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Sunday, November 30, 2008

And When the Police Did Shoot the Terrorists

The real action of Mumbai police was in another jurisdiction. Senior Police Inspector Nagappa Mali of DB Marg police station acted with his colleagues to capture or kill the terrorists, who had just killed top ATS officers, entering his jurisdiction. They did both.

The duo identified as Abu Ismail (25) and Ajmal Amir Kasab, abandoned the police vehicle which they had been driving after killing its occupants, Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar and went on to carjack a Skoda Laura when they neared a police picket.

“On that night, I was about to go home when I got to know that some terrorists were headed towards my jurisdiction. I immediately formed two teams, one of which was posted at Girgaum Chowpatty and the other at the Tribhovandas Zhaveri Lane. When the Skoda neared the barricades that we had erected at Girgaum, the two men sitting inside turned their head lights to full beam, squirted water on their wind-shields and turned on the wipers in an attempt to hide their faces.

However, as we had information about the colour and make of the car, we signalled them to stop and demanded that they emerge from the car with their hands raised. Kasab who was sitting in the passenger seat came out with his hands raised but then immediately started firing from his AK-47 which he had hidden between his knees.”

When the firing started, ASI Tukaram Umble got hit even as the rest of the team pounced on Kasab and subdued him. In the meantime, Inspector Vinod Sawant who had gone to the driver’s side saw that the driver, Ismail, was also firing with his weapon and Sawant and his associate immediately opened fire on him, said Mali.

The murdering Islamic lunatic Ajmal Amir Kasab was captured and proved to be an invaluable source of information corroborating and filling in gaps missing from the intelligence already available.

Incredible: Shivraj Resigned. But Why?

The home minister named after the brave Maratha warrior finally resigns. I haven't seen his resignation letter, so I am curious what reasons Shivraj gave for his resignation.

But why now? We are told by the press that he has become too hot even for maharani Sonia to handle. Apparently the sleeping queen just woke up to realize that he wasn't doing his job for the past four and half years and that we have had terrorists incidents every two months for past few years killing thousands of innocent children, women, and men. Of course, the brave fellow soldiers of socialist Congress I brought out their own knifes to finish of dead body. Are we supposed to believe this nonsense!

Now the sleeping queen has new taxi driver too. That's nice. Apparently having a full time taxi driver is more important then having a full time finance minister to deal with current global financial crisis. Won't it better if Manmohan himself retained home ministry because the intelligence agencies report directly to him anyway. Also, any reformation of intelligence agencies and new agencies that would sprout from the Mumbai Islamic death cult massacre would have be handled by the prime minister and his office anyway. But surely a prime minister cannot be a full time taxi driver for the sleeping queen. The cabinet shuffle makes perfect sense.

Why Didn't the Police Shoot The Terrorists

Photographic editor of Mumbai Mirror, Sebastian D'Souza, describes how he got close up pictures of perpetrators of Islamic death cult murderous rampage at Chhatrapati Shivaji Station, on November 26, in Mumbai. He was curious of one fact about the horror he saw. The much vaulted and exulted Mumbai police, who were taking cover from blood thirsty Islamic terrorists fire, won't shoot the terrorists, who were walking openly on the platform, although they had fire arms with them!!

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."

As the gunmen fired at policemen taking cover across the street, Mr D'Souza realised a train was pulling into the station unaware of the horror within. "I couldn't believe it. We rushed to the platform and told everyone to head towards the back of the station. Those who were older and couldn't run, we told them to stay put."

The militants returned inside the station and headed towards a rear exit towards Chowpatty Beach. Mr D'Souza added: "I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."

Why would that be? Surely some police were cowards. But none of them returned fire to take down the free roaming terrorists!

My guess is they were carrying the vintage bolt action rifles - .303 SMLE No.1 Mark III. (The vintage rifle was discarded much before the World War-II by every major country, except one, of course, in the world.) These rifles are standard issue to police in India, and the police also, probably, didn't have ammunition loaded. It another symbol of antiquated laws and bureaucratic procedures that Indian government follows. (Some company, probably owned by a minister's son, still makes them, just like the ambassador cars, the classic symbol of desi socialism, are still made and bought by the government).

The rifles were just show pieces. The best the much vaulted Mumbai police could have probably done was to physically throw those rifles at the AK47 carrying Islamic terrorists. One could say, stones would have been better arms for the vaulted Mumbai police.

Incredible: Why is Shivraj Still the Home Minister?

The fundamental rule of politics anywhere is a politician should always worry about getting to, or keeping existing, power. Else he or she does not make a good politician. Because there is no other incentive for people in politics. Surely the pay scale is minuscule. (In India, there are other reasons for some, like enriching themselves using socialist bureaucratic rules - but that still comes from being in power.) It's hard work to campaign and election competition for powerful positions is intensive and expensive.

So the question is why does an utterly incompetent, incomprehensible, and useless Shivraj Patil continues to be power. That too in charge of the security of the nation - for more than four years despite repeated failure. Surely Congress I and maharani Sonia (and yuvaraj and yuvarani) want to remain in power as long as possible. So what explains the lack of apparent and logical choice of Congress I sending Shivraj away - either asking him to resign or firing him. Shivraj, based on his demeanor, will not resign. He is just that type of a person. He cares more about a bit of dirt on his shirt then his job as Home Minister.

One could understand why he got the job despite not winning his seat during the last election. Maharani was obviously rewarding him for his loyalty to the latest Indian royal family. But the reward for loyalty to power usually doesn't undermine the power itself. He could have been gently pushed aside after two or three years at the ministry. Why is he still the home minister after four years of non-performance?

After the latest gory Islamic death cult terror in Mumbai, the prime minister doesn't invite the home minister of the country to an extremely important high level national security meeting. But the prime minister does not fire Shivraj. Surely maharani Sonia would do that. But why doesn't she? What is going on here?

The only explanation that I can think of is, Shivraj has some powerful hold on the royal family. He knows a secret of, probably, maharani Sonia that she doesn't want revealed. So he gets his way despite his high profile and repeated failure. Nothing else explains the incredible insanity of what is going on with Shivraj Patil.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Warning and Preparation

I realize the top tier of Maharasthra/Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad (profile of the chief: Sri Hemant Karkare) died last night in the battle with terrorists who are still rampaging Mumbai. (I noticed that while the terrorists were carrying AK47s, few policemen had semi-automatic rifles while most had old WWI-type single/double shot rifles - standard issue to police in India. While terrorists probably practice everyday, how often do the police, even the ATS, practice shooting?) Surely they were brave to lead their police corp from the front. But what exactly did they do to mitigate the increasing and aggressive threats after each attack, five so far (until the current carnage) this year, from the terrorist group Indian Mujahideen?

Here was the warning:

The IM, in an email sent out in September, had warned the ATS against harassing Muslims in Mumbai and said that it was closely watching every move made by the squad.

In the email, the IM stated, "You ( the ATS) should know that your acts are not at all unnoticed; we are keeping an eye on you and just waiting for the right time to execute bloodshed. We are aware of your recent raids at Ansarnagar, Mograpada in Andheri and the harassment and trouble you created for the Muslims."

"You threatened to murder them and you even misbehaved with the Muslim women and children," the email alleged.

"If your arrogance has reached this degree and if you think that you can scare us by your stunts, then let the IM warn the people of Mumbai that the ATS will be responsible for the deadly attacks on Mumbaikars in the future."

Here is how Mumbai/Maharasthra Anti-Terror Squad prepared to deal with those threats:
Mumbai : The Anti-Terrorist Squad on Wednesday said its failure to get police custody of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur among other accused in the Malagaon blast case from the MCOCA court is a setback which will slow down the investigation.

"Police custody would have helped investigations to proceed faster but still we will see how best to deal with it in a legal way," ATS Chief Hemant Karkare said in a TV channel....

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) unit on Wednesday searched the residential premises of the Malegaon blast accused Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit, booked under the MCOCA, in Pune.

"It was a routine search," an ATS officer said but declined to elaborate on the purpose behind the move.

If there was ever a case to show how reactionary Indian law enforcement and political establishment is, this has to be it.

It's War

Mumbai is in an all out War. Things like this don't happen in a normal nation.

Nation's intelligence bodies are missing in action. Maharashtra ATS is busy torturing Sadhvis, Swamis, and Army men.

If India doesn't go to war now to put an end to this, it is time to give up on India for a long time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How LTTE Gets Its Weapons

By Air!

London: Analysis of high-resolution commercially available satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe and GeoEye has allowed Jane’s Intelligence Review to verify that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) constructed two 1,000 m paved runways between 2002 and 2007. One of these runways is currently being extended to 2,000 m.
That's more than a mile!! Usually used by 747s to take off and land at an international airport!
According to a news release by Jane’s, these airstrips are unnecessarily long for the light aircraft that the LTTE uses for aerial attacks and are probably intended to handle larger cargo planes delivering weapon shipments...

The construction of a highly visible runway could be seen as part of the LTTE’s ambitions to develop the trappings of an independent political state, complete with an airport.

Life in China

I know we are no better. I remember the days when Ashok Jain was tortured, under FERA, by the central agency, Enforcement Directorate, in late 90s. Of course, we know the torture cases of recent detainees of a Sadhvi and a lieutenant colonel belonging to military intelligence.

But at least we know where they are. Not so apparently in China. And the person missing is the second richest man in China!!

Hong Kong media on Monday cited Chinese financial publication Caijing as reporting that Huang was recently detained by the police over the alleged manipulation in shares of Shandong Jintai Group, a Shanghai-listed pharmaceutical company run by Wong's elder brother...

Huang is China's second-richest man with a net worth of $2.7 billion, according to a Forbes magazine ranking cited in The Wall Street Journal.

Huang's whereabouts has become a matter of intense speculation among China watchers.

The Closest Thing One Will Find

Last week I had an incredible but possible, behind the scene, plot of a combined Maharashtra ATS, presumably by ruling state Congress I and its allies, the psec media, and Congress I action to overcome Congress I's failure to tackle extended Islamic terrorism in the country and at the same time to keep the marginal political vote, meaning majority of Muslim vote, in its column.

This is the closest evidence will find actions of the media and Congress I working in tandem. One can already see the hunt by Maha's ATS to pin any and every unsolved terror incidents on the recently detained so-called Hindu terrorists. One has to remember, when actions like these are launched, few people in Congress I party itself and in the media actually know what is unfolding and why.

Here is Praveen Swami of The Hindu doing some legwork to connect what the psec media is saying with what ATS is saying.

NEW DELHI: Late on Monday, a national television channel broke the latest in the series of prime-time exclusives that have characterised the unfolding of the investigation into September bombing in Malegaon.

Five Army officers, the television station announced, were being investigated for their connections with the Hindutva terror group Abhinav Bharat. Later, it claimed that a team of the Maharashtra Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad was in New Delhi to discuss the issue with top military officials and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan.

But as Tuesday wore on, Ministry of Defence officials insisted they had received no list of officials wanted for investigation by the ATS, while it turned out the NSA was not scheduled to hold meetings with Maharashtra Police officials. Indeed, two ATS officials separately told The Hindu their only representative in New Delhi was Deputy Inspector-General Parambir Singh and he was there to attend a wedding.

And this from Congress I spokesperson, Verrappa Moily
"The internal security of the country is today threatened by two 'A's--Advani and Abhinav Bharat," senior party leader M Veerappa Moily, told reporters alleging that the outsourcing of terror has become the "new cult with some of the outfits of BJP".

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Debate on J&K Needs to be Turned

Few facts of anything significant related to Bharatiya national interest or security are actually take up in the western media. So it's no surprise that following the new US president lead to intervene in Bharatiya border issue in J&K , the US media has taken to his call. NYT's Sri Kristoff has written that US needs to intervene to deliver J&K to the Land of Pure. Nitin's Acorn has something to say about it which are followed by some uninformed comments.

Before we talk about the issue, we first need to put a stop the debate on Sri Kristof's (and his type) terms. We need to put an end to his human rights abuse falsehood. People take it as truth, without question, that J&K people's, meaning apparently only Muslim's, rights are abused by a Hindu majority nation. What could be more absurd than this!

For a start, which group of people were ethnically cleansed, because of their religion, from Kashmir valley? We already Hindus don't count for very much India, and clearly they don't count for much with the NYT types. So even if we ignore Hindus that were forced to flee their homeland, how are Muslims living in this side of J&K border worst off then living in the Pakistani side of the border? I am sure the supposedly democratic human right activist Kristoff can tell us when was the last Muslims in PoJ&K voted for their own government? I am sure he can't tell the voter turnout during the current state elections in J&K. In fact, I am sure he doesn't even know that normal elections are being held in J&K at this very moment.

So even if one takes the bogus notion of human rights as expounded by Kristof types, that Tibetans should not fight for independence from commie China - well because China is a big fast growing economy and that Tibetans are better economically under the Hun commies, even if their freedoms, culture, language and religion are destroyed by the commies and by the mass migration of Huns into the Tibet plateau. Why shouldn't the people of J&K have the access to another big and growing economy? Such as an Infosys or Reliance or a Tata or an IIT. What exactly do the people living in PoJ&K look forward to? A few years in a madrasa?

The dubiousness of these human right groups and their spokespersons in the media is how shall we put it.....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Missed Rescue Operation

Shishir Gupta reveals in IE that Navy sought permission for a mission to rescue kidnapped Indians by Somali pirates before it started naval patrol in Gulf of Aden and along coast of Somali to thwart piracy. Unfortunately, UPA government did not agree to the mission. The strategic implication of a successful extraction mission of kidnapped desis by Bharatiya Navy, from eastern African coast, thousands of miles away from the country would have been unthinkable compared to the response INS Tabar's action has enabled.

The Tabar action appears to have been carefully calibrated; the foreign ministry had earlier shot down a navy proposal to launch a commando mission to rescue the largely Indian crew on board the Stolt Valor, a Japanese merchant ship hijacked by pirates on September 15. South Block apparently did not agree with the navy on intervention; it was a case, after all, of a Japanese ship in Somalia’s territorial waters. However, that same day in October, Defence Minister A.K. Antony cleared the navy’s twin proposals: patrolling international waters from Salalah in Oman to the Gulf of Aden, and urgently exploring the possibilities for joint patrols with other countries.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Negotiation - Saudi Style

After India blow up a "mother boat", every major navy is rushing the Gulf of Aden to show off how strong they are militarily - the Russians want to replace leaving war ship; Britain wants to lead NATO forces (which are also a replacement); and the Chinese want in on the action. A dramatic headline helps!

Those with no big navies or those with economic interests in the area, such as hijacked merchant ships are negotiating with the hijackers paying on average $1-2 million in ransom money per ship and crew. The Somalia coastal economy is booming with about $150 million pumped into the economy in recent months.

Life was good until some hijackers made a wrong move. They hijacked a $100million worth Saudi oil supertanker. Hijackers want a quarter of tanker's economic worth as ransom money. But they didn't expect this:

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Dozens of Somali Islamist insurgents stormed a port on Friday hunting the pirates behind the seizure of a Saudi supertanker that was the world's biggest hijack, a local elder said...

"Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and hijacking its ship is a bigger crime than other ships," Sheikh Abdirahim Isse Adow, an Islamist spokesman, told Reuters. "Haradheere is under our control and we shall do something about that ship."
If anyone had any doubts as to who is funding Islamic terrorists groups, this episode should clarify those doubts.

Incredible: We Have Ours, You Have Yours - We Are Even

Based on the master craftsman of the corrupt and incompetent Congress I's Veerappa Moily's incredible statements and how the secularists are predictably reacting to what BJP said in reaction to Moily, here is a plausible theory of recent events, however implausible it may sound.

They dug themselves into a deep pit by not acting when Islamic terrorists stuck repeatedly. They were, of course, calculating the marginal political cost of acting against terrorists. They had stuck down POTA, they had asked police and other law enforcement, where they could, to go easy on terror investigations, and they had Sachar Commission to buy out ordinary Muslims with sops and reservations and even offering first dibs at "all resources of the nation."

But the Islamic terrorists have their own mind. The terror didn't stop. It kept going at predictable intervals at populated locations - bombing by trains, cars, scooters, bikes, and cycles.

The terrorists loved killing innocent people by the hundreds. And watch the carnage along with psec debates and news thamsha on television while smoking and eating home delivery pizza.

Suddenly one of the law enforcement group made a breakthroughs, locates one of the terrorist cell, and goes to their residence with guns blazing. Islamists and their buddies in psec media screams bloody murder. More revelations come out on the extent of terror cells and how wide spread the disease is in the country.

Then comes the political heat from the opposition. It's getting really hot because people aren't buying their stories on Islamic terrorism anymore. And parliamentary elections are only few months away. Elections in various states showed none of the socialist welfare schemes seem to be working. What to do?

Former CM of Madhya Pradesh, a rising star in the party, has an idea! He has knowledge of ultra nationalists who tried to set off bombs when he was the CM in 2002. A plan was made to turn tables on opposition and neutralize terrorism as election issue. Which was the organization to carry out the plan forward - it has to be a state that is in their control and has to have a pliable head? Which media groups to engage? They have done this many times. Just give them leads and they will run with it.

The key to the plan is not to incur the marginal political cost - for themselves and their partners in crime in the cabinet and ministries few months from now. Have to keep those Muslims on their side. If the plan worked, there are plenty of idiot secularists and gullible Hindus who would have plausible doubt about Islamic terrorism thanks to the good work of the media. That would be enough of these people to push them over the finish line - five more years of power!

They have after all done this before.

Beleaguered Governments have made a habit of trying to bolster their electoral prospects through dirty tricks. In 1989, there was the elaborate attempt to discredit V P Singh through the discovery of fictitious accounts in St Kitts. Both the agencies and senior journalists were part of the plot. In 1996, there was the Jain hawala case which neither secured convictions nor won the Congress the election.
It might even work now!

It's worth a try. People have short memories - remember Indira's come back in lesser period than the emergency itself! The unchanged party that massacred thousands of Sikhs is now "the" secular party! Sometime it's easier then some people think.

And so the die is cast - the plan rolled out predictably, at least so far. Congress I reads its prepared remarks: we have our (Islamic) terrorists, you have yours'; we are even.

Depending on how many dumb idiots are around, and there are plenty, it just might work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Shooting War That Could Turn Worst

INS Tabar, patrolling the seas near Gulf of Aden and Somalian north coast, engaged in shooting match with Somali pirates! Few weeks ago, commandos, flying in a military helicopter, shot at and drove away speed boats trying to board merchant ships carrying Indian and Saudi flags. Now INS Tabar guns fired at and destroyed the so-called mother ship, a ship that tows speed boats close to their target ships while providing food, ammunition, and space for pirates.

"This pirate vessel was similar in description to the 'Mother Vessel' mentioned in various piracy bulletins. INS Tabar closed in on the vessel and asked her to stop for investigation," a Navy spokesperson said.

But the pirates threatened to blow up the warship if it sailed closer to their mother ship, despite repeated calls from INS Tabar to stop and let the Navy personnel to inspect the ship, he said.

The Navy noticed that pirates were roaming on the upper deck of the vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers in hand, and they continued the threats and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar.

In their retaliatory action in "self-defence," INS Tabar opened fire on the mother vessel of the pirates. "As a result of INS Tabar's guns booming, fire broke out on the pirate vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel," he said.

Almost simultaneously, Indian Navy said, two speed boats were observed breaking off to escape. The ship chased the first boat, which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness, he added.

While some of the pirates could have escaped in the speed boats, a few on board the destroyed mother ship perished, he said.

The Somalian pirates have become more and more brazen capturing tens of ships in the past few weeks including a huge crude oil tanker worth around $100million in the seas of Somalia pumping up Somalian economy. Also, we know Islamic terrorists have a role in Somalia gangs. This piracy business could be related to terror financing. That's what could turn things for the worst for Indian Navy in the near term.

It was clear that the pirates were fighting back before turning tail. It is possible, in future, they will get bold and attack Indian naval ships preemptively, like what they did to USS Cole near Yemen. What would be the response of Bharatiya government be? Will it stay and complete the task of bringing piracy under control in the area or will it cut and run? This would be the first time Bharatiya military would be challenged outside its boundaries, although by irregulars. The response to future attacks will have long term implications to the strategic direction of the country.

Potential Impact to India's Image Due to Obama's Presidency

I was looking at some of the American news magazines and newspaper coverage after Barack Obama's victory in US presidential elections and was taken aback by the comparison he is already drawing. Obama is already compared to the top American presidents of its more than 200 years history - on par with Lincoln, who won the American Civil War and ended slavery in the country, and Roosevelt, who defeated Hitler's Germany along with Japan in World War II. What exactly are Obama's achievements to compare him to the well known and respected former American presidents is a mystery.

Then you hear that American TV media thinks that it is its obligation to make Obama's presidency a success. One has to wonder why the adoration and adulation for an unproven and unknown person? One obvious answer would be because Obama is the first black US president, a failure would cause American electorate to think twice before electing another black president in the near term - a valid fear for some. But the hype of Obama seems so high, even before he is in office, any slip up will be devastating for his presidency. That's where I see potential danger to India's image.

Meghnad Desai describes the contrast between European and Asia reaction to Obama's election:

But the Europeans are panting to be first in line when he takes up office. Sarkozy has boasted that he talked to Obama for 30 minutes after he was declared President-elect. Gordon Brown as Prime Minister of the UK, which boasts of a ‘special relationship’ with the US, got only 10 minutes but he is plotting to travel to the US soon after Obama’s Inauguration Day on January 20 and be the first European leader to meet him.

In contrast, the response of India and China to Obama’s election has been fascinating. Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh missed Obama’s call at first and Obama called him again. The Chinese are not hotfooting to Washington after January 20 to see Obama. While the Europeans are competing to be the new puppy that Obama can take to the White House (while his two daughters get a real one), the Asians are being cool. What’s going on here?

In order to keep Obama's presidency perfect, any country that may seem opposed to Obama's world view may be in for a pummel by American media, and there by the world media - which tend to follow American lead in any news coverage. We already know about Obama's take on Pakistan's relationship to India and India's strategic matters. If Obama pursues this line of thinking and India pushes back, I am afraid India image in the world will take a severe beating. And this would especially be true if BJP/NDA comes to power next year with a role for Narender Modi in the center because we know there are already plenty of centers of powers in US that control governmental actions towards Sri Modi.

I warned many months ago, in another forum, that relation between Bharat and US is excellent because of only one person - George Bush. Others disagreed. Now it'll be interesting to watch how the relationship changes with Bush gone and potential difficult issues between the two nations come front and center.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bits of Real Nehru

November 14th was the 120th birthday of the man who casts a long shadow on Bharat even to this day. It may take another 60 years to clear the cobwebs hiding in the shadow along with the myth that was created around Jawaharlal Nehru during his prime ministership, and especially, since. We usual get the sycophants, such as S. Gopal, take on Nehru. Mohandas Gandhi was probably stung by that same sycophancy when he, being a non-democratic leader he was, choose to impose Nehru on the yet to be independent nation.

Swapan Dasgupta reminds us of the real Nehru, as written by his contemporary, Walter Crocker, the Australian High Commissioner in the 60s.

Even as Sri Crocker talks of Nehru who had little care for children, as opposed to that carefully crafted Chacha image by his sycophants, since Nehru's death, he talks about the various prejudices of Nehru, to put it mildly, which ended having huge lasting social, economic, and foreign policy implications.

Less publicised was the strong impression that his enlightenment was often offset by blind hates. Among Nehru’s ‘prejudices’ Crocker records were ‘‘maharajas, Portugal, moneylenders, certain American ways, Hinduism, the whites in Africa...’’ ...

Nehru, it was said, ‘‘could be emphatic on a basis of insufficient knowledge’’. He may have begun with a caricatured hatred of moneylenders but it soon extended into distaste for the entire private sector. Like the fellow travellers of Stalin, he juxtaposed science with what he considered religious mumbo-jumbo and came to view everything Hindu with utmost wariness...

From such parodies were the three pillars of the Nehruvian order, secularism, non-alignment and socialism, crafted.
I am constantly amazed at how Nehru's sycophants cover up his hatred for the people of Bharat - vast majority of whom are Hindus and extremely religious. How exactly does that make Nehru a great prime minister and how does that make our so-called founding fathers great, as Ramachandra Guha argues in his recent book. It seems to me the greatness of these leaders, especially the usually quoted ones, is more a myth then reality. The greatness belonged to the ordinary people who stuck to democracy and their way of life, despite having leaders who were ignorant, incompetent, and, unsurprisingly, hateful of those ordinary people.

The Great Desi Soothsayers

Even as I was defending Manmohan and Chidambaram, they themselves are making bogus claims now - that they actually foresaw the coming downturn and put deficit spending in place!!

Singh said he and Finance Minister P Chidambaram had anticipated a global slowdown on the horizon and budgeted for a very substantial amount of deficit to take care of the slack that has emerged now. “The fact that we have given record prices to the producers of wheat and rice; that Rs 71,000 crore worth loans have been written off... We have a very extensive programme for social service and infrastructure expansion,” he said.

“So, as far as our economy is concerned, I think, our fiscal stimulus is already on,” he said.

May be it's even larger than the Chinese $586 billion spending plan! (To be fair, the vast majority of Chinese spending plan is similar to Messers Manmohan and Chidambaram's - preexisting deficit spending plans!) What would we do without these great fortune tellers.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New ISI Military: Girl Soliders

Apparently the brave Islamic terrorists couldnot complete the task. Taking a leaf from al Qaeda's cowardly actions of using women in Iraq and in Afghanistan as terrorists, now ISI is training girls in terror activities at two sites in PoK.

Over 100 Pakistani girls are being trained in terrorist camps financed by ISI in PoK to carry out militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir, a woman arrested by the BSF along the LoC has revealed.

24-year-old Asiya Malik, wife of a Pakistani soldier, was arrested by the Border Security Force (BSF) at Dadil forward post along the Line of Control in Sunderbani belt of Rajouri district on Thursday, intelligence sources said.

During her interrogation, she revealed that Pakistani girls are being trained in handling of weapons, explosives, jungle warfare and sabotage activities in two militant training camps (MTCs) in Bhimber and Kotli areas across LoC in PoK, sources said.

While around 80 girls were being trained in Bhimber MTC, another 25 were at Kotli MTC, Asiya, who was also trained in Bhimber camp, revealed.

The girls will be sent in group of 10 to 12, she told the interrogators.

Asiya, whose husband Sajad Ahmed is a havildar in 129 unit of Nikial base army unit and her cousin Muzamil a militant commander of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT), was tasked to conduct recce of LoC to find safe infiltration routes and security deployment pattern, the sources said.

She also told the interrogators that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI was financing these training camps, where recruits come from various countries including Saudi Arabia.

According to Asiya, Pakistani army was backing infiltration in J&K from across LoC and Major Musa and another Pak army officer Talat visited the camps and LoC infiltration bases, sources claimed.

How would Bharatiya military, para-troops, border patrol fight these children? Imagine the field day the so-called human rights activities, pseudo-secular media, and every bogus activist will have if a few of these girls are killed while crossing from PoK or while engaged with battalion of soldiers or police! The cowardly ISI is, of course, at its devious best. But tough days are ahead if these children make it to J&K and beyond into the rest of the country to start killing and blowing up people.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Key Question When at Home in Orbit

ISRO made the final orbital maneuver to slow Chandrayaan I into a 100 km circular orbit on Chandra. The most crucial maneuver was few days ago when the spacecraft went from an Earthly orbit to an orbit around the Moon. After that there were series of maneuvers to slow the spacecraft to current orbit - opposite of what they were when orbiting Earth.

Courtesy The Telegraph

The next significant milestone would be when a lunar probe is dropped onto Chandra's surface. As a technology demonstrator and a scientific venture the project is a great success.

But one continues to hear complains that we should first solve some earthly problems before we can "ape" others. As I briefly said before, those complains miss the larger lesson of this project's success. The point is not which tasks we should put on hold until we are economically successful i.e., everyone in the country has basic necessities such as power, water, and access to health care and infrastructure. After all, the entire Chandrayann I project cost little more than Rs. 300 crores. It would cost lakhs of crores to create the infrastructure that would provide the basic necessities to all communities in the country. If one were cynical, Rs. 300 crores is a fraction of, for example, what Laloo Yadav skimmed off during the so-called fodder scam few years ago.

The lesson is not to put on hold so called non-essential projects or expenditures until every person in the country is well feed and is a happy being. And it's not like the government hasn't spent enormous amounts trying to do just that for the past 60 years and failed at it miserably. The lesson to learn is: how is that a small organization within the same failed government establishment can challenge itself to do an extremely complex outer space project and get it done inexpensively and on time? It's not just ISRO. The integrated missile development program, also a rocket based technology, achieved its objectives spending lot less then most other defence projects. In fact, the program was so successful it was dismantled few years ago because the stated objectives that it set out to do, in the early 80s, were complete.

What makes these little funded government organizations succeed, while the vastly better funded government infrastructure projects have failed repeatedly over several decades? Also, if there were no Chandrayaan projects, would it make a difference to other, supposedly more essential, projects? One has to suspend reality to believe that. It can be argued that the government should not be involved in lot those failed infrastructure projects in the first place. But still, why do some projects, based on high tech, succeed, while others, more mundane ones, fail repeatedly?

That should be the key question to ask of Chandrayaan I success. Making some quasi-socialist necessity verses luxury trade off argument misses the point.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quote: How B-G Trophy Was Won

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni speaks:

"Ek Chhoti sa baat bolna chahunga. Mahabharat main bola gaya tha ki pakshi jo hoti hai us pakshi ki aankh dekho. Border-Gavaskar trophy jo hai who pakshi ki aankh hai aur hum sirf us par concentrate kar rahe hai and kya strategy se aayegi us par hum zyada concentrate nahi kar rahe hai. (In the Mahabharat, there was a saying which said concentrate on the eye of the bird. Similarly, for us, the Border-Gavaskar trophy is the bird's eye and we are concentrating only on winning it and not on what strategy we are using.)"

Monday, November 10, 2008

That Missing Phone Call

As I pointed out recently , one of the things that MEA will miss are the consultation phone calls from White House. While Obama is not yet in White House, it is interesting what he refused to do.

NEW DELHI, Nov 9: In continuation of the ‘snub’ to India, US President-elect Barack Obama today spoke to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Till now, Mr Obama has returned calls to 16 world leaders, including Hu, but as reported by The Statesman on 8 November, the “snub” to the Indian Prime Minister continues.

The Ministry of External Affairs however maintain that they are unaffected by Mr Obama’s call to the Chinese leader and points out that Mr Obama will call the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in due course of time. Officials insist that too much is being read into these telephone calls and this is not an indication of the strength of Indo-US relationship which remains strong.

This, however, does not explain the fact that as of 8 November, when Mr Obama called the Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the Indian government had maintained that Mr Obama was returning calls only to countries that were having of some military alliance with the US. Officials in the MEA had particularly pointed out that both China and India had not received the call since both did not share a military alliance with USA.

This explanation no longer holds forth. But then the government seems to have no new answer for this latest development and embarrassment.
MEA is clearly in denial. Let's hope they wake up soon for the good of the country.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Way to Tackle Terrorism

May be Not Original, But an Interesting Idea None the Less

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Tibetan Buddhist swami, offers an alternative idea to tackling terrorism. I am intrigued by it. While it may not work on a cross border or international scale, it could work within a national context. The idea itself is not new. South Africa's Truth Commission was set up along similar lines but it was for a completely different reason and from a different perspective.

Also this prescription can be over done.

Here is the conversion between IE's Shekhar Gupta and the swami:

I remember you spoke in New York a couple of weeks after 9/11 and you were asked what you would tell Osama Bin Laden if you met him. You said you would listen to him first. Now we have a situation in India, where we are having this rash of bombings and people are scared and angry because they believe those who are carrying out the bombings are their brothers from their own country. Can these people be told to listen to those who are attacking them?

Terrorists are also victims. They are victims of the information they have got, they are victims of their own perceptions and that is why it’s very important that we try to understand them.

They are angry...

Their perceptions are not helpful to them that is why they get angry, violent, they want to punish. And that is why they need to be helped and not to be punished. One way to help them is to allow them to speak out.

They are those who believe that they are victims of discrimination and injustice and based on that kind of belief they have tried to do something but, so far, have not succeeded. No one has listened to them, done something for them and that is why they have taken recourse to terrorism. So, what we can do as a government, as a nation is to organise a session of deep, compassionate listening and invite them to come and to tell us what is in their heart, their suffering, their frustration. You can organise it in such a way that the session of listening is televised for the whole nation to follow. And if we have enough attention and compassion, we bring about relief. They feel that they are now understood, and they suffer less.

It will be like a pressure valve getting released?

Yes, and if we repeatedly organise sessions of deep listening then I think after a few months the level of violence and hate will go down and that is what we have experienced in our community.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

On the Perils of A New President

Barack Obama, largely an unknown person, will be the new president of US in January. After a rather successful and close relationship between India and US during the past eight years, or at least the last four years, of Bush presidency one wonders what is in store for the relationship in the next four to eight years.

Of the little experience that Obama has, his experience in international matters is even smaller. People largely know about him from his autobiographies - two of them. His article in Foreign Affairs about his apparent foreign policy, many months ago, was minimalistic with a passing mention of India. A friend of mine who lives in Chicago attended an early gathering of desi-Americans to size up Obama's contest for presidency and about his thoughts on Indo-US relationship. At the time Obama, following his NPA friends talking points, was not keen on 123 Nuclear Agreement. Later on he was mildly supportive of it, probably to keep desi-Americans happy and on his side, and because the agreement was inevitable.

But mostly during the past year or so, he was focused on the Land of the Pure. At one time, he wanted to attack LoP to get Osama bin Laden and his followers. At another time, he wanted to apply diplomatic pressure on LoP to go after al Qaeda settled in NWFP. At a different time, he wanted to buy LoP support to pursue al Qaeda. Reading about this, I predicted, multiple times during this period, that the Pakistanis will play the usual game of reciprocity with the new president Obama - deliver J&K for any action on their western front. But even before the Pakistani could play their game, Obama seem to be going along the same path. Some this talk could be because of his advisers - old Clinton hands, like Madeline Albright and Richard Holbrook, and some even older, like Zbigniew Brezinski (the Jimmy Carter's NSA hand), and some more recent, like Colin Powell. All these advisers look at Indo-US relationship through the lens of Bharat-Pakistan, i.e., hyphenation. Bush put a stop to the decades old hyphenation policy of US including Bill Clinton's hyper-hyphenation, which included China (with Clinton saying China had legitimate interests in the subcontinent at the height of nuclear testing days in 1998). See B. Raman's take on who in Obama's advisory team may be advising Obama how.

If one were a classic so-called Obamanics, one would ignore what Obama actually says and conclude whatever one wants from Obama-speak. So, despite recent Obama's policy pronouncements, it is possible Obama may continue with Bush lead of having close relationship with Bharat. But it's highly unlikely. For one thing, I suspect, Obama is an Islamo-phile. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being an Islamo-phile. But a nation or leader dealing with president Obama has to understand where he's coming from to deal with his policy positions.

Three things about Obama makes me think he is an Islamo-phile.

First, although I am told from people who read his autobiographies that Obama doesn't talk about his younger days - after his childhood apparently he suddenly appears in Chicago's black community, works his way up in the city's community and then raise fairly rapidly through state government and US Senate. But apparently he visited LoP in the 80s with his Pakistani friends. We know Obama, at the time, felt like an outsider. So it's less probably that he went to LoP to check on how Reagan and US government were doing to throw out Soviets from Afghanistan, but rather to see for himself how the mujahideens are organizing and fighting the Soviets. B. Raman writes of this trip:

It was at the invitation of one of his Pakistani friends that he visited Islamabad, Karachi and Hyderabad (Sind) in the 1980s. Nobody can hold that against him.

As an Indian, one will be but human if one felt troubled that he did not disclose this till he became the Presidential candidate. He disclosed this----as if in passing--- when it was alleged that he did not understand the Islamic world and its divisions. He mentioned his visit to Pakistan to show that he knew about the divisions in Islam, about the Shia-Sunni differences.

Why did he keep mum on his visit to Pakistan till this question was raised? Has he disclosed all the details regarding his Pakistan visit? Was it as innocuous as made out by him----to respond to the invitation of a Pakistani friend or was there something more to it?
I have never heard of Obama's trip to LoP until the post by Sri Raman. It is possible, as a young man, Obama wasn't sure if he was Muslim or a Christian. And it's fine for him to look for his religious roots and gain some understanding.

Secondly, recently we find out that Obama's mentor, other than local former terrorist bomber Bill Ayers, was Prof. Rashid Khalidi. Prof. Khalidi was a PLO spokesperson. Perfectly sane person but someone who dislikes Israel. Apparently Obama learned about Arab politics and about Islamic world from Prof. Khalidi and his wife over number of dinners at Khalidi's house. LA Times published a piece in April on a dinner party for Prof. Khalidi when he moved from Univ. of Chicago to Columbia Univ. Apparently Obama was full of praise for the professor while others were blasting Israel and Jews with Bill Ayers present at the table.
According to Wallsten the evening not surprisingly turned into a classic Jew-bash:

"During the dinner a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, "then you will never see a day of peace."
LA Times has the video of the party bashing Jews, but won't release it - probably protecting the paper's favorite candidate.

And thirdly, Obama's dad was a Kenyan Muslim. Obama himself is a Christian, but it explains his youthful interest in Islam and Muslim lands. And I suspect his sympathy for whatever real and imagined afflictions Muslims feel that Islamic nations have.

With Obama's possible Islamo-phile attitude, the countries that will be most impacted by his policies will be the ones that have bloody borders with the lands of Islam - mainly Bharat and Israel, but also Afghanistan. Israel will have to deal with a not-so friendly US government along with already unfriendly Europeans. But American Jews and Israelis can take of care themselves. Backed by Obama's administration, Afghanistan will have to deal with possible reconciliation with Taliban (former mujahideens) enabling NATO and US troop withdrawal. Any revival of Afghanistan as a normal country will probably end with India losing out a strategic foothold while LoP gets its strategic depth back.

After Bush leaves the presidency, the bonhomie between India and US will probably come to an end - the drop-in visits by the president when a senior Bharatiya leader visits the White House on business; the consultation phone calls to the prime minister; and simple praise and defence of Bharat in international arena will, I suspect, be a thing of the past. The strategic room for Bharat on world stage may shrink quite a bit. One hopes MEA and Bharatiya foreign policy watchers are ready for the new reality and are prepared for it without being surprised at what changes the new US elections will bring. This will especially be true if BJP/NDA wins elections early next year - it should not expect to pick up US-Bharatiya relationship from where it left off five years ago.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

In the Middle of Iran Nuclear Muddle

Fresh report surfaced to indicate that a few weeks ago India cooperated with US to block North Korean communists from supplying arms, possibly nuclear but more likely ballistic missile parts, to Iran.

According to the Western and Asian officials, the North Korean plane, an Ilyushin-62 long-range jet owned by the North Korean state airline, made a stop in Myanmar on Aug. 7 and sought permission from Indian air-traffic controllers to fly over Indian airspace. India eventually blocked the flight at Washington's behest, the officials said.

Neither the White House nor the Indian prime minister's office would comment on the operation or describe the cargo believed to be aboard the plane.
The cooperation was probably under the US-lead Proliferation Security Initiative, although India hasn't formally signed on to the initiative. PSI is primarily related to nuclear, chemical, and biological and related materials. It's highly unlikely N. Korea would be supplying nuclear material to Iran at this stage of the six-party on-again off-again talks. But it came when N.Korea was playing its usual game of repairing the recently dismantled Yongbyon nuclear facility to make Washington bend its demands. Washington eventually did by removing N. Korea off its terror sponsoring nations list over the objections of Japanese, who are still waiting on N. Korean cooperation to track down kidnapped Japanese citizens decades ago at the height of cold war.

If it were nuclear material that were being shipped to Iran, Washington would have gone ballistic. As the article indicates, it was probably missiles components. Washington and Israel, and also India, would still have to be very concerned that Iran would have the delivery capacity to supplement its fast moving nuclear weapons program. Iran, just like Pakistan, already has fairly advanced missile program courtesy of N. Korea.

But the irony of the cooperation was that the Kolkata International Airport denied permission to the N. Korean plane, waiting in Myanmar, to fly over India to its destination. One has to wonder what the communists reaction would be when they find out New Delhi ordered their communist city to comply with American request.