Issue :   
Happy New Year 2020 to all Readers.          January 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Jan' 2020


Verdict in India’s spirit

The Supreme Court of India deserves applause for its historic judgment in the Ramjanmabhumi case. The issue had kept our two main communities – Hindus and Muslims—divided for long. It should never have been allowed to strain the relations between them. As you have rightly said, the Court’s judgement is very much in tune with the spirit of our Nation. It has paved the way for the building of a temple for Lord Rama on the spot believed to be his janmasthan by millions of Hindus.
The judgment allows a government-appointed trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya . It has allotted the Muslim litigants a five-acre plot of land elsewhere in Ayodhya. The Muslims can use it for building a new mosque. In 1949 Hindu idols were allegedly placed under its central dome. The mosque was destroyed on December 6, 1992.
The Court took into account the archaeological evidence that shows the existence of a 12th century Hindu religious structure underneath. Sensible Muslims should not make an issue out of the fact that namaz was offered at the mosque between 1857 and 1949. The Court took into account the evidence of Hindu worship prior to 1857 and the proof of namaz only after 1857. It was in that year that a massive riot took place that led to the British administration putting up a railing to divide the mosque from the Hindu shrines in the outer courtyard.

The Court has prioritised social harmony over other trifle issues . It is high time sections of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board stopped making the judgment political. Those who are thinking of going in for a review of the judgment in the case must care for the interests of the Muslims. That is in the state of social harmony. Nobody should be allowed to disturb it.

Madhav Krishnaswamy

Hurting India’s interests

S Jaishankar The American H-1B visa programme is hurting our professionals. According to our Ministry of External Affairs itself, the number of visas under this programme had increased from 1,19,952 in 2015 to 1,29,097 in 2017. It fell to 1,25,528 in 2018 . Over 27,707 of 1,16,031 new H1B petitions were denied in the fiscal year 2019.
Our Foreign Minister S Jaishankar should take up the issue with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo seriously and resolve it as early as possible . Washington ought to appreciate that the H-1B professional visa programme has been a mutually-beneficial partnership. It is a non-immigrant visa. It allows American companies to employ Indian workers with technical expertise not available in the U.S. This programme allowed US technology and IT-based companies to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from India.

Mike Pompeo The recent changes brought about by the Trump administration have caused a lot of delay in processing H-1B petitions. It is unfortunate that the Trump administration has been inclined to revoking H-4 visas permanently.
Cauvery Chatterjee

Privacy in peril

In 2017 the Supreme Court rightly declared privacy to be intrinsic to our life and liberty and hence an inherent part of our fundamental rights. But this privacy right seems to be peril today. There are estimated 400 million WhatsApp’s users in India. Recently, WhatsApp’s revealed Indian journalists and human rights activists were among some 1,400 people globally spied upon using a surveillance technology developed by Israel-based NSO Group. A malicious code, named ‘Pegasus’ , exploited a bug in the call function of WhatsApp to make its way into the phones of select users.
The NSO says on its website that its “ products are used exclusively by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight crime and terror.” Will the Government clear the air in the matter ? On whose directions were the Indian journalists and human rights activists snooped upon?

Ashutosh Thakre

Subsidy in education positive

There is a near consensus that subsidy in education leads to health improvement, reduction in population growth, decline in poverty and crime, and strengthening of democracy. It also builds the economy for the future. Because of this , our CSIR, the IITs and Central universities have been a major source of growth . They have produced men and women of capability in various walks of our life and economy . The subsidies create a broad base for the talents to grow.

The Union Ministry of Education must see to it that the subsidized education continues across the nation. Ours is a society where 50 per cent of the people are poor. We will lose a lot of talent if they don’t get in. Fees account for less than 10% of the expenditure on higher education in most European countries. In the U.S., fees do account for a substantial part, more than 30% to 40%. But they have huge scholarship schemes.

Fareed Khan

Irritants in ties

Mark Esper It is heartening to note our relations with the United States and Saudi Arabia have improved a lot in recent years. Today Saudi Arabia is a key pillar of India’s energy security. It is a source of our 17 per cent of crude oil and 32 per cent of LPG requirements . But all is not well in our relations with the United States and Saudi Arabia.
According to reports, on October 2, 2019 our Foreign Minister S Jaishankar met American Secretaries of State and Defence Michael Pompeo and Mark Esper in Washigngton to extract assurance that the United States would not invoke sanctions under its Countering Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if New Delhi started making payment towards importing Russian S-400 missiles. Both Pompeo and Esper evaded any assurance.

Mohammed bin Salman The same day, our National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to plead Pakistan sponsored terror against India in the Kashmir Valley is detrimental to the Middle East Kingdoms as well and hence the Kingdom must back India’s abrogation of Kashmir’s special status. The Prince favoured the avoidance of any escalation.
Christopher J