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  • nixstor
    08-11 12:18 PM
    Does any one have idea on this shows viewership? O M G, I am not sure how many facts are being adulterated and presented to the public.

    Lou Dobbs Tonight aired on Aug 10th

    Calling the whole H1B system as fraud is ridiculous and associating H1B as a threat to national security sounds lunatic. Enough of mudslinging.

    Programmers Guild does know how many H1B's have been filed for every year. Follow the below link on the guild website released to prweb

    June 2006: Guild Files 300 complaints against H-1B employers

    which will take you to

    bottom of the page it shows

    Database of LCAs for H-1B on Department of Labor website:

    I hope people start using google effectively.

    How come CNN doesnt review the genuinity of the person making statements?

    How come Programmers Guild get on CNN so often and not the people who they are opposing? How about calling one of those H1B organisations or Pro immigration organisations on to the talk show and have a one on one with Lou?

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  • Macaca
    05-18 05:23 PM
    Guilty by Association ( By RACHEL BEITARIE | Foreign Policy

    On a quiet block in western Beijing where otherwise only a few retirees can be seen walking their dogs or trimming their bushes, one building is under constant and conspicuous surveillance. A plainclothes policeman stands guard before an entranceway, while another keeps watch sitting inside a small cabin.

    The unlikely object of the Chinese state's attention in this instance is Liu Xia, a painter, poet, and photographer -- and the wife of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Guilty by association, she has been under house arrest, with almost no contact with the outside world, since November 2010, when her husband's award was announced. No one has heard from Liu since February, and her friends are increasingly worried about her health. Still, there is no sign that the authorities are planning to relent.

    Liu's arrest underscores a peculiar aspect to the recent Chinese crackdown on political dissidents that has seen the detention of dozens of prominent activists, intellectuals, and artists. Authorities are increasingly targeting not just critics of the ruling party, but their family members, including spouses, parents, and even young children. While the dissidents gain the headlines, their relatives are punished out of the spotlight. Though the wife of jailed artist Ai Weiwei was recently allowed a visit her husband, she could be next in line to lose her freedom.

    It's a punitive strategy that seeks to exploit Chinese traditions of filial piety. For China's dissidents, family is often both a source of strength and weakness: Chinese families tend to be close and highly involved in each other lives, and they take seriously the promise to stick together through thick and thin. The government, aware of these close ties, is using them to put more pressure on activists.

    It also bears echoes of the Cultural Revolution-era, when many Chinese families were torn apart as spouses and children were forced to denounce loved ones labeled by the authorities as capitalist traitors and were sometimes forced to take part in their public humiliation. Today's China is again making a policy of manipulating familial love and devotion to suppress any political challenges.

    "One of the more troubling trends we see in recent years has been for the government to more directly involve family members," observes Joshua Rosenzweig, a senior researcher at the Dui Hua Foundation, a U.S.-based organization dedicated to improving human rights in China. "We see surveillance, constant harassment, even extended house arrests. These all happened before, but now they have become routine" -- as in the case of Liu Xia. Rosenzweig adds, "Legal procedure has become irrelevant" in the Communist Party's quest to maintain stability. Under Chinese law, there is no procedure that allows for a person to be held indefinitely under house arrest without charges or a police investigation. "To put it simply, families are being held hostage," says Rosenzweig.

    Zeng Jinyan would concur. She has been under constant surveillance and subject to frequent house arrests ever since 2001, when she met her husband, AIDS activist Hu Jia, who is now serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for "subversion of state power." Zeng was a student when they met, and she says she never imagined her life turning out the way it did. "I thought I'll graduate, find a job, and marry. I planned on a simple life and was hoping I could have enough time and money to travel the world," she tells me in a telephone interview. But she has since become an acclaimed activist in her own right, detailing her everyday life under the party's watchful eye on her blog and Twitter account. In 2007, Time magazine included her on its list of the world's 100 most influential people. Clearly, the regime's strategy backfired in this case.

    Most families, however, don't have nearly that kind of wherewithal. Take, for example, the family of Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-taught lawyer from Shandong province who was imprisoned for four years for his work with disenfranchised villagers and woman forced to have abortions. After his release, he was forced to live in isolation in a Shandong village, together with his wife, Yuan Weijing, and their 6-year-old daughter. Yuan is denied almost all contact to the outside world, including to her son, who she sent away to be raised by relatives so that he can attend school. In February, the couple managed to smuggle a video out of the country in which they described their plight. They were reportedly beaten and denied medical treatment after the video was posted online.

    On the phone, Zeng describes the successive levels of pressure that the government applies to her: "First of all, there is worrying about [Hu's] safety. For some time, we didn't even know where he was and what kind of abuse he was suffering. I worry about his health, about his mental situation."

    "Then there is the question of making a living and sustaining some income as a de facto single mother," she continues. (Zeng's daughter is three-and-a-half years old. Her father was imprisoned shortly after she was born). "Because of constant police harassment, I could not get a good job or start a business. For a time, I couldn't even get a nanny for my child because when I hired one, the police would threaten her and scare her away."

    Zeng says the psychological warfare she faces is brutal. Between threats and detentions, she repeatedly has to deal with the innuendo from her surveillance teams and government-sponsored neighborhood committees, which suggest there were "high-positioned" men "interested" in her and imply that she could improve her situation greatly if only she would leave her partner.

    "All this is meant to isolate me from society and to break me down," Zeng concludes. "Sometimes it works. They planted deep trauma in my heart."

    Although Zeng has chosen to join her husband in dissenting against the government, picking up where Hu was forced to leave off when he was arrested for his activism, some relatives of dissidents prefer to keep quiet. Still others try to actively distance themselves from activism, sometimes going so far as to move to an entirely new city or even to file for divorce. That's what happened in the case of Yang Zili, a social commentator who was imprisoned for eight years in 2001 for organizing a discussion group on political issues. His wife at the time, Lu Kun, petitioned several times on his behalf, took care of his defense and finances, and visited prison when allowed, but eventually moved to the United States. The couple divorced after Yang was released in 2009. Yang says he understood her decision. "It is just too much pressure, being the wife of a dissident in China; it's a fate many prefer to avoid," he says. Still, Lu's choice also made Yang's life more difficult: the last couple of years of his prison term he was held in almost complete isolation, with no family visits at all.

    "Tactics are definitely designed to put pressure on those who contemplate political activism," Rosenzweig explains. "It is one thing to be willing to confront authorities or even go to jail, and another thing to know your family will suffer. This doesn't always deter everyone from speaking up, but it is a factor dissidents take into account." Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel laureate, referred to this factor in addressing his wife in a speech before the court that sentenced him -- after a speedy trial that Liu Xia was not allowed to attend -- to 11 years in prison: "Throughout all these years ... our love was full of bitterness imposed by outside circumstances, but as I savor its aftertaste, it remains boundless. I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin.... My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it at times makes me stagger under its weight," Liu said.

    Wives (and in some cases husbands) are not the only ones who earn the attention of the state: Zeng's parents, who live in Fujian province, receive frequent police visits, while her in-laws in Beijing were put under house arrest several times. In another case, the elderly parents of an activist were threatened by the local police in their small town and were then rushed to Beijing so that they could pressure their son to stop his involvement in human rights organizations. A Shanghai lawyer, Li Tiantian, reported in February that her boyfriend was threatened that he'll be dismissed from his job on account of her activism. Li has since been taken into police custody.

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  • Macaca
    02-29 09:03 PM
    Oracle Unit Lobbied on Patents, Visas ( Associated Press, Feb 28

    WASHINGTON -- A unit of business software maker Oracle Corp. paid VAR II LLC $140,000 in 2007 to lobby the federal government .

    The firm lobbied Congress on a patent reform bill and immigration reform legislation related to visas for high-tech workers, according to the form posted online Feb. 13 by the Senate's public records office. Oracle USA Inc. paid the firm $140,000 in the second half of 2007 to lobby on those issues after hiring VAR II earlier last year.

    The House last year approved a patent-reform bill intended to reduce litigation, improve patent quality and establish a post-approval evaluation process. Technology and financial services firms support the legislation, but pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies said it would weaken patent protection by reducing infringement penalties. The Senate is considering similar legislation.

    Oracle is based in Redwood City, Calif.

    Lobbyists are required to disclose activities that could influence members of the executive and legislative branches, under a federal law enacted in 1995.

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  • hiralal
    06-24 08:13 AM
    one of the main reason that I stopped looking for a home is GC. the reason I was hunting around was to get advantage of tax credit ..but when I read articles like this ..I feel waiting for some more time has advantages too !! (so even if you take best case scenario of 10% drop in your area ..a house which costs 250K will drop by 25K ??? which is 3 times the tax credit).
    Searching for a bottom in the housing market
    Sales look like they could rebound soon, but you can't say the same for prices.

    See all RSS FEEDS (close)
    By Janet Morrissey, contributor
    June 19, 2009: 4:23 AM ET

    FORTUNE 500
    Current Issue
    Subscribe to Fortune

    NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Sales in the decimated housing market may finally be bottoming, but don't expect home prices to stop dropping before mid-2010 at the earliest, analysts and economists say.

    Indeed, prices in the battered housing market could get a lot worse before they get better as an avalanche of specialized adjustable rate mortgages, known as option ARMs and Alt-A mortgages, are slated to reset over the next 18 to 24 months, and rising unemployment causes a surge in the number of prime mortgages going into default. All of this is expected to trigger another round of foreclosures and cause home prices to tumble at least another 20% before the market rebounds, according to market analysts and economists.

    Market bulls believe home prices could bottom in the second half of 2010, but the bears warn it could be 2013 before they finally trough. And once prices do reach a low, it could be years before they significantly rebound.
    0:00 /4:19Housing market's false hope

    "This is clearly the worst housing crisis since the Depression," says John Burns, president of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Losses from the housing meltdown totaled $3.6 trillion at the end of 2008, and will likely approach $5 trillion by the time the crisis ends, predicts Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors.

    Bob Curran, managing director at Fitch Ratings, is a lot more cautious, noting that one month of gains doesn't make a trend -- existing home sales are still off 3.5% from a year ago. "You'd want to see a string of months -- ideally three months -- to say with confidence that a bottom has been reached," he says.

    "We're about two-thirds of the way through the pricing correction on a percentage basis," says Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist with MFR Inc., an economic consulting and analysis firm. He expects prices to slide at least another 20% over the next 18 months.


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  • pthoko
    07-11 01:57 PM
    Please ignore my previous posting! I saw in one of the earlier postings that you are approved. Congratulations and Best wishes! and welcome back to this forum; Please help us here whenever you can.



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  • NKR
    08-06 03:12 PM

    When you give reds, learn to read the whole post. I pointed out that since Op was gone, no one here was really filing a lawsuit but we were debating the issue. The thread may be about anything, so what? The discussion ahd turned to a personalized bashing of anyone that dared file for EB2.

    Reading your posts I see that you got a red from someone, guess you decided to lash out in return. Fitting!

    Dude, I did not personally bash anyone let alone give you a red dot, I was just putting forth my opinions which you and some of our ilk did not like which is fair enough.

    You guys saying guys with Masters are from heaven compared to EB3 guys getting 5+ years experience is like personally bashing each and everyone who falls in that category.


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  • jnraajan
    06-05 02:25 PM
    It is December 1st not November 30th.

    Actually, It has to before Dec Ist, so technically, you should have closed the house at least on Nov 30th.

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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-25 04:43 PM
    What men say and what they actually mean . . .

    � "I'M GOING FISHING" Means: "I'm going to drink myself dangerously stupid, and stand by a stream with a stick in my hand, while the fish swim by in complete safety."
    � "YES, DEAR..." Means: Absolutely nothing. It's a conditioned response.
    � "IT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN" Means: "I have no idea how it works."
    � "TAKE A BREAK HONEY, YOU'RE WORKING TOO HARD". Means: "I can't hear the game over the vacuum cleaner."
    � "THAT'S INTERESTING, DEAR." Means: "Are you still talking?"
    � "I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU, AND GOT YOU THESE ROSES". Means: "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe."
    � "WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME?" Means: "What did you catch me at?"
    � "I HEARD YOU." Means: "I haven't the foggiest clue what you just said, and am hoping desperately that I can fake it well enough so that you don't spend the next 3 days yelling at me."
    � "YOU KNOW I COULD NEVER LOVE ANYONE ELSE." Means: "I am used to the way you yell at me, and realize it could be worse."
    � "YOU LOOK TERRIFIC." Means: "Please don't try on one more outfit, I'm starving."
    � "WE SHARE THE HOUSEWORK." Means: "I make the messes, she cleans them up."


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  • dpp
    05-16 11:06 AM
    How wonderful that congress is finally introducing constructive bills to prevent 'consultants' mainly (but not only) from India from clogging up the H-1B visa system for honest skilled workers. The H-1B program is clearly intended for people WHO HAVE A SOLID FULL-TIME JOB OFFER AT THE TIME OF FILING THE APPLICATION. The whole body-shopping/visa abuse phenomenon is just disgusting. I wouldn't cry if any and all kinds of 'consultancy' activity were banned from the H-1B program. Someone stated that then they 'might as well lower the cap to 10.000/year'. Obviously not true. This bill clears out the infested issues of people illegally taking up visas on false premises. Good work!

    Part of the title of this thread reads 'even H-1 renewal will be impossible'. That is just priceless. No, H-1B renewal will be impossible IF YOU ARE NOT HERE BASED ON HONEST CIRCUMSTANCES. Anyone with trouble renewing H-1Bs after this bill should get a real job or leave if they are not up to that task.

    These are all base-less statements.

    H1B program in not just designed for lazy full-time in-house foreign nationals. If an employer who can pay minimum wage (or more) given by DOL, they can recruit H1 and sponsor the visa.

    Do you know that 70-80% of H1Bs are on working on Consulting basis to complete the short-term/long-term assignments. They are the bread and butter of US IT business, not the full-time H1bs working in-house, who again takes a consultant to complete his job.

    May be some are abusing the law, but you have no right to say all of them are like that. Good and Bad will be there in any field/society/law. So, for that do not blame everybody working in that.

    I know several full-time H1Bs working in-house , but depends on outside consultants to do each and every work and they take the salary every month for doing nothing. So, with that i cannot say all full-time H1Bs are lazy and don't update their skills. There are exceptions to everything.

    Consultants are not like that, they work hard every hour and get paid just for the time they worked.

    Do not start the argument of dividing H1Bs. If you want, goto anti-immigrant sites and join with them. They will ditch you too someday.

    Support IV.

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  • gc03
    05-17 12:54 PM
    learning01, I do not agree with you. You should better use different language. I am not here to promote or demote anyone.

    Let me ask you a quick question.
    Have you contacted Lou Dobbs to publish our stories? probably not.

    It's ideal to say thanks and indirectly ask him to publish legal immigration problems.


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  • Rolling_Flood
    08-05 08:29 AM
    The said person should have been aware of what he or she was getting into. Blaming your hardship on other people and trying to get mileage out of it is hardly an honest way............would you agree?

    I am EB2 and I do not support this idea. Just imagine, someone could have applied in EB3 though he was qualified for EB2 because he was ill advised by his lawyers or employers. Why should he be punished for no fault of his?.


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  • learning01
    05-17 11:30 AM

    Go and search for Lou Dobbs in this forum.

    This forum is purely for discussing issues related to problems and difficulties of high skilled legal immigrants., affected by inefficiency of backlog centers, LCs and lack of visa numbers, GC issues and the consequent retrogression.

    I haven't gone to the link you provided, because I don't need to. Has Mr.Dobbs advocated our issues, our goals anytime in his effort to highlight immigration issues? I don't think so. He does what is convenient for him and for his ratings and viewership.

    So, please let's end this discussion here and please refrain from quoting and promoting the foul mouth Lou Dobbs.
    I hope you will understand. Thanks.

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  • Macaca
    02-15 10:37 AM
    First 2 paras from Justice Official Bought Vacation Home With Oil Lobbyist (, By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi, Washington Post Staff Writers, Thursday, February 15, 2007

    A senior Justice Department official who recently resigned her post bought a nearly $1 million vacation home with a lobbyist for ConocoPhillips months before approving consent decrees that would give the oil company more time to pay millions of dollars in fines and meet pollution-cleanup rules at some of its refineries.

    Sue Ellen Wooldridge, former assistant attorney general in charge of environment and natural resources, bought a $980,000 home on Kiawah Island, S.C., last March with ConocoPhillips lobbyist Don R. Duncan. A third owner of the house is J. Steven Griles, a former deputy interior secretary, who has been informed he is a target in the federal investigation of Jack Abramoff's lobbying activities.


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  • willwin
    07-14 08:54 AM
    send the damn letter, nothing happens, and then come back here and vent your frustration again. as you said, buddy, HARD LUCK indeed !!

    I cannot believe the nerve that you EB-3 India guys have. You are begging for a GC based on your length of wait!!! laughable at best...........go wait a decade or so more, then come back here and start this useless BS again.

    one good thing happens for the EB-2 folks, and the EB-3 community cannot stomach it. pure freaking jealousy.

    Agreed! But what is your problem? Check your pressure ASAP. It doesn't spare you just because you are EB2!

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  • reddog
    01-06 12:49 PM
    Now the killing has gone mad. Apart from killing the innocent civilians, crazy war mongers started bombing schools and killing innocent school kids. Today two schools were bombed and more than 40 children have been massacred.

    Its sad to see school children being brutally killed by missles and tanks. I don't understand how people could blow up innocent kids, women and men under the name of self-defence?

    This world has gone crazy and there's no one questioning about this in-human atrocities committed against fellow human being.

    Lets us pray for those who are going thru this hardship, and for an immediate end to this war crime.

    How many more innocent civilians including children they are planning to kill?. All these so called peace loving nations blocking the UN from making a cease-fire resolution. Looks like so called freedom lovers want more innocent lives.

    When Mumbai was attacked by terrorists, whole world was united and supported the victim(India). Now the same world is against the victim and encouraging more killing by not stopping the attrocities.

    And look at what India is going thru. Each and every year, bomb blasts in multiple cities.

    There are hundreds of polls taken in Indian cities and a majority of the people living in cities say that they are terrified. They are constantly living under the fear of the next terrorist attack.

    Indians support a military action against Pakistan as they know that the state of Pakistan is involved in these terrorist activities.
    And even if the state not knowing about these people does not relieve them from accountability.
    So how different would it be if India initiates a military strike on Pakistan, will they guarantee that not a single innocent live will be taken?

    Israelis feel much safer in their country, even after being surrounded by enemies from all side.

    I am not justifying anything, I am just saying that Israel does not love to go and kill innocent people, they are not the Stalin or the Nazi clansmen.

    Or are you saying that they love killing people?


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  • willgetgc2005
    08-11 01:36 PM

    CAn you please send me the link where you found that CNN has applied for H1B. I would like to write in to Lou (which i think is useless.
    He is a rabid man).

    But more importatanly, I want to write to soemone else in CNN.
    I want to ask this.

    If CNN is so anti H1, I believe its progrmas reflect what it stands for, then why does it file for H1?

    Pappu, if u put in cable news network and state = will pull up 15 records of h1b applications made by CNN in 2005. maybe someone needs to tell dobbs that. 9 H1 B for fox

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  • gg_ny
    02-21 09:07 PM
    I am no fan of Dobbs and haven't watched his show longer than 15 min. in total. I didn't want to eloborate on something in that posting but would rather do now: by fanning of the mass hysteria, you do get attention- let it be Dobbs or Tancredo. Last year, because of the media and the politicians, many normally centric Americans listened to anti immigration propaganda, in particular, Dobbsian ones. No/not much American tears were shed when CIR was stalled in the Congress last year. The reason: people would tune to anyone-sentinent or nonsense persons- if those creatures speak what those people want to hear at that time. Now the Congress seems to be centric or stuck at the center due to gridlock but how long this will last?
    I believe that the average American civic sense is moving towards what is seen in European countries - discourage immigration in any form. Dobbs may not be an agent but definitely an instrument that keeps this feeling alive. It sells CNN and also keeps the base happy. How else would you explain a plain propaganda being catered via a network like CNN which claims to be different from - for example right-oriented Fox. Dobbs does it, there would be more louder Dobbsians in the future if anti immigration gets established inteh general psyche of Americans as it has already in many, many, many european nations.

    He is not questioned, ridiculed or targeted because he is a nobody. His viewership is not in millions but in hundred thousands. 762,000 to be precise. With such viewership numbers nobody targets him because its not worth it. Even "SpongeBob SquarePants" a carton show on Nickelodeon manages to get higher viewership than Lou Dobbs even though "SpongeBob SquarePants" is targeted at children.

    we are targeting him because he is saying things which are inaccurate if not ludicrous regarding immigration. He is similar to tancredo. Did anybody know there was a xenophobe called tancredo before he started riling against CIR. Lou Dobbs and Tancredo realized they have stuck gold with there diatribe against immigration and they are riding this xenophobic wave for it full worth.

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  • file485
    07-07 10:05 PM
    Thank you for all your support.They asked for my husband`s paystubs ,all employment history all W2`s when he filed for AOS as primary.Later we withdrew his petition and only kept petition filed through me as the primary.That officer is extremely detailed oriented ,he/she asked and questioned every minute detail pertaining to our case.
    New update on EAD is that local offices are no longer authorized to issue interim EAD`S.We went to local office in greer, south carolina(we live in charlotte,nc) and the answer we got was that they can only email uscis why there is a delay.and if we wanted to find an answer we should come back in 2 weeks and that they won`t disclose any thing by phone because of privacy act.

    you mean to say,while filling in the form for his AOS..I think somewhere it asks that 'have you filed for AOS earlier etc(not sure the correct wordings..)' he had to choose a 'yes' that so..? if it was yes,possibly that was the reason for scrutiny..

    when his case was so shaky, he should not have filed for AOS..but what has happened has happened though..
    jeez..this is so stressful and can totally empathize with you

    12-27 07:04 PM
    2010: India's undeclared year of Africa ( By RAJIV BHATIA | The Hindu

    An objective evaluation of changing contours of our engagement with Africa, especially in light of significant developments in 2010, might interest Africa watchers and others.

    Conceptual richness and consistency appear to characterise recent interactions, although their impact may still take a while to be felt tangibly.


    If the period from our Independence to the end of the 1980s was marked by India's close involvement with Africa in political affairs, peacekeeping, training, culture and education, the 1990s turned out to be a lost decade. That was the time when policy makers were busy trying to re-adapt India's foreign policy to the post-Cold War world. Subsequently, the Africans' unhappiness with their neglect by India, China's rapidly growing profile on the continent, and the enhanced dynamism of India Inc. combined to initiate a renewal of India-Africa relations. The Government's three initiatives, namely the ‘Focus Africa Programme' under Exim policy for 2002-07, the ‘Techno-Economic Approach for Africa and India Movement' or TEAM-9 programme, launched in 2004 to upgrade economic relations with West Africa, and the Pan-African e-Network started in 2007, helped in sending the signal that India had not vacated space in Africa for others.

    In this backdrop, the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2008 represented a veritable high point, showcasing a new, vibrant India as well as its reinvigorated Africa policy. The following year was a relative disappointment. But, developments during 2010 seem to have put India's engagement with Africa on a fast track.


    India played host to at least eight high-level African dignitaries, one each from the Seychelles, Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia. Visits by presidents, prime ministers and other VIPs throughout the year demonstrated that Africa was keen to expand political and development cooperation with India. Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique, endorsed India's approach towards Africa, expressing readiness “to raise the (bilateral relationship) to a strategic partnership.” Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, chose to accord high importance to economic issues. Following a productive meeting of the joint commission, the two sides decided, “to infuse the close political relationship with greater economic content.” The visit by South African President Jacob Zuma helped in re-defining the bilateral agenda and re-launching the joint CEOs Forum.

    Happily, Indian leaders found time to visit Africa in 2010. Vice-President Hamid Ansari's three-country tour covering Zambia, Malawi and Botswana was a notable success. Given his credentials, he was able to evoke old memories of deep political and emotional affinity as well as highlight mutuality of interests and the need for expansion of economic cooperation, thus lending a contemporary character to age-old ties. That he backed it with the announcement of credits and grants (for the three countries) amounting to about $200 million, in addition to credit lines valued at $60 million that were operational prior to the visit, showed India's new strength. This was on display again as the Government agreed to arrange major lines of credits for others: $705 million for Ethiopia for sugar and power sector development and $500 million for Mozambique for infrastructure, agriculture and energy projects.

    The decision by the IAFS to set aside $5.4 billion for lines of credit and $500 million for human resource development during a five-year period means that now nearly $1 billion a year is available for cooperation with Africa. Utilising India's new financial muscle, an ambitious expansion of training programmes for the benefit of Africans is being attempted at present.

    External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna got a direct feel of issues and personalities on his visit to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Mozambique. As these are all Indian Ocean countries, the strategic dimension of cooperation, especially relating to piracy, terrorism and changing foreign maritime presence, received considerable attention during his discussions. Later the minister, talking to a group of African journalists visiting India, emphasised that our relationship with Africa had “transformed”, with the two sides becoming “development partners looking out for each other's interests and well-being.”

    Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma undertook visits to South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. He was instrumental in facilitating and moulding business-to-business dialogues in all the countries visited, with the help of organisations such as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). For business level exchanges, however, the most significant event in the year was CII-Exim Bank Conclave, held in Delhi in March. About 1,000 delegates attended it, half of whom were from various African countries.

    Bilateral trade

    Bilateral India-Africa trade, which stood at about $1 billion in 2001, has now reached the $40 billion mark. It is an encouraging growth. Figures about India's investments in Africa are confusing, but by taking an average of the figures of cumulative investments released by the Reserve Bank, the CII and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one could place a value of $50 billion on them.

    Three other highlights need to be mentioned here. First, India hosted a meeting of top officials of Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs). A first of its kind, the meeting was attended by six of the eight RECs, namely Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and United Nations Association/Arab Maghreb Union (UNA/AMU). It gave them the opportunity to interact with numerous Ministries and business enterprises. Coverage of areas viz stock exchanges, small industry, food processing, infrastructure, IT and telecommunications was quite wide. The visitors expressed “gratitude” to India for the initiative “to recognise the regional dimension of Africa's development.”

    Second, top officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) undertook visits to Kampala and Addis Ababa in order to carry forward India's dialogue with the African Union (AU) for nurturing ties at the continental level. On the sidelines of its 15th Summit in Kampala in July, Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC), expressed immense satisfaction at the model of engagement created by India, adding that it was “the most unique and preferred of Africa's partnerships.” In plain language, he seemed to confirm the view that among many suitors of Africa, both old and new, the two most active are China and India. Ping was also happy with “the determined pace at which implementation (of IAFS decisions) has been undertaken.” However, this might have been more credible had the two sides announced, by now, the venue and timing of the second IAFS.

    Third, a boost to our Africa diplomacy came with the announcement of the Hermes Prize for Innovation 2010 for India's Pan-African e-Network project. The prize was given by the European Institute of Creative Strategies and Innovation, a prestigious think tank. It called the project as “the most ambitious programme of distance education and tele-medicine in Africa ever undertaken.”\

    A few tips

    While moving determinedly to strengthen relations with Africa, the Government needs to do more. African diplomats still speak of the deficit in India's political visibility. Therefore, our President and Prime Minister should find time to visit Africa in 2011. More visits by Mr. Krishna would be helpful. Implementation of the first IAFS decisions, though improving, needs to be speeded up. India Inc. should be more active. In preparing for the second IAFS, South Block should draw from outside expertise. The civil society's potential to strengthen people-to-people relations should be tapped optimally. By according higher attention to Africa, the media could serve as a valuable bridge of mutual understanding.

    Finally, India should declare and celebrate 2011 as its Africa Year.

    The author is former High Commissioner to South Africa, Lesotho and Kenya

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    07-14 08:48 AM
    fine, then why are we working so hard to remove the per country limit? That was set by law too!!!

    We can't pick only those options that would favor us. Sometimes changes bring hard-luck.

    Sure sometimes change can bring hard-luck, but remember that if you want to change your luck at my expense purely based on your length of wait and regardless of skill level as established by law, then DON'T expect me to not push back. Another letter countering the position can always be written in an individual if not collective capacity.

    I also wonder where was all this thought about change and hard-luck when EB2-I was shafted last year and numbers spilt over to EB3ROW.

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