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Goyal calls India as a ‘voice of developing nations’

Goyal is currently on an official visit to France and Italy during which he would be accompanied by a delegation of top Indian CEOs…reports Asian Lite News

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday called India a “voice of developing countries” and said that today the country represents the global south.

Speaking at the Gala Dinner in Rome among the presence of Indian and Italian Business leaders, Goyal said that India as the voice of the less developed countries, has been at the forefront of not only providing a better life for our people but also contributing to a better future for people in other parts of the world. “India today represents the global south, being the voice of the developing countries, the voice of the less developed countries, has been at the forefront of not only providing for a better life for our people but also contributing to a better future for people in other parts of the world, particularly in countries which have also been left behind in the development process,” the Union Minister said.

India’s Ambassador to Italy, Dr Neena Malhotra as well as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Edmondo Cirielli were also present at the occasion.

Goyal further spoke on connectivity at the event and highlighted how India offers an oasis of opportunity with 1.4 bn people aspiring for a better quality of life.

The Union Minister said, “India offers an oasis of opportunity with 1.4 Billion people aspiring for a better quality of life, aspiring for good things, that we have missed out on over the years and the govt over the last decade has focused itself on providing the basic amenities that are required by any person, by any family.”

He also added that India now has nearly 800 million internet users across the length and breadth of the country and that 4G penetration is throughout the nation.

“We have ensured that no family is ever deprived of food, proper clothing, proper shelter, healthcare, and education. We now have nearly 800 mn internet users across the length and breadth of the country. 4G penetration is throughout the country. We have launched 5G, and by end of 2023, most of the main cities in India would be covered by 5G Connectivity,” Union Minister Piyush Goyal said at the Gala dinner in Rome on Wednesday.

Goyal is currently on an official visit to France and Italy during which he would be accompanied by a delegation of top Indian CEOs.

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, while addressing India-France Business Summit and CEOs Roundtable in Paris on April 12, told participants and delegates that there is a huge delta of opportunities in India and invited them to leverage them.

The Embassy of India in Paris, in association with the industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Mouvement des Entreprises de France(MEDEF) and the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry(IFCCI), organised the Business Summit and CEOs Roundtable on Tuesday (local time).

More than 50 CEOs from Indian and French companies participated at the CEOs Roundtable which was addressed by Minister Goyal and the Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Government of France, Olivier Becht. Sectors such as agriculture, tourism, defence, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and aerospace were also represented at the roundtable.

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The unfading legacy of INS Viraat

On March 6, 2017, Indias second aircraft carrier, the mighty INS Viraat, was decommissioned after 30 years of glorious service to the nation. This article is a tribute to this unique warship, which kept Indias shores safe and citizens protected during one of the most challenging times in our nations history…writes Amruta Talawadekar & Janhvi Lokegaonkar

Thus, this article intends to rewind the clock and take a peek at those glory days through the eyes of one of its Captains who commanded INS Viraat when it was in full sail on the Indian high seas.

First, a short backgrounder. The ship was constructed by the Vickers-Armstrong shipbuilders in Great Britain and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes in 1959. She was the Royal Navy’s flagship during the Falklands War in 1982, before being decommissioned in 1985.

The ship started her second innings with the Indian Navy, when she was commissioned as INS Viraat on May 12, 1987 as India’s second aircraft carrier. Those were the heady days when India was operating two aircraft carriers — INS Vikrant and INS Viraat.

INS Viraat was different in that it was larger and operated the Sea Harrier fighter, which was a Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) aircraft. INS Viraat remained the flagship of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy for most part of her 30-year service during which she proudly displayed the Indian naval ensign in many parts of the world, while also taking part in numerous operations which included Operation Jupiter in 1989 during the Sri Lankan Peacekeeping operation and Op Parakram in 2001-2002, post the terrorist attack on the Parliament. The ship was decommissioned on March 6, 2017 after almost 30 years of glorious service with the Indian Navy.

Vice Admiral Abhay R. Karve, PVSM AVSM (Retd), commanded the ship as its Captain from August 1, 2007 to December 27, 2008. He later went on to be the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, from 2016 to 2018, from where he retired.

Considering his extensive sea experience and varied command tenures, we took the opportunity to seek his unique experience on his command of the mighty Viraat. Reproduced below are excerpts of that interview.

Starting with the basics, we asked for the Admiral’s views on the difference he found in commanding an aircraft carrier vis-a-vis other ships.

Karve replied, “An aircraft carrier has the largest crew complement of any ship in the Navy, which amounts to more than 1,500 personnel when all aircraft Squadrons are embarked. For a Captain, its ship handling characteristics are completely different from other ships. The aircraft carrier embarks various types of aircraft viz Sea Harrier fighters, Sea King helicopters, Chetak and even Kamovhelicopters at times. Other ships of the fleet are required to operate in coordination with the aircraft carrier. The safety and operational ability of such a large crew is the Captain’s responsibility.”

Having set the tone, we asked him about the unique characteristics of flying aircraft from sea and more so, from an aircraft carrier.

The Admiral said, “Every aircraft has its own unique role at sea. This requires specialized personnel to operate and maintain each aircraft. Moreover, the ship’s air wing and the operations team have to work like a well-oiled machine in complete coordination to maintain the tempo of operations. For me, since I had served on the ship as part of the commissioning crew, one was fairly aware of carrier operations and thus one could benefit from that experience when I commanded the ship.”

Turning from operations to the more basic necessities of food and water, we asked him how such a large force of men were fed and clothed while being fighting fit at such a large distance into the sea for months at a time.

Karve explained, “Onboard an aircraft carrier, stocking of rations and ammunition is a massive evolution requiring a few days of whole ship involvement. Fueling in harbour and at sea is also a unique exercise for the carrier which can be extremely stressful for the crew and Captain who are always alert for any emergency.”

Our final question was on the unique problems that an aircraft carrier faces while at sea. To this, the Admiral had an interesting insight to share.

“One of the unique challenges of the carrier at sea is the sea-space it requires. The ship must remain on steady course and speed for a longtime during launch recovery operations. Other vessels, including fishing boats, are required to stay clear of the carrier conducting flying operations. This may not always be possible and therefore can pose navigational challenges to the carrier, especially during night flying operations,” he said.

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“Aircraft carriers are central to the concept of Indian naval operations. The carrier is an extremely versatile platform and with its integral air power is able to exercise sea control over vast stretches of the ocean at will,” Karve added.

This reinstates the vitality of aircraft carriers. Carriers are no doubt expensive but the unique capability that they provide to the Navy is unmatched and unachievable by other ships or capability.

Currently, India has one aircraft carrier in commission, INS Vikramaditya, while the new Vikrant is undergoing sea trials and would be commissioned shortly. A follow-on third aircraft carrier is an operational necessity for the Indian Navy and is under active consideration.

Meanwhile, INS Viraat will remain a milestone in India’s maritime history. Today, we honour this mighty warrior on its decommissioning anniversary and pledge never to forget its great service to the nation.

(The writers are Senior Research Associates at the Maritime History Society)

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Arab League congratulates UAE

The Arab League congratulated the UAE’s leadership and people on the country’s Golden Jubilee, stressing it has positioned itself among developed countries…reports Asian Lite News

In her statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League and Head of the Social Affairs Sector, said the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, has accomplished historic overall achievements, most notably in social areas, and is among the first countries to offer women all their rights, noting women occupy leading positions in the country.

Arab League congratulates UAE

Abu Ghazaleh lauded the key role of Emirati women and their valuable achievements due to the support of the country’s leadership and H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), the “Mother of the Nation.”

She also highlighted the significant achievements of the UAE, most notably the Emirates Mars Mission (Hope Probe), the first Arab space mission to Mars, the well-deserved election as a member of the United Nations (UN) Human Right Council for the 2022-2024 term, and its hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in 2023.

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Abu Ghazaleh extended her appreciation for the UAE’s experience, which enabled it to become a developed country, noting its leadership is following the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s approach and highlighting its significant humanitarian efforts around the world.

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Mobilize $2 billion for land restoration African nations

By COP27, which will be held on African soil, funders must invest $2 billion in ‘AFR100’, the continent’s locally led campaign to restore vitality to 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested land…reports Asian Lite News

Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda Environment Minister; Nancy Tembo, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources of Malawi; and Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, issued that challenge on Tuesday at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-26) here.

Mobilize $2 billion for land restoration African nations

The African Development Bank, the government of Germany, Global Environment Facility, Bezos Earth Fund, the Global EverGreening Alliance, and Green Climate Fund responded, announcing their plan to significantly invest in land restoration by 2026 and have called on their peers to join them in mobilizing that $2 billion in investable capital by COP27 in November 2022.

“Africa is home to the world’s greatest restoration opportunity, with 700 million hectares of degraded land that can be restored. Africa is the continent most dependent on the land for livelihoods and most vulnerable to climate change. Africa must therefore lead the way. We warmly welcome partnership with ambitious funders like the Bezos Earth Fund,” said Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which could push an estimated 30 million Africans into extreme poverty, land restoration — with a return of $7-30 for every $1 spent — has become a critical tool to improve food security and create sustainable jobs.

The impacts of climate change make these types of solutions all the more urgent: The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that several African regions like Sahel will experience rising temperatures, exacerbating the vulnerabilities of people and nature.

If desertification continues to advance unchecked, the decline in revenue from cereal crops alone could cost people in Africa $4.6 trillion through 2030.

It’s clear that Africa needs to massively and quickly restore nature and farmland to reduce poverty, reverse biodiversity loss and store planet-warming greenhouse gases — and local action is the only path toward success.

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An initial $2 billion investment in the work of NGOs, entrepreneurs and government-led projects could catalyze $15 billion of funding. That larger amount could begin the restoration of a potential 20 million hectares by 2026 and bring an estimated $135 billion in benefits to 40 million people.

“Africa is where the opportunity is the greatest, where the need is greatest, and where vulnerability to climate change is greatest. It is also where political commitment is increasingly the greatest, as Heads of state and governments more and more recognize that investing their natural capital has one of the highest returns,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund.

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Ethiopia govt announces nationwide state emergency

The Ethiopian government has announced a nationwide state of emergency rule amid the ongoing conflict in the northern part of the country…reports Asian Lite News

The decision was made by the Ethiopian Council of Ministers, which is expected to be endorsed by the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) within the coming two days period, reports Xinhua n.

The state of emergency will remain in force for six months.

Ethiopia govt announces nationwide state emergency

The move came amid deteriorating conditions in northern parts of the country, as the conflict that erupted a year ago in the Tigray region between the Ethiopian federal government and forces loyal to the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) expanded to neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions, and eventually approaching to central parts of the country in recent weeks.

Since the early hours of November 4, 2020, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the TPLF.

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However, the government in late June announced a unilateral ceasefire in the country’s conflict-affected northernmost Tigray regional state. Forces loyal to the TPLF soon took control of much of the area in the region, including the regional capital.

The conflict has since then expanded to the Amhara and Afar regions, neighbouring Tigray.

The HoPR, the lower house of the Ethiopian Parliament, had previously designated the TPLF as a terrorist organisation.

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Naidu calls for fighting divisive forces, strengthening nation’s unity

The Vice President also called for rewriting Indian history with an Indian perspective to instil a sense of pride in our glorious cultural heritage among the younger generation…reports Asian Lite News.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called upon the people to fight against divisive forces that seek to divide society on the lines of religion, region, language, caste, creed or colour.

In the 75th year of our independence, every Indian must take a pledge to further strengthen unity and harmony in our hugely diverse society, he said on Saturday.

He was addressing students and teachers of Sri Aurobindo International School, Hyderabad after inaugurating a photo-exhibition on the life of Sri Aurobindo.

Emphasizing that bridging all divisions was necessary for the greatness of India’s future, he highlighted the positive aspects of religion and said that if everyone follows one’s religion in true spirit, there will not be any religious conflict.

Education not just for employment but for enlightenment

The Vice President said that the goal of education should not be limited to building careers for earning a livelihood but it should aim to build sons for the Motherland to work and to suffer for her.

He underlined that it is the sacred duty of teachers to ensure that their students imbibe noble spiritual ideals of our ancient Indian wisdom and take pride in Indian culture.

Stressing that education is not just for employment but for enlightenment, the Vice President called for making India a Vishwa Guru again. “India should become Vishwa Guru not to dominate the world but to give knowledge and to spread light,” he said.

The Vice President also called for rewriting Indian history with an Indian perspective to instil a sense of pride in our glorious cultural heritage among the younger generation.

Reiterating Sri Aurobindo’s vision for India’s spirituality, VP Naidu said that a reawakening needs to come about in terms of India’s rich legacy of spiritual wisdom which would need to be recast into new forms and expressions to make it globally relevant and in keeping with the contemporary times.

He termed spirituality as the master key of India’s great culture and called for rediscovering its greatness by reliving it in our daily life.

“The entire mankind needs to realise that what is required today is not mere physical wealth but spiritual wealth as well,” he said.

Reforms needed in the United Nations

Responding to a question by a student, VP Naidu said reforms were needed in the United Nations so that it becomes a truly representative organisation where the soul and heart of the nations come together, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said.

He expressed disapproval of some nation’s mentality to consider themselves as superior to others.

He said that equal respect for all is a prerequisite to bring unity of mankind. “Separate identities are going to be there but these identities should not divide us,” he said. (India News Network)

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Prez lauds role of medical fraternity

He noted that in Rourkela and its adjoining areas, the medical teams of SAIL did commendable work of protecting people by their tireless efforts…reports Asian Lite News Desk.

During his three day visit in Odisha President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday emphasised that for the inclusive development of the country. He asked for strong socio-economic structure is necessary along with the industrial advancement.

The President said that Rourkela Steel Plant has played a major role in the industrial development of our country. He was addressing the inauguration of a Super Specialty Hospital in the Rourkela Steel Plant.

Kovind said that Rourkela Steel Plant has made conscious efforts to bring changes. To him, it is not only in the industrial activities but also in the fields of healthcare, education, culture and sports.

The President noted that till now this area was deprived of super specialty medical facility.

About six years ago, the Prime Minister had laid the foundation for developing the Ispat General Hospital as a Super-Specialty Hospital. And today, it is ready to serve the people of region.

He noted that this Hospital would not only cater the super specialty medical needs of Odisha but also adjoining areas of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

“Covid-19 pandemic has shown its macabre form across the world. In this difficult time, our medical fraternity has fought an extraordinary battle against an invisible and unknown enemy,” Kovind said.

He noted that in Rourkela and its adjoining areas, the medical teams of SAIL did commendable work of protecting people by their tireless efforts.

The President said that the nation would always be indebted to them for the selfless services rendered by the healthcare community and their dedication to humanity.

Earlier addressing the 18th annual convocation of NIT Rourkela, Kovind said one objective of the National Education Policy is to make India a global knowledge super power in 21st century and institutions like NIT Rourkela have to play a major role in achieving these national aims.

He said that as the 2nd largest government run technology institute in Eastern India, NIT Rourkela has made significant contribution to the field of engineering and technology.

For over six decades, this institution has been enriching the pool of technical professionals in the country.

Pointing to the fact that NIT Rourkela has students from all over India and also from other countries, the President said that the community of over 7000 students studying in this 700 acre campus represents rich diversity.

It increases cross-pollination of learning and promotes understanding between different cultures. It also strengthens people-to-people ties between nations.

A medical health worker giving a shot of Covishield vaccine to a frontline worker. Covid-19 vaccination drive at private hospital daryaganj in New Delhi

Raising the issue of less participation of women in technical education, Kovind said that in the most of the convocations he attended across the country, he noticed that girl students are outshining boy students in liberal arts, humanities, medical sciences, law and several other areas.

However, it has been observed that the enrolment of women in technical and scientific disciplines is low. According to a recent survey, enrollment of women in Engineering and Technical Institutes across India is only about 20 per cent.

He emphasized that girls should be encouraged to pursue technical education and excel in the same manner as they do in other areas.

The President said that growth and excellence of women in technical areas would add a new dimension to national development.

“It would promote gender empowerment at the higher levels in the field of science and technology. It would also help women break the glass-ceiling in one of the most important spheres in the world of 21st century.”

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