India-US Strategic News and Discussion

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Vayutuvan
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 09:36

matrimc wrote:Say Kerry wants to make another run for presidency ... (or even Clinton).


Following up on my own post, we should see who are the people appointed by (maybe worked in the campaign of) Ms. Clinton and got eased out by Secy Kerry. If I were him and have any intentions for running in the dem primaries, I would certainly get my people into plum positions of the administration and get rid of people appointed by possible competitors - in this case Ms. Clinton and VP Biden (but he seems to have been damaged by former Secy Gates - so no worries there).

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 09:42

amit wrote:I don't think it's in DK's hand to take a decision on this. MEA is too deeply involved in this.

IANAL. Now that is out of the way, if Dr. DK, as the (sole?) defendant in the case, wants to take the plea deal, how can she be prevented from doing that? Yes, MEA can fire her but that's about it. Anyway she wants to be closer to her American family.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 09:47

amit wrote:Whatever may be outcome of this spat over DK the fact remains that India and the US will have to deal with each other in some form or the other.

On what basis one can assume that? A maximalist argument can be made that there is no reason why US cannot deal with India in the same way it deals with NoKo or Iran.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 09:51

amit wrote:Biswal's trip was supposed to be on the 13th. Now SD is saying her trip has be "postponed" with no firm date on the agenda.

The original trip were to be on 6th and they rescheduled (foolishly?) for 13th.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 09:52

amit wrote:An old Indian habit of self-goals.

That (self-flagellation) is what is called a real self-goal. In this specific case it is US which has made several self-goals.
Last edited by Vayutuvan on 09 Jan 2014 10:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby johneeG » 09 Jan 2014 09:56

g.sarkar wrote:
Nandu wrote:U.S. judge denies request for delay in Indian diplomat case
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/ ... 5H20140109

This was to be expected. In normal trials, the judge is paid by the state, the prosecutor is paid by the state and the public defender is paid by the state. All work hand in glove to come up with pleas that send blacks, Asian and Hispanics to long prison sentences. More backward the County, more disproportionate is the sentence. That is the reason the prisons are full of minorities quite disproportionate ratio from the population. In the case of Dr K, there is a private lawyer, but Preet Bharwa and the judge will still work hand in hand. They will pressurize Dr. K to plead guilty for a lenient sentence. They will paint a picture such as ten years if she goes for a jury trial. Some will remember the trial of OJ Simpson. He got away by using a group of very successful lawyers called the Dream Team. I hope the MEA has employed successful lawyers to defend Dr K. Otherwise expect a very one sided judgement.
Gautam


Is the system biased against because the county is backward or is the county backward because the system is biased against the county due to more minorities?

----
ParasuramanS saar,
nice post.

Sanjay wrote:If I was nasty I would also say that it isn't India's fault everyone wants to kill Americans !

As an aside, that is why Latin America is increasingly comfortable with China. Less contemptuous than the US.


Saar,
this seems like a tip of the iceberg for the amirkhan power structure. They seem to have lost a sense of perspective. If inspite of getting so many perks and privileges(almost to the extent of having a small autonomous setup within India with all those bars, restaurants, duty-free liquor, schools and cheap native labour), these people consider India to be a hardship posting, then there is something wrong. They spend so much money sending it to foreign countries to create proxies in the guise of human rights which can destabilize those countries, while the economic situation and unemployment in the amirkhan is bad. That money could be used to help the poor in their countries instead of destabilizing other countries. These people support the jihadhis in siria, libiya, B-dhesh, ...etc. These people do so much dramabaazi about laws and all that in their own country but do not respect the laws of other countries to the extent that they want to virtually get away with murders or human transport. These people give huge lectures about democracy, but do not respect the elections in other countries.

All this shows that these people seem to have a profound sense of entitlement and self-righteousness to the extent that they have lost a perspective and have become so arrogant.

Amirkhan power was always based on economy. Even its military seems to be exaggerated because all said and done, how many countries did it conquer? And even its covert abilities seem to be lot of PR work. It power seems to come from dollars which it has used to cultivate proxies in other countries. USSR was always a military power and not really an economical power compared to amirkhan. But with the rise of BRICS and the recession, the challenge is economical. And amirkhan is expected to slowly lose its position.

Instead of dealing with this situation in a proper manner, perhaps by cultivating friends, amirkhan is going about it in reverse by creating more enemies and hostiles. Even the Rome could survive in last days by making alliances with the tribal europeans.

Jihadhis, chins and russia are always looking for the ways to hurt amirkhan. The entire south american countries loath amirkhan. Bakis and their perfidy is known. Europe feels left out by the amirkhan. Japan is threatened by chins and is looking for alternate measures because it does not trust the amirkhan anymore. If there is one country that has been really friendly towards amirkhan, its Bhaarath(its a shame actually!). But, thanks to MMS, Bhaarath has been the most friendly country for amirkhan. But, no country can be expected to follow your line on every issue.

It seems amirkhans are miffed that despite all the song and dance, the benefits from Bhaarath are not coming. Bhaarath's goals on Iran, A-sthan, Bakis, Nukes, 'global warming tax', B-dhesh, SL, ...etc is diametrically opposite to the views of Amirkhan. First and foremost, Bhaarath does not like amirkhan meddling in Bhaarath's neighborhood and definitely does not like creating a mess and then running away without solving it(which is basically the standard operating procedure of the amirkhan).

So, amirkhans seem to want to tighten the screws on Bhaarath which will hopefully waken the Bhaarathiyas that there are some fundamental differences between amirkhan and bhaarath. And there is no point in hitching Bhaarath's ride to amirkhan train. Ironically, if Bhaarath starts dealing with amirkhans(or for that matter even bakis) in a tit for tat reaction, the relations will improve because they will develop a respect for bhaarath.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Theo_Fidel » 09 Jan 2014 10:11

Matrimc,

The case has disappeared from the radar.
There was a time a deal could have been worked out behind the scenes, before all this posturing.

USA has some sentiment for India but won't move itself for Indian concerns. We are the SDRE for a reason.

People who think the USA will resolve this to India's satisfaction are smoking something strong.
This is the country that could not bring itself to give up that Headley nutbag to India.

How exactly is India going to retaliate. Other than some pinpricks around consulates.
We are not strong enough to shake USA. Not yet.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 10:21

Theo, I think it is going to come down to Dr. DK's personal preference. I am not sure what I would do if I were to be in her shoes. Would I sacrifice my family or my country's honor? A heartbreaking choice anyway but lose.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby srin » 09 Jan 2014 10:22

Really strange goings-on...


Diplomacy is all about handling the grey. Respecting the other countries' laws, constraints and the other country itself.
But the court system looks at the matter in a black and white manner and applies the law of the land, which is of course biased against a foreigner. It may be called "justice", but there isn't much "just" about that. In case this thing goes to a trial, the jury will be filled with India-hating white, male jurors whose jobs would have been hurt by Indian IT or something like that.

The SD has abdicated the diplomatic relationship to the courts. But if that is what they want, I say bring it on. Some US diplomat is going to experience our judicial system first hand. We're just waiting for the shoe to drop

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby habal » 09 Jan 2014 10:25

India needs to take ownership of Asia. That is how you shake up USA.

When Iran can take ownership of Syria, Lebanon and meddle in Bahrain. Just imagine of India's potential. In the mindscape of Americans, when they are attacking Asia, they are attacking various facets of India. Because India is the embodiment of Asia. Once this is understood defeating USA is easy. In any case, there is no way USA is winning this battle. They are not set up for victory here, some powers within USA have set them up for fail and loss of face.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 10:32

Upset with US embassy ignoring its protests, India now sets Delhi Police loose on US diplomats
A letter has been sent to the Delhi Police and marked to the Union home ministry, asking for specific steps by the Delhi Traffic Police to ensure that any act of drunken driving by US diplomats in the Capital is sternly dealt with.

Specifically citing the 77 CD diplomatic code given to the United States, the note suggests that there should not be any leniency, and the diplomat should be taken out of the vehicle and a breathalsyer test be conducted on the spot. In case the diplomat is found under the influence, the car is to be impounded and necessary action be taken as with other drunk drivers.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 10:35

matrimc wrote:Theo, I think it is going to come down to Dr. DK's personal preference. I am not sure what I would do if I were to be in her shoes. Would I sacrifice my family or my country's honor? A heartbreaking choice anyway but lose.

Her choice on that matter should not bind India in the sense that to prevent repeat of such incidences in US strong action needs to be taken in India.

Deterrence is the best defense especially when so called goodwill and so called strategic partnership are beginning to sound hollow. Deterrence can be implemented separate from what happens in the case.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby a_bharat » 09 Jan 2014 10:37

matrimc wrote:Theo, I think it is going to come down to Dr. DK's personal preference. I am not sure what I would do if I were to be in her shoes. Would I sacrifice my family or my country's honor? A heartbreaking choice anyway but lose.

Why is this such a big sacrifice? There are lots of places in the world that the family can move to.
Last edited by a_bharat on 09 Jan 2014 10:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 10:38

You are right, in theory. But how to do it in reality?

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Jan 2014 10:40

a_bharat wrote:Why is this such a big sacrifice? There are lots of places in the world where the family can move to.

May be not for prof. Rathore. What do you think?

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 10:44

Theo_Fidel wrote:People who think the USA will resolve this to India's satisfaction are smoking something strong.
I agree and therefore don't get mad, get even.

Theo_Fidel wrote:How exactly is India going to retaliate. Other than some pinpricks around consulates. We are not strong enough to shake USA. Not yet.
Same as Russian or China deal with US. We should arrest an American diplomat and grant him/her the experience of Indian SOP.

Here I agree with the US/SD in that I do not think arresting and fingering a couple of US diplomat in Delhi will have any impact in trade, etc.
"We continue to believe that we can maintain our strong historic relationship and that is what our focus is," the State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki said.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 11:05

amit wrote:I'm not too sure how this downturn in relations puts the next government in a spot (that is assuming an NDA govt comes to power)?
;
.. a purely transactional quid pro quo relationship then that gives far more strategic freedom ..
;
I think the main sin of the current dispensation is that they have been charmed by all the brouhaha of special relationship and (this being) one of the defining relationships of the 21st century. When you start to believe in all this PR talk then you just lend yourself to the problems that we are now in.
;
The GoI should have done what they are doing now in the Kirttika Biswas case it should have put its foot down the Prabhu Dayal case, heck it should have informed SD about red line in no uncertain terms.
Agree. The only point I disagree is that instead of informing SD on the red lines I would have preferred MEA having drawn the red line by doing doing a similar pandugiri and offering regrets.
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 09 Jan 2014 11:07


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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby shyam » 09 Jan 2014 11:11

matrimc wrote:Theo, I think it is going to come down to Dr. DK's personal preference. I am not sure what I would do if I were to be in her shoes. Would I sacrifice my family or my country's honor? A heartbreaking choice anyway but lose.

You take certain responsibilities when you take up a high level government job. At the time of a crisis, your personal choices do not count. If you do so, it could even be considered a treason.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 09 Jan 2014 11:16

SSridhar wrote:US Energy Secy's Visit Cancelled - Business Line


So the big thing was LNG export from the US to India. The US has lots of gas and the question comes down to at what price was it going to be sold at. If this was going to be an Enron type of price guarantee to Exon or BP, then India dodged a bullet.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 11:21

^^
Also clean energy including Nuclear energy too fall under the same umbrella all to the advantage of the US side.

I do not know why munna was so keen on this dialog for we sit right next to the biggest oil and gas deposits in the world. It makes sense to import from the nearest source does it not.

Perhaps he wanted to gift some contract to massa now that he is unable to deliver on nuclear energy. So perhaps you are right that India dodged a bullet.
Last edited by pankajs on 09 Jan 2014 11:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby habal » 09 Jan 2014 11:24

Mort Walker wrote:
SSridhar wrote:US Energy Secy's Visit Cancelled - Business Line


So the big thing was LNG export from the US to India. The US has lots of gas and the question comes down to at what price was it going to be sold at. If this was going to be an Enron type of price guarantee to Exon or BP, then India dodged a bullet.


There is indeed a God looking after India.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 11:34

U.S. Energy Secretary's trip to India postponed amid tensions over diplomat
Indian and U.S. officials have repeatedly said that they hope the situation won't undermine relations between the two countries in the long term.

"We place great emphasis on the U.S.-India energy partnership, which is a key element of the overall strategic partnership," the Energy Department official said Wednesday.

The talks between the two sides are aimed at exchanging views "on clean and renewable energy, civilian nuclear energy, regional energy projects, and a host of other topics that are essential to the well-being and prosperity of both our peoples," the official said.

Whenever I now hear talk of "strategic partnership" in relation to anything wrt US, I feel great disquiet. Also note any deal on clean energy will benefit supplier from US as also with Nuclear energy. Note the reference to "regional energy projects". Guesses anyone what that reference is to and perhaps how DK fits into it?

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Karan Dixit » 09 Jan 2014 11:41

So what is the backup plan when it comes to GE's F404/414? Is there Russian/French equivalent in the market?

Ironically, this is exactly what happened during Clinton era; delivery of engines for LCA were blocked.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 11:44

Why should there be a backup plan? That deal is not going to be impacted.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 09 Jan 2014 11:46

The Obama administration is hostile to the US nuclear industry and is finding legal ways of making it too expensive, thereby making it cost prohibitive and killing it. I predict the commercial nuclear industry in the US will die in the next 25 years and there will be no trained technical people in the field. Research and military nuclear power, primarily with USN, will be off limits to India.

The Obama administration is pushing India to lift duties on US solar panels, which may be good, but aren't cost effective. There was a WTO complaint and I don't know what happened, but as of last year the Obama administration wasn't satisfied with India on solar panel import restrictions.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Mort Walker » 09 Jan 2014 11:48

Karan Dixit wrote:So what is the backup plan when it comes to GE's F404/414? Is there Russian/French equivalent in the market?

Ironically, this is exactly what happened during Clinton era; delivery of engines for LCA were blocked.


These are not blocked by any trade restrictions and won't be. In fact, India needs to order a few hundred more GE F404/414 engines for the Tejas and dump the French Rafale.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 12:09

Blocking GE's F404/414 will only prove the point some in India have been making that US is too "unreliable" a partner. It will force India to re-look at ALL current and future military hardware imports from the US. It will prove that rejecting F-16/18 was not only a good technical decision but a good strategic decision too. It will blow apart the facade of "strategic partnership". It will push back the relationship back by at least 10-20 years.

Remember we have and will progress in-spite of the US and US will continue to decline in-spite of all the jockeying it is doing now. That is the cold hard fact and nothing the US is going to do is going to change that.

India will be the 3rd largest economy in 10-20 years and one of the pillars of the new world order. Blocking GE's F404/414 will hurt India's interests in the short run but in the long run it will adversely impact the US. I do not think US is going to do that but you can never tell.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 09 Jan 2014 12:54

U.S.-India dispute: A diplomat and a double-standard laid bare
Relations between the United States and India have crashed to their lowest ebb since the last millennium, something many Americans might have missed during the holiday buzz. A spat over the treatment of a diplomat and her maid threatens the foundations of a key international partnership, and the implications extend far beyond foreign policy. This case could endanger American diplomats, businesspeople and tourists travelling abroad.

The fight began with the December arrest of Devyani Khobragade, India’s Deputy Consul in New York. Khobragade, a young mother accused of under-paying her maid and making a false statement on a visa form, says she was hand-cuffed, strip-searched, and thrown in a holding facility with violent criminals. India regards her arrest as a violation of diplomatic immunity. The United States argues that such immunity does not extend to consular officials.

The incident provoked widespread protests in India, and the government withdrew many privileges accorded to American diplomats. Some, such as a suspension of the right to import liquor, are inconveniences. Others, like the removal of security barriers outside the embassy in New Delhi, and issuing officials with ID cards noting that their bearers are subject to arrest for many offenses, could put U.S. diplomats in physical danger. Indian officials have demanded an apology, but the United States has offered only a statement of “regret.” The federal prosecutor who launched the case, said, “Ms. Khobragade was accorded courtesies well beyond” those to which she was entitled.

Why are Indians more outraged by a diplomat stripped naked than by a maid (also Indian) allegedly stripped of her pay? For starters, there is a deep strain in Indian society that sees the forcible disrobing of a woman as an unspeakable humiliation. One of the most famous episodes in the ancient epic Mahabharata describes the heroine Draupadi being hauled before a hostile mob, and saved only when her sari becomes infinitely long as her assailants try to rip it from her body. Modern-day India is wrestling with a rash of vicious gang rapes, and trying to deal with sexual humiliation of women that had traditionally been kept secret. In this context, many were shocked by the spectacle of a government official denuded in a foreign holding-cell.

But there is another reason, one that should be of even greater concern to Americans: The perception by many that this incident laid bare not merely a diplomat, but a double standard. Many in India (and elsewhere) feel the United States has one set of rules for itself, and a different one for the rest of the world. This perception poses a danger to U.S. policy, U.S. diplomats and to ordinary Americans wherever they may travel.

Less than three years ago, the United States was on the other side of a diplomatic dispute—only the official in question was no diplomat (he was a CIA contractor) and his offense was far more serious than visa fraud (he shot and killed two men on a crowded street in Pakistan). When Raymond Davis was arrested, the United States claimed complete diplomatic immunity, and rejected the argument it is making now: that consular staff have far less immunity than their embassy colleagues. From the perspective of India, not to mention Pakistan and many other nations, the United States expects privileges that it does not grant to others.

Every day, Americans abroad benefit from special treatment to which they are not entitled. When Americans make mistakes on a customs form or have a fender-bender while driving a rental car in a nation whose signage they can’t read, they are usually not hauled off to prison. The letter of the law can be harsh: India’s former finance minister urged that American officials with same-sex partners be prosecuted under a controversial law recently upheld by the Supreme Court. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to drink beer. In Thailand, showing disrespect for the king is punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years. If the United States subjects foreign visitors (particularly diplomats) to the strictest possible interpretation its own laws, it had better be prepared for other nations to do the same.

There is an easy way out of this: the Justice Department can exercise prosecutorial discretion and drop the case against Ms. Khobragade (she has been transferred to the Indian mission at the U.N., but this provides only temporary protection). If the charges against her stand up to scrutiny, the United States could withdraw her diplomatic credentials and send her home: That is how diplomats who commit crimes abroad, even those far more serious than visa fraud, are generally punished. India should restore full protection to the U.S. embassy and diplomats. This unnecessary conflict must be resolved quickly, or the real losers will be the citizens of the United States and India alike.

On the last highlighted part, the author is plain wrong. India should provide as much protection to the US diplomats as the US is willing to provide to Indian diplomats and this should not be based on some verbal understanding but on signed agreements between the governments.

And no the real losers will not be citizens of India and its diplomats for they are already subjected to harsh treatment at the hands of US law enforcement as is amply demonstrated in the current case. The real loser will be citizens of the US and its diplomats in India at least.

Now it seems the seriousness of the situation and seriousness of India's stand is beginning to sink in at least in some circles in the US. Contrast this with the initial reactions in most of the US press.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby RKumar » 09 Jan 2014 12:59

Karan Dixit wrote:So what is the backup plan when it comes to GE's F404/414? Is there Russian/French equivalent in the market?

Ironically, this is exactly what happened during Clinton era; delivery of engines for LCA were blocked.


Please please US go ahead and do it. More power to India, it will give a solid reason, aim and challenge to DRDO to behind this tech also :idea:

Go US go... extra mile.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby anmol » 09 Jan 2014 13:06

www.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/world/americas/buying-overseas-clothing-us-flouts-its-own-advice.html

U.S. Flouts Its Own Advice in Procuring Overseas Clothing
by IAN URBINA, nytimes.com
December 22nd 2013

WASHINGTON — One of the world’s biggest clothing buyers, the United States government spends more than $1.5 billion a year at factories overseas, acquiring everything from the royal blue shirts worn by airport security workers to the olive button-downs required for forest rangers and the camouflage pants sold to troops on military bases.

But even though the Obama administration has called on Western buyers to use their purchasing power to push for improved industry working conditions after several workplace disasters over the last 14 months, the American government has done little to adjust its own shopping habits.

Labor Department officials say that federal agencies have “zero tolerance” for using overseas plants that break local laws, but American government suppliers in countries including Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan and Vietnam show a pattern of legal violations and harsh working conditions, according to audits and interviews at factories. Among them: padlocked fire exits, buildings at risk of collapse, falsified wage records and repeated hand punctures from sewing needles when workers were pushed to hurry up.

In Bangladesh, shirts with Marine Corps logos sold in military stores were made at DK Knitwear, where child laborers made up a third of the work force, according to a 2010 audit that led some vendors to cut ties with the plant. Managers punched workers for missed production quotas, and the plant had no functioning alarm system despite previous fires, auditors said. Many of the problems remain, according to another audit this year and recent interviews with workers.

In Chiang Mai, Thailand, employees at the Georgie & Lou factory, which makes clothing sold by the Smithsonian Institution, said they were illegally docked over 5 percent of their roughly $10-per-day wage for any clothing item with a mistake. They also described physical harassment by factory managers and cameras monitoring workers even in bathrooms.

At Zongtex Garment Manufacturing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which makes clothes sold by the Army and Air Force, an audit conducted this year found nearly two dozen under-age workers, some as young as 15. Several of them described in interviews with The New York Times how they were instructed to hide from inspectors.

“Sometimes people soil themselves at their sewing machines,” one worker said, because of restrictions on bathroom breaks.

Federal agencies rarely know what factories make their clothes, much less require audits of them, according to interviews with procurement officials and industry experts. The agencies, they added, exert less oversight of foreign suppliers than many retailers do. And there is no law prohibiting the federal government from buying clothes produced overseas under unsafe or abusive conditions.

“It doesn’t exist for the exact same reason that American consumers still buy from sweatshops,” said Daniel Gordon, a former top federal procurement official who now works at George Washington University Law School. “The government cares most about getting the best price.”

Frank Benenati, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees much of federal procurement policy, said the administration has made progress in improving oversight, including an executive order last year tightening rules against federal suppliers using factories that rely on debt bondage or other forms of forced labor.

“The administration is committed to ensuring that our government is doing business only with contractors who place a premium on integrity and good business ethics,” he said.


Labor and State Department officials have encouraged retailers to participate in strengthening rules on factory conditions in Bangladesh — home to one of the largest and most dangerous garment industries. But defense officials this month helped kill a legislative measure that would have required military stores, which last year made more than $485 million in profit, to comply with such rules because they said the $500,000 annual cost was too expensive.

Federal spending on garments overseas does not reach that of Walmart, the world’s biggest merchandiser, which spends more than $1 billion a year just in Bangladesh, or Zara, the Spanish apparel seller, but it still is in a top tier that includes H & M, the trendy fashion business based in Sweden, Eddie Bauer and Lands’ End, sellers of outerwear and other clothing.

Like most retail brands, American agencies typically do not order clothes directly from factories. They rely on contractors. This makes it challenging for agencies to track their global supply chain, with layers of middlemen, lax oversight by other governments, few of their own inspectors overseas and little means of policing factories that farm out work to other plants without the clients’ knowledge. When retailers, labor groups or others inspect these factories, the audits often understate problems because managers regularly coach workers and doctor records.

The United States government, though, faces special pressures. Its record on garment contracting demonstrates the tensions between its low-bid procurement practices and high-road policy objectives on labor and human rights issues.

The Obama administration, for example, has favored free-trade agreements to spur development in poor countries by cultivating low-skill, low-overhead jobs like those in the cut-and-sew industry. The removal of trade barriers has also driven prices down by making it easier for retailers to decamp from one country to the next in the hunt for cheap labor. Most economists say that these savings have directly benefited consumers, including institutional buyers like the American government. But free-trade zones often lack effective methods for ensuring compliance with local labor laws, and sometimes accelerate a race to the bottom in terms of wages.

Unsafe and Repressive

Along a dirt road in Gazipur, about 25 miles north of the Bangladeshi capital, riot police fired tear gas shells, rubber bullets and sound grenades in a fierce clash with garment workers last month, sending scores to the hospital. The protesters demanding better conditions included some from a factory called V & R Fashions. In July, auditors rated that factory as “needs improvement” because workers’ pay was illegally docked for minor infractions and the building was unsafe, illegally constructed and not intended for industrial use.

Like dozens of other factories in the area, V & R makes clothes for the American government, which is constantly prowling for the best deals. In interviews, workers at a half-dozen of these suppliers described the effect of such cost pressures.

At Manta Apparels, for example, which makes uniforms for the General Services Administration, employees said beatings are common and fire exits are kept chained except when auditors visit. The local press has described Manta as one of the most repressive factories in the country. A top labor advocate, Aminul Islam, was organizing there in 2010 when he was first arrested by the police and tortured. In April 2012, he was found dead, a hole drilled below his right knee and his ankles crushed.

Several miles from Manta, 40 women from another supplier, Coast to Coast, gathered late one night to avoid being seen publicly talking to a reporter. Dressed in burqas, the women said that prices of the clothing they make for sale on American military bases are now so cheap that managers try to save money by pushing them to speed up production. In the rush, workers routinely burn themselves with irons, they said, often requiring hospitalizations.

Work does not stop, they said, when rain pours through a six-foot crack in the ceiling of the top floor of the factory — a repurposed apartment building with two extra floors added illegally to increase capacity. Even after the manager swipes their timecards, they say, he orders them to keep sewing.

While giving a tour of the plant, the manager described the building crack as inconsequential and too expensive to repair. He denied the workers’ other allegations. The owner of Manta declined to comment.

Conditions like those are possible partly because American government agencies usually do not know which factories supply their goods or are reluctant to reveal them. Soon after a fire killed at least 112 people at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh in November 2012, several members of Congress asked various agencies for factory addresses. Of the seven agencies her office contacted, Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, said only the Department of the Interior turned over its list.

Over the summer, military officials told Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, that order forms for apparel with Marine Corps logos had been discovered in Tazreen’s charred remains but that the corps had ties to no other Bangladeshi factories. Several weeks later, the officials said they were mistaken and had discovered a half-dozen or so other factories producing unauthorized Marine Corps apparel. On Sunday, the owners of Tazreen and 11 employees were charged with culpable homicide.

President Obama has long pushed for more transparency in procurement. As a senator, he sponsored legislation in 2006 creating the website USASpending.gov, which open-government advocates say has made it far easier to track federal contracting. However, procurement experts fault the website for requiring agencies to name their contractors, but not identifying the specific factories doing the work. Some states and cities already require companies to disclose that information before awarding them public contracts, said Bjorn Skorpen Claeson, senior policy analyst at the International Labor Rights Forum.

Federal officials still have to navigate a tangle of rules. Defense officials, for instance, who spend roughly $2 billion annually on military uniforms, are required by a World War II-era rule called the Berry Amendment to have most of them made in the United States. In recent years, Congress has pressured defense officials to cut costs on uniforms. Increasingly, the department has turned to federal prisons, where wages are under $2 per hour. Federal inmates this year stitched more than $100 million worth of military uniforms.

No sooner had the Transportation Security Administration, or T.S.A., signed a $50 million contract in February for new uniforms for its 50,000 airport security agents and other workers, than the agency was attacked from all sides.

Union officials, opposed to outsourcing work overseas, objected because the Mexican plant making the clothing, VF Imagewear Matamoros, was the same one that had treated uniforms with chemicals that caused rashes in hundreds of T.S.A. agents. Congress called an oversight hearing, where some lawmakers questioned why two-thirds of the uniforms would be made in foreign factories, saying the deal was a missed chance to stimulate domestic job growth. Other lawmakers faulted the agency for spending too much money on clothing, especially on the cusp of a federal budget crisis, no matter where the merchandise was made.

“Bottom line,” John W. Halinski, T.S.A. deputy administrator, told Congress, “we go for the lowest-cost uniform, sir.”

The hunt for lower costs and the expansion of free-trade pacts have meant that more of this work is being done abroad, often in poor countries where the Obama administration is trying to spur competition and development.

In Haiti, for instance, trucks loaded with camouflage pants, shirts and jackets, some of them destined for American military bases, idle in front of a factory called BKI.

While the Dominican manager of a garment factory in Codevi says the industry is helping improve lives, a worker says conditions are bad for people like him.

Next year, BKI managers hope to double the amount of camouflage clothing made for the American government, part of a contract worth more than $30 million between a division of Propper International, a Missouri-based uniform company, and the General Services Administration, which outfits workers for more than a dozen federal agencies.

Three years ago, much of this camouflage clothing was made in Puerto Rico, where workers earned the minimum wage of about $7.25 an hour. By 2011, many of these jobs moved to a factory in the Dominican Republic called Suprema. Wages there were about 80 cents per hour and unpaid overtime was routine, according to workers in recent interviews and a 2010 audit. Since then, most of these jobs have migrated again, this time to BKI in a Haitian free-trade zone called Codevi. Average hourly wages at BKI are about 8 cents less per hour than those at Suprema, according to workers.

Standing near the factory entrance, several BKI workers said they were proud of the clothes they made for the American government. We push hard because we know they expect better,” said Rodley Charles, 29, a quality inspector at the factory.

But there is basic math: the average pay of 72 cents per hour (which is illegal and below Haiti’s minimum wage) barely covers food and rent, said Mr. Charles, who has since quit, and two other BKI workers.

These wage pressures may soon intensify. Codevi will soon face new competition from another industrial park called Caracol, which is being built partly with money from the United States Agency for International Development as part of reconstruction efforts after the earthquake of 2010.

American officials predict that Caracol will eventually create 60,000 new jobs. Current wages there? About 57 cents per hour, or roughly 15 cents less than typical wages at Codevi.

Big Business

At a military store in Bethesda, Md., Tori Novo smiled as she looked over a pair of $19.99 children’s cargo pants made in Bangladesh that sell for $39 in most department stores. The best part of living on base, said Ms. Novo, a 31-year-old Navy recruiter, was “savings like these.”

Known as exchanges, these big-box stores on military bases around the world offer a guarantee: to beat or match any price from rivals. That promise puts the exchanges in direct competition with the deep discounts offered by stores like Gap and Target. It also adds to already intense pressure to lower costs by using the cheapest factories, industry analysts say.

These stores, run by the Defense Department, do big business, selling more than $1 billion a year in apparel alone. Exempt from the Berry Amendment, the exchanges get more than 90 percent of their clothes from factories outside the United States, according to industry estimates. The profits from these tax-free stores mostly go toward entertainment services like golf courses, gyms and bowling alleys on bases.

Though the Government Accountability Office criticized the exchanges over a decade ago for exerting less oversight than private retailers and for failing to independently monitor their overseas suppliers, little has improved.

The Marine Corps and Navy still do not require audits of these factories. The Air Force and Army exchanges do, but the audits can come from retailers, and defense officials fail to do routine spot checks to confirm their accuracy.

For example, Citadel Apparels, a factory in a seven-story building in Gazipur, has cut, stitched and shipped more than 11 metric tons of cotton boys’ T-shirts and other clothes for sale at exchanges on Army and Air Force bases in recent months. This summer, lawmakers in Congress asked the Defense Department for proof that Citadel was safe. Defense officials produced an audit conducted for Walmart, another client of the factory, showing that it had an “orange” risk ranking in July 2012, the same high level of alarm that Walmart had given the Tazreen factory before the fatal fire there last year.

While allowing the factory to stay open, the audit offered an alarming statistical snapshot.

Sixty-five percent: number of workers barefoot, some on the building’s roof. Fifty percent: workers without legally required masks to protect against cotton dust. Sixteen percent: workers missing time-sheets, a common sign of forced overtime. Most serious infractions: cracks in the walls that could compromise the building, and partly blocked exit routes and stairwells.

By January, Citadel’s auditors concluded that most of these dangers had been fixed. However, a half-dozen Citadel workers offered a starkly different picture. Virtually none of the original problems had ever been corrected, they said in interviews last month with The Times.

“We aren’t sewing machines,” one worker said. “Our lives are worth more.”

For now, Bangladesh’s garment sector continues to grow, as do purchases from one of its bulk buyers. In the year since Tazreen burned down, American military stores have shipped even more clothes from Bangladesh.
© 2014 The New York Times Company.

RKumar
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby RKumar » 09 Jan 2014 13:11

The fight began with the December arrest of Devyani Khobragade, India’s Deputy Consul in New York. Khobragade, a young mother accused of under-paying her maid and making a false statement on a visa form, says she was hand-cuffed, strip-searched, and thrown in a holding facility with violent criminals. India regards her arrest as a violation of diplomatic immunity. The United States argues that such immunity does not extend to consular officials.

The incident provoked widespread protests in India, and the government withdrew many privileges accorded to American diplomats. Some, such as a suspension of the right to import liquor, are inconveniences. Others, like the removal of security barriers outside the embassy in New Delhi, and issuing officials with ID cards noting that their bearers are subject to arrest for many offenses, could put U.S. diplomats in physical danger. Indian officials have demanded an apology, but the United States has offered only a statement of “regret.” The federal prosecutor who launched the case, said, “Ms. Khobragade was accorded courtesies well beyond” those to which she was entitled.


How arresting a US citizen, non diplomatic staff at embassy or Diplomats can put then in physical danger? While arresting, handcuff, strip & cavity search and locking her with violent criminal a consul officer is OK. Is the author not again using double standards? It is right time that so called first world nationals are created the same way in India like Indian are treated in those countries.

Sorry, boat has sailed... we can't restore the special privileges. If you love burger and beer please buy from us (third world people) and not from burger selling US embassy. :mrgreen:

srin
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby srin » 09 Jan 2014 14:23

We enable our citizens to use the *public* road in front of the US consulate and the Americans feel they don't get the entitled segregation from the natives ?

And there is nothing stopping the US embassy from putting sandbags inside near the outer walls, is it ?

It is all about marketing and US is the past master at that.

chaanakya
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby chaanakya » 09 Jan 2014 14:33

If there is apprehension that fait-accompli is being presented either by Amirkhans or by outgoing Congis and UPA then it makes sense to know what is the view of prospective candidates on the issue. As far as NaMo is concerned , he has made initial statement and BJP has also made some statement. But not a whimper from Kejariwal. It would be interesting to know what his take is on the whole issue and where he stands in connection with IndoUS relations. Somebody from MSM could ask him these questions related to DK issue and Indo Us Relations and ask him to clarify further. After all the mess created by Congis have to be cleared by Successor Govt.

chaanakya
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby chaanakya » 09 Jan 2014 14:45

amit wrote:So the Nai Dilli consulate is not as innocent as they are making out to be. Irrespective of what happens the person(s) who bought the tickets for the SR family must be brought to book.


This fact has been known to us from the beginning. FIL of SR works in US Embassy , MIL worked woth Uzra Zia in Delhi etc.

member_28352
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby member_28352 » 09 Jan 2014 14:47

Delay in granting of G1 visa to DK may be due to internal power struggle between Israel/KSA pasand kerry and Iran pasand Ombaba. India should not sacrifice its core interests which are closer access to large markets and sources of natural resources for anybody.

Lalmohan
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Lalmohan » 09 Jan 2014 16:34

if you box-in an 800lb gorrilla into a corner, its going to swing out with its fists
in this case the gorrilla has painted itself into a corner despite being offered various routes out of that corner
given the way the gorrilla thinks, this is going to be all about 'how dare some funny darkies challenge our manifest destiny!?!??!'
the chinese must be laughing their asses off at the moment

vic
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby vic » 09 Jan 2014 17:36

I want to point out that a Trial is a pretty long multiple year process and we should not get hyper about 13 Jan 2014 date when some routine paper pushing will take place. Justice Department, Prosecutor, State Department, US Embassy all want a plea bargain but we should not get pushed. Not only to deny them any satisfaction but in any case, there is no hurry.

Philip
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Philip » 09 Jan 2014 19:10

Srin,what has sadly disappeared these days in diolomacy is the courtesy and etiquette that at one time was de rigueur worlwdwide.In Attenborough's classic satirical film on WW1,"Oh what a lovely war",the exquisite manner in which the British ambassador with the utmost politeness regrets the outbreak of war with his Austro-Hungarian counterpart ,hoping that it will not affect the great respect that the two nations have for each other,blah,blah," is a classic example of the art of diplomatic etiquette.

While extreme politeness may have gone out of fashion with US diplomutts,remember Half-Bright's verbal vomit about "disgusting Serbs",rabid frothing at the mouth Jesse Helms:"India has not shot itself in the foot,it ha shot itself in the head".Mad-Bright was known notoriously as the "Vulture of Kosovo" for her "humanitarian bombing" campaign!

The inability to face critique adequately and with dignity. This might be the right description of Albright’s reaction, which followed, after the members of “Friends of Serbs in Kosovo” presented her the posters with pictures of the Kosovo telecommunications, first children’s victim of the so called “humanitarian bombing” 3 years old Milica Rakić, Serbian refugees from the Croatia’s Krajina and militant Muslim volunteers in the Bosnian army. “This is your work as well, madam” the activists said while asking her to sign the posters. Madeleine Albright was noticeably disconcerted, agitated, and upset, refused to sign the posters and started yelling: “Get out”, “Disgusting Serbs” and “You are war criminals” and ordered the activists to leave the Luxor bookstore. - See more at: http://1389blog.com/2013/02/04/madelein ... WW9Hu.dpuf


“Madeleine Albright pushed through the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 by NATO aircraft without a UN mandate for her office of the foreign minister of the USA, supported the jihad in Bosnia in 1992-1995, manipulated with the facts about the Srebrenica massacre and strongly personally profited by the privatization of the telecommunications in Kosovo. She is supposed to bear the consequences of her political decisions and admit her responsibility for the bloodshed and thousands of civil victims.” - See more at: http://1389blog.com/2013/02/04/madelein ... WW9Hu.dpuf


Her "personal profiteering" was also on display when she was one of the prominent US citizens who wrote to the GOI protesting against the cancellation of the infamous scam,the Devas-Antrix deal .
The letter reveals that a number of international diplomats, including the then U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, had batted for Devas at different points in time during its discussions with the government. “The concerns of our U.S. investors were also highlighted to Government of India officials by U.S. State Department delegations and in communications from some of Devas' advisers including former U.S. Secretary of State Ms. Madeleine Albright, former U.S. National Security Advisor Mr. Sandy Berger and the Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Mr. Thomas Donohue Sr.”


Kerry and co. today are following in the great footsteps of Half-Bright & co.,loyal State Dept. perverts and predators of lesser powerful nations.

Sagar G
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Sagar G » 09 Jan 2014 19:38

X post

pankajs wrote:Election Commission drops tie-up plan with Google
New Delhi, Jan 9: The Election Commission has decided not to pursue its proposed tie-up with internet giant Google after concerns over national security were raised from several quarters, including major parties.


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