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TOPIC: narendra modi

Geopolitics

The Trudeau-Modi Row Reveals Growing Right-Wing Bent Of India's Diaspora

Western governments will not be oblivious to the growing right-wing activism among the diaspora and the efforts of the BJP and Narendra Modi's government to harness that energy for political support and stave off criticism of India.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHICanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has brought Narendra Modi’s exuberant post-G20 atmospherics to a halt by alleging in parliament that agents of the Indian government were involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian national, in June this year.

“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” Trudeau said. The Canadian foreign ministry subsequently expelled an Indian diplomat, who was identified as the head of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, in Canada. [On Thursday, India retaliated through its visa processing center in Canada, which suspended services until further notice over “operational reasons.”]

Trudeau’s announcement was immediately picked up by the international media and generated quite a ripple across social media. This is big because the Canadians have accused the Indian government – not any private vigilante group or organisation – of murder in a foreign land.

Trudeau and Canadian state services seem to have taken this as seriously as the UK did when the Russian émigré Alexander Litvinenko was killed, allegedly on orders of the Kremlin. It is extraordinarily rare for a Western democracy to expel a diplomat from another democracy on these grounds.

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New Delhi Postcard: How A G20 Makeover Looks After The World Leaders Go Home

Before the G20 summit, which took place in New Delhi from Sept. 9-10, Indian authorities carried out a "beautification" of the city. Entire slums were bulldozed, forcing some of the city's most vulnerable residents into homelessness.

NEW DELHI — Three cinder blocks with a plank, a gas bottle, a stove and a lamp are all that's left for Chetram, 32, who now lives with his wife and three children under a road bridge in Moolchand Basti, central Delhi.

"On March 28, the police came at 2 p.m. with their demolition notice. By 4 p.m., the bulldozers were already there," Chetram recalls.

All that remains of their house is a few stones, testimony to their former life.

Before hosting the G20 summit on Sept. 9 and 10, Indian authorities gave the capital a quick makeover. Murals were painted on the walls. The portrait of Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister, was plastered all over the city. And to camouflage the poverty that is still rampant in Delhi, entire neighborhoods have been demolished, leaving tens of thousands of vulnerable people homeless.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) carried out the demolitions in the name of beautifying the city.

"Personally, I'd call it the Delhi Destruction Authority," says Sunil Kumar Aledia, founder of the Center for Holistic Development, an NGO that helps the poorest people in Delhi. "The G20 motto was: 'One earth, one family, one future.' The poor are clearly not part of the family."

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Bharat, You Say? Looking For Clues At The G20 If India Is Really Changing Its Name

One official invitation and two booklets, issued ahead of the G20 meeting in New Delhi, refer to India as "Bharat" — a word with a long history of political, etymological and religious significance. But there is little clarity as to which name should be used in English.

NEW DELHI — Ahead of the G20 summit, the Indian government has released two booklets: “Bharat: The Mother of Democracy” and “Elections in India,” tracing the roots of Indian democracy from 6,000 BCE — and stating at the outset that “Bharat is the official name of the country.”

The issuing of the booklets comes just days after a G20 dinner invitation referred to Droupadi Murmu as the “President of Bharat” as opposed to “President of India,” drawing ire from opposition parties.

The first booklet traces democracy in the country through the "Sindhu-Saraswati civilisation" the Ramayana and Mahabharata (with Bharat root) epics, the rule of Ashoka, Akbar, the Cholas and the Vijayanagar empire, as well as the teachings of Kautilya and Megasthenes among others; the second compares the conduct of elections in India from the first general elections in 1951-52 to the latest one in 2019.

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Xi Jinping's G20 Absence — And Risks Of A Splintering World

There will be no Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping at this weekend's summit of the world's 20 leading economies in New Delhi: a symbol of the fragmentation of the world that has accelerated since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

-Analysis-

If ever a symbol of the divisions in today's world was needed, the summit of the world's 20 leading economies, the G20, offers it to us on a silver platter.

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Ideas
Jawhar Sircar

Modi, The Price Of One Man's Loyalty Obsession

Narendra Modi's fixation with unflinching loyalty from those close to him is a worrying trait that betrays the Indian prime minister's own insecurities.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — There is no doubt that the increasing politicization of the bureaucracy has been corroding, for quite some time, the pillars on which fair and efficient administration rest. The pains taken by the founding fathers of our constitution to protect and insulate the civil service from political interference had ensured a large degree of neutrality, for several decades — except perhaps during the so-called "Emergency," following Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's calling a national state of emergency in 1975.

What is more important is that it created a culture of looking down at any suspiciously close liaison between politicians and bureaucrats (for mutual personal gain) to be illicit and adulterous.

The recently passed Delhi Services Act runs counter to this ethos and legitimizes the babu-neta nexus. While asserting the supremacy of politics and administration (euphemistically called the executive) over the judiciary, it ensures that the Union government’s political agenda is thrust on an elected chief minister. This law damages the very federal structure, to uphold which, the all India services were created. The chief minister’s control over the civil service, enshrined in List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, is undermined by legally empowering the chief secretary and the home secretary of Delhi to overrule him.

The root of the success of political governance that lies in the subordinate position of the bureaucracy is, thus, uprooted – which, in effect, exposes officers to a field that is full of pits and mines. It is not that senior bureaucrats have never differed from chief ministers, but officials believe that when two persons ride a horse, one has to ride behind.

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Geopolitics
Harish Khare

"Untouchable" For President — Could A Dalit Leader Unseat Modi?

India goes to the polls next year, with a united opposition hoping to unseat Prime Minister Modi after 10 years in power. Mallikarjun Kharge, who may be the best candidate, is from India's "lowest" caste system.

-OpEd-

DELHI — If Novak Djokovic, the greatest grass-court player ever, can be defeated, then India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, can be vanquished in next year’s court of the people. Modi has been in power since 2014 and appears to have a tight grip on power.

But even though India's opposition political landscape remains extremely untidy, it still has a Carlos Alcaraz up its sleeve. His name is Mallikarjun Kharge. If the opposition leaders play the game intelligently, India could have its first Dalit prime minister next May. Dalit — previously known as "untouchable" — is the lowest stratum of India's deeply entrenched caste system.

The messiness of the opposition’s unity or lack of it revolves round the vexatious issue of leadership. That issue, itself, is predicated on a few givens.

The leaders of 26 Indian opposition parties are meeting to firm up their strategy to take on Modi's party in the next year's general election. Taking on Modi's BJP, which won more than 300 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha (the lower house of India's parliament) in 2019, will be a big task, even for a united opposition. The question still is who will lead the opposition.

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Geopolitics
Pierre Haski

Modi On The Champs Élysées, Portrait Of Realpolitik (Circa 2023)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the guest of honor for the July 14-Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, a choice that has benefits and risks for both France and India, two medium-sized powers cultivating their relative independence.

-Analysis-

PARIS — India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Paris on the Champs Élysées for France's July 14th Bastille Day celebrations. His presence and invitation by French President Emmanuel Macron would provide enough material to write an entire thesis, as the subject embodies all the facets and contradictions of our times.

The Indian leader is everything, all at once: the intolerant, "illiberal" Hindu nationalist, the bulwark against Chinese expansionism, the non-aligned figure of the global South in a changing world, from an emerging country with 1.5 billion inhabitants and unlimited economic opportunities.

Depending on which face you prefer, you may be shocked or delighted to see India and its Prime Minister in the VIP gallery in Paris on Friday, watching a parade of Indian soldiers who came for the occasion — a return of sorts, as Indian soldiers were present to help defend France during World War I.

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Society
Sreemanti Sengupta

Marriage Equality In India Isn't Only About LGBTQ, But Religion And Caste Too

Interfaith and inter-caste relationships have always been difficult in India. As the Supreme Court hears petitioners pleading for marriage equality, the time is ripe to see how laws and hatred have stopped love.

KOLKATA — When 34-year-old Krishna Gopal Chowdhury (he/him), a designer hailing from Kolkata in the eastern region of India fell hopelessly in love over the internet with Anisuzzaman Khan aka Anush (he/him), a fine arts practitioner from Bangladesh, he knew that his love was up against some of the toughest hurdles these countries had to offer.

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Chowdhury flew to Bangladesh in September 2019 with a surprise proposal, and the couple kissed at Dhaka Airport ignoring startled gazes, in a country where homosexuality is illegal. Thereafter, Anush faced harassment, torture, and shaming at home, and relocated to Kolkata, settling on a work visa.

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Geopolitics
Pierre Haski

India: 470 Airplanes And The New Power Of Non-Alignment

After not buying any aircraft for 17 years, Air India has announced the largest order in the history of aviation. It's a symbol of India's new standing in the world, its ambitions and the role it has as a model for other non-aligned nations

-Analysis-

PARIS — Air India, the national carrier of India, had not ordered a new plane for 17 years. Then on Tuesday, the airline announced what we can call the 'contract of the century': 470 planes at once, the largest order in the history of aviation. 250 Airbus, and 220 Boeings, for the Indian national company privatized last year that clearly has enormous ambitions.

For the occasion, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in video conference, first with French President Emmanuel Macron, then with Joe Biden.

This type of spectacular announcement was to be expected from China or the Gulf States a few years ago. India was the poor cousin of the emerging world, blessed with immense talents, but with major obstacles to actually breaking through on the world stage.

Has this idea now been consigned to the past?

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Geopolitics
Anita Inder Singh*

Modi Is Wrong: Russia's War Also Creates Real Risks For India

By shrugging aside Russia’s aggression, India has shown indifference to fears that China could follow Russia’s example.

-OpEd-

NEW DELHIIndia is wrong to dismiss Russia’s war in Ukraine as Europe’s problem. The illegality and destructiveness of the invasion, and consequential food and energy crises, have global ramifications.

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This explains why 143 out of the 193 member-states of the UN General Assembly voted against recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions after holding sham referenda there. Ninety-three voted in favor of expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

India has abstained from every vote in the UN condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The reason? Moscow is India’s top arms supplier and some 70% of India’s military platforms are of Russian origin.

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Ideas
The Wire Editorial

Modi's Fight Against "Fake News" Looks A Whole Lot Like Censorship

The Modi government’s attempts to censor the media and intimidate independent journalism pose a grave danger to Indian democracy.

A distinct chill has set in this January.

The first month of the New Year has spelt trouble for anybody interested in India’s future as a democracy – where freedom of expression ought to be guaranteed. Not to speak of our newly minted status as the "mother of democracy."

There are things happening, which must be seen together to understand the reality: Censorship is here.

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Ideas
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd*

Rishi Sunak, Britain's First Hindu Prime Minister — A Lesson For India

Rishi Sunak, a Hindu of Indian origin, has become the UK's prime minister. His religion has not factored at all into debates — a fierce contrast to a religiously divided India.

This article was updated on June 21 at 13:45 p.m. EST

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — Rishi Sunak, a British politician of Indian origin, became the prime minister of the United Kingdom following the resignation of Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Sunake is the most recent person of Indian descent in the West to try to reach the political pinnacle, coming on the heels of Kamala Harris’s arrival as U.S. vice president.

Britain was once the colonial master of India. From an Indian point of view, the British prime minister is the historical political head of an empire of exploitation – and also, let us remember, an empire of reform. Were it not for British colonial rule, and the rights-oriented struggle for freedom against it, India would not have become a democratic, constitutional republic in 1947, however loudly we claim that the roots of our democracy lie in our ancient structures, whether Hindu or Buddhist.

All major aspects of our freedom struggle and colonial life were linked to the British political system. Particularly from the beginning of the 20th century, Indians considered the British prime minister the symbol of colonial rule, the man to revile or to appeal to.

Given this historical context, that a man of Indian origin stands a realistic chance of becoming the British prime minister shows how the world is changing.

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