Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pakistan Militants, Violence and Terror are wedded

Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
Pakistani Army Chief General Kayani’s brief and succinct response to the long list of allegations by Admiral Mullen, Pentagon, CIA and US State Department is considered enough for the consumption of all those having misperceptions about Pakistan. This brief response has a message for the US and rest of the world. The message is loud and clear that, US officials are indeed misleading the US people and world at large. It is exactly like they misled the US masses, EU, Arab monarchs and global community before invading Iraq in 2003. CIA led Neoconservatives then projected Saddam Hussain led Iraq as a state having large quantity of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which is very dangerous for the world peace. However, later events proved that accusation as wrong and misleading. The invaders could not discover any WMD. It was also proved that, US objectives were different and that indeed it was war for the Iraqi hydrocarbons.
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Pakistan Is the Enemy
We know that Pakistan's intelligence service is aiding terrorists. What are we going to do about it?
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, at 11:33 AM ET
In Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Lt. Milo Minderbinder transforms the mess accounts of the American airbase under his care into a "syndicate" under whose terms all servicemen are potential stakeholders. But this prince of entrepreneurs and middlemen eventually becomes overexposed, especially after some incautious forays into Egyptian cotton futures, and is forced to resort to some amoral subterfuges. The climactic one of these is his plan to arrange for himself to bomb the American base at Pianosa (for cost plus 6 percent, if my memory serves) with the contract going to the highest bidder. It's only at this point that he is deemed to have gone a shade too far.
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Pakistan's real terrorism problem
By Ahsan Butt Friday, September 23, 2011 - 5:12 PM
The brutal, execution-style attack on Shi'a Muslims in the Mastung area of Baluchistan this week was, at once, debilitating, shocking, and instructive.
It was debilitating because it reminded observers and Pakistanis alike that the threat of indiscriminate violence Pakistanis face as a result of domestic militant groups shows no signs of abating.
It was shocking because even by the standards of Pakistani society, where violence is accepted with nonchalance -- or "resilience," depending on your point of view -- the attack represented a new low, mainly because of the method of the killings. As multiple reports have indicated, the militants stopped a bus en route to Iran, forced the pilgrims off, lined them by the side of the road, and shot them. As Dawn noted in its editorial on the killings, the attack showed a "descent into new depths of savagery."
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Pakistan Terror and More

Worth reading.
I was in high school in Lahore when Pakistan was formed on 15 Aug 1947. Our land was very close to the now famous Air base at Sargodha in W Punjab. By the way, the runway atthis Airbase was built with american money during the Second World War along with some more in now Pakistan as a long term measure against any ingress by the Soviets thru Afghanistan into into undivided India!! Close to our village was also number of villages owned by the famous Muslim
family of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan and his son Khizar Hayat Khan, who was
Chief Minister of undivided Punjab before the Partition of India.
Also one has been studying the on goings in Pakistan and dealt with their military on the borders. One therefore knows the general characteristics of the people who inherited Pakistan fairly well.
The observations of the Ambasador are very relevant and worth taking note of.
Best wishes.
Harbhajan Singh
Lt Gen (Retd)

Pakistan today: An Envoy’s impression
Air Marshal Ayaz A Khan (R)
This review by US Ambassador Robert Munter was sent to the US Department of State after his first three months stay in Islamabad.
View about America: Survey after survey has shown that the populace at large has very unfavorably views about US government and policy. The perception in the corridors of power is very different. Given their propensity to focus on conspiracy theories most have a notion of US influence in Pakistan that far exceeds our real capabilities. Sometimes I feel as the “Governor General” from a bygone past caught in a historic time warp. From the highest office down to mid level functionaries, perception becomes reality, when it comes to viewing US as the kingmaker. This mostly helps us in stacking the deck of cards in our favor but also works against us at times when diplomacy is seen as failing. Our dilemma is that our policy objectives are incongruous with popular sentiment of the people in Pakistan. Changing this is not merely a matter of perception and has to be more than a public relations exercise. It will require a significant change in our strategic trajectory. Read more... click here

Pakistan's Terror addiction
Forget creepy Congressman Anthony Weiner’s supposed “sex addiction.” Our real problem is Pakistan’s deadly addiction to terrorism as a tool of statecraft and policy.
And we’re subsidizing it. Too many Washington political hacks think that money can buy everything (after all, it bought them their elections). So there’s no stick, just carrot. No matter how badly the Pakistanis behave, the answer remains the same: More aid dollars.
We give Pakistan $2-billion a year to support us in the war on terror. And Pakistan passes on the largesse to the terrorists. It’s not an open secret. It’s isn’t a secret at all. Your tax dollars are being used to help kill and maim our Soldiers, Marines and Navy corpsmen fighting in Afghanistan. This is beyond obscenity.
Over the past ten years, we’ve given the Pakistanis—primarily their military—over $20 billion in aid. What did we get in return? Our Pakistani allies hid and protected Osama bin Laden; they increased their support to the Afghan Taliban and its partner, the Haqqani terror network; they sponsored repeated terrorist attacks against India; they provided safe-haven bases on Pakistani soil for terrorists from a “rainbow coalition” of extremist organizations; and all the while they purposely whipped up anti-American hatred among the country’s 180-million Muslims. Your tax dollars at work.
Let me be blunt: Any member of Congress who, at this point, votes to approve additional aid dollars for Pakistan will have the blood of our troops on his or her hands. No excuses. We’re paying the Pakistanis to kill or cripple the finest young people we’ve got. That’s what it comes down to, folks. Read more... click here

Perspectives on Pakistan
The United States has turned on Pakistan with such dizzying speed over the past few weeks that it is difficult to keep pace. Yet what is clear after Admiral Mike Mullen’s extraordinarily blunt statement that the Haqqani militant network is a “veritable arm” of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is that it now has the Pakistan army very firmly in its sights.
Mullen accused the ISI, which is effectively a wing of the Pakistan army, of supporting the Haqqani network in a truck bomb attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan and an assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul which led to a 20-hour siege. “We also have credible intelligence that they (the Haqqani network) were behind the June 28 attack against the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul and a host of other smaller but effective operations,” he said.
It was the most forthright assertion yet by the Americans that the Pakistani military is not merely turning a blind eye to militant groups based on its border with Afghanistan but actively encouraging them to attack American interests. The Pakistan army says it is overstretched as it is tackling militant groups which target Pakistan without creating new enemies by attacking Afghan militants and denies it retains links with the Haqqani network. Read more... click here

"Sullen Mullen" signals US break with Pakistan
Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN Sep 23, 2011, 09.32pm ISTTags:us pakisan ties|Mike Mullen
WASHINGTON: Amid a rapid unraveling of ties between Washington and Islamabad, the principal architect of the U.S military partnership with Pakistan has bitterly accused the country of using terrorism as a policy weapon and said it has ''lost the bet'' to be a regional player of consequence because of it.
The testimony of U.S Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen before a Senate committee on Thursday was nothing short of stunning. A passionate votary of Pakistani salience in the region (thereby earning the nickname Abu Mullen al-Amriki), America's top military officials signaled that he was read to write off the country if it did not abjure its use of terrorism.
In choosing to use 'violent extremism' as an instrument of policy, Mullen said, using a euphemism for terrorism, 'the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence.' Read more... click here

Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba
Stephen Tankel
"An impressive volume for its reliance on interviews conducted in Pakistan and elsewhere with officials, journalists, and, on occasion, some of the participants in the jihad. All of this brings a level of freshness to this work that is often absent." — Šumit Ganguly, University of Indiana, author of India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia
"This is the first work of social science research on Lashkar-e-Taiba, revealing its diverse activities, from jihad to social welfare, and its closeness to Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). A vivid and detailed account of a major Islamist actor." — Christophe Jaffrelot, Critique Internationale
"Storming the World Stage is the definitive account of one the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. Stephen Tankel's research in Pakistan is prodigious and his analytical judgements are well-calibrated. Highly recommended." — Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda. Read more... click here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

National Security: Can we mute terror and military attacks?

US builds drone bases in Africa, Arab Peninsula: report
Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:46am GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is building a ring of secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of an aggressive campaign against al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. officials.
One base for the unmanned aircraft is being established in Ethiopia and another base has been installed in the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, the newspaper reported.
A small fleet of "hunter-killer" drones resumed operations in the islands this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned drones could effectively patrol Somalia from there, the report said.
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China does some chest thumping
By ANI | ANI – 1 hour 27 minutes ago
New Delhi, Sep.21 (ANI): China's rulers have a problem. They are not sure if they can continue to portray the image of a country interested in a peaceful rise without this coming into direct conflict with a desire to reassert newly defined core interests.
All of 2010 saw a more assertive Chinese foreign policy activity in its periphery, including India, reflecting possibly a tussle of some sorts in Beijing between an assertive People's Liberation Army (PLA) which may want a bigger role in foreign policy in the decade ahead, and a political leadership that is now going to be in transition as Mr Hu Jintao prepares to hand over power to his selected successor, Xi Jinping, by 2012?
And therefore, this exercise of display of assertiveness with each power centre, notably the PLA and the party hierarchy, positioning themselves inside China and positioning themselves against the US where there will be presidential elections in end-2012.

Can India prevent Islamic Terror Attack?
The Islamic fundamentalist terrorist stands emboldened by New Delhi’s weak, confused and politicized policies to attack the Delhi High Court twice within months. I will not be surprised if after the PWD wakes up finally and installs the CCTV cameras, the terrorists decide to attack the High Court again just to prove the softness of the Indian State.
There is nothing that can be termed as ‘Hindu terrorism’ for the simple reason that neither Indian state nor the Indian Army, unlike Pakistan Army or ISI, trains, nourishes, funds, or attempts to use ‘export of terrorism’ as a foreign policy tool.
There are multiple reasons of the nation-state’s confusion. First, by not improving the role of the ‘Beat Constable’ or the ‘Thana Police’ system has resulted in negligence of intelligence collection at the lowest rung of policing. Second, instead of improving the existing resources and organizations, the Home Minister tried to create a super-structure called NIA to divert attention from the 26/11 attack and to show major activity to the public. Third, since a young man out of ignorance or bias told the Americans as per the Wikileaks that the nation is threatened more by ‘Hindu terrorism’ than anything else, his colleagues dependent on his patronage are promoting Hindu terrorism to curry favours. It does not exist, but is a ploy to create confusion for the purpose of vote-bank politics. These diversionary tactics have resulted in failure of investigations in the last six terrorist attacks.
Why India cannot stop Terror Attacks

China flexes muscles in disputed waters
China, which imports more than half its oil, will nearly double its demand for it over the next quarter-century, according to the International Energy, and its demand for natural gas is projected to more than quadruple.
By Andrew Higgins The Washington Post

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines — When China's largest offshore petroleum producer launched a $1 billion oil rig this summer from Shanghai, Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, the commander of Philippine military forces 1,500 miles away in the South China Sea, began preparing for trouble.
The drilling platform, China said, would soon be heading in the general's direction — southward into waters rich in oil and natural gas, and also in volatile fuel for potential conflict.
"We started war-gaming what we could do," said Sabban, a barrel-chested, U.S.-trained marine who, as chief of the Philippines' Western Command, is responsible for keeping out intruders from a wide swath of sea that Manila views as its own but that is also claimed by Beijing.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

China and Pakistan: India's Security Concerns

Trusting Musharraf was a strategic failure: Former CIA analyst
Indo-Asian News Service
Washington, September 08, 2011

The biggest US mistake in the war against terrorism was to ignore al Qaeda in Pakistan to invade Iraq after the September 2001 terror attacks and trusting then president Pervez Musharraf to "fight on our side", according to a former CIA analyst. "This was the war that should have ended years ago," Bruce Riedel, now a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, wrote in an article on how the US enabled al Qaeda, the terror group behind the attack
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Pakistan experiment close to defeat?
Ali Ashraf Khan

Sixty-four years after the creation of Pakistan the experiment which was done to provide a homeland for those Indian Muslims who were afraid that their fate in India ruled by Hindus would be detrimental to their community seems to have reached a point of no return. The Quaid’s vision of a Muslims majority state where the Muslims would rule a nation consisting of mainly Muslims did not take off well due to strong feudal influence in the Muslim League. After the untimely early death of the Quaid the subsequent rulers of Pakistan infatuated with power missed the opportunity to build a new nation by securing a place of dignity and comfort for all ethnic groups inhabiting Pakistan.
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Chinese warning fails to deter India and Vietnam
Jayanth Jacob & Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times
New Delhi/Beijing, September 17, 2011

Ignoring Chinese warnings on Friday, India and Vietnam decided to focus on oil and gas exploration in the potentially oil-rich South China Sea while deepening their bilateral relations.
After Beijing's objections to the ongoing exploration in two Vietnamese blocks in the South. Beijing says keep off S China Sea, Delhi unmoved
China Sea by India's ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua said the activities could "poison" China-India relations. However, external affairs minister SM Krishna and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh decided in Hanoi that they would extend their cooperation to defence and various economic sectors for the next three years.
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The Journalist and the Spies: The murder of a reporter who exposed Pakistan’s secrets.
Dexter Filkins, New Yorker
September 13th, 2011

In May 30th, as the sun beat down on the plains of eastern Pakistan, a laborer named Muhammad Shafiq walked along the top of a dam on the Upper Jhelum Canal to begin his morning routine of clearing grass and trash that had drifted into the intake grates overnight. The water flow seemed normal, but when he started removing the debris with a crane the machinery seized up. He looked down and saw, trapped in the grates, a human form.
Shafiq called some colleagues, and together they pulled out the body. Occasionally, farmers and water buffalo drown in the canal, float downstream, and get stuck in the grates, but never a man in a suit. “Even his tie and shoes were still on,” Shafiq told me. He called the police, and by the next day they had determined the man’s identity: Syed Saleem Shahzad, a journalist known for his exposés of the Pakistani military. Shahzad had not shown up the previous afternoon for a television interview that was to be taped in Islamabad, a hundred miles to the northwest. His disappearance was being reported on the morning news, his image flashed on television screens across the country. Meanwhile, the zamindar—feudal lord—of a village twenty miles upstream from the dam called the police about a white Toyota Corolla that had been abandoned by the canal, in the shade of a banyan tree. The police discovered that the car belonged to Shahzad. Its doors were locked, and there was no trace of blood.
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India picks a quarrel with China
By M K Bhadrakumar

India, which has been wetting its toes sporadically in the South China Sea in the recent years, is apparently taking the plunge to wade waist-deep into the troubled waters. It is a historic move - be it there is no clarity whether merely tactical or strategic. But it is historic; India's "Look East" policy acquires swagger. The Sino-Indian geostrategic rivalry is not going to be the same again.
Two months ago, an unidentified caller on an open radio channel hailed an Indian naval ship INS Airavatas as it was leaving Vietnam after a "goodwill visit", and advised it to lay off the South China Sea. The Chinese denied Beijing's involvement in the incident. India kept an ambiguous silence over the incident, which the Western media played up.
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South China Sea Disputes: Harbinger of Regional Strategic Shift?
Yoichi Kato 14 September 2011

The territorial disputes in the South China Sea between China and the other littoral states, including Vietnam and the Philippines, are gaining more strategic significance for the entire Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Japan cannot discount this issue as an isolated phenomenon in the remote region because it reflects China's regional strategy, which is based on its growing economy and national confidence.
The more fundamental challenge is how the regional countries, including Japan, should deal with the emerging strategic ambivalence, which is caused by both the growing economic interdependence with China and the continuing dependence on the regional security order guaranteed by the United States.
The territorial disputes in the South China Sea seem to have reached a certain equilibrium at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting and the following ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in July in Bali, Indonesia. The 10 member states of ASEAN and China agreed upon new guidelines, which stipulate a path to the implementation of the long-standing Declaration of Conduct (DOC) for peaceful resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Empowering National Security

- India must take a long, hard look at its aeronautical policies by Brijesh D. Jayal
As the long-awaited air force proposal for the purchase of the medium multi-role combat aircraft enters its final lap after a torturous decade, there must be considerable anxiety within air headquarters that watch this slow process unfold even as they stare at dwindling combat-aircraft force levels and safety problems with ageing fleets.
Since defence procurements attract great public attention, it was natural for the ministry of defence to approach this entire programme with due caution. The principle articulated in the foreword to the Defence Procurement Procedure is for the process to be impartial and transparent. It lays down various steps with competitors being kept abreast of respective performances at each level. As this process unfolds in slow time, however, one concern seems to rear its head. In our anxiety to keep the process clean and corruption-free, have we compromised national security interests? Put differently, the question is, impartial towards what objective and transparency at what cost?
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SRI LANKA – Need of the Hour -India should make Fresh Initiatives
V. Suryanarayan and Ashik Bonofer
Sri Lanka is at the cross roads today. Will President Mahinda Rajapakse, with his massive electoral mandate, turn his back on Sinhala majoritarianism and initiate immediate steps to apply the healing touch and introduce far reaching reforms to usher in a new political order with respect to ethnic diversity and pluralism? Will the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the most representative organisation of the Sri Lankan Tamils, revitalize itself at the grass roots level, and carry on the democratic non-violent struggle for equality and justice, both through parliamentary and extra-parliamentary means?. Will Colombo, without fear or favour, be in a position to win over the estranged international community by making necessary amends and bring those guilty of gross human rights violations to book? Coming months will provide the answer as to which direction the country will take – towards peace and reconciliation or towards continuing bitterness and conflict.
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PIONEER NEWS: A strategy to secure India
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 23:55
The recently set up Task Force with the mandate to review the national security system will achieve little unless there’s sweeping change and a new strategy.

Out of the blue, yet still welcome, the Government recently announced its first initiative in its seven years in power on national security. At first thought, it is a tinkering effort. The 14-member Task Force led by Mr Naresh Chandra has been mandated to review existing “processes, procedures and practices in the national security system and suggest measures for strengthening the national security apparatus including non-conventional areas having a bearing on the overall security situation”.

Devoid of a strategic defence and security review, the half-cock attempt will merely plug gaps, improve coordination and introduce best practices without enhancing the fundamentals of national security and providing a system which is more cost effective and delineates clear allocation of responsibility, authority and accountability. That can evolve only from a holistic strategic defence and security review which has never been undertaken in India, nor ever a National Security Strategy Document, nor even a Defence White Paper, forget the non-traditional areas of security. Incidentally China has turned out seven Defence White Papers since 1998 and other security related guidelines.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Triumph and Tragedy: Reminiscences of 1947

Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha 8/17/2011 1:36:43 AM
I belong to a now vanishing generation which witnessed the triumph and tragedy of events that unfolded in 1947. I was at that time a junior General Staff officer at GHQ, designated Army HQ after Independence.
Blurb: Each refugee train carried about ten thousand refugees. Escorts were provided at the front, middle and rear of the train along with open flats and sandbagged post with light machine guns. Mobile patrols with armoured cars travelled parallel to refugee trains along the Grand Trunk Road, which was close to the main railway line. An aircraft flew overhead with ground to air communications, to warn the escorts of any approaching mob or saboteurs. Not a single refugee train was attacked thereafter.
The Interim Government came to power in September 1946. This accelerated the process of "Indianisation" of the Army. Military Operations Directorate at GHQ had hitherto been an exclusive British preserve. Only British officers and British clerks served in it. Three Indian officers were posted to different sections of this Directorate, Lt Col Manekshaw to Planning, Major Yahya Khan to Frontier Defence and I in the rank of Captain, to Internal Security. The Great Calcutta Killings had taken place in August 1946. Later that year, widespread communal violence erupted in Bihar. Hitherto, communal violence was primarily an urban affair. After Calcutta and Noakhali killings, widespread urban and rural communal violence took place in Bihar. By the end of the year, the Army managed to restore peace in that State. In 1947, communal violence started spreading westwards and other parts of the country. It reached a crescendo in Delhi and Punjab, after the Partition was announced. Millions were killed and millions got uprooted in that holocaust. The Army played a seminal role in restoring peace.
A change of guard at the top was announced. Lord Mountbatten was to take over as Viceroy from Lord Wavell and preside over transfer of power in India. One morning in late March 1947, I stood in the verandah projecting from South Block, connected to our Operations Room, which now is the office of the Foreign Secretary and his secretariat. The Commander-in-Chief's office was linked to the other projection close to ours. Currently that is the office of the External Affairs Minister. A cavalcade of cars was racing up Raisina Hill towards the Viceroy's Houes (now Rashtrapati Bhavan). My colleague and friend, Major John Spittle was with me. We saw a black limousine flying the Union Jack in that convoy. Obviously Mountbatten was in that car. John remarked that it was in the fitness of things that the great grandson of Queen Victoria has come to transfer power to Indians. He quoted the extract of the great Queen's proclamation inscribed on the arch at the entrance of North Block. "Liberty will not descend upon a people. A people must raise themselves to liberty that must be earned before it can be enjoyed." I felt like retorting that a militarily and economically exhausted Britain, after the Second World War, had no other option. Restrained myself and replied that Winston Churchill had asserted that he had not become the Prime Minister of Britain to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire. And now his prodigy, whom he built up during the Second World War, had come to do the needful. Neither John nor I could have foreseen the sequence of events that were soon to follow and that the British Empire in India as also an undivided India, would cease to exist in less than six months.

China uses IT-enabled transparency to prevent corruption

The Hindu 10 September 2011 by Suresh Nambath
Online electronic bidding for government projects, hotline to receive complaints are some of the key features
While taking efforts to create an international cooperation mechanism to fight corruption, China is bringing in greater transparency in the working of government departments and agencies, and establishing standardised rules and procedures to ensure fairness and quick redress of people's grievances.

The Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), which, among other things, supervises the implementation of anti-corruption measures, has now put in place an information technology-enabled system of openness and fairness in administration covering a range of issues — from transparency in bidding for government projects to checking abuse of power and authority by officials at every level.

Foreign journalists, hosted by the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, were taken on a tour of some of the provinces where the system was at work, and given a demonstration of the key features of the drive against corruption.

At Nanjing, the capital of the Jiangsu province, authorities have introduced an online electronic bidding system, ‘e-sunshine', in an attempt to prevent collusive tendering, exclusion of genuine bidders, and unfair evaluation of bids.
China uses IT-enabled transparency to prevent corruption

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pakistan and Afganistan: Terror strikes their roots

What arrogance, what delusion by Kamran Shafi
SO then, 53 “carefully selected” and “chosen carefully Pakistani foreign policy elite” — retired civilian and military officials, analysts, journalists and civil society practitioners — with established expertise on Afghanistan and/or with knowledge of the modalities of policymaking in the US were gathered together.

They came together at different dates and times, in big groups and small in Islamabad and Peshawar, under the joint aegis of the Jinnah Institute, Islamabad and the United States Institute for Peace, Washington D.C.

Their “perceptions” were then “captured” for the report “aimed at better comprehending Pakistan’s outlook on the situation in Afghanistan”, and which has recently been let loose upon an unsuspecting world.

The report is copious but to start:
“Pakistani foreign policy elite [I kid you not] believe that only a truly inclusive government in Kabul can usher in an era of relatively efficient and stable governance in Afghanistan. Most participants defined this as a politically negotiated configuration with adequate Pakhtun representation that is recognised by all ethnic and political stakeholders in Afghanistan.

“While far from a consensus, some opinion-makers insisted that given the current situation, a sustainable arrangement would necessarily require the main Taliban factions — particularly Mullah Omar’s ‘Quetta Shura’ Taliban, and the Haqqani network — to be part of the new political arrangement. Specifically, a decentralised system of governance is more likely to be sustainable than an overly centralised one. Such an inclusive dispensation, it is believed, will view the relationship with Islamabad favourably and be sensitive to Pakistani concerns.”

Really now? So there is, after all, a Quetta Shura of the Taliban, what? Now, which of the ‘foreign policy elites’ has opened this particular can of worms please? Well, good and well as my friend Ashraf Afridi used to say, for prior to this there were stout denials from the security establishment and its handmaidens with only some non-foreign policy elites such as yours truly saying repeatedly that there was a Quetta Shura as large as death itself in Quetta.
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China the Inevitable Superpower

The Inevitable Superpower
Why China’s Dominance Is a Sure Thing
By Arvind Subramanian September/October 2011

Summary: Is China poised to take over from the United States as the world’s leading economy? Yes, judging by its GDP, trade flows, and ability to act as a creditor to the rest of the world. In fact, China’s economic dominance will be far greater and come about far sooner than most observers realize.

ARVIND SUBRAMANIAN is a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and at the Center for Global Development. This article is adapted from his forthcoming book Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China’s Economic Dominance (Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2011). © Peterson Institute for International Economics.
To debtors, creditors can be like dictators. Governments in financial trouble often turn to the International Monetary Fund as supplicants, and acting at the behest of its own major creditors, the IMF often imposes tough conditions on them. After the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Mickey Kantor, U.S. trade representative under President Bill Clinton, called the organization "a battering ram," because it had served to open up Asian markets to U.S. products. During the 1956 Suez crisis, the United States threatened to withhold financing that the United Kingdom desperately needed unless British forces withdrew from the Suez Canal. Harold Macmillan, who, as the British chancellor of the exchequer, presided over the last, humiliating stages of the crisis, would later recall that it was "the last gasp of a declining power." He added, "perhaps in 200 years the United States would know how we felt."

Is that time already fast approaching, with China poised to take over from the United States? This is an essential question, and yet it has not yet been taken seriously enough in the United States. There, this central conceit still reigns: the United States' economic preeminence cannot be seriously threatened because it is the United States' to lose, and sooner or later, the United States will rise to the challenge of not losing it. China may be on its way to becoming an economic superpower, and the United States may have to share the global stage with it in the future. But, the argument goes, the threat from China is not so imminent, so great, or so multifaceted that it can push the United States out of the driver's seat.
The Inevitable Superpower

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

National Security: Bytes from China and NATO

Pentagon Report Outlines Fast Track PLA Modernisation by Brig (retd) Rahul Bhonsle
The Annual Report of the Department of Defence colloquially known as Pentagon’s Report on China’s Military Power has been released. The Report is mandated by the US Congress and provides a bird’s eye view each year of developments in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). An overview read in conjunction with the China’s White Paper on Defence 2010 highlights a significant trend, fast track modernization of the PLA. Rapid changes are evident across a swathe of transformational issues, conceptual underpinnings, allotment of resources and even in identity, it is no longer the vanilla term PLA commonly used for army, navy as well as the air force. Today we have the PLA Army (PLAA), PLA Navy (PLAN) and the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) with emphasis on jointness and network centricity, two buzzwords that the Chinese seem to have picked up from Iraq War 2003.

The Pentagon Report reflects an in depth analysis of Chinese White Paper which had sought modernisation from a higher platform, expanding strategic reach and conducting operations in “distant waters”. Mechanisation, Informationisation and Jointness are the key drivers aimed at creating joint operations systems. The investments made in defence hardware and technology has led to platforms and systems which are maturing and integration of these into the overall combat architecture is now moving apace. For the first time the Pentagon Report has included a chapter on China’s Evolving Maritime Strategy as a Special Topic indicating American concerns of Beijing’s rising naval ambitions.

The overall modernization of PLA continues under the operational rubric of Active Defence, not to be confused with a defensive strategy as this includes many offensive components such as punitive or self defence counter attack a euphemism frequently used for the 1962 war against India. There is however a subtle shift in increasing focus on power projection. This is evident in recent operational moves to deploy a small flotilla in the Northern Arabian Sea for anti piracy operations. The Pentagon believes that this capability will be enhanced by end of the decade.

In line with this trend emphasis of modernization is on the Second Artillery Corps with a wide range of ballistic and cruise missiles which will provide a shield for, “counter intervention”. With reference to India apart from a mention of the boundary dispute, the Pentagon Report has highlighted replacement of, “liquid-fueled, nuclear-capable CSS-2 IRBMs with more advanced and survivable solid-fueled CSS-5 MRBM systems.” The solid fuel missiles will provide considerable advantage in terms of transportation and redeployment as well.
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Geopolitical notes from India by M D Nalapat 02 Sep 2011
Some years ago, in the Indian site www.bharat-rakshak.com, this columnist had written of the NATO militaries as resembling an army of simians. Such a force - if let loose within a confined space – can create immense damage, but are unable to clean up the resultant mess. This is precisely what the world has witnessed in Iraq. Despite more than a decade of sanctions that directly resulted in nearly a million extra deaths during that period ( because of shortages created by the UN-approved measures), the regime of Saddam Hussein was able to provide food, energy and housing to the people of Iraq, whereas eight years after “liberation” by key NATO members, the country and its population are worse off than before the 2003 invasion that led to the execution of Saddam Hussein. As for Afghanistan, after a decade of the world’s most modern military force fighting against a ragtag band of insurgents, more than a third of the country is back in the hands of the Taliban, while a fifth of the rest is on the brink of a similar fate. As a consequence of its failure to subdue this force, NATO is desperately clutching at plans for engaging the “moderate Taliban”, an oxymoron if ever one was created.
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Hullabaloo in South China Sea by B Raman
Sunday, 04 September 2011 20:31
Indian Navy’s INS Airavat was asked by a Chinese naval ship to stay away from South China Sea. But INS Airawat didn’t change course. Subsequently, India has done well to clarify that it favours freedom of navigation in international waters and, therefore, INS Airawat had the right to be where it was because South China Sea is international and not Chinese waters
The Financial Times of London reported on September 1 that an unidentified Chinese warship had demanded that an Indian naval vessel identify itself and explain its presence in the South China Sea waters off Vietnam in July. It identified the Indian naval ship as INS Airavat.
According to the FT report, INS Airavat had visited Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam and the northern port of Haiphong in the second half of July. The FT said that the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the Indian warship had visited the country from July 19-22, but claimed that it had no information about the incident.

Rearmament of India by Rajeev Anantaram
New Delhi July 9, 2011, 0:04 IST
After several years of neglect, India is spending large sums of money to upgrade its armed forces.
During the Kargil War of May-July 1999, the Bofors artillery guns used their firepower with deadly accuracy and destroyed a large number of enemy bunkers and other fortified positions. But there was a problem: Pakistani cannons accurately targeted and destroyed a number of these guns. It was learnt, only after the war, that Pakistan’s gunners had “weapon-locating” radars that studied the trajectory of the shells fired by the Bofors guns to determine their position. And then the penny dropped: the Pakistani forces were better equipped than Indians. Alarmed, India, without further ado, bought similar equipment, called the ANQ Firefinder, from the United States.

In 2003, the Indian and French Air Forces held a joint exercise. It was found that the French pilots could hook on to the radar system of Indian fighter jets, though they were beyond visibility, and then bring them in the crosshairs of their missiles. In actual war, Indian pilots would have been sitting ducks. Exposed poorly in the exercise, the Indian Air Force is acquiring the same capabilities for its Mirage aircraft from France. Also in the works is a similar indigenous “Beyond Visual Range” missile called the Astra.

After a long pause, the rearmament of India has begun. New weapon systems are being acquired — combat jets, ships, tanks, artillery guns, missiles, radars, etc — and existing hardware is getting overhauled. Various think-tanks estimate that India will spend anywhere between $75 billion and $100 billion over the next seven years to bolster its military capabilities. The annual defence budget, at almost $41 billion, or a tad over 2 per cent of the gross domestic product, is at an all-time high. Off-book expenditure would make it at least a quarter higher. India finally has more staying power than Pakistan if there is war, defence analysts on both sides of the border have started to say.
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Pentagon Fears Listening Posts From China
September 2, 2011
A Pentagon report has found that a multibillion-dollar Chinese telecommunications company that has been seeking to make major inroads in the U.S. market has close ties to China’s military, despite the company’s denials.

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military, released last month, identifies Huawei as a high-tech company linked to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

At issue for Huawei is widespread concern among U.S. military and intelligence agencies that Huawei’s switches, chips and firmware contain “back doors” that can give China’s military the equivalent of listening posts all over the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure.
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Very important for India to ponder over before liberalizing entry of Chinese electronics software and hardware companies in India and getting equipment from them. Our Military must put their foot down.

Growing Pakistani Arsenal; Implications for India

Brig Vinod Anand & Arun Sahgal
Indian policy and strategic establishment is exhibiting little or no concern about growing Pakistani nuclear arsenal, this is despite the fact that Pakistan is touted to have more nuclear weapons than UK and has emerged as the fifth largest nuclear weapon state behind, USA, Russia, China and France. Islamabad is estimated to be increasing the production of its fissile material by coming on stream of plutonium enrichment facilities at Khushab II and in few years Khushab III where the work appears to have been stepped up enabling Pakistan to add nearly 25 additional kilograms of weapon grade plutonium every year starting 2012-13. According to knowledgeable western sources Pakistan today has a stockpile of anywhere between 90 - 110 or even more weapons.

Pakistan has also stepped up production of its delivery vehicles and introduced a new element in the sub continental strategic equations by introducing nuclear capable tactical missile Nasr, presumably going by Pakistani assertions, to counter India’s pre emptive offensive doctrine. The operational deployment of this missile appears to have been tested during Pakistani Exercise Azam – e – Nau conducted in May this year. Pakistan has also upgraded its missile production capability at Chinese aided National Development Complex located near Fatehjang approximately 50Kms South West of Islamabad in Kala Chatta Mountains. Its production rates have since been enhanced with ability to produce around 12 missiles per year of Ghazni and Shaeen I and II categories.

It is obvious that Pakistan is both qualitatively and quantitatively is upgrading its strategic forces, as deterrence against India’s growing conventional capabilities. It is equally important to highlight that as Pakistan’s technological capabilities rise, aided and abetted by China and others; it is increasingly likely to move into zone of competitive advantage. In this regard two more developments merit mention. One operationalising Nasr indicates miniaturization of warheads, which inter alia would also mean Pakistani land attack and air attack cruise missiles BABUR and RAAD could also become nuclear capable. Second with navigation and enhanced surveillance inputs available from Chinese space based systems Pakistan could gradually shift to ‘launch on warning’ (LOW) mode giving it a much more potent first strike capability but in the bargain muddying the stability and instability paradigm in the subcontinent forcing both countries to upgrade their state of readiness and increasing risk of accidental launches. This is a dangerous development given the fact that there exists within Pakistani nuclear establishment certain degree of over confidence on its nuclear capabilities and ability to leverage its doctrinal ambiguity to hold India to ransom through unabated proxy war.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

China imbalances world trade

Over the Horizon
Is worrying about war with China a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Is it possible that, a decade after 9/11, America has become too preoccupied with the threat from "nonstate actors" and too complacent about the more classic dangers posed by powerful and self-aggrandizing states? Or, put more succinctly, how afraid of China should the United States be?

We know, of course, that China owns $1.5 trillion worth of U.S. Treasury bills and thus has the U.S. economy by the short hairs; that China refuses to significantly revalue the renminbi and thus retains its colossal imbalance in trade with the United States; and that China has begun to buy American real estate and other assets (including, perhaps, the Los Angeles Dodgers). But should Americans regard China as a national security threat and not merely an economic one?

The authors of "Asian Alliances in the 21st Century," a report published by the Project 2049 Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses on East Asia, insist that we must. (The lead author is American Enterprise Institute scholar Dan Blumenthal of Foreign Policy's Shadow Government blog.) The report concludes that "China's military ambitions threaten America's Asian allies, raise questions about the credibility of U.S. alliance pledges, and imperil the U.S. military strategy that underpins its global primacy."

This is startling news to those of us who think of China as a "status quo" power, a view that until recently was widely shared in the academic and policy community. In Power Shift: China and Asia's New Dynamics, published in 2006, David Shambaugh, a leading China scholar, concludes that "China is increasingly seen as a good neighbor, constructive partner, and careful listener." Shambaugh and others wrote then that China had emerged from a long era of suspicion and insularity and had begun to join regional organizations, send peacekeepers to U.N. missions, and improve bilateral relations in the neighborhood. Yes, China's military was rapidly modernizing in ways that gave the Taiwanese a fright, but such signs of belligerence had been offset, Shambaugh concluded, by "bilateral and multilateral confidence-building measures."
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Let the US duke it out with China, while we focus on our own growth and infra-structure development!

NATO offers missile defence cooperation to India

The Hindu- Brussels, September 4, 2011- PTI
NATO offers missile defence cooperation to India

Seeing missile attacks from rogue states as a common threat, U.S.-led NATO alliance has offered India cooperation and sharing of technology in the field of missile defence.

During a visit to NATO headquarters here, its top officials briefed the press on its missile shield programme to defend Europe from a possible missile attack by Iran or Syria.

“You have a missile threat that confronts you. We have a missile threat that confronts us. It’s a different one, but our ability to defend against it could be the same. We have cooperation on those kind of issues,” said a top NATO official.

He added that NATO and India need to have the kind of dialogue that the U.S. and India already have as bilateral partners.

“Democracies face challenges that are common. We need to work together and resolve. We need to cooperate, because individually we cannot deal with such threats. It is better to deal with such issues commonly than deal with them individually,” he said.

Talking about the commonalities between India and NATO on the missile defence project, the NATO official said, “One would be in the technology of defence“.

He added, “even though the threats of missiles come from different directions, we don’t necessarily see the threat that you see, because your strategic situation is different from ours. But, the technology of discovering and intercepting missiles is similar”.

Another top U.S. official at NATO, however, said that the area of missile defence was also of interest to the Indo-U.S. partnership and “could be more U.S.-Indian relationship, than a NATO-Indian. But we are getting into ballistic missiles defence systems in a pretty big way“.

He said, “as a result, we have knowledge which you can share and we can train together. Even though the threat is different the nature of the response can be similar“.

What that involves ultimately will depend on India, the official said, adding that “there are experiences that we could talk about and share them“.

The U.S. by itself has been suggesting a partnership for India in its national missile defence programe. It has also offered the Patriot missile defence system to India.

While India has accepted briefings on the U.S.-missile defence programme, it has so far been charting an independent course. India’s DRDO is indigenously developing a two—tier missile defence system to intercept enemy ballistic missiles, which is scheduled to become operational by 2015.

While India has not publicly identified or talked about the source of the missile threats to it, its programme is very clearly aimed at blunting the missile threats from Pakistan and China.

NATO is also taking steps to address Russian anxieties about Europe’s missile shield. The four—phase NATO missile defence programme initiated by Europe in May 2001, aims to work with the 28 member nations to jointly create a defence system over Europe from possible missile threats.

NATO officials said the first phase of the missile shield programme is already in place and the second one will be shortly. While the third phase would be in place by 2015, the fourth one would be in by 2020. “We have already signed an Agreement with Romania for having radar and line—based interceptors in place,” said officials.
NATO offers missile defence cooperation to India

Nation Security- Missiles, Mountains and Proxy War

Building trust in Asia through cooperative retirement of obsolete missiles by Gurmeet Kanwal
Nuclear deterrence is growing roots in South Asia. India and Pakistan have both incorporated nuclear capabilities into their defence planning. Both are guided by a philosophy of minimum credible deterrence, although within this context modest growth is expected to achieve desired force postures. It is natural that asymmetries exist in the forces held by India and Pakistan. These will persist along with different perceptions of strategy and tactics. Despite these differences, we believe India and Pakistan have both reached a point where they should share perceptions about deterrence and nuclear stability in the region.
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Wars in mountains
Capacity building needed for future conflict by Gurmeet Kanwal
THE key geo-strategic challenges in South Asia emanate from the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and on the Af-Pak border; unresolved territorial disputes between India and China, and India and Pakistan; and the almost unbridled march of radical extremism that is sweeping across the strategic landscape. In May 1998, India and Pakistan had crossed the nuclear Rubicon and declared themselves states armed with nuclear weapons. Though there has been little nuclear sabre-rattling, tensions are inherent in the possession of nuclear weapons by neighbours with a long history of conflict. While the probability of conventional conflict on the Indian subcontinent remains low, its possibility cannot be altogether ruled out. Therefore, there is an inescapable requirement for defence planners to analyse future threats and challenges carefully and build the required military capacities to defeat these if push comes to shove.
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The Continuing Proxy War in Kashmir Posted on September 01, 2011 by Gurmeet Kanwal
The situation in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) continues to remain a cause for concern to the government of India. Since end-1989, Pakistan has been waging a ‘proxy war’ against India in J&K. It has done this by aiding and abetting disaffected and misguided Kashmiri youth to rise against the Indian state. Despite the cease-fire on the Line of Control (LoC) since November 2003 and the tenuous rapprochement process, Pakistan continues to surreptitiously practice its peculiar brand of state-sponsored terrorism. This is borne out by the continuing attempts at infiltration in Kashmir during the summer of 2011.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Water is the new weapon in Beijing’s armoury

← The Ominous Rise of a Thirsty Dragon
Water is the new weapon in Beijing’s armoury
Posted on August 31, 2011 By Brahma Chellaney
Financial Times, August 31, 2011

China has aroused international alarm by using its virtual monopoly of rare earths as a trade instrument and by stalling multilateral efforts to resolve disputes in the South China Sea. Among its neighbours, there is deep concern at the way it is seeking to make water a political weapon.

At the hub of Asia, China is the source of cross-border river flows to the largest number of countries in the world — from Russia to India, Kazakhstan to the Indochina peninsula. This results from its absorption of the ethnic minority homelands that make up 60 per cent of its land mass and are the origin of all the important international rivers flowing out of Chinese territory.

Getting this pre-eminent riparian power to accept water-sharing arrangements or other co-operative institutional mechanisms has proved unsuccessful so far in any basin. Instead, the construction of upstream dams on international rivers such as the Mekong, Brahmaputra or Amur shows China is increasingly bent on unilateral actions, impervious to the concerns of downstream nations.

China already boasts both the world’s biggest dam (Three Gorges) and a greater total number of dams than the rest of the world combined. It has shifted its focus from internal to international rivers, and graduated from building large dams to building mega-dams. Among its newest dams on the Mekong is the 4,200 megawatt Xiaowan — taller than Paris’s Eiffel Tower. New dams approved for construction include one on the Brahmaputra at Metog (or Motuo in Chinese) that is to be twice the size of the 18,300MW Three Gorges — and sited almost on the disputed border with India.

The consequences of such frenetic construction are already clear. First, China is in water disputes with almost all its neighbours, from Russia and India to weak client-states such as North Korea and Burma. Second, its new focus on water mega-projects in the homelands of ethnic minorities has triggered tensions over displacement and submergence at a time when the Tibetan plateau, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia have all been wracked by protests against Chinese rule. Third, the projects threaten to replicate in international rivers the degradation haunting China’s internal rivers.
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Pakistan Fractured and Failing

Introductory Observations
Pakistan presents the picture of a fractured nation and a failing state in mid-2011. Pakistan has presented this picture in the past many times over but was pulled from the brink by the United States by a providential coincidence of Pakistan Army reinventing its strategic utility to serve United States strategic interests and the United States readily exploiting the mercenary instincts of the rentier Pakistan Army.

The strategic utility of the Pakistan Army to serve United States strategic interests in the region has frayed particularly since 2007 and the United States going by the record of Pakistan Army’s duplicitous performance has belatedly realized that its policy formulations on Pakistan Army were grievously misplaced.

For far too long the United States policy establishment had labored under the misimpression that the key to handling and managing Pakistan to serve United States interests was the Pakistan Army and its Generals. This took place despite all the damning evidence to the contrary.

Whether the United States in mid-2011 cares to admit or not the ground realities in Pakistan suggest that the United States has been using the wrong key to manage Pakistan through the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan Army today has fully emerged in the open as not the solution to bring stability in Pakistan but it is the predominant part of the problem.

If Pakistan today is a fractured nation and a failing state then the full onus for Pakistan’s national failures rests squarely on the shoulders of the Pakistan Army. This is a hard reality that the United States policy establishment must realize and factor-in in their examination of options.
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