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Indians know very little about Scandinavia–the four nations of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland in northern Europe. Some Indian males fantasize about glamorous Swedish blondes. Others lust over the latest Nokia phone from Finland. Geography enthusiasts know it as the place where the sun never sets in the summer. Old liberals like me remember Scandinavia More >

Mamata is next nuclear hurdle

Having overcome a series of obstacles ranging from Prakash Karat to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, India’s plans for a massive nuclear power programme now face an even more daunting obstacle – Mamata Banerjee. Having tasted blood at Nandigram and Singur, she will not sit by quietly and allow a huge nuclear power park to come More >

Mamata is next nuclear hurdle

Having overcome a series of obstacles ranging from Prakash Karat to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, India’s plans for a massive nuclear power progra mme now face an even more daunting obstacle – Mamata Banerjee. Having tasted blood at Nandigram and Singur, she will not sit by quietly and allow a huge nuclear power park to More >

Nuke-deal: Only a minor milestone

India has gone from nuclear pariah to recognised nuclear power. That is the upshot of the decision of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to bend its rules for India. Till now, the NSG recognised only two kinds of countries, the haves (the five traditional nuclear powers) and the have-nots. Now, a new category has been created More >

Singur’s lessons for solar power

Whether or not the Nuclear Suppliers Group approves the Indo-US nuclear deal — this is unclear as I write this column — many experts think India should focus on solar rather than nuclear power for the future. An excellent case for this was made recently in this newspaper by Anand Mahindra. However, events at Singur More >

Why Hinglish will beat Chinglish

Thanks to its English language advantage, India has become world leader in call centres and back office outsourcing. China cannot compete because very few Chinese speak English. To rectify this, China has made English compulsory in schools. Will it soon give India tough competition in outsourcing? I doubt it. I was asked once by a Chinese magazine More >

Inflation isn’t unique to India, it’s global

Indians tend to analyse economic events as though India was a case by itself. Yet the most causal look at our major issues inflation, economic slowdown, outsourcing, pollution, rising trade and remittances shows that they are also global issues. Today, inflation is a problem across the world. Indians are worried that wholesale price inflation is More >

Can high food prices win votes?

Some brave souls in the Congress Party want to go for an early election this November-December, rather than wait till May 2009. Most analysts regard this as very risky. Inflation is running at over 12%, and high prices have historically caused large-scale deprivation and led to electoral defeats for incumbent governments. However, Cristina Savescu of More >

Independence Day for Kashmir

On August 15, India celebrated independence from the British Raj. But Kashmiris staged a bandh demanding independence from India. A day symbolising the end of colonialism in India became a day symbolising Indian colonialism in the Valley. As a liberal, i dislike ruling people against their will. True, nation-building is a difficult and complex exercise, More >

Pushing Kashmir toward Pakistan

When I first visited Kashmir in 1981, the pros and cons of accession to India or Pakistan inevitably cropped up in conversation. One government official argued that the Kashmiri economy, highly dependent on fruit, had suffered because the state had become part of India rather than Pakistan. “Right through history,” he said, “all our fruit More >

The world will love Mayawati as PM

The next general election looks certain to produce another hung Parliament. This will give many politicians a chance to cobble together coalitions and become prime minister. At a recent office discussion, I opined that Mayawati, head of the BSP, had the best chance. Some youngsters in my office found this disturbing. One said, “If Mayawati More >

Will a strong rupee win votes?

High inflation means that the Congress-led UPA government is in serious danger of losing the next general election. Voters tend to revolt when inflation exceeds their tolerance level, which today is probably no more than 5%. Wholesale price inflation is currently a whopping 12%. Consumer price data are not available for recent weeks, but are More >

India as nuclear exporter

For nearly two decades, Swaminomics has argued that India must stop treating the outside world as a threat – as in the old socialist days – and view it as an opportunity. Historically, India was and can once again become a great trading power. So, I was gratified to find Rahul Gandhi taking this very More >

How to check money in politics

The media and public have deplored the buying and selling of legislators to influence voting in the motion of confidence in Parliament. They have also deplored the spectacle of convicted criminal MPs being released from jail to vote. This has tarnished the otherwise impressive victory of the Manmohan Singh government. Cynics will say we have More >

Nuclear power gives energy security

How important is nuclear power going to be in India’s future? Nobody knows for sure, since the future is full of uncertainties. But the nuclear option is a must for providing energy security. Manmohan Singh thinks nuclear energy will be absolutely vital for India’s energy future, and he might be right. His critics say nuclear More >