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INDIA AND WORLD

Pakistan, India at loggerheads over consular access to Khulbushan

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Maintaining its stand that Khulbhushan Yadav, the former Indian Navy officer detained on charges of espionage, is an Indian “spy”, Pakistan has denied India consular access to the death row prisoner in its counter-memorial submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
India has called the death sentence a “farcical process”. “We also appealed to ICJ in May as we believe Vienna convention was being violated. We do reiterate our position that Jadhav remains in Pakistan and is facing death sentence given through a farcical process and on concocted charges,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

No zero sum games: India & China have more shared interests than differences

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The human society has once again come to a crossroads of history. Should one opt for openness or isolation, cooperation or confrontation, win-win or zero-sum game? These are questions we are all thinking hard about. The choice made by major countries will significantly impact the future of our world and the entire mankind.
Both being big developing countries, China and India have far greater shared strategic interests than concrete differences, and far greater needs for cooperation than partial frictions.
We believe that as long as we continue to engage in in-depth strategic communication and promptly dispel strategic misgivings, the strategic value of China-India cooperation will speak for itself, and there will be a prospect of “the Dragon and the Elephant Dancing Together” and “1+1=11” effect as expected by our leaders.

Kumbh Mela on UNESCO world heritage list

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India’s greatest spiritual show, Kumbh Mela, has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.The decision was taken at the 12th session by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in in Jeju, South Korea from 4-9 December.Previously ‘Yoga’ and ‘Nouroz’ were also included in the list.
Held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik alternatively, this festival held every four years sees a massive gathering of pilgrims who participate in the ritual cleansing in the holy rivers in India. With its origins in Hindu mythology that tells how a few drops from a pitcher containing the nectar of immortality fell on the four locations across India during a fight between gods and demons, Kumbh Mela is the largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims.

Diplomacy/Defence

Is it Jerusalem or Jerusalems?

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For a gentile, kafir, infidel and pagan, Jerusalem might be another piece of territory as good or as bad as Alaska. This is, however, not true for the followers of the three Abrahamic faiths, and with valid reasons. Their genealogical trajectory is sequential and closely intertwined and some of their key historical moments are traced to the City of Jerusalem. Religion is an article of faith and hence one either accepts all beliefs and traditions or rejects them altogether; and modernity presupposes that no faith is inherently superior to or supersedes the other.According to Islamic traditions, between 610 and 623 CE, Jerusalem was the direction of prayer or Qibla until it was changed towards the Ka’aba in Mecca by Prophet Mohammed in February 624. The city is also associated with the Prophet’s ascendance to heaven or the Night-Journey and his Ascension on a winged horse traced to 620 CE. Thus, Jerusalem is the third holiest place in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

The Contours of a Negotiated Nuclear-Missile Deal with North Korea

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North Korea’s Hwasong-15 missile test on November 28 has intensified international concerns about the developments in North East Asia. The missile, fired in an almost vertical trajectory, reached a height of nearly 4500 km before falling in the East China Sea, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), after travelling 860 km downrange. The total flight time was reported to be 53 minutes. No additional details of the test, such as the weight of the payload for instance, were given. However, preliminary calculations suggest that if the Hwasong-15 launched on November 28 had been flown on a normal missile trajectory, it would have reached distances of up to 13,000 km with the same payload, enough to cover the whole of the continental United States from West Coast to East Coast. If, however, the test had been conducted with no payload, the range would have been 8500 km with a 500 kg payload.

Mattis to Pakistan: It’s time for real action against terror

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Embracing a more nuanced diplomatic approach in engaging Pakistan in counter-terrorism efforts, US Defence Secretary James Mattis has asked Islamabad to intensify its efforts in rooting out terror from its soil.Mr Mattis met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad on December 4 and impressed upon the latter the compelling need to act against terror outfits.
A statement by the Prime Minister’s office in Pakistan said, “He [Mattis] emphasised that in view of his long association with Pakistan, he was keenly aware of the sacrifices rendered and the lives lost in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism and extremism; and his personal respect and appreciation for the professional abilities of Pakistan’s armed forces “.


The Quote Hanger

“Rejection is an opportunity for your selection.” ― Bernard Branson

In Conversation

Competitive cooperation, not rivalry for India-China ties: Bhadrakumar

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After more than ten weeks of posturing and charged rhetoric during the face-off at Doklam plateau in Bhutan, India and China have signaled their intention to start afresh and improve their relationship. This was reflected in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the BRICS summit in Xiamen on September 5, when they decided to take a forward looking approach to the bilateral relationship.

In an interview with Soumya Nair, former diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar talks about India’s options in dealing with a rising China and the course of India-China relationship, post-Doklam.

Post-BRICS, India, China think anew: Manish Chand

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In an interview to AnchalAnand of News X, Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief of India and World and India Writes Network, decodes the Xiamen Declaration at the BRICS summit for the first time targets terror outfits in Pakistan, forcing China to toe India’s line on the terror issue.

Vietnam wants India to play a more active role in Southeast Asia: Envoy

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It’s a milestone year in India-Vietnam relations as the two strategic partners celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In this wide-ranging interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, Vietnam’s ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh outlines a vibrant picture of the trajectory of this crucial relationship and underlines the need for a more active role by India in Southeast Asia and the extended region. The envoy also underscored that the burgeoning India-Vietnam relations is not targeted at China or any third country and stressed on peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute through dialogue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described his Bharatiya Janata Party’s stunning victory in assembly elections in India’s biggest state Uttar Pradesh as historic and underlined

BJP’S UP VICTORY A VOTE FOR DEVELOPMENT: MODI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described his Bharatiya Janata Party’s stunning victory in assembly elections in India’s biggest state Uttar ...

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Basking in the glory of astounding electoral victory in India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh, the head of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party Amit

UP VERDICT REJECTION OF POLITICS OF CASTE AND DYNASTY: AMIT SHAH

Basking in the glory of astounding electoral victory in India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh, the head of India’s Hindu ...

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It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. Saffron is the reigning colour as wild celebrations erupted outside the BJP’s national headquarters in Delhi and UP’s capital city of Lucknow. Swamped by fervour of this huge victory, party activists splashed a rainbow of colours, distributed sweets and set off crackers.

HISTORIC MOMENT FOR BJP IN UP, CONGRESS SCORES IN PUNJAB

It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. ...

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In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and the epicentre of the country’s politics.

SAFFRON SWEEP FOR BJP IN UP, MODI WAVE SWAMPS RIVALS

In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar ...

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Exit polls broadcast by Indian television channels have projected India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

EXIT POLLS UPBEAT ABOUT BJP’S PROSPECTS IN UP

Exit polls broadcast by Indian television channels have projected India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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What they Say

The relations between India and the US are not only for mutual interest. It goes beyond that:Modi

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“The relations between India and the US are not only for mutual interest. It goes beyond that. It will be for the greater benefit of⋅⋅⋅
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125 crore Indians fought a decisive battle and won : Modi

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125 crore Indians fought a decisive battle and won On the anniversary of demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people for supporting the measures⋅⋅⋅
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Many economists have agreed unanimously that the fundamentals of the economy are strong :Modi

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“If we have a look at the figures which have come recently, the production of coal, electricity, natural gas and other items has increased tremendously.⋅⋅⋅
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BUSINESS WITH INDIA

India jumps 30 places on ease of doing business global ranking; Modi hails it as historic

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In a major boost to the government which has come under severe criticism on its economic policies lately, India has jumped 30 places to reach⋅⋅⋅
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You can become a soldier for a modern, prosperous India : Modi

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“If financial institutions (along with real estate) can help in making such infrastructure, it will lead to multiple benefits, you can become a soldier for⋅⋅⋅
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CHINA CONNECT

Arunachal row shadows India-China relations

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Ahead of the visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India, China has renewed its claims over Arunachal Pradesh. The visits by Indian leaders to Arunachal Pradesh, which is claimed in entirety by Beijing, has consistently elicited protests from China, and this time it was not different when President Ram Nath Kovind visited India’s easternmost state.

Xi Consolidates Power as New China Leadership Line-up Revealed

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As a five-yearly leadership shake-up is underway in Beijing, President Xi Jinping is expected to fill the ruling Communist Party’s apex of decision-making, the Politburo Standing Committee, with trusted allies.Xi’s line-up for his first term at the helm of the world’s largest political party was a compromise influenced by his two immediate predecessors. But China’s ongoing 19th party congress is seen as the new beginning for Xi, who is expected to enter his second term with a team stacked with trusted allies and followers.

Africa Rising

Curtain falls on Mugabe’s rule: Rejoicing & concern

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Zimbabwe’s long-awaited moment of celebration has finally arrived with the 93-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe announcing his resignation after a reign of 37 years. On November 21 his letter, wherein he expressed his decision to step down from power to allow a peaceful leadership change, was read out by the speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, Jacob Mudenda. With his announcement, Mr Mugabe has saved himself from the ordeal of an impeachment hearing that had been initiated against him.

CII-EXIM Bank conclave in Kampala: India eyes East Africa opportunity

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India is set to accelerate its economic engagement with East Africa, the fastest growing region in the African continent and home to a large Indian diaspora, at a regional business conclave in Kampala.
The two-day India-East Africa business conclave, organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and EXIM Bank, will be inaugurated by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni in the Ugandan capital on November 20. India’s Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia is leading the high-profile Indian delegation, which includes top investors in Africa like Shobana Kamineni, president, CII and Sanjay Kirloskar, CMD, Kirloskar Brothers Limited. Many ministers from East African countries will be participating in the conclave.

With OBOR on mind, India brands Asia-Africa Growth Corridor: People-centric & consultative

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Touted as an alternative and counterpoint to China’s One Belt, One Road project, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) is set to be accelerated in days to come, with India signalling its intention to fast-track this transformational connective project that will encompass the two emerging growth poles in the world.

Culture / Books / Ideas

Culture

People of the Pacific Pearl: Frames that capture the vibrant world of Lima

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The Art Gallery of the Embassy of Peru in India recently came alive with frames capturing the happening life of 19th century Lima, the Peruvian capital. Organized jointly by the Embassy and the Delhi Photographic Club, the Photo exhibition titled “Retratos de Lima” (Portraits of Lima) showcases selections from the rich archives of Eugéne Courret, a French photographer who settled in the Latin American city in 1860 and documented the teeming life of a busy metropolis through his lens.

International Day of Girl Child: Long way to go for India

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In a landmark verdict on October 11, upholding the rights of over 20 million child brides of India, the Supreme Court ruled that sex with a minor wife, in the age group of 15 to 18, would be considered as rape and will be treated as a criminal offence. The court order came even as India along with the rest of the world commemorated the International Girl Child Day around the theme of ‘The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030’ to celebrate and empower girl children around the world.

According to a United Nations Population Fund report last year, India accounts for a third of the world’s child brides. About 47 per cent of girls in India are married before they turn 18. Though the trend of child marriages has been declining, India still has a long way to go to eradicate the menace completely. The latest Supreme Court order is a major milestone towards achieving that goal.

As part of United Nation’s international day to create greater awareness on the issues impacting girl children around the world and to promote steps for their empowerment, several countries have undertaken major programmes to highlight and support girl children and to end gender discrimination.

Cultural diplomacy poised for a bigger role, to promote Brand India: ICCR chief Amarendra Khatua

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Politics divides, culture connects. In Shanghai, a pact was signed between India and China to recreate Raj Kapoor’s 1951 classic Awaara into a contemporary Chinese opera.
Amarendra Khatua, the new director-general of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), who was in Shanghai to deliver the keynote address at the 18th China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF), struck an upbeat note on long-standing civilisational ties and promoting cultural exchanges in Tier-II and Tier-III cities in India and China. The joint theatrical remake of Awaara, which remains the most popular Indian movie in China, hints at more such collaborative cultural tie-ups India is set to pursue in days to come.
“Cultural diplomacy is poised to play a bigger role in India’s foreign policy calculus in days and months to come and promote Brand India,” said Khatua, a veteran diplomat who is also famous as an accomplished poet who writes and translates in English, Hindi and other Indian languages.

BOOKS / POETRY

Nobel moment for Kazuo Ishiguro, digger of inner truths

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  It’s a time of rejoicing and celebrations for all Kazuo Ishiguro fans, and those who relish his uncanny talent for excavating abyss beneath the⋅⋅⋅
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Isthmus of Time: Poems by Anshuman Gaur

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An Anthem for the Fallen Once the storm has passed Once the dust has settled down Who remembers the blood-sworn vow? The cloud serpent Again,⋅⋅⋅
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Booker glory beckons Amitav Ghosh

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The Booker glory beckons Indian novelist and essayist Amitav Ghosh yet again. Having narrowly missed the Anglophone world’s most coveted literary honour in 2008, the⋅⋅⋅
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Why Write?

Mickey Spillane: The older, the better

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If you’re a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he’s good, the older⋅⋅⋅
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Samuel Johnson: Reading and making of a book

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The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make⋅⋅⋅
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Eudora Welty: Taking Life as it Exists

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“The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that⋅⋅⋅
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Travel

Nevada bets on India, to open tourism office soon

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Nevada, the US’ western state known for casinos and picturesque landscape, is betting big on luring more tourists from India. Nevada Lt Governor Thomas Hutchinson⋅⋅⋅
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Border-crossing: Supper in Sweden, Dinner in Denmark

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For those of us living in India, crossing over casually is a distant dream. Even though India and Pakistan were one over six decades ago,⋅⋅⋅
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