Many people think that as a dominant democracy, India cannot undergo military coups and, therefore, has not knowledge about an attempted coup.
The Congress – BJP governments have prioritized the transformation of India into a military power, with an air, land and water nuclear-weapons program capable of projecting Indian power across the Indian Ocean.
When in 2012 January the Indian Express first published its sensational report of how the government was spooked by the unauthorized troop movement, Military Minister A.K. Antony dismissed the report as “absolute rubbish.”
Antony declared, “A military coup in our country is not even a remote possibility and there is no reason to fear about it. They always abide by the policy decisions taken by the civil government.”
PM Manmohan Singh also denounced the article as an “affront to the dignity of the armed forces”.
The then Army chief Gen V K Singh also dismissed the report as “absolutely stupid”.
Many minority communities in India also are concerned that the military force might be misused as a suppression tool of the majority population.
Author: Dr. Abdul Ruff
Edited by Divas
Since the World War I, USA and Russia have been engaged in war politics – both hot and cold. And often they clash on alien territories to play this type of politics.
By citing the fast developing nature of the situation in Ukraine where Russia has already entered to what it says “normalize” the political situation to suit the Kremlin interest, Washington is weighing an array of economic weapons to penalize Russia for its armed intervention in Ukraine, from asset freezes to expelling Moscow from the G8 group of states, but may find Europe, needing Russian gas and oil more reluctant to resort quickly to sanctions.
US President Barack Obama needs Europe to join to make sanctions tough enough to potentially deter Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Obama is focusing first on measures that would not require congressional action and is seriously considering an executive order imposing asset freezes and visa bans on Russian officials.
Such an order could be drawn narrowly to focus on Russian officials directly involved in the intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea or more broadly to target a wider range of Russian officials.
Officially, USA and EU want to target Russia’s membership in the G-8 group of major industrialized countries, a prestigious economic club that brings Russia together with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
Leaders of the G-7, which does not include Russia, said on Sunday they were suspending participation in talks to prepare for a G-8 summit in Sochi, Russia, this summer.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Russia might be ejected from the group if Putin does not change course.
“President Putin’s actions have put his country on a course of diplomatic and economic isolation that could well see Russia exit the G8 entirely,” Harper said.
The G-7 also could meet by itself, excluding Russia without formally ending the broader group.
West is also eager to target Russian banks. US Treasury officials said moves against Russian banks suspected of illicit financing would take time, but would eventually have an impact, and would have the added benefit of exposing Russia’s financial backing for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Cutting Russian banks off from the U.S. financial system could hurt them significantly. But Washington would need solid evidence of illicit financial conduct.
The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says the USA could also hunt for assets controlled by Putin and his close allies, something it has never openly done,
Washington can blunt European dependence on Russian energy. Several EU member states, particularly in the Baltics, rely almost entirely on Russian oil and gas supplies, while even major countries such as Germany, France and Italy import 25 to 35 percent of their gas from Russia.
Overall, around 35 percent of all the gas imported to the EU from Russia transits via Ukraine. A European Commission spokeswoman said the EU, after a warm winter, had enough gas in storage to meet almost 10 percent of annual needs. Europe could increase storage capacity to buffer it further.
Longer term, there are also calls for Europe to diversify by developing capacity for liquefied natural gas, which can be shipped. Some US energy industry supporters are eager to help.
LNG supplies from the United States or the Middle East could help some Western European countries react to any Russian aggression in coming years, although added transportation costs could be too expensive for others in Central Europe who are likely to remain dependent on neighbors.
The U.S. energy transformation of recent years gives EU options they didn’t have several years ago. So they would explore using those options.
USA might also cut back on US-Russian bilateral trade. Trade in goods between the two countries was worth $38.12 billion in 2013 and U.S. firms have $14 billion in direct investment in Russia.
Russia and the United States had started talking about a bilateral investment treaty, but a planned visit by U.S. trade officials to discuss that treaty has now been scrapped.
Office of the US Trade Representative said they have suspended upcoming bilateral trade and investment engagement with the government of Russia that were part of a move toward deeper commercial and trade ties.
British PM David Cameron, reflecting the American line, has warned Russia it will pay significant costs unless it changes course. “The Russian economy is extremely weak and the impact of Putin’s move into Crimea “will be enormous,” he said.
But an official document suggested London opposed trade sanctions and shutting its financial capital to Russians. An official document a senior official carried it into a meeting in Cameron’s Downing Street residence on March 03 showed Britain may oppose sanctions that might undermine London as a haven for Russian capital.
European Union targeted sanctions have to be agreed unanimously among all 28 member states, however, and with several members, such as Cyprus and Italy, enjoying close business ties to Russia, securing that consensus is difficult. The EU said it would consider “targeted measures”.
Russia needs investment to keep its economy humming – it has suffered from about $60 billion in net capital outflows annually in the last two years.
The Russian central bank already has raised interest rates to defend the ruble, threatening to push the economy into recession, by some economists’ reckoning. US oil major ExxonMobil and aircraft maker Boeing are two companies with strong links to Russia and involved in joint ventures with Russian partners.
Any moves to slow investment into Russia could also hurt. Russia’s economy, which has softened significantly in recent months, is more vulnerable than it was during a previous 2008 crisis over Georgia.
Russian shares picked up on Tuesday as investors held out hope for an easing of the crisis in Ukraine after Moscow ordered troops on exercise in western Russia back to base.
Siddhartha’s insistence on quest for self defying all doctrines and teachings does not mean that Hesse wished to propound any sort of anarchism against the society. In fact, Hesse believed that only through some sort of individualism each individual can be made responsible for his actions.
Hesse may sound just another romantic preacher; however, in a world mired by deadly ideologies seeking justifications from Jesus to Nietzsche, and to Marx, Hesse’s concerns would hardly need any justification.
Siddhartha was born in the aftermath of the World War I and another great World War loomed large. Hesse through his allegorical message in Siddhartha makes an anxious call to the youths for defiance against growing material and military pursuits.
Similarly, Hesse was also concerned over the individual’s predicament in the capitalism driven modernity. The collapse of the whole European civilization seemed imminent due to rising political, cultural, and ideological conflicts. At the time of chaos in the Western Civilization’s history, Hesse turns to the East in search of fresh ideas and values.
However, an individual can only be persuaded to turn inward when he realizes the futility of worldly pursuits of having power over others. The need to control and manipulate the outer world only evaporates when one recognizes that his existence as a being is relatively negligible in comparison to the vastness of the spatial and temporal dimensions of the universe.
Therefore, through the excessive individualism of his protagonists like Siddhartha, Hesse as an eye-witness of the greatest human conflicts such as the World War I and World War II seems to be searching for an alternative society among the people divided into various ideological, religious and communal identities.
Hesse saw that despite humankind’s tremendous accumulation of knowledge and prosperity the sheer disregard for diversity was leading the world toward perpetual conflicts. The duality of existence as in the mind and the real world and their address in various spiritual disciplines, the visits to psychoanalysis lessons, and subsequent profound interest in Freudian and especially in Jungian psychology were to influence him the most to arrive at his premises.
Hesse seems to realize that extreme nationalism and the desire to have power over others result in millions of innocent death and innumerable sufferings. In Siddhartha, Hesse creates a utopian world where power and wealth are ephemeral pursuits and chasing after them being an act of utter foolishness. Thus Siddhartha can be seen as Hesse’s antithesis to collectivist tendencies in the form of nationalist, racial, cultural, and ideological doctrines, and an effort to establish the individual’s inward quest for self as beneficial to both the individual and the society.
However, Hesse knew how calls for peace would only be taken as quixotic idealism. He also knew that he would not be able to stop the next war that was sure to happen. Hesse seems to profess his belief that a true hero is not someone who dies in war or kills a fellow being, but one who synchronizes the conflicting tendencies present within himself.
Siddhartha proves that the secret of life can not be taught by any teacher, nor by following any dogma, but can only be known through the individual’s own inward journey into the self. Siddhartha also shows that initial disobedience that a self-willed person shows against authorial power is far more responsible than the sheepish conformity with respect to the universal law of humanity.
Hesse’s ideal back to nature world of Siddhartha may also be been seen as another flawed utopia. However, the creation of utopia, no matter how flawed it may, was nevertheless a deliberate attempt. For Hesse, it was necessary to create such a utopic world as the devastations of the World War I were not over yet, and the possibility of even a greater war seemed imminent.
To persuade his countrymen and the whole humanity against committing yet another civilizational blunder, Hesse wished to develop a new social movement himself. To dissuade the youths from the Nazi, Fascist and war calls other political clouts, it was necessary to detach their attention from politics of ideologies, militarism and nationalism.
Hesse believed that the individual will should not identify itself with the collective will of the society or the nation. Thus, it was necessary to turn the youths’ attention toward a very different culture than their own. Resorting to different Eastern concepts in Siddhartha seems to be just an excuse for Hesse to adapt Nietzschean amor fati or “will to power” into his own form of Eugensinn or self-will, so that individuals could be persuaded to take inward journey to self. However, Hesse wanted to emphasize that the Nietzchean concept of “will to power” referred to the will of an individual to have power over his own destiny, but not to have power over others.
It was important for Hesse to elaborate Nietzsche’s ideas, as the Anti-Semites, the Nazis, and other authoritarians were distorting Nietzsche’s philosophy for their bigotry. Siddhartha may be seen as a truly Nietzschean model of Ubermensch or Superman who does not follow any doctrine blindly, but dares for an inward search to find the true nature of his self.
The concept of Superman was Nietzsche’s call for the individuals to achieve their ultimate potential, but not for groups, parties, nations and epochs. Hence, through Siddhartha’s personal journey of seeking his self and realizing his potential, Hesse points out that perfection in world comes only when each individual establishes harmony with his own self.
Hesse’s persistent concern is to find an escape for the individual from not only the societal bondage but also from one’s own dual and conflicting tendencies. Hesse believed that outer conflict was only the manifestation of the conflicting instinctual drives within every individual.
Hence, Hesse found it necessary to convince each individual to understand their own nature through intense self-examination and synchronize the polar opposites within themselves into a harmonious unity.
Once an individual is persuaded to delve into the study of his own self, the desire to gain control over others would soon evaporate. Experimenting with one’s own body and mind has been a favorite intellectual and spiritual activity of the ancient Orientals.
In Siddhartha, Hesse makes his affluent and yet discontented Western readers travel through time and space to learn how the people from a distant past and distant culture with so little material possession had invented for every individual a way of happy and peaceful existence.
Thus, Siddhartha’s extreme individuality can be seen as Hesse’s method as well as belief in human capacity for self-cure without any external interference – and for Hesse self-cure was the only cure for treating the whole humanity’s suffering.
The rising confrontations between various forms of ideologies persuaded Hesse to profess his own version individualism with the belief that individuals who join the masses lose their rational faculties. It should be noted that Hesse is not making any authoritative elaboration or comparison of diverse concepts he borrows from both the Eastern and Western traditions in Siddhartha.
From Atman to Brahman, from Buddha to Nietzsche, from psychology to mysticism, and from search for self to enlightenment, Hesse uses all these concepts as devices to demonstrate how the individual’s Eugensinn or self-will can be used to create a more harmonious society by reconciling the conflicting tendencies within every individual. Siddhartha shows that the world outside is not a hindrance but a succor in one’s efforts for self-actualization.
In the initial days, when Siddhartha seeks for the mystery of his self as separated and different from others, he realizes that he is in fact fleeing from what he seeks – self-knowledge. The more Siddhartha grows toward enlightenment, more he identifies with other fellow beings thus expanding his empathy for others.
Thus, even through intense self-will and individualism, Siddhartha ultimately learns to appreciate unity in the plurality of existence. It should be noted that by his denial of following Buddha, Siddhartha is not undermining Buddha’s achievement.
Siddhartha, by looking beyond Buddha’s reputation, simply conveys Hesse’s message that wisdom is not communicable through words and doctrines. The only doctrine of love than Siddhartha professes after his enlightenment was Hesse’s call for humanity to appreciate their fellow beings instead of making war citing ideological, racial, and cultural differences.
Through Siddhartha’s denial of all doctrines, Hesse persuades each individual to be independent thinkers and arrive at a conclusion based on their own individual experience. Siddhartha’s ultimate enlightenment transcending all sufferings and with perpetual bliss certainly seem like a utopist’s dream.
Despite its utopic vision, Siddhartha offers hope for humanity, a hope between the two greatest World Wars that threatened the very survival of the human existence. Through the protagonist’s extreme individualism in quest for self and enlightenment, Hesse creates a utopic worldview in Siddhartha to prove his proposition that an individual’s inward quest for self is the only antidote to humanity’s collective madness for power.
If you’re interested to read my complete thesis on how to make peace and harmony in the world, download the following pdf file:
Editor’s Note: An Example of a Regulated but Friendly Border. Millions of people cross the Canada-US border every year with ease. When traveling between Canada and the United States, it’s necessary to pass through Customs and Border Protection at the border. The professionals who work at Customs are highly trained and the process is generally very simple. They’ll ask to see your ID, ask about your citizenship and ask you to show one of the documents. India & Nepal governments also need to work toward strict but friendly regulation of the Indo-Nepal border. Better to seal the border except for the trading points between the two countries, so that unwanted activities both from the state & non-state actors may be checked. This blogger Divas has felt an improvement on the Indo-Nepal border conditions since his last report.
Author: Dr. Abdul Ruff
Edited & Rearranged by Divas
Canada is worried about pollution from US factories near its border, and about the possible impact on the environment of the exploitation of oil deposits in Alaska.
Nearly 90% of Canadians live within 200km of the border with the United States, which means that Canada contains vast expanses of wilderness to the north.
The US and Canada are each other’s largest trading partner. The North American Free Trade Agreement, involving Canada, the US and Mexico, has brought a trade boom for Canada.
In the past years, Canadian officials have complained of drug, cigarette and firearms smuggling from the United States while U.S. officials have complained of drug smuggling from Canada.
Close economic integration exists with the US, but Asian markets are growing in importance.
Strong historical ties to the UK remain, while Quebec looks towards France.
Canada often plays a major role in UN peacekeeping missions.
The relationship to its “powerful neighbor” USA is said to be a defining factor for Canada.
Canada often cooperates closely with the US, but does go its own way sometimes.
But thorny issues abound. American moves which impact on Canadian exports, in the form of tariffs on Canadian timber and increased subsidies for US farmers, have created particular tension.
Canada has been asserting its sovereignty in the Arctic with growing vigor and has become embroiled in territorial spats with the US and Denmark. At stake is the possible bounty from previously-untapped reserves of oil and gas.
Similarly, Canada pursues a foreign policy that is distinct from that of the US.
Canada has committed troops to the American-led war on terror, but does not back the US trade embargo on Cuba. Canada also did not send troops to join the US-led war in Iraq.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, the challenge of securing the 9,000-km Canada-US border from possible terrorist infiltration prompted both countries to look at ways of sharing information.
Canada’s indigenous peoples make up around 1.5 million, more than 4% of the total population.
The way in which provincial governments share land and natural resources with native groups is an ongoing issue.
Canada Citizenship Reforms
Focusing on checking the dual citizenship the Canadian government has proposed sweeping changes to its rules on citizenship.
Under the plans underway, Canada would be able to revoke citizenship from dual nationals who have been convicted of terrorism, spying or high treason.
Also, applicants would now have to pass a knowledge test and have proficiency in English or French.
The new measures target those with dual citizenship found or suspected to have membership in an armed force or organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada.
Citizenship could also be revoked for any dual nationals “convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason or spying offences”.
Other proposals for new applicants include having to wait six years to apply for Canadian citizenship instead of the current four.
Would-be citizens would need to be physically present for four of the six years and declare their “intent to reside”.
Currently they must establish legal residence for three of the four years but do not have to be physically present or intend to reside in Canada.
The proposals also include tougher penalties for immigration fraud.
The largest source of new immigrants to Canada is Asia, led by China, India, the Philippines, and Pakistan and their number keeps increasing every year.
Chinese immigrants have flocked to Canada’s west coast and transformed Vancouver into Canada’s very own Asian metropolis.
Editor’s Note: The threats of militarization of any society are real. Children supposedly killed by chemical gas sarin fired in one of the attacks last year. Experts claim that the Syrian conflict saw by far the worst reported use of chemical arms. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also confirmed that results of a U. N. report concerning the use of chemical weapons in Syria were “overwhelming and indisputable.” Experts have been warning that terror organizations or other violent non-state actors could also acquire deadly weapons in the event of state collapse. The civil wars and conflicts in today’s world get even more complicated by the fact all the conflicting parties solicit support from superpowers. And often the “superpowers” and international bodies find themselves clueless on whether and how to engage themselves with the conflicting parties.
Author: Dr. Abdul Ruff
Edited & Rewritten by Divas
The Syrian conflict has intensified as the government launched a fierce aerial bombardment on Tuesday in rebel-held areas of Aleppo.
The Aleppo Media Centre said one of the raids hit a school and the children were among those killed.
US officials asked the Russians last Friday to put pressure on Bashar al-Assad’s government to end the Syrian conflict.
Russia has been Syria government’s most powerful ally during a nearly three-year-old civil conflict in Syria.
Last September, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) received an initial disclosure from the Syrian government of its chemical weapons programme, the first time the country had made a formal declaration.
The OPCW has yet to release the details of the declaration, leaving the size of Syria’s arsenal subject to speculation.
Experts believe the stockpile, considered to be one of the world’s largest, contains the blister agent sulphur mustard, the nerve agent sarin, and the more potent and persistent nerve agent VX.
Following a deadly chemical weapons attack in Damascus on 21 August 2013, the United States and Russia agreed a plan with Syria to remove and destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014.
Washington now seems keen to ending the conflict in Syria.
But the situation has been made vastly more complicated in the last two weeks by the takeover of warehouses belonging to the Western-backed Free Syrian Army by fighters from a new Islamist rebel alliance, the Islamic Front.
Saudi Arabia was angered last year after Obama declined to launch military strikes on Syria to punish the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces.
Like many other powers in the Gulf, Saudi is keen to be seen as a close ally of USA and hence Riyadh has been pushing for regular visits of US leaders to the kingdom.
Washington is well aware that its Gulf allies, notably Saudi Arabia, were upset at being kept out of the loop on the discussions held with Iran in Oman before the nuclear deal was reached.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, while some Western countries, including the US, suspect the country has designs on nuclear weapons.
US officials admitted that Iran’s last month’s agreement with world powers was not about freezing the nuclear program, but only to make sure that Iran would not build a nuclear weapon.
Saudi ambassador to Britain Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz wrote in The New York Times last year that negotiations between Iran and Western powers over Iran’s nuclear program were a “dangerous gamble”.
The White House officials claim that the co-operation between Washington and Riyadh was so deep on so many issues that they did not see “the Saudis going rogue” such as by acquiring nuclear weapons from Pakistan to protect themselves from Iran, as some reports have claimed.
Wary of the Mideast quagmire, USA has also hinted that it wants to end the traditional political ties with the Arab world except for the energy security issues.
In an unusually frank explanation of the challenges facing US policies in the Mideast region, the Washington officials have given a rundown of Washington’s position on a number of key countries.
USA, however, has strongly denied suggestions that Washington is looking to disengage itself from the Middle East, and insists it is not abandoning its longstanding Arab allies.