Editorial 1/ Pressure points
Editorial 2/ Very trying
Responsible business
Fifth Column/ Digging one’s own grave
Angels in the outfield
Document/ Green laws for a free market
Letters to the editor

There is growing evidence that President Pervez Musharraf and the government of Pakistan are likely to come under increased international pressure to act more decisively against terrorism. A senior American official disclosed recently that the president of the United States of America, Mr George W. Bush, has made it clear to Mr Musharraf that Pakistan must put a stop to cross-border terrorism before a meaningful dialogue can take place between India and Pakistan. Mr Musharraf was also told that Islamabad must make a strategic shift in abandoning terrorism rather than merely make tactical manoeuvres. More important, the Bush administration seems to have also signalled that if Mr Musharraf does not stick to his promise of crushing terrorism, and “plays games”, he will face severe problems from within the country and from the international community.

This new clarity in American policy has, not surprisingly, led to a new moderation in Pakistan’s stance. The statements made by two key ministers of Mr Musharraf’s government are of some significance. The interior minister, Mr Moinudin Haider, hinted that Pakistan could consider taking action on the list of twenty criminals provided by India, if he could get the chance to discuss this and other issues with his Indian counterpart, Mr L.K. Advani. Similarly, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Mr Abdul Sattar, has indicated that Pakistan is prepared for a bilateral agreement that would specifically demand that “neither country would allow its soil to be used for terrorist activities against the other”. Mr Sattar also claimed that Pakistan was willing to consider withdrawal of its troops from the border first, if this was followed by India. India’s reaction to Pakistan’s latest diplomatic moves has been understandably cautious. Ms Sushma Swaraj, who recently visited Pakistan, refused to commit on the prospects for de-escalation on the border. Mr Advani has declined Mr Haider’s invitation while specifying the conditions that Pakistan needed to meet before a dialogue could be resumed. Clearly, the biggest strength of Pakistani diplomacy has been its ability to sound reasonable even while promoting extreme policies on the ground. Indian assessments suggest that even the limited action taken against militants has been overturned. Most extremists arrested have apparently been released and there is virtually no evidence that Islamabad is willing to abandon the use of violence and terror as an instrument of its policy on Kashmir. India needs to carefully wait and watch before it responds positively to Pakistan’s latest overtures. The reality on the ground, rather than Islamabad’s political posturing, should determine India’s decision to re-engage in a bilateral dialogue.


Optimists will expect that in two years time, Mr Asim Dasgupta, West Bengal’s “economist” finance minister, will attain maturity. He has been presenting the state budget for the last 16 years. Pessimists will be justified in asserting that since for the last 16 years, Mr Dasgupta, despite a doctorate from a major Ivy League university, has been presenting practically the same budget with different statistics, there exist no grounds for hoping that he will learn to think after two years. The sameness of the budget lies in its tiring rhetoric against the Centre’s economic policies. Year after year, Mr Dasgupta has reminded his captive audience in the assembly that the Centre has been pursuing a policy of liberalization guided by the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. A major conditionality of this policy, according to Mr Dasgupta, is the indiscriminate entry of imports which has killed Indian industries by taking away their markets. In contrast to this policy, Mr Dasgupta has been claiming for the last so many years, to present an alternative. This is based on a clear statement of social direction: increasing employment generation through the enhancement of efficient production and extension of services. This social programme is to be met through the nurturing of the small and medium scale industries and by encouraging self-employment schemes.

The figures that the finance minister provides for the success of self-employment schemes are dubious. According to his figures, in the current year there was a target of setting up 30,000 new self-help groups; the target was overshot by 5,000. This has benefited 350,000 people, 90 per cent of whom are women. For the next 100,000, such groups would be set up. There is no mention in the minister’s speech about what these groups are doing, what they are producing and how much income they are generating. Mr Dasgupta is free to be an advocate of the small and middle scale: to each his own vision. But he owes it to the people of West Bengal to explain what this development consists of. He provides figures for how many such units have started but none for how many have closed down. Through additional taxes, Mr Dasgupta proposes to raise an additional revenue of Rs 376 crore which is nearly the double of last year’s figure. Yet, he is party to the criticism made of Mr Yashwant Sinha, the Union finance minister, for stopping the flow of development by imposing taxes. A refrain in Mr Dasgupta’s budget speech was the “limited powers of the state government’’. He would like to move against the current but finds it specially difficult. But like Robert Bruce he keeps on trying. Mr Dasgupta’s MIT tutor would have given him a few grades for perseverance.


The public sector is the best example we have of businesses that have social responsibilities imposed on them, while they are expected to run on commercial lines, earn decent returns of capital, and declare competitive dividends. The latter pressures have intensified in the Nineties because of the government’s need for more revenues and the divestment of some equity in many public enterprises to private shareholders. These shareholders expect to earn decent returns on their investments and see appreciations in the values of their holdings. Social responsibilities imposed on such enterprises must be reconsidered. This is even more important in situations in which these social responsibilities require the public enterprises to behave in non-commercial and unbusinesslike ways.

A good example of this dilemma is the National Thermal Power Corporation. As a navaratna enterprise, it is supposed to enjoy considerable autonomy in decision-making and to be a board-managed company. It has given substantial dividends to the government over the years and has agreed to target for more. It is also the focal point for the almost doubling of electricity generation capacity that India is said to require in the coming decade. This will call for substantial funds. These funds must come from self-generated surpluses, from fresh funds given to it by its shareholders, the government of India, and from leveraging its equity to borrow from the market.

Lenders of today are much more cautious in lending even to navaratna public enterprises. The level of non-performing assets, a euphemism for “sticky” loans of past years, which may not be repaid, has made them very cautious. They are even more reluctant to lend to electricity companies, especially generating companies. In their cases, the lenders look not only to the balance sheets of the borrowers, but also, possibly even more, at the quality of the customers for the generating company. These customers for NTPC are, by any business standard, bankrupt. They are the state electricity boards or their corporatized successors.

Apart from some who have become joint stock companies with state governments as shareholders, nothing else has changed. Their managements are the same as before, Indian administrative service officers as chairmen and managing directors, and with engineers holding all other positions. Their accounts are typically overdue by many years. Their asset registers are non-existent or faulty. They have little management information on the various parameters for judging efficiency. Their transmission and distribution losses are unknown. There is a great deal of theft by customers in collusion with employees, many times alleged to be at very senior levels of management as well. Tariffs are well below costs for the majority of customers. The burden of these subsidized tariffs falls on the paying ones, mainly industries, commercial establishments, railways and other paying customers who are not thieving. For a vast majority of customers there is no metering of consumption. Bills are not sent to many and, when sent, there is little pressure to collect. The quality of power supplied is abysmal and there are frequent blackouts, owing to load shedding, a euphemism for loads far in excess of available electricity.

In any other business, an enterprise with customers such as these would get no support from funding agencies and investors. But in the past, bilateral and multilateral international agencies have lent big sums to NTPC which it has used to establish new generation capacities. Because it is owned by the Central government, the customers, namely the state electricity boards, have had no qualms in drawing the electricity but not paying the bills, leaving NTPC with outstandings now approaching a year’s sales. A private company, not owned by the government, would have taken such customers to court, stopped supplies and even shut down their plants instead of accumulating more outstanding payments.

But although NTPC is an autonomous navaratna company, it has social objectives laid upon it by the Central government. They have to keep generating. They cannot stop because they have not been paid their dues for long. Instead, what the Central government did in past years was to make significant addition to the profit margins and cash accruals of NTPC: for example, returns on equity were raised over six years from 10 to 18 per cent, accelerated depreciation enabled generation of large cash reserves.

These were, of course, at the cost of the customers, the SEBs, who, given their situation, could hardly protest. The recently created Central energy regulation commission has cut some of these. The Central government has now decided to push the non-payments problem for resolution to the future by “securitizing” these outstanding dues from the SEBs, on which the NTPC will earn interest. They now expect the NTPC to add considerably to generation capacities. Since there is no change in the penal provisions on the SEBs for non-payment, the payment outstandings will add up again.

NTPC has the dilemma of being a company that must give good dividends, with the social responsibility of supplying and increasing supplies, irrespective of receiving payments. Government ownership no longer confers extra tariffs because of regulatory intervention.

Perhaps the Central government is going about it the wrong way. It must not ask the NTPC to keep investing in new capacity. Even the creation of the NTPC some twenty or so years ago possibly only postponed improving the financial viability of the SEBs. The SEBs hold up payment to a Central government enterprise, whose social responsibility would prevent strong action against defaulting SEBs. But many Indian and foreign private investors interested in creating new generation capacities walked away, as they realized that they would not be paid for the electricity that they supplied. They were applying commercial principles, not social ones. If social responsibility is to be the criterion for investment decisions, it should be done by the Central government in its own name, not through the NTPC as the front for the purpose.

Thus the debate about the social responsibility of business must not ignore the primary function of the business, which is to preserve and add to the value of his investment for the shareholder. If a social responsibility intrudes on this primary corporate responsibility, it should be discarded and left to the government to discharge. There are of course social responsibilities that the business must perform, irrespective of their effect on shareholder value. But these relate to the responsibility of being good corporate citizens. They must pay their taxes and in time, follow the laws of the land, treat people with fairness and equality, maintain high standards of safety and hygiene, and protect the environment from degradation because of their activities. Social responsibility outside that of being good citizens may sometimes be good for the business, and also be affordable. But it cannot be at the cost of the financial security of the business.

To come back to the NTPC, what this argument leads to is the conclusion that the NTPC should not invest in new generation capacity unless it can be certain of being paid for what it sells. One way would be for the NTPC to be permitted to sell directly to large paying customers, and not to only the SEBs. This is provided for in a half-hearted way in the electricity bill now before Parliament. The bill says that such direct sales have to be permitted in the case of each customer, by the state regulator. Given the variable nature of the regulators appointed by the Central and state governments, some of them might protect the SEBs by denying permission. Perhaps the NTPC should not go for new investment until the regulator assures it that at least a given proportion can be sold directly to customers who can pay.

Social responsibility is the new buzz-phrase. Starry-eyed idealists, who have no idea of what it costs, and do not care, push it. They must not be allowed to do so. If they are, they will only succeed in making the companies sick. The NTPC is the extreme example of social responsibility in conflict with the primary corporate responsibility of safeguarding the investment of the shareholder.

The author is former director general, National Council for Applied Economic Research [email protected]


Yashwant Sinha’s prescriptions for agriculture to ensure the freedom of the farmer actually translates into economic freedom for the middleman. By applying to agriculture the same formula he applied to industry, Sinha has only exacerbated the crisis in the farm sector. The budget for 2002-03 spells disaster for Indian agriculture. Keeping policies in tune with the obligations of the World Trade Organization, he has ensured that the future food requirements of the country are met by farmers on either side of the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, there are an increasing number of suicides among farmers, mounting rural debt, incessant village-to-city migration, falling crop yields — all pointers to the gathering storm clouds. But Sinha simply refuses to look at them. In his budget speech, he said that the key to agricultural growth isn’t so much money as changes in existing laws and the removal of clamps on private investment and trade.

He also referred to the decision to remove restrictions on storage and movement of foodgrain. This has been welcomed on grounds that the initiative will help a Punjab farmer, for instance, to sell his produce in Orissa and Rajasthan when food stocks run short in these drought-prone states. Farmers will therefore be able to realize more for their produce.

Death traps

However, Indian farmers, with an average landholding of less than two hectares, do not have the capacity to move foodgrains to different parts of the country. Free movement of grains or future trading cannot pull them out of the economic morass. These measures will only help the middlemen who will now have the freedom to market the grain far and wide. Past experience shows that the profits have never been passed on to the producers.

Allowing private participation in purchase, storage, sale and movement of foodgrains is also a recipe for disaster. The food management report, which is yet to be presented, aims at minimizing the state’s role in purchase and procurement of grains. This would dismantle the safeguard measures built over the years to usher in food self-sufficiency. Sinha has paved the way for the agribusiness industry to prosper while the milk and farm sectors dry up .

Last year, he had scrapped duties on branded processed foods. This year, he has announced exemption of excise duty on processed products and processing machinery. He also rung the death-knell for the cooperatives by announcing amendments to the Milk and Milk-Products Order, 1992.

The finance minister has emphasized crop diversification at a time when farmers who have shifted to cash crop farming are committing suicide almost everyday to escape debt traps. Crop diversification cannot be an option till an alternative marketing infrastructure is created.

Ad hoc arrangements

A series of ad hoc measures for agri-processing does not raise much hope. Too much is also being read into the decision to free agricultural exports of controls. If removal of export controls indeed helped farmers, the United States of America and the European Union wouldn’t have provided massive export subsidies. Although India is following WTO dictates of doing away with the food procurement system, any tinkering with what is regarded as the “famine-avoidance” strategy can be catastrophic. Sinha needs to take corrective measures to reduce inefficiency in the system. The public distribution system also needs to be extended to upcoming agricultural areas in Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and the Northeast.

Instead of resurrecting agriculture, Sinha has resorted to facile decisions, presenting the usual range of Centrally sponsored schemes which are nothing but a mere rescheduling of budget outlays. The national agricultural policy, on which the finance minister has based his proposals, is merely a political party resolution, that too hurriedly put together. It is aimed at keeping everyone happy, but is cleverly drafted to support the corporatization of Indian agriculture.

And when corporates start getting into agriculture, it is the turn of the small and marginal farmers to get out of farming and join the growing ranks of landless labourers.


Batsmen and bowlers dominate the game of cricket. Statistical aids provide evidence of their prowess. But the skills of a fieldsman hardly ever receive their due in the record books. This is not to say that the catchers’ names are ignored in the score-cards. Recent developments in the preparation of score-cards have also led to the mention of the architects of run-out decisions in the score sheet. This is undoubtedly a most welcome innovation. And yet, gleaning through statistical manuals, it is difficult to determine the skill of a brilliant fielder; or, for that matter, to compare the fielding merits of different players. How would one compare the brilliance of Learie Constantine to that of Jonty Rhodes? Or, the relative merits of Godfrey Evans and Alan Knott?

For all the step-motherly treatment that fieldsmen have been subjected to by cricket statisticians, the lovers of the game are indebted to the memories of onlookers, in which is captured the true worth of great fieldsmen. There are also those great cricket writers who, in their beautiful classical prose, have commemorated the heroics of these under-rated men. Ironically, fielding is an activity in which a player would normally spend the most number of playing hours.

Probably the first of really outstanding fielders was the West Indies all-rounder, Learie Constantine. He had exceptional pace and a wily brain. In tandem with Manny Martindale, he gave the England batsmen the bitter taste of bodyline in the Thirties. Constantine was also a hard-hitting batsman who could improvise with daring and nonchalance.

But his real genius lay in the art of fielding. Brilliant in the slip cordon, where he made full use of his exceptional reach and lightning reflexes, he was, in addition, a remarkable presence in the cover region. He could throw fast and flat unerringly from the boundary on top of the stumps. His anticipation and fleet-footed action saved hundreds of runs. Even while bowling at his fastest, he could double up as a fielder of rare merit. One of the cricketing legends about him runs like this: once Constantine bowled a bumper, and as the ball popped towards silly-mid off from a tentative batsman’s surrendered bat, he ran and dived and held on to the ball to bring off a magnificent caught and bowled dismissal. I would not have believed that such athleticism was possible unless I had myself seen Kapil Dev taking a catch in an identical fashion.

Colin Bland was another legendary fielder. A Rhodesian by birth, he played test cricket in the Sixties for South Africa. The tall man was an exceptional fielder even by the high standards of the South African fielding sides. He would prowl the cover region like a tiger, swift and sure. Not a ball would elude his grasp. Speed, agility, reflex coupled with an extremely safe pair of hands put him easily among the best fielders of all times. His lightning throws, accurate without fail, were memories to cherish and passed into cricketing legends.

From well beyond 60 yards, he could knock back a single stump with remarkable consistency. So much so, that people would flock to see him in action even during practice sessions. Throw after throw would strike the single stump, sending ripples of applause and murmurs of admiration. Never before or since has a fieldsman attracted so many just to watch a team’s fielding practice.

The magnificence of Bland has found a true successor in the agile ability of Jonty Rhodes. With the worldwide coverage of sports today, the images of great fielding skills are reaching a much larger audience. The parallel-to-the-ground diving catch by Rhodes, with his arms outstretched and fingers firmly clasping the ball, is a picture that will remain in the memory of cricket lovers for generations to come.

Fieldsmen of great ability are worth much more than the credit they receive. Outstanding fieldsmen of the calibre of Keith Miller and Neil Harvey, Garfield Sobers and Clive Lloyd, Godfrey Evans and Alan Knott have made cricket such a splendid spectacle by their athleticism and skill, enterprise and adventure.

Unfortunately, the skills of fielding have never managed to impress the pundits in India. Cricket experts in the country are perpetually engrossed in the batting and bowling figures of the players. This is the primary reason for India’s continual lack of success at the international level. Because of the high premium placed on individual batting and bowling statistics, there seems to be no dearth of superb individualists. But hardly ever have we been able to produce a team of champions.

The few Indians who have shone as fielders in world cricket have been those who mastered the art through their own effort and hard work. Out of their sheer love for fielding, they have been inspired to improve their own skills. No Indian system has ever encouraged or applauded high standards of fielding skills, nor have budding cricketers been given enough incentives to bring themselves up to match the world standards in the outfield.

The name of Eknath Solkar will always be associated with the best of short-leg fielders. He was virtually a demon in that position. His reflexes, and his courage, made him the prized possession of any team. He had the uncanny ability to pick up catches even from genuine forward defensive prods.

These are the days of highly-rated coaches, national academies with fancy names and over-zealous physical instructors. And yet, not a single top-class fielder has been introduced in the national team in the last five years. None of the new breed can match Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Chandu Borde, Russi Surti of the Sixties. Or Polly Umrigar, Hemu Adhikari, C.V. Gadkari, Madhav Apte of the Fifties. In the last decade, Kapil Dev and Mohammed Azharuddin treated the spectators to magnificent displays of reflex and agility on the field. Full of beans and totally committed, they were very deservingly ranked with the best in the world by discerning critics. But their peers strangely failed to draw inspiration from their fielding, and consequently, did not try to improve by emulating them. Kapil Dev and Azharuddin remained isolated oases in a desert full of dreadful fieldsmen.

The sight of Venkatesh Prasad diving with his feet first is as comical and sad as the underarm throws of Javagal Srinath. These instances of international cricketers lacking in the basics of fielding techniques only reflect the sorry plight of current Indian cricket. With strokes high and handsome, India’s superlative batsmen may win a match or two for the country, but championship victories will continue to elude because of the peculiar neglect and apathy in the cricketing establishment of the country towards one of the most important aspects of the game.


The linkage between trade and poverty from the environmental point of view is addressed in a multifunctional manner in India. Environmental requirements in the markets for Indian exports could cause loss of exports. This could be unnecessary especially where there are environmental restrictions based on processes and production methods or based on the precautionary principle and where the measures are susceptible to disguised protectionism. This in turn would make less money available to national policy-makers to direct towards environmental protection. Poverty, it is said, is the biggest polluter and this holds particularly true for us, as funds constraints may be one of the major handicaps in addressing environmental problems through an appropriate national environmental policy. The inability of the developed world to implement provisions of Agenda 21 in letter and spirit has added to the problem…

India has had a modest, but increasing, success in attracting private capital flows. Furthermore, much of the private capital inflows into India are of the non-debt creating variety, which has helped boost the balance of payments as well as the availability of investable resour- ces in the economy. The international community is very positive about India’s effort to achieve a high growth rate.

India believes that...an open multilateral trading system makes possible a more efficient allocation and use of resources. This contributes to increased production and income and lessens demands on the environment. It also provides additional resources needed for economic growth and development, and improved environmental protection.

Trade measures should be applied for environmental purposes only when they address the root causes of environmental degradation so as not to result in an unjustified restriction on trade. Further, environmental standards valid for developed countries may have unwarranted social and economic costs in developing countries. India believes that global efforts at environmental protection are best addressed through Multilateral Environmental Agreements which contain a package of positive measures, among them financial and technological transfers and capacity building.

Today, the world stands at a crossroads of history. Five years after Rio de Janeiro...it falls on the global community to create a world where there is greater justice and lesser deprivation. Any model based on uneven rewards will not be supported by those members who are not beneficiaries. Credibility and realization of the potential of all international activities can only be achieved through the full participation of all countries in the formulation, implementation, and enjoyment of benefits.

India is willing to work with all countries in a constructive manner to realize common goals. India submits a report to the World Trade Organization every four years as part of its trade policy review and reports to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment has undertaken many of these activities. In its five years of work, it has promoted a dialogue between trade, development, and environment communities and stressed the need for transparency, the avoidance of unilateral action to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing country, and the avoidance of the use of trade restrictions or distortions as a means to offset the differences in costs arising from environmental distortions and protectionism.

To be concluded



Child of fear

Sir — The photograph of young Mohsin tells the tale of this benighted land (“Children spared, only to watch parents burn”, March 4). Here is a twelve-year old, who has helplessly watched his parents burn to death. He and his sister have cowered in terror, wondering when the same fate will descend on them. He has seen the utter shamelessness with which the police force of his country — sworn to protect its citizens — stand by and perhaps actually cheer the louts who set fire to his parents. Any residual faith he may have had in the fairness of the country of his birth must have been consigned to the same flames that consumed his parents. The Union home minister wasted no time in providing a certificate of good conduct to Narendra Modi. Once again, political compulsion won over the necessity of criticizing an irresponsible government. Will Messrs Advani and Modi claim responsibility if, a few years from now, Mohsin enters a training programme with any of the Inter-Services Intelligence-funded outfits and turns into an arsonist himself?
Yours faithfully,
Partho Datta, Calcutta
Sir — Nurturing a communal situation and religious fanaticism for years have resulted in explosions, which the people of West Bengal and the state government have always resisted and been extremely vigilant about. This time, too, there has not been an exception. People have been ringing me up from other parts of the country full of praise for our government. It’s nice to hear them say so. Those who are calling me are mainly from Gujarat and its neighbouring states.

I have appealed to the president in an open letter on March 2. I want to say that Gujarat has made it clear that it is continuing its affront against the minorities. A few Hindus and Muslims, especially a few Hindus, have sheltered the helpless victims, distributed food to victims of both communities and done honour to humane ideals.

But the Central and the Gujarat government have proven their incompetence beyond doubt. The prime minister himself is paying heed to the demands of the sangh parivar. Does everything have to wait till the Supreme Court passes its verdict?

Like many of my peace-loving countrymen, I believe: Silence only proves our complicity. Those accused of the inhuman killing of kar sevaks in Godhra need to be given exemplary punishment. The same applies for those responsible for the communal riots and carnage in Gujarat.

The Central and the state governments have largely remained passive. I have already appealed to the president to intervene. I want to tell the Union government that there is only one way they can control the shameful situation. Ban all religious institutions which are aggressive, violent, war-like and blood-thirsty.

We, the majority of Indians, do not want a bloodbath in the name of religion. Please ban all such institutions. We have brought enough insult to Bharatvarsha by allowing fundamentalist religious institutions to prosper and turn violent. We do not want such aggressive, malevolent institutions in the name of religion. Say “No”, say “Ban them now.”

Yours faithfully,
Mahasveta Devi, Calcutta

Sir — Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, has claimed that the recent communal violence in his state was “less bad” than expected. If Modi did expect some violence why did he not make any security arrangements? Politicians like Modi blame Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence for everything that goes wrong in our country, as if the ISI were omnipotent. And if indeed the ISI was behind the riots, why was Modi’s government colluding with it by sitting around twiddling its thumb even as the situation went from bad to worse?

Yours faithfully,
Biswapriya Purkayastha, Shillong

Inaccurate portrayal

Sir — I was much surprised to read the misinformation contained in your article entitled, “A failure of intelligence” (March 6). This piece contained the startling claim that, “after September 11, it is no longer abhorrent in America to kill Muslims,” and that, “in many parts of the Western world…such killings are desirable…” I must point out to your readers how very wrong this article is.

Hate crime — that which is based on religious, ethnic or racial intolerance — is a federal offence in the United States of America. Not only are such crimes against the law, but perpetrators are arrested, and they are punished. Your readers can check the facts for themselves on the Federal Bureau of Investigation website at www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm.

Hate crime goes against the very fabric of American society. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the archbishop of Washington, DC best described this, on September 12, 2001. In a mass for the nation and the victims of the terrorist hijackings and attacks, the archbishop reminded all Americans that “we must seek the guilty and not strike out against the innocent or we become like them who are without moral guidance or direction.”

In order to further protect minority communities in the US from any short-term bigotry caused by the September 11 attacks, the US house of representatives passed a resolution on September 14, which declared in part “…that in the quest to identify, bring to justice, and punish the perpetrators and sponsors of the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab-Americans, Americans, American Muslims, and Americans from south Asia, should be protected.”

I hope you will agree that your article was mistaken in its portrayal of American attitudes towards minority communities. As the president, George W. Bush, said on September 17, when he visited the Islamic Center of Washington, DC: “America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”

Yours faithfully,
Robert D. Blackwill, ambassador of the United States of America to India, New Delhi

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