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India-Diplomatic, Political, Business and Diaspora Connectivity

Editor’s Desk



hose conversant with New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave, Chanakyapuri, would often have passed through two familiar avenues—San Martin Marg and Simon Bolivar Marg. The road names symbolize India’s recognition of two Latin American legends, both hailed and respected as founding fathers of Peru and Bolivia, nations whose ambassadors feature on our cover. Jose de San Martin, an Argentine general, successfully led the southern part of Latin America’s struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. He was eventually appointed Protector of Peru and helped the nation gain independence. He also helped Argentina and Chile gain independence and is popularly known as El Libertador of Peru, Chile and Argentina. Simon Bolivar in whose honour we also have a bust in Chanakyapuri, on the other hand, played a leading role in the northern part of Latin America’s struggle for independence. He is credited with the establishment of Bolivia as a sovereign state, along with Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama. Both these daring stalwarts—San Martin and Simon Bolivar—once came together for a meeting in July 1822, a year after Peru’s independence and three years before Bolivia was to become totally liberated. H.E. Mr Jorge Juan Castaneda Mendez, Ambassador of Peru to India, has been talking to India Empire Magazine over time on what Peru has to offer in terms of investment, tourism, culture, and more. We have a feature on the Nazca Lines in Peru, one of the mysterious archaeological sites among UNESCO’s list of World Wonders. We also have an interview with H.E. Mr Sergio Dario Arispe Barrientos, Ambassador Designate of Bolivia to India, who does firmly believe that given ancient cultural similarities between India and Bolivia, Indians can feel at home in Bolivia, and Indian businesses can surely thrive in his country. In addition, of course, there are several unique tourism destinations that are to be seen in both Peru and Bolivia. We have an interview with Mr Babul Supriyo, Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, a singer-turned-politician, who talks us through his party’s ambitions in West Bengal, the legacy of decades of vote bank politics that has divided India, and the leadership qualities of Prime Minister Modi that made him take the plunge into his new profession. There are several other articles and photo features of interest that are capable of holding your attention as you navigate through our pages.


Volume 13 No. 8 January 2018 RNI No.: DELENG/2005/16693

GLOBAL ADVISORY BOARD Mr Inder Singh, Dr Rami Ranger, Dr Kamalanathan Sappani, Mr Mridul Pathak, Ms Priya Tandon Editor Sayantan Chakravarty Consulting Editor Yogesh Sood (Business and Commerce) Sipra Das (Photography) Kul Bhushan Jayant Borkar (Mumbai Affairs) Sanjay Sharma (BJP Affairs) Paras Ramoutar (Caribbean Affairs) Vishnu Bisram (New York) Premchand Ramlochun (Mauritius) Liladhar J. Bharadia (Kenya) Jay Banerjei (Toronto) Head—Art and Print Jaydev Bisht Additional Contributions From Sanu George, Yogi Ashwini, Gaurav Sharma Registered Office: N-126, II Floor, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi - 110 048. Contact: +91.11.2923.3647, +91.11.2923.1515. Our Associate Offices: Hyderabad: Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Tel: +91.9848033874. Mauritius: 28, Cnr. Jasmins and Lataniers Avenue Résidence Sunsetville, La Caverne, Vacoas 73310 Republic of Mauritius Trinidad and Tobago: 61 Main Road, Caparo, Trinidad, W.I. Canada: Suite 209 885 Progess Ave, Toronto, ON M1H G3G Canada New York: 260, Madison Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10016 ADVERTISEMENT AND SUBSCRIPTIONS Email: M: +91.9899117477, +91.98116.27971, +91.9953824095 Printed, published, owned by Sayantan Chakravarty. Editor is Sayantan Chakravarty. Published from N -126, II Floor, Greater Kailash I, New Delhi 110 048, INDIA. Printed at Archana Advertising Pvt. Ltd., C-78, Okhla Industrial Area, Ph-1, New Delhi 110020. All rights reserved throughout the world. Any kind of reproduction in any media is prohibited. All disputes are subject to jurisdiction of courts in Delhi.

Happy reading.

Sayantan Chakravarty


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Sayantan Chakravarty is in a select group of 12 writers chosen by Scholastic Education to promote advanced English literature for schools worldwide. Included in the group are Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats, R K Narayan (Padma Vibushan and Sahitya Award winner), journalist and poet Walt Whitman, writer Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), poet Nissim Ezekiel (Sahitya Akademi Awardee), writer Jerome K Jerome (author of Three Men in a Boat), poet Edward Lear, Roald Dahl (16th on Time Magazine’s list of greatest British writers). Sayantan Chakravarty’s stories featured in Best of Indian Express of 25 years and among select stories in Best of India Today’s 25 years.


12 & 17


january 2018


LATIN AMERICAN CONNECTION .............. 12 & 17 Focus on Peru and Bolivia

SOUTH ASIA COVERAGE ................................... 28 Bangladesh and Afghanistan

POLITICAL INTERVIEW ..................................... 08 Minister Babul Supriyo speaks to India Empire

AUTOMOBILES ................................................... 33 New high-end introductions

DIPLOMATS TO INDIA EMPIRE ................. 16 & 22 How the world is engaging

DIASPORA ........................................................... 37 A conclave of PIO Parliamentarians




CONNECT: +91.9811627971 / +91.9953824095 / +91.11.29231515 / 29233647 EMAIL: / /

photo gallery PictureS Š SiPra daS

parliament snapshots

january 2018 | india empire


political interview

IntervIew wIth Mr BaBul SuPrIyo unIon MInISter of State for heavy InDuStrIeS anD PuBlIC enterPrISeS

“Bengal has to be part of the development sweeping india” Mr Babul Supriyo who took charge as Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in July 2016—two years into the present term of the Narendra Modiled NDA Government—is a strikingly multi-faceted man. After graduating from college Mr Supriyo started out in the banking industry with Standard Chartered. He, however, did not stay the banker’s course for long, moving on swiftly to express and explore his considerable musical talents in Mumbai’s entertainment world as a singer. Success in the world of music took him places, literally, before his tryst with political destiny came about inside an aeroplane, albeit after a chance meeting with Baba Ramdev, India’s most known Yoga Master. Mr Supriyo spoke with India Empire Magazine’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty at his Udyog Bhavan office in New Delhi You have faced mob violence in West Bengal, including over cattle trading. What is your take on the issue? It is not about cattle trading alone. I intercepted consignments of cattle being taken to illegal slaughterhouses that were flourishing for years in Asansol, my Parliamentary constituency. Incidentally, West Bengal’s Law Minister Moloy Ghatak occupies an Assembly seat in that area, and knows about this. Children have come and told me how they are unable to focus on their studies in the evening as the sounds of animals being slaughtered rent the air. There is animal blood flowing in the drains, and burnt bones all around, polluting vast areas. People who were intercepted told us that they were mere pawns in the game, this illicit trading is being done at the behest of powerful people who protect the illegal slaughtering mafia, of course, after much money changes hands. When I receive complaints from people in my constituency about how this debilitating activity is inconveniencing their lives on a daily basis, it becomes my duty as their representative to act. I cannot let such things pass. Let me add that in this matter I’ve also come to witness the police’s cowardice and inability to deal with this mafia. Sometimes the policemen behave disgracefully, as though they are an extension of the Trinamool Congress cadres. The miscreants whom I intercepted were allowed to get up close and personal with me in a very negative and nasty way. It is a known fact that these illegal slaughterhouses have been allowed to operate as they are very much a part of the appeasement politics being practiced by Mamata Banerji keeping the minority vote banks in mind. But the majority in Bengal is suffering in the process.


india empire | january 2018

Do you think that under the BJP-led NDA Government yellow journalism has not been allowed to flourish? I cannot say so. Yellow journalism is a coexistence of the good and the bad. Like if you go to the singing industry, there are good singers, extremely bad singers, and there are non singers. So it is with your profession of journalism—there are going to be good journalists, good journalism houses, good publishing houses, and there are going to be equally bad journalists, or people who are not even journalists—basically fringe elements trying to create some publicity by breaking false news. So you cannot stop that. Even if someone is intercepted for false reporting which could be detrimental, or incite violence or unrest in society, even for that any kind of thing, clamping down creates a lot of noise. So yellow journalism is there. You simply have to deal with it. It is like social media, if you don’t like it, if you cannot handle it, then stay out of politics. But if you are in it, you have to take all the bricks that come with the bouquets. You have spoken about the aura of Narendra Modi Ji. You have experienced it. It has drawn you away from the world of music and parachuted you into the rough and tumble of politics. Can you describe the aura? My music has taken me a lot, made me traverse Gujarat a lot. I have done a lot of shows in Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, a lot of that. And we are all aware of what happened after 2003, how the image of our now Hon’ble PM who was the then CM of Gujarat, was tarnished. He was accused of a lot of wrong doings. In spite of getting exonerated by the Supreme Court the opposition does not let go of any chance to unnecessarily hurt him. Now during

Babul Supriyo: Standing up against vote-bank politics in West Bengal

PictureS © SiPra daS my travels to Gujarat for my musical programmes I became close to a lot of people. I discovered that not only is Gujarat a state that is truly vibrant and growing, people from every community were happy there because they were getting employment. The atmosphere was cordial. It is one state where you could sense a great deal of positivity. So Narendra Modi as CM was always an intriguing figure for me. An opportunity came in the form of a little moment that occurred on a flight with Baba Ramdev Ji. When a choice of a political career came and the subject was broached, I knew that if there was any one leader for whom I’d love to work, it would have to be Narendra Modi Ji. I am happy that not only did the move pay off, I won a near impossible seat from West Bengal. Then the PM was kind enough to give me a ministerial berth so early into my Parliamentary days. Do you miss your days as a playback singer? You do not miss anything in life. You do stuff from which you move on, and some things forever remain a part of your personality. Now music defines who I am. Politics did not bring me to politics, music did. I have absolutely no history in politics. I was not in politics, nor had I achieved anything in politics. It is not politics that has brought me here, it is a result of my connection with the people as a singer, the love I received from them, that has brought me to politics. I, of course, have to do some good work to return the favour to the people who’ve showered me with so much love. Music recharges me. Like you have to recharge your mobile each day to ensure it runs properly, likewise it is with me and music. In fact, I’ve realized that politics has allowed me to grow as a singer. My singing has become better than before. There used to be a Hindi advertisement jingle that used to say “yeh Bullet meri jaan”. You too have confessed your love for the Bullet motorcycle. Do you still drive it around? I cannot endorse any particular brand, but yes I have a love for motorcycles and I have a love for cars. I still drive my car, it is a differently done car, a custom-made Audi. I used to drive that in Mumbai as well. Obviously we have our chauffeurs in India, but many a times when I am going back home I love to be at the wheel. As for bikes, my father had presented me with a Yamaha RX100 when I was in college. I often went to work at my bank—Standard Chartered—riding that bike.

january 2018 | india empire


political interview

Minister Supriyo feels there is no place for non-performing PSUs When I quit my bank job and went to Mumbai, I took it in the train with me. Overall, I’d driven that bike around 70,000 km. I also do like the thumping sound of the Bullet. Riding a bike remains a passion. I know it is risky, but then life itself is not without risks, isn’t it?

found that its losses kept mounting—it went up to several thousand crores and yet it was allowed to continue.

West Bengal which has never had a BJP Government must be one of the key states where the party is concentrating. BJP was able to breach Assam after so many years What are the changes you are When a choice of a political bringing about in the Ministry of of Congress rule. What is your career came and the subject Heavy Industries, particularly in outlook for Bengal for 2021? We feel in order to bring sab ka closing of non-performing PSUs? was broached, I knew that saath, sab ka vikas we need to reach You see non-performing PSUs if there was any one leader good governance to Indians who rehave been a huge burden to the nafor whom I’d love to work, side in different parts of the countion. The fundamental question is it would have to be Narentry. BJP itself needs to grow and about whether the Government has dra Modi Ji.I am happy that needs to establish and consolidate its any business to be in business? The position in states that have remained answer is in the affirmative when not only did the move pay you see PSUs that are performing deprived. In Bengal, the rule has off, I won a near impossible and competing with the private secbeen pretty much tyrannical— seat from West Bengal. tor. But the sick PSUs have been alwhether it was Marxism, or in the Then the PM was kind lowed to consolidate their losses name of change that of TMC which enough to give me a minisover time by the Congress-led Govhas gone on to make things horribly ernments. They felt they could inworse. So it is our duty to ensure terial berth so early into my governance and proper nurturing of definitely use the exchequer’s money Parliamentary days people. Our ambition is clear, and to pay wages to employees in losswe would really want Bengalis to get making PSUs, all, of course, because they had votes in mind. It is an honest and courageous ef- good service, good governance under BJP leadership. We fort by Hon’ble PM with the help of Niti Ayog to revive in- are very confident that given the mood of people in Bengal, dustries that have a lot of promise, and to let go off the we should be able to do significantly well not only in 2019 absolutely non-performing ones. Let me give you an exam- (Lok Sabha elections), but probably will reach our goal in ple. I was going through the file of HMT recently and I forming our Government in the state in 2021. ❐

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PictureS by: SiPra daS

unIon MInISterS IntervIeweD By

(June 2014 – December 2017)

Mr Dharmendra Pradhan When Minister of State (IC), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Mr Anant Gangaram Geete Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises

Mr Chaudhary Birender Singh Minister for Steel

Ms Smriti Irani When Minister for Human Resource Development

Mr Ananth Kumar Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers

Mr Radha Mohan Singh Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Mr Narendra Singh Tomar When Minister for Steel and Mines

Mr Ram Vilas Paswan Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

Mr Shripad Y Naik Minister of State (IC), AYUSH

Mr VIjay Goel When Minister of State (IC) for Youth Affairs and Sports

Mr Thawar Chand Gehlot Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment

Ms Uma Bharti When Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

january 2018 | india empire


cover story—peru

Why should Indian investors invest in Peru? It is because Peru has strong macroeconomic credentials, strong framework for foreign investment, open trade integration policy and market access and Investment Opportunities sustained over time. Peru has signed and currently has in force Agreements for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment and Trade Agreements of further scope that includes investment chapters that underpin our liberalization policy. It has also signed 8 agreements to prevent double taxation with Andean Community, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Switzerland. Peru has reduced tariff structure with low tariff dispersion and is working to become a globalized economy, with preferential access to the world’s largest markets. Peru with its rich and diverse geography and ancient culture is an enticing blend of ancient history and natural wonders with exciting wildlife spotting opportunities and unique sights found nowhere else on Earth, thus emerging as a magnificent holiday destination for Indian citizens. It is home to one of the world’s most impressive ancient cities, Machu Picchu, which is one of the seven new wonders of the world. Peru is blessed with incredible landscapes like the coastal desert, Amazon forest, snowcapped peaks of the Andes and the turquoise waters of Lake Titicaca. Peru’s diverse environments are embedded with an intriguing past. The archaeological remains of pre-Columbian cultures such as Caral, Nazca Lines, Chan Chan and Kuelap, illustrate Peru’s diverse ancestral legacy.

Peru and India are both very attractive and unique countries having huge potential for worldwide tourism, which on a bilateral basis shares the view of becoming closer through people to people contacts. As a result of such vision and due to the strengthening of bilateral relations, tourism from both sides has increased exponentially in the last few years, despite the long geographical distance between the two countries. From the side of Peru, to enhance Indian tourism is in force from April 2017, which involves a unilateral relaxation of visa rules to Indian travellers holding a visa from either United States of America, United Kingdom, Schengen countries, Australia or Canada, with a minimum validity of six months, enabling them to enter into Peru as a tourist/business traveller for 90 days. —H.E. Mr Jorge Juan Castaneda Mendez Ambassador of Peru to India

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cover story—peru

nazCa lIneS

one of the MoSt MySterIouS arChaeologICal SIteS aMong uneSCo’S lISt of worlD wonDerS


he Nazca Lines are one of the many sites in Peru that have been entered in the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. It consists of a series of lines and geoglyphs or ground designs of varying size and shape. They are located in the Peruvian arid coastal plane, about 200 miles south of Lima. They lie in an area of around 777 square Kilometers (300 square miles) which comprises an assortment of perfectly-straight lines and giant scale figures. They were made between 200 B.C, and A.D. 500 by the Nazca culture and are still among archeology’s greatest enigmas because of their nature, quantity, size and meaning. 14 india empire | january 2018

The lines, many running parallel, others intersecting, form a grand geometric form. In and around the lines, there are also trapezoidal zones, strange symbols and figures, all etched on a giant scale that can only be appreciated from the sky. The figures come in two types: biomorphs and geoglyphs. The biomorphs are some 70 animal and plant figures that include a spider, hummingbird, monkey and a 1,000-foot-long pelican. They are grouped together in one area on the plain. Some archaeologists believe that they were constructed around 200 BC, about 500 years before the geoglyphs.

There are about 900 geoglyphs on the plain. Geoglyphs are geometric forms that include straight lines, triangles, spirals, circles and trapezoids. They are enormous in size. The longest straight line goes nine miles across the plain. The lines were apparently constructed by removing the reddish, iron oxide coating the pebbles that are found on the desert surface and thus uncovering the white colored sand underneath. In any other place, wind, rain and erosion would have quickly removed all traces of this within a few years however the Nazca lines have been preserved because they are located in such a windless, dry and isolated area. â?? january 2018 | india empire 15

quote unquote

Diplomats to inDia empire Water manaGement / ConserVation Water is life. In the context of today’s ever growing world economy, water, perhaps, is the most precious wealth. In a riverine country like Bangladesh and indeed in the whole South Asia, our people largely depend on rivers for agriculture, communication and all aspects of life. Rivers are virtually our life blood and, naturally, water conservation is highly critical for overall socio-economic development in the region. Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers. We also share rivers with other countries in the region and beyond. Therefore, sustainable development of water resources calls for sharing and management of the trans-boundary rivers on a comprehensive joint basin management basis, so that water can flow freely through our rivers. To that end, the ‘Bangladesh-India Joint River Commission’ should be strengthened and it should undertake more frequent consultations for sustainable water management between our two countries, which would open up newer opportunities for cooperation in the areas of trade, connectivity and tourism. —H.E. Mr Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India

inFrastrUCtUre UAE’s ties with India are closely knit together and have enabled the two countries to sign multiple agreements on Infrastructure development. UAE has operationalised a USD 75 billion sovereign fund for India which reflects UAE’s commitment to significantly improve trade and investment ties. Both the countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to mobilize the long term investment in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of India. Investment agreement worth $1 billion has been signed between the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the National Infrastructure Fund of India, with the aim of expansion of ports, railways, roads, airports among others in India. Moreover, in 2016 there has been $35.8 billion non-oil trade and $6.9 billion oil trade between the countries. With this volume of bilateral trade, India remains as the second largest market for the UAE’s oil and non-oil exports, while the UAE represents the second largest market for Indian goods worldwide. —H.E. Dr Ahmed Albanna, Ambassador of UAE to India

Bilateral ties The Maldives and India share geographical proximity and a long history of defence and military cooperation. The Maldives is a strong advocate to maintain and sustain Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace. Both countries have been conducting joint military exercises for a long time. Towards the end of 2017 a two week long joint military exercise concluded in Belgaum in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Code named ‘Ekuverin’, which means ‘friends’ in Maldivian language, the joint exercise in which the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces participated was aimed at conducting counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist exercises. —H.E. Mr Ahmed Mohamed, Ambassador of Maldives to India

inFrastrUCtUre Zambia is a country in Southern Africa, harboring the Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders you see at least once in a lifetime. At least four hundred and sixteen (416) Indians visited Zambia for tourism purposes from January to December in the year 2017. The highest number of tourists from India was in the month of May where seventy eight (78) tourists visited the country. At a time when it will be very hot here in India, it will be the best time to watch the Victoria Falls in Zambia because it will be cooler and you will feel the sprays from the Victoria Falls. Zambians have maintained peace since independence in 1964 and this is prerequisite for tourist inflows. The country has the infrastructure such as reliable aviation services and five star hotels. In the year 2018, help us to beat the 2017 numbers by visiting Zambia. —H.E. Mrs Judith K.K. Kan’goma Kapijimpanga High Commissioner of Zambia to India

We would welcome views and comments from Missions at 16 india empire | january 2018

cover story—Bolivia

h.e. SergIo DarIo arISPe BarrIentoS aMBaSSaDor DeSIgnate of BolIvIa to InDIa

“indian businesses can thrive in Bolivia” Bolivia—officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia—is in west-central South America bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. A third of the nation is within the Andean mountain range. The nation opened its embassy in New Delhi in 2012. H.E. Ambassador Sergio Dario Arispe Barrientos speaks to Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty on the possibilities of strengthening ties between India and Bolivia in a major way going forward Would you say that Indo-Bolivian relations are at a high point? I think there is a natural process to be at such a point in the sense that we only opened our embassy in New Delhi in 2012. Considering the size and scope of diplomacy that India carries here in New Delhi, I think it is natural perhaps that the relations are not where we want them to be. But obviously in time we can have them go forward. I believe that for a country like ours—with the limitations that we may have in terms of budget and human resources—India is an obvious and sure bet. We believe that we are at a crucial moment in time to improve upon our diplomatic ties. I think Latin America as a whole must have a sure bet in India. And India should have a sure bet in Latin America. I think for India to sustain the growth it has for the future—your direction says you’ll be growing at more than 7 per cent till 2050—and that you’d be able to do without greater presence in Latin America. But I had some statistics given to me, a bit scary to tell you the truth. China estimates that they’d have a USD 500 billion worth exchange with Latin America by 2025. Right now the exchange with Latin America and India is only USD 30 billion, that’s largely perhaps mostly because you are well situated in Mexico and Brazil. But who isn’t? These are G-20 countries. I think India must move forward in Latin America, move forward like America, and I think in the near future, we’ll achieve this growth. What are the major tourism opportunities in Bolivia? I think we must also tackle some more structural issues when we focus upon tourism. Connectivity is one, but also the market itself. India says it has about 300 million people that have an acquisition power of that of an American or a European, and I believe that. I had the opportunity of being here in Diwali last year. The consumption patterns that you see in this country are comparable to any western country. It is stated that you will increase your per capita consumption by 35 per cent in the next 10 years. That means you’ll probably

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have 420 million people with a capacity to spend. And in the next decade, you are predicted to be the third largest economy in the world. Of course Indians will travel. But where will Indians travel? And here I think we’ve a structural issue. If you ask the common man where London is, they’ll know. If we ask the common man where Bolivia is, probably no more than one in 10 will be even able to answer where it is. That’s an educational aspect which I think we must touch base on. We still look to the West. I ask this often to my colleagues—what is the median age of Europeans? It is 46. What’s the median age of people here in India? 25! What’s the median age of people in South America? Less than 30! The future is in us. It is up to us on how we want to change our vision of where we want to go. It is up to the Media. It is up to communications. Why? We must stop seeing each other as exotic destinations because in a globalized world, organizations are only in our head. There may not be a direct connectivity in terms of flights. Right now we go through Madrid, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires. But Bolivia will open a hub in the next five years, which also means we probably will have connections to Bolivia via Emirates, via Qatar. We need to see ourselves as possible allies. And I also think the Indian businessmen, Indian people can understand the idiosyncrasies of South Americans more than the Europeans. Would traffic be an issue for you there? Would you be able to understand or appreciate the issues we face on a daily basis? Of course you can. To do business in Bolivia, probably is as simple, or as difficult, as it is in India. And you wouldn’t be fazed by it. I think there India and India’s businessmen have a step above the rest. If you can thrive here, why wouldn’t you be able to thrive anywhere? And there are Indians already doing that in Bolivia. At the same I am sure that Indians would not want to travel that far for four days, we have to tie up Bolivia to a circuit. And this circuit will most probably be Peru, Bolivia, Argentina or Chile. We right now have a strategy, it is called the Two Wonders strategy. You have the Macchu Picchu in Peru, and then you have the Unesal Flats in Bolivia.

H.E. Sergio Dario Arispe Barrientos Ambassador Designate of Bolivia to India

Could you tell us more about it? It is a white desert in Bolivia. In fact an Indian artiste from the South has shot a video there. Every once in a while at the end of each year when it starts raining the salt plain gets covered by a thin layer of water. Then it goes on to become a reflection of the sky. At the moment we are having a huge influx of visitors from Japan, they just love to take pictures in that scenario. The stars too are reflected on the ground, just like the sky. To me it’s like being on Mars, but that’s like one of the main growing attractions. I think it can be especially attractive to world travelers who want something pristine and genuine. It is about how we can find a way to consolidate the circuit—Bolivia and Peru through Argentina or Chile. Five years back when I was in India, one of the things that I felt here was that India was still genuine. You still have that which other countries have lost. And in Bolivia I think you’ll find something similar. You may not go to Bolivia to be pampered at say the Ritz Carlton, but you witness pristine beauty, nature at its very best, and culture. Please talk us through the high-level visits that have taken place from Bolivia to India, thus far and vice versa… In 2016 we had the visit of the Minister for Plantification. He is the one that comes out with the development plan, and pretty much activated a series of events and policies that provides for what Bolivia would do in the near fu-

ture. They came up with the development scheme for the next five years. So what he was here to do was to see if we could have a line of credit, which we did, and also to attract investments. My foreign minister will be here next month. We are not just intrigued by the sheer magnitude of the Indian economy. But countries such as ours are betting and are very hopeful on what India is doing. For the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come is a step prior to the President coming. I believe we should have reciprocity. We need to have a highlevel authority come to Bolivia, because like I stated, a country that in terms of market is only 11 million in population may not be very attractive. But in terms of the infrastructure, in terms of the ambition that we have as a country, I’m sure we can attract many Indian companies which are worldwidely recognized as leaders. And hopefully with a diplomatic stance and a visit, these things tend to fall in place one by one. Like the domino effect. What is the balance of trade like? What are the major exports from Bolivia to India, and likewise, from India to Bolivia? In the past 2-3 years it was pretty much steady around USD 100 million level. Recently we attained the USD 450 million mark. It can mostly be attributed to the gold that is being exported from my country to yours. The future of the gold market in India is tremendous, and it will only grow. You have a minimum need of about 850 tonnes per

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cover story—Bolivia

year which will increase to about 950 tonnes. And this data to me is important. Your interior market will perhaps double in the next 6-7 years because of your per capita growth. One of the biggest indicators of gold consumption is per capita income. So one of the things I’ve been doing in my tenure is to emphasize upon the Bolivian Government about the seriousness of the Indian market. Exports from India to Bolivia are usually vehicles that are assembled here in India, besides pharmaceuticals and machinery. But those are in principle. One of the things that my Vice Minister for Exterior is trying to work at is a commercial accord. Hopefully we are able to sign something when he’s here next month. And for that there is one thing India must satisfy, you are a free trade country. You’ll be more future-oriented than many of your neighbors. For you to let us piggy back on this huge wave of growth that you have, it would do the world very good. But not only that, it’ll also permit other countries to go through a growth spurt which obviously will lead to a strategic diplomatic relationship between you and us. What are the major investment opportunities for Indian businesses in Bolivia? What is the presence of Indian businesses in Bolivia like? We have agro-chemicals, pharmaceuticals. But there is one key element we need to work upon. Bolivia is the largest natural reservoir of lithium in the world. Now, considering that probably India will be on the forefront of changing its vehicle fuel from fossil based to electricity based, obviously

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the need and size of the lithium market is amazing. Sooner we link up at Government and all sorts of private levels, I think we’ll do great good. Because of the magnitude of the market, hopefully we’ll find the will from your Government, and mine, to speak together. Obviously Bolivia does not want to export raw material. We can have further industrial procedures done in Bolivia, but many of the commercial aspects will be run by the Indian companies which are associated with us. And I think there is a win-win scenario here. And I think when it comes to legislation we’ve to always tread the middle ground. I think Bolivia is at a point where it will consider the magnitude of India as a strategic partner. These things lead to better and greener pastures. What kind of cultural exchanges have taken place between the two nations in recent times? Not as much as I’ve wished for. As nations, we both have profound and long-lasting cultures, we are both recognized as countries with ancient civilizations. We can both claim cultures that exceed the 1000 year mark. That’s majestic. I’ll give you something that I recently learnt. In my home town Cochabamba, we found pottery dating back 2,500 years ago that have Vedic signs. Can you imagine those probable exchanges between your country and mine, thousands of years ago? To move forward is the way. I think Prime Minister Modi is doing plenty in trying to glorify your past achievements. I think it is very important. We must seek to not only follow a path by mere copying, but create our own identity. ❐

Bolivia Fast Facts Official Name: Plurinational State of Bolivia. Location: Central South America, southwest of Brazil Geographic coordinates: 17 00 S, 65 00 W Area: Total: 1,098,581 sq km; Land: 1,083,301 sq km; Water: 15,280 sq km Highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m Population: 11,138,234 (July 2017 est.) Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 68%, indigenous 20%, white 5%, cholo/chola 2%, black 1%, other 1%, unspecified 3% ; 44% of respondents indicated feeling part of some indigenous group, predominantly Quechua or Aymara Languages: Spanish (official) 60.7%, Quechua (official) 21.2%, Aymara (official) 14.6%, foreign languages 2.4%, Guarani (official) 0.6%, other native languages 0.4%, none 0.1% Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.85%; 15-24 years: 19.46%; 25-54 years: 37.48%; 55-64 years: 5.9%; 65 years and over: 5.3% Government type: Presidential republic Capital: Name: La Paz (administrative capital); Sucre (constitutional [legislative and judicial] capital) Independence: 6 August 1825 (from Spain) Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal and compulsory GDP (purchasing power parity): USD 78.77 billion (2016 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: Agriculture: 13.4%; Industry: 38.5%; Services: 53.8% (2016 est.)

quote unquote

Diplomats to inDia empire smart Cities By 2050, more than 6 billion people worldwide will be living in urban areas. By then India will also have overtaken China as the most populous nation on the planet and more and more Indians are expected to move to cities. Urbanization forces cities in India, Denmark and across the globe to optimize sustainable urban development, energy consumption and economic activity. Danish cities hold a long tradition of taking a holistic approach to urban development, where the concern for the environment, people and businesses go hand in hand. By creating sustainable and liveable cities, Copenhagen and Aarhus--Denmark’s second largest city--have become international role models. Both cities have made commitments to become CO2 neutral by 2025 and 2030, respectively. The City of Udaipur has been selected among the first 20 cities to receive funds from the Government of India Smart City Programme under the Smart City Mission. In 2016, Udaipur and Aarhus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on city-to-city cooperation. The two cities work closely together on urban water management as an element of the smart, sustainable and liveable city of the future. —H.E. Mr Peter Taksøe-Jensen, Ambassador, Royal Danish Embassy to India

toUrism “Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Norway was an unexplored destination for many Indian travelers until a few years ago. However, the prospect of seeing fjords, the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights is now drawing many tourists from India to Norway. With nearly a 20% yearly increase in visa numbers over the last few years, the inflow of Indian tourists to Norway is consistently increasing. The efforts to promote Norway as an attractive destination for Indians have been actively pursued in recent years. Since 2015, the Embassy has helped six Indian films shootings in Norway, in an effort to use Indian cinema as an entry point to potential Indian tourists to Norway. We are also seeing a clear upswing in Indian film companies showing increasing interest in the breathtaking, picturesque locations of Norway. The Scandinavian Tourism Board is also actively engaging with the potential Indian tourist and seeing positive results now than ever before.” —H.E. Mr Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, Ambassador of Norway to India

mininG In the coal mining industry of Poland there are currently about 100 thousand employees. They are not only miners. Polish companies such as Famur, Glinik and others manufacture modern machinery and equipment for the extraction, enriching, gasification and demethanization of coal. Famur has a subsidiary company in Kolkata and is active in mining modernization in India. Poland is also an important player on the coking coal market--JSW Poland is the largest producer of this commodity in Europe and it plans to increase exports to India. The company has signed MoU with Essar Steel in New Delhi in November 2017. Polish companies work closely with the universities and scientific institutions such as the University of Science and Technology in Cracow, Silesia University in Katowice (the city will host COP 24 this year), the Central Mining Institute and Institute of Chemical Processing of Coal, which are leading R&D institutes having experience with underground mining up to 1,300 meters and have the most advanced technologies. —H.E. Mr Adam Burakowski, Ambassador of Poland to India

Bilateral ties In 2016 Colombia took definitive steps in ending the oldest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere and is willing to strengthen collaboration with India in agriculture, ICTs, tourism, as well as in investment and trade--areas that will play a key role in achieving stable and lasting peace. I encourage you to explore the vibrant opportunities that Colombia offers. Colombia is a regional leader that currently holds the pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance (an integration group that comprises Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru); it has a strategic geographic location in northern South America, with a portfolio of 16 FTAs; and is the third foreign direct investment destination in Latin America. —H.E. Ms Clemencia Forero Ucrós, Ambassador of Colombia to India

We would welcome views and comments from Missions at 22 india empire | january 2018


vICtory Day

CeleBratIonS The 47th Victory Day was celebrated in the New Delhi mission of Bangladesh High Commission on Saturday with a vow to work for enhancing the country’s progressive and secular image abroad

Flag hoisting ceremony at Bangladesh High Commission in New delhi on 47th victory Day of bangladesh. A.F.M. Zahid-Ul-Islam, the Acting High Commissioner and officers and their spouses are seen in the picture 24 india empire | january 2018


he celebration began with the hoisting of redand-green national flag at the chancery premises by A.F.M. Zahid-Ul-Islam, the acting high commissioner. Officers, officials, their spouses and children attended the ceremony. Victory Day messages from President Md. Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam were read out separately by officers. Special prayers were offered in homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the martyrs of the 1971 War of Liberation. In the evening Bangladeshi and Indian artistes presented a cultural show of songs and poetry recitation themed on the glorious liberation war, patriotism and supreme sacrifices of the martyrs. The function was attended by a large audience of Friends of Bangladesh, war veterans, academics, journalists and families of Bangladesh nationals living in Delhi. Spouses and children of the mission also participated in the cultural programme by signing chorus and poetry recitation. The function was attended by a large audience of Friends of Bangladesh, war veterans, academics, journalists and families of Bangladesh nationals living in Delhi. The Acting High Commissioner delivered the welcome speech. Several Indian dailies and magazines published Victory Day special issues to mark the glorious occasion. â??

Flag hoisting ceremony at Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi on 47th victory Day of bangladesh on Saturday 16 December, 2017

Family members of Bangladesh High commission render a chorus song at the Victory Day cultural programme on Saturday

Tuhfa Zaman Ali felicitates Maisha, who recited a poety at the Victory Day cultural programme on Saturday january 2018 | india empire 25

photo gallery PictureS Š SiPra daS

politiCal Frames

26 india empire | january 2018



CUltUral Week CeleBrateD


mbassy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan celebrated the Indo-Afghanistan Cultural week from November 29-December 1st, 2017 throughout different programmes and events in New Delhi. The Indo-Afghanistan Cultural Week was inaugurated in Gandahara Hall, Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi organizing a one day joint academic seminar. Prof. Mohammad Rasool Bawari, Acting Minister of Information and Culture of Afghanistan, Dr. Mahesh Sharam, Minister of Culture-Republic of India, Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of Afghanistan to India as well as ambassadors including Iran, Tajikistan, Turkey, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka and a number of academic figures from both the countries had participated in inaugural ceremony of this seminar. Welcoming the guests to the seminar, the Afghan Ambassador spoke about the depth and history of cultural relations between the two nations and added that in today’s world, Indians and Afghans have been two Asian countries whose joint fight against British empire’s culture and political captivity and domination is known to all. “Living in a joint cultural stronghold, these people were able to leave permanent memories and art to their future generations. If, from the one side Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Gha28 india empire | january 2018

far Khan (Frontier Gandhi) held the invincible sword of non-violence and fought against colonialism; on the other side, Rabindranath Tagore combined both the nations writing the everlasting novel ‘Kabuliwala’,” added the Afghan Ambassador. Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of Culture, Republic of India as one of the chief guests of the event spoke about the historical relations, and contemporary cultural ties between Afghanistan and India and added that this is another step to further strengthen and boost these ties. Emphasising the developing partnership being extended by India for the people of Afghanistan, Dr. Sharma said

that restoration of Afghan cultural heritage and strengthening its cultural institutions has been an important part of our support in reconstruction of Afghanistan and added: “The restoration of Storay palace in Kabul and support to the Afghan National Institute of Music are a few such examples”. At the meantime, Prof. Mohammad Rasool Bawari, the Acting Minister of Information and Culture-Afghanistan, during this event said that India and Afghanistan have had deep historical relations and organizing such events will bring us closer. He hoped to have this event organized in Kabul next year. During this seminar, the India-Afghanistan relations were discussed over different periods of the history and the experts from both countries read their articles over four panels. The articles read by the panellists in this seminar will be assembled and printed into a book. Following the joint academic seminar, the IndoAfghanistan Cultural week celebrations stepped into its second day with different cultural programs by India and Afghanistan. Held at Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Azad Bhavan, the celebrations started with inauguration of the joint India Afghanistan art gallery by Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Ambassador of Afghanistan to India and Namrita Kumar, Acting General Director, ICCR at the event. During his address at the event, Dr. Shaida Mohammad

Abdali said that the “Afghanistan-India Cultural Week festival is first of its kind event, aimed at further strengthening the close cultural ties between Afghanistan and India”. The students of both the countries continued celebrations by the Afghan and Indian traditional dress shows. During the event, Qawwali teams of both countries mesmerized and captivated the audience with their performances. The third day of the India-Afghanistan Cultural Week was celebrated by organizing joint student programs and joint folklore music and dance performances in ICCR. During the event, Dr. Naser Ahmad Sarmast, Founder and Director of Afghan National Institute of Music spoke about the commonalities between the music of Afghanistan and India. Their team, Zohra Orchestra performed a number of Afghan classical music. As part of the celebrations, India-Afghan couples, students and individuals shared their experience of living in India and Afghanistan which reflected the cross narratives of both the countries. The program was further enlightened with the Kalaripayattu (martial arts presentation) performance by the Indian students as well as Attan and Qarsak by Afghan students. The Afghanistan-India Cultural Week celebrations were a jubilant moment for both the countries and have been witnessing a strengthened relation of people-to-people contact spreading across the globe. ❐ january 2018 | india empire 29

Diplomatic News DIPLOMACY MEETS DEFENCE In a display of diplomacy in tandem with national power, the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26-- where heads of all 10 Asean nations will be chief guests-- will see Indian soldiers marching past with flags of all Asean countries, as well as the Asean flag. On display at the parade -- traditionally a show of military strength of the Republic of India-- will be some of the best weapon systems, including supersonic cruise missile BrahMos and the Akash missile system. Also for the first time, armed Rudra Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of the Army Aviation will participate in the flypast. The Asean flag will be aflutter during the flypast, along with the Indian tricolour, along with the

flags of the three Indian armed forces, carried by Mi-17 V5 helicopters in an “ensign” formation. The Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Under its Act East Policy, New Delhi is pushing to boost its relationship via connectivity, commerce and culture with this regional bloc. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held meetings with Philippines President H.E. Mr Rodrigo Duterte, Myanmar State Counsellor H.E. Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister H.E. Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister of Thailand H.E. Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha.




Economic and commercial exchange and defence and security between India and Thailand were among the issues discussed during a bilateral meeting PM Modi and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha in January. “Constructive dialogue on economic and commercial exchange, connectivity, defence and security, cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted. India-Thailand bilateral trade stands at around USD 8 billion, tilted largely in favour of the latter. Work is also underway on a trilateral highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand, which, according to the External Affairs Ministry, will be operational by the end of 2019. In July this year, Thailand will take over from Vietnam the role of country coordinator for India with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc.

India and the Philippines in January signed an investment facilitation agreement following a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and Philippines President Duterte. The two leaders discussed trade and investment, defence and security, education, and people-to-people cooperation, according to External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. “An agreement to facilitate investment was signed,” Kumar tweeted. India-Philippines bilateral trade stood at nearly USD 2 billion in 2016-17. In 2016-17, India’s exports amounted to USD 1.487 billion and imports totaled USD 494 million.

India and Vietnam signed agreements in the areas of information and broadcasting, and space cooperation following a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc. According to Raveesh Kumar, Mr Modi and Mr Phuc “discussed cooperation in trade and investment, defence, maritime and other areas. Agreements were signed in areas of information and broadcasting and space cooperation,” Kumar tweeted.

30 india empire | january 2018

israel FoCUs

PM Netanyahu attends Business Forum Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with senior Indian businesspersons in January at a power breakfast. He called on them to invest in Israel in a variety of fields and invited them to join the long list of major international companies that have already invested in Israel and opened research and development centers there. The Prime Minister said that he was certain that in Israel they could find advanced technological solutions in a variety of fields. Prime Minister Netanyahu then participated in a forum with the Israeli business delegation and Indian businesspeople. The Israeli business delegation is the largest delegation that has ever accompanied a prime minister on an official visit. Given that Mumbai is the seat of many of India’s most successful major companies, the goal of the Israeli business delegation is to deepen economic ties and create joint business opportunities between Israeli and Indian businesspeople. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also attended the event.

PM Netanyahu and Moshe Holtzberg visit Chabad House Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to the Chabad House in Mumbai in January along with Moshe Holtzberg who lost his parents in the November 26, 2008 terrorist attack. The Prime Minister had invited Moshe--during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel last July--to join his visit to India. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Moshe toured the latter’s former room and the site of the 2008 attack. Moshe’s late mother had indicated his height on the wall when Moshe was very young; the Prime Minister marked his present height on the wall. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Sandra Samuel, Moshe’s nanny, who saved his life during the attack. The Chabad House held a special event to mark the visit. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Moshe unveiled a plaque in memory of the 2008 attack. ❐ january 2018 | india empire 31

39ยบn 22ยบe Greece Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula. It is considered the cradle of Western civilization and is home to the Temple of Zeus, the Acropolis and the Parthenon. It has 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the most of any nation in the world

32 india empire | january 2018


Audi offers 15 new car models in India. A5, R8 and Q7 are among the popular cars from Audi. Audi A3 is the lowest priced model at about Rs. 32.00 lakh and Audi R8 is the highest priced model at about Rs. 2.63 crore. Expect the launch of Audi Q2 in October 2018 and the Audi Q8 in December 2018.

BMW offers 14 new car models in India. 5 Series, i8 and X1 are among the popular cars from BMW. BMW X1 is the lowest priced model at about Rs. 32.40 lakh and BMW i8 is the highest priced model at about Rs. 2.14 crore.

34 india empire | january 2018

Mercedes-Benz offers 17 new car models in India. GLA Class, E-Class and CLS are among the popular cars from Mercedes-Benz. MercedesBenz A-Class is the lowest priced model at about Rs. 29.90 lakh and Mercedes-Benz G-Class is the highest priced model at about Rs. 2.15 crore.

Lexus offers 5 new car models in India. LS, NX and RX are among the popular cars from Lexus. Lexus NX is the lowest priced model at about Rs. 53.18 lakh and Lexus LX is the highest priced model at about Rs. 2.21 crore.

january 2018 | india empire 35

31ºn 36ºe Jordan An Arab nation on the East Bank of the River Jordan, the country is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. Petra—the Rose City—is a World Wonder and has been described by UNESCO as “one of the most precious properties of man’s cultural heritage”


indian political diaspora



meet T

he Parliamentarians of Indian Origin should preciable heights in almost all the countries where it had help build economic, people-to-people and found a home. It had contributed to the well-being of that strategic connections that will be of benefit to country and of that society – enriching the economy and adding to intellectual wealth and local their countries and culture. India,” said President “Members of the Indian diaspora Ram Nath Kovind. He was speaking at a conference in honour of PIO work hard on farms in countries as Parliamentarians in New Delhi in Janfar apart as Italy, Bolivia, and Tanzauary 2018. President Kovind asked nia. They are instrumental in the tech start-up ecosystem of Silicon Valley. the legislators to link the priorities of They form the backbone of the econtheir countries with India’s developomy of Dubai and other major busiment and see how that can help inness cities in the Gulf region. The tersect with India’s growth. global financial centers of New York, The conference was organized by London, and Singapore would simply the Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad not be the same without the Indian Bharat (ARSP) and the People of Indiaspora,” said the President. dian Origin Chamber of Commerce “For the Government of India, and Industry (PIOCCI). It was atengagement with PIO parliamentaritended by more than 120 Parliamenans – or indeed with the wider Indian tarians and Mayors of Indian origin diaspora community – is not a transfrom 23 countries. The conference deliberated on how cultural, ecoactional relationship or a zero-sum game. Rather, we look upon the comnomic and business linkages could be H E Mr Ram Nath Kovind, Hon’ble munity and look upon you – the PIO developed. President of India, addressing the PIO parliamentarians and elected and pubThe President further said that the Parliamentarian conference lic representatives – as a living bridge. conference was a milestone as it brought together parliamentarians and public representa- You have a role in enhancing understanding between your tives of Indian origin from countries across the globe. The countries and the country of your parents and ancestors,” President said that the Indian diaspora had climbed to ap- added the President. 38 india empire | january 2018

L-R: Mr Shyam Parande, Patron, PIOCCI; Mr Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance, Government of India; H E Mr Ram Nath Kovind, President of India; Ambassador Virendra Gupta, President, ARSP; Mr Raj Kumar Bhatia, Patron, PIOCCI

Minister of State for Finance Mr Shiv Pratap Shukla, who was the Guest of Honor, said that the overseas Indians were all pioneers in their respective fields and had made exceptional contributions in their chosen professions. He stressed that the present government had been making earnest efforts to strengthen its engagement with the Indian diaspora. He further emphasized on the importance of such conventions and said, ‘These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and the people of the land of their ancestors for their mutually beneficial activities. These conferences are also useful in networking among the overseas Indian communities’. ARSP President Mr Virendra Gupta, India’s former ambassador to South Africa, said that the ARSP had been actively engaged in providing an interface for the diaspora during the last five decades. In doing so, the roles of those who were politically active in their adopted countries had been recognized. ARSP Secretary-General and PIOCCI patron Mr Shyam Parande said that the Indian diaspora was very vibrant. He said that the emergence of a global body of Parliamentarians of Indian origin would make this world a better place to live in. Present in the conference, Mr Satish Mahana, Cabinet Minister for Industrial development in UP Government, said, “As the largest populated state in India, we are building new industrial policies that can attract innovative industries and investments into our state. Under the dynamic leadership of Mr Narendra Modi and UP CM Mr Adityanath Yogi, we are in a position to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship in

Uttar Pradesh. I am delighted to be part of a forum that echoes the same spirit of economic and cultural growth.” Striking a celebratory note, Mr. Karan Bilimoria, House of Lords, London, and an eminent PIO Parliamentarian stated, “To have the president of India speak at a forum with over hundred PIO parliamentarians from around the world is wonderful. His message on the potential of Diaspora came out very clear. It is with a mutual sense of pride that we approach this engagement. We hope that this partnership is a powerful enabler for times to come.” On a similar note Mr. Kanwaljit Bakshi, an esteemed PIO Parliamentarian, and MP, National Party of New Zealand said, “It is delightful to be part of an event that seeks to strengthen ties between India and its Diaspora. It is great to know that our Indian brothers and sisters earned a place for themselves in the economic and political spheres of their host countries. We should make the most of these achievements through constant interaction and work towards mutual respect and cooperation.” Ms. Priti Patel, till recently a minister in the UK cabinet said, “This international conference is very significant because we have seen the coming together of the Indian community from around the world. We will now be able to use this significant global network of parliamentarians to help secure the economic interests and development of India. Many of us represent modern establishments and economies including entities like the IMF, World Bank, UN P5 Security Council, and others. As a part of our expertise, we also need to leverage our diaspora network.” ❐ january 2018 | india empire 39



ith the Middle East, which was once the dream of many a Keralite, no longer that attractive on account of falling oil prices and with no proper records of the actual number of returnees, a new diaspora study covering 25,000 households has been launched to find out what the actual scenario is. The study aims to not only analyse not just the present trends in migration but also the medium and long-term consequences of important developments like the global financial crisis of 2009, the drop in oil prices and the stricter immigration policies increasingly followed by countries worldwide and its impact on Kerala’s economy. S. Irudayarajan, who heads the study by the Migration Unit at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) in Thiruvananthapuram said its single purpose is to examine ground realities and not to go by unfounded reports that there is a mass exodus from the Middle East. “This new survey has been titled Kerala Migration Study-KMS@20. It is the eighth a series that begain in 1998. The study would be done in 25,000 Kerala households spread over all the 14 districts and the first results would emerge in April,” Irudayarajan told IANS. KMS is widely regarded as a reliable and authentic source of data for researchers and policymakers. Following the success of the Kerala model, similar initiatives have been launched in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, from where large numbers of people have spread out across the globe. Irudayarajan pointed out that structural changes in the global oil market and the consequent fall in oil prices have posed fresh challenges to the oil-producing countries in the Middle East in the last few years. “The repercussions are being felt in Kerala’s economy and society which has been a consistent supplier of workers and a receiver of large amounts of remittances. Additionally, the governments in Gulf countries have been progressively evolving institutional arrangements and programmes aimed at promoting the employment of their own nationals,” Irudayarajan said. He also pointed out that the things are not rosy was pointed out in the KMS-2016 study, when for the first time a decline was noticed in number of Kerala emigrants abroad from 2.4 million in 2014 to 2.24 million in 2016--a drop of 1.6 lakh. The state had 1.36 million emigrants when the first KMS was conducted in 1998. The figure rose to 1.83 million in 2003, 2.19 million in 2008, 2.28 million in 2011 and peaked at 2.4 million in 2014. He added that once the results are out later in the year, the state Government can evolve appropriate interventions in education, employment and skill development of prospective emigrants as well as the re-integration of returnees into Kerala’s economy and society. Irudayarajan pointed out that it was wrong to come to conclusions only based on the arrivals and departures from the three Kerala airports as this will only give a lop-sided picture. “The figures from the airports are only numbers and do not differentiate between work40 india empire | january 2018

ers and others, as they include women and children. Besides, there are a good number of Keralites who go for holidays to the Middle East. Our 2016 survey had already showed that there was a decline and now in a few months from now, we will bring out the actual picture," Irudayarajan added. Remittances from migrants have been instrumental in sustaining Kerala's economy, constituting 36.3 per cent of the state’s net domestic product. It is now widely accepted that migration has played a significant role in poverty alleviation and in raising the living standards of about one-third of Malayali households. “Moreover, it is postulated that an additional onethird of the population is indirectly benefitted from the economic opportunities created by remittances from abroad,” Irudayarajan explained. According to the figures released by the State Level Bankers Committee, the rate of growth of NRI deposits has come down of late. If one looks at the deposits at the 6,339 branches of various commercial, scheduled and private banks, they stood at Rs 117,349 crore in June 2015, grew to Rs 142,668 crore in June 2016 and was at Rs 154,252 ❐ crore in June 2017. —Sanu George


Traditionally, remittances from the Middle East have been the mainstay of Kerala’s economy, but with more and more of the state’s diaspora bidding goodbye to the Gulf countries, things are going to change, once and for all. According to a Kerala minister, even though there are no figures to show the exact number of people returning from the Middle East countries for good, there is a marked change in their spending pattern--such households are now more cautious about dispensing with their money. State Minister for Finance Thomas Issac while speaking to the Media in December said, “Why we say that there is an increase in our diaspora returning is because the number of arrivals at our airports far outnumbers the number of departures.” “Another indicator that things are no more that rosy in the Middle East is that there is a marked shift in the spending pattern of the diaspora households... They have become very careful now.” However, Issac also said that until now there was no fall in remittances from the state’s diaspora. “Eventually remittances might come down, but not now. Actually, the diaspora returning for good are pulling out all their savings from the country they worked in and putting in banks here,” he explained. Although decline in remittances has not been recorded in the state, the rate of growth of NRI deposits has certainly come down, according to figures released by the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC). According to the only study report published in 2014 by migration expert S. Irudayarajan of the Centre for Development Studies here, 90 per cent of Kerala’s 23.63 lakh diaspora is located in various Middle-East countries, of which the UAE accounts for 38.7 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia which has 25.2 per cent.

column: yogi ashwini

mind and Body

Devik ForCes mUst Dominate

yogi aShwini


reation is a sum total of positive (devik) and negative (asurik) forces, the former aids the process of creation and the latter causes destruction, both are necessary for the movement of Creation. Every individual in being the microcosm of creation has aspects of both positivity and negativity at all times, it is the level of negativity which decides whether the person is asurik or devik. Silence, stillness, stability and peace are properties of devik forces. Anger, jealousy, hyperactivity, resentment are indicative of possession of asurik forces and pave way for destruction of the body and devolution of soul. History abounds with examples of asurs who disrupted acts of positivity, interfered in yagyas, killed innocent beings, destroyed resources of earth. Devik forces on the other hand, were inclined towards spirituality, took to meditation, penance, yagyas and other acts of protecting creation. Let us look at one such incidence from the Vanparva of Mahabharata. Many thousand years ago, asur Vrittasura grew in might and power and, with the help of Kalakeyas, began harassing the devs and beings on earth. The Lord of devas, Indra, then with the sacrifice of Rishi Dadhichi acquired the vajra to annihilate Vrittasur. Seeing the fall of the invincible Vrittasura, the Kalakeyas were frightened and hid themselves in the ocean. They would come out of the hideout at night and kill noble men and destroy ashrams. Once again, Indra approached a sage, this time Muni Agastya for protection. Muni Agastya accepted their request and neared the ocean accompanied by hermits and devas. As all watched, Muni Agastya with his yog bal and shakti, brought the great ocean in his palms and drank it all up, exposing the asurs. While a large number of these asurs were killed by devas, many took refuge in the Paataal Loka (the nether world). Whenever asurik forces dominate over devik forces, there is devolution. When the reverse happens there is growth and evolution. The dominance of these forces decides the characteristics of a yuga, the beings that inhabit the earth in that time span, the condition of humanity and of dharma. When Agastya Muni drank the ocean, at that time, he prophesied that these asurs will resurface again on earth in the kaliyug... We are now in kaliyug and if you look around, you will

By Yogi Ashwini

find the prophecy of Agastya Muni coming true. Just open the newspaper in the morning, you will find innumerable incidences of crime, theft, treachery, exploitation, deceit, corruption, rapes, killing of animals, destruction of forests, increasing levels of pollution, deteriorating condition of our planet. Or just walk out on the road, if your lungs can withstand the toxicity in the air, you will see cows feeding on plastic and garbage, strays being run down by cars, people spitting on the road, shopkeepers selling spurious products... The world today is brimming with asurs…and asuric vritti predominates the men of today. Hyperactivity, rage, anger, intoxication, selfish thought patterns, staying awake at night, dancing to noise (often termed as music) are all traits of nisachars, of asurs…In today’s time even if someone tries to walk the devik path there are enough asurs to pull him/her down. In every house, there will be at least one hyperactive person who will create a scene if a family member does meditation or performs a yagya. At Dhyan Ashram the yagyas that are done are smokeless with divine manifestations. However, today, if you do one at home, don’t be surprised if your neighbours call it black magic. Positive acts (or positivity) disturb negative people and they try all means possible to stop them. At times, such people don’t even understand what or why they behave in that manner, it is actually the asuric vritti that takes predominance at the time. While if you are at a party, the same asurs will be happy to share a drink with you and insist you stay a little while more. Kaliyug began with the end of Mahabharat era, and it is documented that Kaliyug requested Raja Parikshit to give it shelter in money, wine and women (sexual pleasure)...just look around, that is what rules the minds of today, and to the extent that rave parties are organised even in the name of spirituality where people immerse themselves in intoxications claiming to elevate consciousness. The people who misguide masses into such false notions of spiritual evolution, are the same asurs who hid themselves in the paataal loka at the time of Agastya Muni and have resurfaced once again, as the time is conducive to their energy patterns. ❐ —Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at

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40ยบn 47ยบe Azerbaijan It is at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. After proclaiming it independence in 1918, the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. The modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on August 30, 1991, prior to the official dissolution of the USSR in December 1991

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Business and governance


China hails PM Modi’s sPeeCh

hina has hailed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Davos speech against protectionism, saying the two countries can join hands in fighting such practice. Beijing also said the two countries share common interests in promoting globalisation and steering the world economy towards betterment. While speaking at the annual summit of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, PM Modi likened protectionism to terrorism and indirectly attacked US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy. Mr Modi said many countries were becoming inward focused and globalisation was shrinking and such tendencies can’t be considered lesser risk than terrorism or climate change. “We have noticed Prime Minister Modi’s remarks against protectionism and his remarks showed that globalisation is a trend of the times. It serves the interest of all countries including developing countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. “(In) fighting against protectionism and promoting globalisation, China and Indian share a lot of common interests,” Hua added. Hua recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping's last year speech at Davos in which he had spoken against protectionism. “China would like to enhance the coordination and coordination with all countries including India to steer the economic globalisation towards benefitting world economic growth and


WiPro llC to invest usd 9.9 M in us FirM

oftware major Wipro has said its investment arm Wipro LLC would invest $9.9 million (Rs 63.4 crore) in the US-based Harte Hanks to offer marketing technology services to their customers. “The deal will enable us to offer omni-channel marketing solutions, including consulting, strategic assessment, data, analytics, digital social, mobile, print, direct mail and contact centre to our customers,” it said in a statement. As partners, Wipro and Harte jointly market Opera Solutions Signal Hub, an advanced big data and machine learning platform to enable clients to deliver a contextually and personalised customer experience. “In the digital world, marketers need to have an understanding of their customers to offer an engaging personalised experience. This requires investments in customer data, marketing tools and a technology stack. By providing a comprehensive solution, we will empower marketing professionals target and engage their customers,” it said in the statement. 44 india empire | january 2018

the well-being of all countries. Our position is clear. India is a big neighbour of China. As two largest developing countries and as two closed neighbours, we, of course, hope that we maintain sound and steady development of our bilateral relations. It serves the interest of two sides. We look forward to working with India to enhance our communication, mutual trust and properly handle our differences and ensure the sound and steady development of our relations. I believe this is the aspiration of two people in our countries,” Hua added. —Gaurav Sharma


Four-laning in MP

he National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has awarded the contract for four-laning of a 64 km national highway stretch in Madhya Pradesh to a joint venture formed for the project, an official has said. The joint venture, comprising Krishna Constructions and Gawar Construction Limited, has been issued the Letter of Award (LoA) to four-lane the highway from Hiran River to Sindoor River section. According to the NHAI, the project would be implemented in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode with a construction period of 24 months. “The project includes upgradation of the highway from two lane to four lane with rigid pavement (cement concrete road), along with construction of four major bridges, 20 minor bridges, nine underpasses at the location of minor junctions and 29 minor junctions for free and safe movement of road users,” said the statement. According to the NHAI, 13 km of the project road passes through a wildlife sanctuary, out of which 39.750 hectare area of wildlife forest land is required for diversion. “The road also passes through Reserve and Protected forest for two-km length, in which 11.081 hectare forest land is required for diversion,” read the statement.

rise in india’s doMestiC air Passengers


omestic air passenger traffic rose to 1.12 crore in December 2017, up 16.99 per cent from 95.52 lakh reported for the corresponding month of 2016, official data shows. The total domestic air passenger traffic had risen to 1.04 crore in November. Data furnished by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed that passenger traffic during the January-December 2017 period grew by over 17 per cent. “Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-December 2017 were 1,171.76 lakh as against 998.88 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 17.31 per cent,” the DGCA said in its monthly domestic traffic report. According to the data, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF)--a measure of capacity utilisation of the airline-at 95.6 per cent during December. “It's an exciting time for us. SpiceJet yet again recorded the highest PLF in the industry. The December 2017 figure of 95.6 per cent reinstates our popularity and showcases us an airline for the customers,” said SpiceJet’s Chief Sales and Revenue Officer Shilpa Bhatia. “This is the 33rd month in a row that SpiceJet has had an excess of 90 per cent PLF, a feat unparalleled in the aviation industry.” SpiceJet was followed by budget passenger carriers GoAir with PLF at 92 per cent and IndiGo at 90.8 per cent. “The passenger load factor in the month of December 2017 has shown increasing trend compared to previous month primarily due to the ongoing tourist season,” the monthly statistical analysis said. The data noted that IndiGo led the industry with 81.1 per cent punctuality rate (on-time performance) at the four major airports of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by SpiceJet (78.4), Vistara (74.5) and Air India's domestic operations (70.8). The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for December 2017 stood at 0.81 per cent. In addition, the data disclosed that a total of 681 passenger-related complaints were received last month. “The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of December 2017 has been around 0.61,” the monthly analysis said. The data revealed that IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 39.4 per cent, followed by Jet Airways (14.6), Air India (13.1), SpiceJet (12.7), and GoAir (9.6). AirAsia India had a market share of 4.4 per cent, followed by Vistara (3.7), JetLite (2.3) and Trujet (0.3).

QuarterlY ledger

Q3 Rs 1,167 crore profit for IHF Indiabulls Housing Finance has reported a rise of 55 per cent in its consolidated net profit to Rs 1,167.73 crore during the third quarter (Q3) ended on December 31. According to the company, its net profit for the quarter went up by 55.39 per cent from Rs 751.49 crore during the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The company said its Q3 total revenue edged higher by 36.65 per cent to Rs 4,105.66 crore.

Q3 Rs 342 crore profit for Mahindra Finance Non-banking finance company Mahindra Finance has said its standalone profit after tax stood at Rs 342 crore during the third quarter (Q3) ended December 31, 2017, as against a loss of Rs 16 crore during the same period of last fiscal. According to the company, its total income rose by 23 per cent to Rs 1,846 crore during Q3 2017-18 from Rs 1,503 crore reported in Q3 2016-17.

Q3 Rs 554 crore profit for Asian Paints Asian Paints has said its consolidated net profit after non-controlling interest (from continuing operations) rose by 21.6 per cent to Rs 554.64 crore during the third quarter (Q3) ended December 31, 2017, from Rs 456.18 crore reported during a year-ago period. The company’s consolidated revenue from operations edged higher by 10.9 per cent to Rs 4,267.49 crore during the quarter under review.

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54ºn 2ºW United Kingdom The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is the world’s 21st-most populous country. It is a constitutional monarchy with a Parliamentary democracy. The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since February 1952

46 india empire | january 2018

India empire january 2018  
India empire january 2018