Friday, April 29, 2011

Fast Trains to China's Periphery


Sunday, April 24, 2011
In my book, Born in Sin, I consecrated a chapter to the "New Roads" built by China in the 1950's to link different parts of its territory. I wrote:
Soon after the PLA entered Lhasa, the Chinese made plans to improve communications and built new roads on a war-footing. The only way to consolidate and ‘unify’ the Empire was to construct a large network of roads. The work began immediately after the arrival of the first young Chinese soldiers in Lhasa. Priority was given to motorable roads: the Chamdo-Lhasa , the Qinghai-Lhasa and the Tibet-Xinjiang Highway (later known as the Aksai Chin) in the western Tibet. The first surveys were done at the end of 1951 and construction began in 1952.
We already discovered that the construction of one of the feeder roads leading to Nathu-la, the border pass between Sikkim and Tibet had some strange consequences. India began feeding the Chinese road workers in Tibet, sending tons of rice through this route. John Lall, posted in Gangtok, witnessed long caravans of mules leaving for Tibet.
The official report of the 1962 China War prepared by the Indian Ministry of Defense gives a few examples showing that the construction of the road cutting across Indian soil on the Aksai Chin plateau of Ladakh was known to the Indian ministries of Defense and External Affairs long before it was made public.
Fifty years later, Beijing has extended the scope of its strategic vision. Beijing's influence now reaches 'China's periphery' as this article published by Jamestown Foundation and Asian Times shows. But it is not through roads anymore, but with railway lines.
I have often written about this worrying development, particularly about the most strategic railway lines (at least for India), the Qinghai-Tibet line which will branch to Xinjiang during the 12th Five-Year Plan.
China's neighbours should meet to discuss a true strategic partnership to counter the rise of China.
Fast Trains to China's Periphery: click here to read more

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The man on the horseback

The Asian Age 13 Apr 2011
During the controversy over the Joint Parliamentary Committee in Parliament, Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee stated on February 21, 2011, “Parliament cannot be mortgaged to the conceding of a demand”, warning that if “hatred for the parliamentary institution was generated, it will lead to the rise of extra-constitutional authority as in the neighbouring country in 1958 when martial law was declared”. It is indeed surprising that 63 years after Independence, and in spite of the Indian Army’s proven apolitical record, a senior and experienced political leader should fear a military coup. No responsible leader in the West would express such a fear, even though the UK had a Cromwell and France a Napoleon.

Supremacy of the civil over the military is an imperative for a functioning democracy. Even in colonial India, the Viceroy, representing civil authority, was supreme. The Curzon-Kitchener dispute did not question this. It was related to organisational matters and functioning procedures. Till Independence, the Commander-in-Chief in India also held political authority in his additional capacity as War Member and senior member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Thus, in a way, he was both the Defence Minister and the deputy Prime Minister. The Defence Secretary was his subordinate. Till 1920, this appointment was held by a major general, but thereafter a civil servant started holding this office. Before Independence, the role of the Defence Secretary was limited to issuing government letters, as worked out by military officers with military finance, answering questions in the Central Legislative Assembly, interacting with other ministries and provincial governments, and looking after Defence lands. He hardly had any say in decisions pertaining to military matters. After Independence, a radical change took place. The Defence Minister now controlled the Defence Services and the Defence Secretary, as his staff officer, became a key functionary. The civil service lobby tried to get a higher protocol status for the Defence Secretary than the Service Chiefs on the analogy of other ministries in which departmental heads are subordinated to their concerned secretary. Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, torpedoed this and the Service Chiefs retained their higher status vis-√†-vis the Defence Secretary. This continues to be so but the latter has acquired a higher functional status. Service Chiefs have to put up papers to the Defence Minister through the Defence Secretary. In 1962, when the appointment of Cabinet Secretary was introduced, a higher protocol status was accorded to him than the Service Chiefs. As secretary-general in the 1940, Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai did not have this high status. When General Manekshaw was promoted Field Marshal, a unique ceremonial rank, his protocol status was kept lower than the Cabinet Secretary. No wonder, the funeral of the military leader, under whom we achieved the greatest victory of Indian arms of the last millenniym, was a tame affair. The Government of India was represented by a minister of state at his funeral. The funeral of the Duke of Wellington was not only attended by the head of state and head of government of his country, but of several European countries. The colonial pattern of administration, in which the generalist civil servant exercises authority over the specialist professional, obtains in ministries of Government of India like health, home, transport, agriculture and so on. This pattern was now introduced in the Defence Ministry. The Railway Ministry has been an exception. The Railway Board, comprising specialists, interacts directly with the minister. This is like the service councils in Defence ministries of democracies in the West. In our higher Defence Organisation, the civilian bureaucrat has a complete stranglehold. The supremacy of the civil has come to mean the supremacy of the civil servant.

As per our Constitution, the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces is the President, like the US President is the Commander-in-Chief of American Defence Forces. In 1955, our Commanders-in-Chief were designated Chiefs of Staff. This has been a misnomer as they continue to function as before. They are separate entities from the ministry. They cannot take any governmental decisions nor do they have direct functional access to the minister. The committee system introduced after Independence at the instance of Lord Ismay, the great expert on higher Defence organisation, provided for participation of Defence officers in decision-making. This has been gradually scuttled. The Defence Services have been increasingly isolated from the process of decision-making in military matters. In 1962, Jawaharlal Nehru, on his way to Sri Lanka, told the press that he had ordered the Army to throw out the Chinese from the Himalayas. The Army Chief was reduced to asking a joint secretary in the Defence Ministry to give him that order in writing. The latter promptly obliged. The rest is history. This incident shows that the Army Chief had not been consulted before that grave decision was taken. After the 1962 war, I was sent on battlefield tour from the Staff College to formulate our training doctrine on mountain warfare. I came to the conclusion that our debacle in the Himalayas was largely due to our faulty higher Defence Organisation.

The reports of several parliamentary committees urging organisational reforms were ignored. On March 25, 1955, addressing Parliament about designating the Service Chiefs as Chiefs of Staff, Nehru stated that Service Headquarters will be integrated with the ministry of defence and gradually the council system will be introduced. The civil bureaucracy has been much too entrenched in seats of power to allow this to happen. After the Kargil war, the Kargil Review Committee set up a working group on Defence under former union Minister of state for Defence Arun Singh. He requested me for a draft on our higher Defence Organisation. I was then governor of Assam. I made out a draft recommending introduction of the appointment of Chief of Defence Staff and integration of Services Headquarters with the Defence Ministry. My draft and recommendations were incorporated by him in his report. The Group of Ministers approved these recommendations but the entrenched bureaucracy derailed them. A headless Integrated Defence Staff without a Chief of Defence Staff was set up, defeating its very purpose. A meaningless cosmetic integration of Services Headquarters with the MoD has been carried out. The civilian bureaucracy has been playing on the fears of the political leadership of the man on horseback, and with the latter’s lack of knowledge and interest in matters military, has managed to have its way. Our national interests and Defence functioning continue to suffer. The Defence Services receive step-motherly treatment. India is the only country in the world without a Chief of Defence Staff or equivalent and with a MoD working on a “we and they” syndrome, rather than an “us” outlook. This gravely undermines our Defence preparedness and our ability to face the current very serious national security challenges.
Veteran Lt Gen SK Sinha, was Vice-Chief of Army Staff and has served as Governor of Assam and Jammu & Kashmir
THE MAN ON HORSEBACK by Veteran Lt Gen SK Sinha

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Future Battlefield Communications- American Perspective

A satellite-based communications systems for combat vehicles
Lighter, smaller, mobile and more efficient are the waves of future battlefield communications. A satellite-based communications systems for combat vehicles is essential. The technology of tomorrow's battlefield should form basis of aquistion activities. Evaluation of satellite- based Mounted Battle Command on-the-move systems that will provide broadband communications to a battlefield commander using lighter, smaller, and less expensive vehicle- mounted technologies should engage the Communication Commanders commencing from top down to Unit Commnders. The task is to link several of these vehicles using satellites, so that distance and physical obstacles are no longer issues between two points. In this environment, commanders will be able to create multiple communication links between the commander, subordinate commanders and staff elements anywhere in the theatre of operations. The electronics are more technically complex because the miniaturized components must be crafted to withstand the severities of a harsh combat environment.

Significance
Recent lessons learned in the Global War on Terrorism heightened the significance of Mobile communications. This is important because we learned during Operation Iraqi Freedom that modern battlefield movements quickly outpace the reach of current communications capabilities. This posed a significant command and control challenge between units that were up in front and those that were in the rear, as well as units that were to the left and the right in a vastly dispersed battlespace. Added to this in this desert environment, there were either terrain obstacles or immense distance that precluded line-of-sight communication. What we learned is that to compensate for that inability you have to be able to hit a satellite so that it can relay your signal to a distant location. Of course satellite communications has limitations like rain, foliage, urban buildup as well as the normal laws of physics that must be addressed. These are areas of concern. What is needed is modeling and simulation capabilities. This allows to experiment, test and analyze communications traffic at a reduced cost to the Army. Additional capabilities include spectrum analysis, software programming, and code and model validation and verification. Introduction of new technology may result in a reduction in manpower but a corresponding increased dependency on automation.
The future experimentation evolves out of the fact that reliance on automation may require changes in organizations, doctrine, and procedures.
For example, how are the ways to interact with 20 to 30 miles away. Earlier a courier was sent or resort to telephone conversation after dropping a cable and establishing relay stations from sender to receiver.

Enemy will disrupt comms
Today, given continuous clandestine enemy activities, suicide bombers and those kinds of things, a physical cable creates a target; the enemy is just going to cut the line to disrupt our comms. Also, to guard it, you must have force protection which requires you to take Soldiers from the fight to guard the cable. However, today, signal units can establish radio communications in the form of WiFi, WiMax, laser, satellite, and normal line-of-sight signal waves. These technologies affect the manning of organizations to include required skill sets. While improvements and enhancements to systems often result in increased capabilities, there is always a need for new procedures to accommodate the new technologies. These are the kinds of issues to be considered for the future.

Network Operations Security Center and Simulation Environment
Another mission area is the Network Operations Security Center and Simulation Environment. This network allows for the conduct of force-on-force simulations across a distributed environment. Four or five major simulation exercises are conducted each year over the network. Also operating is a group orchestrating information assurance and network security. These individuals travel throughout the country to insure that every point that connects to the classified network- the equipment and personnel- are well versed in the security of the network. The final aspect addresses live experimentation. This group evaluates commercially-available technology for possible insertion into the force to satisfy an operational needs statement.

The technology is proven and in the market
The technology is proven and in the market. Testing comparable products of multiple vendors so as to provide the acquisition agency the data needed to compare a technology or a vendor so that an informed decision can be made. The evaluation team acquires prototypes and sample hardware such as new antennae and modem systems from industry partners. They are evaluated to determine whether the specifications described in advertisements can really be met by the hardware when placed in an operational environment. Provide feedback to the vendors who have been extremely receptive to making changes to software and subtle changes to hardware to improve the performance. Design and test regimes will examine the performance of the components and the complete systems under a number of different operational scenarios.

Acquisition
Testing the system on a Humvee in urban and rural areas where the signal could be blocked by buildings or trees is valuable. By testing new systems and modifications to encryption and existing systems, will provide the acquisition directorate information that will help them make decisions about the future technology to be delivered. The goal is to deliver a broadband satellite communication system that can be used in a highly mobile mode to give situational awareness to a commander.
Extracts Courtesy: Future Battlefield Communications

No Reason For India To Align With West On Its Pet Causes

Shri Kanwal Sibal, Member Advisory Board, VIF
We should be politically clear-sighted about our supposed “international obligations” as a rising global power. We are accused at times of being “free-loaders” who benefit from the global system without assuming sufficient responsibility for maintaining it. Now that India is rising as a global power we are expected to share the burden of maintaining a stable and peaceful international environment that allows global trade, investment and prosperity to spread accompanied by an expansion of human freedoms and democracy.
When President Obama perorated before Indian parliamentarians in November last year that with increased power comes increased responsibility, the allusion was to a vocal western complaint that countries like India are more comfortable being “fence-sitters” on vital international issues, letting the West bear the burden of addressing them, and profiting from the benefits that flow to the international community as a whole.
India is therefore expected to take costly decisions not immediately in India’s narrowly defined national interest, but necessary for upholding certain basic values that should govern the functioning of the international system, such as human rights, democracy, non-proliferation, open markets and the like.
The underlying thought is that India must demonstrate its commitment to uphold the existing international order developed by the West, with such improvements or changes as western countries would willingly or grudgingly concede to accommodate new realities, in return for a stronger global consensus around the core structures. We are expected to conduct ourselves as responsible “stake-holders” in the global enterprise whose board membership we have begun to claim.
The basis of such thinking is questionable. Too often adopting balanced positions that eschew partisanship can be viewed as “fence-sitting”. So can hesitation to violate the sovereignty of countries or support ouster of distasteful regimes through use of force by a coalition of the willing. A reluctance to endorse controversial doctrines such as those of “humanitarian intervention” or the “right to protection”, which become more controversial when applied selectively, can also be criticized as shirking of responsibility. Those wanting India to subscribe to their approach and policies may find its wish to make independent judgments as symptomatic of a tendency to play safe, choose low-cost options and escape “responsibility”.
Countries base their policies on an understanding of their own national interest or the larger interest of the alliance to which they belong, keeping also in mind the instruments at their disposal to achieve their ends. In the practical world of foreign relations policies are not governed by abstract principles, even if, for gaining greater international legitimacy, the pursuit of national interest is often cloaked in the garb of some higher principle or cause.
India need not feel overly pressed by external calls to demonstrate its eligibility for a higher international status by joining in advancing certain “principles” of global governance, as these “principles” are not observed uniformly and are discarded when they come into open conflict with national interest.
International law, treaty obligations or the UN Charter can, of course, provide the basis for countries to assume their individual “responsibility” for the functioning of the international order, but beyond that the guiding principle has to be congruence of national interest. Those who expect India to bear a higher burden for maintaining the existing international system with its distortions and new stresses because of novel doctrines espoused by dominant western powers, assume a degree of congruence that does not as yet exist.
India cannot overlook critical areas in which sufficient rapprochement of Indian and western interests is yet to occur. The existing international system, established in 1945, hasn’t given us a satisfactory place in it as yet in strategic terms, whether it is the UN Security Council or the international financial institutions. We have been subject to decades of sanctions in the areas of nuclear energy, space and dual technologies, and while nuclear restrictions have been eased meaningfully, and some forward movement is occurring in the other two, attitudes towards us in these fields remain ambivalent. The global non-proliferation regime has progressively acquired NPT-plus structures, making it difficult for us, as a non-NPT signatory, to align ourselves fully with all initiatives undertaken under its mantle.
Western policies in our neighbourhood remain seriously problematic for us. The US is unwilling or unable to deal firmly with Pakistan’s highly destabilizing conduct in the region. Despite historical experience and the all too clear state of disarray in a military dominated Pakistan, it continues to arm the country, contrary to the objective of encouraging democracy there, lessening the political role of the armed forces and reducing tensions with India.
Pakistan’s glaring complicity with terror is being treated as a negotiating chip in the western end-game in Afghanistan. Strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation with India is important, and concern about India’s reaction to another Mumbai- like attack with links to Pakistan may be understandable, but the solution lies elsewhere, that in reading the riot act to the Pakistan government not only on attacks from its soil against homeland USA but also against India.
Democratic India would, of course, welcome the spread of pluralism and democracy world wide. A more democratic global order should in principle be a more peaceful one. But for us democracy is a choice, not a prescription. We don’t feel any responsibility to impose it by force on others, or lecture them on its virtues. Why should we be expected to back intrusive policies to bring about democratic change in select countries that the West views with antagonism when those friendly to it are spared such pressure? If such distinctions are made in function of larger national interests, India should have the latitude to make them too.
If the West’s energy calculus requires some authoritarian Sunni states to be treated with tolerance, why should India’s energy interests not require it to protect its long term interests in a major Shia country? Why should the disruptive nuclear aspirations of this country hostile to the West be more reprehensible than the clandestine acquisition of nuclear weapon technology by a “major non-NATO ally” like Pakistan, and the continuing expansion of its nuclear capabilities with dubious external support against which western protests are muted? This is not to be polemical but to underline why with all the welcome improvement of our relations with the West, the cogs in the wheels of our respective foreign policies are not firmly interlocking as yet.
India’s position on anti-colonial struggles, apartheid, nuclear disarmament, the discriminatory NPT, the global development agenda, a balanced Doha Round outcome, an improved defence and security relationship with the US while protecting traditional ties, a dynamic Look East policy, improved relations with Japan, growing economic ties with China while hedging politically and militarily against its threatening rise, the combat against international terrorism, commitment to Afghanistan, handling Pakistan, absorbing pressure on Iran, deepening ties with the Gulf countries, expanding our footprint in Africa, participation in non-western groupings involving Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa, cannot be characterized as fence-sitting. The West should discard its prejudices against “nonalignment” when appraising the rationale of India’s policies.
We share the core value of democracy with the West, but democracy does not mean falling in line; it means making willing adjustments in pursuit of shared interests.
The writer is a former Foreign Secretary
No Reason For India To Align With West On Its Pet Causes

Monday, April 11, 2011

India quietly begins combat drone project

Rajat Pandit, TNN | Apr 11, 2011, 01.23am IST
NEW DELHI: India is quietly going ahead with an ambitious programme to develop its own stealth UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) or 'smart' drones capable of firing missiles and bombs at enemy targets with precision.
Talking about the secretive AURA (autonomous unmanned research aircraft) programme for the first time, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) told TOI that the aim is to develop the UCAVs for IAF in seven to eight years.
"With Rs 50 crore as seed money, a full-fledged project team with 15-18 scientists has already begun work on the UCAV's preliminary design and technology. With on-board mission computers, data links, fire control radars, identification of friend or foe, and traffic collision avoidance systems, they will be highly intelligent drones," DRDO's chief controller R&D (aeronautics) Dr Prahlada said.
"Capable of flying at altitudes of 30,000 feet and weighing less than 15 tonnes, the UCAVs will have rail-launching for the missiles, bombs and PGMs (precision-guided munitions) they will carry," he added.
The realisation that UCAVs are "game-changers in modern-day warfare" has been reinforced by the successful use of American 'Predator' and 'Reaper' drones, armed with Hellfire and other missiles, against the Taliban in the Af-Pak region.
"But unlike Predators, which are like aircraft, our UCAVs will be more of 'a flying-wing' in design. This will ensure they have a low radar cross-section to evade enemy sensors," said Dr Prahlada.
Pakistan, incidentally, has been after the US to get Predators but so far has only managed to extract assurances for supply of the unarmed 'Shadow' drones for intelligence-gathering missions.
DRDO, on its part, is confident of developing the UCAVs mainly on its own, with "some foreign consultancy or collaboration" in fields like stealth as well as autonomous short-run take-off and landing.
Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) at Bangalore is the main nodal DRDO lab for the AURA project, with others like Defence Avionics Research Establishment (Bangalore), Defence Electronics Application Lab (Dehradun) and Gas Turbine Research Establishment (Bangalore) chipping in.
As earlier reported by TOI, apart from spy drones, India already has some "killer" drones like Israeli Harpy and Harop UAVs. These drones basically act as cruise missiles by detecting and then destroying specific enemy targets and radars by exploding into them.
UCAVs are much more advanced, almost like fighter jets in the sense that they let loose missiles on enemy targets before returning to home bases to re-arm themselves for the next mission.
IAF is also exploring "add-ons or attachments" to its existing fleet of Israeli Heron and Searcher-II UAVs to upgrade them from their present surveillance and precision-targeting roles into some sort of combat drones.
Infograph
  • UAVs are major force-multipliers for their ability to send back real-time imagery of enemy targets with their sensors and cameras. They are cost-effective and eliminate risk of aircrew being killed since they are remotely-piloted from far away.
  • Armed drones like 'Predators', controlled through satellites from thousands of miles away, are being used to fire 'Hellfire' missiles to devastating effect against the Taliban in Af-Pak region.
  • UCAVs (combat UAVs) being currently developed may well replace manned fighter jets in the years ahead for medium and long-range tactical as well as strategic bombing missions.
    India quietly begins combat drone project
  • AS PM MANMOHAN SINGH PREPARES FOR BRICS SUMMIT By Bhaskar Roy
    The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit starting April 14 in China will provide the two leaders of India and China another opportunity to discuss and exchange views on both multilateral and bilateral issues. Chinese President will hold separate meetings with all the heads of states attending the summit and that includes Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

    Prime Minister Singh will, of course, be briefed extensively by two most eminently qualified personalities in the country-National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon, and Foreign Secretary Ms. Nirupama Rao. Nevertheless, it will do no harm to discuss some issues here.

    The political ambience in China is very complex at the moment. It is just recovering from the blowback of a rather miscalculated foreign policy in 2010 where military power underpinned its assertive postures. The countries in its immediate region from Japan and South Korea to the South-East Asian nations like Vietnam, the Philippine and Indonesia and others were alarmed. The US and Australia had to demonstrate their interests in the stability of the region, In fact, realists within China’s foreign policy and security establishment have started a debate. The policy being most hotly debated is China’s strong support to North Korea despite the latter’s unprovoked military action against South Korea. A major military crises in North-East Asia was avoided due to highly restrained position from South Korea, Japan and the USA.

    China’s increasing sharp behaviour, sometimes belligerent, in the last several year and especially in 2010, raised several serious questions among the international community. Today, it is one of the most powerful countries in the world. During the cold war years the Soviet Union was militarily powerful to keep the US led NATO on balance. But it was economically weak and crumbled. On the other hand, China is an economic powerhouse despite some serious internal weakness, and its military modernization has taken several quantum jumps in tandem with its economic growth that has assumed a formidable nature. For most countries the issue is not how much China is behind the US in military power measurement, but how it compares with countries in its proximity including India. Many Chinese military strategists claim that India’s defence modernization is more than it requires, thereby suggesting India was a threat to its neighbours. Yet, they argue that China’s huge military machinery ever growing in number and sophistication are only defensive in nature. This, of course, is the official propaganda line of China– basically psy-war.

    Therefore, a very pertinent question is being asked: What is rising, assertive China’s grand strategy? Chinese strategy of opacity, denial and even deception, neither the Preeminent Communist Party of China (CCP) nor the Chinese government have even explained officially China’s grand strategy. Hence, is ambiguity the strategy to hide real intentions? Last year, the issue of the ambit of China’s “core” interest arose. Chinese officials “unofficially” suggested to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton that Washington accept South China sea as China’s core interest. Clinton’s assertion that freedom of South China sea was of USA’s national interest, provoked a strong response from the Chinese foreign minister.

    Chinese strategist, Da Wei, recent wrote China’s basic policies have never changed, and that includes position on territorial issues. It may be noted that to resolve maritime claims China is yet to offer the solution of give and take or “mutual accommodation and mutual adjustment”. Such a non-negotiable position as maritime claims has serious implications for all nations using these water ways including for India.

    “China’s National Defence White Paper-2010”, released on March 31, 2011, has some direct messages for India. It noted in a separate paragraph the several confidence building agreements signed between the two countries between 1993 and 2005. Interpreted, China would like to maintain status quo on the border and is not seeking any forward movement on the issue in the near future. It, however, is not proposing a freezing of border talks as other issues are also discussed in the ambit.

    At the same time, the White Paper suggested resumption of military exchange following New Delhi suspending military exchanges on China’s stapled visa policy even for Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal GOC-in-C Northern Command, as he commanded Kashmir. Although Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao assured China would look into the stapled visa issue when he visited India in January, since then China has officially retired its position more than once.

    If India agrees to resume military exchanges without reciprocal action, not promises of consideration, from China it will amount to accepting China’s changed position on the Kashmir issue. Resumption of military exchanges could be an issue that Hu Jintao may raise with Dr. Manmohan Singh.

    China does not want any direct confrontation with India at the moment. This can be discerned from their position on Nepal in the past one month. China’s army Chief Gen. Chen Bingde’s visit to Nepal heading a very high level military delegation was mainly on the Tibet issue, warning the Nepali government not to give any room to the 20,000 odd Tibetan refugees in the country to stage anti-China activities. More importantly, Gen. Chen emphatically warned Kathmandu to be alert to and prevent US and some EU country’s operations from Nepal’s soil to destabilize Tibet.

    Outgoing Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Qiu Guohang, chose Maoist Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai to convey China wanted Nepal to conduct an equal relationship among Nepal, China and India, and that the Maoists had to get their act together to establish a stable government. Hard-line Maoists project Bhattarai as pro-India, and Bhattarai own political position on China and India apparently convinced the Chinese that he would be the best medium to send the message to India.

    For China, it seems, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal @ Prachanda, is becoming too much of a maverick and was becoming risky for China’s India strategy. Beijing has worked out that the moment is not opportune to open a broadside against India when it was besotted with many other foreign policy challenges. It may be noted that the Chinese official media has been very circumspect in reporting on Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lank which would seem as India-baiting, though using sections of the media in these countries cannot be ruled out.

    President Hu Jintao is very likely ask how India is going to deal with the new democratically Tibetan government-in-exile, without the Dalai Lama’s political leadership. Although not officially recognized by India or any other country, the so-called government is located in India. Beijing genuinely fears that without the Dalai Lama’s temperate hand, the Tibetan movement can become militant threatening the stability of Tibet. This is a question that India must address with its considered policy on the Tibetan issue. There need be no hesitation as India has nothing do with the Dalai Lama’s policy or China’s Tibet policy. On India’s part, it has recognized Tibet as a part of China.

    China must realise that India can raise some very serious questions over military assistance coming from China to India’s North-East insurgents like the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), and the Naga separatists group the NSCN (I/M) and others. The evidence is no longer in the realms of electronic intercepts. Leaders of these organizations arrested in recent months have confessed in detail money paid to Chinese state owned companies for huge quantity of arms, explosives and communication equipment. As usual, the Chinese leaders will pretend ignorance and innocence, but the evidence is that officers of Chinese intelligence were directly involved in these deals. The Chinese leaders no longer have credibility here, and they have lost all credibility on nuclear and missile proliferation to Pakistan and Iran.

    There would be wider discussions, but in these top level meetings time is severely limited. The beginning, however, must be initiated at this level to be addressed at ministerial and official levels. There are many other issues including China’s policy in South Asia, Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean. There is also the question on the skewed bilateral trade in China’s favour, China’s poor quality goods exports to India, and Chinese companies selling spurious drugs and other products under fraudulent Indian labels. The government of the People’s Republic of China can no longer hide under subterfuge.There is every reason why India and China can live together and work together to make a great Asia in which other Asian stake holders including Japan and Vietnam would be happy participants. The US, Europe and Australia would be willing contributors and partake of the huge cake. This is one hopeful track, but is it realisable? It is too idealistic to expect even an agreement to maintain an multipolar Asia where the smallest of the countries have an independent say without being threatened. Following Japan’s earthquake and Tsunami, sections of the Chinese official media are already declaring that Asian leadership in favour of China has been decided!

    Given the foregoing, India must approach the BRICS summit with listening more. President Hu Jintao will push for the agenda on currency valuation issue to start with. China has been resisting persistent pressure from the US and now from EU to revalue its currency, the Renminbi (RBM) which has been kept artificially low to help its exports. This also harms India’s trade with China. Beijing is trying to reduce the influence of the US dollar, but the Euro experiment has not succeeded. It has succeeded to an extent to use RMB as an exchange currency with the ASEAN to an extent. Yet, China is wary to transform RMB to full convertibility.

    But the most important aspect of the BRICS is, according to some top Chinese intellectuals, is domination of BRICS. Among the BRICS countries, Brazil has problems with the US, so has Russia on economic issue to start with. The latest entrant South Africa is huge recipient of Chinese investment. The odd ball is India. China has declared officially that it is open to new entrants to the group on the basis of consensus. Most signals suggest China is guiding BRICS + as a group to counter the US and the west on a variety of issues from currency, trade to climate change. India will have to determine where and how far it can go. The anti-US and pro-US lobbies in India (including in the gernment) will have to decide soberly what is in India’s national interest. To be bowed down by majority in the group will be a negative foreign policy, and regrettable.
    AS PM MANMOHAN SINGH PREPARES FOR BRICS SUMMIT

    Pakistan wants CIA activities curbed

    New York Times Pakistan Tells U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities
    By JANE PERLEZ and ISMAIL KHAN Published: April 11, 2011

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan has demanded that the United States steeply reduce the number of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and Special Operations forces working in Pakistan, and that it halt C.I.A. drone strikes aimed at militants in northwest Pakistan. The request was a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies.

    Pakistani and American officials said in interviews that the demand that the United States scale back its presence was the immediate fallout from the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. security officer who killed two men in January during what he said was an attempt to rob him.

    In all, about 335 American personnel — C.I.A. officers and contractors and Special Operations forces — were being asked to leave the country, said a Pakistani official closely involved in the decision.

    It was not clear how many C.I.A. personnel that would leave behind; the total number in Pakistan has not been disclosed. But the cuts demanded by the Pakistanis amounted to 25 to 40 percent of United States Special Operations forces in the country, the officials said. The number also included the removal of all the American contractors used by the C.I.A. in Pakistan.

    The demands appeared severe enough to badly hamper American efforts — either through drone strikes or Pakistani military training — to combat militants who use Pakistan as a base to fight American forces in Afghanistan and plot terrorist attacks abroad.

    The reductions were personally demanded by the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said Pakistani and American officials, who requested anonymity while discussing the delicate issue.

    The scale of the Pakistani demands emerged as Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s chief spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or the ISI, arrived in Washington on Monday for nearly four hours of meetings with the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Two senior American officials said afterward that General Pasha did not make any specific requests for reductions of C.I.A. officers, contractors or American military personnel in Pakistan at the meetings.

    “There were no ultimatums, no demands to withdraw tens or hundreds of Americans from Pakistan,” said one of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the tensions between the two spy services.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, called the meetings “productive” and said the relationship between the two services “remains on solid footing.”

    The meetings were part of an effort to repair the already tentative and distrustful relations between the spy agencies. Those ties plunged to a new low as a result of the Davis episode, which has further exposed the divergence in Pakistani and American interests as the endgame in Afghanistan draws closer.

    The Pakistani Army firmly believes that Washington’s real aim in Pakistan is to strip the nation of its prized nuclear arsenal, which is now on a path to becoming the world’s fifth largest, said the Pakistani official closely involved in the decision on reducing the American presence.

    On the American side, frustration has built over the Pakistani Army’s seeming inability to defeat a host of militant groups, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which have thrived in Pakistan’s tribal areas despite more than $1 billion in American assistance a year to the Pakistani military.

    In a rare public rebuke, a White House report to Congress last week described the Pakistani efforts against the militants as disappointing.

    At the time of his arrest, Mr. Davis was involved in a covert C.I.A. effort to penetrate one militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment, has made deepening inroads in Afghanistan, and is perceived as a global threat.

    The C.I.A. had demanded that Mr. Davis be freed immediately, on the grounds that he had diplomatic immunity. Instead, he was held for 47 days of detention and, the officials said, questioned for 14 days by ISI agents during his imprisonment in Lahore, infuriating American officials. He was finally freed after his victims’ families agreed to take some $2.3 million in compensation.

    Another price, however, apparently is the list of reductions in American personnel demanded by General Kayani, according to the Pakistani and American officials. American officials said last year that the Pakistanis had allowed a maximum of 120 Special Operations troops in the country, most of them involved in training the paramilitary Frontier Corps in northwest Pakistan. The Americans had reached that quota, the Pakistani official said.

    In addition to the withdrawal of all C.I.A. contractors, Pakistan is demanding the removal of C.I.A. operatives involved in “unilateral” assignments like Mr. Davis’s that the Pakistani intelligence agency did not know about, the Pakistani official said.

    An American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said without elaborating that the Pakistanis had asked “for more visibility into some things” — presumably the nature of C.I.A. covert operations in the country — “and that request is being talked about.”

    General Kayani has also told the Obama administration that its expanded drone campaign has gotten out of control, a Pakistani official said. Given the reluctance or inability of the Pakistani military to root out Qaeda and Taliban militants from the tribal areas, American officials have turned more and more to drone strikes, drastically increasing the number of attacks last year.
    Pak wants CIA activities curbed: cleck ere to read more

    Pakistan wants CIA activities curbed

    New York Times Pakistan Tells U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities
    By JANE PERLEZ and ISMAIL KHAN Published: April 11, 2011

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan has demanded that the United States steeply reduce the number of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and Special Operations forces working in Pakistan, and that it halt C.I.A. drone strikes aimed at militants in northwest Pakistan. The request was a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies.

    Pakistani and American officials said in interviews that the demand that the United States scale back its presence was the immediate fallout from the arrest in Pakistan of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. security officer who killed two men in January during what he said was an attempt to rob him.

    In all, about 335 American personnel — C.I.A. officers and contractors and Special Operations forces — were being asked to leave the country, said a Pakistani official closely involved in the decision.

    It was not clear how many C.I.A. personnel that would leave behind; the total number in Pakistan has not been disclosed. But the cuts demanded by the Pakistanis amounted to 25 to 40 percent of United States Special Operations forces in the country, the officials said. The number also included the removal of all the American contractors used by the C.I.A. in Pakistan.

    The demands appeared severe enough to badly hamper American efforts — either through drone strikes or Pakistani military training — to combat militants who use Pakistan as a base to fight American forces in Afghanistan and plot terrorist attacks abroad.

    The reductions were personally demanded by the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said Pakistani and American officials, who requested anonymity while discussing the delicate issue.

    The scale of the Pakistani demands emerged as Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s chief spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or the ISI, arrived in Washington on Monday for nearly four hours of meetings with the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Two senior American officials said afterward that General Pasha did not make any specific requests for reductions of C.I.A. officers, contractors or American military personnel in Pakistan at the meetings.

    “There were no ultimatums, no demands to withdraw tens or hundreds of Americans from Pakistan,” said one of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the tensions between the two spy services.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, called the meetings “productive” and said the relationship between the two services “remains on solid footing.”

    The meetings were part of an effort to repair the already tentative and distrustful relations between the spy agencies. Those ties plunged to a new low as a result of the Davis episode, which has further exposed the divergence in Pakistani and American interests as the endgame in Afghanistan draws closer.

    The Pakistani Army firmly believes that Washington’s real aim in Pakistan is to strip the nation of its prized nuclear arsenal, which is now on a path to becoming the world’s fifth largest, said the Pakistani official closely involved in the decision on reducing the American presence.

    On the American side, frustration has built over the Pakistani Army’s seeming inability to defeat a host of militant groups, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which have thrived in Pakistan’s tribal areas despite more than $1 billion in American assistance a year to the Pakistani military.

    In a rare public rebuke, a White House report to Congress last week described the Pakistani efforts against the militants as disappointing.

    At the time of his arrest, Mr. Davis was involved in a covert C.I.A. effort to penetrate one militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment, has made deepening inroads in Afghanistan, and is perceived as a global threat.

    The C.I.A. had demanded that Mr. Davis be freed immediately, on the grounds that he had diplomatic immunity. Instead, he was held for 47 days of detention and, the officials said, questioned for 14 days by ISI agents during his imprisonment in Lahore, infuriating American officials. He was finally freed after his victims’ families agreed to take some $2.3 million in compensation.

    Another price, however, apparently is the list of reductions in American personnel demanded by General Kayani, according to the Pakistani and American officials. American officials said last year that the Pakistanis had allowed a maximum of 120 Special Operations troops in the country, most of them involved in training the paramilitary Frontier Corps in northwest Pakistan. The Americans had reached that quota, the Pakistani official said.

    In addition to the withdrawal of all C.I.A. contractors, Pakistan is demanding the removal of C.I.A. operatives involved in “unilateral” assignments like Mr. Davis’s that the Pakistani intelligence agency did not know about, the Pakistani official said.

    An American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said without elaborating that the Pakistanis had asked “for more visibility into some things” — presumably the nature of C.I.A. covert operations in the country — “and that request is being talked about.”

    General Kayani has also told the Obama administration that its expanded drone campaign has gotten out of control, a Pakistani official said. Given the reluctance or inability of the Pakistani military to root out Qaeda and Taliban militants from the tribal areas, American officials have turned more and more to drone strikes, drastically increasing the number of attacks last year.
    Pak wants CIA activities curbed: cleck ere to read more

    Pakistan's Great Game at Gwadar

    The dream of making the port of Gwadar an economic hub has been destroyed by a superpower struggle for influence by Rina Saeed Khan guardian.co.uk, Friday 8 April 2011 11.00 BST
    Gwadar may eventually be connected with the Karakoram highway that runs between Islamabad and China. Photograph: David Samuel Robb/ Corbis
    Miles away from the war on terror being fought in Pakistan's north on the border with Afghanistan is another insurgency whose hub is the port city of Gwadar, located near Iran on the Makran coast. Unlike the battle against the Taliban, this uprising receives little international attention, although it is set against the backdrop of competing superpower interests, reminiscent of the Great Game when Russia and the British empire fought for control over this region.

    Eight years ago, the dream was for the small fishing port of Gwadar in Pakistan's Balochistan province to be transformed into a duty-free port and a free economic zone. The hope was that Gwadar would become a regional hub of shipping, commercial and industrial activities, providing a link between Pakistan and the vast oil and gas reserves of central Asia.

    A real estate frenzy followed as land was bought from locals at exorbitant prices. Billboards proclaiming future housing estates and resorts were put up overnight and work began on the port with Chinese help. A two-lane highway linking Gwadar with Karachi was completed in record time. Today, the port has been finished and is ready for ships but Gwadar looks more like a ghost town than a gold-rush town. Empty plots of land still await the buildings that were promised but never built. Oddly enough, instead of handing the port over to the Chinese government, it was leased out to the Singapore government three years ago. It is only used at half its capacity and the cranes are already getting rusty from lack of use.

    Located near an important shipping lane, the deep seaport was built by the China Harbour Engineering Company Group. The Chinese government invested heavily in this project, up to $200m some say, so that landlocked western China could benefit from access to the sea. As an emerging superpower hungry for energy, China needs access to the oil and gas rich Central Asian states. The Chinese have also been keen to assist Pakistan in building other roads to acquire a 3,500km link between Kashgar (near the border with Pakistan) and Gwadar.

    They are currently helping the Pakistan government to widen the Karakoram highway that connects Islamabad to China through Pakistan's high mountain ranges. It appears that there is a long-term plan to eventually connect the Karakoram highway with Gwadar. This is upsetting the other emerging superpower of the region, India, who does not want China's security establishment to have safe passage to the Arabian Sea. The fear they have been articulating is that Gwadar might become a naval outpost for the Chinese.

    The local people, who hoped to benefit from the construction of the port, are crushed by the disappointing turn of events. "We were expecting change to come," says Asghar Shah, a local resident who works for an NGO. "But it was a big let down – we are victims of the new Great Game." The government of Pakistan was allegedly pressured not to hand the port over to the Chinese. In fact, the Americans eye Gwadar as a potential military base, given the proximity of Iran. The locals are reluctant to criticise their government's handling of Gwadar, though. "People disappear in Gwadar – their bodies are found dumped in a remote area a few days or weeks later. No one knows who is behind it," says Asghar Shah, refusing to speculate further.

    There is a more immediate problem at present. The Baloch nationalists are opposed to any development in Gwadar because they say these mega projects will marginalise the local Baloch population. Balochistan's development record is dismal. Covering nearly 350,000 square kilometres, it is by far the largest province in the country but houses less than 7% of Pakistan's population. The basic quality of life indicators are abysmal. On-tap drinking water is available to less than 5% of the population. The female literacy rate is under 15%.

    The Baloch people are demanding more autonomy for the province. For decades, Pakistan's Balochistan province has been the scene of sporadic clashes between government troops and guerrillas who are fighting for autonomy. In the past few years, the rebels have again stepped up their attacks. Government troops and installations across the province have come under rocket attack and bombings, especially Gwadar town. Last month, seven army personnel and three labourers building a road near the Iranian border were killed by unidentified gunmen. The Baloch nationalists fear that if Gwadar grows into a modern city, the Baloch people will become a minority in their own province. No one is quite sure who is funding them, but there are rumours that they get support from India.

    Gwadar is today a deserted town where outsiders are looked upon with suspicion. Most of the educated young people have moved out to look for jobs in the other big towns and cities of Pakistan. The new and luxurious Pearl Continental Hotel built on a cliff overlooking the port and the town below is empty – it has been closed down for "renovations". The road leading to the small airport outside the town is heavily guarded by security forces. There are no tourists now – most have been scared off by the attacks. Foreigners do not dare to venture here either.

    For centuries, Gwadar has also been a smuggler's paradise – it was once infamous for its human trafficking in slaves and it is still a place where illegal immigrants are smuggled into the Middle East and beyond. The idea had been to capitalise on its location, but the dream of Gwadar remains just that. Pakistan's strategic location as a gateway to the oil and gas riches of central Asia means that it will remain a battleground for competing interests for the foreseeable future. The Great Game continues well into the 21st century.
    Gwadar Pakistan's new Great Game

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Grading China’s Military Plans

    The Diplomat 09 April, 2011
    Following is a guest entry from Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, co-founders of China Sign Post.
    China’s National Defense in 2010 continues the tradition of offering additional bits of information each year, but still refrains from delving into the concrete discussion of China’s military capabilities that foreign defence analysts hope for. To its credit, the 2010 White Paper is a carefully-written document that offers insight into China’s defence policy and some general trends in its military development. Beijing’s ongoing moves toward defence transparency are positive even if they fall short of foreign expectations.
    We recognize that China’s Defense White Papers to date have shied away from discussing specific systems and capabilities, but believe that even discussions that might not be as fact-rich as documents published by the United States or other foreign militaries would still help China build strategic trust with other regional powers. In addition, a rapidly modernizing military like China’s that performs an increasing range of activities in its home region has much to gain from greater transparency about capabilities and intentions, as such disclosure could help reduce its neighbours’ incentives to create new negatively-focused security arrangements aimed at counteracting the rising power.
    With regard to higher transparency regarding equipment and capabilities among militaries outside of China, the United States military’s Quadrennial Defense Review and Nuclear Posture Review are excellent examples of documents that combine discussion of strategic intentions with more detailed and concrete discourse on hardware and acquisition plans. In addition, other militaries tend to publish a regular flow of official policy statement and documents discussing procurement and other activities. The biannual China Defense White Paper, on the other hand, has covered insufficiently or overlooked entirely key developments in a rapidly changing country where two years of change can be far more momentous than would be the case in the United States, Japan, or the EU.
    A number of specific military developments cause significant concern to China’s Asian neighbours, as well as the United States. If the Chinese leadership were to permit a more detailed discussion of these types of matters in future White Papers, it would likely help assuage foreign concerns about China’s military modernization in Asia and beyond.
    To help quantify the importance of the systems and developments that are not discussed, but in our opinion should be, we assign them an importance ranking of between 1.0 and 10.0, with a higher number suggesting that an issue is of more pressing concern to foreign analysts of China’s military development.
    China’s anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) development (9.0)
    The report contains no mention of China’s ASBM programme, which, according to the US Navy, reached the equivalent of initial operational capability (IOC) in late 2010. The timing of this particular announcement might be a bit late for inclusion in the report, especially with Beijing’s official silence on the matter, but for the programme to reach the equivalent of IOC in late 2010, it had been in development for a number of years prior. From the perspective of the United States and regional militaries, an operational Chinese ASBM system with a range that is likely at least 1,500 kilometres is a major event, since it may prompt a re-think of carrier operations within a threat envelope that now potentially extends far into the South China Sea, Northern Indian Ocean, and Western Pacific.
    In turn, any restrictions on carrier operations would have two key effects:
  • they could cause US allies in the region to question Washington’s true security commitment during a confrontation with China, since the United States might be perceived as confronting a choice as to whether to expose carriers to serious risk of damage, for example; and
  • the ASBM reinforces the importance of submarines for regional navies, since large capital surface ships may not be nearly as survivable as before, particularly for countries other than the United States and Japan that lack advanced ship-based anti-ballistic missile systems.
    China rapidly growing space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities (7.0)
    In 2010, China’s number of space launches equalled the US launch figure for the first time. More importantly, a significant portion of China’s launches involved satellites that are helping to build up a persistent and survivable ISR capability along China’s maritime periphery and beyond. China has launched 7 Yaogan surveillance satellites since December 2009, suggesting that a more robust spaced-based reconnaissance capability is a high priority for China. Yaogan satellites 9 A, B, C are particularly interesting because they fly in a formation, which suggests that they function as some form of naval ocean surveillance system (NOSS). Jane’s says these satellites carry infrared sensors to help them locate ships, meaning they could probably provide accurately positional locations for ASBM targeting. China is also reportedly preparing to launch a second Tianlian data link satellite in June 2011, which in conjunction with the existing Tianlian-1, could provide coverage over as much as 75 percent of the earth’s surface. Improved data linking capabilities would help strengthen China’s ASBM “kill chain” by further linking sensors with shooters.
    ABM/ASAT test in January 2010 (6.5)
    In January 2010, China successfully tested a midcourse intercept anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system likely based on the same SC-19 booster system that powered the direct ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) system the PLA used to destroy an aging weather satellite in January 2007. China’s multiple successful tests indicate that the PLA is becoming proficient at using hit to kill kinetic intercept vehicles that could be launched from Chinese soil and hold valuable U.S. reconnaissance and other military satellites at risk during a conflict.
    The J-20 advanced fighter test flight (5.5)
    China’s first test of a 4+ generation fighter comes 20 years behind that of the United States (the F-22 Raptor first flew in 1990), but could become an aircraft that makes Washington rue its decision to cap F-22 Raptor production at 187 aircraft. Analysis from Airpower Australia’s Dr. Carlo Kopp strongly suggests that a J-20 with 5th generation characteristics could outperform the F-35 Lightning II at virtually all levels, potentially leaving the United States and allies operating the F-35 at a disadvantage to a PLA Air Force armed with super cruising, stealthy, and manoeuvrable J-20s. Of course, there are a wide variety of other ways to target and mitigate attacks from opposing aircraft.
    China’s aircraft carrier development (5.0)
    The 2010 China Defense White Paper also contained no mention of China’s aircraft carrier programme. The New York Times has reported that one of the paper’s presenters, Sr. Col. Geng Yansheng, sidestepped questions about the carrier programme during the March 31 news conference at which the paper was unveiled.
    China appears to be rapidly refurbishing the ex-Soviet carrier Varyag; the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) projects that it will be operational by 2012. According to the Asahi Shimbun, China has decided to embark on a national carrier programme in which it would build domestically a 50,000-60,000 tonne conventional carrier by 2014 (ONI projects that it will be completed after 2015) and a nuclear-powered carrier by 2020. China certainly faces substantial challenges in equipping a carrier, training pilots in carrier operations, and building a carrier group. That said, the country’s rising defence budget (officially $91.5 billion in 2011) and the experience of domestic shipyards in building increasingly complex large commercial ships make it likely that physical construction barriers can be overcome in a reasonable amount of time.
    Mastering the intricacies of carrier operations will take longer and a Chinese carrier group would likely not survive very long in a direct confrontation with the US Navy. Still, a carrier group would offer immense diplomatic benefits in providing a visible Chinese naval presence in the South China Sea, Southeast Asia, along key sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, and for humanitarian missions such as the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Several carrier groups would be necessary for persistent presence in these areas, however, to allow for periodic maintenance.
    The PLA’s growing access to and use of foreign ports and airfields (4.0)
    The February/March 2011 Libya evacuation operation involved a forward-deployed PLAN missile frigate, Xuzhou, which had recently replenished in Oman, as well as the use of the Khartoum, Sudan airport to refuel IL-76 transports headed to and from Libya to evacuate Chinese nationals trapped there.
    For any future military deployments for non-combatant evacuation operations (NEOs) or other such expeditionary military activities, port and airfield access in the region concerned is crucial for supporting and sustaining platforms involved in the mission. Areas for potential deepening of PLA logistical support and access during times of crisis that merit close watch in coming years include: Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Djibouti, Salalah (Oman), Aden (Yemen), Gwadar and Karachi (Pakistan), Chittagong (Bangladesh), Hambantota (Sri Lanka), Mauritius (where Port Louis has sufficient draft to accommodate a large warship), Sittwe (Burma), and Singapore.
    China’s use of military assets to support Libya rescue & evacuation operation (2.0)
    The 2010 Defense White Paper makes no mention of the deployment of PLAN and PLAAF forces to help secure the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya, an historical first. It will be interesting to see how Beijing evaluates and portrays such efforts in the future. They are positive and understandable, but may raise expectations among Chinese about what their government can do to address subsequent threats to the security of Chinese citizens overseas. China’s 2008 Defense White Paper didn’t include discussion of the PLA Navy’s precedent-setting Gulf of Aden counter-piracy mission, which began at the very end of 2008, but the deployment made it into the 2010 White Paper. We strongly suspect the 2012 Defense White Paper will include meaningful discussion of the Libya evacuation operation and the PLAN and PLAAF roles in the historic mission.
    Andrew Erickson is an associate professor at the US Naval War College and fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Programme. Gabe Collins is a commodity and security specialist focused on China and Russia. This is an edited and abridged version of the commentary on the white paper. The full version can be read here.
    Grading China’s Military Plans
  • Nepal Army needs Indian arms badly

    The Himalayan Times Last Updated At: 2011-04-07 12:10 AM
    RAM KUMAR KAMAT- NEPAL-INDIA SECURITY TALKS
    NEW DELHI: High level talks between Nepal and India on security challenges and cooperation concluded in Pune, Maharashtra today.
    Officials of both countries will formally sign a minute tomorrow. A 15-member Nepali team was led by Hari Kumar Shrestha, South Asia Division Chief of Foreign Ministry, while the Indian team was led by Satish Mehta, Northern Division Chief of Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Six high level army officials of Nepal also participated. Senior Indian army and police officials are among the Indian delegates.
    The Nepali team informed about Nepali Army’s need of arms and ammunition, military hardware, vehicles, uniforms, equipment and advanced training for army officers, said Nepali team member colonel Ashok Narsingh Rana, military attach√© at the Embassy of Nepal. “As far as resumption of Indian arms assistance to Nepal is concerned, government of Nepal needs to make a formal request to the Indian government,” Rana said. He said though the Indian government was ready to resume arms supply to Nepal, it wanted to do so only when the government of Nepal makes a formal request. Rana said the Indian government understood well the sensitivity of resuming arms supply at this stage when the peace process was still on. Nepali Army is in dire need of arms and ammunition for its training and other duties including for peace missions, but the government of Nepal has so far shied away from making a formal request to the Indian government for the same due to UCPN-M objection. Rana said details of Indian assistance on security would be discussed in future at higher levels.
    Both the teams dealt with aspects of close cooperation including intelligence sharing so that both armies could sufficiently counter security challenges in their territories, said Rana. Asked if the Indian side raised the issue of Nepal being used by forces inimical to India including the issue of fake Indian currency, Rana said the Indian side did not raise those issues. Seizure of huge amounts of fake Indian currency in Nepal in recent years and reports of anti-India elements exploiting the open Nepal-India border to pump fake Indian currency into the Indian market to destabilise the Indian economy have worried the Indian government.
    NEPAL-INDIA SECURITY TALKS

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    The Chinese are coming!

    IDR Issue: Net Edition | Date: 06 April, 2011 By Lt Gen JFR Jacob
    The Dragon has emerged from its lair with a vengeance. A senior Indian army officer was denied an official Chinese visa on the grounds that he was commanding in Jammu and Kashmir, a disputed territory according to the Chinese.

    The Chinese occupy considerable amount of territory in Ladakh, which they captured in 1962. They are now slowly making inroads into the Indus Valley and other areas. In 1963, Pakistan had illegally ceded some 5,000 square km (2000 sq miles) in the area of the Karakoram to China.

    Pakistan is now reported to have handed over control of the major part of the northern territories to China. Media reports indicate that there are some 10,000 Chinese soldiers based in Gilgit on the pretext of protecting the widening work on the Karakoram Highway and the construction of a railway line to link east Tibet with the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the Gulf of Oman.

    The Russians in the 19th and 20th centuries dreamt of a getting warm water port on the Arabian Sea. The Chinese seem well on the way to fulfilling this Russian dream.

    In a further move to encircle India by sea, the Chinese are establishing naval and air bases on Myanmar’s Ramree Island in the Bay of Bengal. (Incidentally, I took part in the amphibious assault on Ramree Island during World War II). These bases on Ramree Island will help the Chinese in their endeavors to control the upper Bay of Bengal and pose a threat to Kolkata, Vishakapatnam and the Andamans.

    The presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit is a matter of great concern. During the Kargil conflict, the five battalions of the intruding paramilitary Northern Rifles were maintained from Gilgit and thence from Skardu. There is a good road from Gilgit to Skardu. In pre-Partition days, road communications to Gilgit were along the Kargil-Skardu-Gilgit route. This section can easily be restored in a short period of time.

    The reported presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit poses a serious threat to Indian road communications to Ladakh running through Kargil.

    Another matter of concern is the increased Chinese interest in the Indus Valley. The easiest approach to Leh is along this valley. The Chinese have not only shown interest in the Indus Valley but also the Karakoram Pass between India and China... concern is the increased Chinese interest in the Indus Valley. The easiest approach to Leh is along this valley. The Chinese have not only shown interest in the Indus Valley but also the Karakoram Pass between India and China.

    Any Chinese move through the Karakoram Pass will threaten our troops in Siachen and our base at Thoise. In the contingency of any future conflict with the Chinese, new areas of conflict in Ladakh will open up. I served in Ladakh for two years immediately after the Chinese invasion of 1962, and it also fell under my purview subsequently as Chief of Staff and Army Commander covering the northeast. During this period there were many incursions and incidents.

    Keeping these factors in mind, there is an urgent requirement for another division and supporting armour to be raised for the defence of Ladakh and two more for the north east. In the northeast, the Chinese may, after negotiations, reduce their claims from the whole of Arunachal to the Tawang tract and Walong.

    Major Bob Kathing and his Assam Rifles platoon only moved to take control of Tawang in the spring of 1951. The Chinese had placed a pillar in Walong in the 1870s. They have built up the road, rail and air infrastructure in Tibet. It is assessed that the Chinese can now induct some 30 divisions there in a matter of weeks.

    We are committed to ensure the defence of Bhutan. We need at least two divisions plus for the defence of Bhutan. In West Bhutan, the Chinese have moved upto the Torsa Nulla. From there it is not far to Siliguri via Jaldakha. This remains the most serious potential threat to the Siliguri corridor.

    The Chinese have developed the infrastructure in Tibet to enable them to mount operations all along the border. We are still in the process of upgrading our infrastructure in the north east. It will take many more years before the infrastructure in the north east is upgraded to what is required. Thus we need to raise two more divisions and an armoured brigade for the north east.

    There is an urgent requirement for more artillery, firepower and mobility. More helicopters are also needed to ensure mobility. Mobility is a key factor in military operations. Mobility is necessary to obtain flexibility as also the ability to react in fluid operations. In order to ensure the means to react, we need reserves. These reserves have yet to be created.

    The Air Force needs to deploy more squadrons in that region, since, unlike 1962, the Air Force will play a decisive role in any future operations. The Chinese are also said to be re-establishing their earlier links with the Naga insurgents.

    In 1974/75, I was in charge of operations that intercepted two Naga gangs going to China to collect weapons and money. The Nagas were then compelled to sign the Shillong Accord, and Chinese support for the Naga insurgents was put on the backburner. Twelve years of peace followed. But now, the Chinese, in collusion with the Pakistani ISI, are said to be in the process of re-activating their support of the Naga insurgents as part of an overall scheme to destabilize the north east.

    The increasing military collaboration between China and Pakistan is of growing concern, but we seem woefully unprepared for this contingency. The government urgently needs to expedite the induction of land, air and naval weapons systems and to build up the required reserves of ammunition and spares. In any future conflict, logistics will be of paramount importance.

    During the 1971 war, it took me some six months to build up the infrastructure for the operations in East Pakistan. The requirements now are far, far greater. Modern weapons systems take a long time to induct and absorb. The induction of new weapons systems and build up of logistical backing should be initiated on an emergency footing.

    The increasing military collaboration between China and Pakistan is of growing concern, but we seem woefully unprepared for this contingency.
    At the moment, we seem to have insufficient resources to meet this contingency.

    We are critically short of modern weapons systems and weaponry. No new 155mm guns have been inducted for some two decades. During the limited Kargil conflict, we ran out of 155mm ammunition for the Bofors field guns. Fortunately for us, the Israelis flew out the required ammunition. New aircraft for our Air Force are yet to be inducted. The navy is short of vital weapons systems. These shortages need to be addressed at the earliest.

    There is no Soviet Union with its Treaty of Friendship to help us now [in 1971, the Soviets moved 40 divisions to the Xinjiang and seven to the Manchurian borders to deter the Chinese]. We have to rely on our own resources. We must show that we have the will and wherewithal to meet the emerging contingencies.

    It is high time the government reappraises the emerging situation and puts in place the measures required to meet the developments, before it is too late.
    The Chinese are coming!

    Too close for comfort

    Hindistan Times April 07, 2011 First Published: 21:06 IST(7/4/2011)
    Two years ago, a ministry of defence (MoD) report had stated that “the possibility of China and Pakistan joining forces in India’s farthest frontiers, illegally occupied by the two neighbours, would have direct military implications for India”. This possibility became real when last week, the Northern Army Commander confirmed that Chinese troops are present on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control (LoC).

    The Chinese troops aren’t pointing guns towards our posts on the LoC, but the fact that they are located and working alongside Pakistani troops reflects ‘joint’ interest and enhancement of strategic and operational preparedness.

    What the Northern Army Commander has stated is not new. The Chinese military presence in Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), purportedly to repair, upgrade and re-commission the Karakoram Highway and to improve infrastructure in the area became visible last year. His statement and concern supplement prior information.

    It’s also known that China plans to construct railway tracks and oil pipelines from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar port in Pakistan.

    When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao addressed both houses of Pakistan Parliament in December 2010, he said, “To cement and advance the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Pakistan is our common strategic choice…” Talking to the media after Wen’s address, Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik had described it as a strong message to the “enemies of Pakistan”.

    According to the Indian defence ministry, the length of the India-China border is 4,056 km. This includes the whole of the western sector including Aksai Chin, POK and the Shaksgam valley (ceded by Pakistan to China in an India-disputed agreement in March 1963). For reasons still not clear, in a statement in the Chinese daily Global Times on December 14, 2010, the Indian ambassador to China put the border length to be 3,488 km.

    While publishing the interview, the publication added its own comment: “There is no settled length of the common border. The Chinese government often refers to the border length as being about 2,000 km.” By reducing the length in its definition of the border, China has questioned Indian sovereignty over J&K.

    Without going into details of other security and sovereignty related issues between India and China in Tibet and the Indian Ocean, it is obvious that as China develops greater national power, geo-politically and strategically it will become more aggressive and create new pressures on the border issue.

    China is known to be assertive in its diplomacy over security and military issues. It will attempt to exploit our diplomatic appeasement postures and defence weaknesses on the ground to its advantage.

    India-China economic and security relations are moving in opposite trajectories. The competitive relationship over our long-term security interests outweighs the cooperative one in trade, commerce and culture. India can’t afford to let the latest developments go uncontested diplomatically. In the interest of its own security and Asian stability, it must build a sympathetic international lobby.

    In the coming financial year, China plans to spend $91.6 billion on defence. This does not include its budget for internal security. India’s approved defence budget this year is $34 billion. India must pay greater attention to its defence preparedness, particularly on the north-western borders. There is an urgent need to build defence infrastructure along the northern border.

    According to media reports, our border road building programmes in the north are running three years behind schedule. Along with making up for shortages and replacing obsolescent weapon systems at the earliest, we must build rapid reaction military capability for all underdeveloped areas in the Himalayas. India must not become complacent as we did before 1962.
    (VP Malik is former chief of staff, Indian Army, The views expressed by the author are personal)
    © Copyright 2010 Hindustan Times

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    China's presence in LoC

    MEA seeks report on China's LoC presence
    HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Delhi, April 07, 2011
    The external affairs ministry on Wednesday sought a detailed report from the defence ministry on Chinese presence along the line of control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. This comes on the heels of concerns flagged by a top army official over Chinese troops being “actually stationed and present on the LoC”.
    Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said she had asked for a ‘more detailed report’ from the defence ministry on the issue. She, however, added that incidents of ‘transgressions’ were not a new phenomenon.
    “The correct term is transgression and not incursion. There are transgressions from time to time when Chinese troops come over to our side of the line of actual control and occasionally we are told that we cross into their side,” Rao said. She said such issues had to be discussed rationally. “There is no point in trying to raise the temperature and to accentuate tension.”
    Lt Gen KT Parnaik, who heads the operationally critical Northern Command, had warned last month that China’s military presence in PoK was too close for India’s comfort. He had said China’s links with Pakistan through PoK facilitated quicker deployment of Pakistani forces to complement its Communist neighbour’s military operations, outflanking India and jeopardising its security.
    Foreign minister SM Krishna told reporters, “We have seen media reports on the subject. The government closely and regularly monitors all developments along our borders.”
    The possibility of China and Pakistan joining forces in India’s farthest frontiers, would have “direct military implications” for New Delhi, a defence ministry report had warned two years back.
    MEA seeks report on China's LoC presence
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