Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Will Modi's India Fight or Trade With Pakistan?

BJP leader Narendra Modi has made history as the first low-caste Hindu to be elected prime minister of India. Modi's spectacular rise from being a chai-walla to a major world leader is sure to inspire the world's largest population of poor who call India home.  Before discussing how Modi's rise will impact India-Pakistan ties, let's briefly examine the new man at the helm of affairs of the world's second most populous nation.

Who's Narendra Modi?

Narendra Modi will soon become the first low-caste Hindu prime minister of India. Modi was a young man when he joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the extremist Hindu nationalists organization in India, which has a long history of admiration for Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, and his "Final Solution".

In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

2002 Gujarat Riots: 

Apparently taking a cue from his Guruji Golwalkar, Modi presided over the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat state where he was first elected chief minister in 2001. During the riot, at least 2,000 Muslims were killed by Hindu mobs and several hundred girls and women were stripped naked, raped or gang-raped, had their wombs slashed and were thrown into fires, some while still alive.

In spite of the riots (or may be because of the riots), Modi continued to win elections and run Gujarat state as its chief minister since he was first elected 13 years ago. Gujarat saw significant investment and rapid economic growth during this period which is often attributed to Modi's pro-business policies.

Modi's Ties to Oligarchs: 

Modi has cultivated close ties with India's oligarchs who mostly come from his Gujarat state. Gautam Adani is one of these oligarchs to whom Modi has been particularly close. Adani has received cheap land for his land development projects and lucrative power purchase contracts for the electricity his power company generates. Adani has returned the favor by prividing both financial and logistics support for the Indian history's most expensive election campaign run by the BJP on Modi's behalf.

Modi and Sharif Comparison:

Far-fetched as it may seem, the fact is that Mr. Narendra Modi shares some commonalities with Mr. Nawaz Sharif. Examples:

1. Both men lead parties considered to be right-of-center.

2. Both leaders won fewer than a third of the popular votes in "landslides" to achieve absolute majorities in their respective national parliaments.

3. Both politicians are considered pro-business with close ties to oligarchs. There's Sharif-Mansha nexus in Pakistan similar to Modi-Adani nexus in India.

4. Both men support rapid expansion in trade which will benefit the oligarchs on both sides.

Modi's Balancing Act:

Narendra Modi's political support base consists of the extreme right-wing Hindu Nationalists.  His financial backers and investors are the big Gujarati oligarchs. The interests of these two groups diverge dramatically. While the Hindu Nationalists will demand hawkish policies toward Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indian Muslims, the oligarchs will push for expanded trade ties with Pakistan.  Adani is reportedly building a major power plant in Kutch region near Pakistan's border in the hope of exporting electricity to the country.

I expect Modi will try and balance the two interests groups by stepping up his anti-Pakistan rhetoric on "aatankwad" (terrorism) and at the same time pursue increased "vyapar" (trade) with Pakistan. This balancing act will severely test Modi's ability to quickly acquire political skills which he did not need as the chief minister of Gujarat. Failure to do so could scuttle all of his lofty promises of "development" he has made to the people India during his recent campaign to become prime minister of India.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India is World's Biggest Oligarchy

Should Pakistan Ignore Washington Consensus?

Gujarat Riot Victims 

Hindu Nationalists Admire Hitler

India Has World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry and Illiterates

Pakistan Needs More Gujaratis? 

India's Israel Envy

11 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Vibrant Gujarat, held every two years, has yielded billions of dollars in investment promises, though only a fraction of the deals announced have come to fruition......Eight months into Modi's rule, his failure to lift the economy from its longest growth slowdown in a generation has raised questions about how much substance there is behind his promise of "red carpet, not red tape". http://news.yahoo.com/indias-modi-promises-predictable-policies-stable-taxes-091307539--finance.html

Riaz Haq said...

A Fascist Model of Development
The Myth of India as a Superpower


A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend one of my childhood friend’s marriage ceremony in the Northern part of Bengal’s splendidly dense forest. There, I met one of my former school teachers who suggested, for “my own benefit,” that I join the Nazi-inspired Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He explained that, apart from the fact that I have all relevant degrees, I also have a Muslim name. This led me to withdraw into some deep labyrinthine cave inside me for a while, despite the hustle bustle of the wedding. The conversation provided crucial clues into the minds of India’s superbly corrupt middle class, who have been hypnotized into believing that India could be powerful only through arms, displays of aggression, masochism and a poisonous breed of nationalism. Nitasha Kaul in her essay, Kashmir: A Place of Blood and Memory (In Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir, Edited by Sanjay Kak, Haymarket Books, 2013) has this to say: “The large swathes of Indian middle classes are stuffed with intolerance, unthinking mass entertainment, and over consumption – fed by a corporatised media that ‘manufactures consent’ in a textbook Chomsky way. The mix of ignorance and blustery self-confidence that one encounters in middle-class Indians rivals Americans (they share this ‘superpower’ trait!).”

Average middle class Indians barely read, and when they do, to show how culturally advanced they are, they do not wander beyond the fictions of Chetan Bhagat or Sidney Sheldon. In cinema, they are die-hard fans of the horrible actor-cum-criminal Salman Khan, and in politics they have recently found out that if there is god on earth, then it is Modi. Their detergents have worked hard to wash off the bloodstains from this man’s clothes. The clamor of middle-class Indians for a life of super abundance is so deeply rooted that, as things stand, more and more they display the unmistakable characteristics of their former colonial masters. The middle class and the rich have become India’s new colonizers. Since colonization of economic resources is impossible without a simultaneous colonization of history and memory, India’s scholars, composed largely of liberal Brahmans, have embarked on an ambitious project to rewrite the history of the poor and dispossessed. In this history of hunter and hunted, the hunters are always glorified: they become the unquestioned mediators of the universe. Their violence is normalized through the cultural apparatus, and any deviation from it is taken as a sign of unmanliness or even disloyalty. Today’s middle class has absorbed all the barbaric elements of the neoliberal world view, according to which, the huts of the poor must be cleared to make way for the shopping malls of the rich. The middle class never tires of repeating the word “development” as it refuses to ponder its meaning and implications.
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Indians like my teacher champion a fascist model of development that exerts a disturbing influence on the inner self. The neoliberal world view builds up misery and guilt in those who theorize it or support it. It alienates the individual, firstly from his inner self and secondly from his fellow beings. These theories conveniently forget that there is a limit on natural resources. Forlorn and wasted, where else will such men seek their redemption if not in their own death. Fascism and its first cousin neoliberalism are harbingers of death and destruction. If Indians do not heed history, India could end up meeting the same fate as Japan, which learned a lesson on humanity and sobriety after a barbaric nuclear war. In 1998, when India blasted its first successful nuclear bombs, the men in uniform ironically used the code phrase “Buddha is smiling” to indicate to their masters that the tests were successful. The way our internal crisis is brewing, the way India is conducting its business with Pakistan, soon Buddha might be laughing at us.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/11/the-myth-of-india-as-a-superpower/

Riaz Haq said...

In the secret world of intelligence, where trust is a commodity best not discussed, the US and India have emerged as very unlikely partners. The US is today the most important supplier of intelligence and information to India, from being a rival until a few years ago, sources across intelligence and security agencies say.

That doesn't mean that all is forgiven and all information is fully trusted. The Indian establishment is divided over the quality of information flowing from US agencies.

Cooperation picked up after the 911 attacks in 2001, when the AB Vajpayee government opened up its secret chests containing credible terror information from Af-Pak belt. Until then, there were periods of highs and lows. The shadow of the Cold War, when both sides distrusted each other, hung heavy. "Among our foreign partners the biggest flow of information is from US agencies.Many a times they're highly credible. I won't say always," says a retired chief of one intelligence agency.

Contacts between intelligence agencies of both sides are now almost institutionalized, with visits of senior RAW officials to CIA 's Langley headquarters almost part of the drill. Such contacts exist between other agencies too.

In New Delhi, liaison meetings between intelligence officers of both countries happen often. In fact, many concede the most frequent contact is with US officials.

Much of the information that comes from American intelligence agencies deals with terror. It's now a habit for Indians to expect regular inputs from the US on terror-related developments in Pakistan."It's not always a good sign. We shouldn't get so addicted to their information," says a former intelligence officer.

In most cases, these inputs transform into alerts that invariably become public, causing international concern.Many analysts caution that unfounded alerts have the possibility of adversely affecting India's image of being a stable investment destination.

Even as the two sides boost cooperation, some are also beginning to get worried. "US is one foreign power with the biggest vested interest in the region. We should be wary," one official says. Another argues that in a large number of US inputs, the information was found to be unreliable. "It's tricky and it's advisable to be cautious," he said.

For many in the security establishment, developments of the past decade, such as that of a senior RAW officer defecting to the US in 2004, have added to questions on the US's real motives in India.Their concerns have deepened with revelations surrounding David Coleman Headley.

Such concerns may not be officially placed in the quiet intelligence agency meetings.But for US agencies to enjoy free access deep into the Indian security establishment, their real motives will forever remain the biggest challenge.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Spy-games-Is-India-too-dependent-on-US-inputs/articleshow/46007743.cms

Riaz Haq said...

#India #Muslims, #Christians should be forcibly sterilized: #Hindu Mahasabha leader. #BJP #Modi http://tribune.com.pk/story/868687/muslims-christians-should-be-forcibly-sterilised-hindu-mahasabha-

A Hindu Mahasabha (General Assembly) leader sparked controversy on Saturday after claiming that Muslims and Christians should forcibly be sterilised to restrict their growing population, which, according to her, posed a threat to Hindus.

“The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilisation so that they can’t increase their numbers,” vice president of All India Hindu Mahasabha Sadhvi Deva Thakur said, according to India Today.

Thakur also urged Hindus to have more children and increase their population so as to have an effect on the world.

The politician, however, did not just restrain herself to forcible sterilisation and claimed idols of Hindu gods and goddesses should be placed in mosques and churches.

Thakur also came out strongly in support of installing a statue of “patriot” Nathuram Godse in Haryana.

A census data in January this year on the population of religious groups in India showed a 24% rise in the Muslim population between 2001 and 2011, with the community’s share of total population rising from 13.4% to 14.2% over the 10-year period.

Read: India’s Muslim population grows 24%, slower than previous decade

Further, according to Pew Research Center’s projections released earlier this month, Muslim and Christian populations could be nearly equal by 2050, with Islam expected to be the fastest-growing faith on the planet.

The Pew Research Center’s religious profile predictions assessed data from around the world on fertility rates, trends in youth population growth and religious conversion statistics.

Read: Muslim, Christian population could be nearly equal by 2050: study

According to the report, “Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion.”

The authors predicted there will be 2.76 billion Muslims on the planet by then, and 2.92 billion Christians. Those figures would correspond to about 29.7% and 31.4%of the world population, respectively.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/868687/muslims-christians-should-be-forcibly-sterilised-hindu-mahasabha-leader/

Riaz Haq said...

Will #Afghanistan-#Pakistan spy collaboration blunt #India's RAW's covert war against Pakistan? http://reut.rs/1Lg2tg9 via @Reuters

After years of antagonism and accusations, spy agencies in Pakistan and Afghanistan will now share information, the Pakistani military said, in another sign frosty relations between the neighbors may be gradually thawing.

Improved ties are key to tackling stubborn Taliban insurgencies on both sides of the border but there is a long legacy of suspicion to overcome.

The announcement that a memorandum of understanding between the two intelligence agencies had been signed was made late on Monday by Major General Asim Bajwa, the Pakistan military spokesman, on Twitter.

"MOU signed by ISI & NDS," the tweet read, referring to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security.

"Includes int sharing, complimentary and coordinated int ops on respective sides," it said, referring to intelligence and operations.

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As violence in Afghanistan increased, Kabul and its NATO allies accused Pakistan of backing Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in a bid to maintain influence. Pakistani denied the accusations but made little move against Taliban safe havens in northwest Pakistan.

In recent years, Pakistan began accusing Afghanistan of doing the same thing in revenge.

Two distinct but allied Taliban insurgencies developed, one in Pakistan and one in Afghanistan. Each is dedicated to overthrowing the government in its own country and establishing strict Islamic law. Each has bases across the border.

But since Ghani took office, he has made a concerted push to reassure Pakistan and minimize Indian influence. A plea for Indian arms was quietly put on hold. Six Afghan cadets were sent to train in Pakistan and the Afghan army chief addressed a Pakistani class of military graduates.

There have been no large joint operations between the two militaries and deep suspicions remain.

But U.S. drone strikes against Pakistani militants in Afghanistan have increased, and Pakistani forces have intensified an anti-Taliban offensive in their northwest.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/19/us-afghanistan-pakistan-idUSKBN0O40KR20150519

Riaz Haq said...

With beef bans, #India moves to protect sacred cows #beefban #Modi #BJP #Hindu http://on.wsj.com/1M6WUCO via @WSJ

Across India, the status of the cow—an animal deeply revered in Hinduism—is emerging as a divisive issue. Conservatives emboldened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s BJP, which has Hindu nationalist roots, are seeking stricter limits on beef eating.

The western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, this year expanded its ban on cow slaughtering to add bulls and bullocks to the list. The BJP-governed state of Haryana recently imposed stricter punishments to protect the cow.

In March, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for a nationwide prohibition on beef, saying: “How can we accept that cows should be slaughtered in this country? We will do our best to put a ban on this, and we will do whatever it takes to build consensus.”

Mr. Modi won broad electoral support with an inclusive message of economic revival in a nation of myriad religions, languages and cultural traditions. But the government has also worked to promote yoga, a practice with roots in Hinduism, as well as Sanskrit, an ancient tongue that is used as Hinduism’s liturgical language.

Some Muslims contend the beef bans and other steps are aimed at them. “The BJP is trying to make Muslims feel like they’re not Indians,” says Siddiqullah Chaudhary of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, a national Muslim-rights organization.

It isn’t just Muslims who object. “These religious things are spreading everywhere,” says Anubhav Chakraborty, who is Hindu yet opposes banning beef on the principle that it erodes India’s secular tradition. Earlier this year, Mr. Chakraborty planned a beef-eating event in the West Bengal capital of Kolkata—dubbed the “yummy protest” in local media—to challenge the bans.

He had to cancel at the last minute in a dispute with his venue, but he says he’ll try again. Similar beef-eating protests have been staged elsewhere. His mother and co-organizer, Ramala Chakraborty, argues that India is too poor not to do something useful with cows that are no longer giving milk or doing productive work. “We will have an empire of cows,” she says.

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Penalties for slaughtering cows vary in states where it is illegal. Gujarat, for instance, sets a maximum seven-year jail term and 50,000-rupee ($780) fine, whereas in the capital city, Delhi, it’s a maximum five years’ jail and 10,000 rupees.

Cattle smuggling is common across India’s border into Bangladesh, and members of Mr. Gupta’s Cow Development Cell, which has set up “rapid-action groups” to stop cattle trucks despite having no legal authority, say they suspect the animals they liberated were headed there.

The BJP’s Mr. Kohli says the party doesn’t support behaving in a “vigilante manner.”

An hour’s drive south of Kolkata in the village of Champahati, Mr. Gupta met recently with a rapid-action group that a few months earlier had blocked the road, stopping trucks and freeing 92 head of cattle. “Members of our group surrounded the area,” says group member Anant Mondal.

A senior local police official said he was unaware of the incident.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #Muslims fear rising tide of #Hindu nationalism in #Modi's #India. #BJP #VHP http://wpo.st/JfFW0.... At an event in New Delhi last year, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said the Hindu scripture Bhagwad Gita must be declared a “national scripture.” Another BJP politician, Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of the northern Haryana state said Bhagwad Gita is considered more important than India’s secular Constitution.... The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (or the World Hindu Council, which is associated Modi’s party) launched a program called “Gharwapsi” (or Homecoming) to urge India’s Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism, which they said was the religion of their ancestors. The controversial debate began in December 2014 when more than 50 impoverished Muslim families in a slum in the northern city of Agra attended a simple ceremony at which they were asked by a Hindu priest to chant and throw offerings into the holy fire in front of some Hindu idols.... Last month, India hanged Yakub Memon, a Muslim accountant convicted of helping plan bombings in 1993 in Mumbai that killed 257 people. Many critics, including the Muslim lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi, opposed the execution saying that there were other non-Muslim convicts waiting in the death row that were given clemency. More than 15,000 Muslims joined Memon’s funeral procession in Mumbai....Members of the World Hindu Council launched a campaign last year urging Hindu families to be on guard against what they called “love jihad” – romantic relationships between young Hindus and Muslims. They accused Muslim men of coercing Hindu women into love in order to convert them to Islam.....The BJP government in the western state of Maharashtra banned the sale of beef because the cow is worshipped as a holy animal by many Hindus. Muslims dominate the meat industry in many parts of the country. “This is a political decision,” said Mohammed Aqil Qureshi, president of the Buffalo Traders Welfare Association in New Delhi. “They want to gratify the Hindus and harass the Muslims.” There have been calls for a national beef ban as well.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi claims ancient #Hindus did plastic surgery, found stem cells, built TV, nukes, missiles,airplanes,cars http://on.ft.com/1AxgDrG

Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, has relaunched his country’s controversial claims to some of the world’s greatest scientific achievements with his suggestion that ancient India was adept at genetics and plastic surgery, including the grafting of the elephant’s head onto the god Ganesh.

His remarks – ironically made at the opening of a high-tech hospital in Mumbai – have revived a political debate about the growing influence of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the Organisation of National Volunteers) over the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party.

Hindu fundamentalists are delighted by Mr Modi’s words, left-wingers are appalled or mocking and many foreigners are simply bemused that India’s real cultural, scientific and medical achievements are being overshadowed by simplistic references to the mythological past.

“For the intelligentsia and the educated people it’s so preposterous and absurd I think they don’t want to comment on it,” says political commentator Vinod Mehta. He argues that Mr Modi is currying favour with the Hindu right to secure their support. “Periodically you will hear him say these kinds of thing. I don’t think there’s a 1 per cent chance that the prime minister believes it.”

Here are five types of achievements claimed for ancient India:

• Stem cell research and other medical advances such as plastic surgery: Mr Modi mentioned the miraculous birth of the warrior king Karna in the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic, outside his mother’s womb as evidence that “genetic science was present at that time”. As for Ganesh, he said there must have been a surgeon who grafted the elephant head onto a human body “and began the practice of plastic surgery”.



• Cars and aircraft: Indian legends refer to horseless chariots and to aeroplane-like vehicles called vimanas. In the Mahabharata, the hero Arjuna, for example, sees “an incredible ship of the sky” which lands softly on the ground. “Wonderful lights flashed on the vimana’s smooth body. As Arjuna rose and approached the craft, a door opened at its side and a flight of steps flowed out from it.”



• Nuclear weapons and high-speed missiles: Arjuna’s arrows are often likened to missiles, sometimes with deadly payloads. At one point he shoots “a silver shaft charged with that final weapon” at his enemies. “It is an adamantine thunderbolt… Like a small sun, it erupts among the Trigarta legions and nine of every ten men Susharma brought to war are pillars of ash.”



•Televsion: A controversial book by retired schoolteacher Dinanath Batra, distributed in schools in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat, lays claim not only to motorcars and stem cell research but also to television in ancient India. Indian sages, it says, use their yogic powers to attain visions, and one royal adviser receives a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata. “There is no doubt that the invention of television goes back to this.”



• Mathematics: Like the claim to longstanding medical knowledge, this is based on real achievements in ancient times, even if many recent advances have been made beyond India’s frontiers. In particular India is credited with the system that became known as the “Arabic” numerals 0-9. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Holy Cow: #India's most dangerous animal. #Modi #BJP #beefmurder http://qz.com/531620 via @qzindia

Op Ed by Amalendu Misra:

As a child waiting for my gum in the local corner shop in Varanasi, India, I would stare at a large print hanging on the wall.
The print in question was a picture of a generously proportioned cow with the head and bust of a woman. Growing up, I learned that it was the image of Kamadhenu—a Hindu goddess fabled for providing bounties to her worshippers.
In the anthropomorphic world of Hinduism, all cows descend from this “divine bovine”. What is more: more than a million Hindu deities reside in the cow’s body. So it falls upon the devout Hindu not only to worship the humble cow, but also perform their sacred duty by protecting it. This explains the baffling—to tourists, at least—Indian curiosity of cows standing listlessly in the middle of busy motorways without any harm coming to them.
But, in India, where the slaughter of cows and sale of beef is restricted in 24 of the country’s 29 states, that sacred duty has taken a violent new turn. Hindu lynch mobs are taking to the streets. Their target: Muslims

Unlike their Hindu counterparts, Muslims do not associate cows with sacredness, and they eat beef. This does not gel well with some right-wing Hindus who wish to punish Muslims for their perceived profanity.
In late September, a Muslim man was murdered near New Delhi by a lynch mob on suspicion of killing and eating a calf. Shortly afterwards, a lorry driver in the disputed region of Kashmir was petrol bombed as the mob suspected him of ferrying cattle to be slaughtered in another province. And on Oct. 19, Hindu activists smeared black ink and engine oil on the face of a Kashmiri lawmaker in New Delhi over allegations that he held a “beef party”.
Skirmishes between protesters against the killings and police have erupted.

Several hard realities are overlooked by these violent Hindu radicals. The average Indian Muslim doesn’t eat beef because of some religious prerequisite, as many die-hard Hindus would have us believe. Instead, the decision to eat it very often boils down to economics.
In India, beef is, and has always been, cheaper than any other meat (chicken, goat or lamb). Kilogram for kilogram, it is even cheaper than potatoes in some places. For poor Muslims living on the economic margins, beef is the only source of a wholesome meal.

There are also Hindus who eat beef for the same economic reasons. Poverty-stricken and living outside the Hindu caste hierarchy, they don’t pay much attention to the religious prohibitions against killing cows and eating beef. And yet radical Hindus don’t complain about them.
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Then there is the trade in other bovines. India, for example, is the largest exporter of buffalo meat and hide. In the Hindu pantheon, mahish—the humble buffalo—is a handmaiden of demonic forces and enjoys no religious protection. The cow, meanwhile, is an altogether different case. Harm it and you are harming Hinduism by proxy.
To some orthodox radical Hindus, this is a crime worthy of violent retribution.


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The Bulgarian writer Elias Canetti’s work Crowds and Power is an excellent tool to better understand the ongoing Hindu mob psyche. The mob is a crowd overwhelmed by a distorted belief. Rather than recognising itself as the cause of societal problems, the mob feels that it is a liberating force that Hindus can pin their faith on.
Unless the ruling leadership puts a brake on this mob frenzy and denounces its spurious ideology, civic life in India is likely to spiral into further anarchy.

Riaz Haq said...

Ratings Agency #Moody’s to #Modi: Keep #BJP members in check or risk losing credibility - The Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/article7823019.ece …

Moody’s Analytics, the economic research and analysis division of Moody’s Corporation, is the first major global institution to comment on the recent political controversies in India.

In the wake of the beef controversy, Moody’s Analytics on Friday cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that unless he reined in members of his Bharatiya Janata Party, India ran the risk of losing domestic and global credibility.

Noting that Mr. Modi’s “right-leaning” party did not have a majority in the Upper House and also faced an obstructionist Opposition, making it difficult to pass crucial reform Bills, it said: “In recent times, the Government also hasn’t helped itself, with controversial comments from various BJP members… Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility.” In a report titled ‘India Outlook: Searching for Potential’, Moody’s Analytics — the economic research and analysis unit of Moody’s Corp. and distinct from the global rating arm Moody’s Investors Service — expressed concern over what it called the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities.

Stiffer opposition

This had raised “ethnic tensions”, it said, and stressed that the government’s reform agenda needed attention. “Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face stiffer opposition in the Upper House as the debate turns away from economic policy.”

It further said that the election in Bihar could prove pivotal to the leadership of Mr. Modi and noted that he had largely distanced himself from the nationalist jibes.

“Overall, it’s unclear whether India can deliver the promised reforms and hit its growth potential… Undoubtedly, numerous political outcomes will dictate the extent of success.”

The comments in the report, Moody’s Analytics said, were independent of those of the ratings arm, which had earlier this month forecast 7-7.5 per cent GDP growth for India in the current year, the highest among G20 economies. Moody’s rating for India’s sovereign debt is Baa3, just above junk status, with a positive outlook.

Moody’s rival international rating agency Standard & Poor’s on October 20 affirmed its ‘BBB’ long-term and ‘A-3’ short-term sovereign credit ratings for India, adding that its outlook continued to remain stable.

In its report, Moody’s Analytics said that for GDP growth in the current year to be higher than its projection of 7.6 per cent, the key economic reforms of land acquisition bill, a national goods and services tax, and revamped labour laws will have to be delivered. “They are unlikely to pass through Parliament in 2015, but there is an even chance of success in 2016.”

Sensex had fallen about 11 per cent since the euphoria behind the new government propelled the stock market but it was the consistent failure to deliver key economic reforms that had dimmed the optimism, Moody’s Analytics said. It also drew a clear distinction between the domestic and the global causes for investor worries. “While global market sentiment is down, Indian equities have also suffered from a loss in domestic sentiment.”

Lauds RBI

In sharp contrast to the concerns it expressed over the pace of reforms, Moody’s Analytics was all praise for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the improving macroeconomic fundamentals. “India is well placed for the U.S. interest rate normalisation…the rupee will come out relatively unscathed thanks to the RBI’s bulging foreign exchange reserves stockpile.”

Riaz Haq said...

Sarfaraz Merchant breaks silence on evidence of #MQM-#India links. #Pakistan #Karachi #London

http://www.geo.tv/latest/101651-Sarfaraz-Merchant-breaks-silence-on-alleged-MQM-India-links …

Sarfaraz Merchant, one of the suspects in London money-laundering case also involving top leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), on Tuesday broke silence about party’s alleged links with India.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with Geo News, Merchant said the Scotland Yard in London had seized several lists of weapons during raids at the MQM chief’s residence as part of the money-laundering investigation.

Sarfaraz Merchant, a close friend of senior MQM leader Muhammad Anwar, said that the Scotland Yard told him the political party has been receiving Indian funding.

“I shared the official document about Indian funding to MQM with a senior political figure, who was previously associated with MQM and is presently holding a key position in Sindh government,” he said refusing to name anyone. He said this information was later leaked.

“I was shocked to find that an Indian company in Dubai was transferring money into MQM’s accounts,” he said while replying to a question.

“I have not been in talking terms with MQM leaders since then and have kept a distance from them.”

Merchant said that Muhammad Anwar used to travel to India on regular basis and once also asked him to come along but he refused.

Sarfaraz Merchant said the Scotland Yard has credible evidence of Indian funding to the MQM.

“Scotland Yard showed me a list of weapons, which carried the name and address of Altaf Hussain,” he said.

Merchant conceded that he lent 35,000 UK pounds to MQM during the general elections in 2013. He further said he gave a total amount of 250,000 to MQM on different occasion.

He said he would adopt a legal course to take his money back and would also talk to authorities concerned in Pakistan in this regard.