Monday, July 27, 2009

Enemy Killer or Suicide pills ?

Last week was full of news about Arihant class submarine. Media was flashing with comments and views about our "achievements" and "advancements" in military and nuclear weaponry. Lots were said about the engineering marvel and indigenous skills in the area of science and technology.

Actually not just the submarine, rather everything from the timing(10th anniversary of Kargil war) to the name("Enemy killer" in sanskrit) were carefully chosen to fit the propaganda machine.

But there was some thing related yet not fitting the overall mood. GAG, The Indian Government's financial audit watchdog, pointed out the massive corruption in Gorshkov contracts. This is yet another major one in a series of such scams associated with defence procurement in the last one year alone.The Arihant was developed as part of a clandestine project called Advanced Technology Vessel(ATV) costing a mind boggling sum of $2.9 billion. Military and other defence entities like RAW have huge funding for their surreptitious projects and operations like this without much accountability or any discussion in parliament. Recently there were reports about RAW, which is riddled with the worst form of corruption and nepotism. Of course, no actions were taken against any of these officers or not even an enquiry was known to have conducted. Anything under the name of national security is given a blank cheque and outright immunity. And its going up and up all the time. In this year's union budget BE, allocation for defence is increased by a margin of 24%. while there is a 23.3 % decline in Agriculture and Allied Activities and 14 % decline on major subsidies.

Its said that with this, India has joined an exclusive club of 6 nations who posses this capability.

But where do we stand when it comes to the issues affecting the ordinary people of this country ? India stands at an abysmal 128 in UNDP ranking. Much behind war torn Sri Lanka(99) and many of the "poor" African countries like Namibia. 42% of Indians cannot read or write. According to world bank, 42% of the Indians live under poverty. In fact 25% of the people earn less than 12 Rs per day. India has a higher rate of malnutrition among the children under the age of 3 than any other country in the world. Income inequality is one of the highest in the world. Now can we think that the situation is actually improving ? sure not ! Contrary to the official claims, the poverty in India has actually been rising for past many years

Why is that even after 60 years of independence, we stand at the rock bottom in these rankings while stand "top" in nuclear weaponry ?

Actually, nuclear weaponry is a colossal wastage of money and effort for countries like India and Pakistan. The only beneficiaries in entire Nuclear business is countries like US who sell this to third world countries like India and Pakistan.

The myth of greatness and deterrence achieved by Nuclear weaponry as put forward by media and governments are totally false.If the spectacular collapse of USSR has shown us anything, its the inanity in greatness of military power. Soviet Union was member of virtually every "club" out there in weaponry and nuclear "advancements". Still, none of these helped them from being shattered in to pieces. Actually they were trapped in to arms race and ruined by the effects of the same.

Deterrence (or hoping the enemy would not attack us because of fear of retaliation) is another myth propagated by Nuclear pundits and right wing media. Nothing could be farther from truth. By its very nature, Nuclear weapons cannot be a deterrence. The time and space confronted with nuclear attacks are minutes or even seconds. It eliminates any chance of retaliation or secondary attack. As former chief of Navy admiral Ramdas had put it, When a missile is coming towards you, the chief Executive or whoever is in charge, will have 50 or 60 seconds to determine whether the missiles carrying flowers, bouquets or greeting from Pakistan or a nuclear warhead. So he will press the button as nobody can take a chance. So such a scenario could rapidly spiral in to a nuclear holocaust. By its very nature, nuclear technology is a dangerous beast which nobody can harness. And worst part is that nuclear weapons cost a lot more than what is being said by the governments and media. The associated safe mechanisms, command and control system, waste management and whole paraphernalia costs an order of magnitude more than what is said.

By any measure, US is the biggest nuclear and military power in the world. Despite being the beter noire, Cuba is not pursuing any nuclear ambition and yet successfully protects its borders and interests from US imperialist agenda.

All these thoughts make more sense now as we are marching towards being a nuclear power house and military partner of US/Israel. Hit by the worst form of recession, US is in need of our cheques in the form of defence bills. Raytheon and Lock Heed Marten are just conduits for this reverse flow of money.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We never forget who we're working for

Today evening, I was listening to channels airing the news about Dr.Kalam being frisked at the airport. Though there is nothing earth shattering about the incident, it did receive a lot of media attention. But this happens with many Indians on a regular basis .

Similar incidents were reported with a lot of people like former Union minister George Fernandes(who was even strip searched in US airport),Film stars like Kamal Hassan and Mammotty at various airports in US. Lets not even talk about the misfortunate ordinary people who happen to have a muslim names in their passport and need to fly to US. Probably this issue was a bit different because it happened in India and the victim was former President himself.
Why is it happening again and again ? the answer is simple. Because we accept it graciously. In a sense we enjoy getting humiliated. Especially when its by US authorities or entities. Most of the people who had to face such issues in the past like Fernandes and Mammmotty were eager to hide it from media gaze rather than protest against it. Even in this case specifically, after getting humiliated like this, Mr.Kalam did not cancel the trip or utter a word against the violation of protocol or the sheer arrogance shown by the Airline staff. What is even more horrifying is, public came to know about this after three months of the incident only. So its very natural that incidents like this continue all the time.

Regardless of all our hubris, we accept ourselves as inferior to the Americans or someone who is "perceivably" superior to us in any form. Historically our society has been a cast and class ridden one and we were mostly comfortable with the idea of others being "more equal than others" in the classic Orwellian terms. Exactly because of this mindset, we were "receptive" to the British colonial rule also.

But what if it was not done by an American airline ? What if it was by some Airline from Pakistan ? or Sri Lanka ? what would have been the response ?

Definitely things would have been different. Quid pro quo actions would have come out promptly. Strong words and deeds would have come from every element of Indian society(Like how Manmohan was eager to confront Zardari right in front of the media in Russia )

So where is the border for our patriotism ? our integrity ?

Our patriotism, nationality , integrity and everything else vanishes after the border of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal(Yes, same Nepal with whom we protested arrogantly because after swearing in, the Previous prime minister of Nepal visited China before visiting India).

Funniest part of the story is that all this happened when Mrs.Hillary was visiting India and were finalizing the deal which will effectively open the door for their mass murderers (a.k.a weapon manufacturers) like Boeing and Lock Heed Martin orders worth billions of dollars and permission for the US authorities to inspect the installations for verifying the use of the same. Hopefully, learning lessons from this, during such inspections our defence minister would be agreeing meekly for a strip search to enter the premises and avoid a lot of noises like this.

And I just thought of the base line which Lock Heed Marten use in their advertisements,

..............We never forget who we're working for ......

Yes, You don't but We Do. And that IS our problem.