Sunday 30 September 2012

Mr Obama, free Bradley Manning, the authentic American hero (Sunday Guardian)


People hold signs asking to free Bradley Manning during the LA Pride parade in West Hollywood in June. REUTERS
here are few people on earth nicer than citizens of the US of A. Similar to sojourns in India, those visiting the US usually return with affectionate tales of the courtesy and hospitality of Americans. They love life, and they love it when others do as well. Envy is not part of the American spirit, emulation is. However, there is an exception, a substantial one, and this is the tribe which collectively comprises the government of the United States. Public service in that country (a double misnomer, as is the case in most other locations across the globe) has the effect of shrivelling up an individual's reserves of generosity and openness, leaving in its wake a desiccated consciousness out to constrain and punish all those less than obsequiously respectful of those in positions of authority. Would that the airport manager in the movie Terminal were the exception. Across government offices all over the US and in that country's stations abroad, such a pedantic and unfeeling application of mechanical rules is the norm, with of course exceptions. Small wonder that most of the serious crimes in the US get committed by graduates of the world's most effective training school for anti-socials, US prisons. Add to that the fact that since the era of Richard Nixon, there has been a huge spurt in the prison population, because of the mandatory nature of sentencing for offences where a first-timer is almost never a threat to society, such as the use of marijuana, a substance that ought to be legalised the way alcohol has been in India except in parts of Kashmir and in the whole of Gujarat. Of course, once the offender passes through the prison system, it is a different story.
Unsurprisingly, for a person known to have a Europeanist view of the world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton never hesitates to give lectures on morality and political correctness, except when she is visiting the GCC and China. Even the self-advertised "largest democracy in the world" has been subjected — this time with ample justification — to verbal whiplashes, especially on the issue of freedom of speech. Another hobby of the lady is human rights. Syria's Bashar Assad is a constant target of Clintonian ire because of his unreasonable refusal to allow himself and his regime to be subjected to the same fate as met Muammar Gaddafi last year, when — according to some reports — a US spotter drone revealed his location to anti-Gaddafi fighters and a French commando squad participated in his final moments, no doubt in the cause of Liberte and Egalite.
A mistake is excusable, but not if it gets repeated. First in Libya and now in Syria, weapons and cash are being given to fanatics who will next attack their benefactors, as indeed they recently did in Benghazi. The capacity of the members of NATO to delude themselves is huge, for a few paid demonstrations by groups of unemployed youths has been taken by BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera as evidence that "the Libyan people are against the killers" of the martyred Stevens. And now Syria is being torn apart. The worry is that this virus could before long spread to parts of the GCC as well, thereby severely affecting global stability. The Arab world needs to resolve its internal differences sans external interference, if stability is ever to return. But for this to happen, there needs to be a single standard of praise and blame.
In that context, blowing away the cloak of secrecy from operations that have led to the deaths of countless innocent lives would be the warp and woof of a Nobel Prize nomination, were it to take place in Syria, Iran or another of the Shia Crescent states so disliked by NATO. However, when a young and idealistic US soldier, Bradley Manning, allegedly transferred data on wartime atrocities by US troops to Julian Assange, he was sent to prison in 2010 in a way that makes a mockery of US claims to be a society that lives by the rule of law. In what way is the exposure of a crime itself a crime? Manning acted from motives very different from that which motivate the many who have collectively donated $70 bn to the Clinton Global Initiative, earning not a cent from his disclosures. Like Daniel Ellsworth before him, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, Manning is an authentic American hero. Rather than him being in prison, it ought to be the murderous pilots outed by him who ought to have lost their liberty. Freedom of speech and human rights ought not to stop at the shores of the US. President Obama, show that this is not so by releasing Bradley Manning now.

Friday 28 September 2012

Tsai visit boosts India-Taiwan ties (PO)

By M D Nalapat

Although very much smaller in size and population, Taiwan has double the foreign exchange reserves and foreign trade of India.Jawaharlal Nehru adopted a policy of siding with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its newly-established Peoples Republic of China (PRC) rather than the Kuomintang (KMT),which shifted to Taiwan in 1949.That was the first of many diplomatic moves that Nehru made to separate from the US the country whose foreign policy he single-handedly controlled since 1947,India.Because of his admiration for the USSR and its system of centralised planning (which Nehru - again without consultations with other individuals in the Congress Party or the government - adopted), the then Prime Minister of India fashioned a diplomatic posture that was usually on the side of Moscow rather than Washington. Certainly the fact that President Harry Truman reversed the anti-colonial policy of Franklin Roosevelt and aligned Washington firmly with European colonial powers helped propel India away from the US. However,it was equally true that such ideals as liberty and democracy were often cast aside by Nehru,especially when the USSR invaded Hungary in 1957 and, earlier, had in effect converted several countries in Eastern Europe into colonies of Moscow.

Nehru’s spurning of the KMT showed a lack of gratitude on his part.KMT supremo Chiang Kai-shek and his exquisite spouse Soong Mei-ling had strongly supported freedom for India at every meeting they had with the irascible and wholly racist Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,Winston Churchill.The strong support given to the freedom movement by the KMT was a source of considerable annoyance to Churchill,who regarded it as just that his nation should rule over India in perpetuity.However,Chiang’s backing for Indian independence was forgotten by Nehru,who rejected his Taipei-based government to become one of the first three countries to recognize the PRC. After that,relations between Taiwan and India shrank to nothing, a state of affairs which continued till the mid-1990s,when Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao established formal ties with both Taiwan as well as Israel.

Rao focused on the economy, which for the first time since 1947 was to an extent freed of the Soviet-style constraints that had bound it since Nehru’s time,thereby condemning the economy to a measly rate of growth less than half that of Pakistan at the time. He saw that Taiwan had become a trading giant,rich in capital and in technology,and wanted the Indian economy to get the benefit of that. Encouraged by a small and informal group of advisors, Prime Minister Rao overrode opposition from within the government to establish ties with Taiwan.

Since then,these have grown considerably,such that both sides now issue visas to each other,and have signed a Double Taxation (Avoidance) Agreement. By 2013,it is expected that an India-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement will get signed,complementing the free trade agreement that Taipei signed with Beijing in 2008,and which brought several advantages to Taiwan. While it was the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime in Taipei (2000-2008) that first gave a boost to “IT” (India-Taiwan relations), the successor regime led by the KMT leader Ma Ying-jeou has carried forward this momentum. Indeed, Ma made a very successful visit to India less than a year before being elected President of Taiwan in 2008 In democracies,opposition parties are as important as ruling parties.Which is why it has been a handicap that the Manmohan Singh government lacked the courage to welcome DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen to India for four years,because of fear that Beijing would react negatively.

Although many of her close advisors have visited India several times,yet the Manmohan Singh government kept Madame Tsai from coming to India.Only this month,now that she has relinquished the post of DPP Chairperson and conceded the Presidential election to incumbent Ma Ying-jeou, has South Block discovered enough reserves of courage to agree to a visit by Madame Tsai. Clearly,the odour of the USSR-hugging past still hangs heavy over the Government of India, so that it sees nothing incongruous in keeping at bay the leader of one of the two main parties in a full-fledged democracy that is rapidly expanding its commercial relations with India.

Even though a visa was finally issued to the DPP leader (who is likely to contest again for the Presidency of Taiwan in 2016,and this time emerge successful), it is a shameful fact that the eminent statesperson was received on September 19 at Delhi airport only by the Taiwan Representative in India rather than by a dignitary of the Ministry of External Affairs,as she ought to have been Fortunately,Tsai Ing-wen is a homespun individual,who has little use for diplomatic niceties.Indeed,she travelled by train from Delhi to Mumbai on September 23,rather than go by air the way all - repeat all - other international political notables have. While in Mumbai,Madame Tsai stayed in an unpretentious but quality hotel,the Ambassador,and could frequently be seen walking down the streets of Mumbai with other members of her delegation.She has set an example in simple conduct that few international leaders - or their domestic counterparts - follow.

The long-delayed visit of the charismatic DPP leader Tsai Ing-wen to India is evidence of the close ties between India andTaiwan.It would be safe to predict that in the future,many Taiwanese companies and many,many Taiwanese tourists will come to India. Shared business and cultural interests bind Taipei and Delhi together, in a way that does not at all go against the interests of Taiwan’s giant neighbour,China,a country which has the potential to emerge as a close strategic partner of India during the next five years. Analysts expect that Xi Jinping,the new Chinese leader will within a year make a visit to India,his first ever,so that the two countries better tap the immense synergies they possess.

Monday 24 September 2012

Carriergate: $3 bn for a floating junkyard that refuses to sail (Sunday Guardian)


Admiral Gorshkov, a Soviet-era aircraft carrier that was bought by India, is anchored at the Sevmash factory in Severodvinsk. REUTERS
here has to be weighty reasons why the entire defence establishment in India, including its political top tier, has been so enthusiastic about buying a mothballed Russian aircraft carrier, the "Baku" (since renamed "Admiral Gorshkov") for a price of $3 billion and counting. Some months ago, this columnist had visited Tianjin in China, where he saw another junked aircraft carrier, which had been converted into a floating museum by the Chinese authorities, in order to educate the public about the importance and configuration of a carrier. Although the exact cost of buying the vessel was not revealed, it was less than 5% of what the Indian taxpayer is paying for the "Baku", now renamed "Vikramaditya". Operational records of this vessel reveal that it was deemed seaworthy only five years after launch in 1982, because of the constant malfunctioning of several of its systems, including the core function of control. Ensuring that the ship safely sailed on the high seas, even for limited periods of time, proved so expensive that the Russian navy withdrew the ship from service after a measly ten years of operation. One factor behind the decision may have been its history of accidents, including an exploded boiler in 1994. It took another decade before the Russians could locate a buyer. That was India, where in 2004 the NDA agreed to purchase the vessel for a billion US dollars. Strangely, despite India getting such a poor bargain (in contrast to the Chinese), there were many smiles all across the defence and political establishment of Delhi at the purchase.
Such good humour multiplied after the UPA assumed office, and agreed to escalation after escalation of the cost. Presently, the Manmohan Singh government, whose finance ministers are so stingy about giving tax concessions to the middle class, has committed $3 billion in payouts to Moscow, a figure that is rising monthly. Given that the era of aircraft carriers has passed, unless to intimidate Tuvalu or Fiji, it would have made more sense to have spent that much money on the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of the DRDO, this time forcing that behemoth to partner with private Indian companies rather than keeping the entire production line within the state sector. A single missile costing less than $3 million is all that is needed to send "Vikramaditya" to where the Titanic has been resting for a century. As for comparisons between the missile capabilities of India and China, this would be akin to comparing the trusty Hindustan Ambassador with a Porsche. Hopefully, future wars will get fought only with countries such as Lesotho or Burkina Faso, for combat with either of our two neighbours (or with both acting in tandem) would severely test the composure even of the ever-hopeful Manmohan Singh. Given its record of operating extravagance, it is reasonably certain that once the "Vikramaditya" goes operational again, the Indian navy will become such a drain on the exchequer that even the Raid Raj of P. Chidambaram will not suffice to feed the maw of its immense — and expensive — white elephant.
Let it be admitted that this columnist has a preference, and this is for imitating the Pakistanis and sweet-talking the Americans into handing over more of their retired vessels, on the same lines as the USS Trenton was. This was sold to the Indian Navy in 2006 for $47 million, a tiny fraction of what was demanded for the "Baku". That Manmohan Singh enjoys the cosiest of relations with Washington is not entirely a secret. Had the Prime Minister spent less effort on tackling the soup served to him at President Obama's state banquet and focused on trying to get him to transfer another three or four mothballed carriers to India, even at a price of $200 million each, this would have been only what was originally demanded by Moscow for the "Baku". Just as the only way the Royal Navy was able to keep itself in business during 1939-41 was by the transfer of US ships to it, the only viable way in which the Indian Navy can emerge as a respectable double-ocean force in the next decade is by getting transferred US vessels to its fleet. When added to an expansion of the missile programme, this would have made Delhi the equal of any capital in Asia in terms of military power, given the pivotal importance of the navy (and the air force) in modern warfare. Instead, an unconscionable sum has been spent on a floating junkyard that refuses to sail, even after massive infusions of cash. In the hubbub over "Coalgate", the country is losing sight of "Carriergate".

Saturday 22 September 2012

Video: Prof. Nalapat Interviewed on CCTV about Economic Reform in India (22 September 2012)

Japan must return to Asia (PO)

By M D Nalapat

After three centuries of defeat, the first major victory of an Asian power against a country which considered itself European was in 1905,when Admiral Togo Heihachiro sank the bulk of the Czarist (Russian) fleet off Tsushima. Across the continent, from Turkey to India to Vietnam, people who for centuries had been drained of their wealth and future by European powers rejoiced. In the victory of Japan, they saw a future where they themselves would get liberated. As indeed they were, including by armed conflict. A half-century after Tsushima, a cohort of ill-armed Vietnamese soldiers led by Marshal Vo Nguyen Giap defeated the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu, thereby emulating the Japanese defeat of the British, French and Dutch forces throughout South-east Asia. The Japanese wave was stopped only at the border of India, when largely Indian troops battled them to a standstill, only to continue to be treated as ninth-class and non-citizens by the very British crown whose fortunes they had rescued Despite the immense sacrifices made by Indian soldiers - over two million of them - during World War II, it was the French (with their much smaller contribution to the war effort) that Churchill indulged, placing Paris on the UN Security Council while refusing to give India any except the meanest role in the UNO. In the view of the Prime Minister who is celebrated in NATO capitals as being the “defender of democracy”, only those of a particular skin tone had the right to the benefits of democracy. The rest had to remain content as helots to the Master Race. Incidentally, this view of Winston Churchill was not different from that of Adolf Hitler, except that to the latter, much of Europe were helots as well.

To the racists in the chancelleries of London, Paris and elsewhere in Europe, it was a shock when Japanese troops swiftly overcame opposition from those who for centuries had cut through Asia with ease. Although the record of Japan in the countries it occupied was vile - none more so than in China, where unspeakable atrocities were committed - yet it must be acknowledged that the successes of Tokyo inspired freedom fighters throughout Asia, including in India, where Congress leader Subhas Chandra Bose decided to take help from Germany and Japan to fight the British. In retrospect, this was an unwise decision, as it drained away support for the Congress Party within the UK,thereby making it inevitable that Whitehall would accept the Jinnah-Churchill plan of dividing India. Although it is Pakistan that has got all the attention, the reality remains that Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives and Afghanistan were also part of the British Raj,and that had the leaders of the subcontinent been more united and with a broader strategic vision, they would have held out for a united subcontinent that would immediately have emerged as a global force.

As it turned out, a divided subcontinent was created out of the departure of the British, thereby reversing one of the legacies of the Raj, which was to unify the ancient Subcontinent of India, which before the British took over, was a seething congeries of warring states Japan is one among the ancient civilisations of the world. The Japanese people are the inheritors of a grand tradition and noble culture. Which is why it has been a shock to see the way the culture of the country changed after its defeat in 1945. Since then, the establishment in Japan has tried to behave as though the country were located between Belgium and France, rather than in the eastern corner of Asia. It is comic to see the way some in that country wear tails and top hats, trying to pass off as Englishmen. Not surprisingly, several young women in Japan dye their hair in all sorts of colours, and are most happy when told that they look as though they were European. To be called that is the biggest compliment that can be paid to many.

Japanese, a people who seem to have turned their backs towards Asia even as they turn admiring faces towards Europe. That the peoples of Europe have given the world much of what is known as modern civilisation is a fact. The entire planet owes much to the immense brainpower of Europe. However, as Rudyard Kipling put it in somewhat more elegant prose, Asia is Asia and Europe is Europe. And historically, it is Asia that has been in the lead for most ofhistory, and will do so again It is time for Japan to re-enter Asia, and to turn its gaze towards its own continent. This means that Tokyo must strengthen its ties with countries such as India, while ensuring that it remains friendly to China and to Korea. A Japan re-integrated in Asia will provide the spark plug needed to ignite the continent, given the immense industry and skillsets of the Japanese people.

This time around, the focus has to be on avoiding war, rather than seeking out conflict. After having seen the collapse of European domination over the globe as a consequence of two world wars (in 1914-19 and 1939-45), Asia must accept the inevitability of peace. Tensions, such as those between Beijing and Tokyo, need to be damped down in the overall interest. Asian institutions need to get created, so as to follow the trajectory of Europe, which over the past sixty-seven years has avoided all except a few localised conflicts. The people of Japan need to look back at their own traditions and into their own roots, and accept that Japan must return to Asia.

Sunday 16 September 2012

The ‘New Taliban’ strike in Benghazi (Sunday Guardian)


Christopher Stevens and three US embassy staff were killed on Tuesday, as they rushed away from a consulate building in Benghazi, stormed by Al Qaeda linked gunmen blaming America for a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad. REUTERS
here is something disarmingly boyish about middle-aged males active in policymaking in the countries that are members of NATO. They reach for the gun almost by instinct, by definition for the most noble of motives. If the purpose of stuffing opium down the throats of the Chinese a century ago was to help them forget the wretched nature of their existence, the aim of arming a motley group of extremists and mercenaries so that they can tear Syria apart is to promote the ideals of freedom and democracy. Certainly, the Syria that is likely to emerge from the cauldron into which it has been dropped by NATO will have the same elevated levels of democracy enjoyed by the populations of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other countries much loved by NATO member-states for their commitment to values such as ensuring that women wear only the burqa or are forbidden to drive, or to travel on their own. Although this would be impossible to glean from looking at BBC or CNN, the reality is that post-"liberation" Libya has collapsed as a state. Even large cities such as Tripoli and Benghazi have been divided into neighbourhoods that are each run by local mafias. Anything goes in practically all parts of Libya, which is why it is well on the way to becoming another Taliban-run Afghanistan, a haven for extremists. Already, weapons from Gaddafi-era stockpiles are being sold or gifted to armed gangs across Africa and West Asia, thereby ensuring blood on the streets. Were the NATO bloc ever to suffer from the disease of honesty, they would agree that their intervention in Libya has destroyed the country in the same way as their assistance to anti-regime fighters in Syria is making that ancient land a hell.
In Doha, Istanbul and other cities located in countries that are working towards the replacement of Alawite rule in Syria with that of the Wahhabis, young toughs are open about the bounties they get from unknown benefactors for every Syrian official that they can prove to have been killed by them. Creating mayhem and indulging in murder on an industrial scale has become as lucrative a profession as being in the Mafia was in New York or Chicago in the 1920s. A crackpot "intellectual" in Paris, Bernard-Henri Levy, has given himself the credit for persuading the ever-excitable Nicolas Sarkozy to "save" the Libyan population by the innovative expedient of bombing them to bits. With the excitement found in all middle-aged boys, Sarkozy's plan of action was quickly adopted by David Cameron. And once these two got on board, so did Hillary Clinton. Together, they have created modern Libya, a country divided into several hundred principalities, in most of which ethnic cleansing and torture have become commonplace, although of course, unreported by NATO media eager to showcase Libya as a huge success for the mission to bring civilisation to the heathen.
J. Christopher Stevens was among the most ardent believers in this grand design. Within the US State Department, he was from the start tireless in advocating the arming, training and funding of the groups that collectively were let loose against Muammar Gaddafi. Neither Stevens nor anyone else bothered to look into the credentials of those they were helping. Had they just checked the emails these were sending to loved ones, they would have discovered that these "freedom fighters" had a visceral dislike of the free society that NATO was presumed to be bombing Libya for. They wanted a Wahhabi state to come up on the ruins of the authoritarian but secular Gaddafi construct, and said so in their emails and in their speeches. Although he knew Arabic, Chris Stevens was not listening to such chatter. There was in him — and in Cameron, Sarkozy, Clinton and others involved in the crusade against the hapless Gaddafi — a bloodlust that got satiated only when the defeated dictator was captured, sodomised and executed by a mob that reportedly included members of the Special Forces of a NATO member-state. He was tireless in ensuring that the fighters he loved with such passion were given the air support, diplomatic cover and resources to convert Libya into the chaos which passes for a country today.
Stevens was as much a benefactor of Libya's New Taliban as Robin Raphel was of the original Taliban in the 1990s. Hence his neglect of security, his confidence that his 2011 help to those now holding bits and pieces of Libya to ransom would ensure his protection. Unfortunately for him, he was wrong. The New Taliban have announced their advent in the same way as the elements which in time made up the Old Taliban did in the past, by killing a US ambassador. In his last moments, Ambassador Stevens must have been wishing that he had failed in 2011, and that Muammar Gaddafi still ran Libya. Had that been the case, the luckless US diplomat would still be alive.

Friday 14 September 2012

Will Justice Kabir rule for cheaper drugs? (PO)

M D Nalapat

A guest is known as “Athithi” (ie “dateless”) in the ancient language of Sanskrit that has been the linguistic foundation for many languages in Asia and Europe. “Dateless” because the host is not supposed to ask the guest to leave but must entertain the person until the guest leaves on his or her own volition.Another related Sanskrit saying is “Athithi Daivo Bhava”, which roughly translates as “the guest is supreme”. In other words,the host has to follow the wishes of the guest in all matters relating to the two of them. Pankaj Mishra has pointed out in his book “From the Ruins of Empire” how the European powers and later Japan and Russia forced the Emperor of China to give one decree after the other which granted foreign countries special concessions.

What Mishra described took place more than a century ago,yet the same sort of behaviour can be seen in the 21st century in dealings between the NATO bloc and the rest of the world. The bloc would like to ensure that concessions be given to it,while denying the same to others. European shipping companies are among those who have long followed a policy of making trade from East to West much more expensive than from West to East.Indeed,the latter enjoys low freight charges that are subsidised by higher charges levied on goods travelling from Asia to Europe and to the US.Even recently, several European shipping companies have hiked up rates on items travelling from Asia to Europe,but not the other way around. European shipping lines gets much of their profit from Asia but penalise the continent by charging it more than they do customers in Europe who 
ship their products to Asia.

India is one of the few countries in the world that willingly accepts a foreign-born person - Sonia Gandhi - to be the the de facto head of the government.The Congress 
President has all the power without any of the legal responsibility,a state of affairs made possible by the “Athithi Daivo Bhava” tradition. In keeping with this ancvient tradition,Chief Justice Kapadia of the Supreme Court of India recently presided over two judgments,each of which favours outside entities.In the first,he and other distinguished judges of the Supreme Court ruled that Vodafone need not pay the $2 billion tax that the Ministry of Finance had imposed upon the company after it bought assets from Hutchison Whampoa without either company bothering to pay a rupee in capital gains tax to the national exchequer. In any other country,such a judgment would have raised a storm,because after all,it is the domestic taxpayer who will have to fill the $2 billion gap in the state’s coffers should Hutch and Vodafone avoid paying tax. However,in India the judgment has been welcomed by commentators who see the “guests” (Vodafone and Hutch) as supreme. What a difference there is in attitudes in Asia and those in the member-states of NATO.Recently,a jury in the US awarded the atrocious sum of $1 billion in damages to Apple over Samsung,while in South Korea itself the judge awarded (much smaller) damages to both the companies.In the NATO bloc,courts routinely back local companies over competitors from Asia. However,in Asia,the courts are much more lenient towards foreign companies. Another judgment,again by a bench of the Supreme Court headed by the present Chief Justice,that takes away from Indian companies several of the rights they had to appeal to courts in India in cases of

arbitration by foreign courts.The Supreme Court of India has ruled that in such cases,the decision of the foreign arbitrator is final,and that there can be no appeal against the decision to courts in India. Now Indian litigants will perhaps have to knock at the doors of the International Court of Justice at The Hague,whose judgments seldom stray from the line favoured by members of NATO.Hence in cases involving a NATO-based entity and an Indian counterpart,it would be useless to the latter to appeal to the ICJ,in view of the propensity of that court to follow NATO logic in its judgments.

Given these two rulings of Chief Justice Kapadia and his court,foreign pharmaceutical companies are eagerly awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court on two pending cases.Should the judgments go in their favour,it would sharply increase their profits in India.Should they go against them, the cost of essential medicines would get sharply lowered in India and perhaps in other countries. However,the international pharna giants are “guests” in India and are therefore in effect demanding that the ancient principle of “the guest is supreme” be applied to them.One of them,a drug company based in Germany, wants to sell in India a year’s dosage of an anti-cancer drug for $ 60,000.In other words,those in the country who cannot afford such a huge sum of money can go prepare for their funeral arrangements.Those countries that are members of NATO have for years been protecting their high-cost pharmceutical producers by slapping restrictions and lawsuits on Indian companies that come up with much cheaper options.As a consequence,millions suffer and many die from 
diseases because they cannot afford medicine to cure themselves.Those NATO-based governments that deliberately use the legal system to block access to cheap drugs need to be hauled up for human rights violations,but thus far,none of the NATO-based human rights organisations have seriously taken up such actions,which are clearly designed to protect the profits of a few pharma giants at the expense of billions of people

The pharma giants,looking to the two judgments of Chief Justice Kapadia ( relating to Vodafone and to the protection given to international arbitration) will be hoping that the Supreme Court of India will buttress their monopoly in the production and 
pricing of essential drugs.Chief Justice Kapadia retiresin a short while. A brilliant and sensitive jurist,Altamas Kabir, succeeds him.Will Justice Kabir agree that “Athithi Daivo Bhava”,and that foreign pharma companies continue to have the right to charge $60,000 and other extortionate sums to those seeking a a cure? Or will he give a judgement (against the foreign pharma companies) which ensures cheaper drugs for the billions? The days ahead will tell.