Monday, September 30, 2019

"Howdy Modi" Rally in Houston; Trump Impeachment

How have different people reacted to "Howdy Modi" rally in Houston? Does it signify that "Indian-Americans have arrived'? Why did thousands protested against Prime Minister Modi? Was it a big election rally for President Trump who is seeking re-election in 2020? Why did Prime Minister Modi endorse President Trump? Does it expose Indian-American community to charges of hypocrisy in that they vote for Democratic Party to protect their own rights as a minority while also supporting Modi whose policies in India are seen as anti-minorities?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) with President Donald Trump at "Howdy Modi" Rally in Houston

Why are some Hindu-American democrats like Ro Khanna trying to distance themselves from Modi? Why did Silicon Valley's Indian-American Khanna urged his fellow Hindu-Americans to "reject Hindutva"? Why did he join Pakistan Caucus in US Congress?

Congressman Ro Khanna with Prime Minister Imran Khan

Why have Democrats in US Congress started impeachment inquiry against President Trump? What prompted this action? Is it his interaction with Ukraine's President Zelensky where he sought to have his potential presidential election opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter investigated for corruption? Why has Speaker Nancy Pelosi been so reluctant to do so until now? What are the chances that the US Senate with its Republican majority convict Trump?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf (ifaqeer) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/-VHNUwXxJWs





Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

"Howdy Modi" Rally in Houston

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Congressman Rejects Hindutva

Sonal Shah to Help Divide the Obama Victory Spoils

Rape of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kashmir

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Imran Khan's UNGA Speech on Hindutva, Islamophobia and Kashmir (Urdu)

How was Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's UN General Assembly speech received? Was he right to tell the audience that Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to RSS, the right-wing Hindu Supremacist organization whose member killed Mahatma Gandhi? Does the world know that RSS founders were inspired by Nazism and Fascism? And the RSS members admire Gandhi's murderer Nathuram Godse? Is it hypocritical of Modi to exploit Gandhi's name in his UNGA speech and elsewhere in the West? Do Hindutva followers want to have it both ways? Benefit from Gandhi's name in the West while destroying Gandhi's legacy in India?



Why did Imran Khan talk about the connection between US war on terror after 911 and the rise of Islamophobia? How have countries like India exploited the war on terror to defame genuine Kashmiri resistance movement as terrorism?

What will happen when Modi lifts restrictions on 8 million Kashmiris living under total lock-down since August 5, 2019? Is Modi riding the tiger and afraid of getting off of it? Is Imran Khan right to fear a massacre by nearly million-strong Indian forces? Will India call it "cross-border terrorism" and blame it on Pakistan? Will Modi again try to pull a Balakot? Could it start India-Pakistan war? Would it escalate into a nuclear conflict killing billions around the world?

ALKS host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Sabahat Ashraf (ifaqeer) and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/Kz8S8z-ax1o




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Rape as a Political Weapon Used By Hindutva

Hindu Nationalism Inspired By Nazism, Fascism

Rise of Islamophobia After Sept 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks

700,000 Indian Soldiers Versus 7 Million Kashmiris

Modi's Kashmir Blunder and India-Pakistan Nuclear Conflict

Is India a Paper Elephant? 

Howdy Modi Rally Exposes Indian-Americans to Charges of Hypocrisy

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Thursday, September 26, 2019

"Howdy Modi" Rally Exposes Indian-Americans to Charge of Hypocrisy

Most Indian-Americans vote for the Democratic Party in American elections. Almost all Indian-Americans in elected offices are Democrats. Notable among them are Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Kamala Harris. Many Indian-Americans have been appointed to senior positions in executive and judiciary branches by Democratic administrations.  However, they instinctively agree with Republicans. They share Republicans' racism against African-Americans and Hispanics and support President Trump's religious bigotry against Muslims.

Most India-Americans ardently support Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose party is openly hostile to minorities, particularly Muslims, in India. And majority of Indian-Americans are totally unconcerned about the plight of minorities in India.  Modi's declaration “we’ve said goodbye to Article 370" in Indian Occupied Kashmir drew the loudest cheers at Howdy Modi rally which highlighted the hypocrisy of Indian-Americans. The attendees at the Houston rally gave President Donald Trump standing ovation when he said that the United States is "committed to protecting innocent Indian-Americans from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism". Modi effectively endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020 when he declared "Ap ki Bar Trump Sarkar". This essentially turned "Howdy Modi" event in Houston into a Trump election rally organized and paid for by Modi-loving Hindus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) with President Donald Trump in Houston, Texas

Most Hindu-Americans fail to see the irony that Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017 was a victim of the same kind of hatred in America that Mr. Modi espouses against minorities in India. Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder, according to an article published in the Hindu by Indian journalist and writer Varghese K. George.  Here is an excerpt of Mr. George's article:

"The dualism of Indian-American politics has now become unsustainable as Democratic leaders find it increasingly impossible to side with Mr. Modi as he advances the Hindutva agenda. Many of these friends of India were mislead, and had misread Mr. Modi’s politics and they interpreted his success in 2014 as a turn in Indian politics towards more neo-liberal reforms and globalism. Such an image of Mr. Modi was also projected by Indian diplomacy in America. But one American thinker, who interpreted Mr. Modi’s victory as a nativist revolt against a global elite, was none other than Stephen Bannon, the most authentic interpreter of Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics. Mr. Bannon has also been particularly a critic of the H-1B visa and Indian-American immigration. That the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. retweeted a tweet that denounced Mr. Sanders and tweeted about his meeting with Mr. Bannon in glowing terms (he deleted the tweet later) in quick succession bears out the official Indian position on the emerging fault-lines in American politics and the role of Indian Americans in it."


Indian Ambassador Shringle (R) with White Nationalist Steve Bannon

In an opinion piece titled  "“Howdy, Modi” And The Politics Of The Indian American Community" published by ABP LIVE, UCLA Professor Viany Lal captured this reality in the following words:

"..there is absolutely no contradiction between the fact that Indians largely vote Democrat and their instinctive tendency to gravitate towards Republicans. But there is another question that emerges from the comical “Howdy, Modi” show: is this a moment that signifies the “arrival” of the Indian Americans on the national stage and in American consciousness? Many commentators would like to think so: the journalist Sonia Paul, for instance, has characterized the event as a “display of Indian Americans’ Political Power.” It may be that, but such analysis is toothless and uninstructive. Every minority of the size of the Indian American counts, and there are many such communities; but, viewed in relation to Hispanics and African Americans, Indian Americans are still far from being a highly influential voting bloc. Hispanics and especially African Americans are embedded in the history of the nation in vastly different ways; many Indian Americans, even those who have put down roots in the US over two generations, still think of themselves as constituting the vanguard of India and would like to be important players in India itself."

Professor Lal continues his piece to describe the Indian-American hypocrisy as follows:

"...some people may be puzzled about why so many Indians were gathered to hear Modi and Trump when Indians, by a very large majority, are supporters of the Democratic party and certainly vote Democrat in a presidential election...........the majority of Indian Americans have remained wholly indifferent to the plight of minorities in India itself. Though two million Muslims in Assam now risk being rendered stateless, and “lynchings” of Muslims and Dalits over the last few years have unfortunately made India newsworthy, Indian Americans have generally shown themselves remarkably oblivious to the sufferings of minorities while they lose no opportunity to lay claim to rights as members of a minority in the US. They would much rather gravitate towards the Republican party, which is more hospitable to business interests and free enterprise; but the party is also less accommodating to minority interests."

Not only do Indian-Americans strongly support Modi and his Hindutva policies, they demand that elected Indian-American Democrats do the same. This is best illustrated by their pressure on Silicon-Valley's Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna. Khanna joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva.  Khanna said in a tweet that "it is the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist and Christians". A record 230 Hindu-American organizations wrote an angry letter to Khanna in response. They asked him to withdraw from Pakistan Caucus and to highlight "ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits".

Hindu organizations conveniently ignore the long history of atrocities committed by Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims. Nearly a million Indian troops are  currently keeping 8 million Kashmiris in a complete lockdown that is about to enter its 3rd month. They also make no mention of what happened to Muslims who constituted a majority in Jammu in 1947. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed or expelled from Jammu in 1947, according to Indian journalist Karan Thapar.  Here is an excerpt of Thapar's Hindustan Times column on this subject:

"Writing in The Spectator in January 1948, Horace Alexander says: “Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area … apparently with at least the tacit consent of state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, he asserts “some two hundred thousand are … not accounted for”. Christopher Snedden, in Kashmir: The Unwritten History, estimates between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed. Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack in India’s World believe 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced. Last year, the columnist Swaminathan Aiyar wrote: “In sheer scale this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later”."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Congressman Rejects Hindutva

Sonal Shah to Help Divide the Obama Victory Spoils

Rape of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kashmir

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Digitization in Pakistan: Dr. Nadeemul Haq Interviews Riaz Haq (Urdu)

Eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Nadeemul Haq (no relation to Riaz Haq) interviewed Riaz Haq last week for his podcast "Soch Bichar" to talk about the subject of "Digitization in Pakistan" in Urdu. Here is a summary of the interview:


Dr. Nadeemul Haq: How do you define "digitization"?

 Riaz Haq: To me, digitization on a national scale is pervasive use of digital technologies in all aspects of life: business, trade, industry, media, finance, government, education, sports, entertainment, military, etc etc.

NH: What is happening in Pakistan on digitization?

RH: Jahangir Tareen, a close aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan, has recently announced the hiring of a woman of Pakistani origin who is currently working for Google in Singapore. He said she will lead the digitization effort in Pakistan from the Prime Minister's office.

NH: Is digitization possible in Pakistan?

RH: Yes, it is possible. Digitization requires digital infrastructure and human capital. Pakistan is making progress on both of these. You could argue that it is not happening fast enough but both are happening.

A lot of fiber is being laid and Zong has recently completed 5G trials. There are about 70 million subscriptions to mobile broadband. Number of smartphones being sold is rising with 1 million to 2 million being sold each month.  About 30,000 to 40,000 young people with IT skillsets are graduating from various educational institutions.

NH: What can the government do to help increase digitization?

RH: The government's job is in the policy areas to facilitate it. For example, the government bureaucracy needs to ensure that the required licenses for 5G are issued in a timely manner to make it widely available. The government needs to provide various incentives to promote investment in digital fiber and data centers, etc etc. The government also needs to invest in development of human capital and skillsets needed for digitization.

NH: How can Pakistan promote digital entrepreneurship? Startups?

RH: Pakistan needs to help develop an ecosystem for startups:  Legal framework, Incubators, venture capital, etc etc.

NH: Pakistan already has several incubators. What do you think about them?

RH:  Pakistan can learn from Silicon Valley incubators like ycombinator.  Silicon Valley incubators are created and managed by successful entrepreneurs and startup investors. Pakistan does have a few successful entrepreneurs and investors like Monis Rehman (rozee.pk), Zia Chishti (afiniti.com), Musaddir Sheikha (Careem)  and Asad Jamal (ePlanet). Incubators headed by them would be more successful.

NH: What would  be your advice to youngsters wanting to do startups in Pakistan?

RH: Pakistan has the world's 4th largest number of tech freelancers. Some of these freelancers have the potential to start up companies if they can get some good coaching by successful entrepreneurs and have access to venture capital. These youngsters can also grow their freelance business and use the proceeds to bootstrap into successful tech companies.

NH: Please explain for our listeners what is bootstrapping?

RH: Bootstrapping is the use of your own internally generated capital to grow a company. The most successful example of bootstrapping is Microsoft. Bill Gates and Paul Allan had developed a rudimentary BASIC interpreter with their own resources when IBM approached them and asked to purchase their "operating system". Bill and Paul didn't have an "operating system". So they bought one from Gary Kildall of Santa Cruz and sold it to IBM for its PCs. The rest is history.

NH: Will digitization in Pakistan hurt employment? 

RH: Yes, that is a very valid concern. I remember when there was a Blockbuster video rental store at almost every corner in major American cities and towns. Netflix wiped them out and the franchisees and employees of the these stores lost their businesses and jobs. Similarly, Uber rid-hailing service has hurt established taxi companies and taxi drivers. However, companies like Careem, Lyft and Uber  have opened up the possibility for anyone with a car to become taxi drivers on part-time and full-time basis. It's spawned "Gig Economy".

Here's the link to the podcast:

https://nhaquepod.podbean.com/e/digitization-and-startups/

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Public Sector IT Projects in Pakistan

Pakistan's Gig Economy 4th Largest in the World

Afiniti and Careem: Tech Unicorns Made in Pakistan

Pakistani American Heads Silicon Valley's Top Incubator

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans

Digital BRI and 5G in Pakistan

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistan EdTech and FinTech Startups

State Bank Targets Fully Digital Economy in Pakistan

Campaign of Fear Against CPEC

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan

The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

FMCG Boom in Pakistan

Belt Road Forum 2019

Fiber Network Growth in Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Drone Swarms: Saudi Oil Fields Attack Shows Their Destructive Power

Dozens of cheap drones were deployed against Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields to cut Saudi Aramco's production by half, according to multiple media reports. Saudi and US officials have blamed Iran for the destructive hit. This is the first time that cheap drone swarms loaded with explosives have dodged sophisticated air defense systems to hit critical infrastructure targets in the history of warfare.  And it is not likely to be the last time as more nations and non-state terror groups are inspired by it to develop and contemplate using such tactics.  Some are close to home for Pakistanis. For example, in a clear warning to Pakistan, an Indian NDTV headline on July 12, 2019 blared: "Swarms Of Indian Drones Being Designed To Take Out Targets Like Balakot (Pakistan)".   Will Pakistan develop drone swarm capability, especially after India's expected deployment of Russia's S-400 air defense system?

Drones Swarm
Attack on Saudi Aramco:

Saudi sources have revealed through the media that 25 drones and missiles were used to hit two sites — the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities which produced 5.7 million barrels of oil per day. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of carrying out the attack. Iran has denied. Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attack.

The incoming low-flying small drones and missiles successfully evaded US-supplied sophisticated air defense system. Multi-billion dollar cutting edge American military hardware mainly designed to deter high altitude attacks has proved no match for low-cost drones and cruise missiles used in a strike that crippled its giant oil industry.

Drone Swarms in Syria:

Israeli claimed earlier this year that its fighter jets hit targets in Syria where Iran was preparing to attack Israel using explosive-laden “killer drones,” according to New York Times. “The drone itself is like a missile,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman.

Last year, Russian military reported that a swarm of low-tech armed drones attacked a Russian military base in Syria. The swarm was made up of 13 small drones packed with explosives.

Russia said it shot down seven drones using anti-aircraft missiles while the other six were taken under control and landed by its military. Three of the drones survived the landing.

The Russian government accused the Syrian rebels of launching the attack.

India's Drone Swarm Plans:

A team of engineers and software experts at India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd  (HAL) and NewSpace Research and Technologies, a Bengaluru based start-up looking at next-generation aviation technologies, is working furiously to fly the first Indian swarm drone prototypes in two years, according to NDTV. The Indian drone initiative is called SWARM or ALFA-S or Air-Launched Flexible Asset, says NDTV.

The NDTV story described India's SWARM as follows: "Each swarm could have dozens of individual drones. If detected, some of the drones would be shot down, but the sheer numbers of the swarm would overwhelm enemy defences such as surface-to-air missile units to ensure a high probability of mission success".

China Drones Swarm:

At the conclusion of the Global Fortune Forum in Guangzhou, China last year, the event's hosts set a world record for the largest drone swarm ever deployed. For 9 minutes, 1,180 drones danced and blinked out an aerial show. It was cool. It was also an interesting look into the potential future of aviation, according to a report in Popular Science.

Earlier in 2019, China's Global Times reported that country had built helicopter drones capable of intelligent swarm attacks. The drones in the swarm can be a combination of different types, including those that can drop proximity explosive mortar shells, while others can carry grenade launchers, or make suicide attacks, Liu Liyuan, a spokesperson of the company, told the Global Times.

American and British Drone Swarms:

Earlier this year, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told attendees at an event hosted by a London think tank that UK will fund the development of “swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defenses,” to complement the British fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Los Angeles Times recently reported that the U.S. military has been exploring different iterations and uses of the drone swarm concept for more than a decade, using research programs bearing names such as Cicada, Gremlins and Valkyrie.

Pakistani Drone Swarms:

So far there has been very little reported about Pakistan working on drone swarms technology. However, the need for Pakistan to have such technology has become much more pressing after India's decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defense system. The S-400 is reportedly very effective against even the most modern fighter jets like the F-35.

Pakistan does have low-flying terrain-hugging cruise missile Babar but it is far more expensive and problematic to use in conventional war. Drone swarms offer a cheaper, better and less problematic alternative to cruise missiles.

Summary:

Recent attack on Saudi oil facilities has ensured that swarming attack drones will soon be real weapons for militaries around the world. Reports suggest that some rebels in Syria have also used drone swarms to attack Russian military bases. Among the nations reportedly pursuing this technology are China, US, UK and India. It is also very likely that Pakistan will also pursue development and deployment of drones swarms with the expected deployment of Russian made S-400 missile defense system by India.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan-China Defense Industry Collaboration Irks West

Pakistan's Cyber Attack and Defense Capability

Is India a Paper Elephant?

Pakistan's Aircraft Exports

Pakistan Navy Modernization

IDEAS 2014 Arms Show

Pakistan Defense Industry

Silicon Valley Book Launch of "Eating Grass"

Pakistan's Human Capital

Pakistan Economy Nears Trillion Dollars

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Operator of Home Health Care Biz Charged in Medicare Fraud Case

Federal prosecutors in Silicon Valley have filed fraud charges against 30 defendants in a patients-for-cash kickback scheme. Indian-American CEO Ridhima "Amanda" Singh of Amity Home Health and Indian-American Bhupinder Bhandari are among the key defendants charged in the case. Pakistani-American Dr. Mariam Hasan, a graduate of Karachi's Dow Medical College, has also been charged. In addition to South Asians, the accused come from many different national origins, according to media reports.

Ridhima Singh, daughter of Dr. Rajiv Ahuja of Fremont, funneled $8 million in bribes — in Warriors tickets, Louis Vuitton bags, and “literal envelopes of cash” — to doctors, nurses, social workers and marketers in the South and East Bay who sent patients to the company, said David Anderson, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. Those new patients brought $115 million in Medicare funds for Amity and a related corporation, Advent Care.

Here's the full list of individuals and companies changed in the scheme:

Defendant    Role    Age/Residence    Case Number

AMITY HEALTH CARE Home Health Care Provider 19-71440 ADVENT CARE, INC. Hospice Care Provider 19-71459

SINGH, AMANDA CEO of Amity 33, Livermore 19-71430

ADDISON, BRENDA Amity employee 49, Oakland 19-71431

BHANDARI, BHUPINDER Doctor 59, Pleasanton 19-71441

DEGUZMAN, MERVINA Nurse/Case Manager 41, San Jose 19-71447

HICKS, KIMBERLY Doctor 59, Oakland 19-71451

KABANSKAYA, YELENA Doctor 39, San Jose 19-71452

MYINT, GERALD Doctor 68, Union City 19-71448

NGUYEN, TAM Doctor 44, San Jose 19-71453

POSADA, JUAN Doctor 58, Cupertino 19-71449

SCZENDZINA, EWELINA Marketer 42, Gilroy 19-71434

TAYLOR, SCOTT Doctor 61, Oakland 19-71455

WATSON, HENRY Doctor 63, Oakland 19-71423

ZHANG, ZHENG Doctor 62, Saratoga 19-71457

SANTOS, GLENNDA Marketer 47, Castro Valley 19-71433

MANCUSO, APRIL Doctor 38, Los Gatos 19-71445

REYNOLDS, KERISIMASI Doctor 37, Los Gatos 19-71446

CARIAGA, CATHERINE Nurse/Case Manager 31, Fremont 19-71458 

TIRONA, TERENCE Nurse/Case Manager 33, Hayward 19-71454

DEL ROSARIO, SAL Case Manager 44, San Jose 19-71456

GAY, ANDRE NICOLAS Doctor 39, Union City 19-71460

HASAN, MARIAM Doctor 37, Milpitas 19-71450

ROY, BELINDA Nurse/Case Manager 59, Fremont 19-71443

SUNO, NICOLE Marketer 38, San Leandro 19-71421

TEODORO, STELLA Nurse/Case Manager 37, Union City 19-71444

TACORDA, HILDA Marketer 40, Hayward 19-71432 PINA,

REBECCA Marketer 38, Redwood City 19-71442

SINGH, VINEETA Social Worker 42, Hayward 19-71422

PRESCOTT, CAROLINE Marketing Director 53, San Ramon 19-71420

Ridhima Singh pushed associates to get her more patient referrals. “It’s been so many years and i know you are aware of what the expectations are,” she texted one associate in November 2018, according to the prosecutors. “I’m not here to fight I’m pretty clear cut and u know that. I’m drama free but things can get to my nerve when I don’t see the mutual understanding.”

The suspects face a maximum of 10 years in prison and $500,000 if they are found guilty.

Judge Joseph C Spero released the defendants on bail. He urged them not to violate the terms of their bonds. He also said that the case may not reach a conclusion for years. He told Ridhima Singh: “A complicated case like this could take years and you don’t want to be sitting in a jail cell.”

Back in 2014, Pakistani-American cardiologist Dr. Asad Qamar, the second highest Medicare biller in America at the time, was investigated by US Department of Health and Human Services for unnecessary surgeries and over-billing. He settled with the Department by agreeing to pay $2 million and release any claim to $5.3 million in suspended Medicare funds.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Pakistan 3rd Largest Source of Foreign Doctors in America

Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans

History of South Asians in America

Pakistani-American Cardiologist Investigated by US Dept of Health

Silicon Valley Indian-American Congressman Joins Pakistan Caucus

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Congressman Joins Pakistan Caucus, Rejects Hindutva

Democrat Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley has joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions have angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. However, vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his extended lock-down and brutal actions in Kashmir.

Congressman Ro Khanna with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill

Khanna Rejects Hindutva:

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.”  On August 17, Khanna became the first Indian-American to join US Congress's Pakistan caucus headed by Democratic Congresswoman Shiela Jackson of Texas and Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana. Khanna's decision to join Pakistan caucus came after he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during his July visit to Washington. After his July meeting with Khan Khanna tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."

Khanna Under Fire:

Khanna, a rising star in the progressive movement, who is vice-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House, has come under fire by many right-wing Indian-American supporters of the RSS and BJP.
Majority of Hindu-Americans are ardent supporters of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian Ambassador Shringle (R) with White Nationalist Steve Bannon

Most Hindu-Americans fail to see the irony that Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017 was a victim of the same kind of hatred in America that Mr. Modi espouses against minorities in India. Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder, according to and article published in the Hindu by Indian journalist and writer Varghese K. George.  Here is an excerpt of Mr. George's article:


"The dualism of Indian-American politics has now become unsustainable as Democratic leaders find it increasingly impossible to side with Mr. Modi as he advances the Hindutva agenda. Many of these friends of India were mislead, and had misread Mr. Modi’s politics and they interpreted his success in 2014 as a turn in Indian politics towards more neo-liberal reforms and globalism. Such an image of Mr. Modi was also projected by Indian diplomacy in America. But one American thinker, who interpreted Mr. Modi’s victory as a nativist revolt against a global elite, was none other than Stephen Bannon, the most authentic interpreter of Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics. Mr. Bannon has also been particularly a critic of the H-1B visa and Indian-American immigration. That the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. retweeted a tweet that denounced Mr. Sanders and tweeted about his meeting with Mr. Bannon in glowing terms (he deleted the tweet later) in quick succession bears out the official Indian position on the emerging fault-lines in American politics and the role of Indian Americans in it."

Hindu Nationalism in America:

India's top Hindu Nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has gone global with shakhas (branches) in 39 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and several Islamic middle eastern nations, according to Indian media reports.


In the United States alone, the RSS has 146 active chapters spread over all 50 states, according to Satish Modh who has been associated with RSS work abroad for over 25 years.

While shakhas in India take place in open public spaces, most shakhas meet on university campuses on hired parking lots in the US, says Modh.  Most overseas shakhas are held once a week. In London, they are held twice a week. The UK has 84 shakhas.


A US report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups" disclosed the following findings regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:

 a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.

c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard strongly supports Prime Minister Modi

American Presidential Politics:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a strong supporter of Indian Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Modi.  Her bid for Democratic presidential nomination is being bankrolled by Hindu Nationalist donors. Amongst Gabbard’s many donors are members of the US chapters of groups such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, according to Pieter Friedrich. The Hindu Sangh Parivar in the United States has helped her come from nowhere to get elected to US Congress and set her sights on the White House.

US Presidential Candidate Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's Hindutva Donors

Summary:

Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda against minorities. Democrat Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley has joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions have angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  However, vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his extended lock-down and brutal actions in Kashmir.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

Thursday, September 5, 2019

"Blinded by the Light": True Story of British Pakistani Teen Growing Up in Luton

Last weekend, my wife and I saw Gurinder Chaddha's "Blinded by the Light", a film based on the true story of British Pakistani journalist Sarfraz Manzoor growing up Luton in 1980s when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, ruled the United Kingdom. Our evening started with a spicy and aromatic dinner at Banana Leaf, a popular Malaysian Restaurant in Silicon Valley, followed by our visit to AMC Mercado where we watched the movie.

Sarfaraz Manzoor (L) with Bruce Springsteen

Blinded by the Light draws its title from a popular Bruce Springsteen song of the same name. It is based on British Pakistani journalist Sarfaraz Manzoor's 2007 memoir "Greetings from Bury Park". Manzoor's memoir is about the power of Bruce Springsteen's music influencing him as a Pakistani teen growing up in Britain in 1980s.

Springsteen's music "speaks" to Javed, the teenage character's name for real-life Sarfraz Manzoor who is played by Viveik Kalra.  With plant closings and de-industrialization that cost Javed's father his job at a local auto plant and forced his mother work long hours as a seamstress, the teenager experienced what Springsteen's poetry is about. Springsteen's father was often unemployed and his mother was the main breadwinner for the family.  Lyrics of his songs like "Johnny 99" and "The Factory" made Springsteen a working class hero.

The person who introduced Javed to Springsteen's music was his Sikh classmate Roops, the only other Asian in high class which consisted almost entirely of white boys and girls. The shared love of Springsteen's music brought the two boys close. Javed's female classmate Eliza also becomes close to him and the two start to date.

Greetings from Bury Park, the book Blinded by the Light is based on, is the story of young Sarfaraz Manzoor's experience of living in a white working class neighborhood and being subjected to bigotry and racism by neighbors and classmates. But it is also a story of kindness and support extended to him by some of the white teachers and neighbors. In particular, his English schoolteacher encouraged him to pursue his passion for writing. She recommended him to the local newspaper for an internship where he was asked to cover the unfolding story of attempts by some in Luton to shut down the only mosque in town. He even got paid for the mosque story he wrote for the newspaper. Later, his teacher entered one of his essays in a competition in which he won a trip to Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) in New Jersey in the United States.  The trip gave him an opportunity to visit Asbury Park referred to in Bruce Springsteen's debut album "Greetings From Asbury Park".

Gurinder Chaddha who previously brought us "Bend It Like Beckham" has lived up to her reputation as a great filmmaker with "Blinded by the Light". The soundtrack of her latest film is dominated by Springsteen's popular hits. It's a well-made film. The only complaint I have is that Chadhha has not cast any Pakistani actors in this film. I'm sure she could have found several British Pakistani actors to cast from the available talent pool in the British Pakistani community.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

British Pakistani Actor Makes History By Winning Emmy

British Pakistan Singer Zayn Malik

British Pakistan Members of Parliament

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Pakistanis in Silicon Valley

History of South Asians in America

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ashley Tellis Wants Trump to Continue US Policy of "Strategic Altruism" With Modi's India

In a piece titled "The India Dividend: New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia" published in Foreign Affairs journal, authors Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump Administration should continue the US policy of "strategic altruism" with India that began with US-India nuclear agreement. They want President Trump to ignore the fact that the US companies and economy have only marginally benefited from this policy. They see India as a "superpower in waiting" and urge Washington to focus on the goal of having India as an ally to check China's rise. They see Chinese support for India's archrival Pakistan and China’s growing weight in South Asia and beyond as threat to India.

Who is Ashley Tellis:

Ashley Tellis was born and raised in Mumbai, India. Back in 1999 as a “researcher” at RAND Corp, he contributed to a report for US Department of Defense (DoD) that forecast Pakistan would “disappear” by 2015. It proved to be wishful thinking.

Here are the Key Points of Pentagon's Asia 2025 Report on South Asia region that Ashley Tellis contributed to:

1. Pakistan is "near collapse" in 2010 while India is making "broad progress".

2.  Iranian "moderation" in 2010 while Afghanistan remains "anarchic hotbed".

3. Pakistan is "paralyzed" after an "Indo-Pak war 2012".

4. US launches conventional strike on "remaining Pakistan nukes" after the "Indo-Pak war 2012.

5. China "blinks at US-India Collusion".

6. Pakistan "disappears".

Source: Pentagon Asia 2025 Report

He is promoted as a South Asia "scholar" by various Washington Think Tanks he has worked for. Currently, he is with Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington DC. His hostility toward Pakistan shows through in all his work.

Criticism of Trump's India Policy:

Blackwill and Tellis have praised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama for ignoring long-standing US policy on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and for pushing US-India nuclear deal through.  At the same time, they have criticized Trump for "leaving even staunch pro-U.S. stalwarts such as Modi wondering whether India could ever count on the United States to come to its aid in the event of a major crisis with China".

The authors take President Trump to task for "focusing less on India’s potential as a partner than on its unbalanced trade with the United States". The Trump administration has  recently withdrawn India’s privileged trade access to the United States under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Trump's Afghan Policy:

The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests".  They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized.

Blackwill and Tellis don't explain how Trump can end America's longest war while protecting Indian interests in Afghanistan.

Strategic Alturism:

Blackwill and Tellis want Trump administration to continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism". They praise the US administrations that preceded Trump in the following words:

"A strong India was fundamentally in Washington’s interest, even if New Delhi would often go its own way on specific policy issues. Both Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, turned a blind eye to India’s positions in international trade negotiations, its relatively closed economy, and its voting record at the United Nations, all of which ran counter to U.S. preferences".

Summary:

Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump administration should continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism".  The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests".  They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized. In other words, they want US-India relations to be a one-way street where all the benefits flow from US to India in the expectation that at some point in the future India would be useful to counter China's rise in Asia.

Related Links:






Sunday, September 1, 2019

Modi Brings Back Indian Economy to "Hindu Rate of Growth" of 3%

In a tweet earlier today, Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta said, "Under the old method, it would be just a little over 3%. So the Hindu Rate of Growth returns before the Hindu Rashtra arrives...".  One hundred percent "Hindu Rashtra" is the goal of the ruling BJP.  Another Delhi-based journalist Abheek Barman has blamed India's slowing economy on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's single-minded pursuit of his fascist Hindutva agenda against Muslims in India and Indian Occupied Kashmir.  "Every village idiot knows the way out of income slowdown is meaningful economic policy, not blocking communication lines in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir or listing 2 million (Muslim) Assamese as ‘illegals’", he wrote in an op ed in The Quint.  The slowdown in Indian economy is also reflected in India experiencing the worst unemployment situation in 45 years. All sectors of the economy from construction to manufacturing are seeing high job losses.

Major Economic Slow-down in India: 

Gupta is referring to India's GDP growth rate which has reportedly dropped to 5% for the last quarter under Modi's method of measurement. Many experts, including Modi's former top economic adviser Arvind Subramaniam, believe it overstates India's GDP growth rate by about 2.5%.

Hindu rate of growth refers to the low annual growth rate of India's GDP before economic liberalizations of 1991. It stagnated around 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s, while per capita income growth averaged just 1.3%.

Before Mr. Modi became prime minister of India in 2013, Indian economy saw robust growth reaching a peak of 8.5%. There were few questions about the veracity of GDP figures published by the Manmohan Singh government. However, there have been persistent doubts about Mr. Modi's GDP figures since his government revised GDP measure-met methodology.

Indian GDP Figures Disputed: 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has claimed GDP growth rate averaging 7% since 2014 when BJP won the parliamentary elections. This claim has been challenged by many Indian and foreign economists in the last several years.

India’s gross domestic product product (GDP) growth rate between under Mr. Modi's government should be about 4.5% instead of the official estimate of close to 7%, according to Mr. Modi's former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian who published a research paper at Harvard University. “India changed its data sources and methodology for estimating real gross domestic product (GDP) for the period since 2011-12. This paper shows that this change has led to a significant overestimation of growth,” he said in the paper.

While India's boosters in the West are not only buying but applauding the new figures, Indian policy professionals at the nation's Central Bank and the Finance ministry are having a very hard time believing the new and improved GDP brought to the world by Indian government. Dissenters include Morgan Stanley's Ruchir Sharma, an Indian-American, who has called the new numbers a "bad joke" aimed at a "wholesale rewriting of history".

Based on the latest methodology,  it is claimed that the Indian economy expanded 7.5 percent year-on-year during the last quarter, higher than 7.3 percent growth recorded by China in the latest quarter, making it the fastest growing major economy in the world, according to Reuters. Is it wishful thinking to make Indian economy look better than China's?

India GDP Revisions. Source: Financial Times


The GDP revisions have surprised most of the nation's economists and raised serious questions about the credibility of government figures released after rebasing the GDP calculations to year 2011-12 from 2004-5. So what is wrong with these figures? Let's try and answer the following questions:

1. How is it possible that the accelerated GDP growth in 2013-14 occurred while the Indian central bankers were significantly jacking up interest rates by several percentage points and cutting money supply in the Indian economy?

2. Why are the revisions at odds with other important indicators such as lower industrial production and trade and tax collection figures?  For the previous fiscal year, the government’s index of industrial production showed manufacturing activity slowing by 0.8%. Exports in December shrank 3.8% in dollar terms from a year earlier.

3. How can growth accelerate amid financial constraints depressing investment in India?  Indian companies are burdened with debt and banks are reluctant to lend.

4. Why has the total GDP for 2013-14 shrunk by about Rs. 100 billion in spite of upward revision in economic growth rate? Why is India's GDP at $1.8 trillion, well short of the oft-repeated $2 trillion mark?

Questions about the veracity of India's economic data are not new. US GAO study has found that India's official figures on IT exports to the United States have been exaggerated by as much as 20 times.

Similarly, French economist Thomas Piketty has argued in his best seller "Capital in the Twenty-First Century that the GDP growth rates of India and China are exaggerated.  Picketty writes as follows:

"Note, too, that the very high official growth figures for developing countries (especially India and China) over the past few decades are based almost exclusively on production statistics. If one tries to measure income growth by using household survey data, it is often quite difficult to identify the reported rates of macroeconomic growth: Indian and Chinese incomes are certainly increasing rapidly, but not as rapidly as one would infer from official growth statistics. This paradox-sometimes referred to as the "black hole" of growth-is obviously problematic. It may be due to the overestimation of the growth of output (there are many bureaucratic incentives for doing so), or perhaps the underestimation of income growth (household have their own flaws)), or most likely both. In particular, the missing income may be explained by the possibility that a disproportionate share of the growth in output has gone to the most highly remunerated individuals, whose incomes are not always captured in the tax data." "In the case of India, it is possible to estimate (using tax return data) that the increase in the upper centile's share of national income explains between one-quarter and one-third of the "black hole" of growth between 1990 and 2000. "

T.C.A. Anant, the chief statistician of India, has told the Wall Street Journal that “there’s a large number of areas where we have deviated (from the United Nations’ latest guidebook on measuring GDP) for a large measure, because we are simply, at the moment, unable to implement those recommendations.”

Summary: 

There is growing consensus among top economists that India's GDP figures reported by Mr. Modi's government are highly exaggerated. India's former chief economist Arvind Subramanian has said the figures are overstated by 2.5%. He puts the real growth rate in the last 5 years at 4.5%. The latest claim of 5% growth means that the actual growth rate has dropped to be below 3%, often referred to as "Hindu growth rate" of the years before 1991 economic reforms. It is being blamed on Mr. Modi's single-minded focus on his fascist Hidutva agenda to remake India into a Hindu Rashtra.  The slowdown in Indian economy is also reflected in India experiencing the worst unemployment situation in 45 years. All sectors of the economy from construction to manufacturing are seeing high job losses.

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Haq's Musings

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Is India Fudging GDP to Look Better Than China?

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