Tag: India

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Vikas Battalion and Election Day

 

The last several months have seen rising tension between India and the PRC over their disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. In June, during an attempted “de-escalation,” there was an incident in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Just Monday, reports came out of a counter-offensive from the Indian Army, sending their Special Frontier Forces, the Vikas Battalion, to capture important strategic high ground in the dispute.

The use of SFF was deliberate by the Indian Army. SFF was formed in 1962 of Tibetan soldiers whose mission was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines. Today, Vikas Battalion is composed of mostly Tibetan and Gorkha soldiers. Tibetans have no reason to love the People’s Liberation Army, and of Gorkhas it was once said, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gorkha.”

The Red Chinese claim that they have never violated any border in an aggressive manner, which in their minds is true because when they have a problem with the border, they simply move the border (see the South China Sea and the Nine-Dash Line) and then accuse others of violating it.

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About a month ago I discovered a website in/on India called Newslaundry. Unique-ish in India because they are entirely subscriber funded, they don’t have any advertising. Preview Open

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard talk with Dr. Anna Egalite, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University. They discuss Anna’s experiences as a student growing up in Ireland and teaching at Catholic schools there and in Florida. She was inspired to pursue education policy after observing the differences between the two countries’ views of “public” and “private” education, and was surprised to find that families here didn’t have the same range of school options available to them as those in Europe. She also shares her research on the benefits of school voucher programs in India, which allowed students to attend private schools with longer days and lower rates of multi-grade teaching, with positive impacts on English language skills, especially for females. Lastly, they explore the role of family background on students’ long-term outcomes and intergenerational economic mobility.

Story of the Week: As the nation deals with COVID-19, Cara and Gerard discuss the implications for K-12 and higher education. Students across the country are shifting from campuses and classrooms to virtual learning; how prepared is our education system to deliver quality, online instruction? Are we doing enough to maintain community ties and minimize the disruption for low-income students and families, who have fewer supports?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Namaste Trump

 

The Indian answer to Houston’s “Howdy Modi” was “Namaste Trump.” The event was held in what a sign said was the world’s largest cricket stadium, with over 100,000 capacity. Prime Minister Modi greeted President Trump on stage, the two hugging.

After the playing of the American national anthem, PM Modi showed President Trump and First Lady Melania to two chairs, where they sat while he gave a brief introductory speech. President Trump then gave an excellent speech, about 30 minutes, praising his host and the Indian nation’s rapid advance on important metrics like extreme poverty. He emphasized that the Indian people were successfully advancing while a democracy, making this basic point several times without calling out China by name.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hold My Corona: Popping the Top on Preparedness

 

A brief dip into Twitter prompted a brief bit of research, and the results seemed worth sharing in the current news or hype cycle. Now I know, why on earth would I be on Twitter when there is talk of a new virus and we all know avian flu is supposed to be quite nasty? I was there for entirely other reasons when I stumbled upon a retweet of a professional pundit thinking he was offering a hot take. Hot tweet? More like steaming hot bird droppings.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. India Meets the Internet; Wedded Bliss or Marital Strife to Follow?

 

When I was growing up in India we lived in a semi-socialist, planned economy. “Semi-socialist” because India always had a private sector, and essentially unshaken patterns of inherited privilege and oppression. “Planned” because we had five-year plans and the Government controlled “the commanding heights of the economy.” One such height being telecommunications.

So, Indian telecommunications were awful when I grew up. We only had landlines. Landlines were scarce (there could be a ten-year waiting period), expensive, and frequently functioned badly (wrong numbers = incorrect connections) when they functioned at all (often not). This reflected a broader media space where the only television station was run by the government, and where print media was an oligopoly.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Howdy, Modi!

 

I’ve been making dinner and listening to the huge “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Houston with President Trump and Prime Minister Modi. It’s pretty enjoyable. It appears to be a huge crowd, and the Fox youtube clip I’m watching begins with awesome pounding drums.

After the drums stopped in a fabulous climax, a lovely young woman sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When she finished, the crowd burst into chants of “USA! USA!” After the Indian anthem, the crowd began chanting “Modi! Modi!” as the president also applauded.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bharatiya Janata Party Alliance Wins Indian Election in Landslide

 

India’s 2019 federal election was called on May 23, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies winning an increased majority of 350 out of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The BJP won 300 seats itself, which means that they will not need to govern in coalition, but have enough seats to form Government in their own right.

This is what the results look like on a map (BJP+ is of course saffron):

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Solution to India’s Vastu Problem: Move Kashmir to Kanyakumari

 

Some years ago, I landed in Bangalore on my way to Delhi (where my parents lived) from Australia. It had been about five years since I had been home and, in the meantime, the country had started to open up. The changes were immediately apparent. I was able to rent a rather plush taxi to pay a visit to my cousin during my six-hour layover (our taxis didn’t use to be plush) and as I sat back and marveled at Bangalore Bengaluru (unrecognizable) a private radio station (private! unheard of!) called Radio Mirchi was playing. I’ll never forget what one of the announcers said (heavy South Indian accent):

The situation in the nation is sooooo bad because our country’s Vastu needs to be corrected. I propose that we take Kaaaashmir, and put it at Kanyakumari, and Kanyakumari and place it in Kaaaashmir. Whadoyousay?!

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wile E. Coyote Democrats, President Trump, and a Dangerous World

 

In case you missed it, two nuclear-armed nations, India and Pakistan, just had an aerial skirmish with bombs dropped and planes shot down. Also, a failed socialist state in our own hemisphere is on the edge of complete lawlessness, as the dictator, Maduro, shut down the last border crossing to stop relief supplies flowing to Venezuelans. Meanwhile, President Trump is practicing tough but patient nuclear diplomacy with Kim Jong-un, the third-generation hereditary North Korean dictator, and tough but patient trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping, the strongest Chinese Communist leader since Chairman Mao, while meeting in a tough, smaller rival to China, Vietnam.

So, naturally, the House Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi 1.2, held their first big show hearing with a man convicted of lying to Congress. It went as well as President Trump could have wished. These same geniuses thought having House Democratic women wear white at the State of the Union was a brilliant move, only to be completely owned by a smiling President Trump. Who, again, is the political neophyte?

The congressional Republicans have continued to demonstrate their lack of fitness to govern, helping the Democrats stay in the game. Yet, the Democrats are moving so far left and behaving so foolishly that we should all be investing in Acme stock. Indeed, the only better investment than Acme stock may be proposition bets with British betting houses on President Trump to win reelection in 2020.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Pakistan Shoots Down Indian Jets

 

So far, two jets have been destroyed near the India/Pakistan border and airlines are suspending all flights. This could be pretty awful. Despite the fact that both sides seem evenly matched in the Kashmir conflict, the India/Pakistan war could erupt and we could see a limited exchange of nuclear weapons.

The problem for Pakistan is that they lack strategic depth. If a war happens, their plan involves invading India and trying to gain enough territory to force concessions. India knows this and has prepared broad defenses. It hopes to draw Pakistan in, run up against the Indian defenses, then go on the offensive and drive deep into Pakistan itself. That’s when the nukes get involved, if India takes too much territory and threatens the integrity of Pakistan.

Pakistan has a slightly better edge in regular armed forces. Many consider India to be a more corrupt, incompetent force. But they do tend to win all the wars in the long-term with Pakistan.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America recoil at the Trump world sleaze revealed by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen in his testimony to Congress, but also realize he’s the least credible witness Congress could have called on the subject. They also worry about escalating tension between nuclear powers India and Pakistan after Pakistan claims to shoot down two Indian military planes. And they get a kick out of the House Democrats having to adjourn their own hearing on climate change denial because not enough of them attended.

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From CNN: India could soon be faced with the threat of US sanctions following a controversial $5 billion weapons deal with Russia… Preview Open

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Turkey is having an election on Sunday. It looked like Erdogan would comfortably win, but according to the Express: A survey conducted by the think tank Centre for American Progress shows that the ruling coalition formed by Mr Erdogan’s party AKP and nationalist MHP has sensibly [this has to be a typo] lost consensus. Preview […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Interwebs and the National Conversation

 

2002 was not a good year for India. Trouble that had been brewing for a while (some say since 1993, some say for much longer) erupted, and almost 60 Hindu Nationalist workers were burned to death on a train in Gujarat by a Muslim mob. The victims were coming home from efforts to build a temple at what is said to be Lord Ram’s birthplace in Ayodhya.

This led to (more) horrific violence in Gujarat state — in which about 2,000 people died, many women were raped, and thousands were made homeless. The fabric of our national life was ripped in ways that turned out to be hard to repair. And the person held responsible for the bloodshed by many is now our Prime Minister.

At the time, many Indians who were overseas (like myself) had a visceral need to connect with home in some way. We did it, generally, via the internet. There on news and discussions sites, we talked, warred, screamed, and sometimes reconciled. (Sometimes not.)

This week on Banter, Sadanand Dhume joined the show to discuss the Rohingya refugees in Southeast Asia as well as the performance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in reforming India’s economy. Dhume is an AEI Resident Fellow whose research focuses on South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society. He is also a South Asia columnist for the Wall Street Journal and has written for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia.

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Here are the bare facts of what the press in India is calling the “Kerala Love Jihad Case”: …Akhila Ashokan, a 24-year-old [Hindu] woman…converted to Islam in 2012 while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery in Salem, Kerala…. Preview Open

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. India Strikes Across Line of Control in Kashmir

 

locIt’s a measure of the world’s instability that this story isn’t leading headlines everywhere. In a normal world, cross-border violence between hostile, nuclear-armed nations would merit the front page. India and Pakistan have already fought three wars over Kashmir, so the prospect of escalation to full-scale war isn’t at all beyond imagination.

For the past two months, Modi’s government has been struggling to contain deadly street protests in Kashmir. Residents have been clashing almost daily with security forces. Reportedly, 80 civilians have been killed.

On September 18, terrorists struck the Uri army base in India, near the Line of Control — the de facto border that divides Kashmir. The attack killed 18 Indian soldiers. India claimed the terrorists had come from the other side of the Line of Control. The Indian army’s director general of military operations said the attack was characteristic of Jaish-e-Mohammed, based in Pakistan, and said as well that the attackers’ equipment had Pakistani markings.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Indian Researchers Raising the Dead?

 

DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAILThis caught my eye:

No, it’s not science fiction. Indian researchers are embarking on a study to try to literally revive the brain dead. A person is both medically and legally dead when the brain stops working, an irreversible condition known as brain death. Now, if one group of scientists have their way, the definition of death might get a bit more complicated—they are kicking off a clinical trial in which they will try to regenerate a portion of the brain in 20 people with brain death.

The researchers are keeping their goals modest for this initial trial. “We don’t believe people will be independently breathing after six weeks,” Pastor says. Eventually, though, they would like to get to the point where brain dead patients can progress gradually through levels of increasing consciousness—through vegetative state, then coma, then minimally conscious state—until they can simply wake up.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is India the Wildest West in the World?

 

IndiaA few years ago, here in Paris, I met one of the most memorably optimistic and entrepreneurial people I’ve met in my life. Nick Booker-Soni’s English, but he’d been living in Delhi for years, where he and his wife run a business called Indogenius.

I knew I’d just met someone who saw the world in an unusual way from his reaction when I mentioned I lived in Istanbul. “Istanbul?” he said. “We just visited. First time! But you know, we were a bit disappointed. Just not that much history there.” No one had ever said that to me before. Was that supposed to be dry British wit? A “Boston’s not a big college town” kind of joke? I looked at his face. He was dead serious.

So I asked a few questions, and pretty soon I realized I was speaking the first person ever to lament that Istanbul lacks in history, the first Westerner since the 1930s to believe that the key to the mysteries of the scientific world lay in the Rig Veda, and the only profoundly optimistic Westerner I’d met since the 2008.