Newsletter, Uncategorized

Newsletter April, 28 2018






In remarks after two hours of conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first day of their “informal summit” in Wuhan, Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed hope that they will reach a “common, new and important understanding that will help take our relationship to the next level”.

The two sides are working on a framework to mend strained ties over the recent years. If finalised, the framework would outline the “principles” of engagement between the two without dwelling on specific issues.

Speaking before the start of delegation-level talks, Xi said, “Our two countries’ influence in the world, and in our region, is steadily on the rise. Looking ahead, we see vast space and a bright future for China-India cooperation.”

Modi outlined the five pillars or elements of India-China cooperation — “thought, communication, cooperation, dream and commitment” — and how these can become the strength of world peace, stability and prosperity.

The Prime Minister underlined that Xi’s vision of a “New Era” and his own vision of “New India” are similar concepts and will benefit the world. Modi also invited Xi to India for an informal summit next year, and the Chinese leader expressed hope that they will be able to meet in similar formats.

Without mentioning the trust deficit, the Chinese President said, “Our two countries have established a closer developmental partnership, our exchanges and cooperation in various fields have made positive progress… China and India have a combined population of over 2.6 billion, with an enormous potential for technology development and domestic market.”

Modi said, “You have rightly said that we, as responsible leaders, represent 40 per cent of the world’s population, and this is not just a meeting of two leaders, but I see it from the perspective of a historic and cultural legacy… world is witness to this, and there has been in-depth study on this… that in the last 2,000 years of history, India and China have given momentum or pace to world economy and our two countries contributed 50 per cent of the world economy… rest of the world was restricted to the remaining 50 per cent… so much impact and influence for 1600 years, it’s a big thing… and it had an impact on social, religious, economic, cultural, scientific, in every sector, it had a positive impact.”

He said, “I think the closeness between us, the trust that we have on each other, the time we are spending, these will convert into people-to-people contact… that will be our biggest strength, and that will be the strength for the world’s bright future.”

They will be meeting again Saturday, where they will have more one-on-one conversations, including a walk on the lakeside and a boat ride, followed by lunch between the two leaders.



The Congress on Friday prodded the Supreme Court collegium to stop recommending any more names for appointment as judges until the government cleared the appointment of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph in the apex court.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also recalled the combativeness shown by then chief election commissioner T N Seshan against the then Congress government at the Centre headed by P V Narasimha Rao in the 1990s and appealed the SC collegium to do the same.

The party asked the collegium to reiterate its recommendation of Justice Joseph and alleged that he was not being appointed because of his 2016 verdict quashing imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand and restoring the Congress government.

Singhvi also appealed to the collegium to reiterate its recommendation in favour of Justice Joseph, as also to seek reasons from the government for the four-and-a-half-month delay in rejecting its recommendation, and ask for the reason and rationale and “under what power” the government segregated the cases of then senior advocate Indu Malhotra, who took oath as an SC judge on Friday, and Justice Joseph.

“It is time judiciary stood firm… and make it clear that no further appointment will me made unless and until its recommendee, who is reiterated for recommendation, is appointed,” Singhvi said.

The five-member Collegium is likely to meet next Wednesday to consider the government’s decision to return the name of Justice K M Joseph.




The Mehbooba Mufti government has let out an impassioned plea wrapped in a warning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi: talk to Kashmiri people or face “irretrievable consequences”.

Cabinet minister and spokesperson for the Jammu and Kashmir government, Naeem Akhtar, flagged Modi as “the only man who can change the Kashmiri ecosystem” and said: “The situation is dangerous and it is out of our hands; it is only New Delhi that can do something about Kashmir, perhaps only the Prime Minister who can do something. It is not in our hands but Modi can still do it.”

But what? “One statement of intent, an unqualified statement saying ‘ baat karenge (we’ll talk)’ can begin to change things. It’s the only way out, allow us to breathe at least,” Akhtar replied.

Implicit in what he said was the PDP’s annoyance at, and its disapproval of, the Modi government’s steadfast refusal to open dialogue in Kashmir.

Visibly anguished at the naked sectarianism playing out in Jammu over the eight-year-old Kathua girl who was raped, drugged and murdered in January, and the spiralling bloodshed and rejection in the Valley, Akhtar said: “Those who think they can somehow brazen this out do not understand the grave dangers of it. I fear that after this no democratic experiment will be possible in this state for a long time to come.”

Asked if he meant elections would become impossible to hold in the Valley, Akhtar grimly nodded. He probably had at the back of his head the by-election to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, which had to be scrapped last May for fear of violence and remains in abeyance.






The leaders of North and South Korea embraced yesterday after pledging to work for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” on a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

The two Koreas announced they would work with the US and China this year to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean War and seek an agreement to establish “permanent” and “solid” peace.

The declaration included promises to pursue phased arms reduction, cease hostile acts, transform their fortified border into a peace zone and seek multilateral talks with other countries, including the United States.

“The two leaders declare before our people of 80 million and the entire world there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and a new age of peace has begun,” the two sides said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang this year, they said.

Scenes of Moon and Kim joking and walking together marked a striking contrast to last year’s barrage of North Korean missile tests and its largest ever nuclear test that led to sweeping international sanctions and fears of war.

“A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history,” Mr. Kim wrote in Korean in a guest book in the South’s Peace House before talks began.

Their meeting comes weeks before Kim is due to meet US President Donald Trump in what would be the first ever meeting between sitting leaders of the two countries. Trump welcomed the Korean talks.


The Secretary of State should be allowed to grant waiver to countries such as India that will otherwise come under American sanctions under a new American law that intends to target Russia, Secretary of Defence James Mattis told lawmakers on Thursday.

Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA mandates the U.S President to impose sanctions on entities that have transactions with Russian defence and intelligence sectors. India being a close defence partner of Russia is a potential target of such sanctions, along with some other key American allies such as Vietnam and Turkey. The law allows the President to issue waivers under national security considerations. Typically, American punitive laws comes with waiver authority vested in the Secretary of State.

Testifying before a senate panel, Mr. Mattis asked lawmakers to change CAATSA and empower the Secretary of State. “There are nations in the world which are trying to turn away from formerly Russian-sourced weapons and systems like this. We only need to look at India, Vietnam and some others to recognise that, eventually, we’re going to paralyse ourselves,” Mr. Mattis said about the law.

“So what we ask for is that the Senate and the House pass a national security waiver in the hand of     the Secretary of State – I’m not asking for myself.









The Congress manifesto for the Karnataka Assembly polls on Friday promised to create one crore jobs and spend Rs 1.25 lakh crore on irrigation over the next five years, if re-elected to power.

Releasing the “people’s manifesto” at a function in Mangaluru, Congress president Rahul Gandhi described it the “voice of the people of Karnataka” and not a document prepared by “three or four persons in a closed room”.

He took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying while the PM likes to tell people his “mann ki baat”, this manifesto contained the “mann ki baat” of the people of Karnataka. Taking a dig at the BJP, he said the BJP manifesto will not be for the people of Karnataka and reflect the views of the RSS.


Attorney-General KK Venugopal on Friday defended Chief Justice of India’s power to allocate cases to judges/Benches as “Master of Roster” and opposed shifting it to the collegium, saying it would be a recipe for chaos.

“This is not like the appointment of judges. This very exercise is different from selecting judges for elevation. This requires decision on several aspects and that is not something that five or all of them (judges in collegium) can sit and thrash it out,” Venugopal told a Bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

“This is not an exercise that can be taken by multiplicity of persons,” the Attorney-General said opposing a PIL filed by former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan who wanted the collegium to allocate cases to judges/Benches, instead of the current practice of CJI doing it. Having a collegium to allocate cases among themselves would be a recipe for chaos, he added.

The roster issue has been in the news since January 12 when four senior-most judges — Justices J CHelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph — addressed the media to highlight their grievances over the manner of allocation of cases by the CJI.

In his petition, Shanti Bhushan questioned the “absolute discretion” given to the CJI in deciding the roster. On behalf of Bhushan, senior advocate Dushyant Dave contended that in the 1998 judges’ appointments case the top court itself interpreted the term ‘Chief Justice of India’ to collectively mean the CJI and his four senior-most judges.

After hearing arguments from Venugopal and Dave, the Bench reserved its verdict, which will be the third one in recent times on the controversial issue of roster. It had delivered two separate verdicts in November 2017 and April 2018 upholding the CJI’s authority as “Master of Roster” to allocate cases and constitute Benches.




Durishetty Anudeep, a serving Indian Revenue Service officer, has topped the prestigious civil services 2017 examination, whose results were declared on Friday by the Union Public Service Commission.

Anu Kumari and Sachin Gupta bagged the second and third positions, respectively, in the coveted examination.

Anu Kumari, the topper among the female candidates, has graduated with BSc (Hons) in Physics from the Delhi University and has done an MBA (Finance and Marketing) from IMT, Nagpur.

Sachin Gupta, belonging to small trader family based in Sirsa town, ranked third in his third attempt.

Topper Anudeep, an OBC candidate from Metpally in Telangana, is posted in Hyderabad as an Assistant Commissioner.




Reliance Industries (RIL) has reported a 17.3 per cent growth in consolidated net profit for the January-March quarter, which was largely in line with Street estimates following a strong showing in its petrochemicals business.

The oil-to-telecom company posted a net profit of Rs 9,435 crore compared with Rs 8,046 crore a year ago and Rs 9,423 crore in the preceding quarter.

Oil refining and marketing chipped in with a modest performance at a time the benchmark Singapore complex refining margins ruled low.

RIL’s organised retail business delivered a pleasant surprise. While fourth-quarter revenues jumped 134 per cent to Rs 24,183 crore, its EBIT jumped to Rs 1,086 crore from Rs 352 crore in the same period last year. RIL said Reliance Retail witnessed stellar performances across all consumption baskets. Further, revenues for the year showed a rise of 105 per cent at Rs 69,198 crore against Rs 33,765 crore.

And at a time Airtel has reported losses in its India operations, Reliance Jio has posted its second consecutive quarterly profit, which met estimates. Net profit was flat at Rs 510 crore compared with Rs 504 crore in the third quarter. Though Jio saw a strong subscriber growth during the period, the range-bound profits could be explained by a fall in its average revenue per user which came in at Rs 137.1 per subscriber compared with Rs 154 in the preceding quarter.





The world’s largest plane is set to take flight within the next few months after successfully conducting three more taxi tests. A brainchild of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Stratolaunch is the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan and largest all-composite plane ever built.

Built by California-based Scaled Composites, the twin-fuselage aircraft uses six 747 jet engines and is designed to carry rockets up to high altitude and launch them to space from there.

Seen as an alternative to conventional rocket launches, the giant carrier aircraft could provide an affordable and efficient way to place satellites in orbit.

So far, the aircraft has been through two taxi tests at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. If three more tests go smoothly, Stratolaunch will move forward with plans to fly the giant aircraft for the first time this summer.



Refusing to upgrade India’s credit rating for the 12th year in a row, global ratings agency Fitch Ratings on Friday retained its sovereign rating at ‘BBB-’, the lowest investment grade with a stable outlook, saying that weak fiscal balances continue to constrain its ratings.

The government had made a strong pitch to Fitch Ratings for an upgrade after rival Moody’s Investors Service last November gave the country its first sovereign rating upgrade since 2004.

Fitch had last upgraded India’s sovereign rating from BB+ to BBB- with a stable outlook on August 1, 2006.

“India’s rating balances a strong medium-term growth outlook and favourable external balances with weak fiscal finances and some lagging structural factors, including governance standards and a still-difficult, but improving, business environment,” Fitch said.

“General government debt amounted to 69% of GDP in 2017-18 fiscal while fiscal slippage of 0.3% of GDP in both FY18 and FY19 relative to the government’s own budget targets of last year, implies a general government deficit of 7.1% of GDP,” it said.

The government aims to gradually reduce its fiscal deficit from 3.5% of GDP in 2017-18, but would not hit the 3% ceiling of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act before March 2021, Fitch said.


Aditya Ghosh has resigned as president and whole-time director of InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of the country’s largest airline IndiGo.

The InterGlobe board of directors met on Friday and accepted Ghosh’s resignation. Ghosh will step down as president from July 31 and as director from April 26. Rahul Bhatia, one of the promoters, will be the interim chief executive officer.

The unscheduled board meeting and the shock announcement sparked a buzz of speculation over the reasons for Ghosh’s exit.

Ghosh said in a statement that it was time to “step off the treadmill” and “embark on the next adventure” sometime in the near future.

Ghosh’s departure signals the end of an almost 10-year tenure, during which the airline clambered to the top of the pecking order with a market share of 39.7 per cent in January-March 2018, way ahead of Air India (13.3 per cent), Jet Airways (14.7 per cent) and Spicejet (12.6 per cent). IndiGo carried 134.23 lakh passengers during that period.

The Rs 18,580-crore airline parent earned a net profit of Rs 1,659 crore in the year ended March 2017.


Finally the Delhi Daredevils batting line-up showed up for a match. Two upcoming batting stars, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer lit up the Delhi sky as Delhi team that didn’t seem to catch a break in any of the last three matches, suddenly scored 219 against Kolkata Knight Riders, the highest score this season.

The score set the tone of the match and ensured that the home team broke the run of three-successive losses and registered a 55-run at the Ferozshah Kotla.

Earlier, the new captain Iyer lit the Delhi sky with ten sixes, including five off the last over bowled by young pacer Shivam Mavi to propel Delhi to 219. Iyer scored an unbeaten 93 off 40 balls as Delhi finally showed their batting might. The Kolkata team aided Iyer’s cause as he was dropped twice in the last overs.


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No great deed, private or public, had ever been undertaken in a bliss of certainty. – Leon Wieseltier


You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands.

For instance, if they’re placed around your throat she’s probably slightly upset.

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