Home > 2019 > Scenario in India and Beyond

Mainstream, VOL LVII No 43 New Delhi October 12, 2019

Scenario in India and Beyond

Sunday 13 October 2019

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

While one positive development in the overall national political scenario is the belated decision of the Bihar Police to close the sedition case against 49 leading intellectuals and film personalities for signing an open letter to PM Narendra Modi over the rising incidents of mob lynching and intolerance, the Vijayadashami Day speech of RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat has highlighted the inflexible stand of the ideological guru of the Sangh Parivar on such a major issue as that of lynching which is a blot on the persons holding the reins of power in New Delhi.

As The Times of India aptly underlines in an editorial,

Call it “lynching†or “mob murders†the crime is no less deadly: lives are being brutally snuffed out and rule of law derailed. Even the argument that lynching denotes “traditions alien to Bharat and belong elsewhere’ doesn’t past muster: no civilised society condones mobs meting out instant punishment.

Bhagwat speaks of “national pride and social harmony†suggesting that both are adversely affected by the criticism of lynching conveninently forgetting that both are undermined by lynchings.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India and his holding talks with Modi has to be seen in the wider context of the politics and political developments in India’s immediate neighbourhood.

Nepalese sources indicate that the main subject matter of discussion between Xi and the Nepal leaders will be the construction of the $ 2.75 billion Trans-Himalayan Project that will connect Nepal to China by a railway line. (Xi is going to Nepal from India.) Nepal felt the urgency of having an alternate opening into the world after the 2015-16 blockade by India that brought Nepal’s economy on the verge of collapse. The new government in Nepal headed by O.P. Sharma Oli has gravitated closer to China. He and Xi are expected to discuss the modalities to finance this mega project which will connect Kathmandu with Kyirong in Tibet.

Chinese Vice Minister Luo Zhaohui (who was a former Chinese ambassador to India) has said that Chinese cooperation (with Nepal) “will be expanded to Bhutan†. This statement carries ominous portents.

On the western side of India, politics in Afghanistan is in doldrums. The result of the recent presidential elections in Afghanistan is yet to be declared but both the contestants, Ashraf Ghani (the incumbent President) and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, have claimed victory. With Donald Trump bent on with-drawing American troops from Afghanistan, the situation has become more fluid.

Once US troops are withdrawn, the elected govern-ment of Afghanistan (irrespective of who is the President, Ghani or Abdullah) will become much more vulnerable to Taliban attacks. With Taliban becoming stronger in Afghanistan, Pakistan will be able to increase its activities in the Kashmir border, sending more jihadis to Kashmir.

In Sri Lanka presidential elections are due on November 16. The sitting President, Maithripala Sirisena, who was once considered a friend of India (no longer now), is not contesting. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whom Sirisena defeated, has set up his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as the presidential candidate. Mahinda Rajapaksa gave a strong pro-Beijing “tilt†to Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and China acquired a financial domination over Sri Lanka during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s time. His brother, Gota-baya, is also expected to follow a pro-Beijing line. Lately Sri Lankan Buddhist opinion has crystallised in favour of Gotabaya as he is a strong, no-nonsense man.

The scenario within the country and the region would thus assume a serious dimension in the days ahead.

October 10, Analyst

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62 Privacy Policy Notice Addressed to Online Readers of Mainstream Weekly in view of European data privacy regulations (GDPR)