Friday, November 28, 2008

Are we done yet?

New and improved terrorism is unleashed on India

Pranab Mukherjee and the honorable Dr. Manmohan have put their stern looks on. And looked equally uncomfortable doing so. But thankfully I found no mention of the Jurassic, almost laughable, ‘100 day’ plan to combat terrorism that the PM had talked about earlier this month. Maybe the PM needs a 1 day plan now. Then came the statement from Pranab Mukherjee blaming elements within Pakistan for the attacks. The western media has called this a knee-jerk reaction to the terror attacks. And they always know ‘better’. Bull turd. Popular media and Blogosphere have also taken the oft-trodden path of Pakistan bashing.

I for one, do not deny that there are Pakistan connections. But blaming the state of Pakistan, like in the past, takes away the prerogative from us. How about this time we look inwards?

Let me make this point clear first. 

The difference between the terror elements and the state of Pakistan: Unlike the impression that the media will give you, these are 2 distinct entities. And now it is apparent that there is not much of a link between the 2 either. The politicians and the media has called negotiating with Pakistan, is like negotiating with a gun to your head. Now why should this be so? I find this imaginary ‘gun’ to be as potent as an imaginary gun. 

It is time that we stop Pakistan bashing. We cannot depend on the frail state of Pakistan to reign in the terror elements that they had created. These terror outfits now have enough funding, following and know-how to operate on their own, independent of the state machinery. They have become an industry now. The state of Pakistan does not have the political will or the incentive to wipe this industry out. 

Given this condition, what can India do now? 

While the commandos and the police have a done a stellar job in containing this situation, the intelligence and coast guard and failed miserably to pre-empt this. Intelligence at 2 levels failed. 

#1: Gathering any and every information about the next target of the terrorists and their plans. Make no mistake, the information is available. The information can be gathered and was in all probability gathered. But it did not filter up through the heavy layers of bureaucracy. 

#2: Post the terror attacks, intelligence failed to support the operations on the ground with information about the attackers, the kind of weapons and the ammunition they have, there was no surveillance equipment, no infra-red scanners, no ground support for the brave commandos. 

This is the area that needs to be rectified. No longer will the ageing, pot-bellied bureaucrats and administrators who have slept through the internet revolution, be able to discharge this duty. We need a corporate set up, with younger dedicated, tech-savvy people who are paid market rates coupled with access to the latest technology, to address the intelligence issue. We need better intel.

I will be much happier if this is the direction that the country leadership chooses rather than choosing to close all avenues for co-operation with the state of Pakistan

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New killers on the prowl!

In one of my earlier posts, I had talked about the Nokia 5800, being a possible iPhone killer. 

The Nokia 5800 was launched recently, though it is not a stunner and comes with the oh-so-common Nokia chunky design; it has a good feature set, which is better than what the iPhone packs in. In the looks department, it’s more like the beauty (iPhone) and beast! 

The only way this phone can be an iPhone killer is if it is priced judiciously. Early reports say that it should be priced around $391 (~ Rs. 20,000). But then again the speculative prices rarely become reality. Going by what the N95 was priced at, I am guessing prices would be close to the un-judicious Rs. 30,000 mark. 

Check out the pictures of the Nokia 5800 on these links;page

Another possible iPhone killer on the horizon is the HTC Touch HD. Now this phone is both stunning and feature-rich. The price is what remains to be seen. But till then drool over the pictures on this link.

Those planning to buy mobile phones will do well to hold on till Christmas. All of these new models are slated to be released around that time. Watch this space! Over and out!