This is Part-1 of a two-part article.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth address on Covid-19, of around 1500 words and 30 minutes, May 12, was focused on a call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, a campaign for self-reliant India, and a stimulus package worth Rs 20 lakh crore (10 % of GDP).
Underlying his speech, however, there was a message of global role of India, and turning crisis into opportunity. Referring to the situation of the world in crisis, before and after Covid-19, he said :
Today, we must strengthen our resolve …When we look at these two periods from India’s perspective, it seems that the 21st century is the century for India. This is not our dream, rather a responsibility for all of us.
This theme has been there, and is being promoted. Though he stressed self-reliance, he qualified : “India does not advocate self-centric arrangements”; it envisaged cooperation and peace of the world.
We focus on how Modi’s india has been working on these aspects below:
Even as we the mortals of India are drowned in the mortal fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the people are fed scary news about it 24×7 by all media and channels, with PM Modi as the saviour, projected like Go-vardhan Giridhaari, the BJP thinkers were discussing a larger and lofty question of a new world order, post-covid-19, in international fora. Let us see at some length what is going on and why.
India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order, is the title of an article by Ram Madhav, BJP national general secretary, and Director, India Foundation, a think tank of RSS.
The article in fact was originally : Text of Shri Ram Madhav’s Address on “India and the Emerging World: Nationalism, Multilateralism and Creative Diplomacy” at the WION Global Summit in Dubai on March 5, 2020.
Ram Madhav, the WION, and the Summit
It is worthwhile to know a little about them.
Ram Madhav is from Andhra, has been a full time RSS member since 1981, when he was hardly 17. He is a key RSS functionary lent to BJP in 2014, when NDA-1 led by Modi came to power in Delhi. He became one of its all India General Secretaries. He has several tasks assigned by RSS, including as an editor of several RSS publications, its English journal Bharatiya Pragna, and Jagriti (Awakening), Telugu weekly. He was PM Modi’s task master for Kashmir, and also in foreign affairs of BJP. More about him later.
It will be useful to know a little about the organizers, WION, the sponsors of the Global Summit in Dubai.
WION-World is One- is a recent (2016) TV channel, a successor to Zee News English, part of Zee Media Group ,owned by the Goenkas, led by Subhash Chandra Goenka, who in his autobiography (The Z Factor) mentions his association with RSS in his younger days. And Zee Group is by now well-known for its ultra nationalism, jingoism with anti-Pakistan and anti-China, and anti-Muslim frenzy,and brazenly pro-Modi. It is like the Fox News for America, notoriously and brazenly pro-Establishment, now pro-Modi.
WION is launched with the aim of reaching global audience with an Indian (i.e., Indian Big Business) point of view, and world news to Indian viewers, said Punit Goenka. The group is well linked with Ambanis and Adanis in various ways.
Why a speech of March 5, was published or reported much later in April? Why in Dubai? What and why is the new world order, and “A new line of action” for that ? These questions need some pondering over.
In fact, this article was published in several leading media outlets of various languages. And this theme was promoted in other forms too. For example in hindustantimes.com,(HT) April 14, 2020, with the title : Covid-19 and the contours of a new world order| Analysis. HT is one of the largest circulated English dailies of India, owned by Birlas, with sister publications in Hindi etc.
It was posted in the blog, rammadhav.in, on 30 April 2020, with the title A new line of action, and a telling tag line : India has arrived. It was marked as : unedited version, of course with the usual disclaimer: Views expressed are personal.
A new world order, a new Atlantic Charter, in collaboration with US and Germany
The title of the article published in indianexpress.com, Updated: April 30, 2020 was: India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order. It has an end note saying it appeared in the print edition the same day under the title “A new line of action” ; thus the new line is amplified in the modified title given above.
The penultimate para of the Express article runs thus:
In the unfolding new world order, India, along with countries like America and Germany, can play a pivotal role in building a world based on “human-centric development cooperation” as suggested by Modi. It is time for a new Atlantic Charter: Environment, healthcare, technology and democratic liberalism can be its foundations.
Critics assert the Indian state has been representing, in practice, anything but democratic liberalism. But we will not go into that now. We confine to what Modi’s India, and BJP are working for.
These efforts by Modi’s India are made at a time when discussion has been going on a post-Covid world order. It is inseparably linked with an anti-China tirade across the world, more so in the USA and the West, with a shrill coordinated campaign in India and its media.
India can play a pivotal role, it amplifies, along with countries like America and Germany.
Mark the choice of the countries.Why not mention some others? What is common and well-known is US and Germany are countries with Presidential form of government. But there is more to it.
After all Modi regime is no less than Presidential, more so with post-Covid centralization of power, all the more beefed up by financial packages and stimuli, the latest being a huge Rs. 20 lakh crore. The 1897 Colonial Act now invoked, among others, provides statutory and legal foundation to it.
Anti-China pivot, together with US and Germany
This penultimate para is followed by this conclusion :
China has an opportunity today, even as it faces opprobrium globally and unrest within the country. The Chinese Communist Party has a phrase, “Luxian Douzheng” or line struggle. It means power struggle for some, but it also denotes the struggle for a new party line. There were several in the past. Can the world hope for a better one now?
Thus BJP-Modi’s India desires a new line not only for India – it is their prerogative to propose one as a political party-but also presumably a new line for China!
What does it imply? It is widely accepted that the present Xi Jinping regime is leading China in a way envied by the West, and welcomed by many in the third world. Lot of concern has been expressed in India that China has won friends even in Souh Asia, presumed to be India’s back-yard. They conveniently forget that the region is geographically a neighbour of China too.
In the event, what is meant by a new line for China? Said or unsaid it implies a regime change; even if that is wishful thinking, it pleases the bosses in US and the West : It is time for a new Atlantic Charter.
It is in this context the new line of action assumes importance: India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order.
It is widely reported : President Donald Trump on April 27 Monday said he could bill China for the damages caused by the coronavirus epidemic to the United States and for a “lot more money” than the amount a German news publication has sought for Germany in a mock bill published recently.
“Germany is looking at things and we are looking at things,” Trump said Monday in response to a question from a reporter about a mock bill published last week by a German newspaper, Bild, seeking $141 billion (Euros 130 billion) from China for damages caused to Germany by the coronavirus.
“And we are talking about a lot more money than Germany is talking about,” Trump added.
Hindustan Times April 28 from Washington reported :
“…the American president has been seen escalating attacks on China to deflect criticism of his administration’ failure to respond aggressively to the crisis, stemming mostly from his own reluctance to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.”
But billing China for damages is among the many suggestions emanating from China hawks in the Republican party. Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, moved a resolution in March that seeks to hold China “accountable” for the pandemic and “design a mechanism for delivering compensation from the Government of the People’s Republic of China to all affected nations for the harm caused by its decision to hide the emergence and spread of COVID–19 during the initial weeks of the outbreak”.
Missouri, his state, has, in fact, sued China for damages.
(Indian bodies too filed a complaint in UNHRC, and claimed reparations, as reported below.)
Other punitive measures suggested by US lawmakers include withholding payment of debt owed to China, as proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally and adviser, and cut dependence on Chinese supply chains. Several legislation have been moved or are under process.
(India also followed up with a decision on restricting FDI by China.)
President Trump said that the US “can do something much easier than” the German mock bill. “ We have ways of doing things a lot easier than that,” he added.
The American president has also suspended US funding of the World Health Organization accusing it of helping China conceal the true extent of its infection…
theguardian.com, April 28, also reported this warning by Trump, who tried to impart a sense of urgency to the issue:
On Monday morning the White House announced that the day’s briefing was canceled, only to reverse the decision hours later.
At the briefing Trump launched another forthright attack on China, saying there were “a lot of ways you can hold them accountable” for the pandemic.
“We’re doing very serious investigations … We are not happy with China,” the president said…
“We are talking about a lot more money than Germany’s talking about.”
“We haven’t determined the final amount yet,” Trump said. “It’s very substantial.”
Earlier in the day the White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro, accused Beijing of selling “fake tests and counterfeit tests”.
theguardian.com report included China’s steps and response too:
After a series of controversial shipments, China’s government introduced strict rules last month which required all medical equipment and testing kits to be approved by the national medical products administration and registered before they were exported.
However, after some suppliers reportedly complained it was too difficult to get the domestic license required, the rules were scaled back on the weekend, with exports now only needing to meet the importing country’s standard.
One can see, above, the importers were not keen on stricter rules, which China began to implement last March itself. However, the importers, including those in the US and the West, were for urgent and plenty of supplies of test kits, reeling under the pandemic, unable to cope with pressure not only on hospitals but also mortuaries.
Anti-China tirade was suspended for a while, Trump made a personal call to Xi Jinping, and requested urgent Chinese medical supplies and kits. And they entered into scores of private deals, as China pointed out, through business channels, obviously with an eye on quick money. But soon the tirade was resumed.
theguardian.com report went into the Chinese response and added:
US criticism of China has intensified over the past week. Over the weekend Politico published details of a 57-page Republican party attack memo, which advised candidate to aggressively target Beijing in their public remarks on the pandemic.
China has reacted strongly, denying any cover up over the virus. An editorial in the state-backed Global Times on Monday said “China’s achievement in the fight against Covid-19 is way better than that of the US”.
“It is the urgent political need of the Republican-led government to pass the buck to China for its own failure to contain the outbreak, so as to win the upcoming election,” the editorial said.
“This is a life-and-death matter, so it would spare no effort to smear China and mobilise all possible public opinion forces to do so to cover its selfishness.”
India, admittedly a close natural ally of US, also escalated its anti-China slander, as Counter currents reported, on corona test kits etc. India’s ICMR also blamed “inaccurate results”, and canceled the order of 15 lakh rapid anti-body test kits from China, which it had formally approved formally a few weeks ago.
Notably, it was in the same days as in US, April last week, though in India, the Delhi High Court exposed a massive 145% profiteering deal by Indian traders, which was followed by cancellation of the imports.
(Import Of Chinese Test Kits Canceled By ICMR : The Story Behind)
Covid-19 a bio-weapon, say jurists, file complaint against China in UNHRC
That is the title of report April 4, 2020 by business-standard.com :
The London-based International Council of Jurists and All India Bar Association have filed a complaint against China in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for committing grave offences against humanity by unleashing COVID-19 on the world.
The council is an international body of senior legal practitioners, headed by Adish C. Aggarwala, who also happens to be the chairman of the All Indian Bar Association.
The petition filed against People’s Republic of China, the People’s Liberation Army and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, alleged that the novel coronaviruspandemic was a “conspiracy” “aimed at catapulting itself to the position of a superpower of the world and undermining other countries through biological warfare.”
China must be asked to adequately compensate the international community and member-states, particularly India, for surreptitiously developing a biological weapon capable of mass destruction of mankind throughout world, the petition said…(and also ) by hiding information regarding the contagion…etc
The global body of legal practitioners said China was legally liable under the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, 2001. The petition was filed by Aggarwala.
theprint.in, reported the same news on 4 April, 2020, and gave the background of the petitioner, Aggarwala, close to PM Modi:
Incidentally, Aggarwala is the co-author of a coffee-table book titled ‘Narendra Modi: A Charismatic & Visionary Statesman’. The foreward of the book was written by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The book was launched on 17 September 2018 on PM Modi’s 68th birthday. It claims to present an ‘objective’ picture of PM Modi, who the authors said, “successfully left the spectre of the Gujarat riots of 2002 behind to rise like a phoenix in spite of much adversity and court battles”.
The complaint stated it has been submitted on Aggarwala’s behalf and also on behalf of the ICJ and AIBA.
In 2016, Aggarwala had represented a petitioner before the Delhi High Court, seeking immediate arrest of five Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, Umar Khalid etc ..who were accused of raising anti-national slogans. This plea was, however, dismissed.
In fact, it may be added, the book has Forewords and messages by a whole galaxy of BJP leaders and cabinet Ministers Nirmala Sitaraman, Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Jawadekar, Piyush Goyal, CMs Yogi Adityanath of UP and Manohar Lal Khattar of Haryana , RSS leader Indresh Kumar, besides business magnate, Baba Ramdev, of Patanjali group. .
The petition sought a direction from UNHRC to China to pay “exemplary damages to the entire world and in particular to India”, reported PTI, for its “ grave offences against humanity”, alleging a conspiracy of Beijing, to catapult itself as a super power. The petition invoked Article 25(1) OF THE Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (India Today, April 4)
A pro-estabishment think tank claimed credit for all this, and gave more details, also on coordination with US agencies:
India Drags China To International Court For COVID-19 War
With the above title, it was reported :
As a direct impact of extensive GreatGameIndia reporting on the sinister aspect of Coronavirus being manufactured as a biological weapon, now India has dragged China to international court for waging COVID-19 War.
Although no actual figure for compensation was mentioned in the complaint, according to an estimate by the Acuite Ratings & Research Ltd, India may lose $98 Billion due to Coronavirus lockdown with an average of almost almost $4.64 billion every day.
In addition to the Indian complaint, a $20 trillion lawsuit has also been filed against China for waging a Biological war in Texas Federal Court, alleging that it unleashed the coronavirus as a bioweapon upon the world….
He (Aggarwala) said that the neighboring country deployed the coronavirus virus in a bid to control the economy of the world by buying up stocks from countries that are on the brink of economic collapse.
Texas lawsuit for $20 trillion. which is more than even China’s GDP !
The Sunday Guardian, March 28, 2020,gave more details of the Texas law suit, and its Republican connection:
A substantial part of the allegations raised by Klayman in the 24-page suit is based on media reports, almost all of which have been sourced from reports carried by US media.
Responding to The Sunday Guardian’s query on whether the $20 trillion lawsuit, which is more than even China’s GDP, can be enforced even if he wins the class action suit, Klayman said that he was confident of winning.
“The damage claims include punitive damages…Chinese assets can be attached and liquidated as there are billions in US banks and investments,” he said.
Klayman, who also ran for the US Senate as a Republican candidate in Florida’s primary in 2004..During the administration of President Ronald Reagan, Larry Klayman was a prosecutor with the Justice Department.He heads a group Freedom Watch, one of the petitioners.
Now one can see the background and significance of Ram Madhav’s call for “A new line of action”, and his statement : India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order. It is to counter, what they say, China emerging a global leader post-Covid.
Klayman added in a statement, “There is no reason why the American taxpayer should, contrary to the establishment in Washington, D.C., have to pay for the tremendous harm caused by the Chinese government.
“The Chinese people are a good people, but their government is not and it must be made to pay dearly.”
This is a standard US alibi, and of those who seek a regime change anywhere : Ram Madhav, we saw above,was for a new line in China. And he tried to rope in Islamic countries too, by asserting:
Modi did not resort to any arbitrary or authoritarian measures though there were deliberate acts of provocation and misinformation like Islamophobia. In the face of such provocations, Modi displayed enormous equanimity, calm and optimism. He proved that democracies with visionary leadership can tackle such challenges without compromising on liberal values. (indianexpress.com)
That was in a Global Summit in Dubai, organized by the WION, the news channel, attended by a few dignitaries, from other countries, Islamic and others, including Sri Lanka and Israel.
TV channel WION, is being projected like VOA of the past, and is more like fox News of USA. And as is common now, WION stories are picked up by so many non-English channels across India, projecting how Modi has become a widely accepted world leader. This pet theme is circulated and repeated in so many versions that it is projected as the truth, Goebbbels formula being adopted.
Ram Madhav’s Dubai speech was posted on his blog, marking it as the unedited version.
It begins with a tag line: India has arrived.
The old reticent and romantic India is no more. Under Prime Minister Modi, India has emerged as a pragmatic and proactive nation… more importantly, we are an ambitious nation today. Our ambition is to rise as an influential and responsible global power.
The world in the 21st century is multipolar. India, with its 1.3 billion population, vibrant democratic institutions and a nearly $3 Trillion economy, the 5th largest in the world, is today an important pole. India is playing a key role with renewed confidence on the global theatre.
Covid-19 and the contours of a new world order| Analysis.
That is the title of another article by Ram Madhav, in hindustantimes.com, Apr 14, 2020. It is accompanied by this photo, given below, and notably its caption, picked up from the article.
(PTI) Photo with the caption : At a time when this post-Covid-19 world order appears to be in disarray, it will be tempting to expect Modi to don the Rooseveltian mantle and take the lead in building new global institutions.
The hindustantimes.com article significantly says :
In fact, one big realisation for countries from the pandemic has been that nationalism of the closed kind won’t work. Donald Trump’s “America first” nationalism didn’t work. He had to turn to China, India, and South Korea for supplies. A recurring theme of many a political scientist about American exceptionalism stands shattered today. Isolationists in all countries, including India, must realise that post-Covid-19 world will be more integrationist than isolationist.
Ram Madhav in it dwells on theories of multi-polar Vs hetero-polar world, and says:
It may be premature to predict the post-Covid-19 world order, but it can conclusively be said that we are moving into a hetero-polar world, with multiple State and non-State power players actively crisscrossing each other’s paths.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to lead India into that world after the pandemic. Modi described the situation as “World War-like”. That has catalysed the building of a narrative around World War II. Comparisons are being drawn between Modi and Franklin D Roosevelt, who led America into WWII.
India, true, has a big GDP and a huge market, despite its poverty, thanks to its huge population, and some degree of development led by a comprador big bourgeoisie, being junior and subservient partners of imperialists. But it lags very much behind in world rankings (Rank 120 to 150 or so) with respect to several parameters, it is well known. It is megalomaniac to make such claims.
But BJP pursues the projection of Modi regime :
Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav on May 2 said that India will play a greater role in the new world order that would emerge post COVID-19.
“The way Prime Minister Narendra Modi is handling the situation, it is being appreciated by the world. It has also enhanced India’s prestige in the world. It will help us in playing a greater role in the new world order that would emerge post COVID-19,” Madhav told ANI.
Madhav, a BJP General Secretary, also said that the world will have a totally different agenda after the fight against Covid-19 is over worldwide. “Healthcare is going to be a major global agenda. This issue is going to dominate the world,” he said.
He gave an indication of the agenda :
“The complaint or the accusations against China are about its lethargy, it’s deliberate withholding the information about deadly nature of this virus 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 endorses Trump, though is shy on the subject of alleged Chinese Lab origin of the virus, given that many countries and scientists, and the WHO do not subscribe to the conspiracy theory. However, he keeps it open : no evidence to come to any conclusion at this juncture.
The above explains the significance of “A new line of action”, and his statement : India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order.
Ramakrishnan is a media person