Page 1




Pensioners go berserk for new hearing aid AT LAST. The hearing aid that thousands have wanted is now available. Opn is a totally invisible hearing aid when worn. It offers pensioners the opportunity to defy hearing loss by compensating for your individual hearing loss, in all situations, day and night. Nobody can see it because

it fits snugly and comfortably in your ear canal and uses the ear’s natural acoustics for natural sound quality. Everything works automatically. There are no controls to worry about so there’s no need to keep fiddling about and adjusting settings. You can start enjoying life

again as you concentrate on hearing, rather than thinking about your hearing aid. Opn continuously analyses incoming sounds and adapts to each individual situation so you always get the best hearing possible. Even in background noise. When speech and conversation sounds are

detected the sound is automatically increased at different frequencies so you hear and understand it clearly, not just loudly. You get all the benefits you want in a digital hearing aid without the obvious sign that you are using one as it’s completely invisible in most ears.

For your free Opn information pack simply complete the coupon or call the freephone number.

Please post me free & without obligation full details of the Opn hearing aid. T Tick if pensioner. Title Surname Address


0800 037 8787

Please quote ref: GBSA5066

We never sell your personal data and only share data as set out in our privacy policy. Hidden Hearing cares about your privacy. For more information please see our privacy policy at

First Name

Postcode Tel No Phone or send coupon today (NO STAMP REQUIRED) to: Freepost RTKE-UJBU-EYSU, Hidden Hearing Ltd, Medway Street, Maidstone ME14 1HL



AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

‘Uniting India after seven decades of separation’


ammu and Kashmir will now be governed by the laws applicable throughout India and everyone will be equal under the rule of law and more importantly, women will also enjoy equal status …writes Dr Rami Ranger CBE. Chairman of the Conservative Friends of India (CFI) The BJP Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered its manifesto commitment of removing Article 370 and 35A which gave the Kashmiris a special status in India. Under the provisions, the Kashmiris could enjoy every right in India but Indians could not enjoy any right in Kashmir.

On Monday 5th August the Indian government announced through a Presidential order the revocation of Art 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution which had created division in India. This truly now makes the State of Jammu and Kashmir part of one India. Unfortunately this status had the effect of holding back Jammu and Kashmir from the benefits from the development seen across the rest of India. The Article also prevented the unity of India as it meant that Jammu and Kashmir had its own constitution, a separate flag and independence over all matters except the three matters of foreign affairs, defence and com-

Dr Rami Ranger CBE

munications. It also gave the wrong signal to Pakistan that India was not sure of the status of India until this historic declaration, made on 5th Au-

gust 2019. Former Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, wrote on Twitter in relation to the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A , that this would lead to “more jobs and more revenue” for people in Jammu and Kashmir. “Separate status led to separatism … a historical wrong has been undone today”. Jammu and Kashmir will now be governed by the laws applicable throughout India and everyone will be equal under the rule of law and more importantly, women will also enjoy equal status. India’s Home Minister, Mr Amit Shah, said in Parliament, “Right to Education is not implemented in

Kashmir; why should valley children not get the benefit of education. Healthcare is crippling in Jammu and Kashmir as no private hospital could be set up due to Article 370, Article 35A. We will make Jammu and Kashmir the most developed State”. The Government of India by revoking this historic wrong has also paid a great tribute to the brave men and women of India who have been defending the integrity of Jammu and Kashmir through their supreme sacrifices since Independence, but had no rights accorded to them under the Article 370. They will now be able to enjoy every right under the Constitution of India.

the Maharaja Hari Singh signed on October 27, 1947 (the Instrument of Accession) while Article 370 came into existence in 1949. “So this is wrong to say that Article 370 brought Jammu and Kashmir with India,” the Minister told the Rajya Sabha in response to Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who condemned the decision to axe Article 370. Leader of Opposition Azad said: “By revoking Article 370 that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP government has murdered the Constitution of India.” He underlined that it was the historic Article 370 which linked Jammu and Kashmir to India. Shah said Article 370 was used as “vote bank politics” and that earlier governments lacked the political will to revoke it. “But the Modi government has the political will and we are not bothered about vote bank politics.” He asked the opposition members to have a debate on the resolu-

tion and said there should not be a delay “even one second” in revoking Article 370. In Parliament, two members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nazeer Ahmed Laway and Mir Mohammad Fayaz, were told to leave the House after they tore up copies of the Constitution. But besides the treasury benches, the BJP won the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress supported the government move. On Sunday night, the Jammu and Kashmir government imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC in Srinagar district and placed the top leadership of the state, including former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, under house arrest. Internet services were shut down in several parts of the Valley and educational institutions were ordered closed. Earlier, tourists were asked to leave Jammu and Kashmir while the Amarnath Yatra was curtailed.

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah says Article 370 to go as part of the government’s initiative to stem cross-border terrorism and bring development…..writes Kaliph Anaz


ndian Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday proposed to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and said the state will be split into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one. Making a historic announcement in the Rajya Sabha that triggered bedlam, Shah said: “I am presenting

the resolution to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir except the first clause 370 (1).” Following his speech amid opposition protests, at times drowning his voice, the House was adjourned. It later resumed business. In a separate statement, Shah said the government has proposed to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir carving out two separate Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and

Kashmir. He said this had been done in view of constant threats of cross border terrorism. “There has been a long pending demand of the people to give it the status of a Union Territory to enable them to realize their aspirations,” the statement said. “Further, keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross-border terrorism in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir is being created,” he said. Shah’s announcement came after days of escalating tension in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Kashmir Valley, where panicky residents have been buying up essential goods amid a security build up. Also in the Rajya Sabha, Shah -- whose BJP had made scrapping Article 370 an election pledge -- denied that it was 370 which linked Jammu and Kashmir with India. “Opposition leaders are saying that Article 370 brought Jammu and Kashmir to India. But the fact is that @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:



eepak Sharma explores the modus operandi of the new A Team. How Shah & Co executed the ‘top secret’ task? Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s actual countdown for revoking Article 370 and bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir began during the third week of June, when he chose 1987 batch IAS officer of Chattisgarh cadre, B.V.R. Subramanyam as new Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir. Subrahmanyam, who had worked as Joint Secretary (PMO) with the Prime Minister earlier, was one of the key officials in Modi’s Mission Kashmir. The entire task of Mission Kashmir was handed over to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who along with Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was reviewing legal implications with a core team, which included Law & Justice Secretary Alok Srivastav, Additional Secretary Law (Home) R.S. Verma, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and his select team of Kashmir Division. Before the beginning of the Budget Session, Shah had briefed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat and his aide (General Secretary) Bhaiyaji Joshi about the Centre’s determination to revoke Article 370 and subsequent bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two separate Union Territories. After legal consultations, Shah focussed on the implications of the revocation of Article 370 on the valley’s law and order situation. Sources close to Shah revealed that on the Prime Minister’s suggestion Shah then had a couple of meetings with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval. The sources said that once Shah had reviewed the situation in Kashmir himself, Doval was sent to Srinagar to assess the situation from a security point of view. The NSA camped there for three days. Then on July 26, the decision to curtail the Amarnath Yatra was taken. Later recall of all tourists from the valley was also suggested by the NSA. Apart from this, an additional 100 companies of the central paramilitary were also rushed as back-up to the prevailing security apparatus. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Sec-

retary Subramanyam, who was in the loop with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was given the blueprint of several security measures to be taken on ground zero -- use of satellite phones by key police, paramilitary and administration officials; deployment of QRTs in sensitive urban and rural pockets across South Kasmir; and a high vigil at LoC by Army, apprehending mischief from across the border. The Army chief, heads of intelligence agencies and Central Para Military Forces were also coordinating with the Union Home Secretary and Chief Secretary 24x7. On the crucial night of August 4, Chief Secretary instructed Director General of Police (Jammu and Kashmir) Dilbagh Singh to take several preventive measures which included house arrest of key political leaders, snapping mobile and landline services, declaring Section 144 and preparing drill for clamping curfew in the valley. Earlier, on the Delhi front, Shah had another key team set on the job, which included Rajya Sabha members like Anil Baluni and Bhupendra Yadav. The team was tasked to muster the support of fellow members of the august House, where BJP fell short of a majority.

The team which had engineered a major defection in TDP’s Rajya Sabha members had managed Samajwadi Party MPs, Neeraj Shekhar, Surendra Nagar, Sanjay Seth, and Congress MP Sanjay Singh to quit the Rajya Sabha. Thus giving a big boost to the BJP in the upper House. At the eleventh hour, the team also managed BSP leader Satish Mishra to support the move related to Article 370 and bifurcation of the state. In the meantime, Amit Shah also had close door meetings with key journalists (having access in the MHA) to be balanced in reporting while touching highly sensitive issues, which have in-

ternational implications. Shah’s objective was to maintain top secrecy, till he introduces the Bill, and breaks the historical news on August 5, on the floor of Parliament itself. Sources said that by August 2, Shah was confident that his party had enough support in the Rajya Sabha and would introduce the historical bill(of bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir) in the Upper House by Monday. Subsequently, a whip was issued by the BJP instructing all members to remain in their respective House hinting them that important bills were expected to be passed. Highly placed sources re-

vealed that finally on the weekend, it was decided by Modi and Shah to convene a meeting of the Cabinet at the PM’s residence on Monday, to disclose Mission Kashmir’s objective to Ministers and pass a resolution thereof, prior to the proceedings of the House. Similarly, the Ministry of Law and Justice was tasked for prompt issuance of notification by the President of India on the revocation of Article 370. After Shah introduced the Bill amid chaos in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, a BJP MP reacted: “Shah’s mission has never been defeated. He is the new Sardar (Vallabhbhai Patel).”



ational Security Advisor Ajit Doval is expected to visit Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the security situation even as all the three services are on high alert to deal with any fallout of the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and withdrawal of special status to the state. In the run-up to the decision to reorganize the state, Doval had reviewed the situation and additional troops were sent to the Kashmir Valley following his meetings with state administration officials. After Doval, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also likely to tour the area after the end of Parliament session. Informed sources said the Army, Air

Force and Navy were in a high state of alert. Though firmly of the opinion that it was India’s internal matter, New Delhi is closely watching reactions from Pakistan and the responses of the Pakistan Army on the Line of Control (LoC) and other areas. The LoC witnessed heavy shelling in the past few days and the Indian Army also foiled a Border Action Team (BAT) raid on its posts, killing at least five Pakistan Army commandos. The forces were expecting some retaliation and officials said they were prepared to meet any eventuality. There were no reports about the situation on the ground in the Kashmir Valley as communication lines were down.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

D-Co Launders Drug Money in Pak Stock Exchange Assets frozen worldwide, D-Co invests drug money in Pak Stock Exchange (PSX). The D-company points man Jabir Moti, currently detained in a London jail and facing extradition, runs more than ϔive front capital securities companies, all operating from the Karachi Stock Exchange, merged with the PSX in 2016…An exclusive by Deepak Sharma


ven as world’s most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim’s assets are frozen across the world, the underworld don continues to invest money, earned through his organised crime syndicate, in the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). These investments are being made through various capital securities firms in all the three stock exchange under in the PSX. The Indian agencies are gathering clinching evidence against Dawood Ibrahim’s investment of illegal money into the PSX, earned through his crime syndicate, which primarily flourishes on drug smuggling, gun running, Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) racket and extortion. The D-company points man Jabir Moti, currently detained in a London jail, runs more than five front capital securities companies, all operating from the Karachi Stock Exchange, merged with the PSX in 2016. Besides companies linked with Jabir Moti, D-company has also invested heavily, through various shell companies in Habib Bank’s subsidiary, Habib Metropolitan Financial

Services (HMFS), a top equity brokerage firm in Pakistan. Reports say that around 2012, Dawood Ibrahim came in contact with the then Director of Karachi Stock Exchange Zafar Moti, through his family member Jabir Moti, a listed gang member of the D-company, arrested by the Scotland Yard in a London hotel, on a tip-off from the FBI in August 2018Reports say that around 2012, Dawood Ibrahim came

in contact with the then Director of Karachi Stock Exchange Zafar Moti, through his family member Jabir Moti, a listed gang member of the D-company, arrested by the Scotland Yard in a London hotel, on a tip-off from the FBI in August 2018. Intelligence reports say Dawood Ibrahim was introduced to the senior management of Habib Bank by cricketer Javed Miandad, a former Senior Vice President of Habib Bank and

father-in-law of Dawood’s daughter Mehreen Ibrahim. Habib Bank was charged by the US Department of Financial Services with money laundering and terror links in 2017. Habib Bank’s role is also under suspicion for backing Dcompany’s operations in Nepal as it runs the Nepalese Himalayan Bank in a joint venture project. Reports say that around 2012, Dawood Ibrahim came in contact with the then Director of Karachi Stock Exchange Zafar Moti, through his family member Jabir Moti, a listed gang member of the D-company, arrested by the Scotland Yard in a London hotel, on a tip-off from the FBI in August 2018. Jabir Moti has been charged by the FBI with collecting illegal money earned from D-Company’s narcotics smuggling and has been facing an extradition trial in a London court. Reports suggest that Jabir Moti is the Director of Zafar Moti Capital Securities Pvt Ltd, located at Room 54-55, Ist Floor, Pakistan Stock Exchange Building, Stock Exchange Road, Karachi. D-Company’s asset mobilisation.

(IANS Infographics) by. D-Company’s asset mobilisation. (IANS Infographics). The CEO of this firm is Zafar Moti, who also runs a few other firms. Another company, BRP-MAC Securities Pvt Ltd, allegedly owned by Jabir Moti has Zafar’s wife Afshan Moti on its board. This company is located at 54, Pakistan Stock exchange Building, Karachi. Afshan resides at bunglow 31/1, Ist Girzi Street, Phase IV, Pakistan Defence Housing, Karachi, situated near Dawood’s one of hideouts in the port city of Pakistan. Highly placed sources in the government said that once the entire trail of Dawood Ibrahim’s illegal money invested in the Pakistan Stock Exchange through his aide Jabir Moti is gathered, substantial records would be brought to the notice of the world to expose Pakistan’s dual policy on terrorism and its intelligence agency ISI’s nexus with the international crime syndicates. The Indian agencies are also monitoring the extradition trial of Jabir Moti in London’s Westminster’s Magistrate court.




S President Donald Trump relationship with new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to be “sensational” as the two have a lot in common in their leadership style and desire to “get things done”, US ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson said. “I think they do have a lot (in common). Both these leaders have their own style, but they have similarities and I think they have clear vision of what they want to accomplish,” the ambassador told the BBC. Trump had welcomed Boris Johnson’s rise to power earlier this week, saying he would do a “great job” and even described him as “Britain Trump”. “We have a really good man who’s going to be the Prime Minister of the UK now,” the US President had said. “He’s tough and he’s smart. They’re saying ‘Britain Trump’. They call him ‘Britain Trump’ and people are saying that’s a good thing.”

The ambassador played down Boris Johnson’s criticism of Trump when he was London Mayor. That time, he had called the then US presidential candidate “stupefyingly ignorant”. Woody Johnson said he was sure the US President was aware of the comments. “Donald Trump is going to say what he wants to say when he wants to say it and he will comment on injustices or inabilities or how he sees it. I think he respects Boris for the same. Boris is going to call it as he sees it.” “But first of all I don’t think

it’s long-lasting and second of all I think they have so much more in common in terms of what they want to accomplish for the good of both of our nations.” The ambassador said a nodeal Brexit would not affect the UK’s ability to strike a trade deal with the US. According to him, Britain would be at the “front of the line” for a trade deal once Brexit happens and it is “not imperative” for the UK to leave the EU with an agreement to make progress. “The President is going to try and move the ball forwards – the UK is our most important ally in security and prosperity. He knows that,” said Woody Johnson. The new UK Prime Minister has not yet revealed when he will hold his first face-to-face leaders’ meeting with Trump. No 10 confirmed that Boris Johnson had spoken to the French President Emmanuel Macron over the phone on Thursday and they had discussed Brexit. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

Does Bojo Makes Jezza more acceptable? After three years of a non-descript Theresa May, is Great Britain only capable of producing a Prime Minister who the British intelligentsia dismisses as a man of doubtful ability and character. Similar things are happening elsewhere, but let me conϔine myself to the trans-Atlantic cousins writes SAEED NAQVI “Ek na shud, do shud” (We were not done with one, and now we have two.) here is a quantum leap in derisive mirth that stand-up comedians on both sides of the Atlantic are generating ever since a Donald Trump look-alike entered the black door at 10, Downing Street. In fact, if Boris Johnson disciplined the outside of his head with a touch of Brylcream that would confirm a twin-like Boris-Donald duet. There are other dubious comparisons: racism, for instance. It was a common story at Trump towers that “When Donald and Ivana came to the Casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor.” Johnson measures up quite well. His description in one of his columns of blacks as “piccaninnies with watermelon smiles”, remains a classic in racial insensitivity. Little wonder Britain’s 77th Prime Minister has been greeted dismally by major newspapers. A “New Nadir” in British public life, screamed the Independent. “A shameless clown” it went on. The Guardian thought Johnson and Trump made for a pair: “two loud mouthed man-children”, singularly lacking in character. Scheming, devious, lying, unreliable are some of the common adjectives being employed. In a sense, Trump’s election was clearly more democratic than Johnson’s. Even though he trailed Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, he won at least 46 per cent of that vote. Johnson has been elected by the Conservative party members, which works out to 0.2 per cent of the population. After three years of a non-descript Theresa May, is Great Britain only capable of producing a Prime Minister who the British intelligentsia dismisses as a man of doubtful ability and character. Similar things are happening elsewhere, but let me confine myself to the trans-Atlantic cousins. To make my point, let me in a few sentences, describe the scene on November 2016, election night at my friend’s Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn, New York, where we had collected, say, 20 friends from all sorts of disciplines: State Department Veterans, World Bankers, Columbia University faculty, artists, writers and a Fox News journalist.


Everybody was eager to pop champagne bottles as soon as Hillary Clinton’s victory became imminent. But when Trump won Florida the party was suddenly in the grip of something between hysteria and melancholia. The woman from the World Bank was shrieking like she had seen an apparition. A woman from the neighbouring loft was banging at the door. “Please let me in; I can’t bear being alone.” It fell to my lot to commiserate ach one with the crestfallen. They, each of them, had difficulty digesting igesting my diagnosis. “If you makee Bernie Sanders impossible, you make Trump inevitable.” How does this maxim apply to son? the elevation of Boris Johnson? Well, “If you make Jeremy my Corbyn impossible, you makee Boris at these inevitable.” I am aware that formulations would be anathema hema to friends who are sworn to “liberalism” according their lights. ed one’s Liberalism, which defined life in the 60s and 70s, is an open minded accommodation off diversity in faith, tastes, manners ers and customs. Economists, committed mitted to capitalism, ignore the wartss it has sm, for developed. Crony capitalism, instance, which renders the people redundant except for casting ng their votes during elections. The control this system has on the media ia helps perpetuate the Corporate-GovernGovernple barment nexus. It is then a simple ter deal: you promote my interest, xt elecI promote yours. Come next tions, scramble to devise some me new strategy to market yourself. f. Turn to terrorism if other issues do not work. The perpetuation of this arrangement in democracies worldwide has caused a fatigue factor. In an earlier age, people revolted against the feudal system; m; they are now trying to bring about ut radiot cal change through the ballo ballot nd box. There are known and unknown eruptions in parts of the world where people are “struggling” outside the system altogether because, in their perception, the ruling class controls all the instru-oments of the modern democratic state. The unending post 9/11 ndanwars, the continuing ascendanarities cy of the Deep State, disparities eet and leading to Occupy Wall Street the Tea Party in retaliation, generated an anti-Establishmentt wave.

This is what Bernie Sanders sought to ride. But the Establishment in its Democratic Party Avatar, had set its heart on Hillary Clinton who was up to her neck in Deep State plots in Syria, Libya and, of course, Putin’s Russia. In an anti-Establishment atmosphere, projecting Clinton as the candidate was clearly a risky hand. Clintons, after all, were The Establishment in Washington. Hence the consequent gnashing q g g of teeth at the Brooklyn Loft party. Reverting to Britain, once Prime Minister David Cameron’s referendum on Brexit in June 2016 had gone wrong, Conservathe tives have b been een on a weak weaak leg. Theresa May, limping from London to Brusdred sels with a hund hundred stops en route, always empty handed did the Tories no good. In direct proportion o to the Conservatives vulnerability is the right med dia’s tendenc cy wing media’s tendency to paint Jeremy Corbyn in i lurid colours as a ravi ic, a friend of ing anti-Semit anti-Semitic, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The Economist has made him up as Che Guevara. The spirit of Senator antiiJoseph McCarthy’s antiCommunist witch hunt of 50s permeates American public life to this day. But its resurgence in the UK is all part of the Establishment digging its heels in to keep the centre of gravity of

global discourse so far to the right that leaders like Corbyn and Sanders look like communists. There must be deep consternation in Conservative power structure at the BBC’s prestigious Panoroma programme which, with rigorous research, knocked the bottom out of the anti Corbyn campaign. It will now be impossible to pin the antiSemite label on him. Meanwhile, the media spotlight is on Boris and his cabinet choice

like Priti Patel, the new Home Secretary. According to The Guardian she was sacked from Theresa May’s cabinet two years ago for failing to disclose secret meetings with Israeli Ministers on “India related matters”. With Patel by his side, Boris Johnson has connections which can help win the elections which, by some calculations, can be soon, given that half the Conservative party has its knives out for him.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Plan to Install Gandhi Statue in Manchester Subject to planning permission, the 9ft high, 800kg statue crafted by renowned Indian artist Ram V Sutar will be the ϔirst in a series of public realm improvements in the city’s Medieval Quarter. Its location and scale is carefully considered in the context of the space, and there will be pedestrian and disabled access….reports Asian Lite News


braham Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Friedrich Engels, suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst have something in common. They all get their statues erected in and around Manchester city centre. A campaign has been launched to install a statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the Manchester Cathedral. During a 1931 visit to the UK, Gandhi visited textile mills in Lancashire, travelling from London to Blackburn via Manchester, to meet with mill workers and explain the Indian perspective on the boycott of British goods that was damaging their industry. During this visit, Gandhi attracted large crowds of admirers and received a warm welcome. A bronze statue of the iconic spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi is being proposed outside Manchester Cathedral in the 150th anniversary year of his birth (1869 -2019). The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2nd October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, to disseminate the message of non-violence, peace, tolerance, understanding through education and public awareness. The icon of Peace, Mahatma Gandhi project is initiative of Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur UK (SRMD UK), a worldwide spiritual movement headquartered in India. Shrimad Rajchandra was Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual guide and attributes the foundations of his values of nonviolence and self-improvement to him. “This man has won my heart in

spiritual matters, and no one else has made on me the same Impression.” Mahatma Gandhi, Modern Review, June 1930. Subject to planning permission, the 9ft high, 800kg statue crafted by renowned Indian artist Ram V Sutar will be the first in a series of public realm improvements in the city’s Medieval Quarter. Its location and scale is carefully considered in the context of the space, and there will be pedestrian and disabled access. If planning approval is granted, the unveiling of the statue will take place in November, 2019. The project is supported by Manchester Cathedral, Manchester City Council, High Commission of India, Greater

Manchester Lieutenancy office and the Manchester India Partnership. Letters of support have been received from local business owners and representatives from both religious and non-religious organisations across Manchester and beyond. Following the 2017 Arena attack, Manchester’s unique civic pride displayed the values of non-violence and compassion. We are inspired by the people of Manchester for their strength, decency and community in the face of this unparalleled tragedy. A statue of Gandhi in central Manchester will ensure that the heart of our politics and democracy can all be blessed with his ethos and wisdom today, tomorrow and for generations

to come. Gandhi taught all to not use war and violence, but instead, use peaceful protests. The statue will express harmony between form and function, place and purpose, history and present. Manchester, as UK’s second largest city has stood together against those who would seek to destroy multi-racial, multi-ethnic societies. Gandhi regarded nations not as abstract legal entities but as agglomerations of human beings with names, noses, aches and smiles, and international relationships should be founded on interdependence and love. “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the

ocean does not become dirty,” said Gandhi during his fight for freedom. “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”. Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings remain as potent today as when he first said, ‘be the change that you want to see in the world.’ More information contact Andrew Spinoza, Geraldine Vesey at SKV Communications 0161 838 7770 or email EDITOR’S NOTES Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD UK) is a registered charity and a member of the One Jain network. The charity focuses on the spiritual and social welfare of local communities through interfaith cohesion and promotes various initiatives through its SR Love and Care programme, which organises regular activities such as homeless food distributions, blood and organ donation drives and environmental awareness seminars. In 2017, SRMD organised the event Let Us Make a Change Peace by Peace in Albert Square with an accompanying exhibition in Central Library about Mahatma Gandhi and Shrimad Rajchandra. The Medieval Quarter is a strategically important gateway site at the boundary of Manchester and Salford, across the River Irwell from the Greengate development area and close to Victoria Station, Cathedral Gardens and Exchange Square.

MCR Airport Joins Slave-Free Alliance Slave-Free Alliance is part of Hope for Justice, a charity which works to end modern slavery by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims of modern slavery and restoring their lives….reports Asian Lite News


AG, the owner of Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports, has today announced that it is the first airport operator in the UK to become a member of the Slave-Free Alliance. Slave-Free Alliance is part of Hope for Justice, a charity which works to end modern slavery by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims of modern slavery and restoring their lives. MAG’s membership will allow the Slave-Free Alliance to help identify areas across all MAG’s supply chains, from construction to retail,

manufacturing to facilabout possible signs ities management. The that someone maybe a expertise of the Slavevictim of exploitation. Free Alliance allows “By becoming a them to independently member of the Slavereview, benchmark and Free Alliance we’re develop processes to taking a proactive aphelp combat modern proach to ensure that slavery. there is transparency To complement in our business and its membership of the throughout our supply Slave-Free Alliance, chain, to make sure MAG is working to that nobody is exploitTricia Williams, Chief create its own internal ed, and we expect our Customer Officer, MAG processes to identify suppliers to share this and combat the risk of modern slavery commitment,” said Tricia Williams, within its airports, which includes the Chief Customer Officer, MAG. education and training of its own staff “We’re engaging with all sup-

pliers to eliminate any practices that might compromise the basic human rights of workers in our supply chain, and we will refuse to do business with any organisation which does not consistently uphold standards. “Our membership of the Alliance is another step in our journey to protect those working for our airports and their suppliers, and to educate ourselves through staff education so that we are able to effectively identify instances of modern slavery. “We’re proud to be the first UK airport operator to become a member, and hope our work encourages others within our industry to do the same. There is no reason for modern slav-

ery to exist in our society, and we will work hard to ensure it doesn’t happen in connection with our business.” Slave-Free Alliance Director Marc Stanton said: “It is fantastic that MAG has chosen to take this positive step and publicly show its commitment to a slave-free supply chain through its membership of Slave-Free Alliance. We are particularly pleased to see MAG’s expectation that its suppliers take their own steps to protect human rights and prevent exploitation. We look forward to working closely with MAG and helping them become a world-leader in their sector on the issue of modern slavery prevention.” @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

ASEAN MEET: India Seeks Peace, Stability Amid South China Sea stand-off, Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar stresses peace, stability at the ASEAN Foreign Minister’s meet in Bangkok ….reports Asian Lite News


mid a tense stand-off between China and Vietnam over territorial rights in the South China Sea, India on Thursday stressed peace, stability and navigational freedom in the vital sea route through which almost 55 per cent of its trade passes. India’s reply came as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in ASEAN-related multilateral events in Bangkok, where his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh is present. He also co-chaired the 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting with Pham Binh Minh, who is also the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister. In fact, an angry Vietnam denounced illegal activities by a Chinese oil survey vessel in Vietnamese waters at an ASEAN meeting in Bangkok. “The situation in the East Sea is complicated, with unilateral actions including militarization, increasing military exercises, especially

the activities of Chinese oil survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts, which are infringing upon the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf of Vietnam with illegal survey activities,” Pham Binh Minh said at the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. VIETNAM RAPS CHINA Vietnam has denounced Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, accusing it of conducting illegal oil

exploration in the disputed territorial waters. VGP news reported that Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in a closed-door meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers with their Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bangkok lashed out at Beijing for violating Hanoi’s sovereignty and sovereign rights in a South China Sea territory that falls under Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. At the ASEAN-China ministerial meeting on Wednesday, Minh in his speech, addressed to Wang, expressed serious concern about the geological survey conducted since the beginning of July by Chinese ship Haiyang Dizhi 8, accompanied by an escort, near Vanguard Bank, VGP news said. “Such activities seriously threat-

en the legitimate rights and benefits of coastal countries, erode trust and intensify tension, thus they are unconducive to peace and stability in the region,” said the Vietnamese Foreign Minister. He recalled ASEAN’s position on the importance of maintaining self-control, avoiding militarization and actions that aggravate the conflict, according to Efe news. The Minister said international law, including the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), should be respected and closely adhered to. In recent weeks, Vietnam has on several occasions asked China to withdraw its boats from the disputed region. The territorial conflict is expected to continue to be the focus of much of the discussions at the ASEAN summit, which concludes over

the weekend. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also in the Thai capital on Thursday to meet foreign ministers of Asean countries. Pompeo’s arrival in Bangkok was preceded by several statements in the last few days by Washington, accusing China of undermining peace and security by harassing its neighbours in the region. Besides Vietnam, three other Asean members – Brunei, Philippines and Malaysia – claim sovereignty over portions of the South China Sea, an area that Beijing claims in its entirety. In recent years, tensions have been rising in the South China Sea, a key strategic area for its rich natural resources such as fisheries, gas and oil, and trade routes. Beijing has built military facilities on several islets in the region.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

IT’S TOO LATE TO STOP NO DEAL BREXIT The mastermind behind the Brexit in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph warns MPs that no-conϔidence vote would not halt October 31 exit. It’s too late to stop No Deal Brexit and added an election would lead to Tory majority….reports Asian Lite News


rime Minister Boris Johnson’s de facto campaign manager Dominic Cummings says it is ‘too late’ to stop a No-Deal Brexit because the Prime Minister could delay a general election forced by a no-confidence vote until after October 31. Mr Cummings in a series of briefings to civil servants last week that it was too late for Remainer MPs to force Mr Johnson out and stop Brexit from happening, the Sunday Telegraph reported. The Prime Minister has pledged that Britain will leave the EU on October 31, ‘deal or no deal’ and there is no “Ifs or Buts.” Mr Cummings set out the government’s Brexit strategy through a series of briefings EU on October 31 – even if the EU refuses to to civil servants and ministers. He revealed drop the Irish border backstop. how the Prime Minister intended to leave the According to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr

Cummings also claimed that EU leaders like Emmanuel Macron think the no-deal threat ‘is a bluff’. He said: ‘They don’t realise that if there is a no-confidence vote in September or October, we’ll call an election for after the 31st and leave anyway.’ The Prime Minister’s chief Brexit adviser has told staff to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, as he think EU leaders won’t realise Mr Johnson isn’t bluffing ‘until October’. The revelations come as Boris Johnson dramatically ramped up his war of words with Brussels by demanding that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier reopens the Brexit deal – because he no longer has the authority to impose terms on the UK. As part of a new ‘shock and awe’ plan by Downing Street to put the EU on the back

foot, Mr Johnson’s Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay warned that Mr Barnier should be given new negotiating orders by the EU or face the inevitability of No Deal. In a hard-hitting article for the Mail on Sunday, Mr Barclay argues that the European elections in May reconstituted the EU – meaning Mr Barnier’s mandate to insist on the harsh terms of the Withdrawal Agreement is no longer valid. Mr Johnson is embroiled in a high-stakes, last-ditch effort to persuade Mr Barnier to drop the controversial Northern Irish backstop from the agreement in time to pass the measure through the Commons – a process he refers to as a ‘backstopectomy’. Theresa May’s failure to pass her deal in the face of trenchant opposition from MPs to the backstop led to the fall of her Government.



he UK’s economy would slide into recession in 2020 if it leaves the EU without a deal, according to a report by the country’s fiscal watchdog. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which provides Michel Barnier independent economic advice to the British government, said the economy would lose two per cent in gross domestic product if the UK pulled out of the EU on October 31 without first securing a future agreement. “Heightened uncertainty and declining confidence deter investment, while higher trade barriers with the EU weigh on exports,” said the OBR’s report on its no-deal Brexit stress test. “Together, these push the economy into recession, with asset prices and the pound falling sharply.” “Real GDP falls by 2 per cent by the end of 2020 and is 4 per cent below our March forecast by that point,” according to the report cited by Efe news. Such a scenario would push borrowing up to 30 billion pounds a year and would add 12 per cent GDP to net debt by 2023-24, both projected figures being higher than initially forecast in a report in March. A no-deal scenario would raise trade barriers and prompt a fall in inward migration and productivity output. “The imposition of tariffs and the sterling depreciation raise inflation and squeeze real household incomes, but the Monetary Policy Committee is able to cut Bank Rate to support demand,” the report said. It added that the Bank of England could think about lowering interest rates to counter inflation. The UK had originally been slated to leave the bloc on March 29 but the process was delayed as the outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get backing for her withdrawal deal. The EU’s top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the UK would have to “face the consequences” if it decides to quit the bloc without an agreement. He told the BBC that May’s Brexit policy, which failed to make it through parliament three times, was the only way to ensure a smooth departure.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Could Modi-Macron light up climate change talks? The 45th G7 summit will be held on August 24-26 in the town of Biarritz in France, under the French presidency. After 2000, when it was realised that India and China would advancing faster than expected, the G7 agreed to specially invite ϔive more countries, including India and China, for their summit outreach….writes Rajendra Shende


he seas are rising relentlessly but not the world leaders. Its hot even in the Arctic but decision-makers are cool. Young people are on the streets protesting against inaction, but heads of states huddled together in Osaka, Japan for the G20 meeting with facile jokes, embarrassing handshakes and posed smiles. The agenda for the 14th G20 Summit, crafted after series of ministerial meetings, was loaded with issues of trade and tariffs, free flow of digital data, 5G technology, terrorism, fugitive economic offenders, empowerment of women and slowdown of the global economy. Deliberation on the existential threat for planet Earth posed by climate crises barely found space left in between. By the end of the summit, a standard G20 Communique was released, that included a couple of sections of compromise text on climate change, among the 43 sections. On climate

change, 19 of the G20 members (except the US) reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Climate deal and its irreversibility. The US, as in the last G20 summit, “agreed to disagree” and reiterated their stance of quitting the Paris Climate Agreement. Against the shocking news of wild fires, heat waves and flash floods that sent tremors on a planetary scale, climate issues were neither discussed nor prioritized the way it demanded. Growth-obsessed and trade-centred countries in the G20 remained focussed on economy and not on ecology which, in fact, dictates the economy. There was an exception: In the bilateral meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, with a special appearance by UN SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres, both leaders committed to stronger action on the growing threat of climate change. Macron reportedly refused to sign the

Send your news, pics & comments to

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the inauguration of the Solar Power Plant in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh

G-20 communique that did not highlight the climate crisis. The 45th G7 summit (of seven advanced global economies) will be held on August 24-26 in the town of Biarritz in France, under the French presidency. After 2000, when it was realized that India and China would advancing faster than expected, the G7 agreed to specially invite five more countries, including India and China, for their summit outreach. Macron, the host known as a climate saviour, is close to both India and China. He has put the fight against inequality on top of this year’s G7. Macron’s agenda recognises that the climate crisis has its indelible link with inequality which in turn has an axis to terrorism. Climate change hits vulnerable populations even harder, creating more inequality. “It heaps inequality on inequality and insecurity on insecurity,” says the G7 preparatory document. Climate Change is poised to be back as a major priority of the G7, apart from taxes and terrorism. The four environmental priorities in the agenda are: * Scientific warnings and international action on biodiversity and climate * Inclusive ecological transition * Tangible solutions for the climate and biodiversity * Finance for the preservation of biodiversity These priorities have emerged from scientific consensus in major reports of UN bodies. The first report that appalled the world was “The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C”, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It dealt with the scenario when the Earth’s average temperature increases by 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. The message from that report was very clear, that the rise in temperature has to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid disastrous consequences to coastal areas, island countries and the economy in general. To avoid such damage, the world needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by 45 per cent by 2030 (from the 2010 levels) and 100 per cent by 2050. That would need much more ambitious pledges by the coun-

tries than the promises they submitted for the Paris Climate Agreement. The report also provided a tragic observation that the global average temperature rise has already reached near 1 degree Celsius and, with the current speed of action, the additional rise of half a degree is just about 12 years away- within the lifetime of most of humanity living today. The second landmark report was by the Inter-governmental SciencePolicy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the UN’s expert nature panel. It reported that the scale and rapid speed of decline of ecosystems on which our economic growth depends is unprecedented in human history and is likely to continue for at least 50 years. Worse, the speed and scale would accelerate due to inaction on the climate crises. But now there is opportunity for introducing a correction factor. A Narendra Modi-Emmanuel Macron moment could happen during the G-7, at their proposed bilateral meeting, for which Macron has invited Modi. Both are known as bold decisionmakers. Macron in 2018 declared a carbon-tax. In the 2019-20 Indian budget, the Modi government has declared an additional tax on petrol and diesel, equivalent to carbon-tax. Both Modi and Macron have launched and progressed on the International Solar Alliance that has

the potential to be a game-changer in clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. While Macron has proposed a change in the G7 format and wider consultations with various stakeholders and year-long follow up meetings, Modi has revolutionized the narrative on the way the state leaders can engage in creating action-oriented awareness. He recently participated in an adventurous mission on Discovery Channel that attracted world attention to bio-diversity. After his recent win in the world’s largest election he visited the Himalayas to draw attention to the climate disaster visible in the receding snowlines of the Garhwal Himalayas. Macron is the most transformative French president since Francois Mitterrand. Professionally an investment banker, he has persuaded eight major asset managers to make climatefriendly investments of $15 trillion. He has coined the counter slogan of “Make the planet great again” in the face of US President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” election slogan. A Modi and Macron moment during the G7 outreach would surely prove to be correction factor to the unfortunate trend seen at the G20 summit. (The author is Chairman TERRE Policy Centre and former Director UNEP. The article is in special arrangement with South Asia Monitor)

An attendee is seen at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Bristol, Wisconsin, the United States. The Renaissance Pleasure Faire opens Saturdays and Sundays from July 6 through Sept. 2, 2019 @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

Seismic Change in India’s Foreign Policy Did paciϔist Nehru prevent recapture of PoK? As India searched for a post-colonial identity, Nehru’s thinking was predicated on the nation becoming a leader of the emerging free world. Nehruvian thinker Shashi Tharoor once described India’s foreign policy as “emerging out of the heart and head of one man”- Nehru, in those early years of Independence. His idealism became the basis of Indias foreign policy…. A special comment by Sandeep Bamzai


y most accounts, Jawaharlal Nehru was a pacifist, influenced to a great degree by the liberal education he obtained in the UK. Such liberal leanings -formed on the template of a deep knowledge of Indian culture, society and history -- determined his outlook on not only foreign policy, but also conflict.

As India searched for a post-colonial identity, Nehru’s thinking was predicated on the nation becoming a leader of the emerging free world. Nehruvian thinker Shashi Tharoor once described India’s foreign policy as “emerging out of the heart and head of one man”- Nehru, in those early years of Independence. His idealism became the basis of Indias foreign policy. The BJP’s foreign minister Jaswant Singh, who served as External Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, distilled this further by describing it as ‘ersatz pacifism: a conglomeration of an accommodative and forgiving Hindu milieu, with strains of Buddhist, Jain, Vaishnav, Bhakti and Gandhian views tratethrown in for moulding India’s stratebmisgic doctrine into a docile and submissive one. n Sun All war, the master tactician Tzu said, is based on deception. In his seminal book, India at Risk: Misconsconceptions and Misadventures of Security Policy, Jaswant Singh tries to pin hat he this down on Nehru by arguing that did not fight China properly in 1962 “and security got relegated to a much lower priority”. As a consequence, ce, he mply averred, “independent India simply abandoned the centrality of strategic ategic culture as the first ingredient of vigorous and bold national policies.” Pakistan’s raison d’etre, meanmindwhile, has revealed its singlemindnd edness of purpose to maim and al destroy India. An ideological n state imperiled by its own design and fixation, Pakistan is where it o. is, hamstrung by a toxic credo. Hence, as Sun Tzu says, when we m are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we re must appear inactive; when we are my near, we must make the enemy ar believe we are far away; when far ve away, we must make him believe we are near. ad Pakistan’s entire construct had obeen based on this theological modus operandi, to covet Kashmir at nall cost. Nehru chose non-align-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi accompanied by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, addresses at the informal meeting between Russia, India and China (RIC), on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, in Osaka, Japan

ment, birthed by indigenous thinking as his own strategic imperative, and thus becoming the Light of Asia (as Winston Churchill referred to him). But the conflict with China broke him, his pacifism costing India. For India was unprepared for Chinese chicanery; the duplicitous, thinly-veiled allure of ‘friendship’ hoodwinked Nehru. Still, this did not dilute Nehru’s nationalism, even as he pursued nonalignment with great vigour dictated as it was by national self-interest. He cut the umbilical cord with both the US and Soviet Union to steer clear of Cold War currents, though the fashioning of his economic model very much leaned towards socialism. Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao chose to call Nehru a ‘universalist’. Nehru himself described India’s foreign policy as “a right one, a good one and successful one”. Nehru chose non-alignment, birthed by

indigenous thinking as his own strategic imperative, and thus becoming the Light of Asia. But the conflict with China broke him, his pacifism costing India. For India was unprepared for Chinese chicanery. Remarkably, this pacifism has shaped India’s consciousness and thought process forever, standing the test of time. Hinduism and its learnings - along with filtration of other faiths and religions - became the backbone of India’s systems and processes. Nehru’s own disdain for aggressive power politics calculus meant that he maintained equidistance from the superpowers to unveil a non-alignment non alignment stencil shaped by the fight for freedom. Even as successive governments practiced the same pacifism in India’s foreign policy, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi broke convention by taking on a more aggressive foreign policy stance. Though the salient points

were imbibed from the Nehruvian doctrine, Gandhi’s strong suite was on display in the 1970s when she dismembered Pakistan, detonated a nuclear device, and swallowed Sikkim without much ado. It was an astonishing achievement for a third-world country enfeebled by years of poverty. It heralded the arrival of a bolder India, still recovering from being brutally vanquished by expansionist China in 1962. Yet the tenets of Nehru’s philosophy have endured to this day. The questions that beg answers in 2016 are these: Would Prime Minister Gandhi have acted differently from Nehru during the battle for Kashmir in 194748? Would the course of history have been altered had Nehru paid heed to what his generals were telling him? Would large tracts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) have been retaken by the Indian Army to neutralise an obsessive Jinnah and his cohorts? In time for this year’s celebration of India’s Independence Day, this report decodes what would possibly have been if Nehru had acquiesced with hi his army on the frontier. Details are culled cul from the author’s forthcoming book, “Nehru & Kashmir”, set bo to be ppublished by Harper Collins in 2018. India’s Longest Battle of Attrition Ind On November 1, 1948, while the snow fell and bitter frost and chill enveloped the valleys across the Zoji envelo La, the first offensive was developed by the combined efforts of the Indian Army’s Army’ tanks and infantry. Among various narratives on the war, one of the sta standout descriptions is that of S N. Dass Das and Dharam Pal in Recapture of Kargil Kar and Drass. Examples of individual dividua acts of heroism and reckless courage courag in this battle were many. In the highly tense situation before the hi final knockout blow while the enemy was firing from every cliff and every gorge, it was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) who personally took charge and led the assault. Gen. Thimmaya was at the head of the advancing columns and personally visited every section and brought the various columns-armour, infantry and gunners-into proper formation with a view to poise them against the enemy. A brilliant tactician, he realised the necessity for firepower to blast the

enemy out at the Zoji La heights. Astonishingly, he ordered the deployment of a squadron of Stuart MK-VI tanks of the 7 Light Cavalry, compelling the engineers to cut a path into the rocky terrain in less than three weeks to build an eight-kilometre-long track that could take the width and weight of the tanks. To make the precipitous climb, the tanks had to be dismantled and physically pushed up by the jawans-to an altitude where they had never been used before. The general himself had a narrow escape, and the death-defying tempo, enhanced all the more by his presence, compelled his men to dash forward regardless of the consequences. The very appearance of the tanks dampened the morale of the bewildered Pakistanis who either fled or were vanquished. Once Zoji La was taken, the road to Kargil was reopened and Ladakh was safe. Ultimately, on November 24, Kargil was retaken. After the bitter fighting in which tanks played a prominent role, Indian troops entered Matayan on November 3. The next battle, and which perhaps could be regarded as equally fierce as the previous one, lasted for a full 10 days. It was the grim battle for Batkundi Hill and in this the men of the Royal Gorkha Regiment under Col. Sukhdev Pathania and the Patialas under Col. Sukhdev Singh played a notable part. The credit for capturing the most important and fiercely defended feature on this range went to the Royal Gorkhas who, in the freezing conditions of Matayan, waded through and back in the half-frozen streams and finally captured the important feature on this range which subsequently was given the name of their commander: Anand Feature. On November 24, Kargil was retaken. After the bitter fighting in which tanks played a prominent role, Indian troops entered Matayan on November 3. The next battle, and which perhaps could be regarded as equally fierce as the previous one, lasted for a full 10 days. Also in this battle, tanks provided the firing cover for the assault. After its rout at Batkundi Hill, the enemy was at sixes and sevens. The Patialas, who were to march ahead after the capture of the feature and hold the line of control (LoC), had no rest. Soon they were joined by other battalions. Major Qureshi, the commanding officer on the enemy side in this sector, received a bullet in his foot near Drass. He managed to limp his way back.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

SADIQ: Bojo Immigration Plan will damage economy London Mayor crucial sectors such as construction, social care and hospitality could struggle to ϔill key posts. The mayor calls to reduce skilled salary threshold to £21,000; ‘Fast-track’ visa proposal to allow the Capital to bring in vital skilled workers….reports Kaliph Anaz


ondon Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned Boris Johnson’s plan to make Britain the greatest country in the planet. The mayor said the Government’s immigration plans will damage London, the engine for nation’s growth, when the UK leaves the European Union. He urged the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to ‘fully recognise the positive impact immigration and Freedom of Movement has had in London and the UK’ and come forward with anew plan to ensure the capital and UK can continue to attract European and international workers following Brexit. London generates approximately 22 per cent of the UK’s GDP. London produced in 2016 about £408 billion, over 22% of UK GDP, while the economy of the London metropolitan area—the largest in Europe—generates about 30 per cent of the UK’s GDP. Sadiq’s key demands include: • A lower salary threshold – to be set at £21,000 - for the Tier 2 ‘skilled worker’ visa rather than ministers’ proposed threshold of £30,000. • Devolved powers for London to fast track visas for those with the skills the capital most needs. Speaking to the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sadiq argued that immigration has enhanced London and the UK’s economy and communities, making the capital an unrivalled, vibrant global city. However, new City Hall research shows that crucial sectors such as construction, social care and hospitality could struggle to fill key posts under the proposals outlined in the Government’s Immigration White Paper. The study finds that employers could struggle to fill vacancies in occupations that account for around half of all jobs in the capital. Nurseries, cleaning firms and homebuilders and employers with roles regarded as ‘lower-skilled’ risk being unable to make long-term hires from abroad under the Government’s plans. In particular, the Mayor is concerned that the proposed £30,000 minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 skilled worker visas would prevent the recruitment of long-

term migrant workers in roles where almost 150,000 European Londoners are currently employed across the capital -with a quarter of the ineligible jobs found in construction and hospitality occupations alone. The Mayor believes the Government should set the Tier 2 salary threshold at around £21,000 per year, the equivalent of the London Living Wage. City Hall estimates this would more than halve the number of jobs affected by the current proposals. Sadiq also wants to see a more devolved approach to immigration with London and the regions given more flexibility and control to attract the talent they need. Proposals include giving London the ability to create its own dynamic Shortage Occupation List to speed up recruitment to key vacancies, and introducing a freelance visa, recognising the increasingly important role that freelance workers play in the new economy, particularly in London’s vital creative and technology industries. The Mayor has also written to the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, urging the Government to take a fresh look at their ‘flawed immigration proposals’. “London is known across the world for our openness, our diversity and our innovation and I’m proud to be the most pro-Business Mayor that this City has ever had,” said the Mayor. “Making London a fairer city and ensuring that all Londoners get the opportunities that our city gave to me when I was growing up, is one of my core priorities as Mayor. “If the Government’s proposed immigration changes go ahead, then I’m fearful for the impact they’ll have on the fabric of our city. The impact on the construction sector would make the housing crisis worse. And the impact on public services, including our

schools and the NHS, could have devastating consequences for years to come. “The new Prime Minister should instead fully recognise the positive impact immigration and Freedom of Movement has had in London and the UK and immediately take steps to reform the immigration system in a way that enables us to unlock the potential of Londoners. If he is unable to do this, then he should let Londoners take back control and give City Hall the devolved powers that he previously called for as Mayor.” “Migrants form the fabric of London’s businesses and communities and the capital is far more reliant upon foreign labour than any other region in the UK,” said Peter Bishop, interim Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This is why, for many years, LCCI has pushed for a devolved immigration system to a London level. “A proposal we have strongly pushed for is a dedicated Shortage Occupation List for the capital. It is great to see the Mayor of London lending his support to this, and also to see him continuing to support the merits of immigration, including calling for a lowering of the £30,000 salary threshold proposed in the government’s immigration white paper. “Our polling out just last week showed that 57 per cent of businesses say that level would worsen London’s skills shortages,

with 68 per cent saying particularly for lowskilled labour supply. Whilst half of London businesses say it would also negatively impact the capital’s housing and infrastructure projects.” Julia Onslow-Cole, Partner for global government strategies at Fragomen, Chamber of Commerce Board member and a member of the Mayor’s Brexit Expert Advisory Panel, said: “Multiple business sectors are concerned about the proposed £30,000 salary threshold. And that’s not just within the UK itself. For example, I was in Silicon Valley recently, talking to tech companies – who are worried about the impact that threshold would have on their U.K base, staff and suppliers. “UK business and business organisations were rapid in voicing widespread concern about the £30,000 figure to government. But whilst it’s welcome that the Home Secretary has asked for the figure to be revisited, the process of reviewing the threshold isn’t a swift one, inevitably leading to a continuation of concern and even delayed investment. The figure needs to be lowered soon.” Workers born in Europe have made an increasingly significant contribution to London’s labour market since 2004 across a range of higher and lower-skilled occupations. 14 per cent of jobs in the capital are now held by workers born in the rest of the European Economic Area, a far higher proportion than in the rest of the UK.

Priti Proposes Point-based Immigration


ome Secretary Priti Patel has suggested an Australian model point-based immigration system for the post-Brexit Britain. Priti also revealed that she would be urgently commissioning the Migration Advisory Committee to prepare a report based on Australia’s points-based system. A skills-based approach would ensure the country is looking at what people can contribute instead of where they come from, she said. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, she added: “The current migration system means we have to give an automatic right of access to all EU nationals. “In future, we will decide who we give preference to, so we can ensure we are able to attract the most talented and skilled from other parts of the world.” “Changes to the immigration system would also help boost the economy as well as public confidence,” she added. “We must seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity offered by the end of free movement,” she wrote in the Mail. “Free from the shackles of the EU - and an automatic right of entry for their citizens, with or without work we will be able to give the type of preference to brilliant scientists, academics and highly skilled workers that we want to see more of.” Priti also vowed to ensure a strong bor-

der to help keep out terrorists and criminals, and said all prospective migrants would be checked for criminal records. Mr Johnson made no secret of his desire for an Australian-style points-based immigration system during the Tory leadership contest. He set out his proposals as part of his wide-ranging first Commons speech as Prime Minister, saying: “No-one believes more strongly than me in the benefits of migration to our country. “But I am clear that our immigration system must change.” @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

London World Majlis Supports Expo 2020


London World Majlis mulls over potential of new technologies at Expo 2020….reports Asian Lite News

xperts and thought leaders have mulled over the potential of new technologies, such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and how they will be best achieved by engaging and educating people on capabilities and collaborating to ensure their use for global good, during the latest Expo 2020 Dubai’s World Majlis series. Titled ‘Beyond Reality – Welcoming New Worlds’, the London World Majlis was hosted by Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director of Expo 2020 Bureau, and explored augmented reality, mirror worlds and the impact on the future of humanity. It was held at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, alongside the Shubbak Festival, the UK capital’s largest celebration of Arab culture. The Majlis was attended by Man-

soor Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the UK; Lord Clement-Jones, Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence and Co-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence, UK; Lord Martin Rees,

Astronomer Royal; Laura Faulkner, Commissioner General and Director, UK Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai; and senior thought leaders in the fields of technology, innovation and art. A deep-rooted UAE tradition, a majlis gathers people from different

backgrounds to engage in respectful and vibrant conversation on issues that matter to their communities, while gaining new perspectives, solving problems and connecting with each other. Expo 2020’s World Majlis series was launched in Dubai

in December 2017 and has travelled to Abu Dhabi, New York, Shanghai and Kigali. More sessions are scheduled in the run-up to and during the next World Expo, the first to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, MEASA, region, which runs for six months from 20th October 2020.

Zayed Centre to Boost Cancer Research


HH Theyab bin Mohamed opens Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Diseases in Children in London

t will be a milestone in the history of Great Ormond Street Hospital. A fight against the Big C. A plaque was unveiled to mark the completion of the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in London. On behalf of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has visited the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children in London to unveil a plaque, marking the completion of the building. A partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, the Zayed Centre was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak in 2014. The Zayed Centre for Research

into Rare Disease in Children will see hundreds of clinicians and researchers come together under one roof to advance treatments for children with rare and complex diseases. “The work of the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children will facilitate pioneering treatments and cures for children with the aim to accelerate ground-breaking outcomes to benefit more and more children,” said His Highness Sheikh

Theyab on behalf of Sheikha Fatima. “We are thankful to the Centre for its amazing efforts to protect the wellbeing of future generations.” “The late Sheikh Zayed’s vision continues, not by ancestry, but by those who share his values,” he added. “The Zayed Centre’s ambition and commitment are proof that his legacy is alive and continues to thrive.” The celebration event was also

P R I N T • D I G I TA L • O N L I N E • E V E N T S •

attended by Mansour Abdullah Khalfan Belhoul, UAE Ambassador to the UK; Matthew Shaw, CEO of Great Ormond Street Hospital; Ros Smyth, Director of Institute of Child Health; representatives from the charity and patients and their families. The Centre includes an advanced suite of cleanrooms for the production of gene therapies, multiple tissue culture rooms for testing potential new treatments, a cardiac research

suite with facilities for 3-d modelling as well an open plan laboratory with 140 laboratory bench positions. In addition to the gift from Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, generous support for the Zayed Centre for Research was also provided by Research England, The Wolfson Foundation, John Connolly & Odile Griffith, and Scott Mead & family. The Centre will welcome its first patients later this year.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:




he end of Article 370 heralds a new beginning for many Kashmiris. Now Kashmiris will not require any certificate to prove they are Kashmiris. This demise has given freedom from bondage, freedom from having to live with a stamp and, above all, freedom to exercise the right of choice. The bondage was cruel for the Kashmiri woman whose life decisions were totally tied to her father or husband as conditioned by Article 370. She had no freedom and in case she did, the sacrifice was unimaginable. To lose the right to your birthplace is one which cannot be compensated and the pain is something which cannot be put into words. But that’s how it used to be with the women in Kashmir before August 5, 2019. A Kashmiri woman’s state subject certificate was made on the basis of her father or her husband and not on her own individual basis. After her marriage, her certificate had to be renewed and a new one was issued on the basis of her husband. In case she married a nonKashmiri, then that was the end of her status as a citizen of Kashmir. Her children were not considered Kashmiri and they had no rights in the state. If Article 370 was detrimental to Kashmiri women, it had become gruelling for the minorities, especially for the Kashmiri Pandits to procure the certificates. The Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee the Valley in early 1990s and many of them lost their properties and documents. For them it was a struggle to prove themselves as Kashmiris. Having a state subject certificate helped them avail benefits of the schemes by the central and state governments, but in its absence no claim could be made to anything connected to Kashmir. Several Kashmiri Pandit organisations had taken up the matter of what they saw as the discriminatory attitude of the administration towards them. In view of the absence of the state subject certificates, the community feared a loss of identity. Now with Article 370 revoked, the community is heaving a sigh of relief. No longer will they have to prove that their children are Kashmiri state subjects and no longer will efforts be made to deny their community strength. The scrapping of Article 370 has brought cheers to many groups and communities from Kashmir. This is one death that is being celebrated in the whole country. As a new era begins in Jammu and Kashmir, there will be no boundaries and bondages and no Kashmiri will need a certificate of identity.

NO DEAL BREXIT TO DERAIL NHS My real worry is a more right-wing government would use a workforce crisis following Brexit with no deal, compounded by the NHS funding crisis, to tell the British public that a free universal health care is not affordable, and wash its hands of the NHS…writes Dr Kailash Chand


welcome Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s revised position on Brexit. “Labour will “do everything we can to take no deal off the table or stop a damaging deal of the sort Hunt or Johnson propose”. A no-deal Brexit threatens the very existence of the NHS. The UK will cease to be a member of the EU on 31th Oct 2019 if either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt are the Prime Minister. Forty years of accumulated legislation and regulations will no longer apply. It is increasingly clear that failure to reach a deal with the EU on the terms of Brexit would be a disaster for the NHS. The repercussions of a no-deal Brexit could be so catastrophic as to destabilise the NHS to the point of disintegration. A leaked letter between NHS chiefs accuses government of ‘radio silence’ and ‘mixed messages’ on Brexit planning, and warns that current plans threaten pharmaceutical supply chains, disease control and the NHS’s EEA workforce. The threat of medicines and related shortages has provoked online concern among patients, especially those requiring specialised equipment manufactured abroad. Diabetes UK is rightly concerned about securing supplies of insulin for diabetic patients. Patients with rare diseases could lose access to European Reference Networks. Elderly British residents in countries such as Spain may decide to return, placing demands on an already over-burdened general practice and social care system. There would be no basis for recognition of medical qualifications obtained in the EU. Pharmaceutical companies would have to seek separate authorisation to market their products in the UK and EU. A vacuum of political oversight following a no-deal Brexit could lead to further moves to reduce access, safety and quality Leaving the EU with no deal has far-reaching implications for general practice too. A large percentage of the workforce consists of non-UK qualified GPs – over a fifth of the workforce of the GP workforce is from the EEA and elsewhere – and research has shown these GPs tend to work longer hours, are older and serve more deprived areas than their UK counterparts. Brexit with no deal, or indeed a hard Brexit, would exaggerate the recruitment and retention crisis and threaten delivery of care, particularly in deprived areas. Since the referendum the number of foreign EU nationals joining the NHS has plummeted from 2,500 to 200 a quarter, NHS Digital statistics show . Furthermore, faced with a collapsing economy and an NHS struggling to control increasing demands, the treasury may lose patience and take an even firmer grip on the services’ finances. If the economy nose dives as predicted with no-deal Brexit, the chancellor of a new administration could even seek to end the service’s (already leaking) funding ‘ring-fence’. More importantly, a vacuum of political oversight following

CHAIRMAN Haji M Abdul Azeez Ravuther CONSULTING EDITOR VP Ramachandran GENERAL MANAGER Iqbal Azeez EDITOR Anasudhin Azeez 07877360663 MANAGING EDITOR Taha Coburn-Kutay 07841654502 ASSOCIATE EDITOR Rahul Laud @asianlitemedia

DEPUTY EDITOR NEWS Rafeek Ravuther DEPUTY EDITORS UK Dr Sekhar Vemuri Ragasudha Vinjamuri DEPUTY EDITOR LIFE & STYLE Soniya Kirpalani BUSINESS EDITOR Sharon Jandu ADVISORS Kiran Mehta (Finance) Shankar Devarashe y (Accounts) Dr. Geetha Upadhyaya (Health & Culture) Nazir Afsal (Legal)

a no-deal Brexit could lead to further moves to reduce access, safety and quality of patient care. Most of the CCGs in England are already quietly outlining plans to close and downscale local services across the country, and withdraw a wide range of treatments from the NHS, from hearing aids to IVF treatment and hip replacements. The repercussions of Brexit with leadership of the likes of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt could be so catastrophic as to reduce the NHS to a skeleton service offering poor quality ‘emergency services’ only. Boris Johnson has told us that ‘if people have to pay for NHS services, they will value them more’. Hunt as health secretary stayed true to the conviction he stated in a book he co-authored with Oliver Letwin MP, about finishing off the NHS to replace it with US-style insurance system. My real worry is a more right-wing government would use a workforce crisis following Brexit with no deal, compounded by the NHS funding crisis, to tell the British public that a free universal health care is not affordable, and wash its hands of the NHS.


ADVERTS/CIRCULATION 0787 7360 663 020 3290 1853 0161 209 3358 LONDON


Office Gold, Building 3, Chiswick Park, London W4 5YA

NEWSDESK Aravind Rajeev

Asian Lite Peter House, Oxford Street Manchester M1 5AN

INDIA BUREAU Asian Lite Aa ukara, Ansar Lane Alwaye, Kochi-683101 0091-984-7920104

Asian Lite Media FZE PO Box 6727, Dubai, UAE

US BUREAU Tausif Malik



Published By: SAAZ DigiTech UK Ltd Asian Lite, Boardman House, 64 Broadway, Stra ord, London EN15 1NT

We adhere to the Standards Code adopted by IMPRESS. If you’d like to make a complaint please visit: h ps:// contact-us/ @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

Imran Goes Nawaz Way; Faces Army’s Wrath When Nawaz Sharif spilled the beans over Mumbai attacks, Imran wants to prosecute him for treason. Now the Naya Pakistan Prime Minister confessed in the US that Pakistan based terrorists are out of control and fueling troubles in the region. In April, Mr Khan in Tehran told the world media that Pak based terrorist are attacking targets in Iran. All these confessions are considered in Pakistan as an act of high treason punishable by death under Article 6 of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan. But who was badly hurt by Imran’s confessions? The civilian government cannot be so badly hurt because cross-border terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy is not fathered by it but by the military. Thus, it explains whom Imran has hurt the most…writes Dr Sakariya Kareem


hat’s wrong with this Khan? President Trump is known for his ‘shooting from the hip’ unpredictable foreign policy. But it is unbelievable to witness Oxford-educated seasoned politician Imran Khan digging his own grave by undermining his country’s political credibility by admitting the lies of the old governments. Now the foreign governments will think twice to believe what the Pakistani leaders are uttering in public and in private. Imran said that successive governments in Pakistan did not tell the truth to the US, in particular in the last 15 years. He also admitted that there were 40 different terror groups operating in his country. “We were fighting the US war on terror,” Imran was quoted as saying. “Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground.” He was addressing a Capitol Hill reception hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chairperson of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. Ms Lee is also a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans. Part of the reason for this, Imran Khan explained to the lawmakers, was that the Pakistani governments were not in control. “There were 40 different militant groups operating within Pakistan. So Pakistan went through a period where people like us were worried about could we survive it. So while the US expected us to do more and help the US win the war, Pakistan at that time was fighting for its own existence,” he said. Mr Khan said it was very important that he met President Donald Trump and other top American leaders. “We have explained to them that the way forward is: number one, the relationship has to be based on mutual trust,” he said, claiming that he would be honest in telling the US what Pakistan could do in the peace process. Pakistan, Mr Khan said, was trying its best to get the Taliban on the table to start this dialogue. “So far, we

U.S. President Donald Trump with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

have done pretty well,” he said and cautioned the US that the process was not going to be easy. “Do not expect this to be easy, because it is a very complicated situation in Afghanistan. But rest assured, we would be trying our best. The whole country is standing behind me. The Pakistan Army, the security forces, all are behind me. We all have one objective and it is exactly the same objective as the US, which is to have a peaceful solution as quickly as possible in Afghanistan,” Mr Khan said. Washington: US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at their meeting at White House in Washington on July 22, 2019. (Photo: Twitter / @PTIofficial) by . US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at their meeting at White House in Washington on July 22, 2019. (Photo: Twitter / @PTIofficial) During his visit to Tehran, Khan publicly acknowledged that terrorists in his country were carrying out attacks inside Iran. At a joint Press Conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani he said: “I know Iran suffered from terrorism by groups operating from Pakistan….” Confessions of a PM This public confession caused furor back home as it mitigated Pakistan’s studied policy not to make any confessions about its policy of crossborder terrorism against Afghanistan, India and Iran. Worse, Imran Khan’s confession trivialized his Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s charge a day before in Islamabad that Iran was connected to the killing of 14 Pakistan Navy, Air Force and coastal

guard personnel who come were taken off their buses on the Makran Coastal highway and shot dead on April 18 – four days before Imran’s visit to Tehran. Imran’s confession in Tehran was considered in Pakistan as an act of high treason punishable by death under Article 6 of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan. But who was badly hurt by Imran’s confession? The civilian government cannot be so badly hurt because cross-border terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy is not fathered by it but by the military. Thus, it explains whom Imran has hurt the most. Bold Pathan Imran spoke the truth in Tehran without realising this truth is haram for his protagonists in GHQ. Possibly the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR), with its expertise in manipulating the print and electronic media, played some role in raising the storm over Imran’s truth. Nawaz Sharif nominated his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif as the candidate for the Prime Minister’s office (File Photo: Xinhua/PID/IANS) But the same truth Imran himself could not digest in May 2018, when sacked prime minister Nawaz Sharif told English-language Dawn that the Pakistan State allowed non-State actors to function in the country and also allowed them to kill more than 150 persons in Mumbai in 2008. “Why the trial of those involved in the attack had not been completed so far?” he asked. This truth very badly rattled the Army. Imran, its protégé then in the opposition at once approached the Lahore High Court – with a petition that Nawaz Sharif should be tried for high

treason under Article 6 of the 1973 constitution. His lawyers conveniently ignored the constitutional provision that a case under Article 6 has to be filed by the government. Therefore, Imran’s petition was not heard. This article will be incomplete if we leave out Sharif’s own connivance at the ISI sponsored bombing in Mumbai in 1993. He was then the Army’s blueeyed boy. It is to be noted here that present Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif both have admitted and deplored at different times the use of Pakistan’s soil for cross-border terrorism against neighbours. There is no evidence to show that any other civilian Prime Minister tried to show this boldness. Yes, before them, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was not beholder to the Army, tried to smash the cross-border terrorism policy by reprimanding the ISI for intervention in Jalabad in Afghanistan and by ordering removing camps for Sikh insurgents in Pakistan in 1989. Sharif called her security risk for Pakistan. Now that Imran and Nawaz Sharif both have publicly condemned the use of Pakistan’s soil for cross-border terrorism, will they pick up courage to join hands against this policy to pullout their “god-given” country from the scourge of poverty and backwardness. Because the state of Pakistan chose terrorism as a political weapon it has become the region’s most backward country despite all its boast of being a nuclear power. During and after Gen Ziaul Haq’s military dictatorship, many newspapers and thinkers were warning that Pakistan’s Kashmir policy was turning the country into a cradle of terrorism. Terrorists who received the state’s blessings for fighting in Kashmir, they said, would one day turn against the State of Pakistan. They proved prophetic. Today the country has 70 terrorist organisations. Some of them target Afghanistan, some target India and other target Iran; others target Pakistani Army and yet other target their own countrymen for sectarian communal and other reasons. As a result foreign and Pakistani investors avoid this country and even foreign sports team boycott Pakistan for fear of terrorism. It is not only these 70 terrorists outfits who threaten Pakistan, the

Qamar Javed Bajwa

country’s madarsas and government schools are breeding Jehadis who join terrorist / militant organisations. An article in The Nation “Counter Terrorism – The Last Mile” has put terrorism in Pakistan in five categories, (1) Religious and ideological terrorism against the State of Pakistan (e.g. Tehrik-i-Taliban, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda), (2) Religious sectarian terrorism (e.g. Sipah-e-Sahaba, Pakistan, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi), (3) Sectarian / provincial warfare (militant wings of MQM and Baluch Liberation Front, (4) Cross-border militant outfit, (e.g. Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-eToyyaba) and (5) The apparatus of religious, social and ideological intolerance (e.g. Lal Masjid and other hate spewing madarsas). The terrorist organisations like the cross-border terrorist Jamaat-udDawa and Jaish-e-Mohammad have their sub-organisations which usually don’t come into the limelight. The government has banned 11 of such sub-organisations belonging to the two terror groups in the wake of Financial Action Task Force (FATF)’s warning to Pakistan to control money laundering and terror funding or be blacklisted and the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council on May 1. As far as compliance with the FATF’s concerned, if the past is any guide, is a wishful thinking. For example, instead of being ashamed of the designation of its national Azhar as a global terrorist by the UNSC its Foreign Minister proudly claimed that this designation of Azhar was a victory for Pakistan because the UNSC did not take into account his terror activities in Kashmir.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN: WHO IS BREWING TROUBLE IN THE REGION? The recent talks in Beijing to bring peace in Afghanistan contain four players - Pakistan, US, Russia and China besides ofϔicials representing the Afghan government. The quartet tactically kept India at bay. Are they going to strike peace? How can you trust Taliban and who is the real culprit spiking peace in Afghanistan? ….Rifan Ahmed Khan explores


n its latest report, the United Nations’ Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team has pointed out that the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), two key Pak-sponsored groups, were responsible for training and providing shelter to a large number of foreign terrorists. Terrorist groups sponsored and sheltered by Pakistan are the main stumbling block in ending decades of violence in Afghanistan. There are over 20 regional and international terrorist groups fighting the Afghan and US forces in Afghanistan and almost all of them are from Pakistan. These men, trained mostly by retired and serving Pakistan Army officials, number between 8000 to 10000. To quote the report, “Foreign fighters continue to operate under the authority of the Taliban in multiple Afghan provinces at undiminished levels.” The Taliban is supported and protected by Pakistan in multiple ways. The report, without mentioning Pakistan’s active and evident support, pointed out that the Taliban as a result had total control of 25 districts in Afghanistan and was engaged in a pitched battle with the Afghan forces in some 200 out of the country’s 421 districts. Not only has the Taliban flourished under the patronage of Pakistan, so has Al Qaida. The report’s warning in this regard is ominous: “AlQaida has grown stronger operating under the Taliban umbrella across Afghanistan and is more active than in recent years.” Al Qaeda had lost much of its strength and influence after its founder Osama bin Laden, living under the protection of Pakistan Army in Abbottabad, was killed by the US Special Forces in May 2011. Since then, the global terrorist group, under the leadership of bin Laden’s son, has expanded and consolidated in the Afghan-Pakistan borders, especially in Badakhshan and Paktika districts. The report pointed out that al-Qaida was “intensifying its concentration in the Afghan-Pakistan border area in close cooperation with Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and the Haqqani Network.” The combined force of Taliban and al Qaeda, with the active support of the Haqqani Network and LeT, has created a sanctuary of sorts in Pakistan and Afghanistan for terrorists from different countries. These safe havens are in Pakistan’s tribal agen-

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

cies of Mohmand, Bajaur, Orakzai and South and North Waziristan. In Afghanistan, the terrorist hubs are located in Kunar, Loya Paktiya and Zabul. These safe havens are controlled and managed by Pak-based groups like the Haqqani Network and LeT, besides the Taliban which has thrived under the patronage of Pakistan Army since 2001. A Haqqani Network division with 1,800 to 2,000 men lead the Taliban operations in the provinces of Khost, Paktiya and Paktika. The power and influence of the Haqqanis can be gauged from their domination of shadow government positions like that of shadow provincial governor and district governor posts in these three districts. The Haqqani Network is helped by the cadres of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. One faction operates in Afghanistan, as part of the Haqqanis and the other loyalists of TTP founder Baitullah Mehsud, operate in the tribal areas, mostly against Pakistan. After the TTP leader Maulana Fazlullah’s death in a drone strike in June 2018, TTP is now led by Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, a religious scholar and veteran fighter. Under his command, the group, with a cadre strength of 3500, has gained strength and operates along the Afghan-Pak border areas of Kunar, Paktiya and Paktika. The Kunar province has become the hotbed of terror. The LeT has been active in this province for long and has considerable grass-root support in the area to facilitate recruitment, training and fund-raising activities. According to Afghan officials, the LeT cadre strength was about 500 in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. The group was earlier quite active in the area, working as a mediator between the Taliban and the Islamic State but has given up this role recently.

The other Pakistani group active in Afghanistan is Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which has split into two factions. The group itself was formed after a split in the TTP. With more than half of the cadre in its ranks, Jamaat Hizbi Ahrar, has gained considerable influence

under the leadership of Maulvi Umar Khorasani. The other faction has retained the older name Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. Both are active in Nangarhar, one of the border districts of Afghanistan. The cadre hails from Mohmand Agency of Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Taliban directly controls the Central Asian groups in Afghanistan. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has a cadre strength of not more than 100, half of whom are relatives; the group operates in Faryab and Jowzjan. Another small group is the one led by Khatiba Imam al-Bukhari with about 40 fighters. It is affiliated with al Qaida and carries out terrorist operations for the Taliban. The Islamic Jihad Group, controlled by the Taliban, has about 50 men and is mostly active in Takhar and Badakhshan. Some of these Central Asian groups have not given up the mission

of carrying out attacks in Central Asia, the Taliban has prevented them from doing so. The Taliban is not keen on being branded as an international terrorist organisation. The possibility of these groups returning to their older objectives cannot be discounted once the Afghan reconciliation process makes progress. These groups can shift their allegiance to IS and carry out international attacks. For instance, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, which operates in Badakhshan and consists of approximately 400 foreign terrorist fighters, has sought the help of al Qaida and the Taliban in their terrorist activities outside Afghanistan. The group is active in Xinjiang province in northwest China. The group is known to have pockets of safe havens in Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in Pakistan.

INDOǧAFGHAN TIES India continues its development works in Afghanistan, inks 10 MoUs


ven as the US, China and Russia included Pakistan in their talks with the Taliban on the Afghanistan peace process, leaving out India, New Delhi quietly went ahead with its development partnership with Kabul, inking 10 MoUs for building roads, buildings, schools, markets places across 10 Afghan provinces. “India & Afghanistan further expanded Development Partnership cooperation by signing 10 MoUs of people centric projects’ implementation in 10 Afghan provinces. MoUs signed by Ambassador @ vkumar1969 ,Economy Minister @ mmmastoor & 10 line Ministers in presence of CEO Dr Abdullah Abdullah,” the Indian embassy in Kabul tweeted. These projects are funded under the High Impact Community Development (HICDP) scheme implemented by India in Afghanistan. “Since 2001, India has undertaken projects and programmes for over $2 billion. In 2016, India pledged an additional $1 billion over the next five years as part of its renewed commitment to assist Afghanistan emerge as a stable, secure, peaceful, united and prosperous and pluralistic nation,” said a press statement from the embassy. Since 2005, India has committed over $200 million to support over 550 projects throughout Afghanistan under the HICDP scheme. The projects for which MoUs

were inked on Monday are related to construction of buildings for market places, cultural halls, classrooms, jirga halls, administrative offices, laying of roads and water supply networks. The projects are to be implemented in the provinces of Daikundi, Panjshir, Ghazni, Uruzgan, Nangahar, Khost, Farah, Maidan Wardak, and Takhar. The Pentagon has in a statement confirmed that India has transferred eight Mi-35 attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force. The Pentagon report adds that the transfer of Mi-35 attack choppers “marks a significant departure from India’s previous policy of providing only non-lethal military assistance. Pakistani sensitivities towards Indian involvement in the country ultimately limited the assistance.” “Additionally, the Indian military provides procurement and training support to help professionalize the Afghan military and to improve its vehicle maintenance capabilities,” it added, Khaama news reported. It also said that India has traditionally had strong ties with Afghanistan and remains the largest regional donor to the country ($3 billion since 2001). According to Pentagon, Indian aid to Afghanistan focuses primarily on four main categories: humanitarian assistance, major infrastructure projects, small and community-based projects, and education and capacity development. The Pentagon said India desires

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah

a stable Afghanistan that does not harbour terrorists who could target Indian interests and who do not have close ties with Pakistan. Pentagon said there are no reports indicating that India has taken any serious action during the reporting period that would affect the situation in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said: “In the event of a US drawdown in Afghanistan, India likely will attempt to continue its support to Afghanistan and try to limit Taliban, Pakistani, and Chinese influence. A significant deterioration of security conditions in Afghanistan, however, may adversely affect the ability of India to provide aid.” Representatives of China, Russia, and the US held their third consultation on the Afghan peace process in Beijing on July 10-11 after which they requested Pakistan to join for a surprise quadrilateral meeting. The US has also proposed that Afghanistan’s presidential elections, scheduled for September 28, should be postponed until the peace process with the Taliban is completed. India has maintained that the Afghan peace process should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

Dhakha-Beijing Ties Crucial for Regional Peace Nowadays, the world is polycentric. Rather, if China’s relationship with Dhaka is sweetened, India’s tension will also decrease. Because Modi has started bilateral discussions with China, in connection with trade relationship, in his second innings…writes JAYANTA GHOSAL


angladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina just returned from her first official visit to China after the formation of her government in Dhaka. She was there for 4-5 days in establishing Bangladesh’s strategic relationship with China that attracted the attention of the entire world. This strategic relationship, however, is not very sudden as its inception was in the 2016. But this time, Sheikh Hasina has received a special diplomatic status in China. In consonance with that, different questions have also arisen in India at different diplomatic levels, along with a few news items from Dhaka. According to them, Bangladesh is trying to overcome the dependency on India. In other words, India’s overbearing attitude to Bangladesh may reduce after Hasina’s visit to China. These are some views that have concerned India about the visit. After reading these articles, I tried to accumulate the government of India’s actual reaction in this regard, whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his External Affairs Minister Jayashankar are really annoyed over Hasina’s China visit. I would like to inform you my experiences have been gathered through diplomatic sources. In brief, India is treating this visit from a very positive perspective. Rather, foreign ministry sources say that India is the biggest gainer in improving relations between China and Bangladesh. India would be happy if

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

there is no misunderstanding between Dhaka and Beijing. Global politics is rapidly changing. Today, with modern thinking, it is for sure that we have come a long way since 1971 and the formation of Bangladesh. The war of liberation was the main reason behind the formation of a new country. The fight of Bengalis living in East Pakistan against the then West Pakistan was historical. There was also the politics of projecting the war as one between India and Pakistan giving less importance to the liberation movement. Today, I should say, it would be unfair for Pakistan to carry the burden of wounded history after so many years. The huge barrier of old thinking can only be broken through proper dialogue. Bangladesh is India’s friend and Pakistan’s guardian is China. There-

fore, the naive idea is that China and Bangladesh are in opposition. But it would be a very simplified version at the diplomatic level. This simplification can only be wiped out if all countries speak with each other. Sheikh Hasina should meet President Xi often. Likewise, I want India to talk to China again and again, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing. One of my favourite teachers at our college, Satyabrata Chakraborty, had once explained how the roof over so-called sovereign countries had blown away. Everyone should maintain a close relationship with each other. Moreover, the Cold War period is over. Nowadays, the world is polycentric. Rather, if China’s relationship with Dhaka is sweetened, India’s tension will also decrease. Because Modi has started bilateral discussions with

China, in connection with trade relationship, in his second innings. Whatever happened in Bhutan’s Doklam, India has left it behind and is willing to move forward. China’s relations with Bangladesh at this juncture should not be negative. The way the Chinese leadership accorded a red carpet welcome to Sheikh Hasina is not very common. Chinese Premier Li hosted a special dinner for Sheikh Hasina. Nine bilateral agreements were signed during this visit. But the biggest issue is China’s offer of help to Bangladesh on the Rohingya problem. Two of the countries also issued a joint statement based on the agreements and negotiations. The master stroke of Sheikh Hasina’s visit was the dialogue with China on the Rohingya issue. China’s huge financial grants for Rohingyas are very important. But it seems to me that the strategy of increasing Chinese influence over Myanmar is bigger than the monetary help. The Rohingyas, who left Rakhine amidst severe torture, were pressured to get back to their own country. Hasina build the pressure. Myanmar is particularly dependent on China financially. So, putting pressure on Myanmar through China is remarkable diplomacy on Hasina’s part. Besides, activating China on the Rohingya issue is not diplomacy of opposing India. Hence, whoever is thinking that India is unhappy with Hasina’s China visit is wrong. Diplomacy does not go in a straight line. Since 1971, the

India-Bangladesh relationship has not always been linear. The diplomatic relationship between these two countries doesn’t depend on their sizes and capacities. Diplomatic bilateral relations are inverted. Narendra Modi understands this fact. In order to keep the relationship between the two countries intact, the relationship needs to be looked at so that it is not taken for granted. In this modern era of globalization, no state can stick with the “walk alone” principle. India accounts for 78.86 per cent of Bangladesh’s total borders, whereas Myanmar accounts for only 6.05 per cent. In terms of size, India is twenty-three times bigger than Bangladesh and more than four times larger than Pakistan. Yet, Modi understands how important Bangladesh is to India today. In Bangladesh, some the fundamentalist and vulnerable people question Awami League why friendship with China has not been deepened to pressure India. In fact, not only the Awami League, also Khaleda’s BNP doesn’t want anti-India politics. On the contrary, a BNP delegation is trying to establish bilateral trade with India. Since the assassination of Mujibur Rahman, Dhaka has been active in opposing India. Even in India, in this regard, some motivated people still want to oppose Dhaka under pressure with a strong attitude about Bangladesh. In my opinion, both of these approaches are wrong.

NEPAL URGED TO HELP VICTIMS Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International say justice stalled for conϔlict-era crimes in Nepal….reports Asian Lite News


he Nepal government has failed to fulfil its commitment to provide justice for the victims of the decade-long armed conflict, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International said. The organisations echoed statements by victims and human rights groups about the Nepal government’s inaction on addressing conflict-era human rights violations, and a lack of transparency in the appointment of commissioners to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to the Commission on the

Investigation of Enforced Disappearances. “We have seen no evidence so far that the authorities of Nepal are serious about fulfilling their obligation to investigate conflict-era violations and bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts,” said Raju Chapagai, South Asia researcher at Amnesty International. “If the commitment to human rights obligations was as unflinching as claimed by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, the government would have acted diligently to deliver on its tran-

sitional justice responsibilities.” After being elected in 2018, Oli renewed promises that the legal framework governing the transitional justice process would be brought into conformity with Nepal’s international human rights law obligations, as the Supreme Court had repeatedly directed. However, the government never amended the law, and instead pushed forward - without adequate consultation - with the establishment of a committee to recommend appointments to the transitional justice bodies. “The failure of the govern- ment to ensure truth, justice, and reparations dismaying disregard for the protection of hument to deliver on its commit- for the victims of conflict-era abuses shows a man rights,” said Human Rights Watch.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Kerala offers support to wife of Sanjiv Bhatt


he traditional rival political fronts in Kerala -- the ruling CPI-M led Left and the Congress led UDF opposition -- on Wednesday assured all support to Shweta Bhatt, wife of now jailed former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Bhatt called on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who assured her that he will take up the issue of her husband who has been jailed in a fraudulent case . “I will take up the issue with other Chief Minister’s in the country who has the same attitude besides

will try to rally all the Kerala MP’s. We will also plan for a resolution to be passed in the Kerala Assembly on this,” said Vijayan to Bhatt and her son. “Kerala is really different and am very happy to have heard the strong support he has given to us,” said Bhatt. Earlier in the day, she called on Leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, who assured her of all help. Sanjiv Bhatt, who filed an affi- Indian Police Service in 2011 and davit in the Supreme Court in 2011 later sacked by the Ministry of Home against the role of then Gujarat Chief Affairs in August 2015. Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 SPACE PARK IN KERALA riots, was first suspended from the In a bid to become a major manu-

facturing hub for space-related technology, and attract global start-ups working on research and development in the space sector, the Kerala government will set up the country’s first state-of-the-art Space Systems Park in the state capital. The proposed park will come up at the Technocity campus, the newest destination for IT companies. It will house the APJ Abdul Kalam Knowledge Centre and Space Museum, developed with investments from ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) The state government will transfer 20.01 acres of land as lease to the Kerala State Information Technology

Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL) to develop the space park. The KSITIL will hand over the land required for the APJ Abdul Kalam Knowledge Centre and Space Museum to ISRO through a lease agreement. A government order has already been issued in this regard. The entire project will be implemented by the Electronics and IT Department, government of Kerala. “With the space park materialising, the Kerala capital will become a key hub of space technology in the country, besides generating numerous jobs,” said M.Sivasankar, Secretary, Electronics and IT, Government of Kerala.

Gokulam Kerala sign Brazilian Bruno Pelissari


LONDON: Asian Lite International SAAZ DigiTech Ltd Boardman House, 64 Broadway, Stratford, London EN15 1NT. TEL: 0044 2032901853, Email:

okulam Kerala FC have signed Brazilian midfielder Bruno Pelissari for the upcoming season. The player has joined the training camp held at EMS Corporation Stadium on Saturday and will feature for the Malabarians in the Durand Cup. Bruno is the second foreign signing of the Malabarians after Ugandan striker Henry Kisekka. The Brazilian, who has played for the Indian Super League sides Chennaiyin and Delhi Dynamos, has immense experience playing in India. He has played in India for three seasons and has scored seven goals. “He is a wonderful player, who can create lot of chances. It is great to see such a player in the team. He has trained along with us only for a couple of training sessions but I can see the talent in him,” said Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Fernando Santiago Varela. “This year we have quality foreign recruits. Henry Kisekka and Marcus Joseph are expected to be deadly combination upfront while Andre Ettienne is a solid defender. Now we have Bruno Pelissari in the middle of the park. Along with the local talents, I think we have good squad this year,” said the coach. “I have played in ISL before and I have pretty good understanding of Indian football. I think I-League will be a good challenge for me. I look forward to a good season and hope to bring glory to the club I play in,” said Bruno Pelissari. The Malabarians will leave for Kolkata for the Durand Cup on August 1. The club is grouped along with I League club TRAU FC, ISL side Chennaiyin FC and the Indian Army and will play its first match on August 8 at Howrah Stadium in West Bengal. Gokulam Kerala FC have been busy in the transfer market completing the transfers of five more players so far. Other than Bruno and Henry, winger Malemnganba Meitei, wingback Ashok Singh, wing-back Mohammed Salah, defender Alex Saji and Lalromawia have been signed for Gokulam. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:


India, Saudi Ties Enter New Phase Centuries of spice trade, the introduction of Islam shortly after the death of Prophet Mohammed, British India having the largest Muslim population in the world and the al-Saud’s commitments to Non-alignment did not transform the IndoSaudi relations into a strategic partnership….writes Prof. P.R. Kumaraswamy, JNU


ince Narendra Modi was first elected Prime Minister in May 2014, there has been a perceptible shift in India’s approach towards the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For centuries, though, the Arabian Peninsula figured prominently in India’s social, cultural and economic dimensions, Riyadh’s importance in the geostrategic realms has been limited, at least until recently. Centuries of spice trade, the introduction of Islam shortly after the death of Prophet Mohammed, British India having the largest Muslim population in the world and the al-Saud’s commitments to Non-alignment did not transform the Indo-Saudi relations into a strategic partnership. The domination of pan-Arabism championed by Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser was so overwhelming that the potentials of modern Saudi Arabia did not enamour India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Hence, the political contacts were few and far in between and even the Kingdom emerging as the primary supplier of crude oil and a second home to millions of Indian expatriate workers did not materially affect the transactional nature of the Indo-Saudi relations. Moreover, the bilateral relations were a prisoner of India’s overall foreign policy whereby Pakistan became its centre of gravity. The historical legacy and the Kashmir issue resulted in Pakistan dominating New Delhi’s approach towards the Middle East. But, driven by its great power aspirations, since the early 2000s India delinked Pakistan from its Middle East policy, especially towards

Modi with the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman at King Saud Guest Palace, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

the Gulf Arab countries. This shift was primarily due to India’s economic growth and ascendancy since the early 1990s and last year, it had overtaken France to emerge as the sixth largest economy in the world and is poised to surpass Brexit-ridden Britain soon. Upon being re-elected this May, Prime Minister Modi declared his intention to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024. The economic growth and prosperity encouraged India to strengthen its Gulf policy

Arms Sales to Arab partners


he US Senate has failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto of three resolutions blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Trump had earlier used his presidential veto to override resolutions passed by both chambers of Congress preventing the sale. Citing the humanitarian crisis caused by the Saudi-led military campaign against Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US Congress had put on hold the pending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. But according to Trump, blocking the sale of weapons would “weaken America’s global competitiveness” and damage relations with allies. Senators voted 45-40, 45-39 and 46-41 on the override attempts, falling well short of the two-thirds majority needed, the US media reported. The Trump administration announced in May that it would invoke the “emergency” provision of the Arms Export Control Act to complete the $8.1 billion arms sales to US regional partners in the Middle East to deter Iranian threats. Tensions between the US and Iran have been tense after Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018.

away from its traditional competition and rivalry with its neighbour. While Pakistan continues to be important in its strategic calculations, it no longer shapes India’s Gulf policy. However, since his election in 2014, Prime Minister Modi had significantly transformed the relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As part of his penchant for summits and visits, he has actively courted, cultivated and engaged the Saudi leadership. Through bilateral visits and multilateral meetings, he began reaching out to the al-Sauds in the Brisbane meeting of the G-20 leaders in November 2014. Since then he had used the G-20 forum to meet the Saudi leadership in Antalya (November 2015), Hangzhou (September 2016), Buenos Aires (November 2018) and Osaka (June 2019). No meeting took place during the Hamburg summit in July 2017 as a junior minister represented the Kingdom. In addition, Prime Minister Modi visited the Kingdom in March 2016 and hosted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in February this year. During their meeting in Osaka, the Crown Prince invited Modi to be one of the chief guests for an international conference hosted by the Kingdom later this year. Interestingly, the Kingdom will host the next G-20 summit scheduled for November 2020. In short, since 2014, the leaders of both countries have met as many as seven

times and are expected to meet at least twice within the next year. Such intense Indo-Saudi contacts were unprecedented in the history of their relations. The political engagements are complemented by the robust economic ties between the two. The Kingdom has been India’s primary trade partner and with US$34 billion, the Kingdom was its fourth largest trading country in 2018-19. The Kingdom is the largest supplier of crude oil to India. It is also home to over 2.8 million Indian expatriate community, the largest in the Kingdom, who contribute substantial remittances to their families back home. During his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman increased the number of Indian Haj pilgrims to 200,000, making them the second largest hajjis after Indonesia. During his February visit, the Crown Prince indicated that the Kingdom would invest up to US$100 billion in India’s infrastructure projects and there are suggestions that Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, would pursue two-way investments with state-run Indian oil companies. Efforts are on to secure the Saudi participation in various energy projects in India, including a US$44 billion refinery planned in the western coast of India. Besides the burgeoning political and economic ties, both countries recognize the dangers of terrorism and extremism and are committed to fighting the menace of religious extremism of the kind manifested by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Daesh. Unlike some of the western countries, the Kingdom has been quietly sending back criminals wanted in India. Above all, the Kingdom has pledged to increase its energy supplies should India face difficulties over oil imports from the Islamic Republic of Iran due to sanctions by the Trump Administration. For its part, India has been understanding of the Saudi concerns over perceived threats from Iran and is committed to supporting the social reforms undertaken by the Crown Prince. Seen in this broader context, Modi’s resounding election victory should boost the Indo-Saudi relations and transform the Kingdom into being a pivot to New Delhi’s Middle East policy. (Professor P.R. Kumaraswamy teaches the contemporary Middle East in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the co-author of India’s Saudi Policy: Bridge to the Future published earlier this year by Palgrave Macmillan. The views expressed are personal.)

Modi with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi



pear-heading India’s outreach to the Middle East in defence cooperation, the Indian Military Academy (IMA) will train the United Arab Emirates (UAE) troopers. As part of the programme a 20-member UAE contingent reached the IMA, Spokesman Lt Col Amit Dagar said. The 7-week training, between July 18 and August 31, would involve various drills, the bedrock of discipline in the armed forces, Lt Col Dagar said. The army has been facilitating this kind of training engagements with a large number of militaries. However, this is the first time that the UAE officers and soldiers will be trained at the IMA. The interaction among troopers would go a long way in enhancing the relations between the two countries, the spokesman said. The UAE had participated in the 2017 Republic Day parade as a leading contingent, he added.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Indradhanush portrays rich Indian Diversity SPECIAL REPORT BY ASIAN LITE


iji dance of Arunachal Pradesh, Rongmei dance of Manipur, Siddi dance of Karnataka and Gujarat, Kalbelia of Rajasthan and Thiruvadikala of Kerala have enthralled the packed hall of audiences at the Nehru Centre recently. Titled “Indradhanush”, the program aims to highlight the colourful tribal heritage and dance forms of India. “Miji or Sajalong have an interesting propensity towards nature-based worship,and are a distinct group in Arunachal Pradesh. Rongmei or Kabui in Manipur area are also animistic and nature worshippers, with vibrant drapes and dance. With environmental conservation as a core issue globally, these two dances perfectly fitted into the context, besides displaying the rich tribal culture and heritage never seen before in the UK. We may also recall that the UK has recently declared climate emergency, hence portraying these dances and cultural background of the communities at this moment in time is also deeply contextual “ says Ragasudha Vinjamuri, chief organiser of the event, organised by Sanskruti Centre. “We aim to generate greater understanding and awareness of India’s tribal arts and project India’s cultural image to wider audiences” she adds. Messages from culture ministers of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, Taba Tedir and Jayantakumar Singh wishing the organisers and

performers all the best and expressing appreciation for highlighting tribal culture from their respective states, were read on the occasion. Speakers on the occasion were Dr Anand Arya, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Kings College Hospital, also serving as Vice President- OFBJP-UK, entrepreneur Dr Melissa Kapoor and Tushar Joge, who spoke on importance of promoting tribal arts, dance and Indian civilisation and tribal empowerment in the state of Maharashtra, having second largest population in the country. Ragasudha Vinjamuri outlined tribal population and the measures taken by the government to empower tribal communities economically, educationally and culturally. Sushil Rapatwar presented a tribute to tribal heroes and heroines who fought against British and who made India proud in arts, sports etc. These included Rani Gaidinliu, U Tirot Singh, Mathmor Jamoh, Moju Riba, Baichung Bhutia, Mary Kom, Kamala Siddi, OP Jaisha, Deepika Kumari and other eminent personalities. All the kaaryakaras, well wishers, event was compered by Dr Mrittunjoy Guha Majumdar. Kalyanashram, Purva Seema Vikas Prathishthan from North East area have been thanked for their help and support towards the program. Several community organisation members and different nationalities have attended the event and appreciated the rich content it delivered. RS Virdi, of P and I Wing represented the High Commission of India. @asianlitemedia

AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:



AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

AMAZON: ‘India ki apni dukaan’ For Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, his online super market is ‘India ki apni dukaan’….writes Asian Lite Box

A arrived in India on June 5, 2013 and for world’s top billionaire Jeff Bezos, has transformed the way the country buys and sells. Today, Amazon holds 30 per cent of the e-commerce market in India and has become the most-visited shopping site in the country. “As we say here at Amazon, it’s still Day 1, and I’m energized and humbled by the opportunities ahead. is ‘India ki apni dukaan’,” said Bezos. “From listening to music, playing bhajans, voice shopping, or even ordering a cab, Alexa can do everything. There are tens of thousands of third-party developers expanding Alexa’s capabilities for our India customers,” he wrote. Customers from 100 per cent of serviceable pin codes in India have placed orders on Amazon. Hundreds of thousands of Indian businesses now sell on After cementing its position in the ecommerce space, Amazon has launched several products like Amazon Echo, Prime Video, Prime subscription, Kindle, Alexa-enabled third-party devices, Amazon Music and Amazon Pay in India. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), Amazon Echo led the Indian

smart speakers market with 59 per cent share in 2018, followed by Google Home with 39 per cent unit share. In India, there are nearly eight third-party brands with 13 different devices that have Alexa built-in. Developers can now start building Alexa skills for customers in India with the new Hindi voice model available in Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). The Amazon Web Services (AWS) which is Amazon’s cloud-computing business accounted for $8.38 billion of revenue for the company in the second quarter (Q2) in 2019 -- a 37 per cent growth -- and India is right on top in embracing the AWS Cloud. AWS has been investing in India for a long time now. Today, AWS Cloud is being used by several active customers for various applica-

tions, including website hosting, big data analytics, ML/AI, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile applications and run mission-critical business applications. The AWS customers’ list includes HDFC Life, Ashok Leyland, Aditya Birla Finance, MakeMyTrip, redBus, L&T Infotech and several others. “Over the last few years, we have brought an ever-expanding set of capabilities to our customers in India across industries -- enterprises, governments and start-ups,” said Ed Lenta, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, AWS. AWS, that offers over 200 security compliances -- more than any other Cloud provider -- in May announced third availability zone in Mumbai Cloud region. To expand further in the country, Amazon India has introduced the Packaging-Free Shipment programme in nine Indian cities, which reduces waste by shipping orders in their original packaging and combining multiple shipments in a reusable crate or a corrugate box. Amazon has signed a lease with GMR Hyderabad Airport City to expand its largest Fulfilment Centre (FC) in India. The existing FC is spread across 400,000 square feet and will now be expanded by another 180,000 square feet.

In June, Amazon announced the launch of its largest delivery station in Telangana spread across more than 20,000 square feet. Amazon has three fulfilment centres in Hyderabad with more than 3.2 million cubic feet of storage space. It also has two sorting centres in Hyderabad with 100,000 square feet of processing capacity. There are about 90 Amazon owned and Service Partner delivery stations in Telangana. Amazon is hopeful that the Indian government would release a “stable predictable” e-commerce policy that would allow the retail behemoth keep investing and creating jobs in the country. The Commerce Ministry is currently in the process of finalising the national e-commerce policy and multinational firms have raised concerns over certain provisions of the draft policy. “Our engagement with the Indian government makes us optimistic about partnering and collaborating to seek a stable predicable policy that allow us to continue investing in our technology and infrastructure,” said Brian Olsavsky, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Amazon last week. Amazon is going the whole hog on its India dream.

Tech giants bullish on billion plus users Tech giants Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FAANG) are fighting for space in the ‘mobile first’ Indian market where digitisation is in full swing to bring the last-mile connectivity and smartphone revolution ….writes Alex George


ot so long ago, India was off the radar for the famous FAANG group of tech giants who have disrupted the way billions of people communicate, connect, shop and entertain globally. Today, the famous five - Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google - are fighting for space in the “mobile first” Indian market where digitisation is in full swing to bring the last-mile connectivity and smartphone revolution -- riding on ultra-cheap data plans -- has reached smaller cities and towns. You can buy anything with just one click, order food and cab online, pay utility bills, clear off credit card debts, book movies and flight tickets -- even live darshan of your family deity -- and connect with anyone, anywhere. Clearly, the FAANG family has realised the growing digital hunger among one billion-plus Indians which needs to be satiated. According to industry experts, India is the fastest- untapped user base potential in Tier V be attributed to several factors like rational middle class. As a result, “the growing among the top 20 smart- and VI cities and beyond. The rapid low smartphone penetration, inexpen- Indian smartphone market continues phone markets globally, with a large growth of the smartphone market can sive mobile data and a growing aspi- to look fertile in the coming years,

helping brands grow and enhance their portfolios. “Certainly, for Apple too, it’s a big market to target and grow as the aspirational buyers continue to opt for this luxury brand,” said Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India. Apple is likely to begin manufacturing highend iPhones in India and open its own branded stores, while seeking “a sector-specific policy to boost smartphone exports”. The current smartphone user base in India is at over 450 million which is set to grow by leaps and bounds. This gives FAANG companies ample opportunities to unveil lucrative deals and offers to woo more users to their services. Facebook has over 300 million Indian users, WhatsApp has crossed 400 million and Instagram hovers around 70 million users in the country. Seeing a tremendous grow in the digital payments market -- estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2023 -- WhatsApp is all set to launch its peer-to-peer, UPI-based Pay service for small and medium businesses (SMBs) later this year. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:


The recent decision by US Fed to cut rate is an ‘insurance’ to stem the consequences of global slowdown ….writes Suyash Choudhary


entral banks, via monetary policy, ultimately aim to influence domestic financial conditions which in turn affect economic variables like growth and inflation. Interest rates are only one component of aggregate financial conditions, but probably one that central banks influence the most directly. The other major components of this include relative currency strength, credit spreads, and equity markets. In a phase of same direction policy moves, this ability to maintain or ease relative financial conditions via monetary policy action ultimately decides whether such action has been successful or not. THE US FEDERAL RESERVE With the Fed cut, major developed market central banks have officially begun the process of easing that some of their developing market counterparts have already embarked upon earlier in the year. Thus, the above framework of gauging policy effectiveness via relative changes in domestic financial conditions (of course, relative to domestic economic and stability conditions) is a useful way of both monitoring effectiveness of easing, as well as in trying to predict the future path of easing for the particular central bank. Going in, the messaging around the Fed rate cut was going to be tough to execute. This is because the US economy by itself, although slowing, is prima facie merely reverting to its more sustainable trend rate of growth of around (or just under) two per cent from the fiscal stimulus fuelled trend of around three per cent last year. The consumer is doing well and unemployment rate is very low. Enough jobs are being added, thus far, to maintain these low levels of unemployment. Under such circumstances, it was always going to be tricky for the Fed to conform to the market’s expectations of multiple rate cuts without a somewhat bleaker assessment of the economy. This kind of an assessment may then have caused damage via the confidence channel. More fundamentally, it may genuinely not be in consonance with the Fed’s honest economic assessment. Under the circumstances it did the best it could, justifying the cut on the basis of the global slowdown (particularly in Euro and Chinese manufacturing), trade related uncertainties, slower than desired US inflation, and a somewhat lower than earlier estimated socalled neutral policy rate. Within US growth dynamics as well, there is a recognition of the slowing manufacturing and business investment part of the economy. In the press conference post the meet, the Fed Chair described the cut as a mid-cycle “insurance” cut in order to make sure that the recovery prolongs in the face of global and trade related headwinds and also to give support to inflation. In particular, he was focused on the cumulative change in financial conditions since early in the year during which the Fed has turned from being on a hiking cycle, to being on a patient hold, to finally cutting rates by 25 basis points (bps). Indeed, when looked at this way, and

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

remembering some of the major components of aggregate financial conditions, while over this period the US dollar hasn’t done much, interest rates are substantially lower, credit spread expansion late last year has been arrested and equity markets have largely held. Thus, it could be argued that financial conditions have loosened in the US over the past few months, thus helping to sustain the recovery -- a point that the Fed Chair mentioned more than once. The problem, of course, is with respect to forward guidance. After a long time, there is next to none, barring an impression given that the market shouldn’t expect a series of cuts. If the somewhat underwhelming Fed meet yesterday leads to incremental significant tightening of financial conditions relative to strength of incoming US data, and given the prospective actions of other central banks, then it is likely that markets will start leading the Fed again. This, if it happens, will be evidenced in a resumption of curve flattening. THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB) As against the Fed, the ECB is facing a more dire economic situation and, it may be argued, has potentially a weaker tool kit to address it with. Thus, both growth and inflation have turned for the worse and there

are important potential negative events on the horizon, including the effects from a potentially ‘hard’ Brexit. he need for action is, thus, clear and some of it has already started in terms of guidance and proposed resumption of long-term refinancing operations. The main deposit rate for ECB, however, is already negative and there are some constraints to further meaningful expansion of quantitative easing (some of which may be surmountable via court rulings). There is obviously the related question of the incremental utility of further quantitative easing (QE) expansion. This is because at least one major intended outcome of QE is to bring down long term rates. But in a world where large swathes of long-term rates are already near zero or indeed negative, one wonders how far this effect of QE has to run. Given the situation, the big question with respect to ECB is not whether they will ease, but whether such easing will be effective enough to materially ease their relative domestic financial conditions. On the margin, a perceived relatively hawkish Fed is somewhat of an unintended ally for the ECB, in so far as it helps weaken the Euro and eases relative financial conditions in the Eurozone. However, too much of this relative easing may restart concerns at the Fed towards relative tightening of their financial conditions, thereby impacting future US monetary policy decisions! While we have dwelled on only the two major central banks, other significant geographies are also experiencing their own shares of growth pangs and associated easing expectations. China is notable where some of the new incoming data is weakening again, particularly with respect to industrial profits. Further, stresses in the financial system are also increasingly more evident. THE CASE OF INDIA The narrative we are most used to in India in episodes of global slowdown is that the

U.S. dollar banknotes in Washington D.C., the United States. U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday lowered interest rates for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis, amid rising concerns over trade tensions, a slowing global economy and muted inflation pressures. The Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s rate-setting body, trimmed the target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent after concluding its two-day policy meeting, in line with market expectation.

domestic economy is robust and our external linkages are relatively fewer. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be true in the current case. Thus, while the manufacturing slowdown here is consistent with the global manufacturing slowdown underway, we have another issue which is more local -- that of the slowing consumer. The best sequence that explains this slowdown is the fact that income growth in India has anyway been weak for the past few years. However, consumption has been sustained via rising consumer leverage. This is consistent with both the aggressive growth in consumerfacing lending books over the past few years, as well as the noticeable dip in total household savings over the period. With the housing and non-bank finance lending squeeze underway for the past almost a year now, the leverage effect for the consumer may be slowing. There may be a behavioural aspect here as well, where with savings already dipping and the incremental environment turning weaker, the consumer is deciding to cut back. As others have noted before, since this slowdown is backed by a substantial fall-off in savings, it becomes that much more difficult to reverse in short order. In such an environment, there is obviously a role for countercyclical discretionary policy. Fiscal policy is facing exceptional constraints owing to a significant fall-off in expected revenues from GST and personal income taxes. Given this, the Finance Minister has been prudent in not administering any incremental stimulus. Not just that, she has actually hiked indirect taxes to fill some of the gap. It is to be remembered that the discussion here is of flow and not stock. Thus, the annual combined deficit when the Centre (on and off balance sheet) and states are added is a hefty 8-9 per cent of GDP. However, growth has slowed despite this. Put another way, this deficit isn’t in response to a growth slowdown. That growth has slowed irrespective probably testifies to the complete lack of drivers in the private sector over the past few years. The point to note is that there has been no incremental fiscal expansion undertaken in response to the last leg of deterioration in growth. Given this, the role of the other discretionary policy pillar -- monetary policy -- consequently becomes stronger. As noted before, the RBI’s monetary policy committee (MPC) is already easing via all the three tools at its disposal: guidance, liquidity, and rates. Indeed, this is for the first in recent memory that all three are being used in synchronicity. In particular, the role of liquidity is often under-appreciated, especially in context of bringing down term spreads at the front end of the curve. With the current local and global backdrop, and with obvious constraints on fiscal policy, it is reasonable to expect the current easing cycle to prolong. At this juncture, we are comfortable expecting another 75 bps of rate cuts in this cycle, alongside provisioning of adequate positive liquidity. Risks to the view are from a global turnaround and/or local fiscal policy giving into temptation.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

‘India slow in checking brain drain’ China is very rapidly catching up with the West. I don’t see that same speed of catching up in India. China is also attracting a lot of well-known Chinese scientists to return to the country. More importantly, they are also attracting international scientists, westerners who have a lab in China and they train the next generation of Chinese students. I don’t see anything like this in India…. Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan meet Kashmeera Sambamurthy


ndia-born scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan had made headlines in 2009 when he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with two of his peers for their research on the structure and function of the ribosome. In an exclusive interview with 101Reporters earlier in the Rajasthan capital, Ramakrishnan spoke on brain drain and what China is doing to check the problem while India isn’t. KS: How equipped do you think India is for making path-breaking discoveries? VR: I think it’s not just a question of providing equipment and things like that, it’s also a question of having good mentors and people who themselves have made pathbreaking discoveries, because that is how young people learn. They learn

it from people who have done very well. India has a lot of good scientists but not quite so many who are world leaders in their field. So, what India needs is more of those. And that will happen gradually if the government invests in science and technology. KS: In terms of providing an environment conducive to research, how does India fare in comparison with other countries? VR: It is hard to say because I really don’t know about the infrastructure in India. But there are some places that are doing well. I would say that India has not invested as much as China, not nearly as much. And China is very rapidly catching up with the West. I don’t see that same speed of catching up in India. China is also attracting a lot of well-known Chinese scientists to return to the country. More importantly, they are

also attracting international scientists, westerners who have a lab in China and they train the next generation of Chinese students. I don’t see anything like this in India. KS: If Indian scientists with overseas exposure do return to their homeland, in which ways can it catalyse advancement in research? VR: When Deng Xiaoping opened China and allowed Chinese students to study abroad, he was

criticised by some people who said it could result in tremendous brain drain. And he said even if one out of a hundred comes back, it will be useful for advancing Chinese science and technology. I think that’s the way to look at it. Not everybody will come back. Going from any country to any other country broadens your mindset and you learn new ways of thinking. So, these people when they come back, often will do interesting and important work. KS: What do you think is responsible for brain drain from India? VR: I think people don’t just migrate for the sake of equipment. They go because there is an overall environment in which they want to work. Like they have colleagues with whom they interact. And freedom, less bureaucracy and so on. There

are many reasons as to why people migrate. Another is that they go abroad to study, as I did, and then they get used to the lifestyle there, the freedom and the scientific environment and then it’s hard for them to come back. That might just be a stronger reason and that’s where probably most of the brain drain is, where they go as students and don’t come back. KS: How crucial is the role of technology in a country’s overall development? VR: If it weren’t for science and technology, we couldn’t even support half of today’s world population. Life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years. In the previous centuries, 2,000 years, there was no increase in life expectancy. I think there is no question that science and technology are of critical importance.

EX-GOOGLE MAN ON AN ECO MISSION Techy turned environmentalist Arun Krishnamurthy is on a mission to restore India’s water bodies, 93 and counting …. Writes Muskan Aggarwal


urning a blind eye to trash might be natural for many, but for Chennai-based environmentalist Arun Krishnamurthy, watching garbage being dumped in a nearby pond was the impetus to quit his wellpaying job at Google and launch an eco-movement that has cleaned and restored at least 93 freshwater bodies across 14 Indian states. The community-led movement grew into the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI), a nonprofit wildlife conservation and habitat restoration group. Since its inception in 2007, it has removed garbage and harmful botanical species from these lakes and ponds, that are crucial for maintaining ecological balance of nature. Krishnamurthy’s love for water bodies started much early in life, as he grew up in a neighbourhood surrounded by them. Leaving behind a life of luxury, the noted environmentalist just wanted to see clean lakes with frogs, fish, birds and greenery. The 32-year-old activist points out that leaving a comfortable job at Google was not difficult for him as he has “never been uncertain about anything that he has done in life. For

to join their initiative with the slogan -“Volunteer for India and her Environment with EFI”. The organisation has been successful in clearing trash, invasive weeds, and ‘Wall-E’ - an awareness wall painting initiative strengthening the bunds whereby volunteers paint the public walls in several water bodies with information on biodiversity to popularise including the Egatoor India’s wildlife pond in Chennai, the a cleaner and greener environment, he Kinathukadavu system started making efforts to restore water ponds, Pei Kulam at Tuticorin and bodies in Chennai, supported by the others. To make the restoration efforts local panchayat, and later expanded fun and engaging for kids, EFI started his efforts to other cities as well. Since a unique project called ‘Cyclakes’ then, there has been no looking back which are weekend-based cycle tours for the young environment enthusiast. to lakes and habitats for children to “We work very closely with the understand the intrinsic characteristics Centre and State governments. We do of these natural wonders. It is for not receive any funding, but depend those who wish to combine their on the government for permissions fitness programs with passion for the and approvals. There is a positive environment. trend across the country where the Another creative and interactive administration is keen on encouraging initiative is ‘Wall-E’ - an awareness groups such as ours to mobilise wall painting initiative whereby community to revive freshwater lakes volunteers paint the public walls and ponds,” Krishnamurthy told with information on biodiversity IANS in an email interview. to popularise India’s wildlife and Inspired by his work, people natural habitats. As awareness is from school-goers to environment growing, more and more people and conservation veterans, volunteer organisations are supporting the with the EFI which calls upon people initiative. Apart from guidance from

the government, their efforts are supported by partner organisations including The Hinduja Foundation, The Murugappa Group, Shriram Group, among others, through funds and volunteers. Krishnamurthy’s lake restoration efforts also won him The Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2012 which supports individuals with innovative projects that improve life on the planet, expand knowledge, propose solutions to major challenges, or preserve the natural and cultural heritage for future generations. To human being’s ability to ruin and destroy environment at exponential rate, he had earlier asked: “Have we lost the ‘human’ in the ‘being’?” Making people aware and educating them about the importance of natural water bodies proved to be the toughest for the activist. “Convincing the local community in understanding the need for conserving the freshwater body is an interesting piece of this bigger puzzle. Once we have the local community involved, we then do not have to worry about the water body. All problems related to pollution, encroachments etc can be thus sorted out,” he said. In a message to everyone to conserve the natural

After restoring 14 water-bodies in 2019 first phase, EFI has turned to its second phase, of which many lakes in Ambattur are a part.

beauty, Krishnamurthy said: “India’s environment is fascinating, we need to learn to understand our nation’s natural history and start working towards real-time conservation of the same.” Making an impact in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Puducherry, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Tirunelveli and Ahmedabad, the EFI is currently working on 39 active projects. It will soon start full-time operations in Vijayawada, Mysuru and Kanyakumari. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

WHO calls for global action against tobacco


any governments are making progress in the fight against tobacco use, but the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest tobacco report shows more could be done to help people quit the addictive substance. “Quitting tobacco is one of the best things any person can do for their own health,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. About 5 billion people, or 65 per cent of the world’s population, are now covered by at least one of the WHO’s recommended antitobacco measures launched in 2007,

according to the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2019. The number has more than quadrupled since 2007 when only about 1 billion people, or 15 per cent of the world’s population, were protected by at least one of the measures. The set of tobacco-control measures, known as MPOWER, included six key strategies -- namely monitor tobacco use and prevention policies, protect people from tobacco smoke, offer help to quit tobacco use, warn people about the dangers of tobacco, enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and raise taxes on

tobacco. These measures provided “practical tools to help people kick the habit, adding years to their life and life to their years,” Ghebreyesus said. Despite the progress, the report

Dietary supplements may do more harm than good: Study BY BHARAT UPADHYAY


esearchers have found that intake of some vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements may not benefit the heart and, in some cases, may even prove to be injurious. According to the study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, supplements combining calcium and vitamin D may be linked to a slightly increased stroke risk. However, there was no evidence that calcium or vitamin D taken alone had any health risks or benefits. “Our analysis carries a simple message that although there may be some evidence that a few interventions have an impact on death and cardiovascular health, the vast majority of multivitamins, minerals and different types of diets had no measurable effect on survival or cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” said study lead author Safi U. Khan, Assistant Professor at the West Virginia University. For the study, the researchers used

data from 277 randomised clinical trials that evaluated 16 vitamins or other supplements and eight diets for their association with mortality or heart conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack. They included data gathered on 992,129 research participants worldwide. The analysis showed possible health benefits only from a low-salt diet, omega-3 fatty acid supplements and possibly folic acid supplements for some people. “The panacea or magic bullet that people keep searching for in dietary supplements isn’t there,” said senior author of the study Erin Michos from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US. “People should focus on getting their nutrients from a hearthealthy diet, because the data increasingly show that the majority of healthy adults don’t need to take supplements,” Michos said. According to Abhishek Singh, Consultant Cardiologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Ghaziabad, dietary supplements do not have a measurably positive impact on cardiac health.

“It’s more important to follow a healthy dietary regimen and avoid foods that are bad for the heart. Trans fatty acids are harmful and have to be curtailed. Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates are to be kept at a minimum,” said Singh. The doctor suggested that people should include more green vegetables in their diet. They are rich in vitamin K and dietary nitrates, which help protect the arteries and reduce blood pressure, he said. “Studies like this raise concerns about harm from calcium and Vitamin D supplement use. As far as Vitamin D supplements (without calcium) are concerned, there has been no evidence on whether it has any impact on cardiovascular disease risk reduction,” said Anupama Singh, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Vimhans Nayati Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi. “The quality of the evidence base of these various nutritional supplements and dietary interventions still needs to be evaluated to ascertain the effectiveness of the study,” she added.

cited by Xinhua news agency said that many countries are still not adequately implementing the MPOWER policies, which can effectively help people quit tobacco and save lives. “Unfortunately, however, the tobacco epidemic is far from over,” it said. Although tobacco use has declined in most countries and regions, population growth means the total number of people using tobacco has remained stubbornly high, according to the report. Since the last tobacco report in 2017, only one country, Brazil, has joined Turkey as the world’s

only countries to have passed all MPOWER policies at the highest level. In addition, there are only a handful of other countries that have more than two measures in place at best-practice levels, while there are 59 countries that have yet to adopt a single MPOWER measure, it said. The report also expressed concern about a growing availability of e-cigarettes, especially its increased use among young people. The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year, latest WHO data showed.

Take hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime for super sleep


aking hot bath at least 90 minutes before bedtime is your ticket to sound sleep. Just remember that the water temperature should be around 40-42 degrees Celsius, else you may not get better shuteye. Biomedical engineers at University of Texas-Austin reached this conclusion after analyzing thousands of studies linking water-based passive body heating, or bathing and showering with warm/hot water, with improved sleep quality. “When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings,” said Shahab Haghayegh, lead author on the paper. “The only way to make an accurate determination of whether sleep can, in fact, be improved was to combine all the past data and look at it through a new lens.” In collaboration with the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Southern California, the researchers reviewed 5,322 studies. Meta-analytical tools were used to assess the consistency between relevant studies and showed that an optimum temperature of between 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit (40-42 degrees Celsius) improved overall sleep quality. When scheduled one-two hours before bedtime, it can also hasten the speed of falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes. It is understood that both sleep and our body’s core temperature are regulated by a circadian clock located within the brain’s hypothalamus that drives the 24-hour patterns of many biological processes, including sleep and wakefulness. The average person’s circadian cycle is characterized by a reduction in core body temperature of about 0.5 to 1 Fahrenheit around an hour before usual sleep time -- dropping to its lowest level between the middle and later span of night-time sleep. It then begins to rise, acting as a kind of a biological alarm clock wake-up signal. The researchers found the optimal timing of bathing for cooling down of core body temperature in order to improve sleep quality is about 90 minutes before going to bed. “If baths are taken at the right biological time -- 1-2 hours before bedtime -- they will aid the natural circadian process and increase one’s chances of not only falling asleep quickly but also of experiencing better quality sleep,” showed the findings appeared in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:



elebrated south Indian actress Nithya Menen, who is making her Bollywood debut with the multistarrer “Mission Mangal” says that actresses always have to deal with an unrealistic expectation of beauty, which is unfair, and that bodyshaming should be stopped. Although the demand for a so-called perfect face and figure is more in Bollywood compared to the South, asked for her opinion on the matter, Nithya told the media:” I think it is important for people to appreciate different form of beauty. Every individual looks different and that is the beauty. It is so negative when people say, ‘your nose is not perfect, fix it’.” “We are born in a certain way. We should celebrate that. we should start it from childhood and never bodyshame anyone. I know people tend to talk to children about their skin colour. dia, it is ruthless! They expect unrealistic beauty At times, kids are called ‘motu’ etc. Stop it right from actors and it is such a negative space,” said there. So much trolling happens on social me- the “OK Kanmani” famed actress.

From Vidya Balan, Bhumi Pednekar, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sara Ali Khan - there are several actresses who went through weight loss and body transformation and faced huge criticism for their body weight. According to Nithya, critics, especially trolls are ignorant of the whole matter and their comments are ruthless. “They tend to think that a person, who is overweight, either eats much or is lazy to exercise. That is not true, obesity is a health issue, and at times hormonal. So, stop all the shaming and trolling.” In “Mission Mangal”, Nithya plays a scientist. She said she shares a happy and professional working experience with the Bollywood stars: “I would say it is definitely much more professional here than in the south. I am happy to work here because people are very easy, there is less hierarchy and people are very receptive, welcoming.”

‘BOLLYWOOD IS NOT SECULAR’ The model turned muscleman turned actor John Abraham says Bollywood is not secular


ohn Abraham is of the opinion that the Hindi film industry is not a secular place. “Who told you that the industry is secular? The industry is not 100 per cent secular. It’s polarized. This is a fact of life,” John quipped, when asked if the industry was a fair playing ground, with rampant divisive mood brewing all around. John was at an event to promote his upcoming flick “Batla House” in Mumbai when he expressed the opinion. “The problem is that the world is ppolarized. There is a dialogue in my film,, ‘It is not that a particular community is suff uffering, the entire world is suffering’. Look at (Donald) Trump, look at Brexit, it, look at Boris Johnson - the world iss polarized today. You are living in this world, so, you have to deal with it. At the same time, I feel ry and the best inthis is the best country dustry,” he said. The 46-year-old actor ctor believes social media should not be taken seriously bel, do not have a cause those who troll, face. Talking about people ple sharing irresponsible statements ements on social media, John said: “Mostly you see all this on social media because use when you are sitting in an audience, there is something that actually lly controls our emotions ns and keeps us at bay from m le making irresponsible ial statements. On social media, none of us reeally have a face, which ch he is why you will see the most toxic statements nts emerge. Do not believe ve in social media.” ing John’s upcoming

movie “Batla House” is inspired by Delhi’s Batla House encounter case of 2008, and is set to clash with Akshay Kumar’s “Mission Mangal” at the box office on Independence Day. Talking about the clash, John said: “I think the good thing is that there are two very credible films releasing (on the same day). Talking about business, there is enough business for two films on that day - both Akshay and I know that. I think it’s a great day for the audience, they are the winners because they get to choose from two very y ggood films.” lm, John added: “‘Batla Talking about his film House’ is an edge-of-the-seat thriller. So, even if edge-of-theyou don’t care about the th incident, the film still works for you. Credit to (director) Nikkhil (AdRitesh (Shah) who have put vani), and (writer) Rite four years of research into the film. Not only thriller, but when you walk out do you have a thriller will scratch your head and of the theatre, you wi marvel at the fact that tthis was also true.” Bollywood trend of adapting true About the Bollywoo incidents onto the sscreen, he said: “Be it ‘Ar‘Super 30’ or ‘Uri’, I think ticle 15’, ‘Su we are ttelling good stories now. would want to believe that I wou ‘Batla House’ is one of those ‘Batl exceptionally good stories exc being told. I don’t think bei it is a trend. I feel, you should do what you really sh believe in. So, if you want be to make a story on a reallife character or incident, li yyou make it. If you want to tell a fictitious story, do it. Everything works.” it “Batla House” directed by Nikkhil Advani also stars Mrunal Thakur, Ravi sta Kishan and Rajesh Sharma Kis in key roles. The actionthriller is slated to hit theathril tres oon August 15.

The film features Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Sonakshi Sinha and Akshay Kumar. So, how was the atmosphere on the set of a film dominated by female co-stars? “It is not just us, but (there was) also Akshay sir, Sharman and HG Dattatreya - we really worked as a team. Off the camera, we would chat, eat together, and Akshay sir would play pranks on me. It was a good team and we were like teammates,” she said. Since Nithya worked in “NTR: Kathanayakudu” with Vidya earlier, and she said: “Before coming on set (of ‘Mission Mangal’), we (Vidya and she) had interacted, but Taapsee and I met only on the set first time. I know she has done films in the South but we did not get a chance to meet.” “Mission Mangal”, based on the Mars Orbiter Mission of India and directed by Jagan Shakti. The film releases on August 15.

SRK wins doctorate


uperstar Shah Rukh Khan received an honorary doctorate degree from Melbourne-based La Trobe University for his contributions and efforts towards underprivileged children and women’s empowerment through Meer Foundation besides his achievements in the Indian entertainment industry. The official Twitter account of the university shared a string of photographs of Shah Rukh and excerpts from his speech. Shah Rukh has said that he has “experienced firsthand the superficiality of social values that place a woman’s appearance before her inner worth.” The university’s Twitter account also shared his speech, where he said that the “this is not an award for anything the Meer Foundation might have achieved. It is for the courage of every woman who faces the brutality of injustice, inequality and inhumanity.” “On the way to La trobe University.. Thank you for the kind gesture of offering a scholarship to a girl student from India for higher education and supporting the work at Meer Foundation,” the 53-year-old actor shared a photograph of himself on twitter with this caption. SRK has worked at effecting change at ground level to build a world that empowers women through Meer Foundation, a philanthropic organisation he named after his father Meer Taj Mohammed Khan. One of the key focus areas has been to support the cause of acid attack survivors.

Kher’s autobiography


eteran actor Rishi Kapoor has launched actor Anupam Kher’s autobiography “Lessons Life Taught Me, Unknowingly” here. Kher was thrilled to have his friend Rishi Kapoor release his autobiography as “he is not just a fine actor, but also a symbol of courage and hope in his fight, and recovery from disease,” Anupam said about the actor, who is undergoing a medical treatment here. Kher also felt extremely gratified to have his friends from the American show “New Amsterdam” participate in the event. “That my book got launched in this consulate in New York, through the good offices of (Consulate General of India, New York) Sandeep Chakravorty, is something I could have never dreamt about,” said Anupam.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia



ts been a Bollywood sweep at the National Film Awards this year, and the industry is rejoicing since Friday afternoon. The winners – especially young, firsttime winners such as Ay- ushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal – are overjoyed to say the least. Ayushmann and Vicky won the Best Actor National Award jointly for “Andhadhun” and “Uri: The Surgical Strike” respectively, and both actors are proud that their hard work has paid off at such an early stage of their career. Describing the experience as “truly humbling and hugely gratifying”, Ayushmann said the honour was “a validation of my hard work, my belief system, my journey in movies and my reason to be an actor.” He said director Sriram Raghavan deserved all the accolades “for creating a new genre of cinema for Indian audiences to enjoy”, and that he was “truly fortunate” to be a part of Sriram Raghvan’s vision. “As an artiste, ‘Andhadhun’ challenged me and made me a better actor,” he added, promising to continue on the “journey to discover and back cinema that truly stands apart and brings people back into the theatres”. Vicky admitted he was too excited to describe how he felt. “Words might fall short to describe the happiness I’m feeling right now. For my work to be recognised by the honourable National Film Awards Jury is truly a moving moment for me and my family. I wish to thank each and every member of the jury committee for finding me worthy of the prestigious Best Actor Award,” he said. About Ayushmann, Vicky added: “I’m also very happy to be sharing the award with someone whom I admire, both as a person and as an actor” Aditya Dhar won Best Director for “Uri”, and he believes his key to success is not giving up. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Fifteen years

of failures, rejections and hard work has lead to this moment and it just can’t get better than this. This is an honour I am going to cherish for the rest of my life. Being conferred with the National Award has been a dream since I understood what films meant to me,” said Aditya, thanking his family, producers, and the awards jury, and dedicating the honour to all the soldiers at the border. “You have selflessly dedicated your life to serve us and now it’s our time to dedicate everything we have to serve you.” Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmaavat” won big in the song and dance categories. Arijit Singh won Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Binte dil misriya mein”, and Bhansali won Best Music Direction (Songs). Kruti Mahesh Madya and Jyoti Tomar won the Best Choreography awards for the song “Ghoomar”. “I’m very happy and honoured. Music has always been a very important part of my life so this award is very special,” said Bhansali.. “Pad Man” won the award for Best Film on Social Issue. Akshay Kumar stars in the film, co-produced by his wife Twinkle Khanna. “I was in the midst of ‘Mission Mangal’ promotions when Tina (his wife Twinkle) called me asking if ‘Pad Man’ had actually won a National Award for Best Film On Social Issues. The tiredness of promotions vanished on hearing the news. I remember how, on the sets of ‘Pad Man’, Sonam and I got the news of winning our respective National Awards last year. So life has come a full circle. I couldn’t be happier for Tina for winning the award with her debut production and, of course, R. Balki for putting it all together, besides the entire team behind Pad Man. Not just that, Swanand Kirkire won Best Supporting Actor for ‘Chumbak’, a Marathi film I presented. It’s been a rewarding day,” said Akshay.

“Pad Man” director R. Balki was happy that the film had addressed the vitalissue of the need for sanitary hygiene among rural women. “I don’t expect any awards for any of the films I do. I just hope people like it. (I hoped so for) This film especially because it catches a subject that hasn’t been packaged anywhere in the world. To make a mainstream Hindi film on this subject was a fantastic thing and that’s what I am very happy about. Also, the award truly belongs to Arunachalam Muruganantham,” said Balki, referring to the man whose life and struggle to create cheap sanitary pads for rural women inspired the film. “Badhaai Ho” won awards for Best Popular Film Award and also the award for Best Supporting Actress for Surekha Sikri. Director Amit Ravindernath Sharma described the situation as “overwhelming”. “When we made this film we didn’t expect it to receive such a reception,” Sharma recalled, adding: “It’s nothing short of a dream come true.” Surekha Sikri tanked the writers of the uncomnventional entertainer. “I am feeling really excited about this. It makes me so happy. I want to congratulate the writers of the film. They wrote a very good script. I also thank Amit Sharma for directing this film,” she said. “Badhaai Ho” producer Aleya Sen added: “The win encourages us to push the envelope and make films that the country will be proud of.” The win for “Badhaai Ho” was actually a double honour for Ayushmann Khurrana, since he was the leading man of this film, too. “I’m glad that a subject like ‘Badhaai Ho’ also won big today and I congratulate my director Amit Sharma for his breakthrough script that became a talking point in every household,” the actor said, adding: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with a forward-thinking creative mind like him and disrupt the stereotyped notions of what Hindi cinema should be.” Rima Das’ “Bulbul Can

Sing” has been making waves of the international festivcal circuit for months now. It picked up the Best Assamese Film trophy at the 66th National Film Awards. Das, who is currently in Melbourne, said she was “happy and overwhelmed”. The Telugu film “Mahanati” won the Best Actress award for Keerthy Suresh, and also Best Costume Designer for the team of Indrakshi Pattanaik, Gaurang Shah and Archana Rao. “It is a proud moment, a dream come true. I dedicate this award to my team, weavers and the entire Mahanati family. Collaborating with a film of this scale gave a terrific opportunity to showcase handwoven Indian saris with great pageantry, and simplicity, narrating the fashion sensibilities of the legendary actress Savitri. The costumes of the film took 100 artisans and over a year to make,” said Gaurang, about designing costumes for the film, a biopic of the iconic actress Savithri. The short feature “Chalo Jeete Hain” won the award for Best Film on Family Values. “With extreme gratitude and humility we accept this great honour and dedicate this award to our hardworking and most inspiring Prime Minister Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi,” says director Mangesh Hadawale and producer Mahaveer Jain in a joint statement. This is the duo’s second national award. @asianlitemedia

AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

Meet Miss Kalki I


Blinded By The Light



ational Award-winning actress Kalki Koechlin, who plays a pivotal role in the upcoming show “Sacred Games 2”, has bagged the project after an audition. Despite having a successful career in films, she says she has no problem auditioning to prove her capability. While the phone call for the audition of the Netflix TV Series came as a surprise for her, recalling the incident, Kalki told IANS: “I watched the show and after a month I got an audition call for or the show. Of ome part of the course, I never thought that I will become show when I watched the first season. I was surprised and excited when I got called. efreshing be“Auditioning for a role is quite refreshing cause the director should know if I am m able to pull off the character I am offered. They might ght have seen mething differmy work so far but if I am offered something ent from what I have done in the past, st, they should audition me. I do not mind auditioning g at all.” imes for Bolly“I may not have auditioned many times wood projects but I keep auditioning for or international projects and that process keeps it real for me, keep me ress. grounded,” added the “Gully Boy” actress. In “Sacred Games 2”, she plays a girl named ackground. Her Batya, who hails from a conflicting background. father is a Jewish French and mother is a Palestinian, who abandoned her as a teenager. The chardict and a acter transforms from being a drug addict he godrebellious angry girl to a follower of the man ‘Guruji’, played by Pankaj Tripathi. hi. The initial outlook of the characterr has similarities with a few of her earlier works, orks, isn’t it? “I know, there might be a little element here and there from ‘Dev D’ or ‘Shaitaan’, but you know just becausee you play a gangster in one film, doess

not mean that all of them are the same. So my character in ‘Sacred Games 2’ is different from the rest of the references I mentioned,” she smiled. What was new about Batya that drew her to the character? “My audition scene was the intriguing point for me, to get drawn towards the character Batya. In that scene, where she is interacting with Sartaj (played by Saif Ali Khan) for the first time, she is calm and has a Zen-like energy, but something is simmering underneath. I loved that conflicting element. Her rebellion isn isn’tt in your face but hidden, hidden,” said Kalki. Directed by Neeraj Ghawyan and Anurag Kashyap, “Sacred Games 2”, featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ranvir Shor y, Surveen Chawla re rey, and Geetanjali Thapa premieres on Netflix on A gust 15. Au August

ndia’s Oscar-winning composer maestro AR Rahman has used some of rock legend Bruce Springsteen›s greatest hits to create the original motion picture soundtrack of Gurinder Chadha›s upcoming film, ‘Blinded By The Light’, along with a few previously unreleased tracks.Springsteen hits in the album include “Born to run”, “Dancing in the dark” and “Because the night”, while Rahman also incorporates his own new composition titled “For you my love”. The album also has period tracks and dialogues, and presents two live rarities. These are the debut live performance of “The river” (from No Nukes ‘79 - Madison Square Garden, NYC - September 21, 1979) and an acoustic solo performance of “The promised land” (Concert for Valor - The National Mall, Washington DC, November 11, 2014). Chadha’s new film is inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and his love for the music of Bruce Springsteen. Manzoor co-wrote the script with Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges. The film follows Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British teen of Pakistani descent, as he grows up in Luton, England in 1987. Javed’s turbulent life amidst racial and economic turmoil is transformed when he is introduced to the music of Bruce Springsteen.


Radhika’s Style

ctor Radhika Apte, who swears by “simple, fluid” clothing when it comes to styling herself, walked the ramp for global fashion brand Lecoanet Hemant’s new Autumn/Winter 2019 collection - Cinema of GENES, on Friday. Radhika, who has carved a niche for herself across diverse mediums, feels that the collection suits her personality. “It’s about clothes that are the most comfortable, so you can just wake up, wear it and not have to think about it, but yet you look very elegant and quite stylish,” Radhika told IANS on the sidelines of the fashion show. On why she like Lecoanet Hemant’s fashion, the “Andhadhun” actor said that it’s “universal and simple in its appeal”. The brand, which stresses upon being “international Indian” and modern, was founded in Paris by Frenchman Didier Lecoanet and Indo-German Hemant Sagar in the early 1980s. In 2000, they moved their base to India and shifted to ready-to-wear clothing they produce out of their Gurugram factory.

‘Every woman is strong in her own way’ BY SUGANDHA RAWAL

The Maze Runner» star Kaya Scodelario feels every woman is powerful, damaged and a million other things, and that is what she wants to reflect in her work. The actress says she isn›t interested in playing female characters that are just one thing, because they don›t exist. “For me, it is important (to essay a strong character) because it is realistic. That is the world I know. Every woman I know is strong in her own way,” Scodelario told IANS in an exclusive sit-down interview. “Every woman is damaged, ferocious, powerful and a million other things. They aren’t just one thing. I have never been interested in playing female characters that are just one thing, purely because they don’t exist,” added the actress. Since her breakout role in British

teen drama “Skins”, Scodelario has portrayed different women character dipped in hues of various shades of womanhood -- be it “The Maze Runner”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” or “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”. She will, once again, bring a strong woman in spotlight with her role as a high-achieving swimmer Haley Keller in “Crawl”. The film will narrate the struggle of Haley as she tries to save herself and her father (Barry Pepper) from alligators amidst a Florida hurricane. The horror thriller, directed by Alexandre Aja, will open in India on August 23. The movie will be distributed in India by Viacom18 Motion Pictures. It is written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen, and produced by Craig Flores, Sam Raimi and Alexandre Aja. Scodelario says shooting for “Crawl” was hard. “It was the most physical job

that I have ever done. I have started to connect with now because I forgot how hard it was. I would come home every day with bruises and cuts. But it was very important for me to add that to it. “That was the big conversation between me and the producers during the shoot. They were worried about me not wearing shoes and I really fought to not wear shoes because I knew as a woman if you are in flip flops in the mud, the first thing you do is just take them off...Because it is not going to work and I wanted that for the character,” she said. And she had to face the consequences of her decision. “It did mean that I had blisters and cuts everywhere. But I was excited to get to the physical side of it,” said the 27-year-old. (Sugandha Rawal was in New York at the invitation of Viacom18 Motion Pictures. She can be contacted at


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Migrations: All Our Voices Oxford Cultural Collective recently unveils Migrations: All Our Voices- an initiative to celebrate Britain’s diverse food culture and a call to action at a time of growing disharmony in the UK society…writes Riccha Grrover


igrations: All Our Voices is a timely reminder that the UK’s world-class culinary scene has been shaped by the generations of migrants. The evening of the launch held at London Carousel included dinner by star chef Romy Gill MBE and sobering words from guest speakers Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. “It’s sadly all too obvious to say: we are living in dangerous times,” said Marc Millon, patron of the Oxford Cultural Collective. “All around the world, but especially here in Britain, in the US, in Italy and much of Europe, the rise of populism and of demagogic leaders has given strident voice to racism and hatred, the stoking of fear that people different to ‘us’ are somehow threatening our lives and livelihoods, that we must do something to stop ‘them’, that we must somehow keep them out by building walls between ‘us’ and ‘them’, literally as well as metaphor-

ically. “Migrations: All Our Voices initiative was therefore a significant and important event. It is through food, after all, that our cultural identity is maintained, shared and celebrated. Migrants, those who some would now seek to exclude or keep out, have shaped the UK’s rich and diverse culture in so many ways, not least through food.” At the launch a diverse and mul-

ticultural group of guests came together to enjoy a meal created by one of Britain’s rising star chefs, Romy Gill, who in Romy’s Kitchen in Thornbury, near Bath, combines the flavours of West Bengal India with the best of British produce. Before eating the wonderful dinner the guests listened to two inspirational speakers. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi started the evening off with

words that resonated. The former Chair of the Conservative Party and the first female Muslim to hold cabinet office talked about the current political situation in her own party. She outlined her own family story, her parents coming to Britain from Pakistan to make a better life, her father working in the mills of northern England, then becoming a bus driver, then a taxi driver, working hard to improve the lives of his family. Baroness Warsi, an undoubted pillar of the conservative establishment, former Minister of State for Faith and Communities and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action, spoke from the heart about the insults suffered, the taunts endured, of how people didn’t want to live in the neighbourhood she grew up in because of the smell of curry coming through the chimney breasts of the houses. Over time, curry came to be accepted, loved, embraced, an essential part of people’s lives, wherever they came

from, whatever their background. And so, she expected, the trajectory towards embracing a fairer more tolerant society would similarly continue ever upwards. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, the human rights lawyer, spoke next. An outspoken Labour peer, often voting against the whip, she has had a distinguished career – some of her best known cases include the Brighton bombing trial, the Guildford Four appeal, the Jihadist fertiliser bomb plot, and the transatlantic bomb plot. She has been a champion of law reform for women, especially relating to sexual and domestic violence. As someone who has long represented those who have suffered or been oppressed, she spoke of the roots of racism and indeed, in recent years, of a reversal in attitudes to racism and race. “We have to understand that populism does not provide the answers. It explains why things are not the way people would like them to be by feeding on fear. And fear is poison.” @asianlitemedia

AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:



AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Indian Fashion Icons Honoured India’s fashion council honours six iconic designers for the newly established Couture Hall of Fame


he Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) celebrates its 21st anniversary by opening the Couture Hall of Fame to honour iconic designers from India. FDCI President Sunil Sethi congratulates Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar, Sandeep Khosla, Shahab Durazi, Suneet Varma and Abu Jani for their contribution to Indian design and fashion. The event, hosted by ace Bolywood actress Neha Dhupia, honoured the top six of Indian fashion, who have redefined the pathways to the Indian design idiom. The awards started with the First Lady of Indian fashion, Ritu Kumar, moving on to the Mumbai duo, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla (AJSK), awarded by their longtime muse Jaya Bachchan. Rohit Bal was crowned by entrepreneur Kalyani Saha. The trophy was designed by Sunil Sethi Design Alliance and the decor was executed by Varun Bahl assisted by UAIS design team. Known for effortless engineering and restraint, Shahab Durazi stole the show, receiving a standing ovation from the attendees and an award from Tina Tahiliani. Niti Aayog Chairman Amitabh Kant awarded Suneet Varma while suggesting institution of a museum dedicated to Indian design.A fashion show called ‘Couture Chronicles’, which brought the creations of 21 leading lights of Indian designs to life, was another highlight of the night. Senior journalist Bandana Tiwari gave the final award to the Wharton-educated Tarun Tahiliani. @asianlitemedia

AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:


Vogue Wedding Show 2019


s promised, the seventh edition of the Vogue Wedding Show was the perfect platform to design one’s fairytale wedding. Brides-to-be were seen lining up to be the first to enter the three-day shopping extravaganza, which curates and brings together India’s most sought after fashion designers and jewellers under one roof. Designers Manish Malhotra, Shantanu & Nikhil, Falguni Shane Peacock, Gaurav Gupta, Rahul Mishra, Shyamal & Bhumika, Tarun Tahiliani and Ritu Kumar were present to cater to and satisfy any wedding query or desire that one might have. The invite-only exhibition, which was held from August 2-4 at the Taj Palace here, also showcased wedding planners, hair and make-up artistes, decor experts and gifting specialists to take care of every whim. The invitees had the privilege to personally interact with the designers and jewellers on a oneon-one basis and get a perspective of what actually works for their big day. Grooms-to-be were saved the trouble of trudging to jewellers as the best of all things related wedding was available under one roof.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

Will visual art activities benefit people with

DEMENTIA? In recent years, there has been great awareness and interest in the positive role of creative activities in the lives of people with dementia. One such creative activity is visual arts which includes drawing, painting, sculpting and collage-making. When people with dementia participated in such activities their conϔidence, mood and enjoyment increased to a signiϔicant degree….writes Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

“The arts are a critical component of healthcare. Expressive art is a tool to explore, develop and practice creativity as a means to wellness.” Well Arts Association, USA. mily Shoesmith, a PhD student at the Centre for Dementia Research, Leeds Beckett University is involved in an interesting research studying the feasibility and impact of visual art sessions for people living with dementia. Some of the important aspects of this project are shared with the readers. In recent years, there has been great awareness and interest in the positive role of creative activities in the lives of people with dementia. One such creative activity is visual arts which includes drawing, painting, sculpting and collage-making. When people with dementia participated in such activities their confidence, mood and enjoyment increased to a significant degree. Emily strongly felt “creating pieces of art with people with dementia can be helpful in enabling them to gain an understanding as to how the person is feel-


ing, it can give an outlet them an outlet that they may not otherwise have”. Over a period of six weeks, day care centre attendees and residents of a care home took part in weekly, one-hour visual art sessions. The programme developed by Emily, was based on the evidences she had collected about what works well and that which is most likely to benefit people with dementia. With the help of dedicated and trained facilitators, people with dementia explored visual arts in an enjoyable and failure-free way. Emily found that people enjoyed being ‘in the moment’, being free, creative and building friendships. When one of the participants were asked what made them attend the reason sessions, the response was, “When I’m here, I don’t feel like I’m in adulthood, but my second childhood”. Emily says, “There is a real potential to provide more visual art activities for people with dementia in a range of settings, and this programme has been a great start to identifying things that work well and can be easily delivered by staff working in care settings”.

The sessions received very positive feedback, with group members asking for the programme to continue. Hopefully, the benefits of visual arts will be actively promoted and shared so that care providers can adopt similar projects for those who wish to attend. You can find out more about the work of the Leeds Beckett University Centre for Dementia Research on their website: If you need help, advice or information about dementia, you can contact the Admiral Nursing helpline on: 0800 888

6678 or send an email to If you are interested in taking part in local arts-based activities that are supportive of people with dementia or memory problems, you can contact: Arts 4 Dementia on 020 7520 1492 or Creative Dementia Arts Network on 07801 509993 (Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya, OBE, M.B.B.S., M.D., Ph.D., D.Lett, writes about arts and culture besides health related ar- Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya ticles for Asian Lite) @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

Tradition laced with tech Bharatanatyam guru Jayalakshmi Eshwar is wowing audience with a dance production that was much more than a regular classical piece. Fused with electronic music and animated visuals of the Tamil culture, it spoke to viewers about her openness to merge technology, her dance practice and, even, her dance lessons….writes Siddhi Jain


onths ago, Bharatanatyam guru Jayalakshmi Eshwar wowed her audience with a dance production that was much more than a regular classical piece. Fused with electronic music and animated visuals of the Tamil culture, it spoke to viewers about her openness to merge technology, her dance practice and, even, her dance lessons. For viewers who saw Eshwar’s production ‘Antariksha Sanchar’ -- literally meaning transmission in space -- it was a mesmerising tale of ancient aeroplanes, complete with technological elements that attract the youth today. It featured many of her own students, but the performance stage is not the only place where the dancer shares a relationship of technology with her pupils, many of who often juggle dance practice with other activities. As classrooms change from the gurushishya parampara, where disciples learnt under their teachers almost all day, mod-

ern-day classrooms become another place where the strict classical often merges with everyday tech. “They lack time, have a fast-moving life. Technology helps in a certain way. They don’t even have time to write their notes and make sketch drawings of every movement -- that we needed to make because there were no photographs or tape in our times,” Eshwar told IANS here. Even doing dance for them is a great thing, she said, adding that some of her students who are as young as six years use the mobile phones to record the movements and practice it later. “Technology as a teacher helps a lot. When I’m teaching my professional-level students, who’re all abroad, and they want to learn a new item, I just tape in it my class bit-by-bit, and upload it. I send the lyrics, meaning, everything and they ask questions and seek clarifications -- as per the usual practice.” Many factions of the artiste community are still sticking to pure classical, but Es-

hwar sees no harm in mixing it up a little. “The lives of our generation, our parents, our grandparents was so in tune with arts. My grandfather used to tell mythological stories to children in the evening. That link is not there for children now. “Antariksha Sanchar was an eyeopener for me. I’ve found that little bit of electronic music gives interest in the classical idiom for the youth. If I just have classical, many youth find it ‘boring’,” said the prolific author and Bharatanatyam guru at the Triveni Kala Sangam. Why the fusion? “Without deviating from that classical tradition, keeping it intact, we’re using technology only for enhancement. We’re not losing the grammar. It depends from dancer how you can merge and keep moving forward.” Eshwar will bring another one of her multimedia Bharatanatyam opera ‘Akhandalaya: The Unvanquished Rhythm’ to India Habitat Centre on July 31, where she is slated to perform with her pupils.

Geeta trains eyes on ‘Bhakti’ for Bharatanatyam


n an autobiographical solo performance, Bharatanatyam guru and Padma Shri recipient Geeta Chandran will explore the spiritual and personal notions of ‘Bhakti’, and narrate how it has impacted her life. Titled ‘Samagama Leela’, the dance performance will explore the deep influence Bhakti had on her childhood and her journey through life as a classical dancer, at the India International Centre in New Delhi. “Since the very stirrings of culture in India, spirituality and search for meaning have defined our people. The Vedic rituals and prayers crafted by our ancestors paid tribute to the wonder of nature. This ‘wonder’ is what Bhakti actually is,” said Chandran. On a similar note, the dance institution Natya Vriksha founder said that Bharatanatyam as a dance form was born as part of temple rituals as part of the elaborate temple rituals of southern India. “It enshrined and amplified the devotion that the community felt towards their temple and the presiding deities. The bhakti in dance was also linked to so many other

expressions of Bhakti - architecture, sculpture, paintings, crafts, textiles and also philosophy, literature and poetry. The Bhakti in dance is a function of so many other bhakti strands that culminate as a single aesthetic experience.” Chandran also elaborated upon the ‘wonder’ factor of Bhakti in her interpretation of it. She recounted that Bhakti has been also been deeply political. “The Bhakti of Meera was a political act of subversion. Surdas’ outpourings enshrine the equal spaces demanded by persons with disability. Kabir’s poetry is a reaction o the polarised communal politics of his era. Andal’s paswarams reclaim space for the feminine spirit. So the wonder factor in bhakti also became a powerful instrument for change in power structures,” she explained. Asked about her upcoming performance, she said that the solo Bharatanatyam recital will answer a question she herself has asked herself: As an urban, urbane, educated dancer and artist, what is my Bhakti story? The artiste called the performance a personal narration of Bhakti.


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia

JAIN CENTRE ADDS ANNEXE Prominent members from Manchester’s socio-political circle attends the grand opening of annex to the Jain Community Centre ‌.writes Nehal Mehta


he Grand Opening Ceremony of the Annex to the Jain Community Center in Longsight, Manchester took place recently. The ceremony and celebrations started with the unveiling of a plaque by Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mr Warren Smith,JP. The Ceremony was also attended by many guests, community leaders, councillors and included the Lord Mayor of Manchester Cllr Abid Chohan, MP for Manchester Groton,Afzal Khan CBE ,and the Dean of Manchester Cathedral The very Revd Rogers Govender. All speakers expressed their respect and admiration for the achievement of the Jain Community. In his welcoming speech, Suresh Mehta explained that the project started nearly 8 years ago when the land on Stockport Road , Long-

sight became available. Fund collection and a lot of learning , including lots of hard knocks later,the project was completed in May 2019. The entire project is self -funded by the members of Jain Community, a remarkable story of self-help. What is worth noting is that the current community centre is a thriving centre, used extensively by many local communities. With the new additional facilities, there will now be even more facilities for the communities to achieve their goals. The project has successfully converted a derelict piece of land , an eye sore for the local community ,into a most modern facility which will enhance the facilities available to the communities in Longsight/Levenshulme areas of Manchester. It enhances this part of Manchester. @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

‘Bridgital’ aims to bridge urban-rural divide through AI


cknowledging the huge chasm that exists between rural and urban communities - be it in levels of education and medical access or between aspirations and achievement - a new book offers real solutions to tackle these challenges using technologies of the future, including mobile-ready solutions driven by Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI). “Bridgital Nation: Solving Technology’s People Problem”, co-authored by Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Roopa Purushothaman, Chief Economist and Head of Policy Advocacy, Tata Sons has been acquired by Penguin Random House India to be published under the Allen Lane imprint, known for advancing original and transformative ideas, and some of the most distinguished titles in serious non-fiction.

It will be released in September 2019. Using new digital technology to address some of the biggest challenges in the country - such as access to quality jobs, better healthcare and skill-based education - the authors examine unique and novel programmes that would connect Indians, creating a network of services to be delivered when and where they are most required. From healthcare to education to business, the model can be applied in various sectors. By a conservative estimate, it could create and impact 30 million jobs by 2025, a statement said. “The process of writing this book has further cemented my belief that the adoption of Bridgital-AI, Cloud and related technologies in a deliber- lenges. Bridgital thinking makes the ate manner-is the 21st century answer most of what India has, and gives the to India’s, and to many of the devel- country what it most needs. “As a practitioner, the book’s oping world’s, most perpetual chal-

Google bets big with ‘India first’ features

The search engine giant has had a history of building India-ϔirst features for the world’s second-largest population….writes Krishna Sinhachaudhury


rom alerting Google Maps users when their vehicle goes off-route to partnering with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for the “Loo Review” campaign, the bullish search engine giant has had a history of building India-first features for the world’s second-largest population. India also has the second-biggest digital market and the Internet population of over 500 million is expected to touch 650 million by 2020. Especially targeted at the vernacular audience, in 2014, Google introduced “Voice Search” in the country, which let users speak in Hindi to navigate the web. Google’s virtual assistant -- Google Assistant - can now read web content in 28 regional languages including Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, and Tamil. “By focusing on voice and vernacular, Google is innovating for a new generation of mobile-first, and mobileonly Internet users, connecting the unconnected, and enabling them to access and experience, Google’s suite of products and platforms,” said Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR. One of Google’s most-popular India-first features introduced on Maps in June 2019 is called “Stay Safer” which has been designed to give people travelling in taxis and auto-rickshaws peace of mind, or avoid being taken through

a longer route. As part of the feature, if the user’s driver deviates more than 0.5-km from the Google Maps’ suggested route, the user’s phone would buzz with a prominent notification, and they can tap it to see where they are compared to the original route. “Innovating for India’s digital surge provides Google with opportunities to experiment, iterate, fail-fast, as well as scale successful made-in-India solutions globally,” noted Ram. In partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Google launched “Loo Review” campaign in September 2018 to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps. This is part of a feature which allows all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant and also provide feedback. Google Maps currently has more than 45,000 community and public toilets as part of the campaign. Google’s Cloud business, with an annual revenue run rate of over $8 billion globally, is now on route to explore the government sector in India as various state governments are taking initiatives like smart cities and have plans to move their workloads to a secure on-premise as well as public Cloud. There’s been an upward trend in Cloud adoption in India and according to Nasscom, Cloud spending in India is

estimated to grow at 30 per annum to cross the $7 billion mark by 2022. Driving digital transformation, more than a million small and medium businesses (SMBs) have set up their websites through Google Business till date. “There are over 26 million listings that have been set up by businesses. There are about 58.5 million SMBs in India and 45 per cent of them have a presence on Google Maps and Google Search. We’re continuing our efforts on that,” said Shalini Girish, Director, Google Customer Solutions, India. The company made instant bankto-bank transfers via Unified Payments Interface (UPI) available with Tez in 2017. It was later rebranded as Google Pay in August 2018. Google Pay has over 25 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India. Aiming to make public transport journeys seamless, Google in June 2019 introduced bus travel times from live traffic in 10 of the largest cities in India, live train status for trains and mixed-mode commute suggestions that combine both auto rickshaw and public transport. Earlier in July, Google Maps added three new features for Indian users to help them discover local experiences and get recommendations that are personalised for better dining experience, including an “Offers” section to help them find deals and claim them at restaurants in 11 cities.

structure reflects an effort to be closely connected to realities on the ground. In doing so, I hope this work will contribute to an educated and fruitful debate on India’s (as well as other countries’) growth and development path,” Natarajan Chandrasekaran said. Written over the course of the past two years, the book “is filled with real-life narratives of people grappling with access and employment. It is also supported by numbers and analyses that ground the various stories in fact. The reality is, the future will be one of humans and technology working together. It’s this future India will have to anticipate and design for, keeping its young workforce, infrastructure, and linguistic and cultural diversity in mind”, Roopa Purushothaman said. “We are thrilled to be bringing Chandrasekaran’s grand vision to the world in the form of this book. It will

be published under the prestigious Allen Lane imprint, befitting a subject as significant as this. “Chandrasekaran offers an ingenious solution to the coming disruption of AI, where India could emerge a world leader in transforming the path ahead,” Meru Gokhale, publisher of Penguin Press, Penguin Random House India, said. “It has been a tremendous experience to work with Chandrasekaran and Roopa Purushothaman on this project. It is like being part of a huge transformation we all are about to witness that will overturn many presumptions. This ground-breaking vision is set to change the narrative of India’s future policies and influence a whole host of sectors,” Richa Burman, Associate Commissioning Editor for Penguin Press, Penguin Random House India, said.

2020 Apple Macbook with 5G connectivity


pple is reportedly preparing to launch its first 5G-enable MacBook models in the second half of 2020. The Cupertino-based company is reportedly considering using a ceramic material for the 5G antenna board in its upcoming MacBook, although they cost six times more than metal ones. This would dramatically improve cellular reception and transmission speed, news portal 9To5MAC reported. Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the company would unveil 5G iPhones in 2020, while Qualcomm is still expected to be its primary supplier of 5G modems. According to media reports, the iPhone-maker is expected to launch three iPhones next year. Apple’s 6.7-inch and 5.4inch iPhones will be 5G-capable, while a mid-size 6.1-inch iPhone won’t have 5G and will likely be cheaper. The noted Apple expert and predictor also believes that the company will have its own 5G modem ready by 2022 or 2023, which should reduce its dependence on Qualcomm. Dell, HP and Lenovo are already expected to be among the first companies to launch 5G notebooks this year.

MUSK: We are tiny


eplying to NASA’s tweet about Jupiter’s massive size as compared to Earth, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX which has partnered with the space agency for its Artemis mission, has said: “We are tiny”. The US-based agency on Saturday tweeted: “Did you know that two Earths could fit inside Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot? The powerful storm is one of many colourful features we see in this image captured by our @NASAJuno spacecraft and processed by #CitizenScientist Kevin M. Gill.” Aiming to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024, NASA has selected 13 firms -- including Blue Origin of Jeff Bezos and SpaceX of Elon Musk -- to develop space technologies for its Artemis mission. To facilitate the mission, NASA centres would partner with the companies -- ranging from small businesses with fewer than a dozen employees to large aero-space organisations -- to provide expertise, facilities, hardware and software at no cost, the agency had earlier said in a statement. “We’ve identified technology areas NASA needs for future missions, and these public-private partnerships will accelerate their development so we can implement them faster,” said Jim Reuter, Associate Administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email: @asianlitemedia @asianlitemedia


AUGUST I 2019 Website: Email:

WORLD CUP 2019: How India Spoiled Their Chances? How did India the best supported team in the 2019 World Cup fail? Mr Mihir Bose, former Sports Editor of BBC, reviews the performance of the Indian team at 2019 World Cup. An exclusive for Asian Lite International. The World Cup also saw well-off Indians eager to use the visit of an Indian cricket team to parade their wealth. This is now new. . In the lead up to this year’s World Cup there were so many dinners to honour Kohli and his men that one wit wondered when the team had time to practise


efore the 2019 World Cup, many people in England hoped the final would be between India and England and even Jeremy Hunt, then Foreign Secretary, looked forward to an India-England clash. That England, who normally see playing Australia as the pinnacle of cricket ambition, and nothing pleases the English fans more than winning the Ashes, should regard India so highly showed the new status of Indian cricket. But the final was not between England and India. England’s victory, of course, could not have been more dramatic and all those who love cricket must hope it will lead to a much needed renaissance in the domestic game in this country. That is clearly important if it to move away from the “stale, male, pale” people to who watch cricket, over the past seven years ticket buyers for professional cricket in England were 95 per cent white, 82 per cent male and 65 per cent from the ABC1 demographic with an average of 50. English cricket needs to attract young people and people of south Asian origin if it to make the game popular again and reflect the diversity in this country. India’s failure to make even the final raises very different issues about Indian cricket. India came to this World Cup not only as one of the favourites along with England but the supreme power in cricket. What a change this was to previous World Cups held in this country cannot be overemphasised. I was in the Lord’s press box in 1983 when India won the World Cup. For much of the match I had to listen to the English and Australian press moaning that puny India was challenging the mighty West Indies. Then Kapil Dev took a catch of Vivian Richards, India won and almost overnight fell out of love with Test cricket and took to its new love: one -day cricket. However, despite this in 1999, which was the last time

the World Cup was held in England before this summer, India was still very much the outsider. Now India came to this World Cup as the money bags of cricket, English cricketers care more about playing in the IPL than country cricket and England has altered its domestic competitions to accommodate India’s premier tournament. When IPL started English cricket rubbished IPL’s city-based franchises. Next season’s The Hundred will see IPL style city-based teams. Just as significant was that this World Cup showed how the power of

the Indian diaspora in this country has grown enormously since 1999.. As we saw during this World Cup India’s matches were packed with Indians so much so that even when India played England there were many more supporting India than England and English cricketers felt they were playing away from home. Had India made it to the final at Lord’s the Mecca of cricket would have been swamped with Indian supporters, waving the tricolour and their faces painted in the tricolour. When I went to Old Trafford for the semi-final against New Zealand

one of the most interesting sights was seeing two white men, I presume they were English, painting Indian faces with the tricolour and selling Indian flags. I cannot recall an occasion when India has been so prominent in this country. This was also emphasised when at the same ground in the group stages India played Pakistan. In a ground which can hold a maximum of 25,000 the organiser received 400,000 applications. And Indian supporters easily outnumbered the Pakistani supporters. This despite the fact that with the match played in the north of England there is a large Pakistani community in the towns neighbouring Manchester. And these Indian supporters were a mix of Indians living in this country along with Indians from India and also Indians from other parts of the world, in particular the US. The World Cup also saw well-off Indians eager to use the visit of an Indian cricket team to parade their wealth. This is now new. In 2011 Mahendra Dhoni, three months after winning the World Cup, launched his Foundation at a swanky hotel in London’s Park Lane, auctioning the bat with which he hit the winning six for £100,000. In 2017, the day after India beat Pakistan in their opening fixture of the Champions Trophy, Kohli held a Charity Ball in a plush venue in London’s business district, with Vijay Mallya in attendance and a table for 10 going for £5,950. In the lead up to this year’s World Cup there were so many such dinners to honour Kohli and his men that one wit wondered when the team had time to practise. But despite such support India failed and it is not a case as Virat Kohli said that it was 45 minutes of bad batting against New Zealand in the semi-final that undid the Indians. I do not wish to say I told you so but even before the World Cup began I had my worries about the Indian team. I had made England favourites. I felt that while India had a fine bowl-

ing attack and in Jasprit Bumrah the best bowler in the competition, it was Indian batting that might let them down. My fear was it relied too heavily on two batsman Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. If they failed India was doomed. In the group matches Sharma carried the burden of the batting, making five centuries. However, there were danger signs. Often early in his innings he was dropped. Against New Zealand he did not enjoy any such luck. As for Kohli while he made 50s he could never convert them into the sort of hundreds that you would expect the batsman considered No 1 in the world to do. Also, India never sorted out its batting. True it did not help that Shikhar Dhawan, while scoring a masterly hundred against Australia broke his finger and had to withdraw from the competition. Nevertheless, it was clear in the way India juggled about with their order and the selection of players that they did not have a settled policy as to which batsmen to play and in what position. The fact that Jadeja was not even in the team until very late in the campaign shows a certain confusion. And then there was the position of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. His contribution to Indian cricket is great. But his past achievements must not mean he is untouchable and cannot be sacked. He seems to have acquired the cricket position Gandhi had in the Congress during the freedom movement. Just as Gandhi was the permanent President whoever nominally occupied the position so, despite Kohli being captain, Dhoni runs the show. Dhoni calls all the shots and the run chase against New Zealand in the semi-final showed that Dhoni cannot always call a game now. He is no longer the great finisher he was. India needs to look hard at these issues. Otherwise while Indian money will rule the game, Indian players will not prove to be the best.

Profile for beneeksiraj

Asian Lite UK Aug II Edition 2019  

Asian Lite UK Aug II Edition 2019

Asian Lite UK Aug II Edition 2019  

Asian Lite UK Aug II Edition 2019