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Indian PM Narendra Modi dedicates ‘Salma Dam’ to Afghan-India Friendship

Pakistan accuses India of covertly supporting an insurgency in its restive Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, is escorted by Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah as he leaves Kabul at the city's airport, Dec. 25, 2015. Image source: VOA
  • The Salma Dam, referred to as the Afghanistan India Friendship Dam by both countries
  • The dam is one of 200 projects completed by India in Afghanistan
  • India is seen in Afghanistan as a strong ally and a partner

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a dam in Afghanistan’s western Herat province Saturday, June 4 that had been 40 years in the making due to war and upheaval in the country.

The Salma Dam, referred to as the Afghanistan India Friendship Dam by both countries, is built with $300 million of Indian money. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office tweeted warm messages for Modi as he landed in Herat.

“Most welcome to my dearest friend, @narendramodi to his second home AFG. Look forward to a great conversation,” Ghani’s tweet said.

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The dam is one of 200 projects completed by India in Afghanistan, with more expected in future. “I want to give the good news to my people that ‘#AFG-#India #FriendshipDam’ is prologue to construction of many dams,” one of President Ghani’s tweets read.

In his inauguration speech, Modi emphasized the strength of his country’s relations with Afghanistan: “…for others, their commitments may have a sunset clause, but our relationship is timeless,” he said.

The 107 meter high, 550 meter long earth and rock filled dam will come online next year and start generating around 42 megawatts of electricity for mostly residential and agricultural use.

Preparation to inaugurate the Salma Dam, referred to as the Afghanistan India Friendship Dam by both countries, and is built with $300 million of Indian money, June 4, 2016. Image source: bjp.org
Preparation to inaugurate the Salma Dam, referred to as the Afghanistan India Friendship Dam by both countries, and is built with $300 million of Indian money, June 4, 2016. Image source: bjp.org

“The completion of the Afghan-India friendship dam represents the culmination of years of hard work by around 1,500 Indian and Afghan engineers and other professionals in very difficult conditions,” Vikas Swarup, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters.

This was Modi’s second visit to Afghanistan in six months. After the inauguration of the dam, he was also awarded Afghanistan’s highest civilian honor, the Amir Amanullah Khan award.

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India is seen in Afghanistan as a strong ally and a partner, unlike its neighbor Pakistan, which is viewed as supporting the Afghan Taliban responsible for violent attacks in the country.

Analysts say Pakistan’s support of the Taliban stems from concerns that a Delhi-friendly government in Kabul would lead to encirclement. Pakistan shares its eastern border with India and western border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan accuses India of covertly supporting an insurgency in its restive Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan.

In March, Taliban militants fired a barrage of rockets at Afghanistan’s newly built parliament complex in Kabul.

The complex, built by India at an estimated cost of $90 million, was inaugurated by Modi in December. India and Afghanistan recently signed a transit agreement with Pakistan’s third neighbor, Iran, to develop a southern port at Chabahar, which will bypass Pakistan to give India and Afghanistan access to Central Asia. (VOA)

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61% Indian Business Leaders Fear Cybercrime Risk During Covid-19

61% of Indian business owners think their business may experience cybercrime during Covid-19

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SMBs believe that cybercrime is more likely to occur during Covid-19 situation than before. Pixabay

About 61 per cent of Indian business leaders and decision-makers think their business is more likely to experience a serious cybercrime during the Covid-19 situation as opposed to 45 per cent globally, said a survey on Tuesday.

About a third of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe that cybecrime is more likely to occur during Covid-19 situation than before, showed the study by US-based cybersecurity company CrowdStrike.

From February to March alone, CrowdStrike found that there was a 100x increase in Covid-19 themed malicious files.

Interestingly 62 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed, the highest among all the countries surveyed, provided additional training for their staff to learn how to avoid threats and Cybercrime while working from home.

The “CrowdStrike Work Security Index” surveyed 4,048 senior decision-makers in India, Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, and the U.S across major industry sectors.

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62 per cent of Indian businesses surveyed provided additional training for their staff to learn how to avoid threats while working from home. Pixabay

The survey looked into the attitudes and behaviours towards cybersecurity during the Covid-19 situation.

Also Read: Indians Watch 54% Online Videos in Hindi: Youtube

It included responses from 526 Indian decision-makers across small, medium and large business enterprises.

The survey revealed that a large majority of respondents around the globe are now working remotely, with more than half of them working remotely directly as a result of the pandemic.

This, in turn has given rise to the use of personal devices, including laptops and mobile devices, for work purposes, with 60 per cent of respondents reporting that they are using personal devices to complete work — with countries like Singapore and India even reaching 70 per cent or higher in personal device usage. (IANS)

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Here’s Why China is Predictable and Not Inscrutable

India could’ve easily predicted the Chinese coming on 5 August 2019

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The Chinese actions are far away from being Inscrutable. Pixabay

As the tensions rise between India and China along the borders in Ladakh, Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print invokes an American political satirist P.J. O’Rourke.

Talking about his works Shekhar points out that in his ‘A Brief History of Man’, P.J. O’Rourke writes a small sentence “Meanwhile, in China, there were the Chinese.”. This sentence is relevant to us today.

Shekhar Gupta believes that the sentence conveys us a sense of resignation about the “inscrutable” Chinese. This thought happens to be familiar thought in the West.

“But we don’t live in the West. We’ve lived next door to China for as long as first civilisations grew.”, writes Shekhar Gupta

Let’s look at the history of Indian interactions with China since independance. What is inscrutable about it? Talking about the military assault across two fronts in 1962, it may have been a surprise to our leaders back then, but that is only because they were delusional.

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Chinese actions in respect to India are predictable now. Pixabay

From Chinese ultimatum to India to “return their stolen yaks and sheep” in 1965, to their appearance along the Ladakh frontier this year, China happens to be completely predictable and far from inscrutable. Especially keeping in mind Chinese actions in respect to India.

The push at Nathu La (Sikkim) in 1967 was probably to check out the resolve from India. Which they saw at its weakest — having fought two recent wars (1962 and 1965), famines, ship-to-mouth existence, political instability and a diminished Indira Gandhi. . The Indian response was a lesson they quickly learnt. What did the Chinese do after that? They have kept the peace for 53 years. Will you call that response evidence of Chinese inscrutability? They probed us, got a rude push-back, and decided to wait and stir the pot in different ways, at different times, says Shekhar Gupta in his artcile for The Print.

The Chinese kept the hold of what they wanted in 1962. According to Shekhar the truth is, they had it in their possession almost fully, barring small, tactically important slivers in Ladakh. They asserted their ownership and let their larger claim, Arunachal Pradesh, fully in Indian control, go militarily uncontested.

The Chinese never gave up claim on it. In 1986-87, they again checked us out at Wangdung-Sumdorong Chu (Arunachal), when they saw Rajiv Gandhi take India’s defence budget to a 4 per cent-plus of GDP. And once more, the response was firm and the Chinese backed off. The lesson we learnt according to Shekhar Gupta is that the Chinese won’t open fire randomly for the sake of it, Or when they are absolutely sure of an easy victory so they could be seen like ‘teaching an upstart a lesson’ as they did in 1962. Predictable.

Each and every action and response of China fits a pattern- Deliver a message, add leverage, and return, according to Shekhar Gupta.

India, China and Pakistan shared this unusual ‘triangulation’ in which China was using Pakistan to keep India preoccupied, said Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his tenure.

His idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. He thought, that a country as big and powerful as China, would see less of an incentive for peace with India than Pakistan.

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Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. Wikimedia Commons

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Shekhar Gupta believes that today, that option is not so available, as hostility with Pakistan is central to the Modi-BJP politics. They’d rather make peace with China than Pakistan. That is why the lavish welcomes and frequent meetings with the Chinese leaders. The objective, still, is escaping that triangle.

Another instance of Vajpayee explaining the Chinese negotiating style. “Dekhiye, aap aur hum baithe hain aur vaarta kar rahe hain (see, you and I are sitting and negotiating),” he said. If two people require something and the first person asks to let go of something, the other will say no. Then the first person again asks for something little less, then again the other person might say no. But ultimately the second person will relent and let go of some. The Chinese would never do that.

Both these leaders underlined that the Chinese are consistent, and predictable. And that is why we should not be shoched or surprised by what they have unveiled across Ladakh. We should have anticipated it on 5 August last year when we made the big changes in Jammu & Kashmir. This Chinese move, like all others in 60 years, was fully predictable. Even the timing, says Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print.

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VandaTheGod: Researchers Identify Super Hacker With 4,820 Records of Hacked Websites

VandaTheGod is said to hack governments, corporations and individuals

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A super hacker with the name of VandaTheGod was identified by researchers. Pixabay

A super hacker by the name of VandaTheGod who hacked governments, corporations and individuals alike since 2013 has been linked with high certainty to a specific Brazilian individual from the city of Uberlandia.

Researchers at Isreali cybersecurity firm Check Point said they have relayed the findings to law enforcement agencies to enable them to take further action, adding that adding the social media activities on profiles associated with VandaTheGod came to a halt towards the end of 2019.

Since 2013, many official websites belonging to governments worldwide were hacked and defaced by an attacker who self-identified as ‘VandaTheGod.’

The hacker targeted governments in numerous countries, including: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

“Many of the messages left on the defaced websites implied that the attacks were motivated by anti-government sentiment, and were carried out to combat social injustices that the hacker believed were a direct result of government corruption,” Check Point said on Thursday.

VandaTheGod didn’t just go after government websites, but also launched attacks against public figures, universities, and even hospitals.

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Super hacker VandaTheGod had a personal goal to hack 5,000 websites. Pixabay

In one case, the attacker claimed to have access to the medical records of 1 million patients from New Zealand, which were offered for sale for just $200.

Also Read: Women Dedicating 1/6th of the Day To Social Media, Says Survey

“Most of VandaTheGod’s attacks against governments were politically motivated, but a closer look at some of tweets shows the attacker also trying to achieve a personal goal: hacking a total of 5,000 websites,” said researchers.

The goal was nearly reached, as there are currently 4,820 records of hacked websites linked to VandaTheGod.

“VandaTheGod has proven with numerous successful attacks against reputable websites, that hacktivism often crosses a line into further criminal activity, such as credentials and payment-card theft,” said Check Point. (IANS)