BJP HAS CHOSEN TO SKIP ALL FIRST-MOVER ADVANTAGES..

The Bhartiya Janata Party has chosen to skip all first-mover advantages that Rahul Gandhi also allowed to slip. He did not take out of the box initiative on the Lokpal Bill. The country would have loved to see him taking side of Anna Hazare. The country would have respected him if he would not have delayed his reactions on December 16 Delhi gangrape incident or firing on farmers in Maval. The country would have worshipped him if he had clarified on Robert Vadra.

Narendra Modi had also his chances, the chances that begun just after completion of the first year of his government on May 26. It started with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. The Lalit Modi row then reached to take Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Rajasthan’s chief-minister and his MP son Dushyant Singh in its grip. Then came the much reviled episode, deaths in the Vyapam scam. In spite of over 45 deaths in the scam, Madhya Pradesh chief-minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan did not ask for a central investigation. in fact, he was forced to ask for a CBI probe when he was cornered from all sides.

Like Rahul Gandhi didn’t realize or allowed to slip such life-changing political opportunities – the moves that could have made him a true mass leader – Narendra Modi, knowingly or unknowingly, is on the same way.

Yes, Sushma Swaraj may be too big a name in the BJP to remove from her position, even if she is considered close to L. K. Adavani, but the BJP could have asked Vasundhara to leave office till she came clean. Same follows for her son. And Shivraj could have been pressured much earlier to recommend a CBI probe in the scam that is not limited only to Madhya Pradesh. And these controversies follow from the earlier streak of negatives associated with his government.

Yes, Narendra Modi is still not in the red zone. In fact, the names dragged in controversies in this round are seen anti to his interests in the party and his political career. Vasundhara Raje was seen as a strong regional satrap who worked independently of what the BJP’s central leadership said. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen as a possible contender to the prime-minister’s office when the BJP was finalizing its prime-ministerial candidate before the last Lok Sabha polls.

So, in a way, the weakened positions of these leader would help Narendra Modi politically. But the collateral damage may be severe. There have been developments, in the first year, and especially, in the days after the first year, that have dented government’s image creating a credibility crisis.

And if left unchecked, and if governance falls short on development parameters, and if more such controversies become talking points, the collateral damage will become corrosive enough to hurt electoral prospects.

The credibility crisis must not become the crisis point-of-view driven by mass credulity.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DEAR POLITICIANS AND BUREAUCRATS: CAN’T YOU VOLUNTARILY GIVE UP SUBSIDY IN PARLIAMENT CANTEENS?

Well, if Narendra Modi can request his countrymen to do so for LPG cylinders (liquefied petroleum gas cylinders, main cooking fuel in houses where PNG or ‘piped natural gas’ has not reached – or families that can and can somehow afford it), his government can certainly push the fellow members and their officials and officials of the Parliament and the Government to give up the ‘huge subsidy’ – ranging from 60% to over 100% (in some cases, a dish with raw material cost of Rs. 99 is served for Rs. 33) – on food in the Parliament canteens.

Congress has supported the move. Parliamentarians can give it up voluntarily. Or, they can come with a yardstick. Also, it is a popular issue politically – like Arvind Kejriwal successfully cashed the electoral popularity of ‘VIP culture’ in Delhi polls – most members (of Parliament) would be forced to look positive to such measures. Some may oppose the move but their count would not be enough to obstruct a decision to this effect. And if the politicians there support it, we can count the bureaucrats in.

Now, for the point – as told reportedly – that politicians alone cannot be blamed for the practice – well, politicians and well-to-do bureaucrats are to be blamed for it.

On March 27, Narendra Modi had appealed – as the Times of India writes – “People who can afford buying LPG at market rates should give up subsidy on cooking gas. Money we save from giving up LPG subsidy is the money we will use for the poor, so that they have access to clean energy too.”

It is now almost three months to that statement. MPs and bureaucrats could have set a precedent for masses by refusing subsidized food items in the Parliament. Alternatively, they could have come up with a mechanism to fix market price of each item to pay accordingly.

They did not do it. They have not done it. Would they do it now?

It is not for the Rs. 60.7 crore subsidy given to the Parliament canteens in the last five years, as Subhash Chandra Agrawal’s RTI reply reveals. It is a very small amount when we count the overall government expenditure on politicians. It is about the message that such gesture would send to the masses – in times, when we are moving towards a ‘subsidy free’ governance – in times, when economists urge for the ‘pressing need’ to do so – in times, when the government looks convinced to do so.

The prices that have not been revised since December 2010 look ridiculously low. After all, where do we get a ‘masala dosa’ for Rs. 6 or ‘boiled vegetables’ at Rs. 5? And the long ‘ridiculously funny’ list is replete with such examples. And it is not in the canteens of the Parliament. We have other such spots on the ‘subsidy freeway’ where wrong people are enjoying such perks.

Parliament canteens can set a precedent for all such folks. Would our Parliamentarians, bureaucrats and other ‘financially capable’ people relishing such ‘subsidized delicacies’ do so?

Would they voluntarily give up the subsidy on food items in the Parliament canteens beginning with the Monsoon Session that is from July 21?

Would they pay the ‘market prices’ with ‘service tax’ as every Indian is expected to pay (and has to pay) till the issue is fixed?

And since any such move will be ‘self-driven’, ‘altruistic’ and ‘voluntary, it will take care of those ‘who really need subsidized food items’ from the Indian Parliament canteens.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MR. RATHORE SAYS IT WAS AN ‘OVERT OPERATION’

According to the Press Trust of India copy, Minister of State, Information & Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, has clarified on the clamour and crisis over ‘covert operation’ on India’s surgical attack on terror camps inside Myanmar on June 9 in response to the terrorists attack on a convoy of Indian Army on June 4 morning that left 18 soldiers dead and many injured.

He said it was not a ‘covert operation’. He said, “Experts who discussed and made objections to it did not know the difference between overt and covert operation. It was purely a special operation of army in Indian uniform against militants.”

According to him, it was an overt operation carried out by the Indian Army in ‘army fatigues’. According him, it was a ‘special operation’ in the circumstances then and announced the new, tough approach of India to tackle insurgency.

So, what is a covert operation involving security force of a country (obviously, opposite to it would be minus -c, i.e., overt).

The US defines the covert action (operation) as, “According to National Security Act Sec. 503 (e), covert action is, “An activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly.” Proper covert actions are undertaken because policymakers—not the intelligence agencies—believe that secret means are the best way to achieve a desired end or a specific policy goal.”

It further categorizes it in propaganda, political/economic action, paramilitary operations and lethal action.

“Propaganda: Intelligence agencies covertly disseminate specific information to advance foreign policy goals. United States law prohibits, however, the use of intelligence agencies to influence domestic media and opinion.”

“Political/Economic Action: Intelligence agencies covertly influence the political or economic workings of a foreign nation.”

“Paramilitary Operations: Intelligence agencies covertly train and equip personnel to attack an adversary or to conduct intelligence operations. These operations normally do not involve the use of uniformed military personnel as combatants.”

“Lethal Action: During times of war or armed conflict, the U.S. may need to use covert lethal force against enemies who pose a threat. The U.S. formally banned the use of political assassinations in 1976.”

And it differentiates a ‘covert operation’ from an ‘overt operation’ as:

“One distinction between covert action and other overt activities, such as traditional diplomatic or military operations, is that U.S. officials could plausibly deny involvement in the activity. This “plausible deniability,” however, is predicated upon the covert action remaining secret.”

So, our MoS thinks on this line, a line taken by the world’s strongest military – from the United States of America.

Indian action in Myanmar on June 9 was a military operation carried by Army personnel in full ‘army fatigue’ and some in the ruling political establishment in India, including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Mr. Rathore, are taking claim of the operation from the beginning. And Mr. Rathore is right if we see ‘overt and covert operations’ as the National Security Act of the US defines.

Further, according to Wikipedia, that also quotes the US (the U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms), main elements of a ‘covert operation’ are ‘identity secrecy and plausible deniability. It says, “A covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is “an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.”

Wikipedia further elaborates, “It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfil their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation.”

So, that is in line with the stated policy of the government of India on ‘hot-pursuit’ in Myanmar even if some political opponents (and opponents) it could not be termed a ‘hot pursuit’ operation.

What is a ‘hot pursuit’ in ‘military terms’ then?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S HOT PURSUIT IS EXPECTED TO GET HOTTER

India says it did enter the Myanmarese territory on Tuesday (morning of June 9) to carry out attacks on terrorists camps there, believed to be of the outfits (NSCN-K, PLA, KYKL, KLO, ULFA (I) and others) behind the June 4 terror strike in Chandel that left 18 Indian Army soldiers dead.

Myanmar had not reacted on the claim initially. But even June 10’s reaction had two versions (contradicting each other).

Professionalism needed the Indian establishment to go silent about it. The Indian Army did so, not mentioning ‘entering in Myanmar’ even once during its presser and in the press-release. It maintained ‘covertness’ of the ‘covert operation’.

But the political establishment could not do so. The ruling block saw a good political branding opportunity here to claim ‘paradigm shift in India’s anti-terror policy’ under the new government and its strong Prime Minister.

Even if it is in the realm of ‘policy debates’ and, ideally, the political establishment should have followed the policy adopted by the Indian Army, the happenings on that front are contrary, and the Opposition is targeting that.

Zaw Htay, the person whom the contradicting reports quoted on June 10 on ‘India entering in Myanmar’ didn’t come forward to clear the position. He is the director of the office of the President of Myanmar. Any other response, so far, has not been given by Myanmar.

Anyway, there are reasons to believe India did enter in hot-pursuit in Myanmar and destroyed the terrorists camps there based on the available intelligence.

And we can see more such attacks in the days ahead. It is in line with Narendra Modi’s tough and direct approach on terrorism.

Jitendra Singh arrived in Myanmar yesterday. He is MoS, Prime Minister’s Office and MoS, Development of the North-eastern Region. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is reaching there today. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar emphatically talked about the ‘changed way’ to deal with terrorists. He said, “Those who fear India’s new posture have already started reacting. If the thinking pattern changes, lot of things change. You have seen for the last 2-3 days. A simple action against insurgents has changed the mindset of the full security scenario in the country.”

So, even if the issue of ‘hot pursuit’ is hot on air waves and in political circles for reasons including contentious points, India’s anti-terror policy is going to be hotter in coming days.

Even if Pakistan is left out of this ‘new and bold’ approach, India shares friendly foreign relations with other neighbouring countries of South Asia, i.e., Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Narendra Modi has taken steps to improve ties and has been reciprocated.

India’s relation with Pakistan has been hostile mostly and is witnessing a low turn these days. And China would not allow terror camps on its soil, especially after experiencing insurgency in Xinjiang.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S HOT PURSUIT IN MYANMAR: PAKISTAN OVERREACTS

India says it did enter the Myanmarese territory to carry out attacks on terrorists camps there, believed to be of the outfits behind the June 4 terror strike in Chandel that left 18 Indian Army soldiers dead.

The professional conduct needed the Indian establishment to go silent about it. The Indian Army did so, not mentioning ‘entering in Myanmar’ even once during its presser and in the press-release. It maintained ‘covertness’ of the ‘covert operation’.

But the political establishment could not do so. The ruling block saw a good political branding opportunity here to claim ‘paradigm shift in India’s anti-terror policy’.

Even if it is in the realm of ‘policy debates’ and, ideally, the political establishment should have chosen the policy followed by the Indian Army, the happenings on that front are contrary, and the Opposition is targeting it.

But it is not just in India that we are seeing intense activity over it.

Across the border, in Pakistan, India’s hot-pursuit is generating much political concern. In India, the Opposition is opposing the way the government is publicising it and trying to take credit for it. In Pakistan, the establishment there is thinking that what would happen if India decides to carry a Myanmar like operation in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Pakistani territories along the International Border.

Even if that is not so easy. India and Pakistan ties, that have been historically hostile, are witnessing a low turn these days while India shares friendly foreign relations with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Narendra Modi has taken steps to improve ties and has been reciprocated.

India is a much larger and stronger country than Pakistan and the gap is widening. It is happening in a country where anti-India stand and rhetoric has been the lifeline of military and political establishments.

So, even if going inside PoK or Pakistani territory may not be on Indian agenda, the response by the Pakistani establishments is like ‘India is planning an imminent attack in the border territories of Pakistan or areas under Pakistan’s control’.

And everyone in Pakistan’s establishment – from its Prime Minister – to its Army Chief – to its former President – are issuing statements and reacting in the way so as to hide their frustration behind words.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Go through these:

Nawaz Sharif – Prime Minister, Pakistan

June 11 – Recent statements by Indian ministers have hampered our relations with India. The entire nation is dismayed over these irresponsible and imprudent statements by the Indian leadership. Despite these statements we will continue our efforts towards good neighbourly relations but they need to be reciprocated. (The Express Tribune)

June 11 – Pakistan will protect its territory at all costs and this message should be heard loud and clear. (The Express Tribune)

June 10 – Amidst a fresh salvo of hostile rhetoric from New Delhi, Nawaz said that the recent provocative statements of Indian leaders are ‘disappointing’. He called upon the United Nations Security Council to ensure implementation of its resolutions to resolve the festering dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir. (The Express Tribune)

Raheel Sharif – Pakistan’s Army Chief

June 10 – Taking strong exception to a series of threats from India, formation commanders’ conference presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif made it clear, Pakistan was ready to defeat Indian ‘designs’ and defend the territorial integrity. “The forum took serious notice of the recent Indian hostile rhetoric coupled with covert and overt actions to destabilize Pakistan,” the military’s media wing said. It was termed as highly regrettable that Indian politicians not only indulge in actions that are in violation of the United Nations’ Charter, but also take pride in claiming their interference in the internal affairs of other states, it added. The forum was given comprehensive briefings on security environment and professional issues. (The Nation)

Resolution of Pakistan’s Senate and National Assembly

June 11 – The Senate today passed a unanimous resolution strongly condemning the recent disturbing pattern of provocative and hostile statements by Indian leaders including threatening attacks against Pakistani territory. In response to another question, the Spokesperson said that Pakistan is fully capable of defending its territorial integrity against any foreign Aggression. (Radio Pakistan)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan

June 10 – In response to another question, the Spokesperson said that Pakistan is fully capable of defending its territorial integrity against any foreign Aggression.

Parvez Musharraf – Former Pakistan President and Former Army Chief General

June 10 – Deal with them with sovereign equality, my experience is they will further suppress if we back off. Their stance is offensive one. We do not want to use nuclear capability but if our existence comes under threat, who do we have these nuclear weapons for? If I say in Ch Shujaat’s style, do we have nukes saved to be used on Shab-e-Baraat? (Dunya News)

June 10 – “Neither the Pakistani armed forces, nor the people here are wearing bangles. This is Pakistan, not Myanmar. Modi’s presentation of the Fall of Dhaka picture to Bangladeshi PM and his open admission of Indian interference to internally destabilize Pakistan has exposed India’s true face. It clearly shows that India is intended to establish its supremacy by interfering in neighboring countries, but it must not forget that this is Pakistan. (Ary News)

Chaudhry Nisar – Interior Minister, Pakistan

June 10 – Responding to a statement issued by Indian Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said that Pakistan wanted peace in the region yet its friendly overtures should not be confused as a sign of weakness. Chaudhry Nisar said that India should not mistake Pakistan for Myanmar as its armed forces possess the capability to give a befitting reply to any Indian act of aggression.Lambasting the norm of repeated aggressive statements from the other side of the border, Chaudhry Nisar said that the Indian leadership should stop day-dreaming and face reality. (The News International)

Sartaz Aziz – Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security

June 10 – The premier’s senior aide affirmed Pakistan will take all possible measures to unveil India’s role in the breakup of East Pakistan in 1971. “We will take all possible steps to expose India’s role in the breakup of East Pakistan in 1971 and its threat to destabilise Pakistan through terrorism,” Sartaj Aziz told the Senate on Wednesday. Aziz further said, “The government has taken strong notice of Modi’s statement in which he acknowledged his country’s role in the events of 1971 in the then-East Pakistan.” (The Express Tribune)

WHO IS ZAW HTAY?

Well, who is Zaw Htay.

It is a Burmese name but there is no Wikipedia page available on it on first page of Google search with related thread. The first link that returns with the search is of some doctor of the same name.

Anyway, the Zaw Htay I was looking for, is a very important person in Myanmar. He is the director of the office of the President of Myanmar.

And he has become important for India as well after yesterday’s development.  Before that, he was virtually unknown in India except in concerned diplomatic circles.

Foreign media publications like The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy reported that India did enter in Myanmar’s territory to carry out surgical attacks on terrorists camps operating in India’s North-East from from Myanmar’s soil. The successful covert operation is being seen as a bold (with many firsts) retaliatory response to the June 4 Chandel attack by terrorists in Manipur that had left 18 soldiers dead.

The Wall Street Journal wrote: “Zaw Htay, director of the office of Myanmar President Thein Sein, confirmed Wednesday that Indian troops had entered his country. He said that there was “coordination and cooperation” between the Indian troops and Myanmar’s armed forces based in the area of the raids, but added that no Myanmar soldiers were directly involved. “We will never allow or support insurgents, whether [they are] against Myanmar or against our neighboring countries,” Mr. Zaw Htay added.”
(June 10, around 3 PM)

Foreign Policy wrote: “Director of the office of Myanmar President Thein Sein Zaw Htay, confirmed on Wednesday that Indian troops had entered his country’s border. He said that there was “coordination and cooperation” between authorities but no Myanmar soldiers were directly involved.”
(June 10, around 6:30 PM, as Google search reflected it)

But by the late evening, contradictory reports emerged, based on ‘his Facebook post’ that denied Indian Army’s entry in Myanmar’s territory. Similar reports said: “In a Facebook post Wednesday Zaw Htay, director of Myanmar’s presidential office, said: “According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border,” he said. “Myanmar will not accept any foreigner who attacks neighbouring countries in the back and creates problems by using our own territory,” he added.”

Most reports quoted (and are quoting) AFP story and The Strait Times published it at around 7 PM. Soon, others picked it up.

Now, even if the Indian Army has avoided mentioning ‘entering in Myanmarese territory’ in its official release, the political class is busy in taking credits (with the resultant blame game).

This contradiction will only intensify it. The situation has exacerbated ‘after contradictory reports on statements of Mr. Zaw Htay.

And only Mr. Htay or any representative of the Myanmar government can clarify it. Meanwhile, I tried but could not locate Mr. Htay ‘Facebook post’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INSURGENCY IN NORTH-EAST AND THE ‘LOCAL’ ELEMENT

They tried to do it again. And they tried to do it in Tirap again.

A group of some 40 terrorists, suspected to be from NSCN(K), attacked the camp of Assam Rifles in Tirap district in Andhra Pradesh.

Since there was prior intelligence this time, terrorists fire saw retaliatory attack by the personnel of the paramilitary force mandated to guard the India-Myanmar border.

No casualty was reported in exchange of fire that lasted for 10 minutes.

In an earlier incident in the district on April 2, NSCN(K) had ambushed an Army convoy (4 Rajput Regiment) killing 3 soldiers. It was around 6 AM.

Alertness and prior intelligence is natural in these tense circumstances. Just three days ago, in the deadliest attack on the Indian Army in the Northeast India, terrorists killed 18 soldiers of the 6 Dogra Regiment. NSCN(K), ULFA (I) and KYKL among others are being said to be behind this cowardly attack on the road-opening patrol that was not fully prepared to take on militants.

But that is a mistake or laxity or ‘intelligence failure’ that the Indian security establishment cannot afford in crisis-hit regions like J&K or in different states of the North-East.

The incident happened even if the Indian security establishment knew that the Khaplang faction of NSCN would try to hit targets in quick succession to prove its relevance after it broke the ceasefire in March 2015.

The intelligence establishment, with its multiple agencies, including the Indian Army and local police, expected attacks to happen, yet they could not see what was coming on June 4 in the Chandel district.

Like today’s incident in the Tirap district, involving a large group of terrorists (as is being reported), Chandel attack, too, involved a large group. Like Chandel, Tirap, too, is a district bordering Myanmar. In Chandel, it was around 6 AM, according to NSCN(K), the outfit which took responsibility of the attack. In Tirap, it was at 2:30 AM.

So, the terrorists want to attack those units of Indian security establishment, including its Army and paramilitary forces, which they find not equipped enough to retaliate – like it was a road-opening-patrol in Chandel – like it was at 2:30 AM at Assam Rifles camp in a remote area of Tirap.

If this sort of ‘hit and run’ is going to be the strategy of many groups of the North-East, including NSCN(K), intelligence agencies are going to face an even more difficult job at hand to thwart such attacks.

Going by the developments, it is quite sure that the intelligence agencies are not getting local support or are not able to exploit the means at this end.

India-Myanmar border is 15 Kms from the place where Chandel attack took place. Even if it was very near to the Myanmar border, crossing the border undetected after perpetrating such a deadly attack would be impossible for such a large group without local support. It holds true even in case the group members scattered here and there and crossed the border in small units or individually or even if they stayed back in the Indian territory, mixed among the villagers.

And today’s attack in Tirap holds same ‘intelligence’ logic. Assam Rifles guard the India-Myanmar border but they could not gauge from where the terrorists came and to where they fled away after opening fire. At least, that information is not in the public domain so far. Though Assam Rifles had intelligence about an upcoming attack, they could not trace out such a large group. But if they could escape as it was dark, it was not possible without the local support – the rapid movement of such a large group after a retaliatory attack.

And such ‘intelligence failures’ owing to the ‘non-cooperation of the local people’ in many North-East states give rise to various debates including Delhi’s negligence of the entire territory, shabby state of development and poor infrastructure and the imposition of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

When I wrote in an article on June 4 attack that we needed to see ‘it is to be seen how the government of India moves next morning’, it was basically about addressing this ‘local’ element – to come to the board and to chalk a roadmap for a permanent solution.

A thorough preparedness, being alert round the clock, and a more intense intelligence gathering mechanism can thwart the possibility of damage in such attacks. Yes, but it cannot thwart the possibility of such attacks.

That needs comprehensive sanitization of the affected areas by the Indian security establishment. But that cannot happen without local support.

And we cannot trust on the government in Myanmar. Terrorist groups active in the North-East operate from Myanmar. The government there has not enough means, political and military, to take on these outfits and the government was forced to sign an agreement with S. S. Khaplang.

Such groups also get vital Chinese support which has interests in the promoting insurgency in the North-East with its claim on Arunachal Pradesh.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

KASHMIRIS NEED TO PRIORITIZE PRAGMATICALLY

While watching Haider on television, the logical, commonsense thoughts on situations in Jammu & Kashmir (or largely Kashmir because terrorism emanates from there) came to me once again.

If we talk of the film-craft, the film, ‘Haider’, is one of the best movies made on the Valley (Kashmir). Yes, it has many debatable points and people on both sides of the spectrum, pro and anti India, debated it when the movie was released last year, but the last scene gives us all a message (including the people from the Valley) that should be a valid referral point for them to go back to the days of peace.

The message is – revenge begets more revenge and it doesn’t work for anyone.

People of the Valley need to think it – within the ambit of the realpolitik of the day. The relevant points accordingly are:

First and foremost point is – and the factual point is – India is not going to cede any ground on Kashmir issue.

India’s is among the world’s largest economies. It is also currently the world’s fastest growing economy and is slated to remain so as China slows down. The country is the world’s largest democracy and globally a powerful country now. On global stage, India has a much bigger stature than Pakistan and the gap is bound to widen in the days to come as Pakistan is trapped in the deadlocks of home-grown terrorists who were once important tools of its state policy. Many reports including the one recently by the US Congressional research say so.

Also, the whole J&K state is strategically vital to the Indian interests in the context of its historical rivalry with China and India will never compromise here.

The next point is – India of the day and future cannot be forced militarily by a proxy war or by armed militancy to let Kashmir go away from its territory. And it is to be seen in the context that every such effort, including the full-scale wars between India and Pakistan, has failed to deter India so far.

Proxy armed war can be waged against India but its strong Army and paramilitary forces, with their heavy presence in J&K, cannot be frustrated to the extent to leave the Valley, or to compromise on the issue.

Instead, people of the Valley have been facing collateral damages for decades. Their trust and they have been misused by separatists, extremists, militants and Pakistan. They need to see the elements behind the reasons that made Kashmir ‘a heaven, a paradise on Earth’ even before insurgency started engulfing it in late 1980s.

So far, if not all Kashmiris, a sizeable chunk has failed to see through the designs of separatists, militants and Pakistan, the ongoing phase of militancy in the Valley tells us. If the separatists still draw political sanction there, it is because they feel there would be people to support them.

Kashmiris need to prioritize pragmatically.

Kashmiris need to think pragmatically that security of their future lies in them remaining in India, a nation with as many Muslim as Pakistan but where ‘Al Qaeda’ finds no recruits as the BBC says or a magazine like ‘The Economist’ deliberates that ‘ why India’s Muslims are so moderate’.

India is a large country with a large market that the world is eyeing for and Pakistan can never be a match to it. It has a sizeable middle class that is projected to be the world’s largest by 2030, a Harvard study says.

People of Kashmir need to think of a life they will get in Indian Kashmir if they decide to grow with India, if they take side of the peaceful days as were in the Valley’s past.

Even now, they have everything available on a better scale if they see the people’s lives in ‘Azad Kashmir’ or practically, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Even if the Valley is ‘promoted’ as a ‘disturbed area’ on global forums, its separatists freely criticise India and favour Pakistan. Pakistani flags are waved during rallies and demonstrations. Indian security forces are openly demonized.

The state has its own constitution. People from other parts of India cannot buy property in the state. People of the Valley should think of a day when a strong government of a strong India will remove Article 370 and will push the state into the mainstream of the Indian Constitution. They should think of a day when people from other parts of the country will get rights to settle in J&K. That is a way to culturally integrate the state aimed at strengthening the pro-India voices. If China can do it in Tibet, why not India can do it J&K?

Also, people of J&K need to see and emulate other Indian states on the road to prosperity. Many of them have Muslim population much larger than the Valley. These states are very well the part of the Indian federal system.

Yes, Indian government in Delhi and Indian forces in the state have their share of controversies and high-handedness, but the solution of the problems affecting lives of the people of J&K (especially Kashmir) lies in the realpolitik of the Valley which goes with the rider that ‘Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CLOSER ECONOMIC TIES BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA MAKE SENSE

They are the world’s two most populous nations.

They are poised to be the world’s second and third largest economies.

They are the world’s biggest markets.

One has grown at around 10% for 30 years.

The other has grown around 6% for 20 years.

And as China, the one with an average growth rate of 10%, is slowing down, India is slated to become the fastest growing economy of the world.

And it is in process. India, that has grown at around 6% for past two decades, is expected to grow at 7.5% this year compared to China’s 6.8%, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports.

According to a report by the Harvard University, the projections say India will grow annually at 7.9% for eight years till 2023 while the average annual growth rate for China for the same period is expected to be 4.6%.

India is poised to become the world’s youngest nation by 2020.

India has 65% of its population under 35 years of age – that corresponds to over 81 crores (810 million) of India’s population of 1.25 billion.

When its prime minister, Narendra Modi, who started his first official tour of China today, talks of a demographic dividend, he has reasons to say so.

India is poised to have the world’s largest middle class surpassing China by 2030. The criteria used by the BBC for this projection was an earning potential of US$ 10 to US$ 100 per day. The study projects India’s middle class to be 475 million strong by 2030.

According to a study by the World Bank, United States was at the top of the middle class consumption pecking order in 2009 with 21% global share (US$ 4377 billion). In 2020, China is projected to be at the top with 13% market share worth US$ 4468 billion. India will make a grand entry there with projected market share of 23% worth whopping US$ 12777 billion.

China’s is a manufacturing powerhouse and India is trying to be the one with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led government’s ‘Make In India’ campaign.

Global companies are vying for Chinese and Indian markets and India and China are eyeing for each other’s market as well.

And closer economic ties between the two giants, the projected second and the third largest economies of the world, the two largest middle classes, the two Asian superpowers and the two neighbours, make sense.

Right now, China is ahead of India in every comparable aspect – in social sphere, in military technology, in infrastructure and in economy – China’s economy is over four times the Indian economy.

But India is the world’s largest democracy and is slowly adopting the features of a free market economy while the Communist China with a one-party system did it very fast.

Now, China is stagnating and is coming around a sustainable growth rate.

And India is poised to take up – at least for a decade to come.

And the two counties together make the largest marketplace of the world – with 24% of the middle class consumption by 2020 that is slated to go up by 17% to become 41% by 2030.

India and China, the world’s two fastest growing economies, are home to over 2.6 billion people now – that is around 30% of the world.

And they are big markets for every country – including themselves.

Xi Jinping’s India visit last year and Narendra Modi’s China visit this year should be seen in this context only – two large economies that see gains in mutual cooperation – even if it means pushing back the contentious issues – including the border issue.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

GREENPEACE INDIA: “WE REFUSE TO BE INTIMIDATED BY SUCH DIRTY TRICKS.”

Greenpeace campaigners may be green activists, but for Government of India, if we go by the developments, they are anti-development.

According to reports, Greenpeace India will be forced to close its operations within a month after the government froze its accounts almost a month ago.

And if it happens so, it will be bad, not only for its over 300 employees, but also for environmental activism (or green activism).

And if it happens so, it will be a first for Greenpeace, the global not-for-profit – the forced closure in a country of its operation.

According to Greenpeace India chief Samit Aich, the organization, with funds available, can sustain itself for a maximum one month and a shutdown is imminent. The press release from the organization appealed to fight back the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decision to block Greenpeace India funds, 68% of which, it claims, came from 77000 Indians.

Samit Aich appealed to his employees – “I just made one of the hardest speeches of my life, but my staff deserve to know the truth. We have one month left to save Greenpeace India from complete shutdown, and to fight MHA’s indefensible decision to block our domestic accounts. The question here is why are 340 people facing the loss of their jobs? Is it because we talked about pesticide-free tea, air pollution, and a cleaner, fairer future for all Indians?”

Greenpeace is sure going to challenge it in a court, like it has done it in the past. And it is expected to emerge as a winner, like it emerged in Priya Pillai case. She had moved to the court after being offloaded from a London flight this January. Indian government found her a threat to the country who was going abroad to testify against the government. The Delhi High Court was stinging in its remarks while absolving Priya Pillai this March. The court ordered the government to allow her to travel abroad and remove her from the ‘banned list’. The court also ordered the government to expunge the remark related to her ‘offloading’ from her visa.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher’s was directly hitting at the government – “Criticism, by an individual, may not be palatable; even so, it cannot be muzzled. Many civil right activists believe that they have the right, as citizens, to bring to the notice of the state the incongruity in the developmental policies of the state. The state may not accept the views of the civil right activists, but that by itself, cannot be a good enough reason to do away with dissent.”

And it is bound to happen. India is slated to overtake China as the world’s fastest growing economy and the signs are already there. The Indian government of the day wants to increase the share of manufacturing in its economy – from 16% to 22% by 2022. Now that is a lot and bound to have intense activity in the sector with the ‘Make In India’ initiative.

The government and the activists, especially, the environmental activists, will cross ways regularly. Greenpeace India comes in this category.

And Greenpeace India is facing survival crisis while writing this, as already mentioned. The government came with an order that was to affect the whole organization, and not just some campaigners. On April 9, government froze Greenpeace’s bank accounts and suspended its FCRA registration (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) on ‘violating norms’ that Greenpeace says are unfounded allegations.

On May 8, Greenpeace India submitted its response to the MHA, rebutting point by point its accusations. They say they have not violated norms and the MHA notice has many clerical errors and is totally unfounded.

Greenpeace India expects its response to the MHA will clear things. Samit Aich said on the response – “We are confident that this response establishes our legitimacy beyond any doubt. We have addressed every allegation made against us and responded in a transparent and honest way throughout. In contrast, the MHA has used unfounded allegations and arbitrary penalties in a blatant attempt to silence us. We remain proud of our campaigns for clean air, water and affordable energy, and refuse to be intimidated by such dirty tricks.”

Let’s see what happens next. Like Priya Pillai’s case, Indian courts are always accessible for an organization like Greenpeace.

And if the MHA doesn’t act on it, we should hear from Greenpeace from the courtroom for sure, for they ‘refuse to be intimidated by dirty tricks’.

Greenpeace 1

Greenpeace 2©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/