June 27, 2009



Two soldiers of the Pakistan Army were killed and three others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), early on the morning of June 26,2009.

2. The Pakistani media has carried conflicting versions of the suicide attack. The "News" ( June 26) reported that "a suicide bomber ripped through an Army vehicle near Shaukat Lines, Muzaffarabad" without giving other details. The "Daily Times" of Lahore (June 26) reported that "he blew himself up near an army vehicle."

3. However, in its online edition of June 26, the "Dawn" of Karachi gave a different and more detailed version. To quote it: " According to witnesses, a bearded man in his twenties walked through a ground used by army personnel for physical training and local youths as a playground and entered the barracks of non-commissioned army men at about 6.30am. 'The bomber was intercepted by a soldier whom he tried to engage in a conversation presumably to attract other soldiers around for causing maximum casualties’ and then blew himself up, official sources said. A soldier was killed on the spot and four others were injured and taken to the Combined Military Hospital where one of them died. An army pick-up parked a few yards away overturned and another vehicle was damaged. The blast was heard in most parts of the town. An intelligence official said the ground was splattered with blood and limbs. He said four legs and other limbs had been found in the ground and under the overturned vehicle which indicated that more than one bomber might have been involved in the attack. The junior section of the Army Public School, several other educational institutions and the 5-AK Brigade headquarters are around the place where the blast took place."

4.The "Dawn" report gave another significant detail. It said: "The barracks fall under the 5-AK Brigade of the Azad Kashmir (AK) Regiment which is reportedly taking part in the operation against militants in Swat and adjoining areas."

5. The Azad Kashmir Regiment (AKR) has had an interesting history. When the Pakistan Army tried to capture Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in 1947-48, it first sent into the state a large number of Mehsuds, Wazirs and other tribes recruited by it in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and trained and armed by it. Pakistan denied any responsibility for their actions and projected them during the debates in the UN Security Council as Kashmiris, who had risen in revolt against the then Maharaja of J&K and the Government of India. It used to describe them as Kashmiri irregulars over whom it had no control.

6. After the 1948 ceasefire, the Pakistan Army constituted these so-called irregulars into a unit called the Azad Kashmir Regular Forces (AKRF), which was shown as a para-military force of the POK Government. It was placed under the over-all control of the Pakistan Army. The tribals of the AKRF were again used by the then President Ayub Khan for spearheading the invasion of J&K in 1965. The invasion, which led to fighting between the Indian and Pakistan Armies, failed.

7. When the Bengalis of the then East Pakistan rose in revolt in 1971, Yahya Khan sent the fanatic tribals of the AKRF to East Pakistan where they indulged in large-scale massacre of Bengalis. In 1972, in recognition of its "services" in East Pakistan, the Pakistan Army absorbed the AKRF into the regular army and renamed it the Azad Kashmir Regiment (AKR). Its Regimental Center is located at Mansar, Attock District, Punjab. Initially, the AKR consisted largely of Pashtun tribals recruited in the FATA officered by Punjabis. Now it has a larger percentage of Punjabis. Exact present figures of Pashtuns and Punjabis in the AKR are not available.

8. When there were fears in Pakistan of a military retaliation by the Indian Armed Forces after the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 2008, Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the TTP, had reportedly said that if India attacked Pakistan, the TTP would stop its fight against the Pakistan Army and join it in fighting against India. This was welcomed by a Pakistani Army spokesman as a patriotic gesture. Subsequently, there were reports of differences developing between the TTP on the one side and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami(HUJI) and the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) on the other because of the unhappiness of these four Kashmir-centric organisations over the attacks being carried out by the TTP on the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). They reportedly felt that the TTP and other organisations should focus on attacking the NATO forces in Afghanistan in collaboration with the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda and should not attack the Pakistan Army. Only the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the anti-Shia organisation, supported the TTP's fight against the Pakistan Army. They felt that since the Pakistan Army was letting itself be used by the US against Al Qaeda, attacks on it were justified.Following these differences, the TTP reportedly ordered these four organisations to close down their training camps in the tribal belt.

9. Since the TTP came into existence in 2007 after the Pakistan Army's commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007, it has carried out over a hundred acts of suicide terrorism.Many of them were in non-tribal areas and important cities and cantonments
such as Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Sargodha and other places. Many of these attacks were directed at the Army, the ISI,the Special Services Group (SSG), the US-trained commando group, the Air Force, the Navy, the Police and the Federal Investigation Agency. Recently, the TTP had warned of an attack in Multan from where the operations of the helicopter gunships in the Swat Valley are co-ordinated.

10. But it had carefully refrained from any act of suicide terrorism in the POK. This is the first time there has been an act of suicide terrorism in the POK, which has been attributed to the TTP. The Associated Press and sections of the Pakistani media have quoted Hakimullah Mehsud, a close associate of Baitullah, who is responsible for the TTP activities in the Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram areas and who also coordinates Taliban attacks on trucks carrying logistic supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan, as claiming responsibility on behalf of the TTP for the Muzaffarabad attack. A person claiming to be Hakimullah was reported to have told the AP over phone that the attack was made to prove that Baitullah had not been weakened by more than a week of strikes on his suspected hideouts in South Waziristan.. “We are in a position to respond to the army’s attacks, and time will prove that these military operations have not weakened us," he reportedly said. It also needs to be noted that since the co-ordinated hunt for Baitullah started, Hakimullah's men have stepped up their attacks on Shias in the Kurram Agency.

11. Presuming that this call was, in fact, made by Hakimullah and that it was the TTP which had carried out the attack, the Muzaffarabad attack reflects the concerns of the TTP and Baitullah over the co-ordinated operations launched by the Pakistani and US forces in South Waziristan in order to neutralise Baitullah and his close associates. The TTP has apparently come to the conclusion that only fears of reprisal attacks in the POK could prevent the Pakistan Army from reinforcing its ground forces in South Waziristan for the operations against Baitullah and his forces.

12. The Pakistan Army, which has by now got used to a wave of suicide attacks all over Pakistan, is unlikely to be deterred from the South Waziristan operation by a single attack in the POK by the TTP. But if there are more such attacks and in quick succession, it might be unnerved by the prospects of instability in the POK as a result of its operations in the NWFP and the FATA. As of now, the TTP does not appear to have the capability for sustained operations in the POK. Even if it has, it is unlikely to use it since any attempt to create instability in the POK would aggravate the divide between it and the people of Pakistan. Its anti-Army activities in the POK could also be opposed by the anti-India, Kashmir-centric jihadi groups.( 27-6-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt.of India,New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

June 26, 2009

The US military in Africa

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In a few weeks, President Obama will be off to Ghana - on his first visit to Africa since taking office. Our Africa editor Martin Plaut looks at Washington's little discussed military relationship with the African continent.


Nabucco, an American piece for a European orchestra


MOSCOW. (Alexander Knyazev, director of the regional branch of the Institute of the CIS, for RIA Novosti) - The European Union and Turkey plan to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project on June 25 in Ankara.

Why such a romantic name?

"Nabucco" is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi based on a biblical story about the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar). It is also an enchanting story of love and struggle for power.

The latter element of the story is probably the only thing in common between the opera and the gas pipeline project initiated by U.S. President George W. Bush and based on some European and post-Soviet countries' non-love of Russia, as well as the global battle for elbowing Russia out of the Eurasian gas market.

Since Nabucco is mostly a political product, Turkey's efforts to use its transit location to its best advantage are perfectly logical from the viewpoint of its national interests.

Turkey will host a major portion of the 2,050-mile pipeline, which is to bring gas supplies from Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe without using Russian resources or territory.

A consortium of six countries - Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Germany - was set up to build the pipeline to Central Europe via Turkey and the Balkans. The shareholders will finance one-third of expenditure, with the remaining part to be covered by international financial and credit organizations.

The more than 3,300-km pipeline has been estimated at 7.9 billion euros ($10.7 billion) and will have an annual throughput capacity of 31 billion cubic meters. It is to be completed by 2013.

However, technical calculations show that it cannot be commissioned sooner than in 2015; and that given the high and stable energy prices. The project is burdened with political risks and will run across a difficult geographical terrain.

Europe, in truth, is encumbered by problems with energy delivery routes.

A small Polish oil pipeline running from Odessa to Gdansk via Brody in Ukraine has long been incapacitated by Chevron's inability to supply oil from the Tengiz deposit in Kazakhstan.

Poland, which has been trying to break its dependence on Russian energy supplies, should now heave a sigh of relief, since supplies via Belarus are likely to shrink. The same goes for Lithuania whose oil refinery, Mazeikiu Nafta, that used Russian oil, has been idling since last year.

If this is the energy freedom they wanted, then the two countries are paying an excessively high price for it. Europe's efforts to solve its energy problems without Russia by importing energy resources from Central Asia are counterproductive - this is a fact. And the same is true of the Nabucco project.

On the contrary, Russia's South Stream project will have the guaranteed amount of natural gas, and its capacity can be subsequently increased. A recent agreement between Russia's Gazprom and Italy's Eni stipulates increasing it to 63 billion cubic meters annually. Besides, Nabucco is unlikely to be competitive compared to Gazprom's project in terms of prices.

The Russian gas export monopoly plans to pay for the South Stream construction and gas distribution and to sell gas to end users in Europe at attractive prices.

Gas for Nabucco is expected to come from Turkmenistan and possibly Iran. However, Russia has an agreement with Turkmenistan under which it buys all of its export gas, and Russia and Iran may veto the construction of any pipeline along the bottom of the Caspian Sea.

This means that Nabucco can receive gas only from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz deposit, but the probability of this is undermined by tensions between Turkey and Azerbaijan over the recent thaw in Turkish-Armenian relations.

In other words, Nabucco will have no reliable sources of natural gas in the near future.

A pipeline partnership is unimaginable without stability and reliability, something the U.S. administration cannot ensure even to its taxpayers. And so, what does the U.S. administration have to do with the Nabucco project?

Unlike the most naive part of the European establishment, the East European and other "democratic" media describe Nabucco not as a European economic or energy project, but as an American political venture.

The chaotic chanting in support of the Nabucco project reminds me of the "Va, pensiero" chorus of Hebrew slaves from Verdi's opera - beautiful yet altogether gloomy and hopeless.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Third Force in Iran Power Struggle

26 Jun 2009

While it’s too early to predict the outcome of the current struggle for power in Iran, the battle is clearly one of seismic proportions and the emergence of a Third Force is stirring things up, Kamal Nazer Yasin writes for ISN Security Watch.

By Kamal Nazer Yasin in Tehran for ISN Security Watch

As expected, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s vow to violently crush Iran’s nascent democratic movement has been successful so far. On 20 June, the full panoply of repressive forces at the disposal of the Iranian state - other than the military, that is - were deployed against the fewer than 3,000 demonstrators congregated in downtown Tehran. The outcome seemed pre-ordained.

These forces consisted of contingents from the Basij militia, Revolutionary Guards (RGCI), regular police, anti-riot units, the Ministry of Intelligence and armed vigilantes, around half of whom were brought in from other regions.

As ISN Security Watch reported earlier, the RGCI is now in charge of the overall security for Greater Tehran, which means it is the first time since the early 1980s that the RGCI has been deployed in urban areas.

The “soft coup" reported by the ISN Security Watch is in full swing. There is an effective late-night curfew in huge swaths of Tehran; internet and mobile phone service work intermittently or not at all; and there is 100 percent censorship on the press and the web services.

Predictably, the massive display of force has snuffed out the public protests for now. But, unbeknownst to the world, a second conflict, no less intense, is now raging behind the scenes, one for which, Khamenei’s iron fist is of little use.

Here, Iran’s main factions and power centers are furiously lobbying, jockeying and regrouping for a battle royale. Although pervasive censorship makes it impossible to analyze the more subtle developments underway, three main force constellations seem to have emerged so far whose machinations and maneuverings will alter the future face of the Islamic Republic. (The reformists, though enormously popular are not a party to this struggle).

Power centers

The first power center is that of Khamenei and his allies in the security establishment, state and para-statal institutions, and the clergy.

The second power center is that of Hashemi Rafsanjani. He has top-level supporters interspersed in several important institutions and organs. Admittedly, these are currently a rather diffuse and unorganized entity, but due to Rafsanjani’s remarkable acumen and his unmatched leadership skills, he should be considered a major force unto himself.

Third, a new force constellation has emerged in the last few days, one navigating between the two other poles, which may end up playing a decisive role in the coming battles. They consist of independent or rightist politicians opposed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, influential figures in the economy, the polity and the armed forces, and the so-called traditionalist clergy. The latter should be seen as the real power base of this group as well as its main source of legitimacy. For instance, as of this date, none of the major Grand Ayatollahs of the holy city of Qum has congratulated Ahmadinejad for his electoral victory, effectively not recognizing the outcome of the election as legitimate.

It is not clear what coherent strategy, structural form, or platforms this pole would end up adopting, but an evident need to save the Islamic state from destruction and the desire to distinguish themselves from the other poles is bringing these disparate forces and individuals together.

The Larijani clan

According to a well-connected cleric who spoke to ISN Security Watch on the condition of anonymity, the individuals most prominent within this grouping are from the Larijani clan. They are scions of prominent clerical families that constitute today’s clerical aristocracy.

Former nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is the present speaker of the parliament. His brother, Mohammad Javad, is a major rightist strategist. Their other brother, Sadegh, who is a cleric, is one of the 12 jurists on the powerful Council of Guardians (before the recent events, he was touted as the most likely candidate to take the place of the outgoing Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Shahroodi). Ahmad Tavakoli, a major star in the Iranian firmament, is a cousin of the Larijanis. Ali Motahari, the son of the venerable slain ideologue of the Iranian revolution and a major rightist thinker, is an in-law (their kids have married) of Ali Larijani.

Together, these men are the political center of this emerging force with one foot supported by the traditionalist clerical circles and another reinforced by moderate conservative elements. For example, before joining the parliament last fall, Ali Larijani ran from Qum, where he had secured the endorsement of the high clergy.

Mohsen Rezai, one of the three presidential candidates who has run against Ahmadinejad is politically very close to Larijani. Last May, Ali Motahari, the son of the late Ayatollah Mortega Motahari, shocked the hard-liners by breaking with Ahmadinejad and officially endorsing Rezai’s candidacy. Motahari had long been assumed to be an Ahmadinejad loyalist. He had been a major player in the right-wing circles for as long as anyone could remember. He was even a regular visitor to Khamenei’s house in downtown Tehran.

Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is yet another major figure in this force field. Ghalibaf’s presidential ambitions are well-known. He even had put together an embryo of an electoral political machine before being told about Khamenei’s preferences.

At present, the Third Force is bolstering itself by making concerted attacks on the positions of both Mousavi and Khamenei camps (it is not clear how it is undermining Rafsanjani’s). For instance, Larijani has made several trenchant criticisms of the Khamenei-allied agencies like the Interior Ministry and the national broadcasting company; he has visited some of the injured in the hospital; and formed a parliamentary commission that took the Khamenei-allied vigilante groups to task for attacking student dormitories a few days ago. These moves by Larijani have raised the ire of the hardliners.

On 24 June, hard-line deputies announced a plan to impeach Larijani in the parliament; an effort that would only increase his popularity.

The cleric speaking to ISN Security Watch is of the opinion that Sadegh Larijani is probably behind the reporting by the Guardian Council of some of the election-related discrepancies that have clearly embarrassed the Supreme Leader. Among these is the fact that in over 50 cities, there were participation rates of over 100 percent reported; or that a large part of the 3 million votes examined may have been tinkered with. Khamenei has so far on two separate occasions - on 24 June and 19 June -effectively ruled out large-scale rigging.

Mortal danger to regime

While the Third Force’s criticisms of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are generally restrained and subtle, their attacks on presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi are direct and unapologetic. That is because, Mousavi’s Green Wave movement, if unchecked, poses a mortal danger to the undemocratic nature of the Islamic regime from which all the Third Force activities have hailed.

For instance, it is inconceivable that any of the present MPs, including Larijani, could have been elected in an open, democratic contest.

Aside from this, taking on Khamenei explicitly is not easy and has its own pitfalls. After all, he is still a spiritual leader to millions of Iranians.

These days, the press and national broadcasting are filled with one-sided attacks on Mousavi and his supporters. He is routinely accused of anything from betraying the values of the Islamic Republic, to undermining national security to consorting with the enemy. This doesn’t displease the Third Force leaders.

On 22 June, Mohammad Javad Larijani appeared on TV in person and used the entire one-hour airtime to level vicious attacks on Mousavi. Moreover, all the leaders of the Third Force daily call Mousavi’s tactics illegal and outside the pale, his supports rioters and arsonists.

While it is too early at this stage to foresee with any certainty the outcome of the present struggle, or to pass judgment on the future of the Green Wave, there is no doubt that the events of the last three weeks have created a seismic shift in Iranian politics.

Kamal Nazer Yasin is the pseudonym of an Iranian journalist reporting for ISN Security Watch from Tehran.

Gazprom: no reason to panic


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti economic commentator Oleg Mityayev) - The economic downturn has hurt both the price and the volume of the natural gas Russia exports to Western Europe.

However, some analysts attribute the drop in Russian gas exports to another major reason, Gazprom's inflexible pricing policy, which could eventually lose the gas monopoly its European customers. However, officials at Gazprom do not plan a policy change. Neither do they see any reason to panic.

Deputy Energy Minister Sergei Kudryashov said on June 23 one of the problems with Russian gas exports was the lack of flexibility in liberalized European markets when the competition grows fierce. By Kudryashov's estimate, demand for gas in Europe dropped by a mere 5% in the first quarter, while Russian exports plummeted by nearly 60%.
It transpires that, along with the shortfall in earnings, the key Russian gas exporter lost part of its control of the European gas market to competitors.

The next day, June 24, Gazprom's Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev did his best to rebut criticism of the monopoly's export policy. He admitted that supplies to Europe at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 were cut for reasons beyond their control.

Gazprom's relations with foreign customers are regulated by long-term contracts, where quarterly price adjustments are based on European petroleum prices six to nine months before. In the first half of 2008, oil reached a peak, gas prices also peaked, and so after the relevant time lag, prices reached $500 per 1,000 cubic meters in the forth quarter. The price remained high in early 2009.

That is why Europeans drew more heavily on their underground gas storage tanks. In Medvedev's estimates, they increased the use of previously accumulated fuel by 65% in the first quarter. This move naturally affected Gazprom's earnings along with other gas suppliers, Nigeria and Algeria, but benefited Norway which trades on the spot market for gas, where deals take immediate effect. In addition, Norway then commissioned a huge gas deposit, Ormen Lange.

The Russian-Ukrainian gas conflict also seriously harmed Russia's supplies to Europe, resulting in a 4.5 billion cubic meter shortfall for European consumers.

Nevertheless, Medvedev does not believe Gazprom is losing its grip on the European gas market (of which the Russian monopoly has controlled a quarter until recently), and sees no point in abandoning the existing pricing or contract policy.

Europeans began increasing purchases from Gazprom in April as they needed to refill their storage tanks. Gazprom's prices have stabilized at a fairly acceptable level. The Russian monopoly's latest estimate says the average price for Europe will exceed $280 this year, the same as other suppliers'.

This is why Gazprom pays no attention to advice about adding flexibility to its pricing policy, even though the monopoly potentially has a system of discounts.

Gazprom is not planning to abandon the long-term contract practice. The management board believes this system suits both the monopoly and its customers, supporting stable operation both at price peaks and during lows. Only the gas export problems in late 2008 and early 2009 might refute this last statement.

In Gazprom's latest estimates, its exports beyond the CIS will drop by 10.5% this year, to 142.1 billion cubic meters (26% in the first half of 2009). The company will see a 38.5% decrease in export earnings, to $40 billion. Medvedev admitted that the monopoly would have to revise its investment plans for this year.

Gazprom's plummeting income could prod the company to searching for more borrowed resources and lobbying for further domestic gas price increases. On the other hand, gas exports may stabilize in 2010, and Gazprom's profits will grow again.

Meanwhile, the state gas monopoly is making ambitious plans as usual, including the Nord Stream and South Stream pipeline projects in Europe. Neither has it lost the hope of reaching a few remote corners of the world. Medvedev confirmed Gazprom's plans to operate in Alaska and Nigeria.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

BALOCHISTAN: Women and Children protest in Karachi Int’l torture day

BALOCHISTAN: Memories of another day

The 1973-77 struggle for rights had proved to the Baloch people, and to the world, that the struggle for their rights could bear fruit with tenacious dedication and perseverance. The Baloch have not been cowed down by the ever-increasing presence of the army and have stood up for their rights, which no government here is ready to concede or even listen to. The Baloch have resorted to the use of arms only because their rights have been trampled upon and all other avenues of redress have been blocked.

by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The Baloch resistance to the unwarranted and unjust military operations, after the equally illegal and unfair dismissal of Sardar Ataullah Mengal’s government in February 1973, only 10 months after being sworn in, was the most protracted, pervasive and forceful struggle which demonstrated the determination and resilience of the Baloch when faced with overwhelming odds.

The Mengal government was sworn in on May 1, 1972 amid hope and expectations, but from the first day, the Federal government created hurdles and problems. The Federal government among other things created a law and order situation in Lasbela by making supporters of Jam Ghulam Qadir take up arms against the provincial government alleging persecution. Mengal government had to raise a Levies force to quell the trouble as Federal government refused to send help. Jam Ghulam Qadir, the Jam of Lasbela, later became the Chief Minister after Mengal government dismissal.

At a public meeting in Lahore, Akbar Bugti claimed that a plan for a ‘Greater Balochistan’ had been hatched. The Greater Balochistan Plan envisaged independence of Baloch majority areas in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan through military means. The issue of sending Punjabi officers to serve in Balochistan also became a sore point, though later, it emerged that Ghulam Mustafa Khar, then governor of Punjab, had encouraged the officers to return. Iran too was unhappy with even nominal autonomy to Baloch fearing similar demands from Baloch within its borders.

The final straw was the charade of discovery of arms at the residence of Nasir Al-Saud the military attaché of Iraqi embassy in Islamabad on February 10 1973. Interestingly he had disappeared from Pakistan three days before the exposure. He was later executed by Saddam for being a Savak agent. The Mengal government was dismissed on February 13 and in its wake, the Mufti Mahmood government in the NWFP also resigned in protest against the dismissal because JUI members were part of Mengal government. Akbar Bugti was made the governor and continued for nearly a year.

Incidentally, Mir Rasool Baksh Talpur my paternal uncle, then Governor of Sindh, also resigned because his elder brother Mir Ali Ahmed Talpur, my father, was accused of involvement in the Iraq Embassy arms affair. He was accused because by now it was known that I was in the Marri area that too thanks to Akbar Bugti who had disclosed it to the press.

The dismissal of a government, which the people considered their true representative, was enough to make the people rise up to defend their rights and fight against the injustice. At its helm were people like Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Sardar Ataullah Khan Mengal, Mir Gul Khan Naseer, Khair Bakhsh Khan Marri, who headed the National Awami Party (NAP) and others who had suffered imprisonment and restrictions on their movement since 1947 for their views regarding rights of the Baloch.

While Sher Mohammad Marri was arrested in March 73 the above mentioned leaders were arrested on 15th August soon after the promulgation of 1973 Constitution. Nawab Khair Baksh and Mir Ali Ahmed Talpur were notable exceptions to the signing of 1973 constitution.

The hostilities didn’t break out immediately. While the Baloch people waited in vain for a resolution of the dispute, the government was busy blockading the Marri and Mengal areas, the hot spots of the previous resistance. They slowly tightened the noose, to the extent that people living in the Marri area faced extreme hardships just to procure basic rations.

Once, our small group had to survive for a few days on flour which had become quite inedible. Our group consisted of three Marri tribesmen a friend from city whose name need not be divulged and me. Our group was basically a support group which carried medicine and some extra rations on two or three donkeys. I knew a little about treating diseases, something that I had learnt while in Sindh.

On May 18, 1973 an eight-man patrol of Sibi Scouts was ambushed and killed near Tandoori. No one knows who was responsible but within three days, a military operation was launched with helicopters ferrying troops to Mawand, a small town in the Marri area. A fortnight later, a pre-dawn capture of Kahan ensued in a similar manner. I remember the day well. We had woken up and were having tea when the ominous sound of helicopters surprised us because it was not yet light. We saw some 15 helicopters with their blinking lights, flying towards Kahan. The offensive was intense and on a large-scale.

The resistance to the army began almost immediately and, contrary to the accusations that the Baloch struggle was foreign-funded, this struggle was the result of the blatant violation of Baloch rights. The arms used by the Baloch fighters were either .303 rifles made in Darra, old Lee Enfield single-shot rifles or hunting rifles. The only automatic, if it could be given that lofty status, was a 9mm sten gun which, more often than not, jammed after a few rounds.

The only advantage that the Marri fighters enjoyed was their intimate knowledge of the terrain; they knew where the watering holes were or where the caves and gorges were. They carried flour in their pushti, a bed-sheet sized cloth, and water in a khalli, a small goat-skin bag, and survived on meagre rations.. This, combined with their determination, the Marris were a potent force. They would fight, disappear and later regroup at another place.

The Marri area is small, it is only 3,300 square miles and relatively easy to control, so it was to the credit of the Marri fighters that most of the action during this struggle took place in that area. According to journalist Selig Harrison, at one time 80,000 troops were deployed in the province.

The operations were relentless and caused immense disruption in the social and economic life of the people. They shifted to other towns and cities in Balochistan and Sindh. Eventually many had to migrate to Afghanistan. Those who migrated in winter suffered the loss of the young and old alike due to exposure to extreme cold and frostbite. And after moving there, life didn’t get any easier.

In September 1974, an army operation took place in Chamalang where 15000 Marris, including families, had amassed because traditionally Marri tribesmen took their flocks for grazing to that area. There the Army used artillery, Mirage and F-86 fighters, along with Huey Cobra helicopters manned by Iranian pilots against them. The Army claimed that 125 guerrillas were killed and 900 captured while the Baloch claimed that these figures are inflated and they killed 446 soldiers. Livestock numbering over 50000 heads and 550 camels were taken away and sold in Punjab. The army claimed it was a great success but, in fact, it was just a temporary setback to the Marri people because the fighting continued even after it.

We always moved in small groups to avoid detection. Our group consisted of five people, two donkeys which carried medicine and other such provisions and two goats which we kept for milk. It was Eid day in January 1974 and we were moving from Tadri towards a safer place. A few days earlier the army had had attacked a household where Tangav Ramkani a Marri tribesman of Mir Hazar Khan Ramkani's clan and his nephews, Jalamb and Karam were killed. It should be remembered that Mir Hazar Khan was the leader of insurgency in Marri area.

We had slept the night in the open as we always did and moved at dawn hoping to see some Marri household where we would bake bread with our flour rations. As we turned a mountain corner, we saw smoke which we understood was coming from a household. Apparently, the people living there had seen us from a distance and thinking we were the army, since we carried rifles, had moved away, because when we reached there, not a soul was present. Then we saw some people in the hills nearby and upon seeing that we weren’t from the army they shouted and asked us to stay and have food, but we didn’t want to embarrass them so we moved on. The incident shows the terror that the people lived in.

The missing person’s problem was equally acute and widespread then, as it is now. People were picked up on the slightest suspicion or were given away by some undercover agents who had infiltrated the Baloch ranks. Many disappeared without a trace; among them was Asadullah Mengal, son of Sardar Ataullah Khan Mengal, and Ahmed Shah Kurd, an intrepid activist. They were picked up in Karachi and never heard of again. Dulip/Johnny Dass was abducted along with Sher Ali Ramkani Marri, near Belpat, by an undercover agent and suffered the same fate. Shafi Mohammad Badani, Bahar Lalwani, Ali Dost Durkani and many others also disappeared.

Activists were picked up and tortured, as were many tribesmen. Some of them were later released, disabled permanently due to torture. It is noteworthy that it was during this period that the first ever jail break from Quetta Jail occurred. Fed up with the torture, four young activists made plans to escape and enlisted the support of some other prisoners who, although not willing to go through the risky exercise, promised that at the arranged time they would all put on the electric heaters to reduce the current passing through the wires on wall. So, according to the plan one climbed up and put a quilt on the wires and crossed over, the other two did the same but the fourth one gave up after hurting his leg. Minutes after they climbed over the wall, the alarm went off but they made good their escape.

Activists from other provinces who were involved in the struggle included Najam Sethi, Ahmed Rashid, Rashid Rahman, Asad Rahman, Dulip (Johnny) Dass, Mohammad Bhaba and me. Most of them were studying in London before they joined the Baloch national struggle and were also known as the London Group.

These activists were mainly involved in political work which included the printing and distribution of a clandestine newsletter named 'Jabal'. These activists were also involved in educating people and also in providing treatment to the people; the activists who were in the mountains lived in the same conditions as the common tribesmen lived.

There are conflicting claims regarding the casualties from the contending sides and though no confirmed figures exist, it is believed that during the conflict some 3000 soldiers and 5000 Baloch died but nothing can be said about the veracity of these figures as no attempt has been made by either side to collate the facts. Some of the prominent Baloch persons who were killed in action were Safar Khan Zarakzai in Jhalawan, Mir Laung Khan, a septuagenarian, the elder brother of Mir Gul Khan Naseer who died defending his village Mali and Jalat Khan Durkani. When Zia took over some 6000 Baloch who were held in different jails were released.

After Bhutto was ousted by Zia the Army activity nearly came to a standstill though minor clashes continued. The fact that Zia released the Baloch leaders, dismissed the Hyderabad Tribunal and declared amnesty for all took the steam out of the struggle. More importantly difference of opinion regarding the continuation and the mode of struggle emerged not only between the Pashtun and Baloch leadership of now defunct NAP but among the Baloch leaders themselves. Most of the Baloch leaders in exile in Kabul opted to return and only the Marris opted to stay there and they returned only after the fall of Najibullah government in 1992 as the fundamentalist leadership which replaced him was much indebted to Pakistan refused to support them.

The 1973-77 struggle for rights had proved to the Baloch people, and to the world, that the struggle for their rights could bear fruit with tenacious dedication and perseverance. The Baloch have not been cowed down by the ever-increasing presence of the army and have stood up for their rights, which no government here is ready to concede or even listen to. The Baloch have resorted to the use of arms only because their rights have been trampled upon and all other avenues of redress have been blocked.

Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Tando Mir Mahmood
Hyderabad, Sindh.

India’s trajectory to regional and global power: Risks, Obstacles and Strengths

By A. K. Verma

(This paper was prepared & published by Cenjows)

Many observers have commented that the 21st century belongs to India (and China). Since economics is increasingly becoming the currency of power this statement acknowledges the changing balance of power in the world and is a tribute to the growing economics muscles of India.

Since the 1990s India is on a new economic path. The forecast was that by 2020, its economy would treble and by 2050 it will leave US economy behind. That surely implies that India will by then be seated on the high table because with economic power will also come the political strengths. As a result courting of India by other powers has already begun.

Globalization, with new interconnectivity and fillip to trade through opening of markets, has brought new prosperity to India. Liberalization enabled India’s economic revolution to match the levels achieved by East Asian Tiger states.

The credit for the new economic momentum goes to Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao. All subsequent Central Governments of India followed his lead. The years 2003-07 recorded a big surge in the economy which touched 9.4% of the GDP in 2006-07. Unfortunately, the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 in the US has initiated a world recession which will drop India’s growth during 2008-09 to 7% or nearabouts. India’s economic fundamentals are now very sound which should enable India to get back to her accelerated growth by 2010-11 at the latest. But for this hiccup, thanks to the financial breakthrough achieved in the previous five years, Indian economy was expected to double every eight years. At this rate India was destined to become the 5th largest consumer market in the world. India’s status then would not be high just in Asia, but in the entire world.

The drawback was that the new prosperity was not reaching all sections of people in India. The rich were becoming richer, the poor remaining poor. Inequality between the urban and rural areas was widening. It is also going to have a spatial north-south divide with southern states and west moving far ahead of the rest of the country causing an imbalance that may move people towards these regions. Social and political changes were not keeping pace with the economic growth. Estimates were that in 2004-05, 33.6% of people were living on less than $ 1 per day. The state continuously failed to deliver to the people on basic issues of health, education, employment and infrastructure. In a sense the economic miracle was also creating transformational disruption. Naxalism which started as a revolt against the state for its political and economic policies from a village called Naxalbari in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal in 1965 has spread to 16 states affecting more than 150 districts. Lobbying for power on the basis of caste has fragmented Indian politics.

The Indian growth story is, thus, not a smooth process. India’s future trajectory on the power graph will depend upon how the impediments to economic growth get removed and with what success. Apart from societal ones, the impediments lie scattered in several sectors notably governance and regulatory. Corruption has consistently remained one of the main causes for failure of delivery.

The Government, however, is doing its best to surmount these obstacles so that economic growth could be sustained at the levels already achieved and the nation building programs do not falter. There is a heavy accent on expansion of education and infrastructure. New job opportunities are being created and it is hoped that in time, more people, employed presently in agriculture and related activities which are poorly paid will be able to join industry and businesses. What has been done and achieved still remains miniscule in comparison with what needs or remains to be done but there is hope and confidence in the air that India is on the march ahead. With that India is acquiring a new vision of itself vis a vis the region and the world.

This vision while keeping national security at the top seeks to develop a cooperative and friendly attitude with all countries of the world. India has no hidden agenda but it is well aware that other nations may not feel equally benign towards it. Its nuclear program was designed to forestall any surprises from the neighborhood as well as to seek recognition that India is on its way to becoming a leading power of the world. Slowly, India is building a blue navy with aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines which signify a high military status. It has the fourth largest land army in the world. It has a powerful and advanced air fleet for defense. With its space and lunar programs and recent successful orbiting of the moon, it has sent a message that it is seriously developing its credentials as a global power. Its quest for permanent membership of UN Security Council is to get the world accept its status which demography and economic growth entitles it to. In the field of IT its unique and worldwide standing has already been accepted.

India has always wanted an important role in the world. When the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was mooted India was quick to join it hoping that promotion of trade, business and cultural interaction would bring harmony and raise living standards of the people in the region. But deeply held animosities within the region have come in the way of encouraging mutual dialogue beyond a threshold. In the meanwhile the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had been established (1967) as a forum for dialogue to prevent the compromise of the members’ national interest by what appeared to be predatory powers in the neighborhood, China and Japan and across the Pacific, the USA. Regional togetherness has made ASEAN countries close knit. In 1993 a new entity, the Asean Regional forum (ARF) came into existence which includes India as a member. The purpose was to keep taking stock of security related issues of the region but the group has so far refrained from discussing any contentious issues. Yet another organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) came up in 2006, pointedly for looking into issues of regional terrorism and Islamic extremism. India has an observer status with SCO. East Asia Summit, set up in 2005, is the latest new entity with sixteen members including India. It’s not yet clear what East Asia Summit is set to achieve but one thing is clear: the emergence of these organizations signifies that the Asian countries increasingly feel the need for a collective identity to forge cooperative common policies which will keep in view the interests of each nation. In time it may lead to the constitution of an Asian Union on the lines of European Union but right now, given the mutual rivalries, fears and aspirations, the prospects are nowhere in sight. By being accorded a place in all these bodies, either as a member or observer, India’s role as a leader get fairly well established. A place in the East Asia Summit gives it a voice on affairs of the region.

India’s rise has attracted US attention, which consequent to the shift of economic and political power to Asia, is seeking to establish a new security architecture in Asia as well as the world. In the new geopolitical situation of today, US prowess remains supreme and is likely to remain so at least for 20 to 25 years more. And yet, emergence of prospective power centers principally in Asia and growth of Islamic terrorism makes it feel vulnerable, causing it to look for new friends.

In March 2005 the US announced that it welcomes and supports India’s growth to a great power status. US shift towards India represented a fundamental and strategic shift of an exceptional nature, soon confirmed through the civil nuclear agreement between the two countries whereby, without having to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India was to be made eligible for supply of nuclear fuel and equipment to augment its civil nuclear energy resources. Another agreement in June 2005 provided for a joint defense framework which laid the foundation for a ten year project to promote a military relationship between the two countries.

The shift clearly signifies that the US was seeking India’s cooperation in dealing with a resurgent China which might challenge US's preeminence in Asia and the world in future at sometime. In US calculations India’s democratic system was a big plus point. Japan and other smaller countries of East Asia had a similar understanding which had led to India being welcomed to join East Asia Summit. Japan had been indifferent towards India earlier but is now seeking strategic cooperation, keeping in mind the historical bitterness with China. A new alliance of democracies seems to be in the offing between US, Japan, India and Australia that China perceives as targeting it directly. Already a joint naval exercise has been held between the navies of these countries and Singapore in the Bay of Bengal of 2007. However it is not easy to make a firm assessment about Japan’s commitment to India yet as its policiea have appeared wobbly at times.

However, coming together of US and India is just in the nature of a strategic partnership and is not a strategic alliance. Globalization has led to a great deal of economic interdependence with mutual trade and investments but relations between states will also simultaneously remain mutually competitive for access to resources from outside. Sometimes competition may bring forth a military threat, or geopolitical rivalry. In such times policy making becomes a complex exercise. The present tilt in US policy towards India is just a product of current circumstances of US. If the context changes, so can this tilt.

How true can this be is amply illustrated by the policies of US towards Pakistan. During the 1990s when the US desperately needed Pakistan to be on its side to prosecute the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, it completely closed its eyes to Pakistan’s proliferation of nuclear materials to North Korea, Libya and Iran. Though the US knew India to be the target of Pakistani nuclear weapons development program, it never shared any information about this program with India. More recently, Pakistan’s campaign of terror against India was never condemned by the US in terms that would have required Pakistan to change its ways. Taking all this into consideration, it would be wise to treat US’s current interest in India as arising out of compulsions of its own national interests and no more. Any power trajectory that India may aspire to build in future will have to be on its own, not on any closeness to US. US objectives to get India to cap, rollback and eliminate its nuclear weapons program will not be given up. US will mount pressures again the moment it judges it to be the right one.

The country which India has to be most wary about is China. It views India as a threat to its preeminence in Asia, which can engage in fierce competitions for scarce resources, political influences and friends. It will like to deny India strategic space in Asia, Africa and Latin America and to see India confined to South Asia as a regional power. In such a relationship some tension will always be present. As years pass by, tensions could rise. Another war, like 1962, may be unlikely but can not be ruled out altogether.

China is feverishly upgrading its military forces and space capabilities. In 2007 it surprised the world by shooting down a satellite with a missile. Its military budget of $ 45 b in 2007 was twice that of India and has for the past ten years been recording a double digit rise. Growing at this rate the Chinese armed forces will become a formidable machine. It is also developing a blue navy with nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers that will enable it to project power in distant seas like the Indian Ocean.

Specially worrisome to India is the ‘string of pearls’ it is creating all around the sub continental India, a deep sea port at Gwadar off Baluchistan coast in Pakistan, a road from Yunnan in China to Bay of Bengal, surveillance facilities in islands of Myanmar and ports in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. It has arms supply relationship with Nepal and Bangladesh.

The most damaging anti Indian action by China has been to setup Pakistan as its Israel. The Pakistani nuclear weapons program which is India specific was guided, nurtured, equipped and overseen by China. In 1990 it tested a Pakistani nuclear bomb at its test site in Lop Nor. China is unlikely to unravel the problems of borders in Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin as it does not believe that a compromise will turn out to its advantage. It has gone back on an understanding that any border adjustment will not upset settled populations. The issues remain mired in procedures, far from substance. It may be noted that officially backed Chinese think tanks have even talk of retrieving Arunachal Pradesh by force. China had opposed India’s’ access to Nuclear Supply Group in 2008 until forced by the US. On the Mumbai terrorist carnage by Pakistan, its scholars and media, all state controlled, expressed doubts about Pakistani complicity, placed the blame on internal contradictions in India, and called it a major blow to India’s big power ambitions. Thrice China had blocked UN efforts to have Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Pakistani organization behind the outrage, declared an international terrorist organization in 2006.

Chinese antagonism against India emanates from its uneasiness about sturdy Tibetan nationalism and the fact that the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has made India his home along with 1, 00,000 other Tibetans. China has taken great pains to pacify Tibet through development, colonization and redemarcating its borders with adjoining Chinese provinces. Tibet seems to be firmly under Chinese control but the religion based Tibetan identity is not dead nor the power of Buddhist monasteries in Tibet to serve as magnetic centers for mobilization. Choosing a successor to Dalai Lama on his death can prove to be an explosive event. The Tibetans would want to make the choice themselves but the Chinese government is unlikely to grant this privilege to them. If civil commotions break out in Tibet over this issue that find an echo in the diaspora abroad, relations between China and India can nosedive.

Relationship with Pakistan belongs altogether to a different category: intensely problematic. It has been so from day one when Pakistan came into existence. The problem began with Pakistani covetousness for the J&K state. Four wars have been fought between the two countries and a proxy war continues. Single minded antagonism to India led to the emergence of the Pakistani nuclear program. The Pakistani Establishment has been itching to employ the arsenal on India. There have been four occasions in the past when they come close to it US discovery of their intentions thwarted them the last three times.

The first time was in 1982-83 when Pakistan suspected that India, aided by Israel, was planning to bomb out Kahuta where the Pakistani nuclear weapons program was taking shape. The last three were linked to Indian Brasstracks exercise in 1987, commencement of Pakistani inspired insurgency in J&K state (1990) and Kargil (1999).

Meanwhile, new developments have occurred which have altered Pakistan’s strategic objectives. The Pakistani state has greatly weakened and grown unstable. A good part of its North Western region has become Talibanised. Sizeable sections of the security establishment including its intelligence and paramilitary forces subscribe to the Islamist ideology. It is an easy transformation from Islamism to Jihadism. As Talibanisation creeps into the hinterland and nearer Islamabad and Rawalpindi the probability of the security establishment donning the colours of Jihadism becomes somewhat real.

The Jihadi aim is to set up India as an Islamic Caliphate. They count on Islamic injunctions to assume, not proven so far, that large sections of Indian Muslims will aid and support them.

Such designs and the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan, make it today the most dangerous spot in the world. If another 9/11 hits the US, most western intelligence believe the source would be Pakistan which has provided refuge to the Al Qaeda leadership. Pakistani duplicity of masquerading as a US ally in the fight against international terror while giving covert support to Talibans in Afghanistan against the US stands exposed. The US has now warned Pakistan that if does not move against the Al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan, its ground forces will enter Pakistan to finish the job themselves. Such an event if it occurs will exacerbate tensions between Muslims and non Muslims all over the world. A collapsed Pakistan may be good for India but India may face unpredictable consequences.

Japan is another country to watch. The three greats in Asia in times ahead will be China, Japan and India, each engaged in a furious economic competition with the other two. But while Japan is unlikely to cease regarding China as an abiding threat for reasons of history and quarrels over territory in East China Sea, its attitude towards India is changing from indifference to active strategic cooperation. The largest quantity of Japanese aid now flows to India not China. In the new balance of power politics in Asia, the Japanese support will be a plus factor for India provided one can count on it.

India’s relationship with most of its immediate neighbors has not been happy. This includes besides Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Part of the reason is India’s size as compared to that of the neighbors, which gives rise to misplaced suspicions of hegemonism. In response, neighbors have permitted or promoted terror against India and given shelter to leaders of insurgencies fighting India. Such an environment allows easy access to Chinese interests into these countries. Lack of mutual trust becomes a cause for impeding growth of economic and trade relations. In the Saarc region, India’s trade with its neighbors is no more than 3%. Perhaps Saarc has no future and our best hope may be to revert back to bilateral relations selectively.

Thus, there are multiple challenges for India in its neighborhood. The way to deal with Myanmar will be not to waste too much time on the character of its Government which is authoritarian and undemocratic but to concentrate on trade and economic relations which should include investments and aid to development. In Bangladesh a new window of opportunity has opened up with Hasina, the recently elected new Prime Minister who has already indicated a firm resolve to eradicate terrorism from its soil. Bangladeshi infiltration into India poses another primary security problem. Bangladesh is also a land of grinding poverty. Indian attitudes need to be governed both by compassion and concerns for national security. Nepal has just run through cataclysmic changes with internal stability still elusive but Nepalese Maoists have definitely chosen to be embourgeoised. A new chapter is waiting to be opened in Indo Nepal relationship which can heal existential animosities and suspicions. The new relationship should abjure the military dimension and be predicated entirely on how economic and cultural benefits can be secured for both the countries. The Nepalese Maoists have generally kept themselves away from the Indian Maoists with the latter considering the former revisionists. It is unlikely that the Nepalese Maoists will aid their Indian counterparts against Indian interests. Sri Lanka appears to have succeeded in destroying the LTTE but it does not end Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism. India would need to insist with the Colombo government to give a fair deal to the Tamils within the overall unitary structure of the country.

The most obdurate challenge would remain terminating Pakistan’s proxy war. Right now the Pakistani political scene is enveloped by an impenetrable haze that makes difficult deciphering who commands the shots, President Zardari or Prime Minister Gilani though the Generals will always have the last word if it comes to a crunch. The US is a powerful factor in Pakistan and it appears to be on the side of Zardari. Both want democratization to strengthen, Islamic extremism to be uprooted and the military to be confined to the barracks. The unknown factor is the degree of Islamism in the Armed Forces. If it has reached high levels the probability of this section of the forces, Islamist and extremist groups and the Talibans including Neo Talibans in FATA, NWFP AND Afghanistan, making a common cause can become high. Presence of a nuclear arsenal in Pakistan makes the environment infinitely more dangerous. A whole galaxy of scenarios is possible. Indian interests will be served best by working with the US and as many countries as possible, the Security Council and the General Assembly to get Pakistan to eschew terrorism and, to have Pakistan declared a terrorist state if it does not fall in line.

The way ahead for India is not going to be smooth even as it most certainly rises to regional and global eminence. Its economic potential and its transparency will serve as magnets to propel it to that destiny. Still to be counted in the equation is the demographic dividend which a combination of improving education standards and growing young population will secure for it. Fortunately, India has moved out from the mode of idealism to one of pragmatism. National Security is, therefore, expected to remain its highest priority.

(The author can be reached at e-mail:verma_anandkumar@yahoo.com)

INDIA: Intelligence Reforms

By A. K. Verma

(This paper was prepared and published by G-files)

More than 50 years after gaining independence from the British, Indian Intelligence continues to operate within the same framework left by the British. The system was created to deal with problems and requirements of a different age. Since then we have moved into a new era where the national security architecture of the world keeps changing in a kaleidoscopic pattern, creating new axess of conflicts and conciliations. Times have changed enormously and the world has become far more complex. Unfortunately, Indian Intelligence has not kept pace with the changes.

It is high time that an Indian Intelligence Reforms Commission is appointed on the lines of the Administrative Reforms Commission to overhaul the old system. There are a whole lot of new paradigms requiring to be considered. If in today’s world intelligence has become the first line of defense, there is not a moment to be lost.

The very first reform should be to give Indian Intelligence the backing of legislative enactments. The laws should provide a degree of autonomy which frees intelligence from all bureaucratic restraints and controls relating to financial management, administrative functions, pay scales, recruitment, postings and promotions, hire and fire policies and enforcement of discipline. The laws should spell out the charters and authorize the Central Government to fix broad targets within the charter. This will prevent the misuse of the institutions by those in authority. The laws should hold intelligence accountable to the Cabinet or its Committee for national Security but also create a parliamentary committee for oversight. Detailed rules can be worked out to determine the parameters of oversight and areas of intelligence work over which it will be exercised in consultation with the Parliament.

Absence of legislative cover is a serious lacuna for Intelligence. All intelligence work is carried out under executive instructions but foreign intelligence operations would involve breaking of local laws of the country concerned. Neither those who give instructions for such operations nor those who carry them out are protected legally under the Indian laws. Institutions like the CIA of US are created by laws of the US Congress. All activities which CIA may be required to carry out are directly or indirectly identified in the charter legally given. Their operations are thus safe under US laws but no such protection is available to Indian operatives, carrying out intelligence tasks in a foreign country.

Autonomy is essential for non-conventional organisations to do their jobs. They should be free to hire the best talent available which will be possible only if a very superior compensation package is on offer to the recruit. Today’s intelligence needs require Engineers, Management Specialists, Economists, Scholars, Scientist, Sociologists among others, of supreme quality but only the inferior type wants to make a career in intelligence because the better type finds the existing compensation packages totally unattractive. Intelligence services of other countries are usually the best paid organizations in those countries. This is the reason why CIA serves as a magnet drawing in large numbers of PhDs from the best schools in the US.

In recent years the threats from International terror has grown exponentially. There are threats of mass destruction of population and property through use of weapons of mass destruction, mass disruption of communications through manipulation of cyberspace and of mass doctrinal madness through clever selective religious indoctrination. Such a range of offensive tactics cannot be countered by keeping intelligence on the defensive. Intelligence has to be provided teeth to bite with. It should therefore develop its own cadre of offensive operators or learn to do so in the company of select uniformed services. While the major countries of the world have for long practiced the offensive mode of Intelligence work, we have lagged behind in India. Intelligence reforms should open up the possibilities of covert actions. Use of non state actors by state actors effectively takes away India’s options to stay neutral to covert operations. A redefinition of nation’s security interest will shout loudly for India to give up its self created soft image and to move out to meet challenges boldly as they should be.

Intelligence has to acknowledge appearance of new perspectives following globalization. Fast moving technologies have made borders meaningless. There is a new competition for economic penetration. Sovereignties of nations are at a discount because of these trends. In the times ahead India will face acute competition from the other two rising powers of the Asia, China and Japan. Issues of land, water and climatic changes, all of which singly or together, lead to mass migrations, creating demographic imbalances. Who else should study such phenomenon holistically if not intelligence? Their database and sharp analysis can contribute to keep the nations interests secure.

The rising complexity calls for another reform – the operations and analysis cadres in the intelligence should be made distinct and separate. When intelligence needs were few, there may have been a justification for the two streams to flow as one, but not any longer. Indian Intelligence has to grow much larger than what it is today. The value of an analyst lies in the depth of his studies of his field. The longer he specializes, greater is the intuitive insight he acquires. Such knowledge will go waste if he moves to operations.

Naxalism has been identified as the nation’s most serious problem in the field of national security. Starting from a single village, Naxalbari, in West Bengal in 1965, Naxalism is now present in 16 states, affecting 160 districts. In the context of intelligence reforms, one must examine why such a growth has taken place. It would seem that our constitutional scheme by dividing powers between states and centre has prevented the latter from formulating and executing a cohesive policy for the country to battle this problem. If this situation is not rectified, mere reforms in intelligence will not take us anywhere.

(The author can be reached at e-mail: verma_anandkumar@yahoo.com)

DMITRY MEDVEDEV:in Africa: Answers to Questions from Russian Journalists

Russia: Answers to Questions from Russian Journalists


PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to begin by asking a question. Can you believe that we are here, this far south in Africa? And did you know that the area of Namibia is equivalent to the area of Ukraine and Belarus combined? Whereas population density is equivalent to that of Mongolia.

REPLY: You’ve been doing your homework.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Of course I have.

QUESTION: We also did some homework.

Our country has a history of relations with African nations. Before, there had been some talk of providing non-repayable aid. How would you formulate Russia’s current policy in this respect? How advantageous are these contacts? And naturally, we would be interested in hearing about your first impressions of Africa itself.


Our policy on these matters will be very friendly, but at the same time, pragmatic. Let me remind you that the Russian Federation, like its predecessor, the Soviet Union, has always held a very friendly position toward African nations. We have always helped them in gaining their independence and fighting to create their own states.

At the same time, we do not have a painful, sombre colonial history, unlike many European countries. We do not have such a history, and I think that, to an extent, this also shapes African countries’ relations toward our nation.

Indeed, in recent years, there have been some changes in how things have developed. Our foreign policy has taken shape. In the 1990s, we gave less attention to faraway continents such as Africa and Latin America, but now, it is our obligation to do so. These nations are kindred spirits, and we have indeed provided them with aid. They are fast-developing nations, but at the same time, they have many problems. It is no coincidence that Africa always comes up during talks at G8 summits (in an expanded format), G20 summits, and other platforms as an issue that demands a rapid and adequate response from the global community and from individual countries. This includes assistance programmes and other projects.

As for my current visit to Africa, which is not yet finished, it bears historic overtones and carries a fairly pragmatic agenda, because we have separate, positive commercial programmes with every country we’ve visited. I am not going to give any names now, since there has been coverage on this matter, but I will say that major Russian companies which are interested in investment development and would like to do business are already present in Africa. Take a look at our major players, which include both state and private companies: Gazprom, ALROSA, NOVATEK, and many other companies that are currently participating in the establishment of industries in Africa, which have contracted either factories or deposits. And clearly, this is not charity work, but rather, the development of businesses whose goal is to be profitable, but which are also advantageous for our African partners. I feel that we need more projects of this kind.

There is currently a great deal of interest in Africa, and there are representatives here from all the major international players. The People’s Republic of China, the United States, and the European Union are working actively here. Are we any worse? We must do the same, especially since we have many close, trusted friends whom we have truly helped and who are ready to develop relations with us, not through a strictly charitable agenda, but on a mutually beneficial basis. This is something that we will certainly work on.

As for my own personal impressions, they are quite strong and powerful, since this is my first time in Africa, and this continent can’t help but impress visitors with its vastness and its variations in climate, cultures, and traditions. We have travelled from Egypt in the north of Africa and the Middle East to the southern part of the continent. We have crossed the equator and we have gone from a hot summer to a winter that is cold by local standards – it is only 20 degrees Celsius during the day, and temperatures drop as low as just zero degrees at night. I think that many of us may not have been prepared for this, including myself. In the evening, I might need to go out in my suit, but it’s cold out, zero degrees.

Clearly, though, this just goes to show the unique opportunities that exist in Africa. But at the same time, you come to see how many problems exist here. Look at the figures often brought up on hunger (perhaps some people have become numb to them). They are horrifying and saddening. A child dies of hunger every five seconds and there is an enormous amount of infectious diseases that are very difficult to fight. And Africa awaits our support. There are many people living here, and they, too, have the right to a normal life.

Wealthier countries are obligated to pay back their debts to Africa, not in the form of basic aid (although that is also necessary), but rather, by developing various institutions and creating a variety of companies. If this gets done, then Africa will become one of the most actively-developing continents on the planet, internal conflicts will cease, many conflicts will be resolved, and development will become stable. We are very much counting on it.

QUESTION: Your trip to Africa and your speech in Cairo followed the speech by US President Barack Obama in Cairo, which drew a very positive response. After the G8 summit, Barack Obama will return to Africa once again.

Does your visit imply that Russia is determined to compete seriously with the United States for Africa’s resources? And are we too late in our return to Africa? What advantages do we have in competing with the United States and China?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: To answer your question on being late, I can tell you honestly that we are almost too late. We should have begun working with our African partners earlier, especially since our ties remained continuous with many of them, representing decades of developing friendly relations.

Yesterday, we were in Nigeria. Our diplomatic ties with that nation have existed for nearly fifty years. We have maintained relations with Namibia’s leading political party – SWAPO – which fought for the country’s independence, for forty years.

As for competition, I do not think that there should be any competition between countries, but it is quite clear that there should be competition between companies. Competitiveness is the driving force of human progress. Those who provide the best conditions, including economic conditions, will succeed. We do not feel jealous when we see our partners visiting Africa, but at the same time, we would also like to promote our own interests here; we would like to advance Russian companies. This is normal for any government. It is probably good that more attention is being given to this continent, and it will most likely help Africa overall. I think the fact that the President of the United States is making several visits to Africa will work to the benefit of Africa itself.

But I want to emphasise again that we would like to see a significant share of Russian companies in the African market. We have all the historic background and economic conditions necessary for this.

QUESTION: I have a brief personal question. We have all seen a lot of very different welcoming ceremonies. What did you think of today’s ceremony, with all its dances?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: I was just about ready to join them, but in the end, knowing that this is a state visit, I held back. I asked the President of Namibia if we could dance. He answered “Yes,” but he himself didn’t dance, so I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it, although the dancers’ energy was really contagious.

This may be an element of national character, and we may see it as somewhat exotic. But at the same time, it demonstrates cultural diversity. Even in a country with a relatively small population, such as Namibia, there are many different ethnic groups with different, sometimes independent cultures.

As we travel through Africa, we see a variety of different cultures, beliefs, ways of life, and different customs, all on one continent. Africa is very diverse, and that may be the key conclusion that stems from one’s first visit here. Our perception of Africa – created by well-known Russian children’s authors who wrote, “Children, don’t go promenading through Africa” – is that it is a uniform continent. But in fact, it is very different from place to place. In some places, it is very rich; in others, it is devastatingly poor. The climate is very different, and the people are very different. And at the same time, there exists a kind of self-awareness, a sense of identifying oneself as an inhabitant of the African continent. In my opinion, this is a good thing.QUESTION: Recently, there have been reports that Kyrgyzstan and the United States signed an agreement on the use of the Manas Air Base. Could you comment on this agreement? How do you perceive its prospects?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Naturally, this agreement is fully within Kyrgyzstan’s rights. At the same time, I must mention that a little while ago, the President of Kyrgyzstan came to the Russian Federation; we met before the SCO summit and discussed issues regarding joint anti-terrorism efforts, including issues of assisting freight transfers. This is something that our American partners have requested. We made our decisions a long time ago; we are helping our partners, other Central Asian countries are helping, and Kyrgyzstan is willing to do this. That is fine, I think this is for the common good; it helps the joint fight against terrorism.

But aside from that, my understanding of the decisions made by the President of Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz parliament was that for various reasons, their military base would cease operations, while new operations in assisting freight transfers would take place elsewhere, without resorting to any kind of immunity inherent to military personnel, and without the presence of a large number of military men, using mainly civilian personnel. Thus, this operation will be very similar to the one we are carrying out, which also assists freight transfers to help the fight against terrorism. That is how I understand it.

QUESTION: In the statement you made in the Hague, you said that we are ready for a significant reduction in the number of strategic warheads and missiles. What would you say is the maximum limit for these types of reductions?

And another question. Russia firmly monitors the coordination of strategic nuclear forces and ballistic missile defence. The Americans have already rejected this coordination. Do you think that you will be able to find some kind of compromise on this issue during your meeting?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: I would like to make just one small correction. We talked about this issue in Amsterdam, not in the Hague; although these cities are close to one another, they are, as you know, not the same.

Now, getting back to the latter part of your question: for the moment, nobody has closed any doors. And despite the fact that I made this statement, and that an expanded version of it has been published, we are continuing to discuss these topics with our American partners ahead of my colleague Barack Obama’s visit. This includes discussions on coordinating issues of ballistic missile defence and limiting strategic offensive weapons.

As for the maximum limit in reductions, this matter is still under discussion, but in order for our colleagues and you yourselves to have a better idea of what we are talking about, I specifically outlined some parameters. For warheads, it is lower than what is provided for in the corresponding Moscow Treaty [the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, or SORT]. For missiles, we area ready to make a fairly decisive, large-scale reduction, cutting them down to a fraction of what we have now.

But this matter is still under discussion, so I do not feel it right to go into detail about it right now. Still, the comments I just made should allow you to get a sense of the figures in question, after some simple calculations. All of the analysts have already done so.

QUESTION: I want to come back to the situation at home, in Ingushetia. The region has seen a number of tragic events in general of late. What role do you think the neighbouring republics can play in stabilising the situation in Ingushetia and in the region in general? How do you think the situation will develop there?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: What happened in Ingushetia, including the attack on President of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, is a continuation of terrorist activities carried out by the remnants of bandit groups that are in part sponsored from abroad. This sounds like a routine explanation, but this is the way it is.

Our policy in this area remains unchanged (I stated it when I was in Dagestan) – we need to be pitiless in exterminating them [the bandits]. But this is a combat that must be fought through a variety of means. Of course, the entire country is interested in this combat’s success, especially the republics in this in this region that still has its share of problems. This includes Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkesia – all the Caucasus republics. We therefore all need to unite in order to rid ourselves of this disease for once and for all.

These kinds of operations are underway now. Why did these bandits attack Yevkurov after all? Because he was taking real action – starting to build up relations with the republic’s elite and establishing dialogue with the moderate opposition, not with thugs, of course. He began carrying out joint operations together with neighbouring Chechnya and its head, Ramzan Kadyrov. These operations were a big success. I will not list all that was achieved and how many bandits were eliminated, but the figures are impressive and are public knowledge.

It is my view, therefore, that we need to continue this work just as resolutely and effectively as has been the case recently. But at the same time, we need to learn from what has happened and take a new look around, analyse the situation. This work will continue. This is a task for the whole country, of course, and in particular for the regions of the Caucasus.

QUESTION : Mr President, many people are looking to you for new anti-corruption initiatives. Is there a basis for these expectations and what possible steps could we hope to see in this area?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This is a good question. I will not list the results achieved so far or announce what kinds of operations are planned, because there are a lot of details regarding planned operations that it is better not to divulge in this way. After all, the fight against corruption is part of the fight against crime. It is not just about dealing with individual civil servants who have failed in their duties or take bribes. It is a fight against crime. Corruption is a serious crime, and this needs to be uppermost in our minds.

But as far as our current plans are concerned, we have work to complete in several areas regarding the package of anti-corruption measures that were drawn up and approved on my initiative last year and this year.

In particular, work is underway on drafting a presidential executive order on checking the information civil servants provide to the tax authorities on their income, assets, means of transport and other items they have to declare. We did not think up these rules so that people could make a report and then just keep doing what they have always done. We know our people’s quick-witted nature and sense of cunning, and we know that people can always find a way to hide things if they want. This is why there has to be at least a selective check of these declarations to make a comparison between people’s real and declared assets and income.

I think this is important work, but we need to operate within a strict legal framework and respect human rights at the same time. Civil servants are people too and have all the rights accorded by the Constitution. We need to work effectively and achieve results. This is something we need to do, but this is just a part of our efforts in this area. There will be other measures too.

QUESTION: Coming back to Africa, yesterday, during the discussion on the Trans-Sahara gas pipeline, the Gazprom representative said that they will build the first main gas pipeline, and we heard the words: “whoever is on the valves is the king”. Could you comment on Russia’s plans in this respect? Is Russia perhaps looking to control gas supplies from Nigeria to Europe, and is there not the danger of something like the Ukrainian situation emerging in Africa?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This is a good question. As far as the words you quoted go, every point of view has its right to exist, no doubt, but I think these words are not entirely correct, because even our recent experience with Ukraine shows that whoever controls the bolt is still a long way from controlling the whole situation. There are obligations and international reputation to keep in mind, and there is money too, whether in the form of payments made or of debts unsettled. And so I would say these words send out a one-sided and even primitive sort of message.

But as far as big projects go, including the Trans-Sahara gas pipeline, yes, this is an area in which the Russian Federation is interested. We are interested in these projects not because we want to control the bolts and valves and run the show, so to speak. We have enough affairs of our own to manage at home. Africa has its own specific situation, and we have great respect for the sovereignty African countries have achieved. We helped them in every way we could to achieve this sovereignty, and they do not need us to sort out their affairs. We are ready to help them in the United Nations, help them in reforming the UN itself, and we are ready to work on a bilateral basis.

But this is an area of natural interest to Russia because we are the world’s biggest gas producer. We have the longest gas pipeline network, the longest pipelines, and the greatest experience in building and operating gas pipelines. Therefore, when we offer our services this is not a means of political domination - it is business as usual. We will continue to work in this way, and not just in Africa. This is an area we are familiar with, and an area of interest to our country.

Thank you. I wish you all a good rest. Take care not to catch cold, because the temperature drops quickly here, and be careful with animals. All the best!

Russia's plans for Africa

Medvedev looking for diamonds in the rough in Angola

Diamonds are every countrys best friend when it comes to trade relations with Angola. Russias President Dmitry Medvedev is due in this gem-rich country on the final stage of what's been dubbed his ...


Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Africa this week is Russia's latest attempt to shift the global balance of power away from the west

Irina Filatova guardian.co.uk,

Friday 26 June 2009 11.30 BST Article history

Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev spent this week in Africa, visiting four countries, Egypt, Nigeria, Angola and Namibia. Russian official sources present the visit as purely economic, stressing that its goals are to assist Russian business and to develop mutually beneficial relations with African countries. The president is accompanied by a 400-strong business delegation, and a number of important economic agreements have been signed, particularly in the sphere of energy resources and nuclear power.

This seems logical. A number of big Russian companies, such as Alrosa, Rusal, Renova, Rosneft and Gazprom are either involved in Africa or are seeking deals there, yet Russia's trade with the continent falls far behind that of China or India, let alone the US. Russia's own enormous energy resources are located in areas that are not easily accessible, sparsely populated and have extremely unfriendly climatic conditions – so developing them would be a much costlier business than developing the same resources in Africa.

But historically, visits of Russia's (Soviet) heads of state to Africa always had a political agenda – for example the 1961 visit by Leonid Brezhnev to Ghana and Guinea and the 1977 visit of Nikolai Podgornyj to Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. Each marked a new stage of Soviet involvement in Africa. Is Medvedev's visit completely different?

Not quite. There is, indeed, a serious business element to it – much more serious, in fact, than during the African visit of Medvedev's predecessor Vladimir Putin three years ago. However, there is hardly any doubt that Medvedev's visit is at least as much about policy as it is about business – and perhaps much more so. It has to be considered in the context of Russia's final withdrawal from its negotiations to join the WTO, and the two summits that Medvedev hosted in Yekaterinburg – that of Bric countries and of the members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation. The US asked to participate as an observer, but the request was not granted. All these moves are a sign of a new stage of Russia's policy of disengagement with the west and of its leaving western financial and economic space. This tendency has been developing for a few years, but now it has obviously reached a new active phase. During his second term as president Putin often spoke of the need to transform the global economic order in order to diminish its dependence on the west. The Yekaterinburg summits sought to achieve exactly this.

In effect, Medvedev's visit to Africa should be seen as a move to create a bloc of countries rich in energy resources. The existence of such a bloc, in Russia's thinking, would increase the political weight of its participants and thus change the balance of power and influence in the world.

This may be more difficult to achieve than some Russian politicians think. Some African leaders may still be grateful to Russia for its assistance in their liberation struggles, but they need delivery, not just deals. Russia's record on this is not great. More importantly, however, the competition for the control of energy resources is exactly the field where Russia is bound to find itself in a head-on collision course not just with the west, but also with China, Russia's prize political ally in the new global order as it is seen from Moscow. It remains to be seen, how effective Russia's new engagement in Africa is going to be, and what effect it will have on its bigger goals. But for now it will certainly increase Medvedev's political weight at the coming G8 meeting.

The three dangers that India faces

Bharat Verma

June 25, 2009
Very few policy makers in India dare to acknowledge the danger to the nation's territorial integrity. The security and integrity of the nation has become hostage to vote-bank politics. Democracy and more than eight percent economic growth will be of no avail if the country as such withers away.

India is not only being frayed at its borders by insurgencies, but its very writ in the heartland is becoming increasingly questionable. The rise of a nation is predicated upon unity, peace and stability, which are essentially determined by good governance.

The prevailing security scenario poses the serious question -- Is India's development and economic growth becoming unsustainable due to poor handling of the security? There are three dangers to the territorial integrity that bedevil the nation.


New Delhi [Images] and the state capitals have almost ceded the governmental control over 40 percent of the Union's territory to the Naxalites [Images]. The Naxals are aided and abetted by the crime mafia that runs its operations in the same corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh, as well as Maoists of Nepal who in turn receive covert support from other powers engaged/interested in destabilising India.

The nexus between the United Liberation Front of Assam and Maoists in Nepal is well established.

In a recent attack in Chhattisgarh, Maoists of India and Nepal were co-participants. There are also reports to suggest that Indian Maoists are increasingly taking to opium cultivation in areas under their control to finance their activities. The Maoist-crime-drug nexus is rather explosive.


The security forces, primarily the Indian Army [Images], have held the state of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] physically since Independence. The politicians and the bureaucrats have contributed nothing to resolve the situation. The danger has since magnified many times as displayed by the presence of thousands of supporters of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] flying their flags in a recent rally of dissidents.

Under the garb of peace overtures, heavily armed infiltrators with tacit support from the Pakistan military-intelligence establishment continue to make inroads into Kashmir. They are at present lying low, waiting for an opportune moment for vicious strikes on several fronts to undermine the Indian Union. This ghost force reared its head in a recent rally organised by Syed Shah Geelani. Pakistan and its sympathisers in India are working in a highly synchronised fashion for demilitarisation of the valley.

Simultaneously, there is an insidious campaign to malign the Indian Army on one pretext or the other as part of the psywar being waged by the ghost force under Islamabad's [Images] directions.

After all the wars, export of terrorism, inconsistent and weak policies by New Delhi, Islamabad could not win Kashmir only because the Indian Army held its ground. If the ghost force succeeds in making locals rise against the army, it will be an unprecedented achievement for Islamabad.

The talk of demilitarisation and the campaign to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, are therefore merely ploys that aim to achieve the Kashmir objective even as the Pakistan establishment expands its tentacles not only within the valley but in other parts of India as well.

While the Pakistan dispensation talks of peace, terrorist cells are proliferating in the country including new frontiers in southern part of India. Islamic fundamentalism/terrorism footprints, as evidenced by the Bangalore-centered incidents, are too glaring to be ignored.

Islamic terrorism in the garb of freedom fighting in Kashmir is therefore de-stabilising the entire country. Islamabad is determined to use Kashmir as a gateway/launching pad to rest of India.


Given a modicum of political will, Danger-I and II may still be manageable, however, Danger III to its territorial integrity in the northeast may prove to be the most difficult. In fact the entire northeast can easily be unhooked on multiple counts from the Union. First, these are low populated areas having contiguity with the most densely populated and demographically aggressive country in the world, Bangladesh. The country has also emerged as a major source of Islamic fundamentalism which impacts grievously on the northeast.

To add to these woes, New Delhi because of sheer vote-bank politics legitimised illegal migration for 22 years through the vehicle of Illegal Migrants (determination by tribunals) Act, 1983. Many border districts now have a majority population constituting illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. In the near future, this leverage will be used to create an internal upheaval against the Centre as in the case of the valley.

It's a classic Islamic fundamentalist principle of asymmetric warfare. What cannot be achieved by conventional wars can be done through infiltration and subsequently internal subversion. They call it jihad!

Second, the northeast if not addressed appropriately could unhook from the Union before the valley given the acute vulnerability of the Siliguri Corridor, which is merely 10 to 20 kilometres wide and 200 kilometres long. If this critical corridor is choked or subverted or severed by force, the Union of India will have to maintain the northeast by air. With poor quality of governance for which the country is infamous, the local population may gravitate towards other regional powers.

Third, with China's claim over Arunachal Pradesh becoming more strident, as evidenced by its recent stance on Tawang, the danger to the Siliguri Corridor stands enhanced. This corridor has been facing internal turmoil for many years. The area may well be further subverted by inimical regional powers.

Chinese intention to bargain for Tawang to secure Tibet [Images] is deceptive. Subsequently, it would covet entire Arunachal Pradesh to protect Tawang. The Chinese are known for expanding their areas of strategic interests with time unlike the Indians who are in a tearing hurry to convert the Siachen Glacier into a 'mountain of peace' or the LoC into a 'line of peace' or equating Pakistan as an equal victim of terrorism.

It is a matter of grave concern that New Delhi is so prone to issue statements without thinking it through, as long as it appeases the adversary even temporarily. Therefore, the northeast -- with the internal turmoil in the Siliguri Corridor, with low population surrounded by overpopulated Bangladesh exporting Islamic terrorism under tutelage of Islamabad, with China gaining influence in Nepal and Bangladesh and its upping the ante on Tawang -- the danger to the region is grave.

Manipur is a stark indicator. The insurgents have nearly weaned the state from the Indian Union. The writ of the Indian Union has ceased to operate; insurgents, compelling people to turn to South Korean music and films, ban Hindi music and films.

New Delhi continues to fiddle while the northeast burns which in turn poses a grave problem to the territorial integrity of the Union of India. The world once again is getting polarised into two camps after the end of the Cold War -- democracies and authoritarian regimes of all hues, which includes Islamists, Communists, and the Maoists. Their perspectives are totally totalitarian. Therefore with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal (Maoists), being neighbours, the danger to the Indian territorial integrity stands enhanced.

Bharat Verma is Editor, Indian Defence Review