India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day with the unfurling of the National Flag and the signature grand parade at New Delhi’s iconic Rajpath. This year’s celebrations were made more special with a series of ‘firsts’. From featuring India’s first women fighter pilot and troops deployed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to a spectacular flypast of Rafale fighter jets and a tableau from the country’s newly-formed Union Territory, Ladakh.
In this edition of India Perspectives, we delve into India’s historical relationship with Bangladesh, as the neighbouring country gets ready to celebrate its 50th Independence Day on March 26, 2021. During a virtual meeting held in December 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, reiterated their commitment to pursue the vision of deeper engagement and other avenues of strengthening border security and facilitating multi-modal connectivity between the two nations. This year also marks 50 years of India’s victory in the 1971 war against Pakistan, being celebrated as year-long ‘Golden Victory’ commemorative event.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, India has taken the centre stage in global diplomacy, a fact supported by the success of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) that has been hailed by the PM as India’s “gift to the world” in the fight against climate change. This treaty-based organisation that aims to mitigate the deleterious reliance on fossil fuel has moved towards universalisation by inviting membership from all member states of the UN. We delve deeper into the increasing relevance of ISA, especially how in the wake of the pandemic, the organisation has set up ISA CARES, an initiative dedicated to the deployment of solar energy in the healthcare sector.
We also look at PM Modi’s reiteration of the country’s firm belief in regional peace, security and prosperity at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State summit. In his speech at the conclave, PM Modi stressed on the need for a reformed multilateralism to cater to a world recuperating from the global pandemic.
We further showcase one of the Government’s flagship programmes, the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide Functional Household Tap Connection to every rural household in the country by 2024. Also in focus is another recent achievement, the completion of the Atal Tunnel, the world’s longest high-altitude tunnel in the Himalayas. We analyse the strategic importance of this engineering marvel connecting the picturesque town of Manali to the Lahaul-Spiti Valley, in the border state of Himachal Pradesh.
In a living example of how India inspires people across the world, know more about the indigenous Zapotec community of Mexico that is propagating khadi, the symbol of Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle. Mark Brown, the man behind the movement in this North American country, recounts his experiments with the Mahatma’s philosophies of self-reliance. And in the persona section, we pay tribute to the legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee, whose sudden demise has left an indelible void in the fabric of Indian cinema, specially in the sphere of Bengali films and theatre.