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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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lunarchick - 02:41am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1810 of 1817)

Seminal moment in Indian journalism’ Patrick French 'You can't tell people it wasn't fair to catch a thief' Javed Akhtar ‘The tehelka exposé should shame every responsible citizen’ Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi 'Such daring journalistic exercises must be encouraged' K G Kannabiran ‘If the motive is to ensure purity in public life, the team (read the tehelka journalists) cannot be prosecuted’ N Natarajan

lunarchick - 02:49am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1811 of 1817)

'The process of liberalisation has brought in liberalisation of corruption, and of values as well'

Leading filmmaker Shyam Benegal has a talent for mining deeper insights from the obvious. In this thoughtful interview, this auteur of "good cinema" speaks to Manish Chand about the bearing the Tehelka Tapes exposé has on the culture of corruption in India

New Delhi, March 30

What was your reaction to the investigation? The revelations were absolutely shocking. What struck me most was how porous the entire security arrangements have been, where the areas of government are, and how easy it was for a couple of people, posing as whatever they were posing as, to penetrate the defence establishment.

And what is more, they were amateurs and they went past these many cordons right to the top. And how freely both people in important positions and people who claim to have important positions were talking to them. They were obviously dreadful conmen, boasting about things they could do and couldn't do.

It was quite amazing how the power of money works so easily in what should be areas manned by people who ought to have the kind of will and commitment that would not allow all this to happen. This is what shocked me most of all.

"It's not disturbing that individuals might take money. That you expect to happen. The sad part is that even people who are not necessarily corrupt have accepted to having corruption in their system"

What about the casualness of corruption that you get to see on these tapes? That is the worst part. The worst part is that corruption appears to have become an everyday way of life. Which is the worst part, the saddest part.

Some people say that we have become the butt of ridicule in the international community because of the ease with which people at the top can be bought. That, with US$ 24,000, you can virtually bribe the entire Indian establishment… That to me is a very small point. It won't be a question of status. Do we want a status of many millions? It will be some kind of dubious achievement.

How do you see this exposé impacting on this culture of corruption? I have a real fear - and this is a fear the country shares with me, although I am being very pompous and presumptuous when I say this. I would like to see a real cleanup taking place, regardless of the political affiliat

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