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Australia continues to flag India as Travel Destination that warrants a “high degree of caution”

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Taj Mahal
Is Taj Maha just a 'cemetery'? Pixabay

New Delhi, April 13, 2017: Australia may be considering India a priority country in its international relationship as the two nations move towards closer strategic and security cooperation following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s just-concluded visit to India, but in its official travel advisory Australia continues to flag India as a travel destination that warrants a “high degree of caution” .

In fact, an intending Australian traveller to India may be well discouraged from planning a visit to the country — or even cancelling a planned visit — if he or she were to read all the warnings and caveats about the “high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime, and the high rate of vehicle accidents” as well as the safety of women, poor air quality and social volatility.

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The Australian travel advisory was updated as late as March 20 this year — days before Turnbull visited India and reviewed with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi “the entire gamut of bilateral relations; number of forward-looking decisions taken to further strengthen our partnership”.

India has been trying to woo visitors from Australia with its “Incredible India” campaign. Last year, India organised “Confluence: Festival of India in Australia” from August to November “to provide a boost to tourism and to the art precincts in” Indian cities.

But the advisory on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian government says “there are several regions of India where we advise Australians to reconsider your need to travel, or avoid all travel”.

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“Violent protests and demonstrations occur sporadically throughout India,” says the advisory.

“Exercise a high degree of caution in India because of the high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.”

The advisory also includes venues of Indian festivals, religious sites and markets where “travellers should maintain heightened vigilance”.

Without naming Pakistan or any other country, the advisory points out that militants cross “the border into India with the intention of conducting attacks”.

“It is likely they will continue to try and do so. Terrorist groups regularly issue statements threatening to launch attacks in India.”

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“The threat of terrorism exists in all Indian cities and tourist centres. In the past, terrorists have targeted areas frequented by tourists including hotels, markets, tourist sites, transport hubs and public transport networks, and religious sites.

“Attacks have also targeted local courts, sporting events and cinemas, and Indian security and political establishments. Major tourist sites and shopping centres are also potential targets for attack,” the advisory goes on to say.

Cautioning against “dangerous” road travel, “undisciplined and aggressive” driving practices “poor quality and congested” Indian roads, Australian visitors are also warned that “you are three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in India than in” the home country.

“Accidents are commonplace and the number of road traffic deaths is high. Travelling by road at night is particularly dangerous due to insufficient or non-existent street lighting and the presence of other vehicles driving with headlights off or on high beam. Vehicles may travel in the wrong direction, often without warning.”

The advisory also flags women safety as a high-priority issue, cautioning females visiting India for religious purposes against risks of sexual assaults by faith leaders.

“There are persistent allegations and media reports of sexual misconduct involving religious groups and their leaders in India. Australians visiting India for such religious purposes should be aware of these risks.”

It also notes that foreign women could be subjected to “unwanted attention and more serious harassment and assault” in India where “successful prosecutions are rare”.

After reading this ominous advisory not many Australians may be inclined to make India their immediate travel destination. (IANS)

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)