Tuesday, April 23, 2019

State of Pakistan's Relations With Iran and India

What does Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan hope to accomplish during his Iran visit? What are the key issues bedeviling Iran-Pakistan relations? Cross-border terrorism alleged by both? Pakistan's relations with the Gulf Arabs? CPEC? Afghanistan? Gwadar? Chabahar? Indian RAW's use of Iran to launch terror attacks in Pakistani Balochistan? Who calls the shots in Iran? President Rouhani or the hardline Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders?



Why is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi continuing to threaten Pakistan with use of force, including use of nuclear weapons? Is this part of his election campaign to appeal to his base? Or will this intimidation go beyond elections if he wins a second term? Is Pakistan Prime Minister's hope of better ties with India under BJP just a mirage? Are analysts like Moeed Yusuf right about India waiting it out to achieve overwhelming superiority to eventually dictate term to Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/seNerO7_KsM




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Indian Agent Kulbhushan Jadhav Operated From Iran

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

Dr. Moeed Yusuf on Future of India-Pakistan Conflict

Iran-Pakistan Ties

Iran-Saudi Conflict

Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Iran Nuclear Deal

1971 India-Pakistan War

Chabahar vs Gwadar Ports

Did America Contribute to the Rise of ISIS?

21 comments:

Rks said...

IK admitted to Pakistan's territory being used for terror operations- during his visit to Iran. Why would Modi have any faith in him, when he comes for peace? He has to similarly admit his mistakes with India. I doubt it very much. He would be thrown out by the army.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s perilous obsession with #Pakistan. Hyper-nationalistic frenzy to ‘defeat’ Pakistan comes with huge human & material costs.
Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the #nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner. #Modi #BJP https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/indias-perilous-obsession-with-pakistan/article26925287.ece

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Here, one should ask the most pertinent question: why does India compete with Pakistan in every sphere, from military to sport, rather than with, say, China, which is comparable in size and population, and which in 1980 had the same GDP as India? (China’s GDP is almost five times that of India’s now.)
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Come Indian elections, the bogey of Pakistan has overwhelmed the nationalist discourse in the shrillest manner, with the Prime Minister and other Ministers’ relentless branding of the Congress/Opposition as ‘anti-national’ and as ‘agents of Pakistan’. Further, the Prime Minister even made an unprecedented threat of using nuclear weapons against Pakistan.

As a country born of the two-nation theory based on religion, and then having to suffer dismemberment and the consequent damage to the very same religious identity, it is obvious why Islamic Pakistan must have a hostile Other in the form of a ‘Hindu India’. But what is not obvious is why India, a (much larger) secular nation, must have a hostile antagonist in the form of Pakistan.

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Wars and military competition produce madness. Nothing exemplifies this more than India-Pakistan attempts to secure the Siachen Glacier, the inhospitable and highest battle terrain in the world. India alone lost nearly 800 soldiers (until 2016) to weather-related causes only. Besides, it spends around ₹6 crore every day in Siachen. Operation Parakram (2001-02), in which India mobilised for war with Pakistan, saw 798 soldier deaths and a cost of $3 billion. This is without fighting a war. Add to this the human and economic costs of fighting four wars.

Granted, the proponents of India’s muscular nationalism who want only a military solution in Kashmir might close their eyes to the killings of some 50,000 Kashmiri civilians and the unending suffering of Kashmiris, but can they, as nationalists, ignore, the deaths of around 6,500 security personnel in Kashmir and the gargantuan and un-estimated costs of stationing nearly 5 lakh military/para-military/police personnel in Kashmir for 30 years?

Ten years ago, Stephen P. Cohen, the prominent American scholar of South Asia, called the India-Pakistan relationship “toxic” and notably termed both, and not just Pakistan, as suffering from a “minority” or “small power” complex in which one is feeling constantly “threatened” and “encircled”. Tellingly, he argues that it is the disastrous conflict with Pakistan that has been one of the main reasons why India has been confined to South Asia, and prevented from becoming a global power.

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Here, a look at the military expenditures is revealing: while India spent $63.9 billion (2017) and Pakistan $9.6 billion (2018-19), Bangladesh spent only $3.45 billion (2018-19). Only a muscular and masculine nationalism can take pride in things such as becoming the fifth largest military spender in the world, or being the world’s second largest arms importer. The bitter truth hidden in these details is that India, ranked 130 in the HDI (and Pakistan, 150), simply cannot afford to spend scarce resources on nuclear arsenals, maintaining huge armies or developing space weapons. Besides, in an increasingly globalised world, military resolution between a nuclear India and Pakistan is almost impossible.

Riaz Haq said...

Author Ashutosh in"Hindu Rashtra" talks about call to arms for #Gandhi’s #Hindus . “#Hindutva has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past” under #Muslim rule. #Modi wants “masculine and martial nationalism” aimed at “#Kashmir, #Pakistan and #Islam” https://www.asianage.com/books/210419/a-call-to-arms-for-gandhis-hindus.html

As time moves forward, Hindu Rashtra will take its rightful place as a well-researched attempt to explain the unfolding of the Modi years. Review by Mani Shankar Aiyar

Ashutosh takes the reader by the hand, as it were, through the beginnings of Hindutva: the invention of this hitherto unknown word by V.D. Savarkar, its elaboration by M.S. Golwalkar, and its being put into political practice by the current icon of “masculine and martial nationalism”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Hindutva,” the author observes, “has an infinite appetite to quarrel with the past”. The past is seen, in Savarkar’s words, as “millions of Muslim invaders from all over Asia (falling) over India century after century with all the ferocity at their command to destroy the Hindu religion, the lifeblood of the nation”. Savarkar held that in this the Muslim invaders succeeded only because the Hindus had become “weak and cowardly” by upholding the “perverted virtues” of “compassion, tolerance, non-violence and truth”. The answer lay in recasting the Hindu as “masculine and martial”, the very qualities that Mr Modi seeks to embody. Ashutosh continues: “Modi epitomises Hindutva nationalism, which is founded on an adversarial attitude towards Muslims and believes that India’s history is one of Hindus being tortured in their own homeland for thousands of years because of the ruthlessness of Muslim rulers”.

But why continue this quarrel with the past even unto the 21st century, well after India, albeit a partitioned India, gained her Independence? M.K. Gandhi laid down the fundamental parameter of our contemporary nationhood in the following terms: “The assumption that India has now become the land of the Hindus is erroneous. India belongs to all who live here”.

Golwalkar held in direct contrast that the coming into being of Pakistan “is a clear case of continued Muslim aggression”. This led Nathuram Godse to justify assassinating Gandhi as, “Gandhiji was himself the greatest supporter and advocate of Pakistan… In these circumstances, the only effective remedy to relieve the Hindus from the Muslim atrocities was, to my mind, to remove Gandhiji from this world.”

This meshes seamlessly, as cited by Ashutosh, with Vinay Katiyar, several times BJP MP from Faizabad, asserting in an NDTV interview on February 7, 2018: “Muslims should not stay in this country. They have partitioned the country. So why are they here? They should go to Bangladesh or Pakistan. They have no business being here in India”. And that explains the conflation of “Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam” which Hindutva enjoins as “the duty of every Indian to fight”.

It is from such beliefs, argues Ashutosh, that have arisen the horrors of lynching and murder in the name of gau raksha and “love jihad”, assault and assassination of “anti-nationals”, the undermining of the institutions of democracy, and the nurturing of a new breed of “right-wing television channels that have become platforms for the propagation of Hindutva ideology: muscular nationalism; warmongering; militarism; bashing of Islam, Kashmir and Pakistan; and ridiculing and condemning liberal and secular values”.

The writer goes into each of these, and more, linking them to the ideology that inspires such hate and prejudice. The basic dream of Hindutvavadis, he shows, is “to make Hindus ruthless and masculine as they assume Islam did to its followers” by “effectively us(ing) state power to spread religion”.

Rks said...

Riaz:"while India spent $63.9 billion (2017) and Pakistan $9.6 billion (2018-19), Bangladesh spent only $3.45 billion (2018-19)." .. India spends 7 times more, even though it has an economy 10 times plus. In reality though , it might be much more. As far as Bangladesh, its a total waste. It has no enemies to spend so much.

Riaz Haq said...

#Iran FM Zarif: Development through #BRI (#CPEC) can be a major blow to extremist #terrorism in #Pakistan, #Afghanistan, including from #Chabahar in Iran to the #Pakistani port of #Gwadar https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/development-through-bri-can-be-a-major-blow-to-extremist-terror-in-pakistan-afghanistan-iran-fm-zarif/articleshow/69055361.cms


Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said projects under China's Belt and Road Initiative can help bring economic development to areas in its region and also deal a major blow to “extremist terror” in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The minister said that much of the terrorism in this particular region, including from Chabahar in Iran to the Pakistani port of Gwadar, which also connects to Afghanistan, is due to lack of economic development.

"

Riaz Haq said...

#India's ruling party is exploiting a neighbor's pain for electoral gain. #Modi has been swift to bring up #SriLankaAttacks as a reason to vote for #BJP "to destroy terrorism of the sort Sri Lanka had suffered" #Islamophobia @mihirssharma https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-04-26/sri-lanka-bombings-shake-up-india-s-election-debate via @bopinion


No doubt this will become a factor in elections later this year: Former Defense Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa — whose family, led by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, dominated Sri Lankan politics till a few years ago — recently insisted in an interview with Bloomberg that the government was “never serious” about security and was “more concerned” about reconciliation after Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war.

Fair enough. In the elections already underway in next-door India, though, the attacks are adding more fuel to an already ugly politics of patriotism and national-security. And accountability is the last thing being discussed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was swift to bring up the Sri Lanka attacks as a reason to vote for his Bharatiya Janata Party: A vote for the BJP, he said, was a vote to destroy terrorism of the sort Sri Lanka had suffered.


This feeds into the Modi campaign’s ongoing efforts to exploit high-octane nationalism. The BJP seized upon a confrontation with Pakistan in February to turn the national conversation away from its spotty economic record.

Since the BJP is actually in power, though, it can’t snipe from the outside as the Rajapaksas are doing. So BJP figures have essentially resorted to calling the opposition terrorist sympathizers.

The Congress Party’s fairly detailed election manifesto could have served to open an argument on the most effective way to balance welfare and economic growth. Instead, the BJP has zeroed in on the Congress’ proposal that some particularly draconian and illiberal laws be diluted. Modi’s finance minister, who you’d think would have had plenty to say regarding the opposition’s lack of fiscal mathematics, instead focused on calling their manifesto a “charter to weaken India” and an “agenda for balkanizing India.”

Other rhetoric has been much harsher than that to which Indians are accustomed. Modi’s right-hand man, BJP President Amit Shah, said this week that after an Indian air strike on Pakistan there was “mourning” in just two places: Pakistan and the Congress. This is a familiar charge: Before elections in Modi’s home state of Gujarat a couple years ago, Modi accused his predecessor as prime minister Manmohan Singh of a “secret meeting” with Pakistani diplomats, implying that the latter were seeking to influence the election results.

It has been absurdly easy for Modi and the BJP to make security into a major, if not the primary issue in the election. Unfortunately, this heated rhetoric seems to be considered an adequate replacement for any more rational response.

India’s February air strikes into Pakistan — in retaliation for an attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in troubled Kashmir — were seen in many quarters as influenced by electoral considerations. Crucially, there has been no accountability for the security failures that led to the convoy bombing. Kashmir is so heavily militarized that a sophisticated attack of that sort should have been prevented.

Unlike in Sri Lanka, nobody in New Delhi has taken responsibility for the original failure. It’s fine to talk about national security during a campaign. But the most important questions aren’t being asked: Why did the attack happen? Which group organized it and how did they build up their strength? How can other such attacks be prevented?

The coarseness of the current debate in India is not just a betrayal of the large part of the electorate that wants a clear discussion of bread-and-butter issues. It is frankly dangerous for national security itself. One hopes Sri Lanka will, over the next few months, have a more productive political dialogue than India has had.

Riaz Haq said...

#BRF2019: #Pakistan-#China ties are on a firmer footing. Being in this unique position of maintaining close ties with China versus a security dialogue with the #UnitedStates, albeit a reduced one, Pakistan is able to talk to both the countries. #CPEC http://bit.ly/2ZBehHD

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s keynote speech in China at a global forum last week to discuss Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, highlights Pakistan’s very close ties to the world’s fastest growing country.

For Pakistan, the stakes surrounding its relationship with China are also central to its future as the country pursues the China Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC with Beijing’s backing. At least $60 billion (Dh220 billion) earmarked for CPEC related investments across Pakistan marks a historic milestone. Never before has a foreign power committed such a large investment in Pakistan during the nation’s 72-year history.

The relationship also has a vital dimension related centrally to global security interests which must be considered in gauging this relationship. Pakistan continues to maintain security related ties with Washington, notably over events in Afghanistan, notwithstanding the friction unleashed after US President Donald Trump ended virtually all defence related assistance to Pakistan. Being in this unique position of maintaining close ties with China versus a security dialogue with the US, albeit a reduced one, Pakistan is able to talk to both the countries.

This is a powerful and a telling relationship. In about three years, China will begin supplying up to eight new submarines to Pakistan over the subsequent six years with half of them due to be assembled in Pakistan. The submarines are part of what is widely acknowledged as the largest defence contract in dollar terms, ever signed by Pakistan.

Meanwhile, by next year, the Pakistan Air Force is expected to get nearer to deciding on a new contract for the purchase of its next batch of advanced fighters. Though the cost of that purchase and its source remain a matter of speculation, many seasoned analysts have noted that a Chinese aircraft supplier will likely win that contract.


If true, that would partially be driven by not only the affordability of Chinese military hardware by comparison to western suppliers but also a long history. Unlike a country such as the United States, China has never blocked the supply of military hardware to Pakistan on any pretext. In sharp contrast, the US in 1990 suspended the sale of F16 fighter planes to Pakistan on the grounds that the country was close to producing nuclear weapons.

In subsequent years too, Washington’s relationship has hovered between being the closest ally to a suspected foreign partner. It has only been in recent months that the US appears to have once again warmed up to Pakistan after American officials concluded that the US backed war with the Taliban in Afghanistan is unwinnable. Meanwhile, president Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan following a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban has yet again prompted the US to seek Pakistan’s help for a face saving end to that conflict.

There are also lessons to be learnt from past US pressure on Pakistan. Not only did Pakistan become a nuclear power just eight years after the 1990 blockage of the sales of F16 fighters to Islamabad, the country began working with China to eventually produce its own fighter plane, the JF-17 ‘Thunder’, in a journey that helped reduce dependence on the US in this area.

Taken together, Pakistan’s emerging economic relationship with China under CPEC and its history of defence ties with China have only helped cement Islamabad’s most important foreign relationship. Though Khan chose the right moment to compliment China for its support to Pakistan, his words also reflect a powerful longer term reality. Any Pakistani leader in Khan’s place would have chosen the moment to similarly praise Beijing’s support to the country.

Riaz Haq said...

For the #BJP , with largest number of candidates implicated in #terrorism, the #India elections are about #Hindutva and not development. #Modi #Samjhauta #Malegaon #Islamophobia

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/for-the-bjp-the-elections-are-about-hindutva-and-not-development/cid/1689297


In a recent interview, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, said that he felt a “sense of responsibility”. But by fielding “Sadhvi” Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case who is out on bail, the Modi-Amit Shah duo has shown the world that the Bharatiya Janata Party has made the elections about Hindutva and not development (“Full on”, April 22). One wonders how the BJP has remained nonchalant about the Supreme Court’s recommendation to Parliament to enact a “strong law” which would direct political parties to revoke the nominations of candidates against whom “heinous and grievous” charges have been framed. In India there are many lawmakers with such criminal charges. Their place is not in state assemblies or Parliament.

The Modi-led government has failed to deliver on almost all of its major election promises of 2014. Now the only option it has for attracting votes is to use Hindutva as a political tool. Further, given that the Congress nominated the two-time former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijaya Singh, as its candidate from Bhopal, the BJP felt the dire need to ratchet up a Hindutva component by announcing the candidature of Thakur in the same constituency. In effect, the BJP has let short-term electoral gains dictate its policies. Unfortunately, this will only serve to divide Indian society irreparably in the long run.

Riaz Haq said...

#SriLanka Easter blasts: Suspected mastermind Zahran Hashim spent time and trained in south #India, says top military source. #SriLankaAttacks #TamilNadu #terrorism #LTTE #RAW https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/sri-lanka-easter-blasts-suspected-mastermind-zahran-hashim-spent-time-in-south-india-says-top-military-source/article26959549.ece

Sri Lankan investigators, however, have identified nine suicide bombers, including a woman. “We are looking into the IS angle. We also suspect that some of those radical youth were indoctrinated and trained in India, possibly Tamil Nadu,” the senior official said, on condition of anonymity.


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Zahran Hashim, believed to have masterminded the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, spent “substantial” time in “south India,” a top Sri Lankan military source said on Friday.

Investigators identified Hashim as the leader of the National Thowheed Jamaath, which they said executed the highly coordinated blasts on Sunday. Over 250 people, including 45 children and 40 foreign nationals, were killed in the deadly explosions. Two days later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks and subsequently released an image of eight suspected bombers. The man seen standing at the centre is believed to be Hashim. The other jihadists had covered their faces with a scarf.

Indian officials would not comment that Hashim travelled to India but pointed to evidence of virtual links he maintained with youth believed to be of Indian origin. More than 100 followers of Hashim’s Facebook page are being investigated, said an official, who asked not to be named. The first hints of Hashim’s doctrinal videos, to likely radicalise youth, emerged when Indian authorities interrogated seven members of a group whose leader, officials found, was a follower of Hashim. The men were IS sympathisers and arrested in September 2018 in Coimbatore, on suspicion that they were plotting the assassination of certain political and religious leaders in India, the official said.

Riaz Haq said...

"#Modi is campaigning as a strongman with the character to stand up to #Pakistan .. sending warplanes to bomb #India’s nuclear neighbor earlier this year was not so much an act of strength as recklessness that could have ended in disaster"https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/05/04/under-narendra-modi-indias-ruling-party-poses-a-threat-to-democracy via @TheEconomist

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) won a landslide victory in India’s general election in 2014, its leader, Narendra Modi, was something of a mystery. Would his government initiate an economic lift-off, as businessfolk hoped, or spark a sectarian conflagration, as secularists feared? In his five years as prime minister, Mr Modi has been neither as good for India as his cheerleaders foretold, nor as bad as his critics, including this newspaper, imagined. But today the risks still outweigh the rewards. Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election (see article), would be better off with a different leader.

Mr Modi is campaigning as a strongman with the character to stand up to Pakistan for having abetted terrorism. In fact, sending warplanes to bomb India’s nuclear neighbour earlier this year was not so much an act of strength as recklessness that could have ended in disaster. Mr Modi’s tough-guy approach has indeed been a disaster in the disputed state of Jammu & Kashmir, where he has inflamed a separatist insurgency rather than quelling it, while at the same time alienating moderate Kashmiris by brutally repressing protests.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's incredulous data: #IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath has raised the issue of “transparency” with #Indian officials in data collection and, in particular, measurement of the #GDP deflator - the adjusted inflation rate used to estimate real GDP https://reut.rs/2vL2mcf

Economists and investors are increasingly showing that they have little or no confidence in India’s official economic data – presenting whoever is elected as the next prime minister with an immediate problem.

There have been questions for many years about whether Indian government statistics were telling the full story but two recent controversies over revisions and delays of crucial numbers have taken those concerns to new heights.

The government itself has admitted there are deficiencies in its data collection.

A study conducted by a division of the statistics ministry in the 12 months ending June 2017 found that as much as 36 percent of the companies in the database used in India’s GDP calculations could not be traced or were wrongly classified.

But the ministry said there was no impact on GDP estimates as due care was taken to adjust corporate filings at the aggregate level.

Last December, the government held back the release of jobs data but an official report leaked to an Indian newspaper showed the unemployment rate had touched its highest level in 45 years.

Economists and investors are now voting with their feet – by using alternative sources of data and in some cases creating their own benchmarks to measure the Indian economy.

Ten economists and analysts at banks, think-tanks and foreign funds interviewed by Reuters said they were moving to use alternative data sources, or at least official data of a different kind.

Among the numbers they prefer are fast-moving indicators like car sales, air and rail cargo levels, purchasing managers’ index data, and proprietary indices created by the institutions themselves to track the economy.

Many economists said they were stunned when the government upwardly revised GDP growth for 2016/17 to 8.2 percent from 6.7 percent, although the demonetization of high value notes hit businesses and jobs in that financial year.

“Our response has been to spend time developing an Indian Activity Index, which takes a range of time series data that in the past were strongly correlated with real GDP growth and extract the common signal from them,” said Jeremy Lawson, chief economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments, which manages more than $700 billion in assets.

The preliminary evidence from the index, which includes components like car sales, air cargo and purchasing managers’ index data suggests the government has over-estimated GDP growth, he said.

“Our index would suggest that there was stable growth, rather than the rapid acceleration suggested by the GDP figures,” he said, referring to three years of data from 2014.

Even those close to the government have said the lack of accuracy in the official data makes it much more likely that authorities will miss major swings in activity and be unable to react quickly to head off a crisis. It is also a problem for investors who may be misled into thinking the economy is more robust than it really is.

Riaz Haq said...

The second half of Narendra #Modi's term has made a mockery of hopes that he would be #India's Shinzo Abe, @andymukherjee70 writes. #BJP #Hindutva https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-05-12/modi-isn-t-india-s-abe-election-caps-a-lost-decade via @bopinion

Five years ago, I wrote that Narendra Modi could be India’s Shinzo Abe. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The chief minister of Gujarat state had just been chosen by his party to become the next prime minister if it won the popular vote. Writing for Reuters then, I predicted he could lift the country’s drooping economy, just as Abe had been attempting to do in Japan.

To get an idea of how badly Modi has undershot expectations, look at India’s largest maker of consumer staples. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. recently reported March quarter revenue growth of 7%, the weakest in 18 months. But it was what CEO Sanjiv Mehta said that unnerved investors. Consumer essentials are “recession-resistant but not recession-proof,” Mehta said. “At the end of the day, it depends on money in the hands of consumers.”

Recession? In what Team Modi professes to be the world’s fastest-growing major economy?

From carmakers to toothpaste sellers, Indian firms have had a lousy start to 2019. It’s a performance that belies the economy’s official GDP growth rate of 7%, not to mention its advance to 77th place in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking, from an abysmal 142nd four years ago.

In Japan, Abe has presided over what’s possibly the longest economic expansion in its post-World War II history despite the burden of an aging population. The signature piece of his reforms has been unprecedented monetary stimulus to end the country’s deflationary mindset.

For a long time it looked like Modi would catch up with his counterpart, who had a head start of about 18 months after taking office in December 2012. India’s leader certainly had successes. They included a $48 billion reduction in the crippling debt of power distribution companies (so they could be healthy again and pay producers on time). In May 2016, Modi’s government gave India its first modern bankruptcy law, and in August that year, parliament voted in favor of a national sales tax, promising freedom from a bewildering array of state levies.

As late as October 2016 there was nothing to distinguish between the 30% gains (in U.S. dollar terms) delivered by benchmark stock indexes in Japan and India since Abe took office.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian democracy is broken. Millions wait for election results in fear.

"In an interview published last year, an exasperated Danish asked our leaders: “You want to make India a Hindu country? Would you kill all the Muslims or turn them out of the country? Please tell us to what extent you would go to finish Muslims?” He added: “I’m very uneasy. I have a feeling that if the BJP comes back then something big will happen. I cannot say what it is. I feel as if something will break in our country and we will not be able to fix it...The outrage and hate against Muslims are not just spreading like an epidemic on WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms; they seep into our daily lives. y brother, who works for a multinational corporation, was recently forced to vacate his apartment in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Mumbai. The proprietor offered him a rate higher than the market price because his Muslim family was making other tenants uncomfortable. A boycott of his family from all social events and engagements followed. He eventually had to leave his house — in the city where he grew up — simply because of bigotry. In the last year, I have heard Muslim friends, relatives and acquaintances discussing plans to relocate to friendlier countries or sending their children away to foreign universities if Modi is reelected. Certainly these are options only available to a privileged minority within the the community.But for most of the 190 million Muslims in India, roughly 14 percent of the population, India remains home. And the choice laid out before them by the political leaders is to accept living as second-class citizens in their own country. A victory for Modi on May 23 will be seen as a mandate to amplify this hate and the “othering” of Indian Muslims in a way that will affect our secular democracy beyond repair...It is not just the excesses of the ruling party and its marginalization of Muslims. It’s that many citizens have found this new language of hate liberating and acceptable. If they allow themselves to be blinded permanently, Indian democracy will cease to exist. And that is reason enough for each one of us to heed Danish’s words. Because if the world’s most populous democracy goes under, ripples will be felt across the world. ”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/05/16/you-know-indias-democracy-is-broken-when-millions-wait-election-results-fear/

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi Promised Better Days and Bridges. #India’s Voters Are Still Waiting.“govt was willing to play with numbers to score a point,” says Amiya Kumar Bagchi, an economist at Institute of Development Studies. Numbers “are wrong and possibly fabricated" #BJP https://nyti.ms/2WK4zAx

he has failed to spur significant economic growth, in part because of his disappointing record in reviving stalled infrastructure projects. The prime minister has championed rail, road and electrical links as a means of furthering development across this country of 1.3 billion people.

Although road-building has proceeded aggressively, infrastructure over all has fallen short. During the last three months of 2018, investments in new projects slumped to their lowest level during Mr. Modi’s tenure, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent research organization in Mumbai.

“The fall after 2016 has been quite severe,” says Mahesh Vyas, the center’s managing director. “He thought he could solve all those things with a magical wand.”

Slowing growth has reduced government tax revenues, forcing Mr. Modi to slash spending on public works. Private toll roads and power plants have stalled as banks have withheld finance after losses on previous ventures.

The prime minister inherited a troubling condition that has plagued India for decades: What economic growth the country generates does not produce enough jobs. He vowed to create 10 million jobs a year.

As a former chief minister of his home state of Gujarat — widely hailed as India’s most entrepreneurial — he was celebrated as a leader who could harness India’s natural resources, intellectual prowess and enormous work force toward industrializing.

But a signature program, Make in India, which aimed to help manufacturing, has produced a bumper crop of public pronouncements and scant hiring, in part because the nation’s patchy infrastructure has discouraged investment. The unemployment rate climbed to a 45-year high of 6.1 percent last year, from 2.2 percent in 2011, according to the government’s National Sample Survey.

Nonetheless, Mr. Modi has won the ardor of the masses with his appeals to Hindu nationalism and his military confrontations with India’s nemesis, Pakistan. He is widely expected to claim re-election after voting ends on Sunday.

But some of India’s troubles flow directly from Mr. Modi’s actions, not least his disastrous 2016 move to ban most Indian rupee notes in a bid to disrupt finance for terrorists and black marketeers. The government failed to have new notes ready, creating a crippling shortage in an economy dominated by cash.

“I cannot begin to explain the sheer stupidity of that,” says Jayati Ghosh, an economist at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. “What you did was suck the lifeblood from the market system. It was a huge crime on the Indian population.”

Mr. Modi’s lack of success in completing stalled infrastructure projects has left many rural people stranded far from jobs.

Riaz Haq said...

5 more years of Narendra #Modi will take #India to a dark place.If the Indian prime minister is returned to office, his sectarian politics will make #bigotry the defining ideal of the republic | Kapil Komireddi #Hindutva #Islamophobia #violence #terrorism https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/21/five-more-years-narendra-modi-india-dark-place?CMP=share_btn_tw

The refrain from Hindu voters has been identical: Modi has failed us, yes, but he's at least put Muslims in their place

None of the big promises that delivered Modi’s Hindu-first Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) an absolute majority in parliament in 2014 – the first time in 30 years that a single party was voted into power – have been honoured. Modi pledged to create 20m jobs annually. Today, the rate of unemployment is the highest India has known in 20 years. He enraptured young Indian voters with visions of what he called “smart cities”: facsimiles of Seoul and Singapore on the Deccan Plateau and the northern plains – clean, green and replete with skyscrapers and super-fast trains. There is nothing of the sort in sight. He vowed to purify the Ganga, “the river of India” as Jawaharlal Nehru called it. Five years later, it remains a stream of unquantifiable litres of sewage and industrial effluents.

Worse, democratic institutions have been repurposed to abet Modi’s project to remake India into a Hindu nation. The election commission, which has conducted polls in impossible circumstances since 1952 and is revered for its incorruptibility and fierce independence, functioned during this vote as an arm of Modi’s BJP, too timid even to issue perfunctory censures of the prime minister’s egregious use of religious sloganeering. The military has been politicised and the judiciary plunged into the most existential threat to its independence since 1975, when Indira Gandhi suspended the constitution and ruled as a dictator for 21 months.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi Seduced #India With #Envy and #Hate.. licensed his supporters to explicitly hate #Pakistanis and #Indian #Muslims. His assault on #Pakistan in February damaged nothing more than a few trees across the border, while killing 7 #Indians in friendly fire https://nyti.ms/2HznZmN


India under Mr. Modi’s rule has been marked by continuous explosions of violence in both virtual and real worlds. As pro-Modi television anchors hunted for “anti-nationals” and troll armies rampaged through social media, threatening women with rape, lynch mobs slaughtered Muslims and low-caste Hindus. Hindu supremacists have captured or infiltrated institutions from the military and the judiciary to the news media and universities, while dissenting scholars and journalists have found themselves exposed to the risk of assassination and arbitrary detention. Stridently advancing bogus claims that ancient Hindus invented genetic engineering and airplanes, Mr. Modi and his Hindu nationalist supporters seemed to plunge an entire country into a moronic inferno. Last month the Indian army’s official twitter account excitedly broadcast its discovery of the Yeti’s footprints.
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Rived by caste as well as class divisions, and dominated in Bollywood as well as politics by dynasties, India is a grotesquely unequal society. Its constitution, and much political rhetoric, upholds the notion that all individuals are equal and possess the same right to education and job opportunities; but the everyday experience of most Indians testify to appalling violations of this principle. A great majority of Indians, forced to inhabit the vast gap between a glossy democratic ideal and a squalid undemocratic reality, have long stored up deep feelings of injury, weakness, inferiority, degradation, inadequacy and envy; these stem from defeats or humiliation suffered at the hands of those of higher status than themselves in a rigid hierarchy.

I both witnessed and experienced these explosive tensions in the late 1980s, when I was a student at a dead-end provincial university, one of many there confronting a near-impossible task: not only sustained academic excellence, but also a wrenching cultural and psychological makeover in the image of the self-assured, English-speaking metropolitan. One common object of our ressentiment — an impotent mix of envy and hatred — was Rajiv Gandhi, the deceased father of main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, whom Mr. Modi indecorously but cunningly chose to denounce in his election campaign. An airline pilot who became prime minister largely because his mother and grandfather had held the same post, and who allegedly received kickbacks from a Swedish arms manufacturer into Swiss bank accounts, Mr. Gandhi appeared to perfectly embody a pseudo-socialist elite that claimed to supervise post-colonial India’s attempt to catch up with the modern West but that in reality single-mindedly pursued its own interests.

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ntoxicating voters with the seductive passion of vengeance, and grandiose fantasies of power and domination, Mr. Modi has deftly escaped public scrutiny of his record of raw wisdom — one that would have ruined any other politician. Back in 2014, the Hindu supremacist pioneered the politics of enmity that corrodes many democracies today. This week, he triumphantly reaped one of the biggest electoral harvests of the post-truth age, giving us more reason to fear the future.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi Seduced #India With #Envy and #Hate.. licensed his supporters to explicitly hate #Pakistanis and #Indian #Muslims. His assault on #Pakistan in February damaged nothing more than a few trees across the border, while killing 7 #Indians in friendly fire https://nyti.ms/2HznZmN


India under Mr. Modi’s rule has been marked by continuous explosions of violence in both virtual and real worlds. As pro-Modi television anchors hunted for “anti-nationals” and troll armies rampaged through social media, threatening women with rape, lynch mobs slaughtered Muslims and low-caste Hindus. Hindu supremacists have captured or infiltrated institutions from the military and the judiciary to the news media and universities, while dissenting scholars and journalists have found themselves exposed to the risk of assassination and arbitrary detention. Stridently advancing bogus claims that ancient Hindus invented genetic engineering and airplanes, Mr. Modi and his Hindu nationalist supporters seemed to plunge an entire country into a moronic inferno. Last month the Indian army’s official twitter account excitedly broadcast its discovery of the Yeti’s footprints.
------------

Rived by caste as well as class divisions, and dominated in Bollywood as well as politics by dynasties, India is a grotesquely unequal society. Its constitution, and much political rhetoric, upholds the notion that all individuals are equal and possess the same right to education and job opportunities; but the everyday experience of most Indians testify to appalling violations of this principle. A great majority of Indians, forced to inhabit the vast gap between a glossy democratic ideal and a squalid undemocratic reality, have long stored up deep feelings of injury, weakness, inferiority, degradation, inadequacy and envy; these stem from defeats or humiliation suffered at the hands of those of higher status than themselves in a rigid hierarchy.

I both witnessed and experienced these explosive tensions in the late 1980s, when I was a student at a dead-end provincial university, one of many there confronting a near-impossible task: not only sustained academic excellence, but also a wrenching cultural and psychological makeover in the image of the self-assured, English-speaking metropolitan. One common object of our ressentiment — an impotent mix of envy and hatred — was Rajiv Gandhi, the deceased father of main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, whom Mr. Modi indecorously but cunningly chose to denounce in his election campaign. An airline pilot who became prime minister largely because his mother and grandfather had held the same post, and who allegedly received kickbacks from a Swedish arms manufacturer into Swiss bank accounts, Mr. Gandhi appeared to perfectly embody a pseudo-socialist elite that claimed to supervise post-colonial India’s attempt to catch up with the modern West but that in reality single-mindedly pursued its own interests.

----------------

Intoxicating voters with the seductive passion of vengeance, and grandiose fantasies of power and domination, Mr. Modi has deftly escaped public scrutiny of his record of raw wisdom — one that would have ruined any other politician. Back in 2014, the Hindu supremacist pioneered the politics of enmity that corrodes many democracies today. This week, he triumphantly reaped one of the biggest electoral harvests of the post-truth age, giving us more reason to fear the future.

Riaz Haq said...

Amb Ashraf Jahangir Qazi:

"Hindutva as a fascist, communal, irrational and vengeful ideology can never provide India a basis on which to emerge as a credible great power in the 21st century. As a lunatic fringe movement it was a phenomenon common to all political societies. But as a lunatic mainstream ideology it will degrade India’s future and threaten regional and possibly global stability...It has led to the tragic defeat of a progressive and secular dream — which may have been more aspiration or even pretence than reality — by an atavistic and obscurantist nightmare. This throwback is mindlessly supported by a deliberately deprived and exploited population whose frustrations are manipulated and channelled in directions against their own interests. The RSS, the Sangh Pariwar, the BJP and Modi embody this political malignancy."


How come? Modi exploited the several fault lines in Indian society and managed to electorally present major issues confronting India into an emotional Hindu versus Muslim and India versus Pakistan issue. He cleverly exploited Pulwama and Balakot. Moreover, 21st-century social media and fake news technologies have enormously enhanced establishment capacities to manufacture and mould public opinion against the public interest. Deb notes that Modi’s control over India’s middle classes enormously helped in this regard. In addition, Indian corporations “contributed as much as 12 times more money to the BJP than to those of the other six national parties combined, amounting to 93 per cent of all corporate donations.”

Similar criticisms can apply to Pakistan, the US and other ‘democratic’ countries. Like India, they are not really democracies; they are corporate, praetorian, or plutocratic systems in which elected representatives and cabinets represent establishment and elite institutional interests that facilitate and finance their electoral campaigns. Parliamentarians no longer represent constituency or voter interests. Such systems are not just imperfect developing democracies; they are authoritarian and ‘extractive’ systems in democratic disguise.

Where do India-Pakistan relations go from here? There are broadly two views about a triumphant Modi’s likely attitude towards Pakistan. One sees him as seeing Pakistan as illegitimately torn from the womb of Bharat Mata and which now, in recalcitrant fashion, stands in the way of India realising its destiny as the regional hegemon in South Asia. Acco­r­dingly, he will seek to teach Pakistan a lesson in strategic decorum. He will, therefore, avail of a whole array of bilateral and international options to exert escalating and unrelenting pressure on Pak­istan, short of all-out war, to conform to India’s will.

Alternately, a supremely confident Modi, faced with a Pakistan already on the ropes, may choose a number of subtler options to ‘influence’ Pakistan in the ‘right direction’. These may include resuming informal, and later, structured dialogue and progressively allowing a range of movement in the bilateral relationship. In return, Modi would expect Pakistan to ‘behave’ with regard to Kashmir (including a possible resumption of back-channel negotiations and permanently ending cross-LoC militant activities;) terrorism (including meeting FATF requirements and dismantling alleged terrorist structures, safe havens and services;) and ‘deference’ towards Indian strategic interests in Afghanistan and the region. Modi will eventually expect Pakistan to maintain a ‘balance’ in its relations with China and India, which should ‘contextualise’ its participation in CPEC.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1484648

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Adivasi #Dalit doctor commits #suicide in #Mumbai after being harassed. She shared a room with Dr Hema Ahuja and Dr Bhakti Mehar. The two doctors would go to the toilet and wipe their feet on her mattress and litter it. #JusticeForDrPayal https://gn24.ae/8158ba2f767a000

The suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi, a Mumbai-based doctor and postgraduate student has created a furore online, after it was reported that the death was a result of caste-based harassment.

Twenty six-year-old Dr Payal Tadvi was a second-year resident doctor at the BYL Nair Hospital located in Mumbai Central.

The harassment
Her husband, Dr Salman Tadvi, was quoted in the Indian newspaper The Hindu: “When she came to Nair Hospital for her postgraduation, she was asked to temporarily share a room with Dr Hema Ahuja and Dr Bhakti Mehar. The two began harassing her soon.... The two doctors would go to the toilet and wipe their feet on her mattress and litter it. When she would be away, they would taunt her that she was spending time with her husband.”

According to Mumbai Mirror, the two doctors, along with another doctor, allegedly made fun of her caste and posted derogatory messages on a Whatsapp group. Tadvi had joined the college on a reservation quota.

Historically disadvantaged castes and tribes receive a quota for minimum representation in schools, universities and government jobs, as per the Indian Constitution. This is termed as ‘reservation’.

Her mother, Abeda Tadvi, had filed a written complaint to the head of the department in the hospital but she alleged that no steps were taken. Dr Tadvi committed suicide on May 22.

“Whenever she used to speak to me on the phone, she would say that these three people torture her as she belongs to a tribal community, use casteist slurs on her. We want justice for her,” Dr Tadvi’s mother told the news agency ANI.

According to a report in the Indian newspaper Mid-day, she said: “Had the authorities acted swiftly and shown sensitivity, my daughter would have been alive today.”

Action taken
The report also stated that hours before she died, Dr Tadvi told her mother that she was unable to bear the torment from the three doctors, who have been absconding since they learned about her suicide.

The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors has cancelled the memberships of the three accused, according to news agency ANI. In their response, the accused urged the association to conduct a fair investigation, referring to their heavy workload in letter: “You all are aware of the workload in residency and do you all really believe burdened with the workload is ragging?”

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, the Agripada police have registered a case against the three accused under section 306 (abetment for suicide) of the Indian penal code (IPC), sections of the SC/ST Atrocities Act, Anti-Ragging Act and Information Technology Act, 2000.

What is an Adivasi?
Dr Payal Tadvi belonged to the Adivasi Tadvi Bhil community, a Scheduled Tribe - which is designated by the Indian Constitution as being historically disadvantaged.

Riaz Haq said...

Iran FM Zarif seeks help from #Pakistan. It appears that #Iran, seeing that Pakistan’s close ties with #SaudiArabia and #Islamabad's long alliance with the #UnitedStates could help reduce tensions, is not interested in any conflict. http://almon.co/37o3 via @AlMonitor

Conveying the urgent nature of his visit on arrival in Islamabad, Zarif said, “I have come to Pakistan for consultations as dangerous steps have been taken in the region.”

Zarif held separate meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief Qamar Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Though the details of these meetings have not been made public, it is apparent that Iran has requested help in de-escalating the situation.

Both the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League are about to hold summits where Saudi Arabia might push for resolutions against Iran. Ostensibly, the Iranian foreign minister would want Islamabad to convince Riyadh to adopt a less strident approach. It appears that Iran, seeing that Pakistan’s close ties with Saudi Arabia and Islamabad's long alliance with the United States could help reduce tensions, is not interested in any conflict.

De-escalation should be the immediate target, followed by dialogue and a new nuclear deal. Renegotiating the JCPOA is the best option for establishing peace in the region under the circumstances. Traditionally, Oman has been an intermediary between Iran and the United States, but Pakistan is facilitating Washington in the Afghan peace process nowadays and it could be an effective mediator in this crisis as well. Matters have reached a critical turning point since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected talks with the United States after the recent escalation.

Assuring Zarif of Pakistan’s support, Qureshi said his country wanted "resolution of all outstanding issues through diplomatic engagement," as regional tension was in no one’s interest. However, in announcing that sides would not be taken in the ongoing confrontation just before Zarif’s arrival, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry kept its neutral stance and the official statement urged all sides to “show restraint, as any miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict.”

Balancing the interests of Tehran, Riyadh and Washington at the same time is an uphill task, so Islamabad will stick to neutrality. Pakistan cannot afford the risk of any confrontation between Riyadh and Tehran as frictions between them can have a sectarian spillover effect in Pakistan. In recent months, Pakistani-Iranian relations have not been at their best due to various complications.


Riaz Haq said...

#India unhappy as #Iran goes to #Pakistan asking to link #Chabahar to #Gwadar #CPEC Deccan Herald

https://www.deccanherald.com/national/iran-goes-to-pakistan-with-chabahar-link-plan-736492.html

As New Delhi complied with US sanctions on Iran and stopped buying crude oil from the Islamic Republic this month, Tehran responded by offering to connect its Chabahar Port with Gwadar Port of Pakistan.

Iran was the third-largest oil supplier for India after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. India bought 23.6 million tons of oil from Iran in the 2018-19 financial year.

India is concerned over the proposal Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif mooted during his recent visit to Pakistan late last week. Zarif proposed to connect Chabahar Port of Iran with the Gwadar Port, which was developed by China on the south-weste...

New Delhi perceived Chabahar Port in Iran as a counter to the Gwadar Port, which China developed as part of its “String of Pearls” policy to develop strategic assets around India.

New Delhi has been stayed away from the BRI, as the CPEC, linking Xinjiang in China and Gwadar Port of Pakistan passes through parts of Kashmir that India has been claiming as its own and accusing Pakistan of illegally occupying.