An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 02 September 2002

As we travel around and meet people in the know, we are assured that India's basic economic fundamentals are today in good shape. If only the Government divested some more PSUs, like those planned for BPCL and HPCL., SCI, ITDC Hotels, NALCO etc., within the time plan projected IDC believes India will ride the next few years of the World's depressed economy well The Strategic sales route must be followed and money spent on infrastructure by way of Water, Power and Roads, with all these being privatised just like China has done.

If alongside Indian leaders can decide to seriously talk about making the 55-year old LOC line with Pakistan an ultimate International border then India can achieve even greater growth and South Asia too will move forward.

We have always believed that India's dreams and Indians’ aspirations will not be met till Kashmir is solved, and in the coming elections, as Barkha Dutt says after sensing the pulse there, 'We can expect surprises’. The Army can only hold ground there. The Leaders have to seek out a political solution.

It is common perception that USA is going through a period of depressed economy and the US stock market will not rise for the next two years. The US and European economies will be in a flat mode. Let’s hope USA can avoid a recession as Bush is now seeing the Saudi challenge more clearly and wants to hit Iraq. Oil prices will then rise. The US stock market may even fall further and so unless India helps itself to to open up its still closed economy to the private sector and resolve Kashmir, we will be bogged down in our old ways of Fabian thinking. Politicians will continue to milk the country.

Fresh approaches are the call of the hour. Already RBI is worried that the recent drought will reduce our growth rate by 1%. However if we steer some good economic courses charted by Arun Shourie and Jaswant Singh and his team (Vijay Kelkar, Ashok Lahiri and R Narayan) India can be a real winner. Of course they need the support of the PM and will have to overcome some suggestions by George Fernandes and the RSS camp, to go slow on divesting PSUs and the like. Only then can we eradicate poverty. Jaswant Singh and Arun Shourie were slated to meet Martin Feldstein in Harvard, but the meeting seems to have been put off, but inputs are available.

Side by side the PM who is the de facto C in C of the Armed Forces via Cabinet Control has to attend to our security concerns and Pakistan comes in view. IDC is convinced Pakistan had an offer on the table at Agra for India's PM along the lines of the LOC being ultimately converted into an International border. The note that the Pakistan and Indian PMs agreed to is not being released, but we assume the US President and others must have seen it. Therefore the item mentioned below by Ikram Joti on these lines from a Pakistani newspaper is good news, and deserves close reading coming as it does from Pakistan.

One of our viewers feels that if the course mentioned below is taken for the resolution of the Kashmir problem –– then India can look forward to achieving 8 percent growth and Pakistan too can hope to take off from the position of being a semi-failed State back into a growth curve.

And the greatest benefit of all –– the nefarious Chinese game of keeping India down by using Pakistan will be off. Arun Shourie said we are 50 years behind China. It is a wake up call. The people of Kashmir want peace and progress and the youth want jobs. The time is right for decisions now.

Do send in your feedback as we feel the strong RSS camp and the Deputy PM Advani may not support the plan for emotive reasons and political survival. Of course USA is the key as the Go Between since we do not wish to talk to Pakistan and Pakistan is not being bled by India's mobilisation, as we hoped it would.

Musharraf has been called Dictator, Tyrant etc., which labels fit several of our Leaders too, but what no one has claimed is that he is corrupt and for the time being that is his strength.


By Ikram Hoti

The News, September 1, 2002.

Acceptance of the LOC as a border, barring Kashmiri groups from interfering in India's internal affairs, withdrawal of Indian claim over AJK, NAs likely to be discussed in New York next week. PM Vajpayee is going there too.

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf will discuss a strategic headway for Kashmir solution with President Bush during his visit to Washington starting September 11.

The News sources revealed here on Saturday that a formula for crucial shift from the present stance on Kashmir and related issues enjoying support of a strong lobby of generals, politicians, cabinet members, strategists and experts in Pakistan had been formed into a package for Pak–US talks during the forthcoming visit.

This package, they said, was expected to invite a tirade from influential circles that want continuation of the traditional stance on Kashmir, notwithstanding the perils of such a policy some of which were of immediate nature given the Indian impatience with what they call "continuing intrusion".

The package, sources explained, was being given top-level consideration in Washington against the backdrop of certain developments which include the US Marines-led chase of al Qaeda and Taliban remnants in the tribal areas along the Durand Line. Recent statements issued by the US policy-makers on the issue have revealed their intentions that they are going to make their stay in the region longer than initially perceived and, for this purpose, they need some mini garrisons in close but safer areas for logistics and operational purposes.

The sources added that the US authorities might ask for Pakistani cooperation that included provision of a base in the Northern Areas, most probably in Skardu. They further said the US mediation for ensuring a Pak–India agreement to peacefully resolve the Kashmir issue involved a bargain spelled out in the package to be discussed on the issue in Washington during Musharraf's visit.

The bargain, they said, provided for recognition by both sides of the Line of Control as a permanent border; withdrawal of India's widely asserted claim on the AJK and the Northern Areas, and, as a consequence, Islamabad's agreement to make it clear to the Kashmiri groups that holding elections in India held Kashmir was an internal issue of that country. Such a sequel of agreements conceived by the three sides, said sources, also involved a request from the US for a base in Skardu for US forces for conducting operations against terrorist outfits, and for the long-term safeguarding of US interests in the region."

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