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08 OPINION THE TRIBUNE


CHANDIGARH | MONDAY | 4 JUNE 2018

THE TRIBUNE Putting America on wait


established in 1881 Modi’s informal summits with Putin, Xi suggest recasting of priorities
Sandeep Dikshit emerging as another port of call for

AAP’s reach-out to Congress Russian companies.

P
M Narendra Modi’s peregri- Similarly, Modi needs China more
nation to South East Asia saw than ever. It would have realised that
The magic of numbers, fear of further isolation him crossing paths with US its 73-day squabbling on the Doklam

B
Defence Secretary James Mat- border did not bring any expression of
Y all contemporary political accounts, the Aam Aadmi Party tis. This meeting was out of form. solidarity from the “freedom of naviga-
(AAP) was a crucial catalyst in altering the perception about the Rarely does a US Defence Secretary tion” crowd that seeks to involve India
United Progressive Alliance from a people-oriented conglomera- meet a third world head of government in its hostility with China in the South
tion into a crowd of unprincipled backers of the corporate world. Arvind in another country unless a large mili- China Sea. Barring a solitary state-
Kejriwal accumulated his entire political capital purely by name calling tary hardware order is at stake. ment from Japan, most of them opted
the UPA, right from the heady days of the India Against Corruption plat- Mattis has several reasons to worry. to keep their peace while India stuck it
form. Therefore, more than a Deve Gowda aligning with the Congress The first is, of course, the self-inflicted out alone against China in Doklam.
— perceived as an expected volte face by an old school politician — the goal as a result of the relentless Trump The returns have not been commen-
change of heart by “principled advocates” of a new polity stands out. vs Democrat battle. It has spawned the surate. Neither has the US paid back
That shouldn’t have been a surprise. AAP’s go-it-alone strategy worked Countering America’s Adversaries India for its loyalty nor was China
Through Sanction Act (CATSA). Sim- forced into making concession for
wonderfully in Delhi. But it badly came a cropper elsewhere, most
ply put, the American law will put a India’s show of gumption on the bor-
recently in Karnataka and Gujarat, where its nominees consistently
huge spanner in India’s exercise of der. India’s laundry-list of high-tech
scored less than NOTA (none of the above). freedom to purchase defence equip- transfers from the US stokes animat-
The realisation for reaching out to allies outside the AAP fold is ment and oil from whichever country ed discussions in the Defence Trade
The US dalliance is meant to cut its losses while India focuses on internal consolidation.
recent. It came into play when AAP nominated non-party candi- it pleases. Two countries in CATSA’s and Technology Initiative committee
dates for two Rajya Sabha seats as a quid pro quo to bail it out from cross-sights are Russia and and Iran. planners for military hardware because Western strategists but wrought dam- and its myriad sub-groups. A request
its legal and tax troubles. The limitations of a political party that The penalty for trade with them, espe- of the country’s financially straitened age to the balance of power in the for the release of Electromagnetic Air-
pitched its tent too wide and sought no allies were painfully obvi- cially in energy and defence equip- circumstances. The recently constitut- region, to India’s disadvantage. There craft Launch System technology for
ous once the Centre began ratcheting up hostility against the AAP ment, will attract American wrath. ed Defence Planning Committed head- is a clear indication of trying to turn India’s second aircraft carrier made
government. Neither the Congress nor the Left or the social justice The US would hardly have missed ed by National Security Adviser Ajit the clock back and bring India back during the Obama administration is
parties were inclined to lend their shoulders in AAP’s moments of the shot across its bows fired by Exter- Doval has decreed a cap of 10 per cent into the game in Afghanistan as well as still being processed whereas China
discomfort and intimidation. With a change in government at the nal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on increase in capital expenditure wider afield in West Asia where Russia has already put its second aircraft car-
Centre, AAP had also lost its mojo of corruption. It was time to con- which might explain Gen (retd) Mattis’ every year. For the pacifist corner, this and China have gained influence: Rus- rier out for sea trials.
ceive of new tactics to stay relevant. audience with PM Modi in Singapore. is adequate to cover the extended sia and Israel brokering Iranian pres- China could play a crucial role as PM
“We only recognise UN sanctions. We duties of naval presence in all major ence in south Syria is an example. Modi gets battle ready for the 2019
Arvind Kejriwal’s reach-out to the Congress seems appropriate in
do not recognise any country-specific sea lanes of communications, surveil- Russia has traditionally been deeply elections with an almost-bare cup-
the context of the landscape being redrawn for the parliamentary elec-
sanctions,” Sushma Swaraj replied lance and replacements. Such a move involved in India’s strategic sectors. board in the field of job generating ini-
tions for 2019. It should also bring gains for AAP in Delhi where its when asked about the impact of US knocks a big hole in US plan to inveigle But its recent image makeover has tiatives. The Modi-Xi Jinping “infor-
margins of defeat were less than the votes picked up by the Congress sanctions on Iran. If India is willing to mal” summit at Wuhan should have
as well as Punjab where, realistically, it no longer enjoys the earlier stand up to the US on its sovereign set in motion the $20 billion invest-
dominance in pockets of Malwa. AAP’s turnaround would upset the freedom to engage with Iran which is
India, as also other middle powers, is concerned over the precarious ment plan in India dangled by China
idealist camp follower, but alliances with the once-untouchables is its merely a work-in-progress, it definitely stability in power relations. The elements of power are neither simple in 2014 before bilateral ties nosedived.
only prescription to box its way out of isolation and irrelevance. has much more at stake to keep intact It may perhaps be too late to impress
its momentum with Russia which has enough to facilitate an accurate analysis nor stable enough to permit new voters even if some of the plans
an infinitely deeper engagement with the projection of such calculations into the future. get going. But even a reduction in hos-
India’s critical segments of national . tility is welcome, for it makes for far

Sin of omission security that need no recounting.


The first Russian military platform
that can come in conflict with the Amer-
India as its junior partner as a “net
security provider” in the region; hence
made it even more useful in PM
Modi’s calculation of adding value to
less distractions as South Block gets
down to repairing the economy after
the Hindutva card has lost its lustre.
Don’t ignore Punjabi’s rich literature ican law is the S-400 missile defence the symbolic sweetener of renaming what has been a pedestrian economic India’s pivot away from the US may
system. India has already flagged defi- the US Pacific Command as US Indo- report card so far. It may not be wrong well be a tactical phase during a time

T
HE absence of any work of Punjabi literature in the syllabus for ance by letting it known that the inter- Pacific Command. Yet that doesn’t to bill Russia as the knight in shining of disturbance in global equipoise.
“Indian Writing in Translation” is inexplicable. It is also unfortu- nal processes for its purchase are on change the fact that India was getting armour when Western funds are hard There are too many elephants in the
nate. Panjab University’s MA English paper rightly has works course. The “leak” by official sources to drawn into a game where injury will be to find. The Russian Rosneft has Sino-India room to warrant a
from writers who originally penned these in Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, the media needs to be seen against the more to the interested parties from the made the highest-ever FDI infusion of Panchsheel type of cohabitation. But
Marathi, Oriya and Urdu. Why has it ignored the region’s own language US House Armed Services Committee neighbourhood rather than countries $ 13 billion (over Rs one lakh crore) in calmer times, the White House
is not clear. It certainly cannot be because of lack of appreciation of the Mac Thornberry warning that “any thousands of miles away. while entering India’s distribution ought to take a crash course from
rich body of literature in the language of the land of the five rivers. In country that acquires the system will PM Modi’s “informal” parleys with and retail petroleum segments. One of South Block on how to simultaneous-
complicate the ability of interoperabili- the Russian and Chinese Presidents its steel conglomerates is in furious ly balance out ties with countries like
scriptural poetry, Gurbani transcends the physical and explores the
ty [with US forces]”. indicate that he is seeking a period of competition for some of the dozen China and Russia with a different val-
metaphysical. That also is the case with Sufi spiritual literature. We also
Mattis not only recognises this com- internal consolidation. India’s prac- stressed non-performing accounts ue system and global worldview.
have the kissas or poetic narrations; poems, novels, short stories, even plication, but also the dampened tice of muscular diplomacy of the past with outstanding of over Rs 5,000
an encyclopaedia. Indeed, Punjabi has a galaxy of writers whose works enthusiasm among India’s military three years had warned the cockles of crore while the Indian power sector is sandeep4731@gmail.com
stand out for their literary excellence — Waris Shah, Bhai Veer Singh,
Teja Singh, Puran Singh, Mohan Singh, Gurbaksh Singh Preetlari,
Amrita Pritam, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Avtar Paash, Devendra Satyarthi,

Little girls and litter louts


Kulwant Vir, Kartar Singh Duggal — the list is long.
In an increasingly globalised world, the one where knowing Eng-
lish gives an advantage to students, it should be remembered that for
all Indians, the local language is their mother tongue. It is what binds
them to their families and their roots. Many of the leading writers of
Indian languages were bilingual, and yet they reserved their most Sanjeev Suri ‘How can mere teaching of EVS dent: “Some days ago, I saw at the sternly. Meanwhile, the girls got the
passionate expression for what they wrote in their mother tongue. make us care for environment? It is college gate four young men with a support of some passersby. The
Indeed, much significant work in Punjabi, including the writing of
the first dictionary of the language, was done by people who taught
English for a living.
Whether the sin is of omission, or commission as some are argu-
A S I entered the noisy class-
room adjoining the staffroom
to quieten the students, they
got ready to vacate the room as their
environment science teacher was on
an academic formality. Our interest
is only to clear the exam. That’s all,’
she added.
Before I could rebut, a boy said:
‘Sir, I don’t hold this view. Seminars
large pile of publicity material of
their respective engineering col-
leges. They were distributing flyers
and thrusting them into the hands
of students and passersby. Instead
boys stopped distributing the
leaflets and tried to rush from the
place. ‘Do you think we will let you
get away with all this litter? Clear
this ugly mess,’ thundered one girl,
ing, there is little to justify the non-inclusion of works of Punjabi writ- leave. ‘Don’t leave. Let’s discuss and campaigns associated with envi- of reading them, most of them were taking a boy’s arm and propelling
ers. Many translations are available. The university should take expe- environment,’ I told them. But they ronment do yield results in the long just dropping them on the road. him towards the litter. They mut-
ditious steps to introduce Punjabi writers’ work in this course. It were reluctant to take part in any dis- run. For example, Swachh Bharat Three schoolgirls, perhaps of Class tered under their breath while glar-
should also examine its syllabus in other subjects to ensure that such cussion and wanted to go out to enjoy campaign has certainly brought VII-VIII, of the adjoining school ing at the girls. Embarrassed and
lapses do not take place again. Panjab University owes it to the region, their free period. Their gestures and about a behavioural change in us. I walked past and not wanting to be humiliated, they did as told and
its students and itself to play a leading role in promoting learning, expressions reflected that they felt would give my own example. It may passive spectators to the spread of hurriedly picked up the litter and
and in acknowledging the richness of Punjabi literary tradition. confined. On prompting, a girl stood not have brought about a real trans- filth, confronted the boys boldly, put it in their cars and sped away.”
up and said: ‘Sir, no use of teaching formation in me, but just not to cut a asking them not to litter the place. By now, the students had forgot-
environment science in college. This sorry figure in the eyes of the public, Laughing unctuously, they tried to ten that I had encroached upon
additional subject is an unnecessary I don’t litter roads, but keep wrap- ignore the little girls. But they were their vacant period. The students
Thought for the Day burden.’ I told them that EVS had pers in my pocket and empty them firm. ‘Stop all this,’ they command- were happy when I conceded to the
been recently introduced as a com- in a dustbin.’ ed. ‘Don’t overdo things, let’s do request of a student who wanted to
Foreign policy is really domestic policy with its hat on. pulsory subject to generate empathic Appreciating the boy, I corroborat- our job, this is none of your busi- invite those gutsy girls to their
— Hubert H Humphrey feelings in students for environment. ed his point by narrating an inci- ness,’ one of the boys remarked class someday.

letters to the editor


A leader fit to lead proved strong for the BJP’s winning Under such conditions, who would milk is considered a nectar or amrit respect them more, and may even translated versions of some other
Refer to the editorial ‘Byelection mantra. The reverses have highlight- think of religion? NDA stands for from mother nature and its wastage support them to get their legitimate major Indian languages have been
results’ (June 1); the state Assembly ed the fact that the 2019 elections will ‘Nation Dividing Alliance’. The cannot be justified. There are many demands met. Surely, the farmers are included. Given the fact that the birth
elections are fought on local issues by not be a cakewalk for the party. Impor- BJP has ignored Muslims, and ways to lodge a protest. Distribute it conscious that millions of children and growth of Panjab University
regional leaders who are connected to tantly, the combined Opposition covertly declared them as unwanted among the poor, divert it to religious have probably not even tasted milk. remained confined to the boundaries
the masses at the regional level. At the needs to keep its momentum if it in India. Hindus are divided sharply places, hospitals, shelter homes, but SPS NARANG, NEW DELHI of original Punjab (before Partition it
national level, things are different and wants to repeat the success story in on caste lines; the hatred for Dalits draining milk is a sin. Even water was in Lahore), it was an opportunity
only leaders with immense calibre 2019. Byelections are key indicators of is perceptible. People are yearning demands the same respect from us. to acknowledge its debt towards the
and vision can lead the nation. In the which way the wind of public support for a change once again and hope a Ask the people of Shimla. Hope good Cantt roads soil of Punjab by introducing at least
current scenario, PM Modi is the only is blowing, and in that sense, the BJP united Opposition displaces this sense prevails on those who waste the The opening or closing of all Cantt one prominent work of Punjabi litera-
leader at the national level who fits has a major reason to worry. government which has also ruined bounties of nature. roads in one go will not resolve the ture. In all fairness, one full paper of
the bill. The Opposition is nothing but GREGORY FERNANDES, MUMBAI constitutional institutions. LALIT SEHGAL, MOGA issue. A separate strategy is required MA (English) should be exclusively
a coterie of opportunists who remain GURDEV SINGH, MOHALI for each Cantt area. A team should be devoted to prominent literary works
at loggerheads with one another and constituted, representing all stake- of Punjabi literature.
come together only during elections National Dividing Alliance? Protest another way holders and civilian counterparts JAGDISH CHANDER, JALANDHAR
for personal interests. Only a single Reference to the editorial ‘BJP’s Let’s be rational Apropos the news report ‘Gaon bandh should support it. We have been living
party with a strong and visionary lead- 2019 dilemma’ (June 2); in 2014, the The claim of UP Deputy Chief Minis- evokes mixed response’ (June 2), the in the Cantt area for long, and support
ership can lead the country. It is likely ground had been prepared for the ter that Ram and Sita returned to Ayo- agitation is confined not only to that they should not become a thor- Warning call
that Modi and his party will win the benefit of the BJP due to Anna Haz- dhya from Lanka on Pushpak Vimaan Haryana, but also has spilled over to oughfare. Let’s work together rather Water scarcity in Shimla has also sent
2019 general election. are’s mass movement for Lokpal has no rationality (‘Sita test-tube some other states. It is agonising that than prove each other wrong. The civ- alarm bells ringing to people residing
SAURABH SAMBYAL, PANCHKULA and then CAG Vinod Rai’s castigat- baby, suggests UP Dy CM’, June 2). A some farmers have chosen to spill il and Army compliments each other in plains. Water level in these areas
ing report on 2G spectrum allocation pertinent question arises: if Pushpak milk on roads and throw vegetables at and must move ahead together. also goes down every summer, which
and the BJP’s vociferous propagan- had already been invented during that will. In scorching heat, milk and veg- ARUNJIT S KAKU BUTALIA, FEROZEPUR CANTT is, and should be, a matter of serious
No cakewalk for BJP da to brand the UPA government as era, what was the need to construct etables will rot and generate unbear- concern in the coming years. The
This refers to the editorial ‘Byelection corrupt. You can fool people some- Ram Setu to enable Lord Ram’s army able stench. Undeniably, we as a soci- solution lies in accumulating water at
results’ (June 1). The results from the times, not all the time. Empty slo- to reach Lanka? ety owe it to our farmers, and respect Punjabi lit course different sources by creating dams,
recent four Lok Sabha and 11 Assem- gans do not fill bellies. Our highly VK ANAND, CHANDIGARH them for their generosity. Who is at Apropos ‘Lost in translation: Punjabi checking wasteful consumption like
bly bypolls where the BJP fared poor- qualified youth are unemployed, fault in this ongoing imbroglio is not lit for PU course’ (June 2), Panjab Uni- gardening, watering lawns, cleaning
ly against the combined opposition, inflation is growing at a fast pace and the issue. They could have chosen a versity is being unfair to ignore the vehicles, wastage at residences and
comes as a warning sign for the party farmers are agitating and commit- Wasting milk, not done better way to protest. If they deliver inclusion of any work relating to Pun- workplaces. It is rightly said little
and its allies. In fact, the anti-incum- ting suicide. The common man has Refer to ‘On street there, offered as milk and vegetables to nearby orphan- jabi literature in the proposed syl- drops make the mighty ocean.
bency factor and Opposition unity faced the brunt of monetary reforms. treat here’ (June 2); in our scriptures, ages and gurdwaras, society will labus in MA English whereas the PUNEET MEHTA, PATIALA

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com