The national administration under Narendra Modi has been trying to go against the trade facilitation agreement being pushed through by the advanced economies, which are members of the World Trade Organization such as the US and Australia. It has been saying that this opposition is to ensure that the critical issue of food security is properly addressed. However, it now seems that this could have an adverse effect on India as far as global trade is concerned. Roberto Azovedo, the director-general of the WTO has pointed to such a situation. India has been asking for concessions to be made in the said agreement with regard to agricultural stockpiling, which one gathers will help address its concerns regarding food security.
In spite of warnings, India is firm on WTO issue to ensure food security
It is possible that the talks pertaining to this issue between India and the global trade body could start from September onwards. The Indian government, on its part, has been rather confident that it shall be able to convince the other WTO members that in asking for greater amount of freedom it is making a legitimate demand. India has also said that it is willing to sign on the dotted line by September provided its concerns are addressed by then. While this stance from India is praiseworthy indeed it remains to be seen how this affects the country’s relations with the biggies of global politics in the long term.
Modi accuses Pakistan of carrying on proxy war
During his stint as the prime minister elect of BJP there had been plenty of occasions when Modi had made aggressive comments regarding Pakistan, the immediate neighbour with whom India has had rather troubled relations ever since both were created from the same landmass way back in 1947. However, when he became the prime minister there was a remarkable change in his attitude as had been evinced when he invited Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony along with the heads of state of other immediate neighbours of India.
In recent times too there had been some significant acts of goodwill between both the countries with Pakistan Rangers letting a captured BSF jawan go and also returning equipment confiscated from previously captured fishermen. However, no Indo-Pak story is complete without its fair share of border intrusions and loss of lives.
Modi, while visiting Kashmir, stated that Pakistan is waging a war of sorts by sending its militants into Indian territory. During the same speech, the prime minister also promised that he will make the armed forces more fortified than before. During his speech Modi stated that Pakistan now does not have the strength to wage a normal war and so it is using the terrorists to fight on its behalf.
In fact, skirmishes between armed forces of both the countries have been commonplace and Modi, it is believed, has made it known clearly that for the talks to prosper both the countries will need to adhere to a principle of peace and stop the border conflicts.
In its defence, Pakistan has stated that it is only providing political support to the Muslims in Kashmir. Pakistan alleges that these people are at the receiving end of instances of human rights violation that are being perpetrating by Indian army and this claim has been rejected by India. India has also asked Pakistan to be more active in penalizing militants who acted as the masterminds of 2008 Mumbai attacks. Pakistan has, meanwhile, stated that it is doing the best that it can against people, in case of whom it has sufficient evidence.
Even though Nawaz Sharif wishes to improve relations with India – in fact, it is supposed to be the very basis of his policies – it seems that the military establishment of Pakistan, which happens to be rather strong, is less than willing to do so. Judging from the repeated intrusions of the international boundaries it looks like the militia in Pakistan is looking to make its presence felt as far as external affairs are concerned.
Coming back to India, one feels that the prime minister at times needs to temper his aggression, which he had shown during his tenure as the prime ministerial candidate for the BJP. He perhaps needs to understand the situation in Pakistan and address the issue accordingly. From a leader of his standing provocative statements are really disturbing. He probably needs to understand the fact that a leader needs to ensure that peace prevails all around and he needs to behave in a way that is in accordance with such beliefs.
Indian government starts online facility for family of emigrants
One of the various problems faced by family members of people who emigrate to other countries is bringing back their remains following their demise. Sushma Swaraj, the Union minister of overseas Indian affairs and external affairs, has had discussions regarding this issue with ambassadors of Gulf countries as well as officers working with the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA).
It was after these meetings that Swaraj directed the ministry to create the online system that will make it easy to transport the remains of deceased emigrant workers and accordingly MOIA initiated the development of the software module and was able to inaugurate it on August 12.
The Union minister hopes, and dare it be said, rightly so, that this facility will go a long way in alleviating the anxieties and problems faced by the families of the migrant workers if they, unfortunately, happen to pass away when they are employed. It needs to be noted in this context that most of these workers are from poor families, which basically forces them to take up job offers in locations where people from the advanced economies may not be willing to go.
They often are asked to work in arduous circumstances and coming, as they do, from disadvantaged backgrounds, they have to accept and thus run the risk of losing their life for the same. However, in spite of the fundamentally good intention with which this programme has been conceived it remains to be seen as to how it is expected to work. The apprehensions stem from the fact that the rate of internet penetration in the rural areas of India is abysmal and most people are not well-equipped to deal with such facilities in the first place.