Tuesday, April 27, 2010

India-Pakistan Missile Gap, India's "Indigenous" Tech

A Times of India report last year claimed that "Pakistan has surged well ahead of India in the missile arena". It also lamented that "the only nuclear-capable ballistic missile in India's arsenal which can be said to be 100% operational as of now is the short-range Prithvi missile".

Along with raising the alarm, the Indian report offered the usual excuse for the alleged missile gap by boasting that "unlike Pakistan, our program is indigenous".

Let's explore the reality of the "indigenous" claim repeated ad infintum by Indian government and New Delhi's defense establishment.

US-European Origins of Indian Missile Program:

APJ Abul Kalam is credited with designing India's first satellite launcher SLV3. Its design is virtually identical to the American Scout rocket used in the 1960s. According to the details published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Abul Kalam spent four months in training in the United States in 1963-1964. He visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, where the U.S. Scout rocket was conceived, and the Wallops Island Flight Center on the Virginia coast, where the Scout was being flown. Soon after Abul Kalam's visit, India requested and received detailed technical reports on the Scout's design, which was unclassified.



US Scout and India's SLV3 are both 23 meters long, use four similar solid-fuel stages and "open loop" guidance, and lift a 40-kilogram payload into low earth orbit. The SLV's 30-foot first stage later became the first stage of the Agni.

The United States was followed by others. Between 1963 and 1975, more than 350 U.S., French, Soviet, and British sounding rockets were launched from India's Thumba Range, which the United States helped design. Thumba's first group of Indian engineers had learned rocket launching and range operation in the United States.

India's other missile, the "Prithvi" (earth), which uses a liquid-propelled motor to carry a one-ton payload 150 miles, resembles the widely sold Soviet Scud-B. Indian sources say that the Agni's second stage is a shortened version of the Prithvi, according to Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project.

France also launched sounding rockets from India, and in the late 1960s allowed India to begin building "Centaure" sounding rockets under license from Sud Aviation.

The aid of the United States and France, however, was quickly surpassed by substantial West German help in the 1970s and 1980s. Germany assisted India in three key missile technologies: guidance, rocket testing, and the use of composite materials. All were supposed to be for the space program, but all were also used for military missiles.

The cryogenic stage used in a recent failed satellite launch by India was a copy of the Russian cryogenic rocket engine and the cryogenic technology transferred to India in the 1990s. According to Non-proliferation review of 1997, it has emerged that Russia continued transferring rocket engine technology to India in 1993 after its agreements with the United States stop such transfer under MTCR. This reportedly resulted in the completion of 60 to 80 percent of the transfers to India.

North American Origins of India's Nuclear Bomb:

India's nuclear program would not have advanced without a lot of help from Canadians that resulted in Indian copies of Canadian reactors to produce plutonium for its nuclear bombs.

India conducted its first atomic bomb test in 1974. Indians used 40 MW Canadian Cirus reactor and U.S. heavy water both imported under guarantees of peaceful use and used them openly to make plutonium for its 1974 nuclear blast.

In 1972, Canadian-built 100 MWe Rajasthan-1 nuclear power reactor became operational, serving as the model for later unsafeguarded reactors. Another Rajasthan unit started operating in 1980 and two units in 2000. In 1983, India's 170 MW Madras-1, a copy of Canadian Rajhastan-1 reactor, became operational. A second Madras unit followed in 1985. According to the Risk Report Volume 11 Number 6 (November-December 2005), the heavy water and other advanced materials and equipment for these plants were smuggled to India from a number of countries, including the USSR, China and Norway. Some of the firms, such as West German firm Degussa, were caught and fined by the United States for re-exporting to India 95 kg of U.S.-origin beryllium, usable as a neutron reflector in fission bombs.

In May 1998, India conducted two rounds of nuclear weapon tests. Last year, the media reports indicated that Kasturiranga Santhanam, the coordinator of India's 1998 nuclear tests, went public with allegations that India's Pokhran II test of a thermonuclear bomb in 1998 was actually a fizzle. The device, designed to generate 45 kilotons, yielded an explosion equivalent to only 15 to 20 kilotons of TNT.

Heavy Dependence on Imports:

India is overwhelmingly dependent on foreign imports, mainly Russian and Israeli, for about 70 per cent of its defense requirement, especially for critical military products and high-end defense technology, according to an Indian defense analyst Dinesh Kumar. Kumar adds that "India’s defense ministry officially admits to attaining only 30 to 35 per cent s elf-reliance capability for its defense requirement. But even this figure is suspect given that India’s self-reliance mostly accrues from transfer of technology, license production and foreign consultancy despite considerable investment in time and money".

On the same theme, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that "India has had little success with military equipment production, and has had problems producing Russian Su-30MKI fighter jets and T-90S tanks, English Hawk training jets and French Scorpene submarines."

On India's perennial dependence on imports, here's how blogger Vijainder Thakur sees India's loose meaning of "indigenous" Smerch and other imports:

"The Russians will come here set up the plant for us and supply the critical manufacturing machinery. Indian labor and technical management will run the plant which will simply assemble the system. Critical components and the solid propellant rocket motor fuel will still come from Perm Powder Mill. However, bureaucrats in New Delhi and the nation as a whole will be happy. The Smerch system will be proudly paraded on Rajpath every republic day as an indigenous weapon system.

A decade or so down the line, Smerch will get outdated and India will negotiate a new deal with Russia for the license production of a new multiple rocket system for the Indian Army.

China will by then have developed its own follow up system besides having used the solid propellant motors to develop other weapon systems and assist its space research program."

India does export some armaments but its modest record of producing and exporting weapon systems is evident from the fact that India’s defense annual exports averaged only US$ 88 million between 2006-07 and 2008-09. By contrast, Pakistan exported $300 million worth of military hardware and munitions last year.

Summary:

There is plenty of evidence and documentation from sources such as the Wisconsin Project to show that the Indian missiles and bombs are no more indigenous than Pakistan's. The fact is that neither India nor Pakistan were first to split the atom, or to develop modern rocket science. The Industrial Revolution didn't exactly start in India or Pakistan or even in Asia; it began in Europe and the rest of the world learned from it, even copied it.

The differences between India and Pakistan in terms of the technology know-how and the knowledge base are often highly exaggerated to portray India as "technology power house" and Pakistan as a backwater. Some of these analyses by Indian Brahman pundits and commentators have racial and religious overtones implying that somehow Brahmin or Hindu minds are superior to those of the people of other religions or castes in South Asia.

What is often ignored by such anti-Pakistan Indian analysts is the fact that neither of the two Indian pioneers, nuclear scientist Homi Bahbha and rocket scientist Abul Kalam, belong to the Hindu faith or the Brahmin caste. The false sense of Indian superiority is pushed by self-serving Indian and some western analysts to justify their own biased conclusions.

These analysts have fed what George Perkovich described in his book "India's Nuclear Bomb" on page 410 as "general Indian contempt for Pakistan's technical capabilities" and may cause serious miscalculations by the Indian security establishment about Pakistan's defense capabilities. Indian chauvinistic analyses have been put in perspective by another piece in Newsday (Friday, May 15, 1998; Page A5: "India Errs Nuclear Power Isn't Real Power"), in which George Perkovich talked about the rise in India of a radicalized, ultra-nationalistic BJP for the "glory of the Hindu race and rashtra (nation)". Perkovich added that "the Bharatiya Janata Party, has long felt that nuclear weapons offer a quicker ride to the top. Like atavistic nationalists elsewhere, they believe that pure explosive power will somehow earn respect and build pride."

The extreme right-wing influence on South Asian analysts has the potential for serious miscalculations by either India or Pakistan in the nuclear and the missile arena, and it does not augur well for the future of Indo-Pak region and the world at large.

Related Links:

India's Nuclear Bomb by George Perkovich

Cyberwars Across India, Pakistan and China

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Scientist Reveals Indian Nuke Test Fizzled

The Wisconsin Project

The Non-Proliferation Review Fall 1997

India, Pakistan Comparison 2010

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Global Firepower Comparison

Evaluation of Military Strengths--India vs. Pakistan

Only the Paranoid Survive

India Races Ahead in Space

21st Century High-Tech Warfare

World Military Spending

Indian Attempts to Scuttle F-16s For Pakistan

Attrition Rates For IAF and PAF

Mockery of National Sovereignty

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Assessing the Reality of the Indian Miracle

India's rapid economic growth has brought it enormous positive attention of the world media, billions of dollars in foreign investments, and new-found status on the international diplomatic scene. Goldman Sachs has promoted it by coining the term "BRIC" which groups India with other major emerging markets like Brazil, China and Russia as an investment destination. Inclusion in G20 has put the Indian leaders alongside the world's richest G7 nations. Indian business leaders in partnership with India's planning commission have mounted unprecedented "India Everywhere" branding campaign at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland each year. Indian writers have been promoting "Chindia" which seeks to put India on an equal footing with China.

Goldman Sachs has clearly contributed to the euphoria about India, by projecting that its economy could be 50 times its 2006 size by 2050, which would make it the world's third largest, after China and the United States. However, Goldman's Jim O'Neill has also said that when he ranked countries by the potential risks to their growth — everything from inflation to corruption — India ranked 97th in the world, behind Brazil and the Philippines. London-based Maplecroft terror risk index based on 2009 data ranks Iraq first, Afghanistan second, with Pakistan and Somalia third and fourth respectively. They are rated at extreme risk along with Lebanon 5, India 6, Algeria 7, Colombia 8 and Thailand 9, according to Reuters.

The UK-based risk advisory group's index tracks the risks of an attack, the intensity of violence as measured by casualties per incident, a country's history of extremist violence and threats made against it by groups such as al Qaeda.

"Media coverage can often skew public perceptions of terrorism risk in a country by publicising mass casualty attacks," said Maplecroft political risk analyst Eva Molyneux.

Having been subjected to a barrage of Indian marketing messages in the last decade, I have been trying to assess how much of it is real, and what part is just pure hype by the western and Indian media. A recent interview given by Dr. Jayati Ghosh has helped me put it in perspective. Dr. Jayati Ghosh is Professor of Economics and currently also Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Comparing China and India:

Here are the key points Dr. Ghosh makes:

1. Talk of Chinindia is nonsense. China and India are two very different countries with different histories. India has never done the hard work of basic reforms that China did decades ago. Unlike India, early reforms combined with greater state control on the economy have helped China achieve rapid and massive reduction in poverty.

2. Unlike China, India does not run any trade surplus or current account surplus to fund its growth. In fact, India has been running significant twin deficits. India depends much more on foreign investments for its growth than China.

3. Although large number of Indians estimated at 110 million have been the main beneficiaries of India's rapid economic expansion, their numbers are only about 10% of India's 1.1 billion people. The growth has excluded the rest of the 90% of the population, leaving them in abject poverty.

4. Instead of fighting against economic injustice, people are being divided along ethnic, religious and caste lines. There is an increase in all kinds of unpleasant social and political forces in India, where people are turning against each other, against linguistic, caste and faith groups, because they can't hit at the system—it's too big. So they pick on somebody their own size, or preferably smaller.

Comparing India and Pakistan:

There are some arrogant Indians in cyberspace as well as the physical world who contemptuously dismiss any comparison of India and Pakistan. However, the responsible Indian and UNICEF officials concur that Indians are much worse off than Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in terms of basic nutrition and sanitation.

India is worse than Bangladesh and Pakistan when it comes to nourishment and is showing little improvement in the area despite big money being spent on it, said India's Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed.

"There has been an enormous infusion of funds. But the National Family Health Survey gives a different story on malnourishment in the country. We don't know, something is just not clicking," Hameed said.

Speaking at a conference on "Malnutrition an emergency: what it costs the nation", she said even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during interactions with the Planning Commission has described malnourishment as the "blackest mark".

"I should not compare. But countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are better," she said. The conference was organized in 2008 by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Ministry of Development of Northeastern Region.

According to India's National Family Health Survey, almost 46 percent of children under the age of three are undernourished - an improvement of just one percent in the since 2001.

India might be considered an emerging economic power, but it is way behind Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan in providing basic sanitation facilities, a key reason behind the death of 2.1 million children under five in the country. Lizette Burgers, chief water and environment sanitation of the UNICEF, has said India is making progress in providing sanitation but it lags behind most of the other countries in South Asia.

While a mere 14 percent of people in rural areas of India - that account for 65 percent of its 1.1 billion population - had access to toilets in 1990, the number had gone up to 28 percent in 2006. In comparison, 33 percent rural Pakistanis had access to toilets in 1990 and it went up to an impressive 58 percent in 2006.

Similarly in Bangladesh, 36 percent of rural people have access to proper sanitation. The corresponding figures for Afghanistan and Sri Lanka were 30 percent and 86 percent respectively.

“This is a huge problem. India has made some progress but there is a lot to be desired. The speed in which we are (India) increasing the toilet usage will not help much,” Burgers told IANS, a day before an international sanitation campaign in Delhi.

She, however, said that the huge population in India is a major challenge. Burgers said that between 1990 and 2006, rural areas of the country has witnessed a growth of 181 million people of which 39 million people did not have access to toilets.

According to the international health and sanitation watchdog, there are at least 2.5 billion people across the globe who do not have access to toilets and 50 percent of them are in the south Asian region.

Pakistan's water quality is not good, but it is significantly better than in India.

On page 288 of his book "Water management in India" the author P. C. Bansil quotes a UN study that says India ranks a poor 120 on a list of 122 countries in water quality.

India's neighbors Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan rank much better at 40, 64, 78 and 80 respectively.

Growing Poverty in India:

Part of the problem fueling anger and insurgencies is the growing number of the poor in India. Here's a recent Reuters report:

"India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released Sunday.

The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent in 2004, a change that will require the Congress-ruled government to spend more money on the poor.



The new estimate comes weeks after Sonia Gandhi, head of the Congress party, asked the government to revise a Food Security Bill to include more women, children and destitutes.

"The Planning Commission has accepted the report on poverty figures," Abhijit Sen, a member of the Planning Commission told Reuters, referring to the new poverty estimate report submitted by a government panel last December.

India now has 410 million people living below the U.N. estimated poverty line of $1.25 a day, 100 million more than was estimated earlier, officials said.

India calculates how much of its population is living below the poverty line by checking whether families can afford one square meal a day that meets minimum nutrition needs.

It was not immediately clear how much more the federal government would have to spend on the poor, as that would depend on the Food Security Bill when it is presented to the government after the necessary changes, officials say.

India's Planning Commission will meet the food and expenditure secretaries next week to estimate the cost aspects of the bill, government officials said.

A third of the world's poor are believed to be in India, living on less than $2 per day, worse than in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, experts say".


Here is the entire transcript of Dr. Ghosh's interview:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay. Joining us again from Amherst, Massachusetts, from the PERI institute, is Jayati Ghosh. She's a professor of economics at the Center for Economic Studies and Planning at the School of Social Sciences at JNU in India. Her recent book is After Crisis. Thanks for joining us again, Jayati.

JAYATI GHOSH: Hello.

JAY: So there's a lot of talk about the growth and expansion in India and China, and especially India these days. We're hearing again about the Indian miracle. Whose miracle is it, anyway? And is it such?

GHOSH: No, it's not actually a miracle. In fact, I think—first of all, let me clarify. India and China are very, very different. We really can't compare them. And all this talk about Chindia and so on, it's nonsense, because China is a fundamentally different country. It's not just that it has had much more rapid growth for a longer period and been more successful in poverty reduction, but it's a whole different institutional system. It still has much more substantial state control, especially over finance. It is still able to manipulate the nature of the growth of the economy more directly through the central state than India is. And because it had a revolution and because it had land reform and egalitarian income distribution it was operating on a much more equal asset base, which then allowed economic policies to have different effects. India is different. In India we never did the hard work in terms of the major transformations, like asset redistribution, land reform, and so on. We still have a very unequal society, of course, income distribution as a distribution.

JAY: Well, before we go to India, let's just back up to China for a second, because we'd been hearing that a lot of that income distribution, land reform, and a lot of that's been undone over the last 10, 15 years, and this kind of rise of state-managed capitalism in China is going back the other way. Is that not the case?

GHOSH: To some extent. But remember that the base on which it was operating was still fundamentally more egalitarian. And that's important because, you know, the major episodes of poverty reduction in China, if you look at it, are the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, and these were periods when agriculture prices rose and benefited the farmers. Now, that helped poverty reduction and income distribution, because there was egalitarian land distribution—it was the peasant households that benefited and became less poor and all of that kind of thing. So poverty reduction had been closely related to that feature of China, which is very different from India. But you're right that the pattern of growth from the early 1990s has been in equalizing, has been one which has, you know, focused on this export-led growth paradigm in the coastal region, neglected the west and the central regions, you know, brought in migrant workers, often in terrible conditions, by suppressing growth in the countryside. All of that did happen. Again, I think the difference is that from about 2002 you find that the Chinese state is more aware of this, so there's a shift in terms of public investment towards the central and the western regions. The latest stimulus package disproportionately they're spending in the west and the central regions of the country. There was an attempt to give more rights to migrant workers who are normally denied all the rights that are available to urban workers. There is now the attempt to revamp the health system and make it once again something which is affordable for all Chinese citizens. So there has been a shift in the recent past in China.

JAY: So in India you're saying there never was major reforms and it's getting worse.

GHOSH: Absolutely. If you look at the pattern of Indian growth, it's really more like a Latin American story. We are now this big success story of globalization, but it's a peculiar success story, because it's really one which has been dependent on foreign—you know, we don't run trade surpluses. We don't even run current account surpluses, even though a lot of our workers go abroad to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, to California, as IT workers. We still don't really run current account surpluses. So we've been getting capital inflow because we are discovered as this hot destination. You know, we are on Euromoney covers. We are seen as this place to go. Some of our top businessmen are the richest men in the world. They hit the Fortune top-ten index. All of that kind of thing. This capital inflow comes in, it makes our stock market rise, it allows for new urban services to develop, and it generates this feel-good segment of the Indian economy. Banks have been lending more to this upper group, the top 10 percent of the population, let's say. It's a small part of the population, but it's a lot of people, it's about 110 million people, which is a pretty large market for most places. So that has fuelled this growth, because otherwise you cannot explain how we've had 8 to 10 percent growth now for a decade. Real wages are falling, nutrition indicators are down there with sub-Saharan Africa, a whole range of basic human development is still abysmal, and per capita incomes in the countryside are not growing at all.

JAY: So I guess part of that's part of the secret of what's happening in India is that the middle, upper-middle class, in proportion to the population of India, is relatively small, but it's still so big compared to most other countries—you were saying 100, 150 million people living in this, benefiting from the expansion. And it's a lot bigger. It's like—what is it? Ten, fifteen Canadas. So it's a very vibrant market. But you're saying most of the people in India aren't seeing the benefits.

GHOSH: Well, in fact it's worse than that. It's not just that they're not seeing the benefits. It's not that they're excluded from this. They are part of this process. They are integrated into the process. And, in fact, this is a growth process that relies on keeping their incomes lower, in fact, in terms of extracting more surplus from them. Let me just give you a few examples. You know, everybody talks about the software industry and how competitive we are. And it's true. It's this shiny, modern sector, you know, a bit like California in the middle of sub-Saharan Africa. But when you look at it, it's not just that our software engineers achieve, it's that the entire supporting establishment is very cheap. The whole system which allows them to be more competitive is one where you are relying on very low-paid assistants, drivers, cooks, cleaners. You know, the whole support establishment is below subsistence wage, practically, and it's that which effectively subsidizes this very modern industry.

JAY: What's happening politically? Do you see a reflection of resistance as a result of all this, coming from the impoverished people?

GHOSH: Well, you know, unfortunately, I think that there is a tendency now in India for these very major income distribution shifts and this very significant increase in exploitation and destitution not to have a political voice. It's surprising to me. Food prices have been going up by 20 percent now for two years. When this was happening in the '70s, you had food riots all over the country. You had major social instability. You don't have that today. You don't have that same outcry. We've had a big crisis where lots of workers lost their jobs, people's money wages are falling. You don't find the outcry. What you do find is the increase in all kinds of unpleasant social and political forces, where people turn against other linguistic groups, they turn against other caste groups, they turn against other religions, you know, because you can't hit at the system—it's too big. So you pick on somebody your own size, or preferably smaller than you so you can actually bash them up.

JAY: But why is that in a country like India, which is one of the few countries that has had a kind of left political tradition that has more or less remained intact?

GHOSH: Well, I wish I could say it's intact. I think the left also, in India, it's still, I think, a very vibrant and very important political force, but it is under attack and it's under attack from both the right and left. It's under attack from imperialist forces who want to suppress a genuine left movement in India. And it's been queried by a lot of confusion by all kinds of conflicting, you know, political groups that are based on caste or on religion or on other kinds of identity politics. I do believe, though, that the future of the left is integral to the future of India as we know it, which is to say a secular democracy. So it's absolutely critical to keep that left voice not just alive but expanding in India.

JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Jayati.

GHOSH: Thank you.

JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


Here's the complete video of Dr. Ghosh's interview:



Related Links:

Comparing India, Pakistan in 2010

Western Myths of Peaceful, Stable, Prosperous India

100 Million More Indians Slide Below Poverty Line

No Indian Miracle

UNESCO Water Ranking of Nations

India Worse Than Bangladesh, Pakistan in Nutrition

India Trails Pakistan, Bangladesh in Sanitation

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

Escape From India

Reflections on India

After Partition: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Access to Improved Water Sources Rankings HDR

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?

India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition

UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Financial Services Sector

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

South Asia Slipping in Human Development

Asia Gains in Top Asian Universities

Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

India-Pakistan Military Comparison

Goldman Sachs' Investment Risk Ranking of Nations

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Energy Crisis

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pakistan Eyes Thar Coal For Cheap, Abundant Power

Coal is the cheapest and the most common fuel used directly or indirectly to produce electricity and heat in the world today. Global coal consumption was about 6.7 billion tons in 2006 and is expected to increase 48% to 9.98 billion tons by 2030, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). China produced 2.38 billion tons in 2006. India produced about 447.3 million tons and Pakistan mined only about 8 million tons in 2006. 68.7% of China's electricity comes from coal. The United States consumes about 14% of the world total, using 90% of it for generation of electricity. The U.S. coal-fired plants have over 300 GW of capacity.

Thar desert region in Pakistan is endowed with one of the largest coal reserves in the world. Discovered in early 1990s, the Thar coal has not yet been developed to produce usable energy. With the devastating increases in imported oil bill and the growing shortages of gas and electricity in the country, the coal development is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. Coal contributes about 20% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions but it is the cheapest fuel available, according to Pew Center on Global Climate Change. It can provide usable energy at a cost of between $1 and $2 per MMBtu compared to $6 to $12 per MMBtu for oil and natural gas, and coal prices are relatively stable. Coal is inherently higher-polluting and more carbon-intensive than other energy alternatives. However, coal is so inexpensive that one can spend quite a bit on pollution control and still maintain coal’s competitive position.



At the end of the decade of 1990s when the economy was stagnant, Pakistan had about 1200 MW excess capacity. Between 2000 and 2008, the electricity demand from industries and consumers grew dramatically with the rapid economic expansion that more than doubled the nation's GDP from $60 billion to $170 billion. The Musharraf government added about 3500 MW of capacity during this period which still left a gap of over 1500 MW by 2008. The economy has since slowed to a crawl, the electricity demand has decreased, and yet the nation is suffering the worst ever power outages in the history of Pakistan. As discussed in an earlier post, Pakistan's current installed capacity is around 18,500 MW, of which around 20% is hydroelectric. Much of the rest is thermal, fueled primarily by gas and oil. Pakistan Electric Power Company PEPCO blames independent power producers (IPPs) for the electricity crisis, as they have only been able to give PEPCO much less than the 5,800 MW of confirmed capacity. Most of the power plants in the country are operating well below installed capacity because the operators are not being paid enough to buy fuel. Circular debt owed to the power producers and oil companies is currently believed to be largely responsible for severe load shedding affecting most of the nation.

The circular debt has assumed alarming portions since 2008, resulting in the current severe power problems. Former finance minister Saukat Tarin recently told the News that “in real terms the circular debt has swelled to Rs108 billion which mainly includes non-payment of Rs42 billion by KESC, Rs21 billion by the government of Sindh and Rs15-16 billion from commercial consumers to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco)". Just prior to leaving office, Tarin decided to raise Rs. 25 billion as a small step toward settling the swelling unpaid bills owed to power producers.



Per capita energy consumption in Pakistan is estimated at 14.2 million Btu, which is much higher than Bangladesh's 5 million BTUs per capita but slightly less than India's 15.9 million BTU per capita energy consumption. South Asia's per capita energy consumption is only a fraction of other industrializing economies in Asia region such as China (56.2 million BTU), Thailand (58 million BTU) and Malaysia (104 million BTU), according to the US Dept of Energy 2006 report. To put it in perspective, the world average per capita energy use is about 65 million BTUs and the average American consumes 352 million BTUs. With 40% of the Pakistani households that have yet to receive electricity, and only 18% of the households that have access to pipeline gas, the energy sector is expected to play a critical role in economic and social development. With this growth comes higher energy consumption and stronger pressures on the country’s energy resources. At present, natural gas and oil supply the bulk (80 percent) of Pakistan’s energy needs. However, the consumption of those energy sources vastly exceeds the supply. For instance, Pakistan currently produces only 18.3 percent of the oil it consumes, fostering a dependency on imports that places considerable strain on the country’s financial position. On the other hand, hydro and coal are perhaps underutilized today, as Pakistan has ample potential supplies of both.

The country's creaky and outdated electricity infrastructure loses over 30 percent, some of it due to rampant power theft, of generated power in transit, more than seven times the losses of a well-run system, according to the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank; and a lack of spare high-voltage grid capacity limits the transmission of power from hydroelectric plants in the north to make up for shortfalls in the south.

It does seem that Pakistan is finally getting serious about utilizing its vast coal resources to produce electricity and gas. Talking recently with GeoTV's Hamid Mir, Pepco Managing Director Tahir Basharat Cheema shared the following list of coal projects being launched:

1. The Sind Government has awarded a 1200 MW project to extract Thar coal and produce electricity to Engro Power.

2. A similar 1200 MW project is being undertaken by Pepco in Thar. The Pepco project also includes a 700 Km transmission line to connect Thar plants with the national grid.

3. An experimental project for underground coal gasification is being built by Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Mubarakmand to tap underground coal to produce 50 MW.

4. Another experimental 50 MW project using pressure coal gasification is planned by Pepco.

The coal and various renewable energy projects are expected to be online in the next 2 to 5 years. If these projects do succeed and more investors are attracted to the power sector, then Pakistan has the potential to produce about 100,000 MW a year for a century or longer. But these efforts will not help in the short or immediate term. What is urgently needed is decisive action to resolve the circular debt problems and restore power generation to full installed capacity immediately.

Here is a video clip of former president General Musharraf talking about the worst ever load shedding being faced by Pakistanis today:



Related Links:

Pakistan's Twin Energy Crises of Gas and Electricity

Pakistan's Load Shedding and Circular Debt

US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

Pakistan's Electricity Crisis

Pepco Increases Load Shedding By 5 Hours

Pakistan's Gas Pipeline and Distribution Network

Pakistan's Energy Statistics

US Department of Energy Data

China Signs Power Plant Deals in Pakistan

Pakistan Pursues Hydroelectric Projects

Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Energy from Thorium

Comparing US and Pakistani Tax Evasion

Zardari Corruption Probe

Pakistan's Oil and Gas Report 2010

Circular Electricity Debt Problem

International CNG Vehicles Association

Lessons From IPP Experience in Pakistan

Correlation Between Human Development and Energy Consumption

BMI Energy Forecast Pakistan

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Extracting Clean Energy From Trash in Pakistan

Among other things during a visit to Pakistan last year, the frequent power outages, commonly called "load shedding", and piles of garbage in the streets made a distinct impression on my family and I. Since our return to the United States, I have been wondering if it is possible to solve both problems at once? Clean up the streets by collecting garbage, and burn the collected trash to generate more electricity? It seems that the Danes are doing exactly that, according to a story in today's New York Times.

Denmark's Community Power Plants:

The new plants in Denmark are far cleaner than conventional incinerators. Such new type of plants convert local community trash into heat and electricity. Dozens of filters catch pollutants, from mercury to dioxin, that would have emerged from its smokestack only a decade ago.

As a result of new innovations, Denmark now regards garbage as a clean alternative fuel rather than a smelly, unsightly problem. And the incinerators, known as waste-to-energy plants, are welcomed by many upscale communities of professionals that vie to have them built.

Denmark now has 29 such plants, serving 98 municipalities in a country of over 5 million people, and 10 more are planned or under construction. Across Europe, there are about 400 plants, with Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands leading the pack in expanding them and building new ones, according to the New York Times.

Pakistan's Mountains of Garbage:

With the consumption boom of packaged products in the last few years, it seems that Pakistani cities are inundated with rubbish, and the garbage collection and waste disposal systems are totally inadequate. Here is an excerpt from my post in July 2009 about visit to Karachi:

"We saw lots of heaps of stinking trash in several parts of the city along the roadside on our way. It seemed as though the Karachi garbage collectors were on strike, but my impressions proved to be incorrect, as I was told that this was normal in several parts of Karachi. The government owned and operated garbage collection systems pick up less than 50% of the solid waste generated and the remaining uncollected garbage rots on the streets, posing serious health risks for the growing population. The massive piles of garbage also plug up the already inadequate storm water drains resulting in serious flooding in the monsoon months of July and August every year. None of the major cities in Pakistan have an adequate solid waste management system, though Karachi city government has reportedly contracted with a Chinese firm to establish and operate such a system. The waste collection and management firm, Shanghai Shen Gong Environmental Protection Company Limited, will start its operations of collecting litter from across the city from August 14, 2009 - initially in only six of the eighteen towns of the city of Karachi. And, as expected, this service will not come free, nor should it. Karachi-ites will be required to pay Rs. 100 to 1,000 per month as public utility charges under six categories (according to lot size) on their residential units. Businesses built on 200 sq yards to 10,000 sq yards or more will have to pay Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000 in garbage collection fees while industrial units covering an area of 1,000 sq yards to 5,000 sq yards and above will be billed Rs. 500 to Rs. 2,000 per month. There have already been howls of protests against these garbage collection fees and it will be interesting to see how effective CDGK (City District Government of Karachi) will be in ensuring payments."

Unfortunately, I am told that things have gotten much worse since last year. The City District Government of Karachi (CDGK) has since been dissolved, and the privatization of garbage collection has not materialized. At the same time, the energy crisis has become significantly more acute, with extended hours of "load shedding" on a daily basis.

Recommendation:

There is no real substitute for dramatic improvements in government's energy policies and governance to solve the acute energy problems Pakistan faces. However, I do think the Danish experience is worth exploring by at least some of the communities in Pakistan. Instead of just complaining about mounting garbage piles, and running noisy and polluting diesel generators to fill the growing power gap, it is time for some of the upscale urban communities to start taking a page from the European experience to kill two birds with one stone. Based on the "clean energy" designation, these projects might even qualify for dollars from carbon credits under Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Upscale communities such as Defense Housing Societies should seek guidance from their Danish counterparts to establish a few pilot projects to prove the concept in Pakistan.

Similar efforts can be undertaken in the industrial sector as well, with various industrial estates leading the way to solve their power problems. Rachna Industrial Park near Sheikhupura has already launched a 25 MW trash-burning power plant project currently underway.

Here's a video explaining waste to energy processes:



Related Link:

Load Shedding and Circular Debt in Pakistan

Creative Financing of Pakistan's Energy Projects

Eleven Days in Karachi

Garbage Disposal in South Asia

Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash

Going Through the CDM Process

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Renewable Energy for Pakistan

Pakistan Inks Hydroelectric Power Deals

Carbon Offsets Under Fire

The Politics of Climate Change

Cap and Trade and The New Carbon Economy

Electric Power Crisis Worsens in Pakistan

Light a Candle, Don't Curse Darkness

Social Entrepreneurs Target India and Pakistan

Grameen Shakti Solar For Pakistan

Waste-to-Energy Needed in Pakistan

Climate Change Worsens Poverty in India

Carbon Trading: Opportunity For Pakistan

Thursday, April 8, 2010

India and Pakistan Targeted in Cyber Wars

Last year at the World Economic Forum, U.S.-based security software firm McAfee's CEO Dave Walt reportedly told some attendees that China, the United States, Russia, Israel and France are among 20 countries locked in a cyberspace arms race and gearing up for possible Internet hostilities. He further said that the traditional defensive stance of government computer infrastructures has shifted in recent years to a more offensive posture aimed at espionage, and deliberate disruption of critical networks in both government and private sectors. Such attacks could disrupt not only command and control for modern weapon systems such as ballistic missiles, but also critical civilian systems including banking, electrical grid, telecommunications, transportation, etc, and bring life to a screeching halt.

Richard Clark, the former US cyber security czar, explained in a Newsweek interview the potential impact of cyber attacks on privately owned and operators infrastructure as follows:

"I think the average American would understand it if they suddenly had no electricity. The U.S. government, [National Security Administration], and military have tried to access the power grid's control systems from the public Internet. They've been able to do it every time they have tried. They have even tried to issue commands to see if they could get generators to explode. That's the famous Aurora experiment in Idaho. Well, it worked. And we know there are other real cases, like the power grid taken out in Brazil as part of a blackmail scheme. So the government knows it can be done, the government admits it can be done, the government intends to do it to other countries. Even the Chinese military has talked publicly about how they would attack the U.S. power grid in a war and cause cascading failures".



As if to confirm Walt's assertions, the Chinese hackers have allegedly stolen Indian national security information, 1,500 e-mails from the Dalai Lama’s office, and other sensitive documents, according to a report released by researchers at the University of Toronto. Media reports also indicated that government, business, and academic computers at the United Nations and the Embassy of Pakistan in the US were also targets. The UofT report also indicated there was no evidence to suggest any involvement by the Chinese government, but it has put Beijing on the defensive. Similar reports earlier this year said security investigators had traced attacks on Google and other American companies to China-based computers.

Chinese hackers apparently succeeded in downloading source code and bugs databases from Google, Adobe and dozens of other high-profile companies using unprecedented tactics that combined encryption, stealth programming and an unknown hole in Internet Explorer, according to new details released by the anti-virus firm McAfee and reported by Wired magazine. These hack attacks were disguised by the use of sophisticated encryption, and targeted at least 34 companies in the technology, financial and defense sectors, exploiting a vulnerability in Adobe’s Reader and Acrobat applications.

While the Chinese cyber attacks on US and India often get wide and deep coverage in the western media, a lower profile, small-scale cyber warfare is also raging in the shadows between India and Pakistan, according to some reports. These reports indicate that around 40-50 Indian sites are being attacked by Pakistani hackers on a daily basis whereas around 10 Pakistani sites are being hit by their Indian counterparts.

According to Pakistani blogger Arsalan Jamshed, cyberwars between the two countries started in May 1998. Soon after India officially announced its first nuclear test, a group of hackers, believed to be Pakistani, called milw0rm broke into the Bhabha Atomic Research Center web site and posted anti-India and anti-nuclear messages. The cyberwars usually have been limited to defacing of each others' sites. Defacement causes only superficial damage, in which only the home page of a site is replaced with hacker's own page, usually with some message for the victim. Such defacements started in May 1998 and continued during Kargil War in 1999 and then during that era when the tension between India and Pakistan was at its peak from Dec 2001 to 2002. Therefore, the period between 1999 to 2002 was very crucial, when the troops were busy across the LOC exchanging fire and the hackers were busy in defacing each others' websites.

In 2003, Indian and Pakistani hackers attacked each others' servers using variants of Yaha-Q email worm to shut down about 20 different applications, including personal firewalls and anti-virus software, according to Tony Magallanez, a system engineer with Finland-based F-Secure Corp.

Last year, there were news reports of Indian cyber attacks on Pakistan's Oil and Gas Regularity Authority. In retaliation, some Pakistani attackers hacked the websites of the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, the Center for Transportation Research and Management, the Army's Kendriya Vidyalaya of Ratlam and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). In one particular instance, Pakistani hackers removed the "most wanted" list from the Indian state Andhra Pradesh's CID (criminal investigation department) website and replaced it with messages threatening their Indian cyber rivals.

Unwelcome computer intrusions by Pakistani hackers are not new. The nation has the dubious distinction of being the birth place of the first ever personal computer virus known to mankind. Popularly called the 'Brain virus', it was created in 1986 by two Pakistani brothers, Amjad and Basit Farooq Alvi. This virus, which spread via floppy disks, was known only to infect boot records and not computer hard drives like most viruses today. The virus also known as the Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, Brain-A and UIUC would occupy unused space on the floppy disk so that it could not be used and would hide from detection. It would also disguise itself by displaying the uninfected bootsector on the disk.

Responding to the increasing threat perception of cyber attacks, the Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has called for leveraging Indian strengths in Information Technology to build cyber warfare capabilities in India.

According to a Times of India report last year, the Indian Army is boosting the cyber-security of its information networks right down to the level of divisions, which are field formations with over 15,000 troops.

In addition to creating cyber-security organization to protect against cyber attacks and data thefts, the Indian Army leaders have also underlined the urgent need for "periodic cyber-security audits" by India's Army Cyber Security Establishment (ACSE).

The Indian Army's actions are a response to reports that both China and Pakistan are bolstering their cyber-warfare or information warfare capabilities at a rapid clip.

While the India-Pakistan cyber conflict is at best the stuff of minor league, the real major league contest is likely to occur between the United States and its major adversaries, particularly China. The Pentagon already employs legions of elite hackers trained in cyberwarfare, according to a Wired Magazine story in November, 2009. But they mostly play defense, and that's what Naval Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla wants to change. He'd like the US military's coders to team up with network specialists abroad to form a global geek squad. Together, they could launch preemptive online strikes to head off real-world battles.

Among other things, the Wired magazine story had a scenario discussed by John Arquilla where an elite geek squad of world hackers could be used to prevent India-Pakistan nuclear war by taking out the command and control systems of both nations.

The increasing cyber attacks on U.S. government's networks and critical infrastructure, and the growing complexity of IT infrastructure, are driving a surge in federal cybersecurity spending; the U.S. federal government's total cumulative cybersecurity spending would be $55 billion between 2010 and 2015, according a report by Homeland Security News Wire. At the same time, countries such as China and Russia recognize the fact that the United States has an unfair advantage over them in cyber warfare simply because most of the operating system and infrastructure software used in the world today has its origins in the United States. These concerns are fueling efforts by most major nations in the world to enhance their cyber security, and they are focusing on development of capacity to retaliate as a deterrence.

As to the potential cyber component of any future wars between India and Pakistan, its dramatic impact could reverberate across the globe as the computers used in South Asia for outsourced work from the United States and Europe come under crippling attacks from hackers on both sides. Here is how Robert X. Cringeley describes it in a June 2009 blog post captioned "Collateral Damage":

"Forget for the moment about data incursions within the DC beltway, what happens when Pakistan takes down the Internet in India? Here we have technologically sophisticated regional rivals who have gone to war periodically for six decades. There will be more wars between these two. And to think that Pakistan or India are incapable or unlikely to take such action against the Internet is simply naive. The next time these two nations fight YOU KNOW there will be a cyber component to that war.

And with what effect on the U.S.? It will go far beyond nuking customer support for nearly every bank and PC company, though that’s sure to happen. A strategic component of any such attack would be to hobble tech services in both economies by destroying source code repositories. And an interesting aspect of destroying such repositories — in Third World countries OR in the U.S. — is that the logical bet is to destroy them all without regard to what they contain, which for the most part negates any effort to obscure those contents."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Nature of Future India-Pakistan Warfare

Pakistani-American Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

John Arquilla: Go on the Cyberoffensive

Pakistan Defense Industry Going High Tech

India-Pakistan Military Balance

21st Century High Tech Warfare

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Census 2010: Calling All Pakistani-Americans to Act

US Census 2010 is under way! It is an extensive exercise that happens once a decade and it produces data that guides the various branches of US government and its agencies, politicians, marketers, and just about every one else who needs America's demographics data.

The numbers produced by the Census drive the allocation of seats in the US Congress, budget appropriations, government policies, college enrollment, as well as big decisions on products, employment and target markets by private corporations targeting American consumers.

Here's how US Census Bureau describes the importance of census data:

1. Every year, the federal government allocates more than $400 billion to states and communities based, in part, on census data.

2. Census data are used to determine locations of schools, hospitals, new housing development, retail stores, and other community facilities.

3. Census data determine boundaries of state and local legislative and congressional districts.

Given the great significance of the Census 2010 results, it is extremely important for Pakistani-Americans to stand up and be counted. They must fill out the forms and send them in for the sake of their local communities, and for their own sake. They should understand that the ten minutes spent to fill out the Census 2010 form will have a significant impact on them and their local communities for the next ten years.



This year, among the various racial categories, there is an opportunity to mark "other Asian" and fill out "PAKISTANI" under the field to ensure the full recognition of the population of Pakistani-Americans (both citizens and non-citizens) residing in the United States. Upon request, the Census Bureau will provide you the form in Urdu language. The information provided on census forms is protected by the law, and it can not be used for any purpose other than for the count 2010.

I appeal to all Americans and American residents, including Pakistani-Americans, to fulfill their civic duty of ensuring correct US census results in 2010.

Here's a video clip about Census 2010 produced by Pakistani PAC:



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistani-American Demographics

Pakistani-American in $500 Million NFL Deal

Edible Arrangements--Pakistani-American's Success Story

Pakistani-Americans in Silicon Valley

HDF Fundraiser in Silicon Valley For Pakistan

Pakistani Diaspora in America

Asian-Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues

New York City's Pakistani Population

Pakistani-Americans in NYC

NED Alumni Convention Draws 400

NEDians Convention 2007 in Silicon Valley

Muslim Demographics in America

Pakistanis in America

Pakistani-Americans Wikipedia Entry

Illegal Immigration From India to America Hits 125%

Pakistanis Find US Easier Fit than Britain

Portrait of a Giving Community

India's Washington Lobby

Occupations of Pakistani-Americans--New York Times

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pakistan's Murree Beer Shares in KSE-100 Index

Murree Brewery Company (KAR-MURE), a publicly listed beer maker founded in 1861, has now been added to the Karachi Stock Exchange's KSE-100 index, according to media reports from Pakistan's financial capital Karachi. The Murree Brewery is one of the oldest public companies of the sub-continent. Its shares were traded on the Calcutta Stock Exchange as early as 1902, and is now the oldest continuing industrial enterprise of Pakistan, and among the top 25 performing public companies listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange.



The Karachi Stock Exchange KSE100 Index includes the top company from each of the 34 sectors on the Karachi Stock Exchange, in terms of market capitalization. The rest of the companies are picked on market cap ranking, without any consideration for the sector to make a sample of 100 common stocks with base value 1,000. As of Feb 26, 2010, the new index, with the inclusion of 11 new companies, makes up 91.11 percent of the total market capitalization of Karachi Stock Exchange.

Ten other companies, namely Security Papers Ltd, Pakistan Cables, TRG Pakistan, PEL (Pak Elektron Ltd.), Grays of Cambridge, Shifa International, PACE Pakistan, NetSol Technologies, Pakistan Telephone Cables and Clariant Pakistan have also been made a part of the widely watched shares Index, as of April 1, 2010.

The new entrants will replace First Habib Modaraba, Sigma Leasing, Fazal Textile, Nakshbandi Industries, Bannu Woolen Mills, Habib Sugar, Agriauto, Wazir Ali Industries, JS Global Capital, JS Bank and Silkbank Ltd.

After total prohibition imposed in the late 1970s under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and throughout 1980s under General Zia ul Haq, there has been a gradual relaxation that has allowed Murree Brewery to bring back Murree beer, vodka, gin and whisky in Pakistan. The Murree products are now available in legal liquor stores that operate openly in Karachi and other major cities. Although consumption of alcohol in public is banned, it is becoming increasingly available in private clubs and expensive restaurants. The company produces 660,000 gallons of beer every year and the 110,000 gallons of whisky that is stored in its cellars. A division of the company also produces and markets fruit juices in Pakistan. Its total annual sales last year were about Rs. 2.3 billion ($28 million). Murree's competitors include Quetta Distillery, as well as smuggled alcoholic beverages from the rest of the world.

In 2007, the Daily Telegraph reported that "the Islamic republic of Pakistan has won the distinction of producing the Muslim world's first 20-year-old malt whisky".

During the strict prohibition period, Murree Beer was produced in Austria for European markets and was available in various Pakistani and Indian restaurants in London, an enterprise which has since ceased since 2004.

The company is not allowed to export its alcohol products. However, Murree beer company is working on making it available in Indian and Pakistani restaurants in Britain under a promotion "Have a Murree With Your Curry" in collaboration with a licensee.

While Murree Brewery surprises some people and raises the eyebrows of others, this company is not alone in defying the generally known conventions of the Islamic Republic. A new class of entrepreneurs has emerged in Pakistan during the last decade who, in small but significant ways, have challenged the religious orthodoxy. They present a sharp contrast to the rising wave of Islamic radicalism that the U.S. and others view as an existential threat to Pakistan. And with many well-traveled Pakistanis importing ideas from abroad, they are contributing to Pakistan's 21st-century search for itself.

The new entrepreneurial outfits range from fashion apparel and cosmetics to upscale restaurants, personal fitness clubs and places offering men's hair transplants.

While most of the new entrepreneurs cater to Pakistan's young, urban consumers, there are a few who have found highly unusual niches for export markets. For example, Integrated Dynamics of Karachi designs, builds and exports unmanned aerial vehicles used by the US for border patrol duty on its southern border with Mexico. Recently highlighted by the New York Times, AQTH offers a more shocking example of a small, entrepreneurial Karachi company that caters to the $3 billion a year bondage and fetish industry in the United States and Europe. AQTH's mom-and-pop-style garment business earns more than $1 million a year manufacturing 2,000 fetish and bondage products, including the Mistress Flogger, and exporting them to the United States and Europe.

Here's a CNN report on Murree Brewery:




Related Links:

KSE Outperforms BSE, BRIC Markets

Pakistan's Brewery Thrives in Islamic State

Life Goes On in Pakistan

Media and Publishing Boom in Pakistan

Pakistani Entrepreneurs Survive Dowturn

Merry Murree

KSE-100 Index Charts By Marketwatch.com