Are Some Pakistanis Feeding into Indian Delusions of Grandeur?

Many Pakistanis are singing effusive praises of India on social media platforms and racking up millions of views, according to a report in the Indian  mainstream media. These Pakistanis are boosting their earnings by feeding into the Indians' delusions. The "India Today" report claims that, in the last 6 months alone, the number of channels using the hashtag #pakistanireactiononindia on YouTube increased by 1,000, and the number of videos by 5,000. Calling it an "industry" is an acknowledgment of the profit motive of the Pakistani YouTubers. These YouTubers steer clear of anything that even remotely challenges their unadulterated praise of India. For example, they make no mention of India ranking worse than Pakistan on income poverty, hunger and overall happiness. Nor do they talk about thousands of Indian farmers killing themselves every year.  Nor do they mention extremely high levels of unemployment in Modi's India. 

Modi Claims "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest)

India's Population:

India is the world's most populous country with a population (1.4 billion) over 6 times larger than Pakistan's (230 million). India has the world's largest number of social media users and hundreds of millions of book readers. The profit motive for praising India extends beyond just the social media. It also includes book publishers and authors who see an opportunity to profit from it. India's English language book market is the world's third largest, behind that of the United States at the top and of the United Kingdom at number 2.  It is the fastest growing market today which will make India the world's number 1 market in the next ten years.  It could happen sooner if the book sales in the US and the UK decline faster or those in India grow more rapidly than they are already.

Indian Delusions: 

Delusions are a symptom of mental disorders, and are characterized by a belief in something that is not true. Here's how India Today describes what it calls "The Praise India Industry" and how it is received by Indians: 

"Indians love people from abroad lauding their achievements, but seem to derive the biggest satisfaction when Pakistanis gush over India's success. Pakistanis have understood that and have tapped into that, creating an entire industry of YouTubers in Pakistan". 

India's leaders and their western boosters have been promoting the country as an emerging superpower to counter rising China. They cite the size of India's economy, demography, military and consumer market to back up their assertions. These claims are challenged by India's former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman, former head of IMF in India, in an article titled "India's Size Illusion".  In a similar article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious questions about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region. 

Akhand Bharat (Greater India) Mural in India's New Parliament Building

Modi's 56 inch Chest:

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's 2019 failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  These events should force India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

India's Illusions:

Indian government's former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has enumerated and challenged arguments for what he calls "India's Size Illusion" as follows:

1. India’s economic size has not translated into commensurate military strength. Part of the problem is simple geography. (German Chancellor Otto Von) Bismarck (1815-1898) supposedly said that the US is bordered on two sides by weak neighbors and on two sides by fish. India, however, does not enjoy such splendid isolation. Ever since independence, it has been confronted on its Western frontier by Pakistan, a highly armed, chronically hostile, and often military-ruled neighbor. More recently, India’s northern neighbor, China, also has become aggressive, repudiating the territorial status quo, occupying contested land in the Himalayas, reclaiming territory in the east, and building up a large military presence along India’s borders. So, India may have fish for neighbors along its long peninsular coast, but on land it faces major security challenges on two fronts.

2.  Then there is the question of market size. As Pennsylvania State University’s Shoumitro Chatterjee and one of us (Subramanian) have shown, India’s middle-class market for consumption is much smaller than the $3 trillion headline GDP number suggests, because many people have limited purchasing power while a smaller number of well-off people tend to save a lot. In fact, the effective size of India’s consumer market is less than $1 trillion, far smaller than China’s and even smaller relative to the potential world export market of nearly $30 trillion.

Indo-Pacific Dominance:

In an article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious doubts about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

1. China has been building dozens of advanced warships that seem poised to head toward the vast body of water through which 80 percent of global seaborne trade transits.....Indeed, a deeper (US) partnership with India — the world’s largest democracy, on an upward economic trajectory, seemingly perfectly positioned to counter China on land and at sea — has been something of a holy grail for at least four U.S. administrations.......Yet what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a decade ago called a “strategic bet” on India does not seem to be paying off. Indian naval and political power in the Indian Ocean region is faltering, giving way to influence by Beijing. Many of these problems are of India’s own making.

2. There is increasing discussion and advocacy among China’s foreign policy scholars and former officials about an Indian Ocean fleet. Indeed, the idea is consistent with China’s efforts to acquire military facilities in the Horn of Africa, on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast, in Myanmar and in the UAE, which offers access to the Persian Gulf. China has also engaged in intelligence collection efforts in the region and increased its port visits and diplomatic presence.

India's "Accidental" Missile Firing:

India's March 9 "accidental firing" of Brahmos nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile into Pakistan has raised serious questions about the safety of the Indian nuclear arsenal. Do the people in charge of India's nukes have basic competence to handle such weapons? Was this really an "unauthorized" or "accidental" firing? Why was there a long delay by New Delhi in acknowledging the incident?  Could Pakistan be blamed if it assumed that extremist right-wing Hindu elements had taken control of the missile system in India and fired it deliberately into Pakistani territory? Has the Indian government risked the lives of 1.6 billion people of South Asia?

Could this "errant" missile have brought down commercial passenger planes that were in the air at the time of this "accidental" firing? Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg detailing air traffic in the flight path of the Indian Brahmos:

"Several planes passed through the direct trajectory of the missile that day, which flew from the Indian garrison town of Ambala and ended up in Mian Channu in Eastern Pakistan. They included a Flydubai jet heading to Dubai from Sialkot, an IndiGo plane going from Srinagar to Mumbai and an Airblue Ltd. flight from Lahore to Riyadh. All crossed the missile’s trajectory within an hour of its accidental launch, data from flight-tracking application Flightradar24 show.  Other international flights in the vicinity of the missile’s trajectory -- and within its range -- included a Kuwait Airways Co. jet heading to Guangzhou, China from Kuwait City, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Riyadh from New Delhi, and a Qatar Airways service from Kathmandu to Doha, the data show. No advisory to pilots operating in the vicinity -- known as a notice to airmen or NOTAM -- was issued". 

India: A Paper Elephant:

In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir in 2019, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Guess Why Pakistani Analyst Uzair Younus is Making Headlines in India!

Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani: America Does Not Respect India

World Happiness Report: India Among Saddest Nations of the World

Balakot and Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

WB Poverty Update: India Biggest Contributor to Increase in Poverty

India in Crisis: Unemployment, Hunger Persist After Waves of Covid

Modi's Blunders and Delusions 

India's Israel Envy: What If Modi Attacks Pakistan?

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Jet

Pakistan Navy Modernization

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Who Won the 1965 War? India or Pakistan?

Is the West Unwittingly Helping Modi Realize His Akhand Bharat Hindutva Dream?

Has Pakistan Lost All Wars? 


Riaz Haq said…
To understand the relative happiness scores, you have to understand that the Indian economy is enriching a few at the expense of the vast majority of Indians.

Pakistan has a huge informal economy that creates lots of jobs and income that are not accounted for in the headline GDP numbers.

On the other hand, Modi has killed India's informal economy on which hundreds of millions of Indians depended for their livelihoods.

Read this from the Wall Street Journal:

To Understand India’s Economy, Look Beyond the Spectacular Growth Numbers - The Wall Street Journal.

But the way India calculates its gross domestic product can at times overstate the strength of growth, in part by underestimating the weakness in its massive informal economy. There are also other indicators, such as private consumption and investment, that are pointing to soft spots. Despite cuts to corporate taxes, companies don’t appear to be spending on expansions.


BENGALURU, India—India is set to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy this year, but economists say the country’s headline growth numbers don’t tell the whole story.

The South Asian nation’s gross domestic product grew at more than 8% in its fiscal year ended in March compared with the previous year, driven by public spending on infrastructure, services growth, and an uptick in manufacturing. That would put India well ahead of China, which is growing at about 5%, and on track to hit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

But the way India calculates its gross domestic product can at times overstate the strength of growth, in part by underestimating the weakness in its massive informal economy. There are also other indicators, such as private consumption and investment, that are pointing to soft spots. Despite cuts to corporate taxes, companies don’t appear to be spending on expansions.

“If people were optimistic about the economy, they would invest more and consume more, neither of which is really happening,” said Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former chief economic adviser to the Modi government.

Private consumption, the biggest contributor to GDP, grew at 4% for the year, still slower than pre-pandemic levels. What’s more, economists say, it could have been even weaker if the government hadn’t continued its extensive food-subsidy program that began during the pandemic.

The problem is driven in part by how India emerged from the pandemic. Big businesses and people who are employed in India’s formal economy are generally doing well, but most Indians are in the informal sector or agriculture, and many of them lost work.

While India’s official data last year put unemployment at around 3%, economists also closely track data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private economic research firm. It put unemployment at 8% for the year ended March.

At a small tea-and-cigarette stall in the southern city of Bengaluru, 55-year-old Ratnamma said many of her customers in the neighborhood, which once bustled with tech professionals and blue-collar workers, have moved out of the city and returned to rural villages. Some have come back, but she has fewer customers than she once did.

“Where did everyone go?” she said.

She makes about $12 a day in sales, she said, compared with as much as $100 on a good day in the past. It isn’t enough to cover her living expenses or repay a business loan she took out six months ago.

Economists say that the informal sector has been through three shocks in a decade—a 2016 policy aimed at tax evasion called “demonetization” that wiped out 90% of the value of India’s paper currency, a tax overhaul the following year that created more paperwork and expenses for small businesses, and the pandemic.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan has a serious mob violence problem surrounding allegations of blasphemy. It is highly condemnable. But at least the perpetrators of such violence are arrested and prosecuted by the state.

On the other hand, mass mob violence and lynchings of Muslims in India are supported by the state.

Modi's India: Empowering the Mob, Disempowering the State
Sushant Singh

In no other modern civilised society have so many men been publicly lynched as have been in India.

From Manipur to Mewat, Narendra Modi’s new India doesn’t portray a pretty picture. It is a holy mess. The shift in nomenclature from Amrit Kaal (auspicious period) to Kartavya Kaal (period of duty) has been marked by a complete dereliction of duty by the country’s top political leadership. It has hampered the security forces, which have consequently failed to bring the violence under control. But this is no ordinary violence of a communal riot or a socio-economic protest that independent India has been witness to many a time in the first seven decades of its existence. It is not even an insurgency like Kashmir or Punjab or Nagaland or Mizoram. The violence is not due to criminal gangs shooting each other on the streets of Mumbai. These are not misguided youth taking up guns to bring about a communist revolution. This is different: violence with a difference.

It is the violence unleashed by the mobs. Mobs, who have been empowered by the state. The political leadership is not simply condoning their action or looking away; it is using these mobs as an extension of the State against a minority community. In Manipur, the majoritarian Meitei mobs are enabled by allowing ransacking of lethal weapons and ammunition from the police armouries. The proof lies in the bewildering fact that not a single miscreant was caught or shot by the cops as these armouries were supposedly being looted. Call it connivance or collusion or co-option, or all of the above, the mobs are the masters of this universe.

The state doesn’t control them; they control the state and are aware of their power. Invariably, these mobs belong to the majority community and are politically from the same parivar as the party ruling the state and the Centre. It is the reason they are empowered in the first place. Their public acceptance as custodians of their religion, popular culture and public morality is devoid of any mandate, except their brute power to inflict violence. It would not be incorrect to see them as adherents of VD Savarkar’s dictum, as cited by Prof Vinayak Chaturvedi, that “Hindus understand themselves as Hindus through acts of violence”. The danger lies in these mobs trying to ensure what Savarkar desired of Hindus: they “needed to embrace permanent war as part of their future”.

When a RPF cop Chetan Singh identifies, selects and kills Muslims, that future seems to be upon us now. He is not a lone wolf but the representative of an empowered mob. The lines between the mob and cops have blurred. In both Manipur and Mewat, this mob is indistinguishable from the cops. In fact, many reports show the two working in tandem, jointly targeting the minority community. In Chaturvedi’s words, “the poor, marginalised, and subordinated sometimes resort to violence, often genocidal in nature – at times in collaboration with the state, in other instances independent of it – in order to stake a claim within…to make history as killers in the name of Hindutva”.
Riaz Haq said…
Around 4,300 millionaires are expected to migrate from India this year, with a significant number choosing to settle in the UAE, according to a recent report by Henley and Partners, an international investment migration advisory firm.,international%20investment%20migration%20advisory%20firm.
Riaz Haq said…
Average Indian IQ is just 76.24, ranking it 138th in the world.

Note: Average Pakistani IQ score is 84, and average Chinese IQ score is 104.

While IQ is often preferred in discussions about intellect, it has limitations, particularly in areas such as comprehension, making it not entirely precise for a comprehensive evaluation. Nevertheless, the ranking is as follows, where India occupies 138th position with a score of 76.24.
Riaz Haq said…
Jayant Bhandari
The fastest growing economy in the world, India, is sending shiploads, trainloads and planeloads of people to the USA. What would the US fast food chains do without Indians?


A new $72,000 migrant smuggling route to the US starts with a charter flight, and many Indians are waiting to board - The Economic Times

When a Legend Airlines Airbus A340 landed at San Salvador airport on July 15 after an 18-hour flight from the United Arab Emirates, its crew quickly realized something was wrong.

Salvadoran officials refused to connect the jet bridge to allow the roughly 300 passengers, all Indian nationals, to disembark, according to three former crew members on the flight who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Several passengers told the cabin crew they planned to travel onward to Mexico and cross the border there illegally into the U.S., one crew member said. Others said they were going on vacation to the Mexican border city of Tijuana, another crew member said.

Salvadoran officials were already on high alert when the flight landed. Several months earlier, U.S. and Salvadoran authorities had noticed an unusual pattern of charter aircraft landing in El Salvador carrying primarily Indian nationals.

The planes were arriving full and leaving empty, a U.S. official said. And some passengers claiming to be tourists brought only a backpack for weeks-long trips. U.S. authorities later discovered that nearly all of the charter passengers disembarking in San Salvador had crossed the border into the U.S., the official said.

About 9% of irregular crossings at the U.S. border in the 2023 fiscal year involved migrants from outside Latin America, or about 188,000 people, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security data. A decade ago, people from outside the Americas accounted for barely 1% of irregular arrivals.

The Biden administration attributes the historic levels of migration to global economic and political instability. Trump has blamed the high border crossings on Biden's policies.

Indian nationals were the largest single group from outside the Americas encountered at the border last year, comprising about 42,000 arrivals. Migrants from 15 West African countries accounted for another 39,700, with most from Senegal and Mauritania.

The Biden administration has been working with some regional governments as well as travel companies to curb the flow of migrants.

In March, it began revoking U.S. visas for owners and executives of charter airlines and other companies thought to be facilitating smuggling. The State Department's Jacobstein declined to name individuals or companies affected or how many had faced restrictions. Reuters was unable to independently establish which companies had been targeted.

In May, the administration warned commercial airlines to be on the lookout for passengers who might be intending to migrate illegally to the U.S. Apprehensions on the border in April fell 48% from December, U.S. government data show, which U.S. officials attribute in part to tougher enforcement by Mexico.

El Salvador's Vice President Felix Ulloa said in an interview that his government has "permanent, constant, and effective" collaboration with the U.S. to fight irregular migration. The introduction of visa requirements and $1,000 transit fees on citizens of India and many African nations last October has "drastically reduced" the number of migrants transiting through San Salvador, he said.

But as some routes for illegal migration get squeezed, others open up.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s 27% #Stock Rally (in US$ terms) Leads in Asia With More Gains Seen. #India stocks up 8% so far in 2024. The case for more #KSE100 gains is strengthening on the back of one of the cheapest valuations in #Asia #economy #IMF


(Bloomberg) -- The bull run in Pakistani stocks looks to have more legs as signs of improving economic conditions bolster the outlook for Asia’s best-performing market this year.

The case for more gains is strengthening on the back of one of the cheapest valuations in Asia and the budget laying the groundwork to secure a new loan from the International Monetary Fund, according to strategists. A stable rupee and easing inflation boosting the prospect for rate cuts are other positives.

The KSE 100 Index, which has outperformed Asian peers with a 27% surge in dollar terms this year, is likely to further extend gains by 10% by year-end, according to brokerages Topline Securities Ltd. and Arif Habib Ltd.

“There’s a lot of juice left in this rally,” said Ali Hussain, head of research at Dubai-based Frontier Investment Management Partners Ltd. “Cheap valuations, high positive real rates and a fairly valued currency make a very attractive case right now,” he said.

Even while the stocks tested new record highs in recent days, the index remains quite cheap, with a one-year forward earnings-based valuation of 3.8 times, a 50% discount to its lifetime average.

Pakistan earlier this month raised taxes on several industries including cement, automobile and steel to support the government’s finances as it looks to comply with the IMF guidelines. The IMF program is critical for the country to help meet its debt payments of about $24 billion in the next fiscal year.

Still, the beleaguered nation remains exposed to political instability given the split mandate in February this year. The main coalition partner - Pakistan Peoples Party — could easily walk away in the event of a public backlash to austerity measures taken to fulfill the IMF’s conditions for loans, according to Bloomberg Economics. That may even topple the government, BE said.

The KSE 100’s 14-day relative strength index surpassed the 70 level on Thursday. That is typically seen as representing overbought levels, raising the prospect of a correction.

Meanwhile, investors remain bullish. The market momentum over the next two to three years is likely to be driven by foreign buying, earnings growth and robust local liquidity, according to Karachi-based securities firm Arif Habib.

“With the new IMF program spanning the next three years, we anticipate a favorable external position, supporting continued bullish market sentiment,” said Bilal Khan, head of institutional equity sales at Arif Habib.
Riaz Haq said…
The idea of tradable service sector generating mass employment in India has been talked about for a long time.

From Bloomberg:

Expanding India’s manufacturing capacity is critical to boosting growth. The service sector simply doesn’t create enough jobs and generally recruits from the educated labor pool, whereas the manufacturing sector relies more heavily on large numbers of less skilled workers — a key force that helped power China’s economy and put its massive labor force to work.

“We have this very large, surplus labor in agriculture that cannot tomorrow start writing code,” said Sabyasachi Kar, professor at the Institute of Economic Growth, a Delhi think tank. Manufacturing “is the process through which we have to bring these people out of the agriculture sector and into employment.”


Another view:

In India, the services sector now contributes 48 per cent of value added, but employs only 31 per cent of the workforce. Not only is the source of growth in services not enabling massive job creation, but these jobs also require a high level of qualification, which few Indian workers have.

Riaz Haq said…
Inequality in India: Upper castes hold nearly 90% of billionaire wealth | India News - Business Standard

A recent report from World Inequality Lab titled, ‘Towards Tax Justice and Wealth Redistribution in India’, has laid bare the stark economic disparities that plague India. The findings are sobering: nearly 90 per cent of the country’s billionaire wealth is concentrated in the hands of the upper castes, highlighting a deep socio-economic divide.
Billionaire wealth dominated by upper castes
The analysis in the report unveils a staggering 88.4 per cent of India’s billionaire wealth is controlled by upper castes. In contrast, while Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) together form a significant part of India’s workforce, their representation among enterprise owners remains disproportionately low.

This discrepancy is not limited to the billionaires; the All-India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) for 2018-19 indicates that upper castes hold nearly 55 per cent of the national wealth. This concentration of wealth also highlights the persistent economic inequalities rooted in India’s caste system.
Caste influences financial demographics
Caste continues to play a critical role in determining access to essential resources such as education, healthcare, social networks, and credit — all crucial for entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Historically, Dalits faced prohibitions on land ownership in many regions, severely curtailing their economic progress.
This disparity extends beyond billionaire rankings. The ‘State of Working India, 2023’ report from Azim Premji University further highlights these disparities, showing SCs and STs are underrepresented among enterprise owners relative to their workforce participation. SCs, comprising 19.3 per cent of the workforce, account for only 11.4 per cent of enterprise owners. Similarly, STs, making up 10.1 per cent of the workforce, represent just 5.4 per cent of enterprise owners.


India’s Income Inequality Worse Than Under British Rule: Report | TIME

For income, the economists looked at annual tax tabulations released by both the British and Indian governments since 1922. They found that even during the highest recorded period of inequality in India, which occurred during the inter-war colonial period from the 1930s until India’s independence in 1947, the top 1% held around 20 to 21% of the country’s national income. Today, the 1% holds 22.6% of the country’s income.

Similarly, the economists also tracked the dynamics of wealth inequality, beginning in 1961, when the Indian government first began conducting large-scale household surveys on wealth, debt and assets. By combining this research with information from the Forbes Billionaire Index, the authors found that India’s top 1% had access to a staggering 40.1% of national wealth.
Riaz Haq said…
World Inequality Report: Over 85% Of Indian Billionaires From Upper Castes, None From Scheduled Tribes

India's income and wealth inequality, which declined post-independence, began to rise in the 1980s and has soared since the 2000s. Between 2014-15 and 2022-23, the increase in top-end inequality has been particularly striking in terms of wealth concentration. The top 1 per cent of income and wealth shares are now at their highest historical levels. Specifically, the top 1 per cent control over 40 per cent of total wealth in India, up from 12.5 per cent in 1980, and they earn 22.6 per cent of total pre-tax income, up from 7.3 per cent in 1980

This dramatic rise in inequality has made the "Billionaire Raj," dominated by India's modern bourgeoisie, more unequal than the British Raj. It places India among the most unequal countries globally. Current estimates indicate that it takes just ₹ 2.9 lakhs per year to be in the top 10 per cent of income earners and₹ 20.7 lakhs to join the top 1 per cent . In stark contrast, the median adult earns only about ₹ 1 lakh, while the poorest have virtually no income. The bottom 50 per cent of the population earns only 15 per cent of the total national income.

To fully grasp the skewed income distribution, one would have to be close to the 90th percentile to earn the average income. In terms of wealth, an adult needs ₹ 21 lakhs to be in the wealthiest 10 per cent and ₹ 82 lakhs to enter the top 1 per cent . The median adult holds approximately ₹ 4.3 lakhs in wealth, with a significant portion owning almost no wealth. The bottom 50 per cent holds only 6.4 per cent of the total wealth, while the top 1 per cent owns 40.1 per cent , and the top 0.001 per cent alone controls 17 per cent . This means fewer than 10,000 individuals in the top 0.001 per cent hold nearly three times the total wealth of the entire bottom 50 per cent (46 crore individuals).
Riaz Haq said…
Vineeth: "it would seem you keep mistaking the mural of the Mauryan empire at the new Indian Parliament as "Akhand Bharat" simply because an ignorant minister in Modi's cabinet hyped it so in Twitter. I have corrected you in an earlier comment about this. But if you are still unconvinced, I suggest you to take a look at the maps of Mauryan India at its maximum extent"

You are being naive. The real issue is India's pursuit of regional hegemony in South Asia as a step toward its "superpower" dream.

The revival of the Hindutva talk of "Akhand Bharat" is not a mere reference to history.

Here’s an interesting thesis submitted to Fort Leavenworth by an Indian colonel about India’s ambition to be the unchallenged regional hegemon in South Asia and how Pakistan stands in its way


A thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. Army
Command and General Staff College in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the


M.Sc., Defence Studies, Madras University, 1988

"India's neighbors compel
them to view India as being a common foe. Pakistan which is
the only country in the region which can, to some extent,
challenge Indian hegemony, has greatly benefitted by such
perceptions of other countries. Due to the Kashmir issue,
Pakistan has viewed India as an enemy country right from the
time of partition in 1947 when they fought their first war
over Kashmir. Pakistan's claim to Kashmir is based on the
religion. Islam, a rallying point for separate statehood
for Indian Muslims during the British days, continues to be
the essential element of Pakistan's foreign policy
formulation. Therefore, the fear of militarily and
industrially powerful India representing potential Hindu
domination has remained the essence of Pakistan's South
Asian outlook. Consequently, the defence policy of Pakistan
has revolved around the central theme of containing Indian
attempts to achieve regional hegemony"


"No Hegemon Anymore
The unified South Asian nation would also put an end
to the present problem of India trying to acquire the status
of a hegemon among the other smaller South Asian countries.
The problem of Indian hegemony is such that it can not be
resolved easily under the present political division of
South Asia. Presently, to end this problem, it requires,
that either India become extremely strong compared to her
neighbors, so that they start acknowledging India's hegemon
status or some other state, most probably, Pakistan becoming
equally strong as India. However, there is not even a
remote possibility of either of the above occurring in a
foreseeable future. Compared to its neighbors, India's
elements of national power are much greater and it would be
extremely difficult for Pakistan to acquire status equal to
that of India.
On the other hand, despite her strong elements of
national power, India is still ridden with too many problems
to achieve an absolute hegemony in the region. In any case
such an absolute hegemony may be impossible to achieve
because of the international politics such as aid to
Pakistan from the Islamic countries, China or the USA. In
an unified South Asian nation, the people would be able to
identify themselves with the nation, more intensely, due to
its strength and size. There would not be any compulsions,
like the present, for the smaller nations to gang up to
counter the hegemonic tendencies of the big neighbor, India,
as there would be just one unified nation, of which they and
India would be parts of..."
Riaz Haq said…
The talk of hegemony and reunification extends beyond Col Hardev Singh's thesis. It has been pushed by other Indian analysts like Ashley Tellis and Rajan Menon.

Asia 2025, a US Defense Department Study produced in summer of 1999, forecast that Pakistan would "disappear" as an independent state by 2015. It further forecast that Pakistan would become part of a "South Asian Superstate" controlled by India as a "regional hegemon". Two Indian-American "South Asia experts" contributed to this study. Much of the forecast in its "New South Asian Order" section appears to be wishful thinking of its Indian contributors.

Riaz Haq said…
Stampede at #Hindu festival in #India. Police in the #Hathras district said at least 60 confirmed dead. Another 27 people confirmed dead in the neighboring Etah district after being brought to #Etah hospital. #HathrasStampede

A stampede at a religious gathering in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday has killed at least 87 people, according to local police.

The incident happened at a prayer meeting, known as a satsang, in the Mughal Garhi village in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, officials said. The village is around 200 kilometers (124 miles) southeast of the capital, New Delhi.

Police in the Hathras district said at least 60 people have been confirmed dead.

Another 27 people were confirmed dead in the neighboring Etah district after being brought to Etah hospital, according to police and health officials.

“The numbers may rise. People are being taken to hospitals in Hathras district and neighboring district of Etah,” Manish Chikara, Hathras district police spokesperson, told CNN.

Video distributed by Reuters showed crowds gathering outside a local hospital in Etah alongside distraught relatives. Medical personnel could be seen carrying people on stretchers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences in an address in the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament known as the Lok Sabha.

Modi said the government is engaged in “relief and rescue work” and is coordinating with the state government. “The victims will be helped in every way,” he said.

Speaking to reporters, Ashish Kumar, the district magistrate of Hathras, said the stampede happened as people were leaving the event, which was held to celebrate the Hindu deity Shiva.

The district magistrate said police had given permission for the private event and officials were “put on duty for maintenance of law and order and security,” but arrangements inside were handled by the organizers.
Riaz Haq said…
‘Note ban, GST, COVID shocks cost ₹11.3 lakh cr., 1.6 crore informal sector jobs’

India Ratings says in FY23, GVA in the economy by unincorporated businesses was 1.6% below 2015-16 levels; firm estimates 63 lakh informal enterprises shut down between FY16 and FY23

In 2022-23, the Gross-Value Added (GVA) in the economy by such unincorporated enterprises was still 1.6% below 2015-16 levels. Moreover, their compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) was 7.4% between 2010-11 and 2015-16, but slipped into a 0.2% contraction since then, the rating firm reckoned based on the recently released findings of the government’s Annual Survey of Unincorporated Sector Enterprises (ASUSE).


The latest data suggests that the real GVA of unincorporated firms in manufacturing, trade and other services (MTO) was ₹9.51 lakh crore in 2022-23, with an 18.2% share in India’s real MTO GVA, falling sharply from 25.7% in 2015-16.

“The shrinkage has been sharper in other services and trade, with the informal sector’s share dropped to 32.3% and 21.2% in 2022-23 from the pre-shock level of 46.9% and 34.3%, respectively. In the manufacturing sector, the share of the informal sector fell to 10.2%, from 12.5% during the same period,” the firm said in its report.


Had the macro shocks not taken place during the post 2015-16 period and the growth in these enterprises followed the pattern between 2010-11 and 2015-16, the total number of such firms would have reached 7.14 crore in 2022-23, with the number of workers employed rising to 12.53 crore, India Ratings concluded.

The unorganised sector contributes over 44% to the country’s GVA and employs nearly 75% of the work force employed in non-agricultural enterprises, as per the 2022-23 Periodic Labour Force Survey.
Riaz Haq said…
1.6 Crore Jobs Lost Due To Note Ban, GST, Covid: India Ratings & Research Study

India’s informal sector has faced a series of macroeconomic shocks since 2016, leading to substantial economic losses. According to India Ratings and Research, the cumulative impact of these shocks, including demonetisation, the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in an estimated economic loss of ₹11.3 lakh crore or 4.3% of India’s GDP in 2022-23. This blog explores the severe impact on the informal sector, job losses, and the implications for India’s economy.

Impact of Macroeconomic Shocks
Demonetisation, GST, and COVID-19
The informal sector has been severely impacted by demonetisation, the GST rollout, and the COVID-19 pandemic. These shocks have disrupted the functioning of informal enterprises, leading to a decline in economic activity and job losses. Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at India Ratings, noted that 63 lakh informal enterprises shut down between 2015-16 and 2022-23, resulting in the loss of about 1.6 crore jobs.

Decline in Economic Contribution
The Gross-Value Added (GVA) by unincorporated enterprises in the economy in 2022-23 was still 1.6% below the 2015-16 levels. Their compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) fell from 7.4% between 2010-11 and 2015-16 to a 0.2% contraction since then. The real GVA of unincorporated firms in manufacturing, trade, and other services (MTO) dropped significantly, with their share in India’s real MTO GVA falling from 25.7% in 2015-16 to 18.2% in 2022-23.

Employment Challenges
Job Losses and Sector Shrinkage
The informal sector has seen a significant decline in employment. The number of workers employed in the non-agricultural sector increased to 10.96 crore in 2022-23 from 9.79 crore in 2021-22. However, this was lower than the 11.13 crore people employed in the sector in the ‘pre-shock period’ of 2015-16. The manufacturing sector witnessed a notable decline in jobs, with employment dropping from 3.6 crore in 2015-16 to 3.06 crore in 2022-23.

Structural Shift Needed
India’s over 400 million informal labour market requires a structural shift to address the challenges posed by these macroeconomic shocks. The rise in the formalisation of the economy has led to robust tax collections, but the reduced unorganised sector footprint has implications for employment generation. The informal sector’s share in various sectors has decreased sharply, highlighting the need for measures to support and revitalise this critical part of the economy.

Future Prospects and Recommendations
Addressing the Decline
To mitigate the impact of these shocks and support the informal sector, India needs targeted policies and interventions. The government should focus on providing financial assistance, improving access to credit, and enhancing the business environment for informal enterprises. Additionally, measures to ensure job security and create new employment opportunities are crucial to addressing the challenges faced by the informal labour market.

Enhancing Economic Resilience
Strengthening the resilience of the informal sector is essential for sustained economic growth. Promoting digital literacy, enhancing skill development programs, and providing incentives for formalisation can help informal enterprises adapt to changing economic conditions. Ensuring social security and welfare measures for informal workers will also contribute to building a more inclusive and resilient economy.

India’s informal sector has borne the brunt of multiple macroeconomic shocks, resulting in significant economic losses and job reductions. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that supports informal enterprises, enhances economic resilience, and promotes inclusive growth. By implementing targeted policies and interventions, India can mitigate the impact of these shocks and ensure the sustained growth of its informal sector.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s hidden COVID deaths: Was the toll in 2020 eight times higher? | Health News | Al Jazeera

India had nearly 1.2 million excess deaths in 2020, new data shows. The life expectancy of Muslims fell the most among all Indians – by more than five years.

New Delhi, India – India’s actual death toll during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world’s most populous country could be eight times higher than the government’s official numbers, reveals a new study.

While that initial wave of the virus caught the world off guard, leaving governments and health systems scrambling for responses, India, after implementing a strict lockdown, appeared to have escaped the worst of its effects. The country was devastated by the delta variant in 2021 when hospitals ran out of beds and oxygen, people died gasping outside healthcare facilities and rows upon rows of smouldering pyres chequered cremation grounds across the country.

But the new research suggests that the first wave, while not as deadly as the one in 2021, wrought far greater devastation than has been acknowledged until now.

What does the new research show?
The study, co-authored by 10 demographers and economists from elite international institutes, found that India had 1.19 million excess deaths in 2020, during the pandemic’s first wave, compared to 2019.

That’s eight times India’s official COVID-19 toll for 2020, of 148,738 deaths. The study was published Friday in the Science Advances publication.

The numbers in the research, based on the Indian government’s 2019-21 National Family Health Survey (NFHS), a comprehensive report on the state of the country’s health and family welfare, are also 1.5 times the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimate for India’s COVID-19 death toll in 2020.

India’s own total count of deaths from the virus until the end of 2021 stands at 481,000.

But the new research also uncovers deep inequalities among the pandemic’s victims – based on gender, caste and religion.

Did COVID kill some communities disproportionately?
The research found that in 2020, the life expectancy of an upper-caste Indian of the Hindu faith went down by 1.3 years. By contrast, the average lifespan for people from ‘scheduled castes’ – communities that for centuries faced the worst discrimination under the caste system – went down by 2.7 years.

Indian Muslims suffered the worst: Their life expectancy went down by 5.4 years in 2020.

These communities had lower life expectancy at birth relative to high-caste Hindus even before the pandemic, the study noted. “The pandemic exacerbated these disparities,” it added. “These declines are comparable or larger in absolute magnitude to those experienced by Native Americans, Blacks, and Hispanics in the United States in 2020.”

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