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Destruction-of India's Cryogenic Program by the hands of CIA

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by somedude, May 27, 2017.

  1. somedude

    somedude Captain FULL MEMBER

    Sep 1, 2014
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    I figure this will fit in this forum given its description of "All the discussions related to India and its national security. Discuss strategic affairs, and relations with other countries." This definitely involves India's national security and foreign affairs.


    India was all set to master Russian cryogenic rocket technology when the United States – in cahoots with its moles in the Indian Intelligence Bureau – set in motion a series of events that implicated India’s leading space scientists on cooked-up charges.

    To understand the extent of damage caused to India’s space programme because of the ISRO spy case, one has to first look at how close India was to mastering cryogenic rocket technology.

    Cryogenic rocket technology involves the use of super-cooled liquid fuels to produce massive amounts of thrust in order to lift heavy payloads into space. It will be at the heart of India’s GSLV rocket, which will carry future Indian astronauts to the moon. Without a reliable GSLV India will continue to pay heavy launch fees to foreign space agencies. Because it takes several hours to fuel up a cryogenic rocket, such a rocket cannot be used as a ballistic missile.

    This leads to two questions. One, if the United States is really concerned about India developing long-range ballistic missiles, then shouldn’t it try and stop the guys at the Defence Research & Development Organisation, which makes the Agni missiles? Secondly, why would the United States want to delay the development of India’s heavy lift commercial rockets?

    It doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure that out. India is the only developing country with heavy lift ambitions and its ultra-low cost model could one day put the likes of NASA out of business. That’s an eventuality that the United States wants to delay for as long as it can.

    Birth of a rocket

    Author and broadcaster Brian Harvey writes in his exhaustively researched book ‘Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier’ that in the late 1980s India was looking to develop a massive rocket to launch satellites into 24-hour orbit. India first talked to Japan but nothing came off it. Hearing of these overtures, the Indians were approached first by General Dynamics Corporation, which offered an American engine. But the cost was prohibitive as was an offer shortly thereafter from Europe’s Arianespace.

    “Just then a third approach came, this time from the Soviet Union, offering two engines and technology transfer for the more reasonable price of $200 million,” writes Harvey.

    The Russians were offering a secret engine, the RD-56 or KVD-1, built by the Isayev Design Bureau. The KVD-1 had unsurpassed thrust and capabilities and NASA had nothing that could match the Russian engine for years. In fact, the rocket engine was originally developed as part of the Soviet manned moon landing programme as far back as 1964.

    Over to Moscow ::

    On January 18, 1991 the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) inked an agreement with the Russian space agency Glavkosmos for the transfer of cryogenic technology. Following the collapse of its Soviet empire, Russia was under considerable American influence. In this backdrop, both Glavkosmos and ISRO anticipated the United States would try and stymie the deal.

    So Glavkosmos and ISRO drew up Plan B – outsource the manufacture of the cryogenic engines to Kerala Hi-tech Industries Limited (KELTEC). The arrangement was designed to get around the provisions of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) – a Western cabal that aims to deny ballistic missile technology to non-Western countries, especially India.

    The space czars of the two countries – Aleksey Vasin, officer-in-charge of cryogenic technology in Glavkosmos, and ISRO Chairman U.R. Rao – reckoned that if Russian cryogenic technology was passed on to ISRO via KELTEC, technically it would not be a violation of the MTCR.

    Rocket Row ::

    The arrangements were denounced by American President George Bush as a violation of the MTCR. In May 1992 the United States slapped sanctions on ISRO and Glavkosmos. “India objected strongly to the American actions, pointing out that high-powered hydrogen-fuelled upper stages which took a long time to prepare were of little military value,” writes Harvey.

    India also pointed out the Americans had offered them the very same technology and had made no objections throughout the years 1988-92 when the arrangements had begun.

    So does that mean the Americans were trying to achieve the dual aim of crippling both the Indian and Russian space programmes? Well, here’s Glavkosmos’ version.

    Glavkosmos official Nikolai Semyonov accused Washington of attempting to destroy Russia’s space industry. “When working out the contract, we used the MTCR guidelines in reaching the contract with India…what is more, Indian partners said at the start and later confirmed that they would use our technology exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

    Glavkosmos Chairman Aleksandr Dunayev said both Russia and India had called for an international inspection to determine that the deal did indeed comply with the terms of the MTCR. However, the United States did not respond to the proposal, but sent a US team to Russia to examine the situation.

    Clinton: Playing hardball with India ::

    Former US President Bill Clinton and his hawkish wife Hillary Rodham Clinton are for some inexplicable reason considered friends of India. It was under President Clinton that Russia backed off its proposals to transfer technology to India and suspended its agreement, invoking force majeure (circumstances beyond its control).

    Under the revised Russia-India agreement in January 1994, Moscow agreed to transfer three, later renegotiated by India to seven fully assembled KVD-1 engines, without the associated technology. The United States also inserted a humiliating clause, according to which India would “agree to use the equipment purely for peaceful purposes, not to re-export it or modernise it without Russia’s consent”. No blueprints were to be given to India.

    Duma Fury ::

    The Russian Parliament, however, was in no mood to let President Boris Yeltsin bail on India. On July 21, 1993 it passed a resolution declaring that international negotiations and agreements regarding the MTCR must be ratified by the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation.

    A day later, Glavkosmos upped the pressure on Yeltsin, saying a decision to alter the Indian contract needed a special decision of the government. “We shall not stop fulfilling our obligations under the (Indian) contract until there is a government decision to the contrary,” said Glavkosmos’ Semyonov.

    Really Friendly Scientists ::

    Russian scientists sympathetic to the Indian cause realised the tech transfer window was about to close, and decided to transfer the production technology to their old friends.

    However, with American spies crawling all over Russia during the early 1990s, transferring such a large cargo wasn’t going to be easy. “ISRO first contacted Air India but the airline said it could not transport the equipment without customs clearance. And that was not possible without the American lobby in Russia coming to know about it,” J. Rajasekharan Nair reveals in his book, Spies From Space: The ISRO Frame-Up.

    So ISRO entered into an agreement with Russia’s Ural Airlines, which was ready to take the risk for a little extra money. According to Harvey, “The appropriate documents, instruments and equipment were allegedly transferred in four shipments from Moscow to Delhi on covert flights by Ural Airlines. As a cover, they used ‘legitimate’ transhipments of Indian aircraft technology travelling the other way to Moscow for testing in Russian wind-tunnels.”

    This was confirmed by cryogenic team leader Nambi Narayanan who told the Indian media he was on board the flights that transported the technology to India.

    The knife turns ::

    The United States knew further arm-twisting at the diplomatic level would not be productive, says Nair. “So the CIA was entrusted with the job of aborting the circumlocutory transfer of cryogenic rocket technology through KELTEC, and of stalling or discrediting the transportation of raw materials and spare parts to ISRO.”

    Who’s working for the CIA in India?

    The first hint there was a foreign hand trying to destroy – or at the very least slow down – India’s space programme surfaced in 1997 when five leading scientists – Satish Dhawan, U.R. Rao, Yashpal, Rodham Narasimha and K. Chandrasekhar – along with former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan wrote a joint letter to the government, saying the espionage charges against Nambi Narayanan and Sasi Kumaran were fabricated.

    These were not ordinary people – they were public figures who clearly knew a thing or two about the inner workings of ISRO and the law and order system. And yet despite their plea, the IB tortured Nambi Narayanan to get him to implicated higher ups at ISRO. If Narayanan had cracked and acquiesced, perhaps the entire organisation would have collapsed.

    It is a measure of how successful the CIA was in this spy game that its agents in the Kerala Police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) were able to have a swing at just about everyone in the cryogenic project.

    For instance, the IB had Vasin of Glavkosmos interrogated at Moscow, and tried to link him to the case. “The IB implicated Ural Airlines after airing the lie that Ural had, as part of the espionage activities, transported documents from ISRO to Glavkosmos,” says Nair.

    (Nair also claims because of pressure from above, his book was made to disappear from stores and was never reprinted.)

    That the policemen who went after India’s top scientists and the IB men who guided them have been either cleared of all wrongdoing or remain unquestioned hints at their connections way up in the political leadership. The big question is who are these people who aided the CIA in scuttling India’s biggest space project?

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Article written by Jayesh Pandit exclusively for www.DefenceNews.in
    Location: Pune
    Qualification: MSc. Electronics​
  2. SrNair

    SrNair Captain FULL MEMBER

    Oct 28, 2016
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    This is not a new knowledge.
    ISRO is totally indebted to that great brave man Nambi Narayanan.Because if he wasnt strong enough ,ISRO would have been earned a bad reputation.

    CIA had some moles in IB ,Kerala Police and also politicians .
    Politicians used this opportunity for politics .Oommen Chandy was one of them.
    For him the aim was then CM K.Karunakaran.Media also did their yellow journalism to destroy the lives of these two scientists .
    Ultimately Ommen Chandy faced the wrath of Karma.
    The solar case and Saritha finished the itch of Ommen Chandy.
    Sibi Mathews was also framed by his sub ordinates .His subordinate, a IPS ,was a US linked one.

    Forget all this issues.
    What did this nation or their organization ISRO give to these scientists for their sacrifice ?
    kiduva21 and Hellfire like this.
  3. Agent_47

    Agent_47 Admin - Blog IDF NewBie

    Aug 3, 2011
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    Will Nambi Narayanan finally get justice?

    February 24 will be a day of reckoning in former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan's life. The fight to get the people, who implicated him in a false espionage case in 1994, punished, has been a long one for the 76-year-old from Thiruvananthapuram. Dismissing a plea for a four-week adjournment, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Ashok Bhushan and R. Banumathi has scheduled the final hearing for Friday.

    Despite being cleared of all the charges in 1998, the officers who framed Narayanan, thereby cutting short an illustrious career, have been walking free for the past 23 years.

    It is a matter of shame that while India and ISRO is basking in the glory of the launch of a record 104 satellites in one go, the former scientist is still knocking the doors of our legal system for justice. Interestingly, he was a vocal supporter of the liquid fuel rocket technology and was in-charge of the cryogenics divisions at the ISRO, when the scandal broke. He, along with another scientist D. Sasikumaran was accused of selling classified information on India's cryogenic engine programme to Russia and Pakistan's ISI through two Maldivian women—Mariam Rasheeda and Fauzia Hassan—for which which he, allegedly, got sexual favours, too.

    Kerala Police arrested Mariam for overstaying in India but she proved to be the 'key' to unlocking the ISRO spy case. Or at least, that is what the police and the Intelligence Bureau wanted the world to believe, when they arrested Narayanan from his home in Perunthanni, a suburb of Thiruvananthapuram. Two years later, however, the CBI, which took over the case from the SIT, dismissed all charges against him and slammed the IB and the Kerala Police for the fabricated case. The CBI even filed a closure report before the court. Police officers Siby Mathews (who later served as Additional Director General of Police), and K.K. Joshwa and S. Vijayan (both of whom served as Superintendent of Police later) were accused of implicating Narayanan in the false case. IB officers R.B. Sreekumar, Mathew John and others, were also found responsible of conspiring against him.

    The Kerala Government ordered the police to re-probe the matter, but the Supreme Court quashed it in 1998. It acquitted the accused of all charges and also ordered the government to pay Narayanan Rs 1 lakh. In 2001, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh for the mental agony, physical torture (Narayanan was in police custody for 50 days, where he and the others were, allegedly, subjected to 'third-degree') and social stigma he and his family suffered. He got the money only 11 years later.

    In 2011, the Oommen Chandy government in Kerala decided against taking any action against the three police officers. In fact, the Congress leader, along with A.K. Antony, was instrumental in pressurising the then Kerala chief minister K. Karunakaran to resign following the scandal. Antony replaced him as the chief minister in 1995.

    [​IMG]Mariam Rasheeda
    The BJP, too, allegedly, used the case to settle political scores with IB officer Sreekumar, who had spoken against Narendra Modi in the aftermath of the post-Godhra riots. Sreekumar was then serving as ADGP (Gujarat). Narayanan met Modi when he came to Thiruvananthapuram in 2013 as the Gujarat chief minister. The saffron party demanded the prosecution of the IPS officer and others, though nothing materialised, even after it came to power at the Centre.

    Narayanan appealed against the state government's decision not to prosecute the officers. In 2014, the Kerala High Court quashed the government order and asked it to reconsider the decision. But the officers appealed to a division bench of the High Court, which set aside the earlier court order. It was against the order of the division bench that Narayanan appealed in the Supreme Court in 2015, which awaits closure on February 24.

    Meanwhile, what everybody overlooked, as Narayanan said, is the motive of the officers in framing him and others. He has repeatedly said that it was part of a larger conspiracy; one that involved foreign players and was targeted at derailing India's cryogenic programme. Much against America's wishes, India had clinched a deal with Russian space agency Glavkosmos to get the cryogenic engine delivered and even managed to do it with the help of Ural Airlines. But then the scandal broke out and almost all the important people associated with the deal were arraigned. To support his claim of America's Central Intelligence Agency being involved, Narayanan had pointed to the sudden exit of IB director Rattan Sehgal in 1996 for his involvement with the CIA. In fact, space writer Brian Harvey wrote about this conspiracy angle in his book, Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier.

    Sabotage or not, the scandal broke the back of India's quest to perfect cryogenic technology. According to Narayanan, the case delayed India's cryogenic project by almost two decades. India is now on the cusp of making space history, having successfully tested its largest indigenously developed cryogenic engine, which will power the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III rocket.

    Narayanan will be eagerly waiting for ISRO to realise the dream he once saw.


    Must be some very old engine.
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  4. Fox

    Fox Supreme Overlord FULL MEMBER

    Apr 26, 2017
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    Old yes, but still damn good. General Dynamics itself doesn't manufacture upper stages, but does in conjunction with LM as part of the United Launch Alliance (as of 2006). Their marquee product is the Centaur upper stage which uses the RL10 Cryogenic engines. These are still used in the Atlas and Delta rockets, and despite their age are both very reliable and powerful.

    RL10, first flight in 1962, is the only upper stage manufactured by the Americans, so if they were offering one to India, this would have to be it.



    The problem is still this: it's not a GDC engine, but a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (now Aerojet Rocketdyne) model. GDC doesn't manufacture rocket engines, but collaborates on rocket manufacturing with the ULA, mainly the Atlas rocket family. Unless GDC had another design in development I don't see how it could have unilaterally offered the RL10 to India without an agreement with Rocketdyne and Rockwell International, who owned Rocketdyne at the time KVD-1 was offered to India, sparking an American counter-offer (1991).

    The article notes KVD-1 was a leap ahead of anything NASA had at the time, but that's not really true. It's comparable to RL10 and neither is really a step ahead of the other. Both were developed around the same time and have been improved over the course of their respective lives, though KVD-1 is now retired while RL10 isn't.

    A new upper stage, the JX-2 is in development by the Americans while Russia uses RD-58M, Fregat and RD-0146 upper stages.


    What was GDC's offer?
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
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  5. Hellfire

    Hellfire Devil's Advocate THINKER

    Apr 16, 2017
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    Speculative about clean chit or lack thereof.

    This article is demonstrative of the conditions faced by India in 1990s. One has to collate with the fact that India was still looked at suspiciously by the US and Western nations due to proximity to the Soviet Bloc.

    The post-independence charting of foreign policy ensured that invariably India was found on the opposite sides of US.

    The level of penetration of Indian polity as also security services can be gauged from undermentioned:

    a. 1996 Military Intelligence report pointed towards funding from ISI through Hawala Routes for Samajwadi Party whose leader Mulayam Singh Yadav was the then Defence Minister.

    b. The same report also pointed out the payment of funds by the ULFA group to Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the then Chief Minister of Assam.

    c. Also pointed out was the fact that there were 'connections' of Sonia Gandhi with the Russian intelligence.

    d. Manmohan Singh's connections with CIA were alluded to.

    e. The compromise of India's Nuclear posturing by the ex-Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in return for his daughter's acquisition of US citizenship was also highlighted. Recall that PV Narasimha Rao had cancelled a planned Nuclear Test in 1995.

    f. The Rabinder Singh episode. Post Kargil and further enhancement post 9/11 attacks, US collaborated with RAW over data sharing and collation. As part of the same, they sought access to Indian information on two broad fronts: Iraq and it's WMDs and Afghanistan-Pakistan-Taliban.

    During this, Rabinder Singh, a RAW official who had been 'turned' in 90s by CIA, was tasked to keep a tab on Indian Nuclear Program's security. Under the garb of collation of information on Iraqi WMD program (Indians had some hand in their Chemical Warfare Program in 1980s allegedly), this mole was successful in garnering information on Indian Nuclear Program. Inspite of his being red flagged by an Indian Army Officer and RAW's S Chandrashekhar, he was allowed to escape to Nepal, in the process 'blowing' up embedded assets of RAW.

    In every case, honey trap was sprung and people were caught in the same.

    This was the case even in Indian Embassy in Russia, where, during costings for T-90s, the file was openly accessible for the Russian Staff of the Military Wing to check on the notings and other data.

    Where in the world do you have foreigners in such senisitive departments?
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  6. kiduva21

    kiduva21 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Apr 16, 2012
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    its malayalam but he use more english too
  7. kiduva21

    kiduva21 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Apr 16, 2012
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    there is a non related story is there , in younger times he used to look other Tamil people (darker skin and black hair) for some time he went to western country (doubt its France) he turned to a "vellakaran" with blonde(white) hair and pale skin . even after very long time continuing back India he still maintain that look any body know how this can happen (some secret project with chemical/radio active material can do this?)?
  8. kiduva21

    kiduva21 Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Apr 16, 2012
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  9. lca-fan

    lca-fan Major SENIOR MEMBER

    Sep 9, 2015
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    What A Rot........:hitwall::hitwall::hitwall::hitwall::hitwall:
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