Sunday, October 31, 2010

American crowned Miss World 2010

Miss United States of America Alexandria Mills was crowned Miss World in China’s island province Hainan on October 30, beating more than 100 other contestants in the competition which goes by the motto “beauty with a purpose.” Participants in the final round were from China, USA, Botswana, Venezuela and Ireland.

First runner up was Miss Botswana Emma Wareus followed by Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini.

The 18-year-old Mills described herself as a positive, spontaneous, open minded and outgoing person on the official Miss World website.

The Miss World contestants spent a month in China, travelling to both Beijing and Shanghai before reaching Sanya on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.

It was the fifth time in eight years that the beauty contest was held on the popular holiday island. The final marked 60 years since the first Miss World competition was first held in 1951.

Shanghai World Expo ends

China declared its biggest tourism event ever, the Shanghai World Expo, a stunning success on October 31st, after introducing a record 72 million visitors to a smorgasbord of cultures and technologies meant to illustrate ideas for urban sustainability.

The massive, six-month event aimed at showcasing China’s rise as a modern industrial power drew mainly local visitors, many of them ordinary folk from the provinces who flooded into the city by the tour busload-full, cramming the city’s hotels, subways and other public places.

They found waits of up to 10 hours for some popular national pavilions, sweltering summer temperatures, long walks and other inconveniences for what could be once-in-a-lifetime direct contact with foreign places and people.

Highlights included Denmark’s famed “Little Mermaid” sculpture, a rooftop cable car ride above a replica alpine meadow at the Swiss pavilion, famous impressionist paintings from the Louvre at the French pavilion, and entertainment by Cirque du Soleil courtesy of Canada.

“Thanks to the expo, people like me who never would have a chance to go abroad can experience the whole world,” said Zou Aiguo, a retiree from central China’s Jiangxi province whose son gave him an expo tour as a present.

Not everyone was pleased by the event, least of all some of those unhappy with being forced out of old housing to make way for the expo zone, but such criticism gains little traction in a country that vigorously suppresses public dissent.

China spent 28.6 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) on the event and many billions more on improving subways, airports and other public facilities in this metropolis of more than 20 million people. The entire city got fresh paint, new landscaping and flowers and a kaleidoscope of decorative lighting.

World Expositions began with the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, which marked the coming of the Industrial Revolution, and have often helped introduce new technologies, foods and innovative ideas.

Striving to make its fair a “green” one in keeping with its motto “Better City, Better Life,” Shanghai deployed electric buses and carts and installed energy-saving air conditioning and water filters meant to cut use of bottled water. It also recycled rain water and made use of solar power.

Organizers even limited where visitors could smoke, though enforcement was lax, especially at night.

On October 31st, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the organizers for taking on the theme.

“The Shanghai Expo will close soon but it will not be forgotten,” Ban said. “Let us keep the Shanghai vision alive in our discussions and our lifestyles.”

An average 370,000 visitors traipsed each day; it was standing-room only when attendance hit a peak of 1.03 million on October 16.

“The pavilions look great from the outside, better than I expected, but I’m not convinced it’s worth waiting for hours in lines to get in,” said Liu Xiaoyin, who drove her 13-year-old daughter to Shanghai from a nearby city.

The 72 million who managed to get to the event surpassed the previous record of 64.21 million visitors who attended the 1970 fair in Osaka, Japan. Achieving the record was an absolute must in a prestige-obsessed country with a penchant for overshooting numerical targets.

The next expo, in 2012, will be in the South Korean port city of Yeosu, with a similar theme of “Green Growth, Blue Economy,” or marine-based sustainability. After that the expo will move to the Italian city of Milan in 2015, with a focus on food safety.

All but a handful of the more than 200 structures built for the expo along the banks of the Huangpu river {hbox}” former shipyards and steel works destined to become prime real estate {hbox}” must be dismantled and recycled or otherwise disposed of. Some pavilions will be moved elsewhere to serve as museums or landmarks.

India to get its first AC double-decker train

India's first air-conditioned double-decker train is expected to be launched on the Howrah-Dhanbad sector before the Diwali celebrations.

While a few old double-decker coaches are still operational on the Mumbai-Surat route currently, the new coaches that are built with a “crashworthy design” will also have state-of-the-art facilities for passenger comfort.

Developed at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, eight double-decker coaches were recently brought to Howrah for conducting trial runs before the official flagging-off ceremony.

People in West Bengal had the experience of travelling in double-decker coaches when two such coaches ran between Howrah and industrial-township Durgapur as part of the Black Diamond Express.

The coaches, however, were decommissioned in the early 1980s as passengers complained of suffocation and uneasiness.

The new coaches – built according to Eurofoma design – will accommodate 128 passengers each and can run at a maximum speed of 160 kmph due to the presence of ‘air-springs' in their under-carriages.

As the newly arrived coaches are painted in a combination of red and yellow, which neither Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee nor the railway officials liked, the coaches are expected to undergo a ‘green' makeover before its maiden journey.

The coaches with a height of 4,366 mm will be higher than the conventional LHB coaches whose height is around 3,950 mm.

The increase in height, however, can pose problems both in connection with the overhead electric wires and the height of station platforms. Incidentally, scratches have been discovered on the lower portion of two of the new coaches. They are believed to have been caused after grazing a platform.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NASA planning one way mission to colonise Mars

NASA is planning a one-way mission to Mars in a programme called ‘Hundred Years Starship’ in which, a manned spacecraft will take astronauts to Mars and leave them there forever.

NASA Ames Director Pete Worden revealed that one of NASA’s main research centres, Ames Research Centre, has received 1 million dollars funding to start work on the project.

Washington State University researchers had said that while technically feasible, a manned mission to Mars and back is unlikely to lift off anytime soon and so, a manned one-way mission to Mars would not only cut the costs by several fold, but also mark the beginning of long-term human colonization of the planet.

Mars is by far the most promising for sustained colonization and development because it is similar in many respects to Earth and, crucially, possesses a moderate surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water and carbon dioxide, together with a range of essential minerals.

Eventually they envision that outpost would reach self-sufficiency, and then it could serve as a hub for a greatly expanded colonization programme.

First, an appropriate site for the colony would be selected, preferentially associated with a cave or some other natural shelter, as well as other nearby resources, such as water, minerals and nutrients.

“Ice caves would go a long way to solving the needs of a settlement for water and oxygen. Mars has no ozone shield and no magnetospheric shielding, and ice caves would also provide shelter from ionizing and ultraviolet radiation,” said Schulze-Makuch.

The added that in addition to offering humanity a “lifeboat” in the event of a mega-catastrophe on Earth, a Mars colony would provide a platform for further scientific research.

CNN shortlists Madurai chef for ‘Hero of the Year’ award

Narayanan Krishnan, a 29-year-old chef from India who founded a non-profit body to feed the homeless and destitute, has been short-listed by CNN for its annual ‘Hero of the Year’ honour that recognises “everyday individuals who are changing the world.”

Mr. Krishnan is among this year’s top 10 CNN Heroes, who were selected from out of 10,000 nominations by a CNN panel comprising activists and philanthropists such as Muhammad Ali and Sir Richard Branson.

The network will announce the ‘CNN Hero of the Year,’ selected from among the top 10 people, on November 25.

Among the top 10 CNN Heroes is Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, a Scotsman who provides free daily meals to 400,000 children; Aki Ra, a former child soldier clearing land mines in Cambodia and Anuradha Koirala, working to prevent trafficking and sexual exploitation of Nepal’s girls.

Mr. Krishnan founded his nonprofit Akshaya Trust in 2003. He has served more than 1.2 million meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - to India’s homeless and destitute, mostly elderly people abandoned by their families and often abused.

The top 10 “remarkable individuals” were nominated by CNN viewers from across 100 countries for their sacrifices and accomplishments. In addition to receiving USD 25,000, each of this year’s top 10 CNN Heroes will be honoured at ‘CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute’ in Los Angeles on November 25.

The global broadcast, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, will culminate with the announcement of the CNN Hero of the Year, selected by the public in an online poll. The individual receiving the most votes will receive additional USD 100,000.

An award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group, Mr. Krishnan was short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland.

Mr. Krishnan and his team cover nearly 125 miles in a donated van. He provides hot meals - simple vegetarian fare - that he personally prepares, packs and often hand-feeds to nearly 400 people each day.

The group’s operations cost about USD 327 a day, but sponsored donations only cover 22 days a month.

Since investing his entire savings of USD 2,500 in 2002, he has taken no salary. Due to lack of funding, the group was also forced to stop construction on Akshaya Home, Mr. Krishnan’s vision of a dormitory for the people he helps.

Approach to a new national water policy

In place of the current slogan of Integrated Water Resource Management, we should look at Responsible, Harmonious, Just and Wise Use of Water.

The Union Ministry of Water Resources has undertaken a review and revision of the National Water Policy (NWP) 2002. The present article is intended as a contribution to that process. It will not offer a detailed critique of the Ministry's discussion paper, but will outline an approach for its consideration.

Need for radical overhaul

Ideally, a review at this stage should take climate change into account, but while we know that climate change may mean increased precipitation in some areas, increased drought in some others, and increased variability of precipitation, we do not yet know in detail precisely what will happen, when and where. Studies on these matters are still going on. A policy response will have to wait for some reasonably definitive findings on them.

However, an overhaul of the NWP is necessary even without reference to the issue of climate change. The reason for saying so is that there has been a gross mismanagement of water, as evidenced by the following selective list:

• intermittent, unreliable, unsafe and inequitable water supply in urban areas;

• rivers turned into sewers or poison, and aquifers contaminated;

• intractable water-related conflicts between uses, sectors, areas, States;

• major and medium irrigation systems in disarray, rendering poor and unreliable service, and characterised by inequities of various kinds;

• alarming depletion of aquifers in many parts of the country;

• inefficiency and waste in every kind of water-use;

• the environmental/ecological impacts of big water-resource projects, poor EIAs, the displacement of people by such projects and the general failure to resettle and rehabilitate project-affected persons; and so on.

The need for a radical reform of water policy is evident.

Not revision but new start

If so, the kind of transformation that is needed will not be achieved by incremental changes in the NWP 2002. If we start from NWP 2002, our thinking will quickly fall into well-worn grooves, and getting out of them will be difficult. It is necessary to put aside the NWP 2002, and start from scratch.

Reversals of past approaches

Such an exercise will involve many reversals of past approaches. For instance, reversing the usual approach of projecting a future demand and bringing about a supply-side response to meet that demand, we must start from the fact that the availability of fresh water in nature is finite, and learn to manage our water needs within that availability. This will mean a stringent restraint on the growth of ‘demand' for water (other than basic needs) which will be difficult and will involve painful adjustments; but the effort is inescapable.

A second reversal will have to be on the supply side. Primacy will have to shift from large, centralised, capital-intensive ‘water resource development' (WRD) projects with big dams and reservoirs and canal systems, to small, decentralised, local, community-led, water-harvesting and watershed-development programmes, with the big projects being regarded as projects of the last resort; and the exploitation of groundwater will have to be severely restrained in the interest of resource-conservation as well as equity.

A third reversal will have to be in relation to rivers, from massive interventions in flows and maximal abstraction of waters to letting the rivers flow and keeping interventions to the minimum. Instead of killing rivers and then trying to revive them, we must learn to keep rivers alive, flowing and healthy. A fourth reversal will have to be in the relative roles of the state and the community (from ‘eminent domain' or sovereign powers of the state to the state as trustee holding natural resources in public trust for the community). There may have to be other reversals. The intention is not to discuss these matters in detail but to indicate the kind of changes that will be needed.

Multiple perspectives

The changes cannot be piecemeal and fragmented. They need to be integral parts of a holistic vision. One difficulty in this regard is the multiplicity of perspectives on water that need to be taken into account. For instance, consider the following:

• the rights perspective, focussing on the fundamental or human right to water, traditional rights of access of communities (tribal or other) to rivers, lakes, forests, and other sources of sustenance and livelihoods, and so on;

• the social justice/ equity perspective, concerned with issues of inequity in urban and rural water and sanitation services, injustices to the poor and to the Scheduled Castes or Tribes, forced displacement by major projects and deficiencies or failures in resettlement /rehabilitation, inequities in access to irrigation water in the command areas of projects, etc;

• the women's perspective stressing the burden on women of fetching water from long distances as well as managing water in the home, with no voice in water-planning or water-management institutions;

• the community perspective urging the right relationship between state and civil society, the empowerment of people vis-à-vis the state (or the corporates), the community management of common pool resources, mobilisation of people for local water augmentation and management, social control of water use and sanctions against misuse, voice in water policy formulation and water management, etc;

• the state perspective, concerned with legislation, policy formulation, planning, administration, ‘governance' at all three levels, ensuring/enforcing rights, providing or facilitating or regulating water supply and sanitation services, preventing or resolving or adjudicating inter-state/inter-sector/inter-use/inter-area water disputes, prescribing and enforcing quality standards, managing water relations with other countries, ensuring compliance with international law, and so on;

• the engineering perspective (which needs no explanation);

• the water quality perspective concerned with the enforcement of water quality standards, and the prevention and control of pollution and contamination of water;

• the citizen/ water-user perspectives tending to assert requirements for various uses (drinking, domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, etc) quite strongly, but showing poor recognition of the obligations of economical and efficient use, avoidance of waste and conflict, conservation of the resource, and protection of the environment;

• the economic perspective that sees water as economic good subject to market forces, and argues for water markets, the full economic pricing of water, the privatisation of water services, private sector participation in water resource projects, etc;

• the ‘growth' perspective focussing on economic growth at a certain desired rate, and tending to be impatient with social, community, rights, equity, environmental or other perspectives;

• the business perspective, concerned with a supply response to demand, the objective being profits, professing ‘corporate social responsibility' but tending to subordinate it to the imperative of profits;

• the legal perspective, which is not really a separate perspective, as legal issues arise in all perspectives; but specifically concerned among other things with the constitutional division of legislative powers, Centre-State and inter-State relations on water, inter-State river-water disputes, riparian law, international water law, questions of ownership and/or control of water, etc. (all these being not merely legal but also socio-political questions); and

• the environmental/ecological perspective, concerned with the protection of the environmental/ecological system from the impacts of ‘developmental' activity, and the prescription/monitoring of remedial measures.

The foregoing enumeration of perspectives will immediately show that a multiplicity of disciplines is involved. The formulation of a national water policy must necessarily be an inter-disciplinary exercise.

Overarching perspective

If these perspectives are to be integrated and harmonised into a coherent whole, some will have to be regarded as the overarching, governing perspectives, and all others subsumed under them. In the author's view, the ecological and social justice perspectives will have to be the overarching perspectives, and all other perspectives subordinated to them. In particular, engineering and economics, which have so far been the dominant disciplines, must be firmly kept under check by ecology and by the idea of social justice.

Dharma perspective

Keeping in mind Gandhiji's firm conviction that rights flow from responsibilities, we can consider combining the ecological and social justice perspectives into a moral responsibility perspective or, in other words, an ethical or dharma perspective. Let us think in terms of our responsibility or dharma in relation to:

• the poor, deprived, disadvantaged, or disempowered;

• other humans sharing the resource with us, including those in our State or other States, our country or other countries, our generation or future generations;

• other species or forms of life;

• rivers, lakes, aquifers, forests, nature in general, Planet Earth itself.

That is the overarching perspective that this writer would like to propose. In place of the current slogan of Integrated Water Resource Management or IWRM about which he has strong reservations, he would like to offer the alternative formulation of Responsible, Harmonious, Just and Wise Use of Water.

Alas, RHJWUW is not a catchy term like IWRM. The latter term has come to stay, but it should really be understood to mean the former.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

U.K. varsity to confer honorary doctorate on Preity Zinta

Bollywood actor Preity Zinta, known for her performances in films like Kal Ho Naa Ho and Veer Zaara, will be conferred a doctorate by a leading U.K. university.

Zinta, who has the unique distinction of addressing the Oxford Union on Wednesday, will receive the doctorate from the University of East London at a function on Friday.

Later in the evening, the star will attend the Loomba Foundation Diwali dinner at the Guild Hall where the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Lord Navnit Dholakia, deputy leader of the Lib Dem at the House of Lords will also be present.

A versatile actor, Zinta has acted in over 30 films in Hindi, Telugu, Punjabi and English.

The 35-year-old star made her acting debut with Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se in 1998 followed by a role in Soldier the same year. These performances earned her a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award, and she was later recognised for her role as a teenage single mother in Kya Kehna (2000).

Zinta received her first Filmfare Best Actress Award in 2003 for her performance in the drama Kal Ho Naa Ho. She went on to play the lead female role in two consecutive annual top-grossing films: the science fiction film Koi... Mil Gaya and cross border romance Veer-Zaara, which earned her critical acclaim.

Her first international film role was in the Canadian film Heaven on Earth, for which she was awarded the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival.


COP 10:

Pursuant to decision IX/35, the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) will be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, from 18 to 29 October 2010.
COP 10 will include a high-level ministerial segment organized by the host country in consultation with the Secretariat and the Bureau. The high‑level segment will take place from 27 to 29 October 2010.
This meeting will take place during the International Year for Biodiversity (IYB) as declared by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 61/203. During the course of the year events will occur in every region of the world to raise public awareness of the importance of biological diversity to human well-being. Strategic Issues for Evaluating Progress and Supporting Implementation of the Convention will be considered. It is anticipated that the negotiations on an International Regime on Access and Benefit-sharing will result in the adoption of an instrument on Access and Benefit-Sharing.

Issues for in-depth consideration

  • Inland waters biodiversity
  • Marine and coastal biodiversity
  • Mountain biodiversity
  • Protected areas
  • Sustainable use of biodiversity
  • Biodiversity and climate change


This meeting will take place during the International Year for Biodiversity (IYB) as declared by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 61/203. During the course of the year events will occur in every region of the world to raise public awareness of the importance of biological diversity to human well-being.

Issues for in-depth consideration

Standing Issues

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

India, Malaysia sign broad-based trade pact

Relations between India and Malaysia are set to receive new impetus with the two countries on Wednesday signing a broad-based trade-opening agreement and deciding to forge closer cooperation on a range of other areas, including defence, anti-terrorism and hydrocarbons.

The two sides resolved to impart strategic dimension in their relations as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held wide-ranging talks with Malaysian counterpart Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital, after which six pacts were signed in various fields like science and technology, IT and health.

Dr. Singh invited Malaysian companies, which have good record in infrastructure, to invest in the sector in India pointing out that funds to the tune of $one trillion would be required over the next seven years and rules were being relaxed to enable smoother FDI flows.

The two sides also set up a CEO’s forum to encourage direct interaction between business and industry in each other’s countries as well as in third countries while setting the target of $15 billion by 2015.

The two leaders formally announced conclusion of negotiations on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which is aimed at enabling freer movement of goods, services and investments.

The Agreement, negotiations for which began in February 2008, will be formally signed by January next year by when all legal formalities would be completed.

The CECA has a wider scope and coverage than the ASEAN-India agreement, which only covers goods, and as such provides companies of the two countries better market access for goods and services.

Besides, the timelines for tariff concessions have been advanced by six months to a year.

A fifth of world's life at extinction risk

A fifth of the world’s mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes are in imminent danger of going extinct, says this year’s edition of the benchmark IUCN Red List. The percentages of threatened invertebrates and plants are similar.

Releasing the findings at the Oct. 18-29 UN biodiversity summit, being attended by 192 countries,Nagoya (Japan) on October 27th, Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said their findings on vertebrates showed that “nature’s backbone is at risk”.

Around 3,000 scientists from around the world have worked to put this Red List together. They have found that 25 percent of all mammals, 13 percent birds, 41 percent amphibians, 22 percent reptiles and 15 percent fishes risk extinction, mostly due to loss of their habitats and some due to overhunting.

A recent study by the Kew Botanical Gardens had found that around six million species — 20 percent of all plants and invertebrates — face the extinction threat too.

But it’s not all bad news. IUCN has found 64 species that have improved their status in the Red List, moving from the critically endangered to the endangered category, for example. Stuart said all these were in areas that had been protected, “proving the importance of conservation”. Results show that the status of biodiversity would have declined by at least an additional 20 percent if conservation action had not been taken.

The successes include three species that were extinct in the wild and have since been re—introduced back to nature: the California condor and the black—footed ferret in the US, and Przewalski’s horse in Mongolia.

Conservation efforts have been particularly successful at combating invasive alien species on islands. The global population of Seychelles Magpie—robin, increased from fewer than 15 birds in 1965 to 180 in 2006 through control of introduced predators, like the brown rat. In Mauritius, six bird species have undergone recoveries in status, including the Mauritius kestrel, whose population has increased from just four birds in 1974 to nearly 1,000.

But very few amphibians — the most threatened vertebrates — have shown signs of recovery.

This year’s study used data for 25,000 species from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, to investigate the status of the world’s vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes) and how this status has changed over time. The results show that, on average, 50 species of mammal, bird and amphibian move closer to extinction each year due to the impacts of agricultural expansion, logging, over—exploitation, and invasive alien species.

“The ‘backbone’ of biodiversity is being eroded,” said the doyen of ecologists, Edward O. Wilson,of Harvard University. “One small step up the Red List is one giant leap forward towards extinction. This is just a small window on the global losses currently taking place.”

Southeast Asia has experienced the most dramatic recent losses, largely driven by the planting of export crops like oil palm, commercial hardwood timber operations, agricultural conversion to rice paddies and unsustainable hunting.

Recently, a UN—sponsored study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) calculated the cost of losing nature at $2—5 trillion per year, predominantly in poorer parts of the world. A recent study found one—fifth of more than 5,000 freshwater species in Africa are threatened, putting the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on these vital resources at risk.

Monday, October 25, 2010



Gillard manages to retain power in Australia elections
On September 7, 2010, ending weeks of political uncertainty, Australia’s first woman Prime Minister Julia Gillard staked claim to form a new government after two king-maker independent MPs extended support to her Labour party, giving it a wafer-thin one-seat majority in the first hung Parliament in nearly 70 years.

Labour now controls 76 seats in Parliament’s 150-member House of Representatives, with the opposition Coalition of Liberal party leader Tony Abbott having 74 seats.

Gillard said her minority government would be held to higher standards of accountability as a result of the deal struck with the independents. She added that her government will spend $9.9 billion on development projects as part of the deal with the rural independents.

Political crisis in Nepal continues
On September 26, 2010, Nepal's Constituent Assembly failed for the eighth time, during the past four months, to elect a new Prime Minister. The deadlock continues, partly because other mainstream parties do not trust the single, largest party, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), because it continues to put its faith in one-party rule and continues to threaten it would resume armed struggle.

The last 20 years have seen Nepal move from a Hindu kingdom to a democratic and secular republic. The 239 year old monarchy was cast aside in 2006 and people voted for a Constituent Assembly and an interim government in 2008. Maoists emerged as the largest single party but fell short of a majority.

In the 601-member House, two seats are vacant and if the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are excluded, it has an effective strength of 597 members. The break-up is as follows : Unified CPN (Maoists): 237, Nepali Congress: 114, UML: 108, four Madhes based parties: 82, smaller parties & others: 56.

Unified CPN (Maoist) continues to say it has no faith in parliamentary democracy, believes in one-party rule and insists on absorbing its underground militia into the Nepalese Army. It also tried to take arbitrary decisions and sought the removal of the President and the Army Chief. Other parties are not sure it would change its spots.

The Constituent Assembly has failed to finalise the Constitution as mandated. The Assembly extended its own life by one year to complete the task. But differences persist. In the absence of a consensus between parties, there is a caretaker government with few powers.

Having failed to sack the then Army Chief over the integration of the armed Maoist guerrillas, Prachanda resigned as Prime Minoster and Maoists pulled out of the government in 2009; then they forced the next government headed by Madhav Kumar Nepal of UML to also quit.

China-Japan spat
China suspended high-level exchanges with Japan on September 19, 2010, and promised tough counter-measures after a Japanese court extended the detention of a Chinese captain whose trawler collided with two Japanese coastguard ships.

The spat between Asia’s two largest economies has flared since Japan arrested the captain, accusing him of deliberately striking a patrol ship and obstructing public officers near uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

Beijing viewed the detention as illegal and invalid.

UN convention on terrorism moves a step forward
Rocked by a wave of audacious terrorist attacks in the last two years, Pakistan has finally realised the futility of opposing the proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) just because India was in the forefront of initiating it at the United Nations in 1996.

Pakistan, along with some other Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, had led the campaign against the proposed convention on various grounds. It had argued that self-determination should be outside the purview of the convention. It had also insisted that international humanitarian laws should be taken into account while finalising the text of the convention. Both these objections were seen as aimed at embarrassing India on Jammu and Kashmir since Islamabad has been demanding the right to self-determination for Kashmiris and seeking international intervention on the issue.

The opposition to the convention had also come from the US and Israel with the latter insisting that acting against terrorists indulging in killing innocent people be brought under its purview.

The global treaty seeks to criminalise all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financers and supporters access of funds, arms and safe havens.

The situation has considerably changed with just a handful of countries still not convinced why they should back it. “Most countries are now in favour of the early adoption of the convention but there is a small number of holdouts, may be 10 to 15…efforts are on to convince them also to support it so that a strong message goes out to all terrorist organisations that the international community is united and determined to jointly fight the menace of terrorism.

A high-speed train in China has set a new world speed record during a trial run. The train hit a maximum of 416.6 km per hour on its journey between Shanghai and Hangzhou. The train is designed to run at a speed of 350 km per hour.

The World Tourism Day is observed on September 27.

The UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, was held in September 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York, USA.

The World Tiger Summit was held in September 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The six living species of Tigers are: Amur, Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, South China and Sumatran. The Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers have become extinct.



RBI’s mid-term review
The RBI, in its first mid-quarter review of its monetary policy, increased repo and reverse repo rates leaving the cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged as it battles to contain inflation.

The central bank noted that food inflation has risen to 15.10 per cent for the week ending September 4, thus making it necessary to rein in liquidity. As a result, RBI raised short-term borrowing rate (reverse repo) by 0.50 percentage points to 5 per cent and lending rate (repo) by 0.25 percentage points to 6 per cent. The increased rates aim to make financing costly thus curbing consumption.

However, the RBI said that inflation rates have reached a plateau. The apex bank also signalled banks to raise fixed deposit rates and also noted that the government was on target to contain the fiscal deficit.

Unique Identification Authority of India
The Union Cabinet has cleared a new law providing for strict penal action and hefty fines going up to Rs 1 crore to guard against misuse of data collected for allotment of a Unique Identity Card or a Aadhar number to Indian citizens.

The proposed legislation, titled the National Identification Authority of India Act, seeks to give statutory powers to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UDAI), created as an attached office under the Planning Commission.

The decision to enact a legislation was taken after fears were expressed over the privacy and security of data collected by the UDAI. In addition, several civil rights groups had also pointed out that actions of the UDAI could well be questioned in the absence of a legal framework.

This scheme of providing unique identity number to the citizens of the country took off on September 29 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented the first such number at a function in the tribal district of Nandurbar in Maharashtra.

Job scenario in India improves
According to the Ma Foi Randstad Employment Trends Survey, there is optimism in the economic scenario across all sectors of India and most of the new jobs have been created are in services. Conducted among 650 companies across 13 industry segments that included eight Indian cities, the survey revealed 418,000 jobs were created between January and June, 2010, with the healthcare sector creating 121,000 jobs, and another 63,000 in the hospitality sector. The top five sectors leading the boom are healthcare, hospitality, real estate and construction, information technology and IT-enabled services, and education, training and consulting.

Real estate and construction leads with the highest growth in number of people employed. It also expects growth in average salary by about four per cent, followed by pharma (3.5 per cent) and healthcare (3.4 per cent) during the third quarter.

The estimated proportion of experienced workforce is the highest in the pharma sector, 87 per cent. Healthcare is estimated to have the highest percentage of freshers,at 38 per cent. Kolkata has the highest estimated percentage of experienced workforce, at 82 per cent, and New Delhi the highest estimated percentage of freshers (35 per cent).

Fund to boost innovation
The National Innovation Council (NIC), a body to promote new ideas for inclusive development, has announced the setting up of a Rs 1,000 crore fund to encourage innovation.

“A major portion of the fund will come from the private sector and not the government,” the chairman of the council, Sam Pitroda, said.

One of the council members and renowned film-maker, Shekhar Kapur, also mooted the idea of starting a television reality show that would provide a platform for the young minds to showcase their innovative ideas for solving the problems of the economy.

Set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the council is aimed at energising innovation initiatives so as to make them part of the national effort aimed at reducing poverty, improving governance and making development more inclusive.

The aim of NIC is to herald a mindset change and create a push at the grassroots level so that more and more people are involved in shaping a national-level innovation strategy.

The council’s mandate also includes formulating a roadmap on innovation for the 2010 to 2020 period, focusing on inclusive growth.

Munda sworn in as Jharkhand Chief Minister
On September 11, 2010, BJP leader Arjun Munda became the eighth Chief Minister of the 10-year-old Jharkhand State, as leader of a coalition with, among others, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Munda, who is having a go at the top job for the third time, will have two deputies — Sudesh Mahato of the All Jharkhand Union and JMM patriarch Shibu Soren's son, Hemant Soren.

Although the function at the Governor's house showed the deep rift in the BJP over the tie-up with the JMM—the BJP's partner last time in a government that lasted only for five months—Munda said he would focus on strengthening the party's grass-root level.

Visit of President of Mozambique
On September 30, 2010, during a meeting between President of Mozambique Armando Guebuza and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India and Mozambique inked three pacts and a credit line of $500 million was extended to that country for infrastructure projects, agriculture and energy.

The two countries have also decided to create a partnership based on greater political engagement, deepening of economic cooperation, strengthening of defence and security cooperation, specially to secure sea lanes against piracy, and cooperation in capacity building and human resource development.

India would also support establishment of training and planning institutions in Mozambique to support capacity building in the coal industry, besides supporting capacity building for the defence and police forces of that country, the Prime Minister said.

Expressing concern over the safety and security of sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, Guebuza assured to provide all possible assistance to protect them.

Dhaka okays crucial highway link to Kolkata
In major development, Bangladesh has finally agreed to start the construction of a highway that will not only provide transit facilities, ensuring easy movement of goods, but also drastically shorten the circuitous route—crucial from the military point of view—between north-eastern States and the port city of Kolkata.

The project—to be primarily financed by India—is part of the larger Asian Highway network project connecting the Asian nations. The highway project between India and Bangladesh had been hanging fire for more than five years, with Dhaka stalling it for one reason or the other—primarily due to pressure from Pakistan and China.

The change came after the Sheikh Hasina Government came to power and in July 2009 Indian negotiators managed to push Bangladesh to ink the inter-governmental agreement.

The first route will enter from Bengal into Bangladesh at the existing Benapole land port on the border and run across eastwards via Jessore and Dhaka; passing through Sylhet, located on the north-eastern edge of Bangladesh, it will enter Assam/Meghalaya.

The second axis will start from North Bengal and enter Bangladesh at Panchgarh and run southwards via Srirajganj to Dhaka and further southeast to Cox Bazar and Chittagong before entering into Myanmar. India will be able to use both routes.

Once ready, the highway will solve India’s major problem of moving goods into north-eastern States of Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur. At present, it can take up to five days for a truck from Kolkata to reach these areas, adding up to the costs, besides the time delay.

Crucial military pact with South Korea
Signalling a dramatic change in its strategic positioning, especially vis-à-vis China, India, on September 3, 2010, entered into a crucial joint research and manufacturing agreement with South Korea to co-develop and co-produce military equipment.

Both countries are neighbours of China and have a rather testy and tense relationship with it.

On the military front the importance of the agreement can be gauged from the fact that India has such agreements for co-developing and co-producing military equipment with its traditional “friend” Russia and other ally, Israel. It also has product-based cooperation for joint production of key military equipment with the French and Italians. Following the agreement, experts have placed India-South Korea military relations at par with Indian relations with Russia and Israel.

Memorandums of Understanding were signed following a 90-minute discussion between high-level delegations led by Defence Ministers, AK Antony and Kim Tae-young, respectively. This was the first-ever visit of an Indian Defence Minister to South Korea.

Visit of Polish Prime Minister
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited India on September 7, 2010. The Indo-Polish defence cooperation figured prominently during talks between the visiting dignitary and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Since most of the Indian military hardware was acquired in the 1970s from the then Soviet Union, Poland, which was a key ally of former USSR, has the spares and the technology for upgrading the equipment with the Indian forces.

Poland is keen to sell tank recovery vehicles to India. The proposal was made during Antony’s visit to Warsaw in April for a meeting of the joint working group (JWG) on defence cooperation between the two countries.

A tank recovery vehicle is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to repair battle or mine damaged as well as broken down vehicles during combat operations, or to tow them out of the danger zone for more extensive repairs.

Apart from making these vehicles available to India, Poland has shown interest in providing to New Delhi its sophisticated military hardware up-gradation and maintenance technology. It is also interested in joint ventures with Indian companies.

Poland can also help India upgrade Indian T-72 tanks, BMP II infantry combat vehicles and a variety of air defence systems purchased from the former Soviet Union.

But more than defence ties, it is the prospect of a quantum jump in economic ties with Poland that excites New Delhi. Poland, a key member of the European Union (EU), is considered by India as a gateway to Europe and Central Asia.

Allahabad High Court Verdict on Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute
On September 30, 2010, the much-awaited judgement of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court unanimously ruled that the idols of ‘Ram Lalla’ in the makeshift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya cannot be removed.

The three-judge Bench of Justices S.U. Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and Dharamveer Sharma separately delivered the historic verdict. In a 2-1 majority verdict, Justices Khan and Agarwal decreed that the 2.7-acre land comprising the disputed site should be divided into three equal parts and be given to Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the party representing ‘Ram Lala Virajman’ (Ram deity).

However, the third judge Justice D.V. Sharma ruled that that the disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram and that the disputed building constructed by Mughal emperor Babur was built against the tenets of Islam and did not have the character of the mosque. The Bench directed maintenance of status quo at the site for three months and invited suggestions from all the parties for demarcation of the land.

The judges also dismissed the claims of the Sunni Central Waqf Board over the Babri Mosque due to limitation or becoming time barred as well as the claim of the Nirmohi Akhara.

With a 2-1 majority, the Bench held that all the three parties, namely Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara were joint titleholders of the property in dispute. Both Justices Sudhir Aggarwal and SU Khan made it clear that the share of the Muslim parties shall not be less than one third of the total area of the premises. “...If while allotting exact portions some minor adjustment in the share is to be made then the same will be made and the adversely affected party may be compensated by allotting some portion of the adjoining land,” observed Justice Khan.

The area under the erstwhile central dome where the idols are placed in the makeshift temple has been allotted to the Hindus. The inner courtyard has been given to both the communities “since it was being used by both since decades and centuries”, noted Justice Aggarwal.

The ‘Ram Chabootra’, ‘Sita Rasoi’ and ‘Bhandar’ area in the outer courtyard will go to the Nirmohi Akhara. The outer courtyard is once again to be shared by the Nirmohi Akhara and the Muslim parties.

—2.7 acre disputed site to be divided in three equal parts.
—Two portions to be handed over to Hindus, Muslims will get one.
—All three parties—Muslims (Sunni Waqf Board), Nirmohi Akhara and the parties representing ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’—declared joint title-holders.
—The portion below the central dome, where the idol of Lord Rama is presently kept in makeshift temple, belongs to Hindus.
—All three parties may utilise the area to which they are entitled to by having separate entry for egress and ingress of the people without disturbing each other’s rights. The parties may approach Centre which shall act in accordance with the directions and also as contained in the SC verdict.

Historical Background
The ‘first title suit’ was filed on January 19, 1885. It was submitted by Mahant Raghubirdas in the court of Faizabad sub-judge, seeking permission for “puja” (worship) rights over a “chabootra” (platform) in front of the mosque which he claimed was Ram’s birthplace.
In his February 24, 1885, order, the judge said: “It (chabootra) was so close to the existing masjid that it would be contrary to public policy to grant a decree authorising plaintiff to build a temple as desired by him.”

Sub-Judge Hari Kishan said: “It is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus, but as the event occurred 356 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance. All that can be done is to maintain the status quo. In such a case as the present one any innovation could cause more harm and derangement of order than benefit.”

Then Raghubirdas moved to the Faizabad district judge, Colonel J.E.A. Chambier, who, after a spot inspection, dismissed the appeal on March 17, 1886, on the same grounds.

Raghubirdas then filed an appeal before the Oudh Judicial Commissioner, W. Young, who also declined his plea in his judgment of November 1, 1886.

Young observed: “This spot is situated within the precincts of the grounds surrounding a mosque erected some 350 years ago, owing to the bigotry and tyranny of the emperor who purposely chose this holy spot, according to Hindu legend, as the site of his mosque.”

Amir Khan’s “Peepli Live”, a satire on media’s trivialisation of farmers’ suicide, has been selected as India’s official entry at the 2011 Oscars, in the Best Film category.

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, which envisages making UIDAI a statutory body.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee launched the Swavalamban Scheme of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) on September 25, 2010. The scheme seeks to provide pension scheme to the un-organised sector. Under the scheme, the Central government will contribute Rs 1,000 per year to each National Pension Scheme (NPS) account opened in year 2010-11 and for the next three years, till 2013-14.

Chowmhalla Palace in Hyderabad, spectacular 18th century monument, has been selected for the Heritage “Award of Merit” by the UNESCO, for cultural heritage conservation for 2010.

The Business Standard Best Business Schools Survey 2010 shows that India’s top business schools are: Indian Institutes of Management in Ahmedabad and Kolkata, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi, Institute of Management Technology at Ghaziabad, Management Development Institute at Gurgaon, National Institute of Industrial Engineering in Mumbai and XLRI Jamshedpur.

A new wholesale price index series with an updated product portfolio was launched on September 14, 2001. The series will have 2004-05 as the base year, as against 1993-94 in the previous model. Some important items included in the new series basket are: flowers, lemon, crude petroleum, scooter and motorcycle tyre, polymers, marble, silver and gold.

The Employee Provident Fund trustees have decided to raise the interest for 2010-11 to 9.5 percent.

Navodaya Vidyalayas celebrated 25 years of existence in 2010. A befitting match to costly private schools, the Navodayas have shown in last 25 years how gifted children with humble means can rise to life.

India has replaced the US as the second most important Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination for trans-national corporations, according to a survey conducted by UNCTAD. Global FDI flows are expected to jump from $1.2 trillion in 2010 to $1.5 trillion in 2011 and $1.6-2.0 trillion in 2012.
Rajkot People’s Cooperative Bank does not offer any job to people who smoke cigarette or eat gutkha. Even the customers with the habits have to pay higher interest on loans.

Reliance Industries has been ranked second in the list of world’s 10 biggest ‘sustainable value creators’—companies that have been successful in creating the most shareholder value over the last decade—prepared by Boston Consulting Group. Brazil-based mining and materials giant Vale has been ranked the top value creator.

India’s first agri-biotechnology institute, the National Agri Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) is being set up in Mohali, near Chandigarh.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

East Asia Summit

The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a forum held annually by leaders of 16 countries in the East Asian region. EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings. The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur on December 14, 2005.

Meetings held

Meeting Country Location Date
First EAS Malaysia Kuala Lumpur December 14, 2005
Second EAS Philippines Cebu City January 15, 2007
Third EAS Singapore Singapore November 21, 2007
Fourth EAS Thailand Cha-am and Hua Hin October 25, 2009
Fifth EAS Vietnam Hanoi October 30, 2010

Fifth East Asia Summit:

The East Asia Summit is a nominally annual meeting of national leaders from the East Asian region and adjoining countries. The Fifth East Asia Summit will be chaired by Vietnam on 30 October 2010.

7th ASEAN-India Summit


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Brunei Darussalam then joined on 8 January 1984, Viet Nam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.


As set out in the ASEAN Declaration, the aims and purposes of ASEAN are:

  1. To accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations;
  2. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter;
  3. To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields;
  4. To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, technical and administrative spheres;
  5. To collaborate more effectively for the greater utilisation of their agriculture and industries, the expansion of their trade, including the study of the problems of international commodity trade, the improvement of their transportation and communications facilities and the raising of the living standards of their peoples;
  6. To promote Southeast Asian studies; and
  7. To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations with similar aims and purposes, and explore all avenues for even closer cooperation among themselves.


In their relations with one another, the ASEAN Member States have adopted the following fundamental principles, as contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) of 1976:

  1. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;
  2. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;
  3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
  4. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;
  5. Renunciation of the threat or use of force; and
  6. Effective cooperation among themselves.


The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders on the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies.

At the 9th ASEAN Summit in 2003, the ASEAN Leaders resolved that an ASEAN Community shall be established.

At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 2007, the Leaders affirmed their strong commitment to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015 and signed the Cebu Declaration on the Acceleration of the Establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.

The ASEAN Community is comprised of three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Each pillar has its own Blueprint, and, together with the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Strategic Framework and IAI Work Plan Phase II (2009-2015), they form the Roadmap for and ASEAN Community 2009-2015.


The ASEAN Charter serves as a firm foundation in achieving the ASEAN Community by providing legal status and institutional framework for ASEAN. It also codifies ASEAN norms, rules and values; sets clear targets for ASEAN; and presents accountability and compliance.

The ASEAN Charter entered into force on 15 December 2008. A gathering of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers was held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta to mark this very historic occasion for ASEAN.

With the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, ASEAN will henceforth operate under a new legal framework and establish a number of new organs to boost its community-building process.

In effect, the ASEAN Charter has become a legally binding agreement among the 10 ASEAN Member States.

Chairman’s Statement of the 7th ASEAN-India Summit

The 7th ASEAN-India Summit chaired by H.E. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, was held on 24 October 2009 in Cha-am Hua Hin, Thailand. The meeting was attended by the Heads of State/Government of the ASEAN Member States and H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India.
  1. The ASEAN leaders expressed their congratulations to H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh on his re-election as Prime Minister of the Republic of India and also expressed their conviction that his second term would further strengthen and cement the existing close partnership between ASEAN and India.
  2. We noted with satisfaction the progress of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations which has deepened and broadened over the past years and developed into a multi-faceted and dynamic partnership contributing to regional peace, mutual understanding and closer economic interaction.
  3. We appreciated India’s “Look East Policy” as reflected in her active role in various regional fora such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation and BIMSTEC, which help contribute to enhancing regional dialogue and accelerating regional integration.
  4. We noted with satisfaction the steady progress of implementation of the ASEAN – India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity, and agreed that a new and more enhanced phase of the Plan of Action to implement the said Partnership be launched before the next ASEAN-India Summit, in order to seize the opportunities and overcome the challenges arising from the global financial crisis and evolving political and economic landscape.
  5. We welcomed the signing of ASEAN- India Trade in Goods Agreement at the 41st ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on 13 August this year and encourage its early implementation by January 2010. We are confident that the Agreement will allow our producers and exporters to derive full benefits from the potential of our combined markets. For our people to further reap the benefits of free trade, we entrusted our Ministers and officials to work towards the early conclusion of services and investment agreements.
  6. In view of the Trade in Goods Agreement, we agreed to revise our bilateral trade target to 70 billion USD to be achieved in the next two years, noting that the initial target of 50 billion USD set in 2007 may soon be surpassed.
  7. We encouraged the re-activation of the ASEAN-India Business Council and the ASEAN-India Business Summits in order to strengthen business networks and opportunities. In this regard, we noted that the proposal has received a positive response from the Indian business community. We therefore tasked our economic officials to work with all parties concerned so that this Council and Business Summit could be convened next year.
  8. We emphasized the need to promote connectivity in the region by completing all the missing links between South and Southeast Asia and beyond. We supported India’s vision to create an “Arc of Advantage” for our region through further integration of sea, road and rail links.
  9. In this regard, we welcomed Thailand’s continued support of the development of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, and most recently, her pledge to improve the 30 kilometre stretch from Thingannyinaung – Kawkareik which would form part of the westward link of the East -West Economic Corridor.
  10. We welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN-India Aviation Cooperation Framework at the 14th ASEAN TransportMinisters Meeting in November 2008 which would lay the foundation for closer aviation cooperation and open skies, to support business growth, tourism and greater interactions between our peoples. In this regard, we noted that an ASEAN-India Air Transport Agreement is under discussion with the implementation timeline set for 2011.
  11. The ASEAN Leaders appreciated India’s continued efforts in promoting people-to-people contacts and mutual understanding through visits to India of students, members of the media and diplomats, which help to foster ASEAN-India relations at the peoples level. As India is one of the world’s largest democracies, we also encouraged exchanges of visits of ASEAN-India parliamentarians with the involvement of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly which would also promote democratic values.
  12. The ASEAN Leaders appreciated India’s active role in promoting human resource development as a means to narrow the development gap such as establishing Entrepreneur Development Centres, Centres for English Language Training and IT Training Centres in CLMV countries which could also be extended to other ASEAN Member States. We also noted that Entrepreneurship Development Centres would enhance the potentiality of SMEs and ensure their ability to benefit from closer economic integration.
  13. We stressed the importance of cooperation in science and technology and environment as a vital factor to promote dynamic and sustainable development in the region. In this regard, we looked forward to the early operationalization of the ASEAN–India Science and Technology Fund and the ASEAN- India Green Fund in order to support cooperation in these areas. Considering recent natural calamities in the region, we suggested that India and ASEAN make use of the funds by developing, among others, a technology programme for disaster management, building upon India’s expertise in IT and space technology.
  14. We underscored the importance of cooperation and sharing of expertise in the field of pharmaceutical and health care, in view of the region’s comparative advantage and the need for greater access for all to affordable medicine. We agreed to develop low cost drugs and traditional medicines and tasked our Ministers and officials to develop a framework as appropriate for cooperation in these areas.
  15. The ASEAN Leaders also appreciated the efforts made by India in promoting cooperation in the fields of traditional medicine and ayurveda, including, among other things, through the convening of workshops and the grant of scholarships.
  16. We took note with appreciation the initiatives proposed by the Prime Minister of India as follows:
  • Establishment of an India-ASEAN round table comprising think tanks, policy makers, scholars, media and business representatives to provide policy inputs on future areas of cooperation;
  • Continuation of negotiations on open skies policy and further simplification of the visa regime to encourage business and tourism;
  • Holding an ASEAN Trade and Industrial Exhibition in India;
  • Enhancing cooperation in the agriculture sector with a view to meeting the challenges of food security; and,
  • Cooperation in space technologies including sharing of satellite data for management of natural disaster and launching of small satellites and scientific instruments and payloads for experiments in remote sensing and communication for space agencies and academic institutions.
  1. We tasked our officials and the ASEAN Secretariat to consider how to implement these initiatives as soon as possible.
  2. The ASEAN Leaders welcomed the announcement made by the Prime Minister of India to allocate, during the period of ASEAN Work Plan, US$ 50 million to the ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund and the ASEAN Development Fund in support of the above initiatives, as well as IAI programme and projects in the areas of education, energy, agriculture and forestry, small and medium enterprises, and implementation of the ASEAN ICT Master Plan.
  3. We further welcomed India’s proposal to host an ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in 2012 to mark 20 years of our dialogue relations.
  4. We reaffirmed our commitment to cooperate in addressing transboundary issues and global challenges, such as terrorism, transnational crimes, especially in the areas of drug trafficking, food and energy security, natural disasters, new and emerging infectious diseases and climate change. We also encouraged ASEAN and India to undertake activities to implement the Joint Declaration on Cooperation to Combat Terrorism.
  5. The ASEAN Leaders suggested that India as a member of G20 can play an important role in coordinating efforts between developed and emerging economies to mitigate the negative impact of the current global economic and financial crisis. India can also work with ASEAN to complement the global efforts in the reform of the international financial architecture and accelerate the early recovery of the global economy. India welcomed ASEAN participation at the London and Pittsburg G20 Summits and expressed its support for the continued participation of ASEAN Chair and Secretary-General of ASEAN at G20 Summits.


Sixteenth ASEAN Summit, Ha Noi, 8-9 April 2010

Fifteenth ASEAN Summit, Cha-Am Hua Hin, Thailand, 23-25 October 2009

Fourteenth ASEAN Summit, Cha-am, Thailand, 26 February - 1 March 2009

Thirteenth ASEAN Summit, Singapore, 18-22 November 2007

Twelfth ASEAN Summit, Cebu, Phillipines, 9-15 January 2007

Eleventh ASEAN Summit, Kuala Lumpur, 12-14 December 2005

Tenth ASEAN Summit, Vientiane, 29-30 November 2004

Ninth ASEAN Summit, Bali, 7-8 October 2003

Eighth ASEAN Summit, Phnom Penh, 4-5 November 2002

Seventh ASEAN Summit, Bandar Seri Begawan, 5-6 November 2001

Fourth Informal Summit, Singapore, 22-25 November 2000

Third Informal Summit, Manila, 27-28 November 1999

Sixth ASEAN Summit, Ha Noi, 15-16 December 1998

Second Informal Summit, Kuala Lumpur, 14-16 December 1997

First Informal Summit, Jakarta, 30 November 1996

Fifth ASEAN Summit, Bangkok, 14-15 December 1995

Fourth ASEAN Summit, Singapore, 27-29 January 1992

Third ASEAN Summit, Manila, 14-15 December 1987

Second ASEAN Summit, Kuala Lumpur, 4-5 August 1977

First ASEAN Summit, Bali, 23-24 February 1976