Hinduism compatible with secularism: Tharoor

Hinduism compatible with secularism: Tharoor

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Dismissal of Hinduism is not needed for preservation of India’s secular values, but it has to be disentangled with the vision of the ‘Hindutva Brigade’ that has no place for other faiths, say veteran Congressman Dr Karan Singh and senior party leader Dr Shashi Tharoor.They expressed their view of Hinduism at a lively discussion on the book ‘Why I am a Hindu’ written by Mr Tharoor, a also a well-known author and a former UN diplomat.

The two scholars also cautioned against the Hindutva Brigade’s attempt to equate Hinduism with nationalism.Mr Tharoor targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his part BJP for trying to appropriate Swami Vivekanada on wrong grounds, Dr Tharoor said.

India a model for cultural diversity: Iranian President

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Offering Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid, a Sunni mosque in Hyderabad, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani sent out a strong message for the imperative need to end sectarian differences in Islam across the world. In India on a three-day visit, Mr Rouhani cited India as a successful example of the peaceful coexistence of various religions and ethnicities.
In his meeting with Muslim intellectuals, scholars and clerics in Hyderabad, the Iranian president denounced the attempts by the West to create fissures among the Muslim communities across the eastern world. He stressed on the need to embrace diplomatic solution to the troubles in the Middle East, instead of military solutions. Mr Rouhani is the first Iranian president to visit India after Mohammad Khatami’s pathbreaking trip in 2003.

Ramaphosa new president of South Africa, Zuma forced to quit

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Cyril Ramaphosa, a former deputy president and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, has been sworn in as South Africa’s new president following Jacob Zuma’s resignation. In his maiden presidential speech, the 65-year-old Ramaphosa promised to tackle the issues of corruption that became endemic under Zuma.
An anti-apartheid hero and South Africa’s charismatic leader, Zuma had to finally resign from the office of the president that he held for nine years. Cornered by the opposition’s threat of a no-confidence motion in Parliament and under pressure from the dominant faction within the ruling African National Congress Party that has been trying to oust him, Mr Zuma was unable to survive this crisis despite having dodged a number of corruption scandals and court judgements against his rule earlier.

Modi in Muscat: Bolstering India-Oman defence & economic connect

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Elevating their bilateral partnership to a new level, India and Oman have inked eight agreements in the fields of health, outer space, tourism and military cooperation during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the energy-rich Gulf sultanate.
High on optics as well as substance, Mr Modi visited an iconic mosque and Shiva temple in a visit that saw the two countries place their multi-faceted relationship onto a new trajectory. The delegation-level talks between Mr Modi and Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, in Muscat has pushed the envelope for India’s partnership with the Gulf country.
Defence cooperation has emerged as an important pillar of India-Oman relations, with reports of a possible Indian military base in Oman amid shifting geopolitical equations in the Indian Ocean region.

Modi, Trump talk stability in Maldives

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With the fraught situation in the Maldives spiralling out of control, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump discussed over a phone call the imperative need for restoring democratic institutions and the rule of law in the island nation.
The Supreme Court of Maldives’ decision to revoke its earlier ruling to free the nine political prisoners has reaffirmed President Abdulla Yameen’s use of threats and coercion to prevent any action by the judiciary that might jeopardize his rule.
The 15-day emergency declared by Mr Yameen and the arrests of former president Gayoom and two judges of the Supreme Court attracted international censure, with most countries including close ally China expressing concerns over the rapidly eroding democratic rights in the state.

Emergency in Maldives: India explores all options

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With the Maldives government imposing political emergency, all eyes are on India and options it will exercise to resolve the worsening crisis in the Indian Ocean atoll nation.India has voices its concern and underlined that it is disturbed over the suspension of constitutional rights of people of the Maldives.
The Maldives crisis poses a diplomatic test for the Modi government amid calls for India to intervene and stabilise the situation in the island nation.In a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, India has expressed its concern over the suspension of constitutional rights of the people of Maldives and said that it will be closely monitoring the situation. While it is looking at implementing sanctions to force the Yameen government to restore normalcy, it is not keen on sending troops on the ground or even a special envoy. This is despite former president Mohamed Nasheed’s request through a tweet “to send an envoy, backed by its military to release judges and political detainees”. India, along with China, has issued travel advisory on travelling to this popular tourist destination and is considering placing restrictions on members of the Yameen government travelling abroad.

Fear of an emergency in troubled Maldives, India watches closely

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With President Yameen Abdul Gayoom yet to implement the court verdict ordering the release of nine political prisoners, including the democratically elected former president Mohammed Nasheed, the island nation faces the possibility of an emergency that will plunge it deeper into a crisis.
Jailed in 2016 on charges of terrorism, Mr Nasheed has since then lived in Britain after travelling there on medical leave from prison. Shortly after his release, the former president announced his decision to contest elections, unsettling Mr Yameen’s plan of running for re-election virtually unopposed with most of his opponents behind bars or in exile. The court also reinstated 12 opposition Members of Parliament, who had been disqualified during a combined opposition attempt to impeach Yameen in 2016.

Swaraj to showcase India’s soft power, economic growth at Saudi festival

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Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased the India growth story at the gathering of the global elite in Davos, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj heads to Saudi Arabia to inaugurate the popular festival of Janadriyah, which will put the spotlight on the country’s soft power and economic prowess. The February 6-8 visit by Swaraj will mark the first high-level visit after Mr Modi’s visit to the Gulf kingdom in 2016 and comes ahead of his three-nation tour of Palestine, the UAE and Oman. Organized annually since 1985 by the National Guard, Janadriyah is a cultural and heritage festival that draws more than one million visitors every year. This year India is the “Guest of Honour country” at the 18-day festival.

Operation Green to overhaul agriculture: Jaitley focuses on strengthening the rural sector

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Announcing a ₹500 crore Operation Green for the development of the agricultural sector Finance Minister ArunJaitley has reinforced the focus of the government in increasing the income of farmers and raising the minimum support price.
Presenting the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, the minister proposed an Agri-Market Development Fund with a corpus of Rs 2000 crore and the upgradation of rural haats to Grameen agricultural markets. In increasing the Minimum Support Price of all cropsto at least 1.5 times that of the production cost, he promised the full support of the government in ensuring the payment of full MSP even if farmers sell below MSP. He proposed the introduction of Kishan credit cards.

India@69: President Kovind bats for a cohesive India where you can disagree

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Unveiling his vision of a tolerant and modern India, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind batted for right “to disagree with another viewpoint” in his Republic Day eve address and called for a robust nation-building process that would contribute of a “composite and cohesive world”.
Speaking on the eve of India’s 69th Republic Day, the president spoke about many facets of a nation – one of happy and equal-opportunity, innovation, civic-mindedness, selflessness, cultural vibrancy, discipline and moral uprightness – that together make up a “modern India that is both a land of talent – and a land of unlimited opportunities for that talent”.
In a veiled allusion to a raging controversy around the screening of the film Padmaavat which has triggered violence in parts of India, President Kovind underscored the need to maintain harmony through respect of one another’s viewpoint, as against the divisiveness that marks the society at present. “Where one can disagree with another viewpoint – or even with a historical context – without mocking a fellow citizen’s dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action”, he said.