Thursday, June 30, 2011

Militarily, China far ahead than India: Manmohan Singh

IANS 2011-06-29 23:30:00
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said China was 'far ahead' in its military strength but India was catching up with its limited resources.
'The Chinese are far ahead of us. They are building a blue water navy also. Aircraft carriers - they are acquiring,' Manmohan Singh in an interaction with a group of editors here.
He was asked about India's defence preparedness in the light of Chinese capabilities to which he replied the nation was modernising its armed forces.
'We have started the process. We are looking at the modernization of our armed forces, including the navy and the air force. For the first time in many many years, we have added two divisions to our army,' he said.
'So within the limits of our resources, - we are doing - much advanced air fields in the border areas. We are trying to strengthen the border roads. Also to see, that states on our border - our villagers have access to electricity using solar power. The effort is on,' said the prime minister.
He admitted that the defence expenditure as a percentage of the GDP has been falling from year to year.
'That is true. But quite frankly we have not restricted defence spending. No conscious decision has been taken to any fixed percentage. We are as a nation, prepared to live with a defence expenditure equal to three percent of our GDP.
'If the armed forces have a plan to raise their expenditure to that ceiling, the system will be able to tolerate it.'

Please read this critically.
Ponder over the words used by our worthy Prime Minister as regards Defence Preparedness and Expenditure...
"We have started the process. We are looking at the modernization of our armed forces, including the navy and the air force."
Comment: Thank God we have started the process and we are looking at it. WE ARE DECADES BEHIND MR. PRIME MINISTER!!! Keep looking while China keeps acting day in and day out.
He admitted that the defence expenditure as a percentage of the GDP has been falling from year to year.
'That is true. But quite frankly we have not restricted defence spending. No conscious decision has been taken to any fixed percentage.
The above statement regarding Defence Expenditure clearly shows the bureaucratic mind set of the Leadership. It is obvious that the Government is not concerned that the expenditure is insufficient. There seems no urgency to speed up matters when money is not a constraint.
God help us.
Harbhajan Singh
Lt Gen 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pak jihad against India

The Pakistani military and terrorists are united against this country, says Ramtanu Maitra.
Washington, 27 June 2011: The killing of Osama bin Laden may not seriously affect the ongoing war in Afghanistan, but it could hasten the professional demise of Pakistan's all-powerful army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

Reports leaking out of Pakistan indicate that the eleven corps commanders, in whose collective name the army chief crushes Pakistan's democratic forces from time to time, have turned against him because of his alleged cooperation with the United States.

While Washington is expressing a great deal of concern over this development, it is also relevant to evaluate what it means for India.

One leaked report coming out of Pakistan's highly-secretive security apparatus indicates that during a late-May meeting of the corps commanders with the army chief at Pakistan's National Defence University, one officer stood up after General Kayani's address and challenged his policy of cooperation with the United States.

The officer asked, "If they don't trust us, how can we trust them?" according to Shaukat Qadri, a retired army brigadier and former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute. Qadri, who is an avowed India-hater, says General Kayani essentially responded: "We can't."

Paranoia over US-India relations
Behind the anti-US upsurge within the Pakistani military, the shadow of US-India relations looms large. The jihadi faction of the Pakistan military was willing to play ball with the United States so long Washington remained indifferent to its relations with India.
But this has changed.
It has become evident to Rawalpindi (headquarters of the Pakistan army), in particular, that the United States has abandoned the old habit of formulating its policy on the subcontinent putting India and Pakistan in the same category.

Washington's growing economic relations with India and some agreement with New Delhi on regional strategic matters, for whatever reason, has long been a matter of discomfort to Islamabad.

Islamabad is aware that Washington has now firmly hyphenated Pakistan with Afghanistan, giving rise to "Af-Pak" diplomatic activities. According to Washington, both Afghanistan and Pakistan are nations in turmoil that have harbored and sheltered anti-US elements with the intent to hurt American interests.

The jihadi segment within the Pakistan military has also realized that the United States will not condone further Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks against India.

The US investigation of the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 2008 did not go down well with the Pakistan ISI.

In addition, the jihadi faction within the Pakistani military is now convinced that it was the United States that brought India into Afghanistan, allowing it to invest heavily to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans and to spy on the Pakistanis.

The recent visit to Afghanistan by Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, where he expressed his good wishes for Afghanistan's "process of national reconciliation," was read in Islamabad/ Rawalpindi as an Indian effort at the behest of Washington to open up channels for negotiations with the Taliban, Pakistan's alleged assets.

Manmohan Singh's declaration that Osama's death created a "new situation" further evidenced India's interest in helping shape a peaceful future in Afghanistan.

The jihadi faction of the Pakistani military, paranoid as it is, considers these Indian initiatives to have originated in Washington.

Jihadi military on the rise
Qadri's anecdote aside, what is also evident is that a large section of the Pakistani military, whose bread and butter has all along been to be virulently anti-India in order to stay in power and enjoy the benefits that flow with absolute authority, is becoming increasingly aligned to the terrorists and jihadis.

This has been evident over the years. But those who had doubts about the growing power of uniformed jihadis should take note of the 22 May attack on Pakistan's Mehran naval base.

That attack not only led to the death of 11 Pakistani navy officers and destruction of two highly-prized P-3C Orion aircraft supplied by the United States, but it made some of Pakistan's mainstream media scream that it was an assault on the state of Pakistan.

It is apparent that while the attackers were skilled terrorists, trained and armed in Pakistan under the watchful eyes of Pakistan's military, it was certainly Pakistani military personnel who opened the doors and windows to let their fellow officers be killed and aircraft destroyed.

This shows how much the jihadi military has gained ground in Pakistan and how ruthless it has become. This development, however, poses a greater future threat to India than to the distant United States.

In earlier decades, Washington's close relations with Pakistan were the cause of great uneasiness in India. That relationship was transactional by nature. Pakistan did the "dirty" work on behalf of the United States, and the Pakistan military got arms and cash in return.

In maintaining this relationship, one US president after another sacrificed the much-vaunted values of democracy and tolerated Pakistan's illicit nuclearisation and proliferation.

Because of the nature of the relationship, Washington also looked the other way when the Pakistani military, as part of its state policy, ran terrorists inside Kashmir to commit violence and challenge Indian security forces.

Pakistan Relations with India is Primarily Cricket and Bollywood

Dawn. Com 27 June 2011 By Kunwar Idris
AT a time when India is gathering laurels for its fast-growing economy and vibrant democracy and Pakistan is getting attention for its suicide bombers and nuclear weapons, thoughts go back to the fateful events of 65 years ago, which led to the emergence of the two countries as separate nation-states.

It all happened in the weeks and months after the Muslim League and Congress gave up their stubborn stands to agree to a constitutional arrangement which could be easily described as a confederation, though it was not so termed. The central government was to administer only three subjects — foreign affairs, defence and communications. The rest were left to the three zonal governments.

The visiting Cabinet Mission, led by Sir Stafford Cripps, had proposed to place the provinces in three groups: Group A was to comprise Bengal and Assam; group B Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and the North West Frontier; and group C the rest of the provinces.

The mission had proposed that at the end of 10 years the legislative assembly of each group by a majority vote could opt out of the confederation and form its own sovereign government. About Assam a special provision was made that if the assembly of group A (in which Assam was placed) voted to quit the confederation, the legislators belonging to Assam, by a majority vote, would have the option to join the provinces in group C.

Having agreed to the plan and after the mission had departed, Pandit Nehru (he had succeeded Abul Kalam Azad as Congress president soon after the agreement) announced that “the Congress was completely unfettered by agreements and free to meet all situations as they arise”. He went on to assert that “he, as president of Congress, had every intention of modifying it” (the Cabinet Mission’s agreed plan). He was particularly insistent on Assam’s right to quit group A and join group C straightaway without waiting for 10 years as the plan had envisaged.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad described Nehru’s statement as “a costly mistake” and the Quaid-i-Azam “treachery”. Reacting to Nehru’s interpretations, the Quaid also withdrew acceptance of the plan. When even Prime Minister Attlee’s personal last-minute intervention failed to save the plan, the way was paved for the partition of India and the subsequent division of Punjab and Bengal.

The purpose of recalling the events of 1946 summer is to highlight the fact that, Pandit Nehru’s mistake or treachery apart, if the leadership of the Muslim League had considered it possible, just a year before Partition, to coexist with India in a confederation, why can’t we now, as an independent state, coexist with India in a looser union without compromising our sovereignty — as in the case of the countries joining the EU and Asean?

As a sovereign state, Pakistan would not be handicapped, as the Muslim League was in 1946. It could withdraw from the union or confederation (whatever way it may be described) if it hurt Pakistan’s national interests or tended to impair its sovereignty.

If the two countries were unable to get along they could part company and would be no worse off. Pakistan, very likely, would be much better off if the ‘union’ (call it just a treaty, if you will) were to work and endure.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the chief, if not the only, cause of our political instability, economic backwardness, recurring wars and endemic violence has been confrontation with India. Kashmir would no longer be a hurdle to normality as the Kashmiris now ask for azadi and not accession to Pakistan. They haven’t exactly defined azadi but, seemingly, it falls short of full independence and seeks an end to oppression.

Pakistan’s raison d’être for maintaining a half-a-million-strong army and nuclear arsenal is lost if we don’t have to wage a war to liberate Kashmir. If the expenditure on defence was to be cut by half, perhaps, we wouldn’t be borrowing (except for development) or begging for aid from the US and balance-of-payment support from the IMF and could still spend twice as much on education, health and social services than we do presently.

On a different plane, India would not be fomenting unrest in Pakistan’s vulnerable borderlands which, we suspect, it habitually does. Thus, both politically and economically Pakistan has little to lose but much to gain by making friends with India. The only losers on both sides would be the religious extremists and the ideologues who exploit them.

Indonesia, with a Muslim population larger than Pakistan’s, is an example to quote. Its economy has boomed ever since it has reshaped its policies toward liberalism and regional cooperation. Turkey is another example to follow. It is Islamic but desperate to join the European Union (which is dominated by the Christians) only to improve the economic lot of its people.

Pakistan’s alliances even with the Islamic countries have remained moribund except for occasional Saudi doles.

Half a million Indians working in California’s Silicon Valley have helped India’s software companies grow and break into the US and world markets. The Indians on Wall Street have helped put their home country’s venture capital industry on a sound footing. By contrast, Pakistani industrialists and researchers, alike, have to prove they are not terrorists before they can enter America. Access to technology remains a distant cry.

A pact of peace and friendship with India will give us access to Bangalore’s technology. Currently, it is restricted to Bollywood films.
Relations with India

From Abbottabad to Worse

- Vanity Fair
Hating the United States— which funds Islamabad’s army and nuclear program to the humiliating tune of $3 billion a year—Pakistan takes its twisted, cowardly revenge by harboring the likes of the late Osama bin Laden. But the hypocrisy is mutual, and the shame should be shared.
By Christopher Hitchens•Illustration by Barry Blitt

July 2011 Salman Rushdie’s upsettingly brilliant psycho-profile of Pakistan, in his 1983 novel, Shame, rightly laid emphasis on the crucial part played by sexual repression in the Islamic republic. And that was before the Talibanization of Afghanistan, and of much of Pakistan, too. Let me try to summarize and update the situation like this: Here is a society where rape is not a crime. It is a punishment. Women can be sentenced to be raped, by tribal and religious kangaroo courts, if even a rumor of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk. In such an obscenely distorted context, the counterpart term to shame—which is the noble word “honor”—becomes most commonly associated with the word “killing.” Moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter.

If the most elemental of human instincts becomes warped in this bizarre manner, other morbid symptoms will disclose themselves as well. Thus, President Asif Ali Zardari cringes daily in front of the forces who openly murdered his wife, Benazir Bhutto, and who then contemptuously ordered the crime scene cleansed with fire hoses, as if to spit even on the pretense of an investigation. A man so lacking in pride—indeed lacking in manliness—will seek desperately to compensate in other ways. Swelling his puny chest even more, he promises to resist the mighty United States, and to defend Pakistan’s holy “sovereignty.” This puffery and posing might perhaps possess a rag of credibility if he and his fellow middlemen were not avidly ingesting $3 billion worth of American subsidies every year.

There’s absolutely no mystery to the “Why do they hate us?” question, at least as it arises in Pakistan. They hate us because they owe us, and are dependent upon us. The two main symbols of Pakistan’s pride—its army and its nuclear program—are wholly parasitic on American indulgence and patronage. But, as I wrote for Vanity Fair in late 2001, in a long report from this degraded country, that army and those nukes are intended to be reserved for war against the neighboring democracy of India. Our bought-and-paid-for pretense that they have any other true purpose has led to a rancid, resentful official hypocrisy, and to a state policy of revenge, large and petty, on the big, rich, dumb Americans who foot the bill.
Read More clcik here

The Dogs of War: Beloved Comrades in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — Marines were on a foot patrol last fall in the Taliban stronghold of Marja, Afghanistan, when they shot and killed a lethal threat: a local dog that made the mistake of attacking the Marines’ Labrador retriever.
Read more... click here

Hasina abandons secularism by Sanchita Bhattacharya
Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League, which had swept the last parliamentary election in Bangladesh on the promise of restoring secularism and democracy, are now eager to pander to Islamists and fanatics. Despite the Supreme Court restoring the secular credentials of Bangladesh’s 1972 Constitution, Sheikh Hasina wants Islam as the ‘State Religion’.
In a dramatic volte face, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, has declared that she wished to keep Islam as the ‘State Religion’. The announcement is in complete contrast to the ruling Awami League’s declared pro-secular approach. Sheikh Hasina, who also leads the AL, appears to be targeting the support of some radical Muslim formations in a replay of her last tenure, 1996-2001. The present posture suggests that the AL Government may increasingly incline to the use of Islam for political manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the Dhaka High Court, on June 8, asked the Government to explain the legality of its standpoint on the status of Islam as the ‘State Religion’.
Click here to read the full article

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cannot afford to match India militarily: Pak Defence Minister

A very pragmatic and brave statement.
Surely these are not his personal views but as enunciated by Gen Kayani, the Army Chief and Pak Corps Comanders.
Harbhajan Singh
Lt Gen

Cannot afford to match India militarily: Pak Defence Minister PTI
Islamabad: Pakistan cannot afford to match the induction of modern weaponry by India, which possibly has a greater capacity to sustain a war, Pakistani Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar has said.

“If we only try to match them (India) militarily and buy the sort of armament which they have, we will probably not be able to afford it,” Mr. Mukhtar said.

Explaining his contention, he noted that India’s economy is “six to seven times bigger than” Pakistan’s and its trade volumes were “five to six times greater.”

“The capacity of India and Pakistan to fight was for 20 to 22 days. Now India has inducted a lot of armaments, may be they can last for 45 days, we will not be able to do so,” Mr. Mukhtar said in an interview to BBC Urdu.

He was responding to a question on whether the projection of India as Pakistan’s greatest enemy was the root of the country’s problems.

Mr. Mukhtar noted that the two countries were taking steps to improve relations in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

“Slowly the process of meetings has started. People are going across the border. Nobody had ever thought they could walk suitcase in hand to Amritsar via Wagah but that is the reality now and it is happening,” he said.

This was happening, he said, “in spite of the fact that wars were fought, there were problems on the border and the Mumbai incident”.

Asked why an incident like the Mumbai attacks occurred whenever relations improved between the two countries, Mr. Mukhtar said: “It is very unfortunate that such incidents happen and they should not happen. But there are players who are behind these incidents.”

He did not give details about such elements but said some of them had been arrested and put on trial.

Matters would improve when “we decide that religion and politics should not be mixed together”, he said. “Let them go side by side. There should be no restrictions on religion which is between me and my God.”
The Hindu- Cannot afford to match India militarily: Pak Defence Minister

Should We Be Afraid of China's New Aircraft Carrier?


Six months ago, Gen. Liu Huaqing -- the father of China's modern navy and its commander from 1982 to 1988 (and, according to the state-run People's Daily, "a distinguished member of the CPC, a seasoned loyal Communist fighter, an outstanding proletarian revolutionist, politician and strategist, and an excellent leader of the Party, the state and the military") -- passed away. Liu sought to build China's navy first into a "green water" fleet and, eventually, into a full-fledged "blue water" navy capable of projecting power over vast distances. Key to realizing Liu's vision was an aircraft carrier, and Liu reportedly vowed: "I will not die with my eyes closed if I do not see a Chinese aircraft carrier in front of me."

While Liu may have died with his eyes open, they can close now. From the harbor at Dalian naval shipyard in northeast China, the first aircraft carrier of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will soon set sail for the first time. And much of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the Asia-watching strategic community in the United States, is hotly debating the implications of this move.

Adm. Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said in an April interview with Bloomberg that he is "not concerned" about China's first carrier going to sea, but allowed: "Based on the feedback that we received from our partners and allies in the Pacific, I think the change in perception by the region will be significant." Japan's Asahi Shimbun quotes a military source as stating: "We can see that China is spending a huge amount of its military budget for the construction of aircraft carriers.... With its naval power, China is seriously trying to counter the United States. This stance could lead to small-scale clashes and friction with U.S. forces or the [Japanese] Self-Defense Forces." Australian Brig. Gen. John Frewen contends, "The unintended consequences of Chinese carriers pose the greatest threat to regional harmony in the decades ahead." The Hindustan Times, citing a senior Indian naval officer, emphasizes that China's "first aircraft carrier ... will be more advanced than anything India has or plans to get."

There is much that the world still does not know about how China intends to use this emerging capability, so we should start with what we do know. The carrier Varyag was purchased from Ukraine in 1998 and brought to Dalian in 2002. In Dalian, the PLAN's shipbuilders have filled in the "guts" that the original hull was missing, including engines, generators, and defense systems. At 65,000 tons, the ex-Varyag is smaller than the 100,000-ton American Nimitz-class carriers. Instead of the catapult used by American carriers to launch planes into the air, China's new carrier features a "ski-jump" ramp to help aircraft take off.

These two data points generally indicate that China's first aircraft carrier will not be nearly as capable as its American cousins. Varyag's smaller size, and especially its ski-jump ramp, mean that it will not be able to deploy heavier planes that require the assistance of a catapult to take off. As heavier planes are required to collect information, coordinate operations, fly for long periods of time, or drop heavy ordnance, it seems that Varyag will primarily be used to extend the umbrella of Chinese air cover from its shores (as opposed to more general power projection, such as striking ground or naval targets, as conducted by American aircraft carriers).

In addition to its technical shortcomings, a single aircraft carrier is of very limited military utility. Even once testing is completed, the carrier will have to be in maintenance for several months out of the year. Additionally, China currently lacks the experienced naval aviators and sailors needed to operate a carrier successfully and safely.
Should We Be Afraid of China's New Aircraft Carrier?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The man who was behind the shutting down of a first LTTE-Ship

The man who was behind the shutting down of a first LTTE-Ship
Sri Lanka Guardian
‘Indo-Lanka: We have historical bonds going over millennia’

“What applies to India , Pakistan , Afghanistan , Bangladesh similarly applies to Srilanka –the source of LTTE’s funding was from Europe and UK based expatriates as well as other organizations . A policy to keep the pot boiling by extremist, fundamentalist groups and continue tensions and violence through fostering so called ethnic differences keeps us from a peaceful, harmonious society.” By Nilantha Ilangamuwa (October 12, 2010 Mumbai, Sri Lanka Guardian)
There is no need to tell much about who Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat is - a former chief of Naval staff ( India) and remarkable person who is well known on military, political and strategic relations commentary. Admiral Vishnu Bagawat is the person who hunted down the first ship which belonged to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. According to the press statement released by the former Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha in 1999 when Admiral Bagawat was sacked by the Government of India, “Admiral. Bhagwat had in 1994 done a "national service" by tracking down the vessel Ahat which was clandestinely bringing Krishnaswamy alias Kittu, the second most important LTTE leader, along with arms and narcotics, to India. So, he said, it needs to be probed if there was LTTE pressure on the minister to remove Bhagwat."

When I asked the reason behind this claim, the Admiral replied: “The short answer to your question is that one of the Ministers was closely associated with the LTTE, Narcotics and arms smuggling for them as well as into our North East.”

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat has openly shared his thoughts on the present political and military developments in Sri Lanka, India as well as Asia in general, with the Sri Lanka Guardian. Here is the full text of the interview:

Q. What are the current maritime security challenges in South Asia today? Is there any progress on training, join patrols, and join exercises?

A. Just as in 1991 when the political capitulation of the Soviet Union became an ‘inflexion point’ in the contemporary period of the historical process, and US Finance Capital and allied interests proclaimed the “Project for the New American Century’’ and the ‘New World Order’ ( following such discourses as the ‘End of History’ and ‘The Clash of Civilisations’) dominated by ‘unilateralist’ interventions , invasions , threats of war, including attack, occupation to capture / control the oil and strategic mineral resources for monopolistic exploitation by their MNCs under a predominant culture of global militarisation underpinned by more than 700 military bases , plans to completely take over the oceans and the seabed as well as Space-----2007-08 mark the beginning of the terminal decline of the Western Alliance system –and all trends indicate a rapid descent and the end of the Asian Security Architecture they had planned and dreamt of for integrating the periphery with the Center, also widely refered to as ‘Globalisation’, another code-word for neo- colonialism and neo-imperialism or accumulation of the surpluses and savings on a world scale . Today we are witnessing the resurgence of Asia- West , South , South-East and East economically , politically and, therefore, in this context its security perspectives . South Asia is no longer a region to be viewed in isolation and ‘disconnected’, in geo-political terms from West Asia or East-South East- Asia .

Freed from its imperialist or globalist lenses , South Asia, enjoying as it does a geographical location right at the center of the east-west oil arteries and trade routes , can and must play a vital role in ensuring the security of these sea lanes for the benefit of all ,posing a threat to none . The same applies to the choke points in the Gulf of Hormuz , Aden , Cape of Good Hope and the Malacca Straits (including the narrows of the Lakshdweep/Maldives and South Srilanka). This calls for mutual goodwill and reciprocity of economic relations between West Asia, South Asia, South East Asia and East Asia which would strengthen all and add to every one’s security, rather than foster mutual suspicions which is currently the order of the day as far as the Western media and other speculative reports are concerned .

Incidents of piracy whether in the Malacca Straits or off the Gulf of Aden / Somalian coast, much hyped in the media can be easily managed by low –profile measures (remembering that the history of piracy is sourced to England). Srilanka, India and the Indian Ocean littoral nations look forward to operationalistion of such a co-operative arrangement the dialogue for which was initiated in the New Delhi meeting of Heads of Navies of the littoral in recent months. I do not believe that extra –regional navies with their constant proposals for joint exercises and inter-operability banners help in peace and security in our region and neighborhood, when nations who are our immediate neighbors are under US- NATO occupation, daily bombings and threats of nuclear attack and war, all in gross violation of the UN Charter. India, despite the inclinations of its current dispensation in power has no ambition or basic national interest in working with any foreign power to formulate any joint plans for joint operations as has been demonstrated by a firm NO by the people to two Governments in Delhi, with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan and to the lobbies in support of US-Israeli planning for military action on Iran against a non-existent ‘nuclear’ Iran, proved to be a lie both by the IAEA and the NIEs of US Intelligence Agencies themselves in their October 1998 findings.

Q. How would you identify the concept of terrorism? What role has the West played in developing terrorism, especially in the light of their role in Afghanistan during the Soviet Occupation?

A. The New world order and the PNAC , such neo-con projects as ‘Pre-emptive’ unilateral Wars/ invasions and occupations need the camouflage or smoke-screen of Islamists terrorist creations like Osama bin Laden , Al Qaeda, all mythical para /pseudo agent-provacateurs in the service of US designed invasions/occupations. Brzezinski’s “The Grand Chessboard” and Robert Gates’ (former Director CIA) and currently US Defense Secretary’s book, ‘From the Shadows’, substantiate the setting up of the insurgent Mujahideen groups with the Pakistan ISI’s cooperation, at least six months ahead of the invitation to the Soviet Union for military assistance by the democratically elected Govt of Afghanistan, the MEK in Iran. Almost all the terrorist groups in India, past and present, in the North– East, LTTE, Khalistan (Sikh) insurgent groups in Punjab, various fundamentalist groups from amongst the majority and minority affiliations– all have been trained and funded (directly or covertly), in Europe, UK, US, Canada and advised by their agencies from time to time. Lately the Mossad has been playing a deep, covert game.

Q. Please comment on the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka. Who in your opinion is behind it? Why have we been unable to find out a sustainable solution during the last three decades?

A. What applies to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh similarly applies to Srilanka –the source of LTTE’s funding was from Europe and UK based expatriates as well as other organizations. A policy to keep the pot boiling by extremist, fundamentalist groups andcontinue tensions and violence through fostering so called ethnic differences keeps us from a peaceful, harmonious society. Susan George in her remarkable book ‘The Lugano Report” (1996-Pluto Press) describes the project for nurturing “Identity and Hate politics” as central to the furtherance of neo-liberal corporate globalisation in the ‘countries of the ‘Periphery’, for control and dominance by the Imperial Center. When governments work for the benefit only of the oligarchy and big– business ,abandoning the slow but steady welfare state concept and the social contract implicit in electoral democracies they must find diversions, and therefore discriminate against national minorities to start with, hence the opportunities and solutions for reconciliation and harmony recede replaced by a chauvinism which feeds on itself.

Q. In the past, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) provided training and arms to the Bangladeshi seperatists known as Mukti Bahini. The R&AW's aid was instrumental in Bangladesh gaining her independence from Pakistan in 1971. India has been also giving arms to opponents in Pakistan. Does it mean that India is playing a double game in the region of South Asia?

A. It would be recalled that Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s Party, the Awami League,won the majority in the elections in Pakistan, but he was not allowed to form a government and become the Prime Minister of Pakistan . Thereafter Pakistan unleashed a reign of terror and genocide in East Pakistan (East Bengal) which gave rise to the formation of the Mukti Bahini. India was also overwhelmed with 4 million refugees fleeing from East Pakistan into India. The Mukti Bahini’s was a People’s Army and the Indian armed forces went into Bangladesh after an unprovoked attack by the Pakistan Airforce on the evening of 3rd December 1971. It is the Mukti Bahini that defeated the Pak forces in Bangladesh as documented by Lawrence Lifshultz in his brilliant history of events “The Unfinished Revolution”. The Indian Armed Forces accepted the surrender of 90,000 Pakistani Army officers and soldiers , brought them to POW camps, saved them from massacre by the Mukti Bahini and fed them ,till they were generously repatriated after the Shimla Agreement march 1972. The rest is history . The role of R&AW, if any, was only marginal. As far as Pakistan is concerned India’s agencies have not been responsible for any arms supplies to any groups inside Pakistan. Other foreign agencies are playing dubious games.

Q. India gave arms and training to Sri Lankan Tamil military groups in the early 80s, but never supported separation in Sri Lanka. Why?

A. That was integral to India’s policy which fortunately still continues in tact.

Q. There is no doubt the Government of India has given their full strength to eliminate the Tamil Tigers in the final battle which ended last May. Meanwhile some security analysts claim that the present Government has failed over the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. Others say India is more concerned about economic benefits than humanitarian issues in the Island nation. What do you think about the present political and security developments in both countries?

A. I have tried to summarise the political and security developments in Srilanka and India in response to your first two questions, they have also been analysed in the article,”The Storm Sweeping South Asia“, by Niloufer Bhagwat published recently in your esteemed daily.

Q. I would like to know your experiences on counter-terrorism in India and more generally South Asia in your military career as a security officer.

A. This would require an expansive response. Very briefly ‘counter intelligence’ is the sanctum sanctorum of Intelligence agencies in pursuing counter terrorism and they must never allow entry of foreign intelligence personnel into CI, no matter how much their influence over the political apparatus of the State . If this happens the State and the government are subverted and suborned, leading to loss of sovereignty and even civil war. Our experience with terrorist outfits overall in the North –East, the South (DMK initially was separatist), in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir is that political dialogue /negotiations, democratic elections, delegating administrative powers and a certain level of autonomy, development, dignity and respect as equal citizens of the country, removal of genuine grievances, respecting local customs, traditions and cultures is absolutely vital to enhance unity and integration of erstwhile separatist and terrorist groups . Trying a military solution is no solution at all in the long run for achieving stability and progress as a united people. Religion or ethnic origins do not form the basis of a modern nation state. Common interests, a just and fair society woven by historical bonds is the basis for harmonious, happy peoples.

Q. Could you please explain to us the importance of espionage networks for counter terrorism within South Asia and the governments and military?

A. Espionage networks or the intelligence apparatus of the State is an essential element of a sovereign state because the security of the country is underpinned by its information on the moves and plans of its adversaries, both state and non-state actors. Hence, the most important and vital need is to protect the integrity of the personnel staffing these agencies , because if they get subverted and the agencies themselves get infiltrated, the State’s vital and key institutions get hollowed out, slowly but surely.

Q. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced that the government of Tamil Nadu wants to offer citizenship to about 100,000 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka who have been living in the State for years. He said he had already submitted a request to that effect to the central government in New Delhi. Even Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said that the Centre would consider a proposal by the TN Government to grant Indian citizenship to all Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in the state. Meanwhile some state politicians have been against the proposal. What comments do you have on this issue?

A. I have no comments about your information regarding Chief Minister of Tamilnadu’s proposals to the Home Minister as I do not know of this.

Q. What advice do you have for our military, Tamil politicians, and the people of Sri Lanka?

A. I am not competent to advise the SL military, Tamil politicians or the people of Srilanka. We have historical bonds going over millennia. India’s security and well being are bound with Srilanka and if I may say so , so is Srilanka’s, as it is always so with neighbours In fact one famous strategic thinker some centuries ago described Srilanka as the ‘Center’ of the Indian sub-continent in the maritime context.
The man who was behind the shutting down of a first LTTE-Ship

Pak not capable of keeping n-arms safe: top nuclear physicist

Indian Express 27 Jun 2007 by Shubhajit Roy
Tag: Pervez A Hoodbhoy, Quaid-e-Azam University
Posted: Mon Jun 27 2011, 03:24 hrs
Pakistan’s establishment lacks the ability to keep its nuclear weapons safe, says one of the country’s top nuclear experts, pointing out that the weapons are guarded by personnel of the Pakistan Army which has been infiltrated for decades by radical elements.

Pervez A Hoodbhoy, who teaches nuclear physics at Islamabad’s government-run Quaid-e-Azam University, spoke to The Indian Express in Islamabad. His comments came amid growing concerns on the safety of nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

“It doesn’t matter whether Pakistan’s chief of army staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani swears on the Quran that he will make sure that nuclear weapons will be safe. The question is, does he have the power to do that?” said Hoodbhoy, 60, who has a PhD from MIT.

“It seems to me that the Pakistan Army is playing with fire. It knows that these nuclear weapons are ultimately in the hands of their own people and their own people have been affected by decades of radicalisation. They may claim that they have personnel reliability tests, but I don’t believe that answering questions on a form may indicate his intentions,” he said.

He dismissed Pakistan Interior (Home) Minister Rehman Malik’s recent assertion that the country’s nukes are 200 per cent safe. “Now Rehman Malik must be a genius to have come up with the figure of 200 per cent. How he arrives at that we have no idea, but that is what the Pakistan military wants us to believe and to unquestionably accept that the nuclear weapons have been provided security in Pakistan…which, personally I don’t believe,” he said.
“So to come up with wild figures, I don’t believe there is source of any reassurance to the people of Pakistan or to the thinking people. We have seen the infiltration of radicals into the ranks of the Army. Very recently, a brigadier and four majors have been arrested. And our brigadiers are in charge of missile regiments too. So where things could go, I don’t know.”

He said that the Pakistan establishment is in a “state of denial” in spite of the fact that there have been repeated attacks on the headquarters of the Army and the ISI.

The repeated assertion in Pakistan, he said, is that nuclear weapons have so many layers of security that it would be impossible to penetrate them. “But this is something that the world obviously questions,” he said, adding that the reason is no matter how many technical precautions you take, “ultimately, it is the people who handle the nuclear weapons, just as the people are responsible for the defence of the Army, Air Force and Navy bases”.

He referred to the recent attack on the Pakistan Navy airbase in Mehran, where a handful of people were “so well-informed by the insiders” that they managed to keep defenders at bay for over 18 hours, and destroyed two of Pakistan’s most valuable aircraft.

“So the worry that something similar may happen with the nuclear weapons crosses everybody’s mind… therefore, even if the strategic plans division says everything is fine, that does not reassure everybody.”

He said India and Pakistan “are locked in an arms race”, adding, “Pakistan is building as many nuclear weapons as it can. They have very little utility... they provide a cover under which (there is) yet another spurt of nuclear weapons production.”

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hegemony with Chinese Characteristics

From the July-Aug 2011 issue | Aaron L. Friedberg | June 21, 2011
THE UNITED States and the People’s Republic of China are locked in a quiet but increasingly intense struggle for power and influence, not only in Asia, but around the world. And in spite of what many earnest and well-intentioned commentators seem to believe, the nascent Sino-American rivalry is not merely the result of misperceptions or mistaken policies; it is driven instead by forces that are deeply rooted in the shifting structure of the international system and in the very different domestic political regimes of the two Pacific powers.

Throughout history, relations between dominant and rising states have been uneasy—and often violent. Established powers tend to regard themselves as the defenders of an international order that they helped to create and from which they continue to benefit; rising powers feel constrained, even cheated, by the status quo and struggle against it to take what they think is rightfully theirs. Indeed, this story line, with its Shakespearean overtones of youth and age, vigor and decline, is among the oldest in recorded history. As far back as the fifth century BC the great Greek historian Thucydides began his study of the Peloponnesian War with the deceptively simple observation that the war’s deepest, truest cause was “the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.”

The fact that the U.S.-China relationship is competitive, then, is simply no surprise. But these countries are not just any two great powers: Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been the richest and most powerful nation in the world; China is, by contrast, the state whose capabilities have been growing most rapidly. America is still “number one,” but China is fast gaining ground. The stakes are about as high as they can get, and the potential for conflict particularly fraught.

At least insofar as the dominant powers are concerned, rising states tend to be troublemakers. As a nation’s capabilities grow, its leaders generally define their interests more expansively and seek a greater degree of influence over what is going on around them. This means that those in ascendance typically attempt not only to secure their borders but also to reach out beyond them, taking steps to ensure access to markets, materials and transportation routes; to protect their citizens far from home; to defend their foreign friends and allies; to promulgate their religious or ideological beliefs; and, in general, to have what they consider to be their rightful say in the affairs of their region and of the wider world.

As they begin to assert themselves, ascendant states typically feel impelled to challenge territorial boundaries, international institutions and hierarchies of prestige that were put in place when they were still relatively weak. Like Japan in the late nineteenth century, or Germany at the turn of the twentieth, rising powers want their place in the sun. This, of course, is what brings them into conflict with the established great powers—the so-called status quo states—who are the architects, principal beneficiaries and main defenders of any existing international system.

The resulting clash of interests between the two sides has seldom been resolved peacefully. Recognizing the growing threat to their position, dominant powers (or a coalition of status quo states) have occasionally tried to attack and destroy a competitor before it can grow strong enough to become a threat. Others—hoping to avoid war—have taken the opposite approach: attempting to appease potential challengers, they look for ways to satisfy their demands and ambitions and seek to incorporate them peacefully into the existing international order.

Lokpal and defence procurements Need for reforms at different levels

Saturday, June 25, 2011, Chandigarh, India The Tribune by N.S. Sisodia
IN recent weeks, the Lokpal Bill has dominated public discourse. There seems to be a naïve belief that a strong Lokpal will root out all corruption. However, a law to establish a Lokpal is unlikely to be more effective than the existing laws to prohibit dowry or untouchability. To make a significant dent on the all-pervasive malaise of corruption, reforms will be needed at different levels of governance and in different sectors, particularly those prone to corruption.

One sector needing special attention is defence. John Githongo, Kenya’s former Permanent Secretary for governance, has called defence “the last refuge of grand corruption”. Fortunately, over the past few years, the defence sector in India has remained untainted by any major scandal. But the world over defence is rated as the most corruption-prone of all international businesses. According to Transparency International’s (T.I’s) Bribery Payers’ Index, defence has the dubious distinction of ranking among the top three most corrupt sectors, along with oil, construction and engineering.

A US Department of Commerce report asserts that the defence sector alone accounts for 50 per cent of all graft allegations. Experts estimate that bribes amount to nearly 15 percent of expenditure on arms acquisition. Hence, ministries of defence can never afford to be complacent. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in his recent address to the top brass of the Army and Air Force, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had cautioned them about “the danger of falling prey to corrupt practices perpetrated by vested interests in the garb of aggressive marketing” and urged them to “stand guard with resolve against any such overtures”.

Corruption in defence hurts the nation’s vitals. It makes defence more costly and diverts scarce resources from development. Corrupt practices dramatically impact operational effectiveness and in turn the credibility of the defence forces. Corruption scandals erode public trust, create insecurity and demoralise the armed forces.

National security is treated as sacrosanct. Why is then defence so corruption prone? Transparency International offers some answers. First, defence contracts are large, technically complex and extremely difficult to comprehend fully. Understanding technical specifications of highly sophisticated equipment like a modern-day multi-role aircraft can be a daunting task. Technical specifications are more specific in defence than in other sectors and hence vulnerable to manipulation. Second, defence contracts involve huge sums of money with all their attendant risks. All transactions are carried out under a cloak of secrecy, on the ground of national security. However, secrecy works more in favour of companies and officials rather than public interest. Third, the task of developing technology-intensive weapon systems requires huge investment in research and development over a number of years. The arms export market is highly restrictive in nature. The supply side of the market is controlled by government and multilateral export regimes. On the demand side is generally the government or a government agency. The nature of the market is such that the equilibrium of demand and supply is hardly ever achieved. Most sellers are desperate to recover their huge investments and profiteer, whenever an opportunity arises. This desperation leads to unscrupulous practices. Fourth, the use of agents and middlemen in defence business is widespread; they flourish despite all types of bans. Agents act as the conduits for bribes. Information about agents is, therefore, treated as commercially sensitive. Fifth, because of the very nature of defence business, there are only a handful of suppliers. This situation leads to lack of competition. An analysis of the available data shows that more than 50 per cent purchases in defence are from a single source, making price discovery a complex task.

Finally, offsets, which are additional investments made by suppliers over and above their sales, are a large and unregulated area, which pose a special challenge in terms of transparency. Economists see offsets as highly problematic and inefficient. The World Trade Orgranisation has banned offsets in other sectors, but the practice of offsets in defence transactions is common. In India too, offsets are now a mandatory requirement in large contracts. Assessing a fair value of offsets from the preferred supplier is never easy.

Can an effective Lokpal make defence corruption-free? The answer is obviously no. But such an institution can help the process of investigation and prosecution of the corrupt. This has to be done in a manner that it does not hamper decision-making for defence procurements, which is already painfully slow. What can then be done to deal with corruption in defence? One major area needing reform is the formulation of technical specifications or ‘Qualitative Requirements’. Either on account of inadequate technical knowledge and data or due to deliberate design, these are often worked out in such a manner that only a couple of vendors or sometimes just a single vendor can meet them. This practice virtually eliminates competition and renders price — negotiations an infructuous exercise.

Unless qualitative requirements are designed broadly, by specialists, with a view to consciously encouraging competition, defence transactions will remain vulnerable to corrupt practices. According to an International Monetary Fund paper on the subject, “The natural policy prescription to attack corruption in military spending/procurement should be to introduce competition and reduce patronage at the level of officials receiving bribes”. This calls for greater transparency regarding defence requirements. Sharing of information regarding future defence requirements, however sanitized, is essential for providing prospective vendors leads for the future.

Defence budgets are often approved by parliaments without detailed scrutiny. Disclosure of costs and expenditures associated with defence purchases and stricter parliamentary oversight can help promote greater transparency. In the process of reforming procurement procedures, defence suppliers should be fully engaged through a consultative process. While agents and middlemen are banned in India, if in actual practice they continue to operate, it is better to disclose their identities, payments and terms of their contracts. Offsets should be subjected to rigorous standards and supervision. They should also be fully disclosed to enhance transparency and facilitate monitoring.

No one should be under an illusion that the Lokpal law alone can effectively fight corruption. Equally vital will be the role of systemic reforms which prevent opportunities and incentives for corruption.
The writer is Director-General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
Lokpal and defence procurements Need for reforms at different levels by N.S. Sisodia

India averse to inking military pacts with U.S.

The Hindu NEW DELHI, June 23, 2011 by Sandeep Dikshit
Washington upset after Boeing and Lockheed Martin knocked out of race for combat aircraft.
As the dust over rejection of two U.S. companies from the Rs. 11,000-crore Indian Air Force tender for fighter aircraft settles, official sources said the United States would also have to reconcile with India's unwillingness to sign three military pacts.
The U.S. was extremely upset after Boeing and Lockheed Martin were knocked out of the race for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).
The issue figured in the May 9 conversation between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama after the U.S. Embassy contended that the evaluation was not transparent.
The final report listed some qualitative requirements not met by the U.S. companies. But Washington claimed that these deficiencies were not mentioned in the initial report.
However, India has been unwavering in backing the evaluation of some 600 qualitative requirements of the six fighters in contention.
While the U.S. was denied a strategic foothold in the IAF's offensive capabilities segment, it could face continued stonewalling with respect to three military pacts — Logistics Sharing Agreement (LSA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).
The Indian attitude a month ahead of the strategic dialogue between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to keep the issue away from the main agenda.
No hidden objective
The U.S. argues that there is no hidden aim behind the LSA. It is an inter-bank type of clearing arrangement — there will be periodical settlement of accounts for the use of each other's facilities.
For instance, Indian naval ships have had 45 refuellings from the U.S. ships in the Gulf of Aden. Under the LSA, payments need not be made each time. The expenses could be adjusted against the money owed to India if U.S. ships came calling here.
But the Indian leadership feels that the LSA will give the impression of a strategic agreement with the Pentagon in military operations.
After the Defence-Secretary level Defence Policy Group (DPG) meeting in Washington earlier this year, both sides agreed to work towards a more “mature arrangement.'' But there was no “question of a blanket agreement,'' said the official sources.
India confronts a technical issue in signing the CISMOA, though officials feel it sounds heavier than it is. They also feel that interoperability, as argued by the U.S., need not be dependent on signing the CISMOA.
The communication will be encrypted and no other algorithm can be used on the system. During joint exercises, U.S. personnel sit on Indian ships with their own equipment.
But on aircraft there is no space for two or three different kinds of equipment.
The Navy and the Air Force have said they had no problems either way but politically this remains a sensitive issue though officials say it is not as heavy as it sounds.
India also has reservations on the third military agreement sought by the U.S. — BECA. The U.S. says the pact will enable C-130 and C-17 planes to fly close to the ground.
This entails installation of ground sensors, which none in the security establishment, except the Defence Research & Development Organisation is keen on.
India averse to inking military pacts with U.S.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nehru's Non Alignment Movement Collapses after demise of the Soviet Union

Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong
And why it matters today in a new age of revolution.
Every revolution is a surprise. Still, the latest Russian Revolution must be counted among the greatest of surprises. In the years leading up to 1991, virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it one-party dictatorship, the state-owned economy, and the Kremlin's control over its domestic and Eastern European empires. Neither, with one exception, did Soviet dissidents nor, judging by their memoirs, future revolutionaries themselves. When Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in March 1985, none of his contemporaries anticipated a revolutionary crisis. Although there were disagreements over the size and depth of the Soviet system's problems, no one thought them to be life-threatening, at least not anytime soon.
Whence such strangely universal shortsightedness? The failure of Western experts to anticipate the Soviet Union's collapse may in part be attributed to a sort of historical revisionism -- call it anti-anti-communism -- that tended to exaggerate the Soviet regime's stability and legitimacy. Yet others who could hardly be considered soft on communism were just as puzzled by its demise. One of the architects of the U.S. strategy in the Cold War, George Kennan, wrote that, in reviewing the entire "history of international affairs in the modern era," he found it "hard to think of any event more strange and startling, and at first glance inexplicable, than the sudden and total disintegration and disappearance … of the great power known successively as the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union." Richard Pipes, perhaps the leading American historian of Russia as well as an advisor to U.S. President Ronald Reagan, called the revolution "unexpected." A collection of essays about the Soviet Union's demise in a special 1993 issue of the conservative National Interest magazine was titled "The Strange Death of Soviet Communism."
Were it easier to understand, this collective lapse in judgment could have been safely consigned to a mental file containing other oddities and caprices of the social sciences, and then forgotten. Yet even today, at a 20-year remove, the assumption that the Soviet Union would continue in its current state, or at most that it would eventually begin a long, drawn-out decline, seems just as rational a conclusion.

Indeed, the Soviet Union in 1985 possessed much of the same natural and human resources that it had 10 years before. Certainly, the standard of living was much lower than in most of Eastern Europe, let alone the West. Shortages, food rationing, long lines in stores, and acute poverty were endemic. But the Soviet Union had known far greater calamities and coped without sacrificing an iota of the state's grip on society and economy, much less surrendering it.
Nor did any key parameter of economic performance prior to 1985 point to a rapidly advancing disaster. From 1981 to 1985 the growth of the country's GDP, though slowing down compared with the 1960s and 1970s, averaged 1.9 percent a year. The same lackadaisical but hardly catastrophic pattern continued through 1989. Budget deficits, which since the French Revolution have been considered among the prominent portents of a coming revolutionary crisis, equaled less than 2 percent of GDP in 1985. Although growing rapidly, the gap remained under 9 percent through 1989 -- a size most economists would find quite manageable.
The sharp drop in oil prices, from $66 a barrel in 1980 to $20 a barrel in 1986 (in 2000 prices) certainly was a heavy blow to Soviet finances. Still, adjusted for inflation, oil was more expensive in the world markets in 1985 than in 1972, and only one-third lower than throughout the 1970s. And at the same time, Soviet incomes increased more than 2 percent in 1985, and inflation-adjusted wages continued to rise in the next five years through 1990 at an average of over 7 percent.
Yes, the stagnation was obvious and worrisome. But as Wesleyan University professor Peter Rutland has pointed out, "Chronic ailments, after all, are not necessarily fatal." Even the leading student of the revolution's economic causes, Anders Åslund, notes that from 1985 to 1987, the situation "was not at all dramatic."
click to read the other 4 pages

For Pakistan, India-US ties a zero sum game: Clinton

24 Jun, 2011, 10.38AM IST,IANS
For Pakistan, India-US ties a zero sum game: Clinton
WASHINGTON: While "working very hard" on its strategic partnership with India, the US faces a problem with Pakistan, which looks at itself through the prism of India, according to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton .

"I think we have to recognise that the overriding strategic framework in which Pakistan thinks of itself is its relationship with India," she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday during a hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Every time we make a move toward improving our relationship with India... the Pakistanis find that creates a lot of cognitive dissonance," Clinton said noting, "So are you our friend or are you their friend? It's all a zero-sum game to them (Pakistanis)."

Pakistan, she said "wants to be sure that whatever happens in Afghanistan will not affect its strategic interests. ...So it has in the past invested in a certain amount of instability in Afghanistan" as it also does not want Afghanistan to become a satellite of India.

" India and Afghanistan have a historical affinity. And historically, Afghanistan has supported elements within Afghanistan, which Pakistan has seen as inimical to its own interests," she said.

"So if Pakistan could be assured that what would be left would be favourable to and even, in their view, subservient to Pakistani interests, that would be fine with them," Clinton said.

But "the Indians aren't going to sit around and accept that. The Uzbeks and the Tajiks are not going to sit around and just accept that".

The top US diplomat said Washington "was working very hard on our strategic partnership with India", which looks at Pakistan and "believes that their continuing support for elements of insurgency against India in Kashmir and across the border into India proper makes it very difficult for them to know what path to choose".

However, Clinton said, she was encouraged by the cricket diplomacy between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani and the resumption of talks that had broken off in 2008.

"And we have certainly urged both sides to go as far as they could to build more confidence and to try to be able to develop an atmosphere of greater cooperation," she said.

For Pakistan, India-US ties a zero sum game: Clinton

For Pakistan, time to try India as a friend

For Pakistan, time to try India as a friend By Adnan Rehmat | DAWN.COM
June 20, 2011 (4 days ago)

A cricket fan gets his face painted with the colors of the Pakistan and Indian national flags ahead of the ICC World Cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan, in Gauhati, India, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. – AP Photo/File.
Is Pakistan set to implode in its exasperating persistence to define itself in only security terms vis-à-vis India as did the Soviet Union with the United States in a nuclear-shadowed Cold War that lasted 40 years, a numbing fear that consumed three generations, but ended in a barren inevitability 20 years ago of the former collapsing into 13 new countries?
It seems more likely than not, given the few signs that a fundamental rethink in underway in Pakistan in determining what it stands for rather than what it doesn’t stand for, which passes for its schizophrenic identity.
Two specific WikiLeaks cables published in Dawn in recent weeks reveal more than just what is already known about Pakistan’s paranoid obsession with India and the authorship and control of the policy of paranoia by the military establishment. In the first, President Asif Zardari, the commander-in-chief of Pakistan’s armed forces, counters the suggestion of Senator John Kerry that New Delhi is interested in pursuing peace with Islamabad by arguing that India has five times more tanks than Pakistan and that these are Pakistan-specific because the Sino-India border terrain cannot support a tank battle. In the second cable, severe civil-military tensions are revealed over access to and control of American aid flows to Pakistan with the army insisting for, and getting, direct aid and refusing to share details with the elected government even during drafting of the annual budgets.
The oversimplification of the link between military prowess and bilateral relationship – no doubt handed to Zardari in briefings from the military leadership – is disturbing. If Pakistan has to match India tank to tank, plane to plane, soldier to soldier, frigate to frigate and missile to missile before making peace, then it’s a lost battle in perpetuity. If matching military might was the precondition to peace then the world would have been blown up 200 times over because the unending Indo-Pak tensions and Indo-Pak like wars would have been replicated on every shared national border on the planet. What use was there to acquire super-expensive nuclear capability if it didn’t solve the problem of imbalance in conventional military capability? No two nuclear powers have fought a conventional war. Tensions are one thing but war is another. So why still sacrifice national prosperity at the cost of national dignity, as Army chief General Kayani said days after Osama bin Laden was taken out.
The farcical civil-military equation in Pakistan that has kept political forces emaciated and socio-cultural progress stunted is insulting enough it itself but for the military to have its cake (of American aid) all these decades and eat it too is going too far for even weak states. The military is twice richer and the elected governments twice the poorer when it comes to foreign aid. America has been Pakistan’s biggest civilian and military aid provider. In the last 10 years alone it has received over $21 billion in American aid. General Kayani and his corps commanders may have gingerly offered recently that the US military aid to Pakistan may be diverted for civilian development spending but it is neither here nor there since it managed to prevail on the government to secure the highest ever defense budget in the country’s history this year (over Rs500 billion).
Tellingly, seven of the last 10 years have been ruled by the military. So they have ended up getting $17 billion of this aid, whether military or ‘civilian’ (the “uniformed” Musharraf had a ‘civilian prime minister’). The civilian government – in place for the last three years only – has received barely $3 billion but the bulk of this too has gone to the military and spent on fighting a war on terror. No wonder there is nearly a trillion-rupee budget deficit crippling Pakistan at the joints – this is why the economy is tanking, social development is at a standstill and unemployment, starvation and poverty are soaring according to the government’s own statistics. Pakistan is fighting a war with its own proxies who also take money and dictation from al Qaeda.
The two WikiLeaks cables on Pakistan’s security obsession with India and the skewed civil-military equation are at the root of Pakistan’s sorry state. The deficit of trust between Washington and Islamabad that is so wide that despite being allies the former had to invade Pakistan militarily to eliminate bin Laden has thrown up for public debate – and pressure on the military – the need to define “sovereignty”, the concept that the military has traditionally used to reinforce its stranglehold over the national polity.
The military early on crafted a national security doctrine that helped it manufacture a national security state (as opposed to a national welfare state). This is based on the supposed “clear and continuing” danger from India to unravel Pakistan. The doctrine extrapolates that this “perpetual threat” is a projection of India’s supposed “capacity” to hurt Pakistan rather than its intention to make peace.
The problem with this contention is that India may have the same stance on Pakistan, which means this is a formula for an unending arms race and not a remedy to war, which should be state’s priority. India’s ruling elites may have been averse to the idea of Pakistan and hostile to the new country in the early decades but it follows that after the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan and their testing in 1998, the deterrent has demolished any existential threat to Pakistan from India. The Lahore summit between the popularly elected civilian governments of both countries (Sharif’s in Islamabad and Vajpayee’s in New Delhi) within a year of the nuclear tests was an affirmation of this new reality. So why no let-up in the paranoia even 15 years down the line?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Great Expectations: Indo-French Defence Relations

The shortlisting of the French Rafale and the Eurofighter as the two final contenders for the $10 billion MMRCA deal puts a renewed spotlight on Indo-French defense cooperation, particularly as the US aircraft have been excluded. The comprehensive and impartial technical evaluation of the competing aircraft attests to the high quality of the French-made fighter. It is unclear which aircraft will win eventually, but it is clear that India has opted for the European option.

India’s long experience with French aircraft has been positive. It is widely acknowledged that the Mirage 2000 with the Indian Air Force have rendered excellent service, proving their reliability and high levels of serviceability. They performed effectively during the 1999 Kargil intrusion. It has decided to retain the 52 Mirage aircraft in service for a couple of decades more by comprehensively upgrading them and equipping them with new missiles. The $2.5 billion contract, after arduous negotiations over cost and legal issues with the suppliers and the French government, is now on the verge of conclusion.

Were the Rafale to bag the 126 aircraft deal eventually, that coupled with the Mirage upgrade project will mean a dramatic expansion of the size and scope of Indo-French defense relationship in the years ahead. The $10 billion MMRCA deal will build a relationship lasting 40 years, during which upgrades and supply of spare parts etc will add several billion dollars more to its value. The offset obligations - 50% for the MMRCA- should entail big investments in India’s defense sector, contributing, hopefully, to creating a sorely needed indigenous manufacturing capacity.

Indo-French defense ties have a long history. India made sizable purchases in the 1950s, including 71 Ouragan aircraft, 110 Mystere fighters, 164 AMX 13 tanks, 12 Alize anti-submarine aircraft, 50 air to surface missiles and several thousand anti-tank misiles. The 1960s saw a deal to produce under licence 330 Alouette helicopters, with the last one delivered in 2003.

Lookheed's 21st Century Fighter

07 June 2011 Digital Dave
These are Great In-flight Photos Of the FA-22- click me as the first Aircraft Delivery was being made to Langley AFB in Va. Langley is to be the first Operational AFB for the FA-22. It is A very beautiful AFB, located in a Picturesque location, as you can see In these photos, near Norfolk and Hampton, Va.

The Aircraft flying along with the FA-22 in the last of these photos is The F-15, which will be replaced by The FA-22 which is several times better. In Actual In-flight (simulated) Combat operations against the F-15, Two FA-22s were able to operate without detection while they went head to head against (8) F-15s. The FA-22s scored Missile Hits (Kills) against all the F-15 Aircraft and the FA-22s were never detected by either the F-15s or Ground Based radar. Maj. Gen. Rick Lewis said: 'The Raptor Operated Against all adversaries with virtual impunity; Ground Based Systems Couldn't Engage and NO Adversary Aircraft Survived'!

FA-22 -- America 's Most Advanced fighter Aircraft for the 21st Century! They're a titanium and carbon fiber dagger. They're so advanced that if their on-board locator is switched off even our own satellites can lose track of them. They're the first military aircraft ever built that is equipped with a 'black-out button'. What that means is this: The best conditioned fighter pilots are capable of maintaining consciousness up to in the vicinity of 15+ G. The raptor is capable of making 22+ G turns.. If someday an adversary builds a missile that is capable of catching up to one of these airplanes and a Raptor pilot sees that a strike is imminent, he hits the 'b.o.b.' and the airplane makes a virtual U-turn, leaving the missile to pass right on by. They know that in the process he will temporarily lose consciousness, so the Raptor then automatically comes back to straight and level flight until he wakes back up.
Click here to view the photos
click here to view the video clip of the 21st Century Fighter

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spies, Lies and Terrorists

May 5, 2011 Pakistan: Public Enemy Number One
Spies, Lies and Terrorists In (Not Much) Disguise

Ralph Peters

Pakistan has done the impossible: It’s bumped Saudi Arabia from the top slot as America’s number-one enemy. Al Qaeda is, at most, sixth or seventh on the list, a symptom, not a cause. Without Saudi money and Pakistani protection, al Qaeda would be about as relevant as VHS cassettes. Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) and its military leadership have managed to hide Osama bin Laden since he fled Tora Bora; continue to harbor and support the leadership of the Afghan Taliban; collude with the savage Haqqani terror network; and nurture a range of anti-Indian terror organizations the ISI created. Iran plays in the terrorist bush leagues compared to our Pakistani “ally.”
Meanwhile, Washington continues to do the implausible: Kid itself that Pakistan, the world’s leading terror sponsor and haven, will ultimately reform and give up its vast investments in terrorism if only we send more money to Islamabad. One administration after another in D.C. convinces itself that we can break a junkie’s heroin habit by providing the addict with an endless supply of heroin.

There is no way that Osama bin Laden could have lived in an eyesore mega-compound in the shadow of multiple military installations in a key garrison town without anyone in the Pakistani security establishment knowing who was living there. On the contrary, the compound appears to have been custom built for bin Laden as a gilded cage: The deal would have been that the key insider Pakistani generals (who run the ISI, as well as the military) would protect him and allow him to continue to provide al Qaeda with strategic direction through couriers—but bin Laden would have to play by ISI rules, keeping them informed about his orders to his terrorists; remaining within the compound; and, essentially, staying on ice until the Pakistanis felt they could unleash him to their advantage. Meanwhile, an alive but undetected bin Laden guaranteed that billions in military and civilian aid programs would continue to flow from the USA to Pakistan. For the men who really run Pakistan, whether or not the military is formally in power, this was the perfect self-licking ice-cream cone.

Now the Pakistanis have been caught out with their salwar-khameez trousers around their ankles. And Washington, which has been oh so shocked by this massive betrayal, appears determined to help the Pakistanis get those trousers back up around their national waist as soon as possible. Yeah, we’re “demanding” explanations. But we’ll accept any Pakistani lies that allow this “important relationship” to go forward.

After all, the entire relationship with Pakistan has been built on lies and our enthusiastic self-delusion. The most recent whopper was the administration’s claim that the SEALs destroyed the helicopter that suffered mechanical problems so the top-secret technologies on board “wouldn’t fall into the hands of al Qaeda.” That’s pure bull. The al Qaeda thugs on that compound were dead or had become prisoners. We destroyed our helicopter—thoroughly—because we didn’t want the Pakistanis to grab the assorted black boxes, communication devices and night-flying avionics. We knew the Pakistanis would share anything they got with their real friends, the Chinese.

What do you do with an “ally” that hides your most-wanted enemy from you; actively helps kill your troops in Afghanistan; uses terrorists to attack the world’s largest democracy (India); tries to convince the Afghan government you’ve erected to boot you out and line up with Beijing, instead; and views terror as an essential tool of strategy and statecraft? Washington’s answer is to send billions more in aid.

Even as I write, the State Department and various members of Congress solemnly warn that cutting off aid to Pakistan could have dire results.

Really? Exactly how could this relationship get any worse? They were hiding Osama bin Laden from us, for Heaven’s sake.

The Pakistanis do have one practical hold over us: Idiotically, our Afghan strategy relies heavily on extended supply lines through Pakistan to support our troops. This is, and long has been, absolutely nuts. But you want it bad, you get it bad.

And bloated blusterers whine that “Pakistan has nuclear weapons! What if they fall into the hands of terrorists?” As if the current government in Islamabad would miss the right chance…

In the short term, if our special-operations forces can pull off a brilliant black op deep inside a hostile country such as Pakistan once, we can do it again. And again. And next time there could be devastating air cover at the ready, in case Pakistan’s punk military gets any ideas.

But that’s short-term operational stuff. We need to deal in imaginative strategies. And the clear way to cope with Pakistan’s nukes comes down to one word: “India.” Instead of supporting a nut-case, treacherous, Islamist-infiltrated regime that helps kill our troops, we should cut all aid—and all ties—with Pakistan. We need to remove most (not all) of our troops from the brainless boondoggle in Afghanistan anyway (the only reason any U.S. service member should stay in Afghanistan is to keep killing terrorists in Pakistan—forget trying to break the death-grip of extremist Islam by teaching Afghan villagers better hygiene). We should not have one more soldier or system in Afghanistan than we can resupply or evacuate by air in an emergency (crazily, our back-up supply lines run through Russia—yeah, we’re strategic geniuses, all right). Then we should close our consulates in Pakistan and the embassy in Islamabad. Treat Pakistan as exactly what it is: A lawless rogue state.

Pakistan's Perpetual Biases to Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Terrorists

The long sulk by Ayaz Amir Friday, June 17, 2011
Corps commanders? Our guardians seem more like cry commanders these days, wearing their anger and hurt on their sleeves and refusing to come out of the sulk into which they went after Abbottabad... a place destined from now on to be less associated with Major Abbott and more with that warrior of Islam from whose parting kick we have yet to recover, Osama bin Laden.

True, May has been a cruel month for the army and Pakistan, with troubles coming not in single spies but entire battalions: the Mehran attack, Frontier Corps marksmanship in Quetta, Sindh Rangers zeal in Karachi, and the death by torture of the journalist Saleem Shahzad... this last bearing all the hallmarks of insanity tipping over the edge.

Which raw nerves had his reporting touched? Who could have kidnapped him on a stretch of road probably the securest in Islamabad? Mossad, RAW, the CIA, the Taliban? Definite proof we don’t have but circumstances point in an uncomfortable direction. If this is another conspiracy against Pakistan we ourselves have written its script.

Still, since when was sulking an answer to anything? It may suit kids and pretty girls but it makes an army command look silly, especially one prone to take itself so seriously.

Terseness should be a quality of military writing: that and precision. The rambling nature of the statement issued after last week’s corps commanders’ conference is likely to leave one baffled. It rails against the “perceptual biases” of elements out to drive a wedge between the army and the nation; contains such bromides as the need for national unity; and in part reads like a thesis on Pak-US relations, which it should not have been for the corps commanders to delineate in public.

The army has “perceptual biases” of its own. It should keep them to itself.

The National Defence University, one of the biggest white elephants in a city dedicated to this species, seems to be an idea ahead of its time. Pakistani generals putting on intellectual airs is no laughing matter. Half our troubles can be traced to ‘intellectual’ generals.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Disintegration of Pakistan

Pakistan caught in British-Saudi plan to dismember country by Ramtanu Maitra 19 Jun 2011
The ongoing disintegration of Pakistan is not just a matter of penetration of the military and intelligence services by forces friendly to the Taliban, but is the direct result of British-Saudi collusion—with the help of US-based co-conspirators—to partition the country into a potpourri of ethnic entities. Let us review the deteriorating security situation over the past weeks:
The May 22 raid by militants into Pakistan’s Mehran Naval Base is an indicator that the country’s security has become merely notional, and that Pakistan is under attack from within by a formidable foe. The daring raid by six alleged militants, two of whom are still at large, included a rampage through the base, destroying two highly prized Orion PC-3 multi-role naval planes and killing at least 11 Naval officers. It took Pakistani security forces 16 hours to end the raid, killing four security personnel. Seventeen foreigners inside the base, including 11 Chinese technicians, were unhurt.
The attack is similar to a raid in October 2009, in which Taliban militants laid siege to the Army headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, killing dozens. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a militant group that was formed in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan to spearhead operations against the Pakistani military in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the raid. Pakistani officials claim that both the Mehran Naval Base and the 2009 attack were coordinated by the TTP and an al-Qaeda leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, a Britain-linked terrorist.
While Pakistan’s security is breached almost every day throughout the country, the Mehran Naval Base attack is considered more than an exercise by the militants to flex their muscles, but a serious attempt to hurt the country and convey the message that they have their accomplices throughout Pakistan’s security and military apparatus.
One analyst pointed out that the fact that such raids continue to take place, and that the security forces and intelligence agencies continue to be taken by surprise, should add to the concerns of the international community regarding the physical security of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. There could be people inside them who are sympathizers of al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and who would facilitate an act of terrorism involving the use of nuclear material seized from such establishments.
US Drone Attacks
There are now regular attacks into Pakistan from across the border by the insurgents in Afghanistan, and by US drone attacks from the air, aimed at eliminating militant leaders operating in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border. Many of the American targets are TTP and other Pakistani militant groups, while the Afghan insurgents have set the Pakistani military as their target. For instance, on June 9, more than 100 militants stormed a security checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight soldiers, officials said. The attack happened near the town of Makeen in the tribal district of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. The area has seen a surge in missile strikes by US drones in recent days.
These drone attacks may have eliminated a number of terrorists, or suspected terrorists, but they have also provoked an intense animosity between the Pakistani military and the local people. The US government, led by the CIA’s Special Activities Division, has been carrying out drone attacks since 2004. Islamabad publicly condemns these attacks, but has secretly shared intelligence with the Americans, and also allegedly allowed the drones to operate from Shamsi Airfield in Pakistan until April 21, 2011, when 150 Americans left the base.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Fights to Keep His Job

Pakistan’s Chief of Army Fights to Keep His Job By JANE PERLEZ Published: June 15, 2011
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s army chief, the most powerful man in the country, is fighting to save his position in the face of seething anger from top generals and junior officers since the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to Pakistani officials and people who have met the chief in recent weeks.

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who has led the army since 2007, faces such intense discontent over what is seen as his cozy relationship with the United States that a colonels’ coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question, said a well-informed Pakistani who has seen the general in recent weeks, as well as an American military official involved with Pakistan for many years.

The Pakistani Army is essentially run by consensus among 11 top commanders, known as the Corps Commanders, and almost all of them, if not all, were demanding that General Kayani get much tougher with the Americans, even edging toward a break, Pakistanis who follow the army closely said.

Washington, with its own hard line against Pakistan, had pushed General Kayani into a defensive crouch, along with his troops, and if the general was pushed out, the United States would face a more uncompromising anti-American army chief, the Pakistani said.

To repair the reputation of the army, and to ensure his own survival, General Kayani made an extraordinary tour of more than a dozen garrisons, mess halls and other institutions in the six weeks since the May 2 raid that killed Bin Laden. His goal was to rally support among his rank-and-file troops, who are almost uniformly anti-American, according to participants and people briefed on the sessions.

During a long session in late May at the National Defense University, the premier academy in Islamabad, the capital, one officer got up after General Kayani’s address and challenged his policy of cooperation with the United States. The officer asked, “If they don’t trust us, how can we trust them?” according to Shaukaut Qadri, a retired army brigadier who was briefed on the session. General Kayani essentially responded, “We can’t,” Mr. Qadri said.

In response to pressure from his troops, Pakistani and American officials said, General Kayani had already become a more obstinate partner, standing ever more firm with each high-level American delegation that has visited since the raid to try and rescue the shattered American-Pakistani relationship.

In a prominent example of the new Pakistani intransigence, The New York Times reported Tuesday that, according to American officials, Pakistan’s spy agency had arrested five Pakistani informants who helped the Central Intelligence Agency before the Bin Laden raid. The officials said one of them is a doctor who has served as a major in the Pakistani Army. In a statement on Wednesday, a Pakistani military spokesman called the story “false” and said no army officer had been detained. Over all, Pakistani and American officials said, the relationship was now more competitive and combative than cooperative.

General Kayani told the director of the C.I.A., Leon E. Panetta, during a visit here last weekend that Pakistan would not accede to his request for independent operations by the agency, Pakistani and American officials said.

A long statement after the regular monthly meeting of the 11 corps commanders last week illuminated the mounting hostility toward the United States, even as it remains the army’s biggest patron, supplying at least $2 billion a year in aid.

The statement, aimed at rebuilding support within the army and among the public, said that American training in Pakistan had only ever been minimal, and had now ended. “It needs to be clarified that the army had never accepted any training assistance from the United States except for training on the newly inducted weapons and some training assistance for the Frontier Corps only,” a reference to paramilitary troops in the northwest tribal areas, the statement said.

The statement said that the C.I.A.-run drone attacks against militants in the tribal areas “were not acceptable under any circumstances.”

Allowing the drones to continue to operate from Pakistan was “politically unsustainable,” said the well-informed Pakistani who met with General Kayani recently. As part of his survival mechanism, General Kayani could well order the Americans to stop the drone program completely, the Pakistani said.
A version of this article appeared in print on June 16, 2011, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: PAKISTAN’S CHIEF OF ARMY FIGHTS TO KEEP HIS JOB...
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Fights to Keep His Job

Mythbusting: Soldiers-to-civilians ratio in Kashmir

Pragmatic Euphony- A fact check.
We have all heard this often, and even taken it as gospel truth. “The Indian troops-to-Kashmiri people ratio in the occupied Kashmir is the largest ever soldiers-to-civilians ratio in the world.” “Kashmir is the ‘most heavily militarized zone’ in the world.” “There is an Indian soldier for every ten civilians in Kashmir.”

These myths are based on many erroneous premises. Let us start with the police. The total sanctioned strength of Jammu and Kashmir police, including the civil police and the armed police, is 68,125. Based on the actual strength of the police in 2009 and the population of the state as per 2001 census, the police-to-population ratio comes to 683 per 100,000 people. As per 2009 data, the national average for the police-to-population ratio is 133, while the UN mandated figure is 250-300. Considering the violence experienced in the state during the last two decades, the existing police-to-population ratio is not abnormally high.

Next come the paramilitary forces. As per this statement by the Union minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs, Planning and Science and Technology, Ashwani Kumar, there are 86,260 people from the central forces deployed in the complete state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1989, before the insurgency started, there were 28,782 central armed forces troopers deployed in the state.

Finally the army. The official figures of the army men deployed in the state is not available but in 2007, the army authorities had reportedly stated that there are 3,37,000 soldiers deployed within the geographical boundaries of the state. Leave alone the fact that at least 3o,000 soldiers have since moved out of the state, the deployment of soldiers needs to placed in the right context.

Barring the Rashtriya Rifles, which is a specialist counterinsurgency paramilitary force manned by the army, all the Indian army units are deployed on the Line of Control, Actual Ground Position Line (both with Pakistan) and the Line of Actual Control (with China). Even the Rashtriya Rifles are mainly deployed in the semi-urban and rural areas of Kashmir. There are a total of 65 Rashtriya Rifles battalion in the state, and at an estimated average of 1,000 soldiers per unit, this would lead to 65,000 Rashtriya Rifles troopers in the state.

So the actual strength of security force personnel dealing with the people in the state is nowhere near the figure of 7,00,000 which is usually floated in the media. Barring the 2,20,000 policemen, paramilitary troopers and Rashtriya Rifles soldiers deployed among the population, the rest of the army soldiers shall continue to be deployed on the LoC, AGPL and LAC irrespective of the internal security situation in the state. Even among the 2,20,000 troopers, a fair share of the police force would still be required to maintain the law and order in the state which has a population of 1,25,48,926 as per the 2011 census.

Meanwhile, let us get another fact out of the way. These deployments are for the complete state, and not just for the Kashmir Valley. For example, the Rashtriya Rifles units are deployed as Counter Insurgency Force (CIF)- R in Rajouri and Poonch, CIF-D in Doda, CIF-V in Anantnag, Pulwama and Badgam, CIF-K in Kupwara, Baramulla and Srinagar, and CIF-U in Udhampur and Banihal. Kashmir Valley, or the Vale of Kashmir, forms just 7 percent of the area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (for details of area in J&K, see this post). Because of the high density of population in the Valley, as compared to other mountainous regions of the state, and the increased threat of militancy and civil disturbance (as witnessed in 2010) in urban areas of the Valley, an impression is created in the minds of many visitors to the state capital that the complete state is over-militarised and teeming with gun-toting soldiers at every nook and corner. The facts are actually to the contrary.

Should there be less intrusive security in the urban areas of Srinagar? Yes, definitely. But that will take time to happen. The security forces were not raised and moved into Kashmir on the whim and fancy of the Indian government. They were deployed to control and defeat the violent insurgency in the state which has been actively promoted and supported by Pakistan since 1989. As the level of violence comes down and the threat of organised stone-pelting reduces, the behaviour of the security forces will also change. This is precisely what happened in the neighbouring state of Punjab in the late 1990s once the militancy was completely defeated by the security forces. In fact, some steps towards less intrusive security in Srinagar have already been initiated last year and this year when a number of paramilitary bunkers were removed from residential areas of the state capital. As peace and normality returns to the state, this move will gain further pace in the weeks and months to come.

The myth of Kashmir having the “largest ever soldiers-to-civilians ratio in the world” has persisted far too long without being challenged. This myth has been used not only in the Western media but has also gained currency in the writings of many Indian commentators. It is high time this myth is demolished and buried once for all. For as John F. Kennedy said: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”
Mythbusting: Soldiers-to-civilians ratio in Kashmir