co-written with the legendary Prof. Arduino Paniccia, this article focuses on the importance of India’s role in the Indian Ocean, The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the importance of Italy allying with India for a new enlarged Indo-Mediterranean to keep Turkish designs under check.
A tribute to Daniel Pearl, whose 19th death anniversary on 1st of Feb 2021 was marred by the liberation of his killers by the Pakistani courts.
In requiem: Daniel Pearl
Gli avvenimenti del 1° Febbraio 2021 sono passati totalmente inosservati in un mondo ancora messo in ginocchio dal COVID-19. Questa data rappresentava il 19°ismo anniversario dell’assassinio di Daniel Pearl, giovane giornalista americano, brutalmente decapitato dai suoi rapitori a Karachi, in Pakistan, in nome della jihad islamica. Quasi quarantenne, Pearl era il capo della South Asia Bureau del Wall Street Journal e si trovava in Pakistan per seguire la guerra contro il terrore di George W. Bush, diventata oggi la più lunga guerra degli Americani in un paese che ha il soprannome di “la tomba degli imperi”, l’Afghanistan.Continue Reading
Writing my first article on #Linkedin on this topic is probably not the wisest start to a prolific blogging career, but since the start of this year the outsourcing of free-speech censorship has niggled at me. Im of that generation which actually knows the world without the internet. I was in my teens when we still had archie and gopher and IRC was actually where people “hung out”. The WWW was just taking off and Sabeer Bhatia hadn’t even started hotmail (it was to be a few years that he betrayed us netizens by selling out to Microsoft). The internet was supposed to be free, self regulated and everything that the real world was not. It had rules and decency and was policed by idealistic geeks who had a code. Cut to 2020 the internet is a spammy, creepy place, where slick teenage billionaires in business suits now apparently tells us what to think, how to vote and we have effectively stopped using our brains.Continue Reading
Dopo 49 anni di regime militare, l’esperienza democratica in Myanmar, meglio conosciuta come Birmania, ha subito una forte scossa il 1 febbraio con un golpe di Stato delle forze armate, il temuto “Tatmadaw“. Il capo delle forze armate, il generale Min Aung Hlaing, ha assunto pieni poteri arrestando tutti i leader politici più importanti, incluso il consigliere di Stato Aung San Suu Kyi ed il suo alleato, l’attuale presidente Win Myint, insieme ad altri leader democratici. I birmani, che si stanno ancora curando le ferite procurate da mezzo secolo di dittatura militare, non si sono lasciati intimidire ed hanno protestato nella loro capitale, Nay pyi taw e ex-capitale Yangon.Continue Reading
I nuovi assetti geopolitici in Asia si articoleranno attorno al ruolo che i due Paesi giocheranno a livello globale. Tra modelli di globalizzazione alternativi e trasformazione dei modi di produzione dell’economia-mondo. I possibili scenari analizzati dal webinar “Collaborazione Italia India snodo per una nuova strategia globale europea” di ASCE, in collaborazione con l’Associazione Sakshi e il Centro Studi su Asia Meridionale e Sud Est Asiatico dell’Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”Continue Reading
Il biennio Indiano a Consiglio di sicurezza
Con il 1 gennaio 2021, inizia il mandato biennale dell’India al consiglio di sicurezza ONU. Per l’India, che da tempo mira ad una posizione permanente all’interno del consiglio, questo è il suo ottavo mandato. Oggi il popolo indiano rappresenta un sesto della popolazione mondiale. E la democrazia più popolosa al mondo ed entro il 2025 supererà la Cina come il paese con un maggiore numero di abitanti. Dopo la pandemia, è la sesta economia ed rappresenta l’unico potere democratico laico in Sud Asia che resiste al dominio Cinese. Dovrebbe già meritare il posto permanente nel consiglio di sicurezza ONU ma in realtà, non è ancora così.
Il mandato Indiano inizia in un mondo colpito dalla pandemia con tante crisi aperte che minacciano la sicurezza di quasi un miliardo di abitanti di questa terra. I conflitti in Libia, in Siria e in Yemen e le instabilità nel corno di Africa, le tensioni nel Medio Oriente tra Iran e Israele. Tuttavia, dopo la pandemia, il problema più grave che affronta la comunità globale è l’aggressività economica e militare cinese.
Dal Movimento dei paesi non-allineati (NAM) a Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
L’elefante indiano ha ricoperto un ruolo nell’indottrinamento internazionale di non allineamento e non interferenza. Nel 1955 l’India ha fondato il Movimento dei paesi non-allineati (NAM) con l’Indonesia e la Jugoslavia. Nel suo discorso inaugurale del mandato ONU, il Presidente del Consiglio Indiano Narendra Modi ha dichiarato che la strategia Indiana per il suo biennio seguirà I principi di rispetto, dialogo, cooperazione, pace e prosperità. Il Premier ha iniziato il mandato con la dichiarazione: “il mondo è un’unica famiglia”, citando il saggio antico di Mahā Upanishad Vasudhaiva Kuṭumbakam che si trova inciso all’ingresso del parlamento Indiano. Questa dichiarazione di alti ideali non sembra niente altro che una continuazione di uno storico progetto dove l’India cerca di raccogliere consensi e non passa mai ai fatti.Continue Reading
The protests against the agricultural reforms in India have made headlines in Europe, breaking through the COVID related doom and gloom. Social media has convinced us that over 250 million people are protesting nationwide in India, labelled as the largest protest in modern times, with over 11 Indian opposition parties supporting the farmers and the India wide strike.
The world now weeps for the solitary, poor, Indian farmer and CNN quotes various predominantly Punjabi and Sikh groups who lament how the reform affects the “poor Indian farmer”. CNN asks you to worry, because your spice rack may be at risk as would be your fashion given than India produces 68% of spices globally and more cotton than China. Very few news sites actually explain what the actual problem is and how does one protect the Indian farmer. Most are content at bashing the Indian government.
Internationally, the protests have received strong support, especially in countries like Canada, UK and Italy where the Punjabi and Sikh diaspora are predominant, where pro-Khalistan groups have found shelter.
The agricultural structure so far in India
Over half of the Indian population is engaged in agriculture while generating only 16% of the GDP 85% of Indian farmers manage farms smaller than 2 hectares. The current legal structure is outdated and opposition leaders such as Sharad Pawar of the NCP have in the past criticized the existing legal structure as “outdated”. While these protests politicize the farmers demands, they do little to protect the small, poor Indian farmer who was exploited before and continues to risk exploitation now.
The previous legal framework, including the Essential Commodities Act (1955), is over 55 years old. They were passed when India was a socialist republic, in days of drought, shortages and license raj and originate from British colonial laws which were designed to keep agricultural produce in the control of the colonial government which was why they had colonized India to begin with, for raw material initially for their industries and eventually to keep their armies fed and clothed during the war. So laws which controlled how and to whom farmers sold their produce when made sense during the years of colonialization.
The current laws obliged farmers to sell their produce at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMC). The APMC’s are state government-controlled wholesale markets which are run by cartels of middlemen, who buy the produce from small farmers and resell them at higher margins, given that the small farmer neither has the money or the means to transport the produce to the APMC. Over time these middlemen have become a rich and powerful political lobby with strong political links. The APMC’s sell vegetables and several other goods through an auction system, which has been judged by neutral observers are non-transparent and farcical, with price fixing and corruption being rampant.
The second part of this story is the MSP or the minimum support price. Based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Government of India, the MSP is declared before every sowing season for 22 commodities on the Essential Commodities Act. The Food Corporation of India, based on the MSP, buys wheat and rice from the APMC and sells it at highly subsidized rates to the Indian poor. The national government refunds this loss to the FCI, effectively financing billions of dollars making the Indian system the most expensive food procurement and subsidy initiatives globally. Then there are other issues, including the lack of cold storage etc. which create a lot of waste annually and make any exports of surplus by the FCI unfeasible.Continue Reading
James D. Wolfensohn was the 9th President of the World Bank Group.
I met Mr. Wolfensohn for the first time on my very first day in the United States, 7th of November 2003. What could have been more significant than meeting the President of the World Bank as your first meeting in DC?. Mr. Wolfensohn blew your socks off, he was humble with a wonderful sense of self-deprecating humor and could be incredibly charming and very kind. He put my 23 year old self at ease, offered me whiskey at 11am :-), like one good colonial to another (his words) and the humor helped a very nervous me start a meeting which lasted for over an hour and a half.
Despite his often unpredictable temper, JDW brought vigour and foresight to the World Bank. Whether it was being picky about how business plans for developmental projects were written or surrounding himself with people who were talented and passionate, Jim brought uniqueness to the fight against poverty and corruption that the World Bank lacked and probably no successor has been able to replicate.
I was an incidental fly on the wall for some of his more creative meetings, his meeting with Quincy Jones at the Four Seasons in DC where the doyen of Wall Street and the godfather of music found a common voice for poor children to an informal dinner with very unpredictable dinner mates at the Development Gateway conference at Petersberg, near Bonn in Germany. In every situation he led, with his brand of unique leadership. In every situation he brought people together. Above all, he cared.
While the unauthorized biography, book “The World’s Banker”, irritated him to no degree, I believe he was secretly pleased with the title and at my unsuccessful attempt to try and get him to autograph it.
His passing yesterday, I also found out that his wife of several decades Elaine Wolfensohn, had passed away in August. A wonderful lady and a leader in her own right and definitely the strong woman behind this very successful man.
May they both rest in peace.