Thursday December 14, 2017
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Modi wraps up US visit with love fest in America

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source: ndtv

Washington: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up yet another hugely successful visit to the US with a warm hug for President Barack Obama, a courtship with Silicon valley and a love fest with the Indian diaspora.

As Obama said after an hour-long meeting in New York on Monday with “good friend” Modi, building on his “wonderful visit” to Delhi in January, “We’ve elevated our ties. We’ve committed ourselves to a new partnership between our two countries.”

Modi agreed they had “achieved significant progress in our bilateral cooperation and international partnership” and welcomed “the progress in giving shape to our joint strategic vision on Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region”.

As anticipated, Obama chose to focus on climate issues. India’s leadership at the Paris climate change conference in December, he believed, “will set the tone not just for today but for decades to come”.

Obama said he was encouraged by “the aggressive nature” of Modi’s commitment to clean energy.

Modi said he and Obama “share an uncompromising commitment on climate change without affecting our ability to meet the development aspirations of humanity”.

But Modi also made it clear to Obama, French British Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron, whom he met separately, that a negative approach of capping emissions or adding restrictions was not going to help. Instead a positive approach that includes help for developing countries like financing and technology transfer was needed, he said.

Modi also won renewed support from the big three for India getting a permanent seat in the Security Council and asked them to have the UN reform process completed within a “fixed time frame”.

Modi said after meeting with Obama “we have resolved to further deepen cooperation on counter-terrorism and radicalism”.

source: blogs.wsj.com
source: blogs.wsj.com

But beyond the power meetings with Obama and other world leaders, the real measure of Modi’s success was writ in his wooing the big business and winning over the tech titans of Silicon Valley.

From Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, Indian-American chief executives of Microsoft and Google to Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg everyone seemed keen to get behind Modi’s digital dream.

If Pichai offered to bring wireless Internet or WiFi to 500 railway stations across India, Nadella outlined Microsoft’s plan to help Indian government take low-cost broadband to half a million villages.

Qualcomm promised a 10 billion rupee fund for startups in India “to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”.

It will also set up a number of ‘design houses’ for product innovation in India.

And selling his dream of turning India’s $8 trillion economy into a $20 trillion economy at the Facebook Townhall with a promise of four D’s — demography, democracy, demand and now de-regulation — he told investors: “Want to Invest? I Have an Address – India.”

source: indianexpress

But it was the rock star like reception he received in Silicon valley reminiscent of the ‘Madison Square Garden moment’ on the eve of his summit with Obama last year that wowed them all.

Modi “wooed and wowed the tech crowd” and “conquered” Silicon Valley, as the influential New York Times put it.

Modi’s trip, said the Washington Post, had made Silicon Valley “a must-see destination for world leaders” and “signals the rising influence and economic power wielded by this technology hotbed.”

(By Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

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Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean

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PM Narendra Modi: Government bringing Stringent Consumer Protection Law

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Prime Minister Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a speech. IANS

New Delhi, October 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the government was in the process of enacting stringent legislation aimed at protecting consumers along with setting up a Consumer Protection Authority (CPA).

“Consumers’ protection is this government’s priority. We are in the process to bring a new law on consumer protection keeping in mind the need of the country and business practices here,” Modi said at an International Conference on Consumer Protection for East, South and South-East Asian Countries.

“We are in the process of forming a Consumer Protection Authority, which will have executive powers, for immediate redressal.”

The rules were being streamlined to solve consumer problems in less time and at less cost, he added.

“The stress is being given on consumer empowerment. Strict provisions are being contemplated against misleading advertisements,” Modi said.

He said India was among the few countries which had enacted a law a year after the UN adopted guidelines on consumer protection in 1986.

The Prime Minister also said the prices of commodities were set to go down and consumer protection for their interest effects due to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Due to the GST, the competition among companies was going to increase. So prices will go down. It will help consumers from lower middle class and poor sections,” Modi said.

“Earlier, transportation by trucks would take five days but it has come down to just three three days now as checkposts on borders have vanished after the GST. It means transportation cost has gone down. This is going to be transferred to consumers,”

Taking a dig at those opposed to the GST, he said: “Some people may be taking advantage of the lack of awareness. However, the benefits will be transferred (to consumers) in days to come.”

Talking about the conference, Modi said: “It shows how seriously we take the needs of our citizens and how we strive hard to solve their problems”.

“It is the first conference in the region, where everyone is trying in their own ways to save the interest of consumers. However, we have to keep in mind that the world is going towards a single market,” Modi said.(IANS)

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Tillerson’s Visit to India Highlights Strong Emerging Alliance

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting at the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi. VOA

The United States pledged its commitment to deepening strategic ties with India as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders in New Delhi during a visit that highlighted their strong emerging alliance.

Combating terrorism and expanding India’s role in helping Afghanistan’s development were key issues discussed by Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Tillerson, who arrived in the capital city after stops in Kabul and Islamabad.

At a news conference after the talks, Tillerson extended an assurance that “in the fight against terrorism, the United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with India. Terrorist safe havens will not be tolerated.”

The top U.S. diplomat visited the region after the Trump administration unveiled a new South Asia strategy calling on India to play a larger role in Afghanistan’s economic stabilization and on Pakistan to take more action against militant groups based in the country.

Indian foreign minister Swaraj said President Donald Trump’s new strategy for the region “can only be successful if Pakistan acts decisively against all terror groups without any discrimination.” New Delhi has long blamed Islamabad for supporting insurgent groups that carry out terror acts in India.

Tillerson, who last week said that he sees India as a key partner in the face of what he considers negative Chinese influence in Asia, reiterated that India could play a wider role in the region. Analysts say Washington’s overtures for closer ties with India are prompted by the need to counter China’s rise.

Tillerson told reporters “the United States supports India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to contribute to Indian capabilities to provide security throughout the region.” He said Washington was willing to provide New Delhi with advanced technologies for its military modernization.

“We also look forward to further cooperation in the broader Indo Pacific region as we both promote a rules-based approach to commerce and a transparent and sustainable approach to economic development,” he said.(VOA)