What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

(Instead of) a (Bi-)Weekly Great Game

((More than) one too many) brackets)?
I agree. I'm just trying to indicate here some lame excuse for not having continued with my weekly series, The Weekly Great Game, last week-end, especially since I'm not really trying to do it this time, either. I just don't have the time to do it now, though I could elegantly lie that I've always planned on switching to a bi-weekly cycle of production.
Anyway, since the NATO Summit I've taken less of an interest in what was going on in the realm of diplomacy. Irani-Pakistani ties might have been given some special attention here (I was even thinking of it), just like many other issues, but the point remains the same, it's beyond me now to start anything substantial on any such subject here.
So instead here's an excerpt of just one news report connected to which I have to admit I was wrong about something, via the Afghanistan Conflict Monitor and AFP:
"NEW DELHI (AFP) - Security fears have stopped even a single company from bidding to build a new parliament for Afghanistan after the Indian government floated tenders, an official said Friday.
New Delhi's Central Public Works Department had invited tenders last year for the multi-million-dollar project in Kabul, but did not receive any response by the February deadline which has now been extended.
"The agencies (companies) have not responded so far. But the tender process is still on and we have extended the deadline till June," an engineering official involved in the project said on condition of anonymity.
The official told AFP about 10 construction firms had shown interest, but then raised security issues after several Indian engineers were killed in Afghanistan."
I foolishly thought that India's interests don't allow for decreasing India's contribution to state-building and development in Afghanistan (running at $750 million since 2001). As it is plain obvious to see, what India-the-state wants may diverge very much from what Indian companies' interests are. I'm just somewhat surprised to see that this would matter even to firms like the Border Road Organisation.
Perhaps the financial conditions could still be changed to entice someone into the undertaking. But providing security for any project in Afghanistan is a daunting task indeed, especially for Indian companies which stand the chance of being targeted more than others by the Taliban et al., who are not Pashtun nationalists, no matter what certain people might say.
Here it is described how costly it is to provide anything near it, in the case of the Border Road Organisation's Zaranj-Delaram highway construction project, of which I've already written at this site earlier on. Besides the Indo-Tibetan Border Police being there with 400 of its own to reinforce security, BRO Director General Lt. Gen. A.K. Nanda says:
“For the outer cordon of security, we have recruited around 1,400 Afghan gunmen. But one is not very sure of their loyalty.”
At least there it's the construction of the last 30 kilometers that is going on.
But BRO says it's not "likely" to take up any new projects. That's bad news.

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