Margshirsha Krishna 9, Vik. Samvat 2071. Yugabda 5116: November 16, 2014




1. FESTIVALS: Datta Jayanti, also known as Dattatreya Jayanti, falls on Margshirsha Poornima corresponding to December 6 this year. Dattatreya, the son of the sage Atri and his wife Anasuya, is considered a form of the triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The festival is mainly celebrated in Maharashtra. Devotees worship Dattatreya with flowers, incense, lamps and camphor. They also meditate on his image, read and recite ‘gurucharitra’ and pray to Dattatreya with a vow to follow in his footsteps. -- goTop


2. PM TELLS YOUTH TO MAKE LIFE 'SARTHAK': Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked the life and struggle of RSS ideologue Eknath Ranade to urge the youth to make their life meaningful rather than be just successful.

"Eknath Ranade attached more importance to make life meaningful rather than being simply successful. That should be our strive in life," he said. Modi said Ranade's vision should inspire in creation of a Bharat that is both "bhavya" (prosperous) and "divya" (spiritual). Modi was launching, at Vigyan Bhawan, the birth centenary celebrations of Ranade that will begin from November 19. He added that Ranade played a "very significant role during the Emergency". "I am delighted to be here. Eknathji remains an inspiration ever since my childhood. Also got to work with him," the PM said, lauding his perfectionist skills and noting that none in the Sangh Parivar can match him in this aspect.  -- goTop

3. TUMKURU SANT SAMMELAN PLEDGES TO END UNTOUCHABILITY AND CASTEISM: With a clear message to stop religious conversion and pledge to end social evils like untouchability and casteism within Hindu Society, the 2-day historic Sant Sammelan on November 11-12, organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad as a part of its golden jubilee celebrations, concluded in Tumakuru Karnataka.  The sammelan was ianugurated by Sri Dr Shivakumar Swamiji of Siddaganga Matha along with RSS Sarasanghachalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat.

“Some forces of the world want to divide Hindu society.  Such forces took away our own people. …We need to show a mirror which reflects the unity to each Hindu. Such a task can be effectively undertaken by sants and swamis of Hindu society,” said Dr. Bhagwat. 
The Sammelan passed resolution on 5 major issues of socio-religious significance:-
1. Complete ban on export of cattle meat in Bharat. Govt should not give licence to new cow slaughter houses in Bharat. 2.  Declare Cow as ‘National Animal of Bharat’ and make Bharat ‘a nation free from cow slaughtering’. 3. To implement Uniform Civil Code. 4. Legal measures to stop religious conversions. 5. Demand to central govt to withdraw “Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2014.
Over 600 swamijis and dharmacharyas participated in the sammelan including Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji of Pejawara Matha Udupi, Sri Nirmalanathananda Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Matha, Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living, VHP’s International Secretary Champat Rai and other prominent saints.   -- goTop

4.   KALAM FOR BHARAT-CHINA JOINT SPACE COLLABORATION: 83-year-old APJ Abdul Kalam, former Rashtrapati, became a rare Bharatiya leader to take up teaching assignment in a Chinese university after he was formally conferred the title of Honorary Professor by the Peking University, one of the oldest Chinese universities. Kalam delivered three lectures in the University. Firstly he spoke on "Sustained development system and creative leadership" on November 5 to a group of students drawn from different disciplines. Two other lectures of Dr. Kalam were on ‘Terrestrial Solar Power’ and ‘Sustainable Development System and Creative Leadership’ on November 6 and 7 respectively.

Dr. Kalam was formally invited to teach at the University by its Chairman Zhu Shanlu when he visited China for the first time in 2012.  -- goTop

5.  SHAKHA ADDS VALUES IN A CITIZEN’S LIFE: RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat called upon the youth to join Sangh shakha if they want to understand the Sangh and its work. “There is no other organisation similar to the Sangh in the world. There is a certain perspective and inquisitiveness required to understand the Sangh which is working towards organising the Hindu society,” said Shri Bhagwat interacting with the youth at Yuva Sankalp Shivir in Agra on November 3.

He said there can be no Hindu without Bharat and there is no Bharat without Hindus. Bharat is not the name of the land but it’s a place where the Bharatiyas reside. The character and tradition of Bharat is Hindutva. We need to maintain the decorum in the society to stay united.  -- goTop

6.   BHARAT'S UN RESOLUTION ON YOGA GETS RECORD BACKING OF 130 COUNTRIES: In an overwhelming response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for commemorating an International Day of Yoga, about 130 countries have joined as co-sponsors to a Bharat-led UN General Assembly resolution recognising yoga's benefits.

The draft resolution for an 'International Day of Yoga' was prepared by Bharat and informal consultations were convened last month by the Bharatiya mission in the UN General Assembly where views on the topic were expressed by other delegations.
The draft resolution, known as the 'L Document,' was finalised with 130 countries co-sponsoring it, an all-time record for a resolution of such kind.
The resolution would proclaim June 21 as the 'International Day of Yoga'.
Several Asian, European and Latin American countries and nearly 60 per cent of African nations are the co-sponsors of the resolution.  -- goTop

7.  SRILANKA GOVT APPRECIATES HSS RELIEF WORK: Kosalandha Meeriapeththa, an estate village in Uva province of Sri Lanka was badly affected by landslide on October 29. About 1,055 men and women including 162 children were displaced to a relief camp in Poonagala School after the landslide. At present, the camp is managed by Ministry of disaster management with the help of Army.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) Sri Lanka volunteers in many districts immediately planned to collect the essential material to help the affected. A group of karyakarthas travelled from Colombo to the affected village to assess the ground reality and planned to work in the relief camp.Within a day, swayamsevaks collected materials worth Rs 20 lakhs. Only swayamsevaks and sevikas are working inside the relief camp other than the government officials and the Army.  -- goTop

8.  LOST JAIN TEXT ON BHARATIYA PHILOSPHY RECONSTRUCTED: Dwadasharnayachakra - a fifth century AD Jain treatise on comparative Bharatiya philosophy reported lost some 1,300 years ago has been painstakingly 'resurrected' by experts with the help of commentaries and critiques of that era. It took 30 years for the team led by Muni Jambuvijaya in Ahmedabad to recreate the Sanskrit scripture for the students of Darshan Shastra, the study of Bharatiya and comparative religious philosophies dating back to 4th and 5th centuries AD.

The muni learnt 14 languages - including Tibetan, German and French, apart from the classical Bharatiya languages of Pali, Prakrit and Ardhamagdhi - to harness critical references from that era.
Jitendra Shah, the director of the LD Institute of Indology, who pursued a doctoral thesis on Dwadasharnayachakra, said that the book commands significance due to its content. "Acharya Mallavadi, a fifth century AD monk, had written the book as the outcome of his study of all religious thoughts and philosophies," said Shah.  -- goTop

9.   6TH WORLD AYURVEDA CONGRESS AT DELHI: “Ayurveda can acquire global recognition, like yoga, if it is presented in the right spirit and recognized as a way of life,” stressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 6th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) and Arogya Expo organized in New Delhi by the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) department under the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, in collaboration with the World Ayurveda Foundation (WAF) and the Delhi government on 6-10 November.

"The biggest challenge for promoting Ayurveda is finding physicians who are completely committed to Ayurveda. Unless practitioners believe in it fully they will not be able to convince the patients," he added.A disease can be cured by Allopathy, but if a person adopts Ayurveda, he can protect himself against various infections and lifestyle diseases for life.  -- goTop

10. CUBA AIMING TO INTRODUCE AYURVEDA IN MEDICAL CARE, CURRICULUM: Natalia Marzoa Silva, a biologist at the state-owned Finlay Institute in Havana and representing Cuba at the 6th World Ayurveda Congress in New Delhi said: "In Cuba, we have all the tools for treating diseases, but we have to improve the preventive system further." 

"We want to introduce Ayurveda in our country to prevent diseases. India can teach us about medicinal plants to fight diseases such as cancer and diabetes. We have the same plants in Cuba, but we don't know how to use them," she said, adding, a bilateral collaboration could create an understanding of the use of medicinal plants.  -- goTop

11.   AGNI-II TEST-FIRED FOR FULL 2,000-KM STRIKE RANGE: Bharat test-fired the nuclear weapon-capable Agni-II ballistic missile for its full strike range of 2,000 km from Wheeler Island off the Odisha Coast on 9th November. The 20-metre-tall Agni-II zoomed to an altitude of 600 km and began its descent before splashing near its pre-designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal with “two-digit accuracy.”

The exercise was carried out as regular user training under the supervision of missile scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which designed and developed the weapon system. The two-stage missile has been inducted for military use and can carry a one-tonne payload.
Terming Agni-II a workhorse, the official said the overall mission objectives were met precisely. The navigation, guidance and control aspects of this class of missile were proven once again.  -- goTop

12.  YOUNG SCIENTIST PRIZE TO SAHIL DOSHI: Sahil Doshi, 14 year-old boy from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US has won the award for his innovative eco-friendly battery design. He was awarded $25,000 and named young America's 'top young scientist'. He also won an adventure trip to Costa Rica. Doshi, a pupil from Upper St. Clair School District’s Upper St. Clair High School, competed with nine other finalists on Nov 3 to win the coveted prize. Determined to help 1.2 billion people worldwide who lack access to electricity and the rising levels of toxic air pollution, Doshi created an energy storage device named 'PolluCell'. 'PolluCell' converts carbon dioxide into electricity and lowers harmful greenhouse gases while offering power for household use.The competition gave the finalists an opportunity to work directly with 3M scientists.  -- goTop


13.  FOUR BHARATIYA-AMERICAN WOMEN WIN ELECTIONS: The four Bharatiya American women who vied for the US House of Representatives, won their polls comfortably to make the community proud. South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley trounced her Democrat challenger Vincent Sheheen by a mammoth margin, to get another four years in office. In California, Kamala Harris, 50, was re-elected as Attorney General. In Washington State, the Democrat Pramila Jayapal was elected to the State Senate seat from the 37th Legislative District in her debut bid; becoming the first Bharatiya- American to be elected to the state legislature.The Democrat Aruna Miller retained her District 15 legislative seat for the second time in Maryland.  -- goTop


14. HINDU ENCYCLOPAEDIA IS ‘GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANITY’: British Prime Minister David Cameron termed the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism as a ‘great contribution to humanity’, adding that he is going to make use of this compilation. “This encyclopaedia is a great contribution to humanity. I love the saying, ‘Let all noble thoughts come from all directions’. I am going to use this. This is beautiful,” said Prime Minister Cameron, while launching the 11 volume encyclopaedia , produced by the India Heritage Research Foundation, in UK at a Diwali party on October 28.The event took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.  -- goTop


15. BHARATIYA-ORIGIN POLITICIAN KEITH VAZ NAMED AS 'LABOUR MP OF THE YEAR':Bharatiya-origin British politician Keith Vaz has been named as the Labour MP of the year 2014 for his valuable work for under-represented, deprived and minority sections of the country."I am honoured to have been chosen for this award. In my constituency of Leicester East, I work with individuals and groups of all backgrounds, faiths and races. For all groups to be better represented in Parliament, and the wider political process, is a positive and necessary aim in our multicultural society," Vaz said

Speaker John Bercow announced the Patchwork Foundation MPs of the Year 2014 at Speakers House Nov 6, for those who have represented and worked with underrepresented, deprived and minority communities across the country  -- goTop

16.   5TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AND GATHERING OF ELDERS will be held at Mysuru – Karnataka from 31st January – 5th February 2015. The theme of the conference will beUniversal Wellbeing – Sustaining Nature, Culture and Communities.

The conference will explore how the current era of globalization is influencing inequality, politics, religious freedom and propagating borderless Nations.
It will bring together the leaders and scholars of 100+ living ancient cultures. This event will be focused on sharing insights on how to leverage the current globalization trend, access technology tools and build leadership capability within communities to ensure universal wellbeing in the twenty-first century and beyond. Pl visit for more information.  -- goTop

17. CONCESSIONS FOR REFUGEES FROM PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN: Bharatiya Government on 13th November announced a number of concessions for Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan as part of which it also introduced relaxations in the procedure for granting them Bharatiya citizenship. Home minister Rajnath Singh approved a proposal for manual acceptance of applications for granting of Bharatiya citizenship to those who entered Bharat prior to 31 December, 2009. The children of such refugees, who entered Bharat on the basis of their parents’ passport, can apply without passport for the grant of Bharatiya citizenship after the regularisation of their stay in Bharat. In case of children of such persons born in Bharat, they can also apply without passport for grant of citizenship after regularisation of their stay in the country. There are about 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jaipur. Many Sikh refugees live in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. There are about one lakh minority community refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan living in Bharat.  -- goTop


18. K SURYANARAYANA RAO TURNS 90: Veteran RSS Pracharak Kru Suryanarayana Rao, popularly known as ‘Suruji’ turned 90 this year. RSS Karnataka greeted this legendary icon of Sangh work in a simple function held at Sri Shankar Matha premises, Shankarapuram, Bengaluru on 5th November. In a function held later in the evening, Pejawar Matha’s Vishwesha Theertha swamiji met and greeted Suruji on his 90th Birthday, and called Suruji as ‘Bheeshmacharya’ in his address.

Suryanarayana Rao, born in 1924, became RSS swayamsevak in 1942 and pracharak in 1946 after his graduation in B Sc Mathematics. He held various responsibilities including Tamilnadu Pranth Pracharak, Dakshin kshetra pracharak and Akhil Bharatiya Seva Pramukh of RSS giving a new dimension for Seva activities of RSS. He has visited countries like USA, Trinidad, Canada, England, during this period.  -- goTop

19. HINDUS IN BANGLADESH SPEAK OUT AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: Human rights organizations in Bangladesh have forcefully demanded an independent and neutral investigation into incidents of repression on the minorities. Seeking justice for the victims, the organizations demanded that the attackers be brought to book.

Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) and Bangladesh Center for Human Rights and Development (BCHRD) with the collaboration of Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD) jointly published “Human Rights Report of Religious Minorities-2014” at a press conference on 7th November at Dhaka. Minority victims from various parts of Bangladesh appeared at the Conference Hall and expressed their experiences of sufferings.
“Stop this injustice. Punish those who launched barbaric attacks against people of the minority communities across the country from 2001 to 2014,” BDMW president Rabindra Ghosh urged the government.  -- goTop

20. OLDEST PAINTINGS OF BHARATIYA FACES FOUND IN AJANTA: In March earlier this year, historian and writer William Dalrymple, the author of White Mughals, The Last Mughal, and City of Djinns, visited the famed Ajanta caves with his wife. They wandered into two lesser-known caves in the 31-cave complex — numbers 9 and 10.

"I saw these extraordinary but unfamiliar paintings. I couldn't recall having seen their photographs anywhere, in any books on Ajanta," recalled Dalrymple during a talk organized by the Tasveer Foundation. "Although badly damaged, I could make out that these paintings were in a different style from the better known Ajanta paintings — more realistic and humanistic." "This pre-dates everything in Indian art. These are the oldest faces of Indians in existence," said Dalrymple, while pointing to slides showing visual representations of the Jataka tales, which formed the main subject matter of these paintings. The faces are full of vigour and expression, and each face is individually delineated, the historian pointed out.
"The most marvellous thing is, you still see these faces, these same features, and sometimes even the same designs in jewellery and dress, even today in western India. But the people represented here — though we don't know if the anonymous artists painted them from life or imagination — lived two millennia ago."  -- goTop

21. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Suresh ji Soni, sahsarkaryavaha will tour countries in South East Asia including Thailand in December. Shri Saumitar Gokhale, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag, Dr.Ram Vaidya sah samyojak arrived in Bharat to attend World Hindu Congress. Shri Ravikumar, sah samyojak returned from his tour to Australia. Visitors: Amrit Mittal – USA  -- goTop


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. – Billy Graham.  -- goTop

As a first generation American who grew up in India, it seems counter-intuitive, at first, to be writing about growing up Hindu in America. Reflecting on my experience as a parent raising two Hindu American teens, though, a 19-year old and a 13-year old, I feel emboldened to put ‘pen to paper’ and share my thoughts.
Interacting with Hindu kids growing up in America today, I find that they primarily identify as Americans. They share and cherish American core values and have American role models from various walks of life. Whether it is music, sport, or dance, mainstream American culture is a powerful glue that brings people together, breaking down the barriers that divide. Nonetheless, every individual wears secondary identities based on such criteria as gender, ethnicity, religion and race.
Hindu kids too have nagging questions about their roots, questions like:  Who is a Hindu? and What is our identity?
Immigrants in a New Home
Most first-generation Indian Americans reach the shores of this bountiful country in pursuit of the great American Dream. Many have advanced degrees in fields such as computer science, medicine, and biotechnology and find their skills and experience much sought after in the techno-commercial market place here. I immigrated to America from India in 2002 as an information technology professional, and my family came shortly thereafter. The suburbs of Detroit, Michigan welcomed us with traditional Midwestern warmth. I felt at home the moment I arrived in this new land, surrounded by the majestic great lakes.
About 2.7 million Hindu Americans, mostly of South Asian descent, live in America today. Second-generation Hindu Americans, growing up in the late 90s and the early 2000s, found the overall environment encouraging, allowing them to pursue a career of choice as equals. This has been particularly true where the Hindu population is highly concentrated in socially diverse states  such as California, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. The environment is not always welcoming, though. In some regions Hindu Americans feel that they are “polemically tolerated,” in others they are simply “accepted,” while in a city like Detroit the diversity they bring the community is “celebrated.”
Prior to the 90s, Hindu children growing up in America faced more of an identity crisis. Parents were busy adjusting to the new land, pursuing careers, and establishing themselves. The younger generation seldom had opportunities to learn about tradition, faith, and culture. However, as the community stabilized itself financially, the second generation started making its mark in everything from spelling bee contests to corporate boardrooms in Silicon Valley. This was a great leap from earlier media-driven stereotypes of taxi drivers and 7/11 shop owners. A new confidence about our future developed, and a yearning was born for ways to draw inspiration from our rich cultural past and establish a distinct Hindu American identity.
The Heart of the Matter
A major challenge faced by Hindu American parents is conveying the essence of Hinduism to their kids. For many in the West, especially those in the Abrahamic traditions, faith and worship are an integral part of religion. For them, “religion” includes an inherent emphasis on adhering to the belief systems proposed by the founders of their respective traditions. Regular community worship each week tends to be embraced.
By contrast, Hinduism is an ancient pluralistic civilizational framework that is based on freedom of faith rather than faith itself. The uniqueness of the framework is that every individual has absolute liberty in choosing a path of worship and adopting or rejecting a belief system. Hindu civilization is held together by two profound philosophical concepts : Vasudeva Kutumbakam (the entire Universe is my family) and Sarva Panth Samabhava (equal respect for all faiths). Accordingly, Hindu civilization has played a motherly role in ensuring that various Dharmic faiths that emerged from the civilization flourished unhindered and co-existed with respect and admiration. For an adult it might not be difficult to grasp the subtle difference between a civilizational framework that nurtures freedom of faith versus a religion based on theology and community worship, but try explaining that to a nine-year-old!
As a Hindu parent, I have to create explanations my kids can understand. I tell them to think about Hinduism as a way of life where “everyone lives in a community with a common shared backyard. Within each household, members privately practice their faith of choice. And when they all come out, sharing their backyard, the boundaries are invisible and insignificant.” Clearly this is not a religion where  adherents live in fenced houses in exclusive gated communities.
I came up with a simple poem to explain our identity:
All are equal and all are free, all are part of our family.
We care for the weak and share when we eat,
We fold our hands and greet when we meet…
Namaste! Namaste! Namaste!
When it is right, we have no fear,
To show our might, we never fight.
We talk of peace, we have no foes,
We are friends of trees and nature as a whole.
We share our joy and love every life,
Be it the soul of a man or a tiny mole.
Yoga for the body and Gita for the mind,
For Black, Brown, Yellow, White, every shade and kind.
Respect for age is never hard to find,
We are a people that only try to bind.
Reforging an Identity
Today we see a conscious effort in the Hindu American community to get connected with its roots. From Yoga classes to Bollywood actors, from classical dancers to spiritual gurus, every sort of cultural ambassador is in demand. Socio-cultural organizations such as Balavihaar and Balagokulam have gained popularity in temples, and youngsters are actively attending South Asian culture and language classes. Organizations like Hindu Students Council and Hindu Yuva are mushrooming on college campuses, and Hindu American youth are connecting with their roots in a more confident and assertive manner.
In America as in India, Hindu festivals play an important role in propagating our key values – living in harmony with Mother Nature and living up to our roles and responsibilities towards family, society at large, and the whole human family. Important festivals are celebrated in America with vigor and traditional fashion. The most popular is Diwali, which hails the triumph of good over evil. In recent times Hindus have  become actively engaged during Diwali in contributing to the wider community through service projects such as food drives for shelters and highway-cleanup projects.
Hindu American engagement in the interfaith community is also showing an increase. More and more Hindus feel the urge to demystify Hindu values and concepts to the world, promoting the importance of including the diverse voices of wisdom from Dharmic and indigenous sources in the ongoing story of religion in America.   -- goTop


Stewart beck
Two months after leaving India as Canada’s High Commissioner, I returned two weeks ago as part of British Columbia Premier Christy Clark’s official delegation to the country.
Stepping out into the hot and humid Delhi night, everything looked the same but there was certainly a sense of change in the air: everyone from taxi drivers, to business people and politicians seem to feel a new confidence that India can now move forward. In his first 100 days in office, new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have changed the attitude and outlook of the world’s second-most populous nation.
Coinciding with the Premier’s visit was a delegation of federal representatives, including Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministers John Baird and Ed Fast, who were there to reinforce Canada’s commitment to strengthening ties with India’s new government. The success of the concurrent delegations was an excellent example of how Canada can capitalize on some of its constitutional similarities with India – in this case, the devolution of power over issues such as education and national-resource management to the provinces – in order to improve relations for Canada as a whole.
Our ministers had the opportunity to sit down with the prime minister: Mr. Baird extended an official invitation for Mr. Modi to visit Canada, and Mr. Fast raised the pending Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the negotiations for which have been continuing since 2010. For his part, Mr. Modi noted that he was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, scheduled to begin Dec. 1.
With the CEPA negotiations now having gone through eight rounds, and an unsigned FIPA, India-watchers in Canada have had little reason to anticipate any formalized deepening of ties. But India is changing, and it is happening faster than we think.
Over the last four years in India, I saw little, if any, change. The second UPA government under Manmohan Singh was sclerotic, bumping from one scandal to another starting with the Commonwealth Games in 2010. This left the country, its people and its businesses with little hope and enormously frustrated by a corrupt environment, lagging job growth and a government incapable of providing services for its citizens.
Mr. Modi was elected as prime minister with a mandate to make things happen. From my own experience in dealing with Mr. Modi, he is prepared, direct and looking for results and accountability, rare attributes in an Indian politician. His past record as chief minister of Gujarat demonstrates what he is capable of: his policies and approach attracted the most foreign investment of all Indian States, including major Canadian investments by Bombardier and McCain’s.
In the past 100 days, Mr. Modi has made some dramatic international maneuvers, including securing sizeable infrastructure funding commitments from Japan and China and building new security arrangements with the United States. Domestically, he moved forward on introducing land and labour reforms, and with the drop in crude oil prices, he has been able to reduce fuel subsidies. This will further improve India’s investment environment, and with a declining current account deficit he will have more room to take bolder reform measures.
This change in attitude and level of confidence was clearly evident in the meetings Ms. Clark had with her counterparts. There was a strong commitment to securing long-term gas supplies based on current and future investments in British Columbia and meetings with steel industry executives opened many Canadian eyes to the staggering growth planned in the economy. Steel manufacturing capacity will grow to 300 million tons by 2025, which, alone will mean that India will need to import at least 150 million tons of coking coal to meet the demand.
Mr. Modi’s most significant challenge will be providing the necessary skills to employ the one million people entering the work force every month for the next 15 years (more than 50 per cent of India’s population is under the age of 25). The Premier was able to present solutions to this challenge, including how the proper Canadian accreditations delivered through joint programming in India can solve some of the skill shortages facing the province.
Opportunities abound in India and even more so now that there is a newfound optimism and energy. Canada is uniquely placed to become a priority country for India. We engaged early with Mr. Modi when other western countries were reticent; we are colonial cousins and share a similar constitutional framework; and we have a vibrant diaspora that cares about India’s future place in world. As Mr. Harper meets with Mr. Modi for the first time later this year in Australia, and we look ahead to a possible official visit next year, the time is ripe for Canada and India to grow in closer partnership together.
(Stewart Beck is president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada  and  was Canada’s High Commissioner to India.)  -- goTop