November 06, 2010

India should not put all its eggs in the basket of the US president, says N.V.Subramanian.

Beyond Obama
India should not put all its eggs in the basket of the US president, says N.V.Subramanian.

http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=2061

London, 5 November 2010: In continuation of the Wednesday commentary, "Summit & after", and especially in the backdrop of Barack Obama's "defeat" in the mid-term elections, India has to make calculated changes in its engagements with the United States. It is improbable that a prime minister as timid as Manmohan Singh will put into effect the "calculated changes" suggested by this writer, among them being to engage the US over and above the American president, encompassing the Congress, Wall Street and big business, NGOs, special interest groups, opinion-makers, the media, and so forth, but the collapsing presidency of Barack Obama gives little other choice.

Whatever India had to gain from the US in the short term has been delivered by the previous American president, George W.Bush. The dynamics of Indo-US relations under Bush are too well-known to be repeated but references to them have been made in the alluded Wednesday commentary. The problem with Obama is that America is going down in his charge, and he has no clue as to what to do about it. The mid-term voting is indicative of the hopelessness generated by his presidency, and India should not consider itself immune from that sinking feeling.
Such a decisive vote against his policies, or the absence of them, should have compelled Obama to reflect on his presidential performance, and to then embrace change. But Obama is so risk-averse that he is unwilling to change, and even to consider that option. He is so immobilized by failure and the fear that attends it that he cannot look ahead much less plan for the future. For example, his observations about his forthcoming India visit are so full of rhetoric, so absent of deliverables, and so defeatist, that it has been pre-determined and hard wired for failure.

Obama has willy-nilly sunk India's hopes for a permanent membership in the UN Security Council anytime soon, saying the issue is too difficult and complicated. He has reiterated his opposition to outsourcing and he has indicated there will be no movement on the removal of certain Indian strategic establishments from the entities' list. So what is he coming for?

Some Indian strategists have argued not to look at Indo-US relations in transactional terms. But it is hard to imagine how else partnerships between two states ought to be considered and measured. Certainly, India and the US are not "natural allies" as, say, America is of the UK or even Western Europe, which it rushed to protect from a recent Al-Qaeda planned attack originating in Pakistan's FATA. On the other hand, and it hardly needs reminding, the US intimated zilch about David Coleman Headley's links to 26/11 until it was over, and that too after his role in a plot to avenge the Danish Prophet's cartoons came to light.
The transactional nature of US ties with its non-UK, non-European allies is not restricted to India. Decades ago, it was willing to sell Taiwanese interests down the river for closer relations with China, until an alarmed Taiwan lobbied hard and tirelessly with the Congress and other institutions. There is also the fact that American presidential powers are in decline relative to Congress (and the US Supreme Court) since Richard Nixon went down with Watergate. George W.Bush or rather politicians around him like Dick Cheney tried to fashion an imperial presidency for him but failed. Barack Obama had the mandate for change but flunked for a variety of reasons, torpedoing the American presidency.

It is after examining those reasons that a change in course for Indo-US relations has been suggested in the first paragraph. Quite apart from Obama's personal failures (and there are many), there is the fact that certain sectional interests are too deeply entrenched in the American system to suffer easy dislodgement even from a wilfully powerful president, which the incumbent is not. To cut a long story short, India has to move to make alliances with Wall Street and big business (while protecting its core and sovereign economic interests), Congress and so on, both to give positive impetus and depth to ties with the US, and to protect its peaceful rise from China. For instance, it is a failure of Indian PR that while Obama rages against outsourcing to Indian companies, the fact that nearly all manufacturing disastrously has relocated to China scarcely finds mention, and China has powered ahead to challenge the US precisely because of its manufacturing clout. It is no argument, or nothing that the Indians should accept, that Americans are more visibly angry at Indian call centres because they interact so often with them than they are enraged about products they buy which are mostly but less obtrusively made in China.
But as said in the beginning of this piece, it is unclear if a timid PM like Manmohan Singh will dare to go above Barack Obama's head to engage with America. But if he cannot, others after him have to. And this is not something entirely new for India, although the circumstances were different before. Even though the former US president, George W.Bush, brought about the Indo-US nuclear deal, India also lobbied hard and purposively with other branches of the US establishment and with important enclaves of civil society to enable its bipartisan passage (and which Obama as senator opposed). In the present case, Obama is not proving friendly enough for India (although he is not capriciously unfriendly either; he is merely choked up and too daunted to make new initiatives), so others have strenuously to be engaged with. It may be that when India changes the US environment increasingly favourably for itself through its own efforts, Barack Obama may come more agreeably and willingly on board as a friend of India.

But the point is this. India must build ties with the US regardless of the person of the American president. This might appear a revolutionary suggestion but it is simply logical. This is the only way Indo-US relations will sustain and be insulated from the whims/ predilections/ ideologies/ personal inadequacies of whoever occupies the White House. If India wants a "natural alliance" with the US for its own strategic advancement and for its peaceful rise, it must have to begin looking beyond Barack Obama.
N.V.Subramanian is Editor, www.NewsInsight.net, and writes internationally on strategic affairs.

US-India ‘strategic partnership’ needs a re-definition

Harsh V Pant

The hype surrounding the visit of US President Barack Obama has already built up considerably.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/110472/us-india-strategic-partnership-needs.html

Officials on both sides have been busy laying the groundwork for the visit. The Indian foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, was in Washington recently and the US under secretary of state for political affairs William Burns visited Delhi last week to put in place an agenda for the visit that can match the outcome of the visit by Obama’s predecessor George W Bush. But the context of Obama’s visit is entirely different.

Obama will be visiting India at a time when there is great political turmoil in Washington and the president’s authority is rapidly eroding. The losses suffered by the Democratic Party in this week’s mid-term elections have been huge and a serious blow to Obama’s political profile. Obama, who muscled through Congress perhaps the most ambitious domestic agenda in a generation in the form of health care legislation, finds himself vilified by the right, castigated by the left and abandoned by the middle. He will face a Congress that will be less friendly to the president than the one he has dealt with over the last two years.

By failing to stay connected with the desires and aspirations of those who voted for him in large numbers, Obama seems to have achieved the rare feat of simultaneously disappointing those who considered him the very embodiment of a new progressive movement and those who expected him to govern from the middle ushering in a post-partisan age. Two years down the line, he remains a mystery to most Americans.

Just after the Republican Scott Brown captured the Massachusetts Senate seat held for decades by Ted Kennedy, costing Democrats their filibuster-proof control of the US Senate, Obama had suggested that he would rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term one. He is now realising that being a really good one-term president is not all that easy either.

On foreign policy front too, there are few achievements that the Obama administration can boast of. Based on an erroneous faith in his own power of persuasion, Obama had believed that he could overcome differences if he just sat down with the world’s most recalcitrant figures — whether they be the mullahs in Iran, the Communist Party in China or the Palestinian interlocutors. But the rest of the world took this as a sign of American weakness, a result of the changing economic balance of power from Washington to Beijing.

As for US-India ties, there is a sense that divergences are just too great for Obama’s visit to produce anything really substantive. In a letter sent to the Manmohan Singh, Obama has reportedly conveyed what his expectations are for the visit, expressing hope that the civil nuclear liability law would be re-examined in light of the US nuclear industry’s concerns and other issues like the purchase of C-17 aircrafts and market access to US agricultural products could be looked at seriously by India.

The Indian armed forces have made their reservations clear about the defence pacts that the US is keen on, like the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA). There will be many more rounds of discussions before anything concrete emerges on these proposals.
NSG membership

The Obama administration is divided on going ahead with supporting India’s UNSC candidature. The kind of explicit commitment India wants, the US will find it difficult to deliver though this is a relatively easy thing to do, given that there is unlikely to be any move on UNSC expansion anytime soon. The US may agree to help India with the NSG membership as a sweetener.

The Obama administration remains troubled by India’s civil nuclear liability law. Though India has signalled that it is ready to sign the CSC in an attempt to alleviate some of the US concerns, the US officials have been very explicit about their disappointment with some even suggesting that the new Indian law might sound the death knell of the US-India strategic partnership.

India, for its part, wants US to further liberalise its export controls, in particular seeking the removal of ISRO and DRDO from the US Entity List. Delhi wants a clean and complete deletion of all Indian entities from the List of the US Bureau of Industrial Standards but the US seems unwilling to go that far.

And then let’s not forget Af-Pak where there is nothing that the US is in a position to offer at this time that can satisfy India’s growing anxieties. Though the US has rejected Pakistan’s calls for US mediation on Kashmir, there has been no cessation of US military assistance to Pakistan.

For all the rhetoric, the US-India relationship has lost momentum in the last two years. There is no strategic outlook that is driving this relationship at the moment. Both New Delhi and Washington are merely interested in tactical manoeuvring vis-à-vis each other.

It is ironic that both sides can with some justification claim at this point that issues important to them are not being given due importance by the other side. The two sides will definitely try to put the best possible gloss over the outcome, but there are just too many divergences at this point to make Obama’s visit significant in a major way. And this is rather unfortunate as the US and India need each other at this time of rapid structural change in global politics and economics being ushered in by the rise of China.

Perhaps, it is time to give some concrete meaning to the much overused phrase — ‘strategic partnership.’

INDIA’S SOFT RESPONSE TO CHINESE ASSERTIVENESS

B.RAMAN

The Government of India has sought to play down the worrisome implications of China’s new policy on Kashmir favouring Pakistan, its growing strategic presence in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan-Occupies Kashmir (POK), its disinclination to give up its claims to the Indian territory of Arunachal Pradesh and its strengthening of its military-related capabilities in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

2. The strengthening of its military-related capabilities in the TAR has been in the form of a further upgradation of its highway network, the construction of more airports ostensibly to meet civilian needs, the extension of the railway line from Lhasa towards the border with Nepal and Arunachal Pradesh with plans for the ultimate construction of a railway link-up with Nepal and military exercises involving various units of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), including the Air Force and strategic artillery units. Among the objectives of these exercises are to fine-tune their capability to fight jointly against an adversary at high altitudes, strategic operations of the Air Force involving long-distance flights with mid-air refueling and the reliability of its strategic missiles at high altitudes.

3. The PLA has been handling the implementation of the projects and exercises for strengthening the military-related capabilities in the TAR and the strategic presence in the Gilgit-Baltistan area by taking advantage of Pakistani needs in the wake of landslides and severe floods in the region twice this year. These projects and exercises will enable the PLA to pose a threat to the Indian Armed Forces from two directions----from the North and the West.

4. Even while thus enhancing the PLA’s military capabilities, the Chinese political leadership has sought to maintain a reassuring profile during its interactions with its Indian counterpart. This reassuring profile was evident in the recent cordial meeting on October 30,2010,between Dr.Manmohan Singh and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in the margins of the ASEAN-sponsored East Asia summit at Hanoi, the announcement made after the meeting of the plans of Wen to visit New Delhi in December as part of the year-long celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the visit this week to New Delhi by Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, to attend a seminar on Sino-Indian relations, co-organized by the CPC and the ruling Indian National Congress as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations.

5. Commenting on the visit of Zhou, the “Global Times”, the daily of the CPC, wrote on November 1,2010, as follows: “China-India relations have maintained good momentum recently, despite some heated discussions on their relations as rivals. "The argument of the two countries' rivalry is inappropriate," said Miao Hongni, a professor from the International Relations Institute at Communication University of China. "Beijing and New Delhi are in the process of learning from each other. India excels at IT and outsourcing areas, while China is better at the manufacturing industry.As two responsible countries, they will cooperate to improve the development of Asia,"

6.It quoted Dr.Manmohan Singh as saying that India and China would look for "practical and pragmatic" measures to solve border issues, calling on the two sides to ensure "peace and tranquillity" in the region.

7. The impression sought to be created by the political leaderships of the two countries is that the bilateral relations are developing satisfactorily and that there is nothing to worry about. The reality is otherwise. India has many reasons to worry about the Chinese policies and capabilities, but by playing them down and avoiding highlighting them the Government of Dr. Manmohan Singh is repeating the mistake of Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s when he tried to play down Chinese intrusions into Indian territory in the Ladakh sector and their construction of the Aksai Chin Road. By the time he realized the seriousness of the Chinese activities and sought to draw international attention to the malign intention and activities of the Chinese, it was too late. When the Sino-Indian military conflict of 1962 broke out, we were caught unprepared and without the support----not even the moral support---- of the international community.

8.The Chinese leaders are quite happy with the reluctance shown by the Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh to inform the Indian public opinion and the international community about the nature of the activities of the PLA under the cover of friendship. It suits their designs that the international community is given the impression that everything is normal in Sino-Indian relations and that the Government of India is not unduly worried over the Chinese activities.

9. The Chinese assertiveness across the Sino-Indian border and their determination to enforce their territorial claims in Arunachal Pradesh have been evident for about two years now. Their virtual military alliance with Pakistan has been a new worrisome factor. It was during the same period that similar Chinese assertiveness was directed against some ASEAN countries with which China has disputes over island territories in the South China Sea and against Japan with which China has disputes in the East China Sea. Instead of playing down their concerns over the Chinese assertiveness, those countries made their concerns evident to the international community thereby inviting statements of support for them from the US. The Chinese are particularly angry with the present Government in Japan because it actively highlighted the Chinese activities which threatened peace and security in the East China Sea area and invoked the support of the US under its security commitments to Japan.

10. As against its anger against Japan and irritation against Vietnam, the Chinese leadership is happy with the lack of an energetic response from the Government of India. This has enabled the Chinese to go ahead with their activities detrimental to India without having to face adverse attention from the international community.

11. While the keenness of the Manmohan Singh Government to maintain the seeming cordiality and momentum in the relations with China is understandable, its soft response to Chinese activities which could prove detrimental to Indian interests and security could prove counter-productive and could ultimately lead us to a military confrontation, however much we may want to avoid it. Softness in response has been the defining characteristic of our policies towards Pakistan and China. They are both taking advantage of our reluctance to respond energetically to undermine our security. An energetic response need not necessarily be in the form of a slanging match with Beijing. It ought to be in the form of a crash programme to strengthen our defence capabilities against China and building up a network of strategic relationships with countries such as Japan and Vietnam. The hopes entertained by many of us that Dr.Manmohan Singh would avail of his recent visits to Japan and Vietnam for this purpose in a manner that would convey an unmistakable message to Beijing have been belied. ( 5-11-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Balochistan; Crimes Against Humanity: Open letter to His Excellency Ban Ki-moon from Mohammad Akhar Mengal

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General
United Nations,

I on behalf of people of Balochistan, Pakistan, submitting this urgent human rights appeal regarding gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity taking place in Pakistan's largest and resource rich region, against moderate Baloch people by the Pakistani establishment and security forces.

Attached is 1, an appeal, 2, introduction to the region and human rights violations, 3, list of enforced disappeared and killed political leaders and activists, 4, Amnesty International recent report/statement on unabated killings and torture in Balochistan.


  • An Appeal to UN
  • Introduction to the region and human right Violations
  • list of enforced disappeared and killed political leaders and activists
  • Amnesty International recent report/statement on unabated killings and torture in
    Balochistan.

  • We look forward that the United Nation will take immediate steps to address this human rights emergency.

    Sincerely,

    Mohammad Akhar Mengal

    President

    Balochistan National Party

    Ph: No: +97152709822

    Home: +97144435779



  • VIEW: Balochistan: endless despair —Mohammad Akhtar Mengal

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\05\story_5-11-2010_pg3_3

    The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment

    Although the British Raj ended in 1947, under Pakistan’s ethnically structured and politically over-centralised state, the concept and practice of second-class citizenry remains a common practice by the dominant group against the underprivileged people.

    Initially, the East Pakistani population was the prime victim of this policy of systematic second-class citizenry; they were discriminated against because of their ethnicity, origin, and political aspirations. They were denied legal rights, civil rights, political rights and overall economic opportunities in a country that came into being through the extraordinary contribution of the Bengali political and intellectual elite.

    Rebuffing West Pakistan’s neo-colonial policies, the Bengalis took a non-violent path to change their destiny. They voted in favour of the Awami League and sent a clear signal to the power base in Lahore, GHQ and Islamabad that the days of institutionalised slavery are over. The dominant civil-military establishment’s hawkish response to Bengal’s political verdict was ruthless, which resulted in millions of deaths, destruction and separation of East Pakistan.

    After the fall of Dhaka, the same hawkish elite apprehended another opportunity to continue its policy of second-class citizenry, and this time the Baloch people became a soft target. Balochistan was wealth-looted, people-killed, land-grabbed for strategic use and its people were systematically kept underdeveloped.

    Furthermore, the hawkish elite and ethnically dominant policy-making institutions imposed new methods to further suppress the ‘Baloch second-class citizenry’. Thousands of people were recruited in Frontier Corps (FC) from FATA, Punjab and other provinces, denying the right of employment to the locals. The same FC established hundreds of check posts during the 1980s to date, just to restrict people’s social, economic and development movements.

    The appalling poverty, desolation, unemployment, worsening health conditions, malnourishment, tribal in-fighting, mounting corruption, support for drug barons and religious fundamentalism in historically peaceful and secular-oriented Baloch society are the domino effects of systematic policies imposed by the Islamabad super-establishment.

    Initially, the central government and its operational arms, i.e. military and paramilitary troops and security agencies, used co-option as a powerful instrument to buy sympathy for Islamabad’s colonial policies. They also practiced the policy of ‘divide and rule’ by instigating inter-ethnic and tribal rivalries to undermine the Baloch people’s logical movement for the right to self-determination.

    After successive failure in both strategies to intimidate moderate political activists and co-opt the legitimate Baloch leadership, the Centre is applying new tactics to create mass fear and eliminate forward thinking Baloch nationalists.

    This new policy is meant to serve, if continued unabatedly, two main objectives: a) getting rid of the moderate Baloch political class, which is unwilling to submit to the mighty civil-military establishment; b) to pave the way for Taliban-like fundamentalist groups, co-opted corrupt elite and mafias to influence regional security developments and serve the establishment’s broader strategic interests.

    The implementation of policy began, and continued, since the military unleashed an unjustified air and ground operation against the people of Dera Bugti and Kohlu in December 2005. The disproportionate and indiscriminate use of power by troops against the civilian population was immense. The operation resulted in loss of life, property, displacement and killing of veteran Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Mir Balaach Marri.

    In the last two years, this policy of elimination has taken a more serious twist. The government-backed serial killers are openly targeting senior Baloch leaders, and security agencies are ‘disappearing’ and then throwing the mutilated bodies of political activists on the streets.

    The cold-blooded murder of Balochistan National Party (BNP) leaders, i.e. Mr Habib Jalib Baloch in July 2010, Haji Liaquat Mengal in July 2010, Attaullah Baloch in August 2010, Mir Noordin Mengal in October 2010, and the recent target killing of National Party senior leader Maula Bakhsh Dashti in July 2010 in Turbat, BNP Karachi president Zahid Baloch in 2008, brutal daylight abductions and killing of three senior Baloch leaders in April 2009, Rasool Bux Mengal in August 2009 and assassination attempt on prominent Baloch intellectual Jan Mohammad Dashti in February 2009 and on Baloch Student Organisation vice-chairman Rasheed Baloch in Khuzdar represent a fraction of the systematic and slow-motion genocide in Balochistan.

    Enforced disappearances in Balochistan continue unabated as the situation worsens and the recovery of a number of bullet-riddled bodies in the province is at an all-time high. Twenty-one bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons, including two lawyers, have so far been found from different areas of Balochistan, including Quetta, Mastung and Khuzdar since July 4, 2010. Invariably, all victims were Baloch and were killed in a similar manner.

    The same principle, creating and supporting ‘death squads’ like Al-Shams and Al-Badar in East Pakistan during 1971-72, is being used in Balochistan. This time the security establishment is using dummy organisations such as the Baloch Musalla Defai Tanzeem (BMDT), the Sipah-e-Islam and the Ansar-ul-Islam to eliminate forward-looking Baloch nationalists. It is a known fact that these ‘killer squads’ are the brainchild of the FC and the intelligence agencies.

    The government and its armed militias, reluctant to curb Taliban activities in Balochistan, are ‘heroically’ employing the policy of ‘collective punishment’ against the innocent Baloch civilians. During a recent military operation in district Awaran’s Mashkay area, security forces burnt shops of those who had been selling cloth resembling nationalists’ flags, and torched tailors’ machines on suspicion of their sewing the flags. Moreover, they set on fire the property and houses belonging to family or clan members of political activists.

    This kind of mistreatment and incidents are not uncommon for ‘second-class citizens’. Instead of being protected by the law and the judiciary, the Baloch are actually harassed by the law enforcement and legal institutions.

    The Baloch people have lost trust and hope that Pakistan’s inbuilt discriminatory system will provide them any justice and punish or discourage perpetrators of crimes against humanity. However, the international community and international organisations, including human rights mechanisms’ negligence and silence are adding to the Baloch miseries.

    Balochistan is not only an administrative province of Pakistan but it is a vast region with more than 12 million Baloch population, spanning across into Iran and Afghanistan.

    Inattention of the international community will further aggravate the current instability and a rapidly developing Darfur and Somalia-like situation in Balochistan will have serious implications for long-term peace and stability in the region.

    The writer is president of Balochistan National Party and a former chief minister of Balochistan

    OBAMA MINUS THE HALO

    B.RAMAN

    President Bill Clinton and President George Bush had suffered electoral set-backs in the mid-term elections to the US Congress before they visited India. But, they came a few months after their electoral set-back. By the time they came, public opinion in India had forgotten their set-back, which did not have any impact on their visits.

    2. President Barack Obama will be reaching India two days after the elections in which his party has lost control of the House of Representatives and managed to retain control of the Senate by only a narrow margin. This has become an important subject of discussion everywhere. As much time is spent in discussing his electoral set-back as in discussing his policies towards India. Would the set-back weaken him politically? Would it come in the way of substantial changes in Indo-US relations, which would be to the benefit of the two countries?

    3. It must be remembered that the elections were fought largely on domestic issues. Foreign policy hardly figured during the election campaign. The election results represented a rejection of his domestic agenda.His powers to make and implement foreign policy will remain undiminished.That is the conventional wisdom. But one has to remember that the Congress controls the federal funds. A hostile Congress can make his foreign policy initiatives non-starters by denying funds for implementing them.

    4. This is not a rosy picture for Obama, but the return of the Republicans to the Congress could still have some bright spots for India. India can hopefully expect the Republican members of the Congress to insist on a strict implementation by Pakistan of the conditionalities imposed under the Kerry-Lugar Act of 2009 laying down the conditions under which the economic aid of US $ 7.5 billion over a five-year period voted last year will be disbursed. It can also hopefully expect that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will subject to intense scrutiny the President's proposal for a new allocation of US $ 2.29 billion towards military assistance for Pakistan. India should lose no time in briefing the elected Republican members about its serious objections to these allocations.

    5. Obama's Af-Pak strategy relating to Afghanistan cannot hope to get easy approval from the House. Questions will be asked about his exit strategy and about the talk of a dialogue with the so-called good Taliban in the hope of bringing them into the political mainstream. The House of Representatives is likely at act as a speed-breaker on his so-called Afghan exit strategy. This ought to suit India.

    6. Even in the case of China, Obama has been avoiding declaring it a currency manipulator and diluting the focus on human rights issues. The newly-elected House is likely to step up pressure for the declaratiion of China as a currency manipulator and highlight the violation of human rights in China. Concerns arising from China's newly-acquired cyber warfare capability are likely to be taken up with a greater vigour by the new House. These are issues which enjoy considerable public support in the US. Obama will no longer be able to push them under the carpet.

    7. There are interesting opportunities for India as a result of the thinking of the Republicans on these issues.It should not fail to take advantage of these opportunities to have the foreign policy distortions of the Obama administration corrected in a manner that could be beneficial to India. (5-11-10)

    ( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

    Obama's India visit: Anti-terror policy must be reviewed

    ECONOMIC TIMES
    5 NOV, 2010



    by C Uday Bhaskar

    President Obama arrives here in the backdrop of Diwali, which symbolises the forces of good triumphing over evil. It is appropriate that Mr Obama will first visit Mumbai and stay at the Taj hotel, the principal site of the terrorist carnage of November 26, 2008. Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, a resident of New York and his wife Rivka who ran a local Jewish centre, were among the 173 victims of 26/11.

    While some commercial deals that range from civil and military transport aircraft to marine engines and locomotives are likely to be signed to bolster economic and trade ties and create jobs in the US, a principal Obama objective, the spectre of jihadi terror and the optimum response by a democratic state will be the abiding challenge for Mr Obama and his Indian host Manmohan Singh .

    More recent revelations about David Headley , one of the accused in the Mumbai attack and currently in US custody, point to a very muddy trail that reads like a John le Carre novel. The ingenious Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, appears to have played all sides, working first as an informant for the US drug agencies and then for the Pakistani military and concurrently for the jihadi network that planned the Mumbai attack.

    A widely held perception in India is that despite the enormity of 9/11 and the exposure about the terrorist eco-system in Pakistan, the US continues to be selective about how it deals with terrorism. Successive US governments are seen as being either unable or unwilling to deal with the ‘hunt with the hound and run with the hare’ strategy adopted by the Pakistani military.

    The US is dependent on the Pak military to ensure logistic access from Karachi to different locations in Afghanistan, where US troops are deployed, and the Obama predicament over the outcome of the AfPak policy is all too visible in the region.

    July 2011 is seen as the date of US withdrawal when a beleaguered Obama prepares for a second term and triumphalism is in the air. Statements by the Al Qaeda and its affiliates boast about a repeat of 26/11 in European and North American cities.

    Getting the US out of Af-Pak terrorist morass remains the real task for the Obama administration . Preventing another 26/11 is the abiding Indian objective. There are many security concerns that the US and India share in the post 9/11 global strategic systemic and Pakistan and its ‘all weather’ relationship with China are central to this spectrum that links jihadi terrorism, the non-state entity, the revisionist regime and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    A fundamental review of US policies in relation to the southern Asian region is warranted if the White House is to realise its immediate and long-term objectives and the Obama visit to India may be an opportune moment.

    US policy towards Pakistan goes back to the mid 1950s when it was identified as a front-line state in the containment of communism. In an odd policy initiative, in 1955 Pakistan joined the SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organisation) at US behest, though it is closer to West Asia.

    Certitude which had no relation to reality or plain truth was the leit motif of the US south Asia policy at the time. Justifying this decision then US secretary of state Foster Dulles had a very instructive exchange with the celebrated journalist Walter Lippman who was asking inconvenient questions. “Look Walter, I’ve got to get some real fighting men into the south of Asia, the only Asians who can fight are the Pakistanis...and we could never get along without the Gurkhas.”

    Lippman countered that Gurkhas were not Pakistani but Indian, but an unperturbed Dulles retorted: “They may not be Pakistanis but they are Moslems... A perplexed Lippman pointed out that Gurkhas are not Muslims but Hindus only to be told: “No matter...” followed by a lecture about the inviolable validity of US South Asian policy.

    US understanding about the region has become more nuanced over the last decade but the Dulless-Lippman exchange is symptomatic of the flawed basis on which the US has made major South Asian policies including the unwavering support to the Pakistani military.

    ********************


    (The author is Director of the National Maritime Foundation)


    --
    C UDAY BHASKAR
    WARDEN FLAT NO. 3
    GODAVARI HOSTEL
    JNU
    NEW DELHI 110067

    BALOCHISTAN: Please Answer to a Baloch Sister?

    Source:http://www.balochunity.org/opinions/2270/

    06.11.2010

    Salam Durah Baloch Brasan,

    With my deepest regards, I as a Baloch sister and member of a Baloch family, who is a victim of Pakistani intelligentsia, has taken the courage to ask some questions from Baloch Diaspora members.

    Please do not take anything negative, I am asking with good faith, but the truth is sour and pinches everybody.

    I have seen Mr. Faiz Baloch picture with Waja Hairbihar Marri and have heard lot about him that he is sincere to the Baloch cause etc. I have been a part of rallies walking on the roads and chanting slogans in favour of them. That may be one of the reasons today I and my family is a member of a missing persons families.

    But today what has pushed to join hands with Ahmar Mustikhan and his un-natural colleagues?

    Whatever Faiz Baloch has written about Hafiz Hasan Abadi and Kachkol Ali that is right, I and many of my fellows agree with that. Specially at Balochistan University Quetta most of the Baloch boys and girls are aware of their agenda. Now they can not hide themselves under any non rooted or rooted tree. Even today General (R) Qadir Mengal says that, Hafeez is my men. Sorry to say that, both of them are the army men. Non of them are of their own so how they can be for Baloch.

    " I will be the second one who will follow Dr. Allah Nizar if he takes up arms and goes to the mountains starts a freedom struggle" Kachkol Ali said at Bolan Medical College at a gathering on 20th September 1999.

    Seem them where they are standing. Today it is very much apathetic that he claims to be the trusted men and friend of Mir Abdul Nabi Bangulzai.

    Then how and why Mr. Faiz you have forgotten that, who is Ahmar Mustikhan?

    Even Punjabis and Muslim Leagues have not forgotten about the Parvaiz Musharaf and his companions. How many sacrifices Chaudary brothers have given for Punjabis ? But until now they have not forgiven and mixed up with them.

    Muslim League Nawaz and Muslim League (Q) have not merged yet. Because Q league supported a non Punjabi. They did not harmed the Baloch nation.

    But unfortunately, our Baloch heros and leaders have forgotten all. They are making heroes the companions of Musharaf. Who killed our leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bughti, bombarded Baloch villages, kidnapped Baloch males, females and infants.

    It is a general norm that now the dictator fellows are writing and chanting against him. In any sense and logic it does not mean that they are clean and make them a part of the Baloch struggle or consider them as Baloch fellows.

    Have you forgotten who was Zubaida Jala and for what purposes she exported her tout Ahmar Mustikhan to America?

    Our Idealogy and will is so strong that even if Zubaida Jala herself comes to us and promises to join our camp we will not accept her until for the double of the period she served to Musharaf serves the Baloch cause with sincere intentions. After that we may think to consider her a fellow not as a hero and leader. Zubaida Jalal in Feburary 2010 when there were news about Bangkok conference started campaigning for the idea of Ahmar Mustistan with Pakistani authorities at top levels for publishing a pakistani newspaper at Washington DC named '' Bright Pakistan". She was having Ahmar Mustikan's e-mails and project documents. This time she failed because it was PPP govt. and there were other much better and faithful Pakistanis then Ahmar Mustikan or the moral of Pujabi has grown up higher then of Mr. XX ( surely not of Baloch).

    Dear it is a struggle of blood and idealogy. For only becoming a Gay Ahmar's family has not forgiven him then how you people forgiven him and made him a part of Baloch struggle?. Have you forgotten that, one of the worlds most liberal country United Kingdom where you live. One of the Govt. Advisors resigned when this news came to the public that he is a Gay. How such a pious struggle of independence can be won with such immoral companions. What you people want to teach us that if tomorrow a group of prostitutes comes and ask us that they support our cause then we shall make them our fellows and advisors and struggle leaders ? Abilities and potentials have never been a substitute for moral ethics. When and how you have changed it?. The Baloch mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers and elders have not changed it yet. Mubarak to you and Waja Hairbihar for such emancipation. He claims that Waja Hairbihar supports him.

    As per my home teachings that, if an immoral person is in the fire or on the frying pan even then he or she lies and never trust him or her.

    At the end I am sorry for my harsh writing and I request you all that, even if you find something right in my writing then please re-think on you plans twice and thrice and more and restructure your plans and fellows. Please do not put the whole Baloch nation in a Traumatize situation.

    A Baloch Sister,

    Shazia Khalid

    Quetta

    November 03, 2010

    PAKISTAN: Target killings continue in Karachi

    Karachi,November 01: Karachi, Pakistan's financial capital is more in the news for violent crimes rather than financial news.It has been rocked by political and ethnic rivalries,turf wars and target killings in recent times.A wave of violence has followed the August 2010 killing of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) provincial lawmaker Raza Haider.Over 90 persons have been killed between October 14th and 25th this year.The authorities have failed to take action against those involved in these cold-blooded murders in the name of ethnicity.In Karachi,hundreds of mourner's take to the streets and shout anti-government slogans every other day.To most it seems that Karachi has become totally ungovernable.


    November 02, 2010

    Milk Guzzling Lads and Lasses do Haryana and India Proud


    Could it unleash India’s Female Shakti Power! Corrupt & incompetent politician- bureaucrat nexus holds back Sports progress


    http://tarafits.blogspot.com/2010/11/milk-guzzling-lads-and-lasses-do.htm
    “The best realistic legacy that I can hope for is that the Commonwealth Games of 2010 mark the emergence of India as a power at future big sporting events”- BBC correspondent
    The Commonwealth Games(CWG), which opened with the world bracing for the worst, managed to conclude on without undue embarrassment or disaster. Stadiums did not collapse. Terrorists did not strike. Fears of disease went mostly unrealized. And the closing ceremony was a stirring success- Commented New York Times

    To many analysts and critics of CWG it correctly demonstrated India’s inability to efficiently deliver, even on a project intended as a show piece to the world. “All the worst elements of the government system have been showcased,” said Mahesh Rangarajan, a political analyst. “Will they learn a lesson? I don’t know,” he added.

    A Golden lining-Best ever Haryana led Indian Performance

    Athletes from the small state of Haryana contributed 15 out of the 38 gold medals won at the CWG, with India just nipping past England to the second position after Australia . They also won 8 bronze and 4 silver medals . India won in all 101 medals. As a separate participant Haryana would have secured 5th place. Most of Haryana athletes come from lower middle class and poor families from small towns or from rural areas, mostly belonging to the Jind-Sonepat-Bhiwani belt .

    Wrestling, football, hockey, volleyball and athletics remain the favorite sports in Haryana but other sports like shooting have been taken up by boys from well off families. After the success in the Beijing Olympics ,it appears that boys are now taking to boxing in large numbers, for, a national or international medal ensures a job in the police at least as a sub-inspector. Vijender , who won a bronze at Beijing Olympics and later declared top boxer in the world in his weight was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Police rank. While there was a bitter taste in mouth after his somewhat unfair defeat in the CWG semifinal , he needs to concentrate on boxing rather than modeling in Mumbai amidst voracious man eaters of the entertainment industry. On Bhiwani, India’s Cuba in boxing see below;

    Bhiwani: My Small Town in Haryana 30 August,2008

    K. Gajendra Singh

    As in most Indian states, in Haryana too jobs are sold, with political elites using even transfers and threats of transfer to milk money from the civil servants. No wonder they in turn do nothing unless bribes are paid. Well, what would you expect when honorable members accept money for raising questions in the Indian Parliament and during the votes of confidence, according to Members themselves, the going rate for transfer of loyalty can be 250 million rupees, a big sum. Political dynasties have amassed thousands of millions of rupees each, even held in foreign currencies abroad.

    In a corruption ridden India ,where one has to give a bribe of 2 to 5 lakhs to become a policeman , a sports medal in Haryana assuring a job in police ( as officer with a gold medal ) or other departments , thus provides a great incentive to poor boys with rural back ground who would other wise end up as semiskilled workers or worse .

    Haryana being generally an arid land , boys with hundreds of acres of land used to end up joining as simple soldiers , then their children worked their way up as Junior commissioned officers ,regular officers up to Major/Colonel rank and then as generals .The current Chief of the army Gen Vijay Kumar Singh belongs to a small village Bapora near Bhiwani .His father was a colonel and grandfather an NCO. Admiral Sekhavat ,a Haryanvi rose to be the Naval Chief a few years ago . There are numerous such examples of Haryanvis rising to the level of generals and equivalent ranks .The author remembers many school mates in Bhiwani , who joined the army as soldiers .

    The splitting off Haryana state in 1970 from Punjab , in which it was considered a backward region and received a step motherly treatment, gave a fillip in all sectors specially under its dynamic chief minister Bansi Lal. In this agrarian state there was always emphasis on animal husbandry and most people kept a cow or buffalo ( as the author’s family did even in Bhiwani town ).Milk and milk products like butter , ghee aka clarified butter and chhach aka butter milk were a major supplements to a healthy diet in the absence of vegetables in a water scarce state . There was and is too much emphasis on milk products, while to compete at the highest international level one needs a nutritious and balanced diet .

    There appears to be some evidence that those whose diet is non-vegetarian tend to become better athletes and sportspersons .Yes in a way , Milk is an animal product but not that effective in building muscles for strength, stamina and force . Because of influence of Arya Samaj , Haryanvis were mostly vegetarian and avoided alcoholic drinks .The author took to meat eating only after joining Banaras University for his engineering degree .But now the situation after the prosperity in the wake of the green revolution has changed with alcoholism a serious menace .

    It is sickening to watch Indian politicians , some over 70 years with no idea of a sports crowding out all others from the management of sports and sports bodies .Some have headed them for decades with little to show . The politicians and their favorite civil servants or hangers on, use them for self aggrandizement ,patronage and free trips abroad. As politicians do elsewhere in India , many awards and prizes are announced after wars or sports medals, but not disbursed .Before the CWG, the hockey players who reached the finals , had to threaten not to participate to get their dues paid .

    A few decades ago, many politicians would turn up, a few months before the Olympics in European capitals, say of East Germany, a major sporting force then and request for a coach so that India could win a few medals. If they could they would like reservation of medals based on the caste as in jobs and for education in India .That attitude has not changed much since then. There is just no accountability or even remorse for their colossal failure. India did not even qualify for entry into hockey at Beijing. Fortunately in spite of the mess in hockey federations , India did well to reach the finals of the CWG beating some fancied teams.

    Dry and arid Haryana region with plenty of milk made for sturdy lads and lasses, good at wrestling , boxing , volleyball and athletics. Before Haryana was carved out these milk guzzling lads won wrestling titles but Punjab got the credit .And in any case the Haryana talents were not given due recognition or support and encouragement .

    Among the successful athletes at CWG there are a large number are Jats . many from small landholding peasantry or lower middle class .The Jats are hardy people supposedly originating from Eurasian lands with some peculiar traditions including evil ones like killer Khaps .But women still have more freedom of movement as they work with the men folk in agricultural fields which the Rajput and other land holding castes do not allow, whose women remain veiled and stay home .

    In the authors opinion , the Jats belonged to the same class as the Slavs in Eurasia , the farming communities since the beginning of the human race unlike the chariot and horse riding Indo Europeans including Kshatriyas and later Mongol and Turkish hordes becoming the ruling elites , whose women were not to help in farming ,remained at home and even ended up veiled .

    Women Athletes Shine .

    Krishna Poonia, became the first ever Indian woman with her gold winning discus throw. Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil followed her with a silver and bronze, for a stunning 1-2-3 finish for the first time by Indian women in the Games. All three are Jat lasses. Manjeet Kaur, Siny Jose, Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur ran the race of their lives to win the gold in the 4x400metre women’s relay. The Indian lasses did not lag behind in contact games. The unassuming Haryana lasses — Geeta, Alka Tomar and Anita in gritty displays won three gold medals in the Greco-Roman section against grapplers from Canada, England and other western nation.

    Then of course Saina Nehwal won the Badminton Gold in the last pulsating final to make India pip past England .Earlier, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who were not expected to win the gold, did the unexpected.

    The remarkable and unexpectedly excellent performance of India’s women athletes at CWG came as a surprise .In India’s Brahmin ordained caste ridden apartheid like divided society since millennia with little weakening of its hold since 1947 in spite of equality of the sexes guaranteed in the Constitution , women in real life remain relegated after the religious lawgiving and enforcing Brahmin fraternity , warriors and nominally ruling caste of Kshatriyas/Rajputs , the trading and agriculture community of Vaishyas and even the Dalits ( former untouchables and in the countryside , still so.)

    A girl child is still given food the last in the family , so with education ,with inhuman practices like female foeticide ,bride burning for dowry. Saina Nehwal of Haryana, India’s best ever badminton star who won the gold medal , confessed how her grandfather was disappointed at the birth of a daughter and not a son and refused to even see her at birth . The honour killings by khaps aka mostly Jat caste councils are still a common practice, specially in the north mentored by the Brahmins , the ultimate arbiters of caste ridden and divided Hindu society .The Khaps want honour killings to be almost legalized . In external affairs ministry for almost half a century pinstriped Brahmins led Khaps destroyed many diplomats lives and careers for wanting to or for marrying foreigners. So the medieval mindset permeates even in the so called modern educated milieu too . This ban was in total violation of India’s Constitution.(Watch this space for more) .
    A few years ago , the Shankaracharya of Puri declared that women have no right to learn Sanskrit or read Vedas( a Shankaracharyas mostly if not always a Brahmin ,is like Ayatollah Khomeini ,a jurist –consult in Shia Iran), to maintain Brahmin control over Hindu society by denying education to non-Brahmins and women.

    See how the male MPs fiercely oppose reservation of even one third seats for women in the Indian federal parliament . Social science experts studying data in the wake of reservations in Panchayats believe that gender quotas increase self-esteem, confidence and motivation of women and strengthen women’s contacts with their political representatives, increasing their political empowerment. US research also suggests that women legislators are more likely than men to heed the concerns of their constituents and may make legislatures more sympathetic towards disadvantaged groups.

    I have gone in some details about the religious , social and economic hurdles placed by India’ s obtuse ,patriarchal ,hierarchical and criminal power wielding elite exercised over women ordained by the Brahmins since millennia to indicate how difficult it is for women to come out of the male shadow to participate and do well in sports and games in India .The examples of male sexual abuse of women by male coaches is hidden like the iceberg. But because of the media attention just before the games many suffering women athletes had the courage to air the bitter reality. With male domination in Indian society there were only some ripples but any exemplary punishment is unlikely , since venal and corrupt and even criminal politicians who rule India are male chauvinist pigs and many exploit their position and indulge in sexual abuse and worse.

    Politicians Exploit for Photo-opps

    Of course no Indian politician will miss a photo opp and so on 1 November at Sonepat in Haryana its Chief Minister announced incentives for the CWG medal winners from the state to coincide with the 44th anniversary of the formation of Haryana. The creation of a 'Haryana Sportspersons Development Fund' was also announced. His political opponent claimed that the idea to award was his but the incumbent Chief Minister stole it.

    The Haryana athletes were honoured with cash awards of Rs 15 lakh, 10 lakh and 5 lakh to the gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively . The government would provide suitable jobs to the medal winners .Amount of Rs 51 lakh, Rs 31 lakh, Rs 21 lakh and Rs 11 lakh will be granted for taking up development works in the villages of the gold, silver, bronze medal winners of CWG . Cash rewards for the upcoming Asian Games have been increased to Rs 25 lakh for gold while the silver and bronze medal winners would get Rs 15 lakh and the Rs 10 lakh respectively. Cash awards of Rs two crore, Rs one crore and Rs 50 lakh will be given to Haryana athletes who win gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in 2012 London Olympics.

    New sports academies would be set up at Jind (Kabaddi), Rohtak (athletics), Shahbad (women's hockey), Sirsa (men's hockey), Faridabad (shooting) Sonepat (wrestling) and Panchkula (lawn tennis and badminton). A cricket academy at Jhajjar, boxing academy at Bhiwani, football academy at Gurgaon and basketball academy at Kiloi in Rohtak district are being established .Hundred more rural stadiums will be constructed and new coaches will be appointed there.

    Politicians make promises which are not necessarily kept and many a times not fulfilled or disbursing bureaucrats demand their cuts .So let us keep our fingers crossed.

    Commonwealth , Asian and Olympics games had become a cold war arena of competition in physical prowess between Capitalism and Communism during the Cold War .It has somewhat cooled off after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However sport persons from Russia and former communist nations are still doing well. China topped the list of gold medal winners in Beijing, displacing USA to second place. Winning a medal still requires national endeavour in which the state, corporate interests and individuals all have to participate jointly.

    Doping of Athletes

    India’s name was tarnished when the 20km walker Rani Yadav failed the dope test .She had erased her personal best time by four minutes. There have been many such revelations in the past too., involving not only Indian but other athletes too.

    Apart from the latest training techniques, supporting gizmos, sports medicine and psychology, doping techniques ie administration of drugs to enhance athletic performances have also seeped in. It is an ancient practice from the days of Roman gladiators who used stimulants such as strychnine to pump themselves up for a battle. Doping is done through gene therapy i.e. by inserting genes into a cell which instruct the body to produce large amounts of a hormone, protein, or other natural substance that enhance performance. Dope manufacturers keep a step ahead of means to detect it. Most sports suffer from it including cricket, with players from Pakistan i.e. Shoaib Akhtar and Mohamad Asif and the Australian spinning wizard Shane Warne to name a few.

    There are numerous examples of doping in recent history from athletics. Sprinter Marion Jones of USA, who won five Olympic gold medals, used drugs and has been convicted. Boxer Jason Giambi of New York says he turned to steroids beginning in 2001. Ken Caminiti, once an 'Outstanding Player' insisted half the players in baseball shared his steroid weakness. He died at 41 of a cocaine overdose.

    Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who lowered the old 100-meter mark at the 1988 Olympics, was found using illicit testosterone and banned. But Carl Lewis, his rival and supposedly Mr. Clean and a loud one, had reportedly failed drug tests before the 1988 Olympics (the truth was revealed only after his retirement). And of course the ever popular Diego Maradona from the slums of Argentina - the Pele of the generation- who was expelled from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for too many drugs to count. Apart from American Tour de France star Lance Armstrong since 1999, Richard Virenque of France, Italy's Marco Pantani (dead) of a drug overdose) and, most recently, Tyler Hamilton of the United States have all tested positive for steroids or blood-enhancing EPO. The list of doping of athletes is long and endless. It is like a cat and mouse game, with athletes and players from advanced nations generally succeeding more often than not.
    K.Gajendra Singh Mayur Vihar, Delhi .3 November, 2010.

    K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies. Copy right with the author http://tarafits.blogspot.com/


    Obama lobbies for Wal-Mart, will PM lobby for our economic model? – I

    M R Venkatesh
    03 Nov 2010

    http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1479

    “Wal-Mart is crucial for America and India is crucial for Wal-Mart” – said the head of a consulting firm. And why not? American President Barack Obama is expected to raise the contentious issue of allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail (FDI) during his visit later this week. As a prelude, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke has already arrived in India to set the stage with a strong pitch for liberalizing this industry.

    Duke is reported to have stated that 100% FDI in the Indian retail sector would “help contain inflation in India.” Duke added that FDI in retail would contain inflation by reducing wastage of farm output, as 30% to 40% of the produce does not reach the end-consumer and, “In India, there is an opportunity to work all the way up to farmers in the back-end chain. Part of inflation is due to the fact that produces do not reach the end-consumer.”

    If that was supposed to be an incentive to the consumer, Duke offered palliatives for Indian manufacturers too. According to Duke, allowing FDI into this sector “will also enable Wal-Mart to increase sourcing of products from India by developing more vendors here.” Well, Duke is partially right. But what he says is substantially voodoo economics.

    For the uninitiated, this media blitzkrieg on the subject just days before the arrival of the American President may be baffling. But those who have been following developments in the past few years know that Wal-Mart alone must have spent (read paid out) millions of dollars in India for lobbying with the Government to open up the retail sector for FDI. Obama is the last lobbyist.

    There is an interesting twist to this tale. According to Wikipedia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on the Board of Wal-Mart between 1986 and 1992. In a remarkable coincidence, the Clintons are Arkansas-based, as is Wal-Mart, the global retail giant. What is even more intriguing, in 1979 Hillary became the first woman to be made a full partner of Rose Law Firm, whose clientele includes – you guessed it right – Wal-Mart. Wheels within deals and deals within wheels?

    But first the crucial question – why is India crucial for Wal-Mart? Why is Wal-Mart anxious to enter India? What should be our response? What are the possible benefits and costs? Crucially, why should it use the President of America to lobby for its entry into India?

    India a prized destination

    The answers to these questions are quite easy – provided one understands India, her economy and its growth trajectory. According to various estimates, the size of the retail markets in India in 2010 are estimated at approximately USD 400 billion with the share of organized retailing accounting for a mere 5% only. Analysts expect this could rise to USD 650 billions by 2015. Organized retailing by then is expected to have a much larger share. That makes India an inviting business prospect, especially for multinational retail giants who till date have not been allowed to operate in India.

    But that is looking at opportunities in India through a narrow prism. There is a larger subset to this entire story. China and India are perhaps the only two countries in the world to record robust growth for the past decade or so. What makes India’s story particularly spectacular is the fact that India’s savings rate has increased from approximately 23 per cent a decade ago to well in excess of thirty-seven per cent of GDP in 2008-09. This gargantuan domestic saving by and large funds domestic investments. In short, India unlike several other countries does not entirely depend on FDI. Rather, FDI is a marginal player in the Indian context.

    In this connection, the RBI annual report for 2008-09 states, “Domestic savings financed more than 95 per cent of investment, and the remaining, by capital flows. Domestic investment rate reached 39 per cent of the GDP in 2007-08 from 37 per cent in 2006-07.” That makes India’s growth story extremely impressive and sustainable. India’s savings ensure that India need not significantly depend on global capital flows for her investment requirement. Yet to this date our fixation with FDI continues. Crucially, that insulates India from the gyrations witnessed in global capital flows.

    Post-2008 economic crisis, multinational giants have come to realize that China and India are the destinations of the present and future. China and India, which had a quick economic turnaround, consequently rank high up in several surveys on global investment destination. With increased urbanization and per-capita income, surveys conducted by global consulting firms indicate that food-expenses as a percentage of total household expenses is gradually declining whereas expenses on clothing, appliances and leisure activities are increasing.

    Further, global retail giants are seeking to relocate a part of their production in India as labour costs rose 5 to 15% on average this year in China. In the Guangdong province, the Global Retail Newsletter – a monthly magazine published from France - dealing exclusively on this subject in its July 2010 issue, estimates that the “monthly minimum wage jumped by more than 20% as of May 1st.” Consequently, the newsletter concludes, “Retailers are looking for new ways to cut their produc tion costs. In case of failure, they will have to absorb this growth hence a pressure on margins while just coming out of recession. They also could pass it to consumers, which are risky as they have the appetite to spend again.” Citing the example of C. P enney, the newsletter points out as to how its manufacturers had left China for India in the past few years in search of low cost labour. All these make India an exiting investment destination for global retail giants. That rationalizes why Wal-Mart has hired the services of Obama to lobby for it.

    Job loss – And that is the crux of the issue

    What is crucial and uniform in all such studies is the fact that while the experts comment on the potentiality and size of the Indian markets, they are uniformly silent about its negative fallout in the job market. Given India’s prime concern in providing employment opportunities to its vast population, surely the opening of this sector has multi-dimensional consequences. It is in this backdrop that the decision to open up the Retail sector needs to be analyzed.

    Before we analyse the implications of opening up of this sector let us look at some salient features of the Indian retail sector as it stands today:
    - Highest outlet density in world – around 12 mn outlets. However it is estimated that 95% of the 12 million stores are less than 500 square feet (average annual turnover Rs 200,000) and can be classified as un-organized sector.
    - Extraordinary growth rate forecast – well above GDP growth - for the retailing industry. More importantly it is estimated by some experts that sales from large format stores would rise by an astounding 25-50%!
    - Formal and organized retailing would enjoy rapid growth – with less than 5% of retail trade in the organized format, organized competition is virtually absent to challenge the entry of multinationals.
    - Least saturated of all global markets studied - Implies lower barriers of entry and lack of any competition for global players

    This means that Indian retail is scattered, extremely small by global standards and widely dispersed. In contrast, for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2009, the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart, reported a turnover in excess of USD 400 Billions and a net income of USD 13.6 billions. Each week, about 100 million customers, nearly one-third of the US population, visit Wal-Mart. Its international operations currently comprise 8,500 stores and 660,000 workers (yes just 660,000 workers) in 15 countries outside the US.

    What is worrying analysts is the fact that let even an Indian retailer in the organized sector, leave alone in the un-organized sector, would be incapable on taking on such giants as Wal-Mart and compete against them, if and when government allows such foreign players entry. India’s largest retail players viz., Bata, Shoppers Stop or Big Bazaar are mere specks in the international retailing chain.

    With incredibly deep pockets, it is feared that these multinational mega-stores will be able to sustain losses for many years till competition is fully wiped out. This is a normal and time-tested predatory strategy used by large players from the developed world to drive out small and dispersed competition in developing countries.

    Should India open her retail to FDI, the probable job-loss is estimated in millions while gains could be minimal - a classical case of committing policy hara-kiri. Probably for every employment generated through this FDI policy, there could be several people who may lose jobs. Yet, the government, media and economists within the establishments are selling the idea of allowing FDI into retail and profiting from it. That is when Wal-Mart has employed a mere 660,000 people outside India – a number that would be employed in retail trade in any major Indian city.

    Does the Government of India realize the negative implications of opening the sector? Crucially, is the loss of job opportunities the only issue that needs to be factored in our debate on this crucial issue? Whatever be it, for gaining market access and increasing its profits, Wal-Mart has converted President Obama into a lobbyist. Remember, Wal-Mart is crucial for the corporates that own Wal-Mart. And how much is India crucial for Wal-Mart? We will look into this issue in greater detail tomorrow.

    (To be continued…)

    The author is a Chennai-based Chartered Accountant; his email is mrv@mrv.net.in

    THE RETURN OF THE US TO ASIA: CORE INTERESTS VS MUTUAL INTERESTS

    B.RAMAN

    The forthcoming visit of President Barack Obama to India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea will be as important as his earlier swing through the Asia-Pacific region after assuming office in January 2009. His first swing was in November last year when he visited Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea.

    2.Japan and South Korea are figuring in both these swings, indicating the importance attached by him to the USA's relations with its two military allies in Asia. Highlighting the USA's solidarity with these two countries and its security commitments to them have been an important hallmark of his Asia-Pacific policy. One has again seen this recently in the joint exercises held by the US Navy with the South Korean Navy despite Chinese concerns in the wake of the alleged sinking of a South Korean naval ship by North Korea and in the reiteration by Mrs.Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, during her current swing across the Asia-Pacific region that the US security commitments to Japan covered the Senkaku group of islands in the East China Sea too. While the US wished for a peaceful resolution of the dispute between Japan and China, its security commitments to Japan will continue to cover these islands too so long as there is no definitive settlement between Japan and China on the question of sovereignty over the islands.

    3. In addition to Japan and South Korea, his Asia-Pacific focus has been on China, India and Indonesia in that order. The reasons for the priority given to China in his Asia-Pacific policy have been economic as well as military------ the impact of China's rise as an economic power on the US economy and the impact of China's rise as a military power on peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and on the freedom of navigation in the waters of the area. Economic issues such as the alleged Chinese manipulation of the value of its currency in order to maintain its exports to the US to the detriment of the US manufacturing sector and the alleged Chinese use of its monopoly in the production of rare earths as a political weapon against countries such as Japan are increasingly figuring in the diplomatic discourse between the US and China.

    4.China-related issues with military implications such as the increasing assertiveness of the Chinese Navy, the modernisation of its armed forces and Beijing's repeated emphasis on its "core interests" even if they are at the expense of the "mutual interests" of the countries of the region have led to two consequences. Firstly,a US determination to maintain the primacy of its Navy in the Asia-Pacific region and secondly, its increasing interest in bilateral issues involving China and the countries of the region such as China's disputes with Japan and some ASEAN countries, particularly Vietnam, on the question of sovereignty over the islands in the East and South China Sea.

    5. Obama's enhanced interest in India has economic as well as military origin. Economically, while the Indian manufacturing sector poses no threat to the US manufacturing sector similar to the threat posed by the Chinese manufacturing sector, India's services sector, particularly its lead in the information technology sector, is casting, in his view, a lengthening shadow on the US job market. Hence, his unyielding pressure against outsourcing to India to the detriment of the unemployed in the US. Obama's inability to deal effectively with the US economy has been an important contributing factor to the decline in his popularity and to the set-back expected to be suffered by his party in the current mid-term elections to the US Congress. It could come in the way of his own chances of re-election as the President. Obama's economic pressure against both China---on the question of its manipulated currency--- and India on the issue of outsourcing would continue at least till the next Presidential elections. Neither China nor India can expect any gestures from him on economic issues.

    6. The military origin of his enhanced interest in India arises from the huge Indian market for military equipment. An increase in the US sales of military equipment to India will have three benefits for the US: an increase in jobs in the US, enhanced US political influence on Indian policy-making and a check on China's power aspirations in the region. The pressure on India to buy more military equipment from the US will continue to be an important component of the US policy towards India. Continuing restrictions on the sale of military-related equipment to China and a gradual relaxation of the existing curbs in relation to India are to be expected in the months to come.

    7. A major enunciation of the US policy towards the Asia-Pacific region came in one of Obama's speeches in Japan during his first swing in November,2009. He said: "There must be no doubt.As America’s first Pacific President, I promise you that this Pacific nation will strengthen and sustain our leadership in this vitally important part of the world." He described himself as the USA's first Pacific President because of his birth in Hawaii, his living in Indonesia as a boy and his mother spending nearly a decade working in the villages of Southeast Asia. He added:“The Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world."

    8. In his enunciation of what will be his policy in the Asia-Pacific region, he said:"Since taking office, I have worked to renew American leadership and pursue a new era of engagement with the world based on mutual interests and mutual respect.And our efforts in the Asia Pacific will be rooted, in no small measure, through an enduring and revitalized alliance between the United States and Japan."

    9. Explaining why he decided to start his first swing from Japan, he said that he was beginning his journey there in part because of "our common values — a belief in the democratic right of free people to choose their own leaders and realize their own dreams; a belief that made possible the election of both Prime Minister Hatoyama and myself on the promise of change."

    10. He had a message for China too. "The United States does not seek to contain China, nor does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of our bilateral alliances.On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.And so in Beijing and beyond, we will work to deepen our Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and improve communication between our militaries.We will not agree on every issue, and the United States will never waver in speaking up for the fundamental values that we hold dear – and that includes respect for the religion and cultures of all people. Because support for human rights and human dignity is ingrained in America. But we can move these discussions forward in a spirit of partnership rather than rancor."

    11.Chinese analysts looked upon his first swing across the region, the subsequent swings of Mrs.Clinton and other US policy-makers and the increasing US interest in its relations with the ASEAN and its member-countries as "the return of the US to Asia" ---- to underline that it was determined to maintain its political and military primacy in this region and not to concede it to China. While the Chinese have the confidence that China can compete against the US economically, they do not have the confidence that it can compete against it ideologically, politically and militarily.

    12. After having seen the increased articulation of the US interests in this region after his first swing, they are watching nervously what the second swing will portend for China and its big power ambitions. It is significant that just as Obama chose Japan, a democracy, for the start of his first swing, he has chosen India, another democracy, for the start of his second swing. Just as he emphasised the USA's ideological compatibility with Japan in his address in Tokyo, the spotlight during his visit to India will be on the USA's ideological compatibility with India.

    13. What would this mean in terms of the USA's relations with India and China? That is the question to which Chinese analysts are trying to find an answer. They are still confused. ( 3-11-10)

    ( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studuies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

    Slaying the 'Culture' Monster: Will UAVs Fall Prey to the Traditional Warfighter Mentality?

    Contributor: Defence IQ

    Colonel Jeffrey Turcotte, USAF, Chief Air and Weapons Division, Air Force Research Laboratory, speaks at the UAV Summit, hosted by IQPC. This transcript of his presentation addresses the implications of US Department of Defense budget cuts and where UAV research falls within the spectrum of scope and funding. He also discusses the growth of military interest in unmanned capabilites, the prospect of 'one pilot - multiple UAVs' employment, and the ways in which the Laboratory focuses spending on multi role and multi service outcomes.
    Chair: Jeffrey S Turcotte is the Chief of the Air Weapons Sector, Plans and Programmes Director, Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He’s responsible for managing AFRL relationships with stakeholders in the Air and Weapons domains and directs a staff of 17 government employees. He also manages planning and programming for technology programmes in these domains. So the full bio-zero in the agenda so without further ado, Colonel Turcotte.

    Turcotte: So, yes, the last time I agreed to speak at this kind of a summit, I came mostly by myself and I didn’t have, you know, folks with me that were the experts. And so, when it came to asking questions and asking for details, I was like, ah, ah, ah. So I thought, well, this time what I'm going to do is, yes, I'll agree to come, with support.
    And so what I plan to do is just give a very brief overview and outline a little bit what you’re going to hear from the experts, and then I will also cover a few areas for which we didn’t bring experts but just to let you know, kind of, the breadth of the research that we’re doing.
    That’ll just be a few, you know, spot eagle items.
    The ball joint analogy
    Okay, so. And then I don’t know how many of you have seen my ball joint repair slide. Bob has. Oh, I'm glad most of you haven’t. So the ball joint is this unit right here, okay. And I like to use this as an example of how we need to work together on things. In order to get the ball joint out of there, obviously you take the nut off, okay, and you start beating on this knuckle, right here, to break it loose because it’s got a tapered fitting there.
    But even after you break it loose usually it doesn’t fall down, because if this bolt isn’t holding it up the rest of the control arm does hold it up and so, you need to put a big pry bar in here. And one guy stands back there and pulls the pry bar down and the other guy reaches in there and tries to get the ball joint out, right.
    So, you can imagine what happens if these two guys don’t work together, right, the guy’s got his hand in between there and then oops, the pry bar slips out. So the reason I like this example, a ball joint replacement requires leverage and co-operation. That’s your lesson. If you have any questions about ball joint replacement, talk to me later. If you have any questions about UAVs or RPAs, talk to these other guys.
    Okay, so again, a brief introduction of AFRL a little bit on … Well, I’ll tell you what briefings you’re going to get of course you could just read that in the agenda but… And then I’ll cover a few other programmes and let the show get on the road.
    Mission fundamentals
    So the mission, Air Force mission, fly and fight and win in these three domains. The SNT vision for achieving that mission is based on the kill chain and all aspects of the kill chain are supported by RPAs. We pretty much do all those things with RPAs. Not saying we’re going to get rid of pilots, but we can do all those things with RPAs.
    Okay and this vision is in concert with the war fighter and hopefully OSD because we don’t want to get any more of our secretaries or chiefs fired. So, in the laboratory itself our previous Commander, as this flight plan rolled out and we had discussions with him, we were able to secure a place on his short list of what is the laboratory going to focus on and here we are, UAVs is a high interest item and so it has enjoyed – it hasn’t been totally immune from cuts, but it has enjoyed support in the budget.
    We also have a team, not just these four folks that join me today, but a large team across the laboratory that we use to keep the collaboration going, transfer information back and forth and so on. We do participate in the OSD, IPTs, okay, and the Air Force level IPTs.
    This is one way of breaking down the work that we do, there’s lots of ways of doing it and basically this adds up to somewhere in the neighbourhood of about £100 million dollars or more per year that’s unique. Okay, there’s lots of things we do that can be used for RPAs but also for, you know, manned aircraft like sensors and things like that, but about 100 million goes into stuff that’s strictly for UAVs each year.
    Addressing autonomy and reliability
    Okay, so these are the four briefings, there’s a break in between and I think there’s another briefing by another person in between here somewhere but… So these are, kind of, the areas that you’re going to get a detailed briefing on and then some other areas that I just want to touch on just so that you can see that we’re not ignoring these other things.
    Okay and you’ve seen this chart, I just use this to introduce the idea that we understand, we get it, okay, that we need autonomy and more autonomy but it’s a fairly slow process as you’ve seen, it’s not a simple matter to convince... I mean, it’s not necessarily technology limited, right, it’s there’s a cultural limitation here and the policy is slow to change and that’s just a fact of life.
    So we have to work hard to make sure the reliability is going to be there, to make sure that we don’t have accidents along the way here, along the road, okay. If we rush this and start having accidents, it’s going to end up slowing us down instead, so one of the big pushes is Mac up, right, that’s what Scam used to say, Mac up. Everybody knows Scam, right? Does anyone know what he’s going to do now that he’s retired? Somebody does, you’ll see him pop up somewhere, like a whack a mole; not that I want to whack him on the head or anything.
    Okay, so, obviously the idea here is one pilot, one control station controls more than one UAV, okay, as long as you’re not trying to run four joy sticks at the same time, we can do that, right? You’re just entering way points or somebody mentioned camera guided or you know, there’s lots of different ways to do that. But basically you’ve got to take some decisions out of the hand of the controller and turn them over to automation, that’s not hard, right? It’s more of a policy issue again.
    Optimising the interface and interoperability
    Beyond that, okay, you don’t only want to control say several MQ1s, you may want to control a couple of MQ9s, maybe some other assets, maybe a Shadow or who knows what could happen in the future if you build your architecture, as was mentioned this morning, to control many different platforms.
    And of course you’ve got to have the inner operability built in because, you know, the airplane is the airplane, and unless you’re going to modify the airplane to accept a different wave form you’re going to have to produce the wave form that it understands, and get it up to that platform to control it and to control all the sensors or whatever payload happens to be on board.
    So Heart is the DARPA programme we manage for them and it’s pretty well concluding now. I think they’re saying IOC2010 and I don’t know if that’s still accurate but it shouldn’t be too far off. You can see they talk about things like decouple, you know, the sensor operator and the exploiter and the Intel team and so forth from the controlling of it, and that’s not hard either, right, just use a different wave form for the sensor and take the button off of the cockpit, right, or make two separate cockpits so…
    But we are though starting to get into some complexities now that we haven’t dealt with before and also the proprietary issues of having different wave forms, different protocols, different, you know, file formats and so on for the data flows that we’ve got to tackle that, okay?
    And it was mentioned this morning, the interoperability, that’s something that’s worried me for quite a while now and we got to the point where we – I don’t feel that it’s the LAV’s mission to set standards but we’re willing to do it if somebody comes up with the money. First I wasn’t even willing to do it but then somebody volunteered, I said, okay, you volunteer, okay, I will go look for the money
    Funding strategies
    I looked for the money and I couldn’t find it, so this is a problem now because, you know, everybody wants to be in our operability, everybody wants to be modular, everybody wants to have, you know, a standard interface here. Whatever the sensor is, you meet my standards, it’ll plug right in.
    Okay, just like your phone jack plugs in to the wall, right? It doesn’t matter what phone you buy, they all plug into the same jack. Somebody’s got to pay the bill to do that, I think it should be OSD but… Do we have any OSD folks in here? See that, they don’t show up, they know you’re going to ask for money, they don’t show up. Okay, so that’s where we are with that.
    Okay, here’s where we get real complicated now. Like was mentioned this morning, you know, it’s bad enough if you’re trying to control a swarm of UAVs, right, and you want them to act like the Borg, like everyone knows what everyone else is doing and they’re all under one big control, right? Except, we don’t know how to do the Borg, right?
    That’s science fiction. I’d just like teleportation, right? If you can do the transporter, you can do the Borg. I think the Borg is the hardest thing we’re up against here. I mean, it’s bad enough to try to do it without any contested air space, but now you have people come in shooting your guys down, flying between your guys. And I was talking to some gentlemen this morning about software that could help us with understanding systems of systems. This, I think, is really the most difficult technical challenge we have, is as the systems get more complex, the reliability decreases unless you do something in terms of redundancy.
    Just... You know, in order to put systems together and evaluate them you have to model each sub-system, right, and then somehow you have to put those models together and then excite them to see how they behave, right? You put inputs and you’re trying to predict the outputs; what are the outputs going to be, are they predictable and are they reliably predictable? Are they repeatable and, you know, how many sneak circuits are you going to have? How many little bits of code are going to cause this thing to go haywire? Has anybody seen The Terminator movie? This is the one the FAA says, if you don’t destroy all copies of The Terminator movie, we will never get, you know, Sense and Avoid through the FAA.
    Okay, I don’t believe Skynet became self aware. I don’t worry about that, I don’t worry that the computer’s going to get smart and try to kill the humans, but I worry that we’re not smart enough to design the computer that anticipates everything that could go wrong. And again, you know, it’s a systems of systems thing that we need to somehow be able to interrogate the final design, to know that it’s reliable and that’s a problem I’m stuck on. So think about that one. If you have an answer, give me your business card later.
    Communications and sensor challenges
    Okay, layered sensing. Sensing’s very important, the only thing I’d like to say about this is these guys, what they really want to do is the one guy, the one commander says, I want — he’s looking at the satellite output and he says, I want to get a closer look at that. Well, sir, it’s zoomed in all the way.
    Okay, cue that sensor down there, right, and then that sensor looks around and I want to get a closer look over there. Sir, it’s zoomed in all the way. Well, cue that sensor down there. That’s, kind of, what we’re talking about here is going down and back up again, being able to control all these different sensors somehow through the gig, right, and then all this data comes in and then you’ve got this PED issue, right. You’ve got this PED issue, I want to talk a minute about that but let me go through the rest of these slides.
    As far as data links are concerned, this is just an example of making them smaller, right. Okay, we got Sense And Avoid, we have one that fits on the RQ fleet, we don’t have it small enough yet for the MQ fleet, so we had to make everything smaller, okay, and smaller then again and then when Doctor Perkins gets up and talks about the little fly-sized things, imagine how small your data link has to be to fit on that fly.
    And interoperability and connecting the boots on the ground to all the assets that are involved in the fight, okay, and having them all speak the same language and communicate with each other, that’s obviously prime on our list of things to do.
    And just a little bit about — you guys listened to the pilots this morning, this is a new career field for the Air Force, right, okay, and the requirements for this work force is a little bit different than for pilots that actually fly on the jets, right, and so we have to think about how we’re going to do that and we have to do research into, okay, what are the requirements? What are the limitations? There are some, right, you know, the guy that — what the guys say at Mississippi State, Bobby said, honey, I crashed my plane, I’ll be home at four, right, because he wasn’t in the plane so he had to come home early that day. Anyway, so obviously we’ve got to think about that and I know there’s some people here that are working in this area and we appreciate that, we need that kind of work done.
    The final word
    Okay, and before the conclusion, let me just say one thing about PED. So we have a lot of work going on in PED and automating PED, I have some slides on that that are not releasable at the public level. If you’re interested in that and folks at the flight plan do have those slides, if you’re interested in that and you think you’re eligible to receive…
    These are unclassified but they’re, like, distribution C, so you’d have to be a DOD contractor or employee with a need to know. And I assume if you’re in this room you have a need to know. So if you’re interested in that…
    The second plan is, as part of the... You know, there’s a UAS flight plan, there’s also an ISR flight plan. And within that flight plan really is where the requirements for automating PED are embedded, and we are answering that flight plan probably sometime in the summer; the implementation plan for that will come out or at least be in draft form and then you can see, within that, what AFRL is doing to answer the requirement for automating PED.
    Okay, and finally just conclusions. Basically, you know, we are working with Air Force A2 to answer the flight plan. Most of the things in there actually are already within the scope at or above TRL6, but there are some things that I’ve shown you here today and that you’re also going to hear that we need to continue to work on to, you know, until we’re at 2047 if we’ve met all those requirements. But I appreciate your time today, I appreciate everyone coming. Thank you.