China is Preparing Tibet as a Future War Zone

China’s massive infrastructure build-up in Tibet far in excess of genuine civilian requirements is causing concern to the government of India. Defence minister A K Antony has spoken in parliament of the rapid development of rail, road, airfield and telecom infrastructure and military camps being undertaken by the Chinese authorities in Tibet. He assured the MPs that ‘necessary steps’ were being taken to counter these developments.

Antony acknowledged that a road network stretching across 58,000 km has been constructed and five operational airfields have come up at Gongar, Pangta, Linchi, Hoping and Gar Gunsa in Tibet. Extension of the Qinghai Tibet Railway (QTR) line to Xigaze and another line from Kashgar to Hotan in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is also in progress.

Control over Tibet forms part of the larger concept of Chinese national integration under President Hu Jintao’s dictum of ‘going down the road of development with Chinese characteristics and a Tibetan flavour.’ In the wake of ethnic violence in Tibet in 2008, increased force levels of the paramilitary people’s armed police, Chinese frontier guards and the garrison duty forces have been stationed in the region.

China has chosen to upgrade the infrastructure and logistics system in Tibet to enhance the ability of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to become a more mobile and better-equipped fighting force that can be deployed faster and sustained over a longer period of time. The concentrated expansion of infrastructure in Tibet has improved the PLA’s capability to rapidly induct integrated forces.

The QTR railway line is being further extending westwards from Lhasa to Xigaze. Along with the rapid development of the lateral road network in Tibet, a large number of axial roads leading to passes bordering India are being constructed. The roads are being constructed to military specifications in order to be turned over to the PLA in the event of war or an internal disorder. The logistics build-up opposite India’s eastern theatre is a cause for concern since it augments the PLA’s ability to deploy rapidly from the mainland.

Construction of new airfields and the upgradation of advanced landing grounds (ALGs) and helipads in and around the TAR, coupled with the acquisition of new transport aircraft, will enhance China’s strategic airlift capability resulting in faster induction and concentration of field formations in comparatively shorter time-frames and, consequently, over shorter warning periods. It also boosts the striking range of PLA Air Force fighter aircraft and provides the ability to strike and engage targets in India on a broad front and in depth.

Another major infrastructure development is the construction of new missile bases in Tibet. China has placed advanced Dong Feng-21 medium-range ballistic missiles along the borders it shares with India. During a future conflict with India, the PLA could easily move 500 to 600 mobile ballistic missile launchers to bases close to the Indian border from their current deployment areas opposite Taiwan.

Complexities of the Tibetan terrain, vagaries of climate, and sustenance capacities of the thrust lines chosen, are all factors that influence the depth of operations that are planned to be undertaken. To address this aspect, the PLA is reportedly constructing Hyperbaric Chambers to facilitate the rapid acclimatisation of troops brought in from lower altitudes. It is also building the first batch of oxygen-enriched barracks using plants for troops in the TAR at the Nagchu Military Sub-Command at an altitude of 4,500 metres.

It is in the Indian interest to upgrade the logistics infrastructure in the states bordering Tibet so as to facilitate the rapid reinforcement of sectors threatened by the Chinese during any future conflict. Simultaneously, India should enhance its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to maintain all round vigil on the border. The army and the air force must also upgrade their firepower capabilities by an order of magnitude so as to engage and destroy PLA forces at a distance.

A Closer Look at H-1B Numbers

H-1B temporary visas for skilled professionals remain in the news as commentators note the relative decline in use of the visa as compared to previous years. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, H-1B petitions filed for FY 2012 are indeed running below earlier years. (See Table 1.)

Table 1

FY 2012 H-1B Cap Count

Cap Type Cap Amount Cap Eligible Petitions Date of Last Count
H-1B Regular Cap 65,000 15,200 6/13/2011
H-1B Master’s Exemption 20,000 10,200 6/13/2011

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Past Years: Which Companies Have Used the Most?

One source of controversy on H-1B visas has been the number of Indian companies featured among the top H-1B users. While the federal government has not released a complete list of H-1B employers for fiscal year 2010, some press outlets have obtained a top 12 list. Table 2 below shows that Infosys, an Indian company, was at the top of the list. Cognizant was second, Microsoft third, followed by Wipro, IBM India, Accenture, Larson & Toubro Infotech, Satyam, Mphasis and Deloitte. Google and Patni America were number 11 and 12 on the list.

Table 2

2010 H-1B Approved Petitions: Top Ten Employers

Company Petitions Approved in FY 2010








IBM India




Larsen & Toubro






Deloitte Consulting


Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Although the H-1B limit was reached in both FY 2009 and FY 2010, total approvals can differ each year. An application is generally counted in the fiscal year it is approved, rather than the fiscal year the H-1B professional starts working. In other words, a new H-1B approved on May 1, 2010 will be tabulated for data purposes in fiscal year 2010, even if the individual will not start working until October 1, 2010, which begins fiscal year 2011. That may explain why the FY 2010 numbers are higher than FY 2009 for petitions for new H-1Bs (rather than existing H-1B visa holders changing employers or having their status renewed).

Table 3 shows a list of the top 30 employers of new H-1B petitions approved in FY 2009. Wipro tops the list, followed by Microsoft, Intel, IBM India, Patni Americas, Larsen & Toubro, Ernst & Young, Infosys, UST Global and Deloitte Consulting. The list of the top 30 companies is more revealing than only a top 10 list, since one can see a wider variety of employers in the 11-30 range. For example, well-known U.S. companies such as Cisco Systems and Motorola were not in the top 10 but filed for a fair number of petitions for skilled foreign nationals in FY 2009. One also gains a view of the use of H-1Bs by educational institutions, with the Baltimore Public School System, University of Maryland and University of Michigan on the list.

Table 3

Top 30 Employers for New H-1B Petitions Approved in FY 2009 



Wipro Ltd.


Microsoft Corp.


Intel Corp.


IBM India Private Ltd.


Patni Americas Inc.


Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd.


Ernst & Young LLP


Infosys Technologies Ltd.


UST Global Inc. 


Deloitte Consulting LLP 


Qualcomm Inc.


Cisco Systems Inc.


Accenture LLP




Oracle USA Inc. 


Polaris Software Lab India Ltd. 


Rite Aid Corp. 


Goldman Sachs & Co. 


Deloitte & Touche LLP 


Cognizant Tech Solutions Corp.


Mphasis Corp.


Satyam Computer Services Ltd.




Motorola Inc. 


Google Inc. 


Baltimore Public School System 


University of Maryland 


University of Michigan 


Yahoo Inc. 


Amazon Global Resources Inc 


Source: USCIS. Petitions approved for initial beneficiaries in FY 2009


Although India-based companies have populated the top 10 list among largest users of H-1B visas, they do not use the majority of the visas each year. A tabulation of India-based companies has found their numbers have declined significantly since FY 2006. As often the only practical way to hire a skilled foreign national to work long-term in the United States, we can be sure employers of all types will continue to use H-1B visas.

The Voice of the Majority – 3 – Religion & Government Legitimacy

Our second article in this series was based on the proposition that:

  • A regime that is seen, felt and recognized to be respectful and supportive of the majority religion tends in turn to be supported by the majority of the people.

In this article, we examine the related hypothesis:

  • A regime that is seen, felt and recognized to be disrespectful and unsupportive of the majority religion tends to be opposed by the majority of the people.

Think back to America in 2008 and 2009. Remember the 2008 election and the now famous quote of Candidate Obama about people in small townsclinging to their religion and guns”? Though denied and explained away, this quote lives on as one of the more visible symbols of disrespect of religion and belief systems of the American majority.

The early policies and the tone of the Obama Administration persuaded the American majority that its core belief systems were being trampled. The result was the rise of the Tea Party, a movement that sprung like a geyser from the core of the American majority. The American Elite derided the Tea Party as backward, uneducated, right wing, prejudiced and overtly religious. That did not work.

The emotional and loud protest of the Tea Party culminated in a sweeping victory in the 2010 mid term election. The 2010 victory cooled down the temperature of the country. Gone are the rallies, the placards and the hot emotion that bubbled in 2009 and 2010.

This is why America is a shining validation of our hypothesis. On the other hand, India represents a seemingly perfect counterexample.

Last month New Delhi, India’s capital, witnessed a vicious attack in the dead of night by hundreds of baton charging policemen on a crowd of 50,000 people sleeping peacefully. This crowd had gathered to support a fast until death by Baba Ramdev, an Indian Guru with a national and international following. His fast was a protest against the deep corruption that has reportedly engulfed parts of the Indian Government including Cabinet Ministers.

Unlike another protest by Anna Hazare, a secular “Gandhian” activist, the protest by Baba Ramdev, the Indian Government believed, could become a religious “Hindu” movement. And, based on the 60-year track record of the Congress Government, a “Hindu” nationwide protest was deemed intolerable by the Congress Regime. And so the Indian Government behaved exactly like the minority Bahraini Government and launched a vicious night attack on a large group of peaceful, non-violent sleeping protestors.

This brings to fore the decades long suppression of core Indian belief systems by the Indian Elite. Much like American Elite Liberals, the self-proclaimed “modern”, “secular”, “progressive” Indian Elite have waged a coercive battle against India’s “Hindu” majority. This suppression of India’s majority is organized and planned with the full resources of the Congress Regime. The list of other deliberate legislative, executive acts against India’s majority religion would fill several such articles.

This might surprise many but the American and Indian people are very similar in their belief systems. Both societies are deeply religious and spiritual. In contrast, European and Asian societies are not. Both American and Indian societies are multi-religious, multi-ethnic and tolerant at heart. But their belief systems run deep. This is why foreign films, books and culture do not make inroads into these societies. This is why global Hollywood has not been successful in making inroads into India and US TV Networks have to create purely Indian channels to become financially successful in India.

Then, unlike the American majority, why does the India’s majority tolerate the trampling of its religion and belief systems by its governing regime?

  • One reason is that India’s majority has been under the rule of India’s minority religions for the past 1,000 years. So the behavior of the Congress regime is a continuation of the British and Mughal Regimes.
  • Secondly, India’s majority is totally focused on raising its economic standards. That is today’s top priority for the Indian people. So all other issues are being put aside. But they are not ignored.

But the calm you see on India’s surface is covering up the deep anger within India’s majority. Jim Yardley of the New York Times used the term “visceral rage” to describe the sentiments of India’s Middle Class. This Middle Class is the new factor in Indian society, a factor that will come to dominate India’s Society, Government Policy and its relationship with America in years to come.

India’s middle class is becoming broader, richer and more secure in demanding its rights. It is also much more religious and conservative than the Indian Elite who run India’s Government, NGOs and Media. It is beginning to feel confident in expressing its views in the terms and framework of its religion, culture and belief systems. This will put it in direct conflict with the self-proclaimed mission of India’s Elite to suppress India’s majority religion at the altar of a “modern, secular, progressive” culture.

As we saw in its reaction to the attack on Baba Ramdev, the Indian-American community is beginning to participate in the struggle of the Indian Middle Class. And this community understands the lessons of America’s Tea Party.

Will the Indian-American community succeed in helping India’s Middle Class attain the confident fighting spirit of the American majority? Will India’s majority and its driver, the Indian Middle Class, succeed in changing the regime of India’s Ruling Elite? The answers will drive both India and its relationship with America.

Lights, Camera, Action

Bollywood & Hollywood
Among the latest tranche of WikiLeaks cables released by The Hindunewspaper is one that throws light on an under-noticed dimension of U.S.-India relations: Their compatible strengths and convergent interests in the area of global entertainment and media. For all the glamour attached to Hollywood and Bollywood* in their home countries, their potential in fostering bilateral ties has been scarcely appreciated.With the United States and India possessing the world’s largest entertainment and media sectors, both in terms of sheer output and global popularity, the opportunities for collaboration are large for jointly producing new content, forging new creative collaborations and accessing new markets. With a growing middle class, a large English-speaking populace, a booming number of multiplexes and television channels, and a cinema-obsessed popular culture, India is a natural destination and partner for Hollywood studios.

Besides a burgeoning market, India possesses another alluring if sometimes overlooked quality: It is Asia’s most liberal market for foreign media companies, both in terms of investment regime and political climate. On both counts, Star Network relocated its Asia hub from Hong Kong to Mumbai last year (see here and here ), and India has become the most important country for News Corporation’s Asian regional business. As a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report suggests, India – not China – is emerging as Asia’s media hub.Bollywood firms are similarly expanding their global reach, including in the United States. Reliance ADA Group, one of India’s headline industrial houses, is aiming to create a world-wide entertainment conglomerate. It has entered into a high-profile joint venture with Steven Spielberg to form a new movie studio and has cut deals with a number of Hollywood heavyweights to fund the development of scripts and jointly present proposals to studios. Last year, the company also entered into talks with Universal Studios about creating India’s first film-themed amusement park, as well as purchased a majority stake in IM Global, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in foreign-rights sales.Yet, as a February 2010 dispatch from the U.S. consulate in Mumbai makes clear, greater effort is required in order to exploit synergistic possibilities. Despite Hollywood’s growing interest in the Indian market as a way of offsetting its own sluggish box office sales, the cable notes that the U.S. movie industry has still not found a good working model for partnering with Bollywood. Hollywood films face constrained revenue potential in India, due to much lower box office prices compared to the U.S. but also because cinema-goers prefer big-budget action movies over Hollywood’s other fare.

U.S. and Indian studios have entered into a number of high-profile co-production deals, though to date none of them have enjoyed much commercial success. Given its vital market, U.S. studios will continue searching for the right formula for success. But the cable casts doubt that co-productions will pay off anytime soon given that Bollywood fears opening the door too widely to Hollywood’s presence.

Still, the cable points to useful synergies in a number of behind-the-scenes areas. The Indian film industry, which has rarely enjoyed global success beyond diasporic communities , would profit from Hollywood’s expertise in international marketing and distribution, as well as from sourcing U.S. production and technical talent. In turn, Hollywood would benefit from shipping animation and post-production work to India, taking advantage of its modern facilities and affordable workforce. One might add that Indian studios, which are leaders in experimenting with innovative ways of film distribution, like the Internet and mobile applications, could also be a valuable source of new business models for their Hollywood partners.

Yet even if bi-national movie collaborations have yet to live up to expectations, other interactions in the entertainment and media space are bearing fruit. India is one of the world’s fastest growing entertainment and media markets; a new forecast by the KMPG consulting firm puts its size at $28 billion by 2015 . The number of television-viewing households has exploded in recent years. The country also has the second largest pay-television market after China, with an estimated 105 million Indian households currently subscribing to terrestrial analogue cable, satellite and digital networks.

These headline numbers explain why so many U.S. media companies, including Walt Disney, News Corporation, Time Warner and Viacom have joined up with Indian partners to launch channels over the past several years. Last August, CBS Corporation likewise jumped into the game, hooking up with Reliance ADA Group to launch several English-language channels.

Although many of these venues simply offer a platform for U.S.-made fare, jointly-produced content is also beginning to emerge. Indeed, TV productions that combine U.S. and Indian strengths present a large opportunity, both in India and far beyond. According to the consultancy Media Partners Asia, there is a huge, largely untapped global market with a cultural affinity to television content from India, including Mauritians who watch Hindi-language TV and people in Saudi Arabia, which does not have a local media industry.

All of these developments signal a new era in global entertainment. Although U.S. and Indian government officials would not naturally think of it, enhanced partnership in the entertainment and media sector has important policy implications. Since Hollywood and Bollywood are successful exporters of cultural content, the two countries have a major shared interest in keeping global markets open for their products. Washington and New Delhi should thus craft a common approach on cultural market access and use their combined weight to advance it in international trade negotiations. True, the two governments have been at loggerheads in the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks. But a joint proposal on cultural access would focus U.S. and Indian energies on discrete, easily-managed trade issues in which the mutuality of economic benefit is self evident. Beyond its commercial ramifications, the initiative would have political value, further solidifying the U.S.-India partnership and providing an important example of joint leadership in the global economy.

With broadband penetration continuing to accelerate worldwide, the private sectors and governments in both countries similarly have a common interest in advancing the digital transformation of the global media industry. Washington and New Delhi should thus convene a summit of all relevant parties in both countries to consider implementing this objective on a joint basis. Real-time creative and production partnerships could also be enhanced by the development of advanced fiber-optic networks capable of transmitting data at a rate of one gigabyte per second between the two countries. Efforts now underway by U.S. and Indian universities to create collaborative network tools need to be encouraged by adequate government funding on both sides. Such networks would not only spur interactions in the entertainment and media field but in other innovation economy sectors as well.

Policymakers gathered at next month’s U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi will no doubt concentrate on matters like defense cooperation, the endgame in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s volatility. But a focus on things like global entertainment collaborations is also worth their while, given the importance of private-sector and societal linkages in helping bind the bilateral relationship together .

* With apologies to the vibrant local-language film industries in southern India, Bollywood is used here as a shorthand signifying the Indian entertainment sector writ large, though strictly speaking it refers only to the Hindi-language movie industry centered in Mumbai.

Call Centers, Outsourcing, and Immigration

Globalization is not a one-way street. It’s really a multi-lane superhighway with multiple entry and exit ramps. Contrary to the view that globalization means the loss of US jobs, we see that trade and immigration that involves Indians and Americans means jobs in both India and America and an increased variety of products and services for consumers.

The Anti-Outsourcing Hysteria of 2004

During the 2004 election campaign Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry famously declared that U.S. executives who set up operations in India were, in essence, committing treason. He labeled such executives “Benedict Arnold,” after the colonial officer who switched sides and joined the British during the American Revolution. Kerry said, “When I am President, and with your help, I’m going to repeal every benefit, every loophole, every reward that entices any Benedict Arnold company or CEO to take the money and the jobs overseas and stick the American people with the bill.”

It wasn’t just rhetoric. Local lawmakers began introducing anti-outsourcing legislation at a furious pace. In 2003 state legislators introduced fewer than 10 bills to restrict work from being performed overseas. By 2004, that number increased to over 100 such bills. State lawmakers who would never otherwise receive national attention suddenly found that by introducing a bill they could garner appearances on national television with Lou Dobbs on CNN.

The vast majority of the bills did not pass and the pace of such legislation eventually diminished. However, New Jersey passed legislation that forbids work to be performed outside the United States on contracts with the New Jersey government. A legal analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy found such state bills, including New Jersey’s, were likely unconstitutional because only the federal government, not individual state governments, possesses the authority to regulate international trade. (That study can be found here.) However New Jersey’s law was never challenged in court, in part, because the state provided a generous “grandfather” policy that allowed existing contract arrangements with the state to continue.

What’s Happened Since 2004?

The past 7 years have seen changes to globalization. Indian companies have continued to thrive with US-based customers but have adopted an approach that seeks to maintain a U.S. presence with more US workers, according to recent news reports. The goal is not to mollify critics, although that might be a side effect, but rather to be close to customers and supply better service at a reasonable cost.

A lengthy Washington Post article recently detailed the efforts of India call center operations to place more employees in the United States. The key part of the article explains: “India’s outsourcing giants — faced with rising wages at home — have looked for growth opportunities in the United States. But with Washington crimping visas for visiting Indian workers, some companies such as Aegis are slowly hiring workers in North America, where their largest corporate customers are based. In this evolution, outsourcing has come home.”


The bottom line is important. To remain profitable employers, including Indian companies, most compete both on price and the quality of service. The idea that employers hire only employees who will work the cheapest is belied by experience. A company will soon lose customers and profitability if it hires people whose only virtue is to work for little money. Such employees are unreliable and result in labeling a company as unreliable as well. Most importantly, companies will place employees where customers can be served most effectively.

The marketplace is addressing concerns about jobs going to India and U.S. workers “losing” in the process. Globalization is a boon to Americans, who enjoy great products and services made possible by globalization, such as iPods, iPhones, Androids, flat screen television sets, gaming devices and computers that be serviced with a phone call. New restrictions on either trade or immigration that inhibit the growth of such products and services will only make Americans poorer.