October 15, 2011

A New Pakistan Policy: Containment

AMERICA needs a new policy for dealing with Pakistan. First, we must recognize that the two countries’ strategic interests are in conflict, not harmony, and will remain that way as long as Pakistan’s army controls Pakistan’s strategic policies. We must contain the Pakistani Army’s ambitions until real civilian rule returns and Pakistanis set a new direction for their foreign policy.

As Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee last month, Pakistan provides critical sanctuary and support to the Afghan insurgency that we are trying to suppress. Taliban leaders meet under Pakistani protection even as we try to capture or kill them.

In 2009, I led a policy review for President Obama on Pakistan and Afghanistan. At the time, Al Qaeda was operating with virtual impunity in Pakistan, and its ally Lashkar-e-Taiba had just attacked the Indian city of Mumbai and killed at least 163 people, including 6 Americans, with help from Pakistani intelligence. Under no illusions, Mr. Obama tried to improve relations with Pakistan by increasing aid and dialogue; he also expanded drone operations to fight terrorist groups that Pakistan would not fight on its own.

It was right to try engagement, but now the approach needs reshaping. We will have to persevere in Afghanistan in the face of opposition by Pakistan.

The generals who run Pakistan have not abandoned their obsession with challenging India. They tolerate terrorists at home, seek a Taliban victory in Afghanistan and are building the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal. They have sidelined and intimidated civilian leaders elected in 2008. They seem to think Pakistan is invulnerable, because they control NATO’s supply line from Karachi to Kabul and have nuclear weapons.

The generals also think time is on their side — that NATO is doomed to give up in Afghanistan, leaving them free to act as they wish there. So they have concluded that the sooner America leaves, the better it will be for Pakistan. They want Americans and Europeans to believe the war is hopeless, so they encourage the Taliban and other militant groups to speed the withdrawal with spectacular attacks, like the Sept. 13 raid on the United States Embassy in Kabul, which killed 16 Afghan police officers and civilians.

It is time to move to a policy of containment, which would mean a more hostile relationship. But it should be a focused hostility, aimed not at hurting Pakistan’s people but at holding its army and intelligence branches accountable. When we learn that an officer from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, is aiding terrorism, whether in Afghanistan or India, we should put him on wanted lists, sanction him at the United Nations and, if he is dangerous enough, track him down. Putting sanctions on organizations in Pakistan has not worked in the past, but sanctioning individuals has — as the nuclear proliferator Abdul Qadeer Khancould attest.

Offering Pakistan more trade while reducing aid makes sense. When we extend traditional aid, media outlets with ties to the ISI cite the aid to weave conspiracy theories that alienate Pakistanis from us. Mr. Obama should instead announce that he is cutting tariffs on Pakistani textiles to or below the level that India and China enjoy; that would strengthen entrepreneurs and women, two groups who are outside the army’s control and who are interested in peace.

Military assistance to Pakistan should be cut deeply. Regular contacts between our officers and theirs can continue, but under no delusion that we are allies.

Osama bin Laden’s death confirmed that we can’t rely on Pakistan to take out prominent terrorists on its soil. We will still need bases in Afghanistan from which to act when we see a threat in Pakistan. But drones should be used judiciously, for very important targets.

In Afghanistan, we should not have false hopes for a political solution. We can hope that top figures among the Quetta Shura — Afghan Taliban leaders who are sheltered in Quetta, Pakistan — will be delivered to the bargaining table, but that is unlikely, since the Quetta leadership assassinated Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and a former Afghan president, last month. The ISI will veto any Taliban peace efforts it opposes, which means any it doesn’t control. Rather than hoping for ISI help, we need to continue to build an Afghan Army that can control the insurgency with long-term NATO assistance and minimal combat troops.

Strategic dialogue with India about Pakistan is essential because it would focus the Pakistani Army’s mind. India and Pakistan are trying to improve trade and transportation links severed after they became independent in 1947, and we should encourage that. We should also increase intelligence cooperation against terrorist targets in Pakistan. And we should encourage India to be more conciliatory on Kashmir, by easing border controls and releasing prisoners.

America and Pakistan have had a tempestuous relationship for decades. For far too long we have banked on the Pakistani Army to protect our interests. Now we need to contain that army’s aggressive instincts, while helping those who want a progressive Pakistan and keeping up the fight against terrorism.

Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is the author of “Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad.”

Haqqanis sidestep US terror list

Pakistanis really do know how to handle the US.


By Amir Mir

XINIANG, China - A signal from the United States that it remains open to inclusion of the Haqqani network in a peace deal for Afghanistan has made it abundantly clear why the Barack Obama administration is reluctant to declare the group a "foreign terrorist organization" despite blaming the Haqqanis for the audacious September 13 attack on the US Embassy in Kabul.

Washington knows very well that the Haqqani network is a key player in Afghan politics and will play a part in determining the kind of Afghanistan the Americans will leave behind more than a decade after the invasion. Even so, US drone attacks targeting key members of the group continue, with reports that a senior commander of the network was killed in a US drone strike in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday.

"Where we are right now is that we view the Haqqanis and other of their ilk as, you know, being adversaries and being very dangerous to Americans, Afghans and coalition members inside Afghanistan, but we are not shutting the door on trying to determine whether there is some path forward," United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Reuters on October 11 when asked if she believed members of the Haqqani network might reconcile with the Afghan government.

Clinton is extending the informal offer of peace talks at a crucial time when the US State Department is under pressure refraining from officially designating the Haqqani group as a terrorist organization. The Obama administrations's changing stance shows that the Americans don’t want to close the door on negotiations since a terrorist tag would make it impossible to hold talks with Haqqanis, as that would violate American criminal law.

Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared last month the lethal network was "a veritable arm of the [Pakistani] Inter-Services Intelligence which exports violent extremism to Afghanistan". However, the White House has already backed away from the assertions of Mullen, who was the top US military officer until his retirement last month.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the elusive chief of the network, a key component of the Taliban-led Afghan insurgency, claimed in an October 3, 2011, interview with the BBC that he had been approached by the United States to join the Afghan government.

"Right from the first day of [the] American arrival till this day, not only Pakistani but other Islamic and other non-Islamic countries including America, contacted us and they are still doing so. They are asking us to leave the ranks of Islamic emirates," he said, referring to the Taliban leadership. He said the outsiders promised an "important role in the government of Afghanistan" as well as negotiations.

While confirming Sirajuddin Haqqani's claim, the Wall Street Journal reported on October 5 that senior US officials secretly met with leaders of the Haqqani network this summer in an effort to draw them into talks on winding down the war. The report quoted some senior US officials as saying there had been at least one meeting over the summer between Haqqani representatives and US officials, which was set up by the ISI.

The US military leadership has repeatedly blamed the Haqqani network for most of the terrorist attacks on international forces stationed in Afghanistan, and on September 29 the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Sirajuddin Haqqani and several other group leaders on in the wake of the September 13 attack in Kabul. "These financiers and facilitators provide the fuel for Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda to realize their violent aspirations", David Cohen, the Under Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement.

Yet the move has failed to dissipate mounting pressure on the White House to place the Haqqani group, whose attacks threaten to become a major obstacle to US hopes for a smooth withdrawal from Afghanistan, on the State Department's list of designated terrorist organizations. Responding to growing demands from American lawmakers to tag the Haqqani network as a terrorist group, Clinton on September 28 said the United States was close to a decision on whether it make such a declaration.

"We are in the final, formal review that has to be undertaken to make a government-wide decision to designate the network as a foreign terrorist organization," Clinton told reporters in Washington. Veteran US lawmakers such as Democrat Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, had urged Clinton to put the Haqqani network on the terrorism blacklist, saying there was no question it merited inclusion.

However, in making the October 11 statement suggesting the US wants to keep its options open for a deal with the militant groups as it seeks peace in a region known for historic merry-go-round of political and military alliances, Clinton has indicated the Haqqanis will stay off the terrorist list in near future, mainly because Washington considers it as being in the strongest position among militant groups to unravel the American plan plan of stabilizing Afghanistan before the scheduled withdrawal next year.

In contrast to the American perception of the Haqqanis, the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment considers the group a strategic asset. Their relationship is several decades old and is also mutually beneficial. Unlike the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban - TTP), the Haqqanis have no grouse against Islamabad; their goal, instead, is to have a stake in the dispensation of Kabul once the Americans leave. Considering that 15,000 fighters are said to be under the control of the Haqqani network, a necessary factor for forging a peace settlement in Afghanistan is either their weakening or cooperation.

A weakened Haqqani network would also mean less leverage for Pakistan to influence events in Kabul. With India on the east, Pakistan does not want a hostile regime in the west. This is why Pakistani army commanders, at a September meeting led by Army Chief General Ashfaq Kiani, categorically ruled out a military offensive against the Haqqani network. In addition, the generals say that yet another operation in Pakistan - that too under the American pressure - would alienate the Pakistanis.

The story of the Haqqani network is entwined with the history of wars and coups and armed foreign interventions in Afghanistan. The network's founder, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, was initially a member of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami, which in the 1970s was waging a battle against Afghan president Sardar Daud over his crackdown on nascent Islamists influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Daud's implacable opposition to the Hizb prompted its leaders to shift to Pakistan, where subsequently a faction under Maulvi Yunis Khalis split away from Hekmatyar. Haqqani emerged as one of the more important commanders of the Khalis faction.

In 1979, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Jalaluddin shifted his family and fighters from his home province of Khost to North Waziristan, from where he launched deadly sallies against the Russians in Afghanistan. Through the 1980s Jalaluddin worked in tandem with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which treated him as a commander of formidable power and repute, worthy of an invitation to meet then-president Ronald Reagan at the White House. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was correct in describing the Haqqani network as the "blue-eyed boy" of the CIA for many years.

As the CIA feted and fawned over Jalaluddin, he didn't disappoint, becoming the first resistance leader to capture a city - Khost - from the Soviet-backed Najibullah government in 1991. He was appointed justice minister in the first Mujahideen government in 1992, but switched his allegiance to the Taliban as they threatened Kabul. The Afghan Taliban and Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani shared a common friend in the ISI. As Taliban commander in 1996-97, he was accused of killing members of Afghanistan's Tajik minority. The shift in allegiance won him a post in the Taliban council of ministers, and he was the governor of Paktia province at the time the Americans invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

As the American juggernaut swept through Afghanistan, and Khost came under increasing pressure, Jalaluddin was back in North Waziristan, from where he directed his network of Islamic fighters to destabilize the eastern part of Afghanistan - Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, and Wardak - through attacks on the Americans. The Haqqani network's rising curve in the badlands of Afghanistan can be gleaned from the attacks it has been accused of masterminding even in Kabul.

In his late 60s, Jalaluddin is now more a patriarch than a commander. The network's fighting strategy is now the responsibility of his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who doesn't carry a gun, refuses to move in a motorcade, and refrains from wearing a turban lest he is identified and targeted through drone attacks. The 33-year old, known as Khaleefa among his fighters, is the second son of Jalaluddin Haqqani and is currently leading the network. Sirajuddin was nominated as the operational commander of the network when Jalaluddin Haqqani sidelined himself from the ground offensive.

An active member of the Mullah Omar-led Taliban Shura, or council, Sirajuddin is considered a fearless commander who used the influence of his ailing father not only to reactivate the anti-US Taliban fight (which was reeling after the American invasion) but also to make his network a force to be reckoned with. From safe houses and mountain hideouts, he has orchestrated some of the more brazen attacks on US troops in recent months, eclipsing even his father in influence and power. He is on the FBI's "kill or capture" list and carries a US$50 million bounty.

Sirajuddin's political deputy Jan Baz Zadran was reported killed in a US drone strike near Miran Shah, the main city in the North Waziristan on Thursday. At least four people were killed in the

strike, while at least another three were killed in a separate drone strike on the Birmil area of South Waziristan, according to the al-Jezeera web site. Zadran was in charge of the network's finances and weapons and ammunition acquisitions.

The success of the Haqqanis prompted the Taliban to claim the network as their own. In a September 27 statement, a Taliban spokesman said, "Jalaluddin Haqqani is part of the Taliban movement, being one of its dignified and honorable personalities. Haqqani isn't leading a separate militant group and still take his orders from the Taliban Shura." Many analysts believe that claim is debatable, and the Haqqani network can be best regarded an independent outfit owing nominal allegiance to the Taliban.

The lethal network broadly consists of four groups: those who served under Jalaluddin Haqqani during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan; those from Loya Paktiya who joined the Haqqani movement in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan in 2001; fighters from North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, who have been associated with Haqqanis over the years; and non-Pashtun foreign militants, including Arabs, Chechens, and Uzbeks.

While the fighters of Haqqani network in Afghanistan belong to a number of tribes, the vast majority of its leaders in North Waziristan are from the Zadran tribe, and in particular from Haqqani's Mezi clan and its allies. This does not mean, however, that the Haqqanis run a tribal movement. Under the secretive conditions in which the network operates, only those bound closely by Haqqani family or clan ties can win the leadership's trust.

Jalaluddin Haqqani had two wives, one of them an Arab from the United Arab Emirates, from whom he had two sons. It is this Arab connection that is said to have enabled Jalaluddin to develop contacts with rich Arab sheikhs who finance his armed struggle in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani's opposition to the Americans hasn't been without a price. Jalaluddin has lost more family members than other Afghan Mujahideen leaders, first against the Soviets and later against the US-led NATO forces. Two of his sons - 17-year old Omar and 22-year-old Mohammad - have already been killed. Omar was killed in a firefight with US-led forces at Satto Kandao in Khost in 2008, while Mohammad was killed in a drone attack at Miramshah, North Waziristan, in 2009. A year before, another American drone strike killed his two wives, his sister, sister-in-law and eight of his grandchildren.

The Haqqani network's central leadership rests with the family: Sirajuddin masterminds terror attacks, his first cousin Mullah Sangeen Zadran coordinates them alongside Badruddin, another Haqqani scion. In 2009, Washington announced a $5 million bounty on Sirajuddin and later announced reward for his two other brothers - Badruddin and Naseeruddin.

Naseeruddin, a son of Jalaluddin through his Arab wife, is the group's principal fundraiser, who as an Arabic speaker has acted as a liaison with several important al-Qaeda figures. His Arab link is said to be a crucial factor in the group's ability to raise finances in the Gulf, enabling it to maintain a large contingent of fighters. Other funding sources include cross-border smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, the collection of donations through mosques, taxation of trade in areas under their control, and extortion from trucking companies.

Asked in an interview with Reuters on September 23 whether he had 10,000 militants under his command, Sirajuddin laughed and said, "That figure is actually less than the actual number." Most analysts believe Sirajuddin consented to the rare interview to ease the pressure on the ISI for harboring the Haqqani network. He warned the US against attacking North Waziristan, threatening to inflict greater losses on Americans than they have been encountering in Afghanistan.

About the recent attacks in Kabul, he said, "For some reasons, I would not like to claim that fighters of our group had carried out the attack on the US embassy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters. Our central leadership, particularly senior members of the Shura, suggested I should keep quiet in future if the US and its allies suffer in future."

Sirajuddin also said he had turned down several requests for talks with the Karzai government and the US, though he expressed his willingness to come to the negotiating table should the Taliban too participate in peace parleys. He said, "They offered us very, very important positions, but we rejected [them] and told them they would not succeed in their nefarious designs. They wanted to divide us, and any further efforts to do so will also fail."

Sirajuddin insisted, "The Haqqani group no longer has sanctuaries in Pakistan ... Gone are the days when we were hiding in the mountains along the Pak-Afghan border. Now we consider ourselves more secure in Afghanistan besides the Afghan people."
Contrary to Sirajuddin's assertions, Western intelligence agencies have provided credible information to their Pakistani counterparts that the Haqqani network still operates from Pakistan. The North Waziristan-based Pakistan chapter of the Haqqani network, which is called the Miram Shah Shura, reportedly operates from three compounds. The first one is in the Miram Shah bazaar in a religious seminary; the second camp is in the neighborhood of Sarai Darpa Khel, while the third is in the suburb of Danday Darpa Khel, where most of the Haqqani network leaders live and take important decisions, especially pertaining to the military strategy of the network. The drone attack reported to have killed Jan Baz Zadran on Thursday took place at Danday Darpa Khel, just west of Miran Shah, the Washington Post reported.

Sirajuddin oversees the political and military activities of the Miram Shah Shura besides serving as the main liaison to the infamous Quetta Shura Taliban, the leadership body of the Taliban, led by Mullah Muhammad Omar, as well as to the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban. Western intelligence agencies believe Sirajuddin travels regularly into Afghanistan to coordinate with field commanders and occasionally to Peshawar and South Waziristan to connect with al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants.

Sirajuddin's deputy commander in the Miram Shah Shura is Bakht Jan, a major figure in North Waziristan who plays an important role liaising with the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, led by Commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, and other Taliban groups based in North Waziristan. Many brothers and uncles of Bakht Jan are Haqqani network commanders, who are active in Loya Paktiya. Two other key members of Miram Shah Shura network are Haji Khalil and Haji Ibrahim, the brothers of Jalaluddin.

After being branded by the Americans as a "veritable arm" of the ISI, Sirajuddin claimed in his October 3 interview with the BBC that his group did not kill the former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani and denied any links with the Pakistani spy agency. He claimed that the "Islamic Emirate", the name given to the Taliban government when they assumed power in Afghanistan in 1996, was behind "the attack on the US embassy, NATO headquarters and other attacks in Kabul," which he said were actually ordered by a military council of Taliban. Asserting that the "game being played by the West ... is close to an end", Sirajuddin said, "in every operation we get the order, planning and financial resources from the Taliban Emirate's leadership and we act accordingly."

The chief of the Haqqani network pledged loyalty to the amir of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, saying, "he is our leader and we totally obey him." But despite Sirajuddin's allegiance to the Afghan Taliban, most analysts believe that it is his network which will eventually determine the kind of Afghanistan the Americans leave behind. And probably that's why, they say, the US has not yet declared the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization, as was the case with the Afghan Taliban.

The Islamic Movement of Taliban or "Tahrik-e-Islami'a Taliban" (the Quetta Shura or Afghan Taliban) was designated as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization" under the US Treasury Department's Executive Order No. 13224, which was issued on September 23, 2001. The current status of the Haqqani network as an insurgent group allows the White House to hold talks without breaking American criminal law - unless, like the Afghan Taliban, it is declared a terrorist outfit.

Amir Mir is a senior Pakistani journalist and the author of several books on the subject of militant Islam and terrorism, the latest being The Bhutto murder trail: From Waziristan to GHQ.

(Copyright 2011 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Lazy minds, mercenary media

(Cartoon by Don Addis.).

Baloch Liberation Front is a responsible organization in the independence struggle: Doda Baloch


The spokesman of Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) Mr Doda Baloch said that BLF is a responsible organization in the independence movement and it is very much aware and respects the religious mechanism and Nationalistic mannerism.

Pakistani army & ISI used many different tactics to subdue the freedom struggle using the bosses of Street Criminals, Theifs, Dacoit, Drug Mafia & the so called nationalist but they didn’t earned their desired results, to achieve these results now Pakistani army has started their age old propaganda to use the religion of Islam against the movement.

Talking to NNI from an undisclosed location on Wednesday Mr Baloch said that in just yesterday from Mashkay the spy named Zafar’s relatives on the call of ISI have started to use the name of Islam by terming that the Baloch Leaders of the Independence movement are “Kafirs/Non-Muslims”.

BLF (Baloch liberation Front) wants to tell the Baloch nation that by using the Holy name of Islam against Baloch Nation’s independence no one will be spared and in nation’s vast interest no traitor belonging to any Islamic or political party will hide from BLF’s Fighters and they will be taken one by one, and the oath which all the Sarmachars (Freedom Fighters) have taken shall be held until death but those who work for ISI under the banner of Nationalism and Islamic Organization are already known among the Baloch nation and they are indulge in judging them by their accounts of crimes they committed.

Mr Baloch further claimed that BLF is the one responsible for bombing the area of Shadi Kaur Dam where the Pakistani organizations are busy trailing and building a colony, the bomb was a warning to stop the trailing of Baloch seas and continuing further he said that BLF has encountered a person who was in disguise as a mental but infact he was an ISI member and was carrying a government revolver which was confiscated and the spy was taken care off.

Written by: Admin on October 14, 2011.

Twitter / @dhume01: On Inept Indian Politicians

Policy wonk Sadanand Dhume gives great ideas to Indian Government. Learn from China and Indonesia.

Sadanand Dhume
@ @ Too many Indian politicians have no grasp of how wealth creation works. And no desire to learn from rest of Asia.

Nothing new

From masters of the world at the end of WWII, the US has recently seen its credit rating drop. UK is bankrupt. If you believe Dhume type commentary, Pakistan is a failed State.

Sure, Indian politicians are inept. After inheriting an India which was a ship-to-mouth economy, flat in its back, to become the fourth largest economy, is ineptitude, according to coconut-shell Dhume.

Indian Government gets a lot a lot of things wrong – like every other over-active State in the world does. But Dhume’s silly criticism shines.

Especially, when he proposes the alternatives. China, Indonesia as nations that India can learn from. China, Indonesia – Semi-dictatorships, where the public-sector-oligarchy is going from strong-to-worse. Hardly, any examples to hold up.

But then can anything get through Dhume’s coconut shell, that he calls brains.

From 25,000 tons of gold at the end of WWII to 8000 tons now. From Masters of The World to most indebted nation on Earth. And you call Indian Govt. inept.
From 25,000 tons of gold at the end of WWII to 8000 tons now. From Masters of The World to most indebted nation on Earth. And you call Indian Govt. inept.

Twitter / @dhume01: Aakash tablet fiasco

Creating false agendas is a full time activity in the West. Sadanand Dhume uses his coconut brain to full effect.

Sadanand Dhume
Aakash tablet fiasco & flawed Indian governance: gimmickry over substance, too much faith in government, belief in silver bullets.#India

Usual suspects

Sadanand Dhume comes out with his regular din.

India Government has got it wrong.

Akash should be gold-plated, have diamond edges and emerald buttons. All this at US$40. Poor students in India must not get any help from the Government. Let the market take care. Usual rants. Imbalanced and lacking depth.

Sure, the Indian Government gets a lot a lot of things wrong – like every other over-active State in the world does. But his silly criticism shines.

Especially, when he proposes the alternatives. China, Indonesia as nations that India can learn from. China, Indonesia – Semi-dictatorships, where the public-sector-oligarchy is going from strong-to-worse. Hardly, any examples to hold up.

But then can anything get through Dhume’s coconut shell, that he calls brains.

Creating false agenda's has become a full time job in the West. (Cartoon courtesy: polyp.org.uk). Click for larger source image.

Creating false agenda's has become a full time job in the West. (Cartoon courtesy: polyp.org.uk). Click for larger source image.



According to Tibetan sources in the Sichuan province of China, leaflets in the Tibetan language have been circulating in the Tibetan areas of the province calling for a day of protests and fasting on October 19 in solidarity with a similar observance by Tibetans all over the world to condemn the continued oppression of the Tibetans by the Chinese and the military detention of a large number of Tibetan monks of the Kirti monastery in the province since March following the self-immolation of a young monk.

2. Anger over the military detention of the monks ostensibly for self-education has led to seven incidents of self-immolation by monks since then. The anger has been further aggravated by the arrests of many monks by the Chinese on charges of abetment at suicide for not stopping the self-immolations and by the Chinese refusal to hand over the dead bodies of the monks who committed self-immolation to the monastery or the village to which they belonged. The Chinese have been cremating the dead bodies and handing over only the ashes.

3. Since the beginning of this month there has been a number of incidents of peaceful street protests and closing down of shops by Tibetans in the Sichuan province. Three days of protests and shop closures between October 8 and 10 have been reported from the Ngaba area of Sichuan . There have been many incidents of Tibetan flags being hoisted in public places after removing the Chinese national flags. The Chinese authorities have detained a number of persons to interrogate them as to who is behind these incidents, but they have not been able to stop such incidents

4. In one incident reported on October 13 from the Khakorsubdistrict of Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county of Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture, some local Tibetans managed to remove a Chinese flag from a police station and hoist a Tibetan flag .

5. On October 1, the Chinese National Day, about 200 Tibetans had staged a protest demonstrationat Serthar after the police tore a Tibetan flag and a large photo of his Holiness the Dalai Lama from a building and threw them into the street.

6.There has been a war of words between the Chinese authorities and the Tibetan Government-in-exile headed by Harvard-educated Prime MinisterLobsangSangay over these incidents. On October 11, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin accused the members of the so-called "Dalai clique" of not only failing to condemn the self-immolations, but also publicizing them to inspire more self-immolations. The Tibetan government-in-exile condemned these remarks and said that China should first put an end to its "repression" in Tibet. It also accused Chinese security personnel of violating basic human rights by assaulting monks who attempted self-immolation.

7. No incidents have been reported from Tibet itself. The protest movement has till now been confined to the Sichuan province. (15-10-11)

( 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: seventyone2@gmail.com . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

India climbs 10 spots on global IT industry index

October 15, 2011


Helped by increased focus on human capital and R&D, Indian IT sector has improved its ranking in the global competitiveness to 34th spot in two years, Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2011 Global IT Industry Competitiveness Index.

As per the index last published in 2009, India stood at 44th position among the 66 countries benchmarked.

"This year, given the increased focus on human capital and R&D, India has raced 10 spots to 34th position, ahead of China and other BRIC countries," BSA India Committee Chair Keshav Dhakad said.

China stood at 38th position, while Brazil and Russia took the 39th and 46th spots, respectively, he added.

"The study demonstrates clearly that India's IT competitiveness will continue to improve through focused steps which foster creativity and innovation within the IT industry," Dhakad said.

The United States continued to top the overall ranking for 2011 despite the slow down, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Singapore stood at 9th position, Sweden at 3 and the United Kingdom at 6 in the 2009 index.

In Asia, India ranks 9th, behind Malaysia (ranks 31st) and ahead of China and Thailand (ranks 50th).

According to BSA, a global non-profit IT alliance, the index helps the governments and policy makers to identify strengths and weaknesses of the domestic IT industry.

"India's competitive momentum is hugely encouraging, since unlocking the next phase of industry growth will require a continued focus on creating a favourable business and legal environment, and improved IT infrastructure," Dhakad said.

However, to continue this trajectory, India will need a safe and secure digital economy that inspires the trust and confidence of government, business and citizens – especially as markets across Asia become more competitive, he added.

The rankings are based on a series of indicators covering overall business environment, IT infrastructure, human capital, research and development (R&D), legal environment and public support for industry development.

The industry body has partnered with business arm of the The Economist, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for the report

India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue: A View from Beijing

Mukul Sanwal

October 15, 2011

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh agreed to establish a regular bilateral strategic economic dialogue mechanism during Wen's visit to India last December, and the first one-day meeting of the China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in Beijing on 26 September.

While the event was largely reported in the Indian press quoting the Chinese news agency Xinhua, it featured in prime time on the Chinese State-run TV channel with the comment of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, that the dialogue had achieved “positive results”. Wen also said, “we discussed our economic situations, macroeconomic policies, and policies and cooperation in areas such as investment, infrastructure construction, high technology, energy conservation and environmental protection." He also expressed the hope that “the two countries will continue to make efforts to give the dialogue a greater role in promoting mutual trust, bilateral relations and cooperation, and to expand our strategic partnership of cooperation." Wen also said that China and India are good neighbours and as two of the world's largest developing countries face many common opportunities and challenges. Maintaining sound and stable development of bilateral relations is of great importance to the two countries, the region and the world as a whole, he added. He further noted that the two countries should enhance communication and coordination at all levels and in all areas, expand cooperation, take each other's concerns into consideration and steadily pursue a means of reciprocity and common development.

The Chinese Premier also spoke of India's capabilities in IT and pharmaceuticals and talked about creating an investor-friendly environment. Railway officials from both sides continued their talks for a second day to understand each other's systems. Vinay Mittal, the Chairman of the Railway Board, later told reporters that high-speed trains were feasible and necessary for India, especially for freight corridors, and that the discussions centred on China's massive expansion in this area. Besides railways, two separate working groups held talks on water and energy issues.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, who led the Indian delegation, said the strategic dialogue reflects enhanced economic engagement between the two countries. "As we try to take our relationship to a new level, a further opening of markets and improvement of investment climate are challenges that we need to address together." He said the growing India-China relationship is an important element of changes that are taking place in the global order, "as emerging economies, we are making our viewpoint increasingly felt on important global issues."

Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, who led the Chinese delegation, said that China and India face similar problems as both countries undergo rapid industrialization and urbanization, and the dialogue, which is partly aimed at boosting mutual trust, will enhance cooperation in various fields and help the two countries find solutions to common problems. This will help promote the long-term economic development of the two economies that will not only benefit the two countries but also help improve the power and confidence of all developing countries, as the healthy development of the Chinese and Indian economies will exert a positive influence on the growth and recovery of not only Asia, but also the rest of the world.

"The dialogue will help Indian enterprises find more business opportunities in China," said Liu Xiaoxue, a researcher with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as bilateral trade has risen rapidly. In 2010 it stood at $61.76 billion, up 42.4 per cent year-on-year, with exports to India growing 31.3 per cent and imports increasing 51.8 per cent. In the first eight months of this year, trade amounted to $48.16 billion, up 19.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"Both countries realize cooperation is more beneficial," said Yang Baojun, an East Asian professor at Peking University. "Benefits from stronger economic ties outweigh their differences."

Rong Ying, of the China Institute of International Studies, argued that as both countries face similar problems with respect to energy security and reliance on labour intensive exports, despite complaints of both sides related to market access, the significance of the dialogue is much broader as it touches on macro concerns and opportunities on how to deal with long term issues. Border demarcation and geopolitical issues in the South China Sea are complicated and the differences have to be managed rather than let them determine the future relationship.

The Reserve Bank India recently granted a license to The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank by market cap, profits and assets, and it will invest about half a billion US dollars as initial capital, opening the way for sourcing the bulk of India’s $100-billion worth power sector equipment from China. With the Reserve Bank allowing up to one billion yuan to be taken as direct commercial borrowing, capital account FDI inflow for infrastructure fits with the widening trade deficit. Indian exporters also have significant opportunities with China shifting to a consumer drive economy, and we can also benefit from tourism.

The dialogue must be seen in a broader perspective. Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the School of Public Policy, Singapore, also speaking on China TV, commented that “development is a marathon” and India may well come out in front. Similarly, the complaints related to market access that both India and China have are dwarfed by the spats between the US and the EU in the WTO, for example over subsidies to aircraft manufacturers, and worries about what the ascendancy of emerging markets would mean for jobs, pay and borrowing costs.

Mukul Sanwal is Visiting Professor at the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing.

Asia’s Growth: The China-India-Japan Strategic Triangle

With its demography and economy, Asia will be able to help shape the future process of globalization. But it must first deal with its festering territorial disputes and acute competition over natural resources.

By Brahma Chellaney
Vanguardia Dossier, Number 41, October-December 2011
(Original in Spanish)


Asia, home to more than half of the global population, is likely to help mold the future course of globalization. In fact, with the world’s fastest-growing economies, the fastest-rising military expenditures, the fiercest resource competition and the most-serious hot spots, Asia holds the key to the future global order.

Asia has come a long way since the time two Koreas, two Chinas, two Vietnams and India’s partition occurred. It has risen dramatically as the world’s main creditor and economic locomotive. The ongoing global power shifts indeed are primarily linked to Asia’s phenomenal economic rise, the speed and scale of which has no parallel in world history.

How fast Asia has come up can be gauged from the 1968 book, Asian Drama: An Inquiry Into the Poverty of Nations, by Swedish economist and Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal, who bemoaned the manner impoverishment, population pressures and resource constraints were weighing down Asia. The story of endemic poverty has become a tale of spreading prosperity.

Yet, Asia faces major challenges. It has to cope with entrenched territorial and maritime disputes, harmful historical legacies that weigh down all important interstate Asian relationships, sharpening competition over scarce resources, especially energy and water, growing military capabilities of important Asian actors, increasingly fervent nationalism, and the rise of religious extremism. Diverse transborder trends — from terrorism and insurgencies, to illicit refugee flows, and human trafficking — add to its challenges.

Asia, however, is becoming more interdependent through trade, investment, technology and tourism. The economic renaissance has been accompanied by the growing international recognition of Asia’s soft power, as symbolized by its arts, fashion and cuisine.

But while Asia is coming together economically, it is not coming together politically. If anything, with the gulf between the politics and economics widening, Asia is becoming more divided politically. In some respects, China’s rise has contributed to making Asia more divided.

To compound matters, there is neither any security architecture in Asia nor a structural framework for regional security. The regional consultation mechanisms remain weak. Differences persist over whether any security architecture or community should extend across Asia or just be confined to an ill-defined regional construct, East Asia. The United States, India, Japan, Vietnam and several other countries wish to treat the Asian continent as a single entity. China, on the other hand, has sought a separate “East Asian” order.

One important point is that while the bloody wars in the first half of the 20th century have made wars unthinkable today in Europe, the wars in Asia in the second half of the 20th century did not resolve matters and have only accentuated bitter rivalries. A number of interstate wars were fought in Asia since 1950, the year both the Korean War and the annexation of Tibet started. Those wars, far from settling or ending disputes, have only kept disputes lingering. China, significantly, was involved in a series of military interventions, even when it was poor and internally troubled.

A Pentagon report released last year has cited examples of how China carried out military preemption in 1950, 1962, 1969 and 1979 in the name of strategic defense. The report states: “The history of modern Chinese warfare provides numerous case studies in which China’s leaders have claimed military preemption as a strategically defensive act. For example, China refers to its intervention in the Korean War (1950-1953) as the ‘War to Resist the United States and Aid Korea.’ Similarly, authoritative texts refer to border conflicts against India (1962), the Soviet Union (1969), and Vietnam (1979) as ‘Self-Defense Counter Attacks’.” The seizure of Paracel Islands from Vietnam in 1974 by Chinese forces was another case of preemption in the name of defense. Against that background, China’s rapidly accumulating power raises important concerns today.

In fact, it is the emergence of China as a major power that is transforming the geopolitical landscape in Asia like no other development. Not since Japan rose to world-power status during the reign of the Meiji Emperor (1867-1912) has another non-Western power emerged with such potential to impact the global order as China today.

But there is an important difference: When Japan rose as a world power, the other Asian civilizations, including the Chinese, Indian and Korean, were in decline. After all, by 19th century, much of Asia, other than Japan and Taiwan, had been colonized by Europeans. So, there was no Asian power that could rein in Japan.

Today, China is rising when other important Asian countries are also rising, including South Korea, Vietnam, India and Indonesia. Although China now has displaced Japan as the world’s second biggest economy, Japan will remain a strong power for the foreseeable future, given its more than $5 trillion economy, Asia’s largest naval fleet, high-tech industries, and a per-capita income still nine times greater than China’s.

When Japan emerged as a world power, its rise opened the path to imperial conquests. However, the expansionist impulses of a rising China are, to some extent, checkmated by the rise of other Asian powers. Militarily, China is in no position to grab the territories it covets, although its defense spending has grown almost twice as fast as its GDP.

Today, as China, India and Japan maneuver for strategic advantage, they are transforming relations between and among themselves in a way that portends closer strategic engagement between New Delhi and Tokyo, and sharper competition between China on one side and Japan and India on the other.

Yet, given the fact that India and China point across the mighty Himalayas in very different geopolitical directions and that Japan and China are separated by sea, they need not pose a threat to each other, especially if they were to abstain from hostile actions against one another and strive to avoid confrontation. The interests of the three powers are getting intertwined to the extent that the pursuit of unilateral solutions by any one of them will disturb the peaceful diplomatic environment on which their continued economic growth and security depend.

Ensuring that the Japan-China and China-India competition does not slide into strategic conflict will nonetheless remain a key challenge in Asia. That, in turn, demands that a strong China, a strong Japan and a strong India find ways to reconcile their interests in Asia so that they can peacefully coexist and prosper.

Never before in history have all three of these powers been strong at the same time. In fact, there is no previous history of the three powers having been involved in a bilateral or trilateral contest for preeminence across Asia.

China’s ascent, however, is dividing Asia, not bringing Asian states closer. By picking territorial fights with its neighbors and pursuing a muscular foreign policy, China is compelling several other Asian states to work closer together with the United States and with each other.

If the Chinese leadership were forward-looking, it would utilize 2011 — the year of the rabbit — to make up for the diplomatic imprudence of 2010 that left an isolated China counting only the problems states of North Korea, Pakistan and Burma as its allies. The onus now is clearly on a rising China to show that it wants to be a responsible power that seeks rules-based cooperation and acts with restraint and caution.

But the People’s Liberation Army’s growing political clout and the sharpening power struggle in the run-up to the major leadership changes scheduled to take place from next year raise concerns that the world will likely see more of what made 2010 a particularly tiger-like year when China frontally discarded Deng Xiaoping’s dictum, tao guang yang hui(conceal ambitions and hide claws).

A tiger’s claws are retractable, but China has taken pride more in baring them than in drawing them in. While manipulating patriotic sentiment, it has pursued hardline policies even at home, tightening its controls on the Internet and media and stepping up repression in Tibet and Xinjiang. China’s domestic policy has a bearing on its external policy, because how it treats its own citizens is an internal dynamic likely to be reflected in the way it deals with its neighbors and other states.

On a host of issues — from diplomacy and territorial claims to trade and currency — China spent 2010 staking out a more-muscular role that only helped heighten international concerns about its rapidly accumulating power and unbridled ambition. But nothing fanned international unease and alarm more than Beijing’s disproportionate response to the Japanese detention of a fishing-trawler captain in September 2010. While Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s standing at home took a beating for his meek capitulation to Chinese coercive pressure, the real loser was China, in spite of having speedily secured the captain’s release.

Japan’s passivity in the face of belligerence helped magnify Beijing’s hysterical and menacing reaction. In the process, China not only undercut its international interests by presenting itself as a bully, but it also precipitately exposed the cards it is likely to bring into play when faced with a diplomatic or military crisis next — from employing its trade muscle to inflict commercial pain to exploiting its monopoly on the global production of a vital resource, rare-earth minerals.

Its resort to economic warfare, even in the face of an insignificant provocation, has given other major states advance notice to find ways to offset its leverage, including by avoiding any commercial dependency and reducing their reliance on imports of Chinese rare earths. A more tangible fallout has been that China is already coming under greater international pressure to play by the rules on a host of issues where it has secured unfair advantage — from keeping its currency substantially undervalued to maintaining state subsidies to help its firms win major overseas contracts.

No less revealing has been the gap between China’s words and the reality. For example, China persisted with its unannounced rare-earth embargo against Japan for weeks while continuing to blithely claim the opposite in public — that no export restriction had been imposed. Like its denials last year on two other subjects — the deployment of Chinese troops in Pakistani-held Kashmir to build strategic projects and its use of Chinese convicts as laborers on projects in some countries too poor and weak to protest — China has demonstrated a troubling propensity to obscure the truth.

In fact, the more overtly China has embraced capitalism, the more indigenized it has become ideologically. By progressively turning their back on Marxist dogma —imported from the West — the country’s ruling elites have put Chinese nationalism at the center of their political legitimacy. The new crop of leaders, including President Hu Jintao’s putative successor, Xi Jinping, will bear a distinct nationalistic imprint. Xi is known to be a more assertive personality than Hu.

That suggests that China’s increasingly fractious relations with its neighbors, the U.S. and Europe will likely face new challenges.

More broadly, a fast-rising Asia has become the fulcrum of global geopolitical change. Asian policies and challenges now help shape the international economy and security environment.

Yet major power shifts within Asia are challenging the continent’s own peace and stability. With the specter of strategic disequilibrium looming large in Asia, investments to help build geopolitical stability have become imperative.

China’s lengthening shadow has prompted a number of Asian countries to start building security cooperation on a bilateral basis, thereby laying the groundwork for a potential web of interlocking strategic partnerships. Such cooperation reflects a quiet desire to influence China’s behavior positively, so that it does not cross well-defined red lines or go against the self-touted gospel of its “peaceful rise.”

While the U.S. is thus likely to remain a key factor in influencing Asia’s strategic landscape, the role of the major Asian powers will be no less important. If China, India, and Japan constitute a scalene strategic triangle in Asia, with China representing the longest side, side A, the sum of side B (India) and side C (Japan) will always be greater than A. Not surprisingly, the fastest-growing relationship in Asia today is probably between Japan and India.

If this triangle turned into a quadrangle with the addition of Russia, China would be boxed in from virtually all sides. Japan plus Russia plus India, with the U.S. lending a helpful hand, would not only extinguish any prospect of a Sino-centric Asia, but would create the ultimate strategic nightmare for China. However, a Russian-Japanese rapprochement remains far off.

Against this geopolitical background, Asia’s power dynamics are likely to remain fluid, with new or shifting alliances and strengthened military capabilities continuing to challenge the prevailing regional order.

Brahma Chellaney is the author, most recently, of “Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan” (HarperCollins, 2010) and “Water: Asia’s New Battlefield” (Georgetown University Press, 2011).