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Thursday, November 4th 2004, 7:09pm

India News Wrapup, Q1/25

1 January 1925

In a surprising development, the Raj has agreed to meet with delegates of the Concerned Citizens’ Coalition to address the violence in Chittagong.

“I deplore unnecessary violence and pointless death”, the Raj noted from Hyderabad. “Should the CCC refrain from violence of the sort that has wracked Chittagong for months, I will meet directly with two individuals of their choosing three weeks from today, in Dhaka.”

The CCC hailed the announcement as “A new hope for peace. We will most certainly be in attendance.”

6 January 1925

The joint South African-India Antarctic expedition is now settling into their home for the next year. The yacht Sharmilla has dropped anchor in a small bay at approximately six degrees west, seventy degrees south in Queen Maud Land.

As expected, the crews’ first act was to have a rematch at ice football. South African cartographer Maas Van Der Meer scored two goals in a 4-2 victory over the Indian team.

Over the next few weeks, the scientific staff will be busy undertaking traverses of the coast, mapping the geology, collecting botanical and zoological specimens, and monitoring weather conditions. Meanwhile, the ship’s crew are making it ready for encapsulation in pack ice.

17 January 1925

The addition of Formosa and Chosen to SATSUMA is being hailed as a “Great step in the political evolution of Asia”, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Kadharni.

“In choosing to join India, Japan, and the Philippines, the leaders of Chosen and Formosa have shown that they share our vision of a prosperous and self-governed Asia.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kadharni confirmed rumors that India has met with Dutch officials to discuss a proposed non-aggression pact suggested by the Netherlands shortly after the initial SATSUMA signing. “I can’t comment on the meeting itself except to say that we took the opportunity to raise the issue of Indonesian self-government.”

23 January 1925

The Raj and the Concerned Citizens’ Coalition have agreed to talks to resolve the insurgency in Chittagong.

“I met with the gentleman known as ‘K’ and his assistant”, the Raj commented, “And found that they have sincere grievances that need to be addressed. Recognizing that I myself cannot commit to a significant period of time on this one issue, I have asked ‘K’ to select a senior official in my government to represent me in the coming discussions.”

The enigmatic ‘K’ told AWNR, “I have a sense that the Raj is taking us seriously, and so we will halt all operations against the government while we have a sense of progress. I have asked that the Raj recall Mahatma Gandhi from the embassy in Stockholm to represent the government in our forthcoming talks. Mr. Gandhi is educated in law and has demonstrated his respect for people in all walks of life.

7 February 1925

The Rana is off to Europe for meetings in Germany. It’s not known exactly what the scope of the meetings are, but a government official stated, “It’s not a state visit. It’s a business trip.”

The Rana has been busy in the last few weeks with visits to several of the nation’s key resource extraction centers, such as the oil refinery in Digboi, several coal mines elsewhere in Assam, and the Kolar goldfields. It’s being speculated that the Rana may be going to Germany to conclude some kind of deal to export materials to that country.

1 March 1925

Amid a modest amount of pomp, the battleship Akbar was launched in Madras today. The ceremony went off flawlessly, according to the Navy, which had once planned an event on par with the ship's laying down in January of last year. Those plans were shelved after the heavy loss of life in August.

The squat battleship’s hull is now essentially complete, but only holes exist where her guns, machinery, and superstructure are to be installed. The ship is now being moored at Pier Twelve, where construction will resume within a day or two.

The Class Three Slipway is expected to be idle until the summer, at which time the aviation cruiser Urumi will be laid down.

Elsewhere in Madras, the venerable destroyer G-101 is meeting her end after fifteen years of loyal service. The nation’s first locally-built destroyer participated in the Andaman War and is credited with the sinking of a Dutch torpedo-boat at the Battle of Port Blair. In recent years, the small, coal-firing ship had been relegated to quieter duties in the Southern Maritime District.

“Unfortunately, her time has passed”, Admiral Sanjay Das noted, pointing out that a new generation of destroyer is being built right now. “The G-143 class is our new answer to world destroyer evolution.” Two of G-101's sisters are destined for scrapping, while two more are expected to be converted to training ships next year.

8 March 1925

In Dhaka, talks are now underway between the government of India and the Concerned Citizen’s Coalition. Former Ambassador to Nordmark Mahatma Gandhi is representing the Raj at the talks, which aim to bring an end to the violence in Chittagong.

There have been no incidents of violence attributed to the CCC since the Raj agreed to talks in January, though several individuals have been arrested by the local constabulary.

14 March 1925

Foreign Affairs Minister Kadharni says that India is ready to assist the Philippines if the latter should invoke SATSUMA.

“We recognize that the Philippines possess capable police and intelligence forces, but a true friend is always ready to help, even if he doesn’t believe it will be needed”, Minister Kadharni commented.

21 March 1925

Britain’s announcement of military assistance to Persia is not raising quite as many eyebrows in Hyderabad as might have been expected.

“Let’s be frank. Britain has been very passive the last few years - it was bound to react to the moves of its continental neighbours eventually. Giving Persia the means to mount a defence against Russian incursions is merely the next logical step in that on-going game Britain and Russia play in that part of the world”, a senior Foreign Affairs official noted.

“This we can accept; if Britain seeks to station troops in Persia or ensnare Persia in unrelated political accords, that’s another matter, and we’ll respond to it then.”

An official in the Ministry of Industry said, “Providing trade provisions to Britain does displease us, for it will act as a barrier to Indian trade with Persia. It’s unfortunate that the Persians felt they had to buy British protection.”