Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jairam Ramesh to Release UNEP Report on “Green Economy and the Forest”

World Environment Day, 5th June is observed each year throughout the world, to focus attention on emerging environmental issues, and to induce public action. For 2011 UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has given the theme "Forests: Nature at Your Service" in alignment with the UN International Year of Forests, 2011.

First time, India is the global host of UNEP World Environment Day. During this year, shifting from the past practice of organizing World Environment Day at New Delhi only, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India has planned a series of activities/events/campaigns during the first week of June, 2011, across the country in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve to highlight the intrinsic link between quality of life, the health of forests and forest ecosystems, and the sustainable use of forests. Long-term survival of forests is crucial for sustainable development and a green economy.

Apart from “Green Walkathon” involving all sections of the society for citizens of Delhi in partnership with the Government of Delhi, to be organized on 5th June, 2011 at India Gate, the other significant feature will be organization of “Green Haat”, involving about 52 partners to showcase initiatives, of forest dwellers, Minor Forest Produce Federations of various states, women self help groups, NGO partners ,highlighting the value added forest products, in partnership with Centre for Environment Education(CEE) at Dilli Haat during June 1st to 5th, 2011, during which a report on, ”Rapid Assessment of the Himalayas” will also be launched on 3rd June, 2011.

Biodiversity film festival for disadvantaged children, general public, prisoners, and Air Force officials will be organized in partnership Centre for media studies (CMS) at New Delhi during June 1st to 4th, 2011 at National Science Centre, PVR’s Cinemas, Tihar Jail and Subroto Park, Indian Air Force to raise awareness about Environmental issues through showcasing of films from eminent national and International film makers.

Across the Himalayan region, in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, awareness programs and Green March, involving School Children will be organized by G.B.Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development.

The North East Museum Gallery at Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhubaneswar will be inaugurated by Shri Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister of State for Environment & Forests (Independent Charge) on 1st June, 2011.

Highlighting the role of media for Green reporting, an UNEP media workshop on Journalism and the Environment is being organized at Leela Hotel, New Delhi on 2nd June, 2011.

An exhibition on Mumbai’s Environment, in partnership with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), highlighting the environmental issues of Metropolitan and coastal cities will be organized at Chhatrapati Shivaji & Churchgate Stations during 2nd to 4th June, 2011 to create awareness amongst all sections of the society.

On 3rd June, 2011, tree plantation of forest department, Government of Delhi at Juanapur, Mehrauli, Delhi will be dedicated to the public, as a mark to celebrate World Environment Day, hosted by the UNEP in India, this year. Showcasing the public private partnership, in environment awareness, a public park development by Leela Hotel will be inaugurated on 4th June, 2011.

Acknowledging the role of corporate sector in ensuring Green Growth and Green Economy, a dialogue with business community on Green economy has been organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at CII office, New Delhi on 3rd June, 2011.

On 4th June, 2011, a nature camp for speech and hearing children and Exhibition on Western Ghat diversity will be organized at Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bengaluru. Involving the IT Business Community and corporate sector, a workshop and Marathon will be organized at Bengaluru on 4th and 5th June, 2011.

To create awareness among children, a painting competition will be organized on 5th June, 2011 at Delhi Zoo. On this day, a workshop on, “Emerging issues in Wildlife Conservation” will be organized by Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun.

The series of celebrations will culminate on 5th June, 2011 in New Delhi, where a civil society seminar-“Nature and Livelihoods: Women’s Perspective” along with press conference and release of UNEP report on “Green Economy and the Forest” by the Minister of Environment and Forests Shri Jairam Ramesh will be organized.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Germany decides to abandon nuclear power by 2022

Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed through measures in 2010 to extend the lifespan of the country’s 17 reactors, with the last one scheduled to go offline in 2036, but she reversed her policy in the wake of the Japanese disaster.
Germany’s coalition government agreed early Monday to shut down all the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022, the environment minister said, making it the first major industrialized power to go nuclear—free since the Japanese disaster.
The country’s seven oldest reactors already taken off the grid pending safety inspections following the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March will remain offline permanently, Norbert Roettgen added. The country has 17 reactors total.
Mr. Roettgen praised the coalition agreement after negotiations through the night between the governing parties.
Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed through measures in 2010 to extend the lifespan of the country’s 17 reactors, with the last one scheduled to go offline in 2036, but she reversed her policy in the wake of the Japanese disaster.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, stands alone among the world’s major industrialized nations still using nuclear power in its determination to gradually replace it with renewable energy sources. Italy decided to stop producing nuclear power after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Through March - before the seven reactors were taken offline - just under a quarter of Germany’s electricity was produced by nuclear power, about the same share as in the U.S.
Energy from wind, solar and hydroelectric power currently produces about 17 percent of the country’s electricity, but the government aims to boost its share to around 50 percent in the coming decades.
Many Germans have been vehemently opposed to nuclear power since Chernobyl sent radioactive fallout over the country. Tens of thousands repeatedly took to the street in the wake of Fukushima to urge the government to shut all reactors.
A centre—left government a decade ago first penned a plan to abandon the technology for good because of its inherent risks by 2021. But Ms. Merkel’s government last year amended it to extend the plants’ lifetime by an average of 12 years.
But the conservative chancellor reversed her pro—nuclear stance after the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Dai—ichi plant on March 11, triggering nuclear meltdowns.
Ms. Merkel’s government ordered the country’s seven oldest reactors, built before 1980, shut down four days after the Fukushima incident. The plants, which will now remain offline, accounted for about 40 percent of the country’s nuclear power capacity.
Germany used to be a net energy exporter, and the agency overseeing its electricity grid said on Friday that the country remains self—sufficient even without the seven reactors and another plant that has already been offline for more than a year for maintenance work.
The coalition government’s decision broadly follows the conclusions of a government—mandated commission on the ethics of nuclear power, which delivered its recommendation to abolish the technology by 2022 on Saturday. Details of the final report are to be presented later on Monday.
Shutting down even more reactors, however, will require billions of investment in renewable energies, more natural gas power plants and an overhaul of the country’s electricity grid.
The government of neighbouring Switzerland, where nuclear power produces 40 percent of the country’s electricity, also announced last week that it plans to shut down its reactors gradually once they reach their average lifespan of 50 years, which would mean taking the last plant off the grid in 2034.

National Conference on Scheduled Tribe Women & Children

Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (IC) for Women & Child Development inaugurated a two-day Conference on ‘Issues & Challenges for Development of Scheduled Tribe Women & Children’ in New Delhi May 30. The Conference organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development on 30th and 31st May at Vigyan Bhawan, is the second in a series of conferences on specific social groups of women. The first one was held on issues & challenges for development of Scheduled Caste women and children in January this year.

The Secretary, Women and Child Development, Shri D. K. Sikri in his welcome remarks emphasized that the planning processes need to provide for specific social groups to ensure inclusive growth. Smt. Krishna Tirath in her inaugural address drew attention to the fact that tribals lagged behind in most social indicators be it poverty, health or literacy and ST women and children were lagging behind even further. She stressed the need to focus on ST women and children during framing of tribal policies and budgets, and emphasized on the need to review the effectiveness of Tribal Sub Plan approach for reaching out to them. The National Programmes like MNREGA, ICDS, NRHM, and SSA have been all universalized and have the potential to address concerns of tribals and tribal areas. Smt. Krishna Tirath stressed the need to strengthen the coverage of tribal women and children under these programmes. She also mentioned the need to focus on issues of tribals related to forest rights, land alienation and distress migration with a gender perspective. Most importantly for curtailing the distress migration she highlighted the need to deal with concerns of migrant women workers through smart cards and registration of migrants by Panchayati Raj Institutions at the source and by the urban local bodies at the destination. A comparative analysis of the status of ST communities, particularly of women and children on some of the indicators such as literacy, workforce participation rate (WPR), health, availability of electricity, drinking water and household assets shows that concerted effort is required to bridge the gap between the ST population and the general population.

The conference has representation of tribals from more than 15 States across the country including that of North Eastern States. A number of stakeholders including Central Government Ministries, State Governments, Tribal Research Institutes, experts and representatives of civil society organizations are participating in the 2-day conference. Representatives of Ministries of Tribal Affairs, Home Affairs, Environment and Forests, Panchayati Raj, Science and Technology, have been participating in it, along with the representatives from States of Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Gujarat, Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Orissa, Tripura, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. There has been a conflict of interest between development issues and the need to protect the socio-cultural and historical rights of the tribal population. Exploiting the tribal areas for its rich natural resources without adequately protecting the tribes is not only violative of their constitutional rights but may also be counterproductive in the long run. The need to achieve ecological balance and environmental issues arising out of development plans in tribal belts, thus, requires serious discussion.

The experts and participants deliberated today in the Plenary Session and Working Group sessions on the problems in the areas of Health and Nutrition; Education; Livelihood Opportunities; PESA; Forest Rights; Land Alienation; Exploitation and Atrocities of Tribal women and Children. The Experts included Dr. R.S. Tolia, Dr. P.K. Sivanandan, Shri K. B Saxena, Shri M. Kujur, Smt.Vasavi Kiro, Ms. Shamim, Ms. Razia Ismail, and Dr. Jyotsna Chatterji among others who have been participating in the discussions.

The major points highlighted on the first day related to non recognition of community rights of tribals over land and forest; implementation of labour laws particularly the Inter State Migrant Labour Act to meet the needs of tribals; tribal impact assessment in all development projects; need for studies on the migratory trends from mountainous regions to plains; impact of Climate Change on tribal migration; a strong legislation for protection of domestic workers; and special provision for conflict zones and mountain regions.

The Conference has come out with a set of recommendations on several issues and challenges for the socio-economic empowerment of ST women and children. These would be proposed to the Working Groups of different Ministries for the 12th Five Year Plan for consideration. In order to address the disadvantages faced by ST women and children, various measures have been undertaken by the Government which aim at improving their health and nutritional status, educational and livelihood opportunities, access to productive resources, housing & civic amenities and providing protection against atrocities and forms of violence faced by them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

IPL-4 (2011) Winner Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 58 runs to become DLF Indian Premiere League champions for the second time in a row at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai. Bangalore could make only 147 runs in reply of Chennai's huge total of 205 runs. Earlier a record 159-run
partnership between openers Murali Vijay (95, 52b, 6 x 6, 4 x 4) and Michael Hussey (63, 54b, 3 x 6, 3 x 4) powered the Chennai Super Kings to 205 for five in 20 overs against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

It was the highest partnership for the Super Kings for any wicket in the IPL, but the Super Kings were reined in at the finish with left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind and off-spinner Chris Gayle picking up two wickets apiece in one over.

Winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Super Kings openers put the Royal Challengers attack to the sword with some brilliant batting. Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey complemented each other to make up for an otherwise dismal season that had seen them in just two half-century partnerships until the night of the IPL final.

The home team owed their win to Vijay whose record 159-run stand for the first wicket with Australian Michael Hussey (63) set the platform for a winning total after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bat first.

 Opener Murali Vijay cracked 95 runs off just 52 balls to help the defending champions pile up 205-5 before Ravichandran Ashwin removed Bangalore's openers early, ensuring a fine win for the hosts at a packed Chidambaram Stadium.

League-toppers Bangalore, who were seeking their maiden IPL title, folded up at 147-8 off 20 overs.
The home team owed their win to Vijay whose record 159-run stand for the first wicket with Australian Michael Hussey (63) set the platform for a winning total after captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni elected to bat first.

Their stand surpassed the 155-run partnership between Adam Gilchrist and Venkatsai Laxman against Mumbai in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008.

Bangalore's chase was derailed early with off-spinner Ashwin (3-16) getting rid of the dangerous Chris Gayle for a duck in the very first over.

Gayle, who still finished as the highest run-getter with 608 runs from 12 innings, offered an outside edge which was snapped up by Dhoni behind the wickets.

Gayle's dismissal triggered a collapse with Bangalore losing their next six wickets inside 11 overs to be reduced to 70-6, a situation from which they could never really recover.

Tata Motors launches Nano in Sri Lanka

Tata Motors said on May 28  it launched its small Nano model in Sri Lanka, its first foreign market since sales of the vehicle began in April 2009.
The firm has sold 110,000 Nanos, touted as the world's cheapest car, since then.
Tata Motors, India's largest truck and bus maker, is also introducing five new commercial vehicles in Sri Lanka.

India's first cruise ship on its way

India has joined the global cruise line club with the country's first cruise ship, AMET Majesty, registered in Chennai with an Indian flag. The ship will make her maiden visit to the Indian shores on June 8 in Chennai, a state in south India, and sail off to high seas the next day.

The Chennai-based AMET Shipping Pvt Ltd of the AMET Group, which is in to maritime training, has invested Rs 100 crore in procuring the 35-year-old cruise vessel Arberia from a Greek owner.

The ship was first operated by the Star Cruise, said Mr P. Bharathi, CEO and Managing Director, AMET Cruises, a division of AMET.

The funding to buy the ship came from the group's internal resources, from banks and few Singapore-based individual investors, said Dr J. Ramachandran, Chairman, AMET Shipping India without the break-up.

AMET Majesty will operate regular service covering India and Sri Lanka. It will offer locations in Asia such as Anadaman, Phuket, Mumbai, Goa, Lashdweep, Kochi, Colombo and Maldives for the tourists.

To begin with the service will include short trips to high seas in Chennai (one night) and long triples covering international destinations such as Triconamalleee in Sri Lanka, he said.

The company is hoping to get support for its cruise service from the large number of Indian tourists who otherwise travel to Singapore to go on a cruise there. It is said that nearly 80,000 Indian go on cruises annually.

Indian manuscript inscribed on Unesco's world register

An illustrated Indian manuscript recounting the history of Mughal ancestor Timur has been inscribed on Unesco's Memory of the World Register.

'Tarikh-E-Khandan-E-Timuriyah' was written and created during the reign of Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, a descendant of Timur, in 1577-78 A.D. and is one of the 45 new documents and documentary collections selected from all over the world.

"The Mughals influenced the social, cultural and economic life both of the Indian people and of the world. Their contributions to the development of astrology, astronomy, medicine, fine arts, architecture, paintings and literature are unparalleled," said the Unesco website.

According to Unesco, the paintings of the 'Tarikh-e Khandan-e Timuriyah' are unique examples of the height that was attained by the Mughals in the history of the art of painting.

Director-general of Unesco, Irina Bokova said: "By helping safeguard and share such a varied documentary heritage, Unesco's Memory of the World Programme reinforces the basis for scholarship and enjoyment of the creative wealth and diversity of human cultures and societies."

The Memory of the World Register, which now has 238 items, covers all types of material and support, including stone, celluloid, parchment, audio recordings and more, she added.

Eleven countries have entered the Memory of the World Register for the first time with the new inscriptions: Bulgaria, Fiji, Guyana, Ireland, Japan, Mongolia, Morocco, Panama, Suriname, Switzerland, Tunisia.

The inscriptions were recommended by the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Programme that met in Manchester, in Britain, May 22-25.

The Memory of the World Programme was launched in 1992 to guard against collective amnesia through the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination.

Mother of two becomes oldest Indian woman to climb Everest

A mother of two, 45-year-old Premlata Agarwal became the oldest Indian woman, and the first woman from the Marwari community  to conquer Mount Everest, an official said. Mother of two daughters, one of whom is married, Premlata ascended the world's highest peak said a spokesperson for Tata Steel, which sponsored her effort.

Her preparations to scale the world's tallest peak began May 6 when she went from the base camp at 18,000 feet to Camp 2 at 22,000 feet.

Then, with the help of artificial oxygen, she reached Camp 3 at 23,000 feet and Camp 4 at 26,000 feet.

She caught some rest on May 19, before embarking on her arduous climb to the summit  and finally reaching there after nearly 11 hours.

Prior to Mt. Everest, Premlata went on a climbing exercise at 20,300-feet-high Island Peak in the Himalayas, besides going up and down the Everest base camps for over a month to acclimatise herself for the major expedition.

Prior to conquering Everest, Premlata participated in several Tata Steel Adventure Foundation events like the Karakoram Pass expedition, an ascent on Stok Kangri, and the first Indian women's Thar Desert expedition which involved a 40-day camel safari from Bhuj in Gujarat to Attari in Punjab.

Indian scientist's waste-to-energy plant awarded in US

A waste-to-energy plant in Malaysia, developed and designed by an Indian scientist, has been selected as one of the six top renewable plants in the world.

The plant, designed on a technology developed by Mr K.S. Sivaprasad for conversion of municipal solid waste into clean burning RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel), could handle 700 tonnes waste a day and generate 8 mw power.

After meeting self consumption, 5.5 mw power is meant for export to the national grid. The plant is operational since mid-2009.

Mr Sivaprasad, who holds the patent for the technology, was felicitated during the annual conference of the power industry of America, ‘Electric Power', recently held in Rosemont, Illinois.

“The technology developed In India is actualised into a commercial size operating plant in Malaysia,” Mr Sivaprasad said after receiving the award.

He would soon be meeting the Union Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, to explore the possibilities of setting up similar plants in India, which he argued is a viable eco-friendly solution to the huge municipal waste in mega metropolis such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Encouraged by the success of the first plant, Mr Sivaprasad said the Malaysian Government has awarded him the next project to handle 1,000 tonnes of waste a day.

Right from the time garbage is received at site, till the flue gases exit the chimney, pollution control is effected in three phases – pre-combustion, combustion and post-combustion by appropriate pollution abatement systems incorporated in the plant, he said.

Continuous emission monitoring systems in the flue gas exit through the chimney ensure compliance to the stringent prescribed emission standards.

India's longest rail tunnel to open for traffic next year

India's longest railway tunnel, which will realise the dream of connecting Kashmir, a state in north India, with rest of the country by train, will be made operational next year.

The 11-km-long tunnel, passing through the Pir Panjal mountain range, will link Qazigund in Kashmir with Banihal in Jammu region.

"We are hopeful that Banihal-Qazikund rail line consisting the longest tunnel in the country will be commissioned by December 2012," Northern Railway Chief Administrative Officer Chahatey Ram said.

Austrian tunnelling method, the latest tunnelling technology and first used in the country for the Delhi Metro, is being used for construction of the tunnel, named T-80. The method involves integration of surrounding soil formations into a ring-like support structure.

On completion, T-80 will be Asia's second-largest tunnel, next only to the 20-km Wushaoling tunnel in Gansu, China.

First Indian PM to visit Addis Ababa

The first Prime Minister from India to visit Ethiopia ever, Manmohan Singh, won over the hearts of Ethiopian Parliamentarians, calling their country the cradle of humankind, a magnet for foreign investment, and one of the most stable and progressive states driving the engine of African growth.

“Ethiopia has the credentials to shape a new vision for Africa’s prosperity and development … The people of India will stand with you every step of the way,” Singh said attracting thunderous applause from a packed house in his address to the joint session of Parliament of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.

India’s bilateral trade with Ethiopia is on course to touch $1 billion by 2015, and it is the largest foreign investor besides Ethiopian-born Arabs. More than 450 Indian companies have committed upwards of $4 billion in investment till date, Singh pointed out.

Singh, who received a standing ovation the Parliamentarian as he stepped inside the House, drew 10 rounds of applause while he spoke, as he cited a number of similarities between the two countries. “The tradition in southern India of using fermented flour for making Dosa is similar to the Injara in Ethiopia. The sight of women with heads covered and men wearing turbans is strikingly common in Ethiopian and Indian villages,” he said to loud clapping by the House.

Evidently, the first-ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister meant a lot for Ethiopians and both New Delhi and Addis Ababa seem to have burnt midnight oil to make a success of this trip. So, when Ethiopia’s Ambassador to India Genett Zewide entered the House more than 30 minutes before Prime Minister Singh was scheduled to arrive, Parliamentarians did not shy from giving her a round of big applause.

“Our farming communities and scientists should collaborate to usher in a second Green Revolution. This is the lasting solution to the scourge of hunger that afflicts millions in both our countries,” Singh said. During bilateral talks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his country had decided to set aside 3 million hectares of fertile land for foreign investors to invest in agriculture. Karuturi Global, Emami Biotech and Ruchi Group are some of the companies that have invested in the country.

India Beats China In Internet Contribution To GDP

Internet is changing our lives, the way we work, shop, search for information, communicate, and meet people. Two billion people are now connected to the internet, and this number is growing by 200 million a year. But the magnitude of the economic impact of internet-related activities is not obvious.

A new McKinsey study finds that the internet has delivered significant economic growth, created swathes of jobs and created wealth.

Using an approach based on internet-enabled consumption patterns by individuals, businesses, and governments, the study finds that the internet contributes more to GDP than agriculture, energy, and several other traditional sectors do in many countries.

In India , the internet contributed 5% to GDP growth in the past 5 years compared with the average 3% for Bric economies, says the study.

Here is how internet contributes to growth:

Companies are able to keep costs down, target customers better and bring goods and services to markets around the world much more easily.

Individuals are able to compare prices, search hard-to-find items or information, communicate and learn in new, improved ways.

Governments can serve citizens much more quickly and at a much lower cost through e-governance.

Second Africa-India Forum Summit 2011

The Second Africa-India Forum Summit was held at Addis Ababa from 24-25 May 2011. Heads of State and Government and Heads of Delegation representing the Continent of Africa, the African Union (AU) and its Institutions, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, have met in Addis Ababa, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, from 24 to 25 May 2011, to continue our dialogue, deepen our friendship and enhance our cooperation, under the theme: Enhancing Partnership: Shared Vision.

Brazil gets the first Indian Cultural Centre

For years, Brazil has enjoyed Indian music, spirituality and films. Now it’s time for the people of Brazil to get some more lessons in India and its culture. A new Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) inaugurated on May 25 in Sao Paulo, will fulfill this need by hosting classical dances, music, yoga and Hindi classes. It will also provide a platform for Brazilian and Indian artistes and intellectuals to come together. The Centre, a first of its kind under the aegis of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to be opened in Latin America, is the realization of an objective that was announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his visit to Brazil last year.
The Centre is appropriately located in the prestigious Jardins area in Sao Paulo, which is the largest commercial and cultural hub of not just Brazil but entire South America. In fact, the opening of the Centre is a landmark in India-Brazil relations which are already on the upswing. The Centre is likely to play a greater role in furthering cultural ties with not just Brazil but the whole of Latin America.
The inauguration was marked by classical Indian dances - Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi - rendered by Brazilians. The ceremony started with a santoor recital by Abhay Sopori, who alongwith Dr Ananda Shankar, Arunima Kumar and Dr L Subramaniam is in Sao Paulo to attend the ongoing Indian Cultural Festival in Brazil. The Centre was inaugurated by Ambassador of India to Brazil, B S Prakash; Director General of the ICCR, Suresh Goel and Consul General J K Tripathi. Other eminent Brazilian personalities such as Paulo Vannuchi, former Minister for  Human Rights and Dr Lia Diskin, a Gandhian and recent recipient of the Jamnalal Bajaj award, marked the occasion with their presence.

Nepal to honour Arunachal mountaineer

 In Arunachal Pradesh, state mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa, who created a world record by climbing the Mt Everest twice in one season, will be decorated with the prestigious Sagarmatha and Tenzing-Hillary Award instituted by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal.

She is also being felicitated by Nepal Mountaineering Association coinciding with International Everest Day celebration in Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Directorate of Sports & Youth Affairs is working out a State Reception to give befitting welcome to Anshu and Tine Mine, the first woman from North East to climb the Everest.

NAM calls for N-disarmament

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has issued a document calling for the total abolishment of the possession and use of nuclear weapons for the sake of preserving world peace. In its 16th Ministerial Meeting at Bali, Indonesia, the NAM ministers expressed their deep concern over the threat of nuclear weapons to humanity. They stated that the total banning of nuclear weapons in the world is a priority of NAM. The meeting coinciding with the 50th NAM anniversary mentioned the Movement's commitment to organising a summit to identify ways and facilities to abolish nuclear weapons as early as possible.

Committee set up to strengthen ways to curb black money

The Government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the chief of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to examine ways for strengthening laws to curb generation of black money and prevent its transfer abroad, besides recovering such illegal assets. 

The committee will consult various stakeholders and submit its report within six months, a statement from the Finance Ministry said on May28.

It will be headed by chairman of central board of direct taxes, CBDT.

"The Government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Chairman, CBDT, to examine ways to strengthen laws to curb the generation of black money in the country, its illegal transfer abroad and its recovery," it said.

The committee will examine the existing legal and administrative framework to deal with generation of black money through illegal means.

Among the likely measures are to declare wealth generated illegally as national asset, enact or amend laws to allow confiscation and recovery of such assets and providing for exemplary punishment against its perpetrators.

Besides the CBDT Chairman, other members of the committee would include CBDT Member, Legislation and Computerisation (L&C), Director of the Enforcement Directorate, Director General of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Director General (Currency), CBDT Joint Secretary (FT&TR) and Financial Intelligence Unit - India (FIU-IND) Joint Secretary.

CBDT's Commissioner of Income Tax (CIT)(Investigation) would be the committee's Member Secretary

173 UN peacekeepers lost their lives in 2010

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his message on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers has said that last year 173 peacekeepers lost their lives due to natural disasters, violence, accidents and disease.
The tragedies that have befallen on the United Nations peacekeepers this year are a sobering reminder of the risks entailed in their important work for peace, UN Secretary-General said.
"As we mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 29, we pay tribute to more than 120,000 military, police and civilians serving worldwide under the blue flag and remember those who lost their lives in the cause of peace," he said.
In recent months, the United Nations has suffered a series of tragedies in rapid succession, he said adding that in early April seven personnel were murdered in an attack on a UN compound in Afghanistan, according to the UN Information Center's (UNIC) press release.
Just a few days later, 32 lives, many of them UN staff, were lost in the crash of a plane serving the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it said.
'These incidents added to others involving fatalities around the world, and followed the painful events of last year, when 173 peacekeepers lost their lives due to natural disasters, violence, accidents and disease, including more than 100 in the single, terrible blow of the January earthquake in Haiti.

37th G8 summit

The 37th G8 summit was held 26–27 May 2011 in the commune of Deauville in France.
Previous G8 summits have been hosted by France in locations which include Rambouillet (1975); Versailles (1982); Grande Arche, Paris (1989); Lyon (1996); and √Čvian-les-Bains (2003).

The Group of Seven (G7) was an unofficial forum which brought together the heads of the richest industrialized countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada starting in 1976. The G8, meeting for the first time in 1997, was formed with the addition of Russia. In addition, the President of the European Commission has been formally included in summits since 1981.The summits were not meant to be linked formally with wider international institutions; and in fact, a mild rebellion against the stiff formality of other international meetings was a part of the genesis of cooperation between France's President Giscard d'Estaing and Germany's Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as they conceived the initial summit of the Group of Six (G6) in 1975.
The G8 summits have inspired widespread debates, protests and demonstrations; and the two- or three-day event becomes more than the sum of its parts, elevating the participants, the issues and the venue as focal points for activist pressure.
The form and functions of the G8 were reevaluated as the G-20 summits evolved into the premier forum for discussing, planning and monitoring international economic cooperation. The "new G8" is refocusing on the subjects of common interest to the G8 countries, including geopolitical and security issues.
The forum continues to be in a process of transformation.

Libya rejects G8, open only to AU

The Libyan regime has rejected calls from a summit of G8 world powers for strongman Muammar Gaddafi to stand down and said any initiative to resolve the crisis would have to go through the African Union.

"The G8 is an economic summit. We are not concerned by its decisions," said Libya's deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaaim, after Russia joined NATO calls for Gaddafi's departure.
Tripoli also rejects Russian mediation and will "not accept any mediation which marginalises the peace plan of the African Union," he said. "We are an African country. Any initiative outside the AU framework will be rejected."
Kaaim said it had no confirmation of a change in Russia's position.
"We have not been officially informed. We are in the process of contacting the Russian government to verify reports in the press," the official told a press conference.
At the end of a two-day meeting in France, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States said Gaddafi and his government had "lost all legitimacy" and must go.
"Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go," they warned in a final statement.
But Kaaim declared that "no one can dictate to Libyans their political future. All political decisions in the country only concern Libyans."

Friday, May 27, 2011

SAARC meeting on disaster response draft concludes

The Inter-governmental Meeting to finalise the text of the draft SAARC Agreement on Rapid Response to Natural Disasters concluded in Male on May 26 with a broad agreement on the issue that needed to be addressed.
According to the global database on disasters, over the past forty years, South Asia faced as many as 1,333 disasters that killed 980 thousand people, affected 2.4 billion lives and damaged assets worth US$ 105 billion. These totals are, by far, the highest among the recorded disasters in various geographic regions of the world.
Highlighting this, Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed, Secretary-General of SAARC said in her address that every major earthquake in the Himalayas would affect more than one country; every cyclone in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea has the potential to affect two countries at a time; every major flood has its origin and consequence beyond a single country.
“The objective of the draft Agreement before you is to put in place an effective mechanism for rapid response to disasters to achieve substantial reduction in loss of lives and loss of social, economic and environmental assets in times of a disaster. It is based on the principle of respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of all Member States and the mechanism will only be triggered — and this is an important point, distinguished delegates, the mechanism will only be triggered — if a request for assistance is made by a Member State. The draft Agreement sets out the principles and modalities for provision of assistance and relief to an affected Party including exemptions and facilities for provision of assistance, transit of personnel, equipment, facilities and materials,” she said, in a recorded address which was broadcast at the conference.
The idea of establishing a mechanism for rapid response to natural disasters had been voiced at the 15th SAARC summit held in Colombo in 2008. Since then, two expert level meetings were held to discuss various aspects of the agreement, including security and customs and immigration clearances required for setting up such a system in the region. The mechanism is proposed to be created under the already existing SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC).
If the draft is finalized, it will be signed at the 17th SAARC Summit to be held in the Maldives from November 10-11, 2011, said Haveeru online.
The Secretary General pointed out that six out of eight member states of SAARC were located, partly or fully, on the Himalayas and its associated ranges, which are still adjusting to tectonic movements. This had triggered some of the worst earthquakes and the probability of even more disastrous earthquakes poses a grave threat to human lives, livelihoods and infrastructure in the region.
Also, the Himalayas have the largest deposits of glaciers outside the polar region, which are melting due to climate change. The immediate consequence has been the increasing incidence of flash floods, glacial lake outburst floods and riverine floods. The long term impact of this phenomenon presents a serious threat to the perennial river systems of the Indus, Ganga and Brahamputra that sustained life and civilizations in South Asia for millennia, she said.

India and Ethiopia Sign Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement

India signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income on 25th May, 2011 at Addis Ababa. The Agreement was signed by Shri S.M. Krishna, External Affairs Minister on behalf of the Government of India and by Mr. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Ethiopia in the presence of the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Ethiopian Prime Minister. Mr. Meles Zenawi.

The DTAA provides that business profits will be taxable in the source State if the activities of an enterprise constitute a permanent establishment in the source State. Examples of permanent establishment include a branch, factory, etc. Profits of a construction, assembly or installation projects will be taxed in the State of source if the project continues in that State for more than 183 days.

Profits derived by an enterprise from the operation of ships or aircrafts in international traffic shall be taxable in the country of residence of the enterprise. Dividends, interest, royalties and fees for technical services income will be taxed both in the country of residence and in the country of source. However, the maximum rate of tax to be charged in the country of source will not exceed 7.5% in the case of dividends and 10% in the case of interest, royalties and fees for technical services. Capital gains from the scale of shares will be taxable in the country of source.

The Agreement further incorporates provisions for effective exchange of information and assistance in collection of taxes between tax authorities of the two countries in line with internationally accepted standards including exchange of banking information and incorporates anti-abuse provisions to ensure that the benefits of the Agreement are availed only by the genuine residents of the two countries.

The Agreement will provide tax stability to the residents of India and Ethiopia and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as well as stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Ethiopia.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

NASA plans asteroid mission

The U.S. space agency will send an unmanned spacecraft to a nearby asteroid in 2016 and bring back a sample to provide clues about the formation of the solar system.
The mission known as Osiris-Rex will be the first U.S. effort to bring back a sample from an asteroid.
Since asteroids formed from the gas and dust that made up the sun and planets, they are considered good indicators of conditions in the early universe and can provide clues about the formation of the solar system.
“This asteroid is a time capsule from the birth of our solar system and ushers in a new era of planetary exploration,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division.
Osiris-Rex will travel for four years to reach the asteroid 1999 RQ36 in the year 2020. It will then spend six months mapping the surface of the asteroid, allowing scientists to determine the best spot for the craft’s robotic arm to dig a 57-gram sample.
The sample will be returned to Earth in 2023, NASA said. The mission is expected to cost some 800 million dollars. A Japanese mission brought back a sample from an asteroid last year.
The space agency also hopes to send astronauts to an asteroid and on Tuesday unveiled plans for a new deep space vehicle. That spacecraft now known as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is planned to first take astronauts to a distant asteroid before travelling to Mars.

G8 summit in Deauville, France

G8 summit bilateral meeting  held in Deauville, France, on  May 26th. The summit brings together the world’s seven richest nations and Russia, and discussions today are likely to be topped by issues such as the nuclear meltdown in Japan, the pursuit of hostilities in Libya, the Arab revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere.
This balmy and usually laid back resort town for Paris’ well-heeled bourgeois-bohemes or “Bobos” looks nothing like its usual self but has taken on the allure of a fortress.
Security is so tight it is suffocating with the press shepherded into a single controlled press complex and herded on or off buses for press conferences held at the main convention centre. Badges have to be flashed at every turn. It is impossible to reach delegates except by calling their mobile numbers which are usually busy or switched off.
Protests in Deauville have been completely banned and there have already been several arrests of protesters in Paris with 50 odd persons detained.
The summit brings together the world’s seven richest nations and Russia, and discussions today are likely to be topped by issues such as the nuclear meltdown in Japan (the core of several reactors did melt town as Tepco has recently reluctantly confirmed), the pursuit of hostilities in Libya, the Arab revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere.
And although the IMF crisis features no where on the official agenda, Mr. Sarkozy is expected to lobby hard for his candidate, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. Ms. Lagarde who declared her candidature with unseemly haste on Wednesday so that President Obama could be presented with what many Europeans believe to be a fait accompli, has given Deauville a wide berth, preferring to stay on in Paris. However her announcement, made without consulting the other non EU members of the IMF, has angered several emerging nations.
It is significant that the IMF’s Executive Director for China, Jianxiong, was also a signatory to the document released by the Executive Directors of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). No Chinese official would sign a document without first getting the green light from Beijing. The Europeans have claimed that Ms. Lagarde’s candidacy has the support of the Chinese government. The BRICS document throws doubts over this claim.
The G8 support for the Arab revolutions is likely to end in a sizeable fiscal package being announced for Tunisia and Egypt whose economies are in a state of shambles with tourism down by almost a third. Their Prime Ministers have been invited to the summit and aid packages are being worked out by both the World Bank and the IMF.

Indo-French art exhibition in Paris

The exhibition at the Georges Pompidou Centre for Modern Art in Paris, put together by joint curators Fabrice Bousteau and Sophie Duplaix gives us an India that is emerging from the old stereotypes of Maharajas, poverty and spirituality
The Georges Pompidou Centre for Modern Art in Paris, better known as Beaubourg, on May 25 opened its doors to an ambitious exhibition of modern art, a joint effort by Indian and French artists. In a huge space spread across 2000 square metres, 47 Indian and French artists, many of them specially commissioned to produce original works for this show, give us their vision of India.
The exhibition, put together by joint curators Fabrice Bousteau and Sophie Duplaix gives us an India that is emerging from the old stereotypes of Maharajas, poverty, spirituality and snake charmers to one of transition and transformation; an India that is shedding its old skin and growing a new one that is more dynamic, active, creative, novel and full of contrasts.
Of the 100 odd paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations on view, about 70 were commissioned for this show.
France has long turned its nose up at contemporary Indian art. Established Indian painters such as M.F. Hussain, S.H. Raza, Gaitonde, Francis Souza or other stalwarts, have never received critical acclaim or much attention from one of the snobbiest centres of art in the world even when their works were selling for millions of dollars in art auctions worldwide. In fact Raza, who spent over fifty years living in Paris was so hurt and annoyed by the treatment he received at the hands of French critics that he decided to sell his property in France, abandoned the idea of creating a foundation and returned to India. It is as if Paris had decided it would discover modern Indian art on its terms and at its own pace.

Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue

The Homeland Security Dialogue between India and the United States will be held New Delhi at ay 27.

The Indian delegation will be led by the Union Home Minister,  P. Chidambaram and the US delegation by their Secretary, Homeland Security Department, Ms Janet Napolitano.

The two delegations are likely to discuss issues of mutual interest including coastal security, mega city policing, countering illicit financing and trans-national crime, cyber security, accessing and sharing of data relating to terrorism, transfer of counter-terrorism and homeland security equipment to each other, capacity building and mutual assistance in investigations including in the Mumbai terror attacks.

Address by PM at the Joint Session of the two Houses of the Parliament of Ethiopia

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh addressed the Joint Session of the two Houses of the Parliament of Ethiopia at Addis Ababa on May 26. Following is the text of Prime Minster’s speech on the occasion:
          “I am deeply honoured to be given this opportunity to address the Joint Session of both Houses of the Parliament of Ethiopia.

          I feel privileged to be the first Prime Minister of India to visit this great country.

          For me, this is a voyage of friendship and solidarity. I bring to you warm and friendly greetings from a fellow democracy - a democracy that, like yours, faces the challenges of development and a democracy that, like yours, treasures diversity and federalism.

          I am conscious that when one visits Ethiopia one visits the cradle of humankind. It is strategically located in the Horn of Africa and is the gateway to East Africa. It is a land of great natural beauty which was home to the most ancient kingdom in Africa.

          India and Ethiopia are no strangers to each other.

          Many millennia ago, Africa and India were joined as one landmass. Today we are separated by the waters of the Indian Ocean but our connections are deep and they have brought in their wake rich and varied exchanges in the ebb and flow of history.

          Indian traders flocked to the ancient port of Adulis, trading silk and spices for gold and ivory. A sizeable Indian community consisting of merchants and artisans came and settled in this ancient land in the latter part of the 19th century.

          There was movement in the other direction too. Thousands of people of Ethiopian origin have settled as an integral part of Indian society along the West Coast of India. The fort of Murud Janjira in the State of Maharashtra stands as a symbol of African influence in India.

          These exchanges have produced remarkable and often overlooked similarities in our traditions and cultures.

          The Siddis of African descent living in India have created a fusion of Indian and African styles of music that thrives today. The tradition in southern India of using fermented flour for making Dosa is similar to the Injara in Ethiopia. The sight of women with heads covered and men wearing turbans is strikingly common in Ethiopian and Indian villages. Hospitality in humble village homes begins with simple offerings, and guests are treated as incarnations of the gods. 

          Unlike large parts of Asia and Africa, Ethiopia never suffered the humiliation and trauma of colonization. Yet, when Abyssinia was invaded in 1935, it deeply affected Jawaharlal Nehru, and he led India in offering sympathy to the people of Ethiopia. In his appeal to the people of India to observe Abyssinia Day in 1936 he said:

          “We in India can do nothing to help our brethren in distress in Ethiopia for we also are victims of imperialism. But we can at least send them sympathy in the hour of their trial. We stand with them today in their sorrow as we hope to stand together when better days come.”

          I believe the better days that Jawaharlal Nehru spoke of have come.

          Ethiopia has overcome many adversities to become one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. Ethiopia is a magnet for foreign investment.

          Its economic performance and political stability are the fruit of the hard working people of Ethiopia and a tribute to the progressive leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

          The voice of Ethiopia is heard with respect. Addis Ababa, the new flower, has become the diplomatic capital of Africa. It is the Headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

          I heartily congratulate the people of Ethiopia on their splendid achievements.

          Relations between India and Ethiopia have expanded impressively in the last few decades. We attach high importance to our relations with Ethiopia.

          Our development and economic partnership is progressing well.

          Education and capacity building are high priorities for both our countries.

          The Pan-African e-Network project in Ethiopia implemented by India has connected Addis Ababa University with the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

          We have agreed to the early establishment of a Vocational Training Centre in Ethiopia.

          In the infrastructure sector, India has assisted in a rural electrification programme in Southern Ethiopia which has brought benefit to hundreds of thousands of people in rural Ethiopia.

          India has provided a line of credit of 640 million US dollars for the development of Ethiopia’s sugar industry.

          We will support the new Ethio-Djibouti Railway project to promote regional integration. We have decided to extend a line of credit of 300 million US dollars for this important project.

          India is one of the largest foreign investors in Ethiopia. More than 450 Indian companies have committed upwards of 4 billion US dollars in investment in Ethiopia. 

          Our bilateral trade is on course to reach the target of 1 billion US dollars by 2015.

          Our political ties are close. Indian troops were part of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea to secure peace and security. Military training is a valued area of our cooperation.

          The decisions Prime Minister Zenawi and I took in the course of our discussions yesterday will strengthen our partnership even further.

          Going forward, our bilateral cooperation should help to make a difference to the real problems affecting the common man.

          India and Ethiopia must work to address the challenges of food security, energy security, health security, sustainable development and climate change. We have to learn to solve our own problems by collaborating with each other.

          Our farming communities and scientists should collaborate to usher in a second Green Revolution. This is the lasting solution to the scourge of hunger that afflicts millions in both our countries.  

          Providing affordable health care to our people, particularly in rural areas, is another major challenge. Indian pharmaceutical companies are known for providing cheap and good quality generic drugs. I am happy they have begun to invest in Ethiopia.

          We have to be conscious of our environment and ensure the judicious management of our natural resources. We should protect our rich biodiversity and traditional knowledge.
          It is essential for rich countries to share the financial burden of combating climate change, participate in research and development and promote the transfer of technology to ensure green growth. Prime Minister Zenawi has made an invaluable contribution to these issues as co-chair of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing.

          India owes a debt of deep gratitude to Africa for it was here that Mahatma Gandhi experienced his political and spiritual awakening. It was in Africa that he first experimented with the philosophy of non-violence and passive resistance or satyagraha that shook the colonial powers of that time.

          The struggles for freedom in India and Africa and the collaboration of our leaders were glorious chapters in our history. After we attained freedom, we worked shoulder to shoulder to fight apartheid and strengthen the Non-aligned Movement and the United Nations. India supported liberation movements such as the African National Congress and South West Africa People’s Organisation. We fought to build a just, equitable and democratic international order.

          This is the legacy of friendship that we have inherited from our forefathers. Our empathy with our African brothers and sisters is of long standing and comes from our hearts and minds. 

          The world has changed. Globalisation is a reality today. Our people have rising expectations. Africa is responding to these challenges and discovering its rich potential. The world is reaching out to Africa and seeing it as a new growth pole in the world economy.

          India sees Africa as a natural partner in our growing engagement with the world.

          India and Africa have to work together to make global interdependence work for the benefit of all people and particularly for the millions who live in the developing world. This is our next project.

          We must work towards market access for some of the poorest commodity producers in Africa. Vulnerable sections of our peasantry need to be protected from the vagaries of the international marketplace. It is imperative that the development dimension of the Doha Round of multilteral trade negotiations is not diluted.  

          Prices of many agricultural commodities remain volatile. The problem is made worse by speculation. The G-20 countries have taken the initiative of supporting work on regulation and supervision of commodity derivative markets. This is an area where India and Ethiopia have vital interests and should cooperate with each other.
          The Second India-Africa Forum Summit which concluded yesterday here in Addis Ababa under the theme “Enhanced Partnership: Shared Vision” has opened a new era in India-Africa relations.

          Our development cooperation with Africa is based on the principles of mutual equality and mutual benefit. We want the participation of as many of our African brothers and sisters as possible in our aid and economic cooperation programmes. Local employment generation and capacity development are the pillars of our development cooperation.

          African students find a welcome home in India. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme has enabled the training of thousands of African youth in industrial training institutes, medical colleges, engineering colleges and in fields such as business administration, agriculture and legal services. 

          We have decided to increase scholarships and training slots for Africa. Their total number will stand at over 22,000 during the next three years.
          The development of infrastructure in Africa is a priority and an area where Indian technology is very appropriate.

          We will offer 5 billion US dollars for the next three years under lines of credit to help achieve the development goals of Africa. We will offer an additional 700 million US dollars to establish new institutions and training programmes in consultation with the African Union and its institutions.

          India and Ethiopia are pluralistic and diverse societies. We share the belief that democracy and respect for the free will of the people are the only durable basis to find solutions to our problems.

          We believe that similar principles should be applied in the conduct of international governance.

          The Horn of Africa is today faced with threats from piracy and terrorism. International piracy in the Red Sea and off the coast of Somalia has become a well organized industry. It is important that the United Nations takes the lead in developing a comprehensive and effective response to this threat. Simultaneously, the international community should continue with efforts to restore stability in Somalia. 

          As a littoral State of the Indian Ocean, India is ready to work with Ethiopia and other African countries in this regard. We would all like the Indian Ocean to remain a secure link between Asia and Africa through which international maritime trade can take place unhindered.

          The winds of change are blowing in West Asia and North Africa. We believe it is the right of all peoples to determine their own destiny and choose their own path of development. International actions must be based on the rule of law and be strictly within the framework of United Nations Resolutions. We support the efforts of the African Union in bringing peace and stability to the region.

          The birth of a new nation in a few weeks time in South Sudan will be a historic event. We hope it will contribute to peace and reconciliation among the people of Sudan.

          The changing world order calls for corresponding changes in the structure of institutions of global governance, whether these are international financial institutions or the international monetary system or the United Nations Security Council. These are issues which have to be tackled and resolved. We are grateful to Ethiopia for its strong support to India’s permanent membership in an expanded Security Council and look forward to our continuing cooperation with Ethiopia on these issues.

          Ethiopia is one of most stable and progressive states in Africa. The engine of African growth is being driven by economic dynamism in countries like Ethiopia.

          Ethiopia has the credentials to shape a new vision for Africa’s prosperity and development. I call upon you, the parliamentarians and people of Ethiopia, to take a lead in this process. The people of India will stand with you every step of the way.

          Our economies have been doing well in recent years. Let us cooperate with each other so that we can reinforce and build upon our successes and achievements.

          In conclusion, let me say once again how fortunate I feel to have visited your beautiful country. I feel a sense of deep personal fulfillment to see the coming together of our two brotherly nations.

          You have honoured me and the people of India today for which I am indebted to you.

          I wish Ethiopia greater peace, prosperity and happiness in the years ahead. May your dreams come true.”