November 16, 2019

AI washing


Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios


Zealous marketing departments, capital-hungry startup founders and overeager reporters are casting the futuristic sheen of artificial intelligence over many products that are actually driven by simple statistics — or hidden people.

Why it matters: This "AI washing" threatens to overinflate expectations for the technology, undermining public trust and potentially setting up the booming field for a backlash.

The big picture: The tech industry has always been infatuated with the buzzword du jour. Before AI landed in this role, it belonged to "big data." Before that, everyone was "in the cloud" or "mobile first." Even earlier, it was "Web 2.0" and "social software."

About three years ago, every company became an "AI company," says Frank Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, a leading Silicon Valley VC firm.Now, investing in a purported AI startup requires detective skills, says Chen: "We have to figure out the difference between 'machine learning that can deliver real competitive differentiation' and 'fake ML that is a marketing gloss over linear regressions or a big team in the Philippines transcribing speech manually.'"

Plenty of companies rely on one or the other of those tactics, which straddle the line between attractive branding and misdirection.

For hard tasks, like transcribing audio or scanning documents, humans often step in when AI algorithms fail. Take, for example, a company that raised nearly $30 million to automate app design — but was secretly making apps using human developers overseas.For easier jobs, "AI" may in fact be a shiny term for basic statistics. If you can swap in "data analytics" for "AI" in a company's marketing materials, the company is probably not using AI.

"It's really tempting if you're a CEO of a tech startup to AI-wash because you know you're going to get funding," says Brandon Purcell, a principal analyst at Forrester.

The cycle continues because nobody wants to miss out on investing in — or being — the next Google or Facebook.CEOs demand that their companies "use AI," without regard for how or whether it's necessary, says Svetlana Sicular, research VP at Gartner.

The tech sector's fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude plays into the problem.

Many AI systems are slow to improve and require a good deal of human hand-holding at first, says Andrew Ng, founder of, a startup that helps other companies implement AI."But problems arise when the difficulty of moving to higher levels of automation is underestimated, either by the company or by the broader community," Ng tells Axios. "Or when the degree of automation at a given moment is misrepresented."

The confusion and deception get an assist from the fuzzy definition of AI. It covers everything from state-of-the-art deep learning, which powers most autonomous cars, to 1970s-era "expert systems" that are essentially huge sets of human-coded rules.

Yes, but: The term isn't going anywhere. So a cautious consumer, investor or CEO has to pay extra-close attention to anything waving the AI banner to determine whether it's a groundbreaking innovation — or just three kids in a trenchcoat.

November 15, 2019

We will have to set our agenda on the basis of our National Interests

Kashmir witnessed ISIS-level horror before the West was apprised on it: Columnist Sunanda Vashisht -


Sunanda Vashist is a Kashmiri Pandit and had recently deposed in front of USA Congress Committee.

Forget about Western Countries, we in India looked the other way when lakhs of Hindus and Sikhs were being subjugated to ethnic cleansing. Few hundred years back Hindus were in majority. Now there a handful of Hindu Families left in the Valley.  So long as Hindus don't care for the well being of fellow Hindus, there is nothing to stop more genecoides. Western Powers, led by USA has always looked at Kashmir issue , purely on the basis of self interest. Since the early 50s, USA interests in South Asia was mortgaged to Pakistan vis a vis Afghanistan and the larger Central Asian Republic. Now USA has been replaced with China. There are no permanent friends or foes, so long as mutual interests are protected.

We will have to set our agenda on the basis of our National Interests. A small beginning has been made with the abrogation if Article's 370 and 35A. That said even a Govt elected on a  popular mandate can do 'only so much' and it would require the collective will of Hindus to protect our gains and aspire for more changes. Change will come with time. But do Hindus have the wherewithal to fight it out ?

Kerala is the most Radicalized Islamic State in our Country

Kerala is the most Radicalized Islamic State in our Country. The State  always had a very special relationship with the Arab Muslim World. With employment opportunities came petro dollars, export of wahabism and certainly lots of prosperity. The uninterrupted rule of pseudo secular parties - Communist and CONgress since 1947, has given lots of encouragement to the Jihadis. The rise of Popular Front of India, firm believer in Wahabi Islam , has made the state a very happy hunting ground for ISIS, Al Qaida. There were more than dozen Radicalized Muslims from Kerala , who had joined ISIS, Al Qaida and few had joined some of the Pakistan based Jihadi Group's.

All the talk of education, employment opportunities, secular rule , financial stability etc weaning away the youth from joining JIHAD is a big HOAX. On the contrary the laxity shown by Communist and CONgress has emboldened people to openly defy the law of the land.

They openly display ISIS, Al Qaida flags and take oath of allegiance to proscribed Jihadi Group's. Now they have turned our National Anthem into a Jihadi Slogan. Shouldn't the so called secular and liberal Lobby seriously introspect.

Indeed it's just a curtain raiser. Children at a young age are being radicalized and taught about the superiority of their faith. Shape of things to come. And as usual the Hindu's, though still in majority have chosen to look the other way.

Remember the BRICS?

James LaLonde
Remember the BRICS? Well apparently they are still on each other’s Christmas card list

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The BRICS label was coined by Goldman Sach’s Jim O’Neill to highlight the rise of new, emerging markets. With just over 40% of the world’s population and 30% of the GDP, it sort of made sense—at least it did back then in 2009. The BRICS were originally seen as the drivers of the transformation of the global economy.

Ten years into the alliance Brazil and South America are weaker, Russia still has Putin (and its same old problems), and India and China are much, much stronger. On the whole, the alliance has had little impact on their ability as a unit to increase GDP, address education, security, workforce population changes, climate issues, and government debt. It remains to be seen if the BRICS can do anything as a bloc to protect their economies from the increasing structural disruption of the global economy, allowing for a more unified response to challenges that arise from the U.S., the E.U. and elsewhere.

“Alliances are difficult precisely because there is no 'boss' in them. They are partnership. And partners are equals, by definition. One cannot give orders to a partner. Hence the secret of a successful alliance is to manage it as a marketing relationship.” - Peter Drucker

Yes, BRICS still meet as they did this week in Brazil. But will they ever act in unison to accomplish something together? Don’t hold your breath. BRICS is a marketing alliance-no more, no less. But after ten years it’s just not clear what they are marketing and to whom?


November 15, 20190


India cannot take the current global empathy for granted forever. It may be better served to tweak its obsession with Pakistan by restraining its political leaders, service chiefs and the media against aggressive rhetoric on the neighbour. Such strategic `silence’  is more potent than military ops.

by Prasad Nallapati

India has finally shed its historical baggage.  Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masid land dispute got its legal resolution and Jammu and Kashmir a new status.  The two issues divided the country on communal lines for long giving ammunition to Pakistan to fish in troubled waters.

With these contentious issues now behind, the onus is now on the BJP-led government to take the country to prosperity and better integration by removing any misgivings of the Muslim community, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.  It’s an opportune time to terminally clip the ability of Pakistan to exploit fissures and secure the country and its people.

Global Sympathies Are With India Despite Pakistan’s Overstretch

The global scenario is equally conducive and supportive to India’s handling of these two fundamental issues plaguing the country despite Islamabad’s stroppy diplomatic and financial overstretch to get the international community to condemn the steps taken by New Delhi.  In the process, Pakistan exposed its own barren body politic with only three of its buddies, China, Turkey and Malaysia, extending a reluctant hand.  Indian diplomatic outreach convinced world leaders of the temporary nature of the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent terrorist violence and plans for their gradual easing.

Pakistan has invested hugely in the United States and Europe and tried to trumpet an odd Congressional hearing and a Labour Party resolution as a demonstration of success of its untiring efforts to internationalize the Kashmir issue.  Their lobbyists, helped by a few friends of Pakistan in the administration, arranged meetings for Prime Minister Imran Khan with influential members and financiers of the Democratic Party like George Soros, who has spent $ 72 million on lobbying since Trump came to power.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives did hold a hearing on human rights in South Asia, which instead focused entirely on the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir.  Leading Democratic Presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have similarly criticized the human rights situation in the valley.  Such Committee hearings have minimal media impact in the US. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women members of the House, is particularly vicious probably due to her close identity with Turkish ideology of universal umma.

The Democratic Party, however, has other reasons to be unhappy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi than the Kashmir issue.  The September 22ndHouston extravaganza of “Howdy Modi”, an unprecedented outpouring of Indian American community to welcome Modi, signified a new trend in the US electoral equations.  Modi has not only invited President Trump to the event but also declared his support for his re-election next year.  The Indian American community, hitherto staunch supporters of the Democratic Party, appears to be shifting toward the Republicans.

Notwithstanding such apprehensions, recent surveys by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs,including its 2019 report, show a consistently positive view of India among Democratic Party members and sympathizers and negative views on Pakistan.

Trump’s initial enthusiasm to mediate on Kashmir issue, expressed at his White House media briefing, after a meeting with Imran Khan on July 22 was much to do with a prospect of a Pakistan-aided agreement with Taliban leading to peaceful American withdrawal from Afghanistan and a verifiable action against terrorist groups. Ayesha Siddiqa, noted Pakistani author and currently a research associate at SOAS, London, wrote in the Printthat these meetings for Imran Khan and his Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa were organized courtesy Britain and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Trump.

“Pakistan is expected to demonstrate ‘irreversible action’ against militancy that is verifiable by, what sources claim, CIA and the British MI6. It seems that in Washington the military trio agreed to an action plan that is “discreet, tangible, and measurable,” writes Siddiqa. The Senator is a frequent visitor to Islamabad and is instrumental in getting Trump to agree to Gen. Bajwa’s offer.  Pakistan, however, has no intention to carry out such a sweeping action against terrorist groups and it was soon exposed with the Taliban carrying out attacks on American troops.  Trump cancelled negotiations with Taliban and Islamabad lost its traction.

With pressure mounting from political opposition and the UN’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the army-installed Imran Khan’s government will remain under notice for a long time to try any misadventures against India.  Economic stakes are high, and China is particularly concerned about the execution of its $ 50 billion CPEC projects. China prefers accommodation with India rather than confrontation.

India’s Strategic `Silence’ Proves More Potent Than Military Ops

India also may be better served to tweak its obsession with Pakistan.  An absolute restraint needs to be observed by both political leaders, service officers and the media against launching aggressive rhetoric on the neighbour.  TV channels may blackout all evening prime time high-decibel debates on Pakistan.  They shall limit to carry only factual reports and objective analysis, nothing more.  Other daily `ugly’ events like the evening military shows playing to the galleries on both sides of the Wagah-Attari border must end.

Such strategic `silence’ may prove to be more potent than military operations.  Every verbal rhetoric from Indian side not only attracts multiple Pakistani counter responses but also rakes up emotional nationalistic feelings temporarily obscuring its governmental failures.  Pakistan has several `fault-lines’, such as ethnic divisions and overbearing military, which will explode in the absence of the Indian factor.  It will, in the long run, help strengthen Pakistan’s political parties and force its military back to their barracks.

Modi Govt Cannot Hide Its Domestic Failures

India, however, cannot take the current global empathy for granted forever.  Its positives have so far been its political stability and economic strength and there are growing fears of the two slipping fast.  Growth rates are expected to fall below 5 per cent, for the first time in several years, beating the market’s attractiveness for international investors.  There is consistent fall in manufacturing, despite the `Make India’ drive, and farming sector. India failed to negotiate a favourable deal with the Asian trade grouping, ` RCEP’.

Politically, the BJP is struggling to retain its sway in provincial legislatures despite its convincing victory in the recent parliamentary elections.  Maharashtra and Haryana are the latest instances. Southern states, mostly ruled by regional parties, are in deep morass.  BJP’s maneuvers there to turn the chaos to its advantage have only added further pressure on these progressive states.

Modi government’s task has, therefore, been cut to deliver on domestic front to retain the country’s credibility abroad.  It cannot hide its failures behind the fa├žade of international recession.  Many of the current economic problems are home-made and the BJP government need to re-prioritize its tasks rather than wasting time and resources on political reprisals and divisive communal issues.

(Prasad Nallapati is President of the Hyderabad-based think tank, The Centre for Asia-Africa Policy Research)

November 14, 2019

MHA cancels FCRA registrations of 1,807 NGOs and Institutions in 2019

MHA cancels FCRA registrations of 1,807 NGOs and Institutions in 2019; NGOs did not comply with FCRA rules


 Web Desk

All such NGOs and institutions have failed to provide information related to their annual income and expenditures for funds received from abroad from the last 6 years. After the Modi government came to power in 2014, the Home Ministry has canceled FCRA registration of more than 14,800 organizations.



New Delhi: The central government has cancelled FCRA registration of 1807 NGOs and educational institutions across the country in 2019. A Home Ministry release said that NGOs and educational institutions registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) have been barred from receiving funds from abroad. These organizations are accused of violating the FCRA norms or not complying with the rules.


With the cancellation of the FCRA registration, all these NGOs and educational institutions have been barred from receiving foreign funds. These NGOs and institutions failed to provide annual income and expenditure information on the funds they had received from abroad for the past six years. It is for these violations that their FCRA registration has been canceled. These institutions were repeatedly asked for the income and expenditure information by the MHA but they ignored. According to the FCRA guidelines, registered entities must submit online income and expenditure details online for each financial year.


Some of the prominent NGOs and institutions whose FCRA licences have been cancelled in various states include:


- SALVATION MINISTRIES, SALVATION MINISTRIES and Darul Uloom Imdadia Educational Society of Andhra Pradesh,


- The Wesleyan Methodist Mission and Notre Dame Sisters Society of Chhattisgarh,

- Young Men's Christian Association of Gujarat,


- The Catholic Christian Minority Board of Education of Jharkhand

- St. Sebastian Church, St. Pauls Education Trust and St Joseph's Carmelite Convent of Karnataka

- WORSHIPERS MINISTRIES CHARITABLE TRUST and St. Marys Charitable Complex of Kerala

- M P Christian Assembly, Diocese of Bhopal of Madhya Pradesh

- WORLD ISLAMIC NETWORK and The Savion Trust of Maharashtra

- Catholic Mission and Catholic Church of Meghalaya

- TORCH BEARER MINISTRIES and The Fundamental Baptist Churches Association of Mizoram


- St. Joseph's Convent and Institute of the Foreign Mission Sisters of Puducherry

- Christian Primary School and Methodist Primary School of Punjab

- Zion Full Gospel Church Trust, Young Men s Christian Assocition and Trinity Full Gospel Church of Tamil Nadu


- Anjuman Itiithad Millat, Begum Noor Jehan Foundation and CHRISTIAN SOCIAL SERVICE SOCIETY of Uttar Pradesh

- The Roman Catholic Church, HAKIMUDDIN EDUCATIONAL AND WELFARE TRUST of West Bengal

- University of Rajasthan


Action taken against NGOs after FCRA was amended in 2016


NGOs and institutions that do not receive foreign contribution in a particular year have to file a zero return for each financial year. Bangalore based NGO Infosys Foundation sought to cancel the registration voluntarily. The official said that after the law was amended in 2016, NGOs like Infosys Foundation which have cancelled their FCRA registration did not come under the act automatically.


After the Narendra Modi led NDA government took reins at the Center in 2014, the Home Ministry has canceled the FCRA registration of more than 14,800 NGOs till date.

November 13, 2019

79° longitudes: Shiva Temples

Very interesting - Can you guess what is common between all these prominent temples.

1. Kedarnath
2. Kalahashti
3. Ekambaranatha- Kanchi
4. Thiruvanamalai
5. Thiruvanaikaval
6. Chidambaram Nataraja
7. Rameshwaram
8. Kaleshwaram N-India

Very interesting - Can you guess what is common between all these prominent temples.

If your answer is they all are Shiva temples, you are only partially correct.
It is actually the longitude in which these temples are located.

They all are located in 79° longitudes. What is surprising and awesome is that how the architects of these temples many hundreds of kilometres apart came up with these precise locations without GPS or any such gizmo like that.

1. Kedarnath 79.0669°
2. Kalahashti 79.7037°
3. Ekambaranatha- Kanchi 79.7036°
4. Thiruvanamalai 79.0747°
5. Thiruvanaikaval 78.7108
6. Chidambaram Nataraja 79.6954°
7. Rameshwaram 79.3129°
8. Kaleshwaram N-India 79.9067°

See the picture -- all are in a straight line.

You will be surprised to know that there are Shiva temples in India which are built in a straight line from Kedarnath to Rameswaram. Wonder what science and technology we had with our ancestors, which we could not understand till today? The Kedarnath of Uttarakhand, the Kaleshwaram of Telangana, Kalahasti of Andhra Pradesh, Akhaseshwar of Tamil Nadu, Chidambaram and finally the Rameswaram temples have been built in the geographical straight line of or nearer to that of 79 ° E 41 ' 54 "Longitude.

All these temples represent the expression of gender in the 5 elements of nature, which we call the punch Tatwa (FIVE Elements) in common language. Punch tatwa i.e. Earth, water, fire, air and space. These has released these five Shiva LINGAS on the basis of five elements.
1. Water is represented at Thiruvnanakwal Temple,
2. The representation of the fire is in Thiruvannamalai,
3. The air is represented in Kalahasti,
4. The earth is represented in Kanchipuram and in the cold
5. The space or the sky is represented at Chidambaram Temple! These five temples represent the wonderful mating of Vastu-Vigyan-Veda.

The speciality is also found in these temples in a geographical manner. These five temples were built according to yoga Science, and have been placed in a certain geographical alignment with each other. There will certainly be science that will affect the human body.

These temples were constructed about four thousand years ago when there was no satellite technology available to measure the latitude and longitude of those places. So how was the five temples so accurately established? God Only Knows.

There is a distance of 2383 km between Kedarnath and Rameswaram. But all these temples fall in almost the same parallel line. After all, thousands of years ago, the technology of which these temples have been built in a parallel line is a mystery to this day. The Shimmer lamp in the Srikalahasti temple shows that it Represent AIR Linga. The water spring in the inner plateau of the Thiruvanikka temple shows that Represent WATER-Linga. The huge lamp on the Annamalai hill shows that Represent FIRE-Linga. The Sawanbhu Linga of the sands of Kanchipuram shows that Represent the EARTH Linga and the incorporeal (NIRAKAR) state of Chidambaram is Representing as the incorporeal, heavens(AKASH) Eather element of God.

What is more surprising now is that the five Lingas, representing the five elements of the universe, have been installed centuries ago in a similar line. We should be proud of our ancestors ' knowledge and Intelligence that they had a science and technology that did not even distinguish modern science. It is believed that it is not only the five temples but also the many temples in this line which lie in the straight line from Kedarnath to Rameswaram. This line is also called the "SHIVA SHAKTI AKSH Rekha". It is likely to be made by keeping the entire temple of Kailash in the regions which falls in 81.3119 ° E!? The answer only God Knows.. ...

Amazing thing. Mahakal What is the relationship between the Shiva Jyotirlingams......??
The distance of the remaining Jyotirlingams from Ujjain is also interesting-
Ujjain to Somnath-777 km
Ujjain to Omkareshwar-111 km
Ujjain to Bhimashankar-666 km
Kashi Vishwanath from Ujjain-999 km
From Ujjain, Mallikarjun-999 km
Kedarnath from Ujjain-888 km
Ujjain to Tryanbakeshwar-555 km
Ujjain to Baijnath-999 km
Rameswaram-1999 km from Ujjain
From Ujjain to Nauseshwara-555 km

There was nothing in Hinduism without any reason.
Ujjain is considered to be the centre of the Earth. As a centre for thousands of years in Sanatan Dharma, a man-made instrument for calculating the sun and astrology in Ujjain has also been created about 2050 years ago.

And when the imaginary line on Earth Imaginary was created by the British scientist about 100 years ago, the central part of it was Ujjain. Even today, scientists come to Ujjain to know about the sun and space.

Courtesy : Subhash Rawat


PG Kamath
It was Nehru who was very suspicious of the armed forces fearing a revolt.  One can excuse him that he did not comprehend the powerplay in international politics, till a year and a half before his death.  By the time, it was too late!  He was humiliated by the Chinese; died repentant with broken dreams and shattered ego. Tales have been told and innumerable articles have been written about his strategic naivety and his unmatched foolhardiness and there is nothing more to be told.  He has left behind a ‘case study’ as to how a head of the state can fall from grace for ‘undermining the Armed Forces’ and ‘incomprehension of geopolitical power games in the international arena’.  I heard somewhere that we should not flog a dead horse; so, let it be with Nehru.
Now comes our current PM Modi.  He is a shrewd politician and understands the domestic intrigues and international shenanigans played by great and small powers.  He knows how to coalesce his domestic audience by calling on their patriotism and national pride.  He has projected himself as a leader who is heads and shoulders above his former office-bearers.  There is little doubt in it as we really do not find anyone materially as selfless as him and he has no parallels in sheer audacity to take bold decisions.  How successful was the Demonetisation is a different story, however, the very sagacity in the decision made the people vote for him overwhelmingly?  At last, the county has a PM who is bold and takes hard decisions for the benefit of the country and whips up the national pride to forge national unity.  Individually, he is incorruptible.  In the run-up for the parliamentary elections of 2019, the solid support given to him by Raga is commendable.  He called him a ‘thief’, which even Imran Khan would not accuse him of; and the people were stupefied by its sheer stupidity, incredulity and absurdity of the name-calling.  It gave further pep to the image of Modi as the person who is calling him ‘thief’ has to be a really an asinine nincompoop that he actually was. Any appreciation from Raga would have gone against the person; to be praised by a fool indeed one has to be a bloody fool.
 However, in spite of all his sterling qualities, he shares with Nehru the same antipathy towards the armed forces.  Visiting army units on each Deepawali is a good thing to show to the people as to how he cares for them.  Stuffing sweets in the mouths of senior officers is a good public display for civilian consumption but the victim really does not know where to hide, thereafter.   However, when it comes to giving them monetary relief, appointing them to senior positions in their second innings the PM avoids them like plague.  Of the 9 Union Territories and 28 states, there are only two officers from Armed Forces as Governor/Lt Governor.  Both the NSA and Dy NSA are police officers; as if there is no external threat to the nation? The two-front threat to India from China and Pakistan is an internal matter for the PM and will be tackled by these two policemen by pepper spray and pellet guns.  Remember; what Nehru had told Gen Robert Lockhart when he sought his approval for the strategic defence policy of the country; Nehru had exploded “Rubbish! Total rubbish! We don't need a defence plan. Our policy is ahimsa (non-violence). We foresee no military threats. Scrap the army! The police are good enough to meet our security needs".  Not unlike Nehru; PM Modi also feels the there is no external threat to the country and police advisers are sufficient for him to visualise the external threat if any?
The Indian Army would never pardon Doval for advising the PM to appoint an Army Chief, who was third in seniority? In one stroke he ensured that the subservient police culture was brought into the otherwise apolitical and proud Indian Army.   Thereafter a string of events ensured the marginalisation of the once gallant and proud armed forces. Their pride was undermined, their swagger was mocked, their cantonments were opened up, their disability pensions were taxed, their sacrifices were belittled, FIRs were lodged for doing their legitimate duties, their AFTs were downgraded and under posted to only 2 of the 17 benches thus  denying them justice, anomalies of the past several pay commissions were not addressed, they were singled out from all other central government services for denial of NFU and their veterans were given a truncated OROP.  Their seniority and equivalence was played around by pitching them with Group B Services; Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Services and deprived the Colonels of invitation to R Day parade, who are actually the workhorses of the Armed Forces.  The veterans were lathi-charged from Jantar Mantar and were humiliated.  Their difficult area allowances were a pittance when compared to other civil services and the Central Armed Police Forces. No wonder; the PM has to have both the NSA and Dy NSA from the police. They all believe that Siachen is more comfortable than Shillong; and then why not? When someone else is serving there!
However, when it comes to canvassing for the 2019 elections a strong and resolute PM who carries out ‘Surgical Strike’, ‘Balakot Strike’ and his tenacious standoff at Dokalam is highlighted to get votes and win the elections with a massive mandate.
To the PMO all are welcome but having a serving or veteran member of the armed forces is a taboo.  Of the 46 officers in the PMO, not one is from the Armed forces or a veteran.  The sole advice he gets for the disastrous policy on J&K is from his National Security Adviser.  Now let us see some statistics as to how the state has been utterly mismanaged during his first tenure?
In the Assembly elections in Dec 2014, the polling percentage in the State of J&K was 65%.  There were long serpentine queues in the Vale of Kashmir defying the boycott calls given by separatists. So far fine; it only goes to show that the people of J&K were amenable to democracy and voted overwhelmingly in 2014. There was a groundswell to support democratic processes.  In the run-up for the Assembly elections, the PM gets the pliant senior officers of the Army to punish an officer and few men who had done their legitimate duty by firing and killing persons in a vehicle who gate-crashed through the army barrier.  PM boasted at the election rally that for the first time in 30 years that we have punished the army persons for doing their duty; the last four words are my own as they are implicit in the boast. It was the grand strategy of NSA that it would be a voting catching masterstroke.  For all the ‘Strategy of undermining Indian Army’ by the Indian PM, the total votes polled in the valley in favour of BJP was less 2.2 per cent? So, the very theme was unworkable.  Just see how the other sheep in the cabinet flock ape the PM; four years later Seetharaman gives permission to Mufti to lodge an FIR against an officer for doing his legitimate duty?    So, blunt the sword that defends the nation has been the credo; after all the police is good enough?
In the 2014 General Election, the overall polling percentage for the state of J&K was 49.52%, however, there was a slight dip in the General Elections of 2019 to 46.21%.  The real crunch indicator is the polling percentage in the valley:   For the three seats in the valley the polling percentage in 2019 vis-à-vis 2014 General Elections dropped significantly; Baramulla by 5%, Srinagar by 12 % and Anantnag by over 21 %. Just look at the state of affairs now.  Thanks to the genius or lack of it by NSA and PMO.  
NSA going to downtown Srinagar with unseen armed guards protecting him on 07 Aug, two days after the Art 370 was rescinded is considered a masterstroke to bring peace in the Union Territory.  The bold NSA personally assessing the situation in J&K and gives a soothing touch to the restive state; make good headlines. We can go about parading our skills in drinking tea with the locals in Srinagar to please some wide-eyed teenagers but it is high time that we have to look beyond the headlines.
I am not suggesting for a moment that the Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A was a wrong step. It was indeed a bold step which any of the earlier government neither had guts nor acumen to take. The entire nation was proud of the PM and supported him steadfastly.  Then, what went wrong? I can only say the NSA and the PMO did not anticipate that the ‘Strategy of Fear’ would subsume the whole valley.  A few terrorists have held the entire state to ransom and hinder the early return to normalcy.  Now, after three months the entire world is looking at us seeking our explanation for happenings there?  We should be clear that a problem of seven decades cannot be sorted out in three months.  It is indeed a long haul and everyone should be prepared for it and also our MEA should create international awareness that the normalisation process will take some time. 
The follow-up planning was poor as alternative plans had not been drawn. The abrogation of the article should have been followed up with a timebound concrete plan to employ youths.   No contingencies were planned to relentlessly exploit the sagacious strategic decision and bring peace and normalcy in the state.  It is like a General, who has just planned his first phase of operations and after that, he really does not know as to how to consummate it into a victory? He waits for the enemy reaction and then loses the initiative and is confused and dumbfounded.  That is the exact state in J&K now.   The Governor has been rightly sacked as he did not foresee how the scenario in the state would unfold? He has been made a scapegoat for the blunders committed by the NSA and PMO.
Then someone in the PMO gets a hare-brained idea to get some rightist MPs from EU to visit the restive state.  It backfired so badly those MPs who thought the situation was improving before their visit was now thoroughly convinced that the situation was beyond redemption in the foreseeable future.  Except four of them who did not want to visit when they were told that they cannot meet people, the others out of sheer embarrassment of accepting the hospitality gave a statement that it was an internal matter of India; for which we do not need their certificate.  More so, if it was an internal matter pray; why did they come there in the first place? Can anyone enlighten on this issue? The NSA carried out a briefing and the also the top brass at the Srinagar Corps Headquarters. They were given a ride on Dal Lake.  The police and senior bureaucrats also met them. All in vain; we came out red-faced.  Will someone sack the person, who mooted this disastrous marketing gimmick.
What is being done in J&K? The outlived Governor is literally cooling his heels in the Arabian Sea.  The new Governor; who was once PM’s Principal Secretary when he was the CM of Gujarat has been brought in his place.  I really hope he succeeds for the sake of our country.  The PM will not venture out to nominate any veteran army officer, who has immensely succeeded in the valley. They do not inspire confidence in him; however, any faceless politician or bureaucrat is worth a try.
Now; Mr Doval; please tell the country; what is your Macro strategy in J&K and how do you get normalcy there? How many more times you will have tea in the streets of Srinagar and entertain us with your public relations exercise? You have already done it twice and have not been able to cut a centimetre of ice.
Suggested Strategy in J&K
It would be wrong just to criticise and not offer suggestions; isn’t it?  I have tried to pen down a few suggestions which could be incorporated as and when it shapes up.
Open an effective Joint Operations Room and all security forces should be under command of the Corps Commander Srinagar.  No inter-ministerial rivalry should be tolerated. All antiterrorists’ operations should be conducted under the command and control of the Army.
Armed forces, CAPF and State Police should conduct operations for ruthless elimination of terrorists.  Assure the Armed Forces that their interest would be looked into and Armed Forces Special Power Act would be respected.  Please also commit that Seetharaman would never ever be appointed as the RM again and all the anti-armed forces measures instituted by her is revoked.  Mr PM, we all know that when the PMO wants to take the reins of any Ministry, she is appointed as cabinet minister of that ministry.   Just, look at the great muddle in the Finance Ministry.  Please read my article entitled ‘Somersaults by the Finance Minister (Playing with the lives of a Billion People)’.
The bureaucrats have ruled the roost for the past seven decades and all they have brought to the troubled state is misery and violence.  Please, PM, stop reinforcing the failure.  A separate Administrative Cadre to provide good governance to the state should be formulated.  It should comprise officers from all services and strict accountability norms need to be instituted.  Otherwise, the group loyalties and parochialism would mar their efficiency.
Raise 20 Environment Battalions from 20,000 youths from the Union Territory and deploy them in other states.  Get the recruiting done and send them for basic training to different army regimental centres across the country with specialised training by the Ministry of Environment and Forest Research Institute.  After the training, deploy them in different states. Eligible recruiting age should be relaxed to recruit candidates between the ages from 20 to 30 years.  Bar the persons who have been charged for stone pelting or any other anti-national activities should be banned from such recruitments.
Immediately incentivise software companies to come and establish their call centres in the Valley.  Till such time the infrastructure is set up, they should be recruited and sent for training in different parts of the country and employed.  This should take care of the educated unemployed. As and when the infrastructure is set up, they should be posted back to the valley.  Alternatively, encourage them to settle at their workplaces in different parts of the country.
Invest in colleges and education centres in Union Territory and bring in the best of teachers and scholars.  More IITs and IIMs be opened. 
Open a sports academy in the Union Territory to encourage sports and pick up talent. Open a Mountaineering Institute and encourage mountaineering as a sport. Attract tourists for Mountain Sports, skiing, hiking, ice skating and mountaineering and make it a worldwide sports tourist destination.
Tourism would have the highest potential for employment.  An academy for tourist guides should be set up that trains qualified youth for employment in the tourism industry. 
Release all the politicians who are spent force as it is.  They have only enriched themselves at the cost of the public.  All government bungalows to be vacated by those not holding government offices.  No protection whatsoever should be provided to them.
All people and the separatists should be given the option to remain in India or go to Pakistan. Any separatists or any other persons who want to migrate to Pakistan should be given free air tickets and right of one-way passage to Pakistan.  Let us see how many will leave?  I presume, not more than 100 would leave J&K.  Let me see if they want to live in a ‘Jannat’ called Pakistan?
Frankly, PM, you have wasted your first tenure in J&K, and the people of India have given you a second chance.  Please do not waste it.  First, accept the ‘J&K’ policy in your first tenure has been a disaster. The Panchayat elections were party successful and you have empowered functionaries at the grass-root level, however, a fear psychosis has set in the Union Territory that forces them to be passive pons of terrorists.  It was a monumental decision to revoke Art 370 and 35A at the beginning of your second tenure.    Now the security forces and civil administration have to fight to eliminate the terrorists and to create an environment to enable people to exercise their free will.  

Give a fresh look at the whole issue once again.  Restore the pride of the Armed Forces as they alone will ensure your victory in 2024 and also ensure the integrity of our great country.  It is the Armed Forces that give you the strength and stature to hold your head high on your foreign jaunts.  Revitalise your economy; it needs better handling than the ‘yes woman’ you have placed. The state elections have not been encouraging as you would have liked.  However, it still shows the nation’s will is for you.  Never let go of this opportunity and bash on regardless.  Go against the corrupt.  Somehow, I derived vicarious pleasure to see the ‘mock grin’ on the face of Chidambaram; the head of the greediest family on the surface of the earth.  More such people need to account for their misdeeds and anti-national activities. 

Good Luck to You!


The CPD Blog is intended to stimulate dialog among scholars and practitioners from around the world in the public diplomacy sphere. The opinions represented here are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect CPD's views. For blogger guidelines, click here.

Nov 7, 2019



Given the seemingly inexorable force of technology, diplomacy today can hardly be practiced without an element of the digital. When the terms “digital” and “public diplomacy” come together, there are generally two broad meanings. One conversation is familiar to all of us in the field, focusing on how to develop and apply digital capabilities to public diplomacy efforts, commonly referred to as “digital diplomacy.” The other is the road less traveled: what public diplomacy means for advancing the digital economy and society.

Both underlie the dynamic intersection where digital technology meets global affairs and public communication. We can call the former “digital for public diplomacy” and the latter “public diplomacy for the digital” to clarify the two related yet different threads of discussion. As technological change continues to accelerate, both domains of practice will challenge and reshape the field of public diplomacy in the years to come.

Digital for Public Diplomacy

Advancements in digital technology have transformed platforms and tools for communication and engagement. They are turning traditional public diplomacy practices upside down. Doing public diplomacy well these days requires greater familiarity with communication principles and techniques in a rapidly evolving information landscape. For instance, in both developed and emerging economies, many more people now turn to social networking sites for news and information, bringing about a platform-based media ecosystem that is both fragmented and interlocking.

In this age of information abundance and mobility, communication attributes, such as transparency, authenticity, exclusivity and convenience, are elevated to greater prominence. Empowered by digital technology, users now often find themselves in the driver’s seat, signifying a power shift from producers to users; and audiences are now simultaneously communicators. Virtual reality and augmented reality tools are poised to redefine how people experience their worlds. AI and automation are revolutionizing communication placements with precise targeting. Indeed, as Silicon Valley shakes up the marketing communication sector through its prowess in data collection and advanced analytics, digital technology is posing existential threats to a host of traditional players from advertising to public relations.

To successfully navigate this fast-moving, ever more complicated, transnational policy arena requires unprecedented international cooperation and cross-sector collaboration. 

Furthermore, the acceleration of digital technology has dissolved the boundaries between domestic and abroad, making the interaction of national concerns and international engagement ever more dynamic and interdependent. These trends and developments call for not only capacity building for practitioners on the frontlines of public diplomacy in key functional areas of data analytics and storytelling, but also a reexamination and reconfiguration of the operating model as well as analytical frameworks of public diplomacy.

Public Diplomacy for the Digital

At another level, digital innovation, from the Internet of Things to the sharing economy to automation and the future of work, is also demanding a new set of global public policies to facilitate these technological advances as well as safeguard the rights of the public. Nations and governments have not yet caught up to the fast-changing pace of technology as far as policymaking and policy communication are concerned. Meanwhile, there is a global backlash against tech firms on a range of matters that challenge the business models that made them superstars in the first place.

To successfully navigate this fast-moving, ever more complicated, transnational policy arena requires unprecedented international cooperation and cross-sector collaboration. If public diplomacy is generally understood as a country’s efforts to create and maintain relationships with publics in other countries to advance policies and actions, the question then becomes in what ways public diplomacy may contribute to forging a path forward in expanding the benefits of digital innovation while alleviating the downsides of digital disruption.

The policy challenges concerning digital technology mainly lie in three areas. The first is data governance, from data collection and ownership, to their usage and dissemination. The key debates surrounding data governance center on data privacy, security, censorship and freedom of speech. The second policy challenge concerns the future of work as a result of the advancements in AI and automation, which are set to reshape the labor market, the skills required of workers and alter the dynamic between employment and leisure. The third policy focal point deals with the concentration and centralization of power among a few tech firms and the associated debate on antitrust ramifications.

As technological advancement and globalization continue to intensify, so will the interaction between digital technology and public diplomacy. 

Two important caveats are worth noting here. One is that these days every company is in varying degrees a “tech company,” given how embedded digital technology has become in any business process. While the public spotlight shines on a few tech giants, these policy matters affect virtually all types of businesses and organizations. Second, contemporary technological disruption is coupled with and indeed compounded by geopolitical disruption, especially in light of the rise of China, which is currently the only country that has created the types of tech giants that can rival those in the United States.

There are no existing regulatory frameworks and tools to adequately address the potentials and practices of digital innovation. As digital technology is increasingly an elemental part of daily life, public concerns about the aforementioned challenges are mounting. And the dystopian vision of digital life, through popular culture, is capturing the imagination of a wider public that is growingly weary of the pace and direction of digital change.

The role of the private sector in public policymaking and communication has evolved over time, yet this role has remained primarily a domestic one. Given current disruptive technologies and the nature of globalization, businesses must now broaden their policymaking to be transnational in scope. They must develop new capabilities and new partnerships in order to address the growing concerns over digital technology and its social and geopolitical consequences. This policy enterprise involves governments of sovereign states as well as networks of the broader public. For global businesses, public diplomacy principles and tools provide a valuable framework for their international interactions, as they take on aspects of the roles traditionally played by diplomats to navigate the complex international public policy arena. In short, the transnational nature of the digital economy and the urgent necessity of global policy engagement has created a new, yet-to-be-explored, (public) diplomatic space.

As technological advancement and globalization continue to intensify, so will the interaction between digital technology and public diplomacy. These shifting dynamics engender much uncertainty in state actions and policy priorities. On the one hand, public diplomacy must reinvent itself in the face of transformative technologies to be relevant and impactful. On the other hand, now, more than ever, robust and creative public-private partnerships are critical in maintaining a stable marketplace and world, and diplomatic competencies and tools in modern statecraft are valuable for developing an effective engagement framework for a dynamic, complex global environment. This is an exciting moment for the study and practice of public diplomacy, as the worlds of public diplomacy and digital technology are increasingly and inextricably linked.

Note from the CPD Blog Manager: This piece, written by CPD Director Jay Wang, originally appeared in the 2019 Soft Power 30 report.

Jay Wang is the Director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and an Associate Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Centre may create single agency for cyber defence

The new policy – National Cyber Security Policy 2020 - will emphasize cybersecurity awareness and hygiene. It is likely to suggest a cybersecurity course for schools and colleges curriculum.

The move comes even as India faces renewed threat of cyber attacks and cyber terrorism (Photo: for representation purpose only)Updated: Nov 12, 2019 05:38 IST

By Sudhi Ranjan Sen , Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India may soon have a single authority or agency responsible for the entire spectrum of defensive cyber operations in the country, a senior official in a security agency said on condition of anonymity.

The move comes even as India faces renewed threat of cyber attacks and cyber terrorism . For instance, the breach in a part of a network of India’s largest civil nuclear facility, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu, in September. The attack did not compromise critical systems, but gained access to the plant’s administrative network.

According to the official cited in the first instance, the government’s plan is to rearrange and reorganize over a dozen agencies engaged in the protecting India’s cyber infrastructure.

Currently, these agencies have their individual control and reporting systems. The idea is to restructure these to ensure better coordination and functioning, the official added.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSC), and the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO), and several other departments and agencies have their own cyber units that look at various aspect of cybersecurity.

Then there are specialised units including the Computer Emergency Response Team, India (CERT.IN), National Critical Information Infrastructure, and the National Cyber Coordinator Centre.

More are being added by the day. For instance, MHA recently launched CyCord (Cyber Cooperation Centre) under the Intelligence Bureau (IB). CyCord is a platform of several agencies and government departments. It plays a defensive role in the cyber world, and focused on hacking and online investigations . The ministry already had the National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (TAU), the Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigation Team, the National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory and the Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit.

National Cyber Security Coordinator, Lieutenant General Rajesh Panth has now been given the job of working out a structure that brings together the capabilities of all these units and agencies. “The primary task of the National Cyber Security Policy 2020 will be to bring in cohesion,” the official cited in the first instance said. He added that “there have been several rounds of discussions at the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) on the issue and a broad framework has already been worked out.”

The last National Cyber Security Policy was released in 2013. The new policy – National Cyber Security Policy 2020 - will emphasize cybersecurity awareness and hygiene. It is likely to suggest a cybersecurity course for schools and colleges curriculum.

The reorganisation will need the assent of the Union Cabinet before being implemented.

“The reorganization must also deal with the fact that the Information Technology Act is under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY). In the current parliamentary system, the ministry responsible for implementing the law generally gets to regulate and execute it,” a second senior official associated with Indian cyber security efforts said, asking not to be identified.

“We are studying models across the world before we arrive at a structure,” a third senior official directly involved in the process of coming up with the plan said on condition of anonymity.

“Globally, the trend is to have overarching agencies for better and command and control. It is time we also have a similar structure. India’s capabilities in the cyber world have expanded and there are a large number of agencies, but sharing real-time information is always not enough. Cyber defence capabilities is a critical strategic requirement. I think this a very positive move,” said Aruna Sudarajan, a former telecom secretary.

Across the world, the command control of defence cyber operations has been put under a well defined single command and control. For instance, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) of the United Kingdom is responsible for all things related to protecting cyberinfrastructure. Similarly, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore reports to the Prime Minister and is responsible for the complete spectrum of defensive cyber operations. The National Security Agency of the US has the complete command and control.