Wednesday November 21, 2018
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Would you feel safe: Ignorance reaches new levels in America

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Here is the story: A man in a flight from New York to California made a 40-second video of a Sikh man sleeping seated next to him and put it on the Youtube with the caption “Would you feel safe? Flying with Osama Bin Laden”.

The Sikh man wasn’t even aware of what is happening around him as he was asleep. The man making the video did not try to hide his identity as well.

https://youtu.be/x-EJOWRMOtU

Ignorance prevailing in the minds of some US citizens touched a whole new level of absurdity. Since the California shooting, a Gurudwara was vandalized, a 12-year-old boy was arrested in Texas for joking that he has a bomb and now this.

America is proud of the fact that they were the first modern democracy with a constitution providing rights in the history of the world.

Where are those rights? Where is that famous inclusive nature of the American society? These incidents are the examples of ignorance, stupidity, fears and racism prevailing in the society that champions itself as the custodians of human rights, equality and free thinking.

This has reached to such a level that it feels nonsensical to even talk about it. It is like you scold a kid for doing something but that kid keeps repeating the same again and again, and one day you get fed up so much so that you give in and start feeling stupid to say the same thing.

The man who made the video received a lot of duly deserved flak on the internet but does it even matter? Does it even teach anyone that it is wrong to assume someone a terrorist because of his colour, beard or looks? No, it does not, because if it would have, it wouldn’t be happening repeatedly.

Stereotyping has, over the time, become such a habit for some of the American citizens that it is not going to go away that easily. It is like their burger and coke.

It is amazing that the whole country like India is branded intolerant because of a shameful and stupid incident that the world media starts writing editorials about it and, on the other hand, America retains its greatness even after the series of ridiculous incidents of hate-crime and mass shooting happening almost daily.

But then they are right, they are America, the great north, and as the “thing go south, it loses its shine”. What do we know? We are hardly 70 years old, we have just six Nobel winners. Only nine Olympic gold medals, even Michael Felps has more.

However, these criteria were created by the western world.

Edward Said, in his book Orientalism, explained that this whole theory of considering which society is greater was built on beliefs and customs of the Western world.

The problem lies deeper as we, as a society, have an inferiority complex and that is why such things keep occuring. Through the cultural imperialism, the west has managed to sustain its hegemony over the developing world.

It is a different debate whether globalization is just Americanization or not but it is for sure that this racist, ignorant absurdity has to stop. The equal treatment should not be just in papers or theories but in practice as well.

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India And Vietnam Come Together Against Maritime Rival China

Beijing has been protesting against joint Vietnamese-Indian oil exploration activities in the South China Sea for almost a decade, but New Delhi has refused to budge.

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India- Vietnam
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong before heading for talks behind closed doors in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

Advances in relations between Vietnam and India will help both countries resist Chinese expansion in Asia including the contested South China Sea, Asia scholars say.

India-Vietnam relations are growing again this week as Indian President Shri Ram Nath Kovind visits Vietnam Sunday through Tuesday. He was set to meet Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong for closed-door talks.

The visit advances a long-standing, fast-improving friendship that began in the 1970s, when Vietnamese leaders tapped India to diversify foreign policy, and leapt forward in 2016 when the two sides entered a strategic comprehensive partnership. Now both worry about China.

“Given a shared apprehension of Chinese assertiveness, New Delhi seeks to bolster Hanoi’s capabilities to check China, to expand Indian influence in Southeast Asia as a counterweight to China’s growing footprint in South Asia,” said Sameer Lalwani, deputy director for U.S. think tank The Stimson Center’s South Asia program.

India, elections, vietnam
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

South China Sea dispute

Vietnam and four other governments dispute all or part of Beijing’s claim to about 90 percent of the South China Sea. The two sides got into two deadly ship clashes, in 1974 and 1988, and rammed each other’s boats in 2014. China cites historical documents to support its claims.

India, located west of the Indochinese peninsula, does not claim the sea that lies east of Vietnam.

But last year hundreds of Chinese and Indian troops faced off on a Himalayan plateau disputed by China and India’s ally Bhutan. India also resents China’s support for its territorial rival Pakistan. It has grown eager to help Australia, Japan and the United States patrol Asian seas where China has alarmed other countries by landfilling tiny islets, in some cases for military use.

Those countries want the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea open internationally instead of under increasing Chinese control.

“I think Vietnam wants India to play a more active role in the South Asian region because Vietnam knows that India is not so active in the quadrilateral, including the U.S., India, Australia and Japan,” said Trung Nguyen, director of the Center for International Studies at Ho Chi Minh University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

India-Vietnam
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, right, and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam. VOA

​India and Vietnam held their first joint drill In the Bay Of Bengal in October to strengthen “working-level” relations, the Press Trust of India says. India has offered Vietnam $500 million in credit for arms purchases, as well, and proposed a South China Sea warning system able to send tsunami data to Vietnam.

Oil and gas exploration

Vietnam and India will use fuel exploration to consolidate their stand in the South China Sea, and with a potential profit, analysts forecast.

India and Vietnam already do “robust” trade, worth $12.8 billion in 2017-2018, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs says. Bilateral trade should reach $15 billion by 2020, the vice chairman of the Indian Business Chamber of Vietnam said last year. Indian investment in Vietnam was $2 billion then.

For the past four years, the overseas subsidiary of India’s government-run ONGC has worked with PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corp. to search for oil and gas in the South China Sea. China is probably watching warily, experts say.

Climate Change, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, right, and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam
Submerged tombs are seen at a flooded village after heavy rainfall caused by tropical storm Son Tinh in Ninh Binh province, Vietnam. VOA

Vietnam happens to need outside expertise and investment to find gas and oil off its long seacoast. Both domestic and foreign oil firms would earn money from any discoveries.

“The issue of oil is probably one of the larger political elephants in the room, so to speak,” said Maxfield Brown, senior associate with the business consultancy Dezan Shira & Associates in Ho Chi Minh City. “I’m sure that Vietnam is keen to find countries that are willing to invest in its natural resources and aren’t necessarily scared off by the threat of Chinese naval incursions.”

Spanish driller Repsol quit a Vietnamese-approved project in the South China Sea in March, apparently under pressure from China, media reports said then. Vietnam is now considering a $4.6 billion gas exploration project with ExxonMobil, local partner CNG Vietnam Joint Stock Co. says. China claims that site, as well.

“Vietnam is always trying to get them to do more exploration and India has been wary of holding onto blocks that aren’t productive or getting blocks that are in sensitive areas vis-a-vis China,” said Carl Thayer, professor emeritus with the University of New South Wales in Australia.

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India has shown little fear to date, said Mohan Malik, professor in Asian security, Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in the United States.

“Beijing has been protesting against joint Vietnamese-Indian oil exploration activities in the South China Sea for almost a decade, but New Delhi has refused to budge,” Malik said. “Through joint naval exercises and port calls at Vietnamese ports, New Delhi is signaling to Beijing that China’s growing naval expansion…would be countered by India’s naval outreach in the South China Sea.” (VOA)