The world will hear very positive voices against protectionism at the informal meeting of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping in Wuhan, China, declared China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, on April 23, 2018. Before that, Chinese commerce minister Zhong Shan wrote in People’s Daily, “China opposes all forms of protectionism.”
After Wuhan, Modi and Xi again met in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in the last week of July. That was the third meeting between the two powerful leaders in the last four months.
Xi had called on BRICS countries to oppose the increasing push for protectionism in Johannesburg. I have no intention to decode the so-called positive voices against protectionism at these ‘peripheral’ meetings.
However, it is intriguing to focus on the new buzzword of China. Of late, Chinese leaders and their media outlets have shown great affinity towards the word protectionism. The above statements on this term need to be viewed in the context of the continuing trade war between the US and China. Communist China is claiming, indeed an insincere assertion with great irony, they are waging a battle against protectionism.
The communist nation is the most successful champion of protectionism in the recent economic history.
One point is right, absolutely. Donald Trump’s protectionism is a two-faced yet futile attempt to make America great again. As the US President has set off the trade war with China by imposing tariffs on $ 34 billion-goods US imports from China, Xi Jinping is on the back-foot now, fearing a colossal setback for Chinese companies in the US market.
The massive drop in the valuation of ZTE, China’s second largest telecommunications supplier, after the US banned American companies from selling components to the telecoms equipment maker for seven years, showed the impact well. But surprisingly, Trump changed his mind later to save the Chinese firm that was accused of selling sensitive information to Iran and North Korea.
There’s little doubt that the trade war would be disastrous for China than the US. The projected change in the dynamics of India-China relationship is shaped by Trump’s insane acts of hyper-national trade policy, which has been challenging the liberal world order since his coronation in January 2017.
Now the communist commentators are saying China and India must build new unity to reform old global order. But the million-dollar question is how the ultra-protectionist China can lead a battle against protectionism.
China’s unstoppable economic invasion to developed and low-income countries in the guise of technology and infrastructure has strong political overtones. The Sri Lankan episode is a classic example. When China offered Sri Lanka more money than it can pay back, the Lankans failed to realize that it was a debt trap. Now, 70 percent stake of strategically important Hambantota port of Sri Lanka belongs to China. The dragon has also got a lease agreement for 99 years.
And, Djibouti is going to become the latest country to fall into China’s debt trap. Even in India, Chinese technology firms are ruling the roost, whether it’s Xiaomi, Oppo, or Vivo.
BRI is a well-crafted blue print to make China a colonial superpower, the dream of their new Mao Xi Jinping.
More than just supporting the tech firms, China wants to nationalise it for achieving their fascist goals. “Communist Party committees have been installed at many tech firms, reviewing everything from operations to compliance with national goals,” wrote Christopher Balding, associate professor of business and economics at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen, on Bloomberg.
China is exploring strategic possibilities by lending billions of dollars to developing countries under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And this BRI is a well-crafted blue print to make China a colonial superpower, the dream of their new Mao Xi Jinping.
On one side China is opening up the new road to a fascist world order, contradictory to the ideals of liberalisation and globalisation, and on the other side Xi Jinping wants the world to believe that he’s championing the cause of free market as the US is stepping back.
Communist China never wishes to create an open society, and the motto of protectionism seems increasingly apt for them. Why did China say no to Facebook? This simple question will expose their hullabaloo over protectionism. China is a closed society, no matter whatever economic progress it has achieved so far.
The communist nation is the most successful champion of protectionism in the recent economic history. Protectionism with aggressive nationalist characteristics is the mantra behind the spectacular show of billion-dollar Chinese companies.
Even some of the poster-boys of Indian startup revolution last year desperately wished that India should take an approach of protecting local companies like China did.
Moreover, the statements made by China in frequent intervals show no intention to back out from their anti-India military agenda, especially when it comes to issues like Doklam and Arunachal Pradesh. India is not going to gain anything substantially by teaming up with China for protectionism and free trade. India needs to tell China that protectionism in all forms should be rejected.
Sanskrit Prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas all about Indic legacy and Dharma, not about communalism
The moment we become sceptical about our Indic legacy, the game is lost. It’s the Vedas and Upanishads that sculpted the spirit of India
The recent hullabaloo targeting one of the most popular yet powerful mantras in Indic culture over the Morning Prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas makes no sense, but it assumes great significance in the present socio-political context as one can easily interpret it as a move to undermine the very identity of India.
What’s the issue all about?
An advocate from Madhya Pradesh has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) to ban the morning recitation of the famous ‘asatoma sadgamaya’ mantra in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs).
Kendriya Vidyalaya is a system of central government schools in the country that are instituted under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
As the KVs are state-funded institutions, he thinks chanting the Sanskrit verse is religious, communal, anti-secular, and it needs to be stopped at any cost. And the advocate approached Supreme Court to achieve his mission.
What’s the status?
On January 28, the Supreme Court of India referred the petition demanding a ban on chanting Indic mantras in KVs to a constitution bench comprising five judges. They will decide whether chanting this mantra offending the sesne of secularism in government-run schools. According to Article 28 (1) of the Indian Constitution, no religion instruction shall be provided in any institution funded by the State.
The Indic View: It’s not about religion
The mantra in the limelight is taken from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, and it goes like this…
Om asato ma sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amritam gamaya
om shanti shanti shanti.
The gist of the mantra can be interpreted like this. Lead me from falsehood to truth, from darkness to the light, from death to immortality. It’s all about the cosmic truth and Multiversal ethos. Nothing more nothing less. Connecting religion and communalism with this mantra is totally unacceptable and it needs to be discouraged.
Vedas and Upanishads form the heart of Indic civilisation; one cannot equate them with the present form of religion, indeed in the Semitic sense. The mantras are not about religion, it’s about the culture and heritage of this country, inspiring all Indians to be proud about their legacy.
Great Indic leaders like Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, and Sri Aurobindo unambiguously defined the very character of our country. India is all about spirituality and knowledge. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad itself means the great forest of knowledge. The moment we become sceptical about our legacy, the game is lost.
Not just KVs…
It needs to be noted that many of other public institutions have phrases extracted from Indic texts.
The Upanishad text on Indian State emblem: Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs- Mundaka Upanishad)
Supreme Court motto: Yato Dharmastato Jayah (Where there is dharma, there is victory- Mahabharata)
Motto of Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW): Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha (dharma protects those who protect it; the Mahabharata)
Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, LIC…. the list goes on and on…
The president is right; universities are not just degree factories
India needs to develop an entrepreneurship-oriented higher education ecosystem to take her growth to next level
The speed of fourth industrial revolution seems to be amazing. Changes are happening in an unprecedented manner, revolutionising every area of public life with great impact.
And the conventional mode of learning needs to be restructured in this manner. Education methodologies have to be shaped as per the standards of emerging technologies which include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.
The 21st century will be crafted by the ideals of fourth industrial revolution
The president of India, Ram Nath Kovind, got right about the change. While speaking at the seventh convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad, on August 05, 2018, he emphasized this particular point. As he said India’s aspirations are no longer limited to the heavy industrial base that the nation built in the past.
The 21st century will be crafted by the ideals of fourth industrial revolution. Obviously, institutions like IITs have to remain relevant to the ecosystem of Industry 4.0.
“Colleges, universities and other higher institutions of learning are not degree factories. They are sources of innovation and incubators of technology-driven startups,” the president said at the convocation. He also pointed out the example of Silicon Valley in the US to promote a culture of innovation in the higher education space.
It needs to be noted that the resounding success of Silicon Valley as the global hub of entrepreneurship is the result of Stanford University’s unparalleled contribution to ignite the innovation spirit among young entrepreneurs.
Why Narendra Modi’s Rwanda visit and 200 cows matter
By gifting 200 cows to Rwandan villagers, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has pipped Chinese president Xi Jinping to get an edge in the ‘battle for Africa’
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Chinese supremo Xi Jinping just visited Rwanda, and what really matters is Modi’s gift of 200 cows to Rwandan villagers
Twitter laughs at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s gift of 200 cows to Rwandan villagers–the headline of a story goes like this on a leading Indian news website, trolling him for gifting cows to the people who eat beef. But the story is beyond that, at least in economic terms, and it assumes great significance when it comes to deal with the new global trade order from an Indian perspective.
Why did Modi gift 200 cows to the villagers in Rweru Model village of Rwanda? What is the significance of Modi’s visit to Rwanda, a landlocked, tiny East African country? The answer might be China and its ‘ambitious’ goal of becoming the new world leader.
Just before the visit of Indian prime minister Modi, Xi Jinping, the patriarch of Communist China, had concluded his Rwandan visit, which resulted in 15 crucial agreements between the two countries in different sectors.
China has offered around 126 million dollar to Rwanda for infrastructure development which includes a road construction project.
This time for Africa
Modi has just become the first Indian prime minister to visit Rwanda. Xi was also the first Chinese leader to visit this African nation of 12 million people. These are not just coincidences.
The African nations including South Africa and Rwanda are engaged in a tough mission of reviving their economies. Exploring the possibilities in Africa, China has been playing well there, pouring in massive investments for projects in diverse sectors.
China’s investment strategy in Africa have got an aggressive tone, dwarfing India, and challenging the US
This needs to be analysed in the backdrop of China’s economic invasion plan, which is widely celebrated as the trillion-dollar Belt Road Initiative (BRI).
As Xi Jinping has started a tough face-off with US president Donald Trump, China wants to strengthen its trade base in more countries.
China’s investments in Africa have acquired an aggressive tone, dwarfing India, and challenging the US. Countries like Rwanda are taking an anti-Trump approach for their own reasons, looking at countries like India and China as alternative options to bolster their economy amid negative indicators.
Catching up with China in the African continent is strategically important for India in the post-Trump era. And that marked the very significance of Modi’s visit to Rwanda and his meeting with its president Paul Kagame, who is also the head of the African Union, the prime league of 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product of 2.5 trillion dollar. The figure itself explains the economic importance of Africa.
Diplomacy and cows
As I mentioned earlier, Rwanda is on a transition path, in an economic revival mode. Rwandan Government’s Girinka programme is also a part of that, empowering the poor people in villages with cows. Like in India, cows have economic and cultural tones in Rwanda too.
The Girinka programme has developed with a noble aim of transforming the life of rural villagers in Rwanda. As of 2016, a total of 248,566 cows had been distributed to villagers. So, gifting 200 cows as part of this programme was a masterstroke by Modi to develop an emotional connect with the people there.
While speaking at the event, Modi was enthusiastic about pointing out the similarities in the rural ecosystem of India and Rwanda, and the importance of cows in the cultures of both nations. More than the 200 million dollar financial aid package from Modi, Rwandans value the gift of cows. That’s where Modi scored over Xi in the ‘African Challenge’.
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