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Posts Tagged ‘Indira Gandhi’

Pakistan: The Hidden Chapter

Pakistan and Bangladesh, both have difficulty in dealing with the reality of the Bangladesh War of 1971.

US and Pakistan foreign policy were smashed to bits during the Bangladesh War of 1971.  |  Cartoon by RK Laxman; source & courtesy: stateofpakistan.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

US and Pakistan foreign policy were smashed to bits during the Bangladesh War of 1971. | Cartoon by RK Laxman; source & courtesy: stateofpakistan.blogspot.in | Click for image.

Q: You once said people are taught to forget history. Did you have the subcontinent in mind?

Tariq Ali: I think people are not taught history. I am always shocked when I meet young Pakistanis – apart from the very educated ones – and they have no idea that Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan. It’s quite shocking to me, astonishing. (via South asia’s dynastic politics is grotesque – The Times of India).

March 1972: Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman signing an India-Bangladesh agreement  |  Image source & courtesy - thehindu.com  |  Click for image.

March 1972: Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman signing an India-Bangladesh agreement | Image source & courtesy - thehindu.com | Click for image.

Can’t forget

Pakistan has erased the Bangladesh chapter from its history books – as a 2ndlook reader from Pakistan wrote in a few days ago.

Just what credibility will State education have, when a Pakistani child comes to know that the State has hidden facts?

Big, elephant sized facts.

Can’t remember

Equally curiously, Bangladesh has completely erased the fact that India fought a war for Bangladesh– at considerable risk and cost to itself.

After thirty years, a determined government in Bangladesh is clear about its relationship with India. Will this last?  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; image source & courtesy - bangladeshwatchdog.blogspot.in  |  Click for image.

After thirty years, a determined government in Bangladesh is clear about its relationship with India. Will this last? | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; image source & courtesy - bangladeshwatchdog.blogspot.in | Click for image.

India had its own reasons to fight this war. But for Bangladesh to erase the Indian role in the birth of Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, there is no public commemoration or memorial for Indian army and soldiers who died for Bangladesh. .

Don’t understand this.


Anna dictates to Indian Polity – & the Voter

December 17, 2011 1 comment

When a lightweight like Anna Hazare starts dictating terms to Indian polity, the issue is no longer the Indian Parliament. It is the irrelevance of current political leadership.

India's bankrupt polity is allowing Anna Hazare to take the high ground - and get away with cacophony as agenda and ideology |  Cartoon by Manjul; source & courtesy - manjul.com | Click for source image.

India's bankrupt polity is allowing Anna Hazare to take the high ground - and get away with cacophony as agenda and ideology | Cartoon by Manjul; source & courtesy - manjul.com | Click for source image.

The Great Disconnect

No Indian political party has won a majority in the last 30 years based on merit. Not after Indira Gandhi’s win in 1980.

This is all the more remarkable as it takes just 15 crore votes to win a majority. From more than 70 crore voters. The size of the electorate in the last two elections has grown to 71.4 crore eligible voters (2009), up 6.4% (4.33 crore) from 2004. The number of votes polled increased to 41.72 crores against 38.75 crores in 2004.

Voting percentages have come down by 25% – from nearly 80% in 1960’s to around 55% now. Though improbable, lower voter turnouts could also be due to the better enrollment – compared to previous elections. Does this mean a disconnect between Indian leadership and Indian voters?

Or more ominously, between the political system and its users.

It is rather interesting to note how the Left players are trying to take centre stage, as they are losing relevance and votes across India.  |  Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; Posted On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 05:20:44 AM; source & courtesy - mumbaimirror.com  |  Click for source image.

It is rather interesting to note how the Left players are trying to take centre stage, as they are losing relevance and votes across India. | Cartoonist - Ajit Ninan; Posted On Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 05:20:44 AM; source & courtesy - mumbaimirror.com | Click for source image.

Featherweight Champ

In such a vacuum, a light-weight like Anna Hazare has become the ‘conscience’ of India.

Anna Hazare’s empty idea of using super-policemen, raises an important question.

Who will guard the guards?

Anna Hazare has camouflaged his Talibanic idea of punishment, prisons, flogging by using Indian props like anshan (fasting) and satyagraha (protests).

And using a huge poster of Gandhiji as backdrop.

Going in … or coming in?

An Indian political analyst, draws interesting parallels between JP’s movement of the 70s and Anna’s protests now (highlights extracted below).

Similarities apart, there are big differences, too.

For one, JP’s movement was rooted in a stagnant Indian economy, recovering slowly from the depredations of the British Raj – unlike India of today, which is a more robust economy. Without contest or argument.

For another Indira Gandhi dominated Indian politics – like no one does today. BJP and Congress are at parity today – unlike in the 70’s. In fact, at the State level, BJP is today a stronger party than the Congress.

BJP is jobless after the 'Anna-baba" combo became the main opposition - feels cartoonist Ajit Ninan  |  Posted On Friday, June 03, 2011 at 06:06:10 AM in mumbaimirror.com  |  Click for source image.

BJP is jobless after the 'Anna-baba" combo became the main opposition - feels cartoonist Ajit Ninan | Posted On Friday, June 03, 2011 at 06:06:10 AM in mumbaimirror.com | Click for source image.

JP, as a leader cut his teeth against the British Raj – and steeped in the development of Indian polity and power systems. Unlike Anna Hazare, who is greenhorn. Ideologically or otherwise.

And that is one thing that puzzles me.

Why is a politically strong party like BJP, trying to find shade under Hazare’s banner?

Now for the similarities.

Anyone watching the one day fast of Anna Hazare on Sunday would have been struck by the image of him sitting on the dais with prominent politicians around, as if he was holding a darbar.

Flanking him, on either side, were two senior politicians from polar opposite ends of the ideological spectrum: Arun Jaitley of the BJP on his left and Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) on his right. Other politicians, such as Sharad Yadav, A.B. Bardhan, Yerran Naidu all became just supporting cast in this theatre.

Some of those who have long memories about the Indian political scene, however, will not be particularly shocked, or even surprised. We have been here before. In 1977, after the lifting of the Emergency, both enthusiastically joined the campaigning against Indira Gandhi. The CPI(M) never formally merged with the Janata Party, but were willing followers of Jayaprakash Narayan, who was the mentor and guide of the Opposition.

Indira Gandhi’s suspension of democratic and fundamental rights for a year and a half had traumatised the country and when the elections were announced, all that suppressed antipathy burst forth. The people were not so much supporting the newly formed Janata Party but opposing her and her son. Jayaprakash Narayan, with his saintly image of being above mere party politics, emerged as the spearhead of the anti-Congress movement and helped form the Janata Party, consisting of socialists, Jan Sanghis and disgruntled Congressmen. The CPI(M) had a lot of misgivings about both JP and the Janata Party, but such was its hatred of Indira Gandhi that it went along.

That Opposition unity did not last long — the inner contradictions were just too powerful — and the Janata Party government collapsed two years later, paving the way for the eventual return of Indira Gandhi. But the concept of the joint, anti-Congress opposition had taken root.

Exactly 10 years later, the CPI(M) and the BJP got together again. They formed the two crutches of support to V.P. Singh who had walked out of the Congress. His agenda was also corruption-related, since the Rajiv Gandhi government was being accused of receiving kickbacks in a defence deal. In his rallies, he used to pull out a piece of paper and proclaim that he had the number of Rajiv Gandhi’s secret Swiss account where the kickbacks were deposited. The gimmick worked with the crowds, but when it came to voting, Singh’s Janata Dal got only 143 seats compared to the Congress’ 197. Rajiv Gandhi declined to form the government and with the help of the BJP (85) and the CPI(M) (33) and others, Singh became the Prime Minister. His government too fell after a year.

In both the above cases, the central anti-Congress figure — JP and Singh — had a few things in common. Both appeared Gandhian, in their demeanour and body language. Both were regarded as clean and both were seen as uninterested in political office and the loaves and fishes that come with it. JP had never contested an election and Singh, though a politician, managed to carve out an aura as being above the common fray. Indeed, soon after he was invited to form the government, when the Janata Dal met in the Central Hall of Parliament, he proposed the name of Devi Lal as the Prime Minister. India loves those who spurn power — they may harbour ambitions, but these ambitions should never be publicly aired. Singh became the hero of the moment.

Mr Hazare, too, fits that mould. He is a social worker who appears to have “Gandhian” traits — simplicity, no apparent lust for power, a willingness to fast etc. He has never stood for elections. He speaks in moral aphorism. The optics are also Gandhi-like: see him sitting at Rajghat, alone in his struggle. It is made for television. Never mind if he proposes public flogging of those who drink alcohol or is prone to the occasional gaffes; his followers don’t care. It is also quite possible they agree with him and his worldview wholeheartedly.

The fragmented Opposition, which finds it difficult to stick together and take on a government even as incompetent as this, has latched to him as not merely a mascot but also the man who will show the way. The BJP has not been able to put the UPA on the mat, but it has the cadre and the organisation skills; the CPI(M) is shaken by the drubbing it got but it has workers. Mr Hazare suits them both.

Who can forget BJP president Nitin Gadkari asking Mr Hazare to lead so that his party can follow? There is a good chance that some of the smaller parties, such as the Janata Dal (United), Telugu Desam Party and even the Akalis have misgivings about him and his programme, but for the moment they are keeping their counsel. Sunday’s event was a good opportunity for them to come and attack the Congress and they jumped at it. It was like a pre-election rally, with Mr Hazare too going for Manmohan Singh’s jugular. Janata Party, Janata Dal, Jan Lokpal Bill; the broader agenda remains the same.

Major state elections are to be held in the coming year and soon after that preparations for the general election will begin. (via Everyone’s invited to Anna theatre | The Asian Age).


2ndlook posts

External posts

American Journalist Cleared of Libel Against Indian PM

October 16, 2011 1 comment

A global scam much bigger than 2G. Only old 2ndlookers have read about this.

George Bush (satire - http://goo.gl/cpPBK ) had promised that Morarjee Desai would be on Mount Rushmore.

George Bush (satire - http://goo.gl/cpPBK ) had promised that Morarjee Desai would be on Mount Rushmore.

In his 1983 book, ”The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House,” Mr. Hersh wrote that Mr. Desai, India’s Prime Minister from 1977 to 1979, received $20,000 a year from the C.I.A. during the Johnson and Nixon administrations in exchange for information on Indian foreign policy and domestic politics. Mr. Hersh based his claim on information supplied by six confidential sources. (via U.S. Journalist Cleared of Libel Charge by Indian – New York Times).

CIA ‘bought’ Indian politicians

For years together, Morarji Desai was charged with being in CIA pay – even before Seymour Hersh’s book. Indian newspapers, Parliament, everyone discussed this. Seymour Hersh, an American investigator claimed that Morarjee Desai was in CIA pay.

When Seymour Hersh ‘revealed’ this in his book, Morarji Desai sued – filed a case in US courts and subsequently died. Henry Kissinger, appearing at Morarji Desai’s request, made a bald defence of Morarjee Desai.

But, importantly, why would the US recruit Morarji Desai – and then leak that information? This information could not have become public knowledge without information leak by the US.

Chains of Gold

Morarji was a threat to the US-administered global financial system, based on Bretton Woods Agreement.

The promise of the Bretton Woods system was stability. The dollar would be backed by gold. Under Bretton Woods system, anyone could (except Indians and Americans) buy an ounce of gold from the USA for US$35 – managed by the the London Pool system. USA promised the world that they will redeem the US dollar for gold – at a rate of US$35. Only US had enough gold to make that promise. More than 20,000 tons.

Soon, the USA was bleeding gold.

The Indian Factor

In the 1960s, most of the world was buying gold at an artificially low price of US$35. If Indians joined the gold-buying spree, the dollar would have collapsed decades ago. The success of Bretton Woods-I depended on blockading Indians from buying gold – which was effectively done by Morarji Desai. World’s largest buyers of gold, Indian buying would have emptied US Treasury in a few years.

Without Indian ‘help’ within 20 years, the Bretton Woods promise was broken. Redemptions of dollar for gold to individuals was stopped in 1968 (March15th). The Bretton Woods system worked for 20 years because Indians were not allowed to buy gold.

Hand In Glove

India’s finance minster during that crucial period, Morarji Desai, (on CIA payroll during Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency 1963-1968), presented a record 10 budgets, between February 1958, up to 1967. His adamant attitude on gold cost the government popularity and electoral losses – and the Indian economy and Indians much more. His break with Indira Gandhi began when the Finance portfolio was taken away from him.

True or untrue Hersh’s claim maybe, but Morarji Desai’s ban on gold imports allowed the sham of Bretton Woods to continue for 20 years. Was it a co-incidence that many of the RBI functionaries later got (and even now) plum postings at LSE (IG Patel) and BN Aadarkar (IMF)?

More was to follow …

Nixon Chop

On August 15th, 1971, the world got the Nixon Chop – where even Governments could not redeem dollar holdings. The dollar was put on float. In little time, dollar value depreciated from US$35 per ounce of gold to US$800 in 1980.

Over the next 20 years, through various clandestine methods (check out the Edmond Safra and the Yamashita stories links), gold prices were managed and brought down from US$800 (1980) to US$225 per ounce – but still 80% reduction in value of dollar value. Foreign reserves of poor countries got eroded. It was a gigantic fraud on the world – especially the poor, developing countries.

This was also done as a part of economic war against the Soviet Union – which was bankrupted due to low-gold prices during the 1990-2000 period.

Indians Not Allowed

From practically, 1939, (the start of WW2) gold imports into India were controlled or banned. This British legacy was continued by Indian Government and RBI. Many Gold control laws were enacted which stopped all legal gold imports into India.

With this, gold imports went underground.

Gold (illegal) imports (called smuggling) gave rise to biggest criminals that India has seen. Karim Lala, Haji Mastan, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Yusuf Patel, Tiger Memmon, Chota Rajan, and of course, Dawood Ibrahim – a biological son of a police constable Sheikh Ibrahim Kaskar, was spawned by Morarjee Desai’s laws.

These laws corrupted four generations of Indians Government and politicians. It made gold in India very expensive – and the Indian buyer remained in poverty longer.

Flip side

Since the amount was so small, just US$20,000, it may well be that Morarji was never bought. But by spreading this rumour, the US kept Morarji on leash. Important, considering the US stakes involved.

And Morarji Desai was a obstinate and recalcitrant man.

Behind Anna Hazare …

October 7, 2011 9 comments

RSS claims that they were part of Anna movement.

Anna-Baba protests had the Government worried. (Cartoon by MANJUL; source and courtesy - manjul.com. Click for source image).

Anna-Baba protests had the Government worried. (Cartoon by MANJUL; source and courtesy - manjul.com. Click for source image).

Out of touch media

The media portrayed, crowds at Anna Hazare’s protests as spontaneous. That seems to be, partly in doubt.

RSS has confirmed, that they supported Anna Hazare’s movement. RSS usually does not rush to the press or claim credit. If RSS is claiming credit, it is credible. RSS with a reputation of being a cadre based organization, can make a difference. (Not surprisingly, Team Anna quickly denied this).

And that raises questions about the ‘spontaneous’ crowds that gathered. The ruling party’s claim of Anna Hazare being an RSS agent – while partly hyperbole, stands confirmed.

Two times …

Anna-Baba anti-corruption protests were reminiscent of Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement in the 1970s – also partly supported by the RSS. Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement finally paralysed the Indian State – and provoked Indira Gandhi to impose emergency.

Anna-Baba have succeeded in identifying the दुखती रग ‘dukhti rag’ – the jangling nerve, of the people. Indians joining in Anna-Baba protests, are protesting about many issues – and using Anna Hazare’s and Baba Ramdev’s Anna-Baba protest vehicle to ride.

Lok Sabha is supreme argument did not cut much fluff. (Cartoon by Satish Acharya. Cartoon source and courtesy - celewalls.com; Click for larger image.)

Lok Sabha is supreme argument did not cut much fluff. (Cartoon by Satish Acharya. Cartoon source and courtesy - celewalls.com; Click for larger image.)

Thin ideas

Anna-Baba’s agendas are thin – very thin. But the people are thick as flies. Just like Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement.

Clueless on why Indians expect corruption free governance, or how India’s traditional rulers using भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra delivered corruption free regimes, these movements are trying failed Western solutions on a successful India.

So, with this thin agenda, and ‘outside’ support, how long can Anna sustain …

Kissinger on India-China War of 1962

June 4, 2011 8 comments

Looking at events of the 1962 India-China War and the 1971 BanglaDesh War through Kissinger’s eyes.

Richard Nixon and Dr.Henry Kissinger (Image courtesy - foreignpolicy.com). Click for larger image.

Richard Nixon and Dr.Henry Kissinger (Image courtesy – foreignpolicy.com). Click for larger image.

50 years later

India’s official analysis  of the 1962 war with China, usually referred to as the Henderson report, authored by Lieutenant-General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P.S. Bhagat, remains classified. In the absence of a vital half of the story, Indians are left to fend for themselves with Western narratives or the Chinese version of events.

A recent book by Henry Kissinger outlines his version of events in that crucial year of 1962.

Kissinger writes

When the Dalai Lama fled in 1959 and was granted asylum in India, China began to treat the issue of demarcation lines increasingly in strategic terms. Premier Zhou Enlai offered a deal trading Chinese claims in the eastern part of the line for Indian claims in the west, in other words, acceptance of the McMahon Line as a basis for negotiations in return for recognition of Chinese claims to Aksai Chin.

On the principle that he was not elected to bargain away territory that he considered indisputably Indian, Nehru rejected the Chinese proposal by not answering it. In 1961, India adopted what it called the Forward Policy.

To overcome the impression that it was not contesting the disputed territory, India moved its outposts forward, close to Chinese outposts previously established across the existing line of demarcation. Indian commanders were given the authority to fire on Chinese forces at their discretion, on the theory that the Chinese were intruders on Indian territory. They were reinforced in that policy after the first clashes in 1959 when Mao, in order to avoid a crisis, ordered Chinese forces to withdraw some 20 kms. Indian planners drew the conclusion that Chinese forces would not resist a forward movement by India; rather they would use it as an excuse to disengage. Indian forces were ordered to, in the words of the official Indian history of the war, “patrol as far forward as possible from our [India’s] present position toward the International Border as recognised by us… [and] prevent the Chinese from advancing further and also to dominate any Chinese posts already established on our territory.”

It proved a miscalculation. Mao at once cancelled the previous withdrawal orders. But he was still cautious, telling a meeting of the Central Military Commission in Beijing: “Lack of forbearance in small matters upsets great plans. We must pay attention to the situation.” It was not yet an order for military confrontation; rather a kind of alert to prepare a strategic plan. As such, it triggered the familiar Chinese style of dealing with strategic decisions: thorough analysis; careful preparation; attention to psychological and political factors; quest for surprise; and rapid conclusion.

In meetings of the Central Military Commission and of top leaders, Mao commented on Nehru’s Forward Policy with one of his epigrams: “A person sleeping in a comfortable bed is not easily roused by someone else’s snoring.” In other words, Chinese forces in the Himalayas had been too passive in responding to the Indian Forward Policy — which, in the Chinese perception, was taking place on Chinese soil. (That, of course, was the essence of the dispute: each side argued that its adversary had ventured onto its own soil.)

The Central Military Commission ordered an end of Chinese withdrawals, declaring that any new Indian outposts should be resisted by building Chinese outposts near them, encircling them. Mao summed it up: “You wave a gun, and I’ll wave a gun. We’ll stand face to face and can each practice our courage.” Mao defined the policy as “armed coexistence”. It was, in effect, the exercise of wei qi [Chinese strategic board game] in the Himalayas.

And then there was a war

Precise instructions were issued. The goal was still declared to be to avoid a larger conflict. Chinese troops were not authorised to fire unless Indian forces came closer than 50 metres to their positions. Beyond that, military actions could be initiated only on orders from higher authorities.

Indian planners noted that China had stopped withdrawals but also observed Chinese restraint in firing. They concluded that another probe would do the trick. Rather than contest empty land, the goal became “to push back the Chinese posts they already occupied”. Since the two objectives of China’s stated policy — to prevent further Indian advances and to avoid bloodshed — were not being met, Chinese leaders began to consider whether a sudden blow might force India to the negotiating table and end the tit for tat.

In pursuit of that objective, Chinese leaders were concerned that the United States might use the looming Sino-Indian conflict to unleash Taiwan against the mainland. Another worry was that the American diplomacy seeking to block Hanoi’s effort to turn Laos into a base area for the war in Vietnam might be a forerunner of an eventual American attack on southern China via Laos. Chinese leaders could not believe that America would involve itself to the extent it did in Indochina (even then, before the major escalation had started) for local strategic stakes.

The Chinese leaders managed to obtain reassurance on both points, in the process demonstrating the comprehensive way in which Chinese policy was being planned… …

With these reassurances in hand, Mao, in early October 1962, assembled Chinese leaders to announce the final decision, which was for war: “We fought a war with old Chiang [Kai-shek]. We fought a war with Japan, and with America. With none of these did we fear. And in each case we won. Now the Indians want to fight a war with us. Naturally, we don’t have fear. We cannot give ground, once we give ground it would be tantamount to letting them seize a big piece of land equivalent to Fujian province.… Since Nehru sticks his head out and insists on us fighting him, for us not to fight with him would not be friendly enough. Courtesy emphasises reciprocity.”

On October 6, a decision in principle was taken. The strategic plan was for a massive assault to produce a shock that would impel a negotiation or at least an end to the Indian military probing for the foreseeable future….

The Chinese attack took place in two stages: a preliminary offensive starting on October 20 lasting four days, followed by a massive assault in the middle of November, which reached the foothills of the Himalayas in the vicinity of the traditional imperial demarcation line.

At this point, the PLA stopped and returned to its starting point well behind the line it was claiming. The disputed territory has remained disputed until today, but neither side has sought to enforce its claims beyond the existing lines of control. (via You wave a gun, and I’ll wave a gun: Mao – Hindustan Times).

Kissinger's 'experience' and 'success' made him a favorite advisor with many US Presidents  |  Cartoonist Tom Meyer Published 04:00 a.m., Monday, December 2, 2002; source & courtesy - sfgate.com  |  Click for image.

Kissinger’s ‘experience’ and ‘success’ made him a favorite advisor with many US Presidents | Cartoonist Tom Meyer Published 04:00 a.m., Monday, December 2, 2002; source & courtesy – sfgate.com | Click for image.

Decades of living dangerously

Post-Stalin Soviet Russia did not see China as any great friend or ally – and the Stalin-Mao treaty of 1950, was dead in the water. China’s aggressive posturing against Soviet Russia on the border island of Zhenbao-Damanskii further alienated the Russians.

After China was made to pay a price.

Stalin’s lukewarm response to Nehru’s overtures and the alleged CIA plot against Nehru in 1955, temporarily brought Nehru close to Eisenhower. After the 1965 War with Pakistan, India-Soviet alliance grew in strength.

The 1971 Bangladesh War changed world perception of India – leading to Nixon’s famous outbursts. China’s inaction, declassified White House Tapes show, in the 1971 Bangladesh War, is rarely analysed in the current India-China narratives. As the tapes show, the US President pushed, prodded and cajoled the Chinese to act against India – to no avail.

Kissinger: I called Bhutto yesterday evening after we talked just for the record, and I said I don’t want to hear one more word from the Chinese. We are the ones who have been operating against our public opinion, against our bureaucracy, at the very edge of legality—

Nixon: That’s right.

Kissinger: And if they want to talk they should move some troops. Until they’ve done it, we don’t want to hear one more word. I really let him have it.

In another conversation

Nixon: Just go to New York and say, I have a message from the President to Chou En-lai. Put it on that basis. I wouldn’t fool around.

Mitchell: What’s the prospect of the Chinese moving?

Nixon: None. Well, that’s what I mean. If there’s a chance, you told me none, Henry, yesterday. Remember?

Kissinger: No, but that was when they thought they were completely wrong. I’m not so sure there’s none, Mr. President. Because they know that this is a dress rehearsal of what may happen to them.

Nixon: What I would like to do in the note to the Chinese is to state exactly that, that I consider this to be a dress rehearsal and I think their move, some move toward the border would restrain India. And that as far as we’re concerned we hold them harmless. The Russians aren’t going to dump the Chinese. Not now.

Kissinger saw the 1971 situation go from bad to worse – for Pakistan, China and USA.

Kissinger: But the Indian plan is now clear. They’re going to move their forces from East Pakistan to the west. They will then smash the Pakistan land forces and air forces, annex the part of Kashmir that is in Pakistan and then call it off. After that has happened—and then you have another message from the Shah saying this section of West Pakistan now would be a mortal threat to the security of Iran. When this has happened, the centrifugal forces in West Pakistan would be liberated. Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier will celebrate. West Pakistan would become a sort of intricate Afghanistan.

Nixon: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kissinger: East Pakistan would become a Bhutan. All of this would have been achieved by Soviet support, Soviet arms, and Indian military force. The impact of this on many countries threatened by the Soviet Union or by Soviet clients. … it will have a catastrophic impact on the Middle East. No one could guarantee or give up any territory that they have because they won’t believe it. The Arabs will think if they can get the same cover from the Soviets that the Indians got, they could try another round and maybe more. The Chinese, now this part is my judgment, up to a certain point being aggressive. But if it turns out that we end up with the complete dismemberment of Pakistan, then they will conclude, “All right. We played it decently but we’re just too weak.” And that they have to break their encirclement, not by dealing with us, but by moving or drop the whole idea. So I think this, unfortunately, has turned into a big watershed, which is going to affect our chances in the situation in South Asia.

This web of events proves one thing. Bravado or timidity have no place in foreign policy – not in India, not anywhere else. India’s successes in 1971, Kargil, should give us confidence.

Dependence on foreign defence supplies should worry Indians.


Endgame for Manmohan Singh?

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

(Montage courtesy - Sunday Magazine of Faking News dated 30 May 2010.). Click for larger image.

Tom-tom drums

In the deep jungles of Indian politics, tom-tom drums are beating. Some people who know how to read these drum-beats are saying that the message reads “Rahul baba is coming … Rahul baba is coming …”

Will Indira Gandhi inspire Rahul Gandhi

It is some 15 months of UPA-II. Will it be like the 1971 election of Indira Gandhi. Leading a lame-duck, Government for two years, after a flurry of populist tokens, like abolition of privy purses, bank nationalisation, Indira Gandhi called for ‘garibi hatao’ and an election.

Will we see an ouster of Manmohan, installation of Rahul Gandhi as PM, another flurry of populist tokens – and an election in 12-18 months.

Going by personal experience, the few 2ndlook posts in the last 3 months, on Rahul Gandhi have had unusual traffic. Reader interest has been higher than what the content would justify.

Listening posts

A report in The Times Of India reads

our economist PM’s lack of leadership gets manifested best in his absolute abdication of responsibility on issues concerning the country’s economy … foodgrains continue to rot for want of storage space … even as Naxals continue to kill our forces at will … the home minister’s response suggests it to be a ‘law and order’ problem, Digvijay Singh thinks otherwise … as the killing spree continues, the government’s absentee railway minister addresses a massive rally at Lalgarh with Maoist support and even supports an investigation into the death of a Naxal commander.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Cartoon date - Sep 06, 2010; Cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com. Click for larger image.

Pranab Mukherjee disapproves of Mamata Banerjee’s antics. But soon the Congress’s own heir apparent takes a dangerous left turn. Addressing a massive tribal rally alongside a suspected Naxal leader, Rahul Gandhi talks of being a soldier of the tribals in Delhi … What is most unbecoming of the ‘honest’ Singh is his constantly looking the other way on issues involving gross corruption. No wonder then that telecom minister A Raja and CWG chairman Suresh Kalmadi have seemed to carry on their reported exploits with impunity.

India deserves a more ‘in-control’ PM … what makes the PM-in-waiting, Rahul, choose to remain ‘shielded’ perpetually? Has he done a reality check and concluded that he is not prepared for the job? Is he worried that he might face the same flak when his opportunity comes? What is equally surprising is that our ‘PM-designate’ is just as invisible on almost all important issues. (via No Nightwatchman’s Innings – The Times of India; parts excised for brevity.).

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

Is Rahul trying out his grand-mother's strategy? (Cartoonist - RK Laxman; Cartoon courtesy - outlook.com) Click for larger image.

National Advisory Council (NAC) takes over

A web-zine, MeriNews in a recent analysis points out

The SIX-year old trusted political equation between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh is said to be under pressure. Since the revival of National Advisory Council (NAC), headed by Sonia Gandhi …

All these six years, perfect understanding was maintained among these two power centers. While Sonia Gandhi looking after political issues of Congress-led UPA Government; Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was given free hand with regard to the affairs of the government. But the growing interest shown by Sonia Gandhi in the governance seems to be widening the gap between the two political titans.

At this juncture, the revival of NAC is seen as Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to take control over the administration on her own to pave way for the coronation of her son Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. …

Manmohan Singh  is taking all due care avoiding the media focus on himself. He has hardly given any full-length interview for any news paper or news channel. He is also not happy with the attitude of some ministers, who did not cooperate with him … only Home Minister P. Chidambaram interacts with the Prime Minister on a regular basis on all major policy issues. While all other ministers are trying to show that they are more loyal to `madam’ than the prime minister.

Manmohan Singh was upset when AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh had written an article questioning Chidambaram’s anti-Maoists policy at a time when the government was facing crisis following 76 CRPF jawans massacre in Chhattiasgarh. Whether Rahul Gandhi will be allowed to lead the nation or some intermediate arrangement will be preferred, is yet to be seen. (via Has Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh equation as a team ended?).

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

It wasn't easy then ... (Published on - Jul 14, 2010; cartoon by - Sandeep Adhwaryu; cartoon courtesy - outlook.com.). Click for larger image.

Insider knows

A BJP MP, Chandan Mitra, writing for The Pioneer, paints a similar picture. Some edited (for brevity) sections are reproduced below.

What happened in the Rajya Sabha on August 31, last day of the Monsoon Session … was probably the most incredible example of a Government under siege … from within. The … next day, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister sought to drape Congress MP Keshava Rao’s rebellion against … Kapil Sibal with the cloak of “inner-party democracy” reveals the … bewilderment. Later the same evening, … P Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh were back in the ring …this time over the term ‘saffron terror’. Was it mere coincidence that two efficient … Ministers — Mr Chidambaram and Mr Sibal — bore the brunt of Congress MPs’ wrath? Some … believe that … Mr Keshava Rao’s … access to 10 Janpath, the rebellion must have been staged … (knowing) that no consequences would follow.

leaders have begun jockeying for the post-Manmohan era. With Rahul Gandhi’s mounting visibility, carefully calibrated by sections of the media, Congress know it is a matter of time before the heir-apparent takes direct charge.

the Prime Minister sat through all five hours of the Nuclear Liability Bill debate in the Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs later complained they couldn’t even take coffee breaks because it would have been improper to gad off while he sat on impassively. From this unusual action it has been deduced by many that Mr Manmohan Singh is in the final stage of repaying his debt to Washington on the nuclear issue.

So now that the nuclear deal process is complete, Mr Manmohan Singh may prefer to walk into the sunset once US President Barack Obama’s visit happens in early November.

Proponents believe that 2011 or latest 2012 will be the year of transition … a political crisis may be deliberately stirred so that a fresh election has to be called to legitimise Mr Rahul Gandhi’s ascendancy since his mother believes electoral endorsement is what’s kept the dynasty going. Congress strategists have calculated that if an election is held within the next 12 to 18 months, with Mr Rahul Gandhi projected as Prime Minister, the party will win a majority on its own. …

some seniors in the party are already positioning themselves for such an eventuality — Mr Digvijay Singh for one [.] has been consistently making jholawallah-type noises … significantly, he has targeted Mr Chidambaram who is clearly doing his best to uphold the dignity and power of the Indian state. … Rahul is building a jholawallah team around himself, some inherited from his mother’s National Advisory Council, which now acts as a super-Cabinet, and the rest drawn from from across the globe, potential British Labour Party leader David Miliband included. I would rather have Mr Rahul Gandhi take over right now than permit his ambitious cohorts to inject chaos and disorder in governance so that they can herald the Crown Prince’s arrival into South Block as the knight in shining armour destined to ‘rescue’ India from drift. Who knows, maybe Ms Sonia Gandhi will time her ‘voluntary retirement’ to coincide with that so daughter Priyanka begins a long stint as Congress president! [Significant caveats and qualifications by the author excised for brevity. Read original, linked at the beginning and here to verify the credibility and degree of certainty of the analysis].

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Remember! Congress has won just 3 elections in the last 40 years. (Cartoon By Sandeep Adhwaryu; courtesy - outlook.com; publication date - Jun 28, 2010.). Click for larger image.

Which way the wind blows

The wide- coverage of Rahul Gandhi’s support  to Omar Abdullah by the media was indicative of the way political winds are blowing. Did Omar Abdullah with nearly 12-15 years of experience in governance need Rahul Gandhi’s certification? The shrill attacks on the Government using Commonwealth Games is another indicator. Will the Ayodhya judgement by the Allahabad High Court be used as a trigger for displacing Manmohan Singh?

Time will surely tell. In the meantime, Rahul Gandhi would do well to remember that the Congress has really won just three election out of ten in the last 40 years. No doubt, the Indian Voter exudes warmth towards Rahul Gandhi.

To assume that this warmth will translate into votes is immature.

Flap over Indian Electronic Voting Machines

September 19, 2010 5 comments
The Great Indian Election Tamasha (Cartoon by Paresh Nath, Published by The Khaleej Times, UAE, Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

The Great Indian Election Tamasha (Cartoon by Paresh Nath, Published by The Khaleej Times, UAE, Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com).

All’s well …

Hari K. Prasad, the techie who was pushing the case for secure Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), earlier arrested, has now been released on bail.

Fears of the Vindictive State seems to have been misplaced. Instead, we had a judge who echoed, pretty much what 2ndlook said. The judge said,

if the machine was possessed by the accused for demonstrating only that it could be tampered with, then the accused committed no offence. On the contrary, he has done a great service to the democracy,” the Judge said in the bail order.

Tathastu!

How can the land of snakes and elephants get the latest technoloy seems to be the thrust of these aruments? (Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan; Published by The Toronto Star; Crtoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com.).

How can the land of snakes and elephants get the latest technology seems to be the thrust of these arguments? (Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan; Published by The Toronto Star; Cartoon Courtesy - caglecartoons.com.).

If developed countries have rejected EVMs …

One worrisome argument states that since many ‘advanced’ countries rejected EVMs, India too must reject the same.

The question seems to be, “Do you think the Indian Election Commission is better than the US Federal Election Commission?” Since, election authorities in Netherlands and Germany have rejected EVMs, another favorite question is “Are you saying that the Government of Netherlands and Germany are wrong?” Even ‘advanced’ countries don’t have EVMs.

Why should India have it.

Paralysis by analysis

Paper based systems are also prone to frauds. Like ‘oldsters’ in the Indian electoral scene will point put. Whatever technology is used, elements of fraud are likely to rear their heads. A recent post in The Economic Times recounts

a story to illustrate how there have always been allegations against electoral systems. “Balraj Madhok (former politician and co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh) once alleged that Indira Gandhi had colluded with the Russians and imported a special election ink. Wherever it is marked in the ballot paper, the ink would disappear and reappear against the Congress symbol. This is like that,” he says.

If the above story is factual, it would mean, a combination of two inks. A disappearing ink that would fade away a few days after being used on the ballot paper. The second ink would have to be an ‘invisible’ ink, that is embedded in the ballot paper at the printing press itself. This ‘invisible ink would make its appearance a few days or weeks after the ballots are printed. Do such inks exist?

I haven’t the foggiest notion.

A new day … a new way

Making the system work, after the decision is made is a good thing. Paralysing a system with ‘doubts’ instead of ‘karma’ is a bad idea. If EVMs need improvement, let us do it.

For tomorrow, I would propose a paper based system with central data-base and a printer-server with printers in every polling booth. These printers will print a ballot-paper on demand, for that booth, with date-time-location-serial number-election supervisor-election observers ID stamp, that will have better security than EVM or the ‘current’ old printing machines.

The story so far …

By December, the movement had a book of its own, written by Rao, the psephologist, and a growing number of supporters. One of them, Satya Dosapati, a technician from AP living in the US, connected the movement with Rop Gonggrijp and Alex Halderman. Gonggrijp is a Dutch activist who was part of the team that persuaded his country to scrap electronic voting. Halderman holds a PhD in computer science from Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. When Prasad eventually got hold of a machine, Gonggrijp and Halderman worked with him to demonstrate two ways in which a potential hacker could manipulate the machine.

Alerted, the EC asked officials to check for bluetooth devices in EVMs during the first step in securing a machine for an election. Engineers from the manufacturing companies are also now required to certify that all components are original and have not been tampered with. They also have to ensure the absence of any external component. It’s unclear though if all the components in 1.3 million machines can be rigorously tested and cleared by engineers before every election.(via ET Special: Can the Electronic Voting Machine be manipulated? – Page3 – The Economic Times).

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