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Showing posts from November 28, 2021

The Myth of the Meritorious Doctor

Caste privilege in the medical profession Kiran Kumbhar UPDATED: 03 DEC 2021 ISSUE: DECEMBER 3, 2021 Kiran Kumbhar, a physician and health policy graduate, researches the history of medicine and Indian history at Harvard University.       Protests in Mumbai, over the death by suicide of Payal Tadvi, an Adivasi medical student, in 2019 (October 13, 2020) | Twitter (DYFI-CEC) Reservations are — wrongly — blamed for encouraging mediocrity in the medical profession. The historical record shows that the floundering foundations of the profession were laid by doctors who came 'purely through merit'. The current  chaos  regarding admissions in postgraduate medical courses through NEET, although primarily a result of the incompetent and authoritarian working style of the union government, has nevertheless given rise to vicious commentaries against caste-based reservations. A particularly atrocious aspect of these commentaries, most recently heard in a monologue by a TV presenter, Palki

How China’s belt and road is connecting Southeast Asia, political wariness aside

The newly-opened Laos-China railway is just one page in Beijing’s growing portfolio of infrastructure projects in the region. Notwithstanding the challenges, China’s gambit is paying dividends in the form of contracts and clout Last  Thursday, Laos celebrated the completion of its first high-speed railway, a US$6 billion project backed by China. The inauguration came just a few weeks after Vietnam opened its first metro line in Hanoi, also built by China. These infrastructure projects are proof that Beijing’s massive Belt and Road Initiative continues to break ground even amid a pandemic, with far-reaching implications for Southeast Asia. They will no doubt burnish Beijing’s appeal as a vital partner in promoting connectivity and spurring economic recovery in the region. The new transport networks will be even more crucial after the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), takes effect next year, bringing together all 10 countries of the

Pakistan’s Balochistan is Asia’s next headache

Last thing the world needs: a fierce new multinational battlefront in the borderlands of South and Central Asia By  VIVEK Y KELKAR DECEMBER 2, 2021 Separatism is just one of the looming problems centered on Balochistan. Photo: AFP Few in the West could quickly locate the Pakistani province of Balochistan on a map. But a fierce new Asian conflict is gathering there, this time involving Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Iran and even India. The Balochis are rebelling, violently, against the federal government in Islamabad, demanding independence, or at least a measure of autonomy. They’re also furiously protesting China’s economic domination of their province. China needs Balochistan. It’s crucial to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. But insurgents have been killing Pakistan’s security forces in the region – and workers on projects managed by China – almost daily. Balochistan shares long borders with both Afghanistan and Iran, and has ethnic and political links to both. Upheaval in Balochi

Is Belgium the Next Near-Arctic State?

November 30, 2021 By  Romain Chuffart Article ,  Belgium ,  Law and Governance ,  Politics and Strategy The Palace of Nations, house to the Belgian Federal Parliament in Brussels. Photo:  Theedi With a population of slightly over 11 million, a grand total of 70 kilometres of coastline, and a size so small it is often used as a unit of measurements for other geographical spaces, 1)  Belgium might not look like your typical near-Arctic state – to use the famous term coined in China’s 2018 Arctic Policy – 2)  Belgian Arctic policy or strategy has so far been inexistent. Policymakers in Brussels (which in this case is Brussels, Belgium not Brussels, EU) might even wonder why there should be any. Isn’t this the prerogative of the European Union and its new (sorry, updated) Arctic policy? 3)  To the surprise of many, Belgium had its Arctic lightbulb moment a few months ago as a few key events started to take place to cement its place as an Arctic stakeholder. Belgium as a Polar Nation To und

Richard Moore said adapting to a world dominated by the rise of China was now the “single greatest priority

*China’s overconfidence and belief in its own anti-western propaganda has put Beijing at risk of “miscalculation” which could threaten international security, the head of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service has warned.* Richard Moore said adapting to a world dominated by the rise of China was now the “single greatest priority ” for his spy agency, also known as MI6, in his first public speech since taking over the role a year ago. *“ The Chinese intelligence services are highly capable and continue to conduct large-scale espionage operations against the UK and our allies,” Moore, who is also known by the code name “C”, told an audience in London on Tuesday. “Beijing’s growing military strength and the [Chinese Communist] party’s desire to resolve the Taiwan issue, by force if necessary, also pose a serious challenge to global stability and peace.” The comments mark a striking change from the British government’s previous hesitancy in addressing the threat posed by China. The integrate

Modi’s Autocratic Style Clicks, but is not Fool Proof

The neo-liberal order generates resentment, destroys self-confidence, and makes people easy victims of conspiracy theories and fake narratives of grandeur. Sanjay Kumar 01 Dec 2021 On 8 November 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Indian currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000  denomination  in a national telecast with no advance notice. On 24 March 2020, he announced a Covid-19 lockdown in the entire country with four hours’ notice through yet another telecast. Future historians are likely to see both actions of Modi as  Tughlaqi farmans  or ill-thought, with no prior planning, nor concern for consequences. Both were trumpeted as good for the country but, in reality, proved to be disasters. The more than six years of Modi’ s  rule are marked with many other similarities to feudal statecraft. Like feudal monarchs punching coins in their name, crores of  Covid-19  vaccination certificates issued by the government of India carry his visage as  a  reminder o