August 20, 2009

The Fashion of Confession

Divya Kumar Soti

American diplomats at one time pioneered the concept of “Politically Correct Polite Words”, famously abbreviated as PCPWs in diplomatic slang. Now Pak politicians and Generals have invented what may be loosely termed as “Politically Correct Impolite words”. These days Islamabad is open to candid confessions about more than friendly relations with Taliban. Pak Army spokesperson Maj Gen Abbas reportedly told CNN that Pak Army is in touch with Taliban leaders like Mullah Mohammed Omar, Haqqani and Hikmatiyar among others. He went futher and said that Islamabad is ready to arrange a peace deal between Taliban and Kabul, if Washington addresses Pakistani concerns vis-à-vis India. It is another thing that Gen Abbas soon retracted from his verbal bravery-a usual thing in politics these days. Since everybody involved in stabilizing Afghanistan knows that ISI is playing host to Mullah Omar and Quetta Shura and Haqqani network is now ISI’s chosen tool in Afghanistan, the questions arise with regard to motive of Gen Abbas.

If one looks at the statements coming out of Islamabad over the last few months, picture will become clear. First of all Prez Zardari started to say that Taliban is a greater danger for Pakistan than India. Then he went further and told a gathering of bureaucrats that Pakistani politicians and army created ‘terrorists’ to achieve ‘short term tactical goals’. It may very well be expected that Mr.Zardari will say in coming days as and when he becomes more frank that terrorists were created to achieve ong term strategic objectives. Or he may have already meant that because politicians often get confused about the difference between strategy and tactic! By the way, I, hereby, clarify that this is not a joke on Prez Zardari!

These melodious statements are aimed at giving a boost Pak’s goodwill index which has been witnessing a phenomenal Bear market during trading in major world capitals.

It is interesting to note that former Pak NSA Mahmud Durrani had to loose his job when he acknowledged that 26/11 killer Ajmal Kasab is a Pak citizen. So theme goes like this: if you admit about Pak role in terror outrage on Indian soil, it amounts to political heresy but if you confess about Pakistani role in Afghan turmoil, you are just being frank about your dirty naughty adventures.

However, PM Gilani after arriving back from Sharm-al-Sheikh again criticized Zardari’s statement that extremism is a greter threat than India. Around the same time, a leading Pak think tank released a report saying that it is futile to militarily compete with India and it is a self-defeating biz. But Generals in Rwalapindi having confidence that their knowledge is supreme are unlikely to give ear to what they would probably term as ‘academic red herring’.

If one needs any proof of this here is what Gen Musharraf recently told an interviewer in London. He claimed that nothing can go wrong with Pakistan so long as Army and ISI are there. It is another thing that factually it is quite opposite as every wrong things has been happening it Pakistan while being guided by Army.

Anyway, Gen Musharraf has his own set of confessions about the sponsorship of terrorism by Pak military-intelligence establishment. He told he interviewer that there are some ‘individuals’ in establishment who support such organizations. Now, that is a tortuous one. But, at least for the first time there is an admission that there are rogue elements in military-intelligence establishment. Now, since LeT is able to function smoothly and has developed into a phenomenon in Punjab, it suggest that support of such rogue elements is very potent. Let us hope Gen Musharraf will throw light on these things in his future lectures.

So motives differ from one case to another. In some cases confessions are made to convince international community about pious intentions of Islamabad as few are ready to be swindled again. In other cases, to send signals publicly out of excitement about some opportunity as is the case with Gen Abbas’ statement as it precisely amounts to an open offer to stabilize Afghanistan in consideration of restoring strategic depth to Pakistan.

(The writer is an intelligence and strategic affairs analyst and may be reached at

August 19, 2009

Strategic blunder?

Kanwal Sibal
Monday, August 17, 2009 21:18 IST Email

The controversy over the End Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) reflects the political difficulty in establishing "strategic ties" with the US.

Many countries are now our strategic partners but what it means in practical terms remains undefined. It implies that India and our partners have long-term common interests which our respective policies will promote to mutual advantage on a sustained basis.

In reality, either manifest differences of policies and interests exist between us and our declared strategic partners, or on issues of critical importance mutual support is not extended because of a reluctance to take a clear position as other interests have to be balanced.

How is US arms aid to Pakistan, which bolsters our strategic enemy, compatible with an India-US strategic partnership? How is its position on Kashmir consistent with it? Instead of recognising the democratic success of recent elections in Kashmir, US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, during her visit, made a bow toseparatist sentiments by advocating a solution that takes into account "the feelings of the Kashmiri people".

Despite claiming that the fight against terror is collective and terrorism cannot be differentiated, Clinton focused on the al Qaeda and the Taliban and avoided identifying the jihadi groups targeting India.
She tried to please India by making general statements on terrorism and not displease Pakistan by going into specifics. Why should not the US choose, in the strategic perspective, democratic, pluralist, secular, law abiding India over a failing state like Pakistan reeling under religious extremism and terrorism, with links with state agencies.

With the US the relationship cannot be one of equals because of its overwhelming power; it cannot be unequal either as that would be politically unacceptable.

Much can be gained by a rising power like India from building strong ties with the US, which is the world's foremost power, its largest market and the most advanced country technologically.

But the price is high as the US strategy is to fit rising countries into the global system designed and dominated by it. This is projected as countries bearing their share of global responsibilities, of becoming responsible stakeholders in the existing arrangements.

This explains our dilemma: we want to be close to the US and yet want to keep a distance. We are flattered by US overtures, but feel unsure about the extent of our response.

Any real strategic partnership ought to include a strong defence component. Efforts to build a defence supply relationship with the US would be normal. The problem comes from attitudes of patronage that underlie US policies towards others.

While the US can offer some very advanced defence material, its military sales and transfers are accompanied by end use monitoring requirements that in many ways infringe upon the sovereignty of the recipient country.

Why should the US want to periodically inspect the equipment it has sold for good money to countries that are not its allies or for whose defence it is not responsible?

As an independent country we can legitimately question EUMA's constraints. Other countries selling arms to us have no such inspection requirements. The end user certificate of India's sovereign and responsible government against unauthorised transfers of equipment and technologies to third parties and for protection of IPRs suffices.

In the case of Trenton purchased from the US recently there is a bar on deploying it for offensive purposes. What would be the consequence if tomorrow we use US supplied equipment to launch limited strikes in response to a major terrorist attack from Pakistani soil?

Could the US object to this as an escalation and not an exercise in legitimate self-defence? Prudence requires attention to such issues even as we explore possibilities of expanding defence ties with the US. We claim success in having persuaded the Americans to inspect at a time and place of our choosing and ensuring that future amendments to their EUMA legislation will become applicable only after mutual consultations.

This is not good enough, as it limits the problem in some respects but does not resolve the basic issue. About future amendments it is doubtful we will be able to resist US pressure as the continuity of the relationship could be disrupted, and modernisation, updating and even servicing of the existing equipment could become problematic.

On the eve of Clinton's visit, a State department official said that the US was working with India on EUMA, which was part of the fulfilment of the important initiative that India and the US had signed in the area of nuclear cooperation.

After the visit, the State Department spokesman Robert Wood called EUMA a landmark event, which was important for US's global non-proliferation efforts. Through this agreement India had been brought into the nuclear non-proliferation stream, he said.EUMA's linkage with non-proliferation and nuclear cooperation needs an explanation.

Two days after Jinnah book, Jaswant expelled from BJP

INTELLIBRIEFS strongly condemns this harsh and immature decision of BJP to expel Mr.Jashwant Singh. This act further corroborates the point that BJP is still a hostage of radical Hindutva forces, such indifference and callousness to freedom of opinion and reason is pathetic to say the least.

Shimla, Aug 19 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expelled its veteran leader Jaswant Singh from the primary leadership of the party Wednesday, two days after the release of his controversial book in praise of Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

The decision to expel the 71-year-old leader, who has held the portfolios of finance, defence and external affairs in BJP-led governments, was taken by the party's parliamentary board, said BJP president Rajnath Singh.

He has also been stripped of all party posts.

'He is now not a member of any forum of the party. I tried to inform him yesterday on the phone but he had left for Shimla,' the BJP chief said about the leader who arrived in Shimla Tuesday afternoon for the three-day 'chintan baithak' (introspection session) of the party.

Jaswant Singh, he added, had been informed in the morning that he should not attend the chintan baithak that took the decision to expel him during its first sitting at the historic Peterhoff complex.

On Tuesday, Rajnath Singh said the BJP had dissociated itself from the Jaswant Singh's views on Jinnah.

'Yesterday, I issued a statement about the BJP dissociating itself from Jaswant Singh's views. The party discussed the matter at the chintan baithak and it was decided to expel him.

'I put up the issue before the parliamentary board today, which decided to cancel his primary membership and he has been expelled from the party,' the BJP chief said.

Reacting to the expulsion, columnist and BJP ideologue Swapan Dasgupta said: 'For the crime of writing a book or that matter taking a non conventional view (on Jinnah) you can't expel a person. What has happened is alarming.'

The former union minister, who has earned the ire of party leaders for his book 'Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence', arrived Tuesday but remained closeted in his room at the five-star Hotel Cecil, just a few hundred metres from the venue of the BJP meeting.

While all party leaders, including L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, were at the state guest house Peterhoff, Jaswant Singh cocooned himself in his hotel and did not meet any of the leaders.

He also did not attend a dinner Tuesday evening hosted by leader of the opposition L.K. Advani for BJP leaders, including chief ministers of various BJP-ruled states.

Eulogising Jinnah in his book, Jaswant Singh has said Jinnah was 'demonised' by India, while it was actually India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru whose belief in a centralised polity had led to the partition of the subcontinent.

Jaswant Singh has also strongly contested the popular Indian view that Jinnah was the villain of the 1947 partition or the man principally responsible for it.

'I think we have misunderstood him because we needed to create a demon... We needed a demon because in the 20th century the most telling event in the subcontinent was the partition of the country,' he has said.

Indo Asian News Service

August 18, 2009

A "second coming" for Angela Merkel?


MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin) - Local elections will be held in five German provinces on August 30, and Bundestag elections will be held on September 27. These elections will decide who will govern Germany for the next four years.

Although the election campaign is in full swing, the current chancellor, Angela Merkel, has only recently returned from a vacation in Italy's South Tyrol.

The German political culture has never been too impassioned compared to neighbouring countries, but this year's elections are unusual even for Germany. Elections are less than two weeks away, and yet campaigning has not yet begun in earnest. It may mean that Germans have become disillusioned, which in the past meant that they vote either contrary to the overwhelming appeals, or not at all.

In light of this fact, the two leading parties of the Grand Coalition - Merkel's Christian Democrats and Social Democrats led by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who have had a very uneasy marriage for the past four years - may part ways after the September elections.

The divorce may be scandalous, with Merkel winning the vote provided nothing unseemly happens in the remaining weeks before the election, which is highly unlikely. According to the EU statistics, Germany and France, considered the driving force of the European economy, are now emerging from the financial and economic crisis. Their economies have been growing for the past three months, even if by mere 0.3%.

The situation at the polling stations in Germany will depend on who was more disappointing to Germans - Chancellor Merkel or Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has been instructed by Social Democrats to fight for a majority in the Bundestag and the post of chancellor.

The two leading parties have not gained anything from their forced marriage. Many supporters of Christian Democrats say that Merkel, who they hoped would become a second Margaret Thatcher, wasted her time making unnecessary compromises, and changing her position on moderate European conservatism in the process.

This could have killed her chances for re-election if not for unexpected "assistance" from Steinmeier, who is doing even worse than Merkel. Social Democrats blame him for agreeing to cuts of state allocations for social projects, free-market reforms on the labour market, and other unpalatable decisions.

The result has been dramatic for Social Democrats. According to recent public opinion polls, Christian Democrats are 17%-20% ahead of Social Democrats in terms of popularity.

The audience survey service of ZDF, a public German television channel, claims that Christian Democrats may get 49% of the vote if they team up with the Free Democrats. Other pollsters say Merkel's party may get as much as 51%, more than enough for a comfortable majority in parliament.

As for the Social Democrats, they cannot hope to win more than 32%, even if they join forces with the Greens.

If Merkel's party wins, Germany will probably be less accommodating with its allies and partners, including Russia, especially in view of its nascent economic recovery. Merkel has been blamed for Germany's perceived lack of stature in international politics, something that is not entirely true.

Germans would like to use Russian gas, oil and other commodities, but also want Russia to show at least a modicum of respect for human and civil rights. Unfortunately, the latest events in the North Caucasus have not strengthened their optimism, which is crucial for German business's ability to continue joint economic projects with Russia and Russian investment in Germany.

Germany is unlikely to cancel the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany across the Baltic seabed, but it can certainly complicate things for the project.

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

Costs of War: Paranoid Populism

18 Aug 2009

The loud, occasionally violent protests at public meetings held by US lawmakers to discuss health care reform highlight a deep, powerful and rather ugly current of angry, paranoid populism in American politics, Shaun Waterman writes for ISN Security Watch.

By Shaun Waterman in Washington, DC for ISN Security Watch

The angry scenes - by now familiar to anyone who watches TV news - of lawmakers being heckled or shouted down by chanting protestors in their own districts, have spilled over into violence at only a handful of events, but passions are running high enough that some observers are dubbing the congressional recess 'The Summer of Hate.'

One of those jeered, Arlen Spector, the Pennsylvania senator who recently defected from the Republicans to the Democrats, echoed the views of many commentators when he blamed the anger on the fear the horrendous state of the economy is inducing in blue collar America. “Millions of people have lost their jobs,” Politico quoted him as saying, “and millions of others are afraid of losing theirs."

Whatever its cause, the outrage is real - and it is being deliberately stoked by misinformation from opponents of the president’s plan for health-care reform.

Even a respected senior Republican senator like Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, who has declared himself committed to a bipartisan reform bill, told an audience last week that a proposal to get the government to pay for voluntary consultation with a doctor about living wills and end-of-life care is a mandate for Washington bureaucrats to “pull the plug on grandma.”

The health care issue is not the only one stoking the visceral anger of the American right - and it is not the only one fed by internet-spread misinformation, either.

Despite having its origin in an urban myth which has been successfully and repeatedly debunked by major media organizations, the ‘birther movement’ - which claims President Barack Obama was not born in the US and therefore should not be president - has gained traction on cable news channels and among GOP members of Congress.

But as political historian Rick Perlstein points out, the health care protesters and ‘birthers’ are just the latest in a long line of angry right-wing conspiracy theorist movements with a powerful narrative of victimization.

To ask whether the protests are spontaneous and genuine, or manipulated 'Astroturf' - a fake grassroots plan supported up by front organizations determined to kill the president’s plan for reform - is a false dichotomy, he argues.

“If you don't understand that any moment of genuine political change always produces both, you can't understand America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests.”

But the crazy tree is also blooming with another dangerous fruit - the resurgence of the American militia movement with its racial underdog ideology and strategy of leaderless terrorism.

A report last week from the Southern Poverty Law Center warned that “Militia rhetoric is being heard widely once more, often from a second generation of ideologues, and conspiracy theories are being energetically revived or invented anew.”

The last time the militia movement was in its ascendant was during the 1990s - and it ended with the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people.

The most important difference today, the report notes, is that "the federal government - the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy - is headed by a black man," adding racist rage of white supremacists to the heady mix of militia ideology.

Veteran Washington commentator David S Broder recently recalled an incident in the lobby of a Dallas hotel a few days before the presidential election of 1960, when then-vice presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson and his wife were “reviled and jostled” by an angry mob of right-wing protesters.

“The backlash was instant and powerful,” Broder notes, arguing that it helped swing Texas and other southern states behind the 1960 Democratic ticket - led of course by the young Senator John F Kennedy.

“In 1964,” Broder continues, “when Johnson headed the Democratic ticket, he got even: His coattails swept [...] out of office” a Texas GOP congressman who had been part of the crowd.

The comparison with the angry scenes at recent health care town halls is indeed interesting, although perhaps not for the reason Broder thinks, because he inexplicably fails to mention what happened in Dallas in the interim - on 22 November 1963, to be exact, when President Kennedy was murdered there.

Protesters who turned out to greet President Obama in Arizona on Monday openly carried firearms, including one semi-automatic rifle.

Prior to the president’s visit to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to attend a health care town hall meeting, a man arrested for “sneaking past security officials” turned out to have a loaded, unlicensed handgun in his car, according to the local paper. During the visit, as MSNBC recorded, one of the protestors, carrying a placard referring to Thomas Jefferson’s admonition to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants, also displayed a holstered sidearm.

This is legal in New Hampshire apparently - the gun was registered and not concealed, and the man was on private property - and as the New York Times has noted, the two incidents in Portsmouth are not the only ones where firearms have turned up, legally or otherwise, in the hands of anti-health care reform protesters. All of which underscores a fact about the American right which bears repeating for a foreign observer: These people are armed.

Let’s be clear: No one is predicting the assassination of President Obama, or anyone else.

In the much-maligned and now withdrawn DHS intelligence assessment that warned earlier this year of the potential threat posed by resurgent right-wing extremists, there was no mention of assassination, and indeed the authors state that though “Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president [...] they have not yet turned to attack planning” of any kind.

And yet, when one considers the availability of firearms to protesters with an angry narrative of victimization, and the growing influence of a movement which glorifies violence against African-Americans, one can hardly avoid a sense of foreboding.

Shaun Waterman is a senior writer and analyst for ISN Security Watch. He is a UK journalist based in Washington, DC, covering homeland and national security.

Central Asia: China Holds the Cards

18 Aug 2009

While Russia is footing the bill for Central Asian security and attempting to curb US influence, China is benefiting by pursuing a smart economic policy that aims to buy dominance, Anna Arian comments for ISN Security Watch.

By Anna Arian for ISN Security Watch

The dissonance between Russia and China in Central Asia is being played out between two organizations: the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Beijing-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In the long run, China will win.

At the beginning of August the heads of states of Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan conferred at the Kyrgyz resort of Cholpon-Ata for a three-day informal summit of the CSTO. This assemblage of countries, which was founded in October 2002, is essentially a Russian instrument aimed at preserving its influence in the former Soviet republics and to scotch the gradually growing US military presence in oil-and-gas-rich Central Asian states.

During the CSTO summit, waning Russian influence over the region was once again illustrated by some Central Asian leaders. While the summit bore the conditional fruit of a provisional deal between Russia and Kyrgyzstan for a second Russian military base in the country, the Uzbek president made no secrets of his opposition. Earlier this year, Belarus and Uzbekistan refused to sign an agreement creating a rapid-reaction force to fight "terrorism." Furthermore, none of the CSTO members supported the Russian recognition of Georgia’s breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as sovereign countries.

While the US may have kept a watchful eye on events in Kyrgyzstan given its own military interests in the region, China, for one, could sit back and relax.

China is effectively playing pass-the-parcel on security interests toward Russia through the CSTO in order to curb the growing US military foothold in the region. With a weak US presence in the region, the Central Asian states are more likely to look to Beijing’s economic influence as a way to break away from Russian tutelage. This phenomenon is more or less institutionalized in the Chinese-led SCO, through which China is increasingly projecting its influence in the region.

The SCO binds together Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Russia. The SCO was formally founded in 2001 in Shanghai as a regional security organization to alleviate China’s security concerns, create confidence-building measures between its members - especially Russia and China - and to deal with the ‘three evils’ that all the countries are plagued with: terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Those who call the SCO the ‘NATO of the East’ should bear in mind that the intention of its founders was not the creation of a military organization, let alone a mutual defense pact. The main interest of all the participants was the creation of a forum within which the border between China and the former Soviet republics could be demilitarized, border disputes could be solved and separatist movements foiled. As the recent protests from Uighur’s in western China demonstrates, this very much remains an ongoing concern for Beijing.

But as the years went by, the SCO - predominantly driven by Chinese interests - expanded its portfolio into economics and energy. China can clearly out-perform Russia in the economic realm. With its billions of dollars of reserves and its booming economy, China is an attractive economic partner for some of the financially crippled and Russia-dependent economies of Central Asia.

Consequently, China has been wooing these states with aid projects and financial help as a way to increase its own influence in the region - largely at the expense of Russia. In turn, the Central Asian states have embraced China’s steps to break out of the old economic stranglehold of the Kremlin in order to fashion a more independent posture.

One of the latest examples of Chinese aid sponsorship was during the SCO summit in June in Yekaterinburg, Russia, where President Hu Jintao offered Central Asian states (and only Central Asian states) $10 billion in credit to support their efforts to tackle the consequences of the global financial crisis. Russia neither received nor made any offers.

Beyond the economic rationale that drives Chinese interests in the region there is the pressing issue of energy security. Oil-and-gas-rich Central Asia can provide China with greater supply security, while Beijing can provide demand security for Central Asian players.

Since 2006, Kazakh oil has been pumped to China’s Xinjiang province, and in June, China signed a gas deal with Turkmenistan. The latter will increase the amount of gas its sells to China by 30 percent annually, and the pipeline between the two countries is likely to be completed this year. This deal was a major setback for Russia, which has traditionally dominated the Turkmen and other Central Asian energy sectors.

While Russia continues to desperately increase its military presence in the region through the CSTO, China is slowly strengthening its economic and political hand in Central Asia.

The SCO will continue to remain a useful vehicle for China to turn economic power into political clout, while also earning itself a free ride on Russian security guarantees to help minimize terrorist threats. Moreover, it lets Russia deal with the US presence in the region without getting involved, and in the meantime courts Central Asia with financial aid.

Without a doubt, China’s policy toward this part of the world is ingeniously crafted. Beijing will sit back, relax and watch the game unfold.

Anna Arian is an IR Graduate from the University of Groningen and currently works at the Center for Security Studies, CSS.

China Displeased!

By Bhaskar Roy

Very little has come out from the Indian foreign ministry about the recently concluded 13th round of Special Representative (SR) level talks (August 7-8) between India and China in New Delhi. There is an agreement between the two sides that the real contents of the talks on the border issue be not made public. The Chinese, however, are a little more generous than the Indians in giving out hints as to what they thought of the talks which include issues other than the border.

Having assessed sharply criticising reports in the Chinese official media in recent months, the Indian government apparently decided not get pushed over. It was made clear that India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh was an established “truth” (as opposed “fact”), and there was no question of discussing it as a “disputed” territory.

Since the 13th round of SR level talks was being held in India, the Chinese played a softer line in the run up to the talks. There were, however, two comments not really noticed by the Indian media. One was the comment by China’s military newspaper, the PLA Daily on the launch of India first nuclear submarine, the “Arihant”. It repeated various Pakistani observations that Arihant will lead to a new arms race in the region, but made the comment that India was 30 years behind China. While in technological terms it is true, the fact that China’s nuclear submarine project started at least 40 years ago and the India propramme started in 1990s only, was not mentioned.

China has a real concern here. They are acutely aware that while their missiles and nuclear weapons programmes started in the late 1950s with some Soviet assistance and stolen technology from the West India, a late arrival in the game, has demonstrated its high level of technological sophistication and can draw parity with China soon enough. That is the reason why the Beijing authorities tried to block the India-US civil nuclear deal, and are openly disturbed with economic and high technology co-operation (military and duel use) with the USA and a rejuvenated military co-operation with Russia. Such developments are perceived by the Chinese strategists and hard liners as a threat to China’s quest for domination from the Gulf to the Asia Pacific region.

Given these considerations, it is not surprising the China-controlled Hong Kong newspaper, the Ta Kung Pao (TKP) of August 04, was used to convey to India and the region that India must not aspire to become more than what China thinks it should be. The TKP article said that in the current world situation when a “China-US-Russia triumvirate” had clearly emerged, India’s strategy to draw close to the US economically and to Russia militarily was futile and puts India against China. It was this strategy that would harm India’s rise in Asia and adversely impact even its regional power role in South Asia. It is like a teacher disciplining an errant school child, but Beijing holds the deniability of its inspiration to the article. This is an age old trick.

Following the 13th round of talks where the Indian delegation is reported to have conveyed to their Chinese counterparts India’s dismay over of certain Chinese actions, especially in the area of terrorism, which were unfriendly, the Chinese appear surprised that for more than a year now a certain amount of assertiveness has become evident in India’s China policy.

China appears to have reacted quickly at the Communist Party level after the SR talks. The party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, which is considered as authorised official view, made it clear (August 11) that Arunachal Pradesh was a part of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and is disputed territory, but occupied by India. The report emphatically said that the Chinese foreign ministry had made it quite clear that the Chinese government and the people never accepted the “illegal” McMahon line drawn by the British imperialists.

This was followed up by a more considered and serious article in the People’s Daily of August 13 (English website edition) not only on the border issue but also with respect to India’s strategic behaviour. Written by the newspaper’s eminent strategic expert Li Hongmei, the charges on the border revert after some years to attacking Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and his alleged imperialist and “expansionist” policy as the cause for the 1962 war. Pt. Nehru is accused of “provoking” the war with backing of imperialists i.e. the British and the USA. Repeating the illegality of the McMahon line and Pt. Nehru’s alleged expansionist policies takes the scenario of Chinese hard line propaganda following the May, 1998 Indian nuclear tests. Li, however, adds some new ingredients.

First, he says that the US strategy was to try and set the two Asian powers in military conflict, obviously trying to tell Indian observers that Washington has a covert strategic motive in promoting defence and high technology co-operation with India. Li particularly points out to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s 1988 China visit as a “historic” event in normalising relations between the two countries. This, of course, is true to a great extent. But Li Hongmei must remember that Chinese Premier Li Peng almost sabotaged Prime Minister Gandhi’s visit, had not senior leader Deng Xiaoping intervened. And much of that was at India’s initiative.

The 1988 Rajiv Gandhi visit was the result of a new realization in China’s top most hierarchy, controlled by the astute Deng Xiaoping. China was opening out to the world for its economic reconstruction, and a stable environment was a dominant pre-requisite. This was Deng’s official line. Deng had learnt a lesson when invading Vietnam in 1978 to teach the Hanoi leaders a lesson. Instead, the Chinese army got a bloody nose. The next blow was the 1989 Tien An Men (TAM) square bloody repression of students’ demanding a clean government, leading to international condemnation of China and imposition of sanctions on China.

It can be said that India has always been gullible to Chinese guiles and deceptions. India stood by China on the TAM issue. India spoke for China in international fora on human rights issues. India pushed China’s request to make it an observer in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). In return, China blocked lndia’s membership of the APEC, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and delayed India’s entry to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum.

The rest of Li Hongmei’s article offers hot and cold treatment to India. He is aggrieved with a conceptual line of “China threat” theory in India as a cause of new problems between these two countries. It disapproves of upgradation of Indian defence structure including the decision to deploy of two army divisions and a squadron of advanced SU-30 MKI multi role aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh.

Yet, Li does not write a word about China’s military infrastructure construction along the Sino-Indian border, extension of the Qinghai-Lhasa railway with demonstrated capability of transporting military hardware, being extended to the Indian border. Or almost open Chinese support to anti-Indian factions in Nepal to take on India and expel all Indian interests in Nepal.

Li Hongmei finally warns about a “China threat” theory in the minds of Indians as a potentially destabilising perception in India-China relations. Li warns the Indian officials and people that “China threat” pronouncements were be worse than Indian deployment in Arunachal Pradesh, and could lead to malignant consequences. He hold out a threat that China is ready to take “defensive actions” i.e. forward offensive to defend much outside China’s borders.

Li Hongmei’s article reading India the riot act suggests that the Communist Party, which is the ultimate power in China, has taken up the issue of relation with India. It could not have been written without the directions of the CCP Central Committee if not the Political Bureau (PB) of the Central Committee.

Not to miss out finally, Li Hongmei chastises the alleged “cut-throat” competition of the Indian mind set. He does not clarify if this is in the realm of economic completion or strategic advantage. In the strategic area, much has been discussed already. In the economic area, Indian officials cannot forget how they were cheated out of an oil deal in Kazakhstan by the Chinese especially when India agreed to partner China in the energy sector. China is about ditch India in the global environmental talks. It’s trade in spurious goods export to India, and using Indian label to its spurious medical supplies to Nigeria and other countries, is legend.

So, what is China trying to say. A clear response from Li Hongmei will be appreciated by this writer.

(The author is a China Analyst with many years of experience. He can be reached at


By Dr. Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

Triangular strategic configurations seem to be more of a feature of international strategic discourse on Asian security. It is a favorite theme for examination and discussion especially when the global security landscape becomes more fluid and uncertain.

As per international studies on this subject the search for triangular configurations have become more strategically marked in the post-Cold War period when either the United States assumes unquestioned global strategic dominance or when the United States global power is perceived to be declining.

In the later stages of the Cold War, it was former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who perceptibly introduced triangular configurations when he sought to balance Russia with US quasi-strategic alliance linkages with China.

Today one witnesses a lot of feasibility studies of the Russia-China-India Triangle, the Japan-China-United States Triangle, the United States-China-India Triangle and the United States-China-Pakistan Triangle and some have explored the possibility of the Untied States-European Union – China Triangle.

A globally strategic paradigm shift would have taken place in the global power balance had the Russia-China-India Strategic Triangle could have substantially materialized. This was examined in a couple of Papers on this website by this Author. The striking conclusion was that short of China re-casting its South Asia policy formulations and shedding its strategic hostility towards India the Russia-China-India Strategic Triangle was nor workable.

Similarly, an Asian strategic triangle of China-Japan-India would have been a formidable combination. This proposition cannot take off simply became China cannot strategically condescend to share Asian strategic space with Japan and India.

Significantly, to be noted is the fact that in all United States strategic discourse on triangular configurations, China is preferred as the strategic partner of the United States and then others. This rules out a fair number of triangular strategic configurations in Asia.

What has not come to notice in international strategic discussion on triangular strategic linkages is the attractiveness of a Russia- India-Iran Strategic Triangle to all these three countries for mutual strategic benefits.

The aim of this Paper is to examine the possibilities of a Russia- India-Iran Strategic Triangle emerging by dwelling on the following aspects:

Russia-India-Iran: Their Respective Strategic Significance
Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle: Contextual Strategic Factors which may Prompt its Emergence
Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle: The Impact on the United States and China
Russia-India-Iran: Their Respective Strategic Significance

Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle in terms of comparative strategic analysis would far outweigh any triangular strategic configurations linking the United States and China with any third nation combination. This formidable strategic potential arises from the sum total of the respective strategic strengths and geo-strategic significance of Russia, India and Iran.

Russia’s striking geo-strategic and geo-political significance needs no introduction. Russia has shared the global strategic stage as the only other superpower other than the United States. Russia as discussed in many Papers of this Author since 2000 has been in a resurgent mode to reclaim its erstwhile status as a superpower and emerge as an independent center of global power. Russia’s strategic assets are intact and under active modernization.

Russia’s constant devaluation in United States strategic discourse and policy formulations is deliberate with psychological warfare component added to it. If the United States has global strategic fears, it is only from Russia. China can never provide the strategic ballast to the United States in its strategic tussles with Russia.

India’s strategic significance as an emergent global power with a resurgent economic growth, also needs no introduction. Like Russia, India is a nuclear weapons power and has a highly professional conventional military might.

India is the predominant regional power in the Indian Sub-continent and its contiguous regions, despite the United States and China’s strategic nexus with Pakistan and their assisted build-up of Pakistan’s military profile to checkmate India.

Iran’s geo-strategic and geo-political profile which is otherwise significant gets undervalued as a result of United States virtual demonization of Iran as an irresponsible and rogue nuclear power in the making. Iran undoubtedly is the predominant regional power in the Gulf Region. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf littoral Arab monarchies are no strategic match to Iran minus their military alliance linkages to the United States.

Russia as the apex or the pivotal head of a Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle has extremely good political relationships with both India and Iran. The Indian and Iranian military inventories are predominantly Russian in origin and provide military inter-operability between the three.

Russia and Iran, the two together, control significant oil and gas reserves of the world which plays an important role in India’s energy security plans..

There are no divisive political or other issues which divide Russia, India and Iran. This is highly significant as the US-China-third country strategic triangle suffers from the inherent distrust between United States and China. Their strategic getting together in any triangular combination is a shaky and artificial strategic contrivation to balance Russia.

Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle: Contextual Strategic Setting which may Prompt its Emergence

In the initial part of this Paper, the various strategic triangular configurations being discussed by the Western strategic community seem to focus largely on the combination of United States – China with third countries in Asia, to the exclusion of Russia.

This virtually amounts to a US-China Dyad in a new unfolding version of the Cold War. The United States advocacy of a G-2 combination of the United States and China is another indicator of US-China Dyad controlling the World Order.

Now let us examine the linkages of Russia, India and Iran with the United States and which briefly can be outlined as under:

US-Russia relations are contentious and strategically competing. All United States approaches to China, despite their own mutual mistrust are conditioned by the determinant of enlisting China as a quasi-ally against Russia.
US-India relations today can be termed as politically correct. The US-India Strategic Partnership may be attractive to the present Government, but it has lost its sheen to India’s strategic community because of the China-Pakistan predominance in US policy formulations in South Asia.
US-Iran relations are hostile with Iran under constant threat of US military intervention on the nuclear issue. The United Stated strategic hostility towards Iran is conditioned by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s fears of Iran.
The common thread that runs in the above strategic pattern is that the United States has chosen in its foreign policy formulations to ignore the global and regional strengths of Russia as a global power and India and Iran as the predominant regional powers in the region.

China’s relations with Russia, India and Iran as part of the US-China Dyad also deserve a brief look. The following picture emerges:

China-Russia so called strategic nexus is only in name. Russia mistrusts China’s strategic dalliance with USA. Russia has many other strategic fears arising from China.
China-India relations border on latent hostility if not in the open. Both are intense rivals to claim the Asian strategic space.
China-Iran relations despite Chinese eternal rhetoric are not without deep strategic misgivings. China's build-up of Pakistan as a nuclear weapons power probably is one of the determinants in addition to USA, of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, notwithstanding that Pakistan years ago had assisted Iran in its nuclear pursuit.
If anything in the past that drew Russia and Iran to China strategically, it was China’s hostile postures towards the United States. The reverse is true now today.

To deflect charges that the above examination is an over-simplification (necessitated by keeping the paper short) the strategic realities that need to be emphasized are:

The United States in some way or the other thwarts the superpower aspirations of Russia. The United States as part of its National Security Strategy does not accept the regional power status of India (despite recent rhetoric) and Iran. The United States strategic agenda can therefore be construed as at odds with the national aspirations of Russia, India and Iran.
China as an emergent global power for reasons of its global aspirations would logically not accept any accretions to the strategic profile and status of Russia, India and Iran as powers that dominate the strategic setting in Asia and globally too.
Russia, India and Iran prompted by factors dismissed above can logically be expected to move towards the evolution of a Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle relationship if the current trend towards a United States-China Dyad concretizes.

Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle: The Impact on the United States and China

The emergence or the prospects of emergence of a Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle leaves only one option for the United States. It is to pre-empt or wean away India from such a combination. The United States to succeed would have to pay a heavy strategic price for the same. It would have to jettison its China and Pakistan baggage from its strategic formulations in its approaches to India. The United States seems inclined not to do so.

In relation to Russia, the United States may not jettison China and thereby prompting India to bring about a value-added resurgence in its proven and tested Russia-India Strategic Partnership.

As far as impact on China is concurred, one can estimate that in the pursuance of its global power aspirations, China can be expected to jettison its current strategic linkages with Russia and Iran, in favor of United States.

The resultant fortified US-China Strategic Dyad would provide additional compelling reasons for India to move both towards a strong Russia-India Strategic Partnership and the Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle. The same reasons would compel both Russia and Iran to do likewise.

Concluding Observations

In the ensuing era where there is a global perception that US global power is declining and forcing the United States to harness China as an emerging global power, in a strategic United States-China Dyad, it would be strategically logical for countries which distrust United States and China singly or both together, to seek alternative strategic linkages.

The possible emergence of a Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle needs to be viewed in light of the above strategic trends which draw the United States and China together despite the deep cleavages that exist between them.

A possible Russia-India-Iran Strategic Triangle would be a formidable strategic combination to contend with, especially when no strategic cleavages exist between them. Such a combination could substantially alter the global balance of power and the Asian security landscape.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group.



( Talk delivered on August 17,2009, under the auspices of the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Chennai)

Since taking over as the Prime Minister in 2004, Dr.Manmohan Singh has visited Japan twice. His first visit was from December 13 to 16,2006, when Mr.Shinzo Abe was the Prime Minister. His second was from October 20 to 22,2008, when Mr. Taro Aso was the Prime Minister. Mr.Aso continues to be the Prime Minister of Japan and is facing election on August 30. Japanese analysts say that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been in power for 52 of the last 53 years, has been facing difficulty. The centre-left Democratic Party of Japan ( DPJ), led by Mr.Yukio Hatoyama, has been ahead in the public opinion polls and may cause an upset by defeating the LDP.

2.If it does, it is expected that the foreign policy of Japan may not be the same as it has been till now. The DPJ leaders have been talking of a review of Japan's post-war security relations with the US and advocating improved ties with China and South Korea. The DPJ's manifesto says that it "will re-examine the role of the US military in the security of the Asia-Pacific region and the significance of the US bases in Japan." Its leaders have also said that Japan should pursue its own disarmament and non-proliferation policies. That means, its attitude to India's expectations of a nuclear trade with Japan may be even less favourable than that of the LDP-led Government.

3. "The Hindu" of August 12,2009, carried an assessment on the Japanese election campaign by Simon Tisdall of "The Guardian" of the UK. It said: " The apparently game-changing DPJ positions have led to talk of a generational shift in Japanese politics, bringing to office leaders, who have no personal memories, guilty or otherwise, of the war and no particular reason to thank the US for the post-war alliance."

4. To my knowledge, India has not much figured in the pre-electoral debate. If the DPJ comes to power and adopts a policy of greater distance from the US and closer relations with China, what impact it will have on Japan's relations with India, which are richer in security-related matters and weaker in matters relating to economic co-operation---- quite the opposite of India's relations with China---- richer in economic co-operation, but weaker in security co-operation?

5. Are we going to see in Japan a repetition of our experience in Australia and the US? Dr.Manmohan Singh has a propensity for putting all India's eggs in the baskets of sun-set leaders than sun-rise leaders. In Australia, he tied India's future relations with Australia to Mr.John Howard, despite the fact that he was increasingly unpopular among his people. In the US, he tied India's future relations with that country to the highly unpopular Republican Administration headed by Mr.George Bush and paid little attention to the Democrats before the last Presidential elections in November,2008.

6. The coming into office in Australia of Mr.Kevin Rudd as the Prime Minister after defeating the unpopular Mr.Howard has seen a down-grading by the new Government of the importance of Australia's relations with India and an upgrading of its ties with China. In the US, the end of Mr.Bush's term and the return of the Democrats under President Barack Obama to power have seen a similar upgrading of the importance given to China and a downgrading of the importance earlier accorded by Mr.Bush to India.

7.Similarly, Dr.Manmohan Singh during his visit to Japan in October last tied India's future relations with Japan to the LDP Government headed by Mr.Aso of uncertain popularity. He signed with him a " comprehensive framework for the enhancement of security cooperation between the two countries." This agreement caused considerable excitement and euphoria in India because Japan had previously signed such a comprehensive security co-operation agreement with only two other countries,namely, the US and Australia.Will this framework agreement survive the exit of the LDP from power, if it comes about, and the election of the DPJ to power?

8. We are repeating in Japan the same mistake we earlier committed in Australia and the US. Before the election in Australia, we paid very little attention to studying the likely policy changes if Mr.Rudd came to power. In the US, we paid very little attention to studying the likely policy changes if Mr.Obama came to power. When the two came to power and changed their policy emphasis vis-a-vis China and India, we were taken by surprise. One has the impression we have hardly paid any attention to studying likely policy changes towards India, China and the US if Mr.Hatoyama comes to power at the head of a DPJ-led Government. We will have to wait till post-August 30 to find out how much of the security co-operation framework will survive.

9.The traditional security concerns of successive LDP-led Governments have been five in number, namely:

First, the implications of the rise of China as a modern military power.
Second, the implications of any assertive Chinese policy in the South and East China Seas.
Third, the implications of North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities.
Four, the emergence of this region as an epicentre of nuclear proliferation.
Five, the threat to Japan's maritime trade and energy supplies from State as well as non-State actors.
10. Before Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan in 2006, the Hitachi Research Institute of Japan had prepared a brief paper on Indo-Japanese relations. It brought out that Indo-Japanese relations under different Japanese Prime Ministers have been a history of grandiose ideas and visions, which remained unimplemented due to conceptual obscurity and lack of convergence on issues of common concern. It wrote: " Grand themes of arcs and crescents, with India and Japan at either end of the curve, have never been far from strategic assessments of Indo-Japanese relations in Asia.... Prime Minister Koizumi unveiled an “arc of advantage and prosperity” to complement his Japan-India Global Partnership. Not to be outdone, Foreign Minister Taro Aso, in a November 2006 speech aimed at laying out an expansive “values oriented” vision of the Abe government’s diplomatic strategy, revealed an “arc of freedom and prosperity” that spanned India and beyond.Yet the reality of Indo-Japanese relations has been rather more mundane and mutual interests rather less congruent – particularly in regard to that large continental entity situated within the geo-political arc of Asia."
11. Despite the disappointments of the past, the Hitachi paper was not pessimistic about the future. It said: "Indeed as variations of the China threat description have issued forth in Tokyo (be it as a “considerable threat,” “realistic threat” or a “potential threat”), the Indian foreign and defense policy establishment has, in equal measure, eliminated the language of ‘threat’ from its formal vocabulary of China policy. Behind the China factor though, a considerably wider gulf separates the guiding strategic precepts of modern Japanese and Indian foreign policies. Given this divide in foreign policy worldviews, efforts by Indian and Japanese statecraft to factor in their counterpart within its scheme of vital interests has perennially tended to fade away into a conceptual and geographic obscurity."

12. Of the five security concerns of Japan mentioned above, there is no convergence on China between India and Japan. During his visit to Japan last October, Dr.Manmohan Singh made it clear that India did not regard China as a threat and that the proposed comprehensive security framework was not directed against China. India is not interested in the issue of the denuclearisation of Noth Korea. While it is concerned over the Noth Korean nuclear and missile capabilities because of the long-standing supply relationship of North Korea with Pakistan, it feels that this issue be better handled by the countries of the region and the US through the mechanism of the six-party talks. India shares Japanese concerns over the emergence of this region as an epicentre of nuclear proliferation due to the transfer of nuclear and missile capabilities by North Korea to Pakistan and possibly to Iran. There have recently been unconfirmed reports of North Korean nuclear assistance to even Myanmar. At the same time, India does not support the intrusive Proliferation Security Initiative, which is supported by Japan.

13. This leaves only the threat to maritime trade and energy supplies from non-State actors---mainly terrorists and pirates--- as a matter of intense common concern which could be used as a building block of a mutual security relationship between India and Japan. A careful perusal of the framework agreement signed by Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mr.Aso on October 22,2008, broadly brings out the envisaged areas of co-operation. Inter alia, they included:

Co-operation between Coast Guards.
Safety of transport.
Fight against terrorism and transnational crimes.
Sharing of experiences in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Disaster management.
Disarmament and non-proliferation
14. It spelt out the co-operation in the fields of maritime security and counter-terrorism as follows:

"The two Coast Guards will continue to promote cooperation to ensure maritime safety, maritime security and to protect marine environment through joint exercise and meeting between the two Coast Guards according to the Memorandum on Cooperation between the Japan Coast Guard and the Indian Coast Guard."
"In relation to the safety of transport, Shipping Policy Forum will be conducted between Maritime Authorities and private sectors, and consultation will be conducted between Railway Authorities."
"Bilateral consultation will be conducted to promote counter-terrorism cooperation through such means as Joint Working Group on counter terrorism between the relevant government offices including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs.Mechanism of sharing of information will be sought with regard to suspicious transaction on money laundering and terrorist financing between the two Financial Intelligence Units."
15. It was also agreed by the two Prime Ministers that officials of the two Governments will draw up specific action plans in respect of each agreed area of co-operation and put them up to the two Prime Ministers for approval. The follow-up action for the implementation of this framework agreement was discussed by Mr.S.M.Krishna, India's Minister For External Affairs, and Mr.Hirofumi Nakasone, his Japanese counterpart, when Mr.Krishna visited Tokyo on July 2 and 3,2009.Reporting on the talks between the two, "The Hindu" of July 4,2009, stated as follows: " The two Ministers discussed follow-up measures for formulating an action plan. A bilateral dialogue on maritime security, inclusive of anti-piracy co-operation, would start soon." This indicates that though eight months have passed since Dr.Manmohan Singh and Mr.Aso reached the framework agreement in October last, the drawing-up of action plans for implementation has not yet been either completed or even taken up. Now, the implementation of the comprehensice framework agreement on security co-operation will become the responsibility of the new Japanese Government, which will come to office after the elections of August 30.
16. One has no reason to apprehend that the framework agreement provisions relating to co-operation against maritime terrorism and piracy and to ensure the safety of transport may be diluted as a result of a new Government assuming office after the elections. There is a broad political consensus in Japan on the importance of Indo-Japanese co-operation to strengthen maritime security. Not only the Japanese political class, but also the Japanese business class and shipping circles see value in Indo-Japanese co-operation in this field because over 90 per cent of Japan's imports of oil and gas and a considerable percentage of its external trade pass through the Gulf of Aden and adjoining seas and the Strait of Malacca. Any disruption of the supplies passing through this area could seriously damage the Japanese economy.

17. There are limitations to Indo-Japanese maritime co-operation for maritime security in the Malacca Strait area because of the lingering memories in the region of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. While the countries of the region have no hesitation in accepting Japanese assistance in the form of equipment, capacity-building etc, there are still reservations over Japanese ships playing an active tole in patrolling whereas there are no such reservations with regard to Indian ships.

18. There are no constraining factors in the seas to the West of India, where there is considerable scope for joint initiatives for maritime security by the Navies/Coast Guards of the two countries. Japan has been increasingly concerned over the uncontrolled activities of Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and nearby seas. A number of Japan-related ships have been attacked in this area since the beginning of 2008 and some of them hijacked and released only on alleged payment of ransom. It is estimated that about 2000 Japan-related ships pass through this area every year. By Japan-related ships, one means Japanese-owned ships flying the Japanese or foreign flags.

19. The attacks on Japan-related ships by the Somali pirates are a matter of concern to India too because many of these ships employ Indian crew. Thus, India is concerned over the attacks on Indian ships as well as on Japanese and other foreign ships employing Indian crew. Moreover, if there is a terrorist attack on maritime trade and energy supplies by Al Qaeda and organisations affiliated to it, it is most likely to originate from this area where their sanctuaries and training camps are located.

20. The increasing concerns of India and Japan over the threats to maritime security in this region are reflected in the two countries deputing anti-piracy patrols to this area----- India since last year and Japan since the beginning of this year. Many other countries from the West as well as Asia, incuding China, affected by the activities of the Somali pirates have similarly deputed anti-piracy patrols into this area. No effort has been made so far to co-ordinate effectively the patrolling by ships of different countries. This could be a matter for initiative by the authorities of Japan and India initially at the bilateral level, subsequently bringing in others.

21. The ideas for maritime security co-operation between India and Japan envisaged so far are largely of a tactical nature such as exchange of information, mutual assistance in capacity building, co-ordinated patrolling, holding of seminars etc. There is very little co-operation of a strategic nature because Japanese laws relating to overseas assistance did not permit such co-operation. Commenting on this, the Hitachi report of 2006 referred to above said: "Important ground was broken by the Japanese government in two recently-issued policy documents. The 2003 revision of the ODA (Overseas Development Assistance ) Charter calls for the disbursal of aid from, among other angles, a strategic perspective too. The JDA’s Defense Guidelines issued in December 2004, meantime, for the first time refer to sea lanes of communication in the context of “international peace cooperation activities.”Together, the two afford a unique opportunity to route ODA towards India’s ports, maritime infrastructure and shipyards, much of which is geared towards dual commercial and military servicing. With India committed to an ambitious ocean security program, and with Indo-U.S. naval cooperation making rapid strides forward, strategically-oriented ODA channeled towards functional areas such as marine transport, oceanographic surveys, sea bed exploration, ship-lift capabilities, etc. would lend additional focus to what is already the single, largest ODA country disbursal."

22. Will the new Japanese Government coming to office after August 30 implement this recommendation? If it doesn't, the Indo-Japanese maritime security co-operation wil remain largely tactical.

23. Presuming that a DPJ-led Government comes to power, it is likely to undertake a major review of Japan's policies not only towards the US, but also China. Is it not time for India to undertake a similar review of its policy towards the association of China with some of the maritime security initiatives between India and Japan. Despite India's assertions to the contrary, China continues to view India's maritime security co-operation with the US on the one side and with Japan on the other as partly meant to contain the growing strength of the Chinese Navy. A question often posed by Chinese interlocutors is: If this co-operation is only against non-State actors and not against China, why exclude China from it? Has the time come to remove Chinese concerns by starting an India-Japan-China trialogue on maritime security----initially at the non-governmental level and subsequently expanding it to the Governmental level? (17-8-09)

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

August 17, 2009

Don’t make a big deal of Shah Rukh’s detention


Anand Soondas

Saturday August 15, 2009

After a long time actor Salman Khan has come up with a real gem. On hearing about Shah Rukh Khan being questioned by US security at Newark, New Jersey, he said it’s good that the country has such a tight set-up. And that ``there has been no attack after 9/11 because of this.’’

Salman has a point. SRK might be an icon to Indians and many in the subcontinent, even to the desi diaspora spread across the globe, but to America he’s just a visitor. We may be convinced he cannot be involved in anything that’s remotely violent, but the guard given the responsibility of stopping something like 9/11 from happening in his country again will want to take no chances. And what is the possibility that he’s a die hard fan of the Khan and Bollywood? Very slim.
Interestingly, the same day that SRK was detained in Newark, there came news that the great Bob Dylan, who was wandering around Long Branch, near New York City, sometime back, was asked for an ID by two cops too young to know who he really was. When he couldn’t furnish one, he was taken right back to the resort where he was putting up and staff there vouched for him. And America is Dylan’s own country.
Was there a furore? Not that I know of. Not even a little blowin' in the wind.

SRK says he’s ``upset and angry’’ because it was his Muslim name that caused all this. Thousands of Muslims are made to go through extra security checks everyday in America and a host of Western countries. Is he equally upset at that? He's probably just pissed that it happened to him, India's mega star. We all know how a lot of Muslims have been subjected to prejudice around the world because many countries see terrorism as an Islamic phenomenon. Yes, it is uncalled for, unjust and maybe wrong. But America is a country that takes the killings of its people with the seriousness it deserves, unlike India whose record on this is shameful, to say the least.

Also, because most of the perpetrators of 9/11 were Muslims, America thinks it has to be doubly careful where they are concerned. Had the terrorists been Jews, perhaps it would have looked at Jews with similar suspicion. I was much more aggrieved at President Kalam being frisked. But that’s a dated debate.

There are two layers to the SRK incident and we must peel them off with care. One, it is quite ridiculous that Indians feel their icons and superstars are everybody’s icons and superstars. What the heck? If Jet Li came to India tomorrow, the man on the street here would probably call him ‘`Chinky’’ and not give a second look. For that matter, what if Gérard Depardieu came travelling. How many would know him? Matt Damon was here recently and there wasn’t a traffic jam in Delhi. These guys are huge back home.

Moreover, America doesn’t have a culture of fawning the way India has. Mike Tyson was treated like a common rapist and spent most part of his youth in the slammer. Winona Ryder was sentenced to a three-year probation for shoplifting. Chinese born Hollywood actress Bai Ling was fined US 200 dollars for petty theft.

More importantly, we are actually aggrieved because we are ``not like them’’. Well, guess what. It isn’t a virtue. We should be like them and take the security of our country and its people with solemn, no-nonsense professionalism. Frisk Brad Pitt when he lands in India next. Give Tom Cruise the same dose. Don’t spare Bill Clinton either. Isn’t he an ex-prez just like Kalam? Who’s stopping you and what’s stopping you? Colonial hangover? Or is it plain lethargy and callousness. Looks like both.

We are just whimpering over here like hurt puppies because we feel, ``Oh, but we don’t do it to them’’. Oh no, we don’t. And it’s a scandal. We should. I’ve seen white men – and women – get away in India with murder. Indian women can’t get into some discos wearing a sari. And bouncers will frown at you if you are dressed in a kurta. Have you seen what some of these firangs have on them? No one bats a eyelid.
So instead of making SRK’s detention an issue, we should think of upgrading our own security set-up.

There’s a lesson in this. And it is a positive one. A day after our own 26/11, there was hardly any security at CST in Mumbai. It can’t get worse than that. The bottom line: Stop fawning, shed the colonial hangover and make no compromise where the country’s safety is concerned. Can we do that or is it too much to ask from a country that’s been free for 62 years but was ruled by white sahibs for 200?

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat terms Sharm el-Sheikh a diplomatic faux pas


By Virag Pachpore

Shri Bhagwat said that the reference to problems of Balochistan included for the first time in any dialogue between the two neighboring countries is not a good omen for India. The UPA government has not bothered to take the Opposition into confidence on matters of such diplomatic importance and thereby failed to maintain transparency in such sensitive matters.

"Inclusion of the reference to Balochistan and dropping of action against terrorism as a precondition to resuming the dialogue with Pakistan was a serious blunder. It exposed the chinks in diplomacy of Government of India. This has not only brought the issue of happenings in Balochistan to the notice of the global community, but has also created a confusion within the country vis-à-vis our foreign policy and transparency therein."

These views were expressed by RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat at the "Meet the Press" programme organised by the Nagpur Union of Working Journalists (NUWJ) at Tilak Patrakar Bhavan in Nagpur on August 3, 2009. Shri Bhagwat is the second Sarsanghachalak to participate in this programme after his predecessor the late Balasaheb Deoras, who had interacted with the scribes 38 years ago.

Criticising the Prime Minister for his diplomatic failure at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt in issuing the joint statement with his Pakistani counterpart, Shri Bhagwat said that the reference to problems of Balochistan included for the first time in any dialogue between the two neighbouring countries is not a good omen for India. The UPA government has not bothered to take the Opposition into confidence on matters of such diplomatic importance and thereby failed to maintain transparency in such sensitive matters.

In reply to a question on China’s expansionist attitude, the RSS chief cautioned the countrymen and the government to maintain a strict vigil to thwart any such evil move by the Chinese dragon. He referred to the warnings issued by great visionaries like Swami Vivekananda 110 years ago, Shri Ras Behari Bose and the second Sarsanghachalak of RSS Shri Guruji Golwalkar about the Chinese expansionist designs. Now the Chinese dragon has almost spread its tentacles to encircle India. It has established a good foothold in Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar (Burma) and is even helping Sri Lanka in restricting India’s strategic and diplomatic movements.

Shri Bhagwat stated that China always considered India a major rival in its international designs and as such it is trying to spread its influence in the neighbouring nations to squeeze India diplomatically. China had earlier attacked India in 1962. Now also it has staked claim over Indian territories of Arunachal Pradesh, he said and urged the countrymen, government and political parties to understand this serious threat emanating from the recent Chinese movements along the bordering regions in the Indian subcontinent.

Challenges facing India
The Sarsanghachalak expressed concern over the lack of preparedness on the part of the central government to meet any security threat from within or outside the country. External and internal security is the major challenge confronting the country right now. "We are not prepared at the government, administrative and society levels to meet any eventuality that threatens our security," Shri Bhagwat said and added that we must be ready to face and frustrate any move that threatens our sovereignty and territorial integrity forthrightly.

The other challenge staring at the country is pertaining to development. "We need to develop our own model for the all-round development of the country and the society and need not imitate the models of others. We can borrow knowledge and technology but we should mould that in accordance with our needs and requirements for development. This is called ‘swadeshi vision’, Shri Bhagwat said while replying to a question.

Support to reservation
Strongly advocating the need for providing reservations to the weaker sections of the society, the RSS Sarsanghachalak stressed on setting a workable time limit and identifying the real beneficiaries. "The architects of the Constitution provided reservation for those people who had suffered social discrimination in the past. Those who had not suffered any such discrimination should not have been provided any reservation except on economic criteria. But now this provision is being used for political benefits by the parties in power. We need to create a situation where such reservations are not required. This is necessary because the policy of reservation is only dividing the society further in different sections and groups and creating a socio-political friction," he said.

The RSS chief advocated for forming a new impartial high-powered national committee to go into the various aspects of reservation policy. This panel should decide the guiding principles of reservation policy and also fix the time-frame for its continuance.

Missionaries-Maoists nexus
Though strong proofs could not be given to suggest a nexus between the Christian missionaries and Maoists in Kandhamal in Orissa, Shri Bhagwat said missionaries considered Swami Laxmanananda a strong hindrance in their proselytising activities in Orissa. They had even threatened the swami with life. But the swami was killed with an AK-47 rifle. Does that mean that missionaries possess such weapons? Therefore, it is very difficult to make any such statement. But locals in Kandhamal area believe in such a nexus between the two.

EVMs and voting right
Replying to a question on allegations of tampering with the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and making voting mandatory, Shri Bhagwat said that the Election Commission should probe the complaints about the EVMs and dispel the confusion from the minds of the people. As regards voting, he said the RSS supports 100 per cent voting and believes in creating awareness among the voters in this regard instead of making it mandatory.

Service projects
Shri Bhagwat said that the RSS is not averse to change according to changing times. "But we feel the change should come as a unanimous move so that we remain firmly rooted to our basic ideology and yet move forward with the changing times and situation", he clarified adding that a perfect balance between elasticity and rigidity should be struck while incorporating changes in the organisation.

He clarified that there is no such concept as "fail" or "pass" swayamsevak in the RSS. The Sangh is giving good training and trying to inculcate moral values in its swayamsevaks that too without any sanction. The basis of our work is pure love and affection. It is left to swayamsevaks as to how they should work within the society. There had been a great inflow of new workers in the RSS after the Emergency and the Ayodhya movement. Those new-comers had not gone through the rigors of RSS training. So there might have been some cases here and there but that did not damage the credibility of the Sangh. On the contrary, it has increased manifold in the recent times, he claimed.

INDIA: CMs Conference underlines need to strengthen police for improved internal security

CMs Conference underlines need to strengthen police for improved internal security


18:34 IST

The day-long Conference of Chief Ministers on internal security concluded this evening with the CMs underlining the need to strengthen police force to ensure improved internal security environment. The Union Home Minister Shri P.Chidambaram summed up the issues on which the participants needed to reflect and take further steps. He acknowledged the primacy of State Govts. in maintaining public order. Following is the text of the concluding statement by the Home Minister.

“I am grateful to the Governors, Chief Ministers and other Heads of Delegation who have responded to our invitation and participated in the deliberations today. In my opening statement I had, towards the end, listed a number of key issues on which I requested you to make your observations. In addition, I wish to remind the Chief Ministers that only 12 State Governments/UTs have sent their responses to the questionnaire sent to them in preparation for this conference. Many Chief Ministers have, in their intervention, responded to these issues, and I thank them for expressing their views. The matters enumerated by me, among others, are important and deserve to be addressed with a sense of urgency. I, therefore, crave your indulgence to write to you on these matters so that we could have your responses in writing. Once we have your responses to the questionnaire and to the new issues, it would facilitate the formulation of policy, the allocation of funds and the monitoring of progress in strengthening the internal security system. I therefore request Chief Ministers to kindly give their personal attention to this matter.

2. As all of you are aware, every month since January 1, 2009, I have made a report to the people of India on the work done in the Ministry of Home Affairs during the previous month. Those reports contain an account of the implementation of Action Plan I for the period January 20, 2009 to May 31, 2009. After the formation of the new Central Government, the Ministry of Home Affairs adopted Action Plan II for the period June 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009, and that Plan is being implemented. There will be Action Plan III for the last six months of the current financial year. The monthly reports and the Action Plans are in the public domain. I would be happy to have your comments and criticism, if any, on the measures taken by the Central Government.

3. I wish to make a brief reference to the communal situation. While there is a vast improvement in the situation, there are still pockets of strife and disharmony. If numbers can tell a story – or at least point to trends – it appears that five States are rather sensitive. I intend to write to the Chief Ministers of these five States and request them to pay special attention to this matter.

4. On the basis of the observations made by you during the forenoon and afternoon sessions, I have culled out a number of issues on which we need to reflect and take further steps. Among these are –

i. While recruitment is the responsibility of the State Governments, the Central Government should step in, in a big way, to augment training capacity, especially for counter terrorism and jungle warfare;

ii. In order to quicken the procurement of weapons, the Central Government may consider central procurement of weapons on behalf of the States;

iii. While some States have set up a separate intelligence cadre, there are inadequate training facilities for intelligence gathering and intelligence analysis. The Central Government may consider setting up Regional Intelligence Centres to train State intelligence personnel in intelligence gathering and intelligence analysis.

iv. While I had indicated the vacancy position as on 1.1.2008 as 2,30,567 posts in all ranks, it appears that the vacancy level may have declined to about 1,50,000. Even this is too large, and State Governments must make every effort to recruit and begin training of police personnel at least to the extent of 1,50,000 vacancies before 31st March 2010;

v. There is a unanimous demand that the Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) scheme should be continued for another 5 to 10 years and more funds should be allocated to this scheme;

vi. The strength of police stations, especially in rural and remote areas, ranges between 1 + 8 and 1 + 12. This is totally inadequate. For a police station to be effective, its strength should be at least 1 + 40. State Governments may augment the strength of police stations;

vii. Find a more effective instrument to expedite the road building programme both in border areas as well as in naxal affected areas;

viii. Address the issue of the porous nature of the India-Nepal border;

ix. There is a need to discuss megacity policing and desert policing and work out measures to improve policing in these areas;

x. The surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy is also some years old. In order to make it attractive in the present conditions, it may be necessary to review and improve upon the policy;

xi. The norms for financial assistance to establish coastal police stations are outdated and they need to be revised;

xii. Since the supply of high speed interceptor boats from the two ship building yards is limited, the Central Government may consider importing such boats;

xiii. The Centre may consider imparting territorial army training for a period of 4 months to fishermen during the period when they do not engage in fishing. These trained fishermen could be kept as reserve and summoned in case of need;

xiv. While laws may be passed by State Legislatures according to need, the State Government has the power to make Executive Orders pending enactment of laws. Such Executive Orders are as effective and enforceable as legislation as long as they do not interfere with the fundamental rights of any person. Hence, States may examine this option whenever it is necessary to put in place certain security arrangements, especially in order to provide security to places of historical importance, heritage sites, places of religious worship, iconic establishments etc.

I urge Chief Ministers to address these issues. On our part, I shall examine them and convey to you our views or decisions on these matters.

5. In my opening statement, I had pointed to the central role of the police in meeting the challenges to internal security. The police forces require strong leadership. How can an officer provide leadership if his or her tenure is precarious and uncertain? I urge States that have not yet established a Police Establishment Board to do so immediately. The Police Establishment Board will, in no way, diminish the authority of the Chief Minister or the Home Minister. On the contrary, it will greatly help the Chief Minister and the Home Minister in conveying the message of fairness and non-discrimination, and they can always intervene in exceptional situations.

6. In conclusion, I wish to assure you, once again, that it is my intention to work closely with State Governments and acknowledging the primacy of the State Governments in maintaining public order. I propose to resume my visits to the States so that the Chief Minister of the State and I could jointly review the security situation in that State and examine State-specific needs and issues in some detail and take many decisions on the spot. I have found this exercise useful and highly instructive and I seek your co-operation in making this exercise successful.

7. I thank you for your participation and wish you the very best in the discharge of your responsibilities.”


Pak-based terror groups planning new attacks on India: PM


The Centre on Monday observed that the gravity of the threat of terrorism was undiminished and that the nation could not afford to lower its guard.

Addressing a conference of chief ministers in New Delhi [ Images ], Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] said, "We have put in place additional measures after the Mumbai [ Images ] terrorist attack in November last year. But there is need for continued vigilance. There is credible information of ongoing plans of terrorist groups in Pakistan to carry out fresh attacks," the prime minister said.

"The area of operation of these terrorists today extends far beyond the confines of Jammu & Kashmir and covers all parts of our country," he added.

"In dealing with the terrorist challenge we need to be prepared for encountering more sophisticated technologies and enhanced capabilities. We also need to guard our sea frontier as vigilantly as our land border."

"Four regional hubs of the National Security Guard have been established and operationalised at Mumbai, Kolkata [ Images ], Chennai and Hyderabad. Two Regional Centres of the NSG will shortly be established at Hyderabad and Kolkata. A National Investigative Agency has been established. I request the chief ministers to extend all possible cooperation to this Agency to make it a truly effective instrument in our fight against terrorism."

"Quick Response Teams and Special Intervention Units are being set up at the state level to enhance the speed of response to terrorist attacks. A major effort is being made to improve Intelligence gathering and dissemination both at the Central and State levels."

"A well-calibrated Coastal Security Scheme is being put in place. But we obviously need to do much more and we shall. The challenges posed by asymmetric warfare and terrorism as also the Left wing extremism can only be met through new ideas and more resolute actions and determination. We need to be ahead of the curve if we are to succeed as we must."

On Naxal menace:

"There have been heavy casualties inflicted recently on security forces by naxalite groups. There are also indications of yet more offensive action by these groups. The problem of Left wing extremism is indeed a complex one. There is a need for a balanced and nuanced strategy to deal with it."

"On the one hand, the State should discharge its responsibilities and obligations and re-establish the rule of law in areas dominated by the Naxalites [ Images ]. At the same time, we should work towards removing the causes, which lead to alienation of people and problems like Naxalism," Dr Singh said.

On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ]:

"The situation in Jammu & Kashmir has, during the past few years, seen substantial improvement. Figures of violence have been steadily declining and are today at an all-time low. But there are some disturbing trends on the horizon," the prime minister said.

"Levels of infiltration which had come down very substantially have seen a surge this year, alongside an increase in attempts at infiltration. The infiltrators appear more battle-hardened, better equipped, and in possession of sophisticated communications," he added.

"There are also signs of a revival of over-ground militant activities. Attempts are being made to link isolated and unconnected incidents -- such as those, which occurred in Shopian, Sopore, Baramulla -- to create an impression of a groundswell of anti-national feeling. All this shows that efforts to disturb the current status quo have not been given up. Fortunately, the annual Amarnath Yatra [ Images ] passed off without incident, a tribute to the secular character of the people of J&K."

On the situation in northeast India:

"There is an overall improvement but the situation in some northeastern states particularly in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland remains problematic and worrisome. Assam and Manipur account for a disproportionately large number of violent incidents reported from the northeast, with the latter's share being as high as 30%. In Assam, the Centre had sanctioned an amount of Rs. 750 crore for development of Bodo areas. But the utilisation of these funds remains unsatisfactory."

"The resettlement and rehabilitation of those affected by the violence in the Bodo areas and North Cachar Hills is a matter of concern. Manipur is plagued by a large number of militant outfits. The government of Manipur needs to put in place appropriate mechanisms for increased participation of people in developmental projects."

Requesting the chief ministers of all the northeastern states to pay particular attention to the implementation of infrastructure projects, Dr Singh said, "There is also a need in the northeast for more emphasis on pro-active state police forces rather than exclusive reliance on the central paramilitary forces and Army. The resources for policing need to be enhanced substantially. Manipur has increased the number of sanctioned posts at the police station level but a large number of them remain unfilled."
"All states in the northeast would do well to ensure the representation of all groups and communities in their police forces and carry out recruitment to these forces in a transparent manner."

On maintaining communal peace:

"As far as the communal situation is concerned, we have reasons for satisfaction. In the past five years, no serious communal incidents have occurred. But some states like Maharashtra and Karnataka need to exercise greater vigil to maintain communal peace," Dr Singh noted.

"Karnataka, in particular, has witnessed a number of communal incidents during this year. What is more worrisome is that the incidents were not limited to one or two districts. Like in other areas of internal security, we must all be on our guard against attempts by communal fanatics to accentuate communal tensions, disturb the peace and weaken the fabric of our inclusive society."

On Centre-state partnership:

"We are all aware that most issues pertaining to internal security require a coordinated response by the Centre and the states acting in concert. The importance of this cannot be over-emphasized. A piece meal approach will simply not work given the nature of challenges we face. Not only do we need more information sharing, we also need synchronized action. Let me assure all the states that the Centre will not be found wanting in this regard."

"We are committed to assist the states in all possible ways in dealing with the challenges of internal security. We will also do our utmost in facilitating inter-state coordination. I would urge states to take more initiative for coordinating action with other states."

"I do recognize that states often face constraints of resources. But ultimately we must all bear the burden of our shared sense of responsibility. It must also be recognised that there are limits to what the central government can provide. I hope that the expectations of the states from the Centre would be guided by a consciousness of their own obligations as well as a sense of practical realism."

India to set up Regional Intelligence Centres

New Delhi, Aug 17 (ANI): Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram on Monday said the Central Government is considering to set up Regional Intelligence Centres (RIC) to train personnel in intelligence gathering and analysis.

Chidambaram was addressing at the daylong chief ministers’ conference on internal security in the national capital on Monday.

“While some States have set up a separate intelligence cadre, there are inadequate training facilities for intelligence gathering and intelligence analysis. The Central Government may consider setting up Regional Intelligence Centres to train State intelligence personnel in intelligence gathering and intelligence analysis,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram informed that only 12 State Governments and Union Territories had sent their responses to the questionnaire sent by the Union Home Ministry asking about the preparation of the states for this conference.

He asked the others States to respond quickly so that the Centre could facilitate the formulation of policy, the allocation of funds and the monitoring of progress to strengthen the internal security system.

The Home Minister said to quicken the procurement of weapon, the Central Government might consider central procurement of weapons on behalf of the States.

He expressed concern over the large scale vacant positions in all ranks of the police forces and asked the states to speed up the recruitment process.

Chidambaram appealed to the chief ministers to find a more effective instrument to expedite the infrastructure building programmes, both in border areas as well as in naxal affected areas.

Noting the communal situation in the States, Chidambaram said, “…there is a vast improvement in the situation. There are still pockets of strife and disharmony. If numbers can tell a story or at least point to trends, it appears, that five States are rather sensitive. I intend to write to the Chief Ministers of these five States and request them to pay special attention to this matter.”
Chidambaram stressed on reviewing and improving the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for the naxals and terrorists so as to make it more lucrative than it presently is.

Chidambaram said, the Centre might consider imparting territorial army training for a period of four months to fishermen during the off season and these trained fishermen could be kept as reserve and summoned if the need arises.

“Since the supply of high speed interceptor boats from the two ship building yards is limited, the Central Government may consider importing such boats,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram asked the states to strengthen the security in the places of historical importance, heritage sites, places of religious worship, and iconic establishments.

He said the executive orders are as effective and enforceable as legislation as long as they do not interfere with the fundamental rights of any person.

Chidambaram urged the states to form Police Establishment Board so as to have a better coordination with the forces. “I urge States that have not yet established a Police Establishment Board to do so immediately. The Board will, in no way, diminish the authority of the Chief Minister or the Home Minister. On the contrary, it will greatly help the Chief Minister and the Home Minister in conveying the message of fairness and non-discrimination, and they can always intervene in exceptional situations,”Chidambaram said. (ANI)