We have three ambassadorial interviews on our cover. H.E. Mr Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands to India whom we had featured in our April 2016 cover, talks to us at length on the amazingly hyper-productive relations between his country and India in recent times. Between February 2016 and now, six daily flights have been added between India and Amsterdam, which Ambassador Stoelinga says translates into six times more passengers, six times more tourists, and those many times more businessmen. As you read through his interview, you’ll realize how and why Indo-Dutch relations have been catapulted to the very next level.
Likewise, H.E. Mr Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, projects a picture of strengthening bilateral ties and escalating investments by the two nations. Ambassador Hovorka who has in the past served as a Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade in the Czechia Government points at a growing number of Indian companies cutting across sectors such as IT, automobiles, tea, textiles, pharmaceuticals, auto-components that have invested in the Czech Republic, a nation carved out of erstwhile Czechoslovakia.
Similarly, H.E. Mr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to India, happily lets us know that relations between his country and India have never been better, in fact, he says, “they are exceptional.” India remains one of the leading donors to Afghanistan post-2001, and has played a major role in the country’s security and economic transition. India’s extensive developmental assistance programme which now stands at around USD 3 billion is a strong signal of its commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
On the occasion of Bangladesh’s Armed Forces Day, we have a special supplement with contributions from veteran officers who talk us through the development of the country’s uniformed services and the rising role of women in the Bangladesh Army. There is also more than just a whiff of nostalgia as one of the writers speaks to a Liberation War hero and brings back memories of 1971’s history-creating moments. Also, H.E. Mr Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, shares his thoughts on the occasion.