Wales and the £1 billion arms trade with India

Whatever celebrity BB winner Shilpa Shetty has done for India's image there remain a few basic facts about India:
- It is a nuclear power
- It has the world's second largest army
- It is at war in Kashmir and Assam and in nuclear tension with Pakistan
- It is stricken with poverty

A new one to add to the list is that increasing numbers of Indian fighter pilots are being trained in Wales.

Prime Minister Tony Blair famously courted a huge arms contract with India in 2002, a week after saying he hoped Britain could have a "calming influence" on the conflict between India and Pakistan. At the time, Britain was also supplying arms materials to Pakistan - effectively arming both sides in the battle.

Shilpa may be rich and beautiful, but she didn't manage to get across the fact that of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 400 million people in India live below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, in RAF Valley, Indian pilots train to use the 132 Hawk Jets bought by the Indian government at a cost of roughly £1 billion. That's the equivalent of ten years bilateral aid.

The truth is that India is engaged in conflict. Those endearing chaps who come to Wales and struggle with the language and the lack of vegetarian food may soon be shooting at people. And the cost of it all is diverting funds from those who are in desperate need. While India's glitzy celebs enjoy their moment in the British tabloids, let's spare a thought for the hundreds of millions who - thanks in part to an unforgiving global arms trade - don't think about anything beyond their next meal.

Source: The Hindu

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posted by Blamerbell @ 6:44 am,


At 6:23 pm, Blogger kuffir said...

some other facts:

- the u.k., france, russia, united states... and thanks to all/some of those 'powers', pakistan and north korea and israel are also nuclear powers - and all of them much smaller than india in terms of population. and please note, not one of them has two hostile nuclear powers (both china and pakistan have fought wars with india)in its immediate neighbourhood,

- in terms of military manpower, expressed in sheer numbers, india actually ranks sixth in the world,

- kashmir and assam have democratically elected governments.. northern ireland had a 'devolved' government... and the u.k was not at war in belfast,

- india has managed to reduce the percentage of people living below the poverty line substantially since independence. the figures are disputed, but the sense they convey is that in the last twenty five years the number of people living below the poverty line has decreased from around 40-50% of the total population to less than one third. the numbers are still very frightening..but..

most of u.k.,'s decreasing aid to india goes to serving the needs of consultancies, based in the u.k., as this report ( says..
but, as this report says ( india has reciprocated uk's kindness in a much more direct fashion - india is now the second largest foreign investor in the u.k., after the united states.

p.s.: i used to like richard burton - he was one of the best actors the u.k., had ever produced, in my view.

At 8:00 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

I'm not sure what you are getting by pointing out that India has two hostile nuclear powers nearby. On that reasoning, Japan arguably has even more hostile neighbours and yet is not a nuclear power (although there's an 'arrangement' with America).

In terms of army personnel I believe India is second.

Also, what's the point of even the negligible amount of aid if India merely throws it back at us in the form of ridiculously expensive (and destructive) arms and military purchases?

Glad you like Richard Burton. He's a bit before my time I'm afraid.


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