Face the truth
Sir — There has been a lot of brouhaha over a recently launched television reality show, Sach Ka Samna. The programme draws out the truth from its participants by testing their answers to certain questions with a lie detector. So far, common people and some celebrities have taken part in this programme. Why are our political leaders not invited to participate too? We all have the right to know how truthful our leaders are because we have elected them as our representatives in the parliament.
Atiqur Rahman Uganwi, New Delhi
Sir — Ashok Mitra, in his article “Where the dividend lies” (July 17), has severely criticized the latest Indian budget with remarks that can lead one to worry about his thought-process. When he says that “the fiscal deficit is because of the hefty rise in defence spending”, the learned writer has ignored the fact that spending in all sectors, including the rural sector, has also increased.
Spending on defence has been increased as per requirement. Israel, surrounded by unfriendly neighbours, spends 7.5 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence, while New Zealand, with no unfriendly neighbours, spends only one per cent. With many unfriendly neighbours and internal terrorism, India definitely needs to spend heavily on defence.
Mitra also says that “greed” and “venality of the private enterprise” are at the root of the global recession. Where is the venality in China, which, too, has been hit by recession? It has, of course, been partly affected by the drop in its exports to America.
The writer, as a Marxist, always seems to condemn private enterprise. But all the goods that the comrades use daily — toothpaste, biscuits, cellphones, televisions and so on, are produced by private enterprise.
Asoke C. Banerjee,Calcutta
Sir — Ashok Mitra’s article, “Where the dividend lies”, is not a very good read. He omits important facts that a reader of the Economic Survey might have gathered, or anyone observing India’s impediments to growth may have understood. He is so immersed in his long criticism of the government’s view of academic research that he seems to forget what we all know — what a horribly inefficient and corruption-infested organization the government is.
Akshay Birla, Chicago, US
A tough bargain
Sir — India should have never signed the end-use monitoring agreement with the United States of America, which allows the US to monitor the use of military equipment purchased from it (“US drives hard arms bargain”, July 19). The agreement was designed so as to make it easier for the US to sell fighter aircraft to India. It may restrict India’s scope of independently executing its defence strategy.
Moreover, the agreement may govern future deals, including the $10.4 billion deal to buy 126 combat aircraft for the Indian air force. Among the options available, there is Lockheed Martin’s F-16 aircraft. India should not go for it, as it is the last thing the IAF needs. India has been offered a much better deal with the Swedish Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. So India should see Hillary Clinton’s visit for what it is — an attempt to lobby on behalf of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and GE.
Also, depending on the US for its defence needs may also affect India’s foreign policy. For example, India is now fully dependent on Israel for military electronics. So India can no longer intervene in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Partha Sur, Somerset, US