India Imagines It Is Rishi Sunak’s Homeland Only Because He’s the Right Kind of PIO; Money Talks: China Trade Booms Though Ties Frayed
It’s Hindutva vs Khalistan in Brampton, Assam police detain Swedish preachers, climate plus poverty affecting half of Indian kids, News18 fined, phone strippers running sextortion racket across states
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
October 27, 2022
For all the government rhetoric about ties with China being fraught, India’s imports from China rose 31% in nine months ending in September, propelling two-way trade past $100 billion and the trade deficit to a record high. India imported $89.66 billion worth of goods from China, the highest for three quarters in any year, ever. Imports were $68.46 billion at the end of Q3 of 2021, which was itself a record high. India’s exports to China in the first nine months of this year were, however, down 36.4% to $13.97 billion, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. The trade deficit grew to $75.69 billion. Bilateral trade will surpass last year’s record, but so will the deficit. In 2021, trade crossed $100 billion, reaching $125.6 billion. Imports accounted for the bulk of the trade, reaching a record high of $97.5 billion, which will almost certainly be exceeded this year.
The government will not impose anti-dumping duty on a Chinese-made pharma precursor, despite the recommendation of the Commerce Ministry’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies to impose the levy. ATS-8 ― IUPAC name (4R-Cis)-1-1-Dimethylethyl-6-cyanomethyl-2, 2-dimethyl-1, 3-dioxane-4-acetate ― is a key raw material for manufacturing the active ingredient of the widely used drug for cholesterol, Atorvastatin.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and outgoing Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong have talked past each other. In his farewell remarks on Tuesday, the Chinese envoy sought to imply that differences between New Delhi and Beijing were due to the “Western theory of geopolitics”, which he said would only lead to “competition and confrontation”. “China and India are important neighbours. It is only natural for China and India to have some differences,” Sun said after his farewell meeting with Jaishankar. Jaishankar tweeted that he had “emphasised that the development of India-China relations is guided by the 3 Mutuals. Peace and tranquillity in the border areas is essential.” They are mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interest.
China’s top diplomat in Bangladesh Li Jiming said yesterday that his country does not have any “strategic rivalry” with India and does not want to see a “heavily armed” Bay of Bengal. “We never view India as a strategic rival or strategic competitor of China,” Ambassador Li said. “We believe we should solve our regional problems in the Asian way, not by (following) standard practice in Europe or South America.”
Russian and Indian defence ministers spoke on the telephone yesterday. The Russian minister briefed the Indian side about the possible use of a “dirty bomb” by Ukraine. India cautioned against the use of nuclear or radiological weapons by either side. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s reported plans to visit Moscow in November would come at a critical time in India’s ties with Russia.
Conflict between Hindutva followers and a pro-Khalistani group erupted in Brampton, Canada, during Diwali celebrations, where they had a flag-waving face-off. Around 400-500 people gathered in a parking lot. One group shouted “Khalistan Zindabad” and waved the yellow Khalistani flag, while the other yelled “Jai Shree Ram” and waved the Indian national flag.
Eight former Indian Navy officers, working for a Qatar company, are in jail in Doha. Among them is Commander Purnendu Tiwari (retd), managing director of Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services. He received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2019, reports the Indian Express.
The Assam Police have detained three Swedish nationals for allegedly misusing their tourist visas to preach among tea plantation workers. Hannah Mikaela Bloom, Marcus Arne Henrik Bloom and Susanna Elisabeth Hakannson, were arrested from the Naharkatia area in eastern Dibrugarh district. Police said they attended a three-day programme organised by the United Churches Fellowship and Bless Assam Mission Network to convert locals. “They violated Section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act by delivering lectures at a meeting, which their tourist visas do not allow,” police said. In September, when 17 Bangladeshis were apprehended on similar charges, Assam Police spoke of a trend of clerics visiting from Bangladesh violating visa restrictions to preach in the state.
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Authorities in South Kashmir’s Shopian deny a Kashmiri Pandit exodus, but 10 families have been camping in Jammu and will not return to the Valley. The residents of Choudharygund said recent militant attacks have spread fear among Pandits who stayed on in Kashmir through the most difficult period of militancy in the 1990s.
The Cyberabad Police in Telangana last night raided a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city and detained three persons for allegedly trying to lure four TRS legislators into the BJP. Police said that the four MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore each, apart from contracts running into crores, for crossing over. The accused, Ramachandra Bharati, is said to be close to the RSS and was seen several times with top RSS and BJP leaders, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Nandakumar is said to be close to Union Minister of State for Tourism Kishen Reddy. The trio were caught red-handed at the Moinabad farmhouse of MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy.
The Competition Commission of India has imposed a cumulative penalty of Rs 13,339 crore in 177 cases between 2011-12 and 2018-19. But it has collected only Rs 60.4 crore, or 0.4%, till 31 March 2019.
About 51% of Indian children are affected by poverty and the climate emergency, according to a new study by child rights NGO Save the Children and climate modelling by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. While 351.9 million Indian children are estimated to be affected by at least one extreme climate event every year, some are at particular risk because of poverty.
Air travel in the peak festival season remained below the pre-pandemic level, indicating incomplete recovery. Average daily traffic in October, in which Dussehra and Diwali fell, was around 360,000 air passengers, less than the pre-Covid level of nearly 400,000. In October 2019, when Dussehra and Diwali were celebrated, there were around 397,000 passengers.
The News Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority of India has fined News18 India Rs 50,000 for linking persons supporting the hijab with Al Qaeda. NBDSA says that anchor Aman Chopra has disrespected the Code of Ethics and held that the “impugned programme was violative of the principles relating to Impartiality, Neutrality, Fairness and Good Taste & Decency under the Specific Guidelines Covering Reportage, apart from the Code of Ethics & Broadcasting Standards.” It advised the channel to train its anchors.
Three trains derailed in three days. In the latest incident yesterday, a powerful WAG9 locomotive ran amok, derailing 53 coal-laden freight wagons in Dhanbad.
The Railways hope to generate additional revenue of over Rs 1,000 crore per year by promoting Rail Coach Restaurants in important stations. It has allowed private players to set up such restaurants in several states. The latest is at New Jalpaiguri railway station.
Byju’s, India’s largest edtech company worth over $22 billion, plans to lay off about 12,000 people, or 25% of its workforce, over the next year, reports The Morning Context. Earlier this month, Byju’s said it would lay off 2,500 employees over six months.
Within hours of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde allotting portfolios on August 14, BJP’s Sudhir Mungantiwar, the newly appointed culture minister, had announced that state government employees would henceforth answer phones with “Vande Mataram” instead of “hello”. On October 1, this turned into a government resolution. Almost a month down the line, it seems to have died a natural death. Following Edison’s advice, the Mantralaya says, “Hello!”