India

Here’s PV Sindhu’s REPLY to Telangana deputy CM who offered her a ‘better coach’ than Pullela Gopichand

Here’s PV Sindhu’s REPLY to Telangana deputy CM who offered her a ‘better coach’ than Pullela Gopichand

New Delhi: Days after Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali said that even though Pullela Gopichand was a very good coach, the government will find a better coach for ace shuttler PV Sindhu, the shuttler has given her reply. Speaking to CNN News18, Ali praised Gopichand but said that the government will find a better coach to train the 21-year-old, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to bag a Silver medal at Olympics 2016.”The entire country is proud of her. No player could ever reach that level. Thus we are very happy that our daughter from Telangana has earned a name across the world. In future, we will find a better coach for Sindhu. Her current coach is also very good, but we will find a coach for her so that she wins a Gold medal next time,” he told the channel. However, the 21-year-old shuttler has made her stand clear by saying that Gopichand is still the best coach for her. “I feel Gopi sir is the best coach,” said Sindhu.Notably, Sindhu became the first Indian shuttler to clinch a Silver medal at Rio Olympics 2016. Sindhu defeated World No. 2 Wang Yihan and World No. 6 Nozomi Okuhara before losing to World No. 1 Carolina Marin in the summit clash. At 21, Sindhu also became the youngest Indian to win a medal at the biggest sporting spectacle.

Cabinet clears India-Cyprus DTAA

The Cabinet approved the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Cyprus, a move that gives India the right to tax capital gains on investments routed through Cyprus prospectively from April 1, 2017. The fresh DTAA with Cyprus, which is considered a haven for money laundering, round-tripping, and profit-shifting, assumes significance coming soon after the signing of the revised pact with Mauritius. India is also in the process of revising its treaty with Singapore. “As in the case of Mauritius, the treaty with Cyprus had provided for residence-based taxation of capital gains,” according to a government statement. “With the revision of the treaty now approved by the Cabinet, capital gains will be taxed in India for entities resident in Cyprus, subject to double tax relief. In other words, India will have the right to tax capital gains arising in India.” Low-tax jurisdiction Amit Maheshwari, managing partner, Ashok Maheshwary & Associates said: “Money laundering can happen from anywhere, and obviously low-tax jurisdictions (such as Cyprus) help in money laundering. Cyprus is basically used for structuring debt instruments.” The revision of agreements with Mauritius and Cyprus could see this debt-restructuring business moving from the latter to the former. “In the Mauritius revised DTAA, the rate for withholding of debt instruments was reduced to 7.5 per cent,” Mr. Maheshwari said. “In Cyprus, this rate was 10 per cent. It is not clear whether the rate has been revised in the new DTAA. If it has not, then a lot of that business will now shift to Mauritius where the rate is lower.” Cyprus used to have a DTAA with India but was blacklisted on November 1, 2013, by the Indian government for non-cooperation. “Excessive taxes paid by way of higher withholding taxes from November 1, 2013 being the date from when Cyprus was notified as a non-cooperative jurisdiction could possibly be claimed as refunds given if the withdrawal of the notification with retrospective effect,” Abhishek Goenka, Partner – Direct Tax, PwC India said. Another difference between the Cyprus and Mauritius treaty is the limitation of benefit clause. “A limitation of benefit clause is meant to prevent the misuse of treaties in which they have threshold saying if you invest a particular amount in a country then you are not a shell or paper company,” Mr. Maheshwari said.

Satheesh Reddy conferred first IEI-IEEE award

G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and DRDO’s DG (Missiles & Strategic Systems), was conferred the first IEI-IEEE Award for engineering excellence 2015 on Wednesday. The award is in recognition of his ‘significant national contributions towards missiles and aerospace technologies’, an official release said. The award was presented by the Institution of Engineers (India) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Asia Pacific region, during the latter’s 50th anniversary. Dr. Reddy is a renowned aerospace and navigation scientist. As director of DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat, he led the indigenous development of denied sensor and avionics technologies related to Indian missile navigation and other programmes. He is also credited with development of the Medium Range Surface-to-Air Weapon System, or MRSAM, and the country’s first guided bomb, among others, the organisers said.
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    Gulf

    Celebration of 70th Independence Day of India

    Celebration of 70th Independence Day of India

    The 70th Independence Day of India was celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm on 15th August, 2016, in the Embassy of India, Riyadh. Ambassador Mr. Ahmad Javed hoisted the Indian National Flag, followed by rendition of National Anthem. Ambassador read out the President’s Message to the gathering of over 800 members of Indian community, friends of India and Mission officials. Two short documentaries on the ‘Spirit of Freedom’ and the ‘Spirit of India’ were also screened to the audience.
    President’s Message — We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams

    President’s Message — We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams

    Pranab Mukherjee, President of India Fellow citizens: ON the eve of sixty-ninth anniversary of our Independence, I extend warm greetings to all my brothers and sisters in the country and abroad. As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, I respectfully bow to the heroes of our independence struggle — known and unknown — who fought, suffered and sacrificed their lives to win freedom for us. Mahatma Gandhi’s luminous leadership finally made the British Quit India in 1947. When we gained independence in 1947, nobody believed that India will survive as a democracy. Yet, seven decades later, one and a quarter billion Indians with all their diversity have proved those forecasts wrong. The strong edifice of democracy built by our founding fathers on the four pillars of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity has withstood several threats from both within and without and has grown from strength to strength. This is for the fifth time that I speak to you on the eve of Independence Day. In the past four years, I have seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation. In the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amid non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity. In these four years, I also saw with, some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly. The collective wisdom of our society and our polity gives me the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and India’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted. The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society. Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty. Democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government. The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and unmindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarizing debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse. Our Constitution is not only a political or legal document but also an emotional, cultural and social contract. My distinguished predecessor Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had said on the eve of Independence Day 50 years ago and I quote: “We have adopted a democratic Constitution. It helps us to maintain our individuality in the face of mounting pressures for standardized thinking and acting…….. Democratic Assemblies serve as safety valves for social tensions and prevent dangerous explosions. In an effective democracy, its members should be willing to accept law and lawful authority. No man, no group can be his or its own law giver” (unquote). The Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state. It has established the ancient Indian ethos of “Maryada” as far as authorities and institutions of state power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this “Maryada” by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties. One unique feature that has held India together is our respect for each other’s cultures, values and beliefs. The very essence of plurality lies in cherishing our heterogeneity and valuing our diversity. In the networked environment of today, a caring society can only be developed by harmonizing religion with modern science. Swami Vivekananda had once observed and I quote: “What is needed is a fellow-feeling between the different types of religion, seeing that they all stand or fall together, a fellow-feeling which springs from mutual respect, and not the condescending, patronizing, niggardly expression of goodwill” (unquote). It is true, as was pointed out in a famous speech made on this very day 69 years ago by Pandit Nehru that in a nation’s history, moments come when we step out from the old to the new, when the soul of a nation finds utterance. But it is also important to realize that such moments are not strokes of luck that come upon us by surprise. A nation can and must strive to create such a moment. We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams. Backed by strong political will, we have to create a future which will economically empower six hundred million youth, build a digital India, a start-up India, and a skilled India. As we build an India of hundreds of smart cities, towns and villages, we must ensure that they are humane, hi-tech and happy places leading to the creation of a technology-driven but compassionate society. We should promote and reinforce a scientific temper by questioning our beliefs which are not compatible with scientific way of thinking. We must learn to challenge the status quo and refuse to accept inefficiency and slipshod work. In a competitive environment, a sense of immediacy and some impatience is a necessary virtue. India will grow, only when all of India grows. The excluded ones have to be included in the development process. The hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream. In this age of technological advance, machines are being pitted against men. The only way to survive this is to acquire knowledge and skills, and learn to innovate. Inclusive innovations linked to the aspirations of our people can benefit a wide spectrum of society as well as preserve our diversity. We as a nation must nurture creativity, science and technology. Here, our schools and institutions of higher learning have a special responsibility. We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels. It is much more important to look to the future. It is time to join hands to cooperate, innovate and advance. India has had remarkable growth in recent times, often growing above eight percent per annum over the last decade. International agencies have acknowledged India’s status as the fastest growing major economy in the world and recognized major improvements in indices of ease of doing business and logistics performance. The start-up movement and the innovative spirit of our young entrepreneurs have also attracted international attention. We must build on our strengths so that, this lead can be sustained and furthered. A normal monsoon this year gives us reason to cheer, unlike the past two years when below normal rains created agrarian distress. The fact that despite two consecutive drought years, inflation has remained below 6 percent and agricultural output has been stable, is a testimony to our nation’s resilience, and to how far we have progressed since Independence. Our foreign policy has shown considerable dynamism in recent times. We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific. We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries, especially our immediate and extended neighborhood. There will be no stepping back on our “neighborhood first policy”. Close bonds of history, culture, civilization and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity. This opportunity must be seized without delay. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful coexistence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development. Recent initiatives have enhanced energy security, promoted food security, and created international partnerships to take our flagship development programmes forward. The world has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion. These forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice. For all the challenges that we see in front of ourselves I have a great belief in our innate and inherent capacity as an ancient country whose soul and jijivisha — the will to live and excel can never be suppressed. Various forces external as well as internal have tried to smother this soul of India over millennia but every time this soul has emerged more powerful and more glorious having neutralized, assimilated and incorporated every challenge that it faced. India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world. In 1970, historian Arnold Toynbee had the following to say about India’s role in contemporary history. I quote: “Today, we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world’s history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning, will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race” (unquote). Toynbee further went on to say that at the cross roads of human history, the only way of salvation of mankind is the Indian way. On this occasion, I convey my special greetings and gratitude to the members of our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the fore front of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of our motherland. In the end, I would once again invoke the Upanishads as I had invoked in my first address on the eve of Independence Day four years ago. For this invocation shall live forever, as will Mother India: May God Protect us; May God Nourish us; May we Work Together with Vigor and Energy; May our Studies be Brilliant; May there be no Hostility amongst us; May there be Peace Peace Peace.” Jai Hind
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    World

    Myanmar: Four killed, 190 pagodas destroyed in 6.8 magnitude earthquake

    A 6.8-magnitude powerful earthquake, which shook Myanmar on Wednesday, killed at least four people and damaged 190 ancient famous pagodas in Bagan-Nyaung Oo region and Rakhine state, official report said on Thursday. A man and a women died in Pakkoku township in Magway region when a tobacco processing factory collapsed and two young girls aged seven and 15 also lost their lives in Yenanchaung township, Xinhua quoted local Information and Public Relations Department as saying. The earthquake’s effects were felt in neighbouring Bangladesh and India’s northeast and Kolkata megapolis. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the epicentre of the earthquake was at a point 190 km south of Myanmar’s Mandalay city and about 19 km west of Chauk town. The depth of the earthquake was 90 km. This is second time in two days that tremors were felt in Myanmar. On Tuesday, a 5.5-magnitude earthquake in the Myanmar-India border region also rocked Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and some other parts of northeast India. However, there was no report of major damage. The quake, the strongest among the 26 quakes that have rocked the country since January 2016, is said to have damaged the building of the House of Nationalities in Nay Pyi Taw.

    North Korea’s Kim praises submarine launch test as a success

    SEOUL, South Korea: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Thursday that his country had achieved the “success of all successes” in launching a missile from a submarine, saying it effectively gave the country a fully equipped nuclear attack capability and put the US mainland within striking distance. Kim’s comments, carried by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency, came a day after South Korean officials said a ballistic missile fired from a North Korean submarine was tracked flying about 500 kilometers (310 miles), the longest distance achieved by the North for such a weapon. North Korea already has a variety of land-based missiles that can hit South Korea and Japan, including US military bases in those countries. But its development of reliable submarine-launched missiles would add a weapon that is harder to detect before launch. The KCNA said Kim watched from an observation post as the test-firing happened, which the agency said was carried out without “any adverse impact” on neighbouring countries. The North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published several photos that showed the missile, with the name Pukguksong printed on its side, soaring into the sky, and Kim smiling and embracing with one of the North Korean officials accompanying him from what appeared to be an observation deck. The KCNA quoted Kim as saying the successful test showed that North Korea had joined the “front ranks” of military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capabilities. Kim also said it is undeniable that the US mainland and key operational areas in the Pacific were within North Korea’s striking distance. “I do not guess what ridiculous remarks the US and its followers will make about this test-fire, but I can say their rash acts will only precipitate their self-destruction,” the KCNA quoted Kim as saying. The KCNA said the test was aimed at evaluating the stability of the underwater launching system, the flight features of the solid-fuel missile, the reliability of the control and guidance system, and the accuracy of the warhead in hitting targets after it re-enters the atmosphere. Wednesday’s launch came two days after the US and South Korea began their 12-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises, prompting North Korean threats of retaliation for the military drills, which it views as an invasion rehearsal. North Korea usually responds to regular South Korea-US military drills with weapons tests and fiery warlike rhetoric. The United Nations Security Council agreed at an emergency meeting late Wednesday requested by the United States and Japan to consider issuing a statement on the missile launch. Malaysia’s UN Ambassador Ramlan Bin Ibrahim, the current council president, told reporters after the closed meeting that “there was a general sense of condemnation by most members of the council.” He said the United States is drafting the text of a press statement “and we will have a look at it.” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said in a statement that the US strongly condemned the launch and called on North Korea to “refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region.” She said the missile launch marked the latest in an “accelerating campaign” of missile tests that violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions. South Korea’s military condemned the launch but acknowledged it was an improvement over previous tests of similar missiles. North Korea fired two missiles from submarines earlier this year, but South Korean defense officials believe they exploded in midair after flying less than 30 kilometers (18 miles). The missile, fired from a submarine off the eastern North Korean coastal town of Sinpo, reached into Japan’s air defense identification zone, according to Seoul and Tokyo officials. Its longer distance puts all of South Korea within its range if it is fired near the border. Missiles of such capability could also potentially strike parts of Japan, including US military bases on the island of Okinawa, considering the operational range of North Korea’s Sinpo-class submarines, said analyst Kim Dong-yub at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies.
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    President’s Message — We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams

    President’s Message — We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams - Aug 15 2016

    Pranab Mukherjee, President of India Fellow citizens: ON the eve of sixty-ninth anniversary of our Independence, I extend warm greetings to all my brothers and sisters in the country and abroad. As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, I respectfully bow to the heroes of our independence struggle — known and unknown — who fought, suffered and sacrificed their lives to win freedom for us. Mahatma Gandhi’s luminous leadership finally made the British Quit India in 1947. When we gained independence in 1947, nobody believed that India will survive as a democracy. Yet, seven decades later, one and a quarter billion Indians with all their diversity have proved those forecasts wrong. The strong edifice of democracy built by our founding fathers on the four pillars of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity has withstood several threats from both within and without and has grown from strength to strength. This is for the fifth time that I speak to you on the eve of Independence Day. In the past four years, I have seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation. In the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amid non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity. In these four years, I also saw with, some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly. The collective wisdom of our society and our polity gives me the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and India’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted. The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society. Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty. Democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government. The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and unmindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarizing debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse. Our Constitution is not only a political or legal document but also an emotional, cultural and social contract. My distinguished predecessor Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had said on the eve of Independence Day 50 years ago and I quote: “We have adopted a democratic Constitution. It helps us to maintain our individuality in the face of mounting pressures for standardized thinking and acting…….. Democratic Assemblies serve as safety valves for social tensions and prevent dangerous explosions. In an effective democracy, its members should be willing to accept law and lawful authority. No man, no group can be his or its own law giver” (unquote). The Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state. It has established the ancient Indian ethos of “Maryada” as far as authorities and institutions of state power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this “Maryada” by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties. One unique feature that has held India together is our respect for each other’s cultures, values and beliefs. The very essence of plurality lies in cherishing our heterogeneity and valuing our diversity. In the networked environment of today, a caring society can only be developed by harmonizing religion with modern science. Swami Vivekananda had once observed and I quote: “What is needed is a fellow-feeling between the different types of religion, seeing that they all stand or fall together, a fellow-feeling which springs from mutual respect, and not the condescending, patronizing, niggardly expression of goodwill” (unquote). It is true, as was pointed out in a famous speech made on this very day 69 years ago by Pandit Nehru that in a nation’s history, moments come when we step out from the old to the new, when the soul of a nation finds utterance. But it is also important to realize that such moments are not strokes of luck that come upon us by surprise. A nation can and must strive to create such a moment. We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams. Backed by strong political will, we have to create a future which will economically empower six hundred million youth, build a digital India, a start-up India, and a skilled India. As we build an India of hundreds of smart cities, towns and villages, we must ensure that they are humane, hi-tech and happy places leading to the creation of a technology-driven but compassionate society. We should promote and reinforce a scientific temper by questioning our beliefs which are not compatible with scientific way of thinking. We must learn to challenge the status quo and refuse to accept inefficiency and slipshod work. In a competitive environment, a sense of immediacy and some impatience is a necessary virtue. India will grow, only when all of India grows. The excluded ones have to be included in the development process. The hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream. In this age of technological advance, machines are being pitted against men. The only way to survive this is to acquire knowledge and skills, and learn to innovate. Inclusive innovations linked to the aspirations of our people can benefit a wide spectrum of society as well as preserve our diversity. We as a nation must nurture creativity, science and technology. Here, our schools and institutions of higher learning have a special responsibility. We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels. It is much more important to look to the future. It is time to join hands to cooperate, innovate and advance. India has had remarkable growth in recent times, often growing above eight percent per annum over the last decade. International agencies have acknowledged India’s status as the fastest growing major economy in the world and recognized major improvements in indices of ease of doing business and logistics performance. The start-up movement and the innovative spirit of our young entrepreneurs have also attracted international attention. We must build on our strengths so that, this lead can be sustained and furthered. A normal monsoon this year gives us reason to cheer, unlike the past two years when below normal rains created agrarian distress. The fact that despite two consecutive drought years, inflation has remained below 6 percent and agricultural output has been stable, is a testimony to our nation’s resilience, and to how far we have progressed since Independence. Our foreign policy has shown considerable dynamism in recent times. We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific. We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries, especially our immediate and extended neighborhood. There will be no stepping back on our “neighborhood first policy”. Close bonds of history, culture, civilization and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity. This opportunity must be seized without delay. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful coexistence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development. Recent initiatives have enhanced energy security, promoted food security, and created international partnerships to take our flagship development programmes forward. The world has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion. These forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice. For all the challenges that we see in front of ourselves I have a great belief in our innate and inherent capacity as an ancient country whose soul and jijivisha — the will to live and excel can never be suppressed. Various forces external as well as internal have tried to smother this soul of India over millennia but every time this soul has emerged more powerful and more glorious having neutralized, assimilated and incorporated every challenge that it faced. India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world. In 1970, historian Arnold Toynbee had the following to say about India’s role in contemporary history. I quote: “Today, we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world’s history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning, will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race” (unquote). Toynbee further went on to say that at the cross roads of human history, the only way of salvation of mankind is the Indian way. On this occasion, I convey my special greetings and gratitude to the members of our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the fore front of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of our motherland. In the end, I would once again invoke the Upanishads as I had invoked in my first address on the eve of Independence Day four years ago. For this invocation shall live forever, as will Mother India: May God Protect us; May God Nourish us; May we Work Together with Vigor and Energy; May our Studies be Brilliant; May there be no Hostility amongst us; May there be Peace Peace Peace.” Jai Hind
    Ambassador’s message — New thrust, renewed impetus in diversifying our relations

    Ambassador’s message — New thrust, renewed impetus in diversifying our relations - Aug 15 2016

    Ahmad Javed, Ambassador of India TODAY we are celebrating the 70th Independence Day of our country. On this auspicious occasion, I have the pleasure to convey my heartfelt greetings and felicitations to all my fellow countrymen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On this joyous day we must also remember our noble patriots and martyrs, who made great sacrifices for the freedom of our homeland and our nation. Saudi Arabia has been a part of India’s extended neighborhood. India and Saudi Arabia enjoy excellent ties reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural interactions. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have been engaged at the highest levels and entered into several institutionalized mechanisms of cooperation in political, energy, trade & investment, defense & security and cultural spheres. In recent past, there has been a new thrust and renewed impetus on further consolidating and diversifying our ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The historic visit by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to Riyadh in April this year at the invitation of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is seen as a turning point in our growing engagement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The official engagements included meetings with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman; Crown Prince and Minister of Interior Prince Muhammed Bin Naif; Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Prince Muhammed bin Salman; Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir; Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources then Minister of Health and Chairman of the Executive Board of Saudi Aramco Khalid Al Falih, and interaction with top Saudi business leaders at the Council of Saudi Chambers. The visit further cemented our strategic partnership and gave fresh momentum to make this partnership an upward and forward looking one. Agreements on cooperation in new areas of defense, security and counter-terrorism were concluded. The two countries agreed to enhance our cooperation in the intelligence sharing operations and combating the menace of terrorism. Government of India’s people-centric initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Skilled India Mission’ etc. focus on transforming the country into a highly empowered economy and to take the nation to newer heights. These initiatives offer great potential for engagements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other GCC members. Indo-Saudi economic relations have registered remarkable growth over the years. Today, Saudi Arabia is our 4th largest trade partner as well as our largest supplier of crude oil. We are partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s growth. A number of Indian projects are active in diverse sectors of Saudi Arabia, such as management, consultancy services, construction & infrastructure development, telecommunication & information technology, pharmaceuticals etc. Several Indian companies, in collaboration with Saudi companies are working in the areas of designing, consultancy, financial services and software development. The presence of a vibrant Indian community of over 3 million in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a solid pillar of our bilateral engagements. I am proud to mention that the significant contribution of our Indian brothers and sisters to the progress and development of the host country has been well-acknowledged and appreciated by the leadership as well as the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and his government for their continued support and cooperation for hosting a large Indian community in the Kingdom and ensuring their welfare and security. I would also like to mention that in order to protect the interests of the a larger section of the Indian workers here, an ‘Agreement on Labor Cooperation for Recruitment of General Category Workers’ has also been concluded between our two friendly countries during the recent visit of the prime minister of India. I am supremely confident that the India-Saudi relations will continue to grow and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond. Once again, I would like to greet my fellow citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on this occasion of our Independence Day. Jai Hind
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    President’s Message — We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams

    President’s Message — We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams

    Pranab Mukherjee, President of India Fellow citizens: ON the eve of sixty-ninth anniversary of our Independence, I extend warm greetings to all my brothers and sisters in the country and abroad. As we celebrate our 70th Independence Day, I respectfully bow to the heroes of our independence struggle — known and unknown — who fought, suffered and sacrificed their lives to win freedom for us. Mahatma Gandhi’s luminous leadership finally made the British Quit India in 1947. When we gained independence in 1947, nobody believed that India will survive as a democracy. Yet, seven decades later, one and a quarter billion Indians with all their diversity have proved those forecasts wrong. The strong edifice of democracy built by our founding fathers on the four pillars of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity has withstood several threats from both within and without and has grown from strength to strength. This is for the fifth time that I speak to you on the eve of Independence Day. In the past four years, I have seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation. In the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amid non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity. In these four years, I also saw with, some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly. The collective wisdom of our society and our polity gives me the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and India’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted. The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society. Every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty. Democracy is more than a periodic exercise of choices to elect the government. The great tree of liberty requires constant nourishment through the institutions of democracy. Disruptions, obstructionism and unmindful pursuit of a divisive political agenda by groups and individuals lead to nothing but institutional travesty and Constitutional subversion. Polarizing debates only deepen the fault lines in public discourse. Our Constitution is not only a political or legal document but also an emotional, cultural and social contract. My distinguished predecessor Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan had said on the eve of Independence Day 50 years ago and I quote: “We have adopted a democratic Constitution. It helps us to maintain our individuality in the face of mounting pressures for standardized thinking and acting…….. Democratic Assemblies serve as safety valves for social tensions and prevent dangerous explosions. In an effective democracy, its members should be willing to accept law and lawful authority. No man, no group can be his or its own law giver” (unquote). The Constitution has clearly defined the duties and responsibilities of every organ of the state. It has established the ancient Indian ethos of “Maryada” as far as authorities and institutions of state power are concerned. The spirit of the Constitution has to be upheld by adherence to this “Maryada” by the functionaries in the discharge of their duties. One unique feature that has held India together is our respect for each other’s cultures, values and beliefs. The very essence of plurality lies in cherishing our heterogeneity and valuing our diversity. In the networked environment of today, a caring society can only be developed by harmonizing religion with modern science. Swami Vivekananda had once observed and I quote: “What is needed is a fellow-feeling between the different types of religion, seeing that they all stand or fall together, a fellow-feeling which springs from mutual respect, and not the condescending, patronizing, niggardly expression of goodwill” (unquote). It is true, as was pointed out in a famous speech made on this very day 69 years ago by Pandit Nehru that in a nation’s history, moments come when we step out from the old to the new, when the soul of a nation finds utterance. But it is also important to realize that such moments are not strokes of luck that come upon us by surprise. A nation can and must strive to create such a moment. We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams. Backed by strong political will, we have to create a future which will economically empower six hundred million youth, build a digital India, a start-up India, and a skilled India. As we build an India of hundreds of smart cities, towns and villages, we must ensure that they are humane, hi-tech and happy places leading to the creation of a technology-driven but compassionate society. We should promote and reinforce a scientific temper by questioning our beliefs which are not compatible with scientific way of thinking. We must learn to challenge the status quo and refuse to accept inefficiency and slipshod work. In a competitive environment, a sense of immediacy and some impatience is a necessary virtue. India will grow, only when all of India grows. The excluded ones have to be included in the development process. The hurt and the alienated have to be brought back into the mainstream. In this age of technological advance, machines are being pitted against men. The only way to survive this is to acquire knowledge and skills, and learn to innovate. Inclusive innovations linked to the aspirations of our people can benefit a wide spectrum of society as well as preserve our diversity. We as a nation must nurture creativity, science and technology. Here, our schools and institutions of higher learning have a special responsibility. We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels. It is much more important to look to the future. It is time to join hands to cooperate, innovate and advance. India has had remarkable growth in recent times, often growing above eight percent per annum over the last decade. International agencies have acknowledged India’s status as the fastest growing major economy in the world and recognized major improvements in indices of ease of doing business and logistics performance. The start-up movement and the innovative spirit of our young entrepreneurs have also attracted international attention. We must build on our strengths so that, this lead can be sustained and furthered. A normal monsoon this year gives us reason to cheer, unlike the past two years when below normal rains created agrarian distress. The fact that despite two consecutive drought years, inflation has remained below 6 percent and agricultural output has been stable, is a testimony to our nation’s resilience, and to how far we have progressed since Independence. Our foreign policy has shown considerable dynamism in recent times. We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific. We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries, especially our immediate and extended neighborhood. There will be no stepping back on our “neighborhood first policy”. Close bonds of history, culture, civilization and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity. This opportunity must be seized without delay. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful coexistence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development. Recent initiatives have enhanced energy security, promoted food security, and created international partnerships to take our flagship development programmes forward. The world has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion. These forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice. For all the challenges that we see in front of ourselves I have a great belief in our innate and inherent capacity as an ancient country whose soul and jijivisha — the will to live and excel can never be suppressed. Various forces external as well as internal have tried to smother this soul of India over millennia but every time this soul has emerged more powerful and more glorious having neutralized, assimilated and incorporated every challenge that it faced. India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world. In 1970, historian Arnold Toynbee had the following to say about India’s role in contemporary history. I quote: “Today, we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world’s history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning, will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race” (unquote). Toynbee further went on to say that at the cross roads of human history, the only way of salvation of mankind is the Indian way. On this occasion, I convey my special greetings and gratitude to the members of our armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the fore front of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of our motherland. In the end, I would once again invoke the Upanishads as I had invoked in my first address on the eve of Independence Day four years ago. For this invocation shall live forever, as will Mother India: May God Protect us; May God Nourish us; May we Work Together with Vigor and Energy; May our Studies be Brilliant; May there be no Hostility amongst us; May there be Peace Peace Peace.” Jai Hind
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