Saturday, June 29, 2013

China should accept McMahon line as border: Subramanian Swamy

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy has asked China to accept the McMahon Line as the border with India just as it did in the case of Myanmar to resolve the vexed dispute. China should accept McMahon Line since it had accepted the same line drawn at the same time in 1912 with Myanmar, Swamy said while speaking on "China's relations with its neighbours" at the 2013 World Peace Forum organised by China's Tsinghua University in association with Chinese Foreign Ministry. "Such an acceptance will vastly improve India-China relations," Swamy argued in a lengthy paper presented at the meeting attended by strategic think-tanks from China and a number of other countries.
"On the contrary for more than two-and-a-half thousand years, India and China, two large neighbours and economic superpowers by the then prevailing standards, have had good and peaceful relations based on mutual respect and cultural exchanges, and in fact never had a single military clash till 1962," he said. "Chinese grievance is that the border delineated by British imperialists and colonialists and called the Sir Henry McMahon Line was unfair to China, taking advantage of China's then weak position," he said.
"Of course this is a contestable view," Swamy said. "The key question is what prompts today's China in regard to Japan and India, to make a grievance of a long past historical injustice and unequal treaties enforced by imperialists on a weak China, versus what makes China of today to ignore such injustices in case of others such as in the now settled China-Myanmar border dispute accepting the same McMahon Line" he said.

( Courtesey Indian Express , Based on PTI report PTI : Beijing, Sat Jun 29 2013, 17:56 hrs)

Swamy calls for India-China cooperation on terrorism

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy on a visit to Beijing has made a pitch for India and China to work more closely on counterterrorism, even as he voiced his support for the Chinese government’s efforts in tackling terrorism in Xinjiang amid renewed criticism aimed at its policies after fresh violence this week.
Dr. Swamy, who was here at the invitation of the World Peace Forum, a diplomacy conference co-hosted by Beijing’s Tsinghua University and the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said India and China should come together, especially in Afghanistan, considering their common concerns on terror. His comments came during a week in which the issue has been in the spotlight in China following violence in Xinjiang that left at least 35 people killed. While official media described the incident in Turpan as an act of terrorism, many minority Uighur rights groups have blamed ethnic unrest for the violence. U.S. State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said last week the U.S. was “deeply concerned by the ongoing reports of discrimination” in Xinjiang. Dr. Swamy on Saturday hit out at the U.S., saying its comments were “damaging to the fight against terrorism”, adding that China needed “to review its relations with Pakistan since some of these Xinjiang terrorists are also of Pakistani origin.”
At the Tsinghua forum, he also made a pitch for India and China to move beyond the boundary dispute. “India and China should be strategic partners, not adversaries. The gain in Asian stability and international security would be enormous,” he said. He also called on China to accept the McMahon Line - the effective boundary in the eastern section of the border with India, which China disputes – to end the row, as it had done with Myanmar. “Such an acceptance will vastly improve India China relations,” he said.
( Report by  ANANTH KRISHNAN in The Hindu,  June 29 )

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Air Asia deal is violation of rules says Subramanian Swamy

Janata Party chief Dr Subramanian Swamy has questioned yet another airline deal . After raising doubts about Jet-Etihad deal ( refer to earlier pages in this blog ( , this time  the  questions relate to Air Asia -Tata deal. 
Dr Swamy  earlier wrote to Prime Minister Man Mohan singh on Etihad deal and now he has written another letter to PM on Air Asia.  We are reproducing the  text of the letter from Dr Swamy to PM.

Dr. Man Mohan Singh                                           June 19, 2013
Prime Minister
New Delhi                                                      
Dear Prime Minister:                                                                                  
1.   I write this letter on the subject of another developing mega fraud in the nation’s Civil Aviation affairs, which fraud also impacts on India’s national security.
2.   The fraud is in the FIPB clearance given under the authority of the Minister of Finance Mr. P. Chidambaram and is prosecutable under provisions of law relating to cheating, criminal conspiracy, corruption and which fraud will cause collapse of many of our domestic airlines, creating a systemic risk for financial institutions, a large loss to public exchequer, and blow a hole in the country's transportation infrastructure.
3.   Air Asia Joint Venture was cleared by the FIPB and approved by Finance Ministry in violation of all norms, rules, regulations, policy governing the Civil Aviation Sector, Foreign Investment and Security imperatives.
Brief Summation of Events:
1.   Planning Commission through its Order NO.18/1/2011 Tpt.   dated  6.4.2011 had recommended constitution of a Working Group on Civil Aviation for the formulation of 12th Five Year Plan review the physical and financial performance of various constituents units of Aviation sector with special focus on Ministry of Civil Aviation and its  constituents indicating their achievements and failures.

2.   In terms of the aforesaid Order, The Report of Working Group  on Civil Aviation for  formulation  of twelfth five year plan   (2012-2017), recognized that  most Indian carriers are reeling under losses.

3.   During the  three year period  between April 1, 2007  and March 31, 2010, Indian  carriers had incurred an accumulated  operational loss in excess of  Rs. 26,000 crores.

4.   The said Report further acknowledges the impediments  in the  efficient  working  of the  aviation sector including the  the FDI policy governing the aviation sector. It notes that:
"..the existing FDI Policy governing the CIvil AviatIon Sector does not permIt foreign airlines investment  [emphasis added] thereby denying access to potential sources of capital and expertise. This requires a re-look to pave the way Indian carriers to access the much needed capital at low cost  and also the expertise to  access international markets quickly."
a.   That on 07.02.2012 the 8th  meeting of Group of Ministers on Civil Aviation was chaired by the  Finance Minister,  wherein the  issue of permitting FDI up to  49% by the  foreign  airlines, in Indian carriers was taken up and it was decided during the same, that an appropriate proposal be tendered for the consideration of the CCEA.

b.   The Appropriate CCEA Note was prepared by MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation)and sent to various Ministries (of Corporate Affairs, Home Affairs  and  External Affairs), Departments  (Commerce and Economic Affairs), Planning Commission and DIPP        for  their  consideration  and comments. The said Note inter-alia:      

i.      introduces the CCEA Note as a proposal "to invest in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non­ scheduled air transport services";
ii.     rationalises the proposal on:
(a) the 8th  meeting of Group of Ministers on Civil Aviation, chaired by the Finance Minister,  on  07.02.2012 on the issue of permitting  FDI up to 49% by foreign airlines, in Indian carriers and hence the proposal;
(b) private  airlines  are in  dire  need of funds for the operations  and service up-gradation to compete with  other global carriers;
(c) denial  of  access to  foreign  capital could result in the  collapse of many of  our  domestic  airlines,  creating  a systemic risk for financial institution, and  a  vital   gap  in  the   country's infrastructure
(d) the budget speech 2012-2013 of the then Finance Minister which envisages such  equity   participation by  foreign   airlines  in   the   airlines already operating in India;
c.   That he comments/suggestions from the authorities  above supported the CCEA Note to permit  foreign airlines, to Invest  in  the  capital  of  Indian  companies  operating scheduled and  non-scheduled air transport  services upto  the  limit  of  49% of  their  paid  up  share  capital. However,  no  suggestion was proposed,  to  include a “greenfield airline”  project.

d.   That on 20.09.2012, Department  of Industrial Policy &  Promotion,  Ministry of Commerce & Industry, issued the reviewed policy on Foreign Direct Investment in the Civil Aviation sector. In terms of the reviewed policy inter-alia permitted:     
"foreign airlines also to invest, in the capital of   Indin companies, operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid up capital.”
e.   That it was clear and express policy to allow FDI ONLY in existing carriers was reiterated by  Civil Aviation Minister, Ajlt  Singh's observation  as  published in Business Standard, inter alia stating:
"We are not qiving licences for greenfield airlines. As of now, FDI (foreign direct investment) In aviation can come only through existing airlines."
f.    That on 19.02.2013 A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between Air Asia Berhad, Air Asia Investment, Tata Sons limited  and Telestra Private Tradeplace Limited for forming the Joint Venture Air Asia. Similarly  Articles  of  Association  of  AirAsia  are  also executed by the Parties and Application for FIPB approval was filed by Air Asia.

g.   That on 01.03.2013   Directorate  General  of  Civil Aviation   an  instrument   of  MoCA,  issued  the   "Guidelines For Foreign Direct Investment in  the  Civil Aviation Sector". The said Guidelines in its object and reasons inter-alia state:
"The Existing policy however prohibits FDI by foreign airlines directly or indirectly in the equity of scheduled and non scheduled passenger airlines. The Government of India has reviewed the position in this regard and decided to permit foreign airlines also to invest in the capital of Indian companies, operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their pad up capitol vide the Press Note  issued  by the    Department     of   Industrial    Policy   &   Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi...... "
5.   It  is abundantly clear that  the  Guidelines were issued only  for  the   existing  airlines  since the   CCEA Note,  Ministry of Civil Aviation decision, and the DIPP PressNote NO.6 of 2012 were all based on the  reason and for purpose of allowing  FDI in the  existing airlines. 

6.   That on  04.04.2013,  the meeting  of FIPS was scheduled to decide on the Application  filed on behalf of Air Asia. The FIPB issued the impugned approval granting clearance, despite:
a)  the Ministry of  Civil Aviation's  ("MoCA")  explicit  and clear  suggestion that  the impugned approval is against the letter  and spirit of the Cabinet Note which   delineated   that   the   amendment  was aimed at infusing capital into the existing cash- starved aviation companies;
b)  MoCA's objection during the impugned approval stage  inter-aliastating that the DIPP's Press Note 6 of 2012 needs clarification to the effect that the same applies to JV's to be incorporated also;   .
7. The basis of Cabinet discussion  for allowing FDI was reflected in the underlying reasons for need of such policy change in the DIPP Press Note clearly,  which  read that  FDI in foreign  airline was permitted  by the Government only in the carriers operating an airline as opposed to one desiring to set up a new airline.

8. It  is reliably learnt by me that in the entire process of CCEA Note and decision, no consultation took place with  the Ministry  of Defence. It is disturbing to note the same as many airports in India, including Pune, Goa, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Agra and Bagdogra to name a few are Defence Airports, which are being used as Civil Aviation airports.  It is also noteworthy to point out that, an application in the late nineties on behalf of Singapore airlines to set up a domestic airlines (with an indian partner) was rejected due to severe concerns raised by the Ministry of Defence.
9. That Further Press Note No 6 (2012 series) dated September 20, 2012 inter alia  mandates that scheduled operator's permit can be granted only to a company"  the substantial ownership and effective control of which is vested in Indian Nationals" . Similarly, Section 1(ii) (c) of Schedule XI of Aircraft  Rules, 1934  mandates, that  (a) "substantial  ownership"  and (b) "effective control" of such entity (to whom the scheduled operator's  permit be granted) be vested in Indian nationals. However, neither (a) "substantial ownership" nor (b) "effective control" are defined and explained either under the governing act i.e. the Aircraft Act 1934 and the Rules there under, the Press Note No.6  of 2012, or any other  legislation/policy governing the aviation sector leading to a legislative vacuum.
10. There is a potent threat of foreign airlines structuring their business with the intent of exercising "effective control" of the airline due to their nature of investments being strategic rather than financial. This will expose domestic skies into the hands of foreign airline which is clearly neither the purpose nor the intent  for opening the  FDI to foreign airlines. Such potential  threat  will  be even more  pronounced in  cases where  a foreign  airline  partners  with  non-aviation  business entities in India. In mature aviation sector such as United States and European Union, the statute  and/or policies of the government  explicitly define the terms (a) "substantial ownership" and (b) "effective control". Further, such definitions and their application/operation  are specific to the aviation industry and is distinct from the general statute/policy  relating to ownership and control  in other  businesses in order  to  protect  the  domestic  skies from  a foreign airline's (through its subsidiary or directly) possible sabotage and control, something that Is duly recognized under the principal instrument of international  public air law - The Chicago Convention, 1944.
11.That further it is noteworthy  to point out that  media reports confirm that JV partners of AirAsia (India) Pvt. l.e. Tata Sons Ltd and Telstra Tradeplace Pvt. Ltd. Are only strategic investors and are neither a part of existing operating scheduled airlines in India nor Involved in any manner in the civil aviation sector. Therefore it becomes imperative that While evaluating, the Government must apply the doctrine of 'piercing the corporate veil', as has been used in foreign jurisdictions to identify and establish whether such "substantial ownership" and "effective control" is followed  in letter  and spirit.  Such requirement  and scrutiny by MOCA/DGCAmust not be perfunctory  but be objective. It is essential that such compliance is not only on paper but infact in the hands of Indian nationals.
12. That Media reports confirm that application of Air Asia (a new airline venture in India) has been approved by the  Foreign Investment  Promotion  Board (FIPB). And that Finance Ministry has given approval, Such decision under  an existing legislative vacuum, is not only contrary to existing declared policy, but also in direct contravention to the rationale and decision relating to FDI permission to foreign airline in civil  aviation  sector  by  CCEA taken  in  September  2012  as  well  as contrary  to  the recommendations made by Committees constituted to identify specific issues plaguing the civil aviation sector in India.
13.  Hence the FIPB decision clearing Air Asia is not legally valid with  either the  requirement/need  of the aviation sector, the recommendations made by various empowered committees, and in fact, directly contravenes the existing policy as per decision of the CCEA, and is a gross and blatant fraud which involves provisions in law of cheating, criminal conspiracy, violation of various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act and not in the public interest since it is clearly an attempt to  cause a collapse of many of our domestic airlines, creating a systemic risk for financial institutions, loss to public exchequer and a vital gap in the country's Infrastructure, Therefore I strongly recommend that you hold a comprehensive review and following which I am certain that you would revoke this impugned fraudulent Air Asia deal.         
14. If you decide to direct a review of this aforesaid permission to allow this Air Asia deal, and its revocation, I shall happy to assist your government in the entire matter as the matter is of national importance and public interest involving not only economic considerations but also vital aspects of national security. Otherwise, if your Government decides for extraneous reasons to disregard the public interest, and continue with this deal, I shall have to approach the courts by way of a Public Interest Litigation.      
                                 Warm regards, 
                                                                         Yours Sincerely

                                                                         Subramanian Swamy

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Swamy writes to PM: Demands comprehensive review of Jet-Etihad deal

Janata Party President Dr Subramanian Swamy has demanded that the agreement between Jet Airways and Etihad Airlines be reviewed  as it is not in national interest. He has written a letter to Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh has asked for a comprehensive review of the deal. He has announced that if PM does not stop this , then he will approach court with a public interest litigation (PIL) .
The text of the letter is reproduced here along with two  news paper reports-one in Hindi (Amar Ujala Dainik by Ajeet Singh) and next by Palak Shah in ET ,Mumbai

                                                      Letter to Prime Minister 
Dear Prime Minister: May 29, 2013

I write this letter on the subject of another developing mega fraud that also impinges on India’s national security. This fraud is the so-called Jet Airways-Etihad deal, that has two components—one of enabling Etihad to become entitled by a MoU executed on 24.04.2013 by the Governments of India and UAE [Abu Dhabi] on Bilateral Air Services vastly enhance Etihad’s air traffic, measured by seat capacity, between the two countries. This arbitrarily determined entitlement, tantamount to free provision of India’s sovereign airspace to a foreign airline, hence fraught with serious national security issues, is patently for sweetening the private purchase of Jet Airway’s substantial equity by Etihad.

What is distressing is that the minuted Note signed by Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram dated 22.04.2013 [Annexure 1] reveals that this rocket speed clearance of the deal is on your “direction”. The enclosed Note in Annexure 1, sanitized to delete file notings of officials and signatures [including of FM], is self explanatory.

News media reveal that the inked deal on bilateral air space use is to be cleared by the Cabinet soon upon your return from Japan, and the Etihad equity purchase is to be put up and cleared by the FIPB and signed by the FM around 7.6.2013.

My usually reliable sources abroad tell me that this deal if finally cleared and implemented would destroy Indian airline industry, particularly Air India, and empower a foreign airline and a nation known for money-laundering become a hub of India’s passenger traffic.

That is why the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in its Report submitted early this month on the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Demand for Grants (2013-14) stated [paras 77-94] that this Bilateral Agreement [now being processed for execution at an uncharacteristic and unprecedented pace], is reconsidered since in it is not in the national interest. The Committee has also recommended [para 94] penalization of Jet Airways for clandestinely selling its London route entitlement to Etihad even before the deal is sealed, and without informing the Government of India.

Therefore if you do not order a comprehensive review of these two interlocking agreements i.e., [1] between GOI and UAE of use of air space for flights and seats offered and [2] purchase of Jet Airways equity, you will be directly responsible for an arbitrary and unreasonable deal in which windfall gains will be made by private and foreign parties at the cost of the nation and hence without any public interest.

Prima facie, this would attract Section 13(1)(d) (iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (1988) and make you and some others culpable under the said Section.
The common talk in UAE is that following the Supreme Court’s cancellation of the 2G Spectrum licence of the Etisalat Telecom, which licence was illegally bought by them from Swan Telecom, the illegal beneficiaries from that deal who are highly placed in your government, have sought by this airlines’ deal to mitigate formal and informal losses suffered by Etisalat and hence UAE. In this connection, the undue interest shown by the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, Ms. Sonia alias Antonia Gandhi, in processing of these two agreements at rocket speed is worthy of notice in the national interest.

If you decide to direct a review of these two aforesaid agreements, I shall happy to assist your government in the entire matter. Otherwise, aggrieved by your disregard of public interest I shall approach the Supreme Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation.

Warm regards,
Yours Sincerely

Subramanian Swamy

अबू धाबी हवाई करार पर लटकी जांच की तलवार
नई दिल्ली/अजीत सिंह | अंतिम अपडेट 4 जून 2013 12:22 AM IST पर

जेट-ऐतिहाद सौदे में अहम भूमिका निभाने वाले अबू धाबी के साथ हुए हवाई सीटों के समझौते पर विवाद बढ़ता जा रहा है। हालांकि अभी तक इस समझौते को केंद्रीय मंत्रिमंडल की मंजूरी नहीं मिली है।

इस बीच जेट-ऐतिहाद डील को फायदा पहुंचाने के आरोप तूल पकड़ रहे हैं। नागर विमानन मंत्रालय सूत्रों के मुताबिक इसके लिए तैयार नोट कैबिनेट की मंजूरी के लिएभेज दिया गया है।

जनता पार्टी के अध्यक्ष सुब्रह्मण्यम स्वामी ने प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह को चिट्ठी लिखकर जेट-ऐतिहाद सौदे और अबू धाबी की हवाई सीटें बढ़ाने के समझौते की जांच कराने की मांग की है।

उन्होंने कहा कि अगर उनकी मांग पर विचार नहीं किया गया तो वह इस मामले में 2जी की तरह अदालत का दरवाजा खटखटा सकते हैं।

पूर्व नागर विमानन मंत्री राजीव प्रताप रूडी ने अबू धाबी के साथ हुए समझौते पर गंभीर सवाल उठाए हैं। सिविल एविएशन पर बनी संसद की स्थायी समिति भी एयर इंडिया के हितों की अनदेखी कर हुए इस समझौते पर कड़ा ऐतराज जता चुकी है।

नागर विमानन मंत्रालय से जुड़े सूत्रों का कहना है कि अबू धाबी के साथ हवाई सीटें बढ़ाने का करार करवाने का फैसला मंत्रालय ने अपने स्तर पर नहीं लिया था। यह समझौता वित्त मंत्री पी. चिदंबरम की अध्यक्षता वाले अंतर मंत्रालय समूह (आईएमजी) की शह पर हुआ है।

गत 22 अप्रैल को वित्त मंत्री की अध्यक्षता में हुई आईएमजी की बैठक में अबू धाबी के साथ हवाई सीटों की संख्या प्रति सप्ताह बढ़ाकर 40 हजार करने पर सहमति बनी थी। इसके अगले दिन ही दोनों देशों के बीच सीटों की संख्या अगले तीन साल में 13,330 से बढ़ाकर 50,270 करने के लिए द्विपक्षीय समझौता हो गया था।

इसके साथ ही जेट एयरवेज में ऐतिहाद ने 24 फीसदी इक्विटी खरीदी थी, जो देश में नागर विमानन में पहला प्रत्यक्ष विदेशी निवेश (एफडीआई) है। लेकिन अब विवाद बढ़ता देख नागर विमानन मंत्रालय इस मामले से पल्ला झाड़ने की मुद्रा में आ गया है।

सीटें बढ़ाने के फैसले पर कैबिनेट की मुहर पर मंत्रालय सूत्रों का कहना है कि मंत्रालय द्वारा भेजे गए कैबिनेट नोट पर जल्द ही फैसला हो सकता है।

पूर्व नागर विमानन मंत्री रूडी का कहना है कि जेट-ऐतिहाद सौदा और इसे फायदा पहुंचाने के लिए अबू धाबी से हुआ हवाई समझौता राष्ट्र हितों के पूरी तरह खिलाफ है।

जेट-ऐतिहाद की डील एफडीआई और सिविल एविएशन के मानकों को भी पूरा नहीं करती है। राष्ट्र हितों की अनदेखी कर गैरकानूनी तरीके से यह समझौता करवाया गया है।

सुब्रह्मण्यम स्वामी ने प्रधानमंत्री को लिखे पत्र में पूरे मामले को अदालत में चुनौती देने की चेतावनी दी है। उन्होंने इस सौदे को लेकर वित्त मंत्रालय और सरकार पर गंभीर सवाल खड़े किए हैं

Subramanian Swamy wants investigation into Jet-Etihad deal
Palak Shah, ET Bureau Jun 3, 2013, 04.00AM IST
MUMBAI: After the Parliament standing committee on Transport Tourism & Culture raised concerns on the Jet-Etihad deal, Janta Party chief Subramanian Swamy has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a probe into the issue.
Swamy has said that he may move the Supreme Court against the deal if no probe was ordered by the PM. The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways recently agreed to infuse Rs 2,054 crore into Jet Airways which would help the foreign carrier expand its limited footprint in India. The letter, dated May 29, states that the deal has two components, which enables Etihad to become entitled to Bilateral Air Services that vastly enhances its air traffic, measured by seat capacity, between the UAE and India., second of arbitrarily determined entitlement, that tantamounts to free provision of India's sovereign airspace to a foreign airline which has serious security implications. A memorandum of understanding between the Government of India and the UAE have facilitated these provisions, says the letter.
Last month, the Parliament Standing Committee led by CPM Leader Sitaram Yechuri in its report had said that the bilateral agreement (between India and the UAE) are not in the national interest. The committee had also recommended penalising Jet Airways for clandestine sale of its London route entitlement to Etihad even before the deal was sealed, which the report said was done without informing the government.
"If you (Prime Minister) do not order a comprehensive review of these two interlocking agreements i.e., [1] between GoI and UAE of use of air space for flights and seats offered and [2] purchase of Jet Airways' equity, you will be directly responsible for an arbitrary and unreasonable deal in which windfall gains will be made by private and foreign parties at the cost of the nation without any public interest," Swamy said in his letter.
"If you decide to direct a review of these two aforesaid agreements, I shall be happy to assist your government in the entire matter. Otherwise, aggrieved by your disregard of public interest, I shall approach the Supreme Court by way of a Public Interest Litigation," the letter added.