Better safe than sorry
Sir — Apart from being a very costly substance, tritium also poses a health risk. It is alarming, therefore, that a vial of this substance got mixed with drinking water at Kaiga (“Mischief contaminates nuclear plant water”, Nov 30). The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board must tighten its precautionary measures to make sure that such incidents do not recur — the current safety methods are clearly inadequate. It is important that our nuclear installations be kept secure, especially since they are already vulnerable to terror strikes.
N.R. Ramachandran, Ooty
Sir — The editorial, “Jet setter” (Nov 28), rightly criticizes the euphoria over the ride of the Indian president in the Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet. This ride has resulted in a hiked defence expenditure. At a time when prices of essentials are skyrocketing, the image of the president in a jet plane sends out a message without hope. The editorial tries to console us by saying that the image may be a symbolic one. But we must remember how our administration failed to maintain the required security during the 26/11 strikes. The editorial also refers to gender-neutral policies, which the president’s ride may encourage. But in this context, we may recall that we still have not been able to pass the women’s reservation bill in Parliament.
R. Subhranshu, Hooghly
Sir — Pratibha Patil’s flight on the Sukhoi was a waste of fuel and public money. She could have acquainted herself with the aircraft merely by looking at it. Or she could have pressed for an investigation into the MiG crashes that take place on a regular basis. Do we need her to certify that the Indian Air Force is competent to guard our borders?
M.M. Kale, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
Sir — The president should be congratulated for riding a Sukhoi and inspiring the women of India. It is a fact that the number of women in the armed forces in India is lower than that in the defence forces in the West. Therefore, India’s first lady president choosing to fly in the Sukhoi on the eve of the first anniversary of 26/11 is an appropriate gesture. The president’s post is a ceremonial one, but she is the supreme commander of the armed forces nonetheless. The government should make an effort to encourage the entry of women in the armed forces. Women do occupy respectable posts in the engineering, health, education and law divisions of the army but they are few in number due to lack of inspiration and proper guidance from parents and educational institutions. The need of the hour is to show trust in women’s capabilities and re-examine the appointment policy of the armed forces.
Jayanta Datta, Chinsurah, Hooghly
Sir — Pakistan’s lukewarm response to the anti-terror campaign has been criticized by the American administration. This is nothing but an eyewash to assuage India’s strong feelings in this regard. The White House cannot afford to displease the world’s greatest democracy, which incidentally happens to be a potent military power.
The current pro-Pakistan stance of the United States of America seems like a return to the days before the disintegration of the Soviet Union. At that time, the ruling junta in Pakistan had promised a military base to the Western bloc countries to counter the Communist threat. In exchange, Pakistan received a massive stock of arms that helped it in the various wars against India.
Arun Malankar, Mumbai