Entries in India (3)


A US Blackout as Large as India’s? ‘Very Unlikely’

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As India recovers from a blackout that left the world’s second-largest country -- and more than 600 million residents -- in the dark, a ripple of uncertainty moved through the Federal Regulatory Commission’s command center today in the U.S. The Indian crisis had some people asking about the vulnerability of America’s grid.

“What people really want to know today is, can something like India happen here? So if there is an outage or some problem in the Northeast, can it actually spread all the way to California,” John Wellinghoff, the commission’s chairman, told ABC News. “It’s very, very unlikely that ultimately would happen.”

Wellinghoff said that first, the grid was divided in the middle of the nation. Engineers said that it also was monitored more closely than ever. The grid is checked for line surges 30 times a second.

Since the Northeast blackout in 2003 -- the largest in the U.S., which affected 55 million --16,000 miles of new transmission lines have been added to the grid.

And even though some lines in the Northeast are more than 70 years old, Wellinghoff said that the chances of a blackout like India’s were very low.

“Yes, we have old infrastructure in many places but we are upgrading that infrastructure,” he said. “I think we’ll be moving toward a much more modern grid and we’re doing that as rapidly as possible.”

Richard Clarke, a former national security adviser and ABC News consultant, however, said that today’s biggest domestic terrorism fear was a cyberattack on the grid.

“The U.S. power grid is extremely vulnerable to cyberattack,” Clarke said. “The government is aware of that. Recently the government held a White House level cyber-exercise in which the scenario was a cyberterrorist attack that took down the power grid.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Indian Ambassador Frisked by TSA

File Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Indian government is fuming this week after its ambassador to Washington was subjected to a TSA pat-down at a Mississippi airport.

"This is unacceptable to India," said External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, according to the BBC. "We are going to take it up with the U.S. government, and I hope things could be resolved so that such unpleasant incidents do not recur."

According to the Indian embassy in Washington, Ambassador Meera Shankar was selected for secondary screening Dec. 4 at the Jackson-Evers International Airport, where she was catching a flight to Baltimore after attending a conference at Mississippi State University.

"The U.S. State Department has reached out to the ambassador and has regretted what had happened," Virander Paul, a spokesman for the Indian embassy, told ABC News.

Some reports have suggested that Ambassador Shankar was selected for the hands-on pat-down because she was wearing a sari, a traditional Indian wrap-around dress. On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration defended the actions of its officers.

"After a review of this passenger's screening experience, we determined that the TSA officers followed proper procedure," the TSA told ABC News.

The State Department said today that it only recently learned of the incident and had not received a formal complaint from the Indian government.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Pentagon Dismisses Reports of 34 Warships for Obama Trip Security

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon did not mince words in dismissing as “absolutely absurd” and “comical” media reports from Indian news outlets that the U.S. Navy was sending 34 warships off the coast of Mumbai as part of the security preparations for President Obama’s upcoming trip to India. 

The reports appeared in Indian media outlets, such as the Press Trust of India and the television network NDTV. The Press Trust of India is that country’s largest news agency.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters he was making an exception to the practice of not discussing Presidential security details in order to dismiss the reports.

“I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the president's trip to Asia,” said Morrell at Thursday's Pentagon briefing. “That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done."

He acknowledged that a presidential trip requiring security needs “should not come as a surprise to anyone” and that the Defense Department “does play a role in support of presidential missions.” He said it was customary to not discuss such security requests, but “I made an exception in batting down this absurd notion of there being 34 ships, or more than 10 percent of the Navy, deployed in support of this trip. That is most certainly not the case.”

The Indian media reports also say security for the presidential trip will cost $200 million a day.  Morrell “there's been a lot of creative writing that's been done on this trip over the last few days. I've seen other reports with some astronomical figures in terms of what it costs to take these trips. I don't know the cost. We don't speak to the cost.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was blunt in his characterization of the cost reports, saying “this trip doesn't cost $200 million a day.”  Gibbs would only say the costs were comparable to the costs incurred by Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton to the region.

A Navy spokesman confirmed that given the size of the Navy fleet, 34 warships tasked to security for the president would constitute 11.8 percent of the fleet.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio