President of India congratulates Maithripala Sirisena on his assumption of office as the president of Sri Lanka



President of India congratulates Maithripala Sirisena on his assumption of office as the president of Sri Lanka 

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has congratulated His Excellency Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, on hisassumption of office as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. 


In his message to His Excellency Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, the President has said, “Please accept my congratulations and warm felicitations on your assumption of office as the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. 

India and Sri Lanka as neighbours with civilisational ties sharing a common history, cultural heritage, interests and values, have long enjoyed a tradition of close friendship and cooperation. 

I am confident that in the coming years, both countries will continue to work together to further strengthen our bilateral relations to the mutual benefit of both our peoples. 

Please accept, Excellency, my best wishes for the success of your endeavours for peace and development in Sri Lanka and for the progress and prosperity of its people”. 

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President to deliver New Year Message to Governors through Video Conferencing 

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee will deliver through Video Conferencing a New Year Message to the Governors using the National Knowledge Network from Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow (January 10, 2014). 

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Vice President Presents “Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards -2015” to 15 Distinguished Persons at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas at Gandhinagar 


The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari presented the “Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards -2015” to 15 distinguished persons at the Valedictory Session of the ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Divas’ at Gandhinagar, Gujarat today. Addressing on the occasion, he said that today, Overseas Indians are estimated to be around 25 million. They are in virtually every country and region of the world. Jidhar dekhta hoon faqat tu hi tu hai. Some, particularly in recent times, have gone voluntarily; the ancestors of others were victims of circumstance; compulsions of livelihood propelled many others.

He said that no less diverse is the mix of skills and professional callings that range from blue collars workers to white collar experts in diverse fields, to men and women of science, doctors, engineers, IT professionals, business persons, entrepreneurs and investors. Some reside permanently in the countries of their work and have acquired nationality; others remain abroad for shorter periods and return home after a few years. They have, like most of us, multiple identities: a common denominator is their emotional bond to India, and to its cultural legacy. They cherish it, individually and collectively, and so do we here. The institution of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is an occasion of bonding.

The Vice President opined that beyond these emotional bonds, and nourishing them, are modern day economic imperatives. NRI remittances, principally from those who are short-term residents abroad and need to sustain families back home, constitute an important element in our balance of payments. They also help propel in varying degrees economic activity in their home states. The more affluent segments of the NRI groups are increasingly a source of investments in diverse fields including information technology, healthcare, energy, mineral resources, retail, hospitality, gems & jewellery etc. The continuing liberalisation of the Indian economy, and the most recent policy initiatives taken or proposed by the Government, are expected to galvanise the involvement of the Overseas Indians in the many fields of economic activity. 

He said that India today is on the cusp of change, in the process of actualising the expectations of its vast population for a better life. India aspires for a better place in the comity of nations. Both of these require rapid economic development, accompanied by better educational, health and social parameters. This requires a massive collective effort by all segments of our population. The governments at central and state levels need to provide visionary leadership and are determined to do so. In this endeavour, an important role can be and must be played by the Overseas Indians. They have knowledge and resources to reinforce the effort in niche areas; they also have the experience of other lands where similar efforts were pursued successfully. We welcome such initiatives, which will replicate these valuable experiences here and save us from reinventing the wheel.

Following is the text of the Vice President’s valedictory address :

“I am happy to be here this evening to confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards, on the occasion of the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, to fifteen distinguished personalities. This year is a special one. It coincides with the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa, following which he took on the mantle of leadership of perhaps greatest non-violent struggle for independence against the colonial yoke. Gandhi ji was also, unquestionably, the greatest Pravasi Bharatiya of all.

Today’s Awards, as per our national legislation, are conferred on Non-Resident Indians and on Persons of Indian Origin, or on organizations and institutions established by them, who have made significant contributions in any of a set of eight fields in which they have through their individual contributions brought name and fame to India and Indians. 

Many amongst the vast body of Overseas Indians have done so, and continue to do this in their own chosen way. A common thread amongst them is their affection for their land of origin and their adherence to its heritage, culture and traditions and the values emanating from them.

I congratulate the winners of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards. We are grateful for their contributions to society. They are deserving recipients of this recognition. Through their exemplary work, they have also proved to be outstanding envoys of peace, friendship and cooperation between India and countries of their residence.

Today, Overseas Indians are estimated to be around 25 million. They are in virtually every country and region of the world. Jidhar dekhta hoon faqat tu hi tu hai. Some, particularly in recent times, have gone voluntarily; the ancestors of others were victims of circumstance; compulsions of livelihood propelled many others.

No less diverse is the mix of skills and professional callings that range from blue collars workers to white collar experts in diverse fields, to men and women of science, doctors, engineers, IT professionals, business persons, entrepreneurs and investors. Some reside permanently in the countries of their work and have acquired nationality; others remain abroad for shorter periods and return home after a few years.

They have, like most of us, multiple identities: a common denominator is their emotional bond to India, and to its cultural legacy. They cherish it, individually and collectively, and so do we here. The institution of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is an occasion of bonding.

Beyond these emotional bonds, and nourishing them, are modern day economic imperatives. NRI remittances, principally from those who are short-term residents abroad and need to sustain families back home, constitute an important element in our balance of payments. They also help propel in varying degrees economic activity in their home states. The more affluent segments of the NRI groups are increasingly a source of investments in diverse fields including information technology, healthcare, energy, mineral resources, retail, hospitality, gems & jewellery etc. The continuing liberalisation of the Indian economy, and the most recent policy initiatives taken or proposed by the Government, are expected to galvanise the involvement of the Overseas Indians in the many fields of economic activity. 

Relationships, even emotional ones, are not a one-way street. The Overseas Indians have expectations aimed at facilitating and intensifying their involvement with India. The Government of India, and the State Governments, have acknowledged the validity of these sentiments and taken or initiated steps to attract, assist and promote a deeper and multifaceted relationship, which is mutually beneficial and long lasting. We in India attach highest importance to issues of interest and concern to the overseas Indians.

India today is on the cusp of change, in the process of actualising the expectations of its vast population for a better life. India aspires for a better place in the comity of nations. Both of these require rapid economic development, accompanied by better educational, health and social parameters. This requires a massive collective effort by all segments of our population. The governments at central and state levels need to provide visionary leadership and are determined to do so.

In this endeavour, an important role can be and must be played by the Overseas Indians. They have knowledge and resources to reinforce the effort in niche areas; they also have the experience of other lands where similar efforts were pursued successfully. We welcome such initiatives, which will replicate these valuable experiences here and save us from reinventing the wheel.

What then is the challenge before us in this task of linking India more closely with its overseas community? In my view it is to maintain and strengthen the linkages between the next generation of Pravasis and their counterparts in India. It is essential that the new generations at both ends continue and strengthen this mutually beneficial bond. The Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas organized on the 7th of January is a good step in the right direction.

I thank you all for your presence today. We hope to see back in the years ahead. We will continue working closely together in order to realize our collective desire to see India as a modern and prosperous nation.

Jai Hind.”

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The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari lighting the lamp to inaugurate the World Congress on International Law on the theme “Relevance of International Law”, in New Delhi on January 09, 2015.

Vice President Inaugurates World Congress on International Law 

The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari inaugurated the World Congress on International Law on the theme “Relevance of International Law” organised by the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) at a function here today. He also released online edition of the Journal of ISIL on the occasion.

Following is the text of the Vice President’s inaugural address :

“I deem it an honour to be invited by the Indian Society of International Law to address the World Congress on International Law. This distinguished galaxy of Justices, Judges of the International Court, legal scholars and lawyers constitutes a formidable and learned audience. The relevance of international law in today’s rapidly changing world, and the new challenges we have to collectively address, is a good subject for serious cogitation.


The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari releasing the online edition of the Journal of ISIL, at the inauguration of the World Congress on International Law on the theme “Relevance of International Law”, in New Delhi on January 09, 2015.

International Law as it is now understood and practiced is of relatively recent origin. It owes its origin primarily to the Westphalian World Order forged in Europe in the 17th century. Its beginnings, modest and limited, coincide with the rise of nation states in Europe, bore its stamp and focused on common values and the reciprocity of interests.

The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari releasing the “Indian Journal of International Law”, at the inauguration of the World Congress on International Law on the theme “Relevance of International Law”, in New Delhi on January 09, 2015.

The principles of sovereignty and legal equality of states were first enunciated by the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius in 1625. The principles of sanctity of agreements entered into, as also the saving conditionality allowing non-compliance, lent balance to the commitments entered into by nation states.

The two World Wars presented fresh challenges to the principles and practices of international law. These related to rectification of boundaries, care of refugees and administration of the territory of the defeated enemy. Efforts to address these and related issues through the creation of the League of Nations were unsuccessful. This failure, and the horrors of World War II, led to appreciation of the necessity of international cooperation and the formation of the United Nations as a body capable of ensuring obedience to international law and maintaining peace. The Preamble of the UN Charter assert this as one of the objectives: “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”

The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari and other dignitaries at the inauguration of the World Congress on International Law on the theme “Relevance of International Law”, in New Delhi on January 09, 2015.

The period since 1945 has been highly productive in regard to the growth and evolution of international law. International cooperation was widely accepted, though not universally. The first few decades in particular gave cause for optimism.

The UN assisted the process of decolonization and the effort to end Apartheid. The UN Multilateral system contributed to the enunciation of normative principles to regulate international conduct. Questions such as disarmament, social development, gender equality, population, food and water and a host of problems relevant for the developing world were addressed. Common trans-national services related to civil aviation, maritime regulations, health, telecommunications, postal systems, refugees, world weather and food security were put in place.

The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari addressing at the inauguration of the World Congress on International Law on the theme “Relevance of International Law”, in New Delhi on January 09, 2015.

193 nations are now members of the UN and subscribe to its Charter. The ambit of rules of international law has widened and includes intergovernmental organizations, corporations, non-governmental organizations as well as individuals. 

The founding fathers of India’s Constitution accepted these broad principles and incorporated them in the Directive Principles of State policy. Pursuant to this, the state shall foster respect for international law and treaty obligations of organized people with one another.”

II

The United Nation has its limitations. It is a voluntary association of sovereign nation States.  These States have their own aspirations and had sought membership of the UN in their perceived self-interest. 

For this reason, some parts of international law remain highly contested. These relate to the laws of warfare, to the concept of state sovereignty, and to a full range of self serving interests of the powerful who wish to use international law to further their political, economic and security interests. A case in point is the Charter of the International Court of Justice and its Optional clause.

Within the ambit of Public International Law, institutions and organizations have been used to impose unequal treaties and evolve concepts that have encouraged curtailment of sovereignty (Right to Protect), seek intrusive presence within Sovereign States (Peace Keeping and Peace Building).  Conflicts of laws in civil law jurisdictions, which constitutes Private International Law, seeks to address disputes between business corporations outside a unified legal framework.  This has led to increasing use of commercial arbitration (Under the New York Convention 1958).

There is also the growing application of Supra-National law to address global commons and such international issues relating to new technologies, evolutions in genetic sciences and problems presented by pandemics and catastrophic disaster events.

Globalisation has not only increased the importance of international law but also the complexity of international legal issues. International law has grown to encompass a wide variety of fields including the prohibition of the use of force; human rights; protection of individuals during wars and armed conflicts; fight against terrorism, trafficking in drugs and other serious crimes; environment; trade and development; telecommunication; and transport.

The power structure of the Organization created in 1945 clearly reflected the power realities of the world after the Second World War.  It was dominated by the victors of the Second World War who fashioned its modalities to further and facilitate the pursuit of power in political and economic terms.

Much has changed in the world since then, but the underlying realities of the power lesson remain true.  If anything the intervening years have eroded the effectiveness of the UN and its institutions, and the need for reforms has never been more urgent.  The world has changed, new power realities have emerged, several new regional and trans-regional groupings have come into being, but the United Nation remains largely unaltered. 

The need for reforms is widely recognized and several halting efforts have been made to change methods of work, procedures, financing arrangements, delivery mechanisms and accountability criteria, but the outcomes have been less than satisfactory.  What is required is structural and systemic reforms and that has still to happen. 

There is a growing perception that there has been a decline in multilateralism.  Developed countries have begun to look upon the UN and its functioning in terms of their own priorities and objectives.  The UN’s Charter functions in the area of money, finance, trade, expenditure, indebtedness and developmental strategies have been transferred to IMF, World Bank and WTO.  In these bodies the major economic powers, because of their voting power or the power of retaliation (WTO) have come to dominate the decision making in these vital areas.

In the area of development the focus is on the economic and social problems of developing countries and their internal governance issues.   Here too, in the name of globalization, the thrust is on the open market, foreign investment, lowering tariffs and reducing the role of the State. 

The UN’s method of functioning has also changed from being a negotiating forum on hard economic issues, where substantive legally bidding commitments were undertaken, it has increasingly become a forum for the exchange of views and where experts are invited to conduct dialogues and analyze global economic and social trends. 

Another important, and in some ways a game changing development, relates to the funding of the UN.  The UN finds itself starved of adequate and predictable funding.  Dues have been withheld, budgetary restrictions have been imposed and assessed contributions today account for a small percentage of the total expenditure of the UN.  The proportion of voluntary funding has grown dramatically and today provides a high percentage of the total.  This feature has been effectively used by the major powers to impose their own priorities on the UN, by dominating its budgeting, accounting and administrative apparatus. This has resulted in the dilution of the UN’s regulatory and norm setting activities.

III

Although international laws and the institutions created to further its influence and application have grown significantly over the last six decades, International Law is at a crossroads and needs new direction. Its ambit has grown from interstate relations, to individual rights and now covers civil society and corporations apart from State conduct.  It extends to the Global Commons and attempts to address new challenges being posed by new technologies, non-state actors, unhindered information and financial flows. While it is trying to cope with transnational concerns relating to pandemics, narcotics, illegal trafficking in human beings and arms, it cannot escape addressing some fundamental issues. A few of these need to be mentioned here:

1.                    The nature of the State is being called into question. Today, several parts of the world are engulfed by crises of identity, political control and stability. The nation-state system is under strain, prompted by geo-political, short term strategic compulsions and radicalized non-state actors. Colonial geographies have begun to dismantle. Military interventions in established nation states have led to instability and to the growth of sectarian and ethnic discord.  Non-state actors, of different ideological persuasions, have violated borders and sovereignty at will. Some of these transgressions have received support from other powers and nation states.

2.                    There is a contradiction at the heart of globalization. The international economic system is becoming global, while the political structure of the world is still based on the nation state. Goods and capital seek to flow unhindered across national boundaries. Individual nation states resist global pressures in seeking to protect their national interests. Economic globalization in its essence, as Henry Kissinger has put it, “ignores national frontiers. International policy emphasizes the importance of frontiers, even as it seeks to reconcile conflicting national aims”.


3.                    Values and state structures, Western in origin and proclaimed as having universal validity, are increasingly being questioned. Concepts such as democracy, human rights and international law are subject to divergent interpretations. In the absence of a consensus and a mechanism for enforcement, international law is increasingly proving ineffective.

4.                    The logical consequence of the promotion of democracy as a universal value necessitates its induction in the governing structures of the international system. “A theory of legitimate power,” in the words of the political scientist David Held, “is inescapably a theory of democracy in the interlocking processes and structures of the global system.” Reforms aimed at bringing this about are essential to rejuvenate confidence in the international system, accommodate the polarities and induce movement towards a more stable world order.

Here then is the challenge to International Law and the organizations that are responsible for its implementation.

I thank the Indian Society of International Law, and Dr. Natchiappan for inviting me. I wish this conference success in its deliberations.

Jai Hind.”
President of India congratulates Maithripala Sirisena on his assumption of office as the president of Sri Lanka President of India congratulates Maithripala Sirisena on his assumption of office as the president of Sri Lanka Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 8:49 PM Rating: 5

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