West Bengal Assembly passes resolution to change name of state to Bangla
- West Bengal Legislative Assembly (WBLA) on 29th August passed a resolution in favour of changing the name of the state from West Bengal to Bangla. The resolution was passed during the special session of the House which was convened exclusively for the purpose of changing the name of the state.
- However, there was no consensus among the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition parties. The resolution to change the name of the state to Bangla was passed as it was supported by 189 members.
- Altogether 31 members belonging to opposition parties had opposed the name change.
- The Congress MLAs staged a walk out in the state Assembly while the issue was being discussed and the Left MLAs also followed them after it was passed with support from majority of the legislators.
- The state is currently called “Paschim Banga” in Bengali.
- In 2001, the previous Left government led by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had cleared the renaming of the state to “Paschimbanga”. The central government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee didn’t accept the suggestion, but Calcutta became Kolkata at the time.
- Independence and partition in 1947 led to the division of the Bengal province into West Bengal, which stayed in India, and East Bengal, which is now part of Bangladesh.
India, Myanmar to build bridges, sign pact for 69
- Myanmarese President U. Htin Kyaw, chose India as the first foreign destination after coming to power in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India would stand with Myanmar at “every step” as it opened a new chapter.
- Chief among the MOUs signed by the two sides on 29th August was the agreement on construction of 69 bridges, including approach roads in the Tamu-Kyigone-Kalewa section of the Trilateral Highway, which will establish better connectivity between India and Southeast Asia.
- The other significant agreement was on the upgrade of the Kalewa-Yagyi road section.
- India’s support to the peace process came after China scored a diplomatic victory, leading Aung San Su Kyi, Myanmar’s most powerful leader and Foreign Minister, to visit China first, avoiding India.
- The talks held at Hyderabad House, were the first high-level interaction after the democratic government came to power in Myanmar after 57 years of military rule.
- The comments about security threats are significant in view of India’s recent hot pursuit strategy for dealing with rebels in the Northeast.
- However, while pledging efforts against violent rebels, the joint statement promised to uphold territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
- Both sides reviewed the progress on the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education (ACARE) in Myanmar’s capital Nay Pyi Taw. It will emerge as a platform for agriculture cooperation.
India, US sign military logistics pact
- India and the US have announced the signing of Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in a joint a news conference at the Pentagon on 29th August, between the two countries during Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s three-day visit to the US. LEMOA, a tailor-made version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) signed by the US with other countries, “establishes basic terms, conditions, and procedures for reciprocal provision of Logistic Support, Supplies, and Services between the armed forces of India and the United States”.
- The military logistics agreement between the two countries was first proposed in 2002 but India did not agree to signing of the pact till earlier this year.
- In April, during Carter’s visit to Delhi, the two sides announced an in-principle agreement to sign the pact. Following further negotiations and due approvals by various ministries.
- The BJP government’s decision to sign this pact has been severely criticised by the Congress and the Left parties, fearing that it could lead to establishment of American bases in India. However, in a statement, defence ministry clarified that “the Agreement does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.”
- Giving out the contours of the agreement, Reciprocal logistic support would be used exclusively during authorized port visits, joint exercises, joint training, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. Logistics support for any other cooperative efforts shall only be provided on a case by-case basis through prior mutual consent of the Parties, consistent with their respective laws, regulations and policies.