Tuesday, March 22, 2005

American Think Tank Frets Over Fiber Optic Network Sale To VSNL

Frank Gaffney, President of The Center for Security Policy -- a generally reasonable American Think Tank -- has written an op-ed in today's Washington Times where he describes India in a rather ominous way:

Strategically minded national security types hope India will prove in the future a reliable, democratic friend of the United States. But, it could turn out otherwise. While the Indians have as much, if not more, to fear from China's increasing power-projection capabilities and expansionist ambitions, growing trade and warming political relations between the two emerging giants may obscure that danger. There are also worrying Indian energy partnerships being formed with Iran, even as India has retained close Kremlin ties forged during the Cold War.

Mr. Gaffney is lobbying the US Government to block the sale of Tyco's fiber optic network to VSNL. This, he suggests, is a fire-sale of sensitive American-owned assets over which sensitive US communications will flow to a company 26 percent owned by the Indian government and a major supplier to India's military and intelligence services. Therefore, he argues, the Pentagon could not be sure its "mail" will not be read by potentially unfriendly eyes.

While we respect Mr. Gaffney's patriotic impulses (and we tend to agree with his hawkish views most of the time), the cynic in us would sure like to know on whose behest has he launched this anti-India campaign?

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