Timely Move To Elevate Ties With Russia
Gone are the days when world leaders used to be content with picking up their phone to greet their counterparts as part of confidence-building measures between two countries. Informal meetings have now become the norm for most leaders including our own Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister has followed up his meeting with President Xi Jinping of China at Wuhan with his one-on-one with another powerful world leader Russian President Vladimir Putin at the picturesque Sochi. Unlike China, Russia has been a solid friend of India from the latter’s Soviet Union days. Whenever one’s reliable chum befriends a sworn, long-standing enemy, a sense of worry tends to creep in because as they say ‘trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.’ But ultimately truth triumphs, and that is in short the New Delhi-Moscow story. Then there is Donald Trump’s United States which seems to be moulded by the unpredictable leader’s ‘America first’ slogan. US’ sanctions on both Russia and Iran, and its threat to impose sanctions on countries which do defence and intelligence business with Russia, has annoyed and angered countries to no end. India is plainly peeved with Trump’s ways, especially after his trade regulations though, inarguably, Putin must have squirmed in his chair following the India-US bonhomie of sorts. Russia has always been on the forefront in pushing for India’s cause at world forums – NSG or its UNSC membership. Sagacity and foresight are written all over the decision to elevate Indo-Russia partnership into a ‘strategic and privileged” one.
GANAPATHI BHAT, Akola
On Right To Pray
The fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India in Article 25 to 28 guarantees Freedom of Religion to all the citizens of the entire nation without any discrimination. Article 25 of our Constitution specifically lays down freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. The Preamble of the Constitution throws light on liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Thus the circular released by the Archbishop of Delhi to the Catholic community entitled ‘Prayer for Our Nation’ is well within the framework of the Fundamental Rights of the Constitution of India. Hence to raise a hue and cry over it by the political leaders of the ruling party is uncalled for. The statements issued by the central ruling party hierarchy are, therefore, in gross violation of the tenets of our Constitution.
RUI FERREIRA, Panaji
Clear Vision Must For United Oppn Front Against BJP
If an event as traditional as the swearing-in ceremony of a state’s chief minister could bring together leaders of anti-BJP parties on a single platform exactly a year ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, questions as to whether the decks are being cleared for a united opposition front to take on the might of the BJP couldn’t be unfounded either! But all the jubilant faces on the dais that greeted the solemn occasion together could not dispel public misgivings over such an alliance of parties known for their diametrically opposite views on everything under the sun agreeing to fight a common cause. For, this is not the first time in the country that the most unlikeliest of parties have forged a partnership to keep at bay the divisive forces responsible for destroying the ‘secular fabric of the nation.’ The coalition of centre-left political parties formed after the 2004 general elections for instance! But the manner in which the left parties continued to be at regular loggerheads with the government and finally withdrew support to the UPA government over the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2008 was a bitter experience of having ‘unlike-minded’ parties entering into an alliance with each other. Is the nation at the threshold of a similar blunder? The way politics at the national level has been shaping, it is difficult to believe that regional players will have much to offer other than serving parochial interests. With a ‘hotchpotch’ of views and ‘mismatched’ agendas prescribed to by various parties, is the combined opposition banking on the ‘unity in diversity’ their presence in the association exemplifies! For that matter, the new-found love between JD(S) and Congress is in itself a big mystery! The opportunistic coalition may have caught the BJP out-of-crease in the Karnataka ‘test,’ but such bonds renowned for their fragile nature hardly stand the test of time.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO