Saturday, November 6, 2010

Obama's India visit

Obama's India visit
The media has its hands full describing, detailing and debating Obama's visit. But as it is with every other news 'story' these days, it is elaborate nothingness. We can expect to be a rehash of every such visit - the mandatory sighting of poor and injured, good photos, great speeches and smiles. After all the American President is quite clear that all he wants is some defence contracts and freer markets to take back to his people. The routing by Republicans has shown that America - its preoccupation with defence as a basic building industry, war and proliferation of arms - is stronger than Obama and his election plank of healthcare, public spending or Iraq.

The decision to ban Let and JeM is as ritualistic and hollow as can be expected. It reminds one of a saying in Tamil which translates as “pinching the baby and rocking the cradle too”. What we have is market economy in full swing. A surge in supply of arms in our backyard (Pakistan) will push India into the lap of American arms industry more.

But even so it appears that Americans have got their math wrong. What they should be pushing for is easy gun-ownership laws like the US. We could build a whole new industry to give more arms, then eleborate mechanisms to regulate and control it, tighter security measures, screenings and so on. And India is not averse to new ideas. We have already started a giant project like the UID which will ensure that every Indian had an identity. Roti, kapada, makaan are old fashioned. Everything has a price. All we need to ensure is the money - micro finance or whatever - reaches the consumer. Goods and services will then flow into his hands.- SK

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