Head of constitutional body booked for thanking Kuwait

 Amid the growing tide of Islamophobia in India, police in capital Delhi has booked head of a quasi-judicial body Zafarul Islam Khan for thanking Kuwaiti government for speaking in favor of Indian Muslims. In an unprecedented event, the Special Cell of Delhi Police registered a case of sedition, charging Khan, chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, …

Head of constitutional body booked for thanking Kuwait

 Amid the growing tide of Islamophobia in India, police in capital Delhi has booked head

of a quasi-judicial body Zafarul Islam Khan for thanking Kuwaiti government for speaking in favor of Indian Muslims.

In an unprecedented event, the Special Cell of Delhi Police registered a case of sedition, charging Khan, chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, a constitutional body, for the subversion of the constitution and incitement of discontent.

The move came after Khan wrote on his social Media last week: “Thank you Kuwait for standing with the Indian Muslims! The Hindutva bigots calculated that given the huge economic stakes involved the Muslim and Arab world will not care about the persecution of Muslims in India. The bigots forgot that Indian Muslims enjoy huge goodwill in the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world for their services over centuries to Islamic causes, excellence in Islamic and Arabic scholarship, cultural and civilizational gifts to world heritage.

“Names like Shah Waliullah Dehlavi, Iqbal, Abul Hasan Nadwi, Wahiduddin Khan, Zakir Naik and many others are respected household names in the Arab and Muslim world. Mind you, bigots, Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arab and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynchings and riots. The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche.”

The strict penal provision demands a punishment up to life imprisonment. Many prominent Indian citizens have issued a public statement expressing support for Khan.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Khan, also an author and journalist said he believed in core ideals of Indian secularism and rejects the politics of hate.

 

Anadolu Agency: What message you wanted to give through your social media post, that has become controversial and described provocative by a section of the media?

Zafarul Islam Khan (ZIK): Indian Muslims since long have faced communal violence and marginalization. Under the current central government, we had a campaign by radical Hindu outfits to convert Muslims to Hinduism, attacks in the name of cow protection, and lynching on a wide scale until these stopped some time back when those behind them realized that it was giving them very bad publicity internationally. So, these attacks stopped abruptly just as they had started abruptly.

But policies of polarization and marginalization continue unabated. The latest was the citizenship law controversy which in essence wanted to push Muslims to second-class citizens’ status. Protests were held all over the country, some lasted more than one hundred days. Then came the manufactured riots in the northeast district of Delhi. These riots broke the back of the Muslim community in parts of the national capital. The hate-mongers were so blind that in their planning they failed to factor the very high-profile visit of US President Donald Trump.

The riots were taking place barely six kilometers away from the place where Trump and the foreign journalists were staying. The journalists rushed to the northeast district to cover the violence. This brought a very bad name to our country. These reports, coupled with the anti-citizenship law protests all over the country, reached all over the world.

Reactions came from countries and organizations including from the Arab world. One such reaction came in the shape of an official decision of the council of ministers of Kuwait. I saw, rather belatedly, a copy of this decision of the Kuwaiti government in the form of a letter sent from the council of ministers to the foreign minister of Kuwait to act on this decision. I liked this gesture and decided to thank Kuwait for it. This is how that tweet in question was written.

Q: What were the contents of the tweet and why it became controversial?

ZIK: In this tweet, I said that Indian Muslims have never complained to the Arab and Muslim world about their persecution in India and if they did, Hindutva bigots will face an avalanche. A section of media and leaders of a particular party distorted my tweet, which had to be brief per se. They claimed that I had invited foreign intervention in my country, that I had complained against India to foreign countries and that I was threatening Indian bigots. I had not invited anyone or even remotely hinted at it. Rather, I had only said that if this happened, an avalanche will be let loose against the hate-mongers but the media interpreted my thank you tweet to an invitation of foreign intervention which never was my intention and is not supported by the words I wrote.

After all this protest and misreporting of my tweet, I realized that I had said something, though correct, at the wrong time. We are facing a medical emergency and the whole country is preoccupied with the same. This is why two days later I issued another tweet apologizing to people whose sentiments were hurt, saying specifically that the tweet was ill-timed and insensitive. But I never took back my tweet or deleted it.

Q: Delhi Police has filed charges under stringent clauses of sedition against you. What is your view on this action?

ZIK: The charges of sedition against me are baseless and will not stand in any court of law. This is sheer misuse of authority by the rulers of the day but these will be thrown out in courts. Some top legal experts in the country have told me that the police claim against me will fall flat in the court.

Q: Do you think this law is purely used now to instill fear and intimidate people who write or protest against authority?

ZIK: I stand by my core beliefs and ideals of Indian secularism and patriotism and reject the politics of hate. No amount of intimidation will make me change my views and convictions which have been formulated over many years.

Source : Voice of South Asia More   

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Managing supply chain risk in a post-COVID-19 world

Author: Stephen Olson, Hinrich Foundation The coronavirus pandemic has called into question several assumptions which have underpinned global trade for decades. By the time the dust settles, the world’s approach to trade could look quite different. Although this reconsideration predates the pandemic, extended global supply chains will make far less sense in the post-COVID-19 world. […]

Managing supply chain risk in a post-COVID-19 world

Author: Stephen Olson, Hinrich Foundation

The coronavirus pandemic has called into question several assumptions which have underpinned global trade for decades. By the time the dust settles, the world’s approach to trade could look quite different.

Although this reconsideration predates the pandemic, extended global supply chains will make far less sense in the post-COVID-19 world. The highly touted economic efficiencies generated by extreme specialisation of production and just-in-time inventories will now be weighed against the vulnerabilities they embed across global supply chains if even just one link in the chain breaks down. Rising economic nationalism and strategic rivalries further exacerbate these vulnerabilities.

In the balance between economic efficiency and security of supply, the pendulum is swinging back towards security. This shift will apply not only to essential medical supplies but across the full spectrum of trade. Recall how many automotive production facilities, in South Korea, Japan and elsewhere, suspended operations at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak when the flow of critical components from China was interrupted.

Automotive production is not a matter of life and death, but the lesson — that over-reliance on a single market is unsustainable — remains the same. Global trends indicate that this lesson is being readily absorbed.

Businesses and governments are now actively seeking a greater hedge against dependency risk in trade. Policies encouraging more domestic production — and to keep more of what is produced at home — are being implemented across both developed and developing economies. Vietnam has banned rice exports. India has restricted exports of an antimalarial drug that might be useful in combatting COVID-19.

The United States, although later modifying its stance, interrupted shipments of facemasks produced by the US company 3M that were bound for other countries. At least 54 countries have instituted some form of export restriction on medical supplies since the beginning of the year, according to Global Trade Alert.

Technology is also playing a critical role. The need to produce medical supplies has pushed companies such as Boeing, Ford and General Electric to embrace additive printing — a trend that will only facilitate the onshoring of supply chains.

At the recent G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Riyadh, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire — a staunch advocate of deepening economic integration — posed a question which just a few years ago would have seemed inconceivable:

‘Do we want to still depend at the level of 90 per cent or 95 per cent on the supply chain of China for the automobile industry, for the drug industry, for the aeronautical industry or do we draw the consequences of that situation to build new factories, new productions, and to be more independent and sovereign? That’s not protectionism — that’s just the necessity of being sovereign and independent from an industrial point of view’.

Le Maire’s comment captures the policy debate officials around the world are wrestling with, even in countries that have traditionally been strong pro-trade and pro-integration advocates.

As policy debates and boardroom deliberations continue to unfold, the likely upshot will be shorter supply chains, more emphasis on regional trade and less reliance on a single trade partner. This could have big implications for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP provides a logical platform for responding to some of the risks arising from COVID-19.

China and the United States are the predominant trade and investment partners for CPTPP members. Given the economic importance of both countries and the challenges inherent in relocating supply chains, this trend won’t dramatically change overnight. But since neither China nor the United States are currently parties to the CPTPP, the agreement is a useful vehicle to achieve greater trade and investment diversification. It, and the pending RCEP agreement, allows East Asian members to fortify relationships closer to home, rather than across the Pacific.

As a self-selected, voluntary grouping of economies ostensibly committed to promoting trade and investment among members, the CPTPP could provide some degree of insulation against the surge of export restrictions.

With the CPTPP positioned to take on greater relevance in the post-COVID-19 world, membership will expand. Although some domestic opposition has arisen, Thailand is predicted to be first up, but several other countries including South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines have also indicated interest.

Japan seems to be the informal new member recruitment manager, with Japanese officials already working closely with their Thai counterparts on the mechanics of accession. Japan’s role is not a matter of happenstance. Japanese officials now understand the dangers of overreliance on a single market. Japan relies on China for about 37 per cent of its imports of automotive parts and 21 per cent of its imports of intermediary goods overall.

In light of the COVID-19 disruptions, Japan is making a concerted effort to reduce its supply chain dependencies on China. The recent stimulus bill passed by the Japanese legislature allocated US$2.2 billion to help Japanese manufacturers shift production out of China. This desire for greater diversification has dovetailed with Japan’s strong commitment to the CPTPP and is leading to an even more proactive push for new members.

The COVID-19 pandemic will recede at some point. But its impact on trade will endure. The world can expect to see less China-reliant supply chains and a beefed-up CPTPP, providing a potential boost for ASEAN’s strong regional orientation.

Stephen Olson, based in Hong Kong, is a Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation Ltd.

This article is part of an EAF on the novel coronavirus crisis and its impact.

Source : East Asia Forum More   

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