Posts Tagged ‘Indo-US civilian nuclear power deal’


April 14, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009






While LK Advani’s branding of Manmohan Singh as ‘weak’ Prime Minister was cheap device to denigrate the office of Prime Ministership, now that BJP is in a very desperate position; Indian Muslims have already realised that technocrat Manmohan Singh had been merely exploited by Sonia Gandhi as a caretaker regent, till her dynastic plans to plant Rahul Gandhi most undemocratically, taking undue advantage of loop-holes in Indian laws and that Manmohan Singh’s oft repeated assurance to Muslim community that they should have first right to claim redressal as they have been marginalized in share government patronage, as has been so generously showered on other favourites.


It is possible that though he had spoken about Muslim’s first right on the nation’s budget, he was shot down by the Congress High Command that is riddled with communalized soft-Hindutva protagonists. Even in Congress, nobody is ready to accept that the decades long Congress government has let down the same Muslims, whose vote bank had loyally supported Congress all along.


The key-word is scare. Congress is scared of BJP’s Hindutva propaganda; while the BJP is scared that Muslim appeasement will bring back the Mughal rule.


In the event, Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister had no guts to counter the Hindutva communalism and fight an internal war in the same manner or with the same misguided but dogged conviction when struggling to finalize 123 nuclear agreement with US.


If he was weak, he would not have travelled such a long distance with the Congress, while forcing even a break in the UPA and the risk of losing his government. Apparently, that strength and that power of conviction were not availed by him, when he was advocating affirmative action for Indian Muslims.


He failed to tackle:


  1. Sachar Commission implementation for the upliftment of Indian Muslims


  1. Babri Masjid cases for early settlement of the dispute and due punishment to the culprits. (Is he waiting for a Muslim to take up the new ritual of throwing the shoe at him and then resorting to chakka jam all over the country?).


  1. His Congress government has not lifted a finger on Sri Krishna Commission report in Maharashtra. If he is a real Prime Minister, he should have the gust to do justice to his people, be that from either Sikh community or from any community, whosoever from any part of India.


  1. He has done nothing to initiate legislation against hate crimes, so that India can be rid of the curse of communalism and casteism. If he was so endeared of the USA, why not borrow a leaf from US legislation and crackdown heavily on Hate Crime and heavy recompense for the wronged.


  1. Gross injustice inherent in his economic policies that impoverish the very chunk of people that were already impoverished. His trickle down policies only heaped misery on the people. Rising unemployment is built-in and grass-root inflation choking people has no interest to him. He cannot fool dishing out statistics that show wholesale price indices and camouflage out inflation that has bloated the family burden for even survival level existence.



Just as he has rightly stated that L. K. Advani will be known ONLY for demolition of Babri Masjid, Manmohan Singh should be rest assured that he would ONLY be known for paving the way for US and Israel to take over India, in any of the various ways, a nation loses its sovereignty and integrity.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai








July 22, 2008


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Horse-trading, the ugly face of Indian democracy


Indians and even world over people untiringly keep repeating that India is world’s largest democracy. In numbers game, the fact is true and laudable. It is not easy to manage a billion people of multitude of diversities, trekking to millions of Elections booth across the country, in a ritualistic exercise, to press a button, or cross a ballot paper and come back brandishing an ink mark on one of the middle fingers, proud that they have voted for a democratic government of the country. However, it is thoroughly condemnable that in the backdrop of this almost sacred exercise to seek people’s mandate to govern the country, political groups play the kind of ugly games that can never be in the strictest term of the word, the real essence of democracy. One of the most blatant and brazen acts of the treacherous subversion of democracy, is the popularly known practice of horse-trading. 


As the Indian government currently seeking a confidence vote in the lower house, Lok Sabha, the numbers game that will decide if the government survives or is defeated on the floor of the house, will heavily depend on how the managers of the different political parties will be able to buy or entice elected Members of Parliaments to switch sides and vote for or against the motion of confidence. Right from the days of Congress Prime Minister, P. V. Narasimha Rao, who was successful in running a minority government to any length of time, open allegation of cash in suit cases being delivered to prospective clients in opposition camps, are bandied about, though no law enforcing agency, or the media, or the court, or even the common people have bothered to oppose the dirty game, that is a serious blot on the fair name of Indian democracy.


It is illegal. It is criminal. It distorts the very mandate of the people. It renders the whole electoral exercise a fraud on the people, by an oligarchic cabal who have cash and other goodies to offer, like party tickets to stand for future elections, a pardon for crimes committed either at investigation stage or under prosecution, a promise for lucrative government contracts, a prestigious post in ceremonial hierarchy of the government, a candidacy for the nearest kin. Since honesty and trust are at a premium, hard cash is the most desired currency in horse-trading. A general impression is that when it comes to money power, nobody can match the resources of the US lobby. Though it is not clear if the money power is not available to other lesser in the pecking order.


In his recent birthday celebration bash, the only one of the two Muslim Chief Ministers that Congress has ever appointed in any state of India, Abdur Rehman Antulay publicly declared that his Chief Ministership was sabotaged by a conspiracy of the Right and Left, under the leadership of Indian Express’s late Goenka, who worked on then Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s insecurity by convincing her, that with Arab petro dollar potentially available to an Indian Muslim political leader, Antulay could snatch the Prime Ministership from her. The credibility of this line of argument is confirmed by Indira Gandhi, demoting Abdur Rehman Antulay on trumped up charges of corruption, in which she herself was the motivator. He took the blame at party loyalist, fought law cases for over ten years of his vibrant political life and finally exonerated and restored to Congress cabinet, though at a very low priority post of Minority affairs.


The episode clearly points to the potential of money power that can easily destabilize any government of India, if kingmakers with money power, from inside the country, like the corporate robber barons, or from outside the country, like US and Arab oil money power.


Investigative journalists sometimes do report proven record of how cash is withdrawn from the banks, how suit-cases are reportedly carried on planes, how they are delivered to the door of the prospective groom or bride, for want of a better term, one can say. But no law enforcing agency dares to take up any action against such brazen-faced subversion of democracy.


Even the Chief Election Commission, an independent state institution that is charged with the oversight of the whole election processes all over the country has become so immune to the criminality of the horse-trading that it has never known to have raised even a finger to object to such criminal acts, even in an academic exercise to warn the people. 


Right from the start, when the Marxists pulled out of the governing United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition on the matter of the one major partner, the Indian National Congress, headed by an old World Bank staffer, doggedly sticking to an agreement with the US President, to sign a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, with sub-clauses inserted by Congress under Hyde Act, that bind India to a regime, seriously restricting its foreign policy and its freedom to act according to its national address, UPA is desperately trying to conjure up simple majority numbers by luring defecting MPs from other parties or even inviting smaller parties to its new emerging coalition.


Samajwadi Party with a substantial chunk of MPs was the first to jump into the fray and junk its membership of another coalition group, the third front, which was being build up as an alternative to the two main Brahmin-led political coalitions. The 3% Brahmins, like the 3% Jews in America, have cleverly used all tricks of the trade to conjure up majorities by demonizing Muslims and making them the common enemy of the ‘Hindus’, and are not being challenged by lower caste groups formed by OBCs and Dalits. Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party was the most important constituent of the Third Front. However, it is widely reported in media, that under the active backstage-management of his adviser, Amar Singh, a known wheeler-dealer, Mulayam Singh had cut a deal with the governing Congress Party, so that a number of court cases against them will be dropped and they will be given space in coming elections in UP state.


Since at a time, he was thick with UP’s Muslim voters and had been staunchly against the extremist fascist Hindutva forces, and even countered Hindutva storm troopers attacking the historical Babri Masjid, by firing in which a number of Karsevaks died, his defection to Congress fold is deeply felt by Muslim voters, as they are thoroughly disgusted over the US role invading Muslim countries and wantonly shedding the blood of hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is this factor that had surfaced in all future calculations, though in the current horse-trading phase, Muslim role is missing at all levels.


In technical terms, India was given a choice to opt out the nuclear civilian agreement at the time of its own choosing, but the consequences are so forbidding, that no future government will have any guts to try to get out of the shadow of the US hegemony agenda on Indian’s both internal and external affairs. The US by the very nature of its superpower status, and its overwhelming and unrelenting doggedness to bring India into its fold, in an arrangement, that can only result in India becoming a subservient nation, a dominated nation, a satellite nation.


So much for the real worth of India’s democracy!


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Open letter to K. Subrahmanyam re his Indian Express article: Sonia’s Choice

May 29, 2008

Open letter to K. Subrahmanyam re his Indian Express article: Sonia’s Choice  


Thursday, May 29, 2008


Dear Mr. K. Subrahmanyam, Good day


This refers to your IE article: Sonia’s Choice (May 27, 2008).


I am surprised that you have written such a personal and emotional address to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, working on her special relationship with her late husband Rajiv Gandhi to push a line of action that apparently is not supported by a wide circle of political leaders, elected members of parliament and general public. To deal with the proposed Indo- US civilian nuclear agreement is something in public domain and is not a private affair of the Gandhi family. It is people like you though enjoying highest level of credibility in your chosen field, when stoop to the such personal level of sycophancy to win an argument that on the one hand erode their bona fide and on the other hand openly sets examples that eventually threatens the democratic structure of our nation.


You have failed to distinguish and inform your readers that the issue has two very different and distinct levels that require evaluation on two different counts. One is the technical and economic side of the issue, while the other is a commitment to forge a legal relationship that opens the country to exploitation and forces it to a regime of compromise that pinches on national sovereignty.


You may feel that the danger of any internal constraints on US administration is merely a paper detail, it certainly appear to be so to a wide spectrum of public opinion.


Some of seniors like you may be fully experienced in the art of diplomacy and governance to take such risks, but you will have to take the people in your confidence before you can morally commit the nation to any controversial and uncertain line of action.


As far as the basic nature of US interaction with India or any other developing country, there is long history of US considering it legitimate to force weaker nation to its self-centered agenda, through employing any number of pressure tactics and leverage, from open threats to arm twisting or global propaganda or even regime change.


It is for this reason that the Indian government should be strengthened through greater public debate, scrutiny, full transparency, building accountability in to decision making processes. The more public participation in matters of such profound nature that could impose on national security and its freedom of action, the more the official will be confident in dealing with their counter part on the other side.


Agreements of the nature of 123, must be presented to the Parliament, the issue should be thoroughly debated and the agreement should be put to vote. If US Congress has such legislatively clout, why Indian parliament should be so callously short-circuited.


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai



Sonia’s choice


By K. Subrahmanyam


Posted online: Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 0021 hrs



Whether to sacrifice national interests for a few more months in power



The president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi, is facing a lonely decision as she did in the summer of 2004 when she decided to step aside in favour of Manmohan Singh as prime minister. At that stage, she was under tremendous pressure from almost all her partymen to assume the office of the prime minister. She asserted that she was listening to her “inner voice” and therefore not accepting their near-unanimous pleas. Once again, she faces the lonely decision whether to focus on the Indian national interest and Rajiv’s legacy or be influenced by her party veterans who tend to put what they consider, often mistakenly, party interests ahead of other vital considerations.


Rajiv Gandhi wanted to integrate India technologically with the world. He laid the foundation of India’s nuclear weapons programme and of the expansion of its civil nuclear programme by initiating negotiations with Russia on the Kudankulam project. Are we going to sustain and nurture his legacy or are we going to wind it up because the Left threatens to withdraw its support to the government if India were to continue the Rajiv legacy of technologically integrating with the world? All this for a few more months in office?


Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to make India a nuclear-weapon state was a painful one taken after four years of agonising. It was a lonely one. He might have informally consulted R. Venkataraman and P.V. Narasimha Rao who were the two in the know on the weapon research effort during Indira Gandhi’s days. But the decision was his alone. The cabinet was not in it, nor the party. Nuclear decisions all over the world were lonely ones and submitted to legislatures and parties for debate post facto. So it was when Atal Bihari Vajpayee took the decision to conduct the Shakti tests. When such decisions are taken by leaders the legislatures and parties usually accept them. Only leaders who have the confidence to carry the party and legislatures usually take such decisions.


The nuclear weapon effort is Rajiv’s legacy. He initiated it after a lot of agonising. I am personally aware of it since I had argued with him on that issue for almost a year in 1985. He appointed an inter-disciplinary group under his chairmanship to debate the nuclear issue. It had as members chief ministers Karunakaran and Saikia, Arun Singh, the cabinet secretary, the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, two intelligence chiefs, Raja Ramanna, Bimal Jalan, the chief economic advisor and R.K. Khandelwal, chairman, Joint Intelligence Committee, as secretary. I was the only person from outside the government. I was the most vocal advocate for India going nuclear. Many others were on my side but chose to keep somewhat muted.


Rajiv was clearly unhappy about India going nuclear. At one point, he asked if India could not offer a revised, non-discriminatory, draft Non-Proliferation Treaty. I was not a believer in the Western nuclear strategy and nuclear war-fighting. But I argued that nuclear weapons were the currency of power in that world and India needed them for its security and strategic autonomy. After several sessions of arguments spread over months he directed that a study be conducted on the cost of going nuclear. A committee under General Sundarji, with R. Chidambaram, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Vice-Admiral Nayyar and Air-Marshal Johnny Greene went into the issue and came up with the report that at a cost of Rs 7000 crore (at 1985 prices) and over seven years time a credible minimum deterrent of 100 warheads and 100 missiles could be produced. After this report was submitted there were no more meetings of the interdisciplinary group.


But it was obvious that Rajiv was against going nuclear. In 1986, he distanced himself from Ramanna and rejected his recommendation to appoint P.K. Iyengar, a weapon scientist, as his successor. He chose M.R. Srinivasan, a reactor engineer, as the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He initiated negotiations on the Kudankulam reactors. He joined Mikhail Gorbachev in issuing the Delhi declaration on a nuclear-weapon free, nonviolent world. He persisted in this policy though Pakistan had publicly boasted about its nuclear weapon and threatened India during Operation Brasstacks.


Rajiv Gandhi presented his action plan for disarmament to the UN General Assembly on June 9, 1988, in which he fervently pleaded for global disarmament. He offered that India would not go nuclear if the world were to accept his phased disarmament plan. He asked them to negotiate a new non-discriminatory NPT. He also issued a veiled warning. He said, “Left to ourselves we would not want to touch nuclear weapons. But when tactical considerations, in the play of great power rivalry, are allowed to take precedence over the imperative of non-proliferation, with what leeway are we left?”


Rajiv Gandhi’s pleas were totally ignored. After another eight or nine months of agonising, he put India’s security and interests ahead of all other considerations and directed the weaponisation of the Indian nuclear programme. It could not have been an easy decision for him. But Indian security came first. Today, senior US statesmen like George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry and Sam Nunn invoke the words of Rajiv Gandhi to derive support for their campaign for a nuclear-weapon free world, some 19 years after Rajiv Gandhi vainly pleaded for nuclear disarmament.


He envisaged Kudankulam as the beginning of collaboration with foreign countries for rapid expansion of our civil nuclear programme. While the credit for conducting the tests may go to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the father of both the military nuclear programme and the renewal of foreign civil nuclear cooperation is Rajiv Gandhi. It should not be forgotten either that the first Indo-US military technical cooperation agreement was also initiated by him.


People all over the country understand that the decision on nurturing Rajiv Gandhi’s legacy of the nuclear issue rests wholly with Sonia Gandhi. Manmohan Singh would have gone ahead with it on his own. She should now listen to her inner voice and not depend upon the advice of her veteran party advisors. It will not be to her credit or to the long-term credibility of her party if Dr Singh is unable to sustain his international standing. Let her pause and reflect on her own. Rajiv Gandhi’s legacy is at stake.


The writer is a senior defence analyst