Shinzo Abe

He guided Japan in a turbulent period than one can assess. His tenure was marked by his footprints all over the globe. In truest sense he was a globe trotting Prime Minister of Japan. The challenges thrown by rising superpower China, Russia, North Korea were growing day by day. There were blow hot blow cold relations with neighbors and rumors that Japan is investing in military might. There was a change in leadership of Japan’s closest ally the US, and a new unpredictable volatile President was taking reins. Add economic stagnancy to it to complete the picture. In such circumstances he steered Japan admirably.

The Globe trotting true Diplomat

His period as a Prime Minister was marked by his visits to state heads of Asian, Middle East, Latin American, Australian, European and African head of states, and on many occasion, these visits were the first by any Japanese PM ever. Yes, Shinzo Abe’s diplomacy and international relations helped Japan immensely to survive murky international waters. Perhaps he was the first international leader to express a free and open Indo-Pacific region and Ocean and Trans – Pacific region and its geo-political and economic importance. And, to gain international acceptance to Indo-Pacific and Trans -Pacific region’s importance proved to be a very effective tool to garner world opinion on China.It also helped as leverage to tackle the Chinese maritime assertions against Japan. This is the true legacy left by Shinzo Abe. Its unfortunate that such a stalwart of diplomacy and vision was assassinated. The guidance and further direction that he could have given to the country at the experienced age of 67 was aborted suddenly.

His Times

China’s rise to superpower status strangely coincides with Shinzo Abe’s second innings as a visionary leader of Japan. Perhaps his role was destined to tackle China diplomatically. Abe legacy also consists of revival of memories of Japan’s war dead during Second World War. His visit to Yasakuni shrine in Tokyo that honors Japan’s war dead, including some convicted war criminals had infuriated China and S. Korea.His inclination towards right wing politics was an uneasy and awkward chapter to many. But the China’s ascension as a new superpower and neighbor Japans’ loyalty to America worsened the relations and he has to tilt towards rightist thinking. The Chinese President openly attacked Abe and Japan. Chinese claims over Senkakus island or Diaoyu in Chinese language and the Chinese propaganda against Okinawa (where a major US military base was in operation) are few of the examples of a strained relationship between the two countries.

China has just surpassed Japan economy that time. And, in all terms of military might, scientific progress, population and digital progress, was way ahead of Japan. It is to Abe’s credit that Japan has not become a Chinese satrap by playing a second fiddle or tangled relations with new, unpredictable American President. The American pull out from Trans- Pacific partnership was a major jolt for Japan. But Abe didn’t let it affect the relations with US and used a competing China to effect solid relationship with US.

Abenomics

On the domestic front, his famous “Abenomics” garnered mix reactions. Abe tried to revive faltering Japanese economy .‘It’s aim was to make Japan more competitive in the global market by increasing the money supply, undertaking government spending to stimulate the economy, and undertaking economic and regulatory reforms to make Japan powerful).Though his critics say it has not achieved its desired results, it should be noted that it rejuvenated the economic and business front. ‘TIME’ mentions in its Economy section that many economists say it helped revive the Japanese economy. Japan was suffering when Abe took office in 2012 from weak exports, a trade spat with China and continued fallout from the 2011 nuclear disaster and tsunami leading to recession.

The results it produced were positive but inconsistent. But it eased the rules for migrant workers, brought more women into the workforce and increased protection for temporary workers. Time further add quote Mireya Solis, director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution as “He tried to revive the Japanese economy, and there some successes there”.Abe’s former economic adviser Hamada says the approach was very successful in creating jobs and promoting equality between regular and temporary workers.

Abe was remained in constant focus for his alleged cronyism, revival of nationalism and plans to reform the Japanese constitution and a possible militarization. His tenure has pulled out Japan from a looming Chinese, North Korean threat and in a visionary way formed several international alliances that can constantly aid economic progress.

He stabilized relations with Beijing and open doors for Chinese tourist to Japan. He held a landmark meeting with Xi Jin Ping in 2014 trying to melt nearly frozen relations with China and started talks on maritime security and perseverance of international boundaries.It was not surprising that Japan has accorded a rare state level funeral, a second only in the post war Japan.

The Architect of ‘QUAD’

He was really the sole architect of the 4- Nations powerful alliance in the Indo Pacific oceans – the QUAD.

His speech initiating the process of QUAD formation is given below which testifies his vision. This speech was delivered at Indian Parliament in his tour to India in 2007.

He elegantly muted the proposal in his famous speech of ‘Confluence of two Seas’ at the Indian Parliament. It was August 22, 2007. The Japanese prime minister said,

“The Pacific and the Indian Oceans are now bringing about a dynamic coupling as Seas of freedom and prosperity. ‘A broad Asia’ that broke away from geographical boundaries is now beginning to take on a distinct form”.

“Our 2 countries have the ability- & the responsibility- to ensure that it broadens yet further and to nurture and enrich these Seas to become Seas of clearest transparence”.

“By Japan and India coming together in this way, this ‘broader Asia’ will evolve into an immense network spanning the entirety of Pacific Ocean, incorporating the US and Australia. Open and transparent, this network will allow people, goods, capital and knowledge to flow freely”.

“In addition, as maritime states, both India and Japan have vital interests in the security of Sea lanes, it goes without saying that the Sea lanes to which I refer are the shipping routes that are the most critical for the world economy”.

A joint statement issued afterwards clearly reflects on inclusion of other like-minded countries. The joint statement read like follows:

The two leaders welcomed the participation of the Japanese maritime self defense force in the multilateral maritime exercise “Malabar” to be held in September 2007 in the Bay of Bengal.

The two leaders shared the view on the usefulness of having dialogue among Japan, India and other like-minded countries in the Asia-Pacific region on themes of mutual interest. The QUAD alliance infuriated China but succeeded in diverting attention over Japan. It was a great diplomatic move initiated and well executed. That is why Indian PM Modi while paying his respects to Abe said that Abe was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader and a remarkable administrator. His sharp insights on economy and global affairs always made a deep impression on him

The Enduring Legacy and Right Tribute

As per The Japan News Seven hundred foreign guests were in attendance for the funeral, comprising representatives of more than 210 overseas delegations, including those of international organizations. The large number of attendees may have something to do with Abe’s visits to 80 countries and regions during his tenure as prime minister under the banner of” diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map”, during which he established amicable relationships with them. Among the attendee of the funeral are Indian PM Modi, US Vice President Kamala Harris, Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Southe Korea PM Han Duck-soo, Australian PM Anthony Albanese, Vietnamese President Nguyen Auan Phuc and British Foreign Sectetary James Cleverly. Is it not an irony that the country still debates about the cost of the funeral? Abe’s Prime Ministerial days kept Japan in News internationally for right causes. This is his legacy and perhaps its restoration will be the right tribute to this Statesman.

Ban of 5-years on PFI

Popular Front of India- PFI banned for 5-years.

 National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) along with paratroopers and local police raided Popular Front Of India organization offices in several states and arrested more than hundred leading members. The Indian Express says the National Investigation Agency launched a massive nationwide search operation in connection with anti – terror activities. The searches, according to news agency PTI, are part of a crackdown against those allegedly involved in terror funding, organizing training camps, and radicalizing people to join proscribed organizations.

The Indian Express further says that in response to the operation, the PFI in a statement said:”We strongly protest the fascist regime’s moves to use agencies to silence dissenting voices.” The PFI’s presence has stretched to more than 20 states since its creation in 2006. It identifies itself as “neo-social movement” with a vision to empower all marginalized section in India. The Hindustan Times says the Union Home Ministry is all set to include Islamist Popular Front of India in the list of already 42 banned terrorist organizations under Section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention0 Act , 1967. The relevant section of the UAPA, 1967 reads that an organization shall be deemed to be involved in terrorism if it commits or participate in acts of terrorism; prepares for terrorism or otherwise involved in terrorism.

The Hindustan Times further says that it is understood that the national security planners are legally examining the evidence collected and the violence post arrest of PFI leaders before they recommended banning of the Islamist organization. According to NIA, the organization is India recruiter and radicalizer for global jihadist groups including al Qaeda, Pakistan – based Jaish – e – Muhammad and Lashkar -e-Toiba.

The offices of PDF are located mostly in Muslim dominated areas. The government action immediately saw protests by PFI supporters. The organization which may be banned soon is not conjured up suddenly. Its formation is the result of the merging of three organizations operating from three different states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. All these three states are from South India. The three organizations were

  1. National Development Front from State of Kerala
  2. Manitha Neethi Pasarai from State of Tamil Nadu
  3. Forum for Dignity from State of Karnataka  

National Development Front was founded in 1994 The Thomas P Joseph commission report and the Secretary of the Communist Party of India ( Marxist) have referred it as a terrorist outfit. BJP accused it of having links with Pakistan.

Manitha Neethi Pasarai is a Muslim organization in Tamil Nadu. It operates the Islam centered Tamil magazine ‘Vidiyal Velli’ – the largest circulated Muslim journal. Hindustan Times reported on May, 16, 2022 that NIA – National Investigation Agency started investigation against members of MNP for allegedly trying to float anti-national organizations and having links with IS.

The Forum for Dignity from the state of Karnataka is founded in 2001 and its members were accused of kidnapping and murdering of two students in Mysore. A ransomof more than One Crore rupees was demanded for their release. The NIA expressed interest in the investigation of this case in 2011 for possible angle of funding. However the PFI leaders denied any involvement of the group in this case.

After the merging of these three groups into PFI, the footprints of the organization started to spread across the nation. It diversified and added a political and student wing. The Social Democratic Party of India – SDPI which is political branch of PFI became operational in 2009 in New Delhi.

National Investigation Agency raided 93 locations across 15 states and arrested 106 workers. It is alleged that in Pune, state of Maharashtra the protesters shouted Pakistan Zindbad slogans turning it into anti-national activity. Sept. 27 also saw more than 200 PFI members arrested by NIA in its second lap of raids across the country. It appears that the NIA is making its case stronger with additional collection of evidence for the possible ban on the organization.

 8.00 am As per the latest news came in, the PFI is banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in India for 5years

Sri Lanka : Where it all is leading to!

SRI LANKA

If you look at the map of Sri Lanka you will catch its peculiar pear shaped contours. Most beautifully it is described as teardrop of India also. Its shape resembles a teardrop falling from southern tip of India. Sri Lanka attained freedom in 1948 from British rule. Three ethnic groups Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslims occupies almost 99 percent of the population of 22 Million. Sri Lanka produces around 300 Million Kilograms of Tea annually. Prior to present economic catstrophe it hits the world headlines due to  Bombblasts by ISIS on Easter day across the country in 2019 which killed 255 people and injured more than 500, adversely affecting its tourism. Earlier long duration civil war with LTTE ( Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) for nearly 26 years weaken Sri Lanka.

President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country to Maldives first and now requesting Maldives to arrange a private jet to fly to Singapore. He left his country to save himself from the angry people of Sri Lanka. People are angry as wrong economic policies and mismanagement propelled Sri Lanka into an unprecedented economic crisis and the sufferers are the common people of Sri Lanka. There is severe shortage of food and fuel and the prices of essential commodities are skyrocketed. Agitating mob thronged the palatial houses of President and Prime Minister demanding their resignation. President’s resignation yet to come. Meanwhile All other political parties of Sri Lanka held a meeting and give responsibility to parliament spaeker to act as President. As the protests intensified, the present Prime Minister Ranil Wikremsinghe  clamped a curfew to be reoveked afterwards. Its a lesson for the world about how the representives for well being of people to run the country should be elected.

     Key contributors to Sri Lankan crisis

External DEBT service payment for Sri Lanka  stood at 7 Billion US dollars against 1.9 Billion US dollars foreign reserves.

favorable Loan conditions as the country graduated to low middle income country

Roots go back to early 2000s when the World Bank promoted the nation from a low income country to a low middle income country. A large share of the foreign debt came through concessionary funding from multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, Japan international cooperation agency and the Asian development bank – ADB and with favorable loan conditions such as low interest rates of 1 percent and longer periods for its repayment -25 to 40 years. It assisted in the systematic management of foreign exchange reserves.

As the nation became a middle income county, the access to concessionary funding became scarce, and the Sri Lankan economy shifted towards an increasing proportion of commercial loans in the form of international Sovereign bonds – ISBs instruments of capital market borrowings and carried higher interest rates to above six percent with shorter durations of repayment – 5 to 10 years and no grace period.

Commercial Borrowings without paying attention to structural weaknesses

ORF (Observer Research Foundation, an independent global think tank based in New Delhi, India) says that it is fair to say that the ever increasing foreign debt obligations for Sri Lanka have been a major contributor to the present economic woes. Sri Lanka relied on commercial borrowings without paying heed to the structural weaknesses in the economy. Structural weaknesses such as decreased trade levels as a percentage of GDP (from 33 percent in 2000 to 13 percent in 2019), low levels of FDI and tax revenues that have been falling over time, amongst others- have devastated the economy in an impactful manner.

Sri Lanka’s excessive foreign borrowing in exchange of infrastructure projects that have failed to provide high returns. Increasing external debt servicing overwhelmed an already weak economy that was left faltering from the economic costs of the 26 year long civil war that came to an end in 2009 and was followed by the repercussions of the global financial crisis in 2007-8 alongside continual fiscal and current account deficits.

Failure to invest in major industries,education or training and adherence to old trade practises

The Print.in says that it is really strange about it is the lack of basic planning and foresight by the Rajapaksa Government to have gauged its enormity in time and initiate necessary corrective measures. Sri Lanka failed to invest in any major industries, education or training and held itself hostage to colonial era exports of garments, rubber and tea. The reduced demand had a negative impact. The Easter Bomb blasts in Colombo that killed more than 250 people killed the tourism industry. The effect on Sri Lanka’s economy was immediate and shock inducing. There was a reduction in income through tourists by around 20 percent, adversely affecting foreign exchange reserves.

Lowest Tax regime in the World destroying welfare and sectoral development schemes

In 2019, the Rajapaksa govt offered huge cuts in value added tax, corporate tax and all categories of direct and indirect taxes. While it earned Sri Lanka the tag of being a country with one of the lowest tax regimes in the world, the rate cuts destroyed the govt’s ability to capitalize and invest in welfare, employment, sectoral development and other schemes. Tax collections plunged more than fifty per cent in just one year alone 19-20. Revenue deficit increased. At the same time govt also increased its expenditure substantially. This resulted in the budget deficit inereasing by more than 100 basis points. Covid 19 also affected Sri Lanka.Demand for Sri Lanka goods felled.

According to Monica Verma writing in News 18 – In 2019, newly elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa unveiled his grand vision for Sri Lanka,” Vistas of prosperity and splendor” within which he outlined a 10-year transition to fully organic farming in Sri Lanka.

Sudden Ban of artificial fertilizers neglecting consequences

What was shocking about it is after the the PM’s grand declaration in a few months all of sudden came other announcement of complete ban on the import of chemical fertilizers and agrochemicals. The food grain production was lowered resulting into inflation.

Chinese Angle

Economic Times says China ranks third among Sri Lanka’s creditors after Japan and the ADB and accounts for 10percent of the debt. Foreign loans built highways, airports and convention halls in the jungles which did not give any in foreign currency, said a lawmaker, Kabir hashim “Now we don’t have the dollars to pay them back the dollar loans. Critics cite a Chinese built port in Hambantota in the southeast as a prime example of official recklessness. It was built in the hometown of then President Mahinda Rajapaksa and paid for with 1.1 billion dollars in Chinese loans despite the plan having been rejected by an expert panel. Its promoters said Hambantota,on busy Indian Ocean shipping routes, would ease the burden on Sri Lanka’s main port in Colombo. But it failed to generate foreign revenue.

Beijing bailed out the port in 2017 by having a state owned company , China Merchants Group , buy a 99 year lease for 1.1 dollars billion. That includes land for an industrial plant. The deal gave Sri Lanka cash to repay Chinese banks but prompted accusations of official bungling gave a foreign govt. control of the port of the country. Chinese loans also paid for an international airport near Hambantota. Few airlines use it.

Fuel scarcity due to Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sri Lanka cannot escape the impact of Russian invasion of Ukraine on the fuel supply. It added to all out inflation of all commodities and scarcity of fuel. It has affected common man with severe impact on working resources resulting in slumping overall efficiency and commuting. Educational institutes, Government establishments were closed to ease the demand.

At last the ultimate sufferers – the people of Sri Lanka trying for their own welfare.

People of Sri Lanka turned into protesters and have to take reins in their hand to awaken the politicians of their slumber and needed, thrashed, wounded and even killed politicians. Now the terrified politicians are running and leaving their properties at the mercy of protesters who took control of even presidential palace also. They burned houses of politicians, attacked and vandalized their offices.

With the shortage of food and fuel and prices spiraling high the ruling elites are running for shelter and trying to save their skin and life from the angry mobs. But one must admit that there is honesty in the agitation and not even single news of vested interests reached here. The cash found in Rajapaksa’s palace, which was not a small sum in the tune of 17.85 million rupees was returned and now in the custody of a Colombo court bears testimony to the psyche of the protesters.

People’s power allowing nobody to escape their responsibilities

The protesting mob occupying presidential palace and government buildings was astonished at the lavishness and luxury enjoyed by politicians on the tax payers money. Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted to flee to Dubai and he has to face a standoff at the airport. Immigration officers at the airport refused to stamp his passport by going to his suite. He does not wish to go through public facilities fearing reprisal from other commuters at the airport. He stayed at the fortified houses and missed three flights overnight tells how frightened he is. He is ready to resign, ready to abandon all his political ambitions and want to save his life. Had he been sensitive enough to administer wisely, he would not have to face such threats to his life.

His youngest brother Basil was finance minister who resigned in April also faced a standoff at airport. He also wanted to run from his country. When he tried to travel as business traveler other passengers protested against his boarding the same plane. Looking at the angry passengers and their increasingly hostile reactions, he hurriedly left the airport and saved himself.

Nepotism

It seems that many of the Rajapaksas have their escape plans ready as they have dual citizenship of US. Favors and Nepotism was rampant as Gotabaya Rajapaksa – President, Mahinda Rajapaksa – Prime Minister, Chamal, Basil, Namal, Shashindra all enjoyed high posts and powerful portfolios in the ruling cabinet. Even chief of staff to Prime Minister was of Rajapaksa family. Indeed, nepotism was very high.

Hambantota , the native place of Rajapaksa wears a mocking testimony to the whims of the ruling elites. It has an international airport in their name, which is devoid of passenger flights. A dock developed with Chinese money hardly sees any ship docking there and a huge cricket stadium waiting for a match.

As per latest news Rajapaksa family members have already succeeded in leaving Sri Lanka. Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in Maldives. Emergency is declared in Colombo and all became very very uncertain. 

Importance of literacy of masses and real use of democracy to elect carefully

The Sri Lankan story is a sad story and a rude jolt to many countries. The precarious conditions Sri Lanka found herself should be analyzed carefully. This lesson should be learnt by countries where ruling politicians try to administer country without relevant experience and finer knowledge of Economics, Finance and technology. They hardly pay due attention to the warnings of experts regarding their policies. Many of these politicians impacted by popular decision syndrome without long term vision.

It is the responsibility of Prime Minister and President to carefully chose the ministers and allocate them portfolios which they believe they can handle properly. But what is commonly observed in many governments and many autocrat lead countries is the uncomprehending and uncompromising working style of cabinet ministers. They are more or less incompetent and kith and kin of ruling masters. It is no wonder that the decision or policy made by these adamant politicians affect millions of lives and propel their lives in dire straits.

These ministers are political heavy weights elected on strong mass support just like their leaders. Their political career is nurtured carefully on the basis of close relations with leaders, their political support, representation of clans, caste, religion etc. Many a times these newly elected members found lacking in sound knowledge of finance, history, foreign policy culminating in partial of faulty decision making. Many of this lot, promoted as promising new face on political horizons found busy in filling their own coffers. They hardly pay any attention to the conditions of ordinary citizen and their woes.

Countries which are ruled by selfish autocrats and power hungry, feigning democrats in ultimate turn become pawns in the international politics. They are influenced by, or out rightly purchased and exploited by other powerful countries.

The hapless flight of Sri Lankans is shrouded in uncertainty. Nobody is sure of how to clear the debts and free the nation. International aid is coming forth but with a price tag on it imposing further sanctions on expenses, taxes and free living. The chances of more misery are quite high.

For approaching times to Sri Lanka, one should keep fingers crossed as nobody seems to predict correctly where this political, fiscal anarchy would lead to.

Emerging manifestations of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Putin’s invasion – Emerging Manifestations

The end to Russian aggression in Ukraine is nowhere in sight with its scope increasing after sinking of Russian warship Moskva – The flagship of Russia’s  Black Sea fleet.

 Vulnerable Finland, Sweden and other Eastern European countries.

The blunt Russian nuclear threats to Finland and Sweden over membership of NATO spread shock waves in Europe and world. Finland has 1300 km border stretching with Russia. The longest than any other country and Sweden and Finland are adjoining countries. During  World War II, Russia seeing other countries engaged in war invaded Finland. Known as Winter War, Finland managed it to keep limited and didn’t allow it to blow in a full scale war by signing a treaty in 1940. It ceded with some land to Russia to maintain peace. Finland assumed a neutral stance officially, thereafter and didn’t join NATO and remain aloof in cold war days. However, after disintegration of USSR , Finland joined European Union in 1995.  After seeing the fate of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden are frantically trying to join NATO. Russia may not have dared to invade Ukraine had Ukraine been admitted to NATO earlier. The countries bordering Russia’s European side are worried and nervously watching the war in Ukraine. Being vulnerable, these European countries find solace in the  clout of European Union, NATO and US. If Finland and Sweden joins NATO, this will be one of the distinguished strategic consequence of the Ukraine war which will bring NATO even more closer to Russia.

The Scenario

The crux of the present Ukraine war is also lies with Ukraine gravitating towards EU and NATO after gaining independence from USSR. And, Russia was since long back working behind curtain to ensure that Ukraine remains under its influence.

Recently, Wall Street Journal published a podcast conversation with former U.S. Secretary Robert Gates. Gerry Baker was the moderator. Robert Gates said that the Russian invasion was Putin’s realization that Ukraine was drifting to the West steadily. In 2014 the Russian puppet government in Kiev led by Yanukovych had nothing to do with NATO. Putin offered 16 billion dollars to Yanukovych to not to join EU. When Yanukovych’s government was toppled, Crimea was invaded. Ukraine was drifting to the West steadily, year by year, economically and also in terms of its security relationships, even as not being a member of NATO. Ukraine’s security forces were increasingly being trained by Europeans and Americans. They were getting equipments from the Europeans and the US.

Gates think that Putin’s determination to ensure that Ukraine remained within the Russian orbit really is the root cause of this invasion and the atrocities that we’re seeing. Gates also says that West and the US have not the same sense of realism that it realized with China while dealing with Russia. The invasion of Ukraine was a cold shower of reality that awakened the Europeans, and to lesser extent the US, to the reality of Russia as a hostile and a disruptive force disrupting peace and stability in Europe.

So the invasion really has been a wake up call that lets people know we’re dealing with a global phenomenon of authoritarianism, and that there needs to be a global strategy in terms of how to deal with it on a global basis, not just with respect to China. He said that Both China and Russia have one common purpose, and that is to diminish American influence and power around the globe wherever and whenever they can.

China gets 15% of its energy from Russia. Chinese have public support to Putin but are being very careful to avoid getting caught up in the sanctions regime against Russia. Today there was a news piece that the Chinese are not signing any new oil contracts with Russia. They’re going to comply and fulfill the contracts they already have, but they’re not signing any new ones.

He also referred to Taiwan; his opinion is that China must have been astonished at the speed with which the West responded with severe economic sanctions, the unanimity of the West in applying those sanctions, and not just the West, but Japan and Australia and several Asian countries as well. He equated Ukraine invasion with a likely scenario with Taiwan and predicted that China will not do it. The losses incurring to Russia both militarily and in economic sanction are enormous. And, now with more and more military aid pouring in to assist the stubborn resistance Ukraine is putting up, the war may become an embarrassment with no way out to Russia. China must have summed up the situation and may not go for Taiwan.

About Nuclear and Biological warfare threats

When asked about Putin’s threat of use of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear admonitions, Gates responded that biological weapons are basically uncontrollable. You can’t limit where it goes. There is no apparent military value to the use of a tactical nuclear weapon or chemical weapons. Other than the Ukrainian forces in the East, there are no large military forces where you could have a strategic advantage gain, a strategic advantage by the use of a weapon of mass destruction. When it comes to nuclear weapons, the winds blow to the East. So anything they set off in Eastern Ukraine is going to end up in Russia.

The war is going to now be focused more o n the East, on the Donbas, and on the Black Sea coast. To keep Ukrainians off balance and to continue imposing more harm on Ukraine, Russians will continue their bombing and missile attacks on other parts of Ukraine to focus more on the East and on the Black Sea coast. Gates summed up by saying that We have to keep reminding the world what Putin’s original objectives were, which was replacement of the government in Kiev, Bringing all of Ukraine under Russian control, and making sure that Ukraine’s drift towards the West was halted, and that it became more of the Slavic core of Russia, including Russia itself, Ukraine, and Belarus. Ukraine would not formally cede any part to Russia and so the fighting will continue. Helping Ukrainians are Western allies and the US.

New Weapons to Ukraine

US president Joe Biden announced new military aid worth 800 million Dollars which consists of heavy artillery, Howitzers and drones. 72 155mm Howitzers with toeing vehicles, 144000 additional artillery rounds and more than 120 Phoenix Ghost drones will be supplied to Ukraine. The new battle field is Donbas. New York Times quoted that senior administrative officials believe that the next 4 weeks will shape the eventual outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine. These officials believe that with the right weapons and a continuation of the high morale and motivation displayed so far Ukrainian forces may might not only stop the Russian advance, but push it back. Biden also believes that we are in a critical window now of time. The US aid to Ukraine so far is now around 2 Billion Dollars. Other countries like Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey and Britain are also aiding Ukraine in arms supply.

Speak Softly and Carry a Large Javelin

The US president Joe Biden used the famous one liner from Theodore Roosevelt and said that the US would not disclose all the weaponry that it will be sending to Ukraine and refer the Roosevelt’s line of Speak softly and carry a large javelin. Biden very firmly said “He (Putin) will never succeed in dominating and occupying all of Ukraine, He will not – that will not happen.

Putin may not want entire Ukraine and conquering eastern Ukraine to have a continuous belt up to Crimea which is long annexed in 2014 might be his aim. But till that goal achieved he sure will continue bombardment to deviate and destabilize Ukrainian morale.

He will distract by continuing the threatening of Finland and Sweden, with Moldova thrown in the distraction will be complete for the West which is already guilt laden of NATO’s expansion and over Ukraine’s persistent efforts to join EU and NATO.

The Moldova connection

Moldova’s breakaway pro-Russia region of Transdniestria is constantly under watch for any escalation in tensions arising due to invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Reuters reported that the Moldova foreign minister Nicu Popescu said on Tuesday that Moldova is monitoring its breakaway pro-Russian region of Transdniestria for any sign of escalating tensions following Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Transdniestria is a narrow strip of land held by pro-Russian separatists that runs along the east of Moldova and comes to within about 25 miles (40 Km) of the Ukrainian port of Odessa. Reuters further reports that Russian troops are stationed there, despite repeated calls by Moldovan President Maia Sandu for them to leave.

The Transdniestria pro-Russian separatists fought a brief war with Moldova in 1992. Moldova declared its independence in 1991 after the disintegration of USSR. Transnistria occupies a narrow strip of land between the River Dniester and the Ukrainian border. It is internationally recognized as part of Moldova but effectively controlled by Russia. This was once a part of Romania and incorporated into the USSR in 1940. In June 2018m the UN General Assembly backed a call from Britain, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, and seven other countries for Russia to withdraw its troops from Transdniester. Moldova has called repeatedly for Russia to remove its troops from. Transdniester, which Russia has resisted, citing munitions depot in Cobasna. Any signs of tensions escalating in this region will be equated with further intrusion of spread of invasion by Putin.

On Friday, Deputy commander of Russia’s central military district quoted by Russian state news agencies  that Russia’s full control of South Ukraine can provide access to Transnistria. This would cut off Ukraine’s coastline and would land lock it. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also warned that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is just a beginning and Russia has plans to invade other countries too.

Back to Ukraine, Prime Ministers of Spain and Denmark met the Ukrainian President Zelensky at Kyiev and pledged to send more weapons. The Wall Street Journal reports that Ukraine asked 15 Billion Dollars in order to keep its economy in functioning state.

Mariupol & Azovstal Steel Plant

On Thursday Putin announced the liberation of city of Mariupol after nearly two months of fighting, demanding its trapped Ukrainian defenders be sealed into their underground last stand. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko who is not now in Mariupol told Reuters Putin alone can decide the fate of 100,000 civilians still trapped in the city. The Ukrainian fighters have made Azovstal Steel Plant their base. The steel plant has an area of 11 sq km. The plant dates back to 1930s. It consists of rail lines, warehouses, coal furnaces, factories, chimneys and tunnels. The Ukrainian soldiers used its ideal guerilla settings and established a base there. It has several floors underground and so cannot be bombarded. Putin wisely left it as it is and just blockaded it. He ordered his forces not to storm the factory complex, after his defense minister, Sergai Shoigu, said the Russian army was still fighting thousands of Ukrainian soldiers there. On Thursday US company Maxar Technologies showed a mass grave site just outside Mariupol containing more than 200 fresh graves.

Babi Yar

Boichenko labeled Russian actions as the “New Babi Yar” Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of massacres carried out by Nazi Germany’s forces during its campaign against the Soviet Union in World War 2. Nearly 34000 Ukrainian Jews were killed in the last week of September 1941.

On an accomplished note Putin on Friday spoke to European Union Chief Charles Michel. “All servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces, militants of the national battalions and foreign mercenaries who laid down their arms are guaranteed life, decent treatment in accordance with the international law, and the provision of quality medical care”. The EU President Charles Michel urged Putin to allow humanitarian access to the beleaguered Mariupol during Orthodox Easter.

A total of 5,133,747 Ukrainians have to leave their beloved country since the invasion and brutality of war. Ninety percent of them are women and Children.  Today, on Saturday,Russia attacked Odesa today with missiles claims it destroyed a terminal where foreign arms were stored.

The US President Joe Biden has categorically termed the atrocities uncovered in Ukrainian as ‘Genocide’

“I called it genocide because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian. The evidence is mounting, “Biden told reporter in Iowa in the second week of April. “We will let the lawyers decide, internationally, whether or not it qualifies,” he concluded. “But it sure seems that way to me.”

Damn you Mr.Putin: Angry Ukraine & world reacts.


  The world has concede Crimea to Putin. Now, not only Donetsk and Luhansk but entire Ukraine is at war. We are living in twenty first century and in these times the unimaginable is happening right in front of our eyes. Really unbelievable.

The political and strategic acumen of Putin,  though believed to be unparalleled,  now proved to be abnormal, hegemonic, autocratic and obsessed with unrealistic revival of bygone USSR era. Impaired distorted vision indeed. Both Russians and Ukrainians are of Slavic race but seldom united.

Ukraine is sovereign and independent country since the disintegration of then USSR in 90s. After his invasion of Ukraine an unabashedly blatant Putin threatens the world of unimaginable consequences never seen before if his aggression is interfered by other country. An oblique reference to use of nuclear weapons, perhaps. 

And, what the world will face! 86 Dollars worth barrel of Brent crude  rising to 105 Dollars, Sensex collapsing, inflation rising making life for poor difficult after recovering from the horrible pandemic. The United States and West imposed more sanctions whose consequences will be bored by common Russians.

More than 10 percent of wheat and corn of world is produced in Ukraine and exported to Middle East and African nations. Russia supplies natural gas to Europe. Many European companies have huge  stakes in Russia. The newly imposed sanctions will bereft bilateral trade with Russia. And, foremost of all a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be obliterated from world map with spilled innocent Ukrainian blood .
As the Russian army entered the Ukrainian capital Kiev and launched missiles, the Ukrainian exodus started. Many crossed over to Poland,  Romania and some even reached Germany. The brave Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is still in the capital and is not leaving the country. He is 44-years old, a comedian actor turned politician and elected President in democratically held elections with landslide win. He refused the US offer to evacuate him from his beloved country and instead requested US to give weapons to fight the enemy. He is lauded all over the world by his loyal patriotic and fearless demeanor. He is not staying inside secured in protection but roams the streets with soldiers. 

The US & West are imposing new sanctions on Russia. Perhaps the stringent economic sanctions may create an anti Putin sentiment in rich Russian business lobby. There were several anti war protests in Russia. Putin is asking the Ukrainian army and bureaucracy to overthrow the present government. Perhaps he wants to split government and army and put up a puppet government controlled from Moscow.

Meanwhile the international community is growing more vociferous in support of Ukraine. Putin’s directive to attack Kiev from all sides to effect a surrender galvanizing West to supply arms and ammunition to Ukraine.

Germany in major reversal of its  policy sending 5000 anti tank grenade launchers , Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Another set of sanctions against Russia is also coming up.

In another major move Russia will be cut off from global payment system of SWIFT. Its an international payment system used by banks all over the world. This mechanism helps international money transactions by authentication of exchanging Bank’s credibility. It may affect Rouble position.

Russia’s Central Bank will be targeted as it holds 630 billion Dollars in Central Bank  foreign currency reserves. This may prevent Rusdian President from using this money to support the invasion and the falling Rouble. A Chinese version of another global payment system is available and Russia may use it. It may further widen gap between Russia-China on one side and the west & the US on other.

Just in: Ukraine and Russia agreed for peace talks. The venue will be on the boundary of Belarus and not in Belarus. Meanwhile speculations are rife as Putin asked Russian Nuclear deterrent forces to be ready.  It may be a ploy to have the talks unidirectional. But the world, no more takes Putin lightly. Even a controlled nuclear attack can have severe fall-out endangering whole Europe. 

possibilities in peace talks MAY be …

1. Russians will retreat only after Donetsk and Luhansk are accepted as independent nations by Ukraine. And the retreat will be from Eastern part only. 

2.  Present government immediately resigns and men of choice from Russia take over. 

3. Present government took the responsibility of war. Agrees to not joining NATO  or EU.

4. Sanctions clamped by west should be relaxed or Russian presence on Ukrainian soil will going to remain there with a ready nuclear threat. 

According to the latest reports Rouble is already started to fall against American Dollar. Ot is fallen by an historic 30 percent. So the economic sanctions have started to work. For the pouring hundreds and thousands of Ukrainian refugees all the 27 European Union countries have thrown their doors wide open. The result of talks between Russia and Ukraine at the Border with Belarus is yet to come. But many political pundits don’t expect any positive outcome immediately. There are wide spread protests all over the world.  Germany witnessed a huge crowd of 200000 strong people supporting Ukraine in front of Embassy. In United Nations Security council Russia applied veto to negate army withdrawal in Ukraine so now it will be discussed in United Nation General Assembly where veto will not be effective. More or less it is appearing that Russia; no not Russia but Putin is becoming more and more isolated. The US may have some ace unproduced yet. The European Union has sanctioned billion Dollars worth arms to Ukraine. There are no news about exact measure of arms reached Ukraine.

The Ukrainian President has urged the European Union to make Ukraine its member immediately. This special appeal holds a lot of substance. Till date it is a war between Ukraine and Russia, if Ukraine becomes 28th EU country member then the war will be between EU and Russia.  It’ll also check the credibility of EU. Many still wonder why Ukraine is not a NATO and EU member. After 2014 annexation of Crimea, it could have been achieved easily. 

Many historical blunders seems to be stemmed from incapability of Intenational orgaizations, groups of countries with common principles and ideology. When Ukraine gain independence, there was a huge pile of nuclear arsenal. It was the legacy of the then USSR. In the bipolar world of cold war era the west and the US were watching the disintegration of the USSR and the rapidly sovereignty aquiring states after states of the USSR.  Western contries and US were trying to expand their influence and ideologies to these newly independence  declaring states from the USSR. Nuclear armed status of Ukraine was not feasible. So it was decided that it would be disarmed. The strong protective shield of newly formed country was dismantled. In turn all the three major powers the US, Uk and Russia had given security assurance to Ukraine. Many nuclear nukes were given back to Russia. Russia paid One Billion Dollars to Ukraine. The enriched nuclear Uranium is purchased by the US. It was a right move as the technical know- how about the nuclear arsenal and its maintenance were beyond the capacity of Ukraine. The another uncerainty about the expansion of NATO into newly formed countries and the insecurities it posed to Russia were assuaged by giving Non-expansion promises by NATO. Perhaps this is the crux of the present situation. An alarmed Russia about Ukraine being wooed by west to be admitted into NATO and EU and to have Western armies at its door steps ,unleashed the solution from its side in the form of aggression. 

Russia is resisting international community from imposing no fly zones or no firing restrictions and West obediently following it. 

WHY DONT INEFFECTIVE AND WEAK UNITED NATIONS PUT INTERNATIONAL PEACE KEEPING FORCE IN UKRAINE TO PROTECT CIVILIAN LIFE? SURELY IT MAY BE A LONG PROCESS BUT ALL THESE RULES WERE MADE BY HUMANS ONLY. ARE WE BECOMING SLAVES OF SYSTEM TO IGNORE THE SLAUGHTER OF FELLOW  HUMANS?\

Around 2 million Ukranians fled and took shelter in other countries. The others who couldn’t cross into became helpless, taking shelter into schools, theatres. In the bombarded cities there is scarcity of drinking water and electricity. Many people melted the snow to quench the thirst. Even the nuclear reactors were also assaulted. The US further sanctioned any oil import from Russia. 

My thoughts today. March 11, 2022

Its early morning. 6.03am. State Assembly elections results were announced on yesterday in India. Elections were held for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Goa and Uttarakhand states. The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party bagged four states except Punjab. The Pre-Poll surveys declared that there will be hung Assembly in Uttarakhand, Goa and may be in Punjab. But the speculations proved to be wrong and people gave a clear mandate in these states. Punjab witnessed single party win for Aam Aadmi Party while BJP emerged largest party in Goa, Uttarakhand to stake claims to rule. Uttar Pradesh – the largest state of India with 403 Vidhan Sabha seats clearly chose BJP with more than 270 seats. These results surprised every one. Many political pundits made forecast that UP elections will be a close contest between BJP, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. Samajwadi Party entered an alliance with BSP and Mulayam Singh’s son Akhilesh Yadav left no stone upturned in his campaign. The results showed that BJP’s seat tally reduced but marginally compared to last elections. Still the BJP manages to lead on 270 plus seats and SP managed to lead only 120 plus seats. BSP fared very poorly and couldn’t even achieve two digits score. Uttarkhand and Goa states also saw a surge of BJP. There were lot many events took place on national scene since the BJP came into rule in 2019. Many experts believe that last year’s farmers agitation will play a crucial role against BJP. But it is not reflected into election results. It is true that it is not easy to feel the pulse of people correctly.

TV channels searched frantically to find clues to explain the BJP victory. Though all unanimously selected Prime Minister Modi’s charisma to be the major reason, many tried to give credit to BJP’s constant and continuous preparations for elections, selection of candidates and money and muscle power. For example some TV Channel anchors referred to the seriousness with which the BJP start to plan and execute the campaign. When elections were declared in UP, Home Minister Amit Shah immediately arrived in Lucknow on next day and started planning while the other political party leaders jumped in their patry’s campaign very late. The anchors compared it to landing of paratroopers in the final phases of war . They likened it to the late burst on scene of Mayawati of BSP and Priyanka Gandhi of Congress. Some anchors attributed it to different common people helping projects started by BJP. Some contributed it to the down the line successful supply of rations during corona period.

Poetry

Words words and words.

Compose  empty castles of the words !

be-dew   passions in the colorful words

stuck it on the ashen face of paper !

 I feel vindicated. I am the lord of word

At my behest ,looms to run

As my whim on the paper!

You Fool!How did you forgot?

                                            when the clouds swell to the seam

then only it rains; just like that

when emotions swell  and try to burst

 then only words  rain

                                                   in the twilight of fading memories  

then only a poem lights on the wet horizon

The Begining

I wish to write and read to get motivated to write further.I am from India and would like to bring bits of daily life and routine to word press.Do not think It will be monotonous.The world is coming closer and may be we found some common thread to hang on further.