Sarosh Bana on Netanyahu’s Recent State Visit to India

EWCA Mumbai Chapter Leader Sarosh Bana, who is Executive Editor of Business India, writes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent state visit to India, and his growing rapport with Indian PM Narendra Modi, demonstrated the closeness that now characterizes the two countries’ bilateral relationship. Click the images for larger version.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Degrees, 22 COPs and Many RINGOs

Or, How Non-state Actors Can Help Accelerate
the Pace of the UN Climate Change Process

By Anukriti Hittle
Visiting Scholar, East-West Center, Honolulu
Instructor, Washington University in St Louis

Rising Above National Interest
Most of the time, nations act in their own self-interest. And much of the time, they cooperate only when they are forced to—such as when facing imminent collective danger (nuclear threat, small pox, dictatorships). But in the face of a slow-boil threat like climate change, they seem to drag their national government-level feet. In such cases, pressure from non-state actors may be the key to achieving collective action.

How can non-state actors complement national actors to ratchet up ambition and speed up action in the area of climate change implementation? By using the well-tried resolutions process of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and applying it to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations, or RINGOs, or could maximize collective action at the COP (Conference of the Parties) summits where both government representatives and observer organizations gather every year to address climate change issues. Continue reading

Message of concern for EWC alumni in Nepal

The East-West Center community expresses its sympathy and deep concern over the loss of life and on-going crisis in Nepal resulting from the devastating earthquake. Our hearts go out to the family members of those who lost their lives and to the thousands who are still trying to locate family and friends, who lost property, or who have had to leave their homes. We know that rebuilding, psychologically and physically, will require enormous leadership, stamina, and resources, and we hope to be able to help.

We encourage all EWC alumni to use this blog site and visit the EWCA Facebook page to connect with the wider EWCA community. We also invite you to share your images, stories or reflections regarding the experience on the EWCA Facebook page and EWCA blog as a central communication point for EWC alumni affected by the earthquake. Please share any news about EWC alumni in the region who may have been affected and any relief activities that the EWCA chapter or individual alumni may be undertaking so that we can share that information with the Center community.

We hope that the international community can effectively help local citizens and authorities in the recovery and rebuilding efforts. Click here for a list of organizations that are dedicated to the relief effort in Nepal.

Continue reading

Heritage for Sale

By Sarosh Bana
Executive Editor, Business India, and EWCA Mumbai Chapter Leader

Looted Indian antiquities handed over by the Honolulu Museum of Art in the investigation of dealer Subhash Kapoor.

Looted Indian antiquities handed over by the Honolulu Museum of Art in the investigation of dealer Subhash Kapoor. Photo: artnet.

The global trade in plundered antiquities has expanded so far and wide that an international investigation into artifacts smuggled out of India led the authorities to the Honolulu Museum of Art.

On 1 April, the museum handed over seven rare items – including a 2,000-year-old terra cotta rattle – that it had acquired without realising their clandestine origins. Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) department will accompany these items to New York from where they will be eventually returned to the government of India.

Like many other stolen antiquities, these items too had been pilfered from Hindu temples and ancient Buddhist sites and allegedly smuggled to the United States through a network run by Subhash Kapoor, a 66-year-old Indian-born art dealer settled in New York. Kapoor was arrested by immigration officials at Frankfurt airport in Germany in October 2011 and extradited to India in July 2012 to stand trial on charges of trafficking artworks. He is lodged in the Puzhal prison in Chennai, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Continue reading

March of the Carriers

Aircraft carriers are finding favour with Indo-Asia-Pacific countries keen on bolstering their defences in an increasingly volatile neighbourhood

By Sarosh Bana
Executive Editor, Business India, and EWCA Mumbai Chapter Leader

China's Liaoning carrier, purchased from Ukraine

China’s Liaoning carrier, purchased from Ukraine

With simmering territorial disputes inflaming the Indo-Asia-Pacific, countries in this fastest growing economic region in the world are making all efforts to buttress their defences.

In their anxiety to batten down the hatches, several of these countries are viewing the aircraft carrier as the preferred platform for sea control and are pulling out all the stops to commit funding for it.

These platforms, at times amphibious ships that are essentially helicopter destroyers with the potential to operate fixed-wing aircraft, including drones, have been gaining favour as the South and East China Seas find themselves in the cross-hairs of territorial ambitions. But this military build-up is raising tensions even higher in the region and will likely provoke an avoidable arms race.

Continue reading

EWC Community Extends Sympathy, Calls for Aid to Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

The East-West Center community extends its deepest sympathies to all those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. We strongly encourage community members to support relief efforts if possible. A list of reputable organizations providing disaster relief can be found here. In addition, Operation USA, a disaster relief agency co-founded by EWC alum Gary Larsen, is providing critical assistance on the ground.

If you’re in the Philippines, please contact us or comment on this post to let us know how you’re doing, and any activities that EWC community members may be undertaking there to help with recovery.

Stemming the Rust – The Global Battle Against Wheat Fungus

A battle is being waged in wheat fields across the world to stave off an impending calamity that can ravage global food security

By Sarosh Bana, Executive Editor of Business India magazine and EWCA Mumbai Chapter President

(Note: This article originally appeared in Business India magazine on April 1, 2013.)

South Asian countries, where wheat is a staple cereal for many, is vulnerably poised in the path of an exceptionally virulent fungus that can wipe out entire farmlands.

Farmers and agriculturist scientists in the region are hunkering down to fortify themselves against this peril that can undermine the food security of millions.

Wheat stem rust fungus.

Wheat stem rust fungus.

More than 20 wheat scientists from five South Asian countries – India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bhutan – participated last fortnight in a comprehensive training programme in Kathmandu on wheat rust monitoring and disease management.

Designed to raise a new generation of agro-scientists equipped to identify the more virulent stem, leaf and yellow rusts that can devastate entire farmlands and to create wheat strains that can withstand this scourge, the 2013 SAARC Wheat Rust Surveillance Workshop and Training Programme was the fourth such annual event to be held in South Asia. It was organised by the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) Project, managed by the US’s Cornell University. Continue reading