Sree Iyer: Namaskar, today is August 18, Wednesday, and welcome to Daily Global Insights, with Sri and Sree. This is episode number 227. In Global News, Taliban fighters beating Afghan people trying to reach airport video. A US contractor also tells Fox News that Taliban fighters are searching neighbourhoods looking for people who work for the US Government. Kabul flights resumed as the pentagon warns of swift response to any attack. Biden Administration officials say more than 4,000 United States troops are now Airport arriving via waves of C-17 transport planes, several of which are later used to ferry US citizens home. Thousands of Afghans are also being housed in third countries or in temporary holding facilities at American Military bases. Pentagon officials said that the goal is to move as many as 9,000 passengers a day out of Kabul. Around 11,000 Americans, remain in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan according to the White House. The Biden Administration depends on the Taliban to give safe passage to Americans six weeks after Biden said that he will not trust them, the irony. Psaki declined guarantee evacuation of Americans after August 31st all depends on Taliban Behavior. This is pretty desperate on part of the US if you don’t mind saying so. Sridharji, namaskar, and welcome to PGurus Channel, a lot of sobering news coming from Kabul, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar, good morning to everybody or good evening wherever you are. Namaskar.
Yes, lots of sobering news. The good news is that there is still some, orderly chaos. If you have to use that specific phrase, nothing untoward has broken out except that there is fear. There is also apprehension, amongst people running all over the place and trying to catch, you know, this C-17 plane, which is in the airport. The US forces have taken charge of the airport. And at least the first plane has left. I think with about 800 or 900 people on C-17, onboard and making their way here. So we have also seen the Taliban leader, the local leader in Afghanistan, holding a press conference and press conference being broadcast. So right now and, you know, things seem to be in order. We have also seen a video that was put up by New York Post, which shows all these Taliban forces in bumper cars, in some entertainment Park which seems to reveal at least superficially, that things are all in order. And the Taliban government or the Taliban forces have announced that they were effectively in charge of their dad Afghanistan and now they run the government, and they all going to give women participation in the government to which pseudo-liberals, you know, they claim the victory that this is not you know, one side and unilateralism.
Sree Iyer: Jake Sullivan, the National Security adviser of the Biden Administration has this to say, “The White House accepts responsibility for chaos in Afghanistan”, and it says that “the White House will be vigilant on National threat”. Biden has not spoken to any Global leader since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. The reported mastermind behind Taliban takeover released from Guantanamo Bay by President Obama in Bernal, prisoner swap in 2014. Taliban claims Victory and says, it seeks no revenge while behaving to the contrary. So, there is some contrary behaviour, but you see these are like leopards, can’t change their stripes. So what is it that, these pseudo-liberals are expecting? These people are being bred and brought up on hate of the West especially.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think, first and foremost, the most important point is at least Jake Sullivan and John Kirby addressed the Press yesterday to bring about some consistency. As far as the, you know, Jake Sullivan’s statement is concerned, which we need to touch on, it’s quite sobering to see whether he is the hit guy who’s going to take the hit where he says that they take responsibility for the chaos that has been Unleashed. He’s also been a very startling revelation that for a president who is relying on allies to deal with this situation, especially after the Monday meeting of the United Nations Security Council, not to have spoken with any leaders and which is one of the reasons why there has been this startling criticism that has come from all around the world in terms of lack of visibility of the president. As we started the show Biden has cut short his vacation. He is back in the white house or he will be back in the White House in some time if he’s not already in today. So this is a very startling revelation that you don’t find the country, which has spearheaded not being in the forefront front, centre and back. So I think that’s my first observation.
And the second observation is that Taliban, This is the Taliban claiming victory that we have won and the Jihadi forces around the world, claiming victory that they have ousted the United States is again a very sad reflection of how optics and strategy being badly played out by the United States and fortunately, you know, we have been reporting again in Daily Global Insights that most of the Allies left first and you know, the last set of people were remnants of some of the UK and maybe even NATO, and the Indian diplomats and so on, they all have now left. But, the thought process here is that there are no unified statements, everybody is making their respective statements. There was nothing that came out by way of UNSC, press brief which is to say we met, this is what has happened and this is how we’re going to deal with the situation. It’s almost like, you know, helter-skelter reflecting that there is chaos in the international or Global order. And, whereas these fellows here, which is namely the Taliban or Taliban and the other forces, they seem to be, you know, what you call in Harmony in claiming Victory when there’s no Victory to claim when the announcement was made, the deal was struck with Taliban facilitated by Qataris. Where is Qatar? There is no word from Qatar, to say, look, we organized, we orchestrated. We have a footprint for the Taliban here and all the meetings took place, which is the truth. Everybody knows about it statements were made and we’re going to make sure there’s nothing from Qatar either in terms of what the story is. So what it just tells you is that there’s been a complete lack of strategy on this exit planning that should have been far more orchestrated. And what is even more preponderant here, is that they said it is not nation-building. There’s an audit report, which shows that they have been in nation-building for 20 years i.e., two decades and spent trillions of dollars. And there are some problems even in the accountability of these trillions.
Sree Iyer: Nikki Haley blast Biden for the utter humiliation of America. House foreign affairs committee ranking member Michael McCaul has warned that there is an even bigger threat than before of a 9/11 happening again, on the US soil. House Homeland Security Member, John Katco has warned that Afghanistan, could turn out to become the world headquarters of terrorism. Sir, these all are people who have been expressing concerns all along. And now, I think, even many, what I would call left-leaning channels, are being a little squeamish about what is happening or playing out in Afghanistan. Your thoughts, sir.
Sridhar Chityala: I think I agree with your observations on this, one of the things that have been underplayed is the imminent threat emerging from a very, very similar 9/11 like threat emerging from this is the fallout of the pullback or pullout from Afghanistan. It’s not like that there is an immigration office, that there is a database there is somebody being validated until they land in this country, you know, what exactly is the process, some of them would have arrived already. What exactly is a process that is going to be gone through this about 900 people have arrived, there are more people to come as these people land, you know, how exactly the process is going to be monitored and managed, begs the question.
By the way, Jake Sullivan also said that they are concerned about the security threat, and they’ll be keeping a close watch. So the points that you are raising and the point, some of the people like, Katco and McCaul and so on, are talking about are very real. So remember, we also have surges in the United States. We got people coming from the other side and you know, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico and so on. So you have challenges many of those porus borders have also been leveraged and President Trump made the statement that is apparently more than here 100-130 nations who have made their way through this specific border. These are not just simply, you know, people whose relatives are here, but others have come in as well and warmly welcomed and embraced by the Department of Homeland Security. There is no ICE. So the biggest threat that is looming is the Taliban land being used as pointed out by McCaul. And the other one is right in the United States, we may have brought all these people back having said all of them back into the US soil, having sent them back. So, this is a big issue sir, and more to come.
Sree Iyer: Biden’s speech was disingenuous former Reagan official warns and that is the truth, according to Sridharji will explain in a little bit. Days after the Taliban forces took control of Afghanistan, the US government watchdog agency for the reconstruction effort, released, a report recapping the many failures of the past two decades. Sir, there is one school of thought gaining momentum that the data about Afghanistan has been a lie all along, all through these two decades about the preparedness of their army and everything. I can’t separate the grain from the chaff, your thoughts on this and what do you think about Biden’s speech. We are still in shock and trying to figure it out. He says the buck stops with me and he goes on to blame other people for what happened. What really is going on Sir?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think that he is reading a script. The first observation is reading a script, so he has prepared himself well by looking at the script that has been given to him and he is playing the script. He is not using his brain and he is not using his own analytical skill and he is playing out the script. First and foremost, he basically said we’re not in for nation-building. Well, there’s a lot of money that’s been spent on nation-building. Second, he basically said that, hey, you know, the Afghan forces were unprepared to fight, is that the case? No, there is a general who has stated, they fought and more than 50,000- 60,000 people have lost their lives. So, the story is, why did not they fight? What was told to them? And what exactly transpired. Were they told that they would be some kind of tacit logistical support provided for them to go and fight? Well, we don’t know. So therefore clearly is not adding up with regard to the second point.
I think the third point that that, that they would be an orderly kind of a transition and you know Taliban will Co-operate, the Taliban never cooperates. Because there was nothing that was told that, you know, a what was the negotiation that transpired and what’s the agreement that was done in Qatar facilitated by the Qataris? Was that agreement, you know, fulfilled or met? We don’t know. Because it’s not like that the United States decided to withdraw, basically, you know, heeding and doing some kind of a peace agreement with the Qataris. All the work was done with the president of Afghanistan then Mr Biden Made a statement, I have been assured by the president, and he’s going to be in charge and He is taking in-charge. You know, please don’t listen to my words, but please play that video and, you know, for yourself and when he says he’s been disingenuous. It turns out this was the first guy who fled? Ashraf Ghani fled with, you know, with the story.
Now, the who is guy, who has formed a government in exile that is Mr Ahmed Saleh, who is the Deputy. So, he is basically saying we are the resistance. So there’s a lot of inconsistency that one can observe based on what their Biden played out. Now, one question that was propped up is, Is Biden alone accountable? Biden alone is not accountable. This goes back to, you know, George Bush’s time when the war on terror was launched. So this also has some accountability to Mr Obama, some accountability to President Trump, at least President Trump during his period right to keep it quiet. Then, you have now, moving into the Biden time. I think the significant blunder that was committed was when during the war on terror exercise. They got distracted by all these weapons of mass destruction, Etc, in Iraq. They took the eye off the ball as far as Afghanistan is concerned put all of their efforts into Iraq and that’s where this whole slide began to happen. If the objective and the mission was to find the Al-Qaeda terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attack. They should have been found, and that job should have been completed and the United States should have left, during the Bush Administration. But, that did not happen differently from reality. They were definitely involved in establishing, the so-called democracy and all these kinds of nations. So, there’s a lot of what you call inconsistencies in the Press briefing of Mr Biden, but he alone is not responsible. But he’s responsible for a botched-up exit strategy, and lack of presence through that process. He went away on a holiday when this important development was happening and when the exit was being worked out, he should have been up in the front with the international leaders and International Community and putting a lot of pressure to make sure that the voice was visible. Voice as well as the presence was absent and handing over the agenda and the platform to Taliban, the people who are making lots of statements are The Taliban right from that specific soil and claiming Victory which is, you know, adding insult to the injury.
Sree Iyer: Two trillion dollars of the American taxpayer money spent in rebuilding Afghanistan, and what have we got to show for it. More people coming into America with chunks of death to America. You created a new perhaps more than one caliphate wannabes in the Middle East, destabilize that the gas prices are again going to start shooting up and we are going to have some updates on that.
Also in about two and a half hours’ time, We’ll be talking with a security expert, Jitendra Ojha on what is the response from the Afghan generals who were forced to flee, and who have now taken up residence outside of Afghanistan. There are some very, very stark stories coming up. We’ll share those with you. So stay tuned. Please do come back at 9 PM IST for that show.
Let’s continue with this program, the other looming threat China. The White House on Tuesday, pushed back against a Chinese propaganda campaign, attacking the United States, and Taiwan after the collapse of Afghanistan. As the US leaves Afghanistan, in-comes, China claiming strategic victory. And I must say that it might even embolden China to make a pass at Taiwan. I wonder what Mr Biden is going to do? Whether he is going to retreat back into his Camp David place for enjoying the rest of his vacation or what? I only shudder. Sir, your thought, because if Taiwan goes and falls in China’s and a lot of infrastructures is going to come crashing down as far as the US is concerned.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think it’s a fair point again, as we entered the show the United States has assured both Israel, as well as Taiwan that they are standing behind Taiwan. They are standing behind Israel. They are with them and they will be supportive in any effort or all efforts, you know, which potential kind of threat looming from any of their adversaries. So, at least to that extent that we have seen, reassurance being given by the US government. I think Israel is capable, as you rightly point out Taiwan because Japan is very weak. It has a prime minister in Mr Suga who doesn’t have public sympathy and doesn’t have public support, but he has just managed to survive. You have a very weak Japanese government rightly, holding together Japan. So, in that in those circumstances, you know, it makes all the more sense that this is the right question that is being asked. And China has very clear intentions and Taiwan that is why you saw that they make a statement, which is about Taiwan. So, what China is saying, is, hey, Taiwan look, at what has happened in Afghanistan. Why do you think the United States will stand with you? Where is your strength coming from? I think that’s where China is coming from, and I think that basically, the United States has given to some extent an assurance. Let’s hope that adversity doesn’t hit that part of the world as well.
Sree Iyer: Asian countries rush to bring back citizens from Afghanistan. The US exit from Afghanistan is a potential threat to Russia and China and not a victory, writes Nikkei Asia. Fear looms large as the Taliban takes over Afghanistan. We’ve also seen some repercussions and reverberations of this in Lahore, where a lumpen pulled down, the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who had made Lahore his Capital, very sad when people lose their perspective and they don’t want to admit their cultural heritage. Sridharji, your thoughts on this, Nikkei article.
Sridhar Chityala: So I think that the Nikkei article very well articulates and is very well written, which is namely to say that look, there has never been a victory in Afghanistan. Okay, If China believes that it has, you know, a few things in its favour, it probably is only temporary. What is China’s interest? China’s interest is in the Belt Road initiative by having a footprint within Afghanistan by forming a partnership with the Taliban, they believe that their Belt Road initiative Ambitions, which has been stalled in that part of the world will be accomplished. Remember there are only four embassies functioning right now in Afghanistan and they are Iran, Pakistan, China, and Russia. There is no Turkey either, you know, with a presence in Afghanistan. So these are the four functioning embassies. So the article when it says it warns China, this is what they imply. And similarly, Russia, I think Russia is having a foothold to make sure that this terrorism doesn’t spread into the other adjacent Republic’s, the former Russian Republic’s also doesn’t hit Moscow. So they’re trying to you know, keep watching the brief, but the warning is about, hey, watch out. Okay. Look what has happened to the United States. Look, what has happened to you Russia. China, you got a challenge in an Uyghur or so to how long you are able to successfully thwart Pakistan, but will you be able to thwart the Taliban with regard to what is happening in Uyghur? So, these are the questions that have been raised. And I think rightly so.
Sree Iyer: Taliban warns the United States that it must fully withdraw its troops by the 11th of September. Here is the irony. Now you have 4,000 troops going back in. The question that will perhaps be in every viewers’ mind is, will the United States go and reoccupy Bagram Airbase? That was a huge investment. Again, I don’t know, I think it’s better late than never. I think they should do that. That needs to be there to kind of keep some semblance of control over what’s going on. Because we also, now, see the former Afghan vice president Amanullah Saleh has declared himself as the caretaker president and he calls on his supporters to join the resistance against the Taliban. This is not Ghani. This is not Abdullah Abdullah. This is not Hamid Karzai. He is the vice president. There were many vice presidents before the government was overthrown. He is one of those. He is the one who is saying that ‘I am going to be leading the resistance movement.’ We have not heard from some other vice presidents who have a fair amount of clout in there. They are Warlords, really. We have still not heard from them. We have to wait and see how that goes.
Afghanistan in simple terms is in a mess with no clear thought exit strategy and its divided policy. It’s a classic story of the UN that has no relevance in a polarized world. With this, we can continue to our next section which is the US news. Sir, is there anything that you would like to add before we go on to the US News.
Sridhar Chityala: No, I think that we should transition to the US News. We have given, I believe, a summary of events as they unfolded to where we are as we got into today’s session. So I think it’s decent and exhaustive coverage of various activities that have unfolded. As far as India is concerned, we will cover that in the Indian section. But otherwise, I think we have covered everything, sir.
Sree Iyer: Thank you. Let’s move on to the United States news. In a major victory, the Interior Department announced that it would now resume new oil and gas leasing on public lands to comply with a federal court order, but environmentalists are not happy about it. Moderate Republican Brian Fitzpatrick says Pelosi does not have enough votes to block the infrastructure bill on the house floor. I don’t know what has happened to this lady. She seems to be someone possessed. I mean, why are they trying to… One is a $1.2 trillion bill, the other is a $3.5 trillion bill. Money does grow on trees according to Congress.
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think first and foremost, with regard to Nancy Pelosi she clearly sees a challenge from the progressives. So in my view, this is a looming political battle that is going on, so she’s trying to balance but she’s not demonstrating leadership. She should have said, if the money is so important, which by the way we showed in an empirical graph that the cash infused into the economy from March-April last year to the last tranche that happened in December, the money is more than enough. We have a v-shaped bent. We have also reported that there is enough liquidity in the system, enough cash in the accounts of the people. They have also been sending money through supplementary bills to people. So there’s plenty of liquidity in the system. On the contrary, this 1.2, which is actually a $566 billion bill with extensions and any kind of overflows to make it 1.2 including the tax cost etc. So the story is that you have enough money to get this infrastructure and jobs going. So it has been passed. Why do you want to hold that up? When you believe that, that is needed for you to get some more liquidity into the system and get the infrastructure going. I don’t understand it. So, therefore, I think this is just political nonsense that she is doing. I have a feeling that the Democrats will join with Republicans and get the infrastructure Bill done. And then they’ll wait to see what happens to the reconciliation process.
With regard to the oil fields, it is very positive news. They said it is illegal to stop it. We may even see the Keystone Pipeline being contested and who knows, a weak Biden might concede to that as well, recognizing that the prospects of his elections for house and Senate will be grim if there are rising oil prices in conjunction with the surges that is happening, rising covid cases and a disastrous foreign policy. We’re all hoping that we will have this 9/11 with no incidents and we’ll get on to the next phase – phase of the evolution post this Afghan exhibit.
Sree Iyer: Vaccinated Texas governor tests positive for covid-19. Rasheeda Tlaib discloses thousands of dollars in rental income despite co-sponsoring the Cancel Rental bill. How ironic! Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a republican signs an executive order making masks optional in schools. Alabama Board of Education bans teaching Critical Race Theory. The DHS will be paying for legal assistance ‘cultural orientation’ for illegal immigrants for whom the doors are open. Sridharji, first off, the Texas governor, this is something very ominous. It doesn’t matter that even if you are vaccinated could still become covid positive?
Sridhar Chityala: Yes. He is dual vaccinated, he completed both doses. We are beginning to see, in the United States, more cases of people contracting the virus after they have had both doses. The explanation that is given by CDC is efficacy is adequate, antibodies in the system and blah, blah, blah. This is one of the reasons why there is tremendous resistance, ‘okay, I am vaccinated. Can you guarantee that I’m not going to get it?’ So there has to be some statement issued, which is to say, look, there will be one in ten cases that is 10% or one in hundred cases where this could recur. There should have been some kind of statement to reassure people. Apparently, as far as Greg Abbott is concerned, he was regularly testing himself to make sure that he has not contracted. It is because of this regular testing he discovered that apparently it is a minor abrasion. Having said that this is a reflection, this is a high profile tide and this is a reflection of the challenges of this damn virus that is impacting. By the way, we are very close to 7 million active cases. Again, only in Daily Global Insights, we have been talking about the active cases in the United States and the top 15 State numbers almost with regularity. This has not even been spoken by people in mainstream media in the United States. We have been warning that this is rising. CDC should stand up and make a statement. This is an important data point. Why do you need to vaccinate? Because we have rising cases. We can show you the graphs. We can see how the states which are not following, doesn’t matter whether it is Florida, doesn’t matter whether it is Texas, doesn’t matter whether it is very Maryland, doesn’t matter whether it is Washington State, the numbers are not very good. And we are rising and rising. California by itself will be 2 million within the next couple of days or so. California has close to 1.87 million active cases. I am reading the numbers from the memory and you can go back and check the data. We haven’t presented today’s data. But this is something that they should be doing, but they’re not doing. You need to give people information and you need to tell people what are the consequences of this? But on the contrary, simply mandating is not going to be really helpful to get people across the line.
Sree Iyer: There is one more breaking news out of Florida which we will be covering in more detail in the days and weeks to come. Florida has been testing their water supply since July. It has revealed some startling results and we will give you all the data from tomorrow. But again, we are at the forefront of giving you reliable database news, which you can reflect upon. Many people questioned when we said that the second wave in Mumbai may have been induced by human insertion and people said no, that’s not true and so on. But now evidence is emerging that similar attempts are also made in other parts of the world. We have to wait and see while we give you all the data because you want to make sure it’s all accurate.
Let’s move on to the Indian News. Getting out Indian Envoy mission staff from Afghanistan was difficult and complicated, says Dr Jaishankar who’s currently in the United States. He is here to preside over the UNSC Mission as president for the month of August. In the Afghan crisis, Prime Minister Modi chairs a meeting with Doval and foreign secretary Shringla. All diplomats have been evacuated from Afghanistan. India announces a new category of e-visas to fast track Afghan applications. We’ve written a story about this on PGurus. Be sure to go read that because if you have a friend in Afghanistan who needs a temporary shelter for six months, India is welcoming them with open arms. It’s for every Afghan citizen. They can come and stay temporarily in India. The government gives a conditional nod to 10 organizations for use of drones for specific purposes. 1.13 crore or more houses were sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna urban schemes so far. The Indian government has asked a Federal Court in Washington to dismiss Britain’s Cairn Energy suit seeking enforcement of USD 1.2 billion arbitration award saying it had sovereign immunity under the US law. This is a very interesting development where India still refuses to pay that money although they have now made a change in their income tax code which makes it a little bit easier. Sridharji, how do you look at all this news coming out of India?
Sridhar Chityala: First and foremost, I think that they seem to have done a pretty good job in Afghanistan thus far. So, we also saw a video played out by close to 150 or 200 people getting out and being very happy there. When Dr Jaishankar says difficulties, remember that the Bagram airbase, now called the Karzai International Airport, they were fired at by the Taliban until the US forces, came in and secured the airport. I think they worked closely and they’ve been able to use diplomatic connections and coordinated very well with the international community in making sure that the Indian workers and diplomatic staff come out.
The e-visa is a good cause but one has to be very careful because India has so many contradicting convolutions in terms of these various Visa policies especially within the context of CAA. With regard to the drones, I think it’s a pretty good move that they have made to leverage. This is being used for, for example, the Karnataka government has been given for, looking at the land rights and granting of the titles. Then Mahindra and Mahindra and there is also an Agro Chemicals company that is looking at it from an Agro development point of view and soil enrichment and fertilization. So I think that’s a very good move that India has made to leverage technology to its advantage. This program that the prime minister has launched, which is one of the four main planks. In Awas Yojana Urban scheme program, I’m told, they’ve constructed close to 1.13 crores new houses have been sanctioned under this program. Then the other important news is that India crosses 560 million vaccinations of which 430-440 are single doses. We have to keep close track of that number as India tries to tackle the Delta variant because the Delta variant is very active across Asia and many Asian nations are impacted. We talked about this couple of Daily Global Insights programs ago. That’s another number that we have to keep track of.
As far as Cairn Energy is concerned, the assets that were under consideration as collateral that one can use. This is the Cairn Energy suit which is to use the Air India assets that are here to be collateralized and granted to them. India is attempting to make a successful case that is to say and no Sovereign assets can be attached as there is no local jurisdiction. When you look at this specific case, it talks about any company which has had an inflated increase in asset values or there has been a monetization as a result of the sale of assets then such institutions which have a footprint in India, then have to pay back data taxes. Whether we don’t agree with it, but the point is that was the principal background on the specific case. Now that law has been undone. So therefore to that extent, there is no future recurrence. How exactly this is going to be paid out remains to be seen whether these guys would be brought back to the Indian judicial system for dispensation is the big question mark. But it’s a litmus test as far as the international corporations and India goes.
Sree Iyer: An Indian government expert panel is likely to take up three vaccines for emergency approval. One is a three-dose Zycov-D developed by Zydus Cadilla. Covovax is being developed by Serum Institute and the third is Russian Sputnik lite. India processed 560 million doses with August 17th crossing 5.465 million doses in a single day, India’s active cases is at 369,846 and the total cases are dropping to 25,166 and the cured cases on the day of 17th of August stands at 36,830.
Moving on, sir, now, it’s Markets time. Markets dip on the back of consumer confidence and pull back in sales of motor vehicles and parts dealers, online retail sales, clothing stores, etc. Most of the spending occurred at restaurants and dine outs which witnessed a 38.4% increase in sales. Could this be a pent up demand that people were so holed up in their homes that they wanted to go out and eat? I don’t know, sir, you are the numbers man. Perhaps you can unravel the mystery for us. Can you please put up the data?
Sridhar Chityala: I think Dow saw 282 points, it was at 150 purely on the basis of consumer sentiments as well as based on some of the most noticeable retail sales. S&P also as a result had a small dip by 31 points. NASDAQ tech stocks also took a hit. The good news is the oil and crude continues to be in the 66 – 69 band. Then we also saw the 10-year T notes dipped a little bit at 1.26% though you will see it as unchanged. The Bund and the Japanese also remain unchanged. We always report the cryptos now because of the emergence of that and the broad embracement that is going on across the world. Bitcoin saw a dip in the price as did Ethereum. It is all as a result of the general supply and demand scenarios.
To respond to your very specific question around retail sales, retail sales is a reflection of consumer sentiments as well as what is to come in terms of the Delta variant and further issues people are just being cautious about. As far as restaurant sales are concerned, everybody is aware that in the United States most people very seldom cook at home. Everybody eats outside. One of the reasons why we saw a significant amount of online sales up in 2020 and in the first quarter is because they could not go to the restaurants, the restaurants were shut or had limited openings and a lot of the things happened at home. So there was a significant uptick. So, 38% is very modest in my view. Things are still getting normalized. Remember, we have a new mandate in place in many states. The mandate is, you have to have an ID, you have to demonstrate that you are vaccinated. You have taken two vaccines and you still need to go in masks. And then, of course, you can eat wearing masks and everybody has normal dining. The in-house or sit-in has also been lifted because of these vaccinations and you can sit out. Previously, there was sit-out now, sit in and sit out, both are allowed. So you are beginning to see some normalization and people anxious to get out and start eating. So that’s why you are seeing the rise in numbers. As you rightly said, it’s pent-up demand and it is returning to normalcy after the pandemic if one has to use that phrase.
Sree Iyer: Thank you very much, sir. That concludes episode 227. We will be back tomorrow bright and early. Do join us. Do like our program as soon as we start broadcasting because this will help us reach many, many more viewers. Thank you very much once again, Sridharji, and we’ll be back tomorrow. Namaskar.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and have a wonderful evening.
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