China’s Communist Government Trying To Force Its Will On India Over Dalai Lama Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit will cause serious damage in ties with India: China

WORLD Updated: Mar 04, 2017 07:46 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China-India ties

File photo of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, at an international conference of Tibet support groups in Brussels, Belgium, in September 2016. (Reuters)

Bilateral ties will be seriously damaged if India allows the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh in the coming weeks, China warned on Friday while reiterating its contention that the Tibetan spiritual leader is a “separatist”.The warning from China’s foreign ministry came soon after the country’s former chief negotiator on the border issue, Dai Bingguo, said there should be some give and take to settle the dragging boundary dispute.

The foreign ministry said it is “gravely concerned” about reports that the Dalai Lama will visit the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the near future.

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The Dalai Lama’s visit will cause “serious damage” to China-India ties, foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing. “China is strongly opposed to Dalai Lama visiting disputed areas,” he said.

“China’s position on eastern section of China-India border dispute is consistent and clear. The Dalai-clique has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities and its record on the border question is not that good,” Geng said.

Meanwhile, India on Friday dismissed China’s warning over the Dalai Lama’s proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying that New Delhi’s position on the matter is well-known.

“The government’s position is well-known and has not changed,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in response to a query.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory, calling it south Tibet. The state comprises the eastern sector of the nearly 3,500-km disputed border between India and China. The town of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is an important seat of Tibetan Buddhism and is located 400 km from Lhasa, the capital of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Geng avoided a direct comment on an interview by Dai Bingguo, China’s Special Representative for border talks with India till 2013, in which Dai had said: “If the Indian side takes care of China’s concerns on the eastern section of the border, the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India’s concerns elsewhere.”

Dai didn’t mention specific sections of the border where China could address India’s “concerns”.

“The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary including Tawang (in Arunachal Pradesh) is inalienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction,” Dai told China-India Dialogue magazine that is part of the official China International Publishing Group.

Dai was the Special Representative for 15 rounds of talks with four Indian counterparts – Brajesh Mishra, JN Dixit, MK Narayanan and Shivshankar Menon.

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Without directly commenting on the interview, Geng said it is in “the fundamental interest of the two countries” to reach an “early solution” to the border issue. This is also an “important consensus” reached by the two sides, he added.

“At present the two sides have reached a roadmap to find a solution based on political parameters and guiding principles. They have also reached the important consensus that they are committed to an equitable, reasonable solution acceptable to the two sides,” Geng said.

“China would like to work with India to work relentlessly on negotiation process and find a solution that is equitable, reasonable to all parties,” he added.

Geng was more emphatic about China’s displeasure on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunchal Pradesh. Indicating that India is deliberately allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the region despite knowing China’s expected reaction, Geng said India is aware of the sensitivity of the matter.

“India is fully aware of the seriousness of the Dalai issue and the sensitivity of China-India border question,” he said.

“Under such a background if India invites Dalai to visit the mentioned territory it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations.”

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Geng said China had conveyed its displeasure and concerns to India about the impending visit through formal channels.

“We have expressed concerns to the Indian side, urged India to stick to its political commitments and abide by important consensus the two sides have reached on the boundary question, refrain from actions that might complicate the issue, not provide a platform to the Dalai-clique and protect the sound and stable development of China-India relations,” he said.

China had strongly protested against the Dalai Lama’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in December, saying it opposes any form of contact between the Tibetan leader and officials of other countries.

(With agency inputs)

President Trump Call India’s Prime Minister Modi “A True Friend And Partner”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Trump tells Modi India ‘a true friend and partner’, invites PM to US ‘later this year’

WORLD Updated: Jan 25, 2017 07:26 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington

Highlight Story

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a scheduled telephonic conversation at 11:30pm IST on Tuesday.(Agencies File)

In a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the US considers India a “true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world”, according to a White House statement.The two leaders also discussed opportunities to “strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense”, the statement said without citing specific areas, sectors or goals.

Modi and Trump, who were speaking for the first time after the new US president took charge last Friday, also discussed “security in the region of South and Central Asia” and, once again the statement left out details.

South and Central Asia cover many areas of mutual interest to both India and the United States including Pakistan and Afghanistan and it could not be immediately confirmed if they discussed the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan.

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But the two leaders resolved, according to the White House statement, “that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism”, which has been a priority for both of them and both countries.

Trump is hosting Modi later in the year, but it was, once again, not immediately clear if that will be in September-October when the Indian prime minister comes to the US for the UN general assembly meeting, or some other time.

But the two, who first spoke in November when Modi was among the first foreign leaders to call Trump on his election, are likely to meet during the next meeting of the G-20, which is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany in July.

Since that first call, India engaged with Trump on two separate occasions: The first was a meeting between Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar and then Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, and the second on December 19 when Ajit Doval, national security adviser to PM Modi, met Trump’s NSA Michael Flynn.

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And now the call. The US statement contained no details and it was not known if trade in services, read H-1B, came up during their phone call, as many had expected, since it being the one issue that had agitated New Delhi the most about Trump.

The fate of the temporary US visa programme for high-skilled foreign workers, which is at the heart to India’s burgeoning IT exports to the US, seemed uncertain, given the president’s own reservations about it, and those of leading members of his team.

They believe the H-1B programme is being abused by the US companies to outsource American jobs to temporary foreign workers, a large number of them from India, and they have been considering ways to make it harder for that to happen.

“There is no other area of potential dispute or differences with the United States under President Trump,” said an Indian official, who spoke strictly on background. He added, “H-1B is the only problem for us as of now.”

In response to a question about India-US relations, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had said Monday that as with other countries, the Trump administration is focussed on access to markets in manufacturing and services.

Since being sworn-in last Friday, the new president has begun engaging with world leaders and has spoken to prime minister and president of neighboring Canada and Mexico first — with whom he plans to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal.

He has also talked since with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who he has invited to to a meeting in early February. And he meets Teresa May, prime minister of America’s closest ally the United Kingdom, on Friday.

The Tuesday call with Modi, on the second day of Trump’s first week in office, is being taken as sign of the priority he is attaching to the relationship, after an unprecedented outreach to the Indian American community during election.

At an election rally in New Jersey, Trump had said on his watch as president that India and the US will be “best friends” and, added in a typically Trumpian hyperbole that “there will be no relationship more important to me”.

At the suggestion of the Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalli Kumar, who had organised the rally, Trump recorded a campaign call modeled on Modi’s election slogan “Abki baar Modi sarkar”, replacing Modi with Trump.

Also, Prime Minister Modi appears to have an admirer in Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counseller to the president, who had in 2014 called Modi’s election a “great victory … very much based on … Reaganesque principles”.

Bannon was then chief executive officer of Breitbart News, a stridently conservative news publication, and would become in 2016 a leading and early supporter of Trump, and later went on to head his campaign in August.

India Supreme Court Tells Government To Clean Up New Delhi’s Air: If People Can’t Breathe All Industry Will Stop

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

SC okays Centre’s action plan to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR

INDIA Updated: Dec 03, 2016 01:02 IST

Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
The grading system will ensure that certain steps can be automatically introduced. When air quality dips, the odd-even car rationing formula will kick in, along with closure of schools, a four-fold hike in parking fee, ban on entry of trucks, and halt in construction activities.The order came after the top court approved the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) “graded response action plan” that outlines measures based on air quality — moderate to poor, very poor, severe, and severe-plus or emergency. A separate set of action plan has been suggested for each category.

A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur asked the board to install real-time and manual pollution monitoring stations in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to check air quality for the graded response.

Smoke from farm fires, construction dusts, exhaust fumes from vehicles and factories, and firecrackers combined to shroud New Delhi and its satellite cities in their worst smog for 17 years after Diwali in November. The government was forced to take emergency steps such as closing schools and halting construction, while the judiciary too chipped in with stinging remarks against administrative inaction to clean up the Capital’s foul air.

“Do you want to wait till people start dying? People are gasping for breath,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Thakur said then.

The board, which the top court had pulled up for failing to make a roadmap to reduce air pollution, said severe and very poor air quality are common during winter: November to February.

The air quality index is measured on the basis of PM2.5 and PM10 in the atmosphere, which are tiny particles of dust that can cause grave respiratory disorder and damage the lungs.

The situation becomes severe or emergency when PM2.5 level is above 300 microgram per cubic meter or PM10 crosses the 500-mark. In such a scenario, authorities will close schools, stop the entry of diesel trucks into the Capital, halt construction activities, introduce the odd-even scheme for private vehicles, and hike parking fees.

The graded response fixes responsibility on the agency that has to enforce the measure.

Ban on diesel generators, construction and burning of garbage on landfill sites will kick in if the air index is very poor, with PM2.5 between 121 and 250.

When air quality is moderate or poor, the steps to be taken are ban on garbage burning, watering of fly ash ponds, closure of brick kilns and polluting industries, and mechanised sweeping of roads.

India: Stopping Counterfeit Money Will Hurt Economy For About 3 Months But Will Help The People Of India In The Long Run

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Demonetisation pangs will last for 3 months, but benefit India in long run: Jaitley

INDIA Updated: Dec 03, 2016 00:50 IST

Suveen Sinha
Suveen Sinha
Hindustan Times
Finance minister Arun Jaitley in conversation with Vikram Chandra during Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Consulting Editor, NDTV at Taj Palace in New Delhi on Friday. (Gurinder Osan/HT Photo)
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday the recall of 500-and 1000-rupee notes will cause just three months of disruptions before yielding substantial benefits for the economy.In a year, he sees a bigger and cleaner economy with less paper currency, a wider tax base with lower rates, and more money in the banks resulting in cheaper loans. All of this will help the country’s ambition of becoming a modern and digital economy befitting its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy.

WHAT JAITLEY SAID
  • The disruption won’t last long; in the next 12 to 15 months, the impact will be beneficial
  • There will be more money in the banking system which can be used for social, infrastructure, industry, trade
  • People in queues are saying they are troubled but happy the decision was taken
  • The difference between paper currency withdrawn and the one coming into the market will be replaced by credit and debit cards, and e-wallets

“If you switch over from a particular way of life and conducting expenditure, there is disruption. But I do not see the disruption lasting long, maybe a quarter or so. But if you look at the next 12 or 15 months, the impact will be beneficial,” Jaitley said at the inaugural session of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

The government recalled 500-and 1,000-rupee notes on November 8, culling 86% of cash in circulation to purge the economy of illicit “black money” and fake bills.

The move, said Jaitley, will prove a windfall in many ways. Banks, flush with money from new deposits, will be able to give social, infrastructure, industrial, and trade loans at lower rates. He, however, said the amount of new banknotes being released will not touch the November 8 level, and that will help the country along the path of becoming a digital economy.

Watch | We need to replace the cynicism amongst the common man: Arun Jaitley

“The volume of formal trade and business will grow in size… What was normal in India? You go and buy a property, you pay some amount in cash, some in cheque. You start a trade, wholesale or retail, there is so much in kaccha khaata and so much in pucca. Do developed economies behave like this?” he argued in defence of the so-called demonetisation.

He said the purging existing high-value notes strikes at the stock of black money.

The flow part of it will be curbed by the goods and services tax, which, by establishing a transparent and uniform system of indirect taxes across the country, will prevent the generation of black money in trade and business.

A next possible step, said Jaitley, could be to make political funding more transparent.

“The current move will create a situation where political funding will become far more transparent. At the end of the day, donors will say, ‘Where do I bring this money from? The only donation I can give is legitimate cheque donation’”.

 

 

 

India: Experts warn note ban will slow down Indian economy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWSPAPER)

Demonetisation fallout: Experts warn note ban will slow down Indian economy

    • Sunny Sen, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

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  • Updated: Nov 23, 2016 00:51 IST
Volunteers of Delhi ‘s ruling Aam Aadmi Party shout slogans during a protest march against the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

For all its good intentions, the government’s decision to scrap high-value banknotes threatens to hobble the economy. Some experts see a contraction of economic activity in the next two months, and consensus says the GDP growth could slow by a whole percentage point in the next 12 months.

“The footfall at our dealerships is half of what it was in October,” said Pawan Kant Munjal, who runs Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest motorcycle maker. Varun Berry, managing director of Britannia, the country’s largest biscuit maker, sees a 30% to 70% drop in sales of FMCG, which includes everyday items such as soap, detergent and toothpaste, in addition to packaged foods.

This was only to be expected in a country which has 20% of its $1.8 trillion GDP and 80% of employment in the unorganised sector. Nearly half the population still does not have a bank account. Less than 300 million use the internet, and therefore the overwhelming majority cannot make electronic payments.

Read: Marginal relief for wedding, banks to provide funds to co-ops

The demonetisation, arguably the biggest currency culling the world has seen, pulverised 86% of the value of notes in circulation.

Ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday it would revise down its India growth forecasts for the fourth quarter.

“Consumers have not had the cash to complete purchases, and there have been reports of supply chains being disrupted…The time spent queuing in banks is also likely to have affected general productivity… ,” said Fitch, one of the world’s three big rating agencies alongside Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

An HSBC report said India’s GDP growth, which clocked 7.1% in the first quarter, could drop by up to a percentage point in the next 12 months. The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) warns of a contraction and social unrest.

“In the short term, prices of essential commodities, including food items, will only go up because trucks are stranded,” says NIPFP’s R Kavita Rao.

Read: Note ban the beginning, and not the end of war on black money: PM Modi

The automobile industry, which accounts for 7.1% of the GDP, is witnessing a fall in stock prices of up to 12% since the demonetisation. Himanshu Sharma, auto analyst at Centrum Broking, said two-wheeler sales can get affected by 40- 45%. The impact on cars is less, since most of them are bought on loan, but it could still be 10-12%.

Real estate, known to be fuelled by cash, has seen a 20% drop in sales since November 8.

Electronic commerce, where the very Indian innovation of cash-on-delivery accounted for nearly 70% of transactions, is feeling crippled. “There is some disruption, and it’s not certain if this is a two-month or six-month event,” said Ashish Gupta, MD, Credit Suisse India.

Things aren’t any better with pharmaceutical companies, as sales of medicines have plunged almost 15%. Even though chemists are allowed to take old currency notes, distributors are not.

In gems and jewellery, 80% of the purchases are in cash. “It may weaken the credit profile of industry players due to the high working capital cycles,” said Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at India Ratings and Research.

(With inputs from Mahua Venkatesh, Kalyan Subramani and Himani Chandana)

Demonetisation windfall: Civic agencies record 268% increase in tax collection

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Demonetisation windfall: Civic agencies record 268% increase in tax collection

    • Moushumi Das Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

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  • Updated: Nov 23, 2016 01:35 IST
Civic agencies are making a windfall as people are to clearing longstanding tax dues with abolished 500- and 1,000-rupee notes. (AFP Photo)

Civic agencies are recording a demonetisation windfall as people are taking advantage of schemes to clear longstanding tax dues with abolished 500- and 1,000-rupee notes.

But experts believe the returns don’t reflect improved efficiency in tax collection.

Figures provided by 47 urban local bodies to the Union urban development ministry show their tax collection increased by 268% in November 2016 compared to the same period last year.

These municipalities collected Rs 3,607 crore last November. But the corresponding figure till November 22 this year is Rs 13,192 crore already.

A majority of this tax has been collected after November 8, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced scrapping of the high-value notes. The collection figures for the preceding months were far less.

Mumbai municipality’s tax collection has been Rs 11,913 crore this month, which way better than the Rs 3,185 crore it collected last November. Surat’s municipal revenue increased from a mere Rs 7.19 crore to Rs 100 crore.

The fantastic returns could be attributed state governments’ special schemes for taxpayers to pay their dues — some of which are said to have been unsettled for years — with the demonetised notes.

“This is the positive effect of demonetisation. People are clearing up their old dues, paying with Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. For the urban local bodies, it has meant substantial mopping up of tax collection,” urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

But expert Srikanth Viswanathan, the CEO of advocacy group Janagraaha, called the increase in municipal revenue a reflection of people using up their defunct notes, rather than an indication of improved tax efficiency.

“The municipalities’ own revenues continue to be in the range of 1-1.5%, far less than in countries such as Brazil and South Africa. But the increase does reflect the huge potential from such revenues once the entire property tax administration is overhauled across urban local bodies,” he said.

Viswanathan said municipalities could transform the system by levying property tax on rational market-oriented base capital values, ensure a good tax assessment register and significantly improve their collection efficiency through spatial analytics and outsourcing.

As Long As There Is Such A Thing As Islam: They Will Be Committing Acts Of War!

(This article is courtesy of the Reuters World News Agency.)

India’s Modi hits out at Pakistan after attack in Kashmir

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized Pakistan on Saturday, accusing it of being an exporter of terrorism, and vowing to mount a global campaign to isolate it.

The comments follow the Sept. 18 attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan. The attack claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers, in the biggest blow to security forces in the disputed Himalayan region for 14 years.

“People of Pakistan should question their leadership on why, when both countries gained freedom together, while India exports software, Pakistan exports terrorists,” Modi said.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militant groups operating in disputed Kashmir as well as of sending fighters to other parts of the country to carry out acts of violence.

Pakistan denies the allegations and says India has not provided adequate proof to support its claims.

Modi was giving a speech at a meeting of his Bharatiya Janata Party, whose leaders have said there should be a strong response to the attack, which took place in Uri.

“India has and never will bow down in the face of terrorism,” Modi said.

Some military experts have called for cross border strikes against militant camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the wake of the latest attack.

But Pakistan has warned it will hit back against any Indian attack and the latest tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors are drawing concern.

India is likely holding back from major military action for fear of igniting a broader escalation, and may instead mount a diplomatic campaign against Pakistan, experts say.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy and Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Andrew Bolton)