November 24, 2007

Accountability begins at home Rahul
Rahul Gandhi’s maiden speech at the AICC since being “annointed” General Secretary and Congress Working Committee Member has evoked mixed reactions.

Although the Talkatora Indoor Stadium was echoing with cries of ‘Rahul, Rahul’ when he started his Hindi-cum-English speech, by the time his comments of barely 10 minutes ended there was widespread dismay despite the applause.Addressing 3,000 All India Congress Committee delegates, he said the party should be relevant to ‘a broad range of young Indians’ and become ‘meritocratic’ where progress is linked to performance and accountability.

For someone who got “annointed” to his position within the party on account of his lineage it perhaps was jarring to his partymen to hear him speak of “merit”, “performance” and “accountability”. While Rahul’s lack of “merit” and a cropper of “performance” is well known its his emphasis on ”accountability” that should have “mamma” and “chacha manmohan” in trouble.

So if one were to apply the “Rahul Gandhi” maxim of “progress” linked to “performance” and “accountability” were will that leave Congress President Sonia Gandhi who oversaw the party lose every assembly election since 2004 and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who’s Executive Delinquency for the last many months saw governance come to a standstill. The Congress President had the gall to raise the issue of terrorism when it is a documented fact that every single mass terror attack since 1992 have been in Congress ruled or Congress supported states which practiced muslim appeasement with no qualms.

That of all people Rahul Gandhi should speak of “merit”, “performance” and “accountability” is hilarious.

Offstumped Poser to Rahul Gandhi: Prove that you can lead by example and match words for action. Show that accountability begins at home by explaining to us how you “merit” the post of Congress General Secretary, how your mother is entitled to remain Congress President after the disastrous “performance” of your party in election after election and how your Prime Minister will be held “accountable” for his government’s executive delinquency.

INDIA : Naxalites and Narcotics

Over the years, cultivation of hemp or ganja or its like in the interior areas never visited by any official has become a major source of money for the Left wing ultras.
The Maoists are repeating the time-tested method already used by their cadre in neighbouring Jharkhand to fund the banned group’s activities.



Source: SAAG

By B.Raman

Physical security regulations in the office of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at Rawalpindi exempt officers of the rank of Brigadier and above coming in their own vehicle from frisking at the outer gate. They undergo a frisking only after they have entered the premises, parked their car in the space alloted to them in the garage and then enter the building in which their office is located. Officers below the rank of Brigadier undergo frisking twice, whether they are in their own vehicle or in a bus ----at the outer gate and again inside before they enter the building. At the outer gate, they have to get out of their vehicle, undergo frisking and then get into their vehicle and drive in.

2. Since all officers travel in civilian clothes in unmarked vehicles, which cannot be identified with the Army or the ISI, there is a special hand signalling system for Brigadiers and above by which the security staff at the outer gate can recognise their rank and let them drive in without undergoing frisking. This hand signalling is changed frequently.

3. On the morning of November 24,2007, a car reached the outer gate and the man inside showed a hand signal, which was in use till the previous day. It had been changed on November 23 and a new signal was in force from the morning of November 24,2007. He was not aware of it.The security staff got suspicious and did not allow the car to drive in. They asked the man driving it to get out for questioning and frisking.He blew himself up.

4. As he did so, an unmarked chartered bus carrying over 40 civilian and junior military employees of the ISI reached the outer gate and stopped so that those inside can get out for frisking. The bus bore the brunt of the explosion, which caused the death of about 35 persons---- from among those inside the bus as well as the security staff. The Pakistani authorities have admiited the death of only 18 persons.

5. Around the same time, a man driving a vehicle towards the premises of the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army in another part of Rawalpindi was stopped by the security staff at a physical security barrier. He blew himself up killing two of the security staff. The offices of Gen.Pervez Musharraf in his capacity as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) and of Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, the Vice Chief of Army Staff, are located in the GHQ.

7. These two well-synchronised suicide strikes in Rawalpindi, the sanctum sanctorum of Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment, have come about six weeks after a similar attack targeting the ISI and the Army at Rawalpindi at the same time. On September 4,2007. a suicide attacker blew himself up after boarding a bus carrying ISI employees. A roadside bomb went off near a commercial area in Rawalpindi, while a car carrying an unidentified senior Army officer to the GHQ was passing. Twenty-five persons died in the two attacks. The Army officer escaped unhurt. On October 30,2007, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint several hundred yards from the GHQ killing seven persons, most of the from the security staff.

8. Since the Pakistan Army's commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad from July 10 to 13,2007, there have been two targeted attacks near the GHQ in Rawalpindi, two attacks on the ISI also at Rawalpindi, one attack on officers of the Special Services Group (SSG), the US-trained and US-assisted special forces unit to which Musharraf himself used to belong, in their mess at their headquarters in Tarbella and one attack on a bus carrying Air Force officers to the Pakistan Air Force base in Sargodha. There were many attacks targeting police officers too. These were the targeted attacks outside the tribal belt. There have been many more suicide attacks targeting security and intelligence personnel inside the tribal belt.

9. The two attacks near the GHQ were not based on any inside information. The suicide bomber took his chance hoping that he would not be frisked at the security barrier. When the security staff insisted on frisking him, he blew himself up. The two attacks directed at the ISI and the PAF were based on inside information. In the case of the explosion at the outer gate of the ISI complex on November 24,2007, the suicide bomber was aware of the hand signalling code for Brigadiers and above. However, he was not aware that the signal code had been changed the previous day. Since these codes are communicated personally to Brigadiers and above, their existence is supposed to be known only to Brigadiers and above and the physical security staff. The suicide bomber's inside accomplice was either an ISI officer of the rank of Brigadier or above or a member of the physical security staff. According to sources,the suicide attack in the SSG mess was carried out by a Pashtun officer of the SSG while taking dinner in the mess with his colleagues. The SSG had carried out the raid into the Lal Masjid.

10. The twin bombings of November 24,2007, came three days after the Attorney-General of Musharraf's Government had told the rubber-stamp Supreme Court bench hearing a petition agains the imposition of the Emergency that the security situation had improved after the imposition of the Emergency on November 3,2007, and that suicide attacks in non-tribal areas had stopped. This was one of the arguments used by the court to dismiss the petition against the Emergency.

11. There are two alarming aspects of the security situation in Pakistan. The first is the upsurge in acts of suicide terrorism directed against security and intelligence personnel and their establishments. These give clear evidence of the penetration of jihadi elements inside the Armed Forces, the intelligence agencies and the Police. The second is the inability or unwillingness of the Police to vigorously investigate these incidents, including the attempt to kill Mrs.Benazir Bhutto in Karachi on October 18,2007. Nobody knows definitively till today who are responsible for these suicide attacks---- tribal followers of Baitullah Mehsud of South Waziristan or those of Maulana Fazlullah of the Swat Valley or the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the anti-Shia sectarian organisation, or Al Qaeda and its Uzbek associates or the angry students of the two madrasas run by the Lal Masjid?

12.The Rawalpindi cantonment where the headquarters of the Army and other sensitive units of the Pakistan Army and the ISI are located, and the adjoining Islamabad, the capital, where the headquarters of the federal Government and the National Assembly are located, had seen terrorist strikes even in the past. Amongst them, one could mention the 1989 explosion in the Rawalpindi office of Dr.Farooq Haider, the then President of one of the factions of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which was attributed to a rival faction led by Amanullah Khan; the explosion outside the Egyptian Embassy at Islamabad in the 1990s, which was attributed to some Egyptian opponents of President Hosni Mubarak; the grenade attack inside an Islamabad church frequented by the diplomatic community in March 2002 in which the wife of a US diplomat and their daughter were killed; the unsolved assassination of Maulana Azam Tariq, the Amir of the Sipah-eSahaba, Pakistan, the political wing of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, at Islamabad in 2003, the terrorist attack on a a group of workers of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of Benazir Bhutto in Islamabad earlier this year, the alleged firing of a rocket on Musharraf's plane from the terrace of a house in Islamabad again earlier this year and the alleged firing of rockets by unidentified elements from a park in Islamabad last year.

13. If one leaves aside the JKLF factional politics, the only terrorist organisations which had operated in the Islamabad-Rawalpindi area in the past (before July 2007) were the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), which was blamed for the church grenade attack; the Sipah Mohammad, the Shia terrorist organisation, which was suspected in the murder of Azam Tariq; and Al Qaeda. Many Pakistani and Kashmiri jihadi organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Hizbul Mujahideen, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) etc have their offices in Rawalpindi, but do not indulge in terrorist activities there.

14. There was no evidence to show that the Egyptians responsible for the explosion outside the Egyptian Embassy were then the followers of Osama bin Laden. The first indication of some local support for Al Qaeda in Rawalpindi came in March, 2003, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM), supposedly the man who co-ordinated the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, was arrested from the house of a women's wing leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) in Rawalpindi by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

15. KSM was living in Karachi till September, 2002, when he fled from there to Quetta in Balochistan following the arrest of Ramzi Binalshibh, another Al Qaeda operative there. From Quetta, he shifted to Rawalpindi in the beginning of 2003, fearing betrayal by the Shias of Quetta. After his arrest, no thorough enquiries would appear to have been made either by the ISI or the Police to determine why he took shelter in Rawalpindi, a highly guarded military cantonment. Did he and/or Al Qaeda have any other accomplices in Rawalpindi, in addition to the JEI leader and the members of her family, who included one junior Army officer belonging to a signals battalion, who was also detained for interrogation? Did Al Qaeda or the Pakistani organisations allied to it in the International Islamic Front (IIF) have a sleeper cell or cells in the cantonment? If they had, the sleeper cells could have functioned undetected only with the complicity of at least some in the Armed Forces.

16. After the arrest and the handing-over of KSM to the US, anti-Musharraf and pro-jihadi pamphlets typed on the official letter-head used in the army offices in the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi started circulating in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The ISI and the Police were unable to determine who was circulating these pamphlets and no arrests were made in this connection. Instead, a leader of the Nawaz Sharif-led faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, who drew the attention of the National Assembly and the public to these pamphlets, was ordered to be arrested by Musharraf on a charge of treason.

17. Then followed the two serious assassination attempts on Musharraf as he was commuting between Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The first on December 14, 2003, was made immediately after he had returned by air from Karachi. The second on December 25, 2003, was made when he was doing one of his daily commutings between his residence in Rawalpindi and his office in Islamabad, a distance of about 12 miles.

18. After the April, 2003, arrest in Karachi of Waleed bin Attash of Al Qaeda, one of the suspects in the case relating to the Al Qaeda attack on the US naval ship USS Cole at Aden in October, 2000, many of the Al Qaeda members living in Karachi were reported to have shifted to the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Balochistan , the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Rawalpindi.

19. Their shifting to Rawalpindi and taking shelter there would not have been possible without the complicity of not only the Pakistani jihadi groups, but also supporters in the Armed Forces and the police. The Pakistani security agencies have not been able to identify and dismantle Al Qaeda and IIF cells in the Rawalpindi cantonment. The fact that the perpetrators of the two attacks of December,2003, on Musharraf , whether they belonged to Al Qaeda or to any of the Pakistani components of the IIF, chose to act on both the occasions from Rawalpindi instead of Karachi where Musharraf was before the first attack on December 14 showed their confidence in being able to operate undetected from Rawalpindi rather than from Karachi. Pakistani investigators claimed to have established that the two unsuccessful attacks on Musharraf were jointly carried out by Al Qaeda and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), with the complicity of some junior officers of the Army and the Air Force, who were identified and arrested.

20.Pakistani Police sources also say that apart from Al Qaeda and its associates, the Hizbut Tehrir (HUT) has also many followers and sympathisers in the lower and middle levels of the Armed Forces, but it has not so far indulged in any act of terrorism in Pakistani territory. Its terrorism has been confined to the Central Asian Republics.

21. It is intriguing that after the March,2002, attack on some Americans inside an Islamabad church, there has been no terrorist strike or attempted strike targeting US nationals or interests in the Islamabad area. Attacks targeting Americans have been confined to the Karachi area. No explanation for this has been forthcoming.

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

Bloggers versus Journalists - An Offstumped Re-run

Source: Offstumped

In the past few weeks Offstumped has been attracting a few comments from Journalists as well as there have been oblique references in the mainstream media on the line taken by Offstumped on Tehelka and more recently on Nandigram. On 1st October 2006 Offstumped had reacted to a piece in the TOI critical of Bloggers. A re-run of that piece follows.

Shobhan Saxena of the Times News Network has written a piece titled “Bloggers’ rubbish” which appeared on the TOI website. Offstumped has taken a detour from National Security issues to issue a rejoinder from the Blogger community. Shobhan takes on the ever expanding blogosphere claiming that it is filled

with half-wits, religious maniacs, failed writers, sociopaths and cold-blooded

Shobhan may have a point there, but thats hardly something new, the internet has always been a haven for all individuals of all mental persuasions. So why expect the blogosphere to be any different from the rest of the internet.Shobhan then goes on to further characterize the personality behind the blog as

They are interesting people. They think that they have something to say. They want to be read and heard and seen. But their aspiration is blocked by the obnoxious monster called the Editor and their high-voltage facts mixed with slam-dunk fiction, with a lot of typos and commas and semi-colons in wrong places, go down a drain called the Editorial Process. So they turn to blogging and take refuge under a series of posts on a web page in the form of a diary, with hypertext links to other such diaries

Shobhan’s gripe is that bloggers dont go through an editorial process unlike journalists. What journalists like Shobhan miss is the fact that the blogosphere continues to be vibrant, innovative and hugely popular precisely for these reasons - it is uncontrolled and unregulated. It is what is Free Speech in a Liberal Society is meant to be. Something the likes of Shobhan in the mainstream media fall head over heels to defend. The problem with the likes of Shobhan is their perception of Free Speech is essentially limited to the Journalists, as long as they in the mainstream media can control and regulate what opinion is fed to the masses.Shobhan then goes on to take Bloggers head on for pretending to be journalists who are out to replace mainstream journalism. Shobhan makes his case saying:

Learning and mastering good journalism is tough. You learn it in libraries, on flooded streets, in front of a rioting mob, in the middle of crossfire between a militia and a military, in war trenches, in the corridors of power and in the hamlets of deprivation. Sometimes, a reporter walks for miles in an area ravaged by a tsunami to get one quote from the man hanging on to a tree for a week.

Shobhan makes a good point about what good journalism is all about. Where Shobhan is completely off the mark is when he assumes that Bloggers are out to replace journalists. No, Shobhan, we are not out to replace journalists. In fact you the journalists exist for a very important reason you have outlined above. We need you to walk the ravaged sands to report the facts on the Tsunami, we need you to brave the bullets to report on the facts of war. Let there be no two views on that. It is precisely for this reason, that we consumers of your factual reportage, spend our hard earned rupees to pay you. You the reporter exist because we the consumers of your reportage are willing to pay. You dont exist in a vaccum. It is precisely because you the reporters have forgotten this fundamental equation that you see all of these wannabe journalist amongst some of the bloggers.

Shobhan’s intolerance for a diversity of opinion and an Orwellian belief that it is only the mainstream media which has a monopoly on Public Opinion is reflected in his comments

Bloggers don’t have to worry about such inane things. They can learn history and politics from google. They can get their facts from newspapers and then slam them with their half-baked opinions.

It is precisely this arrogance in the mainstream media Shobhan that has propelled Talk Radio in the
U.S. and now Bloggers across the world to take control of public debate. We the consumers of your reportage are only interested in your facts, not your opinions. The fact that you have the walked ravaged sands makes your facts more accurate, but does little to bake your opinion any more than a blogger who has access to not just your facts but facts from every other journalist via google. So Shobhan, we are willing to spend our rupees on you to the extent of obtaining the most accurate facts on events, but we are not willing to indulge you with lacing your reportage with your biases and prejudices, we are not necessarily interested in your Opinions. So dont you dare insult our intellect by questioning our right to form our opinions and express them by exercising our right to freedom of speech.

Shobhan’s snobbery towards Indian Bloggers is even more despicable. It is yet another reflection on the elitist pseudo-intellectual prejudices harbored by those in the mainstream media. Shobhan picks the example of one Indian blog called warfornews while passing a sweeping judgement on the entire Indian blogger community. Shobhan has clearly not spent much time reading Offstumped or other fellow bloggers O3 who have labored to bring to light news analysis and opinion that is barely attempted by the mainstream media. Case in point Offstumped’s analysis on how New York, Madrid and
London reacted to terrorists strikes in contrast to how Mumbai fared. This was an analysis that the mainstream media could have very easily presented to make the case that not enough was being done in response to the 7-11 Mumbai Blasts. Nearly 80 days on, the 7-11 blasts now appear to be solved, but the mainstream media was guilty in not asking the tough questions expected of it as was shown by Offstumped on how The Hindu dedicated an overly disproportionate portion of its editorial space to pursue its AntI-Israel political agenda rather than ask tough questions in the aftermath of 7-11.

Shobhan makes an insidious accusation that Bloggers are for sale and that corporates are using them as mercernaries. This is a case of the kettle calling the pot black. Shobhan wants us to believe that Journalists are somehow saints, who have attained selflessness and are only motivated by the quest for truth and are in no way influenced by their interestes, biases, prejudices and motives. This assertion flies in the face of the facts brought to light by Offstumped on how The Hindu’s N. Ram had called on journalists to pursue an agenda and how The Hindu’s agenda was visible in the aftermath of the Malegaon blasts when it attempted to float a conspiracy theory against what it called Hindutva Terrorism.

Shobhan signs off his piece paying a tribute to western bloggers while taking a dig at Indian bloggers. Shobhan’s case is that
India does not needs its Bloggers because it has a a booming and vibrant media. Shobhan calls Indian blogging organized gossip and contends its a dangerous trend.

Offstumped Bottomline to Shobhan Saxena: Shobhan you are right, Indian blogging is a dangerous trend. Dangerous not to Indian society at large but dangerous specifically to the Op-Ed Opinion Makers in the mainstream media who have arrogated to themselves the monopoly on all public opinion and debate. Indian Blogs are a repudiation of this elitism and psuedo intellectual arrogance. Free Speech in a Liberal Society is about Opinions that are neither controlled nor regulated. If you are a true believer of free speech you would have the strength of conviction to face up to these opinions rather than call them a dangerous trend.

As far as Offstumped goes be rest assured it will always abide by the Blogger’s Dharma of being honest about its Right of Center Agenda, basing its judgement and analysis on hard facts and presenting a logical view point. The success of Offstumped and other Indian Blogs will be judged not by you journalists but by the society at large which will either return to read more or ignore for the blogs to fade into oblivion. We dont need you Journalists to do that thinking for them, the people at large are quite capable of doing it themselves

Digging In Deeper in Pakistan

Published: November 23, 2007

Gen. Pervez Musharraf has done far too little to drive Al Qaeda and the Taliban from its Pakistani sanctuaries over the last six years, but President Bush still insists on linking America’s interests to the general’s erratic and authoritarian whims.
The Board Blog

Even with Pakistan under martial law, Mr. Bush claimed preposterously this week that the general “truly is somebody who believes in democracy.”

Some American military planners, meanwhile, are proposing digging in even deeper. A story in Monday’s Times reported on a Pentagon proposal to sponsor and underwrite alliances between Pakistani Army units and tribal fighters near the country’s border with Afghanistan where Al Qaeda and the Taliban are strongest. The plans also call for increasing the size and role of American special operations forces working in those regions.

The Pentagon has had successes working with tribal groups in northern Afghanistan against the Taliban and more recently with Sunni sheiks in Iraq against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Unfortunately this plan ignores two critical facts about Pakistan: it is far from clear that these tribal groups want to join the fight, and there are similar doubts about the loyalties of some of the Pakistani military officers, especially now.

Before the Pentagon goes any further, President Bush must work a lot harder to restore democracy — the best hope for holding off the chaos that would make Pakistan an even more hospitable host for extremists. That means that he must make clear once and for all that Washington is firmly on the side of democracy, not more deal-making designed to keep the general in power.

Instead of urging Benazir Bhutto to expend her credibility on implausible power-sharing deals, Washington should be encouraging her to work with her longtime political rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and build a broad civilian democratic front. The administration also needs to play a much tougher diplomatic game with the Pakistani military, letting it know that General Musharraf’s dictatorship is not in its own best interest, nor will it guarantee Pakistan’s stability.

Washington should make clear that it will provide all the military support Pakistan needs to fight terrorism and defend its borders. But it will not underwrite Pakistan’s efforts to acquire the advanced weapons it seeks unless the army shows more effectiveness against terrorism and more enthusiasm for democracy.

Before plunging American forces more deeply into Pakistan’s remote borderlands, Washington needs to deal with the critical political crisis threatening that country’s very core and America’s strategic interests.

Two Blasts Target Pakistani Military

Published: November 24, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 24 — Two suicide car bombers attacked military targets this morning in Rawalpindi, the site of military headquarters, killing at least 15 service personnel, a military spokesman said. The bombings raise tensions in the country, which is already beset with political and security problems.
Former Pakistani Premier to Try Again to Return (November 24, 2007)

The attacks were the latest in a series of attacks on the army and intelligence service that have been linked to militants fighting an insurgency in north-western Pakistan. Militants fighting in the Swat valley, a tourist spot just several hours drive from the capital, are under pressure from a large-scale military operation mounted last week to push them out of towns and villages in the region. The military said Friday that it had pushed the militants out of a strategic town of Alpuri, which they had occupied several weeks ago.

The bombings also come as the country entered its fourth week of political turmoil under de facto martial law, imposed by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. While General Musharraf said he is trying to fight terrorism, his opponents accuse him of using his extraordinary powers primarily to secure another presidential term for himself. He recently dismissed the Supreme Court and appointed a new one packed with supporters who have removed judicial obstacles to his remaining in power. Police have been deployed in large numbers to detain members of the judiciary and lawyers’ movement, and opposition political parties over the last three weeks.

The Election Commission today confirmed General Musharraf as the winner of the Oct. 6 presidential election, following a ruling by the newly appointed Supreme Court dismissing challenges to his eligibility to stand for another five year term as president while still holding the top army post. The court ordered General Musharraf to resign as chief of the army before taking the oath as president. The Attorney General, Malik Abdul Qayyum, talking to local news channels, said the president may take the oath on Wednesday.

A number of opposition parties met today and said they would boycott the parliamentary elections set for Jan. 8 unless their demands for the lifting of emergency rule were met within four days. Among them is the party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has announced he will return from exile in Saudi Arabia to his home town of Lahore on Sunday. But political parties were also scrambling to meet the Monday deadline for candidates to submit their election papers.

One of today’s bombings occurred when a small car rammed a bus full of intelligence personnel just as it was entering the gate of Hamza Camp, a walled compound where the intelligence agency, the InterServices Intelligence, and Military Intelligence maintain offices and residential buildings. The bus was packed with security personnel arriving for work.

Fifteen people on the bus died, as did the suicide bomber, said Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the chief military spokesman.

Minutes earlier another suicide bomber in a car was turned away from a check point near a side entrance to the army General Head Quarters several miles away in another part of Rawalpindi, the garrison town just south of the capital. As he turned the car, he detonated the bomb, killing himself and wounding three army personnel manning the checkpoint. The Associated Press, quoting an unnamed official at the scene, reported that as many as 35 people died altogether, 33 in the bus and two more at the checkpoint.

The bombings follow a pattern of recent suicide attacks on special forces and intelligence personnel that military officials say is a sign that militants are hitting back at the forces that are pursuing them the hardest in what is an escalating struggle. A bomber blew himself up in September in the mess hall of Pakistan’s American-trained special forces unit, the Special Services Group, killing at least 15 men and wounding more.

Also in September, two bombers attacked targets near the military head quarters in Rawalpindi, killing 25. One of the bombers boarded a bus taking personnel from the InterServices Intelligence to work and killed 18 intelligence workers. On Nov. 1, a bomber on a motorbike rammed an Air Force bus in the town of Sargodha, killing himself and eight people.

Nandigram : Silence of the activists

http://www.asianage .com/presentatio n/leftnavigation /opinion/ op-ed/silence- of-the-guilty. aspx
Silence of the guilty

By Balbir K. Punj

West Bengal’s Marxist cadres have kept the media out of Nandigram with a ferocity that clearly betrays the nature of their activities in that troubled land. Yet we do not find anguished journalists and their organisations protesting this interference with the freedom of the press. In December 2002, when the Babri agitation peaked and several journalists were manhandled by the agitators, these same organisations walked down the streets of Lutyens’ Delhi demanding the public hanging of the BJP leaders. The leftist intellectual bastion, Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was aflame with posters condemning the BJP. Why are they silent now?

The others with a selective memory are the human rights activists of the Left variety. Reports about the violation of women’s bodies, killing of minorities and the driving out of hapless people from their homes are pouring in from Nandigram. So much so, that even a mild mannered West Bengal governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, was compelled to issue a protest in public. The NHRC has also condemned these events and called for reports from the state government. But the human rights propagandists from the Left are not protesting. We do not see, for instance, the well-known activists who knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court over the riots in Gujarat, anywhere near the AKG Bhavan in New Delhi, protesting the months-long oppression in Nandigram.

Left intellectuals and activists have always displayed their anger selectively. In the past, they went silent when Soviet troops marched into the Czech capital, and ground to dust what is known to history as the Prague Spring, or when the Soviet tanks silenced the protesters in Warsaw. They did not even wince when red China’s tanks rolled over the protesters at Tiananmen Square in Beijing 20 years ago.

Stalin’s ruthless physical elimination of his Communist rivals, his mass destruction of the Soviet minority communities and prevalence of mass starvation did not stir them. Nor did the killing fields of either Mao Zedong or Pol Pot.

The Marxist logic is weird: the Communist state, whether in Moscow or in Beijing or in Kolkata, is justified in using the state machinery to crush all protests, and every dissident sent to Siberia, or simply shot dead, is a gain for the "revolution. " But dissidence anywhere else is sacred. Orwell must have picked up from here.

The danger lies in the Marxist parties and the self-styled "progressives" spreading the myth that the state and the party are one, a cut above all other political parties, and are not accountable to any law of human rights; but deviations by others are to be condemned with all the shrillness they can command. Look at the way the Marxist chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, is justifying the use of terror in Nandigram by his party men. He says that his Marxist cadres have paid back the opposition in their own coin. He should have added — as reports trickling in from Nandigram despite the Marxist censorship on the media suggest — the famous quote attributed to French king Louis XIV: "The State? It is I." The Marxist version of it would be: "The State? It is the Party." In all Communist countries, the party is the state. So by this logic, no other party can exist.

Despite all their parliamentary trappings, the Marxists in India are no different. Nandigram has damaged their reputation, but they are nonchalant. They have been able to demonstrate that the state indeed is the party.

When the Marxist chief minister claims that he has taken care of the Prime Minister’s concerns, he means that the "normalcy" that he has restored is actually a recapturing of the area by the Marxist cadres. The state forces of course facilitated the whole process. When the Centre sent the CRPF to take charge of law and order in Nandigram, Bhattacharjee asked the Central force to move out of its camp and let the local police take charge!

The Marxists are now targeting the judicial system as well. After the Calcutta high court expressed its anguish over Nandigram, West Bengal’s Marxist leaders started abusing the judiciary. Recently, some court decisions against the state in a red ruled Kerala saw the Marxists abusing the judiciary right and left. One of these decisions was on the Left government’s refusal of a probe into a power house redevelopment contract given to a Canadian firm when the Marxists were in power earlier. The Kerala high court has taken to task the state government on several issues. And now after the Kolkata high court has called for a CBI probe into Nandigram, it is the turn of the Kolkata court to be pilloried at every Left rally.

It is ironic that the Marxists who have been organising the Muslim masses to protest President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and elsewhere, are now busy killing Muslims in Nandigram. News reports have brought out how rape and murder went on unchecked. Officials have been quoted as having admitted that Muslims have suffered the worst in the event. In relief camps the biggest contingent is that of Muslims. So the Marxist sympathy for the so called Muslim cause is no deeper than the skin.

The people of Nandigram have paid a terrible price for asserting their right of choice against Marxist oppression. But these hapless people have done one great good for the country. The Marxist party’s tactics of capturing and retaining power through sheer bullying, disregarding all canons of democracy, stand exposed.

But what else is Marxism but an authoritarian creed that is all set to use democracy to demolish democracy itself?

Balbir K. Punj can be contacted at bkpunj@gmail. com



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After Gujarat riots, the Marxist Government of West Bengal went out of the way to give asylum and rehabilitation to a harassed Qutbuddin Ansari, victim of Gujarat riots-- whose face adorned the covers of leading magazines--to prove their secular credentials! By sending away Tasleema Nazreen, who sought asylum in Bengal unceremoniously from Kolkatta at the first signs of trouble from fundamental Muslims has exposed the communist "secular" hypocrisy for ever!

Brig VRP Sarathy

Ansari's a different picture now
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: March 3, 2007
Read more

Anybody who's seen Qutbuddin Ansari's picture will never forget his
face. But his fame as the face of the 2002 Gujarat had come at a cost
just short of his life.

Five years down the line, things have changed for the better for Ansari.
He now earns a decent living by running a unit stitching branded shirts
along with his brother.

Ansari, who avoids any media exposure, is extremely wary of speaking
anything about his past, present or future. However, he reluctantly
agreed to a chat with The Indian Express, seeing the reporter had no pen
or notepad with him.

"Past is past and I do not want to relive the pain and agony by time and
again narrating it before everybody who comes here with a pad or video
camera...This has caused enough harm to my business and personal image,"
says Ansari.

After their father's death in 1983, Qutbuddin and his brother Sirajuddin
were working in a tailoring workshop. But after Qutbuddin returned from
Kolkata, where he spent 18 months following the riots, the brothers
started a small shirt stitching unit here. "Gradually our business
flourished and now we have 18 employees," informs his elder brother

But, the scars of the riots have left no bitterness in his life. His
staff includes Hindus who work with full devotion. "I have no ill
feeling towards anybody. I treat my Hindu employees as good as the
Muslims and never let them feel they belong to another group," Qutbuddin

"I was doing absolutely fine in Kolkata, where my daughter was admitted
in Don Bosco. I had a good income, but my mother's heart problem did not
let me stay back," he says. He now has a son, who has started going to
school along with his elder sister.

"We are only two brothers and cannot afford to stay at two ends of the
country. So we decided to stay together again," chips in Sirajuddin,
whose son has also joined the family business.

But no more photographs for Ansari. "This will only attract unnecessary
publicity... in fact, I politely turn down any media request for an


By B.Raman

Thirteen persons were killed in seven well-synchronised explosions near court premises in three cities of Uttar Pradesh---Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad---on the afternoon of November 23,2007.

2. The explosions took place within about five minutes of each other. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs), attached to bicycles, do not appear to have been of a sophisticated kind. Initial reports indicated the possible use of ammonium nitrate, which has been increasingly used in different terrorist incidents in many parts of the world since the explosion in the New York World Trade Centre in February 1993. But the synchronisation of the blasts in three different cities around the same time indicate a certain sophistication in planning and execution. We have had well-synchronised multiple explosions in Mumbai in March 1993 by the mafia gang of Dawood Ibrahim and in July, 2006, allegedly by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), and in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in February,1998 by Al Ummah. We have not had well-synchronised multiple blasts in different cities since 1993, when the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) carried out synchronised explosions in different trains. But its synchronisation was not of a high order. The Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) of Bangladesh carried out nearly 400 synchronised blasts all over Bangladesh in August,2005.

3. Though 13 persons, mostly lawyers, were killed, causing mass casualties does not apear to have been the objective. As in the case of the 400 blasts of Bangladesh, which caused not more than 10 fatalities, the purpose seems to have been to intimidate and demonstrate the reach and capability of the perpetrators.The explosions were synchronised to take place after the Friday prayers. Jihadi terrorist organisations prefer to organised their terrorist strikes on Fridays.

4. The explosions have come in the wake of the judgements delivered recently in respect of the Mumbai serial blasts of March 1993 and the Coimbatore serial blasts of February,1998. In both the cases, a number of jihadi terrorists have been found guilty and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. They have also come after the arrest of three suspected members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in UP, who were alleged to have planned to kidnap a dignitary in order to secure the release of Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death for his role in the attack on the Indian Parliament in December,2001. His mercy petition is under examination by the Government of India.The arrested JEM terrorists were alleged to have been beaten up by some lawyers when they were brought to court. The local lawyers have also reportedly refused to defend terrorists in future.From these circumstances, it is likely that the explosions were meant to intimidate the criminal justice community, particularly the lawyers.

5. It has been reported that an E-mail message purported to be from "indian Mujahideen" received by some TV channels before the explosions indicated that these explosions were about to take place. However, it referred to explosions in two and not three cities. "Indian Mujahideen" does not refer to any organisation, but it refers to Indian Muslims in general and says that the Indian Muslims have decided to take the offensive and wage a jihad. In justification of this decision, it refers to the severe penalties awarded to the accused in the Mumbai blasts of March,1993, and the lack of action against Hindu police officers, who committed atrocities on Muslims. It also refers to the Gujrat riots of 2002 and the recent assault on arrested JEM suspects by some lawyers. The message is not only a warning of their intention to act, but also an explanation of why Indian Muslims have decided to act. The main point, which the sender of the message has sought to convey, is that the criminal justice system treats the Muslims severely, but is lenient to the Hindus. The language used is typically Indian, the context and arguments used are typically of Indian Muslims and the issues raised are those which have been agitating the minds of sections of Indian Muslims such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December,1992, lack of action against the Hindu police officers of Mumbai who were found guilty of excesses by the Sri Krishna Enquiry Commission, the severe penalties awarded to Muslims who had retaliated in March,1993, and the Gujrat riots.

6.It admits that the Muslims were responsible for the explosions in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai and in a restaurant and park in Hyderabad, but says they were not responsible for the blasts in Malegaon in September,2006, in the Samjauta Express and the Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad this year. It is silent on the recent blast in the Ajmer Sharif, a Muslim holy place famous for its tolerant Sufi tradition..

7. It says that the Indian Muslims have decided to wage a jihad for Islamic rule and talks of a "war for civilisation." It warns that their next targets will be police officers. Keeping in view that the 15th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid is just a fortnight away, we should be alert to the possibility of more explosions in the days to come, possibly directed against the police.

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

International Kashmir Alliance condemn the killing of Balach Mari


Mumtaz Khan vice chairman International Kashmir Alliance-IKA, in his statement has strongly condemned the killing of Balach Mari, son of Baluch Nationalist leader Khair Bakhsh Marri, and former member of assembly, which is largely believed to be killed by the Pakistan’s security forces. Balach Marri, who after the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti, had become the symbol of Baluch resistance in Baluchistan, and is believed to be the head of BLA. The death of Balach Marri is not going to affect the Baluch resistance, stated by his father Khair Bakhsh Marri. He further said that more Baluch would join this movement day by day because there is no other solution except the gun, words can’t silence the guns those used against the Balochis.

Mumtaz Khan has called a tragedy to death of Balach Marri, who was fighting for their people to seek the social justice for their people and control on their resources and land. Baloch are largely alienated after the Bengali’s in Pakistan, who own the richest, biggest and strategically important province in Pakistan while numerically low in population but is the most deprived, backward and poor are in Pakistan.Baloch grievances are not only genuine but serious and deep-rooted that demand serious and genuine attention of ruling élite. It is the time that Pakistani rulers should stop solving problem with arrogance of military power, and look into the problems that surround this state from the beginning. The objective of creation of this state had been claimed to secure the future of Indian Muslims, but state is at the fight with its people and provinces after its creation in the form of military dictatorship and civilian governments, by denying them their democratic, economic and political rights. Baluchistan has been target of all governments and now entire Baluchistan has been under serious turmoil and stood up for their rights. Even government sponsored leaders now endorse the grievances and demands nationalsit Baloch leaders are making.

If Islamabad failed to grasp the gravity of situation in Baluchistan, Pakistan cannot survive as a state. To make it viable state Islamabad rulers will have to stop fighting with its own people, and had to make new arrangements with its provinces and to rewrite the constitution that may truly represent the aspirations of all nationalities living in Pakistan.

The forceful occupation and colonization of Baluchistan will escalate the tension and problems further. Mr. Khan has said that Pakistani rulers have adopted same approach in its controlled Areas of Gilgit Baltistan, where after 60 years of its control people are deprived of basic rights and freedom. The widespread sense of deprivation is prevailing among most of Pakistan’s provinces and it’s controlled Areas because of military dictatorship and political persecution.

Mumtaz khan has expressed surprise that Mushraf regime is releasing and negotiating with terrorist and extremists in Waziristan and Swat but killing nationalist leaders in Baluchistan that is clear indication that they want to push Baloch to war to create justification to break Pakistan.

Mumtaz Khan
55 nugget Ave suite 230, Toronto M1S 3L1
Ph:1416 2978375

UAE Baloch mourn Balach Marri untimely death

UAE Baloch mourn Nawabzada Balach Khan Marri's untimely death caused by attack of Pakistani military . Gazain Marri , elder brother of Balach Marri organised this condolence meeting in Dubai .

November 23, 2007

How Rudy Served as Midwife to Greenspan's `Wall of Money' Policy

This article appears in the November 23, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.


by Harley Schlanger

In the 1980s, the ambitious Rudy Giuliani built his reputation as a tough fighter in several high-profile prosecutions of New York City mob figures. However, it was his prosecution of Michael Milken, and his role in bringing down Drexel Burnham, Milken's junk bond fiefdom, which gave him an image as the protector of the people, who was looking out for the interests of the "little guy," against the newly rich predators of Wall Street, during the "era of greed."

The reality is quite different. Just as Rudy is really not a great counter-terror figure, his reputation as the defender of the little people against Wall Street is a fraud. In fact, his work on Wall Street served the purposes of the old establishment, in that he enabled them to dump Milken and Drexel Burnham, which had outlived their usefulness by 1987, and move on to the next phase of post-industrial, deregulated, free-market policies, under Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.

(How Drexel Burnham was used in the 1980s, under Michael Milken, is paralleled almost precisely by the role Enron played in the 1990s. Both served as battering rams against the old rules and the old order, then were put out of business, while the rule changes that led to their rapid growth, and transformed the way "business" was done, were kept in place, as the new paradigm.)
Rudy's 'Damascus Road' Conversion

When Rudy served as Associate Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, he expressed contempt for the prosecution of "white-collar" crimes, which he considered to be "anti-business." He said of such prosecutions under the Carter Administration, "The previous administration had one priority, and that was white-collar crime. I think there was almost a McCarthyism to it." He accused the U.S. Attorneys who were appointed by Carter of being "zealots rather than prosecutors." In June 1983, he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. After several lackluster years, he jumped on an insider trading scandal, to reinvent himself as an anti-corruption crusader.

The change occurred when Dennis Levine, managing director of Drexel Burnham Lambert, was arrested in May 1986, and charged with insider trading. Though Giuliani had nothing to do with making the case against Levine, he tried to take credit for it, proclaiming that he would use his office to clean up insider trading. His first big target was Ivan Boesky, an arbitrageur who was a financial hit man for Michael Milken—i.e., Milken would use Boesky in targeting companies for takeovers. Boesky's stock purchases, usually funded by Milken and his gang of slightly laundered money men for organized crime operations, would be used as a probe, to see if a company could be "put in play." Boesky was a criminal-prosecution-waiting-to-happen, as one writer later described him. In September 1986, using evidence provided by Levine, Rudy deployed a task force to go after Boesky. The SEC was already preparing a case against him. (At that time, Rudy was personally engaged in the political corruption trial of former Bronx Democratic Party leader Stanley Friedman.)

On Sept. 17, 1986, Boesky reached a settlement with the SEC. The criminal case was under the direction of Rudy's assistant, Charles Carberry, who met with lawyers at the offices of Fried, Frank, to negotiate a plea. On Nov. 14, 1986, Rudy went public with the plea agreement made with Boesky, who had agreed to be a government informant against Milken and Drexel. In February 1987, Rudy staged high-profile arrests of three top arbitrageurs, two from Kidder Peabody and one from Goldman Sachs. These were embarrassing for the firms, as the corporate officials were seen on the evening news being led out in handcuffs. Ultimately, these arrests turned out to be embarrassing for Rudy as well, as he had a difficult time getting the officials to agree to plea-bargain.
Targetting Drexel Burnham

Milken and Drexel were still flying high, doing huge deals, including high-profile corporate takeovers. Milken told his gang of insiders at his annual Predator's Ball, that they now had access to large enough sums to take over any corporation, even General Motors, if they wanted. The keys to Milken's operation were 1) access to large amounts of cash; 2) a deregulated banking climate, which included changes for Wall Street. One of the most significant of these was a ruling which allowed interest on the debt incurred in financing hostile takeovers to be taken as tax deductions—i.e., to use debt to lessen tax liabilities. Drexel had been one of the leading firms in lobbying for this deduction.

This ruling was a critical component in ensuring the flood of funds available for takeovers, as debt was no longer seen as a problem. In addition to his argument that high-yield bonds—so-called junk bonds—were really "fallen angels," and a good risk, the idea that debt is now an asset and not a liability was furthered by the Drexel/Milken operations.

Older firms now wanted to get in on the enormous profitability of the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and leveraged buyout (LBO) deals. The Boesky case gave them an opportunity to bring down Milken and Drexel. The SEC, on Sept. 7, 1988, filed a lawsuit against Drexel, alleging that it was engaged in insider trading, and naming Milken as one of those under investigation.

Rudy immediately came charging in behind them. By December, he threatened to use the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) charges against Drexel, unless they agreed to a plea bargain. They were reluctant. Rudy then used a trump card. In August 1988, he had used RICO charges against a Wall Street firm for the first time, in the Aug. 4, 1988 indictment of Princeton/Newport, a firm with ties to Milken. Princeton/Newport was essentially a hedge fund, using computer models to place bets. Rudy ordered a raid on its corporate offices, by 50 Federal agents, with bullet-proof vests and armed with automatic weapons. The raid shocked the company, and its investors, who pulled out their funds, leading Princeton/Newport to liquidate in December 1988. Rudy's assistant, Bruce Blair, reportedly told attorneys from Princeton/Newport that his office was not really interested in them, "but Princeton/Newport can help us with Drexel Burnham."

The threat that Drexel would be given the same treatment convinced its board members to capitulate, rather than face a racketeering indictment. On Dec. 21, 1988, Drexel pled guilty to six felony counts, and paid a $650 million fine. In return, Rudy dropped his pursuit of RICO charges.

Throughout this period, there was a grand jury investigation, hearing evidence against Milken. Once Drexel had folded, Rudy again escalated. On March 29, 1989, the grand jury returned a 98-count indictment against Milken. Rudy proceeded to conduct a trial by press, in the attempt to get Milken to accept a plea. On Feb. 13, 1990, Drexel filed for bankruptcy. Rudy continued to escalate against Milken. He threatened to indict his younger brother. He leaked material to Laurie Cohen, a Wall Street Journal reporter, who wrote 18 stories about the prosecution case, full of false information and bluster from Rudy, including a story that he was planning to go for a superseding indictment with 160-180 counts. On April 24, 1990, Milken pled guilty to six counts.
Greenspan's Steps In

While the Rudy versus Drexel/Milken battle was raging, two significant events occurred, which were part of the broader context.

First, was Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987. In early October, the Dow Jones Average crossed over the 2,700 level for the first time, driven in large part by the speculative stock bubble fueled by Milken's takeover operations, in which corporate stock was purchased by hostile "raiders" at prices far above the stocks' listing. In reaction to this, there were rumors, first reported in the financial press on Oct. 14, that Congress might initiate legislation to limit the deductibility of interest incurred in these takeovers. This was a major disincentive for takeovers, and these rumors were blamed for cooling the takeover craze.

The Dow fell 100 points on Oct. 15, then another 100 on Oct. 16. The market then crashed on Monday, Oct. 19, just as Greenspan was taking over as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Greenspan reacted to Black Monday by opening the Fed, and pouring out money to Wall Street. This led to a renewed frenzy in M&A and LBOs, creating a new stock bubble, as records in M&A activity were set in the beginning of 1988, with Drexel continuing to be a key player—at least, until September.

The second major event was the takeover of Nabisco by the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., creating RJR Nabisco. When the smoke cleared on this LBO, the cost was more than $25 billion, and the stock of RJR had gone from approximately $35/share to more than $110. The takeover fight raged on in October and November of 1988, spilling over into early 1989—as the takedown of Drexel Burnham was proceeding.

The deal was closed on Feb. 9, 1989, with a cash payout of $18.9 billion. According to Burrough and Helyar in their book on this fiasco, Barbarians at the Gates, the "Federal Reserve couldn't wire money in amounts over $1 billion.... The flow was so big [to complete the takeover,] it made the U.S. money-supply statistics temporarily bulge...."

The RJR Nabisco takeover was the last one utilizing this kind of cash payment. In the future—thanks in part to Wendy Gramm (head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 1988-93, then a member of the board of directors of Enron; wife of former Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm), and her deregulation of derivatives—the awkwardness of coming up with large cash payments was replaced by "innovative" financing. Forty-eight days after the completion of the RJR Nabisco deal, Michael Milken was indicted, on March 29, 1989.

By then, Giuliani had left the U.S. Attorney's office, and he ran, unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York, an office he won four years later. Among the leading contributors to both campaigns were officials from the leading Wall Street firms, which benefitted most from the takedown of Milken and Drexel. The most generous donations were from officials from Dillon Read and Lazard Frères

Sino-Indian Co-Operation in Counter-Terrorism

Source: SAAG

By B. Raman

(To be read in continuation of my earlier paper of May 25, 2007, on the same subject at

Shri Pranab Mukherjee, India's then Defence Minister, had visited China on an official visit in the last week of May, 2006, at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Gen. Cao Gangchuan. During his visit, the two Ministers signed on May 29, 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation. It was the first such agreement between the two countries.

2. The MOU provided for the following:

Frequent exchanges between the leaders and high-level functionaries of the Defense Ministries and the armed forces of the two countries;
An Annual Defense Dialogue at a mutually agreed level to be hosted alternatively by the two sides;

Joint military exercises and/or training programmes in the fields of search and rescue, anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, and other areas of mutual interest, including facilitating the exchange of military observers to witness designated military exercises; and

A mechanism for the exchange of military officers and relevant civilian officials for study tours, seminars, and extended study at their respective military training institutions.

3. In 2000, China initiated the practice of inviting foreign military personnel to observe its military exercises and holding joint military exercises with other countries. On October 22, 2003, Chinese and Pakistani naval forces conducted a joint search and rescue exercise off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea. It was the first time Chinese naval forces had held a joint exercise with a foreign counterpart since the founding of the People's Republic of China. This was followed by a a joint search and rescue exercise off the coast of Shanghai in the East China Sea on November 14,2003, by the Navies of India and China. This was the first military exercise between the two countries. On August 28, 2004, Chinese and Indian frontier troops had held a joint mountaineering training exercise in China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

4. After 9/11, China started holding periodic counter-terrorism exercises with the Armed Forces of the Central Asian Republics (CARS) and Russia. These were held initially bilaterally and, subsequently, under the multilateral framework of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO).

5. On August 6, 2004, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Armed Forces of Pakistan held a counter-terrorism exercise at Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, in China's Uighur Autonomous Region, bordering Pakistan. The main purpose of the exercise was to rehearse joint measures against possible terrorist strikes by Uighur terrorist elements operating from Pakistan or Afghanistan. In matters concerning operational co-operation in counter-terrorism, China's first priority has been to co-operation with Pakistan, the CARs and Russia in countering the activities of Uighur and Uzbek terrorists as well as Al Qaeda and other pro-Al Qaeda elements operating from sanctuaries in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the CARs. It does not as yet have any operational co-operation arrangement with Afghanistan.

6. As regards India, operational co-operation between the navies of the two countries in counter-terrorism and counter-piracy is of greater relevance to China than co-operation between the two armies. China's energy supplies from West Asia and Africa pass through the Malacca Strait and hence the Indian Navy could be of considerable assistance to its Chinese counterpart in crisis situations if and when there is a disruption of the energy supplies by pirates or terrorists in the Indian Ocean region in general.

7. Operational co-operation in counter-terrorism between the two armies is not of much relevance to either country. No India-based terrorist group is operating in Chinese territory and vice versa. No India-based terrorist group poses a threat to Chinese nationals and interests in Indian territory unlike Pakistan where there have already been many attacks on Chinese nationals not only by suspected Uighurs, but also by indigenous Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations. In June, 2007, girl madrasa students of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad kidnapped some Chinese women working in beauty parlours, harassed them and then released them. This was followed by the murder of two Chinese nationals in Peshawar and a suicide terrorist strike on a bus carrying Chinese engineers at Hub in Balochistan. Many passers-by were killed, but the Chinese had a miraculous escape.

8. In the beginning of November, 2007, the Pakistani authorities shifted to Islamabad all Chinese personnel working in three hydel and one irrigation projects in the Swat Valley and in other tribal areas, when the Pakistani para-military personnel deployed for their protection at their places of work and residence stopped reporting for duty. Some members of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) headed by Maulana Fazlullah reportedly entered the places of residence of the Chinese personnel and destroyed their TV sets. However, they did not do them any harm. In fact, they were polite to the Chinese and requested them to continue working, but wanted them to respect Islamic sentiments and practices. The Chinese got frightened and refused to work there any longer.

9. While there is considerable scope for the exchange of counter-terrorism-related intelligence between the intelligence agencies of India and China, there is not much scope for operational co-operation between the security forces of the two countries in tackling land-based terrorism. Of course, there is scope for co-operation in specific situations such as dealing with hostage-taking, hijackings, and countering terrorist threats involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In these fields, other Indian agencies such as the National Security Guards (NSGs), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) etc act as the weapon of first resort and the Army as the weapon of last resort. Thus, there is a lot of home work and brain-storming to be done by the various counter-terrorism agencies of India among themselves before they embark on any meaningful co-operation with the Chinese against land-based terrorism. Otherwise, the co-operation will remain a purely cosmetic exercise.

10. The problem is further complicated by the fact that when the Chinese talk of ground co-operation with India against terrorism they have mainly the followers of the Dalai Lama in mind. The Chinese do not call them terrorists. They call them splittists, but they treat terrorism, extremism and splittism as synonymous. While India has recognised Tibet as an integral part of China, it does not agree with the negative portrayal of the Dalai Lama and his followers by Beijing.

11. In this context, one was surprised when it was indicated by spokesmen of the Government of India in May, 2007, that the Armies of the two countries would be holding their first joint exercise on a modest scale in October, 2007, and that the purpose of the exercise would be promoting anti-terrorism co-operation. This indication was given after a visit to China by the then Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. J. J. Singh, in the last week of May, 2007. The Chinese agreed to host the first round of the exercise in Chinese territory. While no official announcement was made about the place of the exercise, there were indications that it would be held near Chengdu in the Sichuan province. The Chengdu military region is responsible for internal and external security in the Tibet and adjoining regions and for any action warranted against the supporters of the Dalai Lama.

12. Many independent observers felt uncomfortable over the reported decision to hold the first counter-terrorism exercise in this region as this might unwittingly give it an anti-Tibetan and anti-Dalai Lama Connotation. A team of Chinese military officers was to arrive in New Delhi in the beginning of October, 2007, to work out the details of the exercise. It did not come and it was indicated that the exercise would be held only after the first meeting of the Annual Defence Dialogue envisaged under the MOU signed on May 29 last year. The "New York Times" quoted a Chinese military spokesman in Beijing as saying that the exercise had to be postponed due to differences over where it would be held.

13. The first Annual Defence Dialogue was held at Beijing in the beginning of November, 2007, and it has now ben indicated that the first exercise between the armies of the two countries would be held in the third week of December, 2007, in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan. Before 1979, Kunming was politically as sensitive to India as Chengdu. The Chinese training camps for the Indian Naga and Mizo hostiles and the Kachins and White Flag Communists of Myanmar were located in Kunming. Since 1979, China has closed down all these camps. India should no longer feel uncomfortable about participating in a joint exercise in Kunming.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:

Baloch leaders react over killing of Balach Marri

Balach was like my brother: Brahamdagh

Azizullah Khan

QUETTA: Brahamdagh Bugti, grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, denied the allegations that he took the revenge and involved in Balach Marri's killing.

Brahamdagh told BBC from an unidentified place that Balach was like his brother and he even can not think of it. He said that such statements could only be the creation of cheap mentality. He termed all allegations baseless and said that such statements were made to create differences among the Baloch.

"What can I say, it is astonishing. I believe that I have no brother but Balach was like his brother, and I can not say anything else", he added.

3 cops killed in Quetta violence

QUETTA: Three policemen and a minor girl were killed in three separate incidents claimed by the BLA, while several vehicles and official buildings were attacked as protests against the killing of Balach Marri, leader of the BLA, continued for the third day on Friday. A minor girl died in Satellite Town when miscreants hurled a hand grenade at a house. Separately, three more policemen were killed while a fourth was injured, resulting in eight policemen dead in the last three days. The BLA claimed responsibility for all the killings, and also rejected government claims that Nawab Bugti’s grandson had killed Marri. A BLA spokesman alleged that the government was spreading false rumours about the killing of Marri. Meanwhile, police detained dozens of protesters across Balochistan. These people, mainly students, protested the killing of Marri by blocking roads. staff report

HRCP denounces Marri’s killing
* Demands curbs on freedom of lawyers, judges be lifted
* Expresses grave concern over health of Munir Malik, Aitzaz Ahsan and Ali Ahmed Kurd

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly denounced the mysterious killing of Balach Marri.

The HRCP, in a statement issued here on Friday, said it was shocked and deeply aggrieved over the matter, and claimed the incident was likely to increase the anger of the people of Balochistan against the government. It also demanded a thorough probe into the matter. Pakistan’s leading human rights watchdog also said it was time for the government to give up its reliance on force as the sole means of securing peace and tranquillity in Balochistan.

Lift curbs on judges, lawyers: In another statement issued on Friday, the HRCP also called for an immediate lifting of curbs on the freedom of judges and lawyers.

Health concerns: The statement, signed by HRCP Secretary General Iqbal Haider and Vice Chairwoman Hina Jilani, expresses serious concern over the rapidly deteriorating health of jailed advocate Muneer Malik. It said Malik’s condition in Attock Jail had become serious. He is said to be losing consciousness for hours at a stretch. Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan is also reported to have needed medical aid, and senior bar leader Ali Ahmed Kurd is also facing serious tribulations, the statement said.

It said the detention of these leaders of the bar was not only unwarranted and unlawful, it was also in violation of the demands for fair elections and all codes of humanitarian decency. It demanded that they be released immediately.

The HRCP also strongly objected to the hardships being faced by superior court judges —under “unlawfully and unacknowledged detention” — and their families. It demanded that all restrictions on their freedom of movement and their right to receive visitors be withdrawn. staff report

Mystery shrouds Balach’s killing

* Nawab Marri won’t receive condolences until he sees body
* BLA says it possesses body
* Brother says body to be buried in Afghanistan

By Malik Siraj Akbar

QUETTA: The death of Balach Marri, the leader of banned Balochistan Liberation Army, is wrapped in mystery as the cause and location of his death still remains unknown.

There are various speculations about the circumstances of his death. Some people believe that Balach was sleeping in his hideout in Kohlu district’s Kahan area when security forces raided and killed him after a tip-off from Balach’s men. It is also believed that he was killed in the Noshaki area where he was hiding.

Some reports also suggest that he was on the run and hiding in Afghanistan. NATO forces mistook his convey as that of Taliban’s and bombed him.

Another report says that Balach was killed by Brahmdagh Bugti, the grandson of late Nawab Akbar Bugti, due to differences between them.

However, none of these speculations lead to a convincing conclusion. This time the government has handled the situation carefully after all its bravado proved counterproductive when it announced the killing of Nawab Akbar Bugti on August 26, 2006, in an army operation. The government had to change its version repeatedly to escape Baloch resentment.

The government has preferred to remain quite until the angry Baloch calm down The Balochistan government is also urging the people to remain peaceful as “the incident did not take place inside Pakistan”.

Nawab Marri: On the other hand, Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, Balach’s aging father, still does not believe his son’s death. In an interview with the BBC Urdu Service, Nawab Marri said he would not receive condolences until he saw his son’s body.

BLA: On the other hand, the BLA has confirmed the death of its chief, saying that the body is in its possession.

Burial in Afghanistan: Gazin Marri, another son of Nawab Marri, believes that his brother is dead. Gazin told BBC that his brother would be temporarily buried in Afghanistan so that the government of Pakistan does not “disgrace his body”.

The government considered Balach as one of the biggest anti-state element. Islamabad had to seek the support of Interpol to get him extradited to Pakistan. His insurgent group, the BLA, has been claiming responsibility for killing soldiers, blowing up gas pipelines, railway tracks, and firing rockets at security forces checkposts. He was the most popular figure among the extremist segment of Baloch society, which believed in the separation of Balochistan from Pakistan. After the death of Nawab Bugti, the number of such people, mainly Baloch youth, who subscribed to Balach’s version of “national struggle” increased. The immediate response to his killing was not as intense and violent as it was in Nawab Bugti’s case.

Unlike Nawab Bugti, who demanded provincial autonomy through parliamentary politics, Balach derived his support from a different school of thought.

The Marri tribe, despite the largest tribe in the province, does not have popular political support in Balochistan. It commanded respect from extremist Baloch segments because of its vocal support and participation in the armed struggle against the federation.

It is the reason that not many political activists have come on the streets to protest his death.

The BLA has vowed to avenge Balach’s killing

'Pac-Man defence'

Animal instinct also exists in the corporate world: a Pac-Man defence describes a scenario in which the target of a hostile takeover turns the tables to bid for its would-be buyer. Computer gamers will recall Pac-Man, the character of the eponymous videogame, turning around to devour the ravenous ghost chasing him.

Media reports suggest that UK mining giant Rio Tinto will deploy the defence against BHP Billiton this week. On Monday, the company unveils its defence strategy -- and that strategy may be a counter-bid for its larger rival.

Rio has already rejected BHP's unsolicited all-share bid worth $142 billion -- which would be the second-largest takeover in corporate history, and create the world's largest diversified mining company with a market cap of $382 billion -- as 'seriously inadequate'.

Yet a David-swallowing-Goliath coup is unlikely:

If Rio were to mount a Pac-Man defence, they would be admitting there was an economic case to be made for the deal.

A Pac-Man defence involves high risk: Rio would have to sell assets and make other attempts to raise shareholder value.

Rio shareholders would then carry the burden of the premium rather than BHP shareholders, as is now proposed.

Regulatory issues also make the deal unlikely. Rio's head office and shareholder base is in the UK, so they would have to cede some control in order to win Australian approval

In the event of a counterbid from Rio, the battle would hinge on which firm's management could squeeze most value from a merged entity.
It is more likely that BHP will sweeten its bid. BHP may have to raise its offer to 3.5 shares or even 4.4 shares for one Rio share from its initial proposal of three shares.The bid reflects BHP's faith both in rising hard commodity prices -- HSBC forecasts a 25-50% increase in iron ore prices in 2008-09 -- and growing urbanisation in countries such as China and India, which will boost demand for steel.

Potential backlash?

As a percentage of the iron ore global market, the consolidation of BHP Billiton (22% of the market) and Rio Tinto (14%) would rival Brazil's CVRD (36%). This could lead to a regulatory backlash, given that two companies would control 72% of the world's iron ore. Some of the largest steel makers in Asia have already voiced opposition to the proposed takeover, asserting that such an action would create a monopoly in the iron ore trade. If competition authorities forced BHP-Rio Tinto to divest certain assets, Chinese state-backed businesses such as Sinosteel may be prepared to bid for these

Dawood Ibrahim , terrorist groups target India’s oil assets

by Swati Chaturvedi

New Delhi, November 21


India’s high value oil assets are being targeted by an unholy nexus of the underworld and terrorist groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed, says a report by the National Security Adviser, M K Narayanan, to the Cabinet Committee on Security Affairs.

Interestingly, the entire Dawood Ibrahim family has been awarded high educational qualifications by the ISI to facilitate fake travel documents and visas. In one passport issued to Ibrahim he holds a doctorate and is called Dr Altaf Mohammed while his wife Mehjabeen who is not even a matriculate has been given a post-graduate degree. His 20-year-old son and other family members have also been given assorted higher education qualifications by the ISI. Copies of the passports and other documents are available with the IB. This also points to the fact that the entire clan still travels pretty freely. And Dawood is still roaming around without getting caught in the Indian net.
Quoting several instances where containers and carriers of Indian oil have been targeted for hijack in Maharashtra, the report is categorical in asserting that India’s old bugbear, wanted terrorist don Dawood Ibrahim, is behind this.

Commercial gain appears to be the main motive while targeting strategic assets is in line with the operational framework of the jehadi groups who have significantly increased their operations in Mumbai and in other parts of Maharashtra such as Yawatmal and Beed - bordering Naxalite affected Andhra Pradesh.

Security forced have also uncovered some kidnap plots against senior officials of the oil companies and the latest security review carried out by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has suggested that round-the-clock security has to be provided to them.

Narayanan says that of late there has been a coalescing of threat to high value strategic assets rather than the random ``scattered terror’’. He goes on to describe it as an unholy nexus.

Contrary to popular perception that Ibrahim has been marginalised he is still active and with the help of the ISI coordinates with the jehadi groups. The D-company has carried out several joint-operations with the JeM in vulnerable Mumbai.

Inter-group chatter picked up by the intelligence agencies points to a great deal of logistical planning and coordination between the terrorists. This trend is in consonance with the targeting of scientific institutions, nuclear installations and the people working there.

A new trend identified by the report is the likely investment in infrastructure such as telecom, power and ports by sovereign funds of certain countries. To protect national interest the report suggests that a clear policy be formulated by the intelligence agencies in certain sectors.

For example recently the Chinese government owned funds have picked a significant stake in Blackstone, a leading private equity involved with investments in several projects.

This renewed concern over security related aspects comes in at a time when oil rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE with huge foreign exchange reserves are investing in various parts of the world through specially created funds.

It may be recalled that a move by the UAE to invest in a port in the United States had led to a furore and eventually the US government denied permission.

The report says that the Cabinet should consider a countrywide freeze to keep out investment from South Korea, China and Pakistan.

Russia: the plot thickens

Moscow has become a crucible of plot and intrigue -- and it is being played out in both public and private.

Recent weeks have seen a succession of curious 'spontaneous' rallies and meetings in public squares and theatre halls in support of President Vladimir Putin. And Russia's ruling elite, who profit from Putin's presidency, are hatching a plot to allow Putin to run for a third term without amending the constitution.

Yet Putin is invariably one step ahead of the pack; he refuses to run for a third term and is devising a far more ingenious plan to retain power.

'Moral authority'

Putin's plan depends on pro-Kremlin United Russia's performance in parliamentary elections on December 2. United Russia is likely to emerge victorious, scooping the majority of seats in the State Duma, though it may not win the two-thirds required for a constitutional majority.

The party -- until recently widely perceived as a faceless gaggle of bureaucrats -- is actively seeking to capitalise on Putin's support by using his portraits and statements as part of its electoral platform. Yet Putin has been equivocal of late in his support of United Russia, stating that he only supports it for lack of viable alternatives. By doing so, Putin is effectively asking people to vote, not so much for United Russia, but for him personally. He claims that popular support expressed through an election would give him the necessary 'moral authority' to remain a force in Russian politics.

Return to dictatorship?

If United Russia dominates parliament, one option is for Putin to become prime minister and prod Russia towards parliamentary democracy. A strong performance by United Russia with Putin at the helm will ensure a move away from the super-presidential system built by Yeltsin and buttressed by Putin, and towards a stronger legislature and government. At worst, it raises the spectre of a return to authoritarian one-party rule in the country, and the possibility of dictatorship.

If United Russia underperforms, another option may gain currency: the creation of an ad hoc 'national leader' post, which Putin could fill when he steps down. This would endow Putin with the moral authority to rule that he craves.

In any event, Putin will remain a formidable force even after his term in office expires in March. His power ambitions are boundless and he needs to cater for his personal security as well as the wellbeing of his inner circle, which will almost certainly be threatened if a new president is allowed to consolidate power in the Kremlin. But Putin needs to act fast: he will remember from his own presidency that members of the ancien regime can see their power fade quickly .

India a new hub for climate change research

Source: Rediff
Sreelatha Menon in New Delhi

November 23, 2007

India has emerged as a hub for climate change research in Asia with UK emerging as a key partner.

While the Chief Scientific Advisor to UK David King has been on a lecture tour of India exhorting scientists to move fast on climate change, the government on its part is moving fast.

It is all set to announce the first research institute for climate change to be set up in the Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology in Pune.

The proposal, which awaits Cabinet approval, is expected to boost studies into climate predictions and impacts.

This apart, the UK India Education and Research Initiative formed in 2005 is backing joint research activities with top institutions in the country, while the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), another arm of the British High Commission, is engaging in research with the ministry of environment and forests.

This week the UKERI launched its first ever climate change projects worth Pounds 1.5 million which are expected to help take forward work being done in IIT Delhi, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology Pune on climate predictions and also impacts of climate change.

Prakash Rao researcher on climate change for World Wildlife Fund attributes the rush of interest in India to the presence of a good number of credible research institutes in India.

The fact that R K Pachauri, an Indian, heads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 2001 may also have added to the attraction to India, he said.

According to Matthew Coyne, who works in the climate change impacts and adaptation division of DEFRA, India's large rural population and dependence of economy on climate makes it very vulnerable unlike a country like Mexico.

The DEFRA project with MoEF is yet to identify a research institute in India and the bidding process is to start now, Coyne added. However some green groups in India look at this rush for climate change research in India as a ruse to promote technologies like genetic engineering.

Devinder Sharma of the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security in New Delhi says the hype over climate change veils industrial designs to push technologies over unsuspecting people. It can be compared with the hype over HIV/AIDS.

Everyone wants to project the picture of an agriculture sector which is about to collapse. That will open windows for genetically modified crops, he said.

Coyne agrees with this concern and says that his own project would look at the direct effect of heat on agriculture and at options for adaptation which will include genetically modified crops too.

Climate change adaptation projects are also being funded by USAID and UNDP whose latest human development report is on the theme of climate change.

TERI, the NGO headed by R K Pachauri the chairman of the IPCC, is involved in most of the research projects backed by UK, the most key one being the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation funded by DFID and Natural Environment Research Council of UK .

NERC head Alan Thorpe said that the project funded by DFID will cover China, Brazil and Africa too and involves a funds of 30 million pounds altogether. The project has TERI as the main partner along with the IIT Delhi and University of Liverpool and is looking at strategies to cope with climate change.

Thorpe agrees that research will open windows to business which will lead to greener processes like carbon trade. He, however, denies that his project will have anything to do with GM crops. K Srinivas climate campaigner in Greenpeace says that all research on heat resistant crop need not be genetically engineered variety.

But there is definitely opportunity for industry of all type. And if GM crops are promoted in the guise of climate change, that will be a problem for us and we will oppose it.

India is converging, but why?

Arvind Subramanian: India is converging, but why?

Arvind Subramanian / New Delhi November 23, 2007

Policy reforms interacting with fundamentals explain Indian performance

Indian economic growth seems to have transitioned from a turnaround to a take-off phase. In the former, between1980 and 2002, economic growth averaged about 6 per cent a year. Since 2002, growth has soared to close to 9 per cent. In the medium run, the difference in living standards between the growth rates in the turnaround and take-off phases is staggering because of the “magic of compound interest,” as Keynes put it. At 6 per cent growth, the standard of living of the average Indian increases four-fold over a generational span of 40 years. At 9 per cent, it increases sixteen-fold.

How special is India’s recent performance? The International Monetary Fund’s recent World Economic Outlook illustrates the dramatic improvement in economic performance across the developing world. Sub-Saharan Africa, which grew at just over 2 per cent during the 1990s, registered average growth of 5.5 per cent since 2003. Latin America’s relatively anaemic growth rate of 3 per cent has similarly surged to over 5 per cent since 2004.

But looking at growth rates per se can be misleading. One metric for assessing performance is economic “convergence”. If convergence is indeed at work, countries that are poorer to start with should be growing faster subsequently so that they can eventually catch up with, or converge to, the income level of the richest countries. Is this happening for the most recent period?

The middle chart plots per capita GDP growth for the period 2003-2006 against the level of per capita GDP in 2003. If convergence prevails, the line should be downward sloping (poorer the country, faster the growth). As the chart shows, this is not happening. Optimism about the poorest parts of the world is still premature.

But is India converging to the top league? The right chart plots the same variables — growth rates against the level of income — but this time for a sample restricted to the relatively affluent countries (upper and high middle income countries, and India and China.) Two things are noteworthy. First, convergence is evident in this sample, suggested by the downward sloping line. Second, and more importantly, India (shown as a triangle) is on the line, indicating that India is growing as rapidly as others have to join the club of rich countries.

But why is India converging and not others? This question also relates to explanations that have been offered for the recent growth acceleration in India.

The most plausible explanation, dubbed the “tipping point” hypothesis by Swaminathan Aiyar, argues that even though reforms have been modest in the recent past, the cumulative effects of all the reforms enacted over the last two decades have been substantial. Hence private investment has picked up substantially by about 7-8 percentage points of GDP within the short span of 4-5 years.

While appealing, especially in explaining the change in India’s own performance over time, this explanation does not fare as well in a cross-country comparison. Judged against the yardstick of cumulative reforms, India is more laggard than leader. Most countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia have gone faster and deeper in liberalising their trade, privatising their public sectors, opening up to capital flows, and deregulating their financial sectors. Why didn’t these countries also “tip” over into Indian levels of private investment and growth?

Perhaps the puzzle appears so, only because of a basic problem in perspective. This perspective lures us into seeking the causes of fast-moving outcomes such as rapid economic growth in similarly fast-moving underlying processes or triggers such as policy reforms. But a richer perspective might well be one that allows for fast-moving processes to interact with long-acting and slower-moving ones (what might be called fundamentals) in determining long-run economic growth.

In the Indian case, the triggers were clearly the policy reforms initiated in the early 1980s, and reinforced after 1991, which have created a basic confidence in the private sector that the policy environment will be supportive rather than hostile. But there were slower-moving processes also at work (the fundamentals) that proved crucial to creating business opportunities for the private sector.

What were these fundamentals? Clearly, these vary over time and across countries, but for India three plausible candidates suggest themselves. First, the broad Nehruvian legacy of political investments that created the meta-institutions of democracy, the rule of law, independent judiciary, free press, and technocratic bureaucracy, all of which have been shown to be key to economic development. Commentators tend to deride Indian institutions as poor and deteriorating, which is probably true. But relative to India’s current income levels they are actually very good, and good enough to sustain much higher levels of income.

A second fundamental was the investments in the IITs, IIMs, and the research institutes, which created over time, and with considerable lags, the pool of skilled and English-speaking human capital that are driving today’s IT and economic boom.

A third was the creation, again over decades, of a large pool of managers and entrepreneurs, which has led to the “precocious India” phenomenon of a poor country exporting, uniquely, FDI to rich countries. How this pool came to be created merits serious examination but it is not inconsequential that at least some of today’s successful managers and entrepreneurs cut their teeth in the old public sector and without competition from foreign direct investment.

Institutions, technological and managerial skills, and entrepreneurship are at the heart of the Indian growth acceleration today. And let it not be forgotten that each was the result of difficult public actions going back several decades. No doubt some of these actions entailed significant costs — for example, in creating the licence-quota-permit raj-but it also helped foster private sector entrepreneurship and the conditions for it to flourish today.

The author is Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics and Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University