DESPITE TRUCE, RAHUL GANDHI RAKES UP PM MODI’S PAKISTAN COMMENT AGAIN IN TWEET TO ‘MR JAITLIE’

The article originally appeared on India Today on 27 December.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he thanked Union Minister Arun Jaitley for reminding the nation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “never means what he says or says what he means.”

Rahul attached a video to his Twitter message. It containing clips of Modi’s controversial remark on former PM Manmohan Singh and former VP Hamid Ansari, and of a statement Jaitley made in the Rajya Sabha today.

The Congress alleged that on the assembly election campaign trail, Modi insinuated that his predecessor and the former vice-president conspired to derail the BJP in Gujarat, at a dinner party attended by former Pakistan diplomats. The Grand Old Party wanted an apology from the PM, and Manmohan said in a statement that he rejected “the innuendos and falsehoods.”

Office of RG ✔ @OfficeOfRG
Dear Mr Jaitlie – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means. #BJPLies
8:52 PM – Dec 27, 2017

“I sincerely hope that he will apologise to the nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” Manmohan said.

Today, Jaitley said Modi didn’t question or mean to question their commitment to the nation.

“We hold these leaders in high esteem,” Jaitley said.

In fact, the government and the Opposition reached a truce over the issue, thanks to some good old back room diplomacy.

©SantoshChaubey

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RAHUL GANDHI THANKS “MR. JAITLIE” FOR CLARIFYING NARENDRA MODI’S PAKISTAN REMARK AGAINST MANMOHAN SINGH

Congress president Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at finance minister Arun Jaitley for his clarification on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Vice-president Hamid Ansari.

During an election rally in Gujarat, Modi had alleged Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders of colluding with Pakistan to defeat the BJP in Gujarat. Jatiley said in his clarification that was nowhere close to being apologetic, “PM in his speeches didn’t question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former VP Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India.”

Tweeting a video of Modi’s election remarks and Arun Jaitley’s RS clarification side by side, Rahul addressed the Finance Minister sarcastically as “Dear Mr. Jaitlie” and in an equally sarcastic tone, thanked him “for reminding India that Narendra Modi never means what he says or says what he means.”

Office of RG @OfficeOfRG
Dear Mr Jaitlie – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means.
#BJPLies
https://twitter.com/OfficeOfRG/status/946038581306441728

The remarks made by Modi created storm in Indian politics. Manmohan Singh reacted sharply on it and demanded an apology on what he perceived as Modi’s ill thought transgression, “I reject the innuendos and falsehoods as I did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar as alleged by Modi. I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies.”

Congress launched a well mounted campaign to denounce it and made Modi’s apology a pre-condition to run the Parliament and with today’s compromise there seemed to be an end to the stalemate finally as Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Leader of Opposition in RS and a Congress MP, thanked Jaitley for his clarification “on what had been issue of contention” and also distanced his party from any comments made against Modi during the Gujarat election campaign.

©SantoshChaubey

THIS TWEET IS INDICATIVE OF HEIGHT OF ANTI-INDIA PROPAGANDA IN PAKISTAN

Ever since Narendra Modi has asserted that India would raise and support the Balochistan issue and Pak-Occupied-Kashmir is legitimately India’s and Pakistan is illegally occupying it and future India-Pakistan talks will revolve around it, Pakistan has scaled new heights of anti-India propaganda back home and across the world where ever it can reach.

And it is reflecting in every level of Pakistani establishment and society. Be it leaders, its communication channels or its social media chatter, one look, and it looks they squeeze even the last drop of blood out of Indian existence. Anything that is good, is firmly censored and banned in Pakistan.

As this tweet from Radio Pakistan shows.

During his last address to the UNGA as the US President, Barack Obama said that ” China and India remain on a path of remarkable growth”. In fact, India was one of the few rare mentions in his speech which had nothing negative about it.

But see how Radio Pakistan, Pakistan’s national radio presented it.

obama-unga-radiopakistan-1

If you think it is a human error in tweet only, then here is the complete Radio Pakistan copy.

obama-unga-radiopakistan-2

Here is the portion of Barack Obama’s speech mentioning India and China.

obama-unga-radiopakistan-3

Anything and everything may be debatable but it shows one thing that mere mention of India in a positive light starts giving sleepless nights to Pakistan.

©SantoshChaubey

CAN MODI GOVERNMENT DO THIS COURSE CORRECTION?

Today’s is the third day after the attack on army base camp in Uri that killed 18 Indian soldiers. Terrorists attacked the camp early in the morning when most of the soldiers were deep in sleep. While saluting the soldiers and paying homage on their supreme sacrifice, the whole nation is understandably deeply disturbed and angry and wants Pakistan aptly punished this time. If many have advocated a direct war with Pakistan, it is a natural expression of that anger.

But a direct war can never be the answer to a proxy war that Pakistan has forced India into. Our policymakers and strategists realize it, especially when internationalizing Kashmir and showing India in bad light is the main aim of Pakistan’s diplomacy. Now that India is emerging as a global power and the world community has started taking notice of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India, attacking Pakistan would be like playing into its hands because it will immediately divert the world’s attention from Pakistan’s proxy war to India’s attack on Pakistan and Kashmir. So, even if the Indian Army has asserted to respond to the cowardly Uri attack, it has added that the response will be ‘at the time and place of its choosing’.

Also, we cannot forget that both, India and Pakistan, are nuclear powers. India can and will keep restraint but what about Pakistan. Its leaders threaten nuclear strike against India even on the slightest pretext. Just yesterday, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif again spoke of use of nuclear weapons against India.

In that case, the other alternative that remains is diplomatic offensive.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, a senior minister of the NDA government, summed up the sentiments of the Indian establishment when he said that ‘after the Uri attack, the India-Pakistan ties can never be same again’. At the moment, India is deliberating on many alternatives. The major among them are curtailing diplomatic ties with Pakistan, strongly counteracting Pakistan’s Kashmir and anti-India propaganda and telling the world in a mission mode Pakistan’s atrocities and human rights violation in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir and Balochistan.

And the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that began today, can be the launch platform. Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to address the UNGA tomorrow and Pakistan has said that it will use the UN platform and Sharif’s speech to tell the world how India is indulged in perpetrating atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir. Pakistan has been doing it for decades, sending its politicians and bureaucrats to different countries and world-bodies to raise the Kashmir bogey and spread anti-India propaganda. But there has been a desperate rush in these activities with the ongoing phase of unrest in Kashmir (that is again fuelled by Pakistan).

Now India has to answer it and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is ready that if Nawaz Sharif raises the Kashmir pitch in the UN, India will forcefully counter with evidence of Pakistan’s atrocities and human rights violations in PoK and Balochistan and Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India with the Uri attack being the latest example. And to extend her diplomatic offensive, India has already firmed up its strategy to reach out to every global platform. Last week, when Pakistan had tried to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council, India had vehemently rejected it, putting its stand firmly that the present phase of unrest in Kashmir was, like always, Pakistan sponsored. In fact, India should have begun on these initiatives much earlier. It is an established fact that Pakistan is behind terrorism in Kashmir yet we have failed in telling it to the world. Now the Narendra Modi government is talking of changing all this.

If we look through the years of India-Pakistan ties, we will find that barring few occasions, Pakistan has always been ahead of us in diplomatically ratcheting up the Kashmir issue on international platforms. India needs to shape up its diplomatic offensive keeping in mind ‘how and why’ of these lapses. It is totally unacceptable that we have failed to raise the PoK human rights abuses while Pakistan keeps spreading lies about Kashmir. It is disturbing that terrorists and criminals wanted in India are respectable citizens in Pakistan yet India never thought of extending the olive branch to Baloch, Sindhi and other groups who are fighting for independence from Pakistan. Showing the mirror to Pakistan and fighting and winning diplomacy at the level of diplomacy should be the guiding principle for India now. And PoK, Balochistan and Pakistan sponsored terrorism should be at its core.

Narendra Modi has made it clear that if there is anything contentious between India and Pakistan, it is Pakistan sponsored terrorism and PoK. Narendra Modi also made a much needed policy correction when he asserted in his Independence Day address on August 15 that India would support the Baloch activists and would raise the issue of human rights violations in Balochistan. So, a beginning has been made but the road ahead is unpredictable and the path is long. Let’s see how the Modi government carries out this course correction.

But one needs to keep in mind that a diplomatic offensive needs to be proactive and not reactive. India should not wait to react on Pakistan’s bravados. Instead, it should go full throttle in exposing Pakistan through its diplomatic offensive when we know that Pakistan’s atrocity and barbarism has continued unabated in PoK and Balochistan and when we have Baloch leaders and freedom fighter speaking against it from different global platforms. India should try to get such voices even from PoK.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA’S PAKISTAN POLICY AFTER UR: NEITHER WAR. NOR PEACE.

And it was perfectly captured in a statement of Ravi Shankar Prasad, senior minister in the Narendra Modi government who said that after the Uri attack, relation with Pakistan would never be like it was – that the India-Pakistan ties would never be same again.

In spite of all the rhetoric and jingoism about going to war with Pakistan, nothing of that sort is going to happen. It reflected in the statement delivered this evening by Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operation (DGMO), Indian Army, when he said, “We reserve the right to respond at the time and place of our choosing. We have desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us.”

Yes, war is not a solution or logical option. India is militarily and economically far ahead than Pakistan. In fact, there is no comparison. But then we cannot forget the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power. And when a poor and backward nation like North Korea can act with audacity based on its newly acquired nuclear deterrent, why would not Pakistan do so? And there has been a precedent. Even on the slightest pretext, Pakistan’s politicians go full throttle on nuclear war mongering against India.

So, the best way forward is to clip Pakistan’s wings indirectly – something like Indira Gandhi had done before the war that liberated Bangladesh in 1971.

Neither war. Nor peace!

Before the 1971 war, Indira Gandhi had gone on and sent her colleagues and bureaucrats on a global diplomatic offensive. It was a three pronged strategy. On one hand, the Indian Army was preparing for a war offensive to infiltrate and take over Bangladesh, while at the same time, she was busy promoting India’s stand as a peace loving country that wanted to avoid war with Pakistan.

The outcome of this diplomatic offensive, the most important element of her strategy, was the culmination of global support for India, when after a first desperate strike by Pakistan, India rushed its forces to the erstwhile East Pakistan that soon resulted in birth of a new nation – Bangladesh. So efficiently was Indira Gandhi’s handling then that even after the vehement US resistance, India was able to do what Indira had wanted it to do. The external threat and resistance that could have come from countries like US or China was effectively mitigated by winning confidence of the larger world including Russia.

India needs a global diplomatic offensive like that. But can Narendra Modi and his government do that?

Yes, there is intent, like Ravi Shankar Prasad summed up, that it can never again be the same walk with Pakistan. The hostilities have gone on a new high and the overall ties are a historic low.

But can they walk the talk?

United Nations General Assembly is in session and its principal event, the Annual General Debate, is beginning tomorrow. Pakistan has shouted over the top in telling the world community that it would draw the global attention from the UN platforms towards so called Indian atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

MODI AND MEHBOOBA MUST BE ON SAME PAGE TO SOLVE KASHMIR PROBLEM

The article originally appeared on DailyO.

Curfew has been lifted from the Kashmir Valley after 51 days except from the areas of Pulwama and old Srinagar.

There has been a gradual slowdown in violent protests after the government adopted a two-pronged strategy – to get tough with those inciting the unrest including Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists, and initiating a comprehensive dialogue with others including the representatives of the protestors.

The government’s determination to find a solution to the ongoing strife in Kashmir through dialogue is a welcome step and how serious the government is this time around becomes clear from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that the lives lost in the Kashmir unrest were those of Indians and the whole of India is pained at that.

“Unity and affection were the pivotal words during my interaction with other political parties on the Kashmir issue. Those who are inciting the Kashmiri youth for indulging in violent clashes and stone-pelting will have to answer someday and those who have died in the ongoing phase of unrest in Kashmir are Indians,” Modi said on Sunday (August 28), making his stand on Kashmir loud and clear once again. He was addressing the nation through his monthly radio broadcast Mann ki Baat.

It indicated the continuation of his efforts to initiate a dialogue in order to find a solution to the Kashmir problem, and that has found acceptance among the stakeholders, who see a point here.

Before this, even during the meeting with the united front of Jammu and Kashmir opposition parties last week, the prime minister had said that development alone was not enough to solve the Kashmir problem and dialogue was a must.

To extend Modi’s initiative, Union home minister Rajnath Singh held meetings with some eminent Indians before his visit to Kashmir last week (August 24-25) so that he could prepare the groundwork. During his two-day visit to the Valley, he met all the stakeholders and even indicated that he was ready to meet the separatists (but the separatists refused to meet him).

He is slated to take an all-party delegation to the Valley soon and its modalities are being worked out. Also, the government has now decided that pellet guns will only be used as the last resort and non-lethal measures like chilli and pepper grenades, water cannons, and acoustic and laser devices will be employed to control mobs.

To complement these efforts, the Central government is working on other fronts as well to crackdown on separatists and those who are fuelling unrest in the Valley. Many separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have been arrested and many are under detention and interrogations are on.

The number of security personnel on the ground has been beefed up by deploying more Army troops and additional columns of the Border Security Force (BSF). The National Investigative Agency (NIA) is probing 17 bank accounts from south Kashmir with suspicious transactions amounting to Rs 38 crore that could have been used to fuel the unrest.

But the Kashmir unrest is not a problem that alone the Central government can resolve. The Jammu and Kashmir government, being the representative of the people of the state, is the primary interface here through which the Central government can push any initiative further and therefore both the governments need to act in unison.

Mehbooba Mufti, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister heading a PDP-BJP coalition government has appealed to the protestors to give her a chance though she has maintained that it is only five per cent of the population who are creating trouble and unrest in the Valley.

Mehbooba sees in Prime Minister Modi a person who will solve the Kashmir problem. Yet she has been hesitant to toe the Centre’s line. Thus while India has accused Pakistan of fomenting the Kashmir unrest, Mehbooba still believes in appealing to Pakistan to help resolve the Kashmir deadlock.

Now, Pakistan’s hand behind the Kashmir unrest is not difficult to detect. While Mehbooba is still trying to court Pakistan, the Modi government has made it very clear that it will not talk to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Instead, it has asked Pakistan to rein in the anti-India elements on its soil and stop anti-India propaganda.

Such paradoxical approaches to the Kashmir problem have always been obstacles to finding any solution. Successive governments in Jammu and Kashmir and the politicians of the state have always advocated making Pakistan a party to the Kashmir peace process because they believe it appeases a section of voters there, whereas the Indian government has made it clear that Kashmir is an integral part of India and if there is any problem, it is India’s internal matter and will be resolved accordingly.

Kashmir, though, has been the main issue between India and Pakistan and the Pakistan high commission in Delhi has been treating the Kashmiri separatists like VVIPs. Now that the Indian government has firmly said that no talks with Pakistan would be held on the Kashmir issue, the state government too should try to find a solution to the problem within this framework.

Pakistan understands that it cannot take Kashmir from India – either through war or proxy war. But it needs to keep the Kashmir issue alive in order to divert attention from its domestic problems as well as to nurture anti-India sentiments that give legitimacy to the role its military establishment plays.

Pakistan, in fact, is feeling desperate after Modi’s open announcement that India would now raise human rights and atrocity issues in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Balochistan on international platforms which got good traction among Baloch activists spread across the world.

Sending its parliamentarians to different countries to highlight the Kashmir issue, getting an anti-India statement issued from the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), giving active patronage to terrorists wanted in India and asking them to spew venom against India and mentoring and tutoring the Kashmiri separatists indicate how insecure Pakistan is feeling now. It is, in fact, so perturbed that Kashmir has started dictating its foreign policy just not with India but with the rest of the world now.

The Jammu and Kashmir politicians and the state government should see through this. That is a must for any peace process initiated by the government of India to bear fruit. Dialogue is the only way forward but both the state and Central government should understand that they should not send conflicting signals that would be like playing into the hands of anti-India elements and the Kashmiri separatists who keep on inciting protests in the Valley.

The Jammu and Kashmir politicians who take part in India’s electoral politics must sing the Indian tune and not the Pakistan’s national anthem. Why it is that some of these politicians find it easy to blast India while their silence on Pakistan is deafening?

Why it is that they never talk of atrocities in PoK? If Pakistan is out of the ambit of the talks, both the state and Central governments should speak the same language. The government of India had given the separatists a chance when Rajnath had invited them, but the separatists, who openly endorse Pakistan, can’t be expected to be a part of something constructive.

Kashmir has seen a lot of destruction and heartburn. The 51 days of curfew, which began after Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed in a police encounter on July 8, has seen a death toll of 71 which include mainly young protesters.

The unrest has left thousands injured and many have become crippled. These include security personnel as well. Education institutions and businesses remain closed. Trade and industry bodies have pegged their loss at Rs 6,000 crore.

But the actual loss will be manifold as the tourism industry, the mainstay of the Jammu and Kashmir economy, which had started witnessing some activity, has been badly hit and the simmering tension tells you that it will take years of healing before Kashmir will be normal again.

©SantoshChaubey

A SOLUTION TO KASHMIR UNREST? CENTRE AND STATE NEED TO SPEAK SAME LANGUAGE

‘Unity and affection were the pivotal words during my interaction with other political parties on the Kashmir issue. Those who are inciting the Kahsmiri youth for indulging in violent clashes and stone pelting will have to answer someday and those who have died in the ongoing phase of unrest in Kashmir are Indians’ – prime minister Narendra Modi said on August 28, making his changed stand on Jammu & Kashmir loud and clear – once again. He was addressing the nation through his monthly radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

It was continuing his efforts to initiate a dialogue process to find a solution to the Kashmir problem that will be acceptable to the stakeholders who see a point here. Before this, even in the meeting with the united front of the Jammu & Kashmir opposition parties on August 22, he had said that development alone was not the solution and dialogue was a must.

To extend Modi’s initiative, home minister Rajnath Singh held meetings with some eminent Indians before his visit to Kashmir earlier this week to prepare the groundwork for the peace initiative. During his two-day stay there he met with all the stakeholders involved and even indicated that he was ready to meet the separatists (which the separatists refused). An all party delegation is slated to visit the Valley soon.

But Kashmir unrest is not a problem that alone the central government can resolve. The elected state government, being the representative of the state’s people, is the primary interface here through which the central government can push any initiative further and therefore both the governments need to act in unison.

Something that is not happening.

India has accused Pakistan of fomenting the Kashmir unrest but J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti is still appealing to Pakistan to help in resolving the Kashmir imbroglio if the country is really concerned with Kashmiris’ plight. Now even a child can understand the Pakistani plot here. The whole Kashmir problem is Pakistan created. While Mehbooba is still trying to court Pakistan, the Narendra Modi government has made it very clear that it will not talk to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Instead, Pakistan should rein in the anti-India elements on its soil and should stop anti-India propaganda.

These paradoxical approaches to the Kashmir problem have always been obstacles to find any solution. It has been consistently seen that the state governments of J&K and the state politicians have been advocating to make Pakistan a party in the Kashmir peace process because it appeases a section voters there, voters who form the core of mobs in case whenever there is a situation of unrest whereas the Indian stand from Delhi has been unambiguous putting it firmly that the whole J&K is India’s integral part and if there is any problem, it is India’s internal matter and will be resolved accordingly. Though Kashmir has been the main issue between India and Pakistan and the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi has been treating the J&K separatists like some VVIPs, it should be seen as the part of democratic processes only that define India’s founding principles. The Kashmir rant in India-Pakistan bilateral ties has always had a Pakistani imprint.

Now that the Indian government has firmly said that no talks with Pakistan would be held on the Kashmir issue, the state government, too, should try to find a way out within this framework only. Pakistan understands that it cannot take Kashmir from India – either in a war or by promoting proxy wars. But it needs Kashmir to divert attention from its domestic problems as well as to nurture anti-India sentiments that give legitimacy to the political roles its military establishment plays.

The country, in fact, is feeling desperate after Narendra Modi’s open dare that India would now raise human rights and atrocity issues in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Baluchistan on international platforms, something that is getting good traction among the Baluch activists spread across the world.

Sending its parliamentarians to different countries to highlight the Kashmir issue, getting an anti-India statement issued from the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), giving active patronage to terrorists wanted in India to spew venom against India and mentoring and tutoring the J&K separatists – these steps indicate how insecure Pakistan is feeling now – so much so that Kashmir has started dictating its foreign policy just not with India but across the world.

The J&K politicians and the state government should see through it. That is a must for any peace process initiated by the centre to bear fruit. Dialogue is the only way forward but both the state government and the central government should understand that they should not send conflicting signals as it would be like playing in the hands of anti-India elements and the J&K separatists who keep on inciting the Valley protests.

The J&K politicians who take part in India’s electoral politics must sing the Indian tune and not the Pakistan’s national anthem.

Why it is that some J&K politicians find India an easy target to blame while their silence on Pakistan is deafening?

Why it is that they never talk of PoK atrocities and problems?

If Pakistan is out of the ambit of the talks, both the governments should speak the same. The government of India had given the separatists a chance when Rajnath Singh had invited them but the separatists who now openly endorse Pakistan, how can they be expected to be part of something constructive?

Meanwhile, Kashmir continues to burn.

August 27 marked the 50 days of violence in the Valley that began after Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burwan Wani was killed in a police encounter. The death toll in the Valley so far stands around 70 which include mainly the young protesters. The ongoing unrest has left thousands injured and many have become crippled. Both the dead, as well as the injured, include security personnel as well. Educational institutions and businesses remain closed. Trade and industry bodies peg the loss at Rs. 6000 crore. But the actual loss will be manifold as the tourism industry, the mainstay of J&K economy, which had started witnessing some activity, is gone again and the simmering tension says it will be some years of consistent healing before it can see some positive signs.

©SantoshChaubey

NSG DIDN’T COME INDIA’S WAY..AND IT WAS EXPECTED.

NSG didn’t come India’s way – and it was expected.

It is not at all a diplomatic failure. It worked where Narendra Modi has been burning his midnight oil – in strengthening relations with major powers like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, and so on – and all of them supported India’s bid. In fact, the US vehemently pushed for it.

It was the NSG’s 26th plenary and there will obviously be the 27th one. India’s NSG membership issue has been on the table for quite some time though India formally applied for it on May 12 only – something that set in motion a formal process. And mind you there was no direct no.

The members, in fact, agreed for more discussion on the issue and decided to lay down criteria for inducting the non-NPT members – the sole point of contention behind China’s ‘no to India’ attitude. That, in fact, is a win for India.

The gain that India got could be gauged from the fact that a special session was organized the last night to discuss India’s NSG membership request only even if China had said initially that ‘India’s membership’ was not on the agenda.

In Fact, barring seven countries (some reports say 10) – China, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Switzerland – all other countries in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) supported India’s entry into the grouping that represents major nuclear trading nations of the world.

More or less, this was the same block of the countries which was opposed to any exemption to India in 2008. Like this time, China was the major roadblock even then. And the sceptics were – Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, and the Netherlands. The NSG used to be a 45-nation bloc then.

The India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Deal or the 123 Agreement signed in July 2008 came after some intense negotiations before the NSG allowed exemptions to India – after a pledge by Pranab Mukherjee that India would not carry anymore nuclear tests. The NSG exemptions allowed countries to do nuclear trading with India – lifting provisions of the NSG and other export control regimes.

It made possible the 2008 India-US deal and paved way for further such agreements. Today, India has bilateral nuclear trading relations with France, the UK, Australia, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and some other countries. And the list is expected to grow as India is poised to grow – as Indian market needs an ever increasing scale of energy consumption for its growing economy that is slated to be in the world top three. And that means good business for everyone.

Yes, it is some worthwhile food for thought for another line of discussion that how Narendra Modi’s government committed another Image Management hara-kiri by blowing the incident over the top – as if it was the grand finale and India was going to get a grand entry in the NSG – reaffirming again that ‘Narendra Modi’ is the best thing to happen to India.

It was better as ‘India’s NSG push’. The government shouldn’t have allowed it to get ‘India’s NSG bid’ perception.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA CAN’T DO WITHOUT SUBSIDIES – AND IT WANTS TO TAX PROVIDENT FUND!

We are a nation where the urban poverty line is Rs. 47 a day while we think that the rural folks can survive at Rs. 32 a day and we arrived at this wisdom in 2014. When we had done so, we had graduated from the poverty lines of Rs. 27 in rural areas and Rs. 33 in urban areas. This is when you can’t arrange even a modest one time meal in Rs. 32.

This directly says the proportion of real poor, in qualitative terms, based on the average living conditions today, would be much higher that the projected figure of around 30% or less. When you go assessing this poverty mess keeping in mind ‘what should be and what is’, you see this is another equal India within India (or Bharat of the perennial India Vs Bharat debate).

Some 75% of Indians are without any health insurance cover. Majority cannot afford medicines for a sustained treatment regime, let alone the costly surgical processes. The attitude of doctors and support staff in the government run hospitals is even worse than scavengers. Finding good people there tougher than even finding God. People who can afford and can access, try to ignore the government run health facilities. And it across India including the metro cities.

Officially, India’s literacy rate is around 75%. But again, if we see qualitatively, it is the same old story of an equal sized Bharat within India. Our primary school system is languishing with deep holes and leakage in the ambitious Universal Elementary Education programme. Our higher education probably produces the maximum proportion of inept professionals and higher education graduates.

Our economy is consistently witnessing a falling gross savings to GDP ratio – from 34.6% in 2011-12 – to – 31.3% in 2015-16. One way to look at it would that people don’t have wealth in that proportion to save – something that is, naturally, very random and without substance. Or it means people are saving less.

But that doesn’t mean the government should use to a stick to discipline people – like the proponents of the EPF tax proposal including Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said – as a report the Economic Times put forward – “The government had justified the move by saying that it was meant to steer private sector employees towards a pensioned retirement by discouraging lump sum withdrawals, especially for, as experience suggests, conspicuous consumption.”

The finger is being pointed at it rightly – that who is the government to discipline us with our personal preference. Yes, it is good for us when we save more – but then, on a macro scale, it is good for the nation’s economic health as well. But, in the name of that, taxing a man’s life’s savings can never be justified especially when you give people dreams save taxes and build a corpus by investing in the Provident Fund scheme.

And from where this thought of ‘disciplining’ the salaried taxpayer came? When you have such ridiculous poverty lines, when you have millions poor to feed, when you have millions poor to heal, when you have millions poor to educate?

India and Bharat cannot become synonymous until we address these existential questions. Subsidy is now addressed as a ‘burden’ in the lingo being used by the economists but this ‘burden’ is lifeline for India’s millions poor who find it hard even to earn Rs. 47 or Rs. 32 a day.

The government is duty-bound to serve them first – with honesty – with integrity – with consistency. Taxing the middle class with another ‘tax burden’ would not serve any purpose here.

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

NARENDRA MODI IN UAE – HIS VISIT SHOULD BE SEEN IN THIS BACKDROP..

Indians form almost 30% of United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) population.

Around 2.6 million Indians are among the 10 million strong UAE population. What is important to note here that around 8.5 million people in the UAE population are expatriates. The Emirati citizens of the seven Emirates, that together make UAE, are just around around 1.5 million.

Most of the Indians there are from Kerala. They form the largest expatriate group in UAE, a country that is an important trade partner of India, i.e., with around US$ 60 billion of annual trade and counting. That makes UAE India’s third largest trade partner. If trade in goods are taken only, then UAE is the largest trade partner of India globally.

And Indians living there send back home over US$ 12.5 billion annually.

Besides, UAE is an important oil supplier for India in the Gulf region, catering to around 10% of its import needs.

UAE is an important trading partner of India that is also increasingly important for our energy security mix in the changing geopolitical scenario.

So, it was negligent on our part when no prime minister could find time to visit the nation in 34 years and Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit should be seen in that context.

Politically, in India, what would get maximum political traction – has a religious undercurrent – with his visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque this evening. For his political rivals, as they promote, Narendra Modi is a Hindu hardline leader and according to them, Muslims are in danger under his governance. They should have got their answer by now.

What is going to add to the debates is the latest development – that the UAE government has allotted land in Abu Dhabi to build a temple – first in the capital city of an Islamic nation that is a federation of absolute monarchies – Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman and Umm al-Quwain.

India of the day cannot be run with a communal agenda. Muslims are not in minority here. They are around 14% in India’s total population and they are our equal brothers.

And in fact, they are one of the pillars of India’s cultural diversity, something without which India cannot survive as the world’s largest democracy.

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