India-Pakistan Nuclear Confidence Building Measures

After a long gap, the India-Pakistan nuclear confidence building measures (CBMs) joint working group will meet at Islamabad on December 26, 2011. In February 2007, India and Pakistan had signed a long-anticipated agreement on nuclear CBMs and nuclear risk reduction measures (NRRMs). However, for some inexplicable reasons, the two countries have so far failed to make details of the agreement public.

The aim of instituting nuclear CBMs is to avoid tensions arising from mistrust, misperception, accidents and military brinkmanship. India and Pakistan can never have such high stakes in a future conventional conflict that they could possibly risk nuclear exchanges. It was due to this realisation that the two countries agreed in February 1999 at Lahore to engage in bilateral consultations on security concepts and nuclear doctrines, with a view to developing measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields.

Both the countries also committed themselves to undertaking national measures to reduce the risks of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons under their respective control and had agreed to continue to honour their respective unilateral moratorium on further nuclear tests. They had also agreed to provide each other with advance notification in respect of ballistic missile flight tests. This informal understanding was converted into an agreement on the pre-notification of ballistic missile tests on October 3, 2005. Subsequently, both the countries also agreed to provide a “hotline” between the Foreign Secretaries – a cosmetic measure of little consequence.

A number of additional nuclear CBMs and NRRMs need to be implemented by India and Pakistan. The first of these should be a formal agreement on de-mating nuclear warheads from their delivery systems. This implies that warheads for missiles like the Indian Agni and the Pakistani Ghauri and Ghaznavi should be stored separately in a disassembled form, i.e., the atomic core and the conventional high explosive (HE) bomb casing, including the trigger mechanism, should be stored at separate locations during peacetime to reduce the risk of inadvertent or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons.

Another viable measure would be to enter into an agreement on the non-use of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) for nuclear deterrence. SRBMs like India’s Prithvi (range 150-250 km) and Pakistan’s Hatf series (Hatf I, II and III – derivative of China’s M-11, with ranges less than 300 km), are inherently destabilising due to their greater mobility, deployment in the close vicinity of the tactical battle area and the short time of flight that gives virtually no reaction time before the missile impacts. As both the nations now have longer-range missiles in service, India and Pakistan would do well to exclude this class of missile completely from their nuclear arsenals. However, by opting to test the nuclear-tipped 65 km range Hatf-9 (Nasr) SRBM, Pakistan has vitiated the atmosphere.

Both the countries should agree to establish national-level risk reduction and monitoring centers, with a suitable communications infrastructure, to build mutual trust. Such centres would act as a hotline between the strategic forces commands. Subsequently, nuclear CBMs and NRRMs could be upgraded to include measures that might appear fanciful today: verifiable deployment restrictions and limitations; shared early warning arrangements; prior information about the movement of nuclear-capable air force squadrons from one base to another; and, identification and notification of training and testing areas for nuclear forces units to distinguish them from deployment areas

The best nuclear CBM between India and Pakistan would be to negotiate and sign a mutually acceptable and verifiable no first use treaty. However, this is unlikely to be acceptable to Pakistan at present as Pakistan relies on its nuclear arsenal to balance India’s conventional superiority.

Indian-Born Executives Lead New List of Top Immigrant-Founded Companies

New research reveals that many of America’s top companies that have received venture capital have immigrant founders. An impressive group of Indian-born entrepreneurs head the list.

I authored a recently-released study (find it here) that concluded, “Immigrants are increasingly important in driving growth and innovation in America, as evidenced by the role played by foreign-born founders and key personnel in the nation’s breakthrough companies.” The study found, “Immigrants have started nearly half of America’s 50 top venture-funded companies and are key members of management or product development teams in almost 75 percent of our country’s leading cutting-edge companies.”

To conduct the research I interviewed executives and company personnel and gathered information on the top 50 venture-backed companies in the United States. Those 50 companies had been ranked by the firm VentureSource using criteria such as the track record of the management and investors and recent revenue growth.

I found that the companies with at least one immigrant founder averaged about 150 jobs per company in the U.S. Overall, 23 out of 50, or 46 percent of the top venture-funded companies in America had at least one immigrant founder.

The leading source country for immigrant founders was India, followed by Israel, Canada and Iran. There were also immigrant founders on the list from Italy, South Africa, Greece, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Switzerland and France.

Here are the companies on the top 50 venture-funded list that had at least one founder born in India:

Aster Data Systems, whose founders include Tasso Argyros (Greece) and Mayank Bawa (India). The company, based in San Carlos, California, employs approximately 100 people. The focus of the company is providing data management, as well as advanced analytics, for employers.

Chegg Inc., based in Santa Clara, California, has become a well-known company for its textbook rental service. It has about 150 employees. Chegg’s founders are Aayush Phumbhra (India) and Osman Rashid (U.K.).

Glam Media, based in Brisbane, California, had 8 founders. Two of the founders were born in India, Samir Arora and Raj Narayan. Following a recent acquisition the company employs about 500 people. Glam works with about 2,500 website partners in the U.S. and Europe. It helps facilitate web advertising in niche and “mid-tail” websites for name brand advertisers.

Umesh Maheshwari and Varun Mehta, both born in India, started Nimble Storage, based in San Jose, California. The company employs 55 people and focuses on disaster-recovery systems, backups and storage.

Suniva, based in Norcross, Georgia, sells solar cells and modules. It was founded by Ajeet Rohatgi, born in India, and employs 190 people.

Xactly, based in San Jose, California, was founded by Christopher Cabrera and Satish Palvai (India). The company sells Internet-based software that can be used for sales compensation. It employs 140 people

Xsigo Systems, also based in San Jose, California, provides equipment and software for the management of datacenters. Employing 110 people, it was started by three brothers born in India, R.K. Anand, Ashok Krishnamurthi, and S.K. Vinod.

“Today’s breakthrough companies are often founded by immigrants or at least employ a foreign-born scientist, engineer or CEO crucial to business growth and product development,” the report noted. “Executives say access to talent from around the world is even more important to companies in their emerging growth phase.”

A key finding of the research is that our country gains when we are open to talented people, without regard to their place of birth. “Policies that help retain talent in the United States are likely to yield both more startup companies and the personnel needed to create more jobs and innovation in America,” the study concluded.