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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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The World Looks Up To India and Modi’s response to Covid-19, commends C’wealth Secy-Gen

The world is looking towards India how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and the people have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland appreciates India and PM Modi's way of dealing with the Pandemic. IANS

The world is looking towards India how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and the people have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, controlled it and minimised it, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. She said she was impressed with the way Prime Minister Modi pulled together members of the SAARC, including Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, the Secretary-General said India — a home to half of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens — is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, with its government, people and institutions contributing in practical ways to collaborate across the 54 member countries, particularly through innovative programmes such as the UN India Fund and Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility.

On the pandemic, she said the whole Commonwealth has been affected by the virus. India reported its first case in January just like the US, Italy and Russia and has made an immense effort to keep the spread of the virus under control and safeguard its citizens. As of May 20, it has over 106,000 cases and 42,298 recoveries — considering the size of its population, India has done well, Scotland said.

“That is why, people are looking to India for how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government and people of India have responded to the pandemic, controlled it and minimised it because it could have been so much worse,” she said. “We know that we have never needed multilateralism more than we do today. I was very impressed with how PM Modi pulled together members of SAARC, including Pakistan — everyone came — in which the need for ‘coming together, not growing apart’ was underlined.

PM Modi
The way Prime Minister Modi pulled together members of the SAARC, including Pakistan is commendable. Pixabay

“I commend India for providing various medical supplies — testing kits and sanitisers among other items — to SAARC members, including Commonwealth member states Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka,” she said. “India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally and can, therefore, draw on its growing pharma industry to provide medical supplies to many small Commonwealth states and we’ve been very interested in how India’s made this contribution.” Thanking to India’s Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for participating in the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting this month, she said he highlighted India’s response to COVID-19, under the highest level of political commitment and guidance of Prime Minister Modi, who has been pro-active.

“The Commonwealth looks forward to working more closely with representatives of government and other agencies to share solutions and advice in fighting this pandemic,” she added. Commonwealth Health Ministers, including Vardhan, at the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the pandemic. The ministers have endorsed removing fees for the coronavirus tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees, as appropriate within national contexts, and creating a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies, including ventilators and testing kits.

Also Read: Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Ayurveda

India will chair the next meeting of the Commonwealth Health Ministers in May 2021. As on May 21, 5,000,038 coronavirus cases have been reported globally. Half a million of these are in the Commonwealth countries. Seven member states are among the 12 nations worldwide that have not reported any cases. (IANS)

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National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

The city of Delhi has slowly and gradually reopened

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Shutters are lifted and shops spruced up as Delhi's markets open after two months as lockdown restrictions are eased. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.

Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.

However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.

Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.

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Though markets are open, they are seeing few customers as people remain wary amid the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.

The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff.  Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.

“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.

Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.

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A customer turns up to buy baking tins — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking has been a therapy for people confined indoors. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.

“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.

“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.

That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.

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Most customers head to shops selling essentials like groceries and medicines. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.

“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.

The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.

“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.

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Shops display signs asking people to wear masks and take precautions as new rules are put in place to cope with the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.

“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.

The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.

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Auto rickshaw drivers don’t see too many customers as most people still hesitate to venture outside. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
 A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.

Also Read: COVID-19 Makes it Difficult to Manage Cancer Care: Oncologist

Mohammad Parvez Khan decided to brave the city’s sizzling summer temperatures to ply his auto rickshaw even during Ramadan because his savings were running out.

“Only we know how we passed these last two months,” he said.

“Every day, when I fasted, I prayed that let the coronavirus go quickly, and may everything come back to how it used to be,” he said. (VOA)

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OnePlus Lays Off Several Workers in Europe With Due Course To its “Restructuring Plans”

According to OnePlus, the changes has nothing to do with the pandemic, but as the company raced towards premium 5G smartphones, carriers like O2 and EE discontinued their partnerships with the brand in the UK

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OnePlus
The Chinese smartphone maker said that it has decided to make some changes to the current organisational structure within Europe to better streamline its operations while continuing to meet the needs of its growing community. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese company OnePlus that launched flagships OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro this week has laid off several workers in Europe as part of its ‘restructuring plans.

The smartphone manufacturer said it is making organisational changes in some existing markets, specifically Germany, France and the UK, adding that “it is doing everything it can to support the approximately 20 total employees in these three markets who will be affected by this restructuring, including offering redundancy packages per local regulations.

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The Chinese smartphone maker said that it has decided to make some changes to the current organisational structure within Europe to better streamline its operations while continuing to meet the needs of its growing community. “These changes only apply to Europe, which remains a key region for OnePlus where we are committed to bringing the best products and services to users as we have done since day one,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.

OnePlus
Chinese company OnePlus that launched flagships OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro this week has laid off several workers in Europe as part of its ‘restructuring plans. Wikimedia Commons

“As part of our strategy, we are looking to capitalise on opportunities in the Nordic region and Benelux by hiring for new positions, relocating some existing European staff and further enhancing our capabilities in these strategic markets,” the company added. However, the teams in Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Belgium appear to be unaffected, as these are the markets where OnePlus apparently sees most potential.

According to OnePlus, the changes has nothing to do with the pandemic, but as the company raced towards premium 5G smartphones, carriers like O2 and EE discontinued their partnerships with the brand in the UK. Ben Wood, Chief Analyst at CCS Insight, said that “OnePlus has fallen into the trap of over-promising and under-delivering”.

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The company is struggling hard to maintain relationships with carriers in Europe. (IANS)