The Statesman – Tibetans urge Narendra Modi to take up issue of Tibet with Xi Jinping

The National Convener of Core Group for Tibetan Cause, RK Khrimey said the unresolved question of Tibet is a matter of great concern not only to the Tibetans in their homeland and in exile but also to India and rest of the world.

Shimla – Himachal Pradesh – India, 10 October 2019. The Core Group for Tibetan Cause on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up the issue of Tibet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the informal summit at Mamallapuram near Chennai on 11 and 12 October.

The National Convener of Core Group for Tibetan Cause, RK Khrimey said the unresolved question of Tibet is a matter of great concern not only to the Tibetans in their homeland and in exile but also to India and rest of the world.

“Unfortunate self-immolation by over 153 Tibetans inside Tibet since 2009 is a clear indication of the gravity of human rights situation in Tibet under Chinese rule,” he said, adding Chinese government must take steps to improve the human rights situation.

He said the Chinese government must immediately stop the religious and cultural repression in Tibet.

Further, the dialogue between representatives of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and the People’s Republic of China which has been suspended since 2010, should be resumed as soon as possible without further delay.

“We would like to request to build pressure upon the Chinese authorities to stop disturbing the fragile ecology of the Tibetan plateau by bringing together all the riparian states affected by such activities,” he added.

Khrimey said PM Modi has not only brought a transformation of the plight of Indian community but created a new dimension from India to Bharat.

He said having stated this, while initiating the dialogue with Xi Jinping, Modi must also take up the issue of Tibetan students who have been living and pursuing their studies in Tibet.

The students have been unnecessarily put on house arrest, blockading their usual movement and unnecessarily questioned their motives and aspiration, he said, adding the arrested students must be released immediately.

“The Constitution of India ensures us the right to protest against the injustices prevailing hitherto despite any indulgence of political and social powers. The same rights are equally applied to Tibetans as well.

Over 60 years of their existence in India as a refugee, the successive Indian government has never crushed their voices but we are tortured for protest in the street against injustices impinged upon Tibetans inside Tibet by Chinese government,” he added.

Tibetans urge Narendra Modi to take up issue of Tibet with Xi Jinping

The Hindu – BJP offered Rs 10 crore each to 7 MLAs to quit party: AAP

Sisodia claims party offering money to more AAP legislators, but won’t be successful

Staff Reporter

New Delhi – India, 02 May 2019. The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday alleged that seven of its MLAs were approached with an offer of Rs 10 crore each by the BJP to leave the party before the Lok Sabha election.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia claimed that the BJP was talking to more AAP MLAs, but insisted that its mission would not be successful. “People from the BJP contacted seven AAP MLAs and said that if they leave the party before the Lok Sabha election, they will give them Rs 10 crore each. They are talking to more, but the seven have told us,” he said.

“I want to tell the BJP, [party president] Amit Shah and [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi ji, don’t try to buy AAP MLAs and fight election; if you have courage, fight election on issues. You will try to buy them and they will tell us [about it]. You can’t buy AAP MLAs,” he asserted.

Mr Sisodia said Mr Modi should be “ashamed”, referring to the latter’s earlier comment that 40 Trinamool Congress MLAs in West Bengal were in touch with him.

“Is it right for the Prime Minister to say that? He is saying it openly that to weaken democracy he is going to buy 40 MLAs. He should be ashamed. There [West Bengal] he wants to buy TMC MLAs, in Delhi, the BJP wants to buy AAP MLAs,” the AAP leader said.

He said the BJP has no issues to fight the election in Delhi. “They were able to get one of our MLAs from Bawana before the MCD elections, but people taught the BJP a lesson. If you have any agenda to change the country, then fight the election on it,” Mr Sisodia said. “Modi ji, if you have done anything for the people in the last five years, then fight the election on it,” he added.

AAP leader Gopal Rai said the alleged attempt to buy legislators showed that the BJP’s seven candidates in Delhi are going to lose. “The BJP’s actions show that it does not believe in democracy. Delhiites will reply like they did in Bawana [bypoll which AAP won by a huge margin],” he said.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who took out his first election roadshow in Delhi on Wednesday, said, “In the last three days seven of our MLAs have said that BJP people have contacted them and offered Rs 10 crore to break them. This is not becoming of a Prime Minister.” When asked whether AAP had any proof, Mr. Kejriwal said, “Will give all proof on time.”

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari dismissed AAP’s claim as a “joke”. “Are they the same seven [AAP MLAs] who beat up Kejriwal a week ago,” he said, denying any such attempt by the BJP to poach seven AAP legislators.

The Asian Age – Foreign policy options after May 23 verdict

In India, the Narendra Modi government’s changes in foreign policy are both cosmetic and substantive.

K C Singh

Op/Ed, 8 May 2019. It may be useful to analyse the possible impact on Indian foreign policy of the looming May 23 Lok Sabha results. Three possible scenarios are a government led by the BJP, perhaps without a majority on its own; or a similar alliance led by the Congress; or an alliance led by a Third Front leader, albeit supported by either the BJP or the Congress.

A less likely, but not improbable, scenario could be a BJP-led government under someone other than Narendra Modi.

A similar debate has begun in America as a battery of Democrats have lined up to challenge President Donald Trump. In particular, the entry of Joe Biden, vice-president under Barack Obama, has sharpened the debate due to his legacy and experience. But Democrats don’t simply want to return to the past or the Obama track. The Economist notes “rumbles of revisionism”.

Broadly there is a consensus on the need for restraint as an evangelical pursuit to change the world and endless wars have depleted America’s wealth and ill-served intended aims. They also agree foreign and domestic policies must not be in silos as the US, when peddling democratic values abroad, must not ignore corruption and kleptocracy.

Finally, they debate whether foreign policy making needs to be democratised rather than conducted under notional congressional oversight. The recent move to limit the President’s war-making powers points there.

A Democratic administration may return the US to the Paris Accord on climate change, rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran, albeit with suitable tweaking, return to the Nato alliance without ambiguities, and so on.

Yet some elements may have been changed by President Trump irreversibly, like the bipartisan consensus on Sino-US relations is trade and investment with China needs new terms of engagement. This has implications for World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform.

In India, the Narendra Modi government’s changes in foreign policy are both cosmetic and substantive. The first relates more to hugging and protocol aspects that a new incumbent can immediately change, but can be expected to be persisted with by a re-elected Modi government.

The second falls under following headings: India-USA relations; China-Indian relations; Pakistan and the “zero terror” policy; countering radical Islamic terror and Jammu and Kashmir; Gulf and Iran.

It is noteworthy that the consensus on foreign policy, which last broke over the India-USA nuclear deal in 2008, largely shattered in the past five years due to the highly personalised, and hyper-nationalistic diplomacy of Mr Modi. Berating the Opposition while abroad, albeit on the pretext of addressing the Indian diaspora, began its collapse.

India’s readjustment to the post-Cold War world began with the P V Narasimha Rao government in 1991. Between him, the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led BJP government of 1998 and the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-1 in 2004, there was continuity in style and content.

The USA was wooed while retaining strategic independence, China engaged to incrementally expand areas of convergence, putting disputes on hold, Pakistan unsuccessfully but repeatedly tested to wean it away from terror sponsorship and accept confidence-building measures as a precursor to dispute settlement, J&K handled with a combination of hard and soft approaches, and finally a balance maintained in India’s policy towards the Gulf, Iran, West Asia and Israel. India also had a more active “Look East” policy, renamed “Act East” by the Modi government.

Essentially, you act only after you look, so it was the 1991 policy continued, to balance China, help craft a new Asian security architecture through building blocks like Asean Regional Forum, East Asia Summit and even the Quad, comprising four democracies straddling the Indo-Pacific, Australia, India, Japan and the USA.

A non-BJP government may begin by toning down the excessive bonhomie towards the Trump administration, which has openly backed Mr Modi, ensuring “wins” before and during the Lok Sabha polls. It is unimaginable that Pakistan would hand back IAF officer Abhinandan Varthaman, while Mr Modi is still threatening Pakistan, unless the USA-Saudi-Emirati interlocutors assured the Imran Khan government that this was merely domestic posturing.

Mr Modi claimed his threat, apparently nuclear, got Pakistan to comply. If threats worked, why did not India get consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, detained for espionage, and had to go to the International Court of Justice at The Hague?

Similarly, the rushed listing of Masood Azhar, that some reports said China was reluctant to concede during the Indian election, had a USA role, about which they reminded India when seeking Iran’s isolation. Earlier, the UAE had conveniently deported or extradited individuals during the Rajasthan and Lok Sabha polls as these were required to nail the Congress for corruption.

Desirable as cooperation is for combating corruption and terrorism, it must be balanced against insulating India’s elections from foreign interference. After all, Russia is similarly accused in America, which President Trump denies but the Robert Mueller report implicitly confirms.

A non-BJP government, particularly a Congress-led or supported one, may examine what, if any, were the trade-offs. First, Indian non-retaliation was conspicuous when the US imposed duties on Indian products. Second, the US pressuring India to distance itself from Iran and Russia.

Strategic independence, a core value on which our foreign policy rests, appears under pressure, if not compromised. But worse is foreign powers backing their favourites.

Pakistan is another case in point. Treating J&K as a pure law and order issue and Pakistan as a lunatic asylum impervious to anything but shock treatment of “surgical strikes” is brazen use of neighbourhood policy for communal-baiting domestically.

It may or may not win elections, but it leaves a poisoned chalice for a successor government, although it’s unlikely Pakistan policy will return to the romance of the Gujral-Vajpayee-Manmohan period. But no counter-terror policy can work which alienates a minority exposed to jihadi propaganda via the Internet, employment in the Gulf and travel.

The Sri Lankan Easter massacre is a warning of what awaits India. ISIS and its “caliphate” uprooted from Syria-Iraq is mutating and re-planting wherever fertile ground is available. Africa, particularly Sahel, is harbouring fleeing and new adherents, which the April 29 video of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will fuel.

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have seen escalating attacks. British intelligence is tracking 10,500 jihadists in Sahel. How can India escape when BJP leaders are churning the communal pot for their electoral khichdi? The next government has a Herculean task to return the genie to the bottle, and counter politicisation of the military.

Hopefully, India’s voters will reject this dangerous gambit and its creator, Mr Modi, whom The Economist has dubbed “Agent Orange”.

The writer is a former secretary in the external affairs ministry.
He tweets at @ambkcsingh.

NDTV – Congress blocked fund release to anti-Sikh riot victims: Rajnath Singh

“I ordered the release of the fund. And we have given Rs. 2 lakh to every family of the victim,” Rajnath Singh said.

Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh – India, 24 March 2019. Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday accused the Congress of blocking the release of compensatory funds meant for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Speaking at an event in Lucknow, Mr Singh said: “When I took the office of Home Ministry in 2014, I got to know that the ministry had the extra fund of Rs. 90 crore that was meant for the victims of the anti-Sikh riots, but the Congress had not released it.”

“I ordered the release of the fund. And we have given Rs. 2 lakh to every family of the victim,” he added.

“It is the first time, that a leader of the then ruling party has been convicted for his crime during the riots. It could be possible because the BJP was at the Centre. And I had also ordered the formation of SIT to investigate the riots.”

He further criticised the Congress for questioning Balakot strike conducted by Indian Air Force. “I can assure you every action was taken after the intelligence input. I don’t understand the attack was conducted in Pakistan, why Congress is feeling pain?”

Mr Singh also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that he has emerged as the “most popular leader” of the world. Mr Singh further added that, “I am not telling you because the election is coming, but India’s Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is not only India’s favourite leader but has also emerged as the world’s most popular leader.”