March 08, 2012

"Pseudo-NGOs" activities

the activities of "pseudo-NGOs" and other agencies that try to destabilize other countries with outside support are unacceptable.

I'm referring to those cases where the activities of NGOs are not based on the interests (and resources) of local social groups but are funded and supported by outside forces. There are many agents of influence from big countries, international blocks or corporations. When they act in the open - this is simply a form of civilized lobbyism. Russia also uses such institutions - the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, International Humanitarian Cooperation, the Russkiy Mir Foundation and our leading universities who recruit talented students from abroad.

However, Russia does not use or fund national NGOs based in other countries or any foreign political organizations in the pursuit of its own interests. China, India and Brazil do not do this either. We believe that any influence on domestic policy and public attitude in other countries must be exerted in the open; in this way, those who wish to be of influence will do so responsibly. ( Source: )

Why Putin is driving Washington nuts

Not that prime minister Vladimir Putin had gone away ,but in the powerful post of the President , which he had switched with his progeny Medvedev ( whom US led West and other assorted allies would have loved to continue) is back with greater vigour and bluntness .He has been re-elected again with a thumping majority with over 62% votes ( which US or UK leaders ,mostly proxies of financiers and corporate mafias in New York and the City ,London rarely reach ).But lying western media and even leaders cannot stomach the reality. So the cacophony from the West. Indian journalists ,mostly ill-informed ,including former Indian diplomats , specially those who have served in US , brainwashed and beholden for little favours , talk of being on the right side of history ,ie be with the US led West , mostly bankrupt nations along with paragons of democracy like Saudi Arabia and Qatar of GCC , who are striving by violent interference to bring democracy in Syria as they did in Libya .A country looted ,divided, its infrastructure destroyed now under Al Qaeda and other regressive Muslim groups , with old feudal King Al Senussi’s descendents .But the rag tag collected by the West and GCC are now fighting with each other in Libya. India should not have voted on the last Resolution on Syria with Washington along with the so called ‘international community’ for democracy noted above and should have abstained .But then India has been in the clutches of US pensioners .Fullbright Scholars and such assorted neo-liberals and their followers . At home these gentlemen ie ruling establishment have tried to defame and weaken constitutional institutions like Comptroller and Auditor General , The Supreme Court ,the Election Commission etc. Those with income of Rs 32 are above poverty line , proclaimed one US pensioner .There was no loss in crony like giving away of massive public wealth of Wireless spectrum ,said another . Police atrocities were ordered on sleeping Indians at Ram Lila ground and a Gandhian activist Anna Hazare crusading against rampant and brazen corruption was imprisoned. The two largest national parties ,the Congress and BJP , equally corrupt ,have been taught a lesson for being out of touch and decimated by the illiterate and poor people of Uttar Pradesh ,India’s largest state. So unless either the current decision makers are changed ( or they would be brought down sooner than later ) wrong decisions in foreign policy will also continue to be taken. Coming back to the international developments ,below is an excellent article on the return of a combative Vladimir Putin in full vigour by a seasoned , perceptive and incisive friend Pepe Escobar , one of my favorite journalists , from my days with Asia Times ; In 2007 , after watching the Cold War like actions and maneuverings ,Putin had for the first time growled at the US Led West at the Munich Security Conference .My take below Russian Bear Growls at US Hypocrisy and Hegemony- 14 Feb 2007 This has been mentioned in Pepe’s piece below. Good reading for a better perspective .

By Pepe Escobar Asia Times, 9 March, 2012

Forget the past (Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi) and the present (Assad, Ahmadinejad). A bet can be made over a bottle of Petrus 1989 (the problem is waiting the next six years to collect); for the foreseeable future, Washington's top bogeyman - and also for its rogue North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and assorted media shills - will be none other than back-to-the-future Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And make no mistake; Vlad the Putinator will relish it. He's back exactly where he wants to be; as Russia's commander-in-chief, in charge of the military, foreign policy and all national security matters.

Anglo-American elites still squirm at the mention of his now
legendary Munich 2007 speech, when he blasted the then George W Bush administration for its obsessively unipolar imperial agenda "through a system which has nothing to do with democracy" and non-stop overstepping of its "national borders in almost all spheres"."

So Washington and its minions have been warned. Before last Sunday's election, Putin even advertised his road map The essentials; no war on Syria; no war on Iran; no "humanitarian bombing" or fomenting "color revolutions" - all bundled into a new concept, "illegal instruments of soft power". For Putin, a Washington-engineered New World Order is a no-go. What rules is "the time-honored principle of state sovereignty".

No wonder. When Putin looks at Libya, he sees the graphic, regressive consequences of NATO's "liberation" through "humanitarian bombing"; a fragmented country controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militias; backward Cyrenaica splitting from more developed Tripolitania; and a relative of the last king brought in to rule the new "emirate" - to the delight of those model democrats of the House of Saud.

More key essentials; no US bases encircling Russia; no US missile defense without strict admission, in writing, that the system will never target Russia; and increasingly close cooperation among the BRICS group of emerging powers.

Most of this was already implied in Putin's previous road map - his paper A new integration project for Eurasia: The future in the making. That was Putin's ippon - he loves judo - against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Monetary Fund and hardcore neo-liberalism. He sees a Eurasian Union as a "modern economic and currency union" stretching all across Central Asia.

For Putin, Syria is an important detail (not least because of Russia's naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, which NATO would love to abolish). But the meat of the matter is Eurasia integration. Atlanticists will freak out en masse as he puts all his efforts into coordinating "a powerful supranational union that can become one of the poles of today's world while being an efficient connecting link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region".

The opposite roadmap will be Obama and Hillary's Pacific doctrine. Now how exciting is that?

Putin plays Pipelineistan
It was Putin who almost single-handedly spearheaded the resurgence of Russia as a mega energy superpower (oil and gas accounts for two-thirds of Russia's exports, half of the federal budget and 20% of gross domestic product). So expect Pipelineistan to remain key.

And it will be mostly centered on gas; although Russia holds no less than 30% of global gas supplies, its liquid natural gas (LNG) production is less than 5% of the global market share. It's not even among the top ten producers.

Putin knows that Russia will need buckets of foreign investment in the Arctic - from the West and especially Asia - to keep its oil production above 10 million barrels a day. And it needs to strike a complex, comprehensive, trillion-dollar deal with China centered on Eastern Siberia gas fields; the oil angle has been already taken care of via the East Siberian Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. Putin knows that for China - in terms of securing energy - this deal is a vital counterpunch against Washington's shady "pivoting" towards Asia.

Putin will also do everything to consolidate the South Stream pipeline - which may end up costing a staggering $22 billion (the shareholder agreement is already signed between Russia, Germany, France and Italy. South Stream is Russian gas delivered under the Black Sea to the southern part of the EU, through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia). If South Stream is a go, rival pipeline Nabucco is checkmated; a major Russian victory against Washington pressure and Brussels bureaucrats.

Everything is still up for grabs at the crucial intersection of hardcore geopolitics and Pipelineistan. Once again Putin will be facing yet another Washington road map - the not exactly successful New Silk Road (See US's post-2014 Afghan agenda falters, Asia Times Online, Nov 4, 2011.)

Ant then there's the joker in the pack - the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Putin will want Pakistan to become a full member as much as China is interested in incorporating Iran. The repercussions would be ground-breaking - as in Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran coordinating not only their economic integration but their mutual security inside a strengthened SCO, whose motto is "non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-interference in the affairs of other countries".

Putin sees that with Russia, Central Asia and Iran controlling no less than 50% of world's gas reserves, and with Iran and Pakistan as virtual SCO members, the name of the game becomes Asia integration - if not Eurasia's. The SCO develops as an economic/security powerhouse, while, in parallel, Pipelineistan accelerates the full integration of the SCO as a counterpunch to NATO. The regional players themselves will decide what makes more sense - this or a New Silk Road invented in Washington.

Make no mistake. Behind the relentless demonization of Putin and the myriad attempts to delegitimize Russia's presidential elections, lie some very angry and powerful sections of Washington and Anglo-American elites.

They know Putin will be an ultra tough negotiator on all fronts. They know Moscow will apply increasingly closer coordination with China; on thwarting permanent NATO bases in Afghanistan; on facilitating Pakistan's strategic autonomy; on opposing missile defense; on ensuring Iran is not attacked.

He will be the devil of choice because there could not be a more formidable opponent in the world stage to Washington's plans - be they coded as Greater Middle East, New Silk Road, Full Spectrum Dominance or America's Pacific Century. Ladies and gentlemen, let's get ready to rumble.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

India's proposed river-linking project

by harun rashid DAILY STAR
Wed Mar 7, 2012 5:45 pm (PST)

The author suggests that Bangladesh would not have any objection to the proposed river linking mega project provided it did not involve the Himalayan rivers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 OP-EDBottom Line
India's proposed river-linking mega-project
Barrister Harun Ur Rashid
It was reported that on February 27 that the Indian Supreme Court has ordered the government to implement the rivers-linking scheme in a "time-bound manner." The Court also directed the centre to constitute a "special committee" forthwith for inter-linking of rivers for the benefit of the entire nation.

The Bench said: "This is a matter of national benefit and progress. We see no reason to why any state should lag behind in contributing its bit to bringing the inter-linking river programme to a success, thus saving the people living in drought-prone zones from hunger and people living in flood-prone areas from the destruction caused by floods."

With the order of the apex court, the river-linking mega-project is alive again. However, chief minister of Kerala Chandy reportedly made it clear that the apex court order was not applicable to Kerala as it was "harmful" to the state's interest and it was relevant only to those states that had agreed on a river-linking scheme.

Soon after independence in 1947, Dr. K.L. Rao, an eminent engineer who was in Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet as irrigation minister, had reportedly prepared a scheme to connect all the major rivers/lakes as part of water management.

It is noted that the river-linking project had been under discussion under successive governments, and was revived in 1980. In 2003, former Prime Minister Vajpayee constituted a task force to get the project going, and said that the scheme would "free India from the curse of floods and droughts."

Many Indian experts on water resources management expressed strong reservations on the inter-linking project on serious technical and environmental grounds. It is reported that people in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Karnataka and Kerala states of India came out vigorously against the project.

India has three major river systems:

* The Himalayan Rivers;

* The Indus Rivers; and

* The Peninsular Rivers.

The first two are trans-boundary river systems while the peninsular river system originates in Central India.

The Indus River system consists of the Indus and five of its tributaries -- Beas, Sutlej, Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi. They pass through India and Pakistan before meeting the Arabian Sea.

The Himalayan Rivers pass through Nepal, India and Bangladesh before they meet the Bay of Bengal. In Bangladesh, the Padma/Ganges, Jamuna/Brahmaputra and Meghna are part of the Himalayan River system.

Peninsular rivers originate in Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh states. Out of six major peninsular rivers, four -- Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Cauvery-- flow eastwards and meet the Bay of Bengal while two -- Narmada and Tapti -- flow west and meet the Arabian Sea.

The river-linking mega project involves both the Himalayan and the Peninsular Rivers. It is a gigantic project, reportedly costing about $1,000 billion, (about Rs.5,00,000 crore). According to the Indian Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, it is reported out of 30 proposed links, 16 are in the Himalayan component and 14 are in the Peninsular component.

India officially kept Bangladesh in the dark about the river-linking scheme, and Bangladesh knew of it through the Indian media in 2003. Naturally, it caused grave concern to Bangladesh because, under the scheme of the Himalayan component, all the major sources of rivers in Bangladesh would be subject to unilateral diversion by India.

The diversion will result in severe adverse impact on Bangladesh. Water experts say the country will not get two-thirds of its dry season water from the Brahmaputra River. Agriculture and industry in the Ganges-dependant areas and parts of Meghna River will be badly hit.

The impact assessment carried out five years ago in Bangladesh presents not only a grim picture of ecological disaster in Bangladesh, including ruination of the Sundarbans, but also of damage to farmlands and inland fisheries due to saline intrusion into the country. Another media report says that at least 117 rivers in the country have died due to obstructions and withdrawal of water in their upper reaches.

It is significant to note that an Indian Professor R. Jagadiswara Rao of Sri Venkateswara University, Triputi, of Andhra Pradesh, wrote: "Bangladesh, located in the deltaic region of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) international river basin, is faced with multitude of water problems including extensive floods, severe water shortages and arsenic at harmful levels in ground water of Holocene formations of large spatial extent. The water problems of the country would get further aggravated if the recent attempts by the Indian government to interlink rivers for massive transfers from north to south fructify." (Documents of the Regional Cooperation on Trans-boundary Rivers: Impact of the Indian River-Linking Project held in Dhaka on 17-19 December 2004: page 46).

When Bangladesh's serious concern was conveyed to India, the then Indian minister for water resources said on March 2005 that India would not implement river-linking projects in the Eastern Zone to avoid any disruption in relationsh with Bangladesh (DS, March 9, 2005).

Since then, Bangladesh-India relations have opened a new horizon of cooperative partnership and were strengthened by bilateral understandings and agreements.

The plan of linking trans-boundary Himalayan rivers (a) goes against the 2010 Bangladesh-India joint communiqué and the Framework Agreement on Cooperation and Development signed on September 6, 2011, and (b) is contrary to Article 9 of the 1996 Indo-Bangladesh Ganges Water Treaty and the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Furthermore, turning of the riverine country eventually into a desert constitutes an existential threat to Bangladesh and may arguably come within the extended meaning of "aggression" as described in the 1974 General Assembly Resolution 3314.

In the backdrop of the order of the Supreme Court and the Himalayan component of the scheme, what is needed is an ironclad assurance from India that the river-linking project would not involve the Himalayan Rivers.

It is argued that if India proceeds with river-linking of peninsular rivers without linking the Himalayan Rivers, the scheme will be considered as India's internal matter between the states and the centre to comply with the order of the Supreme Court.

The writer is a former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN

Baloch rebels inspire separatists in Sindh

By Zia Ur Rehman
Sindh in turmoil

Bomb attacks on railway tracks across Sindh indicate the rise of a separatist movement that takes inspiration from the freedom movement in Balochistan

Recent bomb attacks on railway tracks across the Sindh province indicate the rise of a separatist movement that takes inspiration and strength from the freedom movement in Balochistan, political analysts say.

At least 16 bombs targeted railway tracks in various parts of Sindh on February 25, stopping all train traffic. Low-intensity explosives were planted on railway tracks in Karachi, Hyderabad, Benazirabad, Mirpur Mathilo, Pud Eaidan, Khairpur and Ghotki, damaging tracks in the entire province, according to a senior Pakistan Railways official. There were no trains close to the sites of explosion, he said, therefore there was no major damage and no casualties.

"The police found leaflets from the bombing sites in which Sindhu Desh Liberation Army (SDLA), an underground separatist outfit, claimed responsibility for the attacks," said Muzaffar Sheikh, a Railway Police officer. He said the group had bombed railway tracks in the past.

Denouncing alleged atrocities against the Sindhi people and vowing to continue its struggle until Sindh's freedom, SDLA's chief commander Darya Khan Marri asks other Sindhis, in the leaflet, to take up arms and join the movement. The SLDA says Sindhi separatists must get the same worldwide recognition as the separatists in Balochistan, and asks people to stand up against the "opportunist" People's Party government, the army, and the ISI.

Sindhi separatist groups, which have never been popular in the province, have taken strength from recent move by a group of US Congressmen calling for the right of self-determination for the Baloch people. "Because of bad governance, nepotism, corruption and incompetence of the politicians, there is a lot of frustration and disappointment among Sindhi people, especially the young," according to Imdad Soomro, a senior journalist who studies Sindh's ethnic politics. Some of them might be involved in subversive activities, he says, but a majority of them believe in a peaceful political and democratic struggle.

The PPP seems to have taken the threat seriously. "The bomb attacks on railway tracks in Sindh could be due to a sense of deprivation among the Sindhi people, a sentiment that is also prevalent in the province of Balochistan. This sense of deprivation has been created after the assassination of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto," Sindh home minister Manzoor Wasan told reporters. The government, he said, had been trying to tackle the problem by creating jobs.

The demand for the separation of Sindh from Pakistan has been made time and again, but the separatist movement has not posed a serious threat to the state so far. Low-scale insurgent attacks from the SDLA have been reported intermittently in recent years.

The SDLA is believed to be an offshoot of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM), a Sindhi nationalist political party headed by Shafi Muhammad Burfat. Some of its members also broke away from various factions of the Jeay Sindh Tehrik (JST), founded by prominent Sindhi ethnic leader GM Syed. The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh police has added Burfat to its Red Book, Sindh IG Ghulam Shabbit Sheikh told reporters on February 27, and was gathering information on him. Yaqoob Jatt, a senior officer in Hyderabad, said police believed the attacks were orchestrated by SDLA leader Lala Aslam Pathan, and carried out by suspects he identified as Shahnawaz Bhutto, Ramzan Jamali, Bashir Malah, and Faqir Najeeb Qureshi.

Sindhis are predominantly represented in parliament by the PPP, but Sindhi ethnic parties that follow the political ideology of GM Syed also have a strong influence on provincial politics. After the demise of GM Syed, his JST split into at least 11 political groups: Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) Bashir Qureshi Group, Burfat's JSSM, JST led by Dr Safdar Sarki, JSQM-Arisar Group, Jeay Sindh Mahaz Riaz Chandio Group, Jeay Sindh Qaumparast Party led by Qamar Bhatti, Sindh United Party led by GM Syed's grandson Jalal Mehmood Shah, Jeay Sindh Mahaz (JSM) led by Abdul Khaliq Junejo, JSM Rasool Bux Thebo Group, JSM Sufi Hazoor Bux Group, and JST Shafi Karnani Group. Dr Qadir Magsi's Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Rasool Bukhsh Paleejo's Awami Tehrik, and Amir Bhambaro's Sindh National Party were not aligned with GM Syed's ideology.

Burfat belongs to Tehni, a small village of Taluka Sehwan in Jamshoro district. He was a close associate of Dr Qadir Magsi in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was accused along with Dr Magsi of orchestrating the September 30, 1988 carnage.

"Pakistan's intelligence agencies are targeting our leaders and activists only because we are demanding our fundamental political rights," said a JSMM leader in Hyderabad. He said the party's secretary general Muzaffar Bhutto had been picked up several months ago and its vice chairman Serai Qurban Khuhawar, leader Rooplo Choliani and central committee member Noorullah Tunio were killed in Sanghar on April 21, 2011. He accused intelligence agencies of creating "a Balochistan-like situation" in Sindh.

The SDLA emerged as a serious threat in February last year when it bombed several railway tracks, a CID official said. A suspected terrorist died on March 2 apparently trying to plant a bomb on a railway line near Jumma Goth in Karachi. After an accidental explosion in a house that killed SDLA-linked Zulfiqar Kulachi and injured Ismail Abubakr and Sardaruddin Allahdino when they were trying to make a bomb on March 7 2011, police seized SDLA literature and other evidence. Information gathered from the literature and questioning of the injured men led to a crackdown in which all key members of the group were arrested. Eleven months later, the group has resurged with new attacks, apparently after being inspired by Baloch separatists, according to CID officials. But the SDLA is not as popular as the Baloch separatists, and that is why law-enforcement officials believe they can bust the group before it becomes a major threat.

India sees US as an important partner: Nirupama Rao

Washington, Mar 8, 2012, (PTI)

India and United States are now natural allies and New Delhi sees Washington as an important partner in its journey of inclusive social and economic development, a top Indian diplomat has said.

"Today, India and the US are true partners—in strategic terms, in economic terms, and in the development context," Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao said in her address to the Emory University on India-US Strategic Relations.

"As India continues on its path of inclusive social and economic development, mobilising the immense creativity and energy of its people, we see the US as an important partner in this journey," she said.

Rao said the third India-US Strategic dialogue would be held in Washington in the next few months.

Noting that the US has led the world when it comes to innovation, Rao said both the governments realise the critical importance of innovation to address new challenges and generate economic growth.

"As both India and the US work towards becoming truly knowledge societies they are also working together to translate these immense opportunities into practical cooperation: forging new links, creating ecosystems together to foster creativity -that would lead to solutions for the problems that we face both immediate and in the long term. Let me enumerate some of these," she said.

Rao said energy security and the supply of clean and sustainable sources of energy are a common challenge for both countries.

"In order to continue on our high growth path, India will need to invest in building a world class infrastructure that could cater to the demands of a billion plus population and ensure the availability of abundant supplies of clean sources of energy to fuel such growth. In both these areas we are working to build mutually beneficial ties," she said.

India in the next five years will mobilise up to USD 100 million in public and private sector funds to facilitate research and development in breakthrough technologies.

Several proposals have been received by the Centre, and the first awards are likely to be announced within this month.

The two governments, Rao said, thus engaged intensively to increase collaboration and unleash the full potential of US-India innovation.

"With a strong foundation in place, the two nations are uniquely positioned to pool their talent to address what President Obama's innovation strategy called the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century," she said.

"In this context, it would be beneficial if we could work also on a framework that would help increase the mobility of high skilled workers across the two countries. In these difficult economic times, sometimes we do hear the voices of protectionism," she said.

"We all have stakes in ensuring that such sentiments do not affect the positive trajectory of our engagement keeping the long-term perspective in mind. What we need to promote is a dynamic network of partnerships and underpin them through bilateral investments as well as through technology cooperation," Rao said.

March 07, 2012

Human Rights Hell’ In Balochistan Inflames Separatist Sentiments

Analysis by Zofeen Ebrahim (Karachi )Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Inter Press Service

'We want our homeland; we want freedom from Pakistan and will fight till our last breath,' said Zarmine Baloch (23), veiled from head to toe with just her eyes showing.

She said the recent killing of her brother would not force her to surrender her struggle. Sitting beside her Maheen Baloch, sister of the late Qambar Chakar, a student activist who met a similar fate in May 2011, nods in agreement.

Zarmine is certain her brother Sangat Sana (27), a member of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) who demanded equal rights for the Baloch people, was killed to avenge the Pakistan army’s humiliation in February, when representatives of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International testified before the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations at the United States Congress about the grave violations committed by Pakistan’s security forces in the province of Balochistan.

'The message was quite clear,' Zarmine told IPS quietly, while participating in a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club sponsored by a group called Voice for the Baloch Missing Persons. 'He (Sana) was killed just a week after the hearing (before the U.S. congress) on Feb. 13.'

'Just two days prior, my sister and I had told the international media that we suspected the army’s intelligence agencies — the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the military intelligence — to be behind his abduction in Dec. 2009. His body had 28-bullet wounds and he was thrown from a helicopter,' she said.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has, for several years, been sounding alarm bells about 'involvement of the security forces in enforced disappearances and killings' in the province, which lies on vital international borders, sits atop lucrative natural resources and has a small population that is fast winning international sympathy.

Sana was among the 14,000 who have since disappeared over the years and among the 350 whose brutally tortured bodies later surfaced.

'Is this how Pakistanis treat fellow Pakistanis?' asked Shadri Baloch, a 16-year-old who saw the tortured bodies of her father and two uncles. Her 20-year-old brother, Mazar Baloch, remains missing.

However, 'Our movement won’t weaken because of these killings,' she told IPS, her voice trembling with hatred and hurt.

International support for self determination

While the hearing before the U.S. congress brought the Balochistan issue instant international recognition, the resolution proposed by congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Feb. 17 — stating that Balochs have 'the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country' — provoked extreme reactions from each end of the spectrum.

The proclamation vexed the Pakistan government and its media, who see the move as a 'conspiracy to break the country'; but Baloch nationalist leaders greeted the resolution with wild enthusiasm.

Refuting the government’s anger, Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director for Human Rights Watch stated, 'Countries are not made or broken through hearings or resolutions in the U.S. Congress. That is only up to the people of a country but at least this hearing and Congressman Rohrabacher’s ill-advised resolution has forced Pakistan’s political and military leaders to pay attention to the human rights hell in Balochistan.'

Nawabzada Brahamdagh Bugti, a self-exiled politician in Switzerland, has publicly invited support from foreign countries.

In a tele-conference on Feb. 22 he told reporters, '(The U.S.) must intervene in Balochistan and stop the ethnic cleansing of Baloch people.' He supported 'any and all foreign intervention in the province whether it be by the U.S., NATO or India'.

The chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Aslam Raisani, added he has 'confirmed reports' of external intrusion in the province. He warned the European Union Ambassador to Pakistan, Lars-Gunner Wigemark, that foreign support for secession could bring the province to the brink of civil war.

Akbar S. Ahmed, a Pakistani professor currently serving as the Ibn Khaldun Chair at the Washington D.C.-based American University, is deeply disturbed by the groundswell of insurgency in Balochistan.

Terming it 'a result of decades of mismanagement by the central government' he reminded IPS that a similar 'ethnic insensitivity' led to the break away of Pakistan’s Eastern wing, then a provincial state, in 1971, resulting in the creation of present-day Bangladesh.

Physicist and peace activist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, maintains a similar view. 'Pakistan’s narcissistic centre still believes it has done no wrong; ascribes the uprising of locals to outside powers or perhaps a few ‘troublemakers’; thinks that physically eliminating a few hundred of these people will solve the problem; and pushes the ‘one nation, one people’ notion in spite of contrary evidence.'

Hoodbhoy pointed out, 'Multinational states exist everywhere' citing India as an example. 'If the centre had wisely exercised its powers, today’s situation would have never arisen. An independent Balochistan is not a serious possibility yet, but the centre seems only too willing to walk the path of national suicide. If Balochistan ever becomes independent after some horrific bloodbath, it shall squarely be the fault of Pakistan's army,' he said.

Pakistani leadership urged to seek solutions

Experts like Ahmed, chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy and former high commissioner to the United Kingdom, thinks there is still time to save the situation.

'I do not think that Balochistan has quite reached the point (of separatism) yet. But the Pakistani leadership has to be much more active in finding genuine and permanent solutions to Balochistan’s long- standing grievances,' he told IPS.

He added, 'Pakistani leaders must ask themselves seriously why do the Baloch feel they are being denied their rights? They then have to provide the answers. The situation cannot go on much longer as it is'.

Even Hoodbhoy thinks, 'Pakistan must listen to what the Balochs say - and then act. (Balochs have long made the claim that) security agencies must stop their murderous ‘abduct-torture-kill-dump’ routine; cantonments should be dismantled and a new formula for natural resource distribution evolved. If Pakistanis value the Baloch people rather than the wealth under their (feet), they must be prepared to compromise to the extent necessary.'

Twenty-eight-year-old old Malik Siraj Akbar — journalist and editor of Baloch Hal, an online newspaper — who has recently been granted asylum in the U.S. due to threats to his life, believes there is a way out of the debacle if 'immediate measures' are put in place.

'Stop the military operation even if it is conducted by the Frontier Constabulary (a paramilitary force under the command of the Pakistani army) and curtail its power; induct more Balochs into the force; release all, or most of the missing persons and investigate the elements behind the ‘kill and dump’ operations,' are some of Akbar’s suggestions.

He believes that unless certain confidence-building actions are taken to help bring the 'disillusioned', exiled Baloch leaders to the negotiating table, there will be no peace.

But according to Raisani, the Baloch leaders are not willing to accept anything short of freedom for their people, which, according to Ahmed, could morph into 'a full-blown movement for independence supported by foreign powers.'

'(This) will be devastating, as Pakistan is already stretched to its breaking point economically, militarily and in terms of national unity,' said Ahmed who served as commissioner of three divisions of Balochistan.

'Balochistan has every (ability) to survive on its own, from its mineral wealth to its geo-strategic location,' Akbar said.

If Balochistan goes up in flames, 'Pakistan will lose its border with Iran, huge reserves of natural gas, gold and copper, entry into Afghanistan, several important air and naval bases, and a port at Gwadar,' he stressed, adding that the army was 'underestimating' the power of the people.

Many experts, including Hoodbhoy, believe the army has not yet grasped how incendiary the situation really is.

'The army’s actions speak louder than any words: General Kayani says there is no military operation being conducted in Balochistan. Very well, then just who is flying helicopter gunships there? Murdering Baloch students, activists, and leaders?' he asked.

As a result of this denial of violence in the region, 'Emotionally, the dismemberment of the province has already begun,' Akbar concluded.

© Inter Press Service (2012) — All Rights Reserved
Original source: Inter Press Service

“The SC Side-Stepped The DoB Issue.... Had I Resigned, It’d Have Been A Self-Goal”

Gen VK Singh “You lend me some of the power you acquired through religious brainwashing, and I will lend you the power I acquired through conquest and administrative control,” a British official to a Brahmin in 19 century. “-- justice delivery has now been reduced to a mere business in the eyes of the people. ---be it lawyers or judges, have we forgotten our task towards society?-- that judges these days are bent more towards counting the number of cases they have disposed of, instead of impartial delivery of justice,-- that due to the harassment a common man suffers in his pursuit of justice, 95 per cent of the masses avoid going to courts at all and choose to suffer silently--the five per cent who do go wait in queue for many long years and empty out their pockets to hire a lawyer. It is a nightmare for the common man to approach a higher court,-- that this is the reason people have started taking the law in their hands --throwing light on the common problem of delayed justice, -- rued that the enormous delay in trials has shattered the public’s confidence in the judiciary ,“ Supreme Court judge Justice G S Singhvi, on ‘The responsibility of judicial system towards society’ on at a seminar on September 28, 2008 in Chandigarh, I had indicated in my note at the beginning of the controversy about the Gen VK Singh’s DOB, the under current of dissatisfaction among military officers during my 1976 stay at NDC about Sikh officers helping each other out. ( Ask non Jat Sikhs how they are treated by Jat Sikhs even in Gurudwaras ) Somehow I have been totally secular and anti-castist , in fact somewhat disdainful about vain Rajputs for their inability to band together and look after their interests as a caste , a requirement to survive in India’s present day caste ridden society .And it is getting worse since our polity remains feudal with medieval practices . This becoming worse with our electoral system ( with SP getting ruling majority in UP with 29% votes ).Is is a representative government ! Apart from a basically feudal/medieval British with first past the goal electoral system, few countries in the world use this electoral system .( A success of British brainwashing) The caste system is worse than apartheid . If a Sacchar Committee is set up , it will bring out how Thakurs have been kept down .Remember , when Sanjay Gandhi had brought in Rajput leaders like VP Singh , Arjun Singh , Solanki and others , the tallest leader of Brahmins Kamlapati Tripathi had lambasted this development .The Thakurs were brought in for their lathates ie stick wielders so that Congress’s poor dalit and Muslim voters would not be stopped from casting their votes by stick wielders from Jats , Yadavas and other OBCs .Since most castes even sub-castes have organised their parties, including the OBCs, miniscule minority Brahmins are using OBCs like Modis in Bihar and Gujarat and Lodhs like Uma Bharti and earlier Kalyan Singh in cowbelt. So how can a thakur with origins from Bapora , a village in Haryana can be sophisticated enough to match the machinations of other castes . As for Muslims , all parties specially Cong has used its Ashraff Muslim leaders ie Brahmins among Muslims, those who claim descent from outsiders /invaders ie Arabs, Persians, Turks and Afghans and high caste coverts , mostly Rajputs . The Sikhs have not done badly .When not given their alleged share , they can always claim , ‘Akal Panth in danger ‘ as sometimes upper caste Muslims claim , when denied something , Islam in danger . It would appear that Gen JJ Singh (governor in north east for services rendered ) along with the likes of Gen Deepk Kapoor and his tainted cronies organized this whole charade in 2006 ( who was PM then !) so that Gen Bikram Singh , a Sikh can ascend the top military job . Unless the caste system ( which promotes corruption , nepotism and lets conflict of interest flourish ) is destroyed , India will remain an ordinary state ,not taken seriously .We are not progressing towards nationhood, equality before law .In Europe and elsewhere where the concept of nationhood evolved and was forged with bloodshed , before the revolutions ( in France, Russia, Turkey ,China, Iran etc ) the unifying concept of nation was achieved by the destruction of Barons .Yadava chieftains Mamtas. Jaylalithas. , Patnaiks ,Akalis and others are like feudal barons . Indian polity is only slouching towards feudal baron level . The Supreme Court should have dismissed the General VK Singh’s petition or delivered justice ie adjudicated on DOB. Below is an interview with Gen VK Singh in Outlook , one of the better magazines . EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OUTLOOK 7 March 2012 “The SC Side-Stepped The DoB Issue.... Had I Resigned, It’d Have Been A Self-Goal”Speaking out for the first time, the Army Chief clears the air on the fracas over his date of birth and many other issuesCHANDER SUTA DOGRA INTERVIEWS V.K. SINGH The fracas over General V.K. Singh’s date of birth has held the nation in thrall for over a year. Now, on his instructions, the army’s military secretariat has issued him retirement orders for May 31, 2012, even as the MoD keeps asking the army to amend his year of birth to 1950. By initiating his own retirement orders, the general has made it clear he is ready to demit office in May. Speaking out for the first time, he clears the air on this and many other issues in an interview with Chander Suta Dogra. Has the decision of the Supreme Court given a closure to the issue of your date of birth (DOB)?Look, I was born in 1951 and that’s a fact that no one can change. Ever since this was made into an issue in 2006, I have followed the accepted line of redressal and tried to get what seemed to be a minor mistake reconciliated.In retrospect, would you still call it a minor mistake?Yes. The inadvertent error, I made while filling in the UPSC form was almost instantly rectified and corrected even before I joined the National Defence Academy. I was commissioned into the Army with all records reflecting my correct date of birth. There was no controversy over this, as both the military secretariat (MS) and adjutant general (AG) branch records reflected the same—all my promotions up to the rank of Brigadier, Major General and Lt General in 2005 were based on this DOB. Unfortunately, post-2006, a clerical error in the Army List was blown out of all proportion. The date in this list was based on the incorrect UPSC form. It was supposed to have been verified against my school leaving documents, but this was not done. Even the subsequent correction made almost immediately was not taken note of.Your decision to withdraw the petition gave the impression that you are satisfied with what the court had to say.After my Statutory Complaint was rejected by the ministry of defence (MoD) on 30 December 2011, I moved the Supreme Court. On 3rd February, the court questioned the decision making process which led to it being turned down and opined that it went against the principles of natural justice. The Attorney General was advised to withdraw the order. On 10th February, the Attorney General withdrew the MoD’s order against the Statutory Complaint but tacitly admitted that my actual DOB was 1951 and that the MoD was opposing it only ‘on a matter of principle’. After that there was nothing else to be said in court especially since the Judges had also indicated that the SC did not want to get into the actual date of birth. Now, unless the MoD’s decision-making process is spelt out which explains the rationale behind still pegging my YOB as 1950, how can I challenge it. I therefore withdrew my petition and have decided to wait for the MoD to give its reasons afresh.Does that mean that the issue is still open?The SC Order has created more confusion, without addressing the main issue. It talks of the Statutory Complaint being divided into two parts—the process of decision making on the one hand and maintainability on the other. The MoD has argued that since the decision has been taken by them to peg my YOB as 1950, I must accept this regardless. This goes against the principles of natural justice.But the impression was that you had lost the battle and that the SC had ruled against February, the media did not report it and everyone missed its import. It is an innocuous order that leaves recognition of the DOB to the competent authority based on records. The media was reporting obiter dicta in a highly exaggerated manner.Soon after the SC order, it was widely speculated that you would resign, since the court did not uphold your date of birth as May 10th 1951. It was seen as a loss of face by many of those who were supporting you and they felt that your resignation was the only way forward. When that did not happen and you proceeded on an official visit to the UK, it became clear that you perceive the issue differently. Would you like to clear the air?It would be dishonest to say that I was not under pressure to resign. Even my closest advisors were affected by the media interpretation and yes, I was extremely disappointed that the SC had not effectively closed the issue. Many commentators were looking at this matter as a classic case of strained civil-military relations, and drew parallels with the unfinished resignation of General Thimayya, to predict my resignation. But I see the age issue as something that I and the Army have to address, and we will do it, once we are given a legal order. I feel that it is important for us to put into place systems that ensure that such cases are never repeated in future. Let us remember that as the COAS I have a responsibility towards the Army and its men and have to attend to the unfinished tasks that I had set out for myself and its men, I cannot quit until I complete what I have started. Organisational interests are supreme.Your daughter Mrinalini in an interview given to our magazine has pointed a finger at your predecessor, General J.J. Singh as being the architect of this DOB controversy. From what she says, you were apparently deceived into ‘accepting’ 1950 as your year of birth.Ever since this issue came up in 2006, not once have I accepted 1950 as my date of birth. ‘Acceptance’ would imply a closure of the matter. In 2006 it seemed as if a clerical error in the Army List needed to be reconciled with existing MS and AG records. I had no idea then, that it would be the other way around—that the MS and AG records would be required to conform to the Army List! Many people say that I should have tackled the problem when it originated and not waited to take up the issue until I was the COAS. The fact is that it has been an ongoing issue since it first came up. To take selective sentences and quote them out of context and say that there are three ‘acceptance’ letters falsifies facts. The then Chief, MS and Judge Advocate General (JAG) set into motion something that is against all accepted norms. They should explain their decision as to why the Army List took precedence over the MS and also the AG branch records only in my case. The problem got aggravated when the MoD chose to endorse this line without going into ‘why’ this was being done.Are you saying that the decision taken (by Gen JJ Singh) in 2006 was illegal ?It has its ramifications. Even if I was to say that I don’t contest it, it cannot be implemented because even now the SC order does not say anything about the legality of two different dates of birth.There is a constituency out there— the defence brotherhood—which had begun to feel that this issue will have a salutary effect on the civilian bureaucracy’s propensity to meddle in service matters. They had begun to look upon you as someone who is standing up to the establishment and giving as good as you got. Do you have a word for them?Being the Chief of the Indian Army, does not insulate me from public opinion and I am aware of the fact that many felt that I was wrong in taking the fight to the MoD. The tendency after reaching senior ranks in the army is to avoid rocking the boat. But if I, as the Chief did not stand up for what is correct—and that is what I have always done—what sort of a message would I be sending to the rank and file ?Similarly, I felt that despite the overwhelming opinion that I should resign over the SC Order, it was necessary for me to stay the course. The court has side stepped the issue. But, it certainly does not clear the way for any illegal order to be given to the Army. Had I resigned, it would have been a self-goal and in the long run, against the interests of the organization.What do you think could be the motives of those who designed this conspiracy against you?I have not used the word conspiracy at any stage. As far as I am concerned, there is no controversy either. I know when I was born and I think the entire country also knows that by now.It is being said that the issue has created a trust deficit between the army and the government. Do you think this will impact civil military relations?It’s a complicated issue and strained civil military relations are a global phenomenon. In India Civil-military relations have evolved along certain unique lines since Independence. First let me make one point very clear. In India, the Armed Forces have always remained an apolitical institution; one of the pillars of our democracy. Having said that, we must understand that we have a standing Army that operates under some of the most difficult conditions in the world, be it on the Siachen Glacier, in Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh or elsewhere. The system has to be far more responsive for us to perform effectively. Unfortunately we are bogged down with unnecessary hurdles. Timely replacement of weapon systems, ammunition, logistical requirements, an acute shortage of officers are the more obvious areas, that are affected.Does that mean that interference by civilian bureaucracy is impacting higher defence security?The system has evolved along certain lines, the nucleus of which was laid out in the 1960s. There is a lot of merit in it. But national security cannot be mutually exclusive. If you do not include the three chiefs while formulating policy you will not get the right inputs. The danger of this is, that it can lead to a flawed outputs. It is important that the systems that are in place should be transparent and not give the impression of a manipulative machinery which is more of a stranglehold.Seniority based on DoB at the Army Commanders level in the selection of the COAS has been meticulously followed since General Vaidya superseded Gen Sinha. Is there a better system?This needs to be clarified. Seniority is based on one’s IC number and not on one’s DOB. Promotions in the army are not by DOB but on the selection process and seniority in IC number. The DOB comes into play only for the purpose of residual service to become corps commander or an Army Commander and not for determining seniority.Your tenure has been known for the tussle over your DOB. A critical refrain against you is, that you have spent all your energies as COAS on resolving this matter instead of addressing the many pressing issues concerning the army.I can’t stop people from making allegations. But I would like to clarify at this stage that, I have continued to work towards my vision for the Army, through all this. The financial year 2010-2011 was the first year in the history of our Army when we spent our entire capital budget. I have improved the lot of army jawans by improving their clothing and bringing parity in their scale of rations with officers. I have also proposed an alternate system to the culture of ‘sahayaks’ in the army on the pattern followed by the airforce and navy where we can make use of non combatants instead. More importantly, I have attempted greater transparency and accountability across all ranks.The army is in the process of raising some new divisions and possibly another strike Corps. But where is the military hardware and the manpower required to raise these new formations ? There is an apprehension that even with better technology the present numerical strength will be stretched. Is anything being done to address these issues ?The government has sanctioned two additional infantry divisions and the requisite manpower for them has also been sanctioned. Manpower even otherwise is not a problem for us except at the officer level. Here too, the present situation is that all our officer training academies are overflowing and if this trend continues for another few years the officer shortage will disappear.I have also proposed a sponsored education scheme for those applicants who make it past the selection procedure, but cannot be inducted as the training academies can take in a fixed numbers. Around 800 such candidates are left out each year and they can be absorbed into the short service stream after educating them at government expense.How much of an impediment are middlemen and kickbacks in fast tracking procurement of new hardware for the army ?The new defence procurement procedures which have been put in place are supposed to cater for all this. But often when there are competing vendors, their representatives in India apply pulls and pressures which also includes sending anonymous complaints about each other. They woo people incharge of procurements, including MPs, which queers the pitch. If the mechanism in place is strictly followed and once a decision to go in for a particular weapon system is taken, we should go ahead and get it without getting influenced by complaints.The army has steadfastly refused to get involved in fighting Maoists in the affected states. It is however establishing a Counter Insurgency Warfare School over an area of about 900 sq kilometers in Chattisgarh. What will be the impact of having such a huge training establishment in the heart of Maoist affected areas ? Many feel it will the first contact point in the army’s engagement with the Maoists.The Maoist problem is a result of socio economic factors and is not a secessionist movement. It must be dealt with by the law and order machinery of the state governments and the paramilitary forces. We are however, assisting them in capacity building, training and some logistic support by the Air Force. The counter insurgency school in Chattisgarh will train these paramilitary units on the same pattern as army units are trained before deployment in counter insurgency areas. Its presence will uplift the local economy and help in employment generation. The 900 sq kms is earmarked for firing ranges and training areas. The area inhabited by the Army will be a small portion of this.Violence levels in J&K have drastically reduced and the state is more peaceful than it has ever been in two decades. How did this happen and how much credit would you give to the army in achieving this ?We have strived hard to bring the situation in J&K to what they are at present and it is now time for the political and development processes to follow and build on it. It is important to understand that this is temporary stability in J&K. The next two summers are crucial in maintaining it because the terror infrastructure both within and across the state is intact.The Army’s Northern Command has been raising concern at about the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan’s Northern Areas close to the Siachen Glacier. What implications does this have for our security and on Siachen?There are about 4000 Chinese construction workers along with some troops of the PLA in Pakistan’s Northern Area. Some Pakistani soldiers are also guarding these camps, where the workers are engaged in building roads, hydroelectric project and tunneling work. Our concern is over the type of cooperation that is taking place between them on our northern borders because this has never been there earlier and it opens many other possibilities.This is the year of the Veteran soldier. You cannot be unaware about the widespread dissatisfaction among them. Do they have something to look forward to ?The Army is doing everything to assist the veteran soldiers but we have a problem here. This is because of a difference of perception in the higher echelons of the bureaucracy regarding this. It leads to the recent episode where the DESW in the MOD opposed the broad banding of disability pension. It led to a spectacle of a former Vice Chief of the Army— who lost a leg in hostilities— being pushed from court to court. It is a shameful state of affairs.Are you at peace now? Do you have any ‘to dos’ scribbled somewhere that you would like to attend to, before you hang up your uniform ?I have always been at peace. I have initiated several measures to make our Army a threat based force which should graduate to a capability based force in the years to come. This can be possible if there is continuity and extending this vision by my successors.

Quote of the day: Milton Maltz on intelligence

In a democracy it is especially important for the public to have a more realistic understanding of the intelligence business so we can appreciate its real role in our society and impact upon major world events.Spying is an integral part of the political and social landscape across the globe and how it is practices affects of us individually shaping the kind of society and world we live in." -- Milton Maltz, founder of the International Spy Museum

Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Steve Jobs

Posted by Susan on 9:19 AM Thursday March 01, 2012 under Enable

I finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs over Christmas break and I can’t stop thinking about it.

The book disturbed me. I love Apple products; I wanted to admire Steve Jobs. But I don’t.

Great leaders don’t call people names. They don’t treat a person like a prince one day and a serf the next. They don’t practice intimidating stares in the mirror. They don’t treat relationships as if they were commodities to be traded.

It’s not OK for leaders — for anyone — to abuse people. And I’m disturbed that Jobs is being hailed, as Isaacson writes, as “the greatest business executive of our era,” rather than as a flawed leader whose extraordinary talents and organizational abilities allowed him the freedom to mistreat others.

There are those who believe that his products and his temperament were inextricably linked, and that he could not have accomplished what he did without being — in many ways — an ass. But I believe it’s possible to be focused, control-oriented, and fanatical about one’s work without being mean.

For Jobs, it appears that being and staying mean was a conscious choice. According to his biographer, Jobs:

•Trained himself to intimidate others by honing a “trick of using stares and silences to master other people.”
•Denied IPO stock options to a colleague who “joined Apple when it was headquartered in Jobs’ garage.”
•Possessed “an uncanny capacity to know” other individuals’ weak points and make them “feel small.”
•Took credit for ideas that were not his. “When told of a new idea, he will immediately attack it” and, if it is a good one, “he will soon be telling people about it as though it was his own.”
Isaacson came to the conclusion that Jobs “could have controlled himself if he had wanted. When he hurt people, it was not because he was lacking in emotional awareness. Quite the contrary: He could size people up, understand their inner thoughts, and know how to relate to them, cajole them, or hurt them at will.”

If that’s true, then Jobs hurt people because he wanted to, because doing so served his ends and gave him some sort of pleasure. And when challenged about his behavior, Jobs is reported to have said, “This is who I am, and you can’t expect me to be someone I’m not.”

Well, actually, we can. We don’t accept this excuse from our children and we certainly shouldn’t accept it from adults. Apparently, he needed help in growing up. Those around Jobs who tolerated his bad behavior did him, themselves, and their various organizations a disservice. There’s no reason his legacy could not have included admirable human as well as technological works.

And what would have happened if Jobs had been held accountable for his behavior, rather than having been enabled by those who let Steve be Steve? Would we still have all our beloved “i” products? Don’t fall into the trap of believing that ends justify means. None of us, not even Steve Jobs, is indispensable. He may have been a genius, but he’s not the only one we’ve had. The fusion of personal technology and humanity would have occurred without Jobs — at some time and in some form — just as electricity and the telephone would exist today even if Franklin and Bell had not.

Great leaders strive to treat others with dignity. They understand that life is short and companies and products come and go. They believe that communities and organizations are accountable for taking care of people and the planet. They have gained the wisdom that today’s kind words echo into future generations. If you’re looking for role models, reread Jim Collins’s book, Good to Great. If you do, you’ll find plenty of leaders who took care of their customers, their companies, and their people by building “enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”

Among those I spoke with about the Jobs biography, a very smart and compassionate leader made me laugh when he said, “I don’t want my children to grow up to be Steve Jobs.” This man wants his children to be positive role models; he wants them to succeed. And he understands that, organizationally and individually, meanness doesn’t pay off.

Companies that allow abuse reduce their productive capacity as people devote a considerable portion of their creative energies to protecting themselves. The Jobs biography reveals that some of the tactics used by his subordinates in order to survive in the dysfunctional environment he willfully created included lying in order to ensure that the right work got done with appropriate resources. What a waste! It makes one wonder if Apple would be even more strongly positioned today with a founding leader who knew how to play well with others.

Individuals who think they can succeed by being mean are kidding themselves. Companies want people who can get things done in a way that builds relationships rather than subverts them. Jobs’s gifts and a considerable amount of luck allowed him to be spectacularly successful in spite of his pettiness and lack of emotional maturity. We should take care not to mistake his weaknesses for strengths; we shouldn’t try to emulate behaviors that make success — in life and in business — harder to achieve.

As you attempt to glean lessons from Jobs’s leadership, focus on the good and discard the bad. Apple, I believe, succeeded in spite of Jobs’s flaws, not because of them.

Orginally published on

Wide distrust imperils talks on Afghanistan

Peaceful 2014 pullout in doubt

Afghanistan's peace process is crumbling amid distrust among all the key players - the U.S., Pakistan, the Afghan president and the Taliban, who continue to attack American and NATO troops.

The Obama administration had bolstered its attempts to end the war with the Taliban ahead of a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2014, but those efforts now appear to have become bogged down in suspicion.

Failure to reconcile the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan before the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, with the Western-backed government in Kabul could abandon the country to civil strife - like that in post-U.S.-occupied Iraq - after international forces leave the country.

"The way reconciliation is going on right now is extremely ad hoc. It is being conducted in an environment of mistrust," said Said Jawad, who served as Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S. from 2003 to 2010.

"There is no mutual trust and agreed-upon base lines among Afghans and the international community, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S., and Pakistan and those elements of the Taliban that are reaching out to us or the Americans," Mr. Jawad said.

Omar Samad, a former Afghan ambassador to France and Canada, said the peace process is "in a state of confusion and disarray."

"Diplomatic endeavors lack coordination, and the parties are on different pages with little real movement," Mr. Samad said.

Heightened tensions

The Taliban announced in January that it would set up an office in Qatar to facilitate peace talks.
But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been reluctant to embrace the proposal, which is supported by the U.S. He would rather have Saudi Arabia or Turkey host the talks.

Mr. Karzai favors Saudi Arabia because it commands respect as the custodian of the Muslim holy shrines and has influence over Pakistan, which U.S. and Afghan officials accuse of sheltering the Taliban.

"Qatar is not final yet as far as we are concerned," said an Afghan official, who, like other Afghan and Western officials interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

"We need to first agree on where the talks take place. Saudi Arabia or Turkey [is] more appropriate for negotiations with the Taliban," the official said.

Tensions have escalated between the U.S. and Afghan governments since the Feb. 25 slayings of two U.S. military advisers inside the Interior Ministry in Kabul. The two were among six U.S. troops killed by Afghan security forces in the backlash that followed the accidental burning of Korans at a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, raising questions about its commitment to the peace process.

On Wednesday, six British troops were killed when an explosion hit their armored vehicle in Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan.

The U.S.-Pakistani relationship also is at a low point after a series of incidents, including a U.S. commando raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and a NATO attack on two border posts in November that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have accused elements of Pakistan's military and intelligence service of aiding the Taliban in northwest Pakistan, from where the militants direct attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistani support is key to the success of the peace process, but "Pakistan-U.S. tensions have stopped Pakistan thinking about reconciliation," said a Western official. "There is an enormous amount of mistrust all around."

Current and former Afghan officials describe as frosty their country's relationship with Pakistan.

"The challenge of reconciliation is that we are implementing confidence-building measures with the Taliban on the other side of the table without having enough confidence between the allies themselves on this side of the table," Mr. Jawad said.

"And this will benefit the Taliban, because it looks like everyone is rushing to reach out and talk to the Taliban," he added.

Prisoner transfer

Peace efforts have been further endangered by a delay in Washington to respond to a Taliban demand to transfer five of its top operatives from the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar, according to some analysts.

"These delays are strengthening the hands of opponents of reconciliation within the Taliban," said Michael Semple, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

"The national security of the United States is now far better served by parking these five men in a gilded cage in Qatar, at which point real diplomacy starts, than keeping them in Cuba," he said. "Further delay in getting the prisoners there will mean that the spring fighting season is upon us before diplomacy is given a chance."

The Obama administration has been briefing members of Congress on the details of the transfer and has yet to reach a final decision.

Any decision to transfer the detainees would be undertaken in "full accordance with U.S. law and in consultation with Congress," said Noel Clay, a State Department spokesman.

An Afghan delegation is expected to travel soon to Guantanamo Bay to meet with the five detainees and ascertain the conditions for their transfer. The transfer of the detainees' families to Qatar is one of the issues.

Despite statements from U.S. officials that reconciliation should be an Afghan-led process, Afghan officials complain privately that they have not been kept in the loop on U.S. efforts to engage the Taliban.

"President Karzai has felt left out of crucial contacts, like Qatar, at least initially, and this clearly contradicts the Western line of an 'Afghan-led' [process], which was lip service in most of the cases anyway," said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul.

Afghan officials insist that the process must be Afghan-led if it is to succeed.

"Without a leading role for the government of Afghanistan, everybody understands that this process will not go anywhere," said a second Afghan official.

Mr. Karzai's own efforts to take the lead have been thwarted by the Taliban, which refuses to talk to what it considers a "puppet" government.

Former militants on the Afghan government's High Peace Council, which is tasked with reconciliation, serve as a conduit to the Taliban.

"Through their personal connections, you can do things that you cannot otherwise," said the second Afghan official.

Previous efforts to initiate talks with the Taliban have been stopped in their tracks by deceit and death.

In 2010, Western officials were duped by an impostor claiming to represent the Taliban. In September, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who led the High Peace Council, was assassinated by a man who said he was a Taliban negotiator.

Afghan officials say the talks so far with the Taliban have been exploratory.

"What we have done is to make sure that we are talking to the right people, that they have access to the right chain of command," said the second Afghan official.

© Copyright 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

"Her Eyes" : by Alex Koloskov

By Alex Koloskov

I call it Her Eyes
I know, I already posted this shot few month ago.
But I love it so much (not her, but a shot:-) that I want to share it again.

Very simple shot, only one light source and one reflector, but how effectively used! Would you agree?
Enjoy her glance:-)

March 06, 2012

Change the way America looks at herself and at the rest of the world

Change the way America looks at herself and at the rest of the world
- Create United Indian Ocean States

The way maps are presented and taught to the children in American schools tends to make America look like a trans-Atlantic power looking East from New York or Washington DC. Let us change the map by turning the globe 180 degrees. The world-map will look like this.


When one saw Akhilesh and Rahul on the TV screen, the difference between the two young personalities was striking. What came out in the case of Akhilesh was his earnestness, seriousness, sincerity and his ability to articulate in a manner that could carry conviction to the public. What came out in the case of Rahul was a lack of such qualities. Akhilesh’s ability to connect instantly with the public and the media stood in refreshing contrast to the inability of Rahul to do so.


The most significant aspect of the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly the results for which were announced on March 6,2012, was not even the rout of the Congress Party, but the humiliation suffered by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in what has been described as their pocket boroughs of Rae Bareli and Amethi.

2.TheLucknow correspondent of the “Deccan Herald” has described this humiliation in the following words: “None, not even the “Nehru-Gandhi family,” would have expected such a drubbing even on its home turf of Rae Bareli and Amethi, represented in the LokSabha by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul respectively. The entire “family” had descended on the twin constituencies to ensure a smooth sailing for party candidates. Yet, the party’s performance was “pathetic.”The Congress, which had secured seven of the ten assembly seats in Rae Bareli and Amethi, could win only two seats this time—Jagadishpur and Tiloi in the AmethiLokSabha constituency. In Rae Bareli, it ceded all five seats to SP candidates by good margins. In three seats, the Congress nominees finished third, compounding its agony. The signals were ominous for the party from the very beginning of the campaign. Priyanka was initially greeted by angry crowds, which complained that the local MLAs did not take any interest in the area’s development.”

3.The message that has come out loud and clear from UP as a whole as well as from these pocket boroughs is that the decline of the political influence of Sonia Gandhi has started and that the personality cult built around her, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi by the party functionaries has started dissipating.

4.The decline of the political influence of Sonia Gandhi could be attributed to various factors--- the decline in her health and the consequent public perception that she is already a leader of the passee and not of the future, the failure of Rahul Gandhi to compensate for the decline in her political influence by building a political image and a political connectivity of his own, his tendency to depend on political gimmicks rather than on exciting ideas and a vision for the future which failed to establish an empathetic vibration with the people and the failure of the Congress Government in the Centre headed by Dr.Manmohan Singh and the local Congress leaders in UP to come up to the expectations of the people.

5.The people wanted new policies, new ideas and exciting new faces and brains. Instead what they got was the same old faces of Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka, endless repetition of the same old devotion to the family and the same old bankruptcy in thinking and strategizing.It has come out clearly that neither the magic of the family name nor personal charisma---particularly in the case of Priyanka--- nor gimmicks could attract the electorate any longer.

6. The emergence of AkhileshYadav, son of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party which has won a spectacular victory on its own, as the new shining star of UP politics was totally unexpected by large sections of the public and the Congress Party. The electorate tired of old faces and old style of politics and gimmicks was looking for aMr.Different and they saw Mr.Different in Akhilesh.Whereas they found Rahul young in looks, but old in thinking and articulation, they found Akhilesh young in looks and young and refreshingly different in his thinking and articulation.

7.When one saw Akhilesh and Rahul on the TV screen, the difference between the two young personalities was striking. What came out in the case of Akhilesh was his earnestness, seriousness, sincerity and his ability to articulate in a manner that could carry conviction to the public. What came out in the case of Rahul was a lack of such qualities. Akhilesh’s ability to connect instantly with the public and the media stood in refreshing contrast to the inability of Rahul to do so.

8. Whether Congress functionaries admit it or not, the UP elections clearly marked the beginning of at least a temporary eclipse of Rahul as an up and coming political leader of Prime Ministerial calibre. He is not even of provincial calibre. The electorate in UP, his home State, has not taken him seriously. Will he be able to make the rest of the country take him seriously before the next Parliamentary elections whenever they are held----in 2014 as scheduled or before that if the Manmohan Singh Government as a result of the after-shocks of the UP’s political quake falls?

8.Political eclipses tend to be temporary when the affected leader has merits of his own and does not seek to shine through the reflected glory of his family. Rahul has still to convince large section of the public of this country that he has merits of his own. He has to project himself before the people as an intelligent, well-informed, articulate and thinking leader bubbling with new ideas and not just new gimmicks. He has to make the party jettison the remnants of the personality cult built around his mother. He has to encourage GenNext leaders in the party to come to the forefront and empower them to compete in equal terms with him and Priyanka.He should convert the Congress into a party of the people and not a party of the family.

9. As the party prepares itself for the next parliamentary elections, the Government led by it at the Centre has to be led by someone with a positive image. Dr.Manmohan Singh has developed a negative image which he will not be able to discard easily. Pranab Mukherjee, the Finance Minister. has a positive image. He is respected by large sections of the people. He has sharp professional and political instincts. The time has come for him to take over as the Prime Minister. If petty memories and petty suspicions of the family continue to keep him out, it is the party which will suffer.

10.Akhilesh is a promising and exciting young find, but he has won only the first lap of his political race by contributing significantly to the success of his party in the elections.Proving himself to be a good campaigner is only the beginning. He has to prove himself to be a good administrator and a wise policy-maker. Will he be able to do it? ( 7-3-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: Twitter : @SORBONNE75 )

Spirituality & Management: World Conference

By Rajeev Malhotra

Indian Institute of Management

Earlier this year I delivered the keynote address at this international conference that was heavily attended by management consultants and academics from several countries. There is a growing demand for consultants, workshops and courses on spirituality in the workplace and in management decision making.

Most foreign delegates came from Sweden and other European countries. They showed a keen interest in understanding the dharmic approaches to this field.

Of course, the usual "everything is same" type of generic ideas were rather common as expected. But many consultants found the distinctiveness of dharma compelling


"Intelligence is History before it happens"

'CI, Law, and the Economic Espionage Act'

Richard Horowitz wrote a great new article on CI, the law, and the Economic Espionage Act where he explains why CI is not an inherently legally risky profession - please have a look and comment.

The rising sun: China's defence budget eclipses Indian expenditure


Contributor: Andrew Elwell
Posted: 03/05/2012 12:00:00 AM EST | 0

China announced that its annual military expenditure will exceed $100 billion for the first time in 2012 as tensions in the Asia-Pacific region continue to intensify amid mounting budgets and escalating military might.

At 670.274 billion yuan ($106.39 billion), the 2012 budget is up 11.2% on last year’s $92 billion. It represents another year of double digit growth for China’s military spending, which accelerated 12.7% in 2011 on 2010.

It dwarfs India’s 2012 spend, reported to be around $36 billion and has led some commentators to suggest it could heighten friction in the region. Of further concern is the allegation that this figure only represents about half of China’s true spend on defence.

“Since the Chinese budget does not include modernisation, dual-use technologies, R&D aspects and export-import numbers, the figure that we saw on Sunday is not the ultimate truth,” Srikanth Kondapalli, a Chinese military expert at Jawaharlal Nehru University told The Hindu. “Western estimates say the actual figure should be at least double, although Indian estimates place the budget at $150 billion rather than the Pentagon's $220 billion figure.”
However, Li Zhaoxing, a spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, asserted that China’s interests were purely defensive and in no way indicated an escalation of the nation’s military might in the region.

"You see China has 1.3 billion people. We have a large and long coast line but our defence spending is relatively low compared with other countries," Zhaoxing said.

Further, compared with the UK and US, who spend roughly 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence, China’s is significantly less.

"China's defence spending as share of GDP in 2011 was only 1.28%,” he asserted.

But that’s 2011. What will it be in 2012? Closer to 2%? Also, when considering that the $106 billion figure only represents about half of the actual expenditure, this argument over GDP quickly dissolves.

Furthermore, Manish Thakur of defence private equity firm Hudson Fairfax Group noted that “China is not just buying more defence equipment, it is also in the process of creating an entire defence industrial base.” He concluded, “over the longer term, this will challenge the West both in terms of innovation and exports.”

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

Moses Ekpolomo also argues in his article, ‘South China Sea: New Persian Gulf?’, that “as China’s economic and strategic influence grows … the fear of a new hegemony in the region is ever more evident in the international and territorial waters of South China Sea.”

There can be no doubt China is accelerating its military spend and, along with it, the influence it has over the Asia-Pacific region as well as its reach beyond it. But remember, on a balancing note, the U.S.’s budget is five orders of magnitude larger than China’s. If it were a nation state the U.S. defence budget would be the world’s 19th largest economy, ahead of Switzerland and Poland. In comparison, China’s would be 57th, just behind Kuwait. That said, we should equally be aware that Kuwait's entire population only just about outnumbers China's 2.3 million strong Army, which is the largest in the world.

Who’s Behind Anti-Israel Bomb Plots?

There has not been much in Indian media about the car bomb attack on the wife of the Israeli defense attache in New Delhi , at stone's throw from Indian PM's Residence .

Of course the Isareli PM Netanyahu and some others blamed Iran almost immediately .Israeli interlocuters were brash and hectoring and made themselves fools , as did some Indians , on India's TV channels with little info or idea of international affairs .

Gareth Porter is a sober and reliable journalist .

The bombing of an Israeli diplomat's car in India isn't consistent with Iranian or Hezbollah Gareth Porter Research, March 5, 2012, Al Jazeera - 2012-03-02

Washington, DC - The magnet bomb that exploded on an Israeli Embassy diplomat's car in Delhi on February 13 seemed on the surface to be consistent with an Iranian-sponsored action. It was carried out with same method by which Israel's Iranian proxy, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, had assassinated an Iranian scientist in mid-January. It occurred on the anniversary of the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mugniyeh, which Hezbollah had vowed to avenge. And it happened at the same time as what appeared to be attempted bombings in Bangkok and Tbilisi. But a review of the evidence uncovered thus far makes the link to Iran begin to look very dubious. Instead, it points to the distinct possibility that the Israelis planned a carefully limited bomb attack that was not intended to cause serious injury to Israeli diplomatic personnel, but that would advance the larger Israeli narrative on the need to punish Iran. The evidence surrounding that bomb itself indicates a series of decisions by the terrorist team that is fundamentally inconsistent with an Iranian-Hezbollah revenge bombing.

The preliminary forensic analysis of the bomb itself had estimated it to be 250-300 grams of explosives, but sources in the investigation later reduced the estimate to 200-250 grams. The 250-gram bomb that exploded near the Delhi High Court in May 2011 did not even damage the car under which it had been placed and was characterised by Police Commissioner B K Gupta as a "low-intensity and mild blast". Burning questions The main damage to the Israeli diplomat's car was not from the explosion but from the fire, which burned so slowly that the occupants suffered no burns. If the bomb had been filled with shrapnel of iron filings, nails or glass, or if it had been attached underneath the fuel tank or on the door next to the passenger, that bomb would have seriously injured or killed the passenger, Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the wife of the Israeli Defense Attaché. But Delhi police were able to determine that the bomb contained no such potentially deadly shrapnel. And an examination of the videos and photos of the car after the bombing revealed that the bomb had been attached instead to the rear of the vehicle, where it would have the least impact on the occupants.

Indian investigators obtained a fourth piece of evidence bearing on the intentions of the planners from their interview with Yehoshua-Koren. She told them the bomb did not go off for 30 to 40 seconds after she felt a bump from the rear of the car and saw the motorcyclist go past her window. Indian investigators had assumed that the bomb had operated on a five- or 10-second delay, like other magnet bombs with which they were familiar - only enough time for the motorcyclist to get far enough away from the blast. Yehoshua-Koren did not get out of the car before the bomb went off, and suffered what the Israeli Defense Ministry called "moderate" wounds - evidently from metal fragments from the rear hatch. She was nevertheless able to exit the car and get to the Israeli Embassy without any assistance. Israeli commentary on the bombing suggested that the Iranian-sponsored terrorist team had simply proven to beineffective in carrying out the bombing.

But the combination of these four distinct indicators strongly suggests that the operation was planned so that the passenger in the car would not be injured. Unclear patterns Israel claimed that the evidence links the Delhi bombing to other alleged Iranian-Hezbollah plots in Tbilisi and Bangkok. Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon declared, "It is the same pattern, the same bomb, the same lab, the same factory". But it turns out that there was no similarity whatsoever among the bombs found in the three capitals. The one in Tbilisi was described as a grenade in a plastic bag taped to the bottom of the car, which hardly suggests a serious terror plot. Delhi police discovered that the two magnet bombs found in the house in Bangkok, where an accidental explosion had occurred, contained the much more powerful C-4 explosive as well as shrapnel - both of which were absent from the Delhi bomb.

And, even more interesting, the Bangkok magnet bombs timed for only a five-second delay. That information led investigators in Delhi to conclude that the operations in Delhi and Bangkok were "unrelated". Despite the fact that a group of Iranian passport-holders were clearly involved with highly lethal bombs in Bangkok, there is good reason to doubt that they were working for Iran's IRGC or Hezbollah. They spent their first three days in the country with Thai prostitutes at Pattaya. That profile suggests Iranian mercenaries, like the former kickboxer hired by Mossad to assassinate Iranian scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi in January 2010, rather than Iranian or Hezbollah operatives. India's importance In the larger context, it is very difficult to believe that Iran would have chosen New Delhi as the location for revenge against Israel, given the importance of India as a buyer of Iranian oil and India's delicately balanced political-diplomatic position in the larger conflict.

India had just replaced China as Iran's single biggest crude oil customer, having increased its imports to roughly 550,000 barrels a day in January, which compensated for a drop in sales to China. And the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had resisted pressure from the United States and Europe to reduce its purchases from Iran, even working with Iran to find ways to get around the planned sanctions against Iran's National Bank. India's Commerce Ministry was planning a large business delegation to Iran to discuss increased trade. India had thus taken on the role of potential "spoiler" in the Western sanctions strategy against Iran. This central geopolitical reality prompted New Delhi's "Economic Times" to ask, "Why would Iran go and poke its finger in the eye of its best customer, especially knowing full well that Israel will use even the flimsiest excuse to put the blame on it?" Indeed, it was Israel, not Iran that stood to gain politically from the terrorist car bomb in Delhi.

Israel was well aware that a terrorist bombing in Delhi that could be blamed on Tehran was a potential lever to change India's policy toward Iran. As an Israeli official told the Wall Street Journal, if India were to adopt Netanyahu's position that Iran was responsible for the bombing, it would take the India-Iran relationship to "a whole different level". Nearly two weeks before the bombing, Israel acted to ensure that Indians would assume that a terrorist attack in Delhi on that date had been carried out by Iran. A letter to the Delhi police on February 1 signed by the Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission in Delhi and the First Secretary responsible for security expressed concern that Iran and Hezbollah would take revenge on the anniversary of the Mugniyeh assassination by carrying out terrorist actions against Israelis. It also referred to the possibility of Iranian revenge for the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mustafa Ahmadi Roshan on January 11.

Although the letter did not specify that an attack might take place in Delhi, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo led a delegation of intelligence officials on a visit to Delhi around the same time and turned over a list of 50 Iranian nationals with the request that they be kept under surveillance. The Israeli letter referred to an alleged Hezbollah terror plot against Israelis that had been broken up in Bangkok in January. But the idea of a Hezbollah plan to kill Israelis in Thailand had come only from Israeli intelligence - not from any local sources. The Thai police detained Hussein Atris, a Swedish-Lebanese, in January only because Israeli intelligence officials had told them they "suspected" that he and two other Lebanese, whom they claimed were linked to Hezbollah, might carry out terrorist attacks at tourist sites popular with Israelis.

Atris admitted to owning large supplies of urea fertiliser and ammonium nitrate, which are ingredients in bombs, but Thai investigators concluded that they were not connected to any terror plot in Thailand, because of the absence of any other bomb components. The head of Thailand's National Security Council, General Wichean Potephosree, a former chief of police, expressed doubt that Atris was a terrorist, as Israel had claimed. After the Bangkok explosion, the Israelis renewed the claim of an Iran-Hezbollah terror threat in Bangkok, alleging that the bombs found in in all three capitals in mid-February were "exactly the same kind of devices". But we now know that was not the case. We may never be able to establish with certainty what happened in Delhi, Bangkok and Tbilisi earlier this month, but the evidence that has come to light thus far doesn't support the widely accepted notion that Iran and Hezbollah were behind it.

That evidence is consistent, however, with a clever Israeli "false flag" car bombing operation that would not injure the passenger but would serve its broader strategic interests: dividing India from Iran and pushing US public opinion further towards support for war against Iran.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian journalist on US national security policy with a PhD in South-east Asian studies from Cornell University.

He has taught international studies at City College of New York and American University and has written several books on Vietnam, including Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War (University of California Press, 2005). He has also written on war and diplomacy in Cambodia, Korea and the Philippines.


( Written at the request of Editor, Tribune, Chandigarh)

India has been facing the evil of terrorism since 1971 when two members of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Lahore and set it on fire after asking the passengers and crew to leave the plane.

Except in J&K and the North-East, where the Army had to be asked to take over the leadership of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, in the rest of the country, the responsibility for dealing with terrorism vested with the State Police. In Punjab, it was the Police under the able leadership of K.P.S.Gill, the Director-General of Police, that effectively brought the so-called Khalistani terrorism under control.

In Tamil Nadu, it was again the Police that brought the activities of the so-called Al Umma, a local terrorist organisation, under control. The Police also dealt with the activities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In Mumbai, the successful investigation of the 1993 serial blasts was carried out by the Police. Thus between 1971 and 1993, the Police forces in different States were able to deal effectively with terrorism with the help of intelligence inputs and guidance, where necessary, from the central intelligence agencies.

The infiltration of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other Pakistani terrorist organisations into India----firstly into J&K and subsequently into other States of India--- from 1993 onwards gave a new pan-Indian dimension to the evil of terrorism and made Indian counter-terrorism experts realise that the Police alone, however capable, would not be able to deal with the jihadi octopus of Pakistani origin. The problem was aggravated by the emergence of the so-called Indian Mujahideen in 2007.

The need for a pan-Indian counter-terrorism doctrine and architecture was increasingly felt in the post-1993 years, but unfortunately no action has been taken to evolve such a doctrine and architecture. Despite terrorism of the jihadi kind, originating from Pakistan, assuming a pan-Indian and global dimension, we continued to deal with it in an ad hoc manner with the help of the Police in different States.

The Task Force for the Revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus, headed by G.C.Saxena, former chief of the R&AW, which was set up by the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government in 2000, drew attention to our failure to address the problem of pan-Indian terrorism in a professional manner and suggested the creation of a Counter-Terrorism Centre (CTC) in the Intelligence Bureau to deal with terrorism in a coordinated manner.

The CTC suggested by it was patterned after the CTC of the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was then responsible for counter-terrorism in the US, since the terrorist threats to the US before 9/11 mainly emanated from abroad and were largely directed at US nationals and interests abroad. Since terrorism in India---whether regional or pan-Indian—was largely directed at homeland targets, the Saxena Task Force, of which I was a member, suggested that the proposed CTC should be part of the Intelligence Bureau and should work under the direction of the Director, Intelligence Bureau (DIB).

The CTC, as proposed by the Saxena Task Force, was essentially a preventive architecture responsible for introducing the principle of jointness in preventing terrorism. Jointness meant counter-terrorism experts from different agencies of the Government of India working together under the leadership of the DIB for analysing and assessing the intelligence collected by different agencies and the Police and giving directions for follow-up action.

The idea was that the follow-up action would still be taken by the State Police, but on the guidance and directions of the CTC, which was not given any executive powers of its own. The Vajpayee Government set up the CTC in the IB, but named it the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC). Since it was not given any executive powers to act independently on its own in the jurisdiction of the State Police, there was no objection to its creation from the States.

Before his death in January 2002, R.N.Kao, the founding father of the R&AW, met Vajpayee and told him that without the co-operation of the State Police, the Government of India would not be able to deal with terrorism effectively. He also expressed the view that the National Security Adviser, being an officer of the Indian Foreign Service, with no exposure to the State Police, would not be able to command the required co-operation from the State Police. He, therefore, suggested the creation of a post of Deputy NSA to be manned by a senior officer of the Indian Police Service either from the States or the IB.

Kao told me that Vajpayee reacted positively to his advice and said that he would initiate action for the creation of a post of DyNSA to be manned by a Police officer, who was an expert in internal security and who commanded the confidence of the State Police. By the time this post came into being, Kao passed away. When this post was created, it was filled up by another IFS officer who was an unknown quantity in the States and who had very little expertise in internal security matters.

The 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland brought out inadequacies in the functioning of the CTC of the CIA. It was decided by the George Bush Administration in 2004 to set up an independent organisation called the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) for ensuring jointmanship in dealing with terrorism and place it under the Director, National Intelligence. It also modified the counter-terrorism architecture in the US by creating a Homeland Security Council, which was distinct from the NSC, and placing it under a Homeland Security Adviser, distinct from the NSA.

When the Dr.Manmohan Singh Government came to office in 2004, it created a separate post of Internal Security Adviser on the pattern of the USA’s Homeland Security Adviser and made him exercise leadership in all internal security matters, including counter-terrorism. M.K.Narayanan, former DIB, was appointed to this post.

In 2005, after the death of J.N Dixit, the then National Security Adviser, Narayanan was designated as the NSA and asked to perform both the tasks of co-ordinating external and internal security duties. He was not able to devote adequate attention to internal security matters because of his preoccupation with the negotiation with the US on civil nuclear co-operation.

Internal Security Management in the Centre consequently suffered. The progress in the implementation of the Saxena Task Force’s recommendation on counter-terrorism was slow and no attempt was made to draw up a co-ordinated Counter-Terrorism Doctrine and revamp our counter-terrorism architecture.

The result: The 26/11 terrorist strikes, which dramatically exposed the poor state of our preventive architecture. There was no co-ordinated follow-up action even on the limited intelligence that reportedly came from the US through the R&AW regarding the plans of the LET to launch sea-borne terrorist strikes in Mumbai.

After taking over as the Home Minister post-26/11, Chidambaram, who has assumed total responsibility for counter-terrorism management, has sought to revamp the counter-terrorism architecture. He initiated in particular four steps. Firstly, he decentralised the deployment of the National Security Guards and created the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to improve our investigation capabilities. Secondly, he instituted a system of daily meetings of the intelligence chiefs under his chairmanship to discuss the available intelligence and assess the evolving threats. Thirdly, he speeded up the implementation of the Saxena Task Force recommendation for the Multi-Agency Centre, which had gone into doldrums under Shiv Raj Patil, his predecessor. And fourthly, after a visit to the US, he decided to set up an NCTC partly---not totally--- on the pattern of the USA’s counterpart.

While his first three steps did not meet with any opposition from the States, his attempt to create the NCTC has met with serious opposition because of his decision to keep it as part of the IB and give it independent executive powers of arrest and searches without the prior knowledge of the State Police. His idea probably was that to meet situations where a State Police dragged its feet for making an arrest, the NCTC should have its own powers of arrest so that it could make an arrest, produce the suspect before the Police and direct it to act against him.

This was a major encroachment on the powers of the State Police without the prior concurrence of the States. In his NCTC architecture, Chidambaram has made two significant departures from existing practices in countries such as the US. Instead of making the NCTC an independent institution, he has made it a part of the IB. By giving the NCTC independent powers of arrest, he has violated the widely held principle in other democracies that a clandestine intelligence agency should not have police powers of arrest which could be misused for political purposes.

His failure to consult the States beforehand and his attempt to confront the States with a fait accompli which would have definitely infringed on their rights have created so much opposition that the very principle of jointmanship in preventing terrorism through a body like the NCTC, now stands suspected as a politicised measure to circumvent the States.

Apparently, there were inadequate consultations even at the Centre as one could see from the opposition expressed by an increasing number of ex-R&AW officers to the move to make the NCTC a part of the IB. The controversy has not only become a Centre vs State issue, but is also threatening to become an IB Vs R&AW issue.

At a time when there is an urgent need for unity of action against terrorism, creation of a preventive architecture against terrorism has become a highly contentious and politicised issue. While one has to welcome Chidambaram’s decision to postpone the implementation till belated consultations are held with the States, it is doubtful whether the opposition-ruled States, whose suspicions have been aroused, will now agree to the creation of the NCTC at all even if it is not given executive powers. The whole concept, which is necessary, has become suspect in their eyes. It is very unfortunate.

There is no hurry to create the NCTC now. The MAC could continue to handle the tasks of follow-up action on the intelligence collected and prevention. The States have not objected to the MAC and got used to it. Instead, Chidambaram should focus on revamping the counter-terrorism architecture by making the NCTC an independent institution without executive powers working under the direction of the DIB, who could wear two hats as the head of the IB and of the NCTC. The NCTC could work under the DIB but without becoming a part of the IB. It would be similar to the R&AW and the Directorate-General of Security, which are independent institutions working under Secretary (R ), who wears two hats.

In his address to IB officers in 2010, Chidambaram had suggested the creation of a Ministry of Internal Security to focus exclusively on the operational aspects of Internal Security Management. There has been no follow-up on this since then. The time has come to consider this proposal as part of the over-all revamping. None of these ideas would work unless he manages to reach a political consensus with other political parties and the States. Prior consultations with the States should be sincere and serious and not just a gimmick.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), R&AW, Cabinet Secretariat )