India-Japan

India-Japan Ties Will Draw Strength Especially From Quad: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday emphasised that India-Japan ties will both draw strength from larger activities together, especially from the Quad.

Speaking at Nikkei Forum on the India-Japan Special Strategic Partnership, EAM said that solutions for India and Japan nationally, as well as regionally and globally, lie there.

“My argument is that India-Japan ties will both draw strength from our larger activities together, especially from the quad, but also contribute to its effectiveness and its breadth,” he said.

Jaishankar added, “The bottom line is that the world is changing, the Indo-Pacific is changing, and India and Japan are changing, but in our relationship, many solutions for us nationally, as well as region and for the world lie there.”

Jaishankar is on a visit to Japan from March 6-8 for the 16th India-Japan Foreign Minister’s Strategic Dialogue with his Japanese counterpart, Yoko Kamikawa.

He further stressed that India-Japan relationships need to be continuously tended at various levels.

“They also need to be constantly refreshed,” he added.

EAM highlighted that there will always be new complexities but equally fresh opportunities will also be there. “This is how India and Japan should approach each other today,” he said.

After holding discussions with his Japanese counterpart, he said, “We are convergent on the big picture and the key concerns.”

He stressed that our inclination and ability to respond in a more coordinated manner have also improved.

Highlighting the defence sector, Jaishankar noted that a bilateral military exercise is going on between India and Japan as of now.

Moving further to investment, he said, “It is much better in investment, though trade remains flatter than we would wish.”

India and Japan are also having an active conversation on emerging technologies that hold much promise, he said.

“Creating new supply chains and building a stronger digital connection are priorities for both of us,” EAM said.

Moreover, he also emphasised that both nations are working well together in world politics, including, of late, in multilateral organisations.

However, people-to-people linkages, lag behind and clearly need more attention, he stressed.

When asked about whether China is part of the Global South or not, as it was not part of the Global South Summit, Jaishankar said, “At the two summits (Global South Summit), which we conveyed, I don’t believe China was present.”

Earlier on Thursday, addressing the Raisina Roundtable in Tokyo, Jaishankar, citing the turbulence in India’s relationship with China amid the border standoff, said that it is a cause of concern if a country doesn’t observe written agreements with its neighbours and also raises a question on the said country’s intentions.

India’s foreign minister also said that when big power shifts take place in the Indo-Pacific region, there are accompanying and strategic consequences.

He further said that although countries intend to keep relationships stable despite changing dynamics but that has not been the case with China.

“It’s not an issue whether you like or not like it, there is a reality out there and you have to deal with that. Ideally, we would assume ‘Everybody would say okay, things are changing but let’s keep it as stable as we can’. Unfortunately, that’s not what we have seen in the last decade,” Jaishankar said. (ANI)

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Jaishankar

Canada Very Permissive Towards Terrorists, Extremists: Jaishankar

Taking a jibe at the Canadian government amid the ongoing diplomatic standoff between the two nations, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremist people who openly advocate violence is very permissive.

Adding that there has been an issue of great friction for many years with Canada, Jaishankar said, “This has been an issue of great friction for many years with Canada. But in the last few years, it has come back very much into play because of what we consider to be a very permissive Canadian attitude towards terrorists, extremist people who openly advocate violence. And they have been given operating space in Canada because of the compulsions of Canadian politics.”

Speaking on the India-Canada row in Washington, Jaishankar stated that the Indian diplomats are unsafe going to the embassy in the country because of the situation there.

He said, “…For us, it has certainly been a country where, organized crime from India, mixed with trafficking in people, mixed with secessionism, violence, terrorism– it’s a very toxic combination of issues and people, who have found operating space there.”

“Today, I’m actually in a situation where my diplomats are unsafe going to the embassy, or to the consulate in Canada. They are publicly intimidated. And that has actually compelled me to temporarily suspend even visa operations in Canada,” he added.

Jaishankar also highlighted that he also spoke with the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and US State Secretary Antony Blinken about Canada.

“Yes, I spoke to NSA Jake Sullivan and (US Secretary of State) Antony Blinken about Canada. They shared US views and assessments on this whole situation… I think hopefully we both came out of those meetings better and forward,” he added.

“The Canadian PM made some allegations initially privately, and then publicly. And our response to him, both in private and public– what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy. And that if he had, if his government had anything relevant and specific they would like us to look into, we were open to looking at it. Now, that’s where that conversation is at this point of time,” Jaishankar said.

India has suspended its visa services in Canada, following Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the killing.

Amid strained ties, India issued an advisory for its citizens and those who are travelling to Canada to exercise “utmost caution in view of growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence” in the country. 

However, Canada has yet to provide any public evidence to support the claim about the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a week ago had accused the Indian government of being behind the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. This was followed by the expulsion of an Indian diplomat from Canada. 

Nijjar, who was a designated terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara in a parking area in Canada’s Surrey, British Columbia on June 18. (ANI)

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Passport Seva Divas Jaishankar

It Has Never Been An Easy Relationship: Jaishankar On China

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday (local time) highlighted India-China relations that have gone through cycles of conflict and cooperation over nearly 75 years and said that the relationship between the two nations has not been easy.

“I was the ambassador in 2009, right after the global financial crisis, till 2013. I saw the change of guard in China, and then I came to the US. It has never been an easy relationship. It always had its share of problems,” Jaishankar said at the ‘Discussion at Council on Foreign Relations’ in New York.

He said that despite the history of war and military incidents, there hasn’t been a military or combat fatality on the border since 1975.

“It had a war in 1962, it had military incidents after that. But after 1975, there’s never been a military, a combat fatality on the border,” added Jaisahnakr.

However, calling it one of the ‘pleasures’ to deal with China, Jaishankar said that there is always certain ambiguity as the Chinese never actually tell the reason behind their actions.  

“One of the pleasures of dealing with China is that they never quite tell you why they do things, so you often end up trying to figure it out. There is always certain ambiguity, said Jaishnakar”.

The EAM further said that the Indo-China relationship has never been an easy one and has always had its share of problems.

India and China’s strained relationship has been fueled by recent Chinese provocations, including releasing the 2023 edition of its “standard map”, staking a claim over Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin region and denial of visas to Indian athletes in the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Jaishankar also said that today India is one of the few countries that has the ability to bridge the sharp East-West polarisation and North-South divide.

“One of the contradictions and it was very visible at the G20. You have a much sharper East-West polarization, whose immediate, but not only cause is the conflict in Ukraine. You have particularly because of Covid, but not only because of Covid, a very deep North-South divide. And I would say we are one of the few countries, who have the ability to actually bridge both these issues,” he said.

He further emphasised the number of groupings and blocs that India has become a part of lately.

“It’s interesting if you look at the last decade. We have become members of more organizations. QUAD, after 2008 was revived in 2017. It’s been upgraded steadily, it has become at the level of President in 2021,” the EAM said.

He added, “The most recent is the India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor. We have a grouping called the I2U2, which involves India, Israel, the US and the UAE. We joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. We have a few more organisations of a more local proximate nature”. (ANI)

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Katchatheevu island

UN Must Make Reforms To Stay Relevant In Modern World: Jaishankar

Addressing the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday called on the United Nations to make reforms to stay relevant in the modern world and said that the issue cannot remain “indefinite” and “unchallenged”. 

EAM took a jibe at some nations and said, “In our deliberations, we often advocate promotion of a rules-based order. From time to time, respect for the UN Charter is also involved. But for all the talk, it is still a few nations which shape the agenda and seek to define the norms. This can’t go on indefinitely nor will it go unchallenged.  A fair, equitable and democratic order will surely emerge once we all put our minds to it. And for a start, that means ensuring that rule-makers do not subjugate rule-takers.”

Hailing the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member in the G20 grouping under India’s G20 presidency, Jaishankar emphasised that the adoption of reform would make the Security Council relevant to the modern world. 

“It was also noteworthy that at India’s initiative, the African Union was a permanent member of the G20. By doing so, we gave voice to an entire continent which has long been its due. This significant step in reform should inspire the United Nations, a much older organisation, to also make the Security Council contemporary. Broad representation is after all, a pre-requisite for both effectiveness and credibility,” said Jaishankar.

Notably, reforms in the global systems have been an issue continuously raised by India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the global stage.

During his concluding address at the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi, PM Modi reiterated his stance of making global systems in accordance with the “realities of the present” and took the example of the United Nations Security Council.

“When the UN was established, the world at that time was completely different from today. At that time there were 51 founding members in the UN. Today the number of countries included in the UN is around 200. Despite this, the permanent members in UNSC are still the same,” he said.

In his address, EAM stressed the impact of giving a platform to 125 nations in the G20 agenda and highlighted that the issues that deserve global attention were addressed in the summit.

Jaishankar pointed out, “Recognising that growth and development must focus on the most vulnerable, we began presidency by convening the Voice of the Global South Summit. This enabled us to hear directly from 125 nations and place their concerns on the G20 Agenda. As a consequence, issues which deserve global attention got a fair hearing.”

Mentioning the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the Indian parliament, Jaishankar said that the world’s ancient traditions for democracy have adopted modern scenarios.

“Our latest assertion is in path-breaking legislation to reserve one-third of the seats for women in legislatures. I speak for a society where ancient traditions of democracy have struck deep modern roots. As a result, our thinking, approaches and actions are more grounded and authentic,” Jaishankar added.

Addressing the 78th United Nations General Assembly, Jaishankar said India began its G20 presidency by convening the Voice of the Global South Summit, recognising that growth and development must focus on the marginal people as well.

He said the world is witnessing an exceptional period of turmoil.

“At this juncture, it was with a sense of exceptional responsibility India took up the presidency of G20. Our vision of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ sought to focus on the key concerns of the many just the narrow interests of the few,” he said.

The minister said that the African Union becoming a member of G20 should inspire the United Nations, a much older organisation, to also make the Security Council contemporary.

“Recognising that growth and development must focus on the most vulnerable, we began presidency by convening the Voice of the Global South Summit. This enabled us to hear directly from 125 nations and place their concerns on the G20 Agenda. As a consequence, issues that deserve global attention got a fair hearing. More than that, the deliberations produced outcomes that have great significance for the international community,” he said.

“It was also noteworthy that at India’s initiative, the African Union as a permanent member of the G20. By doing so, we gave voice to an entire continent which has long been its due. This significant step in reform should inspire the United Nations, a much older organisation, to also make the Security Council contemporary,” he added.

Jaishankar began his address with “Namaste from Bharat!”.

“Our fullest support to this UNGA’s theme of rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity. This is an occasion to take stock of our achievements and challenges even while sharing our aspirations and goals. Indeed, in regard to both, there is much that India has to share,” he said.

The G20 Summit was held in New Delhi earlier this month. The G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration was adopted on September 9 with leaders forging a consensus.

Notably, reforms in the global systems have been an issue continuously raised by India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the global stage.

During his concluding address at the G20 Leaders Summit here in the national capital, PM Modi reiterated his stance of making global systems in accordance with the “realities of the present” and took the example of the United Nations Security Council.

“When the UN was established, the world at that time was completely different from today. At that time there were 51 founding members in the UN. Today the number of countries included in the UN is around 200. Despite this, the permanent members in UNSC are still the same,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that a lot has changed in the world since that time, be it transport, communication, health, or education, every sector has been transformed.

“These new realities should be reflected in our new global structure. It is a law of nature that individuals and organizations that fail to adapt to changing times inevitably lose their relevance. We must think with an open mind as to what is the reason that many regional forums have come into existence in the past years, and they are also proving to be effective,” he further said. (ANI)

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Jaishankar Retains MEA

G20 Declaration Focuses On Promoting Strong, Sustainable, Inclusive Growth: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the G20 Leaders’s Summit Declaration adopted on Saturday focuses on promoting strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

Addressing a joint press conference, Jaishankar said the Declaration seeks to accelerate progress on Sustainable Development Goals and has come up with an action plan accordingly.

“The declaration the leaders have agreed on today, focuses on promoting strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. It seeks to accelerate progress on SDGs and has come up with an action plan accordingly,” the minister said.  

“It envisages a green development pact for a sustainable future, it endorses high-level principles on lifestyle for sustainable development, voluntary principles of hydrogen, the Chennai principles for a sustainable resilient blue economy and the Deccan principles on food security and nutrition among others,” he added.

He said the message of India’s presidency is ‘One Earth, One Family and we share One Future’ and the country has “consciously sought to make this G20 as inclusive and broad-based as possible”.

“It’s witnessing the participation of its 20 member states, nine invitee states and 14 international organisations. It is a matter of particular satisfaction for us that the African Union is a permanent member,” he said.

The minister said that transformative and inclusive role of technology has been highlighted with a focus on digital public infrastructure.  

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced at the G20 Summit that consensus has been built on New Delhi Leaders’ Summit Declaration. He announced its adoption.

“I have received good news. Due to the hard work of our team, consensus has been built on New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit Declaration. My proposal is to adopt this leadership declaration. I announce to adopt this declaration. On this occasion, I congratulate my Sherpa, ministers, who worked hard for it and made it possible,” PM Modi said.

The announcement of adoption of the Declaration was welcomed with thumping of desks.

The G20 Summit is being held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10. (ANI)

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India Canadian

Requested Partner Countries Not To Give Space To Khalistanis: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on Monday, said that India has requested partner countries like Canada, the UK, and Australia not to give space to the Khalistanis as these radical extremist ideologies are not good for their relationship.

On names of Indian diplomats in Khalistani posters in Canada, Jaishankar said, “We have requested our partner countries, like Canada, UK, Australia, US that they should not give space to these Khalistanis. These radical extremist ideologies aren’t good for us, them, or our ties. Will raise the issue of these posters.”
The EAM’s remarks came after the reports of posters being circulated in Canada informing pro-Khalistan residents of a rally. These posters caused concerns for the Indian government as it threatened the ambassador and consulate general in Toronto.

In March this year, Khalistan supporters protested outside the Indian Embassy in Canada. They raised pro-Khalistan slogans and allegedly assaulted Indian-origin journalists present on the spot.

Khalistan supporters in March, protested outside the Indian Embassy in Canada. They raised pro-Khalistan slogans and allegedly assaulted Indian-origin journalists present on the spot.

Earlier this month, a tableau parade was organized in Ontario celebrating the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi, which drew severe criticism from New Delhi.

Last month also, Jaishankar reacted to the rise of Khalistanis activities in Canada. While speaking at a town hall meeting at the India International Centre, here in the national capital, the minister said that Ottawa seems to be driven by “vote-bank politics” and this has also impacted the ties between the two countries lately.

Speaking to the reporters, Jaishankar said, “How Canada has dealt with the Khalistani issue is a longstanding issue for us, because very frankly, they seem to be driven by vote bank politics. Their responses have been constrained by what they regard as vote bank compulsions. We made it very clear that if there are activities which are permitted from Canada that impinge on our sovereignty, territorial integrity and our security, then we will have to respond.”

“It is something which is a continuing conversation with Canada, not always satisfactory, but something on which we have been very clear. And over the last few years, you can see that this has impacted our ties in many ways,” he added. (ANI)

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Jaishankar on Multilateralism

Jaishankar, G20 Delegates Visit Holy Site of Sarnath

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited the sacred Buddhist temple of Sarnath in Varanasi alongwith the G20 delegates. The G20 delegates are present in Varanasi to attend G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting that was held on Monday.

EAM Jaishankar along with the G20 delegates visited Sarnath on Tuesday. This is the third day that the G20 delegates are present in Varanasi. The Development Ministers’ Meeting was a three-day long event that started on Sunday.

On Sunday, a day before the DMM, the delegates to the G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar took part in the Ganga Arti ritual at the Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi.

The smooth glistening pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C. marks the foundation of the Buddhist Sangha, and the Lion Capital atop this pillar is now India’s National Emblem.

Earlier, the delegates were welcomed in a traditional way at Namo Ghat. Seeing the cultural artists dance, the delegates also shook a leg. Following this, they boarded the cruise vessel and reached Dashashmaved Ghat. During the Aarti, there was a special Shankhnaad for the guests.

A day after the official event of the Development Minister’s Meeting took place, the delegates were taken to see the ancient and archaeological site of Sarnath.

The archaeological remains of Sarnath started attracting scholars in the 19th century. In the recent past, the Sarnath Circle of Archaeological Survey of India has been taking care of the excavation work in Sarnath.

The Archaeological site showcases the grandeur of ancient times. An open exhibition of structures like Mulagandha Kuti Vihar remains, Dharmrajika Stupa remains, Dhamek Stupa, Ashokan Column, monuments, relics, and monasteries from the Mauryan period are showcased here.

Sarnath, 10km from Varanasi, is one of the most revered Buddhist pilgrimage centres. It is believed that after attaining Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, it was here that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, sanctified as Maha Dharm Chakra Parivartan.

The great Dhamekh Stupa and several other structures stand testimony to the importance the place enjoyed at that time.

The Chaukhandi Stupa is the place where, during his first visit to Sarnath, Lord Buddha met his first five disciples.

The area is a treasure trove of archaeological findings such as Dharmrajika Stupa and Mulgandhkuti Vihar. (ANI)

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Jaishankar

Rahul Taking Classes On China from Chinese Ambassador: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday took a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and said that he was taking classes on China from the Chinese ambassador.

Speaking on ‘Foreign Policy of Modi Government,’ he said, “I would have offered to take classes on China from Rahul Gandhi but I discovered he was taking classes on China from the Chinese ambassador,” responding to the Congress leader’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s handling of relations with China.
Jaishankar referred to Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese ambassador to India during the Doklam crisis. He attacked the government, suggesting that new territory had been lost to China’s salami slicing.

“I know everything in politics is political. I accept that. But I think on certain issues, we have a collective responsibility to at least behave in a way that we do not weaken our (India’s) collective position abroad to do what we have seen in the last three years in China,” Jaishankar said, adding, “often very misleading narratives are put in.”

Jaishankar also hit out at misleading narratives and misrepresentations, adding, “We had, for example…a bridge which the Chinese were building on Pangong Tso. Now, the reality was that the particular area first Chinese came in 1959, and then they occupied it in 1962. But that’s not the way it was put across. This happened in the case of some of the so-called model villages as well, that they were built on areas which we lost in 62 or before 62. Now, I don’t believe you will very rarely hear me say 1962, that shouldn’t have happened, or you are wrong, or you are responsible. What has happened has happened. It’s our collective, I would say failure or responsibility. I do not necessarily attribute political colouring to it. I would like to see is actually a serious China conversation. I’m prepared to accept that there are different viewpoints on that, but if you reduce it to kind of slanging match, what can I say after that?”

This is not the first time that Jaishankar hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his comments relating to China. Earlier in March, Jaishankar had criticised Rahul Gandhi while speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi.

“When Panda huggers try to be China hawks… it doesn’t fly,” the minister said, adding, “He [Rahul Gandhi] speaks admiringly about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He compares, very poetically, I must say, the BRI with the Yellow River in China gushing forward. The BRI goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. It violates our national integrity and sovereignty. He doesn’t have a word to say about it,” Jaishankar said at the Conclave.

Jaishankar also dealt with India-Iran relations and Chabahar port, he said, “Port in Iran very important for us…It has been difficult, Iran has been under sanctions, but we have made steady progress…”

He said that India is pushing hard for Chabahar port because “unless something miraculous changes in Pakistan, which I don’t expect, I will have to find a way around that to develop access to central Asia.”

Speaking about his interaction with Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Goa, he said, “If I have a good guest, I am a good host…”

He also dealt with Bhutto’s India media engagement raking several issues barring SCO and said, “Pakistan conducts terrorism and asserts its right to do terrorism…,” pointing out how SAARC has a member – Pakistan that doesn’t “follow basic rules international relations…” supporting terror and blocking connectivity.

“Not in our interest to be locked into perpetual hostility with Pakistan, nobody wants that….somewhere we have to draw and stand by our red lines…” said EAM Jaishankar, adding, “if neighbour attacks my city…I dont think it should be business as usual.” (ANI)

Jaishankar

Pak’s Credibility Is Depleting Faster Than Its Forex Reserve: Jaishankar

External Affairs S Jaishankar on Friday took a dig at Pakistan’s economic condition amid its depleting forex reserves.

Slamming Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s comments on terrorism, he said, “Pakistan’s credibility is depleting faster than even its Forex reserves,” at a media briefing by the Presidency after SCO Council of Foreign Ministers.
“They (Pakistan) are committing acts of terrorism. I don’t want to jump the gun on what happened today, but we all feel equally outraged. On this matter, the terrorism matter, I would say that Pakistan’s credibility is depleting faster than even its Forex reserves,” Jaishankar said.

Adding further, EAM said Pakistan has nothing to do with G20 and Srinagar.

“I said they (Pakistan) have nothing to do with G20. I will also say that they have nothing to do with Srinagar. There is only one issue to discuss on Kashmir which is when does Pakistan vacate its illegal occupation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,” the EAM added.

On a question on abrogation of Article 370, EAM Dr S Jaishankar phrased, “…wake up and smell the coffee. 370 is history. The sooner people realise it, the better it is.”

Over the visit of Pakistan Foreign Minister Bhutto to Goa for the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers in Goa, EAM slammed his neighbouring counterpart, saying, “He came here as the Foreign Minister of an SCO Member State. That is part of multilateral diplomacy. Don’t see it as anything more than that. I think that nothing from what he said or what I heard he said deserves for this to be treated more than that.” (ANI)

Jaishankar is Right; India Should be Really Scared of China

India should be scared of China

Last month India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar, who is building a sort of reputation for delivering gaffes, came under fire of the Opposition when, after the recent India-China border stand-off in the north east, he remarked that India could not pick a fight with China because the latter had a much bigger economy. The Opposition tore into him, saying that he was suffering from Stockholm syndrome (which may have been a reference to Jaishankar’s stint during his foreign service days as India’s ambassador to China) and Indian military veterans, notably those who have fought in India’s wars and skirmishes with China, termed his attitude as “defeatist”.

Factually, however, Jaishankar’s statement about China, while probably not befitting in the pride and patriotism-fuelled world of diplomatic norms, is quite correct. China is much larger and more powerful than India on most measures. India might take pride about the fact that, according to the World Bank, its GDP growth for last year was 7%, making it one of the world’s best-performing economies, while China’s growth figure was well below its official target of 5.5% and probably the worst in the history of modern China. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the sobering fact to note is that China’s GDP is $14.69 trillion, and India’s is $3.18 trillion. In that context, getting giddily excited about growth percentages is a bit stupid.

Militarily too China is far ahead of India. According to Global Firepower, which ranks countries on the basis of their military strength, China is No. 3 and India No. 4 (USA is No. 1 and Russia No.2) and in terms of personnel in military service the difference between India and China may not be huge. India has 14.5 lakh active personnel; and China has 20 lakh. But consider defence budgets of the two countries: India spends $72 biillion on defence but China spends $225 billion. That is a difference of $147 billion.

China’s economic strength and military power are not the only formidable factors that India should be concerned about. Last week, US intelligence agencies, in their annual global threat assessment report, warned that after the clash between India and China in 2020 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is a notional demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory in the Sino-Indian border dispute, there is a real threat of a full-blown armed confrontation between the two countries that could require the intervention of the US. The report said that “previous standoffs have demonstrated that persistent low-level friction on the Line of Actual Control has the potential to escalate swiftly.”

Changes in China that could further impact India

Last week, when Chinese premier Li Keqiang bid farewell to 800 or so senior government officials, he is said to have said the following words: “Heaven is looking at what humans are doing. The firmament has eyes.” The segment of his address in which he said those words has unsurprisingly not been aired by the state-run China Central Television but unofficial videos that capture him saying that have been circulating.

Interpreting what Li meant is not difficult. Also last week, an unprecedented third term for Xi Jinping, China’s all-powerful president was officially and unanimously approved by the country’s legislature, which is in effect a rubber-stamp institution in country that Xi runs single-handedly and with authoritarian might. In that context, the nuance of what outgoing premier Li said is easy to see.

In China’s Communist ideology, the people are supposed to be the lead players in politics and in governance of the country. The state council, which is the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China and the supreme organ of state power, is supposed to interpret the common people’s voices and shape policies based on that. Li’s comments about “heaven” looking at what humans are doing is likely a nuanced reference to how, under Xi, who has been in office since 2013, how the state council has been overshadowed by the Communist Party’s central committee that he runs with near-absolute control.

Xi’s philosophy and objectives have been variously interpreted as throwback to an era where economic , political and international policies of China were centralized and heavily controlled. Xi’s policies have put private sector players in China back under central control after an era of near-capitalistic market freedom. But more importantly, his policies regarding the west and the rest of the world are being interpreted as being aggressive and expansionist. This is why the relations between China and US have turned southward and this is another major reason for India, which shares a 3,488 km border with China ought to be worried.

Rahul Gandhi gets flak over comments “against India”

Congress leader, MP, and member of the Congress party’s elite family (there is no other way of describing the sometimes enthusiastic and sometimes reluctant leader), Rahul Gandhi, came under severe criticism for what supporters of the ruling regime in India called “anti-India” remarks. While on a visit to the UK, Gandhi, 52, criticized the Indian foreign minister’s comments about China as being “cowardly”, accused the government of stifling democracy and was quoted as saying that the Indian government was intolerant of criticism and accused it of trying to silence the Opposition.

Among other things, Gandhi alleged that his phone was being surveilled, and that in Parliament, microphones were often switched off when Opposition party members wanted to protest against government action and policies. While there is probably a degree of truth in what Gandhi has ranted about in his meetings and public engagements in the UK, the fact that he chose a foreign country to make such allegations is what seems to have angered his opponents.

Australia-India ties and the Quad initiative

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), or Quad, is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the United States and is interpreted as a grouping that seeks to counter China’s growing dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. In that context, the visit of Australia’s prme minister Anthony Albanese to India last week was of significance. The countries seek to strengthen ties by engaging in more trade, investment and defence relations.

In the engagement, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian prime minister Albanese also attending a cricket match between the teams of the two countries, the importance of China loomed. Both India and Australia want to become bigger trade partners as both countries want to detach from China. As of now, China is Australia’s largest trade partner. India could now become Australia’s second-largest trade partner. The two countries last year signed an interim trade deal that was close to a full free trade agreement.

Artificial Intelligence for brewing beer

After humanlike chat interactions on platforms such as ChatGPT, Bing and Bard, it is breweries where artificial intelligence may be making inroads. Beer making might be an ancient skill: the oldest recipe for beer dates back to 1800 B.C. in Mesopotamia where Sumerians are said to have brewed the drink from fermented barley bread.

But today, breweries are beginning to use artificial intelligence to get the perfect brew. An Australian brewery is putting QR codes on its beer cans and bottles so that customers can scan them and give feedback on the taste and other attributes of the beer that they are drinking. The feedback is directly transmitted to company’s brewery where an algorithm tweaks the formula of the brew.

This is how it works: The Adelaide based company, Deep Liquid, which partners with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, helped a local brewery, Barossa Valley Brewing to create AI2PA: The Rodney. It is an AI-generated IPA. On each can of AI2PA, a QR code allows drinkers to send in their comments and views on the beer’s flavor, smell, taste, etc. The feedback in real time is converted to a set of data that can be used by an algorithm to change the recipe of the beer according to what consumers want. So, tipplers get to drink the beer that they actually prefer. Cheers!

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