Wednesday February 20, 2019
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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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Iran Doubts Europe’s Efforts To Keep Nuclear Deal Alive

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence’s hard-hitting speech at Munich has triggered fears in Europe that Washington has bigger plans, says Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Feb. 17, 2019. VOA

Iran says Europe’s efforts to keep the 2015 nuclear deal are failing and there is growing support among the Iranian people to restart the country’s atomic program.

“We appreciate that Europe has done a great deal politically. But it hasn’t been prepared to make an investment. It hasn’t been prepared to pay a price,” Zarif told delegates at the Munich Security Conference Sunday.

He accused the United States and Israel of seeking war with his country.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence earlier accused Europe of helping to prop up a ‘murderous’ regime in Tehran.

atomic energy
Not at all a call for ‘let’s renegotiate the deal’ but rather ‘let’s remove the regime in Tehran.’ And in that sense I think this was not interpreted as anything that Europe could accept. Pixabay

“They have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions. They call this scheme a Special Purpose Vehicle, we call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime,” Pence told delegates Saturday.

That Special Purpose Vehicle — officially known as INSTEX — is a payments system designed to allow European companies to trade with Iran and bypass U.S. sanctions, explains sanctions lawyer Nigel Kushner of London-based firm “W Legal.”

“The aim is that it will get around the U.S. secondary sanctions by not involving U.S. dollars, not involving U.S. persons, and certainly at the moment only being involved in the procurement of trade which does not include products or services that are sanctioned by the U.S. authorities,” he said.

Europe is hoping that Iran will show patience, adds Kushner.

“I think on the Iranian side, they will play a waiting game and very much hope that next year Donald Trump might not be re-elected,” he said.

But Tehran says Europe’s offer is not good enough.

“INSTEX falls short of the commitments by the E3 [European three] to save the deal. Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism,” Foreign Minister Zarif said Sunday at the Munich conference.

Meanwhile, Vice President Pence’s hard-hitting speech at Munich has triggered fears in Europe that Washington has bigger plans, says Florence Gaub of the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

Also Read: Thrill of 27th Annual Pan African Festival

“Not at all a call for ‘let’s renegotiate the deal’ but rather ‘let’s remove the regime in Tehran.’ And in that sense I think this was not interpreted as anything that Europe could accept,” she said.

Washington, which withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year, has not explicitly called for regime change in Iran. (VOA)