A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18, No. 47, 17 – 23 NOVEMBER 2015
Modi Government's Foreign Policy:
Appeasement of Imperialists and Global Capital,
Arrogance Towards South Asian Neighbours
he crushing defeat of the BJP in Bihar was a decisive mandate against feudal-communal arrogance and the Modi Government's pro-corporate 'development' that had meant nothing but land grab and steep prices of essential food items.
The Modi Government, in the wake of this historic verdict, has responded by trying to reassure corporates that the Government's determination to ram through unpopular policies will continue, immune to democratic opinion. Regulations for FDI have been eased in 15 sectors including single brand retail, banking, construction, media, airlines, defence, banking, plantations and media, as a move to appease foreign capital before the Prime Minister embarked on another spate of foreign tours to London, G-20, Malaysia and Singapore. Corporate taxes have been reduced and rail fares hiked, even as food prices continue to soar.
But the questions and protests of India's citizens continued to pursue Prime Minister Modi even in London. He was greeted by massive protests, including those by women's groups, human rights groups, Dalit groups as well as various community organizations. The British media, too, did not spare Modi on his human rights record and attacks on minorities' rights, though he failed to answer a direct question about the protests.
Significantly, his visit was also marked by protests by Nepalis against an unconscionable India-backed blockade of the land-locked, quake-hit country. While the question of Madhesi representation and citizenship is indeed a genuine democratic one that the republic of Nepal will have to address, India's big-brotherly arrogance and meddling is rightly resented by Nepal.
The Modi Government's foreign policy failure when it comes to Nepal and the South Asian neighbourhood is in marked contrast to its appeasement of the US, UK and other imperialist powers. Addressing the extravaganza of Indian diaspora at Wembley, Modi chose to remain totally silent on the legacy of India's resistance to British colonialism. Meanwhile the BJP back home in India was whipping up communal hatred and violence against the legacy of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Mysore ruler who was killed while resisting the East India Company!
Instead, Modi went to the extent of stating that India enjoyed a unique relationship with Britain that was much closer than that with any of India's own neighbours! This statement exposes the skewed character of the Modi Government's foreign policy priorities.
In his Wembley speech, in the name of hailing India's legacy of tolerance, Modi pandered to Islamophobic prejudice by suggesting that the Sufi tendency was the only peaceful tendency in Islam which otherwise was the source of global terrorism. In the wake of the terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris, Modi called on the "international community" to "give a definition to terrorism" in order to put an end to the spurious distinction between "good and bad terrorism." This is ironic, given the fact that Modi himself in India has been projecting terrorism by Hindutva groups as "good terrorism." A public prosecutor has gone on record to accuse Modi's own Government of pressurizing her to weaken the cases against Hindutva elements accused in terrorism cases. Modi and his own Government and camp followers openly seek to brand all Muslims and voices of dissent and democratic protests as potential "terrorists" while defending acts of terrorist blasts, assassinations and lynchings by Hindu majoritarian outfits.
Questioned about attacks on India's diversity and minorities' rights in London, Modi chose to take refuge behind the legacy of Buddha, Gandhi and the Indian Constitution. To Indians, though, this answer is supremely unconvincing because even as he hailed Gandhi in London, his camp followers including even MPs of his party have been venerating Gandhi's killer Godse, making bigoted statements mocking the Constitutional rights of and justifying organized violence against Dalits and minorities, and branding dissent as "anti-national" disloyalty.
The bitter Bihar lesson has done nothing to dent the arrogance of the BJP and the Modi Government and their hostility to dissent and democracy. On a visit to America to address a gathering of Indian diaspora, the Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh declared that India's leading writers, scientists and intellectuals were "paid" by vested interests to protest "intolerance."
The attempts to paint all citizens critical of the Modi Government's communal and pro-corporate policies as 'paid' or 'Pakistani' will fail as miserably as it did in Bihar. The Modi Government will be punished by the people for its betrayal of India's anti-colonial legacy, its appeasement of imperialist forces and arrogance towards neighbours, and its blatant espousal of corporate interests at the cost of those of India's peasants, workers and common people.
Condemn the Terrorist Attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and NigeriaThe CPI(ML) condemns the heinous and unconscionable spate of terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris and Yola in Nigeria. The ISIS attack in Beirut (Lebanon) claimed 50 civilian lives while a series of ISIS attacks on various public places in Paris killed 128 people. A suicide bombing in a Baghdad funeral killed 17 people. On 17 November an explosion at a busy market in Yola, a north-eastern city of Nigeria killed 32 people with 80 more injured. It is yet unclear as to who is behind the explosion, but in the past Boko Haram pledging allegiance to ISIS has claimed the killings of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring regions of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, targeting mostly public places.
Alarmingly, the Paris attacks have been followed by several racist and Islamophobic attacks on Muslims and Arabs in France and other parts of Europe, with the Czech President Zeman even attending an anti-Muslim rally.
The terrorist attacks in Paris are being used to stoke further prejudice against Syrian refugees. It has rightly been reminded that the refugees are in fact fleeing the very same barbaric ISIS that has attacked Paris and Beirut.
The racism and Islamophobia, the rhetoric about 'pitiless war' and the plans to intensify airstrikes by European powers and USA in Syria that will inevitably claim scores of civilian lives will only provide more fodder for the ISIS.
The resistance to the ISIS today cannot be built without sober reflection about the role of imperialist war and occupation or Iraq and meddling in West Asia that has created the Frankenstein that is the ISIS today.
Indian people must stand firm in solidarity with people all over the world in rejecting and resisting all forms of terrorism, and refusing to fall into the trap of racism, communalism and Islamophobia.
On Tamil Nadu Floods
Party leader and ex-Legislator in Jharkhand Assembly, Comrade Vinod Singh has met the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jharkhand – Rajeev Gauba and NN Pandey respectively, in order to expedite the process for their return. It is to be noted that they were apprised of the case earlier, despite that new roadblock in their return are being created. The two high ranking officials assured our Party leader of urgent action.
On 10 November the parents and family members of the troubled workers had met Comrade Vinod to urge him to ensure their return. It is noteworthy that seven other workers have returned in the recent past due to the efforts of CPI(ML) and Comrade Vinod. In October, around Dussehra festival, this issue had got highlighted after which the Jharkhnad CM Raghuvar Das and Bagodar MLA Nagendra Mahto had stated about ensuring the workers' return. Since then a month has elapsed but nothing much has happened. Moreover, in this one month the workers have rather been threatened by the Malaysian authorities and coerced to stay back. After this the workers telephoned their family back in Bagodar, all of whom who then met Comrade Vinod to seek action. The Party has assured the families of all possible efforts to bring their children and family members back.
A lot of unsuspecting and vulnerable Indian workers are trafficked to Malaysia by human traffickers with the lure of good paying and better jobs. Upon their arrival in Malaysia they are faced more often than not with horrible working conditions bordering on slavery. Many of them face abuse and are beaten up. When complained about this by activists in Malaysia, the Malaysian police rescues them from one abusive employer and dumps them into some other similar abusive factory. When the workers try to run away from extremely inhuman conditions they quite often lose their work permit and are at risk of becoming further enslaved. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not taken adequate steps to ensure to prevent trafficking and to ensure that Malaysian Government make adequate and stricter regulations to regulate and monitor the working conditions of the Indian migrants working in Malaysian factories or rubber plantations.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org