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India, United States likely to strengthen cooperation and intensify Intelligence sharing on Terrorism

The governments also agreed on a "joint cyber framework to reduce cybercrime," according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

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Barak Obama and Narendra Modi. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 31, 2016: The United States and India announced on Tuesday that they are strengthening cooperation on fighting terrorism.

The two democracies will intensify intelligence sharing and specifically “work for the early operationalization of an agreement on exchanging information on known or suspected terrorists,” India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, told reporters in New Delhi.

The governments also agreed on a “joint cyber framework to reduce cybercrime,” according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Overall, ministers and officials of India and the United States are touting a significantly expanded strategic and economic relationship, which Kerry said, “couldn’t come at a more important moment.”

Students in Agartala, India, show solidarity with victims of a terrorist attack on a Bangladeshi café in early July. On Tuesday, Indian and U.S. officials announced plans for greater cooperation in combatting terrorism (VOA)
Students in Agartala, India, show solidarity with victims of a terrorist attack on a Bangladeshi café in early July. On Tuesday, Indian and U.S. officials announced plans for greater cooperation in combatting terrorism (VOA)

The wide-ranging second U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue is the latest in a series of significant meetings and agreements that have moved traditionally non-aligned New Delhi into a significantly closer relationship with Washington amid rising concerns in both capitals about a more assertive China.

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“The bilateral relationship is gradually entering a phase where India can certainly look forward to being regarded as a close ally or partner of the U.S.,” said Reshmi Kazi, an associate fellow at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, an autonomous research institution funded by India’s defense ministry. “There might be rising apprehensions in China about deepening of strategic ties between the U.S. and India for obvious reasons.”

The “intensity of the bilateral relationship is unprecedented,” said Swaraj, as she initiated the dialogue held at her ministry.

Issues under discussion range from U.S. quotas for temporary work visas to American assistance for upgrading India’s power grid.

India, the world’s largest democracy, in recent years has kicked aside numerous trade barriers. New Delhi has set a goal with Washington to expand bilateral trade five-fold to $500 billion annually.

To reach that goal, participants in the current dialogue need to “think bigger, act bolder,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the other Cabinet-level official attending from Washington.

“We must make it easier for Indian and American companies to buy from each other, to invest in each other, and to create with each other.”

CEO forum
Kerry met Tuesday with India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval. He is scheduled to hold talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the Pentagon would welcome a much more comprehensive defense relationship with India, some analysts in India say they believe New Delhi will only stray so far from its traditional policy of eschewing alliances.

“There has been no rush, and bilateral defense ties are being forged only when India has felt the need for greater cooperation with the U.S.,” Kazi, who is also a visiting fellow at the Stimson Center, told VOA. “Hence, there is no abrogation of India’s traditional diplomatic stance of being non-aligned.”

Joint military drills

The dialogue in New Delhi comes a day after the two countries, at the Pentagon, signed a watershed agreement to allow their military forces access to each other’s bases for repairs and to replenish supplies; however, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) stops short of allowing each nation to set up bases and access to military facilities in the respective countries will only occur when they agree to operate together.

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“India’s deepening military cooperation could possibly be interpreted as a signal to China not to disturb India’s maritime security in the Indian Ocean region,” Kazi said.

U.S. and Indian forces are now also conducting significant annual joint drills, something else unimaginable a generation ago when the United States was a critical military backer of India’s archrival, Pakistan.

Next month’s joint drill, in the mountains of northern India, will include integration of both armies “working together down at the platoon level,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, who commands the U.S. Army’s I Corps. (VOA)

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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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‘World’s Oldest’ Buddha Statue Unearthed in Pakistan During Excavations

A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

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Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue is found excavated in Pakistan. Pixabay.

Islamabad, November 17: A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology And Museums Director Abdul Samad told Dawn News: “The 48-feet-long sleeping Buddha statue dates back to the third century, which makes it the world’s oldest sleeping Buddha statue.”

He said that archaeologists found the statue, with its head intact, during excavations near the Bhamala Stupa.

“We have discovered more than 500 Buddha-related objects during excavations, in addition to the 48-feet long ‘sleeping Buddha’,” he said.

The latest discoveries by the archaeologists have opened new chapters in the history of the ancient Taxila Valley Civilisation.

“This is one of the few sites in the world to have the cruciform Stupa, which was reserved for Buddha himself,” Samad had said. (IANS)