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Indian Americans can help India realise its full potential and how to deal with Challenges in a better manner

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A Indian Woman holding Flag (Representational Image), Pixabay
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– by Frank Islam

May 4, 2017: In 2010, during his first visit to India, President Barack Obama proclaimed: “I believe that India and America are indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of their times.”

I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment and feel strongly that Indian Americans can play a key role in strengthening that partnership and helping India achieve its full potential.

Because of their accomplishments in the United States and understanding of India, Indian Americans are uniquely positioned to step forward and provide assistance to address pressing issues in their mother country.

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Consider the following remarkable statistics reported by Indiaspora, a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco with a mission of transforming the success of Indian-Americans into meaningful impact worldwide:

* Highest household income of any ethnic group in the US — $100,000 versus a national average of $51,000

* 32% have Bachelors degrees versus 18% for the US overall

* 38% have advanced degrees versus 10% for the US overall

These numbers reveal the potential that Indian-Americans have to help India achieve its full potential. They can make a substantial contribution in any number of areas.

To maximise their involvement, I recommend that Indian Americans align their investments of time, talent and money in the areas discussed as part of the India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

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The Dialogue was established by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama during the latter’s visit in 2015 as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Simultaneously, a business roundtable comprising Modi, Obama, senior government officials and prominent CEOs from both countries was convened. I had the privilege to participate in that roundtable as one of the US representatives.

The roundtable provided initial inputs to the Dialogue, the first of which was held in September 2015 and the second in 2016.

The Dialogue develops position statements in a wide range of policy areas. Some of the promising areas are:

* Innovation and Entrepreneurship through the Start-up India initiative to further collaboration between Indian and US start-ups, venture capitalists and other stakeholders.

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* Commerce, Economy and Growth: One focal point is helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to spur growth and create jobs across India. A priority here is to create a platform for sharing best practices and technology with SMEs and helping them access financing to participate in global supply chains.

* Smart Cities Cooperation: India has launched an ambitious smart cities initiative, which aims to develop more than a hundred smart cities. In the most recent dialogue, emphasis was placed on continuing reverse trade missions to look at smart solutions for these respective cities.

* Health: One of the heathcare priorities in this broad category is the control of infectious diseases and the initiation of programmes on vaccines for TB, dengue, and respiratory syncytial virus through public-private partnerships.

* Education: An education priority is “to increase cooperation in all higher education areas, including … vocational training, technical and professional education and philanthropy in higher education.” Because of the difference that education can make, higher education is one of my personal priorities for philanthropic investment.

Indian Americans have the character, capacity and competence to be leaders in addressing the pivotal areas identified and in many other areas as well. In fact, many are already doing so.

I know numerous Indian American groups and individuals who are extending a hand to help India achieve its full potential. I urge more Indian Americans to join them as allies in this most important joint venture between Indian Americans and their counterparts in India. (IANS)

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two about the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read : China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s boarders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June, 2017 and 5 July, 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons  as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July, 2017, China asked India again to withrew its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July, 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read : Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab ?

What followed till 16th August, 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters awayfrom their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue for now is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.