Few Overseas Have Faith in Trump’s Leadership, Survey Finds

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

President Trump, left, gathered with other foreign leaders at the NATO summit meeting in Brussels in May. Mr. Trump will make his second overseas trip next week. CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Faith in American leadership has plunged in many nations around the world in the months since President Trump took office, according to a new survey, underscoring the challenges facing the new president as he prepares to make his second overseas trip next week.

Just 22 percent of those interviewed outside the United States expressed confidence in Mr. Trump to do the right thing, compared with 64 percent who had similar confidence in the late stages of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to the Pew Research Center. In only two of 37 countries in the survey did Mr. Trump fare better than Mr. Obama: Russia and Israel.

“Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined

steeply in many nations,” the center said in a report released on Monday. “The sharp decline in how much global publics trust the U.S. president on the world stage is especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada.”

The findings come despite concerted efforts by Mr. Trump to build relationships with world leaders. On Monday, he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House and he is scheduled to host President Moon Jae-in of South Korea for a two-day visit starting on Thursday. As president, he has brought the leaders of China and Japan to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and telephoned other world leaders dozens of times.

Next week, Mr. Trump heads to Europe to visit Poland and attend a meeting of the Group of 20 world powers in Hamburg, Germany, where he may also sit down with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia for the first time since taking office.

Mr. Trump’s first international trip, last month, won him praise from Arab and Israeli leaders in the Middle East but alienated America’s traditional allies in Europe over issues like trade, climate change and the role of NATO.

Shortly after returning to Washington, he drove a further wedge between himself and the international community when he announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord negotiated by Mr. Obama. Every other nation in the world belongs to the pact except Nicaragua, which argued that it did not go far enough, and Syria, which is consumed by civil war. And only after his return did Mr. Trump grudgingly affirm support for NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense provision, stating that an attack on one member was an attack on all.

It may come as little surprise that a president espousing an “America first” approach to the world would not be viewed favorably outside its borders, and many of Mr. Trump’s supporters are unlikely to be bothered by that — indeed, they may see it as proof that he is tending to their needs, not those of foreigners. One of Mr. Trump’s central themes both as a candidate and as president is that America has been treated unfairly by other countries, whether it be in economics, security arrangements or agreements like the Paris accord.

In that vein, he has been willing to advance policies that he argues reflect American interests even at the cost of complaints from abroad, including travel restrictions on selected predominantly Muslim countries that were partially restored by the Supreme Court on Monday, construction of a wall along the Mexican border, and withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement with Asia.

“My job is not to represent the world,” Mr. Trump said in an address to a joint session of Congress in February. “My job is to represent the United States of America.”

 Some of those policies generate broad criticism overseas. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed by Pew disapproved of the travel restrictions and more than 70 percent opposed the United States’ withdrawing from major trade and climate change agreements. Ninety-four percent of those interviewed in Mexico opposed Mr. Trump’s proposal for a border wall.

But it is not just his specific policy agenda that creates antipathy in other countries. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed described Mr. Trump as arrogant, 65 percent called him intolerant and 62 percent said he was dangerous. Still, in a metric that may appeal to Mr. Trump, 55 percent characterized him as a strong leader.

Despite the eroding belief in its president, the United States itself and its people and culture still retained support around the world. Majorities expressed favorable views of Americans; their music, movies and television shows; and their traditions of personal freedom, although feelings were mixed about American ideas about democracy.

The collapse in confidence in the president echoed that of the last phase of President George W. Bush’s tenure, when the Iraq war and the global financial crisis had sapped international faith in American leadership.

The falling support was most pronounced among longtime American friends. While 93 percent in Sweden had faith in Mr. Obama to do the right thing, only 10 percent had such confidence in Mr. Trump, a drop of 83 percentage points. The drop was also large in Germany and the Netherlands (75 percentage points), South Korea (71 points), France (70 points), Spain (68 points) and Britain (57 points).

In Mexico, only 5 percent expressed positive feelings about Mr. Trump, the least in any of the 37 countries. In Canada, confidence in the president fell from 83 percent to 22 percent, the lowest it has been in the 15 years that the survey has been conducted. In addition to the border wall, Mr. Trump’s threat to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement unless it is renegotiated to his liking has soured America’s closest neighbors.

The only two places where Mr. Trump bested Mr. Obama were Israel, where 56 percent expressed faith in the current president, a seven-point rise, and Russia, where 53 percent gave Mr. Trump high marks, a 42-point rise.

The global attitudes survey, which has been conducted since 2002, surveyed 40,447 respondents from Feb. 16 to May 8.

Chinese Media Keeps Up It’s Angry Tirade Toward India Because Of Dalai Lama’s Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF YAHOO NEWS AND IANS (INDO ASIAN NEWS SERVICE))

Chinese media keeps up angry tirade on Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit

Indo Asian News Service

Beijing, April 6 (IANS) The Chinese media on Thursday kept up its tirade against India over the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, with an editorial in a state-run daily suggesting that if China, with its higher military capabilities and support among India’s neighbours, wants it can create trouble in Jammu and Kashmir.

In an editorial, titled ‘India’s use of Dalai Lama card tactless’, the Global Times says: “With a GDP several times higher than that of India, military capabilities that can reach the Indian Ocean and having good relations with India’s peripheral nations, coupled with the fact that India’s turbulent northern state borders China, if China engages in a geopolitical game with India, will Beijing lose to New Delhi?”

It said that China considers India as a friendly neighbour and partner and has “never provoked” bilateral disputes or made any “pressing demand” on India over the Dalai Lama. “New Delhi should respond to Beijing’s goodwill with goodwill.”

The editorial comes a day after Beijing summoned the Indian envoy Vijay Gokhale to protest the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, large parts of which China considers disputed and part of south Tibet. India has maintained that Arunachal Pradesh is an inseparable part of its territory. The protests come as the Dalai Lama is in Arunachal Pradesh and is on way to Tawang for a major Buddhist event.

The editorial says that while the Dalai Lama has been to Arunachal Pradesh before, what makes this trip different is that he is “received by and accompanied by India’s Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju. When China raised the concern over the visit, Rijiju commented that China shouldn’t intervene in their “internal affairs.”

The editorial is mistaken on this point, as Rijiju, who belongs to Arunachal Pradesh, was not in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday and did not receive the Dalai Lama or accompany him. Rijiju is set to accompany the Tibetan leader during his visit to Tawang. The Dalai Lama was received by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday, who is accompanying him on his road journey.

The daily says, in faulty English, that on the one hand New Delhi takes a stance that it opposes the Dalai Lama engaging in anti-China activities on the soil of India, but “it has long attempted to use the Dalai Lama as a card”.

“When India emphasizes the relationship with China, it would place a tight control on the Dalai. When it has a grudge against China, it may prompt the Dalai to play certain tricks as a signal sent to China,” it goes on to say.

It suggested that India is using the Dalai Lama as a “diplomatic tool” to put pressure on Beijing on the NSG and Masood Azhar issues, but it termed it “a clumsy and rude move”.

The editorial said that since the Tibetan leader is a highly politicised symbol in China’s diplomacy, a country’s attitude toward him almost affects the entire relationship with Beijing.

“The West has fully recognised the nature of the Dalai Lama as a diplomatic card and is extremely prudent in using it.

It said that earlier the Dalai Lama was received by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in December. “At a time when the Dalai Lama has been given a cold shoulder in many places of the world, New Delhi is bucking the trend and treating him as a favourite.”

The editorial warned that “New Delhi probably overestimates its leverage in the bilateral ties with China”.

“The two countries in recent years have continuously strived to improve their relationship and the peace on the border area has been maintained. India has benefited from the good momentum of bilateral relationship as much as China. If New Delhi ruins the Sino-India ties and the two countries turn into open rivals, can India afford the consequence?”

On Wednesday too, the Global Times in a belligerent editorial had said that New Delhi’s inviting the Tibetan spiritual leader to the “sensitive region” would “gravely damage” India-China relations.

It said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “unlike his predecessors” was taking a different stance on the Dalai Lama issue by “raising public engagements with the monk and challenging Beijing’s bottom line” on Arunachal Pradesh.

–IANS

ksk/rn/vm

President Trump Call India’s Prime Minister Modi “A True Friend And Partner”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Trump tells Modi India ‘a true friend and partner’, invites PM to US ‘later this year’

WORLD Updated: Jan 25, 2017 07:26 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington

Highlight Story

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a scheduled telephonic conversation at 11:30pm IST on Tuesday.(Agencies File)

In a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the US considers India a “true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world”, according to a White House statement.The two leaders also discussed opportunities to “strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense”, the statement said without citing specific areas, sectors or goals.

Modi and Trump, who were speaking for the first time after the new US president took charge last Friday, also discussed “security in the region of South and Central Asia” and, once again the statement left out details.

South and Central Asia cover many areas of mutual interest to both India and the United States including Pakistan and Afghanistan and it could not be immediately confirmed if they discussed the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan.

Read more

But the two leaders resolved, according to the White House statement, “that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism”, which has been a priority for both of them and both countries.

Trump is hosting Modi later in the year, but it was, once again, not immediately clear if that will be in September-October when the Indian prime minister comes to the US for the UN general assembly meeting, or some other time.

But the two, who first spoke in November when Modi was among the first foreign leaders to call Trump on his election, are likely to meet during the next meeting of the G-20, which is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany in July.

Since that first call, India engaged with Trump on two separate occasions: The first was a meeting between Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar and then Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, and the second on December 19 when Ajit Doval, national security adviser to PM Modi, met Trump’s NSA Michael Flynn.

Read more

And now the call. The US statement contained no details and it was not known if trade in services, read H-1B, came up during their phone call, as many had expected, since it being the one issue that had agitated New Delhi the most about Trump.

The fate of the temporary US visa programme for high-skilled foreign workers, which is at the heart to India’s burgeoning IT exports to the US, seemed uncertain, given the president’s own reservations about it, and those of leading members of his team.

They believe the H-1B programme is being abused by the US companies to outsource American jobs to temporary foreign workers, a large number of them from India, and they have been considering ways to make it harder for that to happen.

“There is no other area of potential dispute or differences with the United States under President Trump,” said an Indian official, who spoke strictly on background. He added, “H-1B is the only problem for us as of now.”

In response to a question about India-US relations, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had said Monday that as with other countries, the Trump administration is focussed on access to markets in manufacturing and services.

Since being sworn-in last Friday, the new president has begun engaging with world leaders and has spoken to prime minister and president of neighboring Canada and Mexico first — with whom he plans to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal.

He has also talked since with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who he has invited to to a meeting in early February. And he meets Teresa May, prime minister of America’s closest ally the United Kingdom, on Friday.

The Tuesday call with Modi, on the second day of Trump’s first week in office, is being taken as sign of the priority he is attaching to the relationship, after an unprecedented outreach to the Indian American community during election.

At an election rally in New Jersey, Trump had said on his watch as president that India and the US will be “best friends” and, added in a typically Trumpian hyperbole that “there will be no relationship more important to me”.

At the suggestion of the Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalli Kumar, who had organised the rally, Trump recorded a campaign call modeled on Modi’s election slogan “Abki baar Modi sarkar”, replacing Modi with Trump.

Also, Prime Minister Modi appears to have an admirer in Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counseller to the president, who had in 2014 called Modi’s election a “great victory … very much based on … Reaganesque principles”.

Bannon was then chief executive officer of Breitbart News, a stridently conservative news publication, and would become in 2016 a leading and early supporter of Trump, and later went on to head his campaign in August.

PM Modi rings in new year with mini-budget of sops, focuses on poor

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

PM Modi rings in new year with mini-budget of sops, focuses on poor

INDIA Updated: Dec 31, 2016 23:57 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Highlight Story

People watching live telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at an electronic shop in Patna on Saturday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a slew of schemes on Saturday evening to herald a prosperous 2017 for the urban and rural poor, farmers, small businessmen, senior citizens and pregnant women.Modi started on a sombre note. For the first 23 minutes, he mainly thanked his countrymen for braving the cash crunch, iterated why demonetisation was a necessary weapon in his fight against black money and corruption and warned of more action against the dishonest.

“The law will take its course with full force. The government will help the honest, protect them, and see that their difficulties are eased,” he said.

Read: Full transcript of PM Narendra Modi’s New Year’s eve speech

In his address made to the nation on the very day the demonetisation exercise ended, the Prime Minister did not say much about curbs on withdrawals. He only said everyone in the government has been told that banking operations must return to normal as soon as possible.

Then he switched to announcement mode, rattling out enough measures to make his speech sound like a mini-budget.

The first in his list for 2017 were two housing schemes under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY). For the urban poor, home loans up to Rs 9 lakh will get 4% interest exemption, and loans up to Rs 12 lakh will get 3%. In villages, home loans up to Rs 2 lakh will get 3% interest exemption. This would apply not only to loans for building new houses but also those taken for renovating or expanding an existing one.

In all, Modi said 33% more homes will be built in rural areas under the PMAY.

There was more for the rural poor, who got the lion’s share of the announcements. The govt will pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for Rabi farming from district cooperative banks and societies. It will give the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (Nabard) Rs 20,000 crore, which the bank will use for giving loans to cooperatives at low interest rates. Some 30 million kisan credit cards will be converted to RuPay cards, so their holders can make non-cash transactions at a large number of places.

Read: Focus on poor, small businesses: 5 highlights from PM Modi’s New Year’s eve speech

There was also a fair bit for small businessmen, generally referred to as MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). In a scheme under which the government guarantees loans raised by them, the limit has been doubled to Rs 2 crore. This will also cover loans from NBFCs. Banks have been told to raise the cash credit limit to small businesses from 20% to 25%.

Banks, the Prime Minister noted, tend to decrease interest payable on deposits when they are flush with funds – as they are now. The government will not allow them to pay senior citizens anything less than 8% on deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh made for 10 years.

To reduce deaths during child birth, the government will deposit Rs 6,000 into the accounts of pregnant women. It can be used for registration and vaccination, among other things.

Modi also packed a punch for his political rivals. “The time has come for all political parties and leaders to respect the feelings of honest citizens and understand their anger. I urge them to move away from their holier-than-thou approach, and take actual steps towards reforming the system and getting rid of black money and corruption,” he said.

Read: BJP compliments, rivals criticise PM Modi’s New Year’s eve address

Benefits of Indian cash overhaul elusive as deadline passes

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

THE AMERICAS

Benefits of Indian cash overhaul elusive as deadline passes

  • In this Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 photo, an Indian woman, who had come to deposit money, argues with a bank officer in New Delhi, India. On Nov. 8, India yanked most of its currency bills from circulation without warning, delivering a jolt to the country’s high-performing economy and leaving countless citizens scrambling for cash. Still, as Friday’s deadline for depositing old 500- and 1,000-rupee notes draws to a close, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has called the demonetization drive a great success in drawing out tax dodgers and eliminating graft. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    In this Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 photo, an Indian woman, who had come to deposit money, argues with a bank officer in New Delhi, India. On Nov. 8, India yanked most of its currency bills from circulation without warning, delivering a jolt to the country’s high-performing economy and leaving countless citizens scrambling for cash. Still, as Friday’s deadline for depositing old 500- and 1,000-rupee notes draws to a close, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has called the demonetization drive a great success in drawing out tax dodgers and eliminating graft. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)  (The Associated Press)

Fifty days ago, India yanked most of its currency from circulation without warning, jolting the economy and leaving most citizens scrambling for cash. As the deadline for exchanging the devalued 500- and 1,000-rupee notes for new ones hits Friday, many Indians are still stuck waiting in long bank lines.

Empty ATMs and ever-changing rules are preventing people from withdrawing money, and many small, cash-reliant businesses from cinemas to neighborhood grocery stores are suffering huge losses or going under.

Despite those problems, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says his Nov. 8 demonetization decree has succeeded in uncovering tax evasion and cracking down on graft. The Indian government is urging patience, insisting it’s playing a long game that will eventually modernize Indian society and benefit the poor.

So far, despite the widespread inconvenience and costs, most of the country’s 1.25 billion citizens appear to be taking Modi’s word for it.

Here are a few things to know about India’s massive cash overhaul:

___

HARDSHIP FOR THE POOR

Modi’s announcement that 500 and 1,000 rupee bills — making up 86 percent of India’s currency — were no longer legal tender has posed an enormous hardship for millions of people who use cash for everything from salaries to cellphone charges.

Almost immediately, serpentine lines appeared at banks and ATMs as people waited hours to deposit or exchange old currency notes for new bills. Since authorities only began printing the new bills after the policy was announced, demand vastly exceeds supply and cash machines often run dry. Daily commerce in essentials including food, medicine and transportation screeched almost to a halt.

Worst affected were the country’s hundreds of millions of farmers, produce vendors, small shop owners and daily-wage laborers who usually are paid in cash at the end of a day’s work. Many lost their jobs as small businesses shut down, compounding their poverty.

Pankaj Aggarwal, owner of a clothing shop in the Old Delhi neighborhood of Chandni Chowk says his sales crashed by 70 percent.

“You can imagine what our business is like now. It will be some time before our sales normalize,” he said.

Modi appears to have succeeded in promoting the cash overhaul as a “pro-poor” policy, tapping into deep anger among the have-nots toward wealthy elites.

“The first two months have been so bad for us, we don’t even have enough money to buy food,” said daily wage laborer Neeraj Mishra, 35. “Overall, I think Modi has done some good. People with a lot of money are the ones who have been troubled. I don’t have enough cash for it to bother me much.”

Political scientist Sreeram Chaulia, dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs in New Delhi, describes the strategy as “classic populism.”

“Some people are outraged, but are hesitant to come out and say it because they don’t want to be branded as anti-national or self-centered,” he said.

___

A BRUISED ECONOMY

The wide impact of the demonetization won’t be known until the government issues its next quarterly GDP figures in February, but the Reserve Bank of India already has shaved half a percent from this year’s GDP growth forecast, to 7.1 percent.

Since domestic commerce drives most economic activity, analysts have expressed alarm over the scale of economic and social disruption and are warning a contraction is likely in coming quarters.

“The countless unpredictable consequences that will continue to show in the coming weeks and months mean that it is, in effect, a huge gamble,” said Jan Zalewski, an Asia expert with the Britain-based risk assessment firm Verisk Maplecroft. “Inflicting such huge costs for what is an uncertain outcome is problematic.”

Real estate, tourism, transportation and gold and gems have been hit the hardest, along with informal sectors that rely mostly on cash.

Prices are forecast to rise since the cash crunch is pinching supplies of all sorts of goods.

The country’s banks, however, are seeing banner business. The central bank said old notes worth 13 trillion rupees ($191 billion) had been deposited as of Dec. 10, with many more expected by Friday’s deadline.

That should improve bank liquidity and in turn encourage more lending to boost economic growth.

___

MIXED MESSAGES, CHAOTIC RULES

The Finance Ministry and central bank have issued at least 60 different directives, some of them contradictory, about such issues as how much money can be withdrawn from bank accounts and which documents are needed for depositing old cash. The mixed messages have compounded the overall chaos and shaken investors’ confidence.

“There appears to be less trust in many institutions, including the Reserve Bank and other banks. That is one important behavioral change that has been ushered in,” said Mihir Sharma, senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi based think tank.

Financial experts are baffled about how to evaluate the move.

“One of the major problems with the demonetization move is that success is so difficult to measure,” Zalewski said. “In and of itself, it can’t end black money, stop terrorism funding and the counterfeiting of notes.”

___

NEW BILLS, OLD HABITS

The idea that swapping old currency notes for new ones would wipe out tax evasion has already been proven naive. Over the last seven weeks, Indian income tax authorities uncovered more than 32 billion rupees ($477 million) in undeclared wealth held in new notes, foreign currency, gold and other commodities.

The Finance Ministry found enormous stashes of new currency bills secreted away by corrupt bank managers. Axis Bank’s CEO Shikha Sharma said she was “embarrassed and upset” after it was found managers at the bank had used the stolen funds to fake accounts and launder customers’ untaxed savings for a premium.

___

A GLOBAL TREND?

A month after Modi scrapped the high-denomination notes, Venezuela’s president announced that the 100-bolivar notes that account for more than three-quarters of the country’s cash would be taken out of circulation.

Skyrocketing inflation had taken the value of the Venezuelan notes to 2 U.S. cents from 10 cents in the past year.

But while India’s cash overhaul has been relatively peaceful, Venezuela’s was not.

When no new bolivar notes appeared to replace the old ones, riots and looting erupted in towns across Venezuela, whose economy was already in shambles. Hundreds of grocery stores were damaged or destroyed. Ultimately, the government extended use of the old 100-bolivar notes until Jan. 2.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared the abrupt cash overhaul an economic triumph, claiming people were racing to deposit the old notes into banks. He did not say how much was deposited.

In Pakistan, opposition lawmakers passed a resolution last week calling for the withdrawal of the country’s highest-denomination note from circulation. The government rejected that move, saying there was no need to discontinue the country’s 5,000-rupee note, worth about $48.

“The very notion of cancellation of such convenience in transactions is preposterous and unequivocally denied,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

___

Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

___

Follow Katy Daigle and Nirmala George at http://www.twitter.com/katydaigle and http://www.twitter.com/NirmalaGeorge1

I am not for sale, thunders India’s PM Modi—As The Corrupt Try To Bring Him Down

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

I am not for sale, thunders PM Modi; talks of cheap loans

    • Saubhadra Chatterji and Hemendra Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Agra

|

  • Updated: Nov 21, 2016 01:18 IST
PM Narendra Modi addresses BJP’s Parivartan Maharally in Agra. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood his ground on Sunday despite the Opposition’s growing clamour against his government’s move to recall 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, saying his decision will favour the country’s poor and middle class.

The Modi government abolished the two high-value notes in an effort to stop corruption, circulation of illicit funds or black money and counterfeits, and to choke terrorist funding.

“Uttar Pradesh ne bikau maal nahi bheja hai (UP has not sent a man who can be bought),” said Modi, who represents Varanasi in the Lok Sabha.

“The corrupt people wanted such a government who will dance to their tunes, sleep on their bribes. Lekin aapne koi bikau maal nahi bheja (to Delhi),” he said at a BJP election rally in Agra.

He praised the poor and middle class for supporting him and launched a veiled attack on West Bengal chief Mamata Banerjee and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati — staunch opponents of the notes recall.

“Some people have lost everything… Do you want to become an MLA? Bring this amount of cash. Then the cash was hoarded. But these notes belonged to the poor and middle class,” Modi said, referring to Mayawati’s alleged fund-raising style.

Read| Demonetisation has hit those seeking money for poll tickets: PM Modi

Some of Mayawati’s former party leaders such as Swami Prasad Maurya have accused her of “auctioning” tickets for the 2017 polls in Uttar Pradesh.

The BSP chief dismissed the charges. “It is the BSP’s firm belief that the BJP and the PM’s good days are over and bad days will come soon,” she said.

West Bengal’s Banerjee, who led a march to President Pranab Mukherjee against the demonetisation exercise, came in for some sharpshooting from Modi.

“I know who all are protesting against me. The whole country knows who were involved in chit fund. Many people invested but because of the blessings of politicians their money vanished. And they are asking questions to me,” he said.

He referred to the Rs 2,500-crore Sharada chit fund scam in which several leaders of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress got embroiled.

In her riposte, the feisty West Bengal chief minister tweeted: “Pradhan Mantriji, you are equating corruption with anyone who opposes your policy. Are you the only magician?”

The Prime Minister spoke extensively about the demonetisation drive at the Agra rally, although he has yet to speak in Parliament on the issue. Opposition parties are upset with his silence in Parliament.

“This is a test by fire,” he announced as opposition parties got ready to stall Parliament’s winter session on the issue.

“The people of my country will pass it like gold.”

People still returned empty-handed from banks and ATMs because of the cash crunch, but Modi sought to look at the brighter side.

“Banks will give this money as cheap loans to the poor and middle-class.”

He admitted the hardship people were facing, which his government says will be a temporary phase, but reminded the people that the life of the corrupt will be ruined forever.

“Dand diya hai (We have punished the corrupt),” he said.

Kashmir Suffering Due To Indo-Pak Tensions: Erdogan (Is This Where You Say ‘No-Duh?)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDU TIMES NEWS PAPER)

INTERNATIONAL » SOUTH ASIA

Updated: November 17, 2016 16:52 IST

Kashmiris suffering due to Indo-Pak tensions: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif listen to their national anthems, during a ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday. Mr. Erdogan, who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit, later discussed the K-issue with Mr. Sharif and advocated bilateral talks to solve the tangle.
AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif listen to their national anthems, during a ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday. Mr. Erdogan, who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit, later discussed the K-issue with Mr. Sharif and advocated bilateral talks to solve the tangle.

Says the escalating situation “can no longer be ignored,” advocates bilateral dialogue to solve the K-tangle

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said the suffering of Kashmiris due to escalating India-Pakistan tensions “can no longer be ignored” as he called on the two countries to resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue.

Mr. Erdogan, who arrived here on Wednesday, made the remarks after he held detailed talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

They discussed the K-word

Addressing a joint press conference, the Turkish President told the media that during his one-on-one meeting with Mr. Sharif that they talked about the situation in Kashmir.

“Our brothers and sisters in Kashmir are suffering because of escalating tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and Kashmir, which can no longer be ignored,” Mr. Erdogan said. He stressed on the importance of dialogue to address the thorny issue.

“The Kashmir issue needs to find a resolution for itself following a dialogue between Pakistan and India,” Mr. Erdogan said.

Thanks Pakistan

The Turkish President thanked Pakistan for siding with Ankara’s elected government during a failed coup bid earlier this year. “Soon after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, I received a phone call from President Mamnoon Hussain and we discussed a possible response to the development,” he said.

Mr. Erdogan also lambasted what his government has termed the Fethullah Terror Organisation (Feto) for allegedly supporting the coup and said it was a threat to other countries.

“We are in the process of warning all of our friends and countries [against Feto] across the globe with whom we have solidarity,” he said.

Mr. Erdogan also welcomed Pakistan’s decision to expel dozens of teachers and staff of Turkish schools in Pakistan which were controlled by Fetullah.

Keywords: ErdoganSharifKashmir

India: New Currency Is Causing Huge Lines At Banks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

Cash-Starved Indians Are Struggling After Modi’s Surprise Currency Ban

INDIA-ECONOMY-CURRENCY
NARINDER NANU—AFP/Getty ImagesIndian people queue outside a bank as they wait to deposit and exchange 500 and 1000 rupee notes in Amritsar on November 13, 2016.

Saddled with worthless pieces of paper, ordinary Indians are finding it tough to purchase essential goods

Across India, patience is rapidly wearing thin.

Last week, the government of India’s Prime Minster Narendra Modi triggered a nationwide scramble for cash, after unexpectedly banning currency notes that account for 86% of all money in circulation. Modi said the move was targeted at tax evaders with large stockpiles of illicit cash, as well as at currency counterfeiters. But nearly a week on, public frustration is growing amid continuing delays in dispensing replacement notes at banks and ATMs.

Saddled with worthless pieces of paper, ordinary Indians are struggling to purchase essential goods. In India’s large informal economy where salaries are often paid out in cash, many are also facing delays in drawing their incomes. For others at the bottom of the economic ladder who survive on daily wages, the Modi government’s move has resulted in the loss of hours of precious work, as they spend their time waiting in long bank queues.

“I support the fight against black money [as illicit cash is known in India],” Ashok Mahto, a Delhi shopkeeper said at the weekend. But he blamed the government for not doing enough to prepare for the rush to exchange the old 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes (worth roughly $7.5 and $15 respectively) that had suddenly been declared illegal at midnight on Nov. 8. As a long queue spilled out of a nearby bank branch and snaked down the road in front of his shop, he said his business had come to a near-standstill, with his customers were left with wallets full of old, now-useless money. “It has become very hard.”

In place of the old currency, the government has introduced a redesigned 500 and a new 2000 Rupee note. Already, the government says banks have received more than $44 billion in deposits in the form of old notes since the policy was announced last week. But withdrawing new currency is proving tough. At ATMs, differences in size mean that as many as 200,000 machines nationwide need to be reconfigured before they can start dispensing the new notes, a process that only began after Modi’s surprise announcement last week. Officials justified the delay on the grounds of secrecy, saying any advance notice would have alerted hoarders of illicit currency and given them time to launder their unaccounted for wealth. The machines that are functioning are fast running out of the smaller denomination notes still in circulation.

Further complicating matters is the fact that millions of Indians live and work without formal banking, operating without accounts and credit or debit cards. Modi’s government, for its part, has tried to change this with a massive financial inclusion drive in recent years that has made it simpler for people to open no-frills bank accounts. But many still remain outside the system, with a 2015 report from the consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers putting the number of unbanked Indians at around 233 million. Another report from last year, compiled by Tufts University researchers, found that less than 10% of Indians have ever made non-cash payments.

And although India has in recent years become a booming market for new digital forms of payments, access to new cashless technologies remains an issue for many. A recent report by Google and the Boston Consulting Group, published just months before the government’s move last week, said the Indian digital payments industry could be worth as much $500 billion by 2020, contributing 15% to the country’s economic output. But India continues to suffer from a stark digital divide, with nearly a billion people still offline, according to the World Bank. To continue going about their daily lives, they have no choice but to endure long queues to get their hands on the new currency.

As people grow impatient, Modi made an emotional appeal to Indians at the weekend, promising the current problems were only temporary and would help rid India of corruption and unaccounted for wealth. “Cooperate with me and help me for 50 days and I will give you the India you desired,” he said, referring to the end-December deadline for deposits of old notes at bank branches in a speech in coastal Goa state on Sunday, in which he grew teary-eyed. “I know that (some) forces are up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, but I am prepared.”

As China Threatens: India And Japan Choose To Grow Closer With Each Other & U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

JAPAN

What to Know About Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to Japan

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Friday, commencing a three-day bilateral meeting in Japan, to discuss developing the two countries’ economic and strategic relationship.

“Japan may be on its way to becoming one of India’s most important strategic partners, some years from now,” Sanjib Baruah, an honorary research professor at India’s Center for Policy Research think-tank and professor at Bard College, tells TIME. “[But] China is the elephant in the room.”

Traditional alliances in the region are shifting, as Russia — one of India’s biggest arms suppliers — seeks stronger relationships with Pakistan and China. As the country looks to phase out its phase out its fleet of Soviet-era aircrafts, India has increasingly looked to Washington, and American defense companies for military equipment.

The meeting with Japan is indicative of a continuing pivot for India as the two countries discuss deals ranging from a highly coveted civil nuclear cooperation pact to a defense trade agreement worth more than a billion dollars.

“There is always some nervousness in Indian policy circles that the U.S. may be insufficiently appreciative of India’s desire for strategic autonomy. But with Japan there is no such baggage,” says Baruah. “In the long run I can see Japan occupying the kind of place that Russia once did in Indian foreign and defense policy.”

Here’s what you need to know about Modi’s visit to Japan.

1. Pomp and circumstance

Modi’s visit was preceded by much fanfare as 32 members of India’s military band will participate in Japan’s Self Defense Forces 2016 Marching Festival for the first time, celebrating the two countries’ efforts to developing closer strategic ties. According to The Hindustan Times, the festival, which was held in Tokyo this year, is a tradition going back more than half a century and draws audiences of more than 50,000 people. Although India’s marching band has been in Tokyo since earlier this week, the actual festival will take place from Nov. 11 to 13, during Modi’s visit. While the march is a largely symbolic overture, it sets the tone for a meeting highly anticipated in bringing the two countries together both economically, as well as strategically.

2. Search and rescue planes

The meeting will also finalize one of the first military sale’s Japan has made since lifting a 50-year-old export ban on arms sales two years ago. According to Reuters, India will buy 12 rescue water-planes from Japan, worth an estimated $1.6 billion. The deal will be included in the memorandum of understanding signed by Prime Minister Abe and Modi during the summit.

3. Civil nuclear cooperation-pact

Modi and Abe will also conclude a much-anticipated civil nuclear-cooperation pact, which would allow Japan to sell nuclear technology to India. According to the Japan Times, the pact will benefit Japanese nuclear-component manufacturers who suffered setbacks after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The deal may also mark the first time Japan has sold nuclear technology to a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Negotiations began in 2010, before either Prime Minister was elected, and the two leaders reached a memorandum of understanding in December of last year, during Abe’s visit to India. Abe’s Vice-Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama traveled to India last month to put finishing touches on the deal.

4. Focus on Regional Security

Despite the promises of the meeting, some experts see the recent U.S. election as a monkey-wrench in terms of projected gains from the bilateral talks — as much of the long-term success of the meeting will hinge on U.S. influence in the region. There is also uncertainty as to how the new U.S. administration, under President-elect Donald Trump, will respond to its alliances around the world, especially in Asia.

“With the election of Trump, the containment strategy towards China embraced by the U.S. and Japan looks uncertain at best,” Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies in Japan’s Temple University tells TIME.

Although, there has been little indication of Trump’s policies, some fear his “America First” policy speech last April, raised serious questions as to America’s future global commitment in Asia.

“The Trump factor reinforces the perception that the U.S. is a declining power in Asia, and leaders will act accordingly,” says Kingston.

Among Japan’s largest concerns is China’s increasing military presence in the South China Sea. As an island nation, with very few natural resources, the disputed waterway is Japan’s cheapest trade corridor. For this reason, China’s militarization of the sea is of great concern to Japan and one of the areas in which it seeks stronger rhetoric from India.

While India issued a joint statement with the U.S. in January, “[calling] on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means,” the country has not risked adopting stronger rhetoric against China’s actions in the contested waters.

Ahead of Modi’s meeting with Abe, China’s state-run Global Times, warned India of “great losses” should New Delhi decide to call on Beijing to respect the Hague tribunal’s arbitration ruling rebuking China’s behavior in the South China Sea. Since then, the Times of India reported, Beijing’s foreign ministry has called on New Delhi to “respect [the] legitimate concerns” of India’s northern neighbor during the Indian prime minister’s meeting with Abe.

Although India would like to check the growing influence of China in the region, “China has significant capacity to cause trouble for India in its immediate neighborhood,” says research professor Baruah. For now, it isn’t in India’s best interest to antagonize the Asian giant — especially when there is still much trepidation as to Trump’s policies and influence in the region.

“Everyone is on ‘wait and see’ mode to gauge how Trump will act, because on the campaign trail he was a loose cannon,” says Kingston.

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