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India

The symbolism was inescapable. Two years ago, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an impromptu stop-over in Lahore to reach out to the then Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, during the wedding of his grand-daughter, it was Christmas Day, December 25, 2015. Recall the circumstances.

 

In 2013, at a meeting with Nepali interlocutors, the then Chinese ambassador to Kathmandu said, “I will do all that the Indian ambassador does here.” Given the traditional range of interests and activities of an Indian ambassador in Nepal – from forming and toppling governments to funding leaders, from influencing bureaucratic appointments to being the primary development donor – the statement was a stark expression of ambition.

 

US President Donald Trump calling out Pakistan on Twitter for giving safe haven to terrorists, and suggesting that the US stop giving it any more aid constitute the clearest articulation by any US President on the subject.

 

Eighteen years ago, as the millennium drew to a close, the annual ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle in the U.S. was derailed by the fury of thousands of street protestors denouncing the forces of globalisation and the governments which represented them. Last month, at the dusk of 2017, a ministerial meeting of the WTO in Buenos Aires, Argentina ended in a whimper with the U.S. leading a general apathy towards free trade and globalisation.

 

India has an ambitious target of providing higher education to 40 million students by 2020. To achieve this goal it should allow foreign universities to operate in the country - either through partnerships or by letting them open their own campuses, says the vice chancellor of a top Australian public-research university.

 

Bookended by big ticket UP and Gujarat elections, 2017 has been a politically tempestuous year. Making significant gains, BJP is now in government in 19 states.

 

Thinking about the new year in these smoggy, uncertain and angry times, is risky business. Most new year writing is premised on the idea that the turning of the year might bring new resolve and new hope. An element of self-overcoming might be possible.

 

I think every country must reserve a day for laughter. A day may not be sufficient for India, but we could make a beginning.

 

The outcome of the recently held Gujarat Assembly election results has for the first time clearly established the power of the None of the Above (NOTA) option and provided evidence that it can play a significant role in a major election in the country.

 

 

In 1950, both China and India were rebuilding their economies after a long period of war and unrest. Both independent, one communist and the other democratic.

 


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