An eventful week – but not for the weak. First, just in time for the closure of the polls, a British national, appropriately named by his parents as Christian Michel James, all saintly names, was nabbed by the UAE and extradited to India a member of the Common wealth for crimes relating to the re-distribution of a good portion of the common’s man wealth. Guilt in the Indian justice system (not Indian Jurisprudence) depends on the person, medium of communication and context, and the Indian system was not found wanting. According to Indian television and a few political rallies just before the polls closed, which is the gold standard of Justice in the country, he is guilty as hell and he will spill the beans – from which end is not clear at this stage!
Ironically he was flown in on an American Gulfstream chartered flight and not the Italian helicopter he tried to sell India’s VIP’s. If the deal had gone through (it was cancelled by the previous government and the company black listed) current VIPs would be flying high, but only upto 4500 Meters – it does not fly higher than that; one wonders why VIP’s want to fly so high – its better if they keep their feet and ears to the ground, like the common man; it also begs the question as to why the bar was set so high in the first place and then reduced both times resulting in a single vendor situation! One for all and all for one!
His arrival in India at the dead of night on a chartered flight was attributed to the efforts of one man – ironically also called James – James Bond – AKA shadow PM or the PM’s shadow. We must appreciate these efforts to bring a foreign middle man in a foreign helicopter deal to book when the Indian end man in a foreign fighter jet deal is off the book, sorry hook! But credit must be taken when credit is due, especially if it can bring in votes, even just a few… Every vote counts in a losing battle…
In an altogether unconnected story, pun intended, the government of Dubai has broken its silence on the case of its missing princess, saying she was safely back home and accused a former French spy of her kidnap. This according to a report dated 6th December the day Christian Michel landed in Delhi after being extradited from Dubai.
Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, had tried to escape the country in March after complaining she was effectively being held prisoner by her repressive father. She fled across the border to Oman with the help of a friend, before boarding a boat to meet French national Hervé Jaubert, who had himself managed to successfully escape the Emirates in 2010. The boat set sail for the Indian coast but was intercepted by three Indian Coast Guard ships and two Emirati warships and Latifa whisked away back to where she came from.
There was no offset clause like in the fighter jet deal - Indian and UAE diplomats denied any link between the extradition of Mr. Michel and a major operation reportedly carried out by the Indian Coast Guard in March, in which the UAE Prime Minister’s daughter was taken into custody and repatriated. An External Affairs Ministry official called the linkage between Mr. Michel’s extradition and the Latifa case “ridiculous”. A UAE official told The Hindu: “Extradition order has been done through a court order and has nothing to do with the [Latifa] incident.” India has a lot of respect for court orders except when it comes to Yatras in Bengal and Kerala…
Election rallies conducted toward the end of the election campaign for the recently concluded state assembly elections in five states focussed on family values. First, there was a profound learning for all Indians– Family surnames matter in matters of development! Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the 'Jagran Forum' organised by the Dainik Jagran media group on Friday said people with "big surnames" ruled the country but India could not prosper despite having the best talent and natural resources. The conclusion is development is inversely proportional to the size of your surname – if you are in a position to influence development. We can conclude that it is best if your surname is short perhaps not more than four or even five letters. Development will be rapid. We also learnt that, despite there being 248,408,494 households in India, there is only one family! Maybe true – Indians are one big family, united in diversity.
India has a new economic adviser! The previous ones couldn’t cope with Modinomics which is beyond the text book perhaps. Incidentally both the advisors have the last surname, albeit a big one - which might hamper development (this may not have been considered before appointment!); but we can therefore expect continuity – The dollar will strengthen, Crude prices will fall (Opec led by Prince Salman of Saudi says India’s concern about high crude prices must be taken into account while discussing production levels!), while fuel taxes will remain stable or rise balancing the fiscal deficit, the ease of doing business will continue to ease – especially at the higher levels, farmers will continue to march – at least until April (which is the following month anyway) while happiness levels will continue to fall according to the Happiness index and Infrastructure will get better – there will be more pollution and pot holes.
In France the yellow vest protests shut the city down for the second time in a week; its a social media phenomenon that has brought France to its knees and close to a declaration of emergency. The yellow vest movement started as a protest against fuel prices, but now the protesters want nothing less the resignation of the government. The coming weeks will see if power really vests in them. Meanwhile in India, farmers took off their vests and threw their produce on the road in protest; despite going bare chested, power has not vested in them. It vests in those who are protected by those with bullet proof vests, and they do not really care if people are divested!
Train 18, the driverless train from India, by India and for India, a truly democratic train, but appropriated by the goverment as their own, reached record speeds of 180 Kms per hour on a test track and this was proudly announced by the Railway Minister. Will our democracy run faster and better if it is driverless is the question the success of the train test poses. However, in reality it will be like a Lamborghini (oh that’s an Italian car!) on Indian roads. And if the exit polls are right – they generally aren’t – then Train 19 will be slower when it should have been faster!
Don’t get hyper! Loop back! Have a great weekend and great week ahead.
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