January 07, 2012

Security-driven ties with Israel: India needs to review its policy


by G. Parthasarathy

ON November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a Partition Plan, with a two-thirds majority, dividing the British Mandate of Palestine into two states — Jewish and Muslim. The resolution was accepted by the Jewish leadership and rejected by the Arabs. A newly independent India, torn apart by the massacres that followed its communal partition, predictably voted against the partition of Palestine on communal lines. Just over two years later, responding to international realities, India recognised Israel. But the seeds of partition of Palestine were sown half a century earlier, when the First Zionist Congress held in Switzerland in 1897, called for the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in the “Land of the Pure”, or Palestine.

Arab intellectuals responded two decades later, demanding the independence from the Ottoman Empire of all Arab provinces, including Palestine. Refusing to recognise the State of Israel, invading Arab forces were humiliatingly defeated in wars with the Jewish state in 1948, 1967 and 1973. The Egyptians made peace with Israel in 1979 and have since maintained a normal, but sometimes uneasy relationship with it. Jordan soon followed suit.

Ever since then a number of Arab countries commenced overt or covert ties with the Jewish state. Some, like Kuwait and Oman, shut their doors to the free entry of Palestinians. Moreover, Arab-Israeli differences now lie largely subsumed in Shia-Sunni tensions within countries like Iraq and Bahrain. Historical Arab-Persian rivalries between Shia-dominated Iran on the one hand and its Sunni Gulf Arab neighbours led by Saudi Arabia on the other also tend to dominate Arab attention today, even more than the Palestinian issue.

An Israeli delegation led by Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinians led by Yasser Arafat strove in 1993 to find a peaceful solution to their differences through what became known as the Oslo peace process. A crucial milestone in this process was Arafat’s letter of recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Since then the “Mid-East Quartet” comprising the US, the EU, Russia and the UN has taken centrestage in promoting direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Neither India nor China nor any other Asian country has a role in this effort.

Driven by its domestic political compulsions, the dynamics of Cold War politics and its role in the nonaligned movement, India hesitated in moving towards establishing diplomatic ties with Israel, even though ties at covert levels continued, with Israel providing India with urgently needed military supplies, during and after the 1965 India-Pakistan conflict. But with the end of the Cold war and the Arabs and Israelis themselves talking directly to each other, India moved, albeit belatedly, to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, in 1992. What has emerged since then has been a burgeoning security relationship between the two countries.

For Israel, this relationship has attained greater importance after Turkey turned hostile to it, in recent years. Israel, however, has normal and friendly relations with China, Japan and a number of East Asian countries. It also has friendly ties with India’s neighbours like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar.

The India-Israeli relationship has quietly been security driven. While many aspects of the relationship, particularly in the spheres of defence, aerospace and counter-insurgency, have been kept under wraps, they are now coming into public focus in studies by Indian and Israeli scholars. Over the past decade, Israel has emerged as the second largest supplier of sophisticated weapon systems to India. Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam played a crucial role in promoting this effort, after his visit to Israel in 1996, as Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister. This has now led to a vastly expanding collaboration in areas like crucial air defence systems and missiles, upgrading of the aging Soviet-era equipment, including tanks and fighter aircraft, and cooperation in areas of research and development, in highly advanced night vision devices, sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles, which have a crucial role in dealing with cross-border terrorism. Sadly, our former Ambassador to Israel Raminder Singh Jassal, who played a key role in shaping the strategic directions of relations with Israel, died recently in Turkey.

As India seeks industrial development in areas of high technology and the involvement of its private sector in fields like defence and aerospace, Israel has emerged as an important partner. The Tatas have become the first Indian company to seek manufacturing and R&D facilities through collaboration with Israel in areas like radars, electronic warfare and homeland security systems. Cooperation in aerospace with Israel commenced with an agreement reached in 2003 that India would launch a satellite developed by Tel Aviv University.

The Israeli satellite “Polaris” was launched by ISRO in 2008. Shortly thereafter India launched an Israeli-made imaging satellite RISAT 2. India has also leveraged its ties with Israel to secure Congressional understanding in the US on several critical issues. While American concerns about the rise of China have secured India exclusive access in Asia to advanced early warning systems like the Israeli PHALCON, there are areas of concern where Israeli transfers to China are finding their way to Pakistan, for fighter aircraft like the Chinese J 10, which was designed and developed by Israel.

Under pressure from is communist allies, Dr Manmohan Singh’s UPA-I government avoided visits by Cabinet ministers to Israel. The CPM’s objections were strange, given the fact that two of its top leaders, Mr Jyoti Basu and Mr Somnath Chatterjee, had paid an extended visit to Israel in 2000 and sought Israeli cooperation in agriculture and industry. It has been fairly common for chief ministers of Indian states, ranging from Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh to Haryana and Punjab, to visit Israel for collaboration projects in agriculture, horticulture, water management and sprinkler systems.

Reflecting a welcome change in what was a strange policy, driven by the “compulsions of coalition politics”, the External Affairs Minister, Mr S.M. Krishna, is now scheduled to visit Israel shortly. This does not signal a change in India’s principled position that Israel should avoid building settlements in territories occupied by it and work for a solution that leads to the emergence of a viable Palestinian state, while guaranteeing the security of all states in the region. Arab states tend to take India for granted by routinely supporting gratuitous anti-India resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir in the Organisation of Islamic Conference. They should be made to realise that friendship is a two-way street. India has taken an overly benign view of gross human rights violations and sectarian tensions in some Arab countries. The possibility of reviewing this policy should always be kept open.

January 06, 2012

US senators write to Obama to get BIT with India going

Washington, Jan 6 (PTI)


Top 10 American Senators have urged US President Barack Obama to expedite on going negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with India, noting that this has the potential to produce tremendous benefits to companies from both the countries.

In a letter to the US President, 10 US Senators from both the parties, who are members of the powerful Senate India Caucus, commended Obama on resuming negotiations on BIT with India.

"As members of the Senate India Caucus, we urge you to expedite the ongoing discussions about the treaty as part of a proactive engagement strategy that will produce tremendous benefits for American companies and investors, as well as for their Indian counterparts," the letter said.

The bi-partisan letter was signed by Senate India Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Warner John Cornyn and eight others: Joseph Lieberman, Kay Hutchison, Robert Menendez, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Begich, Michael Bennet, Christopher Coons and Mark Kirk.

"An investment treaty between India and the US would provide important protections to US investors from arbitrary, discriminatory or confiscatory measures, and would be enforceable by independent international arbitration," said the letter dated December 19, which was made public on yesterday.

"Such a treaty could also help facilitate additional investment in infrastructure and other priorities in India where investment is badly needed It would further provide protections to Indian companies as they expand investments in the US," the letter said.

Noting that as the world's largest free-market democracy, India has become one of the US' most critical strategic partnerships, the letter said that the country's resilient economy, fast-growing middle class, and entrepreneurial spirit have deservedly made it an attractive destination for American investment.

"Protecting this existing and future investment through a high-standard BIT should be a top priority as the United States seeks to revitalize economic opportunities for American firms and strengthen our bilateral economic relationship with an important partner," the Senators said.

They brought to the notice of Obama that many countries have already recognized and acted upon the incredible economic opportunities India represents. India has completed investment agreements with 80 countries including all major European nations ASEAN, Japan, and South Korea.

"In order to overcome the competitive disadvantage already facing American companies in the Indian marketplace, it is imperative that the United States move forward quickly to negotiate and conclude this treaty," the letter said.

"A high-standard US-India BIT would better protect our businesses and create new sales and economic opportunities, and would further solidify US-India economic relations," the Senators wrote.

The tremendous potential of a BIT with India to protect and promote growth-producing American investments abroad, attract Indian investment into the United States, put American companies on equal footing with international counterparts in India and strengthen ties with a strategic partner is too significant to ignore, they argued.

"We urge you and your Administration to move quickly on concluding a high-standard and comprehensive BIT as soon as possible, and stand ready to assist you in this endeavor," the letter said.

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January 03, 2012

Why the West is Losing Wars and the Peace?

January 3, 2012 by Team SAI


No this title by no means is a sequel to “Why the West Rules for Now” by Ian Morris, nor is it contemplating comparing West with East to decide who is winning. It is a sad commentary of the biggest military alliance in the world losing peace in all the wars it is fighting globally.

We had discussed the Af Pak component of this narrative here last month. The wider ramifications of a post US Iraq were analysed here.

In a soul searching article, How we lost the peace in Iraq in Small Wars Journal, organisational failings of West in fighting the war in Iraq have been analysed. We go beyond this and analyse basic causes for the political and military defeats or whereabouts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As both these wars were being fought simultaneously, mistakes from one were being replicated in the other. We also discuss if the West has something to learn from Indian experiences in Kashmir.

NATO’s shortsighted intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan with no clear end game in mind has left these regions in a chaotic condition far worse than what they were in when the West first intervened. President Bush “invaded” Iraq and Afghanistan with short term aims of removing Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. The “mission” accomplished statement displayed his apparent arrogance.

However the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan both began only after the fall of Saddam and the Taliban regime when the West had to switch from conventional war fighting to an unconventional format. If US was weary of rise of “Islamic Extremism”, it provided the Islamists all the ingredients for a prolonged battle in which time was on their side. Today, with its quest to leave Iraq to its own machinations with Iranian and Saudi Arabian overtones, the West has lost more credibility.

Apart from political gaffes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a living example of how unconventional wars should not be fought. The conventional wars were won by the West courtesy their technological superiority after destroying basic military and civil infrastructures of both the countries. However, it was not prepared for the speedy transition required to fight the war amongst people- amongst those people who were famous for defeating all powers by shear dint of their staying power and fanaticism.

In 2003 West made their first major blunders.

In Iraq it did not take the local tribal Sheikhs, whether Shia or Sunni, on board while operating amongst people. The Iraqi system worked on this basic grass root level system of governance.Thereafter, the West blundered along by dismantling the Iraqi Army and the police. Having left Iraq to Iran’s machinations, it found it did not have sufficient troops trained in unconventional operations to take on the hybrid forces that now confronted them with hybrid threats from terrorism to insurgency.

In Afghanistan it gave up a good opportunity to neutralise Taliban by letting them slip into Pakistan. This because it followed a flawed policy of too few boots on ground. By the time they realised this blunder, Pakistan had strengthened Taliban and continued to play a double game with the West.

As per the SWJ article, the Western forces were not equipped to fight this unconventional war against a rabidly fanatic force which had the luxury of time on their side. Moreover, the West continued to operate largely with conventional troops rather than the Special Operations Forces (SOF). As a result, they lost out on the battle of cultural sensitivities, perception management and finally failed in winning and keeping hearts.

This argument is flawed to the extent that you cant have quick transition from an expeditionary conventional force to an all together different SOF format in double quick time. The hybrid nature of threats and warfare would seldom permit this luxury in the short term. Hence the concept of a single force gains currency unless the wars get too prolonged as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here too the West continued to suffer from lack of good home work to fathom the nuances of fighting the hybrid wars under conditions favourable to the enemy.

The bottom line of all psychological operations should have been to convince Iraqis and the Afghans that the US was there to make peace for them. Instead the West continued to reinforce the popular Islamic belief that this was a US vs Islam contest thus uniting their efforts against US and whatever it believed in. This was the biggest US failing in these wars.

As Petraeus was getting to grips with the situation through the surge in Iraq, President Obama took charge of White House and shifted focus to Afghanistan, thus leaving the West to avoid a defeat rather than win a war. Americans now agree with General Sanchez when he stated that “The best we can do with this flawed approach is to stave off defeat.” The entire allied effort after 2005 was to “starve off defeat”, not to win the peace. In Afghanistan once again the surge seems to have been called off too early as the ANA and ANP are still not capable of handling the situation even with NATO help. Further the Tajik dominated ANA may fracture if the West left too soon.

Amidst all this the West never fought a cogent battle of hearts and minds and allowed the advantages gained at various moments – such as killing of Sadr of the Sadr Mahdi Army and handed over the advantage to the insurgents operating against American troops. The top civilian and military leadership in Iraq demonstrated that they had no clue of how to actually win the battle of hearts despite using the term extensively.

Hearts and minds, as a concept, is a much more than mere use of the cliches. It’s application needs the counter insurgent to be faster, sharper, more nimble and adaptive than the insurgent. Further Counter Insurgency is a thinking soldier’s war. The themes, their means of transmission and the belief are paramount in understanding how to win over the population to your side. More than anything else it needs a detailed knowledge of cultural sensitivities of the target population, their beliefs, faiths and ethnic loyalties. More than anything else it has to be a credible consistent and genuine effort. It is a specialised mission and can not be left to the whims of the uninitiated. A mistake US repeated often by not distinguishing between these roles for their commanders and troops.

Further, this lack of understanding, as blamed by most US commanders, led to large deficits in the counter insurgency organisations to gather, evaluate and disseminate central themes to their troops on ground. In counter insurgency operations the intent of the commanders is delivered on ground by troops, troops who are well informed as “diplomats in contact” with the population. This failure to adapt invariably meant defeat.

The most critical part of operating amongst people is to win the support of local population with credible action. For better part of the war the West struggled to understand the ethnic, religious and regional dynamics of Iraq or for that matter Afghanistan. The same mistakes were repeated in Afghanistan. Troops were never allowed to befriend the locals for fear of causalities. The reverse happened when high handedness resulted in more casualties and loss of credibility.

This has heated up the debate in US military circles about the validity of a single force fighting a conventional and unconventional war. Today, after 9 years in combat US is proposing a rapid shift of forces to take on both these missions separately.

As brought out in our earlier posts, the West is very articulate in postulating theories and thesis but is far removed from reality in implementing these lessons of fighting amongst people. Only a dynamic, thinking and adaptive counter insurgent can achieve the requisite congruence to fight the hard and soft components of such wars – an aspect often missing in the current US conventional capability.

Perception management was another casualty of both the wars. Unfortunately the insurgents never read the US PR manuals and their handling left much to be desired. Forces launched to capture Baghdad in the beginning of the war were not educated enough or prepared enough to deal with these soft skill complexities. As a result, the psychological component of the war was never exploited fully to help shape opinions.

Finally, as the US forces pulled out of Iraq the perception that the US lost the war in Iraq reigns.

Now the US thinkers argue that a multiple effort should have been launched to harness tactical, political, individual, criminal and tribal issues to gain support of the local population.

Consider this

In Af-Pak, where Petraeus had lost substantial credibility of shooting from the hip; literally blackmailing his President into “surging”; painted Net Assessments of peace, tranquility , development, people contact and stability by 2014…and delivered hogwash.

Since Attack Helicopters and Predator drones cannot distinguish one bearded man from another, US and ISAF have killed more terrorists than ever claimed as nafri (numbers) by the Taliban…most innocent bystanders. They did the same at Kosovo too; and the Russians at Grozny.

The UN has a long standing tradition of keeping mum on Western HR violations and so they are…MUM…In the swish corridors of the UN, Greenpeace, Wold Watch on HR…elegant and “happening” men and women sip Brazilian Latte…talking of Michealangelo…Greece…Renegade Britain…Euro collapse and Dollar, Yuan in that order…Human Rights matters only if it happens in Kashmir; certainly not in Af-Pak or in Best Pal Pakistan’s courtyard…Quetta, Pindi or thereabouts.

Did Petraeus, with the Government playing ball with him deliver Heart? Did he mess up? Do the Yanks understand Sufiism? Do they really care? The answer, we are afraid, lies on the wrong side of the fence.

The Indian experience of winning hearts goes to prove that the Indian approach has delivered every time in dealing with the nuances of wearing heart on its sleeves. Today the situation in Kashmir is far better than in any other proxy war led situation in the world. India has a lot to teach the world about fighting among people by resorting to a multi dimensional humanitarian approach. If the West too employs its “heart as a weapon” it may be able to operate better without the need to create a large number of special forces to combat insurgencies. The cliche, Fight, Talk and Build would automatically transform to Talk, Build and Fight. Unfortunately for US the flaw lies in translating these theories into practice.

If the West leaves Afghanistan also without settling all the issues including Pakistan, they would again leave an Iraq like anarchy behind them with little hope for peace.

Kishenji, Maoists and the Battle Ahead

Geopolitics, January 2012, pp 60 -64

Uddipan Mukherjee

Squeezed between Palamau in the north and Gumla in the south, Latehar district in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand is strategically located.Carved out of the old Palamau district, Latehar was created on 4th April 2001. Nearly half of its area is under dense forest. Furthermore, it abuts on Chattisgarh to the west and hence becomes a fertile region for the Maoist infiltrators. Latehar’s hilly terrain makes it a perfect destination for a Maoist stronghold.

It was no wonder that within 24 hours, the Maoists claimed, with considerable equanimity, the responsibility of ambushing the convoy of independent Member of Parliament (MP) Inder Singh Namdhari at Latehar on 3rd December 2011.

Though such attacks were highly expected, still a validation came from Sudhir, the Maoist spokesperson for the local committee. He said: “We own the responsibility for the attack on the police party to avenge the killing of our leader Kishan Da.”

Who was Kishenji?

By all means, he meant Kishenji instead of Kishan-da. Mallojula Koteswara Rao, alias Kishenji alias Prahlad alias many more; was a top-rung policy-maker cum military leader of the ultra-left rebels. He was media-savvy. His popularity could be gauged when one finds an obituary-cum-analysis of this rebel leader at Foreign Policy, the US political magazine which hardly takes cognizance of India’s internal matters.

At 56 years of age, he was a senior Politburo member and part of Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of India - Maoist (CPI-M). He has been reportedly killed by a mammoth operation by Indian security forces in the Jangalmahal area in West Bengal on 24th November 2011.The operation which hemmed in Kishenji was planned in concentric circles. A group of 1000 joint forces (paramilitary and state police combined) encircled Kishenji and his aide Suchitra in three circles. This made it almost impossible for the elusive leader to evade the clutches of the security forces.

Kishenji was a major decision-maker for the Maoists and was looking after the expansion of the group in the North-East. Presumably, he came from Assam a couple of days back and was convening meetings in West Bengal-Jharkhand border.

Fake or Real Encounter?

However, after his targeted killing (TK); from many quarters, some expected and one quite astonishing, allegations of fake encounter were leveled. Maoist ideologue and Telugu poet Varavara Rao, the family members of Kishenji and the human rights activists raised the banner of protest by alleging a fake encounter. Quite stunningly, Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Gurudas Dasgupta was obdurate enough to call up Union Home Minister in this regard.

Similar hue and cry had taken place in July 2010 at the time of CPI-M spokesperson Azad’s TK. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director-General K. Vijay Kumar was visibly angry with such malice being heaped at the paramilitary forces. Interestingly, the autopsy report confirmed Vijay Kumar’s assertion. According to it, bullets hit Kishenji in the chin, chest and head. One bullet was fired from a distance of around 500 metres. A team of forensic experts also found some gunpowder in his hand.

However, from the policy perspective of TK as a veritable component of counterinsurgency operations, whether the Kishenji encounter was staged or real, is probably, insignificant. Nevertheless, the following reasons may be elucidated to have brought his undoing.

First, he was recovering from an injury suffered last year from an attack by the security forces at Jangalmahal. Hence his physical fitness was under the scanner.

Second, penetrative intelligence network of the police (across provinces) was tracing him and the moment he came out of his hideout, he became vulnerable. In fact, after the close shave last year, he had cocooned himself.

Third, he was technology-savvy and that could have helped the police to track his position. He used to scan newspapers through internet.

Fourth, the closeness of the CPI-M with the Trinamool Congress (TC) before the assembly polls in West Bengal could have worked to the disadvantage of the former. The cadres of TC can now very well act as moles against the Maoists. In fact, there are reports that Kishenji might have been betrayed by his own rank and file.

It is doing the rounds that Bikash, a close confidante of Kishenji, had ultimately betrayed him. The Rs 19 lakh (US $40,000) reward announced on the head of the top Maoist is likely to be given to the person who provided the vital tip-off about his whereabouts in the last few hours leading to his elimination.

Sify.com quotes official sources that the Andhra Pradesh government had announced to give Rs 12 lakh to anyone who would give any information about Kishenji. The Chhattisgarh government too had announced Rs 7 lakh reward with a similar statement.

Bikash had supposedly developed differences with Kishenji. The former was expected to be the CPI-M West Bengal State Secretary after the incarceration of Kanchan alias Sudip Chongdar in December 2010. But, Bikash was replaced by another leader Asim Mondal alias Akash. Incidentally, it has been alleged by the Maoist rank and file that almost all major decisions in the eastern zone were unilaterally taken by Kishenji.

Even Kanchan, after his capture by the Special Task Force in 2010, hinted the same and a possible disintegration of the Maoist command structure in West Bengal. The dramatic surrender of squad leader Jagari Baske and her husband Rajaram Soren at the Writers’ Buildings in Kolkata is a further testimony to this fact.

What Next?

Well, Kishenji's demise would be a big jolt to the rebels. It would be hard to find a replacement soon as he had become almost indispensable in the eastern region. However, there is no reason to expect sudden spate of sporadic reprisals from the Maoists. Neither, could the annihilation of Kishenji be seen as the demise of the insurrection. Their General Secretary, Ganapathy, is still at large. However, what could be expected in the near future?

First, the Maoists would re-group and Ganapathy must be extremely cautious now. They had lost Azad in 2010 and now Kishenji. Senior leaders Narayan Sanyal and Kobad Ghandy are languishing in jail. Telugu Deepak and Kanchan are also incarcerated. Hence, Ganapthy now has to work with second-rung leaders.

As Snigdhendu Bhattacharya aptly points out in the daily Hindustan Times:
“The blow will be more for their eastern regional bureau of which Kishenji was the spokesperson and the top-most leader. His boss in the eastern bureau Saheb-da, alias Jhantu Mukherjee, was arrested a few months back.”
Second, by the very principle of guerrilla warfare tactics, the rebels would retaliate; albeit in a different venue, different time and different occasion.

That is exactly what happened at Latehar on 3rd December 2011 when the landmine planted by the ultras burst. 10 security personnel and one 8-year old boy succumbed to the injuries. Namdhari, a former speaker of the Jharkhand Assembly, escaped unhurt.

Change of Tactics by the Maoists?

Now, what does this attack signify? Does this indicate any change of operational tactics or an overall change of strategic game-plan on the part of the Maoists? Are the Maoists too following the policy of TK as adopted by the Indian counterinsurgency forces?

Keeping in memory the previous attacks of the Maoists, it is not unlikely that the 3rd December ambush was a TK. The Naxalites had attacked the convoy of then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu. Nevertheless, the noteworthy point is the landmine attack executed in October 2003 was in the pre-merger era.

From 2004 onwards, after the CPI-M formed as a unification of the erstwhile People’s War Group (PWG) and Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), such incidents have become rare. A notable exception, however, was the assassination bid on former Chief Minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in November 2008.

Since 2004, the Maoists are basically following guerrilla operations targeting the administration as a whole. Their primary motive is to acquire arms and ammunitions and demoralize the security forces. Personal vendetta, apparently, is not in their agenda.

Such a hypothesis was corroborated by Sudhir. He said that the attack on Namdhari was simply unintentional as they had no information about him in that police convoy. Their primary targets were the security personnel. So, going by the apparent veracity of the Maoists’ statement; it may be safely surmised that the present mode of punitive action that they are embarking is ‘deterrence’.

They are targeting the security and infrastructural architecture of the Indian state. A mass attack on a police or paramilitary convoy would likely, according to the Maoists, deter the security personnel to plan a TK assassination of any Maoist leader.

Interestingly, the Maoists’ method of deterrence sometimes works. After the hijack of a passenger train on 22nd April 2009, as noted by Deepak Nayak for the New Delhi based Institute for Conflict Management, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) contingent, which arrived at the Latehar Railway Station to sanitise the railway route, was unwilling to move to the location of the hijacked passenger train. An unidentified RPF trooper, as per Nayak, had stated:

“There is no use entering the train hijack zone…...it is risky given that the Maoists target people like us who are in uniform.”

The report further informed that police officers, including the Superintendent of Police, preferred to work from their residences, fearing Maoist attacks.

The above was no isolated phenomena. In a gripping report authored by journalist V K Shashikumar for The Indian Defence Review; the sorry plight of a police sub-inspector is elucidated:

“What will I do if I leave the police force? How will I earn? My family wants me to quit police service. But when I am jobless and unable to provide for my family, will they treat me well? asked Rajendra Prasad, sub-inspector of Kajra police station. This police post is hardly 15 kilometres from the spot where four policemen were kidnapped after a skirmish with the Maoists on 29th August 2010, in which 7 policemen were killed and 10 injured.”

The Counterinsurgency Policy and the Battle Ahead

Kishenji’s elimination signified that at last, the CI/CT (counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism) policy of the Indian security forces seem to work fine vis-a-vis the Maoists. The recent success of the forces at Saranda forests in Jharkhand; coupled with the annihilation of Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and now Kishenji speaks of the Indian CI/CT policy as toeing the line of Winning Hearts and Minds (WHAM)-based counterinsurgency policy plus Targeted Killings and Incarcerations or TK/TI approach. The latter suitably bolsters the WHAM-based CI/CT.

At the other end, the Indian state has kept the options of 'talking to the Maoists' an open agenda and is quite rightly moving to a position of strength before they 'talk' to the rebels.

It may be recommended that a carefully orchestrated dual strategy of TK-TI compounded with population-centric, WHAM-based CI operations needs to be implemented. The direct deployment of the army may be kept on hold. However, future prospects of the army being put into effect should not be ruled out altogether. Tribal militias need to be upheld.

But, they must be provided legitimacy through the process of official recruitment. Tribal militias are extremely significant for acquiring knowledge of the local terrain and for useful ground intelligence. Moreover, consistent attempts must be made to dissect the political unity of the ultras.

The path of ‘talks’ needs to be kept open as a viable option, but only when the government would be sure that the Maoist guerillas are in an awkward position to continue their present phase of ‘strategic defense’.

Mere proclamations of ‘ceasefires’ by the Maoists should not be taken as pre-conditions for opening talks as these temporary cessation of hostilities are used by the rebels to regroup, rearm, revitalize and recruit. Talks can only be initiated if the government is in a ‘position of strength’. And this could be achieved through sustained implementation of a strategic framework which houses TK-TI plus WHAM-based CI operations.

Talks? Not Always

While researching on insurgency, Martha Crenshaw observes that rebellions may systematically decline because of three features; physical defeat, decision of the group to abandon terrorist strategy and organizational disintegration.

In the Indian context, it may be hypothesized that some or all the above features may be achieved through talks. However, if talks do not provide the way out, then TK/TI along with WHAM-based CI operations must be employed. After all, the demise of the Maoist insurgency should be an acceptable endgame for the Adivasis, the government, the police and the paramilitary; apart from the core Maoist leadership.

If talks work, then fine. Otherwise, to quote notable military strategist Luttwak, there would probably be no harm if “war is given a chance”. It is true that development and governance are the keys to long-term tranquility, but the 'small war' must be won as a prerequisite.

India: Naval superpower?

Contributor: Andrew Elwell
Posted: 01/02/2012 12:00:00 AM EST | 0

Defence IQ.com
Contributor: Andrew Elwell

As we set sail in 2012 with global navy power swinging to the East, how well placed is India to emerge as the dominant naval superpower over the next decade?

The Indian Navy has 132 ships under its command, 14 of which are submarines. As we speak India has commissioned 49 ships and submarines which are under construction both in-country and abroad.

“49 ships and submarines, which are under construction, would be inducted in the next five years. Out of these, 45 are being built indigenously at the Indian shipyards, while four are being built outside India,” Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, told IBN.

With India doing an admirable job on coastal security and anti-piracy operations recently, and with the induction of this new fleet, the Navy seems well placed to increase efficiency and tackle future threats. But is it?

Relations with neighbouring Pakistan and China remain frosty; if India is to secure its borders and maintain its influence in the region, it must invest further in its naval presence. Challenges from terrorism, piracy and Pakistan and China’s growing sea power will force it to.

According to the Deccan Chronicle by 2025 Pakistan will have acquired four frigates, six submarines, and a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from China.

Robert Knapp outlined China’s increasing naval power in his Review of 2011 article recently. “China, India, Japan, Australia and virtually all of the middle ranking regional powers are all currently engaged in dramatically expanding or modernising their navies. China has spearheaded this naval arms race, feeling that it should have naval capabilities to match its economic might. During the past year the most significant development has been the commissioning of China’s first aircraft carrier – the ex-Russian Varyag. While the limitations of this vessel have been much discussed it serves much more as a symbol of China’s ambitions; by the end of the decade there is the intention to have three carrier battle groups in service. The arrival of the Varyag has overshadowed the continuing expansion of both the large (and increasingly capable) surface fleet and what is expected to soon be the largest submarine fleet in the world.”

So it's clear India will be besieged East and intimidated from the West for at least the next decade. However, delays, overruns and bureaucracy aside, India does have plans to continue growing its Navy in the future to mitigate these threats and avoid a naval power capability gap. Chopra went on to state: “Other ships to be inducted include, three Shivalik class stealth frigates, four Kamorta class ASW corvettes, three Kolkata class project 15A, four project 15B ships, seven project 17A ships, three follow on 1135.6 ships, nine offshore patrol vessels, two cadet training ships.”

Consistent with India’s growth strategy in other parts of its defence industry, as well as its economy as a whole, the government wants to build and invest in its own infrastructure, rather than relying on imports.

“Since imported platforms are expensive and make us dependent on imported spare parts, India needs a home-built Navy, which can protect India’s seas and borders while providing the nation with strategic second-strike capability,” reports the Deccan Chronicle.

It’s not just the mainland where India must improve its naval infrastructure though. To protect against the threat from China Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, Chief of the Naval Staff for the Indian Navy, explained to India Today that strategic outposts in the surrounding region must be established.

“We are creating infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands which form our country's strategic outposts," Admiral Verma told IT. "They enhance our country's forward operating capability.”

With lead times reaching 15 years from the original RFP to order completion and delivery, India is under pressure to hurry this process along. Or at least it ought to be. To achieve this though there must first be more cooperation between the public and private sectors and, more specifically, in the drawing up of joint ventures between public and private shipyards. The red tape dogging India’s rapid ascent is no less apparent in its naval infrastructure as it is in any other part of its defence industry. This has to change.

Enter the year of the Taliban

By M K Bhadrakumar


No matter what the Chinese may say about 2012 being the year of the dragon, this is going to be the year of the Taliban so far as the United States is concerned.

The New Year began with an exciting media "leak" by senior United States officials in Washington that the Barack Obama administration was considering the transfer to Afghan custody of a senior Taliban official, Mullah Mohammed Fazl, who has been
detained at the US facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for the past nine years.

The officials claimed Fazl might be released (or transferred to Qatar) in response to a longstanding request by Kabul as a "confidence-building measure" intended to underscore to the Taliban the US's seriousness in engaging them.

To be sure, the Obama administration is raring to go. Just about four months are left for the summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Chicago, an event showcasing Obama's leadership of the Western alliance - and that he can lead from the front - embedded within his unpredictable re-election bid. The summit is expected to focus world attention on the Afghan situation.

With the Europeans caught in existential angst due to their grave economic crisis, Obama needs to use all his charm on his NATO colleagues not to ditch him in Afghanistan. For that, he needs to convince them that he is leading them to the end of the dark tunnel. The Chicago summit cannot afford to fail, as happened with the two events leading to it - the Istanbul meet on November 2 and the Bonn Conference II on December 2.

But the mood in the region surrounding Afghanistan is turning ugly. Moscow has dealt a devastating blow to the game plan drawn up by the US and NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen eyeing Central Asia tactically as the backyard for Afghan operations if push comes to shove in the US's relations with Pakistan - and strategically as a platform for the great game toward Russia, China and Iran.

In a geopolitical coup, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow on December 20 took a momentous decision that for the setting up of foreign military bases on CSTO territory, there had to be approval by all member states of the Moscow-led alliance that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan President Nurusultan Nazarbayev announced with a straight face:
The most important outcome of our meeting was an agreement on the coordination of military infrastructure deployment by non-members of CSTO on the territory of CSTO member states. Now, in order to deploy a military base of a third country on the territory of a CSTO member state, it will be necessary to obtain official approval of all CSTO member states. I think this is a clear sign of the organization's unity and its members' utmost loyalty to allied relations.
The last sentence was dripping with irony since the Obama administration had just recently taken a decision to provide military assistance to Uzbekistan in a policy turnaround with the intent to hijack the key Central Asian country to undermine the CSTO. To Washington's dismay, Uzbek President Islam Karimov not only attended the CSTO summit in Moscow, but went on to voice his support of the alliance's decision.

With this, Moscow signaled to Washington that its monopoly of conflict-resolution in Afghanistan has to end. The US has a choice to crawl back into Pakistan's favor and persuade Islamabad to reopen the transit routes that have been shut down for a month already or, alternatively, fall back on the Northern Distribution Network for supplying NATO troops and for taking the men and materials out as the troop drawdown picks momentum through 2011.

The CSTO decision hangs like a sword of Damocles on the US base in Manas near Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, which is a strategic hub for air transportation.

There is no evidence so far that Russia and Pakistan have begun acting in tandem - although, in his statement anticipating Russia's foreign policy priorities for 2012, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did single out Pakistan.

As the crow flies ...
Amid all this, Fazl's possible release from Guantanamo comes as a masterstroke by Washington aimed at scattering the growing regional bonhomie over the Afghan situation. The Obama administration hopes to release a fox into the chicken pen. Fazl is one of the most experienced Taliban commanders who has been with Taliban leader Mullah Omar almost from day one and he held key positions commanding the Taliban army.

He would have been a favorite of both Mullah Omar and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and his "homecoming" ought to bring joy to both. On the other hand, he was also culpable for the massacre of thousands of Hazara Shi'ites during 1998-2001 and was possibly accountable for the execution of eight Iranian diplomats in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Fazl inspires visceral hatred in the Iranian mind and could create misunderstandings in Pakistan-Iran relations (which have been on an upswing in recent years) and put Islamabad on the horns of a dilemma vis-a-vis Mullah Omar.

Fazl is also a notorious personality from the Central Asian and Russian viewpoint insofar as he used to be the Taliban's point person for al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Chechen rebels. He was also in charge of the strategic Kunduz region bordering the "soft underbelly" of Central Asia where he was based with IMU chief Juma Namangani at the time of the US intervention in October 2011.

Fazl belongs to the "pre-Haqqani clan" era. Will the Haqqani network - a key component of the Taliban-led insurgency from its base in Pakistan's tribal areas - accept Fazl's "seniority" and give way to him? Pakistan may have to prioritize its "strategic assets"; it is a veritable minefield.

Enter Qatar, which is increasingly emerging as the US's closest ally in the Middle East next only to Israel. The Obama administration feels impressed by the skill Qatar displayed in theaters as diverse as Libya, Egypt and Syria in finessing the Muslim Brotherhood and other seemingly intractable Islamist groups and helping the US to catapult itself to the "right side of history" in the Middle East.

The Obama administration is optimistic that if Fazl could be left to able Qatari hands, he could be recycled as an Islamist politician for a democratic era.

Fazl does have the credentials to bring Mullah Omar on board for launching formal peace talks. Fazl enjoys credibility among the Taliban militia and they would be inclined to emulate his reincarnation. His bonding with Islamist forces in Pakistan and the ISI could be useful channels of communication with Islamabad, which will come under pressure to cooperate with the US-led peace talks, or at the very least refrain from undercutting them.

Indeed, he is the perfect antidote to Iran's influence in Afghanistan. Once Qatar is through with him, Fazl becomes just the right partner for Washington in the great game if the Arab Spring were to appear in Central Asia, holding prospects of regime change and the rise of "Islamic democracies" in the steppes. Fazl can be trusted to persuade Taliban not to make such a terrible issue out of the US plans to establish military bases in Afghanistan.

However, will the plan work? Pakistan may have fired the first salvo of the New Year to demolish the US plan when Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said in Islamabad on Monday:

Establishing sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan is impossible without Iran's role. To establish security and reinvigorate Afghanistan, Iran must be given due attention and must be trusted, because pushing the trend of peace and establishing durable security and stability without Iran's partnership is impossible.
Basit was speaking within earshot of the whirring sound of the Iranian cruise missile with the ferocious name Qader (Mighty) fired from an undisclosed location unambiguously demonstrating Tehran's capability to enforce a blockade of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

An accomplished diplomat, he certainly knows Doha lies just 547 kilometers away as the crow flies from the Strait of Hormuz. Fazl won't be safe in Doha.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.


No respite —Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The establishment and the armed forces here do not seem to learn from their mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality

Establishments never tire of exploring ways and means to perpetuate their rule. Interestingly, the word ‘establishment’ is generally used in Pakistan to refer to those who exercise de facto power; it includes the military high command and the intelligence agencies, together with the top leadership of certain political parties, high-level members of the bureaucracy and business persons that work in alliance with them. The military high command and the intelligence agencies form the core of the establishment and are its most permanent and influential components. The real power rests with its ‘most permanent and influential components’, i.e. the armed forces. All is not hunky-dory within the establishment as struggles occur, but the most organised and powerful part is invariably the winner. The media dutifully paves the way by creating hysteria or gloom.

Their think tanks search suitable candidates for implementing their policy aims. The only hitch is that their skewed ideas do not quite correspond to reality and always backfire; yet, unfortunately, they remain unaccountable and all powerful. Unaccountability and de facto power allows them to continue experimenting while the masses pay the price of their follies.

The fact that people, in spite of resentment, do not resist injustices gives the decision-makers a free hand in creating an irresolvable mess. Mumia Abu Jamal’s quote unequivocally illustrates the situation here: “When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it — at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice.” Hoping for the ‘Arab Spring’ here is a fantasy.

People and institutions create problems by setting themselves delusional goals. While individuals pay with personal losses, the adverse consequences of institutional delusions are permanent, colossal and harsh for the people. The establishment and the armed forces here do not seem to learn from their mistakes. Obsessive self-interest has made them lose touch with reality.

Delusional thinking, however, is not new here; the civilian rulers in the initial days were obsessed with India and acquiring evacuee property and paid no heed to people’s welfare. They were then replaced by the army obsessed with the idea that ‘Mumlikat-e-Khudadad’ was an end in itself and there was no need to bother about people’s rights and welfare. Naturally the people suffered and continue to suffer.

At some stage the armed forces got the idea that Afghanistan is their backyard and they should determine its destiny. The 1979 Russian involvement was a godsend and they rushed in headlong because they presumed their policy aims could be achieved and moreover the opportunity to pocket billions was too good to squander. The pernicious scourge of Talibanisation is the harvest of that folly and it will only get worse.

Lately, for reasons best known to them, they have come to believe that they can take on the US, which unintentionally or intentionally provided them an excuse with the recent Mohmand Agency incident, and create a power niche for themselves in the region. The consequences of this gung-ho attitude are predictable. They do not realise that their client-state status is permanent and even if they break free of the US they cannot escape the clientage of China, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Sovereignty is an unaffordable luxury for client states as they have to oblige the benefactor in every way. Clientage and sovereignty do not mix well.

The increasing anti-US sentiment in the armed forces has forced them to look for an alternative setup. Imran Khan, because of his persistent anti-US rhetoric and pro-Taliban leanings, is their best bet. They want urbane ultra-conservatives and ultra-nationalists like Imtran and Shah Mehmood Qureshi to act as a front for their policies. In the past, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) made it to power with their blessings and this sudden surge for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is certainly not without the blessings of the proverbial ‘angels’. Indications are that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has been co-opted as have other equally pliant and opportunistic groups and politicians to ensure that a thoroughly acquiescent government, not that the present dispensation displays any spine, is put in place to guarantee that the confrontation agenda is strictly adhered to on their terms. This venture too is going to culminate in something similar to the self-inflicted disasters of the past.

This does not augur well for the people because when the state raises the stakes in confrontation, it — out of necessity to force people to accept its position on ‘national interest’ and ‘threat to sovereignty’ — imposes more draconian laws and actions. Confrontationists can only be sustained by repressive laws. An entirely new and ruthless phase of repression is in the offing.

Little wonder that Jacques Anatole Thibault (1844-1924) said, “A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures on armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion. It ruins itself; and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic terrors are an abundant source of gain.” Replace ‘financiers and manufacturers’ with the armed forces and pliant politicians.

The people have had no respite from repression and misgovernance and no redemption is in sight. Little wonder then that Pakistan keeps falling in the Human Development Index (HDI). It dropped a robust 20 places this year to be ranked 145th while it keeps rising meteorically on corruption and human rights abuses indexes. This trend is set to continue and intensify.

There will be a lot more repression of the people in general and Balochistan in particular because those being backed have not had a word to say about the plight of the Baloch people who have always suffered and lately been victims of the brutal state policy of abduct, kill and dump tactics that continues unabated with ever-increasing ferocity. Death squads are now active in Sindh as well and their first victim was Faisal Mengal, a dedicated Baloch activist who was gunned down in Karachi on the International Human Rights Day. Repression is set to become the linchpin of governance here.

I have been absent for three months first due to back problems and then Hajj pilgrimage. On return a good friend, after congratulating me, asked if my approach and commitments would change. I replied with Momin Khan Momin’s couplet,

“Umar toh saari katti ishq-e-buutaan mein Momin,

Ab aaakhri waqt mein kya khaaq musalmaan hongay.”

(Verily Momin has spent all his life adoring idols,

Expect him not, at end of life, to change his ideals.)

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com


Constitutional limits and fundamental rights? —Sana Baloch

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rather than counselling and redressing their grievances, the less harmful moderate Baloch activists are simply executed extra-judicially

The distasteful feature of Pakistani polity and disrespect for constitutional rights can easily be précised by a careful examination of the worsening human rights violations of non-core groups by dominant institutions.

Violation of human rights is a global phenomenon. The difference is one of degree. The violation of the rights of certain non-core groups by dominant security establishment is a permanent feature of Pakistani society, where in non-core group areas such as Balochistan, the violations of human rights are towering with mounting cases of enforced disappearances, a kill and dump policy, political assignations, targeted killings and systematic deprivation of socio-economic development — a common but institutionalised trend.

Despite a proclaimed independent judiciary, these violations are taking place under the shields of ‘uniform’ and ‘authority’, not to mention the fact that they are conducted with deliberate ‘negligence’ and ‘silence’ of national and domestic courts.

In October 2011, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, during his visit to Quetta, the capital city of the unfortunate Balochistan province, said that he would “soon constitute a larger bench on the unrest and violation of fundamental human rights in Balochistan to collect evidence and ascertains reasons behind the violation of fundamental human rights in the province”.

No doubt the Supreme Court’s (SC’s) larger bench in Karachi took plausible measures and decisions, but till date, there has not been any indication or initiation regarding the SC’s larger bench on human rights violations in Balochistan.

Mr Chief Justice, at the same occasion, categorically and unequivocally voiced that “we will go to any extent to safeguard the rights of the people”.

Recently, on December 9, 2011, the CJP determinedly reiterated that the singular duty of the apex court was not only to enforce the freedom of life of the people, but also to ensure that complete quality of life was provided to the citizens of Pakistan.

Elaborating his views, the CJP said, “The constitution has set limits for every institution, whether it is parliament, the executive or the judiciary, and by adhering to the dictates of the constitution, the nation can achieve political stability, economic development and attain rightful and honourable place among the nations of the world.”

He said that fundamental rights had so much importance that under Article 8, even laws made inconsistent with or in derogation of fundamental rights could be declared as void. Theoretically, Pakistan’s constitution does talk about supreme civil liberties and guarantees; it empowers the apex court under articles 184, 187 and 190 to take cognisance in a variety of situations to enforce fundamental rights and do substantive justice. But in practice, none of these written guarantees are translated into practice to safeguard the rights of the oppressed.

Despite Himalayan assurances and well-versed statements of Pakistan’s top executive, the CJP, and repeated appeals of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), scores of mutilated bodies of marginalised Baloch activists are surfacing frequently.

In a statement issued on Friday, which was marked as the International Human Rights Day, expressing solidarity with the people of Balochistan and in support of their aspirations to realise their rights, the HRCP reiterated its grave distress at the absence of adequate measures to resolve lingering issues of human rights violations in the province.

The HRCP statement states, “It is a matter of grave alarm that 107 new cases of enforced disappearances have been reported in Balochistan in 2011, and the ‘missing persons’ are increasingly turning up dead. Bodies of 225 ‘missing persons’ have been recovered from various parts of the province since July 2010. It is scandalous that not a single person has been held accountable for these disappearances and killings.”

In fact, the traumatised, voiceless, unrepresented and helpless people of Balochistan are tirelessly gazing towards Pakistan’s SC, international organisations and human rights champions. But to no avail.

Pakistan is a multi-ethnic country and going through multifaceted crises and conflicts, such as fighting with extreme religious groups in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sectarian radicals in Punjab and Sindh and pro-self-rule Baloch movement in Balochistan, but there is evident inconsistency with regards to dealing with these dynamics.

The security apparatus seems very harsh and intolerable towards the Baloch people. Even though Baloch reprisals towards security forces is not as harmful and damaging as the Taliban and radical groups, the Baloch activists are facing extreme treatment — a trend that demands greater and careful understanding of Pakistan’s ethnically structured institutions and their subjective policies.

During the early days of the Swat operation, a few cases of ‘kill and dump’ of suspected Taliban combatants were reported, but suddenly this policy was confronted by sizable Pashtun policy-makers and military officials. The policy of ‘kill and dump’ was quickly replaced by Sabawoon: a new dawn for children in the Swat Valley — the UNICEF-funded and Pakistan Army-administered school that provides free religious education and psychiatric counselling to a large number of Taliban combatants, including trained suicides, to reintegrate them in society. However, in Balochistan’s case, the inhuman policy of collective punishment is seen to continue uninterrupted.

Since Balochistan is voiceless in Pakistan’s policy and decision-making corridors, the destiny of the Baloch political activists is bleak. Rather than counselling and redressing their grievances, the less harmful moderate Baloch activists are simply extra-judicially executed for their simple crime of disagreement with Pakistan’s colonial, discriminatory and exploitative policies.

The security establishment in Balochistan is operating like an outdated tribal entity that is pursuing a policy of an eye for an eye by killing and dumping political activists for the acts committed by militants.

The Gestapo-like modus operandi is only being committed against the Baloch people. A careful examination of cases revealed that in Balochistan, a multi-ethnic province, 300 cases of ‘kill and dump’ were recorded in a period of 12 months. All victims were ethnic Baloch — political activists, professionals and journalists — a massive loss for a community that is horribly discriminated against, and has a very small educated and moderate class.

The empirical evidence and carefully documented national and international human rights reports raise serious concerns over a ‘slow-motion’ wipeout of moderate activists in the province.

In today’s world, multi-ethnic states are the norm. However, dominant cultures in countries around the world, particularly in developing countries, still seek to impose their rule and identity on other groups with whom they share a territory.

Attempts to impose uniculturalism in multi-ethnic environments often come at the expense of minority rights. To avoid marginalisation, the minorities often intensify their efforts to preserve and protect their identity. The hardening of opposing forces –assimilation on the one hand and preservation of minority identity on the other — can cause increased intolerance, and in the worst cases, armed ethnic conflict. In such cases and in order to prevent escalation, the protection and promotion of minority rights becomes essential.

In fact, good governance plays a vital role in involving non-core groups (ethnic minorities) in societies and protecting their rights and interests. Through recognition, dialogue, and participation, all the citizens of a diverse society can form a greater understanding of one another’s concerns. Educational institutes and the media have important roles to play in this regard, as do political representatives and community leaders.

State authorities need to ensure that ethnic minorities enjoy the fundamental right to equality, both in written legislation and in society at large. The roles of the local government, civic organisations and NGOs are important in this respect. Police, prosecutors and judges need to be more aware of what constitutes racial discrimination and racially motivated crimes, and in some cases, changing the composition of the security structure to better reflect the multi-ethnic communities they serve may be appropriate.

The writer is a former Senator who resigned in 2008 against systematic discrimination and continued military operation in Balochistan. He can be reached at balochbnp@gmail.com


Imran Khan’s hollow apology on Balochistan

By Sanaullah Baloch
Published: December 28, 2011

The writer was a member of the Senate from 2003-08 and of the National Assembly from 1997-99

It used to be said that ‘sorry’ was the hardest word to say, but no longer, at least for politicians in Pakistan. They do apologise, usually without realising the gravity of the miseries, pain and suffering of the victimised people — and without offering proper, practical remedies or measures for healing wounds.

Following Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari’s footsteps, the PTI’s Imran Khan has also publicly apologised to the people of Balochistan. However, he did this without mentioning the military’s excessive and inhuman policies, human rights violations, political assassinations and the ‘kill and dump’ policy of moderate Baloch political activists and the systematic subjugation of the Baloch people.
In a carefully-crafted apology, ignoring the ongoing human rights violations, the PTI chairman spoke in the past tense. He said human rights abuses had been “committed” and the people of the province had been “treated” (as if it was in the past) like those of a colony as happened in the case of the people of East Pakistan.

This careful selection of words, together with no mention of the security agencies and their dirty game in Balochistan, raises doubts about the PTI’s confidence and ability to truly ensure that, if it comes to power, it will make law-enforcement agencies follow the rule of law.

The fact is that the people of Balochistan wanted to hear the PTI leadership clearly acknowledge that Balochistan is suffering, that its people’s fundamental rights are being violated, that enforced disappearances and the policy of ‘kill and dump’ are all still going on like before.

The Baloch population wants the PTI to confront the military’s discriminatory policies politically and legally by moving a petition in the Supreme Court and by calling for a nationwide strike in solidarity of Baloch victims.

When the PPP came into power, President Asif Ali Zardari made an apology for Musharraf’s sordid actions. He also announced that the new PPP-led government would call an all-parties conference to address the province’s long-entrenched problems, while also promising to form a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate allegations of human rights abuses.

However, soon the people of the province had to suffer the killing of three more eminent Baloch nationalists and a series of target killing of top Baloch leaders, including former senator Habib Jalib Baloch, Professor Saba Dashtyari, Maula Bux Dashti, Mir Noordin Mengal, Abdul Salam Baloch, Mir Jumma Khan Raisani and Mir Liaquat Mengal, as well as hundreds of political activists.

The PPP may have apologised but it has quite clearly been unable to confront the ‘powerful elements’ who have turned Balochistan into a killing field.
I would, in fact, argue that by separating action from responsibility, political apologies can make it more difficult to take the steps necessary to enforce real change. Saying sorry for committed crimes, killings, exploitation and human rights violations, for instance, does not address the causes of the Balochistan conflict and the problems facing the Baloch people in Pakistan.

It should also be noted that many of the new entrants into the PTI — the so-called ‘electables’ — are the ones who were part of the Musharraf regime and saw nothing wrong in the atrocities that it committed. There is no guarantee that these same elements will not overly influence the PTI’s policies if they rise to power.
The people of Balochistan don’t need apologies, what they need is a clear and unambiguous stand against the ongoing human rights violations in the province. They want a government that will take the security forces to task and make them stop their current policy of targeting moderate Baloch politicians, intellectuals, students and dissidents. There should also be a clear road map for peace and conflict resolution in the province, one that addresses the ethnic composition, security structure, autonomy issues, the issue of ownership of resources and having in place a pro-people socio-economic development plan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.

January 02, 2012

POSITION: Research Associate for IDSA

The Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has initiated a year long study on Strategic Trends 2050. The objective of this study is to analyze the strategic and security challenges faced by India in and on the way to 2050. The study looks at both traditional and non-traditional themes, and develops a number of working papers and scenarios for various state and non-state actors relevant to Indian security. IDSA is seeking a proactive and enthusiastic Research Associate for the Project.

Research Associate

Academic Qualifications A minimum of a Masters degree in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Security Studies, or Futures Studies is mandatory. Consistent high academic performance from Higher Secondary School onwards will be given due weight.

Work Experience At least two years work experience in reputed organisations in a relevant field is strongly preferable. As this is a multi-disciplinary and dialogue oriented project, candidates are expected to possess excellent written and oral communication and interpersonal skills along with a keen interest in analyzing current national and international affairs. Ability to attend to detail, work under strict deadlines and a flair for team work are other prerequisites.

Job Description Prospective Associates are expected to assist the Project Leader in data collection and detailed analysis, write reports and working papers, conduct interviews with leading experts, contribute to brainstorming sessions, write conference reports, organise conferences and roundtables related to the project and undertake any other task, as assigned to them from time to time by the Project Leader.

The position carries a lump sum remuneration of Rs 40,000 per month.

The contract would last till December 2012, which can be extended further depending on the requirement of the Institute, demonstrated performance and suitability for any other project.

The selected candidates will be eligible to apply for campus accommodation at prescribed rent as per the IDSA rules. However, the accommodation is not guaranteed and will be allotted subject to availability.

Application Procedure
Interested candidates may send in their CV, covering letter and two academic/professional references to hrd.idsa@gmail.com or by post to:

Adviser HRD,
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses,
No. 1, Development Enclave,
Rao Tula Ram Marg,
New Delhi-110010

The last date for submitting the applications is 4 PM, January 15, 2012.

The Coming Collapse of China: 2012 Edition


In the middle of 2001, I predicted in my book, The Coming Collapse of China, that the Communist Party would fall from power in a decade, in large measure because of the changes that accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) would cause. A decade has passed; the Communist Party is still in power. But don't think I'm taking my prediction back.

Why has China as we know it survived? First and foremost, the Chinese central government has managed to avoid adhering to many of its obligations made when it joined the WTO in 2001 to open its economy and play by the rules, and the international community maintained a generally tolerant attitude toward this noncompliant behavior. As a result, Beijing has been able to protect much of its home market from foreign competitors while ramping up exports.

By any measure, China has been phenomenally successful in developing its economy after WTO accession -- returning to the almost double-digit growth it had enjoyed before the near-recession suffered at the end of the 1990s. Many analysts assume this growth streak can continue indefinitely. For instance, Justin Yifu Lin, the World Bank's chief economist, believes the country can grow for at least two more decades at 8 percent, and the International Monetary Fund predicts China's economy will surpass America's in size by 2016.

Don't believe any of this. China outperformed other countries because it was in a three-decade upward supercycle, principally for three reasons. First, there were Deng Xiaoping's transformational "reform and opening up" policies, first implemented in the late 1970s. Second, Deng's era of change coincided with the end of the Cold War, which brought about the elimination of political barriers to international commerce. Third, all of this took place while China was benefiting from its "demographic dividend," an extraordinary bulge in the workforce.
Yet China's "sweet spot" is over because, in recent years, the conditions that created it either disappeared or will soon. First, the Communist Party has turned its back on Deng's progressive policies. Hu Jintao, the current leader, is presiding over an era marked by, on balance, the reversal of reform. There has been, especially since 2008, a partial renationalization of the economy and a marked narrowing of opportunities for foreign business. For example, Beijing blocked acquisitions by foreigners, erected new barriers like the "indigenous innovation" rules, and harassed market-leading companies like Google. Strengthening "national champion" state enterprises at the expense of others, Hu has abandoned the economic paradigm that made his country successful.

Second, the global boom of the last two decades ended in 2008 when markets around the world crashed. The tumultuous events of that year brought to a close an unusually benign period during which countries attempted to integrate China into the international system and therefore tolerated its mercantilist policies. Now, however, every nation wants to export more and, in an era of protectionism or of managed trade, China will not be able to export its way to prosperity like it did during the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. China is more dependent on international commerce than almost any other nation, so trade friction -- or even declining global demand -- will hurt it more than others. The country, for instance, could be the biggest victim of the eurozone crisis.

Third, China, which during its reform era had one of the best demographic profiles of any nation, will soon have one of the worst. The Chinese workforce will level off in about 2013, perhaps 2014, according to both Chinese and foreign demographers, but the effect is already being felt as wages rise, a trend that will eventually make the country's factories uncompetitive. China, strangely enough, is running out of people to move to cities, work in factories, and power its economy. Demography may not be destiny, but it will now create high barriers for growth.

At the same time that China's economy no longer benefits from these three favorable conditions, it must recover from the dislocations -- asset bubbles and inflation -- caused by Beijing's excessive pump priming in 2008 and 2009, the biggest economic stimulus program in world history (including $1 trillion-plus in 2009 alone). Since late September, economic indicators -- electricity consumption, industrial orders, export growth, car sales, property prices, you name it -- are pointing toward either a flatlining or contracting economy. Money started to leave the country in October, and Beijing's foreign reserves have been shrinking since September.

As a result, we will witness either a crash or, more probably, a Japanese-style multi-decade decline. Either way, economic troubles are occurring just as Chinese society is becoming extremely restless. It is not only that protests have spiked upwards -- there were 280,000 "mass incidents" last year according to one count -- but that they are also increasingly violent as the recent wave of uprisings, insurrections, rampages and bombings suggest. The Communist Party, unable to mediate social discontent, has chosen to step-up repression to levels not seen in two decades. The authorities have, for instance, blanketed the country's cities and villages with police and armed troops and stepped up monitoring of virtually all forms of communication and the media. It's no wonder that, in online surveys, "control" and "restrict" were voted the country's most popular words for 2011.

That tough approach has kept the regime secure up to now, but the stability it creates can only be short-term in China's increasingly modernized society, where most people appear to believe a one-party state is no longer appropriate. The regime has clearly lost the battle of ideas.

Today, social change in China is accelerating. The problem for the country's ruling party is that, although Chinese people generally do not have revolutionary intentions, their acts of social disruption can have revolutionary implications because they are occurring at an extraordinarily sensitive time. In short, China is much too dynamic and volatile for the Communist Party's leaders to hang on. In some location next year, whether a small village or great city, an incident will get out of control and spread fast. Because people across the country share the same thoughts, we should not be surprised they will act in the same way. We have already seen the Chinese people act in unison: In June 1989, well before the advent of social media, there were protests in roughly 370 cities across China, without national ringleaders.

This phenomenon, which has swept North Africa and the Middle East this year, tells us that the nature of political change around the world is itself changing, destabilizing even the most secure-looking authoritarian governments. China is by no means immune to this wave of popular uprising, as Beijing's overreaction to the so-called "Jasmine" protests this spring indicates. The Communist Party, once the beneficiary of global trends, is now the victim of them.

So will China collapse? Weak governments can remain in place a long time. Political scientists, who like to bring order to the inexplicable, say that a host of factors are required for regime collapse and that China is missing the two most important of them: a divided government and a strong opposition.

At a time when crucial challenges mount, the Communist Party is beginning a multi-year political transition and therefore ill-prepared for the problems it faces. There are already visible splits among Party elites, and the leadership's sluggish response in recent months -- in marked contrast to its lightning-fast reaction in 2008 to economic troubles abroad -- indicates that the decision-making process in Beijing is deteriorating. So check the box on divided government.

And as for the existence of an opposition, the Soviet Union fell without much of one. In our substantially more volatile age, the Chinese government could dissolve like the autocracies in Tunisia and Egypt. As evident in this month's "open revolt" in the village of Wukan in Guangdong province, people can organize themselves quickly -- as they have so many times since the end of the 1980s. In any event, a well-oiled machine is no longer needed to bring down a regime in this age of leaderless revolution.

Not long ago, everything was going well for the mandarins in Beijing. Now, nothing is. So, yes, my prediction was wrong. Instead of 2011, the mighty Communist Party of China will fall in 2012. Bet on it

The Wahhabi Invasion

Saudi charities pump in huge funds through hawala channels to radicalise the Valley

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/special-report/1/165660.html



The alleged ill-treatment of S.Balachandran, an Indian diplomat posted in the Consulate in Shanghai, and two Indian employees of an Yemeni firm by local Chinese authorities in the city of Yiwu , about 300 kms from Shanghai, has led to a strong protest by the Government of India to the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on January 2,2012.

2.The incident started with the illegal detention and ill-treatment of the two Indian employees of the Yemeni firm by local Chinese traders and authorities who allegedly held them accountable for the failure of the Yemeni firm to pay its dues to local Chinese traders. It has been further alleged that the China-based Yemeni head of the company disappeared making the Indian employees face the wrath of the Chinese traders and authorities.

3.WhenBalachandran went to the city to provide consular assistance to the two Indians and get them released, he himself became the victim of ill-treatment by the authorities and the court which was dealing with the case against the Indians.It has been reported that Balachandran, who is a severe diabetic, was denied access to food for nearly six hours during which period he had to remain in court. He reportedly collapsed as a result.

4.There is so far no reason to believe that any official of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was involved in the incident. The ill-treatment allegedly meted out to Balachandran and the two Indian employees of the Yemeni firm was apparently by the local authorities who seem to have been acting at the behest of the Chinese to whom the Yemeni company owed money.

5. The incident illustrates the dangers of foreigners doing business in some small towns of China where the local authorities often collude with the local Chinese businessmen in harassing foreign businessmen and traders.

6. At the same time, this incident has come in the wake of the detention of a number of Indian diamond merchants by the Chinese authorities for months following allegations of illegal trading practices by them. Collusion of local Chinese authorities with Chinese businessmen and traders having unresolved disputes with foreigners is often seen and the Chinese authorities in their Ministry of Foreign Affairs have generally not been known for their vigorous intervention in such matters. They tend to treat casually complaints of misbehaviour and ill-treatment against their local authorities and businessmen.

7. The Government of India should insist on strong action against those responsible in the instant case while discouraging our media from blowing the incident out of proportion. At a time when there is still considerable prejudice against the Chinese in sections of the Indian civil society, such incidents would create a bad taste in our mouth and tend to strengthen the anti-Chinese prejudices. (3-1-12)

( 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 )

January 01, 2012

The Mystery Called Surkov

While the Consequences of Surkov’s Dismissal Remain to Be Seen, All Signs Point to Putin Consolidating Power

By Dan Peleschuk
Russia Profile


In what some are calling a concession to the scores of anti-establishment protesters who have flooded the streets in recent weeks, the Kremlin bumped chief ideologue Vladislav Surkov from his post as deputy head of the presidential staff. Yet the consequences of his departure – he’ll reportedly refrain from participating in domestic politics – remain unclear. Experts said the move is the latest in a political reshuffle intended to consolidate power ahead of the March presidential elections.

Removing Surkov, long painted as the Kremlin’s shadowy “gray cardinal,” from the inner workings of domestic politics means removing the very mastermind of the system that has buoyed Vladimir Putin and United Russia throughout Putin’s tenure. Credited with crafting his unique form of “sovereign democracy,” Surkov has provided the logistics and ideological support for what Putin and other officials have touted as the successful stabilization of a country thrown off course by the chaotic 1990s, but what critics allege has been the often brutal consolidation of power and rollback of democratic freedoms.

Surkov’s commentary on the matter was just as mysterious as the man himself. In a brief interview with Interfax, he commented: “I am too odious for this brave new world.” Then, amidst laughter, he noted that, “Stabilization is devouring its children…No one can stay in one place [for too long].”

His legacy, to be sure, is mixed. With Surkov’s guidance, the Putin regime molded post-Soviet Russia into a bastion of “stability” which saw, finally, the emergence of a relatively prosperous middle class. But as discontent has risen in recent months, Surkov has been increasingly identified with the perceived manipulation, cynicism and arrogance of the authorities. In the past few months alone, he has been labeled as the Kremlin’s “puppet master,” and his name has become synonymous with heavily censored state television news broadcasts.

And now, Surkov is losing, at least on paper, the position he has held since 1999, when Putin first came to power. His new post as deputy prime minister for economic modernization and innovation, moreover, is a curious choice. In this position – again, at least on paper – he will play no role in domestic politics. Yet for a man who seems so thoroughly devoted to managing the Russian political system, simply painting him out of the picture seems unrealistic.

Billionaire presidential hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov, who publicly trashed Surkov in September before being removed by the Kremlin from his leadership of the Right Cause Party, believes Surkov’s dismissal was just another in the latest series of meaningless reshuffles in the Kremlin hierarchy. “They are just moving people from one place to another,” he told The New York Times on December 27. “If they’re serious, I wonder why instead of sacking a series of ineffective officials, they are making these strange rearrangements and appointments.”

But the move is indeed one of several official movements in the upper echelons of the Kremlin during the past week or so that have seen Putin allies fan out to positions of power. Putin loyalist and longtime Parliamentary Speaker Boris Gryzlov stepped down recently and was replaced by former Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Naryshkin. Naryshkin, in turn, was replaced with another staunch Putin ally, former Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov. Some interpreted the Kremlin’s reshuffle as a response to the growing tide of street protests over the allegedly falsified December 4 Duma elections, though its effect is unlikely to be significant.

Experts believe that, despite the “myth” of his deep influence, Surkov is indeed on his way out. Stanislav Belkovsky, a former Kremlin insider and independent political expert, said the ideologue lost out in a power struggle with his successor, Vyacheslav Volodin, formerly the head of Putin’s governmental staff, for the prime minister’s patronage. “Volodin has managed to distance Vladislav Surkov from Vladimir Putin’s body…Vladimir Putin now trusts Volodin more than Surkov, so he appointed him top political manager of Russia for the coming period,” he said.

Moreover, Belkovsky noted, Surkov was used to a position of power that he used, in part, to craft the enduring myth surrounding him and his influence within the Kremlin. “Now, he has got just a branch where everything is unclear,” he said. “There is no concept of modernization yet, there is no modernization budget – nobody understands what it is – and so this new position is much lower, much less influential than the previous one.”

Others claim Surkov’s reassignment completes a process of political reconsolidation designed to shore up power during a time of greater political turmoil. “It is necessary now that all political affairs and processes run straight through Putin,” Alexei Makarkin, the president of the Center for Political Technologies, told Gazeta.ru. “Ivanov and Volodin,” two proven and longtime Putin loyalists, “will now manage the administration.”

Obama signs bill freezing Pak aid


    (a) In General- Section 1224(h) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111-84; 123 Stat. 2521), as amended by section 1220 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (Public Law 111-383; 124 Stat. 4395), is further amended by striking `September 30, 2011' both places it appears and inserting `September 30, 2012'.

    (b) Limitation on Funds Subject to Report and Updates-


        (A) IN GENERAL- Of the amounts appropriated or transferred to the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (hereafter in this subsection referred to as the `Fund') for fiscal year 2012, not more than 40 percent of such amounts may be obligated or expended until such time as the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report on--

          (i) a strategy to utilize the Fund and the metrics used to determine progress with respect to the Fund; and

          (ii) a strategy to enhance Pakistani efforts to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

        (B) MATTER TO BE INCLUDED- Such report shall include, at a minimum, the following:

          (i) A discussion of United States strategic objectives in Pakistan.

          (ii) A listing of the terrorist or extremist organizations in Pakistan opposing United States goals in the region and against which the United States encourages Pakistan to take action.

          (iii) A discussion of the gaps in capabilities of Pakistani security units that hamper the ability of the Government of Pakistan to take action against the organizations listed in clause (ii).

          (iv) A discussion of how assistance provided utilizing the Fund will address the gaps in capabilities listed in clause (iii).

          (v) A discussion of other efforts undertaken by other United States Government departments and agencies to address the gaps in capabilities listed in clause (iii) or complementary activities of the Department of Defense and how those efforts are coordinated with the activities undertaken to utilize the Fund.

          (vi) A discussion of whether the Government of Pakistan is demonstrating a continuing commitment to and is making significant efforts toward the implementation of a strategy to counter IEDs, including efforts to attack IED networks, monitor known precursors used in IEDs, and develop a strict protocol for the manufacture of explosive materials, including calcium ammonium nitrate, and accessories and their supply to legitimate end users.

          (vii) Metrics that will be used to track progress in achieving the United States strategic objectives in Pakistan, to track progress of the Government of Pakistan in combating the organizations listed in clause (ii), to address the gaps in capabilities listed in clause (iii), and to track the progress of the Government of Pakistan in implementing the strategy to counter IEDs described in clause (vi).

      (2) ANNUAL UPDATE REQUIRED- For any fiscal year in which amounts in the Fund are requested to be made available to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Defense, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees, at the same time that the President's budget is submitted pursuant to section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, an update of the report required under paragraph (1).