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Editor’s Desk

File Photo: SiPra DaS


e have three ambassadorial interviews on our cover. H.E. Mr Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands to India whom we had featured in our April 2016 cover, talks to us at length on the amazingly hyper-productive relations between his country and India in recent times. Between February 2016 and now, six daily flights have been added between India and Amsterdam, which Ambassador Stoelinga says translates into six times more passengers, six times more tourists, and those many times more businessmen. As you read through his interview, you’ll realize how and why IndoDutch relations have been catapulted to the very next level. Likewise, H.E. Mr Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, projects a picture of strengthening bilateral ties and escalating investments by the two nations. Ambassador Hovorka who has in the past served as a Deputy Minister of Industry Editor Chakravarty with Ambassador Stoelinga and Trade in the Czechia Government points at a growing number of Indian companies cutting across sectors such as IT, automobiles, tea, textiles, pharmaceuticals, auto-components that have invested in the Czech Republic, a nation carved out of erstwhile Czechoslovakia. Similarly, H.E. Mr Mr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to India, happily lets us know that relations between his country and India have never been better, in fact, he says, “they are exceptional.” India remains one of the leading donors to Afghanistan post-2001, and has played a major role in the country’s security and economic transition. India’s extensive developmental assistance programme which now stands at around USD 3 billion is a strong signal of its commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan. On the occasion of Bangladesh’s Armed Forces Day, we have a special supplement with contributions from veteran officers who talk us through the development of the country’s uniformed services and the rising role of women in the Bangladesh Army. There is also more than just a whiff of nostalgia as one of the writers speaks to a Liberation War hero and brings back memories of 1971’s history-creating moments. Also, H.E. Mr Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, shares his thoughts on the occasion. In a special series on Peru, we focus on the 5,000-year-old pyramid city of Caral, an UNESCO World Heritage Centre, leading us to the knowledge that the nation is so much more than its World Wonder Machu Picchu. Taking special interest in putting together this series is Peru’s Ambassador to India, H.E. Mr Jorge Castaneda Mendez. We also have focused on the happening food and beverages industry in Palestine. Even as you familiarize yourself with the gastronomy of Palestine, please do not miss out on the highly valuable insights on the millennia old relations between India and Mongolia by our regular guest contributor, H.E. Mr Gonchig Ganbold, Ambassador of Mongolia to India, who has enriched relations between the two nations by his literary contributions in several areas. Finally, have we missed out on a possible future Indian-origin candidate for British Prime Minister with the sudden exit of Priti Patel from the Theresa May cabinet? Time, no doubt, will tell. Read on, happily of course.

Sayantan Chakravarty (sayantanc@gmail.com)

India-Business, Political, Diplomatic and Diaspora Connectivity


empire Volume 13 No. 6 November 2017 www.indiaempire.com 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 Gonchig Ganbold, Anasudhin Azeez 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: contactindiaempire@gmail.com info@indiaempire.com sales@indiaempire.com 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.





AMBASSADORIAL INTERACTIONS ........... 19,23,27 Views and interviews of Ambassadors of Netherlands, Czech Republic, Afghanistan BANGLADESH SPECIAL ..................................... 09 A supplement on the Armed Forces Day


november 2017


PALESTINE .......................................................... 33 The food industry in Palestine PERU ................................................................... Ancient Pyramid City of Caral


DIASPORA .......................................................... 48 Priti Patel’s sudden exit from May cabinet




CONNECT: +91.9811627971 / +91.9953824095 / +91.11.29231515 / 29233647 EMAIL: contactindiaempire@gmail.com / info@indiaempire.com / sayantanc@gmail.com

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(June 2014 – November 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

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“Indo-Dutch relationship is booming like never before” H.E. Mr Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands in India, whom we had put on our cover in April 2016, speaks to Editor Sayantan Chakravarty of India Empire on the booming business relationship between the two countries. At the India Empire Diplomatic Night held in April 2017, he was the recipient of a special award for strengthening ties between the North-Western European Region and India. He received the award from Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions has reported an increase in Indian arrivals in the first quarter of 2017, a 19 per cent jump over the same period in 2016. What would you attribute this to? Well, you know, we’ve also seen that the number of visas, we issue to Indians, has been going up 25 per cent each year. Twenty five per cent more visas means 25 per cent more tourists, students, businessmen. One of my reference points is February 2016, and I compare that to February 2018. That is because in March 2016 Jet Airways started to fly to Holland. Prior to that we had only one (KLM-)flight to Holland from India. So Jet Airways started with Delhi-Amsterdam and Mumbai-Amsterdam. From October 28, there will be Bengaluru-Amsterdam as well. In total, we now have five non stop flights between India and Amsterdam daily, and there is a possibility that Jet Airways will add another city in India from where to fly to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. So we have gone from one direct flight to five or even six. This translates to six times more aircrafts, six times more passengers, six times more tourists, six times more business people. In fact, Schiphol has slowly but surely turned into a hub in Europe for Indian passengers. Jet Airways and KLM do a code-sharing. That means if one buys a Jet Airways ticket from an Indian city to Oslo or Berlin, the last leg (Amsterdam-Oslo or Amsterdam-Berlin) is done by KLM. Likewise, if a Dutch flyer buys a ticket from Amsterdam to Chennai via Delhi or Mumbai, the Indian sector is taken care of by Jet Airways. The airlines share the profits on this code-sharing. So these two airline companies are working very closely together. Jet Airways also has one flight between Amsterdam and Toronto. So if you go to Schiphol Airport at about 10.00 in the morning, you see four Jet Airways aircraft -one that came from Delhi, another from Mumbai, another from Bengaluru, and yet another from Toronto. In March, the possibility is high that this figure will go up to five. So, the 19 per cent increase that you talk about is very logical.

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We understand that Business Missions from India to the Netherlands have gone up. We’re sure that the Embassy in Delhi has contributed significantly towards this. Your comments please… That is indeed a very nice conclusion. Well, you know, the thing that I always say is that if you have such a connectivity increase, then of course travel and business will be enhanced. But the most important is, that airlines start flying between destinations, because there is heavy business going on, which makes sure that their planes will be full of passengers and cargo. Look at the Chinese, they create these corridors, OneBeltOneRoute. I say it is not necessary for governments to create corridors, because if the business is there, the corridor comes by itself. Nobody told Jet Airways to create these flights. They did it by themselves because the business was there, and they run very good business. On the business delegations you mention, we, of course, had the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Netherlands in June. Our Prime Minister had visited in 2015. These visits are important and significantly leave their mark. During the meeting between the two Prime Ministers, the most important things discussed were on the subjects of water, agriculture and finance. In order to introduce Dutch technologies in India, you also need financing of those technologies. These were discussed. The meeting provided an enormous impetus to the ongoing relations. I can tell you that not only for travelers, but also for exports, the Netherlands is a hub for India in Europe. Twenty per cent of all your exports to Europe, enter Europe through the Netherlands. Also from the investment perspective, plenty of Indian companies see the Netherlands as an ideal location to set up their European headquarters and their European distribution base. Look at TATA Steel. They diminished their operations in Britain, they joined forces with a German company and will have their European headquarters in the Netherlands. The reason being that the Netherlands is the most ideal location in

H.E. Mr Alphonsus Stoelinga Ambassador of the Netherlands in India

Europe from many aspects. Since Brexit was announced sometime in the middle of 2016, the number of Indian companies establishing themselves in the Netherlands is up more than 300 percent. The last thing investors want is uncertainty. The Netherlands presents the best alternative for Indian investors post-Brexit. Our government is setting

targets on the number of Indian companies to attract to the Netherlands, the investment volume concerned and on the number of jobs to be created in the Netherlands in this way. It’s one of the reasons, we’ve opened a Consulate General in Bengaluru. In February 2017 I opened the Shell Technology Centre in that city. They have 2,000 engineers

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Ambassador Stoelinga with Vikas Bahl, the director of the movie Queen at the IIFTC-India International Film Tourism Conclave on February 23, 2017 in Mumbai

and the numbers will increase to 5,000. We are talking of engineers here, not workers. These are incredible figures, and yes, things are very much booming! Recently some Bollywood movies have been shot in locations in the Netherlands. We also understand that there is a cash rebate for filming in the Netherlands. Kindly explain a bit more on how this works… Yes, 50 per cent. So if you go to the Netherlands and shoot a film, the Dutch Government pays 50 per cent of the cost. It is not tax deduction, it is subsidy. Recently I gave an award in Mumbai to the director (Vikas Bahl) of the film Queen that was shot in the Netherlands. These days at discotheques in Amsterdam they are playing music from the Queen. The director was very happy about shooting in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is India’s 6th largest trading partner in the EU, and the 5th largest investment partner globally. In your opinion, has Prime Minister Modi’s visit to your country earlier this year, furthered business and economic relations? If you talk about finances, you could say the Netherlands is the fourth largest source of FDI for India, and likewise, India is the fifth biggest source of FDI for us. We have flows going both ways, which is very good for a healthy relationship since we invest in you, and you invest in us. Mutually, we invest in each other’s strong points.

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Mostly it has been private enterprise both ways, but going forward we also will need to look at public-private partnerships. During Mr Modi’s visit, we spoke about enhancing investments in public infrastructure like roads, railways, airports. We also spoke about River Ganga where in order to make technology available for cleaning up, sewage treatment you need Dutch companies to come here with technology, find Indian partners and attract private and/or public financing. That’s the reason why we have started the India-Netherlands Financial Corridor. The idea is to promote Dutch pension funds and other (for example sovereign) funds to invest in public infrastructure in India. So on top of the private money flowing in to the private sector here, we also want that to come in to the public sector. This is one. The other is that we have lot of technology to offer in agriculture. The population of the Netherlands is smaller than that of New Delhi, but we are the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world after the United States. Our agriculture is extremely efficient. We are now in talks with Dutch and Indian parties to create a Food Processing Bank in India. This is a key area. Grading of apples, processing of potatoes, rice and grain, making of confectionary and bakery products provides value addition. Through the financial corridor and the food processing bank, we want to finance the transfer of Dutch agro technologies to the Indian market. In agriculture the partnership between the Netherlands and India speaks for itself. ❐

DiPlomatiC PRofile


BrIngIng InDIA AnD

czechIA cLOSer

H.E. Mr Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, presented his credentials to the Indian President (then H.E. Pranab Mukherjee) on September 28, 2015 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He is concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives with residence in New Delhi. In September 2007 he was made Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade in the Government of the Czech Republic. He has a vast reservoir of experience, having served in World Trade Organization in the rank of Ambassador, including in the capacity of chair of the Council for Trade in Goods. He responded to questions from India Empire Magazine. In April 2017, at the India Empire Diplomatic Night, Ambassador Hovorka had received a special award for strengthening ties between the Central European region and India. The award had been given by Union Minister of Steel Chaudhary Birender Singh

70 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS India’s relations with the former Czechoslovakia, and with the Czech Republic, have always been warm and friendly. Diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia were established on November 18, 1947. Presidents Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Giani Zail Singh and R. Venkataraman visited Czechoslovakia in 1965, 1983 and 1988 respectively. Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru paid a visit in 1955, as did PM Mrs Indira Gandhi in August 1972 and Rajiv Gandhi in August 1986. Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier made the first high level contact after the Velvet Revolution in November 1990. Indian Minister of State for External Affairs R.L. Bhatia was the first non-European Minister to visit the Czech Republic following the dissolution of CSFR.

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On Indo-Czech relations… Relations between India and Czechia are deep rooted. According to the Czech Indologist, Miloslav Krasa, “if not earlier, then surely as early as the 9th and 10th centuries A.D., there existed both land and maritime trade routes from Asian markets to the Czech lands, along which precious goods from the East, including rare Indian spices, reached this country”. Relations between the two countries continued to strengthen in coming centuries with frequent exchange of visits by academicians, artists, businessmen and political leaders. By making the knowledge of India available and accessible, the scholars in the Czech Republic are continuing the long tradition of the founders of the Czech Indology, dating back to the period before and particularly after the creation of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. The comprehensive process of learning about India and of establishing contacts between Czechoslovakia and India was facilitated and accelerated by frequent visits of prominent Indian scholars, journalists, politicians and artists in Prague and other cities of Czechoslovakia. On the historical ties cemented by Gurudev Tagore and Netaji… India’s relations with the former Czechoslovakia, and with the Czech Republic, have always been warm and friendly. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore visited Czechoslovakia in 1921 and 1926. A bust of Tagore is installed in an exclusive residential area in Prague named after him. The Indian leader who visited Czechoslovakia the most times between 1933 and1938 was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. He founded the Indo-Czech Association in Prague in 1934 and met Edvard Benes several times as Foreign Minister and President. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru accompanied by his daughter Indira Gandhi visited Prague in 1938, and subsequently influenced the strong condemnation of the 1938 Munich Pact by the Indian nationalist movement. On diplomatic ties… The first Czechoslovak Consulate in India was opened in 1920 in Mumbai. Czechoslovakia was one of the first countries which recognized independence of India in 1947. The diplomatic relations between India and Czechoslovakia were established on November 18, 1947 and in 1948 the Embassies have been opened in New Delhi and Prague. Presidents Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Giani Zail Singh and R. Venkataraman visited Czechoslovakia in 1965, 1983 and 1988 respectively. Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru paid a visit in 1955, as did PM Smt. Indira Gandhi in August 1972 and Rajiv Gandhi in August 1986. Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier made the first high level contact after the Velvet Revolution in November 1990. In 1993 Indian Minister of State for External Affairs R.L. Bhatia was the first non-European Minister to visit the Czech Republic following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. A lot of subsequent high level visits paved the way for further deepening bilateral relations in all areas of mutual cooperation including people-to-people contacts. Thus, a way opened for a group of people, joined not only by professional interests, but also mutual sympathies and friendships, to come together. On bilateral trade… In 2008, bilateral trade has exceeded the volume of one bil-

Ambassador Hovorka with Vice President of India Mr M Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi

lion US dollars for the first time in the history of bilateral relations. During 2008, Indian exports to the Czech Republic amounted to USD 510.33 while Indian imports were USD 622.99 million. Both countries have continued efforts for strengthening economic relations through frequent exchange of trade and business delegations. The volume of bilateral trade peaked in 2011 at surpassing the USD 1.5 billion level. In 2013, for the first time in our long history of economic relations, the balance of bilateral trade tilted in India’s favour when Indian exports reached USD 641.84 million against Czech exports of USD 561.59 million. The year 2016 bilateral trade reached total volume USD 1.4 billion with Indian exports of USD 732.91 million and Czech exports of USD 622.97 million and even though the Czech export increased by 14 percent year on year the overall balance of trade continues to remain in surplus in favour of India since 2013 because the pace of Indian export growth goes in parallel with Czech export to India. For the Czech Republic India was among the four most important trading partners in Asia in 2016. On the presence of major companies on either side… Indian companies have invested in the Czech Republic in sectors like IT, vehicles, tea, textile, pharmaceutical, autocomponents. Indian companies like Infosys, Cafe Coffee Day, Tata Global Beverages, Alok Industries, Spentex Industries, Motherson Sumi Systems Limited, Varroc Lighting Systems, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Kanoria Chemicals & Industries, Lloyd Electric and Engineering, Minda Management Services, PMP Components, Zomato, have made investment in the Czech Republic. Following on the original investments of Skoda Auto, Bonatrans, BTL, CATAI, Flying Academy, Gearspect, Home Credit, Lasvit, Stros, Technicoat, Fans, Preciosa, Papcel, Skoda Power, Tajmac ZPS, ZKL Bearings and Zetor Tractors, there are a number of new and prospective Czechia’s investment projects in India in the machinery, transportation, power, automotive, aviation services, glass manufacturing, industrial coating and consumer finance sectors. ❐ november 2017 | india empire 25

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“relations between India and Afghanistan are exceptional” Established and historical ties between Afghanistan and India have been further boosted after the meeting of H.E. Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi in January-February 2016. What have been the significant developments since? Relations between India and Afghanistan are exceptional and unique as it is based on people to people relations derived from our shared history of culture. These relations were further strengthened after signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two nations. The Afghan Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit to India in February 2016 resulted in building multifaceted bilateral cooperation between India and Afghanistan. In this context, the Indian government approved the 3rd phase of Small Development Projects comprising of 92 projects in Afghanistan which were conveyed. Also, both nations agreed to develop the connectivity through Chabahar Port in Iran. Since then the work has been ongoing on these projects and in fact we recently were able to flag off the first Indian shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar port in Iran. Also, establishment of IndoAfghanistan Air Corridor was another achievement which further enhanced the trade ties between the two nations. India’s assistance programmes are based on its abiding commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan. What are the main commitments made by India in recent times towards Afghanistan’s ongoing political, security and economic transition? India has been one of the leading donor nations to Afghanistan post 2001 and has played a major role in Afghanistan’s security and economic transition. India’s extensive developmental assistance program which now stands at around US 3 billion is a strong signal of its commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan. Also, the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia makes India one of the major stakeholders of Afghanistan to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region. Afghanistan is undergoing a sea change in education of women. What are the major steps in this direction taken by your Government? As in other fields, the Afghan Government has been focused when it comes to education of women. There are 28 india empire | november 2017

many programs ongoing, such as government owned projects as well as projects by international community which creates educational facilities for Afghan women and girls. Please talk us through the role being played by the India-Afghanistan Foundation… India-Afghanistan Foundation has been playing a major role in enhancing cultural and educational ties between the two nations. Facilitating exchange programs, organizing seminars, symposia, colloquia and workshops on subjects of common interest, the India-Afghanistan Foundation boosts people to people relations and it also helps introduce cultures of both nations to each other. Please give us an idea of the recent cultural and sporting exchanges between the two nations… There have been many cultural and sporting exchanges between India and Afghanistan in the past. The good news is that we are going to organize the joint Indo-Afghanistan Cultural Week on 29th November where we will showcase both Indian and Afghan cultures for a week. We will be having concerts, products shows and art shows for the entire week. Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister H.E. Mr Salahuddin Rabbani mentioned at the UNSC meet that “terrorism affecting Afghanistan is a result of Pakistan’s policy.” As someone who has dealt with security issues closely in the past, what are your views? State sponsorship of terrorism has become an old fact which aims at keeping Afghanistan unstable; however the new US administration policy is coming up with new hopes and we expect our neighbors for a sincere fight against terrorism. What is the extent of bilateral trade between the two nations at present, and how can it be further enhanced? Bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan has further moved a step ahead with recent developments and interactions exchanged and India being prudent in setting economic landscape is of great significance. Indo-Afghan economic relation will expectedly make a giant stride with the progress happened on the recent visit of Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani and Afghan Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Raabani in New Delhi this year. The visit has outlined

H.E. Dr Shaida Mohammad Abdali Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to India

India’s pivotal role in bringing economic stability and has been spelt out as an important partner for rebuilding Afghanistan which is struggling with decades of war. The bilateral Strategic Partnership Agreement -2011 was reviewed and agreed upon to work on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. The establishment of the Air Cargo Corridor between Kabul and Kandahar to New Delhi in June 2017 has set a positive note as it will give fillip to trade between both the countries and more importantly Afghanistan will have access to reach global markets across South Asia and beyond. Till October around 981 tons of fresh fruits have been exported to India through air freight corridor. Afghanistan is expected to expand air cargo services to other cities in India. India’s116 small New Development projects in 31 provinces in Afghanistan will add constructive and compressive dimension in the areas of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports

infrastructure, administrative infrastructure. Afghanistan’s another breakthrough to access regional and global trade routes will be the Chabahar Port. India’s recent aid of 1.1 million tons of wheat shipment to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port has set lot of hope to usher prosperity in the land locked country. Taking into consideration the present rising curve of development in enhancing bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan will be exponential. Regional connectivity and cooperation will play a significant role in taking Afghanistan’s trade relations to trajectory level not only within India but across the region. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) must endorse the aim and create opportunities for development in South Asian Region and beyond, furthermore, need to take positive initiative in filing the gaps and vacuum in order to achieve aspirations and potential of the region as South Asia is the fast developing economy. ❐ november 2017 | india empire 29

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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall from the U.K. with PM Modi

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde from Belgium at a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan 36 india empire | november 2017

PictureS © SiPra DaS

AIr FOrce DAy

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PictureS © SiPra DaS

FIFA u-17 gALLery

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Priti Patel’s exit won’t affect Indian influence in Britain by anasudhin azeez


t was shocking news for the Indian community in Britain. The most influential British-Indian politician was ousted from the Government in an unceremonious way. International Development Secretary Priti Patel was recalled from her Uganda trip and forced to submit her resignation for breaching the ministerial code of conduct. What a fall! Just a few days back, she was sort of in the shoes of Prime Minister Theresa May to welcome guests at No 10 Downing Street to celebrate Diwali. We thought—a Prime Minister in waiting. A proud moment for the 1.5 million Indian-origin British citizens. We are getting closer and closer to the epicentre of British power. Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s prophecies will become a reality very soon. But that hope was shattered. 48 india empire | november 2017

Patel, a former Indian diaspora champion and a Pravasi Bharatiya Puraskar awardee, became a victim of her own actions. Surprisingly nobody was there to mourn for her. Neither any party colleagues like MP Alok Sharma or the influential Conservative Friends of India. Her departure won’t affect India’s influence in the power corridors, because the post-Brexit Britain needs India more than India needs Britain. Patel was hiding behind the Ministerial Code of Ethics when India was humiliated by proPakistani Members of Parliament over the Kashmir issue. She never supported repeated calls from Indian leaders to relax visa rules for Indian students. Patel even campaigned to tighten the visa rules for foreign chefs at curry houses. That caused the closure of hundreds of restaurants across the country.


Without backing from any senior leaders, Patel’s fate was sealed when the first report exposed her unscheduled meeting with Israeli leaders. The first justification from her was that it was a private holiday and some private meetings

She was silent when hundreds of immigrants were racially abused on the streets just after the EU referendum. Who cares about immigrants when they are not part of your constituency? With a majority of 27,000 plus votes, Patel was quite comfortable with her agenda. She burned all her bridges to fulfill a personal agenda to reach No. 10. India was on the back burner whereas Israel and its powerful lobby with plenty of money at its disposal came on the agenda. Indians are top on the British rich list, but they will think twice to open their cheque book. Some of them are already in trouble over political donations for personal favours. Without backing from any senior leaders, Patel’s fate was sealed when the first report exposed her unscheduled meeting with Israeli leaders. The first justification from her was that it was a private holiday and some private meetings. Later the picture was clear. A private summer holiday accompanied by an Israeli lobbyist and 12 meetings with Israeli ministers and top officials. Then came the shocking news. A private meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Poor May. She came to know about the meeting, when the Israeli Prime Minister arrived at No. 10 with an entourage for an official reception. That forced Patel to file an apology. In the Commons, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said that Downing Street regarded the matter “as closed” after Patel was reprimanded by the Prime Minister and reminded of her obligations under the ministerial code. But the report of her another unscheduled meeting with another Israeli minister triggered a major crisis. That put May in trouble. Patel conducted two meetings in September without the presence of any Government officials. One of the meetings was with Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in Westminster on September 7. Israelis got what they wanted, but Britain has no clue about what they discussed. It is thought Lord Polak, honorary President of the Conservative Friends of Israel, was present at both the meetings. That sealed Patel’s fate. There are three lessons to learn from Patel’s fall. Ambition is good, but over ambition is fatal. Second, if you want to succeed, you have to abide by the rules, especially the ministerial code of conduct. The last one is—if you want to go fast, go alone. But, if you want to go far, go together. Patel paid the price for not being part of the community despite her ethnic surname or upbringing. The Brexit campaign was the finest example. When most of the Indian


community and its leaders were campaigning and supporting Cameron to remain in the EU, she challenged the arguments by aligning with the right-wing media and right-wing politicians. She was the poster girl of the “Leave” campaign and that undermined the credibility of her mentor Cameron. Patel was a creation of Cameron. He was promoting her along with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi to woo the Indian and Pakistani voters. Both worked hard to promote the Cameron agenda to reach No. 10. The strategy clicked. When Sayeeda was honoured with a cabinet berth, Patel was assigned to a junior treasury post. The immigrant voters in Britain are usually loyal to the Labour Party. But Cameron doubled the ethnic vote share within five years in the Government. That helped him to retain power in 2015. He was expecting support from the entire A Team, including Patel and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in his EU Referendum campaign. Despite differences, most of the Tory leadership, except jilted leaders like Michael Gove, were pitching for “Remain” in the EU. Patel was the first one to jump ship. There was speculation about Patel at Westminster. But she rejected every allegation calling them “mere speculations”. Just after the announcement of the Referendum date, Patel was among the first batch of Tories to reach the Leave Campaign headquarters to offer allegiance. Cameron was betrayed. He was planning to anoint Chancellor George Osborne to the prime post in 2020. To maintain the gender balance and a move to snub Labour for not appointing Harriet Harman as Deputy Prime Minister to Gordon Brown, Patel was earmarked for a senior post—probably the deputy Prime Ministership. But she spoiled that opportunity by leaving the Cameron camp. After losing the referendum, Cameron left No. 10 to pave the way for May. Patel was promoted to the cabinet as International Development Secretary to handle the 12 billion pound UK aid budget. There are many allegations over the spending of the UK aid. Some part of it will end up in the coffers of corrupt politicians in Asia and Africa. People were expecting that Patel will use her budget diligently. But she was offering a slice of that to the Israeli Army. By visiting Golan Heights, she undermined the British stance of neutrality on the Arab-Israeli conflict during the centenary of the Balfour declaration. At just 45, a bright young Indian-origin politician has spoiled her opportunity to get into one of the most powerful positions in ❐ the world. What a shame. november 2017 | india empire 49



US President Donald Trump celebrated Diwali at the White House by lighting a diya amid a gathering of leading members of the Indian American community and said he greatly valued his relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump’s daughter Ivanka also attended the festivities in the Oval Office. Also present were Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley and Administrator of the Centres for Medicare and

Medicaid Services Seema Verma. Trump gave an effusive speech recognizing the US ties with India and the contributions of the Indian American community. “Today, I was deeply honoured to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights,” he said in a message posted on his Facebook page. “As we do so, we especially remember the people of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world’s largest democracy. I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi. Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion,” said Trump. “A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the US. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India and around the world.



The Central Government has informed the Supreme Court that it will bring a bill during the Winter Session of Parliament to amend the Representation of People Act for allowing Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to exercise their franchise from their offshore locations. Seeking that the matter be adjourned for six months, the Central Government, in November, told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that permitting NRIs to vote from their overseas location was being done through legislation that will be brought during the Winter Session of Parliament. The court adjourned the hearing for 12 weeks. In the earlier hearing of the matter on July 21, the top court had asked the central government to tell it the time it would require for bringing a bill to amend the Representation of People Act. A team of ministers had on July 20, 2017, decided that to “facilitate external modes of voting to the overseas electors, amendment to the Representation of People Act, 1951 would be required by way of introduction of Bill in Parliament”, the bench was told during the July 21 hearing.

The Indian familyowned Indorama Corporation based in Singapore says it has in the past three years invested hundreds of millions of dollars to establish Chimique du Senegal (ICS) and become the largest producer of polyolefins in West Africa. It has also added to its Nigerian operations in the region to become the largest producer of fertilisers in Sub-Saharan Africa, company spokesperson Ramesh Soni said. The ICS is Senegal’s largest industrial complex and also the largest producer of phosphate fertilisers in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is an integrated complex starting from the mining of rock phosphate, ore beneficiation, phosphoric acid production, and finally the end production of fertiliser. It has well-integrated logistics, including access to the railway system, its own fleet of locomotives and rail wagons and a dedicated berth at Dakar port. The company, which entered Senegal three years ago, has a complex fertiliser manufacturing unit at Mbao, 18 km from Dakar. Most of the granulated fertiliser is intended for the West African market.

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rime Minister Narendra Modi had a pep talk with his council of ministers, telling them to spread the good word about the Government’s policies and initiatives at the ground level. At a meeting of his Council of Ministers in November, PM Modi asked his colleagues to work hard and ensure that the change in the lives of the people brought about by the government’s policies and actions was widely communicated. At the meeting, a detailed presentation by three ministers was given on how various programmes and initiatives of the Government had brought about “Ease of Living” in the lives of the people. The meeting also saw a presentation on social media by a top PMO official, sources told an agency. They said the presentation on “Ease of Living” lasted about an hour and had three parts with over 90 slides highlighting the work done by the government in the last three-and-a-half years. The Ease of Living presentations were made by Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekahwat, Minister of State for Skill Development Anantkumar Hegde and Housing and Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. This was the first such meeting after Modi reshuffled his Council of Ministers in September paving the way for new entrants. Interestingly, all the three ministers, who gave the presentations, were inducted into the ministry in the last reshuffle.



xternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in November met Democratic Republic of Congo’s Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister Leonard She Okitundu and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties. “Both sides reviewed the current state of bilateral relations and discussed priority areas for future cooperation,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. “They expressed satisfaction over the close and friendly relations between the two countries,” it added. India is a major development aid partner of the central African nation and has extended several lines of credit, including over $350 million for hydro-electric power generation and transmission projects. Congo is also a major beneficiary of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation and Indian Council for Cultural Relations scholarships. Total bilateral trade stands at USD 286.41 million, tilted heavily in India’s favour. India’s main exports include pharmaceutical products, vehicles, nuclear reactors, electrical machinery and equipment and cotton. 52 india empire | november 2017


Q2 Rs 1,331.57 crore for Mahindra Automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has reported an increase of 24.79 per cent in its standalone net profit for the second quarter (Q2) of 2017-18. According to the company, its standalone net profit during the quarter under review increased to Rs 1,331.57 crore from Rs 1,067.03 crore reported in the corresponding period of 2016-17.

Q3 Rs 273 crore profit for R-Power Reliance Power Limited, a Reliance Group company, posted a net profit of Rs 273 crore for the third quarter (July-September) of 2017-18, a company statement said. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 272 crore for the corresponding quarter in 2016-17. The total income of the company stood at Rs 2,380 crore for the third quarter of 2017-18.

Q2 Rs 261 crore profit for Britannia Biscuit maker Britannia Industries has reported close to a 12 per cent increase in its consolidated net profit at Rs 261.03 crore during the quarter ended on September 30, 2017, as compared to Rs 234.05 crore in the year-ago period. Commenting on the performance company’s Managing Director Varun Berry said: “It has been a good quarter in the face of Goods and Services Tax (GST) transition.”



hipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the “Blue Economy” was proving to be a catalyst in India’s progress and the performance of major sea ports was a “clear indicator” of that. Gadkari’s remarks in November came as he reviewed in Goa the performance of all ports in the country. According to the Shipping Ministry, India’s major ports had recorded a growth of 3.27 per cent during April-September period and collectively handled 383 million tonnes of cargo as against 371 million tonnes handled during the corresponding period of the previous year. “The highest growth was registered by Cochin Port (17.66 per cent), followed by Kolkata, New Mangalore and Paradip with growth of about 12 per cent,” the Ministry said in a statement. During the April-September period, Kandla Port handled the highest volume of traffic (63.13 million tonnes), followed by Paradip with 55.78 million tonnes, JNPT with 37.90 million tonnes, Mumbai with 36.72 million tonnes, and Visakhapatnam with 35.74 million tonnes. “Together, these five ports handled around 60 per cent of major port traffic,” it added.



he union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a proposal for developing an exhibition-cum-convention centre (ECC) in Dwarka in west Delhi, an official said. The exhibition-cum-convention centre and allied infrastructure will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 25,703 crore by 2025. The cabinet also approved incorporation of a new Government company as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation and development of the project with 100 per cent equity from the Government through the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), an official statement said. It is estimated that the proposed facility, once fully operational, will infuse a demand for more than 100 major international and local exhibition events annually. The number of paying visitors to the exhibition facility annually is estimated to be more than 10 million in the first phase from 2019-20 and 23 million after completion of the second phase by 2025. Similarly, convention-based delegate attendance is estimated to cross 1.5 million annually after successful completion of second phase of the project. The project is also likely to generate over five lakh direct and indirect employment opportunities.


Q2 profit down 91 per cent for DLF Real estate major DLF on Friday reported a decline of 90.5 per cent in its consolidated net profit for the second quarter of 2017-18, at Rs 19 crore, as compared Rs 200 crore reported for the corresponding period of last fiscal. “Post the enactment of RERA by various states, the company adopted a cautious approach by shutting down its sales,” the realty major said in a statement.

Q2 Rs 28 crore profit for HCL State-run Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) has reported that its net profit jumped over four times to Rs 28.55 crore for the quarter ended September 30 as compared to Rs 6.77 crore in the year-ago period. “Once the NALCO board approves the proposal, a company will be formed to deal in the area of strategic minerals,” company’s CMD Santosh Sharma said.

Q2 Rs 70 crore profit for A-Bank State-run Allahabad Bank on Friday reported close to 8 per cent growth in its net profit to Rs 70.20 crore for the quarter ended September 30, as compared to Rs 65.03 crore for the year-ago period. The growth in bank’s net profit for the second quarter of the current fiscal was aided by a healthy growth in operating profit along with fall in the bank cost of deposits.

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n a significant sign of trilateral cooperation, the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan, that was flagged off by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on October 29, reached the Afghan city of Zaranj near the IranAfghanistan border on November 11 via the Iranian port of Chabahar, thereby bypassing Pakistan. “1st India wheat shipment via #Chabahar welcomed into Zaranj #Afghanistan with traditional song, dance and joy! Proud moment!!,” Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra tweeted. Vohra said that pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decorated Zaranj as the shipment arrived. The shipment to Afghanistan comes in the wake of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s one-day visit to India on October 24. India is a major development aid partner for strife-torn Afghanistan. While flagging off the shipment on October 29, Sushma Swaraj also thanked Iran “for providing assistance in facilitating the movement of this gift through Chabahar Port. This shows the convergence between the ancient civilisations of India, Afghanistan and Iran to spur unhindered flow of commerce and trade throughout the region,” she said. The shipment is part of a commitment made by India to supply 1.1 million tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan on a grant basis.



he Union Cabinet has given its approval to the signing of a Joint Interpretative Declaration (JID) between India and Colombia regarding the existing agreement for the promotion and protection of investments between India and Colombia, signed on November 10, 2009, an official said. “The JID would impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreement as it includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including the definition of investor, definition of investment, Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), National Treatment (NT) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, expropriation, Investor - State Dispute Settlement provision and Denial of Benefits,” an official statement in November said. It added that Joint Interpretative Declarations/Statements in general play an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime. With increasing Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value before arbitration tribunals. 54 india empire | november 2017


Q2 Rs 93.14 crore profit for JK Cement JK Cement has reported an over two-fold increase in its standalone net profit to Rs 93.14 crore for the quarter ended September 30. The firm had registered a net profit of Rs 40.91 crore in the corresponding period one year ago.

Q2 Rs 2,020 crore profit for L&T Engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has reported a rise of 31.86 per cent in its consolidated profit after tax (PAT) for the second quarter (Q2) ended September 30. The company’s PAT for the quarter stood at Rs 2,020.30 crore against Rs 1,532.15 crore reported during the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Total income from operations for Q2 FY18 was up 5.4 per cent.

Q3 Rs 343 crore profit for Nestle India Nestle India has said that its net profit after tax climbed 23.26 per cent to Rs 343.17 crore for the third quarter of 2017. Net profit for the JulySeptember quarter of the company, which uses the calendar year of declaring results, stood at Rs 343.17 crore, up 23.26 per cent from Rs 278.41 crore reported during the same period in 2016. For the quarter ended September 30, 2017, the total revenue from operations of the company rose by 3.45 per cent to Rs 2,514.05 crore from Rs 2,430.25 crore reported during the same period last year.

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