Thursday, July 14, 2016

The aftermath is worth pondering upon.

There are certain happenings that will definitely have far reaching ramifications. I'm just considering two recent events, one international and the other, that had taken place in our state of Kerala. Here I go:-

 (a) The Verdict of the Permanent International Court of Arbitration, The Hague.

       Based on Philippines' complaint about China meddling in its exclusive economic zone, the
       court had declared China's claims illegal and concluded that there was no legal basis for it to
       claim historic rights to the resources within the sea areas under dispute. To understand the
       verdict, it's important to know the basis of the Chinese claim.

       Xi Jinping, on taking over the mantle of leadership, had put across the 'China Dream' as the
       cornerstone of his foreign policy. The following were carried out/initiated:-

            (i) China Dream was all about "the great revival of the Chinese nation."
           (ii) To symbolically underline the importance of the South China Sea to this initiative, his
                 first visit outside Beijing as the new party boss was to meet the sailors on board the
                 guided missile destroyer Haikou that was, then, patrolling the disputed waters.
          (iii) Large scale land reclamation was on and artificial islands were being made by employing
                 a huge workforce causing irreparable damage to the coral reef and the environment. That
                 the construction was going on non stop despite the progress of proceedings in court amply
                 showed China's belligerence and a couldn't-care-less-attitude to such niceties!
          (iv) It interfered with the Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration as it staked claim of the
                 sea areas within the "nine - dash line."

         What could be Xi's Options?

          Now that the verdict is against China, his options could be either of the two:-

             (i) Defy the world court, risk regional conflicts and give it a 'rogue nation' status among
                  the countries of the world by giving impetus to the following activities:-

                      (aa) Increased military presence.
                      (ab) Step up construction of the artificial islands.
                      (ac) Engage in drilling.

            (ii) Calm tensions through measured diplomatic efforts. A bilateral understanding with
                  Philippines could be reached provided the latter is willing to play ball.

           But whatever be the case, Xi has been weakened with his 'China Dream' collapsing much
           against his wishes! And therein, lies the danger!!

 (b) Kerala Government's 'Nyet' to Cabinet Decisions Being Brought Under the RTI Ambit.

       The Pinarayi Vijayan government's no to bringing cabinet decisions and the minutes under the
       purview of the RTI is a retrograde step. It will go to court against the RTI Commissioner's
       diktat in this regard. The paradox is that the last few decisions of the previous UDF government
       were being asked for by the Commissioner that has been denied by this government. The
       government is of the opinion that all cabinet decisions are 'secret' till their execution is

       Both the LDF and the UDF seem to be on the same grid when it comes to matters of


The next Parliament session is around the corner. Will we've the GST Bill cleared this time?


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