December 21, 2012

In Pakistan, Mixed Results From a Peshawar Attack


December 20, 2012 | 1103 GMT

By Ben West

The Pakistani Taliban continue to undermine Pakistan's government and military establishment, and in doing so, they continue to raise questions over the security of the country's nuclear arsenal. On Dec. 15, 10 militants armed with suicide vests and grenades attacked Peshawar Air Force Base, the site of a third major operation by the Pakistani Taliban since May 2011. Tactically, the attack was relatively unsuccessful -- all the militants were killed, and the perimeter of the air base was not breached -- but the Pakistani Taliban nonetheless achieved their objective. 

The attack began the night of Dec. 15 with a volley of three to five mortar shells. As the shells were fired, militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device near the perimeter wall of the air base. Reports indicate that all five militants inside the vehicle were killed. The other five militants engaged security forces in a nearby residential area and eventually were driven back before they could enter the air base. The next day, security forces acting on a report of suspicious activity confronted the militants, who all died in the resultant shootout.

Pakistani security forces came away from the incident looking very good. They prevented a large and seemingly coordinated team of militants from entering the confines of the base and thus from damaging civilian and military aircraft. Some of Pakistan's newly acquired Chinese-Pakistani made JF-17s, are stationed at the air base, and worth roughly $20 million each, they were probably the militants ultimate targets.

Another reason the militants may have chosen the base is its location. Peshawar Air Force Base is the closest base to the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan, where Pakistani and U.S. forces are clashing with Taliban militants who threaten Islamabad and Kabul. The air base is most likely a hub for Pakistan's air operations against those militants. The Dec. 15 attack killed one police officer and a few other civilians, but it did no damage to the air base, the adjacent civilian airport or their respective aircraft. Flights were postponed for only a couple of hours as security forces cleared the area.

Tactics and Previous Attacks

Major military bases in Pakistan have been attacked before. In May 2011, Pakistani Taliban militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and firearms destroyed two P-3C maritime surveillance aircraft and killed 10 soldiers during an attack on Mehran Naval Air Base in Karachi. The militants entered the base by cutting through the fence.

More recently, seven Pakistani Taliban militants scaled the walls of Minhas Air Force Base in Kamra before killing a soldier and damaging a Ukrainian transport aircraft. They were pushed back before they could damage the squadron of F-16 fighter aircraft stationed at the base.

The Dec. 15 attack was not nearly as destructive as these other attacks, probably because half the militants were killed immediately in the explosion at the perimeter. Their deaths suggest the device detonated earlier than expected or that they were not far enough from the device when it exploded. It is unclear why they died, but the device could have detonated prematurely for several reasons. There could have been a glitch in the construction or detonation of the device. Otherwise, it could have been the result of the security forces' countermeasures (something officials have not yet claimed). Had the militants survived the explosion and breached the perimeter, they might have been more successful against security.

The Dec. 15 attack also differs from the previous two attacks tactically. Whereas militants stealthily entered the bases in Kamra and Karachi, the militants who attacked the base in Peshawar used mortars and explosives because the wall -- roughly eight feet high and topped with barbed wire -- could not be cut or climbed easily. These tactics are much more aggressive than the two previous air base attacks, and therefore they immediately caught the attention of security forces. Indeed, security forces in the vicinity would have heard mortar shells and explosions. But just as important, mortar shells and explosions create flames that security forces can use to pinpoint the attack and respond quickly.

It is hard to say whether the combination and coordination of mortar fire, explosives and a direct ground assault with firearms would have resulted in a successful attack even if half the militants had not died in the initial explosion. They certainly would have been greatly outnumbered. The few mortar shells fired at the base may have suppressed forces momentarily, but the militants did not sustain their indirect cover fire, which eventually allowed security forces more mobility in responding. In any case, breaching the wall with an explosion sacrifices the element of surprise too early -- outside the base rather than inside -- reducing the amount of time the assailants have to find their targets before security could respond.

A final reason the attack failed may have been the fact that the threat was known about weeks earlier. In late November, authorities apprehended a would-be suicide bomber and his handler entering Peshawar on a motorcycle. The suspect later confessed that they were targeting the airport. Peshawar airport was already on high alert after the attack on the Kamra base in August. The November arrests heightened security, which lessened the militants' chance of surprise. Moreover, the arrests were made publicly available in open-source materials, so the militants should have known that security forces were on high alert.

As for the security forces, the protective intelligence available was obvious, and the attack came when they were most prepared to repel it. Yet they benefited greatly when the explosion did half their work for them. It appears that they just got lucky.

Strategic Value

The Dec. 15 attack appears to have been carried out by militants who intended to replicate the damage caused by their comrades' attacks in Karachi and Kamra. Tactically, they failed.

But that does not mean the operation wasn't valuable. Like previous attacks on Pakistani military installations, the Peshawar attack grabs headlines because of its high profile. Put simply, the sensitivity of the target demands media attention.

As in the Karachi and Kamra attacks, the Dec. 15 attack involves the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. There are no indications that there are nuclear weapons stored at the Peshawar base, and there is no evidence that the nuclear weapons that may have been stored at the Karachi and Kamra bases were compromised. But the attack nonetheless raises questions about the security of Pakistan's military installations and by extension their nuclear arsenal. For the United States and India, such attacks compel lawmakers to revisit debates over whether the United States should intervene to protect the weapons.

These headlines and discussions benefit the Pakistani Taliban because they call into question Islamabad's ability to rule. Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban will continue to try to destabilize the military, one of the strongest pillars of the state, and provoke fear of external involvement from the United States.

In fact, the Pakistani Taliban would benefit from U.S. involvement, which would create huge public backlash and chaotic conditions in which the militants could thrive. The Pakistani Taliban do not necessarily need to destroy aircraft or kill military personnel to raise these doubts in Pakistan and the wider world. From the perspective of the insurgents, all the coordination and firepower they brought to the attack was a strategic success if this attack nurtures that doubt, even if it wasn't as tactically successful as previous attacks.

Read more: In Pakistan, Mixed Results From a Peshawar Attack | Stratfor 




The BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) has reasons to be concerned over the results of the elections to the State Assemblies of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh announced on December 20,2012.

2.The elections were preceded by a sustained campaign based on allegations of corruption  against the Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh, and some Congress leaders of Himachal Pradesh They were also preceded by a steady increase in inflation and by the economy reaching a road-block.The campaign of Anna Hazare and the anti-corruption activists headed by ShriArvindKejriwal since August last year was mainly directed against Congress misgovernance.

3.Many of us formed the perception that the public disenchantment against the Congress was so strong that its electoral defeat in the various elections to the State Assemblies and to the LokSabha in 2014 would be certain. We were surprised when public opinion polls held in some states a few months ago indicated that the disenchantment with the Congress was not as widespread as one thought it would be and that any disenchantment that did exist had not translated itself into enchantment with the BJP.I had pointed out  in earlier articles and tweets that the BJP had not been a beneficiary of any disenchantment with the Congress.

4. This was because of public skepticism over the capability of the BJP to set right matters and over the internal mess in its organization in States such as Karnataka. It was apparent that campaigns solely based on allegations of corruption and criticism of the dynasty rule were not making headway with the rural and small town voters. Signs of a creeping disillusionment with the BJP were there for all to see if only they wanted to see them.

5.The results of the elections to the Gujarat and HP State Assemblies clearly show that these misgivings were not ill-based.The elections to the Gujarat Assembly were preceded by months of a high-voltage campaign mounted by a group of Gujarati whiz-kids from the diaspora in the US to project NaMo as the coming saviour of India, who had performed economic miracles in Gujarat, which he was destined to repeat in New Delhi after gravitating to New Delhi and taking over as the Prime Minister of India following the 2014 elections.

6. NaMo willingly and uncritically allowed these whiz-kids from abroad and their associates in Gujarat to project him in a new designer-made personality as the development man, as India's man of economic miracles, as the ruler who turned Gujarat into India's Guangdong. Interestingly, some of these Hindutva whiz-kids from the US were earlier associated with some Telugu whiz-kids from Andhra Pradesh in the US, who had mounted a campaign some years ago to project Shri Chandra Babu Naidu, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, as the man of the technology-based development miracle sweeping across AP and as the coming saviour of India when the NDA under ShriAtalBehari Vajpayee was in power.

7.These whiz-kids and NaMo had so convinced themselves that Gujarat was shining under him that they created for themselves an illusory world of unstoppable NaMo who was bound to sweep the polls in Gujarat before moving on to New Delhi. Their exaggerated expectations, based on hype and delusions, on the number of seats that NaMo was likely to get far exceeding what he got in 2007 drove them blind to the ground reality.

8. The Congress poll strategists, advised by sons of the soil analysts and not by imported whiz-kids, concluded that the strong state of the BJP in Gujarat and its undoubted economic record and the poor state of the Congress  would not enable them to prevent another NaMo victory.Their strategy was, therefore, designed to devalue the significance of NaMo's hat-trick.

9. Whatever NaMo's spin-kids may say, his was not a phenomenal victory.That NaMo himself realizes this is obvious from his remark in the victory speech " a victory is a victory, whetherone gets 93 or more".The tone of his victory speech was that of an embarrassed leader whose Himalayan expectations have been belied.

10.Two significant indicators of the Gujarat poll results are the fact that the BJP got two seats less than in 2007 and registered a fall of one per cent in its popular support (48 %).As against this, the popular support of the Congress went up by one per cent to 40. The poll results clearly show a saturation effect and the onset of a NaMo fatigue.NaMo's victory speech in Hindi was designed to conceal the signs of this fatigue and to project the significance of his hat-trick against a pan-Indian instead of a purely Gujarati background..NaMo is no longer the man going up and up and up.He is an engine which is beginning to stall.

11.If the Gujarat results are significant purely against the State perspective, the HP results are very significant from the pan-Indian perspective against the background of the sustained anti-Congress and anti-dynasty campaign mounted by the BJP. This campaign has failed to dent the Congress image.The BJP has not been a beneficiary of this campaign and is unlikely to be its beneficiary in other States too during the 2014 polls to the LokSabha.

12. If the BJP does not revamp itself and design a new poll strategy based on ground realities and not on imported myth and delusions of diaspora origin, its hopes of returning to power in New Delhi in 2014 are likely to be belied. If its own chances of returning to power are so weak, where is the question of NaMo assuming its leadership and becoming the next PM. It will be premature and futile to analyseNaMo's chances, when the BJP's own chances are questionable.

13. The BJP leaders should stop building castles in the air. ( 21-12-12)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Government 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 )

December 18, 2012

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2012: Narendra Modi's 'spin' and 'plot' games

 A third victory for Modi would be remarkable, regardless of his margin.

A third victory for Modi would be remarkable, regardless of his margin.
Two kinds of politics thrive in the national capital. One, chartered kite-flying by the spin-masters, meant to divert attention from the real plots. It has no life beyond the political lane of shallowness. 

Second, the cold-blooded plots of the entrenched politicians from their war cellars, designed to reach out to the far-flung catchment areas of realpolitik and votes that matter in bigger wars. On the eve of the Gujarat poll results, 'the Narendra Modi factor', too, stands caught between these two incompatible worlds of 'spin' and 'plot'. 

Result-eve talks in Delhi have are obsessed with one question, "What will be Modi's margin?" Since the overwhelming Gujarat-returned political wisdom prepares us for Modi's hat-trick victory, the larger focus has been brought down to "the numbers that Modi needs to cement his PM chances in 2014". In short, we were told the top job will be in Modi's reach if he improves his tally, and it could slip out of his grip if he drops seats. It is strange logic! 

For Modi and the BJP (meaning the foot soldiers, not the Modi's secret rivals in the central leadership ), anything short of a defeat or a hung verdict in the 182-seat Assembly should be reason to shake a leg. After all, the BJP has been winning and ruling Gujarat (barring a 17-month Vaghela/Parikh-Congress tango) since 1995 in the polls of 1998, 2002 and 2007. A fifth victory against a 17-year anti-incumbency is no mean achievement. 

Then why this fuss about numbers ? Modi, in any case, had dropped seats in 2007, 10 from his 2002 tally of 227. Further, when Modi was not 'the leader', Keshubhai Patel had led the BJP to 121 seats in 1995 and 117 in 1998. Given Modi's ego, the only number that he would really fancy is 150, the record the Congress' most successful and inclusive four-time chief minister, Madhavsinh Solanki, had set — winning 141 seats in 1980 with 51.04% votes, and again 149 seats and 55.55% voters in 1985. 

Modi's best shot, even at his polarising best amidst the ember of riots, is only 127 seats and 49.85% votes in 2002. Yet, a third victory can make Modi the most successful BJP leader and the only 'Hindu Hriday Samrat' for the core constituency. A victorious Modi can even argue that this time he won not only against the Congress, but against breakaway Keshubhai outfit and RSS needling. 

In short, he can claim to be the 'Super RSS' sans Nagpur control! But Modi's polarising persona and his divisive governance make him an object of dread and hatred in the larger and inclusive India that lies beyond Gujarat. Even before the results, the BJP has acknowledged this bitter home truth with its national president and others asserting that the saffronBSE 0.00 % party will not project a PM candidate for 2014 polls, a break from BJP's flaunting ringtone of "chaal (conduct), chehra (face) and charitra (character)"! Since Modi has no plans to head for the Himalayas, his party/supporters may find it tricky to package his victory. So, if Modi wins, expect a deafening cry of "the victory of development and good governance". 

Such a posturing suits three sections: those who love Modi's authoritarian-cum-exclusive facilitation of governance/development but are coy of backing his communal brand. So, they want to argue that under Modi, the BJP has become a "Swatantra Party-like proreforms outfit"! Second, the jingoistic urban middle class who hide their knickers under designer wear and hate Congress' and Left's secular and inclusive agenda. 

Third, of course, is Modi's own colleagues-cum-PM aspirants, who are wary of his resurgent persona, clouding BJP plans for expanding NDA to take a shot at power in 2014. They tried to hide scary Moditva under 'India Shining' in 2004 and failed. They face another similar task if he wins. 

But the least pretentious, the core constituency, loves Modi for his Muslimbashing and aggressive Hindutva and will pitch for his leadership. Modi is bound to play to their emotions. But where does that leave the Congress? The Congress shamelessly leaves Gujarat to Modi, barring the guest appearances during polls. 

The Congress knows well that it was the post-riots Modi scare that gave it a chance to prop up a national secular alliance and return to power in 2004 by rallying secularists and minorities. 

The bitter poll lessons that ex-NDA allies like TDP, BJD, AGP, INLD, etc, learned in 2004 prompted them to seek cover under Third Front instead of flocking back to the NDA, thus shrinking BJP's reach in 2009 too. If Modi suffers a shock defeat, the Congress will jump around as 'the secular conqueror'. If Modi triumphs, "a shocked and grieving Congress" will give a clarion call to secular parties, progressive sections and the minorities, to rally for a "do-or-die fight against Modi, the hidden BJP PM nominee for 2014"! That gives AICC another plank to seek external help for the 2014 battle. Remember, politics is a cynical game.

December 17, 2012

Cyber Defence & Network Security conference

Defence IQ's Cyber Defence & Network Security conference, which is taking place in London from 28th - 31st January in 2013, truly is the event you must attend if you not only want to improve your understanding of the cyber threat, but to facilitate cooperation between international organisations

Entering into its 7th year, CDANS will once again deliver an unrivalled panel of senior speakers from government, military and critical national infrastructure – providing you with the insight your organisation needs to protect its networks against the next generation of cyber threats.

View the brochure online or simply email to request a copy and we can send it to you! 

Topics at the 2013 event range from improving international coordination to the best methods for testing your network for security vulnerabilities, with presentations from top senior personnel including: 

Major General Harold W. "Punch" Moulton, Director of Operations, U.S. European Command 
Major General Roar Sundseth, Commander of Cyber Command, Norwegian Armed Forces 
Dr Robert Bohn, PhD, NIST Cloud Computing Program Manager, National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA
Agnieszka Wodecka, Legal Officer, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission
Ambassador David J. Smith, Senior Fellow & Cyber Center Director, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

Also, are you following the discussion on Chinese cyber rivalry? In the wake of allegations levelled at Huawei and ZTE that Chinese tech hardware is being manufactured for espionage, we spoke with one of the world's leading outside authorities on the activity of China within the digital space - Bill Hagestad from Red Dragon Rising, on how perceptions are impacting political dialogue, and how the risk to Western security can be abatedListen to the podcast here

CDANS is the most operationally-focussed event in Europe which will provide the latest insight into what your business needs to protect its networks against the next generation of cyber threats.

Highlights of CDANS 2013 include:

The rare opportunity to discover the perspectives of the Philippines and UAE in exploring key threats faced by government and financial institutions from cyber warfare and terrorism 
Discover the emerging trends, strategy and initiatives from key international organisations and institutions such as the World Bank, European Commission, European Defence Agency, NATO and Dubai Bank. Learn how you can implement better security standards for your organisation 
Fantastic opportunity to develop and initiate multilateral security partnerships, with both military, government, and industry organisations 

For more information about the conference and the speakers' session details please download a copy of the full agenda here

If you are interested in attending, don't forget you can save 20% off the standard conference price if you register by Friday 21st December, 2012. Email or call             +44(0) 207 368 9737       with your discount code:CDANS13_IntelOnline

Kind Regards,

Cyber Defence Team

December 16, 2012

Alienation of the Baloch from Pakistan is complete

One of the biggest problems in Balochistan has been  the conspiracy of  silence regarding the in the much vaunted 'independent' media of Pakistan. Apart from extremely the sketchy reportage of the horrors being visited on the Baloch, the mainstream Pakistani media has paid little attention to Balochistan. This was partly because the media is now allowed free access to large parts of Balochistan by the security forces, partly because of behind-the-scenes threats and intimidation of journalists by officials, and partly because Balochistan did not make for a good copy. Quite simply, the rest of Pakistan was either not interested in what was happening there or else preferred to shut its eyes and pretend that nothing was happening there.  

But the truth of the matter is that a lot happened inside Balochistan which has pushed, at least the Baloch areas, to the point of no return. The alienation of the Baloch from Pakistan is complete and there are reports that it is no longer possible to raise the Pakistani flag or sing the Pakistani national anthem in the Baloch dominated areas of the province. In September the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary disappearances visited Balochistan in September 2012 to look into the case of missing person

The world won't wait for China to change

By Francesco Sisci 

BEIJING - Washington's aggressive pursuit of containment of China and Beijing's difficulty in launching major economic and political reforms will likely prove an explosive mixture. Meanwhile, Japan, India, and other Asian powers exploit the logic of "two ovens". 

The 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was to be the springboard for economic and political renewal in the world's second power. Many Chinese - and others - hoped it would mark the beginning of a new era of reform. 

The main challenge was, and remains, the fate of state-owned industries (state-owned enterprises, SOEs), which are often
controlled or influenced by top party leaders or their families. The reform and even partial privatization of SOEs would on the one hand promote growth and expand the economic base of China with a view to better distribution of wealth and consumption. On the other, it could be accompanied by a gradual opening to democratic competition in the political system, which is still dominated by the party-state. 

Democracy and the rule of law, albeit in a Chinese cloak, would give greater guarantees primarily to private investors, domestic and foreign. On the geopolitical level, they would rein in the crisis of negative propaganda coming from America, Europe, and China's Asian neighbors - especially India, Japan, and Vietnam - condemning the closed-off authoritarian regime in Beijing and keeping China under constant pressure. 

But the harshness of the political struggle that preceded and accompanied the ascent of the new Chinese communists leadership at the recent congress has slowed the momentum of reformers. After outgoing supreme leader Hu Jintao decided to leave all the posts, including that of president of the strategic Central Military Commission, the balance found by the new secretary-general and the next president, Xi Jinping, who seems open to reform, must take into account the resistance of conservatives. 

So next to Xi and his number-two, Li Keqiang, who have been installed at the head of the government in the Politburo Standing Committee, the inner sanctum of power, there are five older members who could be more inclined to conservatism than to accepting the risks of the reforms. However, looking at the whole Politburo, one sees also many new faces, including Sun Zhencai and Hu Chunhua (born in 1963), who are meant to rise to the highest offices of the party and the state in 2022, at the end of the decade of Xi and Li. As for the Central Committee's 205 members, 80% were born after 1950, and nine after 1960. 

Reading between the lines of the very opaque mechanisms for forming the leading groups of the CCP, for the next 10 years, the watchword will be "forward, with judgment". 

This could not happen without addressing the core issues of the economic and political system, but so far there has been no clear indication of a sudden push in this direction. Evidently, Beijing's leaders think they have more time and do not want to accelerate change, which threatens to jeopardize the delicate balance of power within the Communist Party and the People's Republic itself. 

Conservatives might have forced the reformists - by threats or against the backdrop of the dramatic story of Bo Xilai and the other scandals that followed, involving the Western press and various parties' revelations against former president Xi Jinping (a Bloomberg story) or against former premier Wen Jiabao (a New York Times story) or against president Hu Jintao's former head of staff Ling Jihua - that this is not the time for acceleration. 

But the world will be not waiting for the slow decision process of next group of leaders, during the next 10 years. Indeed, a look at today's geopolitical context in China should lead to courageous decisions in the national interest. By moving the horizon of democratic change - however undefined - at least a decade, Beijing has left a long period of time to Washington's hawks eager to paint China as a rising dictatorship to be stopped. 

By using this time frame, the US could step up its pressure against the rise of the challenge of a rival power from a position of relative strength. Because the United States has not resigned itself to the prospect of a "Chinese Century," it could do many things to slow economic growth and hamper the geopolitical power of the People's Republic, which for many Americans, even in the political elite, still remains Red China. 

Lonely at the top
Recently re-elected US President Barack Obama has made progress in Asia, confirming and emphasizing the movement of the center of gravity of American strategic interests toward a region whose other political center is the somewhat lonely communist China. Obama, unlike the Chinese, is in a hurry. At the beginning of his first term, in 2009, Obama offered an olive branch to Beijing, hoping to build some form of de facto alliance with America's largest creditor and competitor. His plan was substantiated in the fascinating idea of formulating a Group of Two (G2). A Sino-American pact could ruffle many feathers in the world, but this offer received a lukewarm, and as usual cautious reaction from China. 

The leaders of the Communist Party, preparing for their leadership succession, did not give reassuring answers to Obama's overtures. In the end, Obama probably weighed the meaning of the unstoppable rise of the Middle Kingdom to the pinnacle of world power - just as the United States was in the throes of one of the most serious crises in its history, the 2008 financial crisis - against significant consequences in terms of credibility, image, and soft power. 

Perhaps Obama did not offer the G2 with enough clarity and force, perhaps the Chinese leaders did not perceive the urgency of the G2 perspective, noting in 2009 how in the world may global players had begun to distance themselves - and not only rhetorically - from the former "only superpower." The fact is that now the opportunity has passed, and it will be difficult to reopen a window for a deep US-China strategic understanding. 

The United States then launched a strategy to contain China: the pivot to Asia. It's about building an informal alliance between China's neighbors and other Asian countries in order to put pressure on Beijing and to prevent China from creating a sphere of Chinese influence. 

In this context, Obama's trip to Asia last November is a very clear signal, even though it was not crowned a complete success. When the US president, after visiting Thailand and the newly rehabilitated (for geostrategic purposes) Myanmar, traveled to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, to attend a summit of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), he found that the group of countries, essential in the strategy to contain China, remains divided. 

If countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia appear more or less open to America's approach, others, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand expressed considerable reservations. All countries of the region, however, see in the Sino-American rivalry the opportunity to practice the traditional policy of "two ovens," taking advantage of the offers both sides pledge to win favors and to counter the influence of the other side. 

With its formidable military, the US offers itself as the guarantor of last resort for the safety of those countries, and it sides with Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan in disputes with China on strategic areas around the South China Sea and in Eastern Europe. They have some capital to use to support emerging Asia on its way to full development. 

China is in a position symmetrically opposite: not only can it not provide credible guarantees of protection, but rather China is perceived as a potential destabilizing geopolitical force, if not as an aggressor. At the same time, the Chinese offer substantial financial incentives to neighbors in exchange for their willingness to make regional agreements with Beijing that would create de facto a buffer zone around China. The "double oven" is even more true for Japan and India, the two other giants of East Asia and South Asia, which both have ongoing historical border disputes - and not just near the cumbersome Chinese. 

It must be considered that the American approach to China in the Asian region is still not comparable to American efforts to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War. At that time, it was a zero-sum game between two enemies who had no economic relationship - or almost no relationship. Now the two major economies of the world are symbiotic, so the advantage of one helps the other, and vice versa. 

In contrast, a strategy of strangulation of the partner/competitor can be a refined form of suicide. Obama's goal is not to blow up China, but to guide and help manage the growth in economic power and geopolitical sway over neighboring countries. The intention is to prevent other nations from ending up under the heel of Beijing, and rather for China's rise to become heavily conditioned by its neighbors and to curb its rise to the pinnacle of world power. 

All this, to keep the comparison with the Cold War, would be done with no money to launch a new Marshall Plan. In the afterthoughts of some Pentagon strategists, there is the prospect of a sort of North Atlantic Treaty Organization among key anti-Chinese Asian nations, a realistic approach to the region leads to the conclusion that it is a chimera (the precedent of SEATO [the South East Asia Treaty Organization], put to bipolar use at the time of the USSR, is not encouraging). 

The paradoxical outcome of US containment of China could be the development of a number of new and old Asian powers - India and Japan, but also Vietnam and Indonesia - who could rise on the shoulders of the two rivals' frictions thanks to the policy of "two ovens". It could bring to the fore nations much more independent and aggressive than Washington (and perhaps Beijing) tends to imagine. The result might be that to stem the headlong rush of China, delaying it maybe a couple of decades, the United States is setting a trap in which they risk losing their remaining Asian influence to a new crowd of aggressive powers. In any case, it should be much less difficult to manage a region of two than of five or six or seven - as Russia is till in the region and always very interested in its developments. 

Are there alternatives to Washington containing China? Certainly, yes. The most promising would be an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party, since it is a leading force in the People's Republic. The agreement could allow the two countries to build a new form of bilateralism, this time not a zero-sum game but something more or less cooperative and competitive. Of course, returning to the prospect of G2 after Beijing closed the door in Obama's face is not an attractive option for him. It would hardly be taken well by the American public, even if the president has the advantage of not having to be reelected. 

To restore credibility to a new form of G2 in America, it could be suitable for the CCP to present the proposal in a clear form. Here, too, there may be strong resistance in the domestic public opinion, with rising concerns about reaching out to Americans as they seem to be sinking in the quicksand of debt and the economic crisis. In China you do not vote (yet), but with each passing day public opinion becomes more powerful and an increasingly influential voice, which even the non-elected leaders must take into account. They do not have their hands completely free to determine the geopolitical strategies. 

So if, as now seems likely, the G2 de facto partnership between the US and the CCP, were not to take shape the risk of a confrontation between China and the United States would become consistent. It would therefore create tension threatening almost a return to the times of the "Warring States." After several years of US containment of China, if China were to end any serious agreement with the US, say in five to 10, to 20 years, the possibility of a war between two nuclear powers could not at all be excluded. 

The spark to ignite the war could be one of those countries that is poised between American and Chinese influence and that, having grown thanks to the "two ovens" would feel able to express without concern its exclusive and aggressive nationalism which in turn could spark a war between the two major powers. The thought turns, first of all - but not only - to Korea, where already in the 1950s American and Chinese troops found themselves fighting on opposite sides. Or to Vietnam, which at the time of the Cold War fought and won against the United States first, and then entered into two conflicts with China - although the scope and effects are incomparable. 

The containment of the Soviet Union in Asia was the premise of the American victory in the Cold War. However, history does not repeat itself, and this time the new containment of China, along with the difficulty of the Chinese Communist Party to reform the country and open to the world, could be a step toward a major war with unimaginable consequences for the planet. Unless this deadlock is broken a by a clear determination of the party to step up with political reforms. This could be the true content of Xi's trip to the south, emulating Deng's trip to Shenzhen 20 years ago. It is a strong sign for reforms, only we don't know how far reaching these reforms will be. 

(The Italian version of this article version of this article is published on a special issue of the Italian journal of geopolitics LIMES, with contributions among others by Zheng Bijian, Charles Freeman, Joseph DeTrani, Liu Yawei, Gordon Chang, Robert Kapp, Fabio Mini). 

Francesco Sisci is a columnist for the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore and can be reached at 

Cyber Warfare: The New Threat

by Air Marshal AK Tiwary in IDR 14/12/2012 

The cyber warriors will identify own networks weakness which will be followed up by regular patch up of vulnerabilities. In addition their actual target could include blowing up electric generators / motors; use of high power microwave to upset fly by control of combat aircraft and more.

Some contemporary thinkers have equated Cyber-Warfare as another new form of warfare which is on par with Land, Naval and Air Warfare. This is partly reflected in USA creating a new Cyber Command headed by a General, who is also the boss of Central Security Services and Director of National Security Agency. In the 2010 strategic review of security and defense in UK, while many major defense programmes have been cut and overall defense budget is reduced by eight percent, Cyber War has been allotted £ 650 m for the period 2010-14. A significant increase indeed!

Cyber War has become a major subset of warfare now, because the militaries and their equipments rely on many systems, each of which has computers, often many computers in each system.

While Cyber War seems a very familiar term to everyone, it will be useful to revisit its characteristics which make it so important and so different from other forms of warfare. It is distinctly different from the traditional warfare wherein armies, navies and air forces are massed against each other to fight one another.

Cyber War can be fought by anyone; even an individual using his hacking skills against huge corporations, nations or even different civilizations. One single person's malicious software can wreck havoc on computer networks and programmes spread across nations and continents. The modem world's industry, economy, institutions and even other facets of life is supported by computers and associated software. So all these facets of life can be disrupted for prolonged period by cyber attacks. The individual could be -acting alone; he could be part of a group pursuing its inimical agenda or could be state supported, working to further the plans of the state. The defender cannot distinguish between them or pinpoint the full identity of the attacker or the actual source of attack. So while the cyber enemy may be guessed, definite, pinpointing is nearly impossible.

Amongst various types of warfare, cyber war is the cheapest option. At its simplest, all it requires is one individual, on one computer to originate cyber attacks. There is no need for regular massive cyber armies equipped with all the paraphernalia of a conventional war; being trained, sustained and replenished regularly. Unlike in conventional war, where the attacker generally suffers heavy casualties, in Cyber War there is no casualty to the attacker. In this war, it is not the physical might of a soldier, the quality and quantity of equipment, the integration and orchestration of systems, or the strategic genius of a General which is tested. It is only the computer genius and skills – and these too come as easily to gifted teens as to the experts after years of serious study and perseverance. Therefore, each and everyone cannot be a cyber warrior. Conscription cannot create a Cyber Army — it is by recruiting suitable people with aptitude for such work. In cyber force, there is not much place for officer – soldier hierarchy. Rather it is a team of the like-minded.

The malware can be inbuilt in to the computer system at manufacturing stage itself. It can be pre-designed in micro chips for various items like sensors, routers, switches etc. It can be injected later on into system as a sleeper cell.

When one's computer system does not work, it is not easy to distinguish whether the failure is a genuine malfunction or a result of malicious attack. More often than not one tends to believe that his computer system itself is malfunctioning. So it is difficult to determine if one is under cyber attack. The nature of attacks are such, for example hidden Trojans activated on command or at pre-determined time, that one does not know when the actual attack was launched.

The origins of attack also remain uncertain. The attacking nation or non-state actor can route his attack via a computers located in a third country or even through benign computers based in the country being attacked. These could be the personal computers of citizens of the country under attack. Such an approach poses major dilemma for defender and for the right to computer privacy in democratic societies.

The malware can be inbuilt in to the computer system at manufacturing stage itself. It can be pre-designed in micro chips for various items like sensors, routers, switches etc. It can be injected later on into system as a sleeper cell. Its algorithm can be programmed in variety of ways to defeat most defenses.

The defender in cyber world has to cope with many problems. The existing defenses are against only known viruses/worms. Defense networks, therefore, require constant upgradation. Even secure nets can be injected with virus even though attacker is not physically connected into the net. But then excessive security on the net decrease the system speed.

Detailed information on cyber war in various countries is difficult to find. However, certain amount of information is available about development of cyber war organisation in USA in the open literature. Hence it is proposed to study the evolution of cyber war organisation in USA.

USAIn earnest Electronic Warfare (EW) started during World War II. It matured as the radars and radar guided SAMs and anti-ac artillery evolved through the Vietnam war; the wars in the Middle East etc, Till recently EW meant brute jamming of signals or breaking the electronic lock on an aircraft by moving the lock away spatially. In the Op Desert Storm of Gulf War 91, false target information was injected into Iraqi Integrated Air Defence System, thereby misleading its computers. This can be considered the start of Cyber War in military domain. The Cyber War in the civil domain by way of unethical hacking into banking networks started little earlier.

IW operations were undertaken during Bosnia Operation in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. The comprehensive operations included EW against Radars and SAMs, cyber attacks against IADS, operations against Television, Radio as well as cyber attacks against computer based systems like power generation, Oil refining systems…

So now there are three terms : EW, Cyber War and Information War often loosely used to convey the same thing. Electronic War is said to take place when electrons in a system are disturbed. Cyber space is also the space where electrons flow conveying information. But cyber space is normally referred to space in which computer electrons move around – either within the computer itself or between many computers connected in a network. The network itself could be a cable or fiber optic network or a wireless net in which electronic signals move between a transmitter and a receiver — the most apt example being a satellite and its terminals. Thus, in the militaries too, initially terms like EW, IW and Cyber War were used loosely and interchangeably.

Cyber War has become a major subset of warfare now, because the militaries and their equipments rely on many systems, each of which has computers, often many computers in each system. At the same time all facets of civil life, industry, banking and financial service power generation etc have also been based on extensive computer networks and infinite number of software lines. In such a huge complex of electrons, EW as practiced till 1980s, forms a small subset. Altering cyber electrons means altering information-hence the term IW. However, in current US terminologies IW means irregular warfare. Cyber War includes the earlier EW and IW.

Evolution of Cyber WarUSAF set up IW squadrons in 1980s. All banking institutions and major industries especially the Aero Space industries also started building in cyber security in their networks. The financial institutions were at the forefront or cyber attacks, wherein hackers tried to steal/siphon money. This threat to banks and the security precautions could not be made public in order to retain the investor confidence.

As a result of success of IW in the Gulf War 91, USAF decided on IW across full spectrum of command and control. So the 688th Information Operations Wing was set up. The Wing has technical skill sets of AF Electronic Warfare centre; AF Cryptographic support center's Securities directorate and Intelligence capabilities from former AF Intelligence Command. As on 2010, it has a staff of 1000 which includes military and civil.

…cyber space has data, networks and electronic devices. Good cyber defense implies protecting all three components and not merely data.
In 1993 USAF established an IW Cell at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. By mid 90s, the IW flight, consisting 25 personnel, would work alongside Combined Air Operation Centre (CAOC) whenever operations were going on. IW operations were undertaken during Bosnia Operation in 1995 and against Serbia in 1999. The comprehensive operations included EW against Radars and SAMs, cyber attacks against IADS, operations against Television, Radio as well as cyber attacks against computer based systems like power generation, Oil refining systems etc.

In the past, the US caused a massive explosion in a new trans­-Siberian oil pipeline running from the Urengoi gas fields in Siberia across Kazakhstan, Russia and Eastern Europe. It did it by causing its pumping station to over rev by computer malware in cooperation with some outraged Canadians­ who had supplied the software for the pumps.1 USN established its cyber cell in 1999 and mandated the unit to become like the 'Top Gun' amongst fliers.

In Dec 1998 DoD/USAF established Joint Task Force on Computer Network Defense ITF – CND. It was headed by a Maj Gen and was to work with the Army, Navy and the Marine Corps. This was an immediate result of a massive malware attack on US -military nets. It took the US 14 months to clean up this virus from its systems. It also revealed the enormity of possible damage to improperly secure networks.

Cyber War exercises named "Eligible Receiver" and "Solar Sunrise" were conducted in which Federal Agencies/Services, Israeli analysts and Californian teens attacked Defense networks. Weaknesses and vulnerabilities were identified and preventive steps initiated. In Sep 2001 Pentagon created Joint Task Force-­Computer Network Operations- JTF-CNO. The replacing of CND by Computer Network Operations (CNO) implied the need to attack in order to defend proactively.

In 2008 DoD defined cyber space as, "a global domain within the information environment consisting of interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunication network, computer system and embedded processor and controllers." It illustrated that cyber space has data, networks and electronic devices. Good cyber defense implies protecting all three components and not merely data. Earlier, it was believed that encrypting data was enough for cyber security.

Cyber Defense now meant following:

Cyber security is akin to Air Superiority. One has to fight to attain it and thereafter sustain it with constant effort. Also cyber security relates to place and time. Unlike air war in which offense is the best defense, in cyber war defense becomes primary…

a.. Secure and exclusive networks in which individuals cannot plug in Pen Drives, CDs and external devices. 
b.. Defense in depth by firewalls. So that when under a cyber attack the system degrades gradually rather than suffer catastrophic collapse. And after attack is over, the system recovers. 
c.. The system should be Self Diagnosing and to have built in healing capability. 
d.. Data bases must employ stealth methodologies where for example, modulating chip technology enables them to hide, morph and masquerade as effectively as any attacking agent.2
Cyber security is akin to Air Superiority. One has to fight to attain it and thereafter sustain it with constant effort. Also cyber security relates to place and time. Unlike air war in which offense is the best defense, in cyber war defense becomes primary because of nature of attacker. There are no hostile cyber bases which preemptive bombing can destroy.

In 2001 USAF placed Cyber Wing under Space Command. By May 2002 it had a manning of 340 personnel. Later Cyber Command was made a sub unit of US Strategic command. It achieved full operational capability on 31 Oct 2010. The Cyber Command is headed by a General who also is the Director National Security Agency (NSA) and Chief of Central Security services. This arrangement in one stroke has made cyber structure more horizontal and integrated. Cyber command looks after all military networks numbering 15000 in all the Services. It has replaced the earlier Joint Task Force – Computer Network Operating and the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare JFCC-NW. It has under it the Cyber Commands of US Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. It is responsible for both defense and offense in Cyber War. In addition it provides technical and electronic warfare support to Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If and when asked by DHS it will provide additional assistance. DHS looks after civil and private networks.

…as the cyber process and attacks kept increasing, especially post 9/11 and after the incident of US spy plane P3C Orions collision with a Chinese interceptor in which the Chinese pilot died, USA selected a new strategy for cyber security.

NSA looks after all the government networks apart from the ones in military domain. US CYBERCOM has been tasked to develop:

a.. Methods to assess operational impact of intrusions. 
b.. Identify proper response. 
c.. Coordinate action with appropriate organizations. 
d.. Prepare Response Plans. 
e.. Execute plans through Service components.
US CYBERCOM will also issue Operational Alert conditions depending upon detected threats. The conditions are normal, A,B,C & D. Over and above these arrangements the Cyber organizations seek support and rely on private security specialists companies to deal with cyber threat.

The earlier concept of cyber security was purely defensive. However, as the cyber process and attacks kept increasing, especially post 9/11 and after the incident of US spy plane P3C Orion's collision with a Chinese interceptor in which the Chinese pilot died, USA selected a new strategy for cyber security. Now it was felt that purely defensive strategy was reactive and insufficient to ward off cyber threat. For proper cyber security there is a need to actively patrol the cyber network for detecting potential trouble. So the new strategy of cyber attack comprises following:

a.. Denial of Service 
b.. To patrol the Internet to pinpoint attackers. 
c.. To create Logic bombs, worms, Trojans & Malware for use as and when needed.
The diagram illustrates the working of a computer network attack (CNA).3

Rivet Joint is an specialist transport aircraft (KC-135) which is used for CNA. It is in contact with agencies like NSA, JTF – CNA, and IW – EW centers via satellite links to receive and send back latest information for CNA planning. It injects cyber weapons as appropriate into hostile IADS network, Scud type missiles command and control centre and the communication networks. Another special aircraft called Compass Call (C-130 modified) monitors the effectiveness of communication network attacks.

In USA 24th AF looks after cyber operations, manned by 14000 airmen. The 24th AF has three major wings and an operations centre under it. These are:

a.. 67th Network Warfare Wing: It looks after information operations. Its 8000 strong manpower is located at some 100 locations worldwide. There are 35 squadrons and these deal in operations of Television, Radio, Telephone exchange and networks including mobile phones and networks. 
b.. 688th Information Operation Wing: Deals in cyber space R&D and manned by 1000 staff which is a mix of military and civil. 
c.. 689th Combat Communication Wing: Its mission is to train, deploy and deliver expeditionary and specialized communication; air traffic and landing systems for relief and combat operations.
In 2010 USAF undertook some important steps with regard to cyber branch. It established a new cadre for Cyber War with 1000 cyber warriors. These personnel were selected after a strict screening process which also judged their aptitude for cyber work. Their performance in online games was also a major criteria. This cadre is to be expanded to 6000. The cadre will comprise military, government employees, contractors and willing patriotic youths. Specialist cyber strike units will be created from these personnel. The training will include undergraduate cyber training, initial qualification training. The standards, evaluation and examinations will follow similar pattern as for flying training. The cyber warriors will get incentive pay similar to flying pay. Their main communication devices will be Droids and I Phones connected on secure and non-secure networks.

The cyber warriors will identify own networks weakness which will be followed up by regular patch up of vulnerabilities. In addition their actual target could include blowing up electric generators / motors; use of high power microwave to upset fly by control of combat aircraft and more.4

The NSA and JFCC – NW have worked together since 2005. The NSA has 700 personnel with Ph D. This vast experience is shared by the other cyber warriors who have benefited immensely. The CYBERCOM has partnership with 100 universities to train students on net security. Many of these students, thereafter, join NSA or civil cyber agencies. Now using the computer net attack, US forces can penetrate hostile computers systems and either mine it for data or damage it with crippling algorithms or even spoof it with false information. Some of the CNA tricks include ringing hostile phones every 30 seconds; send a fabricated Fax directly to the enemy operator to do things that would lead to trouble; sending accusatory e-mails etc. The idea is to make the enemy distrust own communication system or to shut down all communications.5

The Israelis established in Umbrella C4I in Mar 2003. By 2007 all intelligence networks were connected, sharing all sensor information. The network includes fixed sites as well as mobile sites. During 2009 Gaza conflict Israeli Air Force down loaded sensor imagery on U-tube; its tweets warned of rocket attacks and it used '' blog to mobilize public support.6

Placed below are the recommendations with respect to Cyber War by a USAF study in 2008. The study was undertaken to suggest needed reorganization within the USAF for 2018-2023 time frame. Cyber War is a new domain for all the countries. It appears that USA and China have a lead in Cyber War domain over India of about ten years. The emphasis placed by them on cyber war is instructive for us to take note.7

Cyberspace : Boundless Opportunity and Significant Vulnerabilitiesa.. USAF must not focus solely on protecting its databases, but rather it must also protect its networks and the functioning of electronic devices to enable cyberspace control. 
b.. USAF must be prepared to conduct warfare in cyberspace to secure the domain at the time and place of its choosing. 
c.. Call for an interagency commission to resolve the issues of jurisdictional authority and, if needed, author legislation for title 10 revision. 
d.. While offense offers a distinct advantage for airpower, deterrence and defense must become co-equal propositions in cyberspace. 
e.. Reclaim the internet, moving to a closed network, one that does not allow interaction with its civilian counterpart in any capacity or other open systems across the DOD. 
f.. View cyberspace holistically, developing organizations and tactics to defend regardless of location, while retaining freedom of action for our forces. 
g.. Develop system resiliency, with a layered defense in depth, that reacts to threats and sets in motion procedures for post – attack recovery. 
h.. Develop and field self-diagnosing and self-healing systems with adequate redundant capacity for survivability. 
i.. Develop systems to support real – time Cyberspace Situational Awareness (CSA) 
j.. Develop a new corps of professionals capable of waging cyber warfare. 
k.. Develop a structured professional development curriculum with a UCT school that provides the needed military education required for newly minted second lieutenants. 
l.. Create a National Cyberspace Studies Institute (NCSI) that provides an increased understanding of cyber operations appropriate for success at the advanced ranks. 
m.. Ensure adequate pay, attendance at the right schools – PME and weapons school – and promotion. 
n.. Find a home/advocate for future cyber – warriors, one equal to that of air/space. 
o.. Identify Guard and Reserve billets for cyber – professionals who are separate from active duty. 
p.. Develop a construct to incorporate Guard and Reserve into the "fight", either through stand – alone units or as a part of active duty units. 
q.. Develop a Cyberspace Red Team to probe DOD networks and provide input for offensive, defensive, and counter offensive strategy. 
r.. Develop an industry council where senior military and industry representatives convene to establish requirements and propose technological solutions. 
s.. Partner with the private sector – universities and commercial industry to properly leverage American expertise.


15 December, 2012

By Zaheerul Hassan


The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputed (ICSID) has allowed Balochistan government and nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand to do mining in Smelting Project in Reko Diq area.

The Advocate General of Balochistan, Amanullah Kinrani, told reporters outside the Supreme Court building on 14 December that the ICSID tribunal, which had reserved its ruling on Nov 6, released a 45-page unanimous decision allowing the provincial government to carry out the mining activity.

The tribunal was seized with a dispute between Pakistan and Tethyan Copper Company-Austria (TCC) after the latter's application was rejected by the mining authority of Balochistan on the grounds that the company had submitted feasibility reports of only six kilometers area comprising two deposits, whereas it wanted to acquire 99 kilometers which contained 14 deposits.

Established under the auspices of the World Bank, the ICSID comprising Dr Klaus Sachs, Dr Stanimir Alexandrov and Lord Hoffman had, however, asked the provincial government to keep it abreast of all activities on a regular basis to be carried out in Reko Diq by Dr. Samar and his team, said Kinrani who came to attend the Supreme Court hearing of the mining licence case which could not be taken up because the bench was not complete.

The TCC had invoked the jurisdiction of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) and the ICSID against the prospective Reko Diq minerals licence. Reportedly, Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada (a Jew's company) and Antofagasta of Chile have a joint-ownership of the copper-gold deposit at Reko Diq. Reportedly, the most credible natural deposit might have been sold to the Zionist controlled regimes by the TCC at a price of $21 billion.

Advocate Ahmed Bilal Soofi, who represented the federal and Balochistan governments before the ICSID, confirmed to the media he had received the order issued by the tribunal. He said TCC in its application had requested the Balochistan government to stop work in an area spread over 99 square kilometers, including H-4 where Dr Mubarakmand was working.

The government in its reply before ICSID had said they were working on H-4 area which was 12km away from H-14 and H-15 for which TCC had submitted feasibility reports.

Dr Mubarakmand had also appeared before the tribunal in London to explain technical details about his project. He said early development of H-4 deposits was in the interest of the people of Balochistan and Pakistan. Legal arguments on behalf of Pakistan were advanced by Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Arthur Marriott QC, Ms Mahnaz Malik, John Kingston and Ms Cherie Blair.

Earlier, on 3 December 2012, The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry hearing the case on Reko Diq exploration has also said that local laws are also applicable on foreign investors too. He also very rightly pointed out that it was mandatory to adhere to local laws in trade agreements, adding that every country had made it mandatory for foreigners to strictly follow their laws.

"We welcome every foreign company in Pakistan but its agreements must be subject to our laws and not to its own dictations. We are a sovereign country and welcome such investments," the chief justice said.

Reko Diq is a small town in Chagai District, Baluchistan located 70 kilometers northwest of Naukundi, near to the Iran-Afghan border. The town has the world´s largest Gold and Copper reserves containing 12.3 million tons of copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold in inferred and indicated resources.

Rough estimates suggest that the gold and copper at the surface accounts for $65 billion worth of deposits which is believed to be four times larger in copper ore tonnage than Saindak project and even bigger than Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile.

The under discussion deposits are being explored by Tethyan Copper Company Pty Ltd (75%) and the (BDA) Balochistan Development Authority (25%). Tethyan Copper Company is held jointly (50:50) by Barrick Gold Corporation and Antofagasta Minerals.

The company has prepared the feasibility but Balochistan government went to the Supreme Court and raised objections over the distribution of share of potential income of the deposit. Its pre-feasibility study was completed in third quarter 2009 and work on full scale is expected to be commenced after completion of Supreme Court litigation. However, the TCC went against Balochistan govt to ICSID for allowing them mining in the project area but was rejected.

In fact, the development of the deposit defiantly will bring prosperity in the most neglected province of Pakistan i.e. "Balochistan" where 88 per cent of its population lives in subhuman conditions. But at the same all this economic boost is directly conditioned to the Baluchistan's security.

Present situation still is not very conducive in the Balochistan because of involvement of foreign hands. U.S., Afghanistan and India are exploiting the situation while providing shelters to the rebellions of Balochistan. The greatest sin of our rulers has been that they have never tried to improve the economic and political conditions in Balochistan. It is important to remove the mistrust between the Baloch and the Federation. The negotiation on actual demands for Baloch rights should begin and equally important is the identification of Indian designs of creating unrest in Balochistan.

The massive growth of development in Balochistan has become sore in the eyes of U.S. and Indian strategists. India is fanning unrest on while: widening the gulf between Punjabis and Balochs on the Gwadar Port by making it believe that the developmental projects are aimed at turning the Balochs into a minority, widely publicizing incidents of Human rights violation in Balochistan by highlighting the so-called miseries of Balochs, like disappearances, political victimization and displacement due to clean-up operations.

RAW is also generating suspicions in ethnic Balochs that Islamabad wants to possess the riches of Balochistan. CIA is cultivating in the minds of the Baloch nationalists that China intends to occupy their natural resources.

Above all, CIA's activities in Balochistan have become now quite intolerable which also put a big question mark over U.S. growing interest in this region. In fact, Creation of "Greater Balochistan" is the top most agenda of U.S., India and Israel collaboration. Their obvious objectives are: (1) weakening Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, (2) establishing strong hold in Central Asian Region even after culmination of war on terror, (3) denting Chinese economic interests in African and Middle East while creating impediment in full scale operation of Gwadar Port, development of Reko Deq project and the last is looking after Indian and Israeli interests in the region.

In this regards, the American establishment has started supporting pro Independent Balochistan Movement, and anti Pakistan elements in Balochistan. In this connection, CIA supported elements are using America, UK, India and Afghanistan as their platforms for organizing, planning and operational bases for execution of the plan of Independent Balochistan. Moreover, some militarily supported political lobbies of America and Uk are facilitating anti Pakistan elements (so called liberators) to carryout nefarious activities against Pakistan.

On April 28, 2011 former US Ambassador Cameron Munter, visited first time Balochistan and attended a Pashtun tribal Jirga in Quetta. He went there on the invitation of convener of Pakhtun Ulas Qaumi Jirga Nawab Ayaz Jogezai. The Jirga brought together 16 Pashtun tribal elders from Balochistan who discussed issues of mutual interest, including economic development in the province and matters pertaining to security.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan Army is displaying tremendous efforts in the development of Balochistan. Number of projects like; educational institutions, building of hospitals, construction of communication infrastructures, employing locals in the armed forces and development of Gawadar Port have been completed or under progress. At the same time The "Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan" package has already been announced by federal government but needs to be implemented in letter and spirit to address the deprivations of Baloch people.

In short, the ICSID decision will assist in augmenting of Balochistan resources which will defiantly alleviate the lives of poor masses of the province. Anyhow, Balochistan and federal governments should immediately take on the project and speed up the suspended work in Smelting Project of Reko Diq area. I would also like to appreciate congratulate the team of Advocate Ahmed Bilal Soofi that really has done a great service to Pakistan. It is suggested that government of Pakistan should announce highest civil award to Ahmed Bila Soofi and his team on doing a commendable job for the country. Morever, his services should also be hired for guarding national interest on water issues in ICA.

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