India’s precarious position

PC: newindianexpress
PC: newindianexpress

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Tsar Putin’s love for China, and his recent attempts to form a military alliance of sorts with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan seem to be based on this proverb. As India moves closer to the United States of America, China looks to isolate India even more in Asia. Russia, the one time ally of India, seems to be courting the traditional adversaries of our peninsular nation.  earlier this year, The US overtook Russia as the biggest arms exporter to India. Russia still maintains the numerical edge in these terms, having supplied India with arms for over five decades. India has inked deals with Russia worth over $40 billion. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, India has tried to diversify its group of suppliers. Israel, France and various states of Europe have been contracted by the Indian Government to source it’s more advanced weapon systems and ammunition. For example, the Indian Army is looking to purchase over 8000 Spike man portable Anti-Tank missiles from Isreal in a deal that is worth ₹3200 crore($525 Million).
What is interesting is that Washington, which lobbied hard for it’s FGM 148 Javelin Anti-Tank missile, failed to bag the deal.

The Russian Federation’s plan to deepen defence and industrial ties with the People’s Republic has been a concern for India in recent times. This is a significant development for two nations that have had severe clashes about communist ideology and almost went to war in 1969. Now however, they are closer than ever. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has citied increasing problems in the Pacific Rim, Africa and elsewhere as the main reason behind this shift. This tentative alliance, along with Russia’s recent ties with Pakistan has effectively isolated India in the Asian region.  China also aims to improve its position in Asia and the world. The PRC is in the process of investing more than $40 billion into building overland routes into Russia and Europe and also plans to invest in maritime routes from South-East Asia to the Middle East and Africa. Industrial cooperation too is at an all time high between these two nations. In the June of 2013, Russia’s Rosneft and the China inked a deal that allows Russia to double its oil exports to the PRC. Rosneft will now ship 365 million tons of oil to China over the next 25 years for a total of $270 billion.

What this means for India?
We are slowly but surely being isolated, militarily as well as economically in the Asian region. Our ties with the West, which our leaders seem to think is a lucrative option, will lead to our ties with China being strained. Our leaders need to realise that increased dependency on the west alienates us from our home region, which has adverse effects on our military and economic position in this region of the world.

Over 100 dead in clashes near South Sudan

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KHARTOUM: The clashes between two subgroups near the border with South Sudan have taken a heavy toll in the area. More than 100 people have lost their lives in several days of fighting between the two clans in Sudan’s oil-rich West Kordofan region; tribal leaders told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Thursday.

The clashes had started over a land dispute on Sunday between the two sub-groups of the powerful Misseriya tribe which is based in Al-Quwik , an area which shares  border with South Sudan.

This fighting between the Zioud and the Awlad Amran groups has left 133 people dead, as told by the Mokhtar Babo Nimir, head of the Misseriya,

Both sides indulged in rampant usage of heavy machine guns in the clashes, which continued till Thursday, another tribal leader in the area said.

The leader, whose clan kept away from the clashes said, “Until this evening there are no government troops on the ground to separate the fighters and more than 100 have been killed from both sides,”

The Misseriya and its clans, which is one of the biggest Arab tribes in Kordofan, are mostly nomadic cattle herders. It was Sudan’s government which armed the Misseriya and other groups during the country’s long-lasted 22-year civil war that ended in 2005 and led to South Sudan’s separation.

This massive division of the country saw Juba attain most of the country’s oil production, with West Kordofan left with  the main oil-producing region in Sudan.

Air India’s scheme lowers international fares

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In yet another trick to lure its travelers, Air India has launched a short term sale of its tickets. It would include low fare tickets ranging from India for travel which would be on major international routes. These special and all inclusive return fares will be provided to the customers for sale till December 2, 2014 which will be available for travel up to November 15, 2015, the authorities at Air India confirmed on Thursday.

There would however  be an all-inclusive economy class return ticket on the Delhi-Chicago, Delhi- Melbourne, Delhi- New York,  and also Delhi- Sydney which would be priced at Rs. 49,999, while return tickets from Delhi to Rome, Milan, London, Frankfort, Paris Birmingham, Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul sectors  will cost Rs. 39,999.

Tickets in the Delhi-Shanghai, Delhi-Moscow and also Delhi-Hong Kong sectors will all cost Rs. 29,999. Under this scheme, a return trip from Delhi to Bangkok and also Singapore will be priced at Rs. 19,999.


Source: The Hindu

Vishal Bhardwaj keen on adapting Shakespeare’s comedies

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After the successful adaptations of three William Shakespeare tragedies, Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj now wants to work with the Bard of Avon’s comedies.

In 2003, ‘Maqbool’, an adaptation of the Shakespearean play ‘Macbeth’ was released in the Toronto International Film Festival and in January 2004, it was released in India. 2006 saw Vishal Bhardwaj adapting the Bard’s ‘Othello’ in his film ‘Omkara’. In 2014, his film ‘Haider’ based on Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ was released. All the three adaptations have been critically acclaimed.

The 49 year old director has said that many find Shakespeare boring as most of them are forced to read them as kids in schools. According to him at such age, it is difficult to understand the Bard. He also mentioned that he himself read Shakespeare in the later part of his life. For him Shakespeare have been very impactful. Reportedly, he has also said that he can live his whole life working on Shakespeare’s plays.

Bhardwaj has assured that his comedies will be different from the slapstick comedies that we get to see today. “I will be doing serious comedies.”, said the director.


14 workers hurt in gas blast at London Hotel


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London: Fire broke out at the basement of a five-star hotel in London on Friday night, resulting in the evacuation of five hundred-odd people. The gas blast occurred in Churchill Hyatt Regency hotel in Portman Square at 11.40p.m.last night, after which part of the building collapsed.

About eighty firefighters were on the scene, who rescued fourteen injured workers from the building. The London Fire Brigade informed that extensive damage has been caused to the basement. The outer wall of the Hyatt has a big hole due to the explosion.

Close to nine people were checked on the scene, and another three people admitted to hospital for further treatment, who sustained minor injuries. BBC reports suggest that the explosion took place in the hotel’s kitchen.

While investigations were going on, the hotel immediately arranged for accommodation to all the guests, stating the safety of its guests as their top priority.

28 killed in northeast Kenya bus attack

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A bus heading to Nairobi from Mandera was ambushed by bandits and of the 60 passengers travelling in the bus 28 were killed. The incident took place in northeast Kenya 30 kilometers from the town of Mandera early in the morning, according to a tweet from the government run National Disaster Operations Centre.

While Masoud Mwinyi the police spokesman confirmed the attack, it is still unclear who the attackers were.

The attack comes in the wake of another incident in early November when gunmen had killed 20 police officers and two police reservists in the northwest county of Turkana in Kenya. The attack raises serious questions over the lack of security in the remote parts of Kenya.

The region where the incident took place is near the border Kenya shares with Somalia and Ethopia. Guns are easily accessible here since Al-Shabaad a militant group has been trying to topple the government in Somalia and the armed Oromo Liberation Front has been making incursions into Kenya from Ethiopia.

Clashes between clans in the Mandera County have led to hundreds of people getting displaced in the past year giving rise to increasing tension in the region.

Obama to grace this year’s Republic Day

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NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi has invited US president Barack Obama for the Republic Day celebrations and he has heartily accepted the invitation.

The PM tweeted this evening:
“This Republic Day, we hope to have a friend over…invited President Obama to be the 1st US President to grace the occasion as Chief Guest.”

National Security Council of President Obama confirmed the invitation very soon and tweeted:
“@ invite of @narendramodi President Obama will travel to #India in Jan 2015 to participate in Indian Republic Day celebration as Chief Guest”

It will be one of the first US Presidents to be the chief guest at the Republic Day in India, White House was quoted saying.

Syed Akbaruddin , the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, also confirmed of having received confirmation of President Obama accepting PM Modi’s invite.

Earlier this month, Mr Modi and President Obama met at the ASEAN summit where they struck a deal on the WTO trade deal where India’s concerns over food subsidies were resolved. The President had also praised Mr Modi calling him a “man of action”.


Source: NDTV