March 11, 2006

Nalgonda district in AP supplies 'terrorists' in hordes

Koride Mahesh
March 10, 2006

HYDERABAD: Ghulam Yazdani has been killed but at least another 30 youth
from Nalgonda district are suspected to have been trained by terrorist

With more evidence of the activities of Pakistan's ISI coming to light
from the district in the last two years, the police in Nalgonda are
trying to verify the movements of some youth.

This movement checking is especially being done in Nalgonda town,
Chityal, Narketpally, Gurrampode, Koppole, Munugode, Huzurnagar, Bhongir
and Devarakonda.

After intelligence alerts in the last few months about increasing ISI
activities in Nalgonda, the district police have started collecting
information about suspected youth. Especially under the scanner are
persons who have come into wealth suddenly.

"We have opened suspect sheets on about 30 youth. Profiles of identified
persons, who have links with banned terrorists outfits like LeT and
Simi, have been prepared and we are keeping surveillance if they are on
bail or acquitted,'' Nalgonda superintendent of police Mahesh Bhagwat
told TOI.

"We are in touch with community elders who have been asking parents to
watch the movements of their wards,'' the SP said.

Apart from suspected trained youth, the Nalgonda district police have
identified seven ISI activists, three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), nine
Deendar Anjuman and two activists of Student Islamic Movement of India
(Simi) who have been involved in terrorist activities.

The police are on the hunt for two top activists from Nalgonda district.
One Shaik Ameer Ali of Kodad and one Syed Salauddin Ahmed, who is
believed to be a former all India president of Simi.

The youth are being recruited under the guise of computer training and
other vocational training within the country and outside.

"Unfortunately, even some of the parents do not know what their sons are
doing,'' a police officer said.

The Chityal police of Nalgonda district arrested one Farooq in 2004.

He was a follower of Yazdani, who was killed in an encounter near Delhi
on Wednesday. Yazdani tried to push him into LeT.

Yazdani's brother Rabbani had been arrested by Hyderabad city police in
a sedition case last year.

The tentacles of the ISI came to light twelve years ago when two
terrorists were killed in an encounter. Rafi and Fasiuddin, both
belonging to Nalgonda district, died in an encounter in 1994.

Another key ISI activist Asgar Ali, who was the prime accused in the
Gujarat minister Haren Pandya murder case, was also trained in Pakistan.

He made recruitments into the banned outfit from Nalgonda and is
presently in a Gujarat jail.

March 09, 2006

Priyanka's security officer carries gun into parliament

By Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) An alleged security breach occurred in parliament Thursday when a security officer accompanying Priyanka and Robert Vadra, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's daughter and son-in-law, carried a gun into the Lok Sabha.

Priyanka and Robert Vadra had come to parliament along with family friends to hear Rahul Gandhi, who took part in a discussion on the union budget 2006-07.

Though there was no official confirmation of the lapse, parliament officials said the personal security officer who accompanied the Vadras to the speaker's section of the visitors' gallery hid a gun inside his pocket.

Parliamentary security staff called back the security officer and frisked him. On finding the gun, he was asked to leave the house.

Sources said the security officer had been clearly instructed not to bring any weapon when he was issued the visitor's pass.

Asked about the incident, Home Minister Shivraj Patil evaded an answer, saying he would find out about it.

Priyanka also said she did not have any information about the alleged lapse.

Parliamentary officials are trying to cover up the incident and the official version is that nothing happened and the security officer did not go into the house.

Why Export Controls Couldn't Stop A. Q. Khan

In the cover story of November's Atlantic, William Langewiesche looks for accessories to Pakistan's efforts to get the bomb and finds both European indifference and American arrogance to blame:

In the West the weaknesses of the Non-Proliferation Treaty were understood from the start. For the treaty to have weight it would have to be backed by the threat of sanctions—but even then, given the willingness of governments to "eat grass" to acquire such military capabilities, it was unlikely to deter serious aspirants from pursuing the bomb. The solution, therefore, would lie in the complex realm of export controls—restrictions on the sale of nuclear-related materials and components that might appear to be for peaceful purposes (research, health care, power generation) but could be used for weapons development. Emphasis was to be put on technologies that would allow countries to become self-sufficient in nuclear fuels—on uranium-enrichment and plutonium-extraction plants. Exports would be allowed to countries that had joined the treaty, subject to IAEA scrutiny on the ground, but would be banned to countries that had refused to sign, like Pakistan. The reliance on the United Nations posed obvious operational problems: the IAEA was a politicized bureaucracy, awash in national jealousies, and staffed by functionaries who considered themselves to be in the business primarily of encouraging nuclear-energy development. Nonetheless, in the early and mid-1970s two groups of technologically advanced countries (diplomatic assemblies known as the Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group) began to meet to decide on the lists of restricted materials and equipment and to negotiate the tricky terrain of national implementation and cooperation between participating governments. Over the thirty ensuing years their record has been mixed. Though they have produced ever longer export control lists that have helped to slow the nuclear trade by forcing more of it underground, they themselves have been stymied by national bureaucracies, slowed by governmental reluctance to interfere with lucrative business deals, and frustrated by the depths of global trade. As a result their lists have lagged behind the market they intend to regulate. And at no point have they been a match for energies like those of A. Q. Khan.

...[B]y the late 1970s, as Khan proceeded determinedly and American appeals to desist were rebuffed by the government in Islamabad, U.S. officials realized that the only chance they had to stop Pakistan from building a bomb was to take the supply-side approach—to block Pakistan's procurements abroad.

Blocking procurements within the United States proved to be relatively easy, because Khan had few American contacts, and U.S. export-control lists were already quite extensive—significantly more so than those that had been agreed upon by the international supplier groups. Moreover, deep within the customs and commerce bureaucracies, where such regulations are effectuated (or not) day to day, American officials, as representatives of a dominant nuclear power, tended naturally to agree on the importance of nonproliferation, and were alert to hints of violations that appeared in the paperwork that crossed their desks. As a result, though some transactions slipped by unseen, the U.S. government thwarted most of the attempted acquisitions from American suppliers.

The export-control record was altogether different in Europe, where constellations of companies were selling their wares to the Pakistanis, often with the tacit or explicit approval of their governments. In a breathless but generally reliable book titled The Islamic Bomb, published in 1981, the reporters Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney tell a typical story of three of Khan's purchasing agents, who in 1976 went to a small Swiss company in a small Swiss town and proposed to buy its specialized high-vacuum valves for the express purpose of equipping a Pakistani centrifuge enrichment plant. The company dutifully checked with the Swiss authorities, who sent back a printout of their export regulations, including the list of restricted items as defined by the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Weissman and Krosney write,

Complete centrifuge units were listed, and could only be exported to [IAEA] safeguarded facilities, which the Pakistani enrichment plant was not. High-vacuum valves were not listed, even if expressly intended for a centrifuge enrichment unit. The valves might be necessary to the centrifuge. But, in the logic of the ... list, they were not "nuclear sensitive," and did not directly separate the two different uranium isotopes, uranium 235 and uranium 238.

The company, in other words, was informed that it could proceed with the sale, and so it did—as did others throughout Western Europe. In Holland, also in 1976, a Dutch company in the automotive-transmission business sold 6,500 high-strength steel tubes to Pakistan—tubes that could serve as the basic components of centrifuges. The Dutch government knew of the deal and advised against it, but the company sent their product anyway (initially claiming that the tubes were for agriculture), and argued that no export license was required by Dutch law. The argument was accepted, and further shipments went through without delay. Ultimately there were several paltry prosecutions, including one that led to the conviction of a Dutch businessman named Henk Slebos for illegally exporting an American-made Tektronix oscilloscope in 1983. Slebos was a personal friend of Khan's, and one of his main European suppliers. He was sentenced to a year in prison, but never served the time, and continued brazenly to send equipment to Pakistan. Controls were so loose that for more than a decade Khan himself kept visiting Europe.

Such was the scene American officials faced in the global nuclear marketplace as they grappled with the inadequacy of the UN's multi-party approach, and tried through private entreaties to European governments to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. They were undercut, as they are today, by the thousands of nuclear warheads that the United States insisted on retaining for itself, and the resentment that such an obvious double standard provoked even within countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, which were said to be direct beneficiaries of American nuclear strength. They did, however, experience a few successes—particularly in 1977, when they pressured the French into backing out of the lucrative agreement to provide Pakistan with its long-desired plutonium-reprocessing plant. The cancellation set back the PAEC's nuclear-weapons plans by a decade or more. In consequence it further legitimized A. Q. Khan, and helped him to pursue his alternative goals—but nothing could be done about that anyway. For France the cost of killing the deal was several billion dollars, because of the loss of associated contracts for French products such as airplanes and trucks. The decision was all the more difficult because, with its "force de frappe," France embodied the right (and perhaps the need) of independent nations to bear nuclear arms. Such was its ambivalence that it had refused to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty. (It would not join until 1992.) Nonetheless, as an established power pretending to diplomatic relevance, it had little choice but to back away once it was faced with evidence of Pakistan's ambitions. By American estimation France this time behaved well.

West Germany, however, did not. Thirty years had elapsed since World War II, the German economy was strong, and the government had embarked on an ambitious program of energy self-sufficiency, which was to be achieved largely through nuclear-power generation. Germany had joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970, but from the start it had been concerned almost exclusively with the provisions that promoted the rights of member states to acquire peaceful nuclear technology. In practice the German government did not rigorously differentiate between countries that were member states and countries that were not. In the mid-1970s it entered into a major nuclear deal with Brazil, which had not joined the treaty but agreed in this case to accept IAEA safeguards as if it had. Such safeguards were weak, and everyone knew it. Nonetheless, Germany was going to sell Brazil no fewer than eight nuclear reactors, a uranium-enrichment plant, a fuel-fabrication plant, and plutonium-reprocessing facilities. Presumably the centrifuges would be of the same urenco design that A. Q. Khan was stealing for Pakistan at that very time. U.S. officials were angry, because they had indications that Brazil was secretly seeking a bomb. (So was Argentina, which had rejected the Non-Proliferation Treaty as "the disarmament of the disarmed.") But when the Americans took their concerns to Bonn, the Germans reacted skeptically, and said they would proceed with the deal. In Bonn an inside observer recently said to me, "The Americans said, 'Hey, wait a minute! This is what we can show you.' And they showed the Germans a little bit of information. Apparently it was just enough to persuade the Germans that they were off the reservation." The Germans gave in and reluctantly let the Brazilian contracts drift. Fifteen years later both Brazil and Argentina, for domestic political reasons, formally renounced their nuclear-weapons ambitions.

But the Germans were increasingly restive. Reflecting a sentiment that was organic and widespread in Europe, they resented the disproportionate power of the United States, and suspected the Americans of wanting to use nonproliferation to corner the free-world market in nuclear fuels. The founding of urenco was an act of resistance to such perceived domination. Moreover, resentment toward the United States was greatest not among the national policymakers, who could sometimes be swayed, but deep within European bureaucracies, among the ordinary diplomats and officials who transacted the daily business of government and were largely immune to American pressure. It was on that level—or lower—that the Pakistani purchasing network operated, and that the American attempts to stop Khan failed. The patterns were repetitive. Whenever American intelligence discovered that one company or another was about to export devices to Khan, U.S. officials would pass the information along in writing to their European counterparts in the expectation that the activity could be stopped. In some cases the Europeans refused to act because the sales were unambiguously legal. In many others interpretation would have been possible, and with sufficient commitment and energy the companies could have been approached and warned off. Instead, the Europeans closed ranks. Their attitude toward the Americans was them against us. The reports were slid into drawers, and the drawers were slid shut.

Varanasi temple attack : Mistakes on our part are unforgiveable

Terror in Varanasi ,article by B Raman Click

A note from SaffronStrom a Hindu Unity post

I can forgive Kargil - but not the rest.

Let's remember that during Kargil, Defence Secretary George Fernandes pinned the blame for the invasion on the Pakistani Army (led by Musharraf); he implied that Nawaz Sharif was not the main mind behind the attack. As India didn't want to bring down Sharif's government, (which after all, had invited us to Lahore) we didn't cross the LOC. Even in hindsight, I think that measure is justifiable.

The subsequent coup proved Fernandes right: Sharif realized that the Kargil fiasco was a political disaster for him, and tried to remove Musharraf to avoid any future misadventures. But this being Pakistan, it was the Pakistani Army which had the last say, and they removed Sharif instead.

At the time, Indian leaders and journalists were generally unaware of the significance of that coup. In retrospect, it could be said to have been the most fateful political event in the subcontinent in the last decade. Failure to realize this, led to a number of mistakes by our political 'leadership':

In particular, the following mistakes on our part are unforgiveable:

1) Not invading Pakistan after the December 13th 2001 attack on Parliament.

2) Not retaliating after the Kalchuak Attack.

3) Not retaliating after the attack on Akshardham.

4) Not exploiting America's invasion of Iraq to strike Pakistan when its main Western ally was involved elsewhere, and thus, in no position to provide major military support.

5) Starting a "Peace Process" whose main outcome has been terrorism.

6) Continuing this "Peace Process" even when it is quite clear that it leads to more terrorism.

7) The most abysmal mistake:

Not stating openly and internationally that Pakistan - not Iran, not Iraq, not even Saudi Arabia, is THE International Centre of Jihadi Terrorism - and needs to be defeated AND destroyed in order to win the war on terror.

We adopted the American analysis of the War on Terror, (which considered Pakistan as a 'frontline state') instead of our own - and from that has stemmed many of our misfortunes in the last five years.

Let's, for once, say NO to the Americans, and put an end to the wretched Islamic Republic on our Western border once and for all. Is there at least one political party out there prepared to do that?

Pieces in terror jigsaw, two top Lashkar men shot in UP, Delhi


SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI, MARCH 8 Within hours of the terror strike in Varanasi, two top-ranking Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed by the police in Lucknow and Delhi.

While Salar, 46, the first Indian militant commander from outside the Valley, was shot near Lucknow, LeT’s Bangladesh chief, Ghulam Yazdani, 28, was killed in Delhi.
The encounters don’t seem to have any direct links with Tuesday’s attack in Varanasi but the police are probing the involvement of the LeT militants. Salar, the police believe, masterminded the attack on Akshardham temple in 2002 and the Ayodhya attack and the Nalgonda-born Yazdani was the man behind the assassination of dissident BJP leader Haren Pandya and the Shramjeevi Express blast.

Yazdani and his accomplice, Ahsanullah Hasan alias Kajal, were killed in Delhi early this morning. (See detailed report in Newsline).

Inspector General of J&K Police, Kashmir range, K Rajindra said the J&K Police had sent a special police party led by a deputy superintendent of police to UP five days ago. ‘‘We were tracking him for the last three months. We knew he operated in Saharanpur, Lucknow and Kanpur and we were keeping a close tab on his movements,’’ Rajindra said. ‘‘We had come very close to him earlier as well. He was a very shrewd and slimy militant and we have been taking each and every step very carefully.’’

Master of disguise, explosives expert, owner of nearly a dozen frequently used aliases, Salar was one of the most elusive terrorist operatives in the country.

Born in 1960 in Ratlam on the MP-Gujarat border, Salar first broke the law in 1977. He was arrested on a murder charge and in 1988 was sentenced to life imprisonment. He later escaped.

His name cropped up again, eight years later, when three Harkat-ul-Ansar men, including the dreaded Pappu Farah, were nabbed in 1996. By then Salar had become the UP chief of the outfit, shuttling between Saharanpur and Hyderabad, where he kept close contact with the Naxalite-turned jehadi Azam Ghauri’s group.

Salar then disappeared and allegedly visited PoK, where he made contact with Lashkar-e-Toiba top bosses. Salar left Harkat-ul-Ansar and joined Lashkar which wanted him to set up networks across the country. ‘‘Salar became an important commander of Lashkar with Delhi, UP and his home state MP as an operational base,’’ Rajindra said.

Salar’s biggest strike came on September 24, 2002 when terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple. The entire attack, from planning and financing to the execution, was coordinated by him, say investigators.

His next big strikes were planned at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun and at key IT companies in Hyderabad. According to the Delhi Police Special Cell, Salar’s men did a recce in the second week of December 2004 at the passing-out parade at IMA but the plan was aborted after a cell was busted by the police.

According to investigators, the weapons and explosives used in the Akshardham attack were routed through Delhi. They say the June 5 attack on the disputed structure in Ayodhya too was masterminded by Salar. They say he had visited Delhi several times in the run-up to the attack, coordinating the stay of the four suicide squad members at rented houses in Devli and Kishangarh.

Rajindra said that it was a coincidence that they got a specific tip about his movement soon after the blasts in Varanasi and approached Uttar Pradesh STF for assistance in the operation. ‘‘He (Salar) was travelling when he was intercepted and was killed after he opened fire at the policemen,’’ he said.

Rajindra said that Salar came to Kashmir in early 1990. ‘‘After his training in Rawalpindi, he returned to Kashmir and was heading the Harkat Ul Ansar in Anantnag district in 1992... He used to operate as a Pakistani and even people in his own organisation didn’t know about his actual identity,’’ said Rajindra.

‘‘He is the first ever recruit from outside the J&K in the country but security agencies had no clue about his identity,’’ he said. He disappeared from the Valley in 1993. ‘‘His real identity was exposed only after he was arrested. He managed to escape in April 2005 in Delhi but didn’t return to Kashmir,’’ he said.


March 08, 2006

Balochistan : Pakistan playing divide and rule game with balochi tribes

By Nagesh Bhushan

Pakistan launched millitary operations last december against Baloch Nationalists who were demanding more royalty and revenue for their resources from the federal government . BLA millitants were targetting Gas pipelines and Frontier corps personel since last year . Pakistani government is spending Rs.600 Crores per month , which is exactly the amount US gives to Pakistan per month for the use of their airspace . It has expanded intelligence network and fielded 120,000 troups with helicoptor gunships , 800 check posts .

Nawab Akbar Bugti , chief of Bugti tribe and various Baloch nationalists demanding greater political and economic rights for his people accuse the government of exploiting the natural resources of balochistan , which alone meets more than 25 per cent of the natural gas needs of the country. Nawab Bugti and his followers had fled Dera Bugti soon after start of Military operations ,and are reportedly hiding in mountains .

One of the sub tribes of Bugti , Kalpars were expelled from the area 10 years ago on the decision of a jirga. Locals says the tribal dispute started when Kalpars were killed and Nawab Akbar Bugti’s son was named as the accused, though he was later declared innocent. However, Salal Bugti, another son of the Nawab, was then killed in Quetta in 1992. Shahid Bugti said a jirga then decided in 1996 that the Kalpars must leave the area.

As part of its strategy to establish its writ and wrest control of areas from tribal chiefs, the government last month relocated members of the Kalpari Badlani sub tribe in Sui .According to reports from Sui, residents started leaving the town soon after the government resettled the Kalpar Badlani sub tribe. Locals said that the resettled tribals were forcing them to leave. Many have left for Dera Murad Jamali, Kandhkot and Shikarpur.

On Feb 14, Another Massuri tribesmen also returned to their homes in the Bekar region of Dera Bugti district , according to APP .A total of 67 families, comprised of 334 people made their way back to their hometown. On their arrival in Bekar, the displaced tribesmen thanked the present government as well as President Pervez Musharraf for their help and support.

Kalpar Bugtis staged a demonstration in favour of development projects in Balochistan, including the building of military cantonments, Kalpar elder Sardar Ahmadan Bugti said to media.

The rally was led by Ziaur Rehman Kalpar, grandson of Wadera Khan Muhammad Kalpar Bugti. The protestors assembled at the Sui bazaar and then marched through Banwani Colony, Muhammad Colony, Bugra Colony, the Sui gas field and Bugti Colony to the Bugti bazaar

The protestors denounced Bugti tribe chief Nawab Akbar Bugti and accused him of detaining and torturing Kalpars in private prisons. They also accused the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) of being partial to the Bugtis and for ignoring the Kalpars’ rights. They demanded the HRCP and ARD to visit the area and observe the Kalpars’ situation, who they said were subjected to atrocities. The speakers termed the Sui cantonment a “great gift” for the people of the area. They expressed full support for the policies of President Pervez Musharraf.

A jirga or local council decided to expel the Kalpars from Sui after the clan got into a feud with the Bugti tribal chief. The government recently decided to resettle the clan in Sui, in an initiative to wrest control from Nawab Bugti, who has opposed development projects in the province.

Another batch of some 300 Kalpars recently left for Sui under the supervision of the Frontier Corps. “We now feel safe (in Sui) and normalcy is returning to the area after a long time,” said Sardar Ahmadan Bugti. He said that over 4,000 Kalpars had now resettled in Sui and 3,000 still remained in Punjab and Sindh, adding that two to five Kalpar families were returning to the town every day

The mainstream Bugti tribe, whose tribal elders are already facing a government crackdown, accused the government of sponsoring the return of Kalpar and Masuri clans , warning that it could create a serious law and order problem in their area where Pakistan's biggest Sui Gas Field is located.

The dissident Bugti tribesmen have been accommodated at the houses built for the state-run Pakistan Petroleum Ltd employees, government sources say.

"They have no other place to go," said one official by telephone from the area. "They have been accommodated here on humanitarian grounds," he said.

But the move is seen as fuelling more tensions and a law and order problem in the area where tribesmen are already mounting hit-and-run attacks on the security forces and government installations.

Below list are tribes


Baloch, Ahmadani
Baloch, Amrani
Baloch, Badani
Baloch, Baghani
Baloch, Bagrani
Baloch, Bajarani
Baloch, Bakrani
Baloch, Balidi
Baloch, Banglani
Baloch, Barohi
Baloch, Bharani
Baloch, Bhugri
Baloch, Bozdar
Baloch, Chakrani 71,730.00
Baloch, Chandiya
Baloch, Chang
Baloch, Domki
Baloch, Gabol
Baloch, Gadahani
Baloch, Gargez
Baloch, Gashkori
Baloch, Hisbani
Baloch, Jadani
Baloch, Jakhrani 15,370.00
Baloch, Jalalani
Baloch, Jamali 66,600.00
Baloch, Janwari
Baloch, Jarwar
Baloch, Jaskani
Baloch, Jatoi
Baloch, Kaloi
Baloch, Kalpri
Baloch, Kanbrani
Baloch, Karmati
Baloch, Khoi
Baloch, Khorkhan
Baloch, Khushak
Baloch, Korai
Baloch, Lagari 20,490.00
Baloch, Lanjwani
Baloch, Lashari
Baloch, Laskani 20,490.00
Baloch, Lund 61,480.00
Baloch, Maghiri
Baloch, Malkani
Baloch, Mangria
Baloch, Mari
Baloch, Mastoi
Baloch, Mazari
Baloch, Meer Talpur
Baloch, Mengal
Baloch, Mungi
Baloch, Nizamani 66,600.00
Baloch, Nohani 63,530.00
Baloch, Notkani
Baloch, Rastmani
Baloch, Sanjrani
Baloch, Eastern 3,074,000.00
Baloch, Southern 2,561,600.00
Baloch, Western 1,116,900.00

TOTAL --- 7,138,790.00

----The above report compiled from various news sources-----

India says NO to proposed Bhasha dam by Pakistan

Statement of External Affairs Ministry
GOI conveys to Pakistan its protest against proposed construction of Bhasha dam and appreciation for humanitarian gesture shown by a Pakistani ship to an Indian ship


The Government of India conveyed through diplomatic channels today to the Government of Pakistan, its protest against the proposed construction of Bhasha dam in territory that is part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, which is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession to it in 1947. The reservoir of this dam, according to media reports, will inundate large parts of land which falls in the northern part of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

2. Government of India has also conveyed its appreciation to Government of Pakistan for the humanitarian gesture shown by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) ship, MSS Rehmat, to an Indian ship Dhow Fateh Salamat on February 27, 2006. The Indian ship had developed engine trouble about 170 nautical miles south-west of Karachi. MSS Rehmat had provided food and drinking water for those stranded in the Indian ship and towed it to the notional international maritime boundary from where it was brought back to India by an Indian Coast Guard ship.

New Delhi
March 8, 2006

Pak rejects Indian protest on construction of Basha Dam

Islamabad, Mar 08: Pakistan today rejected India's assertion that the construction of Bhasha dam in northern areas would inundate large parts of Jammu and Kashmir, saying the dam was being built for welfare of the people of the area.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam also raked up the "disputed status" of Kashmir in response to India's protest against the proposed construction.

She was reacting to an External Affairs ministry statement which said, "the government of India conveyed through diplomatic channels to government of Pakistan its protest against proposed construction of Bhasha Dam in the territory that is part of Jammu and Kashmir state."

Aslam said the Bhasha Dam was being constructed for the welfare of the people of the area and within the water resources management policy of the government of Pakistan.

The decision to construct the dam in Skardu located in the northern areas was announced by Pakistan after postponing its plans to construct Kalabagh Dam in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which was firmly opposed by the major political parties of the province as well as Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

The Bhasha dam too was opposed by the local people saying that it was going to displace a large number of people.

In its protest, India said the construction of the dam on Indus river would inundate large parts of land in Jammu and Kashmir.

But Aslam said the "disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir was established by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 38, 39, 47, 51 (1948) and subsequent resolutions by the United Nation's Commission on India and Pakistan."

The disputed status of J and K remains, Aslam said adding there are bilateral declarations and agreements between Pakistan and India to find a final settlement of the "Jammu and Kashmir dispute."

At present the two countries are engaged in composite dialogue "to address this dispute," she was quoted as saying by state-run app news agency.

Bureau Report

'Pseudo-secular' cheers and Varanasi blasts


India is the only country in the world where 80 per cent of the total population of India, just by virtue of their being Hindus, have to maintain an attitude of detached silence towards all the atrocities let loose by the so-called terrorists against Hindu places of worship.

Pseudo-secular political hearts of Sonia Gandhi, Arjun Singh, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, etc. in the UPA Government in New Delhi and the non-communal compassionate heart of Mulayam Singh Yadav in UP will remain unshaken, unseduced and unterrified by the three bomb explosions which ripped through the holy city of Varanasi yesterday in which more than 20 persons were killed and 62 persons injured. It is feared that the highly compassionate and secular Muslim terrorists have chosen to bomb the Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi where hundreds of devotees had congregated for offering their worship. The bomb went off at 6.30 p.m. when the temple was teeming with devotees during the evening puja. At the moment of attack, a marriage ceremony was in progress at the temple. It is reported that the blast was so powerful that it could be heard across the city of Varanasi. People ran helter skelter. A few minutes later another bomb blast took place at the Cantonment Railway Station. The third blast was carried out in a crowded coach of the Shiv Ganga Express Train before it was to leave for New Delhi.

Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code states, among other things, 'Whoever commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity' is liable for prosecution and punishment. Likewise Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code states: 'whoever with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India (by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by physical representations or otherwise), insults or attempts to insult a religion or the religious beliefs of that class' shall be liable for prosecution and punishment.

All the communal riots after independence have arisen only because of the double dealing pseudo-secular policies of the Congress Party resting on the foundation of strategic appeasement of minorities and calculated marginalisation of those in majority. Time and again clear political signals have been given to the minorities to the effect that sections 153-A and 295-A are applicable only to the Hindu majority and not to the rest of India. It is on the basis of this political principle that the Muslims of India have been given a total exemption from the common civil code applicable to the rest of the country.

The knee-jerk panic shown by the State and Union governments soon after the Varanasi Blasts yesterday clearly points towards a psychology from which all enlightened Indians and more particularly the majority Hindus have to free themselves.

I would appeal to the pseudo-secularists of India to answer the following questions:

1.What was the provocation for the Moplah riots in 1920 during the height of the Khilafat and the Non-Cooperation Movements?

2. What was the provocation for the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946?

3. What was the provocation for killings in Noakhali or Multan in 1947?

4.What were the provocations for September 11 attack in USA or Bali bombings?

The answer perhaps lies in the Islamic Texts. Out of 6236 Ayats of the Quran, about 3900 are directly or indirectly related to 'Kufar' and 'Kafirs', non-believers in Allah and his Prophet Mohammed. These 3900 or odd Ayats also simultaneously refer to other subjects like, believers, Jihad, Kiyamat, Hell and Heaven. Here are a few samples taken from a writ petition called the famous 'CALCUTTA QURAN PETITION' filed by three valiant sons of India, namely Sri Chand Mal Chopra, Advocate of Calcutta High Court, Sri Hamangshu Kumar Chakraborthy and Sri Sital Singh in 1985:

'Surah 2 Ayat 193: 'Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme'

Surah 2/123: 'Believers! Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Let them find harshness in you'

Surah 8 Ayat 12: 'I shall cast terror into the hearts of infidels. Strike off their reads and maim them in every limb'.'

In the above writ petition, the petitioners listed 149 verses from the Quran by way of example to highlight the fact that these verses show a pronounced tendency to incite violence, disturb public tranquillity, promote on grounds of religion, feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and insult other religious beliefs of other communities.

It is a cruel irony that all the pseudo-secular leaders of India should look the other way when Muslims indulge in acts of terrorism and violence. These great leaders seem to do so more out of LOVE of FEAR in ordinary times and more out of Love for minority votes during election times.

U.S.-India Joint Statement

U.S.-India Joint Statement

President's Visit to India and Pakistan

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed satisfaction with the great progress the United States and India have made in advancing our strategic partnership to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. Both our countries are linked by a deep commitment to freedom and democracy; a celebration of national diversity, human creativity and innovation; a quest to expand prosperity and economic opportunity worldwide; and a desire to increase mutual security against the common threats posed by intolerance, terrorism, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The successful transformation of the U.S.-India relationship will have a decisive and positive influence on the future international system as it evolves in this new century.

Reviewing the progress made in deepening the global partnership between the United States and India since their Joint Statement of July 18, 2005, the President and the Prime Minister reaffirm their commitment to expand even further the growing ties between their two countries. Consistent with this objective, the two leaders wish to highlight efforts the United States and India are making together in the following areas, where they have:


(1) Agreed to intensify efforts to develop a bilateral business climate supportive of trade and investment by:

Welcoming the report of the U.S.-India CEO Forum, agreeing to consider its recommendations aimed at substantially broadening our bilateral economic relations, and directing the Chairs of the Indo-U.S. Economic Dialogue to follow up expeditiously with the CEO Forum;
Endorsing the efforts of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum to reduce barriers to trade and investment with the goal of doubling bilateral trade in three years;
Agreeing to advance mutually beneficial bilateral trade and investment flows by holding a high-level public-private investment summit in 2006, continuing efforts to facilitate and promote foreign direct investment and eliminate impediments to it, and enhancing bilateral consultations on various issues including tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services, and preventing the illicit use of the financial system.
(2) Sought to expand cooperation in agriculture by:

Launching the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture with a three-year financial commitment to link our universities, technical institutions, and businesses to support agriculture education, joint research, and capacity building projects including in the area of biotechnology.
Endorsing an agreed workplan to promote bilateral trade in agriculture through agreements that: lay out a path to open the U.S. market to Indian mangoes, recognize India as having the authority to certify that shipments of Indian products to the United States meet USDA organic standards, and provide for discussions on current regulations affecting trade in fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry and dairy, and almonds.
(3) Reaffirmed their shared commitment to completing the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) before the end of 2006, and agreed to work together to help achieve this outcome.


(1) Welcomed the successful completion of discussions on India's separation plan and looked forward to the full implementation of the commitments in the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement on nuclear cooperation. This historic accomplishment will permit our countries to move forward towards our common objective of full civil nuclear energy cooperation between India and the United States and between India and the international community as a whole.

(2) Welcomed the participation of India in the ITER initiative on fusion energy as an important further step towards the common goal of full nuclear energy cooperation.

(3) Agreed on India's participation in FutureGen, an international public-private partnership to develop new, commercially viable technology for a clean coal near-zero emission power project. India will contribute funding to the project and participate in the Government Steering Committee of this initiative.

(4) Welcomed the creation of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which will enable India and the U.S. to work together with other countries in the region to pursue sustainable development and meet increased energy needs while addressing concerns of energy security and climate change. The Partnership will collaborate to promote the development, diffusion, deployment and transfer of cleaner, cost-effective and more efficient technologies and practices.

(5) Welcomed India's interest in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, an international marine research endeavor that will contribute to long-term energy solutions such as gas hydrates.

(6) Noting the positive cooperation under the Indo-U.S. Energy Dialogue, highlighted plans to hold joint conferences on topics such as energy efficiency and natural gas, to conduct study missions on renewable energy, to establish a clearing house in India for coal-bed methane/coal-mine methane, and to exchange energy market information.


(1) Emphasizing the importance of knowledge partnerships, announced the establishment of a Bi-National Science and Technology Commission which the U.S. and India will co-fund. It will generate collaborative partnerships in science and technology and promote industrial research and development.

(2) Agreed that the United States and India would work together to promote innovation, creativity and technological advancement by providing a vibrant intellectual property rights regime, and to cooperate in the field of intellectual property rights to include capacity building activities, human resource development and public awareness programs.

(3) Agreed to continue exploring further cooperation in civil space, including areas such as space exploration, satellite navigation, and earth science. The United States and India committed to move forward with agreements that will permit the launch of U.S. satellites and satellites containing U.S. components by Indian space launch vehicles, opening up new opportunities for commercial space cooperation between the two countries.

(4) Welcomed the inclusion of two U.S. instruments in the Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan-1. They noted that memoranda of understanding to be signed by ISRO and NASA would be significant steps forward in this area.

(5) Welcomed the U.S. Department of Commerce's plan to create a license exception for items that would otherwise require an export license to end-users in India engaged solely in civilian activities.


(1) Noted the enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries and stressed that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and rooted out in every part of the world.

(2) Welcomed the increased cooperation between the United States and India in the defense area, since the New Framework for the U.S.-India Defence Relationship was signed on June 28, 2005, as evidenced by successful joint exercises, expanded defence cooperation and information sharing, and greater opportunities to jointly develop technologies and address security and humanitarian issues.

(3) Reaffirmed their commitment to the protection of the free flow of commerce and to the safety of navigation, and agreed to the conclusion of a Maritime Cooperation Framework to enhance security in the maritime domain, to prevent piracy and other transnational crimes at sea, carry out search and rescue operations, combat marine pollution, respond to natural disasters, address emergent threats and enhance cooperative capabilities, including through logistics support. Both sides are working to finalize a Logistics Support Agreement at the earliest.

(4) Welcomed India's intention to join the Container Security Initiative aimed at making global maritime trade and infrastructure more secure and reducing the risk of shipping containers being used to conceal weapons of mass destruction.

(5) Reiterated their commitment to international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

(6) Building on the July 2005 Disaster Relief Initiative, noted the important disaster management cooperation and their improved capabilities to respond to disaster situations.

(7) Recognized the importance of capacity building in cyber security and greater cooperation to secure their growing electronic interdependencies, including to protect electronic transactions and critical infrastructure from cybercrime, terrorism and other malicious threats.


(1) Recalled their joint launch of the UN Democracy Fund in September 2005 and offered the experience and expertise of both Governments for capacity building, training and exchanges to third countries that request such assistance to strengthen democratic institutions.

(2) Welcomed the decision of India and the United States to designate a representative to the Government Advisory Board of the International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT) located in Budapest to facilitate cooperative activities with ICDT.

(3) Agreed that the Virtual Coordination and Information Centres set up in September 2005 should be further strengthened and a bilateral meeting aimed at developing a practical programme for utilization of its services be held soon.

(4) Expressed satisfaction at the expedited USFDA drug approval processes that strengthen the combat against HIV/AIDS at the global level and encourage greater corporate participation to meet this challenge, including the establishment of the Indo-U.S. Corporate Fund for HIV/AIDS.

(5) Agreed to expand bilateral efforts and continue cooperation in the area of medical research and strengthen technical capacity in food and drug regulation in India as well as address the concern on avian influenza, including agreement to reach out to the private sector, develop regional communications strategies, and plan an in-region containment and response exercise. The President welcomed India's offer to host the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza meeting in 2007.

(6) Welcomed India's membership in the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking, a partnership through which we will collaborate in the fight against illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts; we also welcome the opportunity to strengthen longstanding work together on the conservation of wildlife through cooperation on park management and ecotourism.

President Bush thanked Prime Minister Singh and the people of India for the warmth of their reception and the generosity of their hospitality.

# # #

CSIS on U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement

The U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement

The U.S.-India Atomic Balm
By Mary Beth Nikitin and Jon Wolfsthal
March 3, 2006

The newly announced U.S.-India nuclear agreement was hailed as the centerpiece of the summit between President Bush and Prime Minister Singh, and President Bush is citing the agreement as a major nonproliferation victory. Close examination of the agreement, however, raises serious questions about both the actual and relative value of the deal for nuclear security in India and for the global nonproliferation system. While it can be argued that the deal is better than nothing, it is not clear that it places any constraints on India’s growing nuclear weapon program or reduces pressure among other states in the region to limit their own nuclear weapon programs.

Under the March 2 agreement, India has laid out how it will separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, and has committed that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to prevent unauthorized diversion of nuclear materials will be permanently placed on its civil program. In the end, the U.S. accepted India’s position that it be allowed to define which of its future reactors should be on this list, and it includes no requirement that India place energy producing reactors in the civilian program. Thus, future Indian reactors can produce both plutonium for weapons and electricity for civilian use. Furthermore, India may never place another nuclear facility under inspections, beyond the 14 of its existing 22 nuclear power reactors it has designated as “civilian.” None of the plutonium breeder reactors that India is developing may ever find their way onto the IAEA safeguards list, enabling India to greatly expand its supply of weapons-grade plutonium.

Under the agreement, India has recommitted itself to the informal moratorium on nuclear testing. This does help reinforce the global norm against nuclear testing. However, India avoided any commitment not to be the first to break the moratorium and successfully resisted U.S. requests that it adopt a moratorium on the production of nuclear materials for weapons. The five acknowledged nuclear weapon states (U.S., Russia, France, Britain, and China) are all currently under such an informal moratorium. Thus, in the end India has retained the freedom to expand and advance its nuclear weapon program in exchange for placing a portion of its energy producing reactors under international safeguards.

In exchange for India’s commitments on safeguards, the U.S. has promised to provide India with access to peaceful nuclear technology and to work to open up the multinational Nuclear Suppliers Group so that India may access the international nuclear supply market. This access will improve the safety of Indian nuclear facilities, as well as the ability of India to provide energy for its advancing economy, with residual benefits for the United States and others. The agreement will also help politically cement the U.S.-India strategic relationship, viewed as critical for ensuring America’s strategic and economic strength in the region in the years ahead.

President Bush must now pursue significant changes in U.S. law to implement the U.S.-Indian agreement. To do so, he must overcome some significant concern in Congress and policy circles in Washington in order to gain congressional approval for a still to be negotiated agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation. Congress must approve such an agreement before any nuclear cooperation can take place. It is likely the negotiation of this bilateral agreement will take several months if not longer, pushing consideration of any agreement into the next Congress. In the mean time, some members of Congress may seek to condition their support for any agreement on strengthening the nonproliferation terms of the U.S.-India agreement.

The administration is right to point to the benefits of more closely tying India to the international nonproliferation regime as an important step forward. It is critical that all states with significant nuclear capabilities place a maximum number of their facilities under safeguards and ensure that nuclear materials under their control are adequately protected. However, the deal with India has a number of direct and indirect shortcomings that may call the ultimate nuclear security benefits into question.

The first is the fact that India will be able to greatly expand its nuclear arsenal in the future. By failing to obtain any significant constraints on the future production of Indian nuclear weapons, the United States appears to have failed to implement some of its early negotiating goals for the U.S.-India deal. Indirectly, the deal will raise serious questions among other advanced countries that have abided by the terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Countries like Japan, Germany, Indonesia, and others may question why they must accept expensive and intrusive inspections over their entire nuclear programs to gain reliable access to nuclear technology when India is not required to do the same. These states are unlikely to withdraw from the treaty or the inspection regime in response, but the decision by the United States will increase the existing tension between nuclear haves and have nots under the NPT. On a practical level, it will also make the U.S. case for limiting weapons-usable fissile material in the world and limiting the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies even more difficult. It also opens up possibilities for other exceptions such as potential expanded nuclear cooperation just announced between Pakistan and China.

Perhaps most importantly, the future growth in India’s nuclear arsenal may increase pressure on both China and Pakistan to further increase their own nuclear weapon programs. There are great concerns about the security and reliability of control over nuclear assets in Pakistan and every additional kilogram of material in Pakistan is an additional kilogram of material that might find its way into the hands of terrorists or rogue elements within Pakistan itself. For China, India’s growing nuclear program could lead Beijing to end its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons material production and conceivably to resume nuclear testing at some point in the future. While far from certain, the belief among many in China and elsewhere that the U.S.-India deal is motivated in part by a desire to have India build up its nuclear program to further contain Chinese power will add to the potential friction between China and the United States.

US Air Force accepts delivery of its first combat configured CV-22 Osprey

by Laura McGowan
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs

3/7/2006 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Aeronautical Systems Center's commander, Lt. Gen. John L. “Jack” Hudson, along with other Department of Defense leaders, was on hand to accept the keys from Bell Boeing for the first combat configured CV-22 Osprey during a ceremony March 1 at the Bell manufacturing facility in Amarillo, Texas.

"It's an honor to be here for this historic milestone in aviation history," General Hudson said. "When our nation chooses to deploy forces into combat, we do our best to send them well-equipped and well-trained."

The Air Force plans to purchase 50 CV-22s for long-range infiltration, exfiltration and re-supply of special operations forces in hostile or denied territory. The Osprey provides twice the speed, up to five times the range and significantly enhanced survivability over other conventional rotary wing platforms, and this is the first CV-22 built upon the Block B baseline configuration.

Every CV-22 to come before this was built for test or training, but from this aircraft onward, the Air Force Ospreys will be built for training and combat.

"There are missions waiting for the CV-22 today-in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in every part of the world where Special Operations teams are carrying out the most critical missions to support the Global War on Terrorism," said a public affairs spokesman with Naval Air Station Public Affairs at Patuxent River, Md.

"Our warfighters will be the benefactors of this one-of-a-kind aircraft that combines speed, range, operational flexibility and survivability thanks to a truly 'purple' program -- Air Force, Marines and Navy -- all with different missions but the same core values,” General Hudson said

"I look forward to handing the keys over to Lt. Col. Jim Cardoso, commanding officer of the 71st Special Operations Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.," he said.

(Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)

''Bush Visits South Asia and Offers a Nuclear Gift to India''

fter taking salutes from the inter-services guard of honor in front of Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of the president of India, U.S. President George W. Bush told reporters, "I have been received in many capitals around the world but I have never seen a reception as well-organized or as grand." This was not simply an appreciation of traditional Indian hospitality but a reflection of the warmth that a large section of Indians feel for Bush. After all, contrary to trends in most other parts of the world, 71 percent of India's populace holds a favorable view of the U.S., with 54 percent supporting Bush's handling of global affairs. Even before the trip to New Delhi, Bush's personal standing in India was higher than even in the U.S. and it is bound to skyrocket after the recently signed nuclear pact between the two states, which was the highlight of the U.S. president's four-day trip to South Asia.

A Soft Landing in Afghanistan

Before landing in New Delhi, Bush made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, his first since the U.S. military defeated the Taliban regime in 2001. The U.S. president rallied U.S. troops, expressed solidarity with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government, and predicted that Osama bin Laden would be captured, amid concerns in U.S. intelligence circles that the insurgency in Afghanistan continues to grow and poses a greater threat to the Karzai government "than at any point since late 2001." While Bush made it clear that the U.S. does not intend to "cut and run" in the face of rising violence, there are plans that U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be reduced from their current level of about 19,000 to about 16,000 by the summer of 2006. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Afghanistan"]

The nation-building process in Afghanistan remains fragile with the security situation getting worse and the authority of the Karzai government becoming weaker by the day. Drug trafficking is further eroding the fundamentals of the rule of law and effective governance in the country as opium continues to generate over half the country's G.D.P. There is strong evidence that al-Qaeda and Taliban militants are using neighboring Pakistan as their base for launching strikes in Afghanistan. Suicide bombings in Afghanistan are at an all-time high and, as a consequence, Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan are becoming increasingly tense. It was no coincidence that just as Bush arrived in Afghanistan, Pakistani security forces struck a militant training camp in a tribal region near the Afghan border, killing around three dozen suspected militants.

India and the Nuclear Deal

Nevertheless, the focus of Bush's trip was clearly India. Some have gone to the extent of comparing this trip to former U.S. President Richard Nixon's opening to China. The visit was highly anticipated in India with the Indian media discussing the U.S.-India nuclear deal in all its arcane details for several months. The nuclear agreement, which was first signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington in July 2005, was awaiting finalization and it hinged on the ability of the Indian government to come up with a credible plan to separate its tightly entwined civilian and military nuclear facilities acceptable to the U.S. After some tough negotiations over a period of seven months that were continuing even as the U.S. president landed in New Delhi, the two states managed to arrive at an agreement.

India has agreed that 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors will be classified as civilian and will open to international safeguards. The other reactors, including the fast breeder reactors, will remain as military facilities, thereby not subject to international inspections. The accord also allows India to build future breeder reactors and keep them outside international inspections. India has accepted safeguards in perpetuity on its civilian nuclear reactors on the basis of a reciprocal commitment by the U.S. to guarantee unlimited nuclear fuel supply to India for its civilian program. Unlike other nuclear weapon states, however, India will not have the right to pull out any of its reactors once they have been put under safeguards.

The ball is largely now in the U.S. court since the deal has to get the U.S. Congress to change domestic laws, thereby permitting the U.S. to extend civilian nuclear help to India. The U.S. will also have to get the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (N.S.G.) to accept the deal and be open to nuclear cooperation with India. It will also have to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) to come up with India-specific safeguards.

The I.A.E.A. chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, was quick to endorse the deal, claiming that this agreement would not only help satisfy India's growing needs but would also bring India closer as an important partner in the non-proliferation regime. That being said, evolving India-specific safeguards could turn out to be a complicated task. Though India has declared itself a nuclear weapon state after conducting nuclear tests in 1998, it is not recognized as such by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (N.P.T.) of 1968.

This makes India's case unique and the I.A.E.A. safeguards will have to be negotiated accordingly. India might demand that its safeguards regime should be almost equivalent to the level of the inspection regime for the five nuclear weapon states. In fact, the Indian government would like the proposed India-specific safeguards with the I.A.E.A. to provide "on the one hand safeguards against the withdrawal of safeguarded nuclear material from civilian use at any time, and on the other, permit India to take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies."

Despite these issues, the nuclear deal allows India access to nuclear fuel that it needs urgently in light of its fuel shortages and burgeoning energy requirements. It ends three decades of Indian isolation from access to dual use and global high technology flows. At the same time, the strategic nuclear weapons program that India has maintained for all these years despite tremendous international pressure remains untouched. This is a very sensitive issue for the Indian scientific and strategic community and the Indian prime minister had to assure the Indian Parliament that "India will place under safeguards only those facilities that can be identified as civilian without damaging the nation's deterrence potential."

More significantly, there is a sense in India that with this agreement the world has finally reconciled itself to India's status as a nuclear power and as a major global player. The U.S.-India nuclear agreement has been viewed by most in the Indian strategic community as a part of an emerging Indo-U.S. strategic partnership. With the U.S. making it clear that the nuclear pact was unique to India and would not be repeated with Pakistan, one of the major Indian complaints against the U.S. that it tries to equate India and Pakistan also seems to have been redressed. [See: "Intelligence Brief: U.S.-India Nuclear Deal"]

With the exception of China, other major global powers such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Russia will willingly support this nuclear deal as it allows them to sell nuclear fuel, reactors, and equipment to India. China, on its part, has made its displeasure with the nuclear pact clear by asking India to sign the N.P.T. and dismantle its nuclear weapons. The official Xinhua news agency of China commented that the U.S.-India nuclear agreement "will set a bad example for other countries."

China's statements are in keeping with Beijing's long-standing policy of limiting India's capacity for power projection. As this deal is a recognition of India's rising global profile, China will do its best to scuttle it. A few months back it was reported that China decided to sell Pakistan six to eight nuclear reactors at the cost of US$10 billion. This deal was a not-so-subtle message to the U.S. that if Washington decides to play favorites, China also retains the same right. China's action also conveyed to India that even as India tries hard to break out of the straitjacket of being a South Asian power by forging a strategic partnership with the U.S., China will do its utmost to contain India by building up its neighboring adversaries. [See: "China's Strategy of Containing India"]

During his trip, Bush argued that the United States and India are "closer than ever before and this partnership has the power to transform the world." It is this understanding that has been the hallmark of the Bush administration's policy toward India from the very beginning and led it to proclaim openly that it would help India emerge as a major global player in the 21st century. India is viewed by this administration as not only a potential counterweight to China and violent Islamist groups, but also as a rising power that needs to be accommodated into the global order.

The nuclear pact was just one part of the larger package that included U.S.-India bilateral cooperation on a range of issues from investment, trade, and health to agriculture, the environment, and even mangoes. One of the largest efforts toward joint operability between the armed forces of the U.S. and India was also announced, leading to the Logistics Support Agreement that will be concluded shortly. This will allow the armed forces of both states to use each other's facilities for maintenance, servicing, communications, medical care, and refueling. The U.S. and India also plan to move forward with agreements that permit the launch of satellites with U.S.-built components and even U.S. satellites by Indian space launch vehicles.

The Road Ahead

While India is celebrating the great "nuclear bargain" that it has managed to extract from the U.S., the real drama has now shifted to Washington. Already complaints are being heard that Bush has given away far too much in the nuclear agreement with India in return for very little. Some, like Democratic Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts, have claimed that the accord "undermines the security not only of the United States, but of the rest of the world." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wants a detailed briefing from the Bush administration on the implications of the nuclear deal for the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

In a similar vein, Senator Joe Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would like the administration to show Congress how this deal will make the U.S. more secure. Even Bush himself has admitted that getting the approval of Congress is going to be difficult as the Bush administration will have to answer a number of questions satisfactorily before the deal is signed off by Congress.

Bush has made it clear that he intends to sell the deal as part of his energy security plan for the U.S. as well as by highlighting the importance of India in the U.S. strategic calculus. It will be argued that helping India, whose economy is projected to be one of the five largest by 2020, develop civil nuclear energy will reduce demand for fossil fuels and lower petrol pump prices for U.S. consumers. As of today, India imports three quarters of its oil, natural gas, and coal and receives only three percent of its power from nuclear energy.

The focus of the U.S. Congress, however, will be on the consequences of this pact for the nuclear non-proliferation regime, especially at a time when U.S. foreign policy is trying to grapple with Iran and North Korea. Supporters of non-proliferation have been very critical of this deal from the beginning. During the hearings in the U.S. Congress, the majority of the experts empanelled by the House Committee on International Relations argued that the deal weakens the international non-proliferation regime. Only a few, such as Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, claimed that bringing "New Delhi into the global non-proliferation regime through a lasting bilateral agreement that defines clearly enforceable benefits and obligations, therefore, not only strengthens American efforts to stem further proliferation but also enhances U.S. national security."

The Bush administration will have to convince the U.S. Congress that the basic bargain of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, as exemplified by the N.P.T., will not come under strain with this agreement. The non-nuclear states, as identified by the N.P.T., have pledged not to make nuclear weapons and have their pledge verified through full-scope safeguards applied by the I.A.E.A. In return, they are entitled to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and to receive assistance in its development. Under the U.S.-India nuclear agreement, India will only accept safeguards on its designated peaceful nuclear facilities while the remaining facilities and the breeder program will continue uninhibited. Concerns are bound to be raised that this apparent double standard that allows India to escape full-scope safeguards and still obtain nuclear assistance while other states are held to a tougher standard can create problems for the future of the N.P.T.

There will also be concerns about the implications of this deal for India's nuclear weapons program. This deal might allow India to ramp up its weapons production as the supply of nuclear fuel to India would free up India's existing capacity to produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium for its nuclear weapons stockpile. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns claimed that he is confident that India will focus most of its future nuclear growth on civilian energy development, not weapons-building. He is having "trouble understanding the argument that somehow this deal makes it more likely that India is going to engage in an arms build up."

Nevertheless, the non-proliferation community is unconvinced considering that India has decided not to accept safeguards on the prototype fast breeder reactor and the fast breeder test reactor, as well as on the reprocessing and enrichment capabilities associated with the fuel cycle for its strategic program. The idea that India will not focus on nuclear weapons in the future is unlikely considering the Indian prime minister's categorical assertion that "India will not be constrained in any way in building future nuclear facilities, whether civilian or military, as per [India's] national requirements" and "no constraint has been placed on [India's] right to construct new facilities for strategic purposes."

There are also more immediate issues such as that of Iranian nuclear aspirations. The New York Times has already stated that "the India deal is exactly the wrong message to send right now, just days before Washington and its European allies will be asking the I.A.E.A. to refer Iran's case to the United Nations Security Council for further action."

The Bush administration's ability to defend itself against these criticisms will in the end determine the fate of the U.S.-India nuclear pact. On its part, India has decided to permanently shut down the Cirus reactor in 2010 and to shift the Apsara reactor from the Bhabha Atomic Research Center. This has been done partly to assuage some of the concerns of the non-proliferation lobby that has long blamed India for going back on its word by diverting weapons-grade plutonium to the Pokhran nuclear test of 1974. Whether this is enough to allay the concerns of the non-proliferation community remains to be seen. Given the broad-based support that the idea of an Indo-U.S. partnership enjoys in the U.S. Congress, however, the ratification of the nuclear deal may not be as difficult as it might seem.

A Brief Sojourn in Pakistan

The final leg of Bush's journey was Pakistan, which started a bit ominously when a day before Bush's visit an American diplomat was killed in a targeted attack by a suicide bomber near the U.S. Consulate in Karachi. On the U.S.-India pact, while Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf argued that the U.S. had concluded a nuclear deal with India on the basis of its own interests, he made it clear that Islamabad had its own options if it would not be able to get a similar deal from the U.S. These options, in all probability, might include China building nuclear reactors for Pakistan, similar to the two Beijing already built at Chashma.

Bush's visit took place under unprecedented security at a time when Musharraf is facing widespread opposition from Islamists as well as from the more secular opposition parties. The violence over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad still continues unabated, making Pakistan's alliance with the U.S. all the more tenuous. Some hardliners argued that Bush's visit was aimed at "enslaving the Pakistani nation and rewarding General Musharraf for his patriotism to America."

Despite Musharraf's public pronouncements that parliamentary elections would take place next year and he would serve another presidential term only if asked by the elected national and provincial assemblies, there is speculation that elections may be postponed. The widespread popular discontent along with armed insurrections in the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan has pushed Pakistan toward instability. [See: "Pakistan: a Geopolitical Crux"]

Against this backdrop, there are increasing concerns in the U.S. that Musharraf is not fully committed to fighting terrorism and has only taken half-hearted steps to hunt down militants in the volatile tribal regions bordering Afghanistan in order to keep the Islamists in his country quiet. Bush reportedly took up this issue and seems to have concluded that Musharraf remains committed to fighting terrorism at least in the near-term.

Bush also made it clear that Pakistan's future lay in establishing democracy and stressed the importance of elections in 2007. There was also no indication of any intent on the part of the U.S. to mediate on the Kashmir issue and Bush categorically asked Islamabad to deal directly with New Delhi. Making it clear that there was no question of a nuclear deal with Pakistan similar to the one with India, the clearest message from Bush's trip was that, henceforth, Pakistan and India would be treated differently by the U.S. While Pakistan remains a front-line state in the U.S. war on terrorism, its special place in U.S. foreign policy does not extend much further than that interest.


Bush's visit to South Asia highlighted the changing contours of U.S. policy toward the region. The U.S. and India are both trying to adjust to the ongoing redistribution of the world's economic and political power, and the U.S.-India nuclear deal is an attempt to craft a strategic partnership that can serve the interests of both states in the coming years. It is now up to the U.S. Congress to decide whether it agrees with the Bush administration's strategy for the future.

Report Drafted By:
Dr. Harsh V. Pant

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

''Intelligence Brief: U.S.-India Nuclear Deal''

n March 2, the United States and India reached agreement on their controversial nuclear deal. The deal still must be approved by the U.S. Congress. The deal provides India with American nuclear technology and fuel; India, however, does not have to become a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (N.P.T.) and only has to open 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors to international inspections. [See: "Bush Visits South Asia and Offers a Nuclear Gift to India"]

The Bush administration's motivations behind this deal lie in Washington's strategy of convincing India to become a South Asian ally of the United States. The purpose of turning India into a U.S. ally in the region is primarily due to Washington's concerns over the growing power of China. There is recognition in Washington that China will pose a strategic threat to U.S. interests in the future. Nevertheless, Washington also sees India as a stable partner in a critical region. [See: "China's Geostrategy: Playing a Waiting Game"]

It is in India's interests to improve its relations with the United States. There are two primary strategic reasons behind this interest. For one, India faces an ongoing conflict with Pakistan. While weaker than India, Pakistan has received military equipment from China. In addition, Pakistan has become an ally of convenience to the United States. Relations with the United States are now important for Pakistan, especially for its current government of President Pervez Musharraf that keeps a tenuous grip on power. The relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan acts as a controlling factor in Pakistan's conflict with India. As long as Washington keeps control in Islamabad, the chances for conflict between India and Pakistan decrease. [See: "Pakistan: a Geopolitical Crux"]

India's second strategic interest for improving relations with the United States lies in New Delhi's relationship with Beijing. While there is much talk about the improving relationship between India and China, their relationship is still marked by rivalry. Both countries are competing in the energy field, with China seeming to have taken the edge. They have fought a border war in the past, and there is the possibility that the two countries will clash in the future. Therefore, by improving relations with the United States, India gains more leverage in its relations with China.

Additionally, improving relations with the United States does not mean that India has to limit its relationship with China. On the contrary, improving relations with the United States provides India the ability to balance more effectively between the simultaneous pressures placed on it by Washington and Beijing. There is, of course, the concern that by improving relations with the United States, India risks damaging its relations with China. Nevertheless, India has become a strong enough player to pursue its interests in the region, and its relationship with the United States will not prevent it from forging better relations with China if it pursues that foreign policy course.

One aspect of U.S.-India cooperation that has caused unrest in India is how the relationship will affect India's relationship with Iran. While India and Iran were on opposite sides during the Cold War, in the last decade they have improved relations dramatically. The two countries have engaged in joint military exercises, and they also have increased economic ties. However, as India and the United States improve relations, Washington has put pressure on New Delhi to weaken its relationship with Tehran. This has caused much domestic unrest in India, with lawmakers seeing the U.S.-India nuclear deal as placing too many restrictions on India's foreign policy. [See: "India's Interests Collide Over Iran"]

The Bush administration, however, apparently recognized India's interests in this matter and altered its position, stating that India can go ahead with a pipeline deal involving Iran and Pakistan. For instance, on March 4, Bush said in Islamabad, in a statement more directed at Pakistan, "Our beef with Iran is not the pipeline."

India's nuclear deal with the United States will prove valuable for New Delhi. In addition to the technical benefits of the deal, India also gains geopolitical leverage in the region. There are, however, some potential drawbacks to the deal. As India forges a closer relationship with the United States, it will cause China to become more concerned about its neighbor to the west and may cause Beijing to work toward better containment of India. [See: "China's Strategy of Containing India"]

Additionally, as India and the U.S. improve relations, it will also cause concern in Russia, a strong Indian partner. Currently, Russia is India's biggest arms supplier, and Moscow is keen on continuing this relationship for as long as possible. Their military relationship involves not just hardware, but expertise, training and spare parts. As the U.S. and India move closer together, Washington is interested in expanding its access to India's arms purchases. These conditions suggest that India will strike a balance in its defense needs between its steady partner and its new potential ally. This balance might not be easy to maintain, as various domestic factions will be competing with each other in order to gain dominance over U.S.-India and India-Russia security arrangements. As India and China seek energy access in Central Asia -- a region dominated by Russia -- India's close position to Washington may cause Russia to favor China or Japan in upcoming oil and gas exploration and pipeline deals.

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

March 07, 2006

Bomb Blasts in Varanasi on the eve of Hindu festival HOLI

Seven bombs were later defused , including four that had been planted on the Gowdolia-Dasashwamedh Ghat Road near the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has rushed to Varanasi. "The situation is constantly being reviewed at the highest level. The Centre is in constant touch with the State Government for any assistance they may require," he said. All State Governments have been alerted.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil ! Why don't you being back POTA , See how your brothers and sisters are making our life hell . SHAME ON U and U R COMMIE SLEEPING PARTNERS

The entire top brass of Varanasi police was away in Farooqabad attending the wedding of a relative of Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav when the bombings took place.

The deadliest attack was on the famous Sankat Mochan temple where thousands of devotees had assembled to pay obeisance to Lord Hanuman around 6.15 pm. The impact of the blast was so powerful that many of the victims were blown to smithereens.

While scores of devotees were left bleeding by the explosion, several others were hurt in the stampede that followed. The blast sent shock waves across the city.

Even before local residents and the police could come to grips with the bombing at the temple, two blasts rocked the Cantonment Railway Station in less than 10 minutes of the first explosion.

A bomb exploded on Platform No. 1 from where Shiv-Ganga Express (Varanasi-New Delhi) was about to chug out of the station. Almost simultaneously, another bomb went off near the waiting room.

Four persons were killed on the spot while six more died while being taken to hospital. At least 50 people were injured, many of them critically.

The blasts at the railway station were so powerful that they created a one-foot deep crater and smashed windowpanes and wooden structures. The site of the bombings was splattered with blood and scattered with body parts. Luggage lay strewn about, soaked in blood.

Late evening, a bomb went off on the railway tracks at Lohta, 35 km from Varanasi. Details of this bombing were not available till the time of going to press.

The death toll is bound to shoot up as crowded areas were specifically targeted in an attempt to create terror in this Hindu pilgrimage city. Police have sealed the city limits and the railway station has been evacuated.

People who had gathered on the ghats of Ganga for evening rituals, including the famous aarti, panicked when four bombs were found on the Gowdolia-Dasashwamedh Ghat Road. They were later defused.

Going by the well-orchestrated plan in which the serial blasts were triggered, it is clearly the work of a terror organisation though no group has as yet owned responsibility.

Back in Lucknow, the State Government sounded a red alert across Uttar Pradesh. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a televised statement, condemned the bombings and urged people to exercise restraint and ensure peace. Mr Yadav announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who have suffered minor injuries.

DIG (Varanasi) RN Yadav, SSP (Varanasi) Navneit Sikera and SP (City) Anant Deo, who were away in Farookhabad for the marriage of a relative of the Chief Minister, have been asked to rush back immediately.

Commandos of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) have been airlifted from Delhi to Varanasi to stand by for any emergency. Senior officers of the police, intelligence agencies and the Special Task Force (STF) have also been despatched.

The Centre has placed 1,200 RAF and 500 CRPF personnel at the disposal of the Uttar Pradesh Government for deployment in sensitive areas to maintain law and order. Of these, 200 CRPF men will be deployed in Varanasi itself. The Army has been put on alert.

Hindus feel unsafe: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Rishikesh: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Chidanand Muni and other saints from Rishikesh have strongly condemned the serial blasts in Varanasi while urging people to keep calm.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also expressed dismay at the way the political parties are playing with the security of the people.

"Today, Hindus feel completely unsafe in India. Terrorists are attacking especially the Hindu community. First it was Diwali, and now it is on the eve of Holi."

March 05, 2006

BJP is on a strong comeback trail

BJP is on a strong comeback trail

I have enclosed Vir Sanghvi's article in Hindustan Times where he finds out travel all thru the country that BJP is on a strong comeback trail like it happenned in 1989 after Shabhano and Ayoudhya due to Cartoon controversary and muslim reaction to it.

CounterPoint by Vir Sanghvi

For the last couple of months, I have spent very little time in Delhi or, for that matter, in Bombay. A succession of conferences, engagements and the shooting schedule for a new television programme have kept me on the road. I have visited parts of south India I had not seen for a decade; have driven through chunks of western India; spent much of the last week in north Bengal; and travelled through cities and small towns that have changed dramatically over the last ten or fifteen years.

Admittedly, my approach is that of the standard journalistic paratrooper who lands in a new place without bothering to learn the background to the situations he encounters and then moves on without fully understanding the people he has met. And yes, the vast majority of those I met were middle class or very nearly middle-class — I didn’t meet any landless labourers or poor farmers.

But, from my perspective, despite these obvious shortcomings, the experience was valuable because it got me out of Delhi and its pre-occupations. And it afforded me an opportunity to listen to people elsewhere in India.

In the ten years since I last travelled so widely, India has been transformed. Integral to this transformation has been the growth of Big Media. A decade ago, you relied on the local paper in each town (The Deccan Herald in Bangalore, The Telegraph in Calcutta, The Tribune in Chandigarh etc) to judge popular sentiment. Now, while the local papers still survive, they are being increasingly challenged by new editions of the national dailies.

Then, there are the TV channels. We live in an era when the news channels dictate the immediate responses of the middle classes (and the political elite). A case in point is the way in which educated Indians reacted to the verdict in the Jessica Lall murder case. When Manu Sharma and Vikas Yadav murdered Jessica seven years ago, it was essentially a Delhi story. But when a court let them walk a fortnight ago, all of middle class India was outraged. It was the news channels that took the case national.

But I wondered if the public mood outside of Delhi mirrored the pre-occupations of the nation’s capital. Had Big Media succeeded in forging a national consensus? Or were there trends bubbling under the surface that we had missed?

Here, for what it is worth, is a snapshot of the middle class India I encountered on my travels.

• The first and most obvious change I noticed was that politics obsesses people much less than it used to. A decade ago, when people found out I was a journalist, they wanted to know about the government. What was the Prime Minister like? How stable was his ministry? Or, they would want to discuss the latest political scandal.

The big change, this time around, was that few people wanted to talk about politics. There was widespread, if muted, approval of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi’s aura has yet to fade. But nobody seemed particularly interested in either of them. Nobody asked the great Indian political question of the last two decades: “Will the government last?”

When political issues were discussed, they tended to be local (I was in small-town Karnataka when the state government fell) and nobody cared about national political scandals. A decade ago, I was always asked about hawala, Bofors, corruption etc. Even a few years ago, Tehelka would crop up. But this time nobody asked about Quattrochhi or Natwar Singh or, even, cash-for-questions.

The only scandal that ever cropped up in the conversation concerned the Amar Singh tapes. And even then, all people wanted to know was: who were the actresses involved? And were the conversations really naughty? When I responded that I had heard the tapes and that there was nothing remotely salacious in Amar Singh’s conversations, they immediately lost interest.

• Logic suggests that if people have tired of politics, they should care about economics. But in the run-up to the Budget, not one person — not even a businessman in some aircraft cabin — asked about the Budget, before proceeding to favour me with his own thoughts. Once upon a time, this was the Big Subject. Flying back to Delhi, a day after this Budget, I began to wonder if all of us in the media had got the public mood badly wrong with our back-to-back TV coverage and excessive newspaper focus on the concessions offered to the ice-cream sector.

My guess is that Indians don’t really give a damn about the Budget any longer — unless there are huge increases in taxation. And that we in the media should rethink our outdated obsession with Budget news.

• It is a truism within Big Media to say that the people of India want peace with Pakistan. My sense, however, was that while nobody wants another war, outside of Delhi and parts of the Punjab perhaps there was no great warmth towards Pakistan. Most of India is young, does not care about Partition and sees Pakistan as just another foreign country — and a hostile one at that.

When peace with Pakistan came up, every single person I met was clear: there could only be peace on our terms. And this meant not giving up an inch of Kashmir. Nor was there any support for the idea of more autonomy for Kashmir.

So, let us treat all this liberal rhetoric about how Indians long for peace with scepticism. Our idea of peace is: Pakistan should shut up and behave itself or we will retaliate.

is not a public mood that will lead to any lasting settlement of this long-running conflict. And I think that the challenge before politicians is to shift the consensus. Big Media has tried. And I think it has failed.

• The general view in Delhi is that the BJP is floundering, that it is a party without an issue. Judging by my travels, this view could be seriously mistaken.

There is a massive Hindu backlash building up. The public mood reminded me of the late 1980s, when such issues as Shah Bano and The Satanic Verses so upset moderate Hindus that they turned against Congress-style secularism.

The provocation, this time around, is the attitude of the Muslim political leadership to foreign Islamic issues. No Hindu I met thought it was right for a Danish paper to carry cartoons of the Prophet. But why, they all asked, did Indians Muslims have to get so agitated? What did it have to do with us? Why should a minister in the UP government announce a bounty on the head of the Danish cartoonist? Why should Indian Muslims demand the recall of the Danish ambassador?

I have written about the shameful cop-out by liberal Muslims over these issues before so I will not labour the point. But the Hindu backlash is a perfect issue waiting for a BJP initiative. This time around, the BJP need not focus on how Indian secularism makes Hindus second-class citizens in their own country.

(Nobody buys that line any longer.) All it needs to do is to portray Indian Muslims as unreasonable fanatics obsessed with global Muslim issues and argue that they subscribe to some international pan-Islamic identity that could easily conflict with Indian nationalism.

My feeling is that if liberal Muslims continue to react as pathetically as they have over the last few months and if liberal Hindus do not make it clear that genuine secularism means that we fight all kinds of fanaticism — both Hindu and Muslim — a new generation of BJP leaders will ride this backlash to return to power. By ignoring the Hindu sentiment, Big Media is making a big mistake.

• So, finally, how powerful is the influence of Big Media? If you treat the national media as a force for homogenisation, then there is no doubt that they have enormous influence. I found fewer regional variations in sentiment than a decade or so ago. Even the reach of the media is astonishing: who would have heard about the Amar Singh tapes fifteen years ago?

But the old divide between the Delhi-Bombay mindset and the rest of India remains. Much of what Big Media believes (on the Budget, on relations with Pakistan, on the future of the BJP etc) seems to me to be out of step with the public mood that I encountered on my travels.

For instance, this is the age of the TV sting. But while the original Tehelka stings (on defence purchases and cricket fixing) got the country talking, the new stings are viewed as TV reality shows — as paler versions of the drama on Sa Re Ga Ma. People may watch them. But they don’t care very much. And each sting is quickly forgotten.

And as for all the little issues and scoops that we in the Delhi media care so much about (did Natwar Singh’s son go to Iraq, does Quattrochhi have access to his back accounts, do ministers listen to the PMO? etc), no matter how valid and important they are as news stories — and it is not my intention to play down their significance — the truth is that they have lost their resonance with Middle India.

Big Media has the influence. But all too often we focus on things that nobody cares about. And miss the ones that matter.

FOIL members upset about poor hindu turnout in Anti-Bush protests in India

theres something strange (or not so strange) about the way the
anti-Bush protests erupting all over India are being characterized.
The blaring headline all over (especially western media) talks of
"Muslims and Communists" protesting. Just because the main organizers
happen to be Muslim organizations and various left parties and
organizations. But is it the case that the incredible numbers of
people out there on the streets in every major Indian city including
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and so on are
only reducible to "Muslims and Communists?"

Without taking away from the incredible efforts of various
organizations and parties behind the protests it is clear from the
photographs that there are definitely widespread protests that go
beyond such narrow definitions. It is more plausible that the effort
is mischievous - to create a dichotomy that fits nicely in the
Hindutva - Bushist worldview. Muslims in this worldview are
considered by definition angry, irrational, and expected to protest
(highlighting some isolated nonensical rants here and there is meant
to reinforce this impression) but those who may not be Muslim who
protest are automatically communists (again crazed, anachronistic
creatures not amenable to the loving embrace of the fascist
uberfuerher and his supplicant Indian ruling classes).

The Indian big bourgeoisie, with treachery built into its genes can
only survive by playing such dangerous games - always ready to roll
like dogs at the feet of the imperialists, but always and without
exception aligned against the lives and futures of the Indian people,
no matter what the stakes - even a nuclear trap as evidenced today.

Such scum can only be dealt with ultimately by the sort of mass
peoples power we see glimpses of in these incredible protests. These
millions who came out in droves - men, women, children - their courage
adds a note of optimism for a future made infinitely gloomy by the
pathetic servility on display in the corridors of power in New Delhi
this week.

Lal Salaam to the millions of Indians who came out to tell Bush with a
million voices: F#3ck Off!



No, you f&^% off. It was true that only mullahs were on the streets with commie rascals like you giving company. Not one mainstream Hindu was on the street. If Hindus in India doesn't care being kicked by these mullahs in their own country, would you really wants us to believe that they will come onto the streets to protest Bush, who had nothing to do with cartoons or who did no harm to the nation. Hindus don't even care to come out and vote in large numbers on voting day. What made you think they will come out to protest an issue like Iraq war that isn't relevant to them? Hindu are lazy, divided and have their own caste wars, status wars to grind. They don't have time for Iraq, Iran or some Abu Gharib. These protests by mullahs on the other hand only exposed their loyalities. They seem to convey that they continue to believe in pan-islamic identity rather than nationalism. Those protests hardly represent 0.5% of the Indian population. Infact Hindus have every reason to be happy that we got some better deal from Bush and that he refused to be dragged into Kashmir and also deny the same deal to Porkistan. Anyway, why are you more worried about Iraq and middle east non-sense rather than the terrorism perpetuated in J&K by Porkistan? Where's your patriotism? When S.Arabia, UAE and all middle east countries except Iran do not have problem doing business with Bush, why should be act more Iraqi or Iranian than the Iraqis or Iranians themselves?