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My notes 28DEC2015 28-12-2015

India – Russia

Prime Minister Modis visit to Russia

  • Russia once again became the largest supplier of weapons to India, the place occupied by the Israel and USA for a while.
  • The trip shall be seen as reassuring of a strong and reassuring friend of India in the light of its growing relations with USA.
  • If 2015 is observed, visit of Obama to republic day to military exercise to defence deals the engagement appears too deep and broad-based. On the other hand, annual summit with Russia postponed many a times. In meanwhile Russia also started moving close to Pakistan and its relations with China are getting stronger.
  • The positive side of the defence agreement with Russia is, 200 Ka226T Kamov utility helicopters will be manufactured in India and in partnership with Reliance. This private sector involvement and Manufacturing in India are first of its kind.
  • Trade with Russia is largely dominated by defence purchases need to be revisited and aspirational $30bn need to be achieved in as soon as possible.

 

Finally, old friendships new energy suits well for this trip.

 

USA visa fee hike

  • USA hiked the visa fee for H1 B and L1 category visa and it can adversely affect the Indian software industry, which is the major claimant for these visas.
  • As per the new law, any company having 50 employees of whom greater than 50% are Non Americans shall pay the hiked visa fee. It is to increase the oppourtunities for Americans.

Opposition role

  • Remember this statement for a conclusion

1)      Bipartisan consensus is very critical for crucial issues relating to country’s strategic and foreign policy challenges.

Modis Lahore drop

Pakistan is an important cog in the wheel of our neighborhood foreign policy. It is too big to be ignored for a stable south Asia. Irony is, Indian policy on Pakistan is ad hoc and is mostly guided by the events rather than a long term vision. It need to be remembered that, fruits of diplomacy can only be tasted with patience and perseverance.

Pakistan as a state has many internal challenges and military chauvinism. It always misguided its policy towards India accentuating the conflicts and misunderstandings. The recent call off of talks on involvement of Hurriyat is one such an incident. Not so surprisingly, incursions increase on border side as and when the countries start engaging. It shows the deep seated frustration and identity crisis of extremist elements.

Added to this, economic progress of both the nations need an investor confidence, stable market and control of security expenses. In this context, Modis drop in at Lahore is a first key step in his new balanced foreign policy.

Delhi’s traffic experiment

The recently introduced odd even formula to control the vehicular pollution in Delhi has many parallels in the world. In long term people tried to subvert the rule by resorting to alternative practices of having another car etc., this in turn increases the vehicular pollution rather than decreasing it. Hoy No Circula in Mexico, Pico Y Placa in Bogota are examples of this. UK imposed congestion charges on inner city roads and no positive outcome is visible.

In this context, long term behavioral changes in adopting the people to public transport with an efficient, well connected, congestion free public transport system can only be an effective alternative.

 

Green shoots of a Possibility

The existing political parties are not in a state to broaden their horizons to accept the green concerns of development. The opinion is too divided. In this context, the space for alternative green politics rooted in participative democracy has a space. Yogendra Yadav and Vandana shiva says there is a crying need for environmental politics.

Unlike in the west where green politics are rooted in the Urban Educated middle class, India shall make it broad based across the Adivasi’s, fishermen, tribal’s etc. On the other hand Vandana shiva observes that, there are certain synergies between environmental movements across the world on issues such as GM crops, protection of water bodies etc. so, environmental politics are the need of the hour and they can broaden the democratic space.  

Question of the day

Do you think India has a space for an alternative green politics away from the existing models of development?

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