December 31, 2011

Uranium from Canberra : Australia warms up to India

by Rahul Mishra

WITHIN a fortnight since Canberra took the landmark decision on yellowcake supply to New Delhi, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith paid a three-day visit to India. Smith, Foreign Minister under the Rudd government, and a long-time India supporter on the uranium issue, arrived in New Delhi earlier this month.

The Julia Gillard government’s most frequent flyer to India, Smith is the first minister to have visited India since the decision was taken. He has been to India thrice before and is considered one of the key role players in shaping Australia’s renewed policy stand regarding nuclear matters on India.

Earlier, citing domestic political and policy reasons, the ruling Australian Labor Party (ALP) had forced the Rudd government to reverse the John Howard-led Conservative government’s 2007 decision to supply uranium. However, after mulling over the decision for years and considering India’s case as sui- generic (unique), Prime Minister Gillard made a powerful case for India at the ALP conference in Sydney.

She pleaded that apart from India’s commendable record on nuclear non-proliferation, doing business with India was good for the Australian economy as also in improving relations with the emerging economic superpower. She further assured the party members that her government would put in place stringent safeguard measures to make sure that New Delhi uses the material for agreed projects.

Interestingly, Australia already has such an agreement with China, backed by powerful safeguard measures and inspection regimes. Canberra is likely to put in place a similar deal with New Delhi as well. India and Australia will start the negotiations on uranium supply in 2012.

That India’s case is considered as a ‘stand alone’ and exceptional is also evident from the fact that Australia turned down Pakistan’s demand for a similar deal. Steering clear of any further debate on Pakistan’s claims, Smith has said that there have been serious concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record. Additionally, it has not voluntarily placed itself under the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency or the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The decision on uranium supply has helped remove a major stumbling block in India’s relationship with its antipodean neighbour. Though the two countries have consistently been denying it, the issue did prevent the relationship from graduating to a more mature level, to say the least.

Business calculations and the feeling that overlooking New Delhi’s energy concerns wouldn’t do any good to Canberra motivated it to take a decision in India’s favour. The country with biggest uranium reserves in the world doesn’t want to lag behind in benefiting from India’s rapidly growing nuclear energy market.

Smith’s visit adds substance to the diplomatic developments happening lately on the bilateral front. His itinerary included the Defence Ministers’ dialogue in New Delhi. First held in December 2010, the dialogue involved deliberations on matters strategic and security, including maritime and regional security. It was in consonance with the 2009 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation. He also held meetings with the armed forces officials and other senior political leaders and visited the Western Naval Command and the Victoria Dockyard in Mumbai.

The visit was aimed at setting the middle to long-term agenda for bilateral ties, a kind of groundwork to broaden the horizon of relationship. This is evident from the fact that not only was there a talk of follow-up stages in nuclear cooperation but also setting up of broad-based naval cooperation and exchanges. The two sides also agreed to convene a track 1.5 strategic dialogue in Australia in 2012.

Smith conveyed to his Indian counterpart that Canberra was keen on conducting joint naval exercises with New Delhi, even offering to join in the Malabar exercise again from which it had opted out in 2009 to keep China in good humour.

Both India and Australia realise it very well that the Indian Ocean offers them umpteen opportunities to cooperate on the maritime front. Realising the growing strategic significance of the Indian Ocean region, Australia has started attaching importance to its western neighbours in general and India in particular.

However, a concrete roadmap for long-term naval cooperation is very much needed in this respect. Perhaps, the Indian Ocean Rim Association of Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) could offer a lot in that regard. The IONS is an India initiated group of which Australia is an active member. Australia is hosting the IONS Conclave of Chiefs in Perth in 2014. Attempts at revitalising the IOR-ARC and working on the IONS clearly demonstrate India and Australia’s willingness to understand each other better and cooperate on maritime matters in making the region prosperous and peaceful.

The relationship is moving on to a higher level is apparent from the fact that India was one of the few countries briefed on a 2,500 US mariner strong joint US-Australia base in Darwin. Signed on November 16, 2011, the agreement is widely seen as a response to China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Rumours also floated in the media about the possibility of an Australia-US-India alliance, which was wrongly attributed to Kevin Rudd. In order to clear the haze, a media statement from the Australian High Commission in New Delhi was issued on December 2, 2011.

In fact, the study regarding the possibility of such an alliance was conducted jointly by an Indian and Australian think tank, which published its report in late 2011. To be sure, at the official level Australia has not expressed any interested in a military alliance with India. In the past, India had refused to get into any kind of military alliance with any country, a manifestation of India’s long-standing foreign policy position. In any case, considering the rapidly changing economic and strategic dynamics of the region, it is too early to predict how the emerging alliances in the region will unfold and what they mean for India’s national security interests.

All in all, the recent developments on this set of relationship demonstrate that Australia is keen to invest in India’s rise in all possible aspects, including energy, educational, economic and strategic, to ensure that it is not caught napping when the whole world is jockeying to harness benefits from India’s rise.n

The writer is associated with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi.

December 30, 2011

Ban on Bhagavad Gita in Russia: Experience in Turkey in 1970s

Ban on Bhagavad Gita in Russia And
Ban on Gita ,Upanishads & Geetanjali in Turkey in 1970s !
From the Ambassador’s Journal

The current controversy about the ban on Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in the city of Tomsk, Siberia (Russia) by the prosecutor who branded it as 'extremist' literature and its reversal by a Judge on 28 December, brought to my mind a similar ban in Turkey in 1970s.

The case against the ban by Hindus in Russia in the city court has been going on since June. The Indian government intervened diplomatically with the embassy in Moscow taking up the matter with the Russian government and Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna speaking to Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin in New Delhi on 27 December.

During the author’s posting at Ankara, Turkey ( in 1969-73) one day the media suddenly splashed the news that the government of Turkey had banned Gita, Upanishads, a few other Indian religious books ,apart from Rabindranath Tagore’s Geetanjali and some of his other writings. This came as unpleasant surprise to the Indian Embassy then headed by Ambassador KR Narayanan, later to become the president of the Indian Republic .

Naturally there was anger and furor in India with questions raised in the Parliament and the media going ballistic like after the recent banning of the Gita in Siberia.

Of course the ambassador took up the matter at the highest level , but first I went over to see Kaya Toperi , minister and deputy spokesman at the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs dealing with such matters .Kaya , who was counselor in the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi was recently posted back home .We had known each other well, since I was undersecretary dealing with west and south Europe including Turkey .

After a cup of Turkish coffee, I jokingly asked Kaya that I had read Gita and Upanishads many times in translations and had not been able to fully comprehend its various interpretations and meanings .I was interested in meeting the gentleman, who had read Gita, understood it and then decided to ban it . Kaya, who was aware of the furor in India, laughed and explained that his ministry and censor regularly receive bundles of books to be reviewed for ban, from time to time.

After the 1971 military’ half coup followed by crackdown on extremist students in Ankara , Upanishads, Gita, Geetanjali and other Indian books were found along with writings of Karl Marx, Engels and Lenin in leftists den and were sent to departments including foreign ministry in a big bundle .Since no one went through them , and reminders were piling up , the whole lot was returned without any examination for the ban. The censors recommended ban to the Prime Ministry and the whole bundle beginning with Communist writings and including Indian spiritual books and Tagore’s writings was banned at a cabinet meeting, which only could take such decisions.

The ban was lifted at the next cabinet meeting in a month or so.

Most Turkish friends were very embarrassed by the ban ,since there was a section of Indology in Ankara university .There were Turkish students and scholars of Indian philosophy and literature , with an Indian teacher of Sanskrit and Hindi at the Ankara university .

Although after the Bolshevik revolution in Czarist Russia ( an inveterate enemy of the Ottoman empire ) , Socialist Moscow sent financial and military aid to Kemal Ataturk for Turkey’s War of Independence against the European Imperialist powers led by Great Britain , which he accepted but he did not allow Communism to take roots in the republic . Communist party remains banned in Turkey even now. Ankara joined NATO was a strategic necessity to counter Moscow’s territorial claims on Turkey after WWII.

But the student and academic community in Turkey, situated at the cross roads of ideas from Europe and West and central Asia and Africa acquires diverse and vibrant ideologies and beliefs and are passionate about them. So there has always been vibrant leftist and communist student community which regularly agitated against the US and its policies during the Cold War. The Political Science department of Ankara university has produced Turkey’s top civil servants as well as many of its political leaders including Abdullah Ocalan, now imprisoned chief of the Kurdistan Workers' Party aka PKK (Kurdish: Partiya KarkerĂȘn Kurdistan ) fighting for autonomy and cultural rights for Kurds since 1984, which is Communist and Kurdish nationalistic in its ideology .

Thus the leftist intellectuals and students in Ankara and elsewhere in Turkey, apart from Karl Marx and Mao also studied the Naxalbari movement of Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal whose posters were found in student dormitories. They were also interested in Indian and other philosophies and literature.

It is pertinent to recall that Tagore’s writings were very popular in Turkey .In fact , late Bulent Ecevit , then head of the Republican peoples’ party (RPP) , established by the republic’s founder and father , Kemal Ataturk ,and later prime minster a few times had translated not only many poems of Tagore’s Geetanjali but even had learnt Bengali and Sanskrit to better understand Gita .More on Turkish-Hindustani.

Amb (Retd) K.Gajendra Singh , 30 December , 2011. Mayur Vihar, Delhi.

US finalizes deal to sell F-15s to Saudi Arabia

By JULIE PACE | AP – 2 hrs 39 mins ago

HONOLULU (AP) — The sale of $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter jets to Saudi Arabia has been finalized, the Obama administration said Thursday, boosting the military strength of a key U.S. ally in the Middle East to help counter Iran. Under the agreement, the U.S. will send Saudi Arabia 84 new fighter jets and upgrades for 70 more. Production of the aircraft, which will be manufactured by Boeing Co., will support 50,000 jobs and have a $3.5 billion annual economic impact in the U.S., the White House said.

The sale is part of a larger U.S. effort to realign its defense policies in the Persian Gulf to keep Iran in check. The announcement came as U.S. officials weighed a fresh threat from Tehran, which warned this week it could disrupt traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf oil transport route, if Washington levies new sanctions targeting Iran's crude exports. Administration officials said the timing of Thursday's announcement was not tied to the new threat from Tehran. But they did make clear that the fighter jet sale would help Saudi Arabia counter potential troubles with Iran.

"This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro. "It will enhance Saudi Arabia's ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty."

The fighter jet sale is part of a larger 10-year, $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that also includes helicopters, a broad array of missiles, bombs and delivery systems, as well as radar warning systems and night-vision goggles. Congress gave the deal the go-ahead about a year ago. The plan initially raised concerns from pro-Israeli lawmakers, but U.S. officials reassured Congress that Israel's military edge would not be undercut by the sale. Additionally, there is now broad agreement among Israel, the Gulf Arab states and the West that Iran poses a significant and unpredictable threat.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter regional rivals. Tensions between them were further stoked earlier this year after the U.S. accused Iran of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in Washington. Saudi Arabia is already the most militarily advanced of the Arab Gulf states, one of the richest countries in the world, and central to American policy in the Middle East. It is also vital to U.S. energy security, with Saudi Arabia ranking as the third-largest source of U.S. oil imports.

But relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia grew frosty earlier this year, as the allies found themselves at odds during the protests that swept through the Arab world. The Obama administration angered the Saudis by pulling support from former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, a longtime ally of both countries. And the U.S. bristled when Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to quell protests there.

The White House announced the agreement with Saudi Arabia from Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is vacationing.


Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report

Epic Ram Jethmalani's Speech in Rajya Sabha on 29 Dec 2011 on Lokpal Bill

Balochistan: Hidden treasure wallowing in neglect

Sonya Fatah Dec 26, 2011, 05.42AM IST

It may not be the first place on your 2012 travel agenda but if you're an intrepid traveller and you enjoy nature's bounty, Pakistan really should be on your list.

Once you arrive you'll quickly realize that this is a land of untapped treasures, much of it in the wild, rugged beauty department. Where tourist footfalls have stamped and stomped about wrecking heavy environmental and cultural losses in other places, the Taliban in unknown collusion with our tourism ministry have done us one roundabout service - they've kept our best-kept secrets well and properly hidden, and reasonably untouched.

There is terrain enough to suit all needs: sea, mountain, desert, plateau. You have heard of the pleasures of the north - the Karakoram range, K-2 , the breathtaking vista of the Hunza and Kaghan Valleys, Chitral and Kalash . But not so far away in the south-western part of the country is another hidden treasure - Balochistan.

In newspaper idiom it gets clubbed with the frontier as the country's 'wild badlands.'

The logic of Pakistan's battle with the Balochis beats conventional or unconventional wisdom. It doesn't matter who rules Pakistan - every leader seems to have been blind to the basic logic of collective development and integration. If you want to build a state you've got to at least try to include the largest province into the equation . And Balochistan, occupying 45% of Pakistan's landmass , is hardly dismissable. Quite apart from the fact that just above eight million people live there, Baluchistan is home to a vast array of valuable natural resources - gas, copper, hydrocarbon and gold among them.

It is alleged that the Prophet Zarathustra roamed the vast lands in search of converts to Zoroastrianism. The remains of one of the oldest agricultural societies were excavated here in Mehergarh in 1974; they date back to a period as far back as 7000 BC.

None of this history bears any resemblance to the fate of Balochis today. Quetta, once a proud and powerful garrison city, has the unsettling feeling of being the location of a spy thriller sans the excitement. Oddly the tribal leaders have marched in sync with the establishment by not promoting development opportunities for their people.

But even they are helpless today. Ataullah Mengal, the head of the Mengal tribe, has called PM Gilani's Aghaz-e-Haqooq package - an alleged effort to rehabilitate Balochistan - a joke.

Historically, Pakistanis haven't known much about Balochistan apart from reading newspaper reports about separatists bombing gas distribution lines or providing further roadblocks for foreign investment in the energy sector , including the once much sought after IPI pipeline.

But I digress. The reality of Balochistan is this: It is a land of special rugged attractions . If you travel west from Karachi and cross over into the province you find yourself in Hub. In Karachi where the Arabian Sea licks the shore, a muddy greenbrown liquid spreads across a sandy expanse. Here the water turns a rich, pure, azure, the sand, soft, almost white.

Some 40 km south off the coast of Pasni, a fishing spot, is Astola Island, a stunning craggy spot in the centre of the ocean that sometimes hosts off-the-beaten-track campers and budding astronomers . Off the Makran Coast there is still a coastal culture of fishing and boatbuilding.

And if you consider yourself a modern day Lawrence of Arabia, Balochistan had boundless desert to offer. There is also Hinglaj, some 250km from Karachi, an important Hindu pilgrimage site where Lord Ram is alleged to have gone to pay penance for committing Bhramhatya.

Sadly, the economic indicators tell the story of Baluchistan's relationship with the centre. Pakistan's attempt to redress the inequality of the Balochistan condition was to build Gwadar, a major port on the Balochistan coastline . There was talk of boosting employment but the government brought in labourers from other cities and Chinese skilled labour to put the project together.

It was Chinese-style development . The way the Chinese centre populated Urumqi in its western Xinjiang province with Han Chinese to ensure that local Uyghurs could have little to none of the economic pie the richly endowed province offered. Here in India those who know a thing or two about Balochistan express a feeling of camaraderie for the suffering Baloch - unemployment is allegedly near 40% and 90% of rural girls are not going to school.

The best way to frame Balochistan in a South Asian context, as far as I can see is this: Balochistan is to Pakistan what Kashmir has been to India - places of great beauty in their own ways raped, pillaged by their own people and governments.

It's unlikely that you'll take up my challenge to visit either the old temples or rugged spots or snorkel in that part of the Arabian Sea in 2012. But nowhere does the phrase 'Happy New Year' matter more than in Balochistan. If good karma travels west perhaps your children or grandchildren will one day enjoy its offerings.

The author is a Delhi-based Pakistani journalist.

Iran’s Maritime Geostrategy in an Unbalanced World

If Iran turns into a naval power, its neighbors are estimated to maintain balance via multilateral unions against Iran. Diako Hosseini.

More than 120 years after the publication of the renowned book “The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660-1783” by Alfred Thayer Mahan, the incredible power of the Navy still shapes global politics. Further, it makes up the main geo-strategic theme of the world’s great powers as well as the up and coming ones. In line with this conventional mode of thinking, powerful countries are somewhat obliged to be armed with modern a naval force that puts them in a superior position in relation to other countries.

A newfound enthusiasm for communications and financial globalization may have temporarily relegated the significance of naval power, yet the compression of time and place has reminded some of a Navy’s importance.

Navy supporters point out that two-thirds of the oil trade and more than 77 percent of the global trade in goods are still carried out by sea. Further, if considering oceans, coastal shores, estuaries of large rivers and island territories, this figure reaches 90%. Additionally, global issues such as marine life and environmental effects on open waters-- as well as the importance of securing sources of energy-- add to the importance of a Navy for the people’s common interests. Frank Huffman of the US Navy pointed out the “arrival of a new age of Mahan”.

With increasing emphasis on the importance of the Navy in Western literature, Iran is increasing its naval technological and strategic operations in the Persian Gulf and the seas beyond. Among Iran’s plans are to increase its maritime influence by deploying fleets to the Mediterranean coasts and plans to create permanent bases in the Gulf of Aden and the Atlantic Ocean. It is often assumed that these measures will lead to an increase in Iran’s influence in open waters.

Arguably, this assumption is not only inaccurate but it also prepares the grounds for disturbing the current balance of power in the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean and beyond. Perhaps the main difficulty in understanding how trans-ocean navy capabilities could threaten Iran’s national security stems from common understanding of maritime history. Before expanding further, first let’s consider whether naval expansion brought more stability and security for Great Britain after 1776, Wilhem’s Germany after 1895, and the US after the 1900s.

The Navy in History

Historically, demonstration of naval strength has been closely tied to great wars, most notably classical wars. The Spanish succession, the Seven Years War, the American Civil War and the Netherlands and Britain’s Second War have all been more or less affected by the countries’ naval strength. Yet rarely (with the exception of the Netherlands and Britain’s war that occurred in the Far East and latter at the battle of Tsushima), navies played a crucial role in instigating the wars.

British author, Julian Corbett -who lived in the same era as Alfred Mahan- elegantly explains: “Humans live on lands and not the sea, hence most fundamental human affairs takes place on lands”. Unlike Mahan, in his book “Principles of Maritime Strategy” Corbett insisted less on wars at sea. Instead he assumed a mutual correlation between war on land and war at sea. Corbett understood that having control over the sea was not limited to having control over the sea level but also at the depths of the sea as well as out in space. In practice it is very difficult for a country to gain such control and to maintain it. Expecting naval mastery from the navy is often an unusual anticipation. Undoubtedly, this has been one of the forces behind the navy’s gradual decline.

Under the best circumstances -thanks to advance technology - a maritime power could build a powerful naval fleet and sailing and logistic facilities in order dominate waters for a limited period of time. However, soon after, rival countries are provoked to disrupt this ability in order to gain dominance. Additionally, the presence of a powerful navy in open waters far away from its home could cause suspicion about its intentions.

This could lead to the unity of other rival countries against a potential common adversary; like the union between Great Britain and France against Germany in 1902; also Japan and Britain against Russia in 1939. Hence, naval actions often result in consequences on land. Rivalry between the British and German navies eventually led to the First World War. In Seventeenth Century Britain, the Netherlands and Spain started their colonization in the heart of China, which lead to the British domination of the West. During the same time it was Germany’s effort to gain dominance that disturbed a 150 yearlong stability. However, the fundamental concern of Great Britain, France and Russia derived from the development of Nazi Germany’s striking ground forces. Imperial Japan had one of the most elite naval forces in the world. It was not only Japan’s losses, but also its victories in Manchuria, the Philippines, Singapore and the Korean Peninsula that reflected the moral and financial rise and decline of its ground forces.

Why is it so difficult to achieve maritime supremacy? As long as there are other powerful rivals on the seas there are only two ways to overcome the enemy and realize dominance: firstly, to gain control over water crossings by physically destroying other countries’ fleets; secondly, naval blockades. Each of these solutions can be costly and often ineffective. John Mearsheimer, an American realist who advocates the supremacy of the army and ground forces, give evidence of the negligible effects of naval blockades in his book “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics”. He points out that since most land-based battlefields consume significant military resources, naval troops are essentially considered as weak, vulnerable, and considered temporary. No military commander is willing to concentrate most of his military resources at sea while the enemy’s ground troops have reached the country’s borders, or may reach it in the future.

The navy still suffers from strategic deficiencies. In contemporary times, a powerful navy seems ineffective without the support of an air force, as a combination of both is essential. Perhaps some experts might say that aircraft carriers, the best combination of both forces, has solved the problem, but these sea beasts seem futile against asymmetric warfare. Besides all of these problems, it is very difficult to be certain whether an enemy’s attack strategy will fail after a decisive defeat at sea, as Napoleon’s defeat in the sea battle of Trafalgar did not prevent him from advancing towards the borders of Russia on the western front. When the land or the interest in dispute is closely related to the sea (such as territorial islands or strategic coasts), success in a sea battle will decide success in war, while if the interests of the two sea forces are situated on land, success at sea is only a ceremonial victory.

Furthermore, there is a great exception when the navies of both sides enjoy nuclear capabilities; in such a situation, a sea battle can be quite decisive. A technologic navy can improve deterrence and can carry out a second strike, while an effective navy is of secondary importance for a nuclear power. The Cold War between two former superpowers showed that the maintenance of international peace depends on avoiding a first pervasive attack. As Lewis Gaddis puts it, the Cold War was governed, to some extent, by the lack of courage to shoot the first nuclear missile, rather than by other balancing factors. Ignoring whether there is a balance of military powers-- including that of sea power-- anywhere in the world, the sea powers with nuclear capabilities can create the safest geopolitical situation in the sea; for these powers, the capability to move on the seas is not that important while the enemy targets the mainland with nuclear weapons.

The Cuban missile crisis is a revealing example: in that critical situation, neighboring the Russian navy to US seas was an advantage for the Russian leaders, while, in case of their progress, would the Russian mainland be targeted by US Pershing missiles?

Finally, the role of navies in maintaining the position of superpowers has been exaggerated. History does not confirm that the world’s most advanced sea forces of Britain, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the US could not stop their gradual falling from their high position. At least, after the formation of the international economic system, the most important mission of armed forces has been to support the health of a country’s economy.

In earlier times, this obligation was primarily assigned to the imperialist superpowers’ navies, while they fell into colonial rivalries that incur high military expenses, the issue that made armed forces an impediment to economic advances, caused domestic dissatisfaction, introduced political reforms in Europe of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and accelerated the fall of great powers. In the modern era, navies’ support for safe and free shipping securing the flow of the global economy is one of the reasons for the increasing empowering of the navies, while the rivalry between China and the US in the South China Sea and the recent rivalry between Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf pose threats, instead of guaranteeing security.

After all, none of these arguments proves that a powerful navy present in coastal seas or the neighboring seas can improve national security, while the navies’ success is directly related to their performance in neighbor seas rather than an extension to the farthest oceans.

The Future of Iranian Navy

Besides the above-mentioned critical arguments regarding a common misunderstanding of the advantages of extending sea forces to far seas, the balance of superpowers’ navies, like land and air forces, depends on their technologies. Currently, although the US enjoys less advanced maritime equipment, qualitatively speaking, it, like military unions, has a particular dominance over and presence in oceans. The US having 12 aircraft carriers, 9 of which are Nimitz class nuclear super-carriers capable of carrying 70 F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft, has formed the most terrifying sea force of the world. The US’s closest rivals are as follows: France with a so-called Charles de Gaulle carrier which is smaller than the Nimitz, Russia with a carrier called the Admiral Kuznetsov which is minor threat to those of the US, and Britain with three small carriers used for carrying helicopters and Harrier perpendicular planes.

The submarine fleet of the US, consisting of 54 nuclear attack submarines and 16 ballistic missile submarines stands in first place in the world, while Russia with 37 of the first type and 14 of the second type stands in second place, followed by Britain, France and China. In this unbalanced situation, the navies rival to the US have no way but to adopt an asymmetric strategy. For example, via improving the production line of Song Class Diesel-Electric submarines, whose production is much less expensive than nuclear submarines, China opened a new market for countries in pursuit of maritime technology.

Although the Chinese submarines, including the Jin and Shong nuclear models and Yu An and Song with diesel propulsion, are not considered as a threat to the US in the short run, they can threaten the maritime hegemony of the US at least in the Pacific Ocean in the long run-- through the Chinese inventing new technologies and selling it to new customers. Using the C-802 Chinese anti-ship cruise missile in the 33-day war between Hezbollah and Israel, the former could manage an asymmetric war well. Considering the success of Iran, the mass production of Noor cruise missiles-- copied from the Chinese model-- has begun, and Iran also has improved Silkworm 2 cruise missile called Thunder, which is capable of carrying warheads weighing approximately 450 kgs.

As the result, considering that Ghadir submarines are well equipped for recognition equipment in coastal territories, Sina combat ships, Bavar stealth aircraft capable of landing on water and a radar system with range of 500 kilometers, Iran, like growing naval powers, has prepared a appropriate collection of observation, attack and defense equipment, enabling it to begin warfare in the Persian Gulf against one of the greatest naval powers ever, but the problem is the country is not well equipped to act in far seas and to continue warfare for a long time.

If Iran turns into a naval power, its neighbors are estimated to maintain balance via multilateral unions against Iran which may be instigated to compete with the country. Among the neighbors, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are more frightened by the rise of Iran, as not only the closeness to Iran increases their vulnerability, but also Iran’s access to a more advanced maritime force is a threat to the power balance, decreasing the range of those countries’ influence. Now, the question is how Iran can solve this contradiction: providing security in the seas besides the Persian Gulf and resolving the threat issue for neighbors. Fortunately, Iran has always followed multilateral cooperation, however limitedly, to resolve this issue: maritime cooperation between Iran and Oman, the joint exercises of Iran and Qatar and that of Iran and Djibouti in combating pirates are revealing examples, while the neighboring regional powers have never been satisfied.

Thus, Iran should make cooperation with the great naval forces of the world such as those of India, Russia and China a priority, through renting various ports to these countries, carrying out joint exercises and exchanging experiences, outcomes and information and sharing the expenses destined to be borne for the extension of the naval forces among the partner powers. Consequently, chances for the formation of a military balance against Iran will not arise and Tehran will be recognized as a powerful naval power in the international community.
25 Sunday December 2011 19:11

Cold Handshakes: Iranian Intelligence Minister visits Saudi Arabia

IRD: The Iranian Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi’s visit to Saudi Arabia has raised debates inside the Iranian diplomatic circles. The chain of events that began with the outbreak of Arab revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa and continued with US’ allegation of Iran’s attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington have made Moslehi’s visit to Riyadh a subject of intense speculation by the regional media and Western newspapers, and provoked criticism among certain Conservative mouthpieces inside Iran which called the visit hasty. IRD reviews the matter in an interview with Ali Akbar Asadi, Middle East affairs analyst:

IRD: What was the main goal of Moslehi’s visit to Riyadh considering the security relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

AA: There is not that much security exchange between the two countries; what we have now is only a security pact sealed at the time of Mohammad Khatami, the former president. Seemingly the visit was made due to the increasing tensions between Tehran and Riyadh and also regional developments. These are the only information that have been disclosed about this visit so far. The two countries were already engaged in tense relations, especially caused by the Saudi party, brought to a new level with allegations of Tehran's attempt to murder Adel el-Jubeir, the Saudi Ambassador to Washington. Iran and Saudi Arabia, beside Turkey, are the three main actors in the Middle East and any conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia may be followed by dire consequences for both. Although diplomatic interactions are expected to relieve the tensions, the regional rivalry between them won’t abate, especially because of Tehran's and Riyadh’s different policies regarding Bahrain and Syria. Iran and Turkey have also had some differences in their viewpoints about Syria, but they have tried to keep up their interaction within the recent months. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are also regional competitors whose challenges have intensified in the recent months, but they try to keep their relations at a certain level. But the story is different when it comes to Iran and Saudi Arabia, as rivalry between them sparks tension and although diplomatic interactions could ease the strain to a certain extent, it cannot be expected to have a long-time stable impact.

IRD: What was the reason to dispatch Moslehi for negotiations with Saudis over Syria?

AA: This is just a minor concern and it relates to intragovernment policies. Two major axes were discussed in the negotiations between Moslehi and Crown Prince Naif; Bahrain and Syria. There is a wide range of regional actors calling for regime change in Syria and Saudis stand at the top of the list. Qatar and Turkey come next in the list, though Turkey has adopted a less hostile position due to certain considerations, while Saudi Arabia persistently follows the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Other countries -including Iraq- are seeking a different solution for Syria via the Arab League channel.

IRD: Western media talk of attempts by the US and Europe to convince Riyadh to tame the oil price in case that boycotting the Iranian oil is activated. Could this have possibly been on the negotiations’ agenda?

AA: Putting Iran under pressure through sanctions has been a regular option for the US in the last few years. For long, Saudis have wanted to increase their oil production to control the oil market. Riyadh has backed the Americans during the US attack on Iraq in 2003, after the 9/11 shock to the oil market and any other occurrence deemed to shock the international oil market. Boycotting the Iranian oil amounts to declaration of war against Iran, as some of analysts argue, since it threatens the country’s security and the likely reaction of Iran may aggravate tensions.
17 Saturday December 2011 1:47

Disposable friends : China & India

America is baiting China, and India could get sucked into it, warns Ramtanu Maitra.

Washington, 28 December 2011: On 20 December, a trilateral dialogue between India, Japan and the United States took place in Washington. "These discussions," said a joint statement, "mark the beginning of a series of consultations among our three governments, who share common values and interests across the Asia-Pacific and the globe."

Japan's foreign minister, Koichiro Gemba, was in Washington then. Together with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, he "affirmed that Japan and the United States are deepening [our] strategic relationship with India".

"Strategic relationship" is a loosely conceived phrase. The Americans notoriously use it to further their interests above those of others.

The US media said the trilateral dialogue took place "amid heightened tensions between China and the Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and the Philippines over the issue of sovereignty over the resource-rich South China Sea". This implied the dialogue centred on US concerns, dittoed by India and Japan, over the growing Chinese "threat' in the region.

US president Barack Obama's pugnacious speech in Australia in November flagged such concerns. "With my visit to the region," he said, "I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region."
From next year, US troops and aircraft will operate out of Darwin to quickly respond to humanitarian and security issues in Southeast Asia which is at the heart of the tense stand-off with China. "It is appropriate for us," Obama said, "that the security architecture for the region is updated for the 21st century, and this initiative is going to allow us to do that."

Analysts like James Holmes of the US Naval War College argue that today's strategic questions represent a throwback of sorts to the debate before the First World War amongst strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, ex-president Theodore Roosevelt, and assistant secretary of the navy, Franklin Roosevelt, about stationing the American fleet. The three sea-power proponents agreed it should concentrate in the Pacific, said Holmes.

Holmes says that situation exists today. "A glance at the map," he wrote in The Diplomat online, "reveals two prospective adversaries for the United States and its allies, namely China and Iran. Both worry mainly about managing their own surroundings. Both can mass forces close to home. Neither has compelling interests that disperse its military forces to faraway theatres. And the chances of their ganging up on the US Navy are remote."

Holmes' prescription: The US navy must prepare to face -- or face down in crises short of war -- a single opponent fighting with full force near its own shores. "Cold War theatres like the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea no longer appear that menacing, while the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean could witness exciting times," Holmes concludes.

Many walking the corridors of power in India would like to align with the United States and identify China as an enemy. "Chinese perfidy" in 1962 and since compels them. They do not trust China and prefer the United States.

US-India relations have changed greatly since the time president Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, considered India a "Soviet stooge." Now, Obama, to the great pride of the Indian premier, calls Manmohan Singh his "guru".

In Bali in November on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, Manmohan Singh confirmed to Obama that "there are no irritants between our two countries." And last year in New Delhi, Obama said the India-US relationship is "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century".

Even so, an Indo-US alliance against China is not a given, much less a trilateral partnership amongst India, America and Japan to contain the totalitarian behemoth. Australia which is key to a common front against China is keen to upgrade strategic ties with India. But New Delhi is cautious not to provoke Beijing.

At the same time, India has a much weaker constitution than it did in the years when it was staunchly non-aligned. Washington's China bogey could suck the Manmohan Singh government into a dangerous situation.

Ramtanu Maitra is South Asia analyst for the Executive Intelligence Review in Washington.



At least eight persons----seven Uighurs and a senior police officer of the Chinese-controlled Xinjiang province --- were reported to have been killed on the night of December 28,2011, in Hotan'sPishan county. Pishan county lies on the southern edge of the Taklamakan desert near the border with Pakistan.

2.According to available details from reliable Uighur sources, a police party tried to stop a group of Uighur youth who were about to enter Pakistan near village Mukula.One of the Uighur youth allegedly stabbed AdilAbduveli, the leader of the police party. The remaining members of the Police party allegedly shot dead seven of the Uighur youth who were trying to cross over into Pakistan.

3. The police have alleged that the Uighurs who were killed were terrorists who tried to take hostage two police officers. This led to an exchange of fire during which, according to the Police, the Uighurs were killed. Uighur sources have denied this version.

4.Earlier this month, one Han Chinese was reported killed and several others were injured when an Uighur attacked a group of people with a pair of shears in the streets of Dolebagh township in Kashgar city. Following this, the police rounded up 50 Uighurs of the area for questioning. Thirty of them were released and allowed to go home after the questioning. About 20 remained unaccounted for. There was speculation that they managed to escape from police custody during the questioning and that the police had intensified border patrolling in order to prevent them from escaping into Pakistan.

5.There have been a number of stabbing incidents in the province this year. On April 18, a young Uighur stabbed six Han Chinese and then stabbed himself to death.Four days later, another Uighur allegedly stabbed to death a 39-year-old Han woman.On July 30 and 31, at least 14 persons were stabbed to death in the Kashgar area by two groups of Uighur youth. Previously, there was a ban on Uighurs possessing fire-arms.Now a ban has been imposed on their possessing their traditional knives too, which has added to their resentment against the police.

6.Doletbagh is a small town located in the southeast part of Kashgar with a population of about 14,000, 97 percent of whom are Uighurs.Most of them are unemployed due to preference given to Hans from outside in recruitment.Unable to get jobs locally, the unemployed youth try to escape into Pakistan. Reliable Uighur sources allege that the youths trying to escape are killed either by the Han Police before they cross over or by the Pakistani security forces after they cross over.

7.Officers of China’s Ministry of Public Security, which is responsible for internal security, are attached to Pakistani security posts on the Pakistani side of the borderto prevent illegal crossing of Uighur youth into Pakistan. (30-12-11)

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )



December 29,2011, will go down in the history of Indian democracy as marking the acme of insincerity, ineptitude and infamy.

2. The Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh and the Congress Party headed by Mrs.Sonia Gandhiconducted themselves in a manner that confirmed the suspicions of many ---particularly in the younger generation that is the future of this country---- that they have been insincere in their professions of wanting to rid this country of the evil of corruption by setting up an anti-corruption architecture that will fight this evil with determination and competence.

3. The Lokpal Bill introduced by the Government gave the impression of a leadershipat long last conscious of the depth of public anger against corruption at the political and bureaucratic levels and determined tomeet the demands and expectations of the civil society for meaningful and firm action to fight it.

4.But the shockingly casual manner in which the Government steered the passage of the Bill through the two Houses of the Parliament demonstrated that it was a make-believe legislative measure brought in not because the Government and the Congress had realised that was the crying need of the hour, but because they felt that it was the only way of diverting the attention and anger of the people away from the misdeeds of the Government and its failure to deal with this evil.

5.Whatever compulsions and anxiety there were in making the Government show even a modicum of determination to have the Bill passed were visibly dissipated when Anna Hazare, the leading and moving spirit of the anti-corruption crusade, and his team of young anti-corruption warriors failed to receive the expected measure of public support when they tried to shift the centre of their protest movement to Mumbai from Delhi.

6.The failure of large sections of the people of Mumbai----for whatever reason---- to respond as enthusiastically to the protest movement as the people of Delhi had done in April and August last brought out dramatically the insincerity of the Government and the Congress leadership. The urgency of action against corruption was lost right across the political spectrum and particularly in the Congress.

7.This insincerity was compounded by the amazing ineptitude with which the Government--- and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in particular--- handled even this make-believe legislative exercise. Ineptitude marked by lack of attention to details, a casual approach to important decision-making and a failure to do the homework efficiently before undertaking important administrative, legislative or policy-related exercises had become the hallmark of the Government since it was re-elected in 2009. It was behind many of the embarrassments faced by the Government one after the other throughout the year.

8. One saw it in the controversies that had surrounded the appointment of a new Chief Vigilance Commissioner, the attempted but jettisoned-half-way-through decision to permit foreign direct investment in the retail sector and now in the legislative exercise toseemingly end corruption. The Bill was badly drafted and provided for a Lokpal without the required independent investigative capability.

9.Moreover, under the ill-advised pressure of the Anna Hazare movement, the Government let itself be forced to tread into the domain of the State Governments by seeking to prescribe in a central legislation the contours of an anti-corruption architecture for the States. This roused the anger of many regional parties---even some who were supposedly allies of the Government in the ruling coalition. In the face of this anger, the Government lost its cool and lucidity. The anger was the result of a lack of consultations with the regional parties while drafting the Bill and the shocking insensitivity of the Government and the Congress to regional concerns and nervousness over the way the Government had gone about this exercise.

10. The Government got the Bill passed in the lower House where it managed to muster the required political support, but it failed to rally majority support in the upper House where it knew it was in a hopeless minority. By lunch-time on December 29, it was apparent to the smallest of political intelligence that the Government would be defeated if the Bill was voted upon .

11. One would have expected a Government and a political party with genuinely democratic instincts and impulses to convene a meeting of the leaders of different political parties represented in the Upper House and find a way out of the dilemma. There was no such move by the Government and the Congress Party.

12. Instead, they blatantly manipulated the proceedings of the upper House in a cynical manner through a mix of filibuster tactics and keeping the other political parties guessing about the real intentions of the Government. In the last hour before the House under the rules was required to be adjourned sine die, it witnessed disorderly scenes----that many suspected with valid reasons to have been choreographed by the Government--- that enabled the Chairman of the House to adjourn the House sine die disregarding the wishes of the members to extend the session.

13.Lack of decorum and gravitas had become the defining characteristic of our Parliament for many years. What one saw on December 29--- a day of infamy in the history of the Parliament---- was a charade organised by the Government in order to wriggle out of the promises and commitments made by it to the civil society of the country.

14. While the Government and the Congress as whole are worthy of total, unreserved condemnation for the way they turned democracy into a cynical exercise in the manipulation of procedures, specially strong words of condemnation are due for the Prime Minister, Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Dr.Hamid Ansari, the Vice-President of India and the Chairman of the House.

15. Initially, the Prime Minister chose to absent himself from the House, but was forced by the members’ clamour for his presence to rush to the House. Subsequently, he sat through the proceedings without any visible attempt to provide leadership and enter into consultations with other political parties. Sonia Gandhi is not a member of the Upper House, but one expected her as the leader of the party to take over the leadership in the exercise to find a way out of the political quandary in the House. At a time, when her party badly needed her leadership, she failed to rise to the occasion and lead.

16. Dr.Ansari is a batch-mate of mine in the All-India and Central Services. He used to enjoy a tremendous reputation for his straightforwardness, but the way he conducted himself ---as seen on the TV---in the final minutes of this charade made many of us suspect that he chose to play along with this charade instead of stopping it firmly.

17. It was a particularly black day in the history of Indian democracy, the Indian Parliament, the Indian institutions and the Congress leadership. It is important for the public and other political formations which still believe in the importance of political ethics if democracy has to survive in this country to ensure that the Government and the Congress are not able to get away with their sins of December 29.

18. Fresh premature elections are the need of the hour if the reputation of Indian democracy has to be salvaged. All right-thinking persons---particularly the youth---should unite behind the demand for fresh elections. ( 30-12-11 )

( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

December 29, 2011

Balochistan’s long wait

I.A Rehman | Opinion

SINCE several political parties have stepped up their campaign for the general election the Balochistan crisis has started figuring in their rhetoric. It is, however, doubtful if the central cause of the Balochistan people’s alienation from the state is being addressed.

The latest flurry of statements, and that is all that has been done to comfort the Baloch, began when Sardar Ataullah Mengal called a spade a spade in his conversation with Mian Nawaz Sharif and also while speaking to the media afterwards. He said the Baloch youth did not want a Pakistan in which they received mutilated corpses of their brethren. It was for them to decide their future because “they are being systematically eliminated and forced to seek refuge in the mountains”. According to him the Balochistan people had been pushed to the point of no return.

Much of what Mengal told Nawaz Sharif has been said by nearly all of Balochistan’s political leaders and quite a few human rights organisations. However, two points in his public observations were relatively new. First, he blamed for the crisis what he called the Punjab army, to make it clear to Nawaz Sharif as to whose responsibility it was to take the lead in pulling Balochistan back from the precipice.

Secondly, he conceded that the Baloch leadership had been passed on to the youth. “If one last attempt is sincerely made,” he said, “there is a possibility that the Baloch youth might agree to discuss their grievances with Islamabad.” The matter lies in the hands of the youth, and it is no longer in the hands of the traditional leadership. Quite clear.

In fact, on this occasion the old sardar was less bitter than he has often been as a result of the bashing that his people, his family and he himself have received from the state establishment for almost half a century.

According to media reports, Mian Nawaz Sharif described Sardar Ataullah’s concerns as legitimate and admitted that atrocities were being committed in Balochistan. Further, he promised that his party would also talk to the Baloch youth. Now he has contacted Talal Bugti and reiterated his demand for punishing his father’s killers. At the same time, Imran Khan has said something about Balochistan’s rights. All this is welcome but it does not go very far.

What one would like to know above anything else is whether the new friends of Balochistan are prepared to go beyond the traditional thinking that the Baloch could be persuaded to forget the injury and the humiliation they have suffered for decades under the mantra of development. Musharraf thought Balochistan could be made to forego its political rights and surrender its economic rights if large development projects were carried out in their province.

That he forgot the failure of Ayub Khan’s similar tactics in East Bengal was not surprising but the incapacity of political leaders to understand the principal cause of Balochistan’s unhappiness is certainly amazing. Events have proved that Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan was a non-starter. The way this package has been handled has only made the people of that province more and more unhappy. Whoever wants to treat Balochistan’s wounds must not forget that once a people become conscious of their rights they will not trade their liberty for a few crumbs from the establishment’s table.

Till recently it was possible to win back Balochistan’s angry young men by offering them satisfaction on the issue of involuntary disappearances, promising them withdrawal of federal security forces, revival of representative government through fresh polls, and firmer guarantees of economic and social justice. Now even such packages do not receive a favourable response. The reasons demand serious attention.

The Baloch have been driven to despair because the issue of enforced disappearances has been further aggravated. The report of the judicial commission of 2009 has not even been released and its recommendations have, for all practical purposes, been ignored. Further, instead of the involuntarily disappeared persons returning home alive their bullet-riddled bodies are found lying by the roadside.

Official spokespersons continue to deny responsibility and do not mind violating the rules of common sense while shifting blame to the Baloch themselves. One should like to affirm, perhaps in words stronger than those used by Sardar Ataullah, that unless the practice of throwing corpses of activists here and there is ended and the chapter of involuntary disappearances is brought to an end even the slightest progress towards normalisation and guaranteeing Pakistan’s integrity will be impossible.

No political leader who has recently woken up to atrocities in Balochistan has moved from an expression of generalised sympathy for the people to their specific concerns.

The fact of the matter is that Balochistan is the most thoroughly controlled garrison province in the country. Its affairs cannot be set right so long as its fate is decided exclusively by security personnel. The people of Balochistan cannot be palmed off with clichés about the whole country being no better off because, for one thing, such statements fall in the category of half-truths and, for another, the Baloch do not consider themselves obliged to suffer injustice and oppression only because their compatriots do not have the will to resist it.

Unfortunately, the possibility of meaningful interaction with the people of Balochistan seems to have been missed for the time being.

In the present phase of agitational politics, when all the main political actors are busy improving their own fortunes, with one eye on the unsuspecting masses and the other one on the establishment, it may not be possible for the contenders for power to tackle or even identify those primarily responsible for Balochistan’s ordeal. But if all so-called mainstream parties are seen to be concentrating on their own electoral prospects, the people of Balochistan will get more and more alienated from them and the state.

At the same time, it will not be realistic to expect that any single party, however, strong after the general election it might become, will alone be able to resolve the Balochistan crisis. The best way out is that all parties should get together as early as possible and unitedly agree on the restoration of democratic rule in Balochistan. That will not solve anything but it may open the way for a dialogue with the people of Balochistan. They have been kept waiting much too long.

December 28, 2011

Ex US diplomat backs creation of independent Balochistan to end decade-old violence

By ANI | ANI – 15 hours ago

Washington, Dec 27(ANI): Former US diplomat Chris Mason has backed Pakistan province, Balochistan's claim for independence pointing out that its people have been victims of persecution and neglect for decades.

He said the Pakistan army has killed thousands of hapless unarmed Baloch civilians over the years and added that an independent Balochistan would free the region from the shackles of corruption, tyranny and ignorance at the hands of the country.

Mason said though the United Nations and United States would likely oppose the re-drawing of Pakistan's boundaries, it has proved a viable solution to end violence if one were to look at examples from history.

He cited recent examples including North and South Sudan, Kosovo, Eritrea, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, East Timor and Bangladesh to substantiate his stance.

Mason argued that a sovereign Balochistan would create a territorial buffer between Iran and Pakistan and act as a transportation and pipeline corridor for Afghanistan and Central Asia to the under-utilized Gwadar port, The Globe and the Mail reports.

An independent Balochistan would be the answer to NATO's logistical concerns in Afghanistan, help target the Taliban and provide greater access to Waziristan to root out militancy in the region, he added.

Balochistan has been an independent nation for over 1,000 years when Great Britain notionally annexed it in the mid-19th century.

His comments came in the wake of escalating tensions between the Pakistan army and the government in the Memo Gate probe.

Mason said Pakistan's recent actions have indicated that it has no intention of conceding to US demands regarding Afghanistan.

He predicted that Pakistan would instigate the Taliban to re-launch a civil war in Afghanistan to resume power after the NATO troops withdrawal, as a part of its ambitious plot to use Afghanistan as its colony. (ANI)

Baloch not ready to surrender before a barber: Ataullah Mengal

South Asian News Agency (SANA) ⋅ December 26, 2011

KARAHCI, (SANA): Prominent Baloch leader and former chief minister Balochistan Sardar Attaullah Mengal has said that the Baloch youth climbed on mountains for fighting and not for surrendering arms before a barber like Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

He said that Rehman Malik is always saying that the government would hold talks whit those who would surrender arms before the government, adding that the Baloch people cannot surrender arms and honor before a barber.

In an interview with a private TV channel, he said that the president can be removed by a person which is powerful then the president, adding that army and ISI are powerful than president.

He said that the prime minister is used to deal with his followers and he become the prime minister and dealing with the country, adding that the prime minister cannot save president in memo case and the president had been to Dubai with the consultation of army and returned to home on their surety.

He said that it is natural that the president type people when slipped from his original position then they can not stand on their potion again, adding that it is possible that it may be possible that president has something stand on his potion.

He said that he is unable to do anything to return the Baloch youth back from the mountains, adding that the only solution is to address the grievances of Baloch youth and return the missing Baloch people to their families.

He said that the responsible should be punished so that the people saw them as punished, adding that beside of punishing them the government is showering flowers on them and telling the bereaved people to surrender.

He said that Rehman Malik talking like barbers, adding that the Baloch people cannot surrender their weapons and honour before a barber.

Replying to a question regarding the popularity of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf he said that it not possible without the support of military and ISI.

December 26, 2011

Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists

RQ-170 L: Does Iran lacks the technical capacity to exploit and duplicate?

"Iran lacks the technical capacity to exploit and duplicate the advanced technologies in the RQ-170 on its own"

Anonymous Post

- That is a complete load of rubbish. I could take 4 of my programmer / science buddies and disect that in its entirity in less than ayear. To suggest that a nation of 70 Million people, with a multibillion dollar budget cant analyse a piece of technology such as this shows how disconnected most westerners are with the reality of the outside world.

Creating technology from scratch is expensive and difficult. Replicating a device in your possession is trivially easy. What is most stealth technology? Kevlar / Epoxy frames with metallic oxide ceramic coating. Carbon fibre sections. This is old technology well in the public domain. A scape of paint gives its oxide composition. Download the hard drive and you have the entire OS in ASM.

It must be the diet of hollywood drivel that makes so many people believe the US government has some super secret ultra high tech under wraps, when the reality is that almost all these things are developed by private corporations who use the same technology in their commercially available products.




From today, the nation will be witnessing two non-violent battles against corruption----- the legal battle in the Parliament in New Delhi and the moral battle in Mumbai.


2. The objective of the legal battle will be to give legal shape to the anti-corruption infrastructure through the Lokpal Bill introduced by the Government for debate and approval with changes, if and where necessary, by the elected members of the LokSabha  representing the will and the expectations of the voters of this country who chose to elect them in their wisdom in the elections held in 2009.


3. The objective of the moral battle,  led by Anna Hazare for nearly a year now, will be to impart strength to the legal battle and to ensure that the legal battle gives birth to an anti-corruption infrastructure befitting the nation and the need of the hour to slay the demon of corruption which has stood in the way of the nation  moving forward towards its goal of taking its due  place in the comity of nations as a modern,developed power which is not afraid of admitting and correcting its deficiencies, the most serious of which is corruption.


4. If the national will has to ultimately prevail, it is important that the power of the Parliament as symbolised by the elected representatives and of the civil society as symbolised by Anna and his followers and a myriad of other non-governmental forces, each as worthy of respect as Anna and his movement, emerge successful from these two battles.


5. The two battles will be fought not against each other, but unitedly against the common enemy of corruption.  The moral and legal dimensions of the battle are equally important.Neither can afford to weaken the other. If the moral dimension is weakened, the legal dimension cannot expect to prevail effectively. If the legal dimension is weakened, the moral dimension cannot expect to emerge stronger.


6.The elected representatives of the country and its moral representatives owe it to the nation to ensure that each does not undermine the other in their false pride and ego. This is not the time for false pride and ego. This is the time for rising to the occasion and realising and admitting that healthy accommodation of each other's point of view is the need of the hour if the nation has to win the battle against corruption ultimately.


7. The nation expects the two forces in New Delhi and Mumbai to reinforce each other through mutual accommodation and mutual goodwill and not try to vanquish each other.


8.Will they do so? If not, the demon of corruption may be the ultimate beneficiary.( 27-12-11)


( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Do or die — 4 options for unified state pillars to sack the generals

The Terrorland Special Report

PILLARS OF THE STATE: President Zardari, PM Gilani, 
Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida and Chief Justice 
of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry.
BRAVO! Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani finally took the courage and warned the gang of three rogue generals of the Pakistan Army who are allegedly involved in political activism. Mr. Gilani said in the House that the elected Parliament would not accept "a state within the state" indicating towards the military establishment. He also exposed the military-dominated Osama bin Laden Commission's hidden efforts to protect the real culprits who provided a safe heaven to the Al Qaeda leader, and allowed him to operate from Pakistani - a house near the Kakul Military Academy in Abbotabad.

Pakistani people believe that the political activism of three serving generals of the Pakistan Army – Army Chief Gen. Ishfaq Parvez Kayani,Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt-Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) head Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas – has put the future of the military, democracy and country in danger.

After the warning of the Prime Minister, the next day, Army Chief Gen. Kayani said that he was not planning a takeover. The same day, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry also said that no military takeover was possible in his (Justice Chaudhry's) presence, stressing that Pakistan will now have supremacy of the Constitution. Then former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that the genie of the army and ISI's intervention needed to be bottled up for stability of democracy in Pakistan.

Earlier, the ruling Pakistan People's Party-sponsored blog had claimed that three Punjabis – Mr. Sharif, Justice Chaudhry and Gen. Kayani – were playing a "dangerous game" against democracy and Pakistan, and had requested the Parliament to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan for allegedly playing in the hands of Army Chief Gen. Kayani.

Whatever the fact may be, but looking at the track record of the three accused generals since the beginning, it's the demand of the majority of the over 184 million people of Pakistan to remove the three accused generals to save the military as a national institution.

"There are better and professional soldiers in the Army to lead as Army Chief," said a retired military office. "Gen. Kayani, Pasha and Abbas have become politicians in the uniform. That is why the country's security has become a national challange."

Generals lost trust of the nation: The people of Pakistan have been asking many questions about the activities of the accused generals, some of them are given here:

BONES OF CONTENTION:  Army Chief Gen. Kayani, ISI 
boss Lt-Gen. Pasha and ISPR guru Maj-Gen. Abbas.
1- Why the minor part of the so-called memo in the Military-gate – allegedly seeking American help to stop a feared military coup in Pakistan – has been taken to the Supreme Court?

2- Why the major part of the military-gate – ISI chief's seeking help of Arab countries for staging a military coup in Pakistan – is being ignored by the apex court?

3- Why the ISI spread the news that Al-Qaeda may kidnap a senior member (Justice Javed Iqbal) of the Osama bin Laden commission?

4- Why the investigations of Osama bin-Laden's presence in Pakistan and assassination of journalist Saleem Shahzad are going so slow but the ISI wants a an "immediate decision" in the so-called memo case?

5- Who is using Iran Khan as a bargaining-chip to force Nawaz Sharif to be an ally of the accused generals?

6- How Nawaz Sharif – who had been made hostage in his Raiwand farmhouse – suddenly got liberated and started addressing public rallies even in Sindh, the base of the ruling PPP? 

7- Who is funding the anti-government public rallies in the country? 

8- Who allows leaders of banned religious organizations to participate in anti-government rallies?

9- What kind of new political alliance is in the minds of the three accused generals to complete their hidden mission? 

10- Millions are being spent by the ISI to form new alliances like the IJI which can prove fatal for the country? 

The people know the answer. But Army Chief Gen. Kayani, ISI chief Gen. Pasha and the military's media war chief Gen. Athar Abbas seem clueless in this regard!

Charge-sheet against generals: There are plenty of allegations against the accused generals – Army Chief Gen. Kayani, ISI chief Gen. Pasha and the military's media war chief Gen. Athar Abbas seem clueless in this regard. Some of them are underneath:

1- Selling Pakistan-controlled Gilgit-Baltistan region to China so that the neighboring country could support a military coup like it supports the regimes in North Korea and Myanmar.

2- Making a "state within the state" by violation of the Constitution; conspiracy against the elected government; seeking help from foreign countries to stage a coup in Pakistan.  

3- Sheltering international terrorists like Osama bin Laden and making the whole political and judicial systems of Pakistan hostage for the last four years.

4- Involvement in high profile assassinations including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, Cabinet Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, elderly parents of Supreme Court judgeJustice Javed Iqbal, Major-General Ameer Faisal Alvi, journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, Col. Imam, Javed Khwaja, forcing Shumaila Faheem (widow of Faheem Shamshad who was killed by an American Raymond Davis in Lahore) to take poison to pressurize the American government, and other criminal cases.

5- Besides the massacre of students at the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), killing of Shia Muslims in Quetta, Bajore and other places; attacks on the Ahmadis and the war crimes in Swat and Fata.

6- The generals are also accused of committing crimes against humanity by arranging terrorist attacks on civilians and military targets in the country as a part of their so-called "brinkmanship strategy" to show the world that Pakistan was also under attack from the so-called Taliban, an effort to get more dollars.

7- The three generals are allegedly involved in the murder plot of journalist Habib R. Sulemani and his family members, which was exposed in the first phase of the planned systematic killings.

What can be done? Enough is enough, people say in the terrorized country. If the elected President, Prime Minister, Parliament, Supreme Court and leaders of all political parties still behave like a terrorized submissive servant, then it will prove their death in silence—not only political but physical demise too as many believe that the accused generals are ruthless killers. "Yes, just see the track record of the generals," said an reporter in Peshawar.

Mr. Sulemani had suggested on the Twitter: "Army, ISI, ISPR chiefs encroachment: President, PM & Parliament must tell whole truth to the nation before taking action to save Pakistan!" Therefore, the elected and non-elected leadership of Pakistan along the Supreme Court of the country should dare to speak the truth to the nation before sacking the three generals to save the country. Truth is more powerful than the guns of criminal generals in the world.

"If Army Chief Gen Kayani imposes martial law, Pakistani military along the people & world will resist it." So, there are four options to take action against the 'ruthless' powerful generals:

1- President Asif Ali Zardari can dismisses or retire the accused generals and appoint new Army, ISI and ISPR chiefs as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Pakistan. Indeed there would be the new breed of generals who would follow former Armey Chief Jehangir Kiramat, who always respected the orders of the elected government according to the Constitution.

2- If the President is too much afraid of sacking the almighty generals, then through the Supreme Court the job can be done. And the people of Pakistan believe that the military will follow the orders of their political leaders and court not accused officers.

3- If the apex court is also unable to bell the cunning cats, then the Parliament should show that it's not a "rubber stamp" of the ISI and should take a bold and historic action against the generals, who have become isolated in the entire world due to their alleged illegal activities. Pakistan will get global respect in this way only.

4- It's possible, as The Terrorland had written earlier, that the Corps Commander of the Pakistan Army force Gen. Kayani, Gen. Pasha and Gen. Abbas to resign gracefully.





To be read in continuation of my earlier article of August 28,2011, on the Anti-Corruption Crusade at  )


 In 1941, during the Second World War, the British set up an organisation called  the Special Police Establishment (SPE)  to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in  the War & Supply Deptt.  Even after the  War, the need for a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees was felt. It was decided by the Government of India  to continue the SPE and give it a legal cover under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act which came  into force in 1946. The CBI's powers to investigate  cases of bribery and corruption are derived from this Act.  This Act was amended by the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003


2. The Act of 1946 transferred the superintendence of the SPE to the Home Department ( now called the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India) and its functions were expanded to cover all departments of the Govt. of India. The  SPE's territorial jurisdiction was extended to all the Union Territories. It was also laid down that its jurisdiction can be extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned. The DSPE acquired the name the  Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution dated 1.4.1963.


3. Initially, the CBI's powers were confined to investigation of cases of bribery and corruption by employees of the Government of India. Subsequently, its powers were extended to cover employees of  public sector units, including public sector banks, too.


4. From 1965 onwards, the CBI was  also  entrusted with the investigation of economic offences other than bribery and corruption such as serious cases of fraud and important conventional crimes such as murders, kidnapping, terrorist crimes, etc., when ordered to do so either by the Government of India either at the request of States or with their concurrence or by courts.


5.The SPE initially had two Wings called the General Offences Wing (GOW) and the  Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The GOW dealt with cases of bribery and corruption while the EOW investigated other  offences entrusted to the CBI.


6.In 1987, these two wings were re-named as the  Anti-Corruption Division and the  Special Crimes Division. Under its first two Directors---D.P.Kohli and F.V.Arul—the CBI enjoyed a reputation as a politically neutral agency known for its professionalism. Before the advent of the CBI, the SPE enjoyed a similar reputation between 1947 and 1963.Neither Jawaharlal Nehru  norLalBahadurShastri tried to influence the investigations of the SPE and the CBI. They let them function without political interference.


7. The politicisation of the CBI started under Indira Gandhi and all Prime Ministers from Indira Gandhi onwards tried to influence the investigation of corruption cases by the CBI either to cover up cases involving the ruling party or to implicate political opponents. Many instances of alleged attempts to implicate and harass political opponents were reported during the Emergency (1975-77) under Indira Gandhi. Under Rajiv Gandhi, there were alleged attempts to cover up the investigation of the Bofors case. There have been other instances involving the politicisation of the investigation process under other Prime Ministers too. No Prime Minister after Shastrihad  refrained from politicising the investigation process in some case or the other.


8. The politicisation of the CBI and its investigation process was made possible by the lack of resistance from successive CBI Directors to political interference. Some of the Directors sought to curry favour with their political masters by colluding with them either for covering up serious instances of corruption or for harassing political opponents. It was alleged that during the Emergency the CBI acted on the instructions of Sanjay Gandhi for harassing those opposed to the Emergency and Indira Gandhi.


9.Since independence, there have been two enquiries into the functioning of the anti-corruption architecture. The first was by the K.Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption in 1966-68 and the second was by the L.P.Singh Committee which was set up by the Morarji Desai Government (1977-79) to enquire into the misuse of the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau by Indira Gandhi  during  the Emergency.


10. While the recommendations of the Santhanam Committee, which suggested, inter alia, the strengthening of the Vigilance architecture were implemented, those of the L.P.Singh Committee were ignored by Indira Gandhi when she returned to power in 1980.

11. Some of the important recommendations of the L.P.Singh Committee for ensuring the political neutrality of the CBI were:

(a). There should be a separate oversight committee set up by the Parliament to supervise the working of the CBI.

(b).The practice of having only an officer of the Indian Police Service  as its head should  be discontinued and  it should have as its head the best person for the job from whichever walk of life. The committee reportedly felt that IPS officers, who developed close contacts with political leaders during their career, lend themselves to easy manipulation by the political class.


12.The National Police Commission, set up by the Morarji Desai Government under the former Cabinet Secretary, and Governor of West Bengal, DharamVira, recommended the formation of a National  Security Commission entrusted, inter alia, with the task of supervising the functioning of the CBI.Its recommendations too were not implemented by Indira Gandhi and her successors as Prime Minister.


13. Thus the recommendations of the L.P.Singh Committee for a CBI Oversight Committee to be set up by the Parliament and of the National Police Commission for an independent National Security Commission to supervise the working of the CBI were ignored by successive Governments. So too the recommendation of the L.P.Singh Committee that the practice of appointing an IPS officer as the head of the CBI should be discontinued.


14. An investigation agency performs three kinds of functions---administrative, budgetary and investigative. In the US, the FBI comes under the joint control of the President and the Senate in respect of its administrative and budgetary functions. All appointments of the Director of the FBI have to be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds a detailed enquiry by its staff into the background of the candidate suggested by the President, including an enquiry into the financial background of the person under consideration for appointment as the FBI Director. Many of the Directors chosen by the President and the Senate Judiciary Committee came from the community of distinguished attorneys.


15. The FBI Director has a tenure of 10 years, which is not extendable. This reduces the possibility of the incumbent currying favour with the Executive or the Senate in order to get an extension. Even though the President's power to remove an FBI Director for valid reasons before he completes his term are not subject to confirmation by the Senate, this power has not been exercised arbitrarily by any President after the Nixon Administration because the Presidents know that if they exercised this power arbitrarily, the Senate could block the appointment of the successor.


16. In India, the CBI Director has a tenure of two years which is extendable. This enabled the Prime Minister of the day to dangle the carrot of possible extension before an incumbent in order to make him carry out his wishes. There is no parliamentary Oversight Committee on the CBI. In the past, the Director of the CBI was chosen by the Prime Minister of the day from amongst IPS officers whom he or she thought would be pliable.


17. In 2003, it was laid down that the Director should  be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Committee consisting of (i) the Central Vigilance Commissioner as Chairperson, (ii) Vigilance Commissioners as Members, (iii) Home Secretary  and  (iv) Secretary Coordination and Public Grievances in the Cabinet Secretariat. No incumbent can be removed during his tenure or no extension can be granted without the concurrence of this committee.


18. While the Central Vigilance Commissioner has thus been given a role in the selection and removal of the Director, who still has to come from the IPS, the Parliament has not been given a role so far. Under the changes proposed by the Government in the Lokpal Bill, the Leader of the Opposition and the Lokpal are to be given a role in the selection and removal of Director, CBI. While this would be an improvement from the earlier practice, this would not be totally satisfactory since we now have a multi-party and not a two-party system which is likely to continue for many years. It is, therefore, important to set up a LokSabha CBI Oversight Committee and give it carefully defined powers to confirm the appointment and removal of the Director and to go into the administrative and budgetary aspects of the functioning of the CBI.


19.So far as the investigation process is concerned, all over the world the investigation agency is accountable to the law of the land and the judiciary.Neither the Executive nor the legislature is supposed to have a role in this matter. De jure, this is so even in India. But, de facto, the Executive interferes in the process of investigation and tries to politically influence it. If the CBI Director has no qualms about letting the investigation process be influenced by the political leadership, how to prevent it?


20. One possible way of doing so is to give the Lokpal powers of superintendence over the investigation process of the CBI or by separating the investigation  and prosecution wing of the CBI in corruption cases and place it under the control of the Lokpal.If this is done, theresidual  CBI will become a federal law enforcement agency with powers of investigation and prosecution in important cases other than those involving bribery and corruption. The Lokpal would have no control over this residual law enforcement agency which should be placed under the shared control of the Executive and the LokSabha.


21. The new agency for the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases should function under the superintendence of Lokpal. How to prevent the Lokpal from misusing his or her powers to distort the investigation and prosecution process? A multi-member Lokpal, like the multi-member Election Commission, could provide the necessary corrective.


22. Thus, the new architecture could consist of the following:

(a). A multi-member Lokpal with a constitutional status with the procedure for appointment and removal through impeachment carefully laid down.

(b). The bifurcation of the CBI in order to create a new agency for the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases to work under the superintendence of the Lokpal.

( c ). The conversion of the residual CBI after the bifurcation into a federal law enforcement agency to be accountable jointly to the Executive and the LokSabha. This residual CBI could be headed by an IPS officer(26-12-11 )


( 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: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )