July 11, 2009

BALOCHISTAN: Khan of Kalat for international mediation


Saturday, July 11, 2009

By Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: The UK-based self-exiled Khan of Kalat has said that without international mediation he would not become part of any talks to address the security-related and economic problems of Balochistan.

Mir Suleman Daud Baloch, who is awaiting a decision on his asylum application from the

House of Lords, plans to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the status of Kalat, which became part of Pakistan under an agreement signed on March 27, 1948, between Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the then Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan.

A news item three days back had termed it a positive sign that the Khan of Kalat had not yet moved the ICJ over the accusation that Pakistan has not fulfilled the promises it had made at the time of signing the treaty, but the real reason behind the delay is the Khan of Kalat’s inability to travel outside of Britain while the British government considers his appeal.

Immigration experts believe that the 35th Khan of Kalat, who has been seeking asylum since July 2007, will ultimately be granted asylum because of his profile and the ongoing unrest in the restive province. It has become almost a standard procedure in the UK to refuse asylum claims in the first phase no matter how serious the case is but appeals with serious grounds of fear of persecution are ultimately allowed and the Khan of Kalat’s case falls in this bracket, an immigration expert told this correspondent.

Speaking to The News, the Khan said he was not interested in the government’s offers and said he was determined to move international forums to seek attention towards the problems of Balochistan.

“I don’t need any offers from the government. I came out of Pakistan on my own free will and will return when I want. My return to Pakistan and becoming part of the so-called dialogue process in not the solution to problems my people are facing. My people have given me a mandate and a duty to take their case to the ICJ and I am determined to stand by them,” the Khan of Kalat said in reference to a September 2006 grand Baloch Jirga, convened after about 126 years, which recommended that a case should be lodged in the ICJ against what it termed violation of agreements signed by the State of Kalat, the Crown of Britain and the Government of Pakistan pertaining to the sovereignty and rights of the Baloch people.

The Khan said that President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan had phoned him several months ago, asking him to return to Pakistan for negotiations but he told the president bluntly that the approaches he was taking to address the Baloch issue were ineffective.

“I told President Zardari that Balochistan’s issue cannot be solved through all partiesí conferences, increasing the budgets and making more hollow promises. I told him that he may be well-meaning but he was powerless to do anything on the ground. The real power, he knows, lies elsewhere. If Zardari was powerful and independent in taking decisions, why would he go to the United Nations to seek justice for his wife Benazir Bhutto’s murder?”

Refusing to be part of any efforts to settle the Baloch issue, the Khan of Kalat, who lives with his family in Cardiff, lay down only one condition to become part of the talks. “The talks have to be mediated by the United States of America, Russia, the United Kingdom or other European countries. The Pakistani government should choose anyone of them. Accept that and you will find me ready to sit down for meaningful talks. There is no point for us any more in getting engaged with powerless people. That option is off the table now. Sixty years of broken promises have broken my faith completely in the sincerity of Islamabad.”

Answering a question, His Highness, as it states on his passport, said that Governor Zulfikar Magsi and many others in the provincial government had said it on record that they are powerless and cannot promise any change to the status quo. “Invitations to talks and big promises were a hoax being played to divert the attention from the real issues.”

July 10, 2009

Exposed: British `BAE' Hand Behind Terror

by Jeffrey Steinberg

June 27—A lawsuit filed by the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has forced out a treasure-trove of documents, proving what Lyndon LaRouche has been saying for years: Behind the 9/11 attacks was the hand of the British Empire, working through allied Saudi factions. In effect, 9/11 was the work of the "BAE Al-Yamamah" Anglo-Saudi imperial apparatus, which forms the core of the ongoing British Sykes-Picot control over the entire Persian Gulf and extended Southwest Asia.

According to a news account in the New York Times June 24, attorneys representing the 9/11 families have received thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents, detailing Saudi royal family financing of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, prior to the 9/11 attacks. Some of those documents, including U.S. Treasury Department reports, were obtained through Freedom of Information Act suits; but other documents, including confidential U.S. and German intelligence reports, were leaked to attorneys for the families, and a court battle has ensued over whether that material can be made public. Copies of some of those still-classified materials were passed to the New York Times, further complicating the government's ability to bury the new revelations.

On June 22, according to the Times, some of the 9/11 family members met with President Obama, and they reported that he promised to go public with a controversial 28-page segment of the Congressional 9/11 investigation report, that the Bush White House had classified as top secret. As EIR has reported for years, the sealed 28 pages deal with funds that went from former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, to two Saudi intelligence officers in California, who used the money to finance two of the 9/11 hijackers.

And this is where the London BAE story comes into play. As has been widely reported, Prince Bandar received at least $2 billion in payoffs for his role in the Al-Yamamah arms-for-oil deal, first signed by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Saudis, in 1985. Under the terms of the Al-Yamamah barter deal, a $100 billion offshore slush fund for covert intelligence operations was established; this fund has been linked to the Bandar payoffs and, by extension, to 9/11. While the documents obtained by the lawyers for the 9/11 families primarily deal with Saudi "charitable" funds going to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the real story is the BAE/Al-Yamamah slush fund. According to a senior U.S. intelligence official, there is strong evidence that some of the BAE kickbacks to Bandar were used to bankroll at least two of the 9/11 hijackers—but that investigation was suppressed by the Bush-Cheney White House for years.

On June 29, 2007, EIR provided a roadmap of the Bandar-BAE-9/11 nexus, identifying Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdar as the two hijackers who received crucial backing from Saudi Arabian intelligence officers, from the moment they arrived in Los Angeles, around New Year's Day 2000. The two Saudi intelligence officers, identified to EIR by sources involved in the 9/11 investigation, Osama Basnan and Omar al-Bayoumi, received between $51,000 and $73,000 from Bandar and his wife, Princess Haifa, beginning in December 1999. A significant portion of those funds went to Alhazmi and Almihdar, to set them up in an apartment, and enroll them in flight school. For a short period of time, prior to the 9/11 attacks, Saudi intelligence agents Basnan and al-Bayoumi lived in the same San Diego, Calif. apartment complex, Parkwood Apartments, as the two hijackers.

Former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of the 9/11 investigation, has assailed the FBI for failing to fully pursue the Saudi-9/11 money trail. Both he and co-chair Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) bitterly complained that the FBI would not allow committee investigators to question the FBI agents who had conducted the original interviews with Basnan and al-Bayoumi, shortly after 9/11.

As LaRouche observed today, the Saudi circles in bed with London in the Al-Yamamah program are part of a British imperial scheme, that jeopardizes every nation in the extended Persian Gulf and Southwest Asian region. "Regardless of their nationality, and whether they know it or not, these Saudi players are the enemies of every Arab and Muslim nation. They are tools of the British Empire, which every self-respecting Arab and Muslim despises."

State of Mind: What kind of Power will India Become?

Rahul Sagar, July 2009

As its economic power, military strength and cultural influence expands, India draws ever closer to becoming a leading player in world politics. Yet relatively little is known about what Indians take to be the nature of international politics and, correspondingly, how their power and influence should be used. A survey of Indian political thought reveals sharp disagreements. Moralists wish for India to serve as an exemplar of principled action. Hindu nationalists want Indians to act as muscular defenders of Hindu civilization; strategists advocate cultivating state power by developing strategic capabilities; and liberals seek prosperity and peace by increasing trade and interdependence.

This article argues that current trends indicate that India will increasingly prioritize its quest for prosperity and peace. But if this quest is thwarted by external threats, then calls to enhance India's military power will most probably grow louder, and be heeded more closely

Indian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century

Rahul Sagar

If India becomes one of the leading powers of the 21st century, as is widely predicted, how will it exercise its power and influence? The answer to this question is being shaped by four competing visions of India’s place in the international system. The oldest of these can be traced to India’s struggle for freedom, when homage was paid to the notion that India ought to serve as a counterexample to the West’s role in international affairs. Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, translated this urge into policy by seeking to have India set the standard for peaceful and cooperative behavior. He recommended non-alignment as a means to avoid the conflict associated with balance of power politics, and to allow India the freedom to speak and act morally. He also eschewed the cultivation of military strength, expressing unhappiness with the notion that peace must be sought through strength. The example of the freedom movement recommended to him was instead the use of reason as a means of resolving political disputes.

Should it continue to be influential, the desire to act in an exemplary or principled fashion will cause India to remain skeptical of alliances. It will also continue to take the lead in endeavoring to ensure that international regimes do not undermine the interests of the developing world. Above all else, it promises that India will continue to use civil means to challenge what it sees as discriminatory features of the international order. In other words, argumentative diplomacy will remain the leitmotif of Indian conduct. However, it is increasingly unclear whether India’s future conduct will be shaped by Nehru’s vision, as his policies face a growing chorus of criticism from those who wish to see India adopt stances that correspond to its cultural, military, and economic potential.

A second vision – the oldest and most trenchant of these critiques – has been authored by the Hindu nationalists, who are driven by pride in what they consider the self-evident importance of Indian civilization, and shame at its past subjugation by Muslim and British invaders, and at its continuing weak response to security threats. The only way to resurrect the glory of India and to prevent the reoccurrence of humiliation, they argue, is via the cultivation of national strength, which requires a unified and muscular Hindu society.

At present, this vision has decidedly limited purchase on the Indian mind. This owes, in part, to a deeply ingrained cultural preference for diffusing conflict through accommodation. In addition, the heterogeneity of Indian society, and the fractious identity politics this generates, has thwarted the electoral prospects of the Hindu nationalists. Moreover, even if they are able to expand their share of the national vote, they face significant obstacles in executing their vision. When in power, they have tended to focus on symbolic policies instead of actually taking the steps necessary to promote national strength. Should they overcome this defect and commit themselves to the hard task of governance, they will still have to face the challenge posed by the steady weakening of the Indian state, which is increasingly characterized by corruption and inertia, and is unlikely to be able to act purposefully any time soon.

A third vision for India emerges from the country’s nascent strategic community, whose members take the view that military power is the best guarantor of peace and security. They argue India must develop a credible second-strike nuclear capability and a comprehensive array of conventional military forces, including the capacity to project force beyond the subcontinent. Thus far, this view has found little support amongst India’s political elite, who are generally uneducated about strategic affairs. As a result, there is an undeniable sense in which the operative mentality in strategic affairs has been one of ad-hocism. This pattern of behavior is likely to remain undisturbed for the foreseeable future, as the growth of coalition politics encourages the adoption of policies directed at the exigencies of competitive electoral politics. It can perhaps only be altered by the experience of mass suffering, which alone could produce a nationwide constituency for strategic planning.

A fourth vision of India’s place in the world has come from liberals, who argue that economic power, rather than moral prestige or military strength, ought to be India’s objective, since the interdependence fostered by globalization rewards pragmatism and makes violent conflict unprofitable. Should the liberal vision prevail, India’s external policies will, correspondingly, be directed primarily toward ensuring access to resources and markets. India’s formative experiences, as well as its steadily deepening social and economic links with the West in particular, will make it unwilling to use force to obtain these objectives. Instead, it will strongly favor the development of multilateral regimes to regulate international trade and politics. Furthermore, the populist character of India’s democracy and political culture, as well as its enormous developmental needs, make it likely that trade surpluses will be invested in social, rather than military, programs. A prosperous India, in this respect, will more likely resemble post-war Europe than either contemporary America or China.

It is not clear, however, that the liberal vision will easily prevail. The gradual embrace of the market economy, which began in 1991, promises to transform India into one of the three largest economies in the world. But serious challenges loom on the horizon. Refracted through the prism of identity politics, pent-up needs and desires have begun to produce an impatient and increasingly rapacious democratic politics. The political class that is emerging from this churn revels in a fiscally lethal competitive populism and a constitutionally lethal politicization of public institutions. The most immediate consequence of these trends has been a steady deterioration in the rule of law, which ultimately threatens economic stability.

It is unlikely that any one of the four visions outlined above will monopolize the Indian worldview in the 21st century. What matters instead therefore is their comparative influence. With the moral fervor of the past quickly fading, and neither Hindu nationalism nor strategic thinkers able to gain a foothold in the national imagination, it increasingly appears that India will prioritize its quest for prosperity. Such a development could have significant positive implications for the international system. It could satisfy India’s desire for recognition and create new constituencies for peace and stability in Asia and beyond, founded on the prospect of mutually beneficial trade and investment.

While the attainment of prosperity will greatly depend on India’s own efforts, it would be naïve to imagine that it will not also depend on America’s and China’s willingness to countenance the same. Any effort on their part to thwart India’s quest will likely set in motion a contrary dynamic, as calls to enhance India’s military power will grow louder – and be heeded more closely. Hence, if the liberal vision is to ultimately prevail, it will require willingness on the part of the leading powers of today to rewrite the usual ending.

Rahul Sagar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. The full version of this article, entitled “State of Mind: What Kind of Power Will India Become?” will be published by International Affairs in July 2009.

Central Asia: Power Plays

Graeme P Hern and Katya Palazzolo, July 2009

The World Today, Volume 65, Number 7

Download article here

Smaller states selling to the highest bidder; not a distant Cold War memory, rather a new reality in Central Asia. And for good measure, as he shakes hands on a new deal with Russia the president of Kyrgyzstan gives his people the chance to renew his power.

Stonebridge International and The Albright Group announced their merger


Stonebridge International and The Albright Group today announced their merger, creating the Albright Stonebridge Group, the premier global strategy firm helping clients navigate the intersection between business, finance, government and civil society in markets around the world.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former National Security Advisor Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger and former Senator Warren Rudman will lead the firm. Wendy R. Sherman and H.P. Goldfield will serve as Vice Chairs, and former Ambassador to Brazil Anthony S. Harrington will serve as CEO. Other principals are Suzanne A. George, James C. O’Brien and Michael J. Warren.

“We have created a firm with unmatched breadth and depth of talent, regional expertise and global networks,” said Secretary Albright. “Albright Stonebridge meets the growing demand for problem-solvers who deliver results. Our combined reach and capability make us the best team to deliver for companies and organizations in every region of the world.”

Mr. Berger said of the combination: “I am delighted that our two firms are joining forces. In this changing global economy, success for growing companies and organizations requires a sophisticated understanding of current developments in challenging markets. Together, we can provide our clients with the informed advice and assistance they need to find creative solutions to complex business and governmental issues.”
Albright Stonebridge works with businesses, associations and non-profits to help them assess and manage risk, seize opportunities, and solve commercial, political and regulatory challenges in global markets. The firm also provides clients with strategic advice, transaction support, crisis management, planning for corporate responsibility and citizenship, and analysis of privatization opportunities.

Based in Washington, D.C. the Albright Stonebridge Group will have local presence in New York, Brussels, Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi and Sao Paulo. The team of professionals includes a range of former senior officials from the U.S. and other countries, as well as experienced business executives.

The firm also advises Albright Capital Management, an emerging markets investment firm led by seasoned investment professionals. Albright Stonebridge will be a significant shareholder of Albright Capital Management, as well as of Civitas Group, the leading strategic advisory firm in homeland and national security.

Mumbai City team to take tips from Israel

Security issues: City team to take tips from Israel
11 Jul 2009, 0135 hrs IST, Prafulla Marpakwar , TNN
Times Of India

MUMBAI: Post-26/11, chief minister Ashok Chavan is dispatching a high-level team of officials led by additional chief secretary (home) Chandra
Iyengar to study the security model by Israel, which has witnessed the intense wave of terror since the year 2000.

Besides Iyengar, additional director general P K Jain, Mumbai police commissioner D Sivanandan, deputy commissioner S T Tamboli, naxal infested Gadchiroli superintendent of police Rajesh Pradhan and the newly formed force-I deputy inspector general K Jagannathan will be on a week-long visit to Israel from Saturday.

In the recent past, no other country, except Israel has seen intense wave of terror in the form of suicide bombings. Since the year 2000, a record number of 1000 innocent persons were killed in terrorist attacks. "Post terrorist attacks, the Israel administration has successfully built up its security force. Besides procuring the most modern equipment, it has provided specialised training to its officials. Our aim is to study the security plan developed by Israel and examine if we can implement in Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai,'' a senior official told TOI.

The official said, the delegation will particularly study the safe city model developed by Israel and effective use of electronic gadgets meant for protecting sensitive installations and VVIPs. "By and large, Israel has successfully stopped the entry of terrorists from the neighbouring countries,'' the official said.

The official justified the huge cost of modernisation to protect innocent lives and properties. "In terrorists attack, besides our police men, a large number of civilians were killed and huge property was also damaged. In addition, we have not taken into account the loss of business. According to rough estimated, the loss of revenue, business and property was more than Rs 5,000 crore in the terrorist attack on Mumbai,'' he said.

On the compensation for the victims, the official said, on an average, the government is paying nearly Rs 1 crore to the relatives of the police officials killed in action. "Under such circumstances, if we spend more on security, we will be able to save the lives of our officials,'' the official said.

US,Africa and Africom

Foreign policy challenges for UPA 2.0



With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh forming a second-successive government at the head of the UPA coalition in May, Pragati asked several leading Indian experts what, in their opinions, were the top foreign policy challenges and priorities for the new government.

Dhruva Jaishankar

What India’s foremost experts say:

WITH PRIME Minister Manmohan Singh forming a second-successive government at the head of the UPA coalition in May, Pragati asked several leading Indian experts what, in their opinions, were the top foreign policy challenges and priorities for the new government.

C Raja Mohan

Many of India’s national security and foreign policy priorities come together in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) region. These include the unmet challenge of terrorism with links across our Western borders, the management of the bitter legacy of Partition with Pakistan, the projection of India’s power beyond its immediate borders in Afghanistan and the consolidation of India’s most important great power relationship with the United States. Therefore getting the policy towards our north-western neighbourhood is likely to be at the top of the new government’s agenda.

The post-Mumbai pessimism about engaging Pakistan and the expectation of a less-than-warm relationship with the Obama administration seemed to have lent a dark edge to the foreign policy calculus of Dr Manmohan Singh in the second term.

I would in fact make the case for a more optimistic and even ‘opportunistic’ approach to the Af-Pak region. Whatever the pessimists might say about Pakistan and Mr Obama, the current crisis in the region between the Indus and the Hindu Kush is too valuable to be wasted. India must make a bold attempt at using American weight and its current extraordinary interest in the Af-Pak region to produce long-term structural change within Pakistan and in the relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad. This will require shedding many of the shibboleths that currently guide India’s policies towards Islamabad, Kabul and Washington.

C Raja Mohan is professor of South Asian Studies at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

VR Raghavan

The election results have ushered the Indian state and its citizens into a period of political stability. The government has the opportunity to boldly go forward on definitive measures in the security and strategic arena. The first need is to put into place a more responsive, effective and integrated internal security arrangement to make the country safe from catastrophic terrorist acts like 9/11 or 26/11. This requires improved centre-state co-ordination and far superior intelligence management than hitherto.

The second priority should be to build a national consensus on India’s international nuclear disarmament commitment. What would India’s position be if the United States and China ratify the CTBT? In my view India ratifying the CTBT, after the U.S. and China, will attain two purposes. It will enhance its role as a responsible nuclear weapons state. It will also encourage Pakistan to do so.

Third, the government should push for building the foundations of economic and social growth. Infrastructure development and widening the reach of school education are the key to national power in the long run.

Lt Gen (Retd) V R Raghavan is director of the Delhi Policy Group and president of the Centre for Security Analysis.

B Raman

Our relations with Pakistan should have the topmost priority because of their impact on our internal security situation. How can we convince Pakistan that it will never be able to change the status quo in Jammu & Kashmir by using terrorism against us?

Our relations with China should have the second priority. Military confrontation with China would be unwise, but we should strengthen our economic relations hoping that the economic linkages and the Chinese interest in sustaining those linkages would moderate its present rigid stand in Arunachal Pradesh. Political power flows out of economic power, and we are at least a decade behind China in our economic power.

Our relations with the United States should have the third priority. The Obama administration’s only interest is in preventing us from retaliating against Pakistan for its acts of terrorism in Indian territory. This policy will act as a speed-breaker for further strengthening India-US relations. Despite this, we should be open to new ideas coming from the United States, provided those ideas are not detrimental to our national interests.

Our relations with Russia should have the fourth priority. Russia might be able to moderate Chinese policies towards India and is still a dependable supplier of arms, ammunition and nuclear power stations.

Our relations with Bangladesh and Nepal are important because they too have an impact on our internal security. Now that the LTTE is gone, we should get rid of our inhibitions in playing a more active role in Sri Lanka as we were doing before 1991.

Internal security management has not received the attention it deserves. Our persisting internal security problems in different parts of the country are acting as a drag on our emergence as a major economic power. We have many weaknesses, including intelligence collection and assessment, rapid intervention capability, and retaliatory self-defence capability. Finally, the preparation of a long-term perspective plan for the modernisation of our armed forces needs attention, as well as the development of military-related technologies and production capabilities.

B. Raman is director of the Institute for Topical Studies in Chennai.

K Subrahmanyam

India’s top priority is to mobilise international public opinion to combat jihadism as an ideology as was done with respect to Nazism. Support from Muslim populations, especially in non-Arab Muslim countries and cooperation with the United States, European Union and Russia is absolutely essential. The final aim is to de-jihadise the world, just as it was de-Nazified.

On regional issues, India must pay a lot of attention to Bangladesh and improve relations, security and economic cooperation to the maximum extent. It must play the pre-eminent role in the relief and rehabilitation of Tamils, and promote economic integration with Sri Lanka. A new treaty with Nepal should be negotiated. Faster economic growth of Nepal and job creation there should be our priority and friendly external powers may be encouraged to get involved there.

Particular attention needs to be paid to relations with United States, with the projection of soft power. We must develop a basic strategy of parallel defence R&D and manufacturing cooperation with Russia and the United States, as well as Israel.

Finally, success in foreign policy depends on success in economic policy. Our diplomats should understand this. The Foreign Service should give up its generalist orientation and start developing expertise on specific areas and subjects. There should be far greater co-ordination between the ministries of external affairs, commerce, defence and science & technology.

K Subrahmanyam was formerly director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses and convener of the National Security Advisory Board.

Mohan Guruswamy

India’s foremost priority should be to ensure international economic stability and work to reduce the usage of the US dollar as the preferred international reserve currency. The United States’ profligacy is uncurtailable and its appetite for debt undiminished. India can contribute by establishing bilateral currency trading relations with major trading partners. India must also support the enlargement of the Special Drawing Rights pool with the International Monetary Fund.

India also needs to engage China more seriously, both as a regional threat and a partner on international forums. It must also concern itself more seriously with its growing economic and political asymmetry with China. China’s hostility towards India does not seem to be diminishing and India must support cost-imposing opportunities that come its way. China cannot be allowed to indefinitely subsidise the sundry consumption appetites of US and Western consumers and hurt other low-cost production countries by taking advantage of its totalitarian regime.

India also needs to renew its military relations with Russia as the collapse of the Russian arms industry gives the United States and NATO a near monopoly on hi-tech arms such as fifth-generation aircraft. India must also reconsider its military commerce with Israel, given the costs it imposes on its relations with Muslim nations and in dealing with its own Muslim population. A reduced focus on the United States and compliance with its domestic laws will only enhance the quality of its relations with that country in the long run. India must not forget that along with China and the United States it will be one of the big three world economies in the next two decades or so. It must now learn to carry a big stick and walk, and even talk, softly.

Mohan Guruswamy is chairman and founder of the Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Swaminathan S Ankelsaria Aiyar

The major foreign policy issue is undoubtedly security in the light of Islamic militancy. This has long been an issue in Kashmir, has now spread to the rest of the country. It has the potential to polarise Indian Muslims in ways that could seriously threaten internal stability. India on its own can do nothing to check the menace that threatens to take over Pakistan and Afghanistan. What can it do?

First, it needs to remain calm even in the face of fresh terrorist incidents like 26/11, and resist the temptation to bomb camps in Pakistan. Such bombing will do little damage and may even increase recruitment into the jihadi cause. Rather, India should offer military force reductions on the Pakistan border to enable the Pakistan army to move forces to the trouble areas bordering Afghanistan.

The Pakistani state is now threatened by the Frankenstein’s monsters that it once incubated, and is reluctantly acting against them. India’s strategic aim must be to enable Pakistani liberals to beat jihadis in the war for hearts and minds. This will have to be done subtly, so that Pakistani liberals are not “tainted” in domestic debates as Indian stooges.

Swaminathan S. Ankelsaria Aiyar is Research Fellow at the Cato Institute and consulting editor of The Economic Times.

Bharat Karnad

Four issues, I hope, will be foreign policy priorities for the Indian government. First, it must firm up opposition to signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or negotiating a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. The nuclear deal will be leveraged by the U.S. to get India to sign these, but neither treaty is in India’s long-term interests, mainly because India’s thermonuclear weapon designs are unproven and unreliable and will require physical testing. The argument should be that given the American reluctance to accept time-bound and full disarmament, countries such as India cannot afford to remain vulnerable.

Secondly, Pakistan has to be helped to right itself. India’s position that it will begin talking only after Islamabad starts “dismantling the terrorist infrastructure” is to presume that Pakistan government is in control of Pakistan. Composite talks ought to get rapidly underway and the lesser issues, like Sir Creek, formally resolved.

Thirdly, before China or some other extra-regional power intervenes in Sri Lanka, India ought to take the lead in hammering out an enduring “federal” solution for the country, with Tamils given some measure of autonomy in the north and north-east, and sufficient representation in Colombo. Economic and reconstruction aid and massive military assistance should be ample and forthcoming.
Finally, strategic co-operation with Indian Ocean littoral countries and with countries on China’s periphery should be enhanced, and “free market” agreements should be extended. This will geopolitically hedge in China and limit its political options and military reach.

Bharat Karnad is Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research.

P R Chari

The major security challenges before India arise from its traditional concerns—Pakistan and China. The threat from Pakistan is multi-dimensional, including conventional conflict, sub-conventional conflict, cross-border insurgency and terrorism. There is, moreover, the danger of Pakistan losing control over its nuclear weapons and breaking up due to its inner contradictions, which has security implications for India.

A conventional conflict with China is a remote possibility, but it could instigate subversion within its vulnerable north-eastern states. More subtly, China is showcasing its development of Tibet, which contrasts vividly with what India’s non-development of its border regions. China has not abjured its traditional policy of spreading disaffection among India’s South Asian neighbours to box India within the confines of the subcontinent. The most important foreign policy issue before India will be crafting its relationship with the United States, while seeking meaningful relations with other power centres in the world like Russia, Japan and the European community.

India needs American support to meet the security challenges posed by Pakistan and China. India needs to craft its foreign policy, therefore, to respect American sensitivities on issues like climate change, but also join US efforts to stabilise Asia.

P R Chari is Research Professor at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

July 09, 2009

Brown backs India's bid for UNSC

Brown backs India's bid for UNSC

L'Aquila (Italy), July 8


India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council got a boost when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressed his support for New Delhi's demand to restructure the UNSC.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a bilateral meeting with his British counterpart in this Italian mountain town. The meeting lasted 45 minutes. Singh met Brown on the sidelines of the G-8 summit.

Sources said the two leaders discussed issues of bilateral and multilateral importance, besides the areas where they could cooperate mutually, including terrorism. They confirmed that both the leaders discussed the current global economic meltdown.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett had said yesterday, "India has become such an important and central part of the global infrastructure that just about everything that Britain wants to achieve internationally requires us to work in partnership with India."

India has again broached the subject of UNSC's expansion at the G-8 summit this year.

2. France backs India's bid for permanent UNSC seat

PTI | New Delhi


Strongly backing India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, France today said this was absolutely necessary if the global body wanted to remain a "legitimate" place for handling peace and security crisis.

Noting that the last reforms to the Security Council were made in the sixties, Ambassador of France to India Jerome Bonnafont said "if we want the Security Council to remain a legitimate place for handling peace and security crisis in the world, it is absolutely
necessary to have India as well as couple of others as permanent members."

He said the reform was also imperative "in order to avoid unilateralism and to create an environment where countries sit together to address the threats to peace".

However, the French Ambassador here said it was a very difficult reform which needs two-third majority of the UN Assembly besides the five permanent members and "there is a group of countries" who do not want this reform but France was determined to push for it.

India has been making a strong pitch for UNSC reforms and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, currently attending the G-8 Summit in Rome, maintain that "the UNSC has not changed at all and its present structure poses serious problems of legitimacy."

"The system of two-tiered membership, which gives a veto to the five permanent members i.e. The nations that emerged victorious after the Second World War, is clearly anachronistic," Singh said in an article in the compendium on contemporary global issues brought out for the Summit

Expand The Circle
10 Jul 2009, 0000 hrs IST


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been doing some plain speaking lately. He did not mince words when he met Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari in Russia last month. Now, he has firmly stated India's case for inclusion in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a permanent member and for a greater role in international economic groupings on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Italy. Singh has pointed out the obvious by saying that the current configuration of the UNSC is outdated. His call to the G8 countries to be more cohesive and inclusive also has merit.

The structure of most influential international forums be it the UN, IMF or the World Bank does not reflect an altered world order, where emerging economies wield significant clout. China, India, Brazil and South Africa, for instance, are no longer marginal players on the global economic and political stage.

At a time when the world is reeling under a severe economic crisis, it is India and China that are tipped to drive the global economic recovery. In fact, the IMF and World Bank have both upped the growth estimates for these countries recently. In such a scenario, it is hard to argue against a greater role and representation for these countries at the global high table.

However, there are countries which continue to oppose the expansion of the G8 and the UNSC. Pakistan and China do not want India seated permanently at the UNSC, though reports from Italy suggest that China might be softening its stance. Japan resists the expansion of the G8 and sees itself as a better Asian candidate for a UNSC seat. This is where Indian diplomacy will have to deliver, by persuading critics to see the benefits of including India.

The UK has unequivocally backed India's UNSC aspirations. Meanwhile, France is keen that the G8 is expanded to G13, by making India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico full members. The US has so far been ambivalent towards India's candidature. New Delhi must work closely with Washington to press its case.

The need to restructure the international financial architecture is greater now than ever. As this current financial crisis has shown, emerging economies have a crucial role to play in stabilising the global marketplace, and it is only sensible that they have a greater say in bodies such as the IMF and World Bank. Simultaneously, the global political framework must be revisited. Responsible powers like India, Brazil and South Africa can contribute greatly to effective decision-making, be it on climate change, global security or economic issues. It's time for present members to throw open the doors of their anachronistic clubs

Baseless expenditures

By Chalmers Johnson


The United States empire of bases - at US$102 billion a year already the world's costliest military enterprise - just got a good deal more expensive. As a start, on May 27, the State Department announced it will build a new "embassy" in Islamabad, Pakistan, which at $736 million will be the second priciest ever constructed. It will cost only $4 million less, if cost overruns don't occur, than the Vatican-City-sized one the George W Bush administration put up in Baghdad.

The State Department was also reportedly planning to buy the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel (complete with pool) in Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan, to use as a consulate and living quarters for its staff there.

Unfortunately for such plans, on June 9, Pakistani militants
rammed a truck filled with explosives into the hotel, killing 18 occupants, wounding at least 55, and collapsing one entire wing of the structure. There has been no news since about whether the State Department is still going ahead with the purchase.

Whatever the costs turn out to be, they will not be included in the US's already bloated military budget, even though none of these structures is designed to be a true embassy - a place, that is, where local people come for visas and American officials represent the commercial and diplomatic interests of their country. Instead these so-called embassies will actually be walled compounds, akin to medieval fortresses, where American spies, soldiers, intelligence officials, and diplomats try to keep an eye on hostile populations in a region at war. One can predict with certainty that they will house a large contingent of marines and include roof-top helicopter pads for quick get-aways.

While it may be comforting for State Department employees working in dangerous places to know that they have some physical protection, it must also be obvious to them, as well as the people in the countries where they serve, that they will now be visibly part of an in-your-face American imperial presence. We shouldn't be surprised when militants attacking the US find one of our base-like embassies, however heavily guarded, an easier target than a large military base.

And what is being done about those military bases, which now number close to 800 across the globe in other people's countries? Even as Congress and the Obama administration wrangle over the cost of bank bailouts, a new health plan, pollution controls, and other much needed domestic expenditures, no one suggests that closing some of these unpopular, expensive imperial enclaves might be a good way to save some money.

Instead, they are evidently about to become even more expensive. On June 23, Kyrgyzstan, the former Central Asian Soviet Republic which, back in February 2009, announced that it was going to kick the US military out of Manas Air Base (used since 2001 as a staging area for the Afghan War), said it has been persuaded to let the US stay.

But here's the catch: In return for doing that favor, the annual rent Washington pays for use of the base will more than triple from $17.4 million to $60 million, with millions more to go into promised improvements in airport facilities and other financial sweeteners. All this because the Obama administration, having committed itself to a widening war in the region, is convinced it needs this base to store and trans-ship supplies to Afghanistan.

I suspect this development will not go unnoticed in other countries where Americans are also unpopular occupiers. For example, the Ecuadorians have told the US to leave Manta Air Base by this November. Of course, they have their pride to consider, not to speak of the fact that they don't like American soldiers mucking about in Colombia and Peru. Nonetheless, they could probably use a spot more money.

And what about the Japanese who, for more than 57 years, have been paying big bucks to host American bases on their soil? Recently, they reached a deal with Washington to move some American Marines from bases on Okinawa to the US territory of Guam. In the process, however, they were forced to shell out not only for the cost of the Marines' removal, but also to build new facilities on Guam for their arrival. Is it possible that they will now take a cue from the government of Kyrgyzstan and just tell the Americans to get out and pay for it themselves?

Or might they at least stop funding the same American military personnel who have raped Japanese women and make life miserable for whoever lives near the 38 US bases on Okinawa. This is certainly what the Okinawans have been hoping and praying for ever since the US arrived in 1945.

In fact, I have a suggestion for other countries that are getting a bit weary of the American military presence on their soil: cash in now, before it's too late. Either up the ante or tell the Americans to go home. I encourage this behavior because I'm convinced that the US empire of bases will soon enough bankrupt our country, and so - on the analogy of a financial bubble or a pyramid scheme - if you're an investor, it's better to get your money out while you still can.

This is, of course, something that has occurred to the Chinese and other financiers of the American national debt. Only they're cashing in quietly and slowly in order not to tank the dollar while they're still holding onto such a bundle of them. Make no mistake, though: whether the US is being bled rapidly or slowly, it is bleeding; and hanging onto its military empire and all the bases that go with it will ultimately spell the end of the United States as we know it.

Count on this, future generations of Americans traveling abroad decades from now won't find the landscape dotted with near-billion-dollar "embassies".

Chalmers Johnson is the author of The Blowback Trilogy - Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis (2006), all published by Metropolitan Books. Check out a TomDispatch audio interview with Johnson about the US empire of bases by clicking here.

(Copyright 2009 Chalmers Johnson.)

Nepal plunges into politics of languages

By Dhruba Adhikary


KATHMANDU - The issue of official language(s) has never been as sensitive in Nepal as it is now. While the interim statute maintains the continuity of Nepali, in Devnagari script, as the language of official communication, some members of the 601-strong Constituent Assembly want to add 11 more languages to the list, giving them the same status, while others are advocating for the addition of Hindi.

Otherwise, the members will resort to writing "notes of dissent", unwittingly using an English expression to press their point. One contention is that since Nepal is now a republic, it should adopt a language policy to de-link the country's monarchical past.

If all 11 languages gain equal status with Nepali as demanded, that will still leave Nepal's 60 other languages and dialects, which
are spoken by just 1% of the population in a country of over 25 million people, off the list.

But does Nepal have the required resource-base to have a dozen official languages? Yes, it is possible, said commentator Shyam Shrestha. Since democracy requires equality, the state should be prepared to pay a concomitant price for it, he said in a recent newspaper article.

Countries often cited for their liberal language policies are Switzerland, Canada, India and South Africa. Post-apartheid South Africa, for example, has accepted 11 languages to address some ethnic communities. But with the passage of time, English, although fifth on the list, has emerged as the most preferred language there. Efforts to promote Afrikaans as the first language have not produced encouraging results.

Nepali, an offspring of Sanskrit, is the mother tongue of 49% of the population and has been in use for official communication for centuries. In Nepal's neighborhood and beyond it is also called Gorkhali, a name derived to identify it with the world famous Gurkha soldiers. It is a language with an enriched vocabulary, grammar and literature. Besides being the official language, Nepali has provided a link between and among communities speaking local languages and dialects.

It is understood and spoken, with local accents and variations, in all 4,000-plus villages and towns that make up the present-day Nepal. No other language has this level of outreach.

Credit - or discredit - for having agitated the public to protest the perceived domination of the Nepali language goes to the Maoists. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by Prachanda, whose nine-month premiership ended in May, has found it expedient to extend support to those who insist that the new constitution must recognize all 12 languages as official ones.

Assembly member Barshaman Pun, affiliated to the Maoists, told the panel that all remaining languages should be included in the annex of the statute. He also wanted the words "people's war" to be included in the preamble of the new statute so that the armed Maoist insurgency (1996-2006) will be remembered by future generations. Members belonging to other parties insisted that the period be described only as an "armed conflict".

In their initial effort to mobilize masses in favor of the "people's war", as they chose to call it, Maoist leaders issued slogans and promises that they would provide autonomous states "with the right to self-determination" on the basis of ethnicity, language or religion. Scholars and analysts see this as the main contradiction in the Maoist scheme.

If they were true communists they would have made it a class war - a battle to seek justice for poor and downtrodden people, irrespective of ethnicity or caste. They found it useful to go after catchy slogans without anticipating that their moves would eventually create divisions in society and threaten the integrity of Nepal as a nation state.

The persistent demand to turn Nepal's entire flatland, called Terai, in the south bordering India into one state is being backed by over two-dozen armed groups. There is a credible threat of separation should the current demand for statehood not be met.

Some of the Maoist leaders do accept, in private conversation, that they made some serious mistakes along the way but now find no agreeable way to rectify them. In the absence of a face-saving device, they don't want to backtrack from their declared objectives in public. On the day Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed in Sri Lanka this year, Prachanda himself publicly alluded to the case of Sri Lanka, where the Tamil-speaking community fought a protracted civil war that ended in tragedy.

At the start, Maoists did not realize that they were opening a Pandora's box. And they also did not learn lessons from events in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere. Now they are in the midst of a host of issues for which there is no durable or sustainable solution. The language issue is one such example. Of the 72 languages that are spoken in the country, some have numerous sub-groups.

Some scholars of the Rai community in the eastern hills, for instance, have discovered 28 variations of the Rai language, with speakers of each group wanting their dialect to receive identical treatment from the state. The Sherpa community, which provides high-altitude guides to mountaineers attempting to scale Everest and other Himalayan peaks, is uncomfortable over purported moves to marginalize their language to bestow a higher status to a language used by recent immigrants from Tibet. But people living in the foothills of snow-capped mountains in the northern belt have not lost their cool, and are not making much noise.

The situation is quite different in the southern belt, which shares porous borders with India's Bihar state - known for lawlessness - and Uttar Pradesh state, with a large population, among others. Small political parties, with loaded regional overtones, suddenly felt strong enough to demand that Hindi, spoken mainly in northern India and popularized by India's Mumbai-based film industry, be given the status enjoyed by Nepali. This happened on the eve of the national polls of April 2008 that were held to elect the constituent assembly.

Existing regional parties were emboldened with the sudden emergence of new parties, mainly consisting of disgruntled leaders from the mainstream national parties such as Nepali Congress and the Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), which is considered a moderate communist group when compared with the Maoists.

Media reports claimed the new political parties were floated - ahead of the crucial election - with moral and material support from the south; but official India promptly denied such reports and allegations.

Those who have appeared vocal in the constituent assembly debate belong to these newly formed parties, and have inserted the dissenting opinion with the demand that Hindi too be made an official language like Nepali. Their main argument is that since most Nepalis watch Hindi films and enjoy listening to Hindi music there should not be any hesitation to accept it as an official Nepal language.

Upendra Yadav, head of the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum, a Terai-based party, said that given neighboring India already included Nepali in its list of recognized languages, Nepal needs to reciprocate the gesture by accepting Hindi on this side of the border. But he denied charges that he was speaking as a spokesman for India.

"English is the language of science and development," said Birendra Yadav, a lawyer based in the border town of Birgunj. In a written comment published recently he argued that should the government decide to make additional investments in language it must do so to enhance younger people's accessibility to English, not Hindi. India itself has flourished because of the use of English.
Ram Chandra Jha, a former minister representing the moderate Unified Marxist Leninist party, suspects that the idea to make Hindi a link language in Nepal could be a ploy to weaken the roots of the Maithili language on the Indian side. Maithili's status in Nepal is higher than in India. In other words, promoters of Hindi in India might have a hand in Nepal's campaign in order to preempt any identical demands on the Indian side of the border.

With this compelling argument, Jha and his fellow UML leaders have convinced the party's central leadership that Nepali alone should be given official language status in Nepal. Nepali Congress, the other party among the three big parties, also holds the position that it is only Nepali that deserves to be the lingua franca of Nepal.

Language experts do not consider Hindi's case as a tenable proposition as the percentage of the population using Hindi as its mother tongue is 0.47%. To enjoy Hindi movies and music, which is done even in America and Europe, cannot be a basis to accept it as a serious language of mass communication. Hindi, although given national language status in India, is not widely used. Television viewers have seen Indian Interior Minister P Chidambaram handling Hindi questions in English. English continues to be the language of Indian law courts.

If Hindi is accepted as an official language this would pose a direct threat to Terai's existing regional languages such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, Avadhi and Thaaru, they contend. In the view of Professor Madhav Prasad Pokharel of Tribhuwan University, to entertain the current advocacy being made for Hindi would spark the highly sensitive issue of nationalism. Languages, he said, need to be placed in four categories: mother tongues of all communities; the link language, which is Nepali; cultural languages such as Sanskrit, used by Hindus and Buddhists alike for religious rites and Arabic/Urdu which are essential for Muslims; and English.

All mother tongues deserve preservation, Nepali should be allowed to function as the official and link language, cultural languages must be inserted on the list of recognized languages and English be formally accepted as the language of international communication. There is no role or room for Hindi as it stands now.

Meanwhile, leaders of various ethnic communities appear to have realized that the Nepali language is one vital foundation to establish the collective identity of the diverse ethnic groups that make up Nepal.

Dhruba Adhikary is a Kathmandu-based journalist.

Mixed signals over Chinese missiles

By Peter J Brown


As defense analysts and experts in the United States, Japan and India digest the recent "Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat" report by the US Air Force (USAF) National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) - particularly any elements pertaining to China - important gaps or omissions are surfacing.

The bottom line is that these gaps, along with differences between the NASIC report [1] and a US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)-authored report on the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) released earlier this year, are making the overall US analysis of the situation unfolding in China involving missiles and military space matters increasingly hard to gauge.

An admission by the commander of the USAF Space Command
(AFSPC), General Robert Kehler, made in a written response to questions submitted to him during a Congressional sub-committee hearing in March and just recently published, underscores the fact that the US recognizes that it has to do a much better job when it comes to the broad topic of space intelligence.

"Several initiatives have been taken to address the need for more and better qualified space intelligence analysts. Recent billet additions at AFSPC, NASIC, DIA and CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] have taken place through internal reallocations and external over guidance approval. NSA [National Security Agency] has reprioritized for better space analysis and USSTRATCOM J2 [US Strategic Command - Intelligence] is reestablishing space analysis.

Overall analytic resources will remain insufficient, despite the improvement cited above, and will require active efforts to increase efficiency and collaboration. AFSPC is hosting an interagency forum to review/refine intelligence shortfalls and to seek interagency solutions," said General Kehler.

"The Defense Intelligence Space Threat Committee under NASIC leadership has been established to oversee and coordinate a wide variety of complex space/ counterspace analytical activities. Space/counterspace intelligence requirements have been revaluated and are now being reprioritized and rewritten to more clearly focus the intelligence community."

As the world adjusts to China's overt display of anti-satellite (ASAT) warfare in 2007 - satellites like the inactive Chinese weather satellite it destroyed that year represent a critical component in almost all ballistic missile defense systems - and as the line which separates conventional ballistic missiles from small satellite launchers becomes blurred due to advances in satellite design and complexity, the task at hand does not get any easier. Witness the launches undertaken since last year both by Iran and North Korea, for example. China's decision to use its latest manned space flight in 2008 as an opportunity to launch a small satellite from the manned spacecraft may not fall into the same category as these launches, but it does not make matters less complicated either.

"Training is also a critical element of USAF efforts to address adversary space threat. AFSPC recently expanded the Space Professional Development Program to include the USAF intelligence community. The National Space Security Institute has begun a comprehensive review and expansion of AFSPC's space professional training courses in close cooperation with the (AFSPC Directorate of Intelligence) and the intelligence community at large," said General Kehler.

His response speaks to the process and not the results. Still, it is quite unlikely that a Chinese military commander would make any admission in public view.

Dr Gregory Kulacki, China project manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, identifies the lack of analysts with meaningful proficiency in the Chinese language as one of the most important gaps in US space intelligence capabilities.

"The mistaken characterization by US experts of the BX-1 satellite released from the Shenzhou VII [last year] is a good example of how insufficient or non-existent language skills can weaken analysis," said Dr Kulacki. "The BX-1 mission was highly publicized and discussed in detail in the Chinese media, but because [many US experts were] unable to understand that material, [they] created yet another tempest in a teapot over the BX-1."

In Asia, important gaps in the NASIC report have generated questions in India in particular. Specifically, two important omissions involve China's activities in Tibet, and a reorganization of its missile facilities at a base near Tibet that started two years ago, according to Dr Rajeswari Rajagopalan, senior fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

"China's positioning of its intermediate range missiles such as DF-4s and DF-21s in Tibet, and reports which suggest that China could also deploy DF-31 and DF-31A ICBMs at bases such as Delingha near Tibet, raise serious concerns. Both the DF-31s and DF-31As are road mobile and use solid propellant engines. Placing medium-range ballistic missiles in Delingha which can hit targets approximately 2,500 kilometers away can put all of northern India at risk, including New Delhi," said Dr Rajeswari Rajagopalan, senior fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

On page 3 of the NASIC report, it is reported that, "China has the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world ... China's ballistic missile force is expanding in both size and types of missiles. New theater missiles continue to be deployed in the vicinity of Taiwan, while the ICBM force is adding the CSS-10 Mod 1 (DF-31) and CSS-10 Mod 2 (DF-31A) ICBMs. The new JL-2 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) is also under development. Future ICBMs probably will include some with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), and the number of ICBM nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States could expand to well over 100 within the next 15 years."

Richard Fisher, a Chinese military expert at the Washington DC-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, told the Washington Times in early June that, "in just over two months, US intelligence community estimates have China's ICBMs increasing by 25%. That's a formidable rate of growth." [2]

For Fisher, this sharp increase signals a need for more in-depth analysis, and for more players to become involved.

"This year's dual assessments have been produced by two US intelligence community teams: the DIA is largely responsible for the annual PLA report to the Congress [released in March], and a USAF team produces the NASIC report," said Fisher. "We should not be surprised that they produce differing results, but the fact that we have benefited slightly in terms of new ICBM number assessments to me proves that there should be much more competition in the production of such assessments. Democracies require more facts, not less."

Rahul Bhonsle, a South Asian defense analyst based in New Delhi, finds Fisher's statement quite alarming.

"However, this does not denote the trends of developments in the past which have been more conservative. For China to suddenly attain a leap does not appear to be practical. My reading is that China is more focused today on improving its internal information and logistics management systems so as to enhance response times rather than develop and or induct additional systems," said Bhonsle.

Otherwise, despite the fact that the NASIC report specifically mentions Taiwan in three different sections, he is not concerned about the omission of China's activities in or near Tibet in the report which, "appears to be more of a capability-based rather than a threat-based analysis".

"There are some indications of the Chinese preparing some advanced launch positions in Tibet which is of concern to us. These locations remain unidentified so far, so building up information on these is a priority," said Bhonsle.

Brian Weeden, technical advisor at the Colorado-based Secure World Foundation, sees the NASIC assessment as warranting further clarification. He describes what is underway in China as "actually fairly slow growth compared to what the US and Soviet Union did starting in the 1950s".

"Right now, it is clear that China has no intention of matching the US or Russia warhead for warhead, and it has no plans to achieve the same level of overwhelming nuclear force. They are still sticking to the philosophy of limited deterrence, ie having just enough," said Weeden. "And if having 'just enough' is your goal, then it is obvious that you would want to have those few nuclear weapons as survivable as possible. Road-mobile ICBMs and SLBMs are exactly that."

Weeden finds that talk about percentages is a way to overemphasize or perhaps even conceal real numbers.

"Going from 10 to 20 nuclear weapons is a 100% increase, but so is going from 1,000 to 2,000, and adding 1,000 more warheads is much more of a problem than adding 10," said Weeden.

According to Rajagopalan, China's growing missile capabilities - both in actual numbers and the types of missiles - and the proliferation of those missiles have triggered regional insecurity and resulted in a spiraling arms race in the region.

"If China increases the number of ICBMs from even 20 to 25 in a year, this small growth is something that India, US, and Japan might watch out for. It may not have reached any dangerous proportion, but this is something that needs close monitoring," said Rajagopalan. "Development of these missile forces and the ever-growing submarine force indicate that China prefers to implement an area denial strategy. Such a capability will allow

China to create a buffer zone around its land and maritime periphery which in turn will increase the difficulty for others to operate close to the Chinese mainland."

Weeden is also eager to examine several recent projections of Chinese submarine-launched nuclear warheads in greater detail, too.

"Recent predictions that China could have upwards of 400 sub-launched nuclear warheads within the decade are absurd. The newest class of [Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear] SSBN (JL-2) has 12 launch tubes, each of which can hold a missile with one warhead. There is no way that China is going to be able to roll out 30-plus SSBNs in a decade."

For Hideaki Kaneda, a retired Vice Admiral and former Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commander, who is the director of the Okazaki Institute in Tokyo, the debate over numbers does not tell the whole story. While he agrees with Fisher's assessment, he finds China's persistent lack of transparency involving its overall nuclear strategy, not to mention its entire military strategy, unsettling given the steady increase in Chinese defense budgets since the mid-1980's. China's focus on ASATs, and other countermeasures intended to disable otherwise effective missile defense systems, and China's efforts to secure its position as a third nuclear superpower, while "anticipating the trend of global nuclear reduction" are important developments that Kaneda elects to highlight.

When asked which specific Chinese missile-related trends disturb him, he responded simply - "Every trend."

"The Japanese government will review its "National Defense Program Guidelines [NDPG]" by the end of this year. I hope the revised NDPG would effectively address all my concerns as expressed here. Though it depends on which parties [achieve] political dominance in the next general election," said Kaneda.

Certainly, the recent debate over Japan's possible adoption of a preemptive strike capability as a reasonable measure has cast the emerging NDPG in a different light.

Kaneda would not comment on how open he felt the Japanese people are today to his point of view. A longtime and somewhat hawkish advocate for a greater emphasis on ballistic missile defense (BMD) in Japan, he also would not comment on the BMD efforts now underway in Japan involving all the existing branches of the JSDF. He also did not comment on whether or not he would prefer to consolidate BMD developmental and testing activities under one command or under a single agency in a manner similar to what is now in place in the US under the Missile Defense Agency.

No matter how you interpret the numbers or what upward curve you select, Fisher finds them disturbing.

"PLA nuclear missile numbers are growing to a point to which we can drop this notion they have a 'minimum' nuclear deterrent force. An early nuclear missile force in excess of 120 is plausible, and they could be divided roughly evenly between land and sea-based platforms," said Fisher. "This means that all PLA nuclear missiles will be harder to find, and that China will become increasingly aggressive toward the US and other navies operating in the South China Sea, the best place for their SSBN operations."

As for the PLA Navy's (PLAN) development of Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) capabilities, Weeden emphasizes that the real story is not what PLAN is doing, but what the US Navy is not doing.

"The Chinese are not doing anything new with ASBMs. The concept dates back to 1955 and was pioneered by the US. The main issue is that the US Navy has not really been paying attention to the threat and is not really prepared to defend against it," said Weeden. "There are multiple technologies that can defend against it, but right now the navy is not really tackling it seriously."

At the same time, Weeden cautions that any description of China's missiles as "being technologically advanced is true when compared to the likes of Iran and North Korea, but China's ICBMs and SLBMs are still decades behind that of the US, Russia, France, and Great Britain".

"China's sole SSBN has never done a deterrence patrol. China has still yet to MIRV any of its nuclear delivery vehicles, something that the other powers did a long time ago. The significance of MIRVing cannot be understated," said Weeden.

"In the NASIC report, [it states] that 'the number of ICBM nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States could expand to well over 100 within the next 15 years'. So the growth is 'considerable' compared to how many warheads China has capable of reaching the US now, but negligible compared to what Russia already has deployed and historically had deployed."

Fisher, on the other hand, wants readers to understand that the number of Chinese nuclear missile warheads could grow more quickly than has been suggested by recent US open or unclassified intelligence reports.

"My sources suggest the DF-5A already carries up to six warheads, and that future versions of the DF-31A and JL-2 could carry three to four warheads. If true, then it is plausible to consider future PLA nuclear warhead counts that reach 500, again, no longer a 'minimum' force," said Fisher.

Fisher like Kaneda wants to firmly establish the links between Chinese ASAT and Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) components in a broader public debate about US and Japanese defense policies.

"Even though the PLA has conducted multiple ASAT tests leading up to its success in 2007, no unclassified [US intelligence] report since has commented on how the PLA ASAT program may also indicate the existence of a larger PLA ABM program. The PLA's first ABM program took place from 1963 to 1980. If you can shoot down a satellite then you can shoot down a missile warhead," said Fisher. "The potential for the PLA's future no-longer-minimum nuclear force also being defended by an ABM system should be causing the Obama Administration to halt its nuclear disarmament plans. Such may also help explain why the Russians do not want to go below 1,500 deployed warheads, a reduction that I think would still be foolish for Washington and Moscow."

According to Fisher, while experts in Japan, India and the US may disagree at times over what is going on and why, "Americans are quite fortunate to have access to any level of [US intelligence] assessment of the PLA, which is issued at a level of detail that would put any Chinese commentator in jail."

1. Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat - NASIC (June 2009)
2. Missile threats - Bill Gertz (June 4, 2009)

Peter J Brown is a freelance writer from Maine USA.

Bangladesh as a jehadi hub

A threat to Indian security and territorial integrity
By Shyam Khosla


Massive popular uprising against the Pakistani military junta that unleashed a reign of terror against Bangla-speaking people, including Hindus, and resisted the legitimate demand for power to Awami League that had won a majority of seats in the National Assembly did play a part in defeating the evil designs of the Pakistani rulers. However, the well-trained and professional Pakistani army with the help of entrenched Islamists would have brutally crushed the revolt but for the powerful political, moral and military support extended by India. A new nation committed to liberal democracy was born in 1971 but India's fond hope of having a friendly and secular democracy on our eastern borders soon vanished as an illusion. Gruesome assassination of the founding father of the nascent nation Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and most of his family in a military coup led to the ascendancy of jehadis. Fanatic elements that had betrayed the liberation struggle and were guilty of perpetrating crimes against humanity whipped anti-India and anti-Hindu frenzy. For more than two decades, the country was ruled by Islamists—General Zia, General Ershad and Begum Khaleda Zia. It was during that period that fundamentalism took roots and jehadi elements entrenched themselves in the political establishment, civil services, the army and the police. There was a rapid deterioration of the socio-political scenario in the country that witnessed anti-Hindu pogroms. Murders, rapes, arson and confiscation of Hindu property became the order of the day. Military dictators and BNP government encouraged Islamic fundamentalism through an enormous growth of madrasas all over the land.

Several jehadi outfits emerged with the active support from the ISI, which established its foothold in the political and administrative establishment. BNP came to power in alliance with Jammat-e-Islami—a rabidly radical Islamist outfit that had bitterly opposed the liberation movement. Rabble-rousing clerics like Maulana Abaidul Haq did the rest to Talibanise the country. Several radical groups linked to Taliban emerged as significant players in the religious, social and political fields. Sections of army, bureaucracy, intelligence services and intellectuals joined the radicals to convert Bangladesh into a hub of secessionist outfits operating in the north-eastern states of India. Top leaders of ULFA, Pravesh Barua and others, were provided shelter and support by the state machinery under successive governments. ISI played a major role in providing training and supplying arms and ammunition to the outlaws. Bangladesh became a safe haven for insurgent groups operating in Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland. Weapons smuggled from China and other unfriendly countries through Chittagong port were routinely transported to the north-eastern states through the porous Indo-Bangladesh border. Bangladesh-based notorious jehadi outfit—HUJI—spread terror in different parts of India by targeting sensitive cities and towns with bomb blasts.

Emergence of Bangladesh as a jehadi hub poses a serious threat to India's national security and territorial integrity. It is one of the most densely populated and demographically aggressive countries in the world. Low-populated areas in the north-eastern region that are victims of insurgencies for decades are critically vulnerable. The region can be unhooked from the rest of the country by choking or severed by force the Siliguri Corridor—popularly called the chicken neck—that is merely 10 to 20 km wide and 200 km long. Illegal migration of Bangladeshis over the decades has completely changed the demography of most of the districts bordering Bangladesh. UPA government legitimised the infiltration through the Illegal Migration (Determination by Tribunals) Act 1983 for sheer vote-bank politics. The Act was struck down by the Supreme Court of India, which in a landmark judgment called the massive infiltration an "invasion" on India. But New Delhi in connivance with the Congress government in Assam subverted the apex court's order by illegitimate and covert means. Illegal infiltration continues unabated as the Congress and the communist welcome with open arms "vote banks" from across the border.

Unfortunately, Bangladesh has been perpetually in a denial mode. Dhaka claimed there was "complete communal harmony" in the country and no untoward incident had taken place anywhere in the country even when Bangladesh's newspapers were full of reports about gory tales of arson, loot, rape and demolition and desecration of about 3000 Hindu temples all over the country in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya. On another occasion, the then Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia claimed in a televised broadcast that Bangladesh was a country of communal harmony even when it was rocked by Islamic frenzy and ethnic cleansing. Her foreign minister had on one occasion shamelessly claimed that there were no minorities in the country and as such all reports about atrocities against them were "imaginary". Only a few years ago, the interim military government of the country claimed there was not a single Bangladeshi infiltrator in India. New Delhi let these false claims go unchallenged under the garb of maintaining friendly relations with neighbouring countries, IK Gujral style.

Begum Hasina Sheikh's coming to power in Bangladesh with a massive majority is an indication of winds of change in the country for whose emergence India shed a lot of its blood. Prime Minister Hasina appears to be acutely aware of the threat she and her party face from jehadi elements. Her pronouncements and initiatives are music to Indian ears and democracy-loving people all over the world. She talked of working with neighbouring countries (read India) to chalk out effective measures to fight terrorism. Both Bangladesh and India would gain a lot if she is able to fulfil her promise of not allowing terror outfits to operate from Bangladeshi soil. Friendly and warm Indo-Bangladesh relations are in our mutual interest. While India needs willing cooperation from Bangladesh to strengthen its fight against terror, the very survival of Hasina's government, nay nation, will depend on how far she succeeds in containing fundamentalists.

Turmoil in China By: Gregory Gethard

FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, July 09, 2009


The violent street battles that flared in China's Xinjiang province this weekend, killing at least 156 people and injuring 828, represent only the latest eruption in the escalating tensions between China's Han ethnic majority and its restive Muslim minority.

Xinjiang is located in China's far northwest corner and its capital, Urumqi, lies 2,500 miles west of Beijing. Politically, too, the two regions are worlds apart, and the ongoing ethnic conflicts are a grim testament to China's internal divide. Xinjiang is home to approximately 8 million Turkic-speaking Uighur Muslims, the biggest minority group in the area. But while the Uighurs comprise a large part of Xinjiang's population, they represent only a tiny blip of China's population of over 1 billion. Over 90 percent of the country is made up of the Han ethnic group, whose members primarily speak Chinese dialects. The weekend violence reveals the underlying conflict between these two groups and highlights the domestic fragility of a country that looks increasingly self-assured on the global stage.

In some ways, the tensions between the Han and the Uighur are a testament to China's economic success. Due to China's robust growth over the past decade, money has poured into regions like Xinjiang, drawing growing numbers of Han Chinese. According to the Guardian, there has been an large influx of Han in recent years. In 2000, for instance, over 40 percent of the province's residents identified themselves as Han.

Times have been more difficult for the Uighur minority. Because of cultural and language barriers, many feel discriminated against when seeking jobs. The government is not especially sensitive to their plight. According to the BBC, no members of the Communist Party may worship in a mosque, and Islamic religious schools are heavily controlled by the state. The result, according to the BBC, is that there are fewer mosques in Xinjiang today than there were in 1949. Marginalized in their homeland, many Uighur's are moving to China's east in search of opportunity.

Therein lie the roots of China's culture clash. Last April, while most eyes were on the uprising in Tibet, Uighurs took to the streets to voice their displeasure with the government. Just last month, a group of Han Chinese murdered several Uighur workers at a facility in eastern China. This appears to have prompted the weekend protest in Urumqi. The rest is murky: some say the police fired on student protesters; the state-run media says the Uighur went on a rampage. And because of a tightly controlled media, and the region's faraway location, there have been no independent accounts of what actually occurred.

One thing does seem evident, however: the most recent conflict between Uighur locals and the Chinese government has not stopped. Despite the deaths, injuries and arrests over the weekend, reports from the area note that the protests have continued. Not unlike last month's uprisings in Iran, women have been taking the lead in their stance against the government, while Chinese authorities have tried to limit Internet and phone access to the region in order to put down the protests and blamed the violence on exiles like Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer.

While the Uighurs' have their just complaints, the Han Chinese do as well. For a time during the 1930s and 1940s, the Uighurs had their own homeland, dubbed the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan. When the Soviet Union's collapse gave rise to new nations populated by Turkic-speaking Muslims, the Uighur's feelings of nationalism – and separatism – reemerged. As a result, some have splintered off into a group known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. The Chinese government asserts that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement has been responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks since the 1990s, ranging from market bombings to prison uprisings to attacks on Chinese embassies abroad.

Chinese authorities also have alleged that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement has ties to al-Qaeda. Allegedly, Hasan Mahsum, the group's founder and leader, was a protégé of Osama bin Laden, who offered his spiritual, logistical and financial support. Mashum denied these claims; however, in 2003, he was shot dead in an al-Qaeda training facility in Pakistan, indicating that perhaps this link was true. The Chinese government has also said that many of the group's members have trained at al-Qaeda's training camps, which were then based in Afghanistan.

The truth of such allegations remains difficult to determine, since many originate with China's state-run media. But there is credible proof that the United States should have some concerns about the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. There is no doubt that many of its members were captured at al-Qaeda training bases after the invasion of Afghanistan. In addition, Kyrgyztan officials sent two East Turkestan Islamic Movement members back to China, claiming they were scouting out Western embassies in the city of Bishkek for a potential attack. U.S. forces also captured a group of Uighurs after the invasion of Afghanistan, ultimately releasing them to Albania, Bermuda and a tiny Pacific Island nation named Palau.

China has long been touted, not least by itself, as America's successor as the world's leading economic power. The still-simmering conflict between the Uighurs and the Han Chinese is a timely reminder that, for all its bluster, China remains internally unstable, with many of its domestic ills fueled by the very economic growth that the country sees as its key to superpower status.

Gregory Gethard is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer.

Ancient wisdom guides India's future

Dr Manmohan Singh


As we near the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the challenges of global governance in an increasingly inter-connected and multi-polar world are truly formidable. Our institutions of global governance, centred on what may be called the UN system, were designed for the most part at the end of the Second World War and reflected the politico-economic realities of that age. The world was then dominantly bipolar, in the political and military sense, international trade and international capital flows were low, the developing countries were not economically important, indeed most of them were not even independent.

There has been a sea-change since then. Bipolarity has given way to multi-polarity, the developing countries are not only sovereign states but some group of developing countries have gained in relative economic importance and this trend will only gain momentum. The world has also become much more interconnected through the expansion of trade in goods and services and expansion of financial flows generated by capital account liberalisation. Interconnection has in turn greatly increased problems of contagion and vulnerability especially through financial linkages.

Our established institutions of global governance have evolved to some extent in response to these changes, but much less than they should have and the pace of evolution is likely to remain well behind the rate at which the world is changing. The centre piece of the post-war global architecture is the United Nations, conceived originally as the Parliament of the nations with the Security Council at its apex. The size of the international parliament has of course expanded and while there is occasional cynicism about how effectively the General Assembly can reflect global opinion, and especially evolve workable solutions on key issues, there is no doubt that it serves a valuable purpose in giving voice to every country.

However, this is not the same thing as saying that we have a structure which is functionally efficient and capable of dealing with the complex challenges the world faces today. The Security Council has not changed at all and its present structure poses serious problems of legitimacy. The system of two-tiered membership, which gives a veto to the five permanent members, ie, the nations that emerged victorious after the Second World War, is clearly anachronistic. Germany [ Images ] and Japan [ Images ], which have significantly larger economies than Britain and France [ Images ], both permanent members, are excluded. China is the only developing country in the P-5 and it is there for historical reasons, not as a large and economically important developing country. It is obvious that if the system was being designed today it would be very different. However, while the problems have long been recognised, efforts to reform the system have made little headway.

The unworkability of the existing structures has led to greater reliance on plurilateral groupings. Some of these such as the G-7, later expanded to the G-8, are to be seen as a group of countries with common interest, not necessarily representative of the global community. The original rationale of the G-7 was the belief that it would evolve more effective consultation among the more powerful countries on one side of the bipolar world of the 1970s and 1980s. Its expansion to the G-8 reflects the disappearance of that particular faultline by the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, while the Group includes many of the economically powerful nations, it is obviously not representative as it does not include any developing country.

Some years ago the G-8 has been expanded into the G-8+5 by adding China, India, Brazil [ Images ], Mexico and South Africa [ Images ]. More recently, the group has been expanded even further to include a handful of countries in the name of achieving additional outreach. While these ad hoc expansions are a useful way of broadening the range of consultation undertaken by the G-8, it suffers from two limitations. The expanded group is not cohesive since the countries included for purposes of outreach do not participate fully in the proceedings, or the preparations, and the expanded group therefore does not have a composite identity. Second, these groupings do not have any special legitimacy within the UN system.

The deficiencies of the existing system of governance have been dramatically brought home during the recent international financial and economic crisis. The crisis has highlighted the fact that all economies are now highly inter-connected and problems originating in one part of the world economy can quickly snowball into a global crisis. It has forcefully exposed fundamental weaknesses in the approach to financial regulation which emphasised light regulation and greater reliance on inhouse controls and market discipline to control risk. This approach gained popularity in the 1990s and is now perceived to have been overdone. The issue has revealed the inadequacies in the existing domestic regulatory systems in the industrialised countries and also in the international institutions set up to police these areas and to take remedial action when needed.

Whatever the causes and specific failures underlying the crisis, the world was quick to realise that a global crisis requires a global solution. It was also realised that the existing institutions of global governance did not permit effective coordination of a global response. The world therefore responded not by working within the existing system, but by convening a meeting of the G-20 at the level of leaders. The G-20 was established in 1999 at the suggestion of Paul Martin of Canada [ Images ] and has a composition which is somewhat different from the IMFC which meets regularly at the finance ministers level. The G-20 has been meeting at the level of finance ministers since 1999.

Recognising the seriousness of the crisis, the United States convened a meeting of the leaders of the Group of 20 in Washington DC in November 2008. The Group met again in London [ Images ] in April 2009. Unlike the G-8+5, this group has a composite identity since all member countries participate on equal terms including in the preparatory process. However, the selection of countries remains arbitrary and can be questioned as to its representativeness, especially since it departs from the composition of the IMFC which reflects the representation on the Board of the IMF.

The G-20 meeting in London certainly achieved a great deal more than normal meetings of this type, especially in two respects. First, it succeeded in expanding the perimeter of financial regulation and endorsing the establishment of global standards to which national standards can be aligned. These standards will be developed by the Financial Stability Forum (now renamed the Financial Stability Board) which has been expanded to include all G-20 countries that were not members earlier. Second, it achieved a significant expansion in funding for the Bretton Woods Institutions. However, it did not achieve any significant reform of the international financial institutions. The Group has decided to meet again in September and it remains to be seen whether it will be able to evolve some ideas for making significant reforms by then.

The problems faced by the institutions of governance charged with handling the financial system are also relevant for other international institutions dealing with political and security issues, trade, climate change, etc. They need to update structures and upgrade work methods; reform decision-making and ensure effective delivery. They need to adapt, adjust and accommodate to adequately reflect ground realities, contemporary aspirations, and pressing requirements of developing countries including emerging economies.

India, as the largest democracy in the world and an emerging economy that has achieved the ability to grow rapidly, remains deeply committed to multilateralism. It has been an active member in global institutions -- the United Nations, Bretton Woods Institutions, World Trade Organisation, International Atomic Energy Agency and so on. It will continue to be so in the decades ahead, based on commitment to principles and values that define these institutions. India will seek its due place, play its destined role and share its assigned responsibility, giving voice to the hopes and aspirations of a billion people in South Asia.

It will continue to strive for the reform of the United Nations to make it more democratic; to fight against the scourge of terrorism and dismantling its infrastructures on the basis of zero tolerance; to fight piracy on the high seas; to restructure the Bretton Woods Institutions to create a new financial architecture; to achieve an early conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations, with its development dimension, and to address climate change issues, guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability.

India's view of the world has always been guided by the wisdom of that ancient Indian saying -- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -- 'the whole world is one family'. This idea found expression in Jawaharlal Nehru's very first address as prime minister: 'Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any of them to imagine that it can live apart. Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. That eternal message of the Indian people will guide us in our attempt to seek inclusive global solutions to intractable global problems, and give new hope to humanity.'

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's [ Images ] article was published in the compendium brought out by the G-8 nations on the eve of their summit in Italy [ Images ]

Dr Manmohan Singh