Books and Documents

Indian Press (05 Sep 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Trump Move Could Hurt 7,000 Indians

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

05 September 2017

Indian diplomacy wins at BRICS

Free Press Journal

Pakistan is not deterred by Trump’s Afghan policy that favours India

By Hindustan Times

Bit tragedy, empty rhetoric: To prevent more Gorakhpurs, shake off the apathy and fix India’s broken public healthcare

By Kapil Sibal

Education for head and heart

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed

Carrot to stick

By Ayesha Siddiqa

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/indian-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/trump-move-could-hurt-7,000-indians/d/112435


Trump Move Could Hurt 7,000 Indians

Daily Pioneer

Tuesday, 05 September 2017

An estimated 7,000 young Indian-Americans could be affected by President Donald Trump’s reported decision to scrap an Obama-era programme that granted work permits to nearly 8,00,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States illegally as children.

Trump, set to make an announcement on Tuesday, has decided to phase out his predecessor Barak Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme with a six-month pause in enforcement to give the US Congress an opportunity to come up with an alternative, Politico reported.

But there was no official word yet on Trump’s reported decision, except that he would come up with an announcement on Tuesday. “A decision is not finalized. We will make an announcement on Tuesday,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The DACA programme unveiled by former President Barack Obama in June 2012 by way of executive action sought to protect the 800,000-odd “dreamers” from deportation and grant them work permits, allowing them to come out of the shadows and work legally.

While the overwhelming majority of “dreamers” — as much as 78 per cent — are from one country, namely Mexico, followed by some other Central American countries, India has been ranked 11th among countries of origin for DACA students in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) statistics as of March 31, 2017.

Under the programme, the Obama administration allowed young migrants, who came into the US illegally along with their parents, an opportunity to pursue their American dream, subject to meeting certain requirements.

To qualify, these migrants must have entered the US before turning 16, have no serious criminal background and have lived continuously in the US since June 15, 2007. The programme cleared the way for “dreamers” to obtain driver’s licenses, work permits and, in some states, concessional in-state tuition. Although Republicans were furious with Obama when he unilaterally announced what was perceived to be an amnesty-type programme for this category of illegal immigrants, party lawmakers are now divided on scrapping it.

“I actually do not think he (Trump) should do that. I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a radio interview on Sunday.

  “At the end of the day, these kids do not know any other home. I think there is a humane way to fix this. I think President Trump agrees with fixing this, and it is got to be up to the legislature. I think we need some time,” Ryan said.

 Some influential Republican Senators have also come out against scrapping DACA. Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah cautioned Trump on such a move. Florida Senator Marco Rubio pitched for the Congress passing a suitable law to protect the “dreamers”.

But some other Republican lawmakers want Trump to press ahead with the scrapping. “Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide,” Congressman Steve King from Iowa tweeted.

Democrats are stoutly opposed to any action by Trump that leads to deportation of the young immigrants. As House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi put it, “Deporting patriotic, courageous young men and women who are American in every way would be disastrous for our communities, our economy and our nation.”



Indian diplomacy wins at BRICS

Free Press Journal

Sep 05, 2017 07:56 am

It is a measure of India’s growing clout and acceptability among nations that the declaration adopted at the BRICS summit in Xiamen on Monday has explicitly named Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed and called for joint BRICS action against terrorism. Clearly, this is a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India and a huge setback for Pakistan which has been persistently refusing to accept that these are terrorist organizations. India has indeed exposed the world’s double standards on terrorism at every multilateral forum, from the United Nations to G20 to now BRICS.

That this declaration, signed by all five BRICS member-states—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa— accepts the Indian position at a summit hosted by China, which has consistently blocked Indian moves to punish the recalcitrant Pakistanis makes the declaration particularly path-breaking for India. It would severely damage Chinese credibility if, despite this, China were to continue to oppose India’s bid in the UN Security Council sanctions committee 1267 to list action against the Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar. China would look extremely indefensible if it were to override a joint declaration which has the approval of its President Xi Jinping and has been adopted by consensus with the stamp of five heads of government.

China had put India’s bid for action against Masood Azhar last year on technical hold. It finally expired in the end of 2016. And again, this year, another resolution calling for action against the JeM chief was brought forth by the US, UK and France. China has put this resolution too on hold. When this comes up for review in October, it will stretch China’s credibility to the limit if China were to continue to play obstructionist. India had made a major push at last year’s Goa summit to get Pakistan and its terror outfits find mention in the declaration but had failed. The matter was discussed in the plenary but China is believed to have blocked a mention of LeT and JeM. In the Goa summit last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “The mothership of terrorism is in India’s neighbourhood,” but the declaration did not mention Pakistan-related terror outfits.

The BRICS declaration expressed concern over the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda and its affiliates including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Haqqani network. It also mentioned terror groups like the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Tehrik-i-Taliban and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Not stopping at this the declaration called for “expeditious finalisation and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the United Nations General Assembly.” It also called upon the international community to establish a “genuinely broad” international counter-terrorism coalition and support the UN’s central coordinating role in this regard. Barring any last-minute hiccups, India should be returning from Xiamen with satisfaction writ large on the faces of its delegates.



Pakistan is not deterred by Trump’s Afghan policy that favours India

By Hindustan Times

Islamabad is extremely suspicious of Donald Trump’s South Asia policy because it gives an open cheque to India for mounting a double front against Pakistan

A unanimous parliamentary resolution in Islamabad on August 30, which denounced United States President Donald Trump’s “complete disregard for Pakistan’s vast sacrifices” in counter-terror efforts and called on the government to consider suspending cooperation with the US, possibly defined the new contours of ties with Washington. Also, the tone and tenor of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who chaired two emergency huddles of the National Security Committee (NSC), a forum comprising top civilian and army officials, indicated that after a decade-and-a half of rocky ties Pakistani civilian and military elites have decided to collectively reject Trump’s intimidation of Pakistan while unveiling his new Afghan and South Asia strategy, on August 20.

With this Pakistan drew the line between its own course of anti-terror action and the demands placed by Trump. It went into an “enough is enough” mode in unison, and foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif put off his Washington visit, advising Alice Wells, US secretary of state for South and Central Asia, to do the same to avoid mutual embarrassments.

Both Abbasi and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa openly rebuked Trump for singling out Pakistan as the cause of Afghanistan’s troubles, and instead demanded “due” recognition of its material losses (up to $125 bn) and human sacrifices (nearly 70,000) in the anti-terror war. Abbasi went to the extent of forecasting doom for Trump’s Afghan policy.

And there are cogent reasons for this bravado in Islamabad.

First, Trump and Prime Minister Modi’s ascendant views on Pakistan have fuelled frustration and driven the political Right and Left into believing that the “unholy collusion” comprising India, Afghanistan and the US is aimed at hurting the interests — not only of Pakistan but also of its political allies such as China and Russia. Even the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), an ardent supporter for friendly relations with India, and Imran Khan’s PTI, appeared incensed over the India-US synergy on Afghanistan. Raza Rabbani, the chairman of the upper house of parliament and a former PPP stalwart, too, openly speaks of New Delhi’s intransigence.

Second, most Pakistani officials insist, that the Trump strategy gives an open cheque to India for mounting a double front against Pakistan, and hence are extremely suspicious of the motives.

Third, Pakistan’s security establishment views the Trump strategy as an excuse for long-term presence in Afghanistan with the ultimate objectives of containment of China, a check on a resurgent Russia and preventing both from turning the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) into a formidable regional block.

Security officials don’t rule out economic sanctions or intensification in kinetic attacks on targets inside Pakistan if the Trump administration decided to ramp up pressure. However, a senior security official dealing with policy responses argued that Pakistan was ready to face any challenge arising out of Trump’s threats.

General (rtd) Nasir Khan Janjua, Pakistan’s national security adviser, cautions against the use of force on either side of the border: “One should not try to win war in Afghanistan by way of vengeance ….. this will further spread the conflict and spiral things out of control,” Janjua said in his meeting with US ambassador David Hale.

Janjua’s message implied that responsibility for peace in Afghanistan rested on all, who must seek the “closure of the conflict”, instead of trying to win it through military means.

Fourth, is the message related to “bullying” by the US. If a chance of Pakistan bending under pressure ever existed at all that would have been before China offered its strategic embrace through the China-Pakistan Economy Corridor (CPEC) in 2015, a multi-billion dollar undertaking involving communication, energy and infrastructure projects.

Fifth, unlike Trump and Modi, Chinese, Russian and Iranian leaders think differently on the chequered peace process in Afghanistan and are more aligned with the Pakistani view on the way forward in Afghanistan.

Sixth, undeterred by Afghan objections, Pakistan is forging ahead with its new “border management mechanism.” However displeasing it may be for Afghans, who historically prefer to see the Durand Line as border, Pakistan is setting up new security posts, digging protective trenches and placing fences at critical segments of the 2,560-km border with Afghanistan. It has also rejected demands by Afghans for “third party verification” of Pakistan’s counter terrorism actions in the deep seated multilateral mistrust.

Without confronting the US head-on, Pakistani officials hope to blunt the Trump-led allegations of Pakistan being the “source of violence” in Afghanistan. The silver lining lies in what US secretary of defence James Mattis said in Washington last Thursday. “We intend to work with Pakistan in order to take the terrorists down. I think that’s what a responsible nation does,” Mattis said when asked as to “what kind of relationship the US wanted to keep with Pakistan”.



Bit tragedy, empty rhetoric: To prevent more Gorakhpurs, shake off the apathy and fix India’s broken public healthcare

By  Kapil Sibal

In the wake of over 70 encephalitis-afflicted children dying after the oxygen supply at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Hospital was cut off following a payment dispute, the stage has been set for a rigorous debate on criminal negligence and public health spending. Initiatives such as Swachh Bharat and Mission Indradhanush, though commendable, advance the notion that India’s public health landscape is positively transforming. However, it is too soon to celebrate.

Tragedies such as the mass deaths in Gorakhpur, or more recently in Farrukhabad which claimed 49 newborns, remind us of the reality of India’s abysmal public health situation and raise deeply troubling questions on India’s priorities in its run-up to becoming a superpower.

An outstanding debt of Rs 70 lakh on a prominent state-run institution served an instant death sentence to children. The government’s claims that it hadn’t known of the oxygen shortage until August 4 have been contradicted by a recent newspaper report, according to which UP ministers had been made aware of the debt and the subsequent punitive cutting off of oxygen supply in March. This continued until August 9, when chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited the hospital and was informed of the situation. However, no urgent action followed.

The same evening, the oxygen supply was cut. Thousands of children have died since 1978 when the pestilence first broke out, and the hospital management was as abysmal then as it remains today. It is time to accept that a major overhaul in India’s public health landscape will only be achieved with adequate budget allocations – a move only possible when we confront our own apathy and move beyond empty rhetoric.

Since 1978, right around monsoons when encephalitis strikes, people from in and around Gorakhpur, other neighbouring districts, and even Bihar and Nepal, teem outside the hospital as it is the only institution providing treatment for the disease. However, the hospital does not have enough trained doctors, beds, or ventilators, and it hasn’t had these for a while now. Despite the dire circumstances BRD spent Rs 426.13 crore out of its total fund of Rs 452.35 crore and was still 27% short of clinical equipment, according to a CAG report.

Since many people (mostly rural poor) have to travel miles to reach the hospital – often critical cases requiring an immediate response – many patients succumb to the disease on their way to the hospital. In 2013, on the recommendations of an independent research team, several treatment facilities were set up near villages to provide immediate care to critical patients, but were unable to function as anticipated. As a result, 40 years and numerous deaths later, BRD remains the only facility catering to patients of the deadly disease, even as it is severely under-staffed and ill-equipped to tackle one of India’s deadliest public health challenges.

According to rural health statistics for 2015, there was a 37.7% shortfall of doctors in UP. Doctors at BRD knew oxygen would ultimately run out 10 days in advance when the supply was cut off, and no steps to arrange for backup were taken. This can only be described as criminal negligence of the highest order.

The disease is commonly referred to in India as Japanese encephalitis. However, the term only represents select cases of encephalitis caused by the JE pathogen. WHO has coined the broader term acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) to refer to a cluster of illnesses with similar symptoms.

Many cases in the Gorakhpur belt have displayed symptoms common with JE albeit without the presence of the JE virus. The other pathogens could be the West Nile virus, dengue virus, Chandipura virus and chikungunya virus – all known to cause AES. However, over the years, India’s focus has been on the eradication of JE while other forms of encephalitis remain comparatively neglected.

As a result, while the number of JE cases have reduced, the havoc of undiagnosed encephalitis continues. In 2015, the Indian Council of Medical Research found that from over 10,000 cases of encephalitis, only 8.4% were of the JE strain. While several independent research teams have carried out research to understand the disease in its entirety and presented often conflicting findings, no concrete diagnosis for the “other aetiology” encephalitis has been found.

Without diagnosis, it is impossible to devise any practical preventive strategies. Forty years down the line, it is high time for a more stringent, research-driven focus on the other causes of AES.

With no significant allocation of funds towards public health, and the poor state of health infrastructure in the country, economically disenfranchised people are forced to turn to private healthcare which leaves them penniless and in debt. There is a need to spend a significantly higher proportion of our GDP on public health, make public health more accessible to the poor by investing in more facilities, improve the quality of healthcare by increasing human resource and training them well and regularly, monitor the public and private health sectors to ensure quality health services for all.

When we thump our chests and speak of development for progress of the nation, do we forget that people make the nation and not the other way round? If by development we mean skyscrapers, wealth, health and privilege for some (but certainly not all), what kind of nationalism are we buying into? So long as our medical facilities continue to languish, and our people continue to perish due to sheer negligence, our patriotism rings hollow.



Education for head and heart

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed

September 5, 2017 | 3:24 am

Today on Teacher’s Day, a grateful nation pays its ritualistic once-ayear tribute to the teaching community. As usual, there will be a lot of rhetoric including traditional lectures on ideal teachers and some mandatory awards and a dose of nostalgia.

The question is what would a talented teacher carry home in terms of salary every month? Truth is that there are hardly any incentives for a person who joins the teaching profession and that’s why the best brains are not joining this stream. Besides, what is of paramount importance is to follow a model of value-based education.

Opines, Dr Vijay Datta, Principal, Modern School, Delhi, that the teaching system in India seems to be at an awkward crossroads as both the teaching community and the community of the taught in schools and colleges, talk of discontentment and also disenchantment with each other.

Students today feel that the teaching style adopted by their lecturers is outdated. Others lament that besides teaching styles, even the norms and values too have changed. But similar, rather more vehement, is the grouse on the teachers’ part that values were missing in their teachers as well as parents.

The fact is that professional development of teachers is in the hands of bureaucrats and hence opportunities for teachers are severely limited by the system. The Indian model of education not only discourages experimentation in teaching but also undermines the very desire to teach.

Fifty years ago children had ambitions about becoming teachers and serving their nation. Today, a majority of the teachers both in schools and colleges are either those who have opted for the profession owing to the comfortable time calculations, or because they have not been able to cope with the demands of other lucrative competitive careers.

In olden times, society accorded to gurus the status of angel, guide, guardian and mentor. What’s of paramount importance for the teachers today is to introduce ‘value education’. States the Taittarya Upanishad: Matri Devo Bhava; Pitri Devo Bhava; Acharya Devo Bhava (Respect the mother, the father and the teacher). The guru is seen as the preceptor, the acharya and teacher.

All our sacred texts have mentioned how spiritual guides and teachers, sages and saints with the strength of their character, upright morals and strenuous practices, had remained fearless when attacked by men of physical might.

In a treatise on value education, late Anil Wilson, the principal of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College very authentically pointed out at the Modern School Diaspora Initiative lecture that the conflict today is between the obsession with the earning power of learning on the one hand and the seeming irrelevance of pedagogical activity on the other. The natural result is an intellectual and moral vacuum that is increasingly being filled up by populist rhetoric in the one hand and coercion and corruption on the other.

Educational scientists have presented solutions but myopic politicians have unfortunately acted in disregard to the same. The Indian Brain is today recognized as the best in the world; but perhaps the same cannot be said of the Indian Heart. This is because we have not spent as much effort in educating the heart as we have in educating the head.

According to Jennifer Tytler, Director-Principal of JD Tytler School, our efforts at educating the heart have not only suffered due to a lack of understanding and direction but also because most attempts in this direction are hijacked by power brokers who manipulate educational systems.

The need to control people is fundamental to the quest for power. Power brokers have, over the years, instinctively realised that in order to control people they first need to control the educational matrices that determine a people. Dilute education of values and they have control over people.

This is because people with values cannot be ruled over except by the values they hold dear. ‘Networking’ is the watchword, not merit, to undermine the people’s sense of integrity that takes a toll of brilliance introducing pull, not ability. Impetus towards work, improvement, perfection and excellence is killed by setting up standards of achievement available to the most inept. This crisis has divested education of values today.

Sensitising and not dehumanising should be the motto of education that implores the study of literature is important only if it sensitises us to the importance of human feelings and emotions. If we are sensitised to the human condition in context of the material aspects of life, only then will our study of economics be value based.

No study of science will be meaningful unless it sensitises us to the humane aspect in science and all progress. Likewise, the study of history will be rendered futile unless it sensitises us to impel the menacing forces that endanger human life. But what is lamented is the fact that we study these subjects not for their sensitising potential but for minting money.

Besides the status, the earning potential of learning determines the importance and the ‘value’ of a subject in the eyes of a student. Thus, commerce is a much sought after subject today whereas philosophy, or history, or the arts, find few takers. It is obvious that the notion of value in education has shifted from the philosophical and transcendent sense and come to rest in the market place. That’s why criminals are accepted, dictators admired and corrupt power mongers emulated.

The new ‘education order’ separates ‘value’ from ‘education’.

This has resulted in a closing not only of the human mind but more significantly, the closing of the human heart. The intellectual cacophony that surrounds us can only be resolved when we realize that an education that ignores moral and spiritual values cannot qualify as a quality education.

Modern education has largely separated virtue and knowledge and has severed the link between reason and virtue, between the mind and the heart.

An adequate education cannot afford to ignore either the mind or the heart. Together they form the vital links in the chain of civilization.

Thus, education to be truly valuecentered must move away from ‘survival learning’ and move towards ‘generative learning’.

This implies that the aim and purpose of any and all kinds of study is to get to the heart of what it means to be human.



Carrot to stick

By Ayesha Siddiqa

September 5, 2017

In Pakistan, it is October 1990 again. Islamabad and Washington have parted ways and there is a huge gap in perception and strategy on how Afghanistan as a state and society is to be resettled. In a speech on August 23, the US President announced his policy on Afghanistan, stating greater commitment to the country’s security through an increase in the number of US troops, while pointing a finger at Pakistan with the threat that Washington would “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations”. This, indeed, is a long-standing point of contestation between Rawalpindi and Washington — that the former does not whole-heartedly help the US in rooting out terrorism and aiding in the stability of the regime in Kabul.

The reaction in Pakistan is anger and frustration — a kind of déjà vu. How could the US treat Pakistan this way, especially after all the sacrifices made due to the war on terror and the help provided in catching al Qaeda leaders? There is a lot of noise on the streets from political parties trying to find their way back into power like the PPP, or newer ones such as the PTI, with the religious right and militant groups not far behind. Asad Umar, a prominent leader of Imran Khan’s party, could not restrain himself from saying that “he wanted to slap Trump”. These voices work in managing anxiety on the streets regarding why relations were allowed to come to this stage or what would happen if there is an actual conflict between the US and Pakistan. They are also an expression of the fact that the divergence of policies today is far sharper than in 1990.

There is little thought going into the possibility of economic sanctions by the US and its impact on the overall economy. There is still a belief that the US will not entirely withdraw the carrot or that China could be an alternative source since it has already heavily invested in Pakistan. Surely, many of the areas will get affected, such as the NGO sector, that had burgeoned since 9/11 due to Western funding. Many of the USAID projects are already being rolled back. The pie is certainly going to shrink and that is likely to strengthen the establishment even more because many with the capability would probably lean against the state rather than question the basic policy framework.

There is no indication of any U-turn on militant groups, on which the official position is that they are being harnessed by mainstreaming them into society, involving them in politics, taking them away from violence. The other perspective recently given to American counter-terrorism experts during a US-Pakistan Track-II exercise in Washington was that the military had indeed cleared the tribal areas of terrorists and now it was the responsibility of politicians to de-radicalise society. Both positions are contestable.

However, these positions go hand in hand with the anxiety that the US is seeing just one part of the picture. Notwithstanding that Bin Laden was captured from Pakistan or that the Quetta Shura still operates in Pakistan’s territory, this itself is not enough for Washington to ignore the presence of Taliban leaders like Mullah Fazlullah in Afghanistan, who targets Pakistan. Thus far, it is turning out to be like the ending of a painful marriage, the agony of which, in this case, seems to have been worsened by Washington bringing New Delhi into the Afghan equation. It is like the ex rubbing it in by getting married again even before the divorce is complete.

The India-US relationship takes the issue to another level, which is captured by Lt. Gen (retd) Tariq Khan, who is considered in army circles as a thinking soldier. According to Khan: “The story of the safe havens we are accused of nurturing is so close to the engineered narrative about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and now such a predictable US method to madness, that is, create a false casus belli, broadcast it, respond to it with physical force”.

Though the above position can be questioned, it also indicates the larger threat of war coming to South Asia and turning the region unstable. The global power equation and the position in South Asia is far more complex today for Washington to carry out another attack like it did in 2011 on a Pakistani military check-post. Of course, there is China in the equation, with greater power and capacity to play a role.

Beijing is willing to provide a cushion to Pakistan against America physically upping the ante. Washington would have to be very careful in ratcheting up conflict in the region because it would involve Chinese interests pertaining to the one-belt-one-road project.

The situation needs an urgent resolution through communication, which in itself is an issue at this time as both sides, Pakistan and the US, have little means to communicate.

While Pakistan faces the problem of a fairly incompetent diplomatic team in Washington whose problems are further enhanced due to political instability at home, the Trump administration has nothing to offer either. If Trump’s ultimate goal is for Pakistan to deliver through adopting a stick-and-carrot, rather than a carrot-and-stick policy, the problem is that there are no communication channels to further the conversation. There are a number of positions in the State Department that are vacant, but there is also no right person to follow up the conversation to ensure that something is delivered at the end of the day. Perhaps the families of key civil and military bureaucrats and politicians that find the US a safe haven could help start a conversation. The Trump administration would have to talk to Pakistan especially if it plans to increase the number of troops as the country offers the most cost-effective route for logistics. Iran could offer an alternative, but for that Trump would have to make major adjustments in its Middle East policy.

The tension in the region is certainly going to scale up in the coming days. The two possible conclusions that could be drawn from watching the situation is that any conflict would further establish Beijing’s ownership of Pakistan and enhance its overall position as a stakeholder in South Asian geo-politics. Secondly, a conversation ought to begin because while Trump may light a fire and withdraw, it is the ordinary people of South Asia who will have to deal with the heat. The instability of the Middle East coming to South Asia is not a great proposition.


URL: http://newageislam.com/indian-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/trump-move-could-hurt-7,000-indians/d/112435



Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.