Is Shahzad Chaudhry Right "On India"?

The Pakistan Air Force's Retired Air Vice Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry has recently penned an op-ed for The Express Tribune newspaper calling on his country to make peace with India. He argues that "India is relevant to the world", implying that Pakistan is not. Chaudhry believes that the "gap between Pakistan and India is now unbridgeable".  Chaudhry concludes his piece with the following recommendation: "It is time to recalibrate our policy towards India and be bold enough to create a tri-nation consensus, along with China, focusing on Asia to be the spur for wider economic growth and benefit".

Prime Minister Indian PM Modi Boasts of Having "56 inch Chest"

History of India-Pakistan Peace Talks:

While I completely support Chaudhry's call for Pakistan to make peace with India, I do wonder why India's Hindu Supremacist Prime Minister Narendra Modi would even seriously entertain such a thought if "India is relevant to the world" and Pakistan is not? And if Modi does agree to talks, what kind of peace would come out of such talks?  Would it be similar to Bangladesh-India peace based on client-patron relationship? Retired senior Indian officials like Shyam Saran and AS Dulat have blamed Indian security establishment for past failures to reach a peace deal with Pakistan. 

I also question Chaudhry's idea of creating "a tri-nation consensus" with India and China. Why would China agree to such an arrangement while both Asian giants are seeking to establish regional hegemony? Why wouldn't China pursue its own version of Monroe Doctrine in Asia? 

Let me expand on the above two points about "relevance" of India and Pakistan and "tri-nation consensus" with China. 

Pakistan's Global Relevance:

Chaudhry argues that "India is relevant to the world". So is Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has pursued a policy of internationally isolating Pakistan for the last 8 years. Indian diplomats and mainstream media have engaged in a concerted campaign to hurt Pakistan diplomatically and economically during this period. Even the sport of cricket has not been spared.  All of the available evidence suggests that this Indian campaign has failed.  

Pakistan PM with Other World Leaders at SCO Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Source: Xinhua

A prominent Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta has recently summarized the reasons for the Modi government's failure to achieve its objectives relative to Pakistan. Gupta argues that Pakistan is too important to be ignored or isolated by the international community. He says, "Pakistan is too big in terms of population, too powerful militarily, too Muslim, too nuclear and too well located to be isolated". 

Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif with President and Mrs. Biden. Source: White House

Here are some of the key points Shekhar Gupta makes in episode 1093 of his show Cut The Clutter : 

1.Pakistan is our most important neighbor. We must focus on Pakistan.

2, We can not ignore Pakistan in India because the world can not ignore Pakistan

3. The Western world has an intrinsic relationship with Pakistan which doesn't go away

4. The West does not see Pakistan as so useful to them today and yet Pakistan can not be isolated.

5. You can see all the indications that Pakistan is not isolated.

6. A lot of (Indian) TV channels say Pakistan is isolated but the evidence doesn't support it.

7. Pakistan FM visited Washington and met his counterpart Tony Blinken. 

8. Pakistan Army Chief has received a warm welcome at the US Defense Dept and met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Bajwa matters more than the Pakistan Defense Minister. Nobody knows his name.

9. US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome, a career diplomat, has visited "Pakistan Occupied Kashmir" and called it Azad Kashmir...Azad means free.

10. When the chips are down in the region Pakistan is the ally Americans reach out to.

11. The US does not want Pakistan to drift to China.

12. German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has spoken about Kashmir...the K word. She has asked for the UN to help solve the Kashmir issue.

13. Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa is not a warmonger. He wants to normalize ties with India. He wants to trade with India. He doesn't want Faiz Hameed to succeed him. He used to be the ISI chief and took credit for the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. Do the Americans have leverage here?

14. Where does Pakistan's unique power come from? Why can't Pakistan be ignored? Why can't Pakistan be isolated?

15. The Indian public needs to understand it.

16. Pakistan is too big in terms of population, too powerful militarily, too Muslim, too nuclear and too well located to be isolated.

17. Pakistan has the 5th largest population and its population is growing fast. It could soon exceed Indonesia to become the largest Muslim nation in the world.

18. Pakistan has the 5th strongest military in the world.

19. In terms of nuclear weapons, Pakistan has the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

20. Pakistan is too well located to be isolated. It has a geo-strategic location. Pakistan is the western gateway to China. Pakistan opened China's ties with the US. And then helped the US defeat the Soviet Union.

21. The factors that made Pakistan such a strong ally to the US still exist. Don't blame the Pakistanis for it.

22. India is not willing to commit to an alliance with the US.

23. Imran Khan tried to change Pakistan's foreign policy to be more like India's but he failed.

Tri-nation Consensus:

Prime Minister Modi's revocation of Article 370 and annexation of Jammu and Kashmir as Indian union territories have angered not just Pakistan but also China. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord. China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, lays claim to the Ladakh region. It has objected to India making it a union territory.

Since Modi's annexation of disputed territories of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, China has dramatically stepped up pressure on India in Ladakh. China has increased its troop presence, killed and injured dozens of Indian soldiers and taken at least a thousand kilometers of territory claimed by India. As a result, India has had to move troops from the line of control (LoC) with Pakistan to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. 

Indian Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi summarized the situation well when he said, "China has taken our land. They are beating out soldiers. The threat of China Is clear. And the government is hiding it, ignoring it. China is preparing for an offensive in Ladakh and Arunachal. And the government of India is sleeping". 


India-Bangladesh Ties:

India's relations with Bangladesh are essentially patron-client relations. This fact became amply clear when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina recently visited New Delhi to seek political and economic assistance from the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Modi-Hasina Delhi summit was preceded by Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen's trip to India where he said,  "I've requested Modi government to do whatever is necessary to sustain Sheikh Hasina's government".  Upon her return from India, Sheikh Hasina told the news media in Dhaka, "They (India) have shown much sincerity and I have not returned empty handed". It has long been an open secret that Indian intelligence agency RAW helped install Shaikh Hasina as Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and her Awami League party rely on New Delhi's support to stay in power. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen has described India-Bangladesh as one between husband and wife. In an interview with Indian newspaper 'Ajkal,' he said, "Relation between the both countries is very cordial. It's much like the relationship between husband and wife. Though some differences often arise, these are resolved quickly."  Both Bangladeshi and Indian officials have reportedly said that Sheikh Hasina "has built a house of cards". 

India-Pakistan Gap: 

There's no question that Pakistan is in the midst of a major economic crisis. The country's economic performance is dismal right now. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that Pakistan, with its youngest population in Asia, has a bright future ahead if its leaders can resolve the internal political situation. 

Pakistan Population Youngest Among Major Asian Nations. Source: Nikkei Asia

In fact, Goldman Sachs analysts Kevin Daly and  Tadas Gedminas project Pakistan's economy to grow to become the world's sixth largest by 2075.  In a research paper titled "The Path to 2075", the authors forecast Pakistan's GDP to rise to $12.7 trillion with per capita income of $27,100.  India’s GDP in 2075 is projected at $52.5 trillion and per capita GDP at $31,300.  Bangladesh is projected to be a $6.3 trillion economy with per capita income of $31,000.  By 2075, China will be the top global economy, followed by India 2nd, US 3rd, Indonesia 4th, Nigeria 5th and Pakistan 6th. The forecast is based primarily on changes in the size of working age populations over the next 50 years.  

GDP Ranking Changes Till 2075. Source: Goldman Sachs Investment Research 


Economic Growth Rate Till 2075. Source: Goldman Sachs Investment Research 

Economic Impact of Slower Population Growth: 

Daly and Gedminas argue that slowing population growth in the developed world is causing their economic growth to decelerate. At the same time, the economies of the developing countries are driven by their rising populations.  Here are four key points made in the report:

 1) Slower global potential growth, led by weaker population growth. 

2) EM convergence remains intact, led by Asia’s powerhouses. Although real GDP growth has slowed in both developed and emerging economies, in relative terms EM growth continues to outstrip DM growth.

3) A decade of US exceptionalism that is unlikely to be repeated. 

4) Less global inequality, more local inequality. 

Demographic Dividend: 

With rapidly aging populations and declining number of working age people in North America, Europe and East Asia, the demand for workers will increasingly be met by major labor exporting nations like Bangladesh, China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia and Vietnam. Among these nations, Pakistan is the only major labor exporting country where the working age population is still rising faster than the birth rate. 

Over 10 million Pakistanis are currently working/living overseas, according to the Bureau of Emigration. Before the COVID19 pandemic hit in 2020,  more than 600,000 Pakistanis left the country to work overseas in 2019. Nearly 700,000 Pakistanis have already migrated in this calendar year as of October, 2022. The average yearly outflow of Pakistani workers to OECD countries (mainly UK and US) and the Middle East was over half a million in the last decade. 

Consumer Markets in 2030. Source: WEF


World's 7th Largest Consumer Market:

Pakistan's share of the working age population (15-64 years) is growing as the country's birth rate declines, a phenomenon called demographic dividend. With its rising population of this working age group, Pakistan is projected by the World Economic Forum to become the world's 7th largest consumer market by 2030. Nearly 60 million Pakistanis will join the consumer class (consumers spending more than $11 per day) to raise the country's consumer market rank from 15 to 7  by 2030. WEF forecasts the world's top 10 consumer markets of 2030 to be as follows: China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Pakistan, Japan, Egypt and Mexico.  Global investors chasing bigger returns will almost certainly shift more of their attention and money to the biggest movers among the top 10 consumer markets, including Pakistan.  Already, the year 2021 has been a banner year for investments in Pakistani technology startups

India's Kautilya Doctrine: 

“Every neighboring state is an enemy and the neighboring state's neighbor is a friend.”
 ― Kautilya, The Arthashastra

The name of Kautilya, meaning crooked, is invoked by former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran's book “How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century”.  This invocation of Kautilya in the title of the book makes the above quote about "neighboring state is an enemy" particularly relevant to how Indian policymakers like Shyam Saran see Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Kautilya presented a theory of international relations called the “circle of states,” or Rajamandala. It says hostile states are those that border the ruler’s state, forming a circle around it. In turn, states that surround this set of hostile states form another circle around the circle of hostile states. This second circle of states can be considered the natural allies of the ruler’s state against the hostile states that lie between them. Put more succinctly, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  

Pakistanis like AVM Shahzad Chaudhry must understand that India's foreign policy has always been and continues to be guided by the Kautilya Doctrine. 

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
UK team said Modi was responsible for ‘climate of impunity’ in 2002 riots, claims BBC documentary

https://scroll.in/latest/1042096/uk-team-said-modi-was-responsible-for-climate-of-impunity-in-2002-riots-claims-bbc-documentary

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dkb144

Modi had denied allegations that he did not do enough to stop the violence.


A team sent by the British government to inquire into the 2002 Gujarat riots said that Narendra Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, was “directly responsible for a climate of impunity” that led to the violence, a BBC documentary released on Tuesday claimed.

The documentary, titled The Modi Question, was removed from YouTube on Wednesday.

The documentary cited a report the inquiry team had sent the United Kingdom government. The documentary said that the report has never been published.

Large-scale communal violence had erupted in Gujarat in February and March 2002 after the coach of a passenger train filled with Hindu pilgrims caught fire in Godhra. Official records show that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots.

Modi has denied allegations that he did not do enough to stop the riots.

The British inquiry team alleged that Modi had prevented the Gujarat Police from acting to stop violence targeted at Muslims, the BBC documentary claimed.

However, a closure report by a Special Investigation Team appointed by India’s Supreme Court to inquire into the violence said in February 2012 that there was no prosecutable evidence against Modi and 63 others. A magistrate accepted the team’s report in 2013.

On June 24 last year, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Zakia Jafri, the wife of Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, challenging the SIT report. Ehsan Jafri was among the 69 people who were killed when a mob went on a rampage in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, pelting stones and setting fire to homes.

Modi told police not to intervene, finds report
The BBC documentary released on Tuesday features a former senior diplomat, one of the investigators sent by the United Kingdom government, as saying that the violence had been planned by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The report of the British government inquiry team had said that the VHP and its allies “could not have inflicted so much damage without the climate of impunity created by the state government”.

The team also cited “reliable contacts” as saying that Modi met senior police officers on February 27, 2002, and “ordered them not to intervene” in the rioting, the documentary claimed.

‘Extent of violence greater than reported’
The British government inquiry team had also concluded that the extent of violence during the 2002 riots was “much greater than reported”, according to the BBC documentary. It said that the violence was politically motivated and the aim was to “purge Muslims from Hindu-dominated areas”.

The report said that the systematic campaign of violence had “all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing”. It alleged that “widespread and systematic rape” of Muslim women took place during the riots.
Riaz Haq said…
UK team said Modi was responsible for ‘climate of impunity’ in 2002 riots, claims BBC documentary

https://scroll.in/latest/1042096/uk-team-said-modi-was-responsible-for-climate-of-impunity-in-2002-riots-claims-bbc-documentary

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dkb144


Jack Straw, who was the British foreign secretary at the time of the violence, told the BBC that the allegations against Modi were a “stain on his reputation”.

“These were very serious claims – that Chief Minister Modi had played a pretty active part in pulling back the police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists,” Straw said. “That was a particularly egregious example.”

In the wake of 2002 Gujarat riots, the United Kingdom government had imposed a diplomatic boycott on Modi for his alleged failure to stop the violence. It ended the boycott in October 2012.

From 2005 to 2014, Modi was also denied a visa to the United States for the same reason.

In 2013, Modi had told Reuters that his government “had used its full strength” to “ do the right thing”. In comments that had led to widespread criticism, he had compared his emotional state to an occupant of a car involved in an accident.

“Someone else is driving a car and we are sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not?” he had said, according to Reuters. “Of course it is. If I’m a chief minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”
Riaz Haq said…
#SaudiArabia Eyes Boosting #Investment in #Pakistan to Over $10 Billion. Saudis rolled over another loan of $3 billion at 4% to Pakistan for a year. Saudi Finance Minister Al Jadaan said his nation will “continue to support Pakistan as much as we can” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-10/saudi-eyes-boosting-investment-in-pakistan-to-over-10-billion

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered exploring increasing the kingdom’s assistance and investments in Pakistan, a step toward furthering relief to the South Asian nation economy reeling from deadly floods.

The Saudi Fund for Development will conduct a study on increasing the deposit in Pakistan’s central bank to $5 billion from $3 billion earlier, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday. It will also assess the plan to increase investments in Pakistan to $10 billion, according to the same report.

The kingdom’s fund provides soft loans and grants to developing countries as a means to bolster allies and cement new relationships. The statement comes a day after the Crown Prince met with Pakistan’s army chief General Syed Asim Munir to review ways to enhance bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation.

Pakistan’s 7.375% 2031 dollar bond was indicated 0.8 cents higher at 36.1 cents on the dollar, up by the most since the start of December. The South Asian nation’s 8.25% 2024 dollar bond was indicated up 0.8 cents at 54.2 cents on the dollar. The nation’s benchmark KSE-100 Index rose 0.8% at 2:34 p.m. local time

Pakistan’s economy was strapped for funds after a gridlock with the International Monetary Fund over tax targets delayed disbursal of loan installments. The situation was made worse by floods that inundated a third of the nation and cut its growth by half. Pakistan has relied on friendly nations to tide over the crisis. Earlier this week, the nation received commitments of more than $10 billion in assistance.

The nation’s foreign exchange reserves dropped to $5.6 billion — the lowest in almost nine years and enough to cover less than one month of imports. The deteriorating economic outlook triggered downgrades, forcing authorities to announce austerity measures to reduce energy bills and save dollars.

It’s a strong commitment from Saudi Arabia, but likely to be subject to resumption of the IMF program, said Tahir Abbas, head of research at Karachi-based Arif Habib Ltd. “The investment would be in setting up a refinery in Pakistan, for which the government needs to complete modalities including finalization of refinery policy.”



Saudi Arabia last month extended another loan of $3 billion at 4% to Pakistan for a year. The Saudi government will “continue to support Pakistan as much as we can,” Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said at a press conference last month.

Pakistan is also looking to seek extension of a $2.1 billion from China that is due in March. About 30% of Pakistan’s foreign debt is owed to China, including state-owned commercial banks.
Majumdar said…
Brofessor sb,

UK ended the boycott in October 2012.

Presumably it realised that Modi was innocent?
Riaz Haq said…
Majumdar:

US Brackets India's Modi With Murderous Dictators: Aristide, Kabila, Mugabe and MBS
Speaking about the US decision to grant immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said that it was “not the first time” that the US government has designated immunity to foreign leaders and listed four cases. “Some examples: President Aristide in Haiti in 1993; President Mugabe in Zimbabwe in 2001; Prime Minister Modi in India in 2014; and President Kabila in the DRC in 2018. This is a consistent practice that we have afforded to heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers,” he said.

https://www.riazhaq.com/2022/11/us-brackets-indias-modi-with-murderous.html

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Prashant Bhushan
@pbhushan1
Must watch: Excerpts from a BBC documentary just telecast in UK about our PM Modi & his documented role in the ethnic cleansing pogrom of 2002 in Gujarat

https://twitter.com/pbhushan1/status/1615887733708443649?s=20&t=61YJqpr23z7wTdV1Vb_lpg
Wicked said…
In his latest episode of Cut the Clutter, Shekar Gupta has updated his views on this aspect. He now says that India and Paksiatn are dehyphenated. There is no competition now.

Brofessor @RiazHaq Saab, Shekhar Gupta ka latest episode dekh lijiye. Unka view thoda update ho Gaya hai.
Riaz Haq said…
Wicked: "Shekar Gupta has updated his views on this aspect. He now says that India and Paksiatn are dehyphenated"

Indian leaders' and media's obsession with Pakistan will continue to hyphenate India and Pakistan. Any talk of de-hyphenation by Indians is hypocritical.

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/indias-perilous-obsession-with-pakistan/article26925287.ece

Op-Ed By NISSIM MANNATHUKKAREN

Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner, with the Prime Minister and other Ministers’ relentless branding of the Congress/Opposition as ‘anti-national’ and as ‘agents of Pakistan’. Further, the Prime Minister even made an unprecedented threat of using nuclear weapons against Pakistan.

As a country born of the two-nation theory based on religion, and then having to suffer dismemberment and the consequent damage to the very same religious identity, it is obvious why Islamic Pakistan must have a hostile Other in the form of a ‘Hindu India’. But what is not obvious is why India, a (much larger) secular nation, must have a hostile antagonist in the form of Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
India Slams BBC Narendra Modi Documentary, Broadcaster Defends It

https://variety.com/2023/politics/global/bbc-narendra-modi-documentary-india-1235494550/

On Jan. 19, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “Do note that this has not been screened in India. So, I am only going to comment in the context of what I have heard about it and what my colleagues have seen. Let me just make it very clear that we think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, the lack of objectivity, and frankly a continuing colonial mindset, is blatantly visible.”

“If anything, this film or documentary is a reflection on the agency and individuals that are peddling this narrative again. It makes us wonder about the purpose of this exercise and the agenda behind it and frankly we do not wish to dignify such efforts,” Bagchi added.

A BBC spokesperson told Variety: “The BBC is committed to highlighting important issues from around the world. The documentary series examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores the politics of India’s PM Narendra Modi in relation to those tensions. This has been the source of considerable reporting and interest both in India and across the world in recent years.”

“The documentary was rigorously researched according to highest editorial standards. A wide range of voices, witnesses and experts were approached, and we have featured a range of opinions – this includes responses from people in the BJP [India’s ruling party]. We offered the Indian Government a right to reply to the matters raised in the series – it declined to respond,” the spokesperson added.

The documentary addresses the 2002 communal riots in the western Indian state of Gujarat, of which Modi was Chief Minister at the time, that left 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus dead, per official numbers. A decade later, a Special Investigation Team appointed by India’s Supreme Court exonerated Modi, saying that the leader had taken steps to control the situation.

On Jan. 18, U.K. member of parliament Imran Hussain, quoted the documentary during Prime Minister’s Questions, saying senior diplomats reported that the massacre could not have taken place without the “climate of impunity” created by Modi and that he was, in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office words, “directly responsible” for the violence.

Hussain asked U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the U.K., are still without justice, does the Prime Minister agree with his Foreign Office diplomats that Modi was directly responsible? What more does the Foreign Office know about Modi’s involvement in that grave act of ethnic cleansing?”

Sunak replied: “The U.K. Government’s position on that is clear and long standing, and it has not changed. Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterization that the hon. gentleman has put forward.”

The second part of the documentary, which is due to broadcast on Jan. 24, could potentially be even more inflammatory. It “examines the track record of Narendra Modi’s government following his re-election in 2019. A series of controversial policies – the removal of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Indian constitution and a citizenship law that many said treated Muslims unfairly – has been accompanied by reports of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindus,” according to the BBC episode description.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan and #Bollywood: A broken bond. Bollywood is now far too often a mouthpiece for #Modi's #BJP and its idea of #India. The Indian film industry’s lurch to the right has done what wars couldn’t — alienated millions of Pakistani fans. https://aje.io/9pv7kh via @AJEnglish

By Salman Zafar
Writer based in Vancouver, Canada

Muslim characters are either nonexistent in Bollywood films or are used to fan stereotypes of the community as villains or as closet Pakistan sympathisers.

Meanwhile, many leading figures within Bollywood have become enthusiastic cheerleaders of this toxicity. There are over-the-top supporters of the BJP government, such as Anupam Kher, Kangana Ranaut and Akshay Kumar. Actor Vivek Oberoi released a thinly veiled promotional movie on the life of Modi in 2019 to coincide with the general elections that year.

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At the same time, Pakistani actors and actresses have effectively been banned from the industry. Raees in 2017, featuring Mahira Khan opposite Shah Rukh, was the last major Bollywood movie to feature someone from Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistani movies face hurdles in being released in India. The Legend of Maula Jutt, already considered one of the biggest movies in Pakistan’s history, was set for a December 30, 2022 release in India, only for that to be postponed indefinitely.

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Unlike a lot of other Pakistanis, my interest in Bollywood developed much later in life. I was already in my late 20s when I took the time to watch a complete Bollywood movie. I initially watched Bollywood for the melodies of the master Indian playback singers from yesteryear, such as the great Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi and Mukesh.

That morphed into an interest in old Bollywood movies — from the golden and classic ages of the industry, spanning a period from the late 1940s through the 80s. Watching these films was a regular weekend night affair for me.

This Bollywood was a melting pot of riveting stories and even better acting. Awaara (1951) carried socialist themes and became wildly popular in China and the former Soviet Union as well. The 1960s and 1970s had trend-setting movies such as the iconic Mughal-e-Azam and Ganga Jumna. Movies such as Kaala Pathar, Zanjeer and Deewar had superstar Amitabh Bachchan in his genre-defining angry young man persona, providing poignant commentary on the disillusionment within Indian society over corruption and inequality. Values — not wealth — were the virtues to aspire to. Then there was Mandi, which touched on themes of prostitution, offering biting political satire.

As the years passed by, Bollywood movies became more extravagant, reliant on glitz and glamour, exotic foreign locations and bombastic dance numbers. Stories revolving around average working-class issues are few and far between.

But with the rise of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), I have noticed another more sinister shift in storytelling towards the right.

From an industry that celebrated religious tolerance in films such as the cult classic Amar Akbar Anthony — where the three heroes are Hindu, Muslim and Christian — mainstream Bollywood is now far too often a mouthpiece for the BJP and its idea of India. The secular ideals of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, are dead. The narrative is simple – India is Hindu, and other religions are foreign and responsible for the ravages suffered by the motherland.

This vision of India reflects in society and in Bollywood.

Moviemakers who do not subscribe to the narrative of this muscular, uber-nationalist Hindu India are at the receiving end of vicious criticism from the BJP’s support base. Actors Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan raised concerns over growing intolerance in India in 2015. Since then, there are regular calls for their movies to be boycotted.


Riaz Haq said…
#YogiAdityanath, Chief Minister of #Indian state of #UttarPradesh, a possible successor to Narendra #Modi, is having his #WEF party spoiled by #WarCrimes complaint filed with #Swiss federal prosecutor for false imprisonment, torture & murder of civilians https://www.politico.com/newsletters/global-insider/2023/01/19/davos-world-economic-forum-00078484

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International lawyers’ group files criminal complaint against UP CM Yogi Adityanath | The News Minute

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/international-lawyers-group-files-criminal-complaint-against-cm-yogi-adityanath-172129

A statement by Guernica 37 Chambers says, “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh to suppress protests against the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India. As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country.”



Guernica 37 Chambers has also said that there is "sufficient basis" to believe that senior members of the UP government, including Chief Minister Yogi, "are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command”. The statement said, “The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on December 19, 2019, calling on the police to take 'revenge' against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes,” the statement reads.

After the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed in December 2019, many individuals, especially those belonging to Muslim community, took to the streets staging peaceful protests. Several of them were arrested and attacked by the police. “The UP police reportedly killed 22 protesters, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained,” Guernica 27 Chambers said and added that the criminal complaint states that Yogi Adityanath, who is the final executive authority over police in Uttar Pradesh, “failed to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes”.

Further, stating that neither the domestic law, the international law, or the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court acceded to the individual complaints, they said that the "escalation of violence and impunity requires urgent actions to hold the perpetrators accountable."

“The opening of an investigation by the Swiss authorities will serve as official recognition and acknowledgement of the gravity of the alleged crimes and recognition of the status of the victims, that they have thus far failed to receive at the domestic or international levels, and it will further serve as evidence that the culture of impunity will not be tolerated,” Guernica 37 Chambers asserted.

Stating that Article 264a of Swiss Criminal Code deals with Crimes against Humanity and it is under this provision that the complaint has been filed, Cadman also said that the course of action has been pursued “as there have been no meaningful attempts to hold the perpetrators accountable in India.”

The law firm had last year filed a similar submission with the United States government, asking for ‘targeted sanctions’ against CM Yogi. Cadman, regarding the submission, said that the request to the US Treasury was for the imposition of sanctions. “This is a process that takes some time and is not made public unless the US government makes public the imposition of sanctions,” he said and added that a similar request was made to the UK (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) FCDO as well.

Riaz Haq said…
On India… revisited
Initial responses from across the border to the piece were steadied, cautiously praiseful, and deliberate

By Shahzad Chaudhry



https://tribune.com.pk/story/2396803/on-india-revisited

Why do we write such pieces in difficult sociocultural environments? This one was based on globally acknowledged facts and carried little of my own proclivity except for framing it into a larger argument for invoking a different paradigm of engagement between three conjoined nations, not two. These make for forty percent of the global population. Naysayers and those corroded of thought soon suggested why it wasn’t possible. Most Indians wanted Pakistan to submit before Indian exclusivity. Even success needs character. The past though haunted most. They had too much invested in their past bridling them to it. In comparison, none should have a past more invested than mine in how one has looked at India. I led a service and its operations imbued with just one objective in mind — to beat India in the air with operational readiness, innovation borne out of professional excellence, and passionate devotion. Nothing of that changes even when we investigate the possibility of another paradigm which could instead usher better return to forty percent of humanity. Modi has a past too, as does the Indian nation, but shall we be held back by recriminations or hold the courage to spawn promise and hope?

It by no means only aims at changing one side’s view. If indeed a recalibration is the call it shall fall upon each to do their bit. India is no angel. Far from it. Reams have been written on how India has manipulated and exploited its relative freedom of action for more insidious motives. Kashmiris and minorities in India are a living proof of how India denies humanity its dignity. China is in focus for similar reasons in the western press. Yet, the new politics and the new economics call for newer avenues of engagement which can serve to achieve a nation’s interest. If the engagement is mutually beneficial it becomes interdependence. Diplomacy as a servant of strategy must then evaluate planks for maximum gains. At times immediate returns are shelved for long-term, sustainable goals. Anachronism (tarz-e-kuhan) will have to give way to fresher approaches (fikr-e-nau) to make it work.
Riaz Haq said…
#India says no ‘conducive atmosphere’ for talks with Pakistan. Last week, #Pakistan PM Sharif had said: “I will give my word that we will talk to India with sincerity, but it takes two to tango” #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia #BJP @shazchy09 https://aje.io/1e0z90 via @AJEnglish

Days after Pakistan offered to hold talks with archrival India, New Delhi says the atmosphere for dialogue is not conducive yet.

“India’s position has remained clear and consistent. We desire normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in a conducive atmosphere that is free of terror, hostility, and violence,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said during a news briefing on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for talks with India to discuss “burning issues such as Kashmir”, the Himalayan territory claimed in full by the two nuclear powers, who have ruled over parts of it since 1947.

The South Asian rivals have fought two of their three full-scale wars over the disputed territory.

“I will give my word that we will talk to India with sincerity, but it takes two to tango,” Sharif said during an interview with Al Arabiya news channel aired on Tuesday.

“My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that let us sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir,” he added.

The Pakistani leader made the remarks during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, which he said could play a role in resolving the differences between the two neighbours.

Relations between India and Pakistan worsened in 2019 when Modi’s Hindu nationalist government revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted Indian-administered Kashmir partial autonomy.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of providing logistical and financial support to the armed rebels fighting either for independence or for the merger of Indian-administered Kashmir with Pakistan.

Islamabad denies the allegations, saying it only provides diplomatic support to the region’s struggle for the right to self-determination.


Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s former foreign secretary, told Al Jazeera that Sharif’s statements on the resumption of ties with India appeared to be “genuine” and that Pakistan would like to have peace and stability in the region.

“Pakistan wants to resolve all disputes peacefully. The tension that exists between the two nations is not in either’s interests,” he said.

Jilani said “terrorism” is a matter of concern for both countries equally and “only once the two sit together, they can amicably resolve the matter”.

However, the former high commissioner of Pakistan to India, Abdul Basit, believes any headway in the relations between the two nations looks unlikely.

“Pakistan-India relations are in a cul-de-sac. Breaking deadlock and talks for the sake of talks will be more of the same,” he told Al Jazeera.

In February 2021, the two countries renewed a two-decade-old ceasefire pact along the 725km (450 miles) Line of Control, the de facto border that divides Kashmir between the two nations. But bilateral talks have stalled since India’s Kashmir move.

Vivek Katju, a former Indian ambassador, said Sharif’s interview made it appear as if Pakistan was ready to engage with India without caveats before a change in sentiment as shown by the PM office clarification.

“India’s position has remained consistent on relationship with Pakistan,” Katju told Al Jazeera.

“What struck me was that whatever the Pakistani prime minister said in his interview, it was all nullified by the subsequent statement from his office, putting the condition of reversal of Article 370.”

Riaz Haq said…
BBC - Riots a stain on Narendra Modi, says former British foreign secretary Jack Straw - Telegraph India

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/riots-a-stain-on-narendra-modi-says-former-british-foreign-secretary-jack-straw/cid/1910953


The Gujarat riots of 2002 are a “stain” on Narendra Modi, former British foreign secretary Jack Straw has told a two-part documentary, India: The Modi Question, that is being shown on BBC2.

The first part was transmitted on Tuesday, January 17, and the second part will go out next Tuesday, January 24.

Introducing the programme, the BBC told viewers: “The programme contains scenes you may find upsetting.”

It summed up: “This series tells the story of Narendra Modi’s troubled relationship with India’s Muslims.”

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Imran Hussain, the Labour MP for Bradford East, confronted Rishi Sunak: “Last night, the BBC revealed that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office knew the extent of Narendra Modi’s involvement in the Gujarat massacre that paved the way for the persecution of Muslims and other minorities that we see in India today.”

Hussain went on: “Senior diplomats reported that the massacre could not have taken place without the ‘climate of impunity’ created by Modi and that he was, in the FCDO’s words, ‘directly responsible’ for the violence. Given that hundreds were brutally killed and that families across India and the world, including here in the UK, are still without justice, does the Prime Minister agree with his Foreign Office diplomats that Modi was directly responsible? What more does the Foreign Office know about Modi’s involvement in that grave act of ethnic cleansing?”

Rishi brushed the question away: “The UK government’s position on that is clear and longstanding, and it has not changed. Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterisation that the Hon. Gentleman has put forward.”

Straw, who was the British foreign secretary under Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair from 2001 to 2006, was asked about the riots by the programme and replied: “I was very worried about it. I was taking a great deal of personal interest, because India is a really important country with whom we have relations. We had to handle it very carefully.” Straw was the Labour MP from 1979 to 2015 for Blackburn, which has a large Pakistani-origin population.

He said: “What we did was to establish an inquiry and have a team go to Gujarat and find out for themselves what had happened. And they produced a very thorough report.”

Straw added: “It was very shocking. These were very serious claims that chief minister Modi had played a pretty active part in pulling back the police and in tacitly encouraging the Hindu extremists.

“That was a particularly egregious example of political involvement, really to prevent the police from doing their job, which was to protect both communities, the Hindu and the Muslims. The options open to us were fairly limited. We were never going to break diplomatic relations with India. But it is obviously a stain on his reputation. There’s no way out of that.”

The BBC said: “The report, sent as a diplomatic cable and marked ‘restricted’, has never been published before.”

The programme highlighted lines from the report: “Extent of violence much greater than reported… widespread and systematic rape of Muslim women…. Violence, politically motivated.... Aim was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas. The systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.”

The BBC said: “The report contained an extraordinary claim.”

This was: “Reliable contacts have told us Narendra Modi met senior police officers on the 27th of February and ordered them not to intervene in the rioting. Police contacts deny this meeting happened.

Riaz Haq said…
BBC - Riots a stain on Narendra Modi, says former British foreign secretary Jack Straw - Telegraph India

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/riots-a-stain-on-narendra-modi-says-former-british-foreign-secretary-jack-straw/cid/1910953

“There were pretty credible reports he had specifically instructed the police not to intervene. The police contact who we talked to consistently denied that. So we did have conflicting reports on what his direct role had been. But we did feel it was clear there was a culture of impunity that created the environment for the violence to take place. That undoubtedly came from Modi.”

The BBC then interviewed a former senior British diplomat who was “one of the investigators. He is speaking publicly for the first time about what the British inquiry found. He’s asked to remain anonymous.”

He told the programme: “At least 2,000 people were murdered during the violence, the vast majority were Muslim. We described it as a pogrom, a deliberate and politically driven effort targeted at the Muslim community. The violence was widely reported to have been organised by an extremist Hindu nationalist group, the VHP, who have a relationship with the RSS.

“The VHP and its allies could not have inflicted so much damage without the climate of impunity created by the state government. Narendra Modi is directly responsible.” Modi has been given a clean chit by the Supreme Court of India.

The Telegraph asked the UK foreign office to see the full report.

Its existence was not denied but in response, the foreign office sent this newspaper a statement: “The violence in Gujarat in 2002 was tragic. It is a reminder of the need to continually work for respect and harmony between religious communities.

It is right that we remember the victims of the violence in Gujarat in 2002, and their families, and that we reaffirm our commitment to do all we can to foster inter-communal understanding and respect around the world.

“Where events involve British nationals, we naturally have an interest both in the provision of consular assistance and in trying to ascertain what happened through police and diplomacy.”

Three British nationals from Yorkshire — Imran and Shakil Dawood, and Mohammed Aswat — were killed by rioters when they crossed into Gujarat from a trip to the Taj. A survivor, who was 18 at the time, was interviewed for the programme.

The BBC set out what was covered in part one: “Narendra Modi is the leader of the world’s largest democracy, a man who has been elected twice as India’s Prime Minister and is widely seen as the most powerful politician of his generation. Seen by the West as an important bulwark against Chinese domination of Asia, he has been courted as a key ally by both the US and the UK.

“Yet Narendra Modi’s premiership has been dogged by persistent allegations about the attitude of his government towards India’s Muslim population. This series investigates the truth behind these allegations and examines Modi’s backstory to explore other questions about his politics when it comes to India’s largest religious minority.

“This episode tracks Narendra Modi’s first steps into politics, including and his association with the Right-wing Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, his rise through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and his appointment as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, where his response to a series of riots in 2002 remains a source of controversy.”

It said of the sequel: “The second episode examines the track record of Narendra Modi’s government following his re-election in 2019.

“A series of controversial policies — the removal of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and a citizenship law that many said treated Muslims unfairly — has been accompanied by reports of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindus.

“Modi and his government reject any suggestion that their policies reflect any prejudice towards Muslims, but these policies have been repeatedly criticised by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan doesn’t see a partner in #Indian #Modi: Hina Rabbani Khar.“I truly believe that if both countries have got statesmen at the same time and not leaders interested only in elections, there is no problem that cannot be solved” #Hindutva #Islamophobia https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/pakistan-doesnt-see-a-partner-in-pm-modi-pakistan-minister-hina-rabbani-khar/article66409515.ece

Pakistan Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on January 19 said her country does not see a “partner” in Prime Minister Narendra Modi for working towards peace between the two countries, but it saw a partner in his predecessors Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Speaking at a session on South Asia in Davos at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023, Ms. Khar, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said, “When I went to India as Foreign Minister, I had worked really hard to press for better cooperation and we were in a much better position at that time compared to the situation in 2023.”
Riaz Haq said…
BBC's Modi Documentary shows that there were two people with direct knowledge of Modi's orders for the police to not protect Muslims: Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya and IPS (Indian Police Service) officer Sanjiv Bhatt.

https://archive.org/details/narendra-modi-bbc-documentary

Excerpts of Frontline story on the BBC Modi Documentary:

https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/new-bbc-documentary-puts-narendra-modi-back-in-the-dock/article66409146.ece

"Even though R.B. Sreekumar, head of police intelligence in Gujarat, and Sanjiv Bhatt, another police officer, had maintained that Modi indeed imposed the diktat, witnesses for the Chief Minister countered that neither Sreekumar nor Bhatt was present at the concerned meeting. In 2022, both were accused of fabrication. Bhatt is in any case serving a life sentence on another matter.

"The documentary has also recorded that Haren Pandya, a minister in the Gujarat government, testified to a Jesuit priest that Modi did issue the aforementioned orders. But his attendance at the meeting was also contradicted. The programme has BJP MP Subramanian Swamy giving his opinion on Pandya’s death to the BBC, calling it “tragic and suspicious”.

-------------

"My son's death was a planned, political murder...it must be reinvestigated."
—Vithal Pandya, father of the late Haren Pandya, former Gujarat revenue minister, to Outlook on November 7, 2007

https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/a-murder-foretold/236059

------------------


The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case of forgery and fabrication of evidence in connection with the 2002 riots has arrested dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, making the third arrest after social activist Teesta Setalvad and former IPS officer R.B. Sreekumar.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sit-arrests-sanjiv-bhatt-in-gujarat-riots-forgery-case/article65632863.ece


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Newsmaker | RB Sreekumar, a decorated cop on the wrong side of Modi govt
Sreekumar, who became Gujarat DGP after retirement, wrote affidavits to the Nanavati Commission alleging govt agencies’ complicity in the 2002 riots. On Friday, the Supreme Court called into question his role in the accusations.

https://indianexpress.com/article/political-pulse/newsmaker-rb-sreekumar-a-decorated-cop-and-thorn-in-pm-modis-side-7991606/
Riaz Haq said…
Ex British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's Interview with Karan Thapar on The Wire

Topic: BBC's Modi Documentary

https://youtu.be/8gYkcqExkac

“I have long been very familiar with the history of India and independence in 1947 and communal violence that ensued. I was there when there were demonstrations against Ayodhya mosque”

“There are thousands of Gujaratis in my constituency (in England), mainly Muslims”

After Godhra incident or accident (in Gujarat in 2002) there was a need for effective policing that did not happen”


“There’s a colonial history of the East India Company and the British government playing one community against the other (Hindu vs Muslim) during the Raj”


“The United Kingdom was a colonial master of India until 1947. So we felt a moral responsibility and a long term bond. …the constituency of Lancashire I represented is 40% non white… I had a concern for our Gujarati Muslim constituents”
Riaz Haq said…
Can't imagine Universe without cows; all problems on Earth will be solved if cow slaughter is prevented: Gujarat Court

https://www.barandbench.com/news/cant-imagine-universe-without-cows-all-problems-on-earth-will-be-solved-if-cow-slaughter-is-prevented-gujarat-court


While sentencing a man to life in prison for illegally transporting cattle, judge Samir Vyas said that unless cow slaughter is completely prohibited, "the saatvik climate change cannot have its effect."

A court in Tapi, Gujarat recently sentenced a youth to life imprisonment for illegally transporting cattle from Maharashtra, while noting that all of Earth's problems will be solved if cow slaughter is prevented.

In an order passed in November, Principal District Judge Samir Vinodchandra Vyas paid tribute to the importance of cows to the entire Universe.

"Cow is not only an animal but it is mother that is why it is given the name of mother. None is as grateful as a cow. A cow is the living planet of 68 crore holy places and 33 crore gods. The obligation of cow on the entire Universe defies description. The day when no drop of blood of cow drops on the earth all problems of earth will be solved and the well being of the earth will b established..."

The order, translated from Gujarati, goes on to lament the fact that all the talk surrounding cow protection has not been put into practice.

The judge was seized of a criminal case pertaining to one Mohammad Ameen, who was arrested on August 27, 2020 for illegally transporting over 16 cows and its progeny in a packed truck with no proper arrangements for the cattle to sit, eat or drink.

He was booked under relevant provisions of the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, Gujarat Control of Animal Transport Order, 1975 and the Gujarat Essential Commodities and Animal Control Act, 2015 as well as the Central Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2015.

Besides several lesser punishments, the judge sentenced him to life in prison and a fine of ₹5 lakh.

In his order, the judge called for the need to consider not only the religious aspects of a cow, but also its economic, social, scientific and health benefits. Mechanised abattoirs, the judge said, have come up for slaughter of cows and and they are being slaughtered. Therefore, there is 'great hazard for their life.'

"Non-vegetarian people consume meat and cow meat is also being used for the purpose. Cow products are very useful for human life. These products mean milk, curd, ghee, cow-dung and gaumutra," the order stated.

Tridev (Brahmha, Vishnu, Mahesh) is not separate from cows as it is said that they have emerged from Adigau Surabhi, the judge has said, adding that even religion is born from cow as it is in the form of Vrushabh and son of a cow is also called Vrushabh.

"In these circumstances the slaughter and transportation of cows is a matter of pain and sorrow. Science has proved that houses made of cow-dung are not affected by atomic radiation. Use of Gaumutra (cow urine) is a cure for many incurable diseases. Cow is the symbol of religion," the judge claimed.

While referring to various Shlokas, the court stated that 'if cows are kept unhappy then our wealth and property disappears'

"If we look at the present situation it would become clear that 75 per cent of the cow wealth has been lost or destroyed. Now only 25 per cent has remained. A time will come when people will forget to draw the picture of cows. A period of more than 70 years has elapsed since we got independence. Not only the cow slaughter has not stopped but it is reaching its climax," the judge opined.

"The problems that exist today are because of the increase of the irascibility and hot temper. The only reason for increase is the slaughter of cows. Till this is completely prohibited the saatvik climate change cannot have its effect," the court said.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Will Not Collapse! The Hindutva Celebration Will Be Very Short-Lived!!

Hindustan Times Op Ed: "Despite the severity of the challenges, Pakistan is unlikely to collapse — largely because of its geostrategic importance. A bailout by IMF or friendly countries will happen"

https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/pakistans-economic-turmoil-may-take-a-toll-on-south-asia-in-2023-101674400219686.html

Riaz Haq said…

Analysis: Why a financially stable Pakistan is in US interest

https://www.dawn.com/news/1732787

IN recent weeks and months, the US has made no secret of the fact that it is closely monitoring developments in Pakistan, both on the security and economic fronts.

In the past three months, over a dozen statements have mentioned Pakistan specifically or in passing, and in each case, the tone and tenor reflects a level of concern seldom seen in the past.

The latest State Department statement hoped for economic stability in the country, while stressing that Washington was not only aware of Pakistan’s financial issues, but was also backing efforts to rebuild the national economy.

Asked if Washington shared the fear — which many in the country have been voicing — that Islamabad is close to economic collapse, a State Department spokesperson told Dawn the country needed to work with international financial institutions to strengthen its economy.

“To put Pakistan on a sustainable growth path and restore investor confidence, we encourage Pakistan to continue working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on implementing reforms, especially those which will improve Pakistan’s business environment,” the US official said.

“Doing so will make Pakistani business more competitive and will also help Pakistan attract high quality foreign investment.”

When a similar question was put to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, he told Dawn: “As long as we are willing to help ourselves”, others would continue to help Pakistan.

“We need to help them help us by taking necessary steps at home.”

The foreign minister noted that at a recent conference in Geneva, the international community had pledged to provide around half of the funds Pakistan needed for reconstruction after the 2022 floods. “Now, Pakistan needs to come up with the other 50 percent.”

The foreign minister also underscored the need to reach a “conclusion with the IMF” and follow up with French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres’ offer to renegotiate our debt.

To put things into perspective, the State Department official said, “Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability is a topic of conversation between the Pakistani and US governments, including the US Department of State and our counterparts, the Department of the Treasury, and the White House.”

Great power rivalry in South Asia

But why is Washington so preoccupied with Pakistan’s stability, economic and otherwise? Conventional wisdom suggests that the driving factor is our nuclear programme, and that the world cannot afford to see a nation with a nuclear arsenal teetering on the brink of oblivion. But this conventional wisdom only reveals the tip of the iceberg.

“Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world and the second largest Muslim country – and that too with a large army and an extensive nuclear infrastructure,” says Hassan Abbas, distinguished professor of International Relations at the National Defense University, Washington DC.

“For anyone interested in global stability and maintenance of prevailing international order, economic collapse of Pakistan can be devastating. The US, as a major global power, is naturally concerned.

“Secondly, the US would not like to see Pakistan’s economy collapse while it is steered by a democratic government which is trying hard to normalise its relationship with the US,” he says.

He also makes a point about the great power rivalry in South Asia: “[It’s] nature is such that it is in the US interest to convey to Pakistan that it wants to stay engaged and cooperate where possible, so that Pakistan is not leaning too heavily in China’s direction.”

This view is echoed by John Ciorciari, who teaches at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He notes that donors such as China and Saudi Arabia may not include many explicit conditions to their aid, but implicit strings are always attached.
Riaz Haq said…
Saudi Arabia Eyes Boosting Investment in Pakistan to Over $10 Billion - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-10/saudi-eyes-boosting-investment-in-pakistan-to-over-10-billion

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered exploring increasing the kingdom’s assistance and investments in Pakistan, a step toward furthering relief to the South Asian nation economy reeling from deadly floods.


The Saudi Fund for Development will conduct a study on increasing the deposit in Pakistan’s central bank to $5 billion from $3 billion earlier, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday. It will also assess the plan to increase investments in Pakistan to $10 billion, according to the same report.

The kingdom’s fund provides soft loans and grants to developing countries as a means to bolster allies and cement new relationships. The statement comes a day after the Crown Prince met with Pakistan’s army chief General Syed Asim Munir to review ways to enhance bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation.

Pakistan’s 7.375% 2031 dollar bond was indicated 0.8 cents higher at 36.1 cents on the dollar, up by the most since the start of December. The South Asian nation’s 8.25% 2024 dollar bond was indicated up 0.8 cents at 54.2 cents on the dollar. The nation’s benchmark KSE-100 Index rose 0.8% at 2:34 p.m. local time

Pakistan’s economy was strapped for funds after a gridlock with the International Monetary Fund over tax targets delayed disbursal of loan installments. The situation was made worse by floods that inundated a third of the nation and cut its growth by half. Pakistan has relied on friendly nations to tide over the crisis. Earlier this week, the nation received commitments of more than $10 billion in assistance.

The nation’s foreign exchange reserves dropped to $5.6 billion — the lowest in almost nine years and enough to cover less than one month of imports. The deteriorating economic outlook triggered downgrades, forcing authorities to announce austerity measures to reduce energy bills and save dollars.

It’s a strong commitment from Saudi Arabia, but likely to be subject to resumption of the IMF program, said Tahir Abbas, head of research at Karachi-based Arif Habib Ltd. “The investment would be in setting up a refinery in Pakistan, for which the government needs to complete modalities including finalization of refinery policy.”



Saudi Arabia last month extended another loan of $3 billion at 4% to Pakistan for a year. The Saudi government will “continue to support Pakistan as much as we can,” Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said at a press conference last month.

Pakistan is also looking to seek extension of a $2.1 billion from China that is due in March. About 30% of Pakistan’s foreign debt is owed to China, including state-owned commercial banks.
Riaz Haq said…
China, which has offered a $9 billion bailout package to Pakistan, on Monday pledged more support for the cash-strapped nation, saying that it has done its "utmost" to stabilise the financial situation of its all-weather ally and will continue to do so.

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/we-will-not-let-you-down-xi-jingping-on-chinese-aid-for-pak-economy-3498505

Pakistan had been engaging with China and Saudi Arabia for financial support, including rolling over maturing loans as part of arrangements for about $35 billion in putouts against debt and liabilities during the current fiscal year.

Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday last said that Islamabad would be getting about $9 billion from China and $4 billion from Saudi as the government tries to steady the nation's weak economy.

Quoting Xi Jinping, Dar said the Chinese President in his meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his recent visit to Beijing on November 3 had assured him, "don't worry, we will not let you down".

Replying to a query on his reactions to Dar's assertions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here, "China has done its utmost to help Pakistan stabilise its financial situation. We have been doing so, and we will continue to do so."

Zhao declined to comment on the current political crisis in Pakistan following the failed assassination attempt on former prime minister Imran Khan, saying, "China has noted relevant reports. We express our sympathies to Imran Khan and wish him a speedy recovery."

Khan, 70, suffered bullet injuries in the right leg when two gunmen fired a volley of bullets at him and others mounting on a container-mounted truck in the Wazirabad area of Pakistan's Punjab province where he was leading a long march against the Shehbaz-led government.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party chairman underwent surgery for bullet injuries at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore and was discharged on Sunday.

Pakistan owes Paris Club countries a combined sum of around $10.7 billion. The Paris Club is a group of officials from major creditor nations whose role is to find coordinated and sustainable solutions to the payment difficulties experienced by debtor countries.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan's total non-Paris Club bilateral debt currently stands at about USD 27 billion, of which Chinese debt is about $23 billion.

During Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz's visit to Beijing, the Chinese leadership promised to roll over $4 billion in sovereign loans, refinance $3.3 billion commercial bank loans and increase currency swaps by about $1.45 billion.

Sharif was among the first foreign leaders to visit China following the recently-concluded historic 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in which President Xi won an unprecedented third five-year term in power.
Riaz Haq said…
A widely circulated upload on the website of the BBC’s documentary on the Prime Minister has been taken down.
January 23, 2023 11:53 pm | Updated January 24, 2023 09:26 am IST - New Delhi

AROON DEEP

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/internet-archive-takes-down-upload-of-bbcs-modi-documentary/article66425460.ece


The Internet Archive, a US-based repository of webpage archives and media uploads by users around the world, has taken down a widely circulated upload of the first episode of the BBC’s The Modi Question, the documentary that was ordered off of YouTube and Twitter by the Union government, The Hindu has found. “This item is no longer available,” a message on the upload reads. “Items may be taken down for various reasons, including by decision of the uploader or due to a violation of our Terms of Use.”

The Internet Archive did not respond to a query by The Hindu sent Sunday on how it would react if it were asked to take the documentary down. The site has emerged as one of the main sources where the documentary has been shared for viewing by Indian users, even as the BBC acts to restrict it on copyright grounds on YouTube; the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting separately ordered the video-sharing site as well as Twitter to take down uploads of and links to the documentary.

It is unclear whether the takedown of this particular upload was a result of a request by the Indian government or by the BBC. The British state-owned broadcaster has not authorised the two-part documentary series’ broadcast in India, whether on its own iPlayer streaming service, or on YouTube, where uploads by individual users went viral before being taken down. Other uploads of the episode continue to be available, although it is unclear if they will remain on the site.

The documentary revealed that a U.K. government committee found Prime Minister Narendra Modi culpable for the 2002 Gujarat riots violence, and that the violence occurred “under the protection of the state government”. The Ministries of Information & Broadcasting and External Affairs have both condemned the documentary, with Kanchan Gupta, a Senior Advisor at the latter, saying that it was “hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage”.

The Internet Archive was briefly blocked in India in 2017, when the producers of the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal included a link to the site in a so-called John Doe petition at the Madras High Court to temporarily block several filesharing sites that they worried might distribute illegal copies of the film during its theatrical run.

A BBC Spokesperson said: “The BBC is committed to highlighting important issues from around the world. The documentary series examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority and explores the politics of India’s PM Narendra Modi in relation to those tensions. This has been the source of considerable reporting and interest both in India and across the world in recent years.

Riaz Haq said…
#Japan's #demographic crisis. More retirees, fewer workers. Japan has one of the lowest #birth rates in the world, with the Ministry of #Health predicting it will record fewer than 800,000 births in 2022 for the first time since records began in 1899. https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/23/asia/japan-kishida-birth-rate-population-intl-hnk


Japan’s prime minister issued a dire warning about the country’s population crisis on Monday, saying it was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions” due to the falling birth rate.

In a policy address to lawmakers, Fumio Kishida said it was a case of solving the issue “now or never,” and that it “simply cannot wait any longer.”

“In thinking of the sustainability and inclusiveness of our nation’s economy and society, we place child-rearing support as our most important policy,” the prime minister said.

Kishida added that he wants the government to double its spending on child-related programs, and that a new government agency would be set up in April to focus on the issue.

Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with the Ministry of Health predicting it will record fewer than 800,000 births in 2022 for the first time since records began in 1899.

The country also has one of the highest life expectancies in the world; in 2020, nearly one in 1,500 people in Japan were age 100 or older, according to government data.

These trends have driven a growing demographic crisis, with a rapidly aging society, a shrinking workforce and not enough young people to fill the gaps in the stagnating economy.

Experts point to several factors behind the low birth rate. The country’s high cost of living, limited space and lack of child care support in cities make it difficult to raise children, meaning fewer couples are having kids. Urban couples are also often far from extended family who could help provide support.

Attitudes toward marriage and starting families have also shifted in recent years, with more couples putting off both during the pandemic.

Some point to the pessimism young people in Japan hold toward the future, many frustrated with work pressure and economic stagnation.

Japan’s economy has stalled since its asset bubble burst in the early 1990s. The country’s GDP growth slowed from 4.9% in 1990 to 0.3% in 2019, according to the World Bank. Meanwhile, the average real annual household income declined from 6.59 million yen ($50,600) in 1995 to 5.64 million yen ($43,300) in 2020, according to 2021 data from the country’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The government has launched various initiatives to address the population decline over the past few decades, including new policies to enhance child care services and improve housing facilities for families with children. Some rural towns have even begun paying couples who live there to have children.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's Ban on #BBC's #ModiDocumentary Backfires: It's now being screened across school campuses in India. “Frankly, the ban has been pretty stupid because it’s attracted far more attention to the documentary than would have been otherwise possible" https://time.com/6249393/the-modi-question-documentary-bbc-india-controversy/

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1618115760580341762?s=20&t=y6FHNVsWX-tQTc5bw7buMg

This is compounded by the fact that banning a documentary that was not otherwise popular in India has only invited more viewers, says Hartosh Singh Bal, the political editor of Indian magazine The Caravan, who also appears in the documentary as a commentator. “Frankly, the ban has been pretty stupid because it’s attracted far more attention to the documentary than would have been otherwise possible,” says Bal. He adds that it is now being screened across school campuses as “an act of resistance” among teenagers who previously viewed these events as a dated chapter in history.
Riaz Haq said…
#Godhra Fire Started By a Karsevak's Stove Inside the Train. The flames remained restricted to that area but the smoke the fire created spread to the rest of the carriage, causing deaths by asphyxiation. #modiDocumentary #Gujarat2002 #Modi #BJP
https://thewire.in/communalism/godhra-where-the-fall-of-indias-democracy-began


https://thewire.in/communalism/godhra-where-the-fall-of-indias-democracy-began

The cause of that fire was known and not in doubt: it had begun in the centre of the carriage, possibly when someone knocked over a lighted cooking stove on which food was being warmed or tea made.

The flames had remained restricted to that area but the smoke the fire created had spread to the rest of the carriage, through the gaps between the upper and lower berths, and along the underside of the ceiling. As in S-6, the majority of deaths had resulted from asphyxiation. This explanation gained credibility because the railways were not using flame-retardant materials in second-class compartments then. So even a lighted match could start a fire and create large volumes of toxic smoke. What is more, cooking or warming one’s own food on long train journeys was, and may still be, a common practice among orthodox Hindus.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian Express Editorial: #India must not miss an opportunity to improve relations with #Pakistan at #SCO FM Meeting in #Goa. Multilateral settings are often viewed as opportunities for countries with problematic relations to find a way forward. #SouthAsia https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/sco-meet-india-must-not-miss-an-opportunity-to-improve-relations-with-pakistan-8404888/


A meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation that India will host in May is expected to bring together foreign ministers of the regional grouping, which includes China, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Bilateral ties with Pakistan and China are at a new low. But multilateral settings are often viewed as opportunities for countries with problematic relations to find a way forward, as the famous Musharraf-Vajpayee handshake did for India and Pakistan at the Kathmandu SAARC summit 20 years ago. Equally, nothing may change, as seen from the “exchange of pleasantries” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia last November.

The history of India-Pakistan attempts to find common bilateral ground during multilateral meetings gives a veritable tour of exotic settings, from Male to Sharm El-Sheikh to Thimphu, from New York to Ufa to Dushanbe. Many of these attempts, however, were stillborn. Former PM Manmohan Singh never recovered politically after his own party opposed his joint statement with Pakistan at Sharm El-Sheikh. Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif was excoriated at home for a joint statement with Modi at Ufa that made no mention of Kashmir. When the multilateral meeting is to be hosted by a country that is on one side of the rift, the first step is for the other side to accept the invitation. At times, the other side arrives hoping to be welcomed warmly but gets a chilly reception, as the then Pakistan foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz, found at the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar in December 2016, in a year that India had suffered Pathankot, Nagrota and Uri and hit back with the surgical strikes across the LoC. Whether or not Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto attends the May meeting is likely to be a point of interest.

That question assumes greater significance in light of Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif’s statement that his country had learnt its lessons from three wars with India and that he and PM Modi should meet and discuss all “burning issues”, even though it was hemmed in by the caveat on Kashmir. Moreover, Pakistan’s foreign minister has been intemperate in his rhetoric. And Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in Davos that she does “not see a partner currently in the Prime Minister of India to take this project [of peace-building] forward”. An election is upcoming in Pakistan, and having committed themselves to a position, both Bhutto and Khar would be mindful that their actions must match their words, while also considering how they might be received in Delhi. But despite this, if there is an opportunity for a thaw, India must not be the one to miss it.

Riaz Haq said…
India has invited Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to attend meetings of a key regional forum that also includes Russia and China.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2397403/india-invites-cj-fm-for-sco-meetings

India currently holds the presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) which comprises Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asian States. As president of the SCO, New Delhi is set to host a series of events, including a conference of the chief justices of member states, meeting of the foreign ministers and a summit in 2023.

The meeting of chief justices of the SCO is scheduled for March while the foreign ministers will meet in May.

Official sources confirmed to The Express Tribune on Monday that India shared the invitations with Pakistan for Chief Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

It is, however, not clear whether the chief justice and the foreign minister will attend both the events or depute someone to represent Pakistan. Pakistan hasn’t yet responded to the Indian invite, according to sources.

Given the SCO is an important forum because of the presence of China and Russia, Pakistan is unlikely to stay out of the events.

Both Pakistan and India were accepted as full members of the influential organisation a few years back after they committed not to undermine the SCO work because of their bilateral disputes.

The meeting of the SCO foreign ministers is due to take place in Goa, a tourist destination in South India.

If the chief justice and the foreign minister travel to India for both the events, that would be seen as significant and would be first high-profile visits from Pakistan in many years.

The likely visit may not lead to any tangible outcome for the bilateral ties between the arch rivals, but will be considered as an ice-breaker.

India will also host the SCO summit meeting in June and is almost certain that Pakistan will be invited.

Nevertheless, the visits, if they take place, may lay the ground for some kind of engagement between the two countries. Soon after the SCO summit, India is set to host the One Day International Cricket World in October-November. The successful visits of Pakistani high-ups for the SCO summit will help Islamabad send men in green to the neighboring country for the world cup.

Relations between Pakistan and India have remained tense for many years now. There were some hopes of thaw in February 2021 when the two countries unexpectedly agreed to renew the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).

New details recently surfaced claiming that in early 2021 Pakistan and India were discussing the possibility of a summit meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan.
Riaz Haq said…
#India Has Lost Access to 26 Of 65 Patrol Points In Eastern #Ladakh to #China. This report was filed at last week's annual conference of the country's top police officers in #Delhi, attended by PM #Modi and #AmitShah. #Kashmir #Pakistan #Article370 https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-has-lost-presence-in-26-of-65-patrol-points-in-eastern-ladakh-report-3722533

India has lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points in Eastern Ladakh, a report by a senior police officer in the union territory has said, in a worrying new disclosure amid the country's standoff with China at various flashpoints along their tottery 3,500-km frontier.
"Presently there are 65 PPs (Patrolling Points) starting from Karakoram pass to Chumur which are to be patrolled regularly by the ISFs (Indian Security Forces). Out of 65 PPs, our presence is lost in 26 PPs (i.e. PP no. 5-17, 24-32, 37, due to restrictive or no patrolling by the ISFs," PD Nitya, the Superintendent of Police of Leh, Ladakh's main city, wrote according to the research paper accessed by NDTV.

The report was filed at last week's annual conference of the country's top police officers in Delhi, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

"Later on, China forces us to accept the fact that as such areas have not seen the presence of ISFs or civilians since long, the Chinese were present in these areas. This leads to a shift in the border under control of ISFs towards Indian side and a "buffer zone" is created in all such pockets which ultimately leads to loss of control over these areas by India. This tactic of PLA (China's People's Liberation Army) to grab land inch-by-inch is known as 'Salami slicing'," it said.

"PLA has taken advantage of the buffer areas in the de-escalation talks by placing their best of cameras on the highest peaks and monitoring the movement of our forces... they object our movement even in the buffer zone, claiming it to be 'their' area of operation and then further ask us to move back to create more 'buffer' areas," the officer wrote.

She said this Chinese strategy was seen in Galwan Valley, the site of a deadly clash in 2020 when 20 Indian troops and at least four Chinese soldiers died in hand-to-hand fighting.

Ms Nitya also said that marking areas as out of bounds and keeping them barren affects troop morale as well. "During an interaction with one senior officer whose unit is based right on forward area, he shared that, if by retreating 400 metres back, we can buy peace with PLA for 4 years, then it's worth it," the report said.

The government is yet to comment on the disclosure. Speaking to The Hindu newspaper, which first reported the police officer's research paper, a defence source countered its assertions, saying "there is no loss of territory due to disengagement in friction areas".

"Some areas have been restricted for patrolling for both sides pending diplomatic resolution of disputes. No pasture lands have been lost. In disengaged areas, we have as many cameras and technical means as the PLA and hence dominate the area as much, if not more," the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

They said the military was "encouraging and providing all facilities", in conjunction with the civilian administration, to allow locals and their cattle in grazing locations.

The report comes just over a month after India accused China of trying to "unilaterally change the status quo" on their de-facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control, when clashes left troops on both sides injured.

The December 9 incident in Arunachal Pradesh was seen as the most serious face-off since the Galwan Valley clash in 2020 which led to a sharp escalation in hostilities between the two countries. A series of military talks since then have led to a careful pullback of troops on both sides.
Riaz Haq said…
The (US DoD's China Military Power Report CMPR) ranks Pakistan as its “only all-weather strategic partner” while Russia is the only “comprehensive strategic partnership with coordination relations.” Pakistan is also one of the places that China has likely “considered a location for military logistics facilities.”

https://eurasiantimes.com/china-banks-on-pakistan-to-achieve-its-military-political-goals/

Pakistan’s relations with China are of a different pattern. The US and its allies in the Western world have always considered Pakistan very important to their strategic interests in the Asian Continent.

--------


China justifies its special relationship with Pakistan for more than one reason. China’s BRI is allied with Pakistan’s pipeline and port construction projects. China aims to reduce its dependence on transporting energy resources through vulnerable choke points like the Straits of Malacca.

The report recalls that suicide bombers attacked a workers’ bus on its way to a BRI infrastructure development project in Pakistan. Ten Chinese nationals were killed, and 26 others were injured.

The report does not mention anything about the bomber, but unofficial sources said they were active members of the Pakhtun National Movement.

Amusingly, the report says that China used the incident to “extend its ability to project military power to safeguard its overseas interests, including BRI, by developing closer regional and bilateral counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan.”

China’s double standards in dealing with the issue of counterterrorism will be understood without difficulty. This is why Pakistan has given a clean chit to China in the context of blatant violation of the human rights of Uyghurs of Xinjiang province while viciously maligning India by bringing in baseless charges of human violations in Kashmir.

As we see, one of the main reasons for the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan is the sell-out of Baloch resources to China, whose benefits fill the coffers of the Punjabi elite and landlords in the province of Punjab, Pakistan.

A significant part of the report deals with strategic defense cooperation between China and Pakistan. Beijing has helped Islamabad complete the in-orbit delivery of the Pakistan Remote-Sensing Satellite.

The report includes observation of joint military exercises between the two countries.

Rising Military Relations
In 2020-21 China participated in a joint naval exercise with Pakistan and supplied strike-capable Caihong and Wing Loong Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Pakistan. These are spy vehicles, and Pakistan has been using these against India in the border region of Jammu.

Pakistani drones are deployed to drop arms, ammunition, drugs and Indian currency, and anti-India propaganda literature.

In October 2018, it was announced that Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China would jointly produce 48 Wing Loong II UAVs for use by the Pakistan Air Force.

The Chengdu GJ-2, also known as Wing Loong 2, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group in the People’s Republic of China.

Intended for use as a surveillance, aerial reconnaissance, and precision strike platform, Chengdu unveiled the concept of Wing Loong II at the Aviation Expo China in Beijing in September 2015. Wing Loong II has long-range strike capability with a satellite link.

China supplied major naval vessels to its partners, particularly Pakistan, which purchased 8 Yuan class submarines for more than US $3 billion. Two years later, China sold four naval frigates to Pakistan.

Under the PLANMC — a supporter of PRC’s military diplomacy — Chinese forces have trained with Thai, Pakistani, Saudi Arabia, South African, and Djiboutian forces. Pakistan is also a member of the China-led Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization.


Riaz Haq said…
US DoD's China Military Power Report CMPR

https://eurasiantimes.com/china-banks-on-pakistan-to-achieve-its-military-political-goals/


Under the PLANMC — a supporter of PRC’s military diplomacy — Chinese forces have trained with Thai, Pakistani, Saudi Arabia, South African, and Djiboutian forces. Pakistan is also a member of the China-led Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization.

The report released in November follows the Pentagon’s release of the National Defense Strategy in October, which identified China as the “most consequential and systemic challenge” to US national security and a free and open international system.

Pakistan’s relations with China are of a different pattern. The US and its allies in the Western world have always considered Pakistan very important to their strategic interests in the Asian Continent.

China, too, has strategic interests in befriending Pakistan but for a different purpose: to challenge India’s growing economic and political power by creating a proxy to engage India.

While the western countries want to checkmate Russian designs southward, China intends to contain India because it finds a veritable political, economic and military threat in the rise of India in the Asian Continent.

Keeping the Kashmir pot boiling serves the interests of both power blocs.

It is also in their interests that Islamic religious sensitivity is sharpened among the people in the area lying at the underbelly of the Russian State. First, they experimented with the Basmachi (terrorist groups in Turkistan) in the second and third decades of the 20th century, which they met with reversals.

The failure of the Basmachi movement in Central Asia made the imperialists think seriously of an alternative region that could serve their objective of containment of Russia. This led to the theory of partition of India. This plan was subtly initiated and carried forward.

In this way, creating the State of Pakistan in the most sensitive geographical part of India became a reality in 1947.

Anti-Soviet and anti-Russia forces found a foothold strategically crucial for them. To maintain the foothold, they forged the political weapon of pan-Islamism.

Now we have the Basmachis in a new avatar of LeT, JeM, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Hizbul Mujahideen, Ansar Ghazavatul Hind, and a dozen of new versions of sub-continental terror groups directly or indirectly supported by the two contesting super-powers of the world.

Now Pakistan is under the patronage of China for all purposes. However, its elite still swears by the US.

Speaking at a recently held seminar in the US on Pak-America relations, Chinese foreign policy expert Yun Sun said that Pakistan’s relations with the US were a factor in China’s overall strategy for South Asia, but China has plenty of confidence that its relationship with Pakistan is going to continue regardless of the modality of US-Pakistan relations.”

Sun made a very interesting point by saying that China was also adjusting or recalibrating its policy and expectations toward reaching out to the US, especially regarding CEPC.

And from that recalibration, there’s almost a welcoming attitude in China that Pakistan should re-balance its external strategy. And there’s a welcoming attitude that Pakistan is reaching out to the United States again.”

KN Pandita (Padma Shri) is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University. Views expressed here are of the author’s.
Riaz Haq said…
69% Pakistanis feel that their children will have a better life than them in a global Gallup International survey in 64 countries

Figure in India is 43%

https://twitter.com/bilalgilani/status/1619768586276569088?s=20&t=AfVrdN1yfTuVjhOxMf22eQ



https://www.gallup-international.bg/en/46667/fsdfdsfs/


The most positive country among those surveyed is Nigeria (90% minus 6%) and the most negative is Slovenia a (14% minus 53%). Among the prominent countries where GIA could poll, expectations for their children’s future are highest in Nigeria is followed by Russia (52% minus 10%), Mexico (48% minus 30%), the USA (43% minus 31%) and India (43% minus 33%).

When combining the two questions, another perspective is added. For instance, Moldova shows a total of 86 (45% saying that their live is worse life than the one of their parents plus 41% expecting a worse life of today’s children), followed in this negative ranking by North Macedonia (82: 35% negative assessments plus 47% negative predictions), Afghanistan (81), Syria and Italy (78), etc.

Most of the countries are still positive on both questions, but if one looks for instance for countries with both above 50% positive answers, Nigeria stands out with 171 (81% positive for today plus 90% positive for tomorrow), followed by Kosovo (162), the United Arab Emirates (150), Ghana (141), Pakistan (134), etc.

Findings are proved, confirming that developing parts of the world share more hope. National and political peculiarities leave their footprint but in general is seems that the closer the war and troubles are, the worse are the answers on both issues – as expected.

---------

Every second citizen (51%) of the world believes that their life is better than that of their parents. The other half of the people asked is equally divided between those who assess a worse life (23%) and those who find it the same (23%). 3% could not answer. Satisfaction with the living standard is a key factor for people to believe that they have a better life than their parents. But in some rich regions like Europe this is not so valid.

Expectations for the life of today’s children are predominantly good as well but lower than the comparison of own life to the life of the previous generation – 44% are expecting a better life for today’s children in comparison to our lives, 28% expecting a worse life, 20% expecting about the same and 8% not responding. Aged people are less sure about the better future of the next generation. More money unsurprisingly seems to result in more confidence in the future on a personal level, but on a national level countries that experience or used to experience difficulties are the ones to believe stronger in better future for the next generation. Unsurprisingly again.
Riaz Haq said…
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE/KARACHI:
Despite the fact that the country is facing various economic challenges, including a looming default and spiraling inflation, surveys conducted by The Express Tribune in three major cities disclosed that even though the people were aware of the financial hardships, they just wanted to carry on living their lives normally.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2397409/pakistanis-weighed-down-by-inflation

“The prices have increased to a certain extent but that doesn’t mean that the people will stop eating,” Ali, who runs a burger stall in Islamabad, said.

“We are working as usual. The prices of fuel and electricity have witnessed an unusual hike and the government should do something about it,” he added.

Ali maintained that the rising prices had not significantly affected his business.

“My shop is packed with customers like before,” he claimed.

Shahnawaz Satti, a tandoor owner, said the increase in the prices of fuel and flour had no effect on his business as he jacked up the rates of his naans and rotis in accordance with that.

Adeel, a citizen, told The Express Tribune that the political instability in the country could lead the country towards defaulting on its external repayments.

He noted that all political stakeholders would have to sit together and chalk out a strategy to avert this situation.

“If the government concedes to all conditions imposed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the price of petroleum products would exceed Rs400 per litre. This might not affect the rich but will choke the life out of the common people,” he observed.

The survey found that the people were not bothered by the threat of default, but they wanted their lives to continue as per their normal routine.

In Lahore, a city renowned for its festivities and liveliness, normalcy is slowly changing its pace as the economic crisis has made its presence known in every aspect of life.

While various segments of the city's residents still braving the deteriorating economic conditions during the tenure of the PTI government, its successor, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), failed to bring about the relief it promised when it assumed charge in April last year.

Ever since, matters have been gradually heading towards decay, and with no respite expected soon, there is a sense of disappointment lingering in the air.

Read ‘IMF, privatisation not a solution’

Lahore, which bristled with life, is now slowly becoming accustomed to lonely streets and closed markets at 10pm -- an hour relatively earlier by the city’s standards.

Recently, the authorities extended the time restrictions imposed on commercial markets, with the exception of pharmacies and other essential services, to save energy.

Pakistan, which already suffers from a serious energy crisis, is trying to make lifestyle adjustments to cut the fuel import bill as the country has run out of its dollar reserves to back its valuable imports.

On the surface of it, the decision to close markets early may appear to be an unwise one, but it is an extension of the “difficult measures” that the government says it has been taking to steer the country out of the economic crisis.

However, despite the incumbent government's tall claims, the situation is still unstable – the effects of which can be felt in everyday life in the city.

The Express Tribune spoke to people from various segments of the society to develop a clearer picture of how things really were.

The lowest segments of society have been hit the hardest by the economic crisis as they struggle to make ends meet, with the prices of essential items increasing faster than their income.

They complain about hefty utility bills despite low usage, unaffordable prices of essential commodities, lack of social protection and their struggle to maintain their income.

Those from various strata of the middle class echoed similar concerns as the economic crisis has made it significantly difficult for them to maintain their

Virginia Raines said…
At nearly 1.4 billion people, India lies behind only China in terms of total population; at its current growth rate, it is almost certain to become the world’s most populous country within the next couple of years. This means that, on a per-capita basis, India continues to languish at the lower end of the global rankings; according to the World Bank, GDP per head was a mere $2,277 in 2021. In contrast, China’s per-capita GDP was $12,556, and the UK’s a hefty $47,334.

India is still among the poorest countries in the world and remains formally classed as a low-middle-income economy. It is home to the world’s largest number of poor people, and, therefore, it continues to invite much-warranted criticism over the type of growth that has transpired—growth that has dramatically widened inequality and not done enough to engage the whole country.

Why India Is Experiencing An Alarming Rate Of Hunger
https://www.indiatimes.com/explainers/news/why-india-is-experiencing-an-alarming-rate-of-hunger-585248.html

State Capitalism? No, The Private Sector Was And Is The Main Driver of China's Economic Growth
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rainerzitelmann/2019/09/30/state-capitalism-no-the-private-sector-was-and-is-the-main-driver-of-chinas-economic-growth/

India must transform its micro, small, and medium enterprises
https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/southasiasource/india-must-transform-its-micro-small-and-medium-enterprises/

Democracy In Decline: How BJP Has Caused India's Fall From Freedom
https://brownpoliticalreview.org/2022/12/democracy-in-decline-how-bjp-has-caused-indias-fall-from-freedom/

India's Demotion To Electoral Autocracy Is Fair, Repeated Dismissal Of International Surveys Unhelpful, Global Ranking Expert Explains
https://article-14.com/post/india-s-demotion-to-electoral-autocracy-is-fair-repeated-dismissal-of-international-surveys-unhelpful-global-ranking-expert-explains--63bb7b1a54d7f

Best Countries to Live In 2023


https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/best-countries-to-live-in
Riaz Haq said…
#India is continuing on its path to majoritarian #chauvinism. Narendra #Modi will do everything to ensure a third term in office. #Hindutva #Fascism #Islamophobia #BJP
https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2022/11/18/india-is-continuing-on-its-path-to-majoritarian-chauvinism

Varanasi, INDIA - MARCH 04: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets crowds of supporters during a roadshow in support of state elections on March 04, 2022 in Varanasi, India. India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, is holding state elections in seven phases, as the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Modi looks to defend its majority in its "cow belt" heartlands. The election is expected to be a barometer for the national political mood amid deepening sectarian divisions

Narendra modi had a better 2022 than most world leaders. India’s prime minister was projected to end the year as leader of the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with growth close to 7%, in spite of multiple global crises.

Russia’s war in Ukraine plunged Europe into an energy crisis and strained relations among Western allies. In India, by contrast, it facilitated the purchase of cheap Russian oil and lifted Mr Modi’s international standing. As Western countries jostled to gain India’s support, the prime minister succeeded in styling himself as an ostensibly neutral advocate of resolving the conflict peacefully, managing to scold Vladimir Putin while simultaneously resisting Western entreaties to join the anti-Russia coalition for good.
Riaz Haq said…
The Wire
@thewire_in

After S. Jaishankar said that India cannot pick a fight with China because the latter has a bigger economy, military veterans have accused the Narendra Modi government of having a "defeatist attitude" and "bowing down to a bully".

https://thewire.in/security/veterans-criticise-jaishankar-china


New Delhi: After external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said that India cannot pick a fight with China because the latter has a bigger economy, military veterans have accused the Narendra Modi government of having a “defeatist attitude” and “bowing down to a bully”.

In a podcast with ANI editor-in-chief Smita Prakash on Wednesday, Jaishankar said: “Look, they (China) are the bigger economy. What am I going to do? As a smaller economy, I am going to pick up a fight with the bigger economy? It is not a question of being reactionary, it’s a question of common sense….”

He added that India and China have an agreement not to bring large number of troops to the border, and asked if India should violate that agreement.

Former Navy chief Arun Prakash, a veteran of the 1971 war, tweeted: “If relative size of economies is seen as arbiter of int’l relations, how come nations like Cuba, N Korea & Iran thumb their noses at the USA or Vietnam at China? India, as a democracy, nuclear weapon state & significant economic & mil power must stand firm against hegemony.”



Major General Shail Jha (retired) tweeted: “Mr Jaishankar should know that its not India but China which is picking the fight.”



The veteran added: “Economy or no economy, if we bow down to a bully, we are abandoning our self-respect. Is it acceptable? What a shame. And the guy is being hailed as the greatest FM. It’s cowardice.”



Speaking to The Telegraph, a former lieutenant general said Jaishankar’s statement was “shocking” and was reminiscent of “unconditional surrender”.

“What happened to the so-called muscular nationalism that this government projects in election speeches? Modi’s self-declared muscular nationalism has now capitulated to Chinese aggression and bullying,” the veteran said.

Speaking about Chinese intrusions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the veteran told the newspaper that instead of “asking the Chinese troops to retreat”, the “New India under Modiji agreed to create buffer zones within Indian territories in eastern Ladakh as part of the disengagement agreement, thus ceding further territory to China



A retired colonel said Jaishankar’s “defeatist statement” spoke volumes about Modi’s China policy. “Where is Mr 56-inch Modi’s muscular nationalism when it comes to China?” the former colonel asked.

Riaz Haq said…
"India is Broken" writes Princeton Economist Ashoka Modi. Says #Indians, mostly illiterate and poor, hunger for freedom and prosperity but their politicians from #Nehru to #Modi have “betrayed the economic aspirations” of millions. #BJP https://www.wsj.com/articles/india-is-broken-review-the-difficult-future-for-a-giant-3f65612d?st=l40ilxogdhokc9y via @WSJBooks

Ashoka Mody, who was for many years a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the sort of quietly efficient global technocrat who retires to a professorship at a prestigious school—in his case, Princeton. Yet he’s different from his faceless ilk of briefcase-bearers in one astonishing way: 13 years ago, an attempt was made on his life. The alleged assailant, thought to have been passed over for a job at the IMF by Mr. Mody, shot him in the jaw outside his house in Maryland.

He recovered with remarkable verve, his intellectual drive intact. Yet a mood of gloom and pessimism is unmistakable in “India Is Broken.” Today, 75 years after independence from Britain, Mr. Mody believes that India’s democracy and economy are in a state of profound malfunction. The book’s tale, he writes, “is one of continuous erosion of social norms and decay of political accountability.” You might add that it is also a tale of an audacious political experiment on the brink of failure.

India started its post-independence journey, says Mr. Mody, as “an improbable democracy” whose citizens, mostly illiterate and poor, hungered for freedom and prosperity. Generations of Indian politicians—from Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister, to Narendra Modi, the present one—have “betrayed the economic aspirations” of millions. India’s democracy no longer protects fundamental rights and freedoms in a nation over which “a blanket of violence” has fallen. A belief in “equality, tolerance and shared progress” has disappeared. And the country’s collapse isn’t just political and economic; it’s also moral and spiritual.

------------

A notable weakness in Mr. Mody’s analysis is his denial that the economic policies of Nehru and his successors were socialist. He writes of Nehru’s “alleged socialist legacy” and adds that it is a “mistake to identify central planning or big government as socialism.” Socialism, he insists, “means the creation of equal opportunity for all,” which India’s policy makers weren’t doing. Ergo, India wasn’t socialist.

If these protestations are almost laughable, Mr. Mody’s solution also invites some derision. Hope for India, he says, lies in making it a “true democracy.” And how can that be done? “We must move to an equilibrium in which everyone expects others to be honest.” This “honest equilibrium,” he says, will promote enough trust for Indians to work together “in the long-haul tasks of creating public goods and advancing sustainable development” and awakening “civic consciousness.” Mr. Mody, it is clear, has a dream. It is na├»ve, and it is corny. India, alas, will continue to be “broken” for many years to come.
Riaz Haq said…
Is #India ready to take #China’s place in global #economy? That’s just wishful thinking. India’s modest economic size, challenging #investment environment and substandard #infrastructure are major deterrents to fruitful collaboration. #Modi #Hindutva https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3213475/india-ready-take-chinas-place-global-economy-thats-just-wishful-thinking


by Sameer Basha


India has been increasingly viewed as a natural ally to countries like Australia, which see it as an economic and military counterweight to China. They believe the best way for this to happen is through foreign direct investment into the country, to allow for a gradual transition of enterprises from China to India.
In its 2022 Investment Climate Statement on India, the US State Department called the country “a challenging place to do business” and highlighted its protectionist measures, increased tariffs and an inability to adjust from “Indian standards” to international standards.
The 2023 Index of Economic Freedom ranks India 131st in the world and 27th out of 39 economies in the Asia-Pacific region. The Indian government places equity limits on foreign capital in some sectors of the economy. In these sectors, according to the government’s circular of its FDI policy, beyond the cap imposed on foreign ownership, the entity must be “owned by/held with/in the hands of resident Indian citizens and Indian companies, owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens”.
In addition, ambiguities in the tax code have meant companies like Vodafone, Cairn Energy and GE Capital have found themselves in the cross hairs of tax authorities, putting into question India’s maturity as an FDI hub.
Such actions have seen India’s FDI inflows, as a share of the global total, fall from 3.4 per cent to 2.8 per cent between 2019 and 2021, whereas China’s share has have risen from 14.5 per cent to 20.3 per cent. In recent years, companies like Harley-Davidson and the Royal Bank of Scotland have either downsized or exited India, with German retailer Metro AG selling its operations after two decades in the country.
When one compares the relative size of their economies, China had a nominal gross domestic product of US$17.7 trillion in 2021, while India’s was US$3.2 trillion. India invests only 30 per cent of its GDP, compared with 50 per cent for China; and 20 per cent of its economy comes from manufacturing, as opposed to 30 per cent of China.
Investing in a domestic network of roads, airports, seaports and rail lines, as well as streamlining FDI regulations, allows China to move its products from factories to consumers efficiently, making it an attractive prospect for investment. That is not to mention the world-class infrastructure that has transformed the urban landscapes of both old and new cities within the country.
Despite India’s economic progress, poverty is still a defining feature in its sprawling metropolises. Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan has also weighed in on the India-China competition, stating: “The argument that India will replace China is very premature as India is a much smaller economy as of now.”
Unfortunately, India is not currently in a place to deliver on the expectations placed on it by countries like Australia, which remain stuck in a geopolitical gambit with China. Simply banking on its large population is a fickle way of viewing the options amid a decoupling from China’s economy. India is still decades away from realising its true potential.
The two countries’ goals also differ. China is transforming itself into a technologically driven economy in order to exceed the potential of the US. In contrast, India is attempting to position itself as a market-driven economy utilising its large population as a manufacturing base to compete with China.
Riaz Haq said…
Civil nuclear energy: Kasuri says China agreed to sign accord with Pakistan way back in 2003

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1051609-civil-nuclear-energy-kasuri-says-china-agreed-to-sign-accord-with-pakistan-way-back-in-2003

The former foreign minister, who served the country from November 2002 to Nov 2007, also disclosed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked Pakistan to continue the dialogue for Kashmir dispute’s resolution under the famous four-point formula that was mooted in his tenure as foreign minister.

He expressed his happiness at the fact that the recent book, ‘In Pursuit of Peace’ by former Indian ambassador to Pakistan and negotiator for backchannel talks during PM Manmohan Singh’s tenure Ambassador S K Lambah, had comprehensively confirmed that what Mian Kasuri had said in his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ published much earlier that Pakistan and India had agreed to resolve all the outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Kasuri expressed his pleasant surprise at Lambah’s revelation that Modi asked him to continue the dialogue in 2014 on the same four-point formula. The former foreign minister said that he was aware that because of the negativity engendered by Hindutva supporters under the Modi government, the relationship between the two countries had become exceedingly tense.

PM Modi, Kasuri said, cannot rule India forever. Even at the best of times, he was able to secure about 37% of the total votes with an overwhelming majority voting for parties who are, by and large, opposed to the current policies of the BJP government on Muslims, Kashmir and Pakistan.

“There was no guarantee that Modi would not change his extremist policies, either before or after elections. After all, Modi had paid a surprise visit to Lahore in December 2015 to meet former PM Nawaz Sharif,” Mian Kasuri said.

---

Mian Khurshid Kasuri went on to describe the success of the government at that time in establishing close relationship with the US and China, at the same time. A broad-based Strategic Partnership Agreement with the United States was formalised, which aimed to promote cooperation in different fields, including economic development, science and technology, education, energy, agriculture, and a regular strategic dialogue.

Pakistan had the largest Fulbright program for sending students to the US. Additionally, he said that the US agreed to not only sell new F-16s, which it had denied to Pakistan for long, but also agreed to upgrade Pakistan’s fleet of F-16s.

In defence matters, cooperation between Pakistan and China has been comprehensive and it involved joint production of advanced weapon systems, including modern and sophisticated JF-17 aircraft, Al-Khalid main battle tanks and F-22P frigates for the navy. Pakistan paid special attention to its relationship with Muslim states and exceptionally close relationships were forged with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE and Iran.

Despite difficulties, there were many high-level visits to and from Afghanistan and trade increased from a mere US$23 million to over US$1.2 billion.

Khurshid Kasuri said that Pakistan forged very close relationships with Britain, France and Germany and despite the fact that Pakistan was a close ally of the US, it vigorously opposed the United States’ proposed attack on Iraq and closely cooperated in this connection with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Russia.

As a result, the US was unable to get the support of the UN and consequently decided to attack Iraq anyway with the support of the Coalition of the Willing with disastrous consequences for both Iraq and the US.

Mian Kasuri emphasized the need to redress some of Pakistan’s weaknesses, particularly to ensure that there was continuation of policies to ensure economic development. There was also a need for basic agreement between major stakeholders, so that these policies could continue despite change in governments. This could not take place with so much internal disunity.
Riaz Haq said…
Great Power Rivalry May Fan China Border Spat: India Army Chief

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/south-asia/article/3214009/india-says-situation-china-fragile-dangerous-himalayan-front?module=perpetual_scroll_1&pgtype=article&campaign=3214009

US-China tensions impact ties of the Asian neighbors
Quad grouping seen as a counter to China’s assertiveness

As ties between Washington and Beijing worsen, border tensions between India and China could spiral into a bigger conflict, the South Asian nation’s army chief warned.
Contested borders and boundary transgressions “remain a potential trigger for escalation,” General Manoj Pande said. Bilateral ties between the two nations “do stand influenced by the great power rivalry currently playing out between China and the US.”
Pande who was speaking at the Savitribai Phule University in the western Indian city of Pune on Monday is the first official to draw a link between the growing rivalry between the US and China and a potential deterioration of already tense ties between the Asian neighbours.

New Delhi and Washington, along with Japan and Australia are members of the so called Quad grouping seen as a counter to China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. Beijing has criticised the group as a “clique” that could stoke a new Cold War.

US and China ties have been sliding over Russia’s war in Ukraine. While the US is leading allies to isolate and punish Vladimir Putin, China has stood by Moscow. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently visited Russia where the two countries agreed on greater cooperation.

India and China share a 3,488km-long disputed Himalayan border. The two are locked in a border conflict – the worst in four decades – for the last two years with soldiers on both sides killed in one clash in June 2020. Both sides have mobilised thousands of troops, artillery guns and fighter aircraft.
The two sides have had 17 rounds of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the border crisis but have had incremental success.
Riaz Haq said…
Adani’s business empire may or may not turn out to be the largest con in corporate history. But far greater dangers to civic morality, let alone democracy and global peace, are posed by those peddling the gigantic hoax of Modi’s India. Pankaj Mishra


https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n08/pankaj-mishra/the-big-con


Modi has counted on sympathetic journalists and financial speculators in the West to cast a seductive veil over his version of political economy, environmental activism and history. ‘I’d bet on Modi to transform India, all of it, including the newly integrated Kashmir region,’ Roger Cohen of the New York Times wrote in 2019 after Modi annulled the special constitutional status of India’s only Muslim-majority state and imposed a months-long curfew. The CEO of McKinsey recently said that we may be living in ‘India’s century’. Praising Modi for ‘implementing policies that have modernised India and supported its growth’, the economist and investor Nouriel Roubini described the country as a ‘vibrant democracy’. But it is becoming harder to evade the bleak reality that, despoiled by a venal, inept and tyrannical regime, ‘India is broken’ – the title of a disturbing new book by the economic historian Ashoka Mody.

The number of Indians who sleep hungry rose from 190 million in 2018 to 350 million in 2022, and malnutrition and malnourishment killed nearly two-thirds of the children who died under the age of five last year. At the same time, Modi’s cronies have flourished. The Economist estimates that the share of billionaire wealth in India derived from cronyism has risen from 29 per cent to 43 per cent in six years. According to a recent Oxfam report, India’s richest 1 per cent owned more than 40.5 per cent of its total wealth in 2021 – a statistic that the notorious oligarchies of Russia and Latin America never came close to matching. The new Indian plutocracy owes its swift ascent to Modi, and he has audaciously clarified the quid pro quo. Under the ‘electoral bond’ scheme he introduced in 2017, any business or special interest group can give unlimited sums of money to his party while keeping the transaction hidden from public scrutiny.

Modi also ensures his hegemony by forging a public sphere in which sycophancy is rewarded and dissent harshly punished. Adani last year took over NDTV, a television news channel that had displayed a rare immunity to hate speech, fake news and conspiracy theories. Human Rights Watch has detailed a broad onslaught on democratic rights: ‘the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government used abusive and discriminatory policies to repress Muslims and other minorities’ and ‘arrested activists, journalists and other critics of the government on politically motivated criminal charges, including of terrorism’. Last month, as the BJP’s official spokesperson denounced the BBC as ‘the most corrupt organisation in the world’, tax officials launched a sixty-hour raid on the broadcaster’s Indian offices in apparent retaliation for a two-part documentary on Modi’s role in anti-Muslim violence.

Also last month, the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was expelled from parliament to put a stop to his persistent questions about Modi’s relationship with Adani. Such actions are at last provoking closer international scrutiny of what Modi calls the ‘mother of democracy’, though they haven’t come as a shock to those who have long known about Modi’s lifelong allegiance to Rashtriya​ Swayamsevak Sangh, an organisation that was explicitly inspired by European fascist movements and culpable in the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi in 1948.


Riaz Haq said…
Kapil Sibal
@KapilSibal
·
12h
India ahead of China
Population :
India 1428 mn
China 1425 mn

Other indicators(2021)
World Bank Data :

GDP
China : $17.73 trillion
India : 3.18 trillion

Unemployment:
China : 4.8%
India: 7.7%

Annual inflation
(consumer prices) :
China : 1%
India : 5.1%

Think about it !

https://twitter.com/KapilSibal/status/1648877269124009984?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
Ashok Swain
@ashoswai
The US ambassador to India (2017-2021) Ken Juster says Modi even tells the US not to make China angry! How can one expect Modi to confront China. All his bravado comes against Pakistan.

https://twitter.com/ashoswai/status/1669411696580935693?s=20

-------------

India asked Washington not to bring up China’s border transgressions: Former US ambassador

https://scroll.in/latest/1018580/india-asked-washington-not-to-mention-chinas-border-transgressions-former-us-ambassador-to-india

Kenneth Juster made the statement on a Times Now show when asked why the United States had not made any statement about Beijing’s aggression.

Former United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster has said that Delhi did not want Washington to mention China’s border aggression in its statements.

“The restraint in mentioning China in any US-India communication or any Quad communication comes from India which is very concerned about not poking China in the eye,” Juster said on a Times Now show.

The statement came in response to news anchor and Times Now Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar’s queries on whether the US had made any statements about Beijing’s aggression.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since troops of both countries clashed in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the hand-to-hand combat. While China had acknowledged casualties early, it did not disclose details till February 2021, when it said four of its soldiers had died.

After several rounds of talks, India and China had last year disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in February and from Gogra, eastern Ladakh, in August.

Juster, who was the envoy to India between 2017 and 2021, had said in January 2021 that Washington closely coordinated with Delhi amid its standoff with Beijing, but left it to India to provide details of the cooperation.

During the TV show, defence analyst Derek Grossman claimed that Moscow was not a “friend” of India, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Beijing Olympics. Grossman told the news anchor that Putin and Xi had then said that their friendship had “no limits”.

He claimed that India’s strategy to leverage Russia against China did not have any effects. “In fact, Russia-China relations have gotten only stronger.”

To this, Shivshankar said that before passing any judgement on India and Russia’s relationship, he must ask if US President Joe Biden had condemned China’s aggression at the borders along the Line of Actual Control or mentioned Beijing in a joint statement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Grossman said: “To my understanding, the US has asked India if it wanted us to do something on the LAC but India said no – that it was something that India can handle on its own.”

Juster then backed Grossman’s contention.
Riaz Haq said…
Vulnerable employment, total (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate) - Pakistan, India | Data


Bangladesh 54%

Pakistan 54%

India 74%

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.EMP.VULN.ZS?locations=PK-IN-BD


------------

Sandeep Manudhane
@sandeep_PT
Why the size of the economy means little
a simple analysis

1) We are often told that India is now a $3.5 trillion economy. It is growing fast too. Hence, we must be happy with this growth in size as it is the most visible sign of right direction. This is the Quantity is Good argument.

2) We are told that such growth can happen only if policies are right, and all engines of the GDP - consumption, exports, investment, govt. consumption - are doing their job well. We tend to believe it.

3) We are also told that unless GDP grows, how can Indians (on average) grow? Proof is given to us in the form of 'rising per capita incomes' of India. And we celebrate "India racing past the UK" in GDP terms, ignoring that the average Indian today is 20 times poorer than the average Britisher.

4) All this reasoning sounds sensible, logical, credible, and utterly worth reiterating. So we tend to think - good, GDP size on the whole matters the most.

5) Wrong. This is not how it works in real life.

6) It is wrong due to three major reasons
(a) Distribution effect
(b) Concentration of power effect
(c) Inter-generational wealth and income effect

7) First comes the distribution effect. Since 1991, the indisputable fact recorded by economists is that "rich have gotten richer, and poor steadily stagnant or poorer". Thomas Piketty recorded it so well he's almost never spoken in New India now! Thus, we have a super-rich tiny elite of 2-3% at the top, and a vast ocean of stagnant-income 70-80% down below. And this is not changing at all. Do not be fooled by rising nominal per capita figures - factor in inflation and boom! And remember - per capita is an average figure, and it conceals the concentration.

8) Second is the Concentration of power effect. RBI ex-deputy governor Viral Acharya wrote that just 5 big industrial groups - Tata, Birlas, Adanis, Ambanis, Mittals - now disproportionately own the economic assets of India, and directly contribute to inflation dynamics (via their pricing power). This concentration is rising dangerously each year for some time now, and all government policies are designed to push it even higher. Hence, a rising GDP size means they corner more and more and more of the incremental annual output. The per capita rises, but somehow magically people don't experience it in 'steadily improving lives'.

9) Third is the Inter-generational wealth and income effect. Ever wondered why more than 90% of India is working in unstructured, informal jobs, with near-zero social security? Ever wondered why rich families smoothly pass on 100% of their assets across generations while paying zero taxes? Ever wondered how taxes paid by the rich as a per cent of their incomes are not as high as those paid by you and me (normal citizens)? India has no inheritance tax, but has a hugely corporate-friendly tax regime with many policies tailor-made to augment their wealth. Trickle down is impossible in this system. But that was the spiel sold to us in 1991, and later, each year! There is no incentive for giant corporates (and rich folks) to generate more formal jobs, as an ocean of underpaid slaves is ready to slog their entire lives for them. Add to that automation, and now, AI systems!

SUMMARY
Sadly, as India's GDP grows in size, it means little for the masses because trickle-down is near zero. That is because new formal jobs aren't being generated at scale at all (which in itself is a big topic for analysis).
So, our Quantity of GDP is different from Quality of GDP.


https://twitter.com/sandeep_PT/status/1675421203152896001?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
The West needs to get real about India | The Strategist

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-west-needs-to-get-real-about-india/


by John McCarthy, ex Australian Ambassador to India

The first is that India’s economic promise—particularly as an eventual rival to China—is overblown.

Doubts about the extent of India’s promise have been around for a couple of decades—in fact, ever since some commentators started suggesting that India would one day outstrip China.

These doubts were cogently expressed by Harvard academic Graham Allison in a recent essay in Foreign Policy. Allison, inter alia, suggested that we need to reflect on several ‘inconvenient truths’:

We have been wrong in the past about the pace of the rise of India—namely in the early 1990s and the middle of the first decade of this century.
India’s economy is much smaller than China’s—and the gap has increased, not decreased. In the early 2000s, China’s GDP was two to three times as large as India’s. It is now roughly five times as large.
India has been falling behind in the development of science and technology to power economic growth. China spends 2% of GDP on research and development, compared with India’s 0.7%. On artificial intelligence, the figures are startling. For example, China holds 65% of AI patents, while India holds just 3%.
China’s workforce is more productive than India’s. The quality of their respective workforces is affected by poverty and nutrition levels. As one example, according to the 2022 UN State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, 16.3% of India’s population was undernourished in 2019–2021 compared with less than 2.5% of China’s population.
The second argument is that India’s worldview is quite different to that of most Western countries.

India rightly sees itself as a force in international affairs. It aspires to be a powerful pole in a multipolar world. It adheres to a doctrine of strategic autonomy. It is guided by what it thinks is best for India, not by alliances or what others want of it.

India’s China-driven strategic congruence with the US is not the same as a quasi-alliance relationship. India doesn’t operate within a framework of mutual obligation. It doesn’t expect others to come to its aid and it won’t join someone else’s war.

In a recent Foreign Affairs article entitled ‘America’s bad bet on India’, an American academic of Indian origin, Ashley Tellis, argues that New Delhi would never involve itself in any US confrontation with China that did not threaten its own security.

The Tellis piece has weight because he was a main intellectual force behind the ‘nuclear deal’ concluded in 2008.
--------

The problem is that Modi’s government can only lend itself to highly qualified identification with democratic principles.

Elections in India are generally fair, and Modi’s sway is vigorously contested by the main opposition party, by Congress and by regional parties. That’s good.

However, Modi remains an unabashed Hindu supremacist whose political machine largely disregards the aspirations of Muslims and other minorities. It reacts vengefully to criticism and scores badly on most of the international indexes that measure democratic freedoms. To some, India is an illiberal democracy; to others, it’s an electoral autocracy. But, for sure, it is not a liberal democracy.

Western interests dictate that we put grunt into our relationship with India with energy and determination. It is unquestionably an increasingly important country. But we must have realistic expectations of India and deal with as it is, not as we might like it to be. Otherwise, we risk disappointment.

Riaz Haq said…
Watch: 'Pakistan Is My Second Favourite Country,' Says Mani Shankar Aiyar
Aiyar presents a picture of Pakistan that is not just different to, but almost the polar opposite of, everything Indians have been told about and led to believe of Pakistan.

https://thewire.in/south-asia/mani-shankar-aiyar-karan-thapar-pakistan


In an interview to discuss his four years as India’s Consul-General in Karachi, a key part of his recently published autobiography Memoirs of a Maverick, as well as his overall view of Pakistan – a country he has visited 40 times in the last 40 years – Mani Shankar Aiyar says Pakistan is his second favourite country.

In an extensive interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Aiyar presents a picture of Pakistan that is not just different to, but almost the polar opposite of, everything Indians have been told about and led to believe of Pakistan. He shatters the false misconceptions and outright lies that colour the traditional Indian perception of our western neighbour.

This interview is full of the most delightful stories and anecdotes, told with Aiyar‘s riveting sense of drama and laced with his irresistible humour.

Many of his stories will astound Indian viewers because they speak of a Pakistan we know nothing about. They portray a country that far from being narrow and fundamentalist is fun-loving, welcoming of Indians and Hindus and where Islamisation has not impinged on the right of people to drink alcohol in their homes. And, boy, do they!

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