The Chinese incursion into Leh is well known. The conditions for withdrawal is lesser known – something behind the scenes which perhaps we will never get a glimpse into. The good news of course is that China has shown some aggression on the border issue, and it gives India the coaxing it needs to go to War.
OUR BUREAUCRATS AND THE AROMA OF FOOD
When I say the good news is that China has shown some aggression – what do I mean ?? Let me first take everyone down mythology lane to Ramayana. There is a character known as Kumbhakarna who was known to sleep for six plus months of the year (I wish my life was similar 🙂 ). When he was needed for war , even elephants walking on his chest failed to wake him up – sound familiar folks ?? These are our bureaucrats and policy makers. Who having taken a cue from Kumbhakarna probably sleep nine months of the year. There are differing stories on how he was awaken for battle , one such story is the aroma of food – the modern day analogy would be the allure of corruption. So you see the more things change the more they remain the same. Anyways, the good news I am referring to is the waking up of our babu’s and bureaucrats, and possibly some in the armed forces. Hopefully this aggression has motivated them to “wake up”, take stock of the situation, think strategically, and beyond “the aroma of food”.
WAR IN THIS CENTURY AND BEYOND
What is the definition of War? Having just come back from Ranthambore, I got a sense of how battles were won in olden times. Allauddin Khilji called out Raja Hammir Dev Chauhan to battle on the “Ran” (land) across the current Ranthambore fort (which is so impressive that it makes the tower of london look like a shanty). Todays war is different, it is done by cyber hackers sitting in their basements stealing secrets from the Indian servers. Having said that our secret information is probably safe – if anyone has been to the storage area at Writers building in Kolkata for example , he knows what I mean. It is hard for rats to find relevant pieces of paper, forget overseas hackers.
Jokes aside, Todays mechanism of war is about the economy, its in one’s manufacturing prowess, its in growth of living standards and in that we are losing hands down. Iron ore is exported from India to Asia for value addition – Why ? Can we not give further incentives our industries to value-add within Indian soil (create manufacturing jobs, additional taxes, etc). Unfortunately the way it works is that these industries would have to first bribe the bureaucrats. Try getting an electricity connection in Noida – without bribes it will take six months if at all – and the pressure for bribes continues. Entrepreneurs are hesitant to have a monkey on the back continuously – the environment has to be improved.
Why is a good portion of the cotton crop exported to China ? Why can we not motivate local industry to take up the raw material and increase jobs and commerce. Some of the questions are mind boggling if you ask me. Hopefully the babu’s can think beyond the aroma of food (metaphor for corruption) and think strategically ? Lets not ban cotton exports in an ad-hoc manner ,after all , farmers need to get the highest prices – but they could certainly be bought by local companies rather than exported to companies elsewhere in the world.
INDIAN DEFENSE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
The state of our defense establishment is beyond appalling – China’s spends billions of dollars on defense, so do we. The difference being Chinese arms are manufactured in China , where as ours are imported from the west – helping their economy and not ours. Where is the logic in this. Corruption in our Indian Defense ministry is at a very high scale , yet kept very low key. All these railway scandals, etc. are small fish – if the CBI is serious they should look very closely at our Defense sector. Remember S K Antony’s speech that all guilty in the Augusta Westland scandal will go to jail – what happened to that , any follow up ?? None whatsoever. Remember the Tatra truck scandal , any in jail for that – none whatsoever !!
MY NEIGHBOUR HAS A FERRARI
My neighbor has a Ferrari – and I am envious. What should I do ? The leftists would burn the car, some like Raja or Bansal(our erstwhile Telecom Minister and our almost erstwhile Railway Minister) would steal it or its parts or ask for a bribe. The right attitude is however to appreciate someone elses success and learn from it. To aspire something is good, – now put in the hard work that is required to be successful – that is the right attitude.
When I said War, I did not mean take up arms. I meant learn from the Chinese. They have learnt from us , their premier specifically invited the Indian IT companies to set up shop in China and provided them with all the support possible. Why cant we do the same with their manufacturing industries – give them and our local industries incentive to manufacture in India. Lets us compete, and there is nothing wrong with some competition. Both China’s and India’s economies are only growing, more jobs means more consumers in these countries and further growth. The concept of stealing someone else’s growth is meaningless.
China understands this well. It has issues with the existence of Taiwan, with an island being occupied by Japan, and so on – some of these issues are major. But does that stop them from trade with these countries ?
CHINA AS ENEMY NUMBER 1
Lets wake up, lets focus on China as enemy number 1 (rhymes with Khiladi no 1) instead of Pakistan which is a failed state . We gain nothing from engaging Pakistan – lets forget they even exist. Lets us focus on China, lets fixate on them, lets learn how to compete and grow with them, and make our economy grow and be more productive – that is the way forward. Hopefully some of these good thoughts have seeped into the minds of our Indian policy makers after the Chinese border intrusion.
By Indrajit Chatterjee
Image Source: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons