Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hyde Act will prevail: Nicholas Burns

Repeated exhortations by Dr. Singh and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee to the contrary not withstanding, Mr. Nicholas Burns, the primary negotiator of the Indo-US nuclear deal clarifies -
Burns said, "When this agreement was negotiated, it was fully consistent with the provisions of the Hyde Act. So we have the right to terminate it if India tests." But he said it was highly unlikely that India would conduct a nuclear test.
He also added, "No aspect of this deal recognises India as a nuclear weapons state."
There is more -
He predicted that "a conservative estimate would be that within a generation, 90 percent of India's nuclear establishment would be under IAEA safeguards�none of that would have been possible without this fundamental break with conventional wisdom that President Bush put forward three years ago."
So much for being responsible with our nuclear facilities!
How do the Prime Minister's and the External Affairs Minister's assurance hold in the face of this? Would it not be fair, then to say, that both have not been truthful to the nation? They repeatedly assured us that the Hyde Act would not apply to us, India's strategic interests would not be compromised. But that clearly is untrue.
We were told by Dr. Singh that the deal was in the interest of the nation. But, apparently, the nation he had on his mind was not the as same we thought. It is now clear that the US interests were the primary consideration.
Dr. Singh went to the extent for appealing to the conscience of the opposition, asking the "Bheeshma Pitamaha" Shri Vajpayee to approve it. He never clarifies how could his conscience go ahead with a deal that compromises India's strategic interests. He asked the opponents to listen to their hearts and assured us that the future generations would indeed be thankful for the deal. Without going that far, the present generation is the one that is being compromised by Dr. Manmohan Singh. When the opposition was playing a constructive role, was raising valid concerns and asking relevant questions, it was ridiculed and accused of playing politics, it was accused of being prepared to sign a much less beneficial deal when in power. Clearly Dr. Singh is the one playing politics over the deal.
It should now be clear that the Indo-US nuclear deal is designed to contain India's nuclear weapons programme. It is designed to hoodwink India into submission and deny the status of a nuclear weapons state. This deal is clearly not in India's favour. Dr. Singh must immediately come clean and not proceed with it unless all concerns are addressed. That would be in our national interest.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A friend in need...

...may not always be a friend indeed. This is especially true with Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP). It was not until a few days ago we heard new songs of friendship being sung by the two political parties. The two arch rivals were suddenly found cuddling each other, the reason, the impending trust vote in the parliament. SP coming to Congress' rescue was akin to a Bollywood style "kahani mein twist".
Amar Singh of the SP did not tire saying that his party was keeping the nation's interests at heart in supporting the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Indo-US nuclear deal. He also emphasised many times over that SP was being selfless in not insisting on any ministerial berths for his party and that their support was not based on any such conditions.
Then we saw currency bundles being waived in the parliament allegedly originating from Amar Singh. It began to seem that national interest had a price after all. Not just money, but 319 animals paid with their lives to save this government. The Congress and SP literally have blood on their hands. Now, barely a few days after the trust vote, it seems that the SP is finding it difficult to keep its flock together. Some of their partymen apparently have been demanding cabinet berths as a reward for following their party's whip. So much for not asking for their pound of flesh. Moreover, after apparently being convinced by none other than Dr. Kalam that the Indo-US nuclear deal was in India's best interests (never mind that he changed his stance on the matter), now the SP is singing a different tune altogether. It now wants the Hyde act amended or a new law in India to counter it. Whatever happened to it earlier claims on the deal.
Dr. Manmohan Singh or the Congress should have known better than to seek a friend in the SP. But then it was blinded by survival instincts. Dr. Singh seems to have avoided the collapse of his government, but with friends like these, the ride is not going to be smooth. SP will be guided by its own interests, not the nation's and it will act up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our leaders must act, our people must make them do so

Our cities continue to be bombed and all we get is banal responses to the incidences from our leaders. The attacks were (and they continue) highly disturbing and could affect the moral of the people. The unmitigated disaster of a Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patil, was not even innovative with his remarks. The same words spoken as after every such incident, tossed and rearranged so they do not sound repetitive. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh has been equally disappointing. But we have now come to expect this after having known them for these past four years. What else was new in their reactions to the recent bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad?

The dust had not yet settled from the blasts and we had the two main political parties sparring already, each trying to gain as much political mileage as it possibly could. First up, it was the UPA, headed by Congress that tried to exonerate itself by claiming it had warned the Karnataka government of a possible terror attack. Next we had the BJP claiming that the Congress is deliberately trying to go slow on the terrorists by not bringing back POTA. The BJP has a good point here since a tough anti-terror law would empower security agencies to act strongly and bring results to their investigations. However the latest allegation by Ms. Sushma Swaraj is far fetched even by conspiracy theory standards. The Congress will use it to discredit the BJP. This task will be easier since the Congress has immense clout in the mainstream media. The verbal war has the potential to divert attention from what is necessary. Some Congress leaders demand Mr. Modi's ouster, by the same logic, Mr. Shivraj Patil should be the first to go since terrorism has flourished during his tenure.

The Congress’ response has been typical, careful not to disturb its votes. The dogged refusal to act tough on terror even after bombings in two cities on two successive days in indicative of where their interests lie, national security is clearly not one of them. Add to that its handling of the Bangaldeshi refugees, border disputes with our neighbors, the Naxal and Maoist violence and nothing more would be needed to prove this. Congress leaders, especially the Prime Minister no less, claim that POTA never stopped terror attacks from taking place. However, that does not stop them from claiming that the present penal codes are enough in tackling terror. Clearly the penal codes are inadequate too. Another idea suggested by Dr. Singh is forming a federal agency to handle terrorism. Well, that too would not stop attacks unless it is armed to the teeth with tough anti-terror laws with less political interference into its functioning.

However, it is not all depressing. The police and emergency service response in Bangalore was very quick and effective in keeping the situation under control. There definitely is a marked difference in the way the state machinery worked during the Deve Gowda days and now. Similarly, the services in Gujarat following the tragic events have been praiseworthy. Mr. Narendra Modi was quick to respond to the situation and did not allow the situation to grow into anything unfortunate. The response of the leaders of the two states has also been praiseworthy. Both seem determined to deal with the situation without diverting their attentions to anything else. That is a good sign.

The center, especially the UPA rather the Congress, does not have the political will to deal with internal security matter strongly. This is even more pronounced since their vote base seems to have eroded greatly due to high inflation and the recent events involving the trust vote in the parliament. It does not want to disturb its traditional vote base lest it gets completely wiped out. It is the people who must refuse such banal responses from the Home Minister and our Prime Minister and demand action from them. It is time words replaced actions.
Update: My earlier thoughts about Ms. Sushma Swaraj's allegations were incorrect. I now believe she may not be entirely incorrect. Knowing Congress' dubious history and its ability to be involved into many a controversy, it is perfectly capable for anything. Besides, Ms. Swaraj did not name the Congress explicitly, so why are the Congressmen cursing her? Was it not a party to such grave allegations as the BJP being behind the attack on our parliament, Godhara etc? Any who can forget the unfounded allegations such as "Merchant of death" which our "secular" media furthered willing knowing fully well that it was a flase and grave charge aimed at vilification.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

No Compromise on Strategic Interests?

If the Indo-US nuclear deal does not compromise our strategic interests, like Dr. Singh and Sonia (rather belatedly) have been claiming, why not announce another set of nuclear tests and see what sort of noises uncle Sam makes? That ought to clear all doubts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is this not a security challenge Mr. Patil?

When Karan Thapar asked this question in connection to the Naxal and Mao aggression, our honourable Home Minister said "I Don't think so". And yet our policemen and ordinary folks continue to perish at the hands of aggressors. Mr. Patil has clearly not learnt any lessons.

Just how clueless is the Home Minister is evident from this interview. His only concern remains to steer himself away from any responsibility. If Mr. Patil expended as much effort in tackling terrorism strongly rather than try to defend himself by technical arguments, our country would be much better off. But this eludes the minister. But then again, how can one blame him when he hardly finds time to deliberate over security matters knowing all his time is spent in attending to his Madam boss (when not defending himself or making irresponsible statements). Dozens of bomb blasts have taken place under his tenure, the Naxal and Mao violence continues unabated and yet, our Home Minister remains unshaken. Almost all of the investigations into the various bomb blasts have not made any significant progress. There simply is no political will, lest it hurts their vote base. He has lost all moral responsibility to continue in office and should step down immediately accepting his failure.

The security situation today is not exactly rosy. We are faced with security threats across from all our borders. The continued lapse could cost us more. Is this not a serious security challenge facing us today? Do you not think so Mr. Patil?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Religion of love?

Recently, the offices of Telgu daily 'Sakshi' were attacked by Christists. The reason being, 'Sakshi's' Sunday edition carried a picture of Jesus carrying beer and holding a cigarette in his hands. This got the Christists worked up and the next thing they did was attack the publisher's offices. Incidentally, this daily is owned by people closely related to the Chief Minister Y. Samuel R. Reddy.
I wonder why does this incident sound familiar? Looks like the people of 'Religion of Love' took cues from their cousins in 'Religion of Peace'. They are eerily similar. And they claim Hinduism is bad!
So when you think of it, Christianity and Islam are not that different. Both are equally aggressive and demanding (and they get what they want too, thanks to our dhimmi leaders). So much for claiming persecution!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What's the deal here?

The Indo-US nuclear deal is a convenient reason for the Congress to distance itself from the nagging Left. Neither the Congress nor Dr. Singh is serious about the deal. All the latest events are a ploy to divert the nation’s attention from other serious issues like price rise, internal security, Chinese aggression etc. It is clear that the Congress and the UPA are on the defensive on these subjects. So the deal gives them something to divert our attention with. That it is a ploy should be clear from the fact that the Left (consistent and principled politics? BAH!) now finds Dr. Singh the villain in the act rather than the Congress. (Trying to keep our options open, are we Karat?)

On the other hand, this whole saga could really be fallout. Dr. Singh, who continually exhorted on building a broad consensus on the deal in India, declares he is going ahead with the next steps towards the deal without taking the nation into confidence. So much for being our nations’ Prime Minister! No concerns for “broad consensus” now? And the hesitation in sharing the text for the IAEA drafts claiming they were classified when the whole world could read it over the internet was simply ridiculous. It makes one question Dr. Singh’s loyalty to the nation. No wonder Shri. L K Advani wonders if something else is at play here.

And just how serious is Dr. Singh about this deal? If he indeed was serious enough, he would not have waited this late in trying to get the deal signed. He chose to wait hoping he would get the Left parties to agree to it and long enough until he could count on someone else for support. Surely he knew that the Left would never agree to such a deal.

Dr. Singh did not take the parliament into confidence, there is little consensus over it, the public is ill informed about the deal, the media is hard at work in trying to sell the deal on behalf of the Congress with it’s biased coverage, all these should be reasons enough for doubt. However, and all of a sudden, the Congress finding new best friends in arch rivals, Mulayam and Amar Singh should be a giveaway about dubiousness of this mess of a deal.