Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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India: an Empire in Denial

Whither India? Two Views -
Top Down and Bottom Up

14 September 2008

"...More than 60,000 Americans work in India today. The largest US embassy in the world is its mission in New Delhi, with more than 550 expatriate Americans supported by 2,500 local staff. Indian back-office companies service American banks, mortgage issuers and healthcare providers..." Ravi Veloor, StraitsTimes, 12 September 2008

"..What we�re witnessing is the most successful secessionist struggle ever waged in independent India � the secession of the middle and upper classes from the rest of the country. It�s a vertical secession, not a lateral one. They�re fighting for the right to merge with the world�s elite somewhere up there in the stratosphere... to equate a resistance movement fighting against enormous injustice with the government which enforces that injustice is absurd. The government has slammed the door in the face of every attempt at non-violent resistance. When people take to arms, there is going to be all kinds of violence - revolutionary, lumpen and outright criminal. The government is responsible for the monstrous situations it creates...does this mean that people whose dignity is being assaulted should give up the fight because they can�t find saints to lead them into battle?... " 'It�s outright war and both sides are choosing their weapons' Arundhati Roy in conversation with Shoma Chaudhury, March 2007

Bottom Up

Delhi shopping areas hit by bombs
& Indian intelligence gropes in the dark

Top Down

End of India�s Nuclear Winter? & The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal: The End Game Begins

Delhi shopping areas hit by bombs
BBC Report, 13 September 2008

The aftermath of the blasts in Delhi

Five bombs have ripped through busy shopping areas of India's capital, Delhi, within minutes of each other, killing at least 20 people, police say.

The explosions, which also injured about 90 people, are not thought to have been very powerful but happened in crowded areas.

Four unexploded bombs were also found and defused, police said.

More than 400 people have died since October 2005 in bomb attacks on Indian cities such as Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

India has blamed Islamist militant groups for these previous bombings.

CNN-IBN, a local TV news channel, said it had received an e-mail before the blasts from a group calling itself the "Indian Mujahideen".

"Do whatever you can. Stop us if you can," the e-mail reportedly said. The same group has claimed responsibility for two other recent bombing attacks. The Indian government has put the security agencies on high alert. Pakistan has joined in official Indian condemnation of the attacks.

Two bombs are believed to have been planted in dustbins metres away from each other in the central shopping district of Connaught Place.

Police believe that at least three other devices were planted at busy markets in the Karol Bagh area, on the Barakhamba Road and in the Greater Kailash area. Chanchal Kumar helped carry several casualties to ambulances after witnessing one of the explosions, outside a metro station.

"Around 1830 we heard a very loud noise, then we saw people running all over the place," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. "There were about 100-200 people around this place."  Gulab Singh, an underground train guard, saw an explosion in Greater Kailash. "I was stepping out for a cup of tea when everything turned black in front of me," he was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. "Then everyone started running."

Television pictures show scenes of chaos at the blast scenes. Crowds milled around mangled vehicles, with debris and blood scattered across the streets.

The Mayor of Delhi, Arti Mehra, said the city would not be intimidated by the "cowardly" attacks. "They want to break the spirit of Delhi," he told reporters. "They have tried this in other places before and they have not succeeded and they will not succeed here. They will not scare us."

Pakistan's new President, Asif Ali Zardari, "strongly condemned" the bomb attacks, expressing "shock and grief over the loss of precious human lives".

After bombings in Jaipur and Bangalore, a group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen also claimed responsibility.

While it is too early to say exactly what caused Saturday's blasts in Delhi, they appear similar to the earlier attacks. The earlier attacks involved multiple small devices hidden in small boxes or bags and aimed at soft targets such as crowded markets, analysts say. The devices contained shrapnel such as nuts, bolt and ball bearings while the explosives used were improvised. Islamic militants in Kashmir have tended to use military-grade explosives.

Ahmedabad in shock after blasts
27 Jul 08 |  South Asia
In pictures: Aftermath of Indian bombs
27 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Deadly blasts strike Indian city
27 Jul 08 |  South Asia
In pictures: Ahmedabad blast
27 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Bangalore police find eighth bomb
26 Jul 08 |  South Asia


Indian intelligence gropes in the dark
Subir Bhaumik, BBC News, Calcutta 29 July 2008

When Ahmedabad was hit by a series of explosions on Saturday, one newspaper vendor in the city told another - "Kam ho gaya" (the job is done) . That exchange sounded like a communication between the bombers, promising an intelligence-led breakthrough. But it proved to be a red herring - the newspaper vendors had only rejoiced because after the blasts they expected the sale of their evening papers to zoom. Barring this one telephone call, there is nothing else that could provide intelligence with a clue to the explosions in Ahmedabad.

Intelligence officials say perhaps this is because the bombers are no more speaking for long periods before and after the explosions. After his arrest last year, Jalaluddin alias Babubhai - the "India operations commander" of the Bangladesh-based militant group Huji - revealed that he had instructed his jihadis (holy warriors) to "minimise telephone or internet communication" during operations.

"India's technical intelligence capability has developed with help from the US and local scientific knowhow, so we told our brothers to use personal couriers," a senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) official quoted Jalaluddin as saying.

Since the serial blasts in the southern city of Hyderabad last August, India's intelligence has failed to pick up leads.

"That explains the complete dearth of intelligence on the groups responsible for this year's serial explosions in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Our intelligence has become too dependent on technology," says BB Nandi, one of India's best known spymasters.

There are very few Muslims in the Indian intelligence agencies

"We are making the same mistakes that Western intelligence agencies made by pinning too much hope on technology. That's important, but there's no substitute for a good agent in the right place," Mr Nandi says.

While Western intelligence agencies like the CIA and MI-6 are trying to augment human intelligence capabilities after a string of failures such as the 9/11 attacks in the US, Indian intelligence is not learning from their mistakes.

Intelligence officials say that Pakistan and Bangladesh-based Islamic militant groups have increasingly made their Indian units autonomous - in recruitment, training, funding and operations - so that nothing can be traced back to the patron nations.

"The serial bombings in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad prove that Pakistan's ISI has successfully Indianised the jihad by creating Indian equivalents of Lashkar-e-Toiba or Huji," says B Raman, another former spymaster specialising in Islamic militant groups.

"They still provide general direction, so you have a series of explosions in India immediately after the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul and the stepped up hostilities in Kashmir," he says. "But the surrogates are largely independent now in choosing targets or gathering explosives."

And why can't India's intelligence agencies penetrate these home-grown Islamic militant groups if they are run and led by Indian Muslims with roots in India?

The Intelligence Bureau (IB), which is responsible for domestic and counter-intelligence, is supposed to co-ordinate the fight against militancy through its multi-agency co-ordination.

But the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which is responsible for external intelligence, has a major role in checking the foreign sources of militancy.

Mr Modi has called for the creation of a better intelligence agency

"The real bane of Indian intelligence is that it is largely run by police officials, most of whom serve on deputation from states and are floating in and out of the IB and other federal intelligence wings. They lack both the commitment and the expertise," says retired IB official Ashok Debbarma.

Strangely, the lower echelons of IB and RAW are direct recruits, trained specifically for intelligence. But they lack the motivation because they can rarely rise to senior positions.

"None of the world's best intelligence agencies are run by policemen. They are all run by career intelligence officers. It is only in India that the Indian Police Service (IPS) monopolises most senior intelligence positions," Mr Debbarma said.

He said some police officials have done well in IB and RAW but most have failed in a fast changing world.  "The best brains go to foreign service and administrative service and only those at the bottom of the heap are recruited into the police service," Mr Debbarma says.

Interestingly, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has demanded the creation of an Indian intelligence service that, he says, should recruit the best available talent and deploy them in positions that fit their special talent. "We should get the best brains for intelligence, but we only get rejects now," Mr Modi said after the Ahmedabad explosions.

Many say Indian intelligence is losing its fight against Islamic militancy because the agencies do not recruit enough Muslims. "There are very few Muslims in Indian intelligence, only a few in the state police special branches and really a handful in the federal agencies. How can we plant agents amongst jihadis unless we have Muslim officers?" asks a former IB official who does not wish to be named.

The IB is also woefully short of officers - against a sanctioned strength of 250 officers, only 100 places have been filled up. "Most IPS officers use the IB as a transit point. They come here only when they don't get a good posting in their state cadre," says retired IB official Subir Dutta.

End of India�s Nuclear Winter?  Straits Times - Ravi Velloor 12 September  2008

THIRTY FOUR years ago, after India under the late Indira Gandhi conducted its first nuclear test, euphemistically called Peaceful Nuclear Explosion, the US corralled the world�s nuclear powers and their suppliers under an outfit called the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

The NSG�s mandate was to ensure that nuclear weapons did not spread to those that didn�t have it at the time. It recognised just five nations as nuclear weapons states.

The rest who wanted access to nuclear equipment and supplies would need to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Last week, using the heavy muscle that only the US can employ, Washington railroaded a skeptical NSG to grant a special waiver for India, which is neither an NPT signatory nor a party to the CTBT.

While the NSG nations will still not give India enrichment and reprocessing technology, pretty much all else is available to it.

What is more, the NSG describes India as a state with 'advanced nuclear technology' - a neat way of saying it is a nuclear weapons state without actually saying so.

Little surprise that Indians celebrated the milestone it had crossed. The deal is a huge victory for PM Manmohan Singh, who put his job on the line to ensure that Indian parliament backed his negotiations with the US.

In the process, the Left groups that gave him critical backing, pulled their parliamentary support, leaving him to scramble to make alternate political side deals. Such is the euphoria in this country over the NSG waiver, that parties critical of the India-US accord that helped bring it about, have been silenced.

The BJP, which began the process of building new bridges with the US, is sulking. The Left groups have little to say.

The extent Washington has gone to pamper India is an indication of how much the relationship between the two, once on opposite sides of the Cold War, has traveled lately.

Some of this is from a common dread of a rising China. But there is also recognition of a host of other mutual interests: India�s democracy, the attraction of its billion-plus market, a nation that is comfortable with English and sends the most number of foreign students to the US, the most prosperous immigrant community in the States - the list is endless.

More than 60,000 Americans work in India today. The largest US embassy in the world is its mission in New Delhi, with more than 550 expatriate Americans supported by 2,500 local staff. Indian back-office companies service American banks, mortgage issuers and healthcare providers.

Interestingly, it wasn�t just the Americans: the Russians and French were just as keen to get India the waiver. Whatever objections China may have had, including its resentment at being rushed to approve the waiver, were brushed aside.

The US economy may be on its knees, but it is the dominant global power and can still get its way.

India�s National Security Adviser has told us that two things the US will not give India are reprocessing and enrichment technologies. At least, that is the case for now.

But given the way the US-India strategic relationship is developing, who knows what is to come a year or two down the line.


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