EP 231 | Daily Global Insights | Aug 24, 2021 | Global News | US News | India News | Markets

EP 231 | Daily Global Insights | Aug 24, 2021 | Global News | US News | India News | Markets, Afghanistan update and more with Sridhar Chityala

Sree Iyer: Namaskar and welcome to DGI with Sir and Sree. Today is the 24th of August Tuesday and this is episode number 231. Here are the main points. Joe Biden walks away from questions about the thousands of Americans still stranded in Afghanistan. Shooting incidents were reported at the Kabul Airport. Bennet to Tell Biden that Iran Enrichment Makes Nuclear Deal is Irrelevant. Let’s start with Global news, Global Headlines Dominated by Afghan and COVID Issue. The US Update on Afghanistan, we already mentioned this.

Sridharji, namaskar and welcome to PGurus Channel.

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and Good morning to everybody and good evening in India and looking forward to another exciting day.

Sree Iyer: Sir, we start with why Biden abandoned, the Trump pull-not plan? What is it that he failed to do that was mandated in the plan, that was agreed to under the Trump Administration?

Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think the first and foremost as to why he did not follow through the plan? The answers are what I can call, very sceptical because Biden has not given any clear answer to any of the questions including the plan, including why he avoided the advice that was given to him by his own people, the intelligence and security etc. He has not answered any of those questions, you have seen through his press interviews his own perspectives on Afghanistan, including the Taliban, which is vastly different from on-ground realities.

As far as what we hear about the President Trump’s plan was a Secure, safe passage for all allies and all personnel’s of allies and all relatives and people who are in Afghanistan, not just from the United States, but all of our allies.  And any of that, anything that is done to alter that would be met with a very disproportionate set of actions by the allies. And his own three-step plan was, first and foremost, personnel, people, families that’s the first that come out. The second that comes out is the all the equipment that is given by the United States would come out, that number two. Number three, final is the armed forces, the men. So, therefore, that was his prioritized sequence, whether it was actually documented given Etc. I don’t know. But what we do know is that is what they have been advocating and that is what Trump’s plan is. But, one thing is very clear, Trump has very clear that, you know, Safety and Security of personnel were absolute and of Paramount importance.

Sree Iyer: And I think there was a warning that Trump had given saying that even if you touch one of these people, then, we will go back and continue again. There was some clause that really, really made the Taliban be wary of doing anything, any kind of mischief. This is what I’m reading from various reports that are coming out. Viewers, there are a lot of people who have served time in Afghanistan, whether it is the United States or the United Kingdom. They’ve all come out and voice their concerns. Some of the things that I’ve done I’m hearing are absolutely shocked that it is not 300,000, the number was much lesser because the money was eaten away by the politicians at the top, they were just making up names, but they were not 300,000. So even assume that 1/3rd was bad, they still had 200,000 troops and then somebody is saying that no, only 30,000 in that was like Commando fit ready, what they would call as a somebody equivalent to an American Army person or Western Army person trained in that skill set responses are all that stuff. So there’s a lot of stuff that’s coming out right now, but the underlying theme that all of them are saying is that the United States has been lying all along about the Readiness of the troops of the Afghans. And that is one of the reasons why the Taliban was able to run over so quickly. Now, what also is coming out is that the White House staff was afraid to tell Biden and Jake Sullivan that they were wrong. This is really really surprising sir. It is their job to tell their bosses when they are going wrong. What is it that’s going on in the White House, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: I have no idea, I am as much puzzled as anybody. So apparently, all these truths is coming out right now. Effectively, they had intelligence and which they ignored, they had a recommendation, which the White House ignored. And also it is very strange that this memo of June 10-11th when they were attempting to amend, you know, guaranteed protection of American Stranded overseas and why they were trying to abdicate. It all seems rather a wig and coincidental, the only person who can answer this question is President Biden and he has refused to entertain any questions, even yesterday in the press interview which was prominently that photograph was featured when they were trying to ask him questions. He turned his back and walked away. So that just tells you where we are with regard to the answers to the questions that you are seeking.

I just want to say, one thing about the previous Trump administration, Trump was very clear,  If you will be met with disproportionate force and you will not know what hit you. This is what he has been kind of lambasting right around but the words may have been different to what he is speaking, but he is been very clear. The same thing was even in Syria that the United States will act with disproportionate force.

Sree Iyer: Jake Sullivan, falsely claims that Biden warned Americans and Afghan withdrawal would be difficult. Now, this is all after the fact, people are talking as if Biden had warned. And you also mentioned that he walked away from questions about thousands of Americans still stranded. We don’t even know how many Americans are still stranded in Afghanistan. Although now reports are coming in that they are being allowed is better access to the airport from outside than people are being allowed. But the question that is, you know, uppermost in people’s minds is the US Army knew when it was leaving. Then why did it not tell its own citizens that, first, you guys have to leave, only then we can leave? Why did they keep that part of the secret? Nobody’s answering this question. Now, Sridharji, can you tell us the amount or just like an idea of the amount of captured Weaponry that is in the hands of the Taliban.

Sridhar Chityala: Yes. Let me read out, more than 28 billion was spent equipping the Afghans between 2002 to 2017, Okay, 28 billion, The Heritage Foundation drop. This is the, from the Heritage Foundation. The expenditures after that are harder to come by since deliveries were continuing until last month. So we’re talking about 2017. So this could be, you know, a significant number in the last four years. As of June, 30th 2021, what we have is they have 211, US-supplied aircraft in their inventory. They also have 600,000 rifles, machine guns, 76,000 Vehicles such as high Mobility multi-purpose Vehicles, armoured trucks, pickups radios night vision goggles, drones and 208 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. So effectively they have an army and an Air Force. When you look at this inventory, the inventory is greater than what probably many countries around that region have, you know, it is probably greater than Australia, greater than Singapore, greater than Vietnam, greater than some of the countries. I don’t even know what this kind of, you know, Armoury or cache is available even with Pakistan for that matter. So, it is astonishing that this has been left behind, which I have asked the question, which is namely, opposing the question, Is this deliberate? It seems like you know, it’s not like you are leaving two toys behind or you’re leaving some few things you have forgotten. This is an astonishing number and how Pentagon can keep quiet that you are handing over to an Administration, which attacked the United States and you went there to disarm them and take the bad boys out, and you leave this and come back. I mean, you just mentioned the numbers are 200,000, it may be 20,000 or 30,000. And It’s almost, this is unreal from the perspective of what you see by way of what is being now made public.

Sree Iyer:  Vice president Kamala Harris focused on Afghan evacuation as she addresses ASEAN leaders. And in further trouble to Biden, the Pentagon may request Biden to stay beyond August 31st, but will not retake Bagram Air Base. I’m not sure this is an option, sir.

Personally, I think they will have to take back on Bagram Air Base unless the US is planning on bombing and strafing its own build airfields, its own aircraft, its own helicopters because if these things fall in the wrong hands, it’s going to be a disaster in that area. Your thoughts, sir.

Sridhar Chityala: The way I look at it is, they have to do something very similar to the liberation of Kuwait. If you recall Saddam Hussain had all these people lined up in various factories and various places, you know, we had all this stuff. The difference here is that they can bomb, they got so many things, they got drones. They got planes, they got helicopters. They got all this Machinery. So I don’t know. I think that, what the Pentagon or the US defence forces are saying, is that you have to declare formal War, you can’t kind of allow us to go and do random things without giving an explicit authority to act. Otherwise, we will become prosecutable and there is no immunity. So, you have to pass a resolution and you have to give explicit authorization. This is not a covert operation that one can carry out. When you look at what has been left behind sir and the number of people.

Sree Iyer:  Now, the Taliban is threatening Biden, no, extension beyond August 31st. It is the red line, the consequences will be severe. Now, let’s take one small perspective before I let the Sridharji answer you. You see since 2014 that is for the past seven year years, neither the United States nor the EU forces. They were not in combat mode. In other words, for the last seven years, they were just embedded in the Afghan forces. Then, it was the Afghan forces that were keeping the Taliban in Check. In fact, in the last 18 months, not a single United States soldier has died. I’m not saying this to say a point. I’m just trying to say that they have been very effective in keeping the Taliban confined to wherever it is that they were confined to. Now, what is happening is they in turn are telling the United State you better leave on the 31st of August. How can the US leave, leaving its own citizens behind? This is just no way that’s going to be possible, but it tells you that the world has stopped respecting the United States. This is how I see it, Sridharji, your thoughts.

Sridhar Chityala: I think that your summary conclusion is spot on. There is no trust even that just concluded or concluding, the news snippets that are coming out of the G7 meeting. You know, there’s a lot of astonishment as well as a feeling of disgust as to how this could happen when the United States was leading front and centre and supposed to carry the allies with it. How such a deal could have been constructed and how one is playing out this exit strategy. I think there are no words to explain. Even, note this the first tranche of, 37,000 people who have come out, you know, 2500 are American citizens. It looks like anybody who made it to the background airport and wanted a seat on the plane have been accommodated into the flight and then they were flown to different locations. These also posting a security threat because there was no processing, nothing was done at the airport. So they are all the processing need to happen in the appropriate venues, whether it’s in Fort Bliss or whether it is in Doha, whether it is Uzbekistan or whether it is in Germany, needs to happen. So I think, you know Sreeji, many questions that you’re raising from a logical point of view have no answers and they’re not getting anything straight. And you can see there is inconsistency between the defence department briefings, the state department briefings and to complete and total silence from the president and nobody within his own Advisory Group or even vice president is responding to any of these questions and he didn’t want to talk anything about the evacuation plan or what the strategy was even in Asia. So, I don’t know how we are going to, you know, uncover the answers at what the true issues are and what still really concerns people in the United States is these fellows wanted everybody to be got to get out by September 11th. Okay. Everybody knows what September 11th is. So that’s why they’re not extending. They don’t want anybody in the country. So what is confronting the world and what these guys want to show on that September 11th either in Afghanistan or elsewhere remains a mystery.

Sree Iyer:  Yes indeed. And remember viewers, about 3-4 months ago. When Joe Biden picks this unfortunate date. We had mentioned this in Daily Global Insights. This is a very, very poor choice in terms of selecting the date. What does he have to tell all those firefighters policemen, who died, they knew when they were going up to rescue people stranded on the Twin Towers that they may not come back alive. It was on fire. And now this is how you respect them, it is shocking beyond belief, what that just the choice of that date was and this is just pathetic. Now, people are beginning to ask, Is Biden equipped mentally to run the most powerful country in the world? God’s sake, we’ve been saying this for months.

Why is it that people can’t understand? Why can’t somebody come out with a statement? Why can’t Jen Psaki come and say, yes, he is fine, we have put him through all these things. He will take questions for 1 hour, not turn his back and walk away. Sir, please go ahead sir.

Sridhar Chityala: No, I think that your bash may be very well understood, it remains a mystery, sir, many of the actions, remain a mystery even on daily briefings. You see the inconsistencies that are coming out of it. And by the way, I don’t know, I want to be politically correct, but you know, in the middle of these things, when you have vaccine mandate, and approval of the vaccines first, Pfizer-Biontech and then the national harmonization budget plan is thrown into the briefing. It’s almost like in a hey, excuse me, do you know that there is a big, major threat looming and the world is talking about Afghanistan and this is a global issue and you’re coming in talking about approving Pfizer-Biontech and then these are the budget plan of 3.5 trillion. Something doesn’t add up in terms of his own prioritization within his mind and the context with which he is raising these things when the issue is far deeper and fundamental.

Sree Iyer:  Yes, indeed and now we are also hearing that there are shooting incidents are happening in and around the Kabul Airport and the United States troops, are starting to rescue stranded Americans from outside the airport, according to Pentagon. Several thousand Americans evacuated, but we still do not know how many are still stranded by some measure, they are saying 37,000, people have been rescued thus far. And as Sridharji said they are mostly Afghans under the SIV. So what is SIV?

Sridhar Chityala: Special Immigrant Visa.

Sree Iyer:  Afghans guard killed at the airport, says German military. Canadian Special Forces operating outside Kabul Airport are going to be evacuating people. Taliban praises, the role of China in Afghanistan, there you go. If you go and look back a few days ago, I think even a few weeks ago, the assistant Secretary of State goes visiting China. And there is a lot of hot words exchanged which not of not much has been talked about in the friendly media of CNN and whatever else. And then, the next day the number two of the Taliban goes to China and his pictures are taken exactly with him standing in the spot where the assistant Secretary of State stood the previous day. What is China saying? China is saying that here we are recognizing the Taliban. They may not have said so in an official release, but that is how I understand it. Sir, looks like China and Russia have already recognized the Taliban regime.

Sridhar Chityala: I’m not sure about Russia as yet, but China has struck a deal, this is the first one, which says, you know, they are recognizing the Taliban regime. They have also got a partnership going. My view is that they going to give them some money and protection at the United Nations Security Council as a reciprocal gesture. They would be accessed provided to them. I don’t know where the Taliban is smart enough. They’re too smart enough to give everything away but, they will make China earn every penny. If China has to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan, they know what is the stuff, they need to confront, by being on the ground besides terror and other stuff. So I think that China has recognized it, Russia said it will wait and see. I think the same thing with Turkey. Turkey has told Russia to be considerate and be open-minded in recognizing the Taliban, the government in Afghanistan, that is what they have indicated. Let’s wait and see, how these things pan out. I think it’s still an open question and the day one of the Taliban regime taking over has not arrived, Mr Baradar has just landed, he is to announce the government and also announce that the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. So we have to wait and see how this unfolds sir.

Sree Iyer:  Anti-Taliban forces kill Taliban and seized territory with a potential Civil War Looming. This is in the area called Punjshir Valley. This was talked to at length yesterday in my hang out with #AskAbhijit at 9 p.m. IST, those of you who want to know more can look at the first 15 minutes or so, where Abhijit Iyer-Mitra laid out the terrain showed where the thing is, how that there are some limitations as to how far this resistance, can go and so on and so forth.

Now, let us look at what the global leaders are saying? The United Kingdom Prime Minister Johnson is going to push Biden to extend the deadline. French President says to Biden, it’s a moral obligation for the West to rescue Afghan allies. There is going to be a G7 virtual meeting. I think it is going to start today. I don’t know exactly what time. Japan to send self-defence forces plane to Afghanistan for evacuation. Remember we mentioned this yesterday about how a friendly Nation help evacuate, I think 12 Japanese Embassy staff out of Harm’s Way and we have to wait and see. Looks like Japan is trying to send its own to try and get them out. Sridharji, how do you see this thing? Suddenly, all the European leaders are found their voice.

Sridhar Chityala: The meeting is going on right now as we speak. And I think it’s likely to conclude shortly because of overlapping with the Europeans, let’s wait and see. I just don’t know if there is anything to negotiate the way the deal was finalized, whether they would extend beyond August 31st, looks very highly unlikely. Some of the army commentators are saying, unless you give a specific mandate to the Army, they can’t extend and the army is saying they don’t have the capability on the ground. Should it get into a confrontation beyond August 31st, how they’re going to do that? Yes, I think everybody needs to be rescued and everybody is rescued, I think a couple of sessions ago. I think in the Sunday session we talked about the rate at which a number of people can be done and potentially, how many people are there. How many people are there? Again from the United States, point of view, the State Department of Defense Department says,  it has no database or record to say there are so many people. They have left it to the people to self-report in terms of where they are. And you know, you can imagine that is the case, what is the challenge that it poses.

Sree Iyer: There’s also another challenge that if you are caught by some Taliban security and if you happen to have a US passport, they are snatching it away. You are confronted by 10 armed people with AK-47s and whatnot. What choice do you have if they ask you to produce your passport? So this is just not all. Spectacular mess. That’s all I can tell. My heart goes out to fellow Americans who are stuck there. Not just fellow Americans but to all the people who want to leave Afghanistan. They need to allow them to leave. There is nothing to be gained because the world is looking at them. Taliban, you may have a lot of good things about yourself, feel good that you’ve won this thing, but I don’t know what you are going to gain by doing all these things. Please, let those who want to leave, leave.

In other Global News, Bennett Naftali tells Biden that Iran enrichment makes a nuclear deal irrelevant. Sir, a little bit more context on this.

Sridhar Chityala: What he is saying is that now Iran is pumping oil. The enrichment is well past the threshold limits. They have crossed 70%. Some people think they are a few days or a few weeks away from a nuclear weapon when they cross the 90% threshold. So he’s asking what is there to sit down and negotiate with Iran? There’s nothing to negotiate because they have achieved the objective. And why are you restraining Israel to be compliant in part of this deal? What do you see and what you’re trying to accomplish? It is irrelevant. Give us the freedom and the choice to act the way that we think fit. We need to protect ourselves. I think that’s going to be a direct message from Mr Naftali Bennett to Mr Biden. Whether Mr Biden will be receptive to that remains a question mark. All his attention seems to be obsessed with China without any on-ground actions. I’m sorry, but somehow he has given up on the rest of the world.

Sree Iyer: Israel has cause to be concerned because from drones to missiles to armoured vehicles, Israeli weapons were in use in Afghanistan. Iran resumes fuel exports to Afghanistan. This is a very important point. You should remember that Iran is the Shia majority and Afghanistan is not. The fact that Iran now wants to send fuel to Afghanistan means that some rapprochement has taken place. Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan is going to seek re-election despite growing calls for a new party face. Nobody has in the near past been able to match what Shinzo Abe had done. We pray for his recovery. Looks like he is still not healthy enough to come back. We have to wait and see how this leadership battle plays out in Japan. ASEAN is on guard for extremism inspired by Taliban-Afghan triumph because every country starting from perhaps Pakistan, India, Nepal, the Southeast Asian countries, everybody is now feeling like, am I going to see something in my own backyard? So Sridharji, how do you see all these?

Sree Iyer: I think you have summarized it very well. Iran’s oil exchange with Afghanistan is very interesting and this again goes back to the Naftali Bennett context, which is ‘They may be saying give me the oil but give us a part of the armoured vehicles, part of the drones because that’s of use to us in our battle against Israel. So they may be using, I mean this is really speculative, for them to be doing this deal. Right now, oil is beginning to flow into Afghanistan.

With regard to the rest of the world, I think it is very clear because it can very quickly spread into that region and if people are not prepared then… Refugees are beginning to flow into many of these countries, for example, Malaysia is one country they may go to, Indonesia is another country they may go to, even parts of the Philippines, Thailand, etc. Myanmar is another place that they can potentially go to and even Cambodia. So there is a concern on the security front. So basically because of the influx of refugees coming through various mechanisms. How do I see it? Well, the fact that even Bangladesh, Nepal, and Srilanka have asked some of their people to be airlifted, they have asked India to help them to airlift. They did not go to China, but they came to India and requested their people to be airlifted and rescued. So I think in a nutshell, we have a problem. We have a security issue and how the world will deal with this remains a big question mark. We still don’t know when the new regime or the Taliban regime will take over. This remains the biggest question. We don’t have answers to several questions that we are asking here as well.

Sree Iyer: Before we go on to the US News, a bit of unasked-for advice to the Minister of External Affairs, Mr Jaishankar. Please extract in exchange for all these favours you’re doing from the Nepalis and Bangladeshis that they will support India when India calls and says that it needs their support. Don’t just be a goody-goody guy. That time has gone. Please. Here is the time. Yes, you want to help them, help them but with provisos and conditions that they have to do what India wants them to do. This is not anymore like everybody understands and the world is a small place like ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. I am a believer in that too. But not now. At this point, you have to follow what Krishna says that you have to fight Adharma with Adharma.

Next point to the US News. FDA fully approved Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 shot paving the way for mandates. Biden says more employers should mandate covid-19 vaccination. Dr Gottlieb says the Delta fueled covid spike has peaked. I think they shot themselves in the foot. I don’t know how many times I have to say this thing because my blood just boils when you see that you just unnecessarily opened the borders without even checking whether people had covid or not. Desantis and Abbott, the two governors in the South, say that the mask rules are in line with global standards and norms. So again, this is completely partisan, but lives are at stake. Sridharji, what do we have to make of this? Do we believe that if you are in California, you have to go around in public with masks on, but once you go to Florida you can take them off? Is that what we are hearing, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: I think, the implementation of any of these mandates is totally reliant on the states. Now, for example, in the case of the vaccines, they have formally approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine now. It has been formally approved as a medication, which means that the consequences of anything that’s going wrong Pfizer become accountable. So, therefore, this extra caution. That also means that the medication has reached a level of maturity that it is admissible as a universal medication for the treatment of this covid or preventing covid spread. So that’s one thing that basically paves the way for what they are now contemplating next, which is why they rushed and got this done. On September 20th, Pfizer BioNTech’s booster dose will be available for people with immune deficiencies and those who have immunity suppressant capabilities. They are now going to be the first in the queue.

With regards to the masks question, they have not yet been nationally mandated, but what’s happening is that the states are mandating like for example, Florida and Texas and some of the red states are saying, ‘look at the global data and especially in the schools you should not be doing. I am also told that it creates other types of trauma and psychological problems. On the contrary, Biden is saying that you got to go ahead and make it happen. So what is going to happen? As you rightly said, asymmetric implementation. People wearing masks, people not wearing masks. How exactly we are going to measure this and make this happen remains a big mystery.

Sree Iyer: The White House begs Democrats to back spending bills, says it cannot afford to lose. The Biden Administration is providing a silent amnesty displacing thousands of deportation cases. This is very, very concerning. Sridharji, your thoughts.

Sridhar Chityala: I don’t know what to say. Firstly, you get rid of ICE. Secondly, you get rid of the other enforcement norms. Third, you are basically rushing them into various cities and states and so on. Now you are saying that the local guys from the Department of Homeland Security have the discretion to grant asylum and their will. There is no mechanism to question. This looks like one of the most irrational and unreal or surreal regimes that we have running the country. We are a laughing stock around the world in terms of governing on any matter for that matter. Right now, when we look at it, we are borrowing the hell out. We are wrongly prioritizing. Our pull out looks immature, childish and impetuous. Then we have flooding from the border and no testing. So you ask the question on vaccines. When you are an illegal immigrant, you don’t need to be tested, you don’t need to do PCRs as you are coming in, you don’t need to wear masks. By the way, you also don’t need to earn money. We will also give you aid and assistance. Whereas if you are a US taxpayer, you have to wear a mask, you have to be vaccinated. To go to a restaurant, you have to show your card that you are vaccinated. You also have to pay taxes so that all these can be funded. Can you reconcile these two extremities? I can’t.

Sree Iyer: Antifa proud boys clash on Portland Street with explosives and weapons. We’ve been telling this again and again that there are many parts of many cities in the United States, despite having a sympathetic government at the centre, at the federal level are continuing to do what they’ve been doing. So these have become lawless and even the police can’t go to some of these places in Portland and some other cities. We don’t know when this is going to stop. Landlords return to the Supreme Court over eviction moratorium. We’ve talked about this Sridharji. What is the latest on the eviction moratorium?

Sridhar Chityala: I think they have gone to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is now going to take up the issue and we will soon know what the outcome is.

Sree Iyer: Let’s move on to India news. We are running a little slow, but we’re going to try and pick up the pace here. The Indian government eyes over 45,000 crores from monetization of power transmission assets by fiscal year 25. Coal mining assets worth rupees 28,487 crores, to be monetized. FDI investment that is Foreign Direct Investments rose to USD 12.1 billion in May. That’s all good news, sir. Looks like India is back on its feet or at least trying to come back and regain the growth, that momentum that it lost when the second wave hit.

Sridhar Chityala: I think that would be a good summary. Essentially, there are three elements here. The first element is that to one very large amount of social capital, social welfare programs like 800 million people being fed, lots of aid being granted, the industry is being supported with PLI type of programs, to encourage new sectors like MSME, infrastructure, textile sector etc, you need capital. So, therefore, you’re not going to borrow. What they’re doing is they’re using this monetization program. Monetization is the sale of the assets and then taking that capital and redeploying for these purposes from an economic growth point of view.

Now, in terms of the FDI of $12 billion. Last year, India hit $89-$91 billion dollars. That means an average run rate of about $80 million per month in FDI. So the story here is that the fact that they have hit $12 billion in May is a good indication that they would probably sustain a similar number this year reinforcing the confidence that India is still nascent and is all set to grow at a substantive level to achieve whether it’s 5 trillion or 10 trillion depending on who you talk to in terms of its economic growth. So that’s the overall headline and summary. There are all these political issues and other stuff that goes on that I think Sreeji covers very well with various competent experts through the shows that happen through the course of the day and the course of the week.

Sree Iyer: Indian government to call an All Party leaders meeting on Thursday and the Minister of External Affairs will be briefing the floor leaders on the developments. This is precisely why we need CAA, Dr Hardeep Puri points out the state of Hindus and Sikhs. Remember yesterday we showed you three Sikhs carrying Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book that the Sikhs swear by. These were taken from three different Gurudwaras in Afghanistan, where they were in place. When they move, it essentially means that the Sikhs of those three areas are leaving Afghanistan for good. Very, very regrettable. Many people don’t seem to understand the significance. This is exactly like in a Hindu temple. When you take the main idol out of the temple, the temple ceases to exist. So this is a huge blow for those who are going to the Gurudwara and I don’t know how this is going to play out. It’s very, very sad.

An Air India employee also rescued from Afghanistan praises the Indian government. And on the contrary, the guy who pleaded with Modi to be rescued from Afghanistan praises the Taliban on landing. You will have these thoughtless remarks. So we have to just take it with a pinch of salt and just move on.

US Congressman, Steve Chabot princes India in its rescue efforts while criticizing Pakistan’s ISI on aiding the Taliban. Little bit more context on this.

Sridhar Chityala: Basically, what he’s saying is that we have spent so much money. We have trusted these people. They have not delivered and they probably are helping and supporting when we need them most to be working with us having supported the nation of Pakistan. So that’s one element of it. Second, there has not been many on-ground efforts in terms of infrastructure capital. There has been a lot of criticism for India that, hey, you have put 2 billion, you shouldn’t have put 2 billion. You have put 4 billion, you shouldn’t have put 4 billion. You constructed the parliament, you constructed the dam, you constructed this, that and so on. There is also sarcastic remarks that the Taliban is going to run its government from an Indian constructed Parliament. India is doing or any nation is doing for the welfare and the benefit of the people. It doesn’t choose that you have to appoint or you have to select terrorists and other types of people to be running your government. So, therefore, I think people get very short-sighted and get very emotive. But at the end of the day, they are neighbours of India. A lot of challenges emerge out of Afghanistan if it is not stable. So I think that my view is that Steve Chabot and others are appreciating India’s efforts, and India was constantly called to contribute, including by the Afghan Government, and India took a stand that it will not engage in this military stuff but it will do anything that helps in the Civil infrastructure. I think that is what Mr Chabot is talking about.

Sree Iyer: India reaches 588 million vaccine doses with 6.334 million doses a day.  Active cases have been reduced to 333,924, with the new cases at 25,072 and discharged cases at 44,157.

Now, let’s take a quick look at markets. Wall Street is telling investors to prepare for Congress passing the two big spending bills. Dow climbs 215+ points on Pfizer vaccine mandates. Ending benefits had little impact on jobs, but may hurt economies, finds the study. Yellen endorses Jerome Powell for a second term and praises his effort. Sridharji, take it away and we are going to put up the market slide for your perusal, sir. It’s up now.

Sridhar Chityala: I think based on the Pfizer mandate which means that people are going to be vaccinated, the possibility of the economy returning is very evident in terms of the growth that we’re seeing and the inflation that is seeing. So the market gave a thumbs up 215 points up on the Dow. S&P is up 37 points. The target for this year is about 4,700. We’re almost close to 4,500. NASDAQ, the Tech sector has been the safety valve when we call was their risk of trades. When you have the risk of trades, capital flows to the tech sector. There are up by 227. The good news is that notwithstanding the fact that Futures was up 6%, the oil prices, that is the brent and the crude is toggling between 65 and 68, which is very good for people like us because we pay a little lower price at the gas tank.

Sree Iyer: The next news is about the US 10-year and the Bund values. Sir, please go ahead.

Sridhar Chityala: I should correct myself. It is at the gas stations where we fill up our fuel tanks. The US 10-year bond is 1.255% and that just basically says that the rates have been… One of the days we’ll put the rate curve. It went from 0.43 all the way to 1.68 – 1.73., We were expecting 2% but then the rates have come down. So, we have seen a rate inversion in the 10-year bond, the US 10-year bond yields. That’s again very sustainable. That’s very good news because the cost of borrowing is relatively less. The Bitcoin and the Ethereum which is in the crypto have passed the two trillion. They continue to toggle around 50,000. Remember they were around 27,000 – 29,000 and we had said that the markets will regain momentum and they have. In the next couple of days, we will also put up the Coinex which is the chart for the Coinbase exchange. You will see that that is also regaining momentum reflecting that the market is slowly absorbing this currency. With we wrap up sir.

Sree Iyer: Yes, we do and viewers in about 90 minutes we will be back live with Dr Subramanian Swamy who will be giving his perspective on what is playing out in Afghanistan. So far we have done a 360-degree look at this, you’ve had experts. Sridharji and I, of course, are Americans. We are providing you with the American perspective. We’ve had a Hong Kong activist give his viewpoint on how he saw this whole thing play out. You also have Indian geostrategic experts, like ‘Ask Abhijit’ program where Abhijit Iyer Mitra was telling how he saw it, but from a very Security point of view. And today we are going to be hearing from Dr Subramanian Swamy, who is a veteran. He has a six-time parliamentarian and he will give this perspective on how sees things evolve in Afghanistan and its implications on the neighbours. Thanks, and hopefully you will be there to watch that program. It’s going to be a Sizzler of a session. The last time we had one on the Tamil Nadu temples last week it was a broad success. We hope that you will support us in the same way that you did and have been doing. Please, always remember to keep in mind that as soon as this program starts airing, do click on the like button. And if you have not already subscribed t, do click on the bell button. I hope you liked our new user interface. We’ve got all the icons, suggestive icons to tell you that if you have forgotten that we have given you the like button, we have given you the comment button and also, giving you the description. You can’t click on that to actually initiate it. You have to do it on your YouTube screen. But the point here is to gently remind you that if you have not done that, please do so right away. Thanks for watching and we’ll be back tomorrow. Namaskar.

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Thank you. Have a wonderful day. And we have will bring more exciting news to you tomorrow. Positive news.



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