In a confirmation of how far India has progressed during Narendra Modi’s regime, Chuck Hagel, the US Secretary of Defence, has revived the American call for a tripartite military alliance of India, US and Japan. It has also advised that India does not need to make a choice between China and the US and should look to collaborate with both.
US calls for military alliance with India, Japan
This proposal from perhaps the most powerful country of the world, from the point of view of military capabilities and financial clout, is an affirmation of the role that many feel India is capable of playing in global politics, especially in the south Asian region. Hagel has stated that since many of the defence interests of India and the US are similar, there is an urgent need for both to collaborate with as many countries as possible.
In fact, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, too is believed to be in favour of such an alliance and if it materializes then it would be the strongest alliance outside NATO. It would also enhance India’s prestige to a significant extent in the global political arena.
Meanwhile, China, whose relations with Japan have been rather problematic following the Second World War, has always been against such an alliance. In fact, it has also stated that if India became closer to Japan it would do so at its own peril. Narendra Modi is supposed to visit Japan during the latter part of August 2014.
It is being stated that Hagel’s suggestions would also be listened to with a lot of attention by Russia, which has had excellent ties with India in the last 50 years and whose relations with the US are not exactly the warmest. One of the main problem areas between India and China is the South China Sea, where China has claimed complete sovereignty and which also happens to be rich in hydrocarbons. Incidentally, India also has its stake in the oil blocks on the Vietnam coast, which is in the same water body and most of its trade in the eastern hemisphere happens through that area. At present the dispute is being dealt with by the United Nations.
As far as Indo-US relations are concerned, a major problem area has been the transfer of technology, something that had been recently alluded to by the Opposition while criticizing the government’s foreign policy. However, now with the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), the US is committed to cooperate with India in this regard. It is also supposed to help India with the production and development of technology. Hagel has stated that under DTTI at least 12 projects are presently in the offing, which will help the US transfer a decent amount of qualitative capabilities, production related knowledge and technology.
Kamla Beniwal issue rages on
When the government recently sacked Kamla Beniwal it had stated that the Governor had brought shame to the institution and also caused a lot of revenue loss to the State’s exchequer. After her transfer from Gujarat, she was supposed to see out the remainder of her term in Mizoram. However, even when she had a couple of months left she was relieved. Now the beleaguered ex-governor has decided to speak out. She has stated that whatever she did was within the bounds of law.
It has been accused that she was a part of a land grab that involved an amount of INR 1000 crore. Here she was supposedly the member of a cooperative society of farmers that had allegedly received ownership rights of a land that had been leased. It has been stated that the procurement of rights had been done in a fraudulent way. Later on when the State government used a part of the said land to develop residential colonies she opted to seek compensation for the same.
The Registrar of Cooperatives had exposed all the 18 members of the said cooperative who were supposed to have perpetrated the fraud and this had been done during 2012. However, investigation in this case had been started when an activist registered a petition in the court.
The District Collector of the area where this happened also reached a similar conclusion regarding the pursuit of compensation by the cooperative. The official had suggested during April 2014 that proper measures be taken against the members. The only reason why Beniwal was protected from any punitive action was because of the post she held.
Now the question that comes up is how could the Governor be punished for a supposed crime from which she had been granted immunity because of her position? Was that the reason or the fact that she opposed the then CM of Gujarat Narendra Modi that led to her being shunted around the country before finally being dumped? But one thing that needs to be asked in this context is that if she was guilty of fraud as has been alleged why was she given the post of Mizoram Governor – why wasn’t she straightaway fired?
Jaitley proclaims the end of policy paralysis
As is the wont of any new minister, Arun Jaitley, the Defence and Finance Minister of India, has stated in the 75 days following Narendra Modi’s ascent to the post of Prime Minister, the Central administration has been able to bring an end to policy paralysis. Once again as can be seen frequently in Indian politics, the Union Minister has alleged that during the regime of the NDA’s predecessors – UPA – the country was suffering from a horrible tax regime and a policy structure that was paralyzed at worst.
He has stated that in the 75 days the government has been able to bring back a certain level of integrity to the economy. According to Jaitley, the government has also been able to improve the tax structure as well as the system of policies. He has also pointed out that when the Congress was governing the country it had stopped growing.
In order to substantiate his claim he stated that at the point of UPA’s departure the entire industrial sector had been in a bad shape. In fact, it is only 75 days that the new government has come to power and it may be too early to compare the relative merits and demerits of the two governments – in fact a proper assessment can only be made at least a year after Modi has taken over.