Part-2 of a two part article

We have noted in Part-1 of this article the key role assigned by RSS to Ram Madhav, a student of political science, inducted into BJP in 2014 when NDA-1, led by Modi arrived, to work on Kashmir and on foreign policy(FP) among other things.

India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order, said Ram Madhav in WION Global Summit in Dubai on March 5, 2020: It is time for a new Atlantic Charter: Environment, healthcare, technology and democratic liberalism can be its foundations.

(See Part-1 :Modi’s India Is For Moulding a New World Order !)

We shall see in this Part-2, the background of Atlantic Charter, Modi-Trump bonhomie, and democratic liberalism he mentioned. Not much is discussed about this in the media.

These are all manifestations of BJP’s anti-Left and anti-China politics, and of formal alliances with western imperialism, in particular Republican America and Trump.

It is simplistic, and an under-estimation, to call BJP a merely Hindutva-based, nationalist party; perhaps that would have been alright as long as it was a regional or a smaller opposition party in Delhi.

As a ruling party at the Centre, serving imperialism and comprador big business of India, it had to graduate and transform itself, even while retaining its roots.

Ram Madhav has been involved in that process of BJP’s  formal international relations with Rightist and Centrist parties.

www.livemint.com , 27 Feb 2016, reported:

“BJP had formally joined International Democratic Union, IDU, late in Feb 2016 …as a full member at its EC meeting in Colombo. Among others, the political parties in the IDU include the Conservative Party of the UK, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, and Republican Party of the US. John Key, PM of New Zealand and the chairman of IDU, and Ranil Wickremesinghe, PM of Sri Lanka and chairman, Asia Pacific Democrat Union (APDU), along with representatives from more than 30 countries welcomed BJP into IDU. Both said the joining of BJP, the largest party from the largest democracy in the world, will strengthen IDU in a significant way,” Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary, tweeted.

The IDU website proclaims that it is a working association, formed in 1983, (with the initiative of George Bush, Republican Party of USA, then Vice-President, under Reagon ), of over 80 political parties of the centre and centre-right from over 60 countries. They seek to “speak with one strong voice to promote democracy and centre-right policies around the globe,” the website states.

 

The Diplomat, Feb 27, 2016, also reported it and added:

“ The move by the BJP firmly aligns it with an internationally recognized ideological position and should (help) shed whatever lingering doubts there existed about whether it was actually far right or theocratic in nature. It also roots India’s domestic politics in a wider, global web of party politics.”

It helps “ present a united front for the promotion of right-wing politics across the world.”

IDU has more members from the West, but a few more from Asia will likely join it. Parties from Taiwan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Mongolia are among its members.

              ***            ***

BJP as part of global web of party politics

We shall now see more about BJP as part of global web of party politics. Ram Madhav was in Indonesia in January, 2020. He addressed, on January 24, the Executive Committee Meeting (22-25 January 2020) of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI), held in Yogyakarta.The CDI is linked with IDU.

Sri Ram Madhav, Secretary General of BJP, addresses the CDI Eurasia Forum,on Jan 24. Seated on the far right is geopolitical analyst Dr. James M. Dorsey.

“The IDU has some overlap of membership with CDI (see below), which is more centrist and communitarian than IDU,” says Wikipedia.

CDI EC meet was hosted by Indonesia’s largest Islamic political party (PKB). The CDI was reported as the world’s most extensive political network that held its EC meeting in Asia for the first time in 15 years. BJP is also associated with CDI.

PKB, founded by Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the world’s largest Muslim organization, joined CDI little over a year ago as part of the CDI’s effort to expand its reach beyond (European and)  Christian democracy and NU’s advocacy of a humanitarian interpretation of Islam that encourages cooperation across political, ethnic and religious divides on the basis of a shared respect for human rights and international law.

(The wide scope of the meet and forces involved can be gleaned from the following. And BJP was represented there.)

The first session of the CDI Eurasia Forum, held on the afternoon of Thursday, January 23, was titled, “Western Humanism, Christian Democracy and Humanitarian Islam: An Alliance for the 21st Century.”

For more on this, visit Indonesian website:

https://baytarrahmah.org/2020_01_24_western-humanism-christian-democracy-and-humanitarian-islam/

Modi’s India Is For Moulding a New World Order, we said. We can see BJP’s views in Ram Madhav’s CDI speech.He said:

India (historically) had transmitted not only goods but also ideas and knowledge in the region.

Several regional forums like Eurasian Economic Union EAEU and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO have been formed in the region with a view to build an Eurasian coalition. Yet, they have not yet found proper rythm.

It is important to also not miss that part of the history of the region, which is largely known for colonialism of one kind or the other. Pax-Mongoliana to Pax-Sinica was interspersed with European colonialisation of the countries in Asia. In between happened the religious and ideological conflicts from crusades to fascism to communism to cold war. The hangover is still there.

Talk of 21st century Silk Route and non-existent Maritime Silk Route are further fueling these suspicions.

It is also a fact that the prime time for Eurasian union has passed. The global power axis has shifted to the Indian Ocean Region in the 21st century.

(https://www.rammadhav.in/speeches/executive-committee-meeting-of-the-centrist-democrat-international-cdi/)

It is notable that he seeks to equalise European colonialisation with Pax-Sinica; he avoids to mention Japanese militarism that caused almost three crores of casualties in Far East during WW-II. The anti-China axis is there for all to see.  

He had called for India to take a more “proactive role in the region” in order to check China’s One Belt One Road Initiative.

He authored several books in English and Telugu, with his latest one being Uneasy Neighbours: India and China after 50 years of war.

BJP’s association with CDI

He was involved in BJP’s association with Centrist Democrat International (CDI), which earlier until 2001 was Christian Democrat International (founded in 1961, CDU a ruling party of Germany, has been a key founding member).

Parties linked formally with religion is noteworthy. It had professedly christian political parties, linked with a religion,  most of them in Europe and Latin America to begin with, including about 12 erstwhile pro-Soviet East European countries.

CDI is basically a grouping of Right-wing and Centrist parties.  It has units in Cuba, MCL, Christian Liberation Movement, and in a few others of Latin America including Venezuela;  Kampuchea, Albania etc, once associated with Leftist ruling parties.

Later those with other faiths also were joined, and renamed as above. Presently it has units in 70 plus countries, with BJP and Ram Madhav as its EC Member from India.

(idc-cdi.com is one of its websites.)

Ram Madhav addressed the EC Meeting of (CDI) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on January 24, 2020. 

He spoke of challenges involved in building an abiding Eurasian alliance; mentioned EAEU, SCO etc, and said: Yet, they have not yet found proper rythm.

It is important to also not miss that part of the history of the region, which is largely known for colonialism of one kind or the other. Pax-Mongoliana to Pax-Sinica was interspersed with European colonialisation of the countries in Asia. In between happened the religious and ideological conflicts from crusades to fascism to communism to cold war. The hangover is still there.

West-East divide in Europe is still a reality in spite of the creation of the European Union and European Parliament. Russia still has its empire and China its ambition. Arab world is plagued by terrorism and internecine conflicts. Unilateral initiatives in the name of trade and development are leading to suspicions about resurgence of neo-colonialism. Talk of 21st century Silk Route and non-existent Maritime Silk Route are further fueling these suspicions.

Thus he sees not only European colonialisation in Asia, but also Pax-Mongoliana to Pax-Sinica, almost on par, but did not mention Japanese militarism.

On May 3 he spoke to ANI about India’s leadership role in the new world order post COVID-19, and with an anti-China wedge:

“The way PM Modi is handling the situation, it is being appreciated by the world. It has also enhanced India’s prestige in the world.

“We have supplied medicines to 80 plus countries during this pandemic. We are a leader in healthcare, we are leader in the pharmaceuticals, in IT services and we are a model of vibrant and liberal democracy for the entire world. PM Modi has been championing the cause of climate change and environmental issues. I am sure India will have a great role to play in the new world order that will emerge post COVID-19…”

“The complaint or the accusations against China are about its lethargy, it’s deliberate withholding the information … and allowing this virus to cross its borders and creating an havoc. Definitely, fingers are being raised at China for this. The origin of this coronavirus is yet a subject of intense debate in the world as there is no proof or evidence to come to any conclusion at this juncture,” he said.

He wants the world to forget India’s poor ranking in several parameters of HDI, more so healthcare and public health. Despite advances post-1947, in the global context of mortality rates, India ranks 151 and 130, respectively in IMR and MMR.

Crores of children and women are admittedly victims of chronic anemia and malnutrition; about 5 lakh children aged below 5 die of water-related diseases yearly.

And forget about valid charges of a police state in India made by ex-Judges, top ex-IAS, IPS, and army officers.In fact some of them were themselves victims of the same: jailed, tortured, and framed up in sedition cases, which are hundred in number. Thousands of extra-judicial killings (notoriously called fake encounters), of missing persons (disappearances), and of political prisoners, in India, even outside Kashmir; scores of lynchings — all of which were taken note of by the Supreme Court and NHRC that are part of the State machinery itself.

Supreme Court former judge Justice Markandey Katju, who is known to speak his mind, leads the voices criticising the police. “Justice AN Mulla of the Allahabad High Court, in a judgment, said ‘I say with all sense of responsibility, there is not a single lawless group in the whole of the country whose record of crime comes anywhere near than that of the organised gang of criminals known as the Indian Police Force,” Katju hit out against the police officers engaged in the Hyderabad encounter.

Terming the Friday killings a clear case of “fake encounter”, Katju cited Prakash Kadam vs Ramprashad Vishwanath Gupta case, in which an SC bench presided over by him held that in cases of fake encounter, the policemen concerned must be given death sentence.

BJP’s Political and Geopolitical Agenda for India

That is the title of an important speech he delivered on 13 August 2019, soon after NDA-2 led by Modi arrived. It is turning crisis into opportunity, as Modi famously said, but not new.

It was organised by Gateway House in Mumbai (GHM), which has a major think tank, Indian Council on Global Relations, established in 2009, whose endeavours , it says, began in New York, at the Council on Foreign Relations. GHM says : Indian business had been leading diplomacy for over a decade, but had never leveraged that strength.

The old reticent and romantic India is no more…We are loved by many; hated by some, but can be ignored by none, Ram Madhav said on one occasion. At GHM he said:    .

Many people wanted to know what would Modi 2.0 look like? It is two things. At one level, it will be a continuum….(then) new challenges, domestic as well as international :

Domestic challenges : besides Kashmir, very ambitious goals for our economy… reaching $5 trillion in the next 5-7 years. 

Internationally, he refers to Modi’s India “playing a more proactive role in global affairs.” He mentions Modi’s maiden UN address, and joint statement with President Obama in 2014. The latter, he says:

…had one important sentence that talked about India’s ambition to play a proactive role in world politics. Probably for the first time, an Indian leadership had publicly articulated this ambition to rise as an ‘influential and responsible global power’. This was the exact phrase used – ‘influential and responsible global power.’…we wanted to play a proactive role in the welfare and well-being of the entire world.  

He mentions NDA’s Act East diplomacy etc,(UPA initiated Look East Policy), Wuhan summit-1, and plan for Wuhan summit-2, and says:

Of late, we are paying more attention to our interests in the Indian Ocean Region… the global power axis has today moved closer to the Indo-Pacific region.(Earlier it was called Asia Pacific).

https://www.rammadhav.in/speeches/bjps-political-and-geopolitical-agenda-for-india/

PM Modi addressed an online summit of the NAM

That was on May 4. This is the first time he took part in a NAM meeting since 2014.

PM Modi attends a virtual Non-Aligned Movement summit Monday | Photo:ANI

NAM, a forum of which India was a key founding Member, is a forum of around 120 developing countries plus 17 observers, a very big forum, next only to UN in size. But Modi chose not to attend both summits of 2016 and 2019, though India formally continued in NAM.

Modi as PM was known to be very keen on foreign policy and foreign trips, so much so that it was being said that the Foreign Minister was reduced into a namesake. But he had avoided NAM.

Now Modi attended NAm to carry his pro-imperialist, pro-US and anti-China politics into a large group of third world countries.

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar who had attended NAM ministerial meet, in Oct 2019 called for ‘new configurations.  

NAM now held a Contact Group Summit, joined by over 30 other countries apart from WHO Chief. ‘United against Covid-19’, was the theme hosted by the current chairman of Azerbaijan.

Modi’s association with NAM is indicative of the presumed pro-active global leadership role of NDA-2, more so in the wake of Covid-19.

The PM used the occasion for a veiled shot at Pakistan: while some countries “organise military drills”, India organises disaster management drills in the region and beyond.

India in recent past participated actively in video conferences etc. of multi-lateral fora like G20, BRICS, SCO May 13, SAARC. It is a demonstration of the policy of global role of India, and turning crisis into opportunity, as stressed by the PM.

Modi’s India Is For Moulding a New World Order, we said in Part-1 of this article. Environment, healthcare, technology and democratic liberalism can be the foundations of a new world order. All these can be seen in Modi’s remarks at NAM:

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the limitations of the existing international system and highlighted the need for a new template of globalisation based on fairness, equality, and humanity.

“India accounts for one-sixth of humanity. We are a developing country and a free society. During this crisis,  we have shown how democracy, discipline, and decisiveness can come together to create a genuine people’s movement.”

“We need international institutions that are more representative of today’s world. Such as the International Day of Yoga, to improve the physical and mental well-being of all humanity. Such as the International Solar Alliance, to help our planet heal from the disease of climate change,” the prime minister added.

There was also an element of turning crisis into opportunity,  in the NAM speech:

Talking about India’s global role in providing assistance, the PM said, India provided medical supplies to over 123  countries, including 59 of NAM, notwithstanding its domestic requirement…India is regarded as a pharmacy of the world, especially for affordable medicines,” he said. (PTI)

We may recall India’s role in arms export.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on October 18 last:   “We are now gradually becoming an export oriented defence industry and our defence export which currently range in the region of just about Rs 11, 000 crores annually is set to grow to approximately Rs 35,000 crores by the year 2024.”

“Deft balancing act by India”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on May 13 Wednesday took part in a video-call with his counterparts from China, Russia and Pakistan among others to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and coordination of efforts to deal with its consequences.

This comes two days after India participated in a video call with the US, Australia and Japan among others to discuss “transparency and accountability in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and in addressing its causes”.

This deft balancing act by India, wrote indianexpress.com,   in a span of three days gives a sense of Delhi’s approach in dealing with the two blocs – US-led and China-led groupings – as both battle each other on the world stage over the pandemic.(May 14,2020).

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jaishankar-discusses-coronavirus-pandemic-with-sco-ministers-6408805/

India notably used fora including NAM and SCO for its anti-Pak agenda, ostensibly in the name of countering terrorism.

Projection of democratic liberalism Vs Reality

Illiberal policies back home is the new normal today. Continued detention of intellectuals and fresh arrests of JNU and other student leaders, on foisted cases, and of political leaders (including ex-CMs) in Kashmir, and denial of bails are quite common now. And these at a time regular prisoners are sent out on parole etc.

Sedition cases against scores of people across the country, suppression of dissenting voices and media have become the order of the day.

Hundreds of people are killed in fake encounters, more so in UP and JK. The Supreme Court had given detailed guidelines on extra-judicial killings, notorious as (fake) encounters in India, on September 23, 2014, to NDA-2, not to speak of earlier one including in 2016 and NHRC in Feb 2018

Anti-Muslim frenzy and violence have become so common that the Supreme Court had given guidelines on July 17, 2018 on how to act on lynchings, and again issued notices to the Centre and at least 10 states on July 27, 2019, regarding their implementation.

Journalists and social activists protest in Ahmedabad, September 6, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Amit Dave/File Photo, against the killing of Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist.

The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF)recently in March, 2020, said that harassment of journalists in India typically included social media insults, calls for rape and death threats. India now is a topper in Cyber-Censorship too. “India is the country that most uses Internet shutdowns – a total of 121 in 2019”, it said, and not only in JK.

More than 4600 intellectuals, including jurists, top bureaucrats,writers and media persons recently condemned the UP govt. for framing up a false criminal case against Siddharth Varadarajan , senior Editor. It indicates the wide-spread perception of media freedom in India.

Over 200 Serious Attacks on Journalists in India Between 2014-19 were listed in another earlier Report.

Re-calibration of anti-Muslim frenzy

BJP’s anti-Muslim frenzy, linked up and re-invigorated with Covid-19, and mischievously pushed through facile Covid data by Health Ministry, was noted and damned not only by OIC, Malaysia and others, but also by the West, even by Trump’s America.

The carefully cultivated facade of India being “a model of vibrant and liberal democracy for the entire world” was torn to pieces.

It was in that context Modi belatedly said: Virus makes no distinctions of creed etc. It is common for him and BJP to say such things after allowing rabid anti-Muslim politics.

Even RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat said : “If some people, out of fear or anger, refuse to follow the guidelines, it shouldn’t lead to blaming of their entire community”. He also decried efforts to create a wedge between the communities by cautioning, “Some people will use this anger to divide the nation.

Quoting Bhagwat and Modi, some damage control was attempted. Ram Madhav wrote an article, India is safe for all Indians, across all faiths.  (Hindustan Times, May 01, 2020. Ironically the disclaimer was there, Views expressed are personal, perhaps not to displease a core constituency!) BJP’s Hindutva is modern, rational – that was the message he tried to convey:

Just as Maulana Saad doesn’t represent all Muslims, a few rants against Muslims don’t represent Indian society…

(some forces)spearheaded the anti-enlightenment campaign and become anti-West and anti-modernity. The West and modernity are not the same. But traditionalists continued to reject both because they are seen as going against their belief of the omnipotence of god. Such orthodoxy can be found in eastern religions too…

In the present coronavirus pandemic context, I am invoking this to highlight “God will save us” propaganda of some ill-informed religious leaders.

The challenge today is not in tracking down Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, the head of the Tablighis…The real challenge is to encourage an unknown number of participants at the Markaz event in March who are hiding in different places, including in some mosques, to come forward..

But he blurted out, citing opposition in relation to Article 370, CAA etc:

 Unfortunately, we also face a challenge from a growing breed of “Modiphobes”. Many of them are Indian…

This is because they are blinded by their hatred for Modi and so attempt to build a false narrative. And many well-meaning people end up falling for this.

Thus it is not a question of defeating BJP in polls, which they manipulate.  Even if and where they are defeated, they manage through devious means.   Congress is no match to the BJP in any way, and can not be relied upon;  even lifelong ex-liberals did  not hesitate to  be turn-coats.

Congress committed all the sins, BJP reminds people time and again, with irrefutable facts, including corruption, crony capitalism, communal politics and riots ( in JK, Turkman gate, anti-Sikh progrom); police-military state with fake encounters tortures etc; manipulation and suppression of  universities, media, judiciary etc …and their  Emergency of 1975-76 is yet to be surpassed.

There should be more calibrated and objective exposure of :  their claims of Indian nationalism bringing out their formal political links with and subservience to imperialism, more so USA; their facade of Swadeshi to cover up their service to Big Compradors and crony capitalists ; their formal commitment to rule of law and liberal politics even while breaching all cannons of justice; their sophistication in anti-Muslim politics ; their claims of co-operative federalism even while more and more of Centralization, now facilitated in the name of Covid-19 etc.

A consistent exposure and struggle to win the hearts and minds of people is what is needed. And this cant be done merely through electoral politics and media shows. Much more painstaking work in the masses of people is needed to educate and stir them into action for basic change, and nor merely for  substituting the oppressors. 

(The author is a political observer who contributed to Contercurrents.org)


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