Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 beckons

Maximum city got missed out of the pic, but all in all a healthy reading list to wade through in the beginning of a year...See you on the other side of the year...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now again, what happened on 26/11?

Deactivate forward airbases, Pakistan tells India. Over the past few days, you would think 26/11 was organized by India in Pakistan. India is now rapidly on the backfoot denying any moves towards war and placating Pakistan.

Need to avoid conflict with India, tells its army chief...after organizing (condoning with a wink and a nudge - anything) the most brazen terror attack; they if they can get away with this, wow, we deserve more of it.

Pakistan does not want war, it seems...Way to go Pak. The wimp state that is India deserves all this and much more.

If I were Pakistan, I would continue to screw India in much the same way. Sending in a few fidayeen who cause economic damage, kill infidels and get away with it is a neat strategy. They got away in 2001, 2008 looks set to be a repeat of it. The only question is how soon and where it wil happen again...

Can we get started with our covert networks once again?
Can we, send more troops in Afghanistan please?
And can we also stop all those Pak flights, trains and what not into the country?

Wake up Kumbhakarna....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stateless actors

"All these stateless actors are causing a problem. "
"Well, they have created a parallel industry of themselves without the locals."
"Like how?"
"See, they have disproportionate influence over the locals as compared to the state actors"
"But can they do anything without local support?"
"True, but that local set is an exclusivist set and does not represent the view of the true local majority"
"How would you know that?"
"We are in touch with the ground realities"
"They run the industry all by themselves. Their fund sources are from all over the world and they have sympathizers all over the world. So, many of their actions find sanction everywhere. They are a big hit, even though I hate to admit it..."
"Any specific person?"
"Oh yes. Amitabh Bachahan. He is one of the biggest stateless actors." said Raj Thackeray signing off...

Salman Rushdie: Brutality, Incompetence And Cynical Duplicity

"Ask yourself the question that if the Kashmir problem were resolve tomorrow, if Israel-Palestine reached a lasting peace, do we believe that al-Qaeda would disband? Do we believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad would put their guns down and beat them into plough-shears and say we would now be farmers because our job is done. I mean the point about is that is laughable, right? And the point about that is that that is not their project. Their project is power. This is a power grab by the most obscurantist, revanchist, old-fashioned, medievalist idea of modern culture that attempts to drag the world back into the middle ages at the point of modern weaponry ..." [via]

Full piece, here...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Praveen Swamis book on Kashmir

I picked this book, Indian Pakistan and the Secret Jihad by Praveen Swami recently - on the Acorns recommendation.

Do yourself a favour and read this book. It tells you what your history books never taught you, nor newspapers ever told you or the apologists will never tell you.

It tells, very vividly, how the Pakistani establishment has continuously, (beginning 1947 till date) believed in its claim over Kashmir. It documents the use of irregulars (variously known as Lashkars, tribesmen - and now known as terrorists here and FF there) to try and create an uprising in Kashmir - which it continues to do even today. The support for the elements in Punjab was just one part of this "grand strategy".

Today, of course, it has broadened the scope of terrorism in India, but it is interesting for us to know that every other excuse for any sort of terrorism support is just an excuse. The Kashmir front is just another one in the entire theater of war (see the NE explode shortly) and the sooner we realize it, the better.

It also tells you (and my respect for Indira Gandhi goes up for her nationalism) how India responded. The success in our response - cases in points being the modernisation of the Indian forces post 1962 and how we engineered 1971 - happened when we acted with determination (on both diplomacy and aggression). So, your heart goes out for those who claim her legacy, yet act as stooges and weaken this country.

The book ends around 2004 and nearly ends on an optimistic note. But the events post 2004 tell us that such optimism is unfounded, unless Indias rulers decide to do something about the menace that has continued since 1947.

Another thing. The diplomatic manouvers post the 2001 attack seem eerily similar to the one happening now - and hence I am pessimistic about its outcome...

Those who dont know history are destined to repeat it...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Terror response lifecycle 2

Part 1, here...

It has been a long time since then, nearly a month and the only full monty happening here, is of our own government. Read on.

Day 11: Restraint is not a sign of weakness.
Read: It is a sign of weak knees.
Action: Pakistan wipes out evidence of terrorist camps from all known locations.

Day 12: Bring perpetrators to justice, Pak told
Read: Do something, do anything, save my face.
Action: Pakistan bans Jamat ud Dawa. A foreign newspaper traces the identity of the captured terrorist.

Day 23: The US has approved our evidence
Read: Papa has approved, yay.
Action: Pakistan places some of the people on the piece of paper with increased security, calls it house arrest. Everybody knows the home address of the terrorist.

Day 24: Even Nepal has accepted our evidence
Read: There are another 34 countries other than Pakistan which accept the evidence.
Action: Pakistan reverses its ban, asks for more evidence. Media is barred from entering the terrorists village.

Day 25: Pakistan is the center of terrorism
Read: This was nearly 20 years ago, we are still saying this or am I reading the wrong speech?
Action: Pakistan asks India to prove nationality of captured terrorist, wipes out village from map.

Day 26: Address India's concerns quickly, says Papa
Read: Which address will they use?
Action: Evidence not enough says Pakistan. They want the captured terrorists birth certificate. Terrorist did not carry it, reports media.

Day 27: Islamabad must act
Read: Who is producing this movie?
Action: Pakistan applies for Academy awards.

Day 28: Technology is not being used adequately
Read: The last time funds were sanctioned, we bought those .303.
Action: Taliban supports Pak army and the world thought they were fighting each other at some point.

Day 29: The terror attack is an attack on our ambitions.
Read: That does sound new
Action: Pakistan says, India is unnecessarily escalating tensions. JuD slams Indian government.

Day 30: The government is a wimp
Read: The government is a wimp
Action: India is a wimp, says Pakistan.

Sigh! Update in another month.

Using the market

Over the past few days, India has done nothing but sabre rattling with Pakistan. And it has led nowhere. Pakistan is in the perfect position of "ulta chor kotwal ko daante" and this kotwal has proved his own ineffectiveness.

But it is time to take the gloves off. There were suggestions on how to screw Pakistans non existent economy - heres 2 of the most discussed. And some of them were brilliant, while some of them were a little childish. But the objective should remain. Hurt Pakistans economy - much of which is basically the army in any case.

I like what IPL is doing here. Pakistans players unwanted in the IPL, reports IE today. Way to go IPL. We also need to do the same for Pakistani artistes who want to perform in India. Some of us will argue that these are the "good" people there etc. etc., who we need to encourage, but I see no point. We need these so called "good" people to be able to inlfuence their country and countrymen to stop using terrorism as a "tactic".

India should use the power of its market and the strength of its economy. Perhaps, just perhaps the idea of war sabre rattling is to get Pakistan to push some of its depleting resources into the army. Great. It does look like they are using their limited supply of oil reserves to fly sorties across the country.

BTW: I read recently that many Gulf countries do not allow Israeli passport holders or passports with an Israeli stamp to enter their country.

Israel too has an enemy country policy : On 1 April 2008, the Israeli government proposed a new revised law which includes a list of 10 countries and territories to be defined as "enemy countries": Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and the Gaza Strip. As of August 2008, the legislative procedures of this revised law have not been concluded yet.

Read: Economic Boycott of Israel by Arab Nations.

Special clauses in Invoice: For GULF COUNTRIES: (i.e. Abu Dhabi, Aden, Bahrain, Basrah, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Hodeidah, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Tripoli (Libiya), Ummsai, Oman)
In Invoice & Certificate of Origin:-
"It is further declared that above Goods are not of Israeli Origin/Manufacture nor do they contain any Israeli material."

Time for us to do the same to Pakistan?

Update: Bravo UTV...(via)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two sides of the same coin

Taliban to back Pak army in case of war with India [Indian Express]

But, dont worry. India will not go to war. If at all, we do, so many days I am sure has been useful to shift all those camps to nice, undisclosed, locations...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finally, India takes action

After dilly dallying over the past few weeks on what we could do about terror considering that Pakistan has dismissed all claims about their involvement, India has taken a step forward.  It announced a limited precision strike on beach parties in Goa. Yes, you read that correctly.

Beach parties in Goa are banned this year in view of the heightened terror perception. 

As a continuation of limited precision strikes, the government is further expected to ban worshipping in temples (Akshardham), shopping in markets (Delhi), travelling in trains, hotels, stopping at railway stations, hospitals, driving in police vehicles (Mumbai), conventions (Bangalore), bus stops (Bangalore). Since none of these require weapons, as a non violent state, this has been seen to be the best option. If this does not reduce terrorism, India proposes to ban living in India too as a future step.

Note: In view of the heightened terror perception, India has also banned terrorists. However, they may not receive the notice or may not read it, as it has been observed in all incidents before this one.

Our government, serving us

Just in case you missed, the spectrum scam is turning out to be the biggest scam ever, to the tune of some 100000 crores or so...Nice going.

And in the meantime, the lifeline of the mango man, roads is progressively being killed. The UPA government has laid waste to the Golden Quadrilateral program. No, I am not saying this, the high court is...

The Delhi High Court seems to have hit upon the root cause of why crucial highway projects across the country have been moving at a snail's pace in the past few years. And the discovery has left the court both shocked and angry.

We are all set to lose a world bank loan that was granted for the completion of a highway project...

He said, "World Bank concern centres around the poor implementation of five road packages under the Lucknow-Muzaffarpur National Highway Project (LMNHP) which should have been open this month. But at the current rate of progress it will not be ready in 10 years."


Previously here, here on how the government has been progressively screwing the project.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some links that made me think...

Greatbong dissects the algebra of infinite fundamentalism practiced by A Roy. Superb! Slightly long, but worth every moment of your time.

More on her, here. And Chandan Mitras column on people who have made a career out of treason is a must read since A Roy falls exactly in this category.

The sad thing is that people like Ms. Roy are always described by the media (and whoever posts her pieces) as Booker prize winning author and so on - which seem to lend credibility to what she writes. At the same time, they never point out her own venomous ideology or how she uses the same globalization (or companies) to achieve her own ends. Luckily, nobody but the elite reads her and then too most of them can see through her verbal diarrhea.

Previously, influenced my rather lame Anti Globalization aunties.

On a related note, there was a nice piece by Salil Tripathi on why the arrested Pakistani terrorist should get legal representation and I was thinking that he should, but then along comes Kanchan Gupta who argues it in an entirely different I am confused.

And then, in the light of the Mumbai terror attack, BJP was accused of politicizing it, but really is the Congress as "apolitical" as it pretends? Who politicized Gujarat and continues to do so?

In fact, efforts to milk the tragedy of Gujarat for political ends were made by the Congress till the last Assembly election when Ms Sonia Gandhi used the expression “Maut ka saudagar” while campaigning in the State. Till then, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had stuck to the development agenda. It was the Congress and its fellow-travellers in the guise of NGOs and cohorts in the media who sought to communalise the Gujarat election. [Pioneer]

India today, meanwhile has a nice piece here...

Sometimes it takes a certain amount of Gallic flamboyance to tell the truth. Towards the end of his book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy reaches this terrifying conclusion: “I assert that Pakistan is the biggest rogue of all the rogue states today.[India Today]

I am learning immensely even as I link these pieces. Think. As someone (Balaji, wherever you are) pointed out, "Dont use your head as a helmet stand".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Erasable paper

Meanwhile, the perfect trick for making those "records" disappear. Great ecofriendly idea though, from Xerox corporation.

Coming up, the new excuse in future investigations, usually pertaining to scams, scandals, frauds, "We inadvertently printed the whole damn thing on erasable paper."

But pretty soon hopefully, printouts and paper would be only "if required" and most stuff should be digital...

What, Jews died?

From the Times of India:

Two-year-old Moshe Holtzberg tugs at your heartstrings, crying for his mother who was brutally killed by Pakistani terrorists at Nariman House in Mumbai during the three-day terro ttacks. In many ways, Moshe is the face of the trauma that wracked the city. Moshe's Israeli parents, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his pregnant wife, Rivkah, 28, were killed along with other hostages.

...The Indian government, however, has remained completely immune to all this. In a display of crass insensitivity as well as an enduring sign that the government continues to pander to the politics of the Muslim-Jew divide, minister of state for external affairs E Ahamed did not mention the Nariman House attack in his statement to the UN Security Council last week. And this from an India which officially maintains that terror has no religion and all victims are equal.

No sleepless nights here for the PM. Yesterday Kanchan Gupta had pointed out the same asking Closet Islamists in PMs team?

On December 9, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed read out a statement in the United Nations Security Council, pleading India’s case for action against Pakistan-based terrorist groups. Here is an excerpt from the official text of the statement: “A group of ten terrorists from the global terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Tayyeba reached Mumbai in the evening of 26th November 2008. The group divided themselves into four smaller groups and proceeded to pre-selected targets which included a café, popular with Indian and foreign tourists, and two major hotels.” There was no mention of, or allusion to, the fourth group’s pre-selected target, Chabad House, and the fact that the Jewish centre was attacked by the jihadis for obvious reasons. It’s almost as if nothing happened at Chabad House, that no Jews were tortured and killed by the terrorists for the simple reason that they were Jews. What makes the omission stand out like a sore thumb is the global outpouring of Jewish support for India, the outrage in the West over the targeted killings which we have used to our advantage, and the Israeli Government’s unequivocal endorsement of the tough commando action.

So, basically, nothing has changed. Time to write The Chronicles of NarNIA: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oscar award for a country

This time the Oscar awards will include a country, the first ever time that a country has been nominated for best acting. It is expected to win unanimously...
NYT goes behind the scenes of the house arrest of the JuD founder and gives us a better picture. House arrest or forced vacation, they ask...

Meanwhile Kanchan Gupta observes:

Meanwhile, late Saturday evening I decided to check whether, the website of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the nom de plume of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, had been blocked subsequent to the Security Council’s sanctions on the organisation and its amir, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. The website, with its inflammatory contents, remains unaffected.

In any case, DNA reports, the ban is also an eyewash..

This is a joke and the joke is on us. Now, where will the next attack be? The weeks are slowly slipping by and the kitty swells to 1800 cr. Rock a bye baby...

Acorn calls it a cosmetic crackdown...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

First they came...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

First they came...

India is in the cross hairs of Islamic terrorism sponsored by Pakistan as well as sponsored from inside. All the stateless actors, we are victims of terror too is bullshit. If we dont get them, by hook or crook, our future is at stake.

What would you do? What would you expect your country, your government to do? Stand up to it, speak it out and denounce it in the strongest terms and ensure that our lives are secure. Or, we do the next best thing. Vote the government out and get someone who does...

Friday, December 12, 2008

While we build a missile defence system

US to help India build a missile defence system?

If true, this is hilarious. We will have a missile defence system and terrorists sneak in via boat, porous borders, faking id cards and what not...

On the other hand, we have Ballistic missiles, rockets capable of reaching the moon but our policemen patrol with inadequate bullet proof vests, not enough guns...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Get Involved

After the terror attack, the season of activism has descended upon us. There candlelight vigils, Facebook groups and what not. Couple of PILs have been filed - one by a music director on the media - Small Change. Theres a PIL by the SIL to ensure that the government works to modernise the police force. Jaago Re is an initiative by Tata tea which has gathered eyeballs and even seems to be having results in gettig people out to vote.

But couple of media houses have jumped into activism mode which is heartening to see...India Today has a terror pledge - in which they will ensure that all these terror attacks will be kept in public memory by them till the necessary action is taken. DNA supports the PIL filed by SIL (Society of Indian law firms) to modernize the police force.

Ideally the government should do both of these, but if someone can force the government to do it, why not. Nice to see these two media houses take a strong stand on terrorism - there may be others too.

Hopefully this will not be another forgotten incident and so far it appears to be very alive. True, some of the "activism" is just a click of a button and may not seem significant. But what is important is that each one of us needs to make our voice heard. It is important that the misdemeanors of this government and its allies (who seem to have escaped blame) not go unpunished.

But, make no mistake. Kumbhakarna (the Indian state and politicians) has not awakened yet. Not learnt from its mistakes. Sadly, a lot more blood will be split before Kumbhakarna wakes up. But in the meantime keep banging the drums and blowing the trumpet. Kumbhakarna will wake up, hopefully, if he is alive...

Bush and MMS

The media pillories US President George Bush and lionises our Prime Minister MMS - but Bush has his priorities right. He will defend his country and his citizens. If I had heard this speech or talk from MMS, that would be something - and what we got was a speech that was a watery concoction.

US President George W Bush promised on Tuesday to "do what is necessary" to blunt any terrorist threats originating from suspected extremist havens in Pakistan's remote tribal areas.

Did MMS promise that? I don't think so.

"We have made it clear to Pakistan and to all our partners that we will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people," said the US president, who leaves office on January 20.

Have we? No

"We understood, as I said here at West Point in 2002, 'if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.'

We have waited too long for many many years ago, and we will be long gone before we wake up...

And the article ends with this:

They (Osama and Zawahiri) "remain at large, yet they are facing pressure so intense that the only way they can stay alive is to stay underground. The day will come -- the day will come -- when they receive the justice they deserve," he said.

Now, think Dawood, think Masood Azhar and think of the others. Can you truly say that about someone who has attacked India? What have we achieved from Pakistan thus far? A couple of house arrests and "raids". There is a lot of that to be done in our country also.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Notes from a Big Country

Notes from a Big Country: A positively hilarious book on the US of A

Hard to believe this is the same person who wrote a super serious (well some of that superb wit can be seen here too), A Short History of Nearly Everything...

I wish Bill Bryson could write a book on Indian Politics, especially the one practiced these days...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Disconnect, disable

Discussion in a leading private bank...

"I wish we could find a way of reducing costs on our credit card. Many of these idiots pay up on time and dont let us make money. On top of it, they expect to be rewarded for points"
"Shh...dont call them idiots though we treat them like that. They are our customers."
"Well, alright. Dont tell anyone..."
"What are the items we could attack?"
"Too many people redeeming their points earned on the credit cards."
"If we could find a way of disconnecting the reward and the actual card, it would work."
"Intriguing. Explain..."

"A few years back IT companies hit upon a great idea. Troubled by people who came up to their managers/HR, "I have been working as a manager - please make me a manager." or "I have been working as a consultant - please make me a consultant." - they came up with a brilliant masterstroke. They simply disconnected your designation and the work that you did. So, your pay was based on your designation and the work depended on whatever was available or whatever was required to be done at that moment. Therefore, in theory, you could be a peon who does the work of a president and be paid as much as that of a peon."
"And how is that connected here?"

"If we make the points independent of the transaction, it would make a difference."
"How could you do that?"
"Give them a separate card to be swiped for the points. Chances that they will swipe one more card is low - especially the old forgetful customers or the rich chaps who never have enough time. That leaves us with the kids who dont spend too much on their add-ons any way. Voila, points disappear down a black hole."

"You are a genius. Tell me more?"
"There is an agency that offers service levels that plumb the basement. They take ages to mail the second card only if you follow up 1898348 times - which means even the phone service provider will make money. "
"Great, put me through to them..."

And the complaints mount...

Why kill the rabbi?

Superb post here...and link from there to this piece by Mark Steyn...

Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world’s five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An “accidental hostage scene” that one of the “practitioners” just happened to stumble upon? “I must be the luckiest jihadist in town. What are the odds?”

Now this is something. As a long time resident of Mumbai, I did not know this place or such a place existed. Not that it mattered to us. Think ideology...

Also remember that nobody in the Indian media told you about this...till today. But they perhaps never will.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Imagining India

Optimism. Can Do. Two things that India needs today and two words that strike you as you start off on Imagining India.

Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation is the title of Nandan Nilekanis new book that came to me from Webchutney for review. It is a big book, make no mistake - and it is clear that Nandan is not your average writer (or blogger) - he is an astute, observant and meticulous author. The processes that his company is renowned for is reflected in his book. Overflowing with citations, bolstered by first person accounts and teeming with anecdotes, it is also an account of interactions with a lot of people who have been intimately involved with a lot of these ideas.

It takes a book like this to really tell you that there is more about India, than novels titled on coloured felines would make you believe. And which is what makes this book so credible. Nandan is closely associated with a company that has negotiated through this maze, ethics and values intact, and made a success out of it. As you read through it, you cannot but shake your head at the many opportunities India missed. Also, given todays disillusionment with politics, it may even make you wish that people like Nandan made it to governance.

As a book on contemporary history, it is an engaging read. For people who have not seen the "socialist" years or want to know how business operated during those years, it is a must read. And my favourite chapter was the one where he talks about technology - and there are two of them. The passion there is evident.

As he dissects the facets of India, how we reached here, why we are what we are and how we can change, it comes across a simple, sensible, even obvious set of ideas. And the overall attitude is a refreshing one of quiet self belief. How we can use what is given to us to take us where we want to do? How can we do better with the resources that we have? How can we improve our lot? The answers are all out there. Indeed this book makes it a simple to-do manual for any government. In each of them, he ends on a positive note and belief that we can achieve and talks to many who are working on these areas in the right direction.

The only issue, which I suspect also plays on in the authors mind, in that in the past few weeks, post the financial meltdown (and the terror attack), many things have changed and we still dont know what is in store. So, while it is an engaging read for what got us till here, some assumptions may change. But even here, it is evident that we need "Indian" solutions in a lot of places instead of templating whatever has been tried across the world. But recession or no recession, in the meantime, the basic things that need to set right still need to set right and Nandan gets it right.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Terror response lifecycle

Day 1: We will go after these individuals and organizations and make sure that every perpetrator, organizer and supporter of terror, whatever his affiliation or religion may be, pays a heavy price for these cowardly and horrific acts against our people.
Read: I hope I did not say this last time. Many words look familiar.

Day 2: Military option is not ruled out.
Read: I meant, against any terror hostage situation in India how can you rule out the military. They are the ones who have go in and fight...

Day 3: All options are on the table.
Read: Which table? Whose table? The wife just called. Dinner is Continental and Chinese food, I heard and she has left it all on the table.

Day 4: Military option is ruled out
Read: By now, my spinmasters would have done their job. People dont want war. We are only 6th over a period of 20 million years, relax.

Day 5: We will take strong action
Read: My cold is really bad. Vicks Action 500 is said to be the best, madam advised.

Day 6: I summon the ISI chief
Read: I have no clue what I will do once he is here...but someone said I need give him a piece of paper. Wonder why dont use the postal service.

Day 7: Send someone, atleast a peon
Read: I have a piece of paper to send. They are not even picking up the phone.

Day 8: We sent a demarche to the High commissions front door with a list of 20 most wanted people
Read: A demarche is a piece of paper. All phone lines in this route are busy for a long time now.

Day 9: Send someone, anyone, so that I can save face
Read: Even the cricketers will do...Atleast my cricketers will defeat them even though Kumble and Ganguly have retired. MS Dhoni, where are you - I am sorry I withdrew your security.

Day 10: Time will tell what action we will take
Read: By then it will be election time and I will be in the opposition...

What nonsense is this?

With something like this, you dont need no humor or satire...

In any case, he is clearly someone who requires ZZZZZ category of security...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Moment of truth

This piece,titled Indias moment of truth is by Jack Welch, who surely gave India a shot in the arm with the GE centers while he was at the helm. This is how he ends the piece, but the entire piece is worth reading - because our inaction to contain terror or better equip our police or armed forces will now cause businesses to think a lot more about the risk of doing business in India. Thanks doc...

With such a mixed picture, all foreign companies can do right now is boost security for their people—and wait. Meanwhile, many investors will be thinking about tilting the balance to China. That's understandable. Despite persistent worker protests, the Olympics this summer left little doubt of the country's ability to manage itself.

But China isn't really India's biggest economic challenge right now. India is. How its leaders respond to the Mumbai attacks will tell the business world what it wants and needs to know. Not just whether to pull back from India but how risky pushing forward will be.

Meanwhile Tom Friedmans Op-Ed in NYT asks.

On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.

For all the anger in the Indian media, I have not seen an article that gets to the point in as succinct a manner as these two. There in lies another story...

Meanwhile look at these two brave cops - with one vintage .303 rifle to share between them, they took on the terrorists. If they had more decent weapons and a bulletproof vest, this terrorist would have been vaporised at CST itself...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Walk around CST

Its a few days since the terror attacks and life is fast returning to normalcy or resignation. So, today, I thought of looking around VT and if security was any different around the long distance/suburban platforms where the terror attack and killing took place.

As my train crawled in, I could see no policemen in the rear end of the platform (that's where the terrorists ran out from, they came from back door at the Taj as well !!).

I still had hope. As I walked forward, I could see 3 cops with probably SLR (INSAS I guess). Yesterday there were 5 cops, today 3, tomorrow?

I walked towards the long distance platforms from the suburban - again no cops there. Outside the long distance platform a huge presence of cops (but few or no guns).

Further down, more cops - again just filling in numbers, nothing more. How often we attempt to solve an issue by simply putting in more people? And to think some parts of Mumbai will be underpoliced because of this...

A police jeep passed by me, on the backseat I could find the cop doing his kitchen chores I guess - was busy sorting green peanuts. Now, unless that is some new weapon we have figured out, big help it is going to do when there is an attack.

I am Mumbaikar all my life, well I am not ashamed to say I am scared. Did you say where is the spirit? The spirit has been held hostage - I have had enough. I just wish there were more gun totting, confident looking cops. I could have felt more safe. I guess I need get a new pair of sports shoe and hope to run as fast - nothing more can help me now. Or a bullet proof vest?