Saturday 26 March 2011

Corruption creating chaos in India (PO)

M D Nalapat

Especially since the 1971 defeat of the Pakistan Army in the east, the ISI has been seeking to weaken - and if possible destroy - the Indian State. The organisatioin has been funding, training and equipping multiple sources in India and abroad in furtherance of this objective. However, it has thus far had very little success, mainly because India is too big and too un-coordinated to suffer serious damage from the kind of tactics that the ISI specialises in. However, over the years, an enemy of the Indian people has emerged that is proving to be a potent threat to the future of the Indian Union. This is the shameless, uncontrolled greed of those at the apex of the political system in India.

Any visitor to the numerous discos of the 5-star hotels of Delhi will spot there a crowd of youths whose common factor is hedonism and access to cash. In selected discos can be recognized the sons and daughters of top politicians, officials and businesspersons, all having a wonderful time. This Community of Hedonists acts as a bridge between their parents, seeing to it that an opposition leader - for instance - avoids targeting the family of a ruling party VVIP. The daughters of businesspersons mix and mingle with the sons of high officials, and vice-versa, thereby helping to create a bond between the parents that ensures quick and reliable - if expensive - service for the businessperson at the hands of the official. Of course, the Intelligence Bureau stays far away from such dance halls and the farmhouses known to be the haunts of the fun-loving offspring of India’s elite.This, despite the fact that several foreign agencies and missions send attractive males and females to such locations,to ensnare the children of VVIPs.So loyal is Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram to his boss Sonia Gandhi,that he has converted the Intelligence Bureau into a personal detective agency designed to protect the First Family of India. Rather than focus on threats to the people and to the state,Chidambaram has reconfigured the IB to meet threats to the primacy of the ruliong family. Because this columnist is a critic of VVIPs (and has been so for four decades in journalism), not only the telephones of himself and his spouse,but informed friends claim that even that of his chauffeur are being monitored - clandestinely and illegally - by the IB.

Monday 21 March 2011

US should not follow Europe in Libya (USINPAC)

M.D. Nalapat

The Truman administration ended the brief dalliance with Asian nationalism that had been begun by Franklin Roosevelt,who as President of the US prodded Winston Churchill (with zero success) to grant India the very freedoms that the Atlantic Charter was designed to promote.

Had successive British governments been less Teutonic in their views, the UK may have gracefully conceded Dominion Status to India in the 1930s, thereby ensuring an alliance with the West that has since taken more than eight decades to move forward. After World War II, US policy was to march in sync with the European powers, for example in Vietnam, where France was backed in its occupation of the country.

While the world may have changed since the 1950s, US foreign policy seems to have remained stuck in a "Follow the Europeans" mode. The latest example of this is Libya, where US military assets are assisting France and the UK as they seek to carve out a zone of influence in eastern Libya, where more than 70% of the country's oil reserves are.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Outsourcing policymaking to the West (PO)

M D Nalapat

One of the country’s most prestigious newspapers, The Hindu,has been carrying a series based on the 5000 Wikileaks cables which relate to India. The first installment carried details about how Mani Shankar Aiyar lost the Petroleum Ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle,because he was regarded as too pro-Iran and therefore anti-US.He was replaced by Murli Deora, who is known to be close to the US from the time of Ronald Reagan.

Mani Shankar Aiyar is no stranger to Pakistan,having served in the country as a diplomat for many years. He is among the few politicians with the ability to understand complex issues,and to take a long-term view of policy. Certainly he feels uncomfortable with those who argue that Delhi should unquestioningly follow the “advice” given by the US,France and the UK, and makes no secret of such views. Interestingly, another former Indian Foreign Service officer-turned-politician was also sacrificed, most probabably because like Aiyar,he too opposed the uncritical acceptance of advice from Europe and the US that has been the hallmark of Sonia Gandhi’s policies. Like Aiyar, Kunwar (Prince) Natwar Singh too has a very high IQ and is far happier in the world of books and scholarship than he is with politics and polticians. In contrast to them,Murli Deora, who was in charge of the Union Petroleum Ministry till very recently has made no secret of his affinity for the US and for Europe, being among the many Indian politicians who spend a lot of time in both these continents. Murli Deora is a person of great charm,and it is this quality that enabled him to become one of the top fund-raisers for the Congress Party in the 1980s. Businesspersons know that he can be relied upon to help them,and hence have usually followed hos advice to donate generously to the Congress Party.

Friday 11 March 2011

Will China & Russia agree to bomb Libya? (PO)

M.D. Nalapat

In 1982, Ariel Sharon decided to intervene on behalf of the Maronite Christians of Lebanon, against the Shia. He gave weapons, training and other requisites to the Gemayel brothers, individuals whose concept of democracy was to send a bullet through the heart of any individual who disagreed with them. Intervening in a civil conflict in any society is fraught with risk, but this is exactly what some powers have repeatedly done.

However, Israel is far more vulnerable than former colonial empires such as the UK and France, in that it is located in a region where the population regards it with distaste, if not hatred. Secondly, it is far smaller than the major NATO powers in both size as well as population. Hence, caution ought to have been exercised rather than a reflexive exercise of power. Sadly for the world’s only Jewish-majority state, neither Sharon nor other Israeli leaders stopped to consider the ill-effects of their bias towards the Maronite Christian leadership. The consequence of Israeli intervention was to deepen the Lebanese sectarian conflict (with Syria and later Iran coming on the side of the embattled Shia) and to make the country the only one in the world that is the target of Shia-based terror groups. The intervention in Lebanon has cost Israel dearly.

These days, after having incorrectly assumed that Muammer Kadhafi will go the way of Hosni Mubarak, both the UK as well as the US are threatening to enforce a No Fly Zone over Libya, thereby seeking to ensure that the particular tribes backed by them have a better chance of dividing Libya into two states, with the oil-rich eastern state coming within the control of groups that are ( at least for now) friendly to the NATO powers. Strangely, even some governments in the region who ought to know better are secretly encouraging both President Obama as well as Prime Minister Cameron to attack Libya. This is a shortsighted view, caused by personal hatred of Colonel Kadhafi and disquiet at the fact that he is a republican rather than a monarch. Indeed, Kadhafihas become as much a figure of hatred within high councils in many Arab countries as was Gamal Abdel Nasser in his time. The difference, of course, is that Nasser was a simple man whose family declined to join in money-making, whereas the Kadhaficlan have become billionaires, thereby provoking anger within their own country. As in the case of the ancient Indian king Dritarashtra, Colonel Kadhafi’s blind spot are his sons. These have masterminded a policy of succumbing to the commands of the NATO powers, only to be abandoned by them at the first sign of an internal threat to the rule of their father.

Defeating Terrorism - Why the Tamil Tigers Lost Eelam...And How Sri Lanka Won the War (JINSA)

By M.D. Nalapat

The 2009 defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the death of their supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army can be traced to specific decisions made by both Prabhakaran and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But before those decisions can be laid out and analyzed, a brief history of the Tamil experience in Sri Lanka is necessary.

A History of Discrimination, the Tamils
Jaffna, a somnolent, leafy town in the north of Sri Lanka, is the heartland of the indigenous Tamils who came to Sri Lanka more than 2,000 years ago. Their community is distinct from that of the southern Indian Tamils who came to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) as indentured labor during the five centuries when the island was the colony of a succession of European states. The British, the last of the colonial rulers, adopted a neutral policy towards the Tamils and Ceylon's more numerous (by four times) Sinhalese population.
Sri Lanka Political Map Once freedom arrived in 1948, the majority Sinhala population decided that it their time to rule the island. In 1956, they did away with both English and Tamil as official languages, retaining only Sinhala as the medium for both administration as well as education.
As is evident from their diaspora, the Tamils are a community that prize education and achievement if given the chance. During the years of British rule, they took to English with a felicity that was not matched by the Sinhala, the overwhelming majority of whom belonged to the "lower castes."
Less than a twentieth of the Sinhala population was "high caste," and it was only this sliver of feudal landholders who had access to the language of their colonial masters. And because the disadvantaged were shut out from language study, class exclusivism within the Sinhala English-speaking community continued. This contrasts with India where, at the same time and despite official disapproval, more and more educational facilities retained the English language. By the 1960s, knowledge of English began to spread into the middle classes.

Language as a Discriminatory Tool
Restricting government jobs only to those fluent in Sinhala (i.e. the Tamils) would not have been as critical a factor had Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) a substantial private sector presence. Unfortunately, many of the British-educated Sinhala leaders who took charge of the country post-1948 shared the Fabian socialist ideology of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. They regarded private business as evil and the generating of private profit as criminal.

Saturday 5 March 2011

NATO ditches Moamer Kadhafi (PO)

M D Nalapat

Clients of banks based in the capitals of countries that are NATO members say that service is excellent, so long as times are good. There are smiles and parties, in all of which alcohol and charming company is present in profusion. However, as soon as times turn bad, these Fair Weather Friends change, and begin demanding the observance of conditions that are designed to further push the enterprise into catastrophe. Unlike banking institutions that have an Asian ethos, which step forward to the rescue whenever business turns sour, and shows the patience and understanding needed to conquer the crisis, the NATO-based financial institutions look only at their own (narrow and short-term) interests, and frequently convert a manageable crisis into a disaster by their unsympathetic policies. Sadly, despite knowing this, several business persons get lured by the superficial charm and seeming efficiency of such organisations, and flock there in preference to Asian entities, just as so many millions of consumers in Asia waste huge amounts of savings in buying super-luxury brands from Europe (even those where only the name is European, with even the label made in Asia. The reason for this is the continuing inferiority complex of several High Net Worth individuals who are secretly ashamed of being Asian, and compensate by using only European brands, whether these be shoes, clothes, cars or any other requirement of modern life.