Daily Archives: January 26, 2015

6 foreign newspapers on Modi-Obama meet


US newspapers have hailed the breakthrough on the Indo-US nuclear deal after talks between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi. But Chinese media do not seem too comfortable with the Modi-Obama bear hug.

Here is what the 6 papers said:

1. New York Times: Obama Clears a Hurdle to Better Ties With India

“President Barack Obama and his Indian counterpart broke through a five-year impasse on Sunday to pave the way for American companies to build nuclear power plants here as the two countries sought to transform a fraught geopolitical relationship into a fresh partnership for a new era of cooperation.

Opening a three-day visit amid pomp and pageantry, Mr. Obama moved to clear away old disputes that have stalled progress toward an alignment between the world’s largest democracies, a goal that has eluded the last three American presidents. Few obstacles to that have been more nettlesome in recent years than the deadlock over nuclear power.”

2. Washington Post: Obama, India’s Modi claim breakthrough on nuclear issues

“President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday that the two countries have made progress toward resolving nuclear issues at the start of a three-day visit that is heavy on pageantry and symbolism. Obama said the two countries have reached a “breakthrough understanding” that would make it easier for U.S. and foreign firms to invest in Indian nuclear power plants. Indian law holds suppliers, designers and builders of plants liable in case of an accident, making companies loath to invest in the country’s nuclear plants, and the two governments have not agreed on how to track nuclear material.

The understanding, though short on specifics, moves toward resolving one of a number of nuclear-related issues that have hamstrung the countries for years and has prevented the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal reached during the George W. Bush administration.”

3. USA Today: Obama, India’s Modi cite nuclear investment breakthrough

“President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi saidSunday they reached “a breakthrough understanding” in freeing up U.S. investment in nuclear energy development in India, as Obama began a three-day visit to India.

Picking up from a stalled 2008 civil nuclear agreement between the two countries, the deal would allow U.S. firms to invest in energy in India. It also resolves a dispute over U.S. insistence on tracking fissile material it supplies to the country and over Indian liability provisions that have discouraged U.S. firms from capitalizing on the agreement. The White House said the understanding on India’s civil nuclear program resolves the U.S. concerns on both tracking and liability. “In our judgment, the Indians have moved sufficiently on these issues to give us assurances that the issues are resolved,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.”

4. Wall Street Journal: U.S. and India Advance Nuclear Trade

“President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said they made tangible progress on a range of issues with movement on civil nuclear trade defense cooperation and climate change.With pageantry on full display, Mr. Obama was scheduled to appear at India’s annual Republic Day parade on Monday, a first for a U.S. leader. But the results of talks on key trade and security issues were more nuanced.Mr. Obama described a “breakthrough” in long-stalled talks on allowing U.S. firms to invest in nuclear power plants in India. But U.S. officials said work remains on implementation by India, and some U.S. corporate officials said they are evaluating the outcome of the talks in New Delhi.”

5. Los Angeles Times: Narendra Modi dismisses calls for India to match China’s climate goal

“The United States and India sought to put a contentious history behind them Sunday by declaring a new partnership on climate change, security and economic issues, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected calls for India to match China’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As President Obama opened a three-day visit to New Delhi aimed at underscoring the two democracies’ shared ideals, Modi’s blunt dismissal of a sweeping climate agreement reflected the limits of Washington’s assiduous courtship of the popular new prime minister.

Even as Obama announced “a breakthrough understanding” that could clear the way for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants in India – potentially reducing India’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels – Modi said he felt “no pressure” from any other country to curtail the South Asian nation’s carbon emissions.”

6. Global Times (China): India, China mustn’t fall into trap of rivalry set by the West

“A second visit by a sitting US president to India, the first time on record, has undoubtedly drawn wide attention from the international community. However, the tricky part of so much attention is that, as we watched Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greet US President Barack Obama with a bear hug at Delhi airport on Sunday, many eyes, naturally, have turned to a third party – China.

Many reports by Western media have pointed out that the US, regardless of historical complications, is putting more efforts into soliciting India to act as a partner, even an ally, to support Washington’s “pivot to Asia” strategy, which is mainly devised to counter China’s rise. As for India, which has ambitions to be a major power, it needs US investment, technologies and political support so that its “Look East” foreign policy will better function to counterbalance China’s growing influence.”


Breaking Tradition, Lankan PM will be Chief Guest at R-day Reception


COLOMBO: Breaking tradition, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the Chief Guest at the Indian Republic Day reception at India House here Monday evening.

Normally, Heads of State or Government do not attend National Day functions at foreign missions, but the Indian High Commission here invited Wickremesinghe and he agreed to come, breaking tradition.

Initially, the Chief Guest was to be Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, but the minister had to go away to Brussels to plead for the lifting of European Union sanctions against Sri Lankan fishermen.

Inviting the Lankan Prime Minister to the Republic Day reception and his acceptance of the invitation, reflect the current bonhomie between India and Sri Lanka, officials said.

Unique Year in India-Lanka Ties

Speaking at the morning function meant exclusively for Indian nationals living in Sri Lanka, High Commissioner Y.K.Sinha noted that this year’s Republic Day function in Colombo is being held after landmark national-elections in India and Sri Lanka which had thrown up new governments.

In Indo-Lanka relations, 2015 will be noted for unprecedented back to back visits at the highest levels. Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be in India on February 14 and 15, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be in Sri Lanka on March 14 and 15.

Modi’s coming to Lanka will be the first official visit of an Indian Prime Minister since Rajiv Gandhi came to sign the landmark India-Sri Lanka Accord in July 1987 to settle the ethnic question in the island nation. Other Indian Prime Ministers had visited Lanka, but only to attend multilateral meetings.

High Commissioner Sinha said that the relations between India and Sri Lanka will get deeper and stronger with ties being strengthened in economic and other areas.

Sirisena to Visit Thirupathi

During his sojourn in India, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be visiting the Buddhist pilgrimage center of Bodh Gaya and the Hindu pilgrimage center of Thirupathi, officials said.

Sinhalese Buddhists consider Lord Vishnu as the “Guardian of Sri Lanka” and accept Lord Venkateswara as an avatar of Vishnu. Former Presidents J.R.Jayewardene had prayed at Thirupathi once and Mahinda Rajapaksa several times.


WHO vows reform after Ebola ‘shocks’


The World Health Organization (WHO) has set out plans for reform, admitting that it was too slow to respond to the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

At an emergency session in Geneva, director-general Margaret Chan said Ebola had taught the world and the WHO how they must act in the future, BBC reported.

She said the corner had been turned on infections but warned over complacency.

More than 8,500 people have died in the outbreak, the vast majority in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Chan said: “This was West Africa’s first experience with the virus and it delivered some horrific shocks and surprises.

“The world, including WHO, was too slow to see what was unfolding before us. Ebola is a tragedy that has taught the world, including WHO, many lessons about how to prevent similar events in the future.”

The WHO says patient database figures give the best representation of the history of the epidemic.

However, data for more recent weeks are sometimes less complete than in the regular situation reports.

Liberia announced Friday that it was down to just five confirmed cases – there were 500 a week in September. Guinea and Sierra Leone have both also experienced falls in infection rates.

Chan said the worst-case scenario had been avoided, but warned: “We must maintain the momentum and guard against complacency and donor fatigue.”

WHO figures show 21,724 reported cases of Ebola in the outbreak, with 8,641 deaths.


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