Will Di Maio’s visit to Delhi build on Von der Leyen’s momentum?

Will Di Maio’s visit to Delhi build on Von der Leyen’s momentum?

India has become a hub of activity recently, despite its unpopular position in the west on Russia. On the heels of UK Prime Minister Johnson’s visit to India, European Commission President, Ursula Von Der Leyen, now visits Delhi. Von der Leyen has visited the Indian capital several times as a German politician and defense minister, this is her first as the President of the European Commission. Her visit comes at a challenging time, as Boris Johnson, who despite protests from different segments in the UK, was in India to encourage trade and to push ahead the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) which envisions doubling UK-India trade by 2030. He also was looking to boost the UK-India Free trade agreement negotiations (FTA) which started in January 2022. By all reports, Johnson’s visit was very successful and the crux of Brexit was the EU-British trade competition, especially in the 2.4 billion people strong commonwealth of which India is a member.

Boris Johnson in India

The United Kingdom was almost 100% supplier of India’s defense equipment in the 1950’s. In 2020, it was reduced to around 1% of the $70-80 billion that India spends annually on defense. Johnson was aiming at clawing back into the defense segment, which is lucrative for the UK and  had to be ignored during the UK’s EU membership, given competition rules.

Johnson tried, during his visit, to shore up the UK’s sales in this lucrative market while announcing investments in the Green economy, technology unicorns etc. to a tune of £1billion. Flying directly to Ahmedabad, the erstwhile capital of Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi’s home state and more importantly Mahatma Gandhi’s home state, Johnson all but atoned for all his predecessors’ actions in 190 years of colonialization with the show he put on, which frankly surprised experts and observers. What now remains to be seen is if Von Der leyen can triumph Johnson’s act and if Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio is able to continue with Von de Leyen’s momentum when he visits Delhi in May.

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“A dialogue on democracy” is launched.

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A dialogue on democracy is launched.

I was honoured to launch the “Dialogue on Democracy” with Fondazione Einaudi and Indian Council of Cultural Relations.


Democracy has grown from Abraham Lincoln’s description of a government “of the people, for the people and by the people” at Gettysburg. Over time this has evolved from selective suffrage to universal suffrage. Today in the digital age, democracy has become a constant rapport between governments and their constituents with flash plebiscites or referendums or polls conducted by political parties to measure the reaction of their proposals and actions within their electoral pool. While digital democracy has in one way, made governance more accountable, more transparent, and more inclusive, it has handicapped modern political decision making. While digital platforms today allow more information flow from the government bodies to the constituents and allow governments to measure the perception of the electorate, similarly fake news and “trial by social media” amputates the ability of the decision makers to take strategic decisions which may be unpopular in the short term however may be of great benefit to the country in the long term. Above all this also calls into the question the role of the platform and messenger which is usually a US based multinational which responds to US sensitivities and shareholders. Much like governance was corporatized in the 1600’s to private companies like the East India company, is democracy now being corporatized in the name of free speech and expression? European countries have had their challenges with social media and democracy and India, the world’s largest democracy is always in election mode, given the vastness of positions, governments to be elected. India conducts elections every year, to state legislatures or local governments. The panel “The future of democracy: Politics of the future”, aims to reinforce the motto of the Indian republic “Satya Meva Jayate (Truth always conquers)” celebrating the anniversary of the architect of the Indian constitution Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, to discuss key issues facing India’s democracy and democracy in general. Speakers included Ambassador Dore Gold (President of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs & former Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State of Israel), H.E Rajiv Chandrasekhar (Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India), His Excellency Arif Mohamed Khan (Governor of Kerala, Republic of India), Sasmit Patra (Member of the Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India), Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agatha (former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Italy), Nirj Deva (former Member of the European Parliament).

Xi and 5G: The story of the evolution of the Chinese dragon.

The story of the evolution of the Chinese dragon and its singular President Xi Jinping and how small pieces of 5G, Make in China, East Turkistan and Tibet fit together in a beautiful brocade woven by the master. On Insideover.com

Xi e 5G
Xi and 5G

Il lato nascosto di terrorismo

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.

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Insideover.com https://it.insideover.com/terrorismo/il-lato-nascosto-del-terrorismo.html

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.

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Insideover: Cosa sta succedendo in Myanmar

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Insideover.com 8 Febbraio 2021 Analisi golpe myanmar

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.

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Porto Interporto

portointerporto
GENNAIO 2021 – PAG. 10 – Cina e India, le nuove frontiere

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”

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India @ UN security council

Il biennio Indiano a Consiglio di sicurezza

An #analysis in #italian on #india ‘s 8th #UNSC mandate. Published on formiche.net #formiche published on the 24th Jan 2021.

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.

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The Indian agricultural reforms: Protect the small farmer

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.

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