Tag Archives: Narendra Modi

Tom Arms’ World Review

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kicked off his election campaign with a prayer. And it was a prayer in the most controversial ethno-religious setting that he could find, thus further strengthening his ethno-religious claim to be the standard bearer of Hindu Nationalism.

The setting was the consecration of a partially-constructed Hindu temple in the town of Ayodha. It was controversial because the temple is being built on the site of a 16th century Muslim mosque which was torn down by Hindu nationalist rioters in 1992.

The destruction of the mosque led to nationwide religious riots which left 2,000 dead, most of them Muslims.

The Hindus tore down the mosque because they believed that it was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram, the chief deity in the Hindu pantheon of gods.

Modi made it one of his key election pledges that a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ram would be built on the site of the former mosque.

And to insure the maximum political return, Modi pulled out all the stops for the consecration of the temple and placed himself at centre stage. For a start, the Indian Prime Minister dressed in the saffron robes of a Hindu monk and publicly fasted for five days before the consecration.

Then he invited every possible Bollywood star, businessman and politician – except Muslims and the opposition Congress I Party – to the consecration.

A military helicopter was ordered to fly overheard during the consecration ceremony showering flower petals on the crowd. Modi, of course, led the prayers.

Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, was immensely proud of the fact that the Indian constitution declared India a secular nation. Modi is doing his best to reverse that.

NATO

NATO this week launched its biggest European military manoeuvres since the end of the Cold War.

Codenamed Exercise Steadfast Defender it involves 91,000 service personnel from 31 NATO countries and Sweden. It is the first time Finland will be participating as a full member of the Alliance.

Sweden’s NATO membership was finally approved by Turkey this week and is expected to get the final nod from the Hungarian parliament next month.

Steadfast Defender is meant to demonstrate NATO – and especially American – commitment to the defense of Europe. It involves all three branches of the military – army, navy and air force – and will focus on moving troops as fast as possible into the new frontline states of Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Slovakia.

The Russians have lodged the usual protests, but more importantly they have used their bases in Kaliningrad to jam military GPS devices in the Baltic Region.

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Observations of an expat: The Adani scandal

The Adani scandal is big. It is big because it involves hundreds of billions of dollars; valuable and important infrastructure throughout Asia and could potentially suck in the government the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

First of all, who are the key players in this saga? They are the Adani Group’s founder Gautam Adani, Nate Anderson of Hindenburg Research and Prime Minister Modi.  Last week, Adani, was the third richest man in the world. Today he is the 15th richest following the damning report by Hindenburg.

The Indian tycoon was a school dropout who started his business career in Mumbai as a diamond trader. But he soon moved back to his home state of Gujarat (where Modi was chief minister) and switched to commodities trading. Using Gujarat as his base, Adani established a business empire that includes India’s largest cement company, 13 ports, seven airports, six power stations and much more. The Adani Group even runs its own private railway and electricity supply.

Adani has 23,000 employees and ten days ago the conglomerate had a market capitalisation of $230 billion. At the end of this week it was $120 billion and falling.

Now, who is Nate or Nathaniel Anderson? He is a former New York trader who founded Hindenburg Research with the aim of blowing the whistle on corporate fraud.  Hindenburg forensic accounting techniques and good old detective work to uncover corporate fraud and corruption. It analyses public records, internal corporate documents and conducts confidential interviews with whistle blowing employees.  Most of their investigations take about six months. The Adani analysis lasted two years.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments
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