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Palestine can wait

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Palestine can wait

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The relatively new India-Israel bonhomie makes much sense, both economically and strategically for India, and politically for PM Modi

By Sujit Bhar

This is a tricky issue, especially tricky for India, traditionally an Arab (read Palestine) backer. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Israel in July, the first Indian PM to do so, and he will not be stopping over in Palestine. That’s a rather unusual thing to do for a ‘friend’, when you are visiting a neighbour. One believes even the Arabs know the meaning of ‘atithi debo bhava’ and they would have reciprocated well.

The history of India-Palestine relationship cannot be overstated, starting from Mahatma Gandhi’s assertion that it wasn’t fair a land of and for the Arabs was forcibly sliced away and handed over to the Jews, who believed the Old Testament said this was their land.

India was always for the “Palestinian cause” trying to project its influence in multilateral forums. The draft resolution on “the right of Palestinians to self-determination” was co-sponsored by India and placed at the 53rd UN General Assembly. On the other hand, India recognised Israel only a year after its formation. India-Israel relations were on the upturn from 1992 and there have been no letup since. President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel in October 2015.

There has been a safety valve put in place, though. It has been reported that India would possibly host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before Modi’s visit to Israel. There will be a great deal of ironing out of kinks at that time and, fingers crossed, the Israel visit of Modi will not be affected by bad blood.

Let us look at this objectively. Gandhi’s views – it was also the view held by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru – on Arab self-determination was on political lines. It not only protected India from the larger influence of the US, but also helped the country produce a counter-balance to Pakistan and a larger than life image as founder of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM).

Technically, NAM is a closed chapter, defence compromises being overtaken by economic considerations. In the new world order, sentiments of the past can cause a negative draft. Now it’s the human face versus the business face of a nation. Let us face the practical world.

Sooner or later, Modi will meet US President Donald Trump, and there will be discussions and deals to sign if Israel is happy. Like it or not, the Trump-Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Prime Minister) relationship is going to flower. India has huge defence partnerships going with Israel, and there is a possibility that US aircraft manufacturer Boeing would be interested in moving some of its manufacturing bases to India. Airbus has.

Think of the possibilities for Modi. He has not been able to create the jobs he had promised the country in 2014. What he has created instead is race-caste hatred, the debilitating frustrations and joblessness of demonetisation and an atmosphere of fear and apprehension. He has delivered exactly what he had promised to remove.

Therefore, the face-saver. Israel, and hence the US, can offer opportunities in manufacturing that can produce a decent number of jobs and a technical base that the country has failed to produce even after 70 years of Independence. Remember, the only brand that India can proudly claim Intellectual Property Rights to around the world today is probably the BrahMos missile system (the fastest in the world, with Russia) and the PSLV space vehicle.

This digression was necessary to bring some perspective to the issue. While we cannot crudely say thanks, but no thanks to Palestinian overtures, it would be up to Palestine to realise that the vital necessities of a nation can often override humanitarian overtures.

Here’s the rub. Modi needs the jobs, the industry, the recognition, the export capabilities he craves, and to top it all, he wants to be remembered as a great statesman. How logical the last aspiration is, only time will tell, but if he fails to put food on Indian tables, and seal their backyards safely, he is in for a shock outcome sooner rather than later, whatever the Uttar Pradesh polls might indicate.

One would not want to look at this from narrow, personal perspectives, but that possibly is what it is.

India has drawn huge advantages from Israeli technology advances, especially in the agricultural and defence sectors. They are now cooperating in cyberspace security issues that would be the key point of worry in the coming years. Modi wants to take it further. And in doing so if he can jump to the US, why not?

It was a great relationship Modi had with former US President Barack Obama. They had tea in the gardens and talked about cooperation and Obama managed a $ 10 billion defence deal out of it. What did India get? Not even a sanction against Pakistan. The humanitarian angle simply does not exist. India still has the market advantage, and technology has to be a big input in setting up industry for Make In India.

Frankly, Modi’s Make in India has suffered at the very concept stage. Make what, and for whom? The Indian domestic market is big, but oversupplied in the low-tech region. High-tech is Intellectual Property-dependant and such technology is mostly imported. Indian cannot survive on low tech-mass production any more. Nobody is buying.

In a recent, ambitious policy statement, it was announced that India would go for a Rs 10,000 per month minimum wage limit. There has been no talk as to how this would be possible in the unorganised sector. If the unorganised sector is left out – it employs 70 percent of all employable Indians, contributing over 40 percent to India’s GDP – what is the point of this exercise? And the low-tech factories across unorganised setups will never be able to afford this level of payment.

Conversely, Israel needs a market that is receptive not only of its technology, but also of its ideology. The India market is a good fit. There is great scope for cooperation, and sorry Palestine, you lose out on all counts.

Frankly, let’s not make a mountain out of this Israel-Modi molehill. The nation deserves to survive and prosper. The world is a little different now from the heady 70s, and there is opportunity to grab. The economic realities are in the face, we cannot avoid them.

Palestine can wait.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Kamal Nath ends switch speculations as he calls Rahul Gandhi our leader, urges Congress workers to join his Yatra

He insisted on togetherness, which will bring this great campaign against injustice to an end.

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Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Friday ended the speculations of his switching allegiance to BJP as he called Rahul Gandhi “our leader” and urged Congress workers to join the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in the State.

Taking to X, Nath said that the Congress workers were excited to welcome the Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. He said our leader Rahul Gandhi has taken to the streets across the country and announced a decisive fight against injustice, oppression and exploitation.

He also urged the people of Madhya Pradesh and the State Congress workers to become the strength and courage of Gandhi by joining the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in large numbers. He insisted on togetherness, which will bring this great campaign against injustice to an end.

Earlier, Nath increased more suspense to the rumours as he neither denied nor accepted what has been the hot rumour doing the buzz in the capital.

Speaking to reporters, Nath asked the media to lower their excitement over speculation of him and his son Nakul Kamal Nath joining the BJP and said he is not denying it and will inform them of the news if there is something in the coming days.

Also, he and his son Nakul Kamal Nath arrived in Delhi today reportedly to meet the top leaders of the BJP. However, Congress rejected the rumours of him joining the BJP and recalled what former PM Indira Gandhi said about Nath.

Earlier in Jharkhand, Gandhi said Congress stands for Jal, Jungle, and Jamin of the tribal people, for education and employment of youths. He said economic imbalance, demonetization, GST and unemployment have ruined the future of the youths in the country.  On the way to Bokaro, he interacted with coal miners and their children at Godhar Kali Basti in Dhanbad district. 

On January 14, Congress kicked off the Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra from Manipur’s Thoubal. The yatra aims to cover over 6,700 kilometres over 67 days, going through 110 districts.

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I am not Malala, I am safe and free in my country: Kashmiri activist Yana Mir’s speech in UK Parliament shared widely

Kashmiri journalist Mir said she is not Malala Yusufzai who will run away and seek refuge in the UK.

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Kashmiri activist and journalist Yana Mir, addressing a Sankalp Divas event in the British Parliament building, said she is not Malala Yusufzai who will run away and seek refuge in the UK. Asserting that, Mir said she is safe and free in her homeland, Kashmir, which is part of India.

The video of her speech has been shared widely on the internet, in which, she strongly denounced the propaganda mechanism by Pakistan to dent India’s image on the international stage and objected to Malala for defaming her country and homeland by calling it oppressed.

Mir was addressing the Sankalp Divas event hosted by the Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre UK (JKSC) in the British Parliament building. She has been associated with the Jammu and Kashmir Youth Society too.

Addressing the event, she further objected to all such toolkit members on social media and foreign media who never cared to visit Indian Kashmir, instead, they fabricated stories of oppression from their country.  

Mir urged everyone to stop polarising Indians on grounds of religion, Indians won’t allow you to break up us, adding that, Mir said our perpetrators living in the UK in Pakistan will stop maligning my country.

During the event, Mir also received the Diversity Ambassador Award for championing diversity in the J&K region.

The event was attended by over 100 attendees, the gathering included UK Parliament members, community leaders, and representatives from various organisations and prominent members of the diaspora.

The event reaffirmed India’s stance on the region’s integral part of India. It highlighted the need to reclaim areas like Mirpur-Muzaffarabad and Gilgit and Baltistan, which fell victim to Pakistani aggression.

The program was organised to provide a comprehensive overview of the socio-cultural and political landscape of the region. The event emphasised the diverse nature of Jammu and Kashmir, highlighting its multicultural, multireligious, and multilingual characteristics.

The words of the Kashmiri activist deeply resonated with the attendees, displaying her unwavering commitment to her country and her people. Mir’s stance against terrorism and propaganda serves as a reminder of the resilience and unity of the Indian nation.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils statue of Sant Ravidas in Varanasi, says caste bias is destroying humanity

PM Modi said he is taking this opportunity to take forward Sant Ravidas’s resolutions and the opportunity to serve lakhs of his followers. He said on Guru’s Janmteerth, serving all his followers is nothing short of a fortune for him. The Prime Minister said as an MP of Varanasi it is his special responsibility to welcome everyone to fulfill his duty on this holy day.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at Sant Ravidas temple and unveiled a statue of Sant Ravidas on Friday in Varanasi. The Prime Minister along with chief minister Yogi Adityanath paid a floral tribute to Sant Guru Ravidas. Addressing the gathering, PM Modi said caste bias is destroying humanity.

PM Modi said he is taking this opportunity to take forward Sant Ravidas’s resolutions and the opportunity to serve lakhs of his followers. He said on Guru’s Janmteerth, serving all his followers is nothing short of a fortune for him. The Prime Minister said as an MP of Varanasi it is his special responsibility to welcome everyone to fulfill his duty on this holy day.

He said he is going to launch development projects worth hundreds of crores of rupees. In his speech PM Modi said India’s history is witness to the birth of many saints, sages and remarkable individuals who became the guiding force when the nation faced challenges. He said Sant Ravidas emerged as an important figure during the Bhakti movement and revitalised a fragmented and feeble India.

The Prime Minister praised Sant Ravidas for emphasising the significance of freedom to society and for his efforts to unite the community across all social lines. He added Sant Ravidas spoke on issues like discrimination, untouchability and high caste. PM Modi said his administration is advancing Sant Ravidas’s principles and said the BJP government serves everyone and its schemes are inclusive.

He added the ethos of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, and Sabka effort has become the guiding principle to engage the people of India. The Prime Minister emphasised that equality necessitates prioritising the marginalised communities. He said over the past 10 years, efforts have been made towards addressing the needs of those who were earlier excluded from mainstream development.

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