2010: President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.
There are so many reasons as well for India to extend this year’s honour to Lee. South Korea is an influential player in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum where India has a growing stake, because of which New Delhi feels the need for a greater engagement with APEC member countries.
India also signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with South Korea recently to bolster economic ties. CEPA is much more than just a free trade agreement as it includes services in its scope as well. In this scenario New Delhi has given the final environmental clearance to Posco, the South Korean steel giant, to set up a $12-billion steel plant in Orissa as hearty wel come message to the Honored Chief Guest. The project is the single biggest foreign investment in the country.
2009: President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is one of the largest producers of uranium which India was seeking desperately to secure fuel supplies for its nuclear reactors. India signed a civil nuclear deal with Kazakhstan during Nazarbayev’s visit and the first uranium consignment was delivered soon after.
2008: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France
The two countries finalized their bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement even as India awaited the conclusion of the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.
2007: President Vladimir Putin of Russia
During this visit, Russia formally acknowledged India as a nuclear weapons power and offered to set up four more nuclear reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and additional ones elsewhere. Russia also promised support for special waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.
2006: King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
At a time when engaging with the Muslim world was being seen as necessary from a strategic angle, India chose Saudi Arabia to begin the process of strengthening its presence in that region. Aware that hardly any Arab money was being invested in its markets, New Delhi wanted to correct that.
2005: King Jingme Singye Wangchuk of Bhutan
Bhutan had cracked down on ULFA militants in December 2003, becoming the only country to have demonstrated by action that it would not tolerate any anti-India activity on its soil. This was a thank-you invitation by India.
2004: President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil
This visit was indicative of the growing ties between the major emerging economies of the world. The IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) grouping had already taken off and trade with Brazil had crossed $1 billion for the first time. The two countries have been coordinating even more closely ever since, the most recent example of which was on display at the Copenhagen climate change summit.
2003: President Mohammad Khatami of Iran
India and Iran, at that time, were working on the common objective of bringing stability in Afghanistan. Both countries were supporting groups that were fighting the Taliban. India was helping the Northern Alliance led by Ahmad Shah Masood while Iran had been backing the Hazaras. Iran was the one that had offered India access to Afghanistan after Pakistan refused to let Indian foodgrains and other materials to be taken through its territory.
2002: President Cassam Uteem of Mauritius
This was in line with New Delhi’s plans to reach out to the African countries. Mauritius has a large number of people of Indian origin, including Cassam Uteem himself. Uteem had been President of the island nation for the previous ten years and India wanted to honour his achievement.
2001: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria
This visit had more to do with NAM legacy. Bouteflika was a friendly face for India in Africa and the NDA government under Vajpayee also wanted to use him to convey that it did not discriminate against Muslims.
* 2000: President Olusengun Obasanjo of Nigeria
As a young military officer, Obasanjo had come, rather reluctantly, to India for training. Once here, he fell in love with India. He became a military dictator in 1976 but just three years later transferred power to an elected President. He was imprisoned in the early nineties by another military dictatorship. During this time, India honoured him with the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize which his wife received on his behalf. Obasanjo was released only in 1998 and went on to win the Presidency in elections a year later. India wasted no time in inviting him for the Republic Day the following year.
* 1999: King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal
This was in line with New Delhi’s policy of a continued engagement with its neighbours. The Gujral doctrine of promoting friendly relations with neighbouring countries was very much still in practice even though the government had changed.
1998: President Jacques Chirac of France
This was a period when India was wooing Western powers for technological and military supplies in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. The US was not warming up enough and the UK was seen to be toeing the Washington line on major issues. France had a more independent thought process and was more willing to do business quietly. France was the only major power not to have criticised the Indian nuclear tests carried out less than six months later.
1997: Prime Minister Basdeo Panday of Trinidad and Tobago
A PIO, Panday was the Foreign Minister when India’s then External Affairs Minister N D Tiwari made a trip to Trinidad and Tobago. They decided to open an Indian cultural centre in Trinidad. But it did not go down well with the local population which accused Panday of letting India colonise their country. The cultural centre was put on hold. Panday himself lost the ministership because of other reasons. But when he returned as Prime Minister in 1995, one of the first things that Panday did was to open the Indian cultural centre.
1996: President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil
This was when the idea of closer cooperation between the emerging economies was still taking shape. Till then India had negligible trade with Latin America. Cardoso was also in favour of greater economic cooperation between the two countries. Trade picked up and India also opened a consul in Sao Paulo.
1995: President Nelson Mandela of South Africa
After 27 years in prison, Mandela had just been elected President of South Africa in its first ever multi-racial elections in 1994. And it was only fitting that India invited him to grace the Republic Day next January.
1994: Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore
India had recently become a dialogue partner of ASEAN. So important was Singapore’s role in India’s engagement with ASEAN that Manmohan Singh, then the Finance Minister, used to often say that New Delhi must never forget the contribution of Singapore which had held India’s hand when no one else did.
1993: Prime Minister John Major of United Kingdom
In the wake of the break-up of Soviet Union, India was trying to warm up to the Western powers for its military and technology supplies and Britain was one of the first ones New Delhi had reached out to.
1992: President Mario Soares of Portugal
In 1992, Portugal was celebrating the 500 years of Vasco da Gama’s victory over French pirate ships near its coasts and had invited India to become a part of it. New Delhi had initially agreed but later realised that it could be seen as eulogizing the man who laid the ground for Portuguese rule in India. New Delhi, therefore, politely declined and instead invited the Portuguese President as chief guest.
1991: President Moumoon Abdul Gayoom of Maldives
This invite was to honour a long-time friend of the country in a neighbouring country which is strategically extremely important for India.
1990: Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth of Mauritius
Jugnauth was a PIO, originally from Bihar and spoke fluent Bhojpuri. The invitation was a reflection of changing politics.
Contributed by: Baikuntha Narayan Biswal Source: UPSC Portal
Monday, January 25, 2010
(Current Affairs & GK)
By Om Prakash (goldy sir)
BASIC countries to meet on January 24
- The group of four emerging economies – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – that played a major role in arriving at the Copenhagen Accord – will meet new delhi on January 24 to discuss issues before endorsing the agreement on climate change arrived at in the Danish Capital last month.
- The ministerial level meeting is likely to draft a collective response to a communication from the United Nations Secretary-General asking these countries to work quickly and diligently to get all other Parties of the conference to sign the Accord by January 31.
- Things have picked up pace following a clarification from the U.N. office that the Accord was a political document and could not be considered a legally binding document though those who agree to it would be bound by the commitments they have announced nationally or at the just concluded climate change meet.
- The Copenhagen Accord is being touted as an essential first step in a process leading to a robust international climate change treaty by the UNFCCC.
- China and South Africa have already confirmed their participation for the January 24 meeting while Brazil has also assured of its presence. The meeting will also take stock of the Copenhagen Accord and devise a strategy for the Bonn Ministerial meeting in May.
- Meanwhile, the U.N. Secretary-General was also considering setting up a panel to work on how the start-up financing would be organised so as to ensure the developed countries actually start putting up the $ 30 billion they have promised.
Coral reefs give birth to rich sea life
- Coral reefs give birth to a dazzling number of new species of sea creatures, according to a study that highlights their critical role in marine ecosystems.
- Scientists have found that the reefs not only harbour amazing biodiversity, but are actively involved in the generation of new life forms.
- The study overturns conventional thinking that much of the sea life in coral reefs originated elsewhere.
- Wolfgang Kiessling of the Humboldt University of Berlin, who led the study, said: “We found that coral reefs are very active at generating biodiversity in the oceans, and that they export biodiversity to other ecosystems. This was a surprise because many people had assumed that reefs were ecological attracters — that species go there from other places.”
Pause in global warming
- A new study by Prof. Mojib Latif claims that the cyclical changes in ocean currents known as North Atlantic Oscillation could dominate over man-made global warming for the next few decades.
- Latif said the world could be in for a spell of cooler temperatures, rather than hotter conditions, for the next 20 or 30 years as a result of changes in the Arctic conditions which have brought many countries to a standstill over the past week.
1966 Indian Davis Cup team felicitated
- the Davis Cup team of 1966, which was the first Indian team to reach the final of the event, was felicitated in a court-side ceremony.
- Ramanathan Krishnan, Jaideep Mukerjea, S.P. Misra and Ajit Lall (brother of the late Premjit Lall) later engaged in a free-wheeling discussion about their memories of the 1966 Davis Cup season, the changes that the sport has undergone since their run, and the prospects of the current team in the World Group encounter against Russia.
Sriram Jha gets FIDE nod
- The World Chess Federation (FIDE) gave “conditional” clearance to Sriram Jha’s Grandmaster title application.
- In its Presidential Board meeting at Bursa, Turkey, the FIDE conferred the title on Jha on the condition the player crosses the stipulated 2500-rating mark. Jha, armed with three GM norms and rated at 2511, becomes the 21st GM in the country.
- The FIDE also cleared IM applications of Debashis Das (rated 2400), Sahaj Grover (2448) and Swapnil Dhopade (2429). Rahul Sangma (2387), conditionally cleared by FIDE, will become an International Master once he touches the 2400-mark.