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BJP seeks devolution of powers 1
Sri Lanka to sign FTA with China 1
Setback in polls for Rajapaksa-led alliance 2
'G20 wants Putin to face up to outrage over Ukraine' 2
Neither warmongers nor wimps 2
Buffer zone agreed on in Ukrainian peace talks 4
Xi's Visit: Dawn of a New Era? 5
PLA Asserts as Modi-Xi Jinping Talk 8
Transcript of Prime Minister's Interaction with Chinese media organizations 10
English rendering of the Remarks by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at th 13
Shri Javadekar meets Mr Cai Fuchao, Chinese Minister IFFI Goa to showcase 14
Statement by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to the media on 14
Text of the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh's Address at the Sixth 15
India, China Sign MOU & Action Plan to Enhance Cooperation in Railway Secto 16
Syria condemns U.S. anti-terror coalition 17
Obama's Syrian dilemma 17
US Congress approves Obama's plan to train Syrian rebels 18
Modi confident of India-US strategic alliance 19
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Ebola a threat to peace and security, needs 20 times more assistance: 19
US calls Ebola a looming threat to global security, steps up relief m 20
UNSC to hold emergency meeting on Ebola 20
For an Indian pivot in the Ebola fight 20
A vote to watch in Scotland 22
Scottish regions bursting with 'Yes' enthusiasm 22
Dhaka to push for resolution on pending issues 23
Khaleda Zia goes on trial on corruption charges 23
Bangladesh empowers parliament to impeach judges 23
Xi visit to set a new mark in India-China ties 24
Life after Xi 24
Non-tariff barriers, a thorn in India-China business ties 25
India-China pacts likely to bring in $100 billion 26
Analysts laud Modi's tough talk on incursions 27
More Chinese soldiers intrude into Chumar through different point 27
Combining candour with warmth 28
Modi, Xi hold talks; India conveys concern over incursions 28
Xi visit a success, but border stand-off a dampener: experts 29
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China buoyed by 'important consensus' 29
China, India should take strategic ties to higher plane: Xi 29
Talking trade and peace with China 30
'India's foreign policy will buttress stand-alone ties with China' 32
Xi's visit a defining moment in India-China ties 32
A historic opportunity 33
India, China vow to pursue early solution to border issue 33
India awaits outcome of process initiated by Modi on Chinese incursions 34
China for regional response as blasts rock Xinjiang 35
Afghanistan's presidential rivals sign power deal 35
Afghanistan's presidential rivals sign power-sharing deal 36
Interview with Australia's PM Tony Abbott 37
Modi to meet Netanyahu at UNGA 38
GMR announces finalisation of PDA on Upper Karnali Hydro Power Project 39
GMR to build Nepal's largest hydro power plant 39
South Asia facing new threats of terrorism: Rajnath 40
Post-Ladakh, China to focus on resolving border row 40
Modi talks tough on Ladakh incursions 41
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Content
Xi announces new route to Kailash-Mansarovar 41
Fiji turns the page 41
Fiji goes to polls after 8 years of military rule 42
'Nalanda varsity must put Bihar on international education map' 43
Towards an Asian century of prosperity 43
Leapfrog growth 44
When the Scots have their say 45
Holding out 46
War without end 46
A jihadist by any other name? 48
Foreign ground troops not necessary in fight against Islamic State: Iraq 49
Iran rules out cooperating with US in Iraq 50
Healthcare takes biggest hit as conflict intensifies in Iraq 50
UN reports fall in development assistance from donor countries 51
U.S. House approves Obama's Syria strike plan 51
Kurds head to Syria from Turkey to fight IS 52
Rouhani terms US led anti-ISIS coalition "ridiculous" 52
Modi's Neighbourhood Initiative 53
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Content
African nations sign agreements to conserve water 56
The return of the Eagle in West Asia 56
With agreement on prices, India and Pakistan set to seal gas deal 57
China's fledgling shale gas sector 58
Partners in Washington's 'Pivot' 58
Reason for Bhutan's happy face 59
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BJP seeks devolution of powers
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
13th amendment, The Hindu, international, Sri Lanka,
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa
to resume talks with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA),
"Many in Sri Lanka, including those in the government agree that the Northern Province
Chief Minister [C.V. Wigneswaran] is a reasonable person but in reality, he is not able
to function,
On the fisheries issue, the BJP leaders sought early release of the Indian trawlers seized
and kept in Sri Lankan custody, a statement released by the BJP following the meeting
said.
While Sri Lanka demanded an end to the use of bottom-trawling technique, which is
banned on the island, it would be difficult for the fishermen to switch to a different
method overnight, the BJP leader said adding there were historic reasons for the fishermen
to have "inherited the technique."
Sri Lanka to sign FTA with China
Tue, Sep 16, 2014
The Hindu, international, Sri Lanka, China,
Beijing and Colombo are expected to firm up a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Sri Lanka will also join China's efforts in the 21st Silk Road trade cooperation,
During his visit, Mr. Xi will visit the site of a $1.4-billion port city development project,
Beijing's latest investment in Sri Lanka, adjoining Colombo's commercial port, which
is also funded by China. Sri Lanka and China set to sign 20 major agreements, including
the FTA. As many as 21 agreements worth $1.6 billion in loans are also to be signed
during Mr. Xi's visit, Export and Import (Exim) Bank of China announced recently.
Since Sri Lanka's civil war ended in 2009, China has been heavily investing in
infrastructure, including ports, expressways, an airport and a power plant amounting
to $4 billion, according to Chinese state media reports.
While Sri Lanka and India have an FTA since 2000, India has been negotiating a
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with its neighbour.
China has been a vocal supporter of Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council, backing
the island by voting against a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for an international
probe into Colombo's rights record
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Setback in polls for Rajapaksa-led alliance
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
The Hindu, international, Sri Lanka,
Sri Lanka's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by President Mahinda
Rajpaksa, won Saturday's provincial polls in the Sinhala-majority Uva Province by a
narrow margin, signalling an apparent setback to the ruling alliance despite the victory.
The alliance secured 19 seats, including two bonus seats, six less compared to the 25
it held in its last term. The United National Party (UNP), Sri Lanka's main Opposition,
secured 13 seats while the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) won 2 seats.
the results declared on Sunday pointed to a closer contest between the ruling UPFA
and the UNP, which has secured six more seats from the last poll in 2009.
The province is home to a small percentage of Tamils of Indian origin, who are employed
largely in tea and rubber estates across Badulla and Monaragala.
'G20 wants Putin to face up to outrage over Ukraine'
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
g20, russia, The Hindu, Ukraine, international,
Australia on Sunday said there was no consensus on locking Russian President Vladimir
Putin out of the upcoming G20 Summit in Brisbane, but there was a shared view that
he ought to attend to face up to the outrage over Ukraine.
"I've taken soundings and countries are determined to ensure that the G20 remains the
premier economic forum for global issues and there is a view that President Putin should
turn up and face the international condemnation for its behaviour in relation to Ukraine,"
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on ABC Radio .
The G20 Finance Ministers, central bankers, business leaders and civil society groups
gathered in Cairns are discussing ways to achieve the bloc's target of raising gross
domestic product by at least 2 per cent over the next five years. It estimates that doing
so would contribute more than 2 trillion dollars to world GDP and create millions of
jobs.
Neither warmongers nor wimps
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
The Hindu, Ukraine, international, Russia,
More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, it is clear to everybody that
Europe cannot afford to remain divided and indecisive in a conflict at its own doorstep.
The shooting down in July of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine, widely
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believed to be by Russia-backed rebels, brought back memories of war to a continent
that liked to believe that the age of wars -- in this part of the world -- is over.
ike many other European countries, the Netherlands depends on Russian oil and gas
imports for much of its energy needs and has one of the highest trade deficits with
Russia. For Italy and Germany too, Russia is an important commercial partner and gas
supplier.
That's one part of the problem. The other is that the relationship between the EU and
Russia has not delivered on the promise of a genuine partnership that seemed to be
possible after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Mr. Putin is "obsessed with an imaginary threat from an ageing, pacifist Europe in slow
decline."
The majority of the people in the Ukraine want a European-style democracy, rule of
law and free market economy. The Kremlin has understood very well that this is a threat
to Putin's authoritarian and corrupt regime,
Mr. Putin, like his Soviet predecessors, might have decided to avoid necessary economic
reforms because they could destroy his authoritarian system.
The EU has taken the right decision to impose strict economic sanctions on Russia as
a reaction to the Crimean crisis. Under the leadership of Ms. Merkel, Europe stands
united in a major security crisis for the first time and it proves those critics wrong who
prematurely assumed that "a shaken EU makes no real effort to confront Russia over
Ukraine."
Economic sanctions can only be one part of an overall strategy towards Russia. The
role of the military is another element that needs to be reflected on. While the European
public is largely pacifist as a result of two devastating wars in the 20th century,
policymakers must be aware that "European values" become an empty phrase if nothing
follows in case of their violation.
In Germany, things are even more complicated because national interest hardly counts
as a relevant element of foreign policy. Therefore, every action has to be justified on
moral grounds.
As a result, everybody who suggests an element of military deterrence in a European
strategy towards Moscow, risks being labelled as "warmongering."
Apart from Russia's aggression against the Ukraine and Mr. Putin's plan for a
neo-imperialist "Novorossiya" ("New Russia"), there are several "frozen" conflicts in
South Eastern Europe and the Caucasus that remain unresolved and represent a continuing
risk of military conflict: South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, to
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name just a few.
Europe sees the invasion of Crimea and Russia's interference in the Ukraine as a breach
of international law and Russia's obligations of the Budapest Memorandum.
For everybody who lived in Germany before and after the fall of the Berlin wall, this
is a mind-boggling return of "the enemy in the East."
Buffer zone agreed on in Ukrainian peace talks
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, Ukraine, international, Russia,
Negotiators in Ukrainian peace talks agreed on early Saturday to create a buffer zone
between government troops and pro-Russian militants by halting their advances, pulling
back heavy weapons and withdrawing foreign fighters in order to ensure a stable truce
in eastern Ukraine.
The deal reached by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the Moscow-backed rebels and
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe marks an effort to add substance
to a cease-fire agreement that was signed on Sept. 5 but has been frequently broken by
clashes.
The memorandum also envisages the withdrawal of "all foreign armed units and weapons,
as well as militants and mercenaries" a diplomatic reference to Russians fighting
alongside the rebels.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of fuelling the insurgency in eastern Ukraine
with weapons and soldiers. Moscow has denied that, saying that Russians who joined
the mutiny did so as private citizens.
The agreement reached on Saturday could be a significant step forward if it is adhered
to, but negotiators have not yet addressed the most difficult issue the future status of
the rebel regions.
The insurgency in the mostly Russian-speaking Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern
Ukraine flared up after the ouster of Ukraine's former pro-Russian president in February
and Russia's annexation of Crimea the following month.
In April, the rebels seized government buildings in the two provinces and declared them
independent. They fought government troops to a standstill in five months of fighting
that have killed more than 3,000 people and devastated the regions that formed Ukraine's
industrial heartland.
The Ukrainian crisis has pushed Russia-West relations to their lowest point since the
Cold War. Faced with several rounds of Western sanctions that badly hurt the Russian
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economy, Russia's President Vladimir Putin has pushed for a peace deal that would
ease Western pressure while protecting Moscow's interests in Ukraine.
Xi's Visit: Dawn of a New Era?
Tue, Sep 16, 2014
IDSA, international, china,
Modi is mindful about China's hefts that outstripped those of India many folds and he
also knows Beijing has carefully positioned itself in Asia. Any revival would be more
rewarding, but a complex relationship he inherits, it will not be simple. The key strategy
therefore is no antagonism, no containment, not even competition but to catch up with
China even if it means to copy from Chinese propensities and strengths.
The Chinese understand strategic gamble well. In the past, China was troubled by the
Indo-Soviet nexus, and later it feared a possible India-US-Japan axis. China took India
seriously in its strategic calculation only after the Pokhran test (1998). Indian diplomats
noted that Beijing showed keen interests after New Delhi moved closer to Washington
(2005).
Beijing may try to assuage the impact of India's growing ties with Japan. The balancing
act is good because despite friend Shinzo Abe promises, Japan Inc, though they love
the idea of India, will be loath to do business in India, as they know the pitfalls.
Most Chinese remained cagey about Modi's predecessor who remained cordial to
Beijing throughout but hobnobbed closely with Washington. This time, Beijing probably
wants to nip in the bud - a reason why President Xi sent his Foreign Minister Wang Yi
to New Delhi within weeks of Modi assuming office.
he Chinese investors well versed with Modi's reformist traits, his economic model and
urge for laying infrastructure to propel growth - all akin to China's model - are surely
tempted. President Xi is coming with big-ticket investment plans possibly $100 billion
to help rapidly upgrade Indian industry, infrastructure and railways. If Japan offers
better industrial technology, China offers immense market for Indian companies that
should cut India's enormous trade deficit with China now touching about $35 billion.
China sees its long-time friend Pakistan is in deep mess and its misdeeds might even
engulf China in a vortex of terrorism. In comparison, Beijing sees a goldmine of
opportunity in India, economically and strategically.
On a more serious note, Beijing planners seem unable to overlook the post-Afghan
scenario and the new threat of expanding the Islamic Caliphate up to China . Xinjiang
is already a hotbed of terrorism. A full-blown Jihadi suicide-bombings culture has
penetrated from across the Af-Pak region now. Like from India, Chinese citizens are
fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq. Their returning with possible chemical and biological
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weapon knowhow could create havoc in China and India. The irony for China is that
Premier Li Keqiang vowed to build an economic corridor the 'One Belt and One Road',
described by Pakistanis as "a monument of the century" to spur economic boom in
Xinjiang is turning out to be a corridor for opening the floodgate of Jihadis into China.
Islamabad promises to control the flow, but ironically Islamabad is unable to sway hold
over a quarter of its own territory - now under the Taliban control.
The geopolitical complexities in which boundary intrigues evolved i.e., from personality
clashes, mutual dislikes, ideological antagonism and external impetus et al no longer
exist.
Both China and India need to realize that notion of a boundary never existed between
two civilizations devoid of any conflict over four thousand years of history and if any,
they were customary at best, which united rather than divided the two.
To be sure, the British frontier strategists created ambiguity. In their boundary-making
exercises (1846 - 1890) they oscillated between a maximalist forward approach pursued
by WH Johnson (1865), John Ardgah (1897), and a moderate policy adopted by Mc
Cartney (1986), Viceroy Elgin (1898) and Calude Mac Donald (1899). In this, the threat
of Russian advance dictated British policies. The forward school pushed up boundary
north of Karakoram and ostensibly tried to seek buffer against Russia in Sinkiang.
A generation of Indians has tried to live down the tragedy, but the humiliation of 1962
defeat still lingers in the national psyche as paranoia. In fact, a shift in thinking was
long overdue. The pragmatists though favoured 'let go of the forever foe' approach,
for they have realized that the real problem may have little do with China but largely
to our own self-caused actions or inactions.
Irrespective of progress on the boundary settlement, challenges for India on China front
will remain numerous and complex. These include:
Peristence of the 'fear factor' that prevents the Indian establishment and its military
move anywhere close to the LAC in all the sectors defined after 1962. By putting
restriction on border patrol, set under the Limit of Patrols (LOP) post-1977, India
consciously vacated areas supposedly inside the Indian LAC thus allowing the PLA to
feely encroach into Ladakh territory. Sadly, Indian troops on the front, manned by
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), are not only limited in their mandate but also lack
expertise. Worse, ITBP troops lack surveillance equipments for monitoring key petrol
points. The contrast remains stark on the other side. In another contrast, the PLA purely
depends on motor vehicle and horses for their mobility. By contrast, Indian forces march
patrolling areas on foot.
Policy Recommendations
China always casts a shadow over India's international standing and its ability to act
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as a legitimate player even in the South Asian region. Clearly, the boundary issue,
China's suspicion over Tibet, China's use of Pakistan as proxy against India, et al has
become fixated in India-China relations. These should fast become non-issues, because
they only help to sustain the misperception and perpetuate mistrust. India-China hyperbole
needs deflation. Bloated rhetoric hearing from media and strategic commentators from
both sides are fine occasionally, but the real question is whether they serve the best
interests. India and China has several areas to work together, from international trade
to climate change, over which the interests converge. Possibly additional areas of
convergence need exploration. It should include over-arching common threat of global
Climate Change, tackling natural disasters, fighting terrorism and other emerging global
imperatives. More than any time in the past decades, India and China may confront the
danger of extremism and sectarianism, a prospect with large ramifications across the
region. The stakes are indeed high for the two big civilizations. Of course, both will be
loath to join the West to fight against ISIS. But cooperation with India is needed. It is
here that the prospects for persuading China to alter the patterns in Pakistan, if not
rethink its Pakistan policy, may be seriously undertaken. Of course, Sino-Pak relations
are equally complex. Beijing had gambled with the friend for decades by heavily creating
strategic assets in Pakistan. India's National Security Advisor (NSA) has rightly
highlighted the point to President Xi that the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), where
the Chinese have large presence, is fast becoming a stronghold of terrorist outfits that
would ultimately push Jihadis across the border into India and China. The key issue
still remains Tibet. The Dalai Lama is now willing to settle for living under the Chinese
constitution, if it guarantees space for Tibetan culture. A sensible proposition though.
The onus is upon China to rethink. Time is running out for Beijing; any restitution plan
is possible only during the current Dalai Lama's lifetime. The stakes are high as problem
transcends borders. To be sure, neither China nor India should desire radicalization of
the Himalayas - not an impossible prospect though. Strangely, China and India never
explored the idea of improving connectivity through roads and railway lines that could
potentially alter economic landscape and benefit millions. The easy flow of goods could
boost trade and narrow down the trade deficit. China might propose several concepts
along the "Silk-Route" including the Maritime Silk Road. Here India should quickly
respond by offering "Spice Route" in opposite direction. On the economic front, India
cannot build its economy and infrastructure based on insecurity. From this perspective,
the targeted scrutiny and restrictions against Chinese state-owned enterprises such as
in telecom sectors look entirely logical. This is one of the sticking points. Other countries
have welcomed Chinese state enterprises in core sectors like electricity networks and
ports building. They are subject only to investment regulatory approval. India needs a
relook on this issue. India should push for a multiple pilgrimage corridors across the
Himalayan ranges to access the Kailash and Manasarovar, supremely sacred for billions
of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. They could serve as engines of economic growth for
the people living in the region. This is also imperative of promoting a brand of sustainable
cultural tourism. Conversely, India is sitting atop millennia-old tourist mines. The
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Buddha-Industry alone could transform the lives of millions, providing lucrative career
options to its youth. The followers of Shakyamuni (400-500 million already) link their
spiritual destinies to India. Tangible actions are required not just for market import but
also for staging India's soft-power lever. In fact, China is grabbing the leadership role
of Buddhism for its geopolitical end. India cannot afford to lose its ancient wisdom
tool. Of course, both India and China require a synergy for a nuanced and adept policy
pursuit in this regard. While talking to President Xi, Modi should seek China's support
for India reaching out to wider Eurasian space the access of which has so far been
blocked by Pakistan. A way out could be to promote a regional market across the border,
woven by a web of spiritual and commercial interests. Once viewed as absurd, the idea
of India-China jointly cooperating in Central Asia could soon become a reality. Opening
the Himalayan door could benefit India but delay could risk serious ramifications against
China's increasing quest for Eurasian strategic minerals and water resources. Finally,
coordinated policies are essential to mitigate the environmental challenges. Both India
and China have little to gain from increased militarizing in the Himalayas where impact
of climate change could cause greater devastation in the medium and long-term. No
longer should the Himalayas be used as a card game. Instead, the time has come to
jointly save the shared ecosystem for common benefits. Gradual glacial attrition means
water scarcity. The case of Brahmaputra's planned diversion by China has raised some
eyebrows in India. Here again the solution lies in culture than in politics. Just as the
Mt. Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva, the Shuomatan Point or Brahmaputra's U-Bend
is the home of Vajra Yogini - a sacred deity, worshipped by millions in both India and
China. Eventually water, environment and culture would become the keystone of policy
planning.
PLA Asserts as Modi-Xi Jinping Talk
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
IDSA, international, China,
Despite the Chinese President's message to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to
back off, the stand-off continued. The intruders had to be confronted with show of force
by an Indian infantry battalion. So far this year there have been an unprecedented 335
transgressions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the PLA.
PM Modi expressed 'serious concern over repeated incidents along the border'. He
pointed out that 'clarification' - or demarcation - of the LAC would enhance 'efforts
to maintain peace and tranquillity'. In turn, President Xi Jinping said China is determined
to 'work with India through friendly consultations to settle the boundary question at
an early date,' and to 'maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas' till the dispute
is resolved.
Mutual economic dependence is growing rapidly. Bilateral trade is now worth US$ 65
billion and is expected to cross US$ 80 billion by 2017 - even though the balance of
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trade is heavily skewed in China's favour. India and China have been cooperating in
international fora like the WTO and climate change negotiations. Limited cooperation
has taken place in energy security. However, China's political, diplomatic and military
aggressiveness at the tactical level is acting as a dampener for the further normalisation
of the relationship.
Prolonged negotiations have been conducted at the political level to resolve the
long-standing territorial and boundary dispute. The Special Representatives of the two
Prime Ministers have met seventeen times. However, there has been little progress on
this sensitive issue. The fragile security relationship has the potential to act as a spoiler
and will ultimately determine whether the two Asian giants will clash or cooperate for
mutual gains.
China either denies Visas to the residents of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir
or issues stapled Visas to them on the grounds that these are disputed territories.
China's behaviour is in keeping with its recent military assertiveness in the disputed
island territories of the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Clearly, the current
Chinese leadership has discarded Deng Xiaoping's 24-Character Strategy: "Observe
calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our
time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership."
China continues to be in physical occupation of large areas of Indian territory. On the
Aksai Chin plateau in Ladakh, China is in physical possession of approximately 38,000
sq km of Indian territory since the mid-1950s. In addition, Pakistan illegally ceded
5,180 sq km of territory in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Jammu and Kashmir to China
in 1963 in the Shaksgam Valley, north of the Siachen Glacier, under a bilateral boundary
agreement. China continues to stake its claim to about 96,000 sq km of Indian territory
in Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls Southern Tibet. Chinese interlocutors claim that
the Tawang Tract, in particular, is part of Tibet and that the merger of this area with
Tibet is non-negotiable. China's official position is that the reunification of Chinese
territories is a sacred duty for the PLA.
Major incidents in the recent past include those at Depsang near Daulat Beg Oldie in
April-May 2013; and, Chumar and Demchok in September 2014. There was an armed
clash at Nathu La in 1967 and a prolonged standoff at Wang Dung in 1986. Hence,
though the probability of conflict is low, its possibility cannot be ruled out.
Early demarcation of the LAC without prejudice to each other's position on the territorial
dispute would be an excellent confidence building measure. China's intransigence in
exchanging maps showing the alignment of the LAC in the western and the eastern
sectors is neither understandable nor condonable.
The military gap between Indian and China is growing steadily as the PLA is modernising
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at a rapid pace and India's military modernisation plans remain mired in red tape. China
is also steadily upgrading the military infrastructure in Tibet to enable rapid deployment.
Transcript of Prime Minister's Interaction with Chinese media organizations
Tue, Sep 16, 2014
PIB, international, China,
Question:
China regards India as a natural co-operative partner. The Chinese government views
China-India relations as one of its diplomatic priorities. Hon'ble Prime Minister, I
would like to hear from you, in the future, what can the two countries do to make the
relationship an even closer one?
I think that the special and unique nature of India-China relations rests in the fact that
India and China are bound by history and connected by culture. India and China both
have rich traditions. India and China today constitute almost 35% of the world's
population. From a purely arithmetic point of view, the betterment of 35% of the world's
population and eradication of poverty; that they decide to work together will open big
gates for progress and development in the world. It will not take long for the rest 65%
to rise as well. Arithmetically, if 35% of the world's population was to work together
and to improve the economic conditions of its people through poverty alleviation
method; then not only will 35% of the world's population grow enormously, but this
will also lift very speedily the rest 65% of the world's population. If you go back 300
years into history, the largest GDP contribution in the world used to come from India
and China, who together contributed more than half of the world's GDP. Not only from
the perspective of arithmetic, India and China also have common chemistry. Whenever
India and China have worked and grown together, this has also led to the development
and economic prosperity of the world. You would have heard that in India, we call
sugar in Hindi as 'cheeni'. It is not known as 'cheeni' for nothing. It is because of the
Chinese technology that we were able to refine the sugar and make it pure and hence
the people of India, started calling sugar as 'cheeni'. There is a history of deep ties
between our people and between our countries. The arithmetic and chemistry of our
relations convinced me that together we can script history and create a better tomorrow
for all of mankind.
Question:
China has launched new Silk Route initiative in recent years. Will the New Silk Route
be an opportunity or threat to India in future?
Prime Minister:
The ancient trade routes in Asia included the Silk Route, the Spice Route and many
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other such routes. These were the channels of vibrant trade in the region and beyond
and anchor of Asia prosperity. As important, these routes promoted the exchange of
ideas, cultures, art, religion and spiritualism. India, which was at the centre of several
of these trade routes, shared its age-old wisdom with societies along these routes. You
are very well aware of the spread of message of peace of Lord Buddha through the
ancient Silk Route. It left a lasting impression on the Chinese civilisation. India also
benefited from Chinese technology such as sugar refining. It is for this reason that sugar
in India is called Cheeni. Successful revival of the ancient trade routes require not only
physical connectivity and requisite infrastructure, but even more important, a climate
of peace, stability, mutual trust and respect, support for mutual prosperity and free flow
of commerce and ideas. I believe that the re-emergence of the natural trading routes
would make a major contribution to building a prosperous Asia in this century.
Question:
What do you think China and India can do together to promote peace and development
in Asia and the world as a whole?
Prime Minister:
India and China are two ancient civilisations that have contributed much to this world
through the ages. Today, we are the world's two most populous countries and its two
largest emerging economies. The simultaneous transformation of our two countries, on
a scale and at a speed that probably is unprecedented in history, provides enormous
opportunities for our two countries to reinforce each other's growth and, at the same
time, sustain Asia's economic resurgence and advance prosperity in the region. We can
do this by further strengthening our strategic communication; enhancing mutual trust
and confidence; showing sensitivity to each other's concerns and interests; continuing
to maintain a climate of peace, stability and tranquillity in our relations; and, seizing
the opportunities for bilateral cooperation and international partnership.
Question:
Mr. Prime Minister, Now the whole world recognizes you as a strong, practical, and
decisive leader of India. China has high expectations of improvement in relations with
India since you took office in May. Your government also attaches high importance to
dealing with neighbouring countries.
How would you re-define the Indo-China relations in the 21st century, especially in
current world situation? What's your blueprint or road map to develop the bilateral
relations in your 5 years term? In the election campaign, you have blamed the previous
government for lacking the capacity to implement various promises; such as those on
foreign policy. How do you propose to make a difference on upgrading India-China
relations to a higher plane?
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Prime Minister:
You have raised several important questions.
My government also attaches high priority to relations with China. China is our largest
neighbour. Relations between neighbours are always of special importance to each
country, because their destinies are inter-linked. That is why I have also placed special
emphasis on India's neighbourhood. But, I don't see our relations with China only as a
neighbour, with which we have had millennia old contacts. China is important for the
future of this region and the world.
There is a consensus that 21st century is Asia's century. If we look back in history,
India and China had accounted for over 50% of global GDP about 300 years ago. We
were the main sources of technology and ideas in the world. Our two civilisations have
shown tremendous resilience and are now once again important centres of economic
growth and innovation. The centre of economic gravity is shifting towards Asia. As I
said, the transformation of the lives of 2.5 billion people is a phenomenon of great
significance for the region and the world. Besides, in our inter-connected and
inter-dependent world, all countries stand to benefit through enhanced cooperation.
We seek a closer developmental partnership. India can benefit from China's strength
in hardware such as creation of infrastructure and development of our manufacturing
sector. These are the areas where India wants to make rapid progress. On the other
hand, India's strength in software can help Chinese companies to become more efficient
and competitive. It offers opportunity for Indian companies to export services to China.
With joint efforts, we can strengthen our economic partnership. Enhanced tourism
between us would help to increase people-to-people understanding. We can both benefit
from a stronger regional and international partnership between our two countries.
I am also committed to realising India's full potential as also the promise of our
international partnerships through appropriate policies and timely implementation of
our national and international commitments. I want to create an enabling environment
in India that unleashes the enterprise and energy of our people and fully harnesses the
benefits of international partnerships.
For enhancing and further strengthening bilateral relations, we should show mutual
sensitivity to each other's concerns and aspirations, follow the principle of mutual and
equal security, seek closer developmental partnership and enhance people-to-people
exchanges to create better understanding. I am looking forward to deepening our
engagement across the full spectrum of our bilateral relations, but also seeking progress
on issues of concern, because resolution of these issues will transform the atmosphere
in our relations and allow us to realise the full potential of our relations.
Question:
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In the formal invitation presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping by National Security
Adviser Ajit Doval, you invited Mr. Xi to visit Gujarat. The one reason we know is
that Gujarat is your home state. Are there other special reasons or meanings for visiting
there?
Prime Minister:
It is my effort that when foreign leaders visit India, they should also have opportunity
to see places other than New Delhi. It will give them a fuller idea of India and its
diversity. Relations between nations, especially large ones like India and China, should
not be placed in the narrow confines of capital cities and major metropolitan centres.
China's connection with Gujarat is very old. In ancient days, there were vibrant trade
relations between Gujarat and China. Chinese Monk Xuan Zang had spent a long time
in Gujarat. In present day, many Chinese businesses have established manufacturing
units in Gujarat and vice-versa. Chinese leaders have expressed interest in visiting
Gujarat as they wish to understand the "Gujarat Model" of economic and social
development.
I just wanted to say one final thing. I would like to give a new terminology to my
tomorrow's meeting with the Chinese President. I call it "Inch towards Miles". INCH
that is "India-China"; towards MILES that is- "Millennium of Exceptional Synergy".
I believe that tomorrow's meeting will mark a happy beginning towards this goal of
"Inch towards Miles".
English rendering of the Remarks by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at th
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
PIB, international, China,
China is our largest neighour, and India's neighbourhood occupies a special place in
my national development plans and foreign policy
Therefore, a climate of mutual trust and confidence; respect for each other's sensitivities
and concerns; and, peace and stability in our relations and along our borders are essential
for us to realize the enormous potential in our relations.
I have invited Chinese investments in India's infrastructure and manufacturing sectors
and spoke about our new policies and administrative steps in this area.
am pleased with the agreements on two Chinese industrial parks in India and a commitment
to realize about 20 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese investments in the next five years.
We will begin the process of discussions on civil nuclear energy cooperation that will
bolster our broader cooperation on energy security.
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On behalf of the people of India, I thank President Xi for opening a new route through
Nathu-La to Kailash Mansarovar. This will be in addition to the existing route through
Uttarakhand.
. It makes Kailash Mansarovar accessible by a motorable road, which is especially
beneficial to the older pilgrims. It offers a safer alternative in the rainy season, makes
the pilgrimage shorter in duration, and will enable a much higher number of pilgrims
to go there.
I raised our serious concern over repeated incidents along the border. We agreed that
peace and tranquility in the border region constitutes an essential foundation for mutual
trust and confidence and for realizing the full potential of our relationship. This is an
important understanding, which should be observed diligently. While our border related
agreements and confidence building measures have worked well, I also suggested that
clarification of Line of Actual Control would greatly contribute to our efforts to maintain
peace and tranquility and requested President Xi to resume the stalled process of
clarifying the LAC. We should also seek an early settlement of the boundary question.
. We both understand that India and China have a shared interest in a peaceful and
stable region, including peace, stability and prosperity Afghanistan.
We discussed regional connectivity and the proposal for the Bangladesh, China, India
and Myanmar Economic Corridor. Located at the crossroads of Asia, India believes
that reconnecting Asia is important for its collective prosperity.
Shri Javadekar meets Mr Cai Fuchao, Chinese Minister IFFI Goa to showcase
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
PIB, international, entertainment, china,
India and China have agreed that the Joint Working Group established to promote
facilitation in the film sector would meet on the sidelines of IFFI 2014 at Goa.
Statement by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to the media on
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
PIB, international, Vietnam,
. I visited the Tran Quoc Pagoda where a Bodhi tree planted by our first President
Rajendra Prasad in 1959 is flourishing as a wonderful symbol of the strength and
durability of our friendship with the people of Vietnam.
We concluded seven Agreements/MoUs and released a Joint Communique, which will
provide the institutional framework for mutually beneficial exchanges.
Our Strategic Partnership, established in 2007, is marked by a high degree of trust.
Today our security and defence cooperation is robust and growing. We are helping
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them in training and capacity building. We are providing Line of Credit of 100 million
USD for purchase of some critical equipment.
Vietnam's economic growth and development over the last two decades has been
impressive. There is great scope to expand and diversify our trade exchanges. We have
set a new target of USD 15 billion worth of trade by 2020. The Vietnamese side has
promised that they will provide a favourable environment for further investments from
India.
We expect business partnerships and joint ventures to grow in the area of infrastructure,
agro-processing, textiles, agro-chemicals, manufacturing, hydrocarbons, energy
Jet Airways will commence direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City from Mumbai from 5
November 2014 and Vietnam Airlines will fly to India in early 2015.
Text of the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh's Address at the Sixth
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
PIB, international, Nepal,
We then agreed to finalise the text of a Free Trade Agreement by the end of the year
and implement "the vision of a phased and planned process, eventually leading to a
South Asian Economic Union" . This was the cherished dream of our then Prime Minister
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who even spoke of establishing a South Asian Monetary
Union.
A major issue that concerns us all is terrorism , which is driven by internal, regional
and international factors, within and across national boundaries. There was sea change
in the strategic environment in our neighbourhood with the emergence of a new
dispensation in Afghanistan following the terrorist strikes in the US of September 11,
2001 We are naturally concerned by new threats of extremism, terrorism and violence
being held out to South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which
cannot but raise concerns.
Groups with radical and extremist ideologies do pose threats across national boundaries,
in this volatile security environment. These groups even have no compunction in issuing
threats publicly against neighbouring and regional countries. Linked to this issue, is
the increasing circulation of counterfeit currency in our neighbourhood. I must particularly
thank our hosts in Nepal for the cooperation they have extended to us, in dealing with
the movement of counterfeit currency , across our borders.
I would like to stress that our Government is committed to securing justice for the
families of the victims of deadly terrorist strikes , like the killings during the terrorist
attack on the Metropolitan City of Mumbai, in November 2008.
I might add that we are facing serious problems arising from drug smuggling in States
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located on our borders, like Punjab. This menace afflicts both countries where narcotic
substances are produced, and countries beyond their borders. Funds from such smuggling
often finance terrorism. We need to strengthen domestic legislation and cooperate even
more implement the "Regional Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances," while enhancing multilateral cooperation globally, as drug smuggling
inevitably has global dimensions.
This meeting is also providing us opportunities to discuss other issues of common
interest like Cyber Crime, Human Trafficking and illegal movement of arms across
national boundaries. I think we all acknowledge that one evil which we all need to
address individually and collectively is the issue of corruption. We have promised our
people a policy of "Zero Tolerance for Corruption " . India is a signatory to the 2005
"UN Convention on Corruption". We intend to make all our laws to be in conformity
with this Convention. We could discuss and agree on measures on how we can cooperate
regionally in dealing with this issue.
India, China Sign MOU & Action Plan to Enhance Cooperation in Railway Secto
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
railway, PIB, international, infrastructure,
Following specific areas have been mentioned in Action Plan:
(a) Training in heavy haul transportation :
A training programme has been finalised for 100 persons (20 persons per batch for total
5 batches) in the field of heavy haul transportation.
(b) Speed raising on Existing Lines:
Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore section has been identified for speed raising to 160 kmph
with the cooperation of China.
(c) Redevelopment of Railway Stations:
Chinese side will conduct pre-feasibility of two stations with their financing and prepare
a report indicating further course of cooperation.
(d) Cooperation in High Speed rail:
Chinese side will conduct project feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report
with their financing of a section to be advised by Indian Railways.
(e) Setting up of Railway University :
Chinese experience of Rail Universities will be used for developing a Railway University
in India.
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Syria condemns U.S. anti-terror coalition
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, international, usa, syria,
Syria has criticised the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) militant group,
accused it of lacking the "true will" necessary to confront terrorism in the region.
Following the rapid advancements of the IS and other Islamist terror groups in Iraq and
Syria, major world powers have rallied the international community to fight against
the militants, saying they pose a threat not just to region but to Western interests.
The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution recently authorising world powers to
take action against those who support the IS and the al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front.
The resolution was quickly followed by a U.S. appeal to form an international coalition.
Obama's Syrian dilemma
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
USA, The Hindu, Syria, international,
Drawn into a confrontation with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Islamic State (IS) by the
execution of western journalists and aid workers, United States President Barack Obama
asks his bombers to start their engines He tried to downgrade the "War on Terror" to
"Overseas Contingency Operations," but this did not have the necessary ring for public
opinion. Like Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama has sought a Coalition of the Willing, but unlike
Mr. Bush he will not involve U.S. ground troops.
The Iraq campaign is clearer than the Syrian one. Thus far U.S. close air support has
assisted the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga and the Iraqi military. Political problems in Iraq
have been swept under the carpet with the removal of Mr. Nouri al-Maliki and the
installation of his Dawa Party comrade, Haider al-Abadi.
In Syria, IS faces three adversaries: Kurdish fighters, the Syrian government and an
assortment of the Syrian opposition. Mr. Obama's commitment to the overthrow of
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad means that he has rejected the calls from Damascus
for a coordinated strategy against the Islamic State. With the Syrian Army tied down
with the defence of Syria's heartland, the IS has been able to concentrate its firepower
against the other rebels.
The most capable force to tackle the IS has been the Kurdish fighters of the YPG (Syria)
and the PKK (Turkey), the latter considered by the U.S. and Turkey as a terrorist
organisation. First, the anti-IS campaign would strengthen the prestige of the PKK and
the YPG. Inside Turkey, Second, Turkey's government remains committed to the
overthrow of Mr. Assad. Mr. ErdogVan's pan-Islamism is in line with the Syrian Muslim
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Brotherhood, who also rejected the Obama plan unless "the first bullet is directed at
Assad's head."
The United States' preferred Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Harakat
al-Hazm, do not elicit confidence. The FSA, built mainly of defectors from the Syrian
armed forces, is a shadow of its former self. In Damascus, the FSA's Front (Jabhat
Thuwar Suriyya) has decided not to target the Islamic State, but to concentrate on the
Assad regime.
In January 2012, the Islamic State set up the Jabhat al-Nusra (the Support Front), which
has had a fraught relationship with its mentor. As the IS became more publicly brutal,
al-Nusra distanced itself.
Strangely, Mr. Obama's team has reached out to Saudi Arabia to help create a "moderate"
rebel force. Confidence that Saudi Arabia, which does not have a reputation for
moderation in its support of jihadis would be able to deliver is low.
. They have used YouTube videos of mass executions to cower their enemies into
surrender or flight. This is precisely what happened in Mosul, when Iraqi troops fled
in fear of the consequences of capture. The new killings are a message to the West. this
time, IS knows that the U.S. will not send massive troop deployments into Syria. IS
has signalled that it simply does not care about international norms and western reaction.
It recognises that the West has its hands tied. It will bomb from the air, but this is as
likely as not to bring recruits to the side of the Islamic State.
No easy political agreement can come in Syria. The rebels remain obdurate that Mr.
Assad must go, even if this means delivery of Syria to the Islamic State. Mr. Assad will
not throw his troops at the IS unless he has an assurance that the rebellion against him
is over.
US Congress approves Obama's plan to train Syrian rebels
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
Syria, international, usa, Businessline,
The US Congress has approved the request of President Barack Obama to train and
arm the moderate Syrian rebels against the Islamic State jihadists, an important step
towards degrading and ultimately destroying the dreaded terrorist group.
Describing the passing of the Bill as an important step forward in the fight against
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Obama said, "I am pleased that Congress
has now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the
opposition in Syria so they can help push back these terrorists."
Obama said tha the Syrian Opposition forces are fighting both the brutality of ISIL
terrorists and the tyranny of the Assad regime.
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"We will provide training and equipment to help them (moderate rebel groups) grow
stronger and take on ISIL terrorists inside Syria," Obama said.
The US will continue to build a broad international coalition to degrade and ultimately
destroy the terrorist group ISIL, he said, and praised France for its decision to join US
in air-strikes against the ISIL in Iraq.
France is already providing arms to the Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq and its fighter
jets and surveillance aircraft had began reconnaissance missions in Iraq earlier this
week.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Opposition Coalition has also welcomed the move of the US
Congress.
Modi confident of India-US strategic alliance
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
USA, The Hindu, international,
Mr. Modi was asked about the remarkable fact that of the 170 million Muslims in India,
there seemed to be very few or no members of al-Qaeda despite the outfit's presence
in neighbouring Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Firstly, I am not the authority for doing a psychological and religious analysis on this
... But the question is, whether or not humanity should be defended in the world? Whether
or not believers in humanity should unite? This is a crisis against humanity, not a crisis
against one country or race. This is a fight against humanity. So we have to frame this
as a fight between humanity and inhumanity. Nothing else," Mr Modi said.
Ebola a threat to peace and security, needs 20 times more assistance:
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
Ebola, Down to Earth, international, Africa,
, the United Nations (UN) has called the epidemic a threat to "international peace and
security".
The Secretary-General, however, made it clear that the mission's effectiveness will
depend crucially on support from the international community.
It has been widely reported that the citizens of affected countries distrust health officials
and often refuse to co-operate with them. Ebola is also a social stigma in the region
and many fear that a diagnosis means certain death.
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US calls Ebola a looming threat to global security, steps up relief m
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
Ebola, Down to Earth, international,
The White House has committed more than US $175 million and 3,000 troops to the
most affected areas.
The virus has so far killed nearly 2,500 people, half of those infected. Besides the
countries where virus is widespread, one case has recently been detected in Senegal,
another country in West Africa. In Nigeria, there have been 21 cases and 7 deaths. In
the present outbreak, the survival rate of 47 per cent is believed to be higher than that
in previous outbreaks. The American Ebola survivor and healthcare professional Kent
Brantly, who contracted the virus while working in Liberia, had criticised the slow and
ineffective response to the outbreak. He and a few other experts had even alleged that
the international community only seemed to wake up to Ebola in July, after two American
health workers got infected.
Meanwhile, Cuba which, according to WHO, is known the world over for its ability to
train excellent doctors and nurses who can then go out to help other countries in need,
has decided to send a medical team of 165 people to Ebola-affected Sierra Leone.
UNSC to hold emergency meeting on Ebola
Tue, Sep 16, 2014
Ebola, The Hindu, international,
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting this week to discuss the
Ebola outbreak that has gripped West Africa and claimed over 2,200 lives, the president
of the 15-member body has said. The outbreak, affecting Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and
Sierra Leone, is unprecedented in scope with more than 4,000 cases having been reported
across the region and over 2,200 deaths.
For an Indian pivot in the Ebola fight
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
Ebola, The Hindu, international,
Increased human mobility and connectivity have radically changed the way in which
emerging infectious diseases spread across regions and across the world. India is at risk
and it is only a matter of time before cases of Ebola appear in the continent (45,000
Indians are estimated to be living in the affected regions of West Africa). The Indian
government has some plans to ward off an Ebola outbreak.
Ebola cases and deaths have increased rapidly and started surging exponentially in
recent weeks, affecting nearly all regions in Sierra Leone and Liberia, including (for
the first time in the history of Ebola outbreaks) the densely populated capital cities of
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Conakry, Freetown and Monrovia. Ebola also reached the megacities of Lagos and Port
Harcourt in Nigeria as well as Dakar, the capital city of Senegal (where it was brought
by two persons travelling by road and by plane). Fortunately, it remains contained in
these two countries. As of September 13, 2014, there were close to 5,000 cases --
confirmed or suspected -- and about 2,500 deaths in the three intensely affected countries.
About half of them appeared in the preceding 21 days.
Ebola tends to create panic because it has a high case fatality rate: up to 90 per cent in
past outbreaks and 35 to 64 per cent in the current one. However, early public health
measures can greatly help to prevent the spread of the disease. Ebola can only spread
after a person infected with the disease exhibits symptoms, and a healthy person comes
in direct contact with his or her blood and body fluids (e.g. vomit, secretions, sweat)
through broken skin or mucous membranes. This makes it easier for healthy persons
to protect themselves from infection. The most affected people have been those who
take care of, or come in close contact with the sick people once the symptoms have
appeared (usually within two to 21 days of contracting the virus): family members,
health workers, and in the case of West and Central Africa, family and friends touching
the highly infectious body of the deceased during elaborate funerals.
. Both Sierra Leone and Liberia have recently emerged from civil wars and are among
the poorest countries in the world, with abysmal human development indicators. Health
systems in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have buckled under the strain of the Ebola
outbreak. Prior to the Ebola crisis, health workers went on strike over delayed wage
payments, low salaries and poor working conditions.
Ebola has already brought health systems and entire countries to their knees. The impact
of Ebola goes far beyond its lethality. This is because although Ebola has a low risk of
transmission, the lack of a cure and high fatality rates have created fear, panic and
confusion, inflicting a disproportionate social and economic toll.
Many other countries, rich and poor, are also at risk: the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention in the U.S. is preparing health clinics and health workers on U.S. soil
to control a potential outbreak. India's high population density and crowded slums with
extreme poverty and poor sanitation make it a particularly vulnerable spot. The world
has proved unprepared to deal with a rapidly evolving health emergency in destitute
nations with grave international implications. But the international community is finally
mobilising.
India, too, can contribute to global efforts to quell the Ebola crisis. It has a large cadre
of epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, doctors and nurses who are experienced in
epidemic control and can help support diagnosis, the training of health workers, or
clinical services in Ebola treatment units. It also has a large number of social mobilisers
who have proved their abilities in health campaigns such as the polio eradication
campaign.
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A vote to watch in Scotland
Tue, Sep 16, 2014
Scotland, The Hindu, international,
More than 300 years after the Act of Union bound Scotland and Wales to Britain in
1707, the Scottish people are going to decide if they want out of the United Kingdom,
or remain within it but under expanded powers of self-rule.
The "Yes" campaign comprises the Scottish National Party (SNP), Labour for
Independence, the Green Party, the Scottish Left's Radical Independence Campaign,
and many independent campaign organisations such as Common Weal, the National
Collective, Women for Independence and Lawyers for Independence.
The "No" campaign includes the official Conservative/Lib-Dem/Labour "Better
Together" coalition, along with Unionist groups, and the United Kingdom Independence
Party (UKIP). It has a large celebrity backing including author J. K. Rowling, and a
majority of newspapers and media.
A "Yes" vote will have profound implications for movements for autonomy and
independence throughout Europe -- and beyond.
The consequences of a "No" vote will be transformative too. The major political parties
backing the Better Together campaign have promised substantial devolution with the
Labour Party, which has lost a big section of its support in Scotland to the pro-Independence
side, offering to devolve income tax, social security and the work programme, not just
for Scotland but for Wales as well.
The "Yes" campaign's salient feature is its transformation from being a movement
solely of Scottish nationalism to one that is characterised by a demand for genuine and
radical social democracy. The debate on self-determination is happening at a time of
deep economic crisis. The erosion of incomes, of jobs, and of health and housing benefits
lie at the heart of popular discontent.
Scottish regions bursting with 'Yes' enthusiasm
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
scotland , The Hindu, international,
'Staying with the Union will mean more unemployment and more people on benefits'
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Dhaka to push for resolution on pending issues
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
bangladesh, The Hindu, international,
A wide range of issues such as trade, connectivity, power, water resources, security,
border management, introduction of coastal shipping, infrastructure, people-to-people
contacts, culture, environment and education would be discussed. The alleged killing
of Bangladeshi citizens along the border will also be high on the agenda.
It was learnt that the Bangladesh side was likely to seek a "specific timeframe" from
India to resolve the pending Teesta water sharing treaty and Land Boundary Agreement
(LBA).
An MoU would be signed for affiliation of the Nalanda University in Bihar. Both
regional and sub-regional issues particularly BIMSTEC, SAARC and BCIM-EC would
be discussed.
Khaleda Zia goes on trial on corruption charges
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
bangladesh, The Hindu, international,
A Dhaka court Monday started the trial of former Prime Minister and Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia on corruption charges in her absence.
Ms. Zia has been charged with embezzlement in two cases that could lead to sentencing
for life if found guilty, the Daily Star reported.
Bangladesh empowers parliament to impeach judges
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
bangladesh, The Hindu, international,
Bangladesh's parliament now has the authority to impeach Supreme Court judges after
lawmakers late Wednesday voted to approve a much-debated amendment to the
Constitution.
The amendment passed unanimously in a voice vote of 327-0.
Critics of the amendment, including senior jurists, said it was a thinly veiled way for
the ruling party to keep the judiciary under control.
Bangladesh's judiciary, often riddled with corruption, enjoys relative freedom but the
appointment of senior judges is often influenced by authorities.
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Xi visit to set a new mark in India-China ties
Tue, Sep 16, 2014
international, Businessline, China,
the possibilities of bilateral ties between the two countries in inches and miles -- that
is, "Inch (India and China) towards Miles (Millennium of Exceptional Synergy)."
Xi is bearing for Modi a $100-billion gift pack covering investments in a gamut of
areas, including bullet trains, industrial parks, twin-city projects, and highway construction
-- to outdo the Japanese investment offer of $35 billion.
China agreeing to import buffalo meat, oilmeal, and tobacco has raised India's hopes
of narrowing its trade deficit of $36 billion with China - which is about one-fourth of
its total trade gap. The Government is expecting more market access and increased
investments as Beijing's bid to bridge the deficit gap.
One reason for the trade gap with India is that much of China's exports to India are
manufactured goods while most of India's exports to China are primary goods such as
iron ore and minerals. The Commerce Ministry believes that India can export buffalo
meat worth $1 billion annually to begin with, and this can be increased subsequently.
China was earlier importing oilmeal and tobacco from India but had stopped some years
back citing some quality problems. The matter has been sorted out now.
But more than the basket of goodies, New Delhi will be anxious for clarity on a host
of other issues that have kept relations prickly.
Chiefly, these include the unending border dispute and regular incursions into Indian
territory by the People's Liberation Army, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, the river
water disputes, the stapled visa issue, and China's expanding influence in the Indian
Ocean.
Life after Xi
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
international, Businessline, china,
The border issue should not be allowed to colour India's ties with China. The Asian
giants will gain more through cooperation and trust
the visit offered China an opportunity to lay the foundation for a closer geopolitical
relationship Beijing has noted, and with some discomfort, the increased intimacy
between Tokyo and Delhi the threat of India-US-Japan strategic cooperation in the
Indo-Pacific. India, on the other hand, wants peaceful ties with China for its own rise
and Chinese investments in infrastructure and manufacturing.
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Modi's decision to air India's security concerns publicly in the joint press conference
with Xi shows how importantly the new government looks at this issue. Also, for the
first time, both sides said an "early settlement" of the boundary question should be
pursued as "a strategic objective", indicating the urgency and importance the issue got
in the overall bilateral engagement. Although India did extract a promise from China
to address the current imbalance in bilateral trade, it needs to look beyond trade
imbalances to the larger benefits of a greater engagement with China. India's trade
with China is out of balance not only in money terms, but in its composition -- it exports
mainly commodities and imports mainly manufactured goods. Given India's infrastructure
requirements and China's competitiveness in this area, as well as India's competitiveness
in services and China's huge demand for the same, greater stress could have been laid
on addressing ways to enhancing these flows.
For Modi, this is another milestone of his 'Look East' policy. Ever since he came to
power in May, the Prime Minister has tried to build a foreign policy agenda based on
two principles -- peaceful periphery and greater economic cooperation with Asian
powers. During his visit to Japan early this month, Tokyo had promised investments
worth $35 billion in India.
Non-tariff barriers, a thorn in India-China business ties
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
international, Businessline, China,
"Till you don't allow free movement of human resources and technology no business
agreement will work," "Security has always been an issue, but it needs to be resolved
for business relations between the two countries to really take off."
Non-tariff barriers are a major issue with China, said another industry official. These
are restrictions that arise from measures taken by Government and authorities in the
form of laws, regulations, policies, conditions etc.
One of the issues that workers from both the countries face is work permit restrictions,
which impacts the free movement of manpower.
Chinese companies such as Huawei and domestic companies such as Reliance Industries
have faced problems with the Home Ministry not allowing the influx of Chinese workers.
The Home Ministry has declared that it will not take more than 12 weeks to give security
clearance for any foreign direct investment project in the area of industry and infrastructure,
which are forwarded by other ministers.
This decision is very important especially to woo Chinese investments, as China had
been unhappy with the way projects had been stalled in the past because of dilly-dallying
by the Home Ministry," a Commerce Ministry official told BusinessLine .
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Earlier, Chinese firms were not permitted to invest in terminal development at ports or
any large rail sector projects, though no official word bars Chinese firms from bidding
for such projects.
A few years ago, during the UPA-I regime, Hutchison, a Chinese port developer, had
attempted to invest in a port terminal in India but could not.
More recently, two Chinese firms - CSR and CNR - could not qualify for developing
locomotive factories on a joint venture basis with Indian Railways. This was despite
experts pointing out that their participation could put pricing pressure on the American
and European firms who are in the race.
With China committing $20 billion of investments in India over the next five years,
the ball is now in India's court to ease hurdles which have prevented Chinese businesses
to flourish in India.
India-China pacts likely to bring in $100 billion
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
The Hindu, international, china,
China and Japan were two countries that received him when other countries wouldn't,
and gave the then Gujarat Chief Minister a welcome reserved for a head of state,
dealing with tourism and student exchanges, cultural MoUs between several institutions,
including the National Museum, railway infrastructure, banks, and technology assistance
on irrigation.
The reported standoff between the armed forces at Demchok and Chumar sectors will
however, cast a shadow on their talks over border resolution along with the unconcluded
agreement on visas The bulk of the expectations from Mr. Xi's visit, however, will
come from business transacted and investments announced for projects that are still
being pegged at a total of $100 billion,
China's decision to build industrial cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra at an initial
investment of $10 billion is a step towards addressing the ballooning trade deficit India
has of about $35 billion, so that Chinese manufacturers can come "make in India," as
Mr. Modi has termed it.
Mr. Xi will also look for Indian support for his vision of a Maritime Silk Road as well
as the BCIM corridor in the region, and his gesture to connect Indians more easily to
one of the country's most revered destinations of Kailash-Mansarovar may bear some
results when he engages Mr. Modi.
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Analysts laud Modi's tough talk on incursions
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
including on the Chinese plan for a BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India Myanmar) economic
corridor and China's support for India's "aspirations of playing a greater role" at the
UN Security Council. peace on the India-China border areas is an "important guarantor"
for the growth of bilateral relations.
Mr. Xi's visit came in for some criticism over the lowering of investment figures
promised, from $100 billion reportedly estimated by a Chinese consular official to the
mere $20 billion announced by the leader, particularly as it compared unflatteringly to
the Japanese commitment of $35 billion earlier this month. "Even so, there is a more
serious shift for the Chinese from seeing India as a market to seeing it as an investment
destination, and $20 billion is a significant figure," former foreign secretary Kanwal
Sibal said.
More Chinese soldiers intrude into Chumar through different point
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, international, china,
The standoff in Chumar region in Ladakh worsened on Saturday after a second intrusion
by Chinese Army personnel in two days was reported at another point after they had
withdrawn from the same area.
Around 50 personnel of the People's Liberation Army arrived in nine vehicles at Point
30R and they were in addition to the over 35 personnel who were already camping at
a hillock in the Chumar area itself, official sources said.
Chumar is located 300 km northeast of Ladakh.
The Chinese soldiers immediately alighted from the vehicles and positioned themselves
barely 100m away from the Indian Army, which had decided not to withdraw completely
from the region even after the Chinese PLA had returned on their own to their side on
Thursday night, the sources said.
The Army, which had started scaling down operations from the area following the
Chinese withdrawal on Thursday night, put a halt and again started pitching their tents
bracing themselves for a possible standoff, the sources said.
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Combining candour with warmth
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, international, china,
Overshadowing President Xi's visit was an incident on the Line of Actual control in
the Chumar region of Ladakh, where troops and civilians were in a stand-off over
construction activity on the Indian side. This, combined with Mr. Modi upending
protocol and conventions to accord Mr. Xi a more than effusive welcome in Ahmedabad,
succeeded in giving new optics to New Delhi's China policy. The new signalling seems
to have elicited a quick response, with the Chinese side saying that the two leaders had
committed themselves to resolving the border issue "as soon as possible", and that they
had reached a "consensus" on the way forward. the two sides acknowledged that "peace
and tranquility on the India-China border areas was [ ... ] an important guarantor for the
development and continued growth of bilateral relations," t "pending a final resolution
of the boundary question, the two sides would continue to make joint efforts to maintain
peace and tranquility in the border areas."
Now in power, the BJP knows that the two issues are best compartmentalised -- the
incident in Ladakh during President Xi's visit did not prevent India from welcoming
Chinese investments, though at $20 billion the pledges were lower than expected. China
has also agreed to address the imbalance in bilateral trade.
Modi, Xi hold talks; India conveys concern over incursions
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
e Indian side conveyed its concerns over Chinese incursions as the two sides discussed
all "substantive issues" having bearing on bilateral ties.
The Chinese Army pushed in more troops into Chumar village along the Line of Actual
Control in the wee hours of Thursday.
The Chinese side had pushed in more troops on Wednesday morning as well, the sources
said, adding that the number of People's Liberation Army personnel stood at nearly
500 with an equal matcher from the Indian side as well.
Chumar, located more than 300 km Northeast of Leh and bordering Himachal Pradesh,
has been a flash point between the two sides, with the Chinese side making several
attempts to end India's dominance in the area.
The stand-off in Demchok where Chinese nomads ---- Rebos ---- had pitched their tents
is continuing. The incursion in this area is nearly 500 metres deep into Indian territory.
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Xi visit a success, but border stand-off a dampener: experts
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
On the face of it, President Xi Jinping's India visit should have been pegged a runaway
success -- hours of one-on-one exchanges with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both in
Ahmedabad and Delhi, a trade agreement for the next five years, two Chinese-style
industrial cities to be built and the promise of multiplying Chinese investment in India
40-fold.
Not just that, President Xi's gesture of offering to open a new route to Kailash Mansarovar
after Prime Minister Modi's request, to benefit aged and infirm pilgrims, should have
indicated a new reachout between the two countries.
However, according to experts here, the visit was overshadowed by the border stand-off
that escalated even as the two leaders were walking by the Sabarmati riverside in
Ahmedabad and sitting down for dinner on Wednesday night.
China buoyed by 'important consensus'
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
China has continued to remain upbeat about the future of Sino-Indian ties, pointing out
that the "important consensus" that had been recently reached between visiting President
Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will keep the borders calm, and drive
the relationship forward.
Brushing aside apprehensions that persistence of tensions along the Sino-Indian frontier
in Ladakh could undermine the gains of President Xi's visit, Chinese foreign ministry
spokesperson, Hua Chunying, in response to a question, asserted that "this is (a) totally
unnecessary suspicion".
The summit had also yielded an agreement that "co-operation would remain the main
theme" of Sino-Indian relations. The spokesperson especially pointed to President Xi's
observation that harmony between the Chinese dragon and the Indian elephant "will
bring benefits to (the) whole world".
China, India should take strategic ties to higher plane: Xi
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday expressed the hope that China and India will
take their strategic and cooperative partnership to a higher plane.
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. It is important that we translate the friendly contacts and make sure that we will follow
what we promise each other
Xi, who inspected a guard of honour by the three services, said his second goal is to
deepen the cooperation.
The visiting President said that his third goal is to pursue development together as both
the countries had development as their priority.
"Through this visit, I hope to work with Indian leadership to build strong relations
between China and India and to partner with each other to take our strategic and
cooperative partnerhip for peace and prosperity to a higher level."
Talking trade and peace with China
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, international, china,
In the 1940s, when the hegemon in Asia -- Britain -- was knocked off its perch by a
rising power, India played a pivotal strategic role in stopping Japan in its tracks.
Further, both the visits point to the strategic quadrangle of China, Japan, India and the
United States. In 1942, China sought American assistance in enabling India to hold
Japan at bay. Now it is India and Japan that are working together against any unilateral
Chinese attempt to rewrite the rules of the game in Asia. And the Americans are keenly
backing their moves.
From China's standpoint, India now appears an attractive destination for investment.
Prime Minister Modi has given unprecedented political salience to infrastructure and
industry. So, the Chinese are well placed to play to their strengths. From India's
standpoint, attracting Chinese investment is imperative for reviving growth. Besides,
its deepening ties with Japan, Australia and Vietnam have opened up more room for
manoeuvre in Asia.
Yet, for a range of reasons, it may be prudent to temper expectations. First, China is
not rushing to open its coffers to India. Prior to the visit, Chinese officials had claimed
that Mr. Xi would commit to invest at least $100 billion. But the five-year plan inked
by the two sides envisages $20 billion of Chinese investment.
Nevertheless, China's inclination to test the waters implies that India's trade deficit
may not be adequately offset by capital inflows. To be sure, the Chinese have also
agreed to improve market access for Indian firms.
Second, Mr. Modi appears lukewarm to Mr. Xi's ambitious plans for building multiple
" silk roads. " Although India has finally agreed to consider the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar
(BCIM) Corridor, it is unlikely to move with alacrity. India's own backward linkages
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from the Northeast leave much to be desired. In such a situation, going ahead with a
corridor -- connecting the Northeast with these countries -- will be seen as working
mainly to China's advantage. Nor does the proposed "maritime silk road" connecting
China's coastline with various hubs in the Indian Ocean have much traction in New
Delhi.
Countries across the region are drooling at the prospect of big infrastructure and cheap
Chinese finance. Sri Lanka and the Maldives have lapped up Mr. Xi's plans for a
"maritime silk road." India, too, could benefit much from joining these ventures.
Finally, there is the disputed boundary which cast a shadow on the summit. The Prime
Minister rightly observed that peace and stability along the borders was crucial to
realising the enormous economic potential of Sino-Indian relations. But his call for the
resumption of talks on clarifying the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was off-beam. This
can hardly help prevent "incursions".
The LAC is supposed to divide the areas that are under Indian and Chinese control
since the end of the 1962 war. The line, however, was not mutually agreed upon by the
two sides. This was because the war ended with a unilateral ceasefire and the subsequent
withdrawal by China. In the Ladakh sector, the question of where exactly Chinese
forces stood after the war remains contested. In the Arunachal Pradesh sector, the
Chinese treat the McMahon Line as the LAC. But they challenge India's claim that the
Line should follow the watershed or the highest line of mountains.
Given these differing notions of the LAC, any exercise in clarification is unlikely to
succeed. We can only agree to disagree. The good thing is that we know the areas of
disagreement. What's more, both sides will continue to intrude into these areas. At one
level, this is tactical jockeying. Chumar, for instance, is the only place along the LAC
in Ladakh which the Chinese cannot directly access. Hence, the spurt in Chinese probing
near Chumar. Demchok is one of two "mutually agreed disputed areas," but that does
not stop India from going ahead with its activities. At another level, "incursions" are
essential for both sides to keep alive their territorial claims.
Indeed, the only way to put an end to "incursions is to settle the boundary dispute. It
is worth recalling that under Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, India had initially insisted
on talks to clarify the LAC. The subsequent agreement of 2005 provides an ideal basis
for settlement by mutual concessions. It acknowledges India's concerns over places
like Tawang by tacitly agreeing that settled areas are not up for bargaining. It takes
China's demands into account by suggesting that the watershed principle may not be
ironclad.
All along, a settlement has proved elusive owing to political concerns. Governments
in both India and China have baulked at the prospect of selling a deal to their domestic
audiences. Having insistently laid claims to Arunachal Pradesh, Beijing is concerned
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about dropping them for good. Indian governments, for their part, have paled at the
thought of pushing through a constitutional amendment -- one that will require two-thirds
majority in both Houses as well as ratification by 50 per cent of the State legislatures.
In the run-up to the summit, Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi were projected as powerful and
decisive leaders. As such, they should be ideally placed to take a serious crack at
resolving the boundary dispute. Mr. Modi is supposedly free of the baggage that weighed
on the Congress party. He is certainly capable of making a persuasive public case for
a settlement. Instead of going down the rabbit-hole of LAC clarification, the government
should move boldly to settle the boundary dispute with China.
'India's foreign policy will buttress stand-alone ties with China'
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
Chinese Communist Party has praised India for pursuing an independent foreign policy
which lays the foundations for a solid China-India partnership.
"New Delhi is committed to an independent foreign policy and it is a behemoth even
Washington can hardly mobilise wilfully, let alone Tokyo.
The newspaper pointed out those better China-India ties is good for India in dealing
with Japan and the United States. "China has been regarded as their biggest rival by
the U.S. and Japan, who instinctively try to rope in China's neighbours to their cause.
A positive New Delhi-Beijing engagement would force Washington and Tokyo to cozy
up to India," the daily observed.
China has a long-term strategy to develop friendly cooperation with India, rather than
seeking short-term gain.
Xi's visit a defining moment in India-China ties
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
China and India have described President Xi Jinping's visit to New Delhi on Wednesday
as a defining moment in ties, whose trajectory would have a major impact across the
globe.
President Xi warmed up to the larger undertaking in India, with visits to the Maldives
and Sri Lanka -- countries in the Indian Ocean, which were part of China's blueprint
of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
President Xi's visit as the commencement of "Millennium of Exceptional Synergy."
Mr. Modi said the upcoming meetings with the visiting President should be called
"INCH towards MILES." He elaborated on the acronyms by saying that INCH stood
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for India-China, while MILES meant Millennium of Exceptional Synergy. The Prime
Minister hoped that Wednesday's dialogue would mark a positive beginning to achieve
this goal of "INCH towards MILES."
According to the formulation adopted by the Chinese foreign office, the border issue
did not influence bilateral ties, as Beijing and New Delhi have for long maintained
stability along their frontiers.
While underplaying the border row, the spokesman, nevertheless, pointed out that the
two sides should make continuous efforts to maintain tranquillity and stability on the
border.
A historic opportunity
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, international, china,
There are distinct indicators that the era of a unipolar world, led by the United States
following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, is giving way to multipolarity, anchored
also by countries that are part of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS)
grouping and the G-20.
Hemmed in by the Pivot to Asia led by Washington and its allies, including Japan,
Australia and the Philippines, to contain the perceived rise of an aggressive China,
Beijing has responded with its bold home-grown riposte -- the Silk Road initiatives,
that include the proposal to form the Maritime Silk Road (MSR). The Chinese are
bending over backwards to assign a benign role to the MSR based on trade and investment
as well as physical and cyber-connectivity among a large number of countries belonging
to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asia, including
India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India has already supported China's initiative on
the formation of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor, but would
have to take a call on the MSR, at a time when China's detractors are slamming Beijing
for its alleged India-containment strategy, borrowing from the "string of pearls" theory.
Mr. Modi has a rare chance to seize the moment by stating India's political intent of
solving the border row between the two countries, beginning with solid and measurable
steps to clarify the Line of Actual Control, and to root out distracting and headline-grabbing
border incidents.
India, China vow to pursue early solution to border issue
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
The Hindu, international, china,
On the boundary issue, the statement said the two sides exchanged views on the
India-China boundary question and reiterated their commitment to seek a "fair, reasonable
and mutually acceptable solution", proceeding from the overall interests of bilateral
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relations.
Recognising "peace and tranquillity" on the border as an "important guarantor" for
development and continued growth of ties, both the countries said they would continue
to make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas pending a
final resolution of the boundary question.
"Recalling the Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the
Settlement of the Boundary Question signed in April 2005, both sides reiterated their
commitment to an early settlement of the boundary question and expressed their
conviction that this will advance basic interests of the two countries and shall, therefore,
be pursued as a strategic objective
The two sides decided to hold the first round of maritime cooperation dialogue within
this year to exchange views on maritime affairs and security, including anti-piracy,
freedom of navigation and cooperation between maritime agencies of both countries.
They also agreed to hold consultations on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms
control soon.
The Chinese side said it understands and supports India's aspiration to play a greater
role in the U.N. including in the Security Council.
Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi reiterated their "resolute opposition" to terrorism in all its forms
and manifestations with "zero tolerance", and committed themselves to cooperate on
counterterrorism.
As developing countries, India and China have common interests on several issues of
global importance like climate change, Doha Development Round of WTO, energy
and food security, reform of the international financial institutions."
Mr. Xi and Mr. Modi decided to carry out cooperation in civil nuclear energy in line
with their respective international commitments, including working level consultations
between the Department of Atomic Energy of India and the China Atomic Energy
Authority.
The Indian side expressed appreciation to China for providing flood season hydrological
data. They decided to further strengthen cooperation through the Expert-Level Mechanism
on the provision of flood season hydrological data.
India awaits outcome of process initiated by Modi on Chinese incursions
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
The Hindu, international, China,
"Diplomacy is not an instant coffee. It works in ways that it is difficult for the people
who are not engaged with it to perceive and understand what is happening. You are
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aware that
India at the highest level has taken it up
and also what our public statements are...Therefore... allow this process to function.
China for regional response as blasts rock Xinjiang
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, international, xinjiang, China,
Multiple blasts on Sunday rocked Xinjiang, a border province that is China's major
energy hub, bringing sharply into focus Beijing's escalating tussle to counter extremism
at a local and regional level.
Clashes with security forces in Xinjiang, home to the ethnic Uyghur minority, have
killed more than 200 people last year. A spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress,
an organisation funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of the United
States, told AFP that China's policies had caused people to "resist fiercely in order to
maintain their dignity." But trashing this perception, China insists that secessionists
from the East Turkistan Islamic Movement have been responsible for the violent
campaign.
Beijing regards the movement particularly troublesome because a network of pipelines
transiting gas to China's industrial heartland pass through Xinjiang. The province,
adjoining Tibet, also shares borders through the Wakhan corridor with Afghanistan, as
well Pakistan and Tajikistan--all possible conduits of Jihadi permeation into China.
With roots of militancy in Xinjiang spreading into the region and beyond, the Chinese,
who are now inclined to include India and Pakistan in the SCO, have pushed
counter-terrorism on top of the agenda of the grouping, which also includes Russia and
four Central Asian states. The official Chinese news agency Xinhua, noted at the end
of the Dushanbe summit that, "Separatist groups in northwest China's Xinjiang, such
as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which has links with militants in Central Asia
and Pakistan, have become rampant in recent years." The commentary warned that
Afghanistan's Asian neighbours "could face huge security risks," in the aftermath of
the American withdrawal from Kabul later this year.
Afghanistan's presidential rivals sign power deal
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
The Hindu, international, Afghanistan,
Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates signed a deal on Sunday to share power after
months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilised the nation at a crucial time
as most foreign troops prepare to leave.
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Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister who will be named President under the deal
reached on Saturday night, embraced rival Abdullah Abdullah after they signed the
agreement in a ceremony broadcast live on television.
It will also face significant difficulty in improving the lives of ordinary Afghans who
face hard times as aid flows fall and as contracts with the NATO-led coalition dry up
as most foreign troops leave by the end of the year.
He said one of Mr. Ghani's first acts would be to sign a long-delayed bilateral security
agreement with the United States to allow a small force of foreign troops to remain in
Afghanistan after 2014.
The drawn-out election was meant to mark the first democratic transfer of power in
Afghanistan's troubled history but the disputes between Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah,
a former foreign minister, ruined hopes for a smooth transition.
The uncertainty surrounding the political transition emboldened the Taliban-led
insurgency to launch more attacks across Afghanistan, just as the newly trained Afghan
security forces prepare to lead the fight against the militants on their own after foreign
troops withdraw.
Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah finally struck a power-sharing deal on Saturday, their
aides said. As part of that deal, the winner would become the new president and the
runner-up would nominate a chief executive with newly expanded powers.
One of the last sticking points in the power-sharing negotiations was how to announce
the election results. Abdullah had sought to either not announce the final tally - which
he considers irrevocably tainted by fraud despite the U.N. audit - or to adjust the numbers
to give him more votes.
Both sides said late on Saturday that the dispute over announcing results had been
resolved but it was still unclear exactly what had been agreed upon.
Afghanistan's presidential rivals sign power-sharing deal
Sun, Sep 21, 2014
international, Afghanistan, Businessline,
Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates signed a deal on Sunday to share power after
months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilised the nation at a crucial time
as most foreign troops prepare to leave.
Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister who will be named president, embraced rival
Abdullah Abdullah after they signed the power-sharing agreement at a ceremony
watched by outgoing president Hamid Karzai, and broadcast live from his palace.
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Under the terms of the deal, the winner will have to share power with a chief executive
proposed by the runner-up, and the two will share control over who leads key institutions
such as the Afghan army and other executive decisions.
One of Ghani's first acts would be to sign a long-delayed bilateral security agreement
with the United States, as he has previously declared support for the pact to allow a
small force of foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.
Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, and Abdullah, whose main support comes from the country's
second largest ethnic group, the Tajiks, face as difficult task forging unity in a country
riven by ethnic and tribal rivalries.
Abdullah's accusations that the run-off election was rigged in Ghani's favour had raised
fears of ethnic violence, which could have ignited a broader conflict.
Interview with Australia's PM Tony Abbott
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, international, Australia,
talks with Prime Minister Modi on counter-terror cooperation,
Al-Qaeda has demonstrated its capacity in the past to inflict enormous damage on
countries. We now not only have Al Qaeda but we also have the ISIL movement which
is committing atrocity after atrocity, revelling in evil in a way unparalleled since the
middle ages. Australia is a member of the so-called 'five eyes' (US, UK, Canada,
Australia, new Zealand), but we also have very strong close cooperation with India,
especially after the Mumbai outrage,
heard of more jihadis from Australia and western countries.
this 'death cult' has proven horribly attractive to too many people. There are some 60
Australians who are or have been fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, some
with ISIL, and that's appalling beyond belief. to prevent people from being radicalised,
to prevent the m from leaving our country, and if they do leave our country to join a
terror group, to jail them and effectively prosecute them on their return.
the Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement is a big step for India,
India has been, under successive governments an absolute model international citizen.
From the time of independence, India has scrupulously followed international regardless
of the ups and downs of the political situation in New Delhi. There is a very high level
of trust between us, and that's why we are signing this agreement.
will Australia back India for the NSG membership it hopes to apply for next year?
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Certainly India deserves to cross that hurdle, and they will be supported by Australia.
Environmental groups are very hard to please and we have very high environmental
standards in Australia, and I am confident that there can be no reasonable objection to
the current proposal. Adani group is speaking of $16 billion for this mine, and India's
investment of under $20 billion will almost double the total amount. We welcome
foreign investment, we think we are a safe and secure home for overseas investors, and
lets hope there are more Indian investors in the months and years ahead.
Previous Australian governments used to speak of the India-Australia-US-Japan
quadrilateral, but no longer.. why is that?
I certainly would like to see stronger relations between Australia, India and Japan, and
I believe PM Modi is keen to see that as well, and inevitably given the relations Australia
and Japan have with the US, there is some potential for that quadrilateral to resume.
On the other hand, the last thing I'd want anyone to talk about is a them and us
situation.....in this region we should all advance together, or none of us would advance
at all.
Is it then because of China? Many point out that Australia-China bilateral trade at $150
billion is 10 times Australia-India trade, and you wouldn't want to upset that?
But no one is talking about a "them and us" situation. What I am very keen to do is
promote the strongest possible relationships. There are dimensions to our relations with
India that we don't share with other countries given our heritage and history, but I want
the strongest possible relations with all countries in Asia
Australia led the countries criticising India's turnaround and decision not to sign on
the WTO framework. Are you hopeful India will change its mind ahead of the G-20 in
Australia this year.
Well let's wait and see. Certainly we want a strong freer trade environment,and would
like to see a free trade agreement with India. We will keep speaking to India about
multilateral trade issues, but as far as I am concerned, lets crack on with the bilateral
free trade agreement by next year. I understand India's concerns (on WTO) and lets
see what can be done to address them.
Modi to meet Netanyahu at UNGA
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, international, Israel,
The meeting with the Israeli leadership will be significant for several reasons. This will
be the first meeting since the Gaza crisis, where India nuanced its position between
Israel and Palestine. Israel was among the handful of countries Mr. Modi visited before
becoming Prime Minister, and the BJP had advocated recognising Israel before the
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Centre did so in 1992.
India's reaching out to Israel, as well as a possible meeting with Palestinian Prime
Minister Mahmoud Abbas will be a distinct departure from previous years, when the
Prime Minister used the post-UNGA speech windows to meet regional leaders.
GMR announces finalisation of PDA on Upper Karnali Hydro Power Project
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, international, hydroelectric, Nepal,
GMR Group on Monday announced finalisation and execution of the project development
agreement (PDA), with the Nepal government, for the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydro
Power Project.
Located on the Karnali river, in Surkhet, Dailekh and Achham districts of Nepal, the
export oriented project is expected to take about five years to be constructed. It was
awarded to the Group through an international competitive bidding process in 2008 on
BOOT basis.
the project is expected to generate about 3,500 MUs annually. Of this, 420 MUs, which
is 12 per cent of installed capacity, has been earmarked as free power to Nepal. The
Nepal Electricity Authority will have 27 per cent free equity stake in the project. At
the end of the 25 year concession period, the Group is to transfer the full ownership to
the Nepal government.
The power generated, net of free power and supply to Nepal, if any, is planned to be
evacuated through a 400 kV double circuit transmission line up to the interconnection
point of Power Grid Corporation of India, in India.
GMR to build Nepal's largest hydro power plant
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
The Hindu, international, Nepal,
Nepal's government has endorsed plans for GMR to build the Himalayan nation's
largest hydro power plant in a small step toward easing chronic power shortages and
attracting new investment
The $1.15 billion Upper Karnali Hydro power plant would be the biggest private foreign
investment in Nepal.
GMR would take five years to build the plant, dam the Karnali River in north-western
Nepal and construct transmission lines. It would operate the plant for 25 years and hand
it over to Nepal at the end of the term.
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South Asia facing new threats of terrorism: Rajnath
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
terrorism, The Hindu, international, nepal,
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that India was carefully assessing the impact
of the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan on the entire South Asian region.
He also voiced concern about the new threats of extremism, terrorism, and violence
emerging in this region.
We are naturally concerned by new threats of extremism, terrorism and violence being
held out to South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which cannot
but raise concerns,''
He referred to problems that India was facing due to drug smuggling particularly in
Punjab, money laundering, terrorist funding, cyber crime, human trafficking and illegal
movement of arms across national boundaries. Linked to this issue is the increasing
circulation of counterfeit currency in the neighbourhood, he said.
Post-Ladakh, China to focus on resolving border row
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
The Hindu, international, ladakh, Maritime Silk Road, China,
China has called for a negotiated resolution of the border issue with India, shifting the
focus on the root cause of problem, following the latest incidents in Chumar and
Demchok, along the Line of Actual Control
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said during his regular briefing on
Thursday that the incident along the border, to which both China and India attach great
importance "has been effectively controlled with immediate effect" and "managed".
In dealing with a complex relationship, which has its areas of agreement and differences,
the Chinese appear to have amplified their pitch on holding a pervasive dialogue with
India at all levels in the hope of building consensus. In response to a question on the
Maritime Silk Road (MSR) -- an initiative, which many of its critics say has an element
of Beijing's alleged India-containment strategy
Chinese officials say that the latest initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the
21st century MSR will carry forward the earlier spirit of the peaceful exchanges between
China and its neighbours along the ancient super-highway, linking Asia with Europe.
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Modi talks tough on Ladakh incursions
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
The Hindu, Ladakh, international, China,
India and China signed 13 agreements here on Thursday as Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping called for speeding up the boundary resolution
process.
India raised concerns over the standoff at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh "and
repeated incidents" along the border.
He also urged for the "clarification" or demarcation of the Line of Actual Control and
an "early settlement of the boundary question." President Xi also hoped that the boundary
resolution could be resolved "quickly" as he said, "India and China have to come
together for Asia to progress. When India and Asia speak in one voice, the world has
to pay attention." However, Mr. Xi said while India and China had made some progress
on the boundary resolution, "some incidents are there because the boundaries haven't
been demarcated."
Xi announces new route to Kailash-Mansarovar
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
The Hindu, international, kailash mansarovar,
Chinese President Xi Jinping made a special announcement on opening a new route
for pilgrims to Kailash-Mansarovar in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding for Railways, both sides agreed to work on
raising the speed and more cooperation on the Chennai-Mysore route as well as discussing
the bullet train project.
India raised concerns over the ongoing standoff at the LAC (Line of Actual Control)
in Ladakh "and repeated incidents" along the border.
make several significant announcements, including investments in two industrial cities
in Gujarat and Maharashtra, as well as investments in projects to the tune of $20 billion.
While the figure is nowhere near the high expectations of $100 billion predicted by
officials, it is nearly 40 times the present investment levels of $500 million.
Fiji turns the page
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, Fiji, international,
Fiji has chosen its first elected leader in eight years . This marks a new democratic
beginning for the South Pacific nation after suffering self-inflicted wounds over a period
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of some 28 years. Bainimarama will be able to put behind him the phase of global
condemnation and international sanctions that had followed the 2006 coup. The sanctions
should now end and the country could return to the Commonwealth with full status.
An indigenous Fijian, he also sought to please the Indo-Fijian segment which accounts
for some 43 per cent of its population. He pushed for equal rights for all: this election
saw full voting rights from the age of 18, for the first time. He abolished hereditary,
rival power bases such as the ethnic Fijian Great Council of Chiefs and launched a
delimitation exercise that by and large grouped people according to their ethnicity,
essentially leaving ethnic Fijians in a position of advantage.
Yet, for Fiji to be able to make a true transition to democracy, the military should now
step back. Its stand that it will not hesitate to intervene if a situation arises that holds a
threat to national interest, is bad news. The restrictive media framework involving stiff
penalties for critical coverage that was in place, did limit the media's ability to examine
rigorously and present an accurate picture of certain aspects of the government's
functioning in general; this trend has to change.
Fiji goes to polls after 8 years of military rule
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, Fiji, international, elections,
Thousands of Fijians got their first chance to vote in eight years on Wednesday in an
election that promises to finally restore democracy to the South Pacific nation of 900,000.
Yet as polls opened on Wednesday morning, plenty of questions remain about how far
military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama has tilted the outcome in his favour. Mr. Bainimarama
is running as a candidate and polls indicate his party is by far the most popular of the
seven contesting the election.
The question appears to be not whether his Fiji First party will receive the most votes,
but whether it will gain outright majority of Parliament's 50 seats under Fiji's new
proportional system. Anything less could force Mr. Bainimarama to share power, not
something he's familiar with after years of ruling by decree.
If the election is deemed fair by international observers, it will likely wash away the
last remaining barriers put up by Western countries after Mr. Bainimarama first seized
power in a 2006 coup. And a stable government afterward could see international
investors return.
Mr. Lal said that includes years of strict media censorship which ensured he was
portrayed favourably, human rights violations and meddling with the constitution to
ensure he and other coup leaders would remain immune from prosecution
For some reason, election officials decided to place all the candidates on the ballot not
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by name, but by a number assigned to them. For one day, at least, Bainimarama won't
be known as anything more than number 279.
'Nalanda varsity must put Bihar on international education map'
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
Nalanda University, The Hindu, international,
"We seek to revive the old tradition of the Nalanda University as tradition never dies.
This University is to seek, to discover and to create intellectual activities not only in
Bihar but the whole world,"
"Germany and Australia too have shown they are keen to be part of it," she said. The
Union government has sanctioned Rs. 2,727 crore for the university, said the Minister.
Mr. Manjhi said just like in the times of the ancient Nalanda University, his government
would like to create a "development authority" for the smooth functioning of the
University as well as the surrounding villages.
About 450 acres have been provided to the new university, 12 km from the ancient
Nalanda ruins, which is expected to be complete by 2020.
Towards an Asian century of prosperity
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, international, asia, china,
India is an emerging economy and a big developing country. It is Asia's third largest
economy and the world's second largest exporter of software and agriculture products.
A member of the United Nations, the G20, the BRICS and other organisations, India
is playing an increasingly important role in the regional and international arena.
China has become India's largest trading partner, with their bilateral trade volume
increasing from less than US$3 billion early this century to nearly US$70 billion. Mutual
visits reached 8,20,000 last year. We have had close coordination and cooperation on
climate change, food security, energy security and other global issues and upheld the
common interests of our two countries as well as the developing world as a whole.
Progress has been made in the negotiations on the boundary question, and the two sides
have worked together to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area.
we have deepened mutual trust by strengthening strategic dialogue and enhancing
political confidence; we have brought more benefits to each other by expanding the
areas of cooperation and making the pie of common interests bigger; we have forged
closer friendship by encouraging more people-to-people exchanges and cementing
popular support for our bilateral relations; and we have treated each other with sincerity
by respecting and accommodating each other's concerns and properly managing
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problems and differences.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, the new Indian government has
identified ten priority areas including providing a clean and efficient administration
and improving infrastructure. It is committed to building a united, strong and modern
India -- Shreshtha Bharat.
China is ready to contribute to India's development in these areas. India is advanced
in IT and pharmaceutical industries, and Indian companies are welcome to seek business
opportunities in the Chinese market. The combination of the "world's factory" and the
"world's back office" will produce the most competitive production base and the most
attractive consumer market.
As the two engines of the Asian economy, we need to become cooperation partners
spearheading growth. I believe that the combination of China's energy plus India's
wisdom will release massive potential. We need to jointly develop the BCIM Economic
Corridor, discuss the initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century
Maritime Silk Road, and lead the sustainable growth of the Asian economy.
Despite their distinctive features, the "Chinese Dragon" and the "Indian Elephant" both
cherish peace, equity and justice. We need to work together to carry forward the Five
Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (the Panchsheel), make the international order more
fair and reasonable, and improve the mechanism and rules of international governance,
so as to make them better respond to the trend of the times and meet the common needs
of the international community.
Leapfrog growth
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
Frontline, international, tibet, china,
At the end of the conference, the delegates signed a document called the "Lhasa
Consensus", which stated that Tibet enjoyed sound economic growth and social harmony.
The participants noted that ordinary people were living a contented life and that traditional
culture continued to thrive. Religious freedom, the participants concluded, was evident
all over the TAR. "Prayer flags, pilgrims and people burning aromatic plants for religious
purpose can be seen easily on the streets of Lhasa. The temples are crowded with
worshippers and pilgrims," the participants at the Forum stated. The Lhasa Consensus
statement also said that the situation on the ground in Tibet was radically different from
the one that was being portrayed by the Dalai Lama.
The Herculean efforts of Chinese railway engineers to connect the TAR, "the roof of
the world", to the rest of China has given a similar fillip to the local economy and the
wider region. The Qinghai-Tibet railway, one of the greatest engineering feats of this
century, has contributed significantly to the rapid growth of the Tibetan economy in
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recent years. Tibet was the only autonomous region in the People's Republic that was
not linked by rail. The railway, built at a cost of $4 billion and completed in 2005,
reaches an altitude of over 5,000 metres and is the highest railway in the world. About
550 km of the railway is built on permafrost.
Now, the railway is being extended from Lhasa to Xigase, near the border with Nepal.
The line is being further extended to Nyingchi, near the border with India. The railway
will be connected to the inland port of Yadong, situated 300 km from Thimphu and
600 km from Dhaka. This will further expand trade between Tibet and South Asian
countries. (With the Indian Railways also having ambitious plans to extend its network
to the north-east, the time may soon come when people and goods from India can reach
Tibet by train.) The short-term goal is to connect the whole of Tibet to the major cities
of China by the year 2020. Among the tracks planned are the ones to the Nepalese and
Indian borders from Xigase. The 253-km Lhasa-Xigase line became operational in the
third week of August. A total of 116 bridges and 29 tunnels account for 46 per cent of
the length of this new railway line, which passes through scenic alpine valleys and
mountains.
When the Scots have their say
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
Down to Earth, international, Scotland referendum,
Latest reports say that advocates of secession from the United Kingdom are neck-and-neck
with the Better Together Campaign, which wants Scotland to remain part of the union.
In medieval times, Scotland was a distinct kingdom with a long history of enmity with
England to its South. The ruling families of both countries fought bitterly, despite, at
times, being related. In 1603, after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, her cousin's son,
James, who ruled Scotland assumed the English throne. Political turbulence did not
end though, and it was only a century later that the Scots and the English united their
parliaments. In the following centuries, a share--largely iniquitous--in English imperialism
cemented Scotland's place in the union. The love-hate relationship continued, however.
Scots and the English were bitter rivals on the football and rugby ground, and sometimes
on the cricket field as well. The Scottish National Party (SNP) was formed in 1934,
but it remained a fringe player. There were occasional surges in Scottish nationalism
with the decline in British imperialism, but they would subside soon.
The fissures came to surface, and at times glaringly so, with Margaret Thatcher's free
market experiments in the 1980s. The Iron Lady revoked state subsidies from loss
making mining and steel enterprises and Scottish miners participated in the legendary
British miners' strike in 1984-1985.
Oil is another sore point. The Scottish nationalists--their current leader Alex Salmond
is an oil economist--believe that the UK Government has squandered most of the North
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Sea oil revenues, which they say belongs to Scotland. Last year, the Scottish government
released analysis which predicted a "renewed oil boom". Its first Oil and Gas Analytical
Bulletin predicts that production in Scottish waters could generate US $ 90 billion in
tax revenue by 2018. The report also says more than half the total reserves in the UK
Continental Shelf are still to be extracted.
The pro-Unionists contend that relying too heavily on North Sea oil would be dangerous
as it is such a volatile commodity. SNP has indicated that it'd like to follow the example
of Norway and set up a sovereign wealth fund to invest the profits from its natural
resources. That would take care of the volatility of oil revenues, it argues.
Holding out
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
Frontline, international, Israel, Palestine,
Abbas' letter asked the U.N. to place the State of Palestine "under an international
protection system". The objectives of the "international protection system" were
threefold. First, to maintain peace and security against "acts of aggression and breach
of peace resulting from Israel's continued occupation and illegal colonisation". Second,
to promote the rights and well-being of Palestinians within the West Bank, including
East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip "on the 1967 borders". Third, to ensure respect for
the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Palestinians, all denied by "Israel's
ongoing occupation and acts of aggression".
War without end
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
Iran, USA, ISIS, Frontline, international, Iraq,
The lightning military advances made by the I.S. in northern and central Iraq and its
control of strategic assets such as dams and oil wells had initially prompted a lukewarm
response from the Barack Obama administration.
In fact, initially there seemed to have been some coordination between the Kurdish
administration in northern Iraq and the I.S. The I.S. forces had taken over Mosul while
the Kurdish forces ousted the Iraqi government forces from the disputed oil city of
Kirkuk. But what many observers in the region had viewed as a tacit opportunistic
alliance was short-lived. The I.S. soon turned its attention to the Kurd-controlled areas
of northern Iraq and Irbil, another oil city, prompting the U.S. to insist that the I.S. had
violated redlines.
The threat posed by the I.S. to northern Iraq prompted the White House to order
large-scale deployment of the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. has a consulate and hundreds
of military advisers and security operatives in Irbil.
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The Kurdish leadership has been a long-standing ally of the West. An independent
Kurdistan could become an all-weather friend of the U.S. like Israel . The U.S. was left
with no option but to intervene militarily to prevent the collapse of its only political
ally in Iraq, which would have hurt its "special interests" in northern Iraq.
Another reason for the U.S. military intervention is to free the Mosul dam from the
control of the I.S. The dam, which generates electricity and supplies water to a large
section of the Iraqi population, has since been retaken by the Peshmarga and the Iraqi
forces after U.S. planes used massive firepower to disperse the I.S. forces.
The I.S. launched its military offensive at a time when the West's focus was on the
crisis that was unfolding in Ukraine and the Israeli offensive against the 1.8 million
people trapped in the Gaza Strip. While Washington threatened Moscow for the Ukrainian
crisis, it did not lift a finger to stop Israel when it continued to massacre Palestinians.
The death toll in Gaza has touched 2,000.
The Obama administration has not been forthcoming with military help for the beleaguered
Iraqi Army, which has lost the key cities of Fallujah, Tikrit, Kirkuk and Mosul in quick
succession. The I.S. has declared Fallujah the capital of the "Islamic Emirate" it has
proclaimed. The U.S., instead, chose to make Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the
scapegoat for the military and political quagmire the country finds itself in. The fall of
Mosul sealed al-Maliki's political fate and he was forced to admit defeat.
The deepening sectarian divide in Iraq is the result of the U.S. occupation of the country
since its invasion in 2003. Washington encouraged a divide-and-rule policy in the
country to prolong its occupation.
Al-Maliki, after two terms in office, was forced to forsake his claim for a third term
after he lost the backing of many allies, including the leading Shia cleric, Ayatollah
Ali Sistani. The new Prime Minister, Haydar al-Abadi, has the support of both Washington
and Tehran. The U.S. viewed al-Maliki as being too close to Iran. The U.S. hoped that
the Western-educated al-Abadi would be more open to its demands. Al-Abadi, however,
faces an uphill task with the Kurds demanding more concessions and the Sunni leadership
refusing to acknowledge the new political realities in Iraq, where the Shias constitute
the overwhelming majority of the population. I
The leadership in Iran is no doubt bemused by the latest talk in the U.S. about targeting
the I.S. positions inside Syria. U.S. was looking at "all options" against the I.S., including
the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq. Washington has now classified the I.S. as a
"long-term threat" to U.S. interests. U.S. officials have admitted that I.S. fighters are
using U.S. equipment and military vehicles, including personnel carriers and Humvees.
Hagel said the I.S. was "tremendously well-funded" and that the group posed an
"imminent threat" to U.S. interests globally.
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A lot of money has entered its coffers through covert and overt funding from the U.S.'
allies in the region, notably Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The U.S. stood aside for more than
two years as the I.S. grew into a potent force fighting the Syrian government. The Qatari
government was forced to issue a statement in late August denying that it had funded
or supported the I.S. The release of Curtis is an illustration of the influence some of the
conservative monarchies continue to have with "jehadist" groups such as al Nusra and
the I.S.
The Iraqi Army is a shadow of the force it once was. The first thing the U.S. did after
its invasion in 2003 was to disband the Iraqi Army, which had been weakened by the
first Gulf War and the draconian United Nations sanctions. The Iraqi Air Force, once
a potent force in the region, was scrapped altogether.
The new Iraqi Army, set up under the overall supervision of the occupying forces,
turned out to be under-equipped, undisciplined and supervised by corrupt officers.
Recent events have shown that the army is incapable of putting up a fight. The fight
against the I.S. is now spearheaded by various militias, many of them trained by Iran
and the Hizbullah.
On the other hand, the I.S. consists of experienced fighters who had earned their spurs
in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other terrorist hotspots or those trained by Western
intelligence agencies in Turkey, Jordan and other countries. They had defected from
the moderate groups fighting in Syria, which had the support of the West, Turkey and
the Gulf monarchies.
The I.S. maintained that the execution of Foley was directly connected with the targeting
of its forces by the U.S. Air Force. The group had been allowed a free run in Syria
where the West and its regional allies viewed the secular government led by Assad as
the bigger enemy. "In Syria, ancient Christian churches were destroyed, nuns and
bishops were kidnapped and priests were killed. This was widely ignored in large part
because many in the region and in the West were so focussed on attacking the Assad
government," Edmund Ghareeb, an academic from the American University, observed.
More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since the Western-backed insurrection
started four years ago.
A jihadist by any other name?
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
ISIS, The Hindu, international, islamic state, Iraq,
U.S. President Barack has dug in its heels to back the "ISIL" acronym, which expands
to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and another official moniker in the West has
been "ISIS," or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, it was France that this week threw down
the gauntlet this week.
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, French officialdom will now refer to the group under a different name, and one that
they are said to abhor, "Daesh."
"I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between
Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it 'Daesh' and I will be calling them the
'Daesh cutthroats.'
"no religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims
have been Muslim," and nor did they represent a state, given that it was formerly an al
Qaeda affiliate in Iraq
Foreign ground troops not necessary in fight against Islamic State: Iraq
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
The Hindu, international, islamic state, iraq,
Iraq's new Prime Minister said on Wednesday that foreign ground troops are neither
necessary nor wanted in his country's fight against the Islamic State group, flatly
rejecting the idea a day after the top U.S. general recommended that American forces
may be needed if current efforts to combat the extremists fail.
"The fight will go on unless ISIL is hit in Syria," he said, using an acronym for the
group. "This is the responsibility of the international community on top of them the
United States government to do something about ISIL in Syria."
The Islamic State group was established in Iraq but spread to Syria, where it grew
exponentially in the chaos of the country's civil war. Following its success in Syria,
the extremist group's fighters including many Iraqi nationals rampaged across northern
and western Iraq in June, seizing control of a huge swath of territory. The group now
rules over land stretching from northern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces launched an intense military operation against Islamic State
insurgents in three cities in central Iraq on Wednesday, fighting to regain control of
lost ground, security sources said.
The offensives in Ramadi, Falluja and Haditha in the western province of Anbar started
before dawn, security sources in the three cities said.
Sunni tribes revolted in these areas in late 2013 when Iraq's former Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki moved his forces into the cities to suppress a year-long anti-government
protest movement.
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Iran rules out cooperating with US in Iraq
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
Iran, USA, The Hindu, international, Iraq,
Iran's foreign minister ruled out cooperating with the United States in helping Iraq
fight Islamic State militants and warned that the terrorist group poses a much broader
global threat that needs new thinking to eradicate.
The U.S.-Iranian relationship is at a delicate moment, with a new round of talks on a
deal to rein in Iran's nuclear program
Iran was the first country to provide help to neighbouring Iraq when the Islamic State
group swept across the border from Syria in July. France wanted Iran to attend an
international conference in Paris on Monday aimed at coordinating actions to crush the
Islamic State extremists in Iraq, but the United States said "no."
Mr. Zarif said it's now time for the international community "and particularly the
coalition of the repenters" to stop providing financing, military equipment and safe
passage for the group and its fighters.
He said the international community must begin to deal with the resentment and
disenfranchisement that allows the Islamic State group to attract young people from
the Middle East to Europe and the United States.
The international community, he said, must also recognize that in a globalized world
problems can't be solved through coercion, exclusion or imposing solutions.
In Iraq, where the U.S. is carrying out airstrikes, Mr. Zarif said, "it will not be eradicated
through aerial bombardment."
In Syria, where the U.S. is beefing up military support for the moderate opposition to
confront the extremists and step up opposition to President Bashar Assad's government,
he said, "you cannot fight ISIS and the government in Damascus together."
Healthcare takes biggest hit as conflict intensifies in Iraq
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
Down to Earth, international, Iraq,
the WHO had declared Iraq's humanitarian health crisis a Grade 3 emergency, which
indicates the highest degree of severity.
As insecurity and massive population displacement expose people, especially the most
vulnerable, to a wide range of health concerns, one of WHO's main concerns is to
prevent and control the spread of communicable diseases such as diarrhoea, respiratory
infections and other diseases related to overcrowding. Earlier this year, two polio cases
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were confirmed in Iraq that had been polio-free for 14 years. Despite ongoing conflict,
the health ministry, with the support of WHO and Unicef, launched a mass immunisation
campaign in August to tackle the re-emergence of polio virus.
There is also a high risk that measles could spread. The disease is endemic in Mosul,
which has seen half a million people displaced since June 2014.
WHO estimates that approximately US $150 million is required to respond to the health
needs of more than 5 million beneficiaries. In addition to its massive population of
displaced people, Iraq hosts 250,000 Syrian refugees in the north who require humanitarian
assistance and whose health needs place additional strains on Iraq's fragile healthcare
system.
UN reports fall in development assistance from donor countries
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
Down to Earth, international, United Nations,
Decline in aid will affect efforts to reach Millennium Development Goals by 2015
UN has highlighted the slow progress made by developed nations in reaching their
pledged volumes of official development assistance (ODA). The ODA is directed
towards helping least developed countries achieve their Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs).
The report noted that though the volume of development assistance reached its highest
level at $135 billion in 2013, there was a significant decline in bilateral aid to sub-Saharan
Africa.
The Millennium Development Goals 2015 include targets like eradicating extreme
poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, achieving
universal primary education and ensuring environmental sustainability.
U.S. House approves Obama's Syria strike plan
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
USA, ISIS, The Hindu, Syria, international, Iraq,
Obama's plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels in a bid to halt the advance of
Islamic State, the jihadist militant outfit that has seized control of significant territories
in that country and neighbouring Iraq over the summer and sought to establish an Islamic
caliphate in the region.
the vote nevertheless brings the U.S. a step closer to troop deployment in active combat
roles,
"There will be no U.S. military personnel in Syria as part of this programme. We've
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learned over the last decade, and through our successful campaign to degrade al-Qaeda,
that it is more effective to use America's unique capabilities to take out terrorist targets
in support of our partners' efforts on the ground to secure their own future
40 per cent of Democrats opposed the White House's proposals, which reports suggested
could be due to concerns that U.S. military operations in West Asia "could fester for
several years with no clear strategy or definition of success."
Kurds head to Syria from Turkey to fight IS
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
isis, The Hindu, Syria, international, Turkey,
Hundreds of Kurdish fighters have crossed from Turkey into neighbouring Syria to
defend a Kurdish area under attack by Islamic State militants,
The movement of hundreds of Kurdish fighters into Syria reflected the ferocity of the
fighting in the northern Kobani area, which borders Turkey.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish official Nawaf
Khalil said that the fighters were streaming into the Kobani. The Observatory, which
obtains its information from a network of activists on the ground, estimated their
numbers in the hundreds.
Syrian Kurdish fighters had been successfully fighting off the militants for the past two
years. They even clashed with the Islamic State group's fighters in northern Iraq, carving
a safe passage for thousands of embattled Iraqis of the Yazidi minority, whom the
militant group sees as apostates.
The battle over Kobani is part of a long-running fight between the Islamic State group
and Syria's Kurds that has raged across several areas of northern Syria where large
numbers of Kurds live. The clashes are but one aspect of Syria's broader civil war a
multilayered conflict that the U.N. says has killed more than 190,000.
Rouhani terms US led anti-ISIS coalition "ridiculous"
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
USA, iran, ISIS, The Hindu, international,
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has alleged that some of the 40 members of this
group had previously supplied the terror group with arms and training.
"If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is
injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship,
without any sacrifice?
"However, air strikes should take place with the permission of the people of that country
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and the government of that country,"
Mr. Rouhani said Iran will give Iraq any support it requests for combating ISIS, but
made a point of saying religious sites must be protected.
"When we say the red line we mean the red line. It means we will not allow Baghdad
to be occupied by the terrorists or the religious sites such as Karbala or Najaf be occupied
by the terrorists,"
Modi's Neighbourhood Initiative
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
pakistan, EPW, international, Nepal,
The Hurriyat imbroglio fi rst stalled the Pakistan initiative and with Nepal greater
sensitivity needs to be demonstrated to the concerns of that country.
The euphoria generated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to the SAARC
(South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) leaders for the inaugural function
of his regime has started fading out. Two countries seen as most critical to this initiative
are Pakistan and Nepal: Pakistan where after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit, India
initiated the dialogue process stalemated since 2012, by fixing the date of foreign
secretary-level talks and Nepal, where both Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Minister
Sushma Swaraj paid official visits in early August and late July, respectively.
The Pakistan initiative suffered a serious roadblock with the Modi government's decision
to call off the 25 August foreign secretary-level talks in protest against Pakistan's
continued engagement with the Kashmir Hurriyat leaders. Though this practice has
almost a two-decade-old history, and was endorsed both by the previous National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regimes, the Modi
government had a point in ending it. It may be recalled that the Hurriyat was created
in 1993, out of a large number of motley groups that were supporting Pakistan-backed
insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
The previous governments carried on with this arrangement in the hope that Pakistan
would be able to moderate the Hurriyat leaders in facilitating a peaceful solution of the
Kashmir issue. When in power, Gen Musharraf even snubbed the Hurriyat leaders and
forced them to follow his lead on the Kashmir issue while he was working on his
four-point formula through backchannels with India.
In the case of Nepal, the visits of Modi and Sushma Swaraj have radically altered the
atmospherics by making political-level discourse between the two countries, both
pleasant and hopeful. Sushma Swaraj with her three-day visit during 25-27 July broke
the ice on the India-Nepal Joint Commission which had remained frozen for 23 years.
Nepal was reviewed and both the sides recommitted themselves to stepping up cooperation
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in the areas of trade, hydro-power, defence and security. India also reiterated its
willingness to "review, adjust and update" the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship
that constitutes the foundation of relations between the two countries, but has been a
bone of contention from the Nepalese side for the past 50 years and more.
Sushma Swaraj's visit greately facilitated Modi's task of bridging the gradually widening
trust deficit between India and Nepal. This trust deficit also has a long history and its
recent intensity could be gauged by the fact that India's ambassador to Nepal was booed
with black flags and shoes for the first time during 2009-2010, and there is virtually no
bilateral issue of significance where Nepal does not have reservations on India's position.
Modi was the first Indian prime minister visiting Nepal in the past 17 years.
Modi addressed the question of the trust deficit with Nepal at the political as well as
public levels in Nepal; in his address to Nepal's constituent assembly-cum-parliament
as also in the course of interactions with all the major political formations. He invoked
India's cultural and civilisational bonds with Nepal. While the majority Hindus of
Nepal were delighted to see Modi praying at the Pashupatinath temple, he took care to
acknowledge the virtues and strength of Buddhism as the religion of peace and Nepal
as the place of Buddha's birth. . The Maoists of Nepal were particularly pleased by his
cliches like "from " Yudha (War) to Buddha ( Peace )" and "Shastra (arms) to Shastra
(scriptures) " . He aroused Nepal's developmental aspirations by highlighting its
hydropower and tourism potentials and offering India's cooperation in taking Nepal
to prosperity and growth.
Everyone in Nepal and outside is acutely aware that political instability and lack of
democratic institutionalisation have been the principal obstacles to Nepal's development.
As agreed by almost everyone in Nepal, Modi underlined that the constitution will be
"federal, democratic and republican". The reference to the republican character of the
constitution in Modi's address set at rest the speculation that the new Indian government
was supportive of the revival of monarchy in Nepal. However, the omission of the word
"secular" to characterise the evolving Nepali constitution in Modi's address and
interactions in Kathmandu created a mild flutter among the minorities who do not favour
the revival of Hindu state in Nepal. Such fears have been aroused in Nepal as the Vishva
Hindu Parishad leaders have been propagating the revival of a "Hindu Rashtra " in
Nepal.
It may be noted in this respect that Sushma Swaraj in answer to a Hindutva question
had clearly stated that she took her oath of office under a secular Indian Constitution
and was thus not committed to advancing Hinduism elsewhere. Nepal constitutionally
became a "Hindu Rashtra" only in 1962 and that too was done at the behest of the
monarchy which wanted to legitimise its authoritarian rule by invoking Hindu scriptures
that project a king as the incarnation of the Hindu god, Vishnu.
An interesting omission, by both Sushma Swaraj and Narendra Modi in Nepal was any
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reference to China or India's regional security concerns. This was a prudent and perhaps
a calculated omission. It avoided any possible irritation to China and its supporters in
Nepal. It also ensured that the Nepalese do not take India as being unduly preoccupied
with China and its presence in the neighbourhood.
Modi also gave a firm indication to Nepal that India was willing and prepared to walk
the talk in bilateral cooperation. He offered a soft loan of $1 billion for Nepal's
"infrastructure development and energy projects as identified and prioritised by the
Government of Nepal". India agreed to undertake the construction of Raxaul-Amlekhgunj
oil pipeline and reiterated its commitment to expand rail and road links with Nepal. An
Eminent Persons Group was established to look into the "totality of India-Nepal
relations". Timelines were fixed for concluding negotiations on "the agreement on trade
in the power sector" and a number of other agreements. Above all, Modi endorsed the
Joint Commission decision to "review, adjust and update" the 1950 Treaty.
India has seen prime ministers come and go but the bureaucratic structure has remained
in place. The idea of administrative reforms has remained largely a promise and a wish
unfulfilled. One hopes that before Modi streamlines the bureaucracy, the latter does
not take over the former. There are innumerable examples where bureaucratic processes
have frustrated strategic policy moves, especially in relation to the neighbours. The
micro issues involved in trade and transit, power production and transmission including
the price of power, border demarcation and border management, etc, will all need
continuous accommodation and understanding on the part of Indian bureaucrats. There
is a natural and genuine clash of interests in all these areas but the task of a strategic
vision and diplomacy is to turn those friction points into win-win solutions.
Nepal's approach towards India will not improve unless this nationalism is recast into
a developmental mode. Modi's visit to Nepal has tried to give a well-meaning push in
this direction unleashing a lively debate within Nepal on how to relate to India.
Politically, all the parties in Nepal are deeply divided internally owing to personality
clashes and power struggles. In all these fault lines India is a major contentious issue.
All those political leaders who will happily seek quiet support from India in the accretion
of their power and influence at the party as well as national levels will display an
irresistible tendency to show off their distance and independence from India in public.
No constructive proposal has ever been forwarded by Nepal on cooperation in the
harnessing of common water resources and Nepal's huge hydropower potential.
Polities are highly polarised in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar
and also in Bhutan. In most of these countries, India is an important issue along the
polarising axis. In all these countries, there is also a serious national identity issue which
comes in the way of closer economic integration or social and strategic cooperation
with India. Modi's Hindutva flavour that was robustly displayed during the Nepal visit
may create greater complications to the identity issue in Pakistan, Bangladesh and
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Maldives.
African nations sign agreements to conserve water
Fri, Sep 19, 2014
Down to Earth, international, Africa, drinking water,
African nations are trying to save their water resources. On the one hand, Kenya and
Uganda have joined hands to rehabilitate the dilapidated Malaba river to conserve river
banks. On the other hand, Angola and Namibia have signed an agreement to establish
a waterfront commission to promote judicious utilisation of shared water resources.
Meanwhile, Angola and Namibia have agreed to set up the Cuvelai River Basin
Watercourse Commission to "significantly contribute towards the maintenance of peace,
security, welfare, mutual benefits of the citizens".
The return of the Eagle in West Asia
Mon, Sep 22, 2014
The Hindu, international, usa, West Asia,
There is little doubt that this will be a long-drawn war. Though public opinion has
turned around after the brutal killing of two journalists by IS, it may take yet another
turn. Also, Mr. Obama, who is now being provided the necessary support of the U.S.
Congress to arm the Syrian opposition to fight IS would need this to continue. But there
is a larger debate taking place with the U.S. on the nature and extent of an American
military presence.
There are already differences between Mr. Obama and his military on the use of ground
forces in Iraq. Mr. Obama wants to rely only on "tightly controlled" air strikes whereas
the military leadership would like to keep the option of engaging U.S. ground troops
open.
Second, Mr. Obama aims to weaken IS through "a systematic campaign of air strikes."
He has cautiously avoided deploying U.S. ground troops in Iraq, though he has also
announced that American non-combat service members to "support Iraqi and Kurdish
forces with training, intelligence and equipment" would be increased.
Given the geographic expanse, and the lack of presence of Iraqi troops, air strikes by
the U.S. are crucial in fighting IS and would also disrupt supply routes from outside
Iraq. IS has become powerful, not primarily because of Iraq's military weakness, but
rather on account of the failure of the governance process and the lack of an inclusive
government which provided the space for IS to grow stronger.
Mr. Obama has to ensure that the new Iraqi government is militarily stronger and
politically inclusive.
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Third, Mr. Obama is faced with the task of bringing the Middle East together. For the
first time, the other states in the region which have been overtly or covertly supporting
the IS are now realising what has become of it.
Most of the arms and ammunition and the foreign fighters are believed to have travelled
through Turkey. In the renewed fight against IS, will Turkey become a major partner,
plugging the routes and sealing the borders?
Syria is the fourth challenge. Mr. Obama's decision to expand the war against IS into
Syria is fraught with dangers. Until recently, Mr. Obama was not keen on supporting
the Free Syrian Army and other forces opposing both Mr. Assad and IS. I
IS has already evolved into one of the richest militant organisations in the world.
According to reports, it smuggles oil for the areas it controls to provide to others through
intermediaries in Syria and Turkey, and earns $2-million every day from its oil production
alone.
With agreement on prices, India and Pakistan set to seal gas deal
Wed, Sep 17, 2014
Pakistan, international, gas deal, Businessline,
India will soon be ready to seal a deal with Pakistan for sale of liquefied natural gas
(LNG) to the country as a consensus on pricing seems to have emerged.
Landed cost of imported gas on India's LNG terminals in August averaged at about
$15/mmBtu (long term), while spot rates were $16/mmBtu, this is excluding re-gasification,
local taxes and levies, transmission charges, marketing margins. With these components,
the rate of the gas for the end consumer is around $18-$20/mmBtu.
Pakistan has decided to do away with the customs duty component. "Both issues (pricing
and payment guarantee) have been settled. Pakistan will be getting gas from India at a
price much lower than what it is getting from other sources at present," the official
added.
According to the proposal, GAIL would lay 110 km pipeline infrastructure from Jalandhar
to Amritsar/Attari border.
The LNG to be sold to Pakistan will be imported through terminals in Maharashtra or
Gujarat and transported to Jalandhar using GAIL's existing pipeline network.
It is a win-win for both sides as India is getting to use its existing facilities to draw
greater economies of scale while Pakistan is getting gas cheaper," the official said.
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China's fledgling shale gas sector
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
international, Shale gas, Businessline, energy, China,
By the end of July, China had tapped 500 billion cubic metres (bcm) of proven, probable
and possible shale gas reserves, with the bulk of the work done by the country's top
two energy firms, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR).
China could pump 40-60 bcm of shale gas by 2020, or one-fifth of the country's total
natural gas output
Companies have spent 20 billion yuan ($3.26 billion) and drilled 400 wells, with
breakthroughs made mostly in Sichuan basin in the southwest and Ordos basin in the
north, the ministry said in its in-house newspaper on Thursday.
China, believed to hold the world's largest resources of shale gas, hopes to replicate
the production success of the United States but faces huge technological and environmental
challenges due to its more complex geology and scarce water.
The government, led by the MLR, wants to broaden competition in the sector and has
held two shale gas auctions, but so far 90 percent of the tapped reserves are from Sinopec
Corp and PetroChina.
Partners in Washington's 'Pivot'
Sat, Sep 20, 2014
USA, EPW, international, pivot to asia,
Both, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe,
insisted on the qualifier "special" being added to the existing Indo-Japanese Strategic
Global Partnership. At the heart of the Political, Defence and Security Partnership was
the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation and Exchanges in the Field of Defence,
especially "the regularisation of bilateral maritime exercises" and "Japan's continued
participation in [the] India-US Malabar series of exercises",
New Delhi sign a Civil Nuclear Agreement with Canberra during the two-day visit of
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India. At the core of that agreement is "the
sale of Australian uranium to support" India's growing demand for the fuel, not only
from its existing 21 nuclear power reactors, Australian mining corporations - those that
also extract and sell uranium ore, in the doldrums after the disaster at Fukushima in
2011 and the subsequent fall in demand from Japan - are looking to India and China
to bring in the moolah in the years to come.
Abbott justified the decision to sell uranium ore by hailing India's "absolutely impeccable
non-proliferation record", calling New Delhi a "model international citizen". There
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was, of course, no word about the fact that the imports of uranium ore from Australia
and Kazakhstan allow India to allocate more of its own domestic supply to development
of nuclear weapons. Of course, Canberra's lifting of its ban on the supply of uranium
ore to India must also be seen in the context of the US's undermining of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty when it ratified the Indo-US civil nuclear deal in 2008, thus
opening the way for nuclear commerce (with India) for countries like Australia.
Modi must have been immensely pleased with the response of Abe and Japanese big
business to his overtures - the promise of investments to the tune of $35 billion over
the next five years in infrastructural and other development projects, and the assurance
to make India an increasing part of the global value chain in manufacturing.
Almost three years ago, addressing the Australian parliament in November 2011, US
President, Barack Obama declared that the US was now turning its strategic attention
to the Asia-Pacific, that new diplomatic, economic, military and strategic focus the
US's "pivot" to Asia. Since then, the US and its Asian allies have made significant
progress in strengthening their influence and military reach across the Asia-Pacific,
mainly, though never officially acknowledged, to strategically and militarily hedge
against a rising China.
In our reckoning though, Washington's more recent engagements in Iraq and Syria,
and in the Ukraine and the fact that it may not have much leeway in enhancing its
military budget as a result of the self-imposed fiscal constraint, may lead it to gird on
its main Asian allies - Japan, Australia and India - to bear a significant part of the
financial and personnel burdens of implementing its pivot to Asia strategy.
Reason for Bhutan's happy face
Thu, Sep 18, 2014
Down to Earth, Gross National happiness, international, Bhutan, happiness index,
Bhutan, which uses Gross National Happiness as a measure for its economic growth,
has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty in recent years. But sections of its
population remain vulnerable to falling back into poverty, says the first poverty assessment
for the Himalayan kingdom prepared by the Royal government along with the World
Bank.
the number of poor in Bhutan reduced by almost half--from 23 per cent in 2007 to 12
per cent in 2012.
"Increasing commercialisation of agriculture, expanding road infrastructure and economic
boost from hydroelectric projects are key factors aiding in poverty reduction,
The increased commercialisation of agriculture due to renewed free trade agreements
and preferential market access to neighbouring countries in the region, especially India
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and Bangladesh, led to an estimated 8 per cent annual growth in crop production per
hectare over 2006 to 2011. As a result of improved road connectivity, school enrolment
and completion rates increased due to reduced travel time and cost, says the report.
many landless households were able to get land permanently registered in their names.
Despite the tremendous progress made, the risk of people falling back into poverty
remains.
Most of the poverty reduction in Bhutan has occurred in the rural areas with little change
in urban poverty rates. While poverty percentage has reduced by more than half in rural
areas between 2007 and 2012, it has increased in urban areas. The risk of falling back
into poverty is greatest for those households engaged in agriculture and vulnerable to
shocks and those holding informal jobs and with low education,