October 30, 2013

AugustaWestland violated terms of contract, we have to protect our interest: Antony

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 12:14 PM

New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI)  Defence Minister A K Antony today said India is going ahead with its case against leading British-Italian helicopter manufacturers AgustaWestland, for its failure to deliver 12 VVIP helicopters that it costing an estimated Rs 3,600 crore.

“As they (AgustaWestland) have violated the contract we have taken steps to protect our interests,” Mr Antony said answering questions on a range of issues on the sidelines of a conference organised by defence think-tank Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses.

Since things have to ‘go as per law’, the media should wait for the the Italian company to reply to the ministry’s show-cause notice, he said.

Speaking on the modernisation process of the defense sector, he said all three service units have got the best equipment, and it is for this reason a lot of countries now want to have joint military exercises with India.

Talking about the go-ahead given to Dassault-Reliance joint venture to build Rafale, which many feared would reduce the role of defence public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd (HAL) in the process, Mr Antony said the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) negotiation were going on.

“I cannot interfere in these negotiations,” he said, adding that a deadline could not be set either.

He said whoever wants to scrutinise the deal could do so.


Originally published here


Ceasefire violations have abated but infiltration bids up in Kashmir: Antony

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 12:06 PM
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New Delhi: Citing an unusual trend on the Indo-Pak border, Defence Minister A K Antony today said although ceasefire violations for the past few days along the Line of Control (LoC) have abated, they have increased on the International Border (IB). He added that although ceasefire violations have come down in past few days, the infiltration attempts have increased dramatically. ”Attempts to infiltrate and the number of people (wanting to infiltrate) have increased,” Mr Antony said speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

The terrorists wanting to infiltrate this time are better equipped and more prepared, he noted. Questioning Pakistan’s intentions, Mr Antony asked, “If Pakistan is sincere about improving relations with India, how are these (attempts of infiltration) increasing?” “Both sides are guarded by the Army, how can terrorists infiltrate without the knowledge and tacit support of the Pakistan armed forces and rangers?” asked the Defense Minister.

Mr Antony said the bigger matter of concern for India is the shifting instances of ceasefire violations from the LoC to the IB but and added the Indian armed forces are fully capable of handling the situation efficiently. “They will handle it and they have all the freedom to do to,” he said. Not mincing words, Mr Antony said the infiltration was going on with the support of “elements” in the Pakistani Army.

Speaking on the Border Agreement with China signed by the Prime Minister during his recent visit to that country, Mr Antony said that efforts should be made by both sides to avoid tensions along the border. He said now that a dispute resolution mechanism is in place in form of the agreement, there should be peace and stability on the border. “Another development is that there is more military to military contact (between India and China),” he added.

Mr Antony was speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis.

Originally published here

October 12, 2013

Indians and Israelis are good with ‘jugaad’: Israeli Economy Min

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 10:17 AM

New Delhi, Oct 7 (UNI) Arguing both India and Israel have great cultures of innovation and entrepreneurship, Israeli Minister of Economy, Naftali Bennett today said Indians and Israelis are similar in the way that both are good at ‘jugaad’ or a temporary working solution.
Speaking to an auditorium full of students of the Indian Institute of Technology  (IIT), New Delhi, Mr Bennett stressed on the values Indians and Israelis share. “Israelis are very much like Indians, they respect education and family values and are good with jugaad,” he said during a seminar entitled ‘Innovation and Start-up Nation: Harnessing Israeli Technology for Business Success ’.
The minister spoke extensively about his own experience of setting up a start-up from scratch in New York with a bunch of Indian engineers from the IITs. He said he had wanted to come to India and see the institute for himself since he had heard so many stories from Indians who worked with him in the US.
He opined that one of the biggest “enemies” to success is ego and selfishness. He said people partnering for a start-up should be more concerned about increasing the size of the whole proverbial pie, rather than just trying to increase the size of one’s slice. “If one’s only concern is success, then they should not be worried about the size of their pie,” he said, advising future entrepreneurs to be ”generous with equity.”
He further advised future entrepreneurs to not rely on one source of capital. “Do not go down the way of one investor as many will drop out. Moreover, if you have more than one venture capitalists investing in your firm, you create competition among them,” he told those gathered at the high security venue.
The minister also had one more advice for future entrepreneurs – “don’t go it alone”. Since two heads are better than one, start with at least two to four people as they can concentrate on one particular area of business, he advised.
Recalling his own experience of hiring a big shot CEO who failed to deliver, he said who the promoters let in the company is very important. “The screening process is very important for people looking to go the start-up way. They should put more effort in screening people they hire,” he said adding that a bigshot CEO is no guarantee for success in a business. “If they fail, we go down, they don’t,” he remarked.
Drawing parallels between India and Israel, Mr Bennett said that the two countries are democracies in two very difficult regions. “Israel has no oil, no water and very little land. But what we have is innovation,” he concluded.


Also published here

Czech wheelsets manufacturer to invest Rs 200 cr in Mah

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 10:14 AM

New Delhi, Oct 6 (UNI)  Czech railway wheelsets manufacturer Bonatrans Group, that already has presence in India since 1992, is planning to invest Rs 200 crore in setting up a brand new production unit in the Maharashtrian industrial hub of Aurangabad.
The company that produces wheels, axles and wheelsets, among other things, for railways as well as Metro coaches plans to spread its investment over a period of two-and-half years. The Bohumin, Czech Republic-based company’s new unit will begin its operations in 2015 and aims to manufacture 20,000 wheelsets, 5,000 axles and 4,000 wheelsets a year.
Indian Railways remains Bonstrans’ primary customer, although since 1992 it has supplied the former with imported wheels, wheelsets as well as gas relays.
”India is a very important market for us. We have been in India since 1992 and supply wheels, axles and wheelsets, not only to the Indian railways but also to all major Indian metro systems, including the Delhi Metro, the Bangaluru Metro, as well as the upcoming Jaipur Metro project” said the Managing Director of company, Jakub Weimann at a gathering in New Delhi recently hosted by the Czech Embassy.
Bonatrans is part of a group of nine Czech companies, including the Association of the Czech Railway Industry (ACRI), that took part in the recently concluded International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE) in Pragati Maidan at New Delhi. Many of the companies that took part in the exhibition, such as Skoda Electric, Dako-Cz, Proman and VÚKV, among other, are looking at India as a potential investment destination.
Although Bonatrans has a footprint in railway systems, all across the world, Europe remains its primary market. Its decision is to set up a manufacturing base in India as part of a growing trend of European companies looking at Asian markets to grow.
”We decided to set up a unit in India as we want to be closer to our customers,” Mr Weimann said. He added that with the unit in Aurangabad finally commencing operations in 2015, Bonatrans expects to have a 30-40 per cent share of all the wheels that Indian Railways currently imports.
Bonatrans’ plans come as another shot in the arm for Maharashtra to bolster its image as the industrial and automobile hub of the country. The company’s plans to invest Rs 200 crores over the next two-and-half years will also help Aurangabad raise its profile as an alternative to the Mumbai-Pune industrial belt, with another Czech automobile giant Skoda already having presence there.
Asked why his company chose Aurangabad over the Mumbai-Pune industrial belt, where auto giants like General Motors, Volkwagon and Mercedes Benz are already present, Mr Weimann states the obvious – ”because Skoda is there”. He said although the company did consider the Mumbai-Pune belt, the presence of another Czech company was a major factor in their decision to set up the unit at Aurangabad.
Apart from manufacturing, Bonatrans also plans to have a Research and Development footprint in India as Indian standards are different from that of continental Europe. ”The railway system in India is a mix of British and American standards and many new technologies are also evolving, like the proposed dedicated freight corridors. So we would like the Indian unit here to cater to those needs with innovative products,” Mr Weimann remarked.
The Czech Republic, which was carved out of the ex-communist Czechoslovakia in 1993, itself has a highly developed train network that criss-crosses the country, connecting even small villages and employing 22,000 people in a country of 10.5 million. It has an annual turnover of more than 3.3 billion euros but close to half of that revenue comes from exports.


October 3, 2013

‘Former colonies should come together to demand their artifacts back’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 12:01 PM
New Delhi Sep 20 (UNI) As the National Museum in Delhi celebrated the return of the stolen Vrishanana Yogini sculpture from France, the Museum’s archaeologist who was instrumental in the achievement, said the government should take proactive steps to bring more of such pilfered sculptures back.
   JE Dawson, curator (archaeology) at the National Museum in Delhi, who was sent to Paris to bring back the sculpture safely, while interacting with the media after the exhibition ”Return of the Yogini” to celebrate the return of Vrishanana Yoginisculpture from France said it for the government to take proactive steps to bring back Indian artefacts lying in museums across western capitals.
   Speaking on the issue of numerous Indian artefacts lying across museums abroad, Mr Dawson said there already exists a UNESCO convention that says that artefacts belonging to a particular state should be returned to its country of origin. He concurred that it is not in interest of former colonial powers like Britain to part with these artefacts but the international community needs to sensitise them into thinking that they should be returned to their home countries.
   ”Many Egyptian artefacts are in the possession of the British museum. Similarly, artefacts from many other countries are lying somewhere in other countries. I have a feeling that everyone who possess these artefacts should put their heads together and come with a policy on the issue,’ Mr Dawson said.
   Donated by the widow of the French owner of the sculpture to the Indian embassy in Paris, the Vrishanana Yogini weights over 400 kgs and is 4.5 foot tall. Mr Dawson says the French owner’s window did not know how the sculpture reached France and in her letter to the Indian Embassy, she had mentioned this fact which made the process of bring it back to India easier.
   Spreading some light on the origin of the cult of Yoginis, Professor and Head of Department of History of Art at the National Museum Institute, Dr Anupa Pande who jointly curate the exhibition with Mr Dawson, said many people are not familiar with the cult of Yoginis and confuse them with ‘Jogans’ who are female worshippers of deities. However, she saidYoginis are ‘Matrikas’ or female form of deities. She added the worship of Matrikas can be observed in the Gupta period, between 2nd century BC and 6th century AD.
 With the growth of Tantric rituals, by 7th or 8th century AD seven Yoginis were being worshipped which increased to eight later. Each Yogini has eight servers or ‘parisavekas’ which makes them 64. In some places even nine Yoginis are worshipped,’ Dr Pande said.
   According to her, the worship of Yoginis was more to do with the supposed mystical power they possessed rather than Moksha or relief from worldly duties and was different from worship of Devis. “Devis are associated with moksha, however, the worship of Yoginis is related to acquisition if magical powers such as the power to fly or the attract someone. In fact, it was believed that a Yogini resides in each pressure point inside our body,” Dr Pande highlighted.
   The exhibition, was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid  and Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch and were given a personalised tour of the exhibition by the Museum staff.
   Speaking to media persons on the occasion Mr Khurshid said those smuggling Indian artefacts will be punished. “We should bring back our stolen antiquities. The government will provide all the support in the endeavour,” he assured.
   The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 that regulates the export trade in antiquities and art treasures punishes unauthorised export of artefacts with up to three years of imprisonment and an additional fine.
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