March 18, 2006

Rahul Manio: PRATHAM NGO to control educational agenda

Rahul Manio: PRATHAM NGO to control educational agenda

This may be a little more sinister than may appear at first sight. We learnt from informed sources that an anti-national, very large NGO called PRATHAM is close to Rahul and wants to control his educational agenda. Sanghvi may be in on it.

Waheeda Rehman is its "goodwill ambassador."

Educating Rahul

Sycophancy in an editorial of a supposedly national newspaper. No
wonder Vir Sanghvi found the media out of sync with the people.

Educating Rahul
Author: Editorial

Publication: The Indian Express

Date: March 11, 2006

Introduction: Let the Amethi MP become educating minister and infuse
some energy into a moribund minister

Rahul Gandhi's maiden Budget speech in Parliament on education threw up
some interesting ideas, and one big whopper of a suggestion: make the
Amethi MP a minister of education, so that he can match his words with
action. Yes, we are dead serious about this, and for several reasons.
For one, the Express has always argued for the need to infuse youth
into the governance of this country. The uniquely Indian belief that one
must be in one's dotage to be an effective minister is plain codswallop.

The 14th Lok Sabha has seen an infusion of GenNext leaders into the
political system. It is now high time that the nation benefited from
their energy. Which brings us to the next reason why such a step should
be seriously contemplated. So far the new crop of young Congress
parliamentarians have assumed power through family connections. But
exercising power with responsibility is a whole new ball game. Those
theories learnt at B-school need to be tested against the hard realities
of the country. Take Rahul Gandhi. Ever since he emerged as MP, he has
been earnestly arguing that his place is with the people, learning their
problems. Well, maybe he should considering learning how to solve those
problems, and he cannot do this unless he takes a dip in the rough
waters of governance.

The third reason why we argue for Minister Rahul Gandhi taking the bow
is perhaps the most convincing. The HRD ministry is in obvious need of
a healthy infusion of new thinking and action, all the more so because
it is so central to the well-being of the aam admi. Ale final argument
we offer is borrowed from Rahul Gandhi himself. He observed in his
budget speech that the one thing he has learnt is that "people who are
closer to a problem understand it best". Well he happens to be much
closer - in age and mindset - to India's student community than the
present incumbent. We rest our case.

Rahul Manio: PRATHAM NGO to control educational agenda

Rahul Manio: PRATHAM NGO to control educational agenda

This may be a little more sinister than may appear at first sight. We learnt from informed sources that an anti-national, very large NGO called PRATHAM is close to Rahul and wants to control his educational agenda. Sanghvi may be in on it.

Waheeda Rehman is its "goodwill ambassador."

Educating Rahul

Sycophancy in an editorial of a supposedly national newspaper. No
wonder Vir Sanghvi found the media out of sync with the people.

Educating Rahul
Author: Editorial

Publication: The Indian Express

Date: March 11, 2006

Introduction: Let the Amethi MP become educating minister and infuse
some energy into a moribund minister

Rahul Gandhi's maiden Budget speech in Parliament on education threw up
some interesting ideas, and one big whopper of a suggestion: make the
Amethi MP a minister of education, so that he can match his words with
action. Yes, we are dead serious about this, and for several reasons.
For one, the Express has always argued for the need to infuse youth
into the governance of this country. The uniquely Indian belief that one
must be in one's dotage to be an effective minister is plain codswallop.

The 14th Lok Sabha has seen an infusion of GenNext leaders into the
political system. It is now high time that the nation benefited from
their energy. Which brings us to the next reason why such a step should
be seriously contemplated. So far the new crop of young Congress
parliamentarians have assumed power through family connections. But
exercising power with responsibility is a whole new ball game. Those
theories learnt at B-school need to be tested against the hard realities
of the country. Take Rahul Gandhi. Ever since he emerged as MP, he has
been earnestly arguing that his place is with the people, learning their
problems. Well, maybe he should considering learning how to solve those
problems, and he cannot do this unless he takes a dip in the rough
waters of governance.

The third reason why we argue for Minister Rahul Gandhi taking the bow
is perhaps the most convincing. The HRD ministry is in obvious need of
a healthy infusion of new thinking and action, all the more so because
it is so central to the well-being of the aam admi. Ale final argument
we offer is borrowed from Rahul Gandhi himself. He observed in his
budget speech that the one thing he has learnt is that "people who are
closer to a problem understand it best". Well he happens to be much
closer - in age and mindset - to India's student community than the
present incumbent. We rest our case.

Baloch Nationalist Senator Sanaullah Baloch US visa cancelled under pressure of Pakistani Government

Under pressure from the Pakistan Government, the Bush Administration has decided to revoke the U.S. visa of Senator Sa Ullah Baloch, a senior Baloch leader, who was scheduled to speak at a leadership programme at the end of this month in the United States.

According to a letter issued by the U.S. Embassy here, the invitation extended to Senator Sana Ullah Baloch to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Programme on Accountability in Government and Business from March 27 to April 15 this year, has also been withdrawn.

Senator Sana Ullah Baloch, aged 35, is presently in pocession of a that was issued to him on December 1, 2005 and is due to expire on April 28, 2006. Clearance for issuing the visa was given on November 29, 2005.

According to the letter written by Tom C Pickrel, First Secretary for Cultural Affairs at the U.S.Embassy, Baloch’s visa and invite has been cancelled “due to a recent withdrawal in funding, which made it necessary for us (the U.S.Embassy) to scale back the programme”.

IntelliBriefs received a photocopy of this letter , Click

Following is the statement sent by Sana Baloch to various institutes

From: Senator Baloch <>Date: 14-Mar-2006 21:59Subject: Cancellation of US Visiting ProgramTo: "Michael A." <>, Frederic Grare <>, "Selig S. Harrison" <>, J Alexander Thier <>, "T. Kumar" <>, "Ansari, Mazhar H" <>Cc:
Dear Colleagues and Friends

I am writing with regrets that I was supposed to attend the US visiting program "International Visitor Leadership Program on Accountability in Government and Business, March 27- April 15, 2006. However, due to interference of Foreign Office Pakistan in this matter, the US Embassy Islamabad has withdrawn me from the Program, stating unquoted reasons. As the military operation continues in Balochistan, and the military regime continues to hide its brutalities from the International World, in particular, the US, this move on behalf of the Government is to stop my interaction with the US officials and Professionals. Furthermore, fears of questions on accountability in Government Business make the Government stop me from attending this program. It is not only the withdrawal, but the US Embassy asked me for cancellation of US visa, without which I cannot travel for my already scheduled programs.

I was informed and invited in September 2005 about the program by the US embassy and embassy officials asked my passport for affixation of visa, and US embassy issued me J-1 visa in January 2006.

After getting visa and confirmation of program, I sent e-mails to friends and institutions to meet and discuss political situation of Balochistan during my stay in Washington DC. And I am really grateful to my friend Fredric Grare who planed a talk for me in Carnegie Endowment on issue" Understanding Current Crisis in Balochistan" on 24 th March 2006. Alexander Thier of US Institute of Peace also asked me to talk with the Institute people on the Balochistan crisis on 22nd March 2006.Selig Harrison also honored me for giving time on 23 rd March to meet me. In addition, T. Kumar from Amnesty International USA also agreed to arrange discussion and meetings with Officials on Human rights violation by Pakistan Military in Balochistan. The purpose of all these engagements was to build a greater understanding of Balochistan, and discuss the current situation, where the masses are suffering from the fifth military operation.

On my request US embassy officials in Islamabad said that we could not disclose the basic reason behind this hasty decision, but we have been asked to inform you regarding the decision and cancellation of your US visa. And they said that to other participants non-elected and non-Baloch will continue with the program. I have asked for the decision in black and white and it is enclosed with this email attachment.

Tom C. Pickrel, First Secretary for cultural Affairs on 13th March, (Same day) sent me the letter regarding their decision and for cancellation of Visa.

I was surprised about the decision, and now when the Embassy insists on cancelling my Visa, I wonder even if I have been withdrawn from the program, why the Visa needs to be cancelled, as I would not be able to attend the scheduled programs other than the visiting program of the embassy. The most probable reason I understand is that the government would not want me to travel on this Visa, and interact with US officials.

The US press and institutions have played a vital role to disclose General Musharraf's strategy to eliminate political, progressive and democratic forces in strategic province of Balochistan and Government's support pro-Taliban government in the region to destabilize Afghanistan. As all of you know that Balochistan is the largest province and share 832 KM long border with Afghanistan and 1173 KM border with Iranian control Balochistan (Sistan-Balochistan). This move by the Government highlights the extent the Government can go to mislead the international world, and I think it is a big question mark on the face of this regime, if they claim that they are not doing anything, why such move?

I thank you all for your correspondence and efforts, and we shall soon plan something in the near future. I apologize, if some of your professional commitments have suffered because of cancellation of my visit.This email is also enclosed as a letter to you.

With Best Regards,

Senator Sanaullah Baloch
Member Senate of Pakistan
Balochistan National Party

March 17, 2006

Four Harkat suspects shot dead

Four Harkat suspects shot dead

RK Misra / Gandhinagar

Four suspected terrorists were killed by Ahmedabad Police in a pre-dawn encounter on the outskirts of the city on Friday in which a constable was also injured. Four pistols and explosives have been recovered.

Mr PP Pandey, joint commissioner and chief of the Crime Branch of Ahmedabad Police told newspersons that the four, whose identities have not been disclosed, are believed to be Harkat-ul -Mujahideen terrorists.

"We had information that terrorists were planning a major strike in Gujarat and we were maintaining strict vigil especially on movement in and out of the State," he said.

According to Mr Pandey, the four had been under the sleuths' scanner for quite sometime. Police decided to raid the terrorists' hideout at their Ganga Row house in Vatwa area on the outskirts of the city at around 3 am on Friday. When asked to surrender, the four opened fire and the encounter lasted 15 minutes.

All four terrorists received multiple bullet injuries and were rushed to Civil Hospital where they were declared dead on arrival. A police constable, Akhtar sustained minor injuries. A bulletproof jacket saved Inspector Tarun Barot who was hit on the chest.

Beside weapons and explosives, the police also seized three SIM cards. Two of these cards were local while one had been brought from some other part of the country.

Mr Pandey declined to divulge further information as the case is still being investigated for further links of the terrorists in the State. "We would be able to give further details in the next 24 hours," he added.

That Gujarat figures high on the terrorists' hitlist is evident not only from the Akshardham attack but also from the fact that the attack on the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore on December 28 also had an Ahmedabad connection.

A team of the Bangalore Police visited Ahmedabad last month and after permission from the POTA court met the accused in the ISI conspiracy case in the Sabarmati Central Jail. The team had questioned seven persons, including Asghar Ali, a LeT terrorist accused of killing former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya, and Maulana Nasirudin.

Gujarat Police is also in touch with its Delhi counterparts after it was learnt that LeT's Abu Hazafa, who was involved in the Akshardham attack, had emerged as the mastermind of the Delhi blasts.

Gulam Yazdani alias Naved, who hailed from Hyderabad and was killed in a police encounter outside Delhi hours after the Varanasi blasts, was also an absconder in an ISI conspiracy case here. The police strongly believe that the Varanasi blasts and the explosion at the Ahmedabad railway station on February 19 are the handiwork of the same group as the modus operandi is the same.

Afghanistan demands Pakistan quit sullying the good name of Ahmad Shah Abdali

Ahmad Shah Abdali is recognized as the founder of modern Afghanistan -- he had himself elected by a jirga and created a dynasty that lasted over two centuries. (For better or for worse, he was also my paternal ancestor, but that is another long story of my paternal family's migration from Afghanistan to Sindh some 150 years ago). An article in Open Democracy reports:

In mid-February, Afghanistan's minister of information and culture Sayed Makhdom Raheen wrote a letter advising Pakistan not to designate two of its missiles the Ghauri (Mohammad Ghauri was a 12th-century Afghan commander who led numerous raids into India) and the Abdali (Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India from Afghanistan and founded the Pashtun dynasty in 1748). Raheen said that these rulers "spread art and civilisation across the subcontinent. Their names should not be used for tools of war and killing".

KABUL (AFP) - Afghanistan's government said it had asked neighbouring Pakistan to stop naming its nuclear-capable missiles after Afghan heroes.

Kabul had also asked Islamabad in a letter to consider renaming its current Ghauri and Abdali missiles, named after conquerors of parts of the subcontinent, Information and Culture Minister Sayed Makhdom Raheen told AFP on Thursday.

Mohammad Ghauri was a 12th-century Muslim conqueror of India who came from Afghanistan. The 18th-century Pashtun king Ahmad Shah Abdali led several invasions into India and founded the first Pashtun dynasty in 1748.

Pakistan also has a missile named after Mahmud Ghaznavi, who lived in the 11th century and invaded modern-day India as many as 17 times. He died in Ghazni in southern Afghanistan in 1030.

"Afghan kings and emperors such as Ghauri, Abdali and Ghaznavi spread art and civilization across the sub-continent," the minister told AFP. "Their names should not be used for tools of war and killing."

Afghanistan would not mind if Pakistan used the names of Afghan heroes on their peaceful inventions, Raheen said.

Pakistan has developed its nuclear arsenal amid a half-century standoff with its historic rival India. The neighbours have already fought three wars and routinely carry out tests of nuclear-capable missiles.

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad meanwhile are tense over an insurgency in Afghanistan, blamed by Afghan officials in large part on militants based in Pakistan.

The Afghan government has demanded that Pakistan do more to crack down on the militants, who are linked to the ousted Taliban regime and the Al-Qaeda terror network.

March 16, 2006

"Intelligence Brief: Sectarian Violence Moves Iraq Closer to Civil War"

Between March 13-14, Iraqi security forces uncovered at least 86 bodies in Baghdad. The victims were all murdered, many killed in large groups as a result of gunshot wounds to the head. Some 29 bodies killed in this manner were found in a Shi'a neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, while 15 bodies, all victims of strangulation, were discovered in the back of a truck in a Sunni Arab neighborhood in western Baghdad.

The killings appear to be the result of sectarian violence, a development that has escalated since the February 22 bombing and destruction of the al-Askari shrine, one of the holiest sites of Shi'a Islam. The latest killings come after a series of car bombs in the Shi'a-majority Sadr City on March 12 that killed at least 46 people. The increase in sectarian violence is moving Iraq closer to civil war. Indeed, in recent days, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has publicly warned about the possibility of civil war, telling the U.S. Congress that if a full-blown civil war was to occur, that "Iraqi security forces [would] deal with it to the extent they're able to."

As early as August 2003, just five months after the initial U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, PINR warned that, "As the U.S. occupation of Iraq is maintained, U.S. forces will become increasingly involved in political, religious, and ethnic conflicts not directly related to the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime or the fertilization of his ravaged country with the potential for an economically globalized and democratic society." [See: "U.S. Occupation of Iraq Faces Both Old and New Resistance"]

Foreshadowing the sectarian divisions that have now erupted, PINR cautioned in August 2003 that "not only does the United States have to succeed in the traditional categories of a foreign occupation, but also in areas that have remained unsolved for centuries. This may prove to be the Achilles heel of the U.S. occupation efforts: even if all of the military goals are met, the old and ideological issues surrounding much of Iraq's fragmentation must still be overcome if Iraq is going to become an independent state capable of being influenced by Washington without constant scrutiny." [See: "U.S. Occupation of Iraq Faces Both Old and New Resistance"]

The United States now finds itself in the midst of this sectarian conflict. Washington's attempt to broker a power-sharing arrangement acceptable to the three major power groups in Iraq has yet to achieve success. At this point, success in the political realm will be very difficult to accomplish. As PINR analyst Dr. Michael A. Weinstein stated in January 2006, "The political class in Washington has failed to confront the fact that, during the intervention, Iraq has progressively taken on the characteristics of a failed state, the most important of which is the extreme dispersion of political forces." [See: "Iraq's Election Aftermath Reveals a Failed State"]

Indeed, while the United States implemented successfully Iraq's December 2005 elections, it has been unable to control the election aftermath. As Weinstein wrote, "Rather than marking a milestone of Iraq's progress toward political stability, much less democracy, the aftermath of the elections shows that they were the opening shot of an intensified conflict in which all the players will seek to defend and promote their perceived vital interests in a spirit of militancy." [See: "Iraq's Election Aftermath Reveals a Failed State"]

Over the past week, despite the intensive efforts of U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and frequent meetings among the Sunni, Shi'a, Kurdish and secular political tendencies, negotiations on a new government have stalled over competition for top political posts. Even in light of the deteriorating security situation, the major players agree that they are far from reaching an agreement. That is to be expected because the stakes are high for all sides. [See: "Red Lines Crisscross Iraq's Political Landscape"]

It is not clear how the United States can avoid the escalation of sectarian violence in Iraq. The removal of Saddam Hussein opened up the possibility for this tension to assert itself. The failure to replace Saddam's Ba'athist establishment with a similar authoritarian-type government made much of the current violence inevitable. As PINR analyst Dr. Michael A. Weinstein concluded on March 1, the United States has been "placed in a no-win situation. It has no prospect of a graceful exit and seems fated to preside helplessly over Iraq's disintegration." [See: "Red Lines Crisscross Iraq's Political Landscape"]

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

March 15, 2006

INDIA defense review : Source from Parliament Q & A

MIG's Statement

(a) Due to a spate of accidents in 2002-2003, the term ‘Flying Coffin’ was coined by a section of the media.

(b) Out of a total number of seven hundred and ninety three (793) MiG-21 aircraft which have been inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 1963, the IAF has lost three hundred and thirty (330) MiG-21 aircraft in the accidents.

(c) the earlier versions of the MiG-21 aircraft (e.g. Type-77, Type-96 and Type-75 Bis) are in the process of being phased out. The latest version has been upgraded to MiG-21 Bison using the contemporary systems and is likely to continue in the service till 2020.

Dhruv Helicopter fleet Grounded

(a) Dhruv Helicopter fleet of the Indian Air Force has been grounded since 26.11.2005.

(b) Though fault was found with the specific batch of tail rotor blades, no technical fault about the maneuverability or otherwise of Dhruv Helicopter has been detected.

(c) There are no cases of crashes of Dhruv under review or examination. Two incidents of forced landing took place on 28.10.2004 and 25.11.2005. These incidents have been analyzed for rectification. In both these cases neither pilot/personal injuries have taken place nor there was any fire or leakage of fuel/oil, which has proved the ruggedness and safety factors of Dhruv.

Development of kaveri Engine

(a) Currently, four engines are running on test bed at Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bangalore, while two engines are being manufactured.
Reliability and safety tests are being carried out to demonstrate compliance to the strictest standards in this direction. First flight over a limited envelope may take place in early 2007. Simultaneously, efforts are being made to improve thrust and reduce weight.

(b) One Prototype Engine and one Core Engine were tested at high altitude test facility of M/s Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM), Russia.
The tests revealed that the engine would function satisfactorily in many aspects over the flight envelope of the Kaveri. Deficiencies noted are being corrected.

(c) While the engine development has matured to a significant extent, it has been decided to look for a technology partner to accelerate the pace of development.
With that view in mind, a request for proposal (RFP) was sent to various designated engine houses of the world. Offers received are being technically evaluated.

Expenditure incurred on LCA programme

Preliminary studies have been initiated at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore to conceptualise Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) with a view to exploit indigenous technologies/expertise developed under the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Development Programme.

(c) As on 31st March 2005, audited expenditure incurred on LCA programme is:-
Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) Phase-I, Rs.2188 crore.
Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) Phase-II, Rs.988.21 crore.
Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) Navy Rs.38.68 crore.

List of Cantonments in India

(a) There are 62 Cantonments located in 19 States of the country as per list enclosed at Annexure-1.

(b) to (d): Complaints are received from residents of cantonment areas, from time to time on various subjects like the adequacy of civic amenities, better infrastructural requirements, quantum of property tax, grievance against staff. Efforts are made to mitigate the grievances of the residents. In-built mechanism is there in Cantonments Act, 1924 to appeal before the District Courts against the assessment of property by the aggrieved residents. In case of gross dereliction of duty by the staff, action is taken by the Cantonment Boards under the provisions of Cantonment Act, 1924 and Cantonment Fund Servants Rules, 1937 made thereunder.
Majority of the Cantonment Boards have framed Citizen’s Charter and have set up Information and facilitation Counters which are open to all Citizens. Since complaints are generally addressed by the complainants to the specific Cantonment Boards, no centralized details of such complaints received by the Cantonment Boards are maintained in the Ministry of Defence.


Sl. No. Name of the State No. of Cantonments in each State Name of the Cantonment 1. ANDHRA PRADESH 1 SECUNDERABAD 2. BIHAR 1 DANAPUR 3. DELHI 1 DELHI 4. GUJARAT 1 AHMEDABAD 5. HARYANA 1 AMBALA

KELKAR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS on sourcing Defense equipments indigenously


TO BE ANSWERED ON 22.02.2006



Will the Minister of DEFENCE be pleased to state:-

(a) whether it is a fact that huge amount has to be spent on the import of arms from foreign countries in the defence sector;

(b) whether it is a fact that in order the encourage the indigenization of foreign products and to increase the coordination between Armed forces, Ministry of Defence and indigenous private industries in a consolidated manner, Government has accepted the recommendations of Kelkar Committee; and

(c) if so, the details of action has been taken in this regard?




(a) As a matter of policy, priority is accorded to sourcing all defence equipment indigenously. Defence items are only imported where the Armed forces require items of a particular technology and within a definite time frame and they cannot be sourced indigenously. Even when a decision has been taken to import a defence equipment, its indigenous construction under Transfer of Technology is also explored.

(b) & (c): A Committee was set up by the Government under the chairmanship of Dr. Vijay L. Kelkar to, inter alia, examine the current procedures and recommend modalities of integration of the User, the Defence Ministry and the Indian Industry, both private and public, in the acquisition process of products required by the Armed Forces 26 of the 40 recommendations in part-I of the report of the committee have been accepted for implementation; 8 recommendations have been accepted with some modifications; and the remaining 6 recommendations are under further examination. The recommendations made in part-II of the report of the Committee are under examination.



The Government is conducting an investigation into the loss of the explosive consignment meant for use by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for its Project in Afghanistan while it was being shipped from Mumbai to Afghanistan between 22nd and 23rd December 2005. Six containers containing explosive cargo for the BRO were swept over board from the deck of the ship MV EUGENIA. The manufacturer of the explosives is M/s Premier Explosives Ltd. In accordance with the contractual conditions, the responsibility for the security, shipment, transportation, insurance and delivery to the Project in Afghanistan was that of the manufacturer. BRO was merely the consignee of these goods. The vessel MV EUGENIA was hired by the manufacturer’s shipping agent M/s Unimarine Agencies.
The ship was brought into Mumbai Anchorage on 23rd December 2005. From the six containers, four have been extricated and their contents verified and found to be in order. Two containers are yet to be traced and the Navy is of the opinion that they may have merged with the wrecks of 2 ships, lying in the same area or drifted away. The four containers have been shifted to the premises of the manufacturer M/s Premier Explosives for destruction.
MV EUGENIA had last visited Indian Ports in July to September 2005 and was carrying authorized explosives for the Indonesian Navy. It was reportedly attacked by pirates off Chittagong Port in Bangladesh. The vessel was inspected by various agencies including the Customs Department and the Cargo was certified as a legal consignment for Indonesia. The vessel on its own request was escorted at that time from Kolkata to the entrance of the Malacca Straits by the Indian Coast Guard and Naval Units.


by B. Raman

The Baloch freedom-fighters continue to wage a determined struggle against the Pakistan Army and the Punjabi feudal aristocracy, which has colonised their homeland with Chinese assistance. Their struggle is against the Punjabi-dominated Army and not against the common people, wherever they are from.

2. The operations of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and other groups, which have joined this freedom struggle, are directed against the external manifestations of the Punjabi colonisation such as the Army, the Air Force and para-military forces as well as the infrastructure through which the valuable resources of the Baloch people are being taken away to add to the wealth and comfort of the Punjabis, while the Balochs themselves continue to suffer in abject poverty and misery.

3. Despite the deployment of nearly 40,000 troops and para-military forces and the use of the Air Force, including the helicopters donated by the US for operations to hunt for Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, President General Pervez Musharraf has not been able to suppress the freedom struggle being waged by the Balochs.

4. In the meanwhile, the international community and opinion makers in the US have been taking increasing notice of the freedom struggle and the grievances of the Balochs. The Pakistan Human Rights Organisation headed by the renowned Dr. Asma Jehangir has also been highlighting the continuing gross violations of the human rights of the Balochs.

5. Frustrated in their attempts to crush the independence struggle through their military might, Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment have embarked on a campaign to discredit the movement by planting mines on roads and routes used by innocent civilians and blaming on the BLA and other organisations fighting for independence the resulting civilian casualties.

6. In a tragic incident on March 10, 2006, a wedding party of 30 civilians perished after the bus in which they were traveling hit a land-mine in the Dera Bugti area of Balochistan. An insidious campaign has been unleashed by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to blame the Baloch freedom-fighters for this incident as well as earlier incidents in which civilians were killed by land-mines.

7. Well-informed sources say that these mines, many of them of Chinese origin, were planted by the Army and the ISI in order to discredit the freedom struggle and weaken the growing external support for it. They assert that the BLA and its sister organisations do not have any land-mines.

8. The Chinese have also been playing a deplorable role in the efforts of the Army to crush the independence struggle, by providing the Pakistani military units deployed in Balochistan with arms and ammunition and by sharing with them the intelligence collected by Chinese intelligence officers posted in Gwadar and other places under the cover of engineers.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail:

Baluch Rebels Succeed In Shutting Iran-Pakistan Rail Link

March 14, 2006
Mandeep S. Bajwa


Last week Associated Press reported that because of insurgent attacks, rail service between Quetta in Pakistan and Zahedan in Iran was to be suspended. Other reports said that Pakistan had suspended traffic only for a week till the security situation improved; but there was confusion as whether it was goods or passenger traffic that was affected.
Trains were already restricted to daylight operations on the line because of frequent attacks. A rocket attack on March 4 that seriously injured an engine driver is said to have led Pakistan Railways staff to refuse to operate trains.

The suspension of Iran-Pakistan rail traffic represents a major victory for the Baluchistan Liberation Army (Sherkoh). This is the main branch of the BLA and is led by Khair Bux Marri and his three sons. It is supposedly funded, trained and loosely controlled by the CIA.

The increasing daily incidents of violence in Balochistan prove that far from the claims of the Pakistan Government the insurgents are very much alive, kicking and working according to a plan and under the directions of a central command body. The pattern of insurgent attacks has been the classic guerrilla hit and run raid. Security forces, their camps, patrolling vehicles and foot patrols have all been targeted with increasing casualties to the Army and Frontier Corps. The security forces have responded with fierce retaliation being visited particularly on civilians. The insurgents have also been guilty of harming civilians and non-combatants. This has not endeared their cause either to the world or their own people.

A close analysis of the strategy and tactics followed by the BLA, BLF and their associates reveals that their intention is to firstly hurt the Pakistan Government economically. The killings of Chinese engineers working on the Gwadar port is a pointer to this strategy. Also the frequent rocket attacks on the Sui Gasfield and power transmission pylons add to this theory. Secondly, disrupting communications to prove that the writ of the Federal Government does not run in the Province.

In both stratagems the Baloch insurgents have achieved a fair measure of success.

''Iran's Nuclear Plans Complicate China's Energy Security''

In mid-February 2006, amid controversy over Iran's nuclear research program, China and Iran announced an energy deal potentially worth US$100 billion. According to the agreement, state-owned China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, will develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field, and China agreed to buy from Iran ten million tons of liquefied natural gas per year for 25 years beginning in 2009. Sinopec would assume a 51 percent stake in the field, expected to produce 300,000 barrels per day, with 29 percent going to India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (O.N.G.C.) and the remaining 20 percent to either Iranian firms or another foreign company such as Royal Dutch Shell.

China and Iran Improve Economic Relations

This deal is the latest and most significant step in economic relations between the two states. Trade between China and Iran increased from US$1.2 billion in 1998 to US$7.5 billion in 2004, and jumped to US$9.5 billion in 2005. China currently imports about 13 percent of its oil from Iran alone and, as consumption continues to rise, will be increasingly reliant on foreign oil. Additionally, Beijing has made recent significant energy investments in Indonesia, Venezuela, Sudan, and Nigeria, and plans to construct a pipeline connecting Iran to Kazakhstan, which would in turn supply China. [See: "Economic Brief: China's Energy Acquisitions"]

In Iran, China intends to become involved in everything from exploration, drilling and pipelines in order to meet its own increasing energy needs. Collaboration extends beyond energy, as there are presently more than 100 Chinese companies working in Iran in sectors such as dam and shipbuilding, steel production and development of seaports and airports. The Iranian Embassy in Beijing described this collaboration as "following the rule of mutual benefits and respect in all bilateral cooperation."

It appears that the two states wish to conclude the deal before any possible international sanctions on Iran are imposed. To do so would limit U.S. and E.U. options, and a Chinese veto, or the threat of one, at the U.N. Security Council will complicate Western aims to punish Iran. However, Beijing has stated its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, and diplomatic resolution is "not only in the interests of China, but in the interests of all parties concerned."

Beijing Finds Itself Positioned Between the U.S. and Iran

There is much at stake, as China, Iran, and the West all stand to lose out from conflict, whether diplomatic or militaristic in nature. Beijing finds itself positioned precariously between Iran and the West, particularly between Iran and the U.S. Between 2001 and 2004, China accounted for one-third of the increase in global oil demand, and by 2020 expects its energy consumption to double, with imported oil accounting for 60 percent of the total.

China's dependence on energy would likely center on Africa and the Middle East, but with its expanding economy tethered to the U.S. and the dollar, China's further involvement with Iran could damage its relations with the U.S. In recent years, Beijing has stressed the point that it will not sacrifice trade with the West for Iran, and as such will toe a fine diplomatic line in order to maintain its relationship with both. [See: "China Becomes Increasingly Involved in the Middle East"]

Meanwhile, the U.S.-China trade gap swelled almost 25 percent to US$201.6 billion in 2005, a figure that has caused U.S. legislators to propose tougher trade policies against China. Last year, Congress helped to quash a hostile bid by China's C.N.O.O.C. to purchase Unocal, the ninth-largest U.S. oil company. This showdown proved that nationalism will trump the market when it comes to energy security, and that the U.S. and China, as the world's top two energy consumers, are ultimately competing for the same limited resources. U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman asked that both sides "recognize this problem before it becomes an intense competition which can actually lead to military conflict." [See: "Economic Brief: Economic Nationalism"]

Washington Continues to Pressure Iran

With regard to Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted that the U.S. must "walk a fine line" and will not likely push for immediate sanctions. However, Washington has hardened its stance in recent weeks, asserting that no level of uranium enrichment is acceptable. U.S. President George W. Bush called the row a "grave national security concern," but stated that a diplomatic resolution is imperative. As such, Washington's options are limited by its current military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by fear of a shock to global oil prices. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Iran Tests Washington's Limits"]

Iran is getting support from China and Russia who are attempting to limit sanctions or to forge a diplomatic resolution that will grant greater political leverage against the West. Iranian hardliners have stated that their country's economic relationship with China is "strategic," and that Western threats are empty. Russia's offer to enrich uranium for civil nuclear power in Iran is viewed as the best option for avoiding sanctions. The other Security Council members support the plan, but Iran has said it will not comply with the proposal. Both Beijing and Moscow believe that the matter should be determined by the I.A.E.A., rather than by the Security Council, and are fearful that forceful actions may well push Tehran away from negotiations entirely.

Iran, as O.P.E.C.'s second-largest oil exporter and with its position on the strategically crucial Strait of Hormuz, largely controls the climate of the current negotiations. Energy analysts predict that sanctions on Iranian oil would lead to skyrocketing crude prices that could potentially cripple the global economy. Worst-case scenarios envision U.S. military action that would lead to Iran cutting off its vast oil supplies, with prices at least tripling overnight. [See: "Intelligence Brief: Iran Tests Washington's Limits"]

Iran initially stated that it would not use oil as a weapon in the nuclear dispute. For instance, sighting the goal of keeping crude prices between US$50-60 per barrel, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian stated that, "Iran will not use oil as a weapon because we think it would have a very bad effect on most of the population of the world." He also predicted that sanctions would not be imposed on the grounds that such actions would have "very bad consequences."

However, in light of the I.A.E.A.'s referral, Iran reversed course by threatening to use its leverage as a key global energy supplier should the Security Council pursue drastic measures to halt the nuclear program. Indeed, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that "the world needs the Iranian nation much more than the Iranian nation needs the world." As a result of the crisis, crude oil prices went up eight percent from mid-February, and anxious investors hope for a last-minute deal to calm the markets.


As the Security Council prepares to convene in New York, it can be expected that China will make every effort to avoid sanctions against Iran while attempting to mollify anxieties in the United States and Europe over nuclear proliferation. Iran will count on China's economic weight, and Security Council permanent member status, to counter Western desires to punish Iran. Meanwhile, Russia will continue to negotiate with Iran in order to settle the matter without official U.N. action. The U.S. and the E.U., on the other hand, will continue to push China and Russia to agree to some form of sanctions regime against Iran in an effort to force Tehran to comply with U.S. and E.U. demands.

Report Drafted By:
Michael Piskur

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

March 13, 2006

Rabindra ‘spy’ Singh surfaces in Virginia

This picture was circulated by unknown indian group which called itself as PSMI, Patriotic Sons of Mother India . It is believed that members of these organization became radio active eversince he fled India with active help of US .

Author: Pramod Kumar singh

Publication: The Daily Pioneer

Date: March 13, 2006

Rabindra 'spy' Singh surfaces in Virginia

Pramod Kumar Singh/ New Delhi

RAW officer missing since 2004 with secrets ---- Rabindra Singh, the
former joint secretary of the country's external intelligence agency,
whose mysterious disappearance two years ago had created quite a stir, has
been traced along with his family members.

Well-placed sources told the Pioneer that Singh who went missing on May
14, 2004, was discovered living in disguise in the United States.

Based on his latest photograph in disguise and other evidence, the
Indian agencies have concluded that the former Joint Secretary of Research
and Analysis Wing (RAW) was holed up in the countryside of Virginia
state with his wife and two children. Now intense efforts are on to bring
him to justice.

Singh, a clean-shaven Sikh came on deputation to RAW from the Army in
the 1980s. He held the rank of major at that time. He did not go back to
the Army on completion of his deputation as he was absorbed as a member
of RAW's Research and Analysis Service.

Throughout his career, he was considered by many of his peers as an
average officer. He was rated poor as an intelligence analyst, but better
as a field operative.

During his career, he worked in Amritsar and subsequently as a field
operative in West Asia and West Europe.

In Amritsar, he was assigned the task of collecting trans-border
intelligence about the training of Sikh extremists by Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistani territory. In West Asia, his task was
monitoring the activities of terrorist groups. In West Europe, he focused
on the activities of Sikh terrorist elements operating there.

He had been part and parcel of several undercover missions and was one
of the 15 joint secretaries in the country's top external intelligence
agency's secretariat. His disappearance had shocked the nation as he
knew a lot about counter intelligence missions and there were
apprehensions that it could harm national interests.

Probe had revealed that Singh fled to Nepal via Bihar border and
managed to reach US with the help of undercover operatives of US

Sources said that he decided to flee after his handlers in the US
intelligence agencies realised that their clandestine dealings were no
longer secret and that Indian agencies were aware of it.

The former Joint Secretary who was in-charge of the Southeast Asia desk
was under surveillance by his agency's counter-intelligence unit before
he was reported missing on May 14. His disappearance has baffled the
top brass in the RAW as he had managed to defect despite a watch being
kept on him in his office and outside. It was alleged that Singh was
allegedly handing over vital information to US intelligence agencies'
officials based in the Indian Capital.

Singh was also under the scanner because he was once caught carrying
sensitive files and classified information out of his office, something
that is not permitted. He was also was filmed Xeroxing classified
documents in his office. His activities were taken very seriously as contacts
with foreign secret agents were never liked in RAW and it is always
frowned on by the top bosses, the sources added.

March 12, 2006

"China Becomes Increasingly Involved in the Middle East"

wo regions have emerged as the most likely sources of great power conflict in the 21st century. The first is the Middle East, which is the focal point for the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The region is important both as part of a global ideological struggle against Islamist extremism and in the quest for oil and gas resources. The second is Asia, as the rise of China presents competition for both intangible and material resources on the world stage.

On the ideological front, China's model of protecting one-party rule by improving the economic livelihood of the people and emphasizing the principles of sovereignty, non-interference and territorial integrity while calling for a multi-polar international system challenges the U.S.-led international order, which favors democracy, human rights and humanitarian intervention. China's rapid growth, development and modernization is also proceeding in tandem with China's growing resource needs, which are placing pressure on raw material prices and fueling a global competition for certain resources, notably energy resources given China's position as the second-largest oil consumer after the United States. [See: "China's Geostrategy: Playing a Waiting Game"]

However, events in these two regions are not mutually exclusive. China's growing economic influence has proceeded in tandem with a growing military capability and more proactive political and diplomatic policy on the world stage, including in the Middle East. Its policy toward the Middle East has emerged as a microcosm of its foreign policy throughout the world, being driven by a desire to maintain a stable international environment in order to focus on its internal development, forming a close bond with the developing world, gaining access to raw materials and markets, and elevating its status on the world stage.

China's Relations with the Middle East

China's relations with the Middle East are rooted in China's support for anti-colonial struggles during the Cold War. Beijing's wave of diplomatic recognition with the Arab world began in 1956, with China's establishment of diplomatic relations with Egypt, and completed in 1990 when Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations with China. With the end of the Cold War and China's emergence as a net oil importer in 1993, China's primary interest in the Middle East has been to gain access to the region's vast oil and gas supplies. While China is trying to diversify its energy import supplies, it still depends on the Middle East for half of its oil imports, with Saudi Arabia and Iran providing approximately 30 percent of China's oil imports.

Meanwhile, numerous states in the region have agreed to invest in China's downstream infrastructure as demonstrated in December 2005 when Kuwait signed an agreement to invest in refinery and petrochemical infrastructure in Guangdong province. Also in December, China and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (O.P.E.C.) launched an energy dialogue. In fact, many recent diplomatic initiatives by China toward the Middle East can be seen through the prism of China's growing energy needs.

For example, the visit by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz to China in January was the first by a Saudi monarch to China. This visit demonstrated the deepening relationship between the world's fastest growing source of oil demand (China) and the world's biggest oil supplier (Saudi Arabia). Since 2002, Saudi oil shipments to the U.S. have been declining while shipments have been increasing to China. Indeed, last year Saudi Arabia was China's leading source of oil imports.

China has secured numerous energy exploration agreements with the Saudi government. For example, Sinopec has won the right to explore for natural gas in Saudi Arabia's al-Khali Basin, while Saudi Arabia has agreed to assist China in the development of its strategic petroleum reserves and upgrade China's downstream refinery capacity as demonstrated by the construction of a refinery for natural gas in Fujian Province.

Sino-Saudi relations extend beyond the energy sphere. Both countries maintain close relations with Pakistan and China has sold Saudi Arabia CSS-2 "East Wind" intermediate range ballistic missiles. Saudi Arabia has also emerged as China's leading trade partner in the region with Sino-Saudi trade amounting to US$14bn in 2005.

A similar deepening of relations can be seen in the case of Sino-Iranian relations. While China abstained in the vote to refer Iran's nuclear ambitions to the United Nations Security Council at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) in January 2006, it still maintains strong relations with Iran. When the Iran issue will be discussed at the U.N. Security Council, China could employ a similar tactic to what it employed over the issue of Sudan, which is also a significant oil supplier to China; in 2004, the U.N. Security Council was forced to water down a resolution condemning atrocities in the Darfur region to avoid a Chinese veto.

China's relations with Iran, while rooted in centuries of history from the "Silk Road" and the voyages of Zheng He, have recently blossomed as a result of China's growing energy needs. China has signed a US$100bn deal with Iran to import 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas over a 25-year period in exchange for a Chinese stake of 50 percent in the development of the Yadavaran oil field in Iran. China has also expressed a desire in direct pipeline access to Iran via Kazakhstan.

Relations in the economic sphere have also continued to blossom as bilateral trade reached US$9.5bn in 2005, fueled by growing Chinese investment in Iran's infrastructure. Iran has also been drawn into China's sphere of influence by its observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Given the ongoing frictions between Iran and the West, Sino-Iranian relations are also a source of potential friction for Sino-U.S. relations. For example, while China has voiced its commitment to the non-proliferation regime, Chinese companies have been the subject of numerous sanctions for the transfer of ballistic missile technologies to Iran. Since the mid-1980s, China has sold Iran anti-ship cruise missiles such as the Silkworm (HY-2), the C-801, and the C-802.

While gaining access to the region's vast energy resources is China's primary motivation for deepening relations with the region, there are a number of other factors driving China's Middle East policy. As the ideological center of the Islamic world, China has attempted to maintain good relations with the Arab world in order to get their support on the Uighur insurgency in Xinjiang Province and maintain amicable relations with the 55 million Muslims residing in China.

While China's main efforts in preventing external actors from fueling the Uighur insurgency have focused on Central and South Asian states, countries in the Middle East, most notably Saudi Arabia and Iran, have also had an important role to play in quelling the insurgency given their moral and material support. Most notably, Wahabbi Islam, which is an export from Saudi Arabia, has played a significant role in the rise of extremist, fundamentalist Islam in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics on China's western borders.

In order to garner the goodwill of the region, Beijing has made numerous symbolic gestures. For example, in September 2002 Beijing appointed its first Middle East peace envoy. While this has had little significance for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, it has nevertheless demonstrated China's increasing attention to the region.

Similarly, while China has maintained a low-profile in the U.S. intervention in Iraq, in May 2004 China submitted a document to the U.N. Security Council proposing that U.S.-led forces withdraw from Iraq. China has also consistently called for a larger U.N. role in Iraq. China is deepening its economic cooperation with the region through the China-Arab Cooperation Forum and the Framework Agreement between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes negotiations for a free trade zone.

While China has maintained a historically close relationship with the Arab world, including sympathizing with the Palestinian cause, it has nevertheless also pursued an increasingly close relationship with Israel in recent years. Israel is one of only a handful of countries that has never granted diplomatic recognition to Taiwan. In recent years, Sino-Israeli relations have been fueled by China's growing dependence on Israel for arms imports and upgrades, particularly hard-to-find U.S.-made weapons platforms. Israel is now China's second largest supplier of weaponry after Russia. Most notably, Israel has sold China "Harpy" anti-radar drones and Python-3 air-to-air missiles.

Nevertheless, there are limits to Sino-Israeli relations given the close relationship between Israel and the United States as evinced by Israel's decision (under U.S. pressure) to cancel the sale of the Phalcon airborne early-warning radar system to China in July 2000 and its decision not to upgrade harpy drones for China in 2004. [See: "Return of the Red Card: Israel-China-U.S. Triangle"]

Potential for China-U.S. Rivalry

While China and the United States are not engaged in an overt competition in the Middle East, it is not difficult to envision that the region could emerge as the stage for future Sino-U.S. rivalry. Not only are the United States and China dependent on energy resources from the Middle East, but both states offer competing models for international conduct, with the Chinese model becoming increasingly popular in the region.

While the United States has become more willing to engage in humanitarian intervention, preemptive action and regime change, with the Middle East emerging as the most likely candidate for the U.S. to practice these policies, China retains a preference for a traditional Westphalian-style of conducting international relations with emphasis on non-intervention, state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Since 9/11 and the launch of the U.S.-led war on terrorism and the Greater Middle East Initiative to spread democratic principles across the Middle East, regimes in the region, including those that have traditionally maintained close relations with Washington such as Saudi Arabia, have deepened relations with Beijing in order to hedge their bets against a downturn in relations with the U.S. China's relations with pariah, terrorism-sponsoring governments in the region including Iran, Libya, and Syria, as well as the proliferation of ballistic missile technologies and other weapons platforms to these countries, has already created a source of tension between the United States and China.

The implications of Sino-U.S. energy competition in the Middle East extend beyond the region. At present, China has to depend on the U.S. to patrol sea-lanes through which its oil imports from the Middle East transit. Beijing is attempting to reduce this dependence by diversifying to access oil and gas imports from other regions and developing port facilities through which China can import oil by pipeline. This "String of Pearls" strategy, as it has been characterized, has been made apparent by China's development of port facilities at Gwadar in Pakistan, which is on the doorsteps of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. China has also expressed a desire to augment its blue water naval capability over the long-term, which could be used to compete with the U.S. in policing waterways in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. [See: "The Modernization of the Chinese Navy"]


Sino-U.S. competition in the Middle East is by no means inevitable. The Middle East may emerge as a stage for cooperation between the world's major energy consumers, including the United States, China, Japan and India. This has already been seen with the joint bid by China National Petroleum Corporation (C.N.P.C.) and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (O.N.G.C.) for energy assets in Syria, and China and India having a 51 percent and 29 percent stake respectively in the development of Yadavaran field in Iran.

The growing dependence on Middle East energy by China, India and Japan may also encourage these states to play a more proactive role in resolving long-standing disputes in the region, bringing peace and stability. China's low-key presence in the ongoing debate over the U.S. intervention in Iraq and abstention over the vote to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council also suggests that China does not seek to engage in open confrontation with the United States over issues in the Middle East. There are also technical barriers to China's access to Middle East oil given that China lacks the refineries to process the heavy sour crude from the region.

Nevertheless, Chinese and U.S. interests in the Middle East are not identical. In many ways, there has been a role reversal for the United States and China on the world stage -- while China had originally fueled revolutionary change through sponsoring anti-colonial struggles and communist insurgencies, it is now the United States that is attempting to fuel change in the international system by rejecting international conventions (e.g. Kyoto Protocol, A.B.M. Treaty) and norms (preemptive action, granting recognition to India as a nuclear power).

On the other hand, while the United States has traditionally favored stability even at the cost of supporting unsavory regimes, it is now China that increasingly favors stability in the international system, even if it means supporting pariah regimes such as Burma, Iran, Nepal, North Korea, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. In the Middle East, the volatile mix of long-standing disputes, great power competition and Islamist extremism create the recipe for further instability in the region.

Report Drafted By:
Chietigj Bajpaee

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an independent organization that utilizes open source intelligence to provide conflict analysis services in the context of international relations. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader. This report may not be reproduced, reprinted or broadcast without the written permission of All comments should be directed to

New face of political Islam

New face of political Islam

Last Friday, violence erupted in Aminabad and Qaiserbag, two prominent marketplaces in Lucknow, when an un-notified anti-Bush rally by local Muslims took a communal turn. Four lives were lost in the violence apart from injuries to another 10. The rally was un-notified but not unscheduled since, according to eye witnesses, preparations on a large scale were being made since morning. The violence could have been resisted but for the pronounced laxity of the police and the administration. The police should have anticipated the preparations that were afoot in full public view in Aminabad.

Violence erupted when Muslim protesters, after Friday prayers, marched through the streets forcing closure of shops on Latouche Road, Aminabad, Kaiserbagh, Nazirabad, Maulviganj and Hazratganj. They damaged shops and vehicles by pelting stones and set ablaze over two dozen two-wheelers. Bank of Baroda's Aminabad branch and a post office were torched by the rioters who also damaged two cinema halls. The Hindu shopkeepers, who have little to do with Islamic jihad against the US, protested against the bullying Muslim gangsters.

This led to pitched battle between the two communities. The Muslim gangsters were even carrying firearms and shot at three persons who later succumbed to their injuries. One of the victims was 12-year-old Shanu, son of one Rajendra Kumar. The police reacted strongly and effectively but only after rioters had inflicted heavy damage.

The events in Lucknow are latest from adherents of 'religion of peace and mercy'. This is an eerie reminder of grisly Kanpur riots in 1931. BR Ambedkar describes it in Pakistan or the Partition of India: "With three weeks of the 'pact' occurred the savage communal riots at Cawnpore, which significantly enough began with the attempts of Congress adherents to force Mahomedan shopkeepers to observe hartal in memory of Bhagat Singh who had been executed on March 23. On March 24 began the plunder of Hindu shops. On March 25 there was a blaze. Shops and temples were set on fire and burnt to cinders.

Disorder, arson, loot, murder, spread like wild fire. Five hundred families abandoned their houses and took shelter in villages. Ramchandra was one of the worst sufferers. All members of his family, including his wife, and aged parents were killed and their bodies thrown into gutters. In the same slaughter Ganesh Shankar Vidhyarthi lost his life (Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, Vol 8, p 177).

Seventy five years later we observe a contrasting coincidence! In Kanpur it were Congressmen who were 'forcing' Muslim shopkeepers to close their shops. One should not misconstrue 'forcing' as compelling them on gun point because adherents of Gandhi were incapable of raising even a pen-knife. There was thus no vandalism. Whatever it be, the occasion was undoubtedly a solemn one for the whole nation - execution of Bhagat Singh and his two companions.

Bhagat Singh is a personality who is lionised by both the saffron and the leftist camps at the same time. Yet Muslim shopkeepers proved that Bhagat Singh meant nothing to them. It says a lot about their view on the freedom movement of India. Interestingly, Muslims not only refused to observe hartal but savaged the Hindu community. 300 lives were lost as per official estimate, in the riots that followed. It is no surprise that those who disowned Bhagat Singh also, subsequently disowned India later.

In Lucknow the reverse happened 75 years later. A Muslim mob, ready with arms and indulging in vandalism, tried to force Hindus to close their shops. The occasion had no connection with nationalism or national interest. They wanted Hindus to side with them to protest against US President George Bush's actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, Mr Bush's actions in these two countries did not have a bearing on India. Therefore, the Hindus feel no animosity towards President Bush.

The only section of 'secularists' who were seen making common cause with Muslims were Communists. But there was nothing 'national' about their protests. It again centred on Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. Their leaders were seen sharing dais with leaders of Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Hind at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan recently, spewing venom against the US. In Hyderabad, the only other city on Mr Bush's itinerary, it were the Leftist and Muslim groups who were protesting against him. They seemed least concerned about India benefitting from the nuclear, agricultural, commercial deals with the US. They were more bothered about what

Mr Bush did in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr Bush is definitely no holy cow, but neither was Khrushchev or Zhou En Lai for whom Nehru had rolled out the red carpet. Why do Communists conspicuously shy away from even pronouncing on Tibet? Did they find Muslims by their side on the issue of Vietnam? However, India did not seek the track record of the USSR in Baltic countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that Russians had forcibly occupied in 1940. Our contact with Russia filled India with KGB agents about which The Mitrokhin Archives is quite explicit.

A fortnight before the anti-Bush riots, Lucknow had witnessed another Muslim mobilisation against cartoons of Prophet Mohammed published in Danish newspaper Jyellands-Posten. The BJP office had been attacked by a Muslim mob, which hurled abuses at Hindu deities as well. The concern of Hindus is quite legitimate. Why should they face Muslim ire for no fault of theirs? And how long can this be tolerated in a Hindu-majority country with the principle of secularism enshrined in its Constitution?

The sword of Islam is now tearing apart the mask of secularism. The burgeoning Muslim population and its increasing religious assertiveness will ensure that the days of living in the comfortable shadow of secularist ideology are numbered.

The tradition of 'secular' Congress caving in to communal demands of Muslim League had begun in Lucknow. At the time of signing 'the Lucknow Pact in 1916 the Congress had officially agreed to communal representation in legislative bodies to ensure peace and unity. In three years the Congress along with the Ali brothers was fighting for the jihadi cause of restoring the Caliphate.

Failure to restore Caliphate led the Muslims of India to vent their anger on Hindus in a manner never seen before. The secular formations that are today lending crutches to communal demands of Muslims like quota in armed forces, Government jobs and educational institutions must be forewarned about its after-effects. Such measures will most likely backfire.

Although Ms Sonia Gandhi might claim that Muslims are Congress's natural allies (only those who have not read history will believe it), Congressmen this time were on the wrong side of 'secular' divide. By rolling out the red carpet to Mr Bush, the Congress has acted in India's interest. It was necessary and the time for it had come. The generation next of the Congress will, for sure, not be able to escape the impact of Islamic explosions, a pernicious legacy of the party's appeasement policies over the last two generations.

Hence it is better that they are prepared for it, and don't repeat the blunders of the past. Mr Bush, at Purana Qila, did some hard talk which lacked the polish of 'secularism'. His tribute to the Hindu majority of India was no faux pas. It was confirmed by his rebuff to President Musharraf in Islamabad when he said there was a big difference between history of India and the history of Pakistan. Hence Pakistan, howsoever an important ally, cannot be equated with India. The history he was referring to was not merely post-1947 but started from 7th century AD.

(The writer, a Rajya Sabha MP, can be contacted at

India: The terrible price paid for economic progress

India's economic success is a modern miracle. But the dark side of the boom has been its tragic cost to the subcontinent's most vulnerable people. In a special investigation, Daniela Bezzi and Peter Popham report from Kalinganagar, a village that paid a terrible price in the name of progress
Published: 11 March 2006

It was dawn on 2 January 2006 when the quiet morning rituals of Kalinganagar, a village in eastern India, were drowned in a noise like the end of the world: a stream of bulldozers and excavators and khaki-painted lorries containing more than 400 armed police came grinding into the village.

For days there had been rumours that something was about to happen. The village, surrounded by dense forest but only 50 kilometres from a major iron-ore mine, already has three steel plants in its midst. Tata, a major Indian company, wants to build another, much bigger than the rest. The villagers, who belong to the indigenous Ho tribe, want none of it: last year police broke up two protest rallies with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Now the bulldozers and diggers went to work, levelling a paddy field which occupied part of the site where Tata's planned new steel plant is supposed to rise. The disaster was under way. Villagers at work in the fields or tending their goats and cattle came running to see what was going on, gathering at a football ground in sight of the fields where the diggers were at work, guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.

An hour went by. The villagers debated what to do. They sent a small delegation to the officials to ask them to stop work and negotiate. A local magistrate who had accompanied the police was brusque. "You do whatever you want," he told them dismissively, "and I'll do my work." There was to be no parley.

Now a group of villagers walked towards the bulldozers. Their plan, the survivors said later, was to persuade the drivers to stop, if necessary by lying down in front of them. What happened next is disputed: some of the protesters say the first injuries were caused when one of them tripped a string attached to a buried charge of dynamite or even a landmine. Enraged now, more protesters came running towards the police lines shouting abuse (the police claim they also fired arrows). And the police opened fire with tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds. The villagers ran screaming in all directions. The police kept up the firing until the ground was strewn with bodies.

By the time silence fell again on the site, 12 local people had been shot dead and 31 injured. One policeman had been killed by the protesters. Several of the villagers had been shot in the back. Some of the casualties were a long way from the field of action. A 14-year-old boy standing outside his home was shot in the chest and killed. A 27-year-old woman was killed by a bullet on her way to bathe in the village pond.

The bodies of six of the dead were taken away by the police. When they were returned two days later, the villagers claimed that hands, genitals and breasts had been cut off.

This is the India where nobody goes, the wild east, the subcontinent's heart of darkness. The three states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh contain more than 70 per cent of India's mineral wealth, from coal to gold, from bauxite to uranium. They also contain many million tribal people, those like the Ho villagers slaughtered in Kalinganagar, people who arrived in the subcontinent long before the Aryan invaders and who still worship their own gods and live in their own style. And like indigenous peoples the world over, they are f being ground under the wheels of development.

India is getting rich, but it is still incredibly poor. The famous Indian IT industry employs about a million people - out of the total Indian population of more than a billion. The bitter fact about Indian growth, and what makes it qualitatively different from that in Japan, China, Thailand or Malaysia, is that the overwhelming majority obtains no benefit from it. In fact for many of the poorest, like the villagers in Kalinganagar, it is an unmitigated calamity.

Professor Ram Dayal Munda, one of the most brilliant products of India's tribal belt, identifies a crucial divide in India, akin to Europe's old Iron Curtain. "Jharkhand," he said speaking of his own state, "is the paradox of India today, with all its richness in land and mineral resources and its backwardness at many other levels. It represents the frontier, the dividing line between western and eastern. Western India is well-fed India, from Punjab to Kerala, the India that has already been westernised. Eastern India, the forest land, the wild hunting land, is a region rich in natural resources but where the most elementary human rights are violated."

The issue of the emancipation of India's indigenous peoples, Munda says, was fatally fudged at independence - and they have been the victims of development, not its beneficiaries, ever since. And as the Indian economy slowly comes to the boil, a vast human and ecological tragedy is in the making.

We are travelling with a man who has been watching all this happen and who committed himself 18 years ago to doing everything he could to stop it.

Bulu Imam is not the obvious candidate for such a role. He is a child of India's native elite, the sort of people who are doing best out of the boom. His conversation is larded with the names of old friends who are chief ministers and senior civil servants and politicians in Delhi. His grandfather was president of the Congress, the party of Gandhi and Nehru, and India's first delegate to the League of Nations. His father, Tootoo, was educated in Britain and raced Bentleys around Calcutta race track when he was not out pig-sticking or hunting tigers.

Bulu got the tiger-hunting bug, too: father and son did it as a business, luring over American millionaires to try their luck in the forests of Jharkhand, in the south of the state of Bihar. Put a whisky in his hand and even today the shikar (tiger-hunting) yarns pour out of Bulu till the cows come home.

Like all serious hunters, he got to know his chosen terrain intimately. That meant for him principally Jharkhand, literally the Land of the Forests.

A plateau the size of Ireland, Jharkhand rises out of the Ganges plain like an immense apparition, and for many centuries it must have been quite as frightening and forbidding as the forests of central Europe in the Middle Ages. The dense sal forests (a widespread, timber-yielding tree) were full of leopard and tiger and elephant and cobra. The occasional clearings, with small mud dwellings abutting paddy fields, were peopled by adivasis, literally the "first people" who spoke neither Hindi nor Bengali, who worshipped Sing Bonga, the sun god, and were dead shots with the bow and arrow. They were rumoured to practise human sacrifice.

All that was before the arrival of the British. But although many outsiders settled in Jharkhand during the two centuries after the British redcoats first showed their faces, much went unchanged. The villages remained as simple and tranquil, the forest as dense. And the tigers were still plentiful. When he was a young man there were tigers in the woods a 20-minute walk from his home in the town of Hazaribagh (the name means "One Thousand Tigers"). And because shikar was his vocation and his trade, he got to know the woods of Jharkhand extremely well.

Shikar was eventually banned by the Indian government - to his father's great disgust. Then one day in 1988 Bulu was asked to put his knowledge of the forests to a special use: the English travel writer Mark Shand wanted to ride an elephant across India and he needed a guide. Bulu agreed, and for three weeks he led Shand and Tara, the elephant, across the Jharkhand plateau, rarely using metalled roads. Instead they travelled on dirt tracks and long-abandoned logging paths. "I never looked at a map," he says of the experience today. "I don't look at maps, I draw them. It was tough because in many places the forest had grown back and we had to hack a way through. It was an unbelievable experience."

After weeks in the forest, one day they broke out on the edge of a vast open-caste coal mine. "We travelled through the mines for two or three days," Bulu remembers, "using the shoulders between the mines for a path. There was a 300-foot drop on either side, and the mine was about 12 miles across: it was a series of mines all linked up. With an elephant you go very slowly, and the landscape comes up to meet you."

The scale and the finality of the devastation such a mine wreaks was brought home to him. Bulu knew that the government was planning another vast mine like this one, to be called the North Kanpura Coalfield. "It was here that I came face to face with what the new coal field would really mean. The impact on me was tremendous." It had to be stopped.

Thus began his long immersion in the history and prehistory, the culture and the folkways of the plateau.

Five thousand or more years ago, Jharkhand's inhabitants made enigmatic, superbly decorative carvings on many large rock faces in the area, carvings that have never been properly examined by experts. Two thousand years ago, Buddhists and Jains built temples and carved devotional statuary at dozens of sites across the plateau. The sites have yet to be properly documented, but even casual digging uncovers the remains of ancient statues, often in excellent condition. Now, as the coal field project grinds towards completion, one by one these sites will be swallowed up, as if they had never existed.

And of course the villages go, too, without remorse and often without compensation or rehabilitation. The adivasis in the Hazaribagh area, as in many of India's tribal zones, decorate their simple mud-built houses with exuberant painted images of birds and beasts. They have lived in this region for many centuries, and until the coming of the British had it all to themselves. Theoretically their possession of the land is protected by India's Constitution. But Constitution, tribal rights, and a long history notwithstanding, two dozen villages have already been swept away like so much rubbish, their villagers decanted into the slums of Ranchi, the Jharkhand capital, or dispatched to Delhi to be domestics of the upper class. Many more villages are in the firing line.

It was indignation provoked by a comparable though much smaller threat in Britain - Rio Tinto Zinc's plan to mine on Snowdon - that gave birth, in 1972, to Friends of the Earth; its first campaign success was to stop Rio Tinto in its tracks. As the local head of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Imam has been striving for 18 years to generate a similar head of steam over the fate of the plateau. But despite the support of foreign scholars and the listing of the Jharkhand sites in the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Heritage at Risk World Report and elsewhere, the state has not been deflected even an inch from its intention of sacrificing a vast, historic area of outstanding natural beauty for coal mines, dams, thermal power stations - and uranium mines.

A key component of India's "miracle" is the way the country is growing more powerful. With the tests conducted in the desert of Rajasthan in 1998, India barged into the nuclear club; and this month, despite those tests and to the horror of the nuclear disarmament lobby, it has signed an agreement with the US to develop its civil nuclear programme. And once again, progress in the Indian context comes with appalling human costs. It was at about the time of those nuclear tests that we first learned about the disaster known as Jaduguda.

The uranium for India's bombs came from Jaduguda, in Jharkhand, the only uranium mine in the country (though several more are now being opened up). The mine is located in the middle of a cluster of tribal villages. Not close to a village, with high barbed wire fences keeping the peasants well away, but in its midst. The pond at Jaduguda, we learnt, where the hazardous waste is dumped and allowed to settle, can be accessed by the men, women, children, dogs, cats and cows of the village. (The mine's boss claims that the pond was closed to the public, and some reports suggest that villagers may have cut their way through the perimeter fence.) In the summer the pond dried out, and some villagers used it as a short cut to get home. The village children played tag on it. The mine produced no stink, no clouds of filthy smoke, did not tear up the countryside and dye everything black like an open-cast coal mine. A uranium mine was, it seemed, the sort of mine you could live with.

Then the first deformed children began to be born in the village. People of the village and the cattle they had washed regularly in the water of the pond began dying prematurely of cancer. A child was born with only one eye and one ear, mentally handicapped as well, unable to walk, and he grew bigger but no heavier. Women became infertile and their husbands abandoned them, and they began to be persecuted as witches, the true aim being to steal their land. The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd maintained that none of the village's health problems were connected to their activities.

Jaduguda illustrates the way that India moves into the future: this is the style of its progress. When the state wants to do something it just does it. Land is requisitioned, the earthmovers arrive. If there are rules to be followed - and, according to the Indian Constitution, land f held by tribal people in tribal areas subject to the Constitution's Fifth Schedule cannot by any means be transferred to non-tribals - it is a sound bet that they will be ignored.

That's the way things worked under the lumbering, supposedly benign and paternalistic socialist system that ruled independent India for its first 50-odd years. And now the ground rules have changed; now big business is in the driving seat. In what direction are things likely to go? To the advantage of the poor and hapless, or to their detriment?

Last October Jharkhand made business news headlines when Laxmi Mittal, the world's number one steel-maker and third richest man, Indian-born but now based in Europe, announced that he was making his first investment in his native land: setting up a 12-million-tonne steel plant somewhere in the state, at a cost of US$9bn. Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh have signed tentative agreements with more than 100 companies to build plants. If all came good, the total investment would be more than $20bn.

"If even one steel mill came into the state it would make a huge difference," said a man in the drinks trade in the Ranchi Club, the former hangout of the British in Jharkhand's capital, taken over and expanded by the local elite. "It will have a massive knock-on effect - on taxis, hotels, every other business. It's happening already thanks to the firms that have already moved here: for the first time shopkeepers here are learning what it means to have money. With a steel mill, the taxes the firm will pay will have a ripple effect all over the state. We were in Malaysia recently on holiday, and we said, God, India could be like this. Of course it may not be good for every individual adivasi ..."

Five years ago Ranchi, the state capital, was a sedate, rather genteel country town with many Christian mission schools, where bicycle rickshaw was the favoured way to get around. Today it feels like some raw place on the frontier. Rickshaws fight for space on roads clogged with lorries and vans, the air is full of choking smoke, Main Road is dominated by the aluminium-clad tower of the city's first swanky hotel, Capitol Hill. Rising above the crowds of sugar-cane wallahs and beggars are huge advertisements for iron bars, nails and wire - but also for business suits. Thin young men riding bicycles with carts attached to the back struggle to move their loads, which protrude far behind the cart, of steel reinforcing rods for cement. Money is being made here, a chaotically affluent city is being thrown together.

But then, two days into 2006, the bloody end to the protest at Kalinganagar south of the Jharkhand border threw the whole jamboree into question. At a demonstration held at Kalinganagar after the New Year massacre, a woman on the platform put the adivasi case very simply. "We are ready to give our lives but not our land," she said. "Because without our land we will die anyway."

She wore a green salwar kameez (traditional dress) and a red headband - the uniform of the Maoist guerrillas, who are now a big factor in the struggle over how India should develop.

Called "Naxalites" after the town of Naxalbari in West Bengal where their insurgency first broke out in 1967, the Maoists have had their ups and downs, but they have never gone away. And today they are stronger, more numerous and more ambitious than ever. And with the opening up of India to foreign capital and the expected arrival of millions of dollars of steel money, the dispossessed and those who fear dispossession are rallying to their cause.

Inspired by dramatic Maoist successes in Nepal, the Indian comrades have been swarming into virgin terrain. In November 2003 they were active in 55 districts across nine Indian states. By February 2005 this had ballooned to 155 districts in 15 states, covering nearly 19 per cent of India's forests. The Home Ministry says they now have 9,300 "hardcore underground cardre" and possess 6,500 modern weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, Claymore land mines and modern electronic equipment. They are, it is claimed, trying to carve out a Compact Revolutionary Zone, a "red corridor of armed struggle", stretching from the Nepal border in the north via Andra Pradesh right down to Tamil Nadu in the south. The mineral-rich states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh are right in the middle of that band.

But can the villagers trust the Naxalites? "All the Maoists start as ideologues with principles," said a senior Jharkhand policeman, "but after a time they find that being a Naxalite is a functioning business, fuelled by fear." Anybody who wants to do business in the areas they control knows they have to pay up, he said. "They take a levy from everyone, the coal barons, the mining companies. Those who have been here a long time know exactly who to pay and how much in order to stay out of trouble. Recently the Naxalites gave a press conference over the Nepal border in which they issued a warning to the multinational companies that are planning to set up in the state. That was advance notice of money required ...

"Jharkhand is a treasure trove for the Naxalites because of the money that can be extorted from the mining companies. The foreign companies that want to come in will have to be prepared to do the same, if and when they come into the state."

On 9 January this year as every year, the Munda tribe, one of the biggest in the state and who once (as their legends relate) enjoyed sole possession of the Land of the Forest, gather at a place called Dombari Hill, to commemorate another in their long series of tragic defeats. At the top of this steep, conical hill in 1900 a force of adivasis led by their most charismatic and famous hero, Birsa Munda, prepared to attack a British force that was far smaller but armed with modern weapons. The two sides faced off in the darkness, then on a muffled order the British charged up the steep slope with bayonets fixed. Seven Mundas died in the ensuing rout.

The view from the top of the hill shows what the Mundas were fighting to defend. In all directions dense forest stretches unbroken to the horizon. Despite the military defeats and all their other reversals, in this corner of Jharkhand the Mundas have succeeded in clinging on to their land, and the culture and traditions handed down across the centuries.

Ram Dayal Munda, former vice-chancellor of Ranchi University, was one of the speakers at the Dombari Hill commemoration. What will happen, we asked him later, as a result of the killings in Kalinganagar?

"The people will close ranks," he said. "They will increasingly see themselves in opposition to the authorities. They will rebel. They will be crushed. They will rebel again. There are 90 million adivasis in India, and 20 million are on the road: lost, uprooted, displaced, wandering around ..."

UP blasts: Police announces reward for clues

Lucknow, Mar 10: The Uttar Pradesh Police today announced a reward a of Rs 1 lakh for the person, who would give any clues regarding the whereabouts of the suspected militants involved in the Varanasi blasts. The police also appealed to the public to come forward without fear to cooperate in nabbing the culprits.
Centre to examine possibility of CISF security for temples

"The identity of the person providing information and helping the police arrest those responsible for the blasts would be kept secret," Director-General of Police Yashpal Singh told reporters here.

He said the name of a shopkeeper had come up during investigations from whom the terrorists had purchased pressure cookers to carry out the explosions in which ammonium nitrate mixed with RDX and aluminum foil were used. "Efforts are under way to locate the shop."

He admitted that no "concrete lead" had been found so far but "the case would be solved within a week just like the terrorist attack in Ayodhya (July 5 last year) was solved by the Special Task Force of UP Police in seven days` time".

Singh completely ruled out any intelligence failure in the wake of the Varanasi blasts, which killed several people on Tuesday. He said that the STF was conducting the data analysis and was very close to finding vital clues.

Singh said an anti-terrorist cell would soon be set up in the STF to deal exclusively with terrorist activities and the Naxalite problem in the state.

The recommendations of the high-powered committee in New Delhi and Lucknow in September last year for tight security measures in the three of main shrines of Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi were being implemented on a priority basis, he said and accepted that terrorism was a "serious matter" in UP.

Security arrangements of various religious places in Varanasi was currently being reviewed, he added.

The DGP said there could be any number of terrorist outfits active in the state but let appeared to be the mastermind and had carried out most of the terrorist activities including Tuesday`s blasts.

Drawing a parallel between the Delhi and Varanasi blasts, the DGP said there seemed to be a pattern of selecting crowded places and occasions just before major festivals to carry out terror strikes. "The investigations by Delhi Police will come handy in working out the Varanasi case," he said.

The STF was in touch with the police authorities of 10 states and inputs had been received from all of them including Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, he said.

When asked about the alleged terrorist killed in the encounter hours after the blasts, Singh said that he was a hard core Lashkar militant, who was earlier working as the J&K commander of the outfit. The information about him had been given to the UP Police some time back and he was been constantly monitored. So hours after the blasts he was followed by the police and killed during the search operation.

Singh said that the terrorist was the actual mastermind behind some of the blasts that have been carried out in recent years.

He added that UP Police was in constant touch with the Kolkata Police, who had arrested a suspected militant recently, to find out whether there were any links.

The Special Task Force yesterday released photo identity kits of two persons suspected of involvement in the serial blasts in Varanasi, which claimed 20 lives even as a hitherto unknown militant outfit Lashkar-e-Qahab claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Bureau Report