I am fortunate to have witnessed two Republic Day Parades ( also Beating Retreat ) in Delhi, one in 1976, and the other in 1977, during my Defence tenure.
For momentous occasions of this nature, it is said with pride, that anyone who gets to witness one in life may be likened to seeing them all in life. I felt extremely happy then.
In recent years I made it a practice to see the events of the Republic Day Parade on TV without fail. It makes me wonder how the celebrations have turned into a great spectacle exhibiting our innovative military arsenals combined with our innovative methods of displaying cultural heritage – the two key elements and characteristics of the nation. It seems to belie/alter the old saying…
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New American President (Joe Biden) and Vice-president (Kamala Harris) were sworn into office this noon ( VP at 11.27 a.m. ET and President at 11.47 a.m. ET ) , January 20, 2021.
Calling the day as ‘Democracy Day’ and ‘America’s Day’ and asserting that at this hour Democracy has prevailed, Joe Biden emphasised that Americans today Celebrate the cause of Democracy and not just the victory of a candidate.
“My whole soul is in ‘Unity’, bringing Americans together and healing the wounds” – he said while assuring that Unity is the path forward that I will mount to take all of us through these challenges.
His recipe for the evils that Americans face today lie in opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, honour, and truth.
He promised to repair the alliances, engage truly with others, and lead not just by the power of examples but carving strong and trusted partnerships for peace and security.
A silent prayer to all those who lost their lives due to the pandemic was his FIRST act as President.
Citing the complex problems of racism, inequity, economic struggle, and control of pandemic as the immediate problems to tackle, he will prepare the nation to be judged by how it resolves these problems and write the next great chapter in American History.
Tracing the work and prayers of centuries by the citizens as his legacy, he vowed to add his team’s work and prayers to continue and enhance that during his term.
Unity and not division, light and not darkness, truth and not lies are the way forward to write a new story of America – according to him.
He ended his 21 minute address with words : “Before God I will give my word to defend our democracy, to defend every American, and to defend our values to write a new story of America”.
His address centered around the theme of Unity and Healing with no reference to any specific plans or programs in any sector, no reference to Trump, and no reference to past mistakes.
In an optimistic mood with conciliatory attitudes and gestures he reflected the realities of the present situation with the promise to treat every American well.
It was a celebrated speech, ambrosial in a sense to people seeking to invoke patriotism and unity.
America witnessed today, two septugenarians : One entering the White House gloriously and the other leaving ingloriously ; one faced with the challenges of the future of the nation and the other faced with the challenges of future dangers to his personal status ; one with an excellent popular perception of his skills and the other with a gravely diminished popular perception of his skills ; one with his self confidence matching the requirements of the situation and the other with his self confidence shattered amidst painful future circumstances in life ; and one with a high level of motivation to engage in positive actions for a worthy national cause and the other with an increasing need for motivation, specially, after the traumatic experiences of this fortnight to engage in actions for a worthy personal life.
This inauguration in effect is a legendary stuff in the history of American Presidency.
To some, it is the brightening of the cheerless times ; while to some others it may be the unnatural cession of rights of ruling or governing.
America has a new President, new Governance, and a new Era from this day.
” Dieu avec nous”
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 – 11. 47 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” I will be a President for all Americans ” – President Joe Biden in his address.
As America prepares for the inauguration of its 46th Predident, Joe Biden, both Washington and Delhi think-tanks will be immersed in thoughts about shaping up mutual understanding, support, and relationships.
Having overcome the many obstacles in their path of Presidential contest, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will set out on their journey to unite, heal, and promote America in a new beginning of a new Era from tomorrow. That Kamala Harris has her origins in India is a matter of pride to the Indians.
PM Narendra Modi has been able to strike a healthy relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and support with President Donald Trump. Whether the change in US leadership will witness a change in our engagement and relationship is keenly awaited.
Indian Americans feature prominently in Joe Biden’s nominations to his team even before the inauguration. About 20 Indians including 13 women will hold key positions in his administration. For an ethnic community representing just 1% of the population this is a remarkable feat.
Dr Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General ; Neera Tandon, Director of the WH office of Management and Budget ; Vanita Gupta , Associate Attorney General, Dept of Justice ; Uzra Zeya, Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights ; Mala Adiga, Policy Director to the future First Lady, Jill Biden ; Sabrina Singh, First Lady’s deputy Press Secretary ; Aisha Shah, Partnership Manager at White House Office of Digital Strategy ; Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director at the US National Economic Council ( NEC ) in White House ; Bharat Ramamurti, Deputy Director, WH, NEC ; Gautham Raghavan, Deputy Director in Office of Presidential Personnel ; Vinay Reddy, Director of Speech writing ; Vedant Patel, Asst press Secretary to President ; Sonia Agarwal, Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Innovation in the Office of the Domestic Climate Policy at WH ; Vidu Sharma, Policy Advisor for testing for WH COVID-19 Response team ;
Tarun Chhabra, Sumona Guha, and Shanthi Kalathil are also becoming part of the National Security Counsel at WH.
Neha Gupta, Associate Counsel and Terms Shah as Deputy Associate Counsel to the Office of WH Counsel. Garia Verma, Digital Director of the Office of the First Lady.
The fact that Indian Americans ( about 20 in all at present ) are finding their places in Biden Administration and VP Kamala Harris has her origins in India will not alone stand testimony to the favourable future relationships between America and India. History of mutual relationships between the two nations do not record changes in Foreign Relationship with changes in US leadership. The nomination of Indians, nevertheless, can help hit a sweet spot between working relationship and expected changes.
It should also be recognised that most of these are descendents who ( second or even third generation ) have left India seeking greener pastures with progress and prosperity in America when they were either denied or when they failed to gain their deserved fruits. It will not be surprising if they hold a view that may be filled with general unhappiness ; disapproval of our culture ; disregard for our way of living ; and criticism of our actions.
Many, including Kamala Harris strongly criticised our Human Rights record and religious intolerance as being negligent, harmful, and threatening. House Representatives, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna have often been vocal against India in their Congressional discussions raising issues frequently on these aspects consistently. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Robert Menendez are leaders who have expressed views against India and its internal problems while President Donald Trump had always maintained a stand not to interfere with the internal affairs of India during his term.
To the credit of Biden Administration, however, it must be accepted that their knowledge of mutual relationships and internal problems are fairly deep.
Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and William Burns are officials who have been significantly familiar with India.
China’s relationship with America is anything but fair. As the ancient proverb goes, ” the enemy of my enemy is my friend “, our strength grows from our conflicts with China.
For anyone wishing to write a Political Enchiridion, the Relationship between America and India is one that is indispensable.
“Dieu avec nous”
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 – 10.39 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Our greatest policy problem is our decisions at home. Our greatest foreign policy need is national cohesion and a return to the awareness that in foreign policy we are all engaged in a common national endeavor ” – Henry Kussinger.
” Bury the hatchet, Let bygones be bygones, Forget and be reconciled ” – phrases that sound familiar to me during ‘Pongal’, the period of summer harvest in most parts of India.
I liken it to the marriage of heaven and earth, sky and the soil.
I also like to see Nature and Life meeting and greeting each other to bless and energise us all, People . Let it also symbolise the purification of every soul.
Paddy and Sugarcane greet the farmers and their five plus the sixth sense(s) with the gift of an El Hombre Dorado on this auspicious day. The land will become bare soon, though. They, however, will stand rewarded overall.
“That Sun God will change the direction of His chariot from east to west and take…
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” US General Election was not ‘stolen’, nor was it ‘rigged’ as claimed by President, Donald Trump ;
Joe Biden is the legitimate President-elect set to be inaugurated on January 20, 2021 ;
Democratic Party can enjoy untrammeled and even let their dreams run wild enthusiastically. “
President, Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the Election have come to a naught. His allegations of fraud have been distinctly rejected.
US besides being the oldest democracy in the world stands out as the Superpower with its economic strength, technological superiority, scientific prowess, military might, and nuclear advancements of top quality amidst all nations of the world.
Hence, its Presidential Election is a matter of utmost importance to all nations of the world.
Who and how the country which can guide the course and destiny of several other countries lets its Leader wield the sceptre is of equally great interest and importance to all nations.
Economy, Health, and Foreign Policy, the three pillars of Progress in society/evolution need a head that is sensible, heart that is solemn, and hands that are steady to frame and implement policies making domestic and worldwide impact.
The US Presidential Election 2020 has been sensational with excitements throughout the year. It has not subsided even after the voting was completed in November 2020. The reasons are too well known to everybody now. “The head, heart, and hands that wielded the sceptre for 4 years since January 20, 2017 – President, Donald Trump “.
A Leader of strong and forceful views, his domineering manner and influence over handling of all issues have been the causal factor in the collision course/trend with other nations evoking unsparing discussions and debates. Clash of interests, opinions, and policies with North Korea and Iran in the early months of Presidency emboldened gloomy prognostications of even a nuclear war erupting.
Trade War with China ( seen as a fitting move to protect the interests of Americans ) though a matter of happiness and geniality for US Indians, its actions on tweaking visa regulations stymieing Indian youth’s efforts to seek admissions and job opportunities has, nevertheless, been viewed as unfriendly and irritable.
President, Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd protests received condemnation from the public in great measure(s). A surge in anti-Trump sentiment was the result.
More than the above, Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat graciously in the General Election results despite many reversals in court cases tarnished his public image further.
The Supreme Court twice rejected lawsuits to overturn Joe Biden’s victory within a week ( between December 7 and 13 ). First, it turned away an appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans on December 8, 2020. Again on December 12/13 it rejected the Texas lawsuit on the election outcome. The Texas lawsuit includes 17 attorney generals (of 17 States) and 126 Republican members of Congress urging the SC to invalidate millions of votes in 4 battleground states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, termed the suit as ” an act of flailing GOP desperate, which violates the principles enshrined in our American Democracy “.
The Electoral College on December 14, 2020, confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the Presidential Election making Biden’s way to the White House another step closer amidst Donald Trump’s challenges.
Biden stated : ” In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed “.
On January 6, 2021, the Electoral votes by State wise were counted and VP, Mike Pence, (President of the Senate) presiding over the proceedings confirmed the results of the Presidential Election. Joe Biden was declared winner with 306 Electoral votes.
The hands that wielded the sceptre until then has withered and fallen.
The proceedings witnessed an interruption with supporters of President, Donald Trump, barging into the Capitol building causing the Certification process to stop (while safeguarding the Congressmen). The ensuing garboil with clashes between law enforcement personnel and the stormtroopers resulted in deaths of 4 people including a woman.
Soon after, President, Donald Trump, pledged an orderly transfer of power on January 20, 2021. He said : ” The certification represents the end of the greatest first term in Presidential History “.
The fire, flames, hopes, and dreams of President, Donald Trump, to continue as President for a second term has been extinguished finally. It seems like a bad dream now.
In retrospect one may feel how it would have been had he heeded to the advice of some of his aides who had suggested him to accept defeat quickly as ” Your wish is my command”.
What would have earned him Goodwill and Sympathies has become a blot on his etcutcheon for years to come.
How the Democrats make their play for their agenda in the next two years in respect of Obamacare, SC Justices, Statehood for Washington DC, Puerto Rico … , Abolition of Electoral College , Gun Control legislation, Immigration, Foreign Policy, and Climate Change will be of interest not just to America but to all nations of the world too.
Joe Biden is ready to wield the sceptre and a new Era is expected to dawn on America from January 20, 2021.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, January 8, 2021 – 12.01 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” One may lose something, but another door may open making the person who lost something gain something else “. President, Donald Trump, lost his Presidency for the next term – Will he get the coveted Nobel Peace Prize (nomination and later the prize ) for his Middle East Peace Initiative in February ? “
What has been dragging the feet of the administrators of EU and Britain while tussling with one another for achieving exclusivity for nearly 4 years has been resolved completely. The final story has the Britain’s separation to end all separation anxieties. For the British PM, Boris Johnson, who has accomplished this peaceable settlement, it is a crowning diplomatic success in his term.
It was the pronouncement made by the Conservative PM, David Cameron, on January 23, 2013, that : “should the Conservative party win the ensuing Elections, a referendum on the issue of whether Britain should leave the EU or not will be held that will set the struggle for an independent Britain rolling “. The Conservatives won the Elections in 2015.
Subsequent to the acceptance announcement of the European Federation to accord Britain a Special Status in 2016, PM David Cameron sought to conduct the EU Membership referendum in June for the continuance of Britain in the 28 member EU.
The demand and desire of Britain to exit the EU started gaining voice under Boris Johnson at this time itself.
About 52℅ of people voted in favour of Britain leaving the EU. PM, David Cameron, resigned. On July 13, 2016, Home Secretary, Theresa May, became the PM. March 29, 2019, was set as the new date for Britain to leave the EU. PM, Theresa May, in an attempt to enlarge her majority in the Parliament, announced a sudden election. Contrary to her expectations, the Conservatives lost their majority and were compelled to form a minority coalition to continue in power.
A no confidence motion moved against PM, Theresa May, was defeated in December 2018. PM, Theresa May, placed the Brexit Agreement before the Parliament for passing in May 2019. Against all her expectations, the agreement was not passed. It was also rejected three times in the Parliament.
The previously set date of March 29, 2019, was now extended. PM, Theresa May, resigned on July 24, 2019, after Boris Johnson won the Conservative Party Leadership on July 23, 2019. Agreement getting accepted or otherwise, Britain will leave the EU by October 31, 2020, he averred. He also pronounced that the date set was extended again till January 31, 2020. In the General Election held in December, PM, Boris Johnson, won securing full majority. And, Britain finally left the EU on January 31, 2020. However, for finetuning the negotiations, a 11 month timeframe was granted.
Britain has successfully come out of EU after winning a great struggle. It, however, will not break the relations between Britain and EU due to the many regulations/conditions and privileges/incentives surviving.
Britain’s medical practitioners, technologists, and architects have to register in countries they want to pursue work. Lawyers and Auditors are exempted from these regulations. Also, manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies will get tax exemptions if they source 59% of spare parts locally.
The broad opinion is that India will stand to gain from Brexit. Significant to note is the fact that Indian tech companies, professional enterprises, and the likes are heavily invested in Britain after America. It also constitutes the reason for our industrialists migrating to UK. Indian Software sector heads hold a focused attention to open offices in EU and to continue Trade relations with Britain.
Bilateral trade between India and Britain is of the order of $ 15 billion. Contribution of exports in trade is $ 2 billion more than imports.
UK PM, Boris Johnson, will be the Chief Guest, for our Republic Day Celebrations 2021 on January 26. Many agreements between India and UK will be finalised and signed during that time. Specially, relaxations in migrations of Indians for Education and Job Opportunities are keenly expected.
If Brexit Agreement is a great comforter and encourager to Britain, it will be an excellent “opportunity” for India.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, January 2, 2021 – 12.19 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” This is an amazing moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it ” – Boris Johnson in his New Year Address.