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Dark cloud of White supremacism: US church shooting revives 2012 Wisconsin gurdwara attack memories

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Officials gather near the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek in Wisconsin August 5, 2012 following a mass shooting inside and outside the Sikh Temple. A shooting during Sunday services at a Sikh temple left at least seven people dead, including a gunman, and at least three critically wounded, police and hospital officials said. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
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Washington: The shooting in a historic US church on Wednesday night has come to haunt those who lost their dear ones in a similar traumatic attack about three years ago by a White supremacist in a Wisconsin state gurdwara, killing six Indian-origin people.

“It’s very similar to what happened in Oak Creek,” FOX6 News quoted Amar Kaleka, who lost his father in the Sikh temple shooting, as saying.

On August 5, 2012, Wade Page entered the Sikh temple of Wisconsin and began shooting indiscriminately. He killed six worshipers, including Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was the temple president. Page later committed suicide after a police officer shot him in the stomach.

All those killed were members of the Sikh community.

“Your heart sinks. It just — it’s heartbroken for all those people, because you’ve lived it. You know that their life is never gonna be the same,” Kaleka said.

The US law enforcement authorities have started investigating the shooting at Charleston city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which claimed nine lives, as a hate crime. The church is one of the oldest in the US, and was founded in 1816.

“I do believe this is a hate crime,” US media quoted Charleston police chief Greg Mulle as saying after the shooting.

“You feel for them, and you want to reach out and hug them, and you want to make sure that they’re okay,” Kaleka said, referring to the shocked Charleston community and victims’ kin.

The uncanny similarity between the Oak Creek and Charleston shootings was that in both the cases the shooting took place when people were offering prayers.

“I’m hoping to God that we can forgive — we can get past the trauma that this man has caused and work on the deeper issues of socio-economics or of racial tension that has long been there,” Kaleka said.

Kaleka is planning to visit Charleston to reach out to the community and promote his organisation Serve2Unite, which has the motto of “Uniting to defy hate and build peace through creativity and service”.

“What I’m gonna do is have conversations with community leaders, help where I can help, volunteer where I can volunteer, and then I’ll have conversations with certain families that want to have those conversations,” he said.

Although the suspect behind the Charleston shooting, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, has been arrested, the incident has once again stirred up the debate on gun laws in the US.

In a statement, President Barack Obama on Thursday said the US must eventually reckon with all too frequent mass shootings and gun violence.

“Now is a time for mourning and healing… But let’s be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” he said. (IANS)

 

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India Urges China to Open Markets For Trade

“When people make a price comparison and want to move towards the cheapest goods, those are usually Chinese products.”

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Sampad Yadav, the owner of a shop carrying electrical goods in a market in Gurugram near New Delhi, says people are drawn to Chinese products such as LED lights because they are more competitively priced. VOA

Sampad Yadav, who sells electrical goods in a shop in the business hub of Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, says Chinese goods such as LED lamps are popular with customers. “When people make a price comparison and want to move towards the cheapest goods, those are usually Chinese products.”

As in many other countries, Chinese products such as lamps, electronics, smartphones and engineering goods from the manufacturing giant have flooded Indian markets.

However, India has long fretted that areas in which it is strong such as generic drugs and Information Technology services, which make up some of its main exports to Western markets, remain shut out of China. That has made it difficult to bridge a ballooning trade deficit of about $50 billion between the two countries.

ALSO READ: China emerges as one of the fastest-growing sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India

But there is optimism this could change following a meeting this week between the commerce ministers of the two countries in New Delhi.

“The Chinese side have agreed to work on the issue, prepare a roadmap to bring the trade to balanced level over a period of time,” Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said after discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan.

Trade experts hope the growing tensions on trade issues between the United States and China will prompt Beijing to open up its markets more to Indian exports. “I think China is definitely under pressure now, looking into the kind of initiation which has happened against China,” says Ajay Sahai, who heads the Federation of Indian Exports Organization.

The meeting between the Indian and Chinese commerce ministers this week came amid efforts to de-escalate tensions between the Asian neighbors following a period of rocky ties and a tense 70-day face-off between their troops in the Himalayas last year.

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Products such as lights and lamps sold in Indian shops are predominantly Chinese.Products such as lights and lamps sold in Indian shops are predominantly Chinese. VOA

Despite a long-lingering boundary dispute and an often-fraught diplomatic relationship, trade ties between the Asian giants have gained significant momentum and China is now India’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2017 topped $80 billion rising by more than 20 percent over the previous year.

But worryingly for New Delhi, the trade deficit remains high despite a marginal growth in Indian exports – they add up to about $16 billion versus Chinese imports into India of about $68 billion.

ALSO READ: India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Market access a key issue

India exports mainly raw materials like iron ore, copper and cotton yarn to China. “In whatever value-added exports where we are competitive, unfortunately, the market is not open for us,” says Sahai.

However, China has promised to give greater market access to Indian goods, particularly pharmaceuticals and agricultural goods such as rice, as well as service exports, according to the Indian commerce minister. “They have decided to work in a way that will address security issues from their side as well as introduce Indian companies to those who can buy these products in China,” says Prabhu.

New Delhi, which is trying to ramp up domestic manufacturing, is also urging China to manufacture more goods exported to India within the country.

india-china trade
Generic drugs produced by Indian pharmaceutical companies make medicines affordable, but India says that China does not provide market access to its generic drugs. VOA

ALSO READ: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in restive Balochistan

Whether the promised actions translate into concrete outcomes remains to be seen. But exporters are hopeful. Sahai points out that China has invited Indian traders to what is being billed as the country’s first importers fair to be held in Shanghai later this year – it is being showcased as a measure to further open up China’s market.

The positive tenor of talks between the two countries comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports valued at $60 billion.

New Delhi could also face U.S. ire on trade issues – although its exports to the United States are comparatively small, it has a high trade deficit in its favor and Washington has often complained of protectionist barriers in India. In February, Trump called out India for imposing higher duties on Harley-Davidson motorcycles than the U.S. does on Indian motorbikes.

Amid growing fears that global trade faces uncertain times, analysts have called on countries like India to focus on increasing trade within the region.

India and China also said they will strengthen cooperation in the World Trade Organization and other multilateral and regional frameworks to maintain their common interests. VOA