September 19, 2009

US DRONE STRIKES KILL HUJI, IJU LEADERS?

B.RAMAN

In a despatch dated September 17,2009,from Washington, the Agence France Press (AFP) has reported as follows:"One drone attack Monday ( September 14,2009) is believed to have killed the leader of the Islamic Jihad Union, Najmiddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov, an Uzbek native implicated in terrorist plots and attacks in Germany and Uzbekistan. Officials said they are almost certain he was killed, though a DNA test hasn't yet been performed. A drone attack on Sept. 7 appeared to have killed another prominent Islamic militant, Ilyas Kashmiri, who had been briefly detained in Pakistan for alleged involvement in a 2003 assassination attempt against then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. There is less certainty about his death, however." Both the Drone strikes are reported to have taken place in North Waziristan in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA). Further details are not yet available.

2. In the past there were conflicting versions of the organisational affiliation of Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri. While some reports described him as the Amir of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), other reports described him as the head of a splinter group of the HUJI of Pakistan headed by its Amir Qari Saifullah Akhtar, which had split from it and was operating independently in Jammu & Kashmir of India from sanctuaries in the POK.

3. Ilyas Kashmiri was among those arrested by the Pakistani authorities in January,2004, in connection with the investigation into the two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December,2003. While some of the others arrested, including some junior Air Force officers, were prosecuted and convicted, Ilyas Kashmiri himself was released for want of evidence of his involvement. It was claimed by sections of the Pakistani media at that time that Ilyas was released on the intervention of Syed Salauddin, the Amir of the Hizbul Mujahideen and the head of the United Jihad Council for Kashmir, who reportedly managed to convince the Police that Ilyas had nothing to do with the two attempts to kill Musharraf.

4. Ilyas was subsequently reported to have closed down the camp of his set-up in the POK and shifted to North Waziristan from where he was operating in the non-tribal belt of Pakistan. In a despatch of May 24,2009, Amir Mir, the well-informed Pakistani journalist, who writes for the "News" and other papers said: "Commander Ilyas Kashmiri was recently named in a charge sheet filed by the Islamabad police in the November 2008 gruesome murder of Major General (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG). The 12-page charge sheet submitted by the Rawalpindi police in an anti-terrorism court on May 12, 2009 stated that the former SSG commanding officer was killed to avenge the role he had played in the fight against Taliban linked militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The charge-sheet prepared by the Koral police station states that those involved and already arrested in the murder included Major (retd) Haroon Rasheed, a resident of Azad Kashmir; Mohammad Nawaz Khan of Peshawar and Ashfaq Ahmed of Okara. The charge sheet says the murder of Major General Amir Faisal Alvi was carried out on the instructions of Commander Ilyas Kashmiri who had provided funds and weapons.The charge sheet pointed out that Ilyas Kashmiri had already been named by the intelligence agencies for involvement in the October 2008 kidnapping for ransom of Satish Anand, a Karachi-based renowned film producer and distributor and the real uncle of Juhi Chawla, a well known Bollywood actress. After Satish Anand was recovered in the last week of April 2009 and the kidnappers arrested, it transpired during interrogations that one of them - Major Haroon Rasheed alias Abu Khattab – was a former Pakistani Army officer and involved in the murder of General Alvi. According to the murder charge sheet, the three accused – Haroon, Ashfaq and Nawaz followed Alvi when he left his residence in Bharia Town in Rawalpindi for his private office in Islamabad and killed him and his driver near the PWD Colony. Once considered close to General Pervez Musharraf, Amir Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite Group as a Brigadier. The first Pakistani Major General to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST) as a GOC, Faisal Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by then Army Chief General Musharraf in August 2005."

5. Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly had his own training camp in the Razmak area of North (?) Waziristan and was collaborating with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

6.The name of Jalolov, 37 years old, had figured in 2007 as a suspected ringleader of a plot to attack several targets in Germany, and in 2006 as a suspected ring leader of plots targeting hotels catering to Western visitors in Central Asia. None of these attacks materialised, though. U.S. officials alleged he was an organizer of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan that killed at least 47 people. In this connection, reference is invited to my article of September 6,2007, titled "Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/common/uploaded_files/paper2360.html . The article is annexed for easy reference

7.Human intelligence of good quality from Pakistan's tribal belt continues to flow to the US intelligence agencies despite action taken by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to identify and execute suspected agents of the US who have been feeding intelligence to the US forces. Such executions, confined mostly to members of the Pashtun community, have not come in the way of successful strikes by the CIA-operated Drone (pilotless) planes on targets in the two Waziristans.

8. The success rate of the Drone strikes has gone up after Punjabi jihadis belonging to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) moved to the Pashtun belt from their traditional sanctuaries in Pakistan's Punjab province and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to help Al Qaeda, the TTP, the Afghan Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a splinter group from the IMU, in their operations in Pakistani and Afghan territories. This would indicate that the US intelligence has had better luck in penetrating Punjabi jihadi organisations than in penetrating Pashtun organisations, Al Qaeda and its associates.

9. Rashid Rauf, a Mirpuri from the UK, who was wanted by the British authorities in connection with their investigation of a plot to blow up a number of US-bound planes, was reported to have been killed in a Drone strike last year. He was related by marriage to Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the JEM, and was associated with the JEM, which has been operating in the Swat Valley along with the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). (18-9-09)

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


ANNEXURE

Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 273 of 6-9-07 http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/common/uploaded_files/paper2360.html

By B. Raman

After the Arabs and the Pakistanis, the Uzbeks have come to the forefront of Al Qaeda-inspired global jihad.

2. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan ( IMU) led by Tahir Yuldeshev now co-ordinates the training of volunteers from different jihadi terrorist organisations of Pakistan as well as from other countries of the world. Till last year, its training infrastructure was located in South Waziristan, but after clashes with some sections of the local tribals, it has shifted its infrastructure to North Waziristan. It enjoys the support of the Mehsud sub-tribe of the Pashtuns led by Baitullah Mehsud and of the former students of the two madrasas run by the Lal Masjid of Islamabad. Reliable police and tribal sources in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan say that many, if not most, of the acts of suicide terrorism and attacks on the Pakistani Armed Forces since the Pakistan Army's commando action in the Lal Masjid between July 10 and 13, 2007, including the killing of three Chinese nationals in Peshawar, were carried out by angry tribals motivated and trained by the IMU. The IMU consists of Uzbeks recruited from Uzbekistan as well as Afghanistan and has a small number of Chechens, Uighurs and Tajiks in its ranks. Till now, the IMU's acts of terrorism have been confined to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. It has not come to notice for any jihadi activities in other countries.

3. A second Uzbek group operating from North Waziristan, which calls itself the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) or the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG), came into being in Pakistani territory post 9/11 as a result of a split in the IMU following the US military strikes in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It describes Osama bin Laden, Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Neo Taliban, and Maulana Samiul Haq, the Amir of a faction of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam Pakistan, as its mentors. It focusses on training volunteers from the Western countries as well as from Uzbekistan.

4. It came to notice for the first time in April 2004 when it claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings around Tashkent and Bukharo in Uzbekistan which killed 47 people. The attacks targeted local government offices, as well as a crowded market. On July 30, 2004, it carried out simultaneous bombing attacks on the US Embassy, the Israeli Embassy, and the office of the Uzbek Prosecutor General, killing at least two people and wounding many others.

5. A statement purported to have been disseminated by it said: A group of young Muslims executed martyrdom operations that put fear in the apostate government and its infidel allies, the Americans and Jews. The mujahidin belonging to Islamic Jihad Group attacked both the American and Israeli embassies as well as the court building where the trials of a large number of the brothers from the Group had begun. These martyrdom operations that the group is executing will not stop, God willing. It is for the purpose of repelling the injustice of the apostate government and supporting the jihad of our Muslim brothers in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Hijaz, and in other Muslim countries ruled by infidels and apostates.

6. On May 26, 2005, the US State Department issued the following statement: "The Department of State on May 25 announced the designation of the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. This designation blocks all property, and interests in property, of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U. S. persons. The Secretary of State took this action in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Department of Homeland Security. The Islamic Jihad Group, active in Central Asia, broke away from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization that is listed by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee. On July 30, 2004, the Islamic Jihad Group conducted coordinated bombing attacks in Tashkent against the U.S. and Israeli Embassies, and the office of the Uzbek Prosecutor General, killing at least two people and wounding nine. The Islamic Jihad Group claimed responsibility for these attacks and indicated that future attacks are planned. The Islamic Jihad Group continues to target Americans and U.S. facilities overseas and is a dangerous threat to U.S. interests. After an explosion at a safehouse in Bukharo, Uzbekistan, IJG suicide bombers attacked a popular bazaar and other locations in Tashkent in March and April 2004, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen police officers and innocent bystanders and dozens of injuries. The attackers in the March and April 2004 attacks, some of whom were female suicide bombers, targeted the local government offices of the Uzbekistani and Bukharo police, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 terrorists. These attacks marked the first use of female suicide bombers in Central Asia. Those arrested in connection with the attacks in Bukharo have testified to the close ties between the IJG leaders and Usama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Kazakhstani authorities have declared that IJG members were taught by al-Qaida instructors to handle explosives and to organize intelligence work and subversive activities. Kazakhstan has arrested several IJG members and put them on trial."

7. In October, 2005, the British Government declared it as a terrorist organisation despite strong opposition from human rights groups, which alleged that the Uzbek Government was projecting political dissidents opposed to it as pro-Al Qaeda terrorists.

8.The IJG, which was formed in 2002 to oppose the co-operation extended by the Government of Islam Karimov to the US in its operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, projects the US and Israel as the main enemies of Islam and all Muslim countries co-operating with the US as apostates, which need to be opposed. The stated political objective of the IMU is to rid the Central Asian Republics (CAR) and the Xinjiang region of China of the lingering influence of Communism and make them part of an Islamic Caliphate. The IJG, which also has the over-all objective of a global Islamic Caliphate, projects itself as a global jihadi organisation and not a basically Uzbek organisation. It says that since Islam does not recognise nationalities or ethnicities, any Muslim can become its member irrespective of where he or she lives. Since it describes the US and Israel as its principal enemies, it welcomes volunteers from countries where the US and Israel have a large presence.

9. In an interview on May 31, 2007, Ebu Yahya Muhammed Fatih, who describes himself as the Commander of the Islamic Jihad Union, stated as follows:


"After the fall of the Afganistan Islamic Administration,we who shared the same opinions came together and decided to organize groups which will conduct jihad operations against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov in Uzbekistan. The sole aim of all the emigrant-mujahedeen brothers was to find war-like solutions against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov. For this aim our Union was established in 2002.
"Our Union's aim is, under the flag of justice and Islam Dominancy, to save our Mslim brothers who have been suffering from the cruelty of pre-Soviet period and Uzbekistan, and to take them out of the swamp of cruelty an infidelity, as well as to help other Mslim brothers all around the world as per God and his Prophet's orders.
"Members of our Union are not members of a specific tribe or a nation. As there is no nationalism and tribalism in Islam, our Union is formed of the believers from all over the world and multi-national emigrants travelling to praise the religion.
"Today we proceed according to our targeted goals with all our means. Muslim youth in the republics of former Soviet Union who found the path of Allah and are ready to fight for their religion have been trained in various fields in the training facilities of the Union. One of the armed forces of the Union is active in Afghanistan. Besides, we have been in contact and also been working on our common targets together with Caucasian mujahedeens. We have also been working together on plans and aims against the infidel regime of Uzbekistan which is one of our major targets."
10. In April, 2007, the US Embassy in Berlin announced that it was strengthening security at US facilities in Germany in response to what it described as an increased threat of terrorism. Mr. August Hanning, a former head of Germanys foreign intelligence agency known as the Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND), who is now Deputy Interior Minister, said in an interview that 14 German Islamists had gone to Pakistan for training. He also said that in recent months the Pakistani authorities had detained at least seven German Islamists who could have been involved in planning attacks.

11. On September 5, 2007, German Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms announced the arrest of three persons and the recovery from them of 700 kilos of chemicals capable of being converted into explosives. German media reports said that they were planning attacks against a US military base in Ramstein and the Frankfurt airport. Two of the arrested persons have been described as white converts to Islam, both German nationals, and the third as of Turkish origin. The Federal Prosecutor named the three persons aged 22,28 and 29 as belonging to the German cell of the Islamic Jihad Union. It has been reported that seven more members of the cell are still at large.

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

September 18, 2009

Galileo: Failure to Launch

18 Sep 2009



Earth's horizon

With cost overruns and construction delays plaguing the project, some wonder if Galileo will ever lift off, writes Carolin Hilpert for ISN Security Watch.

By Carolin Hilpert for ISN Security Watch


The European satellite navigation system Galileo was once envisioned to make the continent independent of the US military-run GPS system, unite European states with a prestigious industry and policy project, and establish Europe as a major player in space. But faced with growing costs and expensive delays, many wonder whether Galileo will ever fulfill these high expectations.

A July report published by the European Court of Auditors, an independent EU body, heavily criticized the project for bad governance and organization of the development phase. Moreover, it accused the European Commission of not proactively leading the program. In a condemnation of the role of the European states that have a stake in Galileo, the Court found that divergent national program expectations led to considerable cost overruns.

The plan is to put a system of 30 satellites in orbit around the earth. The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the first test satellite, GIOVE-A, in December 2005. Only one other test satellite has been launched since then. The first test run of the Galileo is set for 2010.

Who is picking up the check?

From its beginning in the 1990s there were questions of whether Galileo was to be publicly or privately funded. A consortium of eight companies was founded that was to develop the system satellites and in return make a profit from Galileo user fees.

However, the consortium, a public-private partnership (PPP), questioned whether there were any gains to be made with commercial satellite navigation and whether these would cover the initial investment. Galileo’s base signal, the so-called Open Service, is meant to be free while only the higher-precision and secure signal service (Commercial Service) is to be fee-based. The largest part of civilian demand is, however, served with the base signal.

The consortium eventually failed in May 2007 over liability issues and was taken over by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission. An estimated €3.4 million ($5 million) from community funds was assigned to Galileo.

However, there were already industry estimates in 2007 that Galileo would cost at least €4.5 billion. Dr Hubert Reile from the German Aerospace Center tells ISN Security Watch that cost overruns and further delays can be expected. "First of all, new decisions about the budget have to be taken which are not only time consuming, but very complicated due to the necessary matching process with all member states.

"Secondly, there is the question how we get Galileo into space," he said. "If we, for instance, used all Ariane rockets available, we would not be able to serve the world market for a particular period of time, and this would cause large economic damage to Europe.”

The consortium's failure moved the project five years behind schedule, according to the Court : "At the end of 2008, no operational satellites have been launched and cost estimates for the development and validation phase have almost doubled from 1,1 to 2,1 billion euro," according to the report.

The body also heavily criticized management issues, stating that the program "lacked a strong strategic sponsor and supervisor: the Commission did not proactively direct the programme, leaving it without a helmsman."

But according to Prof Dr Kai-Uwe Schrogl, director of the European Space Policy Institute, since the project was the first of its kind between the ESA and the EC "there was a certain learning process to be made.

"Many problems were due to the fact that this was really a first experience,” Schrogl tells ISN Security Watch, reflecting a point also made in the ECA report.

Reile highlights the magnitude of Galileo as another reason for its delays. “It is common procedure that the EU calls for tenders when it initiates a construction projects or seeks certain IT or consultancy services. In the case of Galileo, however, the project for which private contractors were sought was so big it has to be considered industrial policy.”

The EU’s call for tenders for Galileo initiated not only a large-scale industrial project, but it also set the tone and path for European security, transport and space policy. It was much more than a common Community project that needed approval from a few bureaucratic branches: It was a joint European project that engaged its member states at the highest levels.

The military watches, and waits

One of the main rationales for Galileo is that it makes Europe independent of the US-run GPS system, stoking what some believe are irrational fears that a shutdown could have a worldwide effect.

“It is very unlikely that the US would switch off its own system, but even the smallest possibility that they may do so is too large," Schrogl says.

Even though the independence argument also touches upon core issues of national security, the military has so far remained very reluctant to participate in Galileo.

Nevertheless, as Schrogl finds: “The military will most likely not contribute any funds to the development of Galileo, but will wait and see when Galileo is finally up and running. It will come naturally over time that European militaries will rely on both GPS and Galileo and work with both systems at the same time.” From a military point of view, more satellites bring more accuracy and guarantee a higher resiliency should one or several satellites fail for technical reasons.

Reile also believes that eventually, the military could take advantage of the different signals Galileo offers.

According to an ESA spokesperson, the Agency is in the middle of accepting offers for Galileo's construction, with another stage in the procurement process to follow. The spokesperson could not say when the procurement process is scheduled to be finished.

The first test run of Galileo is set for 2010.



Carolin Hilpert is a graduate student of international relations at ETH Zurich and a former ISN intern.

Gilgit-Baltistan autonomy package wins few friends

Nirupama Subramanian

http://www.hindu.com/2009/09/15/stories/2009091553521100.htm

A
package of reforms recently announced by the Pakistan government for
Gilgit-Baltistan appears to have satisfied few among those it is meant
to benefit.


Disappointed at what they say is a “package of gimmicks,” the people
of the remote region have voiced protests against the Gilgit-Baltistan
(Empowerment and Self Governance) Order 2009. But they are also leery of New Delhi’s diplomatic protest against it, saying they are as much victims of India as of Pakistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan is the northern-most territory governed by
Islamabad and an important element in the India-Pakistan wrangle over
Kashmir. It is also in the middle of a geo-strategic hot-spot.
To its north, it shares boundaries with Afghanistan and China’s
Xinjiang Autonomous Region; to the west is Pakistan’s troubled
North-West Frontier Province; to its south is Pakistan Occupied
Kashmir; and to the east, India’s Jammu & Kashmir state.
New Delhi claims it as part of J&K, and therefore as an integral
part of India. Pakistan also links the region to the Kashmir issue, but
in contrast to “Azad Kashmir” or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, has kept
the territory in a constitutional limbo, referring to it until now only
by the geographical appellation of Northern Areas.
About the only thing that has been welcomed in the autonomy package
is the renaming of the area as Gilgit-Baltistan, which better conveys
that people with a distinct identity live in that region.
Identity is key to the grievances of Gilgit-Baltistan people,
estimated at 1.5 million since the last count in 1998. They do not
consider themselves Kashmiri and have little in common with them. The
majority are Shia, and a significant number are Ismaili. They belong to
several non-Kashmiri ethnicities, and speak a host of languages, none
of which are Kashmiri.
Their first link to Kashmir came with the British sale of the region
to the Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir in the 19th century. After many
twists and turns over 100 years, the people of the territory
successfully rebelled against the maharaja on November 1, 1947. They
put their future in the hands of Pakistan but found the clock turned
back on them when Pakistan linked their fate to that of the Kashmiris.
Accepting Gilgit-Baltistan’s accession would have undermined
Pakistan’s international case for Kashmir. In later years, Pakistan did
not want to forego the votes from Gilgit-Baltistan in the event of a
plebiscite on Kashmir.
But unlike PoK, which got some make-believe autonomy, the Northern Areas remained an undefined entity.
Analysts believe the remoteness of the region, its scattered
population, the absence of links between local leaders and the
Pakistani leadership, all combined to deny Gilgit-Baltistan the
comparative political largesse bestowed on PoK.
The territory came under direct rule of the federal government
through the Ministry of Kashmir and Northern Areas (KANA). The military
had a big role in administering the region. In 1974, Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto ushered in a directly elected “council” but left the
administrative system untouched. More reforms packages followed in
1990s, and by the Musharraf regime in 2007, when it was on its last
legs. Each promised “maximum autonomy” but contributed only cosmetic
changes. To date, the people of the region are only de facto citizens
of Pakistan.
The Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self Governance) Order 2009 of
August 29, signed by President Asif Ali Zardari on September 7, yet
again promises maximum autonomy to the people of the region.
Under the package, Gilgit-Baltistan will have a Governor as in the
other four provinces of Pakistan, without constitutionally being made a
province. The leader of the Legislative Assembly will be known as chief
minister; the Assembly will have 33 members, of whom 24 are to be
directly elected; it will have powers to legislate on 61 subjects.
In addition, the Governor will head a 12-member Council, with half
the members from the Assembly and half appointed by the Governor. A
fresh election for the Legislative Assembly is to be held by November.
The territory will also have its own chief election commissioner, a
public service commission.
The government has described it as a “province-like” status for
Gilgit-Baltistan. But the new measures have failed to satisfy any
segment of the Gilgit-Baltistan population.
Those demanding self-governance see it falling well short of
empowerment of the local people. Instead, they see the package
tightening the federal government’s hold by the appointment of a
Governor. The Council is seen as a move to dilute the Assembly’s
powers. While the Assembly has been given powers to pass the budget, it
does not spell out how much say the Chief Minister will have in framing
it. The Assembly does not have the right to legislate on its natural
resources, including water and minerals.
Nationalists, whose demand for independence has gained ground over
the years thanks to the denial of basic rights to the region, have also
rejected the package.
“Pakistan did not consult anyone in Gilgit-Baltistan for this
package. The provision for chief minister and Governor is illegal
because this is not a province of Pakistan,” said Shafqat Inquilabi, a
former spokesman of the nationalist Balawaristan National Front.
“We are a separate state,” the young activist said, and the least
Pakistan could do, according to him, was to treat it on par with Azad
Kashmir until the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“We are the fourth party to the Kashmir dispute and we must be included in the talks as such,” he said.
Human rights activists have rejected it saying Pakistan has yet
again failed to make any constitutional arrangements for the people of
the territory, while those demanding complete integration with Pakistan
say it has fallen short of their demand that the territory should have
been incorporated as the fifth province of the country.
Bar the PPP, national mainstream political parties active in the
region view the package as “pre-poll rigging” for the fresh Legislative
Assembly election.
Opposition has also come from Kashmiris, who have seen in it an
insidious move by the PPP government to dilute their cause by giving a
region internationally considered a part of the Kashmir issue a
province-like status within Pakistan.
But it has rankled the people of Gilgit-Baltistan even more that
while moving to assuage the fear of the Kashmiris —Foreign Minister
Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a special briefing for PoK leaders on
September 4 — the government did not take them into confidence even
after announcing the package.
Instead of winning hearts and minds, the package has spurred a major
debate on the motives behind it. The Kashmiris see pressure from the
U.S. or Indians as the reason for the package as according to them, it
is a move by the PPP government towards a tacit acceptance of the
status quo on Kashmir.
According to one theory being circulated in the blogosphere, the
government had hoped the package would act as a sop to clam down
opposition in Gilgit-Batlistan to the government plans for construction
of dams in the region.
During a recent visit to China, President Zardari signed an MoU for
the Bunji Hydroelectric Project in Astore, to be constructed by the
Chinese on a “Build, operate, transfer” basis. The dam, estimated to
cost up to $7 billion, all of it to be invested by the Chinese under
the BOT agreement, will have a capacity to generate 7,000 megawatts of
electricity.
Some think China, with its high profile investment in several
projects including telecommunications, the expansion of the Karakoram
Highway, and the construction of a dry port on the Xinjiang border, is
behind the government’s latest move keen that there should be no unrest
in the region.
“Without a legitimate government in the area, no outside power in
the region has a right to start any infrastructure project. We will
consider it illegal and illegitimate unless there is a representative
government in Gilgit-Baltistan,” said Ali Ahmed Jan, a founder member
of the Karakoram Students Movement, now an Islamabad-based human rights
activist.
Some also see it as a move to pacify Western donors concerned about the denial of rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Last week’s protest by India to Pakistan against the
Gilgit-Baltistan Order and the proposed construction of the Bunji dam,
has also drawn criticism.
Describing the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as the “worst victims of
the India-Pakistan dispute”, Mr. Jan pointed out that they were left
out of the numerous confidence-building measures of the peace process.
A Skardu-Kargil bus route was proposed but never implemented.
“India’s opposition to the package is unjustified unless it can come
up with a plan that will give relief to the victims of the Kashmir
dispute,” said Mr. Jan. Pakistan had attempted to do this, he said,
even though “it is another matter that what they have given is simply
not enough”.

TIBET: DISTORTED ASSERTIONS BY SINGAPORE FOREIGN MINISTER NEED CORRECTION

By Dr. Subhash Kapila

http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers35%5Cpaper3409.html

Introductory Observations

The Yale Global Online (www.Yaleglobal.yuale.edu) carries a feature by Foreign Minister of Singapore, Mr. George Yeo dated 8 September 2009 entitled "Between China and India: Is Tibet The Wedge or Link".

The Singapore Foreign Minister became the first Foreign Minister to visit Tibet in August 2009 since the March 14 riots in Tibet against China's brutal suppression of the Tibetan people. The feature that has been published by Singapore Foreign Minister seems to be the outcome of his Chinese-conducted visit to Lhasa and Tibet.

While one has no objections to the line of reasoning of the Singapore Foreign Minister and the contents of his observations on Tibet, there are two assertions that find mention in this feature which are distorted and not borne out by historical truth.

Singapore Foreign Minister's Feature on Tibet: The Distorted Assertions

Two assertions which seem to be distorted and not borne out by historical truth incorporated in this feature are reproduced below:

* "In 1951, Mao Zedong's Government negotiated the `peaceful liberation' of Tibet with the local Tibetan Government, guaranteeing that Beijing would not force changes to the feudal political economy".
* Referring to Dalai Lama's statement that the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama may be found outside Tibet, the feature by Singapore Foreign Minister states: "Many believe that `outside China' means Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh where the 6th Dalai Lama came from, a Tibetan area controlled by India but claimed by China".

The historical facts in relation to the above are as follows:

* China did not undertake a `peaceful liberation' of Tibet. The use of single inverted comma if intended to allude that it was not peaceful liberation does not contextually show it up as such.
* China indulged in military aggression against the spiritual and peaceful kingdom of Tibet. The historical truth the world recognizes is that China embarked on a "military occupation" of Tibet by use of brutal force.
* It was therefore wrong to assert in the feature in that a `peaceful liberation' was "negotiated" by Mao Zedong's government with "the local authorities".
* Coming to the assertions on Tawang, by the Singapore Foreign Minister, it is wrong to assert that it is a Tibetan area (implying that it is part of Tibet) and "controlled by India".
* Tawang is part of Arunachal Pradesh which is a constituent state of the Indian Republic, notwithstanding any Chinese claims on it.
* Tawang is not therefore an area "controlled by India". It is a part of India.

Since Tawang is hot news these days, it needs to be asserted that:

* After the ceasefire following 1962 Chinese military aggression against India, China did not vacate the Aksai-Chin area in the Western Sector, even though the area patently is legally a part of the Indian Republic.
* However after the ceasefire,, in the Eastern Sector, China withdraw from Tawang and other areas occupied in Arunachal Pradesh to area beyond Bumla, a good 40-50 km North of Tawang.
* If Chinese claims to Tawang were all that legally and historically correct and tenable, then how come China condescended to vacate Tawang after the ceasefire.Tawang is an indisputable part of India beyond any doubt.

Concluding Observations

Singapore and India currently enjoy good relations including strategic and military cooperation. India holds Singapore in good respect and high regards.

It is therefore intriguing as to how such distorted assertions crept in the feature on Tibet by Singapore Foreign Minister.

In an environment where China is ratcheting up military tensions on Tibet and Tawang, friends of India need to be sensitive when commenting on China-Tibet-India issues, especially on their historical veracity.

Further, the Singapore Foreign Minister stresses alongside his title of the feature that "Reconciling faith with the forces of globalization remains the challenge" for Tibet.

One would have expected him to stress in parallel that the greater challenge remains for China to emerge as a responsible stake-holder in a globalized world without resorting to brutal suppression of the Tibetan nation "controlled" by Chinese armed might.

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

China and Xinjiang

Shankari Sundararaman

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/opinion/op-ed/china-and-xinjiang-.aspx

Sept.15 : As China approaches the 60th anniversary of Communist rule, the issues that have challenged its internal consolidation are once again taking centrestage. While the country has been showing remarkable economic progress and has also taken on a regional leadership role, in terms of balancing its internal problems China will remain a critical region to watch. Barely two months after the outbreak of ethnic violence in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, another spate of violence that erupted last week brings the focus on Xinjiang once again.

In July, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region witnessed intense clashes between ethnic Uighurs and the Chinese Han population, in which 184 people were killed. The trigger was the murder of an Uighur national working in a factory by a Han Chinese. The clashes that broke out between the two communities brought the capital, Urumqi, to a virtual halt. What is significant is that it actually resulted in the Chinese President, Mr Hu Jintao, leaving the Group of Eight (G-8) summit and returning from Italy to address the deteriorating situation in the region.

In the wake of these clashes, the Chinese government placed Xinjiang under heavy police controls to ensure that violence didn't erupt in the region again. Despite these controls, last week's violence in the region once again points to the vulnerability of the internal situation in Xinjiang province. China was quick to place the blame for the July clashes on inflammatory speeches made by the leader of the World Uighur Congress Rebiya Kadeer. Exiled and in the United States, Ms Kadeer heads the separatist demand and leads the call for recognition of Uighur nationalism.

In a bizarre incident, last week the province witnessed a series of attacks where groups used syringes to attack their victims. Some reports even claimed that the syringes were allegedly filled with HIV-positive blood. According to reports from the state-run news agencies, nearly 476 people were treated for injuries from hypodermic needles. The victims are all from different ethnic communities. The attacks occurred at a time when the Chinese government is sponsoring an international trade fair at Urumqi, which is being touted as a possible region for foreign investment. The protesters stridently demanded the resignation of the local Communist Party leadership under Wang Lequan, who is seen as a hardliner and a close associate of President Hu Jintao.

At the heart of the Uighur unrest are both ethnic factors and economic issues. China's government has been calling for ethnic unity and economic development of Xinjiang province. However, there is a huge ethnic divide in the region that has become even more intransigent by the Chinese government's policy of encouraging the influx of Han Chinese into the region. Added to this is the deep-rooted sentiment that the region's local Uighurs have been marginalised and deprived of their share of the local resources. And that the benefits have gone to the Han Chinese who have been given priority in terms of jobs and business opportunities.

Ethnically the Uighurs belong to Turkic origin and are predominantly followers of Islam. The region lies in the northwestern parts of China and borders Mongolia and the Central Asian states. The region for much of its history has been an independent region of East Turkestan, which had Soviet support. It was incorporated into the Chinese state in 1949, at the time of the Communist revolution. At that time it had a majority Uighur population. Over the last 60 years, however, the region's demographic patterns have altered as a result of the Han influx.

The Chinese encouraged a "go west" policy, which allowed the dominant ethnic community to move to regions where there were ethnic minorities. Several phases of Han migration to the Xinjiang region took place. Critically, this challenged both the local identities and impinged upon issues of resource sharing and the availability of job opportunities.

There are critical issues on which the Uighurs have been clamouring for change. First is with regard to the issue of political representation - even though it is an autonomous region, there is very little political participation from among the Uighurs. Most of the administrative and economic bodies do not have adequate representation by the Uighurs. Second, in terms of employment, the steady influx of Han Chinese has reduced the opportunities for the local population, which is one of their main demands. Third, in terms of education, too, the use of Mandarin as the medium of instruction in government schools has led to an undermining of local traditions and the native language. This has led to some tough choices in terms of choosing between native and government schools. Job opportunities are more forthcoming for those who have been given training in Mandarin. The flip side is that decreased job opportunities in the region are forcing several ethnic Uighurs to move out of their homes in search of employment. Fourth, the region is extremely rich in natural resources. Both in oil deposits and in minerals, the region is one of the richest. Much of the region's wealth has been directed towards the growth that China is pushing for. As a result, the region itself remains impoverished. This uneven distribution of wealth between the Centre and the province will have a critical impact in the years to come.

In the aftermath of last week's incidents, the Chinese government has been quick to state that it can competently handle issues relating to social stability and national unity. One of the issues as far as the Uighur movement is concerned is that China has been able to effectively use its diplomatic skills to propagate that the Islamic Uighur community is linked to groups like the Al Qaeda in the post-September 11 scenario. This has been one the factors that has allowed for the Uighur movement to get much less attention than it actually deserves. With the growing emphasis on terror linkages with Islamic communities in the region, China has been able to divert attention from problems of internal consolidation. Unlike the case of Tibet, the Uighur problem has received less international attention because of its alleged linkages with terror groups. This too has made the Chinese policy in the region go largely unnoticed. And given the manner in which China is changing the social landscape in both Tibet and Xinjiang, there is serious concern that Xinjiang may slip into a state where the currently perceived links to terror groups may, in fact, become a reality.

Dr Shankari Sundararaman is an associate professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the School of

International Studies, JNU

US rings nuke alarm bells

Al-Qaida seeking nuclear secrets from Pakistan
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090917/main1.htm

Al-Qaida is trying desperately to get its hands on nuclear secrets from Pakistan, according to a top US official.

US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, told a congressional reception, "Al-Qaida is still there in the region, ever dangerous and publicly asking people to attack the US and publicly asking nuclear engineers to give them nuclear secrets from Pakistan."

This alarming accusation is being taken seriously in light of Pakistan's history of leaking nuclear secrets and comes on the heels of similar claims made in a report to US lawmakers.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report — "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues" — Al-Qaida has also sought assistance from the Khan network. Former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet said the United States `received fragmentary information from an intelligence service' that in 1998 Osama bin Laden had `sent emissaries to establish contact' with the network. Other Pakistani sources could also provide nuclear material to terrorist organisations. According to a 2005 report by the commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States regarding weapons of mass destruction, Al-Qaida `had established contact with Pakistani scientists who discussed development of nuclear devices that would require hard-to-obtain materials like uranium to create a nuclear explosion.' Tenet explains that these scientists were affiliated with a different organisation than the Khan network. Congressional Research Service, a bipartisan independent research wing of the US Congress, prepares reports for lawmakers.

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, was notorious for running a nuclear black market that proliferated nuclear technology to rogue nations. He was placed under house arrest in 2004 following a confession made to former President Pervez Musharraf that he had leaked nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya, and North Korea. The Lahore High Court ruled last month that Khan should be released from his five-year house detention, but in a fresh order restricted his movements "for his own safety."

The US, which has unsuccessfully sought access to Khan in order to learn the extent of his nuclear black market, continues to view him as `radioactive'.

US lawmakers in March introduced legislation aimed at cutting off military aid to Pakistan unless US officials could question Khan. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly also noted, "Our concerns over the potential for … proliferation activities by Dr Khan are well known to the Pakistani government. We believe that he remains a proliferation risk." The CRS report noted that since the 2004 revelations of an extensive international nuclear proliferation network run by AQ Khan, as well as possible connections between Pakistani nuclear scientists and Al-Qaeda, Islamabad has made additional efforts to improve export controls and monitor nuclear personnel. "The main security challenges for Pakistan's nuclear arsenal are keeping the integrity of the command structure, ensuring physical security, and preventing illicit proliferation from insiders," the report says.

Meanwhile, Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday that nations have become safer due to an accumulation of knowledge about Al-Qaeda and its affiliate groups. This data "enables us to be more aggressive in expanding that knowledge and stopping things before they happen," he said, adding, "The ability to be more aggressive is founded upon the much larger and more sophisticated understanding of the adversary that we have gained across various administrations in recent years."

Blair said Al-Qaida has an `avowed goal' of conducting attacks on the United States in western Pakistan, where it is seeking safe haven with various Taliban groups. "These groups have more recently also said that they are in favour of attacks in the West. So it's a shifting calculus, but it's fundamentally based on the harm that they would do to the United States' troops and allies," he said.

At another event in Washington, India's ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, said in light of recent claims by Musharraf that Pakistan diverted US military aid to beefing up its capabilities against India, Shankar said the US government should build safeguards into military assistance to Pakistan. "We do feel that in the security field, the assistance should be more tightly focused on building counterinsurgency capabilities rather than conventional defence equipment, which can be diverted for other purposes," said Shankar.

Why border intrusions? China wants to keep its options open

by G. Parthasarathy

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090917/edit.htm#4

ONE abiding feature of our relations with China is our propensity to swing from elation and ecstasy to despondency and despair. Shortly after the visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to India in April 2005, our media, China scholars and sections of our Mandarin-speaking mandarins proclaimed that the festering "boundary question" with China was all but resolved. The Manmohan Singh-Wen Jiabao Declaration asserted that India-China relations had acquired "global and strategic significance" and that the two countries would establish a "strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity".

An agreement laying down "Political Parameters and Guiding Principles" for resolving the border issue said that while respecting the "Line of Actual Control", India and China would reach a boundary settlement which shall "safeguard due interests of their settled populations in the border areas", while using "modern cartographic and surveying practices and joint surveys". Our "scholars" and media ecstatically proclaimed that the reference to "settled populations" in border areas meant that China had given up its claims to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. They were in for a rude shock. Within a year China started publicly and aggressively asserting that the whole of Arunachal was a part of "South Tibet".

While talks on resolving the border issue have continued regularly after the visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in December 1988, the problem of Chinese intrusions into our territory arises from the fact that while the Line of Control is defined and demarcated by mutual agreement between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, the "Line of Actual Control" (LOAC), which both sides have pledged to determine and respect, along the China-India border, has never been demarcated. It was decided that the issue of demarcation would be addressed by India and China exchanging maps about the precise location of the LOAC and reconciling differences through negotiations. While maps were exchanged on the Central Sector (adjoining Uttarakhand) and India provided its maps on the LOAC in the western sector (Ladakh) to China in 2002, China refused to provide maps outlining its version of where the LOAC lies, either on the western sector (Ladakh) or the eastern sector (Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh). In the face of this impasse, it was decided in 2003 that the two countries would seek a "political solution" to the border issue.

It is evident that despite having agreed in principle that there could not be any change in the status of populated areas in 2005, China is now insistent that it would expect territorial concessions in the populated eastern sector, if it is to accommodate Indian claims in Ladakh. Because of the importance of Tawang as a Buddhist Monastery town, where the sixth Dalai Lama was born, China seeks control of Tawang to secure a fig leaf of legitimacy for its rule in Tibet. India has flatly rejected Chinese claims to Tawang, with Mr Pranab Mukherjee asserting: "Any elected Government in India is not permitted by our Constitution to part with any part of our land that sends representatives to the Indian Parliament".

Thus, as long as China remains insistent on its claims in Arunachal Pradesh, there can be no settlement of the border issue. India has also indicated that it intends to improve communications near and along its land borders with China, boost its military presence in Arunachal Pradesh and also strengthen its eastern air defences. The entire problem of border intrusions today arises from the fact that China wishes to keep its options open by not spelling out where, in its view, the LOAC lies, so that it can continue to intrude, at a time and place of its choosing, into populated areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh and undermine public confidence in our border areas, in New Delhi's will and ability to defend our territorial integrity.

Apart from border issues, China has made every effort to undermine Indian security interests in recent years. Pakistan is being assisted by China in boosting its nuclear weapons capabilities by supply of plutonium reactors and reprocessing facilities. Chinese supplies of ballistic and cruise missiles to Pakistan continue, as does the supply of fighter aircraft and frigates. China assists Pakistan-sponsored terrorism by blocking moves in the UN Security Council for action against the Jamat-ud-Dawa and the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hafiz Mohammed Sayed.

While pledging aid for hydro-electric projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, China seeks to block assistance for economic development in Arunachal Pradesh in the Asian Development Bank, on the ground that its status is "disputed". More ominously, there is now evidence that China is using areas controlled by its protégés in the Kachin State of Myanmar to arm and train our north-eastern insurgent groups in Manipur and elsewhere, in its Yunnan province. One sees similar actions by China to undermine India's relations with Nepal. Despite this, our mandarins glibly talk of a "strategic and cooperative partnership" with China.

There are areas like climate change, the WTO talks and the development of a multi-polar world order, where India and China have shared interests. China's actions along India's land and maritime frontiers and its efforts to undermine India's regional influence by its policies in countries like Pakistan and Nepal will, however, remain sources of differences. We landed ourselves in disaster in 1962 because we glossed over the realities and misled public opinion domestically and globally. Our mandarins in South Block will do well to remember this when misrepresenting and avoiding a focus on the realities of our relations with China. We should, however, avoid resorting to rhetoric that escalates tensions.

Our Ministry of Defence unfortunately delays action on the acquisition of crucial equipment like fighter aircraft and artillery. Actions speak louder than words. Rather that talking about how we propose to increase troop levels, or modernise our air defences along our borders with China, we should act to expeditiously strengthen defences and road communication networks along our borders. In the meantime, there should be a continuing dialogue and exchanges with China aimed at ensuring that incidents which escalate tensions do not occur along our borders.

We should remember that China still has festering disputes on its maritime boundaries with Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia and that China settles its border disputes only when a weakened neighbour succumbs to its pressures. In the meantime, China does not hesitate to assert its presence across disputed boundaries with militarily weaker neighbours the like Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. The Chinese respect national power and will respect India only if our economic and military strength warrants respect for us as a people and as a country.

Musharraf admission: What's so surprising?

Arun Kumar Singh

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/opinion/opinion/musharraf-admission-what's-so-surprising.aspx

Sept.16 : Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's latest admission that military aid provided by the United States to Pakistan for the war against terror during his tenure had been used to strengthen defences against India, and that he ensured Pakistan's strategic weapons programme was "speeded up", as well as China's latest border incursions should finally clear the cobwebs from the minds of India's political leadership.

Many Indians wonder why we continue to suffer nasty surprises at the hands of Pakistan and China. Forty-seven years after the Sino-Indian war in 1962, India has again been taken by surprise by China in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand.

India's lack of strategic culture has been repeatedly exposed and its military often forced to fight under very disadvantageous conditions.

Our political-bureacratic leadership has allowed defence preparations to fall below critical levels while following a policy of "passive, low, reactive defence". Hopefully, the restrictions imposed on the Indian Army — not being allowed to patrol some "sensitive areas" on the Sino-Indian border — will be lifted before the Chinese seize more of our territory.

There should be no doubt as to why Pakistan and its terrorists will always aim to cause mayhem in two places in India — Mumbai and Vadinar. Mumbai is the financial capital of India. Its stock market turnover is four times that of Pakistan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And Vadinar is a small coastal town in Gujarat's Jamnagar district. Vadinar port in the Gulf of Kutch has three oil refineries, with the capacity of 99 million tonnes and over two million tonnes of fuel storage. Both are India's economic jugular, and attacking these will keep India economically hyphenated to Pakistan.

Fortunately, the Coast Guard's new North-West Command for Gujarat, with its headquarters at Gandhinagar, has become functional. It is expected to be formally inaugurated by the defence minister in October. Hopefully, this new command will urgently receive additional vessels and aircraft to ensure the safety of Gujarat, including Vadinar.

What is the second-best method to hit Mumbai and Vadinar apart from terrorist attacks? The answer: cruise missiles with land attack capability, launched from ships, submarines and Maritime Patrol aircraft like the P-3C Orion. Theoretically, the 120-km range Harpoon anti-ship missile, with a 250 kg warhead, fits the bill perfectly for Pakistan as an interim system while ratcheting up the production of its larger Chinese-gifted 500-km range Babur cruise missiles to build a stockpile of 450.

The long-term aim of Pakistan's Babur cruise missiles (these can be delivered by fighter or maritime patrol aircrafts to extend their range) is to counter India's over-publicised Ballastic Missile Defence System (BMDS) and give Pakistan a "cheap" but massive first-strike capabilty intended to overwhelm India's nuclear retaliation capability.

Right now, Pakistan's nuclear capability is designed to counter India's superior conventional military power, but the Babur cruise missile, along with new miniaturised plutonium warheads, will put Pakistan in a different league altogether. The newer versions of the Harpoon — which Pakistan is hoping to acquire from the US — already comes with a built-in secondary land attack capability. What Pakistan apparently tested a few months ago was the older anti-ship Harpoon missile.

Given today's miniaturised Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), any missile specialist should be able to convert the vintage anti-ship Harpoon to a land attack capable missile with reasonably accurate chances of hitting the oil refineries at Vadinar and the various installations in Mumbai port. The only problem would be how to replace the 250-kg conventional warhead in the 53-centimetre diameter, cylindrical Harpoon missile with a plutonium miniature nuclear warhead. Most Indian scientists will tell you that it's impossible for Pakistan to achieve this. Here also I expect China to transfer the technology of a proven miniaturised nuclear weapon which would fit the Babur and possibly the Harpoon cruise missiles.

The question is what are the launch platforms for the modified land-attack Harpoon missile? The answer is simple. The two older French-built Agosta 70 submarines and the half-a-dozen American P-3C Orion aircraft are the ideal launch platforms. The missile has sufficient stand off range to hit Vadinar and Mumbai.

The media has given enough details of Pakistan's new Khushab 2 and 3 reactors that are expected to produce about 15 to 30 kg of plutonium for three to 10 miniaturised nuclear weapons per year. The latest media reports indicate that Pakistan's nuclear weapons stockpile has now grown from 70 to 90. I have no idea about India's nuclear weapons stocks, and am uncertain about how many Agni-type missiles India can produce per year.

China will take Indian deterrence seriously only after we induct the 5,000-km Agni-5. The recent controversy about the 1998 thermonuclear tests "fizzle" has not cleared the air. As a nuclear specialist, it is my opinion that a lot of luck would be needed to get a complex thermonuclear prototype device to function properly for the first time and, even if it did, it would need at least two more confirmatory tests in a rugged "militarised" form. Deterrence works best when it's based on hard reality, and not ambiguous discussions.

China, as expected, has kept the pressure on India, with the latest news of its forces violating Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Uttarakhand. China has mastered the art of long-term strategic planning and obviously, its gameplan is to keep India tied down by the triple threats that emerge from China, Pakistan and Pakistani-sponsored terrorists.

India's external affairs ministry should stop justifying China's daily incursions by talking about "the differing perceptions on the Line of Actual Control". China will stop its incursions only when it is deterred by India's conventional and strategic defence capability. India needs to change its "no-first-use" nuclear policy.

Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam

Security of politicians

Brigadier Arun Bajpai (Retd) Wednesday July, 29 2009

Source: Daily Excelsior

Only an hint that the new Indian Home Minister PC Chidambaram, having shunned the elaborate security himself, is reviewing the surplus security provided at public expense to the large numbers of serving as also out of job netas, resulted in such a ruckus by the supporters of these netajis in the both houses of Parliament recently that the Government had to beat a hasty retreat and more or less abandon this well thought out action plan.

The billion strong Indian population is the most terror affected in the world today. In addition to the ongoing insurgency in seven states of North East India and the Naxal problem affecting 180 Indian districts in 13 states, 1500 innocent India citizens died in 25 Pakistan sponsored Jehadi attacks in India since 2004.Various commissions appointed to suggest preventive measures have lamented that India has one of the Worlds lowest police vs. population ratios that has resulted in the beat police almost missing from the ground. This gives rise to enhanced crime and lack of terror related intelligence in the country.

Despite this non availability of police to perform even the basic policing duties for the public, 47000 Indian Police Personnel's are providing round the clock security to 13000 people who come in the important person category (IP) in the country. This is in addition to the 430 Very Important Netajis (VVIPs), the highest in the World, who are being provided Special Protection Group protection and NSG Commando protection. All at the cost of poor people of India. At an average six billion rupees per year is being spent in India for protection of these people. This is happening in a country which has 390 million people below poverty line and where starvation deaths are not uncommon.

What is even more galling is that there are certain serving Chief Ministers in India who are demanding and getting SPG and NSG Commando protection. This despite the fact that these Chief Ministers have large police forces of their own state at their beck and call. By obtaining this Central police protection what message they are sending to their people who have elected them in their state? That the state police can not be relied upon to protect their own CM. If so then how will they protect the Aam Janta?

For more than two decades terrorists in India, espousing unacceptable causes have blown up trains, bombed crowed markets, hijacked planes,attacked places of worship and killed and maimed large number of Indian population.Indians have suffered stoically but left it to these netas to take remedial action. Instead of building on this trust these gentlemen have ensured their own protection and left bulk of the population vulnerable due to disproportionate allocation of limited resources.

No country in the world provides protection to their Netas at this scale.In US except for the serving and retired Presidents, protection is provided to very limited politicians that also who are in office and not out of office as in India.The truth of the matter is that the Indian politician considers this police protection as projection of his political importance. Some Chief Ministers are moving about in a cavalcade of 25 to 30 vehicles while others are quite happy with 2 to 3 vehicles. Bureaucrats who are ever-ready to allocate some of these politicians to themselves are not far behind in this misuse. Bigger the bureaucrat more the numbers of police guards at his residence.
It needs to be understood that these large number of police people being used as shadows and gunners by these netas and others are of no use to them or the organization, without regular training and motivation which they lack.. Today's terrorists and other miscreants are highly trained and these police personnel are no match to them. It is time people of India demand accountability from their leaders. An autonomous Tribunal must be set up at the Centre and State level to asses' threats to these VIPs at regular basis. Except for the Presidents of India and Prime Ministers, NSG and SPG protection should not be provided to any body. The Chief Ministers should only get their respective police protection from the state police.
Out of job politician should be provided police protection based on the current threat to them as assessed by Tribunals. No politician with criminal background should get any police protection, especially when they are out of job. Let private entrepreneurs open security agencies with highly trained ex-service personnel's .They should be allowed suitable weapons and other gadgets for provision of security. Anybody and everybody who feels threatened may be allowed to hire their services. People of India need not pay for these large numbers of politicians and others who actually do not face any more threat than the Aam Admi? When general security environment will improve the lives of our precious politicians will also be safer in the country.




Produced By: Free Media Foundation For South Asian Free Media Association

India Air Force activates Nyoma airfield close to China border

Fri, Sep 18 03:00 PM

New Delhi, Sep 18 (ANI): The Indian Air Force in a significant move today activated its Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) to support the Army in carrying out operations in the inhospitable terrain.


An IAF AN-32 aircraft landed at Nyoma ALG, which is located at an altitude of 13,300 feet in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir, at 6:25 a.m. today. It is located 23 kms from the Line of Actual Control. (LAC).

The successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft at Nyoma marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.

The landing comes just fifteen months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.

Group Captain SC Chafekar touched down on the Nyoma airstrip. Air Marshal NAK Browne, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command and Lieutenant General PC Bharadwaj, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command on board.

Though helicopters have been landing at this ALG, this is for the first time that a fixed wing aircraft has landed at the compact airstrip of Nyoma.

After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground inspection, it was concluded that Nyoma could be developed for fixed wing operations as well.

The Engineer Regiments of 14 Corps undertook the herculean task of developing the ALG to the standards required for fixed wing operations.

Joint development of Nyoma braving the extremely difficult working conditions and hostile weather is yet another step towards enhanced joint partnership between the two services.

Nyoma has been developed with an aim to connect the remote areas of Ladakh region to the mainland. This would also ensure movements in the area when the road traffic gets affected, during the harsh winters besides enabling improved communication network in the region. (ANI)

ANI

September 16, 2009

Checking Chinese Intrusions: Smart Deployment is the Way

By Divya Kumar Soti


Indian media reports are abuzz with increasing Chinese intrusions in Indian Territory. Latest incidents include aerial intrusion by Chinese helicopters in Ladhak, as well as an intrusion on 31st July, 2009, when Chinese patrol made ingress up to 1.5km into Indian Territory in Ladhak and reportedly painted rocks and boulders in red graffiti. Although, spokesperson for Chinese embassy in New Delhi denied any such incident, photos of rocks in media is telling a different story. Chinese may be given benefit of doubt for first incident, but the latter incident depicts a greater deliberation.


This is latest in series of mischief by Chinese on diplomatic and military front over last few years. All of this started three years back, when suddenly Chinese made a complete U-turn on understanding achieved during numerous rounds of border talks between the two countries. Since then Chinese attitude is erratic and increasingly aggressive. There are numerous instances of this, some prominent ones include summoning of Indian ambassador to Beijing,Mrs. Nirupma Rao at 2am during Olympic Torch relay through India to tell her about some ‘possible Tibetan demonstrations’ in India; a fiduciary breach at Nuclear Suppliers Group where China threw various unforeseeable tantrums to block passage of India specific exemption and a recent unsuccessful attempt to block an Asian Development Bank loan to India arguing that part of it will be spent on power projects in Arunachal Pradesh. Official Chinese think-tanks are openly discussing ways to disintegrate India thereby waging a psychological war aimed at testing the waters.


1950-60 and Now: A Summarized Comparison


India continues to refrain from putting similar responses. If not identical; patterns visible at present resemble to those preceding events of 1962. Chinese were regularly creating border incidents from 1954 onwards although those were rosy years of Panchsheel, our happily surrendering all rights in Tibet which we inherited from British. Chinese with extreme secrecy surveyed routes in Aksai Chin throughout this period. Situation deteriorated further from 1959 onwards, as clashes between Tibetans and Peoples Liberation Army increased and Dalai Lama fled to India. Present Chinese rhetoric about ‘Dalai clique and his network in India’ is quite similar to that of 1959-60. Indian response to growing number of border incidents is also similar to that in 1959. By 1959, Prime Minister Nehru was forced to rush two Brigades to NEFA as Chinese military was increasingly adventurous and Sikkim & Bhutan were also feeling threatened. Last year, India was forced to make redeployments in Sikkim and Tawang due to increasing Chinese military activity and as Bhutan started to feel uneasy.

Some Faulty Presumptions


India’s present China policy seems to be guided by same sleepy thinking which was responsible for debacle of 1962. Those days New Delhi’s political establishment was quite sure that China is not planning anything big and can not plan anything big as being in her tweens, will concentrate on nation-building. Indian leadership took some unofficial arbitration by Soviet leaders as guarantee of peace. If nice diplomatic relationship is a guarantee of peace, relations today between the two countries are less warm than those during 1954-60. Public contemplation by official Chinese think tanks about disintegrating India is reflective of level of discomfort that is being felt by a faction of Communist Party about India’s rise.



Chinese intrusions and Pak Situation: a Strategic Co-relation


Increased Chinese military activity at newer points at Line of Actual Control (LAC) has to do with new strategic scenarios resulting from new wave of talibanization that has engulfed Pakistan over last four years. The growing menace of Islamic radicalism is eating up the institutions of Pakistani State and taking away its effectiveness as a stable surrogate to slow down India’s rise. Military planners in Beijing became quite uneasy when Pak troops were moved to areas along its borders with Afghanistan under US pressure. In addition to this a long surviving ceasefire with India along Line of Control (LoC) is making them more uneasy. Chinese would have tried to sabotage this but the problem is that they themselves do not want to see the phenomenon called Taliban grow beyond a limit, as that is directly proportional to risk of instability in Xinxiang. Various extremist Uighur organizations have close relations with terror organizations operating from Pak tribal areas and if these organizations became successful in further strengthening their hold in the region, there will be bad security implications for Xinxiang and Central Asia as a whole, where China has lot of stakes. Pak army is likely to remain engaged on western front in foreseeable future. This will push China towards increasing military activity along border with India so that military pressure upon India may be sustained and the gap left by a progressively weakening Pakistani State may be filled up.




Smart military deployments needed


By creating border incidents China is try to pressurize India at border talks. China is hardening her stance both at the table as well as on the ground. All this is to be viewed in changed strategic background, as discussed above and proper counter-moves should be made. In this context, it is worth recalling India’s policy on the border problem during 1980-87 and aftermath of Sumdorong Chu incident. From1980 onwards, New Delhi adopted a pro-active military policy with respect to border with China, as enshrined in Gen Krishna Rao Plan. As part of implementing this plan, in wake of growing Chinese belligerence, Indian army conducted Operation Chequerboard in 1986 which involved deployment of troops at Hathung La, across the Namka chu from Thag La ridge. Smart deployments in relation to Tibet were also conducted. In addition to this, then Indian Army Chief Gen K.Sundarji conveyed India’s willingness to solve the border issue through talks. Gen Sundarji stated that India recognizes differences in perceptions of actual boundary between the two countries and Indian deployments are intended to give China ‘the benefit of doubt’. As a result of these steps, China became ready to hold talks on border issue by 1988. Interestingly, China was also ready to discuss the maps offered by India which were once subject of continuous rejections by Chinese by calling them manifestations of British imperialist thought or views of travelers.


Unfortunately our policy is again resorting to bad old ways and days. Indian policy makers are ignoring a quite reasonable possibility of a major border incident being staged by China within a limited theatre to supplement her bullying tactics. It should be central to our policy aims to solve boundary issue through talks but at the same time we should also take into account ground realities and supplement our diplomatic stand by necessary energetic steps on ground.


(The writer is a strategic and intelligence affairs analyst and may be reached at writing2divya@gmail.com)