An IDC Report From London


New Delhi, 23 June 2002


Here in London the news is that the British will put up the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible for sale in 2006. Since the Indian Navy's plans include three aircraft carriers and may take time to acquire 末 even the announcement for purchase of Gorshkov has not been made clearly and official confirmation of the 37,500 ton Air Defence Ship being built at Cochin Shipyard is still to come 末 it makes great sense in the rumour going round London that the Indian Navy will bid for the Invincible and its old Harriers. The Brits are clever salesmen and will sell it cheap, like the Hermes now INS Viraat, but will take their pound of flesh in spares etc. as in the past, but it is still worth it as Indian construction costs are rising.

The Indian Navy is good at maintaining old ships economically 末 unlike the IAF which wants everything brand new 末 so there is support and confidence in the move. IDC supports it whole heartedly as the Indian Navy has quality and can contribute to India's progress in the Maritime field and in the economy. 

The recent utterances of George Fernandes and General Padmanabhan indicate that Pakistan is reducing support to militants. This is music to defence suppliers ears even if the ground position is not showing it, as the EU rule is that no weapons should be sold to nations that are engaged in war like moves.

Scaling Down

Both India and Pakistan appear to be scaling down readiness. IDC feels the Government has finally understood what WAR CRIES mean and though shelling is continuing in Kashmir it looks like war is unlikely. IDC always said so, and hope the Rules of Engagement and the WAR BOOK are updated as War may be an option when the present Government is unable to get hold of Kashmir in its grip. The Army and the paramilitary forces seem more confused than ever before, as no one seems to know how to solve the Kashmir tangle and Al Queda is getting no weaker.

Now what IDC had recommended all along is coming to life. India wants military leaders to talk despite the fact that when President Musharraf came to Agra no service chief attended the banquet and the Air Chief failed to salute the Army Chief of Pakistan. India has to force a SOLUTION as world opinion is on our side. The Americans are in a bind and as reported in our International Media Watch, we must read Bush's lips. He is now talking of readiness for 善RE EMPTIVE ACTION and Europe is saying the same thing but calls it 銑ITTORAL WARFARE.

Cooperation With Israel and France

News here in London is that the India蜂srael defence cooperation and purchases are being further cemented as the Green Pine radar, Arrow missiles and Phalcon radar are cleared for India. IDC gets the feeling Indian defence hardware is improving by the day with acquisitions but the software i.e. structures, organisation and systems are not keeping pace despite the new half baked CIDS system which is in place.

The India芳rance relations are also improving and the methodology of doing business is now settled. Yet it is the bureaucracy that still controls all defence matters and the recent war cries showed the navet of our politicians.

Civil Aviation

The Aviation Minister Shah Nawaz Hussian was here in London and learned how badly India needs to open more civil air slots. In the meantime with LTTE behaving itself in Sri Lanka, their planes are flying to Jaffna, Pirabhakaran's parents want to return from India and Sri Lanka announced OPEN SKIES and may steal a march on us. In India we must see the trends. In France Socialists have failed and Jaques Chirac is in with a mild right majority, while India still dallies to look for the middle path and even when TIME makes a categoric statement on the PM's health, India does not want to face the truth or say it is untrue and sue TIME with his medical reports. It was Martin Luther King who said 壮uppressing the Truth is a crime greater than any other. This is what confuses the foreigners about India.

However, they loved the 'BOMBAY DREAMS' glamour laden opening Press night, which was a total treat and must be shared but some thoughts before that.

The Eight Es For Progress

To progress India and Indians need to pay attention to the 薦IGHT Es, which one can perceive in the West, because the views of the average person is  the best feedback the world can provide and their success abroad is the example.

EDUCATION. This is first and most essential E, which our politicians have evaded nay deliberately avoided, to educate the masses just to retain power. Literacy levels are poorest in India.

ECONOMY. In today's world this is to be built up at any cost. Economy is also security and China is leaping ahead. FM Sinha and his team hold the keys supported by Arun Shourie, but for some reason cooperation and cohesion is a debility in India for personal agrandisement.

ETHICS. There has to be trust and in this matter India is lacking due to poor education and poor example by the Leaders. Maybe president-elect Kalam will contribute differently.

EFFICIENCY. There has to be less philosophy, more hard work and Government servants have to show the way. Government offices are lined with people who have no time for work but all time to idle. Privatisation is the answer in more ways than one.

EXIT POLICY. The labour force have to deliver and such a policy has to be enforced.

ENFORCEMENT of the law strictly without favour, without delays and pass overs and postponements, is the call of the day.

ENTHUSIASM. The Leaders have to exuberate confidence and learn their jobs. The Mayawatis and Rabri Devis have little to contribute.

EXPOSURE. We Indians lack exposure and that can only come by opening up tourism and the economy.

Indian Summer

Please treat this piece with the thought that it is penned from London where half of the 150 upmarket Grosvenvor Hotel Apartments have been booked by cash rich Indians led by an airline owner and an industrialist, hoteliers, jewellers and such visitors with their families, just when the play 'Bombay Dreams' opened with Sharukh Khan gracing the show and is the rage here. Thousands of Indians have escaped the Indian summer and PM's war cries to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubiliee, England's progress in the World Cup with Royal Ascot and Wimbledon to follow. London now has digital interactive TV and the viewer can watch any match he chooses and most of the the cost of the sojourn by Indians is invariably billed to the companies they control, so the holiday for them and Ministers that visit on Government expense with their entourages are labelled "The Indian Freebooters", since no business is transacted per se.

The Lure of 'Bombay Dreams'

The airlines serving India are chock a block full and those escaping the Indian summer are daily seen shopping down nearby Oxford Street, dressed in the latest trendy clothes. The fashion in vogue is to show one's cleavage, and expose a small measure of one's midriff. Flared trousers are in fashion once again except they are body hugging till the knees with slits and so even the most pious Hindu can get aroused as most apparel in summer in London tends to be see through, like the ones we ogle at on the Fashion TV Channel back home. Sushma Swaraj objected to the channel. She wishes to protect the Indian health and libido, but the report here in London thanks to the latest Time magazine, is that PM Vajpayee, Sushma's boss is not in the pink of health and that does not bode well at a time when Indian culture is invading London with the multimillion pound musical 'Bombay Dreams' doing the rounds to rave reviews. The 40 British Indians cast in the show are seen hip swinging, cavorting sensuously and kissing away on stage depicting a new culture, giving the impression that Indians are avantgarde, despite all the poverty also depicted.

The story scripted by British Indian writer Meera Sayal revolves around Akash a Mumbai slum dweller who dreams of becoming a star and achieves it and falls in love with the Director's daughter Priya, despite the odds because he can sing and dance like Sharukh Khan but in an English soprano voice and uses the odd Hindi word with an accent. The eunuch Sweetie who also acts, sings and dances brilliantly loves Akash and wants the Mumbai land grabbers and dons sorted out, but fails. The sum is a grand colourfull potpourri of underworld dons, murders and Indian hip shaking dancers with sexy dresses and movements like only West End directors can conjure up on stage. Set to the music of A H Rahman (with a new version of Chhayya Chhayya) and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber adding to the style as his company has already spent Rs 20 crores on the show.

Indian Cuisine

Indians here also make their way to Harrods where Indian cuisine at the Food hall is a big hit, leading with Chicken Tikka Masala, Britian's national dish now, whatever it means, from a curry to tender pieces of marinated chicken heated in the microwave and served with rice or nans for a price no more than Rupees seven hundred! The same dish at a Southall eatery would cost half as much but would be better prepared than at Moti Mahal deluxe in Delhi, but the surroundings would be like Delhi, with British Punjabi behenjis dressed in Salwar Kurtas and their daughters dressed with skimpy tops and boobs showing unabashedly. No wonder the budget movie " Bend it like Beckham" made on a budget by an Indian British Punjabi girl is doing so well. The movie honestly and brutally depicts Indian customs and ways, and highlights arranged marriages being forced down the Punjabi heroine's throat when all she desires is to play professional football and bed her white football coach whom she has fallen in love with. This enrages her white British  teammate who wants to have a relationship with the Coach, which is the done thing now before marriage. In the West today relationships and pre marital cohabitation 末 as a trial live in period 末 are accepted in society in preference to an early marriage. Virginity is no longer valued and unless the Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis migrating to the West amalgamate and adapt their ways, there is going to be more resentment here, but the news is that Indian culture by way of dance and food, is invading Britain faster than we can export them.

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