Bhadrapad Shukla 7 Vik Samvat. Yugabda 5116: September 1, 2014

1. FESTIVALS: Sarvapitri Amavasya or Mahalay Amavasya


9. ECONOMY BOUNCES BACK TO RECORD 5.7% GROWTH, HIGHEST IN OVER TWO YEARS : 10. SAGE ADVICE FROM SC -Tainted lawmakers erode public’s faith in state:


1. FESTIVALS: Sarvapitri Amavasya or Mahalay Amavasya which falls on Bhadrapad / Ashwin Amavasya (September 23 this year) is the last day of Pitru Paksha when people pay ceremonial homage to their ancestors especially through food offerings.

Annadaana ("Donation of food") is a central part of the rituals during this fortnight. On all these days, offerings are made to the departed, including those whose names or manner of death are not known. On these days tarpan, shraaddha and pinda daan are performed daily according to the procedures under the guidance of a priest. Although these rites are to be carried out daily in this fortnight, Sarvapitri amavasya is intended for all ancestors, and rites performed on this day are extremely important and sacred. --Top


2. PLACES OF DRINKING WATER, WORSHIP AND CREMATION SHOULD BE ’EQUAL AND OPEN’ FOR ALL HINDUS: DR. BHAGWAT: Addressing a huge gathering on the occasion of golden jubilee celebration of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on 16th August in Mumbai, RSS SarSanghachalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat said, "Hindustan is a Hindu nation...Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself."
“In coming 5 years, places of drinking water, worship and cremation should be ’equal and open’ for all Hindus" said the RSS Chief. He added that social equality, cultural invasion, strengthening social projects and active work for deprived in society should become a family goal of each Hindu family.
Starting his speech stating that “Hindusthan is a Hindu Nation and Hidutva is nation's identity”, Bhagwat suggested that the implementation the real meaning of Hindu philosophy that is “Hindave Sahodara Sarve” (All Hindus are brethrens) should start from our homes. It should become family system.
Hailing VHP’s work in national life Bhagwat stated that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is an organization not because it is working for Hindus, but the whole world will get directions from the mission of this organization in coming days that’s why it is a Vishwa (universal) Hindu Parishad. Others who spoke during the celebrations were Dharmadhikari of the Dharmasthala Virendra Hegde, who was selected as the president of the core committee for the VHP golden jubilee year, noted space scientist and former chairman of ISRO, Dr. G Madhavan Nair,  Spiritual leaders like Jain guru Nayapadmasagar, Sikh guru Shree Gurucharan Singh Gil, Buddhist leader Bhadant Rahul Bodhi, Govind Dev Giri Maharaj, Vishveshwara Teerth Maharaj, Vidyabhaskar Maharaj shared their thoughts on the occasion explaining the need for Hindu society to be united shedding all kind of evils destabilizing the Hindu society. -Top


3.  REKINDLE HOPE FOR ‘SAMARTH BHARAT’ - DATTATREY HOSABALE: “We need to rekindle the hope that Bharat can be a great nation once again and instill confidence amongst the masses to work towards achieving this goal through the conventions like ‘Samartha Bharat’, appealed Dattatreya Hosabale, Sah-Sarkaryawah of RSS  on 24th August.
He was addressing the valedictory function of ‘Samartha Bharat’- the two-day mega convention of nationalist volunteers at Palace Grounds, Bangalore. Over 3000 new volunteers, including womenfolk,  who were contacted during the recent mass awareness campaign and expressed the desire to continue working for RSS attended the unique overnight event. .
Welcoming the participants who have come to convention to build ‘Samartha Bharat’ the RSS leader said that this convention has re-affirmed the hope of swayamsevaks that we can indeed build ‘Samartha Bharat’ soon.
Venkatram, Karnataka Dakshin Pranth Sanghachalak and Pranth Karyavaha, Tippeswamy were also present on the dais. Two senior Pracharaks of RSS, Na Krishnappa and Shri. Mai Cha Jayadev were present on the occasion. -Top


4.  ‘YOGA SAVED IYENGAR’S LIFE, CAN SAVE MANY MORE’: by Deepak Natarajan : Yoga guru BKS Iyenger, who passed away a few days ago at 96, had very appropriately said in an interview that "Yoga saved my life". Iyenger had discovered its power as a teenager, when yoga helped him recover from the ravages of tuberculosis, typhoid and malaria.
As an interventional cardiologist, I've seen too many patients rushing into emergency rooms of hospitals with heart attacks, chest pain, heart failure, severe hypertension and strokes leading to permanent paralysis. A substantial number of these patients either die or become disabled for life. Most of this mortality/ morbidity could have been prevented by a simple lifestyle modification technique which has been with us for thousands of years.
A recent study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology followed more than 55,000 adults, divided into runners and non-runners, (mean age 44 years) for an average of 15 years. The study recorded a stunning 45% reduction in risk of death due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who ran as little as 5-10 minutes a day and as slow as 6 miles/hour, as compared to non-runners. One would intuitively presume that yoga discovered right here in India would be as effective as running in the prevention of hypertension and heart disease. But there is little or no buzz at all on the preventive and therapeutic advantages of a few minutes of yoga. There are numerous anecdotal data and small observational studies but little evidence based upon large long-term randomized trials on the benefits of yoga in the prevention and treatment of hypertension and heart disease.
Astonishingly, more than 30% of urban adults in India suffer from hypertension. Heart attacks are regularly seen in people as young as 25-30 years in big cities, largely due to ignorance and faulty lifestyles. A majority of people dying from heart attacks belong to low and middle income nations. It is therefore of vital importance that we examine evidence on the efficacy of yoga to combat raised blood pressure and heart disease.
A Cochrane review (the gold standard of medical research) demonstrated, based upon 11 randomized studies, that yoga improved blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (the good cholesterol) and triglycerides. Yoga practiced for an hour bi-weekly for as little as 5-6 months has been found in another randomized study to significantly reduce episodes of symptomatic and asymptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety and depression. There is data that yoga rectifies the inflammatory state in the body and is useful in the management of lower back ache, multiple sclerosis, stress and depression, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary tuberculosis, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Yoga would prove to be effective in the management of hypertension keeping in mind that there are more than a billion people suffering from hypertension in the world. There are in the US alone about 22 million patients with mild hypertension; there could be 5-10 times that number in India. A meta-analysis and review published in the American Journal of Hypertension in May 2014 concluded that yoga is a useful in the treatment of hypertensive patients.
Yoga attempts to integrate and balance the human body, mind and spirit by execution of 'Asanas' (position), 'Pranayama' (breathing) and 'Dhyan' (meditation). An individual practicing a particular posture will improve muscular strength and flexibility. Improved cardio-respiratory fitness can also be achieved by continuous posture and breathing exercises. The metabolic costs of Hatha Yoga represent low level of physical activity (walking on a treadmill at 3.2 km/h), but incorporating sun salutation and practicing yoga exercises for more than half hour a day should contribute to an adequately intense physical activity equivalent or more than 5-10 minutes of jogging a day.
There is an urgent need for large, adequately powered long-term follow-up randomized trials that confirm the many salutatory effects of yoga in the management of hypertension and heart disease. It is also imperative that a national policy on yoga is adopted, which ensures that yoga is taught in schools, colleges and offices and wherever possible by certified yoga therapists. The public must be informed of the huge burden of heart disease in this country and the role of yoga in its prevention. (The writer is an interventional cardiologist, Aug 24, 2014, Times of India) -Top


5.  RAKSHA BANDHAN AT OHIO STATE UNIV: As a part of Raksha Bandhan celebrations, volunteers of Hindu YUVA OSU and HSS Columbus met Prof Brian Joseph of Linguistics on Tue Aug 12, 2014. Prof Joseph has been teaching linguistics for 35 years at OSU, and his areas of interest include study of Sanskrit among other languages. The concept of Raksha Bandhan was explained to him and also how HSS is extending the idea of sister-brother love to vasudhaiva kutumbakam and global harmony. He asked about the activities of Hindu YUVA on campus, and was interested in knowing about various Bharat-related organizations. Aloso discussed were various activities of HSS across the nation, and its collaboration with organizations such as Sanskrit Bharati, Sewa International and Ekal. -Top


6.  WORLD’S FIRST ‘GREEN’ HINDU TEMPLE OPENED IN UK: A Hindu temple, claimed to be the world’s first ‘eco-temple’ featuring solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system, has been opened in northwest London in the UK.
The ornate 20 million pounds ‘Shree Swaminarayan Mandir’ in Kingsbury combines traditional Bharatiya architecture with its intricate carvings and masterful artistry with green technologies and also features solar panels on the roof and a rainwater harvesting system.
The opening ceremony was presided over by the temple’s global spiritual leader, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Mayor of London Boris Johnson described the new temple and facilities as ‘stunning and impressive’ during his recent visit there. -Top


7. 70,000 PEOPLE ATTEND EUROPE'S BIGGEST JANMASHTAMI CELEBRATION: An estimated 70,000 people from all over the UK visited the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple in Watford for Europe's biggest and most spectacular Janmashtami festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna.
One of the major highlights of the festival held on 17th August at Watford, northwest of central London, was the recreation of the beautiful forests of Vrindavan in Bharat where Lord Krishna played when he was growing up.
Around 1,500 volunteers, aged from 16 to 94, gave up their time to take part in helping to set up the grounds for the festival. It took almost a month of planning to get the venue ready for Janmashtami, and it was without doubt one of the largest Krishna's birth celebrations outside Bharat.  -Top


8.  DEVNAGRI SCRIPT DOMAIN ‘DOT BHARAT’ LAUNCHED: The "sunrise period" for which time the registration for devnagri domains will only be available to trademark holders, is until November.
The "dot bharat" domain in Devnagri script was finally launched on August 27th. Following this, one will be able to type in web addresses in Devnagri script — with "dot bharat" standing in for the currently common "dot in" domain. The script can cover eight Bharatiya languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Boro, Dogri, Maithili.
The websites one can access currently include the Prime Minister's official website available as pradhanmantri dot sarkar dot bharat, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing ( C-DAC) website as seedac dot bharat and a few others. -Top


9.  ECONOMY BOUNCES BACK TO RECORD 5.7% GROWTH, HIGHEST IN OVER TWO YEARS : Buoyed by performance of mining, manufacturing and services sector, Bharatiya economy has bounced back to record a growth rate of 5.7 per cent for the April- June quarter, highest in the past two-and-half years.
Bharat's gross domestic product had expanded by 4.7 per cent April-June quarter of the last fiscal ended March 31.
According to data released on 29th August by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), manufacturing sector recorded a growth of 3.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2014-15 as against a contraction of 1.2 per cent in Q1, 2013-14.
The mining sector too grew by 2.1 per cent in April-June quarter compared a decline in production by 3.9 per cent the year-ago period.
The highest growth rate during Q1, 2014-15 was recorded by financial services sector at 10.4 per cent, followed by electricity gas and water supply at 10.2 per cent. -Top


10.  SAGE ADVICE FROM SC -Tainted lawmakers erode public’s faith in state: Through its nuanced and carefully balanced verdict in the Manoj Narula versus the Union of India case on Wednesday, the Supreme Court has offered sage advice to the Government, but without stepping into the executive's domain. The apex court used the opportunity to red-flag the issue of increasing criminalisation of the political establishment and leveraged its position and expertise as the final interpreter of the Constitution to provide valuable context on the appointment of tainted politicians as Ministers. But, having a strong moral argument for keeping those charged with offenses involving moral turpitude away from high office, the apex court left the matter in the hands of the executive. This is as it should be. Two basic issues lie at the crux of this landmark verdict. First is the Prime Minister's right to select his Council of Ministers (and similarly, the Chief Minister's prerogative to pick his colleagues). This revolves around the operability of Articles 75 and 164 of the Constitution of India which lay down that Ministers in the Union and State Governments are to be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers respectively. The Articles do not mention if the Prime Minister or Chief Ministers can be prohibited from appointing to the ministerial council a politician facing criminal charges — the apex court has decided to keep this as it is. Some may feel that the apex court has shied away from tackling head on the problem of criminalisation in the political sphere but such an argument betrays a shallow understanding of the spirit of the Constitution. The matter of disqualifying tainted individuals from the ministerial pool had come up during the Constituent Assembly debates but BR Ambedkar among others had argued that doing so would undermine the trust and authority that the Constitution had vested in the Prime Minister. It is not as if the they were too idealistic; on the contrary, the leaders were practical enough to know that, as Ambedkar himself observed (and this section was quoted in the verdict as well), “The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution... The factors on which the working of those organs of the State depend are the people and the political parties they will set up...” This puts the onus for ensuring probity in public life not just on the executive but society at large. After all, if criminals crowd our Parliament and State Assemblies, it is at least to some extent because the people voted them to power.
The second issue here is the universally accepted principle of jurisprudence that a person is innocent until proven guilty. If a politician facing criminal charges is prevented from holding high office, does that mean he or she is being penalised before being convicted? The proposition seems legally untenable, which is another reason why the Supreme Court stopped short of keeping out persons who are under a cloud but not convicted. Moreover, politicians are routinely subjected to false accusations and spurious charges, and, it can be argued, that it is unfair to stunt their career growth on these grounds. However, as the apex court noted, a charge-sheet (unlike, a First Information Report), is prepared by trained judicial minds on the basis of prima facie evidence that point's individual wrongdoing. And the top executive will be well to keep this mind. (Editorial, Daily pioneer, 29 August 2014) -Top


11. WORDS OF WISDOM GALORE AT IIT CONFERENCE WITH PREZ, PM: Inaugurating a first of its kind day-long conference of chairmen, board of governors and directors of IITs at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 22nd August, President Pranav Mukherjee called upon the Council of IIT’s to draw up a roadmap for governance in line with the best global practices and implement it without any delay. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and HRD Minister Smriti Irani were also present at the conference.
“There is need for soul searching on what is holding back good governance in institutes of higher learning. If our institutes of higher learning are to compete with the best in the world, governance of these institutes must be comparable to the best in the world,” he said.
The President also shared the concerns of the Prime Minister over the country’s dependence on other countries for import of technology despite having technical capabilities to put satellites of other countries into space. -Top


12.  VHP CELEBRATES INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH PAK HINDUS: Indraprastha Vishwa Hindu Parishad celebrated Independence Day with the refugees who have come from Pakistan due to brutal atrocities by the jehadis. Hundreds of Pakistani Hindus joined the function. International joint general secretary of VHP Swami Vigyanananda said all Hindus are the sons and daughters of Bharatmata and they have full right to live here with dignity. He said every section of the society has to contribute in the welfare of the affected. VHP’s central secretary Dr Surendra Jain felicitated some Pak Hindus including Smt Rukma Devi (105), Shri Sonalal (90) for successfully preserving their way of worship even after facing the atrocities. He assured them full support in their fight for justice and respect. -Top


13. TWO ANCIENT MAYAN CITIES FOUND IN MEXICO JUNGLE: Archaeologists have unearthed two ancient Mayan cities hidden in thick vegetation in the Mexican jungle.
The cities were discovered in the southeastern part of the Mexican state of Campeche, in the heart of Yucatan peninsula.
Expedition leader Ivan Sprajc, of the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and his team found the massive remains as they further explored the area around Chactun, a large Mayan city discovered by the Slovenian archaeologist in 2013.
One of the newly discovered cities featured an extraordinary facade with an entrance representing the open jaws of an earth monster, 'Discovery News' reported. The site was visited in the 1970s by American archaeologist Eric Von Euw, who documented the facade and other stone monuments with yet unpublished drawings. -Top


14.  DIU TO BECOME BHARAT’S 1st  SOLAR POWER SUFFICIENT UT: Picturesque Island Diu is all set to become Bharat’s first solar energy sufficient Union Territory by the end of 2015. Daman, Diu & Dadara Nagar Haveli (Union Territory) administration is setting up 12 MW solar power plant in Diu at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore. Diu known for fabulous beaches and marvelous architecture and laidback lifestyle, is solely dependent on Gujarat for its energy requirements.
“Diu’s energy requirement is around 9-10 MWs. But looking to its future development and increasing tourist activities, the administration is developing 12 MW power generation capacity, which would make the district — which houses six villages — first ever renewable energy sufficient district in the country,” says Diu Collector Vinod Kavle.
Though the population of the isle, spread across 40 sq km is little over 52,000, but annually more than 4,00,000 lakh tourists through to this tiny islet every year that include nearly 50,000 foreign tourists, mainly from European countries.
First phase of the solar power project for 3 MW solar panels is expected to complete in next four months at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore.
With an idea to make Diu, located on the southern tip of Saurashtra – Gujrat ,  pollution free the administration is taking series of measures like installing  windmills at strategic locations within the island, use electric buses for local transportation etc. -Top


15.  5 BHARATYA FIRMS AMONG FORBES' MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES: Five Bharatiya companies, including Hindustan Unilever and Tata Consultancy Services, are among Forbes' list of the world's 100 most innovative companies that investors think are most likely to "generate big, new growth ideas".
The annual 'World's Most Innovative Companies' list, released on 21st August , has been topped by California-based global cloud computing company Salesforce for the fourth year in a row.The five Bharatiya companies on the list are consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever, which is ranked 14th, followed by IT major Tata Consultancy Services (57), construction services firm Larsen & Toubro (58), pharma major Sun Pharma Industries (65) and Bajaj Auto (96). -Top


16. WITH EYE ON CHINA, BHARAT DEPLOYS AKASH MISSILES IN NORTHEAST: After basing its most potent Sukhoi-30MKI fighters at Tezpur and Chabua, Bharat has now begun deploying six Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) squadrons in the northeast to deter Chinese jets, helicopters and drones against any misadventure in the region.
Defence ministry sources on 28th August said IAF has started getting deliveries of the six Akash missile squadrons, which can "neutralize" multiple targets at 25-km interception range in all-weather conditions, earmarked for the eastern theatre.
The Akash deployment in the northeast is in tune with the overall plan to progressively achieve "meaningful and credible deterrence" against China along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC). -Top


17. TOP HONOUR FOR BHARATIYA-ORIGIN WOMAN IN SOUTH AFRICA: Bharatiya origin South African academic Leila Patel has been named the African country's one of the top women researchers in the annual Women in Science Awards hosted by the ministry of science and technology. 
Patel, who got her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, is currently a professor of social development studies and director of the Centre for Social Development in Africa, which she founded in 2002 at the same institution.
Patel undertook pioneering work in the social welfare field for a post-apartheid country as the first democratic elections dawned in South Africa in 1994 after the release of Nelson Mandela.
A year before the elections, Patel published her book 'Restructuring Social Welfare Options for South Africa', which eventually informed social welfare legislation adopted by the new democratic parliament three years later. -Top


18. SRI LANKA MUST ENSURE ‘EQUALITY, DIGNITY, JUSTICE AND SELF-RESPECT’ FOR TAMILS: PM Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23rd August urged Sri Lanka to ensure "equality, dignity, justice and self-respect" for its Tamil minority  when a six-member delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka's main Tamil political party, called on him.
"The prime minister stressed the need for a political solution that addresses the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, dignity, justice and self respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka," an official statement said. PM Modi urged "all stakeholders in Sri Lanka to engage constructively, in a spirit of partnership and mutual accommodation, towards finding a political solution". This should be built "upon the 13th amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution", he said, referring the Bharatiya-backed amendment of the 1980s which called for devolving autonomous powers to the Tamils.
The delegation, led by veteran Tamil politician R. Sampanthan, met Bharatiya External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday. The delegation also included Mavai S. Senathirajah, K. Premachandran, P. Selvarajah, Selvam Adaikkalanathan and M.A. Sumanthiran, all parliamentarians. -Top


19. RSS SWAYAMSEVAKS CLEAN HEBBAL FLY OVER SURROUNDINGS IN BANGALORE:Seva Vibhag of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS’s Bangalore Unit had organised ‘SEVA Sanghik’ on Sunday August 31 near Hebbal Fly Over Bangalore. Nearly 259 Swayamsevaks of Hebbal zone (Bengaluru) assisted by 50 BBMP workers together cleaned the surroundings. They also cleaned areas near to railway track and nearby temples.
Krishnamurthy, RSS Mahanagar Seva Pramukh of Bangalore requested the public, street merchants, others to maintain cleanliness at the surroundings. BBMP Yelahanka Commissioner Virupaksha Mysore, BBMP Member Ashwattha Narayan Gouda, Dr Jayaprakash, RSS Bangalore Mahanagar Sah-karyavah and others were present during the SEVA SANGHIK. -Top


20. BHARATIYA-ORIGIN STUDENT DISCOVERS MYSTERIOUS BLACK HOLE: A Bharatiya-origin graduate student has discovered and measured one of the most elusive and mysterious objects in the Universe — a middling-sized black hole.
University of Maryland astronomy graduate student Dheeraj Pasham and two colleagues made the measurements of the rare black hole which they found hiding in the well-known galaxy M82, some 12 million light years away from Earth. Their findings were published online on August 17 in the journal Nature.
The reason why this discovery and the measurement are considered so significant is that these intermediate-mass black holes are hard to measure even their existence is sometimes disputed. Little is known about how they form, a Maryland varsity statement said. Some astronomers question whether they behave like other black holes. -Top


21. BHARATIYA-ORIGIN MP IN UK APPOINTED SHADOW MINISTER: A politician of Bharatiya origin has become the Labour Party's first minister tasked with tackling violence against women and girls.
Labour party leader Ed Miliband appointed MP Seema Malhotra as the first shadow minister on 25th August for preventing violence against women and girls besides championing the needs of all victims of rape, domestic and sexual violence, as well as forced marriage, trafficking and prostitution.
Malhotra has been also tasked to play an important role in shaping Labour's Women's Safety Commission. This will include reforms to the criminal justice system, measures to improve women's safety and prevention of violence against women and girls.
She will be the first Shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls indicating the priority that Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper have given to the issue.
Malhotra in response to her appointment, said "I feel very proud to have been appointed as the Labour Party's first ever shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls.”  -Top


22. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Ma Dattatreya ji – sahsarkaryavaha RSS will tour UK and European countries in Sept – Oct. Ravikumar – sahsamyojak Vishwa Vibhag returned from his tour to SE Asian countries. Visitors: Sugendree and Amith Singh – South Africa, Shrikant Bhave - New Zealand, Virender Kumar Harit – France. -Top


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect (buddhi) the charioteer, and the mind the reins. The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Highest Self) is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer - Katha Upanishad  -Top


INDIA’S restless prime minister, Narendra Modi, likes to brag that he sleeps for only three or four hours a night and replenishes his energy with yoga. He will need all the vigour he can muster in the coming month, during a punishing diplomatic tour to the rest of Asia. By the end, if he keeps up the pace, Mr Modi may have clarified what sort of policy he intends for India in a region where it punches below its weightThe marathon begins in Japan on August 30th, where India’s leader travels with a delegation of billionaires and industrialists for a five-day trip. Mr Modi is close to Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, a fellow nationalist with whom he shares suspicions of China. He gratefully visited Mr Abe in 2007 and 2012 as chief minister for Gujarat, even as Western politicians shunned him after Hindu-Muslim riots in his state in 2002. Gleeful Indian pundits note that social media give a clue to their friendship. Mr Abe follows only three people on Twitter; one of them is his eager fellow tweeter, Mr Modi.
The Indian prime minister had been due to visit Japan in July, soon after taking office in late May, as a reciprocal gesture following Mr Abe’s visit to India in January and a rare visit by Emperor Akihito late in 2013. It was put off, say diplomats, so that they could work out some eye-catching deals to announce as a sign of their friendship. Japan, formerly a big donor to China, now counts India as its largest aid recipient and will probably pledge some funds for Indian cities. It will also urge its car and electronics firms to invest more in India, a fillip to Mr Modi’s plans to boost manufacturing at home.
In return, Japan wants Mr Modi to say, or hint, that Japanese firms and technology will build India’s first high-speed rail line, stealing a march on cheaper Chinese rivals. Two security-related matters probably count for more. India wants a deal, similar to one it struck with America six years ago, that would allow co-operation between the two countries in the civilian nuclear realm. But obstacles remain: India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, so it will be difficult for Mr Abe to persuade Japanese lawmakers to agree to a civil-nuclear pact. And Japan’s nuclear firms look no readier than American ones to risk India’s burgeoning nuclear-power industry until tough Indian liability laws, in case of an accident, are rewritten.
Another possible deal, which would be highly significant if it comes off, is the sale of 15 Japanese amphibious US-2 aircraft to India for its navy to use for long-range surveillance, rescue and support. Mr Modi wants joint production of the US-2 in India by local, private and Japanese firms. That would boost manufacturing and serve as a high-profile boost to the defence industry after India said, in July, that foreigners would be allowed to own up to 49% of local ventures. A Japanese official, however, warns that unless India rules out sales to third parties of dual-use civilian-military products, the deal could fail.
Still, the timing for stronger ties between India and Japan is auspicious. Mr Abe looks eager to bind India into broader security co-operation between Asian “middling powers” that are anxious about the military rise of China but doubt that America can be trusted to guarantee their security. Like the Japanese leader, “Mr Modi’s outlook in Asia is more expansive”, argues Bharat Karnad, a hawkish analyst at the Centre for Policy Research, a think-tank in Delhi. With two assertive men in office, he expects fewer worries than under previous regimes about provoking China’s ire.
Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, fits a similar nationalist mould. Shortly after Mr Modi returns from Japan he is due in Delhi, also to talk nuclear. A deal is ready to be signed, allowing Australian uranium exports to India, seven years after John Howard, a predecessor, first tried to lift a ban. That matters for security, as imported uranium can be used for power generation, leaving India’s smaller domestic stocks for military use.
Relations with Australia have also grown warmer of late. The first joint naval exercises are due to be staged next year. Rory Medcalf of the Lowy Institute, a think-tank in Sydney, calls new ties between Australia, India and others in the region a “ballet of hedging and balancing” against China. Mr Modi is due to visit Australia in November.
In that context the visit of China’s Xi Jinping to India, in mid-September, could prove uncomfortable, even if it is likely to focus on Chinese investment and trade ties. Before Mr Modi came to office, some observers speculated that he could try to strike an early deal with China to settle the countries’ long-disputed border in the Himalayas. In fact, rather than accommodating, Mr Modi looks cautiously assertive. In May he welcomed the elected leader of Tibetans in exile, Lobsang Sangay, to his inauguration—though the spiritual Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, was not invited.
Another potential annoyance for China this week was Mr Modi’s dispatch of his foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, on a tour of Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam. India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee, will next go to Vietnam, more or less at the same time as Mr Xi is in India. Partly with China in mind, India is strengthening its security ties with South-East Asia. It recently sent warships to visit the Philippines. This month the Indian navy conducted joint exercises in Vietnam off Haiphong in the far north, close to China. Its co-operation with Vietnam has also included training submariners, repairing military aircraft and selling patrol boats. India’s state-run oil company, ONGC, this month saw its rights renewed for two oil blocks off Vietnam’s coast in an area of the South China Sea that is contested with China. India has long spoken of developing a “Look East” policy, but has lagged behind China in forging ties with emerging economies in South-East Asia. In Vietnam though, which is deeply sceptical of China’s ambitions, Mr Modi finds an open door. A Vietnamese diplomat said recently that Vietnam saw India as an “all-weather friend”, a reference to how China describes its close links to Pakistan. Mr Modi might like such language, but he will be careful not to push too far: he does not want to infuriate China. There is little public appetite in India for conflict between the Asian giants.
Next month Mr Modi will travel to the United States for the UN General Assembly and a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington to repair ties that turned frosty under his predecessor, Manmohan Singh. One area of co-operation the two leaders might discuss is joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean. After so many state visits, Mr Modi’s head is likely to be left in a yoga-like spin.   
(The Economist, August 30, 2014) -Top