India builds Syria ties to boost Middle East presence
03 September 2023 | 10:40 am
As Middle Eastern countries again accept Bashar Assad's control over Syria, India is beginning to renew its ties with Damascus in order to build strategic influence in the region.
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With India now the world's most populous nation, providing enough jobs for young people represents a major challenge. Since contracts in the private sector do not offer job stability, millions of young Indians are vying for government jobs like those for soldiers, station masters or teachers. Although salaries are modest, these positions provide a job for life with some added benefits.
The recent announcement of a US-backed rail and shipping project linking India with the Middle East and Europe is seen as a challenge to Beijing's "Belt and Road Initiative."
Coming off what has been considered a successful G20 summit, India is building on its position as a neutral partner to countries with competing interests.
Maleesha Kharwa is a 15-year-old Indian influencer and model with more than 376,000 Instagram followers, who once lived with her family in a waterfront slum in Mumbai, in a hutment on a shoreline strewn with garbage.
India urged its citizens to "exercise extreme caution" in Canada amid a diplomatic dispute over the killing of a Sikh separatist leader. Canada suggested that Indian agents might be tied to the killing, angering Delhi.
The suspension of visa services is the latest tit-for-tat move following the murder of an Sikh activist in Canada. India's foreign ministry has confirmed the move.
Syrian President Bashar Assad is due to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. China has long provided diplomatic support to Assad's regime, and could play a role in reconstructing war-battered Syria.
The Indian government is exploring the idea of holding simultaneous elections at the national, state and local levels. But the opposition has slammed it, saying it goes against the spirit of federalism.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan, known as the "King of Bollywood," happens to be a Muslim. Some analysts say his religion has become a painful thorn in the side of Narendra Modi's India, where Hindu nationalism is on the rise.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the US takes "very, very seriously" incidents of "transnational repression," adding that he wants to ensure "accountability."
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was taken into custody in 2019, after India revoked Kashmir's autonomous status. Farooq gave a speech at a mosque following his release, where he said he aims for peace in Kashmir.
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