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India-Diplomatic, Political, Business and Diaspora Connectivity

Editor’s Desk


rance’s centuries-old relations with India received another boost with the visit of the country’s President Emmanuel Macron to India in March 2018. The two nations share a strategic partnership, a key milestone established during the visit of President Jacques Chirac in 1998. It was, in fact, the signing of India’s first ever strategic partnership. During President Macron’s visit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned that even though the strategic partnership was only 20 years old, the “cultural and spiritual partnership is older.” Indeed, the spiritual partnership goes back to over a hundred years ago. That is when the highly spiritually elevated French national Mirra Alfassa—who later came to be known as The Mother—first came in touch with Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry in 1914. She left in 1915 and returned in 1920, this time to stay back in India till the time of her passing away in November 1973. The two partnered to set up the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and a school that came to be known as Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. During President Macron’s four-day visit to India along with his wife, First Lady Brigitte Macron, an Indo-French Centre of Excellence was inaugurated in Bengaluru. It aims to impart vocational training to engineers in electricity, automation, and energy management. Mr Modi and Mr Macron also inaugurated a 100 mw solar power plant in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, the largest of its kind in India’s most populous state. The generation of power at the plant, when commissioned, will begin with the first rays of the sun, and it will shut down at sunset every day. Nearly 150,000 households will benefit once the plant becomes operational. Also, a record number of MoUs were signed between universities and research institutions in both countries. Elsewhere in the magazine we have extensive coverage of various countries. Do look out for some special interviews that we’ve brought to you. Happy reading.

Sayantan Chakravarty


empire Volume 13 No. 10 March 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 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.

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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.

Cover story



rime Minister Narendra Modi received French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife on March 12 at Varanasi, the pilgrimage city from where Mr Modi has been elected to Parliament. Flanked by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, public representatives and state government officials, Mr Modi accorded a warm welcome to Mr Macron as he alighted from his special Falcon aircraft at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport. Mr Modi arrived at the airport in a special Indian Air Force (IAF) plane minutes ahead of the visiting foreign dignitary. Shortly after, both Mr Modi and Mr Macron flew in a chopper to Dadarkalan in Mirzapur where they were set to jointly inaugurate a solar power plant which has been built with the help of a French company. SOLAR PLANT As soon as they landed, they were gifted a bright red chunri of Goddess Vindhyavasini, the presiding deity of Mirzapur. The two then inaugurated the biggest solar power plant of Uttar Pradesh in Mirzapur district. The 100 MW plant


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French President Emmanuel Macron seen with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on March 10, 2018

Mr Macron and Mr Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on March 10, 2018

The French President and the Indian PM inaugurate the solar power plant at Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh on March 12, 2018. Also seen is UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

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Cover story

Mr Modi, Mr Macron and CM Adityanath during a boat ride on the River Ganga

will be producing 75-mw electricity for the time being. Smiling all along and holding hands off and on, both Mr Modi and Mr Macron unveiled the inaugural plaque in the presence of Union Minister Anupriya Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and French First Lady Brigitte Macron, besides others. The power plant has been built at a cost of Rs 650 crore in Dadarkala over a stretch of 380 acres in the Vindhyan mountain range. The plant has 1.18 lakh solar panels and the power produced from here will be transmitted to the Jigna Power sub-station of the Power Corporation. The electricity produced will then be divided into two A and B sections of Mirzapur and the remaining electricity will be supplied to Allahabad. Officials of the plant informed Mr Modi and Mr Macron that the generation of power will begin with the first sun rays and the plant will shut down with sunset. The plant has 318,650 solar plates with each plate having a generation capacity of 315 watt. The plant was completed in 18 months flat according to officials. It can feed 1.5 lakh households every day. BOAT RIDE ON THE GANGA Back in Varanasi, Mr Macron and Mr Modi took a boat ride on the Ganga, animatedly talking on the flower-decked double-decker vessel. Mr Modi briefed Mr Macron about the history and significance of various ghats along the holy Ganga. The two walked to the Assi Ghat after visiting the Deendayal Handicraft Museum. The Prime Minister told the French President about various handicrafts on display at the stalls. They briefly halted to hear the locals playing shehnaai. The two retired for lunch at the Nadesar five-star hotel, be-


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longing to the Taj Group. While Mr Macron stayed back at the hotel to rest, Mr Modi drove to keep his other engagements. INDO-FRENCH CENTRE IN BENGALURU Coinciding with the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India, an Indo-French Centre of Excellence (CoE) was inaugurated on March 12, 2018 in Bengaluru to impart vocational training to engineers in electricity, automation and energy management. Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron were on a four-day maiden visit to India. The centre has been set up jointly by the French government, French automation company Schneider Electric and the city-based New Horizon College of Engineering. “The CoE would help in strengthening and upgrading the knowledge and professional skills of teachers and students,” Frederique Vidal, the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, said on the occasion. For setting up the centre, the French government had deputed a full-time professor for three years to train the city-based college’s professors on automation and energy management at Schneider Electric’s labs and then designed the syllabus. Through skill development programmes, the centre will also help in preparing students to leverage disruptive technologies to further national growth, said Shrinivas Chebbi, President (Eco-buildings)—Schneider Electric, India. VISIT TO LODI ART DISTRICT The Lodi Colony area of Delhi was on March 12 transformed into India’s very first open public art district as

Mr and Mrs Macron at the Taj Mahal

French First Lady Brigitte Macron graced the place. Senior architect Pierre Guyot who conducted the special tour for Ms Macron walked with her for an hour and a half across the Art District. Macron was very impressed by the diversity of techniques used by artists. She was particularly impressed by the creation of an open air art museum that offers art to all in the most relatable and engaging manner. “It was a great honour for the organisation to receive the first lady of France at the Lodi Art District for a special curated tour. Mrs Macron’s momentous visit reaffirms our strong partnership with the French Government in India and we hope to continue this partnership for many years to come,” said Arjun Bahl, co-founder and director St+art India Foundation, organizers of the festival. The visit also highlights the collaboration between St+art India Foundation and the French institutions in India (Embassy of France, Institute Francaise, Alliance Francaise), which recently culminated in 4 projects across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta and Chandigarh as part of the Bonjour India project. AN AFFAIR WITH THE TAJ Earlier on March 11, 2018, Mr Macron visited the Taj Mahal. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials said President Macron spent over an hour, evincing keen interest in the exquisite inlay work of the 17th century monument. Guide Lalit Chawla told an agency that the President also watched the sunset from the Taj. COOPERATION IN EDUCATION The first-ever Indo-French Knowledge Summit ended

successfully on March 11, 2018, with a landmark agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications between the two countries and a record 15 other MoUs signed between universities and research institutions on joint initiatives and partnerships. The two-day summit, which coincided with the state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, was organised by the French Embassy in India and co-hosted by the Human Resource Development Ministry. More than 350 people from nearly 80 Indian and 70 French institutions, along with key enterprises, participated in the summit which also received the support of the Science and Technology Ministry, Campus France and the Confederation of Indian Industry. Addressing the participants at the closing session, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said the agreement will go a long way in boosting the educational relationship between the two countries. “It will encourage mobility of students from both the countries by facilitating possibilities for them to continue their studies in the other country and would also promote excellence in higher education through cooperation, university and research exchanges.” He said the government will soon launch its Study in India Programme to encourage more foreign students to take up education in India. “Currently there are 47,000 foreign students learning in India and by 2022 we will have at least 100,000,” he said. Mr Javadekar also mooted the idea that both the countries should look at the possibility of allowing professionals to practice in each other’s country on reciprocity basis. ❐

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SUN MARK EVENT Sun Mark held its annual Celebration & Awards Dinner in Dubai during the Gulfood exhibition at the lavish Shangri-La Hotel on February 19, 2018. It was, as always, a glittering affair with esteemed guests from the Middle East and South Asian region but with many also flying in from as far away as Canada, Cameroon and South Africa; with the array of guests resembling a gathering of the United Nations. Sun Mark is the only British company to have been awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade for an unprecedented 5 consecutive years and exports to over 130 countries. Sun Mark’s achievements are seen as the gold standard and recognised as an Ambassador for UK Business. The Chief Guest from the British Government was the Rt. Hon. Richard Harrington MP, Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Guest of Honour was Her Majesty’s Consul General to the U.A.E, Mr Paul Fox

Mr Harmeet Ahuja

Dr Rami Ranger CBE

Mr Paul Fox

Rt. Hon. Richard Harrington MP

Award presented to Sir Prince Oji Okisisi of company Prince Oji, Nigeria

Award presented to Mr Izzat Ullah Khan of Naveed Trading, Pakistan

Award presented to Mr Vijay Aswani of Al Vihag Enterprises, Gambia

Guests at the event

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Photo gAllery pictures Š sipra das

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier walks the red carpet and takes the guard of honor at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi in March 2018

King of Jordan Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein walks the red carpet and takes the guard of honor at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi in February 2018

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MARAS SALT MINES AND MORAY INCA AGRICULTURAL STATION Pre-Inca Maras salt mines and Moray’s Inca agricultural station are two fascinating tourism wonders of Peru located very close from each other approximately 50 km northwest of Cuzco in the Urubamba valley


he Maras Salt mines, also called Maras salt evaporation ponds, is a myriad of salt crusted terraces precariously nestled against the steep mountain sides, while a steady stream of mineral rich water trickles down with a silent gurgling that somehow defies time. The ponds have been in use since pre-Inca times. In contrast, the stunning Inca archaeological site of Moray is a large bowl-like depression. It is constructed on a series of concentric terraces that looks like an ancient Greek amphitheatre. The largest part of these terraces is at the centre – they are enormous in size, and descend to a depth of approximately 150 meter, leading to a circular bot-

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tom so well drained that it never completely floods, no matter how plentiful the rain. The concentric terraces are split by multiple staircases that extend upward like spokes of a wheel and enable people to walk from the top to the bottom of the bowl. One of the most remarkable feature of the site is the vast difference in temperature that exist between the top and the bottom reaches of the structure, which can be as much as 15°C (27°F). This large temperature difference creates micro climates, similar to what is achieved in greenhouses in modern times, that was possibly used by the Incas as an agricultural laboratory to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. It is no coincidence that the temperature difference corresponds to the natural difference between coastal sea level farmland and Andean farming terraces 1,000 meters above sea level. Furthermore, pollen studies indicate that soils from different regions of the Inca Empire were imported to each of the large circular terraces. Another enigma is the way how drainage for water flowing through the aqueducts worked. The lowest level is perfectly drained and never gets flooded even after incessant rains. It is suggested that there must be underground channels built by the depressions' bottom allowing water to

drain. It is also argued that the bottom is over a very porous natural rock formation that enables water filtering towards the earth's interior. â??

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Photo gAllery pictures Š sipra das

Deputy Chief Minister in Delhi Government Manish Sisodia addresses the Assembly

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the crowd at the Rashtrapati Bhavan

Senior Congress leaders at the plenary meet in New Delhi in March

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India empire march 2018  
India empire march 2018