G20 Kashmir Meeting: Modi's PR Ploy Backfires!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign to show normalcy in the Indian occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir has backfired.  Three member countries of the G20 boycotted the tourism event in Srinagar. The rest of them sent local embassy staff to attend. The event also drew negative worldwide media coverage of the brutality of India's "settler colonialism" in the disputed territory. It elicited strong condemnation from the United Nations. Prior to the event, India’s tourism secretary, Arvind Singh had promised that the meeting will not only “showcase (Kashmir’s) potential for tourism” but also “signal globally the restoration of stability and normalcy in the region.” The Modi government failed to achieve both of these objectives.

G20 Meeting in Indian Military Occupied Kashmir 

Meeting Boycott:

China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey did not attend the G20 event in Srinagar. Rest of the G20 members sent diplomats posted in New Delhi to attend it.  It's not unusual for foreign diplomats to visit disputed territories such as Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, Donald Blome, US Ambassador to Pakistan, visited what he called "Azad Jammu and Kashmir".  The G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Kashmir drew condemnation from China and the United Nations. 

“China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory. We will not attend such meetings,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson  Wang Wenbin at a press briefing on May 19 in Beijing.  

Fernand de Varennes, U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, criticized the meeting, saying that by hosting the session in Kashmir, “India is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalizing a G20 meeting and portray an international 'seal of approval’.” 

The UN representative warned the G20 of “unwittingly providing a veneer of support to a facade of normalcy at a time when massive human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecutions, restrictions and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate.”

Heavy Indian Security Presence at Dal Lake For G20 in Kashmir. Source: Washington Post 

International Media Coverage:

The global media coverage of the G20 meeting in Kashmir has largely been negative. It has highlighted the brutal occupation of the region by the Indian military. 

A piece in The Conversation accused India of "using the G20 summit to further its settler-colonial ambitions in Kashmir".  It pointed out that the "route to Gulmarg (G20 event location)  is lined with barbed wire. Armed soldiers keep watch from fortified bunkers".   The Conversation piece offers the following advice to anyone visiting Indian Occupied Kashmir:

"Those visiting  (Indian Occupied) Kashmir must first learn about the decolonial history of the region, one that honors Kashmiri calls for self-determination and sovereignty. They must follow the principle of do no harm by not visiting tourist sites or using tour operators run by Indian authorities. They should support local Kashmiri-run businesses as much as possible. There is no simple resolution for tourism on occupied lands. Tourism amid settler-colonialism manifests in exploitation, dispossession, commodification and other injustices and inequities. The goal of ethical travel is not immediate perfection or self-exoneration. It is an invitation to think about our own actions and complicity". 

A story in "The Guardian" noted that the G20 Kashmir meeting "required a large show of security at Srinagar international airport". It added: "India’s presidency of the G20 group of leading nations has become mired in controversy after China and Saudi Arabia boycotted a meeting staged in Kashmir, the first such gathering since India unilaterally brought Kashmir under direct control in August 2019". 

Voice of America reported that the "security moved into the background to give a sense of normalcy amid reports of mass detentions" as the event drew closer. 

Modi's Blunders:

Prime Minister Modi's PR campaign has clearly backfired. His government's actions have failed to project any sense of normalcy in the disputed region. In fact, Mr. Modi's blunders have helped internationalize the issue of Kashmir on the world stage. They have drawn China further into the Kashmir dispute, particularly in the Ladakh region where the Chinese troops have taken large chunks of what India claims as its territory. 

In an Op Ed for the Deccan Herald, Indian Journalist Bharat Bhushan has accused Modi government of "overplaying its hand in organizing a G20 event in Srinagar". He has summed up the fallout from the G20 Kashmir Meeting failure as follows:

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming State visit to the United States makes this rebuff on J&K by the international community, especially significant. What might have been ignored by India and perhaps down-played, at least publicly by the US, in the build-up to the Modi-Biden summit, will now become an additional irritant in the bilateral relationship. Did the Modi government bait fate by overplaying its hand in organizing a G20 event in Srinagar?"

Here's India's JNU Professor speaking about illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland:



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan's Bilawal Bhutto Lashes Out at India's Jaishankar

India: A Paper Elephant?

India-Pakistan Nuclear Arms Race

Kashmir: 700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 7 Million Kashmiris

Israeli Settler Colonialism

India Promotes Half Truths About UNSC Kashmir Resolutions

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Total, Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

What is India Hiding From UN Human Rights Team?

Indian JNU Professor on Illegal Indian Occupation of Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said…
#G20Kashmir: Houseboats, adorned with #G20 logo, seen behind ranks of armed #police posted around #Kashmir’s Dal Lake. #Kasmiri: “if they are so confident, then they should have opened the gates of the [G-20 center] for locals to be part of the event"

SRINAGAR, India — The famous houseboats, bedecked with lights and adorned with the G-20 logo, were just visible behind the ranks of uniformed police stationed around Kashmir’s stunning Dal Lake. Every 20 feet along the waterfront was a poster advertising picturesque Kashmiri sites — with a camouflage clad soldier standing behind.

The signs for the Group of 20 intergovernmental forum that India is hosting this year proclaims the country as “The Mother of Democracy,” but this meeting for tourism took place in a heavily militarized region that has not seen elections for its legislature in almost a decade.

Having the delegates from the world’s 20 wealthiest nations meet to discuss tourism amid the majestic Himalayan beauty of India’s Kashmir showcases what India says is the return of peace and prosperity to the region. But the conversations touting a new normalcy came amid a heavy security presence and were in sharp contrast to the voices just outside the barricaded conferences premises.

“What will come from this development? We need to have peace in our hearts first,” said a shopkeeper — who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about the government — in the heart of Srinagar’s old city, an area that has often witnessed violence. He said police threatened nearby shops to stay open to give a semblance of normalcy in the territory.

As he spoke, a dozen members of the federal paramilitary police, tailed by their massive windowless armored vehicle, stopped to search a group of young boys. “The delegation should come here and see this and talk to us,” the shopkeeper said. “They should talk about the Kashmir issue. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

The decision to put one of the dozens of G-20 meetings this year in Kashmir has not passed without controversy. China has boycotted the event, it has been condemned by neighboring Pakistan and the U.N. special rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, issued a blistering statement saying the Indian government “is seeking to normalize what some have described as a military occupation.”

Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority entity, has long been the country’s pride and joy with its magnificent mountain vistas. It was once a must-have shooting location for movies and a coveted honeymoon destination even while it was stuck in a continuous tug-of-war between Pakistan and India that provoked several wars.

After disputed elections in 1987, simmering dissatisfaction erupted into a violent insurgency and government crackdown that darkened Kashmir’s reputation. After coming to power, Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched “Operation All Out” — a 2017 offensive against the militants that killed hundreds and dramatically worsened relations with Pakistan.

After Modi won a second term in 2019, his government revoked the state’s special autonomous status negotiated after independence and made it a territory directly governed by New Delhi. Any dissent was stifled with harsh restrictions, including the longest internet shutdown in a democracy and locking up top political leaders, journalists and activists.
Riaz Haq said…
G20 in Kashmir


“The fact that we are holding it in Srinagar is itself an achievement of sorts,” said Jitendra Singh, a government minister who is also a parliament member from the region, in a news conference. “This is an opportunity to see with your own eyes what it is all about. The common man has moved on.”

Kashmir saw a record number of tourists last year, almost 2.6 million, while another 13,000 foreign tourists have come just this year, mostly from Southeast Asia, to see the region’s famous mountains and tulips. The government hopes that new golf courses, train lines and efforts to remove the travel advisories on Kashmir will open bring more Europeans and others.

Arun Kumar Mehta, the territory’s chief secretary, said roughly $250 million of the proposed $8 billion worth of investment projects have been completed, with money flowing from the Middle East in particular for shopping complexes.

“2022 was a historic year of development,” he said. “Life was normal for the first time in many, many years. I see such a yearning in the common people to get back to normal. Peace comes about when people have a stake in peace. And it’s very apparent that people have a stake in peace.” The territory’s lieutenant governor, Manoj Sinha, also said that the “ecosystem of terror sponsored by our neighbor has been almost dismantled.”

Since the crackdown, militant recruitment has plummeted, according to a senior security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

But a 28-year-old who works at a shopping center in Srinagar noted that, “if they are so confident, then they should have opened the gates of the [G-20 center] for locals to be part of the event and not hold it under such a tight security cover. Only the government is celebrating.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk freely.

In particular, the government has touted a new high-profile cinema multiplex in the city, marking the return of movie theaters to the region after they were targeted by militants in the 1990s and all shut down.

Khushboo Farooq, a 21-year-old who works there, said she finally found a place where she feels truly safe after it opened last year. “We need the entertainment in our lives, after what we have gone through.”

“The reality is Kashmir has already changed, and we haven’t woken up to this,” said Vikas Dhar, the theater’s owner, who hoped that the G-20 event would move Kashmir’s narrative beyond conflict. He described his theater as “an answer to the demand that people are raising.”

While people would like to go to the cinema, those types of development are not “the basic crux of what they really want,” countered Anuradha Bhasin, an editor of Kashmir Times who said that the government’s roughly half a dozen cases against her newspaper had crippled it. “They are beautifying certain areas, but the people are missing from the story. Then you have big jamborees like G-20, it kind of smacks of the indifference of the government towards the people.”

Bhasin said that while apparent signs of violence may be decreasing, without a free and vocal media it is unclear whether the militancy is growing or not.

Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister who was detained after the region’s semiautonomous status was revoked, said this apparent development and prosperity comes with a heavy hand.

“They are trying to use tourism as a sign of normalcy,” she said, adding that roughly 100 young men were detained before the G-20 meeting in “preventive arrests.”

“If everything is fine, why this suppression? Maybe today, it is calm. But the amount of might that is used to keep things that way, can’t be used like that all the time. And when God forbid, it bursts, it can be very big. You know Kashmir, it can happen anytime,” she said.
Riaz Haq said…
Interview: India’s exaggerated value and the danger of S Jaishankar’s ‘new world order’ posturing


“the US already has other military partners like Japan and Australia, whereas India doesn’t really have anyone else that can help balance against China. Our value to the US is being partly exaggerated”

Rajesh Rajagopalan, author and professor of International Politics at JNU, says we are living in a bipolar age and it is dangerous for India to think otherwise.
Rohan Venkataramakrishnan
18 hours ago

“I think the economics of the world, the politics of the world, and the demographic of the world is making the world more multipolar.”

“The world is moving towards greater multi-polarity through steady and continuous re-balancing.”

“The Indo-Pacific is at the heart of the multipolarity and rebalancing that characterises contemporary changes.”

“The United States is moving towards greater realism both about itself and the world. It is adjusting to multipolarity and rebalancing and re-examining the balance between its domestic revival and commitments abroad.”

Those are all comments by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar over the last few years. Indeed, Jaishankar is a big votary of the concept of multipolarity – the idea that the world is not dominated by just one power (the United States), or two (the US and China, just as it was the US and the United Soviet Socialist Republic during the Cold War), but is instead now seeing a global order with a number of powers that are somewhat equally matched in terms of economic and military capacity and influence.

Jaishankar sometimes speaks of the need for establishing a multipolar world. And sometimes his comments seems to suggest the world is already multipolar or will soon be there.

Not everyone agrees. Stephen G Brooks and William C Wohlforth, in a Foreign Affairs article in April , argued that multipolarity is a “myth”.

Brooks and Wolworth argue instead for “partial unipolarity”, in part because Chinese military power remains “regional”.

Rajesh Rajagopalan, professor of International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and author of Second Strike: Arguments about Nuclear War in South Asia, thinks the answer is clearer: We are living in a bipolar age. And it is dangerous for India to think otherwise.

I spoke to Rajagopalan about multipolarity vs bipolarity, why he thinks that Jaishankar describing the world as multipolar is problematic even if it is a purely rhetorical tactic, and what he made of Ashley Tellis’ much discussed piece from earlier this month – with the controversial headline, “America’s Bad Bet on India” – which argues that the US should not expect India to side with it in a military confrontation with China, unless its own security is directly threatened.

To start off, how do you read Jaishankar and India’s articulation of a multipolar world, either as an aspiration or as a reality?

I’ll start with the reality: Of course, it is not [a multipolar world].

There are different ways of defining polarity. Academics by and large look at it as either unipolar world or a transition to a bipolar word. Some argue that the world may be bipolar in the Indo-Pacific region because of China’s power there, but not bipolar in a global systemic sense. Since this is a peaceful period – not marked by war – it’s very hard to identify the boundary between unipolar and bipolar. But my sense as an analyst is that the world is already bipolar, because the way polarity is measured is purely in terms of material capacities, and on this, clearly China has the wealth and the intention.
Riaz Haq said…
‘Things not going well’: Six die in #India within months. The deaths have led to criticisms of Project #Cheetah, a £4.8m international scheme that involved moving 20 animals from #Africa to India’s Kuno National Park earlier this year. #Modi #BJP

A controversial attempt to reintroduce cheetahs to the wild has suffered a major setback after three adults and three cubs died over the past eight months.

The deaths have led to criticisms of Project Cheetah, a £4.8m international scheme that involved moving 20 animals from Africa to India’s Kuno National Park earlier this year. Some conservationists say not enough space was reserved for the cheetahs while others complained that the project was set up too hastily.

However, project scientists insisted that several fatalities were to be expected at the start of the project, and forecast that the death toll would stabilise in the near future.

“If you are going to reintroduce an animal to the wild, you have to do it very carefully,” said Professor Sarah Durant, of the Zoological Society of London. “And it is clear that things are not going well. The programme seems rushed.”

Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals and can run at speeds of up to 65mph. There are five subspecies and all have suffered major drops in numbers caused by climate change, hunting by humans and habitat destruction. As a result, surviving populations of East African, South African and Northeast African cheetahs are now vulnerable, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The other two – the Northwest African cheetah and the Asiatic cheetah – are critically endangered.

India’s own population of cheetahs – made up of the Asiatic subspecies – was wiped out last century, with the last documented native animals being shot by Maharajah Ramanuj Singh Deo in 1947. The Asian cheetah now survives only in Iran.

By contrast, there are about 6,500 African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and there have been successes in restoring numbers in semi-managed wildlife reserves in South Africa. With the eradication of its own cheetahs, India launched efforts to re-establish a population using the Southern African cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus). However, these moves were blocked, initially, by the Indian supreme court, where it was argued that because it was not a native species, its introduction broke international conservation regulations.

In 2020, the court’s ruling was overturned and Project Cheetah was launched with considerable fanfare, including support from the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. The first animals – eight cheetahs that had been relocated from Namibia – arrived at Kuno last September, and 12 more were moved from South Africa in February.

However, by late May this year, three of the Kuno cheetahs and three newborn cubs had died . Two adults succumbed to organ failure and a third was killed in a violent mating encounter. The cause of the deaths of the cubs is unclear at present. While cubs in the wild have poor survival rates owing to predation from lions and hyenas, those born in protected reserves have high survival rates.

The deaths of the three adults were not unexpected given the high stress of relocation, said Adrian Tordiffe, a veterinarian at South Africa’s University of Pretoria and a consultant for the project, in the journal Nature. “The fact that we had multiple deaths occurring in a short space of time is not unusual in the sense that it’s the high-risk period. Once things stabilise, that will plateau.”

Riaz Haq said…
Ashok Swain
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.



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


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…
The Settler-Colonialist Alliance of India and Israel
Over the decades, the two nation’s have become closer allies in business and politics. We talked to journalist Azad Essa the origins of this international relationship.
By Deeksha Udupa


AZAD ESSA: Being from South Africa and growing up towards the end of apartheid, I was enamored by the concept of international solidarity through boycotts and the very idea that people around the world were thinking about us.

And since I am of Indian origin (with the caveat that there was no India, as we now know it, when my grandparents had come to South Africa), I was told stories about how India had been instrumental in standing up to apartheid government. Later, as a graduate student, I was introduced to the story of Kashmir, and I was struck by how a country that positioned itself as anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, and a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement could also have a colonial project of its own. I subsequently went to Kashmir and was shocked by the militarization. I also traveled to Palestine and immediately felt the connections between the two.

Then Narendra Modi came to power in 2014—and when he did, the floodgates opened. Just like when Donald Trump came to power, it was as if the US had been unmasked; likewise, the Indian and Israeli relationship, too, was unmasked under Modi, and they soon became even closer strategic partners. When the Indian consul general spoke in 2019 about replicating Israeli-style settlements in Kashmir, I was convinced that this was a project I wanted to pursue. This is a book, then, about how oppressors work together.
Riaz Haq said…
The Settler-Colonialist Alliance of India and Israel
Over the decades, the two nation’s have become closer allies in business and politics. We talked to journalist Azad Essa the origins of this international relationship.
By Deeksha Udupa


In 1962, after a series of border conflicts over the disputed territory of Aksai Chin—which both China and India claimed, and still continue to claim, as their own—the two countries fought a one-month war. India’s troops in Namka Chu Valley were considerably weaker and the state of Israel quickly responded to India’s request for assistance. Then–Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote to his Indian counterpart, Jawaharlal Nehru, emphasizing his country’s “fullest sympathy and understanding” and offering to provide weapons to Indian forces. Nehru requested that the weapons be sent in unmarked ships, aware that accepting Israeli assistance could affect India’s relations with Arab nations. Ben-Gurion declined and said, “No flag. No weapons.” Eventually, India relented and accepted arms transported in ships with the Israeli flag. And though India lost the conflict, the country was now aware that in times of need, Israel could be counted on as a potential ally.

The two countries have only grown closer since then, as their military and business interests have aligned. Just this year, for example, Indian tycoon Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, recently acquired the Israeli port of Haifa, where 50 percent of Israeli cargo is handled. Privatizing the port has been a topic of conversation since the early 2000s and was finally completed when Adani submitted his bid, which was supported by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Just days after the acquisition, however, Hindenburg Research released a report accusing the Adani Group of financial malpractice, fraudulent transactions, and share-price manipulation. Modi and Netanyahu spoke days after the release of the report, and Modi emphasized the importance of “the multifaceted India-Israel friendship.” The purchase of the port launched a new chapter of the Israel-India alliance, with some commentators referring to it as the largest deal between the two nations in the private sector.

AZAD ESSA (Author of Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel): Being from South Africa and growing up towards the end of apartheid, I was enamored by the concept of international solidarity through boycotts and the very idea that people around the world were thinking about us.

And since I am of Indian origin (with the caveat that there was no India, as we now know it, when my grandparents had come to South Africa), I was told stories about how India had been instrumental in standing up to apartheid government. Later, as a graduate student, I was introduced to the story of Kashmir, and I was struck by how a country that positioned itself as anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, and a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement could also have a colonial project of its own. I subsequently went to Kashmir and was shocked by the militarization. I also traveled to Palestine and immediately felt the connections between the two.

Then Narendra Modi came to power in 2014—and when he did, the floodgates opened. Just like when Donald Trump came to power, it was as if the US had been unmasked; likewise, the Indian and Israeli relationship, too, was unmasked under Modi, and they soon became even closer strategic partners. When the Indian consul general spoke in 2019 about replicating Israeli-style settlements in Kashmir, I was convinced that this was a project I wanted to pursue. This is a book, then, about how oppressors work together.
Riaz Haq said…
India in a world of asymmetrical multipolarity

Author: Jagannath Panda, Institute for Security and Development Policy


"India’s multipolar focus is its second pillar of diplomacy. India envisages itself as a major pole in global politics, after the United States, Russia and China. For a long time, India has been dubbed a state with enormous potential — but has remained a middle power, unable to tap into this promise"


Russia and China proclaimed the emergence of a ‘new multipolar order’ in a February 2022 joint statement at the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits. Major and middle powers are also considering their own distinct outlooks in a multipolar world. In 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in global politics.

Among all the powers, India seems the most committed to a multipolar world, and has portrayed itself as a strong leader of the developing world. More importantly, India strives to shape a multipolar world that rejects great power politics and reflects today’s diversity and hinges on inclusive cooperation.

The evolution of Indian foreign policy is often seen through the prism of non-alignment to multi-alignment to pointed alignment, based on realpolitik. This is evidenced by India’s recent handling of the Russia–Ukraine war and the West versus Russia conundrum. New Delhi has adroitly projected itself as a neutral centrepiece within the China—West divide.

India’s so-far successful hedging between Russia and the United States is reminiscent of the US–China dilemma faced by most Asian states. But silent and invisible Russia–China competition presents a distinct challenge to India — Russia is India’s historical partner while China has been a constant adversary.

China’s contentious rise has propelled India’s inclusion into US-led Indo-Pacific institutional architecture. This takes shape primarily through forums such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), Quad Plus and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity.

Fears and antagonism consolidated in 2022. China’s ‘no limits’ partnership between Moscow and Beijing — as opposed to India’s ‘principled’ Russian stance based on pure national interests — is one. Border clashes have also accelerated mistrust.

China is India’s foremost security challenge and is gradually being recognised as a permanent threat. China–India rivalry is not limited to land border disputes. It also encompasses geopolitical issues within the maritime domain. India is pursuing across-the-spectrum bilateral engagements with states that have significant stakes in Indo-Pacific stability, and is also working with trilateral, minilateral and multilateral forums.

Preserving strategic autonomy is an essential objective for New Delhi. Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla has interpreted strategic autonomy as self-reliant thinking drawn from Indian philosophical practices and adopted this ‘Indian nature of strategic thinking’ as the first pillar of Indian diplomacy.

India’s multipolar focus is its second pillar of diplomacy. India envisages itself as a major pole in global politics, after the United States, Russia and China. For a long time, India has been dubbed a state with enormous potential — but has remained a middle power, unable to tap into this promise.

Still, India will be able to move beyond the middle power construct and close this gap with major powers. India has been gaining confidence by unapologetically forging relations to maximise its position without alienating partners and rivals alike.

Asian unity has always been central to India’s future worldview. India is working towards bringing Indo-Pacific middle powers together to achieve common developmental goals.

Riaz Haq said…
Narendra #Modi Is Using Brutal Repression to Silence the People of #Kashmir, with the complicity of #Indian intellectuals who seek to toxify the cause of Kashmir. #India #Manipur #Islamophobia #Hindutva



India-controlled Kashmir is one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world, and any public display of a persistent Kashmiri national struggle meets with swift, violent, and indiscriminate repression. This pattern of silencing extends to the field of discourse as well.

The Indian political mainstream views any reference to Kashmiri rights and aspirations, whether spoken or written, as a manifestation of “fundamentalism,” “radicalism,” or (Pakistani-inspired) “terrorism.” The hard-right, Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi has carried this vilification of Kashmiris to new heights.

A History of Repression
The record of the Indian state’s repressive ways in Kashmir is extensive and well documented, going back decades before Narendra Modi’s rise to power. In 1993, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report titled “Rape in Kashmir: A Crime of War.” It showed that the Indian security forces routinely targeted civilians in the course of their efforts to quell the Kashmiri independence struggle, with rape used as a tool of counterinsurgency.

The report concluded that the security forces were “attempting to punish and humiliate the entire community” through systematic sexual violence against women. Another HRW report published the same year documented the routine torture of Kashmiri detainees as well as harassment and assault of health workers who were providing care. According to the report’s authors, the Indian authorities even “prevented ambulance drivers from transporting injured persons to hospitals for emergency care.”

The impunity with which the Indian armed forces have operated in the Kashmir Valley receives legal sanction from the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. This piece of legislation gives them emergency powers to maintain public order in so-called disturbed areas — all of which, civil society organizations argue, violate international human rights law.

There is ample evidence of this. Along with the acknowledged civilian death toll, there is the practice of enforced disappearances of Kashmiri men. Human rights activists estimated that between eight thousand and ten thousand people were “disappeared” between 1988 and 2007, approximately 60 percent of whom were civilians. People refer to the wives of the disappeared, who have often been missing for decades without being officially declared dead, as “half widows.”

There have also been several discoveries of unmarked mass graves in Kashmir. Eyewitnesses claim that those graves were dug under instruction from the Indian security forces, and that they contain the bodies of the missing Kashmiri men.

Blinding and Silencing
Since Modi took office, repression in Kashmir has been even more severe. Since 2010, the security forces have been using pellet guns as a supposedly “nonlethal” weapon for crowd control. In 2016 alone, they fired 1.2 million metal pellets in response to protests in the valley. The pellets left six thousand people injured, with 782 suffering eye injuries. Writing in the Guardian, journalist Mirza Waheed described it as an exercise in “mass blinding.”

A young Kashmiri student I spoke to in Mumbai describes the conditions in the state:

Stone pelting doesn’t happen that much anymore. But if anything does happen, the Indian soldiers quickly pick up anyone in sight. They will arrest you, take your paperwork, take your passport. In fact, in some cases, they will seize your property. This is normal in Kashmir.
Riaz Haq said…


In 2019, the Indian parliament revoked Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution that granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. Most significantly, Article 35A had allowed the Kashmiri Legislative Assembly to “define permanent residents.” In effect, this gave it the authority to maintain the valley’s Kashmiri identity. The Indian state has engaged in a concerted effort to settle non-Kashmiris in the region and alter its demographic makeup.

Using the Jammu Kashmir Public Safety Act, a preventive detention law, the authorities have conducted raids and arbitrarily detained politicians, activists, and journalists. In 2022, pro-government journalists joined forces with the police to storm and shut down the premises of the independent Kashmir Press Club.

India has also become the world capital of internet shutdowns, accounting for 58 percent of all disruptions worldwide. Between January and February of last year, Jammu and Kashmir experienced forty-nine disruptions, including “16 back-to-back orders for three-day-long curfew-style shutdowns.”

Toxifying Kashmir
Physical and legal repression is supplemented by an effort to depict support for Kashmiri rights as toxic. Sociologist Mark Ayyash has written about the toxification of Palestinian critique, a process through which the Palestinian national struggle is “expelled from the realm of valid, rational and respectable knowledge.” There is a similar kind of toxification at work when it comes to Kashmir.

One form of toxification is the portrayal of voices in support of Kashmir as “anti-national.” In 2020, the police bookedKashmiri photojournalist Masrat Zahra under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), accusing her of engaging in “anti-national activities.” The act allows the state to suppress any activities deemed to be against the interests, integrity, and sovereignty of the state. Zahra was charged with “criminal intentions to induce the youth” through her posts on Facebook, which mostly included archives of her previously published work.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), a specialist counterterrorism agency, also invoked the UAPA against Khurram Parvez, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). Parvez was accused of a series of offenses such as “criminal conspiracy,” “conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India,” and “raising funds for terror activities.” A coalition of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders, denounced the charges against Parvez as an attempt to “silence and intimidate human rights defenders.”

The same process of toxification applies to the written word, with articles both academic and journalistic equating the Kashmiri struggle with terrorism or Pakistan’s “proxy war.” They do not offer any substantial engagement with the call for Kashmiri rights and a national homeland.

A review by Sumit Ganguly in Foreign Policy of journalist Azad Essa’s book, Hostile Homelands: The New Alliance Between India and Israel, offers a recent example. In his account of the politics of Kashmir, Essa places the national struggle at center stage. Yet Ganguly was quick to dismiss this as “polemic” and a “one-sided account,” accusing Essa of parroting a “tired Pakistani narrative” on Kashmir.
Riaz Haq said…


A Disappearing Act
When India recently paraded the delegates attending the G20 tourism meeting through Kashmir, it was meant to show the world that Modi’s government had brought normalcy, peace, and prosperity to the valley. But in stark contrast to this performance, the young Kashmiri students I spoke to fear the ongoing violence of the state security forces. They were worried about being “picked up” at the airport, detained by the local police during a random ID check, or simply made to disappear on the way home.

They were equally aware that the ease with which they can simply disappear reflects the way that the Indian state has worked to make the entire Kashmiri national struggle disappear. In a country that has sharply swerved toward the right under the rule of Modi, it is not surprising that Kashmiris have been targeted, along with critical journalists and political campaigners. After all, they are the only ones standing in the way of India’s full-fledged shift to authoritarianism.
Riaz Haq said…
Noam Chomsky - Why Does the U.S. Support Israel?


Noam Chomsky on settler colonialism


Now the settler-colonial societies are particularly interesting in this regard because you have a conflict within them. Settler-colonial societies are different than most forms of imperialism; in traditional imperialism, say the British in India, the British kind of ran the place: They sent the bureaucrats, the administrators, the officer corps, and so on, but the place was run by Indians. Settler-colonial societies are different; they eliminate the indigenous population. Read, say, George Washington, a leading figure in the settler-colonial society we live in. His view was – his words – was that we have to “extirpate” the Iroquois; they’re in our way. They were an advanced civilization; in fact, they provided some of the basis for the American constitutional system, but they were in the way, so we have to extirpate them. Thomas Jefferson, another great figure, he said, well, we have no choice but to exterminate the indigenous population, the Native Americans; the reason is they’re attacking us. Why are they attacking us? Because we’re taking everything away from them. But since we’re taking their land and resources away and they defend themselves, we have to exterminate them.

[T]he settler-colonial societies are a striking illustration of, first of all, the massive destructive power of European imperialism, which of course includes us and Australia, and so on. And also the – I don’t know if you’d call it irony, but the strange phenomenon of the most so-called “advanced,” educated, richest segments of global society trying to destroy all of us, and the so-called “backward” people, the pre-technological people, who remain on the periphery, trying to restrain the race to disaster. If some extraterrestrial observer were watching this, they’d think the species was insane. And, in fact, it is. But the insanity goes back to the basic institutional structure of RECD. That’s the way it works. It’s built into the institutions. It’s one of the reasons it’s going to be very hard to change.
Riaz Haq said…
From Munir Akram, Pakistan's Permanent Representative at the UN

What’s Going On in Kashmir Is Not Normal
By Munir Akram on Aug 03, 2023

The essayist, Pakistan’s envoy to the United Nations, notes that it has been four years as of Aug. 5 since India took “unilateral actions to consolidate its occupation” of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.

As the sun rises over the picturesque landscape of Kashmir, it’s easy to believe that all is well in the region. But beneath the scenic beauty is a harsh and unsettling reality — composed of a military occupation, oppression of the entire population and expression of fear, loathing and anger by the people of Kashmir. The picture that the Indian government tries to paint — of normalcy and development in occupied Jammu and Kashmir — is a myth.

For the last seven decades, Kashmir has been the epicenter of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan in which the people in Jammu are an integral party. To resolve the conflict, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 47 in 1948, and more than a dozen subsequent resolutions, stipulating that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir would be decided by its people through a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the UN. This was accepted by India and Pakistan and, in accordance with Article 25 of the UN Charter, both parties are obligated to implement these resolutions.

But this Saturday, Aug. 5, marks four years of India’s unilateral actions to consolidate its occupation of Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and imposing what India’s leaders have ominously called a “final solution” for Kashmir. To do so, India has resorted to a series of illegal actions, gross and consistent violations of human rights and other crimes that continue to this day.

India increased its military deployment in IIOJK to 900,000 troops right before Aug. 5, 2019. This is the densest occupation in recent history — with one soldier for every eight Kashmiri men, women and children. This massive force has perpetrated a vicious campaign of repressive actions, including extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in fake encounters; custodial killings and “cordon-and-search” operations; use of pellet guns to kill, maim and blind peaceful protestors; abduction and enforced disappearances; and “collective punishments,” with the destruction and burning of entire villages and urban neighborhoods.

This brutal campaign is driven by the ideology of “Hindutva,” which propagates the religious and ethnic supremacy of Hindus and hate against Muslims. Noting this pattern, Genocide Watch has warned that “the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir have been an extreme case of persecution and could very well lead to genocide.”

To suppress the voice of the Kashmiri people, Indian authorities have used censorship and surveillance for decades in the occupied territory. Since August 2019, information control has been fully institutionalized. Journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and the entire Kashmiri political leadership are routinely incarcerated, beaten, humiliated, harassed and even accused of “terrorism” for reporting the human rights violations in IIOJK.

There is only one normality: the normalization of violence. Generations have grown up witnessing violence, insecurity and trauma. Numerous human rights organizations, international bodies and independent reports have documented use of rape, sexual assault and harassment perpetrated by Indian security forces against Kashmiri civilians, particularly women as a weapon of war. Emergency laws, such as the 1990-Armed Forces (Special Powers), have created an environment of complete impunity for Indian security forces.

To extinguish the ethno-religious identity of Kashmiris, historical sites have been destroyed and damaged. One of the most troubling aspects of the destruction of cultural heritage is the demolition of religious sites, particularly mosques, which inflicts deep emotional wounds on the Muslim population.
Riaz Haq said…
From Munir Akram, Pakistan's Permanent Representative at the UN

What’s Going On in Kashmir Is Not Normal
By Munir Akram on Aug 03, 2023

In a classic settler-colonial project, India has initiated illegal demographic changes in the occupied territory, grossly violating international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. This is central to its plan to convert IIOJK’s Muslim majority into a Hindu majority territory, to drown out the demand for freedom and self-determination. New “domicile rules” have been introduced, and more than four million fake domicile certificates have been issued to Hindus from across India to settle in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The land and properties of Kashmiris are also being confiscated for military and other official use.

All the measures taken by India in the last four years are blatant violations of international law, including the relevant Security Council resolutions, specifically Resolution 122 (1957). Therefore, all the actions taken by India on and after Aug. 5, 2019 are not only illegal but, ipso facto, null and void.

To justify its occupation and oppression, India has sought for decades, and particularly since 9/11, to portray the Kashmiri freedom struggle as “terrorism.” Likewise, to delegitimize the indigenous Kashmiri struggle for self-determination, India falsely alleges that it is instigated by Pakistan. To expose India’s falsehood, Pakistan has proposed expanded patrolling by the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) along the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir. However, India refuses to allow the UN mission to patrol the line of control and to expand it. Despite numerous attempts, India continues to deny access to Jammu and Kashmir to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN agencies as well as other human rights and humanitarian organizations and international media.

Pakistan desires peaceful relations with all its neighbors, including India. Pakistan has responded with responsibility and restraint to India’s repeated provocations. On the other hand, India continues to resort to aggressive rhetoric and repeated threats of the use of force against Pakistan, even under the nuclear overhang. The onus is on India to create conditions that are conducive for a meaningful dialogue to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. To this end, India must:

• stop all human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir

• halt and reverse its illegal demographic changes there

• reverse the illegal and unilateral measures imposed on and after Aug. 5, 2019

• grant access to international observers, including human rights mechanisms of the UN and international media, to observe worsening human rights situation on the ground

The international community must play a proactive role obliging India to respect the human rights of the people of Kashmir and to work toward a peaceful, inclusive resolution of the conflict. Peace in South Asia will be possible only when the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved. The Security Council and the UN secretary-general must make concerted efforts, as empowered by the UN Charter, to promote a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, according to the relevant UN security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Preventive measures to stop abuses in IIOJK and to promote global accountability is both a moral imperative and a collective human rights responsibility. Millions of Kashmiris have suffered for too long. To end their plight, they demand a peaceful resolution to the conflict. It is time to make peace a new normal.

Riaz Haq said…
Arguments that claim abrogation of Article 370 has made the situation on the ground, lives of people in Jammu and Kashmir better mislead on facts as well as approach, writes Radha Kumar, a former Kashmir interlocutor appointed by the Government of India.


Articles by Ram Madhav (‘J&K, like other states’, IE August 5) and Akhilesh Mishra, along with Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant-governor Manoj Sinha’s interview (IE, August 5), were published on the fourth anniversary of the reading down of Article 370 (August 5). All three mislead on fact as well as approach.

Madhav claims that Jammu and Kashmir is more secure, economically better-off, and socially more stable than it was before the former state lost its special status and was divided and demoted into two Union Territories. As a result of these historic actions, he says, “normalcy” is the new normal. His examples are: The opening of a cineplex (sic), a booming tourist season and a sharp drop in stone-pelting. Sinha claims that infrastructure is being developed at a rapid pace, investment is flowing in, and “ordinary people” are now free to express their opinions. Mishra echoes these views but also provides a fascinating account of how the RSS prepared the ground for the Modi administration’s actions in August 2019.

The facts, unfortunately, indicate that all three are wrong on the ground situation. What is normal about taking over 5,000 people into detention to prevent outcry against the actions of August 5 and 9, 2019? Is it normal to put journalists and human rights defenders behind bars for years on end because they publish information or opinion that the government seeks to suppress? Is it normal for Pandits and migrant workers to be targeted by militants, or for crimes against women and children to be rising or for unemployment to be as high as 23.1 per cent (three times the national average)? Is it normal for militancy to resurface in the Pir Panjal region from where it had virtually disappeared over the past 15 years? Is it normal for political leaders to be routinely denied permission to protest peacefully or their offices to be sealed, as happened with the PDP and NC on Friday, while the three articles were in press? Is it normal for land to be alienated, cross-border trade to cease, local hotels to be put out of business by the refusal to extend their leases and mining rights to go to non-local industry? Is it normal for 71 CRPF troops to be killed in the four years between 2019-2022, twice as many as in the previous four years when 35 died.
Riaz Haq said…
What India’s foreign-news coverage says about its world-view


Indians are growing more interested in the outside world, but not more expert


When narendra modi visited Washington in June, Indian cable news channels spent days discussing their country’s foreign-policy priorities and influence. This represents a significant change. The most popular shows, which consist of a studio host and supporters of the Hindu-nationalist prime minister jointly browbeating his critics, used to be devoted to domestic issues. Yet in recent years they have made room for foreign-policy discussion, too.

..... Mr Modi has also given the channels a lot to discuss; a visit to France and the United Arab Emirates in July was his 72nd foreign outing. India’s presidency of the g20 has brought the world even closer. Meetings have been scheduled in over 30 cities, all of which are now festooned with g20 paraphernalia.


What is the Indian perspective? Watch Ms (Palki) Sharma and a message emerges: everywhere else is terrible. Both on wion and at her new home, Network18, Ms Sharma relentlessly bashes China and Pakistan. Given India’s history of conflict with the two countries, that is hardly surprising. Yet she also castigates the West, with which India has cordial relations. Europe is taunted as weak, irrelevant, dependent on America and suffering from a “colonial mindset”. America is a violent, racist, dysfunctional place, an ageing and irresponsible imperial power.

This is not an expression of the confident new India Mr Modi claims to represent. Mindful of the criticism India often draws, especially for Mr Modi’s Muslim-bashing and creeping authoritarianism, Ms Sharma and other pro-Modi pundits insist that India’s behaviour and its problems are no worse than any other country’s. A report on the recent riots in France on Ms Sharma’s show included a claim that the French interior ministry was intending to suspend the internet in an attempt to curb violence. “And thank God it’s in Europe! If it was elsewhere it would have been a human-rights violation,” she sneered. In fact, India leads the world in shutting down the internet for security and other reasons. The French interior ministry had anyway denied the claim a day before the show aired.

Bridling at lectures by hypocritical foreign powers is a longstanding feature of Indian diplomacy. Yet the new foreign news coverage’s hyper-defensive championing of Mr Modi, and its contrast with the self-confident new India the prime minister describes, are new and striking. Such coverage has two aims, says Manisha Pande of Newslaundry, a media-watching website: to position Mr Modi as a global leader who has put India on the map, and to promote the theory that there is a global conspiracy to keep India down. “Coverage is driven by the fact that most tv news anchors are propagandists for the current government.”

This may be fuelling suspicion of the outside world, especially the West. In a recent survey by Morning Consult, Indians identified China as their country’s biggest military threat. America was next on the list. A survey by the Pew Research Centre found confidence in the American president at its highest level since the Obama years. But negative views were also at their highest since Pew started asking the question.

That is at odds with Mr Modi’s aim to deepen ties with the West. And nationalists are seldom able to control the forces they unleash. China has recently sought to tamp down its aggressive “wolf-warrior diplomacy” rhetoric. But its social media remain mired in nationalism. Mr Modi, a vigorous champion for India abroad, should take note. By letting his propagandists drum up hostility to the world, he is laying a trap for himself

Riaz Haq said…
Attacks on #Christians and #Muslims in #Modi's #India. Experts say the recent spate of #religious and ethnic clashes could blow a sharp dent in India's efforts to showcase it as an Asian superpower at #G20Summit. #BJP #Islamophobia #Haryana #Manipur


With less than a month until the G-20 summit in India, the country has seen a spate of violent clashes. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to welcome world leaders, experts say that these incidents could seriously complicate his ability to showcase India as an Asian superpower. From Delhi, Shalu Yadav reports.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Shouting in Hindi).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Shouting in Hindi).

SHALU YADAV: Anti-Muslim slogans reverberated in the streets of Gurugram, just outside of capital Delhi - a hub for dozens of multinational companies, including Google and American Express. Just six miles from here, President Biden and other world leaders will arrive for the G-20 summit in early September.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: (Speaking in non-English language).

YADAV: These men from the majority Hindu community threatened Muslims, asking them to pack their belongings and leave or face consequences.


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Shouting in non-English language).

YADAV: What sparked this outrage was religious violence in the neighboring region of Nuh on July 31. At least five people died in the clashes when a Hindu religious procession was allegedly attacked by Muslims. Then, Hindus set a mosque on fire and allegedly killed a Muslim cleric.


YADAV: After the rioters left came the authorities with bulldozers. Witnesses say hundreds of homes and shops belonging to Muslims were demolished by authorities. The demolitions lasted for four days, until a local court in the state of Punjab and Haryana stepped in. It asked the government whether it was conducting an exercise of ethnic cleansing by targeting a particular community. These are devastating words, says Shushant Singh, a senior fellow at Centre for Policy Research in India.

SUSHANT SINGH: That's the strongest word that, at least in my living memory in 75 years, has been ever used because of this form of vigilantism that the Indian state displays.

YADAV: Singh says there's a pattern in India these days in many states governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party - or the BJP - where properties belonging to Muslims have been demolished as a way of punishing them.

He also says there's been a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric since the BJP came to power in 2014 - a charge that the government denies.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: India is proud to assume the presidency of G-20.

YADAV: Ahead of next month's G-20 summit, Prime Minister Modi wants to tell the world that he is a leader of a unified, democratic country which is a rising superpower. But as incidents of religious violence keep making international headlines, many are questioning his narrative.


MAHUA MOITRA: (Shouting) Stop your false equivalences.

YADAV: Ethnic clashes in the northeastern state of Manipur have also put the spotlight on Modi government. A hundred and thirty people have died, and 60,000 have been displaced since the tensions began in May.


MOITRA: Reality is why this government...

YADAV: Last week, opposition parties brought a no-confidence motion against him in the parliament for his lack of action to stop the violence.



Riaz Haq said…
Xi Jinping’s absence challenges G20 status as global leadership forum
China’s president will send his deputy to next week’s summit in New Delhi


For one western official involved in preparations for next week’s G20 summit in India, the news that China’s president Xi Jinping would skip the event could only mean one thing: “They have been working to scupper our joint work all year,” the official said. “Not attending is the obvious step.”

Xi’s decision to send Premier Li Qiang to the summit instead, which western officials say was conveyed to them by Chinese counterparts, has yet to be confirmed by Beijing.

But the absence of China’s president will be a blow to India’s rotating presidency of the multilateral gathering and the status of the New Delhi summit. It also shakes the stature of the G20 as the pre-eminent global leadership forum, amid deep fissures between its members.

The decision follows months of failed efforts by the G20’s multiple ministerial forums to find joint conclusions on topics running from healthcare to climate change, because of disagreements over the war in Ukraine and burden-sharing between rich and developing nations.

Some Indian observers are convinced that China wants to spoil India’s showcase event at a time of bilateral friction over their disputed border.

“China has been the principal opposition to consensus on almost all issues,” said Indrani Bagchi, chief executive of the Ananta Aspen Centre, an Indian think-tank.

It will be the first time that Xi or any president of China has skipped a G20 summit, a nadir for a body that was founded to find consensus among the world’s most powerful nations, despite their social or economic contrasts.

Premier Li is China’s second most senior leader and Xi’s right-hand man. But Josh Lipsky, senior director of the GeoEconomics Center of the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said the president’s absence put in question the G20’s “long-term sustainable viability and success”.

“When the G20 speaks, are they speaking without China’s affirmation, to debt restructuring negotiations, for example?” Lipsky said. “That is an existential threat to the future of the G20.”

At its first two summits in 2008 and 2009, held to forge a co-ordinated response to the global financial crisis, the G20 was hailed as the emerging primary international decision-making body, reflecting the rising importance and economic clout of developing nations led by China.

Gordon Brown, who hosted the 2009 summit as UK prime minister, said it represented “a coming together of the world”.

But Russia’s break from the west, with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and full-scale war against Ukraine in February last year, fractured G20 unity and the resulting global crisis, alongside rising tension between the US and China in recent years, has exacerbated faultlines between its developed and developing members.

The G20 managed to agree an unexpected joint statement at the 2022 summit in Bali. But this year’s discussions under India’s presidency have been marked by a seemingly unbridgeable rift between democracies and Russia and China over the war in Ukraine.

At meetings of G20 foreign ministers, finance chiefs and other officials, India has failed to secure a single final statement agreed by all members. Russia and China have repeatedly opted out of language promoted by western countries condemning the war.

Asked about Xi’s absence, China’s foreign ministry on Friday said only that it would announce any travel plans at the “proper time”. Beijing this month rejected suggestions that it had obstructed G20 consensus on cutting climate emissions as “totally run counter to facts”.

Riaz Haq said…
#India-#China tensions threaten to leave #Modi empty-handed at G-20. #G20Summit2023 #Russia #Putin #Ukraine #US #BJP

Negotiations on statement stumble over debt and Russian war
Still unclear whether Xi will attend meeting in New Delhi

In the run-up to the summit in New Delhi starting later next week, China has blocked draft proposals on language regarding emerging-market debt and condemning Russia's war on Ukraine, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential negotiations.

One of the people said China has been particularly belligerent in opposing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's theme for the conference being written in Sanskrit, an ancient language associated with Hinduism.

India and China remain at loggerheads over flashpoints including a border dispute in the Himalayas, while India is a prime beneficiary of efforts by western companies including Apple Inc. to diversify its Chinese operations.

It even remains unclear if President Xi Jinping will attend the Sept. 9-10 summit in person, the people said, a move that would amount to a snub after the Chinese leader traveled to South Africa last week for the BRICS summit. Xi and Modi met on the sidelines of that event, holding a brief conversation to try and resolve their border dispute, only for it flare up again this week.

In addition to strains between China and India, the people said, differences are also emerging between the US-aligned Group of Seven nations and the wider G-20 over a new commitment of funding for developing countries to meet United Nations-backed targets on everything from hunger and education to clean energy and climate change.

Financing fudge
A draft version of a G-20 communique circulated before the summit called for an extra $500 billion of financing for countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, according to people familiar with its contents. However, G-7 nations were unlikely to agree to that demand, the people said, potentially fueling a narrative of a deeper split between some of the world's wealthiest countries and emerging markets.

India's Ministry of External Affairs didn't respond to a request for comment on the summit preparations.

Modi faces perhaps his biggest diplomatic test yet in seeking to smooth over the divisions on a range of issues. Whereas host Indonesia managed an 11th-hour compromise last year on the language over Russia's war, India will likely face a trickier time due to the heightened tensions with China and Modi's push to move closer into the orbit of the US and its allies.

The US has made concerted efforts to woo India, with President Joe Biden hosting Modi at the White House in June, when Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the potential of US-Indian cooperation as "boundless."

In addition to military tensions along their border, China and India are both vying to be the leader of the so-called Global South, which has emerged as a key swing vote as divisions grow starker over global rules espoused by the US and its allies on one hand, and the world view of China and Russia on the other.

Disagreements are typically rife ahead of G-20 summits, and there's still time for a compromise on a concluding statement. The agreement last year in Bali, Indonesia, came together even after other ministerial meetings in the summit's lead-up failed.
Riaz Haq said…
Is #Modi hiding #India's pervasive #poverty from the world? Activists in India are questioning the timing of the mass demolition of slums across #Delhi ahead of the #G20Summit2023 . #Hindutva #BJP https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2023/09/05/india-slum-demolition-g20-summit-intl-sud-vpx.cnn

This woman's home was bulldozed. Activists say it's because Biden and other leaders are coming to town
Riaz Haq said…
G20 India Summit Attendees

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning has announced that Premier of the State Council Li Qiang will represent China at the 18th G20 Summit. This confirmation indicates that China's President Xi Jinping will not be in attendance at this year's G20 meeting in Delhi.


As per a report by News 18, several countries that have not yet confirmed their attendance at the summit include Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, and Argentina.

The G20, consisting of 19 individual nations (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom, and the United States) along with the European Union, collectively forms a prominent international assembly.

Riaz Haq said…
Religious violence reaches #India's capital as a #Hindu mob swarms a #Delhi church. A group of about 30 attacked dozens of churchgoers, including women & children at a place less than 10 miles from where #G20SummitDelhi is to meet. #Modi #Hindutva

Abhishek Donald was at church last month, playing the drums as usual, when he and fellow parishioners were attacked by a right-wing Hindu mob.

During the assault, a man wielding an iron rod broke the knuckles on Abhishek’s right hand and struck him on the back at least twice, turning his skin blue. His pinkie remains twisted, rendering him unable to play the drums properly.

That hasn’t stopped Abhishek, 16, from going back to church.

He was one of the few people at the Prarthana Bhawan Church in India’s capital region on Sunday, two weeks after the mob barged in.

The group of about 30 people attacked dozens of churchgoers, including women and children, the church's pastor, Satpal Bhati, said. The Aug. 20 assault on the Protestant church in northeastern Delhi took place less than 10 miles from where world leaders including President Joe Biden will meet this week for the annual summit of the Group of 20 economies.

“They came straight inside and started beating up people. They broke a chair, tore our Bible, busted the drums, and beat the kid’s hand with a rod,” Bhati said.

“They said, ‘This can’t go on, you can’t do this, this is a Hindu nation,’” he added.

India Church Attack
The church is in a narrow alley adorned with Indian flags.Mithil Aggarwal / NBC News
Communal violence is nothing new in India, a Hindu-majority country of 1.4 billion where periodic clashes have broken out since its departing British colonial rulers partitioned the Indian subcontinent in 1947. But in recent years there has been a surge in attacks on Muslims, who make up about 14% of the population, as well as Christians, who are India’s second-largest religious minority at less than 3% of the population.

Critics say religious polarization has intensified under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist government, and that it is now reaching deep into the capital, which had largely managed to keep the violence at bay.

A few weeks before the church attack in Delhi, thousands of Muslims in the neighboring state of Haryana fled violence-stricken neighborhoods after seven people were killed during a religious Hindu procession organized by groups ideologically aligned with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. Muslim shops and homes were targeted as the communal clashes spread from the district of Nuh to the city of Gurugram, a tech hub where multinational companies such as Google, Ernst & Young and Deloitte have offices.

New Delhi was also engulfed by sectarian riots for several days in 2020, leaving more than 30 people dead.

The United Christian Forum, a human rights group based in New Delhi, said in July that since the start of the year there had been at least 400 acts of violence against Christians across 23 states in India, the Indian news outlet The Wire reported, up from 274 in the first half of 2022.

India Church Attack
About a dozen people, mostly women, were at the service on Sunday, down from the usual 50 to 100 before the attack.Mithil Aggarwal / NBC News
Experts say religious violence in India is driven by a desire to establish a Hindu state, trumping the secularism enshrined in the country’s constitution and instilling fear in those who stand opposed.

“What we are witnessing in India is majoritarianism couched as democracy,” said M. Sudhir Selvaraj, a lecturer at the University of Bradford in Britain who studies anti-Christian violence in India. “There is a sense that people feel emboldened by Modi as the leader. They feel that this is ‘our’ time and ‘our’ place.”

Riaz Haq said…
India's Modi is not the world's guru


Publicity campaign ahead of G20 summit strikes the wrong note

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

In the run-up to the Group of 20 summit this weekend in New Delhi, billboards and bus stops in every Indian city are plastered with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will preside over the gathering of leaders from around the globe.

The posters hail India, via Modi, as a Vishwaguru -- a Sanskrit term for world guru or teacher to the world. Similar advertisements have covered the front pages of major newspapers.

India has never seen an advertising blitz of this magnitude. A former finance secretary estimated the cost at 10 billion rupees ($121 million) and rising. He sees the push as the start of Modi's 2024 reelection campaign.

It is of course convenient to have the government, rather than the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), pay for this ad campaign. Indian politicians of all stripes have done similar things in the past, but the scale of the current campaign beggars description.

By law, the most that can be spent on a campaign for a parliamentary seat is 9.5 million rupees. The legal cost to contest all 543 seats in the Lok Sabha would thus be no more than 5 billion rupees.

Critics who think Modi is trying to impress foreign visitors are clearly mistaken. This advertising blitz is aimed at financing the promotion of the prime minister in the election run-up, portraying him as a great leader of not just India but the world.

This message plays well with the Hindu nationalist BJP, whose members believe India was the greatest and richest civilization in the world in ancient times but then enslaved and impoverished by Muslim and British invaders. Modi himself says he has rescued India following centuries of "enslavement."

In the face of both threats and inducements, the Indian media is not talking much about Modi's use of government money to advance a personality cult or boost his election prospects. Dissenters of all sorts, whether in business, media or the nonprofit sector, have faced raids for supposed tax or foreign exchange violations that are likely to keep them tied up in court for years.

Indian media companies, meanwhile, are making millions of dollars from running Modi's advertisements, which they would lose if they played their intended democratic role of speaking truth to power. Very few are willing to pay this price.

Modi's notion of being the world's guru is just as ridiculous as his twisted history of "centuries of enslavement," which has been used to attack India's religious minorities.

A guru is nothing without disciples. If India or Modi himself is the world's guru, who are the disciples? The least likely candidates are Western powers which believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are the true global gurus.

It might seem that India's disciples would be most likely to come from its geographic neighborhood rather than distant lands. But even a cursory examination shows otherwise.

Does Pakistan regard India as a guru? No, it is India's greatest foe. It has allied with China, India's other major foe, to try and put India in its place. No disciples there.

What about Bangladesh, which India helped to achieve independence from Pakistan in 1971? There is now little gratitude for India's help, which is accurately viewed as a ploy to split and disempower Pakistan rather than an altruistic move to aid Bangladeshis.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is about the only Bangladeshi politician to express somewhat pro-Indian views, and even she has to step carefully. The Hindu share of Bangladesh's population has shrunk from 30% at the time of Pakistan's independence in 1947 to 7.5% today, as many have migrated to India to escape discrimination and persecution. No sign of Indian disciples in Bangladesh.
Riaz Haq said…
India's Modi is not the world's guru


Publicity campaign ahead of G20 summit strikes the wrong note

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

A guru is nothing without disciples. If India or Modi himself is the world's guru, who are the disciples? The least likely candidates are Western powers which believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are the true global gurus.

It might seem that India's disciples would be most likely to come from its geographic neighborhood rather than distant lands. But even a cursory examination shows otherwise.

Does Pakistan regard India as a guru? No, it is India's greatest foe. It has allied with China, India's other major foe, to try and put India in its place. No disciples there.

What about Bangladesh, which India helped to achieve independence from Pakistan in 1971? There is now little gratitude for India's help, which is accurately viewed as a ploy to split and disempower Pakistan rather than an altruistic move to aid Bangladeshis.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is about the only Bangladeshi politician to express somewhat pro-Indian views, and even she has to step carefully. The Hindu share of Bangladesh's population has shrunk from 30% at the time of Pakistan's independence in 1947 to 7.5% today, as many have migrated to India to escape discrimination and persecution. No sign of Indian disciples in Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka? Many there harbor ill will toward New Delhi in the belief that it supported the development of the Tamil Tiger insurgency when Indira Gandhi was India's prime minister in the early 1980s. The insurgency became a civil war in which up to 100,000 were killed. Hard to find disciples there.

What about Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation? Ever since then-Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru intervened in a royal power struggle in 1951, Nepalese have viewed New Delhi as an imperial power to be feared. India has on more than one occasion blocked essential supplies to Nepal to try to exert political influence. Nepalese may be Hindus, but they are anything but Modi's disciples.

What about the West? It sees India as a rising economic power to be wooed. Western investment is pouring into India and the West lauds India's success in digital payments, financial inclusion and social programs.

But some in the West also castigate the Indian government for eroding democratic values and human rights and suppressing civic groups. Freedom House, an American rights group, downgraded India from "free" to "partly free" in its 2021 index of political and civil liberties around the world. Sweden's V-Dem Institute classifies India as an "electoral autocracy."

In its annual World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked India a dismal 161st. In the global Human Freedom Index compiled by the Cato Institute, India fell from 75th place in 2015 to 112th in 2022.

Indian government officials criticize these indexes as flawed. Maybe so, but the notion of India as a Vishwaguru sounds like a bad joke in the West.

India has certainly provided the world with yoga, transcendental meditation and the Bhagavad Gita. Indian mathematicians invented the concept of zero and sundry equations in ancient times. Bollywood has global fans today for its films and music.

This adds up to a reasonable amount of soft power. Alas, it is not the stuff of which world gurus are made.

Riaz Haq said…
#India’s Preparations for #G20 Must Also Account for Monkeys. For #NewDelhi, monkeys are a minor problem compared with #poverty and #pollution, but the government doesn’t want them stealing the spotlight when world leaders arrive. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/07/world/asia/g20-summit-monkeys-india-delhi.html

By Sameer Yasir and Mike Ives

If you’re ever in New Delhi and think you hear a monkey, don’t assume it’s a monkey. It could be a professional monkey noise impersonator.

That’s because humans have been trained to imitate the guttural grunts and shrieks of gray langurs, a type of large monkey that can scare away the smaller kinds that tend to invade city officials’ residences or disrupt state visits.

This weekend, the impersonators will take on a fresh challenge: keeping monkeys, which often evade guards by swinging through tree canopies, from barging into venues for the Group of 20 summit of world leaders, the first to take place in India.

The event is an important one for India on the global stage, and the government does not want monkeys to steal the spotlight.

“We are trying everything to keep the monkeys away,” Satish Upadhyay, vice chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council, said in an interview. The campaign includes training 40 people to imitate langur noises and placing life-size cutouts of the animals, which can weigh more than 30 pounds, around the venues.

Every place has its unique challenges in hosting a large and prestigious event. Gatherings like the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto and the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle were disrupted by protests. Before their turns hosting the Olympics, Beijing, Paris and Salt Lake City tried to hide poor and homeless residents.

New Delhi, too, faces problems including air pollution and its reputation as a city that is unsafe for women. Amid India’s G20 promotional blitz, advocates say the city’s poor have been hidden away.

And then there are the wild monkeys, mainly rhesus macaques.

They are not shy. They steal food and chase pedestrians. They sometimes ride buses and subway trains. They have attacked patients inside hospitals, invaded the Defense Ministry and the prime minister’s office and romped in the Indian Parliament building.

Such antics occasionally have deadly consequences. In an extreme case, a deputy mayor died in 2007 after falling from his balcony while trying to scare away monkeys by using a stick.

“The monkeys are naughty and they can arrive at your dinner table, in any house in Delhi,” said Abdul Khan, a freelance monkey noise imitator in New Delhi, whose uncle once used live monkeys to shoo smaller ones. “It doesn’t matter how many security guards you have outside the gate.”

A number of Indian and overseas news outlets kicked off their coverage of the G20 last week with reports on the government’s plans for scaring off the macaques. Manisha Pande, the managing editor at Newslaundry, an Indian media watchdog, said such coverage was “as clichéd as it gets” and that many Indians were “quite bored of the foreign press regurgitating the same monkey story.”

She said she could not recall any event or summit in the country ever being disrupted by monkeys.

“That said, monkeys are known to be a bit of an urban menace when it comes to Delhi and many other cities of South Asia and Southeast Asia, just like sea gulls are a menace in any coastal European city,” she said.

Deploying monkey noise impersonators during state visits and other important functions is a relatively new tactic in Delhi, and it is a far less aggressive one than those city authorities used in the past: human monkey chasers and actual gray langurs, not to mention slingshots, stones and tranquilizer guns.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s Preparations for #G20 Must Also Account for Monkeys. For #NewDelhi, monkeys are a minor problem compared with #poverty and #pollution, but the government doesn’t want them stealing the spotlight when world leaders arrive. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/07/world/asia/g20-summit-monkeys-india-delhi.html

In 2012, the national government banned the use of actual langurs, after activists said the practice amounted to animal cruelty. Most of those langurs were captured from the wild in violation of Indian laws, said Valentina Sclafani, a psychologist at the University of Lincoln in Britain who has studied primate behavior.

Another challenge is that in Hinduism, India’s dominant religion, monkeys are viewed as representations of a deity, and some people like to feed them as a traditional offering.

So Delhi officials began looking for other options. Langur voice mimickers, for instance, were part of a larger effort to tidy up Delhi’s rough edges ahead of President Obama’s 2015 state visit.

Does such mimicry actually work, though?

Emily Bethell, an expert on primate behavior and social cognition at Liverpool John Moores University in Britain, said that she had found no peer-reviewed studies on langur voice mimicry being an effective strategy for containing a macaque population.

Still, she said, the practice appears to be based on a sound understanding of macaque behavior.

“Whether they can mimic those calls so closely that a macaque would interpret them as coming from a langur we cannot know without rigorous scientific testing,” Dr. Bethell said in an email. “However, the macaques may be familiar with humans making these calls and associate them with threat, which could be enough.”

Dr. Sclafani also expressed cautious optimism about the practice, saying there is some evidence that macaques can recognize and respond to langurs’ alarm and territorial calls under certain conditions.

A hypothetical monkey disruption at the G20 could threaten the government’s “meticulously built” reputation for event management and give the political opposition fodder to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party ahead of upcoming state-level elections, said Sanjeev M.A., a professor of marketing at the Jaipuria Institute of Management in Lucknow, India, who has studied crisis communication by Indian officials during the coronavirus pandemic.

If any monkeys were to be killed, he added, that would upset members of India’s Hindu majority and allow the opposition to question the government’s religious sensitivities.

Mr. Upadhyay, the municipal official, declined a reporter’s request to interview some of the impersonators. He said their work was part of continuing research by forestry officials to find new ways of scaring off monkeys.

He expressed confidence in the impersonators’ chances of success at the G20.

“Will it be 100 percent effective?" he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”
Riaz Haq said…
Many young Indians say they haven't benefited from the economic growth Modi boasts of


Ahead of the G20, India's Prime Minister Nerendra Modi boasted about his country's economic growth. But many young Indians say they have not benefited from it.
Riaz Haq said…
Markets shuttered, schools closed as Delhi locks down for G20
By Krishn Kaushik and Joseph Campbell
September 8, 20231:40 AM PDTUpdated 19 hours ago


The central business and government district of New Delhi came to a standstill on Friday with markets shuttered, schools closed and traffic restricted as tens of thousands of security personnel fanned out for the weekend summit of G20 countries.

The official closure came into effect at midnight on Thursday with leaders of the group scheduled to begin arriving from Friday morning for the most high-powered global meeting hosted by India.

Those attending include U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Bin Salman and Japan's Fumio Kishida, among others.

On Friday, the centre of the normally bustling and choked city of 20 million was deserted, with just a trickle of vehicles and scores of armed security personnel seen along the main streets, Reuters witnesses said.

Nearly 130,000 police and paramilitary security personnel have been deployed across the city, mostly in the New Delhi district, with the air force providing cover from aerial threats.

City authorities have also demolished slums near the summit venue, tried to scare away monkeys and removed stray dogs from the area.

Stores and restaurants were closed in the capital's premier Connaught Place colonial-era shopping district, as well as in the popular Khan Market. Shopkeepers have told local newspapers they would lose about 4 billion rupees ($48 million) because of the three-day closure.

"It's quite normal for visiting dignitaries to visit a city landmark like Khan Market," said Sanjeev Mehra, president of the Khan Market Traders Association.

"For G20 delegates, we were preparing mementos, but the government has asked us to shut down our shops. We have decided to concede to the government's request, but for a growing economy, it would have been nice to let business operations run normally."

The leaders and their teams are staying in luxury hotels in and around the heart of the city and the meeting is being held at a newly-built venue across the road from the country's Supreme Court.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to Delhi's residents to bear with the possible inconvenience due to the summit restrictions.

"While the entire country is a host, Delhi will bear maximum responsibility" for the G20 summit, Modi said.

"When so many guests come from around the world, it does lead to some inconvenience ... I seek forgiveness from Delhi citizens for the problem they are going to face."

Authorities have been announcing that much of the city is open with Delhi Police repeatedly messaging on social media platforms that "just a small part of NDMC area will have restrictions”, referring to the New Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Offices and schools here have been asked to close, as also shops and small businesses. Taxis and buses aren’t allowed in this part of the city.

Even app-based taxi and food delivery services are barred. Those who need to reach the railway station or the airport through these areas would need to produce tickets to be allowed to pass through.

In the bazaars of the old city, it was not clear if the restrictions would be extended there. Many shops were closed on Friday.

Yashowarthan Aggarwal, a 37-year-old store owner in Dariba Kalan, a street renowned for its jewellery shops, said authorities should allow the area to remain open.

“The tourists coming to Delhi for G20 should look at our shops, buy something. If they just come and see everything is closed, there’s nothing good about it,” he said.

Riaz Haq said…
China think tank says India is 'sabotaging' G20 for its own agenda


India has been trying to take advantage of its role as the host of the G20 Summit to promote its own agenda and harm China's interests, a Chinese think tank affiliated with the country's top spy agency said on Saturday.

The harsh criticism by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, which is under the Ministry of State Security, comes as G20 leaders began their annual two-day summit, in India's capital New Delhi, with Chinese President Xi Jinping not attending.

The think tank accused India of bringing geopolitical "private goods" onto the global stage, which it said would not only help the country to fulfill its responsibility as the host of G20 but also create further problems.

India held two earlier G20 meetings in disputed territories -- one in Arunachal Pradesh that China also claims, and another in Kashmir, contested by Pakistan.

"In addition to causing diplomatic turmoil and public opinion turmoil, India's actions in hosting meetings in disputed territories have also 'stole the spotlight', sabotaging the cooperative atmosphere of the G20 meeting and hindering the achievement of substantive results." the think tank said in a commentary published on its Wechat account.

The remarks may shed some light on Xi's absence from the summit hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chinese officials have declined to explain the absence. Premier Li Qiang is representing China instead.

The two Asian neighbours have been searching for ways to ease simmering military tensions along their vast border, but New Delhi has described the situation as fragile and dangerous. Since 2020, New Delhi has also ramped up scrutiny of Chinese businesses and investments.

Last Sunday, reacting to news that Xi would not attend the G20 summit, U.S. President Biden said he was "disappointed" but would "get to see him".

The think tank also said India has been trying to use the issue of debt restructuring to attack China, and has frequently cooperated with the United States and the West in hyping the "debt trap" theory, when Beijing has offered loans to poorer countries to build needed infrastructure likes ports or roads.

India's move could "further create differences and rifts, hinder the international community from reaching consensus and substantive results, and will ultimately cause damage to its own international image and global development interests", the think tank added.

Xi, during a tour to the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, has promised to take more steps to revive the flagging northeast, state media said on Saturday.

Riaz Haq said…
Modi will count G20 consensus as a win - but it shows how low the bar for success is


The Indian prime minister has secured a consensus on wording around the Ukraine war in the leaders' declaration - but it is a watered-down version of what was agreed last year in Bali.


Cordelia Lynch


Narendra Modi wanted to show he could bridge global divides at this G20 in Delhi.

The fact he's reached a consensus on the first day of this G20 is proof he can.

A PR supremo, he will no doubt cast it as a huge and early success. Ukraine was always going to be the sticking point.

What he's avoided is what would have been an unprecedented failure - coming out of this summit with no agreement.

But be in no doubt, the paragraph on the Ukraine war is a watered-down version of what was agreed in Bali last year.

It calls for "a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine" and says "today's era must not be of war".

Critically, it doesn't mention Russia by name, and leaves out any direct mention of Russian aggression.

Intriguingly, it also urges member states not to "act against the territorial integrity of any state".

Those words could be seen as an attempt to appease Russia, which has complained about attacks on its territory.

We know that Mr Modi worked hard to encourage other G20 members to listen to Moscow and Beijing's viewpoint.

What is perhaps most revealing in the language of this declaration though is the assertion that "G20 is not the place to resolve geopolitical issues".

That is an overt acknowledgement of the limitations of this group. There is a new world order emerging.

Mr Modi is positioning himself at the heart of it. He's managed to walk a delicate political tightrope and position cast himself as a bridge builder in a divided world.

The United States, desperate to find a counterweight to Moscow, is courting him, willing to put aside concerns about his nationalism to find a strategic ally.

At the same time as embracing Joe Biden, Mr Modi has managed to keep good relations with Vladimir Putin. Russia is a Cold War ally Delhi isn't ready to shake yet and India continues to benefit from cheap Russian oil and gas.

As for China, its absence from the G20 gives Mr Modi the space to present India as a global superpower on the ascent, while Beijing struggles financially.

The addition of the African Union as a member will also help Mr Modi's portrayal of this as an inclusive summit that connects the developed and developing world.

This G20 is a golden chance for India's leader to kickstart his election campaign ahead of next year's vote. Today's declaration gives him something to sell to voters.

What this summit has also perhaps shown, however, is how low the bar for success now is in a deeply politically splintered planet.

Riaz Haq said…
#Modi’s #India no Friend of the West . Biggest aspect of #Hindutva is “xenophobia. It may be muted “when and where the military and political strength of the foreigner” is overwhelming but thrives on an “incessant campaign of slander and denigration" #G20

by Pankaj Mishra


India is, suddenly, Bharat, and it could be asked, as Shakespeare wrote, what’s in a name? But Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who embraced the Sanskrit name for his country in the same week that he played lavish host to the G-20 summit in New Delhi, is trying hard to project India as a “vishwaguru” (guru to the world). It is time to examine his claims more closely, and also to see the present and the future of his “New India” without comforting illusions.

Take, for instance, the booklet, “Bharat, the Mother of Democracy,” presented by Modi’s government to visiting dignitaries at the G-20. According to it, ancient Hindu sages and kings were partisans of equality, inclusivity, and harmony. Even modern feminism was anticipated by the 5,000-year-old bronze statue of an “independent and liberated” dancing girl.

Such claims are part of an elaborate narrative that is decisively shaping the outlook of many Indians today — one in which a once-dynamic Hindu civilization was ravaged by vicious Muslims and exploitative Westerners.

In Modi’s own account, Hindus were enslaved by Muslim invaders for 750 years and then for an additional 250 years by white British colonialists — a version of history used in India today to justify the degradation of Muslim and Christian minorities, the destruction of mosques and British-built buildings, the purging of textbooks, and now the unofficial renaming of India.

Modi’s own popularity, unconnected to his party’s variable fortunes, stems from what is a potent promise in a country full of humiliated peoples: to destroy the corrupt old political order and, as he put it in his Independence Day speech last month, to ensure a fully modernized New India enjoys a “golden” period “for the next 1,000 years.”

Such millenarian bombast — also echoed in the speeches of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping — belongs to a longer tradition of anti-Western demagogues proclaiming themselves heirs to distinguished ancient civilizations, including the Germans and Italians who sought to build the Thousand-Year Reich and the Third Rome, respectively.

It is a common mistake to suppose that German and Italians Fascists rejected modernity in favor of an idealized past. On the contrary, they pursued, often with help of Western nations they derided as “decadent,” ultra-modern technologies, modernist architectural plans, advanced transport systems and awesome public works. Like Hindu nationalists today, they used mass media, sporting events, and scientific breakthroughs to raise the pitch of collective emotion and project the image of a united and resurgent people.

Of course, since technological and military power still clearly lay with Britain, France and the US, the peoples failing to catch up with the West tried to feel superior to it in the realm of culture and philosophy. Invoking their great ethnic or racial past even as they sought grandiosely to supervise the future of the modern world, they became exemplars of what the American historian Jeffrey Herf has called “reactionary modernism.”

Presenting ancient Indians as pioneering democrats and feminists (also, the world’s earliest plastic surgeons), Modi belongs to this extended family of catch-up nationalists. His nation, too, seeks to blend neo-traditionalism with modernization while measuring itself, with volatile feelings of insecurity and resentment, against a weakened but still superior West.

Riaz Haq said…
India Keeps Pulling the Plug on Its Digital Economy


Online sellers and ride-hailing drivers count the cost as authorities cut off the internet more than in any other country

When Indian authorities shut down the internet across a remote northeast state in May, Amy Aribam said it wiped out the more than $9,000 in monthly revenue for her home business selling saris online.

Four months later, Aribam is back online but the internet remains down for many, and the women who weave her silk and cotton saris by hand are suffering. “We couldn’t communicate with our customers,” Aribam said. “Our business is completely online.”

Indian authorities said they pulled the plug to stop the spread of rumors as social unrest erupted in Manipur, a state governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. India’s government has increasingly shut down the internet to respond to a range of problems, including political upheaval, fugitives on the loose and even cheating on exams.

Nine years after Modi was elected, the world’s most populous democracy leads the world in internet shutdowns, according to tallies by digital-rights groups. Last year’s 84 cutoffs in various parts of the country exceeded the combined total for all other nations, including Iran, Libya and Sudan, New York-based digital rights group Access Now says. Since 2016, when the group began collecting data, India has accounted for more than half of all internet shutdowns globally.

The outages have disrupted the lives of tens of millions of people in a country where inexpensive mobile data and government efforts to facilitate mobile payments have catapulted vast numbers of consumers into the digital age in recent years. About half of India’s 1.4 billion people are now online, increasingly dependent on connectivity to communicate with friends and family, shop online, pay utility bills and more.

Digital-rights advocates say the shutdowns disproportionately affect the poor, often making it harder for them to collect food subsidies and wages through rural employment programs. They also lead to job losses, hamper online transactions and discourage foreign investment. That damps economic growth and disrupts startups and U.S. e-commerce companies, researchers say.

The prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Web shutdowns in India between 2019 and 2022 cost more than $4.8 billion in economic activity, according to London-based Top10VPN, which tracks global outages. More than 120 million people in India were affected last year, the group says.

The U.S. has expressed concern even as it increases cooperation with India as a strategic counterweight to China. The State Department said in a March human-rights report that restrictions on internet freedom included authorities’ repeatedly blocking the internet, particularly during periods of political unrest.

In 2015, the year after Modi was elected, he promised to build a “Digital India” connecting the country’s masses. “Digital connectivity should become as much a basic right as access to school,” he said.

Riaz Haq said…
India Keeps Pulling the Plug on Its Digital Economy


The number of internet users in India has risen to 692 million from 350 million since 2015, according to digital consulting firm Kepios. But government efforts to bolster connectivity are undermined by the government’s shutdowns, said Raman Jit Singh Chima, Asia policy director at Access Now.

“How can you have a ‘Digital India’ with all these shutdowns?” he said.

Among citizens most affected are those who deliver food and groceries or work for ride-hailing services. They typically can’t fulfill orders or pick up passengers without access to their companies’ apps.

Tofeeq Khan, a 32-year-old Uber driver who lives on the outskirts of New Delhi in Haryana state, said he was unable to work for about two weeks last month due to an internet shutdown, imposed during violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims. Authorities said the action was needed to stop the spread of misinformation and to prevent mobs from organizing.

Khan, the sole breadwinner for his parents, wife and two sons, said he lost more than $300 of income, leaving him unable to pay his sons’ school tuition, buy groceries or make payments on his car loan.

“I feel like a mountain of hardships has fallen upon me and my family,” he said. Uber declined to comment.

In March, authorities in the northern state of Punjab, home to more than 27 million people, cut mobile internet and text-messaging services for several days while police sought a Sikh separatist who had called for an independent Sikh homeland. The shutdown was intended to stop his supporters from expressing support online or coordinating escape plans.

In 2021, authorities cut off the internet in Rajasthan state, home to about 80 million people, for up to 12 hours to maintain law and order and prevent what they feared could be cheating on an exam for those seeking coveted jobs as government-school teachers. Copies of exams sometimes spread online before they are administered, and students have been caught using banned devices during exams.

The shutdown response has grown since then, with exam-related outages in several more states, according to the Software Freedom Law Center, India, a group that advocates digital freedom. Last year it filed a public-interest lawsuit, arguing the shutdowns are arbitrary and illegal.

The Muslim-majority region of Kashmir is subject to the most shutdowns. Indian authorities last year cut internet access there 49 times, according to Access Now, more than half of the national total. The restrictions began in 2019 on the grounds that they were needed to maintain public order ahead of New Delhi’s decision to strip the region of its special status. Local businesses say the region’s economy is ailing.

“Earlier the shutdowns were in response to trouble, but now they are being used in preventive ways,” said Namrata Maheshwari, Asia Pacific policy counsel at Access Now.

It is unclear that the blocks assist in ending social upheaval or stop cheating, she said, and they often create anxiety among friends and family who find themselves in the dark, or unable to work.

In Manipur, the internet cuts came during violent clashes between two ethnic groups that killed more than 100 people.

Aribam found an expensive workaround for her sari business. Her brother, with whom she runs the business, flew more than 1,000 miles to New Delhi several times over the months, carrying bags stuffed with the garments. He stayed in a hotel and sold them online using the hotel’s internet connection.

“My family and I can survive during this difficult time because we are privileged in some ways,” she said. “However, the weavers who live hand to mouth are finding it difficult to make ends meet.”
Riaz Haq said…
The eruption of war in Israel and Gaza is a dark reminder that buried conflicts – like India’s disputes with Pakistan and China – can erupt at any time.
By Chietigj Bajpaee


the most recent developments in the Middle East show how unresolved disputes have a tendency to flare up. In this context, tensions with Pakistan (and to a lesser extent China) remain a constant thorn in India’s global ambitions.


Claims of a “new Middle East” have been quashed as the “old Middle East” has returned with a vengeance: The devastating October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel have been followed by unprecedented Israeli attacks on Gaza and the resumption of prolonged Israel-Palestine hostilities. This has also called into question the future of diplomatic initiatives such as the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, the Saudi-Iran resumption of diplomatic relations earlier this year, and efforts to facilitate a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

What does this mean for India? Beyond the Modi government’s unequivocal support for Israel (which is arguably more equivocal at the level of public opinion, given India’s longstanding support for the Palestinian cause) the latest hostilities in the Middle East hold lessons for India’s global ambitions.

Recent years have seen India raise its voice on the world stage. India’s G-20 presidency strengthened the country’s credentials as the voice of the Global South. New Delhi is offering Indian solutions to global problems, ranging from climate change and sustainability to digital public infrastructure and global health. India has spearheaded new connectivity initiatives, from its rebranded “Act East” Policy in the East to the India-Middle East-Economic Corridor and I2U2 (India-Israel-UAE-U.S.) grouping in the West.

Despite the growing polarization of the international system following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India has been courted by all major poles of influence. It is a member of both Western-led initiatives such as the Quad and non-Western initiatives such as the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Undergirding these developments are India’s impressive achievements, ranging from its space program marking a global first to surpassing the United Kingdom in GDP and surpassing China in population. Projections China in population. Projections hold that India will be the world’s fastest growing major economy in 2023; it is on course to surpass Germany and Japan to emerge as the world’s third-largest economy by the end of this decade. Meanwhile, the Indian government has just announced that it will submit a bid to host the 2036 Olympic games.

But the most recent developments in the Middle East show how unresolved disputes have a tendency to flare up. In this context, tensions with Pakistan (and to a lesser extent China) remain a constant thorn in India’s global ambitions.

All it would take is another high-profile terrorist attack on India, followed by the mobilization of both countries’ militaries, to erode investor confidence. This would undermine India’s ambitions to emerge as an engine of global growth, a global manufacturing hub and a beneficiary of the push to de-risk or decouple supply chains away from China. It would also challenge the government’s credentials as the “chowkidar” or watchman/protector of India’s interests, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Mr. Security” reputation has been tarnished by the recent Hamas attacks. As such, despite India’s success in de-hyphenating its relationship with Pakistan, the unresolved Kashmir dispute and relations with Pakistan remain a key challenge to India’s global ambitions.

Riaz Haq said…

Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country.
--David Ben-Gurion, 1956

We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house.
—Moshe Dayan, April 1956

As soon as we have a big settlement here, we’ll seize the land, we’ll become strong, and then we’ll take care of the Left Bank [of the Jordan River]. We’ll expel them from there, too. Let them go back to the Arab countries.
—Jewish settler, 1891

[We] must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or grapple with the problem of a large alien population, mostly Mohammedan and accustomed for centuries to hate us.
—Israel Zangwill, 1905

Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English, or America is American.
—Chaim Weizmann, 1919

I support compulsory transfer. I do not see in it anything immoral.
—David Ben-Gurion, 1938

Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.
—Benny Morris, 2004

Maybe England will chance upon an empty piece of land in need
of a white population, and perhaps the Jews will happen to be these whites . . .
—Chaim Weizmann, 1914

We welcome the friendship of Christian Zionists.
—Theodore Herzl, 1897

The entire Christian church, in its variety of branches . . . will be
compelled . . . to teach the history and development of the nascent Jewish state. No commonwealth on earth will start with such propaganda for its exploitation in world thought, or with such eager and minute scrutiny, by millions of people, of its slightest detail.
—A. A. Berle, 1918

Christian Zionists favor Jewish Zionism as a step leading not to the
perpetuation but to the disappearance of the Jews.
—Morris Jastrow, 1919

Zionism has but brought to light and given practical form and a
recognized position to a principle which had long consciously or
unconsciously guided English opinion.
—Nahum Sokolow, 1919

Christian Zionism and Jewish Zionism have combined to create an
international alliance superseding anything that NATO or UN has to
—Daniel Lazare, 2003

Put positively: Other than Israel’s Defense Forces, American Christian Zionists may be the Jewish state’s ultimate strategic asset.
—Daniel Pipes, 2003

US prestige in the Muslim world has suffered a severe blow, and US
strategic interests in the Mediterranean and Near East have been seriously prejudiced.
—George F. Kennan, January 1948

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan beats #India 38-18 in #UNESCO vote for executive board vice chair. This also comes at a time when India has been projecting itself as the ‘voice’ of the ‘Global South’ — low- and middle-income countries in #Africa, #Asia and #LatinAmerica.


Islamabad's candidate secured the post of vice-chairperson of the UNESCO executive board. India’s defeat contravenes decades of its diplomatic policy approach to such elections.

New Delhi: Pakistan beat India with more than double the votes to secure the post of vice-chair of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) executive board last week. While 38 members of the 58-member executive board voted for Islamabad’s candidate, only 18 voted for New Delhi’s representative, and two countries abstained.

The executive board is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO — a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information. The other two are the general conference and the secretariat.

India was elected to the UNESCO executive board in 2021 for a four-year term till 2025. Pakistan was elected earlier this year for a four-year term that will end in 2027.

India’s defeat in this vote contravenes decades of its diplomatic policy approach to such elections. “India’s policy has always been to stand in elections that are winnable. If the election is deemed risky, then full efforts are made to ensure India’s victory,” an individual familiar with the matter told ThePrint.

This also comes at a time when India has been projecting itself as the ‘voice’ of the ‘Global South’ — a term used to refer to low- and middle-income countries located in the Southern Hemisphere, mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. While the election was held by secret ballot, that India received only 18 votes suggests that these ‘Global South’ countries may have largely sided with Pakistan, since they form the majority of the board members.

The bureau of the executive board consists of 12 members — the chairperson, six vice-chairpersons and the five chairpersons of the permanent commissions and committees. The key roles played by the bureau include setting the agenda and allocating time for executive board meetings. The vice-chairperson has no decision-making powers.

All members of UNESCO are grouped into six regional electoral groups, and each such group is represented by a vice-chairperson. This latest election won by Pakistan was for the vice-chairperson of Group IV, which includes Australia, Bangladesh, China, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

On 24 November, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan had posted on X, stating that Islamabad was elected as vice-chairperson with “overwhelming support”.

India’s permanent representative to the UNESCO is a political appointee, Vishal V. Sharma, a former independent director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) as well as former officer on special duty to Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister.

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