IN A SIGNAL TO CHINA, INDIA-ASEAN TO DEEPEN TIES - The Daily Guardian
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IN A SIGNAL TO CHINA, INDIA-ASEAN TO DEEPEN TIES

Foreign Ministers of India and Association of Southeast Asian Nations discuss the issues pertaining to South China Sea, Indo-Pacific, terrorism and Ukraine crisis.

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In what bodes well for New Delhi’s overall plans to deal with challenges resulting from China’s increasing belligerence in the Indo-Pacific and South China Sea, India and ASEAN on Thursday agreed to work towards a comprehensive strategic partnership to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Reiterating their commitment to multilateralism based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other relevant UN treaties, the two sides agreed to support ASEAN centrality in evolving a rules-based regional architecture. This is being seen as a clear message to China.

Sources said that foreign ministers of India and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)– a group of ten countries — discussed the issues pertaining to the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific and the Ukraine crisis. “India and ASEAN nations will hold maritime exercises in future in what will serve China a strong message on its habit of flexing muscles in the sea,” sources told The Daily Guardian Review.  

The Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM) was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan. The two-day meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers is being held to celebrate thirty years of India-ASEAN ties and ten years of the strategic partnership with this important regional group of South-East Asian nations.

The co-chairs’ statement, which the meeting adopted unanimously, said “the two sides agreed to work towards upgrading the existing India-

ASEAN strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and to begin an early review of the Asean-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make the pact more user-friendly and simple.

They also agreed to explore cooperation between the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI), especially in maritime security and connectivity, disaster risk management, search and rescue operations, and environmental protection.

The meeting also discussed cooperation in countering terrorism and trans-national crimes through the early finalisation of a senior officials meeting on these issues.

In his opening remarks, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said Asean’s role has become more important in view of geopolitical challenges and uncertainties. The strong convergence between the AOIP and IPOI is testimony to the shared vision of the two sides for the region, he said. The EAM’s statement is being seen in the context of Chinese challenges in the Indo-Pacific and greater cooperation between India and ASEAN nations to deal with them.  

“A better connected India and Asean would be well positioned to promote decentralised globalisation and resilient and reliable supply chains that is so needed by the international community,” Jaishankar said referring to economic fallout of the Ukraine situation.

Jaishankar further said; “ASEAN’s role today is perhaps more important than ever before given the geopolitical challenges and uncertainties that the world faces. India fully supports a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN, one whose centrality in the Indo-Pacific is fully recognised.”

The two sides agreed to achieve the full potential of ASEAN-India trade and economic partnership including through enhanced utilization and effective implementation of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) by the early commencement of the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to ensure that it was more user friendly, simple and trade facilitative for businesses.

India and the ASEAN also decided to strengthen regional connectivity, including both physical and digital in line with the “Connecting the Connectivities” approach. The meeting emphasised the need for the early completion and operationalisation of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and looked forward to its eastward extension to Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Sources told The Daily Guardian Review that the foreign ministers of India and ASEAN discussed the ways to respond to the impact of the Ukraine crisis on economic and humanitarian fronts.  

Jaishankar said the process of post-pandemic recovery had been complicated by developments in Europe at a time when the Covid-19 crisis had not fully abated. “This path has become even more arduous with geopolitical headwinds which we face due to developments in Ukraine and its knock-on effects on food and energy security, as well as fertiliser and commodities prices, and logistics and supply chain disruptions,” he said.

Balakrishnan was more direct in his criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as he pointed out Moscow’s actions have “upended the international system of rules and norms and international law which we all depend on and operate on the basis of”. He added that the “sharpening superpower rivalry between the US and China has direct implications on all of us in Asia”.

“These developments, if unchecked, can threaten the whole system of peace and stability which we have depended on for the basis of our growth, development and prosperity over many decades,” Balakrishnan said.

Though Myanmar’s ambassador attended a meeting of senior officials of India and Asean held in New Delhi on Wednesday, the country skipped the meeting of foreign ministers. Myanmar’s foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin, a retired army colonel, who took over after the 2021 military coup, was not invited in what is being viewed as a protest against the military takeover and the brutal crackdown on civilian protesters. MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi, when asked about Myanmar, at last week’s briefing, has said that India would go by what ASEAN decides

The foreign ministers of Laos and the Philippines too didn’t attend the meeting, apparently due to scheduling issues. So, these countries were represented by senior officials.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of the ASEAN member states on Thursday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed various aspects of cooperation between the two sides.

“A milestone in India-ASEAN friendship! India is hosting the Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (SAIFMM) to mark 30 years of our dialogue relations & 10 years of our Strategic Partnership. SAIFMM participants called on PM @narendramodi this morning,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar were present in the meeting between Modi and the ASEAN foreign ministers.

The ASEAN is central to India’s Act East Policy and its vision for the wider Indo-Pacific. The ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar.

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CLOUD-BASED TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING BUSINESSES

Several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals by embracing the SaaS model.

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The groundbreaking SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) idea has the potential to disrupt many industries, including banking. SaaS, being a cloud-based technology, may assist both fintech startups and banks, particularly in satisfying regulatory requirements and providing security to their consumers. Without a doubt, SaaS is gaining popularity among financial services organizations due to its promises of more business flexibility, faster deployment, and support for an open ecosystem.

Symbiotic relationship between SaaS platforms and Fintech growth

The Fintech approach, which makes use of the resourceful SaaS foundation, allows businesses to access and utilise cloud-based applications rather than purchasing or building their own software. Financial firms may reap advantages such as end-to-end cost reductions, data security, scalability, and agility from the fintech industry. PwC, a well-known rating agency, predicts that more fintech businesses will utilise SaaS to address concerns generated by the post-Covid environment.

Understanding the significance of the SaaS model is not rocket science. According to Financesonline.com, the SaaS market capitalization will reach $623 billion by 2023. The use of the SaaS model in the fintech industry may foster innovation and creativity while also improving efficiency and profitability. Fintech companies can also save huge amounts of operational capital every year because of SaaS. This is not possible with the traditional model, in which companies hire experts.

SaaS solutions are extremely scalable, allowing a financial institution to digitally alter its operations while boosting security and enhancing compliance. It is also feasible to minimise physical footprints and increase efficiency via automation. By embracing the SaaS model for online transactions, several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals and the banking and finance industry at large. FinTech lenders, for example, might accept business loan applications online, process them in minutes, and send the money to qualified customers a day or two later.

What makes SaaS a magic sauce for Fintech growth

SaaS platforms have shown the power of open platforms in the open-platform vs. patented technology argument over the last several decades. This has given SaaS a long-term viability and scalability that was previously unheard of, particularly in the financial services sector. For a fraction of the price, fintech companies have started bringing in the bulk of the capabilities that sophisticated legacy systems had inside mega banks.

There was a chance to develop an ecosystem with the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow banks to interact with these fintech partners, who could bring in novel processes and products at a relatively low cost and with relatively low usage of resources. It is also critical to incorporate outside innovation into an internal environment dominated by legacy technologies in financial organizations. The necessity to start small, to be nimble, and to expand with the market’s and customers’ ever-changing needs is obvious.

The maturation of SaaS models has aided the rise of APIs in the financial services sector, while laws such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) are driving banks to establish and promote open platforms. While API-based SaaS platforms have opened up a wide market and empowered the developer community, they have also contributed to the abolition of faceless goods that dominated conventional industries. It has also aided in the extraction of enormous value from data and innovative system integrations, which is now shared across a bigger and more powerful ecosystem.

The triple-edged efficiency of SaaS

Scalability, sustainability, and convenience are the three pillars furnished by SaaS to the Fintech ecosystem. The compulsions in the financial sector are being addressed by the three pillars of a SaaS delivery model. Scalability and the need to quickly add new products to existing systems, as well as a high level of data and platform security and the ability to better control costs, are all reasons why SaaS models are the delivery method of choice for banks around the world, both big and small. It is also the best strategy for working with banks, development communities, incubator programs, and data suppliers in the ever-expanding fintech ecosystem. All of this is wrapped up in a customer experience layer that is easy to use and lets business users, with only a little technical knowledge, launch products in a way that is good for business.

Concluding Thoughts

This transformation of SaaS-based delivery models into revenue-generating and customer-driven ones is beneficial to all parties involved. Some issues persist, but the overall contribution of proprietary and open businesses built on the SaaS cloud to the financial services sector has been spectacular. If the total cost of ownership data for the manufacturing sector is any indication, the collaborative delivery models that have recently been brought to the market will almost certainly have an almost immediate effect on banks’ total expenses.

Rahul Meena is the founder and CEO of Treflo.

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‘SYL’ SPARKS CONTROVERSY AMONG HARYANVI YOUTH

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singer Moosewala

The last song of singer Sidhu Moosewala, ‘SYL’ released after his demise is said to have sparked the dispute pending for decades over water sharing between Punjab and Haryana and also featured visuals of controversial figures. Sutlej Yamuna Link’s abbreviated form is SYL, which contains a topic about the same. The Singer starts the song with controversial lines, “Give us our social history and our families back. Return Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana to us. In case you do not give us sovereigntyand authority. We will not even give a drop of water to anyone,” stirring up controversy and resulting in anger among the people of Haryana for the slain singer Moosewala. In response, a number of Haryanvi musicians have also sought to express their rage and agony in the same way, stalking their claims over the SYL problem.

A song named ‘SYL-Haryanvi’ by a Haryanvi musician claims that Haryana owns 50% of the SYL water. In response to Moosewala’s song, the songs ‘Tipka-Tipka Koni-Paani Aadha Lewange’ and ‘Haq Sai Mara SYL’ became popular on YouTube and other media. These songs reflect the ire of Haryana residents who delayed the release of SYL water in defiance of Supreme Court orders. Other than this, a number of additional songs that are popular among Haryana residents have become the talk of the state›s towns and can be found on social media.

Millions of views on YouTube for these songs are a clear sign of their popularity. In addition, a different Haryanvi artist released a song on the same subject in reaction to Moosewala’s declaration that we will take our fair share of the water. The song is currently receiving widespread distribution throughout the state. These Haryanvi songs continue to feature images from the farm protest that express the feelings of how the Haryana agricultural community welcomed the protesters from Punjab.

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MUKHTAR ANSARI, HIS WIFE STAYED TOGETHER IN JAIL IN CONGRESS TENURE: AAP

The Jail Minister orders FIR and probe after receiving a Rs. 55 lakh bill from an SC lawyer.

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Punjab Jail Minister Harjot Bains created a sensation on Tuesday in the state Assembly when he disclosed that the previous Congress government spent Rs. 55 lakh to hire a Supreme Court lawyers to protect Mukhtar Ansari instead of handing him over to the UP Police. The Jail Minister said that the then Congress government had registered a fake FIR against Mukhtar Ansari and did not even present a challan against him. Ansari was lodged in Ropar Jail in Punjab in 2019 in a extortion case.

Making the revelation in the House, the minister said that this was a serious matter. The gangster had, while in Ropar Jail, a whole barrack to him and given VIP treatment. His wife also stayed with him in the barrack.

To get Ansari’s custody, the UP Police issued production warrants 26 times but he was not handed him over to them. The UP government moved the Supreme Court. The then Congress government hired a well-known lawyer in the Supreme Court to help Ansari and the Punjab Government has now received a bill of Rs. 55 lakh.

Bains also informed the House that he has ordered to register an FIR and investigation into the matter.

Ansari was accused of demanding Rs. 10 crore from a builder in Mohali. He was brought to Mohali on a production warrant by the Punjab Police and was lodged in Ropar jail since January 2019. He was handed over to the UP Police upon a Supreme Court order in April last year.

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Mukesh Ambani resigns from Reliance Jio Board, Akash new Chairman

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Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has resigned from the board of Reliance Jio handing over reigns to his elder son Akash Ambani, who will be Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In a stock exchange filing, Reliance Jio Infocomm said the company’s board has approved the appointment of Akash M Ambani, non-executive director, as chairman of the board of directors of the company.” It said that the Board of Directors in their meeting held on June 27 noted the resignation of Mukesh D Ambani as Director of the company effective from the close of working hours on June 27, 2022.

Akash has been closely involved with the disruptive and inclusive growth path charted by the digital services and consumer retail propositions of Reliance group and is now leading the creation of the ‘convergence dividend’ for over 500 million consumers, digitally and with high-inclusivity across geographies and income levels.

His elevation as Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm recognises the specific contributions made by him to the digital services journey and rededicates him to even higher levels of responsibilities, going forward.

Mukesh Ambani will continue to be the Chairman of Jio Platforms Ltd, the flagship company that owns all Jio digital services brands including Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Akash Ambani, who has graduated from Brown University with a major in Economics, has been closely involved with the creation of the digital ecosystem around Jio’s 4G proposition. He was closely involved with a team of engineers in inventing and launching an India-specs focussed Jiophone in 2017 which became quite a revolutionary device to take many people out of 2G to 4G.

Akash personally led the key acquisitions made by Jio in the digital space in the last few years and has also been keenly involved with the development of new technologies and capabilities including AI-ML and blockchain.

He was integrally involved in the trailblazing global investments by tech majors and investors in 2020, which in many ways catapulted Jio onto the global investor map.

Akash is expected to continue to operate on the cutting-edges of innovation and technology to encourage an ecosystem that will further digital solutions and make the power of data and technology more accessible to all, including those who are still at the margin.

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Amid new Russia sanctions, Modi sticks to India-first mantra

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Perched 1000 metres above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, in the pristine Schloss Elmau resort Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced G7 leaders to the Indian way of an eco-friendly LIFE and underscored New Delhi’s India-first foreign policy as he focused on knock-down effects of the Ukraine crisis on food crisis and energy crisis.

As the Group of 7 club of the world’s wealthiest nations vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, and decided tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a gold export ban and a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, Mr Modi pitched for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the festering crisis. In the two sessions he spoke at the G7 summit, PM Modi called for an immediate or as early as a possible end to the hostilities and advocated the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation. “Even in the present situation, we have constantly urged for the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The impact of this geopolitical tension is not just limited to Europe. The rising prices of energy and food grains are affecting all the countries,” he said at the session on “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality” at the G7 Summit here.

The Ukraine crisis dominated the agenda at the June 26-28 G7 summit, and figured in bilateral discussions PM Modi had with some G7 leaders. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra placed India’s nuanced position on Ukraine in perspective. The prime minister very strongly put forward his view on the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said at the media briefing at Kempinsky hotel.

Indicating that India will not cut down oil imports from Russia just to please the international community, PM Modi explained that “India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade,” said India’s top diplomat. PM Modi made a valuable contribution to the G7 discourse on global food security by stressing India’s efforts to ensure the food security situation of the vulnerable economies.

India’s position on the polarising Ukraine crisis, grounded in its strategic autonomy, has earned appreciation from G7 leaders. “I think our position which the Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated by his counterpart leaders from other countries,” Mr Kwatra said.

Enhancing multilateral coordination to combat corrosive effects of climate change featured prominently in G7 discussions. While

German President Olaf Scholz raised the bar and pushed hard for a climate club of green-minded nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India as a model for developing countries for taking decisive action to curb climate change. Blaming the rich world for the current global crisis, Mr Modi exhorted rich countries to support India’s climate mitigation efforts and called for expanding the constituency of Triple-P pro-planet people. Alluding to the launch of the Global Initiative for LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) campaign last year, the Indian leader stressed that “the goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.” “We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations.”

With the world leaders listening in, PM Modi highlighted a host of pioneering steps taken by India for green growth like achieving the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline and the target of 40 percent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time.”

In the two days PM Modi spent in Munich, PM Modi, besides speaking at G7 sessions, held a string of bilateral meetings with the leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the president of the European Commission. Camaraderie, conviviality and comfort marked PM Modi’s interactions with world leaders.The enthusiasm and back-slapping with which he was greeted by world leaders showcased Modi’s rising stature as an international statesman who is consistently shaping the global agenda by aligning national goals with international obligations of India. US President Joe Biden walking up to meet PM Modi just as the latter was cosseted with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is one of the more captivating photos to emerge from the G7 summit this year.

The overarching message that emanated from the latest edition of the G7 summit is the growing recognition of India’s indispensability to addressing cross-cutting issues ranging from climate change and pandemic control to food and energy security. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world,” said Foreign Secretary Kwatra.

(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. He is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit.

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Maharashtra wants Fadnavis-led BJP govt: Poll

With uncertainty still looming over Maharashtra political crisis, The Daily Guardian Review (TDGR) on Tuesday conducted a massive poll, bringing the voice of the people of Maharashtra to the forefront.

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As per the TDGR poll, the people of Maharashtra want an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena to come to power, with Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister. The majority of the respondents stated that Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. In the wake of the rebellion, it is the Eknath Shinde camp that actually controls Shiv Sena, as per the respondents. At the same time, the respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of the MVA government.

When asked which party would they like to see form a government in Maharashtra, the majority of the respondents (42.19%) said that they would like to see an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena come to power. 32.15% respondents voted in favour of the BJP, 17.23% were in favour of an alliance between the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)BJP and only 8.42% voted for Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance.

Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the most preferred choice for the post of the chief minister of Maharashtra with 35.20% of respondents voting in favour of him. 23.58% of the respondents wanted Uddhav Thackeray to retain the chief minister’s seat. Eknath Shinde might claim the support of a majority number of MLAs, but only 19.20% respondents want to see him become the chief minister of Maharashtra. 16.62% respondents voted in support of Supriya Sule, whereas only 5.41% respondents voted in favour of Raj Thackeray.

34.70% respondents believe Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva Ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. 30.22% respondents said that Uddhav shut doors of CM house for MLAs and public. 20.48% respondents attributed Sharad Pawar’s overarching role in running MVA government behind the Shiv Sena rebellion. Giving Aaditya Thackeray number 2 position in MVA government (8.04%) and Sanjay Raut’s instigating remarks and statements (6.57%) were not substantial reasons for the rebellion, according to the respondents.

Two-third of the respondents (34.08%) stated that Eknath Shinde›s camp is controlling Shiv Sena in the wake of his rebellion against the party. About 26.51% respondents said they couldn’t say who controls Shiv Sena, whereas 24.03% respondents said that Thackeray family controls the party. Only 15.38% respondents said Sanjay Raut controls the party.

The respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of MVA government. 27.74% respondents said rebel MLAs should be paraded in front of the governor, 26.74% respondents said the speaker must decide, 24.73% suggested a floor test in the legislative assembly and 20.79% respondents said the Supreme Court must decide the fate of the Maharashtra government.

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