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Get Wired 12/8: Zarif for India, Gujarat nixes Ambedkar book, India has Yuan Jitters, and More

India still not sure about WW-II parade

China is set to host a large parade marking 70 years of the Allied victory in World War II at Tiananmen Square on the 3rd of September. Several countries have been invited to attend this large celebration. India’s attendance is, however, still in question due to recent tensions with China and the anti-Japan theme of the parade. General VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs has said India is yet to decide whether to go or not; New Delhi’s dilemma is how to balance its traditional ties with China – a country British India was allied with in the war – and its strategic partnership with Japan, which fought the war on the opposite side.

Iran Foreign Minister to visit India

In what will the first high-level visit since Tehran’s landmark nuclear-deal with the West, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is set to visit India this Friday. In addition to his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Zarif will also meet Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari to discuss  the Chabahar port project, crucial for India’s access to central Asia.

Defence Ministry cuts media interactions further

The Defence Ministry has stated that the present “security scenario” has made it essential for its interaction with the media to be at a minimum. Strict instructions have been given to officials and personnel against speaking with media outlets. The MoD’s order comes shortly after the Home Ministry issued similar instructions.

India looks to Italy to cut bulk pharma dependence on China

India will soon unveil a new bulk drug policy aimed at wooing Italian drug manufacturers to forge an alliance with Indian pharmaceutical companies to set up joint ventures in India. Currently 70% of Indian bulk drugs – a basic ingredient for many of the formulations  India manufactures and exports – comes from China. “The move is primarily aimed at reducing the dependence on China…” said director general of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council PV Appaji.

BJP official helped I&B Ministry scrutinise Yakub hanging coverage

Narasimha-RaoAn extensive investigation was conducted into the media coverage of the hanging of Yakub Memon for two days after the incident. BJP spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao, closely working with Information and Broadcasting ministry officials, analysed coverage of the hanging across 50 news channels. Ministry officials said that Rao was among the first to flag the issue of supposed “insensitive and communal” coverage of the hanging. Subsequently, the I&B ministry issued show-cause notices to three channels accusing them of showing disrespect to the Indian judiciary and President.

India demands shift in venue for CPA meet

Stating that the non-invitation of the Jammu and Kashmir Speaker is a violation of the group’s constitution, India has asked the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to shift the venue for its annual conference from Islamabad. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan earlier said that India was going to boycott the event if the Association fails to ensure an invite for the J&K Speaker. Pakistan however reiterated that it would not change its stance on Tuesday.

Red Corner Notice for Lalit Modi

A Red Corner notice is issued for offenders who can be arrested and extradited to the country where they are wanted. The Enforcement Directorate asked the Interpol wing of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to issue a Red Corner notice against Lalit Modi this Tuesday. Lalit Modi was directed to appear in person before the ED within 15 days on the 3rd of July. The deadline for personal appearance expired on July 19.

Ambedkar books withdrawn in Gujarat

The Gujarat government withdrew a book on Dr BR Ambedkar distributed to students between the 6th and 8th standard. The book was distributed to honour Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary. It was withdrawn because it contained the “22 vows” which gave rise to the mass religious conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism he led in 1956, which the state government deemed to be ‘anti-Hindu.’

Indian industry worried about yuan devaluation

100-YUAN-1China’s decision to delink its currency from the dollar and change the reference rate  has been the source for a great deal of worry. The yuan’s 1.9 per cent devaluation against the dollar has taken the Chinese currency to its lowest level in almost three years. This has caused the Indian rupee’s decline as well — to a near-two-month low of 64.21 a dollar, compared with 63.87 on Monday. The currency had ended at 64.25 on June 16. “The devaluation will affect India’s exports, not only to China but also to other countries, with increasing competitiveness of Chinese exports,” the head of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations said. “This will also lead to higher imports from China, which has excessive capacity in diverse sectors of manufacturing. We have to keep our trade defence measures ready to address the dumping, if that happens.”

Child raped, civilians murdered by UN ‘peacekeepers’ in CAR

Amnesty reports confirm that UN peacekeepers raped a 12-year-old girl during security operations in the capital of the Central African Republic earlier this month. The UN had not publicly reported the rape allegation when Amnesty released their findings on Tuesday. The sexual assault allegedly occurred in the early morning on August 2, during an operation in a predominantly Muslim enclave of Bangui. According to a statement released by the UN mission in the country, peacekeepers arrived that evening to carry out an arrest warrant issued by the Public Prosecutor of Bangui when they were fired upon by armed assailants, leaving one Cameroonian peacekeeper dead.