India out. GST war on islam. Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane as Morocco Premier (write to: abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com)

India run out.

GST war on islam.

Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane as Morocco Premier

-DR. ABDUL RUFF

abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com

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Parliament in Rabat, Morocco, 20 November 2011

I – Poll

Moroccans have elected new lower house of parliament on 25 November, in the first national vote since the approval of constitutional reforms in July billed as laying the foundations for a fully-fledged constitutional monarchy. Moderate Islamists, as expected, did well the vote after a similar success in Tunisia’s first democratic election a month ago and the Justice and Development Party (PJD) emerged as the biggest party in Friday’s parliamentary elections.

The Justice and Development Party (PJD) took 107 seats out of the 395 in Parliament, almost twice as many as the second-place nationalist Istiqlal party, with 60 seats. The election was held more than a year early, after pro-democracy demonstrations swept the country earlier this year as part of the regionwide Arab Spring.

The leader of a moderate Islamist party Abdelilah Benkirane has been appointed by King Mohammed VI as Morocco’s new prime minister. Abdelilah will now hold talks on forming a coalition government.  His Justice and Development Party has not been in government before.

The PJD’s victory follows that of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party in an election there last month. Following elections, King Mohammed VI is for the first time obliged to choose the prime minister from the largest party, rather than naming whoever he pleases. King Mohammed received Benkirane, who is the PJD’s secretary general, in the mountain town of Midelt and named him head of government with the task of forming a new government.

Under a new constitution approved by referendum in July, the king has to choose a prime minister from the party that won the most seats. The constitution also gives the prime minister more powers to govern, but the king still has the final say on issues of defence, security and religion. The reforms were supported by all the main political parties, which called on their supporters to back the proposals in the referendum.

The 20 February movement, which spearheaded Morocco’s pro-democracy protests earlier this year, has called for a boycott of the elections, dismissing them as a “piece of theatre”. It says the constitutional changes approved in July are superficial, and perpetuate a “facade of democracy” that – it says – has disguised continuing royal rule for decades.

King Mohammed VI presented the constitutional changes as a far-reaching concession to Arab Spring-style pro-democracy protests, but activists believe they will do little to change the actual power structure and have called for a boycott of the elections. As a result of the constitutional changes approved by 98% of those voting in a 1 July referendum, the position of the prime minister, who must now be appointed from the largest party in parliament, has also been enhanced, gaining the authority to appoint government officials and dissolve parliament.  However, the parliament will have a greater share of power and – in theory – will play the leading role in a legislative process previously dominated by the king.

Benkirane, who was elected head of his party in 2008, leads its more pro-monarchy faction. He has repeatedly stated his support for a strong king, even though some of his colleagues would prefer a less powerful ruler. “The head of the state is king and no-one can govern without him,” he told supporters. The PJD has said it will promote Islamic finance. However, it has avoided focusing on issues such as alcohol and headscarves for women.

Many of the protesters who took to the streets in February feel the reforms still fall far short of their demands for a democratic, constitutional monarchy, and have called for a boycott. Ahead of the poll, the sleepy calm of the capital, Rabat, was occasionally punctuated by the marches of unemployed graduates. But the country’s powerful monarchy and the system that supports it appear to have averted any direct, mortal challenge for now.

A low turnout in the parliamentary poll would detract from the legitimacy of King Mohammed VI’s reforms and could hint at future problems.

II – Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco is the most westerly of the North African countries known as the Maghreb. To the south, the status of Western Sahara remains unresolved. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 and a guerrilla war with Algerian-backed pro-independence forces ended in 1991. UN efforts have failed to break the political deadlock. To the north, a dispute with Spain in 2002 over the tiny island of Perejil revived the issue of the sovereignty of Melilla and Ceuta. The small enclaves on the Mediterranean coast are surrounded by Morocco and have been administered by Madrid for centuries.

Strategically situated with both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, but with a rugged mountainous interior, it stayed independent for centuries while developing a rich culture blended from Arab, Berber, European and African influences.  However, Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. He played a prominent role in the search for peace in the Middle East, given the large number of Israelis of Moroccan origin, but was criticized for suppressing domestic opposition. A truth commission set up to investigate human rights violations during Hassan’s reign confirmed nearly 10,000 cases, ranging from death in detention to forced exile. After his death in 1999 Hassan was succeeded by his son, who became King Mohammed VI and was seen as a modernizer. There has been some economic and social liberalization, but the monarch has retained sweeping powers.

King Mohammed is aided by a powerful propaganda machine – his image adorns streets and shops across the country. Central to the monarchical regime’s strength is its longevity – the Alaoui dynasty gained control of most of Morocco in 1664 – and its claim of descent from the Prophet Muhammad. The king has tremendous religious and political capital – it’s not just the king but the whole political establishment, the monarchy and the “makhzen” provide for the patronage network that embodies Morocco’s ruling elite.

Moroccan citizens, many of them poor and illiterate and living in rural areas, are made to believe that the monarch has a special gift or blessing and they feel that they have some psychological relationship with the king. Symbolic rituals also boost his status. In an annual ceremony of allegiance, the “bay’a”, Moroccan officials bow before the king as he parades on a horse.

Despite these traditional trappings, the monarchy under the 48-year-old king has taken on a more modern, reformist image. His father, Hassan II, ran a notoriously brutal regime between 1961 and 1999. Opponents were tortured and protests repressed.  1965, the interior minister at the time, Gen Mohammed Oufkir, supervised a crackdown on demonstrations in Casablanca from a helicopter while – according to one story – personally spraying rioters with a machine gun. But a process of gradual reform began in the final years of Hassan’s rule, and continued with his son. It included a family law that advanced women’s rights and a truth commission that explored abuses under King Hassan – though none of those responsible were prosecuted.

Along with Ennahda in Tunisia and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, it places itself within a contemporary movement to promote and respect Islam and reconcile Islam and democracy. Coalitions of more secular, royalist parties have tried to smother it and the Islamists have found it hard to directly challenge the king because of his religious status as “commander of the faithful”. It too is seen by many as being in the pocket of the palace. The PJD here in Morocco is presenting the ‘third way’ between revolution and the uncertainty of the current system.

The toppling of long-standing leaders in Tunisia and Egypt at the beginning of the year is widely seen as having caught the Moroccan regime off-guard, at a time when the reform process had stagnated. As Morocco’s own protest movement took shape, a long-held taboo was breached. It’s the first time in Morocco that the king was openly criticized and they didn’t shoot people. Instead, the monarchy’s response was to promise changes including rights guarantees and more powers for the parliament. These were enshrined in a new constitution that was approved by referendum in July.

III – Observations

Maybe, the Arab World is in the process of changing but Arabs still don’t know the results and what will happen in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria or Yemen especially the destruction of Libya by the NATO-UNSC terror organizations. The moderately Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which has been buoyed by the recent reforms, and by the gains Islamists have made elsewhere in the region, could win the election and so supply the next prime minister.

Leaders of Morocco claim they are presenting the way of reform without losing the stability, the unity of the country- but at the same time furthering the democratic agenda of Morocco.

Morocco’s ruling elite thinks it has skillfully sidestepped the revolutionary fervor sweeping the Arab world by offering a milder, more peaceful vision of change. Critics of the reforms point in particular to the fact that the king will still have wide-ranging executive powers, in particular control over foreign, defence and security policy. Activists also say the reforms will not end the behind-the-scenes dominance of the “makhzen” – a power apparatus of veteran politicians, powerful businesspeople, the security forces and royal officials controlled by the king through a system of patronage.

Morocco is bidding for membership of the European Union, its main trade partner, but there appears to be little enthusiasm for this within the bloc.

Morocco has been given the status of non-Nato ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the US-led war on terror. After deadly suicide bombings in Casablanca in 2003, Morocco launched a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants.

The message of a democratic agenda and gradual change is one that has gone down well with Morocco’s allies in the anti-Islamic US and Europe who promote pro-west leaders in Muslim world and destabilize the Muslim nations if the leaders do not buy CIA terror gimmicks…

Political and poll bribery is common. Sheep were being handed out to voters, and over the last few months, the protest movement has been subject to a smear campaign, arrests, and intimidation at the hands of shadowy groups of pro-monarchy thugs known as “baltaja”. But Moroccans say they will show the Western world that Morocco can bring about a gentle revolution and the nation can travel towards a real democracy.

In Morocco elections are never decisive as the king retains ultimate control and though parliament has more power, parties are weak. The electoral system is prepared on purpose not to let anyone succeed, so it’s impossible to get more than 20% of the seats in parliament and this is to allow the monarchy to dominate. The manipulation of the party system is just one of the old-fashioned tactics still being deployed to bolster the status quo.  According to analysts, the reforms passed this year are largely cosmetic, and there is no guarantee they will be put into practice on the ground. However, so long as it plays the NATO fiddle well, it has got nothing to worry.

Claims, fake or real, of descent from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace) by a few pampered Muslim leaders might be fashionable but are ridiculous if they decline to promote true Islam in the society. Moroccan king clams the same of being a descent from the Prophet Muhammad but he shamelessly sides with NATO terrorism and western anti-Islamism. A Muslim nation that promotes anti-Islamism and helps, directly or otherwise, the anti-Islamic GST rogues and refuses to promote Islamic way of life and institutionalize Islamic law on daily basis ceases to be a Muslim nation.  Muslim leaders in such societies are guilty of anti-Islamic crimes.

Elected premier Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane, though worships the king, has a responsibly constructive role to play in this regard so that Islam takes firm roots in the society. Americans, Britishers and other western terrocrats cannot help him or Morocco in this regard. Benkirane’s pro-people policies and their proper implementation would greatly benefit not just Muslims but entire humanity in some measure.

Muhammad praying at the Ka’ba.

——–
د. عبد راف

Dr. Abdul Ruff, Specialist on State Terrorism; Educationalist;Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs(CIA); Independent Analyst;Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements(Palestine,Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc); Anti-Muslimism and anti-Islamism are more dangerous than “terrorism” Anti-Islamic forces & terrorists are using criminal elements for terrorizing the world and they in disguise are harming genuine interests of ordinary Muslims. Global media today, even in Muslim nations, are controlled by CIA  & other anti-Islamic agencies. Former university Teacher;/website:abdulruff.wordpress.com

Indian PM Modi to attend funeral of Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam in Tamilnadu!

Indian PM Modi to attend funeral of Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam in Tamilnadu!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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The final journey of a great Indian by name APJ Abdul Kalam is now on its way upon his successful and committed mission.

An Air Force helicopter carrying the body of former President APJ Abdul Kalam landed on July 29 in Rameswaram, the Tamil Nadu town where Dr Kalam was born. Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu was among three ministers who accompanied Dr Kalam’s body today from Delhi to Madurai in Tamil Nadu and then to Rameswaram.

Dr Kalam’s funeral will be held in Rameswaram at 11 am on July 30. According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa will not attend the funeral as she is not well, the state government said, but will send seven ministers.

The last rites of former President APJ Abdul Kalam will be held at his native place at Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu on 30th July.  APJ Abdul Kalam died on 27 July after a massive cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. He was 83.

With the funeral of former President Kalam slated on July 30 in Rameswaram, the Tamil Nadu government has announced a public holiday on that day (Thursday)  to private and government educational institutions and establishments under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881″as a mark of respect” to the departed soul.

People in Rameswaram in long queues on the sunny day paid their last respects to Dr Kalam at a ground near the bus terminus where his body has been taken now. Hundreds had visited 10 Rajaji Marg, Dr Kalam’s Delhi residence, on July 28 to pay tribute to the People’s President. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, had visited the Delhi bungalow where Dr Kalam lived for the last seven years after leaving the Presidential palace.

Penning his tribute to the ‘missile man’ and who was felicitated with the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, PM Modi said, “Bharat has lost a Ratna”. “Our scientist-President – and one who was genuinely loved and admired across the masses – never measured success by material possessions. For him, the counterpoint to poverty was the wealth of knowledge, in both its scientific and spiritual manifestations,” the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi remembered President Kalam as one who took little from the world, and gave all he could to the society. “Kalamji refused to be defeated by circumstances. His character, commitment and inspirational vision shine through his life. He was unencumbered by ego; flattery left him cold,” Modi said.

PM Modi said his profound idealism was secure because it rested on a foundation of realism. President Kalam was “equally at ease before an audience of suave, globe-trotting ministers and a class of young students”. Describing him as a “hero” of India’s defence, the Prime Minister said his contributions to “our nuclear and space achievements have given India the muscle to be confident of her place in the region and the world.”

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has called Kalam another Mahatma as he feels “blessed enough” to have lived during a time that had a “mahatma” like former president A P J Abdul Kalam. Paying tribute to Kalam, Rajinikanth today said the scientist inspired millions of people with his life and achievements. “I did not have the privilege of seeing our mahatma Gandhiji, Kamaraj or poet Barathiyaar but was blessed enough to live admist Mahatma Kalamji”. Like Dr. Kalam who was a paper boy in Rameswaram, Rajinikanth also, began life earnestly as a bus conductor in Bangalore city and today he is the king of Tamil cinema.

Apart from leading a simple life throughout even while thinking very high, Dr. Kalam was honest statesman and kept the genuine interest of nation above all other considerations.  He never went after money and never sought to waste nation’s resources even by foreign tours. This distinguishes Dr. Kalam from other presidents of India.

Like Nehru, the first PM of India, Kalam also was fond of children and roses.

Following are among quotes by the scientist, author and former President Kalam:

  1. You have to dream before your dreams can come true.
  2. Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.
  3. Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.
  4. Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.
  5. We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India, resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with civilizational heritage.
  6. Those who cannot work with their hearts achieve but a hollow, half-hearted success that breeds bitterness all around.
  7. Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.
  8. Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.
  9. If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.
  10. My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.

Kalam will be remembered for his engagement with the people – especially children – even after his presidency and the books that he wrote – India 2020 and, of course, igniting minds.   “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun,” APJ Abdul Kalam had said in one of his inspirational speeches. He certainly did. It was the role he will probably be most remembered for – a president who brought Rashtrapati Bhavan to the people  earning him the tribute of the People’s President.

Could the nuclear deal lead to US-Iran rapprochement?

US-Iran rapprochement?

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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The nuclear deal signed by US led west and Iran remains the top story around which  heated debates are taking place as to the deal is really significant  and its implications for Iran, USA, Israel and Europe as well as world peace in general. The discussions are inconclusive on whether or not USA and Iran could emerge strategic partners in US calculations and if do what would be status of Israel, thus far claiming regional super power armed with illegal nukes.

There is also a general global appreciation of West-Iran nuclear deal concluded recently and the recognition by international community of the beginning of a new future for the world by slowly shedding rifts.

Can the USA and Iran now build upon this agreement to improve their relations more broadly?

Needless to say this question stirs the strategic minds of USA, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, among others.  While Israel, already threatened by the American nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi would not like realignment of US-Iranian ties to further weaken US-Arab relations, Iran is wondering as to what is in store in USA for Tehran and what exactly the powerful US Jews and Israel would do to obstruct any real rapprochement between them that would have serious ramifications for Israeli super power status in Mideast including protection of its illegal interests in USA and Europe.

Considering how bad Iranian-American relations have been for so many years up until recently, Israel did not in fact expect that these two governments were able to reach a nuclear agreement at all. Western media reports and even manufactured opinions, seeking to empower Israel in Mideast and world at large by maintaining everlasting military-technology – diplomatic ties with USA, are now keeping their fingers deadly crossed as USA and other UNSC veto powers signed a historic nuclear deal with Iran, thereby paving smooth way for their mutual contacts and ties.

European powers, Russia, and China are already moving forward with Iran based on an assumption that the nuclear deal is done and sanctions on Iran will start to be lifted by the fall. Most Americans seek peace not by wars but through fruitful deals.

Leaving aside these problems, USA and Iran rapprochement to reach back to pre-Iraq-Iran war, could be problematic as there are significant obstacles to this.  One, of course, is that there are influential forces at work even in both countries that want to scuttle the nuclear deal altogether. But even though these could not succeed in blocking the deal, there are still other important differences between the two countries over several issues, including ongoing regional conflicts, US shield for Israeli regime and its nukes, Iranian relations with Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, and human rights issues. Also, as the 1970s-era Soviet-American cold war standoff shows, continued differences over regional security issues can halt progress toward rapprochement. The pessimistic argument is that there is no credible reason for any real US-Iran patch up. They wish ill of Iran and well of Israel.

On the positive side, some observers point out the growing new US-China economic and political ties to show that the US-Iran rapprochement may not be acutely problematic as China and America were able to embark on rapprochement in 1971 despite important differences between them, including ongoing Chinese support for Vietnamese communists fighting American forces in Indochina and for the spread of Marxist revolution in general. Consequently, over the years since Mao, Chinese foreign policy changed and Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, even broke with Mao’s revolutionary worldview, opting, instead,  for mixing communism with capitalism. This economic code mixing has generated plenty of billionaires to successfully complete with US rich men. Now China readily finances US capitalism against American efforts not to subsidize communism or socialism in any manner.

US President Barack Obama said after the deal was signed: “My hope is that building on this deal, we can continue to have conversations with Iran that incentivize them to behave differently in the region, to be less aggressive, less hostile, more cooperative…. Obama however cautioned “No one suggests that this deal resolves all the threats that Iran poses to its neighbors of the world. Moreover, realizing the promise of this deal will require many years.”

When Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered his prayer sermon to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, just days after conclusion of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, the hostile rhetoric rang as usual. Khamenei, just days before the July 14 deal between Iran and six world powers led by the United States, said that Iran’s fight against “arrogance” was “never-ending,” and that the USA “is the very epitome of arrogance”. This rhetoric had played its own positive role in bringing about the nuclear deal.

Earlier, as the terror bond between USA and Israel against, Iran, Palestinians and other Arabs increased in velocity and as both targeted Iran by calling the Islamic nation as a rouge state and Axis of evils, the supreme leader also praised Iranians who chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” decried “evil plots of the enemies” across the Middle East, and said US policies were “180 degrees” opposite those of the Islamic Republic. “Our policy toward the arrogant government of America will not change in any way despite these negotiations and the document that has been prepared,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, feeling the pinch of illegal western sanctions for Iranian nation only to appease Israel. USA knows for sure Iran ahs no nuke agenda.

In his prayer sermon, for example, Khamenei said there was “no injustice worse” than US labeling of the Iran-backed, Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as “terrorists,” instead of “resistance” forces. “This is while they support the terrorist child-killing government of Zionism Israel,” he said.

It was the supreme leader, after all, who called for “heroic flexibility” in 2013 for nuclear deal, and thereby bolstering Iran’s negotiating team while giving them unprecedented support as “sons of the revolution.”

Put the records straight: in order to ease tensions with USA, Tehran had democratically replaced anti-US-Israel firebrand, but the highly popular president Ahmadinejad with a new president so that Washington could feel at ease with relations with Iran. USA became confident thanks to the regime change in Iran to enable fearless deal with Tehran.  Signals emanating from White House indicate that USA is on its way to remove Iran from the blacklist of rogue states and Axis of evils. President Obama has already shelved the “rogue state” concept for dealing with countries like Iran and instead framed it as an “outlier on international law” – an approach more to the liking of the international community.  The deal is expected to bring in the Iranian government’s transformation over the coming decade.

Iranians often differentiate between their warmth for the American people and their dislike for Washington’s policies, even during events such as Qods Day, which attracts mostly conservative, ideological crowds in cities across Iran to denounce Israeli policies toward Palestinians. But anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiments have been pillars of Iran’s ideological outlook since 1979. If Khamenei is scathing toward the USA in his latest speeches, he is obviously implacable in his hatred for Israel.

Iranians themselves are often described as among the most pro-American populations in the region. In one small but typical example: During the annual Qods Day rally in Tehran on July 10, chants of “Death to America” rang out repeatedly. Israel, America’s close Middle East ally, was also pilloried and its natural end predicted in graphic posters and banners. But when one man asked this reporter where he was from and heard the reply, “America,” he opened his arms and gave a hug.

That tangled love-hate paradox lies at the heart of decades of mutual US-Iran hostility and efforts to undermine the other. Rhetorically, therefore, at least, the distance that still needs to be traveled is significant. But the nuclear agreement offers a possible path forward. “Of course the nuclear deal is a test for both sides, both for Iran as well as the United States, and both sides can show their faithfulness to their commitments,” says Gholam-Ali Haddadadel, a conservative former parliament speaker and presidential candidate who is close to the supreme leader. Logically, everything is possible, but practically it seems very difficult. Israel does not want that.

The challenges Iran is still facing are evident already. Even as the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that codifies aspects of the nuclear deal, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted in Iranian media as saying that parts of it “have clearly crossed the Islamic Republic’s red lines, especially in Iran’s military capabilities”.

Iran’s historical grievances include the CIA-orchestrated coup in 1953, US support for the pro-West shah and opposition to the revolution, and support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s Iran-Iraq War. These and other events have “blurred” the vision of Iranians toward the USA. Americans too have a long list of grievances. If the deal is interpreted by Washington to “give permission for the US to come in and meddle again, it will never happen. If it is thought that this deal is the beginning of a future in which the walls of mistrust between Iran and the US will become lower and lower, this is possible, depending upon the behavior of the USA.

Meanwhile, the USA could find itself on the outs with the rest of the world if, after years of painstaking negotiations with other world powers, it ends up rejecting the Iran nuclear deal because that would essentially means America’s rejection of world peace, particularly peace in West Asia. Rejection of the deal would leave the US and Israel isolated, both in the region and internationally. That is especially true as Gulf Arab states appear to be coming to a consensus of support for the deal.  So, after its acceptance elsewhere as a fair deal if the USA rejects this agreement – the USA, not Iran, will become the issue again.

Repeated polls show a preference by US public for US-led diplomacy over go-it-alone super power military intervention. US Secretary of State John Kerry has been quick to issue warnings about the threat of America’s isolation, arguing within days of the deal’s signing in Vienna on July 14 that if Congress were to vote down the deal, “Our friends in this effort will desert us.” Kerry obviously has a very valid point.

A word world 

Holy month of Ramadan gave the world a golden opportunity to strive toward global peace by a historic nuclear deal. The deal allows both USA and Iran to shed the past and move on. While USA could emerge stronger, regaining a portion of its prestige lost since Sept-11 hoax, greater Iranian contact with the rest of the world will also empower those Iranians who see their country’s destiny as being part of the modern world, not in opposition to it.

Speculation grows inside and outside Iran that the nuclear deal could be a catalyst for broader US-Iran cooperation between the arch foes on other mutual interests, such as combating the self-described Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. There is a growing expectation in some quarters that the nuclear deal will ultimately transform Iran’s relations with the outside world, particularly with the USA.

As Iran overcomes its international isolation causing severe economic problems for Iran now, Israel, international isolation owing to its expansionist genocides in Gaza Palestine, is gradually slipping into worst ever occupational crisis as Washington and EU are now no more on its side on Palestine issue than  their “traditional ally” Israel. While EU is not at all favoring Israeli occupational tactics and crimes, USA has already begun moving away from Tel Aviv.  Israel’s predicament could eventually lead to help resolution of Mideast crisis resolution by establishing much delayed Palestine state at long last.

The deal marks “a new paradigm in the world” and “ends the cold war between Iran and the USA, and they will come to know each other more realistically. The nuclear agreement would therefore be a starting point for Iran to play new roles in the region and the world which makes a new responsibility for this country regarding global peace

Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam passes away! (Updated)

Bharat Ratna Dr.  APJ Abdul Kalam passes away!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

_________________

Known as the people’s President and the “Missile Man” and who encouraged children and youth to dream big for bright future, the former Indian President Bharat Ratna Dr.  APJ Abdul Kalam has passed away on July 27, following a cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture in IIM-Shillong in North East India. Dr Kalam was hospitalized in a very critical condition but he could not survive.  The missiles he developed to make India militarily strong fell silent too, as they could not save the precious life of their scientific mentor.

Visionary Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam dreamt of equal opportunities for all and a developed India was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, was an Indian scientist who ended his career as the 11th President of India from July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007. Kalam came from a poor background and started working at an early age to supplement his family’s income. After completing school, Kalam distributed newspapers to contribute to his father’s income. In his school years he had average grades but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn and spend hours on his studies, especially mathematics. After completing his education at the Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954. Towards the end of the course, he was not enthusiastic about the subject and would later regret the four years he studied it. He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering.

Kalam spent his growing years dreaming of conquering the space frontiers on the Arabian Sea. His dreams of the next two decades were mostly conjured up on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, where he test-fired a variety of short-, medium- and long-range conventional and nuclear-capable missiles for India. His interest in flying led to a degree in aeronautical engineering, and eventually to his supervising the development of India’s guided missile program. He went abroad to study only once, in 1963-’64, to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the USA. As president he visited Africa. He was against wasting nation’s resources on unnecessary foreign tours. However, Pratiba Patil who with criminal records succeeded Dr. Kalam as Congress nominee began her service to nation by visiting foreign countries. In fact, Mrs. Patil was made president by Congress party with a view to save her from any punishment.

Dr. Kalam spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space program and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organizational, technical and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974. After serving a term of five years, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing, and public service. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, though Indian regime has recently tried to belittle it by honoring its and corporate lords’ favorites with this award..

On 10 June 2002, the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was in power at the time, expressed that they would propose Kalam for the post of President, and both the Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party backed his candidacy. After the Samajwadi Party announced its support for Kalam, the Congress candidate Narayanan chose not to seek a second term in office, leaving the field clear. He moved into the Rashtrapati Bhavan after he was sworn in as President of India on 25 July. Kalam was the third President of India to have been honored with a Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, before becoming the President. Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna who later became the President of India. He was also the first scientist and the first bachelor to be Indian president.  He did not have the support of the left parties, Shiv Sena, Congress party and UPA constituents, to receive a renewed mandate. Kalam declined to contest the 2012 presidential poll.

After leaving office, Kalam became a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management Indore, honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai), JSS University (Mysore) and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. He taught information technology at IIIT Hyderabad and technology at Banaras Hindu University and Anna University. He authored many books, read widely.

It was unfair that Kalam was frisked by airport security at the JFK Airport in New York in September 2011, which led to protests by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and an expression of regret by US Government.  Kalam had previously been frisked by the ground staff of the Continental Airlines at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi in July 2009 and was treated like an ordinary passenger, despite being on the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s list of people exempted from security screening in India. Obviously, by insulting Dr. Kalam, India has also been insulted.

In 2011, Kalam, who probably viewed nukes as valuable assets,  was criticised by civil groups over his stand on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, where Tamil Nadu government killed some of the protesters among  fishermen  without mercy, while he supported setting up of the nuclear power plant and sought popular support apart from government of TN  never spoke with the local people. The protesters were hostile to his visit as they perceived to him to be a pro-nuclear scientist and were unimpressed by the assurance provided by him on the safety features of the plant.

A rare president of India Dr. Kalam replied to letters from the common people. As one of the few presidents to have touched the hearts of the poor children in the country, and since he also came from a poor background, he knew the power of education in changing one’s future.  Dr. Kalam became the first president to visit the Line of Control (LoC) and address the troops at Uri, close to the border with Pakistan.

Dr. Kalam, who received several doctorates, awards for his honest and dedicated work in science and technology in promotion of nation building, also enjoyed writing Tamil poetry and playing the veenai, a South Indian string instrument. A religious person, Kalam could recite both the Holy Quran and the Bhagavad Gita. Kalam opened his palace to general public one month every year.

Indian government has announced an official mourning for 7 days. Kalam’s remains would be kept in New Delhi for public homage, before his body would be laid to rest to rest in his home town Rameswaram.  May his life Hereafter also be fruitful!

Bharat Ratna Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam passes away!

Bharat Ratna Dr.  APJ Abdul Kalam passes away!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

_________________

Known fondly as the People’s President and the Missile Man, former Indian President who encouraged children and youth to dream big for bright future, has passed away following a cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture in IIM-Shillong in North East India. Dr Kalam was hospitalized in a very critical condition and could not survive.

Visionary Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, was an Indian scientist who ended his career as the 11th President of India from July 25, 2002 to July 25, 2007. Kalam came from a poor background and started working at an early age to supplement his family’s income. After completing school, Kalam distributed newspapers to contribute to his father’s income. In his school years he had average grades but was described as a bright and hardworking student who had a strong desire to learn and spend hours on his studies, especially mathematics. After completing his education at the Ramanathapuram Schwartz Matriculation School, Kalam went on to attend Saint Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli, then affiliated with the University of Madras, from where he graduated in physics in 1954. Towards the end of the course, he was not enthusiastic about the subject and would later regret the four years he studied it. He moved to Madras in 1955 to study aerospace engineering.

Kalam spent his growing years dreaming of conquering the space frontiers on the Arabian Sea. His dreams of the next two decades were mostly conjured up on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, where he test-fired a variety of short-, medium- and long-range conventional and nuclear-capable missiles for India. His interest in flying led to a degree in aeronautical engineering, and eventually to his supervising the development of India’s guided missile program. He went abroad to study only once, in 1963-’64, to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States. As president he visited Africa

Dr. Kalam spent the next four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in India’s civilian space program and military missile development efforts. He thus came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal organizational, technical and political role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974. After serving a term of five years, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing, and public service. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, though Indian regime has recently tried to belittle it by honoring its and corporate lords’ favorites with this award..

On 10 June 2002, the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which was in power at the time, expressed that they would propose Kalam for the post of President, and both the Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party backed his candidacy. After the Samajwadi Party announced its support for Kalam, the Congress candidate Narayanan chose not to seek a second term in office, leaving the field clear. He moved into the Rashtrapati Bhavan after he was sworn in as President of India on 25 July. Kalam was the third President of India to have been honored with a Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, before becoming the President. Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954) and Dr Zakir Hussain (1963) were the earlier recipients of Bharat Ratna who later became the President of India. He was also the first scientist and the first bachelor to be Indian president.  He did not have the support of the left parties, Shiv Sena, Congress party and UPA constituents, to receive a renewed mandate. Kalam declined to contest the 2012 presidential poll.

After leaving office, Kalam became a visiting professor at Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management Indore, honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Thiruvananthapuram, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at Anna University (Chennai), JSS University (Mysore) and an adjunct/visiting faculty at many other academic and research institutions across India. He taught information technology at IIIT Hyderabad and technology at Banaras Hindu University and Anna University

It was unfair that Kalam was frisked by airport security at the JFK Airport in New York in September 2011, which led to protests by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and an expression of regret by US Government.  Kalam had previously been frisked by the ground staff of the Continental Airlines at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi in July 2009 and was treated like an ordinary passenger, despite being on the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security’s list of people exempted from security screening in India. Obviously, by insulting Dr. Kalam, India has also been insulted.

In 2011, Kalam was criticised by civil groups over his stand on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, where Tamil Nadu government killed some of the protesters without mercy, while he supported setting up of the nuclear power plant and never spoke with the local people. The protesters were hostile to his visit as they perceived to him to be a pro-nuclear scientist and were unimpressed by the assurance provided by him on the safety features of the plant.

A rare president of India Dr. Kalam replied to letters from the common people. As one of the few presidents to have touched the hearts of the poor children in the country, and since he also came from a poor background, he knew the power of education in changing one’s future.  Dr. Kalam became the first president to visit the Line of Control (LoC) and address the troops at Uri, close to the border with Pakistan.

Dr. Kalam, who received awards for his honest and dedicated work, also enjoyed writing Tamil poetry and playing the veenai, a South Indian string instrument. A religious person, Kalam could recite both the Holy Quran and the Bhagavad Gita. Let his life hereafter also be fruitful.

Paralysis of Indian parliament and democracy!

Paralysis of Indian parliament and democracy!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_______________

Politics in India is a very highly profitable business where both the ruling and opposition leaders mint money, where MPs and MLA thrive by taking huge bribes and promoting crony capitalism.

The Hindutva leader Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which came to power  with a  unprecedented mandate and  now occupying most of the seats in the parliament (Lok Sabha)  seriously believes it has a prerogative to do whatever it wants , including corrupt operations by ministers and, therefore, expects the expects  the opposition parties led by Congress party which ruled India  for many years,  making  the nation among the most corrupt  states  around.

Indian parliament now controlled by BJP, increasingly becoming arrogant, has remained crippled for days.  The Congress and the Opposition want Lalitgate accused Sushma Swaraj to go without a discussion or preconditions just as the way the BJP wanted many of the UPA ministers to resign while it was in opposition during the last decade. Resign first, discuss later – was what the BJP had told the UPA then.

Today, the Congress is paying back in the same coin. “What we have said is that there will be no discussion without resignation. Sushma has done a criminal act,” is Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s refrain.

This is perhaps a stunning example of BJP’s contradictory political behavior in different situations: the party that disrupted the Parliament the most in the last five decades is now crying foul that the Opposition Congress is not allowing the house to work. The cavalier manner in which it had brought the last Lok Sabha to a historical low seems to have evaporated from its self-righteous memory as it accuses the Opposition of “undemocratic” behavior.

BJP ransacked parliament several times over corruption and other issues got a few Congress ministers removed. External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and HRD minister Shashi Tharoor are two important Congress men who lost jobs in Manmohan government that promoted corruption.

It seems the BJP has least respect for Parliament. After the first eight sessions of Congress led UPA I under Manmohan Singh, the “sitting time” lost to disruptions had reached an all-time high of 38 percent. The 15th Lok Sabha, with UPA II government, was the crowning glory of the BJP in disruption of the Parliament – at 61 percent, its worst productive time in Indian legislative history. During the same period, the record for Rajya Sabha (Upper House) was equally dismal – 66 percent. Compared to 297 bills during the 13th Lok Sabha, when the BJP-led NDA was in power and Congress in opposition, the UPA II could pass only 179 out of its planned 328 bills. Several serious pieces of legislation such as Direct Taxes Code, Micro Finance Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, Women’s Reservation Bill, and the Bill enabling the introduction of Goods and Services Tax just lapsed. What was more tragic was that 60 per cent of the question time was wasted by the BJP-led acrimony.

It’s so ironic that it was the same Swaraj who as opposition BJP leader in 2005 wanted the Parliament to stop and an FIR to be filed against the then External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh for his family’s alleged involvement in the famous “Oil for Food” scam in Iraq. Although he was close to Sonia Gandhi and the evidence against him was still preliminary, he was axed within a couple of months and was finally eased out of the party before the ED and a judicial committee began investigations. But both Swaraj and the BJP are now amused when Rahul says that she has done a criminal act and she deserves to go to jail.

In February 2014 during UPA II, the same Swaraj again justified her party’s relentless acrimony in the Parliament. She raised so many Congress government scams; a new one came up in the interval of every session. The government wanted MPs to set them aside and let the parliament go on. BJP said it had to stall the parliament to expose the government and its corruption.

What the Congress says now is also the same – sack Swaraj, Vasundhara and Chauhan before any investigations. Swaraj may recall that she hadn’t relented one bit when Sonia and Kamal Nath tried good manners with her as Narendra Modi is trying with the Congress and other opposition leaders now.

The Congress can quote to BJP’s Arun Jaitely’s justification of the pandemonium in Parliament during UPA II: “If parliamentary accountability is subverted and a debate is intended to be used merely to put a lid on parliamentary accountability, it is then a legitimate tactic for the Opposition to expose the government through parliamentary instruments available at its command.

Maybe, the Congress is perfectly in its right to pay the BJP back in full because it was the latter that has progressively lowered the bar for legislative disruption. That its conduct was touching a new low was clear in the opinions of many statesmen and experts on democracy. Parliamentary system of governance is on the verge of collapsing. The Session The r proceedings and outcomes clearly showed that parliament has been dismal failure. It was one adjournment after another on issues of trivial importance. Several mornings just about all the members were on their feet shouting at each other. Most of the MPs prefer to stand in the Wall.

The BJP’s parliamentary conduct has plumbed new depths and the nation agonized over the plunging standards of parliament. The party has been behaving like a bad loser, disrupting Parliament with a gusto unbefitting the main Opposition party. It might have been possible to be good-humored about the BJP’s zest for disorder had the party not been persistently offensive to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. That the party’s big two did not participate in the unedifying spectacle has turned out to be illusory relief.

BJP has now borrowed the Delhi ruling AAP strategy in New Delhi in staging demonstrations. BJP MPs got a message from the party that they would have to reach Parliament early to stage a dharna at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, a strategy generally adopted by Opposition to protest against government. On July 24 morning, BJP party MPs assembled at the protest site in the complex holding banners which said “Parliament should function”, “Sonia, Rahul shame shame, scams and scams in Congress states” and “Sonia, Rahul tell us where the corruption money has gone.”

This was part of the ruling side’s aggressive brazen it out tactic, as Parliament remained paralyzed for the fourth day. The total time lost so far in Lok Sabha is 94 per cent and in Rajya Sabha 88 per cent. The maximum time lost in Lok Sabha since 2009 was 94 per cent in the winter session of 2010, when the then BJP-led Opposition’s demand for setting up a JPC to examine the 2G scam stalled business.

The ruling party protest drew potshots from Opposition, which has been demanding resignations of BJP leaders facing the heat in the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues. “Why was the ruling party sitting on a dharna? Who were they making their demands to? Were they making their demands to God?” JD-U leader Sharad Yadav asked. BSP supremo Mayawati said “rather than hold dharna, demonstrations, the government should take action against people who have violated norms.” Aam Admi Party’s Kumar Vishwas tweeted “the government is sitting on a dharna outside Parliament. May be their demand is to US President Obama.”

It appears, the Modi government would let the session get washed away and blame the Opposition for it, and use it in the Bihar poll campaign underway now. Javadekar said his party is hopeful that collective wisdom would prevail and the Congress would realize its mistake. Javadekar said Opposition protests could mellow down by next week, but asked what his hopes were based on, he said “optimism”. He castigated Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swaraj and sought an apology from him. “He crossed all limits of decency…. The language he used nobody uses. We still refer to them as Rahulji, Soniaji…. He said Modi’s silence will help. We say the more he speaks the more it will help us.” Union minister Nitin Gadkari has threatened to file a defamation case if Gandhi did not apologize for saying that Swaraj had committed a criminal act by helping Lalit Modi.

The treasury’s eye for an eye strategy has failed to tame the Opposition, which refused to budge from its demand for resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

It looks the BJP emboldened by thumping majority in the parliament, does not want to yield to Congress pressure tactics and Modi or BJP would not  readily drop the CMs and central ministers unless court orders for that.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to sidetrack the corruption charges leveled against his ministers and CMs and he said on July 26 in his monthly radio program avoided BJP’s muddy politics or the logjam in Parliament at a time when Parliament is unable to function because of a deadlock with opposition demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various controversies.  After talking about ‘kisan’ (farmer), he spoke about the ‘jawan’ (soldier) on the Kargil Vijay Divas, celebrated on Sunday as a day of victory against Pakistan in the three-month conflict in Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir in 1999. He paid tributes to the armed forces that   successfully silence freedom seeking Kashmir by attacks, and hailed their valor and sacrifices for the nation.

The BJP is no stranger to double-speak. Whether it’s on secularism, communal riots, nuclear deal, FDI, or black money, it’s always armed with two convenient stock versions. Most of its leaders can instinctively speak with a forked tongue. What’s on display now is its double-speak on corruption, impropriety, ethics and parliamentary decorum. By exposing it, the Congress has nothing to lose.

Indian regime is not at all bothered about corruption particularly at top level which is ruining India. Instead of helping the poor in the country, India keeps buying security bonds abroad. New Delhi is fascinated by its heavy purchase of US bonds. India increased its exposure to US government securities by $31 billion in the first five months of the year, taking the overall holdings to $114 billion in May. This is also the highest level of holding by India in more than a year.

Observations

 

Independent India has a long list of corruption scams and not even one was pursued to its logical conclusion or the guilty punished. It is because of the regime interference in the judiciary to shield its favorites. Anyway, the rulebook that the parties and the parliamentarians ought to go by has long since been thrown to the wind. Now, it’s payback time for all those years starting with the Bofors days, as we sit back and watch with absolutely no amusement.

 

The BJP appears to be in contact, as usual, with Congress party to somehow divert the attention of the public from its corrupt mindset. The Hindutva mother RSS that often mediates between the senior most parties BJP and Congress is also caught in between, not knowing how to save BJP government.

Neither nation nor its parliament nor democracy is important to Indian politicians. Paralysis is symbolic of a valueless, sick polity in India. Politicians want money and wealth while the ruling party assists corporates, rich and corrupt elements in the nation. That is why the Modi government uses his power to shield Lalit Modi, and his ministers.

Like Congress, BJP also promotes capitalism, corporate lords, corruption and cricket. There is absolutely no chance the guilty gets punished – except, of course, the Muslims. Indian government, led by BJP or Congress, still view Muslims as “suspected anti-nationals” though they are placed slightly better than Kashmiri Muslims whom India cannot trust and can only  oppress.

In fact, even while scams are debated in Indian media and people’s attention is focused on them, Indian military boys target Kashmiris for their blood and after killing some of them as a routine matter, the media are informed that the Indian forces killed the Pakistani terrorists in Kashmir.  Indian corporate lords put more money in US banks for use by USA.  This explains why US presidents cannot see what is happening Kashmir.

Meanwhile, dramas continue to dominate the parliament proceedings and media debates as usual. As parties settle scores in the Parliament resulting paralysis has weakened democratic fabric of India!

Cricket: Sri Lanka crushes ultra greedy Pakistan!

Cricket:   Sri Lanka crushed ultra greedy Pakistan!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff (specialist on sport fixing)

_____________________

Like all other teams, Pakistanis also want as many 200s, 100s, 150s and 50s as the opponent bowlers and fielders allow, because cricket matches are staged only for making batboys shine at other’s coast while bowlers are encouraged, if not asked even by offering extra money, to offer big scores and good 100s and 200s or at least a few 50s.

So, an impression is being deliberately created by sport media that  it is  batboys are  genuine and big hitters while hiding the fact that none of  the batboys can stay at the crease unnecessarily if bowlers are do  a serious and thorough work for the money they get from the corporate sponsors.

Clearly, Pakistani team is very greedy seeking big scores by offering big scores to opponents first and chasing them down with the help of opponent bowlers and fielders. This strategy has failed in Sri Lanka on July 26.

Upon establishing an unbeatable 3-1 series dominance,   Pakistan seemed to have came to the field to play the fifth and last ODI with a big score plan. They took the weak SL team for granted and decided exploit the situation to make a record in Colombo. Pakistan  seems to have decided  to offer 350 plus runs to Lankan batboys with solid 100 to  an opener,  and then chase down with ease- with 100s and 50s  if not a 200 to shine  too much.

In fact, cricket is not played to win or lose like in core sports but only for 100s, 50s and 200s or else cricket would die a natural death.  Test played for 5 long days only o to let batboys make their wealth in runs and money.

And Pakistan offered 350 plus runs in a hurry in 6s and 4s. They did not stop at giving a 100 to the opener but even stopped attacking batboys and giving runs to SL captain and partner at the end. The big idea was 350 plus for SL and the return favors.  Pakistan wanted to shine and it needed it not so badly.

In the normal course, Pakistan would have got a couple of 50s but  it sought 100s or even 200 for a batboy as a record. Lankan bowlers clearly saw the Pakistani game plan and attacked Pakistani batboys right from the ball one and showed no mercy whatsoever because it needed to get some prestige  at the end after losing the series. Not a single Pakistani batboy got at least 50 grace runs.

Ultra greed is not good for Pakistan and it should not have planned for a self disaster. .

In fact, Sri Lanka deserves appreciation and applauds for trimming Pakistani greed.  But will Pakistani learn anything from this shame?

One is not very sure if Pakistan premier Sharif took a few minutes off his busy schedule to weep for the “unscheduled” defeat his cricket team and there is not even one sport where Pakistanis win anything. Pakistan’s disgraced sportsmen and their media backers.

In fact, records and ranking in cricket is not real. It appears everything in cricket is bogus- starting from toss, pitch, fielding and bowling are not as real as the cricket commentators make us believe.  But the cricket fans wanting their favored team to win by any means, including fixing and bowler help do not openly admit this crude truth.

IPL scams have fully exposed fixing status in cricket as the underlining rule. Indian courts are unable to punish those caught in IPL dramas.  The courts let the culprits escape without any punishment.  One explanation is if bowlers are punished even the batboys as beneficiaries also should be punished and then entire cricket  and its players, boards, ICC, would be under attack.
Court declaration of IPL cheaters being “not-out” once again raises the issue of corporate influencing the courts and judges. One can say everything cricket is fake as matches are fixed by countries and their cricket boards for 100s, 200 etc for special batboys who seek fake records for rewards, awards, money. . Does it mean Indian courts support fake cricket?

Someone with a bat and someone else with a ball can naturally make a definite mischief. Why not ban cricket if it can’t be played as a genuine sport?

Liquor menace in Tamil Nadu: CM Jayalalithaa may ban liquor in Tamil Nadu!

Liquor menace in Tamil Nadu: CM Jayalalithaa may ban liquor in Tamil Nadu!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_____________

Among poll promises, liquor ban has caught the attention of the Tamil politicians. The Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu are now promising to make the state a dry one to attract votes in the upcoming elections. But chief minister J Jayalalithaa, in trying to outsmart the opposition parties like DMK and PMK, is emerging the cock of the walk by planning to put the cork on the bottle first. Jayalalithaa is eager to thrash DMK and other parties by winning every single MLA seat in Tamil Nadu in the assembly poll when she announces and she does not want to leave any chance.

It was PMK’s chief ministerial candidate and former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss who announced at a recent news conference that the enforcement of total prohibition would be the first official document he would sign if he were to become the Chief Minister of the state. PMK which enjoyed around 5 per cent vote share during 2011 assembly elections has been running anti-alcohol campaigns across the state and seeing a considerable support in its rallies especially from women. Other parties including the DMK, DMDK, Congress and BJP were quick to follow suit and tow the same line.

Other parties including the DMK, DMDK, Congress and BJP were quick to follow suit and tow the same line. Days after Anbumani Ramadoss’ prohibition cry, DMK president M Karunanidhi said he will take steps to enforce prohibition if the DMK comes to power in Tamil Nadu in 2016.  In his statement, Karunanidhi had said that due to the absence of prohibition in Tamil Nadu poor people farmers, laborers and even students have taken to alcohol leading to hundreds of deaths in the state.

Rival party DMK leader Karunanidhi who was instrumental in introducing liquor culture in the state, thereby making Tamils extremely addicted to its negative impact said that it is not just men but women and young children who are getting addicted to this dangerous habit. He added that, “the question does arise as to why prohibition should not be imposed again in Tamil Nadu?” When the DMK leader’s statement drew criticism that it was his own party which had gone back-and-forth on prohibition since 1971, son MK Stalin followed up Karunanidhi’s statement with another assurance of enforcing prohibition if voted to power. Expert say it is indeed a fact that the easy availability of alcohol is a menace, but prohibition, as anticipated by the political parties, is not likely to become an election issue.

DMK hit back at PMK founder S Ramadoss who accused party chief M Karunanidhi of “ruining generations” by removing prohibition in 1971, saying it was an “outburst” as his “dreams” of making his son Anbumani Chief Minister of the state have been “shattered”. DMK’s Principal Secretary, Duraimurugan, asked why Ramadoss had “concealed” facts that Karunanidhi, who originally removed prohibition in 1971, restored it in 1974 and about the AIADMK government under M G Ramachandran later allowing opening of toddy shops. Recently, Ramadoss had said that by removing prohibition in1971, despite a plea from veteran freedom fighter and Swantantra Party leader C Rajagopalachari against doing so, the DMK chief had “ruined” generations.

Speculations are rife that the J Jayalalithaa-led state government is mulling a formula in response to the pressure building on it as almost all opposition parties have begun promising total prohibition in Tamil Nadu if they were to come to power in 2016. While some say the state may consider reducing the existing number of Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) liquor outlets, there are others who say more drastic steps to curb liquor sales could come into effect soon.

A source said that the options being considered include reducing the timing of sales at Tasmac outlets from 12 hours to 6 hours between 2 pm to 8 pm and to increase focus only on Elite Tasmac bars: neither the minister for Prohibition and Excise nor the Tasmac.

People are well aware that even if these parties promise prohibition and if they are voted to power, soon these parties are capable of going back on their promise and will reopen Tasmac,” said C Lakshmanan of Madras Institute of Development Studies. “If parties like DMK and PMK are se rious about the idea of prohibition, will they suspend any senior party representative who has ties with the liquor business? It is a well-known fact that Kaduvetti Guru (PMK), T R Baalu (DMK) and S Jagathratchagan (DMK) are all connected to the liquor industry. Any political party that is serious about prohibition should first expel their own party representatives involved in the liquor business “There is no doubt that the negative impact of liquor on common masses as consumption has pervaded deeply into society. Poor and common people spend too much on liquor and stand in long queues to buy imported “bottles” of colorful liquor.

Drinking is not a taboo anymore, especially because it has been made freely available in poor and lower middle-class residential areas. But the fact that every party, including the ruling party, wants to talk about prohibition is only to confuse the voter and to ensure that no single party takes advantage of the promise

Some critics, however, as usual say prohibition’s a terrible idea and government would revert back to liquor flow policy. They also argue prohibition does not solve the bane of drinking. It only forces the drinker to take the recourse of sources not under the purview of any standards or regulations. It can, and has in states with prohibition or prohibition like conditions, driven drinkers to life-threatening options whose suppliers are in no way accountable to anyone. Hooch deaths occur not because of offthe-shelf liquor being consumed, but because of safer, controlled options having been taken away. Prohibition may be the latest tipple in competitive state politics. But a ban on liquor pushes the drinker to go underground and risk a toxic death.

 

 

President Barack Obama invites Nawaz Sharif to USA: Implications!

President Barack Obama invites Nawaz Sharif to USA: Implications!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

__________

US President Barack Obama has invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for an official visit, a move seen in Washington here as mark of support for his policies, particularly efforts to improve ties with neighbours including India with pipeline diplomacy, notwithstanding  illusionary standoff  and crossfire between them in order to  keep the Kashmiris at a distance.  Obama has invited Sharif for a trip towards end of October obviously to offset the impact of his recent visit to Russia to attend SCO summit and his meeting with his Indian counterpart Modi. “It will be an important visit. It shows that the US supports policies of the Sharif’s government to create peace in the region by defeating militants and strengthening economy,” an official said on condition of anonymity. The formal invitation is expected to be issued in coming weeks.

The October trip is part of bilateral arrangement and will be separate from the UN session visit. Meanwhile, Sharif is also expected to visit the US in September for the UN General Assembly annual session and on its sidelines, he will co-chair a summit on peacekeeping. It will be Sharif’s second visit after the first one in 2013.

Obama’s invite comes at crucial time when Pakistan has almost cleared North Waziristan tribal region of al-Qaeda linked militants for the pipeline construction to connect India and helped kick-start a peace process between Afghan government and Taliban- both key demands of the USA.

Americans now play into Indian designs for South Asia and Obama  possibly signals support for occupation of Jammu Kashmir by  both India and Pakistan. The invite is meant to alienate Kashmiris, who are deeply worried about emerging rapprochement move between India and Pakistan with the pipeline diplomacy, from Pakistan.

The US visit will also help boost Sharif’s regional peace policy aiming to build peaceful ties with all neighbours. His recent pipeline policy towards India has been under scanner back home due to reservation by the military, which controls the security and foreign policy of the country, though it also supports pipeline policy giving Islamabad some more money as service charges from India.

The USA has deep interest in normalization of ties between India and Pakistan and has been pushing the two sides for better ties through terror prone pipeline links. It is also believed that the USA played a role in the recent meeting between the prime ministers of the two sides in Russia, where they agreed for meetings between their top officials.

Despite the tension, Sharif persisted with his peace initiative and sent traditional gift of mangoes to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, which drew immense criticism from media, pro-military experts and parties. After eating Pakistan’s sweet mangoes, India asks Pakistan to “do more” on terror matter.

Pakistan test fired a Shaheen III ballistic missile with a range up to 1,700 miles—which would allow Pakistan to hit any location in India—and, the following month, it test fired the Ghauri Ballistic Missile with a range of 807 miles; both are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Since the Afghan-Soviet war (1979-1989), Pakistan has served as a key U.S. ally in Central Asia—providing a base for military operations, participating in the counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and mediating relations between the United States and China. This bilateral relationship expanded in 2001 under President Bush, who increased humanitarian and military aid from $187.7 million in 2001 to $2 billion the year after 9/11—totally $20 billion in the subsequent decade. In 2009, Congress passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act that granted $1.5 billion in non-military aid to Pakistan over the next five years.  However, recent Pakistani political and military decisions reveal shifting allegiances, calling into question the strength of US-Pakistan relations. The once strong US-Pakistan relationship may be set to expire now unless renewed by USA with more aid packages.

It seems the USA may not need Pakistan’s ports and roads as before to sustain its Afghanistan operations, but the engagement between the two nations will continue. The relationship took a heavy blow following the US raid in Abbottabad to ostensibly kill Osama Bin Laden ( now is becoming clear US story is bogus) , but efforts have been made over the past year to rebuild the military ties. PM Sharif, after taking over the post last year, has overseen a major military operation against Islamists in the tribal areas of Pakistan, a long-pending US demand. Experts say Islamabad is using this as a way to extract a commitment from the US regarding enhanced engagement and continuation of military aid to Pakistan post-2014. And the strategy is working.

It appears Pakistan sustain itself exclusively on US money. The Pakistani government is trying to appease USA for enhanced aid. It created National Action Plan (NAP) in December 2014 to crack down on terrorism. In January 2015, Pakistan began a process of deepening military ties with Afghanistan to strengthen border security. Also in line with US regional interests, Pakistan pursued friendlier relations with India, As a result of Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, the State Department approved Pakistan’s request for nearly $1 billion in military equipment. However USA has rejected Pakistan’s demand for  another $1 billion, as Pakistan is not “ doing enough” and renewed crack down on terrorism is facing barriers to implementation.

As per Congressional Research Service reports, Pakistan has received close to $28.4bn (£12bn) in military and non-military aid from the US post 9/11. Of that, $11bn came from the CSF. Experts say convincing Congress to continue the CSF will be a tough ask for Mr Sharif. Many of the senators who control the purse strings have put conditions on the release of funds to Pakistan. Pakistan also gets close to $300m worth of military aid per year from the US to buy conventional weapons.

Washington is unhappy that the Pakistani initiatives supportive of US interests are greatly overshadowed by strengthening Pakistan-China and Pakistan-Russia relations, threatening the stability of a bilateral relationship founded primarily on Pakistan’s reliance upon the US resources.  Most recently, on April 16, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced plans to embark on a $46 billion infrastructure spending plan in Pakistan known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and, in early April, Pakistani president Nawaz Sharif approved an approximately $5 billion deal with China to purchase eight submarines with the potential to attach nuclear warheads. USA can do nothing as interests of China and Russia are growing closer to Pakistan. While only 16 percent of Pakistanis view America’s influence as “mostly positive,” 75 percent and 25 percent view China and Russia as such, respectively.

USA calculates Pakistan can help advancing US foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia. In order to keep Pakistan on board, USA keeps accusing Pakistan as its key policy, of harboring militants who wage war against Afghanistan and India.

There still remains a huge trust deficit as Islamabad is not at all sure what exactly would be US future strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Experts say it will need some real serious and honest effort to inject vitality in the relationship.

China’s unilateral action on South China Sea drives Pacific nations to seek US protection!

China’s unilateral action on South China Sea drives Pacific nations to seek US protection!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

__________

Part-I

Asia-pacific region remains a flashpoint as China is gradually trying to expand its control over the common sea territories in South East Asia. China’s aggressive project to build small islands in the South China Sea region, ignoring territorial claims of fellow nations in the region, is hitting Pacific nations at a more visceral level, bringing anxiety over security. China’s creation of small military installations, including a 10,000- ft. landing strip, on various tiny atolls in the Western Spratly Islands seems to have ratted Washington to pay more attention on the issue rattling the region for quite some time.

 

The Pacific countries Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei have long had their own competing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. To complicate the issue further, now China claims over hundreds of mostly uninhabited small islands, reefs, and rocks in the 1.4-million square mile South China Sea. Using traditional symbols to describe  one’s position in a given situation, China says it controls the territory within a U-shaped maritime boundary, known as the 9-dash line and also referred to as “the cow’s tongue,” since the line appears in a large curvature far below the mainland.

China claims a whopping 90 percent chunk of the South China Sea. Its maps draw a “nine dash line” to mark its claims, some of which are nearly 1,500 kms from China but close to the coastlines of nations that ring the line, like the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam.  However, China’s claim does not stand up under existing international law, as laid down in the United Nations Law of the Sea. China enjoys such rights because its fishermen have cast their nets in those distant waters for centuries. Those claims give China “indisputable sovereignty” over the land features and waters inside the line, Beijing insisted in a document presented to the UN in 2009. That sovereignty is, in fact, disputed. The Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei all claim some or all of the rocks, atolls, reefs, islands, and water that China says belong to it. The Philippines has taken China to an international court at The Hague to challenge the legitimacy of the “nine dash line,” though Beijing has said it does not recognize the tribunal’s right to rule on the matter. Beijing evidently hopes that its recent land reclamation drive has changed the facts on the ground – or in the sea.

In order to showcase its prowess to  neighbors, Chinese naval forces have already denied the Philippines access to explore oil and gas deposits and have harassed Philippine fishing fleets from places like the Scarborough Shoals, which sit about 100 miles off Philippine shores.  The Chinese Coast Guard occasionally blasts Filipino fishermen with water cannons after they sail too close to the tiny island outposts. Such unilateral action by China could spiral out of control, or a misunderstanding” could result with a military clash, killing people.

Chinese engineers using dredgers have turned seven reefs and atolls in the Spratlys into artificial islands. Some are large enough to support garrisons, land fighter jets or to dock large naval vessels.  Satellite images show cement factories and multi-story buildings being constructed and identifiable state- owned enterprises racing to make the new islands habitable. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC says these outposts would also help China “better safeguard national territorial sovereignty” and serve “military defense” purposes. Uses include helicopter bases for anti-submarine operations, aircraft refueling facilities, naval harbors and radar and missile installations that could one day help China’s air force impose an Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea, as it has tried to do over the East China Sea in its dispute over island ownership with Japan. Those prospects worry both the USA and regional powers.

In addition to boosting defense funding, Manila is preparing to reopen a former American naval base in Subic Bay where it will station new fighter jets purchased from South Korea. Repairs are also being made to a rusting World War II-era cargo ship now beached in the Spratlys that serves as the country’s most western military outpost.

China’s expansion and reclamation of islands in the South China Sea has escalated tension among Southeast Asian countries, and coordination between Japan and the Philippines may be perceived in Beijing as tacit support from Japan that the Philippines have rights to contested ocean territory. Japan, Asia’s second-biggest economy after China, receives a cut of the $5 trillion in cargo that passes through the shipping routes of the South China Sea each year.

The increase in activity in the region comes at a time when Southeast Asian leaders are jockeying for control over a swath of ocean that provides a tenth of the fish caught by global companies, Japan does not have any direct territorial interests in the South China Sea, but Japan’s own national security will be greatly affected by any instability and conflict there, making it a legitimate stakeholder.

Meanwhile, a Japanese surveillance plane with crew from the Philippines flew over areas of the South China Sea that the Philippines are in dispute with China over.  The flight path taken by the Japanese plane was close to the Spratly Islands, which the Philippines claim, and where China is constructing man-made islands.

Japan and China also face a direct standoff over disputed sea territories.

The monopoly strategy of China, equipped with military prowess and a UN veto seat, has prompted an everlasting increase in military spending by the regional nations. The Philippines announced a 25 percent increase in military spending over 13 years aimed at bolstering naval defenses and effectively countering China’s claims.

As Asia’s super power China is pushing its agenda in the region, the Pacific nations are exploring diplomacy with the global super power USA, new defense options, and even international legal recourse to stop China from extending its sphere of influence just off their shores.

The Hague tribunal admittedly has no enforcement mechanism and Beijing has signaled it has no plans to uphold an international ruling. But the hearings may provide the Philippines additional arguments in future negotiations. A decision on whether the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration has jurisdiction to rule comes this fall.

Part-II

Obviously, UNSC‘s veto members have certain prerogatives, rights and advantages and China is taking full advantages of being a permanent member on the discredited UNSC.    USA and other veto members or NATO have not taken the military steps on fellow veto members Russia and China.

Even as Russia, China’s senior strategic partner, annexed Crimea and reportedly moved into Ukraine its military to defend the ethnic Russian there, China also built seven artificial islands in the strategically sensitive and economically critical South China Sea, alarming its neighbors and risking confrontation with the USA, because it believes it can get away with the nervy move and bolster an old desire for regional dominance.

The Chinese mainland lies nearly 1,000 miles away from its most distant claims.  Beijing’s full claim over the sea would give it control of shipping routes touching half of all global trade through the region. Earlier this summer China said authoritatively that it would stop expanding the number of islands it is reclaiming but would continue to build in places where it has started work. China’s land reclamation efforts have taken place in an area that constitutes nearly 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone, a 200-mile radius that extends from national territory under the UN Law of the Sea.

China seems to have laid the groundwork to move its land power south … expanding the area of competition with the United States. In fact, China has wanted to do this for a long time. Now it has the dredging vessels, the money and the people. China tentatively turned in that direction in June, announcing that it had nearly finished its land reclamation drive.

China counts the South China Sea land reclamation project a success and it has strengthened its position in sovereignty disputes with its neighbors in Southeast Asia and it has projected its power into the heart of a waterway that sees five trillion dollars worth of trade each year.

The regional powers say China is causing a big and imminent threat to security” in Southeast Asia.  The rise of China’s economic power has given rise to its military power and the regional rivals cannot in any way stop or weaken the economic muscle of Beijing.

The Philippines is also fighting back in court. A case at The Hague argued on July 13 sought to have an international court rule on the legality of China’s territorial claim. That case is causing a stir here and in Vietnam, off whose shores China parked an oil rig last year, bringing clashes at sea and at home between ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese.

The Philippine military is limited compared with China’s. But under a decades-old mutual defense pact, the US is obliged to aid its former colony if it is attacked. Yet how far Washington will take action in the sea is unclear.  However, there are lingering doubt and unwarranted expectations in Manila. Filipinos have a tendency to place excessive or misplaced expectations in America’s commitment to protect the Philippines.

Vietnam is also looking for similar assistance to confront China on the high seas. Earlier this month, Hanoi’s Communist Party Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong, who met with President Obama in the Oval Office, told a forum in Washington that his country plans to expand military partnerships with the USA. The Pentagon said it will provide Vietnam with $18 million to purchase coast guard vessels.

Australia is considering sailing the sort of Freedom of Navigation patrols that the US navy runs regularly through the South China Sea to challenge any Chinese sovereignty claims it considers excessive. Even India has voiced concerns over possible threats to free navigation on major trade routes, including in the Indian Ocean.

The Chinese are acting as if they are stronger than they are. Caught in the middle of this big power maneuvering are a clutch of Southeast Asian nations that nurse territorial claims to rival China’s. Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei sell most of their exports to China, and China is a growing source of investment for them. Beijing’s recent moves have frightened their governments who are looking to Washington for regional balance.

As China’s interests and horizons expand, so will its impulse to exert physical control. China is moving beyond being a great power.  The secretive and determined methods Beijing is using to turn rocks and atolls into potential military bases, and its bland dismissal of other nations’ claims to those specks of island turf, is causing worry beyond just the Pacific Rim.

China’s activities in the South China Sea have sparked doubts about its intentions. China now appears to have altered a long-professed policy of “peaceful rise” and shown another face in the Pacific, and in so doing has driven a number of Pacific nations towards an American embrace.

Regional powers expect China to make good on its promises that all the civilian facilities it builds will be open to all. It seems that increased international attention on China’s activities has slowed down its military buildup. When under strong international pressure, China tends to adjust its strategy.  In recent days China has adopted a more conciliatory tone, saying it will build fishing havens, weather stations, and light houses on the islands, though the Philippines and its Southeast Asian neighbors are dubious.

World’s perceptions on China being a sensible nation with its ‘peaceful rise’ policy” have changed.  As China focused on building its economy and infrastructure it talked to neighbors about peace. But now China is trying to make peace effort as the subject of other countries to consider.

President Xi Jinping of China has emphasized closer trade and investment ties with Southeast Asia. The emphasis, called “One Belt, One Road,” is a centerpiece of his foreign policy, but China’s strategies on the South China Sea and on “One Belt, One Road” are in conflict.

Clearly, China’s unilateral action on South China Sea drives Pacific nations to seek US protection and Washington, still struggling with its Asia pivot agenda, might, as speculated by analysts, showcase an assertive stance on their behalf.

But will USA, fighting many battles around simultaneously, show any real inclinations for spending extra energy in the region?

Indian PM Modi’s sojourn in Russia and Central Asia to boost India’s multi-directional strategy!

Indian PM Modi’s sojourn in Russia and Central Asia to boost India’s multi-directional strategy!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_________________

 

I

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resumed his foreign tours and went to Russia and Central Asia from July 6-13 that will see a packed schedule with the prime minister spending about a day in each country. He was on a 3-day visit to Russia attend the seventh meeting of BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits and was also simultaneously on his first ever eight-day visit of Central Asian countries, making Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan after the two summits in Russia.

Modi visited Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan from July 6-8, after which he attended the summits of the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Russian city of Ufa from July 8-10. In Ufa, in the Republic of Bashkortostan, over 1,300 km from Moscow, Modi would be meeting his peers from the other nations of the BRICS grouping — Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the host, and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma – during the summit. After the two summits, Modi left for Turkmenistan (July 10-11), followed by Kyrgyzstan (July 11-12) and finally Tajikistan (July 12-13)

In Uzbekistan, the highlight would be Modi’s interaction with Indologists and Hindi language students in Tashkent. In Kazakhstan, Modi would address the Nazarbayev University and also inaugurate the India-Kazakhstan Centre for Excellence in ICT, where India has stationed a Param supercomputer, Sarna said. In Almaty (Kazakhstan), Modi would also attend a business event, where leading CEOs from both countries would be present. In Turkmenistan, the prime minister would inaugurate a centre for traditional medicine and yoga, with the participation of the Tukmen government, said Sarna. In Kyrgyzstan, Modi will have a packed schedule that will include the inauguration of an e-health link, under which one hospital in Bishkek will be linked with a hospital in India. “This is a pilot project and can be replicated,” the top official said. In Tajikistan, the final leg of the tour, Modi will hold talks with President Emomali Rahmon, besides other engagements. Modi paid a visit to India owned Ayni air base in Tajikistan, where it has set up a field hospital.

The Modi’s visit to the five nations, which are part of India’s extended neighborhood, are of strategic importance politically and economically.

PM Narendra Modi said on his arrival in Ufa, Russia: “It is very special to be in Russia, a nation whose remarkable friendship with India has always been known,” . He was accorded a warm welcome at the Ufa Airport and was hopeful of productive meetings and interactions at the BRICS and SCO Summits, forums India said attaches immense importance to.

BRICS, which is an acronym for its five member countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, meant for decision taking on enhancing cooperation in the economic front, – launched its new development bank with a $100 billion contingency reserve. The first head of the bank would be an Indian. At the summit of the SCO, a security bloc led by China and Russia, India and Pakistan were accorded full membership of the six-nation grouping that currently also includes former Soviet republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. India has so far only had Observer status in the SCO grouping, the focus of which is boosting connectivity, counter-terrorism cooperation, bolstering cooperation in the energy sector, enhancing trade and dealing with drug trafficking. With the BRICS Development Bank already set up, the summit also looked at the possibility of starting trade and credit facility in local currency. The BRICS Summit in 2014 was productive with interactions of BRICS leaders with captains of industry and leaders of other invited countries.

On the sidelines of the summits, PM Modi held bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. He met Chinese President Xi Jinping today and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday, July 10. With President Xi, the PM discussed bilateral ties at a time when India has expressed unhappiness over the proposed $46 billion economic corridor that would pass through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, and also over China’s support to Pakistan over the release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi whose name was linked with the two day Mumbai attack drama.

All eyes , however, were on PM Modi and Sharif’s scheduled meeting on the sidelines of SCO summit in Ufa. Officials from India and Pakistan had been tight-lipped on the details and structure of the meeting. Modi and Sharif last met at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu last November; they did not hold formal talks so far. Sources have said PM Modi’s phone call to Sharif at the start of the holy month of Ramzan set the tone and broke the ice. However, sources have said this is no way indicates the resumption of dialogue just yet. At the Ufa meeting PM Modi was expected to raise India’s concerns on terrorism, including the release of the prime suspect Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, the 26/11 mastermind who has walked free earlier this year. Economic ties and trade negotiations found dominance in the talks between the two nations. PM Modi has also accepted Pakistan’s invitation to attend the SAARC Summit in 2016 to be held in Islamabad. Both agreed on a significant cooperation to counter terrorism, targeting Muslims in Pakistan and maybe in Kashmir.
Indian PM also solicited, as usual, the support of these countries in an effort to secure a permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. PM Modi said as he left Delhi that he expects positive outcomes in economic cooperation and cultural ties among the BRICS nations.

II

Ever since PM Narendra Modi took charge at the helm of the Indian government, he has undertaken a number of strategic tours: from Bhutan to USA, including Canada, France, Germany and China and now Russia and Central Asian nations. The Indian PM has become known for his high-profile visits – each with the mission to build economic and strategic ties across the world and the visits are highly publicised by the PMO and corporate media syndicates. .

India’s move to counter Chinese game in Central Asia has prompted Modi to target Central Asia with th Russian support. Following the ‘Great Game’ of the 19th century, when the Russian and British empires contended over Central Asia, and the Cold War era when the Soviet Union and America locked horns, the last two decades have witnessed China entering as a formidable player in energy and infrastructural development in the five Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The central Asian countries that PM Modi shall be covering in this tour are all extremely important in terms of the natural resources they hold and in their potential to form strategic alliances. These nations have been key suppliers of oil and natural gas for China and are now looking for a diverse market. Oil, natural gas, and energy are at the center of the trade ties between India and these Central Asian countries which are rich in natural resources and share a cultural legacy with India. Modi had promised to bring solidarity to Indian ties with these nations. PM Modi underlined India’s historic ties with Uzbekistan – that land of Babur’s birth and its importance in the Silk Route. With Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Modi discussed various investment opportunities for India such as in the fields of tourism, and culture. Cyber security is one key field where the two countries have decided to build a strong partnership and work together. Another key point of discussion was the implementation of uranium supply from Uzbekistan. 2000 metric tonnes of the mineral is to be imported by India. A similar Uranium pact was also signed with Kazakhstan; India will now import 5000 tonnes of the yellow mineral in the next four years. Kazakhstan and India also inked a number of MoUs related to trade and culture. India made a renewed effort at securing some of Turkmenistan’s natural gas reserves – previous attempts having been waylaid by China.

Cultural ties formed one of the highlights of PM Modi’s agenda. Student exchange, linguistic developments, and religious tolerance were all discussed by the PM with the heads of these states. Yoga was discussed too.
Focusing on military partnerships, India has signed agreements on military and security cooperation, military exchange, joint exercises, and formation of a joint anti-terrorism unit. Tajikistan is already a significant military ally since 2002 when it built an air base near the town of Farkhor. This base is a support centre for US terror operations in Afghanistan and a counter point to any possible malevolent advances by Pakistan.

American military operations in Afghanistan which is culturally closer to Central Asia than South Asia, have meant that the region has been subjected to essentially a three-horse race.

III

India moves according to its own plan and agenda. After ‘Act East’, ‘Link West’ and proactive Indian Ocean diplomacy to the South of India’s landmass, PM Modi, fond of visiting foreign countries, has turned attention to Eurasia in order to connect North. His super fast trips to all five countries of Central Asia in one go, as well as Russia, from July 6 to 13, have boosted India’s multi-directional strategy. They have strengthened our presence in a geopolitically vital region labeled historically as the ‘heartland’ determining the fate of the world.

The International North–South Transport Corridor is a trade route (using various modes such as ship, road, and rail) between India, Iran, Russia, and other Central Asian, and European nations. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan are other routes, currently under consideration for addition to the existing corridor. PM Modi made a significant pitch to the heads of these countries to join the freight corridor. India also sought support from the Central Asian countries for India joining the Ashgabat Agreement – another strategic cooperation for movement of freight and a transit route between Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Kazakhstan.

The post-Soviet Central Asian space is stuck between the dominant power of yesterday, Russia, and the dominant power of tomorrow, China. Despite the advancing strategic partnership between Russia and China, Russia dominates and even dictates its terms to Central Asia- a former block of republics in the erstwhile USSR. Central Asians confront after becoming sandwiched between Russia and China. India takes full advantage of its traditional military links with Moscow. The palpitation that countries like Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have been undergoing under the looming Chinese shadow over their energy sectors has generated an opening that Modi is trying to exploit.

The setback to ONGC in 2013 in Kazakhstan, which blocked Indian acquisition of a prized oil well, has been made up via a new oil concession in the north Caspian sea where our energy major holds minority stakes. Modi has also extracted commitments from Kazakhstan for additional mature blocks for Indian investment, besides fresh contracts for uranium supply.

Modi’s energetic diplomacy in Central Asia demonstrated that India can be very important seeker of influence in the region, where Russia, USA and China calls all energy shots.

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