Category Archives: WORLD

The US castigated Pakistan again for being safe heaven for terrorists

As per The United States Pakistan is still the safe refuge for terrorists and Pakistan failed to take ‘substantial actions’ against the Afghan Taliban or HQN despite governments efforts. Pakistan was termed as an ‘an important counter terrorism partner in 2016’.

Pakistan is hub of various terrorists group like Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat‑ul‑Ahrar (JuA), the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the Haqqani Network (HQN), Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and ). Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K).

These terror groups are targeting civilians, officials, and religious minorities not only in Pakistan and but also outside Pakistan.

“Violent extremist groups targeted civilians, officials, and religious minorities. Major terrorist groups focused on conducting terrorist attacks in Pakistan included the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat‑ul‑Ahrar (JuA), and the sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

Groups located in Pakistan, but focused on conducting attacks outside the country, included the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network (HQN), Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)” the US State Department said in its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism”.

The report further says that National Action Plan against terrorism by Pakistan government is not successful.

According to report “Progress remained slow on regulating madrassas, blocking extremist messaging, empowering the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), cutting off terrorist financing, and strengthening the judicial system”

India and Afghanistan signed extradition treaty

India and Afghanistan came together to show solidarity against terrorism. India and Afghanistan decided to end terrorism of all forms.
Without naming any country directly India and Afghanistan will work together to end sponsorship,support and sanctuaries of terrorism. India and Afghanistan both have accused Pakistan for providing support to terrorists.
Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is on a two-day visit and arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday.
India offered fresh $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan. This amount will be spent for capacity building in areas such as education,health,agriculture,energy and infrastructure.
Apart from this both countries also signed an extradition treaty.

India is investing heavily in Afghanistan due to it’s strategic location and to mount pressure on Pakistan.US also wants India to play a major role in Afghanistan.Recently US asked India to set up military aid to Afghan forces. India is providing military training to Afghan forces.
India provided four attack helicopters to the Afghan military in Dec. 2015.
India is playing a crucial role in the infrastructure development in Afghanistan.India built a landmark dam on on river Chist-e-Sharif in Herat province.The dam  will irrigate 75,0000 hectares and on river Chist-e-Sharif in western Herat.

 

Russia and China started joint naval exercise in disputed south china sea

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This joint exercise by both nation is the signal of a deeper understanding between China and Russia.

China and Russia have begun their first naval exercises in South China Sea. Though Chinese media is claiming that the joint exercise is being carried out within China’s coastal waters.
This joint exercise by both nation is the signal of a deeper understanding between China and Russia.
The eight-day exercise has been named as Joint Sea-2016.

Russia supported China on South China Sea ruling on ‘legal basis’.Russian president said in G20 summit held in Hangzhou “as far as the Hague Arbitration Court and its rulings are concerned, we agree with and support China’s position to not recognise the court’s ruling.” He added: “And I’ll tell you why. It is not a political but a purely legal position. It is that any arbitration proceedings should be initiated by parties to a dispute while a court of arbitration should hear the arguments and positions of the parties to the dispute. As is known, China did not go the Hague Court of Arbitration and no one there listened to its position. So, how can these rulings be deemed fair? We support China’s position on the issue.”

According to Chinese navy the eight-day exercise includes “live-fire drills, sea crossing and island landing operations, and island defense and offense exercises by marine corps.
Aside from the marines, Chinese and Russian surface ships, submarines, planes, helicopters and amphibious armored equipment would be used, Liang said.

“Russia has sent some of its best vessels, including the Ropucha-class landing ship, and the Udaloy-class destroyer” to participate in the exercises, according to Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV.
The 7,500-ton Udaloy-class destroyers are designed for anti-submarine warfare, while the 4,000-ton Ropucha-class landing ships are designed to carry up to 24 armored vehicles directly onto beaches.

[Image Credit Wikipedia]

North Korea celebrated founding anniversary with its fifth and largest nuclear test

Defying pressure from the U.S. and World community North Korea celebrated it’s 68th anniversary of the founding of North Korea in Kim Jong Un’s style by conducting a successful nuclear test.This is North Korea’s fifth and largest ever nuclear test. North Korea State Media confirmed that North Korea conducted a test explosion of a nuclear warhead at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
“This nuclear warhead explosion test is part of responsive measures to threats and sanctions from the U.S. and enemies denying our strategic position as a nuclear state,” The KCNA announcer said during the broadcast.
KCNA is North Korea state television.
According to the state media after this successful nuclear test North Korea is capable to produce nuclear-tipped missiles “at will”.
This nuclear test alarmed the neighbouring countries like Japan and South Korea.Japan has termed the test as “grave threat” .
South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Gyo-ahn says South Korea will call for additional and stronger U.N. sanctions against North Korea.
“We are facing a grave situation which is totally different from the past when North Korea conducted nuclear tests once in three years. North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are clear and existential,” said Hwang.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the test was “not acceptable.” “If North Korea did conduct a nuclear test, it is absolutely not acceptable, and we must lodge a strong protest,” Abe told reporters.
China has also criticised the nuclear test by North Korea. South Korea termed this act as “fanatic recklessness”.
Japan and China have begun testing the air for radiation.
This is the second nuclear test by North Korea in this year.
Earlier U.S. Geological Survey,European agencies and The China Earthquake Networks Center detected a magnitude 5.3 earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site.

Arms Race Again? China Modernizing its Nuclear Force to Counter US, Russia and India

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Nuclear Arms race

The Pentagon revealed that China was deploying new military and nuclear capabilities in the face of growing advances in US and Russia. India’s nuclear force is also a major reason behind China’s steps towards modernizing its nuclear force.

In a report to the US Congress, the Pentagon Report revealed that China was deploying new command and control systems and communication capabilities to its nuclear defence forces to control multiple-units In the field. The new technologies are being set up with an aim to counter the US and other countries’ ballistic missile defence system including manoeuvrable re-entry vehicles (MaRVs), MIRVs, decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding.

China has also increased its troop along Indian border and is setting up military bases in various parts of the world, particularly with its longstanding friend Pakistan. Pakistan remains China’s major market for conventional weapons. China is involved in both arms sales and defense industrial cooperation with Pakistan, including LY-80 surface-to-air missile systems, main battle tank production, air-to-air missiles, and anti-ship cruise missiles.

The Pentagon report said that despite India-China’s strengthening political-economic relationship, “tensions remain along disputed portions of the Sino-Indian border, where both sides patrol with armed forces.” After a five-day military standoff in September 2015, at Burtse in Northern Ladakh, China and India held had agreed to maintain peace, and retreated to mutually acceptable positions to both sides.

With the emerging military might of China and its growing economic dominance in the world, it will be interesting to see how the major powers of the world will respond. If a tit-for-tat strategy is adopted then the world is slowly moving towards another era of arm’s race.

Donald Trump says London’s first Muslim Mayor will be allowed to enter the US despite his proposed ban on Muslims entering the US

Donald Trump indicated that he will not ban newly elected Muslim Mayor of London Mr Sadiq Khan and he will be an exception.

Donald Trump proposed to ban Muslims entering the United States just after the deadly terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015.

According to Donald Trump Muslims will be banned temporarily from entering the United States. He was criticized for this.

“There will always be exceptions,” Mr. Trump said when asked in an interview on Monday how his proposed ban would affect London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Donald Trump further said he is happy to see Mr. Khan as first Muslim mayor of London. He said “I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good.”

Mr. Trump also said, “Because I think if he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.”

 

India cancels visa to Uyghur leader Dolkun Isa

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India cancels visa to Uyghur leader Dolkun Isa
Image Courtesy Wikipedia

India has cancelled a Visa granted to Chinese dissident Dolkun Isa. Dolkun Isa is a leader of World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and he lives in Germany.

Chinese government consider him a terrorist and a red corner notice issued against him by Interpol. Dolkun Isa was going to attend a conference in Dharamsala.

The visa issued on April 16 was cancelled on April 23, the sources said. China expressed its unhappiness on this decision and requested India no reconsider the decision as Dolkun is a terrorist and red corner notice was issued for him by Interpol.

Some quarters had perceived the visa granted to Dolkun, a leader of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), as a response to China blocking India’s bid to sanction Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar at the UN Security Council.

China’s foreign ministry had reacted angrily to the granting of the visa and said “Dolkun Isa is a terrorist on red notice of Interpol and the Chinese police. Bringing him to justice is a due obligation of relevant countries.”

The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group residing in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China.

They are also living in Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, and in Turkey.

Turkish government captures all churches in Diyarbakir city and declares them state property

Turkish government ordered to seize six churches in southern city of Diyarbakir including a 1700 years old church. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan passed the order on March 25.

Government said they wants to rebuild the restore the historical buildings that have been destroyed in war between government forces and Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). Continue reading Turkish government captures all churches in Diyarbakir city and declares them state property

Yet another fatwa: Saudi Arabia cleric says Saudi Women driver should not be allowed to drive as driving would expose them to evil

According to Saudi Arabia’s chief cleric women should not be allowed to driving as this would expose them to evil.

Chief cleric have another reason to support his bizzare claim. According to him women should not allowed driving as male relatives were not able to locate them .

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh said men “obsessed with women” and with “weak spirits” could end up causing female drivers harm and that male relatives would not know their whereabouts.

It is very difficult for women to obtain driving license though women driving is legal in Saudi Arabia.

Third Straight win consolidated Donald Trump’s position for Republican Presidential Candidate

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won in the Nevada caucuses with huge margin. With this victory Donald consolidated his position against his rivals.

Donald Trump got 44.6% of votes and his rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz got 23.8 % and 21.5 % votes respectively.

This is Donald’s third straight win. Donald trump won easily in South Carolina and New Hampshire states.

With this win Donald Trump consolidated his position as Republican Candidate for US Presidential election.

Exit Polls have already predicted Donald’s victory.

Donlad Trump said after the victory “We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.”

Huge support from Latino and Hispanics voters played a vital role in Donald Trump’s victory.

War against ISIS:US airstrike killed 49 terrorists in Libya

American warplanes hit an ISIS camp in in the al-Qasser district in Libya and killed 49 terrorists .This camp was center of advanced training. This information was provided by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Dreaded terrorist Noureddine Chouchane is believed to be killed in the fatal airstrike  Noureddine Chouchane is the mastermind of two terrorist attacks in Tunisia carried out last year.

According to sources more than 60 people were inside the camp and attending the advanced training in the camp. So death toll could rise.

So the death tolls are expected to rise further.

Thousands of rebels entered in Syria with the help of Turkey

According to a news report by Reuters, at least two thousand Syrian rebel fighters have entered in Azzaz city of Syria with the help of Turkey. Rebel fighters are equipped with all sort of weapons.

“We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment mortars and missiles and our tanks,” disclosed a commander of the rebel forces on the condition of anonymity.

Syrian government said Turkey army is entering in Syria secretly to help insurgents. The UK’s Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed that insurgents entering in Syria in covert manner.

Turkey is leaving no stone unturned to support rebels against Syrian Army and its allies. According to sources Turkey providing heavy military hardware and ammunitions to insurgents.

Washington is supporting Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).Turkey who is also a NATO member is not happy with US on this issue.

 

 

Saudi Arabia is ready to deploy ground troops to war-torn Syria against ISIS

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Saudi Arabia can send it’s army To Syria against ISIS if Coalition agrees

Saudi Arabia Defence ministry has proposed to send its army to Syria against ISIS if coalition agrees. Saudi Arabia’s military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri during said this to al-Arabiya TV news during an interview.

“The kingdom is ready to participate in any ground operations that the coalition (against Isis) may agree to carry out in Syria,” said military spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri during an interview with al-Arabiya TV news.

According to a report published in the Guardian Newspaper Saudi Arabia and Turkey can work together to fight ISIS. Saudi Arabia and Turkey set up a military coordination body a few weeks ago.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter welcomed on Thursday a Saudi offer to participate in any ground operations. “That kind of news is very welcome,” he told reporters while on a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Iran will punish any country that will harm it’s national interest say Iran President Hassan Rouhani

According to a report published in Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is not in the super power race in the region but Iran would punish any country trying to harm Iran’s national interests. He did not mention any country.

“If any country seeks to deal a blow to our national interests, we will respond. However, we hope it doesn’t get there,” he said in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on Tuesday night.

In a subtle warning to Saudi Arabia Rouhani further said “If needed, we will respond decisively to certain behaviors of some countries. If necessary, we will give a punishing response to the opposite side,”

“We are looking to a region which is proud and powerful. We would like all regional countries, especially our neighbors and the regional Muslims, to live together in peace and work toward development and prosperity.”

“Our aim is to help the regional countries get rid of their problems in the face of terrorists. We regard combating terrorists as one the prerequisites of stability in the region,” Rouhani said.

“Unfortunately, certain countries, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are helping terrorism. We want territorial integrity of all the regional countries to be protected and no disintegration to take place.”

Bangladesh summons Pakistani’s high commissioner for detaining Bangladeshi official

Diplomatic ties are worsening between Pakistan and Bangladesh. Bangladesh detained an official of the Pakistan High Commission due to his “suspicious movement” few days back. Pakistan reciprocated by detaining Bangladeshi official in Pakistan for hours on Monday.A report has been published in The Nation News paper.

Bangladesh protested by summoning Pakistan’s high commissioner to lodge the protests on this incident.

“We have summoned the Pakistan high commissioner to lodge the protests on the missing incident,” said a senior official at the foreign ministry in Dhaka, who asked not to be identified in the absence of authorisation to speak to the media.

Last month, a Bangladeshi diplomat in Pakistan was expelled in what Dhaka officials called “an act of retaliation” after a Pakistani diplomat in Dhaka was expelled after being accused of spying.

Cyber Threat: Severe cyber-attack on Israel’s Electricity Authority by unidentified hackers. Virus identified and thwarted.

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Israel’s Electricity Authority had been attacked by unidentified hackers in a “severe cyber-attack” by unidentified hackers.

Israel’s Electricity Authority had been attacked by unidentified hackers in a “severe cyber-attack” by unidentified hackers.

This has been revealed by National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister of Isreal Yuval Steinitz on Tuesday. Steinitz was speaking at two day CyberTech 2016 Conference in Tel Aviv. Hundreds of international delegations were attending the CyberTech 2016 Conference.

“Yesterday we identified one of the largest cyber-attacks that we have experienced,” Steinitz said at the CyberTech 2016 conference at the Tel Aviv Trade Fair and Convention Center.

Attack has been thwarted by the Israel’s Electricity Authority with the help of National Cyber Bureau of Isreal.

Energy Minister Steinitz says Israeli electric authority succeeded in mitigating attack by shutting down systems to prevent virus from spreading.

Affected systems has been shut down for two days to prevent virus from spreading.

“The virus was already identified and the right software was already prepared to neutralize it. We had to paralyze many of the computers of the Israeli electricity authorities. We are handling the situation and I hope that soon, this very serious event will be over” Isreal Yuval Steinitz

Image Source Wikipedia

Malaysian PM says Safety of nation is important than civil liberties.

“There are no civil liberties under Daesh. The best way to uphold civil liberties is to ensure the safety of the nation.” – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said his country’s new anti-terrorism laws are a necessary weapon against the real threat of Islamic state.
Human rights groups opposing new anti terror law as this law allows police to detain suspects without trial.
Malaysia has passed a controversial anti-terrorism bill, which the government says is needed to tackle the threat from Islamic extremists on 7 April 2015.
Under the legislation, suspects can be held without trial for up to two years, with multiple extensions allowed after that. Decisions on their detention will be made by a terrorism board, rather than the judiciary.

Pakistan’s Supreme court allowed hunting of rare houbara bustard bird famous for its aphrodisiacal meat to please wealthy Gulf States.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan lifted a ban on the hunting of endangered houbara bustard on the basis of the economic backwardness of the area where these migratory species land.Pakistan government requested the court to lift the ban as houbara hunting is a “corner stone of [Pakistan’s] foreign policy.” With Gulf state.This has been reported in Dawn newspaper.

Houbara bustard is famous for its aphrodisiacal flesh in Arabian world. This bird has been wiped out in Arabian Peninsula due to hunting by Arabian sheikhs.

In its 16-page judgement, the top court said the “Examination of the laws clearly shows that permanent ban on hunting of houbara bustard is not envisaged.”

“Even IUCN recognizes sustainable use of the natural resources,” the court said, maintaining that “considering the economic backwardness of the areas where these migratory species land, it is very hard for conservation efforts to be successful without uplifting the economic well-being of those areas.”

Every year in winters wealthy hunters from Gulf State travel to Balochistan to kill the houbara bustard. According to reports a Saudi prince killed 1,977 birds during a 21-day hunting safari in Pakistan in 2014.

Classified as a vulnerable species due to hunting and habitat degradation, the houbara bustard is globally protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Hunting these birds is banned in Pakistan, but the government issues special permits to Gulf states’ royals allowing them to hunting up to 100 birds in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved and protected areas.

Image Green Prophet

Authorities forcibly shaved 13,000 men’s beards, banned Islamic headwear in Tajikistan to curb Islamic radicalism

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Tajikistan took bold step to curb Islamic radicalization. Authorities forcibly shaved 13,000 men’s beards.

Tajikistan, a Muslim-majority country, started a campaign to stop Islamic radicalization and promote secularism in the country. Authorities forcibly shaved nearly 13,000 men’s beards and closed 60 shops that were selling Muslim clothing. This has been reported by Al Jazeera.

As per some reports more than 2,000 Tajiks are fighting in Syria. Tajikistan shares its border with Afghanistan. Tajikistan’s secular leadership has long sought to prevent radical traditions from neighboring Afghanistan from contaminating its country.

Bahrom Sharifzoda, police chief in the province of Khatlon, held a press conference on Tuesday to declare the campaign’s successes during 2015.

More than 150 shops selling hijab were also shut down, 89 hijab-wearing prostitutes arrested and 1,773 women and girls “convinced” that they should not wear Islamic headwear considered alien to the country, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.

Women and girls ordered to stop wearing headscarves.

Tajikistan is a secular state but in 2009 Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school has been officially recognized by the government. 98% population is follows Islam in Tajikistan.

Government has already banned Muslim organization named Hizb ut-Tahrir. Hizb ut-Tahrir advocates unification of Tajiks under one Islamic state.

Shocking: Muslim cleric says ‘half naked girls’ are responsible for Cologne sexual assault in Germany

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Open-door policy is being questioned after Cologne sexual assault

A Muslim cleric has blamed victims for cologne sexual assault since they were half naked and wearing perfume. This shocking claims made by Sami Abu-Yusuf of the Salafist Cologne mosque.

On New Year’s Eve mobs of refugees sexually molested and robbed  in and around Cologne railway station.

The events of New Year’s Eve were the girls’ own fault, because they were half naked and wearing perfume.” – Sami Abu-Yusuf

This incident has caused uproar in Cologne.Question has been raised on Germon Chancellor’s Open-door policy.

Till now A 26-year-old Algerian asylum has been arrested on suspicion of groping a woman and stealing her phone in Kerpen, about 30km (19 miles) south-west of Cologne.

883 have filed criminal complaints including three rapes over the events in Cologne.

The attacks in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve sparked mass outcry and increased anxiety over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policies to welcome refugees.

There is immense pressure on Angela Merkel to change the Open-door policy for refugee.

Iran says Saudi Arabia has turned into a defense shield for the Zionists.

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that Isreal and Saudi Arabia are working together against Iran.

Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Isreal and Saudi Arabia are working together against Iran. According to a news report by Fars News Agency Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari accused Saudi Arabia of acting as Israel’s proxy.

He warned Saudi Arabia that Iran is ready to give “Crushing response” for

“Today, the enemies have resorted to proxy wars and using other Muslim world capacities, instead of direct confrontation, against the Islamic Revolution and its example can be seen in what Saudi Arabia is doing.Today, the al-Saud has turned into a defense shield for the Zionists” : Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari

He warned Saudi Arabia that Iran is ready to give “Crushing response”.

He termed the ruling Al Saud family as “the defensive shield of the Zionists.”

Fars News Agency is Iran’s leading independent news agency.

Terror attack on University in Pakistan.15 Killed.50 Injured

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There is a terror attack on Bacha khan University university in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday morning by unidentified Islamic terrorists.

Bacha Khan Univeristy is situated in Charsadda district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

Key updates:

  • Two attackers killed: DIG Saeed Wazir.
  • Armed assailants scaled university walls and opened fire.
  • Multiple blasts heard along with continuous heavy gunfire.
  • 3,000 students enrolled in the university.
  • Accroding to Edhi Volonteers 15 people have been killed.
  • Emergency imposed in Hospitals
  • Rescue officials say some 50 students have been rescued from the premises.
  • Security forces, including SSG special forces have entered the premises of the university.
  • An eyewitness rescued from the university said the university was not adequately secured, especially at the backside of the building, which had low boundary walls
  • Attackers entered the University after scaling its walls.

Could the BRICS New Development Bank usher a New Bipolar Financial World Order?

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With the emergence of the New Development Bank, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, and the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), the world is increasingly becoming Bipolar, with China and India together growing as the ‘Eastern power Bloc’ challenging dominance of the Western powers led by the United States. The Bank was created with an idea to counter the dominance of European countries and the U.S. in global financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.

Infrastructure is needed in much of still emerging Asia, and by providing the funding to construct it, China and India make stride towards achieving economic and political status at par with the United States. BRICS countries have also created a $100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA), meant to provide additional liquidity protection to member countries during balance of payments problems. The CRA, unlike the pool of contributed capital to the BRICS bank, which is equally shared, is being funded 41% by China, 18% from Brazil, India, and Russia, and 5% from South Africa.

China and India are among the fastest growing Economies in the world. The economies of the five BRICS nations account for almost 30% of global GDP and 40% of the world’s population. BRICS countries produce a third of the world’s industrial products and half of all agricultural goods. Trade between BRICS countries has increased by 70% since the group was established in 2009. Noone can deny the ubiquitous presence of both India and China in the world stage.

Besides, China has recently proposed the IMF to add its currency Renminbi as a reserve currency as part of the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).This move has the potential to shift the global economy toward a bipolar order with two dominant reserve currencies-the U.S. Dollar and the Chinese Renminbi.

In the past IMF has been accused of practicing ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and imposing liberalization indiscriminately even on those countries where financial institutions were not well-developed. IMF conditionalities allegedly ruined several developing economies. The World Bank along with the WTO has advocated protectionism against industries of the developing countries while protecting interests of the developed countries, such as the recent Agreement on Agriculture, which stipulates reduction of export subsidies on agricultural produce on which livelihoods of the poor in the developing countries depend.

Emergence of this new ‘Eastern power Bloc’ will motivate the IMF and the World Bank to function more normatively, democratically, and efficiently, in order to promote the reforms of international financial system as well as it will lead to democratization of international relations.

China is also undertaking ambitious project to build Maritime Silk Route connecting all major ports across South, South-East and Central Asia through land and sea to boost its trade and gain strategic importance. The initiative will push each economy to advance toward the goal of setting up deep integration of markets, multi-level communication, efficient network of land, sea and air passages, and closer cultural exchanges.

Recently India has also been accorded full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) along with Pakistan at its Ufa summit held in Russia. SCO membership to India will have significant benefits from Economic point of view. It will open up trade, energy sector and strategic transit routes between India and Russia, Central Asia, China. As Iran has observer status in the SCO, it will serve as a platform for India to boost trade through the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar. These ports are considered as India’s gateway to Central Asia through International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Thus, in this politically polarized world, SCO will play an important role in counter-balancing India’s perceived tilt on security issues towards U.S. and its allies. It can help to maintain full balance of India’s relations with the western powers.

Regional stability is the basis of the economic collaboration and economic development boosts regional stability. Therefore, both the BRICS and the SCO will jointly and effectively promote stability and prosperity in Asia and counter the hegemony of global institutions such as World Bank and IMF.

Modi Deepens Ties with Sri Lanka, Seeks Edge over China on a Landmark Visit

PM Modi during bilateral talks with the Sri Lankan counterparts
PM Modi during bilateral talks with the Sri Lankan counterparts

As part of PM Narendra Modi’s first tour to Sri Lanka, India and Sri Lanka today signed four bilateral pacts which includes agreement on visa and customs to simplify trade and reduce non-tarriff barriers, agreement on youth development and building Rabindranath Tagore. Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka is the first stand alone bilateral tour by an Indian Prime Minister since 1987.  Modi met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and discussed issues of regional importance. Modi called for greater security cooperation with Sri Lanka whose drift towards China has raised concerns in India.

Modi said that it will take time to reach an amicable solution to the fishermen’s issue between India and Sri Lanka as it has both livelihood and humanitarian dimensions to it. The Prime Minister said his meeting with Sirisena has been very productive. It “gives me confidence and optimism about the future of our relations,” Modi said.

The progress indicates the countries’ shared commitment to stronger economic cooperation.

Modi said India stands ready to help Trincomalee become a petroleum hub and announced that India will provide a fresh Line of Credit of up to USD 318 million for the railways sector in Lanka to procure rolling stock, and to restore and upgrade existing railway track.

In addition, the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka have agreed to enter into a Currency Swap Agreement of USD 1.5 billion to help keep the Sri Lankan rupee stable.

“We stand with you in your efforts to build a future that accommodates the aspirations of all sections of society, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, for a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka”, said Modi.

Vashudhaiv Kutumbkam – Why concept of countries is irrelevant today ?

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Divide the state. Don’t divide the mind.

The building of nations was a step in the “evolution “of both humanity and social structures. It germed out of the formation of small settlements and as the population grew the competition for land became more and more fierce. The world is divided into as many problems as the number of groups it is identified with. But the most basic which the people don’t even relate to is ethnic violence. In 2010, an Indian student was allegedly set on fire in Melbourne followed by many more similar attacks. Well, this can shunned as racism. Too distant, right? Lets hop into our very own country. In January 2012, a mob in Tamil Nadu lynched a youth suspecting him to be a North Indian burglar. The mentally challenged youth was beaten to unconsciousness by the local people. This incident happened because the police had few days earlier encountered 5 burglars, 4 of them were Biharis while the other was from West Bengal.  Since then locals eyed every outsider with suspicion.

This can be sunned as state bias. I am not going to visit Tamil Nadu anyway. How does it matter! Too distant again, right. Let us narrow down a bit more. 16th December 2012, gang rape case in the capital. When the police found naked body of the brutalized victim, they initially rejected to handle it saying the area does not fall under their administration. Now, is that distant too?

Vashudhaiv Kutumbkam.( “vasudhā”, the earth; “ēva” = indeed is; and “kutumbakam”, family;) is a Sanskrit phrase which means that the whole world is one single family. It is closely related to Marshall Mcluhan concept of the Global Village. McLuhan suggests that with the advancement in technology where people can read and know about each other, it forces us to become more involved with one another from various social groups and countries around the world and to be more aware of our global responsibilities. But the ringing question is, do we really want to take up this responsibility? There are crucial events which suggest the answer to be negative.

The recent Uttrakhand flood tragedy witness massive destruction and above all innumerable loss of human life. In the wake of these moments, BJP member Narendra Modi is seen rescuing 15000 pilgrims. It stands out as an impeccable act until unless one comes to know that the rescued were not just 15000 pilgrims, but 15000 ‘Gujarati’ pilgrims. Indeed it doesn’t neglect the good part of it but the mentioning of only ‘gujaratis’ hint at the point that a state doesn’t remain just a state, a subdivision to better the administration, but has become entities to fulfill the agendas of political parties and to continue selfish political systems.

The biases towards one’s city, state or country prevents one from seeing the loopholes it possess. Every Indian will be proud to be an Indian on Independence Day no matter how much the state of the country is disgracing. This patriotism is only helpful when you acknowledge the damage and work towards its repair. But is it really happening?

The European Union (EU) which firstly started as a solely economical cooperation can be considered as a positive step towards the abolition of border controls. Its primary aim was to make the countries, who trade with one another, interdependent to avoid conflicts. But in 1993 a shift in the system took place. The name changed from European Economic Community (EEC) to European Union. The idea change behind this was to turn it into a political union. The EU as a union has helped raise the living standards and spread peace and stability. In no time, human dignity, equality and human rights became the main objectives of the European Union.

When steps like these are being taken across the globe, aren’t we making our microbial existence more dilute? By cementing the boundaries in our mind, we are distancing ourselves from the things which affect us. Today India is against India. States should prosper but they shouldn’t do so by glorifying themselves and demeaning others. They should prosper to reach such a position where they could help the under developed states.  When  this process would start at the ground level, it would perpetuate higher. So the next time you incorporate cultural, regional or state biases in your arguments, take a step back and think whom are you benefiting?

Chinese dragons in the sea: China’s marine encirclement of India

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Even though China has consistently denied the possibility of using these Indian Ocean ports as naval facilities, there seems to be a motive in this apparent development of ports at strategic locations and commercial choke points.

Does Confucianism hold as much sway in China today as it did during the rule of the Ming Dynasty?

A massive Chinese armada commandeered by the navigator Zheng Le embarked on a seven-voyage maritime adventure from 1405-1433. His inimitable feat took him as far as the Persian Gulf and the East coast of Africa with the purpose of collecting tributes from the ‘barbaric’ countries across the seas.

This was half a century before the Portuguese and the Dutch ‘discovered’ the Indian Ocean.

But by the time the indefatigable Zheng Le returned after his last voyage with a wealth of cargo, the ruling Ming Emperor had changed his mind. He ruled that the act of voyaging to foreign, ‘barbaric’ countries was against the spirit of Confucius’ teaching.

Historians have ever since marveled on the turn world history would have taken had the Chinese continued their nautical exploits.

Hard power in the seas

Of late, China’s aggressive strategy of securing the sea lanes of communication from the South China Sea through the Malacca Strait to the Persian Gulf has left many jittery. Many believe that the Hambantota port in Southern Sri Lanka is the latest addition to China’s policy of securing maritime sea routes by developing ports in strategic areas (commonly known as the String of Pearls strategy). In August this year, Sri Lanka started operating a $500 million container terminal in the Colombo port with the aid of the Chinese government. This chain of ports begin from the Hainan Island in South China Sea and encompass Hambantota in Sri Lanka, the port of Sittwe in Myanmar, Chittagong in Bangladesh, Marao in Maldives, the port of Gwadar in Baluchistan, Pakistan and the port of Sudan.

These nodes of influence could be upgraded as air bases and naval stations, apart from securing China’s oil supply routes from the Persian Gulf.

A common denominator unifies most of these possible Chinese military bases: insurgencies and conflict mar these port cities. The Baloch insurgents have threatened to disrupt China-backed construction projects in Gwadar and Sittwe stands at the centre of a protracted conflict between the Kachin rebels and the Myanmar government. Protests in Bangladesh’s Shahbagh have spilled over to Chittagong state while Sudan faces sanctions from the international community for its abysmal human rights record in Darfur.

Does conflict leverage the role that China plays in these countries?

China has been trying to intermediate talks between the Pakistan government and the Baloch insurgents. In February this year, China hosted peace talks between the Myanmar government and the Kachin rebels. It has systematically defied a US-led call to isolate Sudan from oil trade.

Even though China has consistently denied the possibility of using these Indian Ocean ports as naval facilities, there seems to be a motive in this apparent development of ports at strategic locations and commercial choke points. Kanwar Sibal, member of India’s National Security Advisory has succinctly affirmed a “method in the madness” vis-à-vis the location of the ports that China has decided to help build, upgrade and run.

Ghosts of 1962

The events of 1962 might have taught the Indian government to be fixated on all things terrestrial in terms of its relation with China. Chinese troops had already entered India through Arunachal when Nehru realized the gravity of the situation. The invasion took days after Nehru had asked the nation to be rest assured about India’s enduring friendship with China.

India deliberately did not use Air Force for fear of spreading the site of conflict to other regions. Ironically the brutal crackdown on generations-old Chinese pockets in India’s North east by the Indian state touches many a sensitive nerve even today.

The 1962 conflict taught India to be suspicious of the Chinese dragon, and also for some reason or lack of reason taught India to concentrate its security policies on land- Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, Tibet and Kashmir. The waters of the Indian Ocean never occurred as a potential threat.

What could Zheng Le teach the Indian strategic and defence think tanks?

That five centuries ago the Chinese had awed the world by making a series of expeditions to as far as the Persian Gulf. That the Chinese are better equipped today to repeat an unrivaled chapter in their history.

The new Chinese President Xi Jinping might have promised to crack down on increasing corruption within the Communist Party of China and address growing economic inequalities.

But who knows how inspired he is with the analects of Confucius?

Intricacies of PRISM – Why the American NSA Surveillance Regime is a Threat to the World?

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The PRISM program is legitimized by the Protect America Act of 2007. This Act sanctions the NSA to require companies like Facebook and Google to send user data to the government once the classified plan is approved by the FISA court.

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” – states Article 12, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In early June this year, a young security contractor formerly employed by the NSA, CIA and Booz Allen Hamilton revealed highly classified US government information on a surveillance program in the form of presentation slides. He however fled the country before the files were released to avoid being captured.

This daring act of revelation, as expected, set off a cycle of denials, half-baked explanations and attempted justification on the part of the governments of the US and UK. The latest to be sopped up is the Brazilian journalist David Miranda, friend of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who has been releasing the classified cables. Miranda was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport and subjected to nine hours of interrogation.

The massive surveillance apparatus, codenamed PRISM, is part of a worldwide surveillance industry whose annual worth is five billion dollars. PRISM is a highly secretive program that allows the NSA to access user data from web-service providers like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Face book, AOL, Skype, You tube and Apple. The NSA-backed surveillance program collects metadata on geolocation that tap the time and duration of phone calls and the content of electronic communication like emails, video chats and texts. This assortment of clandestine spying programs operates under code-names like Stellarwind, ShellTrumpet and EvilOlive.

There was widespread public outrage after leaked PRISM slides revealed that the highly synchronized surveillance programs could intercept under-sea optic fibre cables to monitor the communication lines of an entire population. The PRISM program is legitimized by the Protect America Act of 2007. This Act sanctions the NSA to require companies like Facebook and Google to send user data to the government once the classified plan is approved by the FISA court.

Though Microsoft, Google, Apple and other major companies had initially denied knowledge and participation in the surveillance programs, on Wednesday AFP reported Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer as saying that since data requests from the US government were classified information, she could not talk about it due to fears of incarceration for ‘treason.’


Privacy Laws-the local and the global

As Americans marched on July 4th organizing huge ‘Restore the Fourth’ rallies, what seemed to be appalling was that the NSA surveillance seemed to have been sanctioned by a court of law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

Given the global nature of all web-services, what is disconcerting is the lack of consistency in the applicability and content among laws governing privacy policies. Web companies find themselves in a fix between these very different legal regimes and companies with a presence in more than one country often face different set of rules. The lack of a clear global internet privacy regime has jettisoned customers’ privacy and compounded companies’ difficulty. A web-service provider in the US might have annexes and affiliates in many different countries with different privacy laws. Complaints regarding violation of a customer’s privacy is privy to the jurisdiction, of which, country remains a problem, as there are different approaches to privacy jurisdiction.

In 1995, Ministers of the Asia-Pacific countries met under the banner of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to frame legislation governing internet privacy laws. Paragraph 12, Part II states “In view of the differences in social, cultural, economic and legal backgrounds of each member economy, there should be flexibility in implementing these Principles.” The stress placed on the plurality of the world has again underlined the problems inherent in drafting a unified legislation to protect internet privacy.

 

In 1981, member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) framed a set of guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data to address the conflict between protection and free transborder flow of personal data. More than a third of the then 24 OECD member countries had adopted national legislation by 1980. What assumes importance is that the OECD dossier to mark three decades of the OECD Privacy Guidelines singles out the US government’s Committee on Automated Personal Data Systems’ 1973 report, Records, Computers and the Rights of Citizens as the first explicit reference to “fair information practices.” In its recommendation concerning the guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, the OECD cites the following among others: “that member countries take into account in their domestic legislation the principles concerning the protection of privacy and individual liberties set forth in the Guidelines…”

Thus the OECD which is a grouping of developed nations, including the US, UK and Germany has similar concerns as the APEC when it comes to the conflict between the international and domestic laws regarding the protection of privacy on the web. So even if a US state department dossier is the vanguard to “fair information practices,” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and in turn the FISA court nullifies the global legal apparatus agreed upon by governments. When the NSA was caught snooping and spying, what truly shocked Americans and foreign governments was that the surveillance operations were legitimized by the FISA court.

Barrack Obama’s bulwark against the barrage of criticism has been that the NSA-sponsored surveillance programmes are aimed to secure the lives of Americans. For him, as for many others in the Congress, you cannot have hundred percent safety and zero percent inconvenience at the same time. The Purpose Specification Principle in Part Two of the OECD Privacy Guidelines to which the US is a signatory states: “The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfillment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.”

But the NSA thought it wiser to tweak this clause in the interest of national security.

American double games

Reports of the NSA targeting the Chinese, Russian, Brazilian and Mexican governments perhaps fall in line with the US policy of tracking countries that have a history of dissidence vis-à-vis American foreign policy. But what caused anger and disbelief was the revelation that the NSA had bugged the lines of communication of the Americans’ allies in their War on Terror and economic expansion. America’s trans-Atlantic partners like France and Germany had backed the US aggression in the east but Snowden’s leaks have set the former allies on a course of collision.

European leaders have expressed shock over reports that the US has been bugging their diplomatic missions, including the European Union and the United Nations General Assembly headquarters. A rift between the allies already shows with the French Presidency reacting firmly by threatening to suspend negotiations for a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade agreement.

US authorities have termed the spying on the German and French Foreign Ministries “a success story,” according to Der Spiegel reports.

Leaked classified information also reveals that Spain and Italy too have not been spared from NSA surveillance.

European resentment against the Americans’ spying activities might crystallize into a split between the Trans-Atlantic allies in their fight against terror. The usually hawk-eyed French have already registered their protest against US unilateralism by resisting strikes against the Syrian regime after reports of chemical weapon usage against the rebels. The lid seems to have been blown off from the double games and dirty wars that the US government has wheedled out of the false consciousness of national security. As Snowden put it, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things.”

How Syria crisis will impact India and the World

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Syria war

Russia called on Syria to hand over its chemical weapons arsenal to international authorities as prelude to the arsenal’s destruction. The Syrian foreign minister immediately “welcomed” the demand. The turn in Russian pomposity was variously depicted as a “stalling tactic” to put off US military strikes and maybe a shift in the world order.

Russia has its own interest in protecting Syria as Russia has a naval installation in Syria, which is strategically important and Russia’s last foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union. Also Russia is a major exporter of military products to Syria.

The twist in the Syria debate originated with apparently offhand remarks by US secretary of state John Kerry. In a London news conference, Kerry said Assad could avoid strikes by surrendering control of “every single bit” of his arsenal to the international community by the end of the week.

Meanwhile the developing economies such as India, which are already facing a weakening currency due to Federal Reserve’s withdrawal of dollar liquidity; will face severe impact if the war occurs. Syria itself produces very little oil, but its’ neighboring countries produce a lot. The fear is that these neighboring countries could get dragged into the conflict, and oil production and export may be interrupted. Iran is one of the Syrian government’s main sources of weapons, while Saudi Arabia (along with Qatar) is arming the rebels.

Many analysts see the Syrian conflict as a proxy war between these two countries. If the oil imports become expensive for the developing country, the current account deficit may shoot up as the demand for oil is inelastic. This would mean a higher inflation, and possibly precipitate stagflation in developing economies such as India.

Life time ban on Pervez Musharraf’s political career by Pakistan high court

Pervez Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary. Keeping these facts in mind how can he be allowed to fight election?
Pervez Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary. Keeping these facts in mind how can he be allowed to fight election?

Peshawar High Court (PHC) has dismissed Pervez Musharraf’s appeal and has banned for lifetime from contesting a National Assembly, provincial assembly and Senate election by the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

A four member bench headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan ruled that Pervez Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, had imposed an illegal emergency and targeted the judiciary. Keeping these facts in mind how can he be allowed to fight election?

The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by Pervez Musharraf on the rejection of his nomination papers for the National Assembly seat, NA-32, Chitral.

Court has rejected all claims given by Pervez Musharraf‘s lawyer .This decision by Pakistani court is a major blow for Pervez Musharraf’s<> political career./b

Same-sex marriage is legal in New Zealand

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New Zealand’s Parliament have passed gay-marriage bill on Wednesday night.

New Zealand’s Parliament have passed gay-marriage bill on Wednesday night. With this same-sex marriage has been legalised in New Zealand. New Zealand is the 13th where same-sex marriage is legal. The law will take effect in late August.

Others countries are – Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. In Uruguay this bill has been approved by parliament and President has yet to approve this Bill. Nine states in the US also recognize same-sex marriages, but the federal government has not given its approval.

There was no pressure from Political Parties for voting and they were asked to follow their conscience. Even Prime Minister John Key supported the bill.

“In my view, marriage is a very personal thing between two individuals,” Key said. “And, in the end, this is part of equality in modern-day New Zealand.”