Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: World

India and Iran

USA and EU want India to stop dealing with Iran. Sometime back India’s Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai visited USA. It is reported that American officials asked him why cannot India reduce its ties with Iran. He replied India imports oil from Iran, there are six million Indians in the Gulf region and Iran is the only land access to Afghanistan and hence difficult to stop reducing ties with Iran.

The reply should have been “Why should India reduce its ties with Iran? India has its interests. India’s foreign policy will not be subservient to foreign policy of any other country.”

Iran becoming a nuclear power is not against India’s national interest. USA did not stop Pakistan from becoming a nuclear power. Israel has nuclear weapons. It is not under IAEA. It has no right to criticize Iran. USA, UK, France and Norway violated NPT and abetted in Israel becoming a nuclear power. They have no right to criticize Iran. Israel has employed terror tactics in various countries. It has killed four Iranian nuclear scientists.

India should tell Iran that it does not want its soil to be used for terror against any country. Some in India objected to Mossad and FBI being part of investigation as Israel and USA were against Iran.

Iran has shown its centrifuges. It has cut off oil supply to Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. India needs Iran to have access to Afghanistan and Central Asia. There was trilateral summit where presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan participated. It seems USA is getting isolated in Af-Pak region.

Some months back I wrote that India should defy USA, NATO and EU to maintain balance of power. India did not heed my advice. Russia and China did and vetoed two resolutions on Syria in four months.

India gave up Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline deal to suit USA. India voted against Iran in IAEA. India got a nuclear deal with USA. With protests against nuclear reactors the deal is of no use.

Protests in Greece

Greece had protests over the years against austerity measures. Some protests were violent leading to death of people. European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund wanted Greek Parliament to pass a package of new austerity measures to lend 170 billion dollars to Greece. Greek Parliament obliged. Protests in Greece have turned more violent. Buildings are set on fire. People are angry about wage and pension cuts and higher taxes. Many are unemployed. There is a disconnect between the government and the people. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was imposed from outside. Greece should have dumped euro long back. It continues to hold on to euro. If it had drachma as currency many of its problems would have been solved. How much and why did Greece borrow and where did all the money go? The troika, as the three foreign lenders are collectively known, has decided to ask private lenders to take a cut of 70% of Greek debt. In that case Greece could have borrowed more than 300 billion dollars.

What happened in Greece can happen in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and many other countries. Ireland succumbed to pressure to take over loans of bankrupt banks. Iceland had rejected plans to take over loans of bankrupt banks. In its case the banks were too big to save. Portugal’s bonds are rated junk bonds. Spain and Italy are not much better. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was imposed from outside. So much for democracy in Europe.

People should spend within their means. If they borrow they have to return. Governments should spend within their means but most of them do not. They get away because they print notes and make payments. That leads to inflation and devaluation. Some countries spend recklessly. From printing notes of hundreds and thousands they go on to print notes of millions and billions. Everybody who earns in the country becomes a millionaire or billionaire. Ultimately those countries introduce a new currency in which one new unit is equal to thousand old units. In Zimbabwe some became trillionaires.

Western countries have talked about protests in Syria. They should pay attention to Greece. When elected representatives vote against the wishes of the people they undermine democracy.

India and British aid

There is anger in UK over aid to India after India chose Rafale over Typhoon. The contract for 126 Rafale fighter jets is said to be worth $10-15 billion. British PM David Cameron said he would do everything to encourage India to reconsider its decision. UK has an economic crisis but gives £280 million per year to India. There was opposition before but International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell had justified the aid saying it was necessary to get contract for Typhoon. British newspapers have reported that the money does not reach the poor and is lost in corruption. Now that UK did not get the contract the British government finds it difficult to justify continuation of aid. Indian government says it does not need aid. British aid is “peanuts”. UK cannot dictate terms to India and say do business only with us as India is a liberated country.

First of all, a country that is a nuclear power and wants to be a permanent member of UN Security Council should not import war planes, war ships, arms and armaments. Whatever is needed for defence should be made in India. Foreign companies may have partnership with Indian companies and may manufacture in India. They may export to other countries provided those countries are not hostile to India. Some say Dassault, manufacturer of Rafale, is a white elephant and would have collapsed without Indian contract. Some months back USA was a bidder for fighter jets and there was disappointment in USA when it could not proceed with bid. For years Russians sold fighter jets to India. They were not in the competition. Russia delayed supply of Admiral Gorshkov for many years and the cost went up by billions of dollars.

Secondly, India’s central and state governments and local bodies should not accept any aid from India. NGOs and trusts may accept foreign aid and contributions. Indian government should use its money to help its people and not give aid to other countries. It should scrap projects that do not help people. Spending thousands of crores of rupees to send man to Moon should stop. Properties of defaulters to public sector banks should be confiscated. Air India and other loss making enterprises should be shut down.

India should insist on punctuality in honouring contracts. Boeing has delayed supply of aeroplanes by more than three years and still there is no supply. India should cancel the contract.

British government should take care of its people and not give aid to other countries. Many people have lost their jobs. The riots that took place some months back show how bad the situation is. There is London Olympics this year.

Some Indians are in favour of continued aid from British government. Indian government had accepted aid and should not have been ungrateful. The aid amounts to 2240 crore rupees per year and not a small amount. The poor do not care from where the money comes. There is malnutrition. The government is not doing its job about education and health. Countries give aid with some purpose. India’s aid to Afghanistan, Burma and African countries is not disinterested.

Some want India to reject British aid and cut fertilizer, water, petrol and other subsidies that benefit the rich people and use that money to help the poor. All subsidies and freebies must go.

What happened to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd? Where did Gnats disappear? They were said to be good war planes. They were spoken of highly and were praised after 1971 war. What happened to manufacture of civilian aircraft?

France and UK are members of EU and NATO. They were on the same side when they voted on Libya and Syria resolutions in Security Council. Not getting fighter jet contract has made UK bitter against India and France. In the 18th century the British and the French fought over India and the British won. India should avoid being fought over. India has nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are a deterrent as Pakistan showed when it threatened to use them if American ground forces invaded it.

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