India Insight

Four of every 10 Asians living with HIV are Indian – U.N. report

India has the third-highest number of people living with HIV in the world, with 2.1 million Indians accounting for four of every 10 people infected in Asia, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday.

The epidemic has killed about 39 million of the 78 million people it has affected worldwide since it began in the 1980s, the U.N. AIDS programme said, adding that the number of people infected with HIV was stabilising around 35 million.

Here are some facts and figures on India from the report:People walk near a red ribbon sand sculpture created by Indian sand artist Patnaik on the eve of World AIDS Day in Odisha

India accounted for 51 percent of AIDS-related deaths in Asia in 2013 and 8 percent of deaths worldwide.

At the end of 2013, more than 700,000 people in India were on antiretroviral therapy, the second-largest number of people on the treatment in any country. However, 64 percent of those affected do not have access to antiretroviral treatment.

In India, the number of new HIV infections declined by 19 percent between 2005 and 2013, yet it accounted for 38 percent of all new HIV infections in Asia. The country recorded a 38 percent decline in AIDS-related deaths in the same period.

LoC killings: Is a third-party probe the way ahead?

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

The death toll on the Line of Control in Kashmir is four since Jan. 6: two from India’s military, two from Pakistan’s. One thing is sure: neither side started it, judging by what you hear from both countries’ armed forces and from media reports.

The killings threaten to muffle talk of a thaw in relations, something that would have been welcome after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and years of fighting and death in Kashmir before a 2003 ceasefire.

Is India really the world’s fifth most powerful country?

India is the world’s fifth most powerful country, according to a New Delhi-authored national security document, the Times of India reported on Wednesday, as Indian analysts placed the emerging nation above major European powers.

Outranking traditional global powers such as the UK, France and Germany, India’s ballooning population, defense capabilities and economic clout were cited as reasons for its position behind only the U.S., China, Japan and Russia in India’s National Security Annual Review 2010, which will be officially released by the country’s foreign ministry next week.

Its statistical foundations in terms of population numbers and GDP aside — in terms of purchasing power parity, it should be noted — India’s experience of wielding power on the global stage of late, boosted by its temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, has been less encouraging.

With Libya, is India confused or just too clever by half?

India abstained last week from a U.N. vote on the no-fly zone in Libya that also authorised military action, but since then it has been more vocal in its rejection of airstrikes, joining China and Russia in criticising the coalition of Western powers and the Arab league and its actions against the Libyan government.

One of three Air Force Global Strike Command B-2 Spirit bombers returns to home base at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, March 20, 2011. REUTERS/Kenny Holston/U.S. Air Force photo/Handout“We regret the air strikes that are taking place in Libya. We are viewing ongoing violence with grave concern,” Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters on Monday, in comments carried by NDTV television channel. It echoed an official comment on Sunday.

India’s declarations signal that New Delhi will not step in line with the West despite its growing ties with the United States and Europe — highlighted by a string of visits last year, including President Barack Obama’s and the leaders of France and the United Kingdom.

An “emerged” India still hasn’t come out of diplomatic closet

India may be “emerged” in the sound bite used by U.S. President Barack Obama during his landmark visit last year. But if the U.N. vote on a no-fly zone is anything to go by, New Delhi’s rise to wield global economic clout has so far not been replicated as easily on the geopolitical stage.

Despite vocal opposition to a no-fly zone in Libya , India decided as a non-permanent security council member to abstain at the United Nations, along with fellow BRIC, Brazil, on the issue.

Realpolitik, the government may say. Who would want to be seen as the only opponent of the no-fly zone (the only other “opposition” came from abstained German, Russia, China). And there is a danger India would be seen as supporting Gaddafi.

from Global News Journal:

Indian minister plays musical speeches at UN council

Those who spend much of their working week listening to speeches at the United Nations -- U.N. correspondents, for example -- might be forgiven for thinking there's not much difference between most of them.

UN-ASSEMBLY/But it's seldom you get as dramatic an illustration of this as happened on Feb. 11 when India's Foreign Minister began inadvertently reading out to the Security Council a speech written for another country's delegate without anyone, including himself, initially realizing anything was amiss.

The gaffe by minister S.M. Krishna occurred during a debate on the worthy but less than sensational topic of "the interdependence between security and development." This month's council president, Brazil, had organized the debate and invited as many foreign ministers as possible to take part.

India’s Iran stance will be crucial at the U.N.

India took its deserved place at the world’s most powerful table on Tuesday, winning a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council with the resounding support of 187 of the assembly’s 192 countries. India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee (L) speaks with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an official meeting in Tehran. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Immediately, the country’s U.N. Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri began talking of his intent to use the tenure to push for reform, with an eye on a permanent berth for the Asian giant.

But the perennial issue of sanctions against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran and its nuclear ambitions are a more pressing — and complex — issue for India in its new role.

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