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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Debate Over Rama Setu Reveals a More Fundamental Conspiracy

The eminent historian writes in the Hindu:

What is of interest to the historian is not the number of variant versions, which is impressively large, but why major changes were introduced into these.

This does not happen with the biographies of those who were known to be historical figures and who founded belief systems: the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammad. Their biographies adhere largely to a single story-line and this helps to endorse the ‘official’ narrative of their life. Their existence is recorded in other sources as well that are not just narratives of their lives but have diverse associations. [The Hindu]

The high priest reveals what the debate is all about for historians like her and apparent secularists. It's not really about Rama Setu, but about Hinduism itself.

Their underlying theme is Hinduism is a false religion. That except for Hinduism all other religion are based facts. And falsified historic facts are used to prop up these claims.

This is no longer about Rama Setu or dredging project. It's about undermining Hinduism itself.

Arvind Neela offers an excellent rebuttal to the extremely dumb eminent historian's utterly stupid article.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Time for Action in Myanmar?

The Myanmar junta has killed again. Their numbers say nine dead with 30-plus wounded. They waited and watched to get intelligence on who is leading the charge of protest for about a week. And acted.

They massacred the Buddhist monks leading the protests. No one really knows how many they killed. There are cameras and some non-Myanmar press. But they are out on the streets. Who knows what's going in the temples and monasteries.

On the advice of MEA, particularly our Ambassador in Myanmar, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora made a weekend overnight visit, while the protest was going on, to sign a gas deal. Amb. Bhaskar Mitra probably calculated the junta would crush the protesters and it'll be business as usual in the country for another decade. He probably thought this is the time to be with the junta to check China later. Based on the history of the past decade, we can't win geopolitical intrigue in Myanmar with China - it's itself a dictatorship and has a veto in UN. The Chinese can get away with anything.

Instead of playing the Chinese game, why not change the situation itself.

Take leaf from 1971 and march into Yangon.

(This is CIA's map.
They still call the country Burma and capital Rangoon so as not to recognize
the junta who changed the names.)

If properly planned, we could rapidly outrun the junta and we could install Aung Sun Su Kyi and withdraw rapidly after purging the generals that want dictatorship. The top generals probably have fat Swiss Bank accounts and can take a permanent holiday somewhere in East Asia.

Because it's not an Islamic country, the Iraq Islamic terror type situation would not be a factor. And we'll be able to put our geopolitical stamp on the east until Thailand border. And put China on notice.

We have a long border with Myanmar, although it's with the northeast part of the country - it's probably hard to mobilize troops in this area beyond existing brigades already there to fend off China. With a naval blockade and some air cover the march to Yangon should be fairly rapid especially if we could hold River Irrawaddy and shut down bridges and roads on the northeast part of the country leading to Yangon to block any late reinforcements of Chinese supplies. Yangon itself can be take from Bay of Bengal. All the three parts of the military have to work seamlessly.

Obviously the action has to be rapid to thwart Chinese support to Myanmar junta. I doubt they would join in directly in Myanmar itself. If we rapidly take Yangon, purge the junta of bad actors and hand over power to Aung Sun Su Kyi, and leave as rapidly, we have a high probability of success.

I am sure a democratic Myanmar may not agree with us on everything in the future and may even be hostile at times, just as the Bangladeshis are, but it would still have been the right thing to do.

Something for PMO to ponder, especially if the protest movement and the brutal reactionary repression continues. Pranab's statement reinforces the silliness of our policy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chinese Nuclear Subs

Pictures of Type 093 Shang Class nuclear submarine built at Huludao's Bohai Shipyard, with the assistance of Russia's Rubin Center Design, were finally released in August after some sneak peak of hazy pictures in July. Shang Class is not a direct copy of Russian Victor III class sub but none the less formidable. (We are still planning on testing ATV, our own version of nuclear sub, sometime in 2009.)

Here is what Sinodefence has to say along with additional pictures:

Exactly how much help China has received from Rubin Design Bureau is unknown, but it could potentially include a range of critical assistance, including overall hull design, engine and machinery quieting, combat system design, and weapon system and countermeasures outfit.

Construction of the Type 093 began at Huludao-based Bohai Shipyard in the mid-1990s under tight security and high secrecy. The first-of-class was launched in December 2002 and commissioned in December 2006. The second boat was launched in late 2003.

The existence of the project was first reported by Pentagon in 2003, when the first submarine began its sea trial. The U.S. Navy intelligence and Pentagon predicted that the PLA Navy could have 3~4 submarines by 2010, while other sources suggested that eventual production could reach 6 to 8 units. The exact number to be built may well depends on the results of the operational tests of the first two submarines.

During the exhibition at Beijing’s Military Museum of Chinese People’s Revolution in late July to mark the 80th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), a scale model and some hazy photos of the new generation SSN were presented to the public. Later, Beijing-based Modern Ships magazine published in its August issue the first ever clear photo of the long-anticipated nuclear submarine.

The Type 093 is estimated to be 6.000~7,000t displacement when dived. As revealed by the submarine model and Modern Ships photograph, the Type 093 features a water-drop shape hull, with a pair of fin-mounted hydroplanes and four diving planes. The submarine is fitted with sophisticated sonar systems, including bow-mounted sonar and H/SQC-207 flank-mounted sonar. Three flank-mounted sonar arrays are clearly visible on the hull of the submarine.

The Type 093 submarine has six 533mm bow torpedo tubes (4 above, 2 below), and is presumed to be equipped with a range of anti-submarine and anti-surface vessel torpedoes of wire-, acoustic- and wave-homing, based on both Chinese and Russian designs. The torpedo tubes can also be used to launch Chinese indigenous YJ-82 anti-ship missiles. Some reports suggested the capability of launching land-attack cruise missiles (LACM), but this cannot be confirmed. [Sinodefence]

Indian Express gives Indian Navy reaction beyond it's not a secret:

"However, the first generation of Chinese submarines were slow and noisy. It remains to be seen how they have tackled the problems,” said a senior Navy officer.

China will gradually be replacing all five of its first generation Hans class nuclear submarines with the new machines.

Incidentally, the Indian Navy is also looking at inducting five indigenous ATV nuclear submarines. The first one, currently under production at Vizag, is likely to undergo sea trials by next year. Little is known about the new Shang Class but the over 6,000 tonne submarine is bigger than India’s indigenous ATV nuclear submarine that is projected to be in the 5,000 tonne category. Analysts say that outwardly, the Chinese design seems to be a cross between the Russian Victor III design and the American Los Angeles class submarines.

In contrast, the Akula II submarine being leased by India from Russia next year is in the 12,000-tonne category and a generation ahead of both the ATV and the Shang class submarines.

However, the real threat will come from the Jin class of submarines being built by China. It will be capable of launching nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The ATV, to be equipped by indigenous Sagarika submarine-launched missiles currently undergoing tests in the Bay of Bengal, will be India’s match to the Jin class, officials say.

While India is still ahead in the maritime game with greater presence and reach, analysts say that with the nuclear submarines and a new aircraft carrier currently under development, China is fast narrowing the gap and moving towards world class capabilities. [Lifting veil of secrecy,... - IE]

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

India is Slowly Becoming a Golf Destination

Indian Open, to be held in Delhi October 11-14 and sponsored by Hero Honda, usually attracts second tier players because the prize money is small by international standards. Of course top local talent, like Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyothi Randhawa, with his peculiar golfing attire, Arjun Atwal and others, usually play. The prize money for the Open used to be $100,000. Now, in 2007, it'll be $500,000. Regular US PGA games have a total prize money of about $7mil per game with the winner usually taking about $1.25mil. Consistent top tier players in US usually earn between $5 and $10mil per year with a not too shabby $40-$50mil prize money earnings throughout their golfing careers. Tiger Woods makes close to $100mil per year including endorsements and will apparently retire a billionaire.

European Tour total prize money is not as high as US PGA's and Asian Tour is usually sponsored with European Tour, although lately Chinese tour seems to have lot of money with Chinese Open attracting top tier players from around the globe. Japanese tour also has good prize money but I don't think they have too many games through out the year. US PGA is the most active, attracts top talent, and is rich in prize money.

India is slowly joining the big leagues with 2008 probably being the turning point. Two events - both with prize money of $2.5mil and both in Feb 2008 - are to be held in India. Indian Masters, a European Tour event, and Johnny Walker Classic to be played in Delhi at DLF Golf and Country Club with Europeans, Asian and Australian tours sponsoring the event. Asian Tour doesn't like Europeans sponsoring Indian Masters. Europeans Tour hooked up with Indian Golf Union which is opposed by Professional Golf Tour of India, a rebel group formed by, mainly, players, and their Asian Tour partners. And Indian tour management itself is a mess with politics and power play between Indian Golf Union and Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). We clearly have to be with in the Asian Tour. But the Europeans can divide and conquer, as usual, because we allow them to. If there is too much infighting among Indian tour managers, seeing how much money is floating around, the utterly incompetent GOI ministers and babus will probably take over. That's bad for the future of golf in India - we just have to look at hockey and any number of games other than cricket, which is in a different league all together. Hopefully Indian tour will get their act together fast and stay private.

Vijay Singh, who started the season ranked 3 in the world is in slump towards the end of 2007, now that he's 44, said he'll be playing the Johnny Walker Classic. Because US PGA doesn't start until later in the year, I won't be surprised if he shows up for Indian Masters as well. Another talent to watch for, if he shows up, is K. J. Choi, a great Korean player, who had wonderful season in 2007. There are also some good Chinese and Japanese and top tier young Australians players who may show up.

Both these February events along with Indian Open should increase interest in golf in India and hopefully there will be more courses and more people, young and old, taking up the wonderful sport of golf in the next decade.

Winning the First Ever World Twenty20

(Copyright - Getty Images)

Indians defeat (not quite crush) Paks by 5 runs and 3 balls to spare in Johnnesburg, South Africa, on Monday. For all those complaning about this fast paced cricket innovation, this is the best thing that happended to the sport of cricket in a long time. Enjoy more of it in future.

Nuclearizing Entire South Asia, Not Just LoP

M.D. Nalapat writes a sobering article about Chinese affords to nuclearize entire South Asia. By keeping LoP and North Korea supplied with nuclear material and bomb designs, he argues, with the Americans turning a blind-eye, China kept India and Japan off balance. Now the Chinese are taking it step further by nuclearizing Myanmar and Bangladesh along with continued assistance to LoP's nuclear ambitions.

Myanmar has sent over 1,000 personnel for nuclear-related training in Russia, a flow accelerated by the May 15 Russo-Myanmar agreement to set up a Nuclear Research Center in Pyin-oo-Lwin and to provide a 10MW(t) light water research reactor in Ayela. Neither this nor the intensification of visits between North Korean and Myanmarese nuclear scientific and technical staff could have taken place without a nod from Beijing, which wields control over most members of the ruling junta in Yangon.

Of those being trained in Russia, no fewer than 280 are full-fledged nuclear scientists, who are following in the path of their Pakistani counterparts in acquiring the capability to develop a nuclear device. In both Yangon and Mandalay "seismic centers" have been set up that are in effect operated by China, which may have uses other than earthquake forecasting.

In next-door Bangladesh, already a jihadi haven, the Sino-Bangladesh nuclear cooperation agreement of April 2005 has opened the way for the training of hundreds of Bangladeshi technicians and nuclear scientists in China, several of whom are committed Wahabbis sympathetic to calls for an international jihad. As in Iran, the existence of substantial oil and gas deposits in Bangladesh makes developing the nuclear industry incomprehensible except for reasons other than energy security.

Interestingly, while the U.S.-backed military junta in Dacca has thus far spurned Indian efforts at cooperation, several contracts have been signed with Chinese entities for developing hydrocarbon resources, including in the Rangmati and Bandarban areas. China is hoping to get India's consent to access Bangladesh once the Qinghai-Tibet rail line is extended to Kodari via Xigaze by 2012. It is therefore actively pursuing a charm offensive with political and media personalities in New Delhi, which includes emphatic denials of efforts to buttress local militaries unfriendly to India.

Even while working on gifting Bangladesh and Myanmar with nuclear capabilities, China has been intensifying its nuclear and missile assistance to Pakistan. This has been met with near silence from the United States, which is instead giving priority to emasculating rival India's nuclear and missile program. Talks are under way on constructing four 300MW nuclear power plants in Pakistan, beside the ongoing work of expanding the second unit of the Chashma plant and the construction of a plutonium production reactor at Khushab. In addition, heavy water production there is being stepped up with Beijing's assistance.[China silently nuclearizing South Asia - UPI Asia Online]

Another Yuva Raju is Anointed

I guess we already know who one of our PM will be, sometime in the future. The shameless Congress I appointed a new yuva raja. That's generation four of our apparent secular and modern first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The ultra modern leader who saved the country from division and ruin, we are told, has spawned a dynasty we can't seem to get rid of.

Politics is all about getting power. The way Congress I idiots bend over backwards to give power to Nehru family is stunning. It seems no one has any ambition to become leader of the party or fight to become the next prime minister. In the most undemocratic tradition they watch and smile and giggle as the royal family hands over power from mother to son ignoring all other able men and women in party. There is no contest. There are no primaries. There are no ballots to choose party leader. As long they can fill their mattresses and swiss bank accounts with unaccounted for money, it's coronation time as though the person was born to be king. And the future king has the full backing of our secular and liberal media - apparent gatekeepers of our democracy.

When the elections come next year, if Congress I coalition wins, our utterly useless current PM will hand over reins to king in the making, having fulfilled his obligation of holding on to power with little to show for (India-US nuclear agreement is no done deal) in four years.

Aren't They Missing the Point?

Descendants of British Imperial Royal Army are in India, in Lucknow and Meerut to be precise, to remember and pay homage to their fighting forefathers. That to when India is celebrating Vijay Divas, 150 years of the failed revolt of 1857, the apparent first war of Independence. But the problem is they were the enemies. They were killing, maiming, and terrorizing the revolting Bharatiya soldiers and put the revolt down with a heavy hand. (More on what they did to civilians and covered up in another post.)

Their commemoration plaque reads

“To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the bravery and distinguished service of the First Battalion, the 60th King’s Royal Rifle Corps...”

Apparently, they are also commemorating Indians who participated in crushing the revolt. Does that make what they are doing any better?

BJP leaders in UP are protesting along with Muslims groups, in the usual fashion. Congress I probably thinks 1857 revolt was the revolting soldiers fault and they deserved the crushing defeat. The other local parties in UP and elsewhere probably don't care.

Two groups are in India to visit the graves of their forefathers:

Of the two groups, one comprises about 10 retired officers of 60th King’s Royal Rifles, a regiment of the British Army. They are travelling with their wives.

The other group has about 20 British historians and academicians, including noted author Rosie Llewllyn-Jones, a known figure for the intelligentsia of Lucknow. She understands Hindi and Urdu as well as her mother tongue and has written many books on history of Lucknow.

The group also includes historian Huge Purcell and Sir Henry Lawrence and Sir Mark Allen Havelock — descendants of Sir Henry Lawrence and Sir Henry Havelock. The latter was honoured by the British Government for his bravery during the mutiny. Their graves are in Lucknow.

Through their travel operator, the group conveyed to The Indian Express that “it was in no way a victory celebration, but a simple remembrance to all those brave men who fought for their respective countries.”

I am not so sure after reading the plaque. Simple remembrance can take place anytime - not when the descendants of slaving people are celebrating their first thoughts and actions of freedom. One would think historians would know what 1857 means to Indians and Indian independence movement. May be they should visit the cemeteries next year for their simple remembrance.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

India's Relationship with Americas

Alex Sanchez, of Council of Hemispheric Studies, offers a decent summary of India' initiative in Americas - other than U.S. with special focus on budding India-Brazil relationship.

Latin America and the Caribbean are zones of interest to the world’s powerhouses, which means that India will have to push its way by other interested parties, like the European Union, Russia and China, aside from the U.S. in order to establish a serious presence on the continent. So far, it has made good progress towards this goal, but much is left to be done. What is clear is that Brazil will be the centerpiece of New Delhi’s geopolitical aspirations in the Western Hemisphere, due to common visions and or grandiose schemes like nuclear energy cooperation, shared interest in ethanol, and a mutual desire to be awarded a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Trade agreements, high-level diplomatic visits and growing investment projects signal New Delhi’s increasingly bulking presence on the continent, and exemplify the fact that India is here to stay....

Using a variety of strategies, from historical ties, to traditional trade, to sharing grandiose plans, India is becoming more and more a living presence in the Western Hemisphere. It still has a long way to go, however, before it becomes a household name among Latin Americans, but it certainly is on the right path. India’s relations with Cuba may perhaps annoy Washington, as well as its dealings with close U.S. neighbors (Canada and Mexico), which may also draw some unwanted attention, however, it is the India-Brazil alliance that should be gathering the bulk of Washington’s attention. [India Quiet Presence in Western Hemisphere - COHA]

Missing Family Trees

Most Indians don't track their family tree. I'm not sure why. I remember my parents talking of some pandits who would track family trees - they would come to my grandparents house once every decade or so, stay at the house as guests, and update the family tree. But they don't anymore. Not sure why. And I'm not sure where the records are kept.

I have being interested in building my own family tree. It's quite common in west - lot of them can trace back families to 1600s or some 1300s. Some English family that haven't moved from their villages in England can go even earlier. The blacks in US, who were brought in as slaves, abruptly cut off from their roots in various nations and tribes, have been trying to track their own roots - especially the famous ones. In someways it's easier because slave owners used to keep records of people they bought and sold. Also in the west, local churches keeps track of new birth and latest deaths. So it becomes easier to track family tree in these places. While I'm sure many records are probably destroyed or spoiled, there are probably enough tracks to construct a tree going back at least 10 or 15 generations. There many companies in the west that in the family tree industry. There are family gathering of known members of a family tree.

Unfortunately, because of the nomadic nature of family tree pandits in India, I doubt most know their own family tree much beyond their own great grand parents. I am sure some maharajs, Mughals, and nawabs family trees are officially studied and fairly know, may be studied even by our own dumb ASI.

In any case, using Kalidasa's Raghuvamsam, Tarun Vijay writes about the patriarchal family tree of Sri Rama. I knew a few names and surely didnot know the tree.

When Kalidas wrote Raghuvamsam, he described the entire dynasty beginning from Brahma. Lord Brahma created 10 prajapatis -- one of whom was Marichi. Kashyapa is the son of Marichi and Kala. Kashyapa is regarded as the father of humanity. Vivasvan or Surya is the son of Kashyapa and Aditi. Manu or Vaivaswatha Manu is the son of Vivasvan. He is regarded as the first ruler belonging to the Ikshvaku dynasty. Ikshvaku is the son of Manu and established his kingdom in Ayodhya. Kukshi is the son of Ikshavaku. Vikukshi is the son of Kukshi. Bana is the son of Vikukshi. Anaranya is the son of Bana. Prithu is the son of Anaranya. Trisanku is the son of Prithu. Dhundhumara is the son of Trisanku. Yuvanaswa is the son of Dhundhumara. Mandhata is the son of Yuvanaswa. Susandhi is the son of Mandhata. Daivasandhi and Presenjit are the sons of Susandhi. Bharatha is the son of Presenjit. Asita is the son of Bharatha. Sagara is the son of Asitha. Asamanja is the son of Sagara. Amsumantha (Ansuman) is the son of Asamanja. Dileepa is the son of Amsumantha. Bhagiratha is the son of Dileepa. Kakustha is the son of Bhagiratha. Raghu is the son of Kakushta.

The clan of Raghuvamsha started with Raghu. Pravardha is the son of Raghu. Sankhana is the son of Pravardha. Sudarsana is the son of Sankhana. Agnivarna is the son of Sudarsana. Seeghraga is the son of Agnivarna. Maru is the son of Seeghraga. Prasusruka is the son of Maru. Ambarisha is the son of Prasusruka. Nahusha is the son of Ambarisha. Yayathi is the son of Nahusha. Nabhaga is the son of Yayathi. Aja is the son of Nabhaga. Dasaratha is the son of Aja. Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrughana are the sons of Dasaratha. Lava and Kusha are the sons of Rama. [Denying Ram is denying India - Rediff]

I think tracing family tree is very interesting and extremely fun. While I may not be able to do what Kalidasa did, I hope I can put together a rudimentary paternal and maternal family tree and track down those pandits who used visit my grandparents house and see if I can salvage any information.

A General's Overview of India-US Military Relationship

Retd. General V.P. Malik talks about, at a high level, India-US military relationship, at a lecture series at Indiana University - where Sumit Ganguly is. Gen. Malik makes some interesting points on how the strategic issues are dealt with in India and the hands off attitude of most politicians when it comes to strategic matters. While being positive about India-US ties, he proposes boundary conditions for the relationship which he says can never become strategic and gives some reasons why.

The first thing we must remember is that India's political class is strategically weak. Historically, India's vast diversity has made Indians culturally, a strong soft power with a global philosophy of Vasudeva Kutumbakam -- the world is one large family.

The ability to generate hard power, and the will and the ability to make use of that, is not their strong point. We tend to remain internalised, fixing each other rather than fixing outsiders. There is too much of political infighting and too less political consensus. Most of our political leaders grew up conjuring the idea of a morally superior India; professing peace and harmony in a world where nations indulge in cut-throat competition. Value-based politics is morally superior. However, as we all know, that does not reflect international realism.

But one cannot blame the political class entirely. The British never permitted Indian political leaders, or civil servants, to deal with defence matters. Even 60 years after Independence, knowledge and experience of defence and military issues is lacking in most of our political class...

It is clearly not a strategic alliance. 'Evolving entente' as defined by Devine Hagerty is perhaps a better word for it. The partnership will remain fluid. I do not see this turning into a strategic alliance because I doubt if India would let this partnership dilute its strategic relations with other nations including Russia and China, or be perceived as a hedge against China, or accept the US policy of ensuring peace between India and Pakistan through a 'military balance'. [Indo-US military ties are inevitable - Rediff]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oracle of Economics and...Culture too?

Vikas Dhoot summarizes part of Alan Greenspan's just released memoir - the apparent oracle's thinking about Indian economy, comparing it with, what else, Chinese economy. There is not much to quibble about Greenspan's writing. Most of it is known and is been talked about non-stop by right minded people, usually to deaf policy makers ears, both babus and politicians - that talk of Fabian socialism, Nehru, GDP growth rates pre-80s and post-reform, Manmohan, IT and agriculture reforms.

But then he throws in gem - that, I think, shows the continued mentality of most western thinkers and their brothers-in-arms in India itself.

India “symbolizes most powerfully both the productiveness of market capitalism and the stagnation of socialism” and “is fast becoming two entities: a rising kernel of world-class modernity within a historic culture that has been for the most part stagnating for generations.”[Manmohan tore a hole but socialist fabric remains: The Oracle - IE]

Apparently Greenspan is an oracle of culture too? I'm almost positive, because I haven't read the book and because the Chinese aren't protesting, that he said no such thing about the equally old and historic culture of the Chinese.

May be I'm just reading it wrong?

The Big Bomb

Father of all bombs as opposed to Mother of all bombs. Russians, in a slight revival of cold war competition, created the largest non-nuclear bomb - air delivered thermobaric weapon - on the planet fairly soon after US announced the largest non-nuclear bomb (now, apparently, the second largest) - Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb. Both are thermobaric or fuel-air bombs, i.e., oxygen used to create and sustain the explosion is obtained from the surrounding air instead of using oxidizing agent normally used in traditional bombs.

The Bomb and Explosion

The results of tests of the aviation explosive device that has been created have shown that it is comparable with nuclear weapons in its efficiency and potential,” Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian armed forces staff, told the channel.

“You will now see it in action — the bomb which has no match in the world is being tested at a military site,” said the report. It showed a Tupolev 160 strategic bomber dropping the bomb over a testing ground. A large explosion followed. [Russia unveils “father of all bombs” - The Hindu]
So even if nuclear bombs are banned, a big if, the potential for destruction by regular bombs will still be huge - almost equal to nuclear bombs.

A Better BacknForth on 123

Compared to the Indian Express columns of Arun Shourie and Kapil Sibal, in response to Sri Shourie, on 123 Agreement, I found the columns in The Hindu by Brahma Chellaney and Kapil Sibal, again in reponse to Sri Chellaney, to be much more clearer. I have lot of respect for Arun Shourie but his columns on 123, in IE, were hard to read and understand (I think it was just me).

Apollo wrote about Brahma Chellaney's column in The Hindu. Here is a point by point response by Sri Sibal.

Mr. Chellaney states that India bent backwards and agreed to terms that go beyond the requirements of U.S. law. The argument is a non-starter since no other similar agreement contains a termination clause, which conforms to specific provisions in the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. All agreements related to civil nuclear cooperation contain a termination clause that clothes both parties with the authority to, in the interim, suspend cooperation, without assigning reasons. The 123 Agreement with India is unique in that it provides for a one year notice of termination along with reasons. Instead of lauding our negotiators for having protected India’s interest so admirably, we are nitpicking on clauses which are in fact beneficial to our long term interests.

Mr. Chellaney then suggests that New Delhi has granted unfettered and uninfringeable rights to the U.S. to demand the return of all exported items and materials if it were to hold India in breach of stipulated conditions. The author is aware that in all other similar agreements, the right is entirely unfettered and uninfringeable and that in the 123 Agreement with India, the ambit of the right is limited by considerations which are contextual relating to India’s geographical situation and security concerns.

Further the safety net provided in the termination clause in the 123 Agreement with India is absent in all other agreements. What is a gain for India is being viewed as a sell-out. [123 Agreement: a response to Brahma Chellaney - The Hindu]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Vinayaka Chaviti!

Atanu as usual as some wonderful pictures of Vinayaka (check out the one from Ireland and its caption).

I am positive Ganesha is his esta deva.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time to Dismantle ASI?

It may be time to dismantle Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and create a new institute - semi-sarkari and semi-private one.

No not because ASI said Hinduism is based on mythology. We hear that everyday - from non-Hindus talking about mythology of Hinduism and from unsuspecting Hindus, and some people in the know, talking about such and such festival or action is based on religious mythology - especially, for some reason, news journalists. We are used to mythologizing Hinduism.

But we are not used to this:

However, a mere named reference cannot conclusively prove the fact that the formation is actually a man-made structure. The existence of human remains, whether in the form of bones, etc, or in the form of other artefacts, is primary to prove archaeologically the existence and veracity of a historical fact. No such human remains have been discovered at the site of the formation known as Adam’s Bridge. [The Hindu]
I suppose it's being secular to ignore Bharatiya names but use western names - Adam's Bridge for Rama Sethu. But my quibble is with "no such human remains have been discovered at the site." Is ASI claiming that it already did a archaeological survey of area between southern tip of Indian peninsula and northern Sri Lanka? Did it already go through the earthly layers of Kali, Dwapara, and Treta yuga (may be even through Satya yuga). Based on it's claims, apparently it did. I am sure most of this information is a secret because I couldn't find anything about such extensive survey on ASI website on past and current archaeological sites.

As Francis Fukuyama would say Satya yuga, with no evil in the world, is probably the end of history. So even if ASI didn't go through the Satya yuga layer, looks like ASI has done pretty thorough job of archaeological finds in the country. It may be time to dismantle ASI. And to create a new semi-private institution of experts to just to keep up the ASI approved archaeological sites - both mythological and non-mythological.