Striking facts - China's Dam Frenzy

#China boasts more dams than the rest of the world combined.

Before the Communists came to power in 1949, there were only 22 dams of any significant size in China. But now China has more than half of the world’s almost 50,000 large dams.

This feat means that China has completed on average at least one large dam per day since 1949. If dams of all sizes are counted, the number in China surpasses 85,000.

According to Wen Jiabao, China has relocated a total of 22.9 million citizens since 1949 to make way for water projects. So, by official count alone, 1,035 citizens on average have been forcibly evicted daily in the past 62 years for water projects.

China is also the global leader in exporting dams. Its state-run companies today are building more dams overseas than the other international dam builders put together.

BY Brahma Chellaney -

China’s frenzied dam-building hit a wall recently in Burma (Myanmar), where the government’s bold decision to halt a controversial Chinese-led dam project helped to ease the path to the first visit by a US secretary of state to that country in more than a half-century.

The now-stalled $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam, located at the headwaters of Burma’s largest river, the Irrawaddy, was designed to pump electricity exclusively into China’s power grid, despite the fact that Burma suffers daily power outages. The State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of China’s State Council hailed Myitsone as a model overseas project serving Chinese interests. The Burmese decision thus shocked China’s government, which had begun treating Burma as a reliable client state (one where it still has significant interests, including the ongoing construction of a multibillion-dollar oil and natural-gas pipeline).

Despite that setback, China remains the world’s biggest dam builder at home and abroad. Indeed, no country in history has built more dams than China, which boasts more dams than the rest of the world combined.

Before the Communists came to power in 1949, China had only 22 dams of any significant size. Now the country has more than half of the world’s roughly 50,000 large dams, defined as having a height of at least 15 meters, or a storage capacity of more than three million cubic meters. Thus, China has completed, on average, at least one large dam per day since 1949. If dams of all sizes are counted, China’s total surpasses 85,000.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, China’s dams had the capacity to store 562.4 cubic kilometers of water in 2005, or 20% of the country’s total renewable water resources. Since then, China has built scores of new dams, including the world’s largest: the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River.

China is also the global leader in exporting dams. Its state-run companies are building more dams overseas than all other international dam builders put together. Thirty-seven Chinese financial and corporate entities are involved in more than 100 major dam projects in the developing world. Some of these entities are very large and have multiple subsidiaries. For instance, Sinohydro Corporation – the world’s largest hydroelectric company – boasts 59 overseas branches.

Both the profit motive and a diplomatic effort to showcase its engineering prowess drive China’s overseas dam-building efforts. China’s declared policy of “noninterference in domestic affairs” actually serves as a virtual license to pursue dam projects that flood lands and forcibly uproot people – including, as with Myitsone, ethnic minorities – in other countries. But it is doing the same at home by shifting its focus from dam-saturated internal rivers to the international rivers that originate in the Tibetan plateau, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria.

China contends that its role as the global leader in exporting dams has created a “win-win” situation for host countries and its own companies. But evidence from a number of project sites shows that the dams are exacting a serious environmental toll on those hosts.

As a result, the overseas projects often serve to inflame anti-Chinese sentiment, reflected in grassroots protests at several sites in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Moreover, by using a Chinese workforce to build dams and other projects abroad – a practice that runs counter to its own “localization” requirement, adopted in 2006 – China reinforces a perception that it is engaged in exploitative practices.

As the world’s most dammed country, China is already the largest producer of hydropower globally, with a generating capacity of more than 170 gigawatts. Yet ambitious plans to boost its hydro-generating capacity significantly by damming international rivers have embroiled the country in water disputes with most neighbors, even North Korea.

More broadly, China’s dam-building passion has spawned two key developments. First, Chinese companies now dominate the global hydropower-equipment export market. Sinohydro alone, having eclipsed Western equipment suppliers like ABB, Alstom, General Electric, and Siemens, claims to control half the market.

Second, the state-run hydropower industry’s growing clout within China has led the government to campaign aggressively for overseas dam projects by offering low-interest loans to other governments. At home, it recently unveiled a mammoth new $635 billion investment program in water infrastructure over the next decade, more than a third of which will be channeled into building dams, reservoirs, and other supply structures.

China’s over-damming of rivers and its inter-river and inter-basin water transfers have already wreaked havoc on natural ecosystems, causing river fragmentation and depletion and promoting groundwater exploitation beyond the natural replenishment capacity.

The social costs have been even higher, a fact reflected in Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s stunning admission in 2007 that, since 1949, China has relocated a total of 22.9 million Chinese to make way for water projects – a figure larger than the populations of Australia, Romania, or Chile. Since then, another 350,000 residents – mostly poor villagers – have been uprooted.

So, by official count alone, 1,035 citizens on average have been forcibly evicted for water projects every day for more than six decades. With China now increasingly damming transnational rivers such as the Mekong, Salween, Brahmaputra, Irtysh, Illy, and Amur, the new projects threaten to “export” the serious degradation haunting China’s internal rivers to those rivers. The time has come to exert concerted external pressure on China to rein in its dam frenzy and embrace international environmental standards.

Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, is the author of Asian Juggernaut and the newly released Water: Asia’s New Battleground.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.


Al Qaeda in Africa

The first time the members of al-Qaeda emerged from the forest, they politely said hello. Then the men carrying automatic weapons asked the frightened villagers if they could please take water from the well.

Before leaving, they rolled down the windows of their pickup truck and called over the children to give them chocolate.

That was 18 months ago, and since then, the bearded men in outfits like those worn by Osama bin Laden have returned for water every week. Each time they go to lengths to exchange greetings, ask for permission and act neighbourly, according to locals, in the first intimate look at how al-Qaeda tries to win over a village.

Besides candy, the men hand out cash. If a child is born, they bring baby clothes. If someone is ill, they prescribe medicine. When a boy was hospitalised, they dropped off plates of food and picked up the tab.

With almost no resistance, al-Qaeda has implanted itself in Africa’s soft tissue, choosing as its host one of the poorest nations on earth. The terrorist group has created a refuge in this remote land through a strategy of winning hearts and minds, described in rare detail by seven locals in regular contact with the cell. The villagers agreed to speak for the first time to an Associated Press team in the “red zone,” deemed by most embassies to be too dangerous for foreigners to visit.

While al-Qaeda’s central command is in disarray and its leaders on the run following bin Laden’s death six months ago, security experts say, the group’s five-year-old branch in Africa is flourishing. From bases like the one in the forest just north of here, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is infiltrating local communities, recruiting fighters, running training camps and planning suicide attacks, according to diplomats and government officials.

Even as the mother franchise struggles financially, its African offshoot has raised an estimated $130 million in under a decade by kidnapping at least 50 Westerners in neighbouring countries and holding them in camps in Mali for ransom. It has tripled in size from 100 combatants in 2006 to at least 300 today, say security experts. And its growing footprint, once limited to Algeria, now stretches from one end of the Sahara desert to the other, from Mauritania in the west to Mali in the east.

The group’s stated aim is to become a player in global jihad, and suspected collaborators have been arrested throughout Europe, including in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, England and France. In September, the general responsible for US military operations in Africa, Army Gen. Carter Ham, said AQIM now also poses a “significant threat” to the United States.

The answer to why the group has thrived can be found in this speck of a town, where homes are made of mud mixed with straw and families eke out a living either in the fields of rice to the south or in the immense forest of short, stout trees to its north.

It’s here, under a canopy stretching over an area three times larger than the city of New York, that Sokolo’s herders take their cattle. They avoid overgrasing by organising themselves into eight units linked to each of the eight wells, labelled N1 through N8, along the 50-mile-long perimeter of the Wagadou forest. They pay $5 per year per head of cattle, and $3 per head of sheep, for the right to water their animals.

When the al-Qaeda fighters showed up with four to five jerry cans and asked for water, they signalled that they did not intend to plunder resources.

“From the moment you lay eyes on them, you know that they’re not Malian,” said 45-year-old herder Amadou Maiga.

They started to come every four or five days in Land Cruisers, with Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders. At first they stayed for no more than 15 to 20 minutes, said the villagers, including herders, a hunter and employees of the Malian Ministry of Husbandry who travel to the area to vaccinate animals and repair broken pumps. If on Monday they took water from one well, on Wednesday they would go to another, always varying their path.

Fousseyni Diakite, 51, a pump technician who travels twice a month to the forest to check the generators used to run the wells, first ran into the cell in May 2010, when he saw four men in Arab dress inside a Toyota Hilux truck, all with AK-47s at their feet.

He said the men come with medical supplies and try to find out if anyone is sick.

“There is one who is tall with a big chest _ he’s Arab, possibly Algerian. He’s known for having an ambulatory pharmacy. He goes from place to place giving treatment for free,” Diakite said.

They venture into the camps where the herders sleep at dusk and hand out cash to villagers who join them for prayers, he said _ bills of 10,000 West African francs (about $20), equal to nearly half the average monthly salary in Mali.

Most of the herders sleep in lean-to’s in camps at the forest’s edge. Because these are temporary settlements, they do not have mosques, unlike most villages in this nation twice the size of France that is 90 percent Muslim.

In Boulker, a hamlet near the forest, the fighters left 100,000 francs (around $200), instructing locals to buy supplies and build an adobe mosque, Diakite said.

“They said that for every population center with at least 10 people, there should be a mosque,” he said.

Along with its poverty, Mali has an enormous geography and a weak central government — not unlike Afghanistan, where bin Laden first used the charm offensive to secure the loyalty of the local people, said Noman Benotman, a former jihadist with links to al-Qaida, now an analyst at the London-based Quilliam Foundation.

“We used to teach our people about this. It’s part of the military plan — how to treat locals. This is the environment that keeps them alive,” said Benotman, who first met bin Laden in Sudan and who spent years fighting alongside al-Qaida in Afghanistan. He said bin Laden gave his fighters specific instructions on how to conduct themselves: Don’t argue about the price, just make the locals happy. Become “like oxygen” to them.

AQIM is taking the lesson to heart. Soon after they began taking water, one of the bearded fighters approached a shepherd at the pump to buy a ram. The fighters were looking to slaughter it to feed themselves. The shepherd offered it to him for free — too afraid to ask for money, said Maiga, the man’s friend.

But the stranger refused to take the ram without payment, and immediately handed over a generous sum.

“They seem to know all the prices ahead of time. They point to a ram and say, `I’ll buy that one for 30,000 cfa ($60),’” said Maiga, quoting the highest sum a herder could expect to get for a ram in these parts. “They never bargain.”

AQIM grew out of the groups fighting the Algerian government in the 1990s, after the military canceled elections to stave off victory for an Islamist party. Over the next decade, they left a trail of destruction in Algeria. Around 2003, they sent an emissary to Iraq to meet an al-Qaida intermediary, according to Benotman. Three years later, the insurgents joined the terror family, in what second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri called “a blessed union.”

Since then, their attacks have taken on the hallmarks of al-Qaida. A pair of explosions this August killed 18 people as they tore through the mess hall of Algeria’s military academy, with the second bomb timed to hit emergency responders.

Al-Qaida in turn appears to be learning from its affiliates, which have used kidnappings for ransom in Algeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. After bin Laden’s death in May, investigators found files on his hard drive showing plans to turn to kidnapping to compensate for a decline in donations.

AQIM in particular has perfected what analysts call a “kidnap economy,” drawing on its refuge in Mali, according to diplomats, hostage negotiators and government officials. In 2003, the group kidnapped and transported 32 mostly German tourists from southern Algeria to Mali, where, according to a member of Mali’s parliament, they struck a deal with local authorities that is still in effect today.

“The agreement was, `You don’t hurt us, we won’t hurt you,’” said the parliament member, formerly involved in hostage negotiations, who asked not to be identified because of the danger involved.

The government of Mali denies these accusations, but officials cited in diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks make the same assertion. The president of neighboring Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, told his American counterparts in 2009 that Mali is “at peace with AQIM to avoid attacks on its territory.” Whereas the al-Qaida cell has captured more than 50 foreigners in Algeria, Niger and Mauritania, hardly any of the violence has touched Mali.

The cell has also managed to recruit local fighters, including 60 to 80 Tuaregs, the olive-skinned nomads who live in the Sahara desert, according to a security expert. And villagers say they have seen black-skinned sub-Saharan Africans in the pickups speaking the languages of Mali, Guinea and Nigeria.

“The situation in Mali is they have become locals — they are not foreigners,” said Benotman. “This is really, really very, very difficult to do, and it makes it very hard to get rid of them.”

One thing still stands in al-Qaida’s way: Its hardcore ideology does not gel with the moderate Islam practiced by Mali’s nomads. Most of them said they were afraid, caught between need for the money al-Qaida offers and wariness of its extremist beliefs.

When bin Laden died, the members of the local cell went from well to well to ask people to pray for his soul, according to Amaye ag Ali Cisse, an employee of the Ministry of Husbandry who travels twice a month to the wells to oversee the vaccination of animals.

“Everyone is uncomfortable,” he said. “This is a religion that doesn’t belong to us.”

The herders say the fighters have not tried to impose their ideology by force. Instead, they say that the AQIM members wait until they have seen a herder at least a few times before broaching the subject.

“It was the third time that I saw them that they started preaching to me,” said Maiga. “They said that everything they do is in order to seek out God.”

Herder Baba Ould Momo, 29, said he tries to come up with an excuse to leave when the pickup trucks arrive at the well, because he’s afraid the terror cell will pull him in. He said they backed off when they noticed he wasn’t interested.

“The first thing they try to do is invite people to join them in the forest. If they see that the person is wavering, it’s then that they start preaching — saying everything is transitory,” said Momo, who like most of the herders wears plastic flip-flops, with a robe of wrinkled cloth. “But if the person is categorical in saying `No,’ they leave them alone.”

In June, Mauritania and Mali led a rare joint attack on the al-Qaeda cell in the Wagadou Forest. However, herders say that a week earlier, the al-Qaeda fighters told them that an attack was imminent and that they had laid down land mines in the forest. Mauritania blames Malian officials for tipping off AQIM.

The herders said that for around two weeks, they didn’t see the bearded fighters. Then they returned with a new fleet of Hilux pickup trucks, and with more men. Since then, the fighters’ tracks have been all over the forest floor, in a map of constant movement, said 60-year-old hunter Cheickana Cisse. They no longer sleep in the same place.

Just as Cisse was taking a drink of water at the N7 pump on a recent evening, two pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft cannons and loaded with combatants drove up. The men had chains of ammunition strapped across their chests, and belts loaded with cartridges.

They laid their AK-47s in a circle on the ground to create a space to pray, like a symbolic mosque. One of them asked Cisse if he had heard of bin Laden.

“He said, `We’re like this with bin Laden,’” Cisse explained, intertwining his right and left index fingers like a link in a chain. “He said, `We’re al-Qaeda.’”

The elderly hunter tried to slip away just as one of the fighters made the call to prayer.

“And they said, `You? Aren’t you going to pray?’ They told me to come into the circle. I could feel them watching me,” he said.

The men kneeled inside the circle of weapons. Four others guarded them, including one who climbed on the roof of the truck. Cisse tiptoed inside and began going through the prayer. “I kept stealing glances to see if they were doing the same moves as me,” he said. “I know the words, but I was scared.”

When the group had finished, the four who had kept vigil took their turn inside the circle. Cisse quietly walked away.

They didn’t try to stop him.


Airforce defence

The air base at Kalaikunda will now play an extremely crucial role in the country's defences.

Aircraft based here will be involved in air defence over the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Bay of Bengal. The tri-services command at the A&N Islands will be in charge of the squadrons of Su-30 MKIs and other advanced aircraft based at Kalaikunda for this specific purpose. This decision was taken when plans for basing Sukhois in the Andamans got scuttled after the 2004 tsunami in which the IAF lost assets. "Till now, Kalaikunda - while performing several other duties - has been a bridge with the Andamans. The role of the base will grow and aircraft based here will play a vital role in patrolling the skies over the Andamans and the Bay of Bengal. Kalaikunda will play several roles that include air defence, training and building better co-operation in the region for a possible Nato-like alliance with India playing the pivotal role," an official said.

The Kalaikunda airbase is nestled among forests of Sal in the Maoist badlands of West Midnapore. Set up by the Americans for its Superfortress bombers operating during the Burma campaign, the facility has grown steadily in importance over the years. "A large area falls within the responsibility of this base. There are several bases in the northeast but along the eastern coast, the closest one is in Chennai. It is our job to handle the defences along the coast and the Bay of Bengal region. We play host to several foreign air forces interested in joint exercises with the IAF," the official added.

"This is a very compact base built in classical American style. The Americans used to operate flights from Kalaikunda, Dudhkundi and Salua. Today, we have a radar station at Salua and Dudhkundi has been converted into an air-to-ground firing range. Over the years, Kalaikunda has developed into a major location for international air exercises. Soon, we shall have the Republic of Singapore Air Force visiting Kalaikunda. The base is close to Bay of Bengal where air-to-air firing can take place," says Air Commodore R Radhish, AOC, Air Force Station, Kalaikunda.

But Kalaikunda goes well beyond an exercise hub. Apart from the MiG-27 ground attack aircraft and MiG-21 Fn fighters of the OCU, squadrons of Su-30 MKIs and other advanced varieties from the IAF's fleet call on Kalaikunda on a regular basis. A squadron of Su-30 MKIs is now at the base.

Over the last few years, Delhi has started to realize that China is as great a threat as Pakistan and there has been a rush to upgrade facilities in the eastern and northeastern sector. Fighters from Kalaikunda can fly to the Andamans and beyond for longrange patrols. Unlike older aircraft, the Su-30 MKIs can fly at very slow speeds (nearly that of a helicopter) and carry out surveillance before zooming away at twice the speed of sound.

"In case of some mischief by our northern neighbour, this is the place where our defences can fall back to. Also this base is playing a crucial role in developing regional cooperation. There may come a time when a Nato-like organization develops here with India playing the role of the US. If this happens, our assets would no longer have to be on their toes for 365 days a year. Pilots of the Nato countries have to be on active duty for only 90 days at a stretch," an IAF official said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire six more C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft from the United States in addition to the six already ordered.

The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, said that the aircraft had performed well in the recent earthquake relief operations in north-eastern India and that the IAF would utilize the multi-role capability of the aircraft as required.

The C-130J can land and take off from unpaved, grassy fields the size of a football ground and can be a big support in both peace and war to drop or pick up equipment, soldiers and those hit by calamities.

The IAF had signed a deal for six C-130J aircraft for about $1.1 billion with the US military systems giant Lockheed Martin on January 31, 2008, and five of these aircraft have been delivered within 2011 as contacted, before their scheduled delivery time.

Augmenting its chopper fleet, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will induct the first batch of Russian-origin Mi-17 V5 helicopters by mid-October.

India had in 2008 signed a deal with Russia to induct 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters for strengthening its chopper fleet for humanitarian and disaster relief missions and transport operations. "We are going to induct the first batch of Mi-17 V5s from Russia by the second week of the month, and by March next year we will have 26 of them," an IAF official said.

They said one of the first few helicopters would be sent to the northeast sector and will be deployed at the Bagdogra air base under the 156 helicopter unit.

The compliment of all 80 helicopters is likely to be inducted by late 2013 or early 2014, IAF sources said. The IAF is also looking to induct another 59 such choppers to replace the older Mi-17 variants and the Mi-8 choppers.

The IAF has plans of procuring over 230 helicopters.


India's counter-terrorism record: An open letter to Fareed Zakaria


Dear Mr.Fareed Zakaria,

I read with considerable interest extracts from your interview to the CNN-IBN on counter-terrorism in which, inter alia, you have compared the track record of the Indian counter-terrorism community with that of the US.

2. has reported on your CNN-IBN interview as follows: “

“ When looking at the capacity and talents of intelligence agencies around the world, I don't think anyone has spoken highly about the Indian intelligence agencies.

“As a matter of reporting, India's counter-terrorism operations are not regarded very high. This is an area India has not focused on a great deal.

“India has not done good because as it has a large Muslim population, but again India's police force is pathetic. Look at Mumbai -- India's police force is not a police force -- it is a patronage job that is given to people to support communities, they don't know how to police.”

3. Before I comment substantively on your observations, I must introduce myself: I was an officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS). I joined the IPS in 1961 and retired in August,1994, after having served for about four years in the Madhya Pradesh Police, one year in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of the Government of India and 26 years in the Research & Analysis Wing ( R&AW), India’s external intelligence agency. When I was in service, the R&AW had two divisions dealing with terrorism----one with indigenous terrorism --- what many now call home-grown terrorism--- and the other with international terrorism. I headed the Division dealing with indigenous terrorism from 1981 to 1985 and headed both the Divisions from 1988 till my retirement in 1994. Between 1991 and 1994, I used to wear a second hat as the head of the division responsible for intelligence liaison with foreign intelligence agencies. In that capacity, I had interacted closely with the intelligence agencies of the US and the UK----particularly in matters relating to counter-terrorism.”

4. The Indian track-record in counter-terrorism is not one of abysmal failure. We have had remarkable success stories particularly against Khalistani terrorism in Punjab and against the terrorism of Al Umma in Tamil Nadu. In both these instances, it was the local police force which led the counter-terrorism operations and won final victory despite all the handicaps suffered by it. In Jammu and Kashmir too--- though final victory has not yet been won--- the Indian counter-terrorism forces led by the Army have succeeded remarkably in bringing what we call cross-border terrorism under control.

5. The poor track-record of the Indian counter-terrorism community has been mainly against jihadi terrorism in North India.

6. We have had instances of jihadi terrorism in the South too in places such as Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh and Bengaluru. In the 1990s, we had the Al Umma phenomenon in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

7.The police in South India has generally done better against terrorism emanating from the Muslim community than the Police in North/West India because the political class and the media in the South have generally refrained from demonising the Police and the intelligence agencies whenever they have acted against Muslims who have taken to terrorism. The Police in the South has, therefore, the confidence that it can do whatever is legally permissible in order to bring terrorism involving the participation of some Muslims under control.

8. Thankfully, in the South, there has been no politicisation till now of counter-terrorism which affected some members of the Muslim community. Unfortunately, there was politicisation of counter-terrorism directed against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). We paid a heavy price for it in May 1991, when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the LTTE in Chennai. Since then, this politicisation too has come down.

9. In North and West India, the admittedly poor record of the counter-terrorism community against jihadi terrorism---whether of the home-grown or Pakistani variety--- has been considerably due to the reluctance of the political class to act against the terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan and its equal reluctance to act against those members of the Muslim community who take to terrorism.

10. It is very unfair on your part to have compared the track-record of the Indian counter-terrorism community with that of the US. Many things which are permitted against Muslims in the US will not be permitted in India and we in the counter-terrorism community feel should not be permitted by the political leadership. Examples of what we in India do not do and will never do are:
• Treating a Muslim as a suspect by virtue of his religion and appearance unless proved otherwise. Shah Rukh Khan, the famous Indian film actor, was treated as a suspect in the US. Such things will not happen in India.
• Treating jihadi suspects as “war criminals” and keeping them in a military camp (Guantanamo Bay) and subjecting them to trials by military tribunals.
• Use of air strikes against terrorists and their sanctuaries, killing a large number of innocent Muslims. Since India became independent in 1947, we have used the Air Force only once in Mizoram in 1966 when the Mizo insurgents over-ran almost the entire State.
• The so-called rendition flights by which the US counter-terrorism agencies kept flying Muslim suspects arrested abroad from country to country in order to avoid having to produce them before a court of law.
• The extraordinary methods of torture sanctified by the US Justice department that were used against Muslim suspects---whether in Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere.

11. I am proud to say that neither the Indian political class nor the Indian counter-terrorism community would ever think of resorting to such diabolical methods. Even if we thought of them, the Indian media would have been the first to start a campaign against them.

12.Mr.Zakaria, how many of you in the US media world raised your voice against these methods when these were being used in the years after 9/11. Did you raise your voice against them, Mr.Zakaria? You all believed that any method is a good method against Muslim suspects till Al Qaeda is brought under control.

13. We have a self-denying counter-terrorism policy. We consciously deny to ourselves many practices which you in the US permit to yourselves in your counter-terrorism against Muslim suspects. We are proud of such self-denying provisions in our counter-terrorism policy.

14.One last point, I should make. India is next door neighbour to Pakistan. Much of our jihadi terrorism emanates from Pakistan. The US is thousands of KMs away from Pakistan. We face a terrorist threat from Pakistan every day. You face a threat sporadically. And yet, the kind of methods that you have used against Pakistan we have never used. We fight against terrorism emanating from Pakistan with one hand tied in the back.

15. It is not only because our political leadership will not permit it, but it is also because of the hypocrisy of the US Government which will use any methods against Pakistan in order to protect the US Homeland and American lives, but never hesitates to come in the way of India following a similar policy to protect the Indian Homeland and Indian lives.

With regards,

Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter” @SORBONNE75 .

Mr.Fareed Zakaria,
Time Magazine,
New York

Chinese String of Pearl around India

Every country reserves the right to develop its strategic relations in the neighborhood as well as in geostrategic areas. China is not a South and South Asian power. However, for strategic reasons China has adopted an aggressive policy of establishing itself as stable and trusted friends of countries around India. Initially Pakistan was the fertile ground for China to develop strategic stranglehold around India. Over years China has pumped in pumped in over $ 100 billion in Pakistan. It is involved in mining operations in Balochistan and Punjab, port upgradation at Gwadar, oil and gas exploration, hydro-power projects in Kashmir’s northern areas, telecommunication in FATA region and Punjab. After completion of the Karakoram Road connecting Pakistan and China it is now negotiating expansion of railway connectivity with the Pakistan authorities. Over 15,000 PLA personnel are present in Pakistan on ostensive construction activities. While Pakistan has removed the US trainers, there are reliable reports that the PLA are working as instructors with the SSG and high altitude warfare commandos in the Northern Areas of Pak-occupied Kashmir. Supply of missiles, aircrafts, reactors and other sophisticated weaponries are well known facts. Pakistan’s rocket technology has been developed with North Korean and Chinese helps. Certain forward airbases have also been upgraded with Chinese help. China is likely to invest in Iran-Pakistan gas pipe line that will be extended to the Chinese border. In short, China is an all-weather partner of Pakistan.

To elaborate, Pakistan is the main target of geopolitical satellite fabrication by China in India’s neighborhood. Chinese collaboration in completing the Gwadar Port in southern Balochistan is well known. Though completed, the port is sparsely used for commercial purposes as the security situation in Balochistan is fragile. In Balochistan the Chinese are also present in developing the Saindak copper-gold mine. China is not keen on operating in Baloch area as some of their workers were kidnapped by Baloch rebels.

Pakistan has given contract to China to establish mobile phone network in FATA area. Pakistan has proposal to give similar contract to Chinese companies for Waziristan and Northern Areas (POK). Pakistan is wooing China to agree to join the proposed Iran-Pakistan-Xinxiang gas pipeline. Earlier India was supposed to be a partner in the venture. Prohibitive cost and security problems made India to back out from the proposed gas pipeline. China has not yet agreed to the Pakistani proposal.

The Karakoram highway was built by China and Pakistan connecting both the countries. The deployment of Chinese troops in this region even though for the ostensible purposes of infrastructural improvements of the ‘Karakoram Corridor’ heralds a new phase of China flexing its muscles not only against India but more significantly against United States in the wider global context. According to Dr. Subhash Kapila, “Ominously, China’s up gradation of the Karakoram Corridor on Pakistan’s behalf enables China’s strategic outreach to the North Arabian Sea and the Gulf. Building oil and gas pipelines through this Corridor significantly improve China’s military postures in Western Tibet and Xingjian both against India and countering the NATO’s Eastward creep towards China’s peripheries. Notwithstanding that, the Karakoram Corridor initially passes through disputed territory, China has gone ahead with this major project as the major portion traversing Pakistan gives a strategic advantage to China in not only in outflanking US embedment in Afghanistan but also places a strong ‘strategic pressure point’ in China’s hand against the United States when coupled with Chinese naval presence at Gwadar Port in proximity of the Hormuz Straits.”

Recently President Asif Ali Zardari pleaded with China in August 2010 about Chinese help in developing hydro, thermal and solar energy in Pakistan, especially in the Gilgit-Skardu-Baltistan areas. Signing of MOU for construction of dam at Bunji in the Astore district of Northern Area with Pakistani ministry of water & power and China’s Three Gorges Project Corporation has not been taken kindly by India. This is one of the 8 projects that would produce 7000 mw electricity; part of which would be exported to China.

Tensions between India and China stepped up in October 2010 after reports that thousands of Chinese troops were in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir near the border with China. The controversy was sparked by an inflammatory article by Selig Harrison in the New York Times on August 26 declaring that Islamabad was “handing over de facto control” of the strategic region to China by allowing the entry of between 7,000 and 11,000 Chinese soldiers. His article was based on “foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers”.
Harrison acknowledged that many of the “troops” were involved in construction work on road and rail links between China and Pakistan. He suspected that 22 tunnels could be used by China and Pakistan for storing missiles. Commenting on the land routes from China via Gilgit-Baltistan to Chinese-built ports in southern Pakistan, Harrison declared: “Coupled with its support for the Taliban, Islamabad’s collusion in facilitating Chinese access to the [Persian] Gulf makes clear that Pakistan is not a US ‘ally’.”

While Pakistani Establishment and media denounced Harrison’s comments and claimed that the Chinese troops were present for repair work of the Karakoram highway and China-Pakistan rail link, the Indian reaction was sharp. In response to the New York Times article, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh briefed various Indian newspapers on the dangers of China’s alleged military presence in Gilgit-Baltistan. As reported in the Times of India on September 7, Singh declared: “China would like to have a foothold in South Asia and we have to reflect on this reality.” He went on to warn of a “new assertiveness among the Chinese”. Singh said China could use India’s “soft underbelly” of Kashmir “to keep India in low-level equilibrium”.

On September 13, India’s defense minister A.K. Antony told a military conference that “we cannot afford to drop our guard” in relation to China. “We want to develop friendly relations with China … However; we cannot lose sight of the fact that China has been improving its military and physical infrastructure. In fact, there has been an increasing assertiveness on the part of China,” he said.

A protagonist of “Balawaristan” (independent Northern Area and POK) now in exile, shared with the author that besides working in Bunji dam project Pakistan has invited Chinese experts to teach Pakistanis in river fish cultivation and development of inland fishery industry. Including Karakoram Highway and the railway project there are about 20, 000 Chinese uniformed men in Gilgit-Baltistan area, in addition to huge Pakistani army and Northern Light Infantry and ISI operative presence. Despite inauguration of a facade of self-rule structure combined Chinese and Pakistani presence and planned induction of Sunni Punjabi and tribal Muslims in the area have created conditions of insecurity amongst the “Balawaris.”

Chinese presence in the Northern Area and shifting stand of China on Kashmir has added new breather to the separatists inspired and instigated by Pakistan. China now has sided with Pakistan and accepts Kashmir as a disputed territory and not as an integral part of India. It issues stapled visa to the Kashmiris and even declined to issue visa to a senior army officer because of his alleged posting in Kashmir. China invited Mirwaiz Farooq to China for discussion on the Kashmir issue. Gradually China is trying to emerge as the third party in the Kashmir tangle between India and Pakistan. Why not? Pakistan had transferred a huge part of Indian Kashmir to China back in 1966. Obviously Aksai Chin issue is there. So, how can India exclude China from any future talk?

Militarily India has slowly reacted to Chinese belligerence. It has increased troops, air force and missile capability in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. New air landing facilities are being developed in Ladakh and border roads from Arunachal to Kashmir are being developed. It is expected that the pace of construction would be hastened up. The question of counter-military response in Kashmir-Ladakh region is being actively considered. Besides India the USA has a big stake in gradual but steady Chinese built up in Pakistan. Even if the USA and the NATO gradually withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014/15 Pakistan is not likely to cut its umbilical connection with Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda. Unless the state of Pakistan is overtaken by internal insurgent forces in the name of Islam the Army, Establishment and the ISI are not likely to abandon their ambidextrous policies and keep vast spaces open in Afghanistan open to be filled up by its friendly forces and the USA to be replaced by China. America would cease to be a regional power in this smoldering Islamist triangle and its strategic presence would be replaced by China. Strategic planners in Pakistan are actively weighing these probabilities. What should the USA and India do in these circumstances?

It is understood that the Indian strategists and military experts have taken into account the security ambiance arising out of Pak-China entente in the region. No doubt clouds the perception of Indian strategists that Sino-Pak liaison is not merely development oriented. It has definite military orientation aimed at the high priority target-India. Pakistan’s India-centric policy craves for upgraded Chinese collaboration, in the background of the facts that USA and other powers are not provide Pakistan with most sophisticated weaponry systems, aircrafts and other sinuses of warfare.

The Indian media occasionally hype the Sino-Pak collaboration without focusing on darker aspects of understanding that in the event of Indo-Pak war China is definitely going to join shoulders and confront India over the unresolved border disputes. Better media coverage and satellite and electronic intelligence gathering are, therefore, of cardinal importance.

India has not been paying adequate attention to increasing Chinese incursions in Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka and strengthening its footholds on Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean zone. These aspects require diplomatic, military and strategic study keeping in view India’s long term interest in South and South East Asia and the Indian Ocean zone.

China has made deep inroads in Myammar. A China-South Korea consortium is on the verge of constructing a mega energy deal in Myanmar. The energy mega-deal actually involves several separate projects: offshore gas development, a deep-sea port, gas and oil terminals, roads, and other infrastructure. The pipelines, however, are the vital element. Operated by the state-owned Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), in collaboration with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the oil pipeline will enable China’s crude shipments from the Middle East to circumvent the vulnerable Strait of Malacca, a narrow shipping chokepoint controlled by the U.S. It will also conveniently avoid the South China Sea, where China and its neighbor Vietnam are feuding over oil-rich territories claimed by both countries. The gas line will likewise follow the same overland route as the oil pipeline, under the control of CNPC and South Korea’s Daweoo International, together with the Gas Authority of India, Korea Gas Corporation and ONGC Videsh (India). All told, more than $10 billion in new oil and gas investments poured into Burma last year alone, according to the country’s official figures.

South Korea is involved in pumping weapons to Myanmar. From 2002-2006, executives from Daewoo International and other companies sold military equipment as well as blueprints for weapons technology to Burma in violation of Korean trade law, which restricts the export of strategic materials to countries deemed a potential obstruction “to world peace and regional security.” In 2004, the law was amended to label Burma a “limited export area.” Senior Daewoo executives and their associates code-named their weapons supply scheme the “Axle Project” because they considered it the key lever to keep the gas wheel turning with Burma’s notorious difficult military leaders, according to prosecutors in the case.

Fourteen Korean executives, including six from Daewoo, were ultimately convicted in trial court, appellate court, and then again at the Supreme Court on charges of conspiracy and failure to obtain government approval for exporting strategic materials. The prosecution argued that the company used various ploys to obscure the initiative: The Burmese Directorate of Defense Industries was code-named the “landlord’s house”; a weapons factory constructed by the group in Burma was the “rice bowl”; and financial exchanges between the parties were conducted through personal bank accounts.
Daewoo’s Executive Director Lee Tae-yong was alleged to have personally overseen the export of 480 different types of military equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

One 55-year old employee of the Korean government-affiliated Agency for Defense Development was charged with stealing more than 850 pages of blueprints for weapons technologies, and providing them for use in Axle. A Daewoo-led secret team also quietly trained Burmese officials in weapons manufacturing in Burma and Korea, court documents show. The ultimate goal of the Axle Project was to help the military junta construct a fully functioning weapons factory in central Burma, according to facts recognized by the trial court. The now complete factory was designed to produce tens of thousands of six different artillery shells annually, including 120mm artillery shells and 105mm howitzer high-explosive shells. “The 120mm mortar is the standard heavy mortar shell that the Burma army has used for years in attacking the resistance and villagers,” wrote David Eubank, director of the Free Burma Rangers in an email to CorpWatch. Eubank is a former U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces officer. “The 105 is also used against some ethnic groups,” Eubank added.

According to Inhong Kim, a member of the Korea University international human rights clinic, sentences for the 14 executives varied from suspended jail time to fines. Daewoo’s Executive Director Lee Tae-yong was fined just $54,550. In an email response to CorpWatch dated June 28, Daewoo noted that “only certain individual employees of the Company were sentenced to punishment…for violation of Korea laws” and that “the violation of the individuals was irrelevant to the Company.”

China, building on its warm relations with Myanmar, has become the Southwest Asia country’s largest foreign investor, a report said Monday. The Myanmar-language Weekly Eleven says that China poured more than $3 billion into Myanmar from November last year through January this year. The increased investment has brought China’s cumulative investment in Myanmar since 1988 to $9.6 billion, as compared to Thailand’s $9.56 billion, the Weekly Eleven said. The news report, citing an unnamed official from the Union of Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said China’s major new investments were in hydropower, natural gas and infrastructure projects to lay a solid foundation for an economic take-off in one of the least developed ASEAN countries. There have been no major new Western investments in recent years in Myanmar because of tough economic sanctions imposed by the United States, reports said.

On May 1st 2007, exactly a year before the cyclone Nargis first struck, the Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power and China Power Investment Cooperation (CPI) held an inaugural ceremony for the construction of a dam: according to the project a 152-meter dam generating 3.600 MW, most of which intended for China thus bringing in annual earnings of about 500 million dollars. This was just one of a series of dams projected by the junta with the aim of producing hydroelectric energy to sell at a low cost to neighboring countries. More specifically, the sum total of seven dams was planned along the Irrawaddy and all of them Chinese. The ever increasing demand for electric power in the cities of eastern China drives the Red Dragon Country to adopt a policy of “transmission of power from West to East” and in this sense investments in the hydroelectric sector in Burma represents one aspect of the close economic and political collaboration between the two nations.

It’s interesting to point out that, even with the other dams, the energy produced is in any case reserved for exportation or the military and just a minimal part for the local population, who are quite happily left in the dark when the need arises.

21st May of the same year, many residents of the area concerned about the consequences of the construction of the dam (which by the way is 100km from the Sagaing fault, a high seismic risk area) sent protest letters directly to general Than Shwe asking to stop the project. Of course they never received any answer.

Just a few months later, in October, a few activists revealed that tens of thousands of people were being threatened with eviction. In fact, in a detailed report of Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) we read that at least 47 villages have been eliminated, that the dam has also had a heavy impact on the environment, on communications, on transportation and on means of subsistence, and furthermore, that there has been an increase in abuse, violations of human rights, rape and sexual violence committed by the military. And that’s not all: the activists anticipated that even the population downstream, the over 3 million inhabitants of the delta area, would have had huge problems and that the area would no longer be “Burma’s rice bowl”.

It is practically the same scenario which we were faced with after the Nargis swept through and which seemed only to have accidentally opened and smoothed out the way for the government’s profit-making projects. A great opportunity to once more avoid being answerable to the defenseless people, to get rid of the survivors and with them their protests which are, as always, indigestible to the Generals. What’s the big deal if there are less farmers and fishermen to exploit, there’s all that environmental butchery to feed from and fatten the junta, of course, always with support coming from China.

China announced on May 28, plans to build a railway line between Chinese city of Ruili and Myanmar”s port city Kyaukphyu, not far from Kolkata, while Yangon secured a USD 763 million line of credit from Beijing to deepen economic cooperation between the two close allies. China Railway announced that it signed an agreement with Myanmar to jointly build the 810-km long rail line from Ruili in southwestern Yunnan Province to Kyaukphyu via Muse. The agreements was signed during the landmark three-day visit of Myanmar President Thein Sein that ended today during which Yangon secured a USD 763 million line of credit from the China Development Bank. Under the MOU to connect China with Myanmar”s Kyaukphyu port, China Railway Group Limited (China Railway) would be in charge of building the rail line. China Railway said the project, expected to be completed within three years, would help deepen China-Myanmar economic ties and boost the economic growth of Myanmar. Kyaukpyu, according to previous reports, was envisaged as terminus for Middle East and African tankers supplying oil to China from where it was expected to be transported by pipelines. The bilateral agreement for a USD 763 million line of credit was signed along with raft of financial pacts last night after talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his counterpart from Myanmar.

China involved in mining copper, iron and other minerals in Myanmar. The Myanmar Taguang Taung Nickel Ore Project Mining System, with joint investment from China Nonferrous Group and Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co. Ltd. (TISCO), has been put into operation, authorities said Friday. The project’s smelting system will be put into operation within the year, said Yang Haigui, secretary of the Communist Party Committee of TISCO. The project is the biggest cooperative mining project between China and Myanmar and is expected to provide 85,000 tonnes of high grade ferro-nickel annually upon completion. Located on the bank of the Fenhe River in Taiyuan, a city in north China’s Shanxi Province, TISCO is the world’s largest stainless steel enterprise with an annual output of 10 million tons of steel. The company’s products include stainless steel, cold rolled silicon steel and high strength and toughness steel.
It is also reported that China proposes to build a deep water port in southern Myanmar at Hianggyi Island, at the mouth of the Bassein River delta, on the understanding that it could be used by the Chinese Navy. Although it is believed, that when finally completed, the Hianggyi base will be too small to host Chinese surface warships of the size required for effective operations in the Indian Ocean.12 However, China will still be able to berth smaller vessels, which could help monitor Indian naval activity in the area. China is also believed to be modernizing the existing naval facilities in Myanmar’s ports of Akyab and Mergui. India remains wary of all these developments.
Indian sources report that China is building a signal intelligence station on Great Cocos Islands which could help China monitor Indian naval communications at sea, as well as observe and track Indian missile bases in the Indian state of Orissa. The Great Cocos islands are only at a distance of some 30 nautical miles from the Indian Andaman chain of islands and, therefore, the reports of establishment of such facilities are of particular concern to India.
It is also reported that in the renewed hostility between the Junta in Myanmar and Shan and Kachin rebels the Chinese are providing arms and other assistance to the military regime.

On the other hand Thailand is engaged in constructing a deep sea port in Myanmar. When complete, the Dawei port in southwestern Burma will be able to take ships of 300,000 tones, says Sing Tangcharoenchaichana, president of the industrial council of the Thai central region. Road connectivity to the port will be provided to China border and to Vietnam. This port is supposed to cut the cost of carrying oil and other merchandise to the South China Seas and the Gulf of Thailand through the Straits of Malacca.

India, for whatever reason, mostly because of foreign policy inertia and lack of forward vision has pushed Myanmar to the orbit of China. It is no Indian concern if Myanmar is ruled by military junta or democratic government. India blindly toed the American line and ignored forward policy in Myanmar. India’s proposal to open up the Mizoram to Sitwe port in Mynamar is still languishing in political and bureaucratic wrangle. In case the Sitwe gateway is opened India can stop depending on Bangladesh for its exports imports to the Northeast states.

China has also made deep inroads in Sri Lanka. The Chinese Government endeavors to develop its friendship and cooperation with Sri Lanka on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence. Chinese enterprises are contracted to build the Hambantota port.

The foundation for the construction of a modern port with Chinese assistance at Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka was formally laid in October, 2007. The construction actually started in January, 2008.

It is a 15-year project to be completed in stages. The entire project is estimated to cost US $ one billion. The present Chinese commitment is for the construction of the first stage only, which is estimated to cost US $ 360 million. China has agreed to give 85 per cent of this amount at concessional interest. The balance is being contributed by the Government of Sri Lanka.

The first stage of the 15-year (2008-2023) project is expected to be completed by the end of 2010. This stage envisages the construction of a 1000-metre jetty, which will enable the harbor to function as an industrial port for the import and export of industrial chemicals, fuel and heavy machinery. By 2023, Hambantota is projected to have a liquefied natural gas refinery, aviation fuel storage facilities, three separate docks giving the port a transshipment capacity and dry docks for ship repair and construction. The project also envisages that when completed the port will serve as a base for bunkering and refueling.

The draught (depth) of the new harbour will be 16 metres against 15 metres in Colombo. A 230 metre passage-entrance channel will be created at the breakwater which is 988 metres long on the west end and 311 metres long on the east end.

The Government hopes that as a refueling location Hambantota will have many advantages over the Colombo port or ports in South India. The construction has been undertaken by a consortium of Chinese companies headed by the China Harbour Engineering Company and the Sino Hydro Corporation.

The project doesn’t have a separate consultant. The Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) is functioning as the client-cum-consultant while the China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd is the contractor. In September, 2008, there were 328 Sri Lankans and 235 Chinese working at the site-engineers, administrative personnel and others. The present number is not known.

The first stage due to be ready by end 2010 will allow three ships to berth. The final stage, for which there is no offer of funding yet from China, is planned to accommodate more than 30 ships, which is the present capacity at Colombo.

Reliable reports say that while the Sri Lankan authorities want Hambantota to emerge as a modern port with better facilities and efficiency than any of the ports in South India, they do not want the present importance of the Colombo port to be reduced. Colombo presently has the reputation of being the most modern and most efficient port in South Asia. They want this reputation to be maintained. There is no proposal at present to set up container yards and cater to container ships at Hambantota.

The present Chinese interest is in the use of the docking and refueling facilities that would come up in Hambantota for their commercial and naval ships. There is no proposal at present for a Chinese naval base at Hambantota.

Chinese port operator China Merchants Holdings (International) is negotiating with the Sri Lankan authorities a contract for the construction of a new container terminal at Colombo. The company has bid for the contract jointly with a Sri Lankan company Aitken Spence.

On November 27, 2009, Rajapaksa inaugurated the construction of Sri Lanka’s second international airport at Maththala in Hambantota. The new airport will be constructed on a plot of 2,000 hectares in Hambantota district at a cost of US$ 190 million. The Government of the People’s Republic of China will provide financial assistance for the project with a soft loan through its Ex-Im Bank.. According to the Ports and Aviation Ministry, the construction of the airport will be completed in two phases. All basic facilities including runways, taxiways and parking facilities will be completed in the first phase to be completed by 2011. All other airport and aviation related facilities will be completed in the second phase. These include servicing and repairing centre for aircraft, hotels, pilot training centre, maintenance hub, private jet parking, and technical training centers. The Government hopes to commission the airport by the end of 2011 and land the first flight by December 2011.

Other Chinese activities in Lanka include: the construction of the Colombo–Katunayake Expressway.( US $ 248 million), improvement of the railways—US $ 100 million to be given by China’s Ex-Im Bank. Agreement signed on March 10, 2010. Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (US$855 million), a flood protection system for Colombo suburbs of Kotte, Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia, Maharagama, Kesbewa and Moratuwa. (US $ 59 million) To be given by China Construction Bank, National Theatre of Performing Arts in Colombo (US $ 21 million). Sri Lanka’s investment promotion agency, the Board of Investment, announced in July, 2009, it has signed a deal with China’s Huichen Investment to manage a special economic zone dedicated to Chinese investors. Huichen will invest US $28 million in the zone in Mirigama, north of Colombo, to improve infrastructure in the first phase over three years. The company, a conglomerate that specializes in infrastructure development and does coal and iron ore mining, will also market the zone and attract Chinese investors.

More than 50 per cent of the funding received by Sri Lanka from abroad for construction and development projects since Rajapaksa came to power came from China.

Since 2007, Sri Lanka has been trying to launch a communication satellite. China has agreed to provide financial and technical assistance, “Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, Dr. Saman Kelegama was quoted as saying in November 2009. In May 2009, Priyantha Kariyapperuma, Director-General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, had said that the Government had begun work on a space programme hoping to launch two communication satellites. “The University of Surrey specializes in satellite technology having created about 35 satellites. They have made a presentation to President Mahindra Rajapakse and have entered into an agreement to transfer technology and knowledge to our universities, “he told the Island Financial Review. Kariyapperuma said a consortium of vice chancellors from universities with engineering faculties had been formed for this purpose. He said the Government planned to launch two communication satellites—a lower earth orbit satellite used mainly for images and a geo stationary communication satellite. The two satellites will be used not only for communication purposes but also for disaster management, agriculture planning, irrigation planning, town/urban planning and coastal conservation. He said the low earth orbiting satellite could be financed with domestic funds particularly from the Telecommunication Development Fund. The private sector would also be called to contribute to the development of the two satellites.
Burgeoning Chinese presence in Nepal is marked by construction of a road linking China and Nepal and project to connect Nepal with the main rail routes of China. China has committed $3 billion aid to Nepal for joint venture development of Lumbini on Indian border, the birth place of Lord Buddha. This will be place of global tourist attraction. India failed to link up development of Nalanda and Saranath with Lumbini. If India had undertaken that project with Japanese, Korean, Taiwan and Thai assistance Lumbini would have not been grabbed by China. It is a clear failure of Indian diplomacy.

Global collaboration of Chinese companies are involved in internal road construction and the two governments are negotiating on the aspects of Construction of several hydro electric projects on rivers flowing from Nepal to India. This may pose serious problems for India. Defying limitations of Indo-Nepal agreement Nepal received several consignments of weapons systems from China. With the rise of Maoists parties in Nepal India is likely to face increasing hostile attitude from sections of Nepalese leaders.

China has already started investing in the tourism industry of the Maldives and Maldivian students are encouraged tom study in Chinese universities. India’s relationship with Male is warm. But Delhi requires paying better attention to Maldives. Similarly, India should overcome the impasse caused by its Tamil sensitivities. The Indian Tamils should also understand that sympathy with a Diaspora cannot be poised against the country’s international relations. The war against the LTTE was fully exploited by Pakistan and China. That passivism phase should be discarded by India. It should encourage Sri Lankan students to study in India on scholarship, allow liberal export from Colombo and get involved in Lanka’s quest for development. In international cooperation money spent is money earned.

It is time to wake up and extend hands of cooperation towards Myanmar, Lanka, Nepal and other ASEAN countries. India needs reorientation of its foreign policy and expansion of its sphere of influence in the region.

Courtesy -


India - The cradle of civilisation

janani janmabhumischa swargadapi gariyasi(Sanskrit).It Means Mother and Motherland are greater than any pleasures of heaven.

# Mark Twain: "India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire."

# Colonel James Todd: "Where can we look for sages like those whose systems of philosophy were prototypes of those of Greece: to whose works Plato, Thales and Pythagorus were disciples? Where do I find astronomers whose knowledge of planetary systems yet excites wonder in Europe as well as the architects and sculptors whose works claim our admiration, and the musicians who could make the mind oscillate from joy to sorrow, from tears to smile with the change of modes and varied intonation?"

# Lancelot Hogben: "There has been no more revolutionary contribution than the one which the Hindus (Indians) made when they invented ZERO." ('Mathematics for the Millions')

# Wheeler Wilcox: "India - The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas."

# W. Heisenberg, German Physicist: "After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense."

# Sir W. Hunter, British Surgeon: "The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skilful. A special branch of surgery was dedicated to rhinoplasty or operations for improving deformed ears, noses and forming new ones, which European surgeons have now borrowed."

# Sir John Woodroffe: "An examination of Indian Vedic doctrines shows that it is in tune with the most advanced scientific and philosophical thought of the West."

# B.G. Rele: "Our present knowledge of the nervous system fits in so accurately with the internal description of the human body given in the Vedas (5000 years ago). Then the question arises whether the Vedas are really religious books or books on anatomy of the nervous system and medicine." ('The Vedic Gods')

# Adolf Seilachar & P.K. Bose, scientists: "One Billion-Year-Old fossil prove life began in India: AFP Washington reports in Science Magazine that German Scientist Adolf Seilachar and Indian Scientist P.K. Bose have unearthed fossil in Churhat a town in Madhya Pradesh, India which is 1.1 billion years old and has rolled back the evolutionary clock by more than 500 million years."

# Will Durant, American Historian: "It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to the west, such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals and the decimal system."

# Will Durant, American historian: "India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all".

# Mark Twain, American author: "India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only."

# Albert Einstein, American scientist: "We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."

# Max Mueller, German scholar: If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India

# Romain Rolland, French scholar : "If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India."

# Henry David Thoreau, American Thinker & Author: Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climbs, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I read it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night.

# R.W. Emerson, American Author: In the great books of India, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us.

# Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA: "India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."

# Keith Bellows, National Geographic Society : "There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won't go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds... I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor."

# Mark Twain: "So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."
# Will Durant, American Historian: "India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings."

# William James, American Author: "From the Vedas we learn a practical art of surgery, medicine, music, house building under which mechanized art is included. They are encyclopedia of every aspect of life, culture, religion, science, ethics, law, cosmology and meteorology."

# Max Muller, German Scholar: "There is no book in the world that is so thrilling, stirring and inspiring as the Upanishads." ('Sacred Books of the East')

# Dr Arnold Toynbee, British Historian: "It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way."

# Sir William Jones, British Orientalist: "The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either."

# P. Johnstone: "Gravitation was known to the Hindus (Indians) before the birth of Newton. The system of blood circulation was discovered by them centuries before Harvey was heard of."

# Emmelin Plunret: "They were very advanced Hindu astronomers in 6000 BC. Vedas contain an account of the dimension of Earth, Sun, Moon, Planets and Galaxies." ('Calendars and Constellations')

# Sylvia Levi: "She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim ... her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization!"

# Schopenhauer: "Vedas are the most rewarding and the most elevating book which can be possible in the world." (Works VI p.427)

Interesting Facts -

India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.
When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)
The name 'India' is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu.
The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name 'Hindustan' combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.
Chess was invented in India.
Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies, which originated in India.
The 'Place Value System' and the 'Decimal System' were developed in India in 100 B.C.
The World's First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.
India is the largest democracy in the world, the 7th largest Country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.
The game of Snakes & Ladders was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called 'Mokshapat'. The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. In time, the game underwent several modifications, but its meaning remained the same, i.e. good deeds take people to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
The world's highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
The largest employer in India is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.
The world's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus, attracted by India's wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word 'NAVGATIH'. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word 'Nou'.
Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun was 365.258756484 days.
The value of "pi" was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians.
Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus also originated in India.Quadratic Equations were used by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10*53 (i.e. 10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 B.C.during the Vedic period.Even today, the largest used number is Terra: 10*12(10 to the power of 12).
Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world
(Source: Gemological Institute of America).
The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.
Sushruta is regarded as the Father of Surgery. Over2600 years ago Sushrata & his team conducted complicated surgeries like cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery and brain surgeries.
Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient Indian medicine. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, embryology, digestion, metabolism,physiology, etiology, genetics and immunity is also found in many ancient Indian texts.
India exports software to 90 countries.
The four religions born in India - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world's population.
Jainism and Buddhism were founded in India in 600 B.C. and 500 B.C. respectively.
Islam is India's and the world's second largest religion.
There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.
The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively.
Jews and Christians have lived continuously in India since 200 B.C. and 52 A.D. respectively
The largest religious building in the world is Angkor Wat, a Hindu Temple in Cambodia built at the end of the 11th century.
The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world's largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million (US) to the temple everyday.
Sikhism originated in the Holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. Famous for housing the Golden Temple, the city was founded in 1577.
Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was called "the Ancient City" when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees originally from Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who escaped to flee religious and political persecution.
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, runs his government in exile from Dharmashala in northern India.
Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.
Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.

Chinese companies 'rent' white foreigners

By Lara Farrar, for CNN

Beijing, China (CNN) -- In China, white people can be rented.

For a day, a weekend, a week, up to even a month or two, Chinese companies are willing to pay high prices for fair-faced foreigners to join them as fake employees or business partners.

Some call it "White Guy Window Dressing." To others, it's known as the "White Guy in a Tie" events, "The Token White Guy Gig," or, simply, a "Face Job."

And it is, essentially, all about the age-old Chinese concept of face. To have a few foreigners hanging around means a company has prestige, money and the increasingly crucial connections -- real or not -- to businesses abroad.

"Face, we say in China, is more important than life itself," said Zhang Haihua, author of "Think Like Chinese." "Because Western countries are so developed, people think they are more well off, so people think that if a company can hire foreigners, it must have a lot of money and have very important connections overseas. So when they really want to impress someone, they may roll out a foreigner."

Or rent one.

Last year, Jonathan Zatkin, an American actor who lives in Beijing, posed as the vice president of an Italian jewelry company that had, allegedly, been in a partnership with a Chinese jewelry chain for a decade.

When is being foreign a career advantage?

Zatkin was paid 2,000 yuan (about $300) to fly, along with a couple of Russian models, to a small city in the central province of Henan where he delivered a speech for the grand opening ceremony of a jewelry store there.
"I was up on stage with the mayor of the town, and I made a speech about how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years and how we were so proud of all of the work they had done for us in China," Zatkin said. "They put up a big bandstand and the whole town was there and some other local muckety-mucks."

The requirements for these jobs are simple. 1. Be white. 2. Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all, unless asked. 3. Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday.

Those who go for such gigs tend to be unemployed actors or models, part-time English teachers or other expats looking to earn a few extra bucks. Often they are jobs at a second- or third-tier city, where the presence of pale-faced foreigners is needed to impress local officials, secure a contract or simply to fulfill a claim of being international.

"Occasionally companies want a foreign face to go to meetings and conferences or to go to dinners and lunches and smile at the clients and shake people's hands," read an ad posted by a company called Rent A Laowai (Chinese for "foreigner") on the online classified site

It continued: "There are job opportunities for girls who are pretty and for men who can look good in a suit."

People like Brad Smith. When Smith -- the nom de plume of the Beijing-based American actor -- answered CNN's phone call on a recent morning, he was standing outside a meeting room at a Ramada Inn in Hangzhou, a city about 100 miles outside of Shanghai. Today's job: Pretend to be an architect from New York and give design plans for a new museum to local officials.

"They have not told me what my name is today. I think it is Lawrence or something," said Smith -- unlike some jobs, no fake business cards were given to hand out.

Earlier that morning he went over his script with his Chinese "business partners" at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. "It says, 'Good morning distinguished leaders. It is my privilege to participate in this program'," said Smith, who asked that his real name not be used for fear it could jeopardize future jobs.

If Smith is asked a question, he is told to pretend to answer as his "translator" pretends to understand.

Occasionally, these jobs can go awry. Smith said 18 months ago Beijing police showed up at his apartment after a financial company he worked at for a couple of months in Xi'an, a city in western China, allegedly swindled millions of yuan out of clients.

"That company said I was the guy in charge," he said. "I didn't even remember the company's name. After that, I decided I was never going to use my passport again with these fake companies. The small gigs are much less dangerous." Sometimes companies will hire Caucasians simply to sit in the office a few hours a day near the window where clients and customers can see them.

White women are also a hot commodity, sometimes to pose as phony foreign girlfriends, or, in the case of Vicky Mohieddeen, to pretend to be an oil tycoon.

Mohieddeen, who is Scottish, took a job in 2008 to attend what she describes as some sort of "oil drilling conference" in Shandong province for 300 yuan ($44). Several busloads of foreigners, with nationalities ranging from Pakistani to Nigerian, were trucked to the event, she said. They were greeted by brass bands and feted with a sumptuous dinner.

"I was like, 'Yeah, we have a lot of oil in Scotland.' I didn't know what to say. It was a bit nerve-racking. We were guests of honor of the vice mayor. We were put in a nice hotel. It was quite fancy."

For Mohieddeen, who had just arrived in Beijing at the time, the experience, albeit bizarre, was an introduction to a side of China most foreigners will never see.

"It is part of what China is all about, you know," Mohieddeen said. "There is quite an elaborate fantasy world going on here where if everyone buys into it, it does not matter if it is the truth. Those kinds of experiences give me a fuller understanding of the way the culture works."

Dawood Emerges As a Global Terrorist

Dawood Ibrahim has evolved from a Mumbai bomber to a full-blown global terrorist. Intelligence agencies in New Delhi believe in the complete radicalization of the D-company boss , as he finds ways to further his terror network, aided by the ISI, and emerge truly as a global threat.

Dawood's relations with ISI date back to 1993 when he executed the blasts in Mumbai but until a few years ago he was viewed as a logistics man for ISI by Indian agencies. LeT, the other arm of ISI, played the role of the main aggressor. The first Mumbai attack appeared to be one-off terrorist crime by a man focused on his smuggling and extortion operations.

'' In the past he was looked upon mainly as a mercenary. LeT was more ideology driven but Dawood and his gang now seem to have merged into LeT,'' said an official, adding that Dawood now presents as much a danger to India as to the US or any other target country of the jihadis.

The transformation has happened because of his dependence on ISI for his own security as well as his desire for respectability as a jehadi as a protection mechanism. Initially ISI is said to have used him for pumping fake currency into India but as his links with LeT grew, he helped LeT find new recruits in India, mainly in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

His well-documented links with LeT have taken on a menacing proportion because of the growing collaboration between LeT and al-Qaida . LeT, so far focused on J&K and India , has grown in ambition and reach, with evidence piling of its attempts to attack targets in the West.

It was his growing link with al-Qaida which led finally , in 2003, to the US Treasury Department declaring him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGP). As late as January 2010, a US Congressional report warned that Dawood and his gang posed a direct threat to US interests in South Asia.

Post-Osama bin Laden's killing, al-Qaida's dependence on LeT may increase, leading Dawood to use his vast network stretching from South Asia to Middle East to Africa for terror activities. '' That is something the Americans need to factor in,'' said an intel officer.

While calling him a global terrorist, the US said in a press release that Dawood's smuggling routes from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa are shared with bin Laden and his terrorist network.

'' Successful routes established over recent years by (Dawood) Ibrahim's syndicate have been subsequently utilised by bin Laden. A financial arrangement was brokered to facilitate the latter's usage of these routes. In the late 1990s, Ibrahim travelled in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban,'' it said.

Dawood's international infamy grew further in 2010 when it was reported by Germany's 'Der Spiegel' magazine that he had helped efforts to smuggle a group of terrorists linked to al-Qaida into Europe for Mumbai-sytle attacks in Germany. The report said al-Qaida and associated groups were planning to attack Germany's Parliament, Reichstag.

An intelligence source recalls a report from a UN official a few years ago sent to Indian agencies saying that it was Dawood who helped al-Qaida make a huge amount of money through diamond trade. Dawood as a key player in narcotitcs smuggling can also be an asset for the terrorist groups like Taliban who have used the proceeds of opium cultivation to finance their operations.

It is well known that after the US froze al-Qaida related bank accounts in 1999, the terror group bought up diamonds in Africa and used them to launder terror funds. The UN official informed Indian agencies that many of these diamonds were sent to Dawood who got them polished before sending them back to al-Qaida operatives. Experts don't deny that some of the money generated through this trade could have been used to finance 9/11.

Dawood's gang was caught taking arms to Mombasa at the behest of ISI. In India, apart from LeT, Dawood is also said to have financed terror group SIMI. In 2008, it was revealed by government agencies that Dawood had been routing funds to SIMI through an aeronautical engineer, CAM Basheer, from Kerala.

While Dawood is not a named accused in 26/11, the fact that the explosives used during the Mumbai attacks were similar to that of 1993 blasts did not go unnoticed among investigating agencies. Some of the SIM cards seized from the perpetrators were also said to have been traced to the posh Karachi locality where he is said to have lived for many years.

Dawood has shown unflinching loyalty for Pakistan since he escaped to that country in 1993. So much so that many believe he helped finance Pakistan's nuclear programme by working closely with scientist A Q Khan. It is believed by Indian agencies that he helped Pakistan in the procurement of military nuclear material abroad and its passage to Pakistan. He is also said to have set up a factory in Malaysia for manufacturing centrifuges needed for uranium enrichment.

The US needs to seriously rethink its approach to the war on terror given the growing evidence of links between Dawood and global terror outfits. The US attitude in practice has been to focus on groups like the al-Qaida while going soft on those more focused on India. This is a seriously flawed position. The fight against terror must encompass all terror groups. Notions like '' my terrorist'' and '' your terrorist'' are misplaced. Terror is today globalized. And there is enough evidence to show deep links between criminals like Dawood and terror groups like al-Qaida . The US must also give up the belief that it alone has a right to strike against terrorists on foreign soil and stop counselling India against such an option. India may choose for good reasons not to exercise that option, but the US has no right to suggest that it should not have the option.


India and Nuclear Power

India could soon join a select group of countries like US, China and France which export nuclear reactors, a Congressional report has said.

"Only Canada, China, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States export nuclear reactors. India may join this group in the near term," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report 'Nuclear Energy Cooperation with Foreign Countries Issue for Congress.'

CRS is the independent and bipartisan research wing of the US Congress, which prepares periodic report on issues of interest to the lawmakers.

According to World Nuclear Association, India is offering its indigenous 220 and 540 megawatt heavy water reactor designs for export, although no specific customers have been identified.

The CRS report said only a limited number of countries conduct commercial enrichment and reprocessing of fissile materials and can supply this technology.

At present, supplier states are not planning any transfers of enrichment or reprocessing technology. The Nuclear Suppliers Group recently added criteria to its guidelines for the supply of fuel cycle technologies.

"Commercial reprocessing is now being done in France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, and India."

China has a pilot plant and is "considering a large-scale facility... South Korea is pursuing a research and development program on pyro-processing," the report said.

"Some countries with few natural energy resources, such as Japan, argue that they want to reprocess their spent fuel to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources. Reprocessing proponents in those countries prefer a closed fuel cycle, in which spent nuclear fuel from reactors is used to make fuel for other reactors; opponents raise questions about proliferation risks and high economic costs," it said.

India`s nuclear power aspirations just got a boost thanks to a lucky find. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has discovered that the upcoming uranium mine in Andhra Pradesh's Tumalapalli has close to 49,000 tonnes of uranium — three times the original estimate of the area`s deposits. In fact, there are indications that the total quantity could go up to 1.5 lakh tonnes, which would make it among the largest uranium mines in the world.

The quantity is sufficient for supporting a nuclear power plant of 8,000 MW capacity for 40 years. Production will start in six months. Srikumar Banerjee, secretray of DAE and chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, announced the discovery during the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the seventh and eighth units of the Rawatbhata atomic power project.

"It`s confirmed that the mine has 49,000 tonnes of ore, and there are indications that the total quantity could be three times of that amount. If that be the case, it will become the largest uranium mine in the world. The plant is ready, and will begin production by the end of this year," Banerjee said.

Now, India has two functioning uranium mines — both in Jharkhand. The total reserves are estimated to be in the range of 1,70,000 tonnes. The discovery of the Tumalapalli deposit has at one stroke boosted the availability of uranium, lowering the country`s dependence on foreign supplies.

India has been procuring uranium on various terms from countries like France and Kazakhstan but does not yet have a long-term supply contract.

India continues to fancy nuclear energy as a possible solution for its energy needs. Unlike some other countries which have been forced to temper their enthusiasm for nuclear energy post-Fukushima, the UPA government is persisting with its push for what is considered to be the cleanest source of energy.

The fact that Tumalapalli may have uranium reserves has been known for a while, but it took four years for the estimate to come to the present level from 15,000 tonnes in 2007. A 220-MW plant requires 45 tonnes of uranium per year, a 540-MW plant needs 80 tonnes and a 700-MW plant requires 100 tonnes per year.

Banerjee said that the fact that the usual acidic method of leaching would not have worked in Tumalapalli took some time for a full exploration of the reserves. "We developed the method of acidic leaching in the Jadugoda mines in Jharkhand. Subsequent exploration showed that reserves are spread across a 35-km radius," he said.

The countdown has started for the seventh and eighth units of the Rawatbhata power project, which is all set to have two indigenously built 700 MW capacity plants — the biggest in the country. The plants, being built at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore, are likely to be ready by 2016. As per the revised policy, 50% of the energy output will be for consumption in Rajasthan, and the rest will be given to the Northern Grid.

S K Jain, CMD of the Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited, announced plans of constructing 14 plants of 700 MW capacity each over the next few years.

A number of uranium mines are proposed to come up along the 160 km belt in southern Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and other states, according to chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Srikumar Bannerjee .

Delivering the 33rd annual convocation at the Indian School of Mines (ISM) here, Banerjee said although mining for uranium in India commissioned in 1968, no uranium mine has been closed so far. The Uranium Corporation of India Limited, a public sector undertaking under the department of atomic energy with its headquarters at Jaduguda, has been operating five underground mines (Jaduguda, Narwarpahar, Turamdih, Bhatin and Bagiara) and one open cast mine at Banduhurang and two ore processing plants in East Singhbhum district, more mines will be opened shortly.

Banerjee said all these units were located in strategically significant places, Singhbhum Shear Zone, known for its uranium-copper resources. Two uranium mines and a processing plant are being constructed at Timmalapalle in AP and Gogi in Karnataka.

AEC chief also said that since fossil fuels would not be able to meet the energy requirements, innovative technologies for clean and efficient combustion and for carbon dioxide sequestration were required. This is to control carbon dioxide emission. Most of the uranium deposits are of good quality. "Today, we are witnessing the disastrous effects of carbon-based energy coal, oil and natural gas on environment. There has to be a paradigm shift in the entire philosphy of enery utilisation. In future, energy will have to come from burning of atoms in fission reactions in a critical or sub-critical nuclear reactor and in fusion reactions in a thermonuclear reactor on the Earth or from that of the Sun," said Banerjee.

Nuclear energy is a primary source of energy with a large growth potential and therefore any India specific energy strategy must consider nuclear energy as a major alternative. "While our known urnanium resources are low, we have extremely rich reserves of thorium ,which can be converted into fissile form for generating nuclear energy. "The current share of nuclear power in India is three per cent , but it is poised to grow steadily. India has already developed adequate core competence in all aspects of nuclear energy and its roadmap for the three stage nuclear programmes provides a blueprint for achieving sustainable energy security," the nuclear scientist said.

[The first stage of pressurised heavy water reactor has been developed indigenously. India is now self-sufficent and the second stage of nuclear energy programme is based on fast breeder reactors, which are fuelled by plutonium obtained from reprocessing of spent fuel of the thermal reactors. The fast breeder test reactor at Kalpakkam, operating with indigenously developed mixed uranium-plutonium carbide fuel has achieved burn up of 155,000 MWd tonne. The prototype fast breeder reactor of 500 MW capacity is currently under construction at Kalpakkam. The third stage will be based on thorium U 233 cycle.Many of these technologies have to be developed for the first time and independetly in India, since no other country is as much dependent on the early implementation of the thorium fuel cycle as India is, Dr Banerjee said in his convocation speech.

Scientists at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research have successfully extended the life of the 25-year-old 'workhorse' among India's fast breeders -- Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR)-- by another 20 years.

"We have extended the life of the FBTR for another 20 years up to 2030 at 50% operational capacity," said Baldev Raj, director of IGCAR, Kalpakkam.

"The workhorse reactor has completed 25 successful years. It has given confidence to the Indian scientists to go ahead and build the first 500 MW (electrical) Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) which is under advanced stage of construction; and at least four more fast breeder reactors (FBRs) by 2020," he said.

FBTR is also a training ground for the operation and maintenance staff of PFBR and will be the cradle for trained manpower of India's fast Breeder Reactor programme.

"FBTR uses Plutonium-carbide fuel while the PFBR will be using mixed oxide (Plutonium-uranium oxide) fuel. But the future fast breeders will use Uranium-Plutonium alloy or Uranium-Plutonium-Zirconium," he said.

In the coming years, the major thrust of FBTR will be large-scale irradiation of the advanced metallic fuels and core structural materials required for the next generation fast reactors with high breeding ratios, Raj said.

For this, a programme for the fabrication of metallic fuel pins, their irradiation in FBTR, and closing the fuel cycle by pyro-reprocessing was in place.

Once this is successfully done, FBTR would have fulfilled its major mission in the Indian fast breeder reactor programme.

IGCAR is also exploring other applications like production of medical isotopes in FBTR.

"We expect to complete all these tests by 2020 so that we can build a metallic test reactor as a successor to FBTR," Raj said.

The designing of the 300 MW (thermal) metallic fast breeder test reactor will be completed by the end of 12th five-year plan and thereafter both FBTR and the new metallic test reactor will be operational simultaneously for a few years, Raj said, adding FBTR will be later shut down.

IGCAR's vast experience in the fast breeder technologies was also being used to contribute to many issues of designing and materials for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), he said.

"After 2030 India would not need any uranium as the nuclear fuel as by then it would be able to use thorium as the nuclear fuel, research for which is being carried on for the past 25 years. The deal would help the country bridge the gap of uranium, needed for nuclear power generation after 2020." He added that since India has the biggest Thorium deposits in the black sands of Kerala coast, we would become self-reliant in producing nuclear power.

How could you match the GDP growth, as predicted by the government, without having the needed power and if the country goes with thermal energy, it will again result in increasing the carbon emission, Prof Mittal said.

About the recent controversy regarding the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, Prof Mittal said nuclear power plants are located at least 200 miles away from the coal mines and the potential areas are not just picked up randomly. There is a site selection committee which suggests names of a place after taking into account various factors like flora and fauna, number of people that would be displaced, etc. The same was done in terms of Jaitapur, which is a new proposed 9900 MW power project of Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district where six nuclear reactors would come up with the help of France. It will be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating once completed, he added.

French energy major Areva, which is supplying nuclear fuel for Indian reactors, has offered partnership stakes to the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) in its uranium producing mines abroad. "We have offered to NPCIL and the Atomic Energy Commission to invest with us in our new and existing uranium mining projects," chairman and managing director, Areva India, Arthur de Montalembert told HT in an exclusive chat. "NPCIL has shown interest and talks are progressing for a stake in some uranium mines in Africa."

Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) would soon sign an agreement with Uranium Corporation of India (UCI), both state-run companies, for a joint venture to acquire mining assets abroad to procure uranium. They're looking at mining assets in Nigeria , Namibia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The JV would also focus on the procurement of uranium from these assets, as well as other sources.
NPC's chairman and managing director, S K Jain, told Business Standard; "UCI has domain knowledge in uranium mining, while NPC has the necessary funds for the proposed investments. NPC will have a majority stake of 74 per cent, while 26 per cent would be held by UCI in the proposed JV. The JV would have a working capital of Rs 15 billion [US$ 336 million] and it expects to invest Rs 50 billion [US$ 1.12 billion] over the next five years in the acquisition of mining assets in the four shortlisted countries."

Around 60 tonnes of natural uranium from French company AREVA is expected to arrive at Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad in a day or two and around the same quantity from Russian company TVEL in a week's time, sources in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said on Monday.

French energy firm Areva has signed an agreement with government-run monopoly Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to supply about 300 tonnes of uranium annually. This is the first major nuclear fuel supply agreement by the Indian firm after the approval of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

The United States is keen to share technical expertise with India on uranium mining, US Consul General Beth A Payne said here today. "We can certainly explore options and opportunities available. Maybe we can partner with the government and share our experience and expertise on how to mine uranium safely," Payne, who is on three day visit to Meghalaya, said. The uranium mining project in the state was yet to start due to opposition from organisations apprehending health and environmental hazards.

India is expected to achieve self-sufficiency in uranium production to feed its existing nuclear power projects and proposed plants by 2013, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar said. With the Jadugoda Uranium mill in Jharkhand expanded and the proposed expansion of Turamdih mill expected to be over next year, uranium production would go up. Besides, exploration of uranium is underway at Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh and it is expected to go on stream by 2013, he told reporters here. "We are also working to explore uranium at Gogi near Gulbarga in Karnataka," he said and expressed the hope that a proposed project at Meghalaya would also be cleared soon.

India's BARC and France's CEA cooperate on development of uranium recovery from desalination plant brines

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) external link and the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) external link, France, are collaborating to develop three innovative and efficient methods of uranium extraction from the concentrated brine rejected by integrated nuclear desalination systems, which both partners are currently developing.
The first method uses resin-grafted with calixarene (a synthetic material, indecently expensive!); magnetic separation is the second method and the third uses a canal system using absorbents. These methods are highly selective but need further research and development. (The Hindu 12 Nov 2009)

India tests new method to extract uranium from sea water
Japan developed a technology by using plastic sheets to which amidoxime, which is capable of selectively absorbing uranium from seawater, is grafted by high energy electron beam irradiation. Scientists from the Desalination Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre recovered uranium at milligram levels from sea water using electron beam grafted amidoxime. They developed a semi pilot scale facility to produce radiation grafted sheets of 1 metre x 1 metre size. They collected about 800 microgrammes of uranium in five campaigns from CIRUS Jettyhead; about 1.8 milligrammes from the seawater intake and outfall canals at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station and around 200 microgrammes from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Though these amounts are trivial, it gives confidence in the technology. Field trials carried out at the three locations gave concentration factors of 300, 600 and 700 for the submergence of the absorbent material for 12, 14 and 23 days respectively. (The Hindu 12 Nov 2009)

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) external link has reported "significant progress" in its attempts to bio-recover uranium from sea water and dilute nuclear waste using natural and genetically-engineered microbes. BARC's attempts to viably extricate uranium from sea water have also begun yielding "very positive" results, according to officials. Sea water is known to contain uranium but the low concentration of the nuclear fuel and high cost of its extraction has traditionally inhibited the option of commercial sourcing of uranium from the seas. The BARC method involves passing sea water through a specially made polymer that will absorb uranium selectively. According to estimates, nearly 4.6 billion tonnes of uranium are estimated to be present in sea water, with Japanese scientists in the 1980s having demonstrated that extraction of uranium from sea water using ion-exchangers was feasible. (The Hindu June 30, 2008)

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) external link in Mumbai has developed a method for extracting uranium from sea water, according to the BARC annual report. The BARC method involves passing sea water through a specially made radiation induced polymer that will selectively absorb uranium. Laboratory studies showed that the material could absorb as much as 45 per cent of uranium present in sea water. The report said that on the basis of laboratory data, BARC is getting ready to build, in the first step, a bench scale plant that will produce 100 grams of uranium per year from sea water. Bigger plants will be decided after working out the cost benefit analysis.

On April 16, 2011, India and Kazakhstan signed an inter-governmental agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, that envisages a legal framework for supply of fuel, construction and operation of atomic power plants, exploration and joint mining of uranium, exchange of scientific and research information, reactor safety mechanisms and use of radiation technologies for healthcare.
After the talks, the Kazakh President announced that his country would supply India with 2100 tonnes of uranium and was ready to do more.
India and Kazakhstan already have civil nuclear cooperation since January 2009 when Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Kazakh nuclear company KazAtomProm signed an MoU during the visit of Nazarbaev to Delhi. Under the contract, KazAtomProm supplies uranium which is used by Indian reactors.

Canada's uranium exports to India
Ontario ready to supply uranium to India
Ontario, one of Canada's most important provinces, has said it is ready to supply nuclear fuel uranium along with cobalt to India. "From uranium and nickel to cobalt and potash, Ontario and the rest of Canada stand ready to supply India during its next industrial surge forward," Ontario Minister for Government Services, Harinder Takhar said on the occasion of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Ontario.

Canada, India sign nuclear agreement allowing uranium exports to India
India and Canada on Sunday (June 27) signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement that will provide for cooperation in civil nuclear energy including import of uranium and equipment from Canada.

Canada, India ink nuclear agreement
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced over the weekend Ottawa and Delhi have reached a nuclear agreement. Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inked the deal in Trinidad and Tobago. Under the agreement, Canadian firms could resume sales of nuclear and uranium technologies to India which was stopped in the middle of the 1970s. Harper said Ottawa will release the text of the nuclear agreement with India after the implementing legislation is table in Canada's Parliament.Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrapped up a three-day visit to India confirming Canadian companies may be allowed to start selling uranium and other nuclear material and technology to India before Christmas.

India to mine uranium in Mongolia
India and Mongolia on Wednesday (Jan. 13) decided to operationalise their pact on civil nuclear cooperation by assisting in capacity creation for Ulan Bator's nuclear sector and considering the manner in which India would begin uranium mining in Mongolia. India Monday (Sep. 14) signed a uranium supply agreement with Mongolia, the fifth country to seal a civil nuclear pact with New Delhi, and announced a soft loan of $25 million to rejuvenate the economy of the resource-rich Central Asian country.

Gabon willing to supply uranium to non-NPT signatory India
Gabon has conveyed that it will not be averse to supplying uranium to India. Sources tracking India's engagement of Africa told this newspaper that Gabon is willing to enter into a commercial transaction with India. New Delhi is studying the possibility of reciprocating by enhancing its civil and military cooperation with Gabon, a source said, adding that the Mumbai-based Taurian Resources has made a foray into Niger's uranium mining industry.

Further Indian company granted uranium exploration permits in Niger
The Earthstone group external link, a diversified multinational group headed by non-resident Indian Pankaj Shah, has, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Earthstone Uranium FZE, entered into an agreement with the Government of the Republic of Niger, whereby the Republic of Niger will grant Earthstone Uranium four exploration permits for uranium and associated elements. The four permits totalling about 2,000 sq. km. are part of the Tim Mersoi sedimentary basin. These permits in Niger are in regions now producing uranium, including the Akouta underground mine and Arlit open pit mine operated by Areva.

Indian company granted uranium exploration and mining permit in Niger
Taurian Resources Pvt Ltd. external link has recently won a contract which gives it exclusive rights over 3,000 sq. km. of the Sahara Desert known to be rich in deposits of uranium. According to the estimates of the Managing Director of the company, Sachin Bajla, the area in the Arlit region is likely to hold at least 30,000 tonnes of uranium.

Nuclear power stations of 1000 megawatt electrical generation capacity (1000 MWe or 1 gigawatt electrical = 1GWe) require around 200 tonnes (440×103 lb) of uranium per year. For example, the United States has 103 operating reactors with an average generation capacity of 950 MWe demanded over 22 kilotonnes (49×106 lb) of uranium in 2005. As population and industrialization increases, more nuclear power plants will be built. As the number of nuclear power plants increase, so does the demand for uranium.

The largest energy-consuming class in the history of earth is being produced in world’s most populated countries, China and India. Both plan massive nuclear energy expansion programs. China intends to build 32 nuclear plants with 40,000 MWe capacity by 2020.According to the World Nuclear Association, India plans on bringing 20,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020, and aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. The World Nuclear Association believes nuclear energy could reduce the fossil fuel burden of generating the new demand for electricity.


Present knowledge of the distribution of thorium resources is poor because of the relatively low-key exploration efforts arising out of insignificant demand. There are two sets of estimates that define world thorium reserves, one set by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the other supported by reports from the OECD and the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA). Under the USGS estimate, USA, Australia and India have particularly large reserves of thorium.

Both the IAEA and OECD appear to conclude that India may actually possess the lion's share of world's thorium deposits.

India and Australia are believed to possess about 300,000 tonnes each; i.e. each country possessing 25% of the world's thorium reserves. However, in the OECD reports, estimates of Australian's Reasonably Assured Reserves (RAR) of thorium indicate only 19,000 tonnes and not 300,000 tonnes as indicated by USGS. The two sources vary wildly for countries such as Brazil, Turkey, and Australia. However, both reports appear to show some consistency with respect to India's thorium reserve figures, with 290,000 tonnes (USGS) and 319,000 tonnes (OECD/IAEA).

Furthermore the IAEA report mentions that India possesses two thirds (67%) of global reserves of monazite, the primary thorium ore. The IAEA also states that recent reports have upgraded India's thorium deposits up from approximately 300,000 tonnes to 650,000 tonnes.

Thorium fuel cycle development in India

The long-term goal of India's nuclear program has been to develop an advanced heavy-water thorium cycle.The first stage of this employs the PHWRs fuelled by natural uranium, and light water reactors, to produce plutonium.

Stage 2 uses fast neutron reactors burning the plutonium to breed U-233 from thorium. The blanket around the core will have uranium as well as thorium, so that further plutonium (ideally high-fissile Pu) is produced as well as the U-233.

Then in stage 3, Advanced Heavy Water Reactors (AHWRs) burn the U-233 from stage 2 and this plutonium with thorium, getting about two thirds of their power from the thorium.

In 2002 the regulatory authority issued approval to start construction of a 500 MWe prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam and this is now under construction by BHAVINI. It is expected to be operating in 2012, fuelled with uranium-plutonium oxide (the reactor-grade Pu being from its existing PHWRs). It will have a blanket with thorium and uranium to breed fissile U-233 and plutonium respectively. This will take India's ambitious thorium program to stage 2, and set the scene for eventual full utilisation of the country's abundant thorium to fuel reactors. Six more such 500 MWe fast reactors have been announced for construction, four of them by 2020.

So far about one tonne of thorium oxide fuel has been irradiated experimentally in PHWR reactors and has reprocessed and some of this has been reprocessed, according to BARC. A reprocessing centre for thorium fuels is being set up at Kalpakkam.

Design is largely complete for the first 300 MWe AHWR, which was intended to be built in the 11th plan period to 2012, though no site has yet been announced. It will have vertical pressure tubes in which the light water coolant under high pressure will boil, circulation being by convection. A large heat sink - "Gravity-driven water pool" - with 7000 cubic metres of water is near the top of the reactor building. In April 2008 an AHWR critical facility was commissioned at BARC “to conduct a wide range of experiments, to help validate the reactor physics of the AHWR through computer codes and in generating nuclear data about materials, such as thorium-uranium 233 based fuel, which have not been extensively used in the past.” It has all the components of the AHWR’s core including fuel and moderator, and can be operated in different modes with various kinds of fuel in different configurations.

In 2009 the AEC announced some features of the 300 MWe AHWR: It is mainly a thorium-fuelled reactor with several advanced passive safety features to enable meeting next-generation safety requirements such as three days grace period for operator response, elimination of the need for exclusion zone beyond the plant boundary, 100-year design life, and high level of fault tolerance. The advanced safety characteristics have been verified in a series of experiments carried out in full-scale test facilities. Also, per unit of energy produced, the amount of long-lived minor actinides generated is nearly half of that produced in current generation Light Water Reactors. Importantly, a high level of radioactivity in the fissile and fertile materials recovered from the used fuel of AHWR, and their isotopic composition, preclude the use of these materials for nuclear weapons. In mid 2010 a pre-licensing safety appraisal had been completed by the AERB and site selection was in progress. The AHWR can be configured to accept a range of fuel types including enriched U, U-Pu MOX, Th-Pu MOX, and U-233-Th MOX in full core.

At the same time the AEC announced an LEU version of the AHWR. This will use low-enriched uranium plus thorium as a fuel, dispensing with the plutonium input. About 39% of the power will come from thorium (via in situ conversion to U-233, cf two thirds in AHWR), and burn-up will be 64 GWd/t. Uranium enrichment level will be 19.75%, giving 4.21% average fissile content of the U-Th fuel. While designed for closed fuel cycle, this is not required. Plutonium production will be less than in light water reactors, and the fissile proportion will be less and the Pu-238 portion three times as high, giving inherent proliferation resistance. The design is intended for overseas sales, and the AEC says that "the reactor is manageable with modest industrial infrastructure within the reach of developing countries".

Uranium imports

By December 2008, Russia's Rosatom and Areva from France had contracted to supply uranium for power generation, while Kazakhstan, Brazil and South Africa were preparing to do so. The Russian agreement was to provide fuel for PHWRs as well as the two small Tarapur reactors, the Areva agreement was to supply 300 tU.

In February 2009 the actual Russian contract was signed with TVEL to supply 2000 tonnes of natural uranium fuel pellets for PHWRs over ten years, costing $780 million, and 58 tonnes of low-enriched fuel pellets for the Tarapur reactors. The Areva shipment arrived in June 2009. RAPS-2 became the first PHWR to be fuelled with imported uranium, followed by units 5 & 6 there.

In January 2009 NPCIL signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazatomprom for supply of 2100 tonnes of uranium concentrate over six years and a feasibility study on building Indian PHWR reactors in Kazakhstan. NPCIL said that it represented "a mutual commitment to begin thorough discussions on long-term strategic relationship." Under this agreement, 300 tonnes of natural uranium will come from Kazakhstan in the 2010-11 year. Another 210 t will come from Russia. A further agreement in April 2011 covered 2100 tonnes by 2014.

In September 2009 India signed uranium supply and nuclear cooperation agreements with Namibia and Mongolia. In March 2010 Russia offered India a stake in the Elkon uranium mining development in its Sakha Republic, and agreed on a joint venture with ARMZ Uranium Holding Co.

In July 2010 the Minister for Science & Technology reported that India had received 868 tU from France, Russia & Kazakhstan in the year to date: 300 tU natural uranium concentrate from Areva, 58 tU as enriched UO2 pellets from Areva, 210 tU as natural uranium oxide pellets from TVEL and 300 tU as natural uranium from Kazatomprom.

As of August 2010 the DAE said that seven reactors (1400 MWe) were using imported fuel and working at full power, nine reactors (2630 MWe) used domestic uranium.