Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Updates

1) India to renovate 11th century Shiva Temple in Laos Linky

India has agreed to renovate the Vat Phou or Wat Phou temple complex in southern Laos as part of deepening cultural and historical ties which have existed between the two countries for more than 2000 years. Wat Phou is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of Mount Phu Kao near the Mekong river in Champasak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the sixth century. The summit of Phu Kao is like Linga, the phallic symbol of Shiva, thus giving it the more popular name, Lingaparvat. "It is an ongoing restoration project which started in 2009. The work restarts again after the end of rainy season in Lao. It will take seven years for completion of the project. It will also help us to understand common cultural heritage of Lao," Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Vijaya Latha Reddy.

The inscriptions found in the area suggest that the ancient city itself was founded around the middle of 5th century. The site is now a major centre of Theravada Buddhist worship. In the 12 century, Wat Phou and Angkor Vat formed the axis of Khmer Empire which also were linked by a 200 km long ancient road between the two heritage sites. The Archaeological survey of India team arrived in June 2009 at Vat Phou and conducted studies of foundations, drainage problems, super structural elements as well as did the documentation, recording, survey work etc. for the Northern Quadrangle of temple complex.

2) From SAAG, Linky

What made Prachanda withdraw? Firstly, there was pressure from his own party colleagues who did not like the party being associated with the farce that had been going on with each round of election. Second, the party realised too late that it had no chance of getting its chairman elected as Prime minister. There was also the feeling that it was India that was preventing other parties from voting the Maoists into power again. Third, was the danger of the UML supporting the Nepali Congress in the next election and this had to be prevented at any cost! Fourth, was the embarrassment of the audio tape and this effectively prevented them from getting sixty and odd votes by “purchase.” The veracity of the tape has not been “vehemently” denied and people who ought to know, know that the conversation was genuine! Fifth- and this can only be surmised as an advice from the Chinese! Make a tactical retreat with your revolutionary credentials in tact when things do not go well.
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The Maoists would have done this much earlier, had it not been for the stubbornness of its chairman and the emergence of the tape finally ended his ambition!

3) Assam elections: Linky

Assam politics is expected to witness major realignment of forces ahead of the 2011 Assembly polls with the year-long honeymoon between the main Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formally getting over. The AGP late on Monday snapped ties with the BJP and decided to look for smaller regional allies. It even kept its doors open for the Left parties for an electoral understanding to fight the polls scheduled early next year. Meanwhile, the BJP was quick to react. “The people of Assam wanted an alternative government this time and pinned their hopes on the AGP-BJP combine to challenge the Congress. But the AGP, despite our last-minute appeal to keep the alliance going, decided against it,” Assam BJP president Ranjit Dutta said. “The people of Assam would now decide who was wrong and who was right in the next elections. We are now working towards fighting the polls with the help of smaller parties with whom we have already opened channels of communications,” he said.

4) From SATP

Sify.com reports that the State Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah on September 20 extended the ban on the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and its six front organisations for a further period of one year under the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act. The earlier ban lapsed on August 16. State Information Minister J. Geeta Reddy told after the Cabinet meet that the frontal organisations of the outfit that are banned are: Radical Youth League, Rythu Coolie Sangham, Radical Students Union, Singareni Karmika Samakhya, Viplava Karmika Samakhya and All India Revolutionary Students Federation. It may be recalled that the State Government had lifted the ban on then People's War Group (PWG) in 2004 to facilitate a ceasefire and the first-ever direct peace talks between the Government and the Maoists. During the talks, PWG merged with Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) to form CPI-Maoist.

5) GoI's "chankianness" that is often derided can be explained by the following, in fact Smt. Rao quotes chankiya himself: Linky

To “join the ranks of the developed countries,” she said, India would have to maintain “an average growth of a minimum of 7.5 per cent GDP per year (and) achieve a 10-fold increase in per capita income in the next 30 years... At this rate of growth, by 2020, we should be able to be categorised as a middle income developing country.”
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Rao recalled that “the well-springs of India’s foreign policy as we began life as an independent nation” were “issues such as decolonisation, the creation of an Afro-Asian community of like-minded countries, the emphasis on the principles of peaceful co-existence based on mutual respect between nations”, among others. Not that such issues are no more relevant. But today, “driving our foreign policy priorities and our desire for strategic autonomy are factors of external security, internal security, the need for sustained economic growth, our energy security, maritime security and access to technology and innovation.” Adding growth as a rarely articulated dimension to foreign policy, Rao said: “Where our global role and our foreign policy comes into this growth story is to ensure that we create an environment, an external environment that is conducive to an increased flow of capital into the country.”

At the same time, the foreign secretary poured cold water on the idea touted by some in India and hoped for by many more in the US that New Delhi’s foreign and security policies could be anchored to those of Washington as Indo-US relations continue to blossom. “India is too large a country to be dovetailed into alliance type of relationships. In order to modernise our country we need to, and we have succeeded in, forging well-rounded strategic partnerships with all major powers.”
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Two decades ago, an Indian foreign secretary’s speech would have been replete with praise for non-alignment and similar ideas. Yesterday, Rao pointed out that last year in September, at its Pittsburgh Summit, the G-20 “was designated as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. We see the G-20 process as a move towards a more representative mechanism to manage global economic and financial issues”.

6) Blockade in Manipur Linky

Leaders of the United Naga Council met a Manipur government representative for tripartite talks with officials of the home ministry in Delhi today. This is the first time in five months — since the UNC launched a protest over autonomous district councils elections, Mao firing and the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s stand of not allowing NSCN (I-M) leader Th. Muivah to enter the state — that it has met a representative of the Manipur government.

The UNC leaders agreed to meet the representative after Union home secretary G.K. Pillai convened the tripartite meeting at the North Block today. Manipur was represented by its resident commissioner in Delhi, Rakesh Ranjan, while the UNC team was headed by its president Samson Remei. Before the meeting, the UNC team met Union home minister P. Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, small dog bites the dust in front of the big dog, or so the saying goes Linky

Naga organisations, which have used the economic blockade as a potent tool to press for their demands, have changed tack when administered their own medicine. The Naga Students’ Federation, which has been supporting the economic blockade imposed on Manipur valley by the United Naga Council and the All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur since May, today said the All Assam Students’ Union should not use blockade as a tool to resolve the Golaghat issue. The personnel of 12 India Reserve Battalion (IRB) posted in Nagaland had beaten up some students who were participating in an AASU demonstration near Golaghat on September 15 after which the students’ body decided to impose an economic blockade on Nagaland till the culprits were punished.

The AASU, which has been imposing blockades in Jorhat and Golaghat districts since Saturday, today expanded its agitation to Sivasagar, adds our Jorhat correspondent. Over 70 AASU members blocked the Amguri-Mokokchung road (National Highway 61) at Haluating near Amguri town since 11am. The president of AASU’s Sivasagar subdivision, Manoj Lahan, said if Nagaland did not take action against the guilty cops soon, AASU might expand its agitation to other border points.

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