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INDIA VOL 25 NO. 9 DECEMBER 2011

PERSPECTIVES

INDIA

PERSPECTIVES

INSIDE FESTIVAL Yuletide Spirit

Advancing India’s Conversations with the World

BUSINESS Indian Grand Prix

WELCOME TO THE NEW WORLD OF INDIA PERSPECTIVES

PARTNERSHIPS India-Bhutan Relations

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TRAVEL Heaven on Earth

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ESSENTIAL READING ON INDIA

INDIA THIS MONTH

2011-12

December 9 to 12 Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav Commemorates the life, legacy and achievements of Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Sawai Gandharva. Artistes from across India will perform. Where: New English School, Ramanbaug, Pune

December 22 to January 1 Kochi Carnival Dates back to the Portuguese New Year revelry in the past. On its sidelines are feasting, games, dancing, fireworks and a procession on New Year’s Day. Where: Fort Kochi, Kerala

December 25 to January 25 Mamallapuram Indian Dance Festival Held against the background of rock sculptures, it showcases classical and folk dances. Where: Arjuna’s Penance, Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu

EDITORIAL NOTE

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December 23 to January 1 Shilpgram Art and Craft Fair Over 400 artisans and craftsmen will participate. Folk dances and cultural programmes are some of its highlights. Where: Shilpgram, Rajasthan

December 2 to 3 1st Guwahati International Music Festival The largest confluence in Northeast India of musicians from around the globe. Lined up are workshops, seminars and film screenings. Where: Shilpgram, Guwahati

December 8 to 12 Kolkata International Guitar Festival International musicians Nikita Koshkin, Johannes Moller and Frank Bungarten as well as local veterans Debojyoti Mishra and Abraham Mazumder will attend. Where: ICCR, Kolkata

DECEMBER-JANUARY

December 27 to 29 Sunburn Festival In its fifth year, this is Asia’s biggest electronic dance and music extravaganza. The lineup this year includes Pete Tong, Gabriel and Dresden and Perfect Stranger. Where: Candolim Beach, Goa

December 29 to 31 Mount Abu Winter Festival Captures the spirit of Rajasthan’s culture. It is marked by ceremonial processions, folk performances, fireworks and competitions. Where: Mount Abu, Rajasthan

ecember brings winter to India. Often, Delhi and the plains of the north are enveloped in a dense fog that throws road, rail and air transport out of gear. People from these regions make a beeline for the temperate beaches of Goa and Kerala. While tourists from the south head to the hills of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir to experience the thrill of a snowfall. December also brings Christmas as the season of goodwill and peace, hope and warmth, of faith in goodness and fairness. The 25 million Christians in our country celebrate the magic of Christmas with midnight mass, family feasts and the singing of carols. Of course, the festivities are coloured by local traditions and the carols ring out in Malayalam and Tamil, Kannada and Telugu, Hindi and Marathi and many other Indian languages. Scholars believe that Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, brought Christianity to India in 52 CE. The religion reached the shores of Kerala much before it reached several Christian nations in Europe. Once here, it spread to other parts of the country, right up to the eastern-most states of Mizoram and Manipur. St. Thomas attained martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai and is buried on the site of the San Thome Church. It is also widely believed that the world’s oldest existing church structure, reportedly built by St. Thomas in 57 CE, is in India and is acknowledged as an international St. Thomas pilgrim centre. Over the centuries, the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and other smaller denominations have become an integral part of India’s multi-hued religious and cultural landscape. Beautiful examples of Christian art and architecture can be found all over India; they are an amalgam of ornate features from Europe and simple local traditions. A photo feature in the issue visits some of our churches. This is but a glimpse of the vast number that dots the length and breadth of the country, from majestically monumental ones like the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa to the quaint St. John in the Wilderness in Nainital. Jesus standing in a lotus in the San Thome church in Chennai is an example of the confluence of histories and traditions that are part of our unique ethos. Kashmir has always been a popular tourist destination. Long ago, it was a favourite retreat of Mughal emperors and in more contemporary times it lures the maharajas of Bollywood and honeymooning couples from all over the country. A tulip garden is the newest addition to an already long list of reasons to visit this slice of paradise on earth. Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Navdeep Suri

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INDIA

PERSPECTIVES December 2011 ! VOL 25 No. 9/2011

DECEMBER 2011 Editor: Navdeep Suri Assistant Editor: Abhay Kumar

Photo Feature: Magic of Christmas

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Business: On the Fast Track

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Editorial Coordinator: Kanchan Rana

Travel: Heaven on Earth

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Design: Vikas Verma (Sr. Visualiser), Ajay Kumar (Sr. Designer), Sujit Singh

Global Perspectives: G20 Summit

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Partnerships: Time-Tested friends

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Essay: The Durban Agenda

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MEDIA TRANSASIA TEAM Editor-in-Chief: Maneesha Dube Creative Director: Bipin Kumar Desk: Urmila Marak

Production: Sunil Dubey (DGM), Ritesh Roy (Sr. Manager) Brijesh K. Juyal (Pre-Press Operator) Chairman: J.S. Uberoi AFP

President: Xavier Collaco Financial Controller: Puneet Nanda

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Send editorial contributions and letters to Media Transasia India Ltd. 323, Udyog Vihar, Phase IV, Gurgaon 122016 Haryana, India E-mail: feedback.indiaperspectives@mtil.biz

Reviews: Exhibition: Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh’s paintings

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Film: Revealed: The Golden Temple

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Verbatim: Namita Gokhale

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Telephone: 91-124-4759500 Fax: 91-124-4759550 India Perspectives is published every month in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Pashto, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese. Views expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Ministry of External Affairs. This edition is published for the Ministry of External Affairs by Navdeep Suri, Joint Secretary, Public Diplomacy Division, New Delhi, 140 ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-110001. Telephones: 91-11-23389471, 91-11-23388873, Fax: 91-11-23385549 Website: http://www.indiandiplomacy.in Text may be reproduced with an acknowledgement to India Perspectives For a copy of India Perspectives contact the nearest Indian diplomatic mission.

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FESTIVAL

MEMORIES OF A WARM CHRISTMAS Celebrations by the beach, barbecue and bonhomie – Goa has always had a unique style

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COVER PHOTO: INTRICATE GLASS PAINTING AT A CHURCH IN PUDUCHERRY COVER DESIGN: BIPIN KUMAR

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AFP

AFP

FESTIVAL

(Left) A procession at St. Mary's Church, Secunderabad; (above) Santa caps, Christmas trees and other decorative items on sale during the festive season; (facing page) Park Street, Kolkata, in a merry mood

Memories of a warm

Christmas Celebrations by the beach, barbecue and bonhomie – Goa has always had a unique style TEXT: VALERIE RODRIGUES

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hristmas has always meant wonderful get-togethers with family and friends – happy occasions marked by laughter, love, cheerfulness and glee. Living as I do in warm, sun-drenched Goa on the west coast of India, there is not even the faintest possibility of celebrating a white Christmas. We, who live in tropical climes, have no snow, no snowmen, no crackling fireplaces. Yet tinged with the flavour of local customs and traditions, Christmas festivities are every bit as special, every bit as magical. From early December, there is much excitement

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and anticipation at the approaching season of good cheer and bonhomie. The days rush by in a flurry of activity. Christmas cards are sent to family and friends in distant places, gifts are bought for near and dear ones and the house is spruced up. Christmas displays in shop windows, painted motifs on store fronts and the sound of Christmas carols, readies one for the coming festivities. Before long, the tantalising aroma of warm, homemade Goan goodies wafts temptingly through the house. These include neureos (golden, halfmoon shaped pastries stuffed with a sweet filling of coconut, cashews and raisins), doce de grao (a sweet made of gram and coconut), dodol (a rice halwa sweetened with dark caramel-brown coconut jaggery) and, of course bebinca, a sinfully-rich, multilayered concoction that melts in the mouth. Then it’s time to set up the crib, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Delicate glass ornaments and red,

AFP

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AFP

(Facing page) Christmas stars adorn every street corner; (left) a choir group at a church in Amritsar; (above) chefs give final touches to a gingerbread house at a hotel in Ahmedabad

Christmas displays in stores,

painted motifs

on shop windows and the sound of Christmas carols, add to the festive mood

green and silver tinsel festoon the Christmas tree, and the Christmas star is put up. Christmas evokes memories of us as children, wide-eyed with wonder and delighted at gifts that Santa had brought us. Of young carol singers going from house to house, their singing touching chords within us. Of the serenity at open-air midnight mass and of the light-hearted revelry at Christmas parties. Not only have I enjoyed the spirited Christmas festivities in Goa, but I have also spent some pleasant Christmases away from it – with cousins at Mumbai and Pune and even a truly happy one with my sister and her family in distant Bermuda. But the most unusual and memorable one was in Goa. We ushered in Christmas with a wonderful barbecue on the beach. It was a joyous and unusual celebration of Christmas, to the accompaniment of

the sound of waves breaking on a sandy, palmfringed beach. While driving down the long winding road to the beach, we passed houses with traditional Christmas stars hanging outside, casting a warm, cosy glow that enhanced the Christmas mood. We could hear carols, the notes being carried by the breeze down to the beach. As family and friends joined in, it became a cheerful gathering, with much singing, merriment, laughter and fun. Barbecued chicken, grilled jumbo prawns and a whole array of other delicious dishes were followed by yummy chocolate cake. The days may be warm, but there is a nip in the air on December nights, which made us seek the warmth of the bonfire that was lit just before midnight. Just as dawn was breaking, we flopped down on the sands, satiated with food and happy in the company of family and friends. It was a moment of pure contentment. The sky was dark, with just a few twinkling stars, reminiscent of a similar night all those years ago in Bethlehem where a bright star had glowed, its warmth echoing through the centuries. It was a moment and memory I will cherish forever. " DECEMBER 2011 ! INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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PHOTO FEATURE

MAGIC OF

CHRISTMAS

AFP

PEALING BELLS, YOUNG AND OLD SINGING CAROLS, PROMISE OF PEACE AND GOODWILL — IT IS A SEASON OF JOY. CHURCHES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY — FROM KERALA TO GUWAHATI — WILL SOON CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST AMIDST SONG, HOPE AND PRAYER

Don Bosco Church, Guwahati, being decorated for Christmas

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SPIRES AND

STEEPLES

PHOTO: INDIA PICTURE

ST. PLILOMENA’S CHURCH IN MYSORE WAS BUILT IN NEO-GOTHIC STYLE INSPIRED BY THE COLOGNE CATHEDRAL IN GERMANY. THE BASILICA OF BOM JESUS, WHICH HOUSES THE TOMB AND MORTAL REMAINS OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER, IS A WORLD HERITAGE MONUMENT. (From extreme left) St. Philomena’s Church, Mysore; Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

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SYMBOLS OF

PEACE

PHOTO: INDIA PICTURE

THE CENTURY-OLD ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH, GOA, INSIDE TIRAKOL FORT, IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC EXCEPT ON THE ANNUAL FEAST DAY, USUALLY HELD IN MAY.

St. Andrew’s Church, Goa

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CALLING THE

FAITHFUL

THE OLDEST CHURCH IN INDIA IS THE SANTA CRUZ BASILICA IN KOCHI. IT WAS PROCLAIMED A BASILICA BY POPE JOHN PAUL II IN 1984. CHRIST

CHURCH, SHIMLA, REPUTED TO BE THE SECOND OLDEST CHURCH IN NORTHERN INDIA, WAS DESIGNED BY COLONEL J.T. BOILEAU IN 1844, BUT CONSECRATED AFTER 1857. (Left) Christ Church, Shimla; (above) Santa Cruz Basilica, Kochi, Kerala

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BUSINESS

ON THE

FAST TRACK

India’s maiden drive into the world of F1culminated in praise from international media and fans TEXT: VIVEK MUKHERJI

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n October 30, in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi, the ground rumbled as 24 V8 engines revved up to start the first Formula One race to be held on Indian soil. Doubts, scepticism and trepidation that had preceeded India’s maiden drive into the world of F1, were drowned out by the praise in the international media. The 95,000 people filling the stands at the Buddh International Circuit on race day were proof that India was embracing the sport with enthusiasm. On their part, global broadcasters termed the inaugural Indian GP as the best run of the calendar, a sign of acceptance and respect for one of the fastest growing economic and regional powers in the world. The success of the Indian GP also proved that the country is capable of delivering glitch-free mega sporting events.

PHOTOS: AFP

(Clockwise from top) Fans watch the Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida; grid girls stand on the track during the drivers’ parade; and Formula One drivers scamper for track position

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(Clockwise from extreme left) Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher (right) with Narain Karthikeyan of India; cricketer Sachin Tendulkar waves the chequered flag as world champion Sebastian Vettel crosses the finish line; Force India-Mercedes driver Paul di Resta during the qualifying session

Indian driver in the race, Narain Karthikeyan, was signed up by Hero Motors for ` 11.9 million. Karthikeyan’s 17th place finish and the resulting TV time justified the investment made by the country’s largest bicycle maker. Asia’s largest dairy product manufacturer, Amul, chose to become one of the lead sponsors of Sauber-Ferrari for ` 4.75 million for the one-off race for which they got branding on the rear wing and sidepods of the cars besides the drivers’ overalls. ‘‘Amul’s vision for success through teamwork, technology, speed and innovation matches the core values of Formula One,’’ R.S. Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, says. ‘‘Technology has been the driving force for over six decades at Amul, be it for breed improvement, IT integration at village level for procurement, processing of milk and for development of several products for the first time in the world. The association with the Sauber F1 Team will enhance Amul’s global brand presence and put it on the global map.’’ The real challenge, now, for the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) is to ensure that the benefits of this event trickles down to the grassroots on the domestic circuit. The real benefit of this mega structure of gleaming steel, glass and concrete will accrue only when Indian drivers are able to use the facility to race, test and develop their skills. ! PHOTOS: AFP

Built over an area of 850 acres at a cost of ` 17 billion, the Budh International Circuit is already being talked of as one of the top five racing arenas in the world. The two long straights leading into a combination of fast and slow corners, elevation changes ranging from 2-4 metres lend this temple of speed a distinctive character. ‘‘It’s a very impressive track and probably the smoothest in the world,’’ says Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber. Though, the race was dominated by World Champion Sebastian Vettel, the sight and sounds of Formula One left an enduring impression in the minds of fans. There are plenty of benefits that can be derived from India’s annual date with the motor sport. The promoter of the Indian GP, the Jaypee Group, has signed a decade-long deal with the sport’s commercial rights holder, Formula One Management (FOM). It is one of the few sporting events in the world that revs up the tourism, hospitality, logistics and transport sectors over race week. The numbers are still being crunched, but initial estimates indicate that ` 7,511 million flowed into the local economy over race weekend, with the hospitality sector being the biggest beneficiary. The long-term benefits and synergies are even more enticing. The country’s leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel paid ` 425 million for the title sponsorship of the Indian GP as part of their three-year deal with FOM. The country’s F1 pioneer and sole

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TRAVEL

Heaven on Earth Visit Srinagar and fall in love with this beautiful jewel set among magnificent mountains TEXT: SMITA SINGH

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rinagar is a collage of images — green rice fields, meandering rivers, gardens in bloom and lakes rimmed by houseboats. No wonder, this slice of paradise, was loved by Mughal emperors. NAGIN AND DAL LAKES The Dal and Nagin lakes are fed by natural springs. The banks of these lakes are dotted with innumerable, beautifully-carved houseboats. The Nagin is the cleaner and quieter of the two lakes. Floating gardens, with their crop of tomatoes, melons and cucumbers, depending on the season, are a common sight. As the day breaks, the lakes come alive with shikaras (local boats) carrying flowers sellers, schoolchildren and, of course, tourists. MUGHAL GARDENS Nishat, Shalimar and Chashma Shahi are three famous Mughal gardens situated on the banks of the Dal Lake. These gardens are beautifully laid out with fountains, cascading streams, and terraced lawns. A blueprint of the Mughal emperors’ idea of paradise, they are extremely popular for picnics and excursions.

Shikara rides on the Dal Lake attract thousands of tourists

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Asia’s largest tulip garden, located

on the banks of the Dal Lake, is fashioned after the world-famous gardens in The Netherlands.

INDIRA GANDHI TULIP GARDEN Asia’s largest tulip garden is located on the banks of the Dal Lake, at the foothills of Zabarwan hills. The garden, which blooms during spring, is fashioned after the world-famous tulip gardens in The Netherlands. Over 2,500,000 bulbs of the flower have been planted over an area of 12 acres. The main colours of the flowers are red, yellow, pink, white, orange, blue and magenta. HAZRATBAL MOSQUE The mosque is significant because it contains a relic, believed to be a hair of Prophet Mohammed. The breathtakingly beautiful white mosque is the only domed mosque in Srinagar — all the others having distinct pagoda-like roofs. PARI MAHAL The Pari Mahal was at different times a Sufi garden college, a Buddhist monastery and a royal observatory, before being converted into a school of astrology by Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Mahal has a charmingly laid-out garden and is a five-minute drive from Chashma Shahi. HARI PARBAT FORT Crowning the top of the Hari Parbat hill, this fort, located beyond the Nagin Lake, was started by Akbar but completed by the Durranis. There is

(From top right) The tulip garden in full bloom; the Mughal gardens are popular for picnics

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NAVIGATOR

By Air: Srinagar has a domestic airport. Jammu (258 km away) also has an airport. By Rail: The nearest railhead, Jammu, is well-connected to major cities. By Road: Srinagar has a good road network connecting it with the major cities in J&K and northern India.

The Shankaracharya temple,

a unique landmark of Srinagar, is located on a hill called Takht-e-Suleiman, about 1,000 feet high.

little left of its former glory, but the ramparts are still impressive, and the old apartments within the fort, even though in a state of ruin, still convey the grandeur of this Mughal summer retreat. SHANKARACHARYA TEMPLE This unique landmark of Srinagar is located on a hill called Takht-e-Suleiman, about 1,000 feet high. There are stone steps that take you right to the top where a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva stands. This temple was built in memory of the great saint Adi Shankaracharya who came to Kashmir from Kerala about 1,200 years ago.

PHOTO: INDIA PICTURE

KASHMIRI CUISINE A trip to Srinagar is incomplete without sampling the region’s cuisine. Most of the good eating joints are located in Lal Chowk or on the boulevard along the banks of the Dal Lake. Among the delicacies are rogan josh (a robust lamb or mutton curry), gushtaba (meatballs cooked in yoghurt), tabakmaaz (deep fried lamb ribs) and kanti (small chunks of meat cooked with lots of onions). Also, worth tasting is the grilled mutton, which is referred to as a tilli or tekh here. Wash down the meal with kahwah — a traditional drink made from green tea leaves, saffron strands, cinnamon and cardamom. !

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(From extreme left) Hazratbal is the only domed mosque in Srinagar; the Shankaracharya Temple

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AFP

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES

World leaders during the G20 Summit in Cannes

A Positive Stance

The G20 Summit saw some significant takeaways for India that have a bearing on the global socio-political and financial system TEXT: ARVIND PADMANABHAN

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T

he spotlight at the two-day G20 Summit at Cannes from November 3 may have been on the Eurozone crisis and the Greek sovereign debt problem, but for India it begun on a positive note. Led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India not only got across the key concerns and desires of emerging economies, but also extracted some significant takeaways that have a bearing on the global socio-political and financial system. Nothing more striking in endorsing this assessment were

the similarities between the Prime Minister’s statement ahead of his departure to Cannes, his address at the main Summit and the final communiqué issued by the leaders of the forum. Every issue Dr Singh spoke of and commented upon, notably, reform of the international monetary system, mutual assessment of fiscal policies, more funding for International Monetary Fund (IMF) and banking transparency, were addressed in the final communiqué. DECEMBER 2011 ! INDIA PERSPECTIVES

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AFP

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a strong pitch for a concerted global action against tax havens and illicit flow of money.

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AFP

AFP

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (centre) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Summit; (below left) with French President Nicolas Sarkozy; and IMF chief Christine Lagarde

‘‘As far as the ongoing agenda is concerned, the communiqué brings out the significant progress made in all the important areas,’’ Dr Singh told the media after the conclusion of the two-day summit. The G20, originally formed at the level of finance ministers and central bank governors in mid-1999 after the East Asian economic crisis, has assumed added significance after it was elevated to a summit-level forum in 2008 following the global financial crisis. Besides India and France, the G20 comprises Brazil, China, the US, Canada, Argentina, Australia, South Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Britain, and the European Union. As suggested by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Summit in Pretoria last month, the leaders of the larger BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, met just ahead of the Cannes event to consolidate their positions. ‘‘The leaders agreed to intensify consultations among their financial and fiscal officials on a continuing basis to enhance coordination and exchange views among themselves, including on the margins of the G20 meetings,’’ a statement said after the BRIC meeting, reflecting the growing congruence over issues among members of this major grouping of emerging economies. What was virtually unthinkable some years ago — that is a rich nation accepting a detailed look at its fiscal policies by an external agency, which again India has been speaking about — also came forth at the sixth Summit. Italy, for one, committed itself to inviting the IMF for a public verification of its fiscal policy implementation on a quarterly basis. Other countries also made similar significant commitments. Specifically, in an endorsement of sorts of India’s emphasis on ‘growth with a human face’, the Summit leaders said there was a need to strengthen the social dimension of globalisation. They also agreed that emerging economies could not be starved of funds to meet their development needs.

‘‘We believe that employment and social inclusion must be at the heart of our actions and policies to restore growth and confidence,’’ the communiqué says. ‘‘We recognise the importance of social protection floors in each of our countries, adapted to national situations.’’ Also, both before leaving and at the Summit, Dr Singh made a strong pitch for a concerted global action against tax havens, illicit flow of money and questionable banking secrecy. ‘‘Tax evasion and illicit flows have seen the migration of tax bases in developing countries abroad and these are serious problems. The G20 should send a strong message to curb such activity,’’ Dr Singh said, which was reflected in equal measure in the communiqué. ‘‘We have made significant progress in implementing the action plan on combating corruption, promoting market integrity and supporting a clean business environment,’’ says the leaders’ statement. ‘‘We underline the need for swift implementation of a strong international legislative framework, the adoption of national measures to prevent and combat corruption and foreign bribery, the strengthening of international cooperation in fighting corruption and the development of joint initiatives between the public and private sectors.’’ In another statement and a first at a G20 Summit called the Cannes Action Plan for Growth and Jobs, every member country — again as desired by India — made individual commitments in areas ranging from additional funding for multilateral lending institutions to rejection of protectionism. During the packed schedule at Cannes, apart from the multilateral meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and South African President Jacob Zuma, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also held bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his British counterpart David Cameron. —Arvind Padmanabhan is executive editor-business with IANS

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PARTNERSHIPS

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk and Queen Jetsun Pema with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi

Time-Tested

Friends

Over the years, India-Bhutan ties have become a model for good-neighbourly relations TEXT: MANISH CHAND

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greater prosperity and happiness,’’ he said to applause from legislators, while pointing out ‘‘a unique, unparalleled and time-tested partnership of peace and friendship.’’ The rivers of Bhutan, with a combined hydropower potential of 35,000 MW, have offered a sturdy bridge to crystallise this unique partnership of co-prosperity, with power generated in Himalayan mountains and valleys lighting up countless homes in Bihar, West Bengal and Delhi. India has helped set up the 336 MW Chukha hydro project (1986-87), the 60 MW Kurichu (2001-02) and the 1,020 MW Tala project (2006-2007) and pledged to buy 10,000 MW by 2020, making Bhutan perhaps the only country in South Asia which enjoys trade surplus with New Delhi. To achieve this target, the two sides have agreed on ten hydropower projects. Of these, the three projects – Punatsangchhu-I Hydro Electric Project (HEP), Punatsangchhu–II and Mangedechhu HEPs – are under construction. The feasibility reports/ DPRs for the remaining HEPs are being fast-tracked. Trade and investment are on an upswing. According to the Royal Monetary Authority, Bhutan’s central bank, in 2009, Bhutan’s exports to India amounted to `22.5 billion, while India’s exports were lower at `19.8 billion. The trade surplus in Bhutan’s favour resulted from Thimphu selling hydropower to India. As Shyam Saran, India’s former foreign secretary, AFP

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hen the king and queen of Bhutan chose India as their first stop after the royal wedding, the visit was not without symbolism. It reflected the fraternal and intimate ties that bind the world’s most populous and youngest democracies. This was not the only first in the long saga of India-Bhutan relations. From the time India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, along with his daughter Indira Gandhi, trekked to Paro on yaks in 1958 to Bhutan’s embrace of democracy and the first elections in 2008 and the presence of Nehru’s great grandson Rahul Gandhi at the royal wedding this October, the relations have displayed a special touch that is without a parallel in the world. Underlining this unique bond, President Pratibha Patil was the only foreign head of state invited for the king’s coronation ceremony in 2008. When Bhutan became the world’s youngest democracy in 2008, India was quick to offer its experience and expertise by training Bhutanese poll officials and sending indelible electoral ink to help conduct elections. ‘‘As Bhutan enters a new era in its history, you can continue to count on India, as a friend and – may I say – an admirer of Bhutan,’’ Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the joint session of the National Assembly of Bhutan in 2008, the first foreign leader to address the Bhutanese Parliament. ‘‘India will stand by you as a factor of stability and support in your quest for

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(Clockwise from top) Bhutanese schoolchildren welcome dignitaries during the 16th SAARC Summit in Thimphu; Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley and his wife during a visit to Rajghat, New Delhi; and Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, reads extracts from her book at the Jaipur Literary Festival

PHOTOS: AFP

India pledged assistance worth ` 34 billion during the 10th Five-Year plan. This includes assistance for projects in sectors such as agriculture, capacity building and energy.

puts it: “Bhutan has become the richest country in South Asia because it has been able to harness its own resources using Indian aid and investment.” Saran has called hydropower collaboration “a perfect example of a win-win situation.” India, the largest trade and development partner of Bhutan, contributes a hefty chunk of financial assistance to the state’s five-year plans. India has funded nearly all of Bhutan’s landmark projects, including the airport at Paro, the Bhutan Broadcasting Station, the Bhutan-India microwave link, the 1 million-tonne Dungsum Cement Plant, Bhutan Institute of Medical Sciences, and all exploration, survey and mapping of mineral resources. Nearly all the roads in the Himalayan state have been built by India’s Border Roads Organisation. Connectivity is a priority. A plan to build the first-ever rail link between India and Bhutan, connecting Hashimara to Phuentsholing, called the ‘Golden Jubilee Rail Line’, will connect Bhutan to the entire railway network of India. ‘Total Solutions/Chipen Rigphel’ project aims to make Bhutan computer literate and a stakeholder in a knowledge society. This five-year project, when completed, is expected to touch the lives of almost half of Bhutan’s population. Over 55,000 Bhutanese people have already been trained under the project. India is the sheet anchor of Bhutan’s development as the former monarchy navigates its transition to modernity. The Indian government pledged assistance worth ` 34 billion during the 10th five-year plan. This includes assistance for about 70 projects in key socio-economic sectors such as agriculture, information and communication technology, media, health, education, capacity building, energy, culture and infrastructure. The funds are being harnessed for pivotal

projects showcasing a modern Bhutan that includes the construction of Supreme Court, strengthening of Constitutional Officers such as Royal Audit Authority, Election Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission and Attorney General, renovation of major Dzongs, widening of major roads, scholarships and expansion of tertiary educational institutions. Small Development Projects in all 20 districts of Bhutan are also a priority with ` 7 billion marked for them. India has been generous with funds, while Bhutan on its part has consistently supported New Delhi in important multilateral fora. Bhutan, strategically located between India and China, has been specially sensitive to New Delhi’s security concerns. In 2003, then King Jigme Singye Wangchuk personally led an offensive by the Royal Bhutan Army to cleanse anti-India insurgents from Bhutanese soil. In 2008, Manmohan Singh announced a NehruWangchuk Scholarship for students from Bhutan to study in Indian universities and institutions. ‘‘Just as strands of many colours are woven together to make a beautiful kira, so the many and varied strands that constitute the tapestry of our relationship come together,’’ said Dr Singh. King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk during his visit in 2009 said: ‘‘A factor that has always played a central role in our success – without which we would certainly not be where we are today – is India’s friendship. Whether we speak about our socio-economic progress or our recent transition to democracy, India has been our steadfast partner and friend. Our relationship stands as a model of partnership and cooperation.” Those pillars will only get stronger in days to come. —Manish Chand is a senior editor at IANS

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ESSAY INDIA AND CLIMATE CHANGE

The Durban Agenda The December convention will be a critical arena to break the deadlock within the framework of the UNFCCC

S H YA M S A R A N

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AFP

Environmental activists release lanterns at Lotus Temple, New Delhi

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he 17th Conference of Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in December in Durban, South Africa. What are the prospects of the Durban meeting delivering on the mandate given to negotiators by the Bali Road Map adopted by consensus at the 13th CoP in December 2007? Neither the Copenhagen CoP in 2009, nor the Cancun CoP in 2010, were successful in fulfilling the mandate of concluding an Agreed Outcome. Instead, these earlier meetings were only able to adopt essentially political, goodfaith declarations while agreeing to continue multilateral negotiations on the key issues involved. The Bali Road Map has two components. The Bali Action Plan reaffirms the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC, concluded in 1992, in particular its principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’. In view of the urgency to undertake climate change action, the Bali Action Plan called for negotiations, under the UNFCCC, leading to an Agreed Outcome, which

would ensure enhanced action on the so-called four pillars i.e. mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. The first two pillars constituted actions to be taken to reduce overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and actions to enhance the capacity, particularly of developing countries, to adapt to climate change that was already taking place. The next two pillars constitute the means to accomplish these actions. This forms a comprehensive package which must be in line with the basic compact among nations arrived at in 1992, when the UNFCCC was concluded in Rio de Janeiro. The other component relates to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC. Developed countries committed themselves to absolute reductions in their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the first commitment period which ends in 2012. Negotiations began in 2006 on commitments to be undertaken by them in the second commitment period commencing in 2012. These negotiations should have been concluded in 2009 together with those on the Bali Action Plan. It is

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon speaks at the UN Climate Change Conference in Nusa Dua, Bali

AFP

INDIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES SUCH AS CHINA, SOUTH AFRICA AND BRAZIL HAVE RESISTED THE ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN THE UNFCCC AND ARE INSISTING THAT THE OBLIGATIONS AND ENTITLEMENTS OF DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF COUNTRIES BE SCRUPULOUSLY OBSERVED

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now four years since the negotiations began on both the components of the Bali Road Map, but hardly any progress has been achieved so far. Will Durban be different? Judging by the various rounds of negotiations undertaken this year, prospects for Durban look bleak. Firstly, despite reaffirming the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC, a number of developed countries are trying to formalise major departures from the Convention, in effect, trying to rewrite the Convention itself and wriggle out of solemn legal commitments they have made therein. Secondly, the developed countries, parties to the Kyoto Protocol, have failed, so far, to indicate their emission reduction targets for the second commitment period. Some have openly and unilaterally repudiated the Protocol, including Canada, Japan and Russia. Others are insisting that major emerging economies should also be required to assume emission reduction obligations, on a differentiated basis. As things stand at present, Durban is unlikely to reconcile these significant differences in approach. India and other major developing countries such as China, South Africa and Brazil (the so-called BASIC group) have resisted the attempt to overturn the UNFCCC and are insisting that the obligations and entitlements of different categories of countries be scrupulously observed. This is particularly true of the principle of equity which underlies the Convention. On Kyoto Protocol, the BASIC group has rejected the continuing effort to set it aside altogether or change its legal character by imposing emission reduction obligations on developing countries. It is expected that this impasse will continue. There has been some progress in the activities of the Technology Executive Committee and the establishment of the Technology Centre. However, even though there is broad consensus on the setting up of the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund, there is no clarity on the mobilisation of resources required for them.

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India has made three important proposals to the UNFCCC in the run-up to Durban: i) The need to ensure equitable burden-sharing in meeting the challenge of climate change. India has stated categorically that each citizen of the planet has equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space. ii) The need to deal with the intellectual property issue to ensure that there is technology transfer to assist developing countries to deal with both mitigation and adaptation. Developed countries insist that since most climate-friendly technologies are with the private sector, technology transfer envisaged under the UNFCCC is not practical. However, there can be international mechanisms to lease or purchase such technologies and disseminate them to developing countries as global public goods without adversely affecting the interests of the private sector. iii) The rejection of unilateral trade measures imposed on the pretext of advancing climate change action. These include so-called carbon tariffs as well as introducing climate change-based conditionalities in development financing by international financial institutions. The Indian delegation is expected to vigorously pursue these propositions at the Durban meeting. At the recently concluded BASIC Ministerial Meeting, there was explicit support for these three proposals. Taking into account the current status of the UNFCCC negotiations, only modest results may be expected at Durban. It seems unlikely that the significant differences in approach to the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol will be reconciled in the remaining weeks. However, there may be progress on the establishment of the Green Fund and the promotion of practical cooperation under the Technology Centre. The challenge will lie in ensuring that global attention does not get deflected at a time when a global financial and economic crisis continues to afflict the world.

An activist writes a message during Global Day Of Climate Action in New Delhi

AFP

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE UNFCCC NEGOTIATIONS, ONLY MODEST RESULTS MAY BE EXPECTED AT DURBAN. IT SEEMS UNLIKELY THAT THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES IN APPROACH TO THE UNFCCC AND ITS KYOTO PROTOCOL WILL BE RECONCILED IN THE REMAINING WEEKS

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—Shyam Saran is a former foreign secretary and is currently the chairman of Research and Information System and senior fellow at Centre for Policy Research.

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REVIEWS FILM

An Oasis of Peace The documentary allows us into the innermost world of the sanctum sanctorum REVEALED: THE GOLDEN TEMPLE Genre: Documentary Running Time: 48 minutes Producer: Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs and Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific

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Sheikh too becomes a storyteller, opening the doors to the diverse belief systems of the country. His kaavads are like accordions stretching to fold and unfold narratives of violence and spiritual accounts of Sufi and Bhakti saints. Sheikh not only paints history but also creates reality around it. His large size kaavads include Majnu, Kabir, Gandhi, St. Francis, peasants and dalits – all in a dialogue with time and the viewer itself. In his equally moving works inspired by the 7th century Chinese monk Hiuen Tsang’s visit to India, Sheikh has Google’s eye – rich in detail, infinite in expanse. The often bright colours in Sheikh’s canvases represent different spaces, sometimes blurring and sometimes accentuating the diverse human feelings buried in history. Undoubtedly, no other artist is as consumed as Sheikh is in discovering and documenting India in all its images.

uch of Revealed: The Golden Temple is composed of footage of never-before filmed rituals and spaces that make up Amritsar’s Sri Harmandir Sahib, the sacred centerpiece of Sikhism, the world’s fifth largest religion. This remarkable 48-minute film brings alive on the screen hitherto barely known details about how the sprawling holy Sikh shrine welcomes and handles a sea of devout humanity on a daily basis ‘like a well-oiled machine’. The film doesn’t, however, dwell merely on the physical dimensions of Sikhism’s holiest shrine, which, by themselves, are fascinating enough as the temple blends the wisdom of the past with the needs of the present as part of its daily interface with the religion’s 30 million adherents from around the world. Revealed: The Golden Temple provides a holistic insight into the philosophic construct of selfless service, spiritual surrender and martial preparedness that today underpins the great religion founded by Guru Nanak in 1499. Even as the religion draws its strength from ancient traditions, it readily adapts to the changing times to retain its ageless relevance. A doctor from New York who visits the Golden Temple once every year with his wife says on camera: “This space is an oasis of peace, tranquility and divinity that helps him recharge his spiritual batteries.” Indeed. If a viewer immerses himself in the rituals and the many-splendoured ambience of the shrine as it wakes up to a new dawn every day and winds its way towards midnight (when the 11th Sikh guru, Guru Granth Sahib, is ceremoniously carried by the priests to its ‘bedroom’), that is pretty much the effect the film is likely to have.

—Malvika Kaul

—Saibal Chatterjee is a film and media critic

Sheikh’s kaavads

EXHIBITION

Opening Doors, Telling Stories Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh’s paintings depict the multi-cultural ethos of India

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or nearly three decades, Vadodara-born Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, 74, has been mapping cosmopolitan India and vernacular Bharat in his often monumental and elegiac canvases. Sheikh’s paintings are journeys in the mind and outside, narrating the multi-cultural and multi-religious ethos of India. ‘‘Living in India is about growing up amidst different religions and cultures,’’ he says. It is this convergence of diversity which was on display at a recent show, City, Kaavad and Other Works, organised by Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi. An accomplished poet, Sheikh is also a distinguished art historian and critic. Sheikh’s art show included his seminal piece Kaavad: Travelling Shrine, Home, and City, Memory, Dreams, Desire, Statues and Ghosts – Return of Hiuen Tsang. Performers in Rajasthan use kaavad, a mobile wooden shrine containing painted narratives, as props for storytelling.

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VERBATIM

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NAMITA GOKHALE

A modest attempt transforms into a world famous festival

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Writer, publisher, director at Yatra Books, and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Namita Gokhale is membersecretary of Indian Literature Abroad (ILA), an initiative of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Her first novel Paro: Dreams of Passion was a bestseller and won her critical acclaim, it has been followed by eight other books. Recently she co-edited an anthology, In Search of Sita. She tells Smita Singh about the literary climate in India.

At most international forums, the focus is on Indian English writing, but you are passionate about writings in Indian languages. Comment. We are fortunate in the incredible richness of our multi-lingual heritage. It’s fascinating how so much linguistic diversity is matched with such deep and abiding commonality of literary traditions. Of course, there is a huge body of very good writing by Indian English writers. But the really rooted and vibrant writing tends to surface in other Indian languages, be they Malayalam, Kannada, Bangla or Assamese. Being the national language, Hindi contains many strands and dialects within itself, and each of these has its own unique literary output. What can be done to put writers from Indian languages on international radars? With a population of a billion and more, the reach of most of the languages is enormous. Local readership and sales of literature in Indian languages are expanding. Also, the internet and digital technology are creating new spaces and means of access. However, the question of quality literary translation from the Indian languages into each other as well as into international ones is the crucial game changer for getting literature the kind of global attention it deserves. How was the Jaipur Literature Festival born? The Jaipur Literature Festival was first conceived by Faith Singh of the Jaipur Viraasat Foundation as a part

of the Jaipur International Heritage Festival. However, it soon became an autonomous festival due to the extraordinary public response it got. Even in my wildest dreams I had not imagined that this modest attempt to create a lively and credible literary space would transform into a world-famous festival which book lovers from every continent are eager to attend. What is the focus of the festival this year? The emphasis is on Bhakti traditions in Indian literature.

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It is a privilege to be working with a distinguished advisory committee of people with a common vision, who are passionate about giving Indian literature its due

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In the wake of the success of the Jaipur Literary Festival, many other literary fests have been organised. Comment. India has always had a deep poetic and literary culture as well as a real engagement with drama and music. Our oral traditions, although endangered by changes in technology and format, are still amongst the most vibrant in the world. In my observation, Indians are finding a new sense of pride and confidence in their language and literature. This is a reason why rooted local festivals across India and Southeast Asia are finding a resonance with audiences everywhere.

What is the connect between the Jaipur Literature Festival and the Harvard Business School? The Jaipur Literature Festival has been chosen as a subject of study for two Harvard Business School courses, which is a great compliment.

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How does the societal and political climate affect a writer? Ideally, good writing should reflect and mirror its times. It should record both societal and political climates, but always rise above this to enduring human values. In this sense, writers have to provoke readers to make independent assessments of social, political and human choices. "

THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

Writers like Umberto Eco, Richard Dawkins and Michael Ondaatje are invited. Literature from around the world is represented at the Jaipur Literature Festival as well as several language clusters from around Southeast Asia.

As member-secretary of ILA, what does your work entail? India exists in a continued state of translation. It is a privilege to be working with a distinguished advisory committee of people with a common vision, who are passionate about giving Indian literature its due. However, quality translations require patience and cannot be hurried. We are trying to enable translations from Indian languages to international ones and this is never an easy process.


India Perspectives Dec2011