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Posts Tagged ‘Manmohan Singh’

A Global Coal Boom: What 1,200 New Power Plants Means for the Climate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 23, 2012

NELSON CHING / BLOOMBERG / GETTY IMAGES

NELSON CHING / BLOOMBERG / GETTY IMAGES

There’s a war on coal in America — or at least that’s what players in the coal industry say. They’re not entirely wrong. Coal prices in the U.S. are falling and coal plants are being retired. Most of that change is being driven by what analysts refer to as “market conditions” — otherwise known as shale gas and fracking, which has driven prices for natural gas down, down, down. That’s encouraged utilities to phase out coal in favor of cleaner natural gas — a transition that has been accelerated by federal environmental regulations that will increasingly limit the sort of air pollution associated with old coal plants.

It’s no surprise, then, that the coal industry pushed hard for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election — or that coal bosses like Robert Murray, of Ohio-based Murray Energy, fired dozens of employees after the election as the industry went into survival mode. Though perhaps Mr. Murray could have saved some of the $100,000 the company donated to the conservative super PAC American Crossroads for payroll costs.

But if the future of coal is looking dim in the U.S. with cheap natural gas and a Democrat in the White House, it’s as bright as a steel furnace in much of the rest of the world. In 2010 the global coal trade rose by 13.4%, reaching 1.08 billion metric tons. In a new report, the World Resources Institute (WRI) estimates that nearly 1,200 new coal plants are at least in the planning stages worldwide. Though the projects are spread across the globe, more than three-quarters of the new plants are set to be built in India and China. If every one of those plants were to be built and activated, it would add 1.4 million MW of coal-fired electricity capacity to the global grid. Since coal is already the single biggest contributor to man-made global warming, an unchecked global coal-building spree really would be game over for the climate — no matter what happens in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

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Does India Want to Be a Part of America’s Plan for Asia?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

The U.S. Secretary of Defense swung through New Delhi on his eight-day visit to Asia to encourage Indian leaders to help the U.S. with its military and strategic goals in the region
image: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012.

JIM WATSON / POOL VIA REUTERS
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta walks to lay a wreath at India Gate in New Delhi during a visit on June 6, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrapped up a short visit to India this week, calling for Washington and New Delhi to deepen security ties and defense cooperation in the region. As NATO-led troops get ready to leave Afghanistan and the Obama Administration continues its effort to counterbalance China’s growing military heft, Panetta’s goal was to shore up India’s support in the region during his meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defense Minister A.K. Antony, among others.

In a speech on Wednesday at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, an Indian defense think tank, Panetta urged India to help Afghanistan during and after NATO’s exit by supporting its neighbor through trade and investment, reconstruction and help for Afghan security forces. “We both realize how important it is to ultimately have a stable Afghanistan if we are to have peace and prosperity in this region,” he said. To achieve that, Panetta said both India and the U.S. “will need to continue to engage Pakistan, overcoming our respective and often deep differences.” He applauded India’s recent progress in boosting trade ties with its neighbor as being key to “helping Pakistan turn around its economy and counter extremism within its borders.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia to support India’s bid for permanent UNSC seat

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 16, 2011

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Rodionov)

Russia will back India’s bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) if a decision to expand the body is made, President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

The Russian leader said that Moscow considers India “a strong, and real” candidate for joining the body as a permanent member.

The statement was made Medvedev’s joint conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their talks in the Russian capital.

“India is a privileged partner for us,” Medvedev pointed out. He stressed that “all UN countries should agree and reform the Security Council according to a jointly approved scenario.”

“There is no need for India to doubt Russia’s support,” Medvedev assured Singh, as cited by Interfax.

Currently, there are five permanent members with veto power in the UNSC – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. Ten other members of the body are elected once every two years.

An expansion of the council – which was established back in 1946, shortly after WWII – has been discussed for years now. Many agree that it is time to reform the UNSC, since the world has changed a lot and so have the challenges that the international community faces. Several countries are now seeking permanent seats on the council, including the so-called G4 group, comprised of India, Japan, Germany and Brazil. Read the rest of this entry »

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Baba’s antics

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 7, 2011

By Kumkum Chadha

I agree with Congress leader Digvijay Singh calling Baba Ramdev a thug. I have always suspected his credentials and the latest CID report only substantiates my thinking.Apart from reports of Baba’s empire running into thousands of crores of rupees and real estate both in India and abroad, there is a CID report which accuses his closest lieutenant Acharya Balakrishna of being an imposter. According to the report, Balakrishna is a citizen of Nepal who has forged an Indian passport. This was an accusation the Congress has also made sometime ago but a police report lends credence to the charge.

As for the yoga guru’s credibility it has taken a hit as never before. His secret parleys with the Government, to the extent of his driving to a hotel to strike a deal and then asking the government to keep the agreement under wraps, only exposes the stuff he is made of: one who can go to any extent for personal gain and use a cause to promote himself. His alleged crusade about black money is like a prayer is to an atheist. Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. surprised, happy at SAARC observer offer

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 24, 2011

B. Muralidhar Reddy

BALANCING ACT: New Delhi's invitation to the U.S. to participate in SAARC as an observer was seen as a bid to offset Pakistan's request to include China in the group.

NEW DELHI: The United States was surprised by an Indian suggestion in 2005 that it consider participation in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and Washington saw that as a possible attempt by New Delhi to “balance” Pakistan’s request to include China in the grouping.

Nine countries have been given observer status. Since the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi, they have attended the inaugural and closing sessions of the summits.

A U.S. diplomatic cable dated November 17, 2005 ( 45425: confidential), accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, deals with the possible logic behind India sounding the U.S. on the proposal.

The cable, sent by U.S. Political Counselor Geoffrey Pyatt Jr., said that at a briefing on the 2005 SAARC Summit, Ministry of External Affairs Joint Secretary (SAARC) P.K. Kapur had told him that both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran supported a closer U.S. role in the regional body and requested feedback from the U.S.

Mr. Kapur told the U.S. diplomat that the membership invitation extended to Afghanistan and the decision to offer China and Japan observer status were among the most important outcomes of the Summit.

“The offer for US Observer Status may be an attempt to balance Pakistan’s request to include China, but it is a welcome opportunity to play a more prominent role in promoting US foreign policy goals for South Asian integration and reflect India’s confidence in its relationship with the US,” the cable said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rahul Gandhi And Wikileaks

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 19, 2010

Written by: B. Raman

An unnecessary political controversy has been created over a diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in New Delhi to the US State Department in Washington DC summarising, inter alia, a discussion on terrorism in India which the US Ambassador Timothy Roemer reportedly had with Rahul Gandhi, the General Secretary of the Congress (I), at a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July last year. It is one of the cables leaked out by WikiLeaks.

A careful reading and analysis of Rahul Gandhi’s observations as reported in the cable would indicate that the theme of the discussions was about the relative threat faced by India from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani organisation, and indigenous extremist elements belonging to the Hindu as well as Muslim communities. My reading is that Rahul Gandhi had said that the indigenous elements — whether the Indian Muslims who have taken to terrorism or some Hindu elements taking to terrorism — cause him greater concern than the LET. Read the rest of this entry »

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India, China set ambitious trade target

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 18, 2010

New Delhi: India and China tried to boost bilateral relations with an upbeat assessment of its importance in today’s world, saying that when the two Asian giants speak in one voice, “the world listens”. At a concrete level they agreed Thursday to address contentious issues that have bedevilled bilateral relations and set their eyes on the future by setting an ambitious trade target of $100 billion by 2015.

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao met over one and a half hours at Hyderabad House to forge “strategic consensus” on a range of issues which included global terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation, climate change, the widening trade deficit between both nations and irritants such as the problem of stapled visas for residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The joint communiqué issued after the talks said both leaders agreed there was “enough space in the world for the development of both India and China and enough areas for both to cooperate”.

The launch of a hotline between the prime ministers, which became operational four days ago, was welcomed by both leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

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