Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sonia Gandhi Has Rigged M-MRCA Deal for French Fighter Rafale, since the French are well known for paying Bribes....

onia Gandhi Has Rigged M-MRCA Deal for French Fighter Rafale, since the French are well known for paying Bribes for their over-priced Junk....

If the Indian M-MRCA fighter competition wasn't quite surreal enough, in comes an Indian politician-economist, notably re-energized by his current association with India's "anti-corruption" movement and India's monumental telecom scam investigation, to stir the pot some more. A known fire-bomber with an unabashed antipathy to India's ruling Congress party, Subramanian Swamy has now apparently trained his ire at the IAF's $12-billion M-MRCA fighter deal.

Swamy, officially leader of the
Janata Party, but best known for years as a voluble and dogged government baiter on all matters graft, says he has written to Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh making some very dramatic allegations. The letter (full text in image above) was written on April 29, two days after the dramatic M-MRCA elimination. Like all his letters, this one says that it draws on "inside information" from within the government. Let's get to the contents:

Swamy writes: "My sources indicate that the pre-determined decision to favour the French aircraft [Dassault's Rafale] was the outcome of several conversations between the wife of French President Ms. Carla MOSSAD-CIA Bruni and the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council Ms. Sonia Gandhi, and surprisingly also with two foreign nationals who are the sisters of Ms. Sonia Gandhi."

It is not clear what information Swamy has based his allegations on.

At the very least, it should be said that Subramanian Swamy was once quite aptly described by a leading news weekly as "the Professor Moriarty to Sonia's Sherlock Holmes", so there shouldn't be any real surprise that the target of his letter is specifically the Congress Party president. That said, the allegations he makes are indubitably explosive. Swamy's letter refers to "credible information" in his possession, but says nothing about what this credible information is. It is not clear if he has shared any further information with the Prime Minister apart from this letter.

The operative part of his letter goes: "Based on some credible information given to me on the conversation between Ms. Carla Bruni and Ms Sonia Gandhi’s sisters, there has been an agreement of the French to pay a hefty bribe for favouring the purchase of French aircrafts."

Interestingly, a popular Indian military commentator has made a slightly backhanded allusion to pretty much the same thing today. In
this column published in today's Pioneer, Maj Gen (Retd) Ashok Mehta writes, "The IAF favours the Rafale not the least because the French are promising the moon. There is also a high level back channel Italian connection, they say." So either the columnist has read Subramanian Swamy's letter, or has his own "insiders", in which case, as you've no doubt guessed, we have two prominent Indian figures saying that the Rafale has already been chosen to win the M-MRCA competition, and that it took a high-level government connection -- Swamy names Sonia Gandhi, the Maj Gen her nationality -- to work it through.

It should be reiterated that neither of these controversial assertions has been backed in substance -- at least as far as I know -- in either the letter or the column. We'll have to see where this goes....

The Chinese media criticism of Indian defence build-up continues. People’s Daily featured an article today focusing on the Indian motivation. One, India needs to exaggerate the ‘threat perception’ in order to justify its defence budget and arms purchases at a time when the economy is slowing. Two, India is adopting a ‘containment’ policy toward China. Three, India hopes to gain US’s military and political support.

The new angles are: a) the article ridicules that additional Indian manpower on the border could be “eliminated easily” by “precison-guided weapons”; b) it warns that India’s actions will cause tension in the region and ultimately harm its own interests. But the overall tenor is that China has no reason to feel threatened.
The recent Indian moves on increased defence cooperation with “China’s neighbouring countries” (read Japan and Japan) has been mentioned again. The Chinese sensitivity is primarily out of its perceptions of a drift in the Indian foreign policy toward harmonising with the US’s Asia-Pacific strategies. The US-Japan-India ‘trilateral dialogue’, expected to take place within the coming weeks, promises to be the defining moment. China seems to be cautioning India against crossing the “red line”. The PD article is here.

Zioconned INDIA is America’s rising ally in South Asia and is widely regarded as the world’s largest democracy. But India’s political system is highly chaotic and often repressive. This is aptly reflected in the operations of the Intelligence Bureau, India’s foremost domestic intelligence agency. One would think that the IB has its hands full with India’s countless domestic security concerns, which include increasingly popular and active Maoist insurgents, as well as mounting religious and political tensions in the predominantly Muslim states of Jammu and Kashmir, located in the country’s north. But one of India’s most respected English-language newspapers, The Hindu, cites “highly placed intelligence sources” who allege that most of the IB’s intelligence collection activities are targeted against the Indian government’s political opponents, not terrorism. According to the unnamed sources, “less than a third of the IB’s estimated 25,000-strong manpower [sic] is dedicated to what might be described as national security tasks”. Conversely, over two-thirds of the organization’s staff is reportedly tasked with “providing the government raw information and assessments on its increasingly bleak political prospects”, claims the paper. Examples of political policing by the IB include monitoring public meetings led by Rahul Gandhi, parliamentarian and leader of the National Congress, which is India’s main political opposition group. Another target of the IB’s alleged political policing campaign is anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, who has become internationally known for spearheading popular protests against government sleaze in New Delhi and elsewhere. According to The Hindu, intelligence on political figures is collected by the IB’s state-of-the-art communications interception systems, which were purchased from Western hardware manufacturers following the sophisticated 2009 Mumbai Attacks by the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. The official rationale behind the purchase of the equipment, which is capable of intercepting and analyzing enormous amounts of voice, email and text data, was to help guard Indian political figures and enhance the safety of large-scale political rallies, which remain popular in India. But the interception systems are now being used primarily without legal authorization to monitor the government’s political rivals, says The Hindu. The paper adds that the intelligence collected by the IB is distributed to several leading government members, including Union Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and even the country’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh....

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