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Key highlights of India-Africa Forum Summit

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New Delhi: Reforms in United Nations Security Council, climate change, terrorism, defense and trade were among the major issues deliberated upon in the four-day India-Africa Forum Summit that concluded on Thursday at the Indira Gandhi National Stadium in New Delhi.

The two previous India-Africa summits in 2008 and 2011, in New Delhi and Addis Ababa respectively, saw only a representative participation from African countries. However, this was perhaps the first time that all the 54 African countries came together outside the continent for such a meeting. Over 50 heads of state or government and senior officials from across Africa converged in the capital for the October 26-29 summit.

In a continent where China has long ruled the diplomatic and economic zone with an investment of $200 billion in the last 15 years, this initiative by the Modi government has paved the way for India to reach out to the fast-developing continent which has a similar demographic profile to ours and also harbors rich resources.

Modi also announced that the summit will be held in five-year intervals instead of three to ensure that projects are implemented between two summits.

The summit discussed issues related to trade, self-reliance, economic liberalization and how to decrease Official Development Assistance (ODA) dependence in African nations. The following is what we took away from the IAFS:

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Modi aims “to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities” and therefore, he invited African nations to join an alliance of solar-rich countries that India has proposed to launch in Paris on November 30 at the time of Conference of Parties meeting.
  • He hopes to reach a “comprehensive and concrete outcome” in the UN Convention on Climate Change with “a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable; provides finance and technology to developing countries to access it; and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change”.
  • Modi said that both India and the African nations want to “light up the lives of our people and power their future,” but that it should be done in such a manner that “snow on Kilimanjaro does not disappear, the glacier that feeds the River Ganga does not retreat.”

TERRORISM AND DEFENSE

  • Counter terrorism, maritime security, cyber security and defense cooperation were the most common issues in the series of bilateral talks, with 12 of the 19 meetings targeting terrorism and defense issues. This shift in focus speaks of the turn in the major world issues in the current timeline.
  • The Kenyan and Nigerian presidents respectively brought up the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya and the continuing raids by Boko Haram’s continued raids in Nigeria and neighboring states. Boko Haram, which has perpetuated violence in large parts of north-east Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, declared its allegiance to the Islamic State earlier this year.
  • The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called for “better information exchange between the governments”.
  • Lesotho Prime Minister Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili also discussed defence cooperation, and praised the Indian armed forces who have been training officers from Lesotho.
  • According to an Indian Express report, Africa “wants to increase the capability of their defence forces and have a robust intelligence-sharing mechanism”.
  • Modi has repeatedly spoken against the rising issue of terrorism plaguing the world and the need to counter it.

UNSC REFORMS

  • One of the top agendas of the summit was to gain support to win India a place in the UN Security Council. Modi spoke towards changing the working of the United Nations in a way which would better reflect the current geo-political picture of the world. He said that “our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today”.
  • “Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity,” the prime minister added, making a point that India and Africa need to “speak in one voice” towards the cause.

TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Modi promised to give high priority to the trade and investment flow between India and Africa and cited defence and security cooperation as the key to the India-Africa partnership. He also promised to ensure “full and effective implementation of the duty-free access extended to 34 countries”.
  • He also pledged a grant assistance of $600 million to the continent, which would include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. It will also include 50,000 scholarships for African students in India and “support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa.”
  • “We will work with you to realise your vision of a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth, empowered citizens and sustainable development; an integrated and culturally vibrant Africa; and, a peaceful and secure Africa, which has its rightful global place and is a strong partner for the world,” Modi said in his concluding remarks.

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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)