About Delhi CommonWealth Games [CWG] 2010.

Obviously, there is a lot of media coverage in Australia about Delhi Commonwealth Games [Delhi CWG] which will start on 3rd October, 2010.  Both, Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph have coverage on this today.   ABC also had coverage on this yesterday. 

Dani Samuels [Discus champion] has decided to withdraw from the Games but I was very pleased and indeed, encouraged to read that our swimmers and divers [Alex Croak, Matthew Mitcham and Geoff Huegill] have declared their intention to go to the Games. They made this very clear via a Blog [  http://tinyurl.com/273cb7k ].  I also know that the Sports Minister, Senator Mark Arbib will also be going to Delhi.  I say “good on you” to participate in the Games in Delhi. 

I know that some sports authorities from certain countries including New Zealand have made a lot of alarmist comments about the Delhi CWG which seems to be creating panic and hysteria against the Delhi Games.   A firing at a tourist bus near a mosque a couple of days ago has of course fuelled  concerns about the security around the Games. A few building work problems, which have been characterised as minor by Indian officials, have received prominent reporting in the media.

Having come from New Delhi myself where I lived for several years, I do believe that some of the comments in the media are actually very unhelpful because they are creating hysteria against the Delhi CWG.    Something similar was floating around in the media about Athens Olympic Games only a couple of years ago.  Despite that, Athens Games were greatly successful. Similar concerns were raised in the media against South African soccer world cup but they were all proven to be incorrect.

My belief is that India would be able to deliver a successful Delhi CWG.  My belief is based on following: 

 The firing on the tourist bus a couple of days ago happened in the old part of Delhi which is grossly congested and has narrow lanes.  That part is not particularly safe even in the best of times.  I do not think we would have the same situation in the Games arena or the places where sports people will be staying. Games are not happening in Old Delhi. Of course, it is important for all people including sports people to be mindful of the security environment before they venture out to areas which are generally a “no go” area in any city anywhere in the world.  I myself would not go to Old Delhi unless it is extremely necessary.  

 The Games facilities will be ready by the time the games start on 3rd October 2010.  They still have 10 days before the commencement of games. Only minor work, mostly cleaning, is yet to be done. The athletes village will be up and running with all the facilities by the time the games start.  The organisers and workers are working round the clock to get things done within days.  It is of course disappointing,  and to some extent embarrassing for us as Indian Australians to see the delay in getting the facilities ready.  Unfortunately, Delhi had 60-70% more monsoon rains this year which of course has added to problems but all stadia are already ready.  I have seen the photographs and comments of this fact. 

 India has had terrorist attacks and they have mostly originated and been masterminded from across the border.  Just like London, Bali, New York or Madrid, New Delhi will not be immune to a terrorist attack.  Having said that, I do not believe there is a very high chance (contrary to the claims in various media outlets) of a terrorist attack during the Games. I argue that the chance of a terrorist attack is minimal.  The reason for this is the fact that India has conducted IPL games without any untoward  incident for a couple of years.    In IPL games, there were many non-Indian players.  The Indian security apparatus including Indian army will provide a fool proof security for the venues and places where the games will be conducted.  People should not forget that India holds two big national events every year, namely the grand parade on the Independence Day (15th August) and Republic Day (26th January) when the whole political leadership including Prime Minister is present in the Parade venue, without any incident.  India can provide guaranteed security for a demarcated place or places but like any country in the world, it can never guarantee every place from terrorism. Sports arenas and athletes village will be demarcated places and Indian security apparatus is fully capable to do its job to protect them.

There have been concerns raised about Dengue fever in Delhi.  These concerns have created an unnecessary alarm.  Delhi is not the only city in the world which has Dengue fever.  Dengue fever is a problem in congested places such as slums or shanty towns but I do not believe sports people will be visiting or staying in those places.  The athletes village will, I believe, not have the situation where sports people will be  impacted by Dengue fever. Of course, they have to follow the advice about avoiding mosquito bite which will be given to them  by their own medical advisors as a matter of course. I and my family visit Delhi every year and have never suffered from Dengue fever. Preventive measures, of course, are crucial for every visitor.

There is a tendency in the international media to hype up and often exaggerate the issues in India which tends to create an unnecessary alarm among those who are going there.   The issues are there but they are not insurmountable. India will prove the alarm creators wrong and will hold a successful CWG.

Undoubtedly, India should have been ready with the construction and building works at least three months before, but this did not happen, leading to  much embarrassment for everyone including India as a nation and Indians all over the world.  There is a culture in India which we often call “Chalta Hai” which basically means that everything will be alright even when it does not appear to be the case. Before the D day comes, we create unnecessary chaos but  however still deliver the outcome.  This culture needs to change with some significant speed. We need to start following targets in a timely fashion. We need to start delivering outcomes in a planned and timely manner. 

There is no doubt that the credibility of India and Indian Government is on the line but having known India so well and having spoken with high ranking officials from the Government, I believe that India will deliver a very successful CWG. 

Jai Ho to Delhi  CWG 2010 and Jai Ho to all the participants in these Games!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/22nd Sept, 2010

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

singhyadu@gmail.com

Australia, the most charitable nation in the World!

Charities Aid Foundation [CAF] has ranked Australia the most charitable nation. We have a tie with our neighbour, NZ for the top spot. I am not surprised with it as I have seen the charitable nature of Australians from every sphere of life. I have seen it during Victorian Bush fires and Asian Tsunami disaster. I have lived in NZ too for a short time and saw how helpful Kiwis were. Kiwis were also found to be the most honest people in another survey.

CAF’s World giving Index 2010 is an interesting read. Australia/NZ  are both number 1, Canada/Ireland 3rd, Switzerland/USA 5th, UK/Sri Lanka 8th, Lao People’s Democratic Republic 11th, India 134th and China 147th out of the total 153 countries.  

In Australia, this survey found that 70% people give money, 38% time and 64% help strangers. Corresponding numbers for NZ are 68%, 41% and 63% respectively.

In contrast, these numbers are disappointingly low 14%, 12%, and 30% for India. For China, the numbers are even worse at 11%, 4% and 28% respectively.

I was pleasantly surprised to see these numbers for Sri Lanka which has 58%, 52% and 50% under the same categories. Well done Sri Lanka!

I would have expected India and China to be better than what CAF table shows. I don’t know whether this is due to fact that they have a lot of poverty there and they are developing economies. I don’t know whether there are other factors for their low score. May be, Indians and Chinese will take note of this score and do better from now. If Lao People’s Democratic Republic can be at 11th spot, then surely, India and China can be at that spot too, if not better.

http://www.cafonline.org/pdf/0882A_WorldGivingReport_Interactive_070910.pdf

As far as I am concerned and just like other Australians, I take part in charitable activities and contribute generously, whenever possible. I encourage every one to support charities. We never know when we might ourselves be in difficulties and need help.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/10th September, 2010

Australian Uranium to India:Why Australia should sell it to India?

Last year, the then PM, Kevin Rudd and several ministers including the then Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard visited India. India is an important country for Australia on multiple counts. It is a rising global power which is also an important trading partner of Australia. Indian students’ issues aside, both countries enjoy friendly relations with one another. 

We, Indian Australians, have a keen interest in seeing good relations between these two countries.

Both countries must consider the interests of one another while doing business with one another. There are too many things which bind us together. These are our democracies, rule of law, multi-cultural societies, love of Cricket and memberships of the Commonwealth to name a few.

Previous Australian Gov led by PM John Howard did many things to move Australia and India closer. He declared that he would sell Uranium to India as India had impeccable records of nuclear non-proliferation. Other important step in this direction was a decision to initiate a quadrilateral strategic dialogue involving USA, Australia, India and Japan. Yet another was the naval exercises called Malabar exercises involving  Navies from India, USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore. After winning the Gov in 2007, Kevin Rudd led ALP Gov reversed the decision to sell Uranium to India and other steps too became non-operative from one or the other reason. Unhappy with Australia’s policies, India did not participate in Kakadu Naval exercises where even Pakistani Navy showed up.  Basically, Australia-India relations have moved backward since 2007. They moved back a few degrees more after the students’ issues last year. A serious work is required to rectify this situation.

Indian economy is growing and will keep growing for years to come. GFC [Global Financial Crisis] did not affect India as much as it did others. India is on a roll. The only thing which holds India down is the fact that it has a problem in regards to its energy supply. It needs more and more energy for its growth. It  needs as much energy as it can get its hands on. Indian economy’s growth is essential not only for India but it is also essential for the health of the world economy.

India has been exploring all sources of energy supply as its local supply is far shorter than what it needs. India has to import petroleum from the Arab countries and is debating about the gas supply from Iran. Iranian Gas is however problematic as it has to transit via Pakistani territory which is a problem in itself. Pakistani Govt authorities will never be able to guarantee a secure transit due to its weakness and the presence of the “non-state actors” there who are anti-India. In addition, India cannot rule out a war between India and Pakistan which will create problems in the transit of the gas.

India is therefore forced to explore the option of atomic energy. It has no choice. Thanks to the leadership of The Prime Minister, Mr ManMohan Singh and the then US President, Mr George Bush, India has an India-specific NSG [Nuclear Suppliers’ Group] exemption in 2009 which enabled it  to have bilateral nuclear energy deals with USA, Russia, France, Canada and some more countries. India needs a similar deal with Australia which will allow the Uranium sale to India. Australia has about 40% of world Uranium and sells it to China. NPT should not be an obstacle for Australia to sell Uranium to India after the NSG’s India specific exemption and with India’s impeccable record in nuclear non-proliferation. NSG exemption was a testimony to the fact that India has been a responsible country and has never been involved in nuclear proliferation, unlike others in our neighbourhood. Australia supported this exemption. NSG exemption permits nuclear trade by India without signing NPT.

We should remind ourselves about what the former Australian PM, Mr John Howard had said about such sale. He said that it would not be fair to sell Uranium to China and deny that to India. PM Howard was dead right.

When Kevin Rudd’s ALP Gov reversed Mr Howard’s decision, India was upset and disappointed. Indian Australians were upset too. People felt that it was an unfair decision. India had a difficulty to understand the logic behind this decision once India was given NSG exemption with an active support from Australia.  NPT issue is not relevant at all in regards to India as India has impeccable records in these matters. ALP’s policy, insisting on NPT signature by India, is wrong and ill-considered. Australian Foreign Minister Mr Stephen Smith’s press conference in New Delhi is worth going through. It is available through DFAT website. India has never been involved in nuclear proliferation unlike Pakistan and China. China is a NPT signatory but its record in these matters is not that great. Everybody knows the nexus between China and Pakistan. We should not forget how North Korea got its atomic bombs. Pakistan would not have supplied anything to North Korea without the consent of China. Manuals in Chinese language were found even in Lybia which tried to buy things from disgraced proliferators like AQ Khan of Pakistan.

Simply put, it makes no sense for Australian Uranium going to China but not to India. In fact, there is more justification for Uranium sale to India. It will be pragmatic and a smart move if ALP drops its objection to selling Uranium to a non-NPT signatory country like India because India has fault-free records in proliferation matters and this fact has been recognised by the world with the India specific NSG waiver.  ALP decision to not sell Uranium to India has been considered unfriendly by many quarters in India and Indian Australian community. It is a big stumbling block in good Australia-India relations.

I have urged the Australian PM and ALP to give India a “fair go” through emails and my Blog. I argued that it was what was expected from a friendly country. It is not fair to bind Australia with the NPT dogma and not see the whole issue in a realistic way. A friend has to see the problems of  his/her friends properly. Australia is a friend of India. It showed it by supporting the NSG exemption for India in Vienna last year. It shows it by supporting a permanent position for India in UNSC. It is about time that we see it once again by seeing Uranium trade between Australia and India. As we understand, it [ALP] would not have any political fallout from its decision to sell Uranium to India because the Coalition is already in favour of doing so. It should not be a problem to amend Atomic energy Act either, giving an India-specific exemption for Australian Uranium sale to India. I remain doubtful though whether ALP and specifically ALP Left will change its objection in this regard.

I urge my Australian Indian friends to lobby with their local MPs on this matter. We need to pool our energies in persuading the Australian Gov to sell Uranium to India.

Like Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf [Ex Australian High Commissioner to New delhi], I and thousands of my friends in Australia do believe strongly that Australia should sell Uranium to India. We find this refusal to sell Uranium to India  unfair and illogical. India needs new and cleaner sources of energy  and nuclear energy is at the top of its list. Nuclear energy will not only help India but it will help the whole world as it will reduce pollution and carbon emission.

A time has come when Australia sees the issues properly and does the right thing. That right thing is to sell Uranium to India.

PM Julia Gillard, if elected on 21st Aug, will get an opportunity to change this illogical policy and sell Uranium to India but will she do it is yet to be seen.

Tony Abbott, if he gets the mandate on 21st Aug, and his team including Julie Bishop, Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb have already reconfirmed their resolve to sell Uranium to India.

We want some significant movement for more meaningful and better Australia- India relations.

The question in our minds is whether ALP will do the right thing or whether it would be the coalition which will do it!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/09-11-09 

singhyadu@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Who is racist-Australia or Indian media?

Look, I agree, the title of this write-up is dramatic and provocative but this is the question which lots of people are asking. A segment of Indian media is calling every crime involving Indians in Australia as racist crime. They don’t even wait for full facts. It is grossly unfair, inappropriate, immature and ,I argue, racist. Everything in Australia is racist and the very same crimes in India are not. Indian media is doing it intentionally with one agenda only. This agenda is to harm Australia’s reputation. They are selectively blind to some crimes but hysterical about certain crimes.

Let me put some examples to illustrate my point of view.

1. Late Nitin Garg’s fatal stabbing: This was the most shocking loss of life in Melbourne. A 21 years old Indian permanent resident was fatally stabbed at 10 PM when he was walking through a park for his work. This was in the Western Suburb of Melbourne which is known for increased crime against people of all types. There was no witness and the park was dimly lit. Full facts have not come out yet. Vic police is investigating. One Indian minister demanded faster speed in the investigation just 2 days after the crime, while ignoring the fact that it took 19 years for the Indian system to deal with SPS Rathore, Ex DGP of Haryana, who had molested a young lady [Ruchika] and  had also harassed her family which led to the suicide of Ruchika. It is a bit rich to hear that statement from this minister. Indian media of course took up the job of branding Australia a racist country. Do they have any evidence to claim that Nitin was murdered due to his race? Do they have any evidence to say who killed Nitin? This is ridiculous and an indicator of the lack of fairness, accountability and responsibility to their profession. Make no mistake, we are all very sad and angry with what has happened. A young man has lost his life in this manner. Our hearts go out to his mother, brother and other family members. We owe it to Nitin that we put sufficient pressure on Vic Police to catch the criminal and prosecute him vigorously.

2. Ku Klux Klan cartoon: This cartoon by a newspaper in India was an outrageous sensationalisation by the Indian media. What evidence they have to claim what they claimed? It is not fair to brand the whole Vic police to be Ku Klux Klan! We are not surprised that Acting PM, Julia Gillard, Acting Premier of Vic, Mr Hull and Vic police reacted angrily and called this cartoon to be offensive. Rather than going on Ku Klux Klan direction, they could have highlighted the failure of Vic police in controlling the crime situation there.

3. Murder of an Indian lady in Westmead, NSW by her husband: It is alleged that Chaman Jot Singh had killed his wife and then ran away to Melbourne from where he was arrested. He is in prison now and awaiting his trial. We did not see much coverage of this murder! Indian media is treating one murder differently from the another. Is this an example of journalism?

4. Murder/burning of Ranjodh Singh in Griffiths: This murder was shocking too. Newspaper reports are claiming that he was a contractor who was employing other Indians. It is alleged that a dispute involving the payment of wages was responsible for the fight and murder/burning. Killers are alleged to be Indians. We did not see much coverage of this in the Indian media. Why?

5. Alleged burning of an Indian in Melbourne: This story is quite unusual and the newspapers are raising doubts on some aspects of this crime. Full facts are yet to be disclosed but police are saying that aspects of the story don’t stack up.

6.  IndianTaxi driver molesting a young lady in Brisbane: A taxi driver was sentenced to 15 months prison term in Brisbane but not much has been reporeted in Indian media. Why?

7. Puneet, an Indian student, drove drunk and killed an 19 years old Gold Coast man last year. He was tried and was convicted. While waiting for the sentencing, he jumped bail and ran away from Australia, using a false passport. He lives in India now. Should he not be arrested there and sent back to an Australian jail? Where is Indian police and Indian media? Why did Indian media not cover this topic? Is it OK for an Indian to kill someone else?

http://www.theage.com.au/world/india-urges-restraint-in-reporting-of-attacks-20100110-m0iz.html

http://www.theage.com.au/national/fire-attack-on-indian-deepens-race-tensions-20100109-m00j.html

http://www.theage.com.au/national/the-mean-streets-where-the-locals-fear-to-tread-20100109-m00l.html

http://www.smh.com.au/national/two-questioned-over-burnt-body-of-indian-worker-in-griffith-20100109-m03q.html

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/taxi-driver-pleads-guilty-to-schoolgirl-assault/story-fn3dxity-1225817388943

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/indian-tvs-unsound-fury-20100106-lu8y.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/10/2789026.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/09/2788802.htm

 http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indians-in-oz-fear-backlash-over-ku-klux-klan-cartoon/565039/

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/6660657/indian-govt-angry-after-attack-on-man/4/$

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indians-in-oz-feel-race-angle-being-forcefully-fed-by-media/565571/

http://www.theage.com.au/national/southbank-crash-driver-drunk-and-speeding-20081001-4rcz.html

http://www.theage.com.au/national/killer-driver-fled-australia-on-false-passport-police-20090820-erzp.html

It does not matter to them that most Indian Australians do not believe Australia to be a racist country. Australia’s rules/regulations and laws are not racist. They are not discriminatory to any one on the basis of colour, race, gender or religion. It is a known fact that every country has some racists. Australia and India are no exceptions. Ask North Indians what they feel in Mumbai. Ask North Eastern Indians what they get called in New Delhi. Ask any one what Indians call Africans. Why is Indian media not taking this up? It is a known fact that every country has a crime problem. Australia also has it and India also has it. India in fact may have worse crime problem.  No country is totally crime free. What has Indian media done against crime/criminals in India? Some politicians there have extensive criminal background? Any thing being done by Indian media about that?

By the way, my comments here should not mean that I am happy with the policing by Vic Police. They are definitely not able to have an effective control on the crime situation in Vic. They need to do a review about the ways they do crime control. They should do random and unannounced searches for knives etc without giving the notice of 7 days before such searches. You read it right. They actually do give a 7 days notice about their searches in any particular suburb.Things seems to be better in NSW in this regards. May be, they should talk with their NSW counterparts.

Some “leaders” in Melbourne don’t waste any time to claim every crime being a racist crime. There is one whose comments are outrageous. He does not wait for any evidence.  His understanding of the situation is very deficient. I believe he is  harming Indian Australian community  due to his stupid statements.  His statements are irrational. He seems to have some sorts of connection with some in Indian media. His hypocrisy is objectionable as he has taken Australian citizenship and is bringing his parents to live in Australia. Why is this the case if Australia is nothing but a racist country? He is not even a student. As far as I know, he is not even working in the field of his training these days. He claims to speak for all of us. I want to tell him that we do not agree with his irrational views. We also know that he has hardly any support in Melbourne and Indian Australians in Melbourne dislike him intensely & with passion.

I ask Indian media to become rational and objective in its coverage of the problems in Australia. They should wait for the full facts to come out before jumping to any conclusion. They need to cover all crimes even when Indians are involved in committing those crime. They must stop hysterical and selective reporting. Some students also commit crime and the behaviour of some of them is below standard. They don’t know how to conduct themselves. Indian Gov’s advisory is a right thing but did we really need it? Should it not be a component of common sense and should we not know what to do and what not to do? These students are not children, after all.

The irrational reporting by Indian media is making them a laughing stalk and this is making the situation more difficult for Indian Australians. There is a risk that a backlash may happen against Indian Australians if Indian media continues its hysterical and unfair reporting.

The behaviour of a segment of Indian media begs the question. Is indian media racist towards Australia?

I know where I stand on this matter. I am going to let you make up your own mind. Do let me know what you think!

Yadu Singh/Sydney/10th Jan, 2010

Parramasala:My Channel 9 news interview on this festival of Indian and South Asian culture in Parramatta.

http://tinyurl.com/ydontck  [Courtesy Channel 9 Australia] My interview on Channel 9 Australia News.

http://tinyurl.com/y9g23l6  [Premier’s Press Release]

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced a week long  festival of Indian and South asian culture in Nov, 2010. This would be held in Parramatta, Western Sydney, NSW.

It would a fun festival and will show case the arts and culture from India and South Asia. It would include Bollywood songs/dances which of course have become very popular  after Slum Dog Millionaire movie and Jai Ho song by A R Rahman.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/6th Jan, 2010

Mumbai Terror attack 26/11/08:What are the lessons?

I remember getting a call from Rahul Jethi, a banker in Sydney, and a good friend and whose brother is in Indian army, early in the morning of 27th Nov 2008 [Sydney time which is 5.5 hours ahead of Indian time], about the terrorist attack in Mumbai. I switched the TV on and saw the reporting of the attack. It made me sad and angry at the same time. As it became clearer that LET was involved, I became more angry. I was helpless as I could not do much to help the people in Mumbai.

I watched the attack unfold and kept myself updated through the days. I kept reading the statements from leaders from all over the world. Thankfully, Kasab [the lone terrorist survivor] was arrested. I was angry that pakistan kept denying the nationalities of the terrorists even when the evidence was overwhelming. That has become the standard operating procedure for Pakistan. Shameful and outrageous!!

By now, we have details of Kasab’s interrogation/trial, and have seen the reports in various channels including ABC Australia, CNN and BBC.  Only recently, Farid Zakaria covered it in CNN GPS programme. A great deal is known by now. It is all clear that 10 terrorists came from Pakistan and LET was the sponsoring terrorist organisation. These terrorists were trained in Pakistan. The whole world is asking Pakistan to bring the perpetrators [supporters/sponsors] of the Mumbai terrorist attack to justice.

Lot of things have changed since 26th Nov, 2008. I hope, things would keep moving in the right direction to prevent further terrorist attacks in India. The whole world has to work against the menace of terrorism. Either Pakistan changes its ways itself or the world forces it to change. There is no alternative option.

So many people lost their lives for no reason. This has to end.

As I see it, following come to my mind;

1. India will continue to have attacks of this nature because some elements in Pakistan are hostile to India and have an agenda to harm India. Some inside ISI and Pakistan army are madly fundamentalists and are pathologically inimical towards India.

2. India is a vast country with long borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, from where these terrorists do cross into India and will keep crossing in future too. We have to do every thing to reduce if not prevent it. India must identify illegal Bangladeshi stayers in India and expel them without much delay. Throw them in the ocean if we have to but they can’t be allowed to stay in India. No vote bank politics please!

3. The whole world has to force Pakistan to dismantle the terrorist organisations and their infrastructure to prevent attacks from Pakistan. USA and Europe are crucial in this. India must keep working with the world powers to force Pakistan to change its ways. India needs to have the right people in the ministry of external affairs to be able to have a desired effect in this matter. Shashi Tharoor is a competent minister with the contacts and experience in these matters and may be, he should be made the cabinet minister.

4. India has to improve the intelligence gathering capability significantly.

5. India has to improve the command structure to face such attacks effectively and efficiently. There was a significant delay in getting NSG commandos to Mumbai during the attack. They had to wait for hours before a plane could be arranged to fly them to Mumbai. That is outrageous. India needs to have a proactive thinking rather than a reactive one. Even the chief minister Mr Deshmukh took more than 4 hours to return to Mumbai.

6. Indian media must be forced to follow certain rules during such attacks. Media was showing the live coverage of the attack which was used by the terrorists’ minders/handlers in Pakistan to guide the terrorists. It was not helpful. I dare say, it led to many more deaths than it would have been otherwise. Indian media needs to be told that certain things are not on. Their TRP battle is not above human lives and national interests.

7.1. India has to become ruthless in investigating and prosecuting those who are involved in terrorism and those who are supporting such elements. There should be a speedy trial. Once convicted, these terrorists should be punished severely without any delay. It is not a good idea to keep convicted criminals like Afzal Guru to stay in the jail because his mercy petition is pending with the president for this unusually long period.  Why is his mercy petition pending with Indian president for years? This is outrageous! Those dreaded terrorists who were released during the Indian Airlines plane hijack, were also in the Indian prison for years without a trial. India has done a good job by establishing a national investigation agency [NIA]. NIA officials should be given freedom to work independently without any political pressure.

7.2. India must not allow any segment of its society to feel alienated. All opportunities/benefits must be truly available to every Indian irrespective of their region, religion or caste. Nation building must be taken up with redoubled vigour.

8.1. India must have a campaign to do public education to make people aware re how to keep the eyes/ears open to anything unusual and what to do when a terrorist attack is happening. We saw a big crowd of onlookers during NSG [National Security Guards] counter-attack which is not smart. Where was the crowd control?

8.2. The civil police must be trained properly. It is not a good idea for top police officials to be in one single car which was not bullet proof. This was the case even when they had access to the bullet proof vehicles. This led to costly loss of lives of the leaders of police force. We hear that Mr Karkare and others did not receive immediate help after being wounded. One wonders whether some of these great policemen would not have died if we had an efficient medical, police and rescue systems.

8.3. India and Indian public needs to do every thing to look after the near/dear ones/dependents of the brave security men/women who give their lives to protect us and the country. Gov authorities need to do many things to let people know that India has utmost respects and gratitude for such brave men/women.

9. Indian leaders were issuing the statements after statements but not much came out of that. We should learn to show results rather than just talks.

10.1. India needs to improve its military capabilities in such a way that Pakistan or its supporters do not dare look towards India. We need to revamp the capabilities of our air force, navy and artillery.

10.2.While working on the military capabilities, India needs to work with redoubled vigour to settle the outstanding issues with its neighbours.

I am keen to hear from you with your views on these matters.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/27-11-09

Corruption Perception Index [CPI]: NZ at 1, Australia at 8 and India at 84th place!

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table

Have a look at this table of Corruption perception Index [CPI] from Transparency International [TI], which places NZ at the top, Australia at number 8 and India at 84th.

 I have lived in all 3 countries and know the difference. NZ and Australia are far cleaner as far as the impact of corruption is concerned in day to day lives of the people.

Somalia and Afghanistan are at the bottom. Pakistan and Bangladesh are at 139th place. Nepal is even lower. You would see that whole South Asia is very poorly placed in this list. Bhutan is the only exception. Are we surprised? At least, I am not.

I would love to see India within the top 10.

As TI says, Corruption ruins lives, take action and fight back. Please do think about what we, the people, can do to reduce corruption in the world.

Yadu Singh/Orlando*/17-11-09

*I am attending American Heart Association Conference at Orlando, Florida, USA currently.