Monday, September 21, 2020

Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani: America Does Not Respect India

"One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect", writes former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani in his latest book "Has China Won?". "If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India", adds Ambassador Mahbubani. It's not just Mahbubani who suspects the United States leadership does not respect India. Others, including former President Bill Clinton, current US President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria have expressed similar sentiments. 

Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore Mahbubani:

Kishore Mahbubani is a former top diplomat who served as the head of Singaporean mission at the United Nations. He was born in Singapore in 1948 to Hindu Sindhi parents who migrated from Pakistan to India in 1947, and then to Singapore in 1948. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.  In 2019, Mahbubani was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a frequent guest on CNN Global Public Square hosted by Fareed Zakaria. Here's an excerpt from Mahbubani's "Has China Won?": 

 "One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect.....Many Americans, like many of their fellow Westerners, have a higher degree of respect for Chinese civilization than they do of Indian civilization. Many Americans will deny it because it is an uncomfortable truth. They will proclaim loudly that they respect India as much as they respect China. But you cannot feign respect: it is best demonstrated not through words but in deeds. Every country in the world demonstrates its respect for another country by the amount of time and attention it gives to that country, and America has devoted far more time and attention to China than it has to India". 

Source: @BeltandRoadDesk

Trump and Clinton:

There is some evidence to support Ambassador Mahbubani's assertion about America's lack of respect for India. For example,  ex US President Bill Clinton said in 1990s that India has a Rodney Dangerfield problem: It can’t get no respect, according to his deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott. In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Hillary Clinton referred to India as "a self-appointed frontrunner for a permanent UN security council seat."

More recently, US President Donald Trump mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Indian contribution to Afghanistan.  Trump said he got along very well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Indian leader was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan". "That's like five hours of what we spend... And we are supposed to say, 'oh, thank you for the library'. I don't know who is using it in Afghanistan," Trump said.

Spanish Newspaper Uses "Snake Charmer" Image For India's Economy

Western Media:

Indians were justifiably very proud of their great scientific achievement when the India Space Agency ISRO successfully launched the nation's Mars Mission back in 2013. The New York Times, America's leading newspaper, mocked India with a cartoon depicting the country as a dhoti-wearing farmer with his cow knocking on the door of the Elite Space Club. 

New York Times Cartoon

In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

Der Spiegel's Cartoon Comparing India and China

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Fareed Zakaria: 

CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria is known to be among the loudest cheerleaders for India and a sharp critic of Pakistan. While he still refuses to say anything that could even remotely be considered positive about Pakistan, it seems that he is souring on his native India.

Speaking with Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel, Fareed Zakaria called the Indian state an “inefficient state”.“Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality, " he added. He did not clearly speak about the lynchings of Indian Muslims by people affiliated with the ruling BJP and the brutality of Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims, but he did ask: “What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? He noted sadly:”India seems like roadkill for China".

Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.

 Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:

1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.

2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.

3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.

4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.

4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.

5. Popularity of political leaders around the  world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.

6.  What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.

8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.

9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.


Singaporean diplomat, analyst and writer Kishore Mahbubani has argued in his latest book "Has China Won?" that America does not really respect India. Others, including ex US President Bill Clinton, current President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria, have expressed similar sentiments. It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.

Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Is India a Paper Elephant?

COVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths Declining

Fareed Zakaria Never Misses Any Opportunity to Bash Pakistan

Retired Justice Markanday Katju on Modi's India

Lynchistan: India is the Lynching Capital of the World

73 Year After Independence, Caste-Ridden India Dominated By Brahmins

Pakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest Growing

Is Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?

Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 Lockdown

Coronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in Pakistan

Vast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid19 Crisis

Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"

Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in Pakistan

Can Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? 

How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?

Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease Burdens

Trump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine Effort

Democracy vs Dictatorship in Pakistan

Pakistan Child Health Indicators

Pakistan's Balance of Payments Crisis

Panama Leaks in Pakistan

Conspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"

PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political Parties

Strikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


samir sardana said...

he Indian Paradox of Love ! A tale of unrequited and misunderstood love !

Act 1 Scene 1 - Requit my love,my dearest

The Indians have always been in love wih the white skin,golden hair and blue eyes.It is a deep set inferiority complex,when they ponder over their reflection,in a pond or a mirror.People quote the reign of the Mughals,Brits,Greeks.Huns .... etc., to judtify their thesis.Indian History is written by White men,whose word is gospel - and it may be,THE Gospel.dindooohindoo

But Y ? It is NOT the empirical record,of History ! It is in the DNA,imprinted,by Theological Prioris ! The Hindoo Gods,had white skin,golden hair and blue eyes.

The “Rig Veda” refers to its Dindoo Gods as “Golden haired,White skinned with blue eyes” !

1.1.7 Mantra 7 – Indra (Author: Madhucchandas Vaisvamitra)

 Indra hath ever close to him his two bay steeds and word-yoked car,Indra the golden, thunder-armed.

1.1.79 Mantra 79 – Agni (Author: Gotama Rahugana)

He in mid-air’s expanse hath golden tresses; a raging serpent, like the rushing tempest

A sample of their Complexed DNA,is that,Gokhale claimed that his ancestors were Nordics,and that,the North Pole was in Bihar.His soul is with Nordic Beauties ! Nordic Gods have strikingly similar,appearances and mythologies - as are seen,in the Rig Veda.

That is why Indians Instinctively accepted the Mughals,and Brits as their masters and Gods.The tales of heroism,valour and sexual libido and potency - attributed to the Hindoo Gods (in the Vedas),which was ABSENT in Hindoos - was found by the Hindoos,in the
Mughals and Pathans.Even Churchill,marvelled at the potency,of the Mughals,which is no mean compliment - considering the capabilities,of Churchill.The physical beauty of the Hindoo Gods (as stated in the Rig Veda),which was absent among Hindoos,was found by the Hindoo,in the White man - id.est., The Brits.

Fast Forward to the 21st Century.India STILL looks up to the White man,USA,EU,Russia,UK and there is love - but it is UNREQUITED,as the Indian Love,is NOT unconditional.There is nothing that India CAN OFFER,or LIKES TO OFFER in return,to their lovers.If USA wants to use Indian Airbases to bomb Taliban or Iran,or airbases in North East to Bomb PRC,or long term naval leases to dock US warships and subs,or stand against Russian Actions in Ukraine .......,The Indian Weasels,will wear the inscrutable face,of Monkey God Hanooman and Mutter their Moralistic nonsense.

The Indians cannot even open their markets,for the Americans.Therefore,that unconditional-beyond Platonic love - that exists between PRC and Pakistan - does NOT exist for India.

Mrs Clinton after spending decades of her life on Indians,had THIS TO SAY,about India and Indians

"a self-appointed frontrunner for a permanent UN security council seat."

If this woman had read Beruni - there would be many bells,ringing in her head and she MIGHT have been the US President !

The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid

Basically the Indian DNA expects USA to shed Aemrican blood and sacrifice US jobs to PRESERVE democracy in India (As a sheepish bulwark against PRC),but will NOT reciprocate,in any strategic and material way,to accomodate American economic,military and strategic interests,in India and the world.

That is Y,Indian History of the last 2000 years,shows that whosoever had allied with,or supported Indians - as a nation and a race,was completely destroyed.Only those who stamped their seal of dominance,on Hindoosthan - were immortalised in world History.That is also Y Russia is on a slow,but irreversible drift,away from India

The 1st Pre-requisite of A Strategic Alliance,is unconditional love - which is an attribute,alien to Indians.

samir sardana said...

The Indian Paradox of love - the misunderstood love

Act 1 Scene 2 - Miss-Understanding Indian Love.dindooohindoo

Let us take the case of the American hoi polloi.Americans are very expressive and emotive people,with spontaneous and instinctive emotions - who fall in love easily.So the edifice of their love,is predicated on flimsy reasons (in the Indian Context),like Tangri Kabab, Tandoori Chicken,Lassi and Paratha,Yoga,Sambhar,Indian Forts and Temples,Indian Festivals, Kumbh,Indian Godmen........... and the,so called "Indian Brain" - which is akin,to a drain.

In reality,it is just a Dialectical contrast,which attracts curious and gifted humans (like Americans) to an anti-thesis of thought and sentience,which is alien to the DNA of an American. So the Americans are attracted by curiosity,shock,bewilderment,revulsion etc.,and then begins the quest for the Hegelian Synthesis.That is Y the White race,after a certain age,come to India,and feel that they have found their SPIRITUAL salavtion in India.

So the American love for India is very shallow.Americans,in their thought process,have constructed tautologies and constraints,in their thought processes,which aturally make them gravitate towards,the asinine and shallow charms of India and Indians - as a logical derivative, of the constraints,in their thought process.Fortunately,many get over this misplaced infatuation,but over a long time,and at a significant cost - but that is the story of human evolution.

Even Selekus Nicator (the Greek of Alexander's fame) married an Indian,and also married his family members,into Indians- and ruined his race.

There are some White races,who feel they have a "COSMIC BOND",with India, as the Rig Vedic Golden Haired,Blue Eyed and White skinned Gods,of the Rig Veda,refer to them.These white races,actually believe it,and also believe,that they INTELLECTUALLY SPAWNED THE INDIAN RACE,AND THE INDIAN NATION.These races are the Germans,Nordics and Russians.It is like the French in Indo-China or the EU in Africa - they feel good,that they civilised the heathens and menials.

But the problem is with the Indians - MIS-UNDERSTANDING this love of the Americans,and the White Race.For the white man,it is just a passing evolutionary interest of a curious mind, for an antithetical culture,religion and thought process.At the sub-conscious level,it makes the white man feel good,about his race,and his birth,in White lands.

But the Indians ACTUALLY believe,that the WHITE MAN,RESPECTS AND LOVES INDIA and INDIANS. They actually believe that the white man has spotted their real and true worth and talents. And they actually believe,that the White race will sacrifice their lives and souls,and stake their jobs and trade security,to save India and Indians,from PRC and Islamists,as USA and India share a "Common Destiny",are bound by "Common Values",are "Secular Nations", Promote "Capitalism" and Free Trade,and, most importantly,are the "1st and 2nd largest Democracies",in the world.

And that is Y India was,and is, doomed

India,as a nation is NOT a pariah state,But it has NO FRIENDS,in the world.DPRK and Iran, are called Pariah States - but they have the PRC - as a Friend.

This wanton cavorting, on the spikes of enemies,oblivious of their isolation,in the world, is what has led to the doom of India and Indians.When Babar came to India - the Hindoos were praying,to the Idols in Temples (Rig Vedic White skinned Gods - with 1 exception).In 2020,the white God is USA !

Let us hope that USA will learn, from the history of the Hindoos !

Riaz Haq said...

Kishore Mahbubani on China; Tillerson (via Bob Woodward) on Russia

Tillerson added, “Putin feels like we treat Russia like a banana republic.” The year before, Tillerson said he had been tooling around the Black Sea on Putin’s yacht. “And he said to me, ‘You need to remember we’re a nuclear power. As powerful as you. You Americans think you won the Cold War. You did not win the Cold War. We never fought that war. We could have, but we didn’t.’ And that put chills up my spine.” There is a significant opportunity here, Tillerson said. “When Putin said the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century, it wasn’t because he loved communism. It was because Russia’s stature had been destroyed. “Anybody who tries to think about Russia in terms of the Soviet era doesn’t know a thing about Russia. The seventy years of Soviet rule was a speed bump in Russian history and it had no lasting effect. “If you want to understand Russia, they haven’t changed much culturally in 1,000 years. They are the most fatalistic people on the face of the earth, which is why they’re willing to live under lousy leaders. If you ask them about it, they’d say they don’t like it, but they’d say ‘Das Russia’—‘That’s Russia.’ They’d shrug their shoulders. I would talk to my Russian employees about it. Only one time did Russians rise up in revolution. And that didn’t turn out so well. So they look back on that and they say, Don’t do that again.”

Woodward, Bob. Rage (pp. 9-10). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

For over two hundred years, Western civilization vastly outperformed the rest of the world, allowing it to overturn the historical precedent; from the year 1 to 1820, China and India were always the largest civilizations in terms of economic strength. The past two hundred years have therefore been an aberration. One reason the West can no longer dominate the world is that the rest have learned so much from the West. They have imbibed many Western best practices in economics, politics, science, and technology. As a result, while many parts of Western civilization (especially Europe) seem exhausted, lacking drive and energy, other civilizations are just getting revved up. In this respect, human civilizations are like other living organisms. They have life cycles. Chinese civilization has had many ups and downs. It should be no surprise that it is now returning in strength.

Having survived over two thousand years, China has developed strong civilizational sinews. Professor Wang Gungwu has observed that while the world has had many ancient civilizations, the only ancient civilization to fall down four times and rise again is China. As a civilization, China is remarkably resilient. The Chinese people are also remarkably talented. As the Chinese look back over two thousand years, they are acutely aware that the past thirty years under CCP rule have been the best thirty years that Chinese civilization has experienced since China was united by Qin Shi Huang in 221 BCE. For most of the past two thousand years, the large pool of brainpower available in the Chinese population was not developed under the imperial Chinese system. During the past thirty years, for the first time in Chinese history, it has been tapped on a massive scale. Cultural confidence, which the Chinese have had for centuries, combined with what China has learned from the West have given Chinese civilization a special vigor today. A Chinese American psychology researcher from Stanford University, Jean Fan, has observed after visiting China in 2019 that “China is changing in a deep and visceral way, and it is changing fast, in a way that is almost incomprehensible without seeing it in person. In contrast to America’s stagnation, China’s culture, self-concept, and morale are being transformed at a rapid pace—mostly for the better.”*

Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? (pp. 11-12). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.

Anonymous said...

"India is the Rodney Dangerfield of international politics, always crying that it doesn't get any respect".
Bill Clinton.


Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of "Has the West Lost It?" by Kishore Mahbubani

This is also why many Asian countries, including hitherto troubled countries like Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines, are progressing slowly and steadily. In each of these four countries, various forms of dictatorship have been replaced by leaders who believe that they are accountable to their populations. Many of their troubles continue, but poverty has diminished significantly, the middle classes are growing and modern education is spreading. There are no perfect democracies in Asia (and, as we have learned after Trump and Brexit, democracies in the West are deficient, too).


Pakistan is one of the most troubled countries in the world. Virtually no one sees Pakistan as a symbol of hope. Yet, despite being thrust into the frontlines by George W. Bush after 9/11 in 2001 and forced to join the battle against the Taliban, ‘Pakistan experienced a “staggering fall” in poverty from 2002 to 2014, according to the World Bank, halving to 29.5 per cent of the population.’25 In the same period, the middle-class population soared.


When countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan have begun marching steadily towards middle-class status for a significant part of their populations, the world has turned a corner. Indeed, the statistics for the growth of middle classes globally are staggering. From a base of 1.8 billion in 2009, the number will hit 3.2 billion by 2020. By 2030, the number will hit 4.9 billion,27 which means that more than half the world’s population will enjoy middle-class living standards by then.


No other region can show such a sharp contrast between its dysfunctional past and its functional future, but Southeast Asia is not an exception. South Asia, another strife-ridden area, now probably has only one dysfunctional government, Nepal. As documented earlier, even Pakistan and Bangladesh are progressing slowly and steadily. In the neighbouring Gulf region, the news focuses on the conflict in Yemen. Yet, next door to Yemen, another nation, Oman, has been gradually making progress for decades. Oman’s per capita GDP has increased from US $9,907 in 1980 to US $15,965 in 2015.33


Take the Islamic world, for example. They feel that the West has become trigger-happy since the end of the Cold War, and they resent it. Even worse, most of the countries recently bombed by the West have been Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This is why many of the 1.5 billion Muslims believe that Muslim lives don’t matter to the West. As indicated earlier, the West needs to pose to itself a delicate and potentially explosive question: is there any correlation between the rise of Western bombing of Islamic societies and the rise of terrorist incidents in the West? It would be foolish to suggest an answer from both extremes: that there is an absolute correlation or zero correlation. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. If so, isn’t it wiser for the West to reduce its entanglements in the Islamic world? Some of these entanglements have been very unwise. During the Cold War, the CIA instigated the creation of Al-Qaeda to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The same organization bit the hand that fed it by attacking the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. Sadly, America didn’t learn the lesson from this mistake. In an effort to remove Assad in Syria, the Obama administration transported ISIS fighters from Afghanistan to Syria to fight Assad.58 To ensure that the ISIS fighters had enough funding, America didn’t bomb the oil exports from ISIS-controlled zones in Syria to Turkey. Through all this, America declared that it was opposed to ISIS. In fact, some American agencies were supporting them, directly or indirectly.59


Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of "A Promised Land" by Obama:

“Expressing hostility toward Pakistan was still the quickest route to national unity (in India)”.

"(Manmohan) Singh had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan after the attacks, but his restraint had cost him politically. He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)"

"Across the country (India), millions continued to live in squalor, trapped in sunbaked villages or labyrinthine slums, even as the titans of Indian industry enjoyed lifestyles that the rajas and moguls of old would have envied".

"Violence, both public and private, remained an all-too-pervasive part of Indian life”.

“Joe (Biden) weighed in against the (Usama Bin Laden) raid (on compound in Pakistan)”

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #Economy Shrinks Sharply as #COVID19 Slams it. #China has come roaring back, #US , #Europe & Japan are finding their feet but

India’s economy shrank 7.5% last quarter on top 24% decline in previous quarter. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva |The New York Times

“India was expected to really step into China’s shoes and give that additional boost to globalization that was missing,” said Priyanka Kishore, head of South Asia at Oxford Economics. “And that’s where India didn’t really play out the role it was largely expected to play, and that role seems to be diminishing more and more.”


An estimated 140 million people lost their jobs after India locked down its economy in March to stop the outbreak, while many others saw their salaries drastically reduced, the Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy said. As the lockdown was eased, many went back to work, but more than six million people who lost jobs haven’t found new employment.

In a June survey by the All India Manufacturers Organization, about one-third of small and medium-sized enterprises indicated that their businesses were beyond saving. The industry group said that such a “mass destruction of business” was unprecedented.


Just a few years ago, India, with a population of 1.3 billion people, was one of the world’s fastest-growing large economies. It regularly clocked growth of 8 percent or more.

Global businesses began to warm to the idea of India as a potential substitute to China, both as a place to make goods and to sell them. China’s costs are rising, and its trade war with the United States has complicated doing business there. The Chinese Communist Party is increasingly intruding into business matters, and local Chinese competitors have upped their game against international brands.

But India’s economy was facing headwinds well before the pandemic. Between April and December 2019, G.D.P. grew only 4.6 percent.


One of Mr. Modi’s policies, called demonetization, banned large currency notes overnight in an effort to crack down on tax avoidance and money laundering. Under another, India replaced its welter of national and state taxes with a single value-added tax, in part to cut down on corruption among tax collectors.

Mr. Modi also increasingly turned India’s industrial policy inward, which many economists say has hurt overall growth. The country has long nurtured some of the steepest trade barriers of any major economy, to help its domestic industries develop. Mr. Modi added to that in areas like electronics. His government has also tightened rules around e-commerce, to assist Indian businesses that compete with companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart.
“The slowdown,” said Ms. Kishore, “is almost homegrown.”

Riaz Haq said...

Kishore Mahbubani makes several points in his interviews:

1. The United States with about 240-year history likes to pass judgement on China which has over 2,400 year history. What makes the US think China would listen to the American advice?

2. The West is in the habit of judging everyone, including the Chinese. The Chinese have just had the best 30 years of their history. Would the Chinese listen to the American advice on "democracy" and political freedoms after they have seen what happened to Russia when the Russians decided to adopt democracy in 1990s and their economy collapsed?

3. More than 120 million Chinese tourists go to other countries freely and willingly return to China every year. Would they return freely if China was an oppressive stalinist regime? The fact is that while the political freedoms have not increased there has been an explosion of personal freedoms in China over the last 30 years.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

I think the reason why Mr. Kishore is so much concerned with the lack of respect which Indian diplomats and officials recieve in America is because it badly hurts their ego and their superiority complex from which Indians are suffering.

One must ask these Indians that how well do they respect their neigbhouring countries eg. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal?

How much respect do Indians give to Dalits(Lower caste Hindus)?

I am sorry to say but Indians only give respect to those who are in power and who are financially influential but these same Indians look down upon those countries which have vulnerable economies and have less importance.

Ahmed said...

Mr.Sameer Sardana

It is funny to see how you insult Indians on this blog.I agree with you Sir, Al Beruni was the 1st indologist who actually lived in India for sometimes and he himself admitted what you have said:

"The Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, and stolid".

My comment:
Not all Indians are suffering from such level of superiority complex and vanity but their are some very good and open minded Indians who actually donot have superiority complex and vanity.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

Thanks for this post, the link of the article which you just quoted in your comment says:
Indeed, India has a tradition of standing by its Afghan friends in distress. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s offer to give political asylum to Najibullah in 1992 was a famous instance. India can do some such thing today.

My comment:

Sir, do you really agree with what it says? Are you sure that India all the time stood with Afghanistan in distress or any kind of trouble?

Where was India when the army of Soviet Union attacked and tried to invade Afghanistan in 1970s? Did Indian government of that time provide any kind of millitary ,intelligence or any other kind of support to Afghanistan when Soviet Union was having war in Afghanistan ?

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Where was India when the army of Soviet Union attacked and tried to invade Afghanistan in 1970s?"

India and the so-called "progressive" Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand line supported the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1980s.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

Thank you for your reply, but the question that can't Afghanis see this? Why these Afghanis are so unthankful to Pakistan? Since several decades it is actually Pakistan which is hosting and taking care of millions of Afghan refugees. These Afghan refugees in Pakistan are boarded ,lodged and sheltered by Pakistani authorities(Pls correct me If I am wrong).
How many Afghan refugees live in India?

I have hardly seen any Afghani who has appreciated or thanked Pakistan for its support.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "I have hardly seen any Afghani who has appreciated or thanked Pakistan for its support"

Vast majority of Afghans have no voice. The vocal ones are mostly ethnonationalists among Pastuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks.

Deep divisions among Afghans came out in the open when the Afghan national identity card was introduced.

The dispute is over how nationality will be designated on the new cards, with leading figures from some ethnic groups rejecting the term “Afghan”.

The controversy highlights the difficulties of reaching agreement on just about anything in the diverse, faction-ridden country and comes as President Ashraf Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, is locked in confrontation with the powerful ethnic Tajik governor of a northern province.

Politicians from Afghanistan’s main ethnic group, the Pashtuns, say nationalities should be recorded as “Afghan”. But that is a term that in the past was used to refer to Pashtuns, and members of other ethnic groups object to its use.

“Our ethnicity is our identity and any ID card with the name ‘Afghan’ on it, will never be acceptable to us. There’s no compromise,” said Farhad Sediqi, an outspoken Tajik lawmaker.

“We’d prefer to have ‘Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’ on the identity cards and that covers everything.”

President Ashraf Ghani, who is Pashtun, has delayed the launch of the cards and called for a solution.

But tempers are running high and several sessions of parliament called to debate the matter in recent weeks have ended with exchanges of barbs and threats.

One Pashtun member of parliament, Saheb Khan, warned the assembly he would fight to the death against anyone who did not accept the word Afghan on the ID cards.

Riaz Haq said...

As extreme #poverty returns, #India sees surge in #child #slavery. Among many gains lost to the #COVID-19 #pandemic, child labour shows resurgence, worsened by inadequate rescue efforts. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia_in_india via @AJEnglish

Across the rural countryside in states such as Bihar that rank low on the Human Development Index, as families strained against widespread loss of livelihoods, India’s already fatigued child-protection mechanisms found more and more children rendered vulnerable to trafficking.

The government of India confirmed that the financial year 2020-21 recorded a small rise over the previous year in the number of children rescued from illegal work.

Children in destitute families are more vulnerable to trafficking than ever.


When 13-year-old child labourer Shashikant Manjhi died in May 2020, his body could not be transported to his family’s brick-and-mud home in the eastern state of Bihar, 1,126km (700 miles) from Rajasthan state’s Jaipur, where the boy had worked for over a year.

Lockdown restrictions made it impossible, explained the policeman who telephoned the news of the death to the boy’s family, promising to cremate the child respectfully.

Days later, Shashikant’s mother Sahuja Devi conducted the final rites of her last-born on an open field a few hundred metres away from their home. She used a doll fashioned out of paddy husk to represent the child she was consigning to the flames.

In one of a handful of telephone conversations, her son had told her he was bone-tired from placing sequins, stones and glitter on metal bangles for 14-15 hours a day. He was yearning to return.

“For weeks, his employer would not let him speak to us on the phone,” Sahuja told Al Jazeera, seated on the mud floor of her house.

She was stirring a large, blackened aluminium pot of rice that would be lunch for five adults and six children, with a tiny cup of watery dal.

Flies hovered over a small bowl of chopped bittergourd beside the wood-fired mud hearth.

Then her eldest son Mithilesh, 30, took ill and the family needed cash. They managed to get Shashikant on the phone.

“Photan said he would convince his employer to send money,” said Subbidevi, Mithilesh’s wife, using the whimsical name given to Shashikant by the employer.

“Photan’s money didn’t come, only the call came announcing his death.”

No cause of death was given. The family had no way of knowing if the body bore injuries, but they suspected that the child may have insisted upon money being wired home and been injured in an ensuing scuffle.

The employer was in a Jaipur jail briefly, they said, and subsequently released.

In Bhimpur Tola where they live, adjoining Sondiha village and 32km (20 miles) from the nearest town of Gaya, even getting more information would have meant an expensive day trip to Konch police station, 13km (8 miles) away.

“There wasn’t a rupee at home. Unless Photan sent us money, we had nothing,” said Subbidevi.

Shashikant was one of tens of thousands of trafficked child labourers who continued to work during the coronavirus lockdown, their traffickers and employers accustomed to ducking the law enforcers.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Size Illusion by Arvind Subramanian. #Indian policymakers should avoid succumbing to the illusion of size, and reconcile themselves with their country's current status as a middling power. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Russia #Ukraine #China @ProSyn

True, India’s economy is undeniably large. According to the International Monetary Fund, India is the world’s third-largest economy in purchasing-power-parity terms, with a GDP of $10 trillion, behind China ($27 trillion) and the United States ($23 trillion). At market exchange rates, its GDP of $3 trillion makes it the sixth-largest economy, behind the US, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

But India’s economic size has not translated into commensurate military strength. Part of the problem is simple geography. Bismarck supposedly said that the US is bordered on two sides by weak neighbors and on two sides by fish. India, however, does not enjoy such splendid isolation. Ever since independence, it has been confronted on its Western frontier by Pakistan, a highly armed, chronically hostile, and often military-ruled neighbor.

More recently, India’s northern neighbor, China, also has become aggressive, repudiating the territorial status quo, occupying contested land in the Himalayas, reclaiming territory in the east, and building up a large military presence along India’s borders. So, India may have fish for neighbors along its long peninsular coast, but on land it faces major security challenges on two fronts.

Despite these challenges and its sizable economy, India has struggled to generate adequate military resources. Defense expenditure is notoriously difficult to estimate, especially for China and Pakistan, which have opaque political systems. But annual combined defense spending by India’s two adversaries is likely to be three times the $70-75 billion that India spends. And the effective gap is probably even larger, because India’s politically driven emphasis on military manpower has crowded out spending on military technology. In short, India may have a large economy, but dangerous geography and domestic politics have left it militarily vulnerable.

Then there is the question of market size. As Pennsylvania State University’s Shoumitro Chatterjee and one of us (Subramanian) have shown, India’s middle-class market for consumption is much smaller than the $3 trillion headline GDP number suggests, because many people have limited purchasing power while a smaller number of well-off people tend to save a lot. In fact, the effective size of India’s consumer market is less than $1 trillion, far smaller than China’s and even smaller relative to the potential world export market of nearly $30 trillion.

India needs to accept, and act in line with, its current status as a middling power. Over time, rapid and sustained economic growth could make India the major power it aspires to be. Until then, it must look past the illusion of size and reconcile itself with strategic realities.

Riaz Haq said...

In an interview with conservative host Tucker Carlsen, UPenn Professor Amy Wax said the following about Indian-Americans: "They're taught that they are better than everybody else because they are Brahmin elites and yet, on some level, their country is a sh*thole".

Prof Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania Law School alleged that “Blacks” and “non-Western” groups have “a tremendous amount of resentment and shame against western people for [their] outsized achievements and contributions.” “Here's the problem. They're taught that they are better than everybody else because they are Brahmin elites and yet, on some level, their country is a sh**hole,” Wax, who has a long history of racist remarks, said.

She also said that the westerners have outgunned and outclassed the Asian Americans in every way.

“They've realized that we've outgunned and outclassed them in every way… They feel anger. They feel envy. They feel shame. It creates ingratitude of the most monstrous kind,” she said.

Riaz Haq said...

America Has Never Really Understood India
The two countries conceptually seem destined to be partners, yet for decades have held remarkably divergent worldviews.

By Meenakshi Ahamed

Partly as a result of all these factors, India came to rely heavily on the Soviet Union for its military equipment. The Pentagon, suspicious of the Indo-Soviet relationship, refused to sell India sophisticated weapons or computers and continued to strengthen Pakistan’s military. Nor would the U.S. permit India, which was keen to be an independent actor, to manufacture arms domestically through joint ventures or cooperation agreements. The Soviets were more accommodating to India’s goals and soon became the country’s primary arms supplier. India has long worried about its military dependence on Moscow, but though it has made recent moves to diversify its suppliers, Russian military equipment still accounts for the majority of India’s total defense stock.


On the surface, this apparent distance between Washington, D.C., and New Delhi will seem odd. For more than a decade, the U.S. has sought to build a strategic partnership with India, and the two countries have much in common, including their democratic political systems and their shared concern over China’s rise. Analysts have largely attributed India’s unwillingness to turn against Russia to its reliance on Moscow for military equipment and energy exports. These are undoubtedly significant factors, yet they underplay just how uncertain and shallow the U.S.-India relationship remains.

In fact, the U.S. and India—two countries that conceptually seem destined to be partners—have for decades held remarkably divergent worldviews, finding themselves all too often pursuing conflicting objectives.

To make sense of the course India has taken in 2022, it is helpful to understand India’s relations with the U.S. during the Cold War.

When India became the world’s newest and largest democracy in 1947, its relations with the U.S., the world’s most powerful democracy, should by all accounts have been friendly. Both countries subscribed on paper to the same set of values—a commitment to a rules-based international order, a belief in free and fair elections, the rule of law, civil liberties, and free speech. Yet time and again, they saw things through very different lenses, misunderstanding each other’s goals in the process, ultimately leading to periods where they worked at odds with one another.

Riaz Haq said...

America Has Never Really Understood India
The two countries conceptually seem destined to be partners, yet for decades have held remarkably divergent worldviews.

By Meenakshi Ahamed

America’s transactional approach to aid also disappointed Indians. Nehru felt that begging for assistance was demeaning, but he had hoped that as the richer, more established democracy, the U.S. would offer India a helping hand. The U.S. Congress was governed by different sentiments. Some lawmakers argued that any country receiving American aid should show gratitude and were irritated that India had not supported American positions at the United Nations on Israel and the Korean War. “Our relations with India are not very good, are they?” Tom Connally, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in 1951. “Nehru is giving us hell all the time, working against us and voting against us.” The same year, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge asked, “What are the Indians going to do for us?” His conviction that India would show no appreciation for American help was shared by many on Capitol Hill.

Beyond aid, economic relations were fraught. Nehru had embarked on an ambitious plan after independence to industrialize India and make the country self-reliant, a key Indian goal, but a lack of capital and expertise required the country to partner with others. As part of these efforts, the U.S. held protracted negotiations with India to build a large steel plant in the eastern-Indian city of Bokaro, a project that had become a symbol of Indian national pride, but fundamental differences in economic ideology ruptured negotiations. In the end, the Soviet Union stepped in to rescue the plans.

After Nehru’s death, other disagreements over aid and economics exacerbated the distrust. When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s daughter, traveled to Washington, D.C., in March 1966 to request food aid in the middle of India’s worst famine since independence, the World Bank and the White House put pressure on her to devalue the rupee as a precondition. Three months later, she did just that, though against the wishes of several members of the government who accused her of auctioning the country. The aid promised to India in return was slow to arrive and it wasn’t the economic success that she had hoped for. Domestically, the entire episode was a political disaster, and to recover support from the left, Gandhi criticized U.S. policy in Vietnam, which enraged then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. He responded by delaying food shipments to India that had already been approved by Congress. Indians were appalled that Johnson was using food aid as a weapon and began to sour on America.

Relations between the U.S. and India have warmed considerably in the past couple of decades. By 2000, India’s economic reforms had propelled growth, which, combined with the country’s military strength and nuclear capability, made it an attractive counter to China’s rise. George W. Bush, who sought to cultivate India as a potential strategic partner, undertook the herculean task of getting congressional approval for a special nuclear deal with India, and relations improved further when Modi was elected India’s prime minister in 2014: He made good relations with the U.S. a cornerstone of his foreign policy.

Riaz Haq said...

Should #US lower its expectations of #India? Instead of investing in #humancapital, #nuclear & #renewable energy, or #healthcare, #Modi’s gov't focus is on “correcting” history textbooks, attacking #Muslims, extoll #Hindu "virtues"! #Hindutva #Islamophobia


India is reprising its Cold War-era strategy of walking the tightrope between Russia and the United States. During the virtual summit between President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, as well as the in-person Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo in May, Biden requested India’s support on Ukraine. India has refused to stop purchasing oil from Russia, even if it has cancelled some Russian arms contracts.

India’s neutrality over Ukraine has dampened the enthusiasm even of those Americans who have projected India as the key American partner in its competition with China. Indians argue that they are only acting in their national interest and that even though their long-term interests remains tied to the U.S., they cannot forego the short-term advantage of neutrality towards Russia.

Instead of voicing frustration with India over its continued friendship with Russia, U.S. policymakers and commentators would do better to revise their expectations of India. The rhetoric about India being as important in U.S. plans for Asia as Great Britain was for standing up to the Soviet Union in Europe after World War II ignores India’s changing view of itself and the world.

Under Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, India is in the process of redefining its nationalism, away from the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. India’s rising Hindu nationalism (which has overtaken the secular nationalism of India’s early years) is centered on reviving India’s ancient Hindu glory. Ancient India was notoriously insular and not particularly interested in partnering with distant peoples.

While Modi’s India still wants to be recognized globally with respect, it hopes to earn that respect through celebration of an International Yoga Day, not through confrontation with China or Russia. That fundamentally different view of what is entailed in India becoming a global great power makes partnership with the West in accordance with Western expectations unlikely.

India’s economy is not growing at a rate that would position it to be China’s competitor. The expansion of India’s middle class has slowed down. Americans hoping to tap India as the next market of more than 1 billion consumers will have to wait to see that dream become a reality, both on account of its slower economic growth and its over-regulation.

Disappointment will be even greater for those expecting India to field its large military forces against China. Declining investment in military capabilities have made India’s military rather inefficient and inadequately modern. India might be able to face off against Pakistan, but it is still far from being in China’s league.

Around 60 percent of India’s military equipment is of Russian origin, and while India plans to purchase more equipment, it is keen on boosting indigenous capability and having a diverse basket of suppliers. That runs contrary to American expectations of being India’s supplier of choice.

Meanwhile, the U.S. expectation of an influx of orders for American-made nuclear reactors from India, which formed an important basis for the 2008 civil-nuclear deal, remains unfulfilled.

India wants to trade and acquire technology with the U.S. on its terms, which it believes are mutually beneficial. But is not about to become the western partner that successive U.S. administrations and many scholars have imagined.

Riaz Haq said...

In response to arguments like lowering expectations of India (above), pro-India think tankers want the US to have a policy of what they call "strategic altruism"!

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 a threat to India.

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. Is Losing Its Military Edge in Asia, and China Knows It

John Custer

While the U.S. military is globally dispersed, China can concentrate its forces on winning a future conflict in its own neighborhood. It now has the capability. China has the world’s largest navy and Asia’s biggest air force and an imposing arsenal of missiles designed to deter the United States from projecting military power into the Western Pacific in a crisis. China’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier is nearing completion, and other new hardware is being developed or is already in service.

To turn things around, the United States must prioritize the threat from China, reinforce its military strength in Asia and provide Australia, Japan and India more sophisticated military and technological capabilities to bolster a strategy of collective defense.


Washington should support Australian and Japanese aims to build long-range missiles on home soil by sharing intellectual property, provide more U.S. weaponry to India and beef up foreign military financing in the region, starting with a dedicated fund to boost Taiwan’s deterrence capabilities.

A Chinese fighter jet veered in front of an Australian military surveillance aircraft over international waters in the South China Sea last month and released metallic debris that was sucked into the Australian plane’s engines.

No one was reported hurt in the encounter, which Australia’s defense minister called “very dangerous,” but it added to a string of recent incidents that demonstrate China’s growing willingness to test the United States and its partners in Asia militarily.

China has systematically tracked U.S. warships in the region, its air force has staged intensifying incursions into Taiwanese and Japanese airspace, and its coast guard routinely harasses Philippine, Malaysian and Indonesian vessels. In recent weeks, Chinese fighter pilots have repeatedly buzzed Canadian military aircraft on a U.N.-sanctioned operation — sometimes raising their middle fingers at the Canadians.

As China’s armed forces grow in strength, sophistication and confidence, U.S.-led military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific is losing its bite.

Take the United States’ military presence in the region. It has about 55,000 military personnel in Japan and 28,000 in South Korea. Several thousand more are deployed across Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Guam. This posture has barely changed since the 1950s. But plans to reinvigorate the U.S. presence have been stymied by inadequate budgets, competing priorities and a lack of consensus in Washington on how to deal with China.

The Pentagon has increased investments in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, and cyber- and space-based systems to prepare for a possible high-tech conflict with China in the 2030s. But the balance of power is likely to shift decidedly in China’s favor by the time they are deployed unless the United States brings new resources to the table soon.

President Biden this year submitted the largest defense budget ever in dollar terms, but much of the increase will be swallowed up by skyrocketing inflation. Mr. Biden, like former President Donald Trump, is thus falling short of a target of 3 percent to 5 percent real annual budget growth, a bipartisan goal set even before the Ukraine war and often cited as the minimum the Pentagon needs in today’s era of great-power competition.

Riaz Haq said...

#Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper uses #snake charmer's picture to show #India's #economy. Angry #Indians condemn it as "racist caricaturing". #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #hunger #poverty #LaVanguardia

A Spanish newspaper, La Vanguardia, has triggered an online storm after its front page featured a caricature of a snake charmer while reporting about the Indian economy. The article titled ‘The hour of the Indian Economy’ was published with the caricature.

Several Indians, including Nithin Kamath, who is the CEO of Zerodha, have slammed the Spanish newspaper.

Calling out La Vanguardia, Kamath tweeted, "Quite cool that the world is taking notice, but the cultural caricaturing, a snake charmer to represent India, is an insult. Wonder what it takes for this to stop; maybe global Indian products?"

Author Rajat Sethi wrote, "'The hour of the Indian economy," says La Vanguardia, a leading Spanish daily on its cover page. While the world is taking notice of India’s economic prowess, their racist caricaturing of Indian snake charmer continues unabated. Meanwhile, other Twitter users also called out the daily."

"Arguably India is still a very poor country. Leave the top 10 per cent of the population aside, the rest of India lives in miserable conditions. Until the time that changes, it is pointless to feel bad about such caricaturing. How the world perceives us, stems largely from how we actually are," a user wrote.

"How come it's an insult? Maybe it's our shortcoming that they don't see India more than that," another user tweeted.

Riaz Haq said...

Rotation of #G20 presidency from #Indonesia to #India may have met with indifference in the rest of the world.But in #Modi's India, it has been emblazoned on billboards & front-page advertisements in newspapers & breathlessly discussed on TV channels. #BJP

The euphoria over India's G20 presidency shows that Hindu nationalists still need and often crave outside validation. This creates an insoluble problem for them

This month’s rotation of the G-20 presidency from Indonesia to India may have met with indifference in much of the world. In India, however, the news has been emblazoned on billboards and front-page advertisements in newspapers, and is breathlessly discussed on television channels.

The common theme of these celebrations is that the “mother of democracy” — in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phrase — is about to become a vishwa-guru, or teacher to the world. As the winter session of India’s parliament opened earlier this month, Modi asked its members to project a responsible face to the world in the months leading up to the next G-20 leaders’ summit in September 2023.

There is no question that for a few days that month, the eyes of the world’s media will be on India. But what will they see? And what international image does India want to project?

The common theme of these celebrations is that the “mother of democracy” — in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phrase — is about to become a vishwa-guru, or teacher to the world. As the winter session of India’s parliament opened earlier this month, Modi asked its members to project a responsible face to the world in the months leading up to the next G-20 leaders’ summit in September 2023.

There is no question that for a few days that month, the eyes of the world’s media will be on India. But what will they see? And what international image does India want to project?

Certainly, the emergence of a multipolar world opens up fresh opportunities for India to deploy its unused moral and intellectual capital. Preoccupied with internal troubles, the United States and Europe have left vast tracts of the Global South open to Chinese and Russian influence.

In particular, China dominates Asia, Africa and Latin America with its economic power. Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a “new era” in his country’s relationship with Gulf nations as he met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Riyadh. According to Xi, China and the Gulf countries “respect each other’s history and cultural traditions.”

Modi would have a hard time making a similar claim: He was forced to apologize earlier this year to Gulf rulers for the Islamophobic rants of one of his spokespersons. And even in countries with which India shares a Hindu-Buddhist heritage and trading links — Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia — India now plays second fiddle to China.

Riaz Haq said...

Rotation of #G20 presidency from #Indonesia to #India may have met with indifference in the rest of the world.But in #Modi's India, it has been emblazoned on billboards & front-page advertisements in newspapers & breathlessly discussed on TV channels. #BJP

Nor has Modi seized the intellectual leadership of the Global South — a vacancy that is rapidly being filled by Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Emerging from years in prison, Lula has moved fast to reposition Brazil in the avant garde of the global fight against climate change. He is on his way to affirming Barack Obama’s 2009 characterization of him as “the most popular politician on earth.”

In power for nearly a decade, Modi is still struggling to make a similar impact internationally, despite his bear-hugging of world leaders. And that is because the gap between what he says abroad and what he does at home is too wide and too obvious.

Modi is not wrong to claim that India’s core philosophy is vasudev kutamban — the idea that the world is one family. India is arguably the world’s most enduring experiment in cultural pluralism. Those culture-warriors who today belligerently police boundaries of race, religion and gender could learn a great deal from the long Indian experience of multiple, overlapping identities.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party has been relentlessly hostile to this older idea of India, however, as it tries to recast India as a Hindu nation. In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, India fared worse than Taliban-ruled Afghanistan in an index measuring social hostilities involving religion. On other recent rankings — ranging from press freedom to hunger — the mother of democracy has fared equally poorly.

Not surprisingly, the international media has become more critical of India in recent months. Modi now routinely features together with Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Rodrigo Duterte and Jair Bolsonaro in a gallery of elected demagogues (though perhaps a recent snub of Vladimir Putin may soften the Indian leader’s image somewhat).

Within India, such Western reports are attacked in unison by politicians, bureaucrats, media personalities, film actors and sports stars. These remarkably well-organized and successful campaigns suggest that the silo of fake news and sectarian opinion in India is more impenetrable than anything created by Trump and Fox News.

Nevertheless, the current euphoria over India’s G-20 presidency shows that Hindu nationalists still need — and often crave — outside validation. This creates an insoluble problem for them, as their heavily Hinduized idea of India hasn’t been endorsed by many people outside the country. Evidence came only last month, when Israeli director Nadav Lapid, invited to judge an international film festival in Goa, publicly ridiculed a controversial anti-Muslim film that had been zealously promoted by Modi’s government.

Under attack from Hindu nationalist trolls, Lapid dug in and amplified his scorn. It was then echoed by his fellow foreign jurors. Israeli diplomats got involved. Thus, some small commotion at a film festival blew up into an entirely unnecessary international incident.

Such embarrassments, likely as the world examines India more closely next year, are easily avoided. In the months ahead, the government could end its pressure on dissenters, abandon its dog-whistle rhetoric against Muslims and restore the independence of democratic institutions from the media to the judiciary.

Certainly, those claiming to have mothered democracy need to narrow the great gap between propaganda and reality. For India’s timeless moral — that the world is one family — is unlikely to resonate when broadcast by people trapped in silos.

Riaz Haq said...

US-India Relations Aren’t Playing Out Like a Bollywood Movie
Analysis by Bobby Ghosh

In American foreign policy circles, where lazy hegemonic assumptions still abound, there is a widespread conviction that the US-India relationship will play out like a Bollywood film: There may be some resistance at the beginning, some friction in the middle and plenty of song and dance along the way, but in the end the protagonists will overcome all hurdles and live happily ever after.


This failure to communicate is in large part to blame for a growing suspicion among Indians of US foreign-policy objectives. A new survey shows that Indians view the US as the biggest military threat to their country after China — and, even more shocking, put it ahead of Pakistan. Conducted by Morning Consult, a US-based global business intelligence company, the poll also shows Indians are more likely to blame America and NATO than Russia for the war in Ukraine.


But Washington has long since switched sides from Islamabad to New Delhi, and the US Navy now routinely conducts joint exercises with its Indian counterpart. India is a key member of the US-led Quad, a security grouping that includes Japan and Australia and is designed to check Chinese ambitions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Surely no Indian in their right mind perceives a real military threat from the US?

Rick Rossow, an India expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reckons the fear is rooted in the consequences of American military adventures elsewhere: “The concern is that our actions threaten Indian interests.”

Rossow, who holds the Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies at CSIS, points out that as one of the world’s largest importers of hydrocarbons, India suffers collateral damage from American policies that lead to a spike in oil and gas prices. “You can make a strong case that the war in Iraq and the sanctions against Iran have hurt the Indian economy,” he says.


Why hasn’t it? For one thing, it has not cared to. But perhaps more worrisome, it lacks the minimum means to communicate with the Indians. The State Department faces a chronic shortage of speakers in any of the Indian languages. It is also lacking an ambassador in New Delhi. The position has been unfilled since Biden became president.

This is hardly an exception: Republicans in the Senate have blocked a number of Biden appointees for ambassadorships. But even Democrats have questioned his choice of Eric Garcetti for the Delhi job. The former mayor of Los Angeles has faced allegations of ignoring a former top aide’s sexual harassment and bullying; he denies this.

That Biden has persisted with Garcetti’s candidacy for the last year and a half is baffling: The mayor has no special expertise on India. Worse, the State Department has been unable even to maintain a semblance of stability at the embassy, which has been run by five charges d’affaires over the past two years. The longest-serving of these had no India experience whatsoever. (In contrast, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s ambassador to Washington, is on his fourth US stint.)


There is no prominent India hand at the Biden White House, and although much was made of Harris’s ancestry during the election campaign, the administration has not capitalized on the enthusiasm she generated among Indians. Putting the vice president front and center of India policy would be a good place to start undoing the damage of long American neglect.

Riaz Haq said...

Ann Coulter tells Nikki Haley 'go back to your own country'

“What’s with the worshipping of the cows? They’re all starving over there. Did you know they have a rat temple, where they worship rats?”

Haley’s ethnic background was fodder for left-leaning critics who took her to task for serving as UN ambassador during the presidency of Donald Trump.


Ann Coulter went on a racist tirade earlier this week in which she suggested that Nikki Haley “go back to [her] own country” where people are “starving” while “worshipping cows and rats.”

Coulter also referred to Haley as a “bimbo” and a “preposterous creature.”

Haley, the Indian American former governor of South Carolina who declared her candidacy for the GOP nomination for president earlier this week, has not commented on Coulter’s remarks, which she made on “The Mark Simone Show.”

Coulter told Simone she was particularly angered by then-Gov. Haley’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s Statehouse following the 2015 mass shooting at a predominantly black church in Charleston.

“This is my country, lady,” Coulter said. Her comments were cited by NBC News.

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, was born in South Carolina. During her campaign kickoff event Wednesday, Haley called for a new generation to take the reins of the GOP.

“I stand before you as the daughter of immigrants, as a proud wife of a combat veteran and as the mom of two amazing children,” Haley said.

Coulter, who has a history of making incendiary comments about immigrants, did not hold back during Wednesday’s podcast appearance.

“Her candidacy did remind me that I need to immigrate to India so I can demand they start taking down parts of their history,” Coulter told Simone.

“What’s with the worshipping of the cows? They’re all starving over there. Did you know they have a rat temple, where they worship rats?”

Haley’s ethnic background was fodder for left-leaning critics who took her to task for serving as UN ambassador during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Trump, who has also made controversial remarks about immigrants and foreigners, is looking to recapture the GOP nomination for president in 2024.

Coulter’s rant against Haley nearly coincided with sexist comments made by disgruntled “CNN This Morning” co-host Don Lemon, who enraged his on-air colleague Poppy Harlow by declaring that the 51-year-old former UN ambassador was “not in her prime.”

Lemon, who was conspicuously absent from his co-host chair Friday morning, is skating on thin ice at CNN as a result of his latest blowup, network sources told The Post on Thursday.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashok Swain
German cartoon on India overtaking China on population numbers - Has Jaishankar summoned the German ambassador?


German Magazine`s `Racist` Cartoon `Mocking` India Irks Netizens

With India set to overtake China in terms of population, a 'racist' cartoon reportedly published by German magazine 'Der Spiegel' to depict the demographic change has irked Indians. The cartoon shows an overloaded train with people sitting atop it holding a tricolour while a Chinese bullet train is seen behind on another track probably showing China with technological advancement and India with old-age infra.

However, the cartoon has not gone well with Indians and several prominent leaders criticised the 'racist' depiction. Senior Adviser, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Kanchan Gupta said, "Hi Germany, this is outrageously racist. @derspiegel caricaturing India in this manner has no resemblance to reality. Purpose is to show #India down and suck up to #China. This is as bad if not worse than the racist cartoon in @nytimes lampooning India’s successful Mars mission."

Riaz Haq said...

Many Indians, including a minister, have been criticising a cartoon in German magazine Der Spiegel that they say was racist and in bad taste.

The cartoon shows a dilapidated Indian train - overflowing with passengers both inside and atop coaches - overtaking a swanky Chinese train on a parallel track.

It is being seen as mocking India as the country overtakes China to become the world's most populous nation.

Der Spiegel is a weekly news magazine.

Many Indians have tweeted, saying that that the magazine was stuck with an outdated idea of India and hadn't recognised the progress made by the country in recent decades.

Federal minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar tweeted: "Notwithstanding your attempt at mocking India, it's not smart to bet against India under PM @narendramodi ji. In a few years, India's economy will be bigger than Germany's."

Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser in the ministry of information and broadcasting, tweeted that the cartoon was "outrageously racist". Another Twitter user said the cartoon showed the magazine's "elite mindset".

The magazine has not reacted to the criticism.

While overcrowded trains can still be seen in many parts of India, significant investments have been made to improve the country's railway network and its trains.

Cartoons published by Western media have caused outrage in the country earlier as well. The New York Times newspaper had apologised in 2014 for a cartoon on India's Mars Mission following readers' complaints that it mocked India.

The cartoon showed a farmer with a cow knocking at the door of a room marked Elite Space Club where two men sit reading a newspaper. It was published after India successfully put the Mangalyaan robotic probe into orbit around Mars.

Riaz Haq said...

Cartoon of India reopens old wounds in world’s new most populous country

The Der Spiegel cartoon “plays with very old fashioned clichés,” Germany’s ambassador to India, Philipp Ackermann, told Indian news agency ANI.

“I would like to invite this cartoonist to come on a metro ride with me in Delhi. Delhi has a metro which is so state of the art,” he said.

Unlike the capital’s subway system, however, not all of India’s vast railway network is modern.

Many trains in the country are decades old and dirty, while the tracks need revamping. Rattling journeys between major cities can often be slow, arduous and unsafe. In financial capital Mumbai, seeing local trains overflowing with people – some even perched precariously on the top – is not uncommon.

That stands in great contrast to China, which since the turn of the century has constructed the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network at breakneck speed.

China has built about 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers) of dedicated high-speed railways since 2008 and plans to top 43,000 miles (70,000 kilometers) by 2035.

The cartoon’s unfavorable comparison of India to China particularly rankled some critics.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have deteriorated after a violent stand-off claimed the lives of multiple soldiers on both sides of their contested border in 2020. In recent years, India has been growing increasingly closer to the West to counter China’s rise.

“Der Spiegel caricaturing India in this manner has no resemblance to reality,” Gupta, the senior government adviser wrote on Twitter. “Purpose is to show India down and suck up to China.”

While India’s infrastructure still remains far behind that of its neighbor, New Delhi is working on upgrading trains, roads and airports in a bid to catch up.

Prime Minister Modi in 2021 pledged $1 trillion to create jobs for hundreds of thousands of young Indians and boost the economy. Earlier this year, the government opened the first section of a 1,386-kilometer (861 mile) expressway linking New Delhi to Mumbai. The country is also planning to open the world’s highest railway bridge sometime soon, though the exact date is unknown.

‘Harmless commentary’
Along with a bright economic outlook, nationalist sentiment has risen in India since Modi – whose Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is strongly aligned with conservative Hinduism – came to power in 2014.

Some BJP ministers have in the past come under fire for calling out news outlets that have been critical of India, raising fears of censorship and diminishing press freedoms.

In 2021, right-wing activists and politicians even called for the arrest of a comedian who addressed some of India’s most sensitive issues in a powerful monologue, leading some to accuse them of stoking nationalist rhetoric.

“Orchestrated outrage is not uncommon in any nationalistic society,” said. E.P. Unny, chief political cartoonist at the Indian Express newspaper. “My problem with the cartoon is that it is bad journalism, not remotely factual.”

Der Spiegel’s illustration “is a lazy cartoon that showcases a time-frozen cliché on India,” he said.

And it’s not the first time a political cartoon has ruffled feathers in India.

In 2014, a New York Times cartoon showed an Indian farmer with a cow knocking at the door of the “Elite Space Club,” after India’s Mars Orbiter Mission successfully entered Mars’ orbit.

The image caused outcry for its perceived racist undertones, prompting the publication to issue an apology.

Manjul, an independent cartoonist who has worked for India’s leading newspapers for more than three decades, said stereotyping “is a prevalent issue” which affects many individuals and countries.

“The West has its own worldview, which may not always be accurate,” he said. “Similarly, many Indians may also be biased against the West. India has progressed and changed significantly over the past 75 years.”

Riaz Haq said...

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman: Pretty Hopeless for Indian Companies to Try and Compete with them

Sam Altman, the creator of ChatGPT, expressed his belief that India’s attempt to develop a foundational AI model similar to ChatGPT may not be worth pursuing.

CEO of OpenAI and creator of ChatGPT Sam Altman was in India for the last couple of days. His visit was concentrated broadly on the way forward and regulation in the area of artificial intelligence (AI).

Meeting with the students of Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi on Thursday, June 8, 2023, for a one-on-one session with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, the 38-year-old techie’s emphasis was on the AI tool.

During his visit to India, Sam Altman’s one statement captured the attention of Indians, coinciding with the country’s efforts to formulate AI regulations under the Digital India Bill. The bill, which has been in progress since the previous year, signifies the timing of Altman’s visit.

Sam Altman claimed that Indians would be “totally hopeless” if they attempted to develop something akin to ChatGPT.

This observation gained widespread attention, particularly considering the challenges that tech enthusiasts often face in the country.

Altman’s remarks about the difficulty of freely expressing opinions without taking responsibility for their accuracy among Indian techies sparked a viral response on social media soon after he made them.

Riaz Haq said...

"I didn’t like India – the country," she (Dejana Radanovic) wrote on another Instagram Story. "I didn’t like the food, traffic, hygiene (worms in the food, yellow pillows and dirty bed linen in the hotel, not knowing how to use roundabout etc.)

Professional tennis player Dejana Radanovic was accused of being racist after making comments about India following three ITF tournaments in the country.

Radanovic, the world No. 245 in women’s tennis, slammed the "food, traffic and hygiene" of the country on social media.

"I didn’t like India – the country," she wrote on another Instagram Story. "I didn’t like the food, traffic, hygiene (worms in the food, yellow pillows and dirty bed linen in the hotel, not knowing how to use roundabout etc.)

Another post in Munich, Germany read, "Hello civilization. Only those who have experienced something like India for 3 weeks can understand the feeling."

Radanovic, who is from Serbia, addressed the comments that she was racist by saying she was simply commenting about the country itself, not its people.

"I didn’t like India – the country," she wrote on another Instagram Story. "I didn’t like the food, traffic, hygiene (worms in the food, yellow pillows and dirty bed linen in the hotel, not knowing how to use roundabout etc.)

"If you come to my country, Serbia, and you don’t like all those same things, that means you are a racist??? What the hell that has to do with racism?! I have friends all nationalities and colors so don’t go there cause it’s an absolute NONSENSE!"

Radanovic continued with her Stories, saying she enjoyed the people of India.

"95% of the people who go to India from anywhere else in the world cannot adopt [sic] to that kind of life! Of course it’s different when you are born there and used to it! How does not liking mentioned things mean I didn’t like the people? Quite opposite, I liked the people there a lot."