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Sushma Swaraj Plans to Host First BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise in October

Currently observing its 20th anniversary, the BIMSTEC aims to harness accelerated growth among member states through mutual cooperation.

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BIMSTEC is a collective organization aims to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation
India's External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj acknowledged and discussed several initiatives and activities undertaken as part of BIMSTEC (representational image) Wikimedia
  • India’s External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj attended a two-day 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting 
  • BIMSTEC is a regional organization with seven states as its member
  • The collective organization aims to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation

Nepal, August 11, 2017: On a two-day visit to Nepal for the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that the first BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise scheduled for October this year will be hosted in India.

Keeping in view that the region is susceptible to a variety of disasters due to its geo-climatic conditions; a disaster management exercise can prove to be extremely helpful.The first BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise will be held in India in October 2017, announced Swaraj, further adding “This will help us develop quicker, coordinated and comprehensive responses to disasters and provide timely relief and rehabilitation,” mentioned ANI report.

The first BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise will be held in India in October 2017, announced Swaraj. She further adds, “this will help us develop quicker, coordinated and comprehensive responses to disasters and provide timely relief and rehabilitation,” mentioned ANI report.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization with seven states as its member. The collective organization aims to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation. Its seven members are-

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand

BIMSTEC is a collective organization aims to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation
Members states of BIMSTEC. Wikimedia

BIMSTEC objectives are to create an enabling environment for rapid economic development, accelerate economic growth and social progress, promote active collaboration and cooperation, and provide assistance in the form training and research facilities in education, professional and technical spheres.

Swaraj believes BIMSTEC is a natural choice for India to fulfill foreign policy priority of ‘Neighborhood First’ and ‘Act East’.

Currently, BIMSTEC is observing its 20th anniversary and Swaraj believes it is one of the fastest growing regions of the world. “BIMSTEC enjoys the unique strengths of connecting South and South-East Asia”. Viewing it as the natural platform to build our common future, she added “BIMSTEC represents our common desire for peace and development”, mentioned ANI report.

At the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit held in Goa last year, all attending leaders had pledged to make BIMSTEC stronger and result oriented thus, increasing its effectiveness to achieve greater connectivity, trade, people-to-people contacts, and sustainable use of resources.

Talking about the first meeting of BIMSTEC National Security Chiefs held in New Delhi this year, Swaraj explained that an all-inclusive approach has been adopted to tackle traditional and non-traditional security challenges that plague the region. Strategies are also in place to “counter scourge of terrorism, violent extremism, and transnational crimes, as also to strengthen our maritime and cyber security cooperation,” she said at the meeting.

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The External Affairs minister talked about three major initiatives-

  1. Intra-Region Tourism

India’s external affairs minister also took the occasion to announce that intra-region tourism in New Delhi has witnessed a boost with the launch of BIMSTEC first-of-its kind Network of Tour Operators which has brought the industry and stakeholders across the region together. She believes the right promotion of intra-BIMSTEC tourist circuits and specific tourism products like the Buddhist circuit would allow tourists to be a part of a shared civilization’s culture of the BIMSTEC countries.

Swaraj also recognized at the meeting that softer infrastructural facilities like a Framework Agreement on Transit, Trans-shipment and movement of Vehicular traffic, and the Agreement on Coastal Shipping need to be in place at the earliest to enable smoother cross-border flow of people and trade activity.

  1. India’s Energy Resources

Commenting upon India’s abundant energy resources and caking energy a major driving force of this economic development, Swaraj also acknowledged the rapid cross-border exchange between India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. “The BIMSTEC MoU on grid interconnection which has been finalized would further facilitate regional energy trade”, she said.

The minister also took the opportunity to appreciate the magnanimous projects in place to harness renewable energy in India, adding that BIMSTEC countries should build a strong partnership in this regard “to tackle climate change” and “for a greener world tomorrow”, as reported by ANI.

  1. BIMSTEC Tele-medicine Network

It has been recently launched by one of India’s premier medical institutes JIPMER which was also talked about at the meeting in Kathmandu.

According to the ANI report, Swaraj shared that the network brings together ten best hospitals and medical institutes in a specific region to provide the best of tele-medicine services.

To discuss and reinforce the role of traditional medicine for holistic healthcare, the BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Meeting is set to meet in India in October 2017.

ALSO READ: Sushma Swaraj Speaks Out On India-Pak Relations, Asks Pakistan to Stop Promoting Terror

To mark the 20th Anniversary of BIMSTEC, India has plans to undertake a wide range of activities and initiatives that will involve several different institutions, associations and think tanks as the BIMSTEC stakeholders. Some of the initiatives include,

  • Multi-sectoral conferences
  • A trade and tourism expo
  • A start-up summit to bring startups from different regions together and supplement innovation
  • A business conclave to discuss ready-to-invest projects
  • Festivals on Buddhist heritage, among other things

Sushma Swaraj further added, “these initiatives would not only promote trade, investments, innovations, and people-to-people contacts but would also enhance the visibility of ‘brand BIMSTEC.'”


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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya. 

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Nehru Largely Responsible for Indo-China Border Dispute

Jawaharlal Nehru was a big failure in international relations as evident from his being the pioneer in spoiling India’s relations with China and creating the Kashmir issue with Pakistan

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Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru signing the Indian constitution. Wikimedia

– by Gaurav Tyagi

New Delhi, August 19, 2017: Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a confrontation, since mid-June on a piece of territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.

This dispute is a tripartite one, involving India, China and Bhutan. The aforesaid terrain is claimed by Bhutan, which has no diplomatic ties with Beijing.

India and Bhutan have a treaty of friendship dating back to 1949. This gives India complete influence over Thimphu’s defense and foreign policy.

The stand-off appears irresolvable with India refusing to withdraw its troops back to its side of the international border and China insisting that diplomacy would only be possible once, Indian troops move back.

India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval had a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on 27th July. It was the first high-level meeting between India and China since, the aforementioned military stand-off between these two nations, which started on 16th June.

Unfortunately, this meeting also failed to resolve the deadlock.

The Chinese accuse India of trespassing into the Chinese territory while the Indian side maintains that it just responded to Bhutan’s request for help.

ALSO READ: Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Releases Online Forms for Second Bullying Survey of Hindu American Youth

India suffered a defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 war between both these countries. This bitter memory still continues to haunt the Indian policy makers.
It’s therefore imperative to analyze the situation leading to the Indo-China battle during 1962 because one cannot face the future with confidence/clarity unless the ghosts of the past are buried.

Australian journalist, Neville Maxwell made portions of the Henderson Brooks report public by putting it on his blog in March 2014.

This report was an internal Indian army enquiry into its loss to China in the 1962 war. Maxwell was the New Delhi correspondent for ‘The Times’, London during that period.
The report was compiled by Lt. General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P.S. Bhagat.
Successive Indian governments have refused to make the report public because it rightly proves that Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India instigated the 1962 war with China.

Indians grow up with the narrative that China attacked India in 1962. This was a trick used by Nehru to enrage public attitude in India against China.

The so called ‘McMahon line’ on the border between China and India is just an Indian claim from the legacy of British imperialism.

Britishers deceptively ensured that India, post-independence inherit a border dispute with China. They did it by moving into the Chinese territory in the Northeast during the 1940’s in spite of repeated complaints by the Chinese government in this regard.

The Chinese wanted to settle the matter of McMahon line. Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China visited India in 1960 asking for an agreement on the McMahon line but due to Nehru’s rigid and illogical stand, no agreement on this issue could take place.

Nehru refused to negotiate with the Chinese. His adamant stand was; “We will decide where the boundary is. It’s not negotiable. Chinese have to accept”.
The Henderson Brooks report clearly mentions that the absurd ‘forward policy’ of Nehru, directing Indian troops to patrol; ‘show the Indian flag’ and establish posts as ‘far forward as possible’ from the existing positions resulted in the Indo-China war of 1962.

BJP also blamed Nehru for the 1962 fiasco. A prominent leader of BJP, Ravi Shankar Prasad in March 2014 asked for the Henderson Brooks report to be made public. BJP under the leadership of Modi won the 2014 parliamentary elections with overwhelming majority.

Modi government is not dependent on any other political party for its survival in the Indian Parliament. Modi must therefore, take decisions, which are in national interest rather than trying to preserve the falsely created lofty image of Nehru.

ALSO READ: Challenges to the Narendra Modi government before the Upcoming 2019 Elections

Past Congress governments in India didn’t do anything in this regard since, Congress party comprises of only sycophants of Nehru clan. They do not have the guts to criticize Nehru and his failed policies.

Modi should make the Henderson Brooks report public and lift the ban imposed on Neville Maxwell’s book; ‘India’s China War’ imposed by the erstwhile Congress government to safeguard the reputation of Nehru in the eyes of the Indian public.

This would go a long way in initiating a meaningful dialogue between India and China resulting in the final resolution of the border dispute to the satisfaction of both nations.
National boundary negotiations are easy, if both sides meet with an open-minded ‘give and take’ attitude. It’s an historical opportunity for Modi to leave his mark on the ‘sands of time’ as the boldest Indian PM, who courageously corrected the blunder committed by Nehru.

– The author is a Master Degree holder in International Tourism & Leisure Studies from Netherlands and is based in China.

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Sushma Helps Parents of Ailing Indian Abroad Get Visas

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has come to the aid of an Indian hospitalised in France with blood infection, and helped his parents get visas to visit him

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Tropical storm Harvey
Sushma Swaraj, External affairs minister of India. Wikimedia
  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has come to the aid of an Indian hospitalised in France 
  • She helped the blood infection patient’s parents get visas to visit him
  • Akali Dal leader and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee General Secretary Manjinder S. Sirsa had brought the condition of Singh to her notice

New Delhi, July 31, 2017: Reaching out to yet another distressed national abroad, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has come to the aid of an Indian hospitalised in France with blood infection, and helped his parents get visas to visit him.

“Sardarji – Aapka France ka visa ho gaya hai. Bhagwan kare apka Beta jaldi theek ho jaye (Sardarji, your visas for France have been arranged. I pray to god that your son gets well soon,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted addressing the parents of Amrinder Singh.

On Monday, Akali Dal leader and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee General Secretary Manjinder S. Sirsa had brought the condition of Singh to her notice.

Also ReadSushma Swaraj to offer help to a person in Pakistan who highlighted his Infant’s Health Condition on Social Media

Sushma Swaraj then directed the Indian Embassy in France to help Singh.

“Amrinder’s family wishes to travel to France to save their son’s life as he is battling with blood infection,” Sirsa had tweeted.

He had also shared a video by family members of Singh who he said was “having a tough time in France owing to health problems”.

On Friday, Sirsa expressed his gratitude on seeing the minister’s message that they have been given visas.

“Deep gratitude to @SushmaSwaraj Ji for such swift action for granting visa to parents of Amrinder Singh who is in a France hospital,” he tweeted.

“This case has reaffirmed faith of people in compassionate nature of NDA Govt. @SushmaSwaraj Ji u hv given a new hope to these parents,” he stated. (IANS)