Sunday, February 10, 2008

HE Amb. Mulford talks about the nuclear deal

Karan (a.k.a VOA) gives us this interview with HE Amb. Mulford.

It appears His Excellency is mightly pissed that India has turned this deal down and threatens all manner of things if this doesn't go through right now. To the rest of us, who don't live in an ivory tower ... this comes as no surprise.

HE Amb. Mulford, had earned fame in India for speaking at inopportune moments about matters that should never be discussed in the media. Perhaps he does not grasp the fact his highly overt and obvious style probably right at home in the US corporate world - with its power talks and power naps - actually grates on Indian sensibilities, or perhaps he simply does not care

After having spent most of his tenure trying to sabotage the deal and the bulk of India-US relations, he now paints himself as the great saviour.

It is unclear to me who in Chanakyapuri or Foggy Bottom will be impressed with this.

If the Hon. Ambassador wants to know why India rejects the deal - he need look no further than the consequences of his own utterances on the non-proliferation aspects of the deal and the repeated contextualisation of the deal into India-China rivalry and support for US initiatives vis-a-vis Iran. Ofcourse as with any good diplomat when confronted with his actual utterances the good Ambassador distances himself with great speed from any unintended connotations.

It is precisely this double-speak before a pliant media circus that has lent wings to suspicions in India about the US's angle to this deal.

Tragically even in his limited view of the universe, the Hon. Amb. Mulford is right - this deal will not be offered again.

The next time the US comes to the table it will be from a very different position. As the energy crisis in the US expands to the point where it the core sectors of the US economy - eg. transportation and power production get strongly affected - the American posture in the deal negotiations will shift.

If you note - HE Amb. Ronen Sen is not giving interviews of the "now or never" variety.

We Indians are used to haggling over the price of the bride. His Excellency will do well to go shopping in the real India - beyond the richly decorated facades of the fixed price malls. Perhaps it is just the Indian in me who sees that a US with a declining dollar will be unable to enforce any discipline in the NSG.

In some ways the Ambassador's utterances showcases the exact opposite of what George Perkovich has been saying all along - it does seem that the US needs this deal more than India does.

Lets see who handles economic pain better - does India handle a diesel shortage better than the US handles stagflation.


At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi m,
Let me start posting again as anonymous.

Mulford has a foot in the mouth disease! All actions by GOI are independent! But this fellow wants to make a big show to the world that India has committed itself to various acts not because of her own judgment but because of US pressure. In the olden days such behaviour would not have been tolerated. JN & IG would have thrown him out! Here we have a deal which is important for our security , irrespctive of what he says we will do what we have determined to do.
This deal will go through because America desparately needs it but Mulford will live to have his cake too.

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This deal will go through because America desparately needs it "

America needs it more than we do. The earlier statement is corrected.

At 6:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

It is not usually my style to criticise high ranking diplomats - after all they are honoured guests of our country but I must confess a sense of disappointment in the manner in which Amb. Blackwill's successor has performed.

Without the slightest in depth knowledge of the State Department's inner functioning, it appears - just appears - to me - that many inside the department were highly uneasy with Amb. Blackwill and felt that he was "going native" and the appointment of his successor was welcomed because it was felt he would arrest this trend. I guess, the incumbent can claim some success in that area. During Amb. Blackwill's time, there was an enormous sense of positive motion in Indo-US ties - something that has been lost right now.

It is rumoured among the chatterati of Chanakyapuri that the embassy was not very happy about the manner in which the Indo-US nuclear deal was executed, apparently there was a sense that the bulk of the embassy was "left out of the loop". The chattering classes of Chanakyapuri also opine that the American embassy in India was in (Washington's own perception) saturated with non-proliferation types used to thinking of India as an adversary nation, and was perhaps (in Washington's perception) unsuited to handle sensitive transformational negotiations.

One does not know if Washington's choice of a successor was influenced by a desire to court the attitudes that had welled up within the embassy or whether there was a genuine mistrust of the Indian government at the highest level that was vented in this fashion. I think it appears the incumbent was somehow programmed to be more preoccupied with consolidating the ivory tower than in playing any real role in maintaining Indo-US ties.

Either ways I suspect - again without the slightest shred of evidence - that the embassy never quite recovered from that shock of being sidelined. Unable to directly articulate its anger at being left out - a more passive-aggressive campaign was initiated by the "old hands" and that resulted in the strange double-talk we saw appearing in the American media proxies in India.

It has also been argued in some places, that perhaps His Excellency has proceeded on an ill advised fishing campaign inspired by passive aggressive tendencies inside the ivory tower itself. Tragically ofcourse, His Excellency's high status also entitles him to more than this share of the blame. However one plays this game - there is no way to escape blame for overplaying the double-talk i.e. first harping on the non-proliferation and Iran angle and then directly talking down to the peoples' representatives about dire consequences that will ensue if they do not play along.

One only has to see the conduct of other officers such as Amb. Burns and Amb. Sen to get a grasp on the subtle and yet overbearing nature of such high office.

But then what can I say - honestly speaking - true diplomats are simply born. Finely tailored suits do not necessarily make a great diplomat.

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
"it is not usually my style to criticise high ranking diplomats - "

Thanks for letting me know the protocol aspect! Some of us were completely unaware of it!

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like everything has come back to square 1 ... all of this deal tamasha has amounted to naught except for frequent flier miles for Burns-ji ...

now they are talking like they used to before except that the "NPT" has been replaced by "deal" ...

amazingly, the two groups who *think * that they won are: A) Amreekan Ayatollahs and B) Desi Commies ... but in reality, they have not won anything at all either ... all they have managed to do is add another layer to their paranoia ...

went over to DF to see what the analysts there think ... apparently, the fastest moving thread over there is "Love & Marriage" ... everybody finally finds their level, eh?

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The deal has not entirely amounted to naught: It has at least exposed the ugly side of the DF to someone like me who had posted there, however intermittently, for a very long time. Its a pity actually, what that place has become for there are still a bunch of good people there doing good work, especially in the military and economic forums.

And there is another group of people who think they have won: The "Super-Indians" on the DF too think they have won.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Alok,

I think it is pretty clear that the Non Proliferation Ayatollahs have won. They have staved of personal financial ruin. There is a belief amongst the NPA that a democratically led government will be unwilling to cross NPA lines as the democrats have historically placed great emphasis on paying a ritual obessiance to the NPA Gods. I think the NPA have succeeded in prolonging their funding in the US for atleast ten years.

The left front in India has also fared very well. They have hobbled the MMS government and they have managed to preserve their monopoly over the "underdog" votes. The Left's political model relies on finding the people most disadvantaged by any particular economic development and then using them as a political engine until they run out of steam. Currently the left was keen to build bridges to sections of the rural middle class and undermine the appeal of the maoists in the hinterlands. They have succeeded in both.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Alok,

As regards the love and marriage thread, I see it as the first step towards finally publicly acknowledging the crisis in social security in India. As the thread was initiated by one of the last remaining disreputables on the forum, I welcome it.

As you know after independence GoI followed a very serious empowerment program aimed at women. This program has resulted in a large number of women in the professional classes and inculcated a deep sense of independence among all women in India.

This sense of independence is shifting the traditional balance of power inside the insitutional bedrock of social security in India - the instituions of marriage and the family.

The arranged marriage system has an obvious flaw - it relies on outdated compatibility models that emphasised community and society needs over the individual.

However the love marriage is no better - due to the dominance of segregationist thinking, Indian society deliberately frustrates contact between genders. The result is a poor appraisal of individual needs and an overreliance on communal sentiments in determining choices.

I think this complicates the process of transitioning to a stable compatibility model that emphasises individual needs.

With the growth of independent thinking among women in India, women are unlikely to put up with crap from their men - unlike the days of old they will simply not "suck it up" through a bad marriage.

We know the divorce rate is rising in India - it is simply a question of coming out and openly acknowledge it. In my opinion we are sitting on the edge of a sexual revolution in India.

I am very glad to see that at least some of the people think that the forum is not just a place to haw-haw about murders in Pakistan.

At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
On an another note do you not think that recent purchases of American arms by GOI is a cause for worry? Burns repeatedly talks of having a vastly expanded defence relationship which includes purchases of armaments. You already know import of armaments will result in a foreign policy lock in! ending in a more client-state relationship. Future PM's will visit Washington DC more for paying ritual obseiances. Look how our PM has to visit Russia time and again to clear the spare parts issue. If you read the interview by Hon. Amb Kanwal Sibal he exactly stated that: Russian are simply not willing to provide quality after sales service. God only know when we will become fully self reliant!
Last concern we are more and more being gravitated to the US orbit!

At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isnt it quite convenient that you completely apportion blame for failure of the deal to NPAs and people with views similar to BRF and nothing to the highly secretive manner that MMS tried to ram the deal through parliament without deigning to take into confidence any of the opposition? No doubt he wanted to gain political mileage.... That was to some parts equally contributory to the deal collapsing.

Everyone is to blame here. Painting a NPA / BRF pinata to beat up is nice, but not intellectually honest.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

The recent purchases of weapons amount to a "thank you" purchase. Beyond that it is difficult to see how the pervasive US non-proliferation laws and Pakistani and Chinese interest groups will allow a deeper defence relationship to develop.

Under such conditions, a best case scenario is where the Americans sell us a system and then they also visibly sell the counter measure to the Pakistanis and leak the technology to the Chinese. That way at our end the entire transaction is visibly audited.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ananya,

There was no secretiveness in the manner in which this deal was conducted. Everything was in the open.

If we wanted to do this off the books, there are ways, I am sure BRF's NPA friends can tell you how things are done when we don't want anyone to see. The day an anonymous poster has greater credibility than a secretary GoI, well... what can be said at that point.

The MEA mantri is right - that a deeper sanctions regime will follow as powerful subgroups inside the American nomenclatura attempt to publicly show their anger with India at rejecting the deal. Given the way things work in the US, the nomenclatura is not used to owning up for its mistakes - the closest it comes to an admission of failure is blaming someone else for the error. Rather than admit they were wrong in the way they did things - they blame their former allies. This is the "corporate way" popularised in US culture.

Unfortunately for the MEA mantri and those of us who supported the deal, the falling value of the dollar makes it impossible to make *any* deal right now - on the books or off the books. People are starting to treat the dollar as if it carries the plague. All those pliant regimes the US has in the Middle East are privately pouring scorn on the US.

I personally had no stake in the deal. My attitude was always "we shall see", and I always saw the deal primarily as a way to improve my knowledge of the inner workings of the US, beyond that I felt ... "Delhi Hanuz Dur Ast". Quite obviously, the PM and the national guidance council felt differently.

By stressing political mileage, you highlight the main flaw in the DCH's analyis of MMS. If you know MMS, he is not a politician, he is a technocrat. He does not crave for political mileage - that is some thing only people with nothing other than meagre political skills seek out great zeal. When you have nothing else to contribute to the nation, you crave for "political mileage" - otherwise your efforts are your reward.

I think a stark testimonial to the Prime Minister's lack of political ambition is that the Left Front and the BJP have gained more political mileage out of this deal than the Congress has. If there is anything history will fault MMS for it will be for lacking political ambition.

I find it curious that current residents of BRF find it so easy to forget that MMS did not apply for the post of PM. He was chosen by others and over other people who did apply.

I find it extremely curious that folks like yourself - while admitting that there is no upward mobility inside a dynastic political machine, accuse the PM of harbouring "political ambitions". I think that kind of talk fits the description of real "intellectual dishonesty". But I guess everything is fair in politics - because after all I am sure the justification for this doctrine of convenience is that really speaking the PM's detractors are shooting at the national guidance council and the PM's professional conduct is only getting in the way of them making the shot at the council itself. It is a case of shooting at Vidura to take cheap shots at Duryodhana - such is the pandava way.

All those that have spoken to him personally or even simply sat in his presence, come away with the same stories of a mostly silent and very soft spoken man who has fought discrimination and prejudice to put the India's interests ahead of his own political fortunes.

A stark contrast to the chest thumping, rabble rousers that carry "so-and-so's mobile number" in their pockets and talk garbage on the floor of the parliament and only nurse a desire to be PM someday!

I am sorry boss, I am not in the business of consorting with shikhandis. To my mind, their use on the battle field constitutes a technical violation of the prevalent rules of Dharma yudh.

Those who love the BJP on account of its overtly Hindu projections will do well to ask themselves how the BJP will solve India's greatest emerging problems - the problem of the widening rural-urban economic divide and the problem of a failing social security system.

I have found no answers to these questions in either literature or private conversations.

I am willing to listen to any who wish to talk sense, basically "kill all muslims" is not an acceptable answer to my questions.

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi folks:

Anyone keeping an eye on the US presidential primaries?

This Obama thing is getting quite interesting.

Anyone want to fill us in and comment?


At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Regarding the deal:- Isn't the fact that propaganda spewed by both supporters and opponents (outside the parliament)confused the minds of ordinary Indians like me?

The sad fact concerning BJP right now is that the BJP instead of introspecting vis-a-vis it's defeat in 2004, instead of formulating policies/solutions and implementing them once it comes to power has spent its efforts all these years in criticising this deal. Atleast they should have put there heads together in what they ought to do once they come to power.
Regarding urban-rural divide, it is very ugly. You are at .... but some of us here have come across this divide which is very ugly. In BJP's regime thousands and thousands of farmers have committed suicide far more than those who were killed by terrorists! Tell all of this to the BJP they will give a blind eye.

Lastly, aren't you against criticing political parties as it against protocol!!

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kg,

Oh 'bama, can this really be the end?

Stuck inside this mobile with the dem blues again?

if some good ol' Bob don't tickle your fancy, then try this ...

Sweet home Al-Obama
I'll be comin' home to you

further, the Grateful Dead have this to say:

Al-Obama getaway, getaway
Al-Obama getaway, getaway

32 teeth in a jawbone, Al-Obama trying for none,
Before I have to hit him, I hope he's got the sense to run.
Reason the poor girls love him, promise them everything,
Why they all believe him? He wears a big diamond ring.

Al-Obama getaway, getaway
Al-Obama getaway, getaway
Only way to please me ...
ya just gotta leave and walk away.

Major Domo Billy Bojangles, sit down and have a drink with me,
"What's this about Al-Obama? It keeps a coming back to me.
Heard your plea in the courthouse, Witness box began to rock and rise,
49 sister states all had Alabama in their eyes.

Al-Obama getaway, getaway
Al-Obama getaway, getaway

If it still ain't enough, we'll have to switch to Urdu and post with apologies to my main man Jigar Moradabadi:

kuch is adaa sae aaj woh pahalu-nashin rahae
jab tak hamaarae paas rahae ham nahin rahae

imaan-e-kufr ki baat, al-obama-e-baraq mein
ai ishq shaadabaash ki tanahaa hamin rahae

Pardon this diversion ... :)

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excuse me folks, but here is some more ...

I heard this cry for "openness" on DF a few years ago and groaned ... what, if anything, in India is "open"?

Maverick is right when he says that if the goal was "non-openness" it could have been achieved as a matter of course ... what for example was "open" about Jaswant-Talbott dialog?

What was open in Tashkent? What was open in Shimla? Which planet do these "open-vaadis" live in?

It was all about US-Prem versus US-Bhed ... US haters won ...

If folks had bothered to consider that US-Prem was a Chankian strategy to reduce Paki-Prem among Bottomless Foggies, there may have been a new course charted ...

Instead, we have this ridiculous No-Mard-Land situation where every comrade worth his salt is spouting nonsense on National TV ...

Pay attention to this folks:

India, in its current form, will always suck-up to some power or the other ... it is a given because there is lack of energy security in India ...

this deal would have had India sucking up to #1 dude ...

the folks enjoying the defeat of this deal are enjoying the following victory:

Instead of sucking up to #1 power, India will proudly suck up to #2 or #3 power..."

suck it up and feel proud folks ...

but don't expect accolades for your foresight ... :)

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kg,
It is not merely sucking up but becoming someone's poodle is a big discomfort. For sake of energy security should we join US in attacking persia or allowing them to stage troops from our soil which this LSA is all about!
with best wishes,

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

was India not a "poodle" when it found nothing wrong with a blatant Soviet incursion in Afghanistan?

what exactly is it that makes folks all proud and warm and fuzzy about Indian love affair with Commie Totalitarians?

but, mention the US and all the antennae of self-righteousness are extended at full-salaam ...

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok,
Did we join Soviets in Afghanistan! Similarily we cannot be a part of any US led forces within Persia!
Goron ki table kya ham safe kareege!

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok,
Another aspect: read Vikram Sood's article on his blogs titled "The big picture" where he clearly states US objectives vis-a-vis India. Right now US want to transform its forces into a global cavalier. This is where exactly India fits in! They want us to be part of clean up force/admin force serving under there command participating in conflicts world wide.
What hon. LKA has stated: India has never has a history of attacking nations!
with best wishes,

At 4:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok:


You're still in fine form dude.

I don't quite grok the whole messianic strain in US politics - and I sure can't wrap my head around a skinny black dude as being the new All American Messiah.

OTOH - there's McCain - or Senator Palpatine as some dude on a Dem site called him - determined to out do Dubya in Dubya-ness.

This is batshit weird even for Americans!


At 6:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Anonymous,

I normally do not criticise political parties openly but the BJP's posturing is making me very uneasy. All the other parties are busy talking about this and only the BJP is going around talking about everything but this.

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi kg,

folks are desperate for "change" and Al-Obama is selling them that dream ...

dems have a way of losing elections that were in the bag ... get ready for Prez McCain (&Able) ...


surely, there is large step from this deal to India attacking Iran ... What does Mr. Loh Purush know that we don't?

At 2:54 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Can someone explain to me what junta's problem with the Hyde Act is?

It is an American act of Congress, which has been passed to reconcile the policy shift vis-a-vis India with domestic political realities in the US.

In that sense the Hyde act contains inside it shades of all the complicated prejudices that the Americans have about nuclear power and India.

Do people really expect sitting adminstration officials to renege on their legally binding commitments to the deal before a parliamentary committee?

At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok,
"surely, there is large step from this deal to India attacking Iran ... What does Mr. Loh Purush know that we don't?"

Kindly can you expand a bit more on this?

No one is anti-american here fyi
The more this deal proceeds on its own merits the better it is.
with best wishes,

At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Why is it so that you are putting up an appearance that it is dead? Both you & kg are are exactly doing that. At the larger picture the agreement may go through but at the tactical level the deal may fall. This will reach NSG in a few months time.
with best wishes,
PS - Regarding BJP keeping quite & you being uneasy, some of us are very uneasy about the senior leaders lives! God bless all of them!

At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given a choice between the word of the Pradhan Mantriji and others, including the Loh Purush or the leftie lobbies in India, I would trust Shri Singh over the others. As others have pointed out he has been pretty open about the deal and the need for it and on this I think he is in the right. His commie partners have done what they do best and what is expected of them, play the obstructionist and the role of the sellouts. What is really surprising to me is the stance taken by the loh purush and the people he represents. He is sabotaging something which was begun at his and Shri. ABV's initiative.

Alok_N is in truly fine form, and I agree with him regarding the sucking up that India has to do. We dont have options, and all this talk of national pride does not put food on people's tables and neither does it create jobs. Access to energy does, and this is sufficient reason to go for the nuclear deal. Yes, we will have to concede something and maybe allow american influence over aspects of our foreign policy, but we will never get anything for free, and our need for energy trumps any short term strategic/tactical losses that India may face.

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Faizi,
It is good that Alok brought up the issue of sucking up. Before independence many of kings sucked up to British,post independence we sucked up to Russians, post 2005 we are sucking up to Americans! If this deal does not go through we will suck up to the chinese. Sucking up is a very mild word for bootlicking. Sadly it is in our culture which Alok is proudly claiming to be part of glorious heritage!
Maverick does not like such strong words hence did not bring it up for so long!

I remember the despondency when we were affected by a food crisis but India will always remember what IG did. Of course petrol cannot be grown on trees though if there is will there will be a way.
with best wishes,

P.S - Mzaverick/faizi pardon me for using strong words.

At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Faizi,Alok,
The gist of what I wrote above is this : one should neither oppose(BJP) nor grovel (Congress) in the making of foreign policy.

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Sadly it is in our culture which Alok is proudly claiming to be part of glorious heritage!

Two days ago, the US Congress debated the phrase "It is what it is" ...

my claiming X or disclaiming Y does not make it:

1. true
2. glorius
3. heritage
4. proud

Dude, it is what it is ...

do the Himalayas need me to claim that they are tall?

At 7:01 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Mukunda,

My cunning hindu bania nature tells me that this deal cannot proceed unless the dollar situation stabilises. If we are in a situation where our dollars are worth less and less each day - the deal does not make economic sense.

In my cunning Hindu bania opinion there was a very limited window in which this deal could have gone through with the most profitability from both the Indian and American perspective - and that was just before the fall of the dollar. I privately suspect that the deal itself would have warded off the fall of the dollar for atleast another year or so.

Unfortunately this did not happen and we are left holding the extremely sharp pieces of a shattered deal here. Any effort to cling to these at this point will only harm us. For all practical purposes, we in India have come off the worse for wear here right now - the Americans look a little better off as they have been able to effectively default on their debt to us. This is the kind of internim relief that a debtor enjoys - but the cost is usually counted in terms of their credit history - and the American national credit history is in a big hole now.

It is extremely unfortunate from the perspective of any Indo-US bilateral relations, but I feel we simply have to let it go. At this point we need to simply focus on the NSG negotiation and any further discourse with the Americans from a highly limited perspective. We need to see this as a very very very very expensive fishing trip. There is no quick fix for this. Unless the Americans come to our shores with ships laden with fuel rods from downblended nuclear weapons and agree to a barter trade that adequately makes up the loss we have suffered to our dollar reserves over the last ten months - I don't see how this could be expedited.

The Hyde act sets limits to what the USG can openly do. Typically the executive branch in the USG treats the American Congress as something to wipe its arse on. They go to great lengths to pretend that Congress is the best, most clean, and comfortable brand of toilet paper - monogrammed with little huggable babies or bears and then after Congress has had its stay in the limelight - the executive branch promptly wipes its butt with the legislation. The whole purpose of Congress in the American scheme of things is to legitimise the actions of the executive with a stamp of democratic approval. So I am not overly concerned by the letter of the Hyde act.

The behaviour in the Lok Sabha of the various political parties similarly reflects the political climate in India. I have no cause for quarrel with that either. If Indians felt betrayed by the Hyde act, I think they have paid the Americans back in their own coin - quite literally.

Me personally - I have never been for or against this deal.

My efforts in connection with the deal have been to try and frame the deal less in terms of the NPA inspired language of submission and dominance but rather in terms of stark economic realities. It is an accident of fate, that my chosen language does not portray America is a very positive light and that is perhaps why the NPA have no answer to my questions. I have nothing against the US - I am an Indian - it is not in my nature to have like/dislike a country - take Pakistan - I don't dislike that place - so why would I have any issue with the Americans?

My choice of language was the result of my interactions with people in India and they had indicated to me that the considerations behind the deal of a purely economic nature. I felt assured that the entire dialogue in this dominance and submission language was irrelevant.

In the Indian context, I feel too much has been invested in this language of submission and dominance and too little in the language of economic reality. I suppose this is some reflection of human nature - people innately jump into a pecking order even when we are simply dealing with a matter of give and take.

The Left front deserves applause in my opinion for having elegantly and succinctly stated its opposition to the deal on purely economic grounds. The Left has very clearly stated that the deal only serves the interests of the urban sector in India and does very little of substance for the rural sector. By contrast the alternative energy sources like Solar, wind etc... - low volume, low load sources - are more ideal for rural usage and GoI investment in the indigenisation of these technologies seems woefully inadequate. This a charge that no one inside the GoI can deny and in the language of economic realities - where the agricultural sector still accounts for 50 or so percent of GDP, the Left's charges cannot be ignored. At the present - in my opinion- the rapid acquisition and indigenisation of environmentally neutral rural electrification technologies represents an extremely high priority for India.

By contrast the BJP has completely adhered to utter bullshit about the dominance and submission over India's soverignity. The appeal of this to India's urban populations is questionable and far worse is manner in which the BJP appears completely unprepared to deal with the language of economic realities.

I do not know if the BJP is now seeking to position itself as a party that speaks exclusively for urban India, but frankly the entire focus in their efforts appears to be on the urban sector. While this *may* work for a while in places like Gujurat, I sincerely doubt the viability of this in the rest of India and I feel a deeper thinking on this necessary for the BJP leadership to indulge. If the BJP keeps running down this path - the fortune that Modiji has earned in Gujurat will evaporate in seconds.

I have yet to see a single piece of paper on how the BJP intends to attack issues in the rural sector. I am not sure why the GQ projects were prioritised during the ABV era over nationwide water resource management projects like Garland canal system or even other intermodal transport projects.

I feel they really need to get a move on it. If it has reached a stage where a "compulsive PMO bootlicker", "friend of babus", "lok sabha canteen layabout", "serious tea drinker at press club of India" etc... like me is telling them publicly to do this - then things must be really really bad.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok,
1)Then don't we need a clean break from the past? Why to carry on with hackneyed past?

2) No one is against this deal.or a partership with America but the deal *must be on its own merits*

3) The entire political opposition is to prevent
a) *Indian participation in any future led war started by US of A*
b) * to prevent India becoming a proxy state of the US *

This is but a clever chanakian strategy by our politicians. where do you see emotions in it?

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Beautiful post indeed!
Yes the BJP is a party of rich. My suspicions were first aroused when PM of BJP openly espoused dumping kurta/pyjama for western style clothes. Amongst the BJP very few have any ideas in solving the *rural crisis*/agrarian crisis.
Let me repeat in NDA's time more number of people died of hunger than from bullets.

At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mukunda,

1)Then don't we need a clean break from the past? Why to carry on with hackneyed past?

what we need has nothing to do with what it is ...

we need oil ... and we need strategic vision on how to survive in an oil/diesel crunch ...

This is but a clever chanakian strategy by our politicians. where do you see emotions in it?

where do you see me seeing emotion? ... Please let's not turn this into a DF style pointless back 'n' forth

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok,
Ok point taken let us get back to the topic. I will also take back some of the words(m kindly delete it).

At 7:06 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't see it as a rich v/s poor divide - I see it as a rural v/s urban divide.

The BJP is a national party with a national level organisation. It does not make sense for them to become over absorbed with urban India. That is best left to smaller shiv sena style parties. If it is consolidation of the urban votebanks that the BJP wants they can rely on a proxy to do it.

I understand that most of the money collected in the cities far outstrips the party donations from the rural belt. I also agree that the industrial economies of urban India are better placed to expand - as compared to the traditional agrarian sector in rural India but this does not mean we can write off the entire rural sector.

You might (though I don't personally believe it) be able to do that in parts of Gujurat - but can't extend that to the rest of the country. The rest of India does not have Gujurat's economic dynamism and it does not have Gujurat's family/clan based capital reserves to underwrite large scale urban development projects. You can't take the Modi's success in Gujurat and translate it into something that works at the all-India level without at least listening to India's problems first.

I am growing increasingly worried about the BJP's ability to articulate a national vision that makes any sense at all. This problem is in part the crisis of leadership that has occured due to Shri. Vajpayee's failing health but there is also a major problem of a lack of focus among the BJP's mouthpieces. So much time and effort is being spent on distracting irrelevant crap - the sheer extent of short term opportunism is creating an environment that could easily sink this major national political formation in India.

This is forcing even an apolitical person like me to come out and scream for change.

At 3:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
It looks as if MMRCA will also go the US of A. Then I will scream that it is a sellout!
with best wishes,

At 8:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Mukunda,

I honestly do not see why the Americans can't be allowed to compete for the MMRCA contract.

The only thing that the barred them from competing was a clause that demanded operational familiarity and compatibility with existing systems in the IAF.

At the time this clause was inserted, some people had argued that this clause slanted the competition in the favour of the Mirage 2000 or the Mig 35 and the French or the Russians were going to have a great time palming off a 1970s vintage airplane to us from their junkyards.

I recall a particularly caustic comment by an unreasonable chap about a (now) retired CAS and his alleged "french connection" that was going to accompany a visiting delegation from Dassault.

You know how completely clueless I am about the IAF's idea of inter-operatability, but if the 1970s and junkyard arguments were to be applied to the Mirage 2000, then they could also be applied to the F-16s that are in the fray.

In reality I have never seen a totally fair competition between the F-18, Rafale, Eurofighter and the Mig-35. In each case one has only recieved glossy company brochures and quite a fashion parade going in and out of offices in Delhi. These are hardly circumstances under which an objective evaluation of the platforms can be made.

In the present international environment, I think most combat aircraft manufacturers would welcome a open competition where their platforms will be judged on merit alone.

You are correct to point out that every attempt should be made to remind people that this is a fair competition and not "done deal". All the foreign players should realise that ofcourse and that way we can be sure they will give the competition their best effort possible. I am certain that the owners of these companies will want that.

Frankly as you have seen with the nuclear deal - many people in the US congress opposed the deal because of the problems it could cause in Pakistan.

Given that the President and Congress can pull in different directions - realistically speaking even if the F-18 were to win the MMRCA competition, Congress could very easily - citing unstable Pakistan or regional instability etc... - create Hyde-Act-like environment and introduce parasitic conditions to prevent or poison the sale.

Given the way things are going - who knows it may be a BJP Prime Minister that has to defend himself against charges of inappropriate conduct when such a deal has to be made to go through the Indian parliament.

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
""Given the way things are going - who knows it may be a BJP Prime Minister that has to defend himself against charges of inappropriate conduct when such a deal has to be made to go through the Indian parliament.""

BJP has turned it into such an emotive issue that they have made Congress look like a party of anti-indians. This sharp political divide does not bode good for the country.
Our negotiators also are very clever. Don't you think that they released sub text of the deal and with different flavours to different people!

At 6:31 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

The negotiatiors did not do anything to precipitate this peculiar situation.

In no negotiation process are all the details released. When we make deals with the Russians, we do not release all the details to the Americans or the French or the Chinese. When we make a deal with the Americans we won't be releasing the details to everyone else either. That is just the rules of business.

Typically when India signs a deal with Russia or France or China - people in India do not ask questions because they know these countries are not going to interfere with India's indigenous nuclear program.

When India signs a deal with the Americans - people automatically get worried because America has a long history of trying to meddle in India's program.

Despite years of telling them at every level - the Americans simply have not grasped how offensive Indians find this kind of talk.

It is precisely this kind of talk that surfaced in the utterances of NPA leading lights and State Department old hands when they were asked to comment on the deal by their captive media channels ie. KT, Rediff etc...

Althought the NPA were simply trying to do everything in their power to protect their paychecks -
the Indian public saw that kind of talk in the media and became greatly alarmed. The political parties on the Left and the Right saw this alarm and decided that great political capital lay here and that is where we began our descent into hell.

I am trying really hard right now to cushion the landing.

My problem is that unlike the Left - which has used an economic justification for opposing the deal - the BJP has persented no economic justification for opposing the deal.

The deal is primarily about providing near term energy security for the country. Rather than confront those issues directly, BJP leaders seem to be deriving a sense of safety from India's macroeconomic growth figures. Unfortunately these numbers are a mirage sustained by the very same Americans that the BJP claims to be opposing.

By stating the rural-v/s-urban divide as a the economic core of its political strategy, the Left has assured itself a permanent place in Indian political history.

All the arguments the BJP is making against the deal are from this "soverignity" perspective. Not a single economic argument has been offered. Does the BJP completely lack the skills to articulate such an argument?

What is the problem here?

Is is just the PRO's ineptness or is there a genuine lack of economic thinking in the BJP?

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maverick, You may find this news item interesing:

Gildemeister AG, the euro 1.6-billion ($2.3 billion) German maker of turning and milling equipment, is planning a production facility in India to meet the growing demand for machine tools by a vibrant domestic manufacturing industry.

'We have earmarked an initial budget of euro 10 million (Rs.590 million) to set up a manufacturing base in India to roll out a range of CNC (computer numerically controlled) metal-cutting machines, lathes and tools/dies, with an installed capacity of 400 units per annum,' Gildemeister board member Thorsten Schmidt told IANS here.

'As our machines can be used for dual-use technologies, we are waiting for clearance from the German government to go ahead with our India plans, including transfer of technology. We hope to set up the plant by 2009-10,' he said.

The Bielefeld-based company has short-listed Bangalore, Pune and Delhi as possible locations for setting up the production facility and prepared a blueprint for building a modular plant for capacity expansion in future.

In the run up, Gildemeister has floated its Indian subsidiary - DMG India - to set up a technology centre in Bangalore, with an upfront investment of euro 7 million (Rs.413 million) to provide customised solutions to its customers in the Indian sub-continent and South Asia.

At 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M, I think I understand your view on the 123 deal.

I also agree nothing has change vis-a-vis actual positions. The DCH in me wished/hoped that Hyde meant nought as far as India was concerned. That balloon was pricked rather abruptly.

Btw, was Condy's statement a surprise to GoI?

So here's another DCH question. What does 123 open up for India that signing up to the NPT and all those 3-4 letter agreements dont. I think a Venn chart would be interesting.


At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Btw, I understand your stance on the 123 deal and just to clarify, I guess I would be a pitiful and seeing the luminaries on this board rather weak DCH voice that doesn't quite agree with it. But so be it, its considered par for the course in places I grew up.


That was just a side note. I popped in get your analysis on the latest in west bangladesh :). Whats your assessment sir.


At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
All previous unsigned anon's(apart from pradeep) are all mine. I simply forgot to sign up at the end.

With regards to BJP's stand on this deal let us all wind back to 2004 when INC was ushered into power. Then remember the din created by BJP in the parliament. LKA had gone on record sating that Congress in a short period of time has done a lot except on the security front , which was followed by the rucous in the parliament. In the end BJP decided to boycott the winter session of the parliament.SG then claimed this is unacceptable. All this was followed by a closed door session where PM's and all invited bigwigs of the BJP to discuss. Do not know what happened but in a public address(think to the journalists) LKA happily claimed the only BJP & Congress should come to power(with lots wah waah of course I wish someone had archived his statements). From then on the relations between INC & BJP went all downhill. ABV just prior to July/18 had even cautioned PM to be careful at washington! But everything went hunky-punky after that.

As EAM PM has said that let us all wait for the process to end
with best wishes,

At 10:12 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Pradeepe,

There is nothing surprising about the Rice statement to non-DCH audience.

The only thing surprising is size of the racket being made by the DCH over this. In some ways it showcases exactly how enormously large a country India really is - the sheer volume of random noise tells us how many completely independent noisemakers we have.

There is no need for a Venn diagram.

Quite simply the Indo-US nuclear deal would have increased India's access to technology, nuclear fuel and markets on a global scale. Needless to say each of our trade partners would have cooked up a "hyde act" type setup to insulate themselves from liabilities but fundamentally we would have had the access we have been denied.

Our partners would be paid in a combination of paper currency and market access - both of which we possess in abundance.

Having secured an agreement with the Sardar of the NSG at a time when the Sardar needed it more than we did - we would have been able to secure our energy independence in a 20 year timeframe.

All that will not happen now.

Forces beyond the DCH's comprehension are at work now. We are stuck in a regime of rising carbon energy reliance and what "soverignity" may have been gained by rejecting this deal in this fashion - will be pissed away on securing access to diesel needed to keep our railway engines running.

I want to reserve comment on the situation in Pakistan until I feel more comfortable.


There is in my opinion no excuse for the BJP's inability to articulate an purely economic reason to reject this deal.

By comparison the soverignity argument is hyped 24 hours a day and seven days a week!

I confess myself deeply disappointed in the BJP's behaviour.


We shall see.

This stuff is so bloody unpredictable.

Tomorrow when Sri Ayyappa Engineering in Pune uses this german CNC device to make a cheaper and more reliable special machine tool for Tata. And that SMT allows Tata to cut the cost of the Nano by another 100 dollars, our German friends may reconsider their help.

Nuclear hanuz dur ast.

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,

"There is no need for a Venn diagram.

Quite simply the Indo-US nuclear deal would have increased India's access to technology, nuclear fuel and markets on a global scale. Needless to say each of our trade partners would have cooked up a "hyde act" type setup to insulate themselves from liabilities but fundamentally we would have had the access we have been denied."

So nothing that signing up to the NPT cant give us. And if that is the path to energy security then the elders need to get together and bless it.

I don't understand all the obfuscation and smoke and mirrors in the first place. Well maybe I do. NPT and all those treaties have such a bad stigma associated with them and so needed a paint coat. And the term itself is poison enough. Sort of like those galli gaalis which sound utterly crass in our mother tongues but become very chic in English. Poor analogy maybe. But you get the point.

Did I get that right?

The reason for the disconnect IMHO is because a debate on energy security and the extent to which it needs to be backed up has been bypassed.


At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,

yes, I agree that nothing is certain in the nuke-ki-dalaali ... I was curious that the German Co was making these noises ahead of NSG and was "awaiting Govt clearance" ... Is Germany starting to think like Russia and France? ... are they getting tired of Tamasha-e-AmirKhan?


India can't sign NPT as a nuke state ... there is no room in the treaty as it is worded ...

Sort of like a pregnant woman can't join a virgin's club (even if she promises to get an abortion ... which of course, India will never do) ... so NPT is a non-starter ...

hence, all the focus on Shitty-Bitty ...

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"The reason for the disconnect IMHO is because a debate on energy security and the extent to which it needs to be backed up has been bypassed."

I have heard this call for "debate" before ...

I have on occasion taught courses in energy security to university freshmen ...

I seriously fail to find even one member of parliament in India who could stand up to "debate" even in this undergraduate class ... a proper debate, thst is ... not thumping desks, shouting slogans, storming the pit etc ...

can you name one MP capable of "debating"? ... I really am curious ... such a person may exist but he/she is doing a good job of hiding from TV and newspapers ...

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

while I was responding to Pradeep, I was aware that I have never bothered to write down exactly what is wrong with this nuke deal tamasha ...

here it is in black & white:

Noone in power has the understanding or conviction to pursue a course of action and those few who do have clarity and purpose have no power.

This is the tragedy ... I was hoping that some combination of clear thinkers and power brokers will be able to steer the country ... instead we have a tamasha of egos, ignorance, envy and deceit at the forefront ...

some of the statements I read in the press are breathtaking in the sheer stupidity, naivity and ignorance they display ...

at least spare us the comedy of these luminous beings "debating" in full public view ...

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Isn't it true that INC & BJP one on this nuclear deal or both of them share a common agenda vis-a-vis this agreeement(deal is a smaller part of it). You can word it in a better manner.

with best wishes,

P.S - a commoner like me has become utterly confused listening to anti/pro arguments. Is it delibrate? You are right about the language used by NPA and there disciples within the US admin itself! The agreement is a fine one but the language which several of the elected/unelected representatives of USA use for we Indians is a kind reserved mostly for Yasser Arafat or even Mush. Hence the anger!

Personally one feels that entry to NSG without any preconditions will be icing onf the cake.Ultimately the power begind the stick is far more important than the agreement itself. This agreement will allow greater trade relationshiop with the rest of NSG members. In a decades time when we are far more stronger than we are at the moment, even preconditions like nuclear testing can be assigned to the dustbin. It is the power with the persons that wield the stick is more important, this agreement will propel in the grear power status category.

Of course as N^3 was saying on DF it is akin to a villagewoman walking with a pot of milk on her head, dreaming of what she would do once she bocomes rich.. You know the rest.... Hence we have to be watchful.

At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have on occasion taught courses in energy security to university freshmen ...

I seriously fail to find even one member of parliament in India who could stand up to "debate" even in this undergraduate class ... a proper debate, thst is ... not thumping desks, shouting slogans, storming the pit etc ...

I think it is precisely this attitude that is riling up everyone. MMS seems to be saying or at least coming across "Trust me, I know what I am doing" and ramming the treaty through. It was one thing if he said it as an economist, but when he spins it (or maybe forced to) with his Congress party, it starts raising heckles. Secondly, one could even digest this when the scientific community stood as one person behind the government. Unfortunately, it has not, and past distinguished members of AEC are on record pointing towards the pitfalls in the treaty. A proper response to this by MMS or bureaucrats would have been a debate, a detailed rebuttal. Instead, it was silence and more of "trust us".

Despite what maverick may think, the image of the GoI babu in India doesnt really go hand in hand with the "trust us" mantra that is being peddled. There is a saying called vidya dadati vinayam, instead what we get from bureaucrats is arrogance in their knowledge.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Pradeep,

Signing the NPT amounts to a public global assurance that India will never increase the size of its arsenal.

The NPT is merely something that the Ayatollahs stick in your face - simply accepting the NPT is
no "guarentee" to anything.

The NPT simply symbolises a nuclear apartheid regime that is designed to protect the interests of the carbon fuels mafia. It has nothing to do with energy security.

If the NPT were to be replaced by a more credible treaty towards global nuclear disarmament - I can't imagine why India would reject it.

This is going to take more than a "fresh coat of paint". And as the Americans like the NPT so much they are going to have to do most of the work.

In my personal opinion the credibility of such a treaty would greatly enhanced if the Americans

1) lift the ban on reprocessing of spent fuels.

2) contribute to the global reserve of nuclear fuels by melting down most of their weapons.

As long the NPT remains a technology denial regime that obstructs India's access to Thorium utilisation - there is no disconnect between the GoI's position on the NPT and GoI perception of energy security.

Thorium is India's equivalent of the American Artic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Just as America cannot accept a Kyoto Protocol or other any international treaty which limits its ability to use ANWR in a pinch (for ex. when Americas access of oil is frustrated globally) - India cannot accept an NPT which limits India's ability to access its Thorium reserves.

There is a disconnect between the DCH and the realities of energy security in India.

The DCH lives in a magical India where the war machines of the Indian armed forces somehow magically power themselves up on thin air and protect the country.

I am ashamed to say that despite the efforts of all the disreputables, the public fora remain dominated by DCH who believe such rubbish. It distresses me greatly that we cannot make the DCH realise that they are expecting the impossible from the men at arms.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Mukunda,

The BJP has supported the deal from the outside. They are not keen on bearing any negative political consequences that the deal may entail. Politically speaking this is a fair bargain - I can't think of anything they else they should or could have done.

What is bugging me no end is that in order to distance itself from the negative political fallout - the BJP is using this "soverignity" stick to beat the deal. This is utter bullshit! I am stunned by the BJPs inability to articulate an economic reason for opposing this deal.

It looks right now like the BJP is wholeheartedly endorsing screwing the rural sector to promote the well being of the urban industrial class. Rural voters may find themselves disliking the BJP because of this.

If this keeps up it will look like the entire BJP has been hijacked by a bunch of urban pop-nationalist loud mouths who are completely hostage to their TV sets.

This is a major shift in a party that has traditionally stuck to an uncompromising economic line.

This shift does not bode well for India.

I mean for God's sake it is the Bharatiya Janata Party - not the
Bharatiya Pop Nationlism Party!

Economics matters in India - and we need to see that the BJP at least talk economics.

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Despite what maverick may think, the image of the GoI babu in India doesnt really go hand in hand with the "trust us" mantra that is being peddled. There is a saying called vidya dadati vinayam, instead what we get from bureaucrats is arrogance in their knowledge."

why single out Babus? ... everyone in this deal tamasha seems to be arrogant about their Maha-Knowledge (yours truly included) ...

so, Ananya, are you denouncing Babus out of HUMILITY or your own ARROGANCE?

think about it ... this deal has exposed India as a "Nation of Chatterati" ...

None, and I repeat NONE, of the Talking Heads, Neta, Babu, DF Admin, DF Conspiracy Theorist, TOI Lifafa, Pioneer Patriot, NONE has a solution for the energy security debate ...

everyone is busy trying to look good by dissing everyone else's POV ...

as I said, think about it ...

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Remember when INC came to power most of us had very poor opinion as to what it would do! But down the line see what they have come up. I have my own concerns of this deal , nevertheless let us waut a& watch what BJP will do when it will be in power. Our country have produced enough sons in every age who have put forth new solutions that will solve India's varied problems! They are no lack of such bright sons!

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
last anon was me. lol I forgot so sign off again.
with best wishes,

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Never ever have I claimed to know anything. I belong to the many that say that the deal is very confusing and it is hard to take a stance on it strongly. If this is the case, one would have hoped a better line from babus other than "trust us". Instead for political and personal expediency, they have contributed in no small manner to this tamasha.

Other than Mavericks and some others attempts to paint the "DCH" as the root of all evil, I am quite in agreement with you on most things. Your following statement puts it quite succinctly:

None, and I repeat NONE, of the Talking Heads, Neta, Babu, DF Admin, DF Conspiracy Theorist, TOI Lifafa, Pioneer Patriot, NONE has a solution for the energy security debate ...

At 6:45 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Aah...boss log.. hello.. there is a solution to the energy security debate - I have been saying it here for a while now. Why just me! - the DAE has been shouting about this solution forever now.

Move towards a wider utilisation of nuclear fuels to produce electricity for critical load applications. A captive thorium resource represents the key to long-term energy security.

Increase usage efficiency in the residential sector and work to meet most of this load via small distributed grids that generate and distribute power locally. Develop low volume generators for the rural and suburban sector and make sure that PGCIL grids only occasionally dump power into residential loads.

Keep carbon fuels limited to the transportation sector with an emphasis on extremely low emissions and extremely high efficiencies. Develop transportation infrastructure with diesel usage efficiency in mind.

In the near term - now that the nuclear deal is dead - forget about this soverignity bullshit and focus on dramatically improving the diesel utilisation efficiency of the country. Reduce all non-essential transport usage and optimise intermodal transport grids to minimise wastage of diesel.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alok_n,
A little late in catching up. I agree there are very few technocrat type politicians who are capable of such an energy policy debate. But IMO they are darn smart, the system ensures that. And if they are presented with the the situation shorn of the techno mumbo-jumbo they will make the right call. Anyway, that wasn't really what I was intending to mean. I meant a public debate in the main stream media by the "chatteratti" ala guns-vs-butter.

M, thanks for the inputs.


At 7:57 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Pradeep,

This is a long term vision.

In the short term there is going to be a crunch - it could have been avoided if we managed to get some reactors from the US but now that that is not going to happen - we are going to see a diesel crunch and that is going to translate into a wider energy crunch.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger maverick said...


It looks as if the Americans don't understand that pushing the deal aggressively isn't going to make it go down any better or faster in India.

Like the completely unnecessary and highly ill-advised houbara hunt before it - this latest hamfisted attempt at pushing the deal is going to backfire even more spectacularly.

To first order - the Indians see aggression as a sign of *growing* weakness. That alone will force them to play more cautiously.

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello M, you said:

"The Left front deserves applause in my opinion for having elegantly and succinctly stated its opposition to the deal on purely economic grounds. The Left has very clearly stated that the deal only serves the interests of the urban sector in India and does very little of substance for the rural sector. By contrast the alternative energy sources like Solar, wind etc... - low volume, low load sources - are more ideal for rural usage and GoI investment in the indigenisation of these technologies seems woefully inadequate. This a charge that no one inside the GoI can deny and in the language of economic realities - where the agricultural sector still accounts for 50 or so percent of GDP, the Left's charges cannot be ignored. At the present - in my opinion- the rapid acquisition and indigenisation of environmentally neutral rural electrification technologies represents an extremely high priority for India."

I'm sorry, in what way is this purported to be an "elegantly" framed charge, and why is it being described as undeniable?

It amounts to the same sort of nonsense the Left have been purveying for as many decades as they've inhabited their corner of the Indian political spectrum. Even if we agree with their contention that the deal only serves the urban sector (a debatable assertion in its own right), we are only succumbing to the zero-sum class conflict calculations of the Communists if we accept this as a reason why the rural and agricultural sectors will *suffer* as a result of the deal.

Where is the guarantee that the GoI would invest in the indigenisation of alternative energy resource exploitation, absent the nuclear deal? Why does development at the urban industrial level invariably have to come at the expense of the rural agricultural sector? Shouldn't the prosperity ushered in by a new era of energy security, such as that promised by the nuclear deal, usher in a new era of growth on all fronts? Even the Communists don't believe this zero-sum garbage anymore, as evinced by the recent SEZ-friendly (if ill-fated) action items they've been ticking off their agenda. Such as Nandigram.

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for the BJP not to oppose the deal on economic grounds, because their own economic policies are hardly distinguishable from the present government's in general form. Would you expect them to pursue a significantly different course in economic policy when and if they come to power, from that adhered to by Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram? To that extent they have no quarrel with the economic implications of the nuclear deal; they've openly said that they would prefer to re-negotiate it given the opportunity.

Their only problem with it is the veil of disinformation, secrecy, media manipulation and outright character assassination with which the Manmohan Singh regime has sought to obscure the process of negotiating the deal with the Americans... a shroud that could just as easily conceal unacceptable concessions on India's sovereignty, and strategic prerogatives, as not. If not, then surely the Manmohan Singh regime ought not to have any problem disclosing what has been agreed to in an honest and transparent national debate?

To hear deal-proponents articulate such ridiculous positions as "put your money where your mouth is and conduct a test tomorrow if you're opposing the nuclear deal on sovereignty grounds", only add to the sense that supporters of the deal are grasping at straws to justify their purchase of a very overripe lemon. It's like saying "why should you mind if I defecate on your doorstep tonight, it's not as if you're going to leave the house until tomorrow morning".

At 11:53 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

The basic contention - that India spends much more money developing
developing sustainable high power generation options for industry than it does developing sustainable electricity sources for the rural sector - is a self evident truth. Get the numbers from the budget for the last 60 years if you like but the best one can can make excuses for it - not even the bravest of the brave will dare deny it.

Admitting that the deal is aimed at providing reliable power solutions to the Special Economic Zones, is in my opinion a very healthy thing, because it puts the emphasis on the companies in the SEZ to use this most efficiently. The prime benificiaries of the SEZ are urban areas. Any benifits to the rural sector will be limited for the time being.

The Left Front has never really accepted the logic of the SEZ. They have long argued that against it on various grounds and they have go slow policy with regards to the setting up of these things. You may think they are talking rubbish but at least they seem to be able to make reasonable sounding economic arguments against the deal.

The BJPs economic posturing on the deal is quite bewildering. They argue that the deal is a byproduct of some intricate system of international payoffs that are being made to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. They then go on to allege that the PM and Sonia Gandhi are so keen to accept the payoff that they are willing to compromise on anything. When asked about what they want to do differently - the BJP currently expresses no reservations about the idea of the payoff itself - they merely express a desire to be first in line to take the payoff.
I do not know how long the DCH will be blind to this - but the rest of us already see this as a contradiction in the BJP's holier than thou stance on this issue.

The protest against the
"disinformation", "secrecy", "media manipulation" and "outright character assassination" has only even been made by lower echelon BJP types. The upper echelon of the BJP has never made any such allegations - with reason - because they were very much consulted in this deal making process. The dichotomy in utterances from the various levels of leadership in the BJP reflects the particulars of the BJP's own internal structuring - it is not a reflection of the GoI's handling of the deal.

Tomorrow all the same language and the same allegations will be made against a BJP Prime Minister - this is in addition to labels like "killer of muslim women and babies", "genociders-in-chief", "maut ke saudagar" etc... which I hear are also rather popular in the press. I can very clearly see the need to step away from this kind of talk. The best way to do that is to make sound economic arguments against the deal.

Accepting the need for an economic cost benifit analysis of the deal does not imply anything regarding a "zero-sum game". You can make a zero sum game if you want - but that is your choice - it does not have to be one.

After the Shakti series of tests, NPA inspired voices argued that the BJP had tested a "Hindu Bomb" because this was their way of "waving the trishul" in everyone's face. They claimed that the BJP was simply doing this to "secure its place in history". The NRI SuperHindus at the time bought this rubbish hook line and sinker. They sent a few dollars home and then actually went on to believe that they had saved India from "economic ruin" after the tests - this they had apparently done because "Hindus could now live safely in India".

I am sorry but I just can't buy into such trash.

There was a cost benifit analysis that went into the tests and it had nothing to do with "Hindu pride".

For reasons that defy my limited understanding the BJP is pretty much refusing to make an economic argument against the deal. I cannot fathom why the BJP is seriously hoping that the Congress will let it piggyback on its economic agenda.

Look boss, the only thing that comes out of most BJP peoples' mouths is their complete lack of understanding of the economic aspects of the deal. They can talk for hundreds of hours on "soverignity" "constable singh" etc... but these people seem to have forgotten what the poor sanyasin taught us all was important now - "bijli sadak pani"!


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