Wednesday, July 30, 2008

India now has world's first super sonic missile

June 21st will be remembered in Indian Defense as a proud day. India now has all 3 versions - air, water and land i.e air force, navy and army - of supersonic cruise missile BRAHMOS. While we had earlier inducted the same in army and navy, this day we inducted into air force. It is the WORLD's FIRST AND THE ONLY SUPERSONIC ANTI-SHIP CRUISE MISSILE date. It is named after Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers of India and Russia respectively. Indian Navy will be the first navy in the world to carry this on board. It is also the fastest cruise missile in the world.

Kudos to both Russian and Indian scientists who jointly developed. Brahmos is 3 times faster than US's Tomhawk missile which is not a true supersonic cruise missile(US one comes inferior to what Brahmos is.) The missile can travel 2.8 times faster than sound.

While Russians designed, Indian counterparts manufactured and redesigned mass of the missile to maintain aerodynamic stability and this is truly an indigenous one. This is where we actually showed our creative genius and supreme smartness.

The deal is win-win for both Russia and India. While Russia is going to manufacture some of them by the next 5 to 10 years, India will be exporting 2000 of these to other countries. This is what is called reverse drain in Indian defense. This will truly signify a beginning of indigenous defense development. Russia will also have the same with it by the next 2 to 3 years.

Indeed a proud moment to all Indians!!!

Ref: click here

Monday, July 28, 2008

India on top of the world in Thorium Research

A matter of pride to all Indians is the fact that we lead today in Thorium Research. We are at the topmost position in the world. The countries following India include Japan, France, Germany and the US in the respective order. This is an achievement. Congrats to all scientists involved in this.

Some Statistics:

1) In case of Fast Breeder Reactors, Indira Gandhi center for research published largest number of successful research papers in 2005 and 2006 not done so far by any single institute in the world.

2) In case of Pressurised Heavy water reactors - 55% of papers in 2006 were from India.

3) India has exported 4,400 kg of nuclear-grade heavy water exported to a US firm recently.

4) Two orders received for 11 tonnes and 4.6 tonnes of heavy water

5) Higher demand foreseen for ‘superior purity’ of Indian product

6) US and South Korea have placed orders worth millions of dollars

Now, US's Thorium companies want to use India's proven expertise in the field. Once the Indo US nuclear deal is done, the deal will make India enter into global trade with 45 countries and in turn is going to get access to newer technology.

Where India lags behind is the size and capacity of reactors. While US and Germany have 700MWe and 1000 MWe generation capacity per reactor, India has 220 MWe. But once the deal is cleared India will be on par with the world because of continuous uranium supply.

With India highly expertized in Heavy Water Reactors will now work in tandem with French companies to enhance their reactors in return for fuel to us.

This is the way to go!!!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Has a new Manmohan Singh born?

These days what is doing rounds everywhere is that "Has Manmohan become a strong politician after winning the trust vote?"

My answer is more towards "no" and less towards "yes".


Manmohan Singh is a person who has earned my admiration when he pushed forward for reforms in 1991 which was truly a pathbreaking step in our country. There can be do denial about this. Manmohan, as PM, stood true to his justification of the claim that nuclear deal is good for the country. He came out strong after giving a relatively good speech. He, in fact, several times threatened to resign on this matter.


Why this dire need to resign not happen when for 4 years not a single reform was made? Why didn't Singh rise to the occasion and say - "I am going to resign because the Left parties are stalling eveything". Why didn't the party support him? When a great scheme like Rural Employment - (definitely, a wonderful scheme, a revolutionary scheme) was being indulged in corruption, he didn't raise a single voice. This was essential because he himself knew that the mechanism being adopted is going to make it corrupt, yet he surrendered. Why didn't he raise his voice? When his education schemes - all path breaking, were being stalled by Arjun Singh- why didn't he object? When his party chief and former PM Rajiv Gandhi said reservations are not going to help anyone, Manmohan allowed Arjun Singh to carry on with it. I admire Rajiv Gandhi for this that he rose above politics and spoke what he thought was right. When Right to Information Act - (I believe is one of the path breaking legislations w.r.t common citizen) was brought into effect, he allowed it to dilute coming under the pressure of allies. Where was his conscience and why did he allow the dilution of such a strong act? When there was a food crisis, why didn't he ensure that government godowns get filled first before private hoarders are given access to it? It has always been observed that a man comes out with his real colors when a crisis hits him hard. Mr. Singh, unfortunately, has come out with his real honest color of a tough politician by passing through a crisis that was more political. How do I accept the view of such a great intellectual when he said - "Muslims have the first right over resources in the country".
Does water, oil, air, energy now needs to be given first to Muslims and then to others. Do all these natural resources see one's religion and satisfy them? This was the last thing to expect from an intellectual, forget a politican.

These are some of the questions which history is going to ask from the academically most qualified person for country's top post, from an economist whom I admire a lot, from an individual from whom I expected so much. It is a dream come true to see 3 best intellectuals governing this country - Chidambaram, Singh and Montek Singh. Yet, why we don't see sweeping reforms? What has the aam aadmi got?

Friday, July 25, 2008

The dark day when my city was targetted

If one looks at the pattern of blasts since 2004 in Jaipur, Hyderabad, Delhi, Varnasi, Ayodhya, Mumbai, ajmer and now is all the same...SERIAL BLASTS. It is highly deplorable and painful. Why our system continues to bleed and allows everyone to bleed? There is a total lack of law and order. In stronger terms, it is tough posturing that is lacking,

To remember, in 2002 when Parliament was attacked, the govt almost went to a war. It was a tough signal not just to such terrorists but to the entire world that we are serious. From 1971 to 1984 - as long as Indira Gandhi ruled, not a single attempt was made by any terrorist (Bhindrawale and NE conflict apart) because she had given such a stern and tough answer to 2 things 1) International countries like pak and Bangaldesh 2) an effective law and order system that took care of (wish it could also take care of corruption) such things.

In 1989, when Rubaiya was kidnapped in Jammu that was the starting point for militancy in India. Till 2002, India has been bleeding. In 2002, when the Govt led by Vajpayee took a very tough stand and decided to stop talking to Pak and declared to go to war...Pakistan realized that its game of kashmir has to be ceased and it must continue to disrupt India by going deep inside. Since then they have been taking the help of every possible outfit in Bangaldesh and disturbing the country. Unfortunately, the timing was so bad that the govt of today took it very casually and the blasts happened in every major city.

Today, it was my city. Bangalore was attacked. serial blasts one after the other, causing panic in the IT city - "Namma Bengaluru"..It is with deep pain and sadness I write that we no longer are safe in our city. This was conducted by SIMI (that's what media claims) in retaliation to arrests by the BJP. One thing that has happened is that the central govt has decided to use paramilitary forces to protect IT city. This is essential because if that is attacked, the growth factor will be hampered and no one can take a chance. Yet, lapses will happen.

Once, Advani said and this was what was done by NDA - "Have a tough law and a centralized intelligence apparatus". The govt of that day made POTA (yes, there have been misuses, but the law must be there) and created National Security Agency. Today, NSA does exist but intelligence system is still decentralized and unorganized. It is out of sync with state govts. Forget everything - the NSA in our country not only is incharge of intelligence apparatus, but also is the personal secretary of the PM. Is controlling PMO and country the same with respect to priority? It is so disgusting. J.N.Dikshit, one of the toughest intelligence expert clearly had stated that NSA's job is only intelligence. But, no use. He died and his idea is also dead. It is not just revaming the model.

Most importantly we are not tough. We keep making slogans like filmi dialogies but never dare to take action. It was only 3 politicians who took action - Indira Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Vajpayee..Each of these did commit blunders..but were very tough and not soft like the present govt. US attacked Afghanistan, we decided to attack military camps in Pak. The step was stopped only because of US pressure. It is at this point that I remember when Indira Gandhi told US president - "It is not the duty of the President to advise a democratically elected Prime Minister of a sovereign country what it must do". It is exactly this we need. Act..Don't speak or listen.

We need action...We have an intelligence system..It needs co-ordination...It needs more powers...We also have to stop inflitration from all our deadly neighbors - Pak, Bangaldesh, nepal, Sri Lanka - What neighbors have God given us?? When will we take action, if any? Security system continuously needs revamp. It is dynamic and should be made independent of all politicians except for one or two.

Life is so volatile in a system like ours whose both ends are non-commital and non-ethical.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Now, Govt listens to Advani

It appears very funny to me. 2 years ago when there was a huge discussion on Indo-US nuclear deal, Advani had suggested that if India amends Atomic Energy Act accordingly to ensure the side effects of Hyde Act of US will not curb or restrict our foreign policy, he will support the deal. The Congress Govt never listened. Now, after all the hungama and drama, govt says it is ready to do so.

Had this been done BJP would have supported the deal. Sometimes, I wonder the clash between Congress and BJP was uncalled for had there been proper consultation between the two. Both stood by their egos. This paralyzed the govt for almost 2 years with no reform and no work. The Govt would not have waited for Left who were anyways unwilling to agree.

This is a classic case of good politics played out in a shoddy manner. It is a different issue that when Vajpayee and Narasimha Rao were dealing with issues, there was broad consensus.

India-EU have open skies agreement

Good news for both EU member states and India. 30% of India's international traffic is towards EU countries like UK, Germany, France. 40% is towards Gulf. With a potentially higher traffic and foreseeing a better inflow of European tourists into India, Govt today decided to sign the open-skies agreement.

By this: Air India, Deccan-Kingfisher, Jet Lite, Jet Airways can fly unrestricted number of flights to UK, Germany and France. Even if agreement with one of the member nations fail, it can continue to do with others. This is a really good news as now there is a win-win situation to people and companies in both regions. There are lots of software engineers who fly to Europe and open skies agreement means more options and higher frequency.

Here's the article

Some parts are pasted below:

The proposed horizontal aviation agreement between the two sides provides far more flexibility than the air service arrangements being pursued by India with individual EU members. The liberal aviation pact between the two of the world’s largest trading partners is expected to be signed in September when prime minister Manmohan Singh visits France to participate in the India-EU summit.

“Germany and the UK have already agreed to the terms of the proposed agreement. We are expected to negotiate with other member states as well shortly. The agreement is expected to be signed during the PM’s visit to France in September this year,” a civil aviation ministry official said. The EU has similar agreements with China and the US. Currently, 26 bilateral air services agreements exist between EU members and India.

The proposed pact between the sides would remove nationality restrictions (from the EU side) in the bilateral air services agreements between EU members and India. This would allow any designated airline from the member states and India to operate flights to each other’s side where a bilateral agreement with India exists and traffic rights are available

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Now, both BJP and Congress will push for reforms

All the sad acts, dramas are over and the govt survives. Now, the best part to see will be how Congress and BJP will together work for the economic reforms. This is going to be a record. All those who said that in India ruling and opposition cannot agree on economic reforms will go wrong. Over the past decade there is a consensus on economic reforms in the country and the 2 major parties - Congress and BJP agree on almost everything.

So, most of the bills Chidambaram is going to pass are those which were started by the BJP. So, BJP will support and the Left's opposition will die.

The net effect - India will shine. Of course, for this the Govt must really start working on disinvestment - the only single source of raising money for development of India in India. It is on record that just by strategic disinvestment of some major companies, NDA minister Arun Shourie was able to raise crores of rupees without waiting for any foreign aid/FDI. It is also something Congress wants and didn't do because of Left. now, Left is out...BJP and Congress together will push for disinvestment. If all sick PSU's go this way, then the amount generated will reach half of what China has in terms of FDI. That is the potential India on its own has and will continue to have.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Advani clarified like a crystal in the vote of confidence

Advani was at his best when he spoke in the vote of confidence. Despite CNN IBN's unrelenting bias and criticism of the BJP and Advani, other news channels gave a good analysis. Personally, I felt he clarified so nicely that there was no doubt or suspicion. He also intentionally spoke in English because the US was particularly waiting to watch why BJP was opposing the deal. He tended to be a little tame and not sharp as he wanted people to know it is the Left which is responsible for destablizing the country and not BJP/NDA.

We are not against nuclear energy. Very often it is being projected that we are against the Nuclear Deal. We are not. We are not against our very close relationship with America. I think that a country like India which is the largest democracy in the world, should have a very close relationship with the strongest democracy of the world, that is America. But we would never like India to become party to an Agreement which is unequal. My charge is that this particular Deal makes us subservient partner in the Deal. Very often, the Government spokesmen have been saying that the Hyde Act does not apply to us and immediately an American spokesman comes out with a statement that it fully applies. The Hyde Act imposes curbs even on our foreign policy. In fact, on the very first occasion I said that the Constitution of India does not provide that an international agreement should be approved by Parliament as in many
countries this practice is there. Here we do not have such a provision.

I am of the view-if the Government agrees-that the Constitution be amended so that in certain cases relating to security and integrity of the country, the Parliament’s approval must be sought before entering into a Deal. We have all along maintained that if the people of the country vote NDA again to power, we will renegotiate this Deal to make it a Treaty between equals so that there are no constraints on our strategic options and autonomy.

This Government was formed only when the Left supported it from outside and the moment they withdrew support, this Government has been reduced to a minority and a minority Government has no right to move ahead with any international agreement until it first proves its majority. By this deal, the biggest advantage America gets is that India would be a part of the Nonproliferation
regime and perhaps Dr. Manmohan Singh has no objection to it. When the Vajpayee Government had its Pokhran II, Dr. Manmohan Singh criticized us. These days, this Government’s performance on the Aam aadmi’s front, like ‘kimtein’, ‘bijli’, ‘sadak’ and ‘paani’ has been dismal. Then even after this deal is done, executed and implemented, the total amount of nuclear energy available to India, would be just 6 per cent and the remaining 94 per cent has to come from other sources. So, let us not try to delude the Indian people by saying that we are trying to give energy security to the country by this deal. We do not agree with is. The Common Minimum Programme says that they will provide electricity for all within five years. Four years and two months are completed and there are 7.8 crore unelectrified households. On all fronts, the performance of this government is very poor. The biggest achievement of the NDA regime, in fact, I would say that it was ‘sadak’. The highways, the ‘gram sadak yojana’ and the Golden Quadrilateral were the most significant achievements of our Government. This Government is not able to fix the problems of the common man. Only a few months back, Loan waiver and loan relief were announced.

What happens if PM wins the vote of confidence?

If PM wins,
a) Reforms will take a front seat
b) There are almost 72 major bills pending for almost 4 years
c) Within 100 days, Govt can unleash so many reforms that they will end up saying - "For 4 years we could not do anything as Left blocked us. Within 4 months we have done what we could not do in 4 years"..
d) This will give UPA a clear majority
e) If, however, inflation is still not under control, it will harm UPA

If PM loses,
a) It strengthens the Third front, but will collapse at the time of elections as Naidu, Left are going to fail very badly in the elections..Only Mayawati will succeed
b) Congress can end up getting more Lok Sabha seats and hence majority because of WB, AP, rajasthan, MP, Chattisgarh
c) The other scenario is a BJP wave because people would be frustrated with the messed up economy which won't change soon.

So, the stakes are high. My personal view is either Congress or BJP..but not the Third Front

I lose my respect for Chandrababu Naidu

It's another tragic moment in India's politics. One of my role models in governance and administration has fallen to very low levels of power politics. Yes, it is Naidu. Once upon a time and even till he lost power, he was on the headlines every now and then in not just national, but also international media.

However, I regret to write that I have lost all respect for him. This is after he joined hands with both the Left and Mayawati. His lone objective - form an alternative to BJP and Congress. Mr. Naidu as I had believed was not an opportunistic politician who would join hands with those people who can take back the country into stone age (particularly Left, Mayawati, Ajit Singh). It is good that Samajwadi Party left the Third Front, but Maywati has done a brave act of bringing the unwanted forces under her leadership just to see the day of herself seated as PM. How could a progressive, forward looking, 10 year CM, the best CM for a decade and a tech savvy politician like Naidu choose to go with such a destructive coalition? I have not seen such power hunger even in Congress and BJP at the highest level (at the Centre, not in states).

This act brought a feeling in me. I want Congress to come back in Andhra. If Chiranjeevi now comes with a majority, it is even better. This is because Chiranjeevi cannot ally with both Left and Naidu. The only options are Congress and BJP. Either way it is going to benefit Congress/BJP and in turn the country. There is no doubt that in many areas Rajashekar Reddy has done a good job. Naidu has misbehaved and acted very naively as Opposition leader. His immature conduct has actually eroded the confidence people once had in him. It is henceforth better that he comes to power only if he realigns either with Congress/BJP.

I could have stopped here if Naidu would have opposed to Mayawati as PM. This continued when Naidu said "The left, Mayawati, TDP are now a formidable strong and good force. It is a good development for the country. Mayawati is sure to be the PM". This hurt me very badly.

There are also some confirmed reports that some leaders in the BJP actually were ready to support UNPA. However, they never will accept Maywati as the PM. Hence, it is better that the Third Front collapses immediately. I cannot see Maywati as PM. It will be the darkest hour in Indian politics. It will be the beginning of an apocalypse.

I am willing to accept either UPA(without the Left) or NDA.

The chances are that Jayalalitha will go with NDA and other parties will collapse under UNPA. If Left loses, which is very likely both in West Bengal and Kerala, it will help Congress. The weakening of the Left will help Congress and destroy UNPA/Third Front. So, with Left, Naidu and Jayalalitha out, Maywati cannot do anything. This I hope will turn out to be true and helps the country a lot either to see congress or BJP in power.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The dawn of a new history in Indian software sector

The service sector of India, particularly software, has already made the west and the east crazy about Indian talent. Cutting across political party lines, this is a sector that has emerged more on its own and is the foremost sector contributing to rising GDP of the economy. For years, others ruled us and we were growing despite pulls and pressures - both national and international. Now, we rule the software sector in terms of number of people involved.

The coming days are going to be even brighter. The reason being that the same service sector has generated more employment in India than in US. What is more evident is the fact that many British and American graduates want jobs in India. It is a trend unimaginable a few years ago.

Here's the first article which says 30,000 US CITIZENS are employed in software companies in India.

The second article says how British graduates are turning their direction to India for jobs

This third article comes from an unknown source("unknown" in the sense that this country was also interested in the sector was unknown to me) of seeking inspiration from my very own Bangalore city, according to which Scotland wants to replicate Bangalore model of BPO call centers (technical and non-technical).

This fourth article that appeared a few months back says that many foreigners are seeking VISAS to come to India to work.

It is rather interesting to note that the software sector is doing reasonably good (if not excellent) even in the current time of global economic crisis. The reason I guess is the increase in outsourcing. However, no longer is India a hub just for services. It has become a hub for new R&D. Microsoft, Hughes, SAP, Oracle - all have R&D here. In fact "Autonomous Computing" research is heavily done in India than in the US. This was clearly evident when I found that many US universities are seeking inputs and studying research results from Bangalore's IBM division of Autonomous computing. In fact, Infosys recruits in the US. I am sure several other Indian companies also do. The top US universities are ready to accept IIT graduates- this is mainly because of the brilliance these students carry with them.

Is this the beginning of a new India or continuation of a strong latent India?

At a time when the same sector is facing job cuts in the US, Indian software sector is booming. Many would say that the current crisis is short and the days of the software sector booming again in the US is very soon to happen. What is common is the fact that "Indian software sector boom" ,before and after this crisis will persist. Perhaps, critics of my article would say that if US didn't exist, Indian software sector could not have risen. This situation is going to reverse sometime soon if the trends of this kind (as given by above articles) continue. I am not claiming that my prediction will be true, but the trend is a sure indicator of the same.

In fact, this press statement from Microsoft website by Mr. Bill Gates is far revealing - This was in 1997...

"The country's advantages are many. India has an excellent university system. Its computer scientists are among the leaders of companies worldwide. Its technology centres in Bangalore, Pune and other places are well respected," Mr Gates continued. "India has what it takes to participate in, even to shape, the future if it makes the necessary investments now. It must build a national telecommunications infrastructure, develop a robust domestic software industry, provide Internet connectivity for the consumer and continue to invest in education."

So, I guess we are on a new path and soon will be creating a new history in the world economics.