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Enormous progress in India-US ties under Modi

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Washington: With enormous progress in India-US relationship since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, the US says it looks forward to its further deepening and becoming more productive.

“There’s been enormous progress in US-India relations, and certainly since Prime Minister Modi came into office,” State department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Friday when asked about the outcome of first India-US strategic and commercial dialogue here.

The relationship continues to deepen and grow on the security front and certainly diplomatically, and we look forward to that relationship continuing to grow and to deepen and to become more productive,” he said.

“I think everybody has every expectation that it will.”

Kirby did not give a direct answer as to how the recently concluded deal over Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between 12 Asia Pacific nations covering 40 percent of global trade, would affect India.

“We believe it’s good for not just American economic growth but strategic relationships there in the region, and stability, the stability that can come from prosperity,” he said.

Secretary of State John Kerry, Kirby said, “looks forward to getting the agreement in force and to seeing what it can do for our prosperity, our security, here at home and in the region. And I think what we need to do now is to get it into force.”

Meanwhile, Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) argued that it is in US interests to develop a more ambitious vision for US economic ties with India.

US should work closely “with Indian officials on a road-map toward that goal-with APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) a good start as a nonbinding trade promotion forum, and then discussion of a free trade agreement in the longer-term or Indian membership in TPP,” she suggested..

Asked about India’s ambitious plan to cut its emission levels by 33-35 percent over the next 15 years, Kirby said he had not seen India’s announcement.

“But obviously, any contributions by India towards helping us deal with the problems of climate change and clean energy initiatives are welcome, and we would look forward to working in close cooperation to achieve those goals,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the 2015 Global Diaspora Week launch event “Partnering for Global Impact”, secretary of state John Kerry said diaspora communities are also helping to build shared prosperity and empower women entrepreneurs.

“The Calvert Foundation, together with USAID and the State Department, just launched an initiative that will make it easier for the Indian American diaspora to invest in small and medium-sized businesses back home,” he said.

(By Arun Kumar, IANS)

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U.S. President Barack Obama Makes Last Foreign Trip of his Presidency

Trump has repeatedly spoken against international agreements reached during Obama's presidency

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President Barack Obama back from vacation (representational image) VOA

November 15, 2016: U.S. President Barack Obama departs Monday on the final planned foreign trip of his presidency, and his advisors expect President-elect Donald Trump will be a primary topic of discussion with other leaders.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the itinerary with stops in Greece, Germany and Peru is a signal of solidarity to the country’s closest allies and a way to show “support for a strong and integrated and united Europe.”

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The only major planned speech is in Greece, on Wednesday, addressing work that remains to tackle economic challenges there and elsewhere in the world while promoting inclusive growth and combating inequality.

Rhodes said Obama will also, in talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, express support for what the Greek people have gone through in response to their economic crisis that brought international bailouts and strict requirements for cutting spending and public services.

FILE - German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech during the opening ceremony of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Sept. 4, 2016. VOA
FILE – German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech during the opening ceremony of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Sept. 4, 2016. VOA

Berlin leg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts Obama for talks Thursday. Rhodes highlighted the importance of the relationship, calling Merkel “the president’s closest partner over the course of his entire presidency.”

The leaders of Britain, France, Italy and Spain will also be in Berlin for meetings Friday that are expected to include the ongoing fight against Islamic State, issues related to migration, the situation in Ukraine, and last week’s U.S. election.

Trump has repeatedly spoken against international agreements reached during Obama’s presidency, including the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, the international climate deal that went into effect last month and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that has not cleared the U.S. Congress. He also defeated Obama’s fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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FILE - White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes speaks to reporters during a press briefing, Aug. 22, 2014, in Edgartown, Massachusetts. VOA
FILE – White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes speaks to reporters during a press briefing, Aug. 22, 2014, in Edgartown, Massachusetts. VOA

Ongoing issues

Rhodes said to reporters in previewing the trip that no matter the outcome of the election, Obama and the rest of his administration have a stake in seeing the next one succeed, and that the world also has a similar interest.

“There are many ongoing issues that we’re working on that are deeply relevant to our security that we will want to discuss, and, again, agreements and alliances that have perpetuated over decades under administrations of many different stripes,” he said.

In terms of the TPP, Obama is expected to meet with the other leaders involved in that deal during his stop in Peru to go over how Trump’s election affects the pact and other trade issues. He also has a meeting scheduled with President Xi Jinping of China, which is not part of the TPP.

FILE - Leaders wave as they pose for a group family photo at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines. VOA
FILE – Leaders wave as they pose for a group family photo at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, Philippines. VOA

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Asia

Obama made the Asia-Pacific region a major focus of his foreign policy, and in Peru his main agenda will be talking with leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Trump could decide on a different stance toward Asia, but Rhodes said that because of the region’s growth and the number of treaty and trade partners the U.S. has there, he believes it will remain a priority. (VOA)

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Bengaluru Won’t Even Have Water To Drink: Siddaramaiah to Modi

CM of Karnataka writes to PM about possible water shortage following Cauvery dispute

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Highlights:

  • Siddaramaiah writes to Modi for intervention in the Cauvery Dispute
  • Says that Tamil Nadu has enough water
  • Asks Modi to call for the meeting of the CMs of basin states

The plot of Cauvery Dispute thickens as Chief Minister of Karnataka calls for intervention of Prime Minister for quick resolution of matter.

Siddaramaiah wrote a two page letter attracting the attention of Modi to extreme unrest in the Cauvery basin especially in Bangalore (Bengaluru) city following the order of the Supreme Court which directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for ten days.

“If this continues it would deprive drinking water not only to the residents of Bangalore (Bengaluru) city, but also to the farmers of the Cauvery basin,” he wrote.

Siddaramaiah also pointed the adverse affects of this condition on the future of the country’s economy because as conditions worsen in Bengaluru, it’ll have a direct impact on its IT industries.

In the letter he even stated that Tamil Nadu was in a more comfortable position than Karnataka as the present storage in the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu would be more than sufficient to meet the requirement of water for the Samba rice crop.

In a rather satirical tone Siddaramaiah wrote that ‘state BJP unit had proposed to the government not to implement the order of the apex court.’ He added “However, as a constitutional chief executive of the state, I have taken it upon myself to obey the orders of the SC and the water is being released as per the order, which has created more unrest and disquiet in the state.”

Finally Siddaramaiah asks Prime Minister Modi to intervene directly in the matter and call the meeting of all the CMs of basin states(Jayalalithaa for TN) to resolve the impasse.

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PM Narendra Modi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on Independence Day

Modi addressed the nation from the 17th-century Mughal monument, Red Fort

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Flag of India, Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI, August15, 2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation here on the occasion of 70th Independence Day and paid a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial here in Rajghat.

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Modi said,“Today on this special day, I convey my greetings to 125 crore Indians and the Indian community living overseas. May this energy guide the nation to scale newer heights of progress in the years to come.

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We remember Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Pandit Nehru, countless people who sacrificed their lives so that we attained Swarajya.”

On the occasion of nation’s 70th Independence Day, Modi is scheduled to address the nation from the 17th-century Mughal monument, Red Fort, where scores of VVIPs are expected to be present. (IANS)