Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rahul Gandhi - 27 September 2013 - An electrifying moment in the history of Congress Party

Rahul Gandhi - 27 September 2013 - An electrifying moment in the history of Congress Party
This date will surely be pencilled in as one of the golden and glorious moments of Indian democracy.
Friday 27 September 2013 will easily count, not just as a copybook media moment, for the benefit of the Press Club of India and media watchers, that was to be savored by the Indian media and all the political commentators who make a living out of following Indian politics, but as a golden moment where the Congress Party has shown itself capable of rising above years of dithering and slithering in a morass created and exemplified by an old guard of politicians who have outlived their USE BY Date found on retail packaging.
That Manmohan Singh has become a loaded political liability to the Congress Party has been obvious to many over the last few years, right from the moments when the media flashed images of the smiling Manmohan Singh patting the Telecom Minister A. Raja, on his back while he stood in respectful attendance.
The economist turned politician who had mastered the art of political survival and was at the helm for the circumstantially trifling reason that the scion of the first family in the party, the young heir who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, seemed to be in two minds about his place or otherwise in the hurly burly of post colonial Indian politics.
Manmohan Singh surely had pushed his economic qualifications for the top political job in India too far, and, for too long, for the comfort of the best interests of India.
The personally incorruptible bureaucrat turned politician had surprised even himself by the length of his innings at the helm and at the crease.
Apart from his own personal career, everything else around him, within the Congress party, as well as the precarious maths of coalition politics, in cahoots with regional kshatraps of an equally bygone era, seemed to be nose diving to collecive suicide with UPA-2.
The man who mastered the art of political survival, was not fit to hold anything more than the office of Indian Foreign Minister in the 21st century, at his best and at his happiest, travelling to foreign countries and opening his mouth only for the benefit of the foreign media in various capitals around the world.

Maybe as "leadership material", Rahul Gandhi knew it in his bones that politics is about the drifting, swimming and going with the flow.
However as "great leadership material" he must have known he had the capacity for grasping moments, the moments when ordinary political acumen gets turned into charismatic and uplifting leadership.
Great nations deserve great leaders. Mediocre nations get mediocre leaders.
Great leaders are those who can sniff, spot, smell the moments that are tailor made for them and for their country.

Surely Rahul Gandhi has grasped this one great moment.
More than grasping this moment he has shown himself to be capable of grasping great moments.
Such moments are rare in the lifetime of individuals. They are rare too in the history of political parties which have lost a grasp over ideology and sense of national purpose.
That Rahul Gandhi has shown himself capable of grasping one such moment for India, is surely a decisive and electrifying moment. He deserves praise, plaudits and appreciation for this.
As a political analyst I can only feel heartened and warm, that India, with all its complexity can produce such crystal clear leadership, if not consistently, then at least at some electrifying moments.
Calculations of political gains and losses are always to be made, great tranformative and charismatic leadership however, completely transfigures the layout of the chess board and political game plans.
Here instinct goes a long way and Rahul Gandhi has, at least to me, today shown himself as having come to the cusp of political maturity. Whether it is because he senses the danger of being pitted in a contest of image with Narendra Modi, is besides the point.
The moment will play itself out in many ways in the coming years.
But surely this is an electrifying moment, an electrifying day for the Congress Party and for the vitality of Indian democracy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

So What Does Indian National Security Advisor Have to do with Harley Davidson MotorCycles ?

So What Does Indian National Security Advisor Have to do with Harley
Davidson MotorCycles ?

The Indian Prime Minister has been praised by Indian security
strategists as ... "the most liberal economist you can think of".
So now it seems India is embarking on a grand plan for building
highway infrastructure to accommodate American Harley Davidson
Wikileaks cables show us that the most hilarious conversations about
our Prime Minister seem to be happening under the haze of so many
disconnected topics.
It really would be hilarious, if only it were not so petty, that the
Indian Prime Minister should be lobbied, via the Indian National
Security Advisor, for the import into India, of Harley Davidson
motorcycles by top American diplomats.
Still more symptomatic is that the Indian Prime Minister is applauded
not for being a safe guardian of Indian trade interests or of Indian
agriculturists but for being someone who would be inclined to favour
the American lobbyists with reduced duties on oil guzzling monster
Incredible India and Incredible Indian politicians.

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08NEWDELHI1489 2008-06-02 10:10 2011-02-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy New Delhi

DE RUEHNE #1489/01 1541054
O 021054Z JUN 08



E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/30/2018
David Mulford for Reasons 1.4 (B and D)

1.(C) Summary: National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan told Senators
Russ Feingold and Bob Casey May 30 that the U.S.-India relationship
amounts to much more than just trade links and defense deals, but
rather benefits from a mutual empathy. Asked about terrorism,
Narayanan related that training camps on the Pakistan-Afghanistan
border have attracted more "white faces." He also noted jihadi groups
have attempted to acquire fissile material and have the technical
competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty
bomb. Narayanan lamented that national intelligence agencies lack a
common understanding at a time when an incident such as the 2006
blasts in Mumbai involved planning and fundraising in up to 11
different countries. Regarding the May 13 blasts in Jaipur, Narayanan
divulged that India has narrowed the suspects to the Harkat-ul-Jihad
Islami (HUJI). On Iran, Narayanan asserted that India also wanted to
prevent a nuclear weapons program, but he criticized the use of
sanctions as ineffective, given the "unique" Shi'ite ability to absorb
punishment. Narayanan relayed the government's intention to maintain a
dialogue and normalize relations with Pakistan, as shown by the effort
to play down the increase in cross-border infiltration in recent
weeks. End Summary.

Motorcycles for Mangos - - -

2.(C) Senator Russ Feingold began the May 30 meeting with Senator Bob
Casey and National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan by urging a
reduction in tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcycles. Narayanan
responded that the Prime Minister is "the most liberal economist you
can think of," and he promised to pass the message to him and other
relevant officials.

U.S. and India Have Natural Empathy - - -

3.(C) Narayanan remarked that neither Senators Feingold and Casey have
traveled to India before, and he urged them to see more of the country
than Delhi. He described the U.S.-India relationship as much more than
trade links and defense deals, but enjoying a special "empathy" that
has increased as nearly every middle-class family has a relative in
the U.S. These ties will create a lasting relationship that, Narayanan
maintained, will not change.

The Role of NSA - - -

4.(C) Senator Feingold asked about the role of the National Security
Advisor and how Narayanan can pursue national security goals given the
decentralized nature of India's political system. Narayanan replied
that the government had revived the position of National Security
Advisor (NSA) in 1998 after a brief stint in 1990. The NSA, who
presides over the National Security Council, derives authority from
his association with the Prime Minister, a position that historically
has held great influence thanks to the legacy established by
Jawarharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Narayanan explained. "In a sense,
I live in the shadow of the Prime Minister," he stated, which allows
him to cut across party loyalties and appeal to diverse interests.

Terrorism Challenge Requires Better Cooperation - - -

5.(C) Senator Feingold inquired about major security threats in the
region, and particularly Narayanan's thoughts on the May 13 Jaipur
blasts and Kashmir. Narayanan observed that the U.S. no longer ignores
terrorist attacks that occur in India because it has adopted a more
"cooperative angle" to face this common threat. He related that Indian
intelligence has detected various targets, including southern and
northeast Europe, Somalia and the Middle East, but not the U.S. Non-
state actors will intensify their asymmetric warfare, he predicted,
and pointed to the increase in "white recruits" detected by Indian
intelligence in terrorist training camps along the Pakistan-
Afghanistan borders. Those recruits will not be used against India or
Asian nations, he NEW DELHI 00001489 002 OF 003 pointed out, adding
that he has warned his counterparts of the development. He also
related that India has found a "manifest attempt to get fissile
material," though terrorist groups have not yet acquired any. However,
he warned, they have "enough physics to fabricate a crude bomb beyond
a dirty bomb."

6.(C) Narayanan perceived the lack of "adequate understanding" among
intelligence agencies as the greatest weakness in the war on terror.
"We keep our cards close to our chest, but it is extremely counter-
productive," he lamented, recognizing that the fault is "equally
shared." He cited the 2006 Mumbai blasts, which involved up to 11
countries, and at least seven distinct places where planning occurred.
He noted that he made the pitch during his visit to Washington for
greater information sharing, even of bits and pieces. "What might not
make sense to you might make sense to me," he pressed. He indicated
that he would raise intelligence sharing during the visit of the
upcoming visit of the Director of National Intelligence. He also
observed that jihadis no longer come from just the poorer segment of
the Muslim population, but rather from the upper crust of a community
that feels threatened in face of Muslim integration in India.

HUJI To Blame For Jaipur - - -

7.(C) Narayanan pinned the blame for the May 13 Jaipur explosions on
the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (HUJI), a Bangladeshi offshoot of the
Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), noting that HUJI also masterminded the August
2007 blasts in Hyderabad, which employed similar triggers, packaging
and devices as the Jaipur blasts. He noted that the Indian government
had focused on threats to Maharashtra and Gujarat, but had no
indication that Jaipur would be a target. No Nuclear Weapons, Nor
Sanctions, For Iran - - -

8.(C) Senator Casey expressed concern about the uranium enrichment
program in Iran and asked about India's policy on Iran's nuclear
program. Narayanan pointed out that India and Iran have enjoyed
civilizational links, India contains the second-largest Shi'ite
population in the world, and any event in Iran could impact India
because of their close geographic proximity. However, Narayanan
maintained, the Indian government has "bitten the bullet" and held the
view that Iran should abide by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
(NPT), an unpopular position in India. During Iranian President
Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Delhi, the Prime Minister told him to
that India expects Iran to behave responsibly, Narayanan related.
However, Narayanan saw the U.S. and India diverging on the issue of
sanctions. He explained that the Shia clergy are more "sophisticated
and erudite" than their Sunni counterparts. At the same time, he
added, the Shia have a tremendous capacity to absorb punishment. "Self-
flagellation comes to them naturally," Narayanan commented. The
imposition of sanctions punishes ordinary people, who then turn their
anger outward, he said. Narayanan contended that encouraging Iran to
join the mainstream would produce more results. "We are cautious about
adhering to a broad attack on Iran, but we do not favor nuclear
weapons in Iran," Narayanan clarified.

India To Play Down Recent Infiltration from Pakistan - - -

9.(C) Senator Casey recounted his recent visit to Pakistan, where he
heard several promises about cracking down on border crossings. Should
the U.S. put stock in these pledges, he asked Narayanan. Narayanan
noted that under President Musharraf from 2004 to 2006, the Composite
Dialogue moved forward and infiltration dropped. The political crisis
in Pakistan in 2007 stalled progress, he noted. He said that he was
"hopeful" the new leadership would continue to see dialogue as useful,
and not just as "something that Musharraf did." The recent Foreign
Minister meetings in Islamabad helped ensure that the new government
would sustain the Composite Dialogue, Narayanan recounted. However, he
regretted that infiltration and incidents have spiked recently. He
related that the Indian government has played NEW DELHI 00001489 003
OF 003 them down and not lodged a formal protest, deciding instead to
treat them as a "temporary aberration." He remembered that hostility
between India and Pakistan had dropped to such an extent that Pakistan
had at one time withdrawn some of its military from the India-Pakistan
border in order to focus on the threats along the border with
Afghanistan, but those forces have since returned to the Indian

Peace Deals With Terrorists - - -

10.(C) Asked by Senator Casey how India felt about the pacts signed
between the Pakistani Army and tribal groups, Narayanan replied that
the Indian government does not consider them conducive to peace.
Instead, he stated, "they are out-sourcing terror." He acknowledged
that the U.S. understands this stance, but the British seem to think
that the peace deals are a good move. Instead, Narayanan cautioned,
the deals will allow the tribal groups to re-energize by withdrawing
the pressure under which they might have relented. Pakistan needs its
army to hem those groups in, he stressed. Narayanan also advised the
U.S. to fight the war on the ground and avoid an air war, which he
doubted would work against tribal groups. Senator Feingold said that
he shared Narayanan's concerns about the peace agreements.

11.(C) Senator Feingold related that, during his May 28 visit to
Islamabad, Pakistanis refrained from using harsh words to describe
India. Warmer relations would be a new development for most Americans,
Senator Feingold noted. Narayanan recognized that the importance of
building a secure and stable Afghanistan has exposed the U.S. to
concerns that India has held for many years. This was an important
shift in the U.S., Narayanan asserted.

Comment: Pakistan Relations Remain Positive - - -

12.(C) A week after External Affairs Minister Mukherjee visited
Islamabad, the Indian government appears reassured by the new
Pakistani leadership's stated desire to sustain the dialogue that
Musharraf had maintained. Narayanan's description of the effort to
downplay the growth in incursions clearly aims to give the new
leadership in Islamabad breathing room. However, if India experiences
another attack on the scale of Jaipur or several more weeks of
heightened violence and infiltration activity on the border, the
pressure will mount on India to show its displeasure in public.

13.(SBU) This cable was cleared by Codel Feingold.

Monday, July 6, 2009

An Identity for Identity Starved Indians - Inside Nandan Nilekani's Sleeve

Dear All,
It seems Nandan Nilekani and Kapil Sibal are emerging as the Mascots for a new Congress government and a new Congress party which is youth friendly.
While this maybe a temporary phase or cooling off period while Shri Rahul Gandhi devotes himself to learning about the heart rending woes of rural India's Kalawati, there is no doubt that the Congress government is on the cusp of a major realignment with the country, egged on by corporate India and global forces.
Nandan Nilekani has expressed himself and pronounced his vision of the so called Unique Identity Project. What does this unique identity project mean in a non English speaking idiom, lets say, how does The Unique Identity Project of ManMohan Singh and Nandan Nilekani, who was elevated to the rank of Cabinet Minister and blessed with the 120 crore signing off largesse by our Dear Pranab Babu, translate itself into Tamil, into Oriya, into Punjabi, into Gujarati, into Kannada, into Hindi ?
Will the Grand Vision of Nandan Nilekani about foisting a unique identity on each and every India reverberate only in English, amongst soft spoken outsourcing brat pack of Chennai, Gurgaon and Bangalooru ?
Come join us for a LokVidya discussion. - Let us test the patriotism of the Grand Vision of Nandan Nilekani in the villages of rural India rather than in the electricity gulping Air conditioned corridors of Bangalooru, Gurgaon or Special Economic Zones that ASSOCHAM and FICCI wants tax lollipops for.
LokVidya Bahas on Nandan Nilekani, Identity Project and Identity of Bharat.
Attached is the brief paper in which the visionary Nandan Nilekani spells out his GRAND VISION for finding a technology fix for the Identity Starved Indian - as Marie Antoinette of France would say - Let them eat cakes.
While it is no secret that Indian IT sector is in dire straits due to global recession and emerging protectionism, it seems the Indian IT sector is looking to spread its wings and have a new look at the domestic Indian services markets.
So what are the preconditions for this ?
It would be premature of us to see this merely as an issue of the Indian IT sector. It surely has deeper implications than just some corporate interests muscle flexing with the Indian government for an economic agenda of their choice.
Come, let us explore these radical politics questions at a LokVidya Bahas which seeks to look at the knowledge question from the standpoint of Bharat.

Today Indians can have a multitude of numbers with which to identify ourselves, depending on when and where we interact with the State. When we get a passport we get a passport ID, a ration card gets us another number, when we pay taxes we need a Permanent Account Number (PAN), when we register our vote we get a voter ID card, and on to bar code infinitum. “Our databases are in these disconnected silos,” Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami says. This makes zeroing in on a definite identity for each citizen particularly difficult, since each government department works on a different turf and with different groups of people. The lack of a unique number has given space to plenty of phantoms in voter lists and in Below Poverty Line (BPL) schemes and in holding bank accounts with multiple PANs. One academic tells me, “The number of BPL ration cards circulating in Karnataka is more than the state’s entire population, let alone the number of BPL families.”

India’s ministries and departments are also quite isolated, with separate fund flows and intricate, over-hyphenated authority levels. As a result, these systems require paperwork-choked processes each time citizens approach the state. A common technology and process platform for government schemes and departments — especially now that they have such large budgets — would be a huge improvement in coordinating information between departments, and getting rid of redundancy and triplicate forms. Identity systems linked up with an IT-enabled process that interlinks our various departments would, besides making citizen information and identity more verifiable, make the relationship between the State and the citizen infinitely less traumatising. Such a ‘national grid’ would require, as a first and critical step, a unique and universal ID for each citizen. Creating a national register of citizens, assigning them a unique ID and linking them across a set of national databases, like the PAN and passport, can have far-reaching effects in delivering public services better and targeting services more accurately. Unique identification for each citizen also ensures a basic right — the right to ‘an acknowledged existence’ in the country, without which much of a nation’s poor can be nameless and ignored, and governments can draw a veil over large-scale poverty and destitution.

The use of IT and the rise of such unique number systems are closely correlated. In the United States, for instance, the Social Security Administration (SSA) was the first federal bureaucracy to require the use of computers because of the overwhelming complexity of processing the social security numbers and data of its 200 million-plus citizens. The bureaucracy was a massive complex of wall-to-wall file cabinets managed by hundreds of clerks. It was the early IBM 705 computer that helped transform and streamline it. This mainframe approach quickly spread to European bureaucracies in the 60s and the 70s. The transparency and flexibility of such computerisation also enabled other reforms — such as laws that introduced individual citizen accounts for benefits and welfare payouts, a step which both opposition parties and citizens in Europe and the US would have been deeply suspicious of under the earlier, less transparent and bureaucracy-run system. In China as well, IT has helped the government transform its social security systems from a local network to a national, increasingly interlinked process.

In India, the government has made some attempts towards such a single citizen ID number.... A stop-gap arrangement that the government has put in place requires the PAN as ‘the sole identification number’ during bank transactions. But of course, with just 60 million people with a PAN, this does not come close to a broad-based citizen ID....

Too often though, we see issuing smart cards as the main challenge of implementing such a system. But building these intelligent little stripes is the easy part. It is in making the back-end infrastructure secure and scalable, providing a single record-keeper for the whole country and integrating the agents who issue these numbers that gets tough. To do this, we need a sustained and multi-pronged effort that cuts across governments as well as companies. For example, issuing this number to each citizen, say, during a census would be extremely onerous, as it is a painful task prone to errors as census officials spend long days walking through neighbourhoods and knocking on doors. It would be a lot more effective to issue these numbers when citizens come to the government.

This would mean issuing citizen IDs when individuals come to a public office for an identification document — a passport, birth certificate, caste certificate, driver’s licence — when they come to collect a benefit such as a BPL card or when they have to make a financial transaction, such as pay taxes, open a bank account or buy into a mutual fund. The government can also easily recruit private companies such as telecommunication and financial services firms to become intermediary issuers to their large numbers of customers.

Each of these paths to identifying the citizen and bringing him into the database would cover different pools of people. The PAN covers all tax payers, voter IDs all registered citizens over 18, birth certificates all newborns and BPL cards the poor. Using the databases to issue IDs to different groups of people means that the initiative would ramp up to near-universal, accurate levels very quickly. And if necessary, such efforts can be complemented with a census. A national smart ID done at this level could, I think, be transformational. Acknowledging the existence of every single citizen, for instance, automatically compels the State to improve the quality of services, and immediately gives the citizen better access....

A key piece of infrastructure that must sit on top of an interconnected grid is the electronic flow of funds. This will require that each uniquely identified citizen or organisation has a financial account into which money can be transferred from the State. This could be an account in a bank, a post office or with a self-help group. And within this system, the ID smart card can function as a mobile, non-transferable electronic passbook.

My guess is that the impact on inclusive growth and India’s savings rate from implementing this would be massive, considering that an estimated 80 per cent of Indians today do not have a bank account, and therefore lie outside any sort of banking system besides, perhaps, the one represented by the exploitative moneylender and his steel box of cash. “The weakest aspect of India’s economic reach is in financial access,” Dr C. Rangarajan agrees, “and its impact on inclusive growth has been severe.” For instance, people need savings to invest in education, spend on health care, or to feel secure enough to move to a city, leaving their home and land to take up jobs in a place where they have no real assets.

Linking smart cards to such accounts can open up the banking system to hundreds of millions more people. It also introduces the possibility of offering direct services, from pension and benefit payments to trading accounts to an unprecedented number of people.
This is an edited extract from Nandan Nilekani’s Imagining India: Ideas for the New Century (Penguin India).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Of Villains and Hypocrites - When Art Collectors Become Unfashionable in Land of Innovation

Dear All,
I am sure many must have seen the live testimony of bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Chief Executive Richard Fuld.
To me it was a fascinating case of Hollywood style politics being played out by respected Congressmen, to give the world an aura of transparency, fairness and generosity of spirit that is supposed to have been one of the founding principles of the White settlers who bought over cheap land from Native Americans in the past few centuries and built up America as a model of tolerance and freedom for the world to adulate and squirm in its own filth, prejudice and intolerance.

Thomas Freidman, author of " Hot, Flat and Crowded "of immigrant forefathers from Russia / Eastern Europe, is a man who jokingly talks of an America with high walls but a very large door and now promotes the necessity of high oil and energy prices for America to return to its founding principles of land of innovation and freedom for all, regardless of colour, creed or background.

MarketWatch -{A94914F8-4190-45B8-A850-2C41067F859B}&dist=msr_19
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Facing skeptical and angry members of Congress, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Richard Fuld blamed the bankruptcy of his firm on a "lack of confidence" Monday, saying in testimony he and other executives did everything they could to protect the investment bank before it imploded in September.
"Ultimately what happened to Lehman Brothers was caused by a lack of confidence," Fuld said. "This was not a lack of confidence in just Lehman Brothers, but part of what has been called a storm of fear enveloping the entire investment-banking field and our financial institutions generally," Fuld said in testimony at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Read Fuld's testimony.
But lawmakers lashed out at Fuld even before he took his seat at the witness table, with one even asking how the executive could sleep at night.
"Mr. Fuld takes no responsibility for the collapse of Lehman," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the panel's chairman, before Fuld began his testimony. Waxman also said that Fuld will come out of the bankruptcy remaining wealthy while the economy is threatened.
"Mr. Fuld will do fine," Waxman added. "But taxpayers are left with a $700 billion bill to rescue Wall Street and an economy in crisis," referring to the $700 billion rescue plan for the financial markets signed into law Friday.
Waxman also said experts believe that Lehman's (LEHMQ fall triggered the credit crisis and made the rescue plan necessary.
Lehman filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. The committee is planning five hearings about the financial meltdown.
Testifying before the panel, Fuld said: "I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made and for the actions that I took."
'I wonder how [Fuld] sleeps at night.'
— Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
In his testimony, Fuld remarked that he believed the company was "well protected to withstand even the most difficult markets."
But he also said that the government could have taken steps to help the troubled bank. An earlier decision by the Federal Reserve to allow banks to pledge collateral to the central bank "would have been extraordinarily helpful to Lehman Brothers," he commented.
Similarly, help from the Fed for a merger between Lehman and another bank could have stemmed more problems in the market, according to Fuld.
Moreover, he said, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve closely observed the company's business in 2008. "They were privy to everything as it was happening," he asserted. "Quarter to quarter, month to month, regulators saw how we reduced our commercial real-estate holdings, how we increased our liquidity pool, how we decreased leverage and strengthened our capital levels."
But House lawmakers -- all of whom are up for re-election next month -- went on the attack against the embattled executive.
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said he's asking for a special counsel to investigate the fall of Lehman, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said members of his church were asking on Sunday why Fuld and other executives were paid so much money.
"I wonder how [Fuld] sleeps at night," Cummings added.
Lehman's board was asked to approve $20 million in special payments to three departing executives just four days before the company filed for bankruptcy, according to Waxman.
Fuld said the company's executives did all they could to prop up the bank but couldn't manage to save it. "In the end, despite all our efforts, we were overwhelmed, others were overwhelmed and still other institutions would have been overwhelmed had the government not stepped in to rescue them."
Meanwhile, House Republican Leader John Boehner said the hearings amount to little more than "political theater" as long as they don't probe the roles of Fannie Mae (FNM in the credit crisis.
"Chairman Waxman has flatly refused numerous requests by Republicans to hold even a single hearing on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's role in the financial crisis that is having an impact on families, seniors, small businesses and every single taxpayer in America," Boehner said in a statement.

There were also pointed questions put to Mr Fuld whether he felt he was double crossed by the Treasury Secretary H Paulson, and given to put faith in some wrong planted leads and insider information. To this Mr Fuld replied that he sincerely wished this were not the case.

The Guardian has reported on this Congressional hearing under oath, and - for public consumption, inept Congressman, vacuously kept reminding Mr Fuld , no doubt for public consumption, that he was under oath - - Nagarjuna
Guardian has reported :
It was a showdown to cherish for critics of Wall Street's culture of enrichment. The grim-faced boss of the bankrupt bank Lehman Brothers was left squirming with discomfort today as a veteran Democrat roasted him over his multi-million dollar pay.

With the startled look of a man unaccustomed to sharp examination, Lehman's chief executive, Richard Fuld, clashed bluntly with the chairman of the House oversight committee, Henry Waxman, on Capitol Hill.

Called upon to explain why Lehman collapsed last month, Fuld began with a note of humility, saying he felt "horrible" over the demise of the 158-year-old institution. "I want to be very clear," said Fuld. "I take full responsibility for the decisions I made and for the actions I took."

In a brief speech that was heard in silence, Fuld told lawmakers that if he could turn back the clock, he would do many things differently. As soon as he finished speaking, sparks began to fly. The chairman of the committee held up a chart suggesting that Fuld's personal remuneration totalled $480m over eight years – including payouts of $91m in 2001 and $89m in 2005.

"Your company is now bankrupt and out country is in a state of crisis," said Waxman, a liberal lawmaker from California. "You get to keep $480m. I have a very basic question – is that fair?" After a long pause, Fuld demurred, saying the figure was exaggerated: "The majority of my compensation, sir, came in stock. The vast majority of the stock I got I still owned at the point of our [bankruptcy] filing."

Waxman cut him off, saying that even if the figure was slightly lower, it was "unimaginable" to much of the public. "Is that fair, for a CEO of a company that's now bankrupt, to make that kind of money? It's just unimaginable to so many people." Waxman asked. "I would say to you the $500m number is not accurate," said Fuld. "I'd say to you, although it's still a large number, for the years you're talking about here, my cash compensation was close to $60m, which you've indicated here, and I took out closer to $250m [in shares]."

Interrupting again, Waxman listed Fuld's collection of property – including a $14m ocean-front villa in Florida and a home in the exclusive ski resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. "You and your wife have an art collection filled with million dollar paintings," said Waxman. "Your former president, Joe Gregory used to travel to work in a helicopter."
The pugnacious Waxman warmed to his theme: "You made all this money taking risks with other peoples' money."

Refusing to give ground, Fuld said his pay had been set by an independent compensation committee which spent "a tremendous amount of time" making sure executives' interests were aligned with those of shareholders.

"When the company did well, we did well," said Fuld. "When the company did not do well, we didn't do well." Waxman disagreed: "Mr Fuld, there seems to be a breakdown, because you did very well when the company was doing well and you did well when the company was not doing well. And now your shareholders who owned your company have nothing. They've been wiped out."

Fuld's evidence on Capitol Hill was his first public appearance since Lehman failed, sparking a chain of events that have sent shockwaves through the global financial system and has prompted the US government to begin a $700bn bail-out of the banking industry.

A lifelong Lehman employee who joined the firm as an intern in 1966, Fuld has been blamed for the debacle by many of the bank's 28,000 staff – including those in London who have accused senior management of filleting Lehman's British operation of money in the bank's final days.

Deadpan and emotionless, Fuld repeatedly frustrated congressmen by answering questions with lengthy, technical financial explanations. Frustrated by his demeanour, a Republican congressman, John Mica, tried humour. "If you haven't discovered your role, you're the villain today," said Mica. "You've got to act like a villain."

Fuld stared back wordlessly, without a shadow of a smile. Towards the end of his two hours of evidence, Fuld told Congress that until the final hours of the bank, he believed a takeover by Barclays would save Lehman Brothers from bankruptcy. In the event, Barclays waited until after Lehman had collapsed before buying the remnants of its US operations.

"Not that anyone on this committee cares about this but I wake up every single night wondering 'what could I have done differently?'" Fuld said. "In certain conversations, what should I have said? What could I have done? I have searched myself every single night." Raising his voice, Fuld continued: "This is a pain that will stay with me for the rest of my life."

It is amazing that while paid lobbying is perfectly LEGAL in Washington policy making, naked attempts were made to black wash a man as a VILLAIN - a man who was paying salaries to 28,000 of the smartest individuals in the financial world, a man who evolved a highly successful part salary, part bonuses and part stock options compensations system to ensure alignment of employee interests with those of shareholders in the most sophisticated of American financial institutions and was the epitome of a sophisticated art collector in a land where the rights of the wealthy are protected and kept above the rights of the masses -
One Congressman pointed out the amounts of money paid by Lehman Brothers to influence financial regulators and law makers in Capitol Hill, and if Lehman Brothers was actually manipulated and sabotaged from the very top echelons of the US financial / regulatory watchdogs.
But all this was glossed over in the ridiculous circus of arbitrary transparency that US of A tried to put before the world at large.
Now the nationalized banks are here to stay, greed and profit making is suddenly a dirty word, and attempts are being made to redefine globalization and capitalism for the world in a manner more palatable to American voters and Sovereign Funds from Gulf countries, Japan and Emerging Economies.
Long Live America.
How America has turned 180 degrees is clear before all, when one cuts out the postures, and posture making, and histrionics of American politicans and academics.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

21st Century American Foreign Policy, Indian Defense Purchases and the Export of Conflicts to Asia

21st Century - Indian Defense Purchases and American Foreign Policy Agenda of Exporting Conflicts to Asia ---
Dear Eddie and All,
Sorry to butt in, but before Mandeep has a go, my two cents for what they are worth in a 700 Billion dollars bailout / rescue package.
I am sure it is time for the kids who study America and Western industrialization story as the basis of colonialism and imperialism, to grow up and stop campaigning for falsehoods, as American foreign policy is fine tuned to 21st century. Exporting external and internal conflicts to Asia will be part and parcel of this fine tuning maybe even in the garb of improving Indian internal security and the technologies required for it.
Indian military strategists need to study the global presumptions and compulsions of neocon American foreign, diplomatic and military policy, before they look at regional conflicts and ambitions.
Not having studied 20th century globalization in sufficient detail, Indian policy analysts will now have their plates full trying to pull up their socks wrapping their heads around 21st century Post Globalization !!!
Dharampal is the only Indian historian to have studied Western concepts of globalization in sufficient detail in my opinion.
In my opinion, in the 21st century, US of A as a nation and an empire will only be able to survive by supplying arms and military hardware to unsuspecting countries and their army of bureaucrats and commission agents, right from dissatisfied serving defense officers to ex Navy admirals.
US of A, in a world where the dollar will cease to be the reserve currency of the world and when for One Dollar you might only get One Rupee, and for One Pound you will get only Two Rupees - will absolutely need to find new regions for exporting conflict away from the American island to Asian and African countries. In my opinion this is the need of the hour for American foreign policy and defense strategicians.
What better than to pit India against Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, apart of course from India;s own Muslims who feel marginalized, to serve the long term interests of US of A as a business entity that survives on muscular imperialism.

The current dispensation in India of Pranab Mukherjee and ManMohan Singh has seriously tinkered with and destroyed time tested non alignment principles of Nehruvean foreign policy.

The lame duck US Secretary of State, an ex academician who will soon be returning to a lucrative academic contract, as a representative of lame duck President in WHite House, struggling to find global markets and push up his image in the eyes of the common American, is desperately seeking new markets for global hardware and obsolete nuclear technology.
I find it amazing that when President Bush had last visited India, he had insisted on addressing the architects of post Bofors India from the ramparts of Lal Kila - or Red Fort despite security misgivings of Indian government.
This is symbolic of US foreign policy desire to intervene in South Asian regional insecurity and be the policeman that guarantees regional security in unchartered waters.
Ms Rice is in India and CNN reports on her visit and agenda as the arms exports led American economy and foreign policy rapidly loses steam domestically.
CNN Report - NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday that a deal lifting a ban on nuclear trade with India would be signed shortly.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says nuclear deal will improve relationship with India.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says nuclear deal will improve relationship with India.

"The president will sign the agreement very soon," she said. The signing had earlier been postponed because of administrative matters.

"Let me be clear, the 123 agreement is done, it's just a matter of signing that agreement," Rice said, referring to the name of the deal, which removes a ban on U.S. nuclear trade with India.

At a luncheon, External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee praised Rice and U.S. President Bush for their efforts.

"When I look to the future, I am confident that our relations will continue to improve," he said.

Hours earlier, en route to India, Rice told reporters that work remained to be done. "It's got to be worked out at the last minute, because there are so many administrative issues that we have to deal with," she said. "The important thing about this trip is to talk about the next steps in the U.S.-India relationship, not the last step.
Don't Miss

* Rice hails approval of India nuclear deal
* U.S. to sell $6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan

"What the civil nuclear deal does is that it removes for India a barrier to full integration on a whole range of technologies," Rice said. "But more importantly, I think it is symbolic of a relationship with India that's now at a very, very different level. And at that different level, one would expect that economic relations, defense relations, a whole range of relationships, including business relationships, will flourish."

The Senate voted 86-13 Wednesday to overturn the 34-year-old ban on nuclear trade with India. The House of Representatives passed the bill without debate last Saturday.

Rice has called the deal "a historic agreement," saying it puts the United States and India on "a firm footing."

It means American businesses can sell nuclear fuel, technology and reactors to India. In turn, India will allow international inspections of its civilian -- but not military -- nuclear power plants. It also promised not to resume testing of nuclear weapons.

The United States banned nuclear trade with India after the country exploded a nuclear device in 1974 and refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Critics contend that it would hurt international efforts to keep nuclear weapons from spreading.

Rice is to travel from India to Kazakhstan.

Hi Mandeep,
I tried to access the Bharat Rakshak site you suggested but failed. I suspect it may be a restricted site.

Anyway, I'd like to ask you a question or two, not so much about military history but about India's on-going military build-up.. I think you will be well placed to answer.
I have raised this matter on certain Indian blogs but they just get annoyed and won't give a straight answer.

As I see it, India has not won a single war with an equal enemy like China.
When China invaded in 1962, Nehru was caught by surprise. And no wonder - India's army was no match for the Chinese which had seen combat agaisnt the Americans in the Korean conflict (1950-53). According to India Times (Feb07): "Premier Zhou Enlai said: "we sent three open telegrams to Jawaharlal Nehru asking him to make a public reply, but he refused. He was so discourteous; he wouldn't even do us the courtesy of replying, so we had no choice but to drive him out." The Chinese had no difficulty entering Indian territory, crossing upto 200 miles at one time. They then withdrew of their own accord. (Do you agree with this version of events?)

In the early 70s, India dismembered East Pakistan with ease (there was litle resistance) and created Bangladesh. The outcomes of 3 wars with Pakistan were apparently indecisive. When the Indians tried peace keeping in Sri Lanka in the late 90s, they suffered heavy losses and decided to return. (Is this correct?)
Doesn't all this speak poorly of the Indian military? So to return to my question:

Why does India keep wasting billions buying hardware from the US, Britain, France, Russia and Israel? They have been the world's top aggressors and trouble makers for a long time. So who is India's enemy? India can hardly win against China, so is the build-up to deter little Pakistan (with a quarter the area and one-sixth the population?)
Or do you think India will end up as a junior partner on call to serve US global interests against 'terrorists' , whenever required?

I would appreciate your views on this matter.


------------ --------- --------- -----
Mandeep wrote:
Thanks Karam for that great introduction which rather flatters me !
Eddie, I welcome your interest in Indian military history. Count on me for any help you might need. I'm one of the two Editors on www.indianmilitaryh the site of the Centre for Indian Military History. You will find it useful particularly if you have any questions which we'll answer with alacrity.

Wikipedia has some great articles though I'd treat some of the information with caution since the site consists of inputs from individuals who are free to post whatever they like.

I'd recommend that you try Bharat Rakshak Very informative. You'll find me there too !

Warm Regards to everyone and thanks for welcoming me !

Mandeep Bajwa

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pray, What might be some Post Globalization Predictions of an Iranian Jew ?

Dear All,
Pray, What might be some Post Globalization Predictions of an Iranian Jew ?
Taking some lessons from the global financial crisis - Time to get down from Air Force One
The Jewish people as a global phenomenon at the very heart of the rise of Zionism and the post Second World War economic and financial system as well as what we have come to know as the post Perestroika unipolar world order dominated by the United States would be very well known to all serious students of cultural history with a keen insight into the the role played by diaspora in shaping world orders.
The Diaspora in nation states of the previous 20 th century, especially the Jews who emigrated from the old Europe to countries like Israel and United States of America are I think a very fit topic for the study into the issue of the convergence of cultural, economic and political identities - the Jews are quintessentially, along with Islam and Christianity, playing out the historical roles assigned to them in their cultural traditions, just below the temporary veneer of twentieth century modernity and the dominance of the Western World over large parts of the non Western world.
I was intrigued to find that the ageing professional champion of ideological economic globalization and the central role of USA in imperialism and world affairs, (a person who worked his way as a quintessential hardworking Oxbridge educated Sikh / silent World Bank economist and bureaucrat, ( but was launched into a political vacuum created by the non acceptance of the Congress party desire for an Italian woman as Indian Prime Minister ), and well known for his domestic reticence and his policy of taking the Nehruvian ideals of non alignment into their deathbed ) - in mediating the affairs of world post 9/11 recently on his tour of USA and Europe - one board his swashy personal aeroplane Air India One, chose to clearly spoke out to the prickly issues of the role of emerging economies in the resolution of the global financial meltdown.
He of course said that the emerging economies cannot be immune from the problems that have catclysmically and shockingly emerged onto the radar of Western political and economic order in the last one month, past the so called regulatory framework, that is not fit for purpose in a laissez faire 21st century global capitalism - the financial earthquake going by the euphemism of " Credit and Liquidity Crunch in Money Markets ".
He said this while he quietly signed an agreement with France on Civil Nuclear cooperation to build more modern nuclear plants than the USA - the mecca of science and technology - is capable of providing to the world and negotiated some cosmetic social security arrangements for short term economic migrants to France from the Indian professional heartland. France incidentally and Monsieur Sarkozy in particular have often been speaking of the need to expand the G-8 group of countries, beyond its imperialistic old Europe and Bretton Woods lineage, to include India as a (responsible economy on the world stage )

In a recent edition of HardTalk on BBC by Stephen Sackur, the issue of the Dollar as the reserve currency for the world and the USA as the underpinner of the world security order, and the instigator of Middle East Asian conflicts came up for discussion.
Why should the whole world ( the Chinese, the Russians, the Japanese and the oil rich Saudis ) spend its cash on propping up the Dollar and what the dollar represents to the World as we know it ?
Economic historians of course know the centrality of Bretton Woods to the whole issue of the Dollar being effectively made the reserve currency of the world as opposed to the more old fashioned precious metal of Gold.
As long as the Dollar remains the effective reserve currency of the world, and as long as the Arab sheikhs keep the cheap oil flowing into guzzling American cars, America can keep up the pretense of being the security guarantor to the world. Effectively the whole world keeps the American Empire afloat, underwriting the trillions od dollars of American global debt, providing Americans with the trust to keep the world moving on its axis.
But this can continue only till the time, lame duck presidents like George Bush and and Neo Conservative twentieth century hawks like Cheney do not run out of their ability to do slightly more than whitewash White House in Washington and Capitol, a bit like Tom Sawyer whitewashing wooden fences for his Uncle to get some pocket money and the intellectual elite of the world keeps flocking to converge onto the American educational campuses.

So here is where an Iranian Jew comes in and begins to predict the demise of US of A as one of the shortest empires in the history of the human civilization.

Professor Nouriel Roubini is a quintessential Diasporean and his specialization happens to be Macro Economics, in a post globalization era in which nobody takes the dire pronouncements of President Bush of Washington any more seriously than the peace talk of the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala.

Prof Nouriel Roubini is now clearly talking of the demise of the American Empire - the uni polar post Bretton Woods and Russian perestroika of Gorbachev of the 20 th century. It is high time Indian brat pack economists like Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chidambaram begin to take note and reading up more on the history of Iranian Jews.
In Electrical Engineering and in Financial Markets there is a concept like Signal and Noise. The issence of intellectualism lies in separating and muffling the noise from the signal.
Warm Regards,

More on Prof Roubini on Wikipedia -

Nouriel Roubini (born on March 29, 1958 in Istanbul, Turkey[1]) is a professor of economics at New York University. He is also the chairman of RGE Monitor, an economic and financial analysis firm.

* 1 Early life and education
* 2 Career
* 3 Writings
* 4 Research
* 5 Current appointments
* 6 External links
* 7 References

Early life and education

The New York Times describes Roubini's early life as follows: "He was born in Istanbul, the child of Iranian Jews, and his family moved to Tehran when he was two, then to Tel Aviv and finally to Italy, where he grew up and attended college. He moved to the United States to pursue his doctorate in international economics at Harvard."[2] Roubini resided in Italy from 1962-1983, and is currently a U.S. citizen[1]. He speaks English, Italian, Hebrew, and Persian.[1]

Roubini spent one year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before receiving his B.A. summa cum laude in Economics from the Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) in 1982. He received his Ph.D. in international economics from Harvard University in 1988. According to his advisor, Jeffrey Sachs, he was unusual in his talent with both mathematics and intuitive understanding of economic institutions.[2]


He served in various roles at the Treasury Department, including Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs and Director of the Office of Policy Development and Review (July 1999 - June 2000). Previously, he was a Senior Economist for International Affairs on the Staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisors (July 1998 - July 1999).

Currently, Professor Roubini is a Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has also held teaching positions at Yale University, but failed to get tenure.

Roubini is known for his predictions of financial crisis, notably at the IMF in 2006, where he was received skeptically, with one commentator noting his lack of mathematical models. As of 2008 many of his predictions have come to fruition. Formerly an obscure academic, he has received invitations to speak before influential organizations such as United States Congress and the Council on Foreign Relations. As of August 2008, he remains pessimistic on the future of the US economy.[2] He has said that "we have a subprime financial system, not a subprime mortgage market".[2] He does not believe that the United States is entering the next Great Depression, but has said that he believes it will be worst recession since then.[2] He has clarified that his pessimism is focused on the short-run rather than the medium or long-run.[3]

In the 1990s, Roubini studied the collapse of emerging economies. Consistent with the unusual talent noted by Sachs, he used an intuitive, historical approach backed up by an understanding of theoretical models to analyze these countries and came to the conclusion that a common denominator across examples was the large [current account] deficits financed by loans from abroad. Roubini theorized that the United States might be the next to suffer, and in 2004 began writing about a possible/future collapse.[2]


Professor Roubini is the author of several books, including: Bailouts or Bail-ins? Responding to Financial Crises in Emerging Economies, Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy, and International Financial Crises and the New International Financial Architecture.


Professor Roubini's research interests include:

* international macroeconomics and international finance;
* macroeconomics and fiscal policy;
* political economy;
* growth theory;
* European monetary issues.

Current appointments

* Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research
* Research Fellow, Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, UK
* Member, Bretton Woods Committee
* Member, Council on Foreign Relations Roundtable on the International Economy
* Member, Academic Advisory Committee, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund

External links

* Professor Roubini's NYU Stern Homepage
* Roubini Global Economics (RGE) Monitor
* New York Magazine article
* Professor Roubini's syndicated series, "Finance in the 21st Century", with Project Syndicate
* Talking to Nouriel Roubini
* Dr. Doom - Profile - Nouriel Roubini - Predicting Crisis in the United States Economy


2. Mihm, Steven. (2008). Dr. Doom. New York Times.
3. Roubini, Nouriel. (2008). New York Times Article on Nouriel Roubini as “Dr. Doom”. RGE Monitor.

Retrieved from ""
Categories: 1958 births | Living people | People from Istanbul | Persian Jews | Israeli Jews | Turkish Jews | Italian Jews | Jewish American writers | Turkish Americans | Italian-Americans | Iranian Americans | Israeli-Americans | Israelis of Iranian descent | Alumni of Bocconi University | Harvard University alumni | Hebrew University of Jerusalem alumni | Iranian economists | American economics writers | International finance economists | Macroeconomists | New York University faculty | Yale University faculty | United States Department of the Treasury | United States Council of Economic Advisors | Clinton Administration personnel

Saturday, September 13, 2008

US India Nuclear Deal and Political Lame Ducks

US India Nuclear Deal and Political Lame Ducks :
Dear All,
In my opinion, this certainly does not suggest a "lack of intellectual sophistication" as speculated by you.
The public reticence of the Indian PM all along has been very calculated.
And all along he has known clearly what he is doing.
If it were just so much, teams of British parliamentarians, Indian diaspora and Oxbridge graduates could have been airlifted to India on One Year lucrative academic contracts to offer crash sources in intellectual sophistication to Indian establishment.
It suggests merely the issue of the tail wagging the dog.
In the name of ill spelt out energy needs of India by the Oxbridge educated and World bank economists - it spells a predominance of economistic logic over basic political questions which still struggle to find elucidation in India.
ManMohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluwalia are representative of Bretton Woods economists who have sought to smother legitimate political consensus.
Indeed the very logic of Nehruvian non alignment on a global stage has been disturbed due to a handful of economists turned politicians gaining ascendancy.
Mr Pranab Mukherjee's claims that India has not budged in its basic foreign policy objectives is very difficult to defend - indeed even he is now known for the hollow slogan of "bijli for aam aadmi " and "India's passport to nuclear trade", an industry purportedly of 100 billion dollars in the coming years.
The BJP led NDA, the other main opposition coalition is treading the same economic centralization doctrine and path though they claim that they still believe in the primary logic of the statement - "US is our natural ally ".
Whether the internal logic of the American military establishment and foreign policy will ever allow a stable and peaceful Middle Eastern and South Eastern Asia is an issue that BJP economic doctrinaires have not bothered to consider.

For this class of Indian elite, electoral success does not matter - they need control over the economic agenda - and for this they are CONTENT to LOSE political power in the states and regions of India, but SOMEHOW manage to RETAIN power at the centre in New Delhi in a curious mix of heavy handed American federal structure and British parliamentary democracy.
This central leverage is required by economists turned politicians to push through the economic agenda of rapid economic centralization in India without social equity.
It is also in this context that I judge the political immaturity of Prakash Karat and SitaRam Yechury in exiting the UPA coalition as against the political wisdom of Surjit Singh and Jyoti Basu, as regards the need for central leverage and fringe politics of the Left.
The US leaning Indian media almost forced out Prakash Karat from the UPA coalition in a well laid out trap.
In the present term, economic and intellectual reticence - as exemplified by the economists turned politicians at the helm in New Delhi - is the passport to economic heavy handedness and the preponderance of the economic elite over the political elite.

Indo-US nuclear deal

More embarrassing revelations have emerged.
The poor Indian PM, Manmohan Singh, has apparently failed to have grasped the fundamental provisions. Following the recent 26 pages of explanations provided by the Bush admin to the US Congress, Dr Brahma Chellaney (professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi) clarifies.

· The US has given no binding fuel-supply assurance to India. The Indian PM told the Lok Sabha on August 13, 2007 that 'detailed fuel supply assurances by the US for the uninterrupted operation of our nuclear reactors are reflected in full' in the 123 Agreement’. But the Bush administration has denied this. Its letter to the House Committee states that the US will render help only in situations where 'disruptions in supply to India... result through no fault of its own,' such as a trade war or market disruptions. 'The fuel supply assurances are not, however, meant to insulate India against the consequences of a nuclear explosive test or a violation of non-proliferation commitments, ' the letter said. The letter also reveals that the US has given no legally binding fuel-supply assurance of any kind.

· No US consent to India's stockpiling of lifetime fuel reserves for safeguarded power reactors. The prime minister had told the Lok Sabha on August 13, 2007 that, 'This Agreement envisages, in consonance with the Separation Plan, US support for an Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply for the lifetime of India's reactors.' But the Bush administration' s letter to the House Committee makes clear that India will not be allowed to build such stocks as to undercut US leverage to re-impose sanctions.

· US civil nuclear cooperation is explicitly conditioned to India not testing ever again. The PM told the Lok Sabha as recently as July 22, 2008 that, 'I confirm that there is nothing in these agreements which prevents us from further nuclear tests if warranted by our national security concerns. All that we are committed to is a voluntary moratorium on further testing.'

Last year, he had told Parliament that, 'There is nothing in the Agreement that would tie the hands of a future Government or legally constrain its options to protect India's security and defence needs.' The Bush administration, however, has told the House Committee that India has been left in no doubt that all cooperation will cease immediately if New Delhi conducted a test.

· The US has retained the right to suspend or terminate supplies at its own discretion. The Bush administration letter plainly contradicts the prime minister's assertion in Parliament on August 13, 2007 that, 'An elaborate multi-layered consultation process has been included with regard to any future events that may be cited as a reason by either Party to seek cessation of cooperation or termination of the (123) Agreement.' The letter states that the US right to suspend all supplies forthwith is unfettered.

· The letter makes clear that the 123 Agreement has granted India no right to take corrective measures in case of any fuel-supply disruption. Rather, India's obligations are legally irrevocable. It further indicates there is no link between perpetual safeguards and perpetual fuel supply. Contrast this with what the prime minister claimed in Parliament on August 13, 2007 : 'India's right to take "corrective measures" will be maintained even after the termination of the Agreement.' Or the prime minister's repeated assurances to Parliament since March 2006 that India 's acceptance of perpetual international inspections will be tied to perpetual fuel supply.

· The Bush administration' s letter states that the 123 Agreement fully conforms to the Hyde Act provisions. In a press release recently, the Prime Minister's Office made the following claim on July 2, 2008 : 'the 123 Agreement clearly overrides the Hyde Act and this position would be clear to anyone who goes through the provisions.'

· The letter assures Congress that the 'US government will not assist India in the design, construction or operation of sensitive nuclear technologies. ' That rules out not only the transfer of civil reprocessing and enrichment equipment or technologies to India even under safeguards, but also casts a shadow over the US granting India operational consent to reprocess spent fuel with indigenous technology. Under the 123 Agreement, India has agreed to forego reprocessing until it has, in the indeterminate future, won a separate, congressionally vetted agreement.
On one issue, the 123 Agreement had held out hope for India in the future by stating in its Article 5(2) that, 'Sensitive nuclear technology, heavy water production technology, sensitive nuclear facilities, heavy water production facilities and major critical components of such facilities may be transferred under this Agreement pursuant to an amendment to this Agreement.' But the Bush administration' s letter to Congress states that the US government had no plan to seek to amend the deal to allow any sensitive transfers.

Contrast this with what the prime minister said in Parliament on August 17, 2006 -- that ‘India wanted the removal of restrictions on all aspects of cooperation and technology transfers pertaining to civil nuclear energy, ranging from nuclear fuel, nuclear reactors, to reprocessing spent fuel. We will not agree to any dilution that would prevent us from securing the benefits of full civil nuclear cooperation as amplified above.'

Going by the above, poor India seems to have been roundly hoodwinked by the US lawyers. Does it suggest a lack of intellectual sophistication?
The nuclear deal might well prove to be India’s nemesis.