September 04, 2010

Sanskrit Script Transliterater

Below is a tool is Transliterate Sanskrit in 19 Scripts (All Indian Languages including South East Asian Languages like Thai, Burmese & Cambodian). Grantha & Tamil with superscripted numerals is also supported

http://www.virtualvinodh.com/aksharamukha

Underwater treasure hunt

Sreeram Chaulia
Posted online: 2010-09-03 22:17:59+05:30
http://www.financialexpress.com/news/underwater-treasure-hunt/676388/0#

The announcement by the Chinese government that one of its manned submarines dived 12,330 feet to the South China Sea floor to plant the Chinese national flag has dramatically heightened international competition for the mineral-rich water body. Beijing’s disclosure of the symbolic act has perturbed rival claimants from Southeast Asia for the Sea’s bountiful fishing grounds and untapped oil, natural gas, tin, manganese and other precious commodities.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia contest China’s definition of its territorial waters as including islands in the South China Sea that are launch pads for drilling and extracting maritime treasures. China’s mastery of submersible vehicle technology to indulge in nationalistic provocation on the seabed is racking nerves of the region’s smaller powers.

No one is left in doubt that China is ratcheting up military capability to establish a fait accompli on securing domination over the Sea’s vast energy resources and vital shipping lanes. Earlier this year, the PLA dropped a doctrinal bombshell in foreign policy by designating the South China Sea as a “core national interest” over which it has “indisputable sovereignty”, on par in weight with Tibet and Taiwan.

Such uncompromising language over a water span whose boundary delineation is still up for grabs has been accompanied by growing assertiveness of the Chinese navy to project power over the entire Sea. Earlier, Beijing warned Exxon Mobil and BP to halt exploration in offshore oil blocks of the Sea that Vietnam counts as falling within its domain. China has threatened multinational corporations that recognise other states’ jurisdictions in the Sea with negative repercussions for their wider business interests on the mainland.

The US has also jumped headlong into the water conflict. Last month, Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows in Beijing by terming resolution of the scrimmage as “a leading diplomatic priority” in order to ensure “regional stability” and “unimpeded commerce”. By endorsing a multilateral solution that the US will presumably broker, Clinton assured Southeast Asian states that their weakness in relation to China can be offset by the involvement of a sympathetic facilitator that is militarily more powerful than China.

American emphasis on a large-group modus operandi to reach a mutually satisfactory accord on the South China Sea is music to ears in Manila, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, who are wary of being short-changed by China. In the process, western oil corporations will gain breathing space against what they perceive as the big Chinese bully, which wants to dictate the space and conditions under which they can operate.

With the US continuing to maintain the most powerful navy around the South China Sea, China has countered by fast-tracking its massive shipbuilding programme and unveiling a new anti-aircraft carrier missile targeted at American warships patrolling these waters. Intense gunboat diplomacy is in the offing, particularly due to China’s voracious demand for industrial minerals to endlessly power its economic juggernaut.

A very similar scramble for deep water riches is simultaneously revving up in the far northern reaches of the Arctic Sea, which is believed to be a repository of 25% or more of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves. Amply endowed with petroleum, fishing stocks and manganese, the Sea is now under political siege, with the US, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway advancing claims on its stretches as their respective “internal waters”.

The array of forces thus far has suggested that the US and Canada, in a reprise of Cold War-era patterns, are aligning to deter a determined push by Russia to enlarge its continental shelf and gain access to the wealth hidden beneath the frozen but rapidly warming waters of the North Pole. In 2007, presaging China’s latest adventure in the South China Sea, a Russian submarine expedition descended to the seabed of the Arctic and planted the Russian national flag. Canada and the US responded by dispatching icebreaker ships and robotic equipment to map the oceanic floor and “set the record straight”on which country can claim how much as its national possession.

Last week, international tension resurfaced with a bang when two Russian aerial bombers were intercepted by Canadian military jets on the eve of the Canadian Prime Minister’s inspection of an Arctic exercise in disputed waters. This occurred right after Ottawa declared that it has made quick settlement of Arctic quarrels with the US and Denmark its “top priority”.

Meanwhile, Russia and Norway closed ranks in April 2010 by burying their 30-year-old bilateral marine tussle in the Arctic. Norway’s formidable energy major and the world’s biggest offshore petroleum company, Statoil, was the leading force behind the rapprochement owing to synergies between its business plans and those of the state-owned Russian firm, Gazprom.

Like in the South China Sea, diplomatic face-offs and reconciliations in the Arctic are traceable to the shifting calculations of energy corporations, which are always at the forefront of conducting surveys, estimating the net worth of marine resources and alerting their respective governments to stake out national zones for their exploitation. With offshore drilling technology headed towards prospecting ever deeper inside oceans, inter-state marine discord is a proxy for corporate turf wars over strategic raw materials. The formulae for an amicable end to such complex tussles exist as much in boardroom tactics as in diplomatic powwows.

The author is associate professor of world politics at the OP Jindal Global University

The Anarchic Republic of Pakistan


India, China locked in zero-sum geopolitics

Brig Kiran Krishan (Retd)

INDIAN news channels are at it again - on what else but India's bete noire, China. By denying visa to the GOC-In-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen B.S. Jaswal for a planned official visit, an ill-mannered diplomatic move in itself, Chinese diplomats have given a cause celebre to Indian news czars, who even in ordinary circumstances, can blow any thing to high heaven.

To them, at this time, an article in The New York Times (NYT) stating that 11,000 Chinese soldiers are currently working on construction projects in Gilgit-Balistan region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and also building tunnels, has come as a breath of fresh air. "Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. … they could also be used as missile storage sites," writes Selig S. Harrison in his August 28 piece entitled 'The other Kashmir problem'. This has given rise to all sort of speculation. The tunnels have to be for housing nuclear missiles! And the Chinese are likely to open a new front against India from there! Of course, PLA troops could be there for other mundane purposes as well. Who cares?

Is an article of this nature in NYT at this point in time a pure chance? The American establishment has made a high art of media management. Planted news and paid news is no news to the American intelligence establishment. The United States is having its own problems with China's assertiveness regarding the freedom of movement in South China Sea, ostensibly claimed by China as its exclusive domain. The US has made friendly overtures to Vietnam after a long hiatus and also held a number of joint naval exercises with friendly forces as a sign of American resolve to maintain its stake in the region. What could be better than to provide fuel to the Indian media to inflame Indian passions with when the Chinese diplomats are seen to have acted brutishly with India?

One would have thought that with the trade between India and China pegged at US$ 60 billion annually, the two would have realised where their interests lie and be better disposed to treat each other with equanimity. Obviously not! Petulance appears to be the reigning theme in Sino-Indian relations. This belies the cordiality usually observed when the leaders of the two countries meet. Is that all a sham?

The die for adversarial Sino-Indian relations was cast 51 years ago in March 1959 with the Dalai Lama being provided political asylum in India. The Tibetan Government-in-exile was allowed to function from India soil, and continues to do so till today. China took revenge by militarily humiliating India in 1962.

The Chinese are unable to let go off the episode and reconcile with the Dalai Lama's presence and privileged, albeit politically curtailed status in India. The Dalai Lama was given shelter in India when the structure of the international politics was completely different from what it is today. India of that time under the leadership of late Pandit Nehru, as leader of the non-aligned movement and champion of world peace, could hardly have behaved otherwise. And today, even with a totally altered global political landscape, India cannot think of throwing out the Dalai Lama without losing its place as a self respecting independent entity in the comity of nations.

The China of today enjoys great respect and admiration in the Indian public. China's successful economic rise has brought it unexpected adulation. Do the diplomatic pin pricks, the issue of stapled visas to J&K residents, the denial of visa to a senior Indian general on rather phony reasoning, repeated claims on Arunachal Pradesh help advance the Chinese cause or enhance its prestige in any manner? There are no tangible benefits in evidence. Au contraire, these help fritter away whatever goodwill China has lately gained in India. 1962 is almost a forgotten past, a distant memory. Petty diplomatic retorts only keep that unhappy memory alive.

As for India reacting to every odd diplomatic faux pas only exposes its latent insecurities. India is now a nuclear power and would shortly be testing an ICBM, Agni-V. In 1971, Indian forces, in more than ample measure, proved their mettle. The bag of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners that the armed forces secured is yet unmatched post-Second World War. In any case, even if militarily not as comparable, today India is capable of seriously denting China's image and upsetting its economic applecart. Even so, a military confrontation between the two countries is hardly like to benefit either.

A detached observer cannot but notice petty petulance that has crept into the Sino-Indian diplomatic intercourse. Need pettiness remain the leitmotif of Sino-Indian relations? Do statesmen not owe it to themselves and the nations they seek to lead and guide to rein in diplomats resorting to small-mindedness? But before that happens, both China and India have to rationalise, and internalise each others' compulsions. The two countries are widely acknowledged as rising powers and yet locked in a pointless zero sum geopolitical game. A sure sign of doing well is letting go of the old shackles.


Tomorrow's warriors

BY RICHARD GOWAN - 02 SEP 10

The end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq this month has been an anti-climax. There is no defining image for us to remember – nothing like the last helicopter out of Saigon or the last Russian tank out of Afghanistan. 50,000 American military trainers remain in Iraq.

Even if there has been little drama, historians may conclude that this was an important moment. As the U.S. is pulling back from Iraq, strategists and policy-makers are starting to question if the troubled superpower can keep devoting vast sums to defense spending.

One skeptic is Robert Gates, the man who runs the Pentagon. The Secretary of Defense has announced initial cuts to his department’s budget. He hints that far more is required.

A more outspoken critic is Michael Mandelbaum, a senior Democratic foreign policy intellectual. In a book published in the U.S. in early August, he argues that Washington will need to devote more and more money to supporting America’s ageing population.

One result, Mandelbaum says, is that there will be no more Iraqs: “avoiding military interventions and state-building is one way to lower the expense of American foreign policy.”

This will sound familiar to Europeans. The EU’s few significant military players all want to shrink defense budgets. The Afghan campaign has destroyed public support for foreign adventures. Most surprisingly, the Conservative-led government in London is contemplating cuts that would end Britain’s long tradition as a global military power.

The West is not in headlong retreat. U.S. Special Forces kill terrorists in weak states like Yemen. French troops recently attacked an Al-Qaeda base in Mauritania. But it’s hard to imagine NATO engaging in more huge state-building operation like those in Kosovo or Afghanistan. If the Afghan campaign ends in failure, it’ll get even harder.

Some American military experts don’t worry about this. U.S. power recovered after Vietnam. Washington doesn’t like losing wars, but it can afford occasional defeats.

That isn’t true for Europeans. Over the last decade, NATO and the EU staked their credibility on stabilizing the Balkans and Afghanistan. The Balkan wars have taken longer to fix than expected, but Afghanistan made the former Yugoslavia look simple.

Even if the U.S. regained its interventionist spirit, most EU members wouldn’t follow it.

But it is too soon to argue that the age of interventionism and state-building is over. Rising powers like Brazil, China and India may replace the Europeans as the world’s state-builders. The U.S. may find it easier to work with these powers than with NATO.

This is actually happening already. While NATO focus on Afghanistan, the UN has 100,000 soldiers and police in other weak states around the world – the vast majority are from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Look at the international response to Haiti’s earthquake in January. Latin American troops under UN command – supported by a contingent of Chinese policemen - were already responsible for security in Port-au-Prince. The earthquake shocked the mission, but it managed to maintain order. U.S. marines deployed to Haiti were impressed by the UN troops’ professionalism.

This would shock European officers who served under UN command in Bosnia in the 1990s and viewed the organization as inefficient and cowardly. It might come as rather less of a surprise to Europeans who have worn blue helmets in southern Lebanon since the 2006 war, because the UN has made huge efforts to improve how it runs peacekeeping.

The Lebanon force, now commanded by a Spanish general, is a mix of EU troops and soldiers from as far apart as China, Ghana, India and Indonesia. It more or less works.

The UN is unable to block Hezbollah importing missiles in readiness for another war with Israel. But it has kept a lid on tensions on the border. When a firefight broke out in an area patrolled by Ghanaians this August, the UN played a big part in restoring calm.

Nobody would pretend that the UN forces in Haiti and Lebanon are perfect. Nor are they typical of the organization’s missions elsewhere. The tragic UN force in Darfur reels from one crisis to another. On 18 August, unidentified rebels murdered three Indian peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo using only spears and swords.

But the reality is that, while NATO members look to cut their military spending, supporters of the UN like Brazil and India are increasing their military reach. The Brazilian defense budget grew by nearly 25% last year. These are tomorrow’s warriors.

Faced with these dynamics, the U.S. and European governments must make a strategic choice. Will they hide behind the high walls of the NATO alliance (and in the American case, keep projecting power in the Pacific) or will they cooperate with the rising powers?

Cooperation may be confusing. It might mean working less through the long-established structures of NATO and more through the loose, unfamiliar mechanisms of the UN.

It will also mean respecting what non-Western powers think. Some European officers in Lebanon are said to view their Asian and African counterparts as “exotic”. This makes them sound like rare animals in a zoo. But we have to accept that, once we have slashed defense budgets to a minimum, European soldiers may be among the rarest animals of all.

This article first appeared in Spanish on Publico.es


"Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis"

A new documentary on the causes and consequences of the US financial crisis has been making waves. "Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis" was produced by a team of filmmakers led by prominent Swedish libertarians Jonah Norberg and Martin Borgs.
The film has been broadcast in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Australia - and won the prestigious 'Best Feature Documentary' award at the San Francisco Frozen Film Festival. Since the film debuted on the popular television series Four Corners on Australia's public broadcaster ABC, it has incited a bit of an uproar among left-wing journalists.


The film relies heavily on interviews with Euro Pacific's Peter Schiff, as well as a former US Comptroller General, a former Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, Economic Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith, and others. It's a very interesting group that presents different perspectives on the factors that led to the credit crunch and where we are headed from here. Each one is realistic about the United States' grave fiscal situation.

To dispel the myth that capitalism caused the crisis, the producers have decided to make the 45-minute film free to watch online, in full, for a limited time.

To watch "Overdose" now, Click Here.




Cracks in India's nuclear law

By Indrajit Basu
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LI02Df04.html

KOLKATA - Pleasing neither supporters nor its critics, India this week passed a Nuclear Liability Bill, opening up the country’s US$150 billion nuclear power market to global equipment suppliers. The first to benefit may be American companies like General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, followed by French and Russian nuclear power equipment suppliers.

Although the new bill paves the way for bringing India out of what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh describes as "nuclear apartheid", critics said it didn't do enough to address the safety concerns of its people.

For the time being, the bill may be a personal triumph for the prime minister. After signing the landmark 123 Agreement with then United States President Gorge Bush in October 2008 to lift a three-decade long global embargo on the transfer of nuclear fuel and technology to India, Manmohan has fought many battles to bring the opposition over to letting foreign investors and suppliers enter the country's civilian nuclear programs.

"This bill is a completion of a journey to end the nuclear apartheid, which the world had imposed on India in the year 1974," Manmohan said on August 25 while announcing the legislation in parliament. With it, Manmohan has also managed to score a geopolitical brownie point by demonstrating his resolve to push through a controversial deal ahead of President Barack Obama's visit in November.

By opening up the power sector to nuclear power plants, energy deficits that have been a drag on the country’s economic growth for years could be narrow significantly. The bill also allows the India-US 123 Agreement to bear its first fruits as it paves the way for GE and Westinghouse to start work on building reactors in at least two sites identified for them. The two deals could be worth around $10 billion, according to reports.

Still, the price the country may end up paying for not being a nuclear outcast may be too high. "For one, there are enough loopholes in the bill that can entrap the operator [the power generator] into unlimited liabilities," said Lydia Powell, senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, a think tank on public policy formulation. "Besides, the bill has identified the operator as the only source of liability, while others like equipment suppliers were not made responsible. And most importantly, the bill has failed to address the interests of the victims of a nuclear accident."

Others say the rules for liability claims and payments set down by the bill in the event of a nuclear accident are skewed heavily in favor of equipment suppliers who are liable only if ''the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of supplier or his employee which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or substandard services.''

Experts like Powell say that this clause essentially channels liability for accidents to door of the operators, giving them extremely limited rights of recourse against suppliers should an accident occur. It also sets aside ordinary tort law by disallowing fault-based claims by victims against operators or suppliers.

“By merely directing legal channeling of liability rather than to reflect economic channeling of liability, the bill has clearly focused the interests of the nuclear industry instead of the victims,” Powell said.

The bill has set a total liability for the operator at $320 million, while the government has taken another $220 million upon itself.

The new legislation ''leaves ample scope to channel liabilities to the suppliers,'' the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) lobby group said, adding that the bill therefore adequately strengthens safety norms for the operation of nuclear plants.

India’s new nuclear liability laws are more comprehensive than most other nuclear powers, according to the CII. China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and even the US all have similar laws that channel liability exclusively to operators and do not provide a right to recourse against suppliers, the confederation said. India and South Korea are the only countries that provide right to recourse against the supplier, although in South Korea the right to recourse can be excluded through a carefully crafted contract, the confederation said.

There are 19 nuclear power plants already operational in India and the sector is set to benefit from the 123 Agreement. With total capacity of 4.5 Giga Watts (4,500 MW), the plants have been hit by dwindling domestic uranium reserves and sanctions on fuel supplies. Nuclear power generation capacity is consequently down to 3% of total installed power generation capacity of the country. On the back of the agreement, India signed a $700 million deal with Russia in February last year for the supply of 2,000 tons of nuclear fuel.

Four more reactors under construction are expected to get cracking, providing hopes for India to eventually boost nuclear power generation to about 35 GW by 2020.

The a greater role for nuclear energy would help India achieve 9% GDP growth in the coming years, according to Citigroup analysts Rohini Malkani and Anushka Shah. The economy grew 8.8% from April to the end of June fiscal first, its best performance in two-and-a-half years, data released by the government's Central Statistical Organization showed yesterday.

According to Malkani and Shah, passage of the liability bill also heralds greater private sector participation. This will provide scope for several countries like France, United Kingdom, Canada, Namibia, Mongolia, Argentina and Kazakhstan to participate in India's still-nascent nuclear energy sector, they wrote in a note to clients. "Current targets allow sufficient space for both international and domestic companiesto expand," they said.

The bill, passed by parliament on August 30, is a ''welcome development for not only the country but also the global nuclear community as a whole,'' according to the Observer Research Foundation's Powell.

Powell argues that the bill would have been ''flawless'' had it paid enough attention to the interests of the victims of nuclear accidents. ''The fear is, given the weak legal provision for the victims, the suppliers, who are usually a powerful group of people, could get away with next to nothing in India.''

Indrajit Basu is a Kolkata-based correspondent for Asia Times Online.

Pakistan: providing relief to Balochistan's flood victims

MEDIA RELATIONS UNIT

International Committee of the Red Cross

19, avenue de la Paix

1202 Geneva

Switzerland

Phone: +41 22 730 3443

Fax: +41 22 734 8280

press.gva@icrc.org

http://www.icrc.org

ICRC News Release No. 10/166

03 September 2010

Pakistan: providing relief to Balochistan's flood victims

Geneva/Quetta (ICRC) – A string of natural disasters that caused widespread suffering and devastation in Balochistan in 2010 seems largely to have gone unnoticed outside this arid south-western province. The ICRC, acting through the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, responded quickly to the first bout of monsoon flooding in July by distributing food for 21,000 people in the flood-affected Sibi district towns of Talli and Sultan Kot. More relief assistance is planned to be distributed in the coming days in this severely affected region.

"In the third week of August, food and other items for 70,000 flood victims in Balochistan were purchased, packaged and shipped by the ICRC to Pakistan Red Crescent branches in the worst flood-affected areas of Jaffarabad, Nasirabad and Sibi districts, for distribution to flood victims in Balochistan. Relief supplies were also provided to people displaced from Balochistan to camps in Sindh and southern Punjab”, said Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC delegation in Islamabad.

"As conditions worsened in Balochistan, we were concerned that flooding would prevent us from getting a second shipment of relief supplies to the province and other southern areas by road from the ICRC logistics hub in Peshawar, so we opened a new aid pipeline in the port city of Karachi," added Mr Cuttat.

Floods in the Bolan district in March were followed in quick succession by destructive winds and coastal flooding from cyclone Phet in early June. Before the current catastrophic floods focused the world spotlight on Pakistan in early August, the population in Balochistan was already feeling the effects of flooding rains in the third week of July. Balochistan remains one of the poorest and hardest hit areas in the country and, despite the strength and resilience of its people, one least able to recover from the current disastrous floods.

Despite restrictions on the movement of expatriate staff within Balochistan, the ICRC remains committed to bringing aid to people in need. "The ICRC, in cooperation with the Pakistan Red Crescent, will continue to assist flood victims in Balochistan, and we stand ready to help flood victims restore their livelihoods once floodwaters subside," said Adrian Zimmerman, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Quetta.

The ICRC carried out humanitarian work in Balochistan in response to the 2007 floods and the 2008 earthquake. In 2010, it has delivered relief supplies to the Pakistan Red Crescent as a series of natural disasters have struck the province.

For further information, please contact:

Michael O'Brien, ICRC Pakistan, tel: +92 300 850 8138

Adrian Zimmerman, ICRC Quetta, tel: +920300 856 8667

Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02

or visit our website: www.icrc.org

With Asia in flux, US dominance will remain

Brig Kartar Singh (Retd)
IN today's world it may be difficult to forecast any definite strategic scenario, though an effort can be made to arrive at certain deductions through identifying and analysing important players dominating the scene. One thing that can be said with certain degree of surety is Uncle Sam remaining the global policeman and affecting most global situations -- be it Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, South Asia or Central Asian Republics.
A survey of few world events will indicate three very strong elements at play globally. These are, first, non acceptance of use of force to settle political disputes by countries other than USA and/or the United Nations. USA and Russia had jointly declared that a nuclear war cannot be won and should, therefore, not be fought. Also a conventional war may not, any longer, be an instrument of politics. Does this then mean that there shall be no wars ? Some strategic thinkers while agreeing with the above premise believe that a speedy surgical type of military operation can be mounted with adequate pay-offs. Coercive diplomacy, which is becoming increasingly viable with technological advances, may still be a viable alternative.
The second element at play at the international and intra-national level is increasing regression towards ethnic, religious, regional and linguistic roots. Autonomy, separatism or sub nationalism going as low as tribes and castes may be a "watch word" for sometime to come. Many argue that this phenomenon directly demonstrates economically backward societies while countries with sound economy will be comparatively free of these tensions.
The third such element is the ugly side of human face with its excuses of religion, caste or sectarianism in the form of terrorism or violence and this may continue for some time. In spite of all efforts by various nations, terrorism is likely to dominate the scene as a tool of cheap war and dirty politics.
What are the other inputs we are getting worldwide? First, a singularity of military power i.e. the US. The world will be economically and technologically multi-polar but in terms of exercise of power globally, US will dominate the current decade. Japan, Germany, China, Russia, United Europe and India, if at all, will take time to rise. Increasing tension is likely in Asia due to abundance of resources, markets and the new emerging security structure.
Russia, China and India, major regional powers, are likely to play increasingly dormant roles externally, in this decade. They will be preoccupied with their own economic and political restructuring. Implications of this are that Russian help to India may decline; the Indo-Russian treaty not withstanding, Military threat from China will be marginal or demonstrative and present strategic tilts like that of USA towards Pakistan may continue.
Because of our political and economic situation, the dominant force at play in India today is regression of the population towards regional, religious and linguistic roots. From this emerges our greatest vulnerability -- internal instability. It is perceived that this instability may increase before improving. As a result of this, separatist movement in Kashmir, north east and elsewhere can be exploited by adversaries. Population explosion, illiteracy, internal security situation and economic backwardness are root cause for the present state of affairs, coupled with policy decisions that are based on narrow political, sectarian and sub regional interests.
As for external challenges, the conventional threat from Pakistan is not likely to change appreciably in the near future, but we need to retain a proactive military capability. A factor that has to be taken into account is Pakistan's nuclear capability. The deterrence value of this may preclude any large-scale operations by both countries.
Pakistan knows it cannot win a war against India. However, Pakistan is "not a country with an army but an army with a country". It is, therefore, unlikely that Pakistani army will sit back and cool its heels. Pakistani army is likely to adopt a middle path, that is to maintain the present dispensation with fluctuating intensity like providing support to militant activities in J&K and north-east and other vulnerable areas, and correlating with internal tensions and political situations and thus bleed India through the cheap option of proxy war.
Pakistan cannot live without tension with India, at least in the near future, due to internal dynamics of its Army, ISI and jehadi groups. Jehadi groups have turned out to be an industry, promoted and benefited by Pakistani military and ISI. These will be made to continue their strife for cause of Kashmir, revenge of 1971 defeat and fear of explosion and division of Pakistan by internal differences among various Jehadi groups.
China is undergoing changes on most fronts and as a result it seems to have changed its external perception, now feeling that most developed countries may have entered a passive phase. It perceives nuclear or a major conventional war may not be fought, that diplomacy may replace confrontation and economic and technological developments are major prerequisite for super power status.
Internally China is having its share of centrifugal forces, a state of economy that accentuates dissatisfaction between economic free zones and rest of the country; internal strife amongst various ethnic groups, upsurge for democracy and effect of the Islamic republics of erstwhile USSR.
Additionally, China is likely to pay greater attention towards a unified Korea, defiant Taiwan and an economical muscle flexing Japan. Tibet will continue to be a low priority area. Hence, in the coming years, China will be more inward looking and militarily will adopt a dormant role vis-a-vis India. Existing linkages with Pakistan will continue but is unlikely to give any concrete help to it in an Indo - Pak conflict.
Since the border dispute between India and China has been put on a settlement track, for some time no other major irritant with China is likely to erupt. If at all China perceives a serious threat, it will be from Japan and unified Korea as these countries are economically developed.
Neighbours like Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are likely to continue to be apprehensive about India's capabilities and intentions. Bangladesh may continue to enhance inkages with Pakistan. None of them, of course can be considered a potential threat in coming decade.

COMMENT: on "Rubbishing Nuclear Technology"

I read Dr. YK Alagh's article (Rubbishing Nuclear Technology, Yoginder K. Alagh Posted: Thu Sep 02 2010, 13:51 hrs New Delhi: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rubbishing-nuclear-technology/676320/0 )


with great interest; the title should really have been "Rubbishing Indian Nuclear Technology". The comments by the Advisor for Energy in the Planning Commission are incomprehensible and dismaying, especially if they are driven by a focus on nuclear power plant imports rather than on (or at the expense of) promoting rapid progress towards fulfilling Dr. Homi Bhabha's dream and getting Indian thorium-based FBRs up and running. It is one thing for foreigners to denigrate our potential in this field, but much, much worse to have one of our own, and that too someone in a position of influence, do the same.


With specific reference to Dr. Alagh's comments"These were also the years when Indian scientists refurbished both RAPP at Kota and Tarapore because the original equipment suppliers refused to do so citing their obligations to the nuclear suppliers group. It was a blessing in disguise since our boys did it at very little cost as compared to the costs of refurbishment by the Canadians", the Canadian are well and truly aware of all this. When I was the High Commissioner of India for Canada during 2004-7, I was specifically invited to address the Association of CANDU Industries in Toronto in November 2005, the only Head of Mission to have been asked to do so, simply because the CANDU operators in Canada were knew that Indian nuclear scientists had made so many advances in the CANDU technology that these reactors were now called simply INDU. To cite just a few: double containment, independent engineered safety systems at a multi-unit site, seamless Calandria tubes and, best of all, the ability to carry out en masse coolant channel replacement and other upgradation works at a cost of just US$40 million, as against the estimates of $1.4 billion for the Canadian Point Lepreau Nuclear Power Plant.


In fact, if the India-Canada nuclear cooperation agreement had been through at that time, we could have made a very promising bid for refurbishing several of the aging Canadian, and especially Ontarian, PWHRs. That we could not do so at that time was a lasting sorrow for me personally, but the opening is now there and I do hope the GoI and the Indian nuclear power establishment takes advantage of it.


Shyamala B. Cowsik

Indian Foreign Service (Retd.) &

Former Member, National Security Advisory Board

Pune (Tel: 098-5097-1650)