PHILLIPS: Geopolitical conundrum: Will the Obama regime continue to support our enemies?

If there is one constant, it is that Barack Obama will cheer for the enemy. He will support those who hate and oppose America.

One of the hottest spots in the world is the India- Pakistan area. India and Pakistan, to put it charitably, are longtime rivals. Less charitably, they might be called sworn enemies. Probably, the presence of nuclear weapons on both sides has prevented an all-out war between the two nations for several decades now.

india-electionsjpeg-01c34_s640x460Elections are coming in India and how the Obama regime reacts to those elections will determine the future of American relations in that part of the world for years and maybe decades.

Narendra Modi is the head of the BJP Party in India. It is the right of center party and his party is expected to win the upcoming elections and he will become the next Prime Minister of India.

Mr. Modi is described as a controversial figure both inside India and outside of it.

In 2002, Muslims were accused of setting fire to a train that carried Hindu religious pilgrims. This set off weeks of interreligious war between Hindus and Muslims. Mr.  Modi was accused of either being a part of the violence or at least condoning it. A court cleared him of that charge.

Unfortunately, in 2005, the United States denied Mr. Modi a diplomatic visa to enter the United States and revoked his pervious non-diplomatic visa, because of allegations related to the 2002 violence.

What will the Obama regime do if Mr. Modi becomes Prime Minister?

The Obama regime is still trying to recover from its bungling of the arrest and strip search of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade. Ms. Khobragade did not have traditional diplomatic immunity, but a lesser grade of immunity.

Instead of simply expelling her, the regime managed to handle the matter in such a manner that Indians were outraged.

Eventually, the regime gave Ms. Khobragade diplomatic immunity and that allowed her to leave the country.

What will happen when Mr. Modi becomes Prime Minister and wants to visit America? The State Department will either have to grant a diplomatic visa or deny it.

Barack Obama has blatantly favored Islamic nations over even America’s closest allies since he became president. Pakistan is not America’s friend. It harbored Osama bin Laden for years. The Taliban in Afghanistan is essentially a creation of the ISI, the Pakistani Intelligence service. The Pakistanis have routinely cut off over land transportation routes to Afghanistan, making it difficult for us to supply our troops there. Pakistan allows safe refuge for terrorists who hit our troops in Afghanistan, then crawl back across the border.

And Pakistan has refused to allow American experts access to Dr. A.Q. Khan. Khan, who helped create Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, is suspected of sharing nuclear technology with North Korea, Iran and Libya.

Source: The Washington Times

The Road to Effective Governance is still a Distant Dream!

The ones who framed India’s Constitution adopted the system of democracy, with a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” which they believed would ensure for them equality and safety. Elections form an integral part of a democracy and they have been held roughly every five years in the States and at the Center, and the Election Commission has more or less fulfilled its roles commendably.
Voting_PTISince the start of elections, our politicians have been signaling issues of caste, community, religion, language and region to get one up against their opponents. Fifty years ago, the seeds of divide first took shape when based on the language criteria Andhra Pradesh was formed by removing eight Telugu-speaking districts from the Madras Presidency. Subsequently, smaller states such as Uttarakhand and Jharkhand were formed, and as we all know Andhra is set to witness a further divide and Telangana is about to be formed. Persistent demands for the formation of Gorkhaland, Bodoland and Vidarbha have been going on for quite some time now. But the basic claim that small states can provide good governance is questionable.
Based on different parameters, whether it be educational, job and other entitlements have been granted to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe populations, OBCs and minorities. It would not be wrong to say they are a privileged lot. Muslims, who total about 170 million, are considered a minority and are eligible for concessions, which among others include a particular financial assistance to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca. Christians receive pilgrimage assistance (in Tamil Nadu). Jains are the latest ones to join the minority list, and get OBC quota. Jats are given concessions by one State; several other communities are demanding similar status and concessions. Since the Constitution has declared all Indian citizens as equal, why cannot the eligibility criteria for financial assistance, reservation and so on be based on levels of poverty? The only exception if there has to be one perhaps should apply to the tribal community.
An Egyptian man shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station in CairoAhead of the elections, certain groups are demanding humungous concessions and baffling favors based on caste, community and so on. That’s not all as some political parties seem to identify candidates for elections based on similar lines. Nobody asks: “Are we not Indians?” Born in one country, are we not Indians? Yes, but does the voter populations feel and act primarily as being ‘Indian First’, or do they act as members of a certain caste, religion, community or language? Before casting their vote, does he or she assess candidates with regard to integrity, social welfare consciousness, ability to express their views etc? There is scope to exercise this right, and the Election Commission has given the voter the option of NOTA, or ‘none of the above’.
In a general election, votes are divided among candidates in a certain ratio. In some situations, the gap between the top two is not very substantial. When compared to the total number of votes polled, the top-scorer barely scores 30 per cent and still manages to win. How can such a person claim to represent all voters? Hence the voter gets the Parliament and government he deserves. The performance of Parliament has steadily deteriorated over the years. Several of the elected members face criminal charges and many have a record of poor attendance in the house.
voting-india-e1396611364405We all know that no party will get a majority. Hence, to form a government, the BJP — if it wins more seats than the Congress — will have to get support from regional parties. If the BJP forms an alliance and is able to form a government, it cannot be free from pulls and pressures. Effective governance will remain a pipe dream then. Will not the nation suffer because of this?
For once taking into account the interest of the nation and the need for effective governance by a stable government, why can’t leaders of the two major national parties, the Congress and the BJP, forgo ego, end slogan-shouting, and at least try to come to an ethical understanding? A committee consisting of, say, three from each party can meet and discuss the issue. If the BJP gets the larger share of seats but not the majority, the committee can then decide that the BJP would form the Central government and the Congress would support it, subject to all major policies and matters requiring legislation should be discussed by the committee. If there is no agreement on this, then the subject should be placed before Parliament and debated. Only if the vote is in favor, the government should go ahead. The Congress can express its objections during voting, but it will continue to support the government come what may.
ad6cdccc-63b3-473f-813f-6efa804aecbe-620x372Such a system will help enable the Central government to implement measures which will improve security, the economic situation and so on, and will act as an eye-opener to all democratic countries. The credit for success will not be attributed to the BJP alone but also to the Congress. Both parties strongly believe in the welfare of the nation and therefore senior members of both parties can be expected to ensure that there is no rupture in their understanding or in the functioning of the government.
Such an arrangement should not be limited only to the government which is set to be formed after the 2014 elections. When the elections are held again after five years and if neither party gets a majority then it should be agreed upon that the Congress would form the government with the BJP supporting it and conducting itself as the Congress did for the last five years. Thus, this kind of understanding can be expected to strengthen the national parties based on ideology and provide all round security and welfare to the people.

The Youth of India will determine the outcome of the 2014 Election

The 2014 India Elections have begun and as the election din and frenzy reaches its finale, it is now time to take a look at the major trends that have defined the exercise of political choice in the world’s largest democracy.

In this election, the youth forms a major chunk of the voting population. 150 million young Indians between the ages of 18 to 23 years are eligible to vote for the first time. That is staggeringly close to the total number of all registered voters in the 2012 presidential elections in the United States (169 million) and the sum equivalent of voters in most of the European countries.
In the nine-phase voting process that kick started across the country on April 7 and is scheduled to end on May 12, popular trends indicate that first-time voters are showing no signs of the voter lethargy that Indians are infamous for. On the contrary, young Indians are showing up at the voting booth in unprecedented numbers and voting has become a sign of impatience and assertiveness.

So what has brought about such a drastic change in the voting pattern? It is the sizable segment of first-time voters, who are the target of some finely orchestrated wooing by political parties and leaders. Opinion polls and experts, however, are working overtime to predict the mind of this young sizable voter pool.
Perhaps the defining point of this generation is the fact that they have grown up in and gotten used to a buoyant economic scenario. In the ongoing elections, these urban first-time voters are expressing considerable anxiety about India’s recent economic slide and the rise in corruption. They are a bunch who are unsatisfied with the current governance and want a change pronto. A lot has changed since the last general election in 2009 when India was nearing double-digit economic growth rates. Since then, the economy has slowed dramatically and is now projected to grow at 5.4% in 2014.

addon_article_1419_12140320_030844Who would have predicted two years ago that Narendra Modi would be this close to the prime minister’s seat? The poll predictions suggest this could be the BJP’s strongest showing in decades, and conversely suggest that this could be the ruling Congress Party’s worst performance yet.
But the election is far from over, and opinion polls have been wrong in the past. In 2004, when BJP ran its miscalculated “India Shining” campaign, opinion polls favored the NDA to win heavily, but it was beaten by the Congress, which since then has been at the helm of the ruling UPA coalition for the last ten years.
Young voters are also extremely concerned about the dwindling job prospects and lack of opportunities. It is a generation that is arriving to a damp job scenario after witnessing the generation before enjoy a long spell of plentiful employment opportunities, double-digit salary rises and job-hopping.
Real issues aside, first-timers are making it obvious on social networks that they are enamored by political idols and are going gaga in support of them. The boyish-faced Rahul Gandhi of the ruling Congress Party, the tough-talking Narendra Modi and the anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party have their own segment of young fans and a hysterical fan following to boot. Still, it is hard to say who this game changer of a generation will favor in the polling booth.

Arun Jaitley: Ushering A New Dawn In Indian General Election

Arun Jaitley, the Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha has previously held the portfolios as the Union cabinet Minister for Commerce and Industry, and Law and Justice in the National Democratic Alliance government (1998-2004.) Born in New Delhi into a family of lawyers, social activists, and philanthropists he came into prominence as a leader of the movement against corruption, launched in 1973 by Raj Narain and Jayaprakash Narayan. A year later Jaitley contested and won the election to the post of the 062211104504president of the Delhi University student union, a prestigious win on sub national level. In an era where Congress Party had a stranglehold over university campuses Jaitley’s election  as an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidate marked a watershed in India’s student politics.  He subsequently joined the BJP, having been earlier a member of ABVP, the president of the Youth Wing of the BJP and the secretary of its Delhi unit. During the 1998-1999 General Election, Mr Jaitley became the Spokesperson of BJP wherein he successfully positioned the BJP as the main protagonist against the ruling party.


Mr Jaitley, made his first visit to the United States when he visited Washington from June 2011. He was accompanied by Lok Sabha Member of Parliament Janardhan Swamy and former Rajya Sabha member Chandan Mitra. Mr Jaitley met with several members of the US Congress, think tanks, and key members of the administration during this trip. He started his visit with an address at the Heritage Foundation on “Indian Foreign Policy — Priorities in a Shifting Global Landscape.” He interacted with prominent lawmakers on Capitol Hill and stressed the growing strength of the U.S.-India relationship and its strategic nature, and the convergence on various issues between the two countries especially relating to terrorism and growth of trade. The co-chairs of the India Caucus in the U.S. Congress  Congressmen Joe Crowley and Congressman Ed Royce held a reception on behalf of the caucus for Jaitley in the Rayburn Congressional Building. Representative Crowley welcomed Jaitley, and said, “Mr. Jaitley’s visit represents a great opportunity for the U.S. to continue building a strong relationship with India. In an increasingly globalized economy, it is important for the U.S. to continue to foster friendship with India, which is emerging as a leading growth economy despite the difficult economic landscape.”

062211121504In his capacity as the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mr. Jaitley has been credited for his excellent oratory which is matched equally by his intense research into the topic and his ability to succinctly convey the message without being shrill.

However, being in the party since 1980 he never contested any direct election until 2014.He is the BJP’s candidate for Amritsar for Indian general election, 2014. USINPAC wishes Mr Jaitley all the success in the Indian general election and his future endeavors.

USINPAC congratulates Indian American poet Vijay Seshadri on winning the Pulitzer Prize for poetry

India-born poet Vijay Seshadri has won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category for his collection of poems “3 Sections.”

The 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced yesterday by Columbia University here.

vijay-seshadriSeshadri’s ’3 Sections’ is a “compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless,” the announcement said.

The prize for the poetry category was given for a “distinguished volume of original verse” by an American author.

A Columbia University alum, Seshadri would receive USD 10,000 reward.

According to Seshadri’s biography on the Pulitzer website, he currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at liberal arts college Sarah Lawrence in New York. Born in Bangalore in 1954, Seshadri came to America at the age of five and grew up in Columbus, Ohio.

His collections of poems include James Laughlin Award winner The Long Meadow and Wild Kingdom (1996). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in prestigious publications including the American Scholar, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Yale Review, the Times Book Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets and The Best American Poetry 1997 and 2003.

Seshadri has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been awarded the Paris Review’s Bernard F Conners Long Poem Prize and the MacDowell Colony’s Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement.

Seshadri is the fifth person of Indian origin to bag the prestigious award, the first being Gobind Behari Lal in 1937. Lal, a science editor, was awarded the Pulitzer in the Reporting category for his coverage of science at the tercentenary of Harvard University when he was working for Universal Service. He died of cancer in 1992.

Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri got Pulitzer for fiction in 2000 for her collection of stories “Interpreters of Maladies”.

Journalist-writer of Indian origin Geeta Anand was the next to get the award. Anand was the investigative reporter and feature writer for the Wall Street Journal and won the award in 2003 for “clear, concise and comprehensive stories that illuminated the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America”.

Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee’s acclaimed book on cancer, ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,’ won the 2011 Pulitzer prize in the general non-fiction category.

Source: Business Standard