July 17, 2009
17 July 2009:
Hillary Clinton, the United States' secretary of state, will be in the country for five days discussing, among other things, "strategic challenges" to the bilateral relations with India. What are those so-called "strategic challenges"? In a sentence, the US wants India to accept NPT, CTBT and sooner than later FMCT. If the Manmohan Singh government is in any mind to defend India's strategic interests, then there would be nothing to talk with Clinton in the five days of her visit.
The Barack Obama administration backstabbed Manmohan Singh during the G-8 summit when it pressured the other member states to ban ENR exports to non-NPT countries which principally means India. This brought the prime minister under added pressure during his France visit to ensure that the French would keep to their full nuclear fuel-cycle export commitments made to India, and this the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy, duly promised, at least for now. The Russians would similarly have to be reengaged about their civilian nuclear commitments, and all this demeans India and the government in power.
Rather than being defensive about so brutally letting down the PM at the G-8 summit, Clinton is taking the route of offense, announcing to the press in the US what she intends to engage the Indians about. What's the point of this bloody-mindedness? Is it to scare the government? Is India some tin pot dictatorship to be scared by a tough talking secretary of state, even though her husband, Bill Clinton, was a "friend" of India inasmuch as an American president can be a "friend" of another state? Perhaps Clinton may consult her husband before coming on so aggressively against India.
From newspaper reports, it appears that India is walking a tightrope. On one hand, it has approved two sites for imported American power reactors to show that it is not backing out of the nuclear deal, although it feels hurt at America's unreliability as a "strategic partner". Clinton would be wrong to misjudge this as Indian timidity. Manmohan Singh is a timid prime minister, but lately, he has shown he cannot be walked over. For example, the Americans have pressured him for recommencing talks with Pakistan. But at the Egypt meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, the PM chose to be at odds with the joint communiquÃ©, saying that unless Pakistan was found committed to countering terrorism, there would be no dialogue, much less a composite dialogue. That should warn the Americans not to push the PM.
The second example appears disconnected, but there are obvious links to the objective Clinton is pursuing on her visit. The newspapers have reported that in ten days' time, India's indigenous nuclear submarine called ATV will begin "preliminary trials" at Visakhapatnam. Between "preliminary trials" and when the ATV enters naval service is a long, time-consuming, perilous process, but it marks determination to have the third leg of the triad. India's ultimate insurance against China is a sea-based deterrent with intercontinental range missiles. After the Uighur riots, and given the internal economic meltdown, it cannot be put past China to engage in external hostility to divert attention from troubles at home, and India, its strategic competitor, appears the most delectable target. For those intercontinental SLBMs, India has to test its thermo-nuclear warhead designs, the Pokhran - 2 test being a failure in that weapon class. So how on earth does Clinton expect India to give a CTBT commitment when its "unilateral moratorium" itself has become an albatross around its neck? And the ATV power plant will need enormous refining before final commissioning, and the US-pressured G-8 ban on enrichment technologies cannot enthuse India at all. Besides the China threat, the sea-based deterrent will stop Pakistan's jihadi generals from spiriting some weapons to the terrorists for use against India, because now Pakistan's annihilation many times over from an Indian retaliatory second strike will be absolutely guaranteed.
In these circumstances, should Clinton come harum-scarum pushing her non-proliferation agenda? It would be far better if she uses these five days to understand the Indian position and its sensitivities (it galls to keep having to educate administration after US administration about India's unique security dilemmas, but it is inescapable) and to realize that America will be strengthened by going along with India and not by making unreasonable and unacceptable demands of it.
N.V.Subramanian is Editor, NewsInsight.net.
High-level interactions between Indian and American officials traditionally followed a predictable script. Behind the scenes, discussions could be testy verging on acrimonious, the Americans' brusque lawyerly style colliding with trademark Indian touchiness and obstinacy. The parties could come away from talks merely agreeing to disagree. Yet in public, statesmen (and -women) of both countries could take their pick from a relatively short list of marvellous-sounding clichés to paper things over. "The world's oldest and the world's largest democracies," was a runaway favourite, while references to overthrowing British colonialism, hosannas to the success of the Indian-American community, and lip service to pluralism made useful additions to the recurring diplomatic pantomime.
Given the developments in bilateral relations over the last decade, and especially the last eight years, such platitudes are no longer sufficient. The civilian nuclear agreement may have been the most high-profile accomplishment of recent years, but scratch the surface and the list of other significant initiatives is breathtaking. A four hundred per cent increase in bilateral trade, joint counter-terrorist investigations, and over forty military exercises constitute but a partial sampling. The high bar set by both governments in that time means that words are now expected to be backed up by action, or at the very least meaningful engagement. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrives in Delhi on Monday after spending the weekend in Mumbai, will no doubt be expected to demonstrate concrete advances, or promote the impression of having done so.
The run-up to Clinton's visit suggests a varied agenda, from well-trodden areas of long-standing divergence to little-explored pathways towards closer collaboration. Clinton, naturally, inherits some initiatives from the previous US administration. The expected announcement of two sites for American nuclear power plants (possibly in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh), specific cooperation on civilian space activities and the highly-anticipated End-User Verification Agreement meant to facilitate defence commerce would all fall under this category.
Other breakthroughs unveiled on this trip are likely to involve major symbolic or organisational changes, which need not automatically generate material benefits despite the considerable fanfare accompanying them. This could characterise what could be the most headline-grabbing announcement of her trip: a six-pillared bilateral strategic dialogue. Clinton gave a preview of this in a speech on Wednesday, in which she promised to "lay out a broad-based agenda that calls for a whole-of-government approach to our bilateral relationship." She added later that "our two countries will be engaging in a very broad, comprehensive dialogue. It's the most wide-ranging that I think has ever been put on the table between India and the United States."
Non-proliferation will likely cast something of a shadow on this visit, coming so soon after the G-8 announcement on enrichment and reprocessing technology. Apart from admitting that it was "a very difficult issue" between the two countries, Clinton has revealed little on how she hopes to bridge differences in attitude and approach towards non-proliferation.
Lastly, three areas provide room for substantive advancements in the months and years ahead: agricultural productivity and rural infrastructure, education and human development, and climate change and environmental issues. Clinton explicitly mentioned all three in the lead-up to her departure. The last will be one to watch out for. The Obama administration is eager to develop a workable mechanism to tackle climate change, and Clinton has repeatedly mentioned the need for a "win-win solution" to the problem for the United States and the major developing economies, such as India. The secretary of state is even being accompanied to India by her special envoy for climate change, Todd Stern. Her Indian interlocutors could use the opportunity to articulate both their concerns and their willingness to play a constructive role in fashioning a workable climate change protocol.
The same sense of opportunity holds true to varying degrees for the rest of the bilateral agenda. There is some irony to the fact that an Indian election that has paved the way for more active engagement with the United States should come so soon after one in America that has led to a perceived cooling for India in Washington. Rather than a cause for lament, this should be viewed as an opening for New Delhi to shape the relationship more proactively.
There will undoubtedly remain a raft of issues which will go unaddressed this week, especially given Clinton's single day in Delhi, including several common security challenges. Despite her stated ambitions for this visit, there will be more opportunities to fashion the evolving strategic partnership between the two states. The steady two-way stream of senior American and Indian officials between Washington and New Delhi over the past few months is evidence of the multi-pronged bilateral strategic dialogue already underway. The once predictable script for official Indo-US engagement has been re-written. It is time for the players on both sides to improvise.
The writer researches US foreign policy towards South Asia in Washington DC
At Cairo, India reminded Pakistani that it can't hope for `peace' unless it acts on the 26/11 dossier — a signal to Uncle Sam that the alleged war on `global' terror must not exclude India
On Friday, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it amply clear to Pakistan's Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the Cairo summit of Non-Aligned countries that New Delhi is not keen on resuming peace talks with Pakistan unless Islamabad seriously takes up the investigations into the Mumbai terror attack.
India is keen to resume peace talks with Pakistan, but Pakistan must be more convincing of its sincerity by punishing the culprits of 26/11 and also wind up all the terror camps operating on its soil. Pakistan must acknowledge that in January 2004 India agreed to start composite dialogue after then President Gen Musharraf assured then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the soil of Pakistan and areas under its control would not be allowed to launch terror attacks against India. This promise was never kept. Nor was there any effort to dismantle terror camps in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir. As the 26/11 Mumbai terror showed, Pakistan continues to use terrorism as a weapon against India. And until Pakistan gives up this policy, there is absolutely no point in holding peace talks with Pakistan.
The United States and Britain want India to talk to the present Pakistan civilian government even though it knows full well that it does not wield real powers: which is with the Army and the ISI who have their own hostile agenda against India. If this
assessment is wrong then the civilian regime should punish the Pakistani perpetrators of 26/11 and dismantle all the terror training camps in PoK and Pakistan. If the civilian government shows sincerity on this, there won't be any hitch for India to resume talking to Pakistan.
India's position has merit, and this is known to the western powers. On June 29, there was a police report from PoK saying the supposedly banned anti-India terror organisations, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) were still active. The last named had been designated as a terror organisation after the Mumbai terror attack on November 26 last year. The first two were banned by Pervez Musharraf, under American pressure back in 2001. This partially confirmed an Indian Home Ministry report which said there were still 42 terror training camps spread over Pakistan and Kashmiri areas under its occupation which it calls "Northern Areas" and "Azad" Kashmir. A section of the Press, which carried this report, said it was the latest assessment of the Multi-Agency Centre, the nodal agency for all terror-related intelligence, under the Home Ministry. It is estimated 2,200 militants are housed in these camps.
That Pakistan has about 42 active training camps for terrorists targetting India could not be a secret for the US. Somehow the American and the British believe India has no sensitivity or, if it has, it must be very weak. Thus, they feel no hesitation in lecturing to India about the need to resume the composite dialogue which has remained stalled since 26/11. These so-called peace-makers speak on behalf of a party which is not ready to take one positive step for the sake of peace.
President Barack Obama's special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Hollbroke, was in Islamabad when Lahore High Court ordered the release of JuD leader Hafiz Mohamnmad Saeed. Showing due deference to the verdict of a Pakistani court, Hollbroke refused to comment before newsmen. But the same diplomatic sensitivity was not shown by Washington when it demanded-and got-from Musharraf the custody of terrorists wanted in connection with 9/11.
Pakistan tries to present a persecuted image of itself to the world to hide its policy of supporting terrorism in its neighbourhood — India, Afghanistan and even Iran. Its leaders very innocently say: "Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism." About Taliban, whom it raised and used against Afghanistan, these leaders plead with the world to find out who is funding and arming them. This is a mischievous effort to create suspicion about India in the minds of Americans and Westerners.
There is no denying the fact that Pakistan has been facing terrorism but from whose whom it has itself bread. A man who breeds snakes to terrorise its neighbours cannot seek neighbours' sympathies when the snakes attack him. But Pakistan cries not only for sympathies but also for funds for tackling the snake itself, while keep breeding them for more aid. And in this strategy Pakistan has been very successful. Former US President George W Bush paid more than $ 10 billion to over seven years to crush the Taliban. Now, the Obama administration has pledged $ 1.5 billion a year to Pakistan for five years for the same purpose.
The ongoing joint US-Afghan operations in Hilmand Province are part of the war on global terrorism which the US-led forces launched in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. Subsequently, Pakistan, an ally in this war, started parallel operations against Taliban who launched attacks on Afghanistan from the Pakistani soil. But the word "global" seems to mean only the US and Britain. Violence against their citizens and property is terror against which the whole world must stand up. Terror anywhere else is not serious. See, for example, the amount of blood that has been shed in the name of war on terror in Afghanistan and the adjoining tribal areas of Pakistan. But within Pakistan terror-training camps, which operate openly with official connivance, and target India, are of no concern to these anti-terror crusaders.
At the time of the 26/11 Mumbai attack the US gave an impression that it would bring enough pressure on Pakistan to punish the perpetrators of that terror. The Security Council condemned that incident and designated JuD and its leaders, including Saeed, a terrorist. But what next? JuD, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad do not directly pose a threat to the US or to its interests in Afghanistan. Since these organisations' activities are India-specific, the `global war on terror' sidestepped it.
-- The author is Director of Institute for Media Studies, YMCA
The death of six Indians working on a United States Agency for International Development-funded road project between Khost and Paktia provinces in southern Afghanistan last week and confirmation from Pakistan that it is concerned over India's "over-ingress" in Afghanistan is setting the stage for a new round of regional diplomacy, when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [ Images ] comes visiting later this month.
Clinton is travelling to Delhi [ Images ] and Bangkok, to attend a meeting of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, and is so far not scheduled to go to Islamabad [ Images ], but it is clear that alongside a review of the bilateral relationship --including the latest differences on nuclear enrichment and reprocessing -- Pakistan's unhappiness over India's growing presence in Afghanistan will be on the table.
With elections in Afghanistan slated for August 20, the US is already believed to have told India to keep a "low profile" until the poll process is concluded, Indian officials said on condition of anonymity, but clearly Pakistan wants more.
In an interview with CNN over the weekend, Pakistan military spokesperson Major Gen Athar Abbas said, "What we see as a concern is an over-involvement of Indians in Afghanistan If you see an over-ingress of the Indians into these areas, like their government, their ministries, their army. The fear is, tomorrow what happens if these Americans move out and they're replaced by Indians as military trainers? That becomes a serious concern."
Abbas said Pakistan had told the US-led coalition in Afghanistan about its India-related concerns and stressed that "they (the coalition) have to have a line because if it goes beyond them, beyond the line, then of course the situation would take an ugly turn."
Indian officials, citing information from US counter-terrorism officials, believe the bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul last July was masterminded by the Sirajuddin Haqqani faction of the Taliban [ Images ], in connivance with Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI.
But western diplomats in Kabul, while appreciating India's reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan amounting to $1.2 billion, pointed out that New Delhi should also soon take steps to allay Islamabad's concerns on its own bilateral track.
"The US kept India out of its AfPak strategy in deference to New Delhi's demands that Kashmir be kept out of the regional hyphenation, but the truth is that India needs to be more understanding about the pressures Pakistan is facing internally," the diplomat said.
According to Radha Kumar, strategic analyst and professor at Jamia Millia University, the "logical outcome of the AfPak strategy is peace with India," and could take the form of action on Mumbai [ Images ] terrorists still free inside Pakistan (like Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi), the break-up of groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, autonomy within Kashmir and a settlement with Pakistan on the disputed state, Kumar said.
But as Pakistan began to crack down on its own Taliban, India needed to watch out for the spillover effect, in terms of infiltration or terrorist attacks. "The more unstable Pakistan is, the greater will be the spillover into India," she said.
While the first signs of a new dialogue seem to have begun between India and Pakistan, which will likely be taken forward on the margins of the NAM meeting at Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt [ Images ], India continues to press the US to press Pakistan to take action against India-directed terrorism.
It seems that the US establishment is divided over Pakistan's role in destabilising India's presence in Afghanistan. While some US officials believe that lower-level and retired operatives of the ISI still have connections with the Afghan Taliban, Newsweek, in its September 2008 issue, quoted US officials anonymous as saying Sirajuddin Haqqani had become the ISI's "darling".
Meanwhile, several Afghans are asking whether Pakistan will also act against the Afghan Taliban seeking refuge in the Pakistani city of Quetta, just as it was doing against militants like Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan."The US is still turning a blind eye to Pakistan's selective targeting of militants," an Afghan official said. But the western diplomats said the US did not want to push Pakistan too hard. "The Pakistan army's [ Images ] targeting of Baitullah Mehsud and his ilk are a first step. There is already a lot of anti-American anger within civil society in Pakistan. The Americans have to move carefully," the diplomats said.
Kumar confirmed that. "Pakistan seems to have reached a kind of tipping point, where it seems impossible for it to take on the India-related Lashkar, its own militants like Baitullah Mehsud as well as the Afghan Taliban, all at the same time," she said.
Jyoti Malhotra in Kabul
July 16, 2009
While assessing the meeting of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan at Yekaterinburg in Russia in an article on June 19,2009, available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers33/paper3261.html
I wrote as follows:
"Manmohan Singh is not a man of confrontation. He took the decision to freeze the composite dialogue mainly because of the fears of a likely adverse impact on the voting in the recently-held elections to the Parliament if he did not take a seemingly hard line against Pakistan. Now that the Congress (I)-led coalition has come back to power----with the Congress (I) improving its own individual position in the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Parliament--- he is unlikely to feel the need for maintaining the present hardline position on the composite dialogue........ At this time, when winds of some change for the better seem to be blowing towards India from Washington DC, Manmohan Singh would find it difficult to reject suggestions from the US for a political gesture to the Government in Islamabad by way of a resumption of the composite dialogue. The question is no longer whether it will be resumed, but when and how it will be projected to save the faces of both India and Pakistan."
2.In the context of this assessment made by me on June 19, today's development during his meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan in the margins of the non-aligned summit at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt did not come to me as a surprise. I do feel upset not so much by the reported agreement of Manmohan Singh that "India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues" as by the phraseology relating to terrorism in the joint statement, which would enable Pakistan once again to wriggle out of any negative consequences arising from its involvement in the Mumbai terrorist strike of November 26/, 2008
3. The relevant question is not whether Pakistan is against terrorism. All Pakistani leaders had said that they are against terrorism. But, not one of them had ever agreed that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), which carried out the Mumbai outrage, is a terrorist organisation. Even the Pakistani judiciary has already pronounced that the Zardari Government has not been able to produce any evidence linking the LET or the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) with any terrorist movement. The Lahore High Court judgement of June 6,2009, explaining the decision to release
Prof.Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the JUD Amir, from house arrest,clearly said as reported by the "Daily Times" of Lahore: "About the Dawa leaders’ involvement in the Mumbai attacks, the bench observed that not a single document had been brought on the record that Dawa or the petitioners were involved in the said incident. There was no evidence that the petitioners had any links with Al Qaeda or any terrorist movement.”
4.The oral observations made earlier this week in the Pakistan Supreme Court by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury during the preliminary arguments on the appeals sought to be filed by the Punjab and the federal Governments against the release of Sayeed made more or less similar observations and expressed considerable skepticism over the case against Sayeed and the JUD.
5. When senior judges of the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court have already expressed their skepticism in open court over Indian allegations of the involvement of the JUD, the political wing of the LET, in the Mumbai attack, to expect that justice will be done to the memory of the 166 persons killed in Mumbai-----123 Indian civilians, 25 foreign civilians and 18 brave officers and other ranks of the security forces--- by the terrorists of the LET as promised by the Pakistani co-operation against terrorism will be naivete of a very high order comparable to the naivete of Neville Chamberlain, the predecessor of Winston Churchill as the British Prime Minister.
6. I would have been at least satisfied if the two Prime Ministers had specifically stated that the countries would co-operate against the LET instead of just saying that the two countries would co-operate against terrorism. If the Prime Minister's advisers had properly briefed him before his meeting with Gilani, they would have drawn his attention to the following facts:
While even Musharraf banned the LET for some months after the December,2001, attack on the Indian Parliament, Zardari has till today not banned the JUD, the post-2001 name of the LET.
He and his advisers have been saying that they had to act against Sayeed and his associates because of the declaration of the anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council that the JUD is a terrorist organization and not because they had any independent evidence against it. It was on this ground that Sayeed was ordered to be released.
7. Not a single reference to the LET. Not a single reference to its continuing terrorist infrastructure. And, we have provided dignity to Pakistan's baseless allegations against Baloch freedom-fighters by agreeing to make a reference to Balochistan in the joint statement in the context of terrorism by indirectly bringing on record in an official statement Pakistan’s projection of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and other Baloch leaders as terrorists. Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed is not a terrorist, but Bugti and other Baloch leaders were or are.That has been Pakistan’s contention and we have let this figure in the joint statement.
8. This agreement, which seeks to white-wash years of Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism against Indian civilians and security forces, will make all those who died at the hands of the terrorists shed tears in heaven.
9.Annexed is a copy of my preface to my forthcoming book titled "Mumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy." ( 16-7-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
PREFACE OF MY FORTHCOMING FIFTH BOOK “MUMBAI---26/11—A DAY OF INFAMY)
Even while holding talks with the US on peace in the Pacific, the Japanese Empire secretly and treacherously planned and carried out massive surprise attacks from the air and the sea on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, killing a large number of American military personnel and civilians and destroying the US naval base there.
In an address to the US Congress the next day, which came to be known as the "Day of Infamy" speech, the then US President Franklin D.Roosevelt said: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State their reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack. It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government had deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued
peace. .... The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very
certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again. Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire. "
Sixty-seven years later, the world saw another day of infamy on November 26,2008. Around 8-30 PM, a group of 10 Pakistani terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), an ally of Al Qaeda and a strategic asset of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), secretly landed in the seafront area of Mumbai, the jewel of India and the business and financial capital of a newly-emerging economic power, divided themselves into four groups and went around spreading death and destruction over a wide area in the sea-front.
It was a commando-style raid by a group of specially trained jihadis, the like of which the world had not seen before.
One group killed the ordinary people of the city----innocent men, women and children. Many in a railway station. Some in a hospital. And some others on the roads and elsewhere.
Two others, after killing the diners and staff of a restaurant, entered and occupied two five-star hotels frequented by the business and social elite of India and the world. They remained in occupation of the hotels for nearly 60 hours and engaged in a confrontation with the security forces before they were killed.
The fourth group forced its way into a Jewish cultural-cum-religious centre, took its six inmates----four Israelis and two with dual US nationality--- hostages, tortured them and finally killed them before the security forces could intervene. Among those tortured and killed by them was an Israeli woman, who was expecting a baby.
It was one of the most treacherous attacks in the history of terrorism. And one of the most dastardly.
As treacherous and as dastardly as Al Qaeda's attacks in the US homeland on 9/11.
But Al Qaeda was not the tool of any State. No State was using it to attack the US.
The LET was. It was the tool of Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment.
It has been since its creation in the 1980s during the so-called jihad against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
The ISI used it in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
It has been using it against India since 1993.
Initially in Jammu & Kashmir. Subsequently, in other parts of India.
The LET helped the ISI in its strategic agenda against India.
This did not stop it from helping Al Qaeda in its operations against the West.
The fact that post-9/11, the LET had started acting as the strategic ally of Al Qaeda did not come in the way of its continued role as the strategic asset of the ISI.
This was not the first act of mass casualty terrorism carried out by the LET in Mumbai.
This was the second.
The first was in July 2006 when terrorists trained by it carried out a series of explosions in the suburban trains of Mumbai killing over 170 innocent civilians.
Instead of reacting with as much righteous indignation and force against Pakistan as Roosevelt did against the Japanese Empire for its act of treachery, we chose to give it the benefit of doubt.
Within two months of this act of treachery, we entered into an agreement with Pakistan for setting up a joint counter-terrorism mechanism as if Pakistan looked upon the LET as a terrorist organisation.
It never did.
We entered into peace talks with Pakistan. Through governmental and non-governmental channels. Composite dialogue, it was called.
Even as these talks were going on, the ISI was preparing two other groups of terrorists for use against India,
One group attacked the Indian Embassy in Kabul in the first week of July,2008.
What brave statements we made after the Kabul attack! We threatened to have the ISI destroyed!
The Pakistanis and the ISI must have chuckled within themselves.
Imagine the Government of India translating its brave words into action!
It has never done it.
The Pakistanis must have been certain that it will never do it in future.
So as the peace talks were going on and as the so-called joint counter-terrorism mechanism was holding one meeting after another, a new group of terrorists was being trained commando style.
Initially, they were trained in camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Subsequently, in Karachi.
Then, they sailed to Mumbai and attacked in the darkness of early night.
The Japanese Pearl Harbour attack lasted just a few hours.
The LET attack lasted 60 hours plus.
The Japanese attack targeted mainly military installations and personnel.
The LET attack targeted only civilians---Indians and foreigners.
The ISI-sponsored LET attack was as treacherous as the Japanese attack.
And as dastardly.
And how did we react?
As a nation?
As a people?
As a political class?
As we have always done.
Brave and indignant words in the beginning.
And a subsequent reluctance to translate the words into action.
The day of infamy on December 7,1941, changed the history of the world.
And our own day of infamy of November 26,2008?
Has it changed the history of the sub-continent?
Have we created the fear of God in the minds of Pakistan and its terrorist surrogates?
Have our reactions made it certain that there will not be another 26/11 in our history?
Far from it.
Far, far,far from it.
Ms. Clinton's first visit to India after she became the Obama administration's chief diplomat begins in Mumbai Friday night.
The visit will focus on ushering in Phase III of the strategic partnership, which Ms. Clinton recently described as "3.0" version, borrowing an analogy from IT software.
Ms. Clinton's long-awaited trip is expected to see the first concrete move in re-starting nuclear trade since the two countries signed the landmark bilateral agreement last year, with India readying to provide two sites for nuclear reactors to be set up by US companies.
The announcement about the allocation of the two sites is likely to be made during Ms. Clinton's visit, reliable sources said.
The two sites are likely to be in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, the sources added.
In Mumbai, she will be staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel in an act of solidarity with the 26/11 victims. She will also meet top Indian businessman at a luncheon hosted by Ratan Tata, chairman of India-US CEOs forum.
She will also interact with volunteers of the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), an NGO, and a social event that will be attended by, among others, by film star Aamir Khan. A visit to St. Xavier's College is also on her itinerary.
Ms. Clinton will fly to New Delhi Sunday. She will attend a meet on climate change and interact with scientists working in agriculture at the Pusa Institute - two important areas of India-US cooperation.
Ms. Clinton will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani Monday. She flies to Thailand Tuesday to attend the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Phuket.
With the G8 declaration at the recent L'Aquila summit banning the export of the sensitive ENR technologies, India will seek clarifications from the US when Manmohan Singh and Krishna meet Ms. Clinton.
Despite the confusion over the US' stand on re-processing, specially in the context of the Obama administration's renewed activism over non-proliferation issue, the two sides are expected to hold their first negotiations on reprocessing early August.
India is not deeply concerned (over the G8 stand) as it had received a country-specific clean waiver from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament Monday.
Besides, the US will not like to jeopardise its chances of doing nuclear business with India by reneging on its commitment on re-processing, a crucial part of the nuclear promise made to India by the US in the 123 bilateral agreement, the source said.
Nuclear cooperation apart, Ms. Clinton's visit will focus on forging "an enhanced US-India strategic partnership" offering solutions to the challenges of 21st century.
With Krishna, she "will discuss the structure and elements of an enhanced US-India strategic partnership that will enable us to advance solutions to the defining challenges of our time and to enhance global prosperity and stability in the 21st century", US State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters in Washington Tuesday.
Kelly, who will be part of the US team, said Ms. Clinton had no plans of stopping by or visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan during her trip. "I'm sure that she will visit Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not on this visit. It's just to India and Thailand," he said.
Ms. Clinton had outlined her vision of India-US strategic partnership under the Obama administration in a speech she gave at the US-India Business Council's (USIBC) Synergies Summit in Washington last month.
Calling India one of the few nations the new Obama administration saw as a global partner, she had vowed to usher in a new era of relations with India with a "dramatic expansion in our common agenda and a greater role for India, in solving global challenges."
"We see India as one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st century," she declared.
July 15, 2009
The investigations into the 2002 Karachi attack on French engineers now point towards a state affair. Apparently a handiwork of the Pakistani Army, the motive of the attack appears to be non-payment of commissions by France in connection with the sale of Agosta submarines to Pakistan
May 9, 2002. It was early morning for the guests at the five-star Oberoi Hotel in Karachi. But some White men were not here for tourism; they had come on a mission. They were there to provide the expertise for a top secret project, building a submarine for Pakistan.
A minibus stopped in front of the hotel. Eleven French engineers and three Pakistani staff boarded the vehicle, which was to take them to a dockyard. They worked for the Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN, Direction for Naval Constructions), an undertaking of the French Ministry of Defence.
A Toyota Corolla (1976-make) approached the bus, and, in a fraction of second, exploded. All the French engineers and their Pakistani colleagues were killed. Fourteen by-passers and hotel staff were badly wounded.
The kamikaze attack deeply shocked the French; it was the first time that French citizens were directly targeted after 9/11. The French media and the Government immediately suspected it to be a handiwork of Al Qaeda; a practical concept: It was so nebulous that everything and anything could be attributed to it. The French Chief of Army Staff, General Jean Pierre Kelche, went on air to speak about `a non-negligible possibility' of the involvement of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. The French Air Force had participated in the bombing of Tora Bora where bin Laden was hiding a few months earlier. Therefore, the elusive Saudi decided to take revenge, they said.
All suspicion pointed towards the Islamic fundamentalists, especially Asif Zaheer and Mohammed Rizwan, the two terrorists belonging to the Harkat-ul-Mujhaideen who were arrested in Pakistan in December 2002.
A year later, the duo and one Mohammed Soham, who was still absconding, were found guilty. They were sentenced to death in June 2003.
The script could have ended at this point, but, suddenly, at some time in 2008, the affair rebounded. During a search of the office of one of the managers of the DCNS (ex-DCN), the police found an interesting report, code-named `Nautilus', which mentions the 2002 Karachi attack.
In the meantime, in May 2009, after an appeal, the `overwhelming' proofs against Asif Zaheer and Mohammed Rizwan were found to be too vague; the terrorists were discharged. They were, however, not freed; they were booked under some other cases (in Pakistan, a freed terrorist could always speak out of turn).
But according to the weekly Le Point, the Nautilus report was explicit: "After several contacts in Europe as well as in Pakistan, we came to the conclusion that the attack in Karachi was carried out with some complicity inside the (Pakistani) Army … The (Pakistani) military personnel used the Islamic group to achieve the desired results, but (the affair) has a financial angle". The document speaks of unpaid commissions following the sales of the three submarines.
In September 1994, the Benazir Bhutto Government had signed a secret 825-million euros contract with the DCN to supply three Agosta 90B submarines to the Pakistan Navy.
The first submarine was to be manufactured in France, the second assembled in Pakistan and the third entirely built in Pakistan (the French engineers and staff were working on the last in Karachi).
At the time the contract was signed, the battle for Mitterrand's succession as President of the republic was raging in France. Within the Gaullist Party, Mr Jacques Chirac and Mr Edouart Balladur, two old friends of 30 years, were ready to do anything to be elected.
According to the Nautilus report, different commissions would have been promised to different middlemen and the highest Pakistani authorities were involved (Benazir Bhutto was then Prime Minister).
The Nautilus report also spoke of retro-commission, which would have come back to France and helped to finance the campaign of a candidate. A few months later, when Mr Chirac was elected, he decided to "dry the hidden financial networks" of French politicians and stop the payment of the commissions.
His former companion and looser in the election, Mr Balladur, was Prime Minister at the time of the signature of the contract was targeted. Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, who was not mentioned in the report, was then Finance Minister.
While Mr Balladur denied any wrongdoings and Mr Chirac kept quiet, Charles Millon, Chirac's Defence Minister, admitted to the weekly Paris Match on June 24 of having blocked in 1995 "commissions which could have been the source of retro-commissions".
It appears that the French secret services, the Direction for the Surveillance of the Territory and the Direction General of External Security knew from the start that the attack was not `Islamic'. Two clues: The explosive used had a `military' origin and the attack was not claimed by any of the terrorist groups, which is their usual practice. It appears that the US secret services were also in the picture. One Randall Bennett from the US Embassy in Pakistan would have informed the French Prosecutor that the attack was linked to the submarine deal. The Pakistan Navy appears to have been deeply upset to have lost the promised `commissions'. It could be the motive for the attack.
Though President Sarkozy termed the disclosure a `grotesque fable', the script is too good for the French press to be easily dropped. Especially when so many of the actors are still around.
Whether it is a `fable', a Bollywood script or a sad reality, only the judges will be able to tell us!
A question has not been answered, why was Paris supplying the Agosta subs to Islamabad? Was it to combat terrorism in the region? One more mystery!
U.S. and allied forces began their first major offensive in Afghanistan under the command of U.S. Gen David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley McChrystal this July. Inevitably, coalition casualties have begun to mount. Fifteen British soldiers have died within the past 10 days -- eight of whom were killed within a 24-hour period -- in Helmand province, where the operation is taking place. On July 6, seven U.S. soldiers were killed in separate attacks across Afghanistan within a single day, and on July 12 another four U.S. soldiers were reported killed in Helmand.
While the numbers are still relatively low, the reaction, particularly in the United Kingdom, has been strong. Afghanistan had long been a war of intermittent casualties, the "other war." Now it is the prime theater of operations. The United States has changed the rules of the war, and so a great many things now change.
The increase in casualties by itself does not tell us much about the success of the operation. If U.S. and NATO forces are successful in finding and attacking Taliban militants, Western casualties inevitably will spike. If the Taliban were prepared for the offensive, and small units were waiting in ambush, coalition casualties also will rise. Overall, however, the casualties remain low for the number of troops involved -- and no matter how well the operation is going, it will result in casualties.
Laying the Groundwork for Counterinsurgency
According to the U.S. command, the primary purpose of the operation in Helmand is not to engage Taliban forces. Instead, the purpose is to create a secure zone in hostile territory, staying true to the counterinsurgency principle of winning hearts and minds. In other words, Helmand is supposed to be a platform for winning over the population by securing it against the Taliban, and for demonstrating that the methods used in Iraq -- and in successful counterinsurgency in general -- can be applied to Afghanistan.
The U.S. strategy makes a virtue out of the fundamental military problem in counterinsurgency whereby the successful insurgent declines combat when the occupying power has overwhelming force available, withdrawing, dispersing and possibly harassing the main body with hit-and-run operations designed to impose casualties and slow down the operation. The counterinsurgent's main advantage is firepower, on the ground and in the air. The insurgents' main advantage is intelligence. Native to the area, insurgents have networks of informants letting them know not only where enemy troops are, but also providing information about counterinsurgent operations during the operations' planning phases.
Insurgents will have greater say over the time and place of battle. As major operations crank up in one area, the insurgents attack in other areas. And the insurgents have two goals. The first is to wear out the counterinsurgency in endless operations that yield little. The second is to impose a level of casualties disproportionate to the level of success, making the operation either futile or apparently futile.
The insurgent cannot defeat the main enemy force in open battle; by definition, that is beyond his reach. What he can do is impose casualties on the counterinsurgent. The asymmetry of this war is the asymmetry of interest. In Vietnam, the interests of the North Vietnamese in the outcome far outweighed the interests of the Americans in the outcome. That meant the North Vietnamese would take the time needed, expend the lives required and run the risks necessary to win the war. U.S. interest in the war was much smaller. A 20-to-1 ratio of Vietnamese to U.S. casualties therefore favored the North Vietnamese. They were fighting for a core issue. The Americans were fighting a peripheral issue. So long as the North Vietnamese could continue to impose casualties on the Americans, they could push Washington to a political point where the war became not worth fighting for the United States.
The insurgent has time on his side. The insurgent is native to the war zone and has the will and patience to exhaust the enemy. The counterinsurgent always will be short of time -- especially in a country like Afghanistan, where security and governing institutions will have to be built from scratch. A considerable amount of time must pass before the counterinsurgent's strategy can yield results, something McChrystal and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have both acknowledged. The more time passes and the more casualties mount for the counterinsurgent, the more likely public support for the counterinsurgent's war will erode. Therefore, the counterinsurgency timeline is unlikely to match up with the political timeline at home.
The Intelligence Problem
The problem of intelligence is the perpetual weakness of the counterinsurgent. The counterinsurgent is operating in a foreign country and thereby lacks the means to distinguish allies from enemy agents, or valid from invalid information. This makes winning allies among the civilian population key for the counterinsurgent.
Unless a solid base is achieved among the residents of Helmand, the coalition's intelligence problem will remain insurmountable. This explains why the current operation is focusing on holding and securing the area and winning hearts and minds. With a degree of security comes loyalty. With loyalty comes intelligence. If intelligence is the insurgent's strategic advantage, this is the way to counter it. It strikes at the center of gravity of the insurgent. Intelligence is his strong suit, and if the insurgent loses it, he loses the war.
Then there is the issue of counterintelligence. Every Afghan translator, soldier or government official is a possible breach of security for the counterinsurgent. Most of them -- and certainly not all of them -- are not in bed with the enemy. But some inevitably will be, and not only does that render counterinsurgent operations insecure, it also creates uncertainty among the counterinsurgents. The insurgent's ability to gather intelligence on the counterinsurgents is the insurgents' main strategic advantage. With it, insurgents can evade entrapment and choose the time and place for engagement. Without it, insurgents are blind. With it, the insurgent can fill the counterinsurgent's intelligence pipeline with misleading information. Without it, the counterinsurgent might see clearly enough to find and destroy the insurgent force.
Counterinsurgency and the al Qaeda Factor
The Afghan counterinsurgency campaign also suffers from a weakness in its strategic rationale. What makes Afghanistan critical to the United States is al Qaeda, the core group of jihadists that demonstrated the ability to launch transcontinental attacks against the West from Afghanistan. The argument has been that without U.S. troops in the country and a pro-American government in Kabul, al Qaeda might return, rebuild and strike again. That makes Afghanistan a strategic interest for the United States
But there is a strategic divergence between the war against al Qaeda and the war against the Taliban. Some will argue that al Qaeda remains operational and, therefore, the United States must make a long-term military investment in Afghanistan to deprive the enemy of sanctuary.
But while some al Qaeda members remain to issue threatening messages from the region, the group's ability to meet covertly, recruit talent, funnel money and execute operations from the region has been hampered considerably. The overall threat value of al Qaeda, in our view, has declined. If this is a war that pivots on intelligence, the mission to block al Qaeda eventually may once again be left to the covert capabilities of U.S. intelligence and Special Operations Command, whether in Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere.
Widening the war's objectives to defeating the Taliban insurgency through a resource-intensive hearts-and-minds campaign requires time and patience, both of which lie with the insurgent. If the United States were to draw the conclusion that al Qaeda was no longer functional, and that follow-on organizations may be as likely to organize attacks from Somalia or Pakistan as they would be from Afghanistan, then the significance of Afghanistan declines.
That creates the asymmetry that made the Vietnam War unsustainable. The Taliban have nowhere else to go. They have fought as an organization since the 1990s, and longer than that as individuals. Their interest in the future of Afghanistan towers over the American interest if it is determined that the al Qaeda-Afghanistan nexus is no longer decisive. If that were to happen, then the willingness of the United States to absorb casualties would decline dramatically.
This is not a question of the American will to fight; it is a question of the American interest in fighting. In Vietnam, the United States fought for many years. At a certain point, the likelihood of a cessation of conflict declined, along with the likelihood of U.S. victory, such that the rational U.S. interest in remaining in Vietnam and taking casualties disappeared. In Vietnam, there was an added strategic consideration: The U.S. military was absorbed in Vietnam while the main threat was from the Soviet Union in Europe. Continuing the war increased the risk in Europe. So the United States withdrew from Vietnam.
The Taliban obviously want to create a similar dynamic in Afghanistan -- the same dynamic the mujahideen used against the Soviets there. The imposition of casualties in a war of asymmetric interests inevitably generates political resistance among those not directly committed to the war. The command has a professional interest in the war, the troops have a personal and emotional commitment. They are in the war, and look at the war as a self-contained entity, worth fighting in its own right.
Outside of those directly involved in the war, including the public, the landscape becomes more complex. The question of whether the war is worth fighting becomes the question, a question that is not asked -- and properly so -- in the theater of operations. The higher the casualty count, the more the interests involved in the war are questioned, until at some point, the equation shifts away from the war and toward withdrawal.
Avoiding Asymmetry of Interests
The key for the United States in fighting the war is to avoid asymmetry of interests. If the war is seen as a battle against the resumption of terrorist attacks on the United States, casualties are seen as justified. If the war is seen as having moved beyond al Qaeda, the strategic purpose of the war becomes murky and the equation shifts. There have been no attacks from al Qaeda on the United States since 2001. If al Qaeda retains some operational capability, it is no longer solely dependent on Afghanistan to wage attacks. Therefore, the strategic rationale becomes tenuous.
The probe into Helmand is essentially an intelligence battle between the United States and the Taliban. But what is striking is that even at this low level of casualties, there are already reactions. A number of prominent news media outlets have highlighted the rise in casualties, and the British are reacting strongly to the fact that total British casualties in Afghanistan have now surpassed the number of British troops killed in Iraq. The response has not risen to the level that would be associated with serious calls for a withdrawal, but even so, it does give a measure of the sensitivity of the issue.
Petraeus is professionally committed to the war and the troops have shed sweat and blood. For them, this war is of central importance. If they can gain the confidence of the population and if they can switch the dynamics of the intelligence war, the Taliban could wind up on the defensive. But if the Taliban can attack U.S. forces around the country, increasing casualties, the United States will be on the defensive. The war is a contest now between the intelligence war and casualties. The better the intelligence, the fewer the casualties. But it seems to us that the intelligence war will be tougher to win than it will be for the Taliban to impose casualties.
U.S. President Barack Obama is in the position Richard Nixon found himself in back in 1969. Having inherited a war he didn't begin, Nixon had the option of terminating it. He chose instead to continue to fight it. Obama has the same choice. He did not start the Afghan war, and in spite of his campaign rhetoric, he does not have to continue it. After one year in office, Nixon found that Lyndon Johnson's war had become his war. Obama will experience the same dilemma.
The least knowable variable is Obama's appetite for this war. He will see casualties without any guarantee of success. If he does attempt to negotiate a deal with the Taliban, as Nixon did with the North Vietnamese, any deal is likely to be as temporary as Nixon's deal proved. The key is the intelligence he is seeing, and whether he has confidence in it. If the intelligence says the war in Afghanistan blocks al Qaeda attacks on the United States, he will have to continue it. If there is no direct link, then he has a serious problem.
Obama clearly has given Petraeus a period of time to fight the war. We suspect Obama does not want the Afghan war to become his war. Therefore, there have to be limits on how long Petraeus has. These limits are unlikely to align with the counterinsurgency timeline. The Taliban, meanwhile, constitute a sophisticated insurgent group and understand the dynamics of American politics. If they can impose casualties on the United States now, before the intelligence war shifts in Washington's favor, then they might shift Obama's calculus.
This is what the Afghan war is now about.
A Stratfor Intelligence Report.
By Jonathan Fenby
Published: July 12 2009 19:59 | Last updated: July 12 2009 19:59
Behind the high death toll and continued swapping of blame, the crisis confronting the Chinese leadership in the far western Xinjiang region says much about the way China is run. For all the record of economic growth, the shiny cities and the speculation about Beijing and Washington forming their own "G2", it is, in many ways, still an old-fashioned state. Habits stretching back to imperial times influence the behaviour of the nine men in dark suits with uniformly full heads of black hair who make up the ruling standing committee of the politburo.
Central control by the anointed leadership – be it in the form of the empire's Mandate of Heaven or the tenets of Marxism, Maoism and the market espoused by today's Communist party – is paramount. Dissent equals treason. No thought can be given to loosening Beijing's hold on far-away territories such as Xinjiang and Tibet despite their ethnic, cultural and historical divergences from the Han mainstream. The precipitate return to Beijing from the Group of Eight summit of Hu Jintao, Communist party leader and state president, underlines the gravity of the crisis that took more than 180 lives (mostly Han Chinese, according to official figures) in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital.
The violence, the worst since the Cultural Revolution, was all the more serious as it followed riots 15 months ago in Tibet. Both events caught the leadership on the hop. In Urumqi, the potential for disorder is all the greater because of the strong reaction of Chinese internal migrants seeking revenge for deaths inflicted on Han residents by local Uighurs.
Like Tibet, Xinjiang is being blanketed by a security crackdown. Mr Hu is striking the pose of the national leader who will ensure unity and enable Han Chinese to sleep safely; the Communist party claims to be the bedrock for national unity and stability. Party and state media stress the economic advances Xinjiang has enjoyed, mainly in the development of its energy and mineral reserves, and wonder why the local Muslim population is not grateful. Exiles are blamed for fomenting trouble. Links will probably be drawn with fundamentalist extremists. No meaningful dialogue will be entertained.
Yet, despite the mass migration of Han into the far western territories, China will find the management of its huge land empire increasingly difficult as native populations grow more resentful of income disparities, the favoured treatment accorded to immigrants and the steady destruction of local culture – not to mention the religious factors in both areas. While Mr Hu's position is secure – his term as party leader runs to 2012 – the fact that both this year and last have seen serious unrest in the two territories must raise questions about Beijing's surveillance machine.
Mr Hu is very much at the centre of this storm. He had to fly home from Italy because, as chair of the standing committee of the politburo, he has to be present when major decisions are taken. As soon as he reached Beijing, the committee met – the official acount of the session characterised the riots as "a serious incident of violent crime painstakingly orchestrated and organised" by hostile forces at home and abroad, and proclaimed the need for a crackdown. Also, as chair of the central military committee, Mr Hu is the only civilian able to give orders to the armed forces. Even if he wished, he cannot delegate this. Like an emperor of old, the party leader needs to be seen at the helm. This is not a leadership ready to put its trust in conference calls or long-range electronic communications. The suspicion and paranoia bred in the long years fighting for power and sustained by Mao Zedong's autocratic, erratic management style remain in force.
Under Mr Hu, who has led the party since 2002, the politburo has become more consensual – a good thing, as it diminishes the chances of a new Mao appearing. But the crisis underlines the subordinate position of the government as against the party. Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, and the state council he heads have no role. The politburo and the party will step forward as saviours of the nation while Mr Wen and his ministers busy themselves granting value added tax rebates to exporters.
Thus any relaxation of policy on either Xinjiang or Tibet can be ruled out. Mr Hu was in charge of Tibet when an uprising occurred there, and he was photographed in uniform carrying a submachine-gun (though his altitude sickness meant he spent as much time as possible in Beijing). This time, he will strike a more dignified pose. But, as Britain found, running an empire is a tricky job when the natives rebel. Beijing's reluctance to recognise that Tibet and Xinjiang are, to all intents and purposes, occupied territories complicates its task in ruling them, and China's institutional framework will act, once again, as a political straitjacket.
The writer is China director of Trusted Sources and author of the Penguin History of Modern China
The July 8-10 Group of Eight (G-8) summit in L'Aquila, Italy, was a waste of the world's time. It ended up as nothing more than an instant replay of the G-20 talkfest/photo-op held just three months ago in London.
World economic conditions did not change significantly in that short period to justify the time and expense of the L'Aquila summit, which has been estimated to have cost the Italian government at least $300 million (the price tag for last year's G-8 Summit in Japan exceeded half a billion dollars).
The G-8 process has outlived its usefulness. President Obama should insist that the meeting in Italy be the last G-8 event. He should also call upon G-20 leaders at the next meeting in Pittsburgh in September to reassert fiscal and monetary discipline in their countries, avoid excessive government interference, and preserve and protect the free enterprise system by allowing private markets to self-correct.
How Did We Get Here?
Both the G-8 and the G-20 groupings trace their lineage back to emergency meetings of finance ministers beginning in the 1970s to deal with the oil shocks and resulting global financial imbalances. In the years since, the agendas of both groups have tended to be repetitive and the results of the meetings meager.
Fancy speechifying and approval of largely meaningless agreements by world leaders at the G-8 is intended to create the impression of success in coordinating a global economic recovery. But voters around the world know hot air when they hear it. And they know that only the private sector, not governments, can create sustained economic growth.
Worse still, taxpayers are cringing at the expensive and statist-oriented government programs the G-8 leaders have recommended: cuts in emissions of 80 percent by 2050 for developed countries (China and India refused to go along), holding world temperature increases "to no more than 2°C,"and a pledge of "$20 billion over three years for a new "food security initiative" that is almost guaranteed to be wasteful and inefficient.
The G-8 Process: A Cold War Relic Being Replaced by the G-20
Originally a "Group of Six" (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with Canada added in 1977, the G-7 process attempted to deal with the OPEC oil shock-induced economic crises of the 1970s as well as the need to redesign the post-World War II Bretton Woods international monetary system that had been based on the gold standard.
G-7 leaders (who were also Cold War allies) gradually added other foreign policy coordination issues to their agenda. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, the G-7 countries avoided triumphalism and invited the Russian Federation to join in the hopes that the G-8 process could encourage Russia to stay on the path toward market-based democracy. Unfortunately, those hopes have been dashed in recent years as Russia nationalized major corporations, squeezed out Western competitors, allowed unprecedented corruption in the law enforcement and court system, and clamped down on media freedom.
Meanwhile, the "Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was [formally] established in 1999 [after the Asian financial crisis] to bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss [annually] key issues in the global economy."
Given that the three of the four "BRIC" countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), other leading emerging markets (e.g., Mexico and South Korea), and other market-based democracies such as Spain, Australia and New Zealand are members of the G-20--and all of the those countries will need to work together if the world economy is to recover quickly--the G-20 seemed like the right vehicle to use at the head-of-state level to respond to the financial crisis that began in September 2008.
More Statist Programs and Government Spending
While the 2009 G-8 summit communiqué emphasized a few very worthy goals--calling for continued resistance to trade and investment protectionism and stepped-up efforts to fight against corruption as well as refraining "from competitive devaluations of our currencies" and promoting "a stable and well-functioning international monetary system"--it also contains far too many endorsements for government interference and calls for a plethora of internationally coordinated statist programs.
Pledging to "cooperate to ensure that the global economy resumes growth along a balanced, equitable and sustainable path for the benefit of all, especially the most vulnerable," G-8 leaders call for, among other things:
* Ensuring " a green global recovery";
* "Strengthen[ing] financial regulation and reform International Financial Institutions (IFIs), and to provide them with adequate resources";
* "Rehabilitating banking sectors in some countries" and "reforming financial system regulation and supervision to prevent boom and bust cycles"; and
* Mobilizing "resources to respond to the development emergency and to advance in the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)" through increases in traditional (and largely ineffective) foreign aid.
All of these goals would require ramped-up government spending and contradict the "key principles of economic freedom--individual empowerment, non-discrimination, and the dispersion of power" that form the backbone of the annual Index of Economic Freedom, published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.
They also have nothing to do with a financial crisis. Instead, as in the U.S., statist groups around the world see the crisis as an opportunity not just to regulate the financial system--which at least is topical--but to introduce a host of interventions that will accomplish nothing in terms of growth and probably cause net job loss.
They will also cost huge amounts of money few of the governments have. When banks act like this, the statists demand stern government oversight. When governments do it, they call it "progress."
What Obama Should Do
The G-8 process served U.S. interests in its heyday, but its shelf life has expired. While the G-20 is now the better policy vehicle, all of the existing international coordination mechanisms tend to promote government solutions requiring more burdens on the taxpayer.
When he returns to the White House next week, President Obama should stop the proliferation of international talkfests by demanding that the G-8 process be ended and folded into the G-20 group. He should also hold the line against committing the United States to more government spending and seek instead the adoption of measures that emphasize the protection and preservation of the true generator of jobs and wealth: the market system.
The author is Research Fellow for Economic Freedom and Growth in the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation.
The L'Aquila summit showed just how irrelevant the G-8 has become, as emerging economies demand more and more of a say at the negotiating table. But the new focus on common survival means that Western values such as human rights and democracy are being neglected.
Democracy no longer counts for much. Neither does freedom. And human rights have lost their claim to universal validity.
That, in a nutshell, is one result of the G-8 summit in the Italian city of L'Aquila last week. It was a funeral ceremony: The G-8 is dead, at least as a global leadership forum. It has now been reduced to a mere talking shop for certain heads of state and government. The important decisions are made elsewhere -- at the G-20, for example.
The G-5 leaders pose for a photo in L'Aquila. From left: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South African President Jacob Zuma and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, did not attend the meeting.
The G-5 leaders pose for a photo in L'Aquila. From left: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, South African President Jacob Zuma and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, did not attend the meeting.
Admittedly that is fairer, because it means that the emerging countries of the world are also represented. But it is still sad. At its core, the G-8 represents the values of the West. The United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Japan all stand for the principle of democracy. Russia is dragged along. Despite all its weaknesses, it is a good club.
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The G-20 will not accept any more European countries. At a meeting in Washington, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gruffly asked what Spain was doing sitting at the table. Spain will not be present at the next G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh. Instead, Indonesia and Turkey will be there. These are not flawless democracies, but states with large populations.
And in the future what counts is numbers, not values. Or, as an adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel put it in L'Aquila: "The new value is called 'common survival.'" The main themes of the summit were climate, water and nutrition.
The Earth has more people than it can support, and therefore the focus of world politics is shifting to people. They are no longer primarily seen as beings that deserve education, freedom, democracy and human rights. They are now seen as beings that use too much water and emit too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is no longer a question of liberation, but of imposing limits. Consequently, the West no longer sees the Chinese mainly as victims of oppression, but rather as being partly responsible for the destruction of the climate.
When it comes to common survival, the Chinese are urgently needed, and this gives the government in Beijing a lot of power. An effective climate agreement is impossible without their support, and the global financial crisis can not be overcome without their help.
The same is true for Indians, Brazilians, South Africans and Mexicans. Together with China, these countries constitute the G-5, which met with the G-8 in L'Aquila. For the first time, the two groups issued a joint statement. However the words "democracy" and "human rights" do not appear in the document. The suffering of the Uighurs in China was also not discussed at the summit.
A Place at the Table
Traditionally, democracies have had a mission to spread democracy and with it freedom and human rights. L'Aquila has shown that this mission is currently in a pitiful state. It was the emerging countries that made the demands at the summit. The industrialized countries should kindly step up and adopt medium-term climate goals, they argued -- after all, it was these countries who were responsible for triggering the disaster in the first place. If the self-confidence of the Indians and Chinese continues to grow, even Germany could one day find itself being asked what it is doing at the summit table.
It is not enough to simply rely on the US. Its policies follow the laws of empires. Even US President Barack Obama is looking for equilibrium with the US's rival China, in the form of a G-2.
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The European Union would be in a position to act against the dwindling of Western values and European influence in world politics -- if it was in a better condition. Until then, nation states have to take responsibility. The silence at L'Aquila on the question of the Uighurs was shameful, but it is also not enough only to occasionally and hesitantly exhort China to respect human rights. If the West wants to spread its values, it must also show that they are something worth having.
Hence it is no longer a question of human rights per se, but of their utility. More than ever, the West needs to prove that people who enjoy freedom and who do not live in fear can create a better education system, better CO2-reduction programs and better technology. All told, they enjoy a better life while still guaranteeing the all-important common survival.
That's something that could make the Chinese think twice -- and secure the Europeans a place at the summit tables of this world.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the chief guest at Bastille Day in Paris today(July 14). The political thought behind this gesture to the Indian Prime Minister should not be under-appreciated. Such decisions are made by governments taking into account the totality of bilateral relations with a country and how the future of the relationship is viewed. These are not simply goodwill generating public relations exercises.
If India invited President Sarkozy to be the chief guest at our Republic Day celebrations in January last year, it was to underline the continuity of the strategic relationship with France. This was important in the context of India's growing international stature, the demands on us to bear greater responsibility for regional and global affairs which is theoretically acceptable but which requires deft diplomacy and grit as our contribution has to be within the compass of our own national interest and not subserve the interests of others, our increasing integration with the global economy which calls for greater engagement with our principal trade partners to bridge differences, particularly in the context of the Doha round, and our share of collective efforts needed to address what are called the new challenges, whether of terrorism, religious extremism, climate change and pandemics etc. India has to place itself in a cooperative framework with major countries, build bridges with select powerful countries so that the margin of manoeuvre available to us to protect our interests is widened. The valuable support given by France over the years to open the doors of international cooperation in India's civilian nuclear programme, the backing of India's bid for permanent of the Security Council and of the G-8, would also have weighed in India's decision to honour a French leader for the third time.
High profile national events provide a useful occasion- more than a stand alone state visit- to send out a political message to the public at large about the degree of importance the leadership attaches to a particular bilateral relationship. The impact of the French gesture would be felt within the hexagon in terms of signaling an upgrading of bilateral relationship with India as an increasingly global player. India has always figured prominently on the French mental landscape as a civilization, as a country of great cultural interest, but not as a high visibility economic or defense partner, notwithstanding growing economic ties and long-standing defense cooperation between the two countries. The impact should be felt within India too as our military contingent marches down the Champs Elysees to our own martial music and the event is watched on Doordarshan, which hopefully will relay it. Such a march on foreign soil would be unprecedented. It has a symbolic significance in erasing the equations of the colonial era between India and Europe, as the event is not part of the commemorative celebrations relating to the First or the Second World War, but as a homage to the French Revolution. The presence of our soldiers should signify not the sacrifices by Indian soldiers for the defense of one set of European countries against another during the fratricidal wars in that continent, which would place this imaginative step in an outdated colonial context, but the maturing of relations between India and Europe in today's context and the emergence of India as France's and Europe's equal partner.
The cynics will say President Sarkozy's gesture is well calculated to promote French commercial interests in the nuclear and defense procurement areas in particular, not to mention civil aviation. Such cynicism is misplaced as the underlying assumption is that other countries eyeing nuclear and defense deals with India, or seeking to sell civil aircraft, are motivated by philanthropy! The French are no more commercial minded than others, some of whom in fact bring to bear stronger all round pressure on decision makers as they have more capacity to push buttons. France is not artificially creating market opportunities for itself; it is responding to specific Indian requirements, and it is proposing equipment and technologies that are world class. It is a rough competitive world and even allied countries vie with each other brutally for business. France has a highly developed nuclear sector, the most advanced in the world in terms of the huge contribution- over 70%- it makes to the country's electricity grid. With domestic expansion in this sector limited in scope, to reduce costs and to sustain the high investment and the technological edge in this sector, the export market is vital. With the bilateral nuclear agreement already in place, France would now expect progress in negotiating the sale of a few French reactors. Its principal nuclear reactor supplier is keen on joint venture arrangements with Indian companies for manufacture of components to build local capacity but also as a cost cutting exercise for supplies to the international market. Some progress in this area may be announced during the Prime Minister's visit.
Even before India and France declared a strategic partnership in 1998, the two countries have had strong defense ties. French Mirages have performed very well in Indian conditions and French origin helicopters have been the mainstay of our high altitude operations in J&K. Over the years mutual dealings have bred trust; the French have not held back supplies or imposed sanctions at critical moments. The defense relationship between countries has always high political significance. In any real strategic relationship the component of defense ties, other things being equal, should increase rather than be whittled down. Recent setbacks in concluding deals that had reached an advanced stage have affected French confidence about their political salience in defense decision-making in India. The French had always to contend with heavy Russian weight; now they face robust competition from Israel and a mounting one from the US. Dilatory procedures and bureaucratic delays add to the anxieties about outcomes of those dealing with our defense establishment. The Mirage upgrade is under negotiation; Eurocopter is confident about winning the fresh tender for 197 light helicopters now that the US rival has not bid; the project for jointly developing and manufacturing a short range surface to air missile is awaiting government approval and so is the procurement of six A-330 refuelling aircraft. Closure on dossiers otherwise ripe but hit by bureaucratic apathy would have salutary effect on the Indo-French political relationship.
India and France intend to double their trade to 12 billion euros by 2012. The newly minted CEOs Forum will hold its first formal meeting in India in November. That is when President Sarkozy is expected to inaugurate the imaginatively conceived festival Bonjour France in Agra. French humanism explains the prominent place culture finds in French diplomacy. Following the G-8 L'Aquila summit, the Indian Prime Minister and the French President would have occasion to exchange views at Paris bilaterally on the prime issues of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, terrorism, religious extremism, nonproliferation, climate change, global recession and the Doha Round. On these difficult issues the effort has to be to leverage French influence as much to our advantage as possible. The balance sheet can be reviewed in November when the two principals meet again.
The writer is a former Foreign Secretary(firstname.lastname@example.org)
July 12, 2009
By CARLOTTA GALL
TURBAT, Pakistan — Three local political leaders were seized from a small legal office here in April, handcuffed, blindfolded and hustled into a waiting pickup truck in front of their lawyer and neighboring shopkeepers. Their bodies, riddled with bullets and badly decomposed in the scorching heat, were found in a date palm grove five days later.
Local residents are convinced that the killings were the work of the Pakistani intelligence agencies, and the deaths have provided a new spark for revolt across Baluchistan, a vast and restless province in Pakistan’s southwest where the government faces yet another insurgency.
Although not on the same scale as the Taliban insurgency in the northwest, the conflict in Baluchistan is steadily gaining ground. Politicians and analysts warn that it presents a distracting second front for the authorities, drawing off resources, like helicopters, that the United States provided Pakistan to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Baluch nationalists and some Pakistani politicians say the Baluch conflict holds the potential to break the country apart — Baluchistan makes up a third of Pakistan’s territory — unless the government urgently deals with years of pent up grievances and stays the hand of the military and security services.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Baluch were rounded up in a harsh regime of secret detentions and torture under President Pervez Musharraf, who left office last year. Human rights groups and Baluch activists say those abuses have continued under President Asif Ali Zardari, despite promises to heal tensions.
“It’s pretty volatile,” said Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, the governor of Baluchistan. “When you try to forcibly pacify people, you will get a reaction.”
The discovery of the men’s bodies on April 8 set off days of rioting and weeks of strikes, demonstrations and civil resistance. In schools and colleges, students pulled down the Pakistani flag and put up the pale blue, red and green Baluch nationalist flag.
Schoolchildren still refuse to sing the national anthem at assemblies, instead breaking into a nationalist Baluch song championing the armed struggle for independence, teachers and parents said.
For the first time, women, traditionally secluded in Baluch society, have joined street protests against the continuing detentions of nationalist figures. Graffiti daubed on walls around this town call for independence and guerrilla war, which persists in large parts of the province.
The nationalist opposition stems from what it sees as the forcible annexation of Baluchistan by Pakistan 62 years ago at Pakistan’s creation. But much of the popular resentment stems from years of economic and political marginalization, something President Zardari promised to remedy but has done little to actually address.
In interviews, people in and around Turbat said the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies were still doggedly pursuing nationalist sympathizers.
A case in point, they say, is that of the three political figures who were killed: Gul Muhammad, Lala Munir and Sher Muhammad, all prominent in the nationalist movement.
Government officials say the men were being prosecuted for activities against the state but deny any involvement in their deaths. People are not convinced and say that while the men supported independence, they were not involved in the armed struggle.
Mir Kachkol Ali, the men’s lawyer, who witnessed their abduction, said the killings represented a deepening of the campaign by the Pakistani military to crush the Baluch nationalist movement. “Their tactics are not only to torture and detain, but to eliminate,” he said.
The insurgents, who say they are led by the Baluchistan Liberation Army, have escalated their tactics, too. A prominent example was the kidnapping in February of an American citizen, John Solecki, the head of the United Nations refugee organization in the provincial capital, Quetta.
The abduction was carried out by a breakaway group of young radicals who wanted to draw international attention to their cause and to exchange their captive for Baluch being held by the security services.
Mr. Solecki was released in April after the intervention of Baluch leaders, including Gul Muhammad. Baluch leaders speculate that the intelligence agencies may have killed Mr. Muhammad and his colleagues to provoke the kidnappers into murdering the American, which would have branded the Baluch nationalists as terrorists.
Instead, “the killing of these three has centralized the national movement of Baluchistan,” Mr. Ali, the lawyer, said.
He and others said they had no doubt that the intelligence services were responsible.
The three men were in his office on April 3 when a half-dozen armed men seized them, he said.
“They were persons of the agencies,” Mr. Ali said. “They were in plain clothes, but from their hairstyles, their language, we know them.” Mr. Ali has lodged a case with the police against the intelligence agencies for the abduction and murder of the three.
Nisar Ahmed, a shopkeeper and friend of the political leaders, said he saw them pushed into a pickup truck. He also said that the armed men appeared to be intelligence agents and that they were escorted by a second vehicle with 10 more armed men, also in plain clothes, who looked to be from the Frontier Corps paramilitary force.
While the insurgency remains strong in other parts of Baluchistan, the military has largely crushed the resistance around Turbat since March 2007, yet armed men are still in the hills and continue to be rounded up, residents here said.
Yousuf Muhammad, the brother of Gul Muhammad, one of the slain political leaders, said that in February he was hung by his hands from the ceiling for 48 hours in a Pakistani military camp.
“They came to arrest Gul Muhammad but they found me,” he said. Another brother, Obeidullah, said Gul Muhammad had received threats from people in the intelligence agencies warning him to stop his work. The latest came 10 days before his death, he said.
A group of students in the nearby town of Tump said they were rounded up and held in various army camps without charge for seven months in 2007. Some said they were suspended by their hands or their feet until they passed out, were beaten and were held in solitary confinement. Each showed a blackened mark where a toenail had been pulled out.
The arrests and disappearances have hardened attitudes, townspeople said, particularly among the young.
Even the governor, who is the president’s representative in the province, expressed exasperation at the Zardari government’s inaction in addressing the needs of the population. Many Baluch are increasingly cynical about the government’s ability to change things.
Sayed Hassan Shah, the minister for industry and commerce in Baluchistan, said his party was now demanding provincial autonomy.
“This is our last option,” he said. “If we fail, then maybe we have to think of liberation or separation.”
The anger against the Chinese in the Xinjiang province has two dimensions ---ethnic and religious.
2.The ethnic dimension is due to the Han colonisation of the province, which was independent before 1949 under the name Eastern Turkestan. Since it was occupied by the Chinese and incorporated into the People's Republic of China in October 1949, the Han colonisation has reduced the percentage of Uighurs in the province from 80 to 45. The percentage of Han Chinese has gone up from 10 to 40 . In Urumqi, the capital, the Hans constitute about 75 per cent of the population and the Uighurs only about 15 per cent.
3.The religious dimension is due to the restrictions imposed by the Chinese authorities on the observance of the Muslim religion and the alleged eradication of the Islamic character of the towns. These restrictions relate to the construction of new mosques. The religious anger is also due to the alleged demolition of some old mosques to make way for the construction of public buildings and shopping malls and
forcing meat shops and restaurants to remain open and serve customers during the fasting period. The Muslims allege that new buildings are forced to be constructed according to modern architectural style and not according to traditional Islamic style. They further allege that as a result the historic Islamic landscape of the area has been changing. Another cause for the religious anger is the restrictions on travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj and Umra pilgrimages.
4. While the ethnic anger is confined to the Uighurs, who now constitute the largest single ethnic group, but no longer in a majority, the religious anger has affected all Muslims----Uighurs as well as non-Uighurs from Central China and migrants from the Central Asian Republics. The percentage of Muslims in the province has come down from 90 in 1949 to 60 now, but they are still in a majority.
5. These two dimensions have given rise to two different organisations opposing the Chinese rule. The ethnic dimension has given rise to the World Uighur Congress (WUC), which was established on April 16, 2004 in Munich, Germany, by merging the East Turkestan National Congress and the World Uighur Youth Congress, which had been active for many years before 2004. It describes its main objective as to promote the right of the Uighur people to use peaceful, nonviolent, and democratic means to determine the political future of East Turkestan.
6. The Urumchi uprising of July 5 and 6,2009, followed less than two months after the WUC had held its Third General Assembly in Washington, DC from May 21-25, 2009 . Delegates and observers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and the the US attended the Assembly. Ms. Rebiya Kadeer was re-elected as the President of the WUC.
7. Mrs. Rebiya Kadeer, an Uighur human rights activist, was released from detention by the Chinese authorities under US pressure and allowed to migrate to the US in 2005. Her nomination by human rights groups in the West for consideration for the possible award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 was denounced by the Chinese as an insult to the Uighur people.
8.The 58-year-old Rebiya was arrested by the Chinese in 1999 on charges of endangering national security by indulging in anti-State activities. She was also accused of income tax evasion and indulging in narcotics smuggling and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment.
9.In November 2006, the Chinese prosecuted two
of her sons on charges of tax invasion. One of them--- Alimu Ahbudurimu--- was jailed for seven years and fined. The other ---Kahaer Ahbudurimu--- was only fined. Mrs Kadeer had alleged in May 2006 that her two sons and a daughter had been taken into custody by the Chinese to prevent them from meeting a US Congressional team visiting Xinjiang.
10.Before her arrest in 1999, Mrs Kadeer had owned a prosperous department store and started a charity helping other Muslim women find work. She had even been appointed to a seat on one of the Chinese government's highest consultative bodies. Things changed for her in 1996 after her husband Sidik Rouzi managed to flee to the US. Her persecution, detention, trial and conviction followed thereafter.
11. Among other political prisoners in detention in Xinjiang were: Tohti Tunyaz, who was studying in Japan. He was arrested in 1998 while on a trip to Xinjiang to gather material for his post-graduate thesis on Uighur history. While there, he had allegedly obtained a number of old documents, which Chinese prosecutors described as state secrets; Abdulghani Memetemin, a teacher and journalist who was sentenced on 24 June 2003 to nine years in jail for "providing state secrets for an organisation outside the country"; and Muhammed Tohti Metrozi, who had fled to Pakistan from Xinjiang in 2003 and sought the protection of the local office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had him kidnapped and handed over to the Chinese.
12. The WUC is funded openly and helped in other ways such as the training of its cadres by the Congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of the US and the Holland-based Unrepresented Nations' and Peoples' Organisation (UNPO). Its membership used to largely consist of Uighurs from the diaspora outside China---mainly from the Western countries. Only during the recent Urumqi uprising it became evident that it has built up a following at least in the Uighur student community in Urumqi. The WUC is a secular and liberal organisation, which opposes Islamic fundamentalism.
13. When the Chinese occupied Xinjiang in 1949,a large number of the political elite of the province fled to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Some came to Jammu & Kashmir in India where they were allowed to stay by the then Indian Government headed by Jawaharlal Nehru. After some years, they shifted to Saudi Arabia and from there to Turkey and the then West Germany. These secular and liberal Uighurs in the diaspora, who are now associated with the WUC, are admirers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and interact closely with the Tibetan diaspora in the
14. The religious dimension of the anger gave rise to the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan (IMET), formed by some Uighurs, Uzbecks and other Muslims who had fled to Pakistan from Xinjiang and participated in the jihad against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Whereas the WUC fights against the Han Chinese because they are in occupation of the traditional Uighur homeland, the IMET fights against the Hans because it says they are infidels, who are in occupation of territory, which historically belonged to the Umma. It had joined the International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed by Osama bin Laden in 1998 under the leadership of Al Qaeda. It advocates a regional Caliphate consisting of the Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan and Eastern Turkestan.
15.While the WUC till recently drew most of its members from the Uighur diaspora in the West and Australia, the IMET has been drawing its members from the Uighur diaspora in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. While the WUC gets most of its funds from North America, West Europe and Australia , the IMET has been getting its funds from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. According to reliable Uighur sources in Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan contributes money regularly to the IMET and helps many Uighur students in Pakistan.
16.The Chinese claim that more than 1,000 IMET members had been trained by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan before 9/11.Its former head Hasan Mahsum was reportedly shot dead by the Pakistani troops on October 2, 2003, in an anti-terrorism operation along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The CBS News of the US had reported on April 15, 2009, that the media wing of the IMET called Sawt al Islam had disseminated a 43-minute video entitled “Persistence and preparation for Jihad”. To quote the CBS:" It includes a statement by the group’s current leader Sheikh Abul Haq, as well as its late leader Hassan Makhdum, whose alias is Abu Mohammed al Turkistani. Abul Haq said
“jihad” was a duty that falls on all Muslims just like any other religious duty. He also pledged more attacks against Chinese forces.”
17. In a report from Urumqi, the Government-controlled Xinhua news agency of China quoted a spokesperson of the local Government as stating on January 8, 2007, that the local Police destroyed a terrorist camp in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and killed 18 terrorists. One policeman was killed and another injured in an exchange of fire, which took place on January 5, 2007, in the mountains of Pamir’s plateau in south Xinjiang. The police claimed to have captured 17 terrorists and to be pursuing others. They also claimed to have seized 22 hand grenades and more than 1,500 others which the terrorists had not yet finished making. According to the police, the training
camp was being run by the IMET, which was designated by the UN Security Council in 2002 as a terrorist organisation for purposes of action under the UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 relating to action against terrorist funding.
18.The report of the incident of January 5, 2007, came in the wake of the dissemination of a message of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 to Osama bin Laden, on December 20, 2006, in which he had cited East Turkestan (Xinjiang) as an example of the historic Muslim lands presently under the occupation of non-Muslim countries and stressed the need to liberate them . However, there was no evidence to connect the dissemination of his message with the incident of January 5, 2007.
19. In 2008, in the months before the Beijing Olympics of August 2008, there were a number of acts of terrorism in the interior areas of Xinjiang as well as in Shanghai and in Kunming in Yunnan. The Chinese investigators blamed the IMET for these acts and arrested many of its suspected supporters. There was anger over the execution of two Uighurs allegedly belonging to the IMET in April last in Kashgar city for what China called a "terrorist" attack last August there aimed at sabotaging the Beijing Olympics. According to the Chinese authorities, 17 policemen were killed in that incident. Fears have been expressed by the local Uighurs that the 10 Uighurs handed over by Pakistan to China in June last on the ground that they belonged to the IMET might meet with a similar fate.
20.Before the Urumchi uprising, there was considerable anger in Xinjiang over preventive arrests being made by the authorities of the local office of the Ministry of Public Security since April to prevent any violent incidents coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China which falls in October.
21.The Urumchi uprising also came at a time when there has been a recrudescence of jihadi violence in Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and Xinjiang since the beginning of this year. While local grievances of the Uighurs are responsible for the fresh wave of unrest in Xinjiang, the revival of pro-Taliban activities in Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan has come in the wake of attempts by the US to find alternate routes for the movement of logistic supplies to their troops in Afghanistan through Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Following frequent attacks by the Pakistani Taliban on convoys carrying logistic supplies passing through the Pashtun areas, the US has embarked on
an exercise to find alternate routes. Reliable sources say that Al Qaeda has been encouraging the Uzbeks, the Uighurs and the Chechens to unite to foil this US exercise and to target the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's joint operations against terrorism.
22. Till the Urumchi uprising, the Chinese concern was mainly over the activities of the Waziristan-based IMET, which was suspected of the murder of some Chinese engineers working in the Gwadar port construction project in Balochistan, some Chinese meat wholesalers based in Peshawar and of attacks on some Chinese engineers working in a hydel project and a mobile telephone project in the Pashtun tribal areas. The role of the Pakistani Taliban was also suspected in the attacks on the Chinese engineers in the Pashtun areas.
23. Since 2002, Beijing had been repeatedly pressing the Pakistan Government to effectively dismantle the terrorist infrastructure of the IMET in Pakistani territory. While the Pakistani authorities did kill some Uighurs of the IMET and captured and handed over some others to the Chinese authorities, they were not able to stop the activities of the IMET from their territory. The Chinese had taken up this matter on
many occasions with Pervez Musharraf when he was the President and took it up again with President Asif Ali Zardari when he visited Shanghai in February last and with Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, when he had visited Beijing in June last.
24. Till now, the Chinese concerns were mainly over the activities of the IMET. They did not show much evidence of any concern over the activities of the WUC, which they looked upon mainly as a diaspora organization in the West with no following inside Xinjiang, They were taken by surprise on July 5,2009, when nearly 3000 Uighur students and others, whom the Chinese suspected to be sympathisers of the WUC, held a demonstration in the centre of Urumqi to protest against the alleged murder of two Uighurs working in a toy factory of Guangdong by their Han Chinese co-workers following allegations of a rape of a Han Chinese woman by some Uighur workers. The allegations turned out to be false. The murder of the two Uighur workers took place on June 26, but according to the Uighur protesters, the Chinese Police in Guangdong had not arrested the Han Chinese accused till July 6. They were arrested only after the uprising.
25. According to WUC sources, the protesters carried the Chinese national flag in order to highlight that their protest demonstration was on a human rights issue and had nothing to do with their political demand for autonomy or independence. They allege that despite this the Chinese police opened fire killing a large number of Uighur protesters, many of them young students. The WUC has alleged that about 800 Uighurs were killed by the police firing, but this is not corroborated by independent sources.
26. What happened subsequently after the police opened fire on the protesters---many of them young---is not clear. There are contradictory reports from different sources, but many sources are agreed that the Chinese contention that there was a brutal massacre of over 100 Han Chinese---many of them women--- by groups of Uighurs who killed the Han Chinese with butchers' knives, slitting the throats of some of them, is correct. It was a brutality of a kind that has not been seen outside the Af-Pak region.
27. The identity of the Uighurs, who ran amok and brutally killed the Han Chinese, is not clear. The Chinese initially blamed the protesters of the WUC for this massacre. This is not corroborated. The strong suspicion is that Waziristan-trained members of the IMET, who had infiltrated into Urumchi, took advantage of the confusion after the police firing and went on a killing spree directed against the Han Chinese.
28. The Chinese authorities have been taken by surprise and shocked by what happened. Apart from inducting Army units from Sichuan into Xinjiang in order to reassure the Han Chinese that their lives and property will be protected, the Chinese have taken certain other measures such as the following:
They have launched a “tell the truth to the world” campaign. Under this campaign, foreign journalists are being encouraged to visit Urumqi and make their own enquiries. They have appealed to the overseas Chinese to explain the situation to the population of the countries where they are living.
The Chinese Foreign Office has directed Chinese diplomats posted in Islamic countries to give the facts of the situation to their host Governments. The Chinese have been taken aback by the strong reaction of the Turkish Government and by the large demonstrations in Turkey against the Urumchi incidents, which have been described in Turkey as amounting to a genocide.
They have appealed to all countries to stop the flow of funds to Uighur organisations. Though they have not mentioned any country by name, many feel that their appeal is directed at the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
29. The Chinese have taken seriously a report disseminated by a Western risk consultancy agency that the branch of Al Qaeda in Algeria has threatened to attack Chinese workers working in Algeria and other countries in retaliation for the death of the Muslims in Urumqi. Even though the authenticity of the report has not yet been established, the Chinese have requested the Governments of Pakistan, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Nigeria, where the maximum number of Chinese are working, to strengthen security for their nationals.
30. The Chinese have two serious concerns --- immediate in the context of the alleged threat by the Al Qaeda unit in Algeria and subsequent in the context of what could happen in October when the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China is observed. From comments received by me on my articles from many who claim to be Chinese readers, it seems they are surprised that India, which has been a victim of jihadi violence and terrorism, has remained silent on what happened at Urumchi. There is no reason for us to react at present, whatever be the correct facts.
31. Like the US, China has for many years been a following a policy of double standards with regard to jihadi terrorism-- condemning that which is directed at China and maintaining a silence over Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorism which is directed at India. There is no reason why we should fight shy of paying them back in their own coin.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com )