Commentaries & Articles
PM Bails Out Pakistan
To compensate Pakistan for the losses caused by the flood last year, the European Council offered it tariff concession on 75 items. India had opposed it on the ground that it would hurt the interest of our exporters. The Prime Minister’s decision to reverse India’s position not only comes as a surprise but also shows he is soft on Pakistan According to a recent newspaper report, the Prime Minister has “ordered officials to withdraw India’s official opposition at the World Trade Organisation to a concessional trade package offered by the European Union to Pakistan.”
Handling Public Agitations and Movements
India is witnessing a situation in which a group of people claiming to represent the civil society have launched a movement whose stated objective is to eliminate corruption but whose focussed objective is to make government legislate a Bill to create the institution of Lokpal (Ombudsman), or a people’s watchdog. There is nothing very original about the concept of a Lokpal because in the Scandinavian countries, in particular Sweden, the office of ombudsman has been in existence since the early twentieth century.
Actors and Reactors
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in its June meeting has ended up by legitimizing the supply of two additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan by China. The basis of this approval is murky. The NSG guidelines do not permit members to engage in nuclear commerce with a country that has not put all its nuclear facilities, source and fissionable materials under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. In joining the cartel as a member in 2004, China accepted to abide by its restrictive rules. Pakistan, as a non-NPT country, is outside the IAEA’s full scope safeguards regime.
Whither Education?
A task force set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which was chaired by Prof. Sanjay Dhande, Director, IIT, Kanpur has looked at the question of faculty shortages in Indian universities and colleges. In 2008 it was calculated that on the basis of a teacher-student ratio of 1:13.5 Indian needed another 3,83,000 faculty members. The faculty shortage was as high as fifty-four percent of the needed strength.
Xinjiang’s Pakistan Connection & Beijing’s Folly
The proximity that has been characterising China and Pakistan relationship may turn out to be not quite all-weather if investigations into the recent violence in Chinese controlled Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region reveal a Pakistan-based Islamist connection. Indeed, it seems Beijing—until now—had deliberately been avoiding any mention of Pakistan in the interest of the partnership that it has been engendering with Islamabad, as also to guard it against censure from countries that have been victims of violence emanating from Pakistani soil.
Communal Violence Bill – A Direct Assault On The States
The United Progressive Alliance government is readying itself to introduce a Bill to further strengthen the law against communal and targeted violence and to ensure speedy justice and reparations for the victims of communal violence. Though the objective is laudable – to boost the confidence of religious and linguistic minorities in all states and union territories – the first draft of the Bill, which has been prepared by the National Advisory Council (NAC), fails to inspire confidence.
We Shall Not Retire
During the Second World War when Britain’s fortunes were at their lowest ebb and Britain was in imminent danger of being invaded by the Germans who had successively conquered France and Belgium, Sir Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. The British Expeditionary Force and a large contingent of the French Army had been evacuated through Dunkirk and Britain virtually stood alone facing the victorious Axis Powers. The British people were demoralised and certainly it seemed as if the British Army would not be able to face a German invasion.
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