A couple of days back the Indian prime minister Modi visited Canada and was greeted with a ceremonial welcome in Ottawa. Modi spent a few days in Canada doing…well…something important we presume… although we can't be certain. The Times of India wasn't very forthcoming with substantive information, even considering the fact that it published 3 articles to this regard. Oh well… whatever Modi and Harper (the Canadian prime minister) were doing must have been secret…or an embarrassment…or a secret embarrassment… but who can say? In any case however little information we have we can analyze.
According to the newspaper, "the focus will be on setting a "trajectory" in ties through cooperation in energy, including civil, nuclear, and attracting trade and technology for India's development."
Uhu… not impressed at all.
So the Indian prime minister makes it to Canada to discuss something (we are still trying to find the definition of "trajectory in ties" in a business dictionary) through "cooperation" in energy?
The what? We can already imagine the conversation:
- Say Harper, do you have a spare battery?
- Sorry Modi, the last one we had we used in 2008 to illuminate our way to the printing press in the Central Bank. But didn't you have the same problem over there?
- Naaaaa, in India we use emergency candles.
This stuff about "energy" is funny because India is probably more advanced than Canada in respect to nuclear developments, considering that they developed "the bomb" and also that India continues to develop nuclear reactors while Canada hasn't built one since 2005. Not to mention the tiny fact that Indian reactors are either Boiling Water or Pressurized Water (BWR or PHWR), Fast Breeder (FBR) while Canadians are of Candu type being both technologies vastly different. Sooo…not too much cooperation here.
As to energy in terms of civil engineering, what can we say? Canada's deployment and capabilities in terms of civl engineering are about the same as India. Both countries have electric generation based on coal, hydroelectricity, renewable sources, natural gas, nuclear and oil. Sooo no much technological exchange here either.
But how about "attracting trade"? Well… considering that there have been no significant announcements yet, we are free to assume that nothing happened here.
But how about "technology"? Same story. No announcements. Besides, what can India possibly want that Canada has and they don’t? It's not like they are behind in computer science, engineering, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and on and on and on.
But then we noticed that all this "attracting trade and technology" is for "India's development". Of course! Silly us. Because Canada is such an economic power (its GDP is about 10% less than Indian) and this is so because the Canadian economy is booming (the Canadian growth in GDP is trending down since 1960 while Indian's is trending up). Yeah… that makes a lot of sense.
Here is an idea. Using the same logic we should go out on the street and start begging beggars. After all, they must be doing soooo much better than us…
But not to worry, because many concrete achievements were achieved. Such as the 5 year contract for Canada (well… the Canadian company Cameco Corp.) to sell Uranium to India. And besides this landmark achievement we got…well… nothing. Absolutely nothing else.
At this point this "trajectory" looks more and more like a dead end. Do we see a collision in the future? Sound collision alarm!!!
THE OTHER TRIP
And now, having dispensed with the fluff, we get to the real things. The things that matter. Let's enumerate:
- Modi got to schmooze with the Canadian Governor General (wow! speaking about being a colony…)
- Modi got to schmooze with Harper (the Canadian prime minister)
- Modi got to attend a diaspora in Toronto
- Modi attended a pension fund meeting (presumably unrelated with his pension plan, because the Canadian one is leaning towards being broke)
- Modi visited a temple in Vancouver
- Modi visted a gurdwara
- Modi attended a state dinner
All this schmoozing and attending and visiting probably left Modi quite hungry because all these events were accompanied by copious amounts of food. Yeah… the good stuff. Not the crap that we, the people, get to enjoy in our own countries day in and day out.
We wonder, did Harper pass Modi the bill for all that work-lunching and work-traveling and work-visiting? Neeee… not a chance in hell. It is a "state" visit. Not to worry. The suckers taxpayers will pay.
The truth is that Modi's trip is the same as any other "state" trip anywhere in the world. They achieve little to nothing… other than wasting taxpayers money on a bilateral basis (see how we too can use diplomatic gobbledygook?). What exactly was achieved here? A lousy Uranium contract for 5 years. Now, considering that India has almost no Uranium and not too many countries who have it are willing to sell it, this sounds more and more as an act of desperation dressed up as a "cooperation" trip. Was all that pomp and circumstance necessary? Not a chance in hell. If nuclear generating companies in India want Canadian Uranium, then they must only approach the relevant Canadian companies and purchase it from them! Simple enough. Well… at least that's how it would have been in a true free market, free of government intervention and bull shit. Can you imagine if every time Chinese corporations would want Canadian iron or copper ore the Chinese president would make a trip to Canada? Ridiculous right? Well… not for India. Not for Uranium.
Modi's trip to Canada is ridiculous as is any other trip of any other head of country anywhere in the world. Consider this. Politicians in countries spent 200+ years enacting laws preventing free trade. Then, they travel to other countries to so-call "foster" free trade. Taking about closed loops and self-inflicted excuses…
Look, some things are simple and this is one of those. Free markets operate efficiently because they are… uh… dunnno… free? They don't need no stinking intermediaries!
But then again, you may feel that your product or service needs to be represented by politicians in other countries. Because, you know, what matters is what politicians say about your product or service and not what your product and service and do for your clients. Yeah… that's better. You may feel that you need all their political clout and power to penetrate other borders jealously guarded by import barriers. One question though, how is this deal working for you? Getting rich any time soon? Though so.
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.