Why is Pawar worried about Tata's statement?

BY MANOJ KEWALRAMANI

So the Indian Agriculture Minister is worried. An innocuous comment by a man caught in the throes of one of the biggest scams in Indian history seems to have awoken Maharashtra’s giant.

Apparently, Ratan Tata’s suggestion that India seems to be in danger of turning into a banana republic was a call to action for Sharad Pawar. That along with Jairam Ramesh’s notice to Lavasa, of course. Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule and son-in-law Sadanand were major stakeholders in the Lavasa project when it was launched. However, the duo apparently divested their stake in 2004.

However, to say that the NCP patriarch is not keen on protecting and managing the environment would be fudging the truth. The only caveat here is that the term environment just has a different meaning in Mr. Pawar’s dictionary.

For starters, the minister recently told Parliament that the number of farmer’s suicides, as of November 2010, had declined from 881 deaths in 2009 to 270. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka continue to account for the most number of cases of farmers’ suicides.

Pawar’s home state still accounting for 234 of the 270 deaths this year. According to him, it’s the government’s debt waiver, debt relief and rehabilitation packages that are the reasons for this improvement.

That’s the official version.

Unofficially, or rather on the ground, the picture seems to be quite different. According to activists like Kishore Tiwari, who heads the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, the poor who default on loans are struggling against the tactics of banks. Some of these lenders have started seizing tractors and other movable property. He suggests that nearly 150,000 farmers are in danger of suffering starvation deaths or committing suicides, since the electricity department has cut their power supply. And that figure could just be the tip of the iceberg.

The regular list of problems such as awareness, water, electricity and equipment, continue to plague agriculture. But what has exaggerated the farmers’ woes is the failure of the banking and credit industry.

Traditional banking had failed over the years and left a vacuum that permitted the unorganized financial sector of goons and thugs to prevail. While that caused enough distress, a new ray of hope had seemingly emerged with the advent of micro-credit. However, 15 years down the road, it now seems that the micro-finance sector in India is on the verge of a massive meltdown.

A recent report in the Mint has argued that “foundations, venture capitalists and the World Bank have used the country as a petri dish for similar for-profit ‘social enterprises’ that seek to make money while filling a social need…But microfinance in pursuit of profits has led some microcredit firms around the world to extend loans to poor villagers at exorbitant interest rates and without enough regard for their ability to repay. Some firms have more than doubled their revenues annually.”

Interest rates, for these loans, at times have been as high as 36 to 60 percent compounded yearly, way over the 24 percent allowed. That, more often than not, was coupled with strong arm tactics for loan recovery.

In Andhra Pradesh, the situation, in fact, grew so grim that the government had to step in with a law making it mandatory to register MFIs with local authorities, regulating multiple lending and banning coercion.

Consequently, a large number of people unable to bear the burden of the loan and the interest rates defaulted-in effect sending the industry down a spiral. According to some reports, India’s microfinance industry has now appealed for $222 million in emergency funds to keep it afloat.

While the looming crisis of a vital cog in the financial machinery is a matter of concern, what it also highlights is the inability of the governments to tackle the essential problems that Indian agriculture continues to face.

It is such issues that the agriculture minister of the country should be concerned about. Citing pressure on cultivable land, he recently suggested that it was important for India to reduce its dependence on agriculture for employment. The argument is sound.

However, with all due respect sir, let’s understand that the way to reduce that dependence is through improving education and expanding its reach, revamping agricultural practices, efficient industrialization that creates jobs and offers fair pays for the stakeholders, holding corporates responsible and accountable for their failures, and honest and transparent land deals, to name a few.

It is not done through uprooting poor landowners in favour of shifting their status as manual labour in order to build hi-tech townships that cater to a few. That’s how we become a banana republic, and not by probing corporates who wittingly or unwittingly are caught up in the 2G muck.

(Manoj Kewalramani is a guest writer with Canary Trap. He has worked with top media houses like NDTV before becoming an Independent Blogger and Writer.)

Is Ratan Tata's SC petition on 2G tapes a bad strategy?

BY ARUN AGRAWAL

Watching the Ratan Tata interview with Shekhar Gupta made one wonder as to whether both of them were gullible enough not to understand the significance of the Radia tapes or were they playing to the gallery in the adult version of WWF. One suspects that it was a bit of both with Ratan Tata being more on the gullible side and Shekhar on the WWF side – playing the game.

There are a number of questions that Mr Ratan Tata needs to answer.

The first and foremost relates to the need for the House of Tatas to engage  a  professional lobbyist and media manager instead of having a in-house media department. Obviously lobbyists are a necessity because there are lot of things that a professional lobbyist and media manager can do which the corporate  cannot. And if you are caught with your pants down you can always disown them – as is done invariably – on the ground that the lobbyist exceeded his/her brief. Is that the reason why a lobbyist like Ms Niira Radia was employed?

The second and the more important question relates to the significance of  the fact that  Ms Radia was not acting for the House of Tatas exclusively. She was acting on behalf of any and everybody including herself and surprisingly also the Minister! Did  Mr Tata realize the consequence of the other relationships that Ms Radia had developed?  If Tatas do not share the culture of either Reliance or Unitech, how can they share the same lobbyist?

The fact of the matter is that Radia needed the House of Tatas as much the Tatas needed her. That gave her respectability and credibility to solicit/get solicited by other clients and also to do deals for herself.

Is it not a fact that Tatas were not the innocent victim – as is the case in most scams – of corruption but were the innocent beneficiary of the corruption in the telecom scam. In fact they were the largest beneficiary.

Is it not a fact that in the process of obliging Anil Ambani with a GSM license in exchange for transfer of Swan Telecom, Raja had to give the Tatas too the GSM license at the discounted price of Rs 1650 crores.  Twenty-six percent of the shares of holding company of the Tatas, which got the license, was sold to DOCOMO for $2.7 billion, giving the license a value of $10 billion. The bottom line:  26 percent of what was bought for Rs 1650 crores by the Tatas was sold for over Rs 13,000 crores. This was almost three times the valuation obtained by Swan Telecom or Unitech.. On paper, the House of Tatas benefited the most from the Telecom scam.

Should Ratan Tata, then, be eternally grateful to Ms Radia for making it possible? For any decent human being the answer would be a resounding  “YES”. And Ratan Tata, like the Hon’ble Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is more than a decent human being.  So while the Hon’ble PM maintains his silence over Raja,  Mr Ratan Tata goes out on a limb to defend Ms Radia.

And yet, Ms Radia had nothing to do with the GSM license given to the Tatas. They were the unintended beneficiaries of the Anil Ambani scam because they were in the same CDMA boat.

Was it possible to have one set of laws for Anil Ambani, in the “give one get one” scam in which license was given to RCom and Swan Telecom, and have another law for not giving a license to Tata Teleservices? In fact Tata Tele applied for the license on 22/10/2007, after Reliance Communication got the license on 18/10/2007. Tatas had to be given the license/spectrum because there could be no discrimination. Otherwise it would go to Court as they actually did for the allotment of the spectrum in the circles where there was scarcity of spectrum.

Where does Ms Radia fit in? Nowhere!

Ms Radia was into her own scam with the Minister. She was dealing for everybody, including herself. Is it not true that money was transferred to Unitech group by the Tatas at the behest of Ms Radia? How much money did she make in helping others make money? Who were the parties who made money because of her? How much money did each one of them make? Did she have any stake in any of the licenses? These are matters of investigation.

The fact of the matter is that Ms Radia  too had a personal stake in Raja retaining the telecom portfolio. And her personal stake was larger than that of the Tatas at the material time.

Unitech too got a license and was reportedly her client. Tata Realty gave a loan of Rs 1700 crore to Unitech in early 2008 at a time when the license was actually given (10/1/2008). Was it to facilitate the license or/and the bribe? Was it not done because of Radia? What if it is discovered that bribes were paid by Unitech? Could not the Tatas be accused of a three way deal, given that Tata Tele benefited the most? And the fact that the loan was never repaid but properties were transferred by Unitech. (Unitech could not return the loan and instead sold subsidiaries having land in Gurgaon to Tata Realty.)

Would it then be unreasonable to conclude that Tatas may not be giving bribes but they need lobbyist like Ms Radia who facilitate bribes?

The facts narrated above are not from the  Radia tapes. These are in the public domain and the conclusions drawn are  logical.

It is for these reasons that Mr Ratan Tata should realize that it is the tapes that will prove his innocence/guilt. So far, the tapes that are in public domain are not damaging to him. If he approaches the Court then people will feel that he has something to hide along the lines suggested above. Like the paradox of the Tatas having benefited the most from corruption, the House of Tatas benefit the most by the tapes remaining in the public domain..

Let there be transparency if there is nothing to hide. Like the judges who voluntarily declared their assets. It is a sting operation or a leak which happens all the time. In fact it is the stuff that lobbyist Ms Radia uses routinely.

Leaking policy papers, influencing policy and even cabinet posts is what the lobbyist do for a living and those engaging them pay for.  If the House of Tatas did not see any wrong in appointing a lobbyist and benefiting from leaked information then why squeal now when the tapes are leaked? What happened to the level playing field?

Ratan Tata would be well advised to sack the lobbyist, withdraw the petition from the Supreme Court and let the tapes remain in the public domain. Otherwise he risks damaging his reputation forever which will be a sad thing. As for the tapes, they will remain in public domain (the Internet is too vast to be covered by a court injunction).

Disclosure: The author believes that the House of Tatas is one of the few honest corporate houses of the country and should not get involved with lobbyists, more so when they also lobby for other companies with dubious reputation. The author holds Ratan Tata in high regard and is a well-wisher. The post has been written in good faith.

(PS: “India is becoming a banana republic,” Ratan Tata said in the interview. The aam aadmi knows that it’s been one for years.)

(Arun Agrawal is the author of the book Reliance: The Real Natwar)

Bin Laden's PR better than us: US officials

US officials were concerned about not doing enough to counter the popularity of Osama bin Laden. Below is a classified note prepared by Public Diplomacy Counselor Richard Hoagland which suggest a review of public diplomacy effort about Laden.

FULL TEXT OF THE CABLE LEAKED BY WIKILEAKS

Tuesday, 26 January 1999, 03:32
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 000495
USIA
FOR NEA, I/GNEA
STATE FOR SA/PAB, D, PA
EO 12958 DECL: 01/23/09
TAGS PREL, PTER, KISL, PK, AF
SUBJECT: PUBLIC DIPLOMACY: USAMA BIN LADIN
REF: PESHAWAR 031

1. CLASSIFIED BY PUBLIC DIPLOMACY COUNSELOR RICHARD HOAGLAND FOR REASONS 1.5(D)

2. (C) SUMMARY: IT IS OUR IMPRESSION THAT THE USG IS NOT DOING AS WELL AS IT MIGHT PROJECTING PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ON USAMA BIN LADIN (UBL). WE WOULD LIKE TO SUGGEST THAT WASHINGTON CONSIDER A REVIEW OF THIS PUBLIC DIPLOMACY EFFORT. END SUMMARY.

———————
PUBLIC OPINION TRENDS
———————

2. (C) WE NOTE THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC OPINION TRENDS:

— THE PRO-TALIBAN AL-RASHID TRUST IN KARACHI CONTINUES TO CHURN OUT PRO-UBL — AND CORRESPONDINGLY ANTI-U.S./ANTI-WESTERN — BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, AND POSTERS IN URDU, ENGLISH, AND AFGHAN LANGUAGES AT NOMINAL COST OR FOR FREE DISTRIBUTION. E.G., THE TRUST RECENTLY INTRODUCED A 3′ X 2′ FOUR- COLOR PRO-UBL POSTER WITH PHOTOS, MAPS, AND IDEOLOGICAL TEXTS AVAILABLE FOR 15 RUPEES, ABOUT 30 CENTS — JUST A BIT MORE THAN THE COST OF A SIDEWALK HAIRCUT. THIS POSTER BEAT THE USG’S UBL “WANTED” POSTER TO THE STREET.

— WE FREQUENTLY HEAR REPORTS THAT SOME IN THE LOWER-MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASSES, BOTH URBAN AND RURAL, CONSIDER UBL AN ISLAMIC HERO BECAUSE THE U.S. HAS NAMED HIM “PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE.” THAT SAID, IT’S OUR IMPRESSION THAT THE MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS, AT LEAST IN PAKISTAN, DO NOT NECESSARILY SUPPORT THIS VIEW. THE PENDING USG DISTRIBUTION OF UBL “WANTED” POSTERS AND MATCHBOOKS IN PAKISTAN MAY INCREASE UBL’S STATURE AS A KIND OF FOLK HERO.

— U.S. AND BRITISH EFFORTS TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TERRORISTS, LIKE BIN LADIN, AND “GOOD MUSLIMS” ARE SOMETIMES PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA AND BY RELIGIOUS FIGURES IN THEIR WRITINGS AND SERMONS AS ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE ALL MUSLIMS BY CO-OPTING WESTERNIZED — MEANING (TO THEM) “MORALLY CORRUPT” — MODERATES. (NOTE: THIS REPRESENTS THE PHILOSOPHICALLY ROMANTIC VIEW THAT ISLAM PER SE ERASES ALL DIVISIONS, THAT THE MUSLIM UMMAH IS “ONE,” AND THAT AN ATTACK ON ONE IS AN ATTACK ON ALL. END NOTE.)

— IN SHARP CONTRAST TO THEIR ORDINARY EXECRABLE PUBLIC RELATIONS PERFORMANCE ON THE BIN LADEN QUESTION, THE TALIBAN HAVE PRE- EMPTED US CONSISTENTLY SINCE AUGUST, FIRST BY ANNOUNCING THEIR WILLINGNESS TO HAVE AFGHANISTAN;S SUPREME COURT EXAMINE THE CHARGES AGAINST BIN LADIN AND THEN BY ANNOUNCING THAT NO “EVIDENCE” (BY WHICH THEY MEANT HARD FACTS IN PROOF OF THE CHARGES) HAD BEEN PRESENTED. OUR RESPONSE IN EACH CASE WAS MUTED AND DELAYED. CONTINUING THIS TREND ON THE TALIBAN’S PART, EARLY IN JANUARY, THE TALIBAN SPONSORED A SEMINAR IN KABUL, REPORTED BY RADIO SHARIA, ON THE LIFE, TIMES, AND THOUGHTS OF UBL (REFTEL).

— ACCORDING TO RECENT PRESS REPORTS, PAKISTANI TALIBS WHO HAVE SERVED IN AFGHANISTAN, ALONG WITH AFGHAN TALIBS, ARE BEGINNING TO ENFORCE THEIR DOGMAS AND SOCIAL CONTROLS IN PAKISTAN’S TRIBAL TERRITORIES AND IN SOME PLACES IN BALOCHISTAN AND NWFP PROVINCES. ALSO, LAST WEEK, THE GOP ENFORCED ISLAMIC LAW BY DECREE IN MALAKAND DIVISION AND IN A PART OF KOHISTAN. ALTHOUGH THESE DEVELOPMENTS ARE RELATIVELY ISOLATED AS YET, THEY SUGGEST A DISTURBING TREND. INDEED, THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT TO THE PAKISTANI CONSTITUTION ESTABLISHING SHARIA AS THE SUPREME LAW OF PAKISTAN — AN AVOWEDLY HIGH PRIORITY OF THE NAWAZ SHARIF GOVERNMENT — HAS BEEN PASSED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND IS PENDING BEFORE THE SENATE.

——————–
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
——————–

4. (C) WE ARE UNLIKELY EVER TO MAKE MUCH INROAD WITH UBL’S HARD-CORE SUPPORTERS BECAUSE THEY ARE TRUE-BELIEVER ABSOLUTISTS AND TEND TO THINK AND REACT LARGELY EMOTIONALLY: FACTS ARE LESS IMPORTANT TO THEM THAN EMOTIONS. THEY ARE NOT OPEN TO PERSUASION. FURTHER, WE FACE A FORMIDABLE FOE AMONG THOSE WHO ARE CHURNING OUT AND WIDELY DISSEMINATING PRO-UBL PROPAGANDA AND TAKING OTHER ACTIVE MEASURES.

5. (C) HOWEVER, WE BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A LARGE MIDDLE GROUND, IN PAKISTAN AND IN AFGHANISTAN, WHICH IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY ANTI- U.S./ANTI-WESTERN AND WHICH IS NOT IDEOLOGICALLY COMMITTED TO UBL AND HIS PAN- ISLAMIST REVOLUTION. THIS MIDDLE GROUND, SOMEWHAT SUSCEPTIBLE TO REASON, OR AT LEAST TO OTHER INFORMATION, SHOULD BE OUR PRIMARY TARGET. THE MESSAGE CRAFTED FOR THEM WOULD ALSO BE WELCOMED BY THE EDUCATED, WESTWARD- LOOKING ELITE OF BOTH PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN WHO FEEL THREATENED BY UBL’S ADVOCACY OF VIOLENCE AND THEOLOGICAL OBSCURANTISM.

6. (C) THE FOCUS OF ANY ENHANCED USG PUBLIC DIPLOMACY EFFORT SHOULD BE TO PORTRAY UBL AND OTHERS AROUND HIM AS CRIMINALS, BOTH BY INTERNATIONAL AND BY ISLAMIC STANDARDS. WHERE POSSIBLE, RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MOVEMENT “AL-QAIDA” SHOULD BE EMPHASIZED, NOT JUST UBL AS AN INDIVIDUAL.

— WHEN WE FOCUS ON BIN LADIN, AND ESPECIALLY FOR AFGHAN CONSUMPTION, WE SHOULD MAKE THREE POINTS: 1) THE U.S. IS NOT AGAINST AFGHANISTAN AND THE AFGHAN PEOPLE, 2) THE U.S. IS NOT AGAINST ANY PARTICULAR AFGHAN POLITICAL FACTION, AND 3) THE U.S. WANTS UBL EXPELLED FROM AFGHANISTAN TO A PLACE WHERE HE CAN BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.

— THE BROADER PUBLIC DIPLOMACY EFFORT COULD INCLUDE, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, A “CHARGE SHEET” OF THE CRIMES COMMITTED BY UBL, BY HIS CLOSEST ASSOCIATES, AND BY HIS FOLLOWERS, NOTING THE FACT THAT MANY OF THEIR VICTIMS HAVE BEEN MUSLIMS OF VARIOUS NATIONALITIES.

— RECOGNIZING THE NEED TO PROTECT SOURCES AND METHODS AND NOT TO COMPROMISE ON-GOING INVESTIGATIONS AND JUDICIAL PROCESSES, WE SHOULD BE FORTHCOMING TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE ABOUT THE DETAILS OF THE NAIROBI AND DAR ES SALAAM BOMBINGS, AS WELL AS ABOUT UBL’S AND HIS MOVEMENT’S OTHER CRIMES.

— THIS INTENSIFIED PUBLIC DIPLOMACY EFFORT SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE VALIDATION FROM ISLAMIC SOURCES THAT THESE CRIMES ARE INDEED RECOGNIZED AS CRIMES UNDER ISLAM. RATHER THAN STATEMENTS BY U.S.- OR UK-BASED ISLAMIC SCHOLARS, IT WOULD BE MORE EFFECTIVE TO USE THE TEACHINGS AND PUBLIC STATEMENTS OF MAJOR ISLAMIC SCHOLARS AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS FROM SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT, AND ELSEWHERE. IN SELECTING/ELICITING SUCH CITATIONS, IT SHOULD BE KEPT IN MIND THAT UBL AND THE PAN- ISLAMISTS DISMISS SAUDI ARABIA AND EGYPT AS ONLY NOMINALLY ISLAMIC STATES CAPTIVE TO U.S.-TOADYING, DESPOTIC, AND APOSTATE LEADERS.

— KEEPING IN MIND THAT IN HIS DECEMBER 23 INTERVIEW UBL JUSTIFIED KILLING MUSLIMS IN HIS JIHAD AGAINST “CRUSADERS AND JEWS,” AND RECOGNIZING THE EMOTIONAL ASPECT OF OUR TARGET AUDIENCE, WE SHOULD PREPARE FOR DISSEMINATION MORE HUMAN INTEREST STORIES OF UBL’S VICTIMS, ESPECIALLY HIS MUSLIM VICTIMS OF VARIOUS NATIONALITIES. U.S. MEDIA REPORTS OF BLINDED KENYANS, FOR EXAMPLE, RECEIVED GOOD COVERAGE IN THE PAKISTANI PRINT MEDIA.

7. (7) EFFECTIVE METHODS WOULD NATURALLY INCLUDE THE TRADITIONAL USG PUBLIC DIPLOMACY TOOLS: VOA LANGUAGE SERVICES, INCLUDING INTERVIEWS WITH UBL’S MUSLIM VICTIMS; CAREFULLY TARGETED WORLDNET INTERACTIVES; WIRELESS-FILE TEXTS AND FACT SHEETS FOR TRANSLATION INTO LOCAL LANGUAGES; AND COMMISSIONED ARTICLES FOR PRESS PLACEMENT.

8. (C) CONSIDERATION COULD ALSO BE GIVEN TO PRODUCTION OF A BOOKLET IN LOCAL LANGUAGES ON THE CRIMES OF BIN LADIN AND HIS ASSOCIATES, ALONG WITH VICTIMS’ STORIES, FOR NON- CONVENTIONAL DISTRIBUTION IN MOSQUES, MADRASSAS, ISLAMIC STUDY CENTERS, ISLAMIA DEPARTMENTS OF UNIVERSITIES, AND BOOKSTORES.

9. (C) A NON-USG-IDENTIFIED WEB SITE COULD ALSO BE CREATED TO POST THE ABOVE MATERIAL AND THE URL WIDELY DISTRIBUTED. ALTHOUGH THIS WOULD APPEAR TO BE COUNTER-INTUITIVE — THAT THE MASSES DON’T USE THE INTERNET — ALMOST ALL ISLAMIC AND ISLAMIST GROUPS DO INDEED HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AND USE IT EXTENSIVELY.

HOAGLAND

Live Updates on Wikileaks’ latest disclosures

Wikileaks has created history by publishing a huge cache of classified US diplomatic cables that chronicles the world’s most powerful nation’s relations with the world. The database of documents is so huge that it would take days to go through it. Canary Trap brings you important pointers from the documents:

A cache of confidential diplomatic cables amounts to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism.

1. Account of the meeting of Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (AFHSC) and Mossad Director Meir Dagan on July 12 for a general discussion of regional security threats.

Document Date: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 13:52

Excerpt: According to Dagan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States all fear Iran, but want someone else “to do the job for them.” Townsend and Dagan discussed the current state of affairs in the Saudi royal court, where the Mossad Chief accused Foreign Minister Saud bin Faysal of playing a “very negative role.” He also pointed to the recent visit of the Saudi King Abdullah to Jordan as a historical first and turning point for relations between the two countries. Townsend agreed, and said that the Saudi king has a sense of urgency on the political front. Dagan characterized Qatar as “a real problem,” and accused Sheikh Hamid of “annoying everyone.”

In his view, Qatar is trying to play all sides — Syria, Iran, Hamas — in an effort to achieve security and some degree of independence. “I think you should remove your bases from there…seriously,” said Dagan. “They have confidence only because of the U.S. presence.” Dagan predicted, with some humor, that al-Jazeera would be the next cause of war in the Middle East as some Arab leaders (specifically Saudi Arabia) are willing to take drastic steps to shut down the channel, and hold Sheikh Hamid personally responsible for its provocations.

2. Account of the meeting of US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz, Senior Princes and top Saudi officials.

Document Date: Sunday, 20 April 2008, 08:47

Excerpt: Al-Jubeir recalled the King’s frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. “He told you to cut off the head of the snake,” he recalled to the Charge’, adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government.

(Adel al-Jubeir – Saudi Ambassador to the US)

3. Account of the August 17 meeting between Israeli Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and US Under Secretary of State Nick Burns.

Document Date: Friday, 31 August 2007, 12:45

Excerpt: Dagan described how the Israeli strategy towards Iran consists of five pillars:

A) Political Approach: Dagan praised efforts to bring Iran before the UNSC, and signaled his agreement with the pursuit of a third sanctions resolution. He acknowledged that pressure on Iran is building up, but said this approach alone will not resolve the crisis. He stressed that the timetable for political action is different than the nuclear project’s timetable.

B) Covert Measures: Dagan and the Under Secretary agreed not to discuss this approach in the larger group setting.

C) Counterproliferation: Dagan underscored the need to prevent know-how and technology from making their way to Iran, and said that more can be done in this area.

D) Sanctions: Dagan said that the biggest successes had so far been in this area. Three Iranian banks are on the verge of collapse. The financial sanctions are having a nationwide impact. Iran’s regime can no longer just deal with the bankers themselves.

E) Force Regime Change: Dagan said that more should be done to foment regime change in Iran, possibly with the support of student democracy movements, and ethnic groups (e.g., Azeris, Kurds, Baluchs) opposed to the ruling regime.

Dagan urged more attention on regime change, asserting that more could be done to develop the identities of ethnic minorities in Iran. He said he was sure that Israel and the U.S. could “change the ruling regime in Iran, and its attitude towards backing terror regimes.” He added, “We could also get them to delay their nuclear project. Iran could become a normal state.”

4. Account of meetings of US lawmakers with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Document Date: Tuesday, 02 June 2009, 06:19

Excerpt: Barak reinforced his message regarding Pakistan in both meetings. He described Pakistan as his “private nightmare,” suggesting the world might wake up one morning “with everything changed” following a potential Islamic extremist takeover. When asked if the use of force on Iran might backfire with moderate Muslims in Pakistan, thereby exacerbating the situation, Barak acknowledged Iran and Pakistan are interconnected, but disagreed with a causal chain. To the contrary, he argued that if the United States had directly confronted North Korea in recent years, others would be less inclined to pursue nuclear weapons programs. By avoiding confrontation with Iran, Barak argued, the U.S. faces a perception of weakness in the region.

5. Account of meeting between Saudi King Abdullah and top US officials at the former’s private palace on March 15.

Document Date: Sunday, 22 March 2009, 10:14

Excerpt: The King noted that Iranian FM Mottaki had been “sitting in that same seat (as Brennan) a few moments ago.” The King described his conversation with FM Mottaki as “a heated exchange, frankly discussing Iran’s interference in Arab affairs.” When challenged by the King on Iranian meddling in Hamas affairs, Mottaki apparently protested that “these are Muslims.” “No, Arabs” countered the King, “You as Persians have no business meddling in Arab matters.” The King said the Iranians wanted to improve relations and that he responded by giving Mottaki an ultimatum. “I will give you one year” (to improve ties), “after that, it will be the end.”

6. Cable responding to Ref A request for evaluations of Jordan’s reaction to possible U.S. engagement with Iran.

Document Date: Thursday, 02 April 2009, 05:49

Excerpt: The metaphor most commonly deployed by Jordanian officials when discussing Iran is of an octopus whose tentacles reach out insidiously to manipulate, foment, and undermine the best laid plans of the West and regional moderates. Iran’s tentacles include its allies Qatar and Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi government sometimes seen as supplicant to Tehran, and Shia communities throughout the region.

Why did Obama and Cameron visit Asia?

BY MANOJ KEWALRAMANI

So money does make the world go round, or at least it does cause the leaders of the ‘free world’ to spin on their axis.

It’s no surprise then that last week as Barack Obama and David Cameron made their respective visits to India and China, that’s precisely what they were after.

But that wasn’t the only commonality between the two visits.

The first was the size of their delegations.

Cameron traveled with one of the largest delegations, comprising 43 bosses from major British companies and four government ministers. Obama, on the other hand, came with an entourage that sold out the Taj. 800 hotel rooms in Mumbai were apparently booked for the visiting Americans.

The fruits of these efforts can be gauged by the following deals that were struck between the parties:

The second was a revelation that while India and China may be in a race to produce English-speaking manpower for Western back-offices, the British and American leaders too enjoy indulging in foreign languages.

Obama’s Jai Hind was perhaps a touch more eloquent than Cameron’s recitation of the Chinese national anthem. However, the message between the lines was clear.

It echoed the kind of desperation that Tom Cruise exuded through his misty eyes towards the end of Jerry Maguire. “You… you complete me.” That’s probably what they really wanted to say as they hoped to woo their respective maidens. We all know though, it’s not really love; it’s still about money and control. Ah, we live in a cynical, cynical world.

So that brings us to the third and most critical bit.

While the American president declared that India was no longer emerging, rather it had emerged, Cameron asserted that there wasn’t an issue in the world that didn’t beg China’s opinion and participation.

The two men also called for both the Asian giants to play a more constructive role in the development and growth of Africa. “It’s a huge market too; come now, let us not compete. Rather, we should explore it together,” they pleaded. Alright, they didn’t say that exactly. But it did sound more or less like that.

Further, as Obama threw the weight of the American people behind India’s bid for a permanent Security Council seat, the British PM seemingly offered to be a brand manager for China at the world stage. “So I want to make the positive case for the world to see China’s rise as an opportunity not a threat,” he said to students at Peeking University.

And then came the caveat. What you can’t deny both of them, however, is the charm with which they carried out this task.

“No one nation has a monopoly on wisdom, and no nation should ever try to impose its values on another,” Obama told the Indian Parliament. After which, he, just as the British leader standing a few miles east of Delhi, began to do exactly that.

Listing out the burdens that come with great power status, they called for financial reform, opening up of markets and a greater and more ‘responsible’ role in world affairs.

“China has attempted to avoid entanglement in global affairs in the past,” Cameron chided, while Obama wagged a stern finger at Indian MPs when he argued that often in the past India had been coy when it came to certain issues on the international fora.

What’s more both leaders used the examples of Iran, to highlight the threat of nuclear proliferation, and Myanmar, to call for standing up against dictatorial regimes and for greater democratisation.

It’s probably naive of us to even wonder why Israel and Saudi Arabia never figured as examples, isn’t it?

In the end, however, both the men essentially carried the same message. Globalisation, in every sense, isn’t a zero-sum game.

Today our interests seem to align together like never before and creating win-win situations is the way forward. It’s perhaps the first time since the realignment after the second world war that the architects of the global system are resorting to such explicit neo-realist language.

While that may all sound hunky-dory, the image that the two leaders left behind can only be described as follows: Like aging fathers sitting in their weary rocking chairs, the two men, who both know what Empires look like before nightfall, looked east from their windows.

“Son, I know it’s time. And so I’ll give. You’ll have all you desire. In return, all I ask is that you better be good, you better be nice. And you better play by the rules…err…I mean my rules.”

(Manoj Kewalramani is a guest writer with Canary Trap. He has worked with top media houses like NDTV before becoming an Independent Blogger and Writer.)

Text of PM-Obama Joint Statement

Reaffirming their nations’ shared values and increasing convergence of interests, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama resolved today in New Delhi to expand and strengthen the India-U.S. global strategic partnership.

The two leaders welcomed the deepening relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. They commended the growing cooperation between their governments, citizens, businesses, universities and scientific institutions, which have thrived on a shared culture of pluralism, education, enterprise, and innovation, and have benefited the people of both countries.

Building on the transformation in India-U.S. relations over the past decade, the two leaders resolved to intensify cooperation between their nations to promote a secure and stable world; advance technology and innovation; expand mutual prosperity and global economic growth; support sustainable development; and exercise global leadership in support of economic development, open government and democratic values.

The two leaders reaffirmed that India-U.S. strategic partnership is indispensable not only for their two countries but also for global stability and prosperity in the 21st century. To that end, President Obama welcomed India’s emergence as a major regional and global power and affirmed his country’s interest in India’s rise, its economic prosperity, and its security.

A GLOBAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama called for an efficient, effective, credible and legitimate United Nations to ensure a just and sustainable international order. Prime Minister Singh welcomed President Obama’s affirmation that, in the years ahead, the United States looks forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member. The two leaders reaffirmed that all nations, especially those that seek to lead in the 21st century, bear responsibility to ensure that the United Nations fulfills its founding ideals of preserving peace and security, promoting global cooperation, and advancing human rights.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama reiterated that India and the United States, as global leaders, will partner for global security, especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next two years. The leaders agreed that their delegations in New York will intensify their engagement and work together to ensure that the Council continues to effectively play the role envisioned for it in the United Nations Charter. Both leaders underscored that all states have an obligation to comply with and implement UN Security Council Resolutions, including UN sanctions regimes. They also agreed to hold regular consultations on UN matters, including on the long-term sustainability of UN peacekeeping operations. As the two largest democracies, both countries also reaffirmed their strong commitment to the UN Democracy Fund.

The two leaders have a shared vision for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific region and committed to work together, and with others in the region, for the evolution of an open, balanced and inclusive architecture in the region. In this context, the leaders reaffirmed their support for the East Asia Summit and committed to regular consultations in this regard. The United States welcomes, in particular, India’s leadership in expanding prosperity and security across the region. The two leaders agreed to deepen existing regular strategic consultations on developments in East Asia, and decided to expand and intensify their strategic consultations to cover regional and global issues of mutual interest, including Central and West Asia.

The two sides committed to intensify consultation, cooperation and coordination to promote a stable, democratic, prosperous, and independent Afghanistan. President Obama appreciated India’s enormous contribution to Afghanistan’s development and welcomed enhanced Indian assistance that will help Afghanistan achieve self-sufficiency. In addition to their own independent assistance programs in Afghanistan, the two sides resolved to pursue joint development projects with the Afghan Government in capacity building, agriculture and women’s empowerment.

They reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security require elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the two sides agreed that all terrorist networks, including Lashkar e-Taiba, must be defeated and called for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Building upon the Counter Terrorism Initiative signed in July 2010, the two leaders announced a new Homeland Security Dialogue between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security and agreed to further deepen operational cooperation, counter-terrorism technology transfers and capacity building. The two leaders also emphasized the importance of close cooperation in combating terrorist financing and in protecting the international financial system.

In an increasingly inter-dependent world, the stability of, and access to, the air, sea, space, and cyberspace domains is vital for the security and economic prosperity of nations. Acknowledging their commitment to openness and responsible international conduct, and on the basis of their shared values, India and the United States have launched a dialogue to explore ways to work together, as well as with other countries, to develop a shared vision for these critical domains to promote peace, security and development. The leaders reaffirmed the importance of maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation, in accordance with relevant universally agreed principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and peaceful settlement of maritime disputes.

The transformation in India-U.S. defense cooperation in recent years has strengthened mutual understanding on regional peace and stability, enhanced both countries’ respective capacities to meet humanitarian and other challenges such as terrorism and piracy, and contributed to the development of the strategic partnership between India and the United States. The two Governments resolved to further strengthen defense cooperation, including through security dialogue, exercises, and promoting trade and collaboration in defense equipment and technology. President Obama welcomed India’s decision to purchase U.S. high-technology defense items, which reflects our strengthening bilateral defence relations and will contribute to creating jobs in the United States.

The two leaders affirmed that their countries’ common ideals, complementary strengths and a shared commitment to a world without nuclear weapons give them a responsibility to forge a strong partnership to lead global efforts for non-proliferation and universal and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament in the 21st century. They affirmed the need for a meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines. They support strengthening the six decade-old international norm of non-use of nuclear weapons. They expressed a commitment to strengthen international cooperative activities that will reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or material without reducing the rights of nations that play by the rules to harness the power of nuclear energy to advance their energy security. The leaders reaffirmed their shared dedication to work together to realize the commitments outlined at the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit to achieve the goal of securing vulnerable nuclear materials in the next four years. Both sides expressed deep concern regarding illicit nuclear trafficking and smuggling and resolved to strengthen international cooperative efforts to address these threats through the IAEA, Interpol and in the context of the Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué and Action Plan. The two sides welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership being established by India.

Both sides expressed deep concern about the threat of biological terrorism and pledged to promote international efforts to ensure the safety and security of biological agents and toxins. They stressed the need to achieve full implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and expressed the hope for a successful BWC Review Conference in 2011. The United States welcomed India’s destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Both countries affirmed their shared commitment to promoting the full and effective implementation of the CWC.

The two leaders expressed regret at the delay in starting negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament for a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

India reaffirmed its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The United States reaffirmed its testing moratorium and its commitment to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and bring it into force at an early date.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to diplomacy to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, and discussed the need for Iran to take constructive and immediate steps to meet its obligations to the IAEA and the UN Security Council.

TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION, AND ENERGY

Recognizing that India and the United States should play a leadership role in promoting global nonproliferation objectives and their desire to expand high technology cooperation and trade, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama committed to work together to strengthen the global export control framework and further transform bilateral export control regulations and policies to realize the full potential of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Accordingly, the two leaders decided to take mutual steps to expand U.S.-India cooperation in civil space, defense, and other high-technology sectors. Commensurate with India’s nonproliferation record and commitment to abide by multilateral export control standards, these steps include the United States removing Indian entities from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “Entity List” and realignment of India in U.S. export control regulations.

In addition, the United States intends to support India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes (Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group, and Wassenaar Arrangement) in a phased manner, and to consult with regime members to encourage the evolution of regime membership criteria, consistent with maintaining the core principles of these regimes, as the Government of India takes steps towards the full adoption of the regimes’ export control requirements to reflect its prospective membership, with both processes moving forward together. In the view of the United States, India should qualify for membership in the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement according to existing requirements once it imposes export controls over all items on these regimes’ control lists.

Both leaders reaffirmed the assurances provided in the letters exchanged in September 2004 and the End-Use Visit Arrangement, and determined that the two governments had reached an understanding to implement these initiatives consistent with their respective national export control laws and policies. The Prime Minister and President committed to a strengthened and expanded dialogue on export control issues, through fora such as the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group, on aspects of capacity building, sharing of best practices, and outreach with industry.

The possibility of cooperation between the two nations in space, to advance scientific knowledge and human welfare, are without boundaries and limits. They commended their space scientists for launching new initiatives in climate and weather forecasting for agriculture, navigation, resource mapping, research and development, and capacity building. They agreed to continuing discussions on and seek ways to collaborate on future lunar missions, international space station, human space flight and data sharing, and to reconvene the Civil Space Joint Working Group in early 2011. They highlighted the just concluded Implementing Arrangement for enhanced monsoon forecasting that will begin to transmit detailed forecasts to farmers beginning with the 2011 monsoon rainy season as an important example of bilateral scientific cooperation advancing economic development, agriculture and food security.

The two leaders welcomed the completion of steps by the two governments for implementation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement. They reiterated their commitment to build strong India-U.S. civil nuclear energy cooperation through the participation of the U.S. nuclear energy firms in India on the basis of mutually acceptable technical and commercial terms and conditions that enable a viable tariff regime for electricity generated. They noted that both countries had enacted domestic legislations and were also signatories to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. They further noted that India intends to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation within the coming year and is committed to ensuring a level playing field for U.S. companies seeking to enter the Indian nuclear energy sector, consistent with India’s national and international legal obligations.

India will continue to work with the companies. In this context, they welcomed the commencement of negotiations and dialogue between the Indian operator and U.S. nuclear energy companies, and expressed hope for early commencement of commercial cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector in India, which will stimulate economic growth and sustainable development and generate employment in both countries.

Just as they have helped develop the knowledge economy, India and the United States resolved to strengthen their partnership in creating the green economy of the future. To this end, both countries have undertaken joint research and deployment of clean energy resources, such as solar, advanced biofuels, shale gas, and smart grids. The two leaders also welcomed the promotion of clean and energy efficient technologies through the bilateral Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) and expanded cooperation with the private sector. They welcomed the conclusion of a new MoU on assessment and exploration of shale gas and an agreement to establish a Joint Clean Energy Research Center in India as important milestones in their rapidly growing clean energy cooperation.

The leaders discussed the importance of working bilaterally, through the Major Economies Forum (MEF), and in the context of the international climate change negotiations within the framework of the UNFCCC to meet the challenge of climate change. Prime Minister Singh and President Obama reiterated the importance of a positive result for the current climate change negotiations at the forthcoming conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Mexico and affirmed their support for the Copenhagen Accord, which should contribute positively to a successful outcome in Cancun. To that end, the leaders welcomed enhanced cooperation in the area of climate adaptation and sustainable land use, and welcomed the new partnership between the United States and India on forestry programs and in weather forecasting.

INCLUSIVE GROWTH, MUTUAL PROSPERITY, AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION

The two leaders stressed that India and the United States, anchored in democracy and diversity, blessed with enormous enterprise and skill, and endowed with synergies drawn from India’s rapid growth and U.S. global economic leadership, have a natural partnership for enhancing mutual prosperity and stimulating global economic recovery and growth. They emphasize innovation not only as a tool for economic growth and global competitiveness, but also for social transformation and empowerment of people.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama celebrated the recent growth in bilateral trade and investment, characterized by balanced and rapidly growing trade in goods and services. They noted positively that the United States is India’s largest trading partner in goods and services, and India is now among the fastest growing sources of foreign direct investment entering the United States. The two leaders agreed on steps to reduce trade barriers and protectionist measures and encourage research and innovation to create jobs and improve livelihoods in their countries.

They also welcomed expanding investment flow in both directions. They noted growing ties between U.S. and Indian firms and called for enhanced investment flows, including in India’s infrastructure sector, clean energy, energy efficiency, aviation and transportation, healthcare, food processing sector and education. They welcomed the work of the U.S.-India CEO Forum to expand cooperation between the two countries, including in the areas of clean energy and infrastructure development. They also encouraged enhanced engagement by Indian and American small and medium-sized enterprises as a critical driver of our economic relationship. They looked forward to building on these developments to realize fully the enormous potential for trade and investment between the two countries.

Recognizing the people-to-people dynamic behind trade and investment growth, they called for intensified consultations on social security issues at an appropriate time. The two leaders agreed to facilitate greater movement of professionals, investors and business travelers, students, and exchange visitors between their countries to enhance their economic and technological partnership.

To enhance growth globally, the Prime Minster and President highlighted both nations’ interests in an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda negotiations, and in having their negotiators accelerate and expand the scope of their substantive negotiations bilaterally and with other WTO members to accomplish this as soon as possible. They agreed to work together in the G-20 to make progress on the broad range of issues on its agenda, including by encouraging actions consistent with achieving strong, balanced, and sustainable growth, strengthening financial system regulation, reforming the international financial institutions, enhancing energy security, resisting protectionism in all its forms, reducing barriers to trade and investment, and implementing the development action plans.

Building on the historic legacy of cooperation between the India and the United States during the Green Revolution, the leaders also decided to work together to develop, test, and replicate transformative technologies to extend food security as part of an Evergreen Revolution. Efforts will focus on providing farmers the means to improve agricultural productivity. Collaboration also will enhance agricultural value chain and strengthen market institutions to reduce post-harvest crop losses.

Affirming the importance of India-U.S. health cooperation, Prime Minister and the President celebrated the signing of an MOU creating a new Global Disease Detection Regional Center in New Delhi, which will facilitate preparedness against threats to health such as pandemic influenza and other dangerous diseases.

Embracing the principles of democracy and opportunity, the leaders recognized that the full future potential of the partnership lies in the hands of the next generation in both countries. To help ensure that all members of that generation enjoy the benefits of higher education, the Prime Minister and the President agreed to convene an India-U.S. Higher Education Summit, chaired by senior officials from both countries in 2011, as part of a continued effort to strengthen educational opportunities. They welcomed the progress made in implementing the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative that is expanding links between faculties and institutions of the two countries and the expansion in the Nehru-Fulbright Programme for Scholars.

Noting that the ties of kinship and culture are an increasingly important dimension of India-U.S. relations, President Obama welcomed India’s decision to hold a Festival of India in Washington DC in 2011. Recognizing the importance of preserving cultural heritage, both governments resolved to initiate discussions on how India and the United States could partner to prevent the illicit trafficking of both countries’ rich and unique cultural heritage.

A SHARED INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT

Consistent with their commitments to open and responsive government, and harnessing the expertise and experience that the two countries have developed, the leaders launched a U.S.-India Open Government Dialogue that will, through public-private partnerships and use of new technologies and innovations, promote their shared goal of democratizing access to information and energizing civic engagement, support global initiatives in this area and share their expertise with other interested countries. This will build on India’s impressive achievements in this area in recent years and the commitments that the President made to advance an open government agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. The President and Prime Minister also pledged to explore cooperation in support of efforts to strengthen elections organization and management in other interested countries, including through sharing their expertise in this area.

Taking advantage of the global nature of their relationship, and recognizing India’s vast development experience and historical research strengths, the two leaders pledged to work together, in addition to their independent programmes, to adapt shared innovations and technologies and use their expertise in capacity building to extend food security to interested countries, including in Africa, in consultation with host governments.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama concluded that their meeting is a historic milestone as they seek to elevate the India-U.S. strategic partnership to a new level for the benefit of their nations and the entire mankind. President Obama thanked President Patil, Prime Minister Singh, and the people of India for their extraordinary warmth and hospitality during his visit. The two leaders looked forward to the next session of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in 2011.

New Delhi

November 8, 2010