A Liberal Interpretation of India’s Future

2 01 2009

Review of

INDIA EXPRESS: the future of a new superpower

Daniel Lak, Penguin/Viking, New Delhi, 2008, pp. xx + 314, hardcover, Rs. 499, (Indian edition)

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The False Promise of Multi-Polarity in International Relations

16 09 2008

 

With the collapse of the USSR and other socialist States in the late 1980s and early 1990s, multipolarity became the much sought after ideal for almost all progressives as they sought resources to counter the rampant global strides of the sole superpower, the USA. Today when a return of the former socialist States is neither possible nor perhaps even desirable, multipolarity is seen as perhaps the only option to hedge in the arrogant brutality of the US war machine. I would like to argue that multipolarity is like the “opium of the masses”, it is merely a “sigh of the oppressed creature” which provides fleeting relief in times of trouble, but like opium it is a poison which may even prove fatal in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »





Lenin’s Epitaph: Lessons from the Russia – Georgia War

19 08 2008

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Now that the war between Russia and Georgia is over, it is a good time to learn a few lessons. This war holds out important lessons for all concerned – for the Georgians, for the Russians, for the Americans and NATO, for the world at large. Moreover the lessons are political, military and economic. Let us see what some of these lessons are. Read the rest of this entry »





India – US nuclear deal: a left critique

5 08 2008

The India-US nuclear deal, which faced stiff and unprecedented opposition inside the country was finally smuggled through the Indian Parliament by the ruling combine. It is quite interesting that the main opposition to this deal came from within the country and not from the international community. The passage of the deal, despite the stiff resistance from the Left in India, also marks a watershed of sorts in the political landscape of the country and will have implications well into the future. Read the rest of this entry »





Under the Nuclear Shadow: Reviewing one decade of nuclear weapons in South Asia

20 05 2008

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Ten years ago, on the occasion of the birth celebrations of India’s own prophet of peace – Gautama Buddha – the Indian State exploded nuclear warheads under the sands of Rajasthan. Pakistan responded to it in a predictably unfortunate manner by exploding a set of nuclear warheads of its own. We complete a decade of living under the nuclear shadow in the sub-continent of South Asia and it’s a good time as any to remind ourselves of what this means. Read the rest of this entry »





Begging the Question: Foreign Aid and India

15 04 2008

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Last week India announced a line of credit of US $ 5.4 billion to African countries for developing their infrastructure and meeting other development goals as well as duty free import scheme for 50 Least Developed Countries, of which 34 are in Africa. Apart from this the Government also announced a grant of US $ 500 million to African countries and doubled the number of fellowships given to students from African and Asian countries.

This was startling news for a country which has for long being among the largest recipients of foreign aid in the world. From the time of its independence till the early years of this century, billions of dollars have been sent to India by global development agencies and NGOs to finance a range of development work. From the large donors like USAID to small donors like the Swiss and Swedish agencies, India has for long remained the largest aid recipient in their annual budgets. Even in 2006-07, the Government of India received US $ 1.83 billion in net external aid, not counting the amount received by non-governmental bodies in assistance. But according to some estimates, India’s annual aid to other countries equals US $ 1 billion. These figures include loans and other credit instruments. Even if one considers only grants (which have no repayment), the Government of India receives about US $ 654 million from the world and gives out something in the range of US $ 150-200 million to other developing countries.

It is not that India has solved its problems with regard to poverty, malnutrition, health, shelter, education and public infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »





Brothers in Arms: The Tragedy of China and Tibet

1 04 2008

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On 6th March this year over 4,000 workers of the Casio Electronics Company’s factory in Panyu, China marched the streets and fought battles with over 1,000 riot police. The workers had come out in spontaneous protest when they realised that while they had been given a 90 yuan raise in their wages, the company had cut between 80 to 150 yaun from their bonuses and their “official” trade union had acquiesced in this daylight robbery. They did what any self respecting worker would and refused to work, came out of their factory and were marching towards the Mayor’s office. They were met by a wall of riot police and other security officers who dispersed them with baton charges in which about two dozen workers, including women, were injured.

This was no flash in the pan incident. Over the past decade and more workers, farmers and students are increasingly coming out on the streets to protest and often turning violent. Almost always, their protests are met with severe police action and an information black-out in the Chinese media which is dutifully replicated in the West’s free media. Read the rest of this entry »