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Showing posts from August 24, 2014

Digital India

08 Aug 2014 PM Modi has often time and again laid emphasis on using technology to overcome issues ranging from farming to governance. The Digital India Group on MyGov is a significant step towards that goal. It's one of the fastest growing groups on the MyGov site with 37,590 members and is open to members who preferences are Digital Technologies which include Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. The aim of the group is to "Come out with innovative ideas and practical solutions to realise Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a digital India." All you have to do to get started is to register on the site, pick a group of your liking and choose a task listed on the group! Comments on the group page include- The Indian Farmer should benefit from the IT sector. Linking of Soil record, with Farm Output and selling price in comparison with world prices. If data on seeds sowed can be got, a pattern on output can be realized. Now India needs up grad

Fighting Back Against Western Sanction

August 23, 2014 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - While the impact of sanctions leveled against Russia is being debated, one fact is perfectly clear; the dangerous interdependence cultivated by the concept of “globalization” leaves nations vulnerable amid a global order dominated by hegemonic special interests that use such interdependence as a weapon. Two rounds of sanctions have been leveled against Russia targeting Russian banking, arms manufacturing, and oil industries. Even as the sanctions are marketed to the world as Russia “paying a price” for its role in “destabilizing” Ukraine, Russia has been busy cultivating ties and expanding markets that are increasingly found outside the West’s spheres of influence and therefore, beyond the reach of these sanctions. Russia is also looking inward to diversify its markets and seek socioeconomic independence. Instead of viewing the sanctions as an impassable obstacle requiring capitulation to Wall Street and London, Russia has viewed them as a c

Singapore quietly expanding F-15 fleet

James Hardy, London and Lindsay Peacock, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly 22 August 2014   The RSAF has being quietly augmenting the size of its F-15SG fleet. Source: US Air Force Singapore appears to have quietly boosted the size of its F-15SG fleet from 24 aircraft to 40, according to Boeing financial statements, aircraft registration filings, and US congressional reports. Singapore originally bought 12 F-15SGs - with an option for eight more - under a contract signed in December 2005. In October 2007 the city-state modified this option by buying 12 more to give it a total of 24. These aircraft have all been confirmed as delivered and have US-type serial numbers running from 05-0001 to 05-0024. Several remain in the United States with the Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF's) 428th Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB) in southwestern Idaho, while the remainder are active in Singapore with 149 Squadron. Aircraft operating in Singapore u

Ukrainian military moves to endgame

Tim Ripley, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly 22 August 2014   Ukrainian soldiers rest in their 2S19 MSTA-S self-propelled howitzers on 14 August before moving to the front line in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Source: AP/PA Key Points Government forces are continuing to gain the upper hand in eastern Ukraine Both sides are using heavy weapons in the worst fighting witnessed in Europe since the Balkan conflict Ukrainian troops have continued their offensive aimed at clearing pro-Russian rebels from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions despite strong resistance. Both the Ukrainian and rebel forces are using tracked armour, heavy artillery, and rockets in the heaviest fighting seen in Europe since the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. The operation by Ukrainian troops, underway for more than a month, has pushed deep into rebel-held regions, with fighting now reported in the suburbs of the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk for several days. Reports on 20 August indic

Border tension between Bangladesh and Myanmar Gautam Sen August 22, 2014 Bangladesh and Myanmar have had a not-too-stable a relationship on the border – both land and maritime. In 1980 an agreement on border cooperation was signed between the two countries. A verdict was subsequently obtained from the International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas in March 2012 concerning delineation of their common maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal and accepted by both the governments. This backdrop enabled deployment of respective border forces (Border Guards Bangladesh and Border Police Force of Myanmar) without provocative maneuverings and also peaceful exploration of hydrocarbons in the Bay of Bengal. However, tension had again flared up along the 270-km long land boundary in May this year, leading to killings of border guarding personnel on both sides and also some persons alleged to be from the Rohingya Security Organisation (RSO) – reportedly a

Ukraine: where is it going?

K. P. Fabian August 25, 2014 The news from Ukraine does not as yet indicate that there is going to be a peaceful, negotiated end to the current crisis with government troops using air power and ground forces against separatists who are fast losing territory. The human toll, with 2119 dead and 5043 wounded, keeps mounting. Over 380,000 have fled, with more than half to Russia. The US does not seem to be keen on promoting a peaceful settlement. Germany though agreeing to economic sanctions against Russia, rather reluctantly and after much delay, finds itself in a predicament. The German economy shrank by 0.2 % in the quarter ending 30 June as opposed to 0.7% growth in the previous quarter. It is generally agreed that the sanctions imposed by EU on Russia and the retaliatory sanctions imposed by it are the main cause of the shrinking of the economy.  Can Germany afford to continue with or, if need be, expand

Time for India to use its Soft Power in China

VIF India .org                                 22-08-14                      Prof R. Vaidyanathan July 2014 is an important month for global economics and China. It is the first time in recent history that China has overtaken USA in GDP [adjusted for purchasing power parity or PPP] and has become number one country in the world according to Euromonitor1. Now the order is China/USA/India/Japan in terms of GDP at PPP. Of course in per capita terms, USA has ten times more gross income than China given the population size of the latter. Still China's growth has been phenomenal and in the next two decades, it is poised to become numero uno even in nominal terms out running USA. This has implications for India from an Asian perspective and also we need to formulate our strategy about China. Traditionally in the last few decades, we have been looking at China using US or UK lens. This is due to the fact t

PM Modi is building a more connected India

By KANWAL SIBAL PUBLISHED: 21:09 GMT, 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 21:09 GMT, 11 August 2014   If Modi has not revealed his hand yet on domestic issues and his silence on rising controversies is puzzling and disappointing many, his personal imprint on our foreign policy is already visible.  His sporadic pronouncements on foreign policy during his campaign did not offer any clear idea of how he intended to handle that responsibility. As Chief Minister, his exposure to external relations was limited to visits to a few countries to primarily discuss investment matters. Yet, it is in the foreign policy area where his direct experience has been the least that his impact so far has been the most.  Modi obviously felt he could control the risks associated with immediately engaging Nawaz Sharif without India's minimum expectations for dialogue resumption being met.   Modi obvious

3 Political Lessons from the Mahabharat

The Diplomat An ancient epic's lessons for India ring true today.   By Akhilesh Pillalamarri August 23, 2014   This past weekend, the Indian television show the Mahabharat finished airing. The show, which began airing in 2013, was a version of the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata, and was widely successful, garnering millions of viewers daily. Its success followed that of another televised version of the epic that ran from 1988 to 1989. The Sanskrit epic itself is the world's longest epic poem, at 100,000 couplets or 1.8 million words. It is ten times the combined length of the Iliad and Odyssey and three times the length of the Bible. Structurally, the Mahabharata is a compendium of ancient Indian mythology, history, political theory, and philosophy, and has sometimes been described as an ancient encyclopedia of Indian knowledge. The holy Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, which is considered a summary of the vast Hindu religious and philosophical literature, is also co