Wednesday January 17, 2018
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Merkel visit: 18 MoUs inked, economy, security, languages in focus

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New Delhi: India and Germany on Monday gave a major boost to their bilateral ties, especially in the economic field, by inking 18 MoUs, including one for setting up a fast-track system for German companies in India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks here.

The range of MoUs, signed during Merkel visit, includes one on security cooperation, and another for promotion of German as a foreign language in India and for the promotion of Modern Indian languages in Germany.

Modi, in his speech, termed the bilateral mechanism of Inter-Governmental Consultation (IGC) as unique, saying it had helped bring growth in relations.

“We see Germany as a natural partner in achieving our vision of India’s economic transformation. German strengths and India’s priorities are aligned. And, so is our mutual goodwill,” he said, after holding the 3rd IGC with Merkel here.

He said both sides had convergence of views and rapidly growing cooperation in the field of clean energy and combating climate change.

Both agreed on the India-Germany Climate and Renewable Alliance for combating climate change, Modi said, and thanked Germany for its over one billion euro aid each for India’s Green Energy Corridor project and for solar projects in India.

“We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 (Conference of Parties) in Paris,” Modi said.

He said both sides will see a boost in partnership in areas of defence manufacturing, trade in advanced technology, intelligence, and countering terrorism and radicalism.

He thanked Germany for its strong support for India’s membership of the international export control regimes.

“As we discussed in the G4 Summit in New York, Chancellor and I are committed to pursue reforms of the United Nations, especially the Security Council,” Modi said.

He also thanked Merkel for the return of a 10th century statue of Durga in her Mahishasurmardini avatar from Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi said the statue is a symbol of the victory of good over evil.

He said: “This also suggests that in this age of transitions and turmoil, India-Germany partnership will be a force of good for the world.”

Merkel, in her media statement, said both sides held very good IGC and bilateral talks. She said the IGC mechanism has underscored the intensity of bilateral ties with India.

She said the inking of so many agreements is a “testimony to the dynamic relations”. She said more than 1,500 German companies are in India and more would be glad to open up in India. She commended the inking of the fast track agreement on German companies. “The speed at which you grant licences has increased, which is a good thing,” Merkel said.

She said Germany can help India in the area of sustainable development in the villages.

On expansion of the UN Security Council, Merkel referred to the meeting of the G4 countries of India, Germany, Japan and Brazil last week in New York and said the members of G4 are trying to seek permanent seat at the UNSC.

Both sides inked an agreement on security cooperation; an MoU on Solar Energy Partnership; for cooperation in the field of Skill Development and Vocational Education and Training; on Security Cooperation; railways and for cooperation in disaster management.

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An insight into the biggest political parties of India

The next state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul Gandhi to prove his mettle as a leader

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The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons
The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: Indian being a political democratic country, houses a lot of political parties. Since independence, many new parties have emerged to take up the fight for various sections of the society. One of the examples of such a party is AAP (Aam Admi Party). AAP came up with strong political ethics to root out issues faced by a commons man but now the very existence of this party is in question due to poor performance and incompetence of some of its top leaders. But the most prominent of all of the political parties in India are BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) and the Indian National Congress.

BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons
BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, BJP surfaced from a former party known as Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. BJP’s agenda during the 1980s focused on the ‘Ram Janambhoomi movement’. The party encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. This issue gave the Hindu colour denomination to BJP and in 1996; it emerged as the largest party in the parliament. After being kept away from the power for long, Narendra Modi led the BJP to unprecedented heights in the last elections and the competition was put up by him was unmatchable.

On the other hand, Congress is a more matured political party of India. It got established in the year 1885. After the independence, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Nehru was the front face of the political governance in India but after his assassination, his daughter Indira Gandhi took the charge and became the prime minister in 1966. Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi also got assassinated and her son, Rajiv Gandhi took up the reigns of the party. In the sequence of assassination, Rajiv Gandhi was the next target. Sonia Gandhi came to power in 1998 and she led the party from the front in 2004 elections. This resulted in the political rule of Congress under Manmohan Singh.

After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons
After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons

The recent Assembly election of Gujarat was a real eye-opener for many, as the people’s right to vote was seen quite considerably y exercised. The Congress resistance in the very own fortress of Narendra Modi was a heavy blow to the Modi wave that swept the country. Although, BJP had the last laugh in the election results but the close fight Syama Prasad Mookerjee from the Congress side was appreciable. The new trend seems to be rebalancing the political scenario in India. The tussle between the BJP and Congress will definitely go down in the history of Indian politics.

Nowadays, Twitter is another playground for political parties. The rule of social media platforms has pushed Indian leaders to communicate in the same manner. It’s vividly seen that people take up to twitter to express their views and differences. Rahul Gandhi vetted his displeasure over the performance of BJP in the latest series of attacks by Rahul against Prime Minister Modi.

Last month only, Rahul Gandhi was crowned as the party head. Therefore, the state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul to prove his mettle as a leader. It will be interesting to see the new strategies that will be deployed by Congress to take an edge over their arch rivals, BJP.