03, September 2016

1. India, Vietnam sign 12 agreements

Source: The Hindu

India offers a grant of $5 million to set up a software park in the Telecommunications University in Nha Trang, Vietnam. India on Saturday extended $500 million Line of Credit to Vietnam for facilitating deeper defense cooperation with the south East Asian nation, as the two countries elevated their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to respond to emerging regional challenges. Vietnam had earlier Strategic Partnership only with Russia and China.

Overview of India-Vietnam Relations:

India strongly supported Vietnam’s independence from France, also opposed American involvement in the Vietnam War, and supported the unification of Vietnam. All through the Vietnam War, India supported the North, albeit not by conducting military hostilities against the South. This can be contrasted with the policies of the USA, who strongly supported the South and engaged in military conflict with the North, albeit without issuing an official declaration of war.

India and North Vietnam established official diplomatic relations in 1972 and have since maintained responsive relations, especially in wake of Vietnam’s hostile relations with the People’s Republic of China, with which India had some diplomatic disputes. Bilateral relations have been exceptionally friendly and cordial since their foundations were laid by Prime Minister Nehru and President Ho Chi Minh more than 50 years ago. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the first visitors to Vietnam after its victory against the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. President Ho Chi Minh went to India in February 1958. President Rajendra Prasad visited Vietnam in 1959. In recent times, political contacts have strengthened as reflected in several high level visits by leaders from both sides. Trade and economic linkages continue to grow.

India’s thrust under the ‘Look East’ policy combined with Vietnam’s growing engagement within the region and with India has paid rich dividends. Vietnam is an important regional partner in South East Asia. India and Vietnam closely cooperate in various regional forums such as ASEAN, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) besides UN and WTO.

2. After Silk Road, World Land Bridge

Source: The Hindu

China’s Belt and Road connectivity initiative, which bears a strong imprint of the Eurasian Land Corridor and World Land Bridge that, will link North America with the New Silk Road. World Land Bridge is the natural sequel to the Eurasian Land Bridge, the mega-connectivity initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road in all its dimensions, including its lost cultural and civilizational attributes.

 Undersea tunnel:

Siberia in Russia can be connected with Alaska, if build an undersea tunnel across the Bering Strait. That would lay the foundation for a World Land Bridge which it will connect Russia and the United States—in other words all of Eurasia, to the entirety of the Americas.

World Land Bridge:

The concept of the World Land-Bridge developed out of the Schiller Institute’s post-1989 proposals for concrete economic integration of the former Comecon states, called The Productive Triangle linking together Paris, Berlin, and Vienna which was expanded from 1991 to include Asia, then known as The Eurasian Land-Bridge.

Such a vision could be the implementation of the World Land-Bridge with its many great projects like NAWAPA, the tunnel under the Bering Strait, the development of the Arctic, expansion of the Eurasian Land-Bridge, above all into the Near and Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, including linking Africa to the World Land-Bridge through tunnels, under the Strait of Gibraltar linking Spain and Morocco, and also between Sicily and Tunisia.

World Land-bridge, an extended version of the Eurasian Land-bridge plan for the economic development of the entire planet. This planetary development program — an integrated system of the most crucial projects in transportation, water management, power generation, resource development, agricultural production, and city building — will be the cornerstone of a new international system of common benefit among nations for mutual cooperation and progress, a new system which is already emerging with the historic agreements for a new international economic order among the BRICS nations and others.

 About the New Silk Road:

The “Eurasian Land-bridge” or New Silk Road — a vision first proposed and drafted by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche over two decades ago to fully develop the entirety of the Eurasian continent — is now the active, official policy of the government of China, supported also by other key Asian nations. “New Silk Road Economic Belt” stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.

“Southeast Asia has since ancient times has been an important hub along the ancient Maritime Silk Road. China will strengthen maritime cooperation with ASEAN countries to vigorously develop maritime partnership in a joint effort to build the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century. China is ready to expand its practical cooperation with ASEAN countries across the board, supplying each other’s needs and complementing each other’s strengths.

History of Land-Bridge:

A kind of Marshall Plan” for the rapid industrialization and modernization of the former Soviet-bloc countries of Eastern and Central Europe. This plan into action, proposing to use the modernization of Eastern Europe as the “locomotive” for the economic development of Eurasia. The concept takes the form of the “Productive Triangle” linking together Paris, Berlin, and Vienna through high-speed rail.

Following the official dissolution of the Soviet Union: Expands the concept of the ‘Productive Triangle’ to include the Soviet territories in Russia and central Asia,   and stretching all the way to the Pacific coast of China and Russia. This proposal, which becomes known as   the ‘Eurasian Land-bridge. 

Three ‘development corridors’ spanning the Eurasian continent:

  • A northern route via the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Vladivostok.
  • A central route through Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China.
  • A southern route from Western Europe through Turkey and Iran into Central Asia and ultimately on to China.

This plan would economically integrate the Eurasian continent, maximizing the productive potential of its territory and peoples for the common benefit of all, and resolving the artificially imposed strategic divisions among the great powers through the promotion of development in their mutual interest. “International Symposium on Economic Development of the New Euro-Asia Continental Bridge.  The Basis for the Mutual Security Interests of Asia and Europe” in which calls for the creation of a “Eurasian Development Bank”. 

3. World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index

Source: The Hindu

About Ease of Doing Business:

The ease of doing business index is an index created by the World Bank Group. Government of India has emphasized on the importance of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and it is a major pillar of ‘Make in India’ initiative. World Bank released ranks of states on ease of doing business under the title ‘Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms’ which was prepared in association with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), FICCI (Federation of India Chamber of Commerce & Industry), Confederation of Indian Industry.

The latest measure produced by the Asian Competitiveness Institute (ACI) research Centre of the School extends the definition of ease of doing business beyond the core measure of business friendliness that the Bank had focused on for successive years. The EDB report ranked top five MAHARASTRA followed by Gujarat, Delhi, Goa and Andhra Pradesh as the top five states respectively.

The ACI’s EDB Index includes 81 indicators that include Business Friendliness (40 per cent weight), Attractiveness to Investors (40 per cent) and Competitive Policies (20 per cent).

How is the ranking done?

The doing Business Report ranks a country on 10 parameters. Reforms under each of these are as follows:

  • Starting a business
  • Construction permits
  • Getting electricity
  • Trading across borders
  • Enforcing contracts.
  • Resolving insolvency.
  • Complying with environment procedure
  • Complying with labor regulations
  • Accessing credit and paying taxes.
  • Carrying out inspections.

India’s Rank:

Doing Business 2016 data for India is 130th rank out of 189 economies moving up four places from last year’s adjusted ranking of 134.

4. Goa to host its first bird watching festival:

Source: The Hindu

                Goa’s state bird, the bulbul, is prominent in the logo for the festival. Two hundred delegates registered on a first-come-first-served basis will be treated to bird watching tours in south Goa’s Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary (also the location of technical sessions with ornithologists), Mollem National Park on the state’s eastern border with Karnataka, and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in the island of Chorao.