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INDIA-L  October 2000

INDIA-L October 2000


India Network News Digest - October 9 , 2000


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Mon, 9 Oct 2000 10:21:49 -0400





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Today's India Network News Digest is compiled by the India Network Services
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                             Mon 9 Oct 2000

India Network News Digest - October 9 , 2000  Volume 12 Issue 173
Brought to you in co-operation with Various News Reports from India
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Today's News Items
#1. Uma threatens revolt over Women's Bill quota
#2. NDA, not BJP, hiked oil prices: Mahajan
#3. 'Indian facilities out of Pak N-weapons reach'
#4. Fernandes warns of China,Pak military build-up
#5. H-1B visas: Clout of lobbyists comes to the fore
#6. Russian-Indian arms deal "destablising" factor for region: Pakistan
#7. Extremism result of failure to voice people's grievances
#8. Delay in getting back Raj cant be termed failure: CM

#1. Uma threatens revolt over Women's Bill quota

NEW DELHI: Back from a self-imposed political exile, BJP MP Uma Bharati on
Sunday threatened to raise yet another banner of revolt, demanding that
the BJP agree to a special quota for women belonging to other backward
classes (OBCs) in the Women's Reservation Bill.

Virtually endorsing the stand taken by the BJP's political adversaries
like the RJD and the Samajwadi Party on the issue, Uma Bharati said,
"People's interest is my priority and if I have to break discipline in the
party, I would do so."

She told newspersons that she had already spoken to both Prime Minister
Vajpayee and home minister L K Advani, telling them that she would like to
move an amendment for such a quota on behalf of the party.

"The Prime Minister told me he would give his response after placing this
view before the parliamentary party," she said.

"I want that women belonging to OBCs be also given their due share in the
women's reservation Bill and I should be allowed to move the necessary
amendment in Parliament," she said.

"I told the PM that if I am not allowed to move this amendment, I will not
attend Parliament. The ball is now in his court," she said. She said the
reservation Bill had been introduced by three Prime Ministers Deve Gowda,
I K Gujral and Vajpayee but it had never come up for a discussion in

"I told the Prime Minister that though the BJP-led government had
introduced the Bill, it was always done towards the end of the session
thus raising doubts in the minds of the people about the government's
sincerity on this legislation," she said.

She said the BJP, the Congress and the Communists had the same views on
this legislation in that they wanted a Bill in Parliament, though the
Election Commission had suggested that political parties make reservations
in their party fora.

She challenged any political party to oppose reservations for women
belonging to OBCs, saying, "Let them do so and come out and face the
electorate." She said she had sought Central assistance for the
development of her Lok Sabha constituency, Bhopal, as also her previous
constituency Khajuraho.

"Besides, I also wanted the formation of Bundelkhand, comprising 12
districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. I will be undertaking a
yatra to that area," Bharati said.

She wanted special attention to be paid to Palamau in Bihar and Bolangir
and Kalahandi in Orissa as they were very backward areas.

Asked whether she would accept any party post, she said, "I don't want any
party post as it ties me to a spot. But, I will always be part of the

#2. NDA, not BJP, hiked oil prices: Mahajan

AURANGABAD: Information Technology Minister Pramod Mahajan has said that
the decision to increase the prices of petroleum products was taken
collectively by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), including Trinamul
Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, and so the BJP should not be held solely
responsible for it.

All the members of the NDA were present when the decision was taken,
Mahajan told reporters here on Saturday.

''If at all there were any differences, they were in identifying the
product. Some members were for hiking the price kerosene while others were
for increasing the price of LPG. But everyone present agreed that the
price rise was inevitable, and even Mamata Bannerjee was part of the
collective decision,'' he said.

Mahajan said it was about time people realised that this was not just a
BJP government but a Front of many parties.

Even as there were apprehensions about the prices not a single state
government had parted with the 'bonus' that would accrue from the sales
tax. The Centre was debating to cover Rs 24,000 crore deficit by way of
bonds, which will have to be tied with the international price level. The
prime minister will look into the issue at the end of October after
recuperating from the knee operation this week, he said.

#3. 'Indian facilities out of Pak N-weapons reach'

NEW DELHI: A defence analyst has said that most of India's nuclear
reactors and other facilities are out of the reach of Pakistani nuclear

Quoting information on Pakistan's nuclear capabilities and its delivery
systems, including aircraft, their numerical strength, range and
capabilities, the analyst maintained that not only New Delhi and Mumbai,
but even the country's nuclear reactors and facilities were "just out of
reach of the Pakistani delivery systems".

Adding all the forces likely to be at the disposal of Islamabad in the
event of war, Sanjay Badri-Maharaj says in his latest book that "New Delhi
falls just short of the range of the M-11 missiles while Mumbai falls just
short of the realistic range of the F-16 fighter aircraft".

"What this also means is that most of India's nuclear reactors and nuclear
facilities, especially the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre in south
India and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre near Mumbai are just out of the
reach of Pakistani delivery systems," he said in the book, The Armageddon
Factor, brought out by Lancer Publications.

Though Pakistan had 40 F-16s and 140 Mirages besides 12 intermediate range
ballistic missiles, which could deliver between 30 and 50 20-kiloton
nuclear weapons, it did not mean that all these forces would be earmarked
for a nuclear strike, he said.

While Mumbai was over 800 km from the nearest Pakistani air base, Chennai
was more than 2200 km and installations in central India were between
800-1400 km away, he said.

However, Badri-Maharaj said the range of aircraft could be enhanced by
adding external fuel and by altering the attack profile.

But this would drastically reduce the aircraft's manoeuverability and
increase its radar cross section (coverage) and enhance its vulnerability
to air defences, he said.

India, he said, did not face these problems against Pakistan. IAF's
Jaguars could reach almost the whole of Pakistan and the Mig-27s could hit
all its major cities owing to their proximity to the Indian borders.

The book also details the nuclear weapons capabilities of India and
Pakistan before and after the Pokhran and Chagai tests of 1998. Besides
dealing with the delivery systems of these countries, the author has also
dealt with the possible command structures for the emerging nuclear
arsenals being proposed by the two nations.

#4. Fernandes warns of China,Pak military build-up
(New Delhi, Oct 9)

Defence Minister George Fernandes today said India should be wary of the
ongoing massive military modernisation in China and induction of new
technologies in the neighbourhood, especially Pakistan.

He said the country's defence establishment and the strategic community
needed to examine seriously the implications of Chinese military
modernisation on India's defence policy in the long-term.

"Many changes are taking place in our neighbourhood which will affect the
future air power balance ...doctrine, weapons and equipment, manpower and
training, and employment of forces must be brought together in a
synergy," Mr Fernandes told a seminar on "Air Power in India's security",
organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

In today's global environment, Mr Fernandes said, it was important to
ensure credible deterrent capabilities in both nuclear and conventional
fields. "Deterrence, to be effective, must aim to raise the cost of
aggression to levels that woyuld dissuade the aggressor, " he said adding
air power constituted a key element in the national strategy of credible
deterrence, both conventional and nuclear.

In his opening remarks, IDSA director Air Cmdre Jasjit Singh said the air
power balance between India and China had started changing for the first
time in 50 years.He said air power had assumed greater importance in the
wake of overt nuclearisation in the sub-continent in 1998.

"After gaining access to Soviet design since 1993, the Chinese have made
substantive changes in the quality of their existing systems since the
military overhaul began in the early 1980s ...but the IAF has not kept
pace with that development, " he explained later.

"The Chinese will have more than 300 Sukhoi-27s by the year 2007 as
against the present number of below hundred.They have air refuellers and
airborne helioperations.The IAF has not even been replenished for the
aircraft lost in accidents in the past 10-15 years, " he said.

#5. H-1B visas: Clout of lobbyists comes to the fore
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
(New Delhi, October 8)

THE DECISION of the US Congress to increase the number of H-1B visas to a
record 195,000 a year for three years was more than a reflection of the
need for hi-tech workers. The manner in which the legislation was passed
told a tale of the newfound strength of Silicon Valley lobbyists on
Capitol Hill. It also points to an incipient political alliance between
the infotech industry and the Indian American community.

The H-1B visa Bill would have evolved more slowly and into a less generous
legislation. The original version passed by House of Representatives
required that H-1B immigrants be paid the equivalent of US workers and
doubled visa fees. The idea: reduce incentives to import foreign workers.

The Senate version had none of these restrictions and gave workers more
flexibility regarding place of work. The House and Senate would normally
have sat down and drafted a bill halfway between the two versions and then
voted all over again.

Instead, the House accepted the Senate version without amendment and with
a voice vote -- a sign of overwhelming support. The doubling of the visa
fee will be presented as a separate bill later. Its passage remains
uncertain. Given that US congressional and presidential elections are just
around the corner, and given the strong opposition of labour unions and US
infotech workers to raising the visa ceiling, the bill was passed with
almost undue haste. The underlying reason: Silicon Valley's rise as a
major Washington player.

In past, the infotech industry saw itself as above politics. However, the
Microsoft antitrust case, legislative attempts to regulate the internet
and immigration changed all that. The industry has doubled its
contributions to US political parties in the past two years. Since the
beginning of 1999, it has given political candidates $ 22.1
million. Republicans have gotten little more than half the money. But
Silicon Valley money has favoured George W. Bush Jr over Al Gore for the
oval office by a 2:1 ratio.

This partly reflects the Democrats' greater diffidence to hi-tech
immigrant workers because of their strong labour union component. One
senator voted against the new H-1B Bill and three did not vote. All four
were Democrats.

The most fervent supporters of open immigration, like Senators Spencer
Abraham, Phil Gramm and Orrin Hatch, are Republicans. The Cato Institute,
a Rightwing thinktank, has urged H-1B visa numbers be determined by
demand, sans ceilings. The House's unquestioned acceptance of the senate
bill reflects silicon power. This clout is magnified by the desire of all
US politicians to be associated with technology and the future. Even with
Democrats, infotech firms are among the top five campaign
contributors. And none seriously expects Bill Clinton to not sign the new

There would seem to be a natural fit between Silicon Valley and Indian
Americans over immigration policies. Between 40 to 50 percent of all H-1B
visas are granted to Indians and a third of all Silicon Valley
entrepreneurs are Asians.

#6. Russian-Indian arms deal "destablising" factor for region: Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Monday the recent "massive" new arms deals
between Russia and India would have a "destabilising" impact in the South
Asian region. However, foreign office spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan,
reacting to the arms agreements signed during Russain President Vladimir
Putin's visit to New Delhi last week, vowed that Pakistan's defence was

"It is natural for us to feel concerned over the prospect of induction of
massive quantities of new arms and equipment recently contracted for
purchase by India from Russia, which will be destabilising for the
region," he said. Khan said the Indian "ambitions" were evident in the
recent 28 percent increase in its military budget. "This does not augur
well for promoting a security environment of peace, stability and
confidence," Khan said. "It is in the interest of the region that nothing
is done to whet the Indian ambitions," he said, in the first official
comment on the fresh arms deals between Russia and India. Major powers
should instead "play a positive role by persuading India to resolve
disputes and difference and follow the path of dialogue and cooperation
(with Pakistan)," the spokesman said.

Three deals were signed during Putin's visit -- for the licensed
production in India of 140 Sukhoi SU-30MKI fighters, the purchase of 310
T-90 battle tanks, and the acquisition of the the Russian aircraft carrier
"Admiral Gorchkov." The two sides also signed a new "strategic
partnership" aimed at reviving ties in the 21st century between the two
former Cold War allies. Pakistan and India, locked in a 53-year row over
the divided Himalayan state of Kashmir, have fought three wars since their
independence in 1947. The quarrel continues to fuel tensions between the
South Asian rivals. AFP

#7. Extremism result of failure to voice people's grievances

Senior Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and MP Nagmani said on Monday that the
failure of representatives of political parties to voice people's
aspirations in the Bihar Legislative Assembly and in Parliament had given
rise to extremism in several parts of the state.

Mr Nagmani told mediapersons here that by lending political articulation
to problems of tribals and rural poor, the naxals had in a sense moved in
to fill the vacuum created by failure of the political system to deliver
distributive justice.

"It is the perceived feeling of being excluded, discriminated against and
persecuted by the state, which led to the resurgence of various naxal and
counter-naxal groups" he added.

The Bihar government should immediately hold talks with both left and
right-wing extremists, including the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC),
Peoples War Group (PWG) and Ranvir Sena, in order to pave the way for
restoration of peace. Public representatives such as MLAs, MLCs and MPs
were no less responsible for the social schism and growth of extremism.

Referring to the recent killing of Lala Sharma, former mukhiya of
Barehetta panchayat in Jehanabad district, Mr Nagmani said it was yet
another case of senseless violence.

#8. Delay in getting back Raj cant be termed failure: CM
DH News Service

Chief Minister S M Krishna today dismissed statements that all efforts by
the government to secure the release of Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar
had failed.

Speaking to reporters soon after performing pooja to Goddess Cauvery at
the Krishnarajsagar Dam, Mr Krisha, who referred to the abduction issue,
said: The opinion that there are differences between the government and
the Opposition owing to delay in securing Dr Rajkumars release is
baseless. The government is very optimistic of securing Dr Rajkumars
release very soon. The Opposition has also not expressed any
difference. DHNS adds from Chennai:Mr R R Gopal, Nakkeeran editor and
official emissary of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments, is all set
to go to the Sathyamangalam forests again for his fifth round of
negotiations with forest brigand Veerappan on the release of Kannada star
Rajkumar and two other hostages. Nakkeeran sources said Mr Gopal was
expecting a signal from Veerappan any moment.

Mr Gopal's fourth round of talks with Veerappan was aborted by the escape
of assistant film director Nagappa. After the escape, Veerappan terminated
the talks and shifted his hideout, taking with him Dr Rajkumar and the
remaining two hostages. Mr Gopal returned on his own to report the failure
of his talks.

With the two Governments having since decided to stick to the present
strategy of talking to the outlaw through Mr Gopal, further negotiations
will hinge on the outcome of the hearing in the Supreme Court on October
11 on a batch of petitions filed against the release of 121 former TADA
detenus from Mysore and five Tamil extremists from Tamil Nadu. In the last
round of talks, Mr Gopal claimed to have convinced the brigand of the
bonefides of the two Governments regarding their commitment to release the
prisoners as demanded by him and has cited the affidavit filed by the
Centre in support of this.

Mr Gopal has also told Veerappan that as regards the other key demand on
the resumption of enquiry by the Sadhashiva Commission into alleged STF
atrocities, the Karnataka Government is taking steps to get the stay
vacated. Mr Gopal, upon his return from his fourth visit, claimed that he
was about to clinch a deal on the release of hostages when Mr Nagappa
escaped, thus causing a setback to the talks.

Mr Gopal is likely to leave for Sathyamangalam forests tomorrow upon
receiving the signal from Veerappan. However, the brigand is expected to
meet him only after October 11 by when the apex court order on the release
of the prisoners will be known.

When asked about KPCC president Koujalagis reported offer of resignation
following the defeat of the Congress candidate in the Kagwad by-poll, the
chief minister said these were merely fairly tales.

There is absolutely no need to change the KPCC president just because the
party lost in one small by-poll. The demand is not justified,he said.

The chief minister extended greetings to the people of the State on the
occasion of Vijayadashmi. He hoped that everything would be fine and
peaceful for the people at large and that there would be a lot of

The chief minister also participated in the procession accompanied by drum
beats and other instrumental music from the entrance of the KRS to the
place where the pooja was to be perfomed.

As the prayers were being recited aloud, the chief minister made offerings
to the Cauvery river before performing the pooja at the Cauvery idol near
the dam.

Initially the police refused to admit press persons inside the KRS
following which arguments ensued between sub-inspector Yogendranath and
the press persons. The press van was not allowed inside the KRS parking
and the sub-inspector did not also seek permission from ASP Ravikumar Naik
whether to allow the press inside or not. The sub-inspector also
reportedly spoke in a very rude manner to the press persons. Only when the
mediapersons threatened to stage a dharna till the sub-inspector was
suspended, circle inspector Shivabasappa persuaded the press persons not
to do anything of the sort and allowed the entry of the vehicle.

End of India Network News Digest

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