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India and US - III
<b>India can be trusted with US nuclear technology: State Dept </b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"This is not a slam dunk," warned Senator Joseph Biden, the top Democrat on the foreign relations panel, adding that there remain "a lot of questions" that will need to be addressed before Congress can give its blessing to the arrangement -- including assuring it "doesn't lead to more proliferation" by rewarding India for having broken the rules.

"That would be a terrible legacy to have," Biden said.
<b>India on the Move</b>
<i>A tech revolution, a new middle class, a sizzling economy. But it still can't get the basics right.</i>
By Clay Chandler

Vijay Mallya, tie askew, eyes rimmed with red, hunkers over the bar in the leather-trimmed lounge of his Boeing 727 and declares the past 23 hours "a great, great day." The 49-year-old liquor baron has been up since 3 a.m., flying from Mumbai to Calcutta for meetings with investors and employees of Shaw Wallace, a rival acquired by his United Breweries Group in March. The $370 million purchase, ending a 20-year takeover struggle, has made UB second only to Diageo, the world's largest liquor company, by volume. Earlier in the day Mallya had toured Shaw Wallace's headquarters like a conquering general, addressing shareholders and holding forth in a whirl of interviews.

Now, jetting back to Mumbai at 2 a.m., it's Mallya time. The secret of his success, he muses, swirling a goblet of red wine, is that he understands the aspirations of the modern Indian consumer. "The old 'Be Indian, buy Indian' nonsense doesn't cut it these days," he scoffs. "Indians are opening up, they're more assertive." So his UB brand is about "freedom of choice for a young and upwardly mobile India." The pitch is simple: "You only live once, so live the good times."

Few of India's 1.1 billion consumers live quite as well as Mallya, who owns two soccer teams, a stable of thoroughbreds, fleets of luxury cars and yachts, and three jets to shuttle among mansions in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Goa. But there is no question that these days many of his countrymen are living better than they were. Buoyed by rising exports, India grew by 8.1% in the April-June quarter, building on a 7.1% gain for the fiscal year ended in March. Economists expect the economy to perform at least as well in the current year, despite the jump in global oil prices. A rash of glitzy shopping malls rising on the outskirts of Bangalore and New Delhi attests to India's growing middle class. Suddenly analysts and investors are talking of India in the same breath as Asia's other emerging colossus. A recent report by brokerage CLSA lumps the two giants together into a single economy, "Chindia," and says that by 2020 the combined entity will consume half the planet's natural resources and serve as both factory and back office to the world.

The new vigor of India's economy has won New Delhi respect in Washington. The Bush administration, eyeing markets for U.S. exports and a regional counterweight to China, has launched a full-on charm offensive, feting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House in July and removing a decades-old ban on the sale of civilian nuclear technology to India. Investors, too, are piling in. Foreign buyers, led by the Japanese, have snapped up shares on India's stock exchanges in recent months, helping to drive the Sensex past the 8,500 mark, a record high. Blue-chip private equity firms such as Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and Carlyle are pouring billions into Indian ventures. In June, Posco, South Korea's largest steelmaker, announced plans to spend $12 billion on a plant in the eastern state of Orissa. General Electric, which led the charge into India in the early 1990s—and was the first to retrench when reforms bogged down—is back in force with 23,000 local employees and sales of $2 billion. GE India CEO Scott Bayman sees opportunities in markets for everything from water-treatment facilities to advanced plastics and financial services. "We've done a lot of homework, and we're sure we've got it right this time," says Bayman, who describes India as "China ten years ago."

But comparisons with China aren't necessarily flattering to India. By a quirk of history, the two countries started down the path of economic reform at about the same time. In China, Communist leader Deng Xiaoping moved away from centralized planning after Mao's death in 1976, but it wasn't until 1992 that he consolidated sufficient power to open China to competition and foreign trade on a significant scale. For India the starting point was 1991, when the government of Narashima Rao averted default by promising to liberalize the economy in exchange for a bailout from the IMF.

As recently as 20 years ago the two countries were on roughly equal footing. Both were large, predominantly agrarian countries with GDPs of less than a trillion dollars and per capita incomes of about $300. Both had effectively withdrawn from global commerce. Today China's economy is more than twice as large as India's and is posting average annual growth rates of 9% to 10%, compared with India's 6% to 7%. Per capita income in China is now more than double what it is in India. China has reduced the proportion of its population living on less than $1 a day to below 13%, compared with 31% for India. China takes in 12 times as much in annual foreign direct investment as India ($60 billion vs. $5 billion), and it exports almost six times as much each year ($600 billion vs. $105 billion).

Ask India's policymakers to account for their nation's weaker performance, and the conversation invariably turns to politics. "We are an underdeveloped economy with an overdeveloped democracy and proud of it," says Commerce Minister Kamal Nath. It's a good line—until you think about it. Why take pride in underdevelopment? Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram responds wearily to questions about his government's slow progress in restructuring unprofitable public enterprises or opening India to foreign investment. "We try. We try every day," he says. "But we are a democracy. We have a free press. We can only move at a certain pace, which may seem slow compared with China. To get anything done, I must carry my coalition partners and the opposition."

But scapegoating democracy for India's inability to grow more rapidly is a cop-out. "India's problem isn't too much democracy, it's too much socialism," says Prannoy Roy, the founder of New Delhi broadcaster NDTV. In fact, the problem is even simpler: bad government and an almost willful disregard for the fundamentals of developmental economics. China's economic miracle was achieved by getting the basics right—building good roads, educating women and young girls, loosening labor restrictions, and opening the economy to competition and foreign trade.

India, by contrast, is the global economy's idiot savant. It excels at the impossible, turning out hundreds of thousands of brilliant engineers a year. Its software houses manage complex data across thousands of miles of undersea cable for the world's most sophisticated clients. India has world-class business leaders and, unlike China, solvent banks. And yet India flubs the obvious stuff. The national roadway network is a shambles and the power grid even worse. Nearly a third of India's population—and more than half its women—can't read or write. India has moved grudgingly to lower tariffs and balked at turning money-losing state-owned enterprises over to the private sector. Red tape and corruption discourage foreign investment, as do restrictions on how firms deploy workers.

This bipolar development model is reflected in the crazy-quilt of wealth and squalor in cities like Mumbai, where billboards touting Mallya's Kingfisher beer and Standard Chartered Bank's investment-planning experts tower above sprawling slums, and urchins approach cars at gridlocked intersections hawking copies of Harvard Business Review. In Bangalore, executives visiting the immaculate campuses of software firms like Infosys and Wipro marvel that while their data can travel to the other side of the earth at the speed of thought, they must crawl along in bumper-to-bumper traffic for more than an hour to get back to their hotels.

Chidambaram's coalition is an improbable push-me-pull-you of his Congress Party, led by Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born granddaughter-in-law of founding Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and an amalgam of communist parties known as the Left Front. When Congress triumphed over its pro-business rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, in national elections in April 2004, India's stock market took a nosedive. Those apprehensions eased when Gandhi awarded the Prime Minister's job to Singh, a Cambridge-educated economist who was the architect of liberalization in the early 1990s. The appointment of Chidambaram, a trade union lawyer with a Harvard MBA, was also hailed as a sign that the new government wouldn't reverse course. But Singh—beholden to Gandhi and her communist partners—has tacked left at every turn. Labor, pension, and banking reforms have ground to a halt. Plans to sell stakes in 13 state companies have been shelved.

Instead the Congress-led coalition has pushed through legislation that guarantees every rural household in India at least 100 days of paid employment a year. If good economic policies could be enacted without controversy, Chidambaram says with a shrug, "this wouldn't be India." There's something to that, of course. India is the world's largest democracy, and possibly its messiest. French President Charles de Gaulle's lament about the impossibility of governing a nation with 246 kinds of cheese wins no sympathy in New Delhi. Singh is struggling to impose order in a country with 18 official languages, hundreds of dialects, four major religious traditions, ancient caste divisions, and at least 300 ways of cooking the potato.

Of all India's failures, lousy infrastructure may be the most puzzling. The nation's highway network stretches just 124,000 miles, compared with 870,000 miles in China. Most of them are simple two-lane affairs, maintained badly if at all. In 1999 the government launched a national program that will build another 28,000 miles of highways at a cost of $38 billion. The first phase calls for construction of a Golden Quadrilateral highway linking India's four largest cities. It's not enough. Morgan Stanley estimates. India is spending only about $2.5 billion a year building roads, while China is spending $25 billion a year. For goods sent by rail, freight costs are twice the average of other developed countries' and three times those in China. At India's ports, shipments often languish for days waiting for customs clearance and loading berths; goods typically take six to 12 weeks to reach the U.S., compared with two or three weeks for goods from China. Electric power in India costs twice as much as in China: Public utilities sock it to industrial producers to make up for the power they give away to farmers and the urban poor. The national grid is so bad that as much as 40% of the electricity generated is simply lost in transmission.

The result is that firms in India pay far more than rivals in China to produce, distribute, and export their products. Consider the plight of Bharat Forge, India's most successful auto-parts supplier. Bharat has the world's largest single-site forging facility. Over the past five years the company has become a trusted supplier of crankshafts, axle beams, and steering knuckles to top-tier clients such as Toyota, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. Exports account for 40% of sales. But Bharat is located in Pune, an industrial city 75 miles from Mumbai. CEO Baba Kalyani says that, based solely on distance, his trucks should be able to travel to Mumbai's port and back two times each day. Instead, even with the recent completion of a new highway linking the two cities, a roundtrip typically takes three days. Kalyani figures infrastructure-related delays at the port put him at a 17% cost disadvantage relative to overseas competitors.

Labor laws make things worse. A recent global competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum ranked India 96th among 102 countries for flexibility of its labor policies. Indian companies with more than 100 workers face daunting impediments to restructuring, forcing large firms to devise ever more elaborate means of circumventing the rules—typically in ways auguring poorly for job creation. At Bharat, Kalyani says his business hit a wall in 1996, when the India auto market suffered a downturn. The only way to survive, he concluded, was to increase foreign sales. But Kalyani, an MIT-trained engineer, discovered he couldn't compete simply by leveraging low-cost labor. He was working around the clock to raise efficiency on the factory floor but getting productivity gains of 20% at best.

The solution was to revamp the production model, abandoning Bharat's reliance on large numbers of low-cost laborers and switching to a system that used an elite cadre of highly skilled engineers to operate a factory filled with smarter machines. By offering buyouts of up to seven years' salary, he coaxed 600 of his 1,800 workforce into early retirement. Then he set about recruiting college graduates with engineering degrees and spent heavily on computers and software. A decade later Kalyani's payroll is back up to 1,800, but 80% of his employees are degree-holding engineers, and his operation is four times more productive. "In India, our competitive advantage does not lie in cheap labor," he says. "It lies in cheap brain power."

Across town at Bajaj Automotive, the story is much the same. Bajaj is India's second-largest motorcycle maker, commanding a 30% share of the domestic market. Like Bharat, it is pushing overseas. But it has encountered competition from rivals in Japan, South Korea, and, increasingly, China. Executive director Sanjiv Bajaj, who is leading the export drive, says the goal is to sell cycles vastly superior to those made in China for about 20% less than those made in Japan. But to do that Bajaj, too, is reinventing its production model. In the early 1990s, Bajaj built one million vehicles with 24,000 workers. Now it builds 2.4 million with 10,500 workers. Bajaj would run an even leaner operation if the government would allow it.

To break the grip of recalcitrant labor unions at its plant in Pune, Bajaj has curtailed investment there and built a gleaming new factory in Chakan, 25 miles away. The Pune plant is old India: Four thousand workers, few with college degrees, build low-cost scooters at a rate of 1,500 a day—though actual productivity is lower, because the plant runs only five days a week. Company officials won't even consider letting a reporter see it. The Chakan facility looks as if it has been transported whole from Japan, complete with Fanuc robots. Nine hundred employees, 90% of them college-educated engineers, turn out 2,600 motorcycles a day. All of them eat at the same canteen. There are no uniforms—engineers flank the assembly line in dress slacks and short-sleeved white shirts.

Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys, sees the transformations at Bharat and Bajaj as the industrial equivalent of the "global delivery model" perfected by burgeoning Indian software-services houses such as his own. Like Bangalore's IT stars, India's manufacturers are expanding overseas to escape the vagaries of India's domestic market, competing on quality as well as cost and leveraging brains, not brawn. In software, the global delivery model is a runaway success. From their origins in code-writing and call centers, India's leading services firms are climbing the value chain, competing with the likes of IBM and EDS for contracts to perform more complex—and more profitable—functions such as data management, market analysis, consulting, and computer-aided design. India's annual software exports have gone from nonexistent to $15 billion in barely a decade. Consultants at McKinsey predict India's IT revenue will reach $87 billion by 2008.

But for all that growth, the industry isn't large enough to act as a locomotive for the rest of the economy. Add in the 140,000 Indians employed by foreign multinationals, and India's entire information technology services industry still accounts for no more than about a million jobs, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies. And as it matures, the IT industry is moving further and further beyond the reach of ordinary laborers. True, India graduates more than 300,000 qualified engineers a year, and universities award 2.5 million more degrees. But India has an ocean of unskilled laborers, and in places like Bihar, an impoverished state where three in four are illiterate, that ocean is especially deep.

So where will the jobs come from? Deregulation is one answer. India's civil aviation and telecommunications industries demonstrate what can happen when the state makes way for new market players. Until the early 1990s, Indian travelers were limited to choosing between two cosseted state-owned carriers, Indian Airlines and Air India. The government has since granted licenses to a spate of newcomers, including SpiceJet, Deccan Airlines, and Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines. The big success is Jet Airways, which now flies 51 planes and by the end of the year will offer connections to London and Singapore as well as a host of Indian cities. CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, lured away from a top post at Austrian Airlines, says Jet's goal is to achieve "the service of Singapore Airlines with the operations efficiency of Lufthansa." It's getting there. Flights leave on time, crews are unfailingly polite. Many Indian business travelers say they won't fly anything else.

Increased foreign investment could also help close the jobs gap. In September 2004, over lunch at the New York Stock Exchange with executives from 17 U.S. firms, Singh declared his determination to make a "quantum leap" in attracting foreign investment. So far there have been few takers. Foreign interest in India remains as keen as ever, but Singh's left-wing allies have scuttled Chidambaram's efforts to lift investment caps in the insurance sector and thwarted efforts by Wal-Mart and Carrefour to end the complete ban on direct foreign investment in retailing.

Even some communists, however, have begun to recognize the absurdity of the party's position. This summer, while the leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) decried the perils of privatization and imperialist domination of the corner grocery, the chief minister of West Bengal—his party's heartland—was touring Southeast Asia to drum up foreign investment. The minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, stopped first in Singapore, where he invited business leaders to invest in Calcutta's river ports and help fund a new airport. "We are not fools to ignore the changes taking place in the world," he assured them. "We have keenly studied China's policies, and we have learned." In Jakarta he met with representatives of the Salim group, Indonesia's largest business conglomerate, to finalize a $10 billion investment in his state. "We know that it will take some time to convince people we are serious, but we are sincere in our desire for more foreign direct investment both in industry and infrastructure," Bhattacharjee says, honing his pitch a few weeks later in his Calcutta office in a Gothic edifice built two centuries ago as the headquarters of British East India Co. "This is a safe place to do business."

Bhattacharjee's party has ruled West Bengal without significant opposition since 1977 and is revered for pushing through bold land reforms that empowered low-income farmers. But over the years the party's dogmatic approach to business drove private industry away. Now Bhattacharjee—a silver-haired playwright with a penchant for traditional white dhoti kurtas and the novels of Gabriel García Márquez—is trying to coax the capitalists back. As if on cue, an aide interrupts with word that an executive from the Salim group is on the phone. He is calling to ask Bhattacharjee's help in selecting a name for the motorcycle model that will roll off the assembly line at Salim's new plant outside Calcutta when it opens in November. (His choice: Arjuna, the name of a warrior god in the Mahabarata.) "China has taken the correct stand," he says. "They have learned from the mistakes of the Russians, where we have not. They have seen that socialism can be compatible with markets and that state ownership need not be the only model for development. Now they are an economic power, and they are bargaining from a position of strength."

Bhattacharjee—"Buddha," as he is known in the Indian press—argues that in West Bengal, as in China, investing in a state where communists call the shots makes business sense. "Our involvement with the trade unions is an advantage," he says. "Workers support this government. And we are trying to change their mindset." Investors are beginning to change their mindset too. Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical is expanding its multibillion-dollar plant in West Bengal. And Frito-Lay recently opened a potato-chip factory.

Bhattacharjee has plenty of detractors. In Jharna Pramanik, a settlement of 5,000 families encamped along the railway tracks near Lake Calcutta, residents charge the Communist Party has sold them out. "How come this government of so-called Marxists is giving away land to rich foreigners but can't manage a few acres to resettle people like us?" demands one squatter, Koshalya Chatterjee.

Still, Buddha is expected to win reelection next year with little difficulty. Because West Bengal is the party's operational center, a source of both votes and money, some analysts see him as the best hope for reining in hardliners resisting reform. "In Delhi, they know they can't afford to overlook the agenda of local leaders in Bengal," says Shekhar Gupta, editor of the Indian Express.

Many of those politicians in Delhi profess affinity for the elephant—huge and plodding, but capable of movements that shake the earth. If Buddha has his way, the tiger—fearless and quick, the mascot of choice in Asia's other economies and all but extinct in India—may soon be making a comeback.
B Raman says: The US does not like Natwar Singh!!


Rediff link has
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->While Paul Volcker was indeed the chairman, he had to carry along two colleagues on every decision, namely Justice Richard J Goldstone of South Africa and Professor Mark Pieth of Switzerland. Once you go through the report in its entirety you realise just how stupid the charges of an anti-Indian bias sound.

<b>Roughly 2,500 entities have been charged with making a quick buck by dealing with Saddam Hussein, of which approximately 5 per cent happen to be Indian. The other 95 per cent include such icons of the Western world as Daimler-Chrysler, Siemens, and BNP Paribas. God help us, even the Vatican has not been spared! The Reverend Jean-Marie Benjamin, a Roman Catholic priest who served as an assistant in the early 1990s to the Vatican's Secretary of State, appears in the report. (Tainted money is tainted money, even if it is accepted for a humanitarian purpose by a priest.)</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Volcker effect: Natwar Singh removed as Foreign Minister</b>

<b>NEW DELHI : Amid mounting pressure for his exit, K Natwar Singh was on Monday relieved as External Affairs Minister and made Minister without portfolio hours after government appointed a judicial commission to inquire into allegations of Iraqi oil pay-offs.</b>

Capping 10 days of high political drama ever since a UN probe committee named Natwar Singh and Congress as beneficiaries in the pay offs during Saddam Hussain's regime, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to the President that he would be minister without portfolio in the Union Council of Ministers.

In the face of a defiant Natwar Singh insisting that he would not step down because he had not done any wrong, the Prime Minister retained him as minister without portfolio apparently under a compromise worked out after hectic consultations Congress President Sonia Gandhi had with senior party colleagues.

Hours after the setting up of the judicial commission former Chief Justice of India, R S Pathak, Natwar Singh was called to Race Course residence of the Prime Minister when the issue of his continuance in the ministry came up.

<b>Shortly afterwards the PM's office issued a statement saying Natwar singh requested the Prime Minister to relieve him of the External Affairs Ministry portfolio. "The Prime Minister has accepted his request and has written to the President that Natwar Singh will be Minister without portfolio in the Union Council of Ministers."</b>

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Another interesting bit from Sri Raman..

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Iraqi records were seized by the <b>American occupying force</b> and handed over to private auditing company Ernst and Young LLP, which was hired jointly by the <b>US occupation authorities</b> and the interim Iraqi regime set up by them. It was entrusted with the responsibility of a preliminary vetting of the Iraqi documents and making them available to the Volcker committee.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Since there is no law governing UN investigations, the Volcker Committee followed its own procedure. The statements of the <b>US occupation authorities</b> and their Iraqi collaborators regarding the origin of the documents and what they implied were accepted without independent corroboration.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Other places too.. "occupation" 5 times.
B.Raman is bin panday ka lota. he change according to time. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
He is good in rumors.
Plus point, he understand islamist well and no love for Pakistan.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>With Minister out, Man can plot Iran vote </b>
Kanchan Gupta / New Delhi
Irrespective of the political response to Mr K Natwar Singh's exit from the Ministry of External Affairs but not the Council of Ministers, <b>bureaucrats in South Block will heave a sigh of relief at being saved from further embarrassment caused by their Minister's increasingly high-pitched rant against one and all</b>.

Desperate to paint the Volcker Committee's report as an American conspiracy to malign him for "opposing the war in Iraq", over the past week Mr Singh has lurched from one wild utterance to another, freely giving vent to his anger.

Though he claimed "controlled indignation" over the Volcker Report's revelations, there was nothing controlled or dignified about his choice of words -<b> "bullshit", "pack of lies" - that threatened to cause huge damage to India's foreign relations as well as dent the country's image as a matured democracy.</b>

<b>By boldly asserting that the transitional Government of Iraq "has no credibility anywhere in the world", </b>Mr Singh has gone against the collective decision of the UPA Government to "welcome the formation" of this Government and accord it full recognition. It also isolates India from every other country in the world since apart from Saddam Hussein, the remnants of his regime and the Al Qaeda forces fighting US troops, everybody else has recognised the interim Government.

No less damaging have been Mr Singh's bizarre statements that impinge on India-US relations and have the potential of causing more than red faces. <b>By calling for an India-Africa axis against the US, and repeatedly berating the American Administration, he could not but have caused consternation in Washington</b>.

What has been most alarming for foreign office mandarins is their Minister's attempt to curry favour with the Left by promising a pro-Iran stance at the IAEA when the governors meet again later this month for a possible vote on referring Tehran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council. <b>He declared in public that as Foreign Minister, he would advice the Government to "revise its vote" - from voting against Iran, as India did on September 24, to voting against a UN referral</b>.

This must have come as a whopping shock to those who played a crucial role in deciding the course of India's vote on September 24, including the Prime Minister. Diplomats involved with IAEA affairs were understandably stumped. <b>Senior foreign diplomats posted in New Delhi found the situation turning increasingly unbelievable - the spectacle of the Foreign Minister shoving his feet in his mouth in full public glare was, to put it mildly, not edifying.</b>

Now that Mr Singh has been banished from South Block - at least for the time being - the Prime Minister and the bureaucrats can breathe easy. The immediate task on hand, of choosing sides when the IAEA meets in Vienna to discuss future action on Iran's nuclear programme, has become a lot more easier.

With the man who believes the break-up of the Soviet Union was a "tragedy" and the Americans ought to be taught a lesson for their "imperialist" designs no longer at the helm of foreign affairs, it is more than likely that India will go along with the EU and the US while deciding how to vote on Iran on November 24.

However, it is more than likely that as a Cabinet member, Mr Singh will try his best to influence policy on Iran as well as other areas of foreign affairs. And he will do so with greater gusto, if only to endear himself with the Left and the old socialists in the Congress. He has already demonstrated his lobbying skills in the past; there is no reason to underestimate those skills now.

There are other tricky issues that need the urgent attention of the foreign policy establishment and the Prime Minister. For instance, the July 18 India-US agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation is increasingly getting tangled in perceptional differences and needs to be rescued before it gets inexorably bogged down in the quagmire of varying interpretations.

With Mr Singh casting aspersions on American motives and urging a revival of anti-Americanism of Cold War vintage, this task would have been rendered that much more difficult. It is unlikely that too many people in the current Administration would have happily dealt with him after his outbursts to work out the nuts and bolts of President Bush's proposed visit to India in early-2006.

An even more immediate event that would have required Mr Singh's presence is the upcoming 13th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Dhaka on November 12-13. <b>It would have been extremely embarrassing if Mr Natwar Singh, under a cloud over the Oil-for-Food scam, had attended the Dhaka conclave as India's "tainted" Foreign Minister</b>.

The embarrassment would have been greater if Mr Singh had flown off the handle in front of mediapersons and other dignitaries in Dhaka, repeating his "anti-imperialist" diatribe from foreign soil. That was a distinct possibility, given his unrestrained behaviour this past week.

Not so anymore. At least till such time he stays out of Foreign Office. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Methinks the guy is thorough nationalist. He wont tolerate any tinkering from outside.

While Nutwar's ouster is welcome we need to be on lookout for any tinkering.

Read a story this morning which said something like Sonia wanted Nutwar in, but MMS rejected it and Sonia *had to* kick him out. Does anybody buy that ?
Actually, Manmohan was Sonia right hand during NDA time and knows everything. Nutwar is Gandhi-Nehru family confidant. All illegal transaction since Nehru till now is well guarded by some close net group which includes Nutwar.
Nutwar will never expose Gandhi family, its a small sacrifice. Manmohan also falls under same category of faithfulness. They will never disclose anything.
Sonia can play good or bad cop for public consumption but as long she is holding purse string, inside and outside she is a Queen.
Now external agencies can play with her, because after 9/11 they know too much about money transaction and accounts of every jack and Harry of world and can use against them.
So corrupt leaders, dictators you are in big soup. For them Hawala is still best option.

So now whether to sign Iran deal or vote for or against Iran for Nuclear or anything in world is free for all. <!--emo&:rocker--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rocker.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rocker.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Now they can sell their mother to lowest bidder.
This is a very dangerous game being played out by the US. It continues to mess around with India's internal affairs. First it was the Modi affair, the class textbooks, Nutwar Singh stunt. It just keep going on and on.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->US report lauds India for commitment to religious inclusion

By Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC | November 09, 2005 11:53 IST

The Bush administration's annual International Religious Freedom Report has lauded New Delhi for improvements in this area from previous years and declared that the new Indian government has "demonstrated its commitment to a policy of religious inclusion at the highest levels of government and throughout society".

The report for 2005, released Tuesday by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and sent up to the US Congress, also praised the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for taking steps "to address expeditiously the failures of the Gujarat state government to halt Hindu-Muslim riots there in 2002," and noted that "minority rights activists reported that instances of communal violence decreased as a result".

It showered kudos on the government for its refusal to "approve the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime Act, passed by the Gujarat legislature in June 2004, and which Muslim groups feared would be used selectively against them".

The report informed the US Congress that the Indian government had also repealed the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act, "often criticised by Muslim groups as a tool used to target them", and noted that this draconian measure had been replaced with a law "considered to be fairer to minorities".

"The government also withdrew controversial school textbooks that had been condemned for espousing a Hindu nationalist agenda and replaced them with more more moderate editions," the report said, but acknowledged that "problems lingered in some states controlled by the opposition".<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
It means missionaries are having free run in India. We may not know hidden deals with them.
Ofcourse they had not seen Mau riots against Hindus or Bomb blast where victims were Hindu.

Anyway religious report is to bully countries.
When ever China rebels US president has a private meeting with DL
This makes China mad

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bush holds "private meeting" with Dalai Lama

Washington, Nov. 11 (PTI): US President George W Bush, whose administration has named China as a "serious violator" of religious freedom, had a "private" meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House, evoking strong reaction from Beijing which warned governments against holding talks with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

The White House has sought to play down Wednesday's meeting by classifying it as "private" and giving out no official transcripts or statements. There was no press conference and even press photographers were not allowed to register the event.

In fact, Bush did not even make a major comment on his meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader, other than making a passing reference at an event honouring those who had won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"We strongly support religious freedom. And when there are countries that are not allowing for religious freedom within their borders we are going to point that out," White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said.

The President, during a Round Table with Asian journalists ahead of his visit to the Asia-Pacific, said that he will be discussing religious freedom with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

"...a vibrant whole society is one that recognises that certain freedoms are inherent and need to be part of a complete society," Bush remarked. "He's (President Hu) made some very positive statements -- and interesting statements -- about different aspects of freedom."

A Group of Falun Gong practitioners are planning a rally near the White House to demand exit visas for 17 Chinese children whose parents were killed for allegedly practising meditative religion and will also press for the release of eight followers who have been given long prison terms.

The Bush-Dalai meeting came a day after the State Department in its annual International Religious Freedom Report to Congress named China as a "serious violator" of religious freedom.

Reacting strongly to the meeting, China on Thursday warned other governments against providing "a platform" to the Dalai Lama in his attempt to "split" the country.

"We oppose the meeting between the Dalai Lama and leaders of other countries. Other countries should not provide a venue or platform for the Dalai Lama's activities in his attempt to split China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing.

The meeting Wednesday was Bush's third with the Dalai and it took place despite intense pressure from Beijing.

Next week, Bush is due to visit Beijing and hold talks with President Hu on a rage of issue, including the vexed Tibet issue. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Could this be payback for the AAHOA community ??


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->US: Human smuggling 'stings' 13 NRIs

November 11, 2005 21:57 IST

United States authorities have charged 13 Indian origin owners and former owners of motels in Arizona with conspiring to harbour illegal aliens, after they rented out rooms to undercover immigration officers who posed as human smugglers as part of a nine-month long sting operation.

According to authorities, Of the 13 individuals, eight went by the last name of "Patel", four by "Bhakta".

Search was also on for one Roshan Kumar Bharatbhai Bhakta, they added.

The criminal probe primarily focussed on motels in Mesa and began in February 2005, the department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a release.

Each of the defendants in the case is charged with one count of conspiring to harbour illegal aliens, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 (about Rs 1.1 crore) fine.

The ICE has provided a list of the establishments that were targetted and the defendants associated with each of the businesses.

The results of the investigation were announced in Phoenix by US Attorney Paul K Charlton and ICE Special Agent-in-Charge Roberto G Medina.

According to the indictments, on numerous occasions, the defendants rented rooms to undercover officers posing as human smugglers, with some charging the smugglers higher rates than their ordinary customers.

The indictments have described in detail how some of the defendants allegedly coached the undercover officers on ways to conceal their smuggling activities, including advising them to register under false names and rent multiple rooms. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> So great is the crisis on the Mexican border even the liberal Democratic governors of <b>New Mexico and Arizona</b> have declared states of emergency.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Could be just because of the current situation in Arizona.
<b>US think tank glad Natwar out </b>- By Ramesh Ramachandran

New Delhi, Nov. 11: An American think tank has said that Mr Natwar Singh’s resignation as external affairs minister is in line with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s attempt to shift New Delhi towards an alignment with Washington.

Observing that it <b>"signals India’s intent to make relations with the United States as warm as naan bread straight out of a tandoori oven,"</b> a Stratfor report said that besides the allegations over his involvement in the United Nations oil-for-food programme, another major sticking point that cost him his job is the "Islamic Republic of Iran". The report noted that Mr Natwar Singh was at odds with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the Iranian nuclear debate. "[Mr Natwar Singh] promoted an agenda of resistance to US pressure to vote against Iran at a vote of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

It stated that the timing of Mr Natwar Singh’s dismissal and a scheduled November meeting of the IAEA on Iran’s nuclear activities "conspicuously parallel US interests".

While observing that the Manmohan Singh government may not wish to rock the boat with Washington at this juncture, especially with the civilian nuclear deal sitting before the US Congress, the Stratfor report said it will, however, "take great care to ensure that any IAEA statements adopt a softened stance on Iran".

On the opposition by the Left parties, the report stated dismissively that the Congress has enough "domestic economic leverage to appease West Bengal’s Left-wing government". It observed that the state wanted to provide employment opportunities to boost its services sector by opening up to more US call centres.<b> "While the Left-wing parties will employ anti-US rhetoric to maintain legitimacy among their constituency, the Congress can use economic incentives as a bargaining chip with the CPI and CPI(M) in advance of the West Bengal elections in May," </b>it added.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I think they are wrong here.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> NEW DELHI: Starlet Monica Bedi might be hogging the arc lights in the Abu Salem drama being played out for the past five days but it is the don's first wife, Samira Jumani, who turns out to be the Biwi No. 1.

The CBI has sent fresh details to Interpol to trace Samira Jumani.

She is suspected to be in the US under the assumed name of <b>Neha Asif Jafri</b> and has been taking care of the don's properties there.

Sleuths in the agency suspected Samira to be the key person who had handled Salem's legal expenses during his extradition trial in Portugal.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Meet the press -13 Nov
Last Sunday I was surprised by Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee comments about intelligence failure. Here is his quote
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Let's also remember the history of intelligence.  The intelligence services in 1991 underestimated where Saddam's program was.  They missed that India and Pakistan would get nuclear weapons.  They were wrong about when the Soviet Union would have a nuclear bomb and when China had had a nuclear bomb.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
India was nuclear weapon state since 1974; I agree it was surprise test after decades by India. CIA knew very well about Pakistan nuclear weapon programme, they were only protecting Pakistan for so long. They didn't miss India or Pakistan had a nuclear weapon. They just missed India's desire to test new weapons. Pakistan was trying to be macho and came out in open.
This was least expected from Chairman of Republican Party, it seems they are still making policy with misplaced concept regarding Indian subcontinent and they are still sleeping regarding India’s strategically desire.
<b>Experts back India on N-deal</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This was least expected from Chairman of Republican Party, it seems they are still making policy with misplaced concept regarding Indian subcontinent and they are still sleeping regarding India’s strategically desire.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Ken Mehlman is by no means expert in nuke landscape or foreign affairs or diplomacy. Like the Brownie (ex-FEMA guy) he was appointed Chairman as payback for earlier work leading up to 04 election of Bush. Don't read too much into Mehlman's comments, he was there just batting for Bush. He's supposedly a career pollster with encylopedic knowledge/memory about names and numbers pertaining to every little polling district in US

This blog tracks every Sunday's meet the press, from this week...
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->My favorite Mehlman moment came when Russert cited a poll showing that Republican support was tanking. Mehlman's answer: "Usually, when I get a poll like that, I fire the pollster." Mehlman paused a half-second, as if for a rim shot, and then went on to say, "But seriously..." The lame joke reveals how the BushCo mind works. When Joe Wilson tells you Iraq isn't buying yellowcake from Niger, what do you do? Send a firing squad after Wilson. When they tell you that Curveball's a liar, Chalabi's a liar, al-Libi's a liar, do you reassess your intelligence in light of those warnings? No, you put your thumbs in your ears and sing nyah-nyah-nyah-I-can't-hear-you. But seriously... More than two thousand American dead in Iraq, and they're feeding us Borsht Belt shtick?

Kancha Ilaiah, where art thou? <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indian-American Scholar Susan Koshy Probes Interracial Sex

"...Antimiscegnation laws worked in conjunction with immigration and naturalization laws to impede the reproduction of Asian immigrant communities, position Asians as racial aliens and sexual deviants, and secure the future of the United States as a white nation." Susan Koshy.

For nearly fifteen years, Indian-American scholar Susan Koshy has been probing certain key historical elements that impact South Asians in America. For instance, she prods the racial undercurrent that define whiteness, ethnicity, gender, color, and citizenship as it is reflected in the American response to Asian immigrants.

Interestingly, one gets a flavor of Koshy's intellectual response to the key issues of race and color in her poem published in 'Samar' and entitled 'American Dreams.'
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"How thin you look!
Thinner than before.
America makes everyone fairer and fatter --
But you."
So they say when I return to India,
Every summer
Of every year.
My friends and neighbors deeply regret
That a dark-skinned woman having gone to America
Should return unchanged
Without even the comfort
Of gifts of microwaves, after-shaves --
Or happy endings.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Presently an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign, Koshy was previously on the faculty of Asian American Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she won the 2004 Terrific Teachers award.

After graduating with BA and MA degrees from the University of Delhi, Koshy went on to earn her Ph.D. in 1992 from UCLA for her dissertaion “Under Other Skies: Writing Gender, Nation, and Diaspora.” Earlier this year she was an invited Plenary Speaker on <b>“Racial Exclusion, Sexual Naturalization: Asian Americans and Anti-Miscegenation Law,” at the Asian Americans and the Law Conference, University of Illinois. </b>

As an interdisciplinary scholar, Koshy takes a hard and penetrating look at issues of race and immigration and subjects them to microscopic scrutiny. <b>Most recently she has ripped apart ideas of interracial sex and the way America perceives it, vis a vis Desis and other Asians. </b>

The same rigorous interdisciplinary research that she has used to publish scholarly works in Diaspora, Social Text, Yale Journal of Criticism, Boundary, Transition, Journal of Asian American Studies etc has been brought to bear in her current work -- 'Sexual Naturalization - Asian Americans and Miscegenation' -- which has just been published by Stanford University Press.

In this book Koshy casts a wider and more provocative net. Drawing on the insights of history, sociology, literature, and legal studies, she locates narratives of white-Asian miscegenation in the context of anti-miscegenation laws, Asian immigration to the US, and US expansionism in Asia. Throughout, she argues that antimiscegnation laws turned sex acts into race acts, while creating new meanings for both.

Thus, the law claimed that interrracial sex was deviant and dangerous and viewed the sexuality of non-whites in opposition to white middle class sexual practices and family values. Koshy goes on to reveal how, for Asian Americans, including South Asian Americans, the antimiscegnation laws reaffirmed their status as perpetual foreigners, as racial and sexual aliens. <b>Not only were sexual relationships between the predominantly male Asian immigrants and white women outlawed, but American women who married noncitizen Asian men were denaturalized. </b>What's even worse, popular discourse identified Asian women as prostitutes and "bachelor " communities of Asian migrants as aberrant and pathological sexual formations.

Koshy shows how the presence of large numbers of new immigrants often concentrated in urban centers triggered fears of lawless and deviant sexuality, the proliferation of vice and prostitution, and the contamination of <b>American genetic stock.</b> <i>Tsk tsk... We need a congressional hearing on this in New Delhi!</i> <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

In the introduction, Koshy says that the book is meant to accomplish three critical tasks: remap the history of American sexuality by unveiling its hidden agendas in relation to Asians; question existing paradigms of Asian American racial identities; and provide a feminist theory in the process.

Interestingly, Koshy observes that "discourses of sexuality that determined the racialization of Asian Indians and Filipinos suggests that a threatening virility rather than effeminacy determined their alienness."

Koshy also provides an analysis of Bharati Mukherjee's characters such as Jasmine, who "is represented as an Asian love goddess who enters the US with fake papers and then moves through a series of romantic relationships with middle class white men whom she loves and leaves as she desires."

Essentially, Koshy's book provides an intellectual interrogation of America's efforts to preserve white superiority. Stanford University Press claims that this is the first major study of Asian-white miscegenation which traces the shifting gender and racial hierarchies produced by antimiscegenation laws and their role in shaping cultural norms. Koshy shows how the laws helped the reproduction of the United States as a white nation, which were also paralleled by extraterritorial privileges that facilitated the sexual access of white American men to Asian women overseas. "Miscegenation laws thus turned sex acts into race acts and engendered new meanings for both" observes Koshy.

Koshy reveals that laws that originally banned sexual relations between blacks and whites were eventually extended to prohibit marriages between whites and "Indians" (native Americans), "Mongolians" ( Chinese , Japanese, and Koreans), "Hindus/Asiatic Indians" (official term for south asians) and "Malays" (Filipinos).

Actually the earliest antimiscegnation laws that were passed in 17th century Maryland and Virginia affected the first South Asians who were brought as indentured slaves by the East India Company to the American colonies. Thus, records from the Maryland State Archives reveal that a daughter born in 1680 to an East Indian man and his Irish wife, was branded a mullato and sold as a slave in Maryland -- as a result of antimiscegnation law.

Eventually, says Koshy, 38 states adopted antimiscegnation laws, with 14 prohibiting white-Asian intermarriages.

One of the prominent Indian-Americans who was affected by this law was the patriot and revolutionary Dr Taraknath Das, whose American wife Mary K. Das was stripped of her birthright as a result of marriage with an "alien ineligible for citizenship."

As historian Joan Jensen noted, this was a time when America had developed a labor policy to use the workers of Asian nations to meet its own economic needs and had then discarded them as unworthy to become permanent members of the host nation.

"Excluded from immigration, prosecuted for their political activities, threatened with deportation, excluded from citizenship, denaturalized, excluded from land ownership, and regulated even in the choice of a mate in the states where most of them lived, Asian Indians now formed a small band of people set apart from Americans by what truly must have seemed a great white wall."


Of her background, Susan Koshy reveals: "I was born and grew up in India as part of the first post-colonial generation, coming of age in a country newly independent after more than two centuries of British colonial rule. I inhabited a strange paradox being simultaneously a part of an ancient civilization and a nation barely older than I was.

Since then it has been my peculiar fate to live across different time zones and in several countries. My husband and children live in the US but my siblings and parents are scattered across the world, in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and India."

What are her research interests? "I study globalization and cultural transformation, Asian American literature, postcolonial literature, and feminist theory. I am interested in how cultures are transformed by the movement of people, ideas, and capital at different historical moments. I also look at how literature and art become the sites where culture is contested and transformed, especially in emergent social formations."

Idea of a Good Time: "Traveling is one of my passions. I also love long walks, working out, biking, films, books, and the theater. I come from a long tradition of amazing cooks and from a culture where food was at the center of every occasion and gathering. Making food and sharing it with family and friends allows me to travel in another way and takes me back to places I can no longer return to."


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