China has emerged as a world power. Justice Katju asks Where is my India?

justice markandey katju
justice markandey katju

Where is my India?

By Justice Markandey Katju

Some Indians boast of India becoming the President of the G-20 countries. But this is really meaningless. The Presidency changes every year, and in any case the G-20 is an ineffectual toothless entity. Far from being a global economic steering committee, as it professes to be, in reality it is just a ‘talk shop’, with each country looking after its own interests.

The truth is that China has emerged as a world power.

This is proved by the fact that on 10th March this year under Chinese mediation, Saudi Arabia and Iran have reached an agreement to resume diplomatic relations..

China’s mediation demonstrates a profound shift of the geopolitics of West Asia, and indeed of the whole world..

The joint communique issued on Friday in Beijing begins by saying that the Saudi-Iranian agreement was reached “in response to the noble initiative of President Xi Jinping.”, and goes on to state that Saudi Arabia and Iran have expressed their “appreciation and gratitude to Xi Jinping and the Chinese government for hosting and sponsoring the talks, and the efforts it placed towards its success.”

What is significant in the joint communique is no mention of United States, which was traditionally the dominant power in West Asian politics for close to eight decades. This reconciliation between the two biggest  regional powers in the Persian Gulf region which were at loggerheads, at the initiative of China, denotes a colossal breakdown of American diplomacy. The US exclusion from the centre stage of West Asian politics constitutes a “Suez moment” for the USA, like the crisis experienced by the UK in 1956, which obliged the British to realise that their imperial vision prior to World War II had reached a dead end.

The joint communique states that Saudi Arabia and Iran intend to revive the 1998 General Agreement for Cooperation in the Fields of Economy, Trade, Investment, Technology, Science, Culture, Sports, and Youth. Thus Saudi Arabia will not be a party any further with the Western design to create an anti-Iran alliance in West Asia, and the West’s sanctions against Iran, by restrictions on Iran’s oil trade and access to western banks. are being rendered futile. The four top oil/gas producing countries, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are now searching for payment mechanisms bypassing the American dollar.

Thus China has undoubtedly arisen as a world superpower.

But where is India ? The truth is that it counts for little in the world stage, despite all claims by some that its leader is a ‘Vishwa guru’.

Some Indians boast that India has a fast growing economy. Even assuming that is so ( though the claim is doubtful ), the further question to be asked is who is getting the fruits of this alleged growth, a handful of crony big businessmen ( one has come tumbling down like Humpty Dumpty recently ) or the Indian masses ?

The truth is that there is massive poverty in India.

Global Hunger Index, an internationally renowned agency, has mentioned that half of India’s children suffer from malnutrition, and many are wasted and stunted. Out of the 121 countries it surveyed, India has slipped from position number 101 to 107, behind the poorest sub Saharan countries like Somalia, and behind neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Srilanka.

Prices of essential commodities like food have skyrocketed. Recently a Rs 50 increase in the price of cooking gas cylinders was announced.

Unemployment in India is at a record high. For even 100 jobs of peons advertised by the government there are usually 5-10 lac applicants, many of them Ph.Ds, engineers, MBAs, MSc, etc, all begging for a menial job..

Proper healthcare and good education is almost non existent for the Indian masses ( though there are state of the art hospitals and IITs for a few ).

This, then, is the truth about India and the self-professed ‘Vishwa guru’.

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By Justice Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman of the Press Council of India. He is the founder and patron of the Indian Reunification Association (IRA), an organisation that advocates for the peaceful reunification of what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh with India under a secular government.

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