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National Fervour at its peak as India celebrates its 70th Independence Day

India is, and will always remain the biggest democracy and is one of the most flourishing nations

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Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the audience on August 15, 1947. Source: Wikimedia Commons
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August 15, 2016:

This day, in 1947, marked the birth of a democratic and free nation. The historic day for Indians who were liberated from the clutches of 200-year-old British Raj. Today, India celebrates its 70th Independence Day amid monsoon showers, Olympic fever and Kashmir unrest. Even amid such tension, the patriotic fervour and zeal of celebrating independence day among Indians have not lost its way!

A refugee train, Punjab Source: Wikimedia Commons
A refugee train, Punjab Source: Wikimedia Commons

Instead of peace, communal violence rules two nations. The Partition of Hindustan into two nations- India and Pakistan were the outcome of pure communal politics, and the atmosphere of tension between the two is evident even today. A report suggests that more than 15 million people migrated from across the borders, and communal riots made it the biggest and the most torturous human resettlement ever.

The love-hate relationship between India and Pakistan ever since has taken an ugly and bitter turn with the increase of terrorism, the emergence of ISIS and Taliban, and Love Jihad.
It is for the first time that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has gone vocal about the terrorism spread by the neighbouring state and has promised to the fellow Indians that he won’t take the issue of India’s security lightly— be it the face of terrorism or the Kashmir narrative. With numerous preventive measures and some multi-national alliances with other countries— especially with Barack Obama and his government, PM Modi has been taking huge steps towards eradicating violence.

I. United we stand: PM Modi began the quest for a united battle against terrorism at the East Asia Summit, Kuala Lumpur in 2015. There needs to be a global solution to combat violence of any sort, especially terrorism and therefore this year, Modi has gone vocal about the international terrorism being spread by the neighbouring country.

II. Combating ISIS: The ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ is not only limited to cleaning all garbage from the country but ironically plans to clean all terrorism and let peace prevail around. Due to UPA’s reluctance, following are the ISI agents who were arrested or executed:

a) Traitors named Irshad Ansari, son Asfaq and brother-in-law Mohammad Jahan were ISI agents arrested from Bengal, who had alleged connections with Trinamool Congress.

b) Confidential information of the Indian Army had been sent to Pakistan by ISI agent Mohammad Kalam. He stayed in Bareilly since 2014 and was regularly paid ₹ 50,000 by ISI.

c) Ranjit, a former IAF officer, was accused and arrested for providing Pakistani intelligence ISI with vital information.

d) BSF officer Abdul Rasheed was arrested along with an ISI agent for cross-border transmission of confidential information.

3. “When terrorism is on the rise across the world and when we are encircled by terrorism sponsored by the neighbouring country, we will have to be united in this fight. The government expects constructive support from all opposition parties on this.” says Modi on the issue of the Kashmir turmoil. In an all-party press conference speech in J&K on August 12, Modi has spoken on a zero-tolerance  proposal on terrorism and Pakistan— that all consecutive violent terrorist activities in the Kashmir Valley are sponsored and ignited by cross-border enmity. Addressing the unrest in Jammu & Kashmir is the urgent need, but not at the cost of the nation’s integrity, says the Indian Prime Minister. The Central government has forwarded an amount of ₹ 80,000 crores to the state government for the re-development of Jammu & Kashmir. Also, in an attempt to increase employment in the Valley, a huge recruitment drive is also planned to be conducted by the Central Government.

In a reaction to Modi’s speech on PoK (Pak occupied Kashmir) and Balochistan’s issues, the Indian Diaspora now feels a ‘sense of belongingness’ says external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

IV. Peace in Nagaland: India is finding difficulties with Hindus (and especially Dalits) converting to Islam and walking the path of terrorism. In an attempt to achieve peace, Modi govt. signed the historic peace treaty with Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland in order to maintain normalcy in north-east India.

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Terrorism is an alarming concern for the entire world, but India as a developing nation is ready to fight with all these issues and rise above them. Nearly 70 years after gaining independence, India has been prospering at high paces. Let us read some of the greatest achievements of India since its independence:

i. Right to Vote: India as the largest democracy has given rights to every adult to vote, and this was implemented from the first day of gaining independence. In the United States, this right was given nearly after 150 years of independence.

ii. Combining the Union: Independence brought partition but also the merging of all princely states into the Union of India, 560 to be precise. All of the acquisition was done without any bloodshed.

iii. Multi-lingual state: India has over 29 active languages and 1,650 dialects, making it the only country with the maximum number of languages spoken. Whereas in comparison, Canada has only English and French since the 1960s.

Hindustan Times, 15 August 1947 Source: Wikimedia Commons
Hindustan Times, 15 August 1947. Image 
Source: Wikimedia Commons

iv. Empowering Goddesses: Ever since 1947, women have begun to be given equal rights and opportunities to grow and sustain themselves. India is the largest in number to ha e women elected in politics, especially as panchayats in villages. It is also the first country to appoint a woman (Pratibha Patil, the 12th President of India) as the head of State. Considering the state of affairs, Sucheta Kriplani was the very first woman chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1963. Following four states have women chief ministers:

a) West Bengal- Mamata Banerjee
b) Rajasthan- Vasundhara Raje
c) Tamil Nadu- J Jayalalitha
d) Gujarat- Anandiben Patel

v. Labour-free childhood: In an attempt to develop socio-economic scenarios in India, literacy has been highly focused on. From merely 12% in 1947 to 74.04% in 2011, the literacy rate in India has increased at a whopping pace.

Mid-day meals are an additional attempt towards achieving the goal which serves 120 million school children, making it the world’s biggest school lunch programme.

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vi. Freedom from Polio: India got Polio affectation rate down to zero since the last polio case was reported in January 2011, in West Bengal. After 20 years of battling the disease nationally, WHO has declared India as a polio-free nation.

vii. Green Revolution of the 1960s: India, before the revolution, suffered from food scarcity and began importing food and grains from foreign. Frequent famines like the Bengal famine of 1943 and others could not be sufficed by the agricultural production in the nation itself. The idea of Green Revolution eradicated this issue by increasing agriculture in Punjab and Haryana by using insecticides, pesticides, improving agricultural infrastructure and bringing land reforms.

Nobel prize holder Kailash Satyarthi in conversation with Narendra Modi. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Nobel prize holder Kailash Satyarthi in conversation with Narendra Modi. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

viii. Proud Indians: The list is endless and the Nobel Prize recipients and holders like Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, Dr. Hargobind Khorana, economist Amartya Sen, Indian origin novelist VS Naipaul are the ones, that Indians know by heart but this year in 2016, Kailash Satyarthi’s name has also been added to the pages of history for his incredible work to end child slavery and protect child rights. He is the fifth Nobel Prize winner for India and the second Indian winner of the Nobel Peace Prize after Mother Teresa.

ix. Non-Alignment: This was a major step taken to prevent World War- III. The world was split up in binaries of US and the Soviet Union, where India chose to be non-aligned in the Cold War.

x. Indian Diaspora: Indians constitute the world’s second largest Diaspora community across the world, with more than 20 million. They majorly reside in the United States, UAE, Canada and UK, contributing greatly to each country’s economic and socio-cultural stability.

xi. The United Nations and India: India has played a crucial role in supporting the objectives of U.N.O like the fight against apartheid and disintegrating colonisation. Various eminent personalities have also held positions in the United Nations, like Mrs. Vijaylakshmi Pandit who was the General Assembly’s President at United Nations.

India is, and will always remain the biggest democracy and is one of the most flourishing nations— rich in culture and heritage, knowledge and intelligence, with the world’s strongest army and even stronger citizens.

 Happy Independence Day to all!

– prepared by Chetna Karnani at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.