Friday, May 12, 2017

GANDHIS IN FIX

Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi to face tax probe orders High Court.
In  case pertains to a private criminal complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress. The Gandhis and other accused, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda have denied the allegations levelled against them.
Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Income Tax to launch an investigation into Young Indian Private Limited in the National Herald case. The Gandhis are directors in the company. “You can’t be arrogant,” the bench said, adding that Young Indian Pvt Ltd must submit its tax documents.
Patiala House court earlier  had allowed an investigation in the case, which was then challenged in the Delhi High Court.

MAHARAJA GAJ SINGH II OF JODHPUR LAUNCHES TAJ MAHAL: MULTIPLE NARRATIVES


His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur launches
Taj mahal: Multiple Narratives
By Amita Baig & Rahul Mehrotra
Published by
Om Books International
At Roseate House, Aerocity

Om Books International along with Roseate House, Aerocity celebrated the launch of Taj Mahal: Multiple Narratives by Amita Baig and Rahul Mehrotra held on 09th May, 2017The stunning tome was launched by Chief Guest, His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur.
On the occasion co-authors Amita Baig, Rahul Mehrotra, shared their experience of putting together the book with Kaveree Bamzai, Editor, India Today. Present on the occasion were Sharmila Tagore, Meera and Muzzafar Ali, Ritu Kumar, Karan Thapar, Satish and Kiran Gujral, Feroze and Mohit Gujral, Laila Tyabji, Bim Bissell, Aman Nath, Gurmeet and Raghu Rai, Sunil Sethi, Mrs. Radha Bhatia and Ankur Bhatia.

About the book
Taj Mahal: Multiple Narratives presents a new perspective on the Taj Mahal and Agra. The city and its iconic monuments have often been written about, exclusive of each other. Many stories from Agra form the pillars on which the Taj Mahal was built. Pleasure gardens or a dusty township of the Middle Ages, Agra has many dimensions. The book looks at global events, national events and showcases contemporary buildings and subsequent events which transformed it from a sacred personal space to a part of world heritage. The book is a broader and more accessible understanding of these stories, of Agra and the Taj Mahal.
 About the co-authors
Amita Baig is a Heritage Management Consultant and represents World Monuments Fund, a private not-for-profit organisation in New York, US, which supports major conservation of heritage in India. She has worked extensively with the Government and non-Government sectors, developing strategies to protect and conserve India’s heritage for over three decades in India and the Asian region. She worked with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) at its inception and has written extensively on the challenges of preserving India’s heritage. She is also the author of Forts and Palaces of India, a culminationof 25 years of research on the subject.

Rahul Mehrotra is a practising architect, urban designer and educator. He has written and lectured extensively on issues to do with architecture, conservation, and urban planning in Mumbai and India. His most recent book, Architecture in India: Since 1990, is a reading of contemporary architecture in India since the liberalisation of India’s economy. He is actively involved in civic and urban affairs in Mumbai and, from 1994 to 2004, served as Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute. Mehrotra divides his time between Mumbai and Boston, where he is Professor of Urban Design and Planning at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.


Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books International: Visiting the Taj Mahal as a child was a more enjoyable experience than visiting the Qutub Minar in Delhi. Back then, it also meant getting at least 200 kilometres away from school for a couple of days. And for a long time, a monument dedicated to love held greater meaning than a victory tower. Such is the power the Taj Mahal continues to wield over the world. Taj Mahal: Multiple Narratives by Amita Baig and Rahul Mehrotra helps us look at the monument and its significance as a World Heritage Site afresh.


Mr. Kush Kapoor, General Manager, Roseate House, Aerocity: We are extremely delighted to launch the book ‘Taj Mahal – Multiple Narratives’ unveiled by ‘His Highness Maharaja’ Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur at Roseate House, New Delhi on 9th May 2017. Our hotel feels privileged to be chosen as the exclusive hospitality partner for the event in Delhi NCR.

Ravish Kapoor, Innovative Invitations:The Taj Mahal is synonymous with India and its cultural identity. It is an honour to be part of the narrative about our cultural identity.

Nitesh Chhapru, Head of Marketing – Premium & Luxury Brands Portfolio, Diageo India: Our association with the launch of Taj Mahal: Multiple Narratives is a
celebration of luxury, culture and sophistication, and our Classic Malts of Scotland
further enrich this occasion. We are delighted to be the official celebration partners to
launch a book that takes the reader on journey to rediscover the heritage of Agra
and the Taj Mahal.”



Mr Anuj Kushwah, Founder & MD Witlinger: “Being part of such events gives us immense pleasure, and for being associated with such heritage experts and Om Book, I feel privileged on behalf of Witlinger, which is the official pouring partner on the Big day. I am glad that with the association, we could amalgamate with the exquisite heritage and present to quench the thirst and be the perfect companion for everyone present on the launch. Will be coming up with more certain associations like these. “


About Om Books International
One of the largest English language trade publishers in the Indian subcontinent, Om Books International has been a name to reckon with for over five decades in the Indian publishing and retail industry. Headquartered in Noida, OBI has a diverse publishing list including cinema, biography, memoir, mind-body-spirit, photo essay, art, architecture, lifestyle, fiction — commercial and literary. It counts amongst its notable authors Khalid Mohamed, Mushtaq Shiekh, Bharathi S Pradhan, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Rauf Ahmed, Kamala Das, William Dalrymple, Vir Sanghvi, Christopher C Doyle and Abhay Vaidya.

HYDROPOWER AS AN ENERGY SOURCE: NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE

HYDROPOWER AS AN ENERGY SOURCE: NEED TO FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE

May 12, 2017
While addressing the ‘World Conference on Environment-2017’, held in New Delhi on March 25-26, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal, reiterated India’s commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement and stated that the country will have 225 Gigawatts (GW) of renewable and clean energy sources by 2022.1 Shortly thereafter, in reply to a question raised in Parliament regarding hydroelectric projects in the country, he stated that 16 of the 43 hydropower projects currently under construction are stalled for various reasons.2 While appraising the manner in which the hydropower projects have been undertaken in the country, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its report tabled in March 2017, found that the standard procedures including for environmental impact assessments and public hearings have been bypassed.3
Tapping hydropower is considered a key priority area in view of India’s growing energy requirement.4 It is noteworthy that India became a net exporter of electricity for the first time between April 2016 and February 2017, exporting around 5,585 million units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.5 However, every stakeholder needs to contemplate the impact that hydropower dams would have on the environment, and also the potential impact of climate change on dams, both before and after their construction.

GREENHOUSE GAS (GHG) EMISSION FROM RESERVOIRS

According to the World Energy Council, “Hydropower is the leading renewable source for electricity generation globally, supplying 71% of all renewable electricity. Reaching 1,064 GW of installed capacity in 2016, it generated 16.4% of the world’s electricity from all sources.”6 China tops the world’s hydropower capacity with 319 GW, followed by the United States with 102 GW. India stands fourth with 52 GW.7Several countries, in order to mitigate climate change, have turned to exploring hydropower sources. Though hydropower is a clean source of energy, yet it can have a serious negative impact on the climate.
Although studies on the status of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from reservoirs is ongoing, an earlier study by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) discovered that significant amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are emitted from reservoirs, turbines and spillways, and that methane alone accounts for 104 million metric tonnes of all these emissions annually.8Mostly, methane is generated by the decomposition of vegetation and soil submerged by the reservoirs. A research paper by Philip Fearnide also found that hydropower dams located in tropical regions generate more methane than those located in temperate zones.9 Another extensive study led by Bridget R. Deemer, on GHG emission from 267 large reservoirs around the world, ascertained that although methane in the atmosphere stays for only a short while compared to carbon dioxide, more than 80 per cent of methane emissions come from water storage reservoirs created by dams, contributing almost three times more to global warming compared to carbon dioxide.10 Although the findings of hydropower’s contribution to GHG emissions remain consistent, none of these emissions are included in global greenhouse inventories.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND VULNERABILITY OF HYDROPOWER

The second point of concern is the impact of climate change, where it is likely to alter river discharge, which in turn impacts the availability of water resources, water regularity and hydropower generation. Water is constantly replenished by a process of hydrological cycle in the atmosphere, but this cycle could get altered due to climate change. Floods, droughts, changes in temperature, precipitation and melting glaciers are all symptoms of climate change. Since the amount of electricity a hydropower plant can produce directly depends on the availability of water resources, lower the river discharge, lesser the power generation. In a preliminary study on the impact of climate change on dam facilities, Ben Blackshear et. al. have sketched out the different types of dams across the world – pumped storage, reservoir and run-of-the-river – and the factors that are likely to affect their generation of electricity.11
Major rivers like the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra are fed by snow and glacier melt. But the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas is likely to alter the pattern of river flow, resulting in the disruption of hydropower production. A one per cent reduction in the flow can reduce electricity output by roughly three per cent.12Moreover, one cannot ignore the economic risks of investing in a hydropower project under the prevailing conditions of climate change. Bhutan, which boasts of a hydropower potential of around 30,000 MW, has invested enormous capital in the same in recent years, but is likely to face an economic risk on the returns in the years to come, apart from environmental risks.13 The social impact of large dams by way of population displacement and loss of income from farming and livestock should also not be overlooked.
In order to reduce the impact of climate change, governments have agreed under the Paris Climate Change Agreement to cut “the global average temperature to well below 2 C above pre-industrial levels.”14 But developing renewable energy, as seen earlier, also comes with attendant risks. Minister of State Goyal had rightly observed that “it is time that human beings understand that climate change is a challenge caused by humans, and ultimately it is humans who can address it.”15While hydropower projects are critical for economic growth and development, it is equally important to fully assess its potential social and environmental impact in the long-term. The challenge lies in finding the right balance between the need for rapid development and the necessity of protecting the environment
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

PRO KABADDI AND VIVO SIGN LANDMARK 5 YEAR TITLE SPONSORSHIP DEAL

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·         VIVO has bagged the title sponsorship rights for 5 years, for the Pro Kabaddi League that is set to kick-off in July 2017
·         Underlining the rising popularity of Kabaddi, the Title Sponsorship is the biggest for a non-cricket sport

Pro Kabaddi, India’s fastest growing sports league, has signed on VIVO as the title sponsor for 5 years. The upcoming 5th season will make Pro Kabaddi India’s biggest sports league with up to 12 teams and more than 130 matches spread across 13 weeks. VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 kicks-off in July 2017 on Star Sports, India’s leading sports broadcaster.

Through this association VIVO aims to strengthen its consumer connect with audiences across India as Pro Kabaddi League is the second most followed sport after Cricket. This will help in achieving a stronger brand recall and excellent visibility for the brand.

Speaking about VIVO Pro Kabaddi, Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director, Star India said, “We are delighted to have VIVO as our title sponsor, as they happen to share a common vision with Star Sports to make Pro Kabaddi one of the finest leagues in the world. VIVO coming on board as the title sponsor is a significant milestone in the growth story of the league. Star Sports will continue its efforts to elevate the stature of the sport further.”
Pro Kabaddi has seen a phenomenal growth over the last 4 seasons with packed stadia and record viewership numbers, emerging as a benchmark for sports leagues in India. Significantly, the high popularity of Pro Kabaddi has evoked continually surging sponsor interest. This fast-growing interest from across the ecosystem reflects the national appeal of the sport.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kent Cheng, CEO, VIVO India said “We are thrilled to partner with Pro Kabaddi league as the title sponsor. This association is important for us as Pro Kabaddi league has reached incredible heights and now proudly stands as one of the most successful leagues in India.
Earlier seasons have shown that Kabaddi is a sport whose popularity cuts across all audiences. With this association, Vivo aims to target the right audience and capture the hearts of Indians. We would like to wish Pro-Kabaddi league huge success for the years to come.”

TRUMP: COMEY ‘NOT ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY LEAD FBI’

 US media is too aggressive on the President decisions and giving the hunch  President may be lame duck. However the stance is that of democrats but the debate goes on unending.
White House had said the Russia inquiry was “probably one of the smallest things” that the FBI handled.
However, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe has disagreed saying it’s “a highly significant investigation.”
McCabe said while testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he would notify the panel if there were any attempts by the White House to interfere with the enquiry.
In an interview with NBC, Trump appeared to backtrack on the initial White House explanation that his decision to fire Comey was on the recommendation of the Department of Justice.
He said, “The FBI has been in turmoil. I was going to fire Comey. My decision.”
“I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”
US president has fired his FBI director Comey.
In Comey’s termination letter, Trump wrote he was in agreement with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recommendation that “you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” it added.
The White House spokesperson said the search for a successor would soon begin.
Trump said he had asked Comey “if it’s possible would you let me know, ‘Am I under investigation?'” He said Comey replied he wasn’t.
“There’s no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians,” Trump added.
He recently tweeted that the collusion allegations were a “total hoax.”
Trump also denied that he wanted the FBI inquiry dropped; he instead wanted it speeded up. Media agencies

INDIA IS BECOMING CHINA 2.0, SAYS CHINESE THINK TANK

Chinese think tank Anbound warned China to take Indian competition seriously as its economy may witness “explosive growth”, boosting its prospects of becoming “China 2.0”.
China should devise an effective counter growth strategy, otherwise, it may become a “bystander” to watch India’s success.
Anbound said as “China’s demographic dividend diminishes”, India, with 50% population below 25 years age “is poised to take advantage”.
The report highlighted China’s economic slowdown which stood at 6.7% last year in contrast to India’s estimated GDP of 7.1% for 2016-17.
The changes taking place in India may indicate a great potential for development, just like what happened with China in the past.
The report stated, “We (China) must pay close attention to the development of this unfamiliar neighbor.”
Ernst and Young ranked India as the world’s “most attractive destination” in a survey involving 500 executives from multinational firms.
About 60% executives considered India one of the top three investment destinations in 2015.
A vast domestic market, low labor costs, and skilled-labor market attract investors to India.
Also, India’s larger youth population apart from being a labor force is a potential consumer group.
Referring to Chinese companies, including Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi among others, making investments in India, the report stated, “In our opinion, if India intentionally creates a competitive situation in front of global investors, it will pose a challenge for China.”
India is confident about attracting global investment with PM Narendra Modi hoping to boost the use of clean energy over fossil fuels.
With World Bank loans, India is building massive solar parks targeting $100-billion investment in solar energy in five years.
Anbound said: “No other country could compete with India supporting investors in solar economy. China has not conducted enough studies on India.”
The report cautioned China cannot wait until its neighbor grows into a promising competitor for discussing how to tackle the situation.
China needs a more effective growth strategy or it may become an unfortunate bystander while India takes over.
It needs to ponder and carefully study the rise of India’s economy as it is entirely capable of gaining the “attention of world capital”.

INSIDE EVMS 20 EASY WAYS TO TEMPER THESE – UNTRUSTWORTHY  

VIVO PRO KABADDI ANNOUNCES OWNERS FOR THE 4 NEW TEAMS

VIVO Pro Kabaddi announces owners for the 4 new teams
India’s leading corporates all set to play Kabaddi

Becomes India’s biggest league; with 12 teams, 130+ matches, 13 weeks of competition
Mashal Sports successfully concludes the tender process
City/State
Name of the Franchise
Name of the Owner/Promoter
Chennai/Tamil Nadu
Iquest Enterprises Private Limited (Consortium)
N Prasad & Sachin Tendulkar
Ahmedabad/Gujarat
Adani Wilmar Limited
Adani Group
Lucknow/Uttar Pradesh
GMR League Games Private Limited
GMR Group
Haryana
JSW Sports Private Limited
JSW Group

MUMBAI, 12th May 2017: VIVO Pro Kabaddi has become India’s biggest sports league with the inclusion of four new teams that will participate in the league from Season 5 onwards due to be played in July – October this year. The announcement of the four new team owners was made by Mashal Sports, organizer and administrator of the league and its parent organization STAR India.
The four new franchises announced by Mashal Sports represent some of the leading corporate institutions in India, including prominent owners of teams in the ongoing Indian Premier League as well as the I-League. The new geographies for VIVO Pro Kabaddi Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have been primarily chosen for their high affinity towards Kabaddi with massive fan bases, significant on-ground presence of the sport, and potential commercial value to sponsors and advertisers.
Mr. Uday Shankar, Chairman and CEO, Star India said, “I am delighted to welcome some of India’s finest corporates to our Mission Kabaddi. We believe that with the support of existing and new partners we are well on our course to realizing a socially transformative sports agenda. The interest shown by these corporates is evidence of the immense potential of Kabaddi.”
With this, VIVO Pro Kabaddi is poised to surpass other Indian sports leagues in terms of geographical representation – 11 states, number of matches – 130+ matches and length of the tournament – 13 weeks. This is a reflection of Mashal Sports and Star India’s continuous endeavour to grow the sport from strength to strength every season.
Mr. Janardan Singh Gehlot, President, International Kabaddi Federation, said, “We laud Star India and Mashal Sports for uniquely transforming and renewing Kabaddi, and their relentless efforts to scale it even higher. The addition of 4 new teams to the ever-growing VIVO Pro Kabaddi League signifies a promising road ahead for the sport in India as well as over the world.”
The announcement of the four new teams in the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League is a culmination of a detailed exercise carried out by AZB & Partners & PricewaterhouseCoopers India.
This expansion adds to an already impressive line-up of 8 franchises based out of major metros in the country – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Patna, Pune and Jaipur.
Within a short span of 2 years, VIVO Pro Kabaddi has captured the imagination of Indian viewers and established itself as one of the highest impact television properties in key markets. VIVO Pro Kabaddi became an instant hit with Indian sports fans in its very first season in 2014 as 435 million* viewers tuned in. Names such as, Anup Kumar, Rahul Chaudhari, Ajay Thakur have become household names. Its cumulative viewership growth of 51%** over 4 seasons is the highest for any sports league in India. It has even surpassed IPL in Andhra Pradesh and also achieved primetime slot leadership in Mumbai#.
Earlier this week, Star India announced a breakthrough deal with VIVO India, the global smartphone major — as the title sponsor of the league for five years.
* Source: CS4+; Extrapolated from TAM panel
**All India viewership. Season 1 measured on TAM panel in Urban only, Season 4 on BARC panel at All India (Urban + Rural) level
#Season 4 viewership on 4+U+R, BARC panel within AP (including Telangana). Slot leadership for 30% of PKL league matches in Mumbai

INDIA-TURKEY RELATIONS: FROZEN IN TIME?

May 12, 2017
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to New Delhi from April 30 – May 1, 2017 generated intense debate about India-Turkey relations, especially in the context of the Turkish suggestion for a ‘multilateral dialogue’ to resolve the Kashmir issue.1 Erdogan’s suggestion is against the Indian position that the Kashmir issue has to be resolved through bilateral negotiations with Pakistan based on the Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration. Significantly, Turkey has in the past as well issued statements supportive of Pakistan on the Kashmir issue that emanates from its longstanding friendly relations with that country. This has not, however, prevented Turkey from seeking good relations with India, specifically to tap the potential for improving bilateral trade and commerce and in enhancing counter-terrorism cooperation. This Issue Brief places Erdogan’s visit in perspective and examines some of the pertinent issues in India-Turkey relations.

ERDOGAN’S DOMESTIC PROBLEMS

Erdoğan’s India visit was his first foreign tour after the April 16 referendum on the ‘controversial’ constitutional amendment bill that proposes to change the existing parliamentary form of government to a presidential system.2 Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its new found ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) won a wafer thin victory with just over 51 per cent voting in favour of the referendum.3 While the proposed change will come into effect in 2019, the process by which the referendum was pursued evoked sharp domestic divisions. Turkish and international observers alike have argued that Erdoğan’s growing authoritarian behaviour, coupled with the clamp down on dissent and freedom of speech and suppression of media and civil society, are pushing Turkey towards autocracy.4
The trajectory of the current domestic problems in Turkey can be traced back to the Gezi Park protests that erupted in mid-2013. Inspired by the ‘Arab Spring’ protests, the demonstrators initially demanded the roll back of an urban redevelopment plan. The protests subsequently evolved into a movement against the AKP government’s economic failures. While the issue could have been addressed without using force, Erdoğan, then the Prime Minister, used the police and security forces to thwart the movement.5 The political situation has not stabilized since then with a decline in popular support for the AKP, intermittent incidents of extremist attacks and the breakdown of the ceasefire and peace talks between the government and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).6
Erdoğan meanwhile was elected president in the first direct presidential elections in August 2014 gaining 51.7 per cent of votes. In the June 2015 parliamentary elections, AKP’s fortunes declined and it lost its majority, gaining only 40 per cent of votes and 258 seats in the 550-member Grand National Assembly, 18 less than the required simple majority of 276.7 In the snap elections held in November that year, AKP surprisingly raised its vote share to 49.5 per cent and gained 316 seats in parliament, largely attributed to the evoking of nationalist support through tough military actions against PKK and in Syria.8
The problems for Erdogan have magnified since the attempted coup in July 2016. Rather than making efforts toward reconciliation, the AKP government imposed emergency and pursued a divisive agenda. The failed coup gave licence to the government to attack the political opposition and stifle voices of dissent on the pretext of clamping down on Hizmet or Gülenists — the transnational Islamic socio-religious movement led by Philadelphia-based one-time ally of the AKP, Fethullah Gülen, who was accused of orchestrating the failed coup. According to media reports, an estimated 150,000 officials, security personnel, judges and academics have been either dismissed or suspended from their jobs and an estimated 100,000 people are currently under detention. Moreover, several media houses and educational institutions have been shut down and journalists and teachers have been forced to leave the country.9

TURKEY’S STAND ON KASHMIR

Given the fluid domestic situation delineated above, Erdoğan’s visit to India and New Delhi’s willingness to host him raised eyebrows. However, what hogged the limelight was Erdoğan’s interview to a television station on the eve of his arrival in India, during which he talked about Turkey’s willingness to host a ‘multilateral dialogue’ to resolve the Kashmir issue ‘once and for all’.10 While it was seen as a diplomatic provocation, India remained poised in its response. This was not the first time that Turkey has raised the Kashmir issue or issued statements that contradicted the Indian position. Turkey has been instrumental in issuing statements on Kashmir from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) forum and has been actively involved in the OIC over Kashmir. For example, in August 2016, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated during a visit to Islamabad that ’Turkey fully supports Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir’ and that India should allow the OIC fact-finding team to visit Jammu and Kashmir.11 This was followed by the visit of OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani’s visit to Islamabad and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) the same month. In a statement, the OIC raised the issue of ‘human rights violations’ and ‘excessive violence’ in ‘Indian-held’ Kashmir.12
Traditionally, Pakistan and Turkey have maintained friendly relations and close ties. Pakistan has used its Islamic credentials since independence to evoke anti-India sentiments in Muslim capitals in the Middle East and countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey had been supportive of the Pakistani stand on Kashmir.13 With the changing global situation and India’s improved bilateral relations with some of these countries, the situation has changed to a large extent. With Ankara, however, things have not changed much and a lack of strong bilateral relations has added to the problem. Ankara’s close political relations, economic links and ideological synthesis with Islamabad further complicate the issue. In the television interview referred to above, Erdoğan also stated the following:
‘My dear friend, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, is an individual with whom I have been discussing these issues [Kashmir] at length, and I know he is a man of good intentions. I heard him personally speak of his will to settle this question once and for all’.14
Even though in the past Ankara has clarified that its position remains that ‘Kashmir is a bilateral dispute to be resolved between India and Pakistan’,15 its activism at the OIC on Kashmir and the latest statement underscores the problems India faces in engaging with Turkey. There are also other problem areas including Turkey’s position on India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Turkey maintains that there needs to be a procedure that should be equally applicable to all and argues that both India and Pakistan have a fair claim for NSG membership.16 India, however, sees the Turkish stand as an effort to link the Indian and Pakistani bids, which, from New Delhi’s perspective, is problematic as the nuclear proliferation records of the two non-NPT signatories are vastly different.

AGENDA OF ERDOGAN’S VISIT

From the bilateral viewpoint, the visit was focused on three aspects — improving trade; enhancing two-way flow of investments; and establishing closer counter-terrorism cooperation. Erdoğan was accompanied by a large business delegation including about 100 representatives of Turkish industry and business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Erdoğan jointly addressed the India-Turkey Business Forum (ITBF), emphasizing on the possibilities and potential for improving bilateral trade and investment. During his speech at the ITBF, Erdoğan made a pitch for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). For his part, Modi stated that ‘there was ‘huge potential and opportunity to enhance the bilateral engagement. This is possible through trade and FDI inflows, technology tie-up, and cooperation on various projects’.17
The joint statement issued during Erdoğan’s visit further highlighted the importance India and Turkey attach to improving trade and investment. The two sides decided to enhance bilateral trade to USD 10 billion by 2020 from the current 6.4 billion and agreed for cooperation in the fields of information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals, health and tourism. Both sides also expressed ‘willingness to improve cooperation in the fields of hydrocarbons, renewable energy (solar and wind) and energy efficiency’. Further, the joint statement noted the ‘immense untapped potential for growth’ as far as the bilateral ‘trade and investment relations’ between India and Turkey are concerned.18
Secondly, the visit was focused on exploring possibilities for closer counter terrorism cooperation. India is concerned about some of its nationals joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), largely after becoming radicalized online. Media reports suggest that some had chosen to travel to Syria through Turkey. At the same time, Turkey has faced a number of terrorist attacks inside its territory, including the deadly New Year-eve attack in Istanbul.19 In this backdrop, there seems to be a mutual understanding regarding the need for closer counter terrorism cooperation. The joint statement noted that India and Turkey ‘agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system’.20 However, one should not expect a deeper synthesis between the two countries on the issue because there are a number of aspects where the two have differences, especially when it comes to Pakistan-based Jihadist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Counter terrorism cooperation, hence, would be more technical in nature. Notably, India has been working with other Middle Eastern countries on counter terrorism who incidentally have been more appreciative of India’s position on terrorism.
The third issue that was prominently raised during the visit was the presence of Gülenist networks in India. In fact, the issue was first raised by Turkey soon after the July 2016 failed coup and has since been regularly highlighted by the Turkish side. In a media interaction soon after the failed coup attempt, the Turkish envoy in India Burak Akçapar had said that Gülenists have a presence in India and Ankara expects New Delhi to take action against them.21 India’s response has been to take note of the issue but action has been deferred due to lack of evidence of their involvement in anti-India activities. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay noted in a media briefing during Erdogan’s visit that ‘any organization in India whether it is Indian or Foreign, obviously has to work within the parameters of our laws and our norms and regulations’ implying that action would be taken if the group were to be found guilty of violating Indian laws.22

BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

India and Turkey are not major trading partners and do not feature even in the list of each other’s top 25 trading partners. However, the volume of trade is substantial and is in India’s favour. For example, in 2015-16, bilateral trade stood at USD 4.9 billion, with India exporting goods worth 4.14 billion and importing goods worth 776.94 million (Table 1). This was a 27 per cent decline from the total bilateral trade of USD 6.8 billion in 2014-15, largely attributed to a global slowdown. There is, however, a discrepancy in the trade figures provided by Indian and Turkish sources, which could be because of different methods of tabulation. As per Turkish sources, bilateral trade in 2015-16 stood at USD 6.4 billion.23 The main items of Indian exports to Turkey are petroleum and petroleum products, vehicles, textile, plastics in primary forms, organic chemicals, etc. On the other hand, the majority of Indian imports from Turkey comprises of crude minerals and fertilizers, ferrous and non-ferrous ores, power generating equipment, chemicals and cultured pearls and jewellery.
Table 1: India-Turkey Bilateral Trade (in USD million)
Year
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
2015-16
Export
3,547.26
3,963.66
4,433.75
5,358.90
4,140.00
Import
1,021.91
2,034.18
760.43
1,463.87
776.94
Total Trade
4,569.17
5,997.84
5,194.18
6,822.77
4,916.94
Source: Export Import Data Bank, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.
The two G-20 economies are now looking to improve commercial relations and see a significant potential to boost bilateral trade and investments. The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) signed a MoU in April 2015 to promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation. During Erdoğan’s visit, the two sides agreed to further intensify commercial engagements. Bilateral investments have taken off in recent times and, according to Turkish sources, more than 180 Indian companies have operations in Turkey while as many as 14 Turkish companies have been operating in India.24 Turkey is ranked 44th in India’s overall FDI sources with a total investment of USD 137 million between April 2000 and December 2016.25 As in the trade figures, there is a difference even in investment figures between Indian and Turkish sources. According to the Turkish Central Bank, between 2008 and 2014, India received USD 212 million worth of investments from Turkey.26
Further, Erdogan mooted the idea of India-Turkey FTA during his address to the ITBF in New Delhi. India refrained from making any commitments on the FTA or on other trade deals but the joint statement noted the desire for achieving USD 10 billion trade in the next three years. An area that should interest Indian businesses is the expertise of the Turkish construction sector. Turkish companies have made a name for themselves for technical finesse and efficiency in the construction sector and have helmed a number of mega-construction projects all over the world. India can not only benefit by inviting Turkish firms for its infrastructure development drive but, through working with them, Indian construction companies can also gain knowledge and expertise in the sector.

COMMON GROUNDS

Despite the major differences over the Turkish position on Kashmir and the diplomatic faux pas on the eve of the visit, there are some common grounds which the two sides are looking to capitalize on. Significantly, the bonding between Modi and Erdoğan has played a role in advancing relations. This is Erdoğan’s second visit to India after 2008 when he visited New Delhi as prime minister. But this is his first visit after Modi came to power in May 2014. Modi visited Turkey for the G-20 summit in 2015 and held talks with Erdoğan on the sidelines of that summit. Both sides had then expressed the desire to realize trade and business potentials.27 Turkey’s support for the UNSC reform as well as India’s bid for a UNSC seat reflects mutual concerns about global affairs. Further, the possibilities for enhancing trade and commerce and investments and probabilities for closer counter-terrorism cooperation provide common grounds which India and Turkey can pursue to take bilateral relations forward.

INDIA’S DIPLOMATIC RESPONSE

India was prudent in its response to Erdoğan’s raising of the Kashmir issue on the eve of the visit. Given the Turkish record, it was not entirely unexpected that the Kashmir issue was raised, but the way in which it was raised perhaps came as a surprise. However, given Erdoğan’s past record, New Delhi did prepare a diplomatic response by engaging with Armenia and Cyprus.28 Since India has been apprehensive of the Turkish position and rhetoric on Kashmir, New Delhi scheduled engagements with Armenia and Cyprus close to Erdoğan’s visit. Hence, a week before Erdogan’s visit, India hosted Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who was in New Delhi during April 25-29.
Given the Turkish involvement in the Cyprus conflict, this was bound to ruffle feathers in Ankara. India has maintained good relations with Cyprus since its independence and has supported its stand on the conflict with Turkey over northern Cyprus that has been under Turkish occupation since 1974. Turkey intervened in the island nation on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots and carved out the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is not recognized by the international community. The Indian position on the conflict has been clear that it should be resolved through political negotiations. Further, Anastasiades called on India to mediate between Cyprus and Turkey to help resolve the four-decade old conflict, which New Delhi has not responded to.29
Moreover, Vice President Hamid Ansari visited Armenia during April 24-26, 2017. Ansari also visited the Armenian genocide memorial and paid his tributes to the victims. During his visit to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Ansari noted that the ‘memorial stands as a solemn testimony to the Armenians who suffered grave violence’.30 This is a sensitive issue for Turkey because of the historical involvement of the fathers of the modern Turkish republic in the killings of Armenians at the height of their national struggle. Turkey has been wary of the world recognizing the ‘Armenian genocide.’ Understandably, India was engaging with Turkey’s adversaries while at the same time signalling its ability to raise controversial issues detrimental to Ankara’s interests.

LOOKING AHEAD

India and Turkey are driven by the desire to tap the possibilities for business, trade and investments. In recent times a number of Indian companies have started their operations in Turkey and many Turkish businesses are showing interest in the Indian market. Moreover, there is a momentum as far as people-to-people contacts is concerned with the number of Indian tourists visiting Turkey increasing significantly in the past decade. At the same time, the popularity of the Indian entertainment industry and films in Turkey has witnessed a rise. Undoubtedly, Erdoğan’s visit comes at a crucial time with India’s growing international stature and geostrategic developments in the Middle East. India-Turkey relations are expected to gradually move in a positive direction based on new found interests and some common grounds. However, given the diplomatic entanglements, it would be difficult to anticipate that the relations are set to take off immediately.
Acknowledgements: The author benefitted from comments received during the May 8, 2017, Monday Morning Meeting at IDSA and a separate discussion with Professor P. R. Kumaraswamy in preparing this Issue Brief.
Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.

GLAXOSMITHKLINE CONSUMER HEALTHCARE LIMITED ANNOUNCES RESULTS 2016-17

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited announces results for the quarter and full year ended March 31, 2017

  • Sales rise by 1.1%; Profits up by 8% for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2017
  • Board of Directors of the Company recommended a Dividend at the rate of Rs. 70 per equity share of Rs. 10 each for the 12 month period ended March 31, 2017
                                                                                                           

Gurugram, 11 May, 2017: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited today declared its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended March 31, 2017. The fourth quarter recorded good performance with sales at Rs. 1,149 crores increase of 1.1% and PBT at Rs. 269 crores increase by 8% compared to last year for the same period. For the full year, the reported sales at Rs. 4,209 crores decrease by 3.5% on account of demonetisation and PBT at Rs. 1,010 crores decrease by 4% compared to last year

The Board of Directors of the Company recommended a Dividend at the rate of Rs. 70 per equity share of Rs. 10 each for the 12 month period ended March 31, 2017.

Commenting on the results, Manoj Kumar, Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited said, “The fourth quarter has delivered positive results for the company. We continue to remain the market leader in Health Food Drinks category. Our access strategy, with re-launch of Rs. 5 pack of base Horlicks and Boost has enabled deep penetration and has uptake. Our recently launched awareness campaign around micronutrient deficiency**, based on a study that found that up to 9 in 10 children’s diets could be deficient in essential nutrients has been well received. We are confident that our high science based Horlicks portfolio will help address this.”

Performance Highlights:
  • Horlicks’ launched a new campaign around micronutrient deficiency, based on a study that found that up to 9 in 10 children’s diets could be deficient in essential nutrients* that Horlicks can help overcome.
  • Boost launched a new thematic with Virat Kohli – ‘Play the Bigger Game’ that single-mindedly aimed at ‘Driving Connect with Kids’

Health Food Drinks – Market share
  • Our health food drink portfolio continues to be the market leader with 56.3%(Value share) and 64.4% (Volume share) – (MAT Mar, 2017)
  • Horlicks at 44.8% Value share and 50.6% Volume share (MAT Mar, 2017)
  • Boost at 11.2 % Value share and 13.5% Volume share (MAT Mar, 2017)

*Iron, Vit. B1, B2, B3, B12, A & Folate. Krishnaswamy GJ et. al, Adequacy of Nutrient Intakes In Urban School Children. Poster (CMN-P-053) presented at: Nutrition Risk Management and Nutrition. 48th Annual National Conference of Nutrition Society of India; 4th – 5th November 2016, Bengaluru, India.

**Micronutrient deficiency, also known as hidden hunger, is the key underlining issue and can be explained as inadequate intake of crucial vitamins and minerals ‒ such as zinc, vitamin A and folate ‒ which are needed for healthy mental and physical growth of children.


About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd
GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd is the category leader in Indian health food drinks industry. Our flagship product Horlicks leads the market, while Boost is among the top three health food drink brands that India prefers. Our manufacturing plants are located in Nabha, Rajahmundry and Sonepat. In India we have an engaged workforce of over 4000 employees. GSK also markets and distributes a range of everyday health products such as Eno, Crocin, Iodex and Sensodyne. Our marketing and distribution network comprises over 700 distributors and a direct coverage of over 8 lakh retail outlets.

GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd is an associate of GlaxoSmithKline plc. of U.K, one of world’s largest consumer healthcare companies. We have a heritage that goes back over 160 years. Our purpose is to help more people around the world to do more, feel better and live longer with everyday healthcare products.  Our goal is to build a global, growing business – we call a Fast Moving Consumer Healthcare (FMCH) company – dedicated to everyday healthcare with all of the scientific expertise and quality guarantees that demands, working at the speed and with the genuine consumer understanding the modern world expects.

GSK Consumer Healthcare globally owns some of the world’s best loved healthcare brands, successful in over 100 countries. These include Sensodyne, Voltaren, Theraflu, Paradontax, Panadol, Polident, Otrivin, Horlicks and Physiogel.

THE ICJ HEARINGS IN THE INDIA V PAKISTAN, CASE DEATH PENALTY

Dear Media Colleagues:

The ICJ hearings in the India v Pakistan Case (death penalty) will be broadcast live on UNWebTV (http://webtv.un.org/) and on the Court’s website (http://www.icj-cij.org/starting at1:30 p.m. IST on Monday, 15 May 2017.

Should you wish to embed the stream on your website, please find attached the codes to that effect.

*
Editorial background:


The India v Pakistan case in a nutshell (for ease of reference, not an official summary):

Merits of the case

At the ICJ, India is accusing Pakistan since Monday 8 May 2017 of “egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations” (hereinafter the “Vienna Convention”) in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan.

India contends that it was not informed of Mr. Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights to legal, consular support. It further alleges that, in violation of the Vienna Convention, the authorities of Pakistan are denying India its right of consular access to Mr. Jadhav, despite its repeated requests. The Applicant also points out that it learned about the death sentence against Mr. Jadhav from a press release.

India therefore requests the Court (among three other reliefs) to decide the “immediate suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused”. For more details read: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/ files/168/19420.pdf

Side-proceedings (which will be dealt with at ICJ on Monday 15 May 2017)

On top of the claims explained above (which constitute the “merits” of the case), India also filed a “Request for the indication of provisional measures” (in other words: India wants the ICJ to take urgent interim measures against Pakistan in order to freeze the situation and not further aggravate the case).

India states that Mr. Jadhav “will be subjected to execution unless the Court indicates provisional measures directing the Government of Pakistan to take all measures necessary to ensure that he is not executed until th[e] Court’s decision on the merits” of the case. India further indicates that the protection of its rights is a matter of urgency as “[w]ithout the provisional measures requested, Pakistan will execute Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav before th[e] Court can consider the merits of India’s claims and India will forever be deprived of the opportunity to vindicate its rights”. India adds that it is possible that the appeal filed by the mother of the accused on his behalf may soon be disposed of.

India requests the Court (among two other reliefs) to indicate “[t]hat the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan take all measures necessary to ensure that Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is not executed”.

On 9 May 2017, the ICJ President (Judge Ronny Abraham), exercising his power under Article 74, paragraph 4, of the rules of the Court, pending the meeting of the Court, sent a letter calling upon the Government of Pakistan “to act in such a way as will enable any Order the Court may make on this Request (for provisional measures) to have its appropriate effects”. For more details read: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/ files/168/19420.pdf

It is recalled that Orders of the Court have a binding force for the Parties concerned.

Speakers:
1.      ICJ President: H.E. Judge Ronny Abraham (France)
2.      Agent and other Representatives of India in the morning (name tbc)
3.      Agent and other Representatives of Pakistan in the afternoon (names tbc)

Photos and videos

The 15 May 2017 hearings will be web-streamed live on UNwebTV (See info above).

Fresh photos, video files (b-roll) and a Press Release will be made available on 15 May 2017 on the ICJ website (www.icj-cij.org/multimedia); Should you however already wish to use stock images of the ICJ, please feel free to use the pictures and videos which were made on 7 March 2016 (in the Marshall Islands v India case, for example). They are available here: http://www.icj-cij.org/pressco m/gallery.php?p1=6&event=20160 307_miind


Background info about the ICJ itself:

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.  It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945 and began its activities in April 1946.  The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).  Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York.  The Court has a twofold role:  first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned);  and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and agencies of the system.  The Court is composed of 15 judges elected for a nine‑year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.  Independent of the United Nations Secretariat, it is assisted by a Registry, its own international secretariat, whose activities are both judicial and diplomatic, as well as administrative.  The official languages of the Court are French and English.  Also known as the “World Court”, it is the only court of a universal character with general jurisdiction.

The ICJ, a court open only to States for contentious proceedings, and to certain organs and institutions of the United Nations system for advisory proceedings, should not be confused with the other ¾ mostly criminal ¾ judicial institutions based in The Hague and adjacent areas, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY, an ad hoc court created by the Security Council), the International Criminal Court (ICC, the first permanent international criminal court, established by treaty, which does not belong to the United Nations system), the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL, an international judicial body with an independent legal personality, established by the United Nations Security Council upon the request of the Lebanese Government and composed of Lebanese and international judges), or the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA, an independent institution which assists in the establishment of arbitral tribunals and facilitates their work, in accordance with the Hague Convention of 1899).

Best-est,


cid:image001.jpg@01D0DFEF.3FAA7D60cid:image002.png@01D0DFEF.3FAA7D60
RAJIV CHANDRAN
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre
for India and Bhutan
55, Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110003
Tel: 91 11 46532237
M: 9810606833

BARCLAYS TO PAY $97 MN FOR OVERCHARGING

British banking giant Barclays has agreed to repay nearly $100 million to investment clients it overcharged for services, US financial regulators said Wednesday.
The bank overbilled investment clients by nearly $50 million, US Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement.
“Barclays failed to ensure that clients were receiving the services they were paying for,” said C Dabney O’Riordan, co-chief of the SEC Asset Management Unit.
The bank will pay $97 million, including a $30 million penalty and $13.8 million in interest, into a fund to reimburse and compensate investors.
Some 2,000 clients paid for due diligence and monitoring services that were not performed as advertised, while 63 others paid excess mutual fund sales charges after the bank needlessly recommended more expensive share classes, the SEC said in a statement.
An additional 22,138 accounts suffered billing errors.
Barclays has neither admitted nor denied the allegations, according to the SEC. Formal admission of guilt can expose companies to damaging investor lawsuits and the SEC rarely requires firms to admit wrongdoing.
The news came as the bank’s chief executive Jes Staley apologized to investors earlier in the day during the company’s annual meeting for attempting to unmask a whistleblower in another controversy within the bank.
Barclays revealed last month that Staley was under investigation by regulators and faced a “very significant” pay cut over the incident.

DUTCH OPEN ‘WORLD’S LARGEST OFFSHORE’ WIND FARM

Gemini windpark, which lies some 85 kilometres (53 miles) off the northern coast of The Netherlands, will meet the energy needs of about 1.5 million people.
At full winds the windpark has a generating capacity of some 600 megawatts, and will help supply some 785,000 Dutch households with renewable energy, the company said.
“We are now officially in the operational stage,” the company’s managing director Matthias Haag told AFP, celebrating the completion of a project first conceived in 2010.
The 2.8-billion-euro ($3 billion) project is a collaboration between the Canadian independent renewable energy company Northland Power, wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Wind Power, Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord and waste processing company HVC.
It has been “quite a complex” undertaking, Haag said, “particularly as this windpark lies relatively far offshore… so it took quite a lot of logistics”.
Gemini will contribute about 13 percent of the country’s total renewable energy supply, and about 25 percent of its wind power, he added.
It will also help reduce emissions of carbon-dioxide emissions, among the so-called greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, by 1.25 million tons, the company says.
The Netherlands remains dependant on fossil fuels which still make up about 95 percent of its energy supply, according to a 2016 report from the ministry of economics affairs.
But the Dutch government has committed to ensuring that some 14 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020, and 16 percent by 2023, with the aim of being a carbon neutral by 2050.
Gemini “is seen as a stepping stone” in The Netherlands, and has “shown that a very large project can be built on time, and in a very safe environment,” Haag added.
media agencies

BBC: EAST EUROPEANS TRICKED INTO SHAM MARRIAGES

Criminal gangs are tricking East Europeans into sham Scottish marriages with Asian men – selling the women for sex, labor and passports – in an expose that campaigners say reveals the extent of human slavery worldwide.
The cross-border story of how destitute women are lured from Romania and Slovakia with the promise of work in Western Europe, then sold in Scotland as slaves is told in a BBC television documentary to be aired on Wednesday.
Anti-slavery activists said the story was no surprise, with an estimated 46 million people living in some form of modern slavery around the globe.
“Sadly, the issue of sham marriage and sexual exploitation of vulnerable women and girls is not a new phenomenon,” said Justine Currell, Executive Director at Unseen, an anti-slavery group.
“This story highlights the depths that these gangs will go to make a profit, regardless of the terrible consequences for the individual,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“We must put a stop to this horrendous practice by locking up those responsible and protecting those most at risk of exploitation.” media agencies

TURKEY, PAKISTAN SIGN PLANES,WARSHIP, TRAINING DEALS

Turkey and Pakistan have signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale of four Turkish made corvette warships and 52 Pakistan-made training planes for Ankara’s armed forces, Turkey’s defense industry under-secretariat said on Wednesday.
Karachi Shipyard (KS&EW) will buy four corvettes made under Turkey’s MILGEM warship program, aimed at designing and building locally a fleet of multipurpose corvettes and frigates that will replace older ships.
The Turkish defense undersecretariat said the final deal was expected to be signed on June 30. The statement did not provide any financial details.
Turkey will buy 52 Super Mushshak training planes from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex – Kamra, to replace the T-41 and SF-260 planes currently in use, a statement by Ankara’s defense undersecretariat said.
This would be the first time a NATO country has used Super Mushshak planes, the statement added.
Two warships built under the MILGEM project so far, named TCG Heybeliada and TCG Buyukada, were delivered to the Turkish navy in 2011 and 2013. Construction is ongoing for TCG Burgazada and TCG Kinaliada, which are expected to start active duty in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

THE CENTRE, TN GOVERNMENT NOT DOING ENOUGH FOR DROUGHT-HIT FARMERS

In parched land
Farmers have reported a near-total loss of paddy this season.
TAMIL NADU faces its worst drought in the last 140 years. But do we care? How can the governments remain indifferent to their biggest vote bank?  Why does our increasingly shrill nationalism not extend to embrace Tamil farmers in their hour of need?These are the questions I faced repeatedly as we travelled across seven of the worst affected districts in the state last week. Unlike the rest of the country, Tamil Nadu receives most of its rainfall during the ‘receding’ or North-East monsoon, from October to December. It failed miserably in 2016. As per official records, there was 62 per cent deficit in rainfall during the North-East monsoon. A deficit of 25 per cent is considered serious and 50 per cent is alarming. The last time the state experienced worse rainfall than this one was in 1876. The water reservoirs in the state have fallen to merely 20 per cent of their capacity. The drought has affected 21 of the 32 districts, including the ‘rice bowl’ area of the Cauvery delta, where we travelled. Farmers’ distress was visible everywhere: large tracts of uncultivated land, dry rivers, canals and ponds, cattle trying to scrounge for remaining straw from the field. Farmers everywhere reported almost a total loss of paddy, the main crop of this season. The shock of crop loss and mounting loans has triggered a spate of farmers’ suicide, highlighted by the protest of Tamil Nadu farmers at Jantar Mantar last month. Shrinking employment opportunities in rural areas have hurt agricultural labour the most. Loss of crop also means severe shortage of fodder. Farmers are resorting to distress sale of cows and goats, as they cannot afford to feed them. Some areas are experiencing a shortage of drinking water as well. Of course, the Cauvery delta is not Bundelkhand and is nowhere close to the nutrition crisis and cattle famine that we witnessed at the border of UP and MP in 2015-16. Yet the situation can take an alarming turn in the next five months before the rains.This is not just a natural disaster. Our travel made it clear that a good deal of farmers’ distress is due to man-made or policy-induced disaster. In the Cauvery delta region, the farmers are very badly hit by the political dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the Cauvery waters. Without taking any side in this dispute, it is only fair to say that politicians on both ends have tried to fan emotions rather than find an amicable resolution. The tribunal has given its award, which is constitutionally binding on all parties. Yet its implementation is being delayed inordinately. Despite its high rhetoric on nationalism, the Central government has not intervened to reduce this conflict that pits two regions of the country against each other. Successive governments in Tamil Nadu have been complicit in illegal sand mining of the riverbeds, reducing the recharging of ground water. Unsuitable cropping pattern has contributed to the misuse of limited water resources. All this has contributed to the crisis situation this year.  This is when the farmers need the state. Farmers and other citizens of Tamil Nadu have good reasons to expect state action in times like this. We should not judge governance in Tamil Nadu by the low standards of the Hindi heartland. Despite its highly visible political theatrics, governments of Tamil Nadu have a much better record of social welfare schemes than the rest of the country. Midday meals began in Tamil Nadu. It is among the best performers in PDS for cheap food grain through ration shops. The tsunami relief carried out by the state government was a model of swift and efficient handling of a natural disaster. This time, sadly, the government does not seem to be living up to these expectations. In this hour of their need, the farmers of Tamil Nadu face an indifferent Central government and a paralysed state government. There is an evident lack of political will.So far, the Centre has limited itself to some routine steps. Against an admittedly inflated demand of over Rs 40,000 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund, the Centre has released a meager amount of around Rs 1,300 crore. While the limit of number of days of employment per family under MNREGA has been increased from 100 to 150, the overall MNREGA ‘labour budget’ of the state for this year has been cut down by the Centre by as much as 34 per cent. The Centre has done little to enforce the RBI directive that prohibits commercial banks from carrying out loan recovery during the drought period. Clearly, the weak political leadership in the state does not any longer wield the clout vis-à-vis the Centre that the state governments have had over the last two decades. The response of the state government too leaves much to be desired. Although summer vacation has begun in schools, the Tamil Nadu Government is yet to invoke the provision of the midday meal scheme that allows the meals to be continued through the summer break in such a situation. Almost every mother of a government school-going child that we spoke to welcomed the thought of a full meal for her child during this period. But the government does not seem to agree. The state has not initiated any proactive steps to use MNREGA for drought relief. Most agricultural labourers we interacted with said they either did not have the new job cards, or were not given work. And there were scores of complaints about inordinate delays in the payment of their wages. The government has announced crop loss compensation at the usual rate. But every village that we visited complained about the compensation amount being less than officially announced. As yet, no farmer has received insurance claims. The compensation was patchy, arbitrary and often discriminatory. The state has had a fairly high coverage under the flagship crop insurance scheme, the PMFBY. And despite clear instructions to the contrary, we came across many instances of loan recovery notices being issued by commercial and cooperative banks.Five days of listening to tales of distress and neglect can be quite depressing. But one thing kept our spirits up. Wherever we went, farmers went out of their way to welcome and host us. Everyone said they were overwhelmed to see this group of farmers and activists from the rest of the country who cared for them. They bridged the language gap to convey their emotions.Nationalism is not about discovering an enemy outside. True nationalism is about stitching the nation together. For me this ‘farmers’ rights yatra’ in Tamil Nadu was an affirmation of this positive nationalism.yogendra.yadav@gmail.com

EUROPE DAY RECEPTION ON 9TH MAY 2017

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Europeans in India celebrated Europe Day on 9th May at Taj palace, New Delhi. This year it was marked the 60th anniversary of Rome Treaty and 30 years of Erasmus Programme. Ms. Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary West, Ministry of External Affairs was the Guest of Honour.
The Celebration was attended by hundreds of European and Indian friends most of the Indian guests from various walks of life and mingled with the hosts members in this celebration. Here is a glimpse!
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