December 15, 2012

Hindu doctor shot dead in Pakistan



December 13, 2012 17:48 IST

A well-known Hindu doctor was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the restive Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan on Thursday, police said.

Lakshmi Chand was going home when two gunmen riding a motorcycle fired at him in Mastung town, police officials said.

Chand was killed instantly and the gunmen fled from the spot. Police sent the body for an autopsy and registered a case.

The motive for the killing could not be immediately ascertained.

Members of the minority Hindu community in Balochistan have been targeted by criminal gangs and extremists in recent months.

Several Hindus, mostly petty traders, have been kidnapped for ransom.


December 13, 2012

Pakistan on the Edge

Author
2012

Publisher: Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA)
Price: Rs 399/- [Download E-Book]

About the Report

The Pakistan Project of IDSA has come up with a second report titled Pakistan on the Edge. This Report takes into account various political developments in Pakistan focusing more on the events of the last two years and analyses its impact on the nation's nascent democracy. The Report takes a broad view of the politics, emerging political alliances, economy, foreign policy, India-Pakistan relations and civil-military relations. Two chapters of this report focus on Pakistan's English and Urdu language print media and how it looks at the critical issues of domestic and foreign policy

Quote of the Day...

"The fallacy of the belief that countries that print their own currency are immune to sovereign crisis will be disproven in the coming months and years. Those that treat this belief as axiomatic will most likely be the biggest losers. A handful of investors and asset managers have recently discussed an emerging school of thought, which postulates that countries, as the sole manufacturer of their currency, can never become insolvent, and in this sense, governments are not dependent on credit markets to remain fiscally operational. It is precisely this line of thinking which will ultimately lead the sheep to slaughter." — Kyle Bass, founder of Hayman Capital Management, L.P.

Monitoring Humanitarian Crises in the Digital Age: Crisis Mapping, Crowdsourcing, and Satellite Imagery


 
Date/Time: 
December 13, 2012 - 9:30am - 11:00am
Location: 
Cambridge, MA, United States 
Website:

https://hsphevents.webex.com/mw0307l/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=hsphevents


Description:

Click here to register for this event.

Developments in digital and communication technology have fueled significant innovations in humanitarian assistance and protection. Crisis mappers have used digital data to track beneficiary needs in real time and have collaborated with UN agencies and NGOs on various humanitarian initiatives. Additionally, images from satellites have helped humanitarians identify threats to civilians; have played a role in advocacy campaigns to raise public awareness about ongoing conflicts; and have been entered as evidence before several international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the European Court of Justice.

While some practitioners highlight the benefits of the unprecedented level of information sharing facilitated by this technology, others warn of the challenges facing this emerging professional sector. In particular, analysts often offer conflicting interpretations of digital data, and various practitioners have expressed concern about the proliferation of flawed analyses. Some humanitarians have also cautioned that the publication of digital data could place civilians at risk by making information available to military actors. Such dilemmas have led to debates over how the humanitarian sector can most effectively harness the full potential of this technology while retaining a principled approach to humanitarianism.

In light of these complexities, this live web seminar will bring together expert practitioners to address the following questions:

  • Have remote monitoring methods enhanced the humanitarian sector's capacity to engage in civilian protection?
  • What measures can help practitioners reach an agreement on interpretive analysis and on key ethical issues, such as how decisions should be made about publicizing information that might place civilians at risk?
  • Given the consensus-based nature of international humanitarian law, what legal and political complexities arise with the capacity to monitor situations from afar without a state's consent?

Panelists:

Patrick Meier, Director of Social & Humanitarian Innovation, Qatar Foundation's Computing Research Institute (QCRI)

Luc St-Pierre, Senior Programme Officer, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

Nathaniel Raymond, Director, Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI)

Moderated By:

Vincenzo Bollettino (Executive Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative)

Rob Grace (Research Associate, HPCR)

Additional Resources

China defence news round-up


Contributor:  Defence IQ Press 

After unveiling its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in September, China has announced that it has successfully completed the landing of J-15 fighter on the vessel. Chinese television showed the fighter being brought to a halt using an arrestor hook and cables, which is a technology the Chinese had not previously demonstrated and indicates a significant moment in its growing sea power.

The Chinese also recently unveiled its range of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for the first time at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. Prior to this many of the models on show had never been seen in public.
China has been on somewhat of a diplomatic surge of late as it seeks to improve military relations with a number of key allies and opponents. Last month Chinese and Sri Lankan officials met to firm up relations and boost defence ties. Liang Guanglie was the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit the island.

In an attempt to allay growing fears among its neighbours and the US, China's Defence Minister Liang Guanglie has said that the country's military build-up is inevitable under the circumstances but that it is nothing to "worry" about.
"The Chinese military must develop, but there's no 'worry' or 'fear' as the outside world says," Guanglie said prior to a meeting with U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. "That's not what China is about."

The Defence Minister went on to say that China and the US should work together more and improve their longstanding frosty relationship. "We should develop the ties between us, between our two militaries, touch on some of our differences, resolve conflicting views … we should push forward the development of our two powers, and push forward the development of a new China-U.S. military relationship," he said. "Our two countries' ties are very important."

In the spirit of improving relations, US and Chinese soldiers completed a week-long disaster rescue exercise in November
"The Chinese and American militaries do have our differences, but it is my belief that it is the indispensable responsibility of the two militaries to join forces in disaster relief," said Maj. Gen. Tang Fen, director of the PLA's Mass Work Office, General Political Department.

Yet at the same time China is also reportedly seeking to increase its military ties with Russia as a direct counterbalance to America's stated intention of pivoting towards Asia. "China would like to work with Russia to implement the next ten-year development programme and key areas of cooperation and maintain the continued development of both overall and military  relations," said outgoing President Hu Jintao.

INSENSITIVE TIMING OF REHMAN MALIK’S VISIT TO INDIA

B.RAMAN


If NaMo, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had been well-advised, instead of raising the issue of Sir Creek, he would have raised the insensitive timing of the official visit of Mr. Rehman Malik, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, to India at the invitation of Shri Shushil Kumar Shinde, our Home Minister. His visit is scheduled to take place from December 14,2012,a day after the 11th anniversary of the attack on the Indian Parliament by Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorists on December 13,2001. This is not only an insult to the memory of the security forces personnel who were killed during the attack, but a reminder of the embarrassing fact that 40 years after Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) started using sponsored-terrorism against India, we are still without an effective answer to it.


2.One can't have an objection to Mr.Malik being invited to India to launch the new visa liberalisation measures, but this was not the time to do so. ISI officers will see in the timing of the visit a confirmation of their belief that India does not have the will to fight their use of terrorism against us.


3.Pakistan will try to project that with the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani  terrorist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET),  and its seeming pursuit of the trial against the main Pakistan-based conspirators of the 26/11 terrorist strikes, the terrorism chapter in Indo-Pakistan relations is about to be over and a new chapter can begin.


4. It is important to make it clear to Mr.Malik and other Pakistani leaders as well as to the international community that our battle against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism will continue so long as Pakistan does not act against all terrorists operating from sanctuaries in Pakistan and does not wind up the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory.


5.Since March 1993,the ISI has been responsible for a series of mass fatality terrorism against us. The attack on our Parliament in 2001 and the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai were acts of indirect aggression against India as per some resolutions of the UN General Assembly passed on the question of state-sponsored terrorism. All these attacks against our nationals, interests and sense of honour have remained without an appropriate response from our Government and political leadership.


6.The 26/11 strikes were qualitatively different and graver than the other acts sponsored by the ISI in Indian territory. For the first time in the history of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, foreign nationals---including Americans and Israelis—were targeted and brutally killed. It was an attack not only on India, but also on the international community.


7. Any self-respecting nation would have seen that Pakistan paid an appropriate price for the attack. The relatives of the foreign nationals killed should have been mobilised to pursue the senior officers of the ISI before courts of their countries for their involvement. We not only failed to retaliate against the terrorist leaders in Pakistan, but also failed to mobilise the relatives of the foreign victims.


8. I am all for good relations with Pakistan. Even Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee sought good relations. But good relations do not mean letting Pakistan get away with its use of terrorism against us.


9. Our battle against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism began in 1981.It has to continue without closure till we ultimately prevail. It has to be made clear to Mr.Malik that there will be no closure till terrorism originating from Pakistan ends.


10. I do not have the confidence that Dr.Manmohan Singh and Shri Shinde will vigorously articulate our position to Mr.Malik. Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Shri Rahul Gandhi do not understand the anger on this issue in the hearts and minds of innumerable Indians. This has to be done by the opposition leaders and the public. Let this be raised loud and clear during the remaining two days of the election campaign in Gujarat. ( 13-12-12)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

Is Boko Haram More Dangerous Than Ever?

December 13, 2012 | 1102 GMT

By Scott Stewart
Vice President of Analysis

On Nov. 25, Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group from northern Nigeria, attacked a church in Jaji, Kaduna state, using two suicide bombers during the church's weekly religious service. The first bomb detonated in a vehicle driven into the church, and the second detonated approximately 10 minutes later, when a crowd of first responders gathered at the scene. About 30 people were killed in the attacks; the second blast caused the majority of the deaths. The incident was particularly symbolic because Jaji is the home of Nigeria's Armed Forces Command and Staff College, and many of the churchgoers were senior military officers.

In the wake of the Jaji attacks, media reports quoted human rights groups saying that Boko Haram has killed more people in 2012 than ever before. The group has killed roughly 770 people this year, leading many to conclude that Boko Haram has become more dangerous.

However, it is important to look beyond the sheer number of fatalities when drawing such conclusions about a group like Boko Haram. Indeed, a less cursory look at the group reveals that while 2012 has been a particularly deadly year, the Nigerian government has curtailed the group's capabilities. In terms of operational planning, the group has been limited to simple attacks against soft targets in or near its core territory. In other words, Boko Haram remains deadly, but it is actually less capable than it used to be, relegating the group to a limited, regional threat unless this dynamic is somehow altered. 

Boko Haram's Rise

Boko Haram, Hausa for "Western Education is Sinful," was established in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state. It has since spread to several other northern and central Nigerian states. Its official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, Arabic for "Group Committed to Propagating the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad." While Boko Haram is a relatively new phenomenon, Nigeria has struggled with militant Islamism for decades. For example, the Maitatsine sect, led by Mohammed Marwa, fomented violence in the early 1980s in the very same cities that Boko Haram is presently active.

Initially, Boko Haram incited sectarian violence and attacked Christians with clubs, machetes and small arms. But by 2010, the group had added Molotov cocktails and simple improvised explosive devices to its arsenal. In 2011, Boko Haram made a major operational leap when it unexpectedly began to use large suicide vehicle bombs. They were used first in the botched attack against the national police headquarters in Abuja in June 2011, and they were later used in the more successful attack against a U.N. compound in Abuja in August 2011.

The leap from simple attacks in Boko Haram's core areas to sophisticated attacks using large vehicle bombs in the nation's capital skipped several steps in the normal progression of militant operations. The group's progression suggested that it had received outside training or assistance. The sudden increase in operational capacity appeared to have corroborated reports circulating at that time of Boko Haram militants attending training camps run by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

This rapid progression, which came in the wake of a Nigerian operative being involved in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's plot to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner, led to a concern that Boko Haram had the capability and the intent to become the next transnational jihadist franchise capable of threatening the United States and Europe. These fears were further stoked by warnings from the U.S. government in November 2011 that Boko Haram was planning to attack Western hotels in Abuja.

Dynamic Changes

To counter the perceived growing Boko Haram threat, the Nigerian government, aided by intelligence and training provided by the United States and its European allies, launched a major offensive against the group. Since January, the government has arrested or killed several leaders of Boko Haram, disrupted a number of cells and dismantled numerous bombmaking facilities. In addition to government efforts, there has been a grassroots backlash against Boko Haram, as evidenced by the formation of anti-Boko Haram militant group Jama'atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan, or "Supporters of Muslims in the Lands of Sudan," commonly known as Ansaru.

Is Boko Haram More Dangerous Than Ever?
Boko Haram has lashed out viciously against these countermeasures. From June to August, the group conducted nine suicide bombings, mostly directed against churches and police or military targets in its home territory. Since August, the operational tempo of its suicide bombings has slowed to about one attack a month. Boko Haram operatives have also conducted a number of armed attacks and non-suicide bombing attacks. Many of these were directed against churches and police or military targets, but several of them were also directed against mosques that denounced Boko Haram. Despite warnings that Boko Haram would target Western hotels in Abuja, the group has not attacked an international target since the U.N. building in August 2011.

Boko Haram activity has remained heavily concentrated in its core areas with occasional operations in Abuja. There have been only two Boko Haram attacks in Abuja in 2012: a large suicide vehicle bombing attack against a newspaper office in April and a small bombing attack against a nightclub in June. It appears that the group's ability to conduct large attacks in Abuja has been constrained by government operations. 

Tactically, Boko Haram's attacks in 2012 have focused almost exclusively on soft targets. Even its attacks against military and police targets have been directed against police on patrol or isolated police stations with little security or have been a target like the church at the military base in Jaji.

So while Boko Haram progressed rapidly in terms of operational ability in 2011, it is still struggling to conduct sustained operations outside its core geographic territory, and it has yet to successfully strike a hardened target. Even the August 2011 attack against the United Nations, while demonstrating some geographic reach and a focus on an international target, was directed against a relatively soft target instead of a harder target like a government ministry building or a foreign embassy. It is also notable that the group has not conducted an attack in Lagos, Nigeria's most populous city, or in Niger, Chad or Cameroon, which are all closer to the Boko Haram home territories than Lagos.

However, in Nigeria, the use of militant proxies has long been part of the political process. Just as Niger Delta politicians have used groups like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta for their own purposes, politicians in Nigeria's northeast have supported and used Boko Haram. In fact, an alleged senior member of the group was arrested at the home of a Nigerian senator in Maiduguri in October 2012, and a previous governor of Borno state is allegedly a sponsor of the group.

This type of political and financial support means that despite the efforts of the central government, the group will not be easily or quickly eradicated. Any serious attempt to curtail the group will require a political solution, which will be highly unlikely during the next two years due to the usefulness of such proxies in the lead-up to Nigerian national elections in early 2015. Therefore, the central government's options will be limited. The best it can hope for is to continue to pursue the group to contain it and limit its reach and lethality.

Certainly, Boko Haram retains the capability to kill people, especially in attacks against vulnerable targets on its home turf. But as long as the Nigerian government maintains pressure on the group and as long as the group remains on the defensive, Boko Haram is unlikely to be able to further develop its operational capabilities and pose an existential threat to the Nigerian government -- let alone become a transnational terrorist threat.



Read more: Is Boko Haram More Dangerous Than Ever? | Stratfor 

December 12, 2012

THE DIVIDED OCEANS: - Towards a larger Asia-Pacific security architecture




Kanwal Sibal




The security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, which American 're-balancing' towards Asia and Barack Obama's tour of some Asian countries so early into his second presidency seek to address, are many and complex. Territorial disputes remain sharp in the region. China lays claim to Indian territory and so does Pakistan. Afghanistan and Pakistan have border differences. China has maritime territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Taiwan is also party to these disputes, besides China itself having sovereignty claims over Taiwan. Japan and Russia have an outstanding dispute over the Kuril Islands.

The problem of terrorism is more acute in this region than anywhere else. Pakistan, along with the border areas of Afghanistan, is a breeding ground of terrorism targeting India and Afghanistan, and creating a sense of vulnerability in Central Asia. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have seen terrorism on their soil. So has China in Xinjiang. Terrorism has afflicted Thailand and Indonesia. Nuclear proliferation is a problem in the two extremities of this region, in Iran and North Korea. At the eastern end, the threat of a military strike against Iran is real despite the position of Russia and China, while it is most unlikely against North Korea at the western end in deference to China's opposition.

The presence of the United States of America in the region is substantial, with its Seventh Fleet as well as military bases in Japan, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Diego Garcia. With concerns about China's rise in mind, the US is reinforcing its military assets in the region further. The US defence secretary has described India, a bit exaggeratedly no doubt, as a "lynchpin" of this new strategy. In any case, this shows the direction of American thinking in terms of partnering with India strategically in this region.
With its Fifth Fleet and bases in the Gulf countries, the US has now a presence in the western end of the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz. Apart from putting pressure on Iran, the US claims that this presence is intended to maintain stability in the region and ensure uninterrupted supplies of oil and gas to American friends and allies, more so now that the US imports only 10 per cent of its hydrocarbon needs, and even this figure will decline with huge discoveries of shale gas in the US.

The US navy has a sizable presence in the Indian Ocean for assuring the security of sea-lanes of communication. For this, it has been engaging the Indian navy in a big way, with the two countries holding frequent naval exercises together. These exercises are now being held also in the trilateral India-US-Japan format.

It is argued that while the security architectures during the Cold War were based primarily on military alliances, the need today is to base these architectures on shared values, interests and challenges. This Euro-Atlantic-centric view is debatable, as China, India and scores of non-aligned countries were outside the Cold War alliance systems. Today, Nato not only exists, its membership has been expanded and its role has been geographically extended. Nato operated in Yugoslavia and Iraq. It is operating in Afghanistan; it acted in Libya. The US has declared its intention to strengthen its military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia is working to strengthen the Collective Security Treaty Organization in the erstwhile Soviet space. It is wrong to downplay too much the security role of military alliances today.

The idea of basing the new security architectures on "shared values" is also a Euro-Atlantic view. What are these "shared values": those of democracy, pluralism, human rights and so on? But then, there are serious differences over these issues. Many countries are either not democratic or have their own concept of democracy. There is serious opposition to what is seen as the US crusade for democracy for geopolitical reasons, a tendency to impose it by force at great human cost, and double standards in the application of this principle.

Similarly, the human rights issue has been highly politicized by the West, there is selectivity in its application and the critics believe the issue has been used cynically for regime change, among other things. So, can the new security architectures be built on highly contested notions in their controversial practical application? Can the US, Russia and China be brought on a common platform on them, not to mention many others, including the Islamic countries?
The question arises whether the Indian and Pacific Oceans constitute a single strategic space? The answer would be "yes" from the US navy's point of view with its responsibilities extending across the two oceans. It could be true for India, which dominates the Indian Ocean geographically, only in the specific context of the expansion of the Chinese blue-water navy and its future ability to break through the first and second chain of islands and establish an increasing presence in the Pacific and eventually in the Indian Ocean, for which China is already creating the basis.

Our navy signals its ability to operate far from Indian shores by, for instance, periodically holding exercises with the Russian navy at Vladivostok. The Pacific is also the venue now of the trilateral India-US-Japan naval exercises. But the Pacific Ocean is too vast for India to have strategic interest in it. As regards the security of sea-lanes of communication, the problem pertains largely to the Indian Ocean area, from the Strait of Hormuz through the Malacca Strait to the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, not the Pacific as such.

The energy and trade flows across these waters are huge and vital for the economies of Japan, South Korea and China. In this vast stretch, there are problems of piracy in the southern Indian Ocean area off the coast of Somalia, but no issues of sovereignty that can threaten international navigation rights, except in the South China Sea. All concerned countries would not want these vital lanes to be interfered with in case of tensions or conflict, but how to ensure this?
For the moment, the two navies best placed to provide security in much of this area are the US and Indian navies, but countries like China may want an independent capacity to do so. This is where geo-political concerns come into play and can be a source of mistrust and problems. The challenge is for all to agree to certain rules of the road and norms of conduct. A wider Asia-Pacific security architecture will not be easy to build. Other continents have continental-scale organizations, but not Asia. There are too many players with conflicting interests and ambitions. Several disputes remain unresolved. The world-view as well as political, social and religious values of countries differ.

It would be more realistic to first build bilateral understandings between countries that have differences and then seek to widen the circle of these understandings to solidify them at the multilateral level in an incremental process. As bilateral relations between key countries markedly improve, existing organizations like SCO, SAARC, ECO, CSTO, ARF, IOC-ARC, BIMST-EC, and the East Asia Summit could become the building blocks of a larger Asia-Pacific security architecture. But that seems far away for now.
The author is former foreign secretary of India

INSENSITIVE TIMING OF REHMAN MALIK'S VISIT TO INDIA




B.RAMAN

If NaMo, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had been well-advised, instead of raising the issue of Sir Creek, he would have raised the insensitive timing of the official visit of Mr. Rehman Malik, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, to India at the invitation of Shri Shushil Kumar Shinde, our Home Minister. His visit is scheduled to take place from December 14,2012,a day after the 11th anniversary of the attack on the Indian Parliament by Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorists on December 13,2001. This is not only an insult to the memory of the security forces personnel who were killed during the attack, but a reminder of the embarrassing fact that 40 years after Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) started using sponsored-terrorism against India, we are still without an effective answer to it.

2.One can't have an objection to Mr.Malik being invited to India to launch the new visa liberalisation measures, but this was not the time to do so. ISI officers will see in the timing of the visit a confirmation of their belief that India does not have the will to fight their use of terrorism against us.

3.Pakistan will try to project that with the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani  terrorist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET),  and its seeming pursuit of the trial against the main Pakistan-based conspirators of the 26/11 terrorist strikes, the terrorism chapter in Indo-Pakistan relations is about to be over and a new chapter can begin.

4. It is important to make it clear to Mr.Malik and other Pakistani leaders as well as to the international community that our battle against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism will continue so long as Pakistan does not act against all terrorists operating from sanctuaries in Pakistan and does not wind up the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory.

5.Since March 1993,the ISI has been responsible for a series of mass fatality terrorism against us. The attack on our Parliament in 2001 and the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai were acts of indirect aggression against India as per some resolutions of the UN General Assembly passed on the question of state-sponsored terrorism. All these attacks against our nationals, interests and sense of honour have remained without an appropriate response from our Government and political leadership.

6.The 26/11 strikes were qualitatively different and graver than the other acts sponsored by the ISI in Indian territory. For the first time in the history of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, foreign nationals---including Americans and Israelis—were targeted and brutally killed. It was an attack not only on India, but also on the international community.

7. Any self-respecting nation would have seen that Pakistan paid an appropriate price for the attack. The relatives of the foreign nationals killed should have been mobilised to pursue the senior officers of the ISI before courts of their countries for their involvement. We not only failed to retaliate against the terrorist leaders in Pakistan, but also failed to mobilise the relatives of the foreign victims.

8. I am all for good relations with Pakistan. Even Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee sought good relations. But good relations do not mean letting Pakistan get away with its use of terrorism against us.

9. Our battle against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism began in 1981.It has to continue without closure till we ultimately prevail. It has to be made clear to Mr.Malik that there will be no closure till terrorism originating from Pakistan ends.

10. I do not have the confidence that Dr.Manmohan Singh and Shri Shinde will vigorously articulate our position to Mr.Malik. Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and Shri Rahul Gandhi do not understand the anger on this issue in the hearts and minds of innumerable Indians. This has to be done by the opposition leaders and the public. Let this be raised loud and clear during the remaining two days of the election campaign in Gujarat. ( 13-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

December 11, 2012

Afghan may be focus of future Indo-Pak rivalry: US

Press Trust of India , Lalit K Jha : 
Washington, Tue Dec 11 2012, 02:40 hrs

 

Another Mumbai-style terror attack on India emanating from Pakistan holds the potential of triggering off a nuclear confrontation, a report by the US intelligence said today, identifying Afghanistan as the next focus of a future rivalry between the two countries.The report, however, said that normalisation of Indo-Pak trade would be a critical factor in building trust between the two countries over the next few years."India worries about a second Mumbai-style terrorist attack from militants backed by Pakistan. A major incident with many casualties and Pakistani fingerprints would put a weakened Indian Government under tremendous pressure to respond with force, with the attendant risk of nuclear miscalculation," said the report.
Pakistan's large and fast-growing nuclear arsenal in addition to its doctrine of "first use" is intended to deter and balance against India's conventional military advantages, said the fifth installment of the 'Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,' of National Intelligence Council (NIC).

According to the NIC report, running into more than 150 pages, Afghanistan could become the focus of future Indian-Pakistani competition, particularly after the drawdown in US and NATO forces post-2014.
"Both countries want to deny giving the other a strategy advantage, making regional cooperation difficult. More broadly, conflicting strategic goals, widespread distrust, and hedging strategies of all Afghanistan's neighbours - not just India and Pakistan - will make it difficult to develop a strong regional security framework," it said.
The NIC said like Middle East, South Asia will face a series of internal and external shocks over next 15-20 years.
"Impacts from climate change, including water stress, in addition to low economic growth, rising food prices, and energy shortages will pose stiff challenges to governance in Pakistan and Afghanistan," it said.
"Afghanistan's and Pakistan's youth bulges are large -similar in size to those found in many African countries - and when combined with slow - growing economies portend increased social instability," it said, adding that India is in a better position, benefiting from higher growth, but New Delhi will still be challenged to find jobs for its large youthful population.
"Inequality, lack of infrastructure, and educational deficiencies are key weaknesses in India. India also faces an intransigent rural insurgency - the Naxalites - which constitutes an internal security challenge.

"Rapid urbanisation in India and Pakistan almost certainly will transform their political landscapes from more traditional control by rural elites to one shaped by a growing pool of urban poor and middle class," it said.
NIC said in a 'Turn-the-Corner scenario', sustained economic growth in Pakistan based on the gradual normalisation of trade with a rising India would be a critical factor.
An improved economic environment would produce more opportunities for youth entering the workforce, lessening the attractiveness of militancy and containing the violence.
"Intra-regional trade would also be important in building trust between India and Pakistan, slowly changing threat perceptions and anchoring sectors with vested interests in continuing economic cooperation," it said.

"Just as China's economic engine transformed its relations with neighbours from the early 1990s, so a strong economic engine in India could lay down new foundations for prosperity and regional cooperation in South Asia," the report said.
However, if influence of radical Islamists in Pakistan and Taliban in Afghanistan grows, a symbiotic relationship would deepen between the military and the Islamists, and the Army would be more willing to engage in negotiations with the extremists, the NIC said.
In case of social unrest in Pakistan and Afghanistan, "India would be left trying to defend against the spillover of militancy, increased tensions in Kashmir, and potential radicalisation of its Muslim populations. Rather than uplifting its neighbors as in the Turn-the-Corner scenario, India would be dragged down by them, challenging its ability to play a more global role," it said.
It said countries like Pakistan and Iran - who feel threatened by what they perceive as stronger regional or global powers - may continue to use terrorist groups as proxies for the next few years.

"States such as Pakistan and Iran feel threatened by what they perceive as stronger, threatening powers in their regions or globally," said the fifth installment of the 'Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds' of National Intelligence Council.
The report said that such states choose to exploit terrorist movements out of a strong sense of insecurity.
"Therefore, they seek asymmetric options to assert power and deter attack; using terrorist groups as proxies and pursuing nuclear weapons are two such asymmetric tools.
"However, international disapproval of state support for terrorist movements has increased significantly, and the costs to a regime of directly supporting terrorists looks set to become even greater as international cooperation increases," the report said.

It noted that due to several circumstances, the recent religious wave of terrorism is receding and could end by 2030.
"Terrorism is unlikely to die completely, however, because it has no single cause," it said.
According to the report, nuclear powers such as Russia and Pakistan and potential aspirants such as Iran and North Korea see atomic weapons as compensation for other political and security weaknesses, heightening the risk of their use.
"The chance of non-state actors conducting a cyber-attack or using WMD is also increasing," it said.

The Israeli Periphery


December 11, 2012 | 1100 GMT

Stratfor

By Reva Bhalla
Vice President of Global Affairs

The state of Israel has a basic, inescapable geopolitical dilemma: Its national security requirements outstrip its military capabilities, making it dependent on an outside power. Not only must that power have significant military capabilities but it also must have enough common ground with Israel to align its foreign policy toward the Arab world with that of Israel's. These are rather heavy requirements for such a small nation.

Security, in the Israeli sense, is thus often characterized in terms of survival. And for Israel to survive, it needs just the right blend of geopolitical circumstance, complex diplomatic arrangements and military preparedness to respond to potential threats nearby. Over the past 33 years, a sense of complacency settled over Israel and gave rise to various theories that it could finally overcome its dependency on outside powers. But a familiar sense of unease crept back into the Israeli psyche before any of those arguments could take root. A survey of the Israeli periphery in Egypt, Syria and Jordan explains why.

Maintaining the Sinai Buffer

To Israel's southwest lies the Sinai Desert. This land is economically useless; only hardened Bedouins who sparsely populate the desert expanse consider the terrain suitable for living. This makes the Sinai an ideal buffer. Its economic lifelessness gives it extraordinary strategic importance in keeping the largest Arab army -- Egypt's -- at a safe distance from Israeli population centers. It is the maintenance of this buffer that forms the foundation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The question percolating in Israeli policy circles is whether an Islamist Egypt will give the same level of importance to this strategic buffer. The answer to that question rests with the military, an institution that has formed the backbone of the Egyptian state since the rise of Gamel Abdul Nasser in 1952.

Achieving National Security in the Periphery
Over the past month, the military's role in this new Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt quietly revealed itself. The first test came in the form of the Gaza crisis, when the military quietly negotiated security guarantees with Israel while the Muslim Brotherhood basked in the diplomatic spotlight. The second test came when Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, attempted a unilateral push on a constitutional draft to institutionalize the Muslim Brotherhood's hold on power.

The military bided its time, waiting for the protests to escalate to the point that rioters began targeting the presidential palace. By then, it was apparent that the police were not to be fully relied on to secure the streets. Morsi had no choice but to turn to the military for help, and that request revealed how indispensable the military is for Egyptian stability.

There will be plenty of noise and confusion in the lead-up to the Dec. 15 referendum as the secular, anti-Muslim Brotherhood civilian opposition continues its protests against Morsi. But filter through that noise, and one can see that the military and the Muslim Brotherhood appear to be adjusting slowly to a new order of Nasserite-Islamist rule. Unlike the 1979 peace treaty, this working arrangement between the military and the Islamists is alive and temperamental. Israel can find some comfort in seeing that the military remains central to the stability of the Egyptian state and will thus likely play a major role in protecting the Sinai buffer. However, merely observing this dance between the military and the Islamists from across the desert is enough to unnerve Israel and justify a more pre-emptive military posture on the border.

Defending Galilee

Israel lacks a good buffer to its north. The most natural, albeit imperfect, line of defense is the Litani River in modern-day Lebanon, with a second line of defense between Mount Hermon and the Sea of Galilee. Modern-day Israel encompasses this second barrier, a hilly area that has been the target of sporadic mortar shelling from Syrian government forces in pursuit of Sunni rebels.

Israel does not face a conventional military threat to its north, nor will it for some time. But the descent of the northern Levant into sectarian-driven, clan-based warfare presents a different kind of threat on Israel's northern frontier.

It is only a matter of time before Alawite forces will have to retreat from Damascus and defend themselves against a Sunni majority from their coastal enclave. The conflict will necessarily subsume Lebanon, and the framework that Israel has relied on for decades to manage more sizable, unconventional threats like Hezbollah will come undone.

Somewhere along the way, there will be an internationally endorsed attempt to prop up a provisional government and maintain as much of the state machinery as possible to avoid the scenario of a post-U.S. invasion Iraq. But when decades-old, sectarian-driven vendettas are concerned, there is cause for pessimism in judging the viability of those plans. Israel cannot avoid thinking in terms of worst-case scenarios, so it will continue to reinforce its northern defenses ahead of more instability.

Neutralizing the Jordan River Valley

The status of the Jordan River Valley is essential to Israel's sense of security to the east. So long as Israel can dominate the west bank of the river (the biblical area of Judea and Samaria, or the modern-day West Bank) then it can overwhelm indigenous forces from the desert farther east. To keep this arrangement intact, Israel will somehow attempt to politically neutralize whichever power controls the east bank of the Jordan River. In the post-Ottoman Middle East, this power takes the form of the Hashemite monarchs, who were transplanted from Arabia by the British.

The vulnerability that the Hashemites felt as a foreign entity in charge of economically lackluster terrain created ideal conditions for Israel to protect its eastern approach. The Hashemites had to devise complex political arrangements at home to sustain the monarchy in the face of left-wing Nasserist, Palestinian separatist and Islamist militant threats. The key to Hashemite survival was in aligning with the rural East Bank tribes, co-opting the Palestinians and cooperating with Israel in security issues to keep its western frontier calm. In short, the Hashemites were vulnerable enough for Israel to be considered a useful security partner but not so vulnerable that Israel couldn't rely on the regime to protect its eastern approach. There was a level of tension that was necessary to maintain the strategic partnership, but that level of tension had to remain within a certain band.

That arrangement is now under considerable stress. The Hashemites are facing outright calls for deposition from the same tribal East Bankers, Palestinians and Islamists that for decades formed the foundation of the state. That is because the state itself is weakening under the pressure of high oil prices, now sapping at the subsidies that have been relied on to tame the population.

One could assume that Jordan's oil-rich Gulf Arab neighbors would step in to defend one of the region's remaining monarchies of the post-Ottoman order against a rising tide of Muslim Brotherhood-led Islamism with heavily subsidized energy sales. However, a still-bitter, age-old geopolitical rivalry between the Hejaz-hailing Hashemite dynasty and the Nejd-hailing Saudi dynasty over supremacy in Arabia is getting in the way. From across the Gulf, an emboldened Iran is already trying to exploit this Arab tension by cozying up to the Hashemites with subsidized energy sales to extend Tehran's reach into the West Bank and eventually threaten Israel. Jordan has publicly warded off Iran's offer, and significant logistical challenges may inhibit such cooperation. But ongoing negotiations between Iran's allies in Baghdad and the Jordanian regime bear close watching as Jordan's vulnerabilities continue to rise at home.

Powerful Partners Abroad

In this fluctuating strategic environment, Israel cannot afford to be isolated politically. Its need for a power patron will grow alongside its insecurities in its periphery. Israel's current patron, the United States, is also grappling with the emerging Islamist order in the region. But in this new regional dynamic, the United States will eventually look past ideology in search of partners to help manage the region. As U.S.-Turkish relations in recent years and the United States' recent interactions with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood reveal, it will be an awkward and bumpy experience while Washington tries to figure out who holds the reins of power and which brand of Islamists it can negotiate with amid messy power transitions. This is much harder for Israel to do independently by virtue of ideology, size and location.

Israel's range of maneuver in foreign policy will narrow considerably as it becomes more dependent on external powers and as its interests clash with those of its patrons. Israel is in store for more discomfort in its decision-making and more creativity in its diplomacy. The irony is that while Israel is a western-style democracy, it was most secure in an age of Arab dictatorships. As those dictatorships give way to weak and in some cases crumbling states, Israeli survival instincts will again be put to the test.



Read more: The Israeli Periphery | Stratfor 

'No problem if Kabul seeks direct military help from India'




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Agencies : Washington, Tue Dec 11 2012, 10:43 hrs



The US has said it will have no problem if Afghanistan seeks any direct military assistance from India for its armed forces in dealing with security issues born out of insurgent activities in the country.

"We have had discussions with the Indians about this issue and about the Afghans, and I don't see any particular problems with the overall approach here at all," a senior Defence Department official said yesterday.

Reportedly the official requesting anonymity said that Afghan military commanders and intelligence officials have begun urging India to provide direct military assistance to the country's fledgling armed forces.

The report claimed that key military equipment including medium trucks with capacity of carrying 2.5-7 tonne cargos, bridge-laying equipment and engineering facilities, light mountain artillery along with ordnance were sought by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

India was also requested to help Afghanistan build close air-support capabilities for its troops in preparation of drastic scaling-down of western forces in 2014, it said.
The official said the US and Afghanistan have jointly developed a "fairly aggressive" plan that includes broad range of support from the international community for developing capabilities that Afghanistan needs to address security issues born out of insurgent activities
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"We think it's important to continue working on the lines of that agreed plan," the official said, praising role played by India in Afghanistan.
"India has been very supportive of Afghanistan in a wide range of areas. We think that's been very positive," the official said after the Pentagon submitted to the Congress a bi-yearly report on the progress being made in Afghanistan.

Although India has been involved in major infrastructure projects in Afghanistan besides agreements on cooperation in fields like governance, economics and education, New Delhi may choose to broaden its reach into the investment as well as the development sector by bidding on future tenders for mineral extraction there, the paper commented.

Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World


I herewith attach the US Strategy for 2030 published by Atlantic Council yesterday. 

You may download the same from the link. http://www.acus.org/publication/envisioning-2030-us-strategy-post-western-world


Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World is a report released today by the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative that urges the Obama Administration to seize a historic opportunity to ensure America's global interests over the long term. It outlines a US leadership strategy for the period ahead to 2030 and offers policy approaches in key subject areas to ensure a positive outcome at this inflection point toward a "post-Western world," given historic shifts in political and economic influence.

Offered as a companion to the US National Intelligence Council (NIC)'s Global Trends 2030 quadrennial assessment released today, the Council's Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World surveys the emerging economic and geopolitical landscape; it describes the unprecedented policy challenges that landscape presents; and it outlines a US strategy to avoid a zero-sum, conflictual future and move toward a more cooperative and prosperous 2030. Six elements of strategy for President Obama emerge from this report:

  • Frame second-term policies from a more strategic and long-term perspective, recognizing the magnitude of the moment and the likelihood that the United States' actions now will have generational consequences.
  • Continue to emphasize "nation-building at home" as the first foreign policy priority, without neglecting its global context.
  • Recognize that the United States must energetically act to shape dynamic, uncertain global trends, or it will be shaped unfavorably by them.
  • Pursue more collaborative forms of leadership through deepening current alliances and interacting more effectively with a diverse set of actors. Most importantly, it must reinforce its strategic base: the transatlantic relationship.
  • Deepen cooperation with China as the most crucial single factor that will shape the international system in 2030.
  • Creatively address the locus of instability in the 21st century—the greater Middle East from North Africa to Pakistan—a major threat to US strategy and world order.
  • "The United States has something rare among history's great powers—a second chance at molding the international system to secure its long-term interests," said Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe. "No other nation is likely to have as much impact in influencing the global future. Yet in a more complex and competitive world, the US margin of error is smaller."