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Showing posts from December 28, 2016

Statesmanship at Pearl Harbour(The Hindu)

nspicuous gestures of reconciliation between nations to heal the deep emotional wounds of wars will have connotations that go beyond the symbolic. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, through his visit to Pearl Harbour this week, and U.S. President Barack Obama, with his homage at the peace memorial at Hiroshima earlier in May, have undertaken this bold and difficult journey on behalf of their peoples more than 70 years after atrocities were committed against each other during World War II. That so much time should have been lost in both instances to put the painful past behind them only speaks to the powerful presence of nationalist sensibilities that invariably distort the moral force of reconciliation. That this should have occurred only now, despite the enduring economic engagement of several decades between Washington and Tokyo, merely underscores their ticklish nature and the strong political overtones involved. In the case of Japan, the conservatives have long regarded any atte…

Disunity in opposition (The Hindu.)

Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party was voted to power with a majority of its own in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Opposition parties have been trying to find an issue that would resonate with the people, identify a rallying point that would put the Narendra Modi government at the Centre on the defensive. But when such an issue did crop up after Mr. Modi announced the demonetisation of high-value notes on November 8, opponents of the BJP found themselves unprepared and unable to tap into the public resentment at the seemingly unnecessary pain caused by the shortage of cash. The demonetisation exercise did far more than divide the Opposition parties: it left them confused on the approach to be taken against the government. They were unable to fault the stated aims of the move: to curb black money, flush out counterfeit notes from the economy, and thereby curb terror funding. And when Mr. Modi sought 50 days to ease the cash flow, his opponents had no choice but to wait it out. Other …

Time to repeal the FCRA (the hindu )

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, is nothing more than a tool to keep ‘errant’ civil society organisations on a tight leash. An autonomous, self-regulatory agency for NGOs is the need of the hour

In early November, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs rejected the licence renewal applications, under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA), of 25 non-governmental organisations (NGO). That means these NGOs can no longer receive funds from foreign donors. Many of the affected organisations were rights-based advocacy groups, with some involved in human rights work.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has defended its action by claiming that these organisations had violated FCRA norms by engaging in activities detrimental to public interest. But its decision has drawn criticism from different quarters.

Civil society members have issued statements condemning the move, charging the government with “abuse of legal procedures”. Opposition MPs from six…

New span on Pamban bridge to be installed in June (thehindu)

The century-old Scherzer’s span, designed and installed at Pamban rail bridge by a German engineer to allow vessels to pass through the channel, would be replaced by an ultra modern vertically lifting single-truss span, to be designed and fabricated by an international firm, M. Suyambulingam, Chief Engineer (Bridges), Southern Railway, said.

Unveiling the likely model of the span, presently used in a bridge connecting a road and a canal in France, after inspecting the bridge here on Tuesday, he said Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), chosen by Indian Railways to execute the project, floated global tenders a few months ago and it was likely to finalise a firm by the month-end.

Six international firms had expressed interest to design and install the span at a cost of Rs. 40 crore, he said, adding the new span could be operated by remote control by the staff sitting in the bridge office at Pamban. Though the railways initially contemplated making the span using aluminium alloy, it had now…

Afghanistan, India, and Trump (The Hindu )

Given his limited choices in stabilising Afghanistan, which include supporting a national election, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will find India to be a reliable and trusted partner in this process

On January 20, next year, Donald Trump will take over as the 45th President of the United States of America, at a time when the U.S. remains engaged in the longest war in its history — the war in Afghanistan. He will be the third President to deal with the war launched in 2001 by U.S. President George Bush and sought to be brought to a conclusion by his successor U.S. President Barack Obama.

Even though ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ ended on December 28, 2014 implying an end to formal combat operations by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces, the U.S. still maintains approximately 9,800 troops as part of the international troop presence numbering over 12,000 under ‘Operation Resolute Support’. Primary responsibility for fighting the insurgency was transferred to th…