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Value of higher education

According to new figures released from Higher and higher, HSBC’s latest report in The Value of Education series, globalisation of higher education shows no sign of stalling. The study of over 8,000 parents across 15 countries and territories found that more than two-fifths (42 per cent) would consider sending their child to university abroad, compared to 35 per cent in 2016 – a seven percentage point (pp) increase.

Ambitious parents in Asia are boosting the trend: India (62% plus 15pp), Indonesia (61% plus 1pp), China (59% plus 15pp), Hong Kong (52% minus 2pp), Malaysia (51% plus 8pp), and Singapore (47% plus 4pp).

This echoes OECD data that highlights that Asian students account for 53% of all students studying abroad worldwide. According to HSBC’s partner, the Institute of International Education (IIE), China is the leading country of origin for international higher education students, sending an estimated 801,000 abroad, with India (1,82,000) and Malaysia (64,000) also exporting significant numbers.

  • Parents in Asia appear to be much more focused on the competitive advantage an overseas university can offer their child:
  • Parents in Malaysia are most likely to consider the quality of teaching on offer (67% vs only 30% in the UK, 27% in Australia and 19% in the USA)
  • Parents in Indonesia and Malaysia are most likely to consider the specific courses available for their child (both 61% vs 23% in Australia and the UK and 21% in the US)
  • Parents in Indonesia are also most likely to consider the ability of the university to open up job opportunities for their child (58% vs. 41% in the USA, 32% in Australia and 28% in the UK)

Despite a common idea that international students would stay in their host country after graduating, parents’ top expectation (35%) is that their child would search for full-time employment at home. Only 9% would like their child to search for full-time employment in the country where they have completed their university education.

Cost of education

The majority of parents (73%) considering university abroad for their child expect to make a significant financial contribution, and estimate the overall average cost of an undergraduate and postgraduate degree abroad to be USD 157,782 (USD 71,580 for UG and USD 86,202 for PG). Many parents (45%) would go further and consider buying a property in the country where their child is studying.

More generally, spending on education is particularly resilient in Asian countries. For 44% of parents in India and 42% in China, paying for their child’s education is their most important financial commitment.

Trista Sun, HSBC’s Global Head of International and Cross Border, said: “HSBC’s report shows that the number of parents, especially in Asia and UAE, who are ready to invest in an overseas university education for their child’s skills and employability continues to grow. With an undergraduate’s total cost expected to be around USD 72,000 on average, the investment is financially significant for parents. Additionally, 45% would consider buying a property in their child’s country of study. Parents need to plan ahead and look at all the implications of funding international education.

“With 39% of parents having specific universities abroad in mind for their child, their investment goes beyond financial. They spend a lot of time and energy to help their child build their academic profile and credentials for them to meet the entry requirements at prestigious universities.”

With the power of its global network, many banks support customers with their international financial needs in four of the top five destinations for higher education abroad. Whether it is setting up a bank account before they arrive in a new country, or welcoming them to settle in, banks offer a package of products and solutions to ease their journey abroad. In addition, banks are partnering with key players in the education ecosystem – education agencies, secondary schools, language schools, universities, visa services, students associations – to provide support to families beyond banking services.

Top Study abroad destinations

Parents see the main benefits of a university education abroad as being to help their child gain international work experience (49%), develop foreign language skills (49%) and to be exposed to new experiences, ideas and cultures (48%).

Overall, the USA is the most considered international destination by parents for their child’s university education (47%), ahead of Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany and France.

  • Parents in Taiwan and China are most likely to consider the USA (70% and 61% respectively)
  • Parents in Malaysia and Indonesia lean more towards Australia (67% and 65%)

Data from the Institute of International Education shows that alongside traditional destinations for international students such as the USA, the UK or Australia, destinations in Asia are becoming more popular.

Practical steps for parents

  • Consider the benefits of university education abroad: It can help your children to be independent and enhance their job prospects.
  • Be realistic about the costs: Make sure to plan for all the implications including higher tuition fees, international travel, accommodation, day-to-day expenditure and exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Start planning early: Early planning and saving for education can help your children fulfill their potential and limit the strain on family finances. Seeking professional advice can help you plan and make better-informed choices.
  • If buying property abroad: Choose a mortgage plan that is most suitable for your needs.
  • Consider the interest rate, repayment period, setting-up fees, early repayment flexibility and cancellation fees. Be aware of the tax and foreign exchange implications.

Practical steps for students

  • Learn about your new country, its culture and customs before you go.
  • Sign up to classes or training your university may offer to help you navigate your new surroundings.
  • Speak to recent graduates who studied aboard, their first-hand experience can help you adapt quickly.
  • Explore your new country and be open to making new friends.
  • Get involved in campus activities beyond academics, taking advantage of the many clubs, sports, interest groups and social events to mix with the diverse student population.

Key findings

More than two-fifths (42%) would consider sending their child to university abroad, compared to 35% in 2016 – a seven percentage point increase

Indian Parents’ are spending $ 18,909 on their child’s education

94% Indian parents would consider postgraduate education for their child

According to Indian parents, the top three destinations for university abroad are USA, Australia, UK

82% Indian parents would consider an online university degree

Value of higher education – According to new figures released from Higher and higher, HSBC’s latest report in The Value of Education series, globalisation of higher education shows no sign of stalling More info visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/

Skilling Students For Genx Jobs is Crucial

The year 2004-5 was when the McKinsey report came, saying that only 25 per cent of Indian graduates are employable. That was the first shock to the Indian education system. The main problem at that time was lack of job skills. We were good in programming, coding etc but were found lacking in team work, management jobs and skills. Immediately, the institutions and industry took corrective steps by strengthening and reinforcing curriculum. Industries started campus connect programmes.

The immediate concern, of course, is jobs being lost or jobs not being created. But the bigger worry is the kind of skills expected in the next generation jobs. And, we are not ready. The jobs that are now being talked about are data analytics, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning etc. A lot of universities don’t have these courses. We anticipated this and started these courses. We have electives for our undergraduate students and have even started masters in some of these courses. We have masters in big data science, in cloud computing. We have identified technology jobs and given the right kind of mix to students. So, to an extent, we have insulated the gap between learning and careers.

We need to have the right training leading to jobs, design and creativity in product designs in engineering. That’s what we need to do. We work with Srishti School of Design, Bangalore. We need to look at how we can involve more such schools for starting design programmes.

What is the biggest challenge in education as far as private universities are concerned?

For an institute like Manipal, we have no problem. But I can’t say it is the same for every institute. You got to have professional development, find means of sending teachers back to industries every summer, just like students.

Why does India have such a small pool of teachers?

One is entry level, someone who is just out of college. Our own students join the faculty and sometimes teach for one or two years before they make up their minds about their future. To me, this is a tragedy. Our best students are satisfied with one university degree and at age 21 go and join a company they are lost to education forever. They are not pursuing their masters, not doing research and ceasing to be students. All they want is a good job. A good job means a well-paid job. Now, the ones who don’t get a job turn to teaching as a profession.

In the medical post-graduation, for example, a part of the assessment is how well you teach. Pedagogy is an assessment in medical school and not anywhere else. So, by inclination, medical students come back into teaching. In engineering, it is different. There is no mechanism of introducing them to the pleasure of teaching.

Retaining a good faculty is a challenge. Is it all about money?

Money is one aspect. If you look at a typical teacher’s mindset, what does he want? It is not always money. He wants a good place to work, he wants a caring employer, he wants a quality of life which is near-ideal, he wants certain protection against the fear of loss of job, he wants assurances about healthcare and his children’s education. Some of our best teachers are the ones who have stayed for 30 and 40 years.

Why do universities restrict themselves to teaching and producing graduates?

That is one of the least important for a university. For me, one of the most important things is research and the impact it can have on society. But, everybody can’t be a great research scholar nor can everybody be a great teacher. We have created a directorate of research, with a director for health sciences and a director for technical education. These take care of the research by creating awareness across the university on how to make use of researchers.

We have invested in research equipment, laboratories, people, data-based work and tools for analysis. We have incentivized research, depending on the impact factor and publication.

But years go into research…

It is a passion, not a problem. A good researcher is always the one who asks a good question and not the one who is looking for an answer. It is not always that positive research contributes to science. Even negative results do. So do copycat results. It is not necessary that it has to be cutting-edge research. Research that can contribute anything to the body of science is good enough.

Then why are there such few research papers?

In the last year, a dozen major publications have gone from the university. This is a small number but, we are improving. A decade back, we did not have a single paper, today we have 10 in a year. We want to grow that to international standards in terms of publications per faculty.

How difficult is it to get Government funding for research?

Funding is important. For private universities, there is a dual disadvantage. One is the scepticism that exists in people who decide on funding. That research is done only in public sector laboratories is a perception we have fought for the last 10 years and it is only now that it has become a level playing field. So much so that the chief of ICMR Dr Katoch gambled for the first time in funding a private institution and gave a small amount to Manipal University for setting up a virology centre. They set up 14 labs in the country, of them only one in the private sector.

We co-invested with that funding. One-and-a-half years later when he reviewed the centres, he asked the 13 others to visit Manipal. ‘They have done four times with one-fourth of the money that I have given you’, he told them. That was high praise, but more than that, an acknowledgement that private sector too can contribute significantly.

Why does India’s higher education lag so far behind countries like Canada and Finland?

Sadly, our interest in higher education has been a disjointed effort. There were always very good research labs in the country but doing very little teaching. You have great institutes in the country like IITs and NITs doing well in research. In India, there’s always been a disconnect between teaching and research. Outside, higher education is all the time connected to research. Take Canada. They have the University of Waterloo which is not as famous as, say, a University of British Columbia or Ottawa. Waterloo is much smaller too, but they produced a product, the BlackBerry, which became world famous. BlackBerry came out of a company which was incubated in the university by the research of engineering students in a company called Research in Motion (RIM). So you have research as foundation.

Students from India go for masters in technology and business administration to universities in America. Very rarely will you find students going for undergraduate engineering. This tells us that the focus on research, equipment and people needs a regulation which is conducive for research.

Today, the regulator in the country for higher education focuses on how many hours to be taught, how to teach. You don’t have a flexible approach to higher education. Mostly higher education is everyday assessment, it is not the end of term examination. I evaluate a student not merely on what he can do in examinations, but also on how sincere he is, how he has approached a problem, how he has written his thesis. Private universities have a problem because they don’t have enough money. Government universities have the equipment but don’t have the people to man it. So you do have this disjointed approach – great universities with little research but great teaching, great laboratories with good research but no teaching. When you bring them together, you will find a solution.

The University of Hyderabad, for example, has set up a biotechnology with Reddy’s lab which is the right thing to do. Get the

R&D people they will fund some and get state-of-the-art government labs connected to an existing university.

Skilling students for GenX jobs is crucial – Discuss issues around the higher education system on the sidelines of the university’s convocation ceremony. Excerpts How focussed is higher Education on the job market? Why this growing disconnect between education and careers? More info visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/

The road to recovery and banking reforms

The Rs 9.2 trillion package announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week is a major move to resuscitate the Indian economy. The route is through the banks (increased lending) and highways (infrastructure). The Rs 6.92 trillion proposed investment in highways and Rs 2.11 trillion bank recapitalisation would be a major turning point believes Jaitley. The farmer also had a gain as MSPs of wheat was upped by Rs 110 to Rs 1,735 a quintal and of pulses by Rs 200. These measures are expected to help improve credit flow to companies from banks weighed down by bad debts and boost public investment. The infrastructure spending to build 83,877 km roads through the Bharat Mala project in the next five years should spread an even money flow across the country; the building of roads as part of the project are expected to c rate 14 crore man days of work. The new focus on MSMEs and the planned direct benefit to them should help the struggling sector and boost employment. The overall gambit of the Finance Minister is clear – the direction should be to a new economy linked to growth and increased job opportunities.

The stock market immediately resonated with acceptance of the Government’s moves with a major 435 points rise. PSU banks were the star performers followed by capital goods and infrastructure stocks. The Government move added Rs 2 trillion of wealth in a day at the stock exchanges. The euphoria is fine, but stock indices should not be taken as a major indicator of recovery. The Finance Ministry made a detailed presentation on the state of the economy while announcing the Government’s moves, and as Jaitley said: “Our aim is to maintain a high growth economy.” Once again, the focus is correct.

However, spending on roads also has to be prudent. During the past few years, technically many kilometres of roads were built but a significant number like parts of the Delhi-Agra highway, Delhi-Ambala highway and NH 24 were literally re-dug and are being re-laid in the name of road widening. The Government has to be cautious on such re-investment. Most roads were functional and jam points were largely because of poor planning. The Agra highway is being rebuilt for years by digging up a fine road, ditto the Ambala highway and NH24.

The NH 24 between Nizamuddin Bridge and the UP border was widened to eight lanes over two years back. It was doing fine except three bottlenecks. These could have been redone with minimum investment. The entire stretch of an excellently built road should not have been re-dug and dumped with concrete, creating endless traffic snarls, increased journey time and cost. It is taking more time in digging than rebuilding. This is useless expenditure and possibly even the Government does not realise the money being looted by contractors. The need for additional lanes may certainly be felt at times but these should be constructed in a planned way without hampering traffic or creating dangerous stretches and destroying what has already been done. Before going for “rebuilding”, residents of the area should be consulted on how to save on expenditure and do a better job without everything going haywire as has happened on the three stretches mentioned above. Toll is being charged on stretches that are not drivable. The developed world spends prudently and keeps toll charges affordable. That is possibly why they are developed. They spend very sparingly spend on re-digging.

There is also a flipside to road network development as stretches in the fragile North-East have shown. Road construction has adversely affected the environment in the region but then development too must happen; a balance, however, is needed. The Delhi-Agra-Lucknow and most other expressways have gobbled up prime agricultural land and that too is problematic. The Government should do a detailed study and have discussions with all stakeholders before implementing its plans as development is essential but it has to be thoughtfully implemented and bureaucrats have to be made accountable.

Such a huge effort by the Government certainly needs a fund flow. That is why the recapitalisation of public sector banks has rightly become a priority. Public sector banks had accumulated a total of over Rs 12 lakh crore in NPAs between 2008 and 2014 which, Jaitley pointed out, had constricted banks from giving new loans. These included many for road projects across the country. The challenges for PSU banks are growing. They have to realise that their best capitalisation is through raising deposits. The policy on taxing deposits, lack of long-term deposit plans and charging bank accounts for transactions is the most imprudent approach.

This is driving away depositors, creating social anxiety and putting the economy at high risk. Banks are being recapitalised through budgetary support only to the extent of Rs 76,000 crore. The rest would be through bonds and dilution of Government stake in PSU banks. Many new stakeholders may be the defaulters themselves. Efforts to raise deposits, on the other hand, though a little time-consuming, will create strong fundamentals and would help banks make innovative plans, simplify account-opening procedures, incentivise deposits with higher rates, create competition and lead to an improvement in the overall health of the banks and the economy. PSU banks are not a just a Government resource, as Congress Ministers like P Chidambaram treated them. On the contrary, PSU banks must be treated as people’s benevolent custodians and be allowed freedom of commercial functioning. PSU banks have the business acumen to do well; they should be freed of red-tape. Let us rethink the proposal to dilute Government stake as well.

The Indian economy has the capacity to reinvent itself and the Government has done much to encourage it but much more needs to be done.

The road to recovery and banking reforms – The Indian economy has the capacity to reinvent itself and the Government has done much to encourage it but much more needs to be done.

Go for simultaneous elections

Holding Lok Sabha and State Assembly polls together will not only lighten the financial and administrative strain on the EC but the Government can also function smoothly without interruptions caused by the model code of conduct

Holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies has come into focus once again after the Election Commission favoured the idea but also said that all political parties should be brought on board before such an exercise is conducted. Election Commissioner OP Rawat said early this month that “The Election Commission has always been of the view that simultaneous elections will give enough time for incumbent Government to formulate policies and implement programmes continuously for a longer time without interruptions caused by imposition of model code of conduct.”

The EC had asked for funds to purchase new EVMs and VVPAT machines to meet the requirements and claimed that it would be logistically equipped by September 2018 to hold Parliamentary and Assembly polls together. The Commission would require 24 lakh each electronic voting machines and voter verifiable paper audit trail machines. Presently, according to constitutional and legal provisions, elections are to be held within six months ahead of the end of the term of a State Assembly or the Lok Sabha.

The framers of the Constitution had envisaged simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies and the practice continued till 1967 but it got derailed due to various factors including dissolution of some Assemblies after the liberal use of Article 356.

The idea to go back to conducting simultaneous polls has travelled over the years. BJP leader LK Advani had floated the idea in 2012 and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee were also receptive to the idea. The BJP 2014 manifesto also promised that if it came to power it would evolve a method to hold simultaneous polls. In 2015, the report of the Standing Committee on Law held that it would save huge expenditure on elections and stop policy paralysis.

In February 2016, Modi pushed the idea while speaking in the Lok Sabha suggesting, “Political parties should not look at the idea through the narrow prism of politics.” In September 2016 Modi Government invited public views on the issue in the “Mygovt.”Portal. It raised questions including whether it was desirable to hold simultaneous polls and what happens to Assemblies whose tenure ends before or after the proposed date of holding simultaneous polls. It also raised the question whether the terms of the Lok Sabha and Assembly should be fixed and what happens if by-elections are necessitated or if the ruling party loses majority mid way.

The Niti Ayog has also favoured this step spelling out that a synchronised two phase polls from 2024 would be feasible in its “Three-year agenda, 2017-18 to 2018 -19, report”. It said that simultaneous polls would not only keep alive the enthusiasm of the voters but also lighten the financial and administrative strain on the Government and the Election Commission. It would also avoid repeated enforcement of Model code of conduct. In December 17 last year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law observed that several structural changes would need to be done in case a decision was made in this regard including constitutional amendments. Finally, on October 4, 2017 the Election Commission has favoured the idea but with some riders.

Is there a case for simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies? There is indeed a case because it will save a lot of money which could be utilised for developmental purposes. While the poll expenditure in 2009 was Rs 1,100 crores, in 2014 it shot up to Rs 4,000 crores and is expected to go up further in 2019. Secondly, the strain on the security forces would become less as the voters could cast two ballots in the same polling booth. Frequent elections also bring candidates to the voters more often resulting in the confusion of the illiterate voters. Thirdly, as SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, has remarked “…. elections have become the root cause of corruption in the country”. In fact it is during the elections that the black money is generated more.

At the same time the challenges are also huge to enforce simultaneous polls. First of all, the Government is yet to attempt the important task of finding a consensus. Creating a political consensus for simultaneous polls may be the biggest hurdle for the Modi Government. Key political parties such as Indian National Congress (INC), All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), Communist Party of India (CPI), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) etc. in their submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee have expressed their reservations about the do-ability.

Secondly, stakeholders including the Government, Election Commission and political parties should find some agreeable principles for holding simultaneous polls.

Thirdly, while it might be easier to persuade the BJP-ruled States to curtail their Assembly terms, the Opposition-ruled States may or may not agree for this. The regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress, Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and others may not agree. Even the NDA allies like the Shiv Sena and Akali Gal might not agree. Fourthly, The Representation of People Act 1951, which covers various modalities of conducting elections in the country, also needs to be amend and the Constitutional amendments require two-thirds majority and the BJP is nowhere near that.

Go for simultaneous elections – IN balance, holding simultaneous polls will be advantages on many counts including poll campaign, poll expenditure, Government funds and security arrangements. Politicians should give up their narrow political outlook and go for what is good for the country . When it was successful in the fifties and sixties then why not now?

Cutting back on firecrackers

Firecracker ban led to a quieter Diwali but it had less of an impact on air pollution

It began with a hesitant, quiet bang or two but as the evening wore on in the Capital on Diwali it was painfully and rather noisily obvious that the ban on sales of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) imposed by the Supreme Court had all but come a cropper. Anyone with their finger on the pulse of the popular mood in Delhi could have predicted that citizens would burst firecrackers on Diwali, in some cases with a vengeance, and by the evening under-the-table sales of firecrackers despite a police crackdown through the day had mushroomed.

The ban of sales on firecrackers in Delhi turned out exactly like prohibition in Gujarat. That is to say, near-impossible to implement. Whether the courts or even ‘enlightened’ members of the liberal classes like it or not, Diwali has become associated with firecrackers. While a lot of residents of the Capital understood that the ban on sales was promulgated in good faith by the Supreme Court, many chafed against a ban and the narrative that it was an attack on the joyous, celebratory aspects of the Hindu ethos went viral on social media, especially on messaging apps.

But the fact remains that firecrackers are extremely polluting, and the rampant usage of firecrackers should be actively discouraged. Regulations and control are the vital components in this effort. For one, just like cigarettes, firecrackers ought to be heavily taxed, their production and distribution needs to be better controlled and the easy availability of vast amounts of illegal firecrackers both those made in India and those imported by the container-load from China must be stopped.

The air quality in Delhi is hazardous to human health, the Air Quality Index which in Delhi is already above safe limits, has gone off the charts with readings above 999 and almost every single parameter from particulate matter to levels of Benzene are far too high for healthy living. In a sense, while residents of the Capital did cock a snook at the ban on firecracker sales, in doing so they effectively ended up committing seppuku. As this newspaper has been writing over the past ten days, there are many causes of air pollution in NCR and there are many rules governing the sources of pollution. It was almost inevitable that the firecracker ban would be flouted, which could be discerned from the ease with which citizens flout existing regulations. The problem is not of a lack of rules but one of enforcement and that is a failure of governance. Old diesel cars and commercial vehicles continue to ply on the roads, construction material is still dumped on the roadside and stubble burning continues. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities on earth, and the air is killing people due to pulmonary diseases and cancer. Any solution will have to involve citizens, better governance and most importantly require rigorous enforcement of the rules by the authorities.

Cutting back on firecrackers – Firecracker ban led to a quieter Diwali but it had less of an impact on air pollution. this Article is about Air pollution news more info visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists

The devil in diesel

The auto industry claims that cars are vilified, but they do not emit flower-scented pure air It is an abiding irony of modern life that we want our lives to be comfortable, breathe clean air and not worry too much about stuff like Global Warming yet it is these very creature comforts that we cannot do without which are usually the prime culprits in damaging our planet. And this brings us to one of the most remarkable inventions of the late nineteenth century, the internal combustion engine. Nikolaus Otto working with Gottleib Daimler invented the four-stroke engine. It was, however, Karl Benz who was the first to put into production such an engine and subsequently put it on four wheels in a rapidly industrialising Imperial Germany. Daimler and Benz never met, but the company that bears their names still produces cars today; we know it as Mercedes-Benz. The internal combustion engine changed everything and is one of the most important inventions in human history because it removed the tyranny of distance, on land, at sea and in the air. Until the gas turbine engine came along towards the end of World War II, the internal combustion engine powered both development and destruction.

Given their size and increasing efficiency as well as the ability to run on multiple fuel fractions from the crude refining process, internal combustion engines power almost every car, truck and ship on the planet. The fuel economy and power that we have managed to attain from an internal combustion engine is truly stunning. Volvo sells a car in India that produces 235 horsepower from a 1969 cubic centimetre engine while delivering close to 15 kilometres of range for every litre of diesel while hauling a two-tonne car around. This would have been impossible even a decade ago, but advanced computer controllers and software have managed to achieve what purely mechanical components could not. It is also true that modern engines, whether they run on petrol or diesel are not just more efficient but also pollute much less than their predecessors even from a decade ago. But it is also a fact that the number of cars, trucks and motorcycles on the streets have shot up in the preceding decade, particularly in India, despite the often punitive rates of taxation on vehicles. At the same time, some carmakers have been caught lying about the amount of pollutants their engines, particularly diesel engines, emit. People have also become more aware about the perils of climate change, not just because of images of polar bears sinking in the Arctic but because of extreme weather events across the world. While there are several causes for air pollution, such as the rising number of thermal power plants, rampant and uncontrolled construction, crop stubble burning and the like, there is no doubt that vehicular pollution plays an important role in increasing pollution. It is, therefore, contingent upon the auto industry across the world to address this problem, and India’s decision to move towards full electrification of vehicles is a welcome idea. However, in a country unable to provide reliable power to all her citizens today, that might remain a pipe dream. Without reliable personal and public transport and a means for cheap transportation of goods India will almost certainly come to a standstill. The solution, therefore, at least in the short-term, is to continue developing more efficient and cleaner engines and phasing out more polluting fuels like those used by large container ships.

The devil in diesel – we must continue to invest in safe, quick and eco-friendly modes of public transportation without which car and motorcycle sales will continue to climb. this Article is about diesel pollution for more visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/

A strategic engagement with the European Union

It may not be possible to characterise the relations between France and India as ‘higher than the mountains, deeper than the ocean, sweeter than honey’; it may never go into such superlatives, but since the past 30 years, the contacts have been based on ‘hard-rock’ foundation, formulated in the Strategic Partnership signed by former President Jacques Chirac in Delhi in 1998. The contacts are based on mutual trust and a common vision of the world.

On May 15, Emmanuel Macron officially took over from President Francois Hollande and the same day, he paid the traditional visit to the German Chancellor in Berlin; both leaders spoke of the importance of France-Germany relations for the European Union.

Between his investiture and his triumph in the legislative elections, the French President met the US President and hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the historic Palace of Versailles. Macron’s firm dealing in international issues could be seen for the first time, a radical change from the mild approach of his predecessor, the unpopular Hollande.

On June 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a short visit to Paris to congratulate and acquaint himself with the new French President. The talks were mainly centered around the Paris Conference on Environment as President Donald Trump had just announced that the US was withdrawing from the Paris Accord.

The talks with the Indian Prime Minister at the Elysee Palace lasted for two hours. It was more than an ice-breaking exercise as the Indian Prime Minister had especially come back from Moscow to meet Macron. Speaking after the talks, Modi declared that the Paris climate deal reflects “our duty towards protecting the Mother Earth and our natural resources. For us, protection of environment is an article of faith.”

In this short time, something ‘passed’ between the two men, laying a firmer basis for future relations. During the second week of December, President Macron will pay his maiden visit to India. Apart from the solar alliance, in which both countries have invested energies and resources, the project of Smart Cities, dear to Prime Minister Modi, will be discussed and taken forward. France has already adopted three cities, Chandigarh, French Architect Le Corbusier’s township, Nagpur and Puducherry. Macron’s visit is perhaps the opportunity to go a step further.

On July 13, a day before the Bastille Day, during a Press conference jointly addressed by the French President and the German Chancellor in Paris, the two nations announced their intention to cooperate for the development of a future combat aircraft, which could one day replace the Rafale of Dassault Aviations and the Eurofighter/Typhoon. Macron spoke of ‘road maps’ for joint investment opportunities in 18 areas, including a fifth-generation fighter plane. Macron said, “It is a deep revolution – but we are not scared of revolutions when they are conducted peacefully.”

The French President sees this venture as part of a broader integration of several European partners for the development, deployment and export of combat equipment. Airbus Defence and Space, which works on the Eurofighter, welcomed the announcement “to jointly develop a next generation fighter jet”. A communique added: “Strengthening the Franco-German axis will help to safeguard critically needed European defence capabilities in the future.”

Soon after the World War II, a man had a revolutionary proposal: To unite the enemies of yesterday, France and Germany, by bringing them to work together. Jean Monnet, the father of Europe wrote: “The course of events must be altered. To do this, men’s attitudes must be changed. Words are not enough.” Monnet thought that since both Germany and France had to rebuild their industry, it was bound to revive the old rivalry. Monnet’s idea was to reverse the problem – what had been the seed of war must become the seed of unity – his proposal was, therefore, to create a high authority which could manage the resources in coal and steel for both nations. This was hhe embryo of the European Economic Community (EEC) and later the European Union.

Monet was a visionary; the world will be lead by multi-nation collaboration in the future. Take the example of the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) developed by Dassault Aviation of France as the prime contractor, as demonstrated this. The nEUROn drone project perfectly reflects the original European ‘spirit’ though ironically, Germany is not directly associated. Six European countries have decided to build an UCAV as a technology demonstrator.

This European programme has been designed to pool the skills and know-how of Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), Saab (Sweden), EADS-CASA (Spain), HAI (Greece), RUAG (Switzerland) and Thales (France) to produce the drone of the future. With a length of 10 metres, a wingspan of 12.5 metres and an empty weight of five tonnes, the aircraft is powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine. It was French President Jacques Chirac who unveiled the Dassault-led nEUROn project in June 2005; the project crossed a major milestone on December 2012 when the UCAV had its first successful flight from Istres airbase, near Marseille in South France.

Dassault Aviation is the master builder, responsible for the overall architecture and design, flight control system, global testing (static and flight), elements of stealth, final assembly, integration of systems and testing. NEUROn is undoubtedly an extraordinary technological challenge for the European companies involved.

Why could not India be involved in such like high-tech projects with France (and also the EU)? Let us come back to the development of a fifth-generation combat aircraft. India has tried to work with the Russians. The project is not doing well.

Franz-Stefan Gady wrote in The Diplomat: “India, Russia 5th Generation Fighter Jet Deal is Lost”: “The transfer of sensitive defence technology from Russia to India has been one of the most contentious issues between the two sides right from the start.”

Gady commented: “India wants a guarantee that it will be able to upgrade the fighter jet in the future without Russian support, which would require Moscow sharing source codes (sensitive computer code that controls the fighter jet’s various systems – the key to an aircraft’s electronic brains).”

Delays are said to have been caused because New Delhi and Moscow disagree on many fundamental aspects such as work and cost share, aircraft technology or numbers of aircraft to be ordered by India. Though presently theoretical, a question, could be raised, why can’t India join the Germano-French project? While Europe may not require hundreds of fifth generation aircrafts in the decades to come, India will need hundreds of planes, having to cope with two fronts.

Modi has developed an excellent rapport with Macron and Merkel; it would make economic and strategic sense for India to partner Europe. It could be good for the European industries as well, as they would get crucial financial support and a market. It is worth thinking about such a far-away possibility; it could be a win-win deal for India too as Delhi would be involved in the project from the conception.

A strategic engagement with the European Union – He is the author of several books on Tibet, China and India and a regularly contributor on Indo-French relations. this Article is about European Union news for more visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/

Will Trump’s new Afghan policy be a game changer

Although the new policy on drone strikes in Af-Pak has not been revealed, the big question is: Will Trump authorise drone strikes against Pakistan’s ‘good terrorists’ or will he act no different from Bush and Obama?

US President Donald Trump’s Fort Myer speech was the ultimate on India coming out of the cold in Afghanistan. The US had always looked at India in Afghanistan through Pakistan’s prism. Although the new policy on drone strikes in Af-Pak has not been revealed, and if it is what Commanders have sought, it could be a game-changer.

According to the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), drone strikes in Pakistan were a part of the global war on terrorism – 424 strikes killing 2,489-3,919 terrorists; 423 to 946 civilians and 239 to 319 children. These included decapitating strikes against terrorist leadership. Strikes commenced in June 2004 and the last was recorded on July 3. After 9/11, the US passed a legislation, the Authorisation for Use of Military Force (AUMF) – to use all necessary and appropriate force in pursuit of those responsible for terrorist attacks against the US (and its citizens). In Pakistan, the US was targeting the Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqanis.

The rules of engagement (ROE) and command and control were clear. The target area had to be declared war zone/area of active hostilities. Pakistan fell under neither. A tacit understanding between General Pervez Musharraf and the US Generals allowed drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Initially, the drone bases were inside Pakistan but after the Osama bin Laden episode, they shifted to Afghanistan. When strikes were outside, in designated zones or entailed civilian casualties, for both, certification was required by highest military commander (in some cases the President himself) that the target posed imminent threat to the US and benefits from the strikes would be more than the risk of civilian casualties. Bulk of the US strikes outside recognised war zones, like Pakistan, were conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In Pakistan, all strikes outside the FATA were authorised by the President.

The Trump Administration has given more autonomy to the CIA and the military; and has reversed Obama policy to get the CIA out of drone strikes. A transactional Trump has asked questions like “while helping Pakistan to fight terrorists – with US Coalition Support Fund and drone strikes – what is the payback”? That is why US Senators have frequently said, “We are paying Pakistan to have our soldiers killed in Afghanistan by terrorists like the Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqanis (who have sanctuaries on Pakistan soil)”. Pakistan has frequently said that these camps are inside Afghanistan and not on Pakistan territory. But Afghanistan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar claimed that he had the coordinates of all the 32 enemy training camps in Pakistan. If the ROE is to change, Trump will have to authorise drone strikes beyond the tacitly agreed area of the FATA. Former US President Barack Obama had authorised three to four strikes, including the one on May 21, 2016, which took out Taliban supremo Akhtar Mansour on the Balochistan border and was the first strike conducted by the

military in Afghanistan.

Since taking over, Trump has authorised at least two strikes in the ‘no go’ area on March 2 and June 13 against Qari Abdullah, an Afghan Taliban commander and Abu Bakar Haqqani, a Haqqani commander in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It will be instructive to look at the statistics of drone strikes in Pakistan. The BOI records that the first strike in Pakistan was ordered by President George W Bush in June 2004. Between 2004-09, an aggregate of 51 drone strikes was

conducted. When Obama took over, he took to drones as ducks to water. In his first term in 2009 alone, he had authorised 52 strikes, one more than Bush had used in four years. The strikes followed an interesting trajectory: Doubling to 128 strikes in 2010 and then steadily declining each year from 75 in 2011 to just three in 2016. Few know why.

The casualty figures show wide margins and the reasons are not clear. It is clear that drone strikes played a crucial role in reducing the terror attacks in Pakistan. Except in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan is virtually free of terrorist attacks by the Pakistan Taliban as their sanctuaries are now in Afghanistan.

The legal justification for drone strikes was strongly defended by the Obama regime. Peacetime assassinations, which are conflated with targeted killings, have been banned by the US since 1976. 9/11 changed the rules with the AUMF. The United Nations Special Report on Targeted Killings defines it as: “Premeditated acts of lethal force employed by states in peace and unarmed conflict to eliminate specified individuals outside their custody”.

Employment by intelligence or Armed Forces of cruise missiles, drones (stand-off) is legally justified by Article 51 of the UN Charter – Right to Self Defence. The US says it is in a state of armed conflict with the Al Qaeda and its affiliates. Bulk of drone strikes executed outside war zones were by the CIA, whereas in declared areas of hostility, it is by the military.

Good Kill ironically is the name of a film which illustrates employment of drone strikes in Pakistan’s FATA conducted from CIA’s headquarters of Langley in Virginia. The film illustrates the dilemma of drone controllers with hands on the joystick who are not part of the United States Air Force. Some ask: “Why do we wear flying suits and query about their legal protection”? One cannot miss terms like ‘fly and fry’, ‘permission to prosecute (engage)’, ‘weapons hot’, ‘rifle (fire)’, ‘splash (hit)’. One of the drone controllers has turned into an alcoholic and dismissed for dereliction of duty, including saying “it is not a just war”.

Besides the statistics of drone strikes, their strategic decryption would show the following: The strikes bore limited deterrence. They were useful in taking out the Pakistan Taliban and few Haqqanis and were significant in reducing terrorist numbers and violence. Only three to four or five to six were conducted outside ‘agreed areas’. After the June 13 strike in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Army Chief, General Qamar Bajwa called

for intelligence sharing and said, “Unilateral action like drone strikes was counterproductive and against the spirit of cooperation”.

US drone strikes in Pakistan have had no effect on the US war in Afghanistan. Why have drone strikes not targeted the Taliban and the Haqqanis during Bush and Obama eras even after the US declaring that it was in armed conflict with the Al Qaeda and its affiliates – the Taliban and the Haqqanis? As Trump likes to say, billions and billions of dollars have been spent in Afghanistan, but US stand-off attacks have not targeted the two terrorist groups who have killed nearly 3,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan. The billion dollar question is: After his dressing down of Pakistan, will Trump authorise drone strikes against Pakistan’s ‘good terrorists’ or will he act no different from Bush and Obama? Even US fears Pakistan nukes.

Will Trump’s new Afghan policy be a game changer – Ashok K Mehta is a retired Lt General of the Indian Army. He writes extensively on defence matters. this Article is about international news for more visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/

Moral disintegration of a neighbourhood nation

Pakistan is passing from a difficult phase. The all-dominant Army as well as the civilian leadership should chalk out a comprehensive plan so that the country remains united and overcomes its multifarious problems

Pakistan, which was created 70 years back, was bisected when a new nation, Bangladesh emerged. However, the all-dominant Army and thoroughly corrupt political leadership over there have not taken lessons from past blunders and at present, the country is facing multifarious tribulations which include secessionist agitations by various nationalities, increasing religious intolerance, population explosion, worsening economic situation, growing water crisis, civil and military confrontation, poor education system, escalating drug addiction, rampant corruption as well as isolation in the international arena. These are only a few major issues and the list can include several more significant problems faced by the ailing country.

Pakistan was created on the name of Islam and it was the main adjoining factor of diverse nationalities that joined the new-born nation but Islamic extremists killed, converted or subdued the minorities. Hence, Islam ceased to be an adhesive factor. Punjab, being the most populous State, soon captured power and started exploiting abundant resources of the country and subjugated all other nationalities. In the 1970 general election, the Bangladesh Awami League emerged as the single largest party but the Punjabi-dominated Army refused to hand over power to Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman and the country faced its first partition.

Balochistan, which is the largest Province of Pakistan, and possess copious mineral resources, is the poorest State in the country. Balochis are fighting for independence of the State and there were several uprisings. The Pakistan Army, which is known for its brutality, killed innocent people and bombarded civilian areas but atrocities could not break the resolve of the Balochis and the secessionist movement is still continuing.

Besides, Balochis, Sindhis, Pashtuns and Kashmiris want separate nations while Muhajirs, Saraikis, Chitralis, Hindkowans assert that the federal Government is exploiting them and they want more autonomy. Pakistan, instead of blaming India should give equal rights to their diverse nationalities otherwise the country may have to undergo the trauma of more partitions.

General Zia-ul-Haq with ulterior motive radicalised the country to gain support of Islamic extremists. He created an infrastructure to produce Islamic fanatics and jihadists to fight in Afghanistan and in India. Few Middle East countries pumped money which augmented Wahhabism and it increased animosity between the Shias and the Sunnis. Sunni extremist outfits like the Sipah-e-Sahaba, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat started massacre of the Shias. There are about 35 million Shias and they also constitute organisations like the Imamia Students Organisation and the Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan to take revenge from Sunnis. At present, Pakistan is undergoing a bitter sectarian war which is harmful for the country. The Islamic State, which is a Sunni terrorist outfit, is also recruiting young Pakistanis to kill the Shias and carryout terrorist activities.

Iran is recruiting young Shias from Pakistan to assist the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. These battles which hardened radicalised Shia youths will be a big danger to Pakistan once they return back from Syria.

The Pakistan Army, which has not allowed civilian institutions to grow, painted itself as the guardian of the country and claimed that India wants to destroy Pakistan, and, hence, the country needs powerful Armed Forces. The Army also propagated that it will take revenge of partition of the country and will snatch Kashmir from India. Hence, the Army needs more funds. In this way, the defence forces took a lion’s share of the scarce resources which further damaged the economy.

Senior officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in drug smuggling in the name of financing anti-India operations but as hefty sums were involved, lot of drugs were sold within the country and it became one of the most drug addict nation.

Few terrorist outfits created by the ISI declined to obey the dictates of creepy ISI and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is an umbrella organisation of more than 13 terrorist groups, profess to fight against the Pakistani Government and it carried out several terrorist attacks in the country. The gravity of terrorism can be assessed by the fact that according to South Asia Terrorism Portal, from 2003 to 2017, more than 60,000 persons were killed because of terrorism in Pakistan.

The country is so thoroughly radicalised that it will be difficult to take it out from increasing extremism. Several anti-terrorist operations launched by security forces could not achieve the desired result, partially because security forces only want to eliminate ‘bad terrorists’ and partly because of resistance from powerful Islamic fraternity.

Pakistan is so engrossed in day-to-day problems that it has no time to sort out long term issues. There will be acute water shortage in 2025 and it will further damage the economy of the country as Pakistan’s agriculture is water dependent. Its main crops are cotton and sugarcane and both needs excessive water. Pakistan is not making any sincere efforts to conserve water and within few years the situation will be disastrous.

Pakistan’s population is increasing at the rate of more than two per cent, which is the highest in the region. According to 1951 census, West Pakistan had a population of 33.7 million, which became 194,931,848 in January this year. This unprecedented growth has shattered the economy of the country. At present, export is dwindling while imports are enhancing. The net public debt is more than Rs 18 trillion which is frightening. Pakistan’s foreign debt is Rs 6.14 trillion and it will need assistance either from the International Monetary Fund or China to repay its foreign debt in March 2018.

In the present era, technology is most important – developed countries are progressing only because of inventions and latest technology – while the backbone of Pakistan’s education system is madrassas and in these madrassas, semi literate teachers are producing jihadists instead of scientists, engineers and doctors. The present educational system if not improved soon may become a cause of collapse for the country.

Pakistan possesses nuclear warheads and there was always a danger that some international or national terrorist organisation may procure nuclear warheads by payment or by arousing jihadist feeling in some Pakistanis who have control over nuclear warheads.

In another worrisome development, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed launched a political party, namely the Milli Muslim League (MML) with full support of the ISI. MML had applied to the Election Commissioner (EC) for registration, although this time, the EC has rejected the application, but soon it will have to register the party under pressure from the Army. This time, Yaqub Sheikh is contesting election as an independent candidate. Analysts feel that in the beginning, terrorists may not succeed but later they can capture power and at that time whole nuclear arsenals will be under their command. It will be a scary situation.

Pakistan is also facing acute problems in the international arena and losing friends. Recently, the US put restrictions on the use of $255 million assistance and the ninth Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) summit in the joint declaration not only condemned terrorism but also named few terrorist organisations which are operating from Pakistan. Muslim countries are also not very helpful to Pakistan because of terrorism. Pakistan is passing from a difficult phase and the all-dominant Army as well as its civilian leadership should chalk out a comprehensive plan so that the country remains united and overcomes its multifarious problems.

Moral disintegration of a neighbourhood nation – Jai Kumar Verma is news publisher at Daily Pioneer. this Article is about international news for more visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/world

Rahul at Berkeley A confused cacophony

Rahul Gandhi’s Berkeley speech, unlike Nehru’s, was a private affair. Bereft of an element of thought, he expressed his own state of mind and that of his party’s – lacking in direction and cohesion

Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech, delivered at the University of California, Berkeley, on October 31, 1949, was titled, ‘The age of crisis.’ One can’t help but express an interesting analogy and it is that the Congress, of which Nehru was once the patriarch, and which is now run by his puny and intellectually stunted descendents, is itself passing through its most acute ‘age of crisis.’

Nehru’s great grandson, who is not at all a chip off the old block, when he delivered a semblance of an address at the University of California, Berkeley last week, should have similarly titled his speech and qualified it thus: “The age of crisis – in the Congress and the role of the present Nehru-Gandhis.” Such a title and topic would have better enabled the audience in the university to understand how one of India’s principal political party is seeing rapid decimation due to its myopic, confused and uninspiring leadership and of how a number of challenges that India faces today is a result of decades of faulty planning, misdirected application of political thought and petty dynastism that the Congress under Nehru’s daughter, grandson, grand daughter-in-law and now great grandson brazenly promoted.

The point on the dynasty bit, Nehru’s great grandson accepted, but in his inimitably callow and confused style, displaying a deep and striking degree of thoughtlessness, he decided to exempt himself and his dynasty from promoting the scourge of dynastism and chose to castigate, instead, our collective psyche for being addicted to it. Had the audience in Berkeley, or at least the self-professed thinking ones among them, examined India today, they would have perceived how it has broken through the manacles of dynastism, of how it is led by leaders who have come up from the roots, from the soil through a ceaseless phase of struggle and toil among the people. This transformation is especially noteworthy because it has happened in the last three years, starting from the summer of 2014. This shift happened not because Nehru’s descendents and their courtiers had ordained it; it has happened and is happening inspite of them.

To return to Nehru’s speech, it was well organised – he was officially invited as the Prime Minister of India – was reflective, ruminative, philosophical and gave an insight into Nehru’s own state of mind, his quest – intellectual and political – and also gave some idea of the position that he wished India would eventually occupy in the comity of nations. On this occasion at least, Nehru did not lapse into lecturing and moralising, it was more of a public introspection of his quest, of India’s march after freedom and of the overall global geo-political situation post World War II. It is another matter that Nehru’s month-long trip to the US in 1949 achieved little in political and foreign policy terms, though it had generated interest and anticipation in the US Administration and among the intelligentsia alike.

Nehru spoke of how all his life he was “engaged in a quest of – the discovery of my own country – India” and how during the course of this life’s journey, he found much in his country that inspired him, much that interested him and much that made him “understand a little of what India was and is today” and yet, his quest continued, “India, with the weight of ages behind it and with its urges and desires in the present, has only been partially discovered by me and I am continually finding new facets of its many-sided personality that continually surprise me.”

Nehru argued that the aim of freedom was to free and to uplift the millions out of their burdens, “there was always an economic facet to our political struggle for freedom. We realised that there was no real freedom for those who suffered continually from want, and because there were millions who lacked the barest necessities of existence in India, we thought of freedom in terms of raising and bettering the lot of these people. Having achieved political freedom, it is our passionate desire to serve our people in this way and to remove the many burdens they have carried for generations past”.

Nehru’s descendents, however, were not as passionate about working out this second dimension of freedom – economic empowerment – as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is today. This section of Nehru’s speech directs one to Modi’s own exhortations today of liberating the millions of their burdens of marginalisation, exclusion and dependency. Nehru’s speech had its flashes of inspiration and makes for good reading even today.

In contrast, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s speech was a confused cacophony. Bereft of the element of thought, full of random and disjointed expressions and arguments, Gandhi’s address – if it may be called one – essentially expressed his own state of mind and that of his party’s – lacking in direction, cohesion, and in intellectual quotient. What could have been utilised as an occasion to spell the Congress’ or the Opposition’s vision of India for the future, articulated in a cogent, civil and intellectual manner, actually degenerated into a rant by a mind that appeared to often plummet into the depths of despair, of mental trauma while displaying an ignorance of the spirit of India, of aspirational India and of its civilisational dimension. It displayed a mind which was occupied in trying to fish in the sand with his back turned to the vast sea.

That Gandhi had not yet discovered India, was nowhere near understanding its many dimensions, was evident from the cavalier manner in which he spoke of the people of India and commented on their mindsets and attitudes and went an extra mile to exonerate his party and family from the contribution they made to their plight. His refusal to condemn the many atrocities, especially the anti-Sikh pogrom, that took place under the Congress’ watch, often aided and fuelled by their cadres, manifested his arrogance, complacency and his incapacity for introspection and directional overhaul. That it was a stunted mind which spoke was evident when people in the audience were prevented from asking Gandhi questions while only crony intellectuals with set questions were given space.

Gandhi’s attacks on Prime Minister Modi, his immature rants against the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, his false narrative of an India under siege, have actually breached the golden rule of not carrying the baggage of domestic politics abroad, it is an act which needs to be, henceforth, responded to in kind at every occasion and opportunity.

The narrative in response must describe how Gandhi’s party landed India in a great mess, widened faultlines, left festering conflicts, engineered societal chasms, all for its political benefit and of how now, under leaders from the grassroots, that mess is sought to be addressed, to be rectified against great odds – in short how Congress under the Gandhis subverted India and how India under Narendra Modi is waging India’s second struggle for a many-fronted emancipation from that subversion.

Meanwhile let us be happy that Gandhi’s talk, unlike Nehru’s, was an entirely private affair, was attended largely by dissatisfied cronies who had points to score in India, the occasion prevented a free flow of thought and exchange and was more of a mannequin infested puppetry show. Rahul Gandhi’s address itself is already being buried in the dump-heap of history’s refuse.

Rahul at Berkeley A confused cacophony – Anirban Ganguly is news publisher at Daily Pioneer. this blog is about international news for more visit : http://www.dailypioneer.com/world

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