Friday, March 18, 2022

Top India Analysts Dispel "India's Size Illusion"

India's leaders and their western boosters have been promoting the country as an emerging superpower to counter rising China. They cite the size of India's economy, demography, military and consumer market to back up their assertions. These claims are challenged by India's former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felman, former head of IMF in India, in an article titled "India's Size Illusion".  In a similar article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious questions about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region. 

Modi Claims 56 inch Chest 

Modi's 56 inch Chest:

"Desh ka bahut nuksaan hua hai", acknowledged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his military's 2019 failures against Pakistan in Balakot and Kashmir. This marked a major shift in Modi's belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.  These events should force India's western backers to reassess their strategy of boosting India as a counterweight to China.

India's Illusions:

Indian government's former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has enumerated and challenged arguments for what he calls "India's Size Illusion" as follows:

1. India’s economic size has not translated into commensurate military strength. Part of the problem is simple geography. (German Chancellor Otto Von) Bismarck (1815-1898) 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.

2.  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.

Indo-Pacific Dominance:

In an article titled "The Chinese Threat No One Is Talking About — And How to Counter It", Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, has raised serious doubts about India's ability to counter China in the Indian Ocean region. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

1. China has been building dozens of advanced warships that seem poised to head toward the vast body of water through which 80 percent of global seaborne trade transits.....Indeed, a deeper (US) partnership with India — the world’s largest democracy, on an upward economic trajectory, seemingly perfectly positioned to counter China on land and at sea — has been something of a holy grail for at least four U.S. administrations.......Yet what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a decade ago called a “strategic bet” on India does not seem to be paying off. Indian naval and political power in the Indian Ocean region is faltering, giving way to influence by Beijing. Many of these problems are of India’s own making.

2. There is increasing discussion and advocacy among China’s foreign policy scholars and former officials about an Indian Ocean fleet. Indeed, the idea is consistent with China’s efforts to acquire military facilities in the Horn of Africa, on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast, in Myanmar and in the UAE, which offers access to the Persian Gulf. China has also engaged in intelligence collection efforts in the region and increased its port visits and diplomatic presence.

India's "Accidental" Missile Firing:

India's March 9 "accidental firing" of Brahmos nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile into Pakistan has raised serious questions about the safety of the Indian nuclear arsenal. Do the people in charge of India's nukes have basic competence to handle such weapons? Was this really an "unauthorized" or "accidental" firing? Why was there a long delay by New Delhi in acknowledging the incident?  Could Pakistan be blamed if it assumed that extremist right-wing Hindu elements had taken control of the missile system in India and fired it deliberately into Pakistani territory? Has the Indian government risked the lives of 1.6 billion people of South Asia?

Could this "errant" missile brought down commercial passenger planes that were in the air at the time of this "accidental" firing? Here's an excerpt from Bloomberg detailing air traffic in the flight path of the Indian Brahmos:

"Several planes passed through the direct trajectory of the missile that day, which flew from the Indian garrison town of Ambala and ended up in Mian Channu in Eastern Pakistan. They included a Flydubai jet heading to Dubai from Sialkot, an IndiGo plane going from Srinagar to Mumbai and an Airblue Ltd. flight from Lahore to Riyadh. All crossed the missile’s trajectory within an hour of its accidental launch, data from flight-tracking application Flightradar24 show.  Other international flights in the vicinity of the missile’s trajectory -- and within its range -- included a Kuwait Airways Co. jet heading to Guangzhou, China from Kuwait City, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Riyadh from New Delhi, and a Qatar Airways service from Kathmandu to Doha, the data show. No advisory to pilots operating in the vicinity -- known as a notice to airmen or NOTAM -- was issued". 

India: A Paper Elephant:

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".

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".


Sher said...

India is in defense posture due to geography and the Chinese always knew that the Pakistanis are the kingmakers in the region and India can't bypass Pakistan and despite it's size the Chinese also know Pakistan is stronger then India..

If China were to fight India or Pakistan.. They will find the Pakistanis to be a foe 4 times tougher to take on compared to the Indians..

Why do you think the whole region is called after a river in Pakistan because that is the seat of control and power period and the remaining just used to be Pakistani colony for thousands of years.. This was never a fluke

Ashutosh said...

Sher: Chinese also know Pakistan is stronger then India.."

Why have we not solved the Kashmir dispute then? Why hasn’t Pakistani been able to force a solution?

Mo said...

If anything looking at the performance of the Russians in Ukraine, wouldn't be surprised if we see something similar from the Indians given that they receive the same equipment and likely have imported similar doctrines. Forget about 2 front war, they will be hard pressed to even deal with 1 front.

Ashutosh said...

I agree with the assessment that there is a perceptible inflation of India’s true size. War would be a stalemate unless it’s a war of attrition. The solution to the problem, in my opinion, is not a military one. I also don’t believe that Pakistan has any meaningful edge in this fight, which is what I am trying to point out.

Pak said...


Good points.

I was recently reading an article written by Lt Gen Pang that India doesn't have conventional strength to win and achieve its objectives against Pak.
As far as Pak is concerned, the only thing they are interested in at the moment is successfully defending itself against Indian adventures. The time Pak starts to increase its conventional size to x3 that of India , is when I would start to think they are being serious to take Kashmir. As for now , status quo will hold.

Mo said...

The Indian military is very much like the Russian Military, more then they would like to admit. And Ukraine’s defense of itself should give Indians pause if they think Pakistan will be a pushover. India might win a battle here or there initially, but would be repulsed.

samir sardana said...

Chaiwala has a 56 inch chest - like a water buffalo.

What is the waist and hip size,of the Chaiwala - is the real question.

India has fish, on 2 sides and 200 million cows - but it does NOT,eat that fish

Indians eat the fish of the Ponds and rivers,which feed on cadavers,of humans and animals

What Indo-Pacific ?

Let us assume that the PLN and Indian Navy are equally skilled (which is not the case)

Who has better technology ? It is PLN
Who has more ships,subs,AWACs,Drones,Minelayers and sweepers ... ? It is PLN

QED ! PLN wll wipe out the Hindoo Navy !

If the Indian Navy is in a COMBO with the US Navy - then the equation changes.BUT THAT ASSUMES THAT THE PLN will be sleeping for the next 10 years !

India is a Paper Elephant - except that the paper is made from Elephant Poo

Indians revel in dung - cow dung,cock dung and elephant dung,and its corollary - cow urine

When Indians revelled in this genius - it was their golden age.When they became ambitious and stepped out of their core competence (like Chaiwala),then disaster struck India - every time - and that is the history of India ! dindooohindoo

samir sardana said...

The Fatal Flaw of India,is not its impotent military and polity,and corrupt bureaucracy and industry.

It lies within !

It has 1.4 billion people,of whom,most are living in,penury and subsistence.Cows have more rights than Indians - and rightly so - as Cows give milk,dung,urine,tractor power and meat,and also reproduce,and can be used,to make power.


100s of millions of Indians do NOT have jobs and will NEVER have jobs
GOI is downsizing,selling and outsourcing
Indian Banks are BUST








The Japanese Premier is in India with Chaiwala

He expected Chaiwala to condemn Russia in UKR - but Chaiwala is MUM - and deflected to Indo-pacific.The Guajarati Dishwasher's son,cannot locate the Indian Ocean,and the Pacific Ocean !

The Japanese thought that INDIA AS A PART OF QUAD will coordinate on the issue of UKR - BUT INDIA DID NOT DO SO !

Nippon is betting on the wrong donkey - Chaiwala Modi.The issue is NOT that Nippon is concerned,about Ukraine !

The issue is that,Russia is a neighbor of Nippon, and has a border dispute with Nippon. Russia and Nippon have fought,many naval wars !

The QUAD is not even together, on the issue of UKRAINE.Can QUAD rely on the Indian weasels, to send its woeful navy ,to fight the PLN ?

QUAD has no alignment,on CORE PRINCIPLES.

India is a poor and vulnerable nation ,which is in a pathetic decline,and is overpopulated.

A nation with 100s of millions jobless and dependent on foreign oil - CANNOT BE AN ALLY FOR NIPPON.. Oil at 100 USD for 6 months,will destroy India (assuming that PRC does not invade,before that)

Indians CANNOT EVEN control ,the Brahmos - what will these fools do,with their dud navy ?

Only the US Navy and the UK Navy can save Japan - besides a BMD and Japan going Nuclear.

Japan has a huge stockpile of Plutonium - time to use it.dindooohindoo

Riaz Haq said...

'We may soon top hate and anger charts': Rahul Gandhi after #India ranked below #Pakistan in #WorldHappinessReport2022. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia #hate

In the World Happiness Report 2022, India saw a marginal improvement in its happiness ranking. The country jumped three spots this year to 136. However, India is ranked even below Pakistan and Bangladesh, which are placed at 121 and 94 respectively.

Meanwhile, in an apparent jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led ruling dispensation, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said India would soon top hate and anger charts.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: "Hunger Rank: 101, Freedom Rank: 119, Happiness Rank: 136. But, we may soon top the Hate and Anger charts!"

Finland has been named the world's happiest country for the fifth year running, while Afghanistan has been named the unhappiest, closely followed by Lebanon.

The United States rose three places to 16th, one ahead of Britain. France climbed to 20th, its highest ranking yet.

The World Happiness Report ranks countries based on several factors such as real GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

It is based on two key ideas – happiness or life evaluation measured through opinion surveys and identifying key elements that determine well-being and life evaluation across countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Christopher Clary
"If the logic of a multipolar world leads to a ‘unipolar Asia’ led by China, India might find itself in the fire rather than the frying pan. If... India’s main objective is to construct a ‘multipolar Asia’, it would need the cooperation of the US..."


Diplomacy for the new decade

C. RAJA MOHAN (2010)

INDIAN diplomacy has ended the first decade of the 21st century on an impressive note. The rash of civil nuclear cooperation agreements that Delhi has signed with many countries in 2009 underlines the significance of the controversial but consequential Indo-U.S. engagement through the decade. Delhi’s outreach to Washington, despite the persistent scepticism on the left and right of the Indian political spectrum, not only ended three and a half decades of Indian isolation on global nuclear issues but also created new space for Delhi in dealing with the unending conflict with Pakistan, and catapulted India into the same league as a rising China in international perceptions. Put simply, three long-standing objectives of Indian foreign policy – a claim to parity with China, elevation above Pakistan, and the acceptance of its status as a nuclear weapon power – were all realized substantively, if not in a full measure.

Pacifying the Trans-Indus Territories: Although the renewed American focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan under the Obama Administration has concentrated the whole world’s attention on this region, our north-western frontiers have always been the major source of external threat to India. For millennia, the turbulent region between the Indus river and the Hindu Kush mountains has attracted foreign invaders and challenged the authority of large empires in the Indian heartland. That basic framework has not changed after the Partition and Independence. For more than sixty years, all of India’s external and internal security challenges expressed themselves together and in the sharpest possible form in the trans-Indus regions. That context has only become more acute at the turn of the decade, as the U.S. escalates the war in Afghanistan in what could be one last shot at regaining the initiative, and the militants retaliate by stepping up terrorist attacks all across urban Pakistan.


While sceptics are right to caution against exaggerated expectations on what the world can deliver in Pakistan and Afghanistan, India loses nothing in engaging the Obama Administration in a purposeful dialogue. Given the scale of threat that Pakistan poses to the region and the world, the real dangers of a collapsing nuclear state in Pakistan, and prospect of Al Qaeda and its affiliates establishing a permanent home in the Af-Pak region, the U.S. can no longer conduct business as usual in Pakistan. The question for India is not whether it should work with the rest of the world in stabilizing the Af-Pak region, but how best we can leverage the current international interest in the subcontinent.

Meanwhile India must continue to develop its own independent policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. During the last few years, India has emerged as a major investor and partner of post-Taliban Afghanistan. The UPA government has also invested heavily in finding lasting peace with Pakistan and settling all outstanding disputes including Jammu and Kashmir. While the peace process has stalled since the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008, India’s objective cannot be a simple return to the old framework of the composite dialogue. Delhi must instead find an approach that will strengthen our potential partners for peace in Pakistan and isolate those who are irreconcilably hostile to normalization of relations with India.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's External Affairs Minister: '#China shouldn't allow #Pakistan to dictate its #India policy'. Jaishankar hosted #Chinese FM in #Delhi 2 days after #Modi gov't strongly criticized Wang's statement in support of #Kashmiris' rights at #OICInPakistan.

China should not allow its policy towards India be influenced by Pakistan, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tacitly conveyed to his counterpart in the communist country's government, Wang Yi, on Friday.

“I referred to it. I explained to him why we found that statement objectionable,” the External Affairs Minister said after his meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister. “There was a larger context as well. You know, I conveyed that we hoped that China would follow an independent policy in respect of India, and not allow its policies to be influenced by other countries and other relationships.” Wang had on Wednesday attended a meeting of the OIC hosted by the Government of Pakistan. He had made a statement endorsing the OIC's support for the movement for “right to self-determination” in Jammu and Kashmir.


China had in 2019 joined its “iron-brother” Pakistan to launch a campaign against India at the United Nations and other international forums, opposing the move made by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and split the state into two union territories.

Riaz Haq said...

#China's #birth rate in alarming decline. Could it impact #Chinese #economic growth rate? Could China get old before it gets rich? Is #India better placed than China in terms of #demographics? #population #economy #fertility

A social media post in early March claiming that India had become the world’s most populous country created a storm in China.
The post claimed India’s population had hit 1.415 billion and was widely shared on social media, adding to rocky relations between Beijing and New Delhi and concerns over domestic growth hurdles in China, while also fuelling discussions about a host of social issues.
Demographic issues have been a hot topic in China since last year, when the once-a-decade census found the national fertility rate was alarmingly low.

Riaz Haq said...

#US Monitoring Rise in Rights Abuses in #India by some gov’t, police & prison officials, #Blinken said today in a joint press briefing with Defense Sec Lloyd Austin, #Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar, India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh. | World News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was monitoring what he described as a rise in human rights abuses in India by some officials, in a rare direct rebuke by Washington of the Asian nation's rights record.

"We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values (of human rights) and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials," Blinken said on Monday in a joint press briefing with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

Blinken did not elaborate. Singh and Jaishankar, who spoke after Blinken at the briefing, did not comment on the human rights issue.

Blinken's remarks came days after U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar questioned the alleged reluctance of the U.S. government to criticize Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on human rights.

"What does Modi need to do to India’s Muslim population before we will stop considering them a partner in peace?" Omar, who belongs to President Joe Biden's Democratic Party, said last week.

Modi's critics say his Hindu nationalist ruling party has fostered religious polarization since coming to power in 2014.

Since Modi came to power, right-wing Hindu groups have launched attacks on minorities claiming they are trying to prevent religious conversions. Several Indian states have passed or are considering anti-conversion laws that challenge the constitutionally protected right to freedom of belief.

In 2019, the government passed a citizenship law that critics said undermined India's secular constitution by excluding Muslim migrants from neighbouring countries. The law was meant to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before 2015.

In the same year, soon after his 2019 re-election win, Modi's government revoked the special status of Kashmir in a bid to fully integrate the Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country. To keep a lid on protests, the administration detained many Kashmir political leaders and sent many more paramilitary police and soldiers to the Himalayan region also claimed by Pakistan.

Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently banned wearing the hijab in classrooms in Karnataka state. Hardline Hindu groups later demanded such restrictions in more Indian states.

Riaz Haq said...

#US Professor Calls #India "Sh*****E". "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,” UPennProfessor Amy Wax said. #Caste #Brahmin #Xenophobia #Hindu via @ndtv

Leading Indian-Americans, including US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, have slammed a law professor from University of Pennsylvania for her disparaging comments about the Asian American community, with a specific disdain for Indian-Americans.
In a recent interview to Fox News, Prof Amy Wax from the University of Pennsylvania 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*thole,” Wax, who has a long history of inflammatory remarks, said.

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

“They've realised 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.

Wax then targeted the influential Indian-American doctors' community as well. “They are on the ramparts for the antiracism initiative for ‘dump on America,'” she alleged.

The comment was condemned by the Indian-Americans across the US.

“After President Trump left office, I thought the days of calling others “shithole” countries were over,” Krishnamoorthi said in a tweet.

“As an Indian-American immigrant, I'm disgusted to hear this UPenn Professor define Indian-American immigrants, and all non-white Americans, in such insulting terms,” he said.

Stating that such comments are borne of hatred and fear, he emphasised that such talks make it much harder to accomplish common-sense immigration reform.

“Comments like these are borne of hatred and fear, and they lead to real harm for my constituents and our minority communities. They fuel hate crimes against minorities, and they make it much harder to accomplish common-sense immigration reform,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Indian-American Law professor Neil Makhija also slammed Wax for her comments.

“It's irresponsible to use your position to lend credibility to these overtly racist sentiments that don't recognise Indian-Americans for who we are," he told Axios.

Indian-American Impact is slated to hold a summit next month in DC Makjiha told Axios he's planning to adjust programming to discuss the incident and create solutions against anti-Asian and South Asian hate in educational settings.

“The most unfortunate thing is that we have a lot of brilliant and incredible students at the law school,” he told NBC News.

“It makes you question whether she can fairly grade or educate,” he said.

This is not the first time Wax's controversial comments about race have gone viral, the US media reported.

Her appearance on Carlson's show is not the first time Wax has made anti-Asian remarks. In an interview in December, she said that Indians Americans should be more “grateful” to be in the US and that the country would be “better off with fewer Asians.” Penn has confirmed that the school is in the middle of disciplinary proceedings against Wax, NBC News reported.

“The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has previously made clear that Professor Wax's views do not reflect our values or practices,” it quoted a representative as saying.

“In January 2022, Dean Ruger announced that he would move forward with a University Faculty Senate process to address Professor Wax's escalating conduct, and that process is underway,” the report quoted the Penn representative as saying.

Riaz Haq said...

Ivy League Professor Amy Wax joins Tucker Carlson to go on a wildly racist rant that will make you wince. Adrienne Lawrence breaks it down on Rebel HQ.

Riaz Haq said...

The Army in Indian Military Strategy: Rethink Doctrine or Risk Irrelevance

India’s military strategy has been dominated by an orthodox offensive doctrine—a method of using force that favors large formations tasked with punitive incursions into enemy territory. This doctrine is orthodox in its preference for large combined-arms army formations, usually operating with minimal coordination with other services and relatively autonomously from its political masters. It is offensive in its military aims of imposing a punitive cost on the enemy––usually in the form of capturing territory for the purposes of gaining leverage in postwar negotiations––even if it is usually deployed in the service of a strategically defensive policy of maintaining the territorial status quo. And it is a doctrine in that it represents an enduring set of principles governing the Indian Army’s use of force, regardless of the scarcity of public doctrinal publications.

This paper argues that the stubborn dominance of the orthodox offensive doctrine, even in the face of drastic changes in India’s strategic environment, renders the military a less useful tool of national policy. In the two decades since India fought its last war in and around the district of Kargil in 1999, three major strategic trends have fundamentally changed India’s security environment: nuclear deterrence has made major conventional war unlikely; China’s military power and assertiveness now pose an unprecedented threat; and radical new technologies have redefined the military state of the art. India’s security policy has not kept pace. Given the balance of military power on India’s northern borders, India cannot decisively defeat either Pakistan or China on the battlefield. Without the ability to impose such unacceptable costs, India’s doctrine will not deter its rivals, which both have significant resolve to bear the costs of conflict. The continued pursuit of large, offensive military options also raises the risk that its enemies will rely on escalatory—even nuclear—responses. And because the doctrine demands a force structure of large ground-holding formations, it pulls scarce resources away from modernization and regional force projection—a problem made especially acute as the Indian government makes tough economic choices amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The remainder of this paper is divided into five parts. First, it surveys the history of India’s military strategy, showing its reliance on ground forces and the orthodox offensive doctrine. Second, it outlines the three major strategic changes that have upended India’s security environment in the twenty-first century. Third, it analyzes the reasons why India’s strategy and doctrine have failed to adapt. Fourth, the paper argues that India’s military is less useful in this new environment. Finally, the paper concludes with some recommendations for the Indian Army.

Riaz Haq said...

China is facing a major demographic challenge as the working-age population shrinks, with over-60s expected to make up a third of the population by 2050, and there are concerns that the ageing society and declining births could threaten future economic growth.

To tackle the problem, Beijing abandoned its decades-long one-child policy in 2015, allowing couples to have two children, then expanded that to three children last year. But many young people say they are deterred by the high costs of raising children, and a lack of government support.

There have been moves to change this, including with more parental leave in some places and the introduction in January of a monthly tax deduction of 1,000 yuan (US$157) per child under three to help ease the financial burden.

However, economists and demographers say the government needs to do more.

According to Cai, with the CASS, Beijing could use the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) as a measure to help assess and improve public services in China.

HDI is a measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable, and having a decent standard of living in terms of gross domestic product per capita.

China’s HDI value for 2019 was 0.761 – ranking it at 85 out of 189 countries and territories. Norway topped the list with a value of 0.957, followed by Ireland and Switzerland. Most developed countries have an HDI score of 0.8 or above, and have stable governments, widespread education and healthcare, high life expectancies, and growing, powerful economies.

Cai said the fertility rate would improve with a higher HDI score. “The fertility rate will hit the bottom and rebound when the HDI at least reaches the range between 0.80 and 0.85,” he wrote.

‘Are women just machines?’ Chinese web users left cold by birth rate solutions
China, the world’s second-largest economy, was ranked 79th for GDP per capita as of 2017. Some 600 million people in the country live on a monthly income of 1,000 yuan or less, Premier Li Keqiang has said. That means more than 40 per cent of the 1.4 billion population live on less than US$5 a day, and for many there is no pension or medical insurance.

In addition to improving public services and living standards, Cai said “special attention should be given to gender equality”.

Gender discrimination remains pervasive in China and has discouraged some women from getting married. Many women in recent years have also raised concerns about issues such as domestic violence, the unequal distribution of household work and discrimination against working mothers.

Around 7.63 million marriages were registered in 2021, the lowest number since 1986 when records began, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, extending a near decade-long decline.

Huang Wenzheng, a demographer and senior fellow at the Centre for China and Globalisation in Beijing, was not optimistic that the change to the birth policy and more support measures would be enough to encourage people to have more children.

“So far the effects of the policy have been too limited to reverse the trend of a declining fertility rate,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Autonomous Hindutva could devour both India and the Bharatiya Janata Party
In a formally secular India, religion indeed seems to have become the opium of the people, a mass distraction from the transformative social agenda that the country needs

Last Updated at May 23, 2022 09:46 IST

Bharat Bhushan

With the rapid radicalisation of sections of Hindu society, the Hindutva project has become dangerously autonomous. It is no longer possible to see it only as an electoral strategy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Today one does not need to even presume the direct hand of the BJP or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh behind Hindutva’s every move.

Its exponential social growth may have placed it beyond their control. In a formally secular India, religion indeed seems to have become the opium of the people. When Marx described religion as “the sigh of the oppressed ...

Riaz Haq said...

#California’s (pop 40 million) #gdp of $3.4 trillion as of 2021 is larger than #India’s (1.4 billion pop).California's #SiliconValley is home to world's most valuable #technology companies, including #Apple, #Google and #Facebook. CA is home to over 10% of Fortune 1000 companies

Riaz Haq said...

Arundhati Roy: "The damage to Indian #democracy is not reversible...#India's tragedy is not that it's the worst place in the world -- it's that we are on our way there. We're burning down our house". #Modi #Hindutva #Islamophobia #BJP #hindutvaterrorists

When two spokespeople from India's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made derogatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed last month, it prompted an international firestorm.

The incident led to protests among India's Muslim minority in several states. Some Muslim-majority nations summoned their India ambassadors. India's foreign ministry said the comments did not reflect the views of the government, and the officials involved -- one of whom later withdrew her remarks -- faced disciplinary action.
But for India's 200 million Muslims, these comments were not an isolated incident.
Rather, they were the culmination of the BJP's "engineering hatred of a common enemy," says bestselling Indian author Arundhati Roy.

"India's tragedy is not that it's the worst place in the world -- it's that we are on our way there. We're burning down our house. India is an experiment that is failing dangerously," she told CNN.
"Many, many of my beloved friends -- poets, writers, professors, lawyers, human rights activists and journalists -- are in prison, most of them charged under a dreaded law called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, all of them for speaking up for minorities, Dalits and forest-dwellers facing displacement and state terror.

"Among them are people I consider to be India's most important minds. It makes one wonder what living as a free person in the time of fascism means. What does it mean to be a bestselling author when the world is breaking?" writes Roy.
In this email interview with CNN Opinion, Roy says Indian politics has something in common with the US Capitol riots, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is stoking hatred, and talks about who the real power in India lies with.
CNN: What does this incident involving BJP officials' comments about the Prophet Mohammed reveal about Indian politics today?
Roy: It reveals how successfully the clear and present existential threat posed by Hindu nationalism in India has been masked by the face it presents to the outside world. You know the people in strange clothes, the man in furs and antlers who stormed the US Capitol? We're being ruled by their equivalent here. The difference is that they are not a collection of random lunatics. They are members of the most powerful organization in India -- the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), whose founding ideologues openly admired Hitler and likened the Muslims of India to the Jews of Germany. RSS is the real power in India.
CNN: What is the connection between the BJP and RSS?
Roy: The ruling party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), considered to be one of the richest political parties in the world, is only the front office of the RSS. Founded in 1925, the RSS, traditionally controlled by a handful of Brahmins, now has millions of members including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been a member since his teenage years, and most of his cabinet ministers.
It has its own vast militia, its own schools, labor unions and women's organizations. It's not a political party, it's something of a shape-shifter, a master of double-speak, its sources of funding are amorphous and leave no legal trail, it works through an array of affiliates, but it's a nation within a nation.
The RSS believes that India should be declared a Hindu nation, just as Pakistan, Iran and several countries in the Persian Gulf are Islamic nations, just as Israel is legally the "nation-state of the Jewish people."

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...

Frank O'Donnell
“Modi laid the foundation stone for the Deesa airfield in Gujarat which will be a forward Air Force base.”


PM launches ‘Mission DefSpace’, an ambitious effort to develop innovative solutions for the three Services in the space domain through Indian industry and start-ups
In an ambitious effort to develop innovative solutions for the three Services in the space domain through the Indian industry and start-ups, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched the ‘Mission DefSpace’ at the ongoing DefExpo. He also released the fourth defence indigenisation list which bars import of 101 items after certain timelines.

“Space technology is an example of what security will mean for any strong nation in the future. Various challenges in this area have been reviewed and identified by the three Services. We have to work fast to solve them,” Mr. Modi said. Under Mission Def-Space, 75 challenges are being opened to get innovative solutions, based on the defence requirements in the space domain, the Defence Ministry said.

Stating that space technology is shaping new definitions of India’s generous space diplomacy, giving rise to new possibilities, the Prime Minister stated, “Many African countries and many other small countries are benefiting from this.”

Real-time access to data
There are more than 60 developing countries with whom India is sharing its space science. “The South Asia satellite is an effective example of this. By next year, 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries will also get real-time access to India’s satellite data. Even developed countries like Europe and America are using our satellite data,“ he stated.

Explaining the significance, Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt (retd.), Director General of the Indian Space Association (ISpA), said this was the first time an opportunity was being given to the private industry in the defence space sector. “Defence space challenges, which have been worked with the Services, Ministry of Defence (MoD), along with private industry and the ISpA, are primarily aimed at making a range of defence applications to enhance the capability of the three Services,” he stated.

One senior official explained that the effort is not meant to develop offensive capabilities in space but to build technology enablers for the Services.

As part of efforts to boost the domestic defence industry and promote defence exports, the Defence Ministry had earlier promulgated first, second and third Positive Indigenisation Lists, comprising 310 items on August 21, 2020, May 31, 2021 and April 7, 2022 respectively. The items on the lists cannot be imported by the Services and should be sourced from within the country.

The fourth list has been prepared by the MoD after several rounds of consultations with all stakeholders, including the industry, the Ministry said in a statement. “It lays special focus on equipment/systems, which are being developed and likely to translate into firm orders in the next five to 10 years,”

Like the first three lists, import substitution of ammunition which is a recurring requirement has been given special focus, the Ministry stated.

The items listed in the fourth list will provide ample visibility and opportunity to the domestic defence industry for understanding the trend and futuristic needs of the armed forces and create requisite research and development and manufacturing capacity within the country. the Ministry added.

Riaz Haq said...

Sadanand Dhume
Contrary to all the hype, India’s market for consumer goods remains very small. The Chinese buy about 8X more iPhones and nearly 100X more BMWs than Indians. Starbucks has 20X as many outlets in China as in India. [My take] v

With his love for alliteration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi often talks India up by referring to its three Ds: democracy, demography and demand. They are supposed to “propel the nation to new heights of economic progress,” to quote one of his tweets. The slogan underscores a widely held belief in India on which Mr. Modi’s economic policy relies—that the country has a large market irresistible to foreign firms. Unfortunately, that isn’t true.


One can see how Mr. Modi and others came to believe in the myth of the massive Indian market. It’s easy to confuse the size of a country’s economy or population with the size of its domestic market. India’s gross domestic product of $3.2 trillion makes it the fifth largest in the world. This year India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous nation.

A population of 1.4 billion does indeed translate into a large market for some products. About 1.2 billion Indians own cellphones, of which half are smartphones. Facebook has 330 million users in India, nearly twice as many as in the U.S. India was the third-largest consumer of oil in 2021, behind America and China. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India was the largest arms importer in the world between 2017 and 2021. India was the top weapons export market for Russia, France and Israel.

But the size of India’s consumer market has long been hyped. A widely cited 2007 McKinsey report giddily predicted that by 2025 “India will become a middle class country” with 583 million middle-class consumers. In 2017, Morgan Stanley said India’s 400 million millennials were “one of the world’s strongest sources of untapped economic potential.” It described them sitting “in Mumbai caf├ęs, browsing social media accounts on their smartphones while occasionally shopping for new shoes online.”

Reality is much more drab. Though India has many potential consumers, they have very little purchasing power, economists Shoumitro Chatterjee and Arvind Subramanian wrote in a 2020 paper. Though the country’s population matches China’s, India’s “true market” is only about 15% to 20% as large. India represents only 1.5% to 5% of the global market.

The Pew Research Center estimates that only 66 million Indians—less than 5% of the population—have a middle-class daily income of between $10.01 and $20 in purchasing-power terms. In China, that number is 493 million, or 34.9% of the population. In short, the vaunted Indian middle class wields much slimmer wallets than its Chinese counterpart.

Take cars, a consumer good that’s emblematic of the middle class world-wide. In 2021 Chinese bought 26.3 million cars, more than seven times as many as the 3.7 million cars Indians purchased that year, by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers’ estimate. For luxury brands like BMW, the Chinese market is nearly 100 times as large as India’s.

The number of Indians who can afford to watch movies on Netflix, FaceTime friends on an iPhone, or stop by a Starbucks for a cappuccino remains vanishingly small. Less than 3% of Netflix’s 223 million users are in India—despite the company’s charging them less than half what it does U.S. consumers. India’s vaunted cellphone market is dominated by inexpensive Chinese brands like Xiaomi. Indians bought fewer than six million iPhones in 2021. Chinese bought about 50 million. Starbucks operates more than 6,000 stores in China, but only about 300 in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Sadanand Dhume
Contrary to all the hype, India’s market for consumer goods remains very small. The Chinese buy about 8X more iPhones and nearly 100X more BMWs than Indians. Starbucks has 20X as many outlets in China as in India. [My take] v

Sadanand Dhume
This column has set off a mini firestorm here, so let me quickly respond to some of the objections. First, people point out that obviously China is a larger market than India. After all, it’s a larger economy. Chinese GDP in 2021: $17.73T. Indian GDP: $3.18T. 1/n

Sadanand Dhume
But this doesn’t refute my central point—that contrary to popular belief India’s market is small by global standards. We should ask how China pulled so far ahead. In 1990 Chinese GDP ($360b) was similar to Indian GDP ($321b). Now China’s economy is 5.6X larger than India’s. 2/n

Sadanand Dhume
Over the past decade, the gap between China and India has not shrunk. It has grown. In 2012, the Chinese economy was 4.7X larger than India’s. 3/n

Sadanand Dhume
Moreover, as I show in my piece, mere GDP figures are misleading. For many consumer goods, the gap between the Chinese market and the Indian market is LARGER than the gap between Chinese and Indian GDP. 4/n

Sadanand Dhume
Now to the second major objection: “Don’t talk about Starbucks, iPhones and Netflix subscriptions. These are luxury goods.” My response: The fact that they are luxury goods in India proves my point. If Indians had more disposable income they would not be seen as luxury goods. 5/n

Sadanand Dhume
Or take cars, a middle class good in much of the world. In 2021, the Chinese bought 26.3m cars. Indians bought 3.7m cars. The Chairman of Maruti Suzuki recently pointed out that it could take 40 years for the Indian car market to catch up with China’s. 6/n

India will take 40 yrs to draw level with China's car penetration: Bhargava
As a result, the small car market has been shrinking as two-wheeler customers shelve or delay plans to upgrade to a four-wheeled drive

Riaz Haq said...

Shahzad Chaudhry
Here is a bouquet of good wishes for our Indian colleagues. It is difficult to write here in Pakistan on India in these terms, but I write for the good of Pakistan. Hope my readers will agree.


If I were Henry Kissinger, I would write a treatise ‘On India’. Such has been the monumental change in India’s fortunes as a State and a player principally in Asia and broadly on the global stage. Modi may be a despised name in Pakistan, but he has done something to brand India which none before him was able to manage. Importantly, India does what it feels and to the extent she needs. And it all stays kosher. It is an ally of the US; a rub Pakistanis go to town with, complaining relentlessly about the US as its closet patron. We are delusionary and deceptive in assessing our standing and employ double-speak as an art, vilifying the US as a popular pastime while whingeing when it accosts India. Russia is under American sanctions, and none can trade freely with Russia except India which buys Russian oil on preferred terms and then re-export it to help an old patron earn dollars the indirect way. Two opposing military superpowers of the world claim India to be its ally. If this isn’t diplomatic coup, what is?

It all comes from one word — relevance. India is relevant to the world, not only in its size and girth but by its footprint and what matters to the world. Consider. It has the fifth largest economy in the world, ahead of the UK. It is aimed to be the third largest economy in the world by 2037. It is fourth in FE Reserves with over 600 billion USDs — Pakistan currently holds 4.5 only. Its growth rate in GDP matches the best performing economies over the last three decades after China. She is projected to stay on that path. India has world’s second largest army and the third largest military. It may not be the strongest corresponding to the numbers, but it is on path to rapidly increasing its capacity and capability. The global list of billionaires has 140 Indians of which four are included in the top 100.


It is time to recalibrate our policy towards India and be bold enough to create a tri-nation consensus, along with China, focusing on Asia to be the spur for wider economic growth and benefit. That alone will turn geoeconomics into a strategy. Breaking away from convention and boldness in conception can address this newer paradigm. Or we may be reduced to the footnote of history.

Riaz Haq said...

Yes, #India is a very important country, especially for #Pakistan as its huge neighbor. But it takes two to tango. I see little hope for better ties while #Islamophobic #Modi rules India. Please read this: Top India Analysts Dispel "India's Size Illusion"

Riaz Haq said...

Imran Khan's Party Uses Old PM Modi Clip To Target Pak PM.

An old video of a speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trending across the border. Leaders of Imran Khan's party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, are sharing a clip of PM Modi to slam the Shehbaz Sharif government over Pakistan's financial crisis.
The video shows PM Modi's speech in Rajasthan's Barmer during his campaign for the 2019 general election. "We destroyed Pakistan's arrogance, forced them to go around the globe with a begging bowl," the Prime Minister says.

He also refers to Pakistan's threats of a nuclear attack and says: "We have stopped fearing Pakistan's threats. If they have nuclear weapons, ours are hardly kept for Diwali."

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...

The Squeeze on India’s Spenders Is Yet to Lift
Analysis by Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg

Manufacturing of wants is hard anywhere for marketers, but the challenge is bigger when the bottom half of the population takes home only 13% of national income. While India’s rapid economic growth since the 1990s has undoubtedly expanded the spending capacity of its 1.4 billion people, acute and rising inequality — among the worst in the world — makes for a notoriously budget-conscious median consumer. Companies can take nothing for granted: For Unilever’s local Indian unit, a late winter crimped sales of skin-care products last quarter.

Still, the maker of Dove body wash and Surf detergent managed to eke out an overall 5% increase in sales volume from a year earlier, lifting net income to 25.1 billion rupees ($309 million), slightly better than expected. That was achieved by price cuts — passing along the benefit of lower palm-oil costs to soap buyers — and a step up in promotion and advertising. Still, not all players have the market leader’s financial chops. Investors who look closely at Hindustan Unilever Ltd.’s earnings for a pulse on India’s consumer demand will note with dismay the slide in industry-wide volumes for cleaning liquids, personal care items and food, the categories in which the firm competes.

This isn’t new. Consumer demand in India has been moderating since August 2021. Village households, many of which had to liquidate their gold holdings and other assets to treat Covid-19 patients during that summer’s lethal delta outbreak, were not in a mood to spend even after the surge in deaths and hospitalization ebbed.

Then, as major economies began to open up and crude oil and other commodities began to get pricier, firms like Unilever responded to the squeeze by reducing how much they put in a pack. Their idea was to hold on to psychologically crucial “magic price points” — such as five or 10 rupees — in the hope that customers will replenish more often. But when inflation accelerated after the start of the war in Ukraine, there was no option except to shatter the illusion of affordability by raising prices. Volumes flat-lined in the March quarter.

“The worst of inflation is behind us,” Sanjiv Mehta, the chief executive officer, said in a statement after last week’s earnings report. That seems to be the case indeed. India’s aggregate price index rose a slower-than-expected 5.7% in December, the third straight month of cooling. That’s why perhaps instead of pushing four 100-gram bars of Lux soap for 140 rupees, Unilever is charging 156 rupees for five, according to the Business Standard. In offering an 11% price cut by bulking up pack sizes, the company is betting that most households’ budget can now accommodate an extra outlay of 16 rupees.

It’s a reasonable gamble. A bumper wheat harvest is expected this spring. Rural India, which employs two out of three workers, found jobs for a disproportionately larger share of new entrants to the labor force in November and December, according to Mahesh Vyas of CMIE, a private firm that fills in for reliable official jobs data. “Most of the additional employment is happening in rural India and not in the towns,” he says.

And that may well put the spotlight next year on faltering spending in cities. The tech industry is wobbling globally. In India, too, startups are firing employees in large numbers; some former darlings of venture capital, such as online test-prep and education firms, are becoming irrelevant now that Covid-19 restrictions on physical classes have ended.

Meanwhile, India’s software-exports industry — a large employer in metropolises — has become wary of hiring because of slowing global growth. “The pain in urban consumption seems to be showing up,” JM Financial analysts Richard Liu and others wrote last week after Asian Paints Ltd.’s earnings.

Riaz Haq said...

The Wire

After S. Jaishankar said that India cannot pick a fight with China because the latter has a bigger economy, military veterans have accused the Narendra Modi government of having a "defeatist attitude" and "bowing down to a bully".

New Delhi: After external affairs minister S. Jaishankar said that India cannot pick a fight with China because the latter has a bigger economy, military veterans have accused the Narendra Modi government of having a “defeatist attitude” and “bowing down to a bully”.

In a podcast with ANI editor-in-chief Smita Prakash on Wednesday, Jaishankar said: “Look, they (China) are the bigger economy. What am I going to do? As a smaller economy, I am going to pick up a fight with the bigger economy? It is not a question of being reactionary, it’s a question of common sense….”

He added that India and China have an agreement not to bring large number of troops to the border, and asked if India should violate that agreement.

Former Navy chief Arun Prakash, a veteran of the 1971 war, tweeted: “If relative size of economies is seen as arbiter of int’l relations, how come nations like Cuba, N Korea & Iran thumb their noses at the USA or Vietnam at China? India, as a democracy, nuclear weapon state & significant economic & mil power must stand firm against hegemony.”

Major General Shail Jha (retired) tweeted: “Mr Jaishankar should know that its not India but China which is picking the fight.”

The veteran added: “Economy or no economy, if we bow down to a bully, we are abandoning our self-respect. Is it acceptable? What a shame. And the guy is being hailed as the greatest FM. It’s cowardice.”

Speaking to The Telegraph, a former lieutenant general said Jaishankar’s statement was “shocking” and was reminiscent of “unconditional surrender”.

“What happened to the so-called muscular nationalism that this government projects in election speeches? Modi’s self-declared muscular nationalism has now capitulated to Chinese aggression and bullying,” the veteran said.

Speaking about Chinese intrusions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the veteran told the newspaper that instead of “asking the Chinese troops to retreat”, the “New India under Modiji agreed to create buffer zones within Indian territories in eastern Ladakh as part of the disengagement agreement, thus ceding further territory to China

A retired colonel said Jaishankar’s “defeatist statement” spoke volumes about Modi’s China policy. “Where is Mr 56-inch Modi’s muscular nationalism when it comes to China?” the former colonel asked.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Brahmos firing into Pak could have started #India-#Pakistan war, #Modi gov't tells #Delhi High Court. IAF cannot ignore it. It put India in an embarrassing situation in front of the international community, said Solicitor General Sharma.

India's supersonic missile BrahMos was fired and landed in Pakistan on March 9, 2022, leading to the dismissal of three Air Force officers who were found guilty in a Court of Inquiry. One of the officers challenged the decision and the Central government presented its stance in the Delhi High Court.

The Additional Solicitor General, Chetan Sharma, appeared for the government and expressed that the incident could have sparked a war with Pakistan due to negligence in the line of duty. The Air Force cannot ignore such incidents as they put India in an embarrassing situation even in front of the international community, he stated.

The officer who approached the court argued that the accident occurred during a simulation exercise and he was only responsible for maintenance, not firing the missile. He claimed that only the CO and training officer were accountable for the operation of the missile and the action taken against him was wrong.

He further added that he was not aware of the allegations against him during the inquiry and that he had no experience in operating the missile or dealing with its emergencies. Therefore, he requested the court to order his reinstatement to the job.

The US Director of National Intelligence, in its annual threat assessment report, earlier warned of a potential conflict between India and Pakistan. The report highlighted concerns over the possibility of India retaliating against Pakistan in the event of a terrorist attack on India or orchestrated "violent unrest in Kashmir" by extremist groups based in Pakistan. The report cited the risk of an "escalatory cycle between two nuclear-armed states" as a particular concern.

The report acknowledges that Pakistan has a history of supporting extremist groups, which increases the probability of India responding with military force under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to what they perceive as provocations by Pakistan. The report warned that heightened tensions on either side could increase the risk of conflict, with Kashmir or a militant attack in India as potential flashpoints.

Riaz Haq said...

Vulnerable employment, total (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate) - Pakistan, India | Data

Bangladesh 54%

Pakistan 54%

India 74%


Sandeep Manudhane
Why the size of the economy means little
a simple analysis

1) We are often told that India is now a $3.5 trillion economy. It is growing fast too. Hence, we must be happy with this growth in size as it is the most visible sign of right direction. This is the Quantity is Good argument.

2) We are told that such growth can happen only if policies are right, and all engines of the GDP - consumption, exports, investment, govt. consumption - are doing their job well. We tend to believe it.

3) We are also told that unless GDP grows, how can Indians (on average) grow? Proof is given to us in the form of 'rising per capita incomes' of India. And we celebrate "India racing past the UK" in GDP terms, ignoring that the average Indian today is 20 times poorer than the average Britisher.

4) All this reasoning sounds sensible, logical, credible, and utterly worth reiterating. So we tend to think - good, GDP size on the whole matters the most.

5) Wrong. This is not how it works in real life.

6) It is wrong due to three major reasons
(a) Distribution effect
(b) Concentration of power effect
(c) Inter-generational wealth and income effect

7) First comes the distribution effect. Since 1991, the indisputable fact recorded by economists is that "rich have gotten richer, and poor steadily stagnant or poorer". Thomas Piketty recorded it so well he's almost never spoken in New India now! Thus, we have a super-rich tiny elite of 2-3% at the top, and a vast ocean of stagnant-income 70-80% down below. And this is not changing at all. Do not be fooled by rising nominal per capita figures - factor in inflation and boom! And remember - per capita is an average figure, and it conceals the concentration.

8) Second is the Concentration of power effect. RBI ex-deputy governor Viral Acharya wrote that just 5 big industrial groups - Tata, Birlas, Adanis, Ambanis, Mittals - now disproportionately own the economic assets of India, and directly contribute to inflation dynamics (via their pricing power). This concentration is rising dangerously each year for some time now, and all government policies are designed to push it even higher. Hence, a rising GDP size means they corner more and more and more of the incremental annual output. The per capita rises, but somehow magically people don't experience it in 'steadily improving lives'.

9) Third is the Inter-generational wealth and income effect. Ever wondered why more than 90% of India is working in unstructured, informal jobs, with near-zero social security? Ever wondered why rich families smoothly pass on 100% of their assets across generations while paying zero taxes? Ever wondered how taxes paid by the rich as a per cent of their incomes are not as high as those paid by you and me (normal citizens)? India has no inheritance tax, but has a hugely corporate-friendly tax regime with many policies tailor-made to augment their wealth. Trickle down is impossible in this system. But that was the spiel sold to us in 1991, and later, each year! There is no incentive for giant corporates (and rich folks) to generate more formal jobs, as an ocean of underpaid slaves is ready to slog their entire lives for them. Add to that automation, and now, AI systems!

Sadly, as India's GDP grows in size, it means little for the masses because trickle-down is near zero. That is because new formal jobs aren't being generated at scale at all (which in itself is a big topic for analysis).
So, our Quantity of GDP is different from Quality of GDP.

Riaz Haq said...

The West needs to get real about India | The Strategist

by John McCarthy, ex Australian Ambassador to India

The first is that India’s economic promise—particularly as an eventual rival to China—is overblown.

Doubts about the extent of India’s promise have been around for a couple of decades—in fact, ever since some commentators started suggesting that India would one day outstrip China.

These doubts were cogently expressed by Harvard academic Graham Allison in a recent essay in Foreign Policy. Allison, inter alia, suggested that we need to reflect on several ‘inconvenient truths’:

We have been wrong in the past about the pace of the rise of India—namely in the early 1990s and the middle of the first decade of this century.
India’s economy is much smaller than China’s—and the gap has increased, not decreased. In the early 2000s, China’s GDP was two to three times as large as India’s. It is now roughly five times as large.
India has been falling behind in the development of science and technology to power economic growth. China spends 2% of GDP on research and development, compared with India’s 0.7%. On artificial intelligence, the figures are startling. For example, China holds 65% of AI patents, while India holds just 3%.
China’s workforce is more productive than India’s. The quality of their respective workforces is affected by poverty and nutrition levels. As one example, according to the 2022 UN State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, 16.3% of India’s population was undernourished in 2019–2021 compared with less than 2.5% of China’s population.
The second argument is that India’s worldview is quite different to that of most Western countries.

India rightly sees itself as a force in international affairs. It aspires to be a powerful pole in a multipolar world. It adheres to a doctrine of strategic autonomy. It is guided by what it thinks is best for India, not by alliances or what others want of it.

India’s China-driven strategic congruence with the US is not the same as a quasi-alliance relationship. India doesn’t operate within a framework of mutual obligation. It doesn’t expect others to come to its aid and it won’t join someone else’s war.

In a recent Foreign Affairs article entitled ‘America’s bad bet on India’, an American academic of Indian origin, Ashley Tellis, argues that New Delhi would never involve itself in any US confrontation with China that did not threaten its own security.

The Tellis piece has weight because he was a main intellectual force behind the ‘nuclear deal’ concluded in 2008.

The problem is that Modi’s government can only lend itself to highly qualified identification with democratic principles.

Elections in India are generally fair, and Modi’s sway is vigorously contested by the main opposition party, by Congress and by regional parties. That’s good.

However, Modi remains an unabashed Hindu supremacist whose political machine largely disregards the aspirations of Muslims and other minorities. It reacts vengefully to criticism and scores badly on most of the international indexes that measure democratic freedoms. To some, India is an illiberal democracy; to others, it’s an electoral autocracy. But, for sure, it is not a liberal democracy.

Western interests dictate that we put grunt into our relationship with India with energy and determination. It is unquestionably an increasingly important country. But we must have realistic expectations of India and deal with as it is, not as we might like it to be. Otherwise, we risk disappointment.