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Peace & Socialism

India-US Bilateral Trade Treaty: The Time is Now

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As the Trump administration replaces multinational trade treaties, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and North America Free Trade Treaty, with bilateral ones, US lawmakers are calling for an India-US bilateral trade treaty. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, told a visiting delegation from Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi that India and the US agreed on liberalizing trade further, and a bilateral treaty could be the next step.

Soon after his inauguration, Trump began immediately exploring bilateral trade with Britain, Japan and Canada. India already has bilateral free trade agreements with ASEAN (ASEAN–India Free Trade Area). Negotiations with the European Free Trade Association and Canada are stalled over how to resolving commercial disputes, foreign companies demanding more flexibility and less government control.

The foundations for good economic relations with the US have been laid. India’s top exports to the US are manufactured goods, chemicals, textiles and information technology (IT) services. US-India bilateral trade grew rapidly along with India's economy after 1991, when India joined the West's neoliberal reform agenda, promoting private over public development and encouraged privatization, in line with US policy. Bilateral trade in goods and services increased from $29 billion in 2004 to $95 billion in 2013, stimulated by Obama's visit in 2010 to sign trade and investment deals, and promote great civilian nuclear cooperation. Bilateral trade crossed the $100 billion mark in 2014.
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Diplomatist interview: India - peacekeeping, UNSC, nuclear issues

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Biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations

The UN would be at a loss without India's staunch commitment to peacekeeping. India has been the largest troop contributor to UN missions since its inception.

So far, India has taken part in 43 Peacekeeping missions with a total contribution exceeding 180,000 troops and a significant number of police personnel. In 2014 India was the third largest troop contributor with 7,860 personnel deployed with ten UN Peacekeeping Missions.

India's current missions are: Lebanon (UNIFIL), Congo (MONUSCO), Sudan and South Sudan (UNMIS/UNMISS), Golan Heights (UNDOF), Ivory Coast (UNOCI), Haiti (MINUSTAH), Liberia (UNMIL). The Female Formed Police Unit there has become an inspiration for the women of the host nation and a harbinger of future such female units.
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Interview PressTV - Syria: End to Aleppo Tragedy

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  interview starts at 1:20 mark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcJisNVpuVU

Battles of Kunduz: US/Afghan 'friendly fire'

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The first "Battle of Kunduz" took place from April to October 2015 for control of the city, where Taliban forces were playing cat and mouse for months and finally overran the city, forcing government forces to flee. The capture marked the first time since 2001 that the Taliban had taken control of a major city in Afghanistan. The Afghan government claimed to have largely recaptured Kunduz by October 1 in a counterattack. But by 6 October, the Taliban had recaptured substantial portions of Kunduz.

In the confusion, on October 3, long after the government had supposedly recaptured the city, still looking for the Taliban command centre, US fighter pilots ominously circled the Kunduz emergency care trauma hospital. It had been installed and administered by Doctors without Borders (MSF), the only state-of-the-art facility in the war-torn province.

For 45 minutes, like ominous clouds, the planes fired pot shots, as if warming up, taunting or warning the doctors and patients, who started to flee and were mowed down. Finally, the pilots of the gunships launched full scale fire at 2am, on both the hospital and civilians fleeing what was clearly the target of US wrath.

A year later, the Canadian MSF head, Stephen Cornish, described the assault at a memorial gathering at Toronto General Hospital honouring the 42 victims, both the MSF doctors and their patients, killed by US forces. In keeping with NGO tradition, Cornish wouldn’t lay the blame on specific individuals, though there were dozens of eye witnesses. He just kept insisting that there be an independent inquiry.
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Kayhan interview: Trump - 'the wise fool'

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1/ There is much talk of a third world war in the press these days. Francois Fillon, former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, said there is a “global war” and that “French society as a whole must mobilize against Islamic totalitarianism”. Are these empty words?

1/ The threat of all-out nuclear war no longer hangs over us, but at present there are more than 30 wars/ conflicts in the world. Between 1950, when the Korean War started, and 2007, when the death toll in the Iraq war finally started to drop, there were 148,000 deaths per year from war. From 2008 to 2012 that figure dropped dramatically, to 28,000 per year. It could even be lower today.

Yet international tensions are at a high, and terrorist attacks continue. Many argue that WWIII has already started, perhaps on two fronts, with the Arab Spring in 2011 giving new life to Islamists, and with protagonists Russia and China lining up against the West.

European leaders wring their hands over Syrian refugees and Daesh suicide bombings, blaming this on Islamists. Fillon (Islamophobe Nicolas Sarkozy's prime minister) is now blaming Muslims for "global war", but this scenario merely deflects attention from the underlying causes of war.
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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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