Is China Showing Tough Love for India?; After ‘Oppenheimer’, Anurag Thakur May Nuke the Censor
Chandrayaan-3 moonshot-ready, forest bill will harm tribals, teacher famine in univs, , never say die when it comes to ED chief, the last internet cafes, Sangh rejects paneer & embraces gourds
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia and Tanweer Alam | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
July 26, 2023
PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached a “consensus” to restore bilateral ties during their meeting in Bali last year, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has claimed. The statement was issued after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Wang Yi, Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China met in Johannesburg, on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting of NSAs. India had earlier reported no progress at Bali and the Indian statement on the Doval-Wang meeting did not mention the claim but focused on the India-China standoff, which Doval said had “eroded” the “public and political basis” of the relationship. At the meeting, Wang Yi urged India to normalise relations with China, after it rejected, on security concerns, the bid of Chinese auto-maker BYD to build a $1 billion EV plant in India. But today, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar told the Financial Times: “Is India open to doing business with Chinese companies? Of course we are.”
Wang Yi, incidentally, is now foreign minister. His predecessor Qin Gang has not been sighted for a month.
Liu Jianchao, a former ambassador who busted Chinese corruption overseas as head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, will helm the Communist Party of China’s diplomatic arm, the International Liaison Department. Among other things, he will be responsible for relations with North Korea.
China is no pushover but surprisingly, India can’t even push Qatar to release Indian Navy veterans, who appear to be facing espionage charges and are now filing mercy petitions. The former officers are pleading guilty because the Modi government seems to have no plan to have them expeditiously released.
Despite India being a founding member of BRICS, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to physically attend the BRICS summit in South Africa. For eminently practical reasons, Vladimir Putin is also likely to keep away.
“I can see no good reason why a predominantly Hindu society should not tolerate minority faiths. I can see no reason either why it has to assail a diverse civil society. Yet that is where the Modi government seems to be going,” writes Martin Wolf in The Financial Times. He calls India an “illiberal democracy.” Comparing India with Hungary, he argues that while India has healthier political rights, notably electoral politics, its civil rights are weaker. “Worse, the latter have deteriorated substantially under BJP rule since 2014.”
The use and abuse of the Enforcement Directorate against civil society and the political opposition may be a factor driving India down global democracy indices but the government will have it no other way. Weeks after the Supreme Court faulted it for granting unprecedented extensions to the ED chief, the government has gone back to court asking that Sanjay Mishra be allowed to stay on at his post a little bit longer.
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi made it a point to say she supported the Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh for the manner in which he is spearheading INDIA’s demand that the government restore peace in Manipur. The fact that Singh tweeted a short video of Gandhi is being seen as a sign of better relations between the Congress and AAP.
In Nature, Gemma Conroy says that while the National Research Foundation has the potential to energise research in India and translate it into real-world outcomes, it may also restrict funding opportunities outside applied work. Much will depend on how it functions, and the appetite that Indian corporates show for funding research. At present, they have no stomach for it, while corporates in technology-led economies tend to invest heavily in research.
KG Kenye, power and parliamentary affairs minister of Nagaland, says that tripartite talks between the state government, the Centre and the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) will begin soon, following talks between the last two that were opaque to Nagaland. The objective is the establishment of an autonomous Frontier Naga Territory, about which the state and its people should have been taken into confidence.
Broadband subscribers in Manipur now have to sign an undertaking which limits their speech in broad and arbitrary terms and forces them to block VPNs and change login credentials every day. And they must also allow the net police into their homes to inspect their connections.
The Supreme Court tore into the Union government (and, by implication, the ruling party), saying that while it takes “extreme stands” against Opposition-run states, it does nothing when BJP-ruled states violate the Constitution. Reservation for women in local bodies in Nagaland is the issue, and the court wants to know if this is being implemented under Article 243D of the Constitution.
ISRO has successfully raised the orbit of Chandrayaan-3 for the fifth time, preparing to sling it out of earth orbit towards the moon. Translunar injection, which will put the craft into the lunar gravity well, is planned for the wee hours of August 1.
Women in Punjab have been coming forward with stories of being lured to Oman with the promise of domestic work, only to be trapped in sexual exploitation and slavery. They say that many more are still trapped there.
The Qatar Investment Authority is considering a 1% stake in Reliance Retail Ventures for $1 billion, reports the Financial Times. The tiny stake is a big signal that Gulf sovereign funds see value in the domestic Indian market.
The construction of an Adani Power tower in Murshidabad, on the supply line to Bangladesh, has ravaged a centuries-old fruit orchard which provides local livelihoods. The villagers are wary about outsiders, fearing that they may be police acting on behalf of Adani’s interests.
The economist Jayati Ghosh has been honoured with the John Kenneth Galbraith Award.
Amitav Ghosh tells Rashmi Vasudeva that the story of opium remains bleak and horticultural histories have shaped our world in deeper ways than we realise.
There’s a good reason why Goa’s taxi unions stubbornly keep out cab aggregator apps ― the state’s unemployment rate is double the national average.
Paneer, which became a feature of Sangh feasts in the time of Pramod Mahajan, is yielding ground again to autochthonous gourds and pumpkins. Paneer is holding its ground only at BJP events, reports The Print.
If you have come this far, please consider taking out a subscription to The India Cable. We are a reader-supported publication.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial