DONALD TRUMP TO PULL US OUT OF PARIS CLIMATE DEAL?

Reports in the US media say US President Donald Trump has decided to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement which came into force on November 4, 2016, news agency AFP has tweeted.

A CNN report Wednesday said, based on its interaction with two senior US officials, that Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and a formal announcement can be made as early as this week.

Axios, a new media company, wrote on the development that “President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.” The Axios report says that modalities of withdrawal are being worked out by a team led US Environment Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who believes Paris Climate Agreement is a “bad business deal” and has called for an exit from it. The exit route can be “a full, formal withdrawal” that may take up to three years or the “exiting the United Nations Climate Change Treaty, a faster but more extreme process”, the Axios report further wrote.

Another report in Politico says that “President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, according to a White House official”. The Politico report states that it would be second such development when the US has rejected a global climate treaty after endorsing it. In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. This time also, it is a Republican president who is going to overturn a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, he behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal.

©SantoshChaubey

Advertisements

US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN CALLS FOR SOUTH CHINA SEA DRILL TO CHALLENGE ‘BULLY’ CHINA

The article originally appeared on India Today.

US senator John McCain has called China a bully nation. McCain who is in Australia said “he believed China had been throwing its weight around too much thanks to its development as an economic powerhouse,” a report in The Australian said.

Saying that “the challenge is that China is acting more like a bully” in the Asia-Pacific region, McCain who was the Republican Party nominee in the 2008 US Presidential Election, pressed on the need for the US and Australia to work together “when dealing with economic and strategic issues involving China”, The Australian further wrote. McCain, who is the chairman of the important US Senate Armed Services Committee, is in Australia for security talks and his remarks on China was part of a speech he delivered yesterday. Australia responded to McCain calls saying it would continue to follow “freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight” in accordance with the international laws.

McCain slammed China for its stand on the South China dispute. According to another report in the ABC News, he “called for naval exercises in the South China Sea to challenge Beijing”. McCain said that nations could come together for a multilateral exercise under the US leadership to resist Chinese advances in the disputed territory. “If the Chinese are able to stop us exercising freedom of navigation then that has severe consequences for the whole region”, the report quoted him saying.

Territorial dispute in the South China Sea involves seven countries, i.e., China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. A busy trade route passes through it and all other countries except China are in favour of keeping its status as free, international waters. China wants to control it as it imports most of its oil through this trade route and has built artificial islands in the sea. Doing so would enable China to establish hegemony in East and Southeast Asia that no other country involved in the dispute is capable of. Also, it would keep foreign military forces like the US away from the region.

The US Navy has a sizeable presence in the South China Sea and it routinely carries out patrols in the area to deter the Chinese efforts maintaining that the South China Sea waters remain free for international navigation. China doesn’t recognize these claims including the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) that has invalidated the Chinese claims on the South China Sea and says China exercises control over these areas since ancient times and if there is any dispute it should be resolved by the countries directly concerned through bilateral discussions.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has compared Chinese acts in the South China Sea to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. On May 24, China saw the first direct challenge to its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea by the Trump Administration when USS Dewey, a US Navy destroyer, sailed close to an artificial island built by China. China reacted furiously saying it “warned and dispelled” the US Navy destroyer. With this US act, it has become clear that there has been no change in the US policy of “performing freedom of navigation operations” in the South China Sea as opposed to the claims that Trump Administration was deliberately going soft on China’s claims over the South China Sea to bargain trade deals with China and to get Chinese help in controlling North Korea.

©SantoshChaubey

VERBAL DUEL ESCALATE TENSION BETWEEN US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AND GERMANY

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

First it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who gave indications that all was not well between Germany and its traditional allies Britain and America. She slammed the two countries saying Germany could no longer trust its “traditional allies”. According to a report in The Guardian, while speaking at an election rally in Munich, German Chancellor said “the times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over”. Elections in Germany are due in September 2017.

The recently concluded NATO and G7 Summits between the world’s most industrialized nations saw differences between the world’s most powerful and influential leaders coming out in open. The Guardian described the summits as “bruising meetings” while The Telegraph wrote that the impression after the G7 Summit was, “that, for the first time in decades, more divides industrialised Western powers than unites them”. Without naming Trump, Merkel described the Sicily G7 Summit as “six against one” saying as “the result of the talks was very difficult, if not to say very unsatisfactory”, The Guardian report said.

But Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel didn’t mince his words while taking on Trump. Following Merkel’s harsh words, he blamed Trump for “weakening the west”. “The short-sighted policies of the American government stand against the interests of the European Union (EU). The West has become smaller, at least it has become weaker”, a CNN report quoted him saying. And the charge of “standing against the interests of the European Union” is not baseless. Donald Trump has been vocally anti-EU. Trump has also termed ‘Brexit a great development for the UK’.

How Donald Trump is becoming a controversial figure in Germany also becomes clear from the reaction of Martin Schulz, Merkel’s main political rival and a former president of the European Parliament. According to a report in The Hill, Schulz has slammed Trump, “The chancellor represent all of us at summits like these. And I reject with outrage the way this man takes it upon himself to treat the head of our country’s government. That is unacceptable.”

This was enough for Trump to react it seems. And he expressed his displeasure and anger through a tweet again reminding Germany of the “massive trade deficit” that the country has with the US and its “far less” NATO contribution than required and added that he was going to change it.

On May 25, Donald Trump had charged Germans for cornering business and jobs in the US. While blasting Germans, Trump had said, “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S. Terrible. We will stop this.” In response to Trump’s criticism, Sigmar Gabriel had quipped that the US automakers needed to come up with better cars. He termed products of American automakers “worse, weaker and more expensive”, an Associated Press report said.

And during the G7 Summit also, he behaved like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it. Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. And according to a Daily Mail report, Trump has “made up his mind to withdraw US from Paris climate deal”. The G7 Summit said it would fight against protectionism while protectionism has been a cornerstone of Trump administration.

©SantoshChaubey

IN TOUGH TALKS WITH PUTIN, MACRON DRAWS RED LINE ON SYRIA

The article originally appeared on India Today.

French President Emmanuel Macron has clearly conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin that France will not tolerate any further chemical attack in Syria and doing so will invite serious reprisals from France, an ABC News report said. The presidential talks were held at the Palace of Versailles. “A very clear red line exists on our side, the use of chemical weapons by whomever”, a report in The Sun quoted him saying during his joint press conference with Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a France visit after Macron invited him to inaugurate a major exhibition on France-Russia ties. The exhibition has been organized to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the visit of Peter the Great, the Russian emperor, in 1717.

Relations between France and Russia, two major European as well as global powers, have been strained over Syria and Ukraine. Putin had cancelled his France visit in October 2016 after Macron’s predecessor Francois Hollande made it clear that Syria was the only agenda for a France-Russia talks.

Ignoring the global calls for isolating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin has been standing firm to support him, morally and militarily. Russian fighter jets pounding Syrian rebels and Islamic State bases are a regular occurrence. Almost all major western nations are against al-Assad. If he is standing tall even after that, it is because of Russian support only. Assad got another big world power in his favour when China, in August 2016, announced to join Russia in providing humanitarian assistance and military training to Syria. Then Syria has Iran’s support. Shiite Iran has a religious connect to defend the Syrian government of Alawites, a Shia offshoot, and strategic interests in defeating Syria’s Sunni rebels.

Also, Russia and Putin have always defended Syria even if the Assad regime has been using chemical weapons against its own citizens. A suspected chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib city on April 4 killed around 100 people after which the US had launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian airbase it thought was used to launch the chemical attack. Russia defended Syria saying Syria did not use chemical weapons and the toxic substances released were stored by rebels where the Syrian forces carried an air strike. In February 2017, Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution aimed to impose more sanctions on Syria for using chemical weapons.

But intelligence reports say otherwise. A BBC report earlier this month, based on intelligence documents, said Syria was still making chemical and biological weapons at three sites. The report further says that both Russia and Iran are aware of it. Also, a Human Rights Watch report published earlier this month said there was evidence of use of nerve gas by Syria in multiple chemical attacks.

Emmanuel Macron has drawn his red line against this belligerence of Syria. Syria could not have escaped the wrath of the global community had it not been for Russian and Chinese interventions. Macron was a harsh critic of Russia during his campaign days and even if he invited Putin to France, he promised a tough talk with the Russian President and said he would be demanding, a France 24 report said. Macron thinks “dialogue with Russia is vital in tackling a number of international disputes”, the report further said.

©SantoshChaubey

WE ARE GOING TO SEE DAYS OF A TOUGH INDIA IN KASHMIR

No doubt, by the virtue of being the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi is among the top global leaders. In spite of its nagging problems back home, India is among the few countries that are going to matter in the global order for coming decades.

Because, after China, India is the next big thing to happen to the global economy. And it can provide the much needed succour to the global economy without any of the compromises that any sort of tie with China invites – the world is doing business with China ignoring its autocratic rule and human rights suppression. India is the largest democracy in the world and is a functional one, in fact a robustly functional one. And the whole world is looking towards it.

That provides it the might, in fact an unparalleled potential that even China didn’t have – becoming the world economy’s pivot with biggies of the world – sans the baggage of negativities that a China mention generates.

That might also require India to set its house in order first. And the biggest policy hurdle towards it is Kashmir. Before we proceed further, let’s be clear about certain inevitabilities. A free Kashmir is a mirage.

Suppose India accepts Kashmir as independent country. What would happen after it?

Would then Pakistan and China follow the suit, by freeing Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Aksai-Chin and the part of Kashmir that Pakistan gave to China?

Would China and Pakistan shed the much hyped China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) that passes through parts of occupied Kashmir?

The only answer to that is a NO. So if China and Pakistan cannot do it, it is foolish to expect that India would let Kashmir go, especially when Kashmir constitutionally merged into India and when Kashmir has been bleeding India for decades. It is true Kashmir didn’t see the kind of development it needed but it doesn’t mean there was any sort of discrimination with the state. In fact, in terms of resource allocation, Kashmir is one of the most pampered states of India.

It was the mess created by the central governments in India, state governments in Jammu & Kashmir and the politics of J&K that led Kashmir to where it is standing now. And there is no other way out but a tough stand now – no to accommodating ‘soft secessionist’ approach – and a big YES to better manage resources to put the valley on the track of development. Politicians and people of Kashmir will have to understand this. They have to decide about their future and the future of their coming generations. And the time is now. They have to decide if they want to run foolishly after that mirage or it is now time to return back to the basics of pragmatism.

They will have to revisit India remembering their days before terrorism crept in, a time when Kashmir was synonymous with heaven on earth. Kashmir has, all along, been a part of India – during its good days – and its bad days with the heap of self-inflicted pain. And it will remain a part of India.

It is true Narendra Modi government has failed so far in its experiments with J&K. But he should be given benefit of doubt. He has tried to intervene in Kashmir through soft measures so far, a hallmark of India’s democracy. He tried to mend ties with Pakistan. He formed a coalition with a Kashmiri party to form the government there. He has visited the state many times and development projects are coming there. India is as much of Kashmiris as it is of any person from any other Indian state, provided Kashmiris also understand and reciprocate it. And this sentiment now is not limited only to the power corridors of our country. Its echoes have started coming from every part of India.

After seeing the outcome of his efforts so far, the Modi administration has only one left to proceed in the valley – tough on them who are inimical to India’s interest and going out of the way to assuage and heal them who have got into the crossfire – an approach that should have been adopted much earlier, in fact in early 90s when Pakistan sponsored militancy in Kashmir Kashmir’s started spiralling out of control. Every subsequent union and state government is responsible for ignoring this and thus creating the mess Kashmir now has become.

Going by the recent developments, it seems this, indeed, is going to be the approach of the Modi government now. Appointing an Indian Army chief who believes in taking tough decisions on Kashmir, stiff principled opposition to CPEC, strict no to government initiated talks with the so-called separatist leaders of Kashmir, flow of ample funds and resources in Kashmir, continued people outreach through the state and central government agencies including the security forces in spite of the irresponsible behaviour by a section of Kashmiri propagandists and Pak stooges who, somehow, have been able to influence a section of Kashmiri population, albeit a small one, just because of the mess created by the governments.

©SantoshChaubey

WHY DONALD TRUMP THINKS GERMANS ARE BAD, VERY BAD

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

According to a report in German publication Der Spiegel, US President Donald Trump has charged Germans for cornering business and jobs in the US. While blasting Germans, Trump said, “The Germans are bad, very bad. See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S. Terrible. We will stop this”. Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of trade imbalance between Germany and America that is largely tilted in German favour.

In January, he had targeted German carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz comparing their high sale volume in America with low sale volume of Chevrolet in Germany and had threatened to impose 35 per cent import tariff on BMW on its cars imported from its Mexican plant. But it is not only about German carmakers. In fact, data from the Wall Street Journal shows that apart from General Motors, with a market share of 17.1 per cent in April 2017 and Ford with market share of 15.1 per cent, the two largest automakers in the US, most other automakers in the top ten are foreign companies. i.e., Japanese Toyota has a market share of 13.5 per cent, German Chrysler has a market share of 12.4 per followed by Nissan’s 9.9 per cent, Honda’s 9.2 per cent and Hyundai’s 4.2 per cent.

In response to Trump’s criticism, German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, Angela Merkel’s deputy, quipped that the US automakers needed to come up with better cars. He termed products of American automakers “worse, weaker and more expensive”, an Associated Press report said.

According to a Reuters report, the US has a trade deficit of $65 billion with Germany, its third largest negative trade balance. The top slot goes to China with which the US has a trade deficit of $349 billion. Japan accounts for $69 billion deficit, coming in at the second spot. And going by Trump’s assessment of Germans in context of running trade deficit, China and Japan should be even bigger headaches for the US economy then.

In fact, according to a Financial Times report, Trump signed an executive order days before Chinese Xi Jinping’s US visit in April 2017 authorizing a study to look into the $500 billion annual trade deficit of the US. The study has a mandate of 90 days to analyze the issue country country-by-country and product-by-product, the report said. Also, Trump tweeted before the meeting that ” it will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses”.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
@realDonaldTrump
The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits…
3:46 AM – 31 Mar 2017
https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/847573220417044480?lang=en

After Trump-Jinping Summit, the Trump Administration hailed it as a historic meeting with a breakthrough trade deal that would cut the US trade deficit with China as China agreed to open its market for certain US companies and product categories. But experts are not satisfied. According to a Forbes report, “the deal might actually increase America’s bulging trade deficit with China”. To support its point of view the Forbes analysis further says, “China over the last decade has been progressively closing off its market, and this trend is now proceeding faster than ever under current supremo Xi Jinping”.

Trump would often talk about “unfair economic ties” with Japan. He blames Japan of currency manipulation and unfair trade practices and went on to the extent to say Japan a “drag on the US economy’. He made the comment days before his White House inauguration on January 20 that drew sharp criticism from Japan.

Trade deficit was one of the central campaign themes of Donald Trump. He, in fact, has blamed trade deficit for slowing down the US economy. When the GDP data came out in April, he tweeted his displeasure, “The U.S. recorded its slowest economic growth in five years (2016). GDP up only 1.6%. Trade deficits hurt the economy very badly”.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
@realDonaldTrump
The U.S. recorded its slowest economic growth in five years (2016). GDP up only 1.6%. Trade deficits hurt the economy very badly.
4:21 PM – 26 Apr 2017
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/857185261029126144

©SantoshChaubey

BAD DAY FOR DONALD TRUMP: AFTER INTEL LEAK, CANCELLED SPEECH, BLOCK ON TRAVEL BAN UPHELD

The article originally appeared on India Today.

It’s proving to be a bad day for US President Donald Trump. A federal US court has upheld a lower court ruling which blocked Trump’s ambitious but highly divisive travel ban plans targeting travellers from six Muslim majority nations.

In March, a Hawaii court had blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt to reintroduce the travel ban, and said it was biased and discriminatory.

Trump signed a new executive order on March 6, weeks after the first futile attempt to ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries.

The Trump administration made some minor changes to the first version of the executive order, which was issued on January 27, so that it could evade the courts. For example, the second order excluded Iraq from the list of countries facing the ban, and featured exemptions for green card holders, permanent US residents, and for those already having a US visa.

But the courts weren’t satisfied.

CANCELLED SPEECH, UK’S FURY OVER LEAKED INTEL

Earlier in the day, it was widely reported that Trump’s proposed speech in the Israeli parliament – Knesset – had been cancelled.

An Associated Press report quoting Israel’s parliament speaker said “a proposal that Donald Trump would speak before the Knesset during his visit to Israel was scrapped over fears that the American president would be interrupted and heckled by some lawmakers”.

And the day began with a news break that left Trump embarrassed.

Furious British authorities warned that they would stop sharing information with the United States, after it surfaced that intelligence on the Manchester Arena bombing which they’d shared with the US had been leaked to the US media.

British PM Theresa May said she would raise the issue with Donald Trump when she meets him at the NATO Summit in Brussels.

In damage control mode, Trump asked the US Department of Justice to find the culprit and “prosecute the person to the fullest extent of the law”.

©SantoshChaubey

WHAT IS COMMON IN RAHUL GANDHI AND BEN CARSON? THEY BOTH THINK POVERTY IS A STATE OF MIND!

WHO IS BEN CARSON..

Ben Carson is US President Donald Trump’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary. He was one of the principal Republican Party Presidential nominees in the last year’s presidential election, before he lost the race to Donald Trump. And he has one thing in common with Rahul Gandhi.

They both think ‘poverty is a state of mind’.

Ben Carson, who is a globally renowned neurosurgeon, said during an interview yesterday that “a certain mindset contributes to people living in poverty, pointing to habits and a state of mind that children take from their parents at a young age”, a Washington Post report wrote.

RAHUL GANDHI REDUX

On August 5, 2013, while speaking at an event in Allahabad, Rahul Gandhi, too, had said that ‘poverty was a state of mind’. Rahul Gandhi had said that self-confidence could help people overcome poverty as it was ‘just a state of mind’ and not what it was normally associated with it, i.e., scarcity of life sustaining means, primarily food, money and material possessions.

So, they both moot the same point about the most nagging issue of our times – poverty – even if their comments have a separation of four years and 12,000 Kms, the distance between New Delhi and Washington DC.

THOUGH, THEIR BACKGROUNDS ARE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

Rahul Gandhi was widely panned for making an ignorant comment in a country where majority are still living below the poverty line if we go by the new Global Poverty Line by the World Bank at $1.90 a day (Rs 123 a day as per the current US Dollar to Rupee exchange rate). His comments were termed mockery of the poor by many who said Rahul Gandhi came from a well-to-do family, who ruled India for most of its independent history, and could never understand what poverty really means.

In contrast, Ben Carson has grown up in extreme poverty, in a slum neighbourhood of Detroit. But his life journey, that was shown as a biopic, the critically acclaimed ‘Gifted Hands’, the screen adaptation of his autobiography of the same name starring Cuba Gooding Jr., is described as a rare phenomenon when his story is juxtaposed with his poor neighbourhood where he grew up, which has seen consistent deterioration in its living and therefore social standards.

And it is not just self-confidence alone that can lift billions in the world living in poverty and extreme poverty. A coordinated state action is needed everywhere and that is why poverty alleviation and eradication has been at the core of politics in every society. In India, elections revolve around it. Even Ben Carson, who strongly advocates ‘avoiding dependence on state welfare measures’, could make his life and career because there was state welfare assistance to help him. And so he has been criticised for making such narrow vision comments. The Washington Post quoted from his autobiography in an October 2015 article, “In his autobiography, Carson has praised the help he received from public school teachers, a federal jobs program, community mentors, government-supplied eyeglasses and, crucially, food stamps, without which his family “couldn’t have made it”.

According to the new World Bank Global Poverty Line of $1.90, the world had 700 million poor people by the end of 2015. But in order to arrive at a common benchmark globally, the World Bank Poverty Line has not taken into account many dimensions of poverty that hit lives of the poorest, especially in developing and poor countries. In many such countries, the poverty lines are well below this global benchmark, a fact that effectively pushes the number of poor people to billions across the world. According to a Brookings Institution report, around 3 billion people were living at $3 a day in 2013. In 2015, a Pew Research Centre report concluded that majority of the world’s population was living at the $3 a day. Finding of the same report said that 71 per cent of the world’s population was surviving on less than $10 a day, i.e., Rs 645.50 a day or Rs 19365 a month.

We don’t need to go far to see tentacles of poverty. India has 363 million people living below the latest national poverty line suggested by the Rangarajan Committee in 2014 – Rs 32 a day in rural India and Rs 47 a day in urban India. Contrast it to the Global Poverty Line of Rs 123 a day, four times of India’s rural poverty line and three times of its urban poverty line and we are staring at a much higher number than 363 million of defined poor in our country. At the prevailing market prices, one cannot even have modest lunch and dinner for a day for that amount of money. And life is not just about eating. One needs a shelter somewhere. One needs clothes. One needs healthcare. One needs education.

Self-confidence alone cannot help billions of poor to come out of this trap. Framers of our constitution, and in fact, the policymakers around the world, do realize it. That’s why we have our affirmative action or reservation system or the US has its social security network or Medicaid, its state governed health insurance safety net. In fact, most of the societies around the world, have some sort of social security net.

©SantoshChaubey

AFTER INDIA, CHINA NOW SLAMS CREDIT RATING AGENCY MOODY’S AFTER DOWNGRADE

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

After India, now China has taken on the global credit rating agency Moody’s for downgrading its credit ratings. Moody’s has degraded China’s sovereign rating by one notch, from AA3 to A1, first for China in 28 years. Chinese economy had not seen a rating downgrade from 1989 even if its economy has started slowing down for past some years. But China could not fathom it. According to a Global Times report, the Chinese Finance Ministry has said that the “rating downgrade by the Moody’s was based on inappropriate methodology”.

And its arguments are similar to India’s: “Moody’s has overestimated the difficulties faced by the Chinese economy, while underestimating the capabilities of China to deepen side-supply reforms”. India, too, has argued that credit rating agencies overestimate the challenges faced by the Indian economy, and underestimate the nation’s capabilities – especially in light of the economic reforms initiated in the last three years.

Moody’s has warned China for its slowing economy and rising debt and has based its downgrade on these parameters, “The downgrade reflects Moody’s expectation that China’s financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years, with economy-wide debt continuing to rise as potential growth slows”.

India has also highlighted the concern of ‘inappropriate methodology’ being used by the credit ratings agencies. According to a Reuters report from December 2016, “India had criticised Moody’s ratings methods and pushed aggressively for an upgrade.” According to the report, India’s Finance Ministry, in a series of letters and emails last October, raised questions over Moody’s rating methodology which was ignoring India’s reducing debt burden and sustained impressive growth. But Moody’s rejected India’s claims raising concerns over India’s debt burden and bad loans worth $136 billion saying “not only was India’s debt burden high relative to other countries with the same credit rating, but its debt affordability was also low”.

Moody’s logic has been, though India’s debt-to-GDP ratio has come down to 66.7 per cent from its peak at 84 per cent in 2003, interest payments take away one-fifth of government’s revenue. Also, as per the report, India’s revenues at 21 per cent of GDP are considerably lower than the median income of the countries with the BAA ratings that is at 27.1 per cent. Moody’s further contended that “a resolution to the banking sector’s bad loan problems was “unlikely” in the near-term”.

Despite the concerns raised by India, Moody’s in November 2016, Moody’s went on affirming India’s BAA3 rating with a positive outlook, ignoring Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das’ arguments of “stable external debt parameters and the slew of reforms introduced in the realm of foreign direct investment”, the Reuters report quoted from his letter written to Moody’s.

And not only Moody’s, two other major credit ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch have also refused to budge on India’s concerns. Fitch’s BBB- rating, that is the lowest investment grade rating, has been in place since August 2006 and S&P’s BBB- rating from January 2007.

These three agencies, which control 95 per cent of the market, have been so obstinate in refusing India’s concerns that India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian had to term their approach as ‘egregious and compromised’. Subramanian said, “In recent years, rating agencies have maintained India’s BBB- rating, notwithstanding clear improvements in our economic fundamentals (such as inflation, growth, and current account performance). He called the assessment of the international ratings agencies as ” one of the most egregious examples of compromised analysis”.

©SantoshChaubey

DESPERATE TO DOWNPLAY INDIA? AFTER ITS ARMY, NOW PAK AIR FORCE AND NAVAL CHIEFS WARN INDIA

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Though Pakistan has dismissed India’s claims of punitive assault on Pak post across the Line of Control (LoC), the restlessness in its military establishment belie their words. Had it not been so, every apparatus of its military wing, i.e., its army, air force and navy, would not have scrambled to come forward to issue warnings to India and would not have to use false propaganda video and hollow words threatening India.

After the Indian Army yesterday released the video footage of its operations destroying a Pak post in the Naushera Sector on May 9, the Pak army first denied it. Then after few hours, came up with its video claiming it was, in fact Pakistan, who destroyed Indian posts in the Naushera Sector on May 13. The Indian Army readily dismissed this false propaganda as the Pak army, in its desperate efforts to counter Indian claims, released an old video with many edits.

After it the news came that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets flew near the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, amid reports that PAF has made fully functional all its forward operating bases. India denied that Indian airspace was violated in PAF’s adventure.

Then we heard PAF’s chief, Sohail Aman, threatening India with his exhortation that “PAF’s response to any aggression by the enemy will be such that their future generations will also remember it”, a Radio Pakistan report quoted him saying. He chose to threaten India during a drill of Pak fighter planes at the Skardu air base in the backdrop of Siachen adventure and its connection with the anti-India propaganda was clearly visible, by his words and circumstances in which he uttered those words.

When Pak army and air force had played it part in anti-India propaganda, why would the Pak navy be left behind. According to another Radio Pakistan report, while addressing a gathering in Lahore’s Naval War College, its naval chief, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, warned India that ” the Pakistan Navy was fully capable to thwart any aggression and will be equipped with the latest equipment to defend maritime borders of the country”.

And all this in a span of less than 24 hours. The way Pakistan’s military establishment has been left rattled after the Indian Army released footage of its operations yesterday tells its dismissal of the Indian claims was a mere hogwash.

©SantoshChaubey