Of LOC Violence, Demonetisation Row, Trump Vs Media & Nikki Haley [Nov 24]

BY Edit Platter Desk | PUBLISHED: 24 November 2016

‘As I See It’ With Sanjeev Srivastava| Here’s Our Editor’s Take On Day’s Top Stories.

A day after three Indian soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was found mutilated, the Army made good on its promise of “heavy retribution” by launching a massive fire assault Wednesday against Pakistani posts at different points along the LoC. The incident had brought back memories of Manmohan Singh-era when such occurences would happen on a regular basis. According to Pakistani media reports, Pakistan Army lost at least three soldiers and nine civilians were killed in India’s retaliation.

It is apparent the situation on the border is escalating and on Wednesday evening, Lt General Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), had a conversation with his Pakistan counterpart Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza following a Pakistani request for unscheduled talks. But our editor is of the view that until and unless talks are held between the top leadership of two countries, there is little chance of de-escalation.

Praveen Swami has written a piece in Indian Express wherein he has sought to compare the situation on the LoC between 1999-2003 and post-ceasefire agreement periods. He writes between 1999 and 2003 India lost over 2, 000 soldiers whereas the fatalities drastically came down on both sides after the pact. Ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours are heading south and it should be a matter of grave concern for one and all.

Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Shairf is set to retire on November 29 but one should not expect any change in their anti-India policy. A new Army chief will be sworn in and he is likely to carry on with his predecessor’s agenda, for Pakistan Army’s raison d’etre is its enmity with India and everything India stands for. It is said countries have an army, but in Pakistan its army has a country. Its generals and other officials have business and political interests and peace with India can have an adverse impact on them. Therefore, a new army chief will be there but there is unlikely to be any change in Pakistan and its army’s overall policy and hostility towards India.

Dawn is of the view that the Line of Control is exploding, and once again the potential for greater conflict is growing. Here the temptation may be to believe that the imminent transition at the top of the army leadership and the election of a hawkish presidential candidate in the US has given Modi-led India further incentive to test Pakistan’s resolve. The paper in its editorial today has taken a rather belligerent line which is usually a dove when it comes to India-Pakistan ties.

The aftermath of demonetisation continues to hog the headlines. To feel the pulse of the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought feedback from the people in a poll via his app over his demonetisation decision. The controversial move to ban old notes of 500 and 1,000-rupees has received a thumbs up from majority – 90% – of the respondents. Our editor is of the opinion he is convinced the common man supports the move against black money and is also ready to face the hardships in national interest. Yesterday, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai visited many places in UP to gauge people’s mood over demonetisation. Majority of the people seemed to be in favour of the government’s decision while stating they were indeed facing hardships because of the ban on notes of higher denominations.

Also Read: Demonetisation: Emotional PM. Spontaneous, Sensitive Or Strategic?

Our editor has a couple of questions in this regard. The government may have carried out a surgical strike against black money through demonetisation but it has failed to root out the root causes of corruption. Another thing that concerns him is that the way noted economists have pointed out towards the move’s adverse impact on the economy, the way stock market has plunged, the way people have been laid off and the way poor GDP is being forecast, it is apparent the government did not factor in the possible consequences of its historic step. It is hoped the government has done its homework and will prove the naysayers wrong, for the nation’s economy and future is at stake now.

Some viewers have sought to know why our editor called the Opposition irrelevant in his previous broadcast. That is not the case. It’s just that the buck stops at the Prime Minister and his party’s door on the issue considering their majority in the Parliament. This does not make the Opposition irrelevant.

Prime Minister is likely to be present in Rajya Sabha today and speak on the issue. PM Modi prefers to address the public directly — at rallies, meetings which are televised, or through social media. A question comes to mind if he can have a direct conversation with the people, why not with the Opposition in the Parliament.

On his survey, our editor opines it’s not a bad thing to invite suggestions from aam aadmi and take their opinion, but there are a few issues. Having gone through the questionnaire one gets a feeling that the questions are directed more to get a Yes or No answer to questions like whether this move is directed against corrupt people and whether those opposing it are siding with corruption etc. Though those are not the only questions the tone and tenor of the framing of questions is such that a complex economic issue with serious short to medium term consequences for our economy becomes a simplistic referendum on whether the move is an attack & a crusade against corruption or not.

Our editor is all for the move but it is hoped that there would be no adverse impact on the country’s economy and the government would take all steps to bring back ‘achche din’ for the common man. The government must go for a decisive blow against black money and ensure from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, it does not resurfaces anywhere in the country under any form. We must dream for a bright future but at the same time not turn blind towards the reality.

On international affairs, US president Donald Trump had an hour-long meeting with the publisher of The New York Times and some editors, columnists and reporters on Tuesday wherein he was reported to have sought their love. “I’m going to get you to write some good stuff about me,” Trump had said to Frank Bruni.

Charles M. Blow writes in the paper today that it’s just not possible to get along with Trump. The columnist opines that as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly the author — have an absolute obligation to meet Trump and his agenda with resistance at every turn.

Also Read: Trump Boots Out TV Journos, Goes Knocking At NYT’s Door

Interesting times lie ahead in the United States. Trump has appointed Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina –  an Indian-American – as ambassador to the United Nations. There is an air of excitement in India about the news, even though initial reports suggested she was being considered for the post of the Secretary of State. Mitt Romney, former Republican Presidential nominee and Trump’s critic, is being considered for the position. It will be a good move by Trump through which he will be able to show to the world that he is willing to carry along his opponents in his journey to ‘make America great again’.

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Source - Sanjeev Srivastava / Edit Platter

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