From 1985-1992 India’s South & North Block Witnessed Momentous Times–Rise Of An IA Pilot Rajiv Gandhi With Majority–Sonia Gandhi As In Durbar(Tavleen)–Bofors Backfiring–Op Pawan Took Tolls & Brasstacks–Chequer Board Neared War–Brass Board Cancelled–Corruption & Rampant Imports Oil, Pipeline Contracts & Defence–FM VP Singh Baulked –India Went Broke To Zero Dollars ! COVID Has Created Similar & Other Stresses !
This is an IDF COVID 7 Opportunity Analysis recalling 1991 to postulate how India can emerge stronger after, ‘Corona Virus Laden Days’. ‘Every crisis is an opportunity’, and, ‘A few Good Men With Courage, Is The Answer” ! India has them !
India has a resolute Leader in PM N Damodardas, (367th name of ‘Vishnu in Sahasranama) Modi’. Always dapper. gabby PM is an outstanding orator in chaste Hindi, that South Indians struggle with. PM Modi has done exceedingly well for India on the World Stage and for India’s Military’s Power. Internally, he has steered well, but more on BJP RSS agenda. If PM introspects, he may find the ‘Course Correction’, that is needed as the Captain to face the stormy Frankensteinian Days. A Wuhan Frankenstein may have made a new Killer Synthetic Corona ‘A’ Virus, as B and C are HIV curable ! SEE LAST IDF POST.
Breaking News ! PM spoke tough and brilliantly only for20 minutes on 14th April to the Nation …A course correction indeed !
In 1991, good minds admitted to corruption that ailed India’s Economy and bureaucracy, all given in Montek’s telegram to PM Narashima Rao, with what to do, Navy style. PM pry opened India’s Economy with Reforms and lived up to “Narasimha’, ‘A Lion’, Singapore’s symbol, the Chinese Lion dance. Coca Cola and IBM were back and we danced !
PM had his PPS AN Verma, FM Dr Manmohan Singh and Montek by his side, and Commerce Minister Chidambaram played ball and with others like RBI following, PM steered India upward, despite a coalition Government. PM Rao missed exploding the BOMB which credit went to another courageous Leader PM Atal Behari Vaipayee, IDF’s hero he met once, whose personal life is Epic, described in Nag Kingshuk’s book. India produces leaders when India is against the wall…Arjuna got counsel from Krishna ! Manekshaw, Nanda and Lal in 1971 with Durga Gandhi !
1986-89 were action packed days in South(MEA PMO and Military) and North Blocks(Finance Home and Intelligence). IDF was in Room No 24/S as Navy’s Director of Intelligence. Six years earlier as Director of Naval Operations in Room No 185, next to Chiefs, in control of the War Room. PM and Leaders came for briefings. A learning experience !
In Op Pawan(1987-91) IDF slept nights in the Army Ops Room courtesy DDGMO Brig VP Malik to understand Op Pawan, to help Army & save the Navy from LTTE. Chairman COSC (not in loop) Adm RH Tahilani gave DNI and DNO Cmde Rollo Lewin, long ropes to hire crafts. Many thought they were running Op Pawan. Troops by affable GOC Gen Dipender Singh from Pune. IPKF HQ ‘s Lt Gen Kalat and term mates Niki Kapur and Ravi Ipe in Chennai who smuggled IDF in to Sri Lanka to stay with Gen Sardeshpande and term mate Brig Singh. Navy operated from Vishakhapatnam( Radm PS Das term mate like VP), but Gen K Sundarji (will sort out the Chokra boys) was the Maestro with PMO which had brilliant Ronen Sen ! INS Chakra came too.
The Doon School Lobby of PM Rajiv Gandhi(1984-89) supported him, holding charge of Defence with brilliant Arun Singh ex Recitt Coleman(Dettol fame). India was splurging with purchases and FFE in OP Pawan listed in book WARRING NAVIES . IFS doyens were Ambassadors Dixt, KPS Menon Jr, AP Venketisaran, SK Singh, Ronen Sen and Sahadev, RAW boss Shri Verma and IB Shri MK Narayanan. IDF as a small cog, saw these luminaries closely.
The book The Z Factor….By Subhash Chandra —‘My journey as the Wrong man at the Right Time”, tells of the times—-Registering Property by Power of Attorney(POA) was the norm, people quoted giveaways to get work done……Property dealers advertised only the amount by cheque ……and the magic of Rupee Rouble trade and oil from Iraq was a boon for many.
IDF was suddenly trasported to Singapore High Commission as DA to a fine High Commissioner late Shri YM Tiwari and to some fine Mission Heads in Philippines and Thailand, to develop things like what is SIMBEX, and earn FFE. In 1991 India was broke.
Arrived FM Dr Manmohan Singh with PS RK Khullar and Monetek Ahluwalia from Bangkok; later PC Chidambaram and wife with PS Sindhushree Khullar, Deepak Nayyar, NK Singh, Geeta Krishnan, Governor RBI, business men like a Thapar, Ram Buxani and a fine TVS G’man from South India and all Ambassadors in ASEAN. IDF was their LO in Imperial Hotel, with charming Lady Staff from the High Commission and wifey. They controlled the two cars going to Mustafa(Shopping), drinks and eats in the Common Room. It was South Block in Singapore. Experience helped !
HC Tiwari arranged a crucial meeting to meet top business tycoons from Asian Tigers to garner Investments for projects like Enron. Nearing lunch…FM Singh got a phone call from World Bank. It was willing to give a loan subject to reform conditions, the telegram explains.
HC Tiwari, “Take Shri Ahluwalia to your office—- he has to send a Telegram.” En-route Montek said “I hope your PA knows shorthand”. I said, “ No sir, but Krishnan may do, and I will help him… Just speak slowly and clearly”. Shri Ahluwalia flawlessly to our amazement, dictated the telegram excerpts below and did not have to correct Leading Writer Krishnan’s draft (now Cdr Krishnan looking after Pensions and in demand), and allowed IDF to keep a Copy with,” Read it some day later …its yours”
It may be a of for www.indiadefenceforum.com which is now read worldwide as a hobby site!
MONTEK’S TELEGRAM TO PM RAO IS LONG———- HERE IT IS PARAPHRASED —- FULL TELEGRAM IN ATTACHMENT
The World Bank – IMF meeting took place in Bangkok between 15 – 17 October 1991. Dr Manmohan Singh participated as Governor for India, for bilateral discussions with Finance Ministers of most of our major aid donors, and the top management of the IMF-World Bank, who appreciated India’s economic needs.
This note summarizes developments, which have to be evaluated in the background of our exceptional Balance of Payments difficulties and loss of ‘Confidence in our Economy’, by the International Financial Community, leading to a freeze on new lending by Commercial Banks and a continuing outflow of NRI deposits. This means we are faced with a substantial ‘unfulfilled gap’ in our external payments. We would have to resort to drastic import restrictions beyond the present levels which would precipitate serious descriptions of industrial production, severe shortages of essential products such as diesel and kerosene and unavoidable pressure on prices. (TODAY WE HAVE FFE & OIL PRICE IS LOW).
The unfulfilled gap is estimated at around $3.8 billion in 1991-92 and $2.8 billion in 1992 – 93.
The proposal for an IMF standby credit of $2.2 billion will come before the IMF Board on 21st October. We have also successfully concluded negotiations on a structural adjustment loan of $ 500 – $ 600 million. (THIS WAS IMPORTANT). The Bank management have confirmed that they would be willing to provide support for our National Renewal Fund and Financial Sector reform, helped to create confidence among Commercial banks. In meetings with UK, France, Germany and Japan at FM’s level, we were assured that the economic directions indicated by the government are appreciated and we will have support in the World Bank and IMF.
(THIS PARA IS RELEVANT TODAY). There are also several DANGER SIGNALS. We have to recognize, that although our policy initiatives are widely appreciated(DPP MAKE IN INDIA), there are understandable DOUBTS about whether we will deliver on what we have PROMISED. One reason for this skepticism is the view that India has, in the past, announced economic reforms BUT the initial initiatives have been allowed to PETER OUT. In the present situation, there are questions whether, in the absence of a clear PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY, we will be ABLE TO DELIVER ON POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL PROPOSALS WHICH COULD ALWAYS RUN INTO MOTIVATED OPPORTUNISTIC CRITICISM (HOW TRUE). There is also tremendous suspicion THAT THE BUREAUCRACY WILL SIMPLY NOT LET LIBERALIZATION AND DE REGULARIZATION PROCEED.
For these reasons our performance under the IMF standby and the World Bank loan will be watched carefully TO SEE IF WE MEET THE MILESTONES WE HAVE SET FOR OURSELVES. The most important of these is the target of containing the fiscal deficit in 1991 – 92 to 6.5% of GDP.
UNQUOTE …… Shan Na Varuna for good men in White!