Every year, we make predictions for the next year on Drishtikone. These predictions relate to world at large but specifically to three countries – India, US and Pakistan. The idea is to look at the socio-economic and political trajectory of these societies and see where it will lead them to.
Until now from 2007 onwards, we have done this post for 8 years and many of the predictions have been seen to come true. This is not because we are clairvoyants or some great astrologers, because we are none and use none of those ways. We simply look at the social, economic and political situations in these countries and the world to see where they will be headed.
- Annual Predictions for 2018
- Annual Predictions for 2017
- Annual Predictions for 2014
- Annual Predictions for 2012
- Annual Predictions for 2010
- Annual Predictions for 2009
- Annual Predictions for 2008
- Annual Predictions for 2007
Let us look at how we fared.
You must have noticed that our predictions are not in terms of predicting the events as they will happen, but the general direction of how things in a society will move. This is because we are not in the business of astrological predictions or fore-telling destinies in terms of actual events and dates. That is the work of clairvoyants and astrologers. Our work is to understand what emotions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses are present in a society and how deep are they. Based on them, those societies will tend to take a certain direction.
With that, let’s begin.
India – Historical elections and the Coming future
If you have ever cared to read India’s history from the ancient past to now, you would notice so many times when the leaders and rulers, and indeed people, could have taken a more holistic and clear decisions that they did not. And, with that, India lost much of its strength, vitality, and indeed wealth. So much so that a society which contributed to over 30% of world’s GDP was down to only 3% until just 5 years back. That is quite a steep fall isn’t it? That was not simply an accident. One is always left with the What if questions – What if things had been done differently?
What if we went after the source of our devastation at the first signs of evil? While the Indian kings were fighting in the latter part of the first millennia, Islamic invaders were taking root in Arabia and Persia. Zoroastrians had come over after being prosecuted. Indian shores were attacked but the attacks repulsed by some powerful kings. Why did they just sit pretty? If they knew such devastating powers were taking shape somewhere in the world with the urge, cunning and resilience to travel all the way to our shores to kill and plunder – did it not make sense to go to their lands and finish them before they could dismantle the way of life as was there in India? What if Chandragupta Maurya after the defeat of Alexander had traveled to Europe and devastated those powers as well?
What if the Indian Kings had bandied together against the enemy? Only two armies and rulers could actually fight the Islamic invaders and British strongly enough to keep them in check – Sikhs and Marathas. Do you know why? Fundamentally because those two adversaries did not fight with the rules that Indian kings would fight the battles. Civilians were game, attack at any time was ok and hitting enemy from behind was fine. What the Marathas and Sikhs did was to discard those archaic rules in the new world of “total war”. They were the only ones to truly use Guerilla warfare. They gave the enemy back in their own way. Most civilizations are lost because of the main virtues of their societies. Just like today’s democracies are being played with by the likes of China and Russia. But instead of coming together and fighting the battle of intrigue to hit the enemy, Indians always sided with the enemy for their own personal gains. What if the Jats, the Buddhists and others had fought alongside Raja Dahir against Mohammad Bin Qasim? What if Mir Jaffar had not betrayed Siraj-ud-Daulah and Mir Qasim betrayed Mir Jaffar in turn? What if every CWC which voted for Sardar Patel and not Nehru to become the first Indian PM had put its foot down against Gandhi’s dictatorial decision? What if Indira Gandhi had not returned the 90,000 PoWs and forced a solution?
What if the Seers and Sages had been ruthless in worldly affairs as well? From various Sages during Chandragupta Maurya’s time to Nanak to Ramana Maharishi in the early 1900s – the enlightened beings had done what Seers and Sages had done in ancient history – impact the course of history by bringing the right forces together? Krishna’s greatest strength was that when it mattered in battle, he made sure that evil could never triumph, specially when it abandoned all rules of the game. When you are in a civilizational battle, you cannot play a benign monk. If you cannot see the life debilitating impact of evil forces – as Islamic invaders (millions killed, enslaved, raped after battles and sold back in Middle East) and British (killed, enslaved, murdered via famines and battles) were, then what were they upto? Nanak walked the land of Lahore. In 1947, those who took his name were massacred and today, no one can erect even a statue in his name in that city! If the consciousness takes a downward spiral, what the heck will enlightenment do? If you cannot even convey the power of enlightenment to others and have the ability to create the environment where it is secure and thrives, what use is the ability to ‘connect to the source’? In many ways, the Seers refused to see, act and enhance life. They let those who debilitated life altogether run the roost.
Things are fundamentally changing
It is for the first time in Indian history that we have a way to not just fight the enemy here, but we are going to the source and destroying him. Until now, Pakistan and China were engaged in offense. They would start wars, encircle us with negative players, hit our economy, spread propaganda and join hands with even their sworn enemies to hit India. No more.
Fighting at the source: When we look at Pakistan’s situation we will discuss what is happening there and why. But, if the victories of India-oriented regimes in Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (despite a coup attempt by Rajapaksha against Sirisena and victory of the latter) are any indications – India is not a spectator in the world of geo-politics any more. We are ready to challenge and win the battles of geopolitical intrigue!
We have for the first time not just entered the Pakistan occupied territory and hit them again and again, but also ensured that their economy is in a dangerous and precarious situation with the only forces that can help them canceling each other out. Pakistan needs an injection of $12 billion every year for now to escape default. China can help, but it won’t give money. US has not just refused to give money, but has asked IMF to refuse if that money is to be used for repaying China’s debt (or pay off CPEC loans). Saudis are helping but by setting up projects as opposed to sending money. They want their pound of flesh. With no real cash coming in, Pakistan is set to default. And meanwhile – if the whole Navjot Sidhu, Khalistan, Hafiz Saeed episodes are looked at – it is digging deeper into its endless reserve of sponsoring terror even at the cost of its own existence! Little to nothing in grants and donations, high import bill, dwindling exports, non-existent FDI, and high interest loans – Pakistan is set for bankruptcy and economic – and territorial – breakdown. And, this is where ourfirst set of predictions
comes – assassination of someone like Hafiz Saeed is imminent. Also, a major crisis will be unleashed in governance of Pakistan fueled by economic breakdown and international forces.
Infighting at the peak: Christian Michel’s admissions on how Mrs Gandhi was involved and ‘son of an Italian lady’ was going to become the next Prime Minister of India – as if that was a certainty shows that the powers behind the Gandhis extend far beyond the shores of India. Michel is no ordinary arms dealer. His father was a close friend of the Libyan dictator Gaddafi and the family has had close connections with all the great powers. How is he making that confident a claim? And referring to Rahul Gandhi not as member of the Gandhi family but as the ‘son of an Italian lady‘. Is her mother being an Italian at some point (assume she is an Indian citizen now) more important than him being from Gandhi family? Probably shows what is significant and pre-eminent in the nature of person that Rahul Gandhi is. So, does Michel know something that the public does not?
A Delhi court hearing the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case on Saturday imposed restrictions on alleged middleman Christian Michel meeting his lawyers in ED custody after the agency said he was misusing legal access by passing chits to the advocates asking them how to tackle questions on “Mrs Gandhi’. In its application seeking extension of Michel’s remand, the Enforcement Directorate also claimed that he has spoken about the “son of an Italian lady” and how he is going to become the next prime minister of the country.
Despite the threat that ostensibly emanates from outside India, it is still the case in India that all the parties are joining hands with Congress under Rahul Gandhi to hoist him as the PM. Why? Will another generation come in future and say – What if this had not happened?
And, that is whereour second prediction
comes – the coming elections will see things getting dirtier and nastier. One or more attempt on the life of Narendra Modi is imminent, as will be on some other leaders of BJP. This is strengthened by the arrests across UP and Delhi of 10 ISIS terrorists and the arms haul from them.
The NIA conducted raids in 10 locations across Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, following the release of a new ISIS module ‘Harkat ul Harb e Islam’. The agency has implicated an Islamic preacher (maulvi) from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh as the mastermind of the plot. Among the 10 arrested, are a civil engineer, an auto rickshaw driver and a mobile shop owner who were allegedly helping the maulavi with making the remote bombs, procurement of SIM cards and transportation. Officials have said that the group were plotting to carry out a series of blasts and were being directed by a foreign handler.
Mark the word – “foreign handler”. Even this thret to kill major Indian leaders is being directed via foreign agences. Which “foreign” agency would be directing IS type terrorists is too straight forward to even discuss.
Increase in Seers, Intellectuals, Gurus and Sadhus making their voice heard: When Rajiv Malhotra used his time, energy and money to create a movement that directly and very effectively challenged the Breaking India forces, or when Baba Ramdev used his reach and work to create the largest FMCG enterprise that is purely Indian and cash rich, or when Vivek Agnihotri challenged the society on the menace of Urban Naxals, or when someone who into Spiritual realm like Sadhguru took on students planted to voice the language and protest of the Urban Naxals and breaking India forces during the “Youth and Truth” movement, or Yogi Adityanath took over the reigns of UP and wiped out the criminals and the ugly remnants of the nomenclatures of the past evil invaders – we have seen the signs of the intellectual and enlightened beings not just defending but unabashedly taking on the Global forces that have harmed India. Now, someone like Baba Ramdev is not content to just create a large enterprise and be happy. But his organization has beaten the heck out of Unilever, P&G etc in India. And, it doesn’t stop there. It is on track for complete domination of any space he touches! In today’s India, despite negative and elitist attitudes of Congress lovers, people like Baba Ramdev and Yogi Adityanath are an acceptable and viable option in the world of governance and large commerce.Our third prediction
– Local, Vernacular, strongly pro-India as well as pro-Dharmic and ‘from the ground’ leaders will come up and create local movements that will challenge the polity, commerce, and social norms of India’s society in an unabashed, strong, confident and forceful way. 2019 will be an unmistakable imprint of such forces on India.
Here are other things that one can easily foresee happening:
- Very tough fight in the 2019 where Global forces – Pakistan, China, European and even Americans – will pitch their influence in Indian elections. The Chinese, Italian and most importantly Pakistani influence is for everyone to see. But others will start showing up in due course.
- Modi will win the elections, but barely. He might have to create alliances. And he may have to hit Pakistan – which will exert the most influence on 2019 elections in some big way.
- Conviction and arrest of at least one person of Gandhi family and someone major like Ahmed Patel and bringing home of at least one absconding offender is imminent. Vadra, Rahul Gandhi and even Sonia Gandhi’s time outside the jail is now limited.
- With China and US locked in economic battles, India could see some major reforms even at this late stage to boost FDI and bringing business in.
- Since Nehru’s time, speaking against or depicting “the family” and Congress always resulted in either jail or banning across all TV and print media. This is no more the case. So, for the first time, we are seeing movies like “The Accidental Prime Minister”. This trend will grow. Thankfully, India will also see this new renaissance in art and cinema.
Pakistan: Here Now, There Gone
Whatever is said on Drishtikone about Pakistan, is not said out of malice but out of looking at things in perspective of reality. For example, we had shared in October 2017 that Pakistan is on the brink of economic bankruptcy. Many Pakistanis felt slighted, bad and humiliated. Some even challenged us to a debate here on this blog and on our facebook page. We had asked those enthusiastic people to wait for 6 months and then meet for a discussion again on Social media. After that when we published the article on its economic doom, no one challenged it.
According to Bloomberg, “Pakistan’s dollar reserves are depleting at the fastest pace in Asia and may soon have a buffer that’s smaller than Cambodia – an economy that’s less than a 10th of its size.” Junaid Zahid, The Express Tribune, Pakistan
Per Dawn, Pakistan’s economy is seeing major challenges – falling GDP growth, spiralling trade deficit, falling rupee, and runaway inflation reaching close to doubt digits.
What should be most worrying is that exports to even the friendly countries like United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey have fallen in the recent years. Corruption in Pakistan’s governance and procurement is rampant. For example, public procurement is 19.8 percent of GDP or Rs7.5 trillion a year. Of this, it is estimated that there is anywhere from 30-60% ‘leakage’ in the system. Which means as much as Rs4.5 trillion a year is spent but nothing is procured. It simply vanishes! The state of the Public sector Units is pitiable. They are bleeding the economy dry off their own accord.
Over the past five years, our 195 PSEs lost a colossal Rs3.7 trillion. The electricity sector continues to bleed – Rs1 billion a day. The gas sector continues to bleed – Rs500 million a day. Other PSEs – including PIA, Pakistan Steel, Railway – are losing a hefty Rs560 billion a year every year. Over the past four months, PSEs have continued to bleed. Over the past four months, we must have lost roughly Rs370 billion. (Source)
With foreign reserves with Pakistan’s Central Bank touching $7.4 bn on December 21, 2018, it’s levels are now close to or lower than that of Afghanistan, Greece and North Korea! Remember, this is after the Saudis haveparked
$3 billion for one year in Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to give Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year and a further loan worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports to help stave off a current account crisis, Pakistan’s government said on Tuesday.
So, $3 billion is just being parked in Pakistani banks as foreign currency support, while the rest are deferred payments for oil imports.
The budget deficit is currently $18 bn which is 6.6% of the GDP. $12 bn is required until the end of June 2019 for balance of payments crisis. Going to the IMF, which Pakistan is now strongly working towards is likely to push its external debt may jump to $103.4 billion by the end of the current financial year. By 2023, it may land up at 70% of the GDP! Here is a reference to the IMF report projections.
The IMF report also indicates that Pakistan’s total external debt servicing was 7.73 billion dollars in 2018 with total external debt of 93 billion dollars and projected 12.7 billion dollars as external debt servicing for the current year with total external debt rising to 103.3 billion dollars. The Fund projected total external debt at 144.9 billion dollars in 2023, the year of the next elections, and total servicing of 19.7 billion dollars. (Source)
The Pakistani Rupee has fallen to Rs 140 per dollar. And it is expected to go all the way to Rs 150/dollar. Due to this fall in Rupee, the remittances have increased, but exports have remained flat. There has been a clamor for reducing non-essential imports but that is difficult. Fortunately, the Oil prices have fallen which have helped Pakistan’s import bill.
The exports improvement is predicated on two important things – Sincerity of Pakistan to tackle its terror addiction and Honesty in international dealings. Almost every major terror attack in the last 10-15 years has had links to Pakistan. And Pakistan is still not shying from sponsoring and backing terrorists. For example, just last month Pakistan paraded Gopal Chawla, the dreaded Khalistani terrorist during the Kartarpur Gurudwara events to mark opening of Kartarpur Corridor.
None other than the Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Bajwa welcomed him warmly. It is very obvious that the use of terror as a state tool and policy will not end for Pakistan. The other repercussions from these alliances will follow. Terror attacks inside and outside with Pakistani actors will further strengthen Pakistan’s claim to infamy of terrorism. That is what truly scuttles exports and FDI – two of the most critical components!
So where does Pakistan go in 2019?
With money running out and Army in disarray because of economic realities – soon the salaries and perks that came will be a big drain and issue – it is very likely that the terrorist groups that were nurtured by Pakistan will have reason to review their loyalties. If Ajit Doval’s advise given before he became the NSA for India is any indicator, then these terrorist groups are always up for sale. The higher bidder wins. Ideology starts taking a back seat after sometime. And, that may work against Pakistani Army and its attempt to use these groups. It may very well happen,our fourth prediction
, that major attacks are done by these groups within Pakistan itself because of the Army’s inability to handle and monitor them due to lack of money.
Meanwhile, US is pulling out half its troops from Afghanistan with 7000 being asked to come back. That would leave the stage open to three forces – Pakistan, Its allies the Taliban and India. It is now time for India to step up in Afghanistan and take charge. The next year, will therefore, be critical for India in its fight against terror. That is ourfifth prediction
– India’s relationship with Afghanistan government will strengthen, but so will they be with some militant group within Afghanistan to counter the Taliban and Pakistanis. Emergence of a group like Northern Alliance may very well be on the anvil for this year. That is oursixth prediction
A few weeks after the coalition government completed its first 100 days, “Khan seems to be out of sync with the enormity of the challenges and problems facing the leadership,” journalist and author Zahid Hussain told Arab News. Arab News (Source)
Finally, as Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani analyst I highly respect says in this Arab News report, Imran Khan may face growing discontent within the country. And, since he is a proxy for the Army, there will be questioning of the establishment and its handling. This might throw Pakistan in another governance crisis in 2019. Very similar to the one in 2014, when Imran Khan created a crisis atop containers by trying to pull Nawaz Sharif down.
Sharif was able to weather the storm – most probably due to backing of his friends in Middle East and India. But that may not happen with Imran Khan. Growing governance turmoil is expected as Imran Khan, along with the Army establishment goes for the political crackdown. In October, Shahbaz Sharif – Nawaz Sharif’s brother and former Punjab Chief Minister was arrested by National Accountability Board (NAB). Meanwhile, on December 24, a much awaited court ruling sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 7 years in prison.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charged of corruption. The accountability court in Islamabad found that Sharif, who served three non-consecutive terms as prime minister, could not prove his source of income for ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia, according to Geo News.
Apart from the Sharifs, the other opposition for Imran and the Army was the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Imran Khan’s government is already planning to oust the PPP government in Sindh, the stronghold of PPP and Bhuttos.
Eliminating the political opposition seems to be high on Imran Khan’s agenda. And, given how things are right now with ennui from high level corruption, things may be allowed to go this way. But as history has been the witness, the slide to brutal dictatorship by the Army is not very far off from this point! And, make no mistake – Imran Khan is merely a proxy for the Pakistan Army. Very soon, we will see an escalation of brutality in provinces like Balochistan and other places where any dissent is articulated against the Pakistani state. Also, with economy in a downward spiral and world not giving Pakistan much attention, things will not just spiral down for at least some areas badly and also something spectacular (at the level of 9-11) may be planned to get more leverage from the West. That is ourseventh prediction
United States of America: the Looming Impeachment
Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York will be the head of the Judiciary Committee in the new Democratic House. He already is amenable to impeachment of Donald Trump, although he doesn’t say it in so many words.
Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier this month about Trump being implicated in Michael Cohen’s crimes of paying women for their silence during the campaign, Nadler said: “They would be impeachable offenses.” But he said pursing impeachment is a different question.
With a lot of Democrats coming in with a clear vision of impeaching Donald Trump, having Nadler in the Judiciary committee chair will be most helpful! Sometime back this talk was hush-hush. Not so anymore.
Therefore, US will see its great impeachment fight in 2019 between the House and the Senate. As the fight drags on, it will put the Republicans in a very bad spot. This will ensure that the next election is for Democrats to win, and lose.
Trump’s impeachment may be staved though by the Republicans in the Senate. At great cost to their political futures.
Some new name, therefore, – like Beto O’Rourke – will emerge on the political stage for the next round of the battle in 2020. The campaigns will start early this year in the right earnest. The crescendo and the work to impeach will reach its peak later this year. And, many things can happen due to that within the American politics.
Of the democratic field – I find these names to be the strongest and likely to fight it out in the end:
- Elizabeth Warren
- Kamala Harris
- Cory Booker
- Kirsten Gillibrand
- Beto O’Rourke
- Mike Avenatti
The wild card may be Tulsi Gabbard.
Although, it seems that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders will throw their hats in the ring, I find it very unlikely that they can proceed beyond a point. In the new world of Trump “in-your-face” style, people like Avenatti or completely like-able Beto or Tulsi could do wonders. Either beat Trump to his game or be so likeable that Trump looks like a monster. Because, make no mistake – given his success in hitting all the shots that appeal to his base, he has created a political revolution of sorts. Most may not like that, but it is the reality of the new world. So, one of these two groups – Bully Trump or Show Trump as Devil – will be the final choice for the next democratic Presidential candidate. As per me, unless you are a natural like Avenatti or Trump, you are better off being a natural as the goody-two-shoes option like Beto or Tulsi. That is ourEighth prediction
. In either case, the political correctness has to go.
The world will not pardon political correctness and trying to push things like Freedom of Expression or other such freedoms where such freedoms start defending devastating ideologies like the Islamic supremacism. Like we had argued in our article “When is Supremacism Acceptable” – you cannot fight White Supremacism while you act as an apologist for Islamic Supremacism, which is what the global left, specifically the American left has been doing. The Western Left groups have left the fight against Islamic Supremacism to the White Supremacists! That is pretty sad. The new democratic leader will have to be as strong against the Islamic Supremacism as s/he is against White Supremacism. That is the only way to be honest and clear and be in tune with the masses! The time for the idea of carte blanche Freedom of Expression is quickly going away. The days of treasonous and terror apologist expression in the name of freedom are short lived.
It will be hard to adjust to that world, but adjust everyone will have to. That is ourNinth prediction
– cracks in unencumbered and anarchy promoting activism which always acts as a front for Islamic apologists will show up very clearly by the end of 2019.
This year, on August 4 – two drones carrying a kilogram each of powerful plastic explosives was used in assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a rally. It sent shivers in every capital.
A new era of terror attacks is now on the horizon. Lone terrorists or small groups using weaponized small drones either motivated by their ideology or acting as a front for some nation-states – may be a reality now. While the counter terror intelligence agencies are better equipped today than before to handle this threat, but this mode achieves the most in terms of surprise element. And, it may very well happen that somewhere in the world or even in the US, someone may get through to a high value target. That is the greatest threat in 2019 for the US and indeed the world. And this is ourtenth prediction
Conclusion: Ultimately Human Ingenuity is the key
We cannot say which way the humanity will exactly go. We can simply say given its current state, which way it is tending to move. But every year human ingenuity and new creative endeavors from the most unlikeliest areas and groups buoys up the life on this planet. Despite all the issue and ills, the environment degradation, the terrorism, the fights between nations, and the cunning – human consciousness will still shine through. Fortunately, there are enough Seers and Beings working to uplift the human consciousness. And, we believe, the time has come for their success.
Let the new year begin with that prayer, wish and goal in our minds.