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Indian Interests
Please post over all high level strategic security news and issues, which may not fit focused issue threads.

Members like ramana, Arun_S and Acharya, please post here or let me know, if such a thread exists here. Thanks.

[url="http://pragmatic.nationalinterest.in/2010/01/04/understanding-unutilised-defence-expenditure/"]Understanding unutilised defence expenditure[/url]

Quote:38 percent of the amount earmarked for new acquisitions was surrendered in 2008-09.

Most of us have noted — with great concern — that certain portion of the defence budget is returned to the government coffers unused every year. Those who go into slightly more detail are aware that this unexpended money is usually from the capital expenditure portion of the defence budget (for example, it was Rs 3500 crore in 2007-08).

Now let us look at it even far more closely. The capital expenditure is also divided into two broad categories: capital acquisition and other capital expenditure. Other capital expenditure consists of expenses incurred on items such as land, works, accommodation projects, ordnance factories, DRDO and other defence departments. This amounts to 20 to 25 percent of the total capital expenditure. The balance 75 to 80 percent of capital expenditure goes towards capital acquisition — the actual amount spent to procure military hardware and weapon platforms. The capital acquisition portion can be again subdivided into the one used to fund committed liabilities for items already procured in previous years and the other for new schemes.

Let us understand this better with a concrete example. In the last financial year 2008-09, the total defence budget (at the Budgetary Estimates stage in March 2008) was 105600 crore. Out of this, the revenue or running expenditure was supposed to be 57593 crore and the capital expenditure was to be 48007 crore. Now this was an unusual year where the total defence budget was actually increased by 9000 crore before the end of the financial year (called the Revised Estimates). This should have been a welcome move but it wasn’t so. For even this additional amount was not sufficient to meet the increased revenue expenditure due to implementation of sixth pay commission recommendations. The government actually reduced the capital expenditure by another 7007 crore and transferred it to the revenue head.

At the BE stage, the capital acquisition budget was supposed to be 37482.77 crore, which included committed liabilities of 17846.57 crore. When the actual capital acquisition budget finally spent in 2008-09 was 30000.42 crore, the expenditure on account of new schemes came down to 12153.85 crore from 19636.2 crore. Thus, the unutilised portion of 7482.35 crore that was returned was only from the amount earmarked from new schemes — over 38 percent. 38 percent!

This is a story which has been replayed year after year for last many years and is likely to be repeated in the current year, 2009-10 as well. The total defence budget for 2009-10 at the BE stage is 141703 crore, out of which revenue allocation is 86879 crore and the capital allocation is 54824 crore. The capital allocation portion for this year is 40367.72 crore which includes committed liabilities of 21248.98 crore and new schemes worth 19118.74 crore. Very interestingly, the allocation for new schemes planned this year, though more than actually spent last year, is actually lesser than what was planned for last year. So much for accelerated plans for military modernisation this year.

A detailed breakdown for defence budget of 2009-10 will be made available only after the release of a parliamentary defence committee report that reviews the grant of demands for defence ministry for 2010-11. But when the finance minister presents his next union budget to the parliament in March this year, watch out for the RE figure for capital expenditure on defence for 2009-10 [Demand number 27 of the Finance bill]. If that figure be X crore, then (54824 — X) crore will be the amount returned from the allocation of 19118.74 crore for new schemes in 2009-10. Let us see whether the figure will be less than 38 percent this year or more.

If you have followed the post so far, then you would have come to the conclusion that the genesis of the problem lies with the politico-bureaucratic lethargy and the tortuous acquisition procedures of the Indian government. But that is only a part of the problem. The bigger problem perhaps is with the way the budgetary allocation for defence is made every year by the government of India. That is where there is an urgent need in this country — to begin with — to study defence economics. And implement the lessons during the formulation of defence budget of this nation.
I agree this kind of thread is required, to catch things that may otherwise fall throught the cracks.

As regarding un-utilized funds, IMHO has been used in the last many years a a means to thwart acquisition of key systems for security services, as well as to stifle funds for development of technology/systems with long gestation period.

Great tool to pay lip service with facts like: look we are providing funds for these starctegic venture, but nothing is coming out of the funded organizations.

These technology/systems development require long term continuity, in leadership, transparency (checks and balances), effective business process (approval/acquisition), commitment to schedule and contingency.
One thing that was useful to avoid this issue, was a non-expirable fund for capital acquisitions. Something that Jaswant Singh constituted in the last term of the NDA government. I think it was for 25,000 crores. The idea being that this fund will not expire annually and can be used to acquire capital assets. The subsequent UPA did not like the idea and did not continue.

One realization is, if one takes this about out of the allocated budget, our defense spending would come down to about 2% of our annual budget. Imagine, 2% for country like India, seeking to be a great power, with no real allies and no one's chatra chaya, with our peaceful neighbors.

Another thing is this very same unused portion is likely then used in other areas of government expenditure, such as subsidies and other wastes, increasing our deficit, so a double whammy.
How does on one hand the army says that it needs to prepare for a two front war and on the other hand is provided with a paltry sum of money to prepare and build capabilities look to the enemy. Hollow, is it not. If this is not dichotomy then what is?
Army Generals strategy is on paper and they are just barking dogs. When they have to show valor they wait for foreign intervention. This is reality, and very sorry state of India. Not a single upper rug of Army officer showed any skill or strategy during Kargil war, they were unprepared, shortage of everything, except they pushed junior officers and jawans to fight war.

They should create lean, mean fighting forces not fat retirement checks eating force.
Mudy: A little ungrateful towards folks who have been willing to lay their life on the line. The general today, was an officer in the 80's. Why single out army generals, when the rot is systemic. If we go this way, there will be no one left to trust. JMT.
[quote name='Shaurya' date='08 January 2010 - 01:33 AM' timestamp='1262894132' post='103399']

Mudy: A little ungrateful towards folks who have been willing to lay their life on the line. The general today, was an officer in the 80's. Why single out army generals, when the rot is systemic. If we go this way, there will be no one left to trust. JMT.


With seniority, comes lethargy and self interest. They only look for promotions, so that they can have cozy post retirement jobs. What happened during Kargil was despicable? They kept politicians in dark. During Kargil war, George Fernandes was doing shopping for ammunition. They always blame politicians but these Generals are involved in purchasing, procurement etc, give them bribe and they will provide fighting force with defective guns, useless bullet proof jackets and useless winter clothes. Not much had changed since 1962 debacle. Have you given thought after MMS US visit; suddenly Indian Govt. is buying guns from US without bid and any testing? 4 years back, so many officers were caught taking bribes, it is still on, only difference between now and then, journalists or Tehalka guys along with Babus are getting their shares to look other side. I think we should not kid ourselves, but work towards exposing them.
4 years back, so many officers were caught taking bribes, it is still on, only difference between now and then, journalists or Tehalka guys along with Babus are getting their shares to look other side. I think we should not kid ourselves, but work towards exposing them.


Whosoever was caught in Tehlaka scam, was fired from Army but George was back w/ bang. Further proof of Army's integrity is here:

The Discipline and Vigilance (DV) Branch has upheld the Court of Inquiry (COI) report of Eastern Command chief Lt Gen V K Singh who reportedly recommended tough action against Lt Gen Awadesh Prakash, Lt Gen P K Rath, Lt Gen Ramesh Hulgali and Maj Gen P Sen for their role in the Sukna land scam case, army sources said on Thursday.

After receipt of the COI report on December 23 from the Eastern Command, it was sent to DV Branch which has upheld the recommendations made by the Eastern Army Commander, the sources said.

Explaining his vision to fight terrorism, Kalam said there should be an aggressive national campaign for eradication of terrorism.

"Terrorism is hampering the progress of the nation. Security agencies should be more alert and a national campaign should be started to tackle the menace," he said.

Public participation was very important in the fight against terrorism, he said adding each and every individual should be vigilant and should inform the police about any suspicious objects.

Judicial process had also to be accelerated to ensure that perpetrators of the attacks should be strictly punished in a time-bound manner without losing a sense of justice, he said. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india...667919.cms
Pioneer Interview of Pavan Verma IFS. The author of Becoming Indian.

Looks like he explores the very issues we struggle with here on this thread and the forum

On Becoming Indian

Quote:OPED | Friday, March 26, 2010

Pavan K Varma in conversation with Kanchan Gupta

‘English cannot be given primacy over the language of our culture’

My first encounter with Pavan K Varma, or rather his writing, was when I reviewed his book Krishna: The Playful Divine many years ago. Before reading the book, I had this image of him in my mind which later proved to be entirely wrong. I had thought of Pavan as a stuffed shirt, a self-obsessed and utterly boring member of the exalted, twice-born Indian Foreign Service. Half way through Krishna, I had begun to doubt whether I had the right impression of the author; by the time I finished reading the book, I knew I was wrong. No stuffed shirt would have written a book like that. When I finally met Pavan, which was some years later, I realised he was a cut above his colleagues in the IFS, a class apart from those who represent India abroad. At an open air Hindustani classical music concert where Kishori Amonkar was in full flow and all of us had lost track of the hour of the night, Pavan taught me, with great élan, how to appreciate the finer nuances of Raga Nand Kalyan which I would have missed otherwise.

One of our finest diplomats, Pavan K Varma remains rooted in all things Hindustani — from culture to clothes to language. And that is evident in the series of books he has written exploring the mindset and worldview of the Indian middle classes. A gifted writer — he makes his point without belabouring it repeatedly — he is what may be called a ‘thinking bureaucrat’, which could be mistaken as an oxymoron by those acquainted with our bureaucracy and babus. The Great Indian Middle Class and Being Indian fetched Pavan, and deservedly so, critical acclaim as a commentator with profound thoughts on the past, the present and the future. His new book, Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity, proves that praise for his earlier work was not misplaced. It’s a brilliant, incisive exposition of how colonialism has moulded the way we look at ourselves, our culture, and the world. “Those who have never been colonised can never really know what it does to the psyche of a people. Those who have been are often not fully aware of — or are unwilling to accept — the degree to which they have been compromised,” he writes in this book. That, in a sense, is the theme of Becoming Indian.

I met Pavan for a long adda on a lazy late spring afternoon in New Delhi during which we discussed his new book. What he had to say, as always, was scintillating. Below are excerpts from that unstructured discussion:

Kanchan Gupta: So tell us, what prompted you to write this book? To take the middle class series nearer to a conclusion or something else...

Pavan K Varma: Essentially, after 60 years of independence, I thought the time had come for a cultural audit. This audit entails two things. One is a rigorous analysis of colonialism because, as I write, colonialism is not about the physical subjugation of a people but the colonisation of their mind. And while a political audit takes place after the Union Jack comes down and an economic audit takes place to take stock of what is lost and what is gained, a cultural audit is something that does not take place ... this is something which is common to all colonised countries... to, in a sense, recolonise the mind. So, it is both a rigorous analysis of colonialism and a meditation on the state of culture today in our country.

I must confess I profess a fair degree of anguish at our low threshold of satisfaction and self-congratulation. Because we are not only a nation, we are a civilisation. We have 5,000 years of history, antiquity, peaks of refinement, assimilation, diversity ... but underlying that diversity, what is not visible to a superficial observer, is great unity. We are not a parvenu civilisation, we were not born 200 years ago, and therefore it is legitimate for us to see where we are in terms of our culture today in contrast to the journey we have made and where we have come.

And I believe in the reappropriation of our cultural space without chauvinism or xenophobia. This is all the more important because we are simultaneously in an aggressive phase of globalisation where the subtext in the field of culture is often co-option, where the victim is the last to know. And, when the educated are relatively rootless, that co-option becomes all the more easier. So that, essentially, is the paradigm of the book.

KG: Nothing offers a better platform than a book for a study and discourse of this nature... By the way, some people feel you have been needlessly uncharitable towards English and Western culture...

PKV: There is hardly any space left for cerebral discourse. There has been an oversimplification of what I have to say in my book. One is that I am against English. I am not. I am not for the imposition of Hindi. I am just saying that there must be respect given to our languages and while English is an indispensable language of communication, specially to help us interface with a globalising world, it cannot be given primacy over the language of our culture.

There is a language of communication and there is a language of culture. The language of culture is a window to your history, mythology, folklore, proverbs, idioms, to your creativity ... and it’s the language in which we cry and laugh. There is no contradiction between the two. Recent research shows that all those who are well-grounded first in their mother tongue pick up a foreign language that much faster.

KG: Do you believe English is still a foreign language in India?

PKV: I genuinely believe that while it is a language of communication which has been indigenised in India, it can never take the place of our natural languages. And, badly spoken English cannot become the lingua franca of a country which is so rich in its linguistic heritage.

KG: Your book opens with an intense personal experience centred around your father — his attempt to learn English and thus qualify for the ICS, in which he was successful. Did that influence your career choices? After all, the IFS, in fact the civil services, are part of the colonial governance construct, it has a hierarchical structure put in place by our colonial rulers.

PKV: Without a doubt I am a product of the milieu that, in a sense, I was condemned to inherit. That is why I went to St Columba’s, St Xavier’s and St Stephen’s. And I am not against these schools and colleges. But I have mentioned in my book that my mother withdrew me from Modern School and put me in St Columba’s because she said the standard of Hindi in Modern School was too high!

People place priorities because they are products of a milieu. English was the language which was inherited by us, it was the language of social status and, by that virtue, it was a language of exclusion. If you did not speak English with the right accent and fluency, however shallow you might be in other respects, or accomplished for that matter, you could never be part of the charmed circle which ruled India.

So I am a product of that milieu but I am able, at some level I think, and I don’t take any special credit, to see that no nation can sit on the high table of the world as we aspire without giving respect and pride to their own culture and languages. So when we try to be like them at the cost of being who we are, that forces India to become a caricature. I have served all across the world and I have seen this happen.

The whole point is that you have to be an authentic spokesman of your own milieu. Today, I believe that as far as our general cultural scene goes, Kanchan, mediocrity, mimicry, rootlessness and tokenism have become features which we need to introspect about. I don’t say this with anger, I say it calmly.

Look at the state of our humanities departments, not an original work! This is the country of Nalanda? Doctoral theses are being written with footnotes by foreign scholars. Look at the state of our literature, the man who won the Bharatiya Gnanpeeth told me his books sell less than a thousand copies. Look at the state, pardon my saying so, of even our book reviews. If you are in the UK, the country that colonised us, on the weekend any broadsheet will have 30 to 40 pages only on book reviews. Here we have leading newspapers who have dispensed with book reviews!

KG: Look at the state of our classical arts... music, dance...

PKV: Exactly! Look at the state of classical dance… I mean I have been a cultural administrator also. Top exponents of a parampara which goes back 3,000 years have to telephone friends for days before a performance to fill a hall when the entrance is free. Look at the state of classical music, the raga represents a 4,000-year-old parampara and it is a very delicate structure... the elaboration of the mood the gradual vistaar and the drut... Today we have eminent musicians performing like adolescent pop stars, catering to the lowest common denominator of an audience.

Now, I am not against pop culture. In Hyde Park — I have lived in London — when you have a pop music performance thousands go for it. But on the same day I have seen people queuing up from 11 in the morning at 20 pounds a pop to attend a performance of Western classical music. Mature civilisations nurture both. We cannot be reduced to a sterile simplicity that it is either popular culture or nothing else at all. So these are things we need to think about.

Look at the state of our monuments. Of our museums. Of our libraries. The MGMA gets 30,000 visitors a year. The Louvre gets 2.5 millions at 12 euros an entrance. The Tate gets four million visitors a year at 1.20 pounds an entrance. These statistics are there in my book. A country like China, in spite of the setback of the cultural revolution, is investing in 100 new museums, 83 are already built. Beijing alone has 150 art galleries. There’s a full gallery district. Here you have a gallery but no curators, no cataloguing worth the name! So what has happened that our threshold of satisfaction has become so low?

KG: Maybe it’s the sarkari thing, perhaps we should get the state out of it?

PKV: Hundred per cent. But the state will be out of it when there is a cultural vibrancy in the people. It’s a symbiotic relationship. The performer will be bad if the audience is unresponsive. Whether at the level of the state or at the level of the common man or at the level of the artiste and our creative people, there needs to be something that jolts us out of our complacency. Because, as I said, we are not a parvenu civilisation. We were the benchmark of civilisational excellence, Kanchan. I was amazed when I read it, 200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Bharata wrote the Natyashastra, 6,000 Sanskrit shlokas not on any particular art ... a meditation on aesthetics, what constitutes rasa.

Even in popular culture, Bollywood, which we hold as a brand ambassador now of India abroad, I have nothing against it, some very good films have been made, but 70 per cent of Bollywood is a lift of Hollywood! What has happened to India’s originality? Music and story? So, there is reason for us to introspect...

KG: We get carried away by foreign awards...

PKV: Yes, any foreign accolade! I give the example, I have nothing against Slumdog Millionaire although on merit I believe it was mediocre, but when it got the Bafta award, it had not been released in India, people had not seen it. Yet, without application of mind there was only only euphoria, it made headlines and breaking news everywhere. Similarly with the Booker. I have read 12 reviews of Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger in the British Press, substantive reviews, some good, some damning, some panning it. In India, when the award was announced, there was hardly a review. In this great flexible civilisation with its own refinement touchstone, the only news is that it got the Booker! There has to be santulan, there has to be equilibrium, which is a sign of maturity…

KG: We are constantly looking at foreign awards…Somebody gets the Sahitya Akademi award or Gnanpeeth does not even find mention in the media…

PKV: I will give an example, I will name the person. Sitakant Mahapatra, a very sensitive Odiya poet, he gets the Bharatiya Gnanpeeth award, and his book sells 843 copies! Even till this day in Russia, when a new edition of Pushkin is published, a million copies sell. And they were selling even during the stage of transition during and after Yeltsin when people had not got salaries for three months. So you have to think...

KG: You also talk of the mimic men!

PKV: You see mimicry is a natural consequence of rootlessness. People mimic when they are not secure in their own anchorage and my worry is that for a great deal of the educated in India today there is that rootlessness and therefore that mimicry.

KG: But Nirad C Chaudhuri, about whom you are critical in your appraisal, was equally comfortable with his Indian identity while living in Britain...

PKV: Without a doubt. But Nirad C Chaudhuri, and this is my own feeling, went out to prove that if you have to be the brown sahib, you should be the most educated, most accomplished, most knowledgeable, beyond tokenism brown sahib. And he did it in many respects. His taste of wine, his knowledge of Western culture, his reading his writing… I personally believe that it was one of those complex consequences of colonialism which produces a man of his towering intellectual stature who judges himself only in terms of his ability to be the most accomplished Indian in terms of the Western touchstone of refinements. At another level he remained Bengali at home… But to be harmonious schizophrenics is also a sign of colonial legacy.

KG: You are also harsh with Rammohun Roy…

PKV: I have used Rammohun Roy as an example to show how the well-intentioned leader in the colonial phase needed to caricature his own civilisation in order to win the approbation of the ruler. First of all, his movement against ills within his own society and religion, especially sati, was a well-intentioned crusade. But if you read his letter to the Viceroy, he first devalues his language, the learning of philosophy and metaphysics, and without a doubt they struck the right chord. And, as you know, when he went to London he actually argued in the House of Commons for the permanent residency in India of the British and a mixed community through inter-marriage between both. So Rammohun Roy, as I say in my final paragraph, shows that people are products of their times. Colonialism was a hugely, hugely impacting influence on the lives of our well-intentioned leaders…

KG: But it did help bring about reforms…

PKV: I give him credit for his crusade against obvious evils, but I analyse how when you are part of the colonial syndrome, to do that you need to caricature aspects of your civilisation — which is totally unnecessary — to win the approbation of the ruling power. It’s only an example.

KG: Today we have crossover sahibs who subscribe to the idea of being global citizens, world citizens. For them, the Indian identity becomes baggage. {DIE: Deracinated Indian Elite-BRF speak. WMI : Wellof Modern Indian in Naipaul lingo}

PKV: I would say I honestly believe in today’s time, the authentic global citizen is one who has the tools to interface with a globalising world is one who is rooted in his own milieu, his own civilisation. Because it is only that person who is rooted in his own milieu who can be a confident interlocutor with the world. Otherwise, we are producing clones. One of the great myths spawned by globalisation is that having been reduced to a global image we have all become mirror images of each other. But I believe that differences are real, that diversity needs to be respected and people who are the legatees of such a civilisation must preserve that identity because only then will they get respect.

-- Pavan K Varma’s book, Becoming Indian — The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity has just been published by Penguin.

-- Follow the writer on: http://twitter.com/KanchanGupta. Blog on this and other issues at http://kanchangupta.blogspot.com. Write to him at kanchangupta@rocketmail.com


Pavan Verma would make a good IFite. He touches all the hot buttons and gives us assurance we are not internet Hindoos as some have tried to portray us.

Those on twitter try to contact K Gupta and send a link to this page.

Two things;

Rabindranath Tagore also wrote that one joins the ocean of knowledge through the rivers of the mother tongues in an essay on English medium of education.

There was former Maharaja in Mark Tully's book "No full stops in India" who was a confident globalized citizen rooted in Indian civlization and values the very ideal that Vermaji describes.

Will try to post his name.
[quote name='Mudy' date='07 January 2010 - 05:35 PM' timestamp='1262899668' post='103400']

With seniority, comes lethargy and self interest. They only look for promotions, so that they can have cozy post retirement jobs. [/quote]

Fully agree. Long before Sukhna there was a time when a commander commanding one of the spearhead Divs, along with 3 of his brigade commanders (of a total of 4) were being tried for impropriety. The rot is long and deep - glazing over it in the name of Desh-Bhakti will make it only worse. You won't have to go very far to find mid-level officers in the cadre besotted with Nikon SLRs, iPods and other goodies. Not saying they should not be, but how much can they sustain on their salaries. And then?
[url="http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100405/jsp/frontpage/story_12303495.jsp"]ITBP chief admits connectivity glitch[/url]

Quote:Shillong, April 4: Yaks and snow bikes are the only modes of transport available to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police who are finding it difficult to man the Sino-Indian border in the Northeast for lack of communication facilities.

Nine battalions of ITBP are manning the 1,148-km stretch of Sino-Indian border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh.

“The area is difficult to work in as there is not much road connectivity. At least 75 yaks are being used to help the men ease the problem related to road connectivity,” director-general of ITBP, Ranjit Kumar Bhatia, told reporters after his maiden visit to Shillong today.

Two snow bikes are running on a trial basis and more will be deployed, he said.

Bhatia said yaks could carry a maximum of 40kg on their back on high altitude. It will be of great help to the ITBP men who are otherwise forced to carry the burden on their shoulders.

Besides yaks, other beasts of burden like ponies and horses are also being used, as the policemen have to walk long distances to reach from one post to another or strategic locations.

The director-general who visited the ITBP units at Itanagar, Yupia, Kimmin in Arunachal Pradesh along with Union home minister P. Chidambaram recently said the inaccessible terrain of the Sino-Indian border in the Northeast is a cause for concern.

“There are areas in Tawang where the men have to use all their four limbs to move, as free movement is impossible in the difficult terrain,” he said.

According to the official, though there are plans to construct border roads in Arunachal Pradesh, the completion of the roads will take several years.

“Moreover, these roads will not be connected right up to the posts which are manned by the ITBP men,” he said.

Adverse weather is another problem the men deployed at the border have to face.

There is high incidence of malaria in the thick jungle and forest areas, Bhatia said, adding that maximum deployment of the personnel in one area is two years.

Despite these difficulties, the men are committed to ensure security on the border, he said.

Bhatia refused to comment on the preparedness of the ITBP men in case of any aggression from China.

He, however, said many weapons were upgraded and they would be of great help to the border personnel.

Despite the difficulties caused by the lack of road network, the modern weapons they possess have come in handy to check any aggression by the Chinese, he said without elaborating the details.

Earlier the men on the border were using Insas rifles, but now AK 47 rifles are used, he said.

“From the normal sten guns, we are using the latest carbines,” he said, adding that mortars are already kept ready on the border.

“Basically, we are using more of infantry weapons.”
[url="http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/BuildingRoadInfrastructurealongtheLineofActualControl_ngupta_010410"]Building Road Infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control: Hurdles and Constraints[/url]

Quote:Media reports have amply brought out China’s huge build-up of military and road infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control. Evidently this is a cause of great concern for India which lags behind considerably in building such infrastructure along its side of the border. A total of seventy three border roads have been envisaged by India, and the responsibility for constructing these roads is distributed among different road construction agencies including the Border Roads Organization, Central Public Works Department, and State Public Works Departments. However, only nine out of these 73 roads have been completed so far. The target date for completing all these roads is 2012. The pace of progress is too slow, and the target date appears impossible to meet. Under these circumstances, there is a need to look at various options for increasing the pace of construction, including removal of the hurdles that act as a hindrance at different stages of road construction, or alternately extending the time limit beyond 2012.

As noted, the construction of the 73 envisaged roads is distributed among different agencies. This requires one point co-ordination to monitor progress and to decide the course of action. This can be done at the level of Border Roads Development Board, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet Secretariat or any other agency which is in a position to do the needful. Unless such an arrangement is put in place, there will always be a lack of co-ordination, thus causing delays in completing these strategically important roads.

In addition, the construction agencies face various constraints during different stages of building these roads. One of the most important constraints presently faced in case of many roads is the mandatory requirement of obtaining forest clearance under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 before construction begins. Similarly, diversion of land for non-forest use that falls under Wildlife Sanctuaries/National Parks requires prior permission from the National Board for Wildlife as well as the Supreme Court. These requirements lead to time delays in many cases and construction becomes tardy. In many instances construction activity is almost a non-starter. These constraints not only lead to time overruns but also huge cost overruns. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that timely completion of these roads is something where compromise may have an adverse effect on strategic and operational requirements to meet eventualities from across the borders. Keeping this in view, the Border Roads Development Board in its meetings must perhaps invite all concerned parties and impress upon them the necessity of early clearances.

During the construction of these roads which are mostly located at high altitude and in inaccessible areas, many other impediments are bound to arise. One such is transporting the construction equipment and materials to the work site, particularly to areas where these have to be airlifted. However, due to the limited availability of airlift capabilities, a significant amount of time is wasted thus delaying completion. Another problem faced by executing agencies is that good and reputed contractors may not be willing to undertake construction work in such areas. Consequently, many executing agencies have to undertake the work themselves which entirely depends on the extent of their available working capacity. This indicates the need for re-working priorities to ensure better mobilization in order to complete these roads according to the time schedule fixed for the purpose.

Inadequate funding is also often quoted as a constraint by various agencies. However it is common knowledge that funding requirements are met through budgetary support by different ministries and the flow is regulated according to requirements on the ground. This varies from case to case and is based on Detailed Project Reports (DPR) and cost estimates of a road project to be undertaken. Therefore a DPR needs utmost care at the time of its preparation. A faulty and defective DPR can play havoc and delay the entire process. In fact it is one of the most crucial stages in project management. The problem may actually not be inadequate funding but the assessment made by the executing agency before initiating work. The timing of funding is also extremely important. These aspects seem to have been neglected to a large extent and need to be addressed under a single organizational and institutional entity irrespective of the agency or the ministry undertaking or overseeing the work. Otherwise, the completion of these roads by 2012 is unlikely to be achieved.
India's option in Af-pak

From Atul Aneja in Hindu, 7 April 2010



As the geopolitical alignments ahead of the U.S. pullout begin to emerge, India's absence is glaring. Piqued by India's high profile in Kabul, Pakistan's military establishment has been looking for openings that would allow it to achieve its maximalist objective of seeking India's hasty, and preferably unseemly, exit from Afghanistan.

However, two major hurdles have been impeding Pakistan's path so far. First, the rapid improvement in Indo-U.S. ties during the Bush presidency firmly deterred it from taking India head-on in Afghanistan. Second, the Afghan presidency, closely tied to New Delhi since 2001, was hostile to Islamabad.

However, the scenario changed dramatically with the exit of the Bush administration and the emergence of Barack Obama. Focussed on an exit strategy from Afghanistan, the Americans deepened their security dependence on the Pakistanis in the hope of achieving rapid success. As a result, the Indian fortress in Afghanistan which looked impregnable during the Bush era was breached. Pakistan utilised this opportunity to the hilt.

A staunch ally of India for several years, President Karzai after his re-election last year began to exhibit unusual warmth towards Pakistan. His description of India as a friend and Pakistan as a conjoined twin during his visit to Islamabad was widely seen as a demonstration of his waning affection towards New Delhi.

There has been a significant deterioration in India-Iran ties since New Delhi voted against Tehran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the Iranian nuclear programme. In fact, the day India voted against Iran, it seriously jeopardised its project in Afghanistan. Without a geographically contiguous border, India can extend its reach into Afghanistan only through the Iranian corridor.

With its back to the wall, how does India propose to get back into the great game of realignments beginning to unfold in and around Afghanistan? It can draw some inspiration from its diplomatic conduct in the past — when it worked successfully with the Iranians, Russians and Central Asians, especially the Tajiks to unroll the Northern Alliance against the Taliban in 2001. With the recent visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to New Delhi where discussions on Afghanistan took place, India has taken its first major step in the right direction.

Mending fences with Iran has to be India's next major undertaking. However, in trying to rework its relations, India is left with only one weighty card, which it can play with good effect provided it begins to view its national interests independently and not through the tinted glasses of the U.S. With its huge requirements of energy, India needs to get back to the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project. But in doing so, it has to substantially modify the arrangement and turn it around to suit its core long-term interests.

Iran would, with considerable enthusiasm, welcome India's participation in this project, as is evident from the provisions included in the gas deal that was signed by Iran and Pakistan in Istanbul in March. Therein lies the opportunity for India to claw back into the arrangement and take it forward from there.

Instead of waiting for others like Pakistan to seize the initiative, India can benefit substantially by boldly and formally initiating the introduction of two significant players — Russia and China — into this tie up. The Russian gas giant Gazprom has already expressed its keen interest to participate in IPI. Gazprom's representative in Tehran, Abubakir Shomuzov, has called for the extension of IPI to China, in an arrangement that would tie Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Iran together in a giant project.

Russia's participation in the IPI would be crucial for India. With Russia firmly on its side, India can, with greater ease and confidence, engage with China in this cooperative enterprise. In the debate on the extension of IPI to China, the route that this pipeline can pursue would be of vital importance. If India has to take advantage of this extension, it has to insist that the pipeline passing through Iran and Pakistan should go through an Indian transit corridor and no other alternative route before entering China.

Such an arrangement would greatly help in making the IPI-plus arrangement more stable and workable. With China, Pakistan's all-weather friend as the final beneficiary, Islamabad would find it impossible to block supplies to India. In other words, the routing of the pipeline to China via India, and the interdependence that it would generate among the various stakeholders would become New Delhi's insurance policy for obtaining assured gas supplies from Iran via Pakistan.

There is a final diplomatic dimension which needs to be added if IPI-plus is to succeed. Critics of the IPI rightly point to the security problems that this project, in the current circumstances, is bound to encounter during the pipeline's passage through the turbulent province of Balochistan. A comprehensive dialogue may therefore be the way forward to resolve this problem. India, which in recent years has gone into a diplomatic shell, can take the high-ground and propose a comprehensive six-party process. Besides itself, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China and Iran can become the core participants of this arrangement. Such a forum, carefully constructed, adequately resourced and energetically led can take head-on not only the question of Baluchistan, but all other issues that may stand in the way of a lasting trans-national energy partnership.

The Communists losing in the last election was a bad thing for India, at least the in the short run.
X-posted from Atri in BRF:

In my opinion, to understand India, her history and her civilization, we need to look at the classical concept of Sapta-Sindhu. Although the concept of Sapta-Sindhu has been changing with time, in all the given times, India's civilization along with her production centres, centres of learning, centres for military and political power and economic growth have been along the Sapta-Sindhus of contemporary time.

In Early Vedic times, the Sapta Sindhu means rivers of Punjab, Saraswat and kabul. In later Vedic period, it also includes Ganga-basin as well (Mandala 10, Nadistuti sukta). By the time of Vishnupuran (around 400BC) the pan-subcontinental view of sapta-sindhu was ascertained. It is included in 7 holy rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu, Kaveri.

[Image: indiageographicmap.jpg]

I think in modern times, the 7 basins which I have marked in map above marks the centre of gravity for India.

1 - Red - Indus Basin

2 - Red - Ganga basin

3 - Yellow - Krishna-Godavari Basin (I think they should always be considered together because people, rulers, and market of this region behaves in similar way with respect to Indo-Gangetic basin and Kaveri basin)

4 - Blue - Narmada-Tapti Basin

5 - Blue - Mahanadi Basin

6 - Blue - Kaveri Basin

7 - Black - Airavati Basin

It is impossible for the people from basin 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to progress alone without being bothered by people from basin 1 (Indus valley) and without taking care of basin 7 (Irawati valley). With time (in not so distant future), people from basin 1 and 7 will have to be persuaded (forcefully or peacefully) to join in.

The people from Basin 3 overlook the affairs of people from basin 2 and basin 6. The influence of rulers and market of this region spills over to aforementioned basins time and again. During most of the times, basin 4 and Basin 5 play secondary role to the interaction of basin 2 and basin 3.

Basin 6 is comparatively secluded from the affairs of basins 1,2,3,4,5 and thus has acted as perfect incubation facility for sustained growth (of market and produce). Furthermore, substantial parts of basin 6 are blessed with rains for 8 months, thus making Kaveri valley as one of the most fertile regions of India.

Basin 7 has to be taken into consideration as it acts as a sole gate-way to India for another rising power in Asia, China.

The political unification of these 7 river-basins from source till mouth of the major river and their tributaries is the key towards stable India and world. This entire region of all these rivers is needed to be brought back into the fold of Indic civilization, so that even in case of political disintegration, India will stay..
Another good post by Atri in the Partition thread. And follow-up by Pulikeshi


Pulikeshi Wrote:The question to ask oneself is when did the partition of Bharat begin?

There are tomes written on the partition of British India in 1947.

While theories are all interesting, it is still about the latter not the former.

I would say partition was proposed when Najib invited Abdali in 1757 and the process actually began on 14th January 1761 on the plains of Panipat.. I think we really need to understand the Mughal-Maratha dynamics for complete grasp of the phenomenon of partition.

The key figures here are

1. Mughals (and last of them, Aurangzeb).

2. Pathan lobby from upper gangetic plains, Punjab, AFG and Iran)

3. Mullahs like Shah Wali and Sirhindi

4. Marathas

5. other Hindus in the region (Jats, Sikhs, Rajputs etc).

The antagonism between Pashtoons and Central Asians is legendary. Even today, the local saying goes like,"where anger and revenge of pathan ends, love of a tajik begins". This says a lot about their interactions. Central asians are the true "Bete Noir" of Indian civlization throughout the history's current. There are three blocks of populations which we must understand here.

a. Outer tier - Central asian block - Turks, Tajiks, Mongols, Kazaks etc. I like to talk in terms of river basins, hence the region beyond the Bakshu river (Oxus/Amu darya).

b. second tier - Pathans (southern afghanistan and NWFP - the lands between Sindhu and Kubha (Kabul) rivers (Or some times Amudarya).

c. Third tier - Punjab - Attock to Delhi and Jammu to Multan.

d. Fourth tier - Gangetic plains (the historical core - geographical and for considerable amount of time, civilizational)

When we speak of foreign invasions on India, it refers to people from the Outer tiers (Iran and trans Oxus regions) invading India. That means, the attack of Central Asians on Pathans is considered as foreign invasion. Hence Greeks, Bactrians, Scythians, Kushans, Huns, Arabs, Mongols, Mughals, Persians, British were undoubtedly "foreign in origin" and so was their incursion of subsequent tiers of India.

But when we count the total time the geographical core (Not the civilizational one which shifts) was under occupation "ethnic foreign people", it turns out to be not more than 800 years in the course of documented 5000 years of Indian history since times of IVC (not considering MBH as history just for sake of argument). Out of those 800 years, 500 are in past millennium. That is, only 18% of time, Indic core was under foreign domination.

The problem arose with Islamization of Afghanistan. Afghanistan resisted islamization for 250 years after fall of Iran. It was within 20 years of fall of Gazni (which was being ruled by Raja Shiladitya), Mehmood invaded the core and consolidated frontier of India along with outer regions. However, it is the trait of power-centre of frontiers to periodically seek expansion into Sindhu basin and vice-versa. Following that trait, Mehmood of Gazni, Muhammad Ghori, subsequent sultans of Delhi until Babar followed that tradition. The rule of the "core" was in hands of people who were ethnically Indians but culturally alienated. This is popularly known as "The Pathan Lobby".

The game-changer was First Battle of Panipat when an outsider displaced this entrenched Pathan lobby and consolidated the power of the core. The lobby of Pathans and Rajputs struck back and overthrew this foreign domination. There was internal dynamics to this struggle as well. Pathans (of Babur and Humayun's era) were alienated Hindus. Rajputs were defenders of Indic culture. Just as Rajput-Pathan lobby threw out ethnic outsider (Mughal/Mongol), Rajputs later overthrew the cultural outsiders too (Hemu Vikramaditya taming Lodis). Here we see the power-dynamics between Indians and foreigners and amongst Indians themselves (Indics and alienated Indics).

The Mongols/Mughals struck back in Second Battle of Panipat, this time successfully acquiring the throne and consolidating vast stretches of lands for long time period keeping the traditional aspirants of the power, away from the power. The Pathan lobby and Rajput lobby is beautifully handled by Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb and played against each other, keeping them preoccupied.

In 1681, when Aurangzeb descended on Deccan with full might of Mughal empire, the entrenched lobby of Pathans saw their chance to win what was rightfully theirs. Rajputs were deracinated by then and were out of power-struggle. It is here when the dynamics of "Islam" comes into picture. The traditional habit of Ulema to stay close to power-centre of region paid off when the regions of Awadh, Rohilkhand and Braj started making tremendous profits out of Deccan war of 27 years, when rest of India was suffering and revenues plummeting. The revenue and produce of Bengal and Odisha dropped by sharp 70% from 1690 to 1700, that is within 10 years. In same 10 years, the war-profits of western UP and Awadh (mostly dominated by Pathan lobby) increased by 67%.

Thus, after death of Aurangzeb in 1707, within few years of confusion, the chance begins to appear before Pathan lobby to usurp the long lost power. Ulema was quiet and indifferent as they do not care who the ruler is, as long as he is Islamic and is patronizing them and their quest of conversion. The first move was made by Sayyid Brothers to dethrone the Mughal successor of Aurangzeb to much more pliable successor. These brothers were the working towards restoration of Mughal (and their own) domination on north India. They managed to quell the discontent in Rajputana and rest of India, they had to give entry to an unlikely player in the game - The Marathas.

The events of similar to those prior to Second Battle of Panipat - just like Rajput-Pathan lobby tried to overthrow Mongol influence out of India, Maratha-Pathan lobby did actually manage that. After Mughals were overthrown, the internal Maratha-Pathan dynamics unravelled just like Rajput-Pathan dynamics of Hemu era. If Hemu were victorious at Panipat, he would have had to fight off Pathans just like Marathas did.

Almost all the regions which was previously under Mughal empire smoothly passed on to Marathas as protectorate. This however does not include the Braj, Awadh and eastern Bengal and Punjab, Sindh and NWFP. This is when Shah Wali started making noises about the danger that Islam will be in.

While Marathas were waiting to establish their legitimacy as natural successors to Mughals, the Pathan lobby was busy organizing their own revival. The opportunity came in 1740 when Nadir Shah invaded India. Bajirao-1 was in south, hence no army which was big enough to stop Nadir shah, was stationed in Punjab. Ahmadshah Abdali was one of the commanders of Nadir Shah in this campaign. After Nadir's assassination, and Abdali's ascension, pathans of gangetic plains contacted abdali to invade and occupy the land so as to create a continuous pathan ruled state. By Shah wali, this was given a religious overtone as "jihad" against kafir Marathas.

One has to understand the global perspective of the decade of 1750's to see the roots of partition of India. The kingdom of Pathans from Caspian sea to Bengal was in making. The kingdom from Punjab to Tamil-nadu of Marathas was in making. EIC was a small force then. This chance of establishment of Pathan kingdom was antagonistic to India and Marathas and vice versa.

Panipat ended in stalemate. All the dreams of Pathan lobby and Ulema were vanished. Marathas continued to expand but not with earlier zeal and power. Sikhs rose but could not give a sustainable dynasty to consolidate Punjab and NWFP. Eventually British took over the administration of India in 1818 and after 150 years, India was partitioned.

To fill the gaps in between, one has to understand this lost dream of Ulema (primarily based in westen UP) which was using Pathan lobby's political ambition to establish earlier Islamic dominance of Mughal era. This dejected Ulema mobilized the funds, influence, private armies and support of zamindars and local power-satraps of Indo-Gangetic plains under Muslim league, when chips were down. The dream was truly shattered on plains of Panipat and ironically, that heart-break came in form of victory. Hence the need to reclaim this victory and establish islamic state so fondly cherished by many people from this region. This need of alienated Indics and foreign ideology using them to find a incubator to relaunch their efforts which were stalled at Panipat, marks the beginning of partition. The man who established Darul Ulum Deoband was grandson of Shah Waliullah himself.

Figures say that since Islamization of Afghanistan, Pathans and later Pakjabis (which are ethnically Indians) were more detrimental to India and Indic civilization than foreign rulers (Mughals except Aurangzeb and British). The inner Vibhishana has been more detrimental to India than outer Vaanaras.

Successor of Hemu's India and Maratha's India is modern Republic of India. The aim which Hemu (Rajputs) and Marathas tried to achieve was five-fold.

1. to overthrow the influence of a visible foreign power (with or without the help of alienated Indians (Pathans, Pakjabis)

2. to defeat alienated Indians and overthrow their influence on policies of India and her core.

3. To reconquer the territory currently occupied by alienated Indians

4. To establish Indic system of socio-political and economics in reconquered/consolidated territory.

5. To bring alienated Indians back to Indian fold.

The fourth and fifth point has to happen simultaneously along with first three, which happen in the given order.

Hemu succeeded in overthrowing foreign power temporarily.

Marathas succeeded in overthrowing the foreign power permanently and overthrow the influence of alienated Indians on the territories and policies of India. Marathas tried to win back territory (Attock campaign) but not for long (only 19 months). They tried to implement Indic system of governance and remove foreign influence but not uniformly.

INC (with help of other nationalists) overthrew a visible foreign power. Republic of India (ROI) overthrew the influence of alienated Indians from core territory and policy-making of ROI. ROI has established a system of governance which is largely Indic and partially Western (Similar to Marathas). ROI has partially quarantined the alienated Indian lobby in its western and north-western regions like Marathas had it quarantined in Western UP. So, ROI stands at position where Marathas were in 1760. Thankfully, owing to democracy, the early deaths of good leaders won't harm ROI in a way it harmed Maratha-India.

Just like the global politics then, the internal lobby of alienated Indians trying to establish a continuous state. That lobby is being used by a foreign ideology which aims for uniform society without state and class. ROI is the only player which stands in its way.

Uthista Bharata!
sorry if already post it.

Mumbai jihadists threaten "water jihad" against India

And meanwhile, Pakistan is still dragging its feet about prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre. Now, why is that? "Mumbai terrorist group threaten Indian 'water jihad,'" by Rob Crilly in the Telegraph, April 27 (thanks to Joan):

Pakistani terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks have threatened to launch a fresh jihad against India over disputed water rights.

The Indian and Pakistani prime ministers are due to meet on Wednesday amid escalating tensions over limited water resources.

Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of breaching the terms of a 1960 treaty governing the use of shared river systems, complaining that irrigation channels on its side of the border have emptied.

The issue has now been adopted by militants in Jamaat-ud-Dawah, widely regarded as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Jihadi group fighting Indian troops in Kashmir and responsible for the November 2008 wave of gun and bomb attacks that killed at least 170 people in Mumbai.
Foreign Policy Center, London E-book

India as a Global Leader
way to go NIOT!



Deep-sea mission completed

Sounds like they would hit the Java Trench.


lessons learned can be easily be dual purpose! <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Wink' />

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