Over the years one of the issues that neighbours India and China have agreed to disagree on is the border. Even on July 15 the Chinese army had come inside Indian territory and there had been a standoff of sorts, between it and its Indian counterpart, that could have escalated into something bad. It is in this climate that Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, has expressed his optimism regarding his upcoming India visit, which is supposed to happen during September. He has also invited Narendra Modi to visit China in 2014 itself. The two leaders also met each other for the first time during the recent BRICS summit at Fortaleza, Brazil.
Modi gets Chinese president’s invite for quick settlement of border issues
It is expected that as and when Modi visits China there shall be a discussion on how quickly a solution to the border crisis could be arrived at. At Fortaleza, where they were supposed to interact for 40 minutes both the leaders extended it to 80 minutes and in what could be described as a free flowing discussion they touched upon a wide array of issues. The meeting of APEC leaders is supposed to happen at Beijing during November and Modi has been attended to invite the same.
Indian Air Force settles for Rafale jets
One of the major aims of the present Indian government is to modernise the army and from the looks of it Russia seems to be losing ground as India’s main area of dependence in this regard especially in the context of Indian airlines. The Indian Air Force had decided that it would be incorporating Rafale fighter jets, manufactured by a French company named Dassault Aviation, and in this vein it has bought 127 such jets from the company. This development also looks to be a good one for the indigenous defence industry considering that now it will be called upon to take care of the additional requirements of the air force as per its latest decision.
The Americans and British had tried very hard to project themselves as viable options with very in-your-face campaigns to counter the French but in the end it proved to be ineffective. It was like the Indians had almost decided that it was going to be Rafale. One of the major reasons for Rafale nailing the deal was its double engine arrangement that is considered to be a safer option. The IAF is also aiming to fly these planes for the next 4 decades or so for this very reason.
Opposition parties look for discussion on Gaza issue at Rajya Sabha
The opposition parties of Rajya Sabha have demanded that there be a discussion on the Gaza issue at the upper house of Indian legislature on July 17. The call for the said discussion has come from various political parties and this includes Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha. Azad has led the team of opposition leaders who have had a meeting with PJ Kurien, the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha, so that their demand for this discussion can be successful. The leaders are eager that these discussions take place on a priority basis after the question hour gets over.
Initially the matter was supposed to be discussed on July 16 but the government refused to participate in it. It reasoned that the said discussion could have a harmful effect on India’s bilateral relations with Palestine and Israel. Apart from Azad the other leaders in the fray were Viplove Thakur and Jairam Ramesh from Congress, KC Tyagi from JD-U, Mohammad Adeeb who is an independent candidate, Narendra Kumar Kashyap from BSP, and P Rajeeve, Ritabrata Banerjee, and TK Rangarajan from CPI-M. This is a peculiar situation whereby the government is also right in not discussing the issue because of its possible impact on bilateral relations and the opposition is also doing a commendable job on raising a global issue that has seen plenty of violations of human rights on either side.
Tariff rates for specialized broadband lines reduced by TRAI
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has brought down upper limits of tariff rates that are applicable for specialized broadband lines referred to as domestic leased circuits or DLC. These circuits are used by telecom operators and business establishments and the reduction has happened at a rate of 60%. Improving the business scenario and projecting India as a viable business destination is one of the major aims of the present administration and it seems that this decision is going to be an integral part of the same.
One also feels that the reduced rates will help the common consumers to certain extent as the telecom companies would now receive some leeway to maintain a specific rate for internet usage for a longer period than what they were able to do previously. From a business point of view these networks help in the development and provision of services such as e-commerce, internet access for the common people, and e-administration. The knowledge-based sectors, such as business process outsourcing, IT enabled services and information technology, also depend on these networks. The telecom companies also use these networks in case they lack sufficient infrastructure to provide effective service in a particular area.
Indian satellites to provide information to Brazilian earth station
In what could be described as a major achievement for the scientific fraternity of India, the country has inked an agreement with Brazil whereby India would help the South American country in improving an earth station so that it can receive and then process information that is provided by remote sensing satellites that have been developed in India. The concerned station is at Cuiaba and it will collect information from LISS-III and AWiFS.
As per the agreement the National Institute for Space Research or INPE in Brazil will work with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as well as National Remote Sensing Centre, which is an executive agency of the same to achieve the aims mentioned in the said agreement. This will include receiving, archiving, processing and distributing data pertaining to earth observation. This agreement also marks a major development in the relations shared by India and Brazil. However, apart from science and technology there are other areas where both the countries can collaborate such as agricultural outsourcing, which is an area of specialty for the South American countries.