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Friday, January 13, 2006

Dashed Pipeline?

The Blame Lies Elsewhere

Rediff reports that Petroleum Ministry may be rethinking IPI pipeline.
Apprehending adverse US reaction, India is unlikely to participate in building the $7-billion gas pipeline project from Iran via Pakistan and instead may prefer buying gas at its border...

The ministry feels that setting up of an international consortium - comprising of state-owned firms of the three countries and global energy majors - for construction and operation of one of the world's most valuable projects could be a non-starter due to political and legal opposition from the US...

The note says the full responsibility for ensuring safe and secure supply of gas to India would vest on Iran. Tehran would be solely responsible to ensure Indian supplies; arrange alternative supplies in case of disruption, and suffer penalties in case of supply disruptions.

Acron and theersa have argued it was a bad idea to begin with. Others have commented that India is bending to US will and is another example of spineless Indian foreign policy.

I think blame for this lies elsewhere - in Iran. Washington has for months, if not years, has been against this project because of its opposition to anyone trading with Iran. For India, from the inception of this idea, the problem was not Iran, but Pakistan and its habit of supporting terrorism in India. But India politicians wanted the project to move ahead, over the objections of Indian security analysts, for some intangible benefits of having closer economic ties with Pakistan.

The situation changed dramatically in the past month - not in Pakistan or in US, but in Iran. Iran stopped talking about working a deal with the Europeans with regards to its uranium enrichment program. Without a deal, it removed the seals of IAEA at nuclear sites and wants to move ahead with uranium enrichment program (apparently to make nuclear bombs, despite signing NPT). The Russian have made disapproving noises about the latest Iran's move. The Chinese are as usual quite - which means they want to get away with eating and keeping the oily cake. Europeans wants IAEA to refer Iran to Security Council. US agrees. Trade sanctions to complete economic sanctions are possible, likely within months, if the Chinese allow it.

Working towards the pipeline deal with Iran, under threat of U.N. Security Council sanctions, would be a disaster for the $7 billion project. And for India's future prospect of gaining permanent membership to UNSC. So the change of heart of petroleum minister Mr. Aiyer (and probably PM Manmohan Singh) after, probably, a "I told you so" from US ambassador.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

UPA Working To Create Economic And Social Basket Country

Destructive economic and social policy making has become an art form for Congress I.

Former Congress I Prime Minister Indira Gandhi destroyed the post-independence budding India economy by stealing private property and usurping the private economy for two decades starting in 1968. Some Congress I apologists explain this destruction: she created the global socialist temple to fight the communists. I am not sure how one can fight stupidity by becoming stupid.

Now, before the private sector has found it footing, the same person who opened the door for private sector to prosper, in some parts of the economy anyway, decade and half ago, is trying to destroy it. The current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants private sector job quotes based on caste. Performance be damned - caste is what matters. So much for prepping for globalization and intense competition with East Asia and U.S. in the coming decades. Congress I delivers a noose to hang the country’s economy again.

Going further, even before PM Singh proposal for new private sector job quotes is digested by rational countrymen, Congress I lead UPA comes up with an ever better plan - this time it wants to destroy the social fabric of India and slowly tear the secular republic constitution apart.

It wants to distribute the social program funds based on religion according to religious population proportions. According to Indian Express editorial:

Keep your calculators out. The Central government is all set to deliver social justice via fractions. In case wiser counsel by the law ministry truly does not prevail, the UPA will go ahead with an absurd plan to allocate funding in key social sector programmes for the minorities in proportion to their share of the population, in the country and in specific states depending on the modalities of different schemes. (IE)

One wonders which idiot comes up with these plans? But it doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to come with this latest dumb social proposal. Caste based education reservations and government job quotes have been in existence, and expanding, for decades. Congress I is just pushing the envelope a bit more.

Instead of pushing for less reservations and quotes and enabling more equal opportunity for all Indian citizens in education and jobs, and preparing the economy for an ultra competitive 21st century, Congress I and its fellow Communists are spending their five years in power to tear the country into sub groups with pre-established quotas based on religion and caste, in all fields, and transforming India into a global basket case economically and socially.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Chinese Acting to Derail Budding U.S.-Indo Strategic Relationship

The Chinese are Acting Against Indian National Interest Again.

While the Marxist oil minister, Mr. Aiyar, cuddles with the Chinese, like the communist sympathizer and defense minister Krishna Menon in Nehru's Cabinet who put India in a losing position during Chinese attack on India in 1962, with the revived Panchsheel, the Chinese are working against Indian National interest again.

On Jan 2, 2006, Financial Times Farhan Bokhari reports that the Chinese have promised to provide Pakistan six to eight nuclear reactors worth about $10 billion. This promise would be against NPT that Chinese have signed and Pakistanis did not. It also goes against Washington's push back on Pakistanis repeated calls to treat it, a nuclear weapons and missile proliferator - a Walmart of WMD - to more than half a dozen countries, on par with India, which as an impeccable non-proliferation record. The Chinese actions provide a powerful weapon to American non-proliferation mullahs to attack and derail the nuclear engagement agreement President Bush signed with Prime Minister Singh in July of 2005. The Pakistanis have denied the deal, of course - because Pakistan never breaks any international rules.

So what are the Chinese up to? It is hard to believe the Chinese would willingly accept Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement. This agreement is a stepping-stone for a strong and more significant strategic cooperation between the two countries - only because Indian government treats this nuclear agreement as the key test of U.S. commitment to strategic relations with India. It is hard to find another agreement with any other country that India treats with more importance because with U.S. commitment to normalize nuclear relations, the rest of world would accept India as a full fledged nuclear power.

The Chinese are acting to prevent this from happening. And they are using the usual suspect in South Asia.

This weekend, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran is visiting China ostensibly for friendly dialogue and to improve relationship and continue engagement with the Chinese. As Secular-Right and Acorn point out, at the present in India, it is hard to find a sensible person in power when it comes troubling foreign policy issues. At the moment, Foreign Secretary seems to be only sensible one. And he better have more than a dialogue with the Chinese. He needs to forcefully put forth the damage the China-Pakistan nuclear reactors deal would do to Indian national interest. And if the Chinese continue the path, India needs to rethink the relationship with China and go slow on any furthering of non-economic ties.

Update: While speaking at Shanghai Institute of International Studies, Mr. Shyam Saran briefly talked about India being a responsible nuclear power while claiming space for being an Asian power:

"Outlining India's growing stature as a responsible nuclear power, Saran stressed India's role as 'a partner against proliferation'.

'As a responsible nuclear power with impeccable credentials on non-proliferation, we have earned increasing international recognition as a partner against proliferation. We hope to work more closely with our Chinese friends on this front, too,' he said."

Looks like the Chinese gave an usual muddled response to India's concerns to Chinese actions in Pakistan.