|This article appears in the February 14, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
LaRouches in India
by Mary Burdman
Strengthen the `Strategic Triangle'
As the international economic and strategic crisis reached a turning point in mid-January, Lyndon LaRouche and his wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche visited India during Jan. 10-22. In India, they made a vital intervention to promote development of the "Strategic Triangle" of cooperation among India, China, and Russia. As LaRouche told his audiences in public and private meetings, this group of Eurasian nations, "coming together with other nations of Asia, for joint security and economic development," is the "main engine for economic growth in the world today."
If we can get some reasonable changes in the insane economic policies of the George W. Bush administration, and "be reasonably assured that there is no danger of a war with Iraq," in the coming 60-90 days, "we have some maneuvering room," LaRouche stated in a speech to Delhi University's Institute of Economic Growth on Jan. 16. "At that point, the world will have to shift to what the world is shifting toward: economic growth."
'I Would Vote for You'
For India, as for the rest of Eurasia, economic growth is the critical strategic issue. India, the world's second-most populous nation, with 1.02 billion people, is a nuclear power, has an enormous economy, an even more enormous economic potential, and, at the same time, is facing great problems, including terrible poverty. The author accompanied the LaRouches on a visit to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), a city of 12-13 million which is collapsing into conditions worse than those of the final stages of British rule. In New Delhi, Helga Zepp-LaRouche had the opportunity to visit an HIV/AIDS clinic in the slums of East Delhi, on the eastern banks of the River Yamuna, where we saw the conditions of life of some of India's many millions of migrant rural workers. Such brutal poverty, the breeding ground of AIDS and other diseases, poses a grave threat to India's national security.
During the visit, Lyndon LaRouche made public addresses to the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute for Asian Studies (MAKAIAS) in Kolkata; Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi; the Institute of Economic Growth, a part of Delhi University which serves as the braintrust for India's Planning Commission; a very lively roundtable discussion of officials, professionals, and analysts in New Delhi; and at the University of Jaipur in Rajasthan, where he spoke before some 170 faculty and students. His Jaipur speech was well reported in the Rajasthan newspapers. There, the LaRouches were the guests of the Political Science Department, University of Jaipur, and the Federation of Rajasthan University and College Teachers' Association (FRUCTA). They were greeted by Prof. D.D. Narula, Economist and Professor Emeritus at Jaipur; Prof. D.D. Sharma of the Political Science Department, and Prof. Prakash Chaturvedi, President of the Federation of Rajasthan University and College Teachers' Association (FRUCTA). Prof. Devendra Kaushik, one of the LaRouches' "oldest friends" in India, had also been a teacher at the University of Jaipur for five years.
In addition, the LaRouches had numerous private meetings with old and new friends, including very high-level policymakers of the nation, and representatives of India's leading institutions and religious and social communities. Helga LaRouche had many discussions on the international importance of a dialogue of civilizations.
The Potential of Eurasia
Many of the LaRouches' discussions with those in various Indian institutions, focussed on the great economic potential of the Eurasian landmass. India and other Eurasian nations must have a massive infrastructure construction program. Any modern economy must be investing 50% of its resources in infrastructure: energy, water, transportation, health, and education. This investment must be led by the national government, which thus fosters the development of productive private enterprise.
LaRouche stressed the crucial economic fact, that Western Europe and Japan cannot survive without the great markets of India and China; and that the principle of this trade must be the sharing of advanced technologyas in the famous construction by China of the German-developed Transrapid magnetic levitation trainnot exports of goods.
The key economic issue for India is capital, LaRouche reiterated: physical, not financial capital. The real capital cycle is 25 years, because that is the length of time needed to raise and educate a child. Many infrastructure projects, in areas like water managementincluding creating beneficial "mini-climates" with forestryrequire a 50-year perspective. For such large-scale projects, long-term stability is essential. This is where government "shines," LaRouche said. Smaller systems should be built locally, or even privately.
On the urgent question of water development, EIR's Ramtanu Maitra, a nuclear engineer, described Asia's unique water conditions, with rivers rushing out of the Tibetan "roof of the world" and its surrounding mountains in huge bursts, but only during the seasonal monsoon. This requires very different management methods from other regions of the world. At the same time, these shared conditions create an opportunity for Asian nations to share water-management technology.
Water projectssuch as the Mekong Development Project, the potential water-hydropower project on the Yarlung Zangbo-Brahmaputra system, and the potential Siberian rivers-Central Asian projectall require regional or sub-regional cooperation. Multi-national authoritiesbut representing national interestshave to be created to plan and carry out these projects.
Asia's need for nuclear energy was another constant theme of discussion. Obviously, the real purpose of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is to ban nuclear energy development, not nuclear weapons, LaRouche said. The NPT will die; nuclear power is the only energy source not linked to geopolitics. One of the biggest problems Asian nations now have, is that they are forced to transport fuels over huge distances, at great expense, and at risk to the geopolitical machinations of the "Utopian" madmen. The Koreas must have nuclear energy to survive, as must Japan, and the other Asian countries.
Modern rail transport is also essential, and something India must urgently work on, since its rail system is in bad condition. Efficient land transport is beneficial to an economy because productive industry and other facilities can be built along any rail route; in contrast to now-dominant sea transport, transporting goods through land corridors, physically, costs the economy nothing because of the development which accompanies it.
As part of its already-approved Tenth Five-Year Plan, New Delhi is launching a nation-wide highway program to link every corner of the nation. This is, however, far short of the advanced and concentrated infrastructure India requires for its huge population. One policymaker told LaRouche that India did little to develop its infrastructure during the entire 40 years of the Cold War; this, he stressed, must be changed.
Both President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee have some excellent ideas, including a commitment to eliminate poverty by 2020. But India's economic policy establishment remains riddled with hangers-on of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This "fiscal" crowd in the Indian national bureaucracy, will immediately clamp down hard on any initiatives for genuine "New Deal" government policy.
The privatization reforms of the last decade (see EIR, Nov. 1, 2002) have only brought worse troubles, as leading Indian economists repeatedly told LaRouche. It is hardly surprising that, in every core sectorhousing, energy, rail, healththe private sector has not even begun to take up the slack as the government has pulled back. Such fundamental problems, as providing universal clean drinking water, or creating universal literacy, are just not being solved. Unemployment and underemployment are now worse than they were in the early 1990s, and the problem is exacerbated by the lack of any social security for the poor. In the capital, New Delhi, where electricity is privatized, the supply is more irregular and uncertain than ever.
India must must develop institutions for national investment, totally IMF- and World Bank-free, LaRouche insisted. Those bankrupt institutions are dying anyway; they have to go, now.
India's population have a very high savings rate, and the country has a skilled workforce; what it needs, is the means to invest these important assets. India must also mobilize its great technological potential. As policymakers said, "theory is cheap" and abundant, but this is not meeting the technological needs of 1 billion people. LaRouche responded that that is also a result of the "fiscal crowd" problem: vital investment into scientific and technological experimentation is not being funded, and therefore, real progress is being constantly hindered.
The Shock of Poverty
One of the most moving events of the trip, was a three-day visit to Kolkata. For Lyndon LaRouche, this was his first return there in 57 years. As a U.S. soldier serving in World War II, LaRouche had been stationed in the Burma-India-China theater, and, after the war, while awaiting demobilization in Kolkata until April 1946, he witnessed the rapid growth of the Indian independence movement, and the backlash of the collapsing British Raj. He also saw the Indian population's urgent hopes for economic help from the United States, and how these hopes were betrayed, when U.S. policy changed after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, away from FDR's determination to end colonialism in all forms.
The condition of Kolkata today, is, in many ways, one long-term effect of these developments. The current poverty of Kolkata is shocking; worse than it was in 1946. This city of 12-13 million people is crumbling and in chaos.
Some 20% of the population3 million peoplelive on the streets. These are migrants, unemployed rural workers from the rural areas of West Bengal, Bihar, and eastern Uttar Pradesh, and from Bangladesh. Low agricultural productivity in these areasunlike in the states of Punjab, Haryam, and a few otherscreated a huge surplus of agricultural workers, with minimal capital formation. They build huts if they can, otherwise they have nothing more than a few blankets to spread on the sidewalk at night. Sanitation is minimal: there are human feces on the sidewalks and in the gutters.
There are similar conditions in the rapidly growing slum areas of New Delhi, although Delhi is not visibly collapsing, as Kolkata is. Prolonged cold this Januarythe worst in 40 yearsled to hundreds of deaths in the capital. Officially, there are 30,000 homeless in New Delhi, but the real number is much higher. As a Delhi government official stated, there is a crisis of urban infrastructure. The state had been responsible for housing for the entire population, until a decade ago. Then, housing construction was handed over to private construction. This policy had failed, especially for the poor.
While agriculture is the basis of India's economy, the government has failed to invest in this hugeemploying at least 150 million people!and vital sector. Officials and economists emphasized that even though India's grain harvests are abundant, its distribution and storage facilities, bursting with grain, are so outdated that the grain rots while people continue to starve.
At the same time, millions of landless workers are migrating to the cities. This situation, LaRouche pointed out, is generating unliveable "super cities." This is a national problem, not one of a city here or there. To let such vast slums proliferate, is an "imperialist" policy, he said. This is what was done under the Roman Empire. The answer is, to take advanced technology to the land; not confine it to the cities. This is the concept of the great Russian scientist Vladimir Vernadsky: the economy must have a flow of technology, out to the areas which have to be developed.
LaRouche's comments on this need for agricultural technology provoked an interesting discussion at a roundtable in New Delhi on Jan. 20. One participant asked whether Mahatma Gandhi's "self-employment" cottage industry policy, a key part of his freedom movement, would be appropriate today. LaRouche responded that what Gandhi did must be understood as a policy of "strategic defense"the concept developed by the great military leader and engineer Lazare Carnot of the 18th-Century French Ecole Polytechnique. Gandhi, inspired by the 19th-Century Indian nationalist and universal historian Bal Gangadar Tilak, was a political genius, LaRouche said. He declared war on the British Raj in a very clever way. He led India's poor peasants, who had nothing, and would not fight, against the power of the British Raj. He understood that non-violent resistance and local production of vital goods, was a strategic defense of their basic interests. Gandhi understood how you can lead the people whom you have. He developed their powers, and led them to freedom.
This, said LaRouche, and not using Gandhi's exact tactics and methods, is what is important.
The New Delhi roundtable discussion moved to a debate on whether the size of India's population is a "problem," as international agencies, and some Indian politicians, make it out to be. A number of participants said they did not accept this view. Helga LaRouche then described her intervention in the Bucharest World Population Conference in 1974. There, it became clear that the "population issue" was made up by the likes of John D. Rockefeller; then, and now, the only real problem is poverty.
Indian Sovereignty, Eurasian Development
The purpose of cooperation among the Eurasian nations, led by the India-China-Russia strategic triangle, LaRouche emphasized, is to combine economic development and national security. The nation-state establishes its sovereignty by economic development of every region in its borders. As one of his highest-level discussion partners told LaRouche, India wants to cooperate with other nations, especially developing nations. It will not act as a hegemon; it seeks government-to-government cooperation. However, New Delhi has been too slow in making substantial initiatives towards key neighboring areas, such as Southeast Asia, and this must change. LaRouche responded that, without Indian participation, such groups as the ASEAN+3 (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, Japan, Korea), will not function. Without India, the severe economic problems of Bangladesh and Myanmarwhich also are important for India's own securitycannot be solved.
The international situation requires the cooperation of large groups of nations in Eurasia, including Russia, LaRouche said. If there is foot-dragging on cooperation, we must now create favorable "public opinion" by providing a workable alternative to the current crisis; this will get people active. We have to get people thinking about the Strategic Triangle Russia-China-India, he said. One of the worst problems in the world is intellectual cowardice, especially of governments, at a time when populations are urgently looking for leadership. Nation-states must act now, to achieve a common human purpose. This is the only alternative to the "conflict is inevitable" insanity now dominating Washington and London.
This is a revolutionary period, LaRouche told a group of old friends. India must have a national vision within this international combination. First, the leaders of the loyal, patriotic institutions of India must first get their ideas for the development of the country clear, with scientific precision.