May 27, 2006

Blacklisted organizations get government funds

CAPART doles out funds to 248 blacklisted organisations

Rajeev Ranjan Roy | New Delhi

In what appears to be a sort of scam, the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) recently released around Rs 5 crore to 248 blacklisted voluntary organisations across the country.

Over Rs 22 lakh has been recovered from the blacklisted organisations. These organisations allegedly managed to get funds by resorting to forged documents.

An autonomous body under Union Rural Development Ministry, CAPART is involved in catalysing and co-ordinating the emerging partnership between voluntary organisations and the Centre for sustainable development of rural areas. Ministry officials do not rule out the involvement of CAPART officials in the release of funds to the blacklisted organisations.

Deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Chandra Mani Tripathi recently raised the matter in Lok Sabha and sought action to recover the funds. "First information reports against the erring organisations and their functionaries have been lodged with the concerned local police stations through the regional offices of CAPART for recovery of misappropriated funds," Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said.

The blacklisted voluntary organisations having received funds are from Andhra Pradesh (25), Assam (1), Bihar (60), Delhi (10), Haryana (15), Himachal Pradesh (1), Jharkhand (2), Karnataka (15), Kerala (3), Madhya Pradesh (9), Maharashtra (5), Manipur (9), Mizoram (3), Nagaland (6), Orissa (5), Rajasthan (18), Tamil Nadu (3), Uttar Pradesh (47), Uttranchal (1), and West Bengal (9).

Major defaulters from Andhra Pradesh are Ambedkar Yuvajana Sangham (Rs 3.07 lakh), Downtrodden Development Society (Rs 5.84 lakh), Health and Welfare Service Centre (Rs 3.45 lakh), Shri Lakshmi Harijan Mahila Mandali (Rs 4.68 lakh), and Velankhani Social and Educational Society (Rs 3.03 lakh), from Bihar Akhil Bharatiya Samajik Arthik Evam Shaikshik Vikas Sansthan (Rs 4.21 lakh), All India Society for Research in Rural Area (Rs 3.35 lakh), Bhumika Vaishali (Rs 8.54 lakh), and Bihar Samajik Vikas Samiti (Rs 6.51 lakh).

There are three blacklisted voluntary organisations from Kerala who got over Rs 7 lakh as grants from CAPART and efforts are on to recover the released funds from them. These are Bapuji Sevak Samaj (Rs 5.55 lakh) in Idduki, P Kunjam Pillai Memorial Mahila Samajam (Rs 65000) in Kollam, and Thrikkadavoor Fish Cultivating Society (Rs 1.20 lakh) in Quillon.

In Madhya Pradesh, nine blacklisted organisations managed to get over Rs 20 lakh as grants out of which over Rs 2 lakh has been recovered. The major recipients of grants among them are Banvasi Adivasi Utthan Seva Samiti (Rs 1.25 lakh) in Reeva, Lok Kalyan Samiti (Rs 2.80 lakh) in Gwalior, Resource Development Institute (Rs 1.54 lakh) in Bhopal, Satpuda Integrated Rural Development Institution (Rs 8.42 lakh) in Bhopal, and Self Employed Women Association (Rs 3.59 lakh) in Bhopal.



By B.Raman.

In law, theft, possessing stolen property knowing it to have been stolen and selling or supplying stolen property to others are criminal offences carrying severe penalties. Giving shelter to a thief or a possessor or seller of stolen property is also an offence if one knew that the person sheltered has committed one of these offences.

2. The police is there with due investigative powers to investigate the crime and prosecute the accused. The judge decides whether the offence has been proved or not. If proved, he awards the appropriate penalty. In certain countries, such as the US, a carefully selected jury helps the judge in assessing the evidence against the accused.

3. The international community, with the US in the lead, has exempted Pakistan from these basic principles of common law with regard to its theft of nuclear equipment and technology from different countries, possessing them, and selling or supplying them to other countries such as Iran,Libya and North Korea (all three proved) and Saudi Arabia and Syria (still under investigation by international agencies).

4. Pakistan stole nuclear equipment and technology from different countries, had them installed in its territory in order to clandestinely produce nuclear weapons, shared them definitely with Iran, Libya and North Korea and possibly with Saudi Arabia and Syria and gave shelter to a group of its scientists led by Dr.A.Q.Khan despite their proved involvement in these offences and protected them from the clutches of the law, by refusing the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the permission to independently interrogate them and take further action against them.

5. It has proclaimed them as not guilty of any transgression of the law and filed the investigation against them, with the label "no further action required". A transgressor of law has investigated his own offences and declared himself as not guilty. He has acted as the investigator, the juror and the judge and declared the case against himself closed.

6. Only a country like Pakistan would have the audacity to do this without fearing any adverse consequences for itself from the international community.It thinks that its strategic location at the cross-roads of West, Central and South Asia has tremendously increased its value in the eyes of the US and it can, therefore, do anything and get away with it without having to pay a price for its misdeeds.

7.Pakistan has exhibited this audacity not only in respect of the nuclear criminals. It has done so in respect of terrorists, narcotics smugglers, trans-national mafia group leaders and many other transgressors of law. It has either proclaimed them as not guilty of any offence and refused to hand them over to countries such as India where they are wanted for trial or denied their very presence in its territory, even though its own media has been reporting in detail on their presence, movement and activities in Pakistani territory.

8.The two most glaring examples of recent times are those of Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader, living in opulence in Karachi, and the leaders of the Taliban spreading bloodshed in Afghanistan from safe sanctuaries in Pakistan.Dawood Ibrahim is wanted for investigation and prosecution in innumerable cases of terrorism, narcotics and nuclear smuggling and linkages with Al Qaeda and was declared by the US Department of Treasury as an international terrorist in October,2003. His daughter got married recently in Dubai. Dawood reportedly held a gala reception at Karachi to celebrate the wedding. It was attended by the who's who of Pakistan, including many senior civilian and military officers and political leaders. And yet, Gen. Pervez Musharraf continues to deny his presence in Pakistani territory and insists that he has never heard of him.

9. The whole world knows that the Taliban leaders are operating from Pakistani territory. Since 2003, respected sections of the Pakistani media have been reporting on their presence and activities from sanctuaries in Pakistan. And yet, Musharraf continues to deny their presence in his country.

10. The transgressions of Pakistan's nuclear mafia and their linkages with not only rogue states such as Iran, Libya and North Korea, but also with catastrophic terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda pose a threat to the entire world. You read the Congressional testimony of any senior official of the US intelligence community. The constant apprehension in their mind is: Will there be another 9/11 in the US homeland? Will it involve the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

11. You ask them from where are they most likely to get a WMD. Without any hesitation and without exception, all of them say Pakistan. That is where the most dreaded jihadi terrorists of the world are sheltered----whether from Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the International Islamic Front (IIF) or the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It is from Pakistan that Osama bin Laden disseminated his message of January last, warning the US that preparations for the next 9/11 in the US homeland are already underway. It is from there that leaders of different terrorist organisations are calling for a terrorist strike against Denmark for allowing cartoons insulting the holy Prophet to be published. For them, insulting the holy Prophet is the most serious offence that could be committed against Islam.

12. That is where the nuclear Wallmart of the world is located. That is where at least two retired nuclear scientists--- Sultan Bashiruddin Ahmed and Abdul Majid--- were found to have been in touch with bin Laden and the Taliban. That is where a group of blue-eyed scientists of the military establishment, headed by A.Q.Khan, were found to have been helping other rogue countries to acquire a military nuclear capability.

13. If you want to prevent an act of WMD terrorism anywhere in the world, your investigation has to start from Pakistan. Instead, the US started its investigation from Iraq, which had before 2003 no Al Qaeda, no Osama bin Laden, no Taliban or no Dawood Ibrahim in its territory, which had no nuclear capability which it can share with terrorists and which had no A.Q.Khans of its own running a nuclear Wallmart.

14. Every major act of jihadi terrorism in the world has had a Pakistani hand in it-----either of the Pakistani State or of a Pakistani national or of a member of the Pakistani diaspora spread across the world.

15. Every major act of criminal nuclear proliferation in the world has had a Pakistani hand in it---either of the Pakistani State or of a Pakistani scientist or of a Pakistani nuclear mafia.

16. The make-believe investigation, which Musharraf claims to have got made, has not brought out the entire truth regarding Pakistan as the possible epicentre of nuclear terrorism. What Musharraf has made A.Q.Khan and his associates admit is what was already known to the US and other Western countries through their own investigation. He has seen to it that A.Q.Khan and others did not admit what is not already known to the West.

17. He has now proclaimed: "There is nothing further to be known. The case is closed."

18. But the international community should not allow the case to be closed. There is a lot still to be known not only about the links of these rogue scientists with the world of jihadi terrorism, but also the role of Pakistan's military officers, including Musharraf himself, in the activities of this mafia.

19. The entire truth will not be known till the IAEA brings A.Q.Khan and others out of Pakistan and interrogates them independently. The world has already paid a heavy price for its mollycoddling of Pakistan in the past--- Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, USS Cole, 9/11, Bali, Jakarta,Mombasa, Casablanca, Istanbul, Sharm-el-Sheikh,Madrid, London, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, India,Israel and so on.

20. The suffering, which the world has so far undergone, will look like minor, if Al Qaeda or the IIF gets hold of nuclear material from Pakistan and uses it.

21. If the international community has to prevent an act of WMD terrorism, it has to act fast and firmly.

22. It has to act in Pakistan.

23. It has to interrogate A.Q.Khan and other known suspects in order to identify the unknown suspects and neutralise them before they move against the rest of the world.

24. The US Congress has shown commendable initiative in not letting the case be closed by Musharraf, but Congressional initiative alone would not be sufficient. The US public opinion and the relatives of those who died on 9/11 should demand that the US Government should not let this case be closed and should insist upon an international investigation into the matter, with penal consequences for Pakistan if it tries to evade a thorough-going investigation under independent international supervision.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. )

May 26, 2006

Iran Could Be West's Trial Run

Business Day (Johannesburg)

May 25, 2006
Posted to the web May 25, 2006

Jonathan Katzenellenbogen

WESTERN states could be putting pressure on Iran in a "trial run" to prevent
countries without nuclear weapons from enriching uranium, President Thabo
Mbeki said last night.

If Iran's peaceful nuclear ambitions were blocked, other signatories to the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which include SA, might have to
forgo this right at some stage, Mbeki said at a dinner in London.

In this light, he said, Iran's rights to the peaceful use of nuclear
technology needed to be protected like those of other countries.

"So the Iran thing is not unique in itself, but is a pacesetter for (what)
might happen in the future," he said.

"We believe that Iran's rights in this regard need to be protected. In part
we are raising this because you get these whispers that Iran constitutes a
trial run, and if there is success in terms of prohibiting Iran to do the
things they are permitted by the (non-proliferation) treaty, that will be
extended to all other countries."

Mbeki also warned that placing the Iranian nuclear programme before the
United Nations (UN) Security Council could raise tension.

"You will have escalating actions taken by the security council which will
lead to conflict that nobody should really want."

He said SA would prefer the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to
handle the Iranian question.

Mbeki's remarks at the dinner, ahead of his meeting yesterday with British
Prime Minister Tony Blair, highlighted the stark differences between SA and
the UK, the other five permanent members of the security council and
Germany, which are putting pressure on Iran to drop its uranium enrichment

Earlier this year, SA abstained from an IAEA vote, which was passed,
proposing that Iran be referred to the security council over its programme.

"So that you not only have a small club of nuclear weapon states, but then
you also have a small club of countries that can do anything at all in terms
of developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," Mbeki said. He also
said that "in all our interactions, the Iranians will insist that they are
committed" to peaceful nuclear use and pointed to ayatollahs having issued a
fatwa against the production of nuclear weapons.

SA had undertaken to help in confidence-building measures to convince the
international community that Iran's intentions were peaceful, Mbeki said.

Earlier in London, senior officials from security council permanent members
and Germany met to weigh up a package of incentives and threats drafted by
European Union (EU) leaders to defuse the nuclear stand-off with Iran, but
both sides dampened hope of a breakthrough arrangement.

Iran says it has mastered a limited uranium enrichment cycle.

The EU package is likely to include an offer of a light-water reactor and an
assured supply from abroad of fuel for civilian atomic plants so that Iran
would not have to enrich uranium itself. The package will also warn of
possible targeted sanctions if Iran, the world's fourth-biggest oil
producer, refuses the offer.

Diplomats said they would first discuss sanctions aimed at officials
involved in Iran's nuclear programme before seeking ways to halt trade

But some EU officials, many security analysts and the IAEA say Washington
should start direct dialogue with Iran after 26 years of official silence.
They believe the only way to entice Iran back to good-faith negotiations and
get it to stop seeking sensitive atomic know-how would be a US pledge not to
try to topple Tehran's Islamic government.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei was expected to tell US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice in talks in Washington yesterday that US-Iranian engagement
was vital to resolving the crisis, said Vienna-based diplomats familiar with
ElBaradei's thinking.

A defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday urged "resistance"
in the dispute, and said Iran would deliver a "historic slap in the face" to
any state that tried to deprive it of nuclear technology .

In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an address to the
US congress yesterday that Iran posed a threat to Israel's existence and
urged swift international action.

"A nuclear Iran means a terrorist state could achieve the primary mission
for which terrorists live and die: the mass destruction of innocent human

With Reuters

Conference on Balochistan in London

Conference on Balochistan in London

by Zrombesh with Senator Sanullah Baloch

Senator Sanaullah Baloch is the chief speaker of the conference on Balochistan at London University on Sunday 28, May 2006.

The conference shall address the situation of Balochistan in Pakistan and Iran which will encompass wide area of concerns to Baloch Nation such as human rights situation in Balochistan, rise of national struggle for democratic rights, approaches of states on Baluch cause in recent past in a political perspective, and international standing of Balochistan.

Balochistan National Movement proposed and facilitated this conference on Balochistan. Balochistan National Movement urges and request every Baloch activists, Baloch person and all interested people in the politics and situation in Balochistan to participate in the conference and take an active role for its success and ultimately for bringing up the Balochistan issues to the international community.

The language for the conference is primarily English. Balochi would be the supplementary and occasional language. Debate and discussion is part of conference.

The conference is commenced at 16.00 hrs till 18.50.

Venue: Conference Room 3E


Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY

Nearest Undergrounds:
Euston Square
on Circle Metropolitan Line

Goodge Street
on Northern Line

or Russell Square on Piccadilly Line

Quote of the day : Senator Sanaullah Baloch

“There is a clear demand from the Baluch intelligentsia, Baluch politicians, Baluch political workers that the international boundaries created between Baluchistan, that divide Baluchistan should be softened and the people of Baluchistan be allowed to govern their territory and their regions and their state declared as a non-nuclear region, a de-militarized region and the ownership of the resources of the region should be accepted for the people of Baluchistan,” -- SANAULLAH BALOCH

Revenues of temples increase - but it flows to the Govt coffers

Even as the revenues to temples increase.
The corrupt Indian babudom and petty politicians reap the benefits.
The temples remain dirty, ill-maintained and abused.

In the US, the Swaminarayan group wants to build a $140 million
temple !!
Instead of such a lavish temple in the US,
I wish they would spend half that money in Bihar and Assam
create a chain on Temples and build a Vaishnava temple circuit.
The religious demographic pressure is high in Assam.
Such chain of temples would help the
Hindu samaj a lot more and also integrate the local population
as they would become more dependent on the yatri-circuit.
Unity of India and cause of dharma would be better served.

But then, the Swaminarayan people are spending their
money to satisfy their own wishes. Who are we to question
their priorities.


The bucks stop at the altar

The bucks stop at the altar


NEW DELHI: With 25 lakh temples spread across the country — compare
this with just 15 lakh schools — religion matters most in India. And
so does religious tourism.

While more than 30% people tour south for religious purposes, the
figure is over 20% for northern and western region. Around 10% R&P
tourists visit east and central India. The North-Eastern region
attracts less than 5% religious tourists.

No wonder around 8 crore domestic tourists visit religious places
every year, generating Rs 10,531 crore annually from religious and
pilgrimage (R&P) tourism. This figure is based on an ET analysis of
Domestic Tourism Study (DTS) 2002 conducted by NCAER.

While Tirupati tops with annual revenue crossing Rs 1,000 crore,
Vaishno Devi is not far behind. It generates over Rs 750 crore
annually. Revenues of Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan are more than Rs 370
crore, whereas, Bodh Gaya in Bihar –– where Gautama Buddha attained
Enlightenment –– makes a relatively meagre amount over Rs 25 crore.

In percentage terms, Maharashtra gets the highest R&P tourists
followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,
respectively. Says Dr RK Shukla, project leader of DTS: "Southern
region accounts for highest number of R&P tourists whereas northern
states dominate business tourism."

While Tirupati tops with annual revenue crossing Rs 1,000 crore,
Vaishno Devi is not far behind. It generates over Rs 750 crore
annually. Revenues of Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan are more than Rs 370
crore, whereas, Bodh Gaya in Bihar makes a relatively meagre amount
over Rs 25 crore.

While more than 30% people tour south for religious purposes, the
figure is over 20% for northern and western region. Around 10% R&P
tourists visit east and central India, according to DTS. However,
the North-Eastern region attracts less than 5% religious tourists
despite having some famous temples like Kamakhya, Navagraha and
Balaji Mandir.

Navagraha temples in Assam, for instance, are devoted to nine (nava)
major celestial bodies (Grahas) of Hindu astronomy. Says director of
the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and author of `Krishna:The
Playful Divine', Pavan K Varma, "there are very few nations that
have as rich a cultural, physical, meta-physical, spiritual and
intellectual heritage as India has. This is what makes our nation
unique and mysterious. It also boosts tourism."

Some economists, however, say that religious adherence reduces
national income. People waste a lot of man-hours in worshipping and
travelling to far-off religious places, they say. An estimate puts
this `lost production due to religious observances' at $56 billion
annually. (Perkins, John L, `The Economic Cost of Religion,'
Australian Humanist, No.68, Summer 2003.)

Mr Varma says: "to infer that religiosity leads to loss of
production or GDP will be crossing the realm of rationality.
Preaching relaxes mind and provides a sense of satisfaction to
people. This adds more to economy by restoring a person's
productivity than it takes in form of man-hours."

While for some religious tourism is a matter of faith, for some a
matter of fun and for others it's a waste. Whatever be the
viewpoint, one thing quiet clear is that it's a thriving economic
activity whose frontiers, as they say, lie beyond intellect

Hindus of Holland

Hindus of Holland

After the United Kingdom, the second largest Hindu community of Europe live in the Netherlands. There are between 150,000 - 200,000 Hindus currently living in the Netherlands, the vast majority of who migrated from Surinam - a former Dutch colony in South America.

There are about 50,000 Hindus living in the Hague (Dutch capital) while the other concentrations of Hindus are in the Cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Most Dutch Hindus trace their ancestry back to India from about 5 to 6 generations ago. Their ancestors were mainly from the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh areas of India.

They were taken to Surinam as 'Indebted Labourers' - a system that was all but slavery and used by the colonial powers to get very cheap labour to replace the freed slaves - on a ship called "La la Rookh".

In several ways, the Hindus in Holland are better organized than us in the UK. They are well integrated into Dutch society. There are five government funded Hindu primary schools in the country. All of these schools are run by the Hindu community but are regarded as "national" schools and teach the same curriculum as other schools in the country. In addition to this, the schools also teach Hindi, mark important Hindu festivals, as well as teaching the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The schools are open to all children and between 2% to 3% of students are from non-Hindu backgrounds. On the whole, students from these schools also perform better than average. The Hindu community also has a weekly 30-minute program on national television called "Ohm", as well as their own radio program. In addition to this, the Hindus in Holland have also set up their own Human Rights group called Agni to campaign for and distribute information about human rights violations of Hindus across the world.

Holi was celebrated in a big public event in The Hague and Rotterdam earlier this year, which included a fantastic display of bright red water spouting from a big public fountain.

"Seva Netverk" is a charity set up by the Dutch Hindus to help people across the world. Some particularly important projects they have been involved in are in India where they have set up many schools in poor villages and have also helped to track down and rescue young girls who have been taken into prostitution.

While there is this vibrant and thriving Dutch Hindu community, there has also recently been in an increase in Hindus migrating to Holland from India. However, the Dutch Hindus we spoke to say that there tends to be quite a separation between the two groups and as far as they can see, Indian Hindus tend not to be visible apart from when they visit Mandirs.

While the mother tongue of Surinamese (and Dutch) Hindus is Bajpuri, they also ensure that everyone can attend free Hindi classes and the vast majority of Hindus are able to speak in Hindi. Indeed, their radio programmes are run in Hindi. The community have also evolved and adapted their own music and dance from the Ramayana, called Nagana Baithak Gana.

BALOCHISTAN : US must stop aid to Pak says expert Selig Harrison

US must stop aid to Pak: Expert Selig Harrison

Source :

Washington: Noted American expert on South Asian Affairs, Selig Harrison, has urged the Bush Administration to withhold US aid to Islamabad until Pakistan ceases military activity in Baluchistan.


Speaking at a seminar organised by the US Institute of Peace, Harrison, who is the director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, said, "In my view, future US military and economic aid to Islamabad should be withheld until Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf stops his military repression of Baluchistan and enters into serious negotiations with Baluch leaders.”

Harrison added “Pakistan is likely to become increasingly ungovernable in the absence of a political settlement with the Baluch."

He warned that continued military confrontation in Baluchistan could well intensify the long-simmering ethnic unrest in neighbouring Sindh and involving a variety of anti-Musharraf groups around Pakistan.

But despite the serious international implications the Baluch issue has not found mainstream attention in Washington.

Harrison blamed the lukewarm response to the near isolation of the region, particularly by the military, which has led to a huge sense of ambiguity about Baluchistan.

Harrison said with conflicting reports and disputed claims of chemical weapons and rights abuses, it’s tough to know exactly what's going on.

“This time it is harder to pin down the facts. We know that Pakistan still gets Sui gas from Baluchistan to meet 22 per cent of its gas needs. We know that the central government has consistently refused to pay fair royalties for that gas to Baluchistan for its development."

"But just what is happening militarily right now in Pakistan and Baluchistan is really not clear, because the army itself doesn't even officially acknowledge that there is an operation in Baluchistan and hasn't admitted that and so its been able to keep most journalists out,” he said.

But Harrison is convinced it is a policy the US needs to change as a stable Pakistan was in Washington’s strategic interests, particularly with respect to its war on terror.

“This policy in my view should be reversed, not only to stop the carnage, but also because the US has a major strategic stake in a peaceful accommodation between Islamabad and Baluch leaders,” Harrison said.

Frederic Grare, an expert attached with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace further said the issue could become a cauldron of fresh tension with neighbour Afghanistan, which has been at a bitter war of words with Musharraf over the rebel issue.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan deteriorated sharply this year after Afghanistan said Taliban insurgents were able to operate from the safety of Pakistani soil.

Many Afghans blame Pakistan for supporting the Taliban and turning a blind eye to Taliban operating from Pakistan lawless border regions.

Pakistan, which is battling Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants on its side of the border, denies helping the Taliban.

“A number of people refuse to see the reality of the problem and this is much more important than any foreign intervention per se. You know the risk...of mutual recrimination between Afghanistan on one side, Pakistan on the other, because of this Baluch issue may eventually degenerate and clearly it will be an additional incentive for the two countries to continue this war of words and again, we know where we are now, we don't know where we will be in some time to come, so this is definitely something I would not take lightly,” Grare said.

Many of the tribals in the area have taken up militancy and have been fighting for more autonomy and control over Baluchistan oil and gas resources for decades but they intensified their campaign over the past year.

In a taped message senator Sanaullah Baluch, a top leader of the Baluchistan National Party (BNP), said the message was clear that his people must have the ownership of their homeland.

“There is a clear demand from the Baluch intelligentsia, Baluch politicians, Baluch political workers that the international boundaries created between Baluchistan, that divide Baluchistan should be softened and the people of Baluchistan be allowed to govern their territory and their regions and their state declared as a non-nuclear region, a de-militarized region and the ownership of the resources of the region should be accepted for the people of Baluchistan,” he said.

The Pakistani military launched a major crackdown against militants in Baluchistan after a rocket attack on December 14 during a visit by President Pervez Musharraf to the town of Kohlu.

Baluch nationalists say almost 200 people have been killed. The government has not commented on casualties but analysts say the militants' figure could be exaggerated.

The crackdown has coincided with the announcement of plans to privatise two gas distribution firms in Baluchistan, which is home to Pakistan's main gas fields.

Pakistan's top rights group as well has slammed Musharraf’s regime over the “war-like situation” prevailing in the region.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) last month rejected government claims that it was not using regular armed forces in a crackdown in the southwestern province launched last month after rocket attacks by tribal militants.

The group said it had "received evidence that action by armed forces had led to deaths and injuries among civilians" and that "populations had also been subjected to indiscriminate bombing".

The HRCP team has also found widespread instances of 'disappearance', of torture inflicted on people held in custody, and on those fleeing from their houses.

Lashkar-e-Taiba : Terror Breeding ground in India

Breeding ground

in Srinagar

in Aurangabad

Investigators shut down terror cells tasked with executing strikes in Gujarat, but the threat remains.

Three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants arrested in Aurangabad for moving RDX and AK-47 rifles and ammunition.

"ISLAM is our nation," thundered Mohammad Amir Shakeel Ahmad at a Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) conference in 1999, "not India."

Sitting in the audience was one of the founding fathers of the Lashkar-e-Taiba's Indian operations, Azam Ghauri, who would die just six months later in a shootout with the Andhra Pradesh Police. For months after the speech, intelligence operatives carefully monitored Ahmad's movements, certain that he was linked to Ghauri. Despite painstaking surveillance, not the slightest bit of evidence emerged that Ahmad had links to the Lashkar. Ahmad barked loudly, investigators concluded, but had no intention of biting.

Earlier this month, Ahmad's name surfaced again: now as a core member of one of two independent Lashkar cells assigned with executing major terrorist strikes in Gujarat. Operating without knowledge of each other's existence, the twin cells had been ordered to carry out bombings that would demonstrate the Lashkar's commitment to avenge the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 and provoke a fresh wave of violence that would bring the terrorist group's dream of tearing apart India along communal lines closer to realisation.

Last month, the Intelligence Bureau learned that a major consignment of arms was to be ferried through Maharashtra to a Lashkar unit in Gujarat. The State police's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) assigned four units to watch the likely axis of movement identified by the Intelligence Bureau. Late on May 9, one of the teams attempted to stop a speeding jeep on the Aurangabad-Manmad highway, which evaded their efforts. After an hour-long chase, the jeep was found abandoned on the outskirts of Aurangabad.

What the ATS personnel found inside the jeep confirmed their suspicions. Over two-dozen kilograms of lethal Research Department Explosive (RDX) had been packed inside 10 computer central processing unit (CPU) cases, along with 11 AK-47 assault rifles and ammunition. Over the next four days, the ATS arrested Abdul Azim, the driver of a car that had tailed the jeep, and succeeded in locating a second cache of explosives, again stored inside computer CPU cases.

Maharastra Deputy Chief Minister R.R Patil with the arms and explosives recovered from an abandoned jeep on the outskirts of Aurangabad.

Eight people have so far been arrested for their role in moving the explosives. Ahmad, along with Aurangabad residents Sayeed Zubair Anwar and Mohammed Muzaffar Tanvir, are alleged to have driven the jeep in which the bulk of the explosives were stored. However, the cell's key organiser, who authorities have identified as Zainuddin Ansari, is still to be located. A computer technician from Beed, Ansari travelled in the car that was tailing the jeep.

Just where the explosives came from is still under investigation. Officials are particularly concerned that they arrived on the Maharashtra coast by sea - the same route used to move in the RDX used for the 1993 serial bombings of Mumbai. If so, it would suggest that Karachi-based trafficking networks of mafia baron the Dawood Ibrahim Kaksar have once again been committed to the Islamist terror campaign against India. Given the near-impossibility of securing the coast, India's vulnerabilities are considerable.

Links between Islamist terror groups and the Karachi mafia have long been evident. Dawood Ibrahim-affiliated gang-lord `Chhota' Shakeel Ahmad Babu, for example, helped transport several Ahmedabad residents recruited by the Jaish-e-Mohammad from Dhaka to Karachi in 2001. Another Dawood Ibrahim aide, Fahim Machmach, helped a separate group of terror recruits transit through Bangkok, including two Bangalore residents who identified themselves using the code-names `Iqbal' and `Sohail.'

Machmach, interestingly, is alleged to have supervised a 2003 attempt on the lives of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Bharat Banot and Ashok Bhat, using the services of a long-standing mafia hit-man, Ali Mohammad Kanjari. Other mafia figures have also played a direct role in several terror attacks. Aftab Ansari, who executed a 2002 attack on the United States Information Service building in Kolkata, was recruited by Jaish-e-Mohammad co-founder Syed Omar Sheikh while both were serving in Tihar Jail.

The Ahmedabad Cell

Even as the Lashkar's Pakistan-based operation was putting its Aurangabad plans in place, a second cell was being prepared to execute parallel operations in Gujarat. Feroze Abdul Latif Ghaswala, a Mumbai-based engine mechanic, had decided to join the Islamist jehad against India after the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. He tapped his contacts among local clerics and, in the summer of 2004, was put in touch with Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami (HuJI) operatives in Srinagar.

Ghaswala had initially hoped to cross the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan for training in a Harkat camp. His contacts, however, eventually arranged for him to head east to Bangladesh. Under the tutelage of Mufti Abdul Hannan - a Peshawar-trained HuJI commander responsible for a 2002 assassination attempt on then-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as well as the 2005 serial bombings that rocked Bangladesh - he learned the basic tradecraft of terrorism, such as fabricating bombs from easily available chemicals.

During his time in Bangladesh, Ghaswala met one of the Lashkar-e-Taiba's most aggressive young operatives, a Hyderabad resident named Asad Yazdani. Operating under the code-name Naved Gul, Yazdani had joined the Lashkar in the wake of the Gujarat pogrom along with 13 other men from Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. After training in Pakistan, Yazdani organised the assassination of former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya in 2003 and a series of bombings in northern India.

The communal violence in Gujarat has created a cultural climate in which religious reactionaries are able to flourish and new members are recruited into organisations such as the Laskar-e-Taiba.

Using his riot-revenge credentials to good effect, Yazdani persuaded Ghaswala to work with the Lashkar. In June 2005, Ghaswala caught a Mumbai-Teheran flight, after obtaining a visa to visit shrines in Iran. Ghaswala's intentions, though, had little to do with piety: his handlers wished to ensure that there would be no documentation that ever linked him to Pakistan. A Lashkar operative helped him cross the porous border into Pakistan's Balochistan province, from where he was driven to a safe-house in the town of Bahawalpur.

Professor Azam `Baba' Cheema, a religious scholar who has long headed the Lashkar's operations against India, took personal charge of Ghaswala's education. He received training in the use of automatic weapons at the Maskar Aqsa, a camp where the Lashkar conducts advanced combat courses. His education in explosives also proceeded apace, notably in techniques to make defusing of bombs more difficult. At the end of his training, Ghaswala returned to Tehran, and caught a flight back to Mumbai.

In July last year, Ghaswala relocated to Ahmedabad and began setting up a base from which he could operate. Lashkar sympathisers in the Jamaat Ahl-e-Hadis, the ultra-Right religious order from which the terror group draws much of its cadre, put him in touch with another potential recruit. Mohammad Ali Chhipa, a computer hardware engineer, volunteered for service and was like his boss despatched on an Iran Air flight through Mumbai and Teheran for training at the Maskar Aqsa.

Soon after Chhipa's return to Ahmedabad, the Lashkar cell moved into offensive mode. Mohammad Iqbal, a Bahawalpur resident who had operated in Jammu and Kashmir under the code-name Abu Hamza from 2002-2003, was assigned direct charge of its operations. Nine kilograms of high-grade explosives, along with two assault rifles and a Thuraya satellite-phone set, a communications system known to be resistant to penetration by Indian signals intelligence, were smuggled across the Bhuj border under his supervision.

Even as Iqbal and Ghaswala finalised targets, their operation was nearing its end. In February, an Intelligence Bureau-led operation had led the Delhi Police to two Bangladeshi nationals from whom Yazdani had sourced explosives. Days later, Yazdani himself was shot dead. Delhi Police investigators developed the information that became available in the course of this operation. On May 9, Iqbal was killed in an exchange of fire with the Delhi Police, while Ghaswala and Chhipa were arrested.

For reasons it alone understands the Delhi Police chose not to share what it knew about the cell with either its counterparts in Gujarat and Maharashtra, or the Intelligence Bureau. As a result, highly placed sources told Frontline, at least two Pakistan-trained members of the cell, including a Bhuj resident instrumental in facilitating the cross-border movement of explosives, succeeded in escaping once news of the arrests broke. Besides, the men who helped Ghaswala make contact with HuJI have not been detected so far.

Despite the Delhi Police's appalling handling of the case, though, investigations into the Aurangabad cell give not a little insight into the networks that have facilitated the Lashkar's operations in India. Elements associated with the proscribed SIMI, clerics affiliated to the ultra-Right Jamaat Ahl-e-Hadis, a clerical order which seeks to reconstruct the modern world using the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad as a model, and a welter of new Islamist social welfare organisations all appear to have a role.

Ahmad's story is instructive. A school dropout from an impoverished Aurangabad family, Ahmad, like thousands of other young men from ghettoised urban communities across northern and western India, found meaning and purpose in SIMI. But his sole run-in with the law came after he was charged with being part of a mob that attemped to burn Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) banners. Last year, Ahmad set up a roadside stall selling kebabs and, by the account of local residents, succeeded in running a reasonably successful business.

Like Ahmad, the two other Aurangabad men arrested with him came from impoverished backgrounds. Neither, however, had direct SIMI links. Nor, unlike Ghaswala or Chhipa, did they have direct ties to the communal violence in Gujarat. Indeed, despite the sometimes-fraught relationship between Hindus and Muslims in the city, violence is relatively rare. Aurangabad has not had a riot since 1999, nor has it ever experienced large-scale pogroms of the kind seen in Bhiwandi or Mumbai.

Part of the answer may lie in the fact that the denial of opportunity, both educational and economic, has opened up space for organisations of the Right. Aurangabad has, in recent years, seen a flourishing of fundamentalist organisations seeking to impose an Islamist social order. While these organisations have not been linked directly to terrorism and do not advocate it, they have contributed to communal polarisation in much the same way as Hindu fundamentalist organisations such as the VHP.

One example is the Islah Mashara, which was founded in November 2005 by former SIMI members Ziauddin Siddiqui, Hidayat Ali and Owais Ahmed. The Islah Mashara recently acquired prominence after intervening in a charged controversy that broke out after shopkeepers demanded that Muslim women clients lift their burkhas.

Shopkeepers claimed that their action was forced by the misuse of the all-enveloping dress to facilitate shoplifting, a charge that provoked angry responses from Aurangabad Muslims.

However, the organisation's agenda goes far further than the defence of the veil. Islah Mashara has promoted what it believes to be an appropriate social order by beating up Muslim boys seen with Hindu girls and harassing women seen without the burkha. It has also been encouraging Aurangabad Muslims to send their children to seminaries, rather than state-run or private schools, and has campaigned against television, which it sees as an instrument of cultural pollution.

A number of other Islamist organisations, such as the Markaz-e-Majlis-e-Shura, have been working to promote a non-state legal apparatus amongst Aurangabad's Muslims. Like the Jamait Shabab ul-Ullema, it seeks to resolve family and property issues through the clerics and their interpretation of the Sharia. Proselytising organisations, such as Maulana Owais Ahmad's Fazai Millat Trust, which is affiliated to Mohammad Musa Malabari's Tamil Nadu-based Jamia Dar ul-Salam Umrabad Madrasa, have also grown rapidly.

While it would be facile to link such organisations with terrorist violence, the fact is that they are the products of a cultural climate in which religious reactionaries are able to flourish. Decades of communal violence - and the state's manifest failure either to act against its perpetrators or to address the backwardness of Muslim communities in many parts of India - have created institutions which provide ideological legitimacy to organisations such as the Lashkar and HuJI.

Despite self-congratulatory official polemic on Indian Muslims' minimal participation in Islamist terrorism, there is real reason for concern. Not a decade ago, the Lashkar's pan-India operations were heavily reliant on Pakistani nationals. As late as 1998, Cheema had to assign Pakistani national Salim Junaid for its operations in Andhra Pradesh. Junaid married a Hyderabad woman and set up a spare parts enterprise to build a cover identity. Today, neither the Lashkar nor HuJI has great trouble finding local recruits.

All of this is happening even as Pakistan's covert services seem to be initiating a significant escalation in the pan-India jehad. Even as the jehad in Jammu and Kashmir has wound down, terror strikes elsewhere in India are growing in frequency. Some experts believe this is just a new variant of Pakistan's long-standing search for strategic leverage against India, others say that the campaign is a reprisal for covert Indian offensive activities in Balochistan and Afghanistan.

Whatever the truth, the challenge needs to be addressed head on. India's covert services and police forces deserve not a little credit for preventing major terror strikes in Gujarat. However, policing is a palliative, not a cure. What is needed is vigorous political intervention to isolate Islamist forces, founded on the principles of justice and equality. Of a programme for such action, though, there is so far no sign.

May 25, 2006

Balochistan : Sindhi activist ridiculed Muslim worlds indifference

Minorities protested against ongoing military operations in resource rich Balochistan in Lahore . Protestors included Catholic nuns, politicians, rights activists, lawyers, social workers, laborers and students . The 100 demonstrators who gathered May 15 outside the press club in the city, about 270 kilometers southeast of Islamabad, included . The protest was organised by an NGO , Minority Rights Commission of Pakistan .

Demonstrators held placards that read "Stop military operations in Balochistan," "Peace for all," "Equal rights for all citizens," "Repeal discriminatory laws" and "Repeal blasphemy laws."

Since December, unconfirmed reports say hundreds of women and children have been killed by military shelling in Balochistan province, Pakistan's poorest and most underdeveloped province but also the country's major source of natural gas and oil.

Prominent Sindhi activist Dr.Gul Agha ,based in US , told to IntelliBriefs source that "At least a hundred people in Lahore care enough to speak out about hundreds of deaths in what I presume most of the 6 million in Lahore regard as their own country" . He expressed dismay about the indifference of Muslim world to the plight of Balochistan , and ridiculed the muslim world's reaction to cartoons . He said there is "no sign of demonstrations in the rest of the Muslim world , of course, this number of 100 is probably a thousand times fewer than those in Lahore who were upset enough to demonstrate about some cartoons. What is the value of innocent human life?. "

New Zealand Forces Explore Network Technologies

May 01, 2006

New Zealand’s military is outlining a path to its networked future.
The Network Enabled Capability (NEC) Framework calls for doctrine that draws from that of allied militaries and supports “capability concepts,” said Cmdr. Rodger Ward, the deputy director for C4ISR at the New Zealand Defense Force’s (NZDF) development branch.
The latter can be summed up as “one force,” he said. Another definition circulating among the troops is “where am I, where are my mates and where is the enemy?”
The framework also is intended to help produce a plan to improve network-enabled operations, a definition of each and a description of their interrelationships.
“The NEC Framework will ensure that every NZDF capability development activity takes into consideration the requirements for NEC; i.e., it will make sure that every program considers the requirements for — and effects of — being part of a Networked Force throughout the development process,” Ward said.
New Zealand intends to use networks to make decisions faster and improve situational awareness.

“That means forcing the detection threshold down so low that it cripples the enemy’s ability to move, yet still maintaining our own networks and making sure nobody is taking advantage of them,” Ward said.
New Zealand helps hone its plans through the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID), an annual effort run by the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff that establishes a temporary worldwide battle network among U.S. allies.
The country’s military has used these exercises to help war fighters decide whether new technology is useful, Ward said.
Lessons from the demonstrations have helped the Defence Force “to participate in the building of coalition networks and to build networks of our own enabling us to maximize our interoperability with coalition partners,” Ward said.
“CWID exposes war fighters to future network-enabling technology in our quest to maximize our decisive advantage,” he said, “and it enables us to test technology before we go ahead and make capital investments — which is of benefit to the taxpayer.”
New Technologies
This year’s CWID demonstration will feature a new communications interface from Flightcell, a New Zealand firm that makes a portable, multidevice interface that integrates satellite, tactical radio and cell phone communications, Ward said.
He said U.S. firm ViaSat also would be demonstrating its products as part of the Army’s effort in the demonstration.
Last year’s demonstration featured a 3-D monitor called Pure Depth, which was initially developed for the games market. The multilayer display “gives you a perception of depth, and that is very, very useful for military applications, where we are increasingly trying to visualize lots and lots of information,” Ward said. “It has the ability to put information on two screens and give you a depth perception more akin to what the human eye is used to seeing. So [it] increases an operator’s perception and cognition about what’s happening.”
The New Zealand military has helped Wellington-based Surveylab develop “Ike,” a handheld surveying device that incorporates a digital camera, Global Positioning System receiver, a compass, a laser distance meter and an inclinometer, and pushes data to a laptop computer.
Maj. Herman Hudepohl of the Army Engineers called Ike a “useful tool” for gathering terrain knowledge on a battlefield.
The Australian and Canadian armies have ordered it as well, Ward said.
Another local firm, Pivotal Engineering, is developing a modular, water-cooled two-stroke engine with twice the power of a four-stroke that will run on diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas or JP-5.
Last year, the military began installing Masking Shunt, a device intended to keep hackers out of its networks.
“It’s a smart switch, an anti-intrusion device that tricks [hackers] into thinking there is nothing there,” Ward said.
The military’s Joint Forces Headquarters helped develop Masking Shunt, a product of the U.S. firm ReSRC, which conducts its research and development in New Zealand.
Last year’s CWID also included police, customs and fisheries authorities to see how technology could help the various agencies work with the military, Ward said.
“Some of the lessons learned there have been taken into subsequent [operational] deployments that we have done,” he said. “We are at a point where we need to field the technology before we can learn any more.”
Such technology will help the New Zealand military continue to “punch above our weight,” Ward said. •

NORAD Expands Surveillance Role, Includes Maritime Responsibilities

May 22, 2006

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is expanding its mandate to take on a maritime surveillance and warning role and is examining how to counter potential new threats, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles, said the organization’s deputy commander.
Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Findley said the decision by the United States and Canada to renew the NORAD agreement May 12 is confirmation the alliance remains the pillar of the defense relationship between the two nations.
The renewal also includes the decision to expand NORAD’s role to include maritime defense of the continent, involving offshore approaches and inland waterways.
That would see NORAD eventually evolving into a clearinghouse for surveillance and intelligence data about vessels and maritime threats. Findley said the terms of reference on what the two nations want still have to be worked out, as well as decisions on what systems would be needed to allow maritime surveillance information to flow into NORAD from various agencies and commands on both sides of the border.
“The maritime warning will be the major change that will require a lot of energy and time in the coming months to really get a good handle on meeting both nations’ expectations,” Findley said from Colorado Springs, Colo.
No specific date has been set for when NORAD will have an overall maritime intelligence and surveillance capability.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command was formed in 1958 to monitor and defend North American airspace, but work has been under way since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and on the Pentagon to expand and improve the organization.
Warning, Not Control
The agreement signed May 12 by the two countries makes clear that NORAD will have a comprehensive maritime warning role, but will not exercise operational control over maritime assets.
While NORAD will warn of potential maritime threats, respective national authorities, principally U.S. Northern Command and Canada Command, will be responsible for assigning forces to respond.
Findley acknowledged that establishing the relationships with various commands and agencies already handling maritime surveillance in Canada and the United States will be a challenge.
“Those that are already doing surveillance and those who already have key elements of the maritime information or maritime domain environment will have to share that with us,” he explained.
“That’s going to be a challenge in its own right to get folks to understand we really want to collate and fuse and build a much better picture of the maritime environment, and then add some value to it by saying, ‘OK, we think you’ve got a vessel or a particular threat that you might want to have a good look at.’
“We’ll have to work with a lot of different people to gain their confidence that we’re going to be value-added, that we’re not taking away from their mission or their responsibilities,” Findley said.
He noted the new role also would cover inland waters, but most likely will focus on the Great Lakes, the largest bodies of water shared by both nations.
In the aftermath of 9/11, NORAD increased its operational readiness and ability to respond to threats from outside and inside North America’s airspace.
In August 2004, Canada and the United States also reinforced their commitment to NORAD’s existing functions by amending the agreement to allow its missile-warning function, which it has carried out for nearly 30 years, to be made available to U.S. commands responsible for missile defense.
Findley said NORAD must continually examine the emerging threats to North America and then employ countermea-sures. One area the organization is focusing on is the threat from unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles, especially those launched from a maritime platform.
“We’re also concerned about noncommercial aircraft, by that I mean general aviation,” he said. “Should we get excited about Cessna 172s, corporate jets, air cargo carriers? Those are the things we’re continuing to look at as a vulnerability and determine what’s the best course of action to deal with it.”
In addition, NORAD will have to buy new surveillance systems, Findley said.
“All of the radars we currently own are at that stage where we have to identify follow-on surveillance capabilities,” he explained. “[But] we’ve got about five to seven years before major decisions have to be made.”
While the renewal of the NORAD agreement passed with little notice in the United States, there was some debate among politicians in Canada on the issue.
Conflict in Canada
Opposition politicians accused the ruling Conservative Party government of signing the deal in secret, as it did not initially announce details of the renewal.
Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, said he was concerned that the agreement significantly extended Canadian-U.S. military integration, noting that it will draw Canada further into U.S. plans for missile defense.
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the NORAD renewal has nothing to do with missile defense and that the two countries are committed to cooperating on protecting the continent.
Gordon O’Connor, Canada’s defense minister, said NORAD’s expansion into the maritime domain is needed, noting that “North America is not shielded by the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Recent events have shown that terrorists can strike in unexpected ways.”
Canada’s House of Commons voted May 7 to approve the NORAD renewal.
Sovereignty Issues
But Michael Byers, an international law professor at the University of British Columbia, said the decision to have NORAD monitor maritime approaches could prove to be a problem for Canada in the future.
The Conservative government made an issue during the federal election in January about a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine that transited Canadian Arctic waters without permission.
The Harper government used that as an example of why it was bringing in a policy of stricter enforcement of Canadian sovereignty in its northern waters and the reason for stationing more military resources in the region.
“Now we’re expanding the NORAD agreement with the U.S., the nation that we are concerned about with regards to our Arctic sovereignty, and we’re going into partnership with them on monitoring the same waters that are in dispute,” said Byers. “It doesn’t make too much sense.”
The United States and other nations do not recognize Canada’s claim of ownership to some Arctic waters, such as the Northwest Passage.
Even stronger ties between the two nations on collective defense could arise. In March, the Canada-U.S. military Bi-National Planning Group recommended the two improve coordination and cooperation among foreign policy, defense and security organizations.
In addition, Canada and the United States should come up with a comprehensive defense and security agreement to provide authority and guidance for increased information sharing and cooperation, said the group, formed in 2002.
Findley, who headed the Bi-National Planning Group, made up of U.S and Canadian officials, said the recommendations will now be examined by the U.S. State Department and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs. •

Terrorists Stayed in MLAs Hostel

Author: Suyash Padate

Publication: Afternoon Despatch & Courier

Date: May 19, 2006


Introduction: Police investigations lead to MLCs, MLA from DF Govt.

In what could be an embarrassment to the ruling Democratic Front (DF)
government, two MLCs and an MLA have come under the Anti-Terrorist Squad
(ATS) scanner for allegedly providing shelter to suspected terrorists in
their rooms at the Akashvani MLA Hostel near Mantralaya. They are
reportedly Shaikh Rashid Haji Shaikh Shafi, a Congress MLA from
Malegaon, Shaikh Abdul Sattatr Nabi, a Congress MLC from Sillod, and
Fowzia Khan, an NCP MLC from Parbhani. Some of these suspected
terrorists were recently arrested in Aurangabad and Malegaon for
possessing and transporting arms and ammunition.

The ATS is unwilling to comment on the issue, claiming that it could
hamper investigations. But sources say that they have started checking
the list of visitors who had lodged in the rooms of these three members.
When contacted, Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, who is in charge of the
Home Department, said, "It is very early to say anything on this serious
matter. We are still ascertaining various facts. So, at this juncture,
there is no point in revealing any name."

As per government norms, two rooms are allotted to each member of the
Legislature, one for the member and his family and the other for his
personal assistant and party workers. At the Akashvani MLA Hostel, both
Shaikh and Khan had occupied two rooms each whereas one was by Sattar.
Zainuddin Ansari, the mastermind of the arms cache who is still at
large, had camped at the hostel on the night of May 8. Ansari had
travelled in an Indica from Beed along with three others. After a short
break he headed for Pimpalgaon in Nashik district. This was disclosed
during interrogation by Abdul Azim, the car driver.

ATS officials have confiscated the visitors' register from the MLAs'
hostel. Now they are probing who opened the door of the room for the men
and let them stay there. The police are also investigating who the other
occupants of the same room were and whether they had any acquaintances
staying at the hostel. The political atmosphere is shaken up and an
uneasy calm prevails in both the NCP and Congress camp.

The ‘Singh Doctrine’

By Brigadier Arun Sahgal (Ret.) and Parama Sinha Palit

Perhaps the most salient development in international politics in the brief history of the 21st century is the budding strategic partnership between the U.S. and India. America’s ideas about India are, unquestionably, changing. In Washington, strategists project India as a “strong and independent” nation representing “a strategic asset” even as Delhi insists that it is only a “partner” and not a formal ally. In the emerging U.S. view, the two countries’ interests are no longer at loggerheads.

Indeed, the recent “strategic coordination” being carved out seems to suit both Washington and New Delhi’s long-term strategic objectives. Whether one refers to the recent New Framework for the U.S.-India Defence Relationship, agreed in June 2005, or the Joint Statement signed the following month, or the bonhomie of President Bush’s recent summit in India with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, both the countries appear to be engaged in the opening courtship of an increasingly intense relationship.

To say that this kind of partnership is unparalleled in the history of Indo-U.S. relations is an understatement. While some degree of cooperation was witnessed even during the Cold War years, we regard this as a new phase of partnership between the two countries; it’s the genuine article. This “transformed” relation seems to be in the larger interest of the U.S. and fits well into what the Quadrennial Defense Review report underlines as “America’s security role in the world” that “provides the basis for a network of alliances and friendships.”
Our concern is that the two sides may have very different perspectives about what is driving this relationship. While the U.S. perspectives are routinely articulated both within the official circles and plethora of American strategic think tanks, the Indian perspective, on the other hand, is often more nuanced than really ever clearly articulated. We hope to explain the logic and context driving Indo-U.S. relations from an Indian perspective.
The current energy in the relationship flows from a new awareness of common security and strategic concerns, from both regional and global perspectives. While these are instrumental in shaping the strategic partnership, it is really, in our judgment and in the eyes of many Indians, economic imperatives that will provide the most crucial, long-term drivers.
With India beginning to play an important role in determining global economic prospects, the U.S. — and indeed much of the rest of the world — is eager to seize the opportunity of expanding business and commercial links with a “lumbering elephant” India. Greater economic engagement entails a win-win scenario for both nations. American businessmen anticipate lucrative returns from one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world, while India seeks higher inflows of capital and, just as important, access to advanced technology and global marketing networks through stronger commercial links with the U.S.
As promising as this natural economic process is, it is threatened by political land mines. Much of the optimism regarding a buoyant Indian economy and its attractiveness to the U.S. and international investors depends on India’s ability to carry out further reforms for enhancing and sustaining its growth levels. Let us be clear: Indian economic reform is a vital strategic interest for the U.S.
Sustained economic growth is not only a strategic interest but also the key to what kind of great power India will become, how Delhi will view its role in the world. At the moment, among developing Asian economies, China continues to outperform India. India believes it needs to emulate the Chinese success for translating its potential into outcomes. Keeping up with China is, to an important degree, behind the policy shifts in India. The Indian political elite has come to a fundamental realization that the path to India playing a larger strategic role both in Asia and the world is inextricably linked to sustainable economic development through reforms and infrastructural development.
Consequently, growth-enhancing policies, capable of putting India on a high annual growth trajectory — the slogan is “8 percent plus” — are essential if India is to lay aside its past strategy of “nonalignment.” The U.S. needs to play a major role facilitating India’s economic and technological development, putting into place the kind of trade and investment policies Washington has adopted vis-a-vis China, while recognizing the vast strategic differences between Delhi and Beijing. Such signals are important not only to reinforce India’s credentials as a leading world economy, but also to impart strong internal momentum to Indo-U.S. ties. No American should regard India as a “strategic competitor.”
This is, at its core, the key tenet of what might be called the “Singh Doctrine.” India’s prime minister is also the father of India’s economic liberalization. He is not simply at the helm of the state but is a larger figure in shaping India’s efforts at economic reforms, and thus exercises a concomitant political influence as an intrinsic part of India’s emergence on the world stage. By leading India in the direction of jettisoning the socialist model, Singh’s policies are being looked upon the way in which, leveraging economic and technology growth, India can realize its desire to be a reckonable world player.
The key to the success of the Singh Doctrine is sustaining economic progress while building strategic capabilities. There remain many contradictions in India’s economic policy, and whether India can maintain its growth — particularly if the U.S., in reaction to Chinese policies, moves to limit the openness of its markets — is an open question.
India’s rapid economic progress in recent years has earned it the distinction of being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. After growing by a robust 8.5 percent in 2004, India recorded a growth rate of almost 7 percent in 2005 and is expected to grow anywhere between 7.5 percent to 8 percent in 2006. Recent history suggests that, apart from China, no other major economy has been able to grow at such high sustained rates. Indeed, the striking growth rates of China and India have shifted the momentum behind global economic expansion to developing Asia. While the expansion of global economic activity used to be determined primarily in the U.S., Europe and Japan, the balance appears to have shifted decisively toward China and India.
Such a critical shift in the locus of global growth has significant strategic implications. China’s continuing economic prowess for more than a decade has already allowed it to incrementally leverage its economic and trade potential to enhance its political and strategic importance in Asia and, increasingly, across the globe. Indeed, Chinese growth is such a key factor in international politics that even the staunchest allies of the U.S. in Asia, such as Australia, are unwilling to support policies that bring their economic interests in conflict with China. The strategic thrust of the Singh Doctrine and of sustained Indian economic growth and trade relations in Asia is to propel India to a similar position.
The Singh Doctrine is, if nothing else, in synch with emerging wisdom on India’s potential. A much-discussed and debated report by Goldman Sachs indicates that the so-called “BRIC” states — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are expected to grow to account for GDP reaching about half that of the six leading world economies — the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Great Britain — by 2025. The report goes on to single out India as the one BRIC nation that can maintain growth rates above 3 percent until 2050, while the rates of growth in the rest slow down. The report is indicative of the level of optimism across the international financial community.
Doubts, however, continue to linger over the country’s ability to sustain high growth rates in the short to medium term. The euphoria over the country’s prospects continues to be shrouded by its underperformance in social and human development. Until recently, India’s growth rates, as high as they have been, have remained insufficient to make an appreciable difference in the large poverty levels in the country. Indeed, it is difficult to envisage India developing into a mature, capable and dynamic economy unless its economic growth is able to significantly ameliorate poverty. These doubts are quite similar to the ones expressed about the sustainability of the Chinese economic miracle, where success in the cities of the Pacific coast has yet to be replicated in the hinterland. A similar failure in this regard is bound to have repercussions on India’s economic and strategic capacities; moreover, as a democracy, the government in Delhi cannot be as cavalier about popular opinion.
Achieving and maintaining a growth rate of 8 percent or more is a tall order. Although the Indian economy has huge untapped potential, strategic success depends on radical reforms in key sectors. Despite progressive removal of controls, India continues to remain inward-looking in some significant activities. These include restrictive policies for foreign investment in retail trade; minority foreign equity participation norms in civil aviation, banking and insurance; rigid labor laws; prevalence of largely inefficient food and fertilizer subsidies; and lack of a coherent privatization policy. Infrastructure — a vital necessity for higher growth — continues to suffer from low investment and poor regulation in most components. On the other hand, limited public finances constrain the abilities of the state and central governments to deploy adequate resources to social and human development.
The Singh Doctrine will require a big push. The prime minister exudes optimism about the prospects of economic reforms, but divergent views within the ruling coalition are often emerging as roadblocks. While Singh continues to wax eloquent on ushering in liberal policies in politically sensitive segments of the economy, opposition to reforms displayed by prominent interest groups such as the left parties impede the emergence of a clear consensus on reforms and cast doubt on the establishment’s ability to carry forward the reform agenda.
The Singh Doctrine equates an economically strong India with a strategically secure India. The broader vision of security, which moves beyond military security and encompasses political, environmental and economic security, presupposes availability of adequate resources for enhancing commercial, social and human capabilities. In the eyes of many Indians, China is an outstanding example in this regard. The overall increase in capabilities — including China’s growing military strength — is the result of growth-enhancing reforms.
And here the role of the U.S. is crucial. While initiating and implementing reforms is, without doubt, a necessary business for Indian domestic policy-makers, their decisions alone won’t be sufficient. In a globalized world, Indian economic reforms are unlikely to yield envisioned benefits without effective partnerships. Mutual coordination between India and the U.S. is significant in this regard; economic and strategic cooperation are inseparable.
India looks forward to the U.S. for securing greater inflow of foreign direct investment in critical sectors, achieving technology upgrades and quality benchmarks, and the best-practice systems of corporate governance. In return, India has a growing domestic market, a well-educated and substantial English-speaking workforce, mature legal traditions and relative economic transparency. India is like China in many ways, but unlike it in many crucial dimensions.
Indeed, over time, economic cooperation promises to be the key plank in the development of any sustained strategic partnership between the U.S. and India. The faster India grows, the deeper the partnership will become. From the economic benefits — on both sides of the equation but most certainly for India — will come the impetus and rationale for conjuring the necessary will to make a geopolitical partnership work.
The trade relationship will have to be strong indeed to weather the storms on the horizon in the region. Seen from Delhi, Asia as a whole is an increasingly complex geopolitical scenario in a marked state of flux.
American political and strategic commentators often refer to the 21st century as “the Asian century.” At the same time, the U.S. appears to be disturbed by the manner in which Asian balance of power is shaping up. While Asia’s growing economic power may translate into greater political and economic power, the emergence of a volatile Asia in the backdrop of growing Chinese political and economic influence and massive military modernization poses serious concerns to both Washington and Delhi. It was perhaps this underlying concern that made the Indian foreign secretary recently underscore the necessity of maintaining the balance of power in Asia.
Indian strategists believe that a major realignment of power structures in Asia is afoot. Going by the current trends, East Asia remains turbulent. North Korea continues to simmer with no signs of early resolution of proliferation crisis. Second, there is a pronounced deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations among signs of Japanese military revivalism. On the Korean peninsula, trends appear to be favoring reconciliation between two estranged parts of the same country. On the crucial question of the future of Taiwan, incremental integration through political and economic influence appears to be only a matter of time, even as China continues to flex its military muscle. Similarly, Southeast Asia appears to be increasingly under the economic and political influence of China, with growing dependency on trade and investments from mainland China. With 15 percent to 25 percent of their gross domestic products dependent upon mainland China, these countries are unlikely to adopt a path of political or military confrontation, whatever the provocation.
Similarly, Central Asia is marked by growing Chinese influence. The strategic understanding between Russia and China, a product of the immediate post-Cold War period but revived in recent years through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, has begun to show results, particularly in regard to energy needs which are a core concern in Beijing. The politics of oil pipelines, of which the Kazhakstan-China pipeline is the recent manifestation, are at the core of the matter in the region.
West Asia remains in turmoil, evident from the growing Shiite-Sunni divide. This could accelerate into a major communal confrontation, engulfing almost all major oil-producing regions. The portents of proliferation which today remain centered on Iran could extend beyond. There is also the specter of growing Chinese influence as an alternative choice to Western interests, particularly in infrastructural development and military sales. Given the above profile, it is clear that the balance of power is undoubtedly shifting to China-centric Asia, in particular East and Southeast Asia. Further, there are growing Chinese inroads into South Asia based on military and defense cooperation, infrastructural projects and bases in the Indian Ocean in what is often referred to as a “string of pearls strategy.”
Thus the “rise of China,” which has been peaceful until now, appears to worry America policy-makers who concern about increasing volatility across Asia. In fact, there is a strong undercurrent that the rise of China, coupled with U.S. strategic overstretch on account of continuing commitments in West Asia and Afghanistan, is increasingly constraining American power and influence in Asia. Asian analysts see that the U.S. is being forced to operate within existing geostrategic constraints, thus seriously impairing the U.S. capacity to force politico-military escalation.
The issue for Indians is whether the developing scenario is likely to bring about peace and stability in Asia or simply create a new set of dependencies. Thus, we worry less about containment or confrontation with China than creating an environment where nations can make balanced choices based on their national interests. And so we think that an economically and militarily strong India augurs well for preserving the regional balance of power, and that an Indo-American understanding can play a crucial role in providing the stability in Asia that we seek. India’s goal is to realize economic and social growth rather than geopolitical confrontation.
India has much to contribute to maintaining a stable balance. Straddling the main sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean and located on the flanks of two important fault zones — that is, East Asia and West-Central Asia — India can be an important swing player. India is already following a three-pronged strategy of integrating itself with the world economy, ensuring political integrity and security of the country, and last, but not least, attempting to further its interests in Asia, by leveraging its economic and political power. It is in this that the true value of Indo-U.S. relations lies and the essence of propelling India to play a larger strategic role initiates.

What India wants from US

What India wants
By Christopher Griffin

Begin with two countries that are allied with each other’s nuclear adversaries. They spent the Cold War in opposite camps, one emerging as the free world and the other rallying a “nonaligned” movement against superpower politics. The two have bickered over nonproliferation issues for 30 years, one trying to preserve the status quo, the other challenging what it derided as “nuclear apartheid.”
Is this the basis for a beautiful strategic partnership or what?

The Bush administration has come to believe that it is. Indeed, during the last five years, the administration has gradually lifted sanctions on dual-use and military sales and permitted security cooperation with Delhi, reversing a host of policies imposed in the wake of India’s 1998 nuclear tests. This under-the-radar courtship culminated in July 2005 with the so-called “nuclear deal,” under which the U.S. will support India’s civilian nuclear program. With this step, the White House exponentially increased its strategic bet.
The nuclear deal also touched a nerve of opposition to this radical departure from longstanding policy. As the administration went to Congress for the approvals needed for the nuclear deal, a variety of voices, including senior statesmen like former President Carter and former Sen. Sam Nunn, weighed in against the passing of U.S. nuclear technology to India.
On the presumption that one should never share fissile material with strangers, I visited India earlier this year to see how this strategic partnership is shaping up on the ground.
The timing of my trip was lucky: I arrived as India was publicly debating whether to support a U.S.-led effort to refer Iran’s nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. India has longstanding ties to the Islamic Republic and many Indians questioned whether it was a good idea to abandon a fellow nonaligned government. Conversely, for American skeptics, India’s alliance with Iran was clear evidence that Delhi cannot be trusted. When U.S. Ambassador David Mulford warned — accurately, albeit undiplomatically — that India’s failure to cooperate on Iran would be “devastating” for the nuclear deal, Indian pundits exploded into criticism of American interference.
In principle, my first stop in Delhi was the perfect venue to discuss the question of how to square India’s longstanding ties to Iran with its new strategic partnership with the U.S. The Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, an elite foreign-ministry-funded think tank, was holding its annual Asian Security Conference on India’s relations with the Middle East, or in deference to the local nomenclature, “Southwest Asia.” I would see Indians talking to Indians, not performing for an American audience.
Alas, my hopes for a nuanced discussion of India’s emerging security strategy, or indeed any other issue, were immediately dashed. Early speakers set the tone for the conference when they declared that U.S. efforts to “dominate” the region had done “no good and much harm” and presented India with “a choice between harmony and hegemony” in international relations. Later speakers would alternate between lambasting America’s Middle East policy as oil-grubbing and defending India’s relationships with such countries as Sudan and Iran as necessary in the face of Washington’s efforts to “squeeze India out” of the global energy market. Not the sort of stuff the Bush administration has been touting.
But as the conference wrapped up — and as my despair peaked — one of the organizers took me aside and said: “Ignore everything you’ve just heard.” He explained that although Indians criticize the U.S. and the Singh government, they privately support closer relations with Washington. Indian intellectuals would require more time before they could break free of vestigial mistrust of America and embrace an emerging strategic partnership.
While it initially sounded as though he was apologizing to a dinner guest who had been insulted, the more time passed, the more I saw his point.
In both capitals, the public debate on U.S.-Indian relations is too often obsessed with the bogeymen of the past. Whether it is the fear that India can only be developing ballistic capabilities in order to target the U.S., or apprehension that the current nuclear deal is just another Yankee ploy to undermine India’s strategic ambitions, public, political dialogue — what bureaucrats call “track two” — this is has not caught up to the “track one” diplomatic agreements between the two capitals.
This perception gap is dangerous because it creates political pressures to limit the scope of a strategic partnership that’s barely begun, and which may unravel the progress of the last five years. As one Indian diplomat warned when I asked about the cost of failure to carry out the nuclear deal: “Anybody who expects that, if this deal doesn’t go through, then the morning after will be the same as the day before, will be wrong. ... The next time there is a tsunami disaster, we might not take your call.”
In sum, it is more than possible to destroy the potential of the partnership, and destroy it fairly quickly. This is because the partnership is starting from a weak position: Although officials in Washington and Delhi recognize the necessity for greater cooperation, there have been no major “deliverables” that skeptics would demand in exchange for closer ties.
Indeed, a near-term focus is the major source of confusion in Washington and Delhi; witness the proliferation of litmus tests and ultimatums. This U.S.-Indian relationship should not be judged in terms of immediate deliverables, but the gradual convergence of national interests. This is the essence of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s characterization of the U.S. and India as “natural allies.” Although there are strong reasons for the relationship to come to fruition, it can only occur with concerted, sustained effort.
Trends indicate that over the next 20 to 50 years, India will emerge as one of the world’s great powers. And the Bush administration believes that as Indian power grows, Delhi will assume greater responsibility for regional and international security. India shares Washington’s support of democracy at home and abroad, opposition to international terrorism and concerns about the security of the sea lines of communication upon which the world economy depends. Philip Zelikow, the State Department official who has been one of the key architects of the Bush administration policy, said the goal is “to help India become a major world power in the 21st century.”
Bharat Verma, publisher of Indian Defense Review, explained the Indian view of partnership to me: “We won’t hand over strategic autonomy to anyone, but our strategic autonomy does not conflict with American interests.”
But just because India’s rise will not conflict with American interests does not mean there won’t be differing priorities or diverging perceptions. Thus, the challenge for American strategists is to shape India’s understanding of its own power, of its own growing strategic interests, of its role in the world. An essential means will be to tie U.S.-Indian cooperation into those fields where India’s abilities are growing most rapidly.
Some of these possibilities for cooperation — as well as the challenges —were on display when I visited the 2006 Indian Defense Expo, jointly organized by the Ministry of Defense and the Confederation of Indian Industry. India is the largest arms importer in the developing world, purchasing some $15 billion in weapons every year, a figure expected to rise to $50 billion by 2015. India inked deals on $5.7 billion in arms imports last year, almost twice as much as the next largest importer, Saudi Arabia ($2.7 billion) and significantly more than China ($2.2 billion).
This rapid growth in Indian arms imports has fueled intense competition among exporters for market share. Russia remains the largest seller to India, providing some 75 percent of Indian arms imports, including two MiG-29K fighter wings for India’s new aircraft carriers, the converted Russian ship Admiral Gorshkov and the indigenously built “air-defense ship.” And India is still collaborating with Russia on several major research and development projects, including the BrahMos supersonic ramjet cruise missile, which will provide each of India’s military services with long-range strike capabilities.
Delhi is also developing closer ties with other international arms suppliers. In January, it signed a $330 million joint weapons-development agreement with Israel that will cover a line of ship-mounted air-defense missiles. India also recently completed a deal to build six Scorpene submarines with the assistance of French and Spanish designers as part of a $3.9 billion naval modernization program. Three submarines in this project will include a MESAM air-independent propulsion system, tripling the time they can remain underwater.
In contrast to these countries, the U.S. remains a bit player in India’s defense market. Although U.S. sales jumped from $5.6 million in 2003 to $64 million in 2005, they accounted for less than 1 percent of sales to India that year. The reasons for this low level of sales are varied, but the most evident is that the U.S. and India have their own systems for conducting international military sales and have not yet synchronized the bureaucratic and business processes that control them.
The competition to sell India 126 multirole combat aircraft is a primary example of this problem. The major competitors for the contract are the Lockheed Martin F-16, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafael, the SAAB Gripen and the MiG-29. The competition completed the request for information stage in early 2005 and is in limbo while the Indian government prepares its long-delayed request for proposal. Although the full F-16 and F/A-18 suites outclass their international competitors, it is not yet clear that either will win.
When I asked one U.S. industry representative about the deal, he said, “The Indians are issuing [requests for proposal] on a 60 to 90 day time frame, and we take six months to turn around a license before we can make the proposal.” Another industry representative was even more critical of the U.S. licensing process, saying, “When it comes time to sell a product or the technology it entails, people at the bureaucratic level have gotten their hands on it and won’t let go. … It’s as though the bureaucracy doesn’t know the policy has changed.”
Indian strategists also note the challenges posed by the U.S. licensing regime. As Bharat Verma put it to me, “This market is competitive. We have the options and the money. To get into this market, you have to adapt to it.”
In sum, no matter how quickly the Indian market develops, U.S. defense firms will have to fight if they are to compete on a level playing field.
If a U.S.-India defense industrial partnership faces major obstacles, they are perhaps mitigated by the rapid development of other forms of contact and cooperation. What companies and governments find difficult, military exchanges and exercises make easier. They do this by giving Indian officers hands-on experience with U.S. military technology, and showing the types of operations that importing such technology could enable.
The Malabar naval exercises, which resumed in 2002 after an interruption in the wake of the 1998 nuclear tests, are a case in point. In the past four years, Malabar has developed from a set of basic maneuvers to one of the most sophisticated bilateral military exercises conducted by the U.S.
Malabar 2002 consisted of basic passing exercises among naval vessels, as well as personnel exchange, antisubmarine exercises and replenishment-at-sea maneuvers. When it was hailed as a major step forward in U.S.-Indian military-to-military relations, then-Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Walter Doran and his Indian counterpart, Arun Prakash, began to discuss how they could increase the exercises’ sophistication. Bolstered by a friendship that stretching back to when Doran attended the Indian Defense Staff Services College in 1979, they quickly made headway.
In 2003 and 2004, the Malabar exercise expanded to include such advanced U.S. platforms as the Alexandria, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, and P3-C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. This upgrade permitted both sides to engage in submarine familiarization, a key capability for antisubmarine warfare collaboration. The difficulty of the exercises also increased to include “visit, board, search and seize” operations against suspected smugglers, a key capability for participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative, as well as cross-deck helicopter landings.
The September 2005 Malabar exercise featured an even more impressive leap in capabilities when two aircraft carriers, the Nimitz and India’s Viraat, participated. During a month of operations, U.S. and Indian forces collaborated on everything from a joint diving salvage operation to a 24-hour “war at sea” scenario in which mixed formations of U.S. and Indian forces faced off.
The inclusion of aircraft carriers in the war-at-sea scenario also increased the communications requirements among the participating vessels. In response, the U.S. sent Centrix terminals and operators to the Indian ships, which permitted communication through the Indian Navy’s existing satellite system. According to Indian Defence Review, the Indian participants were so impressed by this experience that they are considering installing Centrix in some vessels, and are even looking at the possibility of attaining NATO-standard tactical data information links systems.
In February, U.S. and Indian defense planners demonstrated an equally impressive attribute — spontaneity — when they hurriedly organized joint exercises for a U.S. naval convoy passing through the Straits of Malacca.
The growing U.S.-Indian military-to-military relationship has paid major dividends. U.S. and Indian warships jointly escorted U.S. ships through the Straits of Malacca for a year after the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in order to guard against the possibility of a USS Cole-like attack. And in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami disaster in Asia, Doran worked with Prakash to coordinate the actions of the U.S. and Indian fleets and avoid wastage. As a result, U.S. and Indian forces established adjacent areas of operation and exchanged liaison personnel to coordinate activities. In the crisis, none of this response would have been possible but for the previous experience of working together through exercises and personnel exchanges.
But, like the overall partnership, the real strength of U.S.-Indian naval cooperation lies in the long run. Exposure of the Indian Navy to U.S. technology, practices and capabilities is the first step toward developing real interoperability between our forces. As the Indian Navy and the country’s other military services acquire systems to communicate with U.S. and other allied forces, they implicitly commit themselves to operating with the U.S. It is the longer-term habits of strategic partnership that matter most.
Thus, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen explains the importance of growing interoperability when he describes the “1,000-ship fleet,” which he sees as a force of “freedom-loving nations, standing watch over the seas, standing watch over each other.” It is in this sense that growing U.S. interoperability with India, Japan, Australia and other Asian-Pacific partners is an important precursor transforming the security regime in Asia. The challenge is to develop a shared vision between Delhi and Washington.
In her groundbreaking study “Indo-U.S. Military Relationship: Expectations and Perceptions,” Juli A. McDonald quotes a U.S. major general on the different criteria of success for the U.S. and Indian militaries. The Indians, he says, “will laud the relationship as a success if they obtain the technology that they want from the United States.” The U.S., by contrast, “will view the relationship as a success if we are able to build a constructive military cooperation program that enables us to jointly operate with the Indians in the future.”
These views need not be mutually exclusive. Indeed, they may well be mutually reinforcing. The Bush administration is betting that as U.S.-Indian military cooperation progresses, both countries’ armed services will, in effect, become core constituencies for a larger strategic partnership.
But Americans have to pay greater attention to what India’s military wants. Beyond the nuclear deal, there are other elements of increased defense cooperation in the works. The transfer to India of the Trenton, an amphibious transport dock, as well as an offer for training exercises with U.S. Marines, will help Delhi deploy its planned amphibious Rapid Deployment Force. As this new capability comes online, India will be able to respond to either security crises or natural disasters throughout Asia, further bolstering its role as a net contributor to regional security whose abilities are harmonized with our own.
Another key challenge will be for the administration to shake up the military-licensing process for sales to India. In the immediate term, the multirole combat aircraft request for proposals should be seized as an opportunity to license advanced American avionics and radar systems for sale to India. Likewise, the Bush administration should work during the next three years to champion the sale of a major weapon system such as the Aegis air-defense system or the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile system. These are more than arms sales, they are strategy by industrial means; such a transfer will demonstrate — in ways that are meaningful to the Indians — the seriousness of the U.S. commitment.
India can reciprocate these moves by continuing its efforts, through bilateral working groups, to resolve American concerns about the security of any advanced technologies we transfer to Delhi and to work out the major remaining kinks in its weapons-procurement system. Delhi can also show its support of the security relationship by discreetly sharing the sonar profile of its Kilo-class submarines, a measure that would give the U.S. far more security in conflicts between the Persian Gulf and the Taiwan Strait. The approval of major arms purchases from the U.S. would also help reassure American business leaders and policymakers that they have climbed out on the right branch.
It is impossible to guarantee how the administration’s big bet with India will pay off in coming decades. But, like it or not, the first order of business for the U.S. is to demonstrate that America will be a reliable security partner. Fortunately, provided that it is not spiked in the controversy surrounding the nuclear deal, significant progress has already been made, and the way forward is clear.