January 05, 2007

Pashtuns on Both Sides of Pak-Afghan Border Show Opposition to Fencing Plan

Pajhwok Afghan News
Report



JALALABAD, KHOST, QUETTA, Jan 03 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Tribal elders and influential people on two sides of the Pak-Afghan border have warned they will take away any barriers installed on the joint border.

Pakistan has recently announced it will fence the joint border and plant mines along the 2,500 kilometers long border to put an end to accusations by the Afghan government of letting Taliban militants to cross the border and conduct attacks in Afghanistan.

The elders have warned they would destroy the fence and take out the mines if Pakistan goes ahead with the fencing and mining plan.

Residents on both sides of the border believe that Pakistan want to stamp the Durand Line as an official border line between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This, they say, will further separate the one community of Pashtuns who have already been divided.

Maulvi Abdul Rahim, an elder and religious scholar in Koot frontier district of Nangrahar considers Pakistans action a drama, saying that Pakistan want to trick the world with this action.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News that Pashtuns are not those cowards to let others do such things.

He added: "We have tight relations with Tera people of North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan and we visit homes of each others regularly as we are part of one community, but Pakistan wants to split this community."

Malik Katawar Khan, resident of Dor Baba district of Nangrahar says that the British and Russians, despite their serious efforts for separation of Pashtuns of the two sides, failed to fulfill their goal in the very past.

He said if Pakistan succeeds in the plan, Pashtuns will demine the region and will destroy the fence.

Katawar Khan told this Pajhwok Afghan News: "Pashtuns now know that they must be united or will be demolished from the world map."

Malik Azizullah Shinwari, a tribal elder of Shinwari district says that Pakistani President Pervez Musharaf wants to catch Pashtuns of his side and separate them from the Afghanistan's side by all tricks he know.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News the current war in Afghanistan and operation in tribal areas of Pakistan are launched to demolish Pashtuns.

"Mining and fencing the border is a Punjabi conspiracy, and we are sure it will fail," said Shinwari.

He said that they have contacted the tribal elders of the other side of the border and agreed that they will never let Pakistan to mine and fence the border.

He threatened if Pakistan enforces its decision their tribe will again strike as they did in British colony.

Rasul Mohammad Tanai, an elder of Tanai tribe in Khost province, considers this action of Pakistan as a game and says that Pakistan wants to impose and give official stamp to the Durand line. He said that Pashtuns have already been split even two village and two families were split.

Ramazan Kuchi, a nomad from Alisher frontier district, said that even if the Afghan government accepted the Pakistan's suggestion, the local community would never accept.

"If Pakistan truly enforces their decision the regional people will strike and will even destroy the present line," he said.

Masoum Jan a tribal leader of Aryub district of Paktia province said that Pakistan will never succeed in its separation plan. He said the Pakistani government should ban the terrorist sources inside Pakistan instead of mining and fencing the border.

Hamyaon Chamkani, a tribal leader in Chamkani district, said that if Pakistan enforces its plans, it will further inflame the existing anger and hatred of Afghans towards Pakistan.

Allahnoor Noorzai, a tribal leader in Arghistan district of Kandahar province, said Pakistan want to distract international by such actions.

He said that Pakistan is under pressure by the international community to ban the terror training center so they would distract the internationals by fencing and mining the border.

Similarly on the other side of the border, tribal residents oppose the mining and fencing plan of Pakistani government and said that they will never let their government do so.

Malik Akbar Khan, a resident of Kurram Agency's Parachinar area told Pajhwok this news agency through telephone that the tribal leaders have already convened a meeting on this issue and decided not to let the government enforce its plan.

He added that they will consult with other tribal elders and then will start serious negotiation with the government on the issue.

Malik Hamid Hussien a Shia tribal elder in Parachinar considers such action of Pakistan impossible and said that this is the land of Pashtun and without their choice no one can take any action.

Also, Haji Gul Khan Achakzai, a tribal elder in Baluchistan state of Pakistan rejects Pakistan plan on mining and fencing the border.

He said: "We do not accept the present border line that split Pashtuns into two parts and we know that the areas we reside on both sides of the border belong only to Pashtuns and the Pakistani government can not claim its ownership."

A Baloch tribal elder in Helmand province of Afghanistan, Haji Mawla Bakhsh, condemned the fencing and mining plan of the Pakistani government as an action aimed at occupation of lands of Pashtuns.

IRAN'S GREAT GAME IN IRAQ & LEBANON

By B. Raman

It is important to pay greater attention than is being done at present to Iran's role in Iraq and the Lebanon. The main foreign policy and national security priority of Iran at present is to protect its military nuclear programme and to prevent any external intervention to destroy or damage that programme. It correctly fears that the danger to its programme comes mainly from the US and Israel, acting independently of each other or in tandem. In the calculation of Iran's national security managers, the only way of preventing any threat materialising from the US or Israel or both is to keep their security forces preoccupied and bleeding--- the US security forces in Iraq and the Israeli security forces in the Lebanon. Continuing instability and acts of violence in Iraq and the Lebanon would act as a disincentive to any temptation to intervene against Iran. So Teheran thinks.

2. In the opinion of Iran's national security managers, its policy in Iraq should have a two-fold objective. Firstly, to help the Government of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to restore normalcy in the Shia majority areas. Second, to keep the Sunni majority areas bleeding and seething with anger against the US. Iran does not want any defeat of the US forces in the Sunni majority areas. That could force a precipitate withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq. It wants the US forces to stay put in Iraq and keep bleeding.

3. With these objectives in view, it has been diversifying its contacts with different Sunni groups---- the Salafists of the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) as well as the secular elements supporting the Baathist remnants. For the present, the Sunni anger is directed against the Shias for collaborating with the US and for the execution of Saddam Hussein. It is not yet directed against Iran. Many Sunni organisations see what has been happening in Iraq as a US-Shia conspiracy against the Sunnis and not as a US-Iran conspiracy. Teheran wants to keep it that way. It wants to project itself as a well-wisher of the Sunnis as well as the Shias in their struggle against the US occupation.

4. Iran is anxiously watching the likely impact of the execution of Saddam and his last message to the Iraqi people on the attitude of the Sunnis towards Iran. It has noted with concern that in his last message, which was drafted by Saddam on November 4,2006, after the death sentence against him was pronounced by the court, Saddam has refrained from any strong criticism of the Shias of Iraq. Instead, he has projected the events in Iraq as the outcome of a US-Persian conspiracy against Iraq. When he talks of a Persian conspiracy, he means not only Iran, but also the non-Arab Persian elements in the Shia population. The Arabs among the Shias have always been loyal to Iraq and during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, had repulsed the efforts of Teheran to win over their support against Saddam.

5. In an effort to show that the Arab Shias also supported the execution of Saddam, it would seem that the al-Maliki Government had carefully selected Arab Shias to carry out the execution. That is why when the executioners taunted him in the moments before the execution, Saddam asked:" Is this the Arab bravery?" He apparently guessed from their language that the executioners were Arab Shias and not Persians. He does not ask: "Is this the Persian bravery?"

6. Iran has tried to benefit from the execution in two ways--- to strengthen its support base in Iraq's Shia population by strongly supporting the execution and to take advantage of the resulting Sunni anger by keeping it directed against the US and not against the Shias. It wants to keep the Sunni resistance against the US maintained at the present level, without letting them prevail over the US.

7. Iran did not anticipate the Israeli invasion of the Lebanon in July last year as a reprisal against the capture of an Israeli soldier by the Hezbollah. Even though it has been training and arming the Hezbollah, it did not expect the latter to put up the kind of resistance it did. Not only Israel, but even Iran and Syria were surprised by the resistance put up by the Hezbollah.

8. In the calculation of Iran's national security managers, the benefits of the set-back suffered by Israel in the Lebanon have been two-fold. It has shaken the self-confidence of the Israeli security forces and intelligence agencies. At the same time, it has made it certain that Israel will in future have to keep looking over its shoulders as to what is happening in the Lebanon before it undertakes any adventurist action against Iran's nuclear programme.

9. An unstable Iraq and an unstable Lebanon will be the two cards which Iran's national security managers intend using in order to prevent any military threat to their nuclear programme from the US and Israel. A clear understanding of the Iranian designs and identification of appropriate measures to counter them should be part of the hard core of the new US policy in Iraq. So too in respect of Israel's policy in the Lebanon.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: itschen36@gmail.com)

America's interests in Somalia

America's interests in Somalia: Four major U.S. oil companies are sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions.


This article was first published in December 2001 on the raceandhistory.com forum.


THE OIL FACTOR IN SOMALIA; FOUR AMERICAN PETROLEUM GIANTS HAD AGREEMENTS WITH THE AFRICAN NATION BEFORE ITS CIVIL WAR BEGAN. THEY COULD REAP BIG REWARDS IF PEACE IS RESTORED.

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.

That land, in the opinion of geologists and industry sources, could yield significant amounts of oil and natural gas if the U.S.-led military mission can restore peace to the impoverished East African nation.

According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. Industry sources said the companies holding the rights to the most promising concessions are hoping that the Bush Administration's decision to send U.S. troops to safeguard aid shipments to Somalia will also help protect their multimillion-dollar investments there.

Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as "absurd" and "nonsense" allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush, a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.

But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia's most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for pece.

Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to mantain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government's role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.

Conoco, whose tireless exploration efforts in north-central Somalia reportedly had yielded the most encouraging prospects just before Siad Barre's fall, permitted its Mogadishu corporate compound to be transformed into a de facto American embassy a few days before the U.S. Marines landed in the capital, with Bush's special envoy using it as his temporary headquarters. In addition, the president of the company's subsidiary in Somalia won high official praise for serving as the government's volunteer "facilitator" during the months before and during the U.S. intervention.

Describing the arrangement as "a business relationship," an official spokesman for the Houston-based parent corporation of Conoco Somalia Ltd. said the U.S. government was paying rental for its use of the compound, and he insisted that Conoco was proud of resident general manager Raymond Marchand's contribution to the U.S.-led humanitarian effort.

John Geybauer, spokesman for Conoco Oil in Houston, said the company was acting as "a good corporate citizen and neighbor" in granting the U.S. government's request to be allowed to rent the compound. The U.S. Embassy and most other buildings and residential compounds here in the capital were rendered unusable by vandalism and fierce artillery duels during the clan wars that have consumed Somalia and starved its people.

In its in-house magazine last month, Conoco reprinted excerpts from a letter of commendation for Marchand written by U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Frank Libutti, who has been acting as military aide to U.S. envoy Robert B. Oakley. In the letter, Libutti praised the oil official for his role in the initial operation to land Marines on Mogadishu's beaches in December, and the general concluded, "Without Raymond's courageous contributions and selfless service, the operation would have failed."

But the close relationship between Conoco and the U.S. intervention force has left many Somalis and foreign development experts deeply troubled by the blurry line between the U.S. government and the large oil company, leading many to liken the Somalia operation to a miniature version of Operation Desert Storm, the U.S.-led military effort in January, 1991, to drive Iraq from Kuwait and, more broadly, safeguard the world's largest oil reserves.

"They sent all the wrong signals when Oakley moved into the Conoco compound," said one expert on Somalia who worked with one of the four major companies as they intensified their exploration efforts in the country in the late 1980s.

"It's left everyone thinking the big question here isn't famine relief but oil -- whether the oil concessions granted under Siad Barre will be transferred if and when peace is restored," the expert said. "It's potentially worth billions of dollars, and believe me, that's what the whole game is starting to look like."

Although most oil experts outside Somalia laugh at the suggestion that the nation ever could rank among the world's major oil producers -- and most maintain that the international aid mission is intended simply to feed Somalia's starving masses -- no one doubts that there is oil in Somalia. The only question: How much?

"It's there. There's no doubt there's oil there," said Thomas E. O'Connor, the principal petroleum engineer for the World Bank, who headed an in-depth, three-year study of oil prospects in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's northern coast.

"You don't know until you study a lot further just how much is there," O'Connor said. "But it has commercial potential. It's got high potential . . . once the Somalis get their act together."

O'Connor, a professional geologist, based his conclusion on the findings of some of the world's top petroleum geologists. In a 1991 World Bank-coordinated study, intended to encourage private investment in the petroleum potential of eight African nations, the geologists put Somalia and Sudan at the top of the list of prospective commercial oil producers.

Presenting their results during a three-day conference in London in September, 1991, two of those geologists, an American and an Egyptian, reported that an analysis of nine exploratory wells drilled in Somalia indicated that the region is "situated within the oil window, and thus (is) highly prospective for gas and oil." A report by a third geologist, Z. R. Beydoun, said offshore sites possess "the geological parameters conducive to the generation, expulsion and trapping of significant amounts of oil and gas."

Beydoun, who now works for Marathon Oil in London, cautioned in a recent interview that on the basis of his findings alone, "you cannot say there definitely is oil," but he added: "The different ingredients for generation of oil are there. The question is whether the oil generated there has been trapped or whether it dispersed or evaporated."

Beginni 1986, Conoco, along with Amoco, Chevron, Phillips and, briefly, Shell all sought and obtained exploration licenses for northern Somalia from Siad Barre's government. Somalia was soon carved up into concessional blocs, with Conoco, Amoco and Chevron winning the right to explore and exploit the most promising ones.

The companies' interest in Somalia clearly predated the World Bank study. It was grounded in the findings of another, highly successful exploration effort by the Texas-based Hunt Oil Corp. across the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Peninsula nation of Yemen, where geologists disclosed in the mid-1980s that the estimated 1 billion barrels of Yemeni oil reserves were part of a great underground rift, or valley, that arced into and across northern Somalia.

Hunt's Yemeni operation, which is now yielding nearly 200,000 barrels of oil a day, and its implications for the entire region were not lost on then-Vice President George Bush.

In fact, Bush witnessed it firsthand in April, 1986, when he officially dedicated Hunt's new $18-million refinery near the ancient Yemeni town of Marib. In remarks during the event, Bush emphasized the critical value of supporting U.S. corporate efforts to develop and safeguard potential oil reserves in the region.

In his speech, Bush stressed "the growing strategic importance to the West of developing crude oil sources in the region away from the Strait of Hormuz," according to a report three weeks later in the authoritative Middle East Economic Survey.

Bush's reference was to the geographical choke point that controls access to the Persian Gulf and its vast oil reserves. It came at the end of a 10-day Middle East tour in which the vice president drew fire for appearing to advocate higher oil and gasoline prices.

"Throughout the course of his 17,000-mile trip, Bush suggested continued low (oil) prices would jeopardize a domestic oil industry 'vital to the national security interests of the United States,' which was interpreted at home and abroad as a sign the onetime oil driller from Texas was coming to the aid of his former associates," United Press International reported from Washington the day after Bush dedicated Hunt's Yemen refinery.

No such criticism accompanied Bush's decision late last year to send more than 20,000 U.S. troops to Somalia, widely applauded as a bold and costly step to save an estimated 2 million Somalis from starvation by opening up relief supply lines and pacifying the famine-struck nation.

But since the U.S. intervention began, neither the Bush Administration nor any of the oil companies that had been active in Somalia up until the civil war broke out in early 1991 have commented publicly on Somalia's potential for oil and natural gas production. Even in private, veteran oil company exploration experts played down any possible connection between the Administration's move into Somalia and the corporate concessions at stake.

"In the oil world, Somalia is a fringe exploration area," said one Conoco executive who asked not to be named. "They've overexaggerated it," he said of the geologists' optimism about the prospective oil reserves there. And as for Washington's motives in Somalia, he brushed aside criticisms that have been voiced quietly in Mogadishu, saying, "With America, there is a genuine humanitarian streak in us . . . that many other countries and cultures cannot understand."

But the same source added that Conoco's decision to maintain its headquarters in the Somali capital even after it pulled out the last of its major equipment in the spring of 1992 was certainly not a humanitarian one. And he confirmed that the company, which has explored Somalia in three major phases beginning in 1952, had achieved "very good oil shows" -- industry terminology for an exploration phase that often precedes a major discovery -- just before the war broke out.

"We had these very good shows," he said. "We were pleased. That's why Conoco stayed on. . . . The people in Houston are convinced there's oil there."

Indeed, the same Conoco World article that praised Conoco's general manager in Somalia for his role in the humanitarian effort quoted Marchand as saying, "We stayed because of Somalia's potential for the company and to protect our assets."

Marchand, a French citizen who came to Somalia from Chad after a civil war forced Conoco to suspend operations there, explained the role played by his firm in helping set up the U.S.-led pacification mission in Mogadishu.

"When the State Department asked Conoco management for assistance, I was glad to use the company's influence in Somalia for the success of this mission," he said in the magazine article. "I just treated it like a company operation -- like moving a rig. I did it for this operation because the (U.S.) officials weren't familiar with the environment."

Marchand and his company were clearly familiar with the anarchy into which Somalia has descended over the past two years -- a nation with no functioning government, no utilities and few roads, a place ruled loosely by regional warlords.

Of the four U.S. companies holding the Siad Barre-era oil concessions, Conoco is believed to be the only one that negotiated what spokesman Geybauer called "a standstill agreement" with an interim government set up by one of Mogadishu's two principal warlords, Ali Mahdi Mohamed. Industry sources said the other U.S. companies with contracts in Somalia cited "force majeure" (superior power), a legal term asserting that they were forced by the war to abandon their exploration efforts and would return as soon as peace is restored.

"It's going to be very interesting to see whether these agreements are still good," said Mohamed Jirdeh, a prominent Somali businessman in Mogadishu who is familiar with the oil-concession agreements. "Whatever Siad did, all those records and contracts, all disappeared after he fled. . . . And this period has brought with it a deep change of our society.

"Our country is now very weak, and, of course, the American oil companies are very strong. This has to be handled very diplomatically, and I think the American government must move out of the oil business, or at least make clear that there is a definite line separating the two, if they want to maintain a long-term relationship here."

January 03, 2007

Innovation - An Indian Perspective

WHAT ROLE CAN INDIA PLAY IN THIS ERA OF INNOVATION?
Source http://www.icmr.icfai.org/

Interview with Arindam Banerjee




India can play a role in using innovation to build large, successful multinational companies. To do so companies in India will have to dominate in one or two segments with products that are clearly identified as theirs.

Interview by - Pradip Sinha,
Associate Consultant,
ICFAI Center for Management Research.


Arindam Banerji Arindam Banerji is a scientist and entrepreneur in the Silicon Valley. He took the usual route of going from the IITs, through a PhD in the US, to finally working in Sundry Research Labs. Some day, he plans to return to India, but for now, as time permits, he writes on various geopolitical issues.




What is innovation? How will you define it?

Innovation can be defined in many ways, but I have a very different view on innovation as a whole.
To me...

Innovation is more than just a great idea, it is the entire process that makes an idea, big or small, commercially successful

Innovation is the enablement of creation of new ideas, at a grass-roots level, in our schools and universities.

Innovation, is a numbers game -the better the odds for our scientists to be successful-the better our chances of producing commercially viable innovations.

Innovation is a key catalyst for India to take its rightful place in the comity of developed nations.

Innovation, for us in India, must include a rural and socially relevant focus. Innovation in India will probably have more to do with problems in India, and countries in South East Asia or Africa, rather than the US.


Innovation implies a kind of leadership, that will hoist some of the best companies from just being competitive in niche markets to broad household names.

Innovation is an attitude, that must be inculcated in our students-the attitude to believe that they can change the world with their ideas.

How critical is innovation for survival in the 21st century?

Innovation has always been critical -it was critical in the last century and will remain so, this century too. Countries like the US and Germany drove innovation in large parts in the last century - India has a chance to take this leadership position this century.

We must realize that political and economic conditions change. The same conditions that attract a lot of price-differential based work to India, may see it go to other countries in the future for exactly the same reasons.

Depending upon cheap labor is not a long-term strategy for countries like India. In fact, just last week, talking to some Indian executives of outsourcing companies, I heard them complain about price-differentials for work done in India becoming consistently thinner. Remember, Mexico has seen a lot of its automobile component manufacturing move to countries like China, Brazil, and now India and it was the unquestioned price differential leader for such outsourcing only a decade ago. The price- differential based industries have a tendency to move elsewhere.

So, the question is - what option does a nation have?

The answer lies in looking at another analogy. Look at the technology to make commercial grade jet engines. The basic technology for jet engines was invented in 1930, and realized operationally by the late 1930s. So, it is a technology that has been available at least for 60 odd years, if not more. But, how many countries can produce jet engines commercially today?

Very few-the reason- countries like the US, UK, France have built on the base innovation that makes it impossible for any country to catch up and produce jet engines, without huge investments. Essentially, they have managed to procure an unfair advantage, that very few countries can take away from them. This shows you the long-term nature of innovation.

Countries like the UK, US, France, Russia and others have long held on to the jet engine manufacturing industry and it is not moving away any time soon. This is a critical lesson for this century too.

Innovation based industries and intellectual property based industries can be held on to. This is true even in the software industry, for example, a company like BEA openly claims (in news.com) that it does all its key architectural work and intellectual property creation in the US itself. Oracle, with its productized intellectual property in databases, will be one of the strongest players in databases for a long time to come. Now consider what will happen if IBM's services arms move some of its operations to Mangalore and Bhubaneshwar, what price advantage will Infosys, then enjoy?

For countries, as well as companies, long-term survival and sustained growth comes only through innovation. Innovation is the unfair advantage that countries, as well as companies need to grow over a long-term.

What is the relevance of innovation for the successful and not so successful companies of today?
I would really look at the Infosys-Google gap. No, I'm not bashing Infosys here-I have a lot of friends there-but there is a gap that has to be noticed.

Google is arguably the hottest company in Silicon valley, while Infosys, clearly is one of India's best known. Infosys has ten times the employees that Google has and has been around for about 23 years, while Google has been around only for six years. But, the difference in market capitalization is staggering - Google is well over two times as valuable as Infosys. It is worth over $25 bn, while Infosys is just over $12 bn, the last I checked.

This does not mean that Infosys is not successful, but that its long-term growth is predicated upon creating intellectual property (read innovations) that it can brand and sell for high margins. This is how some of the Indian companies can become large enough to have market caps of $50 bn-$60 bn.

But, it is more than just the numbers. Google is now a household name and in fact, its part of our vocabulary- "googling" is a word that I often hear in nightly sit-coms. The question is, what will it take for an Indian company to get there. The answer at least "starts" with innovation.

I was recently involved as an expert witness, in a case where a small company had sold some of its patents to a Fortune 50 company for nearly $500 mn. This company with fairly nominal sales had, through a set of good ideas produced over a few years, managed to get the kind of cash infusion, that most companies struggle to achieve. This shows you the possibilities.

Having said this I would like to point out, that innovation is not just about owning a handful of patents, or just the technology idea. It is about the entire end-to-end management of innovation, from management of the idea, shaping products around the idea, building a successful business model around it, pricing it and readying it for easy adoption, amongst other things.

Innovation without this end-to-end value chain does not help the companies that create it. Let me give you one example- I worked at a Fortune 50 company, that had a large research lab separate from its product divisions, but I would consistently notice that most of the adopted innovations would actually come from small research groups working surreptitiously within the product divisions themselves, instead of the large heavily funded research lab. The reason - the research groups within the divisions were just better connected to the end-to-end value chains and could produce work that fit the business needs much better. It is this connectivity between innovation and business needs that successful companies like 3M have consistently created.

In fact, it is this connectivity that I find in most successful companies, that have been around for a long time.

What role do you think India can play in this era of innovation?

You know, when I compare the graduating classes, say from Stanford, with my graduating class from IIT-Kharagpur, I think my class at IIT, on the average was better intellectually. Similarly, when I was running labs in the UK and India concurrently, I noticed that after some initial hiccups, the overall work done by the Indian teams was far better than the work coming from the corresponding UK teams. It is this innate ability of Indians that we must utilize for going forward.

Indians already dominate most non-defense centers of innovation within the US-this for a country whose engine of growth is innovation. The question is, why can't this happen within India, too. We produce a very large number of qualified professionals, every year. Indians represent a group of people, if appropriately rewarded, can be very flexible and hard working. The question is what can we do with these basic ingredients of successful manpower and size?

The answer has to start with our own unique needs. India as a country has unique needs. So, for example, we could produce $400 tractor add-on. This would not make sense for US farms, but would be eminently usable anywhere in South East Asia and Africa. The point is, India could become the center of innovation for low-priced but very appropriate products for the entire under-developed world. Believe me, the US engineers are not going to worry about producing a $400 tractor add-on, but for Indian farmers, this becomes heaven sent.

The next place where India can play a role is in using innovation to build large, successful, multi- national companies. I mean companies the size of an Oracle or a 3M. To do so, companies in India will have to dominate in one or two segments with products that are clearly identified as theirs.

This means innovation, innovation at a cost, i.e., one-fifth of what it would cost in a western nation. So, for example, when we created an AIDS cocktail that was just as effective as those from the international drug majors, but at a fraction of the price, we created a stir. We just need to do a lot more of that. We need to focus on places, where we can create a difference immediately, such as IT, pharma, healthcare, automobile parts and so on. Doing so, will allow our nascent billion dollar firms to shoot past the $10 bn mark in revenues.

Finally, in terms of our national defense, innovation is important. We spend ridiculous amounts on buying jets from countries like France, if our aerospace program succeeds, we could save many millions of dollars in our defense budgets within the next decade. Similiarly, once you have technology of your own, the armtwisting that major powers can exercise on countries like India, also dissipates. You will notice that as our LCA nears operational status with our airforce, we'll start getting a lot more offers from the US companies wanting to sell us stuff at prices that they would not consider at this point in time. India lives in a dangerous part of the world, but we need to convert this into an asset by using innovation to develop a defense industry that can access a large part of the world defense market-this will not only bring in a lot of foreign exchange for us, but also get rid of the unnecessary arm twisting that is foisted on India these days.

Any other thoughts/views you would like to share with our readers?

I think the most important aspect of the next few years for India is to focus on a few specific things:

For us - Focus on improving the odds for Indian scientists to succeed.

For the Government of India - Improve the quality of engineering, science and medical education provided by second and third tier colleges and universities.

For state governments - Use government funds to encourage VCs and financial institutions to invest in rural technologies and innovation in areas that help India as a whole.

For the media - Journalists and media outlets need to push Indian companies and their CEOs to innovate more- especially the CEOs of larger companies.

For NGOs and industry c o n s o r t i ums-R e w a r d scientists and professors who create new ideas significantly- even if they are part of Government of India research institutions.

For our industry consortiums - Create high level groups in Industry consortiums (CII, FICII, etc.) to help co-ordinate key areas of research, such as in smart materials- CII, FICCI, NASSCOM must step up to the plate and deliver measurable results in enabling innovation in India.

For Indian executives - Get India, Inc. to invest more in R&D-even if you have to go hire the right people, even if you have to take that extra risk, even if you have to take that extra hour away from your short-term goals.

For Indian teachers - Focus on teaching your students intellectual arrogance, tell them that they can come up with world-changing ideas. Our teachers, even at the IITs do not teach us this.

I will repeat, the most important issue is to improve the odds for Indian researchers and scientists, and many groups, subgroups and individuals have a role to play, in this.

For executives, my parting message would be: Do not wait for innovation to happen, do not wait for the government to come and help you.

Innovation in the small must start with you-it must start with steps taken by individual executives at small and large companies. Small baby steps taken by individual executives will lead to the kind of watershed innovations that we dream about.

In the end, innovation is about our attitude.

India Israel's largest arms buyer

REAL DEAL: Missiles and anti-missile defense systems, however, remain the priority.
New Delhi: Buoyed by Indian defense procurement worth $1.5 billion, the Israeli defense industries have recorded all-time high sales figures in 2006.

"India was Israel's biggest customer with purchases reaching $1.5 billion," Head of SIBAT, the Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Department at the Defense Ministry, Major General Yossi Ben-Hanan told The Jerusalem Post.

It included Israel's single largest sale to a foreign country made by the Israel Aircraft Industries in the sale of the Barak Naval anti-missile defense system, valued at around $450 million, Ben-Hanan told the daily.

Unperturbed by the US entry into the Indian market, the defense official said it would not make a dent in Israeli defense sales to New Delhi.

"America sells fighter jets, tanks and helicopters and we do not compete with them," Ben-Hanan said.

On the contrary, he said, that it may even lead to an increase. "We can for example sell the necessary accompanying systems that they will need alongside the larger US platforms," Ben-Hanan noted.

Defense Industries sources told PTI that "despite certain speculations the bilateral defense ties remain as strong as ever".

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi and Navy vice-chief Vice-Admiral Venkat Bharathan, among others, visited Israel in 2006 to re-affirm the strong ties.

Joint R&D projects for more advanced radars, long endurance and high altitude UAVs, electronic warfare systems, third generation night fighting capabilities and such other areas are being explored for cooperation.

As per the sources, missiles and anti-missile defense systems, however, remain the priority.

Breaking an all-time record, the Israeli defense ministry announced on December 31 that its sales reached just over $4.4 billion in 2006, placing it among the top five exporters, just behind the US and England.

Over three-quarters of the total sales were to foreign countries and the remaining was purchased by the Israel Defense Forces.

"This is a great achievement. The world has put its faith in our industries through the deals it has signed with Israeli companies," Ben-Hanan said.

Israel also sold defense goods worth $1 billion to the US.

January 01, 2007

US Agenda & Foreign Policy

-- Author wish to be anonymous

In order to understand the present US foreign policy we need to understand the various global political agendas of various groups in US. Depending on the administration one group or the other or a combination these groups will be in power.


Agenda-1: Neo-Con Agenda


This agenda's main philosophy is making US super powerful even at the cost of other nations or other people. People who follow this agenda are generally Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield etc. The present US administration is mainly controlled by the people who believe in this ideology. This group believes that

1. US should be the only leader/king nation in this World. US should be able to subjugate any nation which does not follow US order (famous words "you are with us or against us"). This implies only US needs to have most sophisticated weapons. As there are some nations which already have nukes, hence this group wishes that US develop more sophisticated weapons like "space nukes" by which they can even control nuclear weapon states. This also involves discouraging and also threatening other nations who wish to develop nukes.

2. This group believes only pure White Christian Americans should rule the World. They believe in a hierarchy of power structure based on the races and religions. In their belief US comes first and next comes Europe's some main states like UK, France, and Germany etc. Next in the order are Israel, Russia, China and India. The bottoms of this list are Islamic nations like Pakistan, Iraq, Iran etc.

3. This group also believes US should have the first right on entire World's resources. Presently if they don't have such a right they try to get that control through various means. Adding to this if US can't have the resource then make the region messy so that no other nation will be able to use those resources.

4. This group also believes that there should be continuous conflict in the Middle East so that US will have complete control over the resources. This group also wants to have a permanent US military in this region so that they control the region better.

5. This group supported and wanted the "Iraq War" mainly because it showed the World US military strength (by hanging Saddam) and they wish to have permanent presence in Iraq. They really don't really care about the chaos in Iraq as long as US causalities are minimum. The logic is that as long as Iraq is under civil war the resources are used by none. And the US force in Iraq will enable it control the control the wreaked country after few years of civil war. The only problem now is that US causalities are increasing daily and it is becoming difficult with US electorate (Republicans lost US congress).

6. This group doesn't mind India having nukes as long they are minimal and US has control over India's foreign policy. Adding to this India's nukes will never be a threat to US as US will develop more sophisticated nukes by which small time nuclear states like India will be no match.


Agenda-2: Conservative Agenda



This is a slightly milder version of Neo-Con agenda. This is basically a modified colonial agenda. This agenda involves making US a superpower and making other powerful nations like China, Russia, Europe perpetually dependent on US economy and technology. This group mainly believes in using political and financial strengths of US. The best example of a person who propagates this agenda is "Henry Kissinger". The US administration which closely resembles this agenda was Ronald Regan's US administration.

1. This agenda involves "Anglo-White" imperialistic World order (Ronald Regan + Margaret Thatcher does this ring the bell?). This group in the olden times used to believe in colonial power structure. In order to maintain power these people employ generally the following strategies viz. creating client states by bribing the leaders or continuously keeping certain regions of the World under conflict or
arming the guerillas. These strategies fail with democratic states and hence the US never creates any democratic state. US only created puppet client states.

2. This agenda involves sharing the World resources only with the worthy nations or people. The first in the list of worthy nations are obviously the western nations. Reluctantly these people have come to the conclusion that they need to share some resources with China. Adding to this China is managing the US administration very
intelligently.

3. This group believes in creating huge number of client states globally like Iran under Shaw, entire Latin America under dummy governments etc. These people don't like if a country becomes extremely nationalistic. They try some way or the other to create problems. They hate the present Venezuela's president Chavez as his
policies are complete contrary to their political vision.

4. This group also supported and wanted the Iraq war. The reason is that after 911 attack they felt the "Anglo-White" order was threatened and US needed to show them (Muslims and others) who controls the World. This was the reason Henry Kissinger said just attacking Afghanistan was not enough after the 911 attacks; US needed to remove Saddam also. His exact words were "we need to teach them a lesson". Teach whom the answer is obvious!!

5. This group after winning the Iraq war would have setup a puppet Iraq regime and left the country once satisfied the Iraq's resources are under their control. These people will be satisfied if Iraq becomes a client state like Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the present Iraq war has strengthen Iran as US will be leaving Iraq in about a year.

6. This group also supports India-US nuclear deal but want to make sure US is getting enough in return for their "kindness". Like support for squeezing Iran etc. These people always hated India's independent foreign policy as it gives ideas for other states and also their opponents. They must have wished for India's democracy to become failure as that didn't happen they wish to control India through some
carrots. Adding to this India's independent behavior didn't fit in their "Anglo-White" supremacy principle.


Agenda-3: Realistic Agenda


This agenda is followed by people like Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright etc. This involves making the US a World leader by proving to the World that US is the only country which can solve all the World's problems (because US is powerful and has money). This group is neither racists nor anti-religious. This group believes in pluralistic World order having leadership centered on US. This group has lot of
intellectuals.

1. This group is willing to cut down some US nuclear weapons if other countries are willing to give up their nuclear weapons. This vision will never happen because as Agenda-1&2 groups will block any attempt to make US a less nuclear weapon state. Remember the way they have rejected the CTBT during Clinton's regime.

2. This group will try to settle the World's disputes with whatever way it is possible, which may not be fair and they try to create balance. Generally they have soft corner for Islamic nations, I guess because they are more noisier. As India is a soft state they squeeze India.

3. This group will always try to keep India and Pakistan at the same level. And they will always support Pakistan over India. The main reason being by supporting Pakistan they get extra leverage with other Islamic nations.

4. War is the last resort for this group and they try to rally all the nations if they wish to punish a dictator like Saddam.

5. This group wants neither India nor Pakistan have any nukes. Hence they will try very hard to push both these countries for peaceful talks (remember during Clinton's time Vajpayee invited Musharaff). This group is very bad for India remember the sanctions slapped on India after the 1998 nuclear tests.

6. This group will aggressively push NPT and they are not happy with the India-US nuke deal. They agreed for the deal as they could get NPT+CTBT in the final deal. US have already tightened the NSG rules so that India is denied any help if US decides not to support India. India will end up in multi-level Tarapore traps with this US-India nuclear deal.


Agenda-4: Puritan Agenda


This is a highly fair agenda for the World. These people are very honest and sincere. People like Horward Dean (Dem) follow this agenda. They neither want the US to be the World leader nor a superpower. They want total Worldwide nuclear disarmament (including US) and US not getting involved in World's conflicts. These people would like the US to become like Canada. As we all know Islamic terrorists only want to bomb US but they are not bothering with Canada.


Conclusion

I have always noticed US administration following Agenda-1 or Agenda-2 or Agenda-1+2 or Agenda-2+3 only. Agenda-4 is purely academic. Even Clinton administration followed Agenda-3+2, it was not purely Agenda-3. I have also noticed India gained maximum by making deals with US administration that follows Agenda-1 or Agenda-2. Other US administrations (i.e mainly Agenda-3 administrations) generally sermon India rather than helping India with anything worth mentioning.

It is always better for India to evaluate the behavior of all the groups before getting in to any deals with US. Most of the times US gives guarantees only orally which means they are valid only for that administration, while they extract perpetual guarantees from the other nations. The best example is India-US nuclear deal. The conditions attached by the US congress may be considered as advisory by the present Bush administration but the next president of the US most certainly will act differently.