Fabian Blog
March 29th, 2020

Why The UNHRC Intervention On CAA Is Justified

unhrc-madras-courier-03Given the targeted attempts at ethnic cleansing, the intervention by the UNHRC is justified.

A few days ago, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) moved an intervention application in the Supreme Court of India on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and sent a communique to India’s Permanent Mission in Geneva about it.

This unprecedented move by the UNHRC has stunned Delhi. In response, the Ministry of External Affairs reacted apoplectically, maintaining that the CAA is India’s “internal matter.” Arguing that the Indian Parliament has the sovereign right to make laws, the MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said:

“We strongly believe that no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India’s sovereignty.”

Let us look at the big picture and find out whether Government of India’s (GOI) reaction is appropriate and reasonable. The Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah, on December 9, 2019, and was passed the next day – December 10, 2019.

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March 9th,2020   category: Book Reviews, International Affairs : Articles, Politics |    No Comments

Trump and Iran: Who Lost More?

usa_iranThe media as well as some scholars refer to “Iran-U.S. confrontation” giving the wrong impression that both sides are equally responsible for the genesis of the current crisis in their relations, a crisis that brought the world to the brink of disaster. President Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018 and caused the present crisis.

It is obvious that Trump has not so far given any good reason for his decision. The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) does prevent Iran from embarking on a bomb-making project as it provides for intrusive inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. That the candidate Trump had promised to pull U.S. out of the deal is not a good enough reason. It is not obvious that what is good for Trump is ipso facto good for U.S. A president has to ask his advisors to study in depth the consequences and implications of taking such a decision, and apply his own mind before announcing it. It is doubtful whether Trump did it.

The Chronology
27th December 2019:

Rocket attacks on K- I A air base in Kirkuk used by the U.S. military, killing an Iraqi-American linguist and injuring a few others. Washington accuses Iran-supported Katai’b Hezbollah (KH -Brigades of Party of God)- active in Iraq and Syria without producing any supporting evidence. However, the KH is the most likely actor.

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January 17th,2020   category: International Affairs : Articles |    No Comments

The Catastrophic CAA-NRC Imbroglio

The CAA 2019 has weakened India’s democracy & diminished the country in the eyes of the international community.

caa_nrc_bill_protestWhat is most striking and heartening about the widespread demonstrations against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act 2019) and the NRC (National Register of Citizens) is that citizens from practically all walks of life, cutting across many a divide, are united in fighting to preserve the idea of India enshrined in the 1950 Constitution.

The young and the old, lawyers and teachers, have come out onto the streets, often ignoring Section 144 prohibiting such gatherings. This shows that many have shed their fear of the police, despite the deplorable brutality exhibited by the latter. This is the case in Jamia Milia University, established in 1920 by a group of eminent Muslim leaders with support from Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

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December 24th,2019   category: Politics |    No Comments

Frank Islam in conversation with Ambassador K P Fabian

fabian-interview-washinton-calling

June 15th,2019   category: International Affairs : Articles, Politics |    No Comments

How The Largest Air Evacuation in History Unfolded

A distinguished diplomat who handled the evacuation of 176,000 Indians, narrates how Air India carried out this task.

how-the-largest-air-evacuation-in-history-unfolded-_-madras-courier2 On 2nd August 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein decided to have a ‘picnic’ in Kuwait by sending in his army across the border. He had massed troops at the border for weeks, and on 25th July 1990, the US Ambassador April Glaspie encouraged him to have the picnic, wittingly or unwittingly, by declaring that her instructions were to strengthen relations with Iraq; the US did not want to take any side in ‘intra-Arab’ disputes, a clear reference to the mounting tension between Iraq and Kuwait. Saddam Hussein foolishly concluded that he could invade Kuwait and get away with it. Little did he know that the US wanted him to invade Kuwait so that the Pentagon could have a permanent presence in the region.

I was then Joint Secretary (Gulf) in the Ministry of External Affairs. The first phone call I got, around 6 AM on 2nd August, was from a friend in Kuwait city who said that she could see Iraqi tanks on the road. Later, our ambassador in Kuwait, AK Budhiraja called. Read the rest of this entry »

October 26th,2018   category: International Affairs : Articles |    No Comments

The Jamal Khashoggi Affair

the-jamal-khashoggi-affair-_-institute-for-defence-studies-and-analysesSeventeen days after the October 2 “disappearance” of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia officially stated that he was killed in its consulate in Turkey when he went there to collect papers permitting him to marry his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz. The marriage had been fixed for October 3.

Cengiz had waited for hours in vain for Khashoggi to come out of the consulate and informed Reuters about his ‘disappearance’ on October 3. The same day, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) told the US news agency Bloomberg that he did not know where the journalist was and that consent would be given to Turkey to conduct an investigation inside the Consulate if it were to ask for one. MbS added that he ‘had nothing to hide’.

On October 4, the Saudi Embassy claimed that the journalist had left the consulate and that it was trying to ascertain his whereabouts. Reports emerged on October 7 that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, the veracity of which Saudi Arabia angrily denied. The next day, the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman (brother of MbS) sent an unsolicited WhatsApp message to a journalist claiming that Khashoggi had left the consulate. The same day, unnamed Turkish officials told Reuters that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate.

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October 24th,2018   category: International Affairs : Articles |    No Comments

Reality Check: Where Is The ‘56-Inch’ Chest?

India fending off the US on oil imports from Iran and on buying arms from Russia

narendra-modiNow that the Modi government has done more than four years and we still do not know as yet whether Modi will succeed in his plan to succeed himself as Prime Minister following the 2019 general election, it is time to draw a balance sheet of India’s ‘Modified’ foreign policy with its emphasis on a “56-inch chest”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) heads of state/government for his inauguration, a gesture that was almost universally praised by the media and the academia with none pointing out that it was an attempt to project himself as the ‘new emperor’ of South Asia. If the intention was, as advertised assiduously, was to improve relations with the neighbours, the current state of disrepair in relations with Pakistan and Nepal shows that Modi has been floundering.

As to do full justice to the theme would require a series of essays, or better still, a book, this article will confine itself to two topics about how India under Modi has dealt with the US. Dealing with the US is, for most countries, the most important part of foreign policy despite the fashionable talk of our living in a multi-polar world. That we live in a financially unipolar world dominated by the US dollar with US imposing sanctions on other states, either through an obedient UN Security Council, or otherwise, is often ignored. The first topic for us is US’ sanctions on Iran, and the second is US sanctions on states entering into ‘significant’ defense deals with Russia in the context of the deal with Russia on S-400 anti-missile system.
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October 24th,2018   category: Uncategorized |    No Comments

Trump And The Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitics And Financial Unipolarity – Analysis

trumpOn 8 May 2018, US President Donald Trump, true to his style and ‘America First’ philosophy, walked out of the Iran nuclear deal, technically known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). A fortnight has elapsed and it would be pertinent to examine the geopolitical implications of Trump’s decision.

The US’ Position

By now it is reasonably clear why Trump withdrew from the deal. He has failed to provide any rational argument against the deal for the obvious reason that there is none. The JCPOA is a 159-page document that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—the foreign leader closest to him spiritually—have argued that unless sanctions are re-imposed, Iran will continue with its ‘destabilising’ policy in the region, and develop missiles endangering Israel’s security—and that therefore it is imperative to keep Iran permanently in a pariah status.

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May 25th,2018   category: International Affairs : Articles, Politics |    No Comments

The Mingled Light of Two Bleeding Moons

wahabiWahhabism is transforming Indo-Islamic civilisation. A scholarly yet accessible essay collection analyses the interface between West and South Asian Islam.

This book explores the religious interface between the Gulf and South Asia. By “Gulf” the editors mean West Asia, not just the 6-member Gulf Cooperation Council. South Asia has the largest Muslim population of any reg­ion in the world—500 million. In the course of Islamisation, which began with the 8th century invasion of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim, the region developed a distinct Indo-Isl­amic Civilisation culminating in the Mughal Empire. While paying lip service to the religious centres in the Gulf, including Mecca and Medina, this civilisation cultivated its own var­iety of Islam based on Sufism.

Over the last five decades or so, pan-Isl­amic ties between these two reg­ions  have intensified.  Eleven scholars from different continents have contributed to this volume which explores “the ideological, educational, and spiritual networks, which have gained momentum due to political strategies, migration flows and increased communications.” It also examines the “cultural proxy war” between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi-funded madrasas have reduced the hold of Sufi Islam. Pakistan’s ­government has no reliable figures for the number of madrasas, nor for the inflow of Saudi money.

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February 15th,2018   category: Book Reviews, International Affairs : Articles |    No Comments

Cracks in the council

kuwaitcityThe failed GCC summit points to a stalemate in West Asia that might last for a while, adversely affecting the economies of its members, and only a change in Saudi policy can reunite the squabbling kingdoms.

The aborted Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait scheduled for December 5-6 raises the question whether this regional integration project, until recently one of the more successful of such projects, has collapsed or not. When the GCC was formed in 1981, the main motivation was to address the perceived threat from Iran by raising the level of synergy among the member-states who had much in common. Even without hindsight it can be said that the threat from Iran was exaggerated.

It is paradoxical that Qatar, one of the founding members, has been compelled to embrace Iran owing to Saudi Arabia’s actions. In short, Saudi Arabia, while seeking confrontation with Iran in order to weaken its bete noire, has only strengthened it.

Let us look at what happened in Kuwait. The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah, 88, was working hard to reconcile Saudi Arabia and Qatar even before the blockade against Qatar was announced by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt on June 5, 2017.

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January 7th,2018   category: International Affairs : Articles, Politics |    No Comments

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Posts

March 9th, 2020

Why The UNHRC Intervention On CAA Is Justified


January 17th, 2020

Trump and Iran: Who Lost More?


December 24th, 2019

The Catastrophic CAA-NRC Imbroglio


June 15th, 2019

Frank Islam in conversation with Ambassador K P Fabian


October 26th, 2018

How The Largest Air Evacuation in History Unfolded


October 24th, 2018

The Jamal Khashoggi Affair


October 24th, 2018

Reality Check: Where Is The ‘56-Inch’ Chest?


May 25th, 2018

Trump And The Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitics And Financial Unipolarity – Analysis


February 15th, 2018

The Mingled Light of Two Bleeding Moons


January 7th, 2018

Cracks in the council


August 21st, 2017

Qatar deserves kudos for handling crisis with maturity and logic


November 22nd, 2016

Triumphant Trump and American Foreign Policy


July 21st, 2016

The Attempted Coup in Turkey: What Next?


July 12th, 2016

The Chilcot Report on Blair and the War on Iraq


January 10th, 2015

Beyond the border - India China Boundary Issues


December 20th, 2014

The Middle Path


August 11th, 2014

Genocide in Gaza and Israel’s tunnel vision – analysis


July 28th, 2014

Israeli impunity and global helplessness


July 2nd, 2014

Can Iraq’s disintegration be prevented?


June 30th, 2014

V. K. Krishna Menon Memorial Lecture 2014


March 20th, 2014

Chess Game over Crimea


March 6th, 2014

Italy Erred in Dealing with Marines Case


February 20th, 2014

Where is Egypt going?


September 12th, 2013

Book Review: AN UNCERTAIN GLORY


August 15th, 2013

Book Review: INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY


July 21st, 2013

Book Review: SAMUDRA MANTHAN


May 5th, 2013

Book Review: MANAGING INDIA’S NUCLEAR FORCES


July 30th, 2012

India’s diplomacy is textual, not contextual


March 18th, 2012

Handling terrorism, US style: The march of folly continues


March 7th, 2012

Will Israel attack Iran? It cannot be ruled out.


February 14th, 2011

DEVELOPMENT, JUSTICE, AND DEMOCRACY: SOME REFLECTIONS


November 10th, 2010

NIXON, INDIRA AND INDIA: Politics and Beyond


November 10th, 2010

Book Review: CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM AT WAR


November 10th, 2010

Book Review: A JOURNEY


July 7th, 2010

Book Review: JINNAH AND TILAK: Comrades in the Freedom Struggle


October 29th, 2009

Book Review: THE INHERITANCE


October 4th, 2009

Aristotle vs. Greenspan


October 4th, 2009

Book Review : JINNAH : India-Partition Independence


April 15th, 2009

President Obama: Plans and Impediments


March 5th, 2009

A talk about Mahatma Gandhi


March 5th, 2009

Book Review : The Lexus and the Olive tree: Understanding Globalisation by Thomas L. Friedman


March 5th, 2009

Most unpopular war in history


March 5th, 2009

Book Review: Hannah Arendt and International Relations


March 5th, 2009

India at sixty


March 5th, 2009

Commonsense on terror


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