|Asia News Digest
India's Dirty-Money Politicians Are on the Move
May 15 (EIRNS)Results of India's 15th Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be declared on May 16, but well before the first vote was counted, India's dirty money-funded politicians began maneuvering to seek significant positions in the upcoming government. The four most despicable political leaders of the lot, Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Laloo Prasad Yadav, and Ram Vilas Paswan (all regional leaders from the North and West) have met with the Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, who has already invited Mulayam Singh to join the next Congress-led government.
The reason these regional fiefs have begun hobnobbing with the Congress president is that many analysts, and all exit polls, indicate that the two national parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata (BJP), will fall far short of an absolute majority and will have to bring onboard a number of regional parties to form the government. However, some regional politicians, particularly Pawar, are expected to demand the top post in order to join a coalition. As of now, there is no indication that any of these four dirty money-funded politicians have built any bridge to the BJP.
Meanwhile, India's Left groups, a mishmash of socialist and communist parties, have reacted to the U.S. chargé d'affaires Peter Burleigh's meeting with the BJP leaders and Pawar. Burleigh has not met the top Congress leaders. The Left complains that the United States is trying to influence the formation of coalition with the intent of keeping the socialists and communists out of the loop.
Eurasian Nations Seek Nuclear Cooperation
May 14 (EIRNS)Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso agreed in Tokyo, on May 12, on a wide number of economic deals, centering on nuclear power cooperation, while South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was in Central Asia with a similar agenda.
The Japan/Russia nuclear agreements, said to total several billion dollars, involve the exchange of Japanese advanced reactor technology for uranium fuel from Russia. Russia's Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the state nuclear agency Rosatom, indicated that the deals will include joint uranium mining in Russia and in third countries. Rosatom will develop uranium mines in the Sakha Republic in the Russian Far East with the Japanese trading firms Mitsui and Company, and Marubeni. He added that Rosatom plans to develop mines in other countries, including Mongolia, as part of the project.
He also revealed plans for Rosatom to set up a joint venture with the Japanese electronics maker Toshiba to establish a uranium storage facility in Japan, to strengthen Russia's supply system.
Japanese and Russian energy companies also signed a deal to jointly develop two large oil fields in eastern Siberia.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev agreed May 13 in Kazakstan to upgrade their countries' relationship to a "strategic partnership" and launch a number of joint projects, including joint development and construction of small and medium-sized nuclear reactors. Nazarbayev also asked Seoul to take part in the development of Kazakstan's natural resources, including uranium. Seoul purchased 38% of its 4,000 tons of uranium imports from Kazakhstan last year.
South Korea also agreed to help build a new shipyard in Kuryk and provide assistance for the country's IT and railroad industries. Kazakstan and South Korea will begin negotiations on adoption of Seoul's wireless broadband service, potentially worth over US$1 billion.
President Lee had previously been in Uzbekistan for a three-day visit. A number of economic deals were concluded there, but no details were made public.
Seoul's efforts to improve its ties with the two Central Asian nations are part of its drive to become a "representative of Asia" in the international community, a diplomatic campaign called the New Asia Initiative.