July 25, 2009

Baloch National Question Exposed To World Community For Debate

Baloch leadership is convinced that Sharm Ul Sheikh Communiqué could provide a firm base for world community to intervene and check the gross violation of human rights in Balochistan by 'Islamic' republic of Pakistan.

Archen Baloch

Despite the fact that Baloch Nationalism has bitterly been cursed by religious parties and dubbed with infidelity, abhorred by federation, betrayed by salaried parliamentarian nationalists, suppressed by civil and military establishment, haunted by ISI and MI, crushed by cruel military operations, neglected by civil societies, ignored by regional and international media, contained in a vicious circle of vested interests, isolated by neighboring nations and submerged in the obscurity of utter media blackout.

Nevertheless, at last it overcame all these obstructions and reached Sharm El Sheikh and forced Pakistan to include Balochistan into joint-statement issued by PM Manmohan Singh of India and PM Gilani of Pakistan , it reads , ‘Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan had some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas'.

The main purpose of inclusion of Balochistan in the joint statement is that Pakistan wanted to counterweigh the New Delhi accusations of Mumbai carnage which are bearing heavy on Pakistan in the coming days. That is way the ex Pakistan spy master Hameed Gul was jubilant at the inclusion of Balochistan in the joint statement.

Now the question is that what Pakistan wants out of this? There are two things that Pakistan wants to gain out of it. First, it wants to counterweight New Delhi assertions of Mumbai carnages. The second thing is that it could wage a military operation in its controlled southwestern Balochistan province to crush Baloch insurgency in the name of "some information on threats in Balochistan" whereby India would not be able to raise a finger at the atrocities meted out against Baloch in the wake of gory operations in Balochistan.

Now according to Baloch media and Baloch political parties statements Pakistan has started to take into confidence the world community and some so called nationalists to pave the way for launching a gory and dangerous military operation in Balochistan to crush Baloch national resistance movement.

Right after the Sharm El Sheikh joint statement between PM Singh and PM Gilani, on war footage a frenzy of activities of state officials and security agencies is being reported in Baloch media. President Zardari's meeting with Nawaz Sharif and taking him into confidence for the operation, dispatching PPP's representative Nafees siddique to meet MQM's demagogue head Altaf Hussain in London to get him on board for the same purpose. Interior minister Rehman Malik's visit to Kabul meeting President Karzai and asking him to cooperate on the border infiltration, American Secretary Hillary Clinton words about Indian involvement in Balochistan unrest, Sending provincial governor Magsi to abroad to convince some nationalists leaders leaving abroad for the same reason to weaken the likely protests, in Europe Baloch activists are to wage if Pakistan committed any military aggression in Balochistan. Frontier Corps office in Quetta has become the meeting place of some salaried tribal leaders, and religious leaders for approving the operation.

Apart from all these political and diplomatic measures, contingency measures have also been reported by Baloch media and political parties that all districts, cities and towns' hospitals have been put on high alerts. And temporary medical camps have been erected to treat the wounded ones. New check posts on every entrance of cities, towns and villages have been added to the already existent 800 check posts to execute the much feared operation across Balochistan.

To intimidate the public, it has increased the flag marches in large columns of troops in cities, town and villages. A heavy crack down has also been inflicted upon BSO and BNF leadership, which are the vanguard of political resistance and the main organizers of large public demonstrations, to quell the resistance.

It has also been reported that Sri Lankan and Chinese military expertise is also involved in this high sophisticated operation, in some areas Iranian forces have been given the task to participate in the kill of Baloch resistance Particularly in bordering mountainous areas of Zamoran, Mand and Taftan.

Regrettably the American sophisticated weapons, which have been given to Pakistani military to take on al Qaida and Talibans, are the main killing machines being used against a secular and democratic nation struggle for liberation.

The die of diplomatic tussle has been cast by Pakistan itself in Sharm Ul Sheikh and it has exposed Baloch national question to world community for international debate.

Baloch national struggle for freedom is in need indeed of world attention and support. Baloch leadership is convinced that Sharm Ul Sheikh Communiqué could provide a firm base for world community to intervene and check the gross violation of human rights in Balochistan by 'Islamic' republic of Pakistan.

Baluchistan in India Pakistan Joint statement

Joint statement of the prime ministers of India and Pakistan issued in Egypt generated controversy in both countries, particularly on inclusion of Baluchistan. The Joint Statement says “Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Baluchistan and other areas.“, adding to this, media reports say that a dossier on Baluchistan was giving to India which was rejected out rightly by Indian diplomats that India has nothing to do with Baluchistan and “India had nothing to hide on the issue and was ready to talk”.

Back in India, government was questioned by the Bharaitya Janata Party on inclusion of Balochistan in the India-Pakistan Joint statement . It said “Why did you (the government) include Balochistan in the joint declaration? On what basis, for what objectives, for what concern unless to give some kind of expression that India is also behind some kind of trouble in Baluchistan, By one stroke you have given some kind of culpable legitimacy to the government of Pakistan to allege in the international forum that India foments problems in Baluchistan. We feel very sorry. It will have long term implications on our reputation and prestige in the world,”

“India may not be involved in Balochistan, but Pakistan now gets the diplomatic equivalent of a gilt-edged invitation to raise Balochistan everytime India wants to raise Pakistani terrorism in Kashmir. India's security establishment has been horrified by the statement, and even top officials have reportedly dissociated from” (“Balochistan bungle may prove costly “, Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, 18 July 2009)

“The diplomatic spin now being put on the inclusion of Balochistan is this: India successfully kept Kashmir out of the statement and put in Balochistan. The implication being that in future, it will be Balochistan that will be under international scrutiny with all the attention on human rights abuses etc while Kashmir gradually falls off the radar. “(“Balochistan bungle may prove costly “, Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, 18 July 2009)

“Some officials said the Pakistanis could regret putting Balochistan in the bilateral framework. While it gives Pakistan an opportunity to drum up opinion against India or stall terror allegations from India, conversely, India could also use this to ask for international intervention in human rights abuses in Balochistan, thereby putting Islamabad on the mat, if India so desired. In 2006, Pakistan was beside itself with rage every time India commented on the violent crackdown in the province.” (“Balochistan bungle may prove costly “, Indrani Bagchi, Times of India, 18 July 2009)

India always want a stable, peaceful, prosperous Pakistan, and it is in India's own interest .

1. “Indian consulates in Afghanistan are only overseeing development activities by Indian companies in the war-torn country. We have also assured Pakistan that India is not and does not want to meddle in the affairs of Balochistan nor it is trying to take advantage of the situation arising after the Lal Masjid operation,” Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan

( Interactive session on “Indo-Pak Peace Process: The New Realities” was organized by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations, Economic Affairs and Law and it was attended by government functionaries, parliamentarians, serving and retired diplomats as well as foreign envoys based in Karachi) http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=9464

Is India arming Baloch insurgents?

"The only way that India can arm Baloch insurgents is either through Iran or through Afghanistan. Clearly, India cannot support Baloch insurgents through Iran without the explicit permission of the supreme leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei. Again, Indian cannot arm Baloch insurgents through Afghanistan without the explicit permission of Lt General David Barno. Additionally, an instable Balochistan jeopardises India's pipeline dreams and is not in India's long-term economic interests."

"There is little doubt that arms are flowing into Pakistan's Balochistan both through Iran and Afghanistan. That, however, in no way means that the states of Iran or Afghanistan are directly involved. Surely, the entire region has long been flooded with Kalashnikovs, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, landmines and mortars. Every kind of killing machine is available to anyone who is willing to pay the price, and then Pakistan's border with Afghanistan is a rugged 2,430 kilometres long, the one with Iran is 909 kilometres (even America has failed to block the supply of arms to Iraqi 'insurgents')."

SHARM-EL-SHEIKH: The following is the joint statement issued after talks between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan here on Thursday:

The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, met in Sharm-el-Sheikh on July 16, 2009.

The two Prime Ministers had a cordial and constructive meeting. They considered the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a view to charting the way forward in India-Pakistan relations. Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries. Both leaders affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and to cooperate with each other to this end.

Prime Minister Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice. Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its power in this regard. He said that Pakistan had provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information/evidence. Prime Minister Singh said that the dossier is being reviewed.
Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats.

Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Baluchistan and other areas.

Both Prime Ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed. Prime Minister Singh said that India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues.

Prime Minister Singh reiterated India’s interest in a stable, democratic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Both leaders agreed that the real challenge is development and the elimination of poverty.

Both leaders are resolved to eliminate those factors which prevent our countries from realizing their full potential. Both agreed to work to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence.

Both leaders reaffirmed their intention to promote regional cooperation.
Both foreign secretaries should meet as often as necessary and report to the two foreign ministers who will be meeting on the sidelines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly. End

July 23, 2009

Eastern Europe as a U.S. problem


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev) - U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden has begun his trip to Georgia and Ukraine amid an opening barrage in the media: an open letter from Eastern European leaders to the U.S. administration was followed by something like a response in the form of a Sunday editorial in The Washington Post.

These two documents can help us to understand Biden's Georgian-Ukrainian diplomacy for what it deserves to be. Namely, as an attempt by the new administration to start sorting out the substantive part of the U.S. foreign policy crisis. The name of this part is Eastern Europe.

Eastern Europe and its role in everything that has happened in international relations would not have ranked as a problem (such as, say, Africa) if it had not been for the events that will soon be marking their first anniversary: Georgia's attack on South Ossetia on August 7-8, Russia's response, and the political twitches this war caused in international relations.

Let us go back one year: at first European and American media stubbornly stuck to the version that the attacker was Russia. Then Europeans began to realize that the reality was something different. Simply, a small country with a regime established by the U.S. was pushing two world powers toward war, and this within Europe.

At the same time, Ukraine (the second stop in Vice-President Biden's trip) represented by President Viktor Yushchenko supplied the aggressor with arms, and did it in secret from most of the political establishment of his own country. And Eastern European leaders - on the whole the same people that are now writing letters to Washington - acted as the main advocates and activists of the policy of "protecting Georgia."

But that was no policy any more. It was a plot to take advantage of the United States, to engineer for it if not a war, then at least a mighty crisis - on top of all the others (Iraq and Afghanistan), and this ahead of presidential elections. Generally speaking, such things are never forgiven.

The letter penned by Eastern Europeans is a long document signed by former key leaders: Lech Walesa (Poland), Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic), Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia), Valdas Adamkus (Lithuania) and many of the politicians. They call themselves the Atlanticists. They warn that U.S. popularity in their countries has waned, and new people are coming to power. The authors call for preserving this special link between Washington and the "new Europe," admitting Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, opposing Moscow's expanding influence, including by means of new pipelines bypassing Russia, and so on. Dmitry Medvedev's proposals concerning a new architecture for European security, they say, are plain horror that requires NATO's strengthening.

In general, this is an appeal to continue the policy Washington followed before Barack Obama, a policy that ended in the Georgian disaster.

Something similar is also taking place in the U.S. - a sharp ideological battle to mark out polar positions. It is led by neo-Conservatives, of the same mind with former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who are fiercely opposing even hints that Obama should pursue a foreign policy other than Cheney's. This is a rare situation in U.S. history, perhaps comparable only with the 1980s in the Soviet Union, years of ideological battles and attempts at renewal. And this dispute is only beginning.

Here is the message contained in The Washington Post editorial - a brief five-paragraph reply to the long message from Eastern Europeans. "The administration," the paper believes, "nonetheless should take the letter to heart, not as a rebuke but as encouragement. Nations clamoring for a stronger U.S. relationship, built on the ideals of freedom and alliance, are not so numerous that Washington can afford to take them for granted."

On the whole, the American thinking elite realizes that the former policy was unwise and dangerous. But the U.S. does not appear to have given rise to some new policy differing from the adventurism of the former administration and not being at the same time America's retreat.

In the same way, old-time thinkers in Eastern Europe are struggling to preserve the old line - no new Eastern European policy is in sight. And Russia, too, which has for many years been defending itself against the Bush-Cheney line, would do well by making its position clear not only on what it does not want its partners to do, but also on what it wants.

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

Now, Pak details `Indian hand' in Balochistan

TNN 23 July 2009, 01:45am IST


NEW DELHI: As the Manmohan Singh government faces flak for allowing the mention of Pakistan's "concerns" about Balochistan in the joint statement
the prime minister signed in Egypt, Islamabad seems determined to compound his difficulties.

On Wednesday, Pakistani media carried reports quoting official sources suggesting that Singh agreed to the mention of Balochistan when his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani confronted him in Sharm el-Sheikh with a dossier detailing India's covert subversion in the restive province of Balochistan.

The report in the Dawn claimed the dossier also had details of India's role in fomenting trouble in other areas of Pakistan as well. It said it was India that was responsible for the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team and the Manawan police academy, apart from maintaining a terror training camp in Kandahar from where trained Baloch insurgents were sent into Pakistan. "Operatives of RAW who remained in touch with the perpetrators of the attacks have been identified and proof of their interaction have been attached. Besides, description of Indian arms and explosives used in the attack on the Sri Lankan team has been made part of the dossier," the paper said.

The PMO denied the claim. "No such dossier was given to us," a senior source told TOI.
But the report, based on claims made by close aides of Gilani, can feed into the perception that the reference to Balochistan may be used by Pakistan to harass India and to seek to turn the attention away from the ISI's brazen collusion with terrorists.

If this was not enough, a report in the New York Times based on its conversations with senior officials of Pakistan may undercut any perception that Pakistan agreed to make good its promise to crack down on terrorists during the Sharm el-Sheikh talks.

Senior Pakistani sources quoted in the NYT report made it clear that their government had no intention of taking any action against Taliban leaders like Sirajuddin Haqqani, who engineered the attack on the Indian mission in Kabul or Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed. ISI officials in briefings with US media have said, "Saeed deserved to be freed because the government had failed to convince the courts that he should be kept in custody. There would be no effort to imprison Saeed again, in part because he was just an ideologue who did not have an anti-Pakistan agenda."

Haqqani, ISI officials said, was no threat to anybody, though US and Indian officials have given Pakistan evidence of his being the mastermind of the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

The claim that Gilani gave a dossier to Singh in Egypt has strengthened the apprehension here that this might become the norm from Pakistan.

The story in the Dawn goes on to say, "The evidence of Indian link lists the safe houses being run by RAW in Afghanistan, where terrorists are trained and launched for missions in Pakistan. The dossier also broadly covers the Indian connection in terror financing in Pakistan."

Quoting Gilani's aides, the report says they confirmed his discussions of India's involvement in the attack on the Sri Lankan team.

Asia keeps the west's betrayed faith

By Kishore Mahbubani and William Weld

Published: July 21 2009 20:31 | Last updated: July 21 2009 20:31


Before the current economic crisis exploded, most Asian policymakers and intellectuals believed that when it came to the theory and practice of economic development, the west knew best. This conviction was justified. For two centuries or more, western economies had far outperformed their own. Asian economies only began to perform well when they accepted and implemented Adam Smith's theories of free-market economics.

However, when the crisis led to a global recession, with severe downturns in several major western economies, many Asians began to question their belief in western competence. An important distinction needs to be stressed here: while Asians have retained their faith in western theories on economics, they have progressively lost faith in western practices of economic management.

For example, many Asians are genuinely bewildered that a great mind such as Alan Greenspan could believe that derivative traders did not need any regulation. In 2003, the then chairman of the US Federal Reserve said: "The vast increase in the size of the over-the-counter derivatives markets is the result of the market finding them a very useful vehicle. And the question is, should these be regulated?" His answer was that the state should not go beyond regular banking regulation because "these derivative transactions are transactions among professionals".

In contrast to this ideological conviction that markets knew best, the Asian mix of ideas on economic development would include a combination of the old-fashioned values of hard work, prudent savings and a dynamic private sector balanced by judicious government intervention when markets fail.

It is vital to stress the diversity of Asia. India is as different from China as Singapore is from Vietnam. Yet virtually all Asian societies believe that government has an important role in managing the economy. All Asian governments would agree with Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist, that the invisible hand of the marketplace has to be balanced by an emphasis on the visible hand of good governance, a statement he made at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Another striking difference that has emerged in Asian and western attitudes is that while the western mind remains ideologically committed to free markets, many western populations have in practice become wary of free trade. By contrast, the faith of Asian populations in free trade is growing stronger.

The "buy American" provisions recently enacted by the US Congress, for example, are entirely wrong-headed. They will make American industries less, not more, competitive. A stark new political reality in America is that it is virtually impossible to get the US Congress to ratify new free-trade agreements, even when they are overwhelmingly in the American interest. The US-Colombia FTA will benefit Americans more than Colombians if it kills the drug industry in Colombia. But this deal seems dead in the water.

By contrast, the Asia-Pacific region is exploding with new FTAs. The largest in the world will be the one between the 1.2bn people of China and the 500m of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. This has already been signed and ratified, and comes into force in 2010. Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India are following suit with similar agreements with Asean. A recent study by the Asian Development Bank notes that there are about 20 cross-regional FTAs at different stages of implementation, which have significantly improved economic welfare. Asia is becoming awash with competitive liberalisation, while populist protectionist sentiment prevails in the west.

Recent analyses of the impact of the current crisis on Asian economies have correctly stated that the collapse of Asian exports to the US will also mean a decline in intra-Asian trade, since much of this is lower down the global value chain and involves products ultimately destined for the US. If this accounted for all the growth in intra-Asian trade, then one should be pessimistic about the future. The ADB notes, however, that the value of total merchandise trade between east Asia and south Asia increased eightfold between 1990 and 2007, with each region exporting according to its comparative advantage. Not all of it was due to American demand.

This decoupling of the Asian-western consensus could lead to major changes. It is entirely conceivable, for example, that the Asian economies will perform better than their western counterparts for a good while, by adhering to western ideas on economic development as western societies effectively backtrack from them, openly or surreptitiously.

Similarly, while many western populations are becoming increasingly wary of globalisation, there is virtually no evidence of this in Asian societies. Indeed, most Asians want more, not less, globalisation. The current phase of globalisation was generated by the west, to be sure, but now we may witness the Asianisation of globalisation. This seeming paradox, too, will be a result of the decoupling of the Asian-western consensus.

History does take interesting turns.

Kishore Mahbubani is dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore and has just published The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East. William Weld is a former governor of Massachusetts

Fears of a Nuclear Burma

By Patrick Winn


BANGKOK - In the eyes of U.S. leaders, North Korea and Burma have long assumed roles of Asia's villains.

Both are run by military regimes as paranoid as they are oppressive. The thought of either possessing a nuclear weapon potent enough to scorch a rival country is terrifying indeed.

Now, with the two reclusive nations strengthening military ties, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among the openly disturbed. A patchwork of evidence suggests that Burma, with the help of North Korean scientists and Russian advisers, wants to cobble together a nuclear weapons program - even as Burma's state-run power agencies struggle to keep the lights on for its citizens.

Among leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - a group that includes Burma - Clinton this week said the U.S. takes the potential of a nuclear Burma very seriously. "It would be destabilizing for the region," Clinton said. "It would pose a direct threat to Burma's neighbors. And it is something, as a treaty ally of Thailand, that we are taking very seriously."

WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE? There is no smoking gun. But analysts and U.S. officials have cited a confluence of events that suggest nuclear ambitions in Burma, also called Myanmar.

North Korean engineers, who specialize in building tunnels and underground bunkers, have led a massive construction project in Naypyidaw, the regime's remote capital. This network of 800-odd tunnels, exposed by Burma expert Bertil Lintner, is quite like the subterranean facilities in which North Korea's defense department has built up a fledgling nuke program away from satellites' prying cameras. Just this month, the North Korean military defiantly launched a fresh round of test missiles into the sea.

Waves of Burmese military officers have also studied nuclear science in Russia, which has already sold MIG-29 fighter jets to the regime.

But perhaps most worrisome is the Burma-bound North Korean freighter bearing an unknown shipment of military supplies that nearly reached its destination. It reversed course - for weather reasons, according to North Korea - after U.S. Navy vessels trailed it for miles. The ship's contents remain unclear but, according to the Associated Press, one South Korean analyst cited satellite images that suggested it was equipment for a nuclear program.

WHO CAN SWAY BURMA? Certainly the leadership in China, Burma's top trading partner, but Beijing prefers not to interfere. Non-interference is also the stated policy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, the U.S.-friendly 10-country alliance that is currently meeting with Clinton.

Burma has repeatedly embarrassed ASEAN, which has been criticized for partnering with the junta even through accusations of military-sanctioned gang rape, shelling of ethnic minority villages and vapid charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, an imprisoned pro-democracy figure beloved by the West.

"Why does (ASEAN) bow down as low as Burma? And accept standards set by Burma on human rights?" said Sinapan Sammydoraj of the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers. He and others have lambasted the association this week for allowing Burma to join an ASEAN human rights agreement perceived as toothless.

"That is shameful," he said. "I don't know what claw the U.S. has regarding human rights (in Burma)."

Clinton has used the meeting, a roundtable on matters ranging from the economy to swine flu, to censure the junta. She has pressured neighboring Thailand, a veteran U.S. ally, to draw a harder line on Burma while reiterating that the U.S. would warm to the junta if it improved its treatment of Burmese citizens. At the same time, North Korean officials are pleading with Thai ministers to ensure that the meeting doesn't devolve into a North Korea-Burma bashing session.

WHAT'S THE OBAMA POLICY ON BURMA? So far, there isn't one. It hasn't been updated since the Bush administration, which cast Burma as an "Axis of Evil" B-teamer and sought minimal engagement.

Even Burmese pro-democracy exiles are eagerly awaiting an Obama adminstration that engages the junta and goes beyond "condemnation from the podium," said Aung Zaw, who runs The Irrawaddy, a magazine for Burma's exiled diaspora.

"That's why these talks are just talks," he said. "They heighten attention for a period of time and then Burma is locked down again. The military knows it can get away with it."

Based in Bangkok, Patrick Winn produces written and video dispatches on Thailand and Burma for Global Post.

Unrest in Xinjiang: Birds coming home to roost for China

by Mohan Guruswamy


Xinjiang or East Turkestan abuts the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir. The last leg of the ancient trade route linking India to the fabled Silk Route ran from Leh to Kashgar and Khotan through the legendary Karakorum Pass. This was the route on which mule trains brought valuable pashm into India to be woven into fine shawls in the Kashmir valley.

For many centuries the kingdom of Ladakh extracted rich levies from traders plying this route and prospered. The seeds of Ladakh's decline were sown when the great Ladakhi king, Sengge Namgyal, after a dispute with his Kashmir overlord imposed a blockade of all trade emanating from the valley. His intention was to economically weaken Kashmir by crippling its pashmina shawl industry.

The traders then discovered an alternative trade route linking Punjab with Tibet and Xinjiang through Shipki La, now in Himachal Pradesh. This brought the shawl- weaving centres to Punjab and places like Ludhiana prospered. Historically, India had many other linkages with Turkestan. These links were snapped after China annexed both Xinjiang and Tibet after the Communists seized power in Beijing in 1949.

Like Tibet, Xinjiang also had a troubled relationship with China. Chinese dominance waxed and waned with the ebbs and tides of imperial power in Beijing. After 1912 when Sun Yat Sen proclaimed a republic, by now enfeebled China for all practical purposes lost all authority in Tibet and Xinjiang. Chinese garrisons were driven out and local leaderships assumed complete authority. The KMT regime of Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek tried to reassert Chinese authority but largely failed to do so.

While Tibet was securely under the control of the Buddhist theocracy, Xinjiang came under the sway of several warlords till 1941 when a renegade KMT general-turned-warlord, Sheng Tsi Tsai, established a Soviet Republic under the close guidance of the Comintern in Moscow. The Russians now moved in. They took over all international relations and trade.

It had consequences in India, because it caused the British to Ladakh's border outwards by incorporating Aksai Chin to create a buffer. In 1949 Stalin handed over Xinjiang to the newly established People's Republic of China of Mao Zedong. In 1949 the population of Xinjiang comprised almost entirely of various Turkic nationalities of which the Uighurs were the largest.

Han Chinese only accounted for 6 per cent. Thanks to a continuous migration sanctioned and blessed by the authorities in Beijing, that proportion has now gone up to almost 48 per cent. Much of this is centered in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, which is over 80 per cent Han. The Uighurs are still the majority in the region below the Khotan and Kashgar line. This is the region that abuts India.

In the recent years the Government of India has been active in Ladakh. It has begun to build a motorable road that will link Leh via Nubra with the far-flung Daulet Beg Oldi. It has also recommissioned the airfield at DBO to receive larger aircraft. DBO overlooks the Karakorum Pass that is linked by motorable roads to Kashgar and Khotan. It is obviously hoped that one day modern caravans will ply these roads and re-establish the lost economic linkages with Xinjiang.

This writer visited Xinjiang a couple of years ago for a conference organised by the Chinese authorities at Urumqi. The Xinjiang capital is now a modern and well-developed city with many industries. The gas and oil finds in the immediate region have given impetus to the development of the area. But unfortunately the gains have not been equally shared.

The Uighurs still continue to be less well-off and deprived. The feeling that it is their national resources that are being exploited by the Chinese authorities to mostly benefit the Han migrants is quite pervasive among the Uighurs. Shopkeepers in the bustling ancient marketplace were quite open and vocal about their sentiments.

Many Uighurs speak a bit of Urdu due to the burgeoning relationship developed with Pakistan after the construction of the Karakorum highway. Urumqi has several restaurants that advertise themselves as serving Pakistani food.

There is also another unintended but nevertheless burgeoning Pakistan connection. Well-known Pakistani terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jamaat-ul-Dawa have trained no less than 4000 Uighurs to wage jihad in their homeland. The ISI connection with these outfits is well known.

The Chinese nevertheless continue to assist Pakistan with modern conventional and strategic weapons. It is now well established that the Pakistani missiles aimed at targets in India are Chinese in origin and the nuclear bombs that may be sitting atop them are of Chinese design. Since missiles can be made to point anywhere, the Chinese now fear the takeover of Pakistan by the jihadis as much as India or the US. So much for Chinese foresight.

When in Xinjiang we had planned to drive down from Urumqi to Kashgar. But it had to be dropped as the road was interdicted by rebels. The Chinese are now seeking to link the Uighur rebels with Al-Qaeda. But to paint all Uighur nationalists with the same brush would not be correct.

The East Turkestan Freedom Movement predates the clandestine war on Soviet-controlled Afghanistan by an axis of the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China. This axis even orchestrated attacks on the Turkic underbelly of the former Soviet Union. One fallout of this unholy alliance is the advent of Wahabi Islam in the Turkic regions which hitherto mostly adhered to the Sufi traditions of Islam.

If what the Chinese claim about Al-Qaeda is true, then it is just a case of the birds coming home to roost. Whatever be the reasons behind the groundswell of Uighur sentiments against China, there is a lesson in it for them. That is, economic development alone does not guarantee fraternal feelings.

History cannot be overlooked by merely rewriting it and air-brushing portraits or smothering it with cash and shopping malls. Democracy is a good place to start to make ethnically and culturally different peoples to feel and think of each other as part of a whole. But the stork carrying democracy is not due to visit China soon, and Xinjiang will continue to be a troubled place.

The writer is President, Centre for Policy Alternatives, New Delhi.

A Sharm-less surrender

G Parthasarathy


On July 12, Indian security forces in Jammu & Kashmir captured two well-armed Pakistani terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Mohammed Adnan and Mohammed Shafkat, hailing from Sahiwal district of Pakistani Punjab, who had infiltrated across the Line of Control. The captured terrorists revealed that they belonged to a group of 15 militants who had been trained in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to attack the Baglihar dam in Jammu & Kashmir. They also revealed that a secret tunnel was being built near the border town of Sialkot for infiltration into India across the international border. Three days later, Mr Richard Barrett, the coordinator of the UN Security Council's Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee warned that there was a "real risk" that the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba would target India again.

In these circumstances it has not only been necessary, but essential to make it clear to Pakistan and the international community, more so after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist outrage, that there cannot be "business as usual" with Pakistan, unless Islamabad provides a categorical assurance that it will not allow territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India and that the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan will be dismantled. Barely a month ago when Mr Manmohan Singh met Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari in Yekaterinburg the normally soft spoken Prime Minister bluntly told him: "My mandate is limited to telling you that the territory of Pakistan must not be allowed to be used for terrorism against India." But recent developments show that the Prime Minister's warning has gone unheeded as the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan remains alive and kicking.

The Vajpayee-Musharraf Declaration of January 6, 2004 makes it clear that India agreed to resume the `composite dialogue process' with Pakistan only after a categorical assurance from Gen Musharraf that "territory under Pakistan's control" would not be used for terrorism against India. There has thus been a direct link between Pakistan dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism and India agreeing to continue the composite dialogue. Despite this, the joint statement issued after Mr Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met in Sharm el-Sheikh astonishingly notes: "Both Prime Ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed." Any number of statements or any amount of sophistry that this does not constitute an assurance that we will continue dialogue irrespective of whether or not the infrastructure of terrorism is dismantled will be laughed at by anyone who understands the basics of diplomacy, or even has a rudimentary understanding of the English language.

This provision will haunt us when the next major terrorist attack hits us. Pakistan will deny its citizens were involved and insist that we continue with dialogue. Let us not forget that there were two main reasons why some progress was made after the Mumbai outrage. The first was the capture of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. Even though Pakistan denied for over a month that Kasab was a Pakistani national, it was compelled to ultimately climb down in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Moreover, as American, British and Israeli nationals were killed in Mumbai, unprecedented international assistance was forthcoming for the investigations and for pressure on Pakistan. It would, however be naïve to believe that any of the accused now under arrest will be punished. Pakistan is yet to complete the trial process of Omar Syed Sheikh, convicted of brutally murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2001. People like Omar Syed Sheikh, AQ Khan, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed or Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi cannot be punished because they will spill the beans on the involvement of Pakistan's military establishment in terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram's comments suggest that he at least recognises this reality.

Pakistan has been trying to counter growing international support for India's accusations that the ISI has been sponsoring terrorism against India, by alleging that India is sponsoring terrorism in Baluchistan and even aiding pro-Taliban forces in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. Given the presence of nearly 100,000 American and Nato forces in Afghanistan, any action by India that complicates the Nato mission would have invited American wrath and even retribution. The Americans have ignored and, by implication, rejected Pakistan's baseless claims of Indian interference. But the statement issued in Sharm el-Sheikh asserts: "Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Baluchistan and elsewhere" — a signal to the whole world that Mr Gilani told Mr Singh that India was meddling in Baluchistan and the NWFP. Pakistan will use the fact that India did not deny Mr Gilani's assertion in the joint statement as Indian acceptance of baseless Pakistani allegations. This is the most disastrous feature of the fiasco at Sharm el-Sheikh.

Assertions by Mr Singh that India and Pakistan are both equally "victims" of terrorism, that they share a "common destiny", or that a rising India cannot assert its rightful place in the comity of nations without good relations with Pakistan, are factually incorrect and undermine Indian diplomacy. A democratic, secular India cannot share a "common destiny" with a theocratic, feudal and military-dominated Pakistan, which is being challenged by terrorists the ISI backed to `bleed' India and seek `strategic depth' in Afghanistan. India, on the other hand has been a victim of the terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. Equating the two countries, as we have done in Sharm el-Sheikh, is ill-advised. India's economic growth has accelerated and its international profile has flourished by its partnership with the international community in forums like the G-8 and G-20, despite Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and diplomatic hostility. We can `rise' in the world with or without Pakistan's cooperation. The more we suggest that we need Pakistan's meherbani to accelerate economic growth, or rise in world affairs, the more those who cannot countenance India's rise in the world within Pakistan's establishment will continue to `bleed' us.

There are serious differences between Mr Zardari, who has genuinely sought accommodation and cooperation with India, and Mr Gilani, who rose in politics with the support of Gen Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s. Mr Gilani echoes the hardline approach of Pakistan's military establishment. How then are India's national interests served by embarrassing Mr Zardari in Yekaterinburg and appeasing Mr Gilani in Sharm el-Sheikh?

July 22, 2009

Witzel conference on Rigveda in Delhi a farce

Witzel needs an introduction: Witzel calls himself a ‘well-known scientist’ in press releases about his trips. In fact, he is a church agent, more specifically from Dalit Freedom Network of Colorado church (proved in the CAPEEM california textbook trial).

Witzel has admitted that he and his cohorts were part of White Nationalist Church in USA and in contact with one or more of Fetna's members in the California textbook (Harvard Donkey Trial) matter, just as with many other Indians/NRIs and members of many other Indian organizations. FETNA is a front for LTTE. It is extraordinary that a Harvard academic should be associating with members of such an organization. FETNA in their letter of Feb. 19, 2006 to California State Board of Education wrote thanking Witzel for the efforts in proposing edits in pursuance of the Colorado evangelical church agenda, denigrating the hindu heritage to promote Japhetic biblical creationism theories and to achieve conversions of poor people dubbed 'dalits' by the church.

Here is Anoop’s report of July 19, 2009 on the meet at IIC, Delhi on July 10, 2009:
[quote] I attended the session, and I feel it was not exactly a good experience for Witzel there at IIC.

The main points are:

Kapila Vatsyayan, who chaired the talk, stated many views which were indirectly aimed at Witzel and his designs.

Kapila Vatsyayan gave her opinion after the question hour by taking atleast 10 minutes (very lightly with her trade mark pleasing smile). The main points she made were:

1. Witzel and all of the academic community working on the AIT are concentrating mainly on comparitive mythology. If myths are dissected for the purpose of finding parallels between civilizations, and historical conclusions are drawn out of them, then myths cease to be 'myths'.

2. The main background of RgVeda is subjects like cosmology etc.(do not confuse the word cosmology with religion!!). Your studies never highlight that aspect. To create a voluminous text and start a revolution of intellectual work based on very tough subjects like cosmology, just imagination is not enough. We have to accept that. We should study how the Vedic people were able to work in such a higher intellectual plain which can't be seen anywhere else.

3. RgVeda is poetry of very high level. And such a high level poetry, and that too with a very difficult subject as its base, cannot be made by a people who do not have a good intellectual lineage and practice.

4. It is not acceptable that history is tried to be proved just by using comparative mythology, linguistics or one or two other streams. There should be a multi-disciplinary approach towards learning history.
And the most interesting point she made was:

5. Everyone of us recites the Vedas to Upanishads daily without thinking who made it or where it originated. Whether it belong to Mesopotamia, or Greece or India, it never matters much to us..jo research ho raha hai..hone do..we never care for that. Because we understand the reason why we are reciting it. So please take note of this when you do the research.

People including Devendra Swarup ji, and many others attended the programme.

I felt from the audience that the people in India (the fence sitters) have started a general dissatisfaction with the repeated promotion of the Invasion theory by these academics. Kapila ji's opinions were well enough to boost them.

Anoop [unquote]

He wrote on 19 July 2009, about his ‘conference’ in IIC, Delhi and Dr. Bhagwan Singh’s questions as follows: ‘…Nothing untoward happened, except that the infamous Hindutvavadin Bhagwan Singh (who has identified the Indus and the Vedic civilizations) refused to give his name in the question period. He did so only after the chair, Kapila Vatsyayana, had insisted 3 times. His aim: he wanted me to publicly revoke a one line sentence in an old, 1995 paper. I merely referred him to a paper of mine of 2001, end of discussion. -- This talk at the India International Centre was well attended by the general public. However I saw a watchman there too.’
Now read on the exquisite report of Dr. Bhagwan Singh on Witzel’s pathetic plight in the IIC meet:

Michael Witzel: rattled rat at IIC

Bhagwan Singh
22 July 2009

I was really sorry for Prof. Michael Witzel. After all, he was our honoured guest! Dr. Singh should not have pounced on him so mercilessly, playing the cat and the rat game – the cat looking ascetically resigned tossing the rat, the rat pretending to be dead, breathlessly looking from the corner of his eye to judge the cat’s next move, running for his life, only to be pounced upon and tossed up again. The Chair kept smiling all through at this plight of the powerful brainy Harvard Professor of Sanskrit!

Frankly, I enjoyed the wild play. Prof. Witzel was in a state of trauma: nervous, edgy, twitching his lips, dropping his eyelids recurrently, looking askance to avoid his interlocutor, constantly using his hanky to rub his nose, murmuring something inaudible to explain his errors, occasionally seeking help from his votaries who were present in good number, but more ignorant than their demi-god, and hence themselves dazed. Singh smiled all the way, his smile mischievous, eyes sadistically aglitter, untrue to his true nature, but true to the occasion.


The occasion was a lecture on the Rgveda by Prof. Michael Witzel, at the India International Centre, on 10 July 2009. Presided over by Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, it was attended by scholars of different hues and expectations. No one suspected that Witzel with his claim to be a ranking Vedic scholar knew so little that he could not answer a single query. Indeed, he appeared blank as far as the Rgvedawas concerned. He rose nervously to speak on the Veda, but actually spoke on the Aryan migration from Afghanistan to Punjab!

The lecture merely reiterated what Prof. Witzel has written years ago: that north-western India was populated by Munda speaking people when Indo-Aryan speakers arrived on the scene. Old Indo-Aryan was influenced by the substrate Proto-Munda. He proposed a time bracket of 1500-1250 BC for composition of theRgveda and suggested Book IV and Book VI were the oldest, advantage Book IV.

Witzel painted Rgvedic society as nomadic pastoralist, illiterate and with little interest in agriculture and sedentary life. There was virtually nothing in his speech that was not lifted from nineteenth century archives. He showed no awareness of recent researches in archaeology, anthropology, literature or historical linguistics, and presented even Kuiper with his pathological distortions.

Many archaeologists and professors of history attended the lecture, including your writer, Vedic scholar Bhagwan Singh. When the floor was thrown open for discussions, Bhagwan Singh introduced himself as the author of The Vedic Harappans, and said that his data contradicted each and every statement made by Witzel; he sought permission to exchange notes on a few issues. With the Chair’s permission, Singh said:

- You have reordered the Rgvedic strata, rating IV and VI to be the oldest and the rest belonging to intermediate and late stages. I have no objection to your sequence, but find your chronology miserably on the lower side. There is a reference to white pottery in one verse in Book IV (4.27.5). White pottery is a distinctive feature of Hakra Ware dated to 3000 BC. This goes against your dating of 1500-1250 BC for the Rgveda.

Witzel was dumbstruck. He murmured something inaudible, avoiding the audience, looking sideways. He tried to explain that the sequence arranged by him was based on the number of verses in a book, the smallest being the oldest. It caused Kapila ji and others to smile openly. I could not make out the reason and reminded him that Book IV is shorter than Book VI; but the shortest book is Book II! So here again, he was caught on the wrong foot.

He hesitantly managed, “There is no evidence of chariot or horse in India earlier than the mid-second millennium.”

- But Professor, the aśva in Rgveda, whatever could it have been, was brought from sea bound areas, even the aśva in the horse sacrifice, mentioned in Book I, hymn 163.

Prof. Witzel had no choice but to bite his lips in desperation.

- You say that the wheel and chariot were invented by Aryans when they were in Central Asia, but in the Book IV itself, Bhr.gus are given the credit for manufacturing wheels (4.16.20). Chariot and wheel was therefore not Aryan, but a Dravidian invention.

Witzel pretended that the inventors might have been Aryans and manufacturers Dravidians! He now forgot the antiquity of Book IV, which according to his suggestion, could have been written in Central Asia, older even than Book VI, composed entirely in Northern Afghanistan; Dravidian speakers must have been there as well.

- You talk of substrate effect of Proto-Munda and suggest no role of Proto-Dravidian at the early stage. But Kipper had concluded that three ethnic groups participated in a cultural process. The three are conspicuously present in the Rgveda, Bhr.gus Dravidian, Angirasas Mundari, besides the Sanskrit speakers.

Prof. Witzel mumbled something for a minute; his nervousness was apparent in his evasive gestures.

Kapila ji must have taken pity at his visible discomfort. She invited others to raise doubts, if they had any. Someone at the extreme end of the hall asked a question on the distorted reading of the Sankhyayan Śrautasutra, which had exposed his culpability half a decade back. Witzel responded by referring to an article written by him, without telling us what his defence was!

After a few worthless queries, the debate shrunk back to Michael Witzel, Kapila Vatsyayan, and Bhagwan Singh.

- The problem with you, Professor, is that you are not familiar with the content of Book IV even. Hymn 57 of Book IV gives a graphic depiction of advanced agriculture, with a plough almost similar to the one that was common in India up to the mid-twentieth century, drawn by a pair of bullocks and driven by a ploughman in service. And in one of the Ŗics, the poet talks of milking the earth as a cow, year after year. It testifies to advanced agricultural activities with sedentary population and belies the myth of nomadism, pastoralism, and barbarity.

The Chair could not hold her laughter; Witzel shook in dismay.

The last nail was hammered by Kapila ji herself. In a jocular vein, she said, “The theme of the lecture was Rgveda. Vedic poetry is known for its sublimity and rare beauty. I expected Prof. Witzel to speak something on it, but he did not say even a word on the theme.”

Witzel agreed that the Hymns on Uşā are really beautiful.

I interjected, “not only Uşā Sūktas professor, the entire Rgveda. Some of it could never be surpassed, such as the Nāsdīya Sūkta, with such expression as tama āsīt tamasā gūlhmagre, darkness was entrapped within darkness.

All in all, it was an interesting evening, if not for the presentation by Prof. Witzel, then for his discomfiture.

Prof. Bhagwan Singh is a Marxist scholar who accepted the archaeological evidence against the theory of Aryan invasion of India

INVITATION: Speech on "History of Indian Astronomy" by Dr Kosla Vepa


An invited speech on "History of Indian Astronomy" by Dr Kosla Vepa of Pleasanton, USA, is arranged in the premises of I-SERVE. (Road No. 8, Alakapuri, Hyderabad -35, A.P, India) from 5 P.M to 6 P.M on 1st August 2009. He will concentrate on the historical aspects but it is as a part of a larger presentation called the Indic Intellectual Tradition. The presentation will be followed by an interactive session of about 30 minutes. A brief note on Dr.Kosla is given below for the information of our friends. You are cordially invited to share the intellectual feast along with our refreshments

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17594809/bharatsciencehistorykosla1 History of science in Bharat Kosla Vepa (Abridged ppt)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17594890/bharatsciencehistorykosla2 History of science in Bharat Kosla Vepa (ppt)


Chairman, I-SERVE


Kosla Vepa is a member of the Global Indic Diaspora, originally a native ofAndhra Pradesh state in India and has had the good fortune to have been brought up and have had his education in various parts of India including, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. His highest degree is a Ph.D in the area of Engineering Mechanics. His professional and technical interests includesuccessful research and development engineering experience in the information technology, aero-engine and energy industries across the globe and an abiding interest in the history of the Mathematical sciences in antiquity.

He has a passionate interest especially in Civilizational studies in a wide variety of subjects including ontological principles in science and philosophy,Ancient Indian history, Vedas and Vedanta, Mathematical Sciences in India during antiquity, the growth and evolution of civilizations, Geopolitics of the India subcontinent, to name a few.

Dr. Vepa resides in the San Francisco Bay area. He is keen on developing pedagogical materials for schools in India, which illustrate the rich traditions of India in Astronomy and Mathematics.

Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas (I-SERVE)

11-13-279, Road No. 8, Alakapuri, Hyderabad 500035; Phone: 91-40-24035013

Web: www.serveveda.org

Kosla Vepa
Indic studies Foundation
948 Happy Valley Rd.,
Pleasanton, Ca 94566.

BHUTAN: Problems in implementing the Constitution

By Dr.S. Chandrasekharan

Constitutional Problems:

It is not even two years since the first democratic constitution was promulgated and as expected minor issues continue to prop up. While the government holds the view that the constitution cannot be followed rigidly, the tiny opposition and the National Council ( the upper house) feel the other way and have gone public on even minor deviations.

The National Council on its part has not realised yet that the council is there more for checks and balances and is not meant to be a supervisory body to breathe down the neck of the government. However the tiny two member opposition of PDP of Tshering Tobgay and Damcho Dorji is doing well and it is surprising to see that they are not cowed down by the overwhelming majority of the ruling party DPT.

The absence of a Supreme Court to interpret and decide on various issues relating to the constitution is another disability. The King (Fifth Gyalpo) has, except in one instance on the election of Gups has distanced himself on the day to today implementation and this augurs well for the country..

A constitution of this type and that too not even two years old, has to be dynamic particularly in a country where the democracy as is known now was not practised earlier. Differences are bound to occur.

But there are no serious differences and the various clauses in the constitution that appear to have different interpretations will become "settled law" in course of time by judicial decisions and amendments.

The differences were

* First, was the issue of 12 dzongdas being transferred by the government through the Royal Civil Service Commission. The case is that under Article 2 section 19 of the Constitution, a dzonkhag shall be appointed by Druk Gyalpo on the recommendation of the Prime minister. The transfers have taken place without the approval of Gyalpo and since he is the appointing authority, the transfers "dent" the constitution. This appears to be not a correct interpretation as the appointing authority comes in only when the person so appointed is to be dismissed. Transfer is just an administrative action and Druk Gyalpo’s approval does not appear to be necessary. It is not clear whether the RCSC has got the approval of the Prime minister which it would definitely have had before issuing the transfer orders.

* Second, was the issue over the establishment of the constituency development grant (CDG) which the opposition member Tobgay described it as unconstitutional under Articles 1.13, 20.2 and 22.1. The grant is part of the budget approved by the Cabinet and the National assembly and is not to be confused with the powers devolved to the local government mentioned in Article 22.1.

* Third, was the disagreement between the two houses on the question of passing of annual budget as well as other bills. The National Council insists that all bills should be got approved by the Council. Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Thinley cautioned against interpreting the constitution too rigidly. While mentioning that the Constitution is not a stick to be used against the government, the acting Prime Minister Lyonpo pointed out the difficulties in invoking the constitution on every issue. He said that politics will shift then from governance and legislation to wasted semantics, confrontational debates and divisive ideological posturing that will harm the constitution itself! Violation of the constitution is a serious matter and the opposition as well as the National Council should show some restraint. At the same time, the government cannot afford to say that the constitution cannot be adhered to rigidly. There should be some half way.

Article 11.2 of the Constitution, while describing the functions of the upper house (the National Council) says that the "National Council shall act as the House of review on matters affecting the security and sovereignty of the country and the interests of the nations, people that need to be brought to the notice of the Druk Gyalpo, the Prime Minister and the National Assembly." Reviewing does not mean supervising. Frequently, the ministers are called to the assembly to respond to the questions already sent to them and there are complaints that the ministers do not show up. The question of sending questions in advance is also being given up and the ministers are supposed to take up the questions on the spot and respond! There was serious dissatisfaction when the Home minster did not turn up one day.

To assuage the members of the National Council, the Prime minister along with two of his colleagues, the economic and information ministers had a closed door meeting with National Council to clear up misunderstanding and facilitate future dialogue.

It looks that the National Council members are over enthusiastic and overstepping their limits. This cannot be done by amending the constitution but by discussions at the highest level between the Prime Minister and chairman of the National Council. Perhaps the King could help.

Parliament Session Opens:

The third session of the Parliament opened on 26th June. The King was present for the opening. In his annual report on the state of the nation, the Prime Minister divided his report into three parts. The first dealt with historical events, second on the progress in GNH ( Gross National Happiness) and the third on the state of the emerging democracy.

He revealed that the economic growth for the year 2008-2009 was 8 percent and that was quite creditable. For Health services, the government is said to have recruited 22 specialists from (of all places) Myanmar and the adult literacy rate is to go up to 70 percent.

The Prime Minister made a brief mention of the "security clearance" being made "user friendly"- but the fears of southern Bhutanese and the problems they face in obtaining these certificates continue.

Confusion over the GNH and the GNP ( Gross National Product) continue to prevail. My interpretation is that the GNH takes a holistic approach of the well being of the individual citizen and thus GNP is part of some of the factors that go into gross national happiness.

Prime Minister's Visit to India:

Prime Minster Lyonchhoen Jigme Y.Thinley made a four day visit to India in the first week of July and did the usual rounds of meeting his Indian counterpart and others. The two governments discussed all the bilateral issues that included trade ties, cooperation in hydro power development and strengthening of IT projects in Bhutan. Bhutan’s plan of developing 10,000 MW of power in the next ten years is on course and Indian help has been promised.

Earlier, the Indian Foreign Minister visited Bhutan from June 18 to June 19.

Refugee Issue:

On the refugees, the first refreshing change we see is that Bhutan is no longer harping on continuing talks with Nepal and giving unnecessary hopes to the poor refugees in eastern Nepal who have by now realised that Bhutan is unlikely to take even one of them no matter whether they were genuine ( some already verified and accepted as such by Bhutan) citizens or not.

President Yadav of Nepal in addressing the assembly of the newly formed government of Madhav Nepal made a mention that "concerted efforts will be made to return the Bhutanese citizens living in Nepal as refugees to their country with dignity and respect." To me it looks more like a ritual that Nepal has to continue until the last one goes out of the country for third country settlement. Towards end June, four members of Tek Nath Rijals’ family left for Canada. Rijal, one may recall was a strong supporter for all refugees returning to their homes in Bhutan.

It is said that so far about 16,000 Bhutanese refugees have resettled abroad. Bulk of them (11000?) have gone to the united States while the rest have gone to Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and Canada.

A total of 66,747 refugees have so far expressed an interest for third country settlement and the figures may go up as the refugees who have gone outside have generally been happy though many of them miss their homes - not Nepal but southern Bhutan.

Courting India And China

Robyn Meredith, 07.22.09, 12:01 AM EDT
It's no wonder Clinton met with business executives first.


On her visit to India this week, Hillary Clinton sometimes seemed more Commerce Secretary than Secretary of State, wooing "India Inc." with meetings in Mumbai before visiting politicians in New Delhi. And it's no wonder--with American companies struggling at home, she knows that for at least the next few years, the world has just two big, fast-growing markets--India and China--and American companies can't afford to be left out of competition for sales.

Take India, where Clinton has just concluded a five-day visit. While American soldiers are fighting extremists in nearby Afghanistan (and high-tech American drones occasionally bomb neighboring Pakistan, India's nemesis), American companies are fighting British and European firms for tens of billions of dollars in defense contracts in India, which is busy modernizing its military.

During Clinton's visit, the U.S. and India signed two agreements: India will designate two sites where American companies will have exclusive rights to sell India nuclear power reactors worth up to $10 billion; and a deal that lets the U.S. ensure India doesn't transfer to third parties any sensitive military technology it buys from the U.S.

The Indian defense and nuclear equipment markets opened to the U.S. after the Bush administration broke with tradition last year and ended a three-decade ban on the sale of civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India. The U.S. is wooing India both economically and diplomatically as a bulwark against China's growing global power.

Meanwhile, American diplomats have been treading cautiously this month on what human rights groups say is a Chinese crackdown on minority Muslim Uighurs in China's Xinjiang region, leading to riots and nearly 200 deaths. After all, China also announced this month that its foreign currency holdings hit a new record of more than $2 trillion, much of which is invested in U.S. Treasury securities. Diplomatic criticism of China's Internet filtering software, Green Dam, was louder, particularly after the U.S. tech industry complained of the harm Beijing's filters could inflict on their sales there.

Geopolitics are shifting in part because more and more America companies are earning bigger profits in Asia than in the U.S.

With the U.S., European and Japanese economies shrinking in the wake of the global economic crisis, the contrast is even sharper. The U.S. economy will shrink by 2.6% this year, while the Euro-area economy will contract by 4.8%, according to predictions from the International Monetary Fund. But economists say India will grow by at least 5%, while China is expected to grow by at least 8% this year.

In past downturns, companies looked to India and China as places to cut costs. During this downturn, the two nations finally have big enough populations with middle-class purchasing power to drive growth in revenue. India and China finally have big enough consumer markets to matter. While those markets are still dwarfed by the U.S. market, they are growing fast.

Multinational companies--from drug makers to car companies--are already reaping the benefits. GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK - news - people ) last month reached a deal with India's Dr. Reddy's, a generic drug specialist, to help expand sales in emerging markets. And it set up a joint venture with China's Shenzhen Neptunus to make flu vaccines.

With slumping auto sales in the U.S., China has become the world's largest car market. Cadbury's ( CBY - news - people ) chocolate sales in India have grown by one-fifth for the past three years running. China's massive stimulus spending, much of which targets infrastructure improvements, is helping American companies--and their shareholders. GE, for instance, says its China sales will double by next year to $10 billion annually.

Pepsi ( PEP - news - people ), playing catch-up to Coca-Cola ( KO - news - people ) in China, plans to spend at least $1 billion over the next four years to grow its beverage and snack food business there, in a new initiative under Chief Executive Indra Nooyi, who is already an expert on Indian consumers.

Consumer goods makers face an aging population in China but an ever-younger demographic in India. Retailers are more bullish on India than China, according to A.T. Kearney's latest annual survey for developing markets.

For all these reasons, America's secretary of State is likely to break bread first with Indian tycoons like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, then get around to visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Robyn Meredith is Hong Kong bureau chief for Forbes and the author of The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What it Means for All of Us. She writes a biweekly column.

We thank you Robyn Meredith for paying such a glorious tribute to Indian capabilities in your write up. It is a fact that India has come of age and has stopped playing the second fiddle to the so ca

Comment On This StoryWith the U.S., European and Japanese economies shrinking in the wake of the global economic crisis, the contrast is even sharper. The U.S. economy will shrink by 2.6% this year, while the Euro-area economy will contract by 4.8%, according to predictions from the International Monetary Fund. But economists say India will grow by at least 5%, while China is expected to grow by at least 8% this year.

In past downturns, companies looked to India and China as places to cut costs. During this downturn, the two nations finally have big enough populations with middle-class purchasing power to drive growth in revenue. India and China finally have big enough consumer markets to matter. While those markets are still dwarfed by the U.S. market, they are growing fast.

Multinational companies--from drug makers to car companies--are already reaping the benefits. GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK - news - people ) last month reached a deal with India's Dr. Reddy's, a generic drug specialist, to help expand sales in emerging markets. And it set up a joint venture with China's Shenzhen Neptunus to make flu vaccines.

With slumping auto sales in the U.S., China has become the world's largest car market. Cadbury's ( CBY - news - people ) chocolate sales in India have grown by one-fifth for the past three years running. China's massive stimulus spending, much of which targets infrastructure improvements, is helping American companies--and their shareholders. GE, for instance, says its China sales will double by next year to $10 billion annually.

Pepsi ( PEP - news - people ), playing catch-up to Coca-Cola ( KO - news - people ) in China, plans to spend at least $1 billion over the next four years to grow its beverage and snack food business there, in a new initiative under Chief Executive Indra Nooyi, who is already an expert on Indian consumers.

Consumer goods makers face an aging population in China but an ever-younger demographic in India. Retailers are more bullish on India than China, according to A.T. Kearney's latest annual survey for developing markets.

For all these reasons, America's secretary of State is likely to break bread first with Indian tycoons like Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, then get around to visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Robyn Meredith is Hong Kong bureau chief for Forbes and the author of The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What it Means for All of Us. She writes a biweekly column.


By Dr. Subhash Kapila


(Presentation made by the Author at Indian Army VAJRA Seminar on July 10-11, 2009)


The United States is at critical crossroads in South Asia facing the stupendous challenge of retrieving Afghanistan and Pakistan from state-failure which endangers vital US national security interests.

In both cases the state-failure has been brought about by US policies or `lack of policies' in Afghanistan and Pakistan which induced the Pakistan Army to regenerate the Al Qaeda and the Taliban after their eviction by the successful US military intervention in 2001 in the wake of 9/11 attack.

The United States thereafter squandered its strategic gains by "Strategic Inattentiveness" on Afghanistan and "Strategic Permissiveness" pertaining to Pakistan and its continued disruptive role in Afghanistan, constantly undermining US national security interests there.

Operating from safe-havens within Pakistani territory provided by the Pakistan Army, the regenerated and regrouped Al Qaeda and Taliban not only threaten the stabilization of Afghanistan by the United States but with increasing Talibanization of Pakistan they now figure more menacingly in US threat perceptions.

The United States Af-Pak Policy unveiled by President Obama on March 27, 2009, intends to address these new challenges directly in Afghanistan and "obliquely" in Pakistan.

Strictly going by the details of the Af-Pak Policy strategic outlines released in the public domain, even the broad thrusts of the strategy are debatable in terms of efficacy of the overall Af-Pak Policy and the uncertain directions it presents, even in the short-term future.

Afghanistan and Pakistan stand designated as major pivots on which hinges the Af-Pak Policy. The efficacy of the Af-Pak Policy would be heavily dependent as the committed approaches of these two pivotal states to the strategic aims of the Untied States in the Af-Pak Region.

Afghanistan has a vested positive interest in the success of the US Af-Pak Policy. Contrarily, the Pakistan Army has a vested interest in impeding the successful implementation of the US Af-Pak Policy as it doubly neutralizes Pakistan Army's doctrine of "strategic depth" in Afghanistan and liquidation of Pakistan Army's strategic assets, usable against Afghanistan and India, namely, the Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

More importantly, the efficacy of the Af-Pak Policy is more vitally dependent on the Untied States itself in terms of the strategic and political premises that have determined the formulation of the Af-Pak Policy.

A brief "Risk Forecast Survey" indicated that Afghanistan poses lesser challenges and imponderables to the successful implementation of its Af-Pak Policy.

Pakistan in terms of "Risk Forecasting" is a "High Risk" strategic investment for the United States. Pakistan's record for 2001-2009 indicates it is an unreliable and unpredictable strategic partner for the United States in the Af-Pak Region.

If ever the United States faces a Vietnam-like situation in the Af-Pak Region, it will not be in Afghanistan but in Pakistan.

The Af-Pak Policy as publicly spelt out indicates only limited aims confined to the Al Qaeda. Strategic naivety cannot be attributed to the global superpower like the United States. Obviously, the Af-Pak Policy strategic blueprint not released in the public domain can be inferred to have much larger strategic aims, especially in relation to Pakistan.

In the guise of the Af-Pak Policy, the United States has in its strategic cross-hairs the pre-emption of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal falling into the hands of Al Qaeda and Taliban, bringing the Pakistan Army under more firmer civilian democratic control and neutralizing the disruptive potential of Pakistan's intelligence agencies.

These three aspects were the focus of sustained criticism by the US Administration at the apex levels in the run-up to the unveiling of the Af-Pak Policy.

The Af-Pak Region today presents highly combustible and unpredictable scenarios, more centering on the Pakistan Army.

The next 12-18 months are crucial for the success of the Af-Pak Policy. In terms of predictive assessments, during this period, the Pakistan Army with its propensity to indulge in "minimal military operations" against the Al Qaeda and Taliban are likely to come under sustained US pressure to deliver on US strategic end-aims.

Sustained pressure from the United States could once again prompt the Pakistan Army to divert attention by military adventurism against India, a repeat of Mumbai 9/11 and a possible repeat of 9/11 in the United States.

To pre-empt nightmarish scenarios pertaining to the Pakistan nuclear weapons arsenal, the United States as a last resort may have to opt for a military intervention in Pakistan notwithstanding the rhetoric of the Af-Pak Policy.

Notwithstanding any grim or nightmarish scenarios that may emerge, the concluding observations of this presentation in relation to the Af-Pak Policy strategic blueprint are that:

· Failure is not an option for the United States in the execution of its Af-Pak Policy

· United States cannot afford to exit the Af-Pak Region. It has to be prepared for a long haul in the Af-Pak Region.

Should the United States opt for the exit option, the United States risks in the words of one US strategist, the risks of leaving Pakistan as "a nuclear Yugoslavia in the making" with all its overwhelming threats to United States national security interests.


United States is at critical cross-roads today in South Asia facing the stupendous strategic challenge of retrieving Afghanistan and Pakistan from state-failures which endanger vital United States national security interests.

Afghanistan's state failure needs to be attributed to the United States and Pakistan. Afghanistan as significant geo-strategic and geo-political entity for United States national security interests stood abandoned after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and left to Pakistan's devices. Pakistan Army in the name of its doctrine of "strategic depth" exploited the vacuum by installing its protégé, the Taliban, who brutalized Afghanistan with medieval Islamic suppression. Had it not been for 9/11, Afghanistan would have continued in Pakistan's and Taliban's brutal clutches. 9/11 in its wake brought US military intervention to displace the Taliban regime and the Al Qaeda infrastructure.

The US military intervention which commenced in 2001 continues, and the Af-Pak strategy is a follow-up mid-course correction in US strategic approach to stabilize Afghanistan and reclaim it as a strategic asset in relation to Iran and Central Asia.

Pakistan's state failure arises from its own self-generated breakdown in governance, failure to forge a common national identity and failure to recognize and respect its strategic asymmetries with India, which it continues to challenge on the strength of the intrusive external powers in South Asia, namely USA and China.

The Afghanistan-Pakistan region today presents an embattled security environment for the United States resulting from United States policies or lack of policies over the last twenty years. "Strategic Inattentiveness" in Afghanistan and "Strategic Permissiveness" of Pakistan's "double-timing" the United States over Afghanistan has generated the emergence of these two failed states.

United States over-exaggeration of Pakistan's strategic utility to US national security interests prompted Pakistan to strategically box above its weight including the delusionary mindset of the Pakistan Army that Afghanistan and even Kashmir fall into its natural security perimeter and strategic backyard, rightfully.

In terms of overall perspectives of the Af-Pak region it can safely be asserted that while Afghanistan presents all the possibilities of retrieval from state-failure, Pakistan today is beyond retrieval from state -failure despite United States massive strategic, political and economic resuscitation.

The political and military turbulence in the Af-Pak Region not only affects Afghanistan and Pakistan but also complicates India's security environment and of the region. This presentation will not touch on it as it is a separate theme being discussed.

However in overall terms, it needs to be highlighted that in the pursuance of the Af-Pak Policy should the United States repeat its propensity to give primacy to Pakistan's India-specific strategic sensitivities, the United States risks putting US-India ties under strain and retard the evolution of the US-India Strategic Partnership.

The US Af-Pak strategic blueprint in essence intends to achieve what the United States could not achieve in the last seven years of individual strategies towards Afghanistan and Pakistan.

President Obama seems to have embarked on a bold and calculated gamble to turn the situation around for the United States, by attempting to join at the strategic hip the adversarial and irreconcilable nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Realistically speaking Afghanistan and Pakistan stand integrated in the Af-Pak strategy only in United States strategic thinking and policy approaches in Washington. In terms of operational execution of the Af-Pak strategic blueprint there is no unified headquarters, joint planning staff or joint operations of the three Armed Forces involved. The Pakistan Army has already dismissed suggestions by the United States for joint operations on Pakistan's explosive Western frontiers.

The Af-Pak Strategy in terms of a detailed blueprint has not been released in the public domain. Only the broad conceptual approach and the United States intentions have been spelt out. So the analysis of the efficacy of the Af-Pak strategy perforce gets based on the broad contours available in the public domain.

Obviously, the United States would have worked out detailed plans for implementation of the Af-Pak strategy in which in addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan there would be many more sub-texts in the regional context and in the context of contingencies of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal being taken over by the Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Strictly going by details of Af-Pak strategy released in the public domain, in terms of objective analysis, even the broad thrusts of Af-Pak Strategy are debatable in terms of the efficacy of the overall strategy and the uncertain directions it presents even in the short term perspective. Essentially, what is debatable and creates doubts on the efficacy of the Af-Pak policy is Pakistan hyphenation.

The Af-Pak Strategy has been received with reservations within the United States policy establishment and strategic community. In Pakistan there is a virtual rejection of the US Af-Pak Policy across a wide spectrum of political and strategic thought, with the exception of the apex leadership. Pakistan today abounds in conspiracy theories spinning around the ulterior motives of the US Af-Pak Strategy.

The Pakistan Army's own responses on this account were sluggish in terms of implementation in NWFP and FATA until the United States jerked the Pakistan Army with a virtual ultimatum of US military intervention. Pakistan Army's record of 2001-2008 hardly inspires confidence that it will further the US end-objectives of the Af-Pak Policy.

Afghanistan and Pakistan stand designated as the major pivots by the United States on which the Af-Pak strategy hinges. The efficacy of the Af-Pak strategy would be heavily dependant on the committed approaches of these two pivotal states to the strategic aims of the United States in the Af-Pak Region.

The efficacy of the Af-Pak strategy is more vitally dependant on the United States itself in terms of the soundness of the strategic and political premises with which it has calibrated the Af-Pak Strategy.

But the first major question that arises is as to why the United States failed in militarily and politically stabilizing Afghanistan in the years 2001-2008, as such an examination would throw pointers to the efficacy of the new Af-Pak Policy.

Taking both these issues together, some of the major issues that need to be analyzed in terms of the efficacy of the Af-Pak Policy and its likely directions in the near future are:

United States Afghanistan Politico-Military Strategy 2001-2008: A Review
The Two Pivots of United States Af-Pak Policy: A Contextual "Risk Forecast Survey" of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Af-Pak Policy: United States Other Likely Strategic Aims
Af-Pak Policy: The Likely Directions in the Near Future

Any politico-military review of US Afghanistan strategy for the period 2001-2008, that is the prelude to the Af-Pak Policy, needs to focus on the major question as to why the United States as the predominant global power unchallenged in Afghanistan by any other global power or regional power failed to exploit the stupendous strategic gains that were thrown up by the United States successful military intervention, made possible by Afghanistan's Northern Alliance.

Without going into the long history of 2001-2008 period, the politico-military strategic mistakes in what is now termed as the Af-Pak Region can be briefly summed up as two. These are:

United States "Strategic Inattentiveness" in Afghanistan
United States "Strategic Permissiveness" pertaining to Pakistan and its disruptive role in Afghanistan.
"Strategic Inattentiveness" in Afghanistan by the United States was the outcome of its fatal error in strategic choices between Afghanistan and Iraq. Retrospectively, it can be stated that Bush Jr Administration's military intervention in Iraq was a certainty even if 9/11 had not taken place.

The 9/11 attacks on homeland USA by the Al Qaeda hosted by the Taliban in Afghanistan and facilitated by Pakistan, necessitated the US military intervention in Afghanistan in December 2001.

In the wake of its military intervention, the United States committed a fatal policy mistake in terms of strategic choices.

Afghanistan post 9/11 became a "War of Necessity" but the US Gulf War II against Iraq was a "War of Choice".

The United States should have followed through its "War of Necessity" in Afghanistan to its logical conclusion. But the United States failed to do so and gave primacy to its "War of Choice".

The United States Af-Pak Policy may fail again for the same reasons. Afghanistan still continues as a "War of Necessity". Pakistan is only a "War of Choice".

The United States "Strategic Inattentiveness" in Afghanistan in the last eight years has led to the adverse military situation that US faces in Afghanistan today. Three US shortcomings were:

US failed to give proper priority and allocation of resources to build up the Afghan National Army. In eight years it would have been built to significant levels. US did not do so out of respect for Pakistan Army's sensitivities on Afghanistan.
US failed to deploy troop levels commensurate to achieve decisive military results.
US failed to develop adequate aid programs and allocate resources
The United States "strategic neglect" of Afghanistan because of its Iraq War distraction facilitated the Pakistan Army to generate the threatening scenarios which the US Obama Administration has now to face.

Pakistan Army generated threatening scenarios which challenge the United States today are:

Al Qaeda and Taliban stand regenerated and regrouped courtesy the Pakistan Army in Pakistani sanctuaries in NWFP, FATA and Balochistan.
The Taliban is now a force to be reckoned with in large areas of Southern Afghanistan.
The two prized fugitives sought by USA, namely Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar are sheltered by Pakistan Army, out of reach to United States, in Pakistani sage havens
Notwithstanding the above, what needs to be recorded at this stage is that despite the US Administration's strategic neglect of Afghanistan, the US & NATO Forces in Afghanistan with their limited numbers and political limitations have been "successful" in preventing the military re-occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban, regrouped and re-generated by the Pakistan Army in the last eight years.

This strategic reality, therefore throws up a number of important deductions in relation to the efficacy of Af-Pak Policy. These are:

US & NATO Forces given the required combat strengths are fully capable of restoring overall stability and security in Afghanistan.
US & NATO Forces operational success can be speeded up if the United States accords top priority and allocates resources for rapid expansion and upgradation of the Afghan National Army. (The billions of dollars being provided to Pakistan Army could be better spent an Afghan National Army).
US & NATO Forces operational success could be speeded up if the US Administration "surgically disconnects Pakistan's sensitivities from US policy formulations on Afghanistan.
These three significant factors need to be kept in view when examining the new US Af-Pak Policy.

At a first glance the Af-Pak Policy gives cognizance to the first deduction.

The Afghan National Army is not receiving the priority to build its strength commensurate to force levels required for security of Afghanistan.

The third deduction stands totally ignored.

During the period 2001-2008 the United States compounded its "Strategic Inattentiveness" in Afghanistan by its "Strategic Permissiveness" of Pakistan's propensity to a continuing destabilization of Afghanistan.

The United States is sheer disregard of Pakistan's proven complicity in the facilitation of 9/11 attacks on USA, the Talibanization of Afghanistan and WMD proliferation to states adversarial to USA, co-opted Pakistan as an "ally" in its war against Al Qaeda and Taliban. Nothing could have been strategically more preposterous.

The period 2001-2008 in terms of Pakistan's relations with USA is a sordid story of broken pledges, strategic de-stabilization of Afghanistan and working at cross-purposes against US national security interests.

The United States continued to be oblivious to these Pakistani transgressions until protestations by US & NATO Forces commanders broke out in the open in 2007-2008.

US strategic denouement with Pakistan first surfaced openly sometime in 2008. In the first quarter of 2009, this was being publicly aired at the highest levels of Obama Administration.


Afghanistan and Pakistan form the two vital pivots of the US Af-Pak Policy. The successful implementation of this critical United States policy hinges on the willingness and capacity of Afghanistan and Pakistan to deliver on the strategic end- aims of the Af-Pak Policy.

Afghanistan has a positive vested interest in the success of the US Af-Pak Policy as it would ensure that Southern Afghanistan presently in the grip of the Taliban could be liberated from their hold by US &NATO Forces. Similarly Taliban and the Al Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas opposite Eastern Afghanistan could be liquidated. Secured from Taliban threats and with greater reconstruction efforts under the Af-Pak Policy, Afghanistan could hope for greater peace and stability.

Contrarily, the Pakistan Army has a vested interested in impeding the successful implementation of the Af-Pak Policy: The Af-Pak Policy's successful implementation would rob the Pakistan Army of its policy of `strategic depth' provided by a Pakistan-subjugated Afghanistan. It also destroys the main strategic assets of the Pakistan Army so effectively used against Afghanistan and India – the Al Qaeda and Taliban.

Rather briefly, a comparative contextual "Risk Forecast Survey" of Afghanistan and Pakistan highlights the following revelations.



Security Environment
· Afghanistan Security environment, not as dismal as media reports indicate

· North, Central and Western Afghanistan are relatively quiet

· US & NATO Forces military operations concentrated in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan. These areas are contiguous to Pakistan

· Southern and Eastern Afghanistan are key areas of Al Qaeda and Taliban operations against US & NATO Forces, operating from sanctuaries in Pakistan
· Pakistan's Western Frontiers are explosive.

· Ongoing insurgency in Baluchistan.

· Suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in Pakistani heartland.

· Pakistan's internal security situation grave.

· Pakistan Army's aerial and artillery bombardments in current military operations have led to internal displacement of nearly 3 million people with adverse effects on internal security.

· Pakistan Army's domestic image stands dented, morale is low and desertions rampant. Frontier Constabulary is distrusted by the Pakistan Army.

Political Environment
· Presidential Elections due in August 2009.

· Despite some reservations US likely to back President Karzai's return as President.

· No noticeable political turbulence.
· Pakistan's political environment is combustible

· Political discord between Pak Army and political establishment.

· Political discord within polity itself.

· Political writ of the state extends to Punjab only.

· Fears of Pak Army Coup.

· President isolated.

Policy Establishment and Public Attitudes Towards US Military Presence:
· US presence welcomed both for security and reconstruction reasons

· Recent polls indicate that hardly 4% of Afghans would welcome return of Taliban.

· Afghanistan favors Af-Pak Policy. It objection is to the hyphenation of Afghanistan with Pakistan

· Pakistan as a nation vehemently Anti-US right from 1979 onwards

· Currently, Anti-US sentiments are over-boiling due to Pakistani perceptions that they are being made to fight America's war on Afghanistan.

· Strong feeling that US is extending its Af-Pak war in Afghanistan deeper into Pakistan proper.

· Within Pakistan Army and its intelligence agencies, there is a growing proportion of Islamists presence and influence.

· Pakistan Army is growingly distrustful of United States motives and interventions in Af-Pak Region.

"Risk Forecasting Survey": Major Deductions in Relation to Efficacy of the Af-Pak Policy

The Af-Pak Policy when viewed from the "Risk Forecast" perspectives in terms of successful implementing throws up the following major deduction for the United States.

Afghanistan poses lesser challenges and imponderables to the successful implementation by the United States of its Af-Pak Policy.
Afghanistan has hosted US & NATO Forces since the last five years, and they, but for Southern Afghanistan have secured the remainder of Afghanistan. This provides a "firm base" on which Af-Pak Policy successes can be built upon by a surge in both troop levels and reconstruction effects.
Pakistan in terms of "Risk Forecasting" is a "High Risk" strategic investment for the United States in terms of its Af-Pak Policy.
Pakistan poses high risks, vulnerabilities and imponderables when its perspectives suggest an impending internal implosion, its pronounced nation-wide anti-American sentiments and its unreliability as a strategic partner of the United States in strategic undertakings on the Af-Pak region.
Increasingly, within the United States, there is a growing perception that in terms of perspectives and possibilities, in the Af-Pak Region it is not Afghanistan which may turn out to be United States next Vietnam. There are stronger possibilities that it is Pakistan which may eventually turn out to be United States next Vietnam.

Strategic analysis of the period in the run-up to the release of the Af-Pak Policy provides clues that the United States has much larger strategic aims in the guise of the Af-Pak Strategy, beyond just the destruction of the Al Qaeda and its surrogates in the Af-Pak region.

Noticeably during this period there was a sustained public articulation at the highest levels of the US Obama Administration of a number of American strategic concerns pertaining to Pakistan. These were:

Pakistan Army controlled Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continued to be in league with the Al Qaeda and Taliban and assisting them in their fight against US & NATO Forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Army continued to view Taliban leaders as strategic assets and leaked intercepts which indicated that Pak Army Chief General Kayani saying so.
More significantly and with greater emphasis was the US campaign questioning the safety and security of the Pakistan Army controlled nuclear weapons arsenal.
In the July-August issue of a US journal, Bruce Riedel, the architect of the Af-Pak Policy, in a brilliant analysis makes two significant points, besides others. These are:

"For most of 2004-2007- when the jihadists regrouped- the Director General of ISI was General Ashfaq Kayani, now the army commander. This shows not only the critical role of the ISI but also the all pervasiveness and unity of the military –industrial complex". This insinuation is damaging and reflects what the United States is against in terms of opposition to the implementation of the Af-Pak Policy.
"A Jihadist Pakistan would be the most serious threat to the United States since the end of the Cold War. Aligned with Al Qaeda and armed with nuclear weapons, the Islamic Emirate would be a nightmare. US options for dealing with it will be all bad."
The Af-Pak Policy strategic aims as spelt out in the public domain gives the impression that the United States has selected limited aims in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Strategic naivety cannot be attributed to the global superpower like the United States. Obviously, the Af-Pak strategy detailed blueprint not released for public consumption has incorporated in it much larger strategic aims, especially in reference to Pakistan.

Inferring from the US propaganda campaign questioning the security and safety of nuclear weapons arsenal, against the backdrop of likely state failure of Pakistan it would be reasonable to expect that the United States would have contingency plans to take out nuclear weapons from Pak custody.

Pakistan's strategic community has been alive to the possibilities of a direct US military intervention and been expressing concerns since.2008 when the United States strategic denouement with Pakistan burst in the open.

Following the release of the Af-Pak Policy, within Pakistan the response to Af-Pak policy from foreign policy and strategic analysts have been livid. They perceive that the deeper US underlying strategic aims of Af-Pak Policy are:

United States is deliberately pushing its war in Afghanistan deeper into Pakistan.
United States now seems to be converting Afghanistan into a front-line state against Pakistan as a base for United States possible military intervention.
United States real strategic aim under the cover of the Af-Pak Policy is to facilitate the destruction of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal.
Pakistan's perception of the underlying US strategic aims in Af-Pak Policy can best be illustrated by quoting the views of Shireen Mazari, who was earlier the Director General of Pakistan's Institute of Strategic Studies, unceremoniously sacked by the Government last year, and if Pakistani media reports are to be believed that this took place under US pressure:

· Claiming that Al Qaeda statements of using nuclear weapons against the USA was a US-inspired development, she stated "The absurdity of the statement, notwithstanding, it can be explained only if seen as part of the campaign to legitimatize a US-NATO takeover of our nuclear assets since our security prevents the US from taking them over physically".

· "Once again the fact is that unless the Pakistan military is weakened from within the assets cannot be accessed at all. Hence the need of the US to get the military bogged down in a conventional battle against unconventional forces in Swat and FATA – without any overarching political strategy visible from the Government".


In view of the analysis presented so far, the likely directions in the near future that may emanate from the implementation of the Af-Pak Policy do not generate any hopes of optimism.

The main contributory reasons for the not so optimistic directions basically arise from United States present policy orientations. These are:

United States obstinacy in not disconnecting Pakistan Army from its policy formulations on Afghanistan
United States according primacy in its Af-Pak policy to retrieval of Pakistan from state-failure rather than a sole concentration on its aim of stabilizing Afghanistan
Should the United States have larger underlying strategic aims in its Af-Pak Policy pertaining to neutralization of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal then the above criticism becomes invalid and primacy to Pakistan is then understandable.

Either way the `likely directions' that may emerge in the near future essentially will be determined by two major factors, namely:

Pakistan Army faithfully executing its role assigned in Af-Pak Policy by the United States of liquidating the Al Qaeda and Taliban and secondly hermetically sealing of Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan.
United States strategic determination not to exit Afghanistan out of combat fatigue and a firm disciplining of the Pakistan Army should it deviate from the objectives assigned to it by the United States as part of the Af-Pak Policy
The United States itself concedes that the next 12-18 months are the most crucial for the United States in terms of success of the Af-Pak Policy.

In the next 12-18 months the likely directions that can emanate in Afghanistan and Pakistan are as follows:


United States completes its planned troop buildup in Afghanistan with concentrations in military strength in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan.
Intensification of US & NATO Forces military operations in these regions against Al Qaeda and Taliban
United States likely not only to intensify drone operations against the Taliban in their sanctuaries opposite Southern and Eastern Afghanistan but also extend drone operations to Balochistan
Enhance reconstruction activities

United States likely to put sustained pressure on Pakistan Army to liquidate Al Qaeda and Taliban
Pakistan Army likely to face US ultimatums of direct military intervention within Pakistan, should Pakistan Army be sluggish in its operations against the Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
US drone operations on Pakistani targets could intensify and extend to Balochistan.
Consequent to the above the following developments could emerge within Pakistan:

Al Qaeda and Taliban along with their surrogates intensify Pakistan – specific terrorism war and insurgency within Pakistan
Pakistan Army's becomes doubly embattled both on its explosive Western Frontiers and also battling terrorism and insurgency within heartland Pakistan.
Pakistan Army's domestic image has already taken a beating. Its faithful execution of US Af-Pak Policy role assigned to it could damage Pakistan Army image still further by being projected as a US lapdog fighting an American war against its co-religionists.
Pakistan Army could face a strong upheaval within its own widening ranks of Islamists who sympathize and lean towards Al Qaeda and Taliban.
Al Qaeda and Taliban could make a concerted bid to gain control of Pakistan's nuclear assets not by direct attacks but through Islamist elements within the Pakistan Army engaged in nuclear assets security.
Pakistan Army in all these likely eventualities can turn in only two or three directions, namely:

United States Af-Pak pressures on Pakistan be strategically deflected by military adventurism against India in Kashmir.
Resort to Mumbai 9/11 type of attacks against India to provoke Indian retaliation and shift US pressures to India.
Pakistan Army strategically defies the United States by refusing to be drawn into Af-Pak roles, stages a military coup with support from Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamists and enters into a confrontation with the United States.
Al Qaeda encouraged to inflict another 9/11 on USA provoking the United States into a military intervention in Pakistan.
Based on these likely directions that can emanate in the near future, one then enters the arena of scenario-building in terms of options for the United States should the Af-Pak Strategy unravel because of the Pakistan factor and Pakistan once again double-timing the United States, or even confronting the United States in league with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamic surrogates.

Notwithstanding any scenarios that may eventually emerge the stark strategic reality for the United States is that it cannot afford to exit from the Af-Pak region. Moreso, if the end aim of Af-Pak strategy is neutralization of Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal, neutralize the political primacy of the Pakistan Army in the country, governance and put the ISI under firm civilian control.

Failure is not an option for the United States in the execution of its Af-Pak Policy.

In the worst case scenario, the United States may be left with no options but to resort to a direct military intervention against Pakistan. This would be the worst case scenario for the United States and Pakistan too.

This however will most likely be preceded by the application of tremendous coercive leverages available to the United States against Pakistan in the form of:

Economic sanctions
Cutting off all economic and financial assistance
Cease all military and
Naval blockade and aerial blockades
Facilitate secessionist movements in Pakistan e.g. Balochistan

Three months down the line from the unveiling of the United States new Af-Pak Policy, the United States today is faced with a serious nightmarish scenario. This scenario does not pertain to Afghanistan but pertains to Pakistan, the hyphenated adjunct to the US war in Afghanistan. This nightmarish scenario can best be described in the words of Robert Kaplan. In a recent American journal he says:

"Pakistan "with its" Islamic nuclear bomb, Taliban and Al Qaeda infested North Western borderlands, dysfunctional cities and territorially based ethnic groups for whom Islam could never provide adequate glue is commonly referred to as the most dangerous country in the world, a nuclear Yugoslavia in the making".

More than Afghanistan which is well within the scope of retrieval by the United States from `state failure' the biggest challenge that the United States faces in its Af-Pak Policy is whether it can retrieve Pakistan from the disintegration of "a nuclear Yugoslavia" in the making.

Af-Pak Policy failure is not an option for the United States. The United States has to be strategically prepared for a very long haul in the Af-Pak Region.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email:drsubhashkapila.007@gmail.com)