Thursday, August 8, 2019

Tibet President Lobsang Sangay says, 'Trade with China, be cautious, study Tibet'; on Dalal Lama reincarnation & investment in Buddhism

New Delhi: Sounding caution on relations with China, President of Central Tibetan Administration in India Lobsang Sangay said, ‘You must do business with China, have diplomatic relations with them but see that are you bringing china to the international fort or we are becoming more influenced by china.' He said, ‘Be careful, study Tibet, look at the blueprint of Tibet and then decide.’ 'How it all started in Tibet. Then in Australia. You start with trade and then it becomes politics and then it becomes security then it becomes academic and it becomes everything'. He said, 'China has completely taken over Australia in business and has good cultural ties with it too. It uses the blueprint of elite cooptation, buying all influence makers. India should be cautious’.

Tibet is facing an existential crisis with China since last 60 years. Regarding talks with China he said, ‘We are open to talks with all, Chinese, journalists, scholars. We seek autonomy within China and we want to resolve our issue peacefully through dialogue.’
‘Tibet is your litmus test as to your commitment to democracy, human rights and non violence’, he emphasized, for all countries vouching for them.

Dalai Lama's own business

India educated Sangay, in an interaction with Foreign Affairs Correspondents on Dalai Lama’s reincarnation issue said that, ‘Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is Dalai Lama’s business. It is for him to decide whether he comes back or not and in what form. The Chinese have no role whatsoever.’ He said, 'The Chinese, who are wanting to name their own Dalai Lama, like their Panchen Lama, who will follow him? China has destroyed all our monasteries and monks, how can they decide on the Dalai Lama?''

‘We are not scared of China. We sincerely think we will win. Chinese came in 1959, by 1963 they destroyed 90 % of Tibetan monasteries. 99.9% monks and nuns were killed by Chinese army. Buddhism was physically destroyed. No one could practice Buddhism. His holiness and 20,000 of his followers fled Tibet and stayed in exile in India. We had only 2% chance of survival. In that we rebuilt all the monasteries in India, thanks to India. We are rebuilding Nalanda University. We revived Buddhism institutions in the whole of Himalayan belt from Sikkim to Ladakh to Himachal, Lahaul Spiti, Nepal, Bhutan.

'Now oddly China has become the largest Buddhist country in the world. 300 million Buddhists are in China. It has surpassed India. Buddhism is back in Tibet too. They may have destroyed Buddhist monasteries for dilution of Buddhism physically but in private social spaces they practice Buddhism like never before. Under the guidance of his holiness Dalai Lama we have rebuilt in exile.'

 India birthplace of Buddhism, China showing itself as leader 

‘India is the birthplace of Buddhism. All the sacred signs of Buddha are in India. But as far as Buddhist diplomacy is concerned India is far behind China’, said Lobsang Sangay, President of Tibetan government-in-exile.

Though Buddhist people in India are 10% of its population, Sangay suggested, ‘even if out of the estimated 600 million to 1 billion Buddhists which means 1%, also comes here, which further means 10 million spending 1000 dollars each, will be 100 billion dollars. UP and Bihar will prosper within 10 yrs. With 1 million investments you can have 100 billions in return.’

He said, ‘Every year China organizes World Buddhist Congress and leaders from around the world are invited including from neighboring countries. Chinese government spends billions of dollars. They look at China as a leader of the Buddhist world. Not India. India is a low hanging fruit. All the Buddhist leaders will come to India on a mere invite for an event at Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya is the land of enlightenment. China does not have Sarnath, Varanasi, they have the tallest statue of Buddha, biggest Buddhist monastery, deepest Buddhist cave and all Buddhist leaders are amazed with china’s development and investment. The largest cheapest export has been Buddhism, least investment highest and the longest return. India is land of Buddha. All Buddhist countries are your natural ally.’    

Tibetan identity in India

With literacy rate of 94% in Tibet, Tibetans born and educated in India love cricket, Bollywood movies, dance and songs but there is an evolution too. With 3rd generation Tibetans coming from kindergarten to school are taught everything in Tibetan till primary. In Tibetan gatherings, Gorshey, a Tibetan dance form and songs sung by Tibetan singers have replaced Bollywood and Hollywood songs which is seen as an assertion of their identity. Wearing Tibetan shirt is fashion. In Dharamshala on Wednesday everyone wears Tibetan dress mostly. In the national capital of Delhi, Majnu ka Tila, place that Tibetans have made home, Wednesday is vegetarian. Majnu ka Tila, famous for its Thopa and Momos observes White Wednesday, adopted in 2011, when they adorn Tibetan dress, eat Tibetan and drink Tibetan. Sangey says its like Gandhiji’s civil disobedience. Although Tibetan food is primarily non vegetarian, White Wednesdays are Vegetarian for laying emphasis and going back to Buddha.  

Back in Tibet, Tibetans live with bleak prospects. Sources say, even when Tibetans educated from china return back to Tibet good positions are not their share and are a fiefdom of Han Chinese. Like in the Tibet Autonoums region Chinese Secretary is the most powerful official and nothing has changed in the last 60 yrs. Not even Executive Secretary is a Tibetan. If there are 13 Standing Committees of the Polit Bureau, first one is a pure Han Chinese following in order. The 13th may be a Tibetan.

Forced migration from China is usual. All road are built to send Chinese migrants to Tibet. Han Chinese get double promotion. After one promotion they go to Tibet, with another they return to china and get promoted,(under the hardship posting). It is because of subsidies that the Chinese go to Tibet, to get license in business. The moment subsidy and license ends they come back. 80-90% of males are sent to Tibet and no females, as Chinese believe that if you give birth in high altitude the child will have a heart problem. In summer towns and cities in Tibet are Chinese majority because all migrants come to do business and in winter they return back. Tibet being at 3500 m height with -50 degrees, difficult and harsh winter season keeps Chinese away. 

President Sangay informed that according to Freedom House, an international organization measuring freedom in the world has ranked Tibet the least free region after Syria with no journalist being allowed to go to Tibet unless for an organized trip.

 #Lobsang Sangay  #Tibet #President CTA Tibet #China #Buddhism #Buddhism in Tibet #Dharamshala #China in Tibet

Sunday, June 23, 2019

After Masood, time to think larger connect between the India and China

Out of the three significant issues that majorly dot India China relations, NSG and BRI being the others, UN sanctions on global terrorist Masood Azhar, given a leg up by China lately, can be said to be the start of realizing of the Wuhan spirit on which a lot of indirect capital has been invested by Prime Minister Modi. In that template both leaders, Xi Jinping and Modi recently met at the SCO summit in Biskek and will be meeting soon again at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. Both leaders are aware of their powers as big nations, of not just the region but in the present global structure and are willing to walk the talk.

In this rapidly changing geo political geo economic scenario India China relations are being watched by the world. US China in a tug of war over trade and tariff, Gulf feeling the looming of war as tensions rise in the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and US, North Korea trying hard to convince US of its non nuclear intentions and the EU struggling hard to keep its stock intact, are some of the major touch points which have the potential of pushing the world order to a brink. In such times relations between India and China can be positively leveraged to exemplify peace and growth in the whole region.

“We should make joint efforts to make China-India friendship and cooperation surge forward like the Yangtze river and the Ganges, write a new chapter in the tango between the ‘dragon’ and the ‘elephant’, and enable the ‘Peacock’ and ‘Phoenix’ to fly in unison,” former envoy to India Luo Zhaohui said a couple of months before returning back to his country in May 2019.

Foreign experts have rightly pointed out that our ties with China range from being complex to that of both cooperation as well as competition. Any two large neighboring countries in their relationship is likely to be complex and difficult, as they are likely to have strong opinions on most issues and are unlikely to share identical or similar perspectives on many bilateral or international issues.

At Wuhan after Doklam it was analyzed and India and China independently came to the decision that it was much more important to have a relatively harmonious and balanced relationship between the two most populous states on this globe and that talking to each other was important.

Legacy of boundary issues

Even though India and China have differences of opinion about the boundary between them we do agree that some of these boundary related issues have been left to us by history which makes it incredibly difficult due to the nature of our borders. Interestingly both nations have agreed that even while we attempt to resolve the boundary issue, we shall do our very best at maintaining peace and tranquility on the border. Defence sources say elaborate and fairly successful Standard Operating Procedures have been put into place to ensure that our Armed Forces do not get into situations which will raise temperatures in the relatively cool climes of the India – China boundary. Yet, we have had what we call as “close proximity situations” at Depsang in 2013, at Chumar in 2014 and most recently at Doklam in 2017. Why do such situations take place at all!

Experts believe and there is no denying that better technologies and more importantly better roads available to both sides (the Indian Armed Forces also have better roads on our side of the border as compared to 20 or 25 years ago) have brought the two armed forces closer on this border than ever before in history. In this scenario, if any one of the two sides makes an attempt to change the status quo or a set pattern of behaviour, there is an immediate reaction from the other side. This is exactly what happened in each of these instances in 2013, 2014 and 2017. In each case, the Chinese PLA attempted to change the status quo on our frontier and in each case the Indian Army blocked such an attempt. Once the status quo was resumed, the situation went back to normal, although it may be a new normal.

The inside of the reachout

Since both Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping were keen to bring the bilateral India – China relationship on to an even keel, they agreed to meet at an informal summit at Wuhan. Former Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale says, ''The idea of an informal summit meant that there was no need for the bells and whistles of a formal state visit but the two leaders could spend a whole lot of time by themselves, talking to each other on any subject they felt was important for a strategic conversation. The offer to have the Summit at Wuhan in central China was made by the Chinese side, since they felt they had the facilities for such a meeting there and because Prime Minister Modi had not visited Wuhan before this event. Eventually, PM Modi and President Xi spent anywhere from 8 to 10 hours communicating with each other on some of the important bilateral, regional and global issues of the day. They also spoke to each other about the history and culture of their respective countries and societies, thereby adding to understanding and trust in each other.'' The meeting was a reiteration of our belief that India and China can talk with one another rather than past each other. That is why the High Level Mechanism to boost such contacts was established and held its first meeting in December 2018 led by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries. The importance of being sensitive to the concerns of the other country was an integral aspect.

Experts on China believe that one of the understandings emanating from the Informal Summit at Wuhan was the fact that although the Governments of India and China have been in close touch over the decades and even though business has boomed over the past few years, the one area of bilateral contact which lacks intensity is people-to-people exchanges. Given the fact that India and China are the two most populous nations on earth, that we are ancient civilizations with our own individual ways of thinking, it is very important to foster greater interaction between our peoples.

China has changed due to the fast paced economic growth she has undergone in last 3 decades. Bollywood films are popular amongst the youth of that country. Rising popularity of Yoga in China comes from its obvious health benefits and enhance understanding amongst ordinary people.

Controlling the rising trade deficit 

According to Ministry of Commerce India's trade deficit with China stood at $53 billion in 2018-19. Such a large and expanding deficit is dictated by the very composition of bilateral trade. When we mainly export primary produce to China while importing every kind of manufactured product including iron and steel, electronic items, power equipment and mobile handsets then we will end up with a trade deficit which will increase over time. Even if we are able to sell more rice, sugar, tea, sapota and mangoes to China it will not bridge the trade gap. Therefore, as Ambassador Bambawale says, that we need to focus not so much on the Balance of Trade in our bilateral payments but on Invisibles.

Spinoff Tourism sector

Another area which is untouched and untapped between the dragon and the elephant is tourism. Working towards attracting more Chinese tourists to India can be an unimaginably lucrative situation. This will prove to be a less herculean task as compared with selling more pharmaceuticals or software in the Chinese market that invite huge non tariff barriers. A public-private effort by India can result in up to 1.5 million Chinese tourists visiting our country by 2020.

Our Buddhist trail will be attractive but so too will our beaches, our mountain resorts, our temples and other historical sites. We must focus our efforts in this direction. For this we should undertake a massive marketing effort in China to ensure that our message of Incredible India goes down from the metropolitan cities to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where the real heft of Chinese tourism abroad comes. The results will be quick and very obvious. They will not merely help us meet our tourism targets but will provide employment to large numbers of our countrymen and women, while balancing out our trade deficit. It will have the additional spinoff that understanding of the other country will be enhanced amongst our peoples.

Tapping Education market

As per a study of the Pune Plan of Action on India China Relations, Indian Universities have the potential to attract more Chinese students. What we only need to do is to provide these potential students a rationale and a value proposition of why they should study in India rather than in the United States, the UK, Australia or Canada. That value proposition can be to do their Bachelors degree in India, learn fluent English in the process and then at the Master’s level, the student will have a good shot at relatively easy admission into and study at Universities in any of the western countries. Once again we will need to market this well and we shall be surprised at the interest we can generate amongst the Chinese youth. I suspect that the new private Universities in India may be able to pull in many more Chinese students in a 3 year perspective due to their cleaner premises, better catering facilities and good faculty and curricula.

International Solar Alliance

Amongst international and global issues there are many where India and China do see eye to eye and on which we work together. In the context of the stellar work done by the BASIC countries of India, China, Brazil and South Africa in the context of climate change negotiations. Today, India must devote some energy and persuasion to convincing China to become a member of the International Solar Alliance or ISA. There is little doubt that this will be a win-win proposition as China will benefit from becoming a member and the ISA will gain from China’s membership. Now that Japan and Saudi Arabia have joined this international organization, China is very likely to follow suit if we devote some attention and time to them, according to a report of the Pune based think tank.

Railways, a good idea

On the economic side, India and China can work together on modernizing one of our railway stations. All those who have travelled in China have been impressed by the nature and state of her infrastructure including her railway stations. Many Indians have admiringly stated that, Chinese railway stations look and feel like airports. Since India is working on modernizing her railway stations surely there can be some way we can include China in this effort. We shall have to work on and perfect a financial model which works for both countries and for the firms from both nations involved in this work. If we are able to build and finalize such a model we will indeed be in business, say experts.

Water and trans-boundary rivers

The subject of trans-boundary rivers is one which has received considerable attention in both India and China. The Brahmaputra, in particular, and Chinese dam building and other construction on that river is a matter of great concern in the lower riparian countries such as India and Bangladesh. Recent experience is that China, although very cagey on this subject, and all the while playing up the fact that they are cooperating even though it is not mandatory for them to do so, has indeed worked with India in several instances particularly when a blockage of the main body of that river in Tibet is likely to burst and cause potential havoc downstream in India. Chinese and Indian authorities have stayed awake through the night in certain recent cases exchanging data and information on the flood level and in projecting when the flood peak is likely to reach the populated and settled areas in India. In some cases such warnings and continuous monitoring of the situation has enabled the affected areas in India to either evacuate those segments of its population living in the low lying areas which were likely to be submerged or helped them in putting out a more general alert. Such recent cooperation has been under the radar but needs to be acknowledged adequately. It provides hope that trans boundary rivers could become an area of cooperation rather than one of contention.

The sense overall is that an India – China relationship on relatively even keel, will not and does not restrict our diplomatic space with the rest of the world. In fact, it enhances the scope for India to do more with Russia as well as the United States, with Japan as well as Europe and ASEAN. The only challenge is internal, whether we shall have the bandwidth to be able to expand our interaction with all our partners.

As China rises and India grows to reclaim their earlier positions on the world stage as two of the largest economies and most important countries, there will indeed be some contention between these two powers. There will also be plenty of space and room for cooperation amongst the two of us. That while there will remain some areas of competition between India and China, cooperation will be the dominant theme between us.

China experts say, ''While it is going to be one of the most important relationships of the 21st Century there is very little doubt that both countries and their Governments will have to navigate incredibly difficult waters as they move ahead on their respective paths of regaining their historical, pre-eminent places in the world order. Predictably, there will indeed be ups and downs in this bilateral relationship, but it will also be immensely important for each of our nations to work hard at ensuring a balanced but forward looking approach to our ties. Only such greater interaction and the resultant understanding will provide the basis for a better relationship between us and make each of us more sensitive to the other.'' There's a huge world out there for cooperation.

Tags: #India China relations #Political Blog #India China trade #India Tourism #Clickty Click Blog

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Clickty Click: Vietnam India deepen ties with Vice President's vi...

Clickty Click: Vietnam India deepen ties with Vice President's vi...: Hanoi: The visit of Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, to Vietnam on the Vesak day, a celebration to mark the birth, death and enli...

Vietnam India deepen ties with Vice President's visit, boost trade n Def Cooperation

Hanoi: The visit of Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, to Vietnam on the Vesak day, a celebration to mark the birth, death and enlightenment day of Lord Buddha tells a lot about the growing relations between the two countries. Vice President Naidu, on the invite of his counterpart in Vietnam, will deliver the keynote address at the 16th UN Day of Vesak Celebrations in Ha Nam province.

Vietnam is considered a civilizational friend and trusted partner, a strategic pillar of India’s Act East Policy and our key interlocutor in ASEAN. The exchange of high level visits from both the sides will further strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. India and Vietnam, today, have a strong bilateral relationship based on mutual trust, understanding, convergence of views on regional and international issues.

Significantly Buddhism has been a strong bond uniting our two peoples and nations. Indians reached the shores of this beautiful country two millennia ago with the message of Lord Buddha, of peace and compassion. The remains of the Champa civilization attest to the exchanges of people, goods, ideas and philosophies.

The talks between VP Naidu and Vice President of Vietnam Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh covered a whole range of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. They agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in defence and security, peaceful uses of atomic energy and outer space, science and technology, oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure development, agriculture and innovation-based sectors.

The Ambassador of Vietnam to India, Pham Sanh Chau, in an interaction to Foreign Correspondents said that relations with India thrives on 6 pillars. Political which includes regular exchange of high level visits, Defence and security, Economic, Scientific cooperation, and education and people to people ties. Parallely in a significant move the post of Ambassador of Vietnam to India has been upgraded from joint secretary to ministerial level in order to substantiate comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and India.

Defence Cooperation

The bilateral defence and security cooperation between the two countries is robust. India is providing extensive and sustained training support to Vietnamese Armed Forces and the implementation of the Line of Credit of US Dollars 100 million for building high speed patrol vessels for Vietnamese Border Guards is progressing satisfactorily. India has reviewed the implementation of the Line of Credit of US Dollars 500 million for defence industry cooperation announced during the visit of Prime Minister Modi in 2016.

Training by the three arms of the services has been extended by India to the armed forces of Vietnam which include training pilots, people and in English language, Ambassador Chau informed. On port call two Vietnamese ships are visiting Indian port, Chiefs of the 3 arms of the 2 countries visit each other on a regular basis. Talks on buying defence equipment’s from India may be a possibility, he said.

Economics and Trade

The bilateral economic engagement during the last few years between India and Vietnam has facilitated business and industry to harness the growing opportunities in both countries and in the region. Bilateral trade stood at nearly US Dollars 14 billion last year having doubled from US Dollars 7.8 billion three years ago. It is targeted to reach US Dollars 15 billion by 2020.

Presently there is no big investment from India in Vietnam except ONGC. Its same for IT. Ambassador Chau informed, IT major HCL is opening in Vietnam with a big ambition to create 10,000 jobs. Vietnam standing in top 5 in PISA which is an education indicator, people are smart in maths and physics and can potentially produce smart engineers. HCL will train 10,000 engineers who will work in the interest of India for America, he said.

ONGC is doing very well in Vietnam, some exploration is going on. According to agreements between the countries we try to provide all necessary support, not just Indian but all foreign countries operating in Vietnam to enjoy all privileges, he said with reference to China.

Connectivity woes over

Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau informed that travel will becomes easier with direct air connectivity between the two countries with Indian civil aviation carrier Indigo starting direct flights between India and Vietnam later this year. This step would go a long way in boosting bilateral trade and tourism exchanges.

Chau also informed about Visa on arrival facility granted to India which is soon to be launched through a platform. Through a single getaway by clicking on the website, the visitor will be required to complete a form which will be sent to the concerned authorities. The platform incorporates secure technology in order to safeguard maximum personal information. It is developed by an Indian company and will be operated by VFS.

Indo Pacific

Indo Pacific being a serious issue both countries are on the same page to build a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region on the basis of respect for national sovereignty and international law. It is expected that the concerned countries are able to reach consensus on a Code of Conduct in South China Sea. Vice President Naidu insisted that both countries are fully committed to an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture based on freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded economic activities and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the international law.

'Our foreign policy principal is that Vietnam is friends with all countries in the world community and will like to be a responsible and trusted partner with the international community. With a new reform policy in the last 3 decades Vietnam has been able to move out of isolation which were imposed by all the hostile forces to be able to normalise its relations with China, USA, ASEAN and have signed an agreement with EU. Interestingly all these countries are now strategic partners of Vietnam. Vietnam has good relations with all including the big countries of the world, Chau said.

Jaipur Foot: India for Humanity

There is an ongoing Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp in Quang Ninh Province. Under the ‘India for Humanity’ programme organized in commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi, the Government of India is supporting the organization of Jaipur Foot Camp in the provinces of Quang Ninh and Yen Bai of Vietnam.


India will continue with the ongoing long-term and short duration scholarships and training programmes provided under ITEC program me and by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. These programmes have been effectively used in the agriculture sector, making a tangible difference in the lives of the Vietnamese people.

Tags: #Vietnam #India Vietnam relations #Kolkata Hanoi flight #Jaipur Foot #Vesak in Vietnam #Indo Pacific region #South East Asia #India Vietnam Defense Cooperation

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

The fizz that finished in 10 minutes, Prime Minister’s prime time slot

New Delhi: As surprising and nail biting the wait about PM’s abrupt announcement of addressing the nation was, same was about the issue he would talk on, on the morning of March 27. This time would it be the bank or the bunker, was the joke on twitter. The announcement was tweeted by the Prime Minister himself on his twitter handle of chawkidar narendra modi. People stood nervously, with fingers crossed at the news that spread like fire. Interestingly on the completion of the telecast a known media personality tweeted, ‘Phewwww! It’s a spacy thingy. Your money’s safe, folks, go back to work.’

Barely 2 weeks before elections PM Modi makes an announcement of India’s capability of destroying satellites in space by ASAT’s Mission Shakti. The announcement followed a Cabinet Committee on Security meeting in the afternoon of 27 March.

It was indeed a great feat and a welcome news that India had successfully achieved the mission and was the fourth country in the elitist list of nations to have acquired this capability. Hats off to DRDO, ISRO and its scientists. The nation salutes them.

The opposition Congress jumped in to claim that it was in 2012 during UPA rule that the blocks of the mission were built and that the scientists of DRDO and ISRO already had the expertise then.

Just a couple of days ago Congress had announced ‘’Nyay’’ Niuntam Aay Yojna, Minimum Basic Income to fight poverty in the country which offers Rs 6000 monthly to 20 % of the poorest families of the country, Rs 72,000 yearly to the poor. Were PM and his team forced to think of a counter narrative at this crucial time when the voter can still be manipulated!

Seriously, the people of the country on the eve of voting a new dispensation have issues that pertain to their daily livelihood. Its about unemployment, its about jobs, about farmers suicides, about women safety, about poverty, cow vigilantism. After Pulwama and Balakot the issue of nationalism is seen no more of immediate concern to the semi urban and rural populace across the country. Will the narrative of nationalism that Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be pitching in his address to the nation hit the poor, daily wagers, farmers, the landless, labourers, small businessmen etc! Remember that india’s electorate is highly divided and opiniated. Local issues resound more during elections.

Twitter machine set rolling with dissection and thread baring of the announcement, trolling notwithstanding. So was this something very new. Why did Prime Minister choose this day, 2 weeks before election’s first phase, to address the nation, which is not too often by the PM that he is.With all the leading luminaries of Modi government leaving no stone unturned singing peons about Prime Minister’s outstanding vision and India’s feat some of them were also accompanied with best wishes for the elections. The likes and retweets reached thousands in a minute.  Some interesting tweets are worth a notice which in a way defines the mood of the nation.

A leading lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted, ‘’As we waited with baited breath for Modi’s grand announcement on national TV & RADIO on the eve of elections, Modi chose to announce DRDO& ISRO’s decade old work on an anti satellite weapon as his new ‘surgical strike! Clearly it will now provide 10 cr jobs to our people!’’

Congress leader and legal eagle Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted, ‘Wonder how many PMs how many times in last 70 yrs would schedule an address to the nation in midst of elections for space achievements. Hope it does not betray nervousness or desperation re impending results.’

Siddharth Vardhrajan, of The Wire tweeted, ‘All I can say is for all his talks of having been a great prime minister, chawkidar Narendra Modi is looking pretty shaky if he has to lean on the IAF, the army and now DRDO to look for some accomplishments barely weeks before the elections.’’ ‘’Pretty blatant violation of the spirit of model code of conduct, if not the letter. Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt on the timing of the ASAT test, the fact that Modi choose to make this announcement himself gives the game away,’ he says in another tweet. 

Akhilesh Yadav, ‘Today narendra modi got an hour of free TV & divert nation’s attention away from issues on ground-unemployment, rural crisis & women security-by pointing at the sky’’

Shekhar Gupta said, ‘’Fact is India has acknowledged and reported ASAT capabilities for some years now, ISRO-DRDO have done a brilliant job & deserve congats. But this isn’t Pokaran 3. Two weeks before voting, this is odd.’’

Rahul Gandhi tweeted, ‘’Well done DRDO, extremely proud of your work. I would also like to wish the PM a happy World Theatre Day.’’

Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted, ‘Today was one such day when PM could have given the space/def scientist their moment in the sun to make the announcement. Or does election time =TV time!’’

Shashi Tharoor tweeted, ‘’The news that NaMo was to address the nation on TV set off a minor panic amoung those who recalled the last time. Many honest people ran to ATM’s to withdraw money  & dishonest ran to banks to deposit cash. Pity those who, at the months end had 0 to deposit or withdraw.’’

Mamata Banerjee questioned, ‘What was the need for Modi at the time of election to violate the model code of conduct to take credit? Does he work there? Is he going to space?’’’

That’s actually the reality check.