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What China’s newest Aircraft Carrier means for India

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INS Vikramaditya
INS Vikramaditya

India’s development of the INS Vikramaditya has been plagued with delays. Meanwhile, China have once again asserted its dominance as they prepare to launch the nation’s second domestic aircraft carrier.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The launch of China’s second aircraft carrier, expected as soon as this week, will be received by the Indian government as an important reminder of just how far behind the pack it has fallen.

The “Type 001A” – likely to be named the “Shandong” – will give China an edge for the first time in the carrier race with its Asian rival, a literal two-to-one advantage.

After the decommissioning of the INS Viraat earlier this year, the Indian Navy is down to a single carrier, INS Vikramaditya. Adding insult to injury, China built the Shandong at the country’s own shipyard; the Vikramaditya is merely a repurposed 1980s-era Russian carrier formerly known as the Admiral Gorshkov.

More telling is what China’s progress says about India’s ability to provide security in its own backyard. Chinese naval strategists have open designs on the Indian Ocean. “China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean,” one naval strategist said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has spoken at great length about revitalizing the Indian military; it’s opened the defense sector up to greater foreign investment and is building a much-closer relationship with the U.S. military, largely with China in mind.

But spending has lagged, extremely. Worse, successive governments simply don’t seem to have thought through where best to direct those scarce resources.

For its part, the Indian navy has bought-in completely on a strategy that emphasizes carrier battle groups. The idea? India must dominate the waters that bear the country’s name and needs carriers in order to project power well beyond its shores. As a result, it wasted far too much time and treasure on the Admiral Gorshkov, which arrived from Russia six years late and at three times the cost that had initially been promised.

India’s tireless efforts to develop a homemade carrier have proven fruitless. One of the main reasons being the lack of resources such as polyurethanes needed to build the carrier. The Navy plans to name, commission and float the INS Vikrant next year. At that point, the ship reportedly won’t have its aviation complex in place, or even anti-aircraft missiles. India’s Navy has, curiously, refused to purchase the domestically-developed indigenous light fighter, the Tejas, saying it’s too heavy. This comes simultaneous to the MiG-29 being used, which, according to India’s government auditor; more than 60 percent of their engines were withdrawn from service or rejected in just four years.

The Vikrant will only be properly combat-ready by 2023 — eight years behind schedule.

No one expects India to match China’s defense spending budget in a head-to-head battle; China’s economy is four times the size of India’s; not surprisingly, its defense budget is at least three times larger.

India’s carrier-first strategy has drained the Navy of resources and left it with just 13 conventional submarines in service. Eleven of those are more than a quarter-century old. The two new ones, amazingly, were commissioned and sent out to wander the deep sea without their main armament, torpedoes. India have also not tried to match China’s numerical superiority — 70 to 15 — in terms of submarines with specialized anti-submarine weaponry, including helicopters.

India’s largest problem is not a shortage of money; it’s more a lack of forethought and political courage. Carriers are big and showy, and bolster national pride; diesel submarines don’t.

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FTX’s Nishad Singh got $543 million loan

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More fallout from the FTX cryptocurrency platform collapse. Court documents show its affiliate Alameda Research loaned executives like Sam Bankman Fried $1 billion and more than $500 million to Indian American Nishad Singh, FTX’s top engineer. FTX’s interim CEO says never in his career has he seen such complete failure of corporate controls and a complete absence of trustworthy financial information. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it was unable to come up with customer funds.

Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after her conviction in January for defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing start up Theranos.In her trial, Holmes alleged she was in the midst of a decade-long abusive relationship with her then-boyfriend and Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The Indian American was also found guilty for his role in this fraud and will be sentenced later.

Starting next month, India will assume the G20 presidency for a year and chair more than 200 meetings, leading the way for global economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country’s leadership here will be inclusive, ambitious, and decisive.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arvind Venkat & Tarik Khan win Pennsylvania State seats

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – Looking back at the midterm elections, Arvind Venkat and Tarik Khan made history as the first South Asian Americans elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Advocacy group Indian American Impact played a major role on the ground, saying it trained and mobilized 200 volunteers to go door-to-door, to engage voters and provide info they needed to elect new leadership.

After 35 years, the Nancy Pelosi era is officially coming to an end. The speaker from San Francisco announced she’s bowing out of leadership, but will retain her House seat. The midterms cost Pelosi’s Democratic party the House and effectively ended her speakership.

Two former Indian American executives at Meta Platforms will launch a new non fungible token start up for creators. Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi have raised more than $8 million for their new company called Virtualness. But they are facing headwinds as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange collapse is putting pressure on the entire industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Meet FTX insider Nishad Singh

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The controversy around failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to captivate the world. Part of the scrutiny is now on the people involved, including Indian American Nishad Singh. According to new reports, this techie was part of FTX’s inner circle, which lived together and ran the cryptocurrency empire from the Bahamas. The software engineer was also reportedly aware that FTX secretly transferred customer funds worth billions of dollars to its sister firm Alameda Research. Currently, no one is facing any criminal charges. Diya TV featured Singh more than a decade ago for running ultra marathons as a 17 year old getting ready for college. 

Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House. Trump had been hinting at this announcement for months, as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil litigations and as his party is grappling with a worse than expected showing in the midterm elections. 

At the G20 Summit in Bali, world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden are coming together to condemn the rising threat of nuclear weapons as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to raise tension and anxiety around the world.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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