WE DID IT! Third country in the world, fourth space organisation in the World! Against all criticism and ridicule! And ahead of China and Japan, being the first Asian country!
So much was said, about poverty and priority, as if the Europeans didn’t spend money on ships and colonising and instead made toilets in the seventeenth century…about money badly spent, about a “third world” country not having the same technological rights or capabilities…but now is not the time to reply to those arguments. Ignore the morons.
1. This mission is one tenth the cost of NASA, ESA, or Roscosmos. It will bring immense tech commerce from other countries using our cheap and affordable technology. There’s a reason NASA wants to partner with ISRO for this mission’s data.
2. It provides job to over 30000 people in different capacity within India.
3. It helps in ballistic missile technology, and future deterrence.
4. It gives us bragging rights.
But no point…you can’t make everyone happy. Some people will be imbeciles anyway.
So, here’re two memes…which will probably show what we Indians feel about this Mars Mission.
All we can say is, any technological milestone is a great day, a “giant leap” for humanity. And a proud day for Indians everywhere.
” Space…the final frontier… ”
Here comes the Earthlings!!!
Shifted to Auckland, working in a newspaper…blogging for another…and still planning a PhD…also writing a massive journal article/book chapter. So yea, all’s well!
Here are two of the highlights!
1. Started Blogging for Times of Israel, and here’s the first one, on the “Shameful British vote on Syria“.
2. Op-Ed for Indian Weekender, where I work presently…taken up by the Ministry of External Affairs, India…which is basically a fancy name for the Indian foreign ministry, and published in their official website.
That’s all for now, so long! Have fun, cause I don’t have time for that anymore!
Here people, some weekend reading for you!
Also, my co-authored analysis of Australian Defence White Paper 2013, got published in ODT.
(Published in USINPAC)
Among other interminable dross that were churned in the recently concluded 5th annual BRICS summit in South Africa, was the idea of a Development bank, by the five ever-rising economic powers. Although the details are vague, like any other diplomatic summit declaration trying to obfuscate the deep fissures within this coalition of unequals, the fact that India agreed to this disaster in the making is a new low in the foreign policy of a country, which is not much known for rational and realistic choices. The idea behind the development bank is indeed noble, “to address…the infrastructure gap in developing countries…”, especially in Africa. But the intention to make it successful or meaningful or the national interest of each member of the coalition is not clear. One thing, which is however clear, is Indian ambivalent skepticism about bandwagoning with any power simultaneously coupled with the Nehruvian idea of being a “messiah of the mass” and trying to be a leader of the third world, which reflects the mindset of Indian bureaucracy and ruling elite, is increasingly drawing India into a dilemma.
The BRICS is not an alliance. It is an arbitrarily formed group, mentioned in passing by an ex-banker, which was so captivating to the ruling elite of the grouped nations that they thought of formalizing it in an institution. Initially starting as rising economies, a perceivable counter balance to the G-8, these economies are no longer rising, with deep structural and institutional flaws, different modes of governance, deteriorating law and order situation and freedom of expression and censorship issues, different economic fundamentals and most importantly, absolutely different and divergent world view and interest. Joshua Keating pointed out why the BRICS couldn’t be more different than each other. The last addition to this coalition, South Africa, is the messiest of them all. The selection of South Africa is ofcourse controversial and political, regarded often as a quota position from the African continent, as it leaves out far more competent and growing economies like Indonesia, Turkey and South Korea. This comes when BRICS are accused of neo-imperialism, and banners like “don’t carve out Africa” were found everywhere near the summit in Durban.
It is well known, that the primary drivers behind the ideation in the BRICS are Russia and China. Russia wants to bandwagon with China to balance the influence of United States. The motivation and Great power nostalgia of Russian elite is simple enough to fathom. The Chinese interest is however far more complex. As a growing hegemon, China actually has interest in Africa, both geo-politically and economically. The resources of Africa are mostly still unexplored, and the market potential of cheap Chinese manufactured goods is enormous. This however comes at a time, when China is increasingly viewed with suspicion in Africa. The last couple of years have seen the murder of Chinese engineers by disgruntled and exploited African labourers, incessant strikes in Chinese operated industries and mines, and the now infamous op-ed by Lamido Sanusi, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, where he accused China of having neo-colonial ambitions. China now wants to portray itself as a benevolent and altruistic force, and therefore wanted to soothe Africa under the BRICS front. India, for all its independent and non-aligned foreign policy, is legitimizing Chinese actions.
It is puzzling to fathom why India is following Chinese and Russian lead. For a start, Russia is not what it used to be. It clearly views China as a far superior partner than India, and a market for superior weapons and technology, ironically at the same time when India received massive aid grant from Japan. India and China are not really partners, and as I wrote here before, will probably not be in the near foreseeable future. Nor is Indian business interest in Africa that important, scalable or maintainable. For example, assuming that India invests in some African country under the BRICS development bank, tomorrow if there is some kind of unrest, is India capable or willing to defend its business interest? India never showed any willingness to aggressively promote or defend its business interests, be it Afghanistan, Maldives, or South China Sea, and there is no reason to believe India would do that in Africa. India also lacks such far off power projection capability. Which brings us to question the wisdom; do the benefits of Indian investment in Africa outweigh the cost? What is the incentive of pledging tens of billions of dollars, all Indian taxpayers’ money, in a region which is beset by uncertainty, instability and conflict, or starting a monetary organization, potentially rival to IMF/World Bank which will not be of any direct benefit to the already slowing economy and growth rate?
On the other hand, India will eventually be viewed as just another neo-colonial resource grabbing power like China, if it continues to be with the BRICS. The respect that India enjoyed in Africa, and the goodwill as a potential democratic competitor of China will fade away, with India just being a satellite of Chinese ambitions, a satisfied mid level power in an institution guided by Russian and Chinese geo-political interests. Nor is Indian interest, in the BRICS assisted conflict resolution in Central African Republic understandable. Again, the question is geo-political, what IS India’s interest? Tomorrow if Russia leads the BRICS into conflict resolution in Syria, will India be willing to commit its resources?
As this Economist essay explains, India is utterly confused about its growing clout and new found respect as a rising power, lacks a political will, strategic culture, a status-quo bureaucracy, and timely and fast decision making infrastructure. Added to that is the notorious ambivalence towards aligning with the West, even though being perfectly aware that in the great scheme of the game, China stands as the largest potential rival. This ambivalence and skepticism stems from the utterly discredited NAM mentality which is still somehow widely followed among the Indian foreign policy circles, and the moral, altruistic, socialist Nehruvian world view, without any long term planning or Realist Raison D’etat. With the BRICS now attracting countries like Egypt, a slow and painful repetition of the outdated Indian NAM policies are in the process. Everyone knows how NAM turned out. One can only hope that India’s policymakers realize soon where her interests lie.
2001 2002 India Pakistan Standoff, Agni, Battlefield, china, Cold Start, Cold War, General Padmanabhan, Hatf, India, Long Peace, Mearsheimer, Nasr, No First Use, Nuclear Doctrine, Nuclear Triad, Nuclear War, pakistan, Realism, russia, Second Strike, Tactical, United States
Pakistan test fired a short range battlefield nuclear capable tactical missile today, according to a press release and statement by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the press relations arm of their military intelligence. (Image from Facebook page of ISPR)
This was a long term goal of Pakistani Armed forces to introduce battlefield tactical nuclear weapons. With a range of 60 kilometers, and suitable low yield, this missile and a nuclear warhead can be used against a tank battalion or armored brigade. It could also be used to obliterate a large number of soldiers at one strike. (For a backgrounder, read this analysis by Shashank Joshi)
This move is also, however a dangerous escalation of the military nuclear doctrine and ethics in the World. Nuclear weapons are considered defensive weapons, primarily for deterrence and balancing, for ultimate destruction, to be used as the last act of a country after a devastating first strike. That had been the unspoken norm of nuclear doctrine.
This Pakistani missile, makes nuclear weapon tactical and offensive, to be used against enemy soldiers, in a limited and controlled battlefield situation.
The move is dangerous as it significantly reduces the threshold of a country to use nuclear weapons, which, since second world war, for better or for worse, were always considered as the last and ultimate weapon.
Also, since this weapon is clearly targeted at India, as Pakistan is not currently facing any other significant short range battlefield threat, real or perceived this move will also change the Indian nuclear doctrine in the foreseeable future.
Indian nuclear doctrine is based on second strike. India is the fourth country in the World to have a workable nuclear triad, and is the second country in this World to have a No First Use policy, after China. The second strike capability is based on the assumption that India won’t be the first country to introduce or use a nuclear weapon against an adversary, however she reserves the right to do a massive, disproportionate and deadly second strike if nuclear weapons is used against any part of her, including the armed forces. (Indian COAS, General Padmanabhan maintained this stance even during the tense days of 2001 – 2002 standoff)
If nuclear weapon is used even against a single soldier of Indian republic, the “No First Use” is nullified.
Terrible though it may sound, India would be free to use, without any legal, moral or ethical restrain, the full might of its nuclear arsenal and unleash hell.
Being a much larger country, by landmass, economy and population, a deeply scarred India might possibly survive a nuclear war.
Pakistan would be wiped off the map.
( Also re-published in Space Daily, Australia. )
I am very busy with tutoring and research…as you all know. So, I am really sorry as I am not writing enough here…here are some interesting things I found out meanwhile!
Know Victoria Nuland? If you are an American, or interested in International Politics…you must have heard her name. She likes to raise her right eyebrow…pretty much all the time. Here’s my FB page for that…
For serious and regular international news and updates, join the FB page of Daily World Watch, or follow on Twitter! Cheers!
Right…so my second op-ed came out today. These were the two papers I was working on in this break. Break over, papers over. Regular work again. Foreign Policy convention this weekend, seminars and convention on Power and Politics next weekend. And then Uni starts again. Which is writing more research papers. But longer in size. Confused? That’s life of an academic, love.
Anyway, the reason for this op-ed was I got a complain in my email, which I obviously cannot publish, that Continue reading
( Published in World Tribune )
Over a hundred people, most of them children and women were bayoneted to a slow, systematic and horrific death by pro-Governmental forces in the Syrian city of Houla, a few days back. According to the UN Monitors, fewer than twenty people died from shelling, rest was all summarily executed by pro-Assad militia. The Assad government obviously denied that, and even though there is no reason to trust the Syrian Government as the voice of reason, truthfulness and democracy, the motive behind this brutality indeed seemed a bit shaky. What would the Government achieve by killing children, other than more isolation? Surely the planners of the Syrian Government are not that naïve to try to intimidate a whole sect with this brutality of slow torturous death. They could have just bombed them, and blame that on Al Qaeda. Was it then really a false flag operation by Jihadi elements among the revolutionaries? One can’t be hundred percent sure anymore that the revolutionaries are just peaceful protesters, after the Damascus bombing a few weeks back. The photos of tattered blood soaked body parts was signature Al Qaeda, and it was confirmed too after a few days. The brutal Assad was crooked enough to hijack the victim approach immediately. It is all very messed up on the ground, and no right minded analyst would try to predict accurately as to what is exactly happening, with the lines getting increasingly blurred, and the battle lines increasingly widened. Meanwhile, as civilians continue to be butchered by one side or the other, and the instability spreading to Lebanon, time is running out before it spreads to Gaza and forcing Israel to act, thereby bringing in a whole new equation.
For all that we know, diplomacy and multilateralism is failing in Syria. Kofi Annan did even worse than what he managed during his tenure in Rwanda and Balkans, and Susan Rice’s storming out after Russian Veto, for all the rage it signified, is almost forgotten. So, how would a planner or a mediator with Realist leanings try to work out from this situation? Here’s a thought. Invite Russian and Chinese peacekeepers in Syria. Better, invite both the countries. Let their boots be on ground this time. Before you discard me as a raving lunatic, here’re the reasons why. Continue reading