Modi Was Right, Time Is Not For War: Macron At UN

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right when he said that the time is not for war, France President Emmanuel Macron said at the ongoing 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

“Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India was right when he said the time is not for war. It is not for revenge against the West, or for opposing the West against the east. It is the time for a collective time for our sovereign equal states. To cope together with challenges we face,” he said.
This statement came in reference to PM Modi and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s conversation where the former said, “Today’s era is not of war and I have spoken to you about it on the call. Today we will get the opportunity to talk about how we can progress on the path of peace. India and Russia have stayed together with each other for several decades.”

Prime Minister spoke this during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand.

“We spoke several times on the phone about India-Russia bilateral relations and various issues. We should find ways to address the problems of food, fuel security and fertilizers. I want to thank Russia and Ukraine for helping us to evacuate our students from Ukraine,” PM Modi added.

Responding to PM Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he knows about India’s position on the Ukraine conflict and “we want all of this to end as soon as possible”.

“I know about your position on the Ukraine conflict. I know about your concerns. We want all of this to end as soon as possible,” Putin said.

“But the other party, the leadership of Ukraine has claimed… that they refuse to engage in the negotiation process. They said they want to achieve their objectives, as they say, on the battlefield militarily. We will keep you abreast of everything that is happening over there,” he added.

“The rare reproach showed the 69-year-old Russian strongman coming under extraordinary pressure from all sides,” the Post said.

Putin said that relations between Russia and India are in the nature of a privileged strategic partnership and continue to develop very rapidly.

“We are actively engaging at international platforms. We are in discussion on international issues. Sometimes these issues are something that is not very good news…,” he said. (ANI)

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Pak Floods Puts Education Of 3.5 MN Children In Jeopardy: UN

Following the visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Pakistan to extend support to flood victims, the United Nations released a report on Friday and said that the natural disaster had interrupted the education of nearly 3.5 million children in the country.

Th UN report further stated that floods have also added to the miseries of refugees as nearly 800,000 refugees live in districts officially notified as ‘calamity hit’ in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, turkey-based media Anadolu agency reported citing the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In Sindh alone, According to the report, over 1.2 million hectares of agricultural land have been damaged in Sindh whereas over 1.5 million houses have been destroyed by flood waters, the report said.

The report also added that 1,460 health facilities were affected by the heavy rains and floods, reported Anadolu agency.

As per the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the devastating floods in Pakistan killed 1,391 people since June 14.

“Standing water continues to cover vast swaths of the country,” the report said, citing satellite-detected water extents mapped by the United Nations Satellite Centre.

The mapping indicated preliminarily that at least 75,000 square kilometres (28,957 square miles) of land in Pakistan, the report added.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who was on a two-day visit to Pakistan said, “I have seen many humanitarian disasters in the world, but I have never seen climate carnage on the scale of the floods here in Pakistan,” at a press conference in the port city of Karachi after witnessing the worst of the damage in southern Pakistan.

UN chief on Saturday visited several areas of Pakistan ravaged by floods, calling for increased global financial support at the end of a two-day trip aimed at raising awareness of the disaster.

Pakistan receives heavy — often destructive — rains during its annual monsoon season, which is crucial for agriculture and water supplies. But the heavy downpour this year has created havoc in the country, while rapidly melting glaciers in the north have for months heaped pressure on waterways.

Record monsoon and heavy floods in Pakistan have given rise to hunger and various illnesses which have affected 33 million people and the experts believe that the situation would aggravate in the coming days as the flood affectees are forced to live under the sky depriving the required resources.

Huge areas of the country are still underwater and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Pakistan is facing one of the worst flooding events in its history. The human and socio-economic toll is expected to increase as flood levels continue to rise, with immense pressure on the country’s dams.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department said that it was the wettest August since records began in 1961. National rainfall was 243 per cent above average. In the province of Balochistan, it was +590 per cent and in Sindh +726 per cent, according to the monthly report. (ANI)

LONG VIEW: The Time For A Global Plural Alliance

International norms and the international rule based order are based on the universalist ideology of a liberal western civilisation and its Westphalian State history, with little accommodation let alone coexistence of alternative ideological or philosophical positions or dynamics. This has caused tensions but more importantly a situation where the tools for mediation and resolution of conflicts, or of arbitration and institutionalisation of diversity are imperfect in international institutions such as the United Nations. It restricts all efforts to be compliant within options consistent with the paradigm of an interpretation of liberalism with no scope to negotiate as equals or with respect for alternatives.

The current ideology in international institutions, international law and international relations assumes axiomatic universal paradigm status.  This means all alternatives are considered in need of correction, reform or improvement relative to the ideal liberal ideological values, norms and principles. This approach permeates all of the institutions of United Nations as the body has institutionalised liberalism within all its organs and treaties.

The consequences of this is two-fold. It militates against nature’s propensity towards diversity and plurality. Secondly it restricts the flexibility of the first article of the United Nations Charter as it cages the scope of activity within a paradigm that assumes hegemony and preference as well as the reference against which possibilities for peace are explored.

The first contradiction is indeed axiomatic. Nature is not universalist. Gravity may be one of the most fundamental force but there are also anti-gravity forces. There is matter but also dark matter and anti-matter. There is the physical universe with its laws but there are also black holes. The range of vegetation, species and life forms is phenomenon. Life needs oxygen but there are others who thrive on its lack. Most species need light, but there are others that are destroyed by light. Most species need warmth but there are others that thrive in sub-zero temperatures. The list is endless. The number of species is almost endless. Some animal species, such as elephants are highly social, matriarchal and collectively look after their young. Others like lions are highly patriarchal and kill the young offspring of male lions they have ousted from the family. Some like wild dogs work in packs and have a hierarchical system, while others like bears are highly individualist and territorial about their hunting ground. Even within species there are variants. Some apes and monkeys have rigid hierarchical cultures that rook no challenge while other like the bonobos have a very cooperative culture. Nature is certainly not universalist. The UN and international institutions are universalist.

Similarly human society and its civilisations have evolved over many centuries and thousands of years in different ways. Some have a strong sense of individual sovereignty while others have complex systems of filial responsibilities or family orientated cultures with duties and obligations. Legal systems also vary among civilisations as do concepts of rights, duties, obligations and responsibilities. Some cultures are hierarchical and both comfortable and strong with such systems while others have high levels of consensus among members before decisions are made. Like nature, human society is not governed by a single set of value systems, legal instruments or political orders. There are some extraordinary and somewhat unrealistic assumptions in some of the treaties of the UN that all of human kind seeks the same set of freedoms, values, rights and life ambitions. This is a universalist assumption that crushes diversity of perspectives and contradicts nature’s propelling tendency towards diversity and pluralism.

Universalism is the presumption that a group of individuals or communities can identify what is fundamental to all human beings and how that can be achieved. While the struggle to live and have dignity is natural to all life, the route to realising this is not necessarily universally through a regime of rights. In some species and in some cultures of human beings, life is sustained and nurtured through a complex set of responsibilities. An unnatural death, or even death by disease, is seen as failure or abrogation of duties and responsibilities of the whole family, relatives and even village community. Life is not protected just by a regime of rights against an aggressor or intruder or negligent State but by a collective sense of commitment to sustaining life.

The United Nations charter starts with the essential mission for which it was established, that is ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.  In Article 1 it states that its purposes are ‘ to maintain international peace and security and to that end to take effective collective measures for the protection and removal of threats to the peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.

26 nations sign the ‘Declaration by United Nations’

If the foremost primary mission of the United Nations was and remains to maintain international peace and to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, then it would be necessary for it to remove or at least diffuse one of the most recurring triggers of wars in history, particularly in the history of the western sphere and middle east. This is the tensions that arise when one dominant culture tries to impose a hegemonic order upon others based on its idea of the perfect set of values and governance. Through history this fuse has been ignited by religions that assume their truths are universal and divine while others are false. During colonialism wars were supported by the notion that the dominant force was ‘civilising the barbarians’ or ‘civilising those who were in need of a greater civilisation’. Even slavery was justified by ideological propping with one community assuming itself to be ‘civilised’ while others to be ‘uncivilised barbarians worthy of being treated as labour in captivity’. The World Wars were fought with competing secular ideological hegemonies being a major frame in the war. Nationalism and claims of threats to nations was a significant factor although territorial designs and access to resources were just as important.

Nevertheless the UN charter introduces an ideological preference in the next sentence that it assumes is self evidently universal, universally desired by all people and universally applicable across the world. It states in the preamble that’ to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights … in the equal rights of men and women…. The charter in Article 1.3 states‘… in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion’. The Charter then commits to a practical route for itself to attain these by stating in Article 1.4 ‘To be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends’.

Having established the ideology that it feels will bring permanent peace or remove the scourge of war, it embarks on ‘harmonising’ the actions of nations in the attainment of these goals.

Given that many wars in history have been over ideological competition and campaigns or ‘crusades’ as they were called, for ideological hegemony, it is contentious whether the United Nation’s mission to end wars would be achieved by committing to harmonising the actions of nations to the preferred ideology. Harmonising the actions of nations is controversial. It means that ‘nations’ and civilisations would have to sacrifice their distinctive cultural or philosophical and political worldview and adopt the one that the UN promotes. This also means that the power or dominance or even ownership of the ideological hegemony to which all nations have to move towards is in the hands of those countries or civilisations whose worldview and ideological paradigm the United Nations has adopted as a universal preference and standard. It is not difficult to see that this immediately negates the intention of the mission to end wars, since wars in history have largely been fought for ideological hegemony, although as well as resources.

The inevitable happened almost instantly when the UN was instituted. There emerged a block of countries called the ‘west’ that claimed democracy, rule of law, human rights and liberalism as ‘civilised governance’, axiomatically universal and that which they were already practicing and that they felt all countries of the world should ‘harmonise’ towards. Resisting this and seen as the opposing worldview was communism as adopted by the Soviet Union. This was ascribed as authoritarian and anti-democratic, thus either in violation of the principles of the United Nations or in need of reforms to be consistent with the United Nations. In this group were placed, along with the Soviet, the People’s Republic of China and any other countries that did not have western forms of democracy. This group was and still is usually termed ‘dictatorships’ or autocracies. Thus a clear division of opposing ideologies emerged immediately after the formation of the UN and a fertile ground for wars was created by the United Nations itself by tying itself to one ideological mission. The UN had unwittingly created and instituted the conditions that had led to many wars in history. Inevitably there followed a long period of what was called the ‘Cold War’ but which led to many real and bloody wars through proxy and remote management. The two superpowers that emerged from World War II, decided to avoid a direct confrontation with each other as both had nuclear weapons. A direct conflict would lead to the third World War and almost mutual decimation.

The preference to create a hegemonic ideology and persuade nations or force them to ‘harmonise’ their actions to this, is a paradox that the United Nations has failed to appreciate in context of its founding mission. It was and remains the fertiliser for conflict and war. Ideologies usually consider that if the entire world embraces the same ideology, there would be permanent or eternal peace in the world and all wars of differences would come to an end. This is contrary to nature as nature nurtures diversity and pluralism. Any effort to push against nature and create an artificial or human imagined set of universal rules inevitably fail because neither human beings nor human society accept uniformity or universalism. It leads to more wars as the post-war period has shown.

What the United Nations needs to do is to revisit its charter and ask itself whether it sees its purpose as an institution that will work to end wars by mediating among, negotiating between and creating the circumstances for diametrically opposite and different political ideologies to coexist or does it consider its purpose to establish permanent peace by persuading the entire world and its nations to commit to a ‘universal’ set of values, principles, political ideology and standards that one of dominant civilisations that emerged from colonialism thinks is the ultimate ideal universal.

If the United Nations sees its purpose to ‘save succeeding nations from the scourge of war’, then it has to learn from history and avoid promoting both ideological hegemony and ideological universalism. It needs to restate its mission to encourage coexistence of diverse political ideologies and promote pluralism as well as enact instruments and create the tools to make that possible. Mediation needs to be between diverse ideologies without any side feeling they are being judged against one and required to conform to a particular universalist ideology. Dignity and respect of the human being can be achieved through all different ideologies and almost all ideologies claim their purpose to respect the dignity and security of all human beings.

Efforts have been made at the United Nations to establish a ‘dialogue between civilisations’. However this seems to have been marginalised. Moreover the influence of this exercise is almost irrelevant as the body corpus of UN treaties and orientation is to promote one civilisation. A ‘dialogue’ will also only attempt to harmonise others towards this one universalist ideology.

It is also not fair to assume that the west is behind all this or that it is enforcing the liberalism adopted by the UN to impose its hegemony. The charter and the subsequent treaties were drafted and agreed by the State members present. Among them were countries that did not have liberal form of democracies. Whether they lacked arguments against the deep convictions of the west that liberalism was the future, or they were implying that they too would ‘harmonise’ towards the ideals of liberalism, even democracy. There was little if any critique of the ideological hegemony being created and against which every nation, civilisation and ideology was to be judged from henceforth. The world handed hegemony to the west and then accused it of exploiting it.

The impact of this universalist approach based on western liberalism has been that when countries that practice liberalism deviate from it, it is considered as a temporary aberration. But the countries who do not have liberalism as their core political philosophy, are intentionally or unwittingly considered by the UN system as ‘fundamentally flawed’ in need of reform, even if this statement is not publicly stated. There is thus a permanent state of countries who meet UN standards and those that are ‘defective’ or in need of reform. The status of this category of countries is one of defensive. Whatever confidence they assert in international institutions such as UN, crashes against the liberalist wall of the charters, the treaties and the declarations. These countries are therefore in a de facto status of second class and not really in ownership of the agenda. They throw their weight by virtue of their size, power and finance, but ideologically they are always followers.

The United Nations needs reforming itself and needs to adopt pluralism rather than one form of liberalism as its driving conceptual foundation. This will ensure diversity is respected equally and with dignity thus removing one of the recurring causes of wars, the desire for ideological hegemony.

To start a serious debate, research and move towards a United Nations that is genuinely plural without institutionalising hegemony, there is a need for a movement and alliance for pluralism. Countries and civilisations that feel they are being ‘harmonised’ towards one universal ideology that grants control of the debate to one civilisation, could form a Global Alliance for pluralism or the Pluralist Alliance. This alliance could be the start of a genuinely pluralist world and human society moving away from wars, or the traditional notion of war to end all wars, and moving towards coexistence of differences and diversity of world views. Some of the treaties may need to be revisited and the wordings changed so almost all civilisations could coexist, be respected and not made to feel lacking perfection.

During the Cold War, India led the Non-Aligned Movement to duck the pressure to side with one or the other. Some 75 other countries, now increased to 120, joined this group and escaped inordinate pressures to some extent. But in current date the world is multipolar. It is no longer binary, divided in two blocs with a need for non-aligned to stay independent. In fact India itself is now a power bloc.

The current period offers an opportunity to realise this and institute pluralism, particularly at the United Nations, as the world is in a state of multipolar power blocks. The distribution of power and wealth is not binary but genuinely plural with different power blocks having distinct cultures and civilisations too. The time to start and form a serious debate about pluralism and end hegemony is now if ever. It could start with the BRICS countries forming a Global Alliance for Pluralism at the United Nations.

1984 Pogrom Raised as Sikh Genocide at UN

Highlighting several independent report that held Congress as responsible for the killings, Rai urged the government of the day to take further measures to officially identify those responsible and bring them to book so as “to prevent such heinous crimes that remain a blot on the history of India”. LokMarg is reproducing the entire statement at the council meeting here as under: “Sikh Human Rights Group welcomes the report of the Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide and appreciates the mandate may not extend to retrospective identification of genocide.  However we urge the Advisor and the HRC to monitor progress of justice for victims of previous crimes of genocide, efforts made by the concerned States to punish the perpetrators as well as steps taken to prevent such further crimes, particularly where the issue remains in the public domain. We draw the attention of the HRC to the organised massacres of over 4000, possibly 10000 Sikhs in Delhi in November 1984 by attackers who were bussed in and supplied weapons and lists. The homes and shops of Sikhs were targeted, they were dragged out and killed with iron rods, clubbed to death and many burnt alive with tyres around their necks. The targeting of a single community by organised mobs aided by powerful people holding political positions in the State and when the police as well as Army remained inactive for four days constitutes genocide according to our understanding of the definition. We applaud the bold, emotive and public statement by the current Indian Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in calling these crimes genocide in a public gathering. We hope the Indian State will also officially recognise the four days of massacres as genocide. We recognise that efforts have been made through 11 commissions of enquiries and attempts made to convict the leading perpetrators but judicial process has frustrated justice. Independent reports have identified the Indian Congress Party to be responsible. This party held power until recently. Its leader apologised for the crimes but failed to convict the perpetrators when his party was in power. We urge the Indian State to take further measures to officially identify the political party responsible, hold the senior politicians of the party to account and take steps to prevent such heinous crimes that remain a blot on the history of India. We request the HRC to monitor the progress of and assist the current Government in its efforts to deliver justice for victims and punishments of those responsible for the Nov 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and surrounding areas.”  ]]>

Sikh 2020 Referendum, India Shares Responsibility

th August, to hold a rally in London and declare the referendum. The Government of India has been reacting to it and accusing Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, to be behind the exercise. The campaign has been called a waste of time, a gimmick or opportunist by many Sikhs, since it has no authorisation from any State or UN or other legitimate authority. Ironically most serious Sikh Khalistani (Sikh State) groups have opposed it.  However their response has been muted because they don’t want to be seen to be on the same side as the more aggressive opposition by the Indian government to this referendum campaign. Nevertheless, the fact that it has reached such proportion of debate in Indian press and within Sikhs is a victory of sorts for SFJ, even if nothing else may be achieved. It is also symptomatic of the frustration and resentment that has continued to fester among worldwide Sikhs since 1984. The issues that have arisen recurrently between Sikhs and the Indian State are well known. The foremost is that the holiest place of the Sikhs, Sri Darbar Sahib was entrusted to Indian protection. But in 1984, the Indian Government, under Mrs Gandhi, sent in the Indian Army to invade the most powerful and influential seat of authority in the Sikh world, thus declaring a form of war without realising it.  The attack led to calls for a separate State so that the Akal Takhat Sahib and Sri Darbar Sahib can be protected by a State of the Sikhs instead. Closely following this and for many years were the unconstitutional methods adopted by the State in eliminating large number of Sikh youth to prevent a civil uprising. Over 60000 Sikhs have been executed extrajudicially and many tortured grotesquely. Some unique methods were developed by Punjab police, now copied by dictatorships around the world. The other major incident was the organised massacres of Sikhs by the Congress party that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the Indian Prime Minister in November 1984. New Delhi’s contribution to world civilisation was the invention of burning alive of people with tyres around their necks.  Over 4000 Sikhs were massacred with iron bars, long knives, axes and burning alive in a free orgy of violence over four days. The police looked the other way and the Army, stationed only half an hour’s distance away, remained in its barracks. The Sikhs of Punjab responded to the attack on Darbar Sahib by executing Mrs Gandhi, the Chief of Army (Gen Vaidya) who ordered the attack and the Chief Minister (Beant Singh) who gave the police carte blanc unconstitutional powers to kill as many political activists as it could. The Sikhs of Delhi put their trust in the Indian judicial system. 34 years later they have been fed 11 Commissions of Enquiry but no incarceration of any senior Congress member. It should not surprise any analyst why 34 years after 1984, resentment and hurt festers below the surface among Sikhs, leaving the community susceptible to those who imagine themselves as wannabe messiahs on a mission to lead Sikhs to freedom from this pain or worse prey to political and economic opportunists. Even the Akali Dal regularly exploits Sikh issues when in opposition but goes quiet when in power. However it is simplistic for victimhood within Sikhs to see Hindu India as a hostile, cruel inhuman country and hope for justice and restoration of mutual respect. The Indians themselves are imprisoned in a Kafkesque nightmare from which they don’t know how to step out.  Physical colonialism came to an end in 1947 in India but the institutions and political concepts of colonialism remain intact even 70 years after the British transferred power. [caption id="attachment_29480" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Presidents of India have been trapped in ceremonies left by the British.[/caption] India is a colonial edifice, to the last brick of its foundation. All modern Indian institutions were established by the British to govern ‘over Indians’ and protect themselves from the natives or promote interests of the occupying colonialists. Whether it is the constitution founded on the 1935 Act which the British enacted to rule ‘over’ Indians with some punitive accountability to ‘natives’, or the police which was to keep the natives in check while applying different rules for the Sahibs, or the Army which was orientated to protect the British from Indian mutinees and rebellions, to the legal system which was meant to usurp indigenous value systems and implant British Victorian values and system of rule or whether it is the civil service which was established to administrate Indians on behalf of the British. Nothing has changed in the founding frameworks of these institutions. The Indian State follows the blue print left by the British colonialists to rule India as conquerors. The British didn’t leave behind a repair manual nor sent revision sheets or updates, and so to date Indians haven’t found a way to solve any of the regional or cultural conflicts. Strengthening colonial era laws on detention, making colonial era torture methods even more painful and sending in the Army to protect the ‘rulers’ against the ‘natives’ is a recurring pattern of response to challenges, where politics should seek solutions instead. The political class behaves like managers. The institutional framework of British India was enacted for the British in India to act as managers on behalf of the Crown or rather British Parliament. They were not meant to govern. Government was in UK. [caption id="attachment_29482" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The Viceroy’s Carriage pre-1947. Little has changed except the logos.[/caption] Unfortunately the Indian political class acts as managers and has been managing the edifice since 1947 waiting for guidance from some mythical power above it.  India has been in management mode since 1947. 70 years later it has yet to start governing and take bold decisions, such as a new contract with the people, change of colonial era laws, overhaul of an imperialist constitution, and instil in the army that it is there to protect the borders, not kill Indian citizens etc. This is the intractable dynamics in which Sikhs and the Indians are locked in. The Sikhs are hoping India will give justice. Individually Indians weep when told about stories, the massacres, the tortures etc, but Indians as the State simply don’t know how to untangle the shackles of colonialism and transfer that empathy with minorities into solutions. Like all such scenarios, in which those in power are powerless, there is recourse to diversion such as calling secessionists as ‘dreaded terrorists’ and blaming others, such as ISI for troubles of India’s own inadequacies. The Sikhs like some other regional minorities do not expect Congress to address the issues that divide them from the State. Congress after all was the Government that attacked Sri Darbar Sahib. Congress is in fact the penultimate party of WOGS if there is such a creature. Since 1947 it has been managing a failed colonial mission, to change Indians into a poor image of European society.

RSS vision is to make India a Hindu Rahstra.

  There was hope when Modi came to power that he will bring in a fresh and bold approach to solving issues such as those of the Sikhs. But his own party has been riddled with conceptual ideologies which have little to do with Indian civilisation. The identity Hindu and the name of the country, Hindustan, was given by Muslim invaders. Both RSS and the BJP have internalised these as missions, to make India a Hindu State and take pride in calling it Hindustan. Pakistani Muslims must be smug that their forefathers gave identity both to the people and the country. If the Congress is peddling a bastardised ideology developed from nineteenth century European political theories calling it Indian secularism (if ever there was a word more nonsense), the BJP and RSS are hell bent on promoting concepts inherited from radical Islam strongly similar to Hassan al-Banna’s ideas of Muslim Brotherhood packaged in the nomenclature given by Muslim invaders, Hindu and Hindustan. The trouble is that neither the Sikhs nor the Indians have introspection of their situation. Neither seems to be aware of the time warp they remain in, frozen in 1947. The Indians are caught in a Goldfish bowl, unable to break through it. The Sikhs expect empathy and solutions that the colonial  institutional framework of post colonial India is not constructed for, hence unable to deliver. This is why 34 years after 1984, Sikhs cannot make sense of the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, the extra-judicial executions, the massacres of Sikhs in Delhi and this is also why India has not been able to move an inch forward towards addressing the resentment festering within Sikhs. Until one or the other side understands the dilemma and weakness of the other and starts to help the other come out if its crises, the Sikhs will continue to be victims of excitable gimmick like rallying calls such as Referendum 2020 and India will continue to make enemies of its own people with the political class acting as managers of an edifice and the Army gingerly killing the very people it is meant to protect. Neither side knows how to move forward.]]>

Tillerson softens blow of Jerusalem decision

Security Council warns of tensions on Trump’s Jerusalem move

Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) have criticised Washington’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and warned that it would raise tensions in the area even as Washington stood alone steadfastly defending its decision. The political conflict over Jerusalem could turn into an unrelenting religious conflict, France’s Permanent Representative Francois Delattre told an emergency meeting on Friday. Citing several Council resolutions, he said that any unilateral changes to the city’s status would be null and void. The international community would only recognise modifications of the 1967 borders accepted by both sides, he said in a statement that reflected the broad convergence of views of both US allies and others in the Council. One of the Council resolutions adopted in 1980 specifically asks member countries not to put their diplomatic missions in the “Holy City” considered sacred by Jews, Christians and Muslims. In contrast to the UN, where even Washington’s allies crticised President Donald Trump’s decision announced on Wednesday, there was a broad consensus in the US reflected in a law passed by Congress in 1995 move the embassy to Jerusalem. About 1,000 Palestine supporters protested in New York’s Times Square on Friday evening. Separated by police barriers across the avenue, a smaller group held a counter demonstration supporting Trump. US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to a peace process and to a two-state solution. “The US has not taken a position on boundaries or borders… The specific dimensions of sovereignty over Jerusalem are still to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians in negotiations.” Haley said that it was “simple common sense” to move Washington’s embassy to Jerusalem because “in virtually every country in the world, US embassies are located in the host country’s capital city”. British Permanent Representative Matthew Ryrcroft said that Jerusalem should be the joint capital of Israeli and Palestinian states and the US decision was unhelpful. He said that the expansion of Israeli settlements, particularly in East Jerusalem, terrorism and incitement to violence were barriers to a lasting solution to the conflict there. China’s Deputy Permanent Representative Wu Haitao said that any unilateral actions on Jerusalem’s status could trigger new confrontations. Earlier while briefing the Council, UN’s Middle East Peace Process Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov noted that Trump had said final status issues, including the boundaries, remains to be determined. “It is up to all of us in the international community, as much as it is up to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, to urgently advance a just and lasting resolution to this conflict,” he said, warning of the risks of “being engulfed in the vortex of religious radicalism”. (IANS) // ]]>

General Assembly chief reboots UNSC reforms

Read at Lokmarg


Georgia has supported increasing the number of permanent members of the Council, which India wants. UAE has expressed support for India gaining a permanent seat on the Council. While their national stands is not supposed to colour their role as IGN co-chairs, not having someone from a country opposed to expanding the Council could be seen as a plus.

India wants reform process open to ‘world scrutiny’

Frustrated by the secretive machinations that have crippled the UN Security Council reform process, India has called for “opening it up to world scrutiny” so everyone can see what is behind its failure to even taking the “first concrete steps towards real negotiations”. “Transparency in the working of diplomats is a useful adaptation that we can consider in this changing world as a pathway to progress,” India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told the General Assembly session on Security Council reforms. He noted that even after almost a decade, UN members have not been able to agree on even a document that would be the basis of negotiating reforms. “We need to consider options of opening the process, so that others are aware of what is it that stops the current discussions from even beginning on the path of a negotiating text,” he said. Taking a dig at the failure of UN diplomatic corps in proceeding with the reforms, Akbaruddin said: “Diplomacy, in the modern era, seems to have become too important to be left to the diplomats.” “Modern challenges take the concerted efforts not just of governments, but also of whole societies, and so wider society could be more involved in the diplomatic process,” he added. In a precedent for opening up a traditionally highly secretive process — for the first time the Secretary-General’s election was held in 2016 with a degree of transparency never seen before. The candidates participated in town hall-style meetings where they answered questions form civil society groups and people around the world on their agendas. Akbaruddin, though, did not name any countries or groups responsible for holding up the negotiations to expand the Security Council, which last underwent changes in 1965. An Italian-led group that includes Pakistan, Uniting for Consensus (UfC), opposes adding permanent members to the Security Council and has strategically tried to block the adoption of a negotiating text, taking a self-contradictory position that there needs to be a consensus on reforms before there is a basic document for holding negotiations on reforms. Speaking on behalf of the UfC, Italy’s Deputy Permanent Representative Inigo Lambertini reiterated the group’s opposition to adding any permanent members to the existing five — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US. “We fail to see how a new Council could possibly be more effective, more responsive to international crises, and better able to cope with today’s global challenges through the addition of new vetoes.” India had previously agreed to forgo veto power, at least initially, if it becomes a permanent member, so that does not become a sticking point. Another UfC member, Pakistan, was more forthright in opposing the negotiating text. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi said that using a negotiating text “will not bridge our differences, it will accentuate them”. Akbaruddin linked the logjam in the reform process to the “recession of multilateralism”. “If this is the ‘new normal’, it does not bode well for multilateralism,” he said. “Never have the normative foundations of multilateral cooperation shown up to be weaker than in this instance.” As for the Security Council, he said: “There is no more vivid reflection of this deepening crisis of multilateralism than the dysfunctional Security Council, which no longer reflects contemporary realities and hence confronts a crisis of legitimacy and credibility.” “No reform of the UN’s peace and security architecture will be complete, without the reform of the Security Council,” he said. “An unreformed Council could, in fact, undermine progress that may be made in other areas of this continuum.” (IANS) // ]]>