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Sanskrit binds India and Lithuania together

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New Delhi: The Make in India Week in Mumbai witnessed the arrival of Lithuania ambassador Laimonas Talat-Kelpša. It was also the 98th anniversary of Lithuania’s independence. On behalf of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented with a unique gift: a specially published small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary.

A common Indian might feel the presence of this exotic-sounding European country, an uncanny one.

With the fastest public WiFi in whole Europe, Lithuania has been ranked as the 20th best country for doing business this year; standing at number eight in ease of starting a business and taking it less than three days to start a new venture there.

However, with the active involvement of Lithuania in the club of world’s leading economies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and with India upping its game in making a global presence, the two countries seem to strengthen and renew their ties.

PM bestowed with Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary

A small Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary was published and gifted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Make in India Week program in Mumbai.

This shows how both countries use common words in their every dialect which helps in generating a positive energy. This further strengthens Indo-Lithuanian ties, with people in authority able to reconnect and make significant international trading decisions.

Why the unfamiliarity with Lithuania?

Often mistaken for Ludhiana in Punjab, the place is uncommon to the Indian ear. Lithuania is lesser known in India due to various reasons:

  • The linguistic connection shared by India and Lithuania is bound till academics only.
  • Constrained in World War II and Cold War, ties could not be built with Lithuania. This was because India didn’t hold the adequate freedom to take actions of its own.
  • Also, previous 24 years of our diplomatic ties included high-level visits and large-scale initiatives; this made relations good but limited.

Indo-Lithuania- interweaved with striking similarities

  • The striking resemblance of words and grammatical structures in Sanskrit and Lithuanian, smoothly overlapping into modern Hindi.
  • Many words like dievas (देव)- when we appeal to God, labas (लाभ)- wishing each other wealth and prosperity, ašara(अश्रु)- tears of joy and sorrow, and sapnas (सपना)- dreams, are a part of Hindi and Lithuanian language.
  • Making Indian presence in Lithuania more prominent, a ten-fold rise in the past three years in the number of Indian students seeking education opportunities in Lithuania has been witnessed.
  • With 66 percent increase, Indo-Lithuanian trade crossed the EUR100m mark. The steady growth will significantly increase with the upcoming conclusion of Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement between India and the European Union.
  • Commercial links have been expanding, despite the difficult economic situation worldwide.

The future to come

Upcoming years could be challenging but opportunities would be in the bounty:

  • Intensified high-level visits between the two countries, supported by business delegations and extensive cultural programs.
  • In 2017, India and Lithuania will celebrate 25 years of their diplomatic relations. With India celebrating its 70th anniversary that year, Lithuania will be celebrating its Centennial in 2018.
  • Important agreements in areas of Agriculture, Cultural Exchange, Extradition, and Science & Technology, are already under negotiation, paving the way for speedy implementation.
  • After an impending decision being considered for the past ten years, Indian resident mission may open soon in Lithuania.
  • Also, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may choose to become the first Indian leader to visit Lithuania and the Baltic States, signifying deeper ties.

Just like India, Lithuania is a country built from scratch. Accomplishing 37th position in the UN Human Development Index, the nation boasts of excellent social and educational conditions. All this achieved in mere 26 years. Therefore, India understands its hard-earned transformation best. (Inputs from ibnlive.com)(Image source: wikimedia.org)

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Eastern Europe Sees A Rise in Number of HIV Cases

Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people worldwide have become infected with HIV.

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A patient is seen in a ward at the state-run Lavra clinic, Ukraine's main HIV treatment center, in Kyiv. VOA

More than 130,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV last year in Eastern Europe, the highest rate ever for the region, while the number of new cases in Western Europe declined, global public health experts said on Wednesday.

European Union and European Economic Area countries saw a reduction in 2017 rates, mainly driven by a 20 percent drop since 2015 among men who have sex with men. That left Europe’s overall increasing trend less steep than previously.

All told, almost 160,000 people were diagnosed in Europe with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, according to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional office for Europe.

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“It’s hard to talk about good news in the face of another year of unacceptably high numbers of people infected with HIV,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of the WHO regional office.

Calling on governments and health officials to recognize the seriousness of the situation, she urged them: “Scale up your response now.”

The United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS warned in July that complacency was starting to stall the fight against the global epidemic, with the pace of progress not matching what is needed.

Some 37 million people worldwide are infected with HIV.

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Students with their faces painted with messages pose during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign to mark the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, in Chandigarh, India, May 20, 2018. (VOA)

The WHO’s European Region is made up of 53 countries with a combined population of nearly 900 million. Around 508 million of those live in the 28 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The joint report said one reason for the persistence of HIV in Europe is that many people infected with the virus are diagnosed late, meaning they are more likely to have already passed it on and are also at an advanced stage of infection.

It also found that in the European region, men suffer disproportionately from HIV, with 70 percent of new HIV cases diagnosed in 2017 occurring in men.

Also Read: Experts Warn About The Return of AIDS Epidemic

Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people worldwide have become infected with HIV.

Almost half of them – 35.4 million – have died of AIDS. (VOA)