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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 25 February 2020

A U.S. strategy only meant to isolate China

  •  Since 2017, the United States government has released a few reports and fact sheets on its new Indo-Pacific Strategy.
  • What does the U.S. mean when it says that the IndoPacific Strategy is going to promote “free, fair, and reciprocal trade?
  • Deeper agenda of the U.S.: use three large Asian states — Australia, India, and Japan — to isolate China. There is nothing else to it.
  •  China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has signed on more than 70 countries in the world.
  1. To end China’s reliance upon the markets of the West
  2. Use China’s massive surpluses to build infrastructure in key parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America

  •  By 2027, according to estimates by Morgan Stanley, China will spend about $1.3 trillion on this ambitious construction project.
  •  If you add up all the money that the U.S. intends to spend for economic projects, it is still a fraction of the amount spent by China.
  • A few years ago, Nepal discovered a large amount of uranium in Mustang, near the Nepal-China border; this has certainly motivated U.S. interest in Nepal’s economy.
  •  Libraries are filled with documents that show how the U.S. government enabled a massive Third World debt crisis in the 1980s, which was then used by the U.S.-driven International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment Programs to strangle countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • What it actually wants is an Indo-Pacific with fewer Chinese ships and more U.S. warships.
  • As the military aspect of the Strategy increased, both Australia and Japan edged away from fullscale adoption of the U.S. project.
  • Japan has begun to use the term “Indo-Pacific” without the word “Strategy”, while Australia has signed onto a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with China.
  •  To remain the subordinate ally of the U.S. suggests that India will miss an opportunity to be part of a reshaped Asia.

Guns, gas, and technology

  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official visit to India could lead to significant outcomes, as there have been regular and sustained engagements between Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of forums such as the G7, the G20, and the United Nations General Assembly.
  • In the last few years, the U.S. has categorised India as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ and granted it the ‘Strategic Trade Authorisation-1’ status.
  • 2018: Total two-way trade flows increased to $142.3 billion
  •  USA is fifth-largest source of FDI: Steady inflows of capital, with a cumulative capital stock of $28 billion.
  • Presence of U.S. companies is found across diverse sectors of the Indian economy including defence and aviation, agriculture, health, education, and insurance.
  •  Indian companies are expanding their investments in the U.S., with the CII’s data reflecting historic rates of investment and job creation, numbering over $18 billion and 1,13,000, respectively.
  • The goal of $500 billion in two-way trade.
  • CII research: this target could be reached as early as 2030.
  • The two most promising sectors for future cooperation are energy and defence.
  • India would continue to rely on U.S. liquefied natural gas of which it is already the sixth-largest buyer.
  •  Indian companies have invested $4 billion in the shale gas sector in the U.S. already.
  •  The recent 2+2 dialogue led to three agreements being inked under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative to co-develop and co-produce critical technologies.
  •  Partnerships in technology: Such an economy would be based on high-technology exports, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), electric vehicles, and other emerging sectors.
  • Artificial intelligence is likely to dominate the business space in coming years.
  • The synergies between the world’s two largest democracies are vast and the visit of Mr. Trump is bound to create new interfaces.

 The issues around data localisation

Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019.

  •  The Bill was referred to a joint parliamentary committee, which is currently engaged in a process of public consultation.
  • The draft law is a comprehensive piece of legislation that seeks to give individuals greater control over how their personal data is collected, stored and used.
  • Once passed, the law promises a huge improvement on current Indian privacy law, which is both inadequate and improperly enforced.
  • The PDP Bill, however, is not without its flaws.
  • It has attracted criticism on various grounds such as the exceptions created for the state, the limited checks imposed on state surveillance, and regarding various deficiencies in the structures and processes of the proposed Data Protection Authority.
  •  One of the more contentious issues in the law Bill are the provisions pertaining to “data localisation”.
  • Sensitive personal data: a copy will have to be kept in the country.
  • Transferring critical personal data is not allowed
  • Justice Srikrishna Committee in 2018: required both personal and sensitive personal data to be mirrored in the country (subject to different conditions).
  • Supreme Court’s dicta in the 2017 Puttaswamy case: an interference in the fundamental right to privacy would only be permissible if inter alia deemed necessary and proportionate.

Purpose of localisation

  1. Sovereignty and government functions
  2. Economic benefits will accrue to local industry
  3. Privacy and security
  • Localisation may make it easier for domestic surveillance over citizens.
  •  Overall, the degree of protection afforded to data will depend on the effectiveness of the applicable data protection regime.
  •  If privacy protection is the real consideration, individuals ought to be able to choose to store their data in any location which afford them the strongest privacy protections.
  • Reforming surveillance related laws
  • Entering into more detailed and up-to-date mutual legal assistance treaties
  •  Enabling the development of sufficient digital infrastructure
  •  Creating appropriate data-sharing policies that preserve privacy and other third party rights
  • While enabling data to be used for socially useful purposes.

Dual citizenship

  • The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, has again triggered an ill-advised demand for dual citizenship to Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka.
  •  Constitutional and legal position are clearly against the grant of dual citizenship per se.
  • As on date, no Indian citizen holds the citizenship of any other country.
  •  Even when the Centre amended the Citizenship Act in 2003 to introduce the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) scheme for sections of the Indian diaspora, all it provided was a limited version of ‘dual citizenship’ which came without political rights and with a bar on purchase of agricultural land.
  • The Centre has consistently favoured voluntary repatriation of refugees to Sri Lanka.
  • In the run-up to the 2016 Assembly elections, the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, flagged the issue of dual citizenship.
  • Governor Banwarilal Purohit too referred to the demand in his Assembly address last month.
  • Early this month, the government told the Rajya Sabha that neither the Constitution nor the CAA permitted dual citizenship.This ought to put an end to the debate, which will otherwise create false expectations among the refugees.
  • The Centre should stop seeing Sri Lankan refugees as “illegal migrants”; they entered India with the knowledge and approval of Indian authorities.
  •  As for those who wish to remain in India for studies or to earn a livelihood, the authorities should tweak the OCI Cardholder scheme or offer an exclusive long-term visa.
  • As for those keen on returning home but are unable to do so for want of support from Sri Lanka, New Delhi should lean on Colombo to help enable their early return. Besides, the two countries should formulate a scheme of structured assistance to expedite voluntary repatriation, which is moving at a snail’s pace even a decade after the civil war ended.

The unassailable keywords for the judiciary

  •  Justice Arun Mishra’s public praise of the Prime Minister at a public forum on Saturday raises serious questions about the independence of the judiciary.
  • What is more disturbing is that he was speaking at the inaugural session of the International Judicial Conference 2020, ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’.
  • One cannot forget that Justice Mishra is one of the seniormost judges of the Supreme Court of India and every word spoken by him may be taken seriously by those connected with the administration of justice.
  • Reiterating independence: In a 1981 judgment, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that “Judges should be stern stuff and tough fire, unbending before power, economic or political, and they must uphold the core principle of the rule of law which says: ‘Be you ever so high, the law is above you.’
  •  This is the principle of independence of the judiciary which is vital for the establishment of real participatory democracy, maintenance of the rule of law as a dynamic concept and delivery of social justice to the vulnerable sections of the community.
  •  It is this principle of independence of the judiciary which we must keep in mind while interpreting the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
  •  In the same judgment another learned judge holds, “...While the administration of justice draws its legal sanction from the Constitution, its credibility rests in the faith of the people. Indispensable to that faith is the independence of the judiciary... the framers of the Constitution took great pains to ensure that an even better and more effective judicial structure was incorporated in the Constitution, one which would meet the highest expectations of judicial independence....
  • Later in 1993, another Constitution Bench in the Second Judges Appointment Case, declared: “It is obvious that only those persons should be considered fit for appointment as Judges of the superior judiciary who combine the attributes essential for making an able, independent and fearless judge. Several attributes together combine to constitute such a personality. Legal expertise, ability to handle cases, proper personal conduct and ethical behaviour, firmness and fearlessness are obvious essential attributes of a person suitable for appointment as a superior Judge.”
  •  It concluded, “In short, the behaviour of the Judge is the bastion for the people to reap the fruits of the democracy, liberty and justice and the antithesis rocks the bottom of the rule of law.”

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