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Triumphant India: Not a country of particular concern

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agarwalvj
agarwalvj
Born in village Kotah (Saharanpur), Vijendra Agarwal, left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee but always remained connected with his roots. A researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he came to the US in 1978. He served as faculty and academic administrator (Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice Chancellor, and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering) in several universities, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during Clinton administration. Following his voluntary retirement in 2014, he and his wife co-founded a US-based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward education, health, and empowerment of girls and overall development. An Indian at heart, his passion for writing has no boundaries. This includes policy, politics and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement. Currently, he is the Brand Ambassador for Times of India and frequently blogs on Linkedin on various topics.

An act of diplomatic triumph, strength, and growing U.S.-India friendship when the U.S.’s top diplomat, Anthony Blinken, announced, “I am designating Burma (Myanmar), the People’s Republic of China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.’ India is not on the list, which was recommended by the USCIRF, a rogue agency infiltrated by anti-India commissioners.

It goes back to April when I wrote that it is ‘the Concerned but Prejudiced Commissioners (the CPC) who labeled India a CPC which it is not. The announcement in Washington proves it and establishes that the state of violation of religious freedom in India does not warrant CPC. The Report had particularly noted the passage of the “religiously discriminatory” Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and that there was seeming police complicity in the Delhi riots. The exclusion of India by US Secretary of State Blinken from the list of CPCs also absolves India from any wrongdoing in passing the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) which, in fact, is similar to the U.S.’s Lautenberg law. India must remain guarded, however, because most of the USCIRF commissioners are still there. They must be collecting the news selectively and clandestinely in an attempt to label India a CPC because of the right-wing lobby and Western media. Let us hope my suspicions prove to be wrong when the next USCIRF report comes out in March/April 2022.

What changed? The first and foremost is Modi-magic when he visited the White House and developed good chemistry with President Biden. Modi’s friendship with Biden may not be as strong as with Trump yet but it is only the first year of Biden’s presidency. The invitation for India to be a part of the QUAD (Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S.) as a hedge against expansionist China is one of many indications that the U.S. friendship with India is strong. Add to it, multiple visits of high-level delegations to each other’s capitals and ongoing dialog for strengthening U.S.-India cooperation on many fronts- S&T, space, defense, environment, etc.

Let us also thank and acknowledge a strong Indian diaspora in the U.S. who serve India’s social ambassadors and are behind-the-scenes diplomats. It may be worth recalling that India’s image took a complete turnaround for the better during Clinton’s visit when BJP’s Vajpayee was the Prime Minister at the turn of the century. It was then when India’s IT gurus saved the United States from the fears of Y2K- the most magical moment for the intellectual capacity of the Indian diaspora to be elevated to new heights. It has continued to grow ever since with many Indian Americans heading large corporations such that Nadella of Microsoft and Pichai of Google, just to name the two most powerful in the industry. Today, the Indian diaspora, among the growing Asian immigrants, is the fastest growing with 4 million strong making up ~1.2 percent of the US population. They are not only strong in numbers but constitute the highest earners among all ethnic groups.

Another strong indication of the growing influence of large numbers of Hindu Americans among Indian Americans is that about one-half of the States declared October as the Hindu Heritage Month. It is relevant to discuss Hindu Americans’ contributions in the U.S. because USCIRF attempted to virtually divide the Indian diaspora in the U.S. along religious lines by quoting isolated incidences of Hindu-Muslim conflicts in India. The USCIRF failed to recognize that all nations have good, bad, and ugly characters but India has more of the former type. The citations of their standing in political, social, and economic spheres were excellent. For example, I quote from one of my earlier publications:

(a) Immense gratification with American Hindus, in various proclamations, being characterized as rock-solid family structure, source of inspiration, sterling reputation, code of living, dedication, ingenuity, problem solvers, living for education, and people of steadfast conviction in a world that is everchanging.

(b) Long overdue recognition for contributions by Hindus in all aspects of cultural, economic, social, political, education, spirituality, yoga, meditation, Vedanta philosophy, Ayurveda, classical art, drama, and music, literature, generosity, and community service.

(c) Hindus lead successful careers in almost all professions like physicians, lawyers, scientists, economists, philosophers, artists, academics, business leaders, government officials, politics, information technology, and engineers, pharmacy, retail industry, and others. Perhaps, no well-paying and valued profession requiring quantitative and life skills are devoid of Hindu Americans.

In fact, India, a proven, largest, and thriving democracy is a natural ally of the oldest democracy and is of no concern at all. India is a peaceful nation with no intentions to strike against any country and no plans for expansion beyond its own territorial boundaries including Kashmir as her integral part. Today, the U.S. has the first woman Vice President with Indian roots with the potential to be the first woman President ever. Today’s “One India” is under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Modi with the nationalist agenda to protect India’s boundaries, honor, and valor against any threats and promote India’s secular ethos under its constitution.

As I write this article, it is Modi who showed unprecedented courage in withdrawing the lawfully enacted farmer bills in the best interest of India. The opposition and the protestors may shout that Modi got scared and defeated at last but it is neither; it is an extraordinary sign of his human character, courage, strength, and triumph in the wake of upcoming assembly elections in several States, looming border threats by China and Pakistan, and growing/continuing internal threats by several groups. Only Modi and his team of confidants know what is best for India at this time; others may only speculate and criticize. In the end, triumphant India moves ahead.

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agarwalvj
agarwalvj
Born in village Kotah (Saharanpur), Vijendra Agarwal, left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee but always remained connected with his roots. A researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he came to the US in 1978. He served as faculty and academic administrator (Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice Chancellor, and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering) in several universities, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during Clinton administration. Following his voluntary retirement in 2014, he and his wife co-founded a US-based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward education, health, and empowerment of girls and overall development. An Indian at heart, his passion for writing has no boundaries. This includes policy, politics and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement. Currently, he is the Brand Ambassador for Times of India and frequently blogs on Linkedin on various topics.
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