Feb 28, 2007

Maps: LTTE's Diminishing Areas

Map published in February 2007.

Map published in September 2006.

The Mindset of Some Educated Indian Muslims.

Afghan film-maker Siddiq Barmak, who shot to fame after making Osama, an avant-garde film in the post-Taliban regime, is going back a tad disappointed from India this time round.

After the screening of the film at the Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia, students raised a barrage of questions against the film-maker's anti-Taliban stand. Osama exposes the extremities of the Taliban regime.

"I was completely shocked to find that most of the students were pro-Taliban. They wanted to understand why I made a movie that depicted the Islamic outfit in a negative light. According to them, both America and the Taliban can be placed on the same footing," he said. The film that tells the true story of an Afghan girl brought up as a boy to face the exigencies of the system, exposed the hardships that most girls and women faced during the regime.

"It saddens me that the youth in India have such a confined mindset. I don't know where this stems from. All I can think of is that this is the result of lack of experience. I told them that if they ever went through a similar situation, they would definitely think differently," he added.[DNA]

I wonder why these people are wasting their parents hard earned money by getting an university education. They will be better off attending some Islamic Madrassas.

Related Link: Osama - The Film.

Are You A Fundamentalist Christian?

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

Now that was about the militant fundamentalist Christian. Now it will be interesting to read such 'gems' from other religions too.

Lalu, the Tech Guy

Union Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's IT plans for the Indian Railways this year is something to talk about. These are to be implemented by the railways and also Indian IT companies under the public-private partnership model.

  • 6,000 automatic ticket vending machines to be installed in major cities

  • Tickets at the press of a button by using smart cards or currency coins

  • Monthly Season Ticket through Internet service to be free

  • Common website to integrate the 50 different websites of the Railways with e-payment and e-tendering

  • Train-enquiry call centres in all four regions with SMS alerts; the call centres will also provide ticket, hotel and taxi booking services

  • Hand-held computers for train ticket examiners (TTEs) in reserved coaches to check seat availability and allot berths to wait-listed passengers

  • E-tickets issued through the 'e-seva' facilities of state governments, post-offices, petrol pumps and ATMs

  • Central Railway to undertake a pilot project of issuing daily and season tickets through multipurpose smart cards

  • Modern signalling systems to be developed; Automatic Block Signalling System for junctions with heavy traffic

  • Commercial portal to attract traffic for filling up vacant seats

  • Freight Operation Information System (FOIS) modules to be integrated, ERP packages for zonal railways and production units

  • Common website to integrate 50 different websites of Railways with e-payment and e-tendering [B-S]

What Lalu did during the last three years.

In the three years between his first and fourth budget, the Indian Railways, India’s largest employer, has seen an unprecedented improvement in performance, managing the impossible by balancing populism with efficiency.

Lalu Prasad took charge of the Indian Railways in May 2004. Between then and 2007-08, the Railways surplus shot up from Rs 880 crore to Rs 11,450 crore.

In the same time-frame, he would have achieved a 42 per cent increase in freight tonnage and a 73 per cent rise in freight earnings. Not surprisingly, his earning per net tonne kilometre is expected to go up from 72 paise in 2003-04 to 91 paise next year.

Prasad's biggest contribution, of course, is in achieving efficiency gains by bringing down the share of total working expenses in the Railways' gross traffic earnings from 92.6 per cent in 2003-04 to 79.6 per cent in 2007-08.

No other railway minister has managed to achieve such a dramatic turnaround. Also, significant is the expected rise in net revenue to Rs 16,022 crore, up from Rs 4,148 crore in 2003-04.

Investments, too, grew steadily. As a percentage of gross working expenses, the Railways' investments are expected to go up from 32 per cent in 2003-04 to 57 per cent in 2007-08.

On the passenger revenue front also, Prasad has maintained robust growth - a 49 per cent rise in passenger earnings from Rs 13,460 crore to Rs 20,075 crore in this period. Earnings per passenger kilometre are also expected to go up from 25 paise to 26 paise.

Lalu’s performance in passenger traffic has not been as eye-catching as in freight traffic. Perhaps the advent of low-cost airlines and populist compulsions have played a role here.[B-S]

A Reality Check for the Congress Party

Here is a reality check for the Congress Party from the Business Standard.

The Congress party must be feeling as if it has been whacked on the head by an iron cricket bat. First, along came the unexpected inflation numbers in January and February and rocked the government back on its heels. These were followed, like Othello by the bear, by the unexpected (and unwelcome?) arrest of the redoubtable Ottavio Quattrocchi, a close friend of the Gandhi family at least until his involvement in the Bofors scandal became known. His arrest was foolishly kept a secret for nearly three weeks by the government. The heavens would not have fallen if it had come clean. Now it looks as if was trying to cover up something in which it had no hand. But these are piffling matters compared to the electoral defeat in two of the three states that have held elections, namely Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur. Congress faces may look brave but there is a quake in the hearts as Congressmen and women ask themselves: is what happened to the BJP in 2004 going to happen to us as well? Is there nothing that satisfies voters? Will incumbents always be voted out, no matter what they do? It certainly is beginning to look that way.


The immediate consequence of the (mostly expected) defeats in Punjab and Uttarkahand is that the Congress has lost power in all the states in North India, barring Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. Since it has no chance of coming to power in UP in April, it is now certain that it will go into the 2009 Lok Sabha elections with a clear handicap. In the South, it has only Andhra Pradesh and in the West only Maharashtra. It is unpopular in both states. In the East, it is in power in a few states that do not make much of an impact on national politics. In short, Congress party members can be forgiven for looking glum. Apart from everything else, this reduces the party’s voting strength in the electoral college for the presidential elections, due in July, and the Congress may not therefore be able to get its candidate in as the next President. Everything now hangs on Uttar Pradesh. If the party does not improve its performance in that state, heightened political activity is going to dominate the national calendar more than it has done in the past 33 months. Among many other things, the party’s drum-beaters could turn on the “economic reformers” in the government. [

Feb 27, 2007

Quiz: Where was this photograph taken?

Can anybody tell me where was this photograph taken and what is happening here? No googling please!

The Punjab Poll Signals

The Consolidation of the Hindu Vote Bank

The results are in for the latest round of state elections and if they are any indication then the silent consolidation of the Hindu vote bank in favour of the BJP is very much on. With state elections still to be held in UP, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Municipal elections in Delhi, this consolidation is only going to consolidate further.

It started with BJP’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh Municipal elections where the BJP won the majority of the municipalities. This was dismissed as a one-time phenomenon because the BSP didn’t contest and as a result of this the urban upper-castes and Dalits voted for the BJP.

After this, in the Maharashtra Municipal elections, the Shiv Sena-BJP combine was voted back to power in the BMC polls. The BMC results were dismissed as another one-time phenomenon and nothing to be bothered about because
Marathi voters had voted according to BMC traditions.

But can the signals emanating from the urban Hindu voters of Punjab who have in fact saved the Akali-BJP combine from sitting in the opposition once again by voting solidly for the BJP be dismissed again as an one-time phenomenon? The outgoing CM of Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh is completely baffled by the choice of Punjab’s urban voters for whom his govt. as he claims, has done lot.

Why have urban Hindu voters of Punjab rejected the Congress despite the Congress govt doing a lot for them? Are the Congress’s socio-communal policies the reason? Are the Congress-led UPA’s unscientific reservation policies favouring OBCs and their single-point agenda of appeasing the Muslims at any cost silently working in favour of consolidating the Hindu vote bank benefiting the BJP? In my opinion this is the case because logically shouldn’t an affluent Hindu vote-bank vote for the Congress if they had benefited from the economic policies of the state Congress govt.? By rejecting the Congress and voting solidly for the BJP (BJP won 19 of the 23 seats they contested), urban Hindu voters have again unambiguously signalled that they are against the socio-communal policies of the Congress-led UPA govt. at the Center. This is further corroborated by the fact that the Punjab’s rural voters who are mainly Sikhs traditionally voting for the Akalis this time have voted for the Congress in large numbers.

This conclusion can also be credited to some extend apart from price rise and anti-incumbency for the Congress debacle in a fast industrialising Uttarakhand with a solid upper-caste Hindu vote bank that has traditionally backed the BJP from the mid 1980s.

The Congress has used the Muslim minority only as a vote bank by pandering to the whims and fancies of their Mullahs. They knew from the start once you satisfy the Mullah the vote bank was theirs. This is why we saw the Haj subsidy, overturning of the Shah Bano judgment, etc and nothing specific to uplift the community. In 1992 if PVN had pandered to the Mullahs by dismissing the BJP govt headed by Kalyan Singh and thus saved the Babri Masjid, today the Muslim vote bank would have been solidly behind the Congress come what may. It is because of the ability of the Muslim vote bank to vote en bloc, the Congress is trying assiduously to woo them back in the form of reservations, implementation of Sachar report, delaying Afzal’s execution, vacillating on Islamist terror, etc and not because of any newfound love for them. Unfortunately the Congress is yet to understand the Muslim psyche which is never forgive and never forget. If the way the Muslims of Mumbai voted in the BMC polls is any indication - en bloc for the Samajwadi Party candidates – then the Congress is yet to get it.

The next big signal on the consolidation of the urban Hindu votes in BJP’s favour will be the Delhi Municipal elections later this year. With the Congress state govt. committing near harakiri with its Delhi Master Plan, it is only a matter of time before Delhi has a BJP govt.

This madness of the Congress party is paying rich dividends to the BJP. If this continues BJP can have its cake and eat it too. In other words the BJP’s return to power at the center in 2009 or sooner - with a little or no help from friends and no toil - is a foregone conclusion.

Feb 16, 2007

Nailing Subterfuge in the Age of Interent

It started with replies to my comment that I made in a post by Sriram on Bangalore's space problem. I had mentioned that the way communal forces are gaining ground in Bangalore and rest of Karnataka, the army surely would have a hard time on Bangalore's congested roads during an emergency like riots that occurred recently. I also mentioned that it would take two to tango for communal riots to occur. "Apollo" and "Reason" disagreed and Apollo gave me this reply:

Apollo's comment:
The media was loathe to admit that and tried to cover for their comrades by fabricating fictitious incidents about two communities clashing.

The only two participants in the violence where the mobs bussed in for the rally and the Police trying to bring the situation under control.

unfortunately you seemed to have taken the pseudo-secular media's propoganda line as cardinal truth.

Now, knowing how violence is an integral part of the growth strategy of the angelic Sangh Parivar, this just didn’t make sense. As I can't read Kannada, I had to go by what the Hindu-hating pseudo-secular venom spewing English media reported. This is what most of them reported:

Muslims protesting against the execution of Iraq's toppled president clashed with police on Friday, ransacking shops owned by Hindus and burning at least 15 cars.

Protesters at a rally yesterday of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps) then attacked shops owned by minority Muslims and stoned vehicles, forcing police to fire on rampaging crowds.[The Age]

Now that was good old Hindu-hating pseudo-secular venom spewing English media type of reporting on the angelic Sangh Parivar. But as the above news is from the Hindu-hating pseudo-secular venom spewing English media it is propaganda and not to be trusted. So I did a bit of googling for just five minutes and what I found will not be music to someone’s ears.

Firstly lets us hear from someone near ground zero.

On friday a peaceful Muslim protest against the killing of Saddam Hussein turn into a violent riot. They were burning cars, distroying (sic) shops and throwing stones on people. During the madness the Muslims also distroyed (sic) some Hindu property and holy places. I live in Muslim area in Bangalore, but our neighbourhood was peaceful until Sunday.

On Sunday the Hindu fundamentalist party organised a protest against the Muslim protests of Friday. The protest was mainly taking place in our neighbourhood, and it became soon violent. More than 60 people were injured, over a dozen vehicles were torched, several two-wheelers and hundreds of shops damaged, nearly 30 houses looted, five chicken shops and 15 houses burnt, and places of worship stoned. There were young men hitting people with swords and knifes.[
Soja Valjus]

Now can we trust that? Oh no we can't because that blogger is a foreigner living with Muslims and working in a Muslim school in Bangalore. She certainly has concocted all that to discredit the angels from the Sangh Parivar.

Now let us see what a Hindu had to say:

Mr. Santosh Kumar P’s report:

My friend's version of what happened in Bangalore over the past 4 days. I was not there to witness it and he was physically present to tell me what happened. And this is what he had to say - Firstly the Muslims took a procession, condemning Sadam Hussein's death, a little too late though. On the way they pelted stones on a temple on "Seppings Road". They broke the fiber glass which was used to cover the goddess' idol. In the meantime, a "Virat Hindu Mahasabha" was scheduled 2 days later. So there were banners and other posters which were also brought down along with pelting stones on temples. So there was curfew on that day.Next on the day of "Virat Hindu Mahasabha", there was a rally organized. The procession as such was peaceful for sometime and then hell broke lose. They systematically brought down anything Muslim in the entire cantonment area. After that Section 144 was called and the streets were filled with police and CRPF. But this happened when all the damage had already happened. It more looked like it was well planned. Like the first scene from Nayak, where the politician lets everything to happen as he wants his votes.[

Now can we trust this version? Or as it is not an eyewitness account it must be another concocted story to discredit the angels a.k.a the Sanghis.

Let see if anyone else can corroborate the above statement. Here is one Mr. Satish agreeing with Mr. Santosh Kumar P’s report.

“Yes, I did heard (sic) the same version from my journalists' friends. The politics in Karnataka has become ugly”.[ibnlive.com]

I think the above flagged blogpost and reports are more than sufficient to refute the propaganda that the Sanghis had no hand in the Bangalore violence. In the age of the Internet truth will prevail ultimately.

I am really dismayed by the way educated middle class Indians are falling hook, line and sinker to communal crap. Why are they blind to see the danger to our secular fabric from fascist, jihadi organisations like Sangh Parivar, SIMI, ISS, etc? As India is a country with extreme diversity, only a pluralistic and secular society can safeguard the unity of our motherland.

Feb 14, 2007

On Punjab State Election, Exit Polls and the News Channels

The Punjab assembly election with 72% turnout is over and the news channels have put out their versions of exit polls. Exit polls of ‘Star News’ and ‘NDTV’ show the Akali-BJP combine winning a narrow victory with 60 plus seats while HT-CNN-IBN exit poll first gave the Congress 53-63 seats and the Akali-BJP combine 47-57 seats and later made it 50-60 seats each. ‘Times Now’ is predicting 53-61 seats for the Congress and 51-59 seats for Akali-BJP front. ‘CNN-IBN’ and ‘Time Now’ are saying it is too close to call.

During the day when polling was on, NDTV was telecasting what they called “Insta Poll” where they were giving up-to-date information on which political front was leading. The election commission has filed a
FIR against NDTV for allegedly violating the electoral law.

The Punjabis have been like the Keralites till now – that is chucking out the incumbent government in every poll. If the ‘Star News’ and ‘NDTV’ exit polls - based on sample size of 13,000 and 47,000 respectively - are to be believed then this state election is really no surprise. On the other hand the HT-CNN-IBN exit poll based on a sample size of just 5217 respondents tells us that the incumbent government has defeated anti-incumbency and won a victory based on performance.

For NDTV getting this exit poll is very important. Infact their reputation is on the line. For some time now they have been getting egg on their face and had to eat crow every time they tried to forecast state or national elections and had to actually stop doing it to save further embarrassment. So much so that the father of Indian Psephology Dr. Prannoy Roy was reduced to calculating the averages of seats predicted by other channels! In the just concluded BMC polls, NDTV had - after a very long time tried their hand in predicting elections once again and - correctly predicted Shiv Sena-BJP combine coming back to power. Getting this right must have emboldened them to start forecasting polls again.

I don’t understand why the people who got the exit poll for the caste-ridden Bihar state election absolutely right had to modify their figures as mentioned above. CNN-IBN has been on cloud nine ever since they got the Bihar state exit poll right. Could this be the beginning of the end of CNN-IBN’s exit poll predicting programmes?

What is surprising is that no one has predicted anything significant for BSP in a state where 30 percent of the population is Dalit and when the BSP is the fastest growing political party in India.

As for me I am looking forward to see Navjot Singh Sidhu defeating Singla and create history by being the first convict to be ‘duly’ elected to the Indian Parliament by the public.

Here is something we all can predict. If the Congress wins then the credit will automatically go to Sonia Gandhi and in case they are chucked out then Arminder Singh will be made the fall guy automatically.

BJP’s Arun Jaitly has been very lucky in winning most of the states he has managed till now. Will he be lucky here too?

On February 27 we will know who will have the last laugh in Punjab.

Feb 10, 2007

Still Learning to Fly

Air traffic in India is growing annually by about 7.7 per cent and is expected to double to 50 million passengers by 2010, according to industry estimates. But the industry is plauged by inadequate infrastructure, flight delays and cancellations. This is resulting in frayed nerves at the airports and in the flights.

A security report prepared by a leading airline documents an instance when passengers tired of waiting for their aircraft to receive clearance to land, gathered outside the cockpit, forcing an emergency landing...

'Last month, a passenger opened an emergency exit to soothe his nerves. More recently, two passengers tried to open the doors of an aircraft while it was moving on the runway,' the study mentioned.

'First time fliers are eager to know about the aircraft and complications first hand as they would do in a train or bus,' ....

A passenger broke the arm of a flight attendant recently. 'Sometimes female employees have their clothes torn by unruly people inside airports,' ....

Experts opined that owing to the security risks, airline staff must be allowed physically restrain such rowdy passengers.

'There are times when reason fails..Some foreign airlines now carry on board plastic handcuffs for this purpose,'....[M&C]

One more gift to India from India's Commies.

Stephen S Roach on India's Economy

Stephen S Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, returning from his fourth trip to India in three years:

“I am returning from India with great enthusiasm. India has made solid progress on two counts — savings and FDI — and infrastructure development seems set to follow. These are breakthroughs that can unshackle India’s greatest strengths — a high-quality stock of human capital and the magic of its entrepreneurial spirit."

“What blew me away were the corporate and entrepreneurial stories. For all the buzz over China, one of the great paradoxes of the world’s greatest development story is that it only has a handful of truly world-class companies. By contrast, India has a much deeper and broader stable of very powerful businesses. Moreover, it’s not just IT services - it’s also telecom, pharmaceuticals, energy, steel, and auto components.”

“I would compare India’s corporate leaders favourably with their counterparts in any other country in the world. Not only is this a huge advantage when compared with China, but it is likely to be a major plus for India as it fights for market share in the global competitive sweepstakes in the years ahead,” Roach said. [

Feb 7, 2007

Stratfor on India's Defence Industry

Stratfor came out with this article when the sixth biannual Aero India Aerospace and Defence Exhibition is being hosted at the Yelahanka air force base from Feb. 7. Its a reminder of India's continuing rise as a military power.

India is in the midst of a dramatic military modernization program that, in business terms, equates to billions of dollars in defense acquisitions. The sixth biannual Aero India Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, set to begin Feb. 7 at Yelahanka air force base, is an indication of the magnitude of India's military revamp. More than 400 companies are going to the exhibition in hopes of attracting Indian defense dollars.

And at no time is India more adept at trade than when multiple parties vie for its favor. Consider the ongoing competition for Indian attention between Washington and Moscow, which India is using to attempt to extract major nuclear concessions from both parties. On Dec. 18, 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act. Getting the U.S. Congress to change existing laws on selling nuclear supplies to a nonsignatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was a crucial step. Washington and New Delhi now are in negotiations to solidify the deal by drafting a binding treaty, dubbed the "123 agreement." On Jan. 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin countered the U.S. move by signing an agreement with New Delhi to build four new nuclear reactors in India.

Moscow and Washington's competition for New Delhi's attention extends to the defense sector. India is about to begin indigenous licensed construction of the Russian RD-33 thrust-vectoring engine, a definitive leap for Indian jet engine production (though India already produces the base R-33 engine for its existing MiG-29 fleet). The Moscow-based Chernyshev machine-building plant will supply 20 new 18,000-pound thrust RD-33 engines for trials at a cost of about $25 million. Then, under a $250 million deal with Rosobornexport and St. Petersburg-based Klimov, India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) will manufacture 120 RD-33 series 3 extended life cycle jet engines. For its part, Boeing Co. made an offer Feb. 3 that involves the joint development of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which has not yet been sold abroad.

But the F/A-18 and the MiG-35 (for which the RD-33 engine is built) are only two of the aircraft that will be on exhibit at Aero India. The U.S. F-16, Swedish SAAB Gripen, French Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon also will be among the designs. Along with the ongoing multirole fighter plane competition, India also is interested in helicopters -- a competition not to be underestimated, as the current head of the Indian air force is the first helicopter pilot to hold the office.

Meanwhile, India already is set to receive the MiG-35 carrier variant, the MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB, the two-seat trainer. The order could be for as many as 46 airframes if they are selected for fielding on India's new carrier, the INS Vikramaditya. The MiG-35 (the export version of the MiG-29) and the MiG-29K have high RD-33 engine compatibility that India would certainly consider when making future purchases.

But defense contractors will hardly limit themselves to what India thinks it needs. Boeing plans to bring a C-17 Globemaster III transport, for which export deliveries are in the works for the British, Canadian and Australian air forces. Boeing's arrangements with Canada in particular demonstrate the company's willingness to shift a portion of the production abroad in order to seal a deal. Not to be left out, Lockheed Martin will display the latest version of the C-130, the transport's "J" upgrade. The acquisition of either of these aircraft would dramatically increase India's airlift capacity.

Boeing also is set to display the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft -- the replacement for the long-serving P-3 Orion. The new aircraft is based on 737-800ERX airframe but has yet to progress beyond the design phase.

Raytheon's booth also will include some hot ticket items. With the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and its surface-launched counterpart on display, some of the U.S. Air Force's best assets could be in the offering.

Despite the outpouring of equipment and offers, India is just as interested in the degree of domestic production it can negotiate as it is in the platforms it can acquire. Though the acquisition stage of New Delhi's military modernization is important, India is building its defense industry for the future. The country's long-term goal is to design and build a world-class multirole fighter that can compete with the best the world has to offer.

HAL's extensive hands-on experience with older engines -- licensed production of the AL-55I for its indigenous jet trainer, engines for several generations of MiGs and Su-30MKI engines -- and Jaguar and Mirage 2000 overhauls and upgrades is significant. Although it had serious trouble with an indigenously designed engine for its light combat aircraft, HAL has at least a decade of extensive jet engine production experience. Coupled with hands-on production experience with RD-33 engines for the MiG-35s or the General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans for the F/A-18E/F, this would give Indian designers an intimate understanding of some of the best jet engines on the market.

With the fielding of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile (jointly developed with Russia) and the second test of its domestic atmospheric intercept system scheduled for June, India's current round of acquisitions should be seen as the latest development for an already robust Indian defense industry.

Pakistan can hardly be pleased. Already at a strategic disadvantage, Pakistan has a comparative lack of strategic depth and limited resources that keep it from being competitive with India. Nevertheless, if Pakistan can acquire new F-16s from the United States, it would help maintain the military balance -- for now. With continuing developments in India, Pakistan's need for the F-16s Washington has offered but not yet agreed to deliver will only increase -- they are the best Islamabad can hope for at the moment. Beijing's new J-10 fighter would be a good substitute, but not quite as good in terms of the technology, sensors or accompanying armaments (such as the AMRAAMs being dangled before New Delhi) as what Pakistan could negotiate with the United States.

Essentially, when the United States and Russia vie for India's favor, India wins. When the defense industry sniffs out large lucrative contracts, India wins. And when India wins, Pakistan loses.[Stratfor]

Getting Away With Murder?

As expected the Professor Sabharwal murder case is going the Jessica Lal way. Witness after witness is turning hostile even when the hostile witnesses in the Jessica Lal case are doing the rounds of the courts for turning hostile.

It is very clear from the developments that the witnesses have been bought off and if justice has to prevail, this case should be handed over to the CBI and transferred out of MP. For the late professor’s son the Supreme Court is the last ray of hope. But I don’t think he will get justice there too if the recent SC ruling in the Navjot Singh Sidhu case is any indicator.

The Prof. Sabharwal murder case has some similarities with the road rage death case involving cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu and his friend. The victims in these cases died because of severe trashing inflicted by the accused. Prof. Sabharwal died almost instantly whereas Gurnam Singh died later in the hospital.

While staying Sidhu’s conviction the Supreme Court made the
following observations:

One, the FIR was unclear as to who dealt the killer blow to the victim, Gurnam Singh and two, the medical report was not categorical on the cause of death whether it was caused by heart attack or brain hemorrhage.

Now even a schoolboy would tell you these reasons are at its stupidest best. It remains to be seen whether the SC will ultimately set Sidhu and his friend free on this basis or not. If yes, then the killers of Prof. Sabharwal can argue on this basis and easily go scot-free.

Soon after the Professor’s murder, the state govt. was determined to shield the culprits who belonged to the ABVP, the youth wing of the ruling BJP. It was only because of media pressure the real culprits were arrested. Now it remains to be seen whether the media will still play the same role it played in the Jessica Lal case or stay neutral.

Indications till now are not that good. If how the media handled the
Sanjay Joshi sex CD case is any indicator then Himanshu Sabharwal will be fighting a lone battle with the media being there only to report and not to take up a crusade on his behalf. It is said that only because of intense pressure from the RSS, the media organisations stayed away from exploiting the sex CD for TRPs.

Cartoon Speak: How to Bite the Dust

It's all your fault Raj. We thought you'll take on the Shiv Sena
"It's all your fault Raj. We thought you'll take on the Shiv Sena".

Courtesy: The Hindu

The Congress Party is in the habit of exhibiting their arrogance of power from time to time and each time they do it they bite the dust. The latest was in the run up to the municipal polls in Maharashtra. Logically Congress and NCP being coalition partners should have joined hands and fought the polls together especially when the alliance was returned to power in the state assembly election only because of them going to polls together. Not only that after returning to power, the alliance has been on a downhill spiral - from power cuts in Mumbai City to farmer suicides in Vidarbha. But the overconfident and arrogant Congress Party felt no need to have an alliance with the NCP and spurned all offers from the NCP for an alliance. The Congress didn’t want to give any foothold to NCP in their Mumbai ‘bastion’.

On the other hand a weakened Shiv Sena took along its partner the BJP and despite Raj Thackeray walking out of Shiv Sena, the coalition was able to hold onto its vote bank.

The difference between the two coalitions is that one has mastered the art of coalition but the other despite putting up a viable coalition of secular and castiest parties is still to learn the art of coalition politics.

The postmortem has revealed that it was this arrogance of power on the Congress party’s part that has prevented the 'secular' coalition from dislodging the 'communal' coalition from BMC. So much so that the Congress will be able to rule only one municipality and that too with NCP’s blessings. Had they fought as a coalition, about 60 more seats would have been in their kitty.

The secular vote was further divided when the Muslims voted en masse for the Samajwadi Party because of the so-called witch-hunt of Muslims by the Maharashtra police after the 7-11 serial train bombings. The brutal Khairlanji killing of Dalits – in which the accused are fellow upper-caste villagers having allegiance to a local BJP politician - has ensured the Dalit vote moving to Dalit parties like BSP and various factions of RPI. BSP’s performance has been particularly impressive.

One heartening aspect of the BMC poll was the victory of apolitical Adolph D’Souza in Juhu’s 63rd ward.

Feb 5, 2007

How A Sangh Parivar Hero Died.

Karan Thapar in his Sunday column in the Hindustan Times has written about the hanging, cremation and immersion of the ashes of Sangh Parivar heroes and the killer of the Mahatma, Nathuram Godse and his accomplice Narayan Apte. This he got from an eyewitness source, which he refuses to reveal.

Godse, I’m told, emerged from his cell looking somewhat shaken. In comparison, Apte appeared stronger. As they were taken to the scaffold, Godse, in a weak hesitant voice, called out ‘Akhand Bharat’. Apte completed the slogan with greater spirit and resolve, proclaiming ‘Amar Rahe’. But beyond that both men were silent. No doubt they had other pressing matters on their mind.

The two were hanged simultaneously. Apte died instantly. Godse’s body seemed to wriggle and writhe for a while.


Godse and Apte were cremated within the hour inside Ambala Central Jail. The DM and his staff were under instructions from Delhi to ensure that the cremation followed immediately. (Later the site was ploughed over so no one could identify it). As soon as it was over the same team of officials took charge of the ashes. In weapon carriers, with a contingent of armed police forprotection, they drove towards the Gaghar River.

As my source tells the story, the convey proceeded in a deliberately haphazard and misleading fashion so as to throw off anyone on their tail. First they headed towards the Ghagar, then away from it, then back to the river. They drove upstream only to reverse and head downwards. Finally, when they were confident no one was following, they stopped and the ashes were hastily immersed.

“To be honest”, my source added, “I don’t think any of us could have found the place again. We had driven around in such a deliberately confusing fashion no one could be sure where we were or how we got there.”

Three things emerge from this eyewitness account. The hanging was swift (though in Godse’s case less than clinical) and was promptly followed by the cremation and disposal of ashes. This was done with precision and in a carefully calculated way to ensure no one could identify the location and thereafter build memorials. Third, for what it counts, Apte met his death with somewhat greater fortitude than Godse.[HT]

Knowing the types that make up the Sangh Parivar, I just hope this revelation doesn’t put Karan Thapar’s and his source’s lives in danger.