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October - November 2005


Political News

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Tony Blair Visits India
Tony Blair, Current President of the European Union took part in an EU-India summit in September. Far-reaching decisions concerning strategic partnership between India and Europe were made.


Dalit Massacre in Haryana

The Haryana police claimed to have arrested all the culprits in the arson incident at Balmiki Basti on August 31 in which many dalits were killed.


USA - India Air Exercises

In November, US-India Air Exercises will commence on a large scale with the deployment, for the first time, of F-16 figher jets. The exercises will be held at the Kalaikunda Air Base in West Bengal.

According to defence sources, twelve F-16 CJs and an E-3 AWACS from the Misawa and Kadena air Base in Japan will be flying down for the ten-day Cope Indian exercises. It is the first time the US is deploying F-16 fighter jets for exercises in India. Durign the last exercises held in Gwalior in February 2004, US Air force sent six F-15 Eagles from the Elmendorf Air Base in Alaska. Surprisingly, the US F-15s suffered reverses at the hands of the IAF in a friendly shooting match, leading to a serious appraisal in the United State about the effectiveness of its air force in comparison with the other air forces.

Both sides now realise that Pakistan is marginal to their military relationship and they must move on to encompass the whole world situation in coming decade.


4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Hyderabad

The fourth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual conference of non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin will be held in Cyberabad, a modern township on the outskirts of Hyderaad in January 2006. PM Manmohan Singh is scheduled to inaugurate the conference and President APJ Abdul Kalam will give away the annual Bharatiya Samman Awards to selected NRIs for their contribution in different fields for having made India proud.


Nina Gill lambasts Poor Image of India

Ms. Nina Gill, the only woman MEP of Indian origin, at her recent visit to India criticised the poor image of India given by the Indian government, Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of commerce and Industry and Indian media.

Addressing a session on ‘Services: Opportunities for India and EU” at the 6th India-EU business summit in New Delhi in September, she said, “In the West, India is still seen as an underdeveloped or developing country that is successfully stealing local jobs with its otsourcing industry. This perception must change for the better...The government and various business chambers must be able to market a better picture of the country.” Repeating the same theme, Sanjiv Ahuja, chief executive of global telecommunication Orange said, “China takes significantly more jobs from the West than India but does not have a negative image. “Peole must be able to perceive India as a burgeoning economy, with more than half the population under the age of 25, and brand it as an exciting investment option that would be beneficial for the future of investors”, said Sanjiv Ahuja.

What are your views?

Has India failed in branding herself to attract more investment? If so, Who is responsible for this apathy towards foreign investment? Why is India’s image so poor in the West? Please write your views and email or post to Editor India Link International)


BJP Leadership in Doldrum

Disciplinary Committee of the BJP expelled the loud-mouth leader from Delhi, Madan Lal Khurana who, at various occasions, has criticised, chief minister Modi of Gujarat and the leadership of Lal Kishan Advani. He goes crying to Atal Behari Vajpai, who calls the decision ‘unfortunate’ and asks the disciplinary committee to reconsider the decision. The committee revokes their earlier decision and his membership is restored.

Who has gained most from this unfortunate episode? L.K. Advani? Atal Behari Vajpai? Madan Lal Khurana? BJP? or UPA?

An unsuccessful chief minister of Delhi, Khurana should have left politics long ago when he was soundly defeated by Sheila Dixit, the graceful lady from old Delhi. Even after getting the governorship of Rajasthan, he should have left politics. But no! Like many other Indian leaders, he loves to remain in lime light. LK Advani could have ignored his baseless criticism of the BJP leadership. In the end, it is BJP as a party which has lost some credibility. UPA has gained from this unfortunate episode.

What are your views? Do write to us or email editor@indialink-online.com.


Hurriyat leaders Meet Manmohan Singh

Another charade. Chairman of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq met Manmohan Singh for crucial talks on Kashmir. He then went to the United States where he met president Musharraf of Pakistan. At the United Nations meet, Man Mohan Singh, in no uncertain terms, spoke about ‘terrorism still continuing’ from across the border. Musharraf knows it; and so does Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. It is because of these terrorist activities that Mirwaiz is still listened to by the international media. If he were really popular among the people of Jammu & Kashmir, he could have fought elections and proved his popularity. It would have strengthened his credentials as a leader of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.


Dilemma of Iran Pipe-line Deal

United States continues to pressurise India and Pakistan against the pipe-line deal with Iran.
Congress-led UPA Government in India is adamant that the deal would go through despite the pressure from the United States.

United States, in desperation, puts pressure on Pakistan, and as an incentive agrees to give Pakistan a couple of nuclear reactors. Pakistan as a long-term ally agrees to come out of the deal. What will be the position of India?

It will be wise for both India and Pakistan to put a condition to Iran that the deal would go through only if Iran agrees to United Nations’ conditions on non-proliferation of nuclear reactors in Iran.

After all, Iran has enough oil and gas for its energy requirement. Both India and Pakistan, as responsible nuclear powers in Asia, should try to help the United Nations in devising way to stop any proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is as crucial as fighting terrorism.


Elections in Bihar start October 18
Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon announced that, after taking into consideration all aspects, the elections will start from October 18. The constitutional requireement is that election process should be complete within six months of the dissolution of the House.


In September 2005, we had India's answer to Live 8 in Delhi with AR Rahman and Indian Ocean performing. Rahman also sung his first ever anti-poverty song. Also on the 3-4th Sept, we had the People's Summit Against Poverty which also took place in Delhi. The event was marked with the release of a Citizen’s Report on MDGs, by Shri V.P. Singh, former Prime Minister of India. Other speakers at the event included, Shri A.B Bardhan, Secretary Communist Party of India, Dr. Sayeeda Hameed Member Planning Commission Shri Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardy and Shri Pradeep Giridhar from Nepal.

A rally was organised with over 10,000 participating from Ramleela Grounds to Jantar Mantar. On 4th September 2005, thematic parallel sessions were planned where a people’s charter of demand was prepared. Human Resources Minister Mr. Arjun Singh, Mr. Salil Shetty Director, UN Millennium Campaign attended the closing ceremony. The people’s charter was read out which was submitted at the UN Millennium Summit, 14th – 16th September 2005, New York.
Kick-starting a week of exciting GCAP ‘Wake Up events’, during White Band Day 2, an anti-poverty concert was held in Delhi, India on September 3. The concert was part of a two-day South Asian People’s Summit Against Poverty (PSAP). 'Pray for me brother. Do you need a reason to be kind', sang Bollywood music maestro A.R. Rahman as he lent his support to the People's Concert against poverty, held on Saturday evening in Delhi, India. Rahman was joined by singer Kailash Kher, Indian Ocean and Envision in the special concert against poverty organised by GCAP, in collaboration with People's Summit against Poverty.

"The anthem 'Pray for..' is on the theme of eradicating poverty and is very close to my heart," said Rahman. The concert was the first ever peformance of Rahman’s new anti-poverty anthem.
Kailash Kher, sang his most recent number from the Bollywood film, 'Mangal Pandey'. “Here is a need to remind people from time to time that we should make our lives meaningful by extending support to such noble causes. I feel great to be associated with such causes," said Kher.
'Indian Ocean' just stole the show with their songs "Are ruk ja re bande.." and "Kasi Hile Patna hile..". Throughout the concert speakers representing diverse groups, both from the Indian campaign and from GCAP globally and regionally took to the stage to deliver moving and rallying speeches. Amitabh Bachhan and Shefali, spoke on the Indian campaign and the reality of poverty in India. While Minar Pimple, GCAP Co-chair, gave an overview of GCAP globally. But the climax of the show saw John Samuel tying a White Band to Rahman’s wrist and both of them calling for an end to poverty.

"The aim of the concert was to generate support among the masses. Such events will raise awareness amongst people and draw the attention of the government to poverty," said Indu Prakash Singh, from the Indian coalition, Wada na Todo. Singh also said that entry to the concert was free and their aim was not to raise funds, but to create awareness about widespread poverty in India, as well as across the world. To echo the words of Rahman, the concert certainly helped to add to the wake up call to end poverty.


The People’s Summit Against Poverty

The Summit concluded on Sunday with a People’s Charter. The Charter took as its foundation a call for politicians to focus on poverty issues, and to change current political systems from their bias toward the rich and to fully implement a pro-poor political system. The People’s Summit called upon politicians to rid South Asia of the prevailing caste-driven political agenda.

Anil Singh, from the Indian coalition, Wada na Todo, said that “the People’s Summit called upon all politicians to listen to the people. The government of India would do well to remember that the poor of India ousted the last administration because their policies did not represent them and they will do it to this government if they do not start listening to poor people’s voices and representing their needs”.

The People’s Charter also sent out a message to all leaders of the world that the people who are hungry now cannot wait another day. Leaders must take action now to meet the MDG commitments to end poverty.

An overwhelming message came out of all sessions related to health, education and other public services – that the people of South Asia say no to privatisation of public services. Every person must have access to education, health, water and other public services. The people will not tolerate the endemic privatisation of public services. It is the right of every citizen to be provided with good quality basic services and it is the place of the state to provide these.
There was also a call to open the borders of South Asia and to stop the restriction of movement within the area, as this was seen as adding to the rising problems of trafficking across the region. Finally, the People’s Summit also called for a concerted effort to rid the region of fundamentalist forces that bring conflict and terrorism. All governments should work together to endure peace and harmony.

 

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