Bharat Karnad

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Bharat Karnad is professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

A big deal

The $22 billion (and not $10 billion, as has been reported) deal for the medium-range multi-role combat aircraft (MMCRA) could become a Bofors-like political liability for the ruling Congress Party, if it fails to get it right. Inordinate amounts of political capital and financial resources will be invested in it, and the Indian taxpayer has the right to expect that the numerous contracts will be unlike any contracts signed by the Indian government in the past.

Reactor blues

It is a good thing the Opposition parties have decided to let Parliament function. Otherwise the rules that have been promulgated by the Manmohan Singh government to implement the Civilian Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, dictating the terms on which high capacity reactors from abroad will be bought, would have automatically kicked in after 30 days notwithstanding the fact that they circumvent the Act. In the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament, the Opposition parties have, therefore, to amend this set of rules appropriately so that the original intent of the law is restored.

Why is US peddling a hangar queen?

A multi-role combat aircraft is one of those things air forces the world over love for no good reason other than the desire to fly a plane that can do everything.

Indian armed forces have China Syndrome

Over the years, the Indian armed services have become more and more like the Indian government — cautious, defensive, incremental in thought and action, and risk-averse when it comes

Endless delusion

Come the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in autumn and there’s India, predictably making the same old pitch for a permanent seat in the Security Council as part of “comprehensive reform” of the UN. As in the past, this year too efforts of the G-4 (Group of Four — India, Brazil, Japan and Germany) to obtain permanent membership tanked.

Peas in a pod

It is curious that India and the United States — the two most important democracies in the world today, have in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama, chief executives who, it turns out, share traits that the Washington Post columnist, E.J. Dionne, Jr., identified as Mr Obama’s hallmark, namely, being at once risk-averse and competitive.

Terror of apathy

Terror bombings in Mumbai are, by now, a periodic occurrence, like the cyclones that hit India’s east coast every other year which nobody can do much about.

Good morning, ’Nam

Nations establish moral ascendancy over other nations only by victory in war. Shrugging off the possibility of American nuclear attack, China crossed the Yalu river in October 1950 and almost brought the United States-led forces in Korea to their knees, rubbed India’s nose in the dust in 1962 and in 1969 militarily stiff-armed the Soviet Union on the Ussuri river.

Nuclear borderline

Every year, come January, the Indian and Pakistani governments exchange lists of nuclear facilities (along with their coordinates) that each side undertakes not to attack in case of hostilities. Presumably, new power stations and other sensitive nuclear military-related installations are added to the lists as and when these go onstream.

Himalayan task ahead

Historians cite American secretary of state John Foster Dulles inadvertently leaving out South Korea from the US defence perimeter in a seminal speech he delivered post-Second World War as one of the reasons for the Korean War in June 1950. This non-inclusion motivated the North Korean leader Kim Il-sung — aided and abetted

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