October 06, 2009

China's naval nationalism: Has A K Antony blinked?

C. Raja Mohan

Posted: Monday , Oct 05, 2009 at 1503 hrs


Why is it all right for the Chinese Navy to operate in India's backyard and wrong, from the perspective of our Ministry of Defence, for the Indian Navy to conduct naval exercises in China's frontyard?

As Beijing revels in its newly minted naval nationalism, New Delhi seems determined to curb the Indian Navy's enthusiasm to raise the nation's maritime profile.

The MoD's decision, at the eleventh hour, to pull the services out of a multilateral naval exercise in the Western Pacific last week, begs some serious questions. Is the Minister of Defence, A K Antony, in sync with India's naval aspirations? Or has he begun to feel the heat from the Chinese pressures on our land borders?

Questions about his uncertain naval vision arose when he refused to let the Navy join the international operations against pirates in the Gulf of Aden last year. As Antony dithered for long before saying yes, Beijing used the international concerns on piracy to mount its first ever expeditionary naval operation into the Indian Ocean.

As it completes its year-long deployment in the Indian Ocean, Beijing is now eager to expand its maritime cooperation with the US and other western powers that have begun to acknowledge China's rise as a naval power.

The Indian Navy, which has a longer record of modern operations at sea and enjoys many maritime advantages over China, appears increasingly tied down by the terrible timidity of the MoD's political leadership.

In contrast, the Chinese Communist Party has embarked on a massive mobilisation of naval nationalism. CCP chairman Hu Jintao repeatedly talks of China's "manifest maritime destiny". Thanks to the CCP campaign, Chinese citizens are turning up in droves to offer personal donations to help Beijing build aircraft carriers.

If Antony thinks he is being 'nice' to the Chinese by cancelling exercises in the Western Pacific, he has no inkling of how Beijing thinks. The Chinese respect those with the will to power, and they mount relentless pressure on those who wilt.

Recall the recent Chinese tease for a naval condominium with the US: Washington could stay in the Eastern Pacific and China would police the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

As it rises, China will inevitably build a powerful navy. It is also logical that China will protect its growing interests in the Indian Ocean. There is no way India can or should stop it. New Delhi must focus, instead, on consolidating its own position in the Indian Ocean and elevating its maritime profile in the Western Pacific.

It is that strategic parity that will provide the basis for a much needed maritime dialogue and cooperation with China. But if New Delhi is eager to offer unilateral naval concessions, why blame Beijing for turning up the heat?

(C. Raja Mohan is Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress, Washington DC).

October 04, 2009

Afghanistan opium survey 2009

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Read the full text PDF Afghanistan opium survey 2009...

02 October 2009The bottom is starting to fall out of the Afghan opium market. For the second year in a row, cultivation, production, work-force, prices, revenues, exports and its GDP share are all down, while the number of poppy-free provinces and drug seizures continue to rise.
Yet, Afghan drugs still have catastrophic consequences. They fund criminals, insurgents, and terrorists in Afghanistan and abroad. Collusion with corrupt government officials keeps undermining public trust, security, and the law. The taint of money-laundering is harming the reputation of banks in the Gulf, and farther afield.

The vulnerable are most at risk: drug use in Afghanistan is a growing problem, particularly among refugees. Drug addiction and HIV are spreading death and misery along opiate trafficking routes, particularly in Central Asia and Russia. Around the world, but especially in Europe, once again tens of thousands will die this year from heroin overdoses.

It is therefore essential to use this time of political change in Afghanistan to analyze the forces that are shrinking the opium market, and those needed to push further this process which is vulnerable to relapse.

Africa - home of the world’s largest cyber pandemic

Source: IntelFusion

The above map illustrates the projected arrival of broadband service to Africa in 2010 and 2011 via undersea cables. That’s the good news.

The bad news, and the point of this post, is that Africa is home to about 100 million PCs, 80% of which are estimated to be infected with some kind of malware. This has occurred because the intense poverty throughout the continent has resulted in a pervasive distribution of pirated software and the inability to pay for Anti-Virus protection. Currently, most Internet access is via dial-up, but once broadband comes to Africa, all of those infected PCs will become an easy target for bot herders looking to build the next mega-botnet; Think about it. Almost a hundred million PCs with little to no AV protection connected to the Internet backbone via a super highway instead of a dirt path. What could a bad operator do with a botnet of that size? Pretty much anything he wants, including paralyzing an entire nation’s networked infrastructure. That’s all systems connected to the Internet, including power, water, communications, commerce, etc.

If this were a public health risk, (a) it would never have been allowed to get this far out of hand, and (b) labs would be working around the clock to produce enough anti-virus serums to stop the pandemic in its tracks. If every infected PC in Africa were a person, this would rank as the second worst pandemic in the history of the world.

Today, botnets are a key asset for organized crime producing millions of dollars in revenue from a variety of malware schemes and a potentially potent weapon in Non-state geopolitical attacks against government Web sites. Simply put, Africa’s population of infected PCs is a significant emerging threat on an international scale and action must be taken to remedy it before those undersea cables go online.

Since Microsoft Windows is the OS that we are talking about, it falls on Microsoft to do something about this problem. One good first step would be what Microsoft’s Paul Cooke discusses here - support pirated versions of Windows 7 with patches, etc.

Keeping a machine up to date is one of the first steps in helping ensure that they remain reliable, compatible, and safe from threats when they are online. Some of the most famous incidents of malicious software infection have come after security updates were publicly available from Microsoft - Blaster, Zotob, Conficker and Sasser, just to name a few. Rest assured that we at Microsoft are committed to making sure that security updates are available to all of our users to help ensure a safe online experience for everyone.
Just doing this for Windows 7 is not nearly enough. Microsoft needs to make this commitment for all Windows PCs or it becomes more of a PR stunt then a genuine effort to do the responsible thing. However, even if MSFT would commit to such a massive endeavor (and I don’t believe that they would), it wouldn’t be enough because of its reputation of issuing free updates to pirated PCs which, in turn, make them unusable. There’s nothing wrong with that on principle, except that it has now established MSFT as untrustworthy (read the comments section of the above referenced Cooke quote to see what I mean). This means that other, independent agencies would have to vet the MSFT patches and security updates as not being disguised OS killers and then distribute them freely throughout Africa.

AV firms like Symantec, McAfee, and others should also consider offering free subscriptions to their AV lines on a project by project basis. This one would certainly qualify for such an altruistic effort.

Bottom line: if there isn’t a global response to this threat before mid-2010, we will all come to regret the consequences, and global corporations who could afford to act and didn’t, should be held accountable in the aftermath.

Veteran questions Maoist fight



Kumawat, the former BSF chiefNew Delhi, Oct. 3: One of India’s topmost anti-Naxalite strategists has questioned the Centre’s new “crackdown-first development-later†credo and warned that any use of air power against Maoists could saddle the nation with “Afghanistan and Iraq-like†security liabilities.“Development must go hand in hand with the fight against Naxalites; deprived people in the heartland cannot be expected to wait on their misery until the government is done with its long-haul campaigns,†Mahendra Kumawat, who retired as director-general of the BSF last month, told The Telegraph today.“The government is going to lose more hearts and minds to the Maoists if it forges ahead with a strike policy that brings nothing but bloodshed and disruption to people in the affected zones. That is going to multiply our problems, not solve them. I wish the government all the best, but it isn’t going to work.†The scorch-then-salve policy,
advocated for long by hardline think-tanks, has found favour with home minister P. Chidambaram, but it has also alarmed sceptics within the security establishment who believe strictly police solutions are a “counter-productive half measure†. Recently unshackled by retirement, Kumawat may be articulating their concerns.Kumawat speaks from a decade’s “on ground†experience of dealing with Naxalites in the Andhra-Orissa-Chhattisgarh triangle. Before assuming command of the BSF, he was also chairman of the national anti-Naxalite task force in the Union home ministry during Shivraj Patil’s tenure as internal security boss.Kumawat wouldn’t take names, but he made it apparent that his experience as head of the national co-ordination desk in North Block did not inspire too much optimism over the anti-Naxalite offensive in the works under Chidambaram.“We may think nationally but we do not act nationally,†he said. “There is little or no
co-ordination between states which are actually as big as countries. West Bengal, for instance, would not share information with Jharkhand. There are debilitating turf battles between various agencies, intelligence is routinely held back or delayed, and most of the intelligence and documentation we have is poor in any case. All that needs to change if the government is to have half a chance of success.†The retired top cop was critical of the manner in which governments approached the “very alarming†Naxalite challenge, saying: “We don’t prepare well enough. Information is critical and it is not available in the market, it has to be gathered and analysed all the time and over a long period of time. How many of our states have done that? Probably Andhra Pradesh, and they have had some success to show for homework done. But the same cannot be said for the rest. We are ill-prepared.†Asked whether there was virtue to Chidambaram’s argument that
Naxalite-dominated areas first needed to be “cleansed†of their “disruptive dominance†before development initiatives can be effectively mounted, Kumawat said: “Well, the home minister has himself said this will be a long battle, how long are people to wait for the welfare state to come to them? The challenge and the ingenuity of governance lies is doing both at the same time, the security component will have to be built in to development projects, as has been successfully done in parts of the Northeast. It may be tough to do, but that is what governments are about.†Cautioning against using too hard a hand, Kumawat said: “We are hearing things about the use of the Indian Air Force, but the government should be extremely careful it is only logistical use, nothing else. And even so, the Naxalites are very capable of trapping the air force in ugly situations where they will have no option but to retaliate. Once that begins to happen, there
will be the huge risk of collateral damage to populations and further alienation. The Naxalites are clever tacticians, they will engage and scoot, innocent people will get killed, you will have mess on your hands. Look at what the drone attacks are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq.†He sounded utterly unsurprised by indications emerging from Naxalite circles that they plan a bloody cat-and-mouse with security forces in the weeks and months to come.“If they are talking of encircling the government rather than getting encircled, it is nothing to scoff at or be smug about. That is classical Maoist tactic -- you go looking for them in their strongholds and you find they have melted away, their mobility is an advantage they employ to the hilt,†Kumawat said, adding that this Naxalite tactic, too, bedevils government plans.“They will melt away, or just merge with populations. An operation, even if it is based on good and specific tip-offs, can end up
hurting innocent people and creating greater disaffection against the state.â€

Part of a larger game plan?

The Hindu, India

Vladimir Radyuhin

Dmitry Medvedev's hint that Moscow could go along with new sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme is believed to be part of a wider game targeting the nuclear programme of not only Iran but also Israel.

Russia's apparent hardening of stand on Iran has been widely interpreted as a "reward" for United States President Barack Obama scrapping missile shield plans for Eastern Europe. Moscow, however, is abuzz with speculation of a wider chess game being played targeting the nuclear programme of not only Iran but also Israel.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week hinted that Moscow could go along with the new U.S.-lobbied United Nations sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme. "As to all sorts of sanctions, Russia's position is very simple, and I stated it recently. Sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases sanctions are inevitable. Ultimately, it is a matter of choice," Mr. Medvedev said after his meeting with Mr. Obama on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York.

The White House greeted Mr. Medvedev's words as a U-turn in the Russian stance on sanctions. National Security Council point man on Russia Michael McFaul said the U.S. and Russia had moved "a lot closer, if not almost together" in their objectives on Iran's nuclear programme. "I cannot improve on what President Medvedev said. He could not have been clearer," Mr. McFaul said.

The western media rushed to the conclusion that Moscow had embraced Washington's tough line on Iran in a trade-off for the cancellation of the U.S. plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which Russia regarded as a major security threat.

However, the focus of Mr. Medvedev's remarks was very different. Even as he admitted the possibility of further sanctions on Iran, he made clear that it should be an act of last resort. A source in Mr. Medvedev's delegation said that before Russia agreed to discuss further sanctions on Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must provide enough grounds to believe that it was after nuclear weapons.

"Our task is to create a system of incentives that would allow us to resolve the problem of peaceful uses of nuclear energy by Iran, but will stop it from building nuclear weapons," Mr. Medvedev told Mr. Obama. At a meeting with Pittsburg University students a day later, the Russian leader again called for offering Iran "positive incentives" to pursue a just peaceful nuclear programme and open up all its facilities to international oversight. "If we fail in this, then we will discuss other things," Mr. Medvedev said.

His emphasis on the need to "create incentives" clearly implied that these have been lacking so far. In his speech at the U.N. General Assembly last week, Mr. Medvedev indicated what should be done to encourage Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. "One of our most urgent tasks today - I would even say a superurgent task - is to establish a zone in the Middle East that is free of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) and the means to deliver them."

Without mentioning Israel by name, Mr. Medvedev noted: "In order to progress, all of the region's nations must take an active stance on this issue and demonstrate their willingness to ensure real progress in establishing a nuclear-free zone." In fact, the Russian media have speculated that nuclear disarmament of Israel could be at the core of the new U.S.-Russian understanding on Iran.

Citing unspecified "back-room briefings," the Argumenty Nedely weekly wrote in its latest issue that under pressure from the U.S. and Russia, Israel gave two pledges that paved the way for the complex deal between Russia and the U.S. involving the missile shield and Iran. It allegedly promised to refrain from attacking Iran.

Israel is also said to have agreed to cooperate with IAEA, U.N. nuclear watchdog, and eventually sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would entail giving up its nuclear weapons. This would clearly be conditional on Iran dropping its threats to wipe out Israel and renouncing any ambition to acquire nuclear arms. The paper claimed that Iran had already promised to stop anti-Israeli rhetoric.

Russia's contribution to the deal was twofold: it promised not to supply top-of-the-line air defence systems to Iran and to step up pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. Moscow skilfully played a trump card it had held up its sleeve for several years - supplies of deadly air defence missiles, S-300PMU-1, to Iran under a 2005 contract. In combination with the short-range, anti-aircraft missile system Tor-M1 that Russia sold Iran earlier, the S-300s would enable it to beat back any Israeli or U.S. attack. It could also make Tehran more intransigent in talks over its nuclear programme.

In the past few weeks, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu travelled to Russia for Iran-dominated talks. Following the talks, Mr. Peres said he had secured a promise from Mr. Medvedev that Russia would review its decision to sell the S-300 missiles to Iran. Mr. Medvedev later said the Israeli leaders had promised him that they would not attack Iran.

"We are a peaceful country and we are not going to mount any strikes against Iran," Mr. Medvedev quoted Mr. Peres verbatim last week. As part of the deal, Washington reportedly offered to guarantee Israel's security against Iranian missiles by deploying U.S. Navy Aegis ships equipped with SM-3 interceptors in the Mediterranean under the revised missile shield for Europe. Interestingly, Mr. Obama's foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski sensationally suggested that the U.S. missile shield could also guarantee Iran against an Israeli attack. In a recent interview, he said the U.S. should tell Israel that its jets would be shot down if they flew over Iraq on their way to attack Iran (www.infowars.com/brzezinski-shoot-down-israeli-planes-if-they-attack-iran).

The four-corner deal theory sounds too fantastic to be true, but some facts on the ground point to the growing realisation in Washington that sanctions cannot guarantee a nuclear-free Iran.

Earlier this year, Washington's chief nuclear arms negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, called on Israel to sign the NPT (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/06/israel-us-nuclear-non-proliferation). This would require Israel to declare and give up its nuclear arsenal. The demand is in line with Mr. Obama's commitment to universal nuclear disarmament and nuclear weapons-free zones. But it also takes care of Iran's long-standing complaint of double standards on Israel's nuclear weapons.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1887 moved by the U.S., which calls upon all states that have not signed the NPT "to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states so as to achieve its universality at an early date, and pending their accession to the Treaty, to adhere to its terms."

A few days earlier, the IAEA meeting in Vienna adopted a resolution expressing concern at Israel's nuclear weapons. It also called on Israel to accede to the NPT and to put its entire nuclear programme under IAEA inspections. It was for the first time in 18 years that the U.N. nuclear watchdog censured Israel, and even though the U.S. and its western allies voted against, Mr. Obama's new nuclear disarmament policy clearly impacted the outcome of the vote.

Even though the world has known for decades that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, the U.S. until now provided diplomatic cover for Israel, neither acknowledging nor denying its nuclear status. However, the pressing need to address Iran's nuclear ambitions is now forcing Washington to treat the two cases on an equal basis. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates is on record stating Iran's motivation in trying to acquire nuclear weapons was self-defence.

"I think that they would see it in the first instance as a deterrent," Mr. Gates said at Congress confirmation hearings in 2006. "They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf." Even though Mr. Gates later tried to disavow his statement saying he was speaking still as a "private citizen," similar ideas were articulated by other voices in Washington.

"If you're really serious about a deal with Iran, Israel has to come out of the closet. A policy based on fiction and double standards is bound to fail sooner or later," Brookings Institution scholar Bruce Riedel, who till recently was a senior director for the Middle East and South Asia on the White House National Security Council, was quoted by the Washington Times in May.

This position would be in line with Mr. Medvedev's call for creating "incentives" for Iran before resorting to sanctions. As for his admission of the theoretical inevitability of sanctions, it probably had more to do with the Russian leader's desire to make a polite gesture towards Mr. Obama to support the new climate of cooperation between Russia and the U.S. as the two countries explore new avenues in dealing with Iran.

A Better Missile Defense

President Obama has adjusted, not abandoned plans for US missile defense in Europe, in a move that provides new opportunities for cooperation and may please the Russians - or not.

By Andrin Hauri for ISN Security Watch

When US President Barack Obama announced his decision to scrap plans introduced by the Bush administration for a missile defense system based in Eastern Europe in September, criticism followed suit.

Republican Senator John McCain stated that the step called into question the US' commitment to securing NATO allies, and that “the decision to abandon it unilaterally is seriously misguided.” Others saw it as a capitulation to Russia that makes Iran happy or a sign of Obama of abandoning missile defense in Europe altogether.

In reality, Obama has only shelved the former administration’s efforts for a specific missile defense system and not missile defense in Europe per se. The previous program - composed of a missile site in Poland and a radar network in the Czech Republic - was almost exclusively designed to intercept a few intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) bound for the US.

“Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing,” emphasized Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “It is more adapted to the threat we see developing.”

The administration’s move came in response to new US intelligence assessments that Iran’s progress in developing ICBM capabilities has been much slower than had previously been thought, while its short- and medium-range missile arsenal advances more rapidly than estimated.

This makes an attack with hundreds of smaller missiles against US troops and allies in the Middle East and Europe the most likely near-term threat scenario – a scenario in which Bush’s proposed missile defense, yet to be tested under real world conditions, would have been useless.

Real-life threats, real-life defense

Obama’s new, phased approach to missile defense architecture in Europe addresses this very real threat with proven and more cost-effective missile defense systems.

Phase one of the new plan envisions a sea-based missile defense by 2011 with the much smaller standard SM-3 missiles available today, which are designed to intercept shorter-range missiles typically flying slower and closer to the ground than ICBMs. Improved sensor technologies stationed in Southeastern Europe will complement the system, offering a variety of options to detect and track enemy missiles.

By 2015, a more advanced version of the system would be deployed, including defense missiles that could be launched from both sea and land, while in phase three and four, further improved SM-3 missiles would, after extensive testing, address the potential Iranian ICBM threat to the US by 2020.

The new architecture offers many advantages.

First and foremost, the new system is based on current or soon available technologies and consequently will be operational six to seven years sooner than the previous program, and at less expense. According to General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two to three ships would suffice to protect Europe from shorter-range Iranian missiles. The use of the comparatively cheap SM-3 missile makes it a relatively inexpensive defensive system.

It is also a more survivable system and offers a high degree of flexibility in terms of geographical deployment and adaptability to growing threats as it would allow the US to deploy potentially hundreds of SM-3 missiles to sites in Europe and American ships in nearby waterways, thus exceeding the interception potential of the 10 ground-based defensive missiles in Poland envisioned in the previous program by far.

Furthermore, it offers the flexibility to adjust and technologically upgrade the architecture according to the current threat situation, while still leaving the door open to deploy long-range interceptors once that technology is proven to work and the Iranian ICBM threat advances beyond the merely theoretical.

The deployment of land-based elements in addition to sea-based assets in phase two also allows the systematic increase of the defended area if the threat grows as expected. Thus, other US allies in addition to Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as Russia could participate and be integrated in the architecture.

Obama placed specific emphasis on this potential in his announcement: “We welcome Russia’s cooperation to bring its missile defense capabilities into a broader defense of our common strategic interests [...].”

Russia unclenches fist, slightly

Unsurprisingly, the Russian government welcomed the new US approach, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin calling the decision “correct and brave” and President Dmitry Medvedev terming it “sensible,” and renounced promptly the deployment of Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, a step taken to counter the previous US plan.

Whether the US also receives Russia’s cooperation on tighter Iran sanctions, the main reason for Obama’s new approach according to some analysts, remains to be seen as the signals given publicly are presently mixed.

The reactions in Poland and the Czech Republic to Obama’s decision vary along the political spectrum. While conservatives feel betrayed, the parliamentary left and the majority of the population in the two countries embrace the US decision.

Through their cooperation on missile defence, both countries had hoped to forge closer bilateral ties with the US against an ever-more assertive Russia. Poland in particular desired primarily US military personnel on its soil.

For compensation, Obama offered Poland and the Czech Republic the possibility to “continue to work cooperatively” with the US on the new architecture. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained that they remain the key candidates to host potential land-based assets of the system in future and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk confirmed: “We receive an exclusive position.”

In addition, a fully functional US Patriot missile battery will be permanently based in Poland from 2012 as a symbol of the US commitment to its defense.

The relocation of the missile defense system in the initial phase, away from Eastern Europe and toward Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, brings it closer to both the designated threat, Iran, and the Islamic Republic's likely target, Israel. Combined with the use of proven and reliable defense systems, this could convince Israel that there is more time left to find a non-military solution for the Iranian nuclear crisis, as hinted by Gates.

The initial deployment of the system outside of Eastern Europe and the option for cooperation with the US also takes the wind out of Russian criticism’s sails – at least in the short term.

However, when there is no joint assessment of and deeper cooperation on missile threats between the two in the long run, for example through the joint use of the Qabala radar station in Azerbaijan as part of the new architecture, this could ultimately backfire and escalate Russian criticism and threats. This is because when the US actually starts to deploy hundreds of smaller, mobile and proven defense missiles all over Europe and the Mediterranean, they could negate the power of the Russian missile arsenal.

In the short term, the key question is whether Russia’s willingness to cooperate with the US on the Iranian issue and reduce tensions with the West over Eastern Europe will improve. If it does not, Obama will appear extremely weak, especially at home, although his decision to adjust the missile defense system in Europe was correct in the light of the new strategic challenges it has to confront.

Andrin Hauri is a research assistant for the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich. He holds a master’s of philosophy in political science from the University of Lausanne.

Pakistan on the Brink

Pakistani forces on alert

Pakistan's inability to make substantive gains against the Taliban illustrates not only military recalcitrance but political impotence. Without a fundamental realignment of strategic priorities reinforced by targeted western aid, this lynchpin nuclear state will remain an incubator for terrorism.
By Matthew Hulbert

Despite the media-catching headlines rightly afforded to Afghanistan following its shambolic (if entirely predictable) electoral chaos in August, Pakistan still remains by far the biggest problem confronting the international community in South Asia. The recent death of Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud caused by US strikes in the SWAT offers telling insight into some of the potential opportunities – and tremendous challenges – Pakistan faces if it is to wrestle back large swathes of its territory from Islamic extremists and become a serious counter terrorism player. A failed state scenario is currently a little far-fetched, but both the West and regional powers should make no mistake: Without a fundamental change in its political course, Pakistan will remain on the brink.

Opportunity or crisis?
On coming to office, the Obama administration quickly realized that it would have to engage not only with the politically shaky Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to try to foster a long-term transition toward a more democratic, well-governed state, but also to deal directly with the Pakistan military. Without a strong military, Pakistan's stability would be further imperiled, undermining a lynchpin nuclear state at the strategic crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia and at the central reservation of global terrorism. The total loss of Pakistan is simply not an option.

Despite recent 'victories' to wrestle back territory previously ceded to the Taliban in the SWAT valley after the militias had crept within 60 kilometers of Islamabad, the Pakistan military is unlikely to carry its fight against the Taliban much further – even though the Taliban is currently undergoing its own internecine tussle about who should succeed Mehsud. NATO was hoping that Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would use this moment to turn the tide against the Taliban, not just against its Pakistani variant in South Waziristan but also against al-Qaida and the and Haqqani and Hekmatyar networks in North Waziristan. In effect, Pakistan had a small window of opportunity in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to start changing the dynamics of the game in South Asia against the Taliban and toward the West.

The problem with this line of argument is that it totally overlooks the regional political realities in play. The main reason why Pakistan scored some strategic success in the SWAT region was because they temporarily shifted a large number of troops away from the border of their traditional enemy, India. This resource realignment was an emergency stop-gap measure taken when the Taliban was bearing down on Islamabad, not a fundamental reappraisal of Pakistan's strategic priorities. Admittedly, this SWAT success provides some 'good news': The Pakistan military clearly has no interest in allowing the Taliban to take Islamabad or acquire any keys to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

Strategic mismatchBut the ‘bad news’ is that the strategic objective of the Pakistan military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) still rests with using jihadist groups to offset India's growing regional ambitions and act as a hedge against any long-term US exit strategy from Afghanistan. The military-intelligence elite are gambling that jihadists still serve the broader strategic purpose of balancing Pakistan's power against Indian influence in South Asia and unsettling hostile interests in Kabul, including the supposed specter of a 'Greater Afghanistan' one day bearing down on Islamabad.

Ongoing instability across the frontier keeps Afghanistan, India and US positions unsettled but also undermines the autonomy of the Pakistan civilian government in the FATA while notionally buttressing the praetorian power of the military. It also offsets not only alleged Iranian-Russian designs to undermine Pakistan's influence in Afghanistan, but also the potential dismemberment of the Pakistani state – a strategic aim that the so-called US-Indian-Afghan alliance supposedly shares, according to key sections of Pakistan's military-intelligence elite.

While experts do not entirely dispute the fact that domestic jihadi cells in Pakistan are an annoyance, they mistakenly believe that these pests can still be tactically contained through a blend of occasional fighting, peacemaking and widespread arrests followed by multiple releases. This perspective persists despite the fact that a dangerous number of fronts have now been opened against the Pakistani state, ranging from the Balochi's in the south to various Pashtun groups in the north. Ultimately, what the military might notionally offer as a bulwark against nuclear catastrophe or Islamic coup, it continues to take away by persistent support of terrorist groups.

Even if President Zardari had the institutional capacity to take the fight to the Taliban beyond the SWAT valley, any serious push against jihadist groups could easily prompt major domestic backlash, given increasing grassroots support for Islamist groups caused by rising fear or misguided allegiance. This would expose Zardari's fragile coalition government to further attacks from his main political rival, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which could seize the opportunity to accuse him of buckling to Indian pressure to reign in jihadists. India is not only still smarting from the 2008 Mumbai bombings, but has increasingly vocalized its concern about the prospect of fresh attacks. In effect, dealing with the Taliban isn't merely a problem of military recalcitrance, but one of extreme political sensitivity in Pakistan and South Asia writ large.

Changing the gameUntil western policymakers understand this overall mindset it will be difficult for them to deliver the kind of strategic guarantees Pakistan wants to shift its counterterrorism offensives from a process of political window-dressing into a long-term strategic reality. This raises the awkward, but critical question of what Pakistan will want to engage in this process, and what the international community can realistically deliver.

This will require, at a minimum, three core pillars of regional strategic guarantees, greater emphasis on supporting Pakistan’s democratic credentials, and a continued, but far more conditional support for the army to affect positive change. None of this will be easy.

The first move will be for the US to make clear its long-term political commitment to Pakistan (a factor that continued US-Indian nuclear cooperation makes less than concrete from Islamabad’s perspective). US drone attacks on Pakistani soil haven’t exactly helped in this regard, nor has the West’s strategy of stepping up military efforts in Afghanistan without fully considering the implications for Pakistan.

This would need to be followed by concerted diplomatic efforts to resolve the disputes over Kashmir in the east and the Durand line in the west in order to shore up the FATA – efforts that would require India and Pakistan toning down their strategic rivalries in each respective theater. Such solutions would have sharp detractors on either side of the lines (not least the ISI and Indian Research Intelligence Wing who have fought a 60 year ‘covert’ war over such territories), but until more formal demarcations are made it will be nye on impossible to stabilize the region. This approach would need to be underwritten by broader strategic guarantees as to Pakistan’s territorial integrity not only from the US but from other states with significant interests in the region such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The main domestic pillar, and thrust of western policy must be to work with Pakistan's civilian government to fight extremism; the other, to help purge the military of extremist sympathizers and to incentivize it to stop providing support for insurgency campaigns.

Aid will of course be a key ingredient. The West must increase funding and use it to develop institutions rather than individuals - as the current squabbles between Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attest. More importantly, aid must be targeted at core issues, ranging from energy security to food shortages, rising unemployment and mass poverty amidst a badly failing economy. This focus on basic issues is the only way Pakistan's political leaders could demonstrate genuine leadership and offer credible alternatives to the harsh dogma of the Taliban. It would also help civilian institutions begin to slowly rebalance the scales of power with the military.

Meanwhile, the military itself must face stringent conditionality requirements on aid tied to long-term (rather than ‘set piece’) counterinsurgency activities. Countering the Taliban rather than India should be the order of the day for Kayani. Pakistan must also be made aware that a failure to act now could come with grave implications later should major terror attacks continue to be exported from Pakistani soil. India would be hard to reign in, even though large sections of the Pakistan military would like nothing more than to give up the fight against fellow Muslims in the tribal areas to redeploy against the traditional Hindu enemy in the east. This would come with disastrous implications for US strategy on the Af-Pak border.

Bad time for political expediency on Af-PakIronically, much of this change, particularly on a regional level, is highly unlikely to occur unless Pakistan sees a drastic domestic deterioration amid sharpened insurgency attacks. China, India, Iran and Russia would be far more likely to cooperate on the Af-Pak problem if they saw any credible prospect of a nuclear-armed Pakistan falling into the hands of Islamic extremists.

The threat of nuclear terrorism also provides an obvious temptation for the US to start shifting its political focus in South Asia by downgrading Afghanistan to a ‘benign threat’ compared to the growing international terror risks in Pakistan. This move would not only open up greater political possibilities to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban, but it would also allow the US to proffer modest definitions of success. Rolling out the 'mission accomplished' banners might be a step too far, but as President Obama has made clear, stopping al-Qaida from launching attacks on the West is ultimately the US' overriding policy concern in the region.

This would of course be a chimera. The West's road out of Kabul does not exclusively run through Islamabad or vice versa. In the long run, the only real solution to political instability and associated terrorist threats in South Asia is one of comprehensive state-building measures both in Pakistan and Afghanistan; if nothing else, the eventual terms set by Kabul have to be symmetric with those set by Islamabad if the Taliban is to be quelled. Lowering the bar of politically acceptable outcomes in one will inevitably raise it in the other.

Thus, whether the West likes it or not, Pakistan remains its enormously flawed, yet strategically crucial, ally in South Asia. As long as western policy is predominately focused on how to extract itself from Afghanistan rather than the deep-seated problems in South Asia (particularly Pakistan), any number of threats – from loose nukes and intrastate war to extraterritorial terrorism – could manifest in calamitous ways.

Fleetingly 'swatting' the Taliban is a good start, but much remains to be done if Islamabad is to become a bulwark of regional stability and a serious agent of pest control, eradicating international terrorism rather than acting as one of its foremost incubators.

Matthew Hulbert is a senior researcher for the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich. He previously worked in London advising on energy markets and political risk and headed up the global issues desk at Control Risks Group, specializing in political risk and security analysis for multinational companies and institutional investors. Prior to this, he held political consulting positions at Weber Shandwick Worldwide and worked in a number of parliamentary and think tank positions writing policy papers for the UK government (DfID), World Bank and Commonwealth of Nations. He holds a bachelor's in history & politics from Durham University and an master's of philosophy in international relations from Cambridge.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not the International Relations and Security Network (ISN).

China worries neighbors as its navy comes of age



SINGAPORE — China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has made great strides in recent years as it seeks to come of age. While moving to demonstrate its clout, it also seems to recognize the need to reassure others that the intentions behind its modernization program are peaceful.

Although Beijing has declared a policy of "harmonious seas," which it says is based on respect for equal access and freedom of navigation for all humanity, many remain worried.

PLAN has become the priority of China's military modernization program, acquiring 30 submarines and 22 surface ships in the past decade, in addition to substantial numbers of maritime aviation assets and naval missilery. Conscious of the apprehension its military modernization program is generating, Beijing feels the need to reassure its neighbors and the world by portraying its naval and military expansion as benign and a natural result of its economic growth. Naval diplomacy is a major element of this effort.
In recent years, PLAN has conducted a growing number of visits to foreign harbors and conducted joint exercises with other navies. In 2007 alone, Chinese warships visited 11 countries, traveling as far as the North Atlantic. In the same year, PLAN carried out joint exercises with the navies of France, Spain, Britain and Russia. While these exercises were taking place in European waters, two other Chinese vessels were conducting visits to Australia and New Zealand. At about the same time, two other PLAN ships were visiting Pakistan.

The fact that eight Chinese warships were simultaneously deployed in foreign waters near three different continents illustrates the growing importance of naval diplomacy to Beijing. PLAN's ability to conduct small-scale operations far from its traditional area of operations is growing: In 2008, Chinese warships visited eight countries in Asia and Europe, while PLAN delegations visited 17 countries in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa.
Earlier this year at Qingdao naval base in east China, PLAN celebrated its 60th anniversary by opening its doors to the world. Warships representing navies from 14 countries, including the U.S. and Australia, attended a naval parade and were able to view some of PLAN's most advanced and secretive equipment, such as its nuclear submarines. The message seemed to be "we are getting stronger but more transparent, and we are peaceful."

Educational exchanges are another component of China's expanding naval diplomacy. In 2008, 97 foreign officers from 40 countries graduated from PLAN academies and institutes. Furthermore, PLAN and the Chinese military in general are sending increasingly large numbers of officers to foreign military academies. In 2006, 23 PLAN officers attended courses overseas, ranging from short operations-oriented courses to longer courses at command and staff colleges. Chinese naval officers also attend courses at foreign civilian universities.

The donation of naval equipment and other material is also being used by China to win good will. In 2007, following a visit by the Bolivian Chief of Defense Force to China, Beijing donated six 12-meter patrol boats to the Bolivian Navy.

Medium and small vessels have been donated to Mauritania, Tanzania, Burma, Cambodia and Sierra Leone. China has also repaired or built naval bases, barracks, storage facilities and military hospitals, and donated communication, diving and cartography materials to 34 countries around the world.

In October 2008, the Chinese Navy took delivery of its most modern hospital ship. The 10,000 ton vessel is, according to the People's Daily, the largest hospital ship ever built by any country. It will be based in Qingdao and could become a major tool of Chinese diplomacy. Following the example of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy, PLAN hopes to use the hospital ship for humanitarian operations.

Antipiracy operations and escorts for merchant ships have, since the beginning of this year, emerged as another important diplomatic element. Since January PLAN destroyers have escorted dozens of vessels off the coast of Somalia, among them Taiwanese and Japanese ships, as well as U.N. World Food Program cargo ships.

What factors account for China's extension in this field of diplomacy? First and foremost, China is eager to portray its military expansion and modernization as peaceful and in the interest of regional stability. The Chinese Communist Party has been relying increasingly on economic growth and nationalism as a source of legitimacy.

It is no coincidence that actions such as the antipiracy missions were given wide coverage in the Chinese media. The objective was clearly to project the image of China as a great naval power, contributing to patriotism and bolstering the government's power as well as angling for prestige on the world stage.

Greater interaction with foreign navies also allows PLAN exposure to the latest developments in naval technology. In September 2007, PLAN took part in its first ever exercise with an aircraft carrier, when two of its ships joined a British carrier for maneuvers in the North Atlantic. Given China's publicly stated intention to acquire an aircraft carrier before 2020, such exercises are of obvious value.

China's efforts in naval diplomacy illustrate its growing ambitions, but Beijing is sending mixed messages. On the one hand, PLAN is becoming more open and transparent, increasing its contact with foreign navies. On the other, it is expanding its arsenal and feeling more confident about displaying it to the world. Are we witnessing a more cooperative China at sea, or a more confident and potentially assertive one?

Loro Horta (rabino-azul@yahoo.com) is a visiting fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore. This article originally appeared in PacNet Newsletter.

Why not try a trade system that optimizes each nation's interest?

Special to The Japan Times


Many of us thought that the World Trade Organization (WTO) was dead when the world financial and economic crisis demolished the myth of the benefits of free trade regimes, and that the poor of the world could rejoice. But suddenly, by some kind of voodoo trickery, it is back.

Trade liberalization, the WTO promises, will bring benefits to all countries. In reality, rich countries have taken full advantage of the opening of markets in developing countries, while failing to open their own markets. Now the issue is agricultural trade, the most important issue for the poor of the developing world.

At the WTO's Cancun conference in 2003, developing countries were expected to accept a deal whereby, in return for making minor reductions in import tariffs and subsidies, they would be forced to accept a regime of free-flowing investments. The Cancun conference failed mainly because of the combined efforts of India, Brazil and South Africa to stand up against protectionism in developed countries.
• Agriculture: If the proposal for the WTO's recently revived Doha Round of Negotiations is any indication, developing countries would have to cut agricultural tariffs by 36 percent, and even the most important products for poor farmers would face cuts of around 19 percent.

Yet, the proposal does not imply real cuts in the huge U.S. and EU farm subsidies — although both pretend to be set to make cuts to subsidies, of 70 and 80 percent respectively. The current U.S. subsidy totals around $7 billion; a 70 percent cut would cap this at $14.5 billion. Similarly, according to estimates, EU subsides by 2014 will be around 12 billion euro; an 80 percent cut would cap subsidies at 22 billion euro.

Agricultural subsidies to farmers in the United States, European Union and Japan have risen to almost $1 billion a day. Together with other measures such as tariffs and quotas, these subsidies make it difficult for developing countries to compete in rich-country markets. Even more damaging, the subsidies enable agricultural exports from rich countries to drive small farmers out of business.

Developed-country subsidies thus threaten domestic food security while undermining export potential. Developing countries wanted this situation to be addressed before they agreed to another round of negotiations, but their request fell on deaf ears.
• Public Health: Patent rights, which grant temporary monopolies to drug manufacturers, keep drug prices and company profits up. In 1994, the World Health Organization agreement on "trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights" (TRIPS) mandated that member countries bring their laws into compliance with restrictive standards that maximize the rights of patent holders. Developing countries have proposed a clear declaration from the WHO that "nothing in the TRIPS agreement shall prevent members from taking measures to protect public health."

The U.S., Switzerland, and other rich countries have opposed this statement, and have proposed weaker, similar- sounding language in its place.

• Tariffs: In the U.S., the average tariff rate for imports of industrial goods is 4.9 percent with variations up to 350 percent. In Japan, the tariff rate (1998) was 4.3 percent with variations as high as 60 percent. In the EU, the average tariff rate is 4.8 percent with variations up to 89 percent. The variation range is due to specific tariffs on a variety of products that can hide the real degree of protection afforded the rich countries.

Commodities subjected to high tariffs in developed countries tend to be the very products in which poor countries have a comparative advantage. High tariffs against the export of industrial goods from poor countries cover 63 percent of all their export items. High tariff rates against the export of agricultural products from poor countries constitute 97.7 percent of all their agricultural exports. Moreover, tariff rates escalate with the processing of a natural product. Thus the idea that the developed countries have already reduced their tariff rates is a myth.

• Investment flow: Developed countries have initiated a strong campaign for the free flow of investments as a condition for WTO membership. The demand is that all countries allow complete freedom for multinational companies to invest in any sector they choose with complete freedom to withdraw their investments and to remit profits across the border.

Member countries would not have any form of control over exchange or capital flows. Foreign companies would be treated on a par with domestic companies. Domestic subsidies for socially needy industrial sectors would not be allowed as they are considered a hindrance to competition. And host governments would not be allowed to discriminate against foreign companies on government purchases or contracts.
The implication is that foreign investors could conceivably gain control of all natural resources, including agricultural land, and home governments would not be permitted to direct investments to socially desirable sectors or to economically backward regions.

Given these conditions, multinational trade negotiations are bound to fail because of the divergent interests of participating nations.

Therefore, for developing countries, it would be better to have a trade management system in which each country, not only developed ones, pays for its imports with its own currency. In that case, a developed exporting country would be obliged to buy from the country to which it exports. The system would not lead to a massive surplus for one country and a deficit for another, but rather to a balanced trade regime that benefits everyone.

The WTO, instead of being an arbitrator and promoter of "free trade," should be an advisory council for planning such a trade system so as to maximize the interests of everyone.

Dipak R. Basu is professor of international economics at Nagasaki University.

E-mail: Bose66@hotmail.com

US doublespeak on proliferation

G Parthasarathy

On July 8, 1996 the World Court held that states possessing nuclear weapons have not just a need, but an obligation to commence negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. The court also held that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be generally contrary to the principles of international law, though there was some doubt about the extreme contingency when “the very survival of a state was threatened”. Despite this World Court opinion, the United States, Russia, France and the UK reserve the right to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons whenever their interests so demand. The US and Russia together possess around 19,000 nuclear warheads; France has around 350 warheads and the UK 160 warheads.

The 2005 US Doctrine of Joint Operations spells out several contingencies when the US could use nuclear weapons, including situations where it wants to “rapidly end a war on terms favourable to the US” or to ensure that American and international operations are successful. President Jacques Chirac announced in January 2006 that France reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against states supporting terrorism or seeking weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, British Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon warned Iraq that “in right conditions” the UK reserved the right to use nuclear weapons. China and India have ruled out the “first use” of nuclear weapons. Israel and Pakistan have indicated that they would use nuclear weapons if their very survival is threatened. President Barack Obama has indicated that the 2005 US Doctrine would be reviewed. But the US and its NATO allies will not rule out the use of nuclear weapons against states that do not possess such weapons, or give a “no first use” pledge against states possessing nuclear weapons.

Mr Obama has indicated that he does not expect to see the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world achieved in his lifetime. The so-called ‘nuclear weapons states’ may talk about arms limitations and undertake some token cuts in certain categories of strategic warheads. But they have no intention of eliminating nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the American record on non-proliferation has been selective. In their book Deception: Pakistan the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy, Adrian levy and Catherine Scott-Clark have revealed how the CIA and successive US Administrations covered up information they had about Pakistan’s relentless, China-assisted quest for nuclear weapons because of larger strategic considerations.

American ‘Non-proliferation Ayatollahs’ roar like lions when talking about proliferation by Iran and North Korea, but squeak like mice when it comes to proliferation by China. The Americans have long known that China has provided Pakistan with nuclear weapons designs, fissile material and enrichment equipment, but have deliberately turned a blind eye to China’s activities. Over the past decade, China has provided Pakistan with plutonium reactors and reprocessing technology to enable Pakistan to make lighter warheads for fitment on Chinese supplied ballistic and cruise missiles. Successive US Administrations have ignored this. Moreover, despite recent revelations about AQ Khan, the Obama Administration continues to maintain that Pakistan’s proliferation activities were carried out solely by a rogue “AQ Khan Network”, thus absolving the Pakistani Army establishment which was the prime culprit, of its culpability. If President Ronald Reagan
overlooked Pakistani proliferation in the 1980s to keep Gen Zia-ul-Haq pleased, Mr Obama evidently wants to keep Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in good humour. The Obama Administration remains tongue-tied on issues of the Pakistani Army’s role in nuclear proliferation, and on the ISI’s support for Taliban leaders and groups like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba who kill American soldiers and nationals in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

New Delhi is not the only capital concerned by the Obama Administration’s efforts for ‘universalisation’ of the Non-Proliferation Treaty through demands that India, Israel and Pakistan should accede to the NPT. Responding to repeated statements on this issue by Obama Administration luminaries, Israel’s normally soft-spoken Defence Minister Ehud Barak retorted on September 7: “Until the Muslim world from Marrakesh to Bangladesh behaves like Western Europe, there can be no debate on nuclear non-proliferation.” Rarely, if ever, has Israel reacted in such terms to sermons on its security imperatives from an American President.

India has rejected the Obama-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution of September 24, calling on it to accede to the NPT. India should make it clear internationally that an important reason that the US is now focussing heavily on the NPT is that it is desperately keen to ensure that the NPT Review Conference scheduled for 2010 does not end in a fiasco like the review of 2005. But, the reasons why the non-nuclear weapons states stood firm in the 2005 review still remain valid, as the nuclear weapons states pay only lip service to nuclear disarmament, still insist on their right to use nuclear weapons against those who do not posses such weapons, and selectively deny technology for the development of nuclear energy. Moreover, while India would be prepared to join a multilaterally negotiated and non-discriminatory treaty on a fissile material cut-off, we cannot accede to the CTBT, which was accompanied by secret understandings and exchanges between five
nuclear weapons states.

India-US relations saw a remarkable turnaround in the last two years of the Clinton Administration and throughout the eight years of the Bush Administration. The 2002 Bush National Security Doctrine resulted in the US regarding India as a partner in areas ranging from nuclear non-proliferation to climate change and global economic issues. The policies the Obama Administration has pursued since it assumed office on such issues give the impression that it regards India as a target, rather than as a partner. Including provisions in the UN Security Council Resolution of September 24 which are at variance with the letter and spirit of the 123 Agreement and the subsequent NSG waiver only accentuates misgivings and suspicions in India.

Similarly, the threats held out about trade sanctions against countries that do not toe the US line on climate change, by Democratic Party Senator John Kerry, smack of crude intimidation. Given the Obama Administration’s

approach to relations with China, can one see any prospect of the type of swift and effective India-US cooperation that followed the Indian Ocean tsunami? These misgivings and suspicions will have to be addressed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Washington, DC.

Copenhagen negotiating text: 200 pages to save world?

David Adam


The draft agreement being discussed ahead of December’s crucial Copenhagen summit is long, confusing and contradictory.

It is a blueprint to save the world. And yet it is long, confusing and contradictory. Negotiators have released a draft version of a new global agreement on climate change, which is widely billed as the last chance to save the planet from the ravages of global warming.

Running to some 200 pages, the draft agreement is being discussed for the first time this week as officials from 190 countries gather in Bangkok for U..N. talks. There is only one meeting after this before they meet in Copenhagen aiming to hammer out a final version.

The Guardian’s environment correspondent has analysed the draft text which consolidates and reorders hundreds of changes demanded by countries to the previous version, which saw it balloon to 300 pages. It must be formally approved before negotiators can start to whittle it down. Here are the key, edited sections with their meaning.
Traditional sticking points

The text includes sections on the traditional sticking points that have delayed progress on climate change for a decade or longer:

— How much are rich countries willing to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and by when?

— Will large developing nations such as China make an effort to put at least a dent in their levels of pollution?

— How much money must flow from the developed world to developing countries to secure their approval? How much to compensate for the impact of past emissions, and how much to prevent future emissions?

According to U.N. rules, for a new treaty to be agreed, every country must sign up. The treaty is designed to follow the Kyoto protocol, the world’s existing treaty to regulate emissions, the first phase of which expires in 2012. Because the U.S. did not ratify Kyoto, the climate talks have been forced on to parallel tracks, with one set of negotiations, from which the U.S. is excluded, debating how the treaty could be extended. This new text comes from the second track, which lays out a plan to include all countries in cooperative action.

Edited extracts from the current draft of the U.N.’s global treaty to tackle climate change, officially called document FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.2 from the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action Under the Convention. The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change has the ultimate objective, set at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with climate.

I.27. [the parties shall work towards]:

Option 1. [as a stabilisation of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at [400] [450 or lower] [not more than 450] [450] [least 450] ppm carbon dioxide equivalent (CO-2} eq) [and a temperature increase limited to] [so that there is a very low or low level of risk that the global mean temperature rise will be] 20C or below above the pre-industrial level [with a probability greater than 50 per cent] [which requires reversing the trend of increasing global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 at the latest].

Option 2. [as a stabilisation of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere well below 350 ppm CO{-2} eq [and a temperature increase limited to below 1.5{+0}C above the pre-industrial level] [with a probability greater than 50 per cent of a temperature increase of less than 20}C from pre-industrial level]..

Option 3. [as a global temperature increase limited to 20}C above the pre-industrial level.]

Option 5.6 [on the basis of economic and technological feasibility.]

What this means ... Sets up the intended goal of controlling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The square brackets contain text that is provisional and often controversial. The options here span the full spectrum, from option 2, an ambitious goal of 350 parts per million CO-2}; [equivalent] — which is below today’s level — to option 5.6, making carbon cuts only if they are economically feasible.

I.31. [To this end, [developed country parties]..., as a group, [shall] [should] [reduce their [domestic] GHG emissions] [deeply cut their GHG emissions]: (a) [By at least 25-40] [By 25-40] [By more than 25-40] [In the order of 30] [By at least 40] [By 45] [By at least 45] per cent from 1990 levels by [2017] [2020], through domestic and international efforts.

What this means ... Introduces the 25-40 per cent range of cuts by rich countries that campaigners want to see by 2020. The distinction between domestic and international efforts is critical. The latter allows rich countries to buy offsets from abroad to count towards their target, rather than make cuts at home.

I.34. [Supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building from developed country parties, the GHG emissions of [developing country parties]... as a group, [shall] [should] [could] realistically change their emission patterns by: (a) [[Significantly deviate from the baseline by 2020] [Deviate in the order of 15-30 per cent below the baseline by 2020] [Deviating from the baseline by 2020]; (b) [And] be reduced by 25 per cent from 2000 levels by 2050.]]

What this means ... This asks developing countries to reduce the growth of their emissions by 2020. Clause (b) is significant because it would commit China, India and others to binding cuts, albeit by 2050. Expect very stiff resistance.

III B.5 [The extent of mitigation actions undertaken by developing countries will depend on the extent of effective provision of financial and technological support by developed country parties.]

What this means ... Strong stuff from the developing world. Pay up or we won’t act.

III A.17. [All [developed country parties] [shall][should] [individually or jointly, ensure that their aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of the GHGs listed in (x) do not exceed][take leadership to] adopt [legally binding] [measurable, reportable and verifiable] [[nationally appropriate] mitigation commitments or actions] [expressed as] [including] [economy-wide] quantified emission limitation and reduction [objectives] [for [up, to and beyond 2012] the period from [1990][2013] [XXXX] until [2017] [2020] [XXXX],]] [as inscribed in Annexure X] [of at least 40 per cent relative to 1990, by 2020] while ensuring comparability of efforts among them,[ based on their historical responsibility,] [[taking into account] [national circumstances for parties “with economies that are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing and export and/or consumption of fossil fuels” as specified in Article 4.8 (h)]
[differences in their national circumstances]]. [These commitments or actions shall be inscribed in [Annex ...] [[Appendix ...][Schedule ...][...]]] [with a view to collectively reducing their GHG emissions in the order of 30 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020]

What this means ... A key section. Just how much will developed countries cut their emissions and by when? On what baseline? All options remain open. There is a world of legal difference between whether they “shall” or “should” take on cuts. And “nationally appropriate” targets are weaker than if they are “legally binding.”

III A.11. [[Developed country parties] shall achieve their quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives: Option 1 [exclusively through domestic action.]; Option 2 [primarily through domestic emission reductions efforts.] [A maximum of [X] per cent of their commitments should be achieved through the use of [flexible] [carbon market] mechanisms, including offsets].. Option 3 [through a combination of domestic emission reductions efforts and [flexible] [carbon market] mechanisms.]

What this means ... Sets out whether rich countries must cut carbon at home or whether they can buy offsets from abroad.

II.33. By 2020 the scale of financial flows to support adaptation in developing countries must be [at least $67bn] [in the range of $70-140bn] per year. [Sources of new and additional financial support for adaptation [must meet the full agreed incremental costs of adaptation and initially be within a minimum range of $50-86bn per annum and regularly updated in the light of new emerging science, financial estimates and the degree of emission reductions achieved.]

What this means ... Rich countries will have to pay hundreds of billions over the next decade to help poor nations adapt

IV.4 Highlighting that financial commitments have not been met by developed country parties... and emphasising the ... need for these parties to honour their commitments ... by providing resources to support adaptation ... in developing countries.

What this means ... Bad blood and mistrust remain. Rich countries including Britain have failed to keep past promises on climate funding. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009

The Beijing Standard

China seems to believe that it can interfere in the internal affairs of other nations without entertaining any dialogue about is own domestic policies.

Frank Ching


Globalisation has impoverished some, enormously enriched others – China being a prime beneficiary of the latter – and closely connected far corners of the world. These growing connections have brought instant success to people and products, but they have also put countries under global scrutiny. While basking in the global adulation for its unprecedented economic growth and brilliant Olympic spectacle China, however, rejects the other side of connections. While Beijing is happy to go out into the world to export its goods, services and ideas, it finds fault with critical comments and scrutiny that come its way. In fact, China seems to believe that it can interfere in the internal affairs of other nations without entertaining any dialogue about is own domestic policies.

As China’s economic power grows – thanks to Globalisation – it seems increasingly prone to use that power to oppose the other natural outcome of Globalisation. With the People’s Republic celebrating its 60th anniversary on October 1, it is time for China to resolve this anomaly.

In theory, Globalisation brings societies closer together, fostering the emergence of common standards. Engagement and integration requires a free flow of information and information by definition does not respect borders.

Hence, it stretches the bounds of logic for China to insist that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, and to demand that other countries stay out of China’s internal affairs.

Logical or not, Beijing is not budging from this position, which is largely used to prevent foreign eyes from prying into what is going on in China, especially where human rights are concerned and the way Beijing treats minority populations, such as people who live in Tibet and Xinjiang

China’s charges of interference in its internal affairs have more often than not been triggered by meetings between the Dalai Lama, the head of Tibetan Buddhism, and foreign leaders. After French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama last December, He Yafei, deputy foreign minister, said, “The meeting grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, severely undermined China’s core interests, gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged the political basis of China-France and China-EU relations.” Grave charges indeed.

At the time, Sarkozy insisted on his right to meet whomever he wanted. “It’s not for China to fix my agenda, or to dictate my meetings,” he said.

As for the Dalai Lama, China’s position was stated again by a Foreign Ministry spokesperson this month. “We are firmly opposed to the Dalai Lama’s engagement in separatist activities against China in any country and in any name or identity,” she said.

In early September, for example, the Dalai Lama was invited to Taiwan to minister to the spiritual needs of those who survived a devastating typhoon that precipitated mudslides, killing hundreds. While there, he did not engage in political activities and was not received by senior officials.

But China still objected. A spokesman for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office declared that China opposed the visit “in whatever form and capacity” because the Dalai Lama “under the pretext of religion has all along been engaged in separatist activities.”

Indeed, China sometimes appears to demand that other countries yield part of their sovereignty in order to accommodate Beijing even in the case of film festivals.

When organizers of the Melbourne film festival recently decided to show the film “The 10 Conditions of Love,” a documentary about exiled Uyghur activitist Rebiya Kadeer, China objected.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the film “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” A Chinese diplomat telephoned the festival’s director demanding that the film be dropped. Some people may have seen that as interference in Australia’s domestic affairs.

What it comes down to is that China wants other countries to boycott the Dalai Lama—and others whom it labels as “separatists,” like Rebiya Kadeer—and refuse to issue visas to them. Of course, issuing a visa is a country’s sovereign right, but Beijing has relentlessly pressed other countries to bow to Chinese pressure and not issue such visas.

When South Africa earlier this year refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, the Chinese foreign ministry exulted: “China applauds the position of those countries that respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, adhere to the one-China policy and oppose the independence of Tibet.”

As far as China is concerned, anyone who offers a platform to the exiled Tibetan leader is interfering in China’s internal affairs.

And yet, if China had handled its internal affairs better, perhaps there would not have been a Tibetan uprising in 1959, with tens of thousands of Tibetans leaving their homeland for exile in India. Perhaps China should consider the possibility that it should from time to time listen to outside advice about how it handles its internal affairs.

Recently, China’s charges of interference have extended to the foreign media, whose job after all is to report on what is going on in the country. The People’s Daily, China’s official newspaper, published an online report on July 14 on the July 5 riot in Urumqi, in Xinjiang. It neatly presented two columns, one captioned “The Truth” and the other “Reports by Western Media.”

The truth, it said, was that the riot was “instigated and masterminded by the World Uyghur Congress led by Kadeer.” But western media reports, instead of saying so, reported what Kadeer had said in her own defence.

The truth, it said, was that the death toll from the violence stood at 184. Yet, the western media reported allegations of 500 Uighurs killed, or even higher numbers.

The People’s Daily did not simply accuse the western media of bias. It implied that the mass media was “a political tool” being used by western governments to interfere in China’s internal affairs. The proper way for western journalists to behave, it appears, is to report as truth whatever the Chinese government says.

China has been one of the principal beneficiaries of Globalisation. It now boasts the world’s largest foreign currency reserves as a result of foreign investment and trade. But it is resisting the tide of greater integration in other areas and, increasingly, appears to be asserting a right to control its citizens overseas and even over what foreigners can or cannot do when they interact with China or its citizens.

True, Globalisation resulted in images of the Tiananmen Square military crackdown being beamed into living rooms around the world and subsequent sanctions against China. But Globalisation also meant real time reporting of the Sichuan earthquake last year and the flood of sympathy and material support for the Chinese people.

The concept of non-interference in internal affairs is actually a European one. But in modern times it has been used largely by countries with something to hide, especially where human rights are concerned. It would be great if, with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing could decide on a much more open policy and not hide behind the veil of “internal affairs.”

After all, China prides itself in having signed more human rights treaties than the United States. But, in signing a treaty, each country in effect agrees to give up part of its sovereignty. The spirit of these treaties is that a country agrees that its human rights performance will no longer be considered purely its domestic affairs and can be dissected by foreign governments, NGOs and individuals. China, now a mature 60 year old republic, will take a big step forward if its actions reflect this principle.

Frank Ching is a Hong Kong-based writer whose book, Ancestors: 900 Years in the Life of a Chinese Family, was republished this summer in paperback. Rights: Copyright © 2009 Yale Center of the Study of Globalization. YaleGlobal Online

HISTORY LESSONS: Isle of contention BY Raja Menon

Raja Menon


Ever since Jaswant Singh dug up Jinnah to rediscover our history, he seems to have excited our young population. This is not surprising since half of them are below the age of 25 and have no knowledge of how differently things could have turned out in 1947. For many of us who lived through Partition or who heard unpleasant stories about those days, much of what is being rediscovered is passé. Give any one of us an opportunity and time to visit a good library, or even better, the British Public Records Office in Kew, and we could pull out a few stories that could astonish our young society.

Since I was due to address a conference in the Andamans, and had heard anecdotally that we were almost cheated out of those islands during Partition, I went back into the records of the transfer of power. Even to my amazement, this is what the research revealed.

The time is around April 1947 and Mountbatten has already frightened his staff into believing that he and Edwina are booked on a flight to London on August 16. The first missive is written by the India office in London (L/P&J/10/140:ff 445). It suggests that since Indians seem to have no opinion or objections to the British determination to retain the Maldives, Seychelles, Diego Garcia and Mauritius as part of the British Indian Ocean strategic setup, why don’t they also leave the Andaman and Nicobar islands out of the draft bill on the transfer of power. True, Nehru might object, but “since we are giving them everything else... What can they do about it?”

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Perhaps the Viceroy should be approached on how to deal with the Indians on this. A couple of months later, news of the British intention to retain the Andaman and Nicobar islands is leaked to The Times of India. This brings about a ‘sharp rejoinder’ in the Hindustan Times the next week, saying that if the British actually raised this issue with Indians, ‘it will be summarily rejected’. The note is written by General Ismay of the Higher Defence Organisation fame, and he adds that if “we raise the question now of being allowed to use the islands as a naval or air base... we would ruin our chances of success”.

But the wheels of government grind slowly, and although information of the British intention to retain the Andaman and Nicobar islands is common knowledge, it has raised no public outcry. So, the chiefs of staff committee figure in London, why not retain the Laccadive (Lakshadweep) Islands too? “These islands are sparsely inhabited coral strips and would be essential for our air reinforcement route to Australia, New Zealand and the Far East”. Assuming that the Andaman and Nicobar islands are retained and not given to the Indians, the problem still remains: navigating the distance from Masirah (Oman) to Ceylon — assuming that ‘we’ cannot use India as a transiting base, after having diddled them out of all their islands. Therefore, the chiefs of staff committee (COSC) feel, both the Andaman and Nicobar, and Laccadive islands are necessary to His Majesty’s government.

In conclusion, they say, they cannot assume that India, even if it agrees to remain a dominion, would agree to allow the British government, perpetual use of these islands. Therefore, they suggest that the Laccadive islands be transferred immediately from the Government of Madras to London. Things are actually getting quite hot, both climatically and figuratively, since the time is now July 1947. The chiefs of staff now hand over a minute to the British government stating that first, the A&N islands and Laccadives be simply left out of the bill on the transfer of power, and secondly to tell the Viceroy that ‘using’ the islands is not adequate, because it is “essential to retain our sovereignty over them.”

So, does the Viceroy have other opinions? Even if the Indian agriculturists in Delhi are unfamiliar with maritime power, and unsure what would happen if India didn’t get any islands on power being transferred to them. But clearly, Mountbatten, as a naval officer, and friend of India, knows exactly what is being put over the Indians, and will not cooperate. So: a missive to the Secretary for India, Mr Alexander, that the COSC are “worried about the line being taken by the Viceroy” and think the matter cannot be left open for negotiation at some distant date.

Fortunately, Mountbatten holds firm. After all he was the Supreme Commander Allied Forces, South East Asia Command during the recapture of Burma from the Japanese, so he should know what the islands are for. The British government, in their long and final minute, finally gives up. They have given Mountbatten the task of ‘getting us out’ by August 15, and he’s boss. London has to seek Delhi’s approval, not the other way round. So, in clause 16, they agree that ‘the viceroy had come to the firm conclusion that no provision be included... About the A&N Islands” and “leave our interests to be dealt with by negotiations with the new Dominion of India alone”.

And that is how I swam in the islands last week without showing my Indian passport to the immigration in Port Blair. Surely there is a good case to rename these islands the Mountbatten Islands. The RSS may be quite reasonable about this.

The writer is a retired rear admiral

Will There Be A War In Asia?

Gordon G. Chang, 10.02.09, 12:01 AM EDT
Weakening trade may increase tension.


On Sept. 15, New Delhi labeled as "factually incorrect" reports that Chinese troops had wounded two Indian border policemen sometime in early September in northern Sikkim. If the shooting did indeed occur, it would be the first violation of a 1996 agreement between China and India not to use force along their disputed boundary. Because no rumor should be considered true until officially denied, it appears that these two nations may be entering into a period of renewed tension.

Chinese soldiers have been patrolling more aggressively in regions claimed by both China and India--Indian analysts believe there are almost 300 Chinese border incursions a year--but New Delhi has sought to downplay Beijing's increased activity. As a result of the governments' reluctance to speak openly, no one talks about war between these two giants.

Their last military conflict--a border clash lasting nearly a month--was in late 1962, when neither of them was a nuclear power. Now, of course, both are. At one time, hostilities between nuclear-armed nations were thought to be virtually impossible. Yet since 1998, when both India and Pakistan tested atomic devices, they have engaged in the Kargil War of 1999 and a series of skirmishes and standoffs, thereby disproving this hopeful belief.
Asia, unfortunately, is full of intractable disputes. So this raises the question: Will there be war in Asia? The region, after all, is chockablock with nations arming themselves at a fast past, as China's National Day parade this week shows. Unfortunately, all of the big powers there--China, India, Japan and Russia--dislike each other, and all of them have unresolved disputes. (Japan and Russia, for instance, have yet to sign a treaty to end World War II due to disagreements over the Soviet seizure of territory in the waning days of the conflict.)
Japan and China both claim the same islands and squabble over the line separating their exclusive economic zones. The Chinese still harbor long-held ambitions to recover vast portions of Russia's Siberia. India and China are increasingly unhappy with their border arrangements, and the Indians are fighting Beijing-fueled insurgencies on their soil. And Japan feels threatened by China-backed North Korea.

In Europe, last century's large-scale wars have made general conflict there unthinkable. In Asia, fighting has merely left combatants unsatisfied. The Europeans have built institutions to reinforce peace. Asians, on the other hand, have not. They are trying to construct a framework for cooperation, but efforts have fallen flat. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has not been able to deal with the issues that plague its region, and APEC, which includes nations on both sides of the Pacific, is a mere talking shop. Japan has just proposed an Asian Union and China has endorsed the idea, but this grouping, floated many times in the past, will take years to get organized.

In the absence of real institutions in Asia, the U.S. has kept the peace. It has anchored the region with two military alliances--with Japan and South Korea--and a series of working relationships--such as those with Singapore. The U.S. has done much to guarantee stability, but it has not tried to settle the maritime disputes now threatening regional peace.
Six nations maintain competing claims to island groups in the South China Sea; the most expansive assertions of sovereignty are China's. Beijing's maps show the entire body of water as an internal Chinese lake, and it claims as its own the continental shelves of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

While Beijing has shown surprising flexibility in settling land borders with neighbors this decade, it has remained intransigent about its extensive--and mostly unjustifiable--sea claims. Why? Many point to the hydrocarbons under the South China Sea, but energy is not the real reason for China's determination to control that body of water. The real reason is that it views sea lanes as strategic.

Because territorial claims are zero-sum in nature, they tend to be flashpoints. So far, the U.S. has ignored Beijing's outsized notions of its sovereignty and has brushed off a series of hostile Chinese acts against American planes and vessels in international airspace and waters in the Yellow and South China seas. Although China's claims impinge on America' s role as the final guarantor of international commerce, successive administrations in Washington have hoped that, as China developed its economy, it would come to accept international norms and compromise on its outlandish claims.

Yet the Chinese, as they have become more powerful, have become more aggressive. Seeing little resistance from others, they naturally believed they could do what they wanted to advance their interests. In the middle of last year, for instance, Beijing threatened ExxonMobil because it had entered into a preliminary joint exploration venture with state-run PetroVietnam. The area covered by the pact, although off Vietnam's central and southern coast, is claimed by the Chinese as their historic waters. This bullying followed Beijing's harassment of BP for a similar deal with Vietnam.

Up to now, none of this friction has mattered because commerce has glued Asia together. Trade volume in the region soared this decade as China bought raw materials and components from neighbors so that it could process and sell them to markets outside Asia. Yet Chinese exports have been declining every month since last November as global demand slumped, and its imports have also consistently fallen in the same period. Slumping demand will eventually hit intra-Asian trade hard, perhaps even the now-booming commerce between China and India. As a result, we are seeing the beginning of currency wars in East Asia as nations seek to make their exports more competitive with China's.
The risk is that Asia's leaders will see less need to cooperate with each other as their economies decouple. Small disputes, which would have been settled or died away in the prosperous past, could now have more severe consequences. Asian nations have not come to terms with their neighbors, the institutional links among rising powers remain weak, and disagreements in the region are sharpening. We can all guess what happens next.

Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China. He writes a weekly column for Forbes.



"The Hindu" has reported on October 1,2009, that the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi has been issuing visas on a separate sheet of paper to Indian citizens born and resident in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). A Chinese Embassy spokesman has been quoted as claiming that this is not a new practice and has been done even in the past.

2.From a perusal of the two reports from its New Delhi-based correspondent carried by the paper, it would seem that one or two Kashmiris, who are citizens of India, with plain paper visas issued by the Chinese Embassy, were not allowed to leave the country by the Indian immigration and they complained to this correspondent.

3. While the Chinese Embassy has tried to make out that this practice is nothing new, it must have been of recent origin. Otherwise, the Indian immigration would have noticed it and drawn the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs. The veracity of the Chinese claim can be easily established by the Indian Embassy in Beijing requesting Kashmiris ftrom India studying in China to produce their Indian passports in order to see whether they had travelled with plain paper visas. If so, there was definitely negligence on the part of the Indian immigration in not noticing this earlier.

4. The Chinese action in issuing such plain-paper visas to Indian citizens born and resident in J&K is a political statement meant to indicate that China does not recognise J&K as an integral part of India and that it agrees with the Pakistani contention that J&K is a disputed territory.

5.Chinese policy on J&K has passed through three stages. In the first stage till 1996, China automatically supported the Pakistani contention that J&K is a disputed territory and that the violence in J&K did not amount to terrorism.Following the visit of the then Chinese President Jiang Zemin to India and Pakistan in 1996, there was a nuanced change in the Chinese policy. They did not recognise J&K as an integral part of India, but started avoiding words, actions or gestures which could be interpreted as their support to the Pakistani stand. During the Kargil conflict of 1999, the Chinese reportedly supported the US position that Pakistan should withdraw its troops from the Indian territory in the Kargil Heights and that the Line of Control should be respected. It was the Chinese reluctance to support Pakistan at the time of the Kargil conflict during the visit to Beijing by Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, which made him dash to Washington after returning to Islamabad and seek a US-backed face-saving before ordering the withdrawal of the Pakistani troops ftrom Indian territory.

6.The Chinese position had stood there since then. Their position till recently can be summed up as follows:Avoiding any action or words or gestures which could be interpreted as their support to either the Pakistani stand that J&K is a disputed territory or the Iindian stand that J&K is an integral part of India. At the same time, they have consistently maintained their past policy of refusing to categorise the violence in J&K as terrorism.

7.Their practice of issuing plain paper visas to Indian citizens born and resident in J&K, whenever it started, indicates their sliding back to their pre-1999 position of support to the Pakistani stand that J&K is a disputed territory and rejection of the Indian stand that J&K is an integral part of India.

8.India should not remain content with merely taking up this issue at the diplomatic level with China. There is a need for concrete action to express our displeasure over the insidious Chinese practice. The Indian diplomatic and consular missions in China should be asked not to issue any more work visas to Chinese selected by their companies to work in their projects in India. The visas of the Chinese already working in India should not be extended when they expire. It should be made clear to the Chinese that the issue of work visas to Chinese nationals will be resumed only when their practice of issue of plain paper visas is discontinued. ( 2-10-09)

( 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: seventyone2@gmail.com )



According to reliable source reports from Tibet and Xinjiang, October 1, 2009, which marked the 60the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, was observed as a day of mourning by the Uighurs and the Tibetans in Xinjiang and Tibet.

2. Despite the strong security measures taken by the Public Security Bureau of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, pamphlets purported to have been issued by the Munich-based World Uighur Congress (WUC) calling upon the Uighurs not to celebrate the day managed to circulate in the Uighur-majority areas of the city. The pamphlet said: "On October 1st, 1949 Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China and incorporated East Turkestan into its territory. Since the land had been conquered by the non-Chinese Manchu emperors of China in the later part of the 19th century and renamed 'Xinjiang' or 'New Dominion', the people of East Turkestan had tried more than three times to throw off the yoke of the foreign invaders. Replacing the rule of the Manchu emperor with Nationalist Chinese or Communist Chinese did little to help the people of East Turkestan.On this 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the World Uyghur Congress does not celebrate the yoke of oppression or the 'dictatorship of the people.' This date conjures feelings of anguish and misery for the people who have endured the takeover and transformation of their homeland into another Chinese province."

3. The local authorities had made it a criminal offence to disseminate anything, which could weaken national unity and ethnic harmony. They were taken by surprise that despite the stepped-up vigilance some local sympathisers of the WUC managed to circulate these pamphlets. Some arrests have been made in this connection. SMS messages on mobile phone networks were ordered to be suspended during the whole of the week, apparently due to an apprehension that these messages could be used to organise a public demonstration on October 1 against Beijing's rule.

4. While the Chinese authorities denied any ban on the visits of foreign tourists to Urumqi and Lhasa, they had reportedly advised the travel agencies, which organise tours to these areas, to ensure that no foreign tourists would be present in Urumqi and Lhasa for a week from September 28.

5. As part of the security measures, kite-flying and sale of items which could be used by terrorists such as knives, syringe needles, fertilisers, certain women's cosmetics items etc were banned. A ban was also imposed on women carrying their cosmetic bags in public transport.

6. Worried over the non-participation of Uighurs and Tibetans in the celebration of the 60 th anniversary, the Public Security Bureau issued warnings that any Tibetan and Uighur public servant , who did not attend the celebrations, would be liable for disciplinary action.

7. A week before October 1, the Xinjiang's People's Congress Standing Committee passed a so-called "Information Promotion Bill" banning people in the region from using the Internet in any way that undermines national unity, incites ethnic separatism or harms social stability. (4-10-09)

( 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: seventyone2@gmail.com )