July 21, 2010

An Analysis of North Korea's Principal Trade Relations

An Analysis of North Korea's Principal Trade Relations

Asie Visions 32, juillet 2010



The Direction of Trade Statistics by IMF is the most representative statistical data for bilateral trade with North Korea. However, IMF statistics underestimate North Korea's international trade since they do not classify inter-Korean trade as international trade. Therefore, this study restructures statistics on North Korea by combining the IMF and inter-Korean trade data, and it analyzes the structure of North Korea's international trade. In addition, it conducts a unique analysis of trade structures, since other studies have not analyzed production processes in North Korean trade.

This analysis identifies six main characteristics of North Korea's trade:

First, import volume is much greater than export volume during the period between 1989 and 2008. North Korea has suffered from chronic trade deficits that worsened in the 2000s. The amount of trade deficit is almost equal to the amount of exports. Thus, the study of North Korean efforts to overcome its trade deficit is important for understanding the economic structure of North Korea. Unfortunately, it is hard to understand North Korean methods for overcoming the deficit due to lack of available statistics. Thus, based on our data, we can infer that North Korea resorts to unconventional methods to overcome the trade deficit, such as illegal missile trade.

Second, North Korean international trade is highly dependent on South Korea and China. Beyond these two nations, North Korea traded with various small and medium-size nations in North Africa and Central and South America.

Third, the structure of North Korean exports has gone through dramatic change, as the proportion of manufactured electronic components, radio, TV, and communications equipment in North Korea's total exports has increased. This change is due to support measures from the North Korean government, such as the establishment of the Ministry of Electronics Industry, to nurture its leading export industry.

Fourth, imports of machinery, electronic components, and communications equipment have increased rapidly as the North Korean export structure has changed. The import of products such as machinery and equipment indicates that North Korea has been improving and modernizing its aging industrial infrastructure. However, considering that the proportions of energy, food, and beverage still remain high in total imports, this study implies that North Korea is focusing on the import of products that are necessary in the near future rather than emphasizing enhancement of its export competitiveness.

Fifth, the production process analysis points out that the export of IT-related products has increased recently as a proportion of total exports. However, these products are found to be relatively low-level consumption goods, so the proportion of components is still low. During the period chosen for our analysis (1992-2006), the import of capital goods decreased, but the import of consumption goods increased. In other words, the trend shows that North Korean imports are merely being conducted to deal with short-term scarcity rather than to nurture industrial infrastructure. Unless North Korea normalizes the economy and enhances export competitiveness by importing capital goods, North Korea's international export will soon encounter limits. It is more likely that trade deficits will continue to worsen.

Sixth, the economic cooperation between North Korea and China is expected to strengthen and this increase in cooperation will affect the bilateral trade between them. In the past, their bilateral trade mainly consisted of raw materials and food, but the recent tendency has been to trade a diversity of goods, such as machinery, transformers, and IT-related products. The diversification of the products being traded signifies that China is the main supplier of North Korea's raw materials and products. Also, North Korea will depend on China as a consumption market for North Korean products.

Whither Pakistan? Growing Instability and Implications for India

IDSA Task Force Report


IDSA Task Force Report
Publisher: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Rs. 299 [ORDER NOW]
ISBN 81-86019-70-7
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About the Report

Pakistan has invariably evoked a great deal of interest among India’s strategic affairs community. Because of historical, geographical, economic and cultural linkages, developments in the neighbourhood have important implications for India’s politics, economy and security. This is especially true in the case of Pakistan. Recent developments in Pakistan have been a cause of concern for all the countries concerned about its future. Given the need for better understanding of developments in Pakistan, IDSA launched its Pakistan Project in the year 2009. The project team began its work in March 2009 and has been meeting regularly to discuss various developments in Pakistan. This is the first report produced by the team and it was reviewed by a panel of experts in January 2010 and finalized with their inputs and suggestions.

The basic argument that flows from the report is that Pakistan is likely to remain unstable because of inherent weaknesses in its political, economic and security policies. The absence of any long-term shared vision of Pakistan, the over-securitization of the state apparatus because of its obsession with India as a threat and an enemy, and the state’s ambivalence towards the phenomenon of Islamic radicalism will keep Pakistan in a state of chronic turmoil. The report suggests a set of policy alternatives for India to deal with the consequences of an unstable Pakistan, on a long term basis.

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“The Future of the US-India Relationship”

Shashi Tharoor and Nick Burns
“The Future of the US-India Relationship”

4:00 pm: July 22, 2010
WWF Auditorium, 172-B, Lodi Estate, New Delhi

Aspen Institute India cordially invites you to an interaction with Amb. Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Former Under Secretary, U.S. Department of State on “The Future of the US-India Relationship” on July 22, 2010 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at the WWF Auditorium, New Delhi.

Mr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Former Minister of State for External Affairs will join Mr. Burns at the session and will speak and respond to questions.

Registration will begin at 3:30 pm.

Due to limited number of seats, prior registration is required.

Thursday, July 22, 2010 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

WWF Auditorium
172-B Lodi Estate, New Delhi

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by 10:00 AM

Please respond by clicking one of the buttons below

Nicholas Burns is Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He was a visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in summer 2008.

He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group and serves on the Board of Directors of the Vangent Holding Corporation and the Advisory Board for Veracity Worldwide. Burns is on the Board of Directors of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Center for a New American Security, The Atlantic Council and a number of other non-profit organizations. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission., the Order of Saint John and Red Sox Nation.

Ambassador Burns served in the United States Foreign Service for twenty-seven years until his retirement in April 2008. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008, the State Department’s third-ranking official when he led negotiations on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel and was the lead U.S. negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005) and to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked for five years (1990-1995) on the National Security Council at the White House when he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and, before that, Director for Soviet Affairs in the Administration of President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem from 1985 to 1987 where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt and Mauritania. He has received ten honorary doctorates, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Johns Hopkins University and the Boston College Alumni Achievement Award. Burns has a BA in History from Boston College (1978) and an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1980). He also earned the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 1977.

Hiding Behind the Cloud

Author: Contingency Today

Neil Fisher, vice president of global security solutions at Unisys warns that a cyber weapon of mass disruption in the Cloud could have a hugely catastrophic effect on any company or country. It's time to beat the enemy at their own game. They think they can hide behind the Cloud. They can't but we can.

Internet hackers are not limited by country borders and businesses in any region could be vulnerable to attack. Companies which see security as a cost centre and no more important than the corporate coffee budget are most at risk. By cutting long-term investments for short-term gain they are leaving themselves exposed and vulnerable to attack. Businesses that see security as a driver for revenue on the other hand, take security far more seriously and reap the benefit as a result.

The front line of any attack is also the average consumer, going about their everyday lives, largely unaware of how their personal information can be used against them. According to the Unisys Security Index, a bi-annual survey into consumer concerns, 87 per cent of UK consumers are worried about falling victim to ID theft. The widespread nature of this threat is difficult to comprehend and is constantly underestimated.

In this hyper-connected world, cyber conflict has the capability to exert an enormous and debilitating influence on our national leadership's decision making powers. As nearly all our decision making is dependent upon an automated information infrastructure, (facilitated by the Internet), we are finding ourselves increasingly vulnerable to the consequences of cyber attack.

Anyone who doesn't take the threat of cyber attack seriously and has failed to fully grasp what their dependences are, is at greatest threat. Yet understanding dependencies is a priority that often gets overlooked. Whenever a new information device is produced our dependencies change, often in subtle, asymmetric, ways; be that a main frame, a new form of communication fibre, a new edge device such as an iPhone or iPad.

We're currently in a position of system design stalemate. We have an information architecture based on a shared and constant set of standards. The bad guys have adjusted to these standards so if we make an improvement in our armoury by throwing another firewall at a problem, for example, it will only be a matter of time before our enemies find a way around this defence. This has very real similarities to the Cold War where conflict was avoided only by the threat of mutual assured destruction. Now we could be in the situation where a cyber weapon of mass disruption could have a hugely catastrophic effect yet our adversary does not have the same dependency as we do. We need to take radical action to counter these threats and this situation.

How do we gain the upper hand? We toss the rule book out of the window and make ourselves invisible. With Unisys Stealth computing you can actually affect the architecture of information systems so they can't be detected, let alone broken into. Stealth is a disruptive technology. It is ground-breaking stuff which will fundamentally change the way information systems are designed.

It's time to beat the enemy at their own game. They think they can hide behind the Cloud. They can't but we can.

Neil Fisher, vice president of global security solutions, Unisys.



On December 21,1988,Pan Am Flight 103 flying from London to New York was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Eleven residents of Lockerbie in southern Scotland were also killed as large sections of the plane fell in and around the town.

2.Joint investigation by the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary of Scotland and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation( FBI) established after three years that the bombing was carried out by two officers of the Libyan Intelligence, who were identified as Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was the security chief of the Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, a Libyan intelligence officer working under cover as the station manager of LAA in the Malta airport. The US demanded in the UN Security Council that the two Libyan intelligence officers should be handed over to the Scottish authorities for trial in a neutral venue. On Libya's refusal, the UN Security Council, at the instance of the US, imposed sanctions against Libya. Under sustained international pressure, the Libyan Government handed over the two Libyan intelligence officers to the Scottish Police on April 5,1999. They were tried by a neutral court in Netherlands.

3.On January 31, 2001, Megrahi was convicted of murder by a panel of three Scottish judges and sentenced to 27 years in prison, but Fhimah was acquitted. Megrahi's appeal against his conviction was rejected on March 14, 2002, and his application to the European Court of Human Rights was declared inadmissible in July 2003. On September 23, 2003, he petitioned to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) for his conviction to be reviewed. On June 28, 2007 the SCCRC referred the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh after it found he "may have suffered a miscarriage of justice". He was released from prison on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009 . It was stated that he was suffering from an incurable ailment He was allowed to return to Libya.

4.On August 15, 2003, Libya's UN Ambassador, Mr. Ahmed Own, informed the UN Security Council that Libya formally accepted "responsibility for the actions of its officials" in relation to the Lockerbie bombing. The Libyan Government paid a compensation of US$8 million to each family which had suffered because of the death of its member or members in the bombing. A sum of US$2.5 million per family was deducted from the compensation payment to reimburse to the Governments concerned the expenditure incurred by them on the investigation and prosecution of the case. The UN and US sanctions against Libya were removed.

5. This is the first instance in the history of counter-terrorism of a State-sponsor of terrorism being held legally accountable for the involvement of its intelligence officers in an act of terrorism abroad targeting innocent civilians. The successful prosecution and the payment of compensation had a salutary effect on the Libyan Government and it stopped sponsoring acts of terrorism through its intelligence agencies to achieve its strategic objectives.

6. The successful and exemplary denouement of the case was made possible by the sustained pressure by the US bilaterally as well as through the UN Security Council, public support for the families of the victims, vigorous activism by the families which did not allow Libya to get away with its criminal act, international support for the US and thorough investigation by the Scottish Police and the FBI.

7.Between November 26 and 29,2008, ten terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani terrorist organisation, organised a sea-borne raid on two five-star hotels, a restaurant, a Jewish cultural centre, a railway station and a hospital, among other places, in Mumbai. They brutally mowed down many passengers in the railway station, held the inmates of the hotel hostages for three days, killed innocent customers in the restaurant and brutally tortured and killed the inmates of the Jewish centre, including a pregnant Jewish woman.

8. By the time they were neutralised by the Indian security forces after three days, they had killed 166 persons--- 123 Indian civilians, 25 foreign civilians and 18 membvers of the security forces. Of the 25 foreign civilians, six were Israelis, three each were Americans and Germans, two each were Canadians and Australians, and one each were British, Belgian, Italian, French, Mauritian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai and Japanese.

9. The investigation by the Indian investigators revealed the involvement of officers of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and Army in helping the LET in mounting the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Independently,the FBI had arrested in the first week of October, 2009, David Coleman Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, because intercepts of his telephone conversations and E-mails with persons in Pakistan showed that he was in touch with the LET and Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313 Brigade, both associates of Al Qaeda, and was trying to help them in planning and executing a terrorist strike on a Danish newspaper, which had in 2005 published some cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

10. His interrogation after his arrest by FBI officers for eight months also revealed that he had helped the LET in mounting the sea-borne terrorist raid on Mumbai. For this purpose, he had visited India a number of times for taking video photography of suitable targets, for studying those targets, for selecting suitable landing points for the LET boat and for storing data on the glibal positioning system subsequently used by the LET. It also came out that in addition to Ilyas Kashmiri, who is a retired officer of the US-trained Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army, which is a special force unit, Headley was in touch with other serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army.

11. In June,2010, the FBI allowed a team of investigators of India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) to interrogate Headley in US custody in the presence of his lawyer and FBI officers. According to the NIA investigators, Headley confessed during his interrogation that the ISI and the Pakistan Navy had played an active role in helping the LET in getting its terrorists trained and in mounting the attack.

12. Thus, the Indian investigators have two types of evidence of the involvement of the ISI and the Pakistani Army----

  • Evidence collected by Indian investigators in India on their own. Pakistan and the US can dismiss this evidence as not credible and as probably obtained through questionable methods such as torture of the witnesses and suspects.
  • Evidence collected by the NIA team during their interrogation of Headley in the US. It has a very high value and cannot be dismissed as not credible. He was questioned in US and not Indian custody. Hence, the question of using improper methods does not arise. He was questioned in the presence of his lawyer and FBI officers. Hence, any question of the NIA team fabricating the confession does not arise.
13. If US claims of co-operating with India in counter-terrorism are correct and if its protestations of its determination to fight against terrorism wherever it takes place and whoever is involved are to be believed, one would have expected the US to initiate against the Pakistani officers involved and the Pakisani State the same action as it initiated against the Libyan intelligence officers and the State of Libya. It fought against Libya legally and in the UN Security Council for 13 years in order to have the Libyan intelligence officers convicted and to force Libya to pay compensation to the families of the victims. It imposed its own sanctions against Libya and had other sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.

14. In a typical example of US double standards in counter-terrorism, the US, which was in the forefront of the international campaign to hold Libya accountable for the actions of its intelligence officers, has pushed the evidence against the ISI and its officers under the carpet as it had repeatedly done in the past and has been trying to see that no harm comes to Pakistan.Libya was punished----politically and economically--- for sponsoring terrorism against the US. Pakistan has been repeatedly rewarded---politically and economically despite evidence of the role of its ISI and Army in the sponsorship of terrorism against India.

15. Pakistan is able to get away with its criminal acts and the US is able to get away with its double standards, because we have a Government, which hesitates to raise vigorously such issues to protect our nationals and to maintain our national honour. Inactions by the US are shocking. Inactions by our own Government are equally shocking:

  • Did we take up the case before the UN Security Council? No.
  • Did we bring the evidence collected by us to the notice of the anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council and demand a debate and follow-up action? No.
  • Did we bring the confession of Headley to the notice of the UN Security Council? No.
  • Did we register an offence against the ISI and other Pakistani Army officers named by Headley and take up our own investigation? No.
  • Did we convene a conference of the officials of the countries whose nationals were killed by the LET, share the evidence against the ISI with them and request them that they too should raise this matter in appropriate fora? No.
  • Did we help the familes of the victims in mounting a campaign for the payment of compensation by Pakistan? No.
16. I have been saying and writing for many years that we should follow a two-pronged policy towards Pakistan---"Talk, talk, hit, hit" . Talk, if useful. Hit, if necessary. We have a Government which only wants to talk and does not want to hit.

17. The role of our opposition parties has been equally dismal. They were only interested in exploiting the terrorist strikes during the election campaign last year and for embarrassing the Congress party now. Beyond that, they have hardly done anything to see that justice was done. (21-7-10)

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

New US strategy in Afghanistan Fresh challenges before India

by Maj-Gen Ashok Mehta (retd)


THINGS are going from bad to worse in Afghanistan. The troop surge and military operations in the South and East have failed to regain the initiative from the Taliban as expected. Rather, the Taliban offensive has taken a heavy toll of US and Afghan forces. An overall increase in violence is 87 per cent compared to that last year — a 94 per cent rise in roadside bombings and three suicide bombings a week, including multiple bombers targeting US/NATO bases inflicting the highest casualties in June. Earlier this month was the third case of fratricide since 2008 — a rogue Afghan soldier killing three British Gurkha soldiers and wounding four more. This is bound to adversely affect Afghanisation’s security sector.

The Afghan Rights Monitor (ARM) in its mid-year report has described 2010 as the worst for Afghanistan in terms of insecurity since 2001 and criticised the UN which has been “effectively paralysed in almost 90 per cent of Afghan due to self-paranoia and extreme risk-prevention measures”. If this was not bad enough, Holland, Canada, Poland, Australia and even UK are contemplating withdrawal of troops. “We can’t be there for another five years, having been there for nine years already”, British Prime Minister David Cameron has noted. NATO’s Secretary-General Rasmussen has warned that the Taliban would return to Afghanistan and it would once again become a safe haven for terrorists if international forces withdrew too soon.

President Obama, whose popularity is at a new low, has said that the July deadline is only the start of a transition phase that would allow the Afghan government to take more and more responsibility and not cut and run. Whatever the spin, the mood in America is somber, even pessimistic about the war of necessity which has a diminishing traction though support for the GIs is solid. US Congress is divided — an amendment sponsored by Democrats in the House demanding a detailed withdrawal plan was defeated due to Republican support.

Almost no one on the US think-tank circuit believes that the war can be won. The refrain is about averting defeat. The argument goes that to fight the war, the US has chosen two unreliable partners: President Karzai and Pakistan. It is uselessly spending $100 billion annually and losing 1.7 soldiers a day with no light at the end the tunnel. Afghanistan has become America’s longest military campaign in which more than 1000 soldiers have been killed and 6000 wounded. The talk is about alternative extrication strategies.

I heard a version of the alternate strategy during an international conference earlier this month in New York. It categorically asserted that the war could not be won; that it was a lost cause; that the US should immediately review its strategy keeping modest and attainable goals by scaling down troop levels to 20,000, mostly special forces and holding only key population centres like Kabul. Emphasis was on covert operations, backed by drones and air power. Both President Karzai and the Pakistan military establishment came in for a pasting which no one, including the Afghans and the Pakistanis attending the conference, seemed to mind.

There is little originality in this strategy as it resembles the US Vice-President’s own Biden Plan after his name. The latest incarnation of strategy comes from a former US envoy to India, Robert Blackwill, who recommends a defacto partition of Afghanistan between Pashtun and non-Pashtun areas with US forces concentrated in the non-Pashtun belt while employing Special Forces and the Air Force to target the Taliban leadership in the partitioned Pashtun area and inside Pakistan. Even the Blackwill Plan has shades of the Cofer Black (former CIA and counterterrorism expert) and Peter Galbraith (former Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan) alternate strategies.

The strategy being executed under the new leadership of Gen David Petraeus — the most over-researched strategy in recent history — is simply not working. Besides unreliable local partners, it suffers from the clarity of mission, inadequacy of resources, insufficiency of political will and a surfeit of cooks spoiling the broth. Nothing is more diverting for troops in combat than the deadlines for thinning out or alterations in the rules of engagement which are proposed by General Petraeus. Despite these deficiencies, American, British and other allied soldiers are fighting with “courageous restraint”, a term introduced by the dismissed Gen Stanley McChrystal for “protecting people”. Further, making President Karzai deliver on better governance and Pakistan on acting against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network is the work in progress but unlikely to succeed.

The exit strategy is premised on a negotiated power-sharing agreement with the reconcilable Afghan Taliban for which president Karzai and US interlocutors have been in contact with elements of the Quetta Shura, courtesy Pakistan’s ISI. One report suggests that General Petraeus has met Mullah Omar and that the Pakistan Army is in the driver’s seat on reconciliation. Ironically, the Pakistan Army has gained notoriety for breaking deals with militant groups in Pakistan and will sell a lemon to the US, anxious to walk into the sunset.

It is impossible to tell how Afghanistan will shape up by December when President Obama will preside over the third review of the Af-Pak strategy. The civilian and military surge is continuing, the delayed operations to clear and hold Kandahar, the intellectual heartland of the Taliban, will have been attempted to commence negotiating with the defeated Taliban from a position of strength. Most Afghans believe the real Taliban will not negotiate when they know that the occupation forces are on the way out. The best case scenario for the US is empowering the Afghan National Security Forces in undertaking independent operations against the Taliban coupled with a credible power-sharing agreement resulting from a national unity government.

The scenario that India dreads is the return of the Taliban in whatever combination of anti-India networks that Pakistan is able to engineer. A nuanced shift has taken place in New Delhi’s Afghanistan policy. It has reconciled with the idea of reintegration of Taliban foot soldiers but rejected reconciliation with its leadership as dangerous. The need of the hour is preventing with the help of regional players a precipitate departure of the US and NATO forces by scuttling Pakistan’s design of foisting the Taliban on Kabul.

Reviving the Northern Alliance, opening channels to the Pashtun groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Taliban, is an immediate challenge for New Delhi. So also is protecting its 4000 workers and assets in Afghanistan while continuing to gainfully employ its soft power in reconstructing Afghanistan. India’s biggest handicap in pursuing a proactive policy is the lack of contiguity with Afghanistan and US over-reliance on Pakistan to deliver both on counter-insurgency as well as reconciliation with the Taliban. Enlarging military engagement through military training and exchange of police and army officers will ensure that the Afghan military benefits from the Indian Army’s long and sustained counter-insurgency experience. India needs to augment its defence wing in Kabul and improve intelligence-sharing with ISAF and the Afghan military. It could donate one division-worth of military equipment for the Afghan Army. The essence of the challenge is combining hard and soft power for preserving India’s interests while promoting stability in Afghanistan. New Delhi should stop saying that it has no leverage!

Pakistan: a client of more than one state

China has been Pakistan's firmest ally for 60 years – and it is to Beijing that Islamabad looks to counterbalance the influence of western largesseMustafa Qadri guardian.co.uk, Sunday 18 July 2010 Article history

· Pakistan's special relationship with the United States may have taken centre stage since the attacks of 11 September 2001, but in China it has another enduring great power ally. With Pakistan's President Zardari returning from a visit of several days to China last week, it is worth considering the country's other asymmetrical alliance.

· China has been Pakistan's most reliable ally for six decades. Pakistan was quick to recognise China's communist regime a mere two years after it first came to power in 1949. Ever since, it has looked to the east Asian power to counterbalance its historical reliance on western geopolitical largesse.

· After the 1962 war between China and India, the US supplied India for the first time with substantial arms, creating profound disenchantment among the Pakistani military leadership. That disenchantment led Pakistan to seek Chinese military aid.

· In the last two decades the economic component of the alliance has taken centre stage. Pakistan has the potential to give China a land link to Middle Eastern energy reserves. A central reason for US involvement in the region is to maintain its global influence at a time when rivals are steadily if slowly emerging. None is larger than China. For China, an added element is developing a regional coalition against an increasingly pro-US India.

· Today, the relationship is not so culturally infused. As with so many other countries, China has been happy to develop defence and economic ties with Pakistan while avoiding criticism of its political situation. Perhaps the biggest friction of recent times has been over alleged Pakistan-based Islamist infiltration into China's restive Xinjiang province, home to the indigenous Uighur Muslim population. That friction prompted a visit by Pakistan's most powerful Islamist politicians to assure Beijing that they would not stoke Islamist insurgency in China.

· Those concerns, however, have proved shortlived. Pakistan has been busy integrating its economy into China, although it has generally been slow going. The much-vaunted deep sea port built in restive Balochistan with the apparent aim of giving a Chinese presence at the mouth of the Persian Gulf has barely scratched its full potential. Expansion of the Karakoram Highway that links northern Pakistan to China seems to have been in development for decades.

· Less incremental was the recent announcement that China will sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan. A $2.4bn deal hopes to quench Pakistan's thirst for energy, and recognition as a responsible nuclear citizen on the world stage.

· There are thinly veiled concerns that the agreement could be in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Despite this, the US, on whose words and action so much of western policy in our region is determined, has offered only limited criticisms. This may have something to do with theUS and India deal that would see the former reprocess spent nuclear fuel for the latter, although India got an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Groupfor that purpose.

· In Balochistan, Pakistan's largest and most resource-rich province, China has been busy trying to exploit coal, copper, and zinc deposits and gas and oil reserves. The indigenous Baloch population says these ventures systematically disenfranchise them. Pakistan authorities counter claim that, emboldened by countrywide instability and foreign support, Baloch feudal leaders have petulantly demanded ever more royalties. An increasingly brutal insurgency and counterinsurgency has developed around this resource politics. After some sobering experiences involving the kidnapping and murder of its nationals, China has learned to accept the bribery culture that keeps both Pakistani and Baloch tribal leaders happy.

· China's relationship to our region stretches back at least 2,000 to the period when scholars and traders introduced Buddhism from what is now Pakistan to the Middle Kingdom, an episode of history celebrated in Chinese literature and the Monkey TV series. Yet in the intervening centuries, the relationship has not had any major cultural or ideological impact on Pakistan, as noted in a satirical poem by the great dissident poet Habib Jalib.

· Like Pakistan's current robust relations with the US, this is because China-Pakistan relations have largely been dictated by elite notions of the national interest and prestige. China may still be happy to play second fiddle to the US here. But with polls revealing Pakistan's overwhelmingly favourable view of its northern neighbour and continued western missteps in Afghanistan, the dispiriting reality is that our country is a client of more than one state.



"The Iranian authorities have been projecting the Jundallah as a surrogate of the US intelligence operating from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. They have been alleging that the periodic terrorist strikes in Iranian Balochistan are being mounted from Pakistani territory. While they accuse the Pakistani authorities of inaction against the anti-Iranian Sunni elements operating from Pakistani territory, they have never accused the Baloch nationalist organisations of Pakistani Balochistan of backing the Jundallah. They have been suspecting the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the anti-Shia organisation of Pakistan which is allied with Al Qaeda, to be training the suicide bombers of the Jundallah. Some of the statements attributed to the Jundallah are disseminated from London. This has created some suspicion in the minds of the Iranian authorities that the UK is also probably backing the Jundallah in its anti-Teheran activities. The capture of the Amir of the Jundallah is a major blow to this organisation. With the two brothers who were the moving spirit of this organisation now in the custody of the Iranian authorities, the organisation has definitely suffered a set-back at least temporarily. But the anti-Shia and anti-Teheran anger in Sunni Sistan-Balochistan is so intense and so widespread that it is only a question of time before a new leadership emerges. Ant-Shia organisations of Pakistan such as the LEJ would also see that the anti-Shia movement in the Sunni majority frontier areas of Iran is kept alive."

------- Extract from my article of February 24,2010, titled " Iranian Intelligence Captures Anti-Tehran Baloch Sunni Leader"available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers37/paper3690.html


Iranian satisfaction over the arrest and execution of Abdolmalek Rigi, the Amir of the Iranian Jundallah, and his brother, Abdolhamid Rigi,who were in the forefront of the resistance movement in Iranian Balochistan known as Sistan Balochistan, has proved short-lived. The resistance movement was partly Sunni extremist directed against the Shias in Iranian Balochistan and partly Baloch nationalist directed against the members of the Iranian security forces deployed in the province.

2. Abdolhamid Rigi was reportedly arrested by the Pakistani authorities in 2008 and handed over to the Iranian authorities. Abdolmalek Rigi was captured by the Iranian intelligence towards the end of February last as he was travelling by air from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan. The plane was forced to land in an Iranian airport and he was taken into custody. It was reported that information about his plan to travel by this flight was passed on to the Iranian authorities by the Pakistani Government. After the capture of its Amir by the Iranian intelligence, the Jundallah announced that Muhammad Dhahir Baluch would act as the Amir in his place.

3.The Iranian authorities executed Abdolhamid Rigi in May last and Abdolmalek Rigi in June last. The two brothers were accused, inter alia, of being mercenaries of the US and Israeli intelligence. The Jundallah warned of retaliation against the Iranian and the Pakistani authorities. The retaliation came promptly---- first from the Lashksar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) in Pakistan. On the night of July 1,2010, over 40 worshippers were killed in twin suicide blasts in a highly venerated sufi shrine of Lahore popularly known as Data Darbar. While there has been no authentic claim of responsibility for these blasts, the needle of suspicion pointed to its probably being an act of reprisal against the Pakistan Government by the Jundallah of Iranian Balochistan and the anti-Shia and anti-Iran Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) of Pakistan in retaliation for the suspected collaboration of Pakistan with Iran in the arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi.

4. The retaliation against the Iranian authorities came on July 15, the birth anniversary of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the time of the prayers in the Grand Mosque of Zahedan, the capital of the Sistan Balochistan province. Twenty-seven Shia worshippers, many of them officers of the Revolutionary Guards, were killed. A suspect dressed as a woman was stopped by the security authorities at the entrance for personal search. The person blew himself up. As people rushed to the area to help those injured, a second bomber blew himself up.

5.The Jundallah has claimed responsibility for the suicide explosions and has named the suicide bombers as Abdolbaset Rigi and Mohammad Rigi, both reportedly related to Abdolmalek Rigi. In a message sent to al-Arabiyya TV, Jundallah said it carried out the attacks to avenge the hanging of Abdolmalek Rigi. The Governor of the province, Mr. Ali Mohammad Azad, has blamed foreign intelligence services for the terrorist attack. He said in a statement: “It is obvious that the intelligence services of certain states and arrogant powers are behind the twin blasts outside the Zahedan Grand Mosque…. Enemies outside Iranian borders are making every effort to undermine Iran's security.”

6.President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reported to have alleged at a Cabinet meeting on July 18 that US forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan were backing bombings such as the two suicide attacks and that the Pakistani Government was also accountable. ISNA, the State-owned news agency, quoted him as having told the Cabinet as follows: “If (US President Barack) Obama is unaware of actions of American forces, then we tell him that American forces based in Afghanistan and Pakistan back such actions. NATO and US forces back terrorists with equipment and funds to launch such attacks in Iran.Despite this support, the US President sends a message of sympathy.Islamabad must also be held accountable for such actions. We are friends of Pakistan and we are by its side, but at any rate the Government of that country should be accountable.” Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani told the Parliament the same day that the Pakistan Government must be answerable for the presence of evil people in its territory. The Chairman of Iran's Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Mr. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said on July 17 that Pakistan must be answerable for sheltering terrorists.
"Terrorism needs to be confronted more seriously.Given the fact that Pakistan is terrorists' shelter, Pakistani officials must be held accountable for the issue." Without naming Pakistan specifically, Mr.Ahmadreza Radan, Iran's deputy police chief, has issued a tough warning to “neighbors on the eastern borders” of Iran. He said: “The Islamic Republic considers it its right to deal with insurgents who disappear into the other side of the border.,”

7. From these statements and warnings, it is evident that the Iranian authorities suspect that the new leadership of the Jundallah was also operating from the Pakistani territory and that the two suicide bombers had come from Pakistani territory. They seem to suspect that the Jundallah continues to have its volunteers trained for suicide terrorism in Pakistani territory. In the past, they had accused the Jundallah of having links with Al Qaeda, without mentioning specifically the LEJ, which is an associate of Al Qaeda. It is likely that the LEJ continues to train the Jundallah in its camps in North Waziristan. The fact that the Jundallah suicide bombers, after training, are able to cross into Sistan Balochistan without being detected by the Iranian border guards speaks of some local support on both sides of the Pakistan-Iran border.Zahedan, with an estimated population of 5,80,000, is located near the border and is easily susceptible to suicide attacks and hit and run raids across the border from Pakistani territory. Iranian authorities periodically warn Islamabad they would undertake hot pursuit and cross-border raids, but avoid carrying out the threats lest it spoil their state-to-state relations with Pakistan and lead to more anti-Shia incidents in Pakistan. Sunni extremist organisations of Pakistan such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba and the LEJ tend to attack the Shias of Pakistan to express their anger against Iran. They look upon the Shias of Pakistan as the fifth columnists of Iran.

8. It is difficult to assess what support the Jundallah has inside Sistan Balochistan. However, it is evident from a study of its strikes so far that while it is in a position to indulge in sporadic acts of terrorism, it is not in a position to organise a sustained insurgency which could endanger the Iranian position in the province. ( 20-7-10)

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

July 19, 2010

Expanding the Horizons of Indian Foreign Policy


Mehmet Ozkan

July 19, 2010

Indians tend to think categorically. Like in mathematics, they think and act with calculations and it is rather unusual to think in an unconventional way among Indian academics and politicians. Two reasons may account for this. First is the existence of the historical and religious setting of the society which has an embedded caste system and mentality. Second is the widespread acceptance of the military-oriented and disciplined thinking that require a lot of calculations and fewer risks.

A general overview of Indian foreign policy shows these points. During the Nehru years, besides being a newly established state in international affairs, the foreign policy belief and approach did represent very much of a conventional and categorical thinking. His foreign policy strategy of non-alignment was not more than a withdrawal from global politics, although Nehru himself claimed that it was the best way to be more active in global politics.

From a global political perspective, non-alignment was a declaration of restraint and sobriety in contrast to the posturing and scheming of the two ideological camps of East and West. It was disengagement from total war and even maybe from total global politics. Non-alignment as shaped by Nehru was a refusal to enter into alliances which implied this global military and political commitment. Though initially non-alignment strategy may seem a correct one given the establishment and re-settling of the new-born Indian state, it became an obsession over the next few decades. The world has changed deeply and vastly, but it is still difficult to see a radical change on the idea of non-alignment in Indian foreign policy thinking. What has changed perhaps is the current formulation of the idea itself, but in essence it has not changed much. One asks why it is so. What makes the idea of non-alignment so embedded in political and even social culture? If it is a foreign policy strategy, wouldn’t that change as the parameters of global politics change?

My answer to this question is that it originated from the deep-seated cultural/religious and historical legacy. Non-alignment in the Indian psyche has always been more than a foreign policy strategy. It has been a form of thinking, looking at issues and interpreting them. That helped India to be a natural leader and father of non-alignment, but also made it difficult to change, adjust or get rid of it when it became outdated.

The current continuation of this trend may be seen through the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA). Since its inception in 2002, Indian foreign policy thinking has focused too much on IBSA. Yes, IBSA is a pioneering organizational example connecting three continents by establishing a tri-lateral organization. It has also contributed to economic interaction between member countries. However, presenting the IBSA as a solution to the world and as an alternative is deeply flawed. In India, both academics and politicians deeply believe that the time has come for such an organization that arises and leads the world from the south. Nobody is asking whether such a grouping can do more than merely contribute to develop economic relations among its three members. Nobody is asking whether they, individually and as a grouping, have credibility outside of the economic realm in global politics not only in the eyes of other countries but also in the eyes of international organizations. What exists in India today is, for better or worse, an obsession with the IBSA. This obsession seems to be similar to the history of NAM, which was the central plank of Indian thinking on foreign affairs. Thinking of the IBSA as the first organization to take up or find a solution to every problem is not that bad, though one should be very careful not to consider the IBSA as the only alternative. Having obsession with someone or something usually makes it difficult if not impossible for people to see issues from different angles, and defer from other viable options.

In short, IBSA has opened an alternative way of thinking in global politics like the NAM did in the 1960s. The danger here is that the IBSA should not occupy the centre of our thinking on global issues and Indian foreign policy by glorifying it as if it is the best and the only option. Like NAM, neither the IBSA nor any other forum will be permanent or best, though they are just one step in hopefully a direction to find a better and just global political order.

We need to revive and learn Sanskrit to get wiser

When chief minister Narendra Modi honoured veteran Sanskrit scholars on July 12 at Town Hall, Gandhinagar, what surprised the most was the presence of large number of people. With Sanskrit not being in daily use, one didn't expect the hall to be jam-packed. Audience enjoyed Bhavai, Garbas, Bhangra and short play based on Kalidas' Meghdootam, all performed in Sanskrit language. DNA's Paras K Jha talked toBhagyesh Jha, secretary, youth, sports and cultural activities department, on connecting the common man with the language.

Sanskrit in Gujarat and its culture
Sanskrit is present in every marriage ceremony, in every religious programme in Gujarat. But, if the language is not popularised among people, then people calling

Sanskrit a dead language, would prove right. In fact, our chief minister made it clear at the function felicitating Sanskrit scholars, that he doesn't want to revive Sanskrit only because people use it during religious and cultural ceremonies, but because he wants to revive the language as it has the wisdom of world in it, which should be tapped. So,when we were conceptualising the felicitation programme, an annual event of Sanskrit Academy, we planned to project that Sanskrit is not tough to learn.

So, to give the feeling of language being used as a daily language for every communication, we organized to present Bhavai (folk play) in Sanskrit. We showed how husband-wife would laugh talking in Sanskrit, how they would fight speaking Sanskrit. We presented Garbas in Sanskrit, where the lyrics were in Sanskrit and music composition was based on the tunes of Garba. We wanted to show that Sanskrit is an easy and sweet language. We tried to break the myth that it is a language of scholars.

CM Narendra Modi honoured Sanskrit scholars at a function in G'nagar

Demystification of Meghdoot epic written by Kalidas
Again there is a fear of Meghdootam of Kalidas being tough to understand, so we selected 10 best verses from the epic and during its performance on stage, we translated it in Gujarati.

Why only Meghdootam's performance
There are several reasons for staging Meghdootam's performance.

First being poetry, it is easy to communicate, as today, despite having many modes of communication, we still face communication gaps. Secondly, as we have disconnected ourselves with the nature, as a result of which,we are facing global warming. So from Meghdootam, we can understand that when Yaksha was away and disconnected from his beloved, he took help of clouds (nature) to get connected with her.

Same way, we need to connect with the nature to re-establish our relationship with mother earth and to fight global warming.

Third, the tech-savvy world is talking about ‘Cloud Computing' for communication, where your data and emails would be stored on internet (the Cloud) instead of your hard disc and it will be available to you anywhere, everywhere.

Now look at this concept keeping Meghdoot am in mind, though there was no internet at the time, when Kalidas had written the epic, but his main character Yaksha, uses the medium of clouds for sending the message to his beloved. It is very surprising, even if it is just a co-incident. Cloud computing could be a new concept for world, but for India, it could be one of the oldest concept.

Devaki Gajjar Sanskrit runs in this family
Satish Gajjar
Paras K Jha
Satish Gajjar, (35), hailing from Surendranagar, looks like any other resident of the city. It is only when he starts speaking, you are forced a take a note of the man, worth every laurel. He is one of the rare ones to choose Sanskrit as his mother tongue.

Gajjar, a carpenter by profession for past 12 years, was involved in teaching Sanskrit. "I used to visit places in Gujarat to teach Sanskrit and have taught more than 5,000 people till now," added Gajjar.

Gajjar's family has also taken up Sanskrit as their mother tongue. "My wife Gayatri and my daughter Devaki also speak Sanskrit at home and I'm proud to say that my eightyear- old daughter has learnt the language as well," added Gajjar.

Gajjar said, "People get surprised when I and my wife converse in Sanskrit while walking on the road."

Now, a Sanskrit newspaper from the Banyan city
The edition will also be available online for netizens
Paras K Jha
Here is good news for those who thought the ancient Indian literature is disappearing. The voracious readers will be able to access a daily newspaper in Sanskrit by end of July, all thanks to Prafulbhai Purohit, 37-yearold, the man behind this initiative.

Purohit, the vice-principal of Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, MS University, also runs a Sanskrit monthly magazine ‘Dev Sayujyam' for four years, which has 750 subscribers from the state. "There was dearth of contemporary reading materials and documents. So we thought to come up with such a newspaper which would help the students and readers to get more familiar with the language," said Purohit.

(Left) A copy of the paper

Speaking about the contents of the newspaper to be launched, Purohit said, "It will be a fourpage newspaper which will have articles, features and ‘Hasya Kanika' (jokes in Sanskrit). Also, a column has been planned which will have Sanskrit words and their meanings in Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi and English. The articles and features will be taken from different media sources and will be translated by me." This daily newspaper will have four editors and the talks and the discussions for tie-up with other newspapers are still in process.

Purohit said that price of the newspaper will be Rs1.50 and the expected cost to produce such newspaper will be Rs11 lakh per annum. Regarding the subscription, Purohit said, "We have already received subscription from 250 members and we are expecting more." Also, the members taking yearly subscription will be given free Sanskrit dictionary.

With a motive to spread the usage of Sanskrit as a language, Purohit started taking Sanskrit speaking course in 1994 which has benefited more than 4,000 people. The planned newspaper will also be available online for other readers and the printing and Publishing will be carried out from Vadodara

Strategic Stalemate in Afghanistan


Gurmeet Kanwal

July 19, 2010
When the next Afghanistan Conference begins at Kabul on July 20, the United States (US) and its NATO/ISAF allies will have little to show by way of success in counter-insurgency operations. Eight and a half years after the US and its allies effected a regime change in Afghanistan and six months after President Barack Obama decided to send more American forces to the beleaguered nation, Afghanistan remains mired in instability. The Lashkar-e-Tayebba has joined hands with the Taliban-al Qaeda combine to fight the Allies and wanton acts of violence are a daily occurrence. With neither side making major gains, the emerging situation is best described as a strategic stalemate.

Consequent to President Obama’s carefully considered ‘surge’, there are now 93,000 US troops in Afghanistan. This figure is set to rise to 105,000 by the end of the summer, but even then the coalition forces will still remain thin on the ground. While it is too early to draw firm conclusions, success in recent operations has eluded the Allies. Combined US and British operations in Helmand province – the nucleus of Afghanistan’s narcotics-driven terrorism – succeeded in driving the Taliban out of its strongholds, though only temporarily. Violence continues to persist in Marja despite large-scale Marine Corps operations. Major military operations in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar have been delayed. Inevitably, it will be a long and bloody battle.

The Indian experience has been that it takes a ratio of 1:30 – that is, the sustained deployment of 30 security forces personnel for every terrorist – to gain and maintain military control over an area affected by insurgency or rural terrorism. As has been witnessed in the Kashmir Valley, as soon as the troops pack their tents and go away to launch operations in another area, the terrorist groups make a triumphant comeback. They once again lay down the law through fatwas, collect ‘taxes’, extort money for unhindered trade and dispense their peculiar brand of justice. Since the Afghan state cannot effectively deliver governance and justice, the people grudgingly look to the Taliban.

Urban areas require an even more concentrated deployment and the local civilian police and para-military forces are much better equipped to handle these rather than regular armies. Despite the best efforts of the allies, the Afghan National Army (currently numbering 110,000; final target is 2,60,000) and the Afghan Police have failed to acquire the professional ethos and motivation levels that are necessary to deal with Jihadi extremism. Training standards in small team counter-insurgency operations are low and cutting edge junior leadership is still lacking. They are also short on numbers as recruitment rates are low and desertions are high. Meanwhile, the Taliban and al Qaeda seem to have no difficulty in recruiting an endless stream of suicide bombers from the thousands of madrassas astride the Af-Pak border. In fact, they pay them monthly wages that are almost on par with those of the Afghan army.

Crossed wires between the Obama Administration and President Hamid Karzai and tensions between Karzai and the Pakistan leadership, as well as the proclivity of the Pakistan Army and the ISI to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, have weakened the overall response to the terror tactics of the opposing forces, which are far more united and are sharpening their skills at coordinating their operations more effectively while carefully avoiding detection of their hideouts and communications by the sophisticated satellite, electronic, UAV- and ground-based surveillance systems available to the allies.

President Karzai appears to have lost confidence in the US commitment to comprehensively defeat the Taliban. Consequently, he has begun negotiations with the Taliban and their Pakistani handlers. Though even the Pakistanis are willing to go along with Karzai’s strategy of talking to the so-called ‘good’ Taliban, which has been endorsed by the US, there is widespread disagreement over who the good Taliban are. For example, the Pakistanis are keen to include the Haqqani faction in the talks, but the Afghans and the US are firmly opposed to Sirajuddin Haqqani. All the international and domestic players involved in the complex web of Afghan politics want a direct part in the negotiations and are unwilling to accept a secondary role. Many are conducting their own negotiations directly or through proxies.

The Taliban have noted with glee President Obama’s ill-advised, self-imposed deadline to begin withdrawing US troops in July 2011 after a review in December this year. Although high-level US civilian and military officials have said that a long-term American presence in Afghanistan is a certainty, the Taliban are convinced that the US no longer has the political will and the military staying power to sustain a large deployment and are biding their time. NATO countries and other allies of the US are keen to cut and run as their much smaller armies are facing rotational difficulties and the war has lost popular support. The Pakistanis, who seek strategic depth in Afghanistan and have looked at the Taliban as strategic assets in the past, still harbour ambitions of installing a pliable and dependent government in Kabul. They are also telling the Taliban to have patience and hang in there. The Obama Administration is banking on the surge to succeed and has few other attractive options.

As most students of military history would readily concede, a prolonged stalemate between a large, well-armed and well-equipped modern force and a motley array of guerrillas or other non-state actors like terrorist groups has almost always culminated in a victory for the underdogs. This happened in Vietnam when the Vietminh successively defeated the French and the Americans. It has also been seen in Afghanistan earlier when the Afghan warlords defeated the erstwhile Soviet Union in the 1980s with help from the CIA and Pakistan.

If radical extremism is to be comprehensively defeated in the Af-Pak region, it is important for the US and its allies to stay the course as long as it takes. As they have no more troops to contribute to the effort, the net must be enlarged to include military contributions from Afghanistan’s regional neighbours, perhaps under a United Nations flag. The international community must stand united to ensure sustainable stability in Afghanistan. Under no circumstances whatsoever must the Taliban be allowed to stage a triumphant come back to practice its peculiar brand of totalitarian governance and cultural fascism with utter disregard for human rights.

India needs to engage with the real decision makers in Pakistan


Arvind Gupta

July 19, 2010
Bilateral talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan held in Islamabad on 15 July 2010 ended in an unseemly public spat at a press conference. The talks have been analysed minutely by commentators on both sides. A number of reasons have been cited for the failure of the talks.

In the Indian media Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been pilloried as the main villain whose impolite manners and hostile attitude has been held as responsible for the breakdown of the talks. Pakistanis have blamed India for refusing to engage in meaningful discussion on Kashmir and instead harping on the Mumbai terror issue. They feel that India was not sincere about discussing Kashmir.

The Pakistani foreign minister has said publicly that the Indians were not mentally ready for the talks as yet. Qureshi wants result-oriented talks. Indians are saying that Pakistan must act against the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks. From the Indian point of view, Pakistan raised the pitch on Kashmir to escape the heat on its inability to deal with the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.

The positions on both sides have hardened. The future of the talks is in balance. Once again the debate in India has centred on the question whether it is at all useful to talk with Pakistan.

Army is the real decision maker
It is in the nature of India-Pakistan relations that emotions overtake reason and important issues are lost sight of. In the present episode, Qureshi is being held as a villain but the fact is that he is a minor player in the scheme of decision making in Pakistan. His demeanour may have played a role in the breakdown of the talks but that role would at best be minor. The real decision makers in Pakistan continue to be the army. The civilian government has little freedom, if any, in decision making. The Americans have understood this. They prefer to deal directly with the military. The dealings with the civilian authorities are only for the sake of form.

India talks to Pakistan frequently including at the highest levels. But India has not yet found a way to engage the real decision makers in Pakistan – the army. The failure of the talks can be ascribed to the reluctance of the military to continue down the road of talks and negotiations.

Why would the Pakistan military not favour talks with India? The Headley revelations about the ISI links with the Mumbai attackers have exposed the military and the ISI just as the intercepted phone calls between Musharraf and the generals in Islamabad in 1998 had exposed how the army had been planning the Kargil misadventure behind the civilian government’s back.

This time around the pressure that India has built following the Headley revelations has miffed the army and the ISI. It is most unlikely that Pakistan would ever act on the leads given by India to Pakistan on Mumbai terror attacks because this would tantamount to dismantling of the Pakistani strategy of bleeding India through terror strikes. Hence it will be unreasonable on the part of India to expect any effective and meaningful Pakistani action on the basis of the leads given by India. No wonder that India found itself stonewalled at the talks. Simultaneously, Pakistan sought to take advantage of the unsettled situation in Kashmir to pressure India to focus on Kashmir.

India needs to appreciate that in the last few years, the Pakistan army may have withdrawn from day-to-day governance but it has not given up control over the decision making on strategic issues. This includes policy on Afghanistan, India, US and China.

The Pakistan army is playing for high regional stakes. It wants to eradicate Indian influence in Afghanistan and regain strategic depth in that country by brokering a settlement which will bring those Afghan Taliban sections to power that it supports.

Sensing that a war-weary United States is keen on finding a way out of Afghanistan, the army has positioned itself as king maker there. The Americans have accepted that no settlement in Afghanistan is possible without an OK from Pakistan. Karzai has also realised that mending fences with Pakistan is crucial. The sacking of Amrullah Saleh, the Afghan intelligence chief who was opposed to Pakistan, was a proof of the importance of Pakistan in President Karzai’s eyes. Pakistan on its part has demonstrated that it retains control over the crucial Afghan Taliban factions including the Haqqani group and Hikmetyar.

The developments within India would have emboldened Pakistan and hardened its attitude. It sees turmoil in Kashmir, the rising Naxal threat and the constant fear in India of yet another Mumbai type terror attack as proof that India is unable to deal with crucial security issues. Pakistan may have concluded, as it has many times before, that India is a weak and divided country unable to articulate its policies clearly. There is a danger that Pakistan may make a miscalculation about India’s resolve to deal with the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil.

Dealing with Pakistan
India will continue to face the challenge of how to deal with an aggressive Pakistan hell bent on proving its parity with India. Nothing can be more ridiculous than the oft-repeated Pakistani mantra that both India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism. Such a formulation completely ignores the fact that India is a victim of terrorism sponsored by the Pakistani state while terrorism in Pakistan is the result of the increasing radicalisation of society which has been encouraged by Pakistani rulers in the past. Even today the various terrorist groups continue to enjoy the protection of Pakistani agencies in the full knowledge of the rest of the world.

So, how should India deal with Pakistan? There are no easy answers. India has the soft and the hard power to deal with the Pakistani challenge but no clarity on how to use it. Stability in Pakistan is threatened due to numerous simultaneous crises it is facing. India has not yet thought through how to deal with a Pakistan that is becoming increasingly unstable. Pakistan continues to regard India as the number one threat and would be unwilling to cooperate in any meaningful way. The policy of destabilising India through a thousand cuts has not been given up.

If the past is any indication, the talks may pause for a while for tempers to cool and may thereafter be resumed in some form or the other, on some pretext or the other. An argument will be made that the two nuclear powers cannot afford to remain in a no-talk mode. Western pressure will build in favour of the resumption of talks. Even if the talks are held, it will be futile to expect that on critical issues there will be any change in the Pakistani or the Indian positions.

However, this time around, India should try and broaden its engagement with all sections of Pakistani society. Pakistani society is getting differentiated due to the simultaneous multiple crises – political, economic, radicalisation - in the country. Talking to the government alone which is not in control of policy is not enough.

Besides talking to the government in place, India should think of reaching out to the non-official sections of Pakistani society. After all, Pakistanis talk to the Kashmiri separatists all the time in full public knowledge. Why can India not develop links with those sections of Pakistani society who may have views different from that of the government? India has legitimate interests in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which is an integral part of India.

For some reason India has stopped declaring openly that PoK is an integral part of India. CBMs are worth pursuing but the basic Indian position must be reiterated publicly so that there is no confusion in anyone’s mind about where India stands on Kashmir.

Simultaneously, India should not ease pressure on the terrorism question. Terrorism is a security issue for India. The confusion about both India and Pakistan being victims of terrorism should be clarified. Pakistan is not a victim in the same way India is. Pakistan is selective about which terror groups to target and which ones to mollycoddle.

India should not show any impatience about resumption of talks. It does not help if high profile meetings end in failure repeatedly. India should not shun talks but it should not talk at any cost.

India must sort out the difficulties in Kashmir and also come to grip with Naxalism at the earliest possible. The inability to deal with these problems creates apprehension about India’s ability to cope with its problems.

The failure of the talks is not an unmitigated disaster. It gives India an opportunity to pause and reflect over the nature of the entity that it is dealing with. The Indian government has to deal with the civilian government in Pakistan but it has to realise that the civilian government is in no position to deliver. The government of India has not yet shown any inclination to talk with the military nor are there any mechanisms to do so. A way must be found to engage with the real decision makers in Pakistan on strategic issues.

However, before the talks resume, as they may some day, let there be a decent pause for reflection. Where is Pakistan headed? What does India want from Pakistan? Who can deliver it? Who should India engage with? Are there constituencies in Pakistan that want good relations with India for the sake of friendship? How to deal with the anti-India mindset of the establishment? The interregnum before the next round of talks should be used to reflect on these strategic issues. In the meanwhile India should brace itself for Mumbai type of eventualities and be prepared to deal with them.

The writer holds the Lal Bahadur Shastri Chair at the IDSA, New Delhi. These are his personal views.