Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2014 Contents PANAJI---Prime Minis-
ter Narendra Modi on
Saturday warned of
"tough decisions" over
the next couple of years
to improve the country s
financial health, which
he said may not go down
well with some sections,
and attacked the way the
previous UPA govern-
ment had handled the
"Taking tough decisions
and strong measures in the
coming one or two years are needed
to bring financial discipline which will
restore and boost the country s self-
confidence," he said addressing BJP
Modi met China s foreign minister
last week and is likely to visit Beijing
this year, but he is also keen to quickly
build up border defences that have fall-
en far behind India s neighbour.
The 63-year-old s first foreign foray
will be today to tiny Bhutan, a
Himalayan buffer between India and
China that has long been a close Indian
military and diplomatic ally.
Defence projects cleared
The new government kicked into
gear this past week, clearing billions
of dollars worth of long-delayed
defence projects, including a big Navy
base, as well as approving the scaling-
up of one of the country s biggest dams.
The decision to give the projects the
go-ahead despite concern about their
environmental and social impact signals
Prime Minister Narendra Modi s no-
nonsense approach to issues he con-
siders to be important for national
The clearances were made over sev-
eral days and were the first major deci-
sions from the government that swept
to power on May 16 on promises of
getting Asia s third-largest economy
moving and building a stronger coun-
try.Environment minister Prakash
Javadekar said the government could
not compromise on efforts to build
military and civil infrastructure on the
border with China as well the west-
coast naval base in as an alternative to
crowded Mumbai port.
As well as the extension to the Kar-
war base Karnataka, Javadekar approved
a radar station in the Andaman and
Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal.
A defence source said he also planned
to fast-track road building along the
disputed border with China.
Javadekar said China had built infra-
structure in the Coco Islands, which
are controlled by Myanmar and just to
the north of the Andamans. "If you
have a situation where China is sitting
in front and we won t do anything,
how can you run the country like this,"
he said in comments made available
to Reuters on Friday.
The radar station pro-
posal had earlier been
turned down because the
under the last government
saw a threat to the Nar-
condam hornbill, an
endangered bird species.
The radar on Narcondam
island is one of 18 that the
military has planned, run-
ning north to south along
the Andamans, which
straddle the strategic sea-
way leading to the Malacca Straits.
This year, India s patchy radar meant
it was unable to say whether missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had
passed over the islands.
Modi s Bharatiya Janata Party has
promised to end a prolonged period of
paralysis at the defence ministry where
weapons acquisitions and infrastructure
contracts were frozen because of fear
of corruption scandals.
Javadekar said he had also cleared
the second phase of a naval base in
Karwar, on the west coast, that had
stalled because environmental activists
had warned the ecology of the Western
Ghats mountains would be affected.
The base is intended to take the load
off Mumbai port, used by the Navy
and civilian ships. The Navy has also
said it wanted a more secure base to
berth its latest aircraft carrier.
"Mumbai is a target. We need an
alternative. It is of strategic importance,"
The environment ministry is also
trying to fast-track roads and defence
projects classified as strategic.
Radars and telecommunications proj-
ects within 100km of the 4,000km
border with China, large parts of which
are disputed, will be put on an auto-
matic approval list, a defence source
As well as the military projects, the
government on Thursday approved a
long-stalled proposal to raise the height
of the Narmada dam to 138.73 metres,
from 121.92 metres , so more water will
be available for drinking, irrigation and
The project will benefit Modi s home
state of Gujarat. As chief minister of
the state, he campaigned for approval
to build the dam higher to protect farm-
ers from drought.
Activist Medha Patkar, who has long
campaigned against the project, said
about 250,000 people will be displaced.
She said the government appeared
to have rushed into the decision without
looking at the social and environmental
impact as required by law.
"How could the government deal
with such a grave situation and go
ahead just because Mr Narendra Modi
is the Prime Minister?" she said. (Times
June 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Officials look at the
dam at Kavadia in
Gujarat. The new
approved a long-
stalled proposal to
raise the height of
the Narmada dam to
138.73 metres, from
121.92 metres, so
more water will be
Modi warns of
on economic front
Links Archive June 14th 2014 June 16th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page