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When ICP Asks Where Aakash2 Made, Indian PR Pushes Back, No ITU Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 28 -- When India's Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri held an event in the UN on Wednesday about the Aakash2 tablet computer, which the Indian government aims to procure for over 200 million school children, Inner City Press attended.

  But it assumed that the issue of parts of the tablet being manufactured outside of India would be asked and answered, most probably by the Indian media which had been reporting on the issue.

  In typical UN fashion, however, a question and answer session began and was almost over without any raising of the "elephant" (or in this case, the motherboard) in the room.

   So Inner City Press asked two questions: what is the response to the motherboard controversy, and what does Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli, and separately the government of India, think of the UN system's International Telecommunications Union Internet regulation plan, to be discussed in December 3 to 14 in Dubai?

   Hardeep Singh Puri first noted that Inner City Press always "finds the controversy." It wasn't hard -- people from India, the US and elsewhere e-mailed Inner City Press the many stories and shifting governmental responses.

  Then Hardeep Singh Puri emphasized that he, and not the Indian government, set up the event. But didn't the government make a massive order of the Aakash2?

  It seems clear that if the US government made such an order of goods manufactured outside the US, it could be a story, manufactured or not. Hardeep Singh Puri alluded to a "conspiracy theory" of why it was covered by seemingly unconnected media, and urged Inner City Press to investigate it. On an Aakash2?

  Neither he nor Suneet Singh Tuli even purported to answer the ITU Internet regulation question. We will continue on this. Watch this site.

Footnote: On November 26 as another part of its last week as Security Council president, India hosted a concert in the UN including the Shahi Qawwals from the Holy Shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty from Ajmer.

  Inner City Press attended, noting UN officials there from Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson to Vijay Nambiar. (Ban Ki-moon attended the event on the Aakash2, and apparently received one.) The music was amazing. And so it goes at the UN.

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