February 18, 2012

Indian cos invested $26 bn in US

 
 
 
Indian companies have invested more than USD 26 billion in the US in the last five years and the IT companies employ more than one lakh people in that country, New Delhi's top diplomat in Washington has said.
"Indian companies are now contributing strongly to local State economies in the US with a presence in 43 states and having invested over USD 26 billion in the last five years in several key areas of the economy, in manufacturing as also in services," the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said yesterday.
 
India's IT industry has in particular been a strong player in establishing value based mutually beneficial partnerships, Rao said in her address to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, India-South Asia Programme.
 
"As per our estimates, Indian IT companies employ over 100,000 people in the US and the Indian IT industry supports over 280,000 jobs indirectly out of which about 200,000 are with US residents," she said.
 
Rao said the steady growth of the Indian economy has not only helped improve the living standards of own people, but has also opened up new opportunities to expand mutually beneficial economic and commercial ties with the US."Two-way trade in goods and services continues to grow steadily reaching over USD 100 billion last year. The US businesses are becoming strong partners in India's economic growth story; and Indian businesses are creating value, wealth and jobs in the United States,'' she said.
 
In order to continue on the high growth trajectory, India will need to invest more than USD 1 trillion in the coming years in building a world class infrastructure that could cater to the demands of a billion plus population and ensure the availability of clean sources of energy, including nuclear energy, to fuel such growth.
 
Noting that the Civil Nuclear Initiative that has become a symbol of India-US transformed relationship and was welcomed by both sides; she said there are immense opportunities for US companies in this sector and Indian and US companies are already engaged in a discussion to take cooperation forward in this crucial sector.On its part, the Indian government is committed to providing a level playing field for all its international partners, she reiterated

CREATION OF A KGB IN INDIA: ONLY JAYALALITA HAS GOT HER FEARS RIGHT

By B.Raman

Of all the Chief Ministers, who have protested against the proposed creation of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in the Intelligence Bureau of the Government of India with effect from March 1,2012 without consulting the State Governments, only J.Jayalalita, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, has got it right.

2. She has made it clear that her objection is not to the creation of the NCTC to strengthen our counter-terrorism capability. Nor is her objection based on fears of dilution of the principle of federalism.

3. Her objections are to two features of the proposed NCTC mechanism---

the powers of arrests and searches sought to be given to the NCTC, which will be a division of the IB, a clandestine intelligence organisation,

and the provision for the setting-up of inter-State intelligence teams by the NCTC.

4. She has reportedly described these provisions as highly objectionable and said that the powers of arrest and searches given to the IB through the mechanism of the NCTC under Section 2 ( e ) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967 “can be misused to suit ends that are motivated by reasons other than fighting terrorism. Moreover, setting up of inter-state intelligence teams by the NCTC is tantamount to usurping the legitimate rights of the States.”

5. I would not agree with her fears regarding the proposed inter-State intelligence teams. Such teams may be necessary to deal with pan-Indian terrorist groups such as the Indian Mujahideen which have their sleeper cells right across India in many States.

6. But, I do share her fears about the possible misuse of the powers of arrest and searches by the NCTC Division of the IB against political opponents by branding them as associated with terrorism. During the emergency of 1975-77, Indira Gandhi had many of her political opponents arrested by having them branded as threats to national security.

7. A Government with authoritarian reflexes in future may be tempted to misuse the powers of arrest given to the IB through the NCTC for having political opponents arrested by having them branded as associated with terrorism.

8. The IB is a secret intelligence organisation. It has no accountability to Parliament in respect of its work. We do not have a system of parliamentary intelligence oversight committees. We depend on the executive without any checks and balances to ensure that the IB functions according to the law of the land.9.The British, during their colonial rule, did not consider it necessary or wise to give the powers of arrest and searches to the IB for any purpose. They observed the sacred principle that a clandestine intelligence collection agency should not have the powers of arrest. None of the Governments that had held office in New Delhi since our independence had considered it necessary or wise to give such powers to the IB.

10. The practice of giving powers of arrest to the intelligence agencies was started by Lenin and Stalin when they set up the KGB, the all-powerful Soviet intelligence agency, in order to enable it to deal with so-called counter-revolutionaries. Many other authoritarian countries have since given these powers to their intelligence agencies.

11. The IB has till now not had these powers. In spite of that, during the Emergency there were serious allegations of the misuse of the IB and the CBI by the Indira Gandhi Government to harass the opponents of the emergency. Instances of such misuse were documented by the Shah Commission and the L.P.Singh Committee set up by the Morarji Desai Government to enquire into them.

12. If there could be such gross misdeeds when the IB did not have any powers of arrest, imagine how much more could there be when a clandestine organisation, not accountable to Parliament, is given such powers on the ground that those powers would be required to deal with terrorism.

13. Congress spokesmen defending the NCTC mechanism have sought to ridicule those criticising the objectionable provisions of the NCTC as opposed to strengthening our counter-terrorism capability. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The opposition is not to the NCTC as such, but to some objectionable features of it.14. Instead of standing on false prestige, the Government of India should have a re-look at some of the worrisome features of the NCTC mechanism in consultation with other political parties and State Governments. It is not just a question of respecting the principles of federalism. It is a question of adhering to the principles of a genuine democracy.

( 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’S FOREIGN POLICY CONUNDRUM ON ISRAEL AND IRAN

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations

India’s foreign policy establishment so far has revelled in the luxury of not having to make hard foreign policy decisions. In early 2012 what is increasingly coming to the fore is that this sort of luxury may not be all that forthcoming henceforth.

This phenomenon that dominates the Indian foreign policy establishment has plagued Indian policy formulations more notably on our main military adversaries, namely China and Pakistan now has become an all pervasive reality.

Instantly at issue is as to how the Indian foreign policy establishment faces the challenging conundrum of managing its relations with Israel and Iran. In the last two days this predicament has contextually hit India in two ways.

The first development was the attack on an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi. The second development today has been the unveiling in full global glare of Iran’s advanced centrifuges at the Natanz facility which may be a precursor to acquisition of or being on the threshold of production of Iranian nuclear weapons.

Both these developments have resulted in calls by the United States and Israel to isolate Iran and pre-empt it acquiring nuclear weapons.

Both these developments are testy for Indian foreign policy formulations because what is at issue is not strictly confined to India’s policy formulations on Israel and Iran but also encompasses the wider issue of the US-India Strategic Partnership which is still resting on shifting sands.

The central feature of India’s foreign policy planning in the last seven years is seen to be the outsourcing of India’s foreign policy formulations to Washington and permitting Indian foreign policy perspectives to be coloured and determined largely by US strategic sensitivities on strategic issues.

This picture has now to change and the first challenge has emerged today posed by contextual developments centring on Israel and Iran.

India’s Foreign Policy Postures on Israel and Iran; A Brief Reality Check

Israel and Iran were late entrants into India’s foreign policy planning and national security calculus arising from a complex mix of Cold War external straitjacketing and India’s own fixations on the unrealistic Non-Alignment.

Despite late entrants, both Israel and Iran acquired a significant salience in India’s policy calculations. India’s relations with Israel blossomed more prominently in the defence collaboration field and Israel has stood by in assisting India in high technology defence acquisitions.

India’s improvements in relations with the United States, Japan and other US Allies were co-terminus with India’s improved ties with Israel. India therefore has substantial stakes in its relationship with Israel.

The Iran-India relationship took concrete shape both in the strategic context and more importantly in terms of India’s energy security. In the strategic context, India’s relationship with Iran cantered on establishing meaningful relations with the Gulf Region’s naturally predominant power. More substantially, Iran in the strategic context has a specific significance in relation to India’s security interests in Afghanistan where Iran provides logistics access to India as Pakistan does not provide the same.

The crucial question is whether India is in a position to jettison either of its relationship with Israel or Iran? The answer is ‘NO’ for a number of reasons which are not political, ideological or religious affinity, but sheer India’s national security interests.

What does India do, firstly strictly confining it to Israel and Iran?

India Need Not Make Choices on Israel and Iran but Force Israel and Iran to Make Choices on India

Indian TV channels this evening are alive with prognostications by eminent former Indian diplomats, strategic analysts and academics that India can no longer sit on the fence when it comes to relations with Israel and Iran and that India should make its strategic choices either or.

The above line of foreign policy analysis is largely reactive and is oblivious to India’s rise in the global power structure. I do not see any official responses from Washington or Israel calling on India to make its strategic preferences clear. Then why the call being made in Indian TV debates that India must make a strategic choice?

I would strongly recommend that the Indian foreign policy establishment should diplomatically and forcefully also, let both Israel and Iran know that India would not be making any choices as it values its relationships with Israel and Iran with different texts. India should impress on Israel and Iran that it is they and they alone who have to decide and cast their choices on their relations with India.

While doing the above, India should also firmly advise both Israel and Iran that India will not allow these two countries to fight their asymmetric attacks by proxy on Indian soil.

India Cannot ‘Join the Posse’ Against Iran to Preserve the US-India Strategic Partnership

In my opinion, the question bigger than India’s choices on Israel and Iran is India’s choices in preserving the US-India Strategic Partnership. Should India ‘Join the Posse’ against Iran alongside the United States and Israel to preserve the US-India Strategic Partnership?

A strong US-India Strategic Partnership cannot be reduced to submitting unreservedly to all US strategic interests without censoring them through the prism of India’s own national security interests.

Nor should India submit to the strategic fig-leaves of ‘going against international opinion’ which in actuality mean ‘Join the Posse’ to be led by the United States.

Here again the onus of preserving the US-India Strategic Partnership lies squarely with the United States and not India.

It is the United States which should decide whether it wishes to co-opt a ‘strategically autonomous’ India as a strategic partner. The United States should realistically not expect India to submit itself to being a US strategic satellite of the United States when despite many political infirmities India is well on the way towards emerging as a substantial global player.

Concluding Observations

India’s foreign policy formulation processes can no longer be determined by soft options or soft power. Power by its very connotation cannot be ‘soft’. Similarly, if India has to ascend the global power trajectory it cannot do so by evading hard decisions in its foreign policy and national security formulations.

India’s foreign policy can no longer be reactive but what I wrote years back in my Book “India’s Defence Policies and Strategic Thought: A Comparative Analysis” that India must in terms of foreign policies and national security interests, India must come out with ‘Declaratory Policies’ and enunciation of ‘Red Lines’ that others must not cross when they concern India’s strategic sensitivities

It seems that India cornered by the Israel and Iran developments would now finally come out of its shell and do the needful as stated above.

US retailer Target Corp's Bangalore centre to help in maiden overseas foray in Canada

From Bangalore, a 2,500-strong team will draw up a blueprint to help Target Corp, the US' thirdlargest retailer, in Canada.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/US-retailer-Target-Corps-Bangalore-centre-to-help-in-maiden-overseas-foray-in-Canada/articleshow/11935801.cms

Shruti Sabharwal & Lison Joseph, ET Bureau | Feb 18, 2012, 10.34AM IST
BANGALORE: Target Corp, the US' third largest retailer, is aiming to set up shop in Canada next year. For its maiden overseas foray, the Minneapolis-based company has set its sights thousands of miles away on its technology centre in Bangalore.

From the Indian city, a 2,500-strong team, including architects, will draw up a blueprint to help Target in Canada. They will create the design for the stores and the layout of shelves, decide what the shelves should be stocked with and assist in setting a supply chain for over 100 stores that will be opened.

With $68 billion in sales, Target spends nearly $1 billion on technology. "Our India team and their contribution will be critical for the Canada launch," said Ken Kaiser, vice-president for corporate systems development, who was instrumental in setting up the retailer's India centre.

The India team will provide business intelligence by analysing the vast data with the company and lend marketing support. On the supply-chain front, it will play a role in how Target's merchandising team interacts with vendors and books orders.

This is the first time in its history of over a century that Target will move out of the US. The company does not have much room for error as it will be competing with the world's largest retailer, Walmart, which has been operating in Canada for close to two decades.

How Target builds its Canada business has crucial long-term implications as the firm wants to replicate its Canada learnings in its US business where it has over 1,800 stores.

The Canada launch will also be a proof of concept for Target and help it set the foundation for entering other countries.

Kaiser said Target's recent revamp and launch of its e-commerce enabled website was done almost entirely out of Bangalore. Target generates about a $1 billion in revenue through online sales.

Revamping of its internet portal for greater focus on online sales was a big bet on the Bangalore team, according to Kaiser. Till recently, Target used to sell its merchandise through Amazon.

"People said 'It is so mission critical, can we do this in India?' and we said, absolutely," Kaiser observed. Target is now trying to replicate the success by revamping the software systems used in its retail pharmacy division-the latest mandate for the Bangalore team.

Team strength grows ten-fold

Like several other US corporations, Target set up its Bangalore centre seven years ago, drawn by the technical talent in the city. But what was meant to be a 250-400 member team focused entirely on technology, has now grown tenfold and drives some of the key businesses and technology initiatives.

The company is now looking to grow this in-house team as it prepares for the Canada market and enhance its business with its outsourcing partners, including Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro. Of its total IT budget, over 50% is spent on these outsourcing contracts.

"Our growth in Bangalore will be much faster than our overall company performance. It will exceed what we are doing internally back in the US," Kaiser said.


Experts say global retailers have been keen to leverage India's strength successfully because of the top managements' commitment and understanding of the talent pool.

"The top management of these companies bought into the India story and they have been very focused on turning them into successes," said Sundararaman Viswanathan of Zinnov, a Bangalore-based technology market researcher and advisory.

"Also these companies have been able to break down their requirements to match the available talent. In Bangalore, for instance, there is very high availability of computer-aided design talent, so they can work on stores here."

Target's India story mirrors the success of its European counterpart Tesco, which has also set up a large back office in India that it has been able to scale beyond providing just IT support.

Experts say global retailers have been keen to leverage India's strength successfully because of the top managements' commitment and understanding of the talent pool.

"The top management of these companies bought into the India story and they have been very focused on turning them into successes," said Sundararaman Viswanathan of Zinnov, a Bangalore-based technology market researcher and advisory.

"Also these companies have been able to break down their requirements to match the available talent. In Bangalore, for instance, there is very high availability of computer-aided design talent, so they can work on stores here."

Target's India story mirrors the success of its European counterpart Tesco, which has also set up a large back office in India that it has been able to scale beyond providing just IT support.

First Sanskrit School in Australia Will Teach Vedic Chanting, Vedic Mathematics and Science in Vedas



Source: News Bharati Date: 2/18/2012 9:05:19 AM



Flemington (Aus), February 18: Chanting of the Sanskrit poems, verses, and slokas mingled in the air of Australia when little nightingales of BSK Flemington sung it in a very Indian way. The occasion was to inaugurate a new Sanskit school at Homebush Boy’s High School premises on 5 February 2012. Australia’s Vishwa Hindu Parishad took efforts to start first Sanskrit school in the Australia (first school outside India) which will teach Vedic chanting and Vedic mathematics and science in Vedas to the children.

There were two power point presentations by BSK students, Sanskrit – Hidden Treasure, BSK aims and objects & Sanskrit in Britain. While the former glorified Sanskrit, the later explained love and appreciation for Sanskrit by people of different culture.

Sumana Hebbar Coordinator and Teacher, BSK Flemington welcomed the dignitaries, parents and children, highlighting the importance of the ceremony. This was followed by lighting of the lamp by honourable guest Raju Varanasi and chanting of the Sanskrit poems and verses.

In his address, Deputy Principal, Homebush Boy’s High School William Hilliard mentioned the audience that Homebush Boy’s School was a multicultural centre occupied by different communities organising one or the other activities. He also said the power point presentations were informative and he could gain some insight about Sanskrit. It is by his grace a venue to teach Sanskrit regularly is available.

Alex Di Prinzio, Education Officer, NSW Federation of Community Language Schools appreciated VHP Australia saying that it is unlike the other organisations is well organised, working hard through its activities not only to keep the roots intact but also for the peace and harmony of the country. He also said it is really a pleasure to work for such communities.

In his inaugural speech, Raju Varanasi, Director of NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre, mentioned that he is honoured and humbled to be a part of the ceremony, spoke about his attachment with the Vedic culture, urged people especially children to follow the rich culture, making use of all the facilities that the country is giving, and keep the roots intact. He also said it was heartwarming experience to light the auspious lamp. He further added that he is extremely happy and appreciate the efforts made by VHP Australia for starting BSK / SVP, first Sanskrit school in the country (first school outside India) which teaches vedic chanting and vedic mathematics to the children.

Akila Ramarathinam Secretary, VHP Australia explained in detail VHP activities throughout Australia emphasizing on the aims and goals of VHP Australia in maintaining social cohesion, harmony, inclusiveness. She went on to say how Bala Samskara Kendra, Sydney Veda Patasala, Hindu Scripture classes are gaining momentum drawing people from different backgrounds and culture.

NSW Curriculum & Learning Innovation Centre leader Nina Conomos expressed her willingness to work wth VHP for the cause of sanskit and it is good to see the oldest language Sanskrit still in use when all its counterparts have vanished completely. Community Leader, Nepal Bhutan Community Narayan Dhimol in his address mentioned close cultural association of Nepal, Bhutan and Hindu communities. He said it was his priority to attend the inauguration ceremony amidst of other activities because of his roots with the Hindu culture.

BSK Flemington Sanskrit School inauguration ceremony was celebrated at Homebush Boy’s High School premises on 5 February 2012. Dignitaries attended this including Raju Varanasi Director, NSW Curriculum & Learning Innovation Centre; William Hilliard Deputy Principal, Homebush Boy’s High School; Alex Di Prinzio Education Officer, NSW Federation of Community Language Schools; Nina Conomos Leader, NSW Curriculum & Learning Innovation Centre; Narayan Dhimol, Community Leader, Nepal / Bhutan Community, Parramatta Migrant Resource Centre. The guests were greeted by applying holy vermilion to their forehead.

VHP of Australia President Brij Pal Singh has inaugurated another Sanskrit school on 5 February 2012 at Waitara Public School, Hornsby. BSK is currently operating in more than 6 suburbs in Sydney – Hornsby, Baulkham hills, Moorebank, Carlingford, Homebush, and Toongabbie. Interstate in Melbourne and in Brisbane as well, in one suburb each, starting last year.

Indian IT companies employ over 1 lakh in US: Nirupama Rao

PTI | Feb 18, 2012, 12.39PM IST



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Indian-IT-companies-employ-over-1-lakh-in-US-Nirupama-Rao/articleshow/11936963.cms

WASHINGTON: Indian companies have invested more than $26 billion in the US in the last five years and the IT companies employ more than one lakh people in that country, New Delhi's top diplomat in Washington has said.

"Indian companies are now contributing strongly to local State economies in the US with a presence in 43 states and having invested over $26 billion in the last five years in several key areas of the economy, in manufacturing as also in services," the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said yesterday.

India's IT industry has in particular been a strong player in establishing value based mutually beneficial partnerships, Rao said in her address to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, India-South Asia Programme.

"As per our estimates, Indian IT companies employ over 100,000 people in the US and the Indian IT industry supports over 280,000 jobs indirectly out of which about 200,000 are with US residents," she said.

Rao said the steady growth of the Indian economy has not only helped improve the living standards of own people, but has also opened up new opportunities to expand mutually beneficial economic and commercial ties with the US.

"Two-way trade in goods and services continues to grow steadily reaching over $100 billion last year. The US businesses are becoming strong partners in India's economic growth story; and Indian businesses are creating value, wealth and jobs in the United States," she said.

In order to continue on the high growth trajectory, India will need to invest more than $1 trillion in the coming years in building a world class infrastructure that could cater to the demands of a billion plus population and ensure the availability of clean sources of energy, including nuclear energy, to fuel such growth.

Noting that the Civil Nuclear Initiative that has become a symbol of India-US transformed relationship and was welcomed by both sides; she said there are immense opportunities for US companies in this sector and Indian and US companies are already engaged in a discussion to take cooperation forward in this crucial sector.

On its part, the Government of India is committed to providing a level playing field for all its international partners, she reiterated.

“Supranational” Investing

By Addison Wiggin


02/17/12 Baltimore, Maryland – Some of the very best Argentine steak houses are in Amsterdam, some of America’s very best rodeo cowboys are Brazilian and some of the world’s very best beach volleyball courts are high in the Swiss Alps. The “cosmopolitanization” of the world is under way — creating vast, new and diverse patterns of commerce… which also means vast, new and diverse investment opportunities.

Because cultural influences continuously tend to travel and disperse like pollen on the breeze, the resulting cross-pollination produces a dizzying array of cultural hybrids. In one sense, therefore, the world is becoming smaller. But as it “shrinks,” it is also expanding culturally. When cultural influences combine with one another, they sometimes produce sociological phenomena and expressions that defy strict national categorization.

To illustrate the point, let’s return to those Argentine steaks, American cowboys and beach volleyball courts…

According to a colleague who sometimes knows what he’s talking about, “There’s an Argentine restaurant in Amsterdam named CAU that serves a filet mignon that is as good as any filet I have ever eaten in Argentina or Uruguay…maybe better. CAU stands for ‘Carne Argentina Unica’…and that’s exactly what CAU serves. Argentina itself still holds the title for best-ever rib-eye, but the filet at CAU was incredible!”

A similar Southern Hemisphere/Northern Hemisphere curiosity is unfolding in the American rodeo world.

“Five of the top six riders on the Colorado-based Professional Bull Riders Tour all hail from Brazil,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “[And] there are five more Brazilians among the [rest of the] top 40 riders… The South American country has been producing strong contenders since the tour began nearly two decades ago, but never before this season have its cowboys been so dominant, with Brazilians winning 17 of the 27 events so far. Their prowess has other riders frantically reassessing their techniques, scrambling to learn Portuguese and even vacationing in Brazil in hopes that secrets to the Brazilians’ success will somehow seep in.”

“I’m kinda ticked about it,” a 60-year-old computer specialist from Fargo, N.D., tells the WSJ. “There’s nothing more American than a cowboy, and all of a sudden these Brazilians are walking away with everything.”

The Brazilians are also walking away with a lot of the beach volleyball titles…often without even the setting foot on a beach. Last summer, the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour hosted a tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland — 3,440 feet (1,050 meters) above sea level, the highest altitude tournament on the tour. Brazilian duos won both the men’s and women’s 2011 event in Gstaad, but the semifinal contests also featured teams from Germany, Poland, China, Italy and, yes, the US.

As recently as 10 years ago, most beach volleyball tournaments featured mostly American beach volleyball players playing on actual American beaches. No more. Today, the best professional players could hail from almost any country on the planet…and the tournaments, likewise, could take place almost anywhere on the planet…including the Swiss Alps.
http://dailyreckoning.com/supranational-investing/
http://dailyreckoning.com/supranational-investing/

February 17, 2012

Rohrabacher Introduces Bill Recognizing Baluchistan’s Right to Self-Determination

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2012
Contact: Tara Setmayer
202-225-2415


Rep. Rohrabacher Introduces Bill Recognizing Baluchistan's Right to
Self-Determination
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced a
House Concurrent Resolution that the Baluchi nation has a historic
right to self-determination. Baluchistan is currently divided between
Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own.
In Pakistan especially, the Baluchi people are subjected to violence
and extrajudicial killing. The bill states that the Baluchi people
"have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign
country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their
own status."

"The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to
self-determination," says Rohrabacher. "The political and ethnic
discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America
is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad."
Historically Baluchistan was an independently governed entity known as
the Baluch Khanate of Kalat which came to an end after invasions from
both British and Persian armies. An attempt to regain independence in
1947 was crushed by an invasion by Pakistan. Today the Baluchistan
province of Pakistan is rich in natural resources but has been
subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad,
leaving Baluchistan the country's poorest province.


Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) have also signed on
as original co-sponsors of the bill.

Rep. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee
on Oversight and Investigations.

###
ATTACHMENT


112TH CONGRESS
2D SESSION H. CON. RES. ____

Expressing the sense of Congress that the people of Baluchistan, currently
divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right
to self-determination and to their own sovereign country.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. ROHRABACHER submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was
referred to the Committee on _____________________________


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress that the people of Baluchistan,
currently divided between Pakistan, Iran, and
Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination
and to their own sovereign country.
Whereas the people of Baluchistan have maintained a proud
and distinctive national, cultural, and religious identity
dating back to ancient times;
Whereas in 1666, the Baluch Khanate of Kalat was founded
which functioned as an independent, sovereign country;
VerDate 0ct 09 2002 14:15 Feb 16, 2012 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00001
Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6300
C:\OCUME~1\KMAMAR~1\APPLIC~1\SOFTQUAD\XMETAL\5.5\GEN\C\ROHRAB~1.XML

Whereas in the 19th century, the Baluch people were conquered
and divided by the imperialist expansion of Persia
(Iran) and the British Empire;
Whereas on August 15, 1947, the Khan of Kalat declared
independence, only to have Baluch aspirations crushed by
an invasion by Pakistan in April 1948 followed by 2
years of a bloody campaign to stamp out popular resistance;
Whereas revolts in 1958, 1973, and 2005 indicate continued
popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the
plunder of its vast natural wealth while Baluchistan remains
the poorest province in Pakistan;
Whereas a popular insurgency is also under way in Sistan-
Baluchistan and being met by brutal repression by the
dictatorship in Iran which has added religious bigotry to
tyranny; and
Whereas it is the policy of the United States to oppose aggression
and the violation of human rights inherent in
the subjugation of national groups as currently being
shown in Iran and Pakistan against the aspirations of
the Baluch people:

Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate
concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that the people of
Baluchistan, currently divided between Pakistan,
Iran, and Afghanistan, have the right to self-determination and to
their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the
opportunity

to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in
peace and harmony, without external coercion.
VerDate 0ct 09 2002 14:15 Feb 16, 2012 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00003
Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201
C:\DOCUME~1\KMAMAR~1\APPLIC~1\SOFTQUAD\XMETAL\5.5\GEN\C\ROHRAB~1.XML

Tara Olivia Setmayer | Communications Director
Office of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46)
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
( 202.225.2415 (main)
tara.setmayer@mail.house.gov

Letter of appreciation: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
Chairman of the Oversight and Investigation sub Committee of
The House Foreign Affairs committee.
2300 Rayburn House office Building
Washington DC 20515
 
 
14 February 2012
 
 
Subject: Human Right Situation in Balochistan
 
 
Dear Dana Rohrabacher,
 
 
This is in appreciation of the notice taken by the US Congress on the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan. Showing concern on the sufferings of the Baloch by civilized world is a ray of hope for the thousands of the families whose loved one had either been extra-judicially killed or been kidnapped by Pakistani security agencies.
 
As Pakistan is heavily dependent on economic, military, and political support of the United States of America, any gesture of support for the human rights of the Baloch may save some of the Baloch lives. Although, we consider the recent investigative meeting of the committee as a very positive step; however, we would like to highlight the fact that unless practical measures of imposing sanctions on Pakistan are not taken, the miseries of those who are suffering the worst of the brutalities on the hands of Pakistani Army will not lessened in a meaningful way.
 
We strongly request that the US Congress should press upon the government of the United States to take the human right situation in Balochistan as an emergent humanitarian crisis and use its influence on Pakistan in a forceful and meaningful way.
Thanking you in anticipation in the belief that your highly commendable efforts will continue regarding the situation in Balochistan.
 
 
Yours Sincerely,
Samad Baloch
General Secretary
Baloch Human Rights Council (UK)
 

A hearing on Balochistan that stirs up new tensions between U.S. and Pakistan

 
 
 
February 15, 2012
 
 
 
MALIK SIRAJ AKBAR
 
An extraordinary hearing of the U.S. Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs on February 8 exclusively focusing on Pakistan's restive Balochistan province has triggered new diplomatic tensions between Washington D.C. and Islamabad. At least five members of the U.S. Congress belonging to both the Democratic and the Republican parties and a retired colonel of the military directly or indirectly called for supporting the Baloch right to self-determination.
 
During the same hearing, a panel of five witnesses, including representatives of the Human Rights Watch and the Amnesty International, spoke of how the Pakistan government was using American weapons against the secular Baloch rebellion instead of using them against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. They told the hearing that Islamabad had manipulated the "war on terror" to commit widespread human rights violations against its Baloch political opponents.
 
The event, initially expected to be a routine hearing facilitated by Californian Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of the Republican Party, further shocked Islamabad when the chairman of the session and some other Congressmen asserted the need for redrawing Pakistan's borders, stopping its U.S. assistance and holding it accountable for allegedly killing American soldiers in Afghanistan by secretly funding the Taliban.
 
'Ill-advised'
Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington D.C., Sherry Rehman, condemned the hearing, calling it an "ill-advised move" which could be "detrimental to the trust between Pakistan and the United States of America."
 
The presence of Ralph Peters, a retired army officer who had proposed in 2006 in an article the idea of a free Balochistan, as a witness at the Congressional hearing seemed only to further infuriate Pakistan. As expected, Mr. Peters, the author of more than 20 books, said it was an "incontrovertible fact" that Balochistan was an "occupied territory which never acceded to Pakistan and now does not want to be a part of Pakistan."
 
He also contended, "If a plebiscite or referendum is to be held tomorrow, it [Balochistan] would vote to leave Pakistan."
Mr. T. Kumar, Amnesty International's director for international advocacy, asked Washington to apply the Leahy Amendment without waivers to all Pakistani military units in Balochistan. Under the Amendment, the U.S. Congress will be required to stop funding a state whose army is found guilty of committing human rights violations.
 
Congressmen Louie Gohmert, who had also supported the idea of an independent Balochistan in a recent interview, expressed anguish over the misuse of American weapons against the Baloch dissidents. Congressman Ted Poe also spoke of Pakistan in harsh terms, and defended the Baloch right to "separate themselves from an abusive government."
 
Located in the southwest, Balochistan is almost half of Pakistan's territory, but is its most backward province despite vast reservoirs of gas, gold, copper and a port in Gwadar. The Baloch have faced at least five deadly military operations by the Pakistani Army since what they describe as Balochistan's "illegal and forceful occupation" by Pakistan in 1948.
 
Since then, the province and the centre have had very troubled relations on the issue of resource control and autonomy. The Baloch blame Pakistan's dominant Punjab ethnic majority, who outnumber the rest of the communities in the Army, bureaucracy, media and foreign services, for extracting their natural resources for their own benefits without giving the local Baloch the benefits of these mineral resources.
 
In the backdrop of widespread anti-Pakistan sentiments in Balochistan, Islamabad sees the Congressional hearing as an effort to interfere in its internal matters. The government of Pakistan has snubbed repeated calls by international human rights groups to stop abuses in Balochistan, but it is widely acknowledged that a civilian government lacks the ability to contain the methods deployed by the intelligence agencies to deal with a political dispute.
 
The Baloch, backed by reputed human rights groups, claim that Pakistan's intelligence agencies have target killed the backbone of the Baloch intelligentsia in a way that resembles what happened during the 1971 revolt in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
Use of social media
 
The only difference between Balochistan and Bangladesh is the availability now of social media that Baloch activists have used skilfully to reach out to the world about what is happening in the province. In mainstream Pakistani media, reportage on the province is largely absent.
 
Several hundred political activists have disappeared since the conflict began in 2004, around 250 people have been found killed and dumped in deserted parts of Balochistan. These operations are not limited to one specific area but are being carried out across the province with absolute impunity. Many of the bullet-riddled dead bodies of Baloch youth show disturbing marks of torture.
The Baloch leaders and diaspora have widely welcomed the Congressional hearing. Mindful of the impression that the U.S. may be exploiting the Baloch only to settle scores with Pakistan, HairbayarMarri, a pro-independent Balochistan leader, thinks it is still not a bad deal. In a recent media statement he said the interests of the U.S. and Baloch did not clash with each other.
As expected of diplomats, Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesman, said the U.S. administration was not a part of the Congressional hearing which, therefore, did not represent the policies of the Obama administration. Yet, the same spokesperson had last month voiced the "deep concern" of the U.S. over the ongoing violence in Balochistan, especially targeted killings, disappearances and human rights.
 
"This (Balochistan) is a complex issue. We strongly believe that the best way forward is for all the parties to resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue," she had said.
 
Irrespective of the outcome of the Congressional hearing, the event in itself was a landmark achievement for those Baloch nationalists who have been struggling to internationalise their issues. Islamabad must be mindful of the fact that it can no longer commit human rights violations, curb basic freedoms and still remain unnoticed in the age of social media.
 
Buoyed by the hearing, Baloch nationalists hope that the next step, given Balochistan's geostrategic importance and vast natural resources, would be an international community-facilitated regional conference of exiled Baloch political leaders, that would educate the world about the aspirations of the Baloch people. All said and done, at present, Pakistan does not have a formula to fix Balochistan. The two-year-old Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e Balochistan package and the 18th Amendment are often cited by Islamabad as the best measures it could ever take to address the Baloch conflict, but have thus far failed in that mission.
(The writer, based in Washington D.C., is the editor of The Baloch Hal, Balochistan's first online English newspaper: Twitter: MalikSirajAkbar)
 
 
--
********************
Founder-Editor-in-Chief :The Baloch Hal
Author: The Redefined Dimensions of Baloch Nationalist Movement
Cell: +1-202-560-1156
Twitter:@MalikSirajAkbar

February 15, 2012

Situation in and around Syria The Syrian Crisis Looks Unsolvable

 

  For US led West and most of its dependent and submissive allies including many Arab states, the Cold War never ceased from the Western side, after the fall of the Berlin Wall .Just look at the extent of activities of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO troops once arrived in Crimea in Ukraine and were hounded out by an irate populace .Using the pretext of helping the victims of the earth quake, they even entered Pak occupied Kashmir. They are swarming around and all over the Mediterranean. The events /conflicts /near wars unfolding in north Africa and West Asia are but continuation of the Cold War .Western Franchised street revolutions in early 2000s were resisted and stopped by Sanghai Cooperation Council members, when West entered Russia's near abroad, in spite of promises to Gorbachev (Do not trust anyone when strategic interests are concerned) .Regime changes in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine were successful but failed in Belarus and Uzbekistan. They have been reversed in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Georgia was bashed up by Russia and Azerbaijan is uneasy with its close relationship with the West. US led Imperialist powers have now tried to leverage peoples revolts against West supported dictators /puppets in N Africa and Middle East by trying to take over and guide the movements in their favour .They have helped Muslim extremists into positions of influence and power, in Tunisia and Egypt, a policy which the West (UK before WWII and in 50s to 70s) have always followed against national, socialist regimes of Nasser, Mossaddeq, Saddam and others. Or Afghanistan since 1980s and see the deadly effects and ramifications, all around. Saudi Arabia has been the main banker and financier in all such retrograde moves to keep Muslims and Arabs down and backward and let the West takes away their oil and other riches. After regime change roll backs and failures in Eastern Eurasia ,favorable regime changes in N Africa  &ME is  desperate Western attempt to hold on to and regain power in the region in the name of democracy  , with total support from such 'pillars of democracy' as Saudi Arabia and now Qatar ( mostly their petrodollars) . Ankara, now in close alliance with Riyadh and Washington has followed a very debatable policy .It has upset its armed forces by jailing its last Military chief and many other senior military officers earlier laying the foundations for a Colonels coup at some stage .Turkey's population has 15% Alevis (victims of Sunni pogroms from time to time) similar in belief to Syria's ruling minority Shia Alawite elite. Turkey's Kurds, 20 %, are up in arms. Instead of zero friction with its neighbours , a much heralded foreign policy claim , Turkey now has bad relations with almost all its neighbours ,say , Syria ,Israel  ,Greece, Armenia ,and uneasy relationship with Iraq ,Iran and Russia . Turkish political model for Arabs is western propaganda, with Muslim Brothers in Egypt having declared opposition to it .The Ottoman Empire in any form shall not and cannot be resurrected .Yes, the Arab masses cheered Turkish PM Erdogan's lambasting of Israel's policies in Gaza and Palestine among other aspects. So they have Hezbollah leadership in Lebanon after the defeat of Israeli arms in 2006 and Iran president Ahmedinjed's defiance of US led West and Israel. For maintaining US-Russian strategic balance of power, Moscow needs naval bases (in Tartus in Syria) and its military base (after losing out in Libya), so it is not going to let Syria be in hostile hands, whatever it may take .Russia is the rising again and has support from affluent and energy hungry China to face off USA and its allies in Middle East .At the same time US and EU are just about bankrupt. There have been nothing but lies on Syria and earlier Libya in US media , a corporate handmaiden , British Govt propaganda machine BBC ,and unfortunately Al Jazeera ,a Qatar based once independent news outlet, which are now finding echo in Indian media and TV channels  mostly owned by Indian corporate interests ,Western dummies and collaborators. Below is a very informative and perceptive article on the situation in and around Syria by eminent Indian diplomat ,K.Srinivasan , a former head of the Indian Foreign Office , who had served in Arab capitals including Lebanon , next door to Syria.  K. Gajendra Singh 15 Feb, 2012.Delhi  For Whose Benefit?The Syrian Crisis Looks Unsolvable Krishnan Srinivasan http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120214/jsp/opinion/story_15128538.jsp

 Anti-government protests in Syria began in March 2011, spiraled out of control of the authorities and erupted into a challenge, mainly in Sunni-dominated areas, to forty years of leadership by the Assad Alawaite family. The government revoked the emergency, promised political dialogue and constitutional reform with multi-party elections, offered amnesties and released thousands of detainees, but the opposition rejects any compromise. The opposition comprises the exile-led Syrian National Council dominated by Sunnis and Muslim Brothers, the National Coordination Committee within Syria who are wary of Islamists, the UK-based Observatory for Human Rights, and army deserters comprising the Free Syrian Army based in Turkey. Syria has 21 million people and a Sunni majority, but with a 20% Alawite and Christian minority that supports President Bashar al-Assad's secularism. In November 2011, the Arab League, prompted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, suspended Syria, imposed economic sanctions and organized an observer mission that was later withdrawn.  In January, the League called on Assad to cede power to a deputy, hold a dialogue with the opposition and elections under a government of national unity. Meanwhile, the government blames armed gangs and terrorists for the violence that its army attempts to crush, incurring 2000 casualties in the process. Each side blames the other for excesses and atrocities. The United Nations has stopped estimating the casualties after the number reached 5000, and has struggled to get to grips with this crisis, because from the outset the Security Council has been split. The first attempt to move a resolution at the UNSC was last October, after the fall of Libya's Gaddafi, but a draft was vetoed by China and Russia with India, South Africa, Brazil and Lebanon abstaining. The BRICs stood together and Indian journalists reported that never had India been so popular in Syria, a country that has caused India no harm throughout its history. With horrific images and emotional statements from the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council filling television screens, the UNSC's second attempt came this month, giving rise to strong language. USA's Clinton called the vote a 'travesty' and Britain's Hague a 'betrayal', while Russia's Lavrov described the West's reaction as 'indecent' and 'hysterical'. The draft resolution noted the Arab League's efforts but did not endorse Assad stepping down, and denied it was the intention to intervene under the mandatory clauses of the UN Charter. But it did call for dialogue under the League's auspices, demanded access and investigation by League monitors, and cooperation with the UN Office for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, all of which had previously condemned the Assad government. Therefore the resolution was supportive of the opposition and not even-handed. Predictably, there was another double veto from China and Russia, while the other members, including India and South Africa, voted in favour. Brazil had left the Council, and BRIC solidarity had broken. Another Indian abstention would have been lauded by our media as reflecting India's traditional approach, but the affirmative vote was received in surprised silence. Because voting at the UN is rarely based solely on the merits of a situation, the underlying objectives need examination.  The overall context is that both Beijing and Moscow feel under pressure from the USA; China fears increased American military presence in Southeast Asia and Russia a US missile-defence system in Eastern Europe. Though it stalled UN action against allies like Myanmar, North Korea and Sudan, China has never vetoed any resolution on its own, but always in the company of Russia. This is why the West's ire has been directed exclusively at Moscow. Beijing said the draft 'sought regime change that did not reflect the heart-rending state of affairs in that country', and could send a message to Assad's armed opponents that they had international support. It cited the Libyan precedent, where Gaddafi's overthrow had not brought stability to Libyans, but pushed that country towards civil war. Russia derives prestige and foreign influence through maintaining a distinction between internal and international affairs, and rejects any pro-active norm-enforcing UNSC. It remembers the 'constructive interpretation' of resolutions by the West over Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Iraq and Libya that led to interventions of highly doubtful legality. It had abstained on Libya in March 2011, and was determined not to repeat that error. Russia is cautious about the outcomes of the Arab spring and unhappy at the rise of Islamists and Salafists in Tunisia and Egypt. It has its last remaining Mediterranean naval base in Tartus, and is the main supplier to Syria of military material.  It assesses that Assad cannot be toppled from within. Striving for a central position, foreign minister Lavrov said 'we are not a friend; we are not an ally of President Assad. We never said Assad remaining in power is the solution to the crisis…I do not think Russian policy is about asking people to step down. Regime change is not our profession. It is up to the Syrians themselves to decide how to run the country, how to introduce reforms, what kind of reforms, without any outside interference.' This stand has enabled Russia to be the only country working to find a solution on the ground, and one million Syrians are said to have turned out to welcome Lavrov on arrival recently.  Moscow would want whatever new Syria emerges to maintain close ties with Russia, but may find that its attempts to manage developments are as fruitless as those of the West and the Arab League. The West seeks regime change in an unfriendly country. It will not allow Moscow to drive the process because it is determined that Assad must go. It will frustrate any Russian plan to bring the parties to a dialogue. Its objective is to separate Syria from Iran, the latter being the main enemy with Syria as its major ally. Deposing Assad would lead, in this thinking, to the bonus of weakening Hezbollah and Hamas as well. The UNSC resolution having aborted, there will be tremendous increment in clandestine and special forces' operations, especially through Turkey, in support of the insurgents. Turkey is pro-West and its Arab policy a dismal failure when it tried to influence events in the Arab spring. It was left an outsider, like Iran, and wants to recover lost ground. The Gulf sheikhs fear a 'Shia belt' from the Gulf to the Mediterranean, and have repeatedly urged US action against Shias in Iraq, Iran and now Syria. They will countenance strikes even by Israel to achieve this.  Of course, there are double standards galore. The US has used the veto fifty times since 1945 to protect Israel and deny the Palestinians their rights, turning a blind eye to Israeli massacres in the occupied territories. There was no call for UN action in Yemen or Bahrain, where large numbers of people were killed, because Yemen is an ally in the 'war on terror' and Bahrain is home to a major US military base. France's president Sarkozy asserts that 'France will not abandon the Syrian people'; bitter irony from the former mandatory power in Syria. The co-sponsors of the UNSC draft included Morocco, Colombia, Togo, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman, whose record of democracy, inclusive politics and tolerance of criticism cannot bear any scrutiny. As for Israel, it remains silent, content to be out of the limelight for a change. It will not gain from Assad's fall; there will be instability and Islamists might triumph. In general terms, the Arab spring has been to Israel's disadvantage, but any weakening of Iran suits its agenda. In Syria itself, Damascus and Aleppo and the principal units of the army are with Assad. So are Iran and Iraq and Shia Lebanon. Public support is also solid, but hard to quantify. All states, including the permanent members of the UNSC, have used excessive force against their own citizens at times, and given the reports that foreign elements are within Syria acting as 'advisers' to the armed opposition which is financed from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Assad can hardly do otherwise than respond with force. He has made many conciliatory offers; the opposition has made none. But even if Assad survives, it is hard to envisage what kind of future Syria he will preside over. The alternative is equally bleak; the opposition is a mixed bag of terrorists, Muslim Brothers, army deserters, secular activists and Sunnis, but Islamists are most likely to emerge on top as they have in Tunisia and Egypt. It will be a fertile soil for al-Qaeda. The Indian 'explanation of vote', which is a facility given to every UNSC member, was opaque about India's real intentions. Perhaps New Delhi assesses that Assad's fall is imminent and there was need to curry favour with the opposition. Possibly India, knowing the resolution was going to be defeated, considered it had little to lose by a 'yes' vote and much to gain from the USA – our current obsession with permanent membership – and the oil-producing Arab states. Conspiracy theorists might bring in the Sunni vote in the UP elections, though this stretches the imagination. Cicero suggested that one test be applied before any action is undertaken, cui bono? Who benefits?  In the case of the UN tractations on Syria, the answer is obvious – nobody. 12 February 2012 , KolkataKrishnan Srinivasan is a former foreign secretary

INDIA MUST HOLD ITS GROUND ON IRAN

Source: Mail Today

by KANWAL SIBAL


Mounting Iran-West tensions have implications for India's energy security, transit to Afghanistan, the India-US "strategic relationship", India's ties with the Gulf countries as well as its international role as a rising power.

Iran is India's second largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, providing about 12% of its annual requirments worth about $12 billion. India can potentially obtain pipeline gas or LNG from Iran if security and sanctions issues can be overcome. Iran's geographically proximity makes it a logical source of hydrocarbons for energy deficient India which today imports 70% of its needs and will import 90% in the years ahead.

INTERESTS

Competition with China in the Gulf region makes the task of securing our energy requirements even more daunting. China's Security Council membership and financial clout give it more leverage than we have with Iran as well as the US. It can more easily enter into barter arrangements as it exports much more than us to Iran. Looking ahead, India must not lose ground in Iran irretrievably to China.

India is unable to gain access to Afghanistan through Pakistan and Iran, therefore, is a logical alternative. India built the Zaranj-Delaram road segment in Afghanistan to complete a road link between Chabahar port in Iran to Kabul. Iran, unfortunately, has not given sufficient priority to this strategic project. Now, with tightened sanctions, external investments have become more problematic. The Chabahar route has become even more important for India in view of its planned investments in the Hajigak iron ore project in Afghanistan.

India's strategic interest in maintaining productive ties with Iran conflicts with US's strategic interest in toppling its clerical regime. India's political and economic interests in Iran are  transparent, whether in terms of energy security, access to Afganistan, countering a  Taliban take over of Afghanistan backed by Pakistan, leveraging contradictions in Iran-Pakistan relations, maintaining a balanced posture on the Iran-Saudi Arabia and Shia-Sunni divide wracking West Asia etc. India has no hidden Indian agenda of encouraging Iran to defy the West or bolstering its capacity to do so.

India is against Iran going nuclear. While recognizing its right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, India has asked Iran to clarify IAEA queries about its nuclear activities. India is mindful of the consequences of Iran going nuclear for the Gulf region where it has vast energy, trade, manpower and remittance interests, but the US should not expect India to share its apocalyptic view of Iran's nuclear ambitions. India, which has itself long suffered US nuclear sanctions, lives with a much more direct threat to its security from Pakistan's nuclear capability developed with Chinese support and US indulgence. Even now Pakistan's conduct in nurturing and supporting jihadi groups against India and Afghanistan under cover of its nuclear capability escapes sanctions. Instead, engaging Pakistan is advocated, but with Iran the approach is coercive.

US

A strategic partnership has to be two-way. If India is to take cognizance of US strategic concerns, the US should accommodate India's concerns too. If Pakistan is not a black and white case for the US and its policy towards the former has to take into account its larger regional interests, Iran is not a black and white case for India either and its Iranian policy too has to be adapted to its broader regional interests.

The US should therefore take cognizance of India's legitimate equities in Iran that transcend the current US-Iran tensions that are in part Israel-spurred and domestically driven. Building congruence in policies on complex issues such as Iran has to begin at both ends and not with one side expected to align itself with the policy prescriptions of the other. The US should not put serious constraints on India's oil purchases from Iran. The answer to Iran's nuclear defiance does not lie in undermining India's energy security and its broader regional interests.

That India can obtain additional oil supplies from Saudi Arabia to compensate for loss of Iranian supplies is no reason to politically endorse contestable policies. India has very productive relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies which it should preserve, but with its own large Muslim population composed of Sunnis and Shias, it should maintain a balance between its equities in the Arab world and Iran and avoid getting caught in the sectarian politics of West Asia.
 
India is often faulted by foreign and domestic critics for unwillingness to accept global responsibilities that come with an enhanced international status. These jibes are made when India resists siding with the US/West on Iran, Libya, Syria and, until now, on Myanmar. India's rising global role should not require it to give up independence of judgment or always endorse western policies. Assuming responsibilty at the global level should mean supporting or opposing policies in the interest of an equitable functioning of the international system.

It is not Iran earnings from sale of oil to India that will determine its nuclear decisions. Iran's political judgment on the advantages and disadvantages of going nuclear would be the key factor. On the face of it Iran is being pushed to the limit by western policies of economic warfare and miltary intimidation to go nuclear. When will it look for nuclear protection against regime change?

The government has shown political grit in resisting US pressure on Iran. The Finance Minister has expressed India's inability to drastically reduce its oil supplies from Iran. The government has reached an understanding with Iran on making 45% of the oil payments in rupees to be used for goods and project exports from India. This could impart more economic substance to the India-Iran relationship. India is playing its difficult hand as well as it can.

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary(sibalkanwal@gmail.com)

India's dilemma: How to pay for Iranian oil

 

By Vijay Prashad
http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/NB15Df02.html

An explosion on Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi damaged an Israeli embassy car, and injured its occupants.Tal Yehoshua Koren, the wife of the defense attache at the Israeli embassy was seriously wounded. She is in critical care. She was on her way to pick up her children from their school. It is unusual for a diplomatic vehicle to be attacked on the streets of New Delhi. The Delhi police went into action. The international media wanted to know who had done the attack minutes after it was reported.

The police was wary. Let us conduct our investigation, they said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went before his parliament and accused Iran of a terrorist act. "The elements behind these attacks were Iran and its protege, Hezbollah." Iran, he said, is "the largest terror exporter in the world" and Israel "would act with a strong hand." This was all the confirmation that BBC needed. It began to report the attack as an Iranian act against an Israeli diplomat on Indian soil.

Why would Iran conduct an attack on an Israeli diplomat in India, particularly as India is in the midst of trying to negotiate a delicate arrangement with Tehran to pay for Iranian oil? The question mystifies.

Iran is responsible for 12% of India's imported oil (see my India pivots, and pivots again, Asia Times, February 9, 2012). Over the past two years India has struggled to find a mechanism to pay Iran for this oil. Sanctions by the United States and the European Union as well as by the United Nations Security Council against Iran have complicated the market for Iranian oil. Until 2010, India used the facilities offered by the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), founded in 1974 as an outgrowth of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

To help countries economize on their foreign exchange reserves, the ACU allowed them to conduct bilateral barter and make payments using the Asian Monetary Units (currency units indexed to the US dollar and the euro that allowed countries to hold surpluses and deficits outside their formal foreign exchange reserves). In December 2010, under pressure from the US Treasury, the Indian government withdrew from the ACU facility (a Reserve Bank of India circular from December 27 noted that "all eligible current account transactions including trade transactions with Iran should be settled in any permitted currency outside the ACU mechanism").

The Indian government then turned between February to April 2011 to a complex mechanism using the Hamburg-based Europaisch-Iranische Handels Bank (EIH) via the German Central Bank and the State Bank of India. The procedure did not violate UN security council or European Union sanctions. With the end use for payments certificate provided by the State Bank of India, the US Treasury should have ben satisfied - the money was going toward payments for crude and not to facilitate Iran's nuclear program.

Nonetheless, pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the US mounted. "Treasury is concerned about recent reports that the German government authorized the use of EIH as a conduit for India's oil payments to Iran," the US government noted. "Treasury will continue to engage with both German and Indian authorities about this situation and will continue to work with all the allies to isolate EIH." On April 4, 2011, the US Treasury got its way. Germany broke the India-Iran link.

India then conjured up an arrangement with Turkey's Halkbank. Turkey, with deep economic ties with Iran, has abided by the 2010 security council restrictions but has refused the deeper US and European Union sanctions regime. The Turkish government owns a 75% stake in Halkbank, and has allowed it to be the conduit for countries like India to pay for Iranian oil. Mehmet Ozkan, who teaches international relations at the International University of Sarajevo, told me that Turkey is trying to develop an "independent line," following the UN sanctions but keeping itself apart from the harsher US and European Union sanctions.

Over the past year, US Treasury officials have visited Turkey to try and cut Turkey's links to Iran. Obama's December 31 tighter sanctions made it illegal for American firms to do business with those firms that dealt with Iran's Central Bank. Halkbank is relatively immune from the US financial system, and it is the main financial intermediary for the Turkish refiner Tupras. Nonetheless, as E Ahmet Tonak who teaches political economy at Istanbul Bilgi University told me, Halkbank had to accede to the strong US pressure, particularly after a US Treasury team visited Turkey in the past few weeks.

Indian and Iranian officials have been in dialogue over the past two weeks to circumvent the embargo of Iran's financial system. India does not have the flexibility of China, whose economic power gives it genuine independence. China pays for Iranian oil with the yuan, which it is trying to put forward as an international trading currency. India does not have that freedom.

In early February, the Indians and Iranians created a payments mechanism: India would pay 45% of its oil bill with rupees which would be held in the Kolkata-based UCO bank and paid out to two Iranian private banks, Bank Parsian and Karafarin Bank. The rest of the oil bill will be sorted out in time.

India hopes to use these rupees to boost exports from India to Iran. Currently trade between India and Iran is uneven, with only US$ 2.74 billion as Indian exports in a total trade bill of $13.6 billion. To boost the Indian exports, the government plans to send a delegation to Iran in the next few months. "A huge delegation will be going," said Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar. Anup Pujari, Director-General Foreign Trade (DGFT), Union Ministry of Commerce, pledged to a gathering in Mangalore that this delegation was going to strike a deal.

The exporters should continue booking business with their Iranian counterparts. India wishes to export wheat and rice, tea, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel. The US has said that it would not sanction "food, medicine, medical devices. So from our perspective," US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, "this kind of trade would not be sanctioned." Or at least one should say, it will not be sanctioned for now. There was also talk that India could barter wheat for oil, but the country's Food Minister K V Thomas has not yet seen a formal proposal.

The stumbling block this week was over the payment mechanism. By Indian law, if Iran receives payment in rupees inside India it will have to pay a 40% withholding tax. The Indian government is under pressure from the refiners in India to forgive this tax. "Most likely the National Iranian Oil Company would not want to pay this high tax," said B Mukherjee, a director of the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation. "We clearly do not want to pay the tax as it will make our imports costlier. I might as well buy oil from somewhere else if this 40% stake is saddled on me."

In a major speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on February 6,India's Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai noted, "Iran is our near neighbor, our only surface access to Central Asia and Afghanistan, and constitutes a declining but still a significant share of our oil imports. For us, there are also broader and long-term geostrategic concerns that are no different from what we face elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. Our relationship with Iran is neither inconsistent with our non-proliferation objectives, nor is it in contradiction with the relationships that we have with our friends in West Asia or with the United States and Europe."

The US sees these trade relations as deeply troubling. The US is eager to make the Iranian sanctions a test of friendship with its allies. US State Department spokesperson Nuland said last week, "We are working with countries around the world, including India, that maintain strong oil relationships with Iran, encouraging all of them to reduce their dependence on Iranian crude."

The India-Iran deal is near completion. How the attack on the Israeli embassy car in New Delhi will impact on this is anyone's guess. Parochial political agendas once more threaten to interrupt a very important quest, which is to create trust and interdependence across the Asian continent and defuse any tensions that might lead to war. The sanctions regime is a fool's paradise, undermining the fuel paradise that Iran and India have sought to construct.

Vijay Prashad is Professor and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, United States. This spring he will publish two books: Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press) andUncle Swami: South Asians in America Today (New Press). He is the author of Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (New Press), which won the 2009 Muzaffar Ahmed Book Prize.

Strained ties? US pledges $2.4bn aid to Pak in 2013

 

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 05.48AM IST


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Strained-ties-US-pledges-2-4bn-aid-to-Pak-in-2013/articleshow/11893749.cms


WASHINGTON: The Obama administrationproposes to lavish $2.4 billion of US taxpayer money on Pakistan in 2013 despite its dodgy role in terrorism and nuclear proliferation that has set the world on edge.

Unveiling an annual budget of $3.8 trillion that calls for tax hikes on the rich, the administration on Monday recommended to the Congress $2.2 billion in assistance to Pakistan including $1.1 billion already authorized under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill and $800 million for the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Capability Fund. An additional $197 million is proposed to support the US government's civilian presence, as well as programs for engagement with Pakistani civil society.

The ostensibly reason offered by the state department for this massive aid to a country most Americans perceive as an enemy (a sentiment that is reciprocated in Pakistan) is that it will "provide a bulwark against extremism and support joint security and counter-terrorism efforts" . Both propositions have been questioned by analysts who have noted the Pakistani military'sembrace of extremism and terrorism, including its anger at the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Despite this, the Obama administration has actually hiked the proposed military financing to Pakistan while scaling down civilian aid. The state department is requesting only $1.1 billion in civilian assistance for 2013. Elsewhere , the administration has requested $800 million under the Pakistani Counterinsurgency Contingency Fund, a reimbursement program for the Pakistani military jointly run by State and DOD.

US engagement in Afghanistan must go beyond 2014



Author:  Hiranmay Karlekar

http://dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51068-us-engagement-in-afghanistan-must-go-beyond-2014.html


While American troops will finally pull out of Afghanistan by 2014, it will not mean the end of US's involvement in that country. The US must maintain its hard-gained leverage


There has been much speculation about the United States' role in Afghanistan after 2014 when it is scheduled to withdraw most of its troops from that country. Releasing a report on Central Asia and the Transition in Afghanistan by the majority staff of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committe's chairman, Senator John Kerry, said on December 19, 2011, that the US's relationships and engagement in Afghanistan will continue after the military transition in 2014.

The report itself categorically states, "The US role in Afghanistan is changing, but Washington should repeatedly stress that its engagement is not ending. Afghanistan's neighbours fear the 2014 security transition and withdrawal of coalition forces could mean abandonment. The United States must keep working to change the narrative by making it clear that we will protect our long-term interests in the region. The top priority is regional stability, and that is why 2014 will mark the beginning of a new phase of US engagement in the region. The US military will continue to work with the Afghan National Security Forces to prevent the return of terrorist safe havens..."

Of the three recommendations made in the report, which deals with America's ties with Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the first calls for striking a balance between the security and political priorities in the region. It further states that while increasing security cooperation with the countries of Central Asia to support efforts in Afghanistan, the United States must also lay the foundation for a long-term strategy that "sustains these gains and protects US interests in the region." It calls for the United States promoting political and economic reforms and, "given the tight fiscal climate", it calls for the use of "the existing Afghanistan resources on cross-border projects that promote regional stability." Significantly, it also calls for increased assistance to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan "given their fragility and importance for broader regional stability."

The second recommendation is for translating the New Silk Road vision into a working strategy for the broader region beyond Afghanistan. This, the report says, will require identifying needs, available resources, the United States' comparative advantages, and the economic reforms regional Governments must undertake to support increased trade and investment. It states that the NSR's vision of connecting Central to South Asia through Afghanistan will not be a panacea for the latter's economic woes, but has the potential for promoting private sector investment if projects are prioritised and steps taken to create an enabling environment. The United States, it says, can play a vital role by supporting political and economic reforms and leveraging its resources.

The third recommendation calls for linking the Central Asia Counter-Narcotics Initiative with bilateral initiatives that offer traction in the context of constraints on regional cooperation. CACI provides an important vision for reform and information sharing to tackle narcotics trafficking in the region. Mentioning hurdles like corruption and lack of political will, it calls for United States to consider piloting a task force in countries where there is the greatest chance for success and an enhancement of cross-border cooperation between Afghan and Central Asian law-enforcement and military officials and the establishment of joint training facilities.

All this, however, leaves one with the question of the United States' military role in Afghanistan post-2014. A report by Alissa J Rubin in The New York Times of December 20, 2011, mentions members of the Obama Administration and other American officials as saying that 2014 was not a hard deadline for an American military withdrawal. It also quotes the American ambassador in Kabul, Mr Ryan C Crocker, as saying that the United States was open to keeping its forces in Afghanistan if the Afghan Government asked for them. According to General John R Allen, head of the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, more American trainers and mentors will arrive in Afghanistan from 2012, and, even more in 2013. Besides, according to reports, American special operations forces will be present for intelligence-driven operations. US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta's talk of financial crisis compelling a downsizing of the Afghan National Security Forces proposed strength of around 3,50,000, raises the question whether America's plans for post-2014 role will not run aground. A Pandora's Box may open up in the region if it does.

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:58
Read 161 times
Published in Oped

February 13, 2012

An India-China Military Conflict? Part-I

By Bhaskar Roy

There have been projections among some Indian experts and think tanks that a limited Chinese attack along the unresolved Sino-Indian border may be imminent. This view cannot be totally faulted. They are based on China’s aggressive official and semi-official postures and warning to India, especially on the sovereignty of Tawang, an important Buddhist pilgrim town in India’s north-east state of Arunachal Pradesh.

China claims officially the whole of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. The official Chinese media, have started referring to Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet. This is a very important shift in China’s nomenclature of Arunachal Pradesh. This is an effort to now make this Indian state a historical part of Tibet which China militarily occupied in 1950. With India among other countries in the world having acknowledged the original Tibet as a sovereign part of China, extension of Tibet to Arunachal Pradesh may give China an opening into its sovereignty claim on Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing believes it as another instrument to pressure India.

Although historically and according to international law China’s claim on Tibet is legally tenuous and questionable, the political and economic importance of China have won them the battle.

But Beijing’s claim on Tawang is the critical issue. Notwithstanding the facetious evidence being presented by China on Tawang’s ownership, the fact is that this town, located in the tri-junction of Tibet, Bhutan and India is of high strategic value to China. Tawang is located near the Siliguri corridor/chicken-neck which connects the larger India by land to its vast north-eastern region. It is now common knowledge that China continues to support insurgent and separatist groups in north-east India. w If Tawang went to China it could garrison its troops there, ignite a major turbulence in north-east India, and roll down from Tawang to engage or cut off the Siliguri chicken-neck, preventing or slowing down Indian military movement. A success of this strategy would be disastrous for India. One can, therefore, understand China’s strong objection and criticism against India’s enhanced force deployment in north-east India.

What is particularly galling for Indian observers is the fact that China is quietly building its military deployment in Tibet or Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) that does not appear normal. The Chinese military has constructed or upgraded five airfields in close proximity of the border from the western sector to the eastern sector. There are indications that round the year air deployment is taking place or has already taken place. In the height of winter in January this year, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAF) conducted live fire exercises in TAR.

The railway net work in Tibet may be projected by the Chinese as for development purposes, but its military and strategic emphasis are obvious. At least one full train load of transfer of arms and ammunitions from Golmud to Lhasa has already been conducted. The next step is bring one line to Xigaze (Shigatse) near the eastern sector border, and another to the Nepal border and then on to Kathmandu.

The road infrastructure along the border on the Tibetan side is being continually upgraded, and high altitude military exercises have also been conducted. In fact, two-dimensional military preparations in TAR can be said to be in an advanced stage.

In his report (unclassified) to the Senate Intelligence Committee (Jan 31), Director of the US National Intelligence Agency said “despite public statements intended to downplay tensions between India and China, we judge India is increasingly concerned about China’s posture along the border and Beijing’s aggressive posture in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific Region (APR)”. The report went on to say that the Indian army believes a major Sino-Indian conflict is not imminent, but it was making preparations to balance Chinese power projection in the Indian Ocean.

The unclassified NIA report supports the general belief in India to never forget the Chinese deception in 1962, and be prepared. But, for a number of domestic reasons and influences, a real effort to balance the Chinese Force projection started late, only about four years ago,. What the classified version of the report contains is anybody’s guess, but will be certainly more thought provoking than the unclassified version.

Tantalisingly, the unclassified report has this line for all to see “India has expressed support for a strong US military posture in East Asia and US engagement in Asia.” This is a probing observation and would further reinforce Beijing’s suspicion of India joining the US along with Japan to contain China.

China’s military modernization programme is widely discussed by governments and experts all over the world. Area denial to the US and naval power projection in the outer reaches of the Indian Ocean in the east are discussed by the Chinese themselves. What is more secretive in nature are its cyber warfare capabilities, C4ISR and electro-magnetic weapons.

Discussions among Chinese experts on acquiring military bases abroad especially in the Indian Ocean region, and the use of military as an option on territorial issues are issues that call for close watch. China has already said that the return of the US in the Asia Pacific Region has disturbed stability and peace in the area. The fact is, the US re-entry has diminished China’s domination, and helped the countries of the region who have territorial disputes with China over the Spratly Islands in the South China sea to stand up for their rights.

Japan is another country with which China has territorial disputes (Senkaku Islands) and, despite China being Japan’s largest trade partner, political and security confrontations have only sharpened over the last two years. Japan has become proactive, officially declaring (2011) China’s military posture as “aggressive” for the first time. China has also raised several questions about the intentions of the India-Japan defence agreement.

As is well known, the Chinese Communist Party and the government have kept their people starved of information on the happenings in the world. The people have been fed by the state and party controlled media, tailored to project official views and thinking. China’s 500 million netizens’ views on different countries are shaped by official media. A study made by Simon Shen, Associate Professor in the department of social sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education (published, China Quarterly, Sept. 2001) reveals interesting insights into the minds of these netizens. One thing that emerged from Simon Shen’s three-year research was that 90 percent were hostile to India. On territorial issues, the result was “why should China negotiate with India when it is superior and can hold off India?” India is also seen as servile to the west, and also as imperialist. Over all, the views are anti-India and based very closely if not exactly to the Chinese official propaganda.

This deliberately created mind set by the Chinese authorities can be a double edged sword. While it creates support for the party and the government, at times this can also pressure the authorities to do what they may not want to do. The Sino-India border issue is one of the questions discussed by the Chinese netizens who prefer a military strike in “South Tibet”’ Arunachal Pradesh, to teach India a lesson. These views are not of the 1950s or 1960s, they are contemporary and relevant.

The Chinese are past masters of the mind game, developed and sharpened over 4000 years. Therefore, their propaganda frequently mentions the 1962 border war when a rag-tag Indian army was routed in the cold October of that year. They also report India’s military acquisition and development as a threat to the South Asian region. At the same time, the Chinese authorities have completely left out the mention of their attack on Vietnam in 1978. The attack was ordered by paramount leader Deng Xiaoping to not only teach Vietnam a lesson but also cut the Soviet Union’s finger in the far east. The attack was not a suo moto decision. The US was taken into confidence, and the White House is said to have given an indirect support. It was a much bigger game played by China, but too long to be detailed here. The fact is that the PLA went into Vietnam with a force of 450,000, and the air force. Suffice it to say that China had to retreat with a bloody face and in shame.

The PLA has fought three wars. In 1950 in Korea, where they overwhelmed the US forces through sheer numbers irrespective of causalities suffered. In 1962, it was not only the rag-tag Indian army, but confusion in command and control from New Delhi, and misapprehensions of Chinese aircraft bombing Calcutta if India used its air force. The Chinese forces retreated not out of goodwill as they claim, but they were fully aware that they could not hold on to the ground once the Indian army reorganized and the political leaders awoke from their stupor. The third war was with Vietnam in 1979.

Today, the scenario is different. The PLA is not prepared to fight a revolutionary war where giving up one’s life for the communist party was a matter of pride. It has not fought a battle for more than 30 years. Even the PLA’s fight against terrorism against small bands of Uighur separatists in Xinjiang does not show any special expertise.

At the same time there is the PLA’s significant advancement in the areas of armaments, information supported warfare, and tri-services coordination.

India’s military planners have been assessing these developments. A nuclear warfare in a limited confrontation is not in the calculations of military planning. That is a separate aspect.

Despite China’s naval projection in the Indian Ocean and offer from Seychelles to open a naval base (obviously as a repayment to Chinese aid), an India-China confrontation on the high seas is a distant speculation. This, unless China perceives India’s Look East policy is conflicting seriously with China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

An India-China conflict can manly be visualized along the borders. This issue is just not moving forward, and China does not want to under the current bilateral agreements. The issue is that China signed an agreement at the Prime Ministerial level in 2005 that there will be no exchange of settled population areas. Since then, they have reneged on this. The recent (Jan 16-17) Senior Representative (SR) level talks on the border and other issues not only saw little progress but rather froze such meetings for some time to come. Hence, one can safely believe that the boundary talks have gone to the mode of ‘time buying’.

In brief, China sees India along with the US and the west as a spoiler of its Asia ambition. It suspects India supports the Dalai Lama and his allegedly sponsored Tibetan uprisings inside China to disintegrate China. And the boundary issue is an available cause to launch a “teach India” limited military attack where the air force will be used along with the army and electronic warfare. (to be continued)

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Shyamala B.Cowsik



No professional diplomat would ever attach any importance to US claims of furthering democracy, protecting human rights, and now promoting R2P in Libya and (hopefully not) Syria. Can you ever imagine the US or any other Western country applying R2P to the PRC over Tibet, or even in the event of another Tiananmen?

-- Shyamala B.Cowsik , Indian Foreign Service (Retd.)

COMMENTS: US attitudes towards a terror

The Unfinished Crisis: US Crisis Management after the 2008 Mumbai Attacks
This ... sums up accurately the US attitudes towards a terror incident against India.

I doubt Mr Krepon understands how deeply offensive if not racist American attitudes are. But I do hope the Indian observers on this forum fully confront this reality.

In American eyes, a terror attack against India is qualitatively different from one on India. In the former case, the entire focus is on punishing the whole nation from whose soil the terror attack was launched, without any reference whatsoever to any international norm or organization. In the latter case, punishing even those proven to have led the attack is a mere desirable but not a necessity. The whole thrust of American effort is to somehow prevent India from taking action similar to what US would like if the attack was against any western country.

When 9/11 terror attacks were carried out, US diplomats so much as refused to be photographed in a way that they and Taliban officials appear in the same frame. India, however, is expected to "improve bilateral ties" with Pakistan after 26/11.

Given that America historically viewed colored people (parts of it did so legally till mid - 60s) as subhuman beings, and their close allies imposed identical views on India for a century, Indians have every right to view such behavior as another manifestation of America's lingering racism.

The best approach for us would be drastically curtail ties with the west including the US, find new friends and continually enhance our ability to attack and overpower Pakistan, nuclear weapons or not. If we don't do it, we will continue to have little value placed on our lives like the likes of Michael Krepon desires.

Sanjay
Bangalore, India



Dear Sanjay,

I agree completely with your analysis, but the problem is as much with us, the GoI, as it is with the US and the rest of the West. It is the GoI that has permitted a steady slippage in our stand, away from the immediate post-Mumbai insistence on punishment for the perpetrators of 26/11 to now a delinking of the apparently indispensable "dialogue" with Pakistan from Pak-sponsored terrorism directed against India.

And the GoI has a chorus of the Aman ki Aasha and the Wagah candle-lighting brigade to support it. As for our media, especially TV, the less said the better. We place so little value on the lives crushed in 26/11 that barely weeks after the horror, the resumption of cricketing tied with Pakistan was being seriously debated. What to say of that, right DURING 26/11, we had Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN IBN fawning on "instant expert" Shahrukh Khan, who was assuring the viewers that only "non-state actors" in Pakistan were involved.

So where do we do from here?

Shyamala B.Cowsik (Indian Foreign Service, Retd.)




Shyamala,

Thanks for your reply. It is gratifying to see concurrence of views with someone who has been in the thick of things.

I agree that primary responsibility is with GOI for criminal dilution of India's stand (though I still believe this whole matter is going to lead to events until there is resolution), I focused on American behavior because reality facing Indians are fully seized of MM Singh government's cowardly behavior but the American cynicism is not fully appreciated by many.

Looking at American society, many Indians tend to accept American claims of commitment to freedom and human rights.

I believe America is committed to maintaining it's superiority and is willing to use the most cynical means for ensuring there is a premium on American and western lives. In this sense, they are still a racist people though obviously they don't brook overt manifestations of racism in modern times.

There are also claims of America seeing India as a long term "strategic partner". This is nothing but a ruse that leads Indians up the garden path.

These are the aspects I wanted to highlight in my mail hence the focus on American attitudes. I too understand we have elected abject men and women in power and are suffering the consequences.

Sanjay



Dear Sanjay,

Of course I agree with what you have said about US behaviour, both historically and in recent times.

However, as a diplomatic professional, I assumed all along that the US, a practitioner of realpolitik, would follow what it perceived and perceives as the path to advance its national interests, and would pay scant heed to the serious problems that this would cause for other nations. No professional diplomat would ever attach any importance to US claims of furthering democracy, protecting human rights, and now promoting R2P in Libya and (hopefully not) Syria. Can you ever imagine the US or any other Western country applying R2P to the PRC over Tibet, or even in the event of another Tiananmen?

Other countries have to operate on the principle that this is how other countries, and especially Super Powers behave, irrespective of what they might claim for public consumption, and arrange their own policies as best as they can. In the case of the GoI, especially vis a vis Pakistan, we are NOT doing this. We are drifting along the line of least resistance, and the consequences will be evident sooner rather than later.

Best regards.

Shyamala B.Cowsik
Indian Foreign Service (Retd.)