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Kejriwal seeks full statehood for Delhi, condemns PM Modi’s media control gimmicks

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One needs not revisit the full story to know as to how a novice in Indian politics, Arvind Kejriwal, has created sleepless nights, deliberately or otherwise, for so many national politicians, especially from Congress and BJP by capturing power in the capital city through ballot box, ousting all big stalwarts from Delhi assembly and Delhi state.

People of Delhi elected Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party) or AAP with overwhelming mandate to rule. All media gimmicks by Congress, BJP and their corporate lords to defeat AAP did fail as people know who these parties are and stood by the new party in their name and its leader Kejriwal.

PM Modi seems to be trying for constant media attention by his world tours along with fantasy rhetoric and Delhi CM Kejriwal accuses him of overusing, rather buying media attention. Many scholars in media say PM Modi is entertaining world public, though not many are interested in any kind of political shows.

In politics however, PM Modi is just like any other big leader trying to sell their ‘talent’ for high prices. Most of his top poll promises to the public made in 2014 are not fulfilled.

BJP and Congress meanwhile are keen to get the Delhi government of Kejriwal removed by hook or crook, forgetting that Delhiites have opted for the AAP as the only credible option.

Conspiracy over statehood

After victory, not only AAP is fulfilling all electoral promises he made during the historic poll campaign, but also tirelessly working for the welfare of the state. Obviously, there have been visible mutual concerns between the state and AAP.

One of the pledges the AAP has made to the Delhiites is to obtain full statehood for Delhi and he is determined to get full statehood for his Delhi state, ntowithstading the reluctance shown by the central government of Modi and main opposition Congress party. When they ruled Delhi state as alternative government they wanted its full statehood as India’s custodians but now both raise objections so that the issue could be raised in the next election as AAP failure.

Thus Delhi state is facing what could be called a statehood problem very similar to what the Palestinians seek from Israel or Kashmiris from India, China and Pakistan that jointly occupy alien nations on false pretexts. While Israel occupies Palestine territories, kills the people there and take away even the lands of those that are killed and use them for illegal colonies for criminal Jews, India, Pakistan and China occupy neighboring Jammu Kashmir according to their military, economic and diplo-triclomatic strength.        

Delhi is an Indian state and also is capital city of independent India. Like Palestine, Delhi state has limited autonomy and unless it is made a full-fledged state, the elected government of Delhi cannot pass laws and use police, which is now under central government control, for the state activities.

Indian Union government has played the usual mischief with the AAP governed Delhi state government by using the police to arrest the CM of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal to showcase its power as both the top national outfits BJP and Congress parties were drowned by the “insignificant and very small party“AAP in Yamuna River in the elections for the state assembly.  

It is not for taking credit that AAP is eager to get full statehood for the Delhi but for the proper functioning of Delhi government as a responsible dispensation supported by necessary infrastructure, like police and land that are now with the central government. As the debate on Delhi’s statehood status heats up, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has made a draft bill seeking full status. In the draft bill, Kejriwal seeks to bring police, land and bureaucracy under its control, a move that may set stage for another confrontation with the Centre. At a press conference, the AAP chief said that they have uploaded the draft bill on their website and urged Delhi residents to give their suggestions through ‘fullstatehood.delhi[at]gov.in’ and ‘full statehood. delhi[at]gmail.com’, which he said will remain activated till 30 June.

An all-party meeting will be held on the issue, Kejriwal said while urging rivals BJP and Congress to “rise above differences” shedding petty mindedness and he went on to quote from old manifestos of BJP wherein the party had promised full statehood.

The central government and the AAP dispensation have been at loggerheads over the transfer and postings of officers in the past. “The BJP has struggled the most on the issue as Delhi’s ruling party. They have consistently raised it. We are merely taking their resolve forward by inviting public opinion on this draft,” Kejriwal told a press conference here, when asked about the AAP’s action plan if the draft is rejected by the Centre. To buttress his point, Kejriwal quoted from BJP manifestos from 1993 till 2014 and statements made by its leaders including Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju.

AAP push

Delhi CM narrated how the statehood process went on for years; “LK Advani had tabled the Delhi Statehood Bill in Parliament in 2003. It was referred to a Standing Committee chaired by Pranab Mukherjee which had backed the suggestions. But for some reason it got lapsed. Even Congress has spoken out for statehood in the past. Kiren Rijiju spoke in favour of statehood in 2006. VK Malhotra raised the issue in 2011. In its 2013 national executives, BJP reiterated its resolve in this regard. On 24 May 2014, Harsh Vardhan had said that the first issue he would raise with the new Prime Minister would be statehood,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal said that he has written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President Amit Shah and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to garner support for the draft bill, which keeps the high-profile NDMC area, out of its jurisdiction. Arvind met the PM on the matter.

Kejriwal said after 30 June, the final version of the draft would be prepared and a resolution would be passed by the Delhi Assembly to this effect. “We will forward the resolution to the Centre which in turn will have to bring Constitutional Amendment,” he said. “The draft has been put on the Delhi government’s website. Through its passage, we seek to fulfill the dreams of Congress and BJP. We should rise above party lines. A special session of the Assembly may also be called for passing the resolution,” the CM said, flanked by his deputy Manish Sisodia. “The draft primarily says that NDMC area will be with the Centre and the rest should come under the elected government in Delhi. It has been prepared after taking into consideration the older ones,” he said.

In the draft bill, the AAP dispensation will ensure that institutions such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Police will be accountable to the elected government of the national capital. Granting full statehood to the national capital is one of the major electoral promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), in the absence of which it has frequently clashed with the BJP-led Centre over matters of jurisdiction since assuming office. In its manifesto, AAP had declared that it will push for full statehood acting within the constitutional framework and using its moral and political authority.

The BJP now ruling India has had an ambivalent stance on the issue, although the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had introduced a bill in Parliament in 2003 to confer full statehood to Delhi, which was never passed.

Last year, AAP had planned to hold a referendum on the issue, which was later shelved after many constitutional experts, argued anything of that sort would be “unconstitutional”.

BJP has successfully use media as the most important and most powerful tool to control politics in India and to regulate propagation of Hindutva and Indian image aboard amid Indian brutal occupational genocides in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 28 said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is controlling a large chunk of media, while reacting to a tweet that said no mainstream media has covered Rana Ayyub’s book ” Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up “. “What does that tell us? “It tells us that Modi controls a large chunk of media, especially the owners,” Kejriwal wrote on Twitter.

Gujarat riots haunt Modi

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi became known in the country after the riots in Gujarat killing many Muslims fearlessly as he knew Indian government run by the Congress party would oppose the Hindutva strategy to target Muslims that would benefit Congress party in terms of Muslim vote banks. Even judiciary did not find him wrong in getting the defenseless Muslims murdered at will.

Indian media celebrated Modi brand of Hindutva and tried to link all development the state has made since independence –en before he even became a politician- to his own ability and added to his credit. That was a deliberate RSS strategy to make him a PM candidate in due course. RSS and corporate media succeeded in their joint endeavor to make Modi appear a large size leader just like they do in promoting fixed joint cricketism in India and abroad.  

Those Muslims who died have been forgotten by India, even as Modi moved upward to occupy PM chair in New Delhi to pursue the Congress policies. Congress party is too happy that they found a real replacement in BJP which, many Congressmen think, would make Muslims would be silenced to deny their ownership of Babri Mosque, pulled down by Congress-BJP communal duo in 1992 according their conspiracy.  

It is a known fact that those who commit crimes are very cautious and if they have got some power would use it to its full potential to cover up their crimes. No one is a god but everyone can be criminal in this world and government is capable of protecting you from punishment for your crimes. .

PM Modi has been on world tour ever since he assumed power in 2014 as Indian premier, by visiting countries one by one and some countries more than just once and advanced countries like USA as many times as possible.

A recent book, “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up” brings to light the truth about how the BJP government under Modi organized the Gujarat riots. Bureaucrats and top officials in Gujarat who held key positions in the state between 2001 and 2010 and were involved in the Gujarat riots. The book investigates the alleged fake encounters that happened under Modi’s watch as then chief minister of Gujarat between 2001 and 2010.

Like in Israel, judiciary in India also is under pressure to shield the Hindu criminals and try to fix the Muslim victims. Today, a lot of greedy political Muslims prefer money to Babri Mosque- that is the level of Indian faith.

Hindutva media

Bulks of India media, both print and electronic, including TV channels, are essentially pro Hindutva because that helps them target Muslims in India and neighborhoods. This disease can be explained only as sadistic pleasure syndrome.

India media lords who serve MNCs use their portals to insult Islam and Muslims even while they want better ties with Arab world, particularly on “Islamic terrorism”. In fact when they insult and warn Pakistan, it only thinks in terms of Islam and Indian Muslims. So that Muslims serve the cause of state Hindutva; they want to keep Muslims under duress and tension. That is historic sadism that Indian Hindu rulers are so used to. .

While the BJP-RSS has been on rampage on Indians with its Hindutva instructions to follow as to what to eat and how to think etc, Indian PM Modi teaches Yoga in his world trip in order obviously to make Hindutva only a useful soft agenda.

BJP has a wide ranging world media networking to influence the opinion makers about Hindutva, rather than India, while Indian sources pay huge sum to media lords and editors with instructions not to publish anything that is no pro-Indian stuff and reject anything against Indian policies In fact Indians source keep a close watch on what is happening in world scene and detect anything appearing not supporting Indian causes and quick action follows by sending money to the editor and media lords n the form of advertisement fees and special contributions. So much so, some media deliberately publish and run stories against India so that India immediately sends money to them so as to end that scenario developing further. They know how make money.  

India has enormous success as many editors do refuse to publish anything which is not promoting India or propagating Hindutva. More than that, many newspapers abroad also churn-out pro-India stuff on special requests from Indian embassies functioning in the capitals.

The negative mindset of RSS-BJP and allies is evident in making Muslims Islam, Pakistan, Bangladeshi workers, and Babri mosque as their prime target to garner Hindu votes. Along with these, now the RSS-BJP has added the India’s prestigious higher educational institution JNU by calling it anti-national. What s shame? India media support the RSS claims though it has yet to showcase its own real patriotic activities. Anti-Islam or anti-Muslims or anti-JNU or anti-Pakistanis is not a really a patriotic premise. Positivism is important as much as tolerance of other languages religions and cultures.

RSS wants to control humans and their mental and physical activities in entirety so that every Indian behaves exactly how it envisaged for India and world. Ghar wapsi was the beginning of that mind conversion phenomenon. BJP also makes animals their gods and humans as their slaves; they want Indians to worship their favorite animals as neo-gods. However, unfortunately they are unable to apply ‘black magic’ – generally used for possible wins in cricket- to make every Indian a Hindutva person in mind and soul. The black magicians do the ‘magic” and use the network to make that happen so that they get the charges in plenty of money. Their government agencies use remote technology to make many things appear to be happening.

Observation

Why Arvind Kejriwal and AAP are rare phenomenon in Indian as well as global political and governmental scene? None needs a crash course on contemporary Indian politics here to show dirty Indian political scene has been for decades.

As it is well known, one cannot discuss Indian political scene without disclosing the shameful Hindutva communal politics targeting Muslims, harming their legitimate concerns, just for Hindu votes.

AAP made fundamental departure from the usual Hindutva politics by refusing to take shelter under the so-called ‘Muslim threat’ (the theme has been fully exploited since the Sept-11 hoax) or targeting Hindu or Muslim vote banks. AAP brand politics is very simple: it did not pamper the Muslims like the Congress and other so-called secular parties do just for fun nor did it woo Hindus for votes as BJP led Hindutva outfits do deliberately. Instead, Kejriwal’s team focused on real politics and forwarded to the public the real problems the Delhiites face. AAP clearly showcased that in order to get Hindu votes a party needs not to target Muslims, insulting or injuring or killing Muslims as this happens in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.

In order to loot the nation’s resources and promote bribery-dowry system, Indian politicians have done away with what is very dear to a nation: honesty and truth. That is the crux of negative predicaments of Indian nation. A parliament of rich and agents of corporate lords cannot be honest. The rich lawyers, who become judges by immoral means and after playing all sorts of mischief with the common people that approach them with genuine problems for help, cannot honestly decide the fate of Indian nation, either.

How can a corrupt and dishonest lawyer become a honest and lawful after becoming a judge or justice? No wonder corruption has become a part of Indian justice delivery system and jurisprudence

When dishonest lawyers become judges they continue to mint money and this explains as to why many judges are being caught across the globe in bribery scandals.

Won’t there be murder of judgments in courts? Why politicians and top bureaucrats boldly take bribes and make illegal wealth so openly?

When corrupt and greedy lawyers are the judges in courts, people cannot expect real and honest judgments

Can thieves and criminals become police and judges? But that perhaps is happening. The judiciary and jurisprudence has fallen a mute victim (Your lord!).

Politicians and government functionaries take undue advantage of this disastrous lacuna, detrimental to the honest upbringing of a society. .

Of course, no suggestion is made here that Indian system would be fair and honest if judges are trained right from the beginning after their excellent degrees in law (unlike the shameful practice of undergoing a law course just for obtaining degrees without proper attendance, at times on payment basis to practice law) especially as future hopes of Indian honest and fair judiciary judges. Much more is required to make the system work honestly.

That is cause of all problems Indians suffer for too long – created partly by politicians, partly by the governments and elected representatives of people, partly by the parliament and state assemblies, partly by the media lords, partly by mafias, partly by illogical police, partly by the judiciary and partly by the helpless people of India.

Judiciary can do a lot for the benefits of people and nation of India.

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South Asia

Opposing Hindutava: US conference raises troubling questions

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Controversy over a recent ‘Dismantling Global Hindutava’ conference that targeted a politically charged expression of Hindu nationalism raises questions that go far beyond the anti-Muslim discriminatory policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and ruling party.

The conference and responses to it highlight a debilitating deterioration in the past two decades, especially since 9/11, of the standards of civility and etiquette that jeopardize civil, intelligent, and constructive debate and allow expressions of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes to become mainstream.

Organizers of the conference that was co-sponsored by 53 American universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers, insisted that they distinguish between Hinduism and Hindutava, Mr. Modi’s notion of Hindu nationalism that enables discrimination against and attacks on India’s 200 million Muslims.

The distinction failed to impress critics who accused the organizers of Hinduphobia. Some critics charged that the framing of the conference demonstrated a pervasiveness of groupthink in academia and an unwillingness to tackle similar phenomena in other major religions, particularly Islam.

The campaign against the conference appeared to have been organized predominantly by organizations in the United States with links to militant right-wing Hindu nationalist groups in India, including some with a history of violence. The conference’s most militant critics threatened violence against conference speakers and their families, prompting some participants to withdraw from the event.

Opponents of political Islam noted that Western academia has not organized a similar conference about the politicization of the faith even though powerful states like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have lobbied Western capitals against the Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish and Qatari supporters with notable successes in France, Austria, Belgium and Britain.

Academia was likely to have been hesitant to tackle political Islam because Islamophobia is far more prevalent than Hinduphobia.

Moreover, perceptions of political Islam, are far more complex and convoluted. Islam is frequently conflated with political expressions and interpretations of the faith run a gamut from supremacist and conservative to more liberal and tolerant. They also lump together groups that adhere and respect the election process and ones that advocate violent jihad.

Scholars and analysts declared an end to political Islam’s heyday with the military coup in Egypt in 2013 that toppled Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brother, who was elected president in Egypt’s first and only free and fair poll. Political Islam’s alleged swansong loomed even larger with this year’s setbacks for two of the most moderate Islamist political parties in Tunisia and Morocco as well as hints that Turkey may restrict activities of Islamists operating in exile from Istanbul.

A more fundamental criticism of the framing of the Hindutava conference is its failure to put Hindutava in a broader context.

That context involves the undermining of the social cohesion of societies made up of collections of diverse ethnic and religious communities since Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The attacks fueled the rise of ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism not only in the Hindu world but also in the worlds of other major religions.

These include politicized ultra-conservative Islam, politicized Evangelism and Buddhist nationalism. Right-wing religious nationalism in Israel, unlike Islamism and politicized Evangelism, is shaped by ultra-nationalism rather than religious ultra-conservatism.

The worlds of religious ultra-nationalism and politicized expressions of religious ultra-conservatism are often mutually reinforcing.

Scholar Cynthia Miller-Idriss’s assessment of the impact of Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the United States is equally true for India or Europe.

“In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the rise of violent jihadism reshaped American politics in ways that created fertile ground for right-wing extremism. The attacks were a gift to peddlers of xenophobia, white supremacism, and Christian nationalism: as dark-skinned Muslim foreigners bent on murdering Americans, Al-Qaeda terrorists and their ilk seemed to have stepped out of a far-right fever dream,” Ms. Miller-Idriss said.

“Almost overnight, the United States and European countries abounded with precisely the fears that the far-right had been trying to stoke for decades,” she added.

The comparison of politically charged militant nationalist and ultra-conservative expressions of diverse religions takes on added significance in a world that has seen the emergence of civilizationalist leaders.

Scholar Sumantra Bose attributes the rise of religious nationalism in non-Western states like Turkey and India to the fact that they never adopted the Western principle of separation of state and church.

Instead, they based their secularism on the principle of state intervention and regulation of the religious sphere. As a result, the rejection of secularism in Turkey and India fits a global trend that conflates a dominant religious identity with national identity.

Sarah Kamali, the author of a recently published book that compares militant white nationalists to militant Islamists in the United States, notes similar patterns while drawing parallels between far-right xenophobes and militant Islamists.

Militant Islamists’ “sense of victimhood […] is similar to that of their White nationalist counterparts in that [it] is constructed and exploited to justify their violence… Both mutually – and exclusively – target America for the purpose of claiming the nation as theirs and theirs alone, either as a White ethno-state or as part of a global caliphate,” Ms. Kamali writes.

Similarly, the Taliban defeat of a superpower energized militant Islamists, as well as proponents of Hindutava, with Islamophobic narratives spun by Mr. Modi’s followers gaining new fodder with the assertion that India was being encircled by Muslim states hosting religious extremists.

Modi is essentially helping the recruitment of…jihadist groups by taking such a hard, repressive line against the Islamic community in India, who are now being forced to see themselves being repressed,” said Douglas London, the CIA’s counter-terrorism chief for South and South-West Asia until 2019.

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Panjshir – the last stronghold of democracy in Afghanistan

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The Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan has briefly stalled only in the face of strong resistance mounted by the people of the country’s recalcitrant mountainous province of Panjshir. Whoever controls the region’s passes controls the routes leading to China and Tajikistan, but to seize this mountain valley and, most importantly, to keep it permanently under control has always been a problem for all invaders. Eager to let the international community see for the first time in 40 years a united Afghanistan as a sign of their final victory, the radical Islamists were prepared to make any sacrifices, including filling the approaches to the Panjshir Valley up with dead bodies. Moreover, the Taliban’s longtime ally Pakistan, which, regardless of its status of an ally of the United States, has provided them with direct military support. In fact, Islamabad admitted its less than successful role when it proposed signing a truce to find and take out the bodies of its special Ops forces who had died during the attack on the valley. However, drones flown by Pakistani operators, professional commandos (possibly once trained by the Americans), air support and other pleasant gifts from the allies eventually bore fruit letting the Taliban be photographed in front of the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud Sr., the famous “Lion of Panjshir,” who controlled the valley from 1996 to 2001. The Islamists also took control of the province’s central city of Bazarak.

Having deprived the province much of its Internet access, the radicals, who control most of the Afghan territory, found it easier to wage an information war. Their claims of victories were now more difficult to contest, even though information about their retreat did reach the outside world. Reflective of the heavy losses suffered for the first time by the Taliban and their allies – the Haqqani Network and other remnants of al-Qaeda, as well as by the regular Pakistani army is the brief truce arranged by Islamabad. Looks like the mountain passes leading to Panjshir were literally filled up with corpses…

As for Massoud Jr., the young lion of Panjshir, and his supporters, they retreated to the mountains. In fact, they had nowhere to fall back to. The problem of Afghanistan is its ethnic diversity. Thus, the country is home to 23 percent of ethnic Tajiks, most of whom live in the Panjshir Valley. However, the Taliban rely mainly on the Pashtuns, who account for over 50 percent of the country’s population. As for the new masters of Afghanistan, they are ready to carry out ethnic cleansings and even commit outright genocide in order to bring the valley into submission. To make this happen they are going to resettle there their fellow Pashtun tribesmen. Local men aged between 12 and 50 are already being taken away and, according to the National Resistance Front, no one has seen them again. However, due to the information blockade, the Taliban will not hesitate to refute such facts. One thing is clear: Massoud’s Tajik fighters and the government troops that joined them are fighting for their lives, and there will be no honorable surrender!

The main question now is whether the young lion of Panjshir will receive the same support as his father once did, or will find himself without ammunition and food. After all, the Taliban leaders have reached certain agreements with the United States. Suffice it to mention the numerous remarks made, among others, by President Biden himself about the Taliban now being different from what they were 20 years ago.

But no, the Taliban`s remain the same – they have only hired new PR people. Meanwhile, hating to admit their defeat, Brussels and Washington will have to engage in a dialogue with those who are responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and for the numerous terrorist attacks in Europe. The Taliban are pretending to make minor cosmetic concessions. Minor indeed, since they are still depriving women of the opportunity to work and study, destroying higher and secondary education and brutally clamping down on people who simply do not want to live according to religious norms.

The United States is actually helping the “new-look” Taliban. Their potential opponents, including the famous Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, left the country under various guarantees, and Washington is trying to keep them from any further participation in the conflict. Democratic politicians naively believe that by creating an Islamic state and ending the protracted civil war in Afghanistan the Taliban will ensure stability in the region and will not move any further. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan do not think so and are strengthening their borders and preparing to protect their Afghan compatriots, because they know full well that the Taliban`s are not a national political party; they are a radical Islamist ideology.

It knows no borders and spreads like a cancerous tumor, destroying all pockets of Western culture. It can only be stopped by force. However, the two decades of US military presence in Afghanistan showed that Washington, which quickly took control of the country in 2001, simply had no strategy to keep it. The Afghans were given nothing that would appear to them more attractive than the ideas of radical Islam. As a result, the few Afghans who embrace European values are fleeing the country, and those who, like Massoud Jr., decided to fight for their freedom, now risk being left to face their enemy all by themselves.

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Misjudgements in India’s Afghan policy

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India’s Afghan policy has always been obsessed with the desire to deny Pakistan the “strategic depth” that Pakistan, according to India’s perception, yearns. If India had a pragmatic policy, it would not have found itself whimpering and whining like a rueful baby over spilt milk.

India supported the invasion of Afghanistan by both the former Soviet Union and the USA, both losers. President Trump mocked Modi for having built a library for the Afghan people. Trump expected India to contribute foot soldiers, and by corollary, body packs to the Afghan crisis. India played all the tricks up its sleeves to convince the USA to make India a party to the US-Taliban talks. But the USA ditched not only Modi but also Ashraf Ghani to sign the Doha peace deal with the Taliban.

India’s external affairs minister still calls the Taliban government “a dispensation”. Interestingly, the USA has reluctantly accepted that the Taliban government is a de facto government.

Humanitarian crisis

The United Nations’ Development Programme has portrayed a bleak situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is faced with multifarious challenges. These include prolonged drought and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, and rising poverty.

About 47 per cent of its people live below the dollar-a-day poverty line. If the poverty line is pushed to $2 a day, 90 per cent of Afghans would be poor. About 55 per cent of Afghans are illiterate.

Ninety seven percent of the population is at risk of sinking below the poverty line, As such, Afghanistan teeters on the brink of universal poverty. Half of the population is already in need of humanitarian support. The UNDP has proposed to access the most vulnerable nine million people by focusing on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income and small infrastructure.

Currently, the gross national product of Afghanistan is around $190 billion, just a little more than the $160 billion economy of Dhaka city. The country’s legal exports of goods and services every year account for $1 billion. It imports$6 billion worth of goods and services every year.

About 80 per cent of world production of opium comes from Afghanistan. Every year, Afghanistan produces nearly 10,000 tons of opium and the revenue generated from it amounts to $7 billion approximately. About 87 per cent of the income of opium producing farmers comes exclusively from this single product. The illicit opium export by Afghanistan is worth $2 billion every year. The role of opium is significant.

About 80 per cent of public expenditure in this country is funded by grants. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided Afghanistan with a total of $5.3 billion as development and emergency relief assistance. The IMF earmarked for Afghanistan $400 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for combating the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The United States has frozen about $10 billion worth of Afghan assets held at various banks in Afghanistan. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has withdrawn the $400 million worth of SDRs allocated earlier to Afghanistan for addressing the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank has not said anything as of yet, but it may also put restrictions on its funding to Afghanistan.

India’s lip service to Afghanistan

India provided around $3 billion in aid to fallen U.S.-backed Afghan government.  It trained the Afghan army and police. But now it is not willing to pay or pledge a penny to the Taliban government. Look at the following Times of India report:

“India did not pledge any money to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan probably for the first time in 20 years. That it has not done so as Jaishanker declared … (At UN, India offers support to Afghanistan but does not pledge money. The Times of India September 14, 2021).The Hindu, September 11, 2021

India’s tirade against Afghanistan

Indian policymakers and experts say they see no guarantees that Afghanistan won’t become a haven for militants. “Afghanistan may be poised to become a bottomless hole for all shades of radical, extremist and jihadi outfits somewhat similar to Iraq and Syria, only closer to India,” said Gautam Mukhopadhaya, who was India’s ambassador in Kabul between 2010 to 2013.  He added that the Taliban victory could have an “inspirational effect” not only for Kashmir’s rebels but wherever religiously-driven groups operate in the broader region… Lt. Gen Deependra Singh Hooda, former military commander for northern India between 2014-2016, said militant groups based across the border in Pakistan would “certainly try and push men” into Kashmir, following the Taliban victory in Afghanistan  (With Taliban’s rise, India sees renewed threat in Kashmir, Star Tribune September 14, 2021). “Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh conveyed to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a “catastrophic” situation for the Afghan people and be a “gift for terrorist groups.”). Afghan economic meltdown would be ‘gift for terrorists,’ says U.N. chief” (The Hindu, September 11, 2021)

 India’s former envoy to Kabul, Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhyay is skeptical of the conciliatory statements by the taliban government. He advises: “We should welcome recent statements by Stanekzai and Anas Haqqani that suggest some independence from the ISI. But we should also ask some hard questions and judge them by their actions and words, and not let down our guard, both with regard to our multiple security concerns such as whether they can protect us from the Ias and ISI, sever ties with other terror groups, especially those supported by the ISI against India, deny Pakistan strategic depth, and preserve and build on our historic P2P and trade ties; and a genuinely inclusive govt in Afghanistan that accommodates the majority of Afghans who want the rights and freedoms enshrined in the 2004 Afghan Constitution or at least acceptable to the Afghan people.” (Taliban move to form govt, Naya Afghanistan brings new challenge for India, September 2, 2021).

Concluding remarks

India wants a “central role’ to be given to the UN in Afghanistan. India’s mumbo jumbo implies that Afghanistan should be made a UN protectorate. Indian media is never tired of calling the Afghan government a bunch of terrorists. They have even launched video games about it.

India needs to rethink how it can mend fences with Afghanistan that it regards a hothouse of terrorists.

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