India should not be used by anyone as a launch pad for sea voyage to Australia!

Sydney, 29th July, 2014

Boat people Boat people2 Indian Flag

I am perturbed with some commentary whereby some people including Senator Sarah Hanson-Young are casting indirect aspersion on how India treats refugees. (http://tinyurl.com/k239hsrPoints are being made that India is not a signatory county to UN Refugees Convention. Some of them have mentioned even terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and A-Sham) in the same paragraph. ISIS executes people in cold-blood, and is hurting and subjugating people from religions other than their Sunni sect of Islam. This, even indirect aspersion, is inappropriate and offensive. India is not ISIS and can not even be remotely equated with it.

India is a vibrant and the biggest democracy of the world. It has rule of law with free judiciary and totally free media. It has refugees from Sri Lanka, Burma, Bangladesh, China and many other countries. It has a proud and long history of welcoming persecuted people from all corners of the world. Parsis (Zoroastrians) left Persia because they were persecuted. Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans exiles have lived in India for several decades without any persecution or troubles. India treats refugees humanly and with care. India may not be a signatory to UN Refugees convention, but its treatment of those who claim refuge is exemplary. UNHCR (United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees) itself has said this about  India many times. India lets UNHCR do the assessment about people’s refugee status, which is fair,  appropriate and prudent.

Raising concerns about India’s credentials as a caring society is objectionable.

Coming to the current issue of 157 boat people (all likely to be Sri Lankan Tamils) who were intercepted by Australian Navy just outside its Maritime zone about a month ago, it is clear that the Boat has come from Indian Shores. From all the information, it is clear that they are all Sri Lankan Tamils, who were in a refugee camp near Pondicherry, South India. India is affected in multiple ways and is a concerned party. Its shores were used as the launching pad for this boat to Australia. India needs to know who these people are and how did they use Indian shores for launching  the voyage to Australia.

It is a security issue for India. India has an ongoing issue with Pakistan, from where terrorists enter Indian territories to perpetrate terrorist attacks in India. I am not saying that the boat in question is carrying terrorists, but not being concerned and alarmed with this type of voyage will render India a hypocrite. India has a right to figure out who these people are and what is the exact composition of these people.

Australia and India are friendly countries, and have strategic relations. I am pleased that Australian Minister for Immigration & Border Control, Scott Morrison, visited India recently and had a discussion with Indian Foreign Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj. He was able to get an undertaking from Indian Govt that it will take back these people if they are Indian citizens and residents. That is a huge achievement for Australia.

India will not, and should not, allow its territories to be used as the launch pad for things which are against any other nation. In this case, it is the stated policy of Australia that they do not want to entertain illegal maritime arrivals. Current Federal Govt took the policy of “Stop the boats” to people during 2013 election and received a mandate. Previous Govt led by Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd too had this policy. Offshore processing of illegal maritime arrivals has been the policy of Govts of both political persuasions.

Australia can not afford to have the repetition of 5000 people arriving every month, claiming refugee status. We do not have the money to afford their accommodation, food, health and education. Our national Budget is in deficit and our economy is in stress. We have to look after our elderly, homeless and less fortunate people first. We have to look after our disadvantaged people first.

Australia should accept its fair share of refugees, but there is no way it can afford an unlimited number of people who want to come to our shores with refugee claim. Australia is a caring and generous society, but there is a limit to it.

I am concerned that some people decide to come to Australia from countries where they were not facing persecution. India is definitely one such country. There is no persecution programme for anyone in India. Indians generally, free Indian  media and independent judiciary will not let this happen either.

About the people in the Boat, who have now been brought to Curtin Detention Centre, I am not sure that they faced any persecution in India. Based on the prevalent governance and political system, it is unlikely they faced any persecution in India. They were living in the area ie Tamil Nadu, which is the homeland of Tamils in India.

This fact alone makes it likely that they are economic refugees, not genuine refugees.

If there is any Indian national in this group of people, then they should be sent back to India without any delay, because their claim for refugee status will be bogus, preposterous and baseless.

Australia has all the rights to refuse to accept economic refugees. Australia has all the sovereign rights to control flow of illegal maritime arrivals. Australia in fact has an undeniable responsibility to look after its disadvantaged people before allocating billions on people who are not Australia’s primary responsibility.

I see no problem in Australia working with India to figure out who these people are, where they have come from and why have they come to our shores in this manner.

Australia has full rights to send them to the country from where they have come from if they are not genuine refugees.

Australia has a well-stated and bipartisan policy of offshore processing and not settling illegal maritime arrivals in Australia. Australia does not encourage illegal maritime arrivals. It has been working with nations in the region to stop the illegal maritime arrivals. This is the first boat which has been allowed to land on our shores in over 7 months, presumably to allow sufficient time to Indian officials to process information and cross-check it.

Australia is within its rights to work with nations in our region to achieve the stated policy goals. I am in full support of these goals. I know many others, in fact a majority of Australians, are in support of these goals.

Finally, India should not allow anyone, under any circumstance, to use its shores or territories as a launch pad for voyage as “illegal maritime arrival” to Australia or any other country!

Dr Yadu Singh

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Wishing you a happy Diwali!

13th Nov, 2012,

Sydney, Australia

May this Diwali bring you and your family all the joy, success, health and wealth!

May there be Peace in the whole world!

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On This Diwali Lets pray to Almighty God for :

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Meaning:
1: Om, Lead us from Unreality (of Transitory Existence) to the Reality (of Self),
2: Lead us from the Darkness (of Ignorance) to the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
3: Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
4: Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

 Brihadaranyaka, Upanishad 1.3.28

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Happy Diwali! Happy new year!!

From Dr Yadu Singh & family

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Rajiv Gandhi Bust in UTS, Sydney!

I was privileged to take part in the ceremony this morning when the BUST of India’s former PM, Mr Rajiv Gandhi, was inaugurated in University of Technology, Sydney. The BUST was donated by Indian Council of Cultural Relations, [ICCR], Govt of India, New Delhi.

The gathering included Mr Arun Goel, Consul General of India in Sydney, Prof Ross Milbourne, VC of UTS, Prof William Purcell, Deputy VC of UTS, Neville Roach, Dr Daniel Chandran from UTS, myself and a few dozen more distinguished people.

Rajiv Gandhi was a popular PM of India, at least in the beginning of his rule. He had a lot of goodwill on his side when he took over as PM of India, after Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her security guards. He remains the youngest PM of India and his victory in 1984 election gave him the biggest majority in Indian Parliament.

He lost some of that goodwill when he passed a constitutional amendment to negate the verdict from Supreme Court in Shah Bano case. His name was dragged into Bofors scam too.

His decision to intervene in Sri Lankan civil war was also controversial. Indian Peace-keeping force suffered unnecessary loss of lives because the whole strategy was not well thought in the advance.

Unfortunately, the matters from IPKF disaster ware largely responsible for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi by a LTTE’s suicide bomber, which forced India to harden its stand against LTTE. LTTE later realized that killing of Rajiv Gandhi was their biggest blunder, from which they never recovered.

On the plus side, he brought Sam Pitroda back to India to start the telecommunication revolution, including Public Call offices [PCOs], thus making telephone facilities available even in remote area of India.

He acted to reduce the control of “licence Raj” which was giving too much power to bureaucracy, thus stifling the economy.

He also initiated the process of improvement in USA-India relations.

His doctrine for nuclear disarmament and his efforts against Apartheid were his other noteworthy things.

After his assassination, Congress Party formed the Govt with PV Narsimha Rao as the PM.

There is an increasing presence of Indian philosophy and thought in Australian Universities either in the form of BUSTs or Chairs. Mahatma Gandhi’s Bust is in UNSW where people assemble on Gandhi’s birthday, 2nd October and Rabindranath Tagore Bust is in Macquarie University in Sydney. University of Melbourne hosts Australia India Institute, which is chaired by Prof Amitabh Mattoo.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/18th October,2012

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Finally, Amitabh Bachchan accepts the Honorary Doctorate from Queensland University of Technology!

Amitabh Bachchan

Image via Wikipedia

We remember very well that Bollywood super star, Amitabh Bachchan had declined to accept the Honorary Doctorate from Queensland University of Technology [QUT] in 2009, when students’ unrest was at its peak in Australia. At that time, a segment of Indian media was running a campaign, calling each and every incident involving Indian students a racist attack.

Living in Australia, we knew that “racism” was not the sole motive or the reason for those attacks. We tried to counter the vicious campaign by Indian media but had only limited success.

Hearing about the news that Amitabh Ji had declined to accept the Doctorate, we made an appeal to him to visit Australia, accept the Doctorate, and see for himself that Australia is not a bad country, unlike the image Indian media had created. That did not work either.

See my previous Blog: https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/amitabh-bachchan-ji-we-need-your-assistance/

We are pleased that he has now accepted the Doctorate and is travelling to Brisbane to receive it on 20th October, 2011. He is currently in Sydney, shooting for the Hollywood film, The Great Gatsby [directed by Baz Luhrmann], which also has Leonardo Di Caprio, Tobey Maguire and Joel Egerton in the starring roles.

Amitabh Ji, congrats for the honour!

I did not think he was right to reject that honour then, but there was nothing anybody could do, due to madness in Indian media. He has obviously analysed everything now, and agreed to accept the honour. Happy to see this happen, and say “Der Ayad Durust Ayad”! [देर आयद दुरुस्त आयद <===> BETTER LATE THAN NEVER].

Amit Ji, please enjoy your stay in Australia, and enjoy this beautiful country!

I am certain that you would find Australia a great place, and Australians to be friendly people.

You have a great number of fans in Sydney, who would love to meet you, before you return to India. Hope, you will find time to meet them. 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/18th October, 2011

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Mahatma Gandhi in University of NSW [UNSW], Sydney:a proud moment for India and Indian Australians.

 

I was a witness to a great and proud moment which happened in University of New South Wales [UNSW], Sydney today. NSW Minister, The Hon Eric Roozendaal MLC, UNSW VC, Professor Frederick G Hilmer AO, and Indian Consul General, Mr Amit Dasgupta inaugurated a bust of Mahatma Gandhi. It is situated in the grounds in front of the UNSW library. Speeches were made on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings. He was described as a man of peace, non-violence and wisdom. Two quotes which I liked most go like “An eye for an eye will render the world blind” and “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

In a grand yet simple ceremony, three students from Indian community were also awarded for their achievements in UNSW.

I remember vividly that Mr Gambhir Watts of Bhavan Australia has been working on a project to get Gandhi Ji’s statue in Sydney for a while  but this project achieved a significant momentum after our energetic and “can do” Consul General, Mr Dasgupta joined the Indian Consulate in march last year. Thanks and gratitude is owed to both these gentlemen. Mr Dasgupta has indeed made us proud.

CG spoke about his visit to UNSW last year when Indian students’ issues were at its peak. He had a very productive discussion with UNSW. It was then that a decision was made to install The Gandhi bust in UNSW. CG had also donated hundreds of books on Mahatma Gandhi and India to UNSW library as gifts from India and people of India. CG, Mr Dasgupta was praised for his work in this regards.

Apart from the Minister, CG and UNSW VC, this ceremony was also attended by other UNSW  officials,  Gambhir Watts, AIBC chairman [Mr Dipen Rughani], Harry Walia, Abbas Alvi, Nihal Agar, Rohitas Batta, Aruna Chandrala, Raj Datta, Neville Roach, Mrs Roach, Mala Mehta, N Saha, myself and many others.

Media was represented by Pawan Luthra [Indian Link], Aparna Vats [Voice of India] and Harmohan Walia [Hindi Gaurav].

It was a very pleasant atmosphere with beautiful music, drinks and finger food which were served after the inauguration.

This venue should become an important place for occasions like Gandhi Jayanti [Birth day celebration] on 2nd October. Inauguration of Gandhi Ji’s Bust should remind people about the principles and achievements of this great soul. It should also remind people that results can be achieved without violence, a message the whole world needs to listen more often today than any other time.

I can’t describe how proud I was today.

Jai Ho!

Yadu Singh/Sydney/1st Sept, 2010

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Community work:what I have done so far.

Updated on 11th April, 2011.

Information

Here is my account about what I have done so far and what I am doing right now.

1. Community work in General:

1.1. Leadership roles in Indian community Medical Associations, Continuing Medical education and Health education of general community.

1.2. Helping poor people from our community ie visitors, overseas patients and Indian students when they are in need of health care in Australia without sufficient financial resources.

1.3. Helping poor students in my district with  scholarships etc.

2. My work as the co-ordinator of the Indian Consul General’s committee on students’ issues:
Indian Consul General’s Community Committee on Students’ Issues, Sydney, NSW was formed at the Indian Consulate on 6th April 2009. It did intensive work and completed its task in a very efficient manner. After accomplishing its mandated task, it dissolved itself at the end of June 2009 and communicated this to the Indian Consulate on 1/7/09.

The committee had Harmohan Walia,Vish Viswanathan, Shubha Kumar, Stanley D’Cruz and Dr Yadu Singh as its members. I was its co-ordinator.

This committee had done following activities;

#met students numerous times.

#organised a students’ forum on 16th May at Strathfield.

#co-organised a students’ forum with UIA in Strathfield on 6th June.

#arranged help to a woman student who was a victim of domestic violence.

#arranged help to 2 women students who were stalked by another Indian co-worker.

#arranged meetings with minister of education, NSW and her senior advisers and students from an aviation school-Work in progress.

#arranged a meeting with the president, NSW upper House [Mr Peter Primrose] and Ms Helen Westwood MLA and students.

#arranged meeting of an aviation school student with consul General [this student gave him his papers].

#arranged a meeting with a community minded lawyer and aviation school students.

#met the mother of a student of an aviation school. This lady’s husband had died only 4 weeks ago due to the serious stress involved in losing the money with the school in Sydney without the required outcome.

#arranged and participated in TV coverage of students’ issues on Channel 7, 9, 10, SBS TV, ABC TV, and Bloomberg.

#participated in the coverage on ABC radio, SBS radio, SBS Hindi radio, 2UE, JJJ, Indian Link radio, Radio UMANG, 2GB radio and SBS Kannada Radio.

#arranged talk-backs on these issues on SBS radio and Radio UMANG [98.5MHZ, Fridays,8-9 PM]-now stopped.

#participated in coverage on SMH, The Australian, Daily Telegraph, other newspapers and AAP.

#participated in the coverage on Indian newspapers in Australia [The Indian, Indian Link, Indus Age, The Indian Sub Continent Times, Indian Down Under].

#participated in TimesNow, NDTV, CNN/IBN, Headlines Today, AajTak and other Indian TV Channels.

#participated in the coverage on main Indian newspapers and PTI.

#involved with some top-grade Australian media programmes with wide audience in getting students’ issues covered.

#arranged funds for the accommodation for the relatives Mr Rajesh Kumar [the petrol bomb victim from Harris Park] within 24 hours.

#met commander Robert Redfern , Parramatta Local area Command of NSW Police several times.

#did what we could do to persuade/help the students when they were on the Harris Park streets for 3 nights.

#participated in the community leaders’ meeting with chairman, Community Relations Commission [CRC] at CRC HQ

#participated in a CRC organised meeting with Indian students at Parramatta RSL.

#participated in the community leaders’ meeting with the Premier, Mr Nathan Rees

#Met Indian Consul General and Consul several times

#helped a prominent Indian TV channel with a documentary on true situation in Australia. One of us [Yadu Singh] was the citizen Journalist.

#discussed and formulated the strategy to solve the problems of our students.

#submitted our strategy to the NSW task force and other relevant authorities.

#provided leadership in the matters relating to Indian students.

#gave our after hours and week-ends for students’ work and provided pastoral care to the needy students.

#provided/facilitated medical help to the needy students/their family members.

#met the visiting Indian journalists at the Consulate.
The committee members were all hard-working people with top-grade integrity. They did not have any conflict of interest in the matters relating to Indian students. None of them were involved in the students’ placement in a school [after taking a commission], running of any such school or running of any business which could have a potential conflict of interest in any manner.

All members worked with full dedication, cohesion and team feeling without any undermining of one another. This itself is a rare thing for an Indian group. We are proud of our work and ourselves.

We appealed to every person from Indian background to stay away from any leadership role if they were involved in any activity which did/could create a conflict of interest in these matters but we did not succeed in this matter.

We raised our voice forcefully against the exploitation of Indian students by some Indian employers.

We also appealed to the Indian newspapers and Radio programmes to ask questions from every leader [on students’ issues] about their involvement in any activity which  created a conflict of interest in those matters. We suggested that the  media should start with the questions on conflict of interests when interviewing those leaders.

3.My work beyond/outside the Consul General’s committee on students:

a. helped the refund of >$12000 to a student of a Flying school.

b. arranged legal assistance to the students from this Flying school from a solicitor in Sydney and Canberra.

c.1. facilitated a good outcome between parties involving VETAB, Flying school and students.

c.2. held several meetings involving VETAB high authorities, the Flying school and students in VETAB and my offices.

d. organised further refunds/savings [including waiving of about $50000f the legal fees in regards to a legal proceedings in the Supreme Court where students had lost their case and costs was awarded against them]] for a Flying school students from ESOS scheme with the help of VETAB, DEEWR and federal education dept which is worth >$250000 . I was the key and the only Indian person in this work for these students. I did this as I felt it was my duty to help students from my community who were feeling powerless in Australian system.

e. held meetings involving a Flying school people, VETAB and students.

f. helped payment of >$2400 to a student which was originally denied by his employer.

g. arranged funding of about $1000 to the family members of the “Petrol bomb” victim.

h. donated $500 to a students association.

i. arranged sponsorship for foods, meeting hall and public liability insurance for a students’ association [worth >$1000].

j. mentoring students for their careers and future in OZ.

k.1. donated $500 to AHIA’s seniors.

k.2. donated $500 to Fiji floods relief fund via International congress of Fiji Indians and organized $2000 donations from other doctors

k.3. donated $500 to Sanatan Arya Pratinidhi Samaj, Sydney.

l. donated a good amount [>$2000] for needy/deserving causes involving victims of earthquakes, accidental deaths, injuries and illnesses.

m.1. helping several students including assault victims for their work comp, treatment and issues involving their parents.

m.2. Liaised with NSW Police high ups in regards to the assaults of 2 Indians in Sydney.

m.3. Advised/mentored several others in regards to the steps they needed to take when they were assaulted.

n. established a benevolent fund for the community with further activities in the process.

o. participated as an active member of the working party with CRC on students including inputs for Z card.

p.1. took leadership role via the media including Indian and Australia media [Chanel 9, SBS, NDTV, Indian ethnic newspapers].

p.2. helped Radio National in making a documentary on students [see details in this BLOG elsewhere].

q. raised the issue of OZ Uranium sale to India during the Australia India Day celebration on 24th Jan, 2010 where several ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLC, and media people were present.

r. helped community members’ relatives/parents including FIJI Indians’ when they needed medical help.

s. helped students with their medical treatment of all types when they needed such help. This included getting a student admitted for the urgent treatment of his Kidney stone trouble which was threatening his Kidney.

t. helping the community members from India and South Asia with a concessional fees structure because they are part of my community [a service worth more than $50000/year].

u. met NSW Premier, VETAB authorities and NSW Education authorities on students’ issues

v. did all this work without any personal benefits or COMMISSIONs unlike some of our “leaders”. SEE my BLOG for more details.

w.1. trying to clean the community leadership and making them accountable.

w.2. Exposed commission taking by some leaders of an Indian community association in Sydney.

x. taking a leadership role against unfair portrayal of Australia as a Racist society by Indian media.

y. mentored medical doctors from India in regards to their training and registration issues including achieving a successful outcome for a house surgeon who was facing exclusion from the medical work due to her unfair treatment in a Sydney hospital. I worked very actively with this young doctor and her supervisors including Hospital administrators to get her into the internship at a different hospital. She passed her assessment and is now working in Sydney.

z.1. many other charity work in India including scholarships for poor students in India.

z.2. running a weekly Radio UMANG [Health radio] programme.

z.3. worked as a catalyst in resolving the issues between Indian consul General, Sydney and some businessmen with a successful outcome.

z.4. took an active and a leading  role in resolving the issues between Indus Age [after a controversial ad] and the community, and achieved a successful outcome [with an apology and a promise to not publish such ads again].

z.5. Formed a community committee [total 10 people in it] against Visa Capping Bill in May 2010 and lobbied with the Gov ministers and Media against this Bill which was very harmful to the students. Worked actively for this committee, visiting community gatherings, temples and Gurdwaras to collect signatures against this Bill. We also met the Immigration minister, Mr Chris Evans, asking him to not proceed with this Bill. See www.fairgo4internationalstudents.org.

z.6. Formed a national organisation called National Council of Indian Australians [NCIA, www.ncia.org.au] with participation from all over Australia [all states and territories representatives].

z.7. Spoke as a lead doctor in the Health Summit, organised by GOPIO, Sydney, educating/informing people on Health matters on 4th Dec, 2010.

z.8. Helped a family locate their son [International student] http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/a-dumped-bike-a-glimpse-on-sydney-stations-cctv-what-happened-to-indian-student-abhijeet-20101006-166rs.html

z.9. Raised $7100 as a team for Qld Flood relief on 28th Jan, 2011.

z.10. Took up the issue of attack on  Sri Mandir temple, Auburn and brought it to the national media.

z.11. Took up the matter involving HINDI in the Australian national draft curriculum-Languages and wrote to ACARA. 

z.12. Campaigned for removal of an incorrect map of India in DIAC website and succeeded.

I have not listed every thing I have done or am doing. Much more is being done presently.

I had to write this down because some of my detractors were making comments like “what has he done for the community”.

Just to let you know that it gives me a sense of satisfaction to do some community work beyond my medical work. 


Yadu Singh/Sydney/22nd November, 2010

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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