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A New Dawn

5 August 2019 is now etched in India’s independent history as the day that truly unified the country by bringing Kashmir firmly into the arms of India. A historical wrong, as is being said, has been corrected. Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir was tethering on the rope of allegiance; closer to India but still an arm’s-length away with Pakistan making concerted efforts to pull it towards its own side. That rope has been cut and Jammu and Kashmir has been brought to our side.

There’s a lot to write. Numerous topics to cover to make this article a holistic view of everything that transpired. Let me start off by stating very broadly what Article 370 and 35A ensured for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

  1. A separate constitution
  2. Dual citizenship
  3. Separate flag
  4. Article 360 (financial emergency) not applicable
  5. Indians cannot buy land or property
  6. RTI not applicable
  7. Legislative assembly of 6 years
  8. RTE not applicable
  9. Panchayats have no rights
  10. No rights to West Pakistan refugees like Dogras and Bakarwals
  11. Bars females from property rights if they marry a non-Kashmiri; this extends to the woman’s children as well

Basically, the state was being held ransom by a few who found it commercially and ideologically profitable to keep it distanced constitutionally from India, and use the two Articles to blackmail the government. Threaten violence. Warn of sanguinary consequences by portraying Article 370 and 35A as sacred. And enjoy an ornate lifestyle.

After reading what the two Articles bestowed upon Jammu and Kashmir – obviously against the ethos of India – I don’t think any patriotic Indian would deny that these gross blunders had to be done away with.

 

What the Narendra Modi Government Did

Article 370 provides for extending provisions of the Constitution from time to time. In 1954, through a Presidential order, certain provisions of the Constitution were extended to 370. Along with this 35A was introduced.

Article 35A was challenged in the Supreme Court. Despite terming it discriminatory, the court upheld 35A saying that it was a ‘political decision’. The Modi government superseded that Presidential order with another one exercising the very powers given under 370.

Through this order the entire Indian Constitution was applied to Jammu and Kashmir. With this Article 2 and 3 came into play that allow for the reorganization of a state. This requires for the legislative assembly to recommend to the Parliament a reorganization. But with there being governor rule in Jammu and Kashmir, the Parliament is disposing the powers of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.

Thus, the Parliament acting as the Jammu and Kashmir assembly first recommended a state reorganization, and then the Parliament exercising its own powers accepted the recommendation. This turned the bill into an act leading to the acceptance of a reorganization.

 

Has This Happened Before?

Two times in the past the same method has been used to bring amendments or to extend provisions of Article 370. In 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru and the then Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah had agreed on the Delhi Agreement providing special privileges to the people of Kashmir on matters of property ownership on the principles of hereditary. A Presidential Order was also implemented in 1965.

 

No Consultations With Kashmiri ‘Stakeholders’

Some people are opposing the manner in which people – I won’t call them leaders – like Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah weren’t taken into confidence before taking such a massive decision. On the contrary there was news that they were detained hours before the Parliament got running on August 5.

Those who believe the government should’ve discussed the decision and its ramifications with these people are either unaware of the real nature of these political families or are simply against the decision. Or maybe want to present a different view altogether as being with the consensus doesn’t bode well for their ego.

A recent article stated that Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti spent a cumulative 50 crore rupees on renovating their bungalows in Srinagar which they are entitled to occupy rent-free even post losing power. Farooq Abdullah still occupies two bungalows. Did they reveal to the local population that they were spending such an exorbitant amount on their lavish lifestyle while the common man suffered for basic necessities?

Between 2000 and 2016, Jammu and Kashmir (1% of total population) received 10% (Rs. 1.14 lakh crore) of central government grants; Uttar Pradesh with 13% of the country’s population got just 8.2% of central grants. Despite this, the state remains severely under-developed, the per capita gross income much lower than the national average, fiscal deficit high and corruption rampant. All this under decades of rule of these families. And they ought to be talked with?

Both Mehbooba and Farooq have from time-to-time spoken against India, the forces and expressed their sympathies for Pakistan. Pray tell, what would’ve come out of discussions with those who’s loyalties lie across the border? Haven’t we discussed and only discussed for 70 years without any conceivable result?

Terror in Kashmir has cost India 41,894 lives, most of whom have been our soldiers and policemen. It is also no secret that stone-pelters thrived in areas where the Abdullahs and Muftis had greater presence as they had tacit support of workers of these two leaders. Proof of this is evident in the figures of stone-pelting incidents:

  • 2016: 2,653
  • 2017: 1,412
  • 2018 (Governor rule began in June): 1,458
  • 2019 (first six months): 40

So who is it we should’ve talked to? People who’s ouster immediately led to incidents of our soldiers being targeted falling dramatically?

The Kashmiri Pandit exodus during the 1990s was the most shameful of occurrences in India’s independent history along with the 1975 Emergency and 1984 Sikh genocide. It is said that a force of just 10,000 soldiers would’ve stopped the exodus, but the central government didn’t send the required force to Kashmir. The two political families of Kashmir did nothing to stop the rape, murder and exodus of Pandits, nor did they, since then, want the Pandits to come back as the ensuing demography suited their politics and ideology. And it is these people we should sit across from and deliberate?

Let me also state here how 35A was nothing but a measure of sickening convenience. Omar Abdullah, the son of a Britisher, is allowed buy property in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite marrying a non-Kashmiri his children were entitled to owning property as well. Omar’s sister married a non-Kashmiri too but her children didn’t have the same rights. Is this what our India stands for?

Mehbooba Mufti is being questioned by the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) regarding some appointments made in the Jammu and Kashmir Bank during her tenure. There are charges of backdoor appointments, nepotism and irregularities. The ED is grilling Farooq Abdullah in a Rs. 112 crore money laundering and embezzlement scam from the time he was the president of the J&K Cricket Association. What moral standing do they possess to be talked to for something that concerns national security?

I shouldn’t delve into talking about separatists as they don’t deserve an iota of attention. But simply to let people know what these anti-nationals have done over the years I’ll give one example. Yasin Malik, one of the foremost separatist leaders, is being probed by the NIA. The NIA found 12 properties – including a mall – belonging to Malik located in Srinagar worth a whopping Rs. 15 crore! Some are also in the name of his relatives which means they’re benami.

Those who still believe these people are stakeholders in Kashmir should sincerely review their stand.

 

Implications of Abrogating Article 370

The immediate and long-term impact of this historic decision is wide-ranging. It affects not just our internal politics and security but even our geopolitics and foreign policy. Moreover, it would be a mistake to identify the abrogation as merely a security move; it possibly has more socio-economic ramifications.

Internal impact:

  1. No More Human Rights Cribbing – We all know considerably well how our soldiers in Kashmir were targeted by human rights watchdogs over concocted violations to present a false picture to the world of India trampling local Kashmiris. This will now end because supporters of those who revel in anti-India propaganda have lost significance and, fake human rights brigades will have lesser access to Kashmir.
  2. Pride of Soldiers Intact – Hordes of stone-pelters taking to the streets and raining stones on our soldiers, sometimes grievously injuring them is now a thing of the past. We all remember too well those images when a soldier was kicked and abused by a Kashmiri and yet the soldier kept walking maintaining unnatural composure because for him discipline and duty to the nation was supreme. This too is not likely to happen anymore. Reason being that those who backed these stone-pelters are themselves trying to save their skin. Their funding is being cut, and the forces have more power.
  3. Local Terrorism Will Die Out – Many of these so called ‘mainstream’ Kashmiri politicians are in politics simply to provide terrorism a legitimate political front. Just like Jamaat-e-Islami – which was banned by the Modi government sometime back – was an ideological front for terrorism, many of the Kashmiri politicians act as a political front. With such politicians suddenly losing their ‘armor’ of Article 370, local terrorism is bound to take a massive hit.
  4. Strong Message to Anti-Nationals – Dealing with Article 370 was by far the greatest challenge for Prime Minister Modi because of its deep history, embedded interests, foreign funding into destabilizing the state, attempts to internationalize the matter and terrorism. He dealt with the matter with utmost calm and diligence. What this does is it creates a fear in the hearts of people even elsewhere who work with a secret agenda against India. They now know that the government can take any step in national interest without succumbing to any pressure.
  5. Child Marriage Gone – It is faintly believable that child marriage was allowed in Jammu and Kashmir! With 370 dead this social evil is gone for good.
  6. Anti Corruption Bureau in Place – While the state constitution was effective, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) had no powers. This is why Jammu and Kashmir didn’t see development; money flowing in from the center was looted due to zero accountability and no fear of being nabbed. But now this won’t happen.
  7. Rights for Valmiki Community – In 1957, people from the Valmiki community were brought to Kashmir when local safai karamcharis went on strike. Ever since, the only job they or their kids are entitled to is cleaning! This was surely not the India our freedom fighters fought for. Now, this gross evil has also been corrected.
  8. Rights for West Pakistan Refugees – Communities like Dogras and Bakarwals were given no rights despite making Jammu and Kashmir their home for decades. Over 20 lakh residents of the state didn’t even have the right to vote. This has changed. All these communities will get jobs, equal status and a much better life.
  9. Door Open for Kashmiri Pandit Rehabilitation – It’s been nearly 30 years of Kashmiri Pandits living in decrepit conditions in various parts of the country after being raped, murdered and thrown out of their homes. With extremism reigning supreme in Kashmir under the state constitution and it being politically viable for certain elements to maintain the existing demographic, it was nearly impossible for Kashmiri Pandits to be rehabilitated anytime soon. However, now the situation has changed. Firm steps can soon be taken to give Pandits their homes back.
  10. Benefits Seize to Exist – As written earlier ex-CMs live in lavish residences and separatists have amassed inordinate wealth. The Home Ministry had recently taken out a list of over 210 relatives of separatists who are living in other countries. It was also found out that 112 children of separatists are studying abroad. With anti-corruption and intelligence agencies increasing their grasp on the illegal and anti-national activities of these people, benefits such as taxpayer-paid mansions, medical facilities, bulletproof vehicles, driver, retinue of staff, etc., can be taken away.

International impact:

  1. Pakistan Stumped – How Pakistan has been dealt an eternal blow with the abrogation of 370 is something to discuss in detail in another article. In brief, this move by India has left Pakistan with no options at all. On the world stage not one major power has come out in open support of Pakistan. Even China has raised objections only to India changing the status of Ladakh and refused to interfere on Pakistan’s side against India on the issue of Kashmir. Economically Pakistan cannot hurt India as part of its retaliatory approach. India’s economy is 10 times that of Pakistan; foreign reserves are a whopping 55 times; and in 2018-19, Indo-Pak trade was barely 0.1% of India’s total trade. Militarily Pakistan has long accepted – even though tacitly – that it cannot match India in a conventional conflict which is why it took to breeding terrorism. If Pakistan endeavors to carry-out a major terror attack on Indian soil then the retaliation by India is something it cannot predict after it failed to preempt the surgical and air strikes. And this is something Pakistan cannot risk either because India’s response will be conventional that again puts its military in the limelight for another humiliating drubbing. Overall, the Pakistani establishment has simply no idea what to do to reassure its people that the hyperbole it dished out for decades of the invincibility of its military and the Kashmir Banega Pakistan slogan were not meant to fool them and get votes and funds but had some iota of reality.
  2. Focus Shifts Away from Kashmir – Earlier each stone pelted on our soldiers in Kashmir was shown as a reaction of ‘subjugated’ Kashmiris against the Indian state. All eyes remained on Kashmir. But now that India has firmly sent this message to the world that Kashmir is ours in all essence, the focus of the international community and media will slowly shift to where India wants it to be – PoK, and even Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. Even Pakistan, now having seen that its proxies in Kashmir will soon go extinct and it can do nothing to incite Kashmiris against India, will become worried about India’s plans for PoK.
  3. A Robust India – The international community has once again seen that today’s India is truly a changed India. From the surgical strikes to the air strikes, from the ASAT test to the removal of 370, India didn’t consult or inform any nation beforehand about its upcoming path-breaking moves. Not to forget the stand India took against China at Doklam. The world sees that India cannot be pressurized into behaving like they want. This has immense consequences. For one, India’s enemies won’t take us lightly anymore. Secondly, nations in our neighborhood will see that India can stand up for its own rights; only when a nation stands up for itself can it support someone else. This will raise the trust smaller neighbors have in us and lead to better relations. Thirdly, powers like the US and Russia will want to further improve relations with India as in a multi-polar world with both pitted against each other India becomes a crucial geopolitical and strategic pivot.

 

The Kashmir ‘issue’ that was rankling for 70 years has been largely solved. With Kashmir now like any other Indian state, Pakistan’s propaganda and covert warfare have been dealt a memorable blow.

It is now for India to develop Jammu and Kashmir along the lines it deserves to be, and for Pakistan to cry hoarse and placate its population who’ve been brainwashed for decades into believing that Pakistan’s existence is exclusively for Kashmir. Imran Khan sure wouldn’t have imagined that Narendra Modi would do something so drastic and change the entire geopolitics of the region in less than an hours time. The Pathan needs to do some serious and logical introspection.

 

 

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Varanasi – From the Eyes of an American Tourist

Adam Groffman is an American citizen who’s an avid traveler. He’s roamed the world, and he’s set foot on Indian soil as well, twice.

The one place in India which attracts every person – not just those living in India but even abroad – is Varanasi. Experiencing India without making a visit to the holy city is fruitless. Adam too has visited Varanasi not once but twice.

But his experience on both the occasions bore stark differences. I happened upon a tweet of his in which he’d written – “First full day here in Varanasi and it’s been pretty interesting. I was here 7 years ago and had a really rough time, but this time I’m just soaking it all in…” This was on 24 January 2018. He’d posted the following pictures in his tweet from his recent visit (the clean ghats are noticeable) –

Naturally, I was fascinated with the usage of his words. They clearly highlighted two very different experiences. To know more, I messaged him and had a chat about his travel to the grand old city this time around.

The first thing he pointed out was enhanced cleanliness. He said that when he’d visited 7 years ago, Varanasi wasn’t as clean. There were a lot less trash bins then.

He mentioned that this time around, the city – the roads and transport – was more organized and less chaotic in comparison to his last visit. To quote him – “…this time around I had the experience of Indian culture and traditions and knew a bit more to expect, but Varanasi felt so much more enthralling on my visit last week. It felt more quiet.”

He also had praise for the Indian Railways which is often the butt of jokes. Again I quote him – “I took the train to Varanasi from Lucknow and it left on time and arrived early – only booked it an hour before departure so I was really impressed with that experience too.”

Adam also happened to notice that there were a lot more public toilets across the country. He says he barely remembers seeing them in 2010/2011 when he last visited.

He went on to say that he felt like India has changed a lot for the good. Quoting him – “Generally it just seems some things are running smoother. There’s less hassle and traveling the country as a backpacker feels somehow easier (again, my own personal changes and growth may be part of the reason – but I have noticed many societal improvements).”

People living in India have their biases – either in favor of Prime Minister Modi or against him. But a person visiting India as our guest has no such inclinations. What he experiences, he expresses.

For Adam to have felt and witnessed firsthand these changes in India and in particular in Varanasi – the constituency of Prime Minister Modi – is testimony to a better, improving India.

What’s of particular interest is that the areas Adam talks of – cleanliness, Indian Railways, toilets – are areas Prime Minister Modi has focused in great measure. Adam’s experience is definitely an endorsement of our prime minister’s efforts to ensure a cleaner, healthier India.

I hope you visit India again Adam, maybe in another 2 years’ time, and I’m sure you’ll see many more improvements in this cultural and colorful country! It was a pleasure having you here!

(If you’d be interested in reading more about Adam’s travels worldwide, check out his blog – https://travelsofadam.com/)

 

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Hard Facts About Prime Minister Modi’s Work

There’s a lot of distortion of facts about the work done by the Narendra Modi government by political opponents and the media. To clear the haze, I write this blog to show how incredibly well Prime Minister Modi’s schemes have done, particularly for the welfare of the poor who’ve been ignored for decades and have been reduced to mere votebanks.

  • Jan Dhan Yojana –
    Beneficiaries – 31 crore.
    Amount deposited – Rs 73,558 crore.
    Impact – Opening of accounts has enabled the poor to become a part of the financial system and with Aadhar attached they’re getting subsidies directly from the government in their accounts.
  • Mudra Yojana –
    Beneficiaries – 10.38 crore
    Amount disbursed – Rs 4.62 lakh crore
    First time loan recipients – 3 crore
    Goal for this year – Disburse Rs 3 lakh crore which means another 6.5 crore people could benefit.
    Impact – Creating employers instead of just employees.
  • Soil Health Cards –
    Samples collected – 3.59 crore
    Samples tested – 3.19 crore
    SHCs printed – 11.76 crore
    SHCs dispatched – 11.42 crore
    Impact – Distribution of Soil Health Cards has led farmers to understand their soil better. They sow accordingly which reduces costs and improves profits.
  • Jan Suraksha –
    Work done –
    * Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti* Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima* Atal Pension Yojana had 80 lakh subscribers till Jan 5 2018.
    Impact – A huge part of the population didn’t have credible insurance but now they do at cheap premiums.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana –
    Work done – Over 93 lakh houses have been constructed in urban and rural areas.
    Impact – Those who never had a roof over their heads and never dreamt of the same either, are now getting houses with all basic facilities. (Link – https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/over-93-lakh-houses-constructed-by-govt-in-over-3-years-prez/articleshow/62696403.cms?from=mdr)
  • Swachh Bharat (Rural) –
    Work done –
    * Picture* Sanitation has gone up to 74% from 39% in 2014.
    Goal/expectations –
    * Construct 7.95 crore toilets.
    * India will be Open Defecation Free by October 2019.
    Impact – Women relieved themselves in the open; now with toilets they have dignity and better health.
  • Swachh Bharat (Urban) –
    Word done – PicturesCommentary – Work needs to be done as far as urban areas go but considerable progress has been made. But we ourselves are greatly responsible for dirty surroundings and we must do our bit in keeping our cities/towns clean.
    Why Swachh Bharat is essential? —
    * Lack of sanitation is responsible for deaths of over 100,000 children annually (UNICEF).
    * A household in an ODF village saves Rs.50,000 every year (UNICEF).
    * Lack of sanitation costs India over 6% of its GDP (World Bank).
  • Ujjwala Yojana –
    Work done – PictureGoal – Instead of the earlier goal set of 5 crore free connections, the government has now expanded it to 8 crore.
    Impact – Women don’t venture out to gather wood anymore; they cook and the families eat in a smoke-free environment.
  • Grameen Vidyutikaran –
    Work done –
    * Picture* 1,294 villages have got 100% household connectivity and capacity for another 7,162 for the same is ready.
    Impact – For 70 years millions lived in darkness, but now they’re rapidly being brought out of an 18th-century lifestyle
  • Digital India –
    Work done – 101,370 gram panchayats have been connected with 2.55 lakh km of optic fibre cable (only 59 were connected till 2014).
    Goal – Connect remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats.
    Impact – Internet-deprived rural areas have been made available to it transforming millions of lives.
  • Direct Benefit Transfer –
    Work done –
    * 115 crore Aadhars have been made and 400 central schemes have been linked.
    * Payments made worth Rs 1,00,144 crore.
    * Rs 75,000 crore have been saved.
    * Over 63 crore people have benefited (almost very second Indian).
    * 10 crore people received Direct Benefit Transfers till 2014; Modi government has added 53 crore.
    * In 2013, only Rs 7,367 crore worth subsidies were being transferred.
    Impact – Leakages in transfers resulting in taxpayers’ money going waste has gone waste. The poor are also getting what they deserve.
  • Jan Aushadhi Centres –
    Facts – Over 3,000 such centers have been opened where quality medicines are available at 50% to 90% discount in comparison to branded drugs in the market.
    Impact – This has eased lives of the poor who couldn’t afford medicines, and of the middle class as well.
  • AMRIT Centers –
    What are they about? – They provide drugs and equipment related to heart and cancer treatment at discounts upto 60%.
    Work done –
    * 111 centers.
    * MRP of drugs worth Rs 486 crore sold at Rs 219 crore; savings of Rs 267 crore.
    * 52 lakh patients have benefited.
  • Indradhanush Yojana –
    Goal – Ensure full immunization for children up to two years old and of pregnant women.
    Why is it important? – Every year, 5 lakh children die due to vaccine-preventable diseases and another 89 lakh remain at risk as they’re either unimmunized or partially immunized.
    Word Done (listing only some) –
    * Total no. of pregnant women immunized and completely immunized – 67.85 lakh and 36.20 lakh.
    * Total no. of children immunized and completely immunized – 2.51 crore and 65.79 lakh.
    * Children immunized for the first time – 28.12 lakh.
  • eNAM –
    Facts –
    * Mandis on eNAM: 471
    * Commodities on eNAM: 90
    * Total traded value: Rs 36,275 crore
    * Total traded quantity: 1.52 crore MT
    * Registered farmers: 73.5 lakh
    * Registered traders: 1.01 lakh
    Impact – eNAM has enabled farmers to get better prices for their produce via an online system.
Let’s see the number of people who have/will be positively affected from these schemes –
  1. Jan Dhan – 31 cr
  2. Mudra Yojana – 10.38 cr + 6.5 cr (probable) = 16.9 cr approx
  3. Soil Health Cards – 11.42 cr
  4. Jan Suraksha – 19.38 cr
  5. Ujjwala Yojana – 8 cr women ➡ 4 members in each family ➡ 32 cr people
  6. DBT – 63 cr
  7. Electrification – 18,400+ villages electrified, so one can imagine the crores of lives that’ll be impacted
  8. The one ground-breaking scheme that will soon be made a reality is Ayushmaan Bharat which will give 10.74 crore families 5 lakh rupees each year for their medical expenses. The approximate number of lives this scheme will touch is a whopping 50 crore.
After this assessment, you can visualize the kind of support PM Modi will get from the people who’s lives he’s changed!
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People’s Prime Minister

‘A prime minister with a golden heart.’

A government that listens. Felt like a myth, right? But now, not only does the government listen, but it even ACTS. Here are a few incidents when the Prime Minister’s Office directly intervened to help the common man, at times even saving lives.

  • An 8-day-old girl was suffering from a grave medical condition. Prime Minister Modi ensured a traffic-free passage for the rescue team which air lifted the child to a hospital. The child was saved. “He is our God today,” said the child’s father for Prime Minister Modi. (Linkhttp://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/pm-narendra-modi-turns-guardian-angel-for-a-8-day-old-baby-girl-know-how/577260/)
  • Vaishali Yadav, a class 2 student, needed surgery for a hole in her heart, but her parents couldn’t afford it. She wrote to Prime Minister Modi and the response was immediate. Her operation was funded by the Prime Minister’s Office. (Below is a heartwarming picture of Prime Minister Modi with Vaishali.)DY0unG3UMAAtnfE.jpg
  • 9-year-old Khushi Sharma hails from Ratta Tibba, Fatehabad district, Haryana. The path to her school was kutcha causing problems to children especially during rains. After no help from authorities, Khushi wrote to Prime Minister Modi. The Prime Minister’s Office soon responded instructing local PWD to act. DY0unvKUMAAIlLs.jpg
  • Hashmita saw some staff members at Raj Ghat cheating foreigners by overcharging them for keeping their footwear in safe custody. She wrote to Prime Minister Modi about this. Swift action ensued. The Prime Minister’s Office had the entire staff changed and CCTV cameras were installed. (Link – https://m.jagran.com/delhi/new-delhi-city-ncr-7th-student-hashmita-wrote-a-complaint-letter-to-pm-modi-over-rajghat-scam-16418885.html)
  • BB Sara had a financial crunch because of which she couldn’t complete her education. She asked Prime Minister Modi for help. Soon she got a reply from the Prime Minister’s Office after which she was given a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh by Vijaya Bank within 10 days. (Link http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/pm-narendra-modi-helps-muslim-girl-from-karnataka-to-complete-her-education/598402/)
  • 12-year-old Taiyyaba had a hole in her heart. Being a cobbler, her father couldn’t afford the treatment. So, she decided to write to Prime Minister Modi because she’d seen on television that the ‘prime minister works for everyone’. To the family’s surprise, the Prime Minister’s Office responded! DY0u_dKV4AANJ0Q
  • Money lenders were harassing the father of a 17-year-old girl from Kerala. They charged her father a monthly interest of Rs 45,000. She wrote to Prime Minister Modi for help. The response was such that the blade mafia was immediately brought to book. (Link http://newsable.asianetnews.com/kerala/kerala-girl-letter-pm-modi-help-father-blade-mafia)
  • 12-year-old Parth was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder. His father had to sell his property and wife’s jewelry to raise money for the treatment. When he fell short of money, he wrote to Prime Minister Modi, and the Prime Minister’s Office ensured free treatment. (Link – http://indianexpress.com/article/india/pm-modi-helps-12-year-old-boy-suffering-with-rare-disease-report-4463306/)
  • On his way to school, Abhinav would be stuck at a railway crossing near Bengaluru’s outer Ring Road. Reason was an under-construction flyover that was already delayed. He wrote to Prime Minister Modi. Prime Minister’s Office responded asking Railways to look into the matter. (Link – https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/10/14/bengaluru-boy-modi_n_8292576.html)
  • Safety of the people of Mandekolu village was under threat as wild elephant attacks had risen. Nikhitha wrote to Prime Minister Modi for help. Prime Minister’s Office responded and a committee was formed that decided to create trenches and also use solar barbed wire fences wherever needed. DY0vB5WU0AAlbIu.jpg
  • 14-year-old Harpreet Kaur living in Haryana wrote to Prime Minister Modi to change the name of her village, which was called ‘Ganda’, meaning dirty. Soon enough the Prime Minister’s Office replied and after approval of the Haryana government the name was changed to Ajit Nagar.

Have we ever paused and appreciated this huge change that’s come about with Prime Minister Modi coming to power? The Prime Minister cannot obviously reply to all letters because he receives hundreds daily, but his pro-people approach has helped saved lives. That’s massive!

Take a few seconds and ponder on this — “The prime minister of a country of 1.3 billion facing a plethora of problems responds to a letter written by a young girl on a paper torn from a school notebook — How many world leaders do this?” Thank you Prime Minister Modi!

A true ‘People’s Prime Minister!

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When The Sun Shone on These 13 Villages

Prime Minister Modi said he’ll do in 5 years what wasn’t done in 60 years. One of his transformative steps has been to electrify villages/towns. This thread enumerates the tale of thirteen villages which’ve seen the sun shine on their fortunes in the true sense.

  • Place – Elephanta Island; State – Maharashtra; Population – About 1,200. A 7.5 km long undersea cable brought electricity to three villages — Raj Bander, Mora Bander, and Shet Bander.
  • Village – Batambis; State – Jammu and Kashmir; Population – Around 600. Electrification has become possible with the use of latest cutting-edge technology of DC solar microgrids.
  • Village – Chibaukhera; State – Uttar Pradesh; Resident families — 200. A 100 KW electric transformer has transformed the lives of the villagers. After this, many people bought fans, bulbs and refrigerators.
  • Village – Demchok; State – Jammu and Kashmir; Population – Around 80. This small village on the Line of actual Control (LAC) with China got electricity through solar power.
  • Village – Jokapatha; State – Chhattisgarh; Population – Around 1,700. “We are very happy now that we finally have electricity in our village, now our children can study well and progress in life,” the village sarpanch said.
  • Village – Amdeli; State – Maharashtra; Population – Around 200. The residents of this village had to wait 70 years before they could see their homes lit up with electricity. Provision for travel via public buses was also made.
  • Village – Karalana; State – Jammu and Kashmir; Population – Around 250. In winter months, the village witnesses heavy snowfall and it is specifically during these months that villagers suffered a lot. But with electricity they’ve got relief.
  • Village – Bizari; State – Arunachal Pradesh; Resident families — 61. “This is the first time the village has been electrified & everybody is happy. It’s good to see the faces of villagers greeting the light for the first time after so long,” says a villager.
  • Village – Damdama; State – Bihar; Population — Around 800. From using kerosene for cooking and lighting and children studying under kerosene lamplight to people utilizing full 24 hours for their tasks and businesses running smoothly, Damdama has come a long way.
  • Village – Bandarjan Grant; State – Assam; Population – Around 270. At nights, locals say that wild animals used to enter their land damaging their paddy. Now they say that with the help of proper electricity, they can keep an eye on their field during night.
  • Village – Nuaon; State – Bihar; Population – Around 1,000. Ladies, senior citizens and children used to face ill-effects of heat during summer. But after electrification, locals have it much easier. Poorly-lit parts of the village are no more a threat during nights.
  • Villag– Pedapadmapuram; State – Andhra Pradesh; Population – Around 2,050. With electrification, locals say that children now study during night time and women cook food easily. They also have streetlights for safer roads at nights.
  • Village – Chepana NC; State – Assam; Population – Around 110. This village was established in 1970 and has had no electricity since. After the village got access to electricity, the villagers feel they can achieve anything.

Since independence, 18,452 villages remained unelectrified out of which 17,351 were inhabited. If we assume a mere 500 average population for each, then electrification has impacted almost 87 lakh lives, not to forget the benefit that coming generations will get.

#WhyModiIn2019

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“I’m Middle Class, and I Have No Regrets With the Budget”

There was considerable outrage over why no tax reliefs were provided by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget presented yesterday. I have a contrary view which I’ll present through a host of points.

Here I enumerate what I want or have received from Prime Minister Modi in his tenure. If he can ensure that much – a lot of which he already has or is working earnestly towards – I can do the rest on my own, and it’ll make me a proud Indian and a very happy taxpayer!

  • Provide me safety – The Global Terrorism Index measures the direct and indirect impact of terrorism, including its effects on lives lost, injuries, property damage and psychological effects. India is improving on this since 2014. We’ve seen that no terror attacks have occurred in cities which was a frequent thing before Prime Minister Modi came to power. But do we really care? Have we appreciated that he’s made India safer to live in? Despite terror groups increasing their presence in India and in our neighborhood, India has remained free of terror attacks in major cities because the intelligence agencies and security forces have been strengthened and given freedom to act. I’m safer, my family is safer, and I thank my prime minister for that. Also, districts affected by left-wing extremism have fallen from 75 in 2015 to 58 in 2017 thus making India stronger against internal enemies.

  • Better roads – The Modi government has initiated ambitious projects to improve both road quality and connectivity. The image below shows how highway construction under the Bharatmala project has risen every single year. A total of Rs 5.35 lakh crore have been allotted to this project. From 2018 to 2022, the government plans to build 83,677 km of roads by spending a staggering Rs 7 lakh crore ($108 billion). This is the largest-ever outlay for road construction in India and the length of the proposed roads is more than twice the Earth’s circumference! For the first time my tax is being used for the right purpose, and isn’t it but logical that these road projects will improve my life as a taxpayer?
  • Improve Railways – The Railways was debt-ridden before 2014 and considered a lost cause. Within 3.5 years, the Modi government has initiated visible and far-reaching moves to improve the whole railway outlay. Expanding rail network, introducing faster trains, improving on-board facilities, CCTVs and bio-toilets in trains, escalators and WiFi at stations, using Twitter to address complaints as small as cleanliness and as severe as health issues, modernizing railway stations…the government has done a lot. Don’t these things impact a middle-class persons’ life? As far as safety is concerned, the picture below indicates how the government is constantly working to make it safer. Also, the bullet train is a brilliant project. Here I’d like to clarify that the funding of the train is being done by Japan, and we’ve received the loan at very liberal terms. If my taxes are being honestly used for such purposes, I’m happy to pay them.railways.png
  • Better Conditions for my soldiers – Prime Minister Modi has taken up a number of steps to modernize the forces like deals regarding purchase of fighter jets, artillery, bullet-proof jackets, construction of submarines and frigates in India, and so much more to raise the effectiveness of the forces. He’s given freedom to the forces to retaliate against Pakistan and full support to them to stand up against China. The soldiers can now shoot-at-sight any intruders from Pakistan, permission for which wasn’t given by the Congress. This has reduced infiltration of terrorists into cities thus halting terror attacks. He’s allowed a surgical strike in Myanmar and then one in PoK; mind you the Congress had categorically denied the IAF permission to do the same after Mumbai Attacks. My taxes are being used to strengthened our forces who protect us and this makes me helluva lot proud! (If what’s written in the picture below doesn’t make your chest swell with pride, then something’s wrong with you.)https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DU4VszIVoAAQYgA.jpg:large
  • Give better health care – When I see a woman giving birth outside a hospital or a man suffering because he couldn’t be attended to, I cringe with pain. They deserve a much better life. The revolutionary scheme to give Rs 5 lakh/year for health treatment to 10 crore families effectively touching 50 crore people can have a serious cascading effect on the overall economy and welfare of India. Also, 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers which will ‘bring healthcare closer to home’ by providing free essential drugs and diagnostic services will be created. If my taxes can enable a poor family from saving the life of its only bread-earner, then I’ll consider myself blessed! Also, the outrage is illogical because even the middle class will benefit from these moves just like they benefit from access to 800 cheap medicines at Jan Aushadhi Centers and AMRIT centers.
  • Eliminate farmer suicides – Again, when those who slog all day in the fields to ensure I have food on my plate commit suicide, I feel disheartened. The numerous measures that the government has aimed to take in this budget will seriously help the farmers. It’s also disappointing that those people who targeted the government all year around about farmer distress have today denounced the budget simply because there was no tax relief. Why the blatant hypocrisy? Why be pretend patriots? If the lives of farmers will improve then it’ll give me great satisfaction. Also, one needs to applaud the government that despite elections nearing, it didn’t indulge in populist measures such as increasing subsidies or giving loan waivers.
  • Dignity to women – Relaxing in a second-class compartment of a train, we look out and see a woman relieving herself next to the railway track. We frown in disgust and say, “How pathetic! Dirtying the environment!” When today the government is using the taxes to build toilets for these very women, we crib about why the government is ignoring the middle class and focusing only on the poor. Again, the hypocrisy is appalling. Toilet coverage (in % of households in rural India) has risen from 47% in 2015 to 74% in November 2017. By October 2019, the government expect to make India completely Open Defecation Free. If my taxes are used for such noble purposes, I’m more than happy to pay them!
  • Improve the lives of the poor – For decades the poor have been kept poor and utilized as vote-banks, and our taxes gone a waste. Neither has the middle class nor the poor experienced the kind of improvements in lifestyle as they should have regarding public infra, healthcare, education, and other aspects such as crime.  Today, my taxes are being used for nation-building schemes as such Ujjwala, Saubhagya, Ujala, Jan Dhan, etc., and I feel I’m contributing to my nation. Only when the poor are lifted will India rise, and this will have a massive effect on our economy thus benefiting the middle class. Let’s think about the nation more than ourselves because for decades we’ve only thought about our needs!
  • Housing the homeless – We see people shivering in the cold or suffering in the heat and the rain. They’ve never had a roof over their heads and they never dreamt they would. But Prime Minister Modi is giving them homes. Over 93 lakh houses have been constructed by the Modi government in the last three-and-a-half years. This is in accordance with the Prime Minister’s target to provide housing to every poor and homeless person by 2022. I’m proud that my taxes are being used for this brilliant purpose!
  • Raising India’s stature – People have targeted Prime Minister Modi for making many foreign trips with the use of taxpayers’ money, but these trips have elevated India’s stature on the global stage and invited a lot of investment. India’s reputation has risen on the global arena as the fastest growing economy and bolder burgeoning power. This makes me immensely proud!

I can go on and on about how today my taxes are being used for building a greater India while earlier they were being wasted as they lay in government coffers or were pocketed by politicians. But sadly people didn’t care about this pre-2014. They were blind to the reality, something which is truly bewildering.

For example – Before 2014, our taxes were being used to pay subsidies but were instead pocketed by middlemen. Did we care? Ever heard any middle class person complain about it? Never. Today, when this has nearly been stopped due to the efficient use of Aadhar and Direct Benefit Transfer, we must at least be glad that our taxes are being used as intended, that they are improving peoples’ lives and strengthening the country.

I’m proud and I’m glad that what I pay as tax is being used by the Narendra Modi government efficiently and honestly for building an India that will emerge as a superpower and lifting the poor is essential for that! Thank you Prime Minister Modi, and I stand with you for creating a ‘New India’.

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Trump’s Cutting of Aid to Pakistan – Of What Significance is This to India?

To quote Trump – “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

This tweet has generated more excitement and praise in India than in America even though the people who’s money was being used to breed terrorism in Pakistan were Americans. They are the ones who’s money will be saved if President Trump does go on to completely finish the monetary and military aid that America provides Pakistan.

President Trump has for the moment stopped $255 million of aid to Pakistan. Yet, the apparent and quite surprising contradiction is that in November, US Congress had approved reimbursement of $700 million to Pakistan for aiding America’s efforts in Afghanistan. President Trump had afterwards signed this into law.

The first assumption that people are making is that if President Trump stops aid then the Pakistani Army will suffer due to a lack of funds and equipment. This is far from the truth. If it does happen, then China can easily replace it with aid of its own because keeping Pakistan alive and militarily vibrant is in China’s interest. China has already stepped in to defend Pakistan.

Most importantly, the Pakistani Armed Forces – particularly the army – are more a money-making machine than a professional war-fighting entity. They run around 50 commercial entities worth a whopping $20 billion! Here, I’ll add some perspective to it. Habib Bank was the only Pakistani company on the Forbes Global 2000 for 2017 that ranks the biggest companies in the world. It ranked 1819 in the list with assets worth $24.1 billion, sales of $1.6 billion and profits of $325 million. So the biggest legitimate company in Pakistan is just 20% larger in terms of assets owned than the Pakistani armed forces. And one must keep in mind that the $20 billion number of the Pakistani forces might not even show the complete picture. Do you really think such an entity will be left with a begging bowl in hand if America stops aid? This would have been the case had this tough stance come from a US president two decades ago, but not quite today.

There are two reasons why aid to Pakistan may still not stop completely – and even if it does it may only be temporarily – despite President Trump explicitly saying so. The two reasons are – 1) Pakistan is almost indispensable to America’s Afghanistan policy and, 2) the ‘Octopus’.

Pakistan and the US have worked together in Afghanistan for a long period of time to counter Russia. They were successful too in doing so with Russia taking massive casualties and leaving Afghanistan. Though, the terms of engagement between the CIA and the ISI were extremely lopsided. The ISI didn’t allow the CIA boots on ground nor did it make available to it much data about the happenings during the war in Afghanistan. ISI’s motive was to maintain absolute supremacy and make America feel that without Pakistan the US will be a headless chicken in the entire campaign. In this manner, the ISI kept obtaining funds and weapons from America saying that it’ll use the same to fight terrorism on ground but instead it used the same to strengthen its forces against India and in fostering terrorism. Despite repeated US presidents knowing of the same, most of them did nothing to change the situation except President Bush who made sincere attempts to punish Pakistan. President Clinton on the other hand was secretly pro-Pakistan.

Now, the US finds itself in a war that is seemingly endless. This is the longest war America has ever been in and Pakistan has been an ally – despite making a blatant fool of the American establishment – in it. If America does decide to quit the war or shrug its alliance with Pakistan, then China and possibly even Russia will swoop in to take its place, something which America can least afford. This is why the aid or reimbursement to Pakistan for supporting the war in Afghanistan may most likely go on in the long term.

Octopus. Yes, I’m referring to the multi-armed mollusc, but in an altogether different context. This ‘Octopus’ has been talked of in detail by American Senator Larry Pressler. It is basically a congregation of many people from a variety of fields who have deeply embedded interests in keeping intact military ties with Pakistan and even other nations. These interests primarily represent military manufacturing firms in America.

One major aspect of Pakistan-US ties has been providing a variety of arms to Pakistan at highly subsidized rates. These weapon sales are in the interest of defence firms in the US, and this is something they can’t let go and never have.

Towards the end of the 20th century, according to the Pressler Amendment, the incumbent president of the US had to assure the Congress that Pakistan wasn’t developing nuclear weapons. If the president couldn’t do so, then Pakistan would receive no aid from America. Yet, not even did Ronald Reagan who was an ardent supporter of the Pressler Amendment stand by it towards the end of his term. Only George Bush tried to enforce the amendment but was eventually ‘overrun’ by the Octopus, while Bill Clinton made efforts to bypass the bill to ensure aid to Pakistan continued. The Pressler Amendment is no more in existence.

Hence, despite President Trump’s honest efforts to punish Pakistan, for him to overcome the extremely powerful Octopus consistently will not at all be easy.

What Benefits India?

Cutting of aid isn’t of as great significance to India for the reasons highlighted above as some think. The only thing that India wants and deserves is Pakistan taking action against terrorists harbored by it that target India.

First of all, one thing that people need to understand is that the pressure Trump is placing on Pakistan isn’t a gutsy move as much as it is a corrective measure for all the years that America has supported and bred terrorism in the region. Had America not used terrorism as a policy to target Russia, it is possible that Pakistan may not have had such a ‘flourishing’ terror industry.

Now why I said ‘deserves’ is because the terror that India suffers from today is due to the humongous American funds that Pakistan diverted to creating the terror industry that bleeds India by a thousand cuts. Hence, cutting of aid or targeting the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network which are primarily groups threatening the US is of no real benefit to India. Unless the US pressurizes Pakistan to take action against terror outfits that have in the past and continue to target India, all this bluster is useless to India. It is time America stops indulging in gimmicks such as placing a bounty on Hafiz Saeed’s head but doing nothing about it. If America can hunt down Osama, why not Saeed? The answer is simple – Hafiz Saeed hasn’t targeted America, and so the US doesn’t really care.

One possible outcome of all this could be that Pakistan conducts a massive operation against terrorists of outfits that target American soldiers. It’ll roll out tanks and have numerous fighter jets bombing vast terrain, and then claiming it has killed many terrorists – it will kill terrorists but the extent of the operation will be highly exaggerated. Pakistan will then claim that it is serious in acting against terrorism, and the US will resume aid.

Despite this, the hope is that the aggressive attitude of the US administration under President Trump will lead to a different outcome. The way the US has reacted to Pakistan’s cheating does definitely show that India’s sentiments and pro-India voices in the American establishment have gained considerable influence in Capitol Hill. President Trump’s hard approach and Prime Minister Modi’s brilliant global diplomacy can combine to teach Pakistan a sound lesson to take on all terrorists, and only then will it be a victory for India.

But one thing can be said – for the first time both India and America have leaders who’re sincere in punishing terrorism and who have no strings attached to nations who support and fund terror. And here is where the hope lies.

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India and Afghanistan – A Bond Beyond Money

Ties between India and Afghanistan are old and strong. The basis of the relationship is mutual respect and not economic favors, although one can’t deny that economics is playing an ever-increasing role in this partnership just like it does in any other on the global stage.

India was the only South Asian country and the first non-communist country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980’s. India also aided the overthrow of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Henceforth, India has emerged as the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid to the country.

India invests in Afghanistan, and so do other nations like the US. But the manner of investment and the projects that India takes up are what strikes the right cord with the Afghans. Before I start off about India’s involvement in Afghanistan in a diverse range of fields such as trade, commerce, infrastructure and defence, here’s an astonishing fact – India has invested about $2 billion in Afghanistan whereas America has invested a whopping $50 billion. I’ll come back to this point later to vindicate the title of my article.

Investment/Infrastructure/Aid

  • India has invested in power projects, mines, has built over 400 miles of road, has built over 200 public and private schools and sponsored over a 1,000 scholarships. It constructed a bronze Parliament, and even an India-Afghan ‘friendship’ dam.
  • In 2016, Prime Minister Modi announced an additional aid of $1 billion.
  • The first consignment of 1.1 million tonnes of wheat India had committed to providing Afghanistan reached Zaranj through the Chabahar port and the Indian-built Delaram-Zaranj highway from the Iran border. India will continue to send such wheat shipments in the near future.

Defence

  • In 2015-16, India gave 4 Mi-25 attack helicopters and 3 Cheetah utility helicopters to Afghanistan as part of a strategic partnership to counter the Taliban and aid in relief activities.
  • India has trained over 4,000 Afghan military and police personnel.
  • India is now looking to buy an undisclosed number of Russian-made Mi-35s ‘Hind-E’ assault helicopters from an undisclosed Eastern European country which it will then donate to Afghanistan.
  • Now, for the first time, the Indian Army will train a group of Afghan women military personnel at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.

Trade

  • Bilateral trade has almost doubled in a decade to $680 million in 2015.
  • India and Afghanistan have now quickened and expanded trade through the Chabahar Port which is an India-Iran-Afghanistan venture.
  • The two nations will now open the second air corridor for trade next Wednesday.

Humanitarian aid

  • Roughly around 4,000 Indian personnel are carrying out aid and construction projects.

Why money can’t buy happiness

‘India has invested about $2 billion in Afghanistan whereas America has invested a whopping $50 billion’, is what I’d written above. Seeing that America has invested 25 times the amount that India has, it won’t be extravagant to assume that Afghans trust and like America more than India owing to the fact that they must have been able to create a much greater impact with their humongous investment. But that is far from the truth.

  • Matiullah Kharoti, a political analyst in Afghanistan, says, “We have a long history of relations between Afghanistan and India. India is our only neighbor who doesn’t interfere in our internal affairs.” He goes on to say, “Afghans love India. In my experience India is better at implementing projects that the US. American projects suffer from inefficiency and bad planning.”
  • Afghan youth are involved in working on Indian medical and infrastructure projects. One of them had to say, “They (India) are working in Afghanistan on basic things like dams, roads and other things. But America doesn’t. Also whenever India starts a work or project here they complete it.”
  • The prevailing view, or rather a complaint amongst Afghan people is that American projects are inefficient and poorly-funded. On the other hand, India is better at developing projects that the Afghans want and appreciate.
  • In a poll conducted in 2011, 1 in 2 Afghans wanted the US to leave the country, whereas 3 in 4 Afghans wanted India to take its place.
  • The Afghans consider India a more trustworthy friend and according to a poll, approve of an Indian leadership that an American or Chinese one.

And which is why I say that India and Afghanistan’s ties are beyond money. Coming to a burning question at hand – Should India place troops in Afghanistan? Answer – a big NO. Doing so has severe downsides and no clear advantages. Let’s discuss them in brief –

  • Economic costs – India is a developing economy and has numerous serious problems to tackle within the borders, primary of which is poverty. India also doesn’t have the economic space to take up another very much avoidable cost on its shoulders in the form of an ongoing war as it already has to invest much more in its forces and to tackle China’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy.
  • Preoccupation of forces – Indian Armed Forces have their hands full. Dealing with Chinese aggression on the border; retaliating to Pakistani misadventures; fighting terrorism within the borders; countering the menacing threat of Left Wing Extremism; aid work during natural calamities, and more. In such a situation, to push the forces into an alien war in Afghanistan will be nothing but foolishness.
  • Unwarranted casualties – Do the people who advocate Indian boots on ground in Afghanistan ignore the possibility of casualties to our troops? The day even one soldier gets killed will be the day when the government will be hounded and held responsible for the casualty by the very people who earlier supported sending troops.
  • Damage ties with Russia – Ever since India’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, India and Russia have increased cooperation in Afghanistan. If India sends troops in Afghanistan on US insistence, then India will effectively go against Russia which will harm India’s overall ties with Russia. This is one thing India can’t afford because for India Russia is more trustworthy than the US any day.
  • Iran-India ties will suffer – India’s rising involvement in Afghanistan is with Iran’s help through the Chabahar Port. At present, US-Iranian ties are probably at their lowest. For India to move and take such an immense decision to commit troops to the war at US insistence will be disastrous for India geopolitically. This is something again India can least afford.

Despite the fact that Afghanistan’s future has implications on India, the ongoing war is not India’s war, and to make it so will be a blunder beyond repair on numerous fronts. Even the US isn’t able to exit this war, and this war has proven to be the longest in its history with still no ending on the horizon. I applaud Prime Minister Modi for not succumbing to US pressure to send troops to Afghanistan and following a foreign policy that he sees fit for India.

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Counter Opinion – Why India Didn’t Vote in Favor of Israel?

There’s a lot of opposition to India not voting in favor of Israel. Most of this is unfounded and hasty. Many have gone to the extent of saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ‘sucking up’ to the Palestinians, and that he is doing nothing different from his predecessors.

The irony is that these same people were hailing Prime Minister Modi when he visited Israel. And now suddenly, he’s no different from the rest. Also, before I begin to explain the possible reasons why India voted against, I’d like to remind these odd-even supporters that for the first time in 2015 under Prime Minister Modi India abstained from voting against Israel on the issue of its ‘war crimes’. Israel had even thanked India for this.

Now, I’m not saying I’m right, but I wish people looked at things with a broader perspective. These people should remember that in foreign policy and geopolitical matters there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends, the only constant is self-interest and every nation searches for that.

  • First and foremost, India not voting in favor doesn’t mean India is against Israel, just like when Prime Minister Modi visited Israel it didn’t mean India was against the Arab world. Each move is to be seen in a context, and such a vote can’t be taken at face value.
  • Another point to start off is that diplomacy is what happens behind closed doors, not on national television. Hence, it is but near impossible that India didn’t convey its position to Israel beforehand and that Israel didn’t understand the situation India finds itself in. People may not understand, but Israel sure does.
  • Prime Minister Modi visited Israel this year that sent the Arab world into a dizzy as he was the first Indian prime minister to do so. THAT was the single biggest boost to Indo-Israel ties. Next January, Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming to India. Now imagine that if amidst these two major events in a span of less than a year had India also voted in favor then how severely it would have affected our ties with many nations.
  • It would have firmly set us in the US camp, something which India can’t afford let alone from an Arab perspective but even from a Russian perspective. India’s support would’ve not only been seen as pro-Israel but primarily as pro-US because this whole thing has been pushed by the US. Just think – would Russia have taken it positively seeing that New Delhi is almost working on the whims of Washington?
  • What people fail to understand is that with Palestine come a host of other nations who’re very crucial to India, like Iran, Saudi Arabia or the UAE. It’s important to understand that this not just about Palestine. Had it only been about Palestine India would’ve supported Israel. But the other nations who attach importance to Palestine are very important to India economically, militarily and most importantly geopolitically.
  • India’s biggest threats are Pakistan and China who need to be effectively countered. Take Iran for example. With the Chabahar Port, India has negated Pakistan-China’s Gwadar Port. China may well use this port for military purposes in the future, and it will be then that the Chabahar Port will be the only effective counter India will have. But what if Iran disagrees to cooperate then?

  • Another area where Iran is a huge player for India is the International North South Trade Corridor (INSTC) that runs from Mumbai, through Iran, to Russia and Central Europe. This is said to be a significant counter to China’s OBOR. Hence, angering Iran is neither in India’s short-term nor long-term interests, at least for now.
  • Iran is having rising trouble with Pakistan and this makes it India’s perfect ally. Harm ties with Iran and you drastically risk losing support of probably your most important friend geopolitically in today’s times. China will swoop in to replace India and end up completely surrounding us. Not to forget that we depend for oil on Iran and the Middle East. A vote in favor of Israel could well have angered Iran.
  • India wants to be an arms exporter that’ll help develop our indigenous defence industry and will create numerous jobs. One nation that is interested in greatly expanding defence ties with India is Saudi Arabia. It is interested in buying the BrahMos missile. It also wants to set up a joint venture to manufacture weapons in Saudi. For the first time, it is sending a team of 10 nationals to India for training to become officers at the National Defence Academy (NDA) next year. Not to forget Saudi is investing billions of dollars in India.
  • The UAE may also purchase the Astra which is a 70-km range air-to-air missile. UAE too is investing heavily in India. Jordan is interested in buying the Kamov 226 T multi-utility helicopters to be built by India-Russia. It may also buy other hardware developed by the DRDO. Voting in favor could have jeopardized our rising military exports and economic ties.
  • One has got to understand that India has a LOT more at stake here. Israel supports India on Kashmir because it has no ties with Pakistan. It doesn’t even have an embassy in Pakistan, and so, it does not have to weigh its gains and losses. On the other hand India has to do so at the time of such a vote because the nations tied to the Palestine cause have massive relevance for India.
  • Economically, militarily and geopolitically India has a lot to gain by maintaining ties with the Arab world. On the contrary, Israel has no interests in Pakistan which is why it’s easier for Israel to support India. As Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain wrote today in one of his tweets – Far easier for Israel to vote for India than for India to vote for Israel.
  • I’m surprised at some people saying, “We need Israel! What do we get out of Palestine?” True, we need Israel, and yes, maybe we don’t get much from Palestine. But we forget that Israel needs India equally, and that we have a lot to get from the nations supporting Palestine.
  • India desired to obtain technology for the manufacture of Heron TP armed drones but it received a setback when the Israeli ministry of defense imposed several restrictions on their export. Does that mean our ties were soured? No. Israel thought that that was a move in its interests, and so be it.
  • Remember this phrase Prime Minister Netanyahu had used when Prime Minister Modi had visited Israel? – “Ours is a partnership made in heaven.” He’d used the same phrase in front of Jinping for Israel-China a few months back. Why? Because he has to balance ties. India also has to do the same.
  • Israel was silent on Doklam unlike Japan who openly backed us. Why? Because again, Israel has to balance ties with both India and China. That’s exactly what India is doing now.
  • Even US’ allies like Japan, South Korea, the UK and many NATO nations haven’t voted in favor. But amidst all these countries, possibly no nation has to balance ties and sentiments more than India has to.
  • To summarize – * India has to balance crucial ties amongst many countries. * India-Israel surely had backdoor diplomacy before this vote was made where India’s stand was conveyed. * Emotions shouldn’t influence such matters; eventually what matters for every country is personal interest. * Foreign policy isn’t one-dimensional or a zero sum game. * Our ties with Israel are possibly on an all-time high and will continue to improve.
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When A Dream Got Me Thinking

American kids of the 1960s and 1970s were used to jumping under their desks when sirens were sounded or rushing out of their classrooms as a part of organized drills. Food and water and other such necessities were stashed in basements of houses; basements that were exclusively built to escape the limitless wrath of a man-made object – the nuclear bomb.

I, as an Indian, have never had to go through such ordeals, and I’m quite sure our children in the future also won’t have to. Because we’ve never been accustomed mentally to deal with the ever-present threat of a nuclear attack, we don’t know what complete and utter destruction a nuclear attack might cause and what it could be like to be a surviving victim of one. I had a little ‘taste’ of it, but through a most unusual medium – a dream.

A fighter jet flew over my head – and a few others who were sitting beside me – and released a bomb. I saw the cylinder shaped object with two triangular fins jutting out on its either side gently descend…and then fall just a few feet away from us. It didn’t explode, though.

Only when it had landed, did I realize that it was nuclear bomb. The reality of the moment seeped into me at a snail’s pace. Eventually it transformed into a sense of overwhelming doom. With wide incredulous eyes I looked at the unknown people next to me, knowing that it was all over. There was no escape. In a few seconds’ time, death would envelope us.

The setting of this catastrophe was my hometown, Mussoorie. The next scene was me walking along the Mall Road at a point from where one can see the capital of the state Dehradun. Here’s a picture for you to relate better (Dehradun is under the scant cloud cover and this picturesque setting is visible from a certain point on the Mall Road) –

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The nuclear bomb had exploded, yet I was there, walking on my feet, as if nothing had happened. But I was dead. I was simply existing in spirit form as if God wanted me to witness with my eyes the deathly pallor that hung in the town and the eternal devastation that the attack had caused.

I couldn’t feel any physical pain, but that doesn’t mean I was bereft of pain altogether. The pain inside me was excruciating. It must have been more acute that the sudden burst of agony I must have felt when the bomb had exploded. Around me were people lying, face down, quiet and still as rocks. There was no blood, there were no visible injuries, yet the scene was more morbid and frightening than any vision of a battlefield could have been.

Then, I looked to my left towards Dehradun. As if on cue, the landscape below the scattered clouds began losing electricity. Swiftly, in front of my eyes, the wave of darkness kept spreading; even though the day was young, it was quickly turning dark all around.

Before the whole city in front of me could be cut-off from power, my attention shifted to something to my right – a small fire in the bushes at the side of the road. And then another as flames leapt out of a car. Within a few seconds, many more such fires erupted from trees and buildings all around me. These fires were the result of the immense heat released from the explosion. I turned scanning my surroundings and kept turning and turning till I felt dizzy. The stench of death suddenly hit me…and then I woke up. Just a tad sweaty, but I could still feel the sensation of overpowering fear, my muscles were as if they were about to give away strength because my mind believed that the apocalypse was for real.

This dream made me think – Are weapons of mass destruction a necessity? What purpose do they serve, if any?

Quite a few nations today have nuclear weapons and the total number of nukes are so many that I guess the Earth could be destroyed many number of times. It would take just one nuke to be launched to set-off a reaction that would effectively end humanity in a matter of hours.

Yet, nuclear weapons do serve a purpose, and a very crucial one at that – of deterrence. It is also a fact that if not for them, the world would have surely seen a third, maybe even fourth world war. The US and Russia would have most likely gone to war in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis; the only thing that brought the crisis to an end was the fear on both America and Russia’s part that both had nuclear weapons and the world would come to an end if they went to war.

So, the arguments both in favor and against nuclear weapons have their strengths. But the truth still remains that we are quickly moving towards a more and more dangerous world, the end of which could come through slow and excruciating and limited conventional wars taking place every now and then or, suddenly through a nuclear war triggered by the release of one bomb probably by some Islamic terror outfit.

 

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Real Liberalization of the Indian Economy

Liberalization involves opening up of an economy to the world allowing for greater flow of goods and services and of capital. Regulations are eased which results in higher foreign investment leading to greater exports and enhanced job prospects within the country.

The Indian economy went through liberalization in the early 1990s. But how beneficial was it in terms of capital flow into India? Not much. Yet, that is the only liberalization that’s talked about because it came about under Congress rule.

In terms of foreign investment, the 3 years of Narendra Modi rule have liberalized our economy in true sense. The Modi government has carried out 87 small and big reforms in 21 sectors in these 3 years! Here are some astonishing facts –

Of the total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that India received from 1991 till mid-2017 –

  • 75% in construction sector came under PM Modi
  • 69% in aviation sector came under PM Modi
  • 56% in mining sector came under PM Modi
  • 53% in software and hardware sectors came under PM Modi
  • 52% in electrical equipment came under PM Modi
  • 49% in renewable energy came under PM Modi
  • 45% in textile sector came under PM Modi
  • 44% in automobile sector came under PM Modi

Such huge investments in the last 3 years has made India the number one FDI destination in the world beating China. This has come about not only because of Prime Minister Modi’s policies but also because of his image of being incorruptible!

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Use Your Brains, Narendra Modi Haters!

This blog is meant for those who demand of Narendra Modi lofty things within just 5 years’ time. Not only do these people display an acute lack of patience but even of common sense. Here are 16 ridiculous, myopic arguments placed by armchair critics and my response to them, using both facts and satire.

  • “Go to war with Pakistan!” Those saying this have never witnessed war and they’ll not lose family members in case of a conflict which is why they find it so easy to say so. Going to war means casualties and destruction of the economy, which let alone India, not even China can afford. Unless a Kargil-like infiltration happens again, going to war won’t be justifiable.
  • “Jail the Gandhis!” They aren’t roadside drug dealers who can be put behind bars in a jiffy! Jailing them now will only give them a boost. Plus, they’ve ruled for decades and they still possess unbelievable clout in closed circles. It’s not a piece of cake to jail them.
  • “Takeover PoK!” Not everything is done overtly. Let Doval-Modi-Rawat work behind the scenes. They know how to handle this, you can’t. Most of which goes on in PoK and Balochistan isn’t even made public.
  • “Why hasn’t PM Modi ended reservation?” Is it that easy? Let us understand that he too is human and thus bound by restrictions, and for 70 years this reservation thing is running. How can it be removed in 3 years?
  • “Where’s Swiss bank money?” Why don’t you negotiate tax treaties if it’s so easy? None of the treaties signed by Congress with various nations included the aspect of transfer of information. But in just 3 years time Prime Minister Modi has had many treaties changed or new ones have been signed, the most significant one being with Switzerland. Switzerland will now automatically transfer information of Indians having money in Swiss banks from 2019.
  • “₹15 lakhs in our bank accounts?” This expectation of some goes to show how much we love free stuff! This is huge reason why we’re still poor, and why political parties have used us for their politics with transient benefits.
  • “Roads still have potholes; where’s infrastructure?” India has a huge road network of 33 lakh km that’s been uncared for over 60 years. How can it be repaired in just 3 years time? Yet, this government has focused on road-building more than any previous government.
  • “Why haven’t train accidents stopped?” Accidents per Million Train Kilometers has fallen from 0.23 under Congress rule to 0.09 now despite rise in traffic. Again, it takes time to repair a debt-ridden Railways.
  • “I paid bribe to a local official! Acche Din?” In 3 years, Narendra Modi has nearly removed corruption at the top. It’ll take time for the same to percolate down. Also, corruption isn’t a one-way street. We pay bribes because we want an easy way out without a second of thought if that’s good for the country or not. Hence, we’re as much to blame as those officials taking bribes.
  • “Soldiers still get killed on the border!” Idiots must understand that Narendra Modi can only make changes on our side – which he has – he can’t change Pakistan’s fitrat! He’s given the soldiers freedom to shoot to anyone who intrudes, and to retaliate to Pakistan’s ceasefire violations heavily. Arms purchases had literally stopped since corruption by Congress in Bofors; it is Narendra Modi who’s made massive defence deals in his 3 years to strengthen the forces. Just this topic can make up an article.
  • “No action against corrupt journalists!” They have lost credibility without Narendra Modi having to do anything. This is the best result possible! Let their propaganda die a natural death.
  • “Another terror attack! Modi resign!” Terrorists have the advantage because of the element of surprise, even the Army admits. There always are intelligence lapses as those operating are humans. Terror attack takes place in Israel, Germany, Britain, and many other developed nations, yet their people stand with the government in tough times. Only in India do some people curse the Prime Minister more than they curse the terrorists!
  • “My Aadhar arrived late! What governance!” I’ve actually heard this argument. Yes, Prime Minister Modi should track your Aadhar as well! It’s a byzantine system, occasional issues arise, deal with them.
  • “Nothing done for Hindus!” Just Prime Minister Modi’s presence at the helm has kept Hinduism alive or else Congress would have gone ruthless on Hinduism. His making Yogi Adityanath the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh was one of the biggest boosts to Hinduism possible!
  • “Poverty, hunger still exists!” Yeah, Narendra Modi turned a knob and robbed millions of their livelihood! The reason for poverty isn’t the last 3 years, it’s decades of Congress rule where it kept poor poor for votes.
  • “Surroundings are still dirty!” Who is responsible for our streets and our neighborhoods being dirty? Us! We litter and we spit, but we expect the government to clean our mess. If we can’t make even such a small contribution to nation-building then we don’t deserve to criticize the government!

Such people must stop their verbal diarrhea and see what Prime Minister Modi has done, some of which was considered near impossible in 3 years’ time! Appreciate, don’t just criticize, because criticizing is the easiest thing to do!

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Unknown Truth About the 1962 Indo-China War

Material and screenshots are all taken from – ‘The War That Wasn’t’ by Shiv Kunal Verma

I’ve compiled the most important facts and anecdotes from the book into this post. Most people don’t know the detailed truth about the war. Some of what we know is right, some isn’t. This post will dispel many rumors, and answer numerous questions, some of which are –

  • Why and how did the Indo-China War begin?
  • Who were the military commanders whom Jawaharlal Nehru promoted and why?
  • When war loomed on India, where was India’s top military and political leadership?
  • Why was the Indian Air Force not used during the war?
  1. Warnings about war with China – Lieutenant General Thorat, Eastern Army Commander, said in 1960, “You have 3 years. The Chinese will come down this axis in Oct-Nov 1962.” General Thorat was supposed to be the next Army Chief. But defence minister Krishna Menon disliked him and got Nehru to appoint Pran Thapar. Despite the warning, nothing was done on ground to follow up on his warning. Imagine how different the situation would’ve been had he been made the chief!
  2. BN Mullik, head of the Intelligence Bureau, Home Minister Sardar Patel and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, were three advocates of a showdown with China. Nehru was never interested in standing up to China.
  3. Nehru’s reply to anyone who suggested that China was preparing to invade Tibet was, “Liberate Tibetans from whom?” Even after China captured Tibet and Nehru asked Tibetans to solve the matter in ‘peace’, he never let the matter be discussed in the UN.
  4. Panchsheel Treaty – Then came Nehru’s blunder that people don’t talk about much – The Panchsheel Treaty of 1954. The treaty actually LEGALIZED China’s occupation of Tibet. Nehru even gave up India’s right over its facilities in Lhasa and along the trade route that linked the Tibetan capital with Kalimpong in West Bengal. Indian infantry detachments at Gyantse and Yatung, and the Indian Mission at Lhasa were also withdrawn. Nehru asked for nothing in return despite giving all these ‘gifts’ to China. He was satisfied with China giving him a written guarantee of good behavior. This was a diplomatic coup for China, while Nehru government’s PR machinery portrayed it as Nehru’s triumph.
  5. Kulwant Singh Committee Report had predicted a clash with China and had even got the time frame correct. Yet Nehru ignored it all along.
  6. In 1957, China announced that it had completed a road in Aksai Chin. Nehru knew about this all along, but he’d always kept a lid on it. Ever since the Panchsheel Treaty, China had become explicitly aggressive on the border pushing its troops into Indian territory regularly. By late 1950s, China had placed over 2 lakh troops in Tibet. They’d overburdened the Tibetan agricultural system that resulted in a lack of food for them. Ironically, it was India who exported rice to them, to the very soldiers who posed an ominous threat to us.
  7. Chinese incursions increased both in magnitude and number when Nehru gave asylum to the Dalai Lama. The breaking point occurred on 25 August 1959. On this date numerous Chinese troops crossed into Indian territory and fired on an Indian forward picket. They tried to arrest the twelve Indian men but eight of them escaped. This came to be know as the Longju incident. Nehru had to finally break his 12-year long silence on the deteriorating Indo-China relations in Parliament.
  8. In Parliament, Nehru admitted for the first time that several thousand square km of Indian territory in Ladakh was under Chinese control. He acknowledged that China had built a highway in Aksai Chin. He spoke of Chinese intrusions and the Longju incident. But what he said next had unprecedented consequences.
  9. He said that the border area of North East Frontier Agency (Arunachal Pradesh) is now under the control of the Army. Until then it was being dealt by the Assam Rifles Directorate. The unbelievable aspect was that he had not consulted the Army Chief before saying this! General Thimayya had told Nehru about the lack of troops but he’d even ignored that.
  10. Nehru’s mistrust of the Army – In 1928, Nehru delivered a speech at the Kerala Provisional Conference and said that India faces no danger from anyone and even if it did then it’ll cope with it. In response, the then CIC of the Army recommended Nehru to devise a defence policy. Nehru replied, “Rubbish! Total rubbish! We don’t need a defence policy. Our policy is ahimsa. We foresee no military threats. As far as I am concerned you can scrap the army  – the police are good enough to meet our security needs.” The same paranoia continued with General Thimayya. Nehru viewed him as a rival and actually feared he’d conduct a military coup!
  11. Nehru-Menon against Army Chief – After Nehru’s statement in Parliament, Gen Thimayya had heated words with him and told him how his declaration was against Indian interests. The Nehru-Menon duo had to neutralize Thimayya. So, three days later, Defence Minister Menon sent for Thimayya and vented his anger on him. He threatened him with political ramifications if Thimayya made his argument with Nehru public. A livid Thimayya resigned after this. Nehru successfully persuaded him to withdraw his resignation. But, the government purposefully only floated the news of his resignation in the media and not the withdrawal. Then, Nehru again made a statement in Parliament in which he said that he’d persuaded General Thimayya to withdraw his resignation. He went on to blatantly lie that he’d rebuked the chief as his reason to resign was trivial. Nehru even said that he’d reproached the chief for quitting in the midst of a Sino-Indian crisis. Nehru cleverly made General Thimayya the villain. He portrayed as if the General had quit due to his altercation with Menon, which was a lie. General Thimayya had quit because he’d wanted to reform the army but the Ministry of Defence had always been hostile toward him and had ignored his recommendations. In this way, Nehru weakened the chief and slowly promoted his favorite General Kaul to greater power.
  12. General Kaul, Nehru’s incompetent choice – Nehru’s darling, General Kaul, was the reason why we had the wrong troops at the wrong place at the wrong time. Kaul was a ruthlessly ambitious man which the Army had stated to the government. Yet Nehru’s intervention saved the man from becoming a nobody. He had absolutely no experience of combat. Even the men under him raised concerns about this, yet, Nehru gave him unprecedented powers. Nehru ‘love’ for Kaul was such that he once eulogized him in Parliament. He said Kaul was ‘one of the brightest & best officers in the army’. Truth is, Kaul’s only achievement was Operation Amar in which the army built houses in Ambala. He was useless when it came to warfare.
  13. Kaul was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and brought to Delhi as the Quarter Master General against the wishes of the Army Chief. Kaul’s importance was such that the defence minister only kept him in loop – not the CGS, nor the Eastern Army Commander, nor the COAS. During meetings, senior officers would wait for Kaul to come. Then he would announce what he could provide to the army regardless of their requirements. He even received the Vishisht Sewa Medal, and he was given this by none other than Nehru himself!
  14. Another Chinese misadventure – After the Longju incident, something similar happened in Ladakh. On 20 October 1959, 2 members of an Indian Police Party went missing. The search party sent to look for the two were attacked by Chinese soldiers with automatic weapon and hand grenades. Indian men fired back but were quickly overwhelmed. 17 men were killed and many others injured. What did Nehru’s government do? They simply sent diplomatic notes to the Chinese Ambassador informing them of the events. Is it of any surprise that China made Nehru dance to its tunes? After the Ladakh incident, Nehru said in Parliament: “…at no time since Independence have our defenses been in better condition…” This is how he kept perpetrating lies and fooling the public! Seeing how serious the situation was getting on the border and because of not being heard, General Thorat met Krishna Menon in Delhi. But Menon dismissed all his fears saying there would be no war. And even if there was he was capable of fighting it diplomatically!
  15. Some general points – “We were like headless chickens,” said Major General Palit on China’s annexation of Tibet. “Forget about the 90% Indians who did not know where Tibet was, half the people in External Affairs couldn’t pinpoint it on a map.” But Communists in India celebrated the annexation of Tibet.
  16. The one leader who understood the importance of using military as an instrument of state policy was Subhash Chandra Bose. But he was sidelined by Gandhi in 1938 in the presidential race of the Congress. This made it amply clear that Nehru would be the first Prime Minister of India.
  17. The nexus between the government and Kaul was such that before General Thimayya was about to formally retire, Menon and Kaul instituted an inquiry on the charge of treason against him on false grounds!
  18. Conditions in which our soldiers fought – GOC XXXIII Corps Gen Umrao Singh said: “Our ability to reinforce due to lack of troops and roads is limited. Our troops are on restricted scales of rations and have no reserves. Clothing is scanty for the extreme cold. We are short of ammunition and there are hardly any defence stores available. We also do not have adequate fire support.” Almost half the air drops of resources made ended in losses as the parachutes didn’t open. The reason behind this was the policy of retrieving and using old parachutes! Most of the soldiers had only cotton uniforms to brave the bitter cold with.
  19. Tsangdhar, located at a height of 14,500 feet, saw immense hardships for our men. The place had no shelter for soldiers. Even finding fuel to light a fire was a problem. For two nights in a row, 2 Rajput and 1/9 Gorkha Rifles had to camp in the open. They had no warm clothing, no tents, no bedding. Two men would huddle together with one blanket under them and one wrapped around them. The lack of concern and resources for the men was such that 4 Gorkha soldiers died during their march to Tsangdhar.
  20. General Kaul’s ridiculous plan – Kaul made a plan to evict the Chinese from Nam Ka Chu where the Chinese had camped fully prepared for a conflict. The plan was openly termed as suicidal. 2 Rajput had to initiate it the next day. It was pointed out to Kaul that there was no snow clothing; he said ‘6000 had been ordered’, but it didn’t arrive on time; there was no artillery cover for the soldiers to which Kaul replied that the infantry doesn’t need it. They didn’t even have porters to transport material.
  21. Situation of 2 Rajput – Let alone weapons and clothing, the soldiers didn’t even have adequate digging tools to create defenses! At best, each man had one blanket, no snow clothing at all. Four 4.2-inch mortars deployed on the Tsangdhar slopes had no ammunition. Four 3-inch mortars had just sixty bombs. There was one Vickers machine gun with limited ammunition. Light Machine Guns had only 17 magazines of ammunition. Each soldier had on him his pouch ammunition and 2 grenades. The few 2-inch mortars were useless as there were no bombs to go with them. The men had no artillery support either. Four 75-mm para guns had been airdropped for the rest of the 7 Brigade but once they were recovered only two were in working condition. Such weren’t the conditions with only this battalion but with almost every other. No ammunition, no clothing – was this any short of a massacre that could have been avoided?
  22. The event that set off action that eventually led to a full-scale war came on September 8. A patrol of 60 Chinese soldiers with AK-47 rifles came down to Bridge 3 at the Nam Ka Chu. The JCO panicked and radioed that a force of 600 Chinese was closing in on his position
  23. Following is the written order from the government to the army chief to evict the Chinese.It’s very odd for a chief to demand a written order almost as if he fears that the leadership might turns its back on the army in case things go south. It’s amazing that the order originated from a junior bureaucrat. Even bizarre was that the final formal decision to take on the Chinese came from a minister who didn’t even hold a cabinet rank! Add to this the fact that the decision to ‘evict’ the Chinese from Nam Ka Chu was a suicidal one which some military leaders understood.
  24. ‘Where was Nehru and his men when the war was about to begin?’ – On 20 September, a Chinese soldier lobbed a grenade at our men. Shooting ensued in which 2 Chinese were killed and 5 Indians injured. India was on the brink of war. But CGS Kaul – the most powerful man in Army HQ in Delhi – was vacationing in Kashmir! Defence Minister Krishna Menon returned from New York on 30 September. Kaul returned on 3 October. Not only this but Prime Minister Nehru wasn’t in India during this time either! He returned on 3 October from a trip to Africa. This is nothing. War had officially begun with the Indians getting trounced in Nam Ka Chu. It was now, that NEHRU LEFT FOR COLOMBO! He made a stopover at Madras where he grandiosely announced about ‘throwing out the Chinese from our territory’.
  25. It was Kaul’s delusional plan to evict the Chinese. He even demoted himself two spots to Corps Commander to gain laurels for having ‘led’ the men to battle. But when the Chinese retaliated to his plan in an unprecedented manner, he ran back to Delhi to ‘apprise’ Nehru. Though to his credit, he did finally realize the absurdity of his plan.
  26. As India kept losing, the conflict reached Arunachal Pradesh. Nehru was consulted on what the strategy should be moving forward. He said this –After having made all the wrong decisions, he now put the onus on the army! Unbelievable!
  27. Given how badly positioned Indian men were and how very limited resources they had, China officially admitted to 722 of their men being killed & 1,697 wounded (these figures were not even the final numbers!).
  28. In retaliation, Kaul wanted two sights cleared so Nehru could be given a memorable birthday present! Are you bloody kidding me?
  29. Indian troop morale was so low at some places (thanks to senior military and political leaders) that a commander offered them a reward of Rs 1,000 to anyone who captured a Chinese soldier.
  30. The Chinese had hacked our communication systems. How could we have won the war? And why was nothing done about it?
  31. Chinese Brutality – After the ceasefire, Indian recovery parties found corpses of soldiers whose hands and feet were bound with wire. The Chinese had riddled turbans of dead soldiers with bullets shot from point blank range. Sadly, Nehru didn’t even take this up at an appropriate forum. At Srijap, the Chinese captured a post and took 16 Indians alive. They executed 15 on the spot and spared Major Dhan Singh Thapa on account of his rank badges.
  32. 3 tales of sheer Indian bravery –
  33. Why the IAF wasn’t used? – In March 1960, intelligence reports said China had a group airfields north of Lhasa that could handle PLAAF’s heaviest bombers. The IB felt that PLAAF bombers could even get to Madras as the IAF had insufficient night interceptors. It also said that Chinese MiG-17s, 19s and 21s would destroy Indian Canberra bombers as they all had night capabilities. The IB didn’t stop here. It even said that Pakistan will attack as soon as war with China broke out. This assessment was blindly accepted. These reports prevented the use of the Indian Air Force.
  34. Why IB was wrong – PLAAF had no advanced runways in the region especially not low-altitude ones. China didn’t have any MiG-21s as of yet. Even though the IAF was behind in numbers, it had the Hawker Hunter and Gnat that were among the most modern subsonic aircrafts. The IAF had the advantage of its aircrafts taking off from the sea-level air bases with full loads unlike PLAAF jets taking off from Tibet. Forget Calcutta the PLAAF would’ve found it hard to even reach Gorakhpur. In March 1962, a lieutenant of PLAAF defected to the US. He’d asked for asylum in India but India had denied. The IB got hold of the info he told the Americans – even though the PLAAF had over 2,000 aircrafts, it could utilize only a fraction against India in Tibet. He said that let alone Sinkiang and Tibet, the PLAAF was hard-pressed to launch aircrafts even in China due to the drying up of Soviet aid! So clearly not using the IAF was a terrible and costly decision.
  35. Whom did Nehru want to employ instead of the IAF? – Here comes the most fascinating and shocking thing. Nehru and Kaul weren’t against using air power, they were simply against using the IAF! Despite Nehru being the strongest proponent of the Non-Alignment movement, he had given it up in the middle of war. Kaul was urging Nehru to ask the US and UK to send their air forces to India’s aid!
  36. On 19 November, foreign secretary MJ Desai and additional defense secretary HC Sarin drafted a letter from Nehru to John F Kennedy, President of the US. Following were the contents of the letter – As can be seen in the draft, Nehru was eager to invite the air forces of the US and UK. What’s more is that he didn’t consult the Chief of Air Staff before drafting the letter! The letter was so shocking that the Indian ambassador to the US contemplated on holding the letter back and not passing it onto the White House.
  37. Conclusion – Nehru committed many blunders but the biggest was his own insecurity that led him to undermine the army. He played an active role in reducing the ability and confidence of the soldiers. The other factor was the sheer rigidity and lack of vision of on-ground commanders.
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Talk to Those’

This thread is directed at those who blindly criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi without any knowledge of the work he’s done on ground. Essentially, I urge such critics to first ‘talk to those’ people who’ve reaped the benefits of our Prime Minister’s policies before denouncing him and his work.

  • Talk to those farmers who no longer have to feel the pain and humiliation of being lathi-charged while standing in lines to purchase urea.DLN1rymUMAAuZK2.jpg large.jpg
  • Talk to those poor people who now get their subsidies directly in their bank accounts without a middleman eating into what they deserve.DLN18KlUIAAhUXe
  • Talk to those soldiers on the border who now have the freedom to shoot intruders and respond to Pakistan’s misadventures in greater measure.DLN2BznV4AAxSjI.jpg
  • Talk to those women and girls who no longer have to relieve themselves in the open and struggle against daily embarrassment.DLN2QXsVAAAp5LA.jpg
  • Talk to those farmers who can now sell their produce at best rates via an online bidding procedure and are also able get their money within a day.DLN2cKOU8AAEf7O.jpg
  • Talk to those who’ve been without shelter for ever but now have homes to live in with water and electricity.DLN2oM_VoAApp0o.jpg
  • Talk to those who’ve been able to or will in the future get heart stents or knee implants at highly reduced costs.DLN2wbQVAAAWlTC.jpg
  • Talk to those who couldn’t afford regular medicines but now are able to purchase quality ones at great discounts.DLN210UUMAAY6CM.jpg
  • Talk to those women who for the first time are able to cook food without suffocating in smoke and worsening their health, and to those children who’re able to eat in smoke-free surroundings.DLN27jWUQAA-IZ3.jpg
  • Talk to those who for the first time are able to put their savings in a bank account.DLN3BwGUEAAFmC1.jpg
  • Talk to those people who for the first time are eating under a glowing bulb after sunset, and to those children who are able to study when it’s dark. The sun no longer sets on their lives.DLN3JU0VAAEYrh7.jpg
  • Talk to those soldiers and their families who’ve received their right that they were being denied for 40 years due to lack of political will and general apathy towards our brave men. DLN3Z5uUIAEd9y7.jpg
  • Talk to those who lived without any insurance but now have access to it at low premiums such as ₹12/year and ₹365/year.DLN3gLuU8AAKseM.jpg
  • Talk to those mothers who’s children have been vaccinated or else they would have been prone to deadly diseases.DLN3m_fV4AEkxRr.jpg
  • Talk to those farmers who’s produce is now safer under the most comprehensive and low-cost crop insurance scheme since Independence.DLN3u5DV4AEyrly.jpg
  • Talk to those youngsters who now have great incentives and encouragement from the government to become entrepreneurs with their startups.DLN31cBVwAIwBAz.jpg
  • Talk to those people who were denied loans for business by banks but were given loans by the government without any collateral.DLN38HmVoAU33I1.jpg
  • Talk to those people who never even dreamt of traveling by air but now are able to because the government has capped air travel fares.DLN4HImUEAEeSOg.jpg
  • Talk to those people who live in villages and were bereft of internet but now have access to a whole new world of opportunities on the internet.DLN4R_LVYAAzD3N.jpg