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The Pakistan conundrum

This may soon come to pass ...

This may soon come to pass ...

I had asked this of a former high-ranking defence official in the Clinton administration at a conference at Harvard in late 2001. Without blinking an eyelid he said, “We would help the Indians take out the nuclear arms.” After the US intelligence failures in Iraq, I would not be too sanguine about this possibility. I would be more confident if Mossad makes a similar offer! In any case, I do hope our security analysts have an answer to this question, and that the ongoing elections yield a government which is able and willing to deal with what is no longer an implausible existential threat to India. (via Deepak Lal: The Pakistan conundrum).

Deepak … Deepak … Deepak …

Deepak Lal (currently employed with a US University) feels rather reassured by the US generals who have promised assistance to India for taking out Pakistani nukes in the likely event of Pakistan falling to Taliban hands. He truthfully, admits that he would be happy, if the Mossad were to give him such an assurance.

The tragedy of Indian bureaucrats

Do the IFS types understand the ramifications of a ‘relationship’ with a state like Israel, which is a proxy for the Western Oil interests in the Middle East. The only logic for Israeli policy is the probable Israeli intention. Is it that they are not staying in the neighbourhood after (or when, if you prefer) American aid ceases? Israelis, mostly transplanted Jews from Europe, will just get up and go, after Western support for their destructive regime ends.

The State of Israel will last as long as oil prices are high in the Middle East. What happens when Indian oil demand stabilizes with increasing domestic production? What will happen to oil prices production after Cuban oil fields go into production? And the Caspian oil and the Central Asian oil comes into the market?

Indian disengagement with neighbours

While Deepak Lal and his ilk from the Indian Foreign Service are busy attending conferences and gab-fests in the US, what is their level of engagement with Islamabad? How much are they in touch with the Pakistani establishment on managing this real ‘risk’ – and its fallout!

More importantly, how many such meetings and conferences do Deepak Lal and his ilk attend in Beijing. After all, China is the patron-in-chief of the Pakistani defense establishment – or at least, the invisible half of the equation, along with the USA. Any solution in Pakistan will come with Chinese support and consensus. With each new hand of cards, after each round of the play, the Chinese hand only gets stronger – and the Western hand is getting weaker.

A foreign affairs columnist, writing for financial daily, Jyoti Malhotra says,

How should Delhi treat its smaller and economically weak neighbours? There are many answers to that, but one thought remains central. The rest of the world will never take India seriously until it is able to bring the rest of South Asia on its side. Going out of your way to be nice to old friends could be one way of doing it.

India’s preoccupation with the West comes at a cost. For instance, of improving intra-Third World trade, which will yield more benefits than the Doha round. Intra-Third World trade is more stable is less prone to non-tariff barrier tactics that the Western world usually resorts to. Instead of a Doha round, there could be a Third World trade round.

The IFS and the IAS carry a colonial hangover – and their entire frame of reference is based on Western discourse. And this has to end.

What irony …

Of course, Deepak Lal sees no irony in India needing Mossad assistance, assurances and comfort – to tackle problems at Indian doorstep.For Mossad Pakistan half a continent away.

What’s right with Indian bureaucracy

April 29, 2009 1 comment

The bureaucrats shift the blame on the politicians

The bureaucrats shift the blame on the politicians

Bhave resigned from the IAS in 1996, to take up what was then seen as a rather low-profile job — to create India’s first share depository, even though he had the option of going there on deputation. “The job needed full-time commitment from me and from the team I was recruiting. How would I get it, if I did not burn my boats myself?” he says. (via Lunch with BS: C B Bhave).

Colonial institutions

The RBI, the IAS and the IFS are three services which have remained colonial and have a complete choke on Indian policy framework.  There is something about their structures which is not allowing them to shed their colonialism. The Railways have changed – as have many Governement organizations like Public Sector banks, Air India-Indian Airlines, etc.

And this extract confirms the conclusions made by 2ndlook and posted 1 year ago.

RBI, IAS and IFS

On April 1st, 1934, while the ‘Squeeze India’ campaign was under execution – choreographed by Montagu Norman, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill (some sickness … some racism) Lord Willingdon, India’s banking authority was set up.

The objective of setting up RBI – this colonial money authority, was to devise a policy structure for creating a ‘money famine’ needed by colonial British masters. From that April Fool’s day till now, RBI character has not changed. RBI resorts to creating these money famines every few years – even today. The last RBI ‘money famine’ in 1996 saw inter-corporate interest rates shoot to 40% – and a recession that lasted for 4 years.

The IAS (a successor to the colonial ICS) and the Planning Commission are the other two. The IFS has been pre-occupied with diplomatically engaging the West, fixated with Pakistan, while India’s relations in neighbourhood are at a historic low. But the English speaking, Indian bureaucracy is another matter. Having dragged India to the bottom of global corruption pervasiveness ratings, they cover their owns misdeeds, under the ‘umbrella’ of the neta. This is one colonial institution that India has tried digesting, without succes. IAS (ICS during colonial times) a venal, corrupt cadre, has tied up India into knots – which have taken us decades to even start disentangling.

Compare the successful bureaucracies

Compare that with the brilliant track record of modern Indian regulators and organizations like the SEBI, TRAI. Or even the IPS. India has the lowest prison population in the world – and also the lowest police-to-population ratio.

Till 1990-95 Indian stock trading was largely done done through the open outcry system, physical paper settlements, long settlement periods – and rampant manipulation. Indian stock trading systems was a closed club – and did not attract any serious investors.

Between, 1900-1995, SEBI, NSE, BSE and NSDL designed and managed the transition from the physical platform with the open outcry system to a complete electronic trading platform of the NSE and BSE.

BSE Logo

NSE Logo

Today, the BSE/NSE trading system is the most advanced in the world – in terms of trade volumes, transaction volumes and automation.

By 2000, India had less than 4 crore phones. Most of the 100 crore (1billion) Indians were unconnected – and disconnected from the world. Governments monopolies, BSNL and MTNL, ruled the roost. By 2000, India had less than 4 crore phones. Most of the 100 crore (1billion) Indians were unconnected – and disconnected from the world. Governments monopolies, BSNL and MTNL, ruled the roost.

By 2001, the BJP led Government came to power. The telecom regulator in a series of bold moves, changed policies – and equations. Tariffs declined by nearly 5000% – from roughly 50 cents to 1 cent per minute. User base ballooned to 20 crores – from 4 crores. In 7 years more telecom users were added than in the previous 70 years. For the first time, the poor in India are beginning to benefit from technology.

It took a non-Congress Government in 1977 to change the face of Indian Railways. Prof.Madhu Dandavate, the Railway Minister in the 1977 Janata Government started the railway renaissance in India. 3rd class railway travel was abolished. Wooden-slat seats were abolished. Cushioned 2nd class seating system was made minimum and standard. Train time tables were re-configured. Reservation systems improved. Railways started getting profitable.

Smear the neta

Smear the neta

The de-colonization of Indian Railways began effectively in 1977 – 30 years after British departure. Symbolically, that was also the year that the Rail Museum was set up. The progress after that has been remarkable. Today for a US$5, an Indian can travel for a 1000 km.

All this when only 25% of Indians travel by rail at least once a year.

Smear the neta

From colonial times, the Indian neta has been a favorite target of smear campaigns, innuendo and propaganda. Colonial administration in India worked hard to undermine the credibility of the Indian ‘neta’ – for obvious reasons. Colonial bureaucrats (and their successors, the IAS) covered their incompetence and corruption with this lopsided image of the neta. Indians politicians are possibly as corrupt as any others in the world.

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