Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

2+2 Talks

On 6/9/2018 India and USA held 2+2 talks. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister represented India. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Defence Secretary James represented USA. The talks were postponed at least twice; once because Secretary of State Rex Tillerson resigned and second time because USA preferred talks with North Korea over India.
Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed. It allows India to buy equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms. It enables greater communications interoperability between militaries of India and USA. The agreement is effective immediately valid for 10 years.
India can buy Sea Guardian drones which can identify enemy targets fire missiles or drop bombs on them.
The representatives discussed Indo-Pacific area, cross-border terrorism, India’s NSG bid and H-1B visa issue.
USA wants India to stop buying S-400 missiles from Russia and oil from Iran. India should have told USA that it is its right to buy anything from any country. Instead it has asked for waivers. Successive Indian governments have allowed rupee to weaken against dollar. Today a dollar is around 72 rupees.
Michael Pompeo had gone to Pakistan to meet Imran Khan before coming to India. USA wants Pakistan to end support to terrorists. The joint statement after 2+2 talks mentioned Pakistan.
USA wants to reduce its trade deficit with India. In 2017 USA’s goods trade deficit with India was 22.9 billion dollars.
USA accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorists is pot calling the kettle black. USA, UK, Israel support terrorists in Syria. Idlib is occupied by Al Qaeda under a different name. USA does not want Syria to defeat Al Qaeda. When USA supports terrorists it calls them freedom fighters. When USA and allies bomb and kill civilians it is collateral damage. When other countries attack terrorists it is humanitarian tragedy. India has to fight its battle against terrorism and should not depend on USA. USA blows hot and cold with Pakistan. We have seen this movie before.
India should not plead with USA for H-1B visas. Our talented engineers can help India to develop. Americans don’t want their jobs to go to Indians.
Rupee should be strong against dollar. On 5/6/1966 dollar rate was 4.76 rupees. On 6/6/1966 it became 7.50 rupees. That was the official rate for many years. Later official rate changed and there has been continuous decline. Talk of overvalue of rupee should be treated as treason and those who want to weaken the rupee should be put in jail.
In the 19th century there was the Great Game between Russia and UK. Now there is the Great Game between China and USA. China has occupied Indian territory. There is trade war between China and USA. China has border disputes with Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. COMCASA was an attempt by USA to get India on its side.

Fall of Malcolm Turnbull

What goes around comes around.
On 24/8/2018 Malcolm Turnbull quit as Prime Minister of Australia. He had survived leadership challenge from Peter Dutton on 21/8/2018. Peter Dutton challenged him again for Liberal Party leadership. Malcolm Turnbull lost. There was three way fight for leadership. Julie Bishop lost in the first round. Scott Morrison got 45 votes. Peter Dutton got 40 votes. Scott Morrison became Prime Minister.
Julie Bishop was deputy leader of Liberal Party and Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia. Josh Frydenberg defeated Greg Hunt and Steve Ciobo and became deputy leader.
Speaking after the ballot Malcolm Turnbull criticised his rivals and said he was happy their campaign was not rewarded with victory for Peter Dutton.
“There was a determined insurgency from a number of people both in the party room and backed by voices, powerful voices, in the media. It was described as madness by many, and I think it’s difficult to describe it in any other way. In the party room meeting today I was impressed by how many of my colleagues spoke or voted for loyalty above disloyalty. How the insurgents were not rewarded by electing Mr Dutton, for example, but instead my successor who I wish the very best. Australians will be just dumbstruck and so appalled by the conduct of the last week. You know, to imagine that a Government would be rocked by this sort of disloyalty and deliberate insurgency – deliberate destructive action, at a time when, you know, there are differences on policy but frankly all of them were able to be resolved with a little bit of good will. In so far as there has been chaos this week, it has been created by the wreckers. I have done everything I can to maintain the stability of Government and the stability of the party. But, of course, if people are determined to wreck, then they will continue to do so. The critical thing is with politics, it’s not about the politicians. That’s why this week has been so dispiriting, because it just appears to be vengeance and personal ambition. You know, factional feuding, whoever you describe it. It hasn’t had anything to do with 25 million Australians.”
It is strange for Malcolm Turnbull to talk about loyalty. In 2015 he was an insurgent against then leader of Liberal Party and Prime Minister Anthony John Abbot. That time Anthony John Abbot had appealed to party members not to vote against him. Liberal Party may end up like Labor Party. Malcolm Turnbull did not heed the appeal. This time he had a taste of his own medicine and it was bitter. He was a wrecker then.

Revolt against party leader and Prime Minister began in Labor Party. In 2015 majority of Labor Party members in House of Representatives voted against Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard became Prime Minister. Three years later it was payback time for Kevin Rudd. He replaced Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

Imran Khan is Prime Minister

Imran Khan is Prime Minister of Pakistan after 22 years of struggle. He founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 1996. He contested from 11 constituencies and lost deposit in all. The total votes he got in 11 constituencies were not enough to win any one seat. Some commented that Imran Khan considered himself the team when he played cricket and therefore contested from 11 constituencies. This time he contested from five constituencies and won in all of them.
PMN-L, PPP and other parties have accused army of rigging Pakistan election in favour of Imran Khan’s PTI. PTI did not win more than half seats and depends on support of small parties and independents. It seems army wanted PTI wanted to form government but not have enough seats to have majority of its own.
PTI won 116 seats in election for National Assembly. Nine independents joined it. PTI got 28 seats reserved for women and five for Non-Muslims. PTI has 158 seats in National Assembly. It has to vacate six seats; four held by Imran Khan and one each by Sarwar Khan and Major Tahir Sadiq (Retd). PMN-L has got 82 seats. PPP has got 53 seats.
Imran Khan’s swearing-in was supposed to take place on 11 August. It got postponed to 14 August and again to 18 August when Imran Khan took oath. He took oath in Urdu and struggled with words. He got elected as Prime Minister on 17 August. He got 176 votes in National Assembly. His rival Shahbaz Sharif got 96 votes. PPP abstained from voting. Even if PPP had voted for Shahbaz Sharif he would not have won.
Imran Khan had invited Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu for his swearing-in. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev did not attend. Navjot Singh Sidhu attended.
Imran Khan was well-known as cricketer. He led Pakistan to victory in a Test series in India in 1986-87 and World Cup in1992. His popularity as a cricketer did not translate into votes in 1996 and later years. Gradually his vote tally increased. For some time he was in good terms with Pervez Musharraf who was Chief Executive and later President. There was possibility of him become Prime Minister. That did not happen as later Imran Khan turned against Pervez Musharraf.
Imran Khan is against Pakistan being part of America’s War on Terror. He wants Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. He is in favour of Sharia. There is not much hope of Indo-Pakistan relations becoming better with him as PM.

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