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MAY - JULY 2010 VOL. 1, NO. 2

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Burundi China

face to face

Czech Georgia Portugal Rwanda Slovenia Sudan UAE

IN THIS ISSUE

NEWS & VIEWS

Look inside for a ringside view of the Kuwaiti society, the people, their ambitions and their expectations from India. The official and nonofficial point of view.

From Diplomatic Missions of African, Asian and European countries Poems / Poemas ´ Nuno Judice & Luis Filipe Castro Mendes


We are interested in sourcing lubricants and petroleum based products for markets in India and other South Asian countries.


Volume I, Number 2

FORM IV declaration

face to face

8 3 20 28 10 26 14 6 32

Burundi

Zéphyrin Maniratanga

The value of peace

China

Zhang Yan

Trust, the basis of genuine relationship

Georgia

Katchkatchishvili Zurab

Waiting for India to open mission in Georgia

Portugal

Luis Filipe Castro Mendes Enjoy a historical relation with India

Rwanda

Eugene Ngoga

There are forces who ignite genocide

Slovenia

Janez Premoze

On Slovenia’s potential for trade and tourism

Sudan

Khidir Haroun Ahmed

Commerce must be supported politically

UAE

M S Abdalla Al Owais

What makes India trading partner No.1

Czech

Lubos Vanek

Technology partnership

events

2 31 24

Ambassador bids farewell 13 Light and Hope Celebrating BUNKASAI A special gesture to support children

Egypt Japan UAE

voices

33 37 38 38 40 43 44 45 47

Cover story

KUWAIT VISITED

Rasha Al Sabah

Role as a regional financial centre

Ahmad R Al Haroun

Kuwait offers a competitive business environment

Ibrahim A Alnouh

At Kuwait, people freely practice what they want

Ajai Malhotra

Setting high standards in diplomacy

Khaled H D Al-Razni

We invite people to come and view our society

Women’s Cultural & Social Society

We are In favour of ‘Activism’ not ‘Feminism’

Ya’qub Al Hijji

India has been like a mother to us

Barges H Al Barges

What happened in Mumbai (26/11) is unacceptable

17 18 48

Eyjafjallajökull FAQ Barnali Ghosh on ‘Managing Geohazards’ T3 takes off

Place of publication: New Delhi Periodicity of its publication: Quarterly Printer’s Name: Arunava Dasgupta Nationality: Indian Address: I/1677 Chittaranjan Park New Delhi 110019 Publisher’s Name: Arunava Dasgupta Nationality: Indian Address: I/1677 Chittaranjan Park New Delhi 110019 Editor’s Name: Arpita Dasgupta Nationality: Indian Address: I/1677 Chittaranjan Park New Delhi 110019 Names and addresses of individuals who own the newspaper and partners or shareholders holding more than one per cent of the total capital. Arunava Dasgupta I/1677 Chittaranjan Park New Delhi 110019 I, Arunava Dasgupta, hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Date May 01, 2010 Signature of Publisher


EGYPT

FAREWELL

Ambassador Higazy

“The love we brought from Egypt to India helped us add value to this relation between the world’s two most ancient civilisations” multi-farious fields like textiles, petrochemicals, oil exploration, IT and many other industries that have found Egypt to be an ideal for transacting business in North Africa, the COMESA countries and the Arab League countries. Add to this, a large number of Indian projects which are in the pipeline.

Egypt and India which were always excellent from the days of the Pharaoh continue to become even better. It is natural because we share a natural affinity and love for art – expression through colours, music, cinema, sculpture and so on. Tourism to Egypt is increasing and last year there were 110,000 visitors. The 'Indo-Egypt Cultural Week', a listed activity between India and Egypt has become a great success. Egypt held its cultural week in India during 2007 and 2009 and the way our artistes were acclaimed and appreciated shows a commonality in our cultures. Similarly, India showcased its cultural week in 2008 and will do so during September 2010 at Cairo. Egypt being the The success of cultural hub of the Arab world will be happy Egypt–India bilateral to receive the Indians. Dr Mohamed Higazy with wife Madam Hoda Hafez and sons Karim and Sherif relations which is India has attained marvellous achieveancient and redisments in the field of three technologies, partiMy assignment in India after four years is covered and given modern expression by cularly Space Science, Information Technow about to finish and I will go back to Cairo in September. I am happy that my President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru nology and Bio-Technology in addition to other modern technologies. The achievetenure has witnessed a quantum jump in the continues to flourish in every sphere. ments of India brings ‘Hope’ to the third multi-dimensional Egypt–India relations to I am indeed very happy that President world countries and inspires them to move reach a status of strategic partnership. Hosny Mubarak's historical visit to India gave forward. I hope that the new generation of our bilateral relations an impetus and a new My affinity to India is manifolds. On a diplomats, politicians and scientists will build expression—Strategic Partnership—a forcepersonal note, my wife was born at Kolkata in multiplier if I may call, that will help India upon the foundations of Indo–Egypt relations and Egypt to expand their economic and by integrating knowledge into their mutual At a recently convened press conference at social influence in South Asia, West Asia and relations. the Egyptian Embassy, Dr Mohamed North Africa for the benefit of the people Higazy, Ambassador of Egypt announced who inhabit these regions. Our nations have that with the completion of his tenure at Delhi, he would soon be returning to Cairo. historically been peace loving countries, nonWe bid Ambassador Higazy, a true friend of partisan proven by the fact that we along India, along with his family, a warm farewell with Marshal Tito founded NAM during the and hope to see him in India in the future days of a bi-polarised world. the sixties when her father worked at the Egyptian consulate in that city. During the thirty years that I have known her, I have heard a lot about India. This actually brought both of us closer to India and when I received my nomination for the present assignment, it was among the best moments of my life. The love we brought from Egypt to India helped us add value to this relation between the two most ancient civilisations, who have together shaped the history of humanity. During these four years, there were 25 ministerial visits, a larger number of scientific and business contacts, a healthy bilateral trade at USD 3.5 billion in 2008 and intending to reach USD 5 billion in 2012, a USD 2 billion investment by Indian companies in

It also gives me great pleasure to inform that I shall continue to work for Egypt–India relations and my first task will be to table the 6th Round of Joint Commission which shall be attended by the Foreign Ministers of both countries. We expect to sign four important agreements concerning Double Taxation, Maritime Transportation, Education and Scientific Cooperation (2010–12) and Tourism. In addition, numerous Memorandums of Understanding are expected to be signed on renewable energy, social development, insurance, cooperation for environment protection, technology and science, agriculture, historical research and archives, antiquity and cultural heritage, information services and so on.

Self portrait in Arabic calligraphy by Excellency’s younger son, Sherif

I leave India with a lot of love for the Indians which I shall carry back to Egypt. My wife and sons are good painters and I hope they shall continue capturing their fond memories of India on the canvas for posterity to see and appreciate. I also hope that I shall be successful in reopening the Egyptian Consulate at Kolkata and maybe at another The relations between the people of one in southern part of India.

(See page 30) DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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60

Without

TRUST

there can be no genuine relations H.E. Mr Zhang Yan, Ambassador, Peoples’ Republic of China This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. On this auspicious occasion, it is indeed a great pleasure for me, through the magazine Diplomatic Square, to express my sincere gratitude to Indian friends from all walks of life who have worked tirelessly for the development of China–India relations. In more than 2000 years of history, good-neighbourliness and friendly interactions have always been the main feature of China–India relations. The liberation and independence of China and India in the middle of last century not only changed the destinies of two countries, but also the political landscape of the world. The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and India on April 1, 1950 ushered in a new era for the development of bilateral relations. Since then the two countries have enjoyed mutual understanding and support in their respective endeavour of safeguarding sovereignty and independence, as well as, nation building. The catch phrase of Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples. The famous Panchsheel, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence initiated by China and India during 1950s remain to be one of the guiding principles of international relations. In spite of the temporary ups and downs, China–India relations on the whole have been progressing positively, thanks to the leadership of generations of leaders of the two countries. Today, China and India have emerged as two fast growing economies and their relationship has gone beyond the bilateral dimension and assumed global and strategic significance. Looking into the future, despite of all kinds of positive and negative hypotheses, I am optimistic about China–India relations for the following reasons: FIRST, the leaders of two countries have taken long-term strategic perspectives

about our relationship which provides a clear guidance and solid political basis for the sustained development of our relations. SECOND, China–India relations have acquired new dimensions. The two countries have established the Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in 2005, formulated a TenPronged Strategy in 2006, and signed A Shared Vision for 21st Century in 2008. All these have provided guidelines and road maps for the development of strategic partnership. T HIRD , China–India relations are expanding and deepening in all round manner. Today China–India relations have extended into almost all human endeavours. The cooperation in all fields have yielded tangible benefits to the people of two countries. FOURTH, China and India enjoy growing shared interests. As two emerging economic powers, China and India have become important trade partners. The two countries also share similar views on many important global and regional issues, and closely coordinate and cooperate with each other within the frameworks of BRICs, BASIC, G20 and other fora and on issues like financial crisis, climate change and international trade negotiations. Both are committed to the promotion of building a harmonious world of peace and common prosperity. F IFTH , China–India relations are growing in maturity. While striving to seek mutually acceptable solutions to boundary issue and other differences, both sides agree not to let those differences stand in the way of our cooperation. Furthermore, two countries have set up relevant mechanisms, such as Special Representative Talks on border issue, strategic dialogues and so on.

All these platforms have played a very useful role in addressing relevant issues and maintaining stable relations between the two countries. The past 60 years have proved that when China and India live in amity and understand and support each other, the two countries grow faster and people benefit. When China and India join hands, they can make positive impact on world peace and prosperity. It has also proved that cooperation, communication, consultation and dialogue are the best means to handle our relations. There are no fundamental differences and conflicts between China and India. Let alone China and India are rivalries or threat to each other, the two countries are partners for development. We have more common interests than differences. As Chinese President Hu Jintao underlines, the good-neighbourly friendship and cooperation between China and India and their common development not only benefit our two peoples, but also serve the peace and development of Asia and the entire world. Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said time and again that there is enough room in the world for India and China to prosper together. In order to move the China–India relations forward, I am of the view that efforts should be made in the following areas: FIRST, further enhance mutual trust. I share the view that China and India need to urgently enhance their mutual trust which is vital to a sound and stable relationship DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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CHINA Without trust there can be no genuine relations. Without trust, there can be no sustained and meaningful cooperation. The two countries should maintain the momentum of high-level interaction—expand exchanges and cooperation at all levels and in all fields. The forthcoming visit by Indian President to China this year will surely greatly enhance mutual trust and cooperation of two countries. SECOND, upgrade the level of economic cooperation. As two fast growing economies, China and India still hold great potential in their economic, trade and investment cooperation. The two sides should expand the scope of trade, improve trade configuration and strive to reduce the trade imbalance. At the same time, the two countries should endeavour to reach a regional trade arrangement and take effective measures to remove trade and investment barriers so as to foster an environment conducive to sustainable development of bilateral economic cooperation and achieve a win-win outcome. T HIRD , expand people-to-people exchanges to cement public support for our relations. The two countries should enhance exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, tourism, religion, science and technology, and increase interactions between the academic communities and

Glimpses of China

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media sectors of two side. Exchanges between youth should be further expanded. The China Festival in India and Indian Festival in China which have recently commenced will surely serve as an invaluable platform for promoting mutual understanding and friendship.

development of our relations. The two countries should provide correct guidance to the public opinions and avoid war of words. Efforts should be made on both sides in order to create an objective, friendly and mutually trusting environment. A good and conducive public environment will not only provide a necessary condition for the stable deveFOURTH, further strengthen cooperation lopment of our relations, but also create in multilateral forum. China and India shall conditions conducive to the settlement of remain important partners in regional and historical issues and other differences. global affairs, strengthen coordination and cooperation and continue to play an active The populations of China and India role in promoting multi-polarisation and account for 40 per cent of the world's total. democratisation in international relations The meaningful cooperation between China while safeguarding the common interests of and India will not only benefit the two developing countries. countries and peoples, but also the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world as a whole. FIFTH, properly address each other's At the beginning of a new cycle of 60 years, concerns. The two countries should respect China–India relations are faced with new and accommodate each other's interests and and rare opportunities. The two countries concerns and appropriately manage the should join their efforts to take our relations outstanding issues through consultations on to a new height. an equal footing and in a spirit of mutual Ambassador Zhang Yan was born in understanding. The two sides shall follow Zhejiang Province, the People's Republic of the political parameters and principles both China (P.R.C.). He is an university graduate. (mutually) agreed, including the Five Ambassador Zhang Yan is married with Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, and one daughter. strive to seek a fair and reasonable solution Diplomatic Assignments acceptable to both sides. Pending a final 1978–1983: Staff, Attache, Embassy of resolution, we shall not allow the differences the P.R.C. in the Republic of Liberia; to affect our cooperation. 1983–1990: Attache, Deputy Director, Director, Department of International SIXTH, properly handle public opinion. Organisations and Conferences, Ministry of Public opinion is vitally important to the PHOTOS: Panu Pazo

Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the P.R.C.; 1990–1992: First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the P.R.C. to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other International Organisation in Switzerland. 1992–1995: First Secretary, Counselor, permanent Mission of the P.R.C. to the United Nations; 1995–1996: Counselor, Department of International Organisations and Conferences, MFA of the P.R.C. 1996–1998: Director General, Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Yunnan Province, P.R.C.; 1998–2001: Senior official of the P.R.C. to the APEC (Ambassador Title); 2001–2005: Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the P.R.C. to the United Nations and other International Organisation in Vienna, Permanent Representative of the P.R.C. to the IAEA and UNIDO; 2005–2007: Director General, Department of Disarmament and Arms Control, MFA of the P.R.C.; From December 2007, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Peoples Republic of China to the Republic of India.


T

he history of Islam in China has gone beyond 1300 years. According to historical records, Islam was first brought to China by a mission sent by Othman, the third Caliph in 651 AD, less than 20 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. The then emperor received the and spread inspirational speeches and help envoy Sa`ad ibn Abî Waqqâs and ordered the imams improve themselves and vet sermons construction of the first mosque in the country. made by clerics around the country. Statistics In the following centuries, the inclusive show that more than 420 Islamic associations culture of China, with its frequent contacts have been set up at all levels of the country and with Central and West Asia through the Silk more than 10,000 people are working in these route, helped the introduction of Islam to organisations. China. Especially during the Mongol–founded Over the past 50 years, the China Islamic Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), large number of Association has sent more than 100 delegations Muslims settled in China. Comparatively wellto visit Islamic organisations in various established, even somewhat segregated mercountries and attend international Islamic cantile Muslim communities first took shape in conferences and symposiums. some port cities on China's southeastern seaIt is known that Zheng He and his Muslim board, then in cities of the hinterland. The Muslims in China began to melt into the crews had made the journey to Mecca and Chinese society and contribute even more to performed the Hajj during one of the voyages the history of China. Zheng He (Cheng Ho), to the western ocean. Starting from 1979, perhaps the most famous Chinese Muslim and Chinese Muslims began to attend the Hajj in China's foremost explorer, led seven expe- large numbers, typically in organised groups, ditions to the Indian Ocean from 1405 and with a record 10,700 Chinese Muslim pilgrims 1433, several decades before European adven- from all over the country making the Hajj in turers. Gradually, the Chinese Islamic culture 2007. with its own characteristics came into being. The Chinese government has taken many measures to protect the Islamic cultural Muslim Population in China Today, Muslims live in every region of tradition and the development of the Muslim China. There are two Muslim-dominated pro- community, among which are also some vincial administrative regions—the Ningxia religious concessions granted to Muslims. In Hui Autonomous Region and the Xinjiang areas where Muslims are a majority, the Uygur Autonomous Region. The total breeding of pigs is not allowed, in deference to population of Muslims in China has gone Muslim sensitivities. Muslim communities are beyond 20 millions. The highest concentrations allowed separate cemeteries. Muslim couples are found in north-west China, with significant may have their marriage consecrated by an populations throughout Yunnan province in imam and have children without the limitation southwest and Henan Province in central of Family Planning Policy. Muslim workers are China. Of China's 55 officially recognized permitted holidays during major religious minority peoples, 10 groups are predominately festivals.

Islam in

China

Muslim. According to year 2000 census of Over the last 20 years, a wide range of China, there are Hui (9.8 million), Uyghur (8.4 Islamic educational opportunities have been million), Kazakh (1.25 million), Dongxiang (514 000), Kyrgyz (161,000), Salar (105,000), Tajik (41,000), Bonan (17,000), Uzbeks (15,000) and Tatar (5,000). Additionally, Tibetan Muslims are officially classified along with the Tibetan people. The vast majority of China's Muslims are Sunni Muslims. Development of Islam in China There has been an upsurge of Islamic expression and many nationwide Islamic associations have been organised to coordinate interethnic activities among Muslims. The China Islamic Association set up in Beijing on May 11, 1953, is the representative body of Chinese Muslims nationwide. The duty of the association is to assist the government in implementing religious freedom, promote Islamic education and unity among nationalities in China and oppose religious extremism. The association is run by 16 Islamic religious leaders who are to make a correct and authoritative interpretation of Islamic creed and canon. They also compile Article contributed by Chinese Embassy

developed to meet the needs of China's Muslim population. In 1955, the China Islamic Institute was set up in Beijing as a national high-level school to foster qualified Islamic personnel. Moreover, nine provincial Islamic Institutes have been established successively in major cities. In addition to mosque schools, government Islamic colleges, and independent Islamic colleges, a growing number of students have gone overseas to continue their studies at international Islamic universities in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Malaysia. Islamic Culture in China Due to the large Muslim population in western China, there are many restaurants run by Muslims in most major cities in China catering to Muslims or to the general public. Lamb and mutton dishes are more commonly available than in other Chinese restaurants, due to the greater prevalence of these meats in the cuisine of western Chinese regions. Qingzhen is the Chinese term for certain Islamic institutions, which literally means ‘pure truth’. In Chinese, halal is called Qingzhen Cai meaning ‘pure truth food’. Mosques are also an eye-catching view in most cities in China. Presently there are more than 35,000 mosques in China. Mosques in east and central China follow traditional Chinese architecture, while mosques in western China incorporate more elements of the Arabian architecture, mostly with minarets and domes.

Beijing MOSQUES Xinjiang, West China

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Centuries of warm relations has made UAE, India’s trading partner Number One, today H.E. Mr Mohamed Sultan Abdalla Al Owais, Ambassador, UAE UAE enjoys excellent relations with India; it did not start today but long time ago. We have a close relation with India. Arabs used to come by sea to the west and south India in their dhows for trade and that is why it is called the Arabian Sea. Many communities from the gulf came and lived in South India. If we talk about modern relations, my father and my grandfather did business with India since the 1930s and 40s. My uncle used to live in Bombay and they used to have their community there and even their own school. During these decades, we had a large community from UAE, particularly from Dubai, who used to live in Bombay and do their business. That is why we find it very easy to do business with India—we know India. Business goes very smooth and easy when you have an Indian partner. This relation exists today and that is why UAE is the leading 'Trading Partner'

of India. To emphasis this point, let me inform that UAE is India's 'Trading Partner Number One', and we are ahead of US and China, with a total trade of over USD 48.3 billion. That a small country like ours could attain this status is a proof of the tremendous mutual trust and confidence between the people of India and the United Arab Emirates. We are also one of the major investors in India, possibly the ninth largest investing country in India. We have many important Indian companies with business stations in UAE.

connectivity with India, over 475 flights per week and 64 per cent of these flights are being operated by UAE national airlines like Etihad, Emirates and Air Arabia. This is necessary, not just for trade and commerce, but due to the fact that a very large number of Indians reside in UAE. We are happy that UAE is the most favoured destination of Indians searching for opportunities abroad–today, we have about 1.7 million Indians living in UAE. Indians constitute 42.5 per cent of the labour force in the Emirates. In 2008, despite the global downturn, UAE remained the single most important destination for Indian workers, followed by other countries in the region. The total remittances to India from expatriates in UAE during 2008–09 was recorded at USD 10–12 billion We have standing cooperation with India on many issues. We are now focusing on knowledge based industries and with India emerging as world leaders in space, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; there is considerable scope for cooperation in technology transfer, R&D and for joint ventures. Defence cooperation reached a new high with the first ever India –UAE air exercise and the second India– UAE Joint Defence Cooperation Committee meeting. India got firm support of the UAE side on the issue of terrorism.

This is my fifth international diplomatic assignment. I have been here for a little over 15 months and prior to that I was ambassador in Saudi Arabia and Germany and before that Charge d'Affaires in Oman and a diplomat in Tokyo. I find India a very challenging destination as it offers plenty of opportunities.

I have many hobbies and I like sports. I practice yoga. When I was offered the ambassadorship to India, I started preparing myself to understand the culture of this great country in all its diversities. I started going through many books and other literature and as a result picked up Yoga which I practice regularly now. I like to We attach a lot of emphasis on environ- travel to different destinations within India ment and renewable energies and thanks to and generally utilise the weekend for this. I live here with my wife and my our excellent diplomatic interaction with other countries, we succeeded in making children, who are in different levels at Abu Dhabi the international headquarters university and high-school. They visit us for IRENA (International Renewable during holidays or extended weekends. At Energy Agency). We are also cooperating times, we also visit Dubai because the travel with India and we appreciate India for time is hardly much from India. choosing our country to be the headquarters of such an important body.

We are developing a new carbonneutral city named MASDAR near Abu Dhabi with international technology and manpower support. We have already made huge financial allocations for this new city. We are also in touch with many Indian companies for joint ventures and collaboraToday, we have an excellent air tion for this project.

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Business and economy are extremely important in international relations because they deliver a win–win result to all parties —the Government and then ultimately the People. I think economic cooperation and commercial relations are very important.


United Arab Emirates

The Seven Emirates Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Umm Al-Qaiwain Fujairah Ajman Ra's al-Khaimah

Four-fifths of the UAE is desert but it has contrasting landscapes—from the towering red dunes of the Liwa to the rich palmfilled oases of Al Ain, from the precipitous Hajar Mountains to the more fertile stretches of its coastal plains.

The MASDAR project is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). Initiated in 2006, the project is projected to cost US$ 22 billion and take some eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be complete and habitable in 2009. The city is planned to cover six square kilometres (2.3 sq. mi.) and will be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products, and more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily. It will also be the location of a university, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), which will be assisted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Automobiles will be banned within the city; travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit systems, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city. The absence of motor vehicles coupled with Masdar's perimeter wall, designed to keep out the hot desert winds, allows for narrow and shaded streets that help funnel cooler breezes across the city. Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialised, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to Novosibirsk, Russia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.

MASDAR

A new city for sustainable living “as many times as possible," with this grey-water being used for crop irrigation and other purposes The city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser, and some may also be utilised through waste incineration as an additional power source. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or re-purposed for other uses. Some key targets of the project include: 100 per cent of energy supplied by renewable energy— solar power, wind, waste to energy and other technologies to create a zerocarbon environment; 99 per cent diversion of waste from landfill (includes waste reduction measures, re-use of waste wherever possible, recycling and composting waste to energy) in the hope of producing zero waste; zero carbon emissions from transport within the city and measures to reduce the carbon cost of journeys to the city; using recycled materials for building; using 50 per cent less water than other cities.

Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power resources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant, built by the German firm Conergy, which will supply power for all other construction activity. This will later be followed by a larger facility and additional photovoltaic modules will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130 megawatts. Wind farms will be established outside the city's perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts and the city intends to utilise geothermal power as well. In addition, Masdar plans to host the world's largest hydrogen power plant. Water management has been planned in an environmentally sound manner as well. A solar-powered desalination plant will be used to provide the city's water needs, which is stated to be 60 per cent lower than similarly sized communities. Approximately, 80 per cent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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EMBASSY SPEAK

Muyinga Cibitoke Ngozi Bubanza

BUJUMBURA Heha

At times, people do not realise the value of peace till they lose it

Gitega

Mr Zéphyrin Maniratanga, Chargé d'Affaires a.i, BURUNDI

Bururi

and the creation of hydro power generation stations would be a very big help to our country. We would like the Government of India to help and support us in this area.

If Mr Zéphyrin Maniratanga did not chose diplomacy as a career, he may have been in South Africa playing football which is his favourite sport.

Like the good relations that our I am very happy that Diplomatic Square governments enjoy, our people to people has given me an opportunity to express my relations are also excellent with a lot of views. cooperation; there is a lot of movement these The Embassy of Burundi was opened in days. You may be aware that there is a big August last year at New Delhi and it is a result population of Indians in Burundi and they of the excellent relations that Burundi enjoys are a famous community because they are with India. So you see, I am here since about doing good business and are prosperous. nine months or so. The biggest private bank in Burundi is an We are a small country in Africa and we Indian bank. In Bujumbura, the capital city are committed to peace. We have seen war, of Burundi, there is a huge colony, about 5 we have been in a state of civil war for more km by 5 km, which belongs to Indians. We than 10 years—1992 to 2005—and are a also have an important road named Indian witness to the horror and grief of war. I often Avenue and it is a business avenue with the say that sometimes people do not realise the houses belonging to Indians. So Indians in importance of peace until they lose it. Having Burundi are prospering and adding value to known what is war, we understand the value the national economy there. of peace. We have been helped by the Similarly, we have students from international community in our efforts, we have gone through a process of national Burundi coming to India for studies. Some reconciliation, and have now recovered come with the support and scholarships peace. That is why we are committed to offered by the Indian government while support other countries who are facing others come on their own. India offers many situations that if I can say, a state of 'unpeace'. opportunities in education and the facilities here are among the best in the world. For this reason, we like India are Likewise, we have seen a growth in medical committed to fight terrorism. Burundi in tourism from Burundi to India. The Indian particular, is very committed in Somalia to medical infrastructure is among the best in fight against Islamist terrorism. Our country the world and Indian medical and parais doing its best. medical professionals are well known in the We have very good relations with India. world for their professional excellence. We share common perceptions on important In conclusion, I can say that Burundi matters and particularly when it concerns enjoys extremely good relations with India: peace, security and terrorism. We are diplomatic, political, economic and social committed to these issues internationally relations. But there is scope for much higher and particularly in Africa. growth and we look to the support of the India is a big country and it can do a lot of Indian government in certain areas so that things to establish peace in the world. It is we can improve the quality of life in my mainly for this reason that my country has home country. decided to support India's candidature as a If you ask me about India, I can say I find non-permanent member in the Security it beautiful. I have visited Goa and Gujarat Council of the United Nations. and I would like to visit Mumbai, Kerala and Similarly on the economic front, we have other places. India is a very big country and very good relations with India and we look when you step outside the city you can see a forward to India's support to Burundi for whole country in motion—everywhere setting up Hydro-Electric projects in our there is developmental activity going on. country. We are an energy-deficient country

Apart from his love of soccer, he is an avid reader and an acquirer of knowledge. At present, he is pursuing Masters on International Environment Law, University of Limoges, France. He is DEA on Human Rights from University of Nantes, France, a History Graduate (Yaounde University) and Masters in International Relations (Cameroon).

I am really very happy to meet you today.

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A career diplomat, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has worked in different capacities including a tenure as Deputy Chief of Protocol (Head of State Office) and later on as Chief of Protocol (National Assembly). He has served in South Africa and Canada and in India, designated as the Charge d'Affaires, a.i. till the arrival of an ambassador. He has authored many publications and academic documents and is well versed in English and French.

The Republic of Burundi is situated in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Its size is 27,834 km² with an estimated population of almost 8,700,000. Burundi is landlocked and its capital is Bujumbura. The country is divided into 16 provinces, 117 communes and 2,638 hills. Burundi is bordered on the west by Lake Tanganyika, guarded by crocodiles and hippopotamus. This land is known for its drums that announce the planting of sorghum. It is a country that is famed for its skilled farmers. Burundi is one of the smallest countries in Africa that is located south of Rwanda, the sister country of a thousand hills. Burundi has an equatorial climate with a long rainy season from September to May and a short dry season summer. The humid climate (1500 mm rain) allows continuous crop farming.


An Eden in the Heart of Africa Burundi is in the heart of Africa and its beautiful landscapes make the country a true paradise—that’s why Burundi is often called "The Switzerland of Africa". Burundi’s gentle climate and its diverse natural beauty makes it a favourite destination for a relaxed holiday as well as adventure. A visitor to Burundi would really enjoy his stay in the country if he can travel through the length and breath of the country, experience the many thrills that it offers and enjoy the traditional hospitality of the Burundi people. If he is lucky, he may discover the "Eden Garden" like the explorers of the last century did. It is necessary to know the kind of harmonious patchwork which is made by the climate as it varies from one region to another. While the area of the peak Congo Nile which is covered with the big Kibira forest has got a pleasant height and the climate is excellent, an exotic tropical forest is found within the region of the Central plateau and the thousands of hills that surround it. There are depressions in the eastern and north-eastern part of Burundi.

gastronomy. In fact, because of the large number of restaurants (Entente Sportive, Monastère, Cercle Hellenique, Cremaillère), the restaurants of Bujumbura are fiercely competitive to offer the best palate and

Attractive Locations service to the customer. They compete among each other to offer the best fare to their customers and that is a great advantage. Most of the hotels have international class restaurants.

All along the year, the lake Tanganika remains attractive: water skiing, sailing, fishing or a simple stroll along the lake side are among the many activities that one can enjoy. Private swimming pools in some hotels or at the "Entente Sportive Restaurant"; there are many beautiful places along the lake which are convenient for swimming, especially the public beach of Kajaga, near the Hotel "Club du Lac Tanganika".

From Bujumbura to Bugarama, the road is going up a steep hillside before one reaches the peak of the Congo–Nile. If you happen to look behind, you can see about 10 kilometres stretching from Bujumbura, lake Tanganika (it is a like a mirror where the image of the sky can be seen) and the vast plains of Imbo that borders the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Bujumbura has plenty to offer by way of entertainment. The tourist can dine beside the lake Tanganika perhaps savouring a Beyond Bugarama there are important tea delicious local fish called the “Sangala” and plantations and the big factory of Teza which then spend the evening in a night club, is located at an altitude of 2,666 metres. relaxing in a friendly atmosphere. Coffee is grown in Kayanza and Ngozi The lake Tanganika, full of fish, is the provinces. deepest in the world just after Lake Baikal in Kirundo, which is an adjacent province to the Russia. Its length–800 km, width–50km, Ngozi, is a fantastic place because of its and altitude–771 m. pristine lakes Cohoha and Rweru and From the top to the mountains, you have a beautiful view of the central plains and Gitega which is the second town of Burundi. The city of Gitega ia a peaceful place of unique beauty and exquisite charm.

The foundation of Bujumbura is dated back to 1876. Initially, Bujumbura was only a port on the shore of the lake Tanganika but, it soon developed into an important business city and finally became the capital of Burundi.

The historic place where Henry Morton Stanley first met Dr Livingtone and uttered the famous words, ‘Dr Livingstone I presume’ still exists because of a giant rock which it appears was placed by God so that posterity could see the place that changed the course of Africa’s history. It is also true for the "German Falls". All this make Burundi a rather thrilling place to visit. The suggested travel route by tourist operators: Bujumbura–Bugarama–Teza– Kayanza–Ngozi–Kirundo–Gitega– Bujumbura .

Beautiful Landscapes

Bujumbura - The Capital City

century who stopped over its territory.

The route Bujumbura–Gitega goes via Muramvya (50 km from Bujumbura) through wonderful green landscapes. At 12 km from Gitega, the road reaches Giheta, an artistic centre for different works in leather, ceramic, ivory, wood-carvings. This is the opportunity to memorise the trip in the area by purchasing some artistic works at the centre.

The geographical structure of Burundi and the micro-climatic variation within the country generates a plethora of vegetation. Thus, from the savanna to the steppers, through ombrophilous mountain forest, Burundi is a delightful blooming country. The fauna is rich and comprises of different type of animals—antilopes, hares, buffaloes, cynocephalus. There are crocodiles and hippopotamus in Lake Tanganika where they Besides water-sports, Bujumbura offers can sometimes be seen form the shore. you—golf, tennis, volley-ball, horse riding, Tourist Trips bowling and even a flying-club. Burundi has preciously protected all the In addition to sports activities, Bujumbura historical traces of explorers of the last may be considered as a select place for the

especially the lake Rwihinda which is fondly called the "Birds Lake". There are plenty of migratory birds that fly to these lakes during their season of travel. In the northern city of Gitega, the traditional drummers perform before visitors dancing to the percussions of the famed African drums. Gitega is a centre for important cultural and scientific Institutes—the National Museum, and the School of Arts. On your return to Bujumbura, you will stop at Muranvya where the Kings of yesteryears used to live.

Photo and Text sourced from

http://www.burundi-embassy-berlin.com/Index.htm http://burundi-delhi.com

Photographs downloaded from internet with due acknowledgment and gratitude to the unknown photographers

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GENOCIDE

EMBASSY SPEAK

We want the world to recognise the signs of genocide . We want everyone to be a stakeholder in preventing genocide because there are forces who ignite genocide in the world. Mr Eugene Ngoga, Charge d'Affaire a.i., RWANDA In the pre-colonial days, Rwanda was a highly centralised kingdom presided over by Tutsi kings who hailed from one ruling clan. The King ruled through three categories of chiefs—cattle chiefs, land chiefs and military chiefs. In 1899, Rwanda became a German colony and after the defeat of the Germans in World War I, Rwanda became a mandate territory of the League of Nations under the administration of the Belgians. Belgium administered Rwanda through a system of indirect rule. Since the ruling class was from the Tutsies, the Belgians favoured them for political and practical reasons. For instance, any person in Banyarwanda* with ten or more cows was registered as Batutsi whereas those with less were registered as Bahutu. Thus families got divided with the richer brother becoming a Tutsi and the other one, a Hutu. Over the years and through this process, the Tutsies developed a complex and somehow started believing themselves to be superior.

From 1959 onwards, the Batutsi population was systematically targeted causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and a refugee population of almost two million people. Thereafter, almost in a regular manner, killings of the Batutsi became a common practice. In the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s massacres of Batutsi were common. The First Republic under President Gregoire Kayibanda, institutionalised discrimination against Batutsi and periodically used massacres against this targeted population as a means of maintaining the status quo. On October 1, 1990, the war of liberation began against the military dictatorship in Kigali, since all efforts for a peaceful and democratic change by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) had proved futile.

(*Kingdom of Rwanda)

During this colonial era, a cash crop economy was introduced in Rwanda and this was administered through harsh methods that further alienated the King and his chiefs from the rest of the population. In 1935, the Between April 6 and mid-July 1994, over Belgian colonial administration introduced a one million Rwandese people (nearly 20 per discriminatory national identification on the cent of the population), mainly Batutsi and basis of ethnicity. some Bahutu opposition were killed by the However, when the demand for indepengenocidal regime. Many people were indence began, mainly by the political party— volved in the killings. Union Nationale Rwandaise (UNAR)—the Those who planned and organised the Tutsies made a demand for independence. genocide include the late President, Major The Belgians then discarded the Tutsies and General Juvenal Habyarimana and his top began a policy of favouring the Hutus. They government officials. Tutsis essentially, and hastily nurtured another party called Parmethose Hutu who were political moderates at hutu that was based on sectarian ethnic ideology. Under the Belgian supervision, the that time, fell victims. This genocide, lasting first massacre of Batutsi took place at the 100 days, resulting in nearly a million deaths, hands of Parmehutu in 1959 and monarchy was carried out primarily by two Hutu was abolished amidst widespread violence. militias associated with the political parties, Three years later, Belgium granted formal Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi and they were armed with machetes. The political independence to Rwanda. genocide was directed by a Hutu power core Post Independence and Genocide family known as the Akazu. SQUARE 10DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

In 1959, three years before independence from Belgium, the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, overthrew the ruling Tutsi king. Over the next several years, thousands of Tutsis were killed, and some 150,000 driven into exile in neighboring countries. The children of these exiles later formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and began a civil war in 1990. The war, along with several political and economic upheavals, exacerbated ethnic tensions, culminating in April 1994 in the genocide of roughly 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the killing in July 1994, but approximately two million Hutu refugees— many fearing Tutsi retribution—fled to neighbouring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire. Since then, most of the refugees have returned to Rwanda, but several thousand remained in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; the former Zaire) and formed an extremist insurgency bent on retaking Rwanda, much as the RPF tried in 1990. Rwanda held its first local elections in 1999 and its first post-genocide presidential and legislative elections in 2003. Rwanda in 2009, staged a joint military operation with the Congolese Army in DRC to rout out the Hutu extremist insurgency there and Kigali and Kinshasa restored diplomatic relations. Rwanda also joined the Commonwealth in late 2009.

(Source: CIA – The World Factbook)

Due to high rates of illiteracy at the time of the genocide, radio was an important way for the government to deliver messages to the public. The news media played a crucial role in the genocide—local print and radio media fueled the killings, while the international media either ignored or seriously misconstrued events on the ground. The print media in Rwanda started hate speeches against Tutsis which was later continued by radio stations. According to commentators, anti-Tutsi hate speech "became so systemic as to seem the norm". The state-owned newspaper Kangura had a central role, starting an anti-Tutsi and antiRPF campaign in October 1990. Although meaning to end the war, the Tutsi RPF restarted their offensive, eventually defeating the army and seizing control of the country.


The Hutu government had put these Ten Hutu commandments. They were told that if they were good Christians, then they have to follow these commandments. When people refer to the Rwandan Genocide as an ethnic clash, it is wrong. The people of Rwanda were very simple people— for centuries they lived in peace and faith alongside each other. We speak the same language, we have the same culture, we come from the same source and in fact, we had always worshipped the same God. It was never a situation that the Tutsi and the Hutus did not have the same roots or had different languages, cultural habits, religion and so on. This division of society was the gift of colonialism to Rwanda. They pursued a policy of 'Divide and Rule' and what was once a very cohesive society was devastated by them. The whole country was seized with insanity with sons killing father, brothers killing brothers, neighbours killing neighbours. It was, and remains unimaginable. When you asked who were the colonisers, let me tell you, they were the Europeans – Belgians, French and Germans. Let me repeat, we speak the same language, we have the same culture, we come from the same source. We have the same origin, the same God. When people do not have the same culture and god, then we talk about ethnic clashes, but we have the same roots. In Africa, we have something called a pledge of blood—two friends will make an incision on their, say, forearm and gently rub each other with their bleeding area. This becomes a contract of blood which means they are committed for a lifetime to each other. Even, such people killed each other.

dominated Rwandan government to dehumanize Tutsis, were also spread by some influential clergymen, bishops and priests, before and after the genocide. The Catholic Church and colonial powers worked together in organizing racist political groups like the Party for the Emancipation of the Hutu (Parmehutu). Within the Catholic Church, this discriminatory policy had long been in the seminaries. According to Fr. Jean Ndolimana, the enrolment of Tutsis in the Nyundo diocese was limited to four per cent. On the school card, every seminarian had to indicate his father's ethnic group.

Resulting Effects of Genocide Approximately two million Hutus, participants in the genocide and the bystanders, with anticipation of Tutsi retaliation, fled from Rwanda to Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and for the most part Zaire. Thousands of them died in epidemics and diseases common to the squalor of refugee camps such as cholera and dysentery. The United States staged the Operation Support Hope airlift from July to September 1994 to stabilize the situation in the camps.

Rape Victims The long-term effects for the victims of war rape in Rwanda include social isolation (social stigma attached to rape meant some husbands left wives who had become victims of war rape, or that the victims were rendered unsuitable for marriage), unwanted pregnancies and babies (some women resorted to self-induced abortions), sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV–AIDS. The other social impacts were: Thousands of orphans and even more children living on the streets, an universal sense of trauma; a complete distrust of each other and social suspicion making efforts to provide justice and bring about reconciliation most difficult and challenging.

The discriminatory and divisive policies split the society completely. You could be a Rwandan, but you are either a Tutsi or you are a Hutu. Your mother would have been my aunt, your grand father is my grand father There were large numbers of prisoners too, but today you are a Tutsi and I am Hutu. and people arrested on charges of commitSuch was the division created in society. ting genocide. The national economy was Role of Religion totally shattered and human resources The Roman Catholic Church affirms that completely depleted. genocide took place but argues that those Following the settlement, there has been who took part in it did so without the a national reconciliation to ‘forget and forpermission of the Church. The authorities at give’ and infuse ‘Hope’ among the new genethe Church contributed to the spread of racist ration. However, after every Genocide, the theories mainly through the schools and world sits up and says, 'Never Again', but seminaries over which they exercised Genocides appear on the surface of this earth control. again and again. Genocides are not natural. The elite who ruled the country after independence trained in these schools. According to Church historian Paul Rutayisire, the stereotypes used by the Hutu-

They are induced. Genocides are ignited. I hope, like I said before, that everyone in this world becomes a stakeholder in preventing Genocide.

THE HUTU TEN COMMANDMENTS I. Every Hutu should know that a Tutsi woman, whoever she is, works for the interest of her Tutsi ethnic group. As a result, we shall consider a traitor any Hutu who marries a Tutsi woman befriends a Tutsi woman employs a Tutsi woman as a secretary or a concubine. II. Every Hutu should know that our Hutu daughters are more suitable and conscientious in their role as woman, wife and mother of the family. Are they not beautiful, good secretaries and more honest? III. Hutu women, be vigilant and try to bring your husbands, brothers and sons back to reason. IV. Every Hutu should know that every Tutsi is dishonest in business. His only aim is the supremacy of his ethnic group. As a result, any Hutu who does the following is a traitor: makes a partnership with Tutsi in business; invests his money or the government's money in a Tutsi enterprise; lends or borrows money from a Tutsi; gives favours to a Tutsi in business (obtaining import licenses, bank loans, construction sites, public markets, etc.). V. All strategic positions, political, administrative, economic, and military and security should be entrusted only to Hutu. VI. The education sector (school pupils, students, and teachers) must be majority Hutu. VII. The Rwandan Armed Forces should be exclusively Hutu. The experience of the October 1990 war has taught us a lesson. No member of the military shall marry a Tutsi. VIII. The Hutu should stop having mercy on the Tutsi. IX. The Hutu, wherever they are, must have unity and solidarity and be concerned with the fate of their Hutu brothers. The Hutu inside and outside Rwanda must constantly look for friends and allies for the Hutu cause, starting with their Hutu brothers. They must constantly counteract Tutsi propaganda. The Hutu must be firm and vigilant against their common Tutsi enemy. X. The Social Revolution of 1959, the Referendum of 1961, and the Hutu Ideology, must be taught to every Hutu at every level. Every Hutu must spread this ideology widely. Any Hutu who persecutes his brother Hutu for having read, spread, and taught this ideology is a traitor.

This article is based on an interview with Mr Eugene Ngoga, Charge d'Affaire a.i., Rwanda High Commission, Delhi.

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Celebrating Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Day “RWANDA is enthusiastic and honoured to host the World Environment Day (WED) which is commemorated every year on 5th June. The WED was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. The UN dedicated this day to appreciate and celebrate the benefits, roles and resources that come with raising global awareness of the environment.”

HORROR &

Hope

It is the foremost vehicle through which world-wide awareness of the environment is stimulated. Celebration of this day is an opportunity to generate political, economic and social attention and prompt action. “In line with celebration to mark the WED, Rwanda is privileged to host internationally WED in conjunction with the celebration of the annual Kwita Izina Ceremony (which means giving names to baby gorillas) under the theme 'Many Species, One Planet, One Future'.” The World Environment Day (WED) is designed to give a human face to environmental issues, empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development, promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure that all nations and people enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.

celebration of WED and the 17th commemoration of the National Environment Week. Kwita Izina, the uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness for the conservation of the endangered mountain Gorillas, which is line with this year's theme of WED “Many Species, One Planet, One Future” The Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony has received thousands of international, regional and local visitors to its Virunga mountain ranges to visit the endangered mountain gorillas. For decades, inter-national conservation organisations, donors and concerned individuals have made substantial resources available to the gorilla conservation cause and continue to do so. Each year the new born gorillas are celebrated in an exciting event at the foot of the Virunga Mountains.

Rwanda is home to about one third of the 750 mountain gorillas left in the wild. The remaining population of mountain gorillas has only survived thanks to the renewed efforts of national conservation authorities and the local populations and the support they have received from the international community. In 2005, the inaugural Gorilla Naming Ceremony was launched and since then 103 baby gorillas Rwanda has for the last consecutive 16 have been named. This year's event was years, dedicated a National Environmental held on June 5 2010–the World EnvironWeek, which is generally held between ment Day. May 31 and June 5. The week starts with Editorial and photo inputs from community work, Umuganda. The year Mr Eugene Ngora, CDA and official website: 2010 marked the 38th year Rwanda http://www.kwitizina.org/ http://www.kwitizina.org/

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EMBASSY OF EGYPT, in association with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, organised an evening of classical music at Delhi performed by NourWal Amal Association, a famous band of girls who are visually challenged. HE

This Music Institute Orchestra began as a group of 15 girls, and over the years developed into a Chamber Orchestra of 34 girls, with all four sections: strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. During the last 20 years, the orchestra was trained and conducted by late Maestro Ahmed Abul Eid, who had succeeded in developing special techniques and methods to enable the girls to perform as an orchestra without the need to read the notes while performing and without the very essential dependence on the famous ‘batin’ of the conductor. The orchestra is composed of girls with different levels of music education. The girls learn to play their musical parts separately and they train twice a week as an orchestra.

LIGHT AND HOPE

Photos: Egyptian Embassy

This orchestra is unique in the world as it is the only one of its kind comprising entirely visually impaired artistes who play western classical music as well as oriental music. It has performed for a variety of audience—in schools, universities, embassies, theatres, concert halls, at conferences at the Cairo Opera House and for important guests to Egypt, including Queens, wives of Presidents and Heads of State. Performances include works by Mozart, Beethoven, Bizet, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Purcell, Katchaturian, Weber, Tchaikovsky, Abu-Bakr Khairat, Gamal Abdel Rehim, El Sonbaty and other composers, both foreign and Egyptian.

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The initiatives to expand commerce must be supported politically H.E. Mr Khidir Haroun Ahmed, Ambassador, SUDAN I would say that if I have to rate IndoSudanese relation, I would call it 'good' now, but I think there is enough room to make it 'excellent' because we have a very firm base and a history of strategic relation with India which existed even before Christ. We have been instructed by our government also to grasp every opportunity to foster better understanding. Q. Trade between India and Sudan has remained more or less at a plateau. There hasn't been any significant gain recorded by either side. Don't you think this goes against the business potential that exists between Q. India and Sudan have relations that date India and Sudan ? back to Niloctic and Indus Valley Civilisations. I will not quarrel with you in describing In the 1930s, Mahatma Gandhi as well as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru visited Sudan and in the Indo-Sudanese trade as a plateau. India is 1953, Sudan's first parliamentary election was our third partner (preceded by China and conducted by Sukumar Sen, Chief Election Malaysia) when it comes to the oil industry Commissioner of India. Considering this and we appreciate that very much and now historic backdrop, how do you view Indowe have more than 100 Indian companies Sudan relations? doing business with Sudan. Some Indian With regards to your question regarding companies are doing major business in the historical relations between the two Sudan: there is an Indian company engaged countries, I would like to add something in the building of the Kosti Thermal Project. else—the fact is that the movement that led The plant is located 400 km down south of to our independence was named after the Khartoum and will produce 500 MW of Indian Congress Party. It was called the electricity by this year end. Graduates General Congress. The Sudan BHEL has been involved in the Monthly Intelligence summary (a British construction of the Kosti Thermal Project Colonial rule entity) said the following in its for the National Electricity Corporation of report of 1931. Sudan, for which a USD 350 million line of “There is no doubt that especially the credit has been given by the Indian younger elements of the intelligentsia have government. The largest power project in a great admiration and sympathy for Gandhi Sudan–it is expected to be commissioned and that when the movement in India was at sometime in 2010. its height, they followed the news with keen But again, I would say that the room is interest. In private assemblies they dismuch wider, much more spacious for cussed the efficacy of the boycott and agreed Indo–Sudan business. I also hope to see some that Gandhi had discovered in it the only more exchange of visits between senior high weapon which the poor and ignorant East officials from both countries to back the could employ effectively against imtrade and commerce initiatives. This kind of perialism. The influence of Gandhi and political weight is important. Indian politics can unmistakably be seen in I attended recently the celebration of the Gordon College strike (1931) and Africa Day at Mumbai which was sponsored attempted boycott of sugar by pupils”. by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and numerous delegations had come from If I rate Indo-Sudanese relations, Africa, including ministers as well as I would call it ‘good’ but there business persons. We realised that India is in is enough room to make it a position to offer many things to the ‘excellent’ African continent and particularly Sudan. SQUARE 14DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

I would like to say to Indian investors to please visit Sudan and see things for themselves. They will find that they can do very good business there. Khartoum is among the most peaceful place on the earth. Sudan has huge natural resources—200 million acres of fertile land and we are utilising only 20 per cent of it. Sudan luckily is very rich with fresh water resources in addition to the Nile, we have two major tributaries, the Blue Nile and the White Nile and we have very good ground water resources. Sudan is strategically located–it can be a major supplier of food to the entire Middle East and Europe. So Indian businessmen are invited to Sudan for doing business in Sudan for exporting food. Sudan is an exporter of meat nowadays, but we look forward to collaboration with India in this regard. India is the world leader in the production of milk and dairy products and so look forward to Indian technology to help us tap this vast potential. On many occasions, I have said this earlier, I have met many investors who are willing to go to Sudan, but it requires some kind of political clout, some kind of political encouragement. Sudan as you know has been under unrest since the last two decades, but Khartoum itself is one of the safest places on the surface of this earth–but many people are reluctant to go there [to Sudan] due to security concern. I would thus like to say through your magazine to potential Indian investors to please visit Sudan and see with their own eyes how good this place this. They will find that they can do very good business there.


SUDAN

United Arab Emirates

Q. Sudan has been beset with internal conflicts and particularly in its western and southern regions of the country. What is the current status? In regard to the issue of conflict, I would like to elaborate on this. With regards to the issue of the South, you would be aware that during January 2005, we signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the North and the South on the basis of wealth sharing, power sharing and security arrangements between the two parties. The South has been complaining of marginalisation due to many factors. Sudan as you know, had during the days of colonial rule, notorious laws which made districts closed. People from the North could not travel to the South without permit from the colonial rulers and vice versa. So there are many factors.

Rights and Obligations of all citizens shall remain same regardless of their religion, language, ethnicity or anything like that. But we resolved this largely through power and wealth sharing. The signatories to this Agreement between the North and the South stipulated clearly that this could be a model to show to other areas who consider themselves marginalised including Darfur and I am sure you have Darfur in mind. There is a remedy for these issues of marginalisation. It is stipulated quite clearly in the agreement that the rights and obligations of all citizens shall remain same regardless of their religion, language, ethnicity or anything like that. We can say that we have now resolved the issue between North and the South and there is no war currently. Even now, a week ago, the President of South Sudan government was appointed as the first Vice President for President Al Bashir and the partnership between the two major parties in the South and the North, the National Congress Party in the North and the SPLM, in the South is still holding. We have tried to resolve the issue in Darfur in the same way and one of the faction leaders, Suliman Arcua Minawi joined the peace process and is now the Senior Assistant to the President of the Republic. We tried the same principles of justice and equality there. The negotiations shall soon start at Doha, Qatar.

issue in the East. We have couple of ministers, cabinet members in our national government and also regional governments from people who used to be rebels. The only factions that are reluctant to join the peace process— and we are working hard to bring them to the table— Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) chaired by Dr Khalil Ibrahim and the Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Mr Abdul Wahid Nur who is currently living at Paris. We had a very good turn out at the elections in the entire region of Darfur which refuted the claim that the government is against them. We are very hopeful that with this democratisation process, Sudan will now have a healthy state of democracy. We have an elected President; we have an elected national parliament with 25 different states electing their governors, as well, as their legislative bodies. Earlier, we used to follow the Westminster form of parliamentary democracy whereby we did not elect the Governors, but appointed them. But now, the governor himself is elected by the people and I think the situation is marching on the right direction. Q. With an estimated reserve of 5,000,000,000 bbl oil, Sudan is among the top 25 oil producing countries of the world. How is this wealth being translated into peoples' welfare? With respect to the oil industry, we are trying our best to use the oil revenue in order to upgrade our other potentialities, specially agriculture. Sudan, as you would know, was designated in the 1970s along with Australia and Canada to feed the entire world. Sudan was referred to as the 'bread basket' of the middle-east. We would like to benefit from the experiences of other countries like India in agricultural production and thus shift our total dependency on oil revenues.

Sudan was referred to as the 'bread basket' of the middle-east. We would like to benefit from the experiences of countries like India resort to armed struggle to improve their quality of their lives. We are also developing the natural gas resources as well as off shore oil in the Red Sea, but the government is attaching greater emphasis to use the revenue to develop sectors which are more diverse and stable like agriculture and animal husbandry. Q. How do you view the impending events of 2011? This is about the referendum. Well, when both parties signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, that the South will be give the right to self determination, they also stipulated clearly that priority should be given to keep Sudan intact. We feel we are working hard but of course technically the chance is 50–50. The two parties, the SPLM in the South and National Congress in the North pledged after the elections that they would work hand in hand to maintain unity. We do not want to end up as different countries. Sudan being a land locked country, has other problems. The country is so wide, so vast and so rich that every citizen can live like a first-class citizen and this is our hope. But the Southerners have a right to decide either ways. Q. Would you like to comment on the Human Rights charges that have been leveled against the Sudanese leadership? Sudan has been suffering from a civil war between the North and the South. War itself

Sudan is such a vast and rich country that everyone can live like a first class citizen and this is our hope.

We are now integrated with the Horn of Africa and we have highways that link Sudan with Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Also, we have rail links between Ethiopia and Sudan. The development of the agricultural sector in Sudan will benefit the people in the entire The components of resolution are there, region and bring to an end the famine cycle, i.e., power sharing and wealth sharing. as well as, mitigate the conflicts in the region Other than that, we have totally resolved the and encourage people to work rather than

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SUDAN

United Arab Emirates EMBASSY PRESS RELEASE

International Criminal Court decision to add charges of

affects human rights because war, at times, takes away the opponents' right to live. I do The Sudanese not think there was anything deliberate to Embassy at Delhi violate human rights. Sudanese are very issued a press release on July 21, 2010 efforts of the government to resolve the Darfur receptive and friendly people. During the war strongly protesting issue. He stated that this decision like the there were about five million people living in “and vehemently con- former ones, was aimed at aborting the joint the South of whom nearly four million people demning the decision mediation of the African Union and the Arab migrated to the North! Khartoum used to be a of the so-called Inter- League for the solution of the Darfur issue”. home for about two million people from the national Criminal The African Union has condemned this South. The same thing happened in Darfur Court recently, to add when people affected by the strife came to a charge of genocide decision terming the timing as wrong because government shelters for security. There was against the H.E. Mr Omar Hassan al-Bashir, “it would hamper the peace efforts in Darfur no deliberate attempt to violate human rights. President of the Republic of Sudan aimed at and harm the Sudanese nation as well as the destroying the opportunities of peace in African nations” and also at a time when the The issue of Human Rights has been Sudan and to create an atmosphere conducive “government is going all out for the implemenpoliticised for some time. And despite all this to split Sudan”. tation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and preparing itself for a referendum of talk about genocide in Darfur, no organisation It further said that “the government of or agency has been able to substantiate these Sudan will pay no heed to this court and will self-determination in the South”. Both the Gulf Cooperation Council and allegations by unearthing any mass grave or respond to it positively with more accomthings like that. By nature, Sudanese are very plishments and realising its goals without the Arab League have disagreed with ICC’s egalitarian, we are an egalitarian society. We paying any heed to mal-intentioned circles to decision. Sudan's permanent envoy to the have never been ruled by any King or Emperor create instability and thus hamper deve- United Nations, H.E. Dr Abdal Mahmood Abdul Halim has described “this move as and people have always had a right to speak lopment process. The Minister of Information despicable and a desperate attempt to and the spokesperson of the government, Dr out their mind. Kamal Obeid calls this decision as politically blackmail and to put political pressure, with Thus, when you compare us, please do not motivated and a reflection of the timing it the sole intention to destroy the opportunities compare us with societies who have had chooses to issue decisions against Sudan, and of peace in Sudan and to create an atmosphere democracy since centuries. You should be fair its decisions were intended to hamper all the that will foster splitting of Sudan'. enough to judge us in right context. Sudan is very rich in tourism and it is very If you know Africa, the borders created by rich in history in terms of civilization. It has the Colonial Rulers were haphazardly done. artifacts, temples, pyramids and it has the They divided the tribes, sometimes among confluence of the two tributaries of the three different countries. The people do not Nile–the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Sudan appreciate the border—this is artificial to has different climate and topography, it has them. But fortunately now, we have stabilised an amazing range of flora and fauna. Sudan our relations with all our nine neighbouring enjoys a pristine environment and we would countries and also Saudi Arabia. wish that more and more Indians would visit We have improved our relation with Chad Sudan, both for business as well as tourism. simply because the rebels came from the same tribe. About five months ago, the two Khartoum Today countries sat together and resolved the issue. His Excellency, Mr Khidir Haroun There is a joint force monitoring the borders Ahmed Abdulrazig was a Ph.D candidate at between Chad and Sudan to prevent rebels the School of Political Science, the from each side to cross the borders. We have University of Reading, United Kingdom.

GENOCIDE

against Sudanese President severely condemned

Sudanese are very egalitarian. We have never been ruled by any king or emperor...Be fair and judge us in the right context. resolved our problem with Chad, a 100 per cent. We have sound relations with Central Republic of Africa and we have good relations with others. People do not know much about Sudan —that we have pyramids, we have the Nile, we have wild life. Our people are very fond of Hindi films and music. Indian musicians and performers are most welcome to visit Sudan. We have people of India origin living in Sudan and they are very peaceful and productive people. SQUARE 16DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

He has published many research documents related to sociological, religious, cultural and other aspects of Sudanese life. He has also authored a few books including novels and short stories. He begun his career as a translator before joining the foreign services in 1991 and served in Algeria prior to being appointed as the Director of American Affairs in 1996. Later in 1999, he was appointed as Ambassador to Japan, 1999 –2001. He functioned as the Chief of Sudan Mission in the United States of America from April 2001 to October 2006 during which time he used to Represent the Government of Sudan to Brazil. He is married with six children.

Old castle in Marawi province

Khartoum University


Eyjafjallajökull

T

he 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull are a sequence of volcanic events at Eyjafjöll in Iceland which, although relatively small for volcanic eruptions, caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe over an initial period of six days in April 2010. Additional localised disruption continued into May 2010.

FAQ

IS the volcanic eruption a result of climate change or is it due to other Seismic activity started at the end of 2009 and causes? gradually increased in intensity until on March 20, Volcanic eruptions are not caused by climate change. Iceland is formed 2010, a small eruption started that was rated as a ONE by volcanism and there has probably been continuous volcanic activity on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. there for more than 20 million years. Volcanic eruptions take place Beginning on April 14, 2010, the eruption entered somewhere in Iceland, on the average every 3–4 years. a second phase and created an ash cloud that led to the CAN any prognosis be made on how the volcano will behave in the closure of most of Europe's IFR airspace from April 15 coming days. Will the eruptions remain at a plateau, or decline or until April 20, 2010. Consequently, a very high register a sharp increase? proportion of flights within, to, and from Europe were The eruptive activity is currently at a low level. It may calm down, but cancelled, creating the highest level of air travel the activity could also resume in the next weeks or months. disruption since the Second World War. DOES the eruption of one volcano have any impact or relation with The second phase of the eruption started on April other dormant volcanoes in the region. Are there any fears of other volcanoes erupting? 14, 2010 and resulted in an estimated 250 million There is not much evidence for interaction between different volcanoes. cubic metres (330,000,000 cu yd) of ejected tephra. It is likely however that there will be an eruption somewhere else in The ash plume rose to a height of approximately nine Iceland, within the next 5 years. kilometres (30,000 ft), which rates the explosive power of the eruption as a FOUR on the Volcanic APART from causing disruption to air traffic, does the volcanic ash (and its contents) have any harmful effect on human beings and other Explosivity Index. flora and fauna? By May 21, 2010, the second eruption phase had Flourine is often associated with volcanic ash; it can harm livestock. subsided to the point that no further lava or ash was Heavy ash-fall can harm vegetation, possibly trigger soil erosion. being produced. IS their any benefit, direct or indirect, from this eruption? By the morning of May24, 2010, the view from the Volcanic ash tends to improve the fertility of soil, in the long term. web camera installed on Þórólfsfell showed only a H OW long do suspended particles from the volcanic ash remain in the plume of water vapour surrounded by a blueish haze atmosphere. Will it change the pattern of rainfall or snowfall in any caused by the emission of sulphurous gases. region of the world? By the evening of June 6, 2010, a small, new crater Most of the volcanic ash will fall down within a few weeks. Eruptions of had opened up on the west side of the main crater from the size of the one in Eyjafjallajökull probably do not have detectable which explosive activity was observed with the effects on weather or climate, except very near the volcano. emission of small quantities of ash. Seismic data showed that the frequency and Diplomatic Square gratefully acknowledges the support of His Excellency, intensity of earth tremors still exceeds the levels MR GUDMUNDUR EIRIKSSON, AMBASSADOR OF ICELAND TO INDIA in obtaining the responses to our question from relevant experts in Iceland. observed before the eruption, therefore scientists at the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) and the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland (IES) continue to monitor the volcano closely.

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Managing Geohazards The Need For Global Cooperation Dr Barnali Ghosh It is often commented that it is not earthquakes but buildings that kill people. In the recent Haiti earthquake, 220,000 people were killed and the financial implications are huge. The redevelopment following the earthquake throws important questions about the issues of sustainability and resilience in building stock. Whenever there is an earthquake-related disaster in the news with pictures of collapsed buildings and other structures strewn all over the place, one probably thinks that earthquakeresistant design (EQRD) of structures is still in the dark ages. Of course, the objective of professionals engaged in the area of EQRD is to create various cost-effective design solutions to make structures less vulnerable to earthquakes, even large earthquakes— which is quite challenging. It is also a reality that most of the infrastructure development is happening in the developing world, some of which are vulnerable to earthquakes and other geohazards. It is estimated that roughly 20 per cent of the world's population is living in seismic areas of the world. In some studies it has been estimated that: San Francisco has 70 ± 10 per cent chance of a 6.7Mw earthquake within the next 30 years (USGS) Tokyo has 30 ± 20 per cent chance of a 7.3Mw earthquake within the next 30 years (Stein et al., 2006) However these countries are already known to be vulnerable and have adequate regulatory frameworks and are prepared. In this article, I will explore the effects of development on developing countries where such accurate predictions are not available and the challenges of an emerging economy demand rapid construction. URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES – INDIA, MEXICO, TURKEY The Indian government has ambitious infrastructure plans and has highlighted over £350 billion in the next few years to sustain India's growth at around eight per cent annually. A few highlights of the programme include: ? Development of integrated townships and SEZs totalling over 30,000 SQUARE 18DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

hectares

HOW TO MAKE IT MORE SUSTAINABLE AS WELL

? Additional 50,000 km of roads at an AS EARTHQUAKE RESISTANT?

expenditure of £40 billion by 2015

In this section, I will illustrate this with several examples although the conflicting ? Creation of 35 new airports issue is that we would like the building, ? Augmentation of power supply by an bridge, port to be safe and prevent collapse additional 90,000 MW during the event. It is always going to be a ? Dedicated freight corridors totalling conflict in trying to match the different 11,500 km demands of stakeholders, environment and ? Additional port capacity to handle economics in propagating sustainable port traffic of 900 MT by 2011–12 earthquake resistance construction. ? Urban metro rail projects in major 1. USE OF TECHNICALLY SOUND AND cities ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE CODE The challenge that is present is how these Most developing countries have a seismic developments can be made more sustainable code–except Haiti–which guarantees that if without compromising the needs of the design is done according to that code at development for the developing countries. least life safety is ensured. However, some of Knowledge and action are the best the codes are very conservative–example Abu prevention when you face an earthquake. In Dhabi Municipality requires that all building this context, it is worth remembering that in be designed according to Uniform Building many of these countries, the demand for Code (UBC zone 2A) which implies that it is a infrastructure overrides many other factors. moderate zone of seismicity. Latest studies PRINCIPLES OF EARTHQUAKE RESISTANCE DESIGN have shown that the seismicity in Middle East The major principle of earthquake design is more dispersed and it is not really a is to introduce resilience in the building and requirement to design it to a higher code. design the foundation in such a way that Thus advanced studies like Probabilistic damage happens in the superstructure before Seismic Hazard Assessment (PSHA) and the substructure. In addition to this, the performance of the building needs to be other probabilistic studies should be managed with certain specified predefined performed to determine the hazard level criteria. This is where the principles of correctly. This has implication in reducing sustainability are very important. Sustain- the cost of the earthquake resistance ability means meeting the demands of today construction. Methods of analysis should be without compromising the needs of future advanced to develop a leaner design. generations. In the context of engineering The Indian Seismic zoning map (IS 1893) construction it would imply constructing was presented without any sort of PSHA new infra-structure projects using materials studies and thus the division is onerous for which can be recycled and cause less waste some places like Kolkata. In many of my and less pollution. However this is difficult to projects in India I have used additional put in practice and even more difficult to clauses from other codes to develop a robust make others understand. design. Thus, it is essential to undertake a Geohazards have significant societal and comprehensive risk assessment before a economic impact and thus should be project begins. Engineers also need to do considered in the context of sustainability. more than just comply with legislation and The plan is to manage geohazard risk. In my codes. job, I increasingly promote the use of 2. MATERIAL SPECIFICATION technically sound and economically feasible It is known that concrete on its own is a code and develop simple force or displacevery brittle material and can cause sudden ment based procedures and better seismic detailing like splicing and develop compre- collapse. Thus, steel is added to make the behaviour more ductile. This introduces hensive emergency mitigation plans.


alternative load paths in the load transfer mechanism. The behaviour of steel structures is better in some cases (particularly tall structures) and thus it maybe suitable to advocate the use of steel where possible. In addition we should ensure that we specify locally sourced materials and be certain about its behaviour. Adobe brick works (cheaper alternative) should be used after complete risk assessment of the structure and its performance. Material and waste reduction should be important criteria. 3. DESIGN EFFICIENTLY–MORE RESEARCH Foundation design is often dealing with uncertainties and applying suitable factor of safety to design for most unlikely conditions. However this puts unnecessary strain on resources which effect the future generation. Thus, more research is needed to understand the dynamic soil structure interaction behaviour during earthquakes and ensure that we do not use very high factors of safety because of ignorance. Continued efforts to understand and document the work through publications would ensure that people get value for seismic design. 4. RETROFIT NOT REBUILD The cost of rebuilding after earthquake collapse is about 20 times the cost of retrofitting the building. Thus to make it more sustainable, ensure retrofitting is done in existing buildings to make sure that they perform better in the next earthquake.

manageable performance of the building. After the Bhuj earthquake a group of engineers produced a document where the key methods which safeguard buildings were explained in non technical terms. This guideline was given to all local residents and empowering people with the knowledge meant that they could take interest in the reconstruction of the buildings. 6. ROLE OF REGULATORY FRAMEWORK In Chile, the seismic risks were clearly identified and the regulatory framework was robust. In Mexico too, the framework is also very robust. However in China and India, the framework is not good enough and there are some constructions which do not follow the basic guidelines. This can only be improved by education—by engineers clearly communicating the risks to the clients and campaigning for the regulatory framework to be more efficient. This needs international pressures and collaborations of all professionals working in this field. After the Bhuj earthquake in India, public and professional pressure (from similar bodies like ICE) made it mandatory for all building to incorporate seismic design.

7. ENVIRONMENT ASSESSMENT OF PROJECTS Sustainable Project Appraisal Routine (SPeAR®) tools for evaluating sustainability performance measures should be introduced to projects based in these countries. SPeAR® is based on a four-quadrant model that structures the issues of sustainability into the 5. ROLE OF CONSTRUCTION key elements of environmental protection, The key construction issues are the social equity, economic viability and efficient availability of local contractors, skilled use of natural resources. Such tools should be carpenters and standardisation of details and used during design. construction methods. Educating the local contractors and doing it right is the key factor CONCLUSION for ensuring sustainable construction. This is Globalisation brings important opporvery important and perhaps the most tunities for engineers to promote change significant factor which contributes to through sharing experience and good

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practice. The leadership and influencing role of engineers in achieving sustainability should not be underestimated. Increasingly this will be as part of multi-disciplinary teams that include non-engineers and through work that crosses national boundaries. However, it is quite clear that delivering infrastructure in developing countries with limited regulatory framework will not be an easy experience. Engineers will need to minimise carbon footprint of their designed buildings, think about issues dealing with climate while delivering safe infrastructure. I would like to conclude by saying that engineering needs to enhance local capacity and leave a legacy that is more than just bricks and mortars for future generations.

Dr Barnali Ghosh is a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng MICE) with extensive experience of designing safe foundations in seismic areas all over the world. Her experience includes identifying seismic hazards and seismic design of foundations for buildings, offshore platforms, retaining walls, ports etc. She works in the Seismic Design Team in London for ARUP as senior engineer. Dr Ghosh has published her work extensively in different International Journals and text books. She has also worked as an adviser in POST (Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology) in UK influencing major policy decisions within the government. She maintains close research links with Cambridge, Bristol, UCL and Dundee University. Her interests include enhancing sustainability in earthquake design through education and research. Contact Details barnali.ghosh@arup.com

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W

ell first of all, I am really happy and honoured to be the first Georgian ambassador to India. We consider India as one of the biggest, not in the sense of physical area or population but in terms of its immense history, traditions which have definitely influenced many, many countries and among them, of course, Georgia. We should not forget that Georgia is situated on the trails of the silk route and contacts between Georgian and Indian people date back to very ancient times. Finally, we have managed to open this embassy and now the next step hopefully would be an Indian embassy in Georgia because as you probably know there is one in Azerbaijan and another one in Armenia. Both are our neighbouring countries and the Georgian nation would understand its rights if India opens an Embassy in Georgia soon enough.

would like it to continue because a huge country like India should also be strong economically. I think India is on the right path as it continues to surprise the whole world by its achievements. And of course through this, we also have our personal interests. We hope that India would pay attention to a very small country in the Caucasus like Georgia and maybe get interested to invest in Georgia.

world. Then there are the issues of human rights and the fight against terrorism on which we are definitely in agreement.

Bilateral relations can only help and develop this relation and it would help to discover, to define and identify other issues on which we need to cooperate. We hope to accelerate our relations with Georgia Georgia is a small country. It is 70,000 having an embassy here and hoping India to square kilometers on the surface and with a open an embassy in Tbilisi. population of approximately five million You should also know that Georgia has people. But it is a country with very ancient already expressed its support to the nonhistory and traditions and as I already permanent seat going to India at the mentioned they are criss-crossing with Security Council of the United Nations and India very often. Classical Indian literature this mutual support on different positions is no secret for Georgians for it is not only would make our relations more conducive. the sophisticated people but ordinary We have started earlier this year with Georgians who are aware of Indian political consultations and the first round literature. The epics, the legends, the was held here in Delhi and we hope that this romantic novels and the writings of many tradition would be continued and would Indian authors have been translated in help both parties to work more closely and Georgian language. Likewise, Indian develop common positions and common movies are also quite popular in our country which allows us to know more about this stands. country. India has such a variety of places to Now, coming to business issues, you visit that coming here once or twice to may ask what would Georgia be interested would not be sufficient to discover India. from Indian businessmen?.

What do we need embassies for? Today, with modern technologies you can very easily do things without going to another country but I think direct human contacts are very important. This is of course one of the main reasons why we decided to open an embassy. Human contacts are important, because no books can replace what your eyes and ears experience when you are in a Now we mentioned the global issues on The economy in Georgia today after different country. which we are totally in line with the Rose-Revolution of 2003 is becoming one position of India, (like) the issues of Mother of the most attractive—investment-wise, We hope India would Nature—the global warming, pollution and because of its very liberal policy. Today other events that can negatively affect the pay attention to a small

country like Georgia What are the expectations of Georgia? First of all, of course we would like to develop and expand our relationship in a general manner. We would like to foster the exchange between the people because it is people who get countries closer, not the presidents and prime ministers and only when people want to be closer can governments act accordingly. And of course the whole world is looking at India as a very rapidly growing economy in the world and Georgia is not an exception. We wish all the good possible to this development. We SQUARE 20DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010


level of science and industry in India is quite attractive for Georgian buyers. In a small country like ours, the trade exchanges simply starts with people shuttling to India and making spot purchases of goods. This has to move to another stage now and it will also be one of the priorities of our embassy to help and support Georgian businessmen to do to open a limited responsibility company, you business in India and with Indian companies. might need five or ten minutes. This is a really There will be a big forum to be organised big achievement of the authorities of Georgia. in Mumbai by the end of the current year and We have almost entirely defeated corruption hopefully the Georgian Prime Minister, Mr and we are proud to say that today Georgia is Lado Gurgenidze would be able to attend this almost free of any corruption, be it on the event and lead it too. There will be a lower level or higher level. We have a very presentation about the current situation of highly qualified human resource pool which is Georgian economy and the opportunities for something that is very often a point for investment. This forum would be called decision making. As you would know, during I NVEST IN GEORGIA. This would benefit the the Soviet Union, we managed to have a very qualified and diversified human resources. So Indian businessmen present at this event. these are just some of the few reasons why Last year something similar was held at investing today in Georgia can be interesting. Georgia, more like a fair of various Indian And by the way, some of the Indian products and it was very popular with the businessmen did not wait for the Embassy to visitors. It was a fair presenting different open or some other signals from the spheres of the Indian industry. It is exchanges like this that would benefit the development and economic ties between our countries. Sometimes when I think of Georgia in comparison to India, I feel kind of lost, because we are only five million which is a small part of even Delhi's population, but believe me that the capacities of Georgian people are surprising and I am confident that this cooperation would benefit both countries. The Georgian Spectacle authorities. We have significant investments but we would of course be hoping for more in very different sectors like energy and agriculture. We would also seek investments in the sector of cultures—Georgia has always been known as a country of highly developed cultural traditions and also for its movie industry and dances. Georgian dances and theatres are world famous and we hope to bring them to India soon enough. Finally Georgia is also a country of tourism. In such a small country you have snow, you have winter resorts, sea sides and also architectural monuments and I think this will also interest people of India. What else can we say about our expectations? Of course the achievements of the Indian economy are prodigious and the

As to the mutual visits of officials, this year the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia was in New Delhi and signed three agreements which would pave the way for economic development, cultural exchanges and cooperation between our two countries. And also an agreement was signed on the creation of an inter-governmental commission which would follow up development of relationship and would also be a guiding body of both countries. But we hope that high Indian officials would soon be visiting Georgia because such visits are a signal also. It is a signal to the population, to the investors and we have no doubt that soon enough India will be among the closest friends and partners of Georgia and vice versa.

This is my first ambassadorial post. Earlier I was representing the Secretary

General of Council of Europe in Kosovo which was full of contradictions. The Council of Europe dealing mainly with human rights and rule of law. It was also supervising and training local people because there is no democracy without respect of human lives and protection of property. This is essential in any democracy and India knows it better than anyone else because it is one of the oldest democracies. So my diplomatic career was much more in the sphere of multilateral relation, especially in particular to Council of Europe and one more reason why I am so happy to be the first to establish the official links between our countries and work hard to develop them. India has been a country of my interest from my very young years. It started with Indian philosophy, Indian religion and a lot of people in my country, even though they are not followers of Indian philosophy (religion), are very deeply interested in it. This is of course another possible way of getting our people close. But I should also say that I have always been surprised by the developments and success of India because I know how difficult it is to run such a big country. India has managed to not only to keep together but to delegate maximum power to the states and this is also a signal or a demonstration of the Indian people. There is democracy inside themselves and we will hopefully learn a lot from the history of Indian democracy because as you know our statehood has been established only twenty years ago and we still have a long way to go before we build a solid democracy based on rule of law. I have to mention here that it is our aspiration to become—I do not like this word though, a western style civilisation or state. The expression western does not mean anything—it denotes a geographical area and each democracy is specific to the country. It is my belief that there are values that we share with Europe and many other DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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GEORGIA

countries. However, this inspiration also had a negative side to it because our big neighbour, the Russian federation did not see it from the same position. It is my belief that this was also one reason why Russia took twenty years to recognise our independence and sovereignty and at the same time tried very hard to keep Georgia in the—what they call— their sphere of strategic interest. But hopefully the era of influence zone is finished. Every sovereign nation has the right to choose which coalition it stands with and we would only be happy to have the best neighbourly relations with Russia, as it has been during the history of our two counties. We share the same religion and that should in a way get us closer. It is our two people who have to be friendly and close. I think that good sense would prevail soon and we would be able to delete the traces of the war that took place in 2008.

Reminiscence

A career diplomat, His Excellency, Mr Katchkatchishvili Zurab was enlisted in the foreign services in 1978 after completion of his postgraduation in inter- national relations from Moscow Diplomatic High School. He has served in various capacities, formerly with the Soviet Union and later with the Georgian government. He has represented Georgia in the Council of Europe which appointed him in 2004 as the Head of Council of Europe in Kosovo and also as the representative of the Secretary General. Prior to his arrival at Delhi, he was an Ambassador at large, as Head of the Political Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is well versed in many languages including English, French, Serbian, Georgian and Russian.

le Partner liab e R

INDIA Since

in

Your

Photographs: Courtesy Embassy of Georgia

1977

India

SQUARE 22 DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010


Draft Corporate Bill

AMCHAM

Minister Salman Khurshid clarifies the government position

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D

I

AMCHAM

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BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP

The European Business Group along with the British Business Group and Amcham jointly organised an interactive session on the “Draft Corporate Bill” for its members at New Delhi. The Chief Guest was Mr Salman Khurshid, Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs who addressed a large audience seeking insights into the complex bill. Other eminent speakers included Mr Richard Rekhy of KPMG and Mr RDS Bawa of Network 18. The session began with the Minister mentioning that government is in the process of finalizing a bill which will ensure that the Wakf boards present across India will function in a streamlined fashion. He further hoped that the bill will be introduced during Parliament’s winter session. Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, Salman Khurshid addressing the audience stated that high corporate salaries are neither ‘dogmatic’ nor ideological and should be left with the shareholders. “We do believe in essential freedom in a democracy. The ultimate decision on managerial remuneration should rest with the shareholders,” said the Minister.

government was putting in place an ‘early warning system’ to prevent similar frauds in future. “Presently we detect such frauds on the basis of anonymous complaints. The process has not been institutionalized so far. But this advanced model would help us to detect any Satyam–like incident before it happens,” he said, adding that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is helping the ministry to formulate the system. “The government is aware that hiring top minds to run a company will come at a price, but that should be objectively and not subjectively arrived at”.

CIRCULATION To over hundred overseas diplomatic missions at Delhi and Indian missions overseas

“Even so, if some limits have to be placed, it is you (the corporate sector) who would have to tell us how”.

To institutes, organizations, think tanks and universities where international relations and diplomacy is a part of the agenda/curricula in India mainly and a few in US, Canada, Singapore and Romania

He mentioned that India has ‘to go beyond affirmative action’ with respect to social responsibility.

To members of the Overseas Business Groups To large corporate houses in Indial (increases in every issue)

“These issues need to be debated threadbare for their possible incorporation in the Companies Bill 2009, which has been tabled in the Lok Sabha and is now being vetted by the Standing Committee of Parliament,” he added.

Individuals and professionals who are associated with diplomacy and international relations.

ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITY .

Talking about the status of the Seen below, Mr Richard Rekhy, KPMG, Satyam case, the minister said the Mr David Hudson, President, EBG, Mr RDS Bawa and others.

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UAE Embassy Sponsors a Major Event For Underprivileged Children

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Charity Dinner, sponsored by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, was held at Hotel Maurya Sheraton, Delhi to introduce Sshrishti, a NGO dedicated to the upliftment of poor children, and for auctioning photographs clicked by children from the economically weaker section.

The evening started with a welcome address by H.E. Mr Mohamed Sultan Al Owais, UAE Ambassador who said, “UAE has always believed in supporting individuals as well as organizations that touch and enlighten the lives of under privileged children. It is indeed a pleasure for us to be a part of this noble event and we hope that with our small contribution, we may touch the lives and create a better tomorrow for these under privileged children who are our future”. The evening was attended by diplomats, dignitaries and eminent social workers. Ms Madhumita Biswas mesmerised the guests by her songs and it was followed by an wonderful dance performance by Ms Kavita Dwibedi and her troupe in a splendid display of innovative confluence of Kathak, Odissi and Mohini Atyam. The Charity Dinner was followed by an extraordinary range of photographs put up for auction. These photographs were clicked by the Children of Sshrishti under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed photographer, Samar Jodha. His Excellency, Mr Mohamed Sultan Al Owais concluded by saying, “I love everything about India. The dance by Ms Kavita Dwibedi and her troupe was fantastic and so was the wonderful biryani prepared by the hotel chef”.

Photos: Courtesy - UAE Embassy

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From the Alps to the Mediterranean we are offering a lot Bilateral trade USD 170 million and increasing every year Slovenia is a young European country. We established the embassy at Delhi in the year 2002, but at that time it was at the level of Charge d'Affaires. The Indian government opened its embassy in Ljubljana in 2008 and appointed an Ambassador to Slovenia. At that time, our government took a decision to upgrade its mission to the level of ambassador–and so here I am at Delhi since September 2009.

underwent a change—the unification of Germany, the separation of the Czech and Slovakian Republics and changing definitions in other East European countries.

Slovenia became a member of the European Union in 2004, the Eurozone, the Schengen area, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, NATO, UNESCO, WTO, OECD and UN. Per capita, it is the richest H.E. Mr Janez Premoze, Ambassador of Slovenia with The Indian Minister of State for External Slavic nation-state, and is 85.5 per cent of President, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Rashtrapati Affairs visited Slovenia from August 30-31, the EU 27 average GDP (PPP) per capita. Bhavan after presenting credentials–Sep 24, 2009 2009 to participate in the “Bled Strategic Slovenia's currency is the Euro. Forum” meeting. The Seventh Session of Slovenia has a developed manufacThe Republic of Slovenia is located in Indo–Slovenia Joint Committee for Trade turing base. Today, our export basket to India Central Europe touching the Alps and and Economic Cooperation was held in comprises pharmaceuticals and materials bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia Ljubljana in September 2009. related to pharmaceutical products. There are borders Italy on the west, the Adriatic Slovene President Dr Danilo Tuerk some steel products like steel sheets, steel for Sea on the southwest, Croatia on the visited India in February 2010 to participate tools, products related to paint, paper for south and east, Hungary on the northeast and Austria on the north. The capital and in the Delhi Sustainable Development bank notes and so on. In the earlier years, we largest city of Slovenia is Ljubljana. Summit. On the sidelines of the Summit, he used to buy from India a lot of coffee, tea, Slovenia covers an area of 20,273 had a meeting with Prime Minister Dr Man spices and other agricultural produce. This square kilometres and has a population Mohan Singh. too has changed as India's economy has of 2.06 million. Around 40 per cent of changed. We import automobile components Slovenia's land mass is elevated land— As a diplomatic mission, we work on several issues–political dialogue and as you and after certain value additions, supply it to mostly in the form of mountains and have mentioned, diplomacy is relevant to European manufacturers. There is a plateaus—which is located in the intemany aspects today, commerce, tourism and convergence between India and Slovenia. rior regions of the country. The highest so on. We do many jobs for the betterment of If you look at the map of Slovenia, you commerce and a healthy Indo–Slovenia will realize its location makes it an ideal economic relationship. gateway to Central and Eastern Europe. The The bilateral trade is increasing and both strategically located Slovenian port of Koper countries are notching up higher export in the northern Adriatic has recently been figures. Presently, the value of trade between developed into an important trading port, Slovenia and India stands at USD 170 million. even outpacing its principal rival Trieste. It is We import more things from India than we export. India and the former Yugoslavia have enjoyed decades of trade and a healthy commercial relationship but at time the basket was entirely different. Yugoslavia was exporting electric lamps and manufacturing equipment, pumping stations for irrigation, shipping and a lot of hardware. Now, it has changed. After the break up of former Yugoslavia when Slovenia was looking for a community to become a part of, we focused all our efforts on the European Union. After independence, Slovenia being a small nation, had to seek the benefits of becoming a part of a larger community. The dynamics of Europe SQUARE 26DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

point of Slovenia is the 2,864 metre (9,396 ft) high Mount Triglav. The majority of the population speak Slovene, which is also the country's official language. Other local official languages are Hungarian and Italian.

The Mediterranean


SLOVENIA

connected to the sea. So we cover all aspects of Alpine beauty. We are a small Switzerland. It is more convenient for Indian visitors to come to Slovenia and enjoy all aspects of the natural Alpine beauty from Slovenia—the high mountains and the warm Mediterranean sea. Vienna or Venice are just a few hours drive away from my country. So you can enjoy Europe in different directions from Slovenia. By driving a hundred kilometres in different directions from Slovenia, you can see different landscapes, different architectures, different food and taste different kinds of wine—and this is what we would like to introduce to India.

In January this year, we had a Tourism Fair in New Delhi when we introduced about 15 tour operators from Slovenia and after the event they were all happy with the contracts they had signed with Indian tour operators. now Austria's (as well as for some other But tourism is a long shot and it takes time. countries) most important trading port with Slovenia is slightly less expensive than 30 per cent of Austria's overseas trade being Austria. Coming to Slovenia is like stepping handled by this port. Koper is regarded as the into a small boutique where you will find a fastest connection between Central Europe number of high value items. From the Alps to and the Far East—between seven and ten days the Mediterranean, we are offering a lot. faster than the alternative route via Gibraltar. I am an economist by profession. I have Specifically, the Port Koper offers considerable potential for promoting movement of spent many years in Japan and when Slovenia cargo from India to EU. We are also interested attained independence, I joined the Foreign in your views on global issues like environ- Ministry and opened the Embassy of Slovenia ment and we are interested in renewable at Japan. I have spent many years as an energy and alternative energy. We are also economist and a diplomat in Japan. When I seeing, according to statistics, that more and went back to the Ministry in 2000, I had quite more Indian visitors are coming to our part of a few interesting assignments. I became the Europe. Traditionally, they preferred Switzer- National Coordinator for the Western land, but as you are aware that Slovenia is on Balkans. the sunny side of the Alps and we are

Lake Bled Karavanke Alps Slovenia

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS Slovenian company ISKRAEMCO has a joint venture manufacturing electric meters in Trichurapalli. It is understood that there has recently been a change in the Indian partner for this unit and that the Regent group from Kolkata is the new partner. KRKA, a leading pharmaceutical company from Slovenia has a procurement office in Bangalore which sources raw materials and intermediates from India for their plants worldwide. RADICE PAPIR, is printing security paper for certain uses by the Indian Government. LIFE CLASS HOTELS AND RESORTS, a Slovene hotel and resort group, has recruited some therapists from India for providing Ayurvedic treatment in their spas. It has also signed a MoU with the Government Ayurvedic College, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala). PETRA MACHINES LTD signed a JV Agreement with Delta Hydrotech for manufacturing Band Saw machines in India. DHIMAHI, a Slovenian computer company, having rich experience and knowledge in the field of software development has entered into cooperation with a Geodesic, an Indian IT Company. Geodesic has its headquarter in Mumbai. Dhimahi has recently launched project for the electronic sale of tickets through websites. MOSER BAER Photo Voltaic, a subsidiary of Moser Baer of India, has acquired a 40 per cent stake sometimes back in Solar Vahee d.d. in Slovenia for production of silicon wafers.

An economics graduate from the University of Maribor, Mr Janez Premoze began his career in 1981 by joining Intertrad, a foreign trade corporation in Ljubljana. After two years, he joined the Hitotsubhashi University, Tokyo. He was appointed as the Chief Representative of the Ljubljanska Banka in Tokyo in 1986. After Slovenia attained independence, he was appointed as Ambassador to Japan and Republic of Korea while being stationed at Tokyo. In 2001, he was appointed as Under Secretary of State, Head of Department for Multilateral Relations, and then National Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (SPSEE) and SECI, Co-Chairperson of the Working Table on Security Issues, SPSEE and Acting Chairman, Third Working Table, SPSEE and Chairman, WT III Sub-Table for Defense and Security. Among foreign languages, he is well conversant in English, French and Japanese. DIPLOMATIC SQUARE Feb-April, 2010

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PORTUGAL

T

he political relation between India and Portugal has been extremely good whether on a bilateral or a multilateral fora. We support India's candidature as a permanent member of the Security Council in a restructured United Nations. We strongly support reforms in the international and multilateral institutions to make them more inclusive so as to give voice to the emerging powers and the bigger nations of the world—we support more consultations with all regional groups and a greater focus on subjects that are vital for today's world like global warming, climate change and all such issues. Portugal's initiative in advocating a strong Indo-EU relationship resulted in the Indo-EU annual summit. During Portugal's Presidency of the EU in 2007, this was further reinforced. As a matter of fact, 2007, was a landmark year for Portugal-India bilateral relations. The visits of the President, Prof. Cavaco Silva and the Prime Minister, Mr. José Socrates acknowledge the unique place of Portugal in India's external relations and the Portuguese engagement in reinforcing political links and creating the conditions for stronger economic and commercial ties. In the beginning of 2007 we had the visit of the President Prof. Cavaco Silva; in the second semester of 2007, when we had the chair of European Union, we promoted relations between India and the European Union and finally at the end of 2007, we had the bilateral summit between our Prime Minister, Mr. José Socrates and the Indian Prime Dr. Man Mohan Singh. Next year, we had the visit of Foreign Minister to consolidate the relation. Our relationship is now developing at an unprecedented pace. On one side, we have India, an unbound giant, growing impressively and developing the most advanced scientific and technological skills, while its major companies conquer the world's markets. On the other side, we have Portugal, an ancestral European country which, over the last thirty years, has been witnessing rapid socio-economic change. It is now stepping into the global limelight as hub of scientific and technologic excellence

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and as a strategic platform between Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Portugal enjoys a historical relation which was initiated by Vasco de Gama when he sailed to this country. We had a small part of India–Goa, that has been colonised by the Portuguese during the earlier centuries which is, ofcourse, now a part of India. Goa has strong Portuguese cultural influence as can be evidenced from the architecture, the prevalence of the language and an overall cultural heritage. Truly, Goa has a very rich heritage from Portuguese and south European origin and it has been preserved by the Indian people. Today, a set of diplomatic instruments aiming to enhance our economic, and trade relations has been established over the years. The Trade and Industrial Cooperation Agreement was signed in 1977 and reinforced in 2000 and a Cooperation Agreement on Tourism sector was signed in 1991. Along with these substantial treaties other regulatory agreements have also been adopted. A convention avoiding double taxation, fiscal fraud was set in 1998 and a Protocol on mutual promotion and investment protection was signed in 2000. The Portuguese Development AgencyAICEP has also started operations in India from January 1, 2008. It is an initiative to boost the economic ties between Portugal and India.

ECONOMY Economic relations, as already mentioned, has maintained a very healthy growth except for the global economic crisis that overtook the world. To give you an idea about the growth of bilateral trade from 2005 to 2008 — Portuguese exports have grown by about 25% and Indian exports by about 29%. However the trend has been generally good and Indian companies have started investing in Portugal. We have also Portuguese companies investing in India. Portugal, one of the world's most developed countries, can become India's next big business partner. As the business climate in India gains pace, trade with European countries is likely to grow in areas

H.E. Mr Luis Filipe Castro Mendes Born at Idanha- a-Nova, Excellency, Mr Luis Filipe Castro Mendes graduated in law from the University of Lisbon (1974) and was appointed as a Deputy in the Cabinet of Ministers without a portfolio from Sep 1974. Thereafter, he was posted in various countries and served in different diplomatic capacities including Angola, Spain, France, Brazil and Hungary. He was appointed as Ambassador of Portugal to India in 2007. A career diplomat, he is a poet and novelist having made his debut in 1983 with a collection of poems Scraps. It is said that two characteristics mark his poetry : the intertextuality (with references to writers like Emily Dickinson, Rilke, Nietzsche, Borges, Rimbaud, among others) and processing of traditional poetic forms like the sonnet. When I was ushered to Excellency’s office in the presence of Mr Filipe de Moraes Sarmento Honrado, Counsellor, Economic Affairs and Trade and Mr Luis Reis Lourenco, Counsellor, my first impression was that I had entered a library or a professor’s study. Evidently, Excellency has a great passion for books as he is a poet and fiction writer of repute. He is also a highly decorated citizen of Portugal.


such as IT, biotechnology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, communications sectors, banking and new technology areas. Portugal may appear a small market compared to other European countries but its economic power is impressive because of high standard of living and high purchasing power of the Portuguese consumer. Besides, Portugal acts as a gateway for India to gain entry into a market of 500 million of the European Union countries as well as huge emerging markets like Brazil and Africa. As you would be aware, Portugal continues to play the important role of an intercontinental broker, mediating, translating and facilitating. This is a great asset to India's emerging aspirations in Africa and Latin America, where millions of people speak Portuguese and hundreds of Portugal's finest companies and businessmen have set strong roots. Portugal is also the world's seventhlargest wine producer and known for its port wine. It is the world's foremost exporter of cork and accounts for more than half of world's cork production.

CULTURE Indians are mostly multi-lingual and fond of learning new languages. At present, the Instituto Camões–Portuguese Cultural Centre in New Delhi, besides its role of

The Portuguese Development Agency in India is positioned to provide assistance to the Indian companies interested in setting up base in Portugal for forging new and stronger relationships. The private sector of Portugal and India has been working together for years. However, this interaction was limited by distance and at times, a lack of awareness of the complementary opportunities. Over the years, Portuguese Embassy has provided all possible assistance for a broad based interaction between the two economies. This practice will receive a strong fillip from the new facilities provided by the AICEP. The agency is designed to facilitate a free flow of information about the exciting possibilities that exist for the entrepreneurs in Portugal and India. It provides expert services to Indian companies seeking to use the synergetic advantages of Portuguese partner. It also provides access to a strong network of Small and Medium Enterprises in India. It also brings in Portuguese companies exploring the benefits of collaborating with a booming Indian private sector The Centre also collaborates with various university departments offering Portuguese language courses, namely University of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Jamia Millia Islamia, Jadavpur University (Kolkata) and Goa University.

Moreover, the Centre has also been holding events encompassing cultural fields such as cinema, literature, Indo-Portuguese history, music and plastic arts. It has been organising activities on its own and also in collaboration with Indian cultural and academic institutions—international seminars on Indo-Portuguese history, culture and literature; exhibitions of paintings, photographs, cartoons, ceramics, bibliography and cartography of the Portuguese navigations and on common Indo-Portuguese heritage. Portugal has also been represented in international film festivals held in India and film weeks have been held regularly in a number of cities in the Indian sub-continent. spreading knowledge about Portuguese We are also happy to say that the Hindi language and culture through its activities language is taught in one of the universities in and officially representing the Instituto Portugal. Camões in New Delhi, offers part-time There are many people of Indian origin courses of Portuguese Language and Culture residing in Portugal. There is a segment of at basic, intermediate and advanced levels. Indians who had opted to settle in Portugal

when Goa integrated with the Republic of India. Then there were others who have been, over the years, coming to Portugal, for work or for business, and recently for studying. Thus, there are plenty of Indians in Portugal who belong to different strata of the society.

TOURISM We expect a substantial growth in the tourism sector but this is impeded by the fact that there is no direct flight connection between India and Portugal. The present, unfortunately, is not very good for airlines to add new sectors in their flight but we are hopeful that direct flights will soon become commercially viable. However, the recent years have witnessed a greater flow of Indian tourists to Portugal. Overleaf: A few photographs of Lisbon (Lisboa) DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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Paintings from Egyptian Embassy The Egyptian love for colours by Ms Hoda Hafez, wife of the Egyptian Ambassador and a self-portrait by his 18 year old son Serif


Bunkasai, known as Japanese Cultural Festival or in Japanese world as an annual event held by most schools in Japan when students display their every day achievements. Many people usually visit the cultural festival just for fun. Food is served, and dances and plays are performed by individual volunteers or clubs. Besides, Bunkasai is intended to enrich people’s lives by increasing social interaction. It is also the opportunity for students to see what life is like in other schools/universities.

celebrated The students of the Centre for Japanese, Korean and North East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi celebrated Bunkasai KIZUNA 2010, the Japanese Cultural Festival with support from the Embassy of Japan.

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to different kind of cooperation including the technology transfers. Czech is becoming an increasingly favourable business destination for Indian companies. Many Indian investors have already established their business there: Mittal Steel, Ashok Leyland, Tetley Tea, Alok Industries, Lloyd Group, to name a few. The Czech Republic is a popular investment destination due to its various encouraging factors like investment– incentives, a highly skilled labour force and well developed infrastructure.

T

he Czech Republic participated in the India Technology Days celebrations by organizing the Czech–India Technology Partnership Days in Delhi during May, 2010. The Czech delegation was led by Mr Lubos Vanek,

Deputy Minister of Industry & Trade comprising 15 Czech companies (mainly small and medium enterprises–SMEs) and delegates from the academic sector. The conclave aimed on scientific research and development as well as business cooperation specifically between MSMEs. (Micro and SMEs). It is pertinent to mention that following globalisation, business all over the world has become extremely competitive necessitating the need to adopt innovative and cutting-edge technologies. Czech–Indian trade has been flourishing since several years. Despite the global financial crisis in 2009, the Czech–India trade exchange crossed the USD 1 billion mark. It should not be forgotten, that mutual trade had been significantly supported by the ‘big players’ (automobiles–Skoda Auto, nuclear energy cooperation–Vitkovice company, thermal energy–Skoda Power). The Czech SMEs are now expected to play a greater role. The target sectors of the Czech–Indian SMEs trade are biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, green technologies (energy, water management), robotics, AI (artificial intelligence), nano-technologies and food technology. The target priorities in the research are molecular biology and biotechnology, energy resources and material research. The Czech companies are open

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At a reception hosted by the Czech Embassy in honour of the Minister and the participants, Mr.Lubos Vanek remarked, “I think cooperation between the People will bring benefits to both parties and at times, for third parties too. This gives people an opportunity to work together, understand each others' needs and results in better economic cooperation. I think trading is also an important activity because it involves individuals who become active agents for international understanding and promotions. In addition to business, our countries have many clever scientists and many topclass institutes and it will be a wonderful thing if they can cooperate in the areas of science and technology with special application to industry. Agreements have been signed in this conclave and a Joint Commission is being set up. The Joint Commission is expected to meet every year and it will deal with all issues that will lead to increased economic and scientific cooperation between Czech and India. The Joint Commission would be the right body to talk about mutually beneficial projects and discuss on funding them. We would like to invest in India and at the same time I think leading businessmen from India may like to invest in Czech. We welcome Indian tourists to the Czech Republic although I am not the right person to talk about this subject. I hope that direct flights between India and Czech would be established by the national carriers of our countries”. Mr Lubos Vanek's visit was followed by the visit of two Vice-Ministers of Commerce and Foreign Affairs.

Recycling Waste Water According to a C I I S t u d y, India is facing severe shortage of fresh water. The country has 16 per cent of the world's population and about 4 per cent of the world's water resources. With decreasing fresh water availability and increasing water pollution and demand it has become essential to consider alternatives like recycling waste water. The Czech participant at the conclave presented a new industrially proven waste water treatment technology based on the aerobic super-activation (extra low sludge loading) in integrated USBF bioreactors with fluidized bed filtration, which in combination with tertiary treatment using advanced oxidation process (hydroxyl free radicals oxidation) provides potable water quality. The USBF reactor for chemical and biological treatment of water, are available from the small domestic treatment plants to large ones for municipal and industrial purposes. The USBF technology is well suited for upgrading of existing water treatment plants that can be reconstructed to adapt USBF technology. The implementation of such a complex new concept of water supply and sewerage system at the all national level would need cooperation and coordination covering Research Institutes, Academia, Industry and Policy makers. The Czech companies offered to cooperate with Indian partners at any appropriate level.

We welcome your response at diplomaticsquare@yahoo.in


When I met H.E. Mr Sami M Al-Sulaiman, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait at his office during May, he had only one thing to say: “Go to Kuwait, go wherever you want, meet whoever you want, we will try to facilitate, see for yourself and then come back and write about us…write what you have actually seen and what you have really felt.” I arrived at Kuwait International airport on a hot Wednesday forenoon after a comfortable flight aboard Kuwait Airways. A car was waiting outside and after a pleasant drive at 120 kmph on the signal-free King Faisal motor-way, I reached Hotel Crowne Plaza where rooms were booked for me and my colleagues from other publications. At the hotel lobby, we were greeted by a smartly dressed young Kuwaiti gentleman with a pronounced Texan accent, who introduced himself as Ahmad Dashti from the Information Office. Mr Dashti whom I would always call as Ahmad Sahab is a wonderful person who left no stones unturned to showcase Kuwait to us at its shimmering best. During the week-long stay, I had the pleasure, and also the privilege, to meet many senior Kuwaiti officials as well as expatriate Indians. If I may sum up, all the Kuwaitis that I met referred to 'Kuwait’s centuries of friendship' with India and now look forward to taking Kuwaiti–Indian relations to a new high and newer dimension. As regards the Indian community, they all looked happy to be in Kuwait for the opportunities, comforts and security that the country offers, but like most Orientals miss home in abundant measure.

With due acknowledgment to unknown photographer

Our first stop was at the Ministry of Information where we meet Ms Kholud Al Kazemi, Supervisor Foreign Press and her colleagues including Mr Vijayan Nair who has been in the services of the Kuwaiti government for over two decades. It was at Ms Al Kazemi's office that I learnt that one of the fine practices at most Kuwaiti offices is to keep a huge bowl of chocolates on the table for the benefit of guests. My colleague could hardly conceal her delight, “Oh chocolates, I just love it!”

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offered by his wealthy passengers. The strength of the Kuwaiti Dinar holds good equally for the poor and the rich alike. If bata fish costs so less, so does a meal at a Five Star hotel. A good fare with a starter, a main course and a dessert would cost KD 12 at our hotel and the portions were so large and bountiful that an average Indian couple would be compelled to waste food on their plate.

Kuwait is a country that is steeped in tradition, but alive to the demands of contemporary time with an eye for the future. Kuwait means business today. Kuwait is a country where contradictions mingle and co-exist without apparent frictions. Unlike a few other places, women are free to work, drive, move around unfettered and exercise their political and democratic rights.

Hijji, Consultant at the Centre for Research and Studies on Kuwait, who gave a most incisive account of Kuwaiti history, from the days of dhows and pearl diving till the discovery of oil which has completely changed the fabric of country. “Our forefathers were extremely hard-working and simple people. They had to struggle for existence. Today's generation has everything on a platter and they fail to understand Kuwait is liquor free, but its absence is the importance of hard work.” Possibly a compensated by the indigenous pubs that generation gap or is it the truth? serve coffee and tea along with a well lit Concluding his chat with us on an Hukkah. (Clay pipe) emotional note, he said “India was like a Kuwait offers you a right to choose your mother to us, everything came from India: lifestyle and articulate your views on most the rice we ate, the coffee we drank, the matters freely. There are no social per- clothes we wore, everything came from secution groups to impede your way of life. India. We need India.” It was the same The Kuwaiti press, by Indian standards, is when we met Dr Barges Humoud Al Barges, quite well developed—there are many President, Red Crescent (former Minister of English and Arabic and a few Malayalam Health and a reputed expert on internewspapers, magazines, television and radio national affairs) who recounted historical facts, “You would be aware that during channels to choose from. 1954, the Central Treaty Organisation I have always believed that unless you (CENTO) was established by the western walk, take a bus or a metro, visit a roadside powers and Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan eatery, you can never feel the true pulse of a joined it. However, the rest of the Arab town or a country. Kuwaiti public transport countries went with Nasser and were thus comprises of taxis and public buses. The closer to India than Pakistan. Nehru was drivers are mostly immigrants—largely particularly close to our hearts”. Indians, a few Bangladeshis, Sri Lankan,

Cars are huge and plenty and understandably so with the price of petrol being really inexpensive and roads being silken smooth. The markets are flooded with goods and hold your breath, many Indian products are cheaper there than they are here at Egyptians and Pakistanis. home! On one such trip on route number 16, Kuwait boasts of some of the most I struck a conversation with Mohd Ali who magnificent skyscrapers in the world which came to Kuwait on a work visa some five look more mesmerising when they are lit up years ago from Bellary in South India where during nights. There are beautiful beaches, he used to drive trucks. In our 45 minutes of manicured verdure patches and many companionship, Ali gave me a wonderful shopping malls that would be any shoppers overview of Kuwait and million dollar tips delight—but what I did like more was the on how to navigate in this country. old market squares of the city which have A similar experience was with 'Zahid areas segregated product wise, the perfume Bhai' who came from Mangalore about 12 market with traditional ittar or contemyears back and has, since then, worked in a porary parfum with the fragrance of Oud cloth shop. When at Salmiya, I had enquired simmering in charcoal embers, the gold the direction to Marina Mall, he took the souk, the Friday souk, the Irani market, the trouble of walking a considerable distance cloth market—you name anything and it is till I was at the main entrance of this dream there. The fish market was personally very shopping arcade. Such is the power of attractive for me and more so because most distance—it lends charm. of the sellers were Bangladeshis with whom He, like many Indians, lives in a shared I could freely converse in East Bengali dialect. And now comes the element of accommodation, but is happy that he earns surprise – a common fish variety named bata enough to repatriate money home and thus which sells at Rs 160 a kilo in Delhi sells at ensure good education for his children. one Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) (roughly Rs 160) Marina Mall encapsulates the attitude of for three kilos! the young Kuwaiti's. Brands, brands and The point is that prices are either well more brands—from garments and apparels controlled or free market economy is really to i-phones and i-pods, game stations, at play in Kuwait. The strength of the local cosmetics, toiletries, restaurants; it is currency is immense and my driver Amin bustling with the young crowd dressed from told me that the KD 300 which he earns noodle straps to the abaya. As I said, Kuwait monthly is remitted fully to his family. accepts contrasting lifestyles with grace. What does he survive on—healthy tips I recall my meeting with Dr Ya'qub

It was an equal pleasure to visit the Women Cultural and Social Society and meet Ms Lulwa Al-Mulla, Secretary General, Dr Lubna A. Alkazi (College of Social Sciences, Kuwait) and other ladies for a first hand account of the role of Kuwaiti women as a complementary force in national development. Kuwaiti women can vote and they are members of parliament too—a fundamental right women like Ms Lulwa and other activists extracted on May16, 2005 after a prolonged struggle. “I felt victorious that I had played a part in this historic moment. Use whatever words you need to explain that joy”, she had said on that day. Ahmad Sahab took great pains to ensure that we gathered a comprehensive and holistic view of Kuwait. He took us to the National Assembly during session hours to witness an intense debate on rising prices. We visited the Kuwaiti Stock Exchanges during trading hours. Mr Hamed Baksh from the Public Relations Division hoped that I would come back again to Kuwait along with some Indian investors and he hoped that Mr Sunil Mittal would one day invest in his country’s telecom sector. On other days we met H.E. Mr Ahmad Rashad Al Haroun, the Kuwaiti Minister of Commerce & Industry, Mr Ibrahim Abdulmuhsin Alnouh, Kuwaiti Assistant Under Secretary for Administration and Finance,

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The Kuwaiti Kaleidoscope Ahmad Sahab

Stock Exchange Radio station

Kuwait Towers

Friday Souk

Fish market

Friday Souk

Radio artiste and announcer

Kuwait by night

Near the beach

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making it about two-thirds of the total Indian tourists, but I understand that getting a repatriation made by Non-Resident Indians. visa to Kuwait is intensely difficult. I made So what makes the Kuwaiti environ- this point to the Kuwaiti Ambassador during the farewell lunch he had hosted for us at ment so special in the gulf region for 600,000 Hotel Lenotre. I am sure Excellency, Indians? Apart from good money, security considering his intense desire to take Indo and reasonable proximity to home, “Indians –Kuwait relations to never-before heights, live here, work here and many of them die will take up this issue in all earnestness. here. They spend their whole lives here and Another pleasant factor was that most of freely practice what they want to, especially the Indians that I met in Kuwait were their religion—there is a Church in Kuwait appreciative of the role being played by the too”, reflected Mr Ibrahim Abdulmuhsin Indian embassy. I could understand why Alnouh, Asst. Undersecretary. Maybe, the because the day I reached Kuwait, the next liberality in the Kuwaiti hearts will provide day itself, my colleagues and myself were space for temples of other faiths too . pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation But the State of Kuwait is competitive to a reception at the Indian Embassy to meet and Mr Ahmad Rashad Al Haroun, the and chat with Indian journalists working at Minister of Commerce & Industry, put it Kuwait and a few Kuwaiti journalists who across in a business like manner, “Indians had returned from a trip to India, a few will have to compete here with international business-persons and the ilk. It was a most players to sell more in Kuwait as well as thoughtful initiative by the Indian Ambasattract more investment to India”. So sador, Mr Ajai Malhotra, because it gave me whatever be the Indo–Kuwait historical and my colleagues an opportunity to meet so bonds, whatever the 'trust factor', there will many people at one place. not be an inch given or taken when it comes As he put it that evening, “Indo–Kuwait to trade or commerce. Indians intending to relations set a very high standard for others to enter the Kuwaiti market should brace emulate”. I realised later that Mr Malhotra is themselves for this commercial challenge. an immensely pro-active person and a The expectations from Indo–Kuwait popular figure with the local media as news relations appear to be very high at this point about him and the Indian embassy appears of time and quoting Director of Asian Studies every day in some newspaper or the other and in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Rashed for many good reasons. Al-Hajri, “India is a very important country Kuwait's neighbours Saudi Arabia, Iraq today. We want India to take care of the and Iran are all big countries and together Palestinian issue on a positive note from our with Kuwait, this region accounts for point view, particularly the inhuman approximately 606,300,000,000 barrels of oil treatment being meted out [to Palestinians]; reserves or roughly 45 per cent of the planet's Photos: Courtesy KOC however, this is what we want and it is for reserve. (Kuwait's reserves account for Ministry of Information and Dr Khaled India to decide its position. We cannot and 96,500,000,000 barrels). Thus, till such times H.D. Al-Razni, Director, Media Information we do not want to impose”. the global economy is dependant on oil, Department and many others. Thus, when Dr Khaled Razni emphasized Kuwait will remain important, rather most Dr Al Razni whom I had met in 1996 that the Kuwaiti image in India is distorted at crucial, to all. Kuwait is also aware that the when he was posted at Delhi, naturally took times over the “maids' issue” he, certainly, region is among the most turbulent ones— upon himself the right to exclaim, “You bring had a point. “The issue is unfortunate and we thus, Kuwait needs to expand itself beyond back old memories of the days when I was in are addressing it very seriously in consul- the gulf region and as a force beyond India. Is Connaught Place still the same?” tation with the Indian government but then petroleum. As succinctly put by Prof Effusive with his praises on India, he please bear in mind that there are nearly Dr Rasha Al Sabah, Advisor to the Diwan of continued, “India is the only civilization that 600,000 Indians living in Kuwait and barring the Ruler, the Prime Minister, “Kuwait is invited muslims to come to India and set up a few unfortunate individual instances, most seeking to re-establish its former role as a their mosque—the People of Kerala had of them are happy”. These acts of violation regional financial centre attracting business invited the Arabs to settle there for trade and “are individual acts and do not reflect the and investment from all parts of the world”. build a mosque which also served as their attitude and spirit of the Kuwaiti people and The national emblem of Kuwait is the diplomatic mission. This just shows how Kuwaiti government”. The integration dhow—Kuwait has truly been trying hard to much the Indian society believes about between India and Kuwait is very high today position itself as a modern, progressive civil democracy”. and rough patches, wherever or whenever, society with the Rulers of the State will have to resolved, and cannot be allowed encouraging people to embrace modern Continuing he said, “There are 600,000 education, skills and social disciplines while to become impediments. Indians in Kuwait. This environment may not severing its intrinsic ties with the not entirely match the expectations of Every Kuwaiti I met during the week umbilical cord. The approach looks perfect Indians but it must be suiting them for they shared a common thought, ‘‘We are proud of for should there be a flood again, Kuwait's stay back here a lifetime”. To quote Kuwaiti the Indian community and acknowledge dhow would not sink but keep afloat till better officials, Indian expatriates in the gulf their role in the development of Kuwait”. times arrive in the future. repatriate about USD 7 billion annually Kuwait would be a perfect destination for Arunava Dasgupta

SQUARE 36DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010


Kuwait is seeking to re-establish its former role as a regional financial centre Kuwait appears to be a nation that is coming years. firmly rooted in its traditional past, but ready Kuwait offers greater choice of life-style to adapt itself to contemporary times and and freedom of expression. Does this bring with an eye to secure its future. Your about intra-societal conflict, particularly comments, please. among the younger and earlier generation?

Since the independence of our country in 1961, it has always been a great concern for Kuwait, government and people alike, to keep abreast of contemporary needs and conditions without losing our strong attachment to our well-established norms of life and traditions. For this reason, Kuwait has succeeded in becoming a truly modern state in terms of its national institutions, its progressive position as a nation fostering civil society organisations, its innovative architecture and its commitment to keep apace with the vast and rapid advancements of modern technology, all for the welfare of its people.

Kuwait takes great pride in occupying a leading position in the area of freedom of expression and personal liberties in the Arab region, as recognised and witnessed by international and neutral organisations concerned with such issues. With families tending to become more nuclear these days, what provision is the Kuwaiti government making to take care of its senior citizens.

The government of Kuwait has always championed and supported the welfare of its elderly citizens and there are foster homes for the care of the elderly where all their needs are provided for.

GCC countries are trying to carve out a Your Excellency has always championed distinct identity for themselves: as trading the cause of education. What impact has and/or tourism hub, industrial hub and so on. your activities spanning over three decades What distinct identity does Kuwait want to brought about in the Kuwaiti society? project apart from being a major provider of Education is the essential passport to energy to the world?

In addition to its distinct position as a major provider of energy, Kuwait is seeking to re-establish its former role as a regional financial centre attracting business and investment from all parts of the world. This is a prime objective of the ambitious five-year plan, submitted by the government and ratified by parliament, which will be a major driving force for the development of the nation in the

any meaningful development of any nation. For this reason, it has been my privilege and pleasure to work in this field and to play a modest role in the progress and development of my nation by advocating and stressing the importance of education as the most vital means towards the advancement of our nation. The Kuwaiti Towers possibly symbolise a Nation’s aspiration to reach out to the sky

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Carving out a niche for a relation that is over centuries old

T

he relations between Kuwait and India go back to our forefathers who went as merchants to India. Today, we have formalised relations which are excellent.

We have nearly 600,000 Indians working in Kuwait, mostly in the private sector from construction industry to ship building to broadcasting, in shops and stores and other places. The Indians in Kuwait work in different capacities—from ordinary labour to topnotch professionals. We have Indians from different regions of India and we think Indians are especially good because they do not create problems. They are competent, honest and sincere workers and we do not have problems with them as compared to immigrants from few other Asian countries. Indians live here, work here and many of them die here. They spend their whole lives here and freely practice what they want to, especially their religion; there is a Church in Kuwait too.

H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Abdulmuhsin Alnouh

I

can term the Indo–Kuwait relations as something historic. India has been a major trade partner of Kuwait not just since the last 10 or 50 years, but it is a relationship that is more than a century old. However, there exists immense potential to take this relation forward to greater heights.

Assistant Undersecretary for Administration & Financial Affairs

Kuwait is the second largest supplier of oil to India and in turn imports an extremely wide range of goods—rice, spice, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, engineering goods, machinery and so on. However, Kuwait is a free economy and Indians will have to compete here with international players to sell more in Kuwait, as well as, attract more Kuwaiti investment to India. We wish that Indian companies would come here with more offers. With over 600,000 Indians living and working in this country, their financial repatriation back home also constitutes a very large investment to India.

India is an important country. We want India to take care of the Palestinian issue in a positive way from our point of view—however, this is what we want. We cannot impose.

W

e have excellent relations between Kuwait and India, as well as, GCC and India.

AGREEMENTS SIGNED BETWEEN INDIA & KUWAIT IN THE YEAR 2006

India is a friendly country and although our formal relations began in the early 1960s when formal diplomatic relations were established and our embassy was opened at Delhi, but prior to that, our people had excellent relations with India since many centuries. When H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber, the Amir visited India during 2006, we signed four extremely important agreements concerning double taxation, drugs and narcotics trafficking, culture and civil aviation. India is a very important country today. We want India to take care of the Palestinian issue on a positive way from our point view, particularly the inhuman treatment being meted out—however, this is what we want and it is for India to decide its position. We cannot and we do not want to impose. We wish for peace in the region and hope that the issues between India and Pakistan are sorted out.

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“Indo-Kuwait relations set a very high standard for others to reach up to” In discussion with Mr Ajai Malhotra, Indian Ambassador to the State of Kuwait. Kuwait appears to be a nation that is firmly rooted in its traditional past, but ready to adapt itself to contemporary times and with an eye to secure its future. What has been the source of these past linkages between Kuwait and India?

promoting tourism, especially health tourism, from Kuwait to India. Over the past year we have sent nearly a dozen journalists to India and India and Kuwait are a part of each their coverage on return others extended neighbourhood. Our has had a very positive peoples and civilisations have intermingled resonance. Mr Ajai Malhotra, Indian Ambassador to Kuwait with through the centuries and our friendly Turning to culture, Mr Abdallah Zaid Al-Khalidi, Director-Foreign Media (centre) relations have stood the test of time. and Mr Sami M. Al Sulaiman, Kuwaiti Ambassador to India. we arranged a widely Till the discovery of oil, Kuwait's appreciated “Festival of economy revolved around three maritime- India in Kuwait” in linked activities: building of dhows, using November 2009, in which 130 Indian ambassador speak teak and other timber brought from India; artistes participated, including Pandit Hari “ O UR RELATIONS are pearl diving, fishing and voyages to India on Prasad Chaurasia, Pandit Rajendra already exemplary setting very high standards dhows carrying pearls and dates that were Prasanna, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, for others to emulate. As years and decades traded for wood, rope, rice, tiles, cloth and Rimpa Siva and Ranjana Gauhar, besides progress, you can be fairly certain we will take spices. During the nineteenth and early several Indian folk dance troupes. this relation to a qualitatively higher level.” twentieth centuries, Kuwait's impressive Exhibitions of Arabic calligraphy, woven dhows trading fleet regularly visited ports on textiles, traditional dolls and photographs our western coast and its pearls and dates of Mumbai through the ages, textile “OUR RELATIONS are very were valued across India. weaving, folk art and henna application well rooted in the past and there is great As a result of such interaction, many demonstrations were also arranged. In optimism and expectation from this relation in the future. With the big support of the Indian Kuwaiti families have traditional linkages April 2010, the Embassy organised a weekgovernment and the wide vision of the Kuwaiti with India. At Diwaniya meetings in long ‘Indian Food Festival’ at the landmark government, we can look forward to an Kuwait Towers Restaurant. Kuwait, they often recall positive memories excellent, excellent relationship.” of this people-to-people friendship. There is Inter-governmental Working Groups a huge reservoir of goodwill for India and on Hydrocarbon and Labour, Employment India–Kuwait trade has grown from Indians in Kuwait. and Manpower Development were con- USD 6.6 billion in 2006–07 to USD 8.4 How have our bilateral ties expanded in vened in Kuwait in December 2009 and billion in 2007–08 to USD 10.4 billion in more recent times? What are the fields in January 2010 respectively, setting the stage 2008–09. It is dominated by export of oil and which our cooperation is progressing? In for the Joint Ministerial Commission for oil products from Kuwait to India and we Trade, Economic, Scientific and Techno- are one of the top buyers of Kuwaiti crude. what areas do we have differences? logical Cooperation to meet in Kuwait this In fact, Kuwait is an important partner in India has long been an important India's quest for energy security, annually autumn. partner in Kuwait's economic development providing 10–11per cent of India's crude oil and we seek to even further strengthen our The visit to Kuwait from February 3 to 4 imports. close bilateral ties. The visit of His Highness, 2010 by External Affairs Minister Mr S.M.

in brief

The Amir to India in June 2006 was a landmark event for India–Kuwait relations. In turn, the successful, three-day visit by our Vice President Hon'ble M Hamid Ansari to Kuwait in April 2009, effectively consolidated our ties. Agreements on science and technology, education and culture were signed during that visit.

Krishna, accompanied by Secretary Latha Reddy, has further boosted our relations. It was the Minister's first visit to the Gulf since taking charge of External Affairs and it was a stand-alone one to Kuwait. It reaffirmed that our ties are exemplary, characterised by warmth, mutual respect and understanding. No political differences separate Our Minister of State for Tourism, us. Mr Sultan Ahmed and the Kerala Minister You touched upon trade and investof Health, Mrs P K Sreemathy Teacher, ment cooperation between Kuwait and visited Kuwait in October 2009 for India? Can you provide some specifics? SQUARE 40DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

Two-way non-oil trade has recently expanded at a healthy pace, reaching USD 1.4 billion in 2008–09. Even if we look only at non-oil trade, India has consistently been among the top handful of Kuwait's trading partners. Our exports to Kuwait include rice, iron and steel products, meat, tea and coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, engineering goods, machinery and vehicles. Kuwaitis’ love our flavoured long-grain basmati rice and our delicious mangoes. Biryani, kabab, samosa and jalebi, for example, are as popular in Kuwait as they


INDIA

are in India and these similarities in our food Constructions Co., Kuwait, bagged the all working days and can be met without habits also positively influence our foodstuff contract for constructing part of the prior appointment to discuss any consular exports. Hyderabad Outer Ring Road. matter.

Indian companies have recently won contracts in the petroleum and power sectors of Kuwait. L&T is involved in refinery upgradation, while several Indian companies are fulfilling construction and engineering related contracts. Kalpataru Power Transmission is establishing a 200 km electricity network in Kuwait. MAN Industries is executing a major supply order for pipes to Kuwait. Shalimar Valves has recently established a joint venture here as the sole manufacturer of industrial valves in Kuwait. TCIL maintains much of Kuwait's telecom industry. Apollo and Fortis hospitals have franchise operations here. New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance, LIC and LIC Ambassador Ajai Malhotra with guests Housing Finance have long been in Kuwait. at the Media Reception—India House Wipro, Infotech and Satyam too have a growing presence here. Many Indian banks also have agreements with exchange houses Indians in Kuwait appear to be a happy in Kuwait to facilitate remittances into India. lot. They are also quite appreciative of the

What about Kuwaiti investments into role played by the Indian embassy. This is a response that may be a termed as an India? exception rather than a rule among Indians Investment from Kuwait into India has residing overseas. How did you bring about been largely through international invest- or sustain this change of perception?

ment companies or indirectly through the The 600,000 strong Indian community Mauritius route and as a result is not reflected in Kuwait is one of the largest concenin official statistics. trations of Indians outside India and the An example of successful investment in largest expatriate community in Kuwait. India is by Alghanim Group in Kirby Hard working, disciplined, talented and Building Systems India Ltd, for manufacture law-abiding, its members earn a livelihood of pre-engineered steel buildings. Kuwait in Kuwait for themselves and their families, Housing and Construction Company, Kuwait while contributing to the host country's Finance House and Global Investment House development and prosperity. The goodwill have also made significant investments into they have earned for India over many India. Other investments include the Pulsar decades has made my task here much more Knowledge Centre at Gurgaon by KIPCO pleasant. group, an auto spare parts manufacturing unit It is heartening that Indians in Kuwait in NOIDA by the KAPICO group and luxury are appreciative of the Embassy's role on hotels in Kerala by the KGA group. community issues of concern. Their The Kuwait Investment Authority makes growing numbers have made it imperative portfolio investments in the Indian stock that there be a strong and effective response market through leading international from us. Over the past year, high priority has financial managers. Its total investment in been given to enhancing our consular, India may be around a billion and a half US labour and welfare services. dollars. More than ten India-related funds have also been launched in Kuwait. Last July, the UTI Asset Management Company set up a USD 500 million India Infrastructure Development Fund, in association with Noor Financial Investment Company of Kuwait and others. Kuwaiti companies are making a mark in services and construction in India. National Aviation Services Company of Kuwait is providing passenger and ramp handling services to air companies at 15 Indian airports. In March 2010, United Gulf

In this context, we opened two new passport and visa service centres in Kuwait in May 2009, with convenient timings and locations. We have maintained a turnaround delivery time of 3–4 working days after a service application is made. Our attestation service at the Embassy envisages return delivery within 45 minutes of submission of a document. Last October, we started a Consular Open House procedure by which a senior consular official is available in the Embassy Consular Room on

During 2009–10, the Embassy significantly expanded and re-grouped its welfare facilities as an “Indian Workers Welfare Centre”. It includes a labour complaints desk, accommodation and facilities for domestic workers in distress, a free legal advice clinic with Kuwaiti and Indian lawyers that is open on all working days, a time-bound work contract attestation system, a toll-free 24x7 helpline for domestic workers and a help-desk to guide Indians on immigration, employment and other issues. While we do have concerns, we now also have the wherewithal in place to tackle them. The toll-free helpline inaugurated last August has systematised and enhanced our availability to an Indian domestic worker in distress. It functions round the clock through a multiple line call-centre and provides us with a computerised print-out of incoming calls that can be traced to their source. Its staffers know Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Arabic and English. The helpline number is front-paged on job contracts so that new domestic workers know, prior to their arrival here, that someone is constantly available to them. We have also strengthened our grievance redressal system last year, that promptly and effectively addresses grievances of Indian workers in Kuwait. Since early 2009, Indian domestic workers in distress are being accommodated by the Embassy under a new arrangement, while their grievances are being addressed. On arrival, they are given a kit containing new clothes, toiletries and other essentials. They are also provided with bunk beds with full bedding, regular nutritious meals and all other basic amenities while they are with us. The common areas have a TV, with access to Indian cable channels, as well as, a music system with Indian CDs. In case of repatriation of a domestic worker, an air ticket from Kuwait to the nearest Indian airport, plus sufficient cash to travel home from there and pay for incidentals enroute, is also routinely being provided by the Embassy. Since mid February 2009, sponsors recruiting Indian nationals for jobs in Kuwait in the domestic sector are also compulsorily required to take a two year insurance policy in the name of the worker. Where the rights of any Indian DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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INDIAN voices

Hobbies and interests “I have my own interests and hobbies. I like painting on glass and certain collecting interest. I am a keen philatelist. I have a very personalised collection of old post cards of the Indian army during first world war. It interests me that our armed forces had gone out in 1914 and fought all over Europe and I like to see it through pictures. It is easy to carry and they are not a value to anyone but to me. I have been collecting these for 10 years. Last July when there was big parade in France and the Indian army was marching there and everyone said that it is the first time the Indian army was marching in France, I knew that we have marched before in Paris in 1915 and 1919. My wife is interested in textiles and ceramics and she is a keen potter. She is very enthusiastic about that.” A post graduate in economics from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, Mr Ajai Malhotra joined the foreign services in 1977. He has served in various capacities and destinations including Geneva, Russia and USA. During 2005–09, he was the Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, New York, followed by another tenure as India’s Ambassador to Romania, Albania and Moldova before assuming his present assignment. He has published articles on topics such as environment and sustainable development, biological diversity, climate change, the rights of future generation and international law. In 2004, he was awarded a Doctorate [Honoris Causa] by the Vasile Goldis Western University of Arad, Romania. SQUARE 42DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

I came to Kuwait in 1967 from Howrah, West Bengal nearly 43 year ago. At that time, Kuwait was a like a bud just about to blossom. The big-boom in Kuwait started sometime around the late 1970s. In certain respects, Kuwait was different before the (Iraqi) invasion. The locals are by nature very helpful to others. They are very fond of Indians and we have mutual respect and goodwill for each other. I understand that Kuwait has stopped visas to many countries in the Indian subcontinent but visas for Indians have never been stopped. After the liberation, Kuwait has opened up to the international community with the result that the pure Kuwaiti culture has been diluted. I have over four decades experience in contracting business and thus, I interact with expatriates from all over the world. I am yet to meet anyone who wants to

Muzammil Mullick at the Indian Embassy reception

leave Kuwait. I have tried to bring people from different parts of India and settle them in Kuwait with gainful employment. It pleases me immensely that I could do this. Like others, I earn well here and I donate 2.5 percent towards charity as per the Law (Zakaat) of the Almighty. I invest my money in India and although it may be a drop in the ocean, it still gives me great satisfaction. I have been able to support my family, my relatives, friends, neighbours and countrymen—this satisfies me greatly. which is at times denied their dues or rights. It is this segment that requires the support of our embassy.

FIMA

worker is violated , the Embassy debars the erring individual/company from undertaking further hires from India besides taking other strict measures relevant to each case. If the mortal remains of an Indian in Kuwait have to be sent back to India, then we bear full air transportation costs and all associated incidental expenditures in all needy cases. The strengths of various segments of the community are also being used to help those in need. Thus, Indian doctors in Kuwait conduct regular, free health screening and awareness camps for Indian workers here. They also run health programs in Indian schools in Kuwait. Moreover, anyone with an unresolved health query can use the ‘Ask a Doctor’ facility through the Embassy website and get a free opinion from an Indian medical specialist. A similar effort by Indian lawyers in Kuwait to support the larger community has also been started.

Siddeeque Vallyakath, President, FIMA

The Federation of Indian Muslims Association (FIMA) comprises of 14 leading Indian associations from different states of India— from Kerala to Kanyakumari. These organisations are engaged in social work—some focus on education matters, others on sports or religious activities, training and development of the downtrodden and so on. A few of our organisations provide scholarships to deserving but poor students and one particular organisation provides a Social Security Scheme If a member dies untimely, money is collected from all members and provided to the deceased's family. We also help our community members if they are in trouble and our efforts are fully supported by the Indian embassy. Unlike our name, our activities are not restricted to muslims only but extended to all. There are presently 600,000 plus expatriates in Kuwait— some are at very senior levels, some are professionals, many work in offices and business establishment, but the largest group comprises unskilled labourers. This majority can be categorised as poor and it is this segment

In this context, I want to talk about the domestic servants category for whom no local labour law apply. At times, these people may have to work for as much as 16 to 18 hours and they may be treated shabbily. They are illtreated because domestic servants do not qualify under any category for securing protection under local laws. Last year, an agreement was reached between the Indian and Kuwait governments, whereby the employer will now need to sign an agreement and it is thereafter only that domestics can come to Kuwait for work. The Indian Embassy has complete information about each worker, the terms and condition of employment and so on. There has been much improvement after this step. It's also important to know that this agreement is for domestics who come to Kuwait legally. Hence, I would strongly advise that domestics from India should refrain from trying to stay or reach Kuwait illegally. Also, the abuse of domestics are individual cases and do not reflect the personality of the Kuwait government or the Kuwaiti people who are greatly fond of India and Indians. I understand that discussions are going on for enacting a firm law on this subject. The Indian government is aware of the situation and the Indian embassy is working very hard – sometime back they established a 24 hour helpline in different languages for helping domestics and also set up an official shelter for the victims.


Dr. Khaled H.D. Al-Razni

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ndia played a major role by providing means to establish this Kuwaiti society where are living today. India is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and liberal society–it really suits me to say things that you so much deserve. At the same time, there are many things that we need to strengthen to match our mutual ambitions and expectations. Right now, India can be compared with many super powers. There are many factors that lock your position as a real emerging power but at the same time, there is no doubt that you have suffered from wars just like we had during the regime of Saddam Hussein. Indians have and continue to participate in the evolution of so many civilisations in this world. There are millions of Indians spread all over the world, in different capacities, different positions and different countries. There are nearly 600,000 Indians residing in Kuwait—they are at various strata. Indians hold big positions here. The medical department is being run mostly by Indians. Similarly, there are numerous highly placed Indians in the Kuwaiti oil companies. Recently I was at Geneva to attend a Forum and among the delegation was an Indian representing Kuwait. The Kuwaiti media is being run mostly by Indians. They are not working there as labourers but as professionals. The English newspapers in particular and others too have reporters, designers, photographers —you name it, they from Indians.

Director, Media Information Department

history when muslim troops fought with the Indians but I refer to the times when the Kerala people invited the muslim merchants to build a mosque which also served as their diplomatic mission. This just shows how much the Indian society believes in democracy. When we established our civilisation three centuries ago, India helped us train our people in trade, commercials, industry and other aspects. Then we had all goods coming from India. Then there are many Kuwaitis who went to India and stayed back and made it their homeland. Today, the single largest community of expatriates in Kuwait is from India. When you look at the repatriations made by Indians, you will find that nearly two-thirds of it is coming from the gulf. The others are not transferring their money. There are 22 million Indians outside their country and 7 billion dollars are coming to India from the gulf through repatriation being made by the expatriates. We welcome Indians to come here and do business and in many ways we have been trying to facilitate the process by establishing the Kuwait-Indo Chambers of Commerce and such organisations with the purpose of helping Indian merchants to come here.

be with India. There is nothing to block Indians to Indians from coming to Kuwait for business. Earlier, there were some negative image in the Indian media about Kuwait but that's not your responsibility. We are responsible. That's why we started giving the Indian media a chance to visit Kuwait and carry back their own impressions. Then we opened the Information Office and we found its working. We invited people to see our social life and report it back in India. This has helped significantly in improving our relations with India. When I read some of the Indian newspapers and magazines reporting on Kuwait, I am amazed. I recall when one of the Indian scholars was referring to American and British documents to describe about Kuwait's history. I told him that why are you using these sources when you have such rich and authentic sources in your National Archives—you do not need third country reports to describe Indo-Kuwaiti relationships. There is just a sea that divides us .

There is no doubt that Indian companies dominate a lot in Kuwait and particularly in the foods segment, but still, now with privatisation and globalisation, we need more and more offers from your side—be it food processing, horticulture, floriculture or That is why I feel it is important for the others . Indian media to come and see for themselves, But one mistake, or one flaw, and the The other thing is to secure the relations Kuwait in all its aspects. I welcome an media at times picks it up and amplifies it so much that it makes it look that Indians in in a modern way. Regulations here and there impartial assessment by the media, even if it Kuwait are 'maids' only. No, they are not. need to be modernised. I would not like to is negative, please do not depend on third They are colleagues. There is Nair (see page 46) take names but in certain places it just takes country sources to describe our society or our working at our office for decades. There are an hour to establish a company but here it bilateral relations. It is also important to many friends who are here from India and I takes time. We need to modernise in some understand that Indians in Kuwait are not maids only and when such unfortunate request the Indian media to take an objective respects to match your ambitions. incidents happen, it is the doing of a few look at us and our society and report. Most of the companies who helped us in individuals only and not the Kuwaiti The Kuwaiti environment may not reconstruction after the war were Indians government and the Kuwaiti people. match entirely with the expectations of and particularly in the construction business. Kuwaiti students are going to India in Indians but it is reasonably suitable for them Of late, Indians are trying to understand in large numbers for studying in Indian colleges and that's why you see so many Indians in greater measure about what’s happening and universities. It is absolutely incorrect to here, what is the demand here, what are the Kuwait. You can see the multi-cultural say that the Kuwaiti government does not potentials in Kuwait that can match with aspects of the Indian society very much in Kuwait. We have Keralites, we have Indian capabilities. In the defence sector, we recognise degrees in higher education Tamilians, we have people from all parts of have started with some collaboration and obtained from Indian universities. The some Indian naval ships have been coming reference is to unrecognised or deemed India here. here to engage in practice. Regarding nuclear institutions which have mushroomed, not India is the only civilisation that invited cooperation we have something with the just in India, but all over the world–which muslims to come to India and set up their French now, but in the future we hope it will can be referred as teaching shops. mosques. I am not referring to the later DIPLOMATIC SQUARE May-July, 2010

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voices

T

he Kuwaiti women have many good reasons to be proud of. They have succeeded in areas where their ‘sisters in arms’ from many countries in Asia and Africa have failed. Succinctly put, they have extracted from society dignity, equality and other rightful dues in most walks of life. Kuwaiti women have a choice—they can choose to work or not work. They can dress in formal western wear or in the traditional abaya. There are no dress codes and there are no social enforcement groups. They can study upto any level and in any discipline. Women have the freedom to work in nearly every profession, can drive and move around unescorted. They can vote, participate in business or politics. It is only where it concerns religious issues, “We do not question. We accept everything,” clarified Lulwa AlMulla, Secretary General, Women’s Cultural and Social Society, that was established in February 1963. Possibly the first of its kind in the entire gulf religion, WCSS has spear headed many agitations but moderation is their mantra. “We are for better rights for women in matters of education, work, business and social status. We do not want to compete with men, we want to complement them in their efforts to build a better society in Kuwait”. Added Dr Lubna Al-Kazi, sociologist, “We are not for feminism, we are for activism”. WCSS works for evolutionary changes and not revolutionary changes. the earlier generation. In many instances, the old man has passed away, but the widows stay together. Divorce Divorces are in“I felt victorious that I had played a part in this historic moment. Use whatever words you need to explain that joy”, she said on that day. creasing since the last Excerpts from the conversation with the members of WCSS 20 years. Most of the break-ups take place with a group of visiting Indian journalists follow: within the first two We work for the benefit of the society years of marriage. Thus, it is the young who is and for the country. This society is open to getting divorced. The greatest problem is non-Kuwaiti women also, but they cannot be incompatibility, independence and possibly, board members. We deal with all issues that lack of communication. It is also important to concern the rights and dignity of women at point out that divorces are longer looked home, at work, in business or in society at down upon—it is not accepted but it is large. tolerated. It is also easier than before for Financial Help: Education and Medicare divorced women to get married and since We extend financial help to the needy, most young women are financially indepenirrespective of whether they are Kuwaitis or dent today, they do not fear that they will non-Kuwaitis, muslims or non-muslims. We become a burden on their family. Joint help such families with school fees. We help families are no longer the norm. in the treatment of cancer—particularly for Husbands cannot stop their spouses from chemotherapy and other expensive treat- approaching the Court of Justice. The Court ments. We also have volunteers who visit has a section where the women can go for psychiatric wards and spend quality time counselling or help or for a complaint, incase with patients who have been deserted by she is not receiving the allowance, the man is their families. Such humanitarian help is supposed to pay. She has a legal option and offered without consideration of nationality, there are legal officers to support her. race or religion. Widows Polygamy After the demise of the husband, the Polygamists are a minority, possibly 10 widow inherits. Many times, she decides to per cent and that too most of them belong to stay on in her own house, have her own A defining moment for the Kuwaiti women was their entry into Parliament. For the first time, four ladies won elections and thus became the country’s legislators. This was the culmination of nearly four decades of social struggle by the women of Kuwait in which the WCSS played an important role under the leadership of Lulwa Al-Mulla, Secretary General of WCSS.

DIPLOMATIC SQUARE 44May-July, 2010

servants and live on her own. She may also decide to move to her elder son because it is seen religiously correct for a widow to stay with her eldest son. However, under circumstances when a widow has no one to turn to, she can apply for a Social Allowance from the government. It is considered as a last resort to put a woman in an old age home. Family Size The average family size has dwindled but again there is a difference. The tribal communities like the Bedouins tend to have larger family. If you sample an urban middle class family today, the average is four children. It used to be six in the 1970s. Kuwait is a pro-natalist society and does not encourage family planning. The government pays 50 dinars per child to the family and at times, people from the low income group tend to treat this as an income. Maternity care, health care and education is free in Kuwait, but in government run establishments only. For facilities in the private sector, one has to pay. The younger generation prefers the private sector today. Mixed Marriages Society is more tolerant to mixed marriages and it is not uncommon to find a Sunni–Shia marriage. Now with free intermingling at universities, work places and elsewhere, traditional barriers are coming down. Certain tribes do not marry into certain other tribes but in such instances, it is for the boy to break the barrier.


the population, they are peaceful people just like us. Now, the Mullahs in Teheran, I do not know who is supporting them, and top of that the laziness of our governments also—we are not approaching the Iranian population telling them that we should not be enemies. No, we are leaving it to the media to manipulate people, create enmity all over and we are sitting like sheep. Our media is a free media but this is unlike certain other Arab countries. We are a small nation of one million people. Our one million people are not in a position to produce all the talent and skill required to administer a modern society and hence we have to be dependant on other parts of the world. Kuwait has an education system that is reasonably good but you cannot compare it with the advanced higher education system of India. The Kuwaiti government spends a lot of money on this sector. Kuwait is a country of immigrants where centuries ago people from the Eastern Coast of Saudi Arabia came and settled here. Then there were Iraqi's, Iranians and others. Even a few Indians have also come here and settled as much as a few Kuwaiti's who have gone to India The Western Indian Ocean Civilisation To be fair, we are proud to be a part of the western Indian civilisation and we want this relation to prosper. And please do not make a mistake—we do not prefer Pakistan to India at all. We think Pakistan is an offshoot of India and I personally feel that Pakistan should have come to India and said, 'please we are a part of one nation and forget about two countries'. This would have saved a lot of problems. India is a promise of the future. Our Amir went to India recently to emphasis the continuity in our relations. India under the British Raj was good for us, India is presently good for us, and India will be in the future good for us. We are steadfast in relations despite the changing alliances I have to make myself clear. I am talking about relations between the Indian nation DIPLOMATIC SQUARE 46May-July, 2010

W

omen in Kuwait are working almost in every field. Those who want to work can work and those who do not want to and the Arab nations—not Indian govern- work do not work. They have a choice. ment with Arab governments. The Indian Kuwaiti women have their rights, not just government is prone to western influence from today but since way back in the past. today. America controls the whole gulf area When I joined the ministry some ten years because of oil. When it comes to using force ago, my Director was a lady, my supervisor and my Secretary were ladies. In fact, we have they will use force. a The alliances of India are also changing. lot of women working in the media. We To be frank with you, your alliance with have Kuwaiti women occupying posts and we Israel whom we consider as our enemy, is have had a Kuwait women as an ambassador. becoming strong and to the extent that some Indian writers who live in America are contributing articles in Newsweek which are pro-Israel. This is strange to me because India has never meddled in the Palestinian issue. Now, it is not a pleasure for me to see the relation between India and Israel flourishing at our expense. But that does not mean we are favouring Pakistan to India. You see, India is the main thing. We may like this, we may not like that, but our relations with India will keep on continuing forever. What our governments do is something else. That is why when we see Iran or India flexing their muscles, our weakness becomes so evident. Then, if America does not accept us, where do we go? And another thing, when oil becomes unimportant tomorrow, how will we manage? India was like a mother to us, everything came from India : the rice we ate, the coffee we drank, the clothes we wore, everything came from India. We need India.”

V.R.VIJAYAN NAIR INTL.MEDIA SECTORS In Kuwait for over three decades

Kholud Al-Kazemi Supervisor Foreign Press & Media, Ministry of Information

Every Kuwaiti woman who graduates, her first ambition is to search out a job. Sometimes in our marriage contract, it is clearly written that the husband will not prohibit his wife from working after marriage. It is not only women who want to work but today, it is the menfolk who want women to work. Why? It is an economic decision. With prices rising everyday it is much more practical to have two earning members in a family.We have spinsters in the city who work and live by themselves alone. Emphasis on education is very strong here. The Kuwaiti standard of education is also very good and it matches international standards. I am a French graduate and I have also studied in Kuwait, so I can say this from experience. I started my career as a French translator.


voices “I would say that Kuwait and India are brothers. We have a relation that is centuries old and we have been dependant on India for everything. All things that we are using, the linen, the food, the sugar, the spice and the rice, everything comes from India. We have been importing wood from India to carve out ships with which we have been sailing the high seas for trade. In short, we know India very well and we keenly follow the developments there.

What happened in Mumbai is simply unacceptable terrorism. What happened in Mumbai (26/11) is simply unacceptable. The problem between India and Pakistan needs to be sorted out.

Gandhi was correct when he asked Jinnah not to insist on partition and let India remain as one entity. Religion cannot be the basis of a country—it is unimportant whether you are a Muslim, a Hindu, a Christian. What is important is that you belong to the land. Even though Pakistan was created on the basis of religion, it could not save itself from a When I was the Minister of Health partition. earlier, my ministry had invited a specialI do not think the western powers ist from the United States to determine really care for the welfare of people in this the cause of an allergy. When the region, they care for the oil. I recall a gentleman was trying to find out the cause conference that was held in Cairo in the of allergy in Kuwait, I had jokingly told early 1960s to discuss the Palestine issue. him that he should go to India to find the It was attended very well and some of the source because everything that is here in delegates got emotional, even suggesting Kuwait has come from India. that the only solution lay by throwing the I think India is an amazing country. Jews into the sea! You can find everything there–be it goods I recall the late Krishna Menon who or services. Kuwaiti’s yesterday and stood up and remarked to the effect: Kuwaiti’s today, travel to India frequently “Why are you discussing all this. The issue and specially along the western coast, will not be resolved by us but by the new namely Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and so on. empire on whom the sun now never sets”. Although our relation with India is (Obviously, his reference was to the Unihistoric, the foundation of modern ted States of America.) And who controls Kuwait–India bilateral relations was laid the American politics, media and finance? down during the golden decade of However, it must be clear that we are not 1955–65 when President Abdel Nasser against the Jews, we are against Zionism. along with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Now, look at what is happening in the President Soekarno and Marshal Tito entire region–Afghanistan, Iraq and established and nurtured the Non Aligned elsewhere. Everyday there are killings. I Block. think, and again this is my personal view, You would be aware that in1954, the USA must be aware where Bin Laden is. Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) But why they do not act, I really cannot was established by the western powers say. and Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan had Afghanistan is a chronic case and no joined it. However, the rest of the Arab one really knows what’s happening there. countries preferred to go along with However good the Afghan warriors may Nasser and were thus closer to India than be, can they stand the might of American Pakistan. Nehru was particularly close to force or NATO? our hearts. At this moment it is western power About terrorism, I think, and this is who control this entire region but some my personal view, that the root cause is people say that one day, the Indians will India's problem with Pakistan, Kashmir to control this region.” be precise. I had once told President Zia ul Haque that he must resolve the Kashmir issue—he asked me how? I suggested that instead of holding on to Kashmir, he should allow the people of Kashmir to decide for themselves. I do not think that people in this region are against India or they support

Barges Humoud Al Barges

Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society The movement is an international society where the affiliates enjoy the same rights and they cooperate with each other. Based on certain noble values, principles, and keenness to assist needy people during times of crises, 18 prominent and experienced Kuwaitis spear-headed the idea of establishing the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) . The first meeting was held in December 1965 in which they endorsed the basic organisational structure for its foundation. The Kuwaiti government approved the foundation of KRCS and it was officially proclaimed as a non governmental organisation(NGO) on January 10, 1966. The government's approval also facilitated the procedures for the KRCS to join the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cross Societies. Kuwait Red Crescent Society is a voluntary humanitarian society that provides assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by social conflicts, wars or natural disasters without discrimination against any human being regardless of nationality, gender, colour, race, religions or political beliefs. KRCS is a voluntary society that enjoys an independent status and has a separate legal entity while working as a complementary organisation to the official authorities in the country in the humanitarian field. Its scope of work covers all the governorates of Kuwait with the right to open branches in any of them. The KRCS provides assistance and humanitarian aid to all countries and needy people. DIPLOMATIC SQUARE Feb-April, 2010

47


T3 F

raport is used to running airports around the globe. With investments and management contracts in far flung places from South American Lima in Peru to Asia's Xi'an in China, the owner and operator of Frankfurt's international airport, has over the years, gained enormous experience in running airports of all types and sizes and in the most diverse and challenging environments.

The New International Terminal At Delhi Airport

Breaking Records

Ansgar Sickert Managing Director Fraport India

internationally conducted Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey ranked Delhi airport as one of the world's worst. As the construction of Terminal 3 was underway and the third runway, with 4,430m, one of Asia's longest and designed to take the A380, neared completion, DIAL had additionally undertaken to build a new domestic terminal.

The old domestic terminal, 1B, was a pre-World War II building that could no longer take the strain of ever increasing passenger numbers and mushrooming airlines. Little wonder that with the opening of Terminal 1D and a much improved international Terminal 2, passenger survey results went through the roof. At the annual ASQ awards IGI Airport was recognised as the “most improved airport” in the Asia Pacific region. If that was not recognition enough, it also ranked as the world's fourth best in the category of airports handling between 15 and 25 million passengers per annum. With the opening of Terminal 3 which has a capacity of handling 34 million passengers and has a high capacity baggage handling system that can process 12,800 bags per hour, passenger volumes will surely continue to expand exponentially in Delhi.

Together with its partners GMR, the Airports Authority of India and Malaysia Airport Berhard, the Fraport consortium won a thirty year concession (plus a further 30 year option) to run Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport in May 2006. From the beginning, the project was driven by the deadline of the Commonwealth Games which will be hosted by India's capital in October, later this year. Hence, speed was the essence from the outset. Building one of the world's largest airport terminals in a record 37 months when comparable structures have taken no less than 50 months, was always going to be a challenge. To complicate matters further, on taking over the airport on May 3, 2006, the consortium had only limited physical access to the airport. A project office was first set up in Gurgaon which meant much time was As the airport's designated operator spent shuttling between the office and the Fraport, was able to leverage its global airport. expertise in airport systems and technology, A few months later an old 1940s barrack operational processes and issues such as building had been patched up as provisional quality of service. Naturally, Delhi has high offices allowing DIAL's operations and aspirations of developing into a major airport development teams to work at the aviation hub. Given the importance of airport. But lack of adequate office space Delhi for business, tourism and politics, it is was perhaps only a minor challenge indeed a natural magnet for travel. Fraport compared with running and upgrading which operates Frankfurt International terminal buildings that were not just old but Airport, one of the world's aviation largest operated well beyond their original design hubs, will continue to transfer its knowcapacity. It was therefore little wonder that how and expertise to ensure IGI Airport in 2007–08 when passenger growth rates lives up to its potential. They made it possible reached levels of 30 per cent per annum the

SQUARE 48DIPLOMATIC May-July, 2010

[left to right] Gita Ray (Fraport Secondee to DIAL) Head of Terminal Operations Andrew Harrison, DIAL's Chief Operating Officer, Terminal 3 John Ryan (Fraport Secondee to DIAL), IT Integration Alexander Zinell, Fraport's Executive, VP Global Investments Ansgar Sickert, MD, Fraport India


DIPLOMATIC SQUARE  

In this issue, news and views from diplomats of African, Asian and European Countries...from trade to tourism, genocide to economy. Special...

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