how to write a poem and Harlem Hopscotch

    Maya Angelou

    Like a pianist runs her fingers over the keys, I’ll search my mind for what to say. Now, the poem may want you to write⋅⋅⋅

    Ngugi wa Thiongo: Writing for Peace


    There are certain images in literature, especially children’s literature, which live long in one’s memory. The encounter between Sindbad and the old man of the⋅⋅⋅


    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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