India to claw back fees amid telecoms storm

Indian and foreign phone companies could be forced to pay more than $1bn each to the New Delhi government after a critical audit of a controversial allocation of mobile licences, the Financial Times reports. The decision comes amid one of India’s biggest corruption scandals in the Congress-led government’s six years in power, which has damaged the ruling party’s image and strained ties with a crucial coalition ally, Tamil Nadu’s DMK.

Chennai emerges as automobile manufacturing hub

Having drawn over $3 billion investment this year alone in car manufacturing facilities, Chennai and its suburbs will in the next five years become a key automobile exporting hub, with investments expected to reach $15bn, the Tamil Nadu government says. Tamil Nadu presently makes almost 1.3 million vehicles per year, the Economic Times reports . “Rapid progress is expected in industrialisation over the next decade,” Chief Minister M Karunanidhi says, adding, “the State will rank highly with newly industrialised countries in the next five years.” Currently, US automaker Ford, Korea’s Hyundai, German luxury car manufacturer BMW, and Franco-Japan automakers Renault-Nissan and amongst those who have set up manufacturing facilities in the area. Mitsubishi owns a plant in Chennai making SUVs and sedans, and Nissan is to produce a new MPV at its plant there.

200 Israeli soldiers named on Gaza 'war crimes' site

Against the backdrop of senior Israeli politicians and army officers avoiding visits to European countries fearing arrests for war crimes under universal jurisdiction laws, a new website has published names and photographs of 200 soldiers whom it said were involved in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza two years ago. The site, which Israeli media reported was initiated by anonymous British activists and hosted by a US-based internet service, dubbed the soldiers listed as ‘war criminals’. The website drew wide coverage in Israel because, unusually, it listed not only the army's top-ranking officers, but also commanders of battalions, companies and platoons, and even conscripted soldiers, The National newspaper said. " From now on, European travel may entail some risk even to a young platoon commander from the paratroopers' brigade, who may have in the meantime been released from the army and was considering studying abroad," wrote Amos Harel , a commentator in the Haaretz newspaper.

Diasporas' role will grow in global politics

“Modern diasporas challenge notions of how political life should be organised. … Such transnational engagement is likely to grow as a part of political life in the coming decades.” “Diasporas linked to states and those that are stateless have distinct differences. Some of the most highly mobilised networks support movements to liberate a homeland, as among the Tamils, Eritreans, Palestinians, Irish, Armenians and Kurds." " In these cases the perceived danger to one’s kin and the absence of a state to organise the nation’s defense foists that responsibility onto those in the diaspora who can...

India's strategic future - a view

“A rising India - with its robust democracy, thriving entrepreneurial capitalism, and expanding global interests - is bound to acquire a new identity as a champion of liberal international order”. India needs to move from ‘strategic autonomy’ to strategic cooperation with the United States, senior Indian analyst C. Raja Mohan writes in the journal Foreign Policy . The problem for India's strategists, he says, is how to secure equitable terms in a grand bargain with the United States. "It is also how to bring along a political elite and bureaucracy that are adapting too slowly to the new...

‘String of Pearls’ or 'New Silk Road’?

China’s funding of Sri Lanka's Hambantota port development, and similar projects in other countries, has been interpreted by some Western and Indian analysts as part of a grand geostrategic design. The ‘ string of pearls ’ argument, first made by a few US military analysts, has not only become explanation for, but also ‘evidence’ of, China's supposed military ambitions in the Indian Ocean. This logic, while ignoring important related developments elsewhere, has also prevented serious consideration of alternative explanations. It cannot, for example, account for China investing seven billion dollars to develop three other ports in … Italy.

Arundhati Roy on Kashmir

“A whole generation of young people who have grown up in a grid of checkpoints, bunkers, army camps and interrogation centers, whose childhood was spent witnessing ‘catch and kill’ operations, whose imaginations are imbued with spies, informers, ‘unidentified gunmen,’ intelligence operatives and rigged elections, has lost its patience as well as its fear.” The Indian activist and novelist Arundhati Roy sees firsthand ‘Kashmir’s fruits of discord’ .

Japan and Tamil Nadu ink major infrastructure project

Japan and the Tamil Nadu government have signed a memorandum of understanding to take forward the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor project. Since 2000, Japanese companies have invested around US$5.3 billion in Tamil Nadu.

China telecoms giant to invest US$500m in Tamil Nadu plant

China’s largest networking and telecommunications equipment supplier is to invest US$500m in Tamil Nadu to set up an equipment manufacturing facility near Chennai. Huawei Telecommunications, one of the largest telecom equipment manufacturers in the world, expressed its intent to a delegation of Tamil Nadu officials which visited China last month, rediff reported.

Indian universities draw Chinese

In the past five years, the Sino-India Education and Technology Alliance (Sieta) has worked to place Chinese students into universities in south India, with a special focus on Tamil Nadu’s Vellore Institute of Technology, which admitted at least 360 Chinese students this year alone.

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