June 22, 2013

Let Banks Go Bankrupt

How Iceland Overthrew The Banks: The Only 3 Minutes Of Any Worth From Davos

"Why do we consider banks to be like holy churches?" is the rhetorical question that Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimson asks (and answers) in this truly epic three minutes of truthiness from the farce that is the World Economic Forum in Davos. Amid a week of back-slapping and self-congratulatory party-outdoing, as John Aziz notes, the Icelandic President explains why his nation is growing strongly, why unemployment is negligible, and how they moved from the world's poster-child for banking crisis 5 years ago to a thriving nation once again. Simply put, he says, "we didn't follow the prevailing orthodoxies of the last 30 years in the Western world." There are lessons here for everyone - as Grimson explains the process of creative destruction that remains much needed in Western economies - though we suspect his holographic pass for next year's Swiss fun will be reneged.

E3+3 coercive diplomacy towards Iran: Do the economic sanctions add up?

Uncertainty about the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme still poses a major challenge to the
international community, and to the Middle East in particular. More than ten years of negotiations have
brought no resolution to the dispute, so in recent years the EU and the US have upped the pressure on the
Islamic Republic. In January 2012 the EU adopted an unprecedented sanctions package, mainly directed at
the Iranian oil industry. Together with US measures, this strike at the centrepiece of the Iranian economy
was intended to force the Iranian regime to agree to demands of the international community in the
framework of the ‘E3+3’ (Germany, France, the UK, plus the US, China and Russia) negotiations, conducted under the auspices of EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton.

The aim of this Policy Brief is to assess how effective the current economic sanctions policy is and whether it
could contribute to a negotiated resolution of the nuclear standoff.

Eighteen months after the adoption of the oil embargo, figures show that the Iranian economy has been hit
hard by EU and US sanctions. Yet, considering the declared objective of changing the regime’s behaviour
vis-à-vis its nuclear programme, the results are rather unsatisfying. First, the impact on the Iranian economy
and the unintended side effects of sanctions have created a ‘rally-round-the-flag’ effect rather than provoke
domestic criticism of the regime’s nuclear policy. Second, the tough stance of the EU and the US has not
slowed down the nuclear programme; on the contrary, it has accelerated.

Instead of further isolating Iran, the authors argue for a return to a more balanced dual-track approach so as
to reinforce the moderate narrative within the Iranian ruling elite.

Key recommendations:

• Convince Iranians that sanctions are only directed at the military aspects of the nuclear programme, not
at civilian enrichment.
• Fine-tune the implementation of sanctions so as to prevent blocking of food and medicine.
• Engage European and Iranian civil society organisations with the help of informal ‘track II’ diplomacy
in order to dispel mutual misperceptions and look for solutions.
• Besides the gradual lifting of sanctions, project the extension of trade and security policy cooperation so
as to incentivise the Iranian regime to find a peaceful solution.
• Allow more time for negotiations. There should be no talk of a military strike on Iran before the E3+3
process has been exhausted.
DOWNLOAD :  http://www.ceps.be/ceps/dld/8121/pdf 

European RPAS Roadmap Is Published & Available Online

vvdddcvvvFrom:   UVS International
86 rue Michel Ange
75016 Paris
Tel.: 33-1-
Fax: 33-1-
To:       The International RPAS Community
Re:       European RPAS Roadmap Is Published & Available Online
Dear Friends,
On 20 June 2013, the European RPAS Roadmap remittance ceremony took place in the GIFAS Chalet (GIFAS = Grouping of French Aerospace Manufacturers) at the Paris Air Show.
After a short welcome by a GIFAS representative, the opening speech was giving by Philippe Brunet (DG Enterprise & Industry). In his speech Mr Brunet explained the context, the start up of the European UAS Panel that was announced at that the Paris Air Show in 2011, and the subsequent establishment of the European RPAS Steering Group. Mr Brunet also stressed the positive influences the opening of the RPAS market would have on the European economy and in the field of job creation.


The European RPAS Steering Group is co-chaired by DG Enterprise & DG Mobility & Transport, consists of European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), EUROCONTROL, SESAR Joint Undertaking, European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS), European Space Agency (ESA), European Defence Agency (EDA), EUROCAE, Association of European Research Establishments for Aeronautics (EREA), European Cockpit Association (ECA), Association of European Aerospace & Defence Manufacturers (ASD), UVS International. Representatives of most of these organizations were present.


Mr Brunet thanked the European RPAS Steering Group for their diligent work and efforts, which have resulted in the production of the European RPAS Roadmap. Mr Brunet then passed the word to Bernhard Gewert (CEO of EADS Cassidian), Rini Goos (EDA) and Peter van Blyenburgh (UVS International), who all made statements on the importance of the European RPAS Roadmap for the European RPAS community, and all three expressed the commitment of their organizations to contribute to the implementation of the roadmap.


Subsequently, the four documents, a high level document & 3 annexes, that constitute the European RPAS Roadmap were handed over, on behalf of the European RPAS Steering Group, by Peter van Blyenburgh and Bernhard Gerwert to Mattias Rute (DG Mobility & Transport) and Philippe Brunet.


The event was closed by a speech by Mattias Ruete, during which he explained the importance of the work at hand, as well as the spin-off potential for other aviation sectors. Mr Ruete also emphasized the commitment of DG Mobility & Transport and DH Enterprise & Industry, in close cooperation with each other, to progress the implementation of the roadmap.


The four documents that constitute the European RPAS Roadmap are now posted on www.uvs-info.com under the "European Matters" tab in the main menu bar.

Here is the direct link to these documents: goo.gl/wcWbf 

June 21, 2013

Balochistan: Bullets & Bullies

By Johar Ali Bugtti, London

“If you see the sun red… any redness in flowers. These must be the blood of my people”
(Ghulam Rasool Mulla (1939-)).

With a rich and colourful history stretching back over some 2000 years the Baloch people have become accustomed to struggling against the overtures of outside powers and would-be rulers. Their resistance is a sad, unending tale of suffering, the latest chapter of which started in 1947 with the creation of Pakistan. Even today the Baloch continue to resist through whatever means are at their disposal including constitutional dialogue and armed struggle, as they strive for autonomy and recognition of their inalienable rights.

The current impasse between the Pakistani state and Balochistan is the result of a series of broken promises, unsuccessful military operations carried out to subdue the Baloch and a failure to absorb the Baloch identity into a larger, more comprehensive, Pakistani identity.

Set this against a backdrop of exploitation of Balochistan’s natural resources and an apparent failure by Islamabad to invest and develop the biggest province of Pakistan and it is not then surprising to find the current situation is still so fluid and volatile.
Right from the outset the relationship between Balochistan and Pakistan has been strained to breaking point. Prior to the creation of Pakistan the Baloch, however, had enjoyed many years of settled independence and relative peace. In fact, before the dissolution of the British Raj the Khanate of Kalat had enjoyed sovereignty since 1666. The British, at the height of their empire, with the agreement of the Khan of Kalat, annexed an area of land adjacent to Afghanistan dubbed “British Balochistan” and created a military base in Quetta to give them a strategic foothold in the region.

The British did not involve themselves in the affairs of the Kalat state with the proviso that the Baloch would allow the British army unfettered access to Afghanistan. This agreement was honoured by both parties until it was rendered obsolete with the end of the British Raj in 1947. Shortly after the Mari and Bugti tribal regions were once again brought under the control of Kalat thereby ensuring that the whole of Balochistan was under the control of Kalat just as it had been under Nasir Khan I. During the final years of the British Raj the Baloch lobbied and campaigned vigorously for their continued independence, but ultimately this would be undone with one tragic act.

Six days before the partition of Pakistan, on the 8th of August 1947, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, the then Khan of Kalat, declared that the Kalat State was an independent entity and would remain so. Subsequently a series of talks took place in order that an agreement could be reached to the satisfaction of all parties involved in the region. Amongst the attendees were Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, the Quaid-i-Azam M.A. Jinnah and the Khan of Kalat. A final agreement was reached on the 11th of August 1947 which stated that:

a. The Government of Pakistan recognizes Kalat as an independent sovereign state in treaty relations with the British Government, having a status different from that of the Indian States.

b. Legal opinion will be sought as to whether or not agreements of leases will be inherited by the Pakistan Government.

c. Meanwhile, a Standstill Agreement has been made between Pakistan and Kalat.

d. Discussions will take place in the near future between Pakistan and Kalat in Karachi with a view to reaching decisions on defence, foreign affairs and communications.

Clearly the initial agreement between Kalat and Pakistan was based on an agreement that Kalat would remain an autonomous entity with control over its own land, resources and politics. This position was widely reported and commented upon across the globe.

The New York Times reported the news under the heading of “New Status For Kalat” as follows:

“George C. Marshall the United States Secretary of State announced in the assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 that;
“ Kalat, Moslem State in Baluchistan, has reached an agreement with Pakistan for the free flow of communi cation and commerce, and would negotiate further for decisions on defence, external affairs and communications. Under the agreement Pakistan recognises Kalat as an independent sovereign state with a status different from that of the Indian States”.”

In addition, ‘The Statesman Calcutta’ published on the 12th of August 1947 that:

“The Government of Pakistan recognises Kalat as an independent sovereign state in treaty relations with the British Government with a status different from that of Indian States.

It has been agreed that further meetings will take place between the representatives of Pakistan and the Khan of Kalat at Karachi.
Meanwhile a standstill agreement has been made between Pakistan and Kalat.

Discussion will take place between Pakistan and Kalat in Karachi at an early date, with a view to reaching decision on defence, external affairs and communication.”

However, from the outset the government of Pakistan sought control of the region and began setting in motion the means to achieve this end. On August 15th 1947 the Kalat government made a formal declaration of independence and dispatched a delegation to Karachi to take part in discussions relating to the Standstill Agreement and other outstanding matters.

On arrival, however, the Khan of Kalat was told in no uncertain terms to expediate the accession of Kalat to Pakistan. The Khan explained that he did not have the authority nor did he have the permission of the Baloch people to agree to such a demand and would present the proposal to the Kalat Houses of Parliament on his return. The proposal was unanimously rejected and immediately the Pakistani government set about breaking up Balochistan surreptitiously. Eventually they granted Lasbela and Kharan equal status to Kalat and formalised their individual mergers into Pakistan. The pressure on Kalat to follow suit further intensified and tensions rose markedly.

On the 12th of December 1947 the inaugural session of the Kalat State Parliament took place and famously Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo gave a rousing and fatidic speech in which he argued that accession to Pakistan on the basis of religion (a main reason cited for merging) was not only illogical but fundamentally flawed.

He stated clearly that:

“We have a distinct culture like Afghanistan and Iran and if the mere fact that we are Muslims require us to amalgamate with Pakistan, then, Iran and Afghanistan should also be made to amalgamate with Pakistan”.

Furthermore, he warned that should Pakistan not respect the decision of the Baloch people to reject the accession then:
“Every Baloch will fight for freedom”.

Despite this warning the government of Pakistan continued upon its course of breaking up and weakening Balochistan further. Makran was given independence from Kalat on March the 17th 1948 and subsequently joined Pakistan.

Under immense duress from Pakistan combined with opposing pressure from tribal leaders the Khan eventually capitulated. Without the consent of the Baloch people and with no mandate whatsoever he signed the accession of Kalat to Pakistan, in his own personal capacity, on the 27th of March 1948.

By this one stroke the Khan of Kalat put the final nail in the coffin of Balochistan’s dream of independence alongside Pakistan.
Subsequently the Pakistan army entered Kalat on the 14th of April 1948 and the following day the Kalat Parliament was dissolved with many of its members being imprisoned or exiled. The Khan’s younger brother, Prince Abdul Karim declared and fought a brief revolt but was soon crushed by the Pakistan army and imprisoned. Thus began the ongoing conflict between Balochistan and Pakistan.

Since 1948, four more revolts have taken place:

1958 – Nawab Nauroz Khan fought in protest against the declaration of One Unit (a plan to merge the four provinces of West Pakistan).

1962 – Sher Mohammad Khan Marri (also known as General Sherof due to his Soviet ties) introduced modern guerrilla warfare tactics to the fighters of Balochistan in an armed struggle against the Pakistan army.

1973-1977 – In response to the dissolution of the elected provincial government of Balochistan by President Bhutto some 50,000 Baloch fighters engaged the Pakistan army resulting in mass casualties especially within the civilian population of Balochistan.

2002-2006 – Nawabzada Ballach Khan Marri, leader of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), in conjunction with Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti led a revolt in response to the appropriation of Balochistan’s resources by the Pakistan government without adequate development in the region. The Nawab was brutaly murdered in 2006 in one of the caves of Bhambhore Hills near Kohlu and Nawabzada Ballach Khan Marri was later murdered in Afghanistan in 2007.

Even today the flame of resistance sparked by Mir Ghous Baksh Bezinjo’s speech burns brightly and refuses to be quelled despite the repeated attempts of the Pakistan army to extinguish it. Thousands of men, women and children have been murdered, hanged and dumped in the numerous struggles which erupt like a raging volcano intermittently between the Baloch nation and the Pakistan army.
Even today the armed struggle continues as does the exploitation of Balochistan’s vast resources. With some of the biggest natural gas reserves in the world, vast deposits of gold and other minerals, Balochistan remains the poorest and least developed of Pakistan’s four provinces and there are no signs of this changing anytime soon.

How long before we hear the roar of the Baloch Tigers once more?

Published in The Baloch Hal on June 21, 2013

June 20, 2013

India places its Asian bet on Japan

By Peter Lee   Asia Times 20 June, 2013

In a dismaying week for the People's Republic of China (PRC), India turned away from it, and gave further signals that it is ready to move beyond the narrative of Japanese World War II aggression that has informed China's Asian diplomacy and anchored the US presence in Asia for over half a century in favor of a view of Japan as a leading and laudable security actor in East Asia.

I don't know if there is a term in the diplomatic lexicon for "deep tongue kiss accompanied by groans of mutual fulfillment", but if there is, it seems it would be illustrated by the encounter between Indian President Manmohan Singh and Japanese PM Abe Shinzo in Tokyo on May 27-29, 2013.

Speaking to an assembly of Japanese government and corporate worthies in Tokyo, Singh said:
Asia's resurgence began over a century ago on this island of the Rising Sun. Ever since, Japan has shown us the way forward. India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia. Over the past decade, therefore, our two countries have established a new relationship based on shared values and shared interests. ...

Our relationship with Japan has been at the heart of our Look East Policy. Japan inspired Asia's surge to prosperity and it remains integral to Asia's future. The world has a huge stake in Japan's success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Your continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and your ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance are crucial. India's relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Our relations draw their strength from our spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities and a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom. We have increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other's prosperity. We have shared interests in maritime security and we face similar challenges to our energy security. There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper.

Together, we seek a new architecture for the United Nations Security Council. In recent years, our political and security cooperation has gained in salience. Japan is the only partner with whom we have a 2-plus-2 Dialogue between the Foreign and Defence Ministries. We have also begun bilateral exercises with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.
The romance was consecrated by an audience with the Japanese emperor and empress for Singh and his wife, and the announcement that the royal couple would be visiting India before the year's end in only the second overseas trip for the aging emperor since 2009.

It should also be noted that India is studying Japan's offer to sell an amphibious plane, the US-2, that would be de facto Japan's first overseas military sale, though it would go out under the flag of "dual use" (the Japanese government has previously supplied maritime patrol vessels to Indonesia, and has promised them to the Philippines, but as "developmental assistance," not as a sale).

Compare and contrast Singh's effusions in Tokyo with the proper but distant tone of the communique on Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang's recent visit to India:
There is enough space in the world for the development of India and China, and the world needs the common development of both countries. As the two largest developing countries in the world, the relationship between India and China transcends bilateral scope and has acquired regional, global and strategic significance. Both countries view each other as partners for mutual benefit and not as rivals or competitors.
Much of the Indian coverage gave full rein to anti-PRC feelings (The Hindu being the exception, although it perforce titled its skeptical editorial on Singh's Japan trip as "Love in Tokyo"), implying that India's vociferous China bashers were celebrating an overt shift in Indian government attitudes or, at the very least, Japan had been extremely thorough in its spadework with right-wing Indian media to cultivate a Japan-India alliance.

The Times of India headlined: "India, Japan join hands to break China's 'string of pearls'". First Post wrote:
It's true that no other country in the world today feels as threatened by China's so-called "peaceful rise" as Japan. But then India too feels threatened by China. That is why Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister and a known India friend, had said in his address to the joint session of Indian parliament in the Central Hall in the summer of 2007 that the Indo-Japan relations were a "confluence of the two seas", a phrase that he drew from the title of a book written by the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh in 1655.

Abe is an unabashed China-basher who says he is determined to see that the South China Sea does not become a "Lake Beijing". He has proposed an ADSD - Asia Democratic Security Diamond, comprising Japan, India, Australia and the US.

This is what Abe said in a signed article in December 2012: "If Japan were to yield, the South China Sea would become even more fortified. Freedom of navigation, vital for trading countries such as Japan and South Korea, would be seriously hindered. The naval assets of the United States, in addition to those of Japan, would find it difficult to enter the entire area, though the majority of the two China seas is international water."

Abe has forecast that in about a decade Japan-India relations would overtake Japan-China and even Japan-US relations. "I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific," he said in this article.
India and Japan were never as close to each other as they are today. The bonding is to become all the stronger in the near future. All thanks to China.

Economic Times observed:
Japan occupies a large space in Manmohan Singh's heart, and he has logged enough frequent flyer miles to Tokyo to prove it. When he lands in Tokyo on Monday, Singh is certain to get the kind of reception that will show Japan reciprocates in full measure.

Japan has the kind of technological and innovation heft India needs in spades. Acknowledging this, the PM once famously listed three of India's relationships he described as "transformational" - US, Japan and Germany - that if India used these relationships wisely, they could help transform our nation. ...

With Shinzo Abe back in power in Japan with a convincing mandate and a will to resuscitate Japan from its "lost decades", India has a unique opportunity. ...

It is time India came out of the closet to strengthen the countries in the region: Indonesia, Vietnam and the real power in Asia - Japan. India should not waste its time looking for Japanese endorsement of Kashmir or Arunachal Pradesh, though many officials will tell you this is why we're kind of reticent with them. Instead, India should be more helpful on the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue - because if China gets away with this one, it will be unstoppable everywhere else.
Put China on the list of observers who came away with the impression of an Indo-Japanese love fest.

For an illustration of the diplomatic equivalent of "green eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on" ie jealousy/envy/sour grapes, note this People's Daily editorial, which attempts to put the resolution of a minor border intrusion during Li Keqiang's visit to India on a par with the multi-course love feast between Singh and Abe (while diplomatically putting the blame for Singh's dalliance on Abe's shoulders) - "Sino-Indian diplomatic miracle embarrasses Japanese politicians":
"The clouds in the sky cannot blot out the sunshine of Sino-Indian friendship," said Premier Li Keqiang when describing the Sino-Indian ties on the last day of his stay in India. Before Premier Li Keqiang's visit, the China-India border standoff was hyped up by international media. The divergence and contradictions between the two countries were also exaggerated as if the Sino-Indian ties had been strained suddenly. But what surprised the media was that China and India properly solved the issue in a short time.

During Premier Li Keqiang's visit, the top leaders of both countries had sincere and candid talks and came to a series of strategic consensus and cooperation. The shift of Sino-Indian ties in such a short time is a miracle. In the development of Sino-Indian ties there are several divergence and contradictions. Some countries see these differences as an opportunity to provoke dissension. Not long ago, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Japan, India, Australia and the US to jointly form a "Democratic Security Diamond" to compete with the ascendant China. He also proposed that Japan should promote "Strategic Diplomacy" and "Values Diplomacy" and made visits in countries around China. Some politicians just made themselves petty burglars on China-related issues. The so-called "Democratic Security Diamond", "Strategic Diplomacy" and "Values Diplomacy" among other new terms seem very strategic. But in fact they unveiled the narrow-minded diplomatic thoughts of Japanese government. The conspiracy of these petty burglars is doomed to fail ...
A brief note: the "Democratic Security Diamond" was originally bruited about in Abe's first term and independently championed by US vice president Dick Cheney as a piece of unabashed China containment. He attempted to advance it during an Asian trip in 2007, over the objections of the rest of the Bush administration, which was trying to engage the PRC on the perennial North Korea nuclear issue at the time.

It is difficult to shed the feeling that Indian commentators who detect an anti-China shift in Indian government policy are on to something.

Certainly, the Japan-India affair has sound diplomatic and economic bases. India is not happy about its immense trade deficit with China; Japan sees India as an alternative manufacturing base to an increasingly hostile (and costly) China.

Abe also would welcome some big ticket deals with India - hopefully including a dominant share of India's nuclear power plant imports (see PK Sundaram's article at Japan Focus) - to keep the economy humming and keep Abenomics out of the ditch.

Various national quid pro quos are at work - several billion dollars in Japanese loans, Indian support for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and a promise to work together to change the structure of the UN Security Council, to date notably China-heavy and Japan- and-India-unrepresented.

But an interested reader - and, indeed, the Chinese government - cannot escape the sense that Singh, encouraged by Abe's vigorous approach to restoring Japan's national and regional stature, has decided to place an open bet on Japan - a fellow democracy and, until recent years at least, acknowledged master of the global economic and financial game - instead of obstreperous, state socialist China in the Asian sweepstakes.

Therefore, I for once and very gingerly take issue with the esteemed M K Bhadrakumar on his conclusion that China's assertiveness in Ladakh strengthened the hands of India's China bashers and queered Li Keqiang's trip and Sino-Indian relations overall.

Given the apparent desire of Prime Minister Singh to prioritize a Japan partnership, maybe somebody thought an Indian provocation in Ladakh would yield a timely and useful piece of anti-Chinese framing to the encounter in Tokyo. Or perhaps, Singh's heart was in Japan from the beginning.

Chinese state media has for the most part refrained from criticizing Manmohan Singh and India's Japan tilt directly. However, references to Radhabinod Pal have appeared in Chinese media and, provide an interesting perspective (and surrogate) for China's unease with its deepening Indio-Japanese conundrum.

Pal was an Indian jurist on the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal in 1946. Enamored of the anti-colonial rhetoric that accompanied the Japanese "advance" into Southeast Asia, he believed the United States had provoked Japan into war (the Japanese response was therefore not "aggressive"), was concerned about Allied wartime atrocities, and declined to endorse the "triumph of civilization" narrative of Japan's defeat or the creation of "Class A" war criminal category that the Occupation used to prosecute the Japanese military and civilian leadership. While acknowledging the commission of atrocities in the field (though a Nanjing Massacre skeptic), Pal voted for acquittal of the "Class A" defendants and prepared a 1,235-page dissenting opinion - suppressed by the Occupation until 1952 - stating that the trial was a "victor's justice" travesty.

So far so good.

After his dissent was published, Pal, unsurprisingly, became a hero to Japanese nationalists. Given the legal and moral flaws of the tribunal, the standard explanation is that Pal was simply a scrupulous jurist whose dissent got cherry picked by nasty nationalists for verbiage that supported their claim that the only thing Japan did wrong in World War II was lose it.

Actually, as an article at Japan Focus by Japanese scholar Nakajima Takeshi points out, in his dissent Pal went beyond challenging the legality and validity of the tribunal to excusing Japanese - activities? aggression? advances? Choose your favorite term - on the grounds that Japan was getting picked on by the West.

This is rather obvious in Pal's treatment of Japan's incursion into Manchuria in 1931, which Japan did on its own kick without the excuse that the US was forcing it into war. Pal obviously finds it extremely awkward that Japan, in his mind the front line of resistance to Western colonialism, adopted nakedly colonial policies in its dismemberment of China and subjugation of Manchuria.

He attempts to resolve his difficulties by deploying what might be characterized as the "monkey see monkey do" defense - that Japan, deluded by the precedent, pretexts, and spurious legality of Western colonial intrusions, mistakenly adopted the same methods and, indeed, erroneously adopted the very idea that it needed to occupy Manchuria, from the West.

After dismissing the Manchurian and Marco Polo Bridge incidents as examples of simple overexuberance by officers in the field and not elements of a conspiracy to justify occupation of north and northeast China, Pal deployed the "delusion" defense, as Nakajima writes:
Justice Pal then critically examined Western Imperialism, which, he asserted, Japan had imitated. Quoting the Survey of International Affairs 1932, he turned the target of the criticism toward the colonial policies of Western Powers:

Was it not Western Imperialism that had coined the word "protectorate" as a euphemism for "annexation"? And had not this constitutional fiction

served its Western inventors in good stead? Was not this the method by which the Government of the French Republic had stepped into the shoes of the Sultan of Morocco, and by which the British Crown had transferred the possession of vast tracts of land in East Africa from native African to adventitious European hands?

For Justice Pal, Japan's "farce" was nothing but the result of imitating Western fashions of imperialism. From this point of view, he questioned why only Japan's establishment of Manchukuo could be assessed as "aggression". Weren't Western countries morally guilty as well in practicing colonialism? If the acts of aggression by Western countries were not charged as crimes, why was the establishment of Manchukuo by Japan?

Justice Pal further quoted the Survey of International Affairs 1932: "Though the Japanese failed to make the most of these Western precedents in stating their case for performing the farce of 'Manchukuo', it may legitimately be conjectured that Western as well as Japanese precedents had in fact suggested, and commended, this line of policy to Japanese minds."

By saying, "[i]t may not be a justifiable policy, justifying one nation's expansion in another's territory", he emphasized that both Japan and the Western countries were morally responsible for the colonization of other nations. Justice Pal explained that Japan was at that time possessed with a "delusion" and believed that the country would face death and destruction if it failed in acquiring Manchuria.

Pal regarded this as the reason for Japan's attempts to establish interests which it saw as necessary for its very existence. Justice Pal said that carrying out a military operation driven by "delusion" was not unique to Japan as it had been repeatedly practiced on a large scale by Western countries for many years.

Saying, "[a]lmost every great power acquired similar interests within the territories of the Eastern Hemisphere and, it seems, every such power considered that interest to be very vital", Pal argued that Japan had the "right" to argue that the Manchurian Incident was necessary for the sake of "self-defense". Japan claiming national "self-defense" in regard to its territorial expansion in China was in step with international society at the time, Pal said, and thus Japan's actions stemmed from the "imitation" of an evil practice of Western imperialism. Based on this premise, he concluded: "The action of Japan in Manchuria would not, it is certain, be applauded by the world. At the same time it would be difficult to condemn the same as criminal."
Pal's brief seems to go beyond the questioning of a dubious legal proceeding by a distinguished and experienced international jurist to rather dishonorable special pleading on behalf of his favorite country, Japan.

In 1966, the emperor of Japan conferred upon Pal - who stated his lifelong admiration of Japan as the one Asian country that stood up to the West - the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

The Pal dissent is a cornerstone of the recent nationalist tilt of the Japanese government, as can be seen from this Telegraph report of the aftermath of the Liberal Democrat Party's victory at the polls in 2012:
"The view of that great war was not formed by the Japanese themselves, but rather by the victorious Allies, and it is by their judgment only that [Japanese] were condemned," Mr Abe told a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Tuesday.

In his previous short-lived spell as prime minister, for 12 months from September 2006, Mr Abe said that the 28 Japanese military and political leaders charged with Class-A war crimes are "not war criminals under the laws of Japan."
Pal was enshrined at Yasukuni, which gives the lie to the claim that it is simply a memorial to the war dead and not a revisionist shrine. The photo illustrating Pal's entry in Wikipedia is his Yasukuni stele.

Prime Minister Abe made a pilgrimage to Kolkata in 2007 to meet with Pal's son and receive two pictures of Pal with Abe's father-in-law, ex-prime minister Kishi Nobusuke, who was detained after the war as a suspected Class A criminal but never indicted or tried.

For those who like their national history convoluted, it should also be pointed out that Pal was an admirer of the Indian National Army, which fought with the Japanese against the British in Malaya and Burma. When the British moved to try the leaders of the INA for treason after the war, the combination of outrage in the Indian military and popular revulsion against the British exercise of justice was a crucial factor in Great Britain granting Indian independence.

So, by an alternate reading of history, Japan can claim credit for the decolonization of India as well as Malaysia and Burma (now Myanmar).

Prime Minister Singh's attitude to the potent symbolism of the Pal dissent and the Japanese decolonization narrative was displayed in Singh's toast to Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi in 2005:
The dissenting judgment of Justice Radha Binod Pal is well-known to the Japanese people and will always symbolize the affection and regard our people have for your country.
On December 14, 2006, Singh upgraded Pal's judgment to "principled" and an expression of Indian-Japan solidarity in his speech in the Japanese Diet. He stated:
The principled judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal after the War is remembered even today in Japan. Ladies and Gentlemen, these events reflect the depth of our friendship and the fact that we have stood by each other at critical moments in our history.
This does not look like a matter of parsing the legal and moral flaws Pal detected in the war crimes tribunal. It looks as if Singh's heart, like Pal's, was with Japan - and its view that Japan was unfairly stigmatized - and China unnecessarily benefited - by the narrative of Japanese national criminal aggression in World War II.

As generational memories fade of the miseries inflicted as a result of Japan's rampage through Asia, resurrecting the comforting abstraction of the Japan decolonization narrative is a potent political and diplomatic weapon for 21st century Asian politicians interested in the possibility of a new, more Japan-centric security order - despite the fact that Japan has to be discreet in wielding it in the presence of the United States, which is completely vested in the Greatest Generation/triumph over evil version.

The fact that the overt anti-China/pro-Japan tilt is a risky bet and, to a certain extent, Japan needs early and active Indian buy-in for the Abe gambit to succeed, make it appear that Singh decided to follow his heart and match Abe's boldness with his own.

Singh did not have to endorse that reliable if somewhat misleading anti-Chinese bugbear "freedom of navigation" and claim an overt Indian strategic role in East Asia through the Look East policy. But he did so in his remarks in Tokyo:
Our Look East engagement began with a strong economic emphasis, but it has become increasingly strategic in its content. ...

Our relationship with Japan has been at the heart of our Look East Policy. Japan inspired Asia's surge to prosperity and it remains integral to Asia's future. The world has a huge stake in Japan's success in restoring the momentum of its growth. Your continued leadership in enterprise, technology and innovation and your ability to remain the locomotive of Asian renaissance are crucial. India's relations with Japan are important not only for our economic development, but also because we see Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in the vast region in Asia that is washed by the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Our relations draw their strength from our spiritual, cultural and civilizational affinities and a shared commitment to the ideals of democracy, peace and freedom. We have increasingly convergent world views and growing stakes in each other's prosperity. We have shared interests in maritime security and we face similar challenges to our energy security. There are strong synergies between our economies, which need an open, rule-based international trading system to prosper.
For outside observers, India's overt buy-in validates the idea of the anti-China pivot and reinforces the narrative that the PRC is a rogue actor that needs containment.

Global Times talked tough on the occasion of the Singh visit, putting the onus on Abe once again but presumably also sending a message to India not to end up on the wrong side of (long term) history (as well as reassuring itself that, despite the unfavorable set of current circumstances, the PRC will come out on top in the end):
It will take time for Japan to face the reality that the once only great power in East Asia has to give way to China, whose GDP and marine strength will surpass that of Japan.

The process will be tougher for Japan, which will be sincerely convinced some day. The day will come sooner or later. The little tricks that Japan is playing are nothing but a struggle for self-comfort, which will not affect the development of Asia. Japan is trying every means to hide its decline against China in order to boost its national morale, but China does not need to compete with Japan to regain confidence and prove its strength. The conflict between China and Japan should not be regarded as a "strategic" game. In fact, the overall strategic future of Japan and China has already been determined.

Gains and losses incurred by the frictions between China and Japan make no difference to the futures of either country. There is no need for China to exert too much energy on Japan. As a growing but young giant, Chinese society will unavoidably have to deal with various conflicts with Japan. It will be a long journey for China to become mature enough so that a real great power will emerge with confidence.

This is not a final showdown between China and Japan, neither is it an opportunity for China to mend its broken fences with Japan. All China should do is "take it easy". China should be aware that Japanese tricks can never impact China strategy. China should take the initiative to decide when and how seriously we respond to it.
But maybe Singh sees a once-in-a-career opportunity for rollback against the PRC with Abe in Japan, the US in Myanmar, and China's problems with ASEAN on a prolonged, ugly boil.

It is already clear that India is slow-walking its negotiations with the PRC over a free-trade agreement. If India and Japan both insist that China's proposed regional trade zone regime, the RCEP, needs to look more like the (US-backed) Trans-Pacific Partnership, the negotiating initiative for all of the region's trade pacts may switch over to Japan and India.

The PRC appears to have decided it is a good idea to draw closer to the United States (which Abe is discreetly shouldering aside as he pursues his Japan-centric initiatives and promotes his vision of Japan as a victim of "victor's justice"), and declare allegiance to the World War II narrative that exalts US leadership and Japan's demotion to self-defense force quarantine.

PRC Premier Li Keqiang found himself in the unlikely position of trying to reawaken nostalgia for the Potsdam declaration - which mandated the return to their owners of territories like Taiwan, the Pescadores, and Manchuria that Japan had stolen - during his trip to Germany. Beyond giving the PRC some kind of claim to the Senkakus, invoking the Potsdam declaration is probably meant to remind the United States of a happier time when the West's writ was respectfully acknowledged and not covertly defied by the subjugated and defeated nations of Asia.

On the other hand, if the weakened yen and Abe's frenetic regional deal making fail to keep the Nikkei afloat and the long-expected revulsion against Japanese bonds (and the 240% of GDP national debt they fund) materializes and spikes Japan's borrowing costs, Japan will be licking its wounds a few months from now and Singh will face some awkward moments in dealing with Beijing.

But for the time being, the vision (or, to the PRC, the specter) of an active Japan-India alliance inciting and recruiting opposition to Chinese strategic and economic penetration in Asia offers the prospect of a potentially far-reaching re-juggling of Pacific relationships.

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US global policy. He is the moving force behind the Asian affairs website China Matters which provides continuing critical updates on China and Asia-Pacific policies.

Ending the romance with Maoists


Paper No. 5511                                        
 Dated 17-Jun-2013

Col R Hariharan

[This article includes points made by the author in a discussion on a TV news channel on Maoist violence beamed on June 14, 2013.]

The Maoist attack on Dhanbad-Patna Intercity Express at Jamui - one of Bihar's seven Maoists-hit districts on May 13 killing three persons, is a rude reminder that the state is yet to win its war against Maoist extremism, despite winning many battles on other fronts.

The attack comes even as the nation is recovering from the gruesome killing of Chattisgarh Congress President Nand Kumar Patel and his son, as well as the well-known Adivasi leader Mahendra Karma, and 20 others by Maoists near Suguma in Southern Bastar District earlier.

The two incidents underline the need to shed the romantic notions many of us nurture about Maoist extremism. Ironically the Congress leaders were on a “Parivartan yatra” as a part of their electioneering campaign; but when will the country make a parivartan (change) in the way it combats Maoists?    

The Maoists’ –whatever be the latest alphabetical acronyms of their faction – fundamental credo is to destroy the democratic state and its machinery through armed violence. Maoists have shown repeatedly that all those who are in the way of achieving this objective – be it the Adivasi they claim to protect, politicians, petty government officials or even the hapless cop on traffic duty – will be ruthlessly eliminated.  So, successful cohabitation of democratic governance and Maoists is an oxymoron proposition.

Though national leaders periodically repeat the cliché of Maoist extremism being a national threat, they generally soft pedal the anti-democratic nature of Maoist conflict and adopt reactive strategies. As a result for long the nation had adopted a soft approach in dealing with Left Wing extremism in contrast to its attitude to separatist insurgencies in Kashmir and northeast.

There are a few reasons for this. Maoist strongholds are generally in backward tribal areas which have low population density, and send fewer elected representatives. As long as Maoist conflicts do not affect urban constituencies where political idiom is commanded by money power and caste equations, politicians choose to ignore them because poor Adivasis are outside the Hindu caste pantheon.

Tribals have long faced social and political exploitation, and economic deprivation. Over a period of time, society has chosen to ignore their plight. Their traditional areas of habitation have been exploited by feudal elements that left the Adivasi population eking out a marginal living. However, economic liberalisation has drawn powerful national and foreign business entities with rapacious appetite for raw material, particularly mineral deposits and green resources into traditional areas of tribals. While mega business corporations in collusion with political-bureaucracy nexus prospered with this development, the Adivasis have been left out of the growth story. Moreover, corrupt political and administrative system well entrenched in society has marginalised Adivasis from gaining access to social security outreach of available to the rural poor.

Claiming to be defenders of the oppressed people, particularly the tribals, Maoists have been able to sell their struggle to gain broad based support among human rights and environmental activists and left wing sympathisers. Usually they are more articulate and committed to their beliefs than politicians whose words fail to carry conviction.

Political parties have also been treating Maoist extremism to score brownie points against the ruling party. Of course, the ineptness of execution of operations and knee jerk response of political leadership to Maoist extremism provide opportunities galore for the opposition.

Elected governments at the state and Centre are aware of this situation. However, due to lack of accountability in governance, the state has unwittingly become unofficial patrons of exploiters. As a result their repeated promises to make the system vibrant are suspect. As structural changes continue to be elusive, Maoists have thrived.

During the last decade or so, Maoists have also become part of this network of exploitation by extorting mining entities and their contractors. So Maoists are no more gooey eyed idealists the intellectual class would like to believe.

When P Chidambaram donned the mantle of Union Home Minister in the wake of 26/11 Lashkar terrorist attack in Mumbai, he adopted a systematic approach to strengthen the police and paramilitary forces. The fight against Maoist extremism also benefitted from this approach. According to the Home Ministry reports total number of districts affected by Maoist extremism fell from 208 in 2009 to 173 in 2012. Some major counter extremists operations were launched in 2009-10 and as many 5,705 extremists were killed, surrendered or arrested.

Does this mean government has succeeded in eradicating Maoist extremism?  The figures of casualties and "liberated areas"are deceptive, as in low intensity warfare body count may weaken the extremist but does not end their activity. After suffering heavy losses in 2009-10, Maoists have changed their tactics to avoid contact with paramilitary forces. Maoists, despite their depleted strength, retain the ability to carry out sensational strikes. Exploiting the operational incompetency and leadership weaknesses of state apparatus, they now carry out attacks like the ones on the Intercity express in Jamui and Congress leaders and functionaries in Chattisgarh.

There is an underlying national consensus among political parties, and even among most of the civil society organs, that Maoist extremism vitiates the gains of democratic governance. However, deep differences exist on how to go about eliminating them or render them ineffective. There appears to be an element of desperation in the government’s approach. In September 2011 Union Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed Centre’s readiness for holding unconditional talks with Maoists even if they do not surrender arms or renounce their extremist ideology. It is not clear what will the state and the extremists talk about, if the extremists continue to retain the arms and adhere to their ideological commitment to destroy the state through armed struggle!

In short our national approach to combating Maoist extremism appears confused and vacillating.  The country’s war against Left Wing extremism appears to be heading for a long haul, unless it can overcome some fundamental weaknesses that have become part of our system:

The overall objective should be to remove the Maoists as interlocutors for the oppressed people and sensitise the state administrative machinery to meet the needs of the people. The state has to own up its responsibility to protect the constitution and provide a secure environment for the people to live in. This involves the removal of Maoists as an extra constitutional entity interfering with governance. To achieve this, the state requires goal clarity, which does not seem to exist now.

The state should be able to sustain its presence in the “liberated” area and defend it against recurrence of Maoist extremism. This can come about only when the people see the state as a better option than Maoists and extend their support. Attempts to carry out such programmes have not made much headway due to lack of political will and commitment. Political rivalry, cronyism and corruption coupled with aberrations in the administrative and police machinery usually vitiate the gains.

A well integrated approach between the state and the Centre in combating Maoists continues to remain elusive although their paramilitary and police forces have been working together for nearly a decade now. Law and order is largely the state’s responsibility and states are wary of Centre poaching on their pasture under cover of counter extremist operations. This has been aggravated by schism between states ruled by the opposition and the Centre. At functional level this affects real time information sharing and coordination of operations.
Police forces continue to be colonial stereotypes lacking a people-friendly approach. This has affected modernisation of police forces affecting their counter extremist operations. As most of the states have chosen to ignore implementation of police reforms, recommended by successive police commissions, organs of law enforcement continue to wallow in corruption and pandering to political influence. Palliative measures like employing retired army brigadiers for planning of operations against extremists are unlikely to yield lasting results professional standards of police and paramilitary forces are upgraded without delay.

In short, success in operations against extremists cannot be gauged merely by body counts or size of sanitized areas, though they do indicate success of operations at the field level. The more difficult part of operations is weaning away the people from Maoists’ pernicious ideology that undermines the very existence of the state. To create a congenial environment for this, it becomes imperative to render Maoists ineffective so that they cease to be an instrument of terror. But such security operations should be a means to an end for good governance. To achieve this counter-terror operations have to be planned and executed with greater sensitivity to human rights and environmental protection lest the organs of state merely replace Maoists as the exploiter of peoples’ grievances.

(Col Hariharan is a retired Military Intelligence officer associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-mail: colhari@yahoo.com Blog: www.colhariharan.org)

French Lessons From Mali: Fight Alone, Supply Together

Murielle Delaporte

French forces appear to have succeeded in Mali. They blunted the mad progress of Islamist forces during Operation Serval for those who dont know, the Serval  s a gorgeous, sleek and fast African cat known for grabbing hidden prey from rocks and holes) drove them back to the northern mountains and seem to have broken the back of the evil ones, some of whom blew themselves up rather than surrender once faced with sure defeat. Murielle Delaporte, respected French military analyst, was embedded with French forces in Mali for 10 days in later April and offers this early look at lessons learned, by France and by her allies. The Editor.

The first phase of Operation Serval, as the French incursion into Mali is known, has been a genuine military success. Maybe, as one former French Foreign Legion officer observes, Serval stands as one of the few French military victories since the Cold War.

During three months of fighting France lost six soldiers and suffered 200 wounded, while forces from neighboring Chad €” who reportedly fought with verve and effectiveness €” lost more.
France had other military successes, like Harmattan, last year, but Mali is a curious blend of the past and the future, a curious mix of a fully Franco-French operation on the one hand especially on the ground, and a new type of ad hoc international coalition €” especially in the air.

As one French logistician pointed out, comparing Mali with Afghanistan, €œFrance has to learn to fight alone again.€ On the other hand, as French air force officials in Mali stress, international partners, including the United States for the first time, were comfortable working under French operational command because of years of joint training and increased command and control (C2) interoperability.

For Western military powers facing increasing budgetary pressure, this reflects the growing dilemma between keeping enough capabilities if not to fight alone, at least to maintain maximum autonomy, but they also are re-norming everything to be able to fight smoothly within a coalition. For France, who fully re-entered NATO not that long ago, Operation Serval has been the pretext to deepen new commonalities in unexplored areas such as field landing for instance.

Very few NATO countries have the capabilities to carry out an operation like Serval, but France could not have done it without allied contribution.  Three allied capabilities were crucial to France: airlift, airborne tankers and ISR.

France boasted five factors that helped them block the jihadists from reaching Bamako and (at least temporarily) disorganize AQIM and the Mujao movements by killing some 600 terrorists and destroying arsenals and IED factories.

* A rapid political decision-making process
Within hours of the French presidents decision to act, French jets were in a position a few hours later to take off from Saint Dizier, fly almost 10 hours and engage in a series of air strikes in northern Mali. The French political system, in contrast to Germanys for instance, allows immediate military action, a facility made possible by the countrys constant state of alert associated with how France handles its nuclear status.

* The quality of the French commanders.

From the closest advisers to the defense minister to the operations commander, the generals all are acquainted with special forces operations, which gave the tone of Serval from the outset : quick, massive, targeted and sustained. The idea was to maintain full pressure and exhaust the adversary who, fled to the Adrar mountain sanctuaries where he fought to the death, preferring to trigger their explosive belts rather than surrendering.

* To deliver such a massive response over several months, the French military had to mobilize a whole array of capabilities, ranging from special forces to air support (air force jets and army helicopters), to logistic support that was especially crucial in Mali given the distances and its lack of infrastructure and local resources.

* Allied airlift

Frances lack of strategic airlift capabilities was partly compensated for by the presence of French support structures in neighbouring countries, which were complemented by the ability to work with allies who provided C17s, C130s and CASAs.

* Finally, the resilience of military French forces, and not only the tip of the spear, have to be stressed and praised.

To get some idea of Malis harsh environment, consider that special forces operating in Tessalit left their boots open because of high temperatures and the way the soles of their boots (and probably souls as well after a while€¦) were destroyed by volcanic soil, or the necessity for ammunition specialists to sleep in containers €“ withstanding up to 50 degree Celsius temperatures during the day €” because of the threat of wondering snakes.
These capabilities just do not come with a magic wand and require years, even decades, of hard training with a knowledge passed on from generation to generation. Many French military had the feeling they were walking in their ancestors shoes as they operated in former French military facilities such as the logistics bataillon in Gao, where French forces in Africa supplied the Free French from 1941 to 1945. (One envisions the French and Malian equivalent of Rick and Louie strolling down the airstrip, speaking of € the beginning of a beautiful friendship€  as a French Rafale stands ready for takeoff.)
What may be the lasting lesson learned from Mali? Recently, French Chief of Staff, Amiral Guillaud, testified before the French parliamentary defense commission. Operation Serval, he told them, was the practical application of a new Golden Rule for French forces: €œFirst to enter, and first to leave the theater€ of operation to €œavoid a solely and long-lasting national military involvement.€

India’s Strategic Failure in Central Asia

CENTRAL ASIA | POLITICS | INDIA June 11, 2013By Stephen Blank

As Western forces depart the region, New Delhi will need to act to translate potential into reality.

India’s political, cultural, and historical ties to Central Asia date back to antiquity. But contemporary circumstances, namely the quest for energy and the threat of terrorism, have imparted a new urgency, adding strategic realities to historical tradition. Indeed, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has said that India’s energy requirements are growing at a “terrifying pace.” Consequently, India’s government recently announced that it refuses to lay down a quota for importing oil (and presumably gas) from any country, including Iran. Instead, India will buy oil (and, again, presumably gas if not other energy sources) from wherever “it gets the best deal.” In this context it is even looking at the Arctic for energy sources. Not surprisingly in this context the Caspian basin is seen as an “important source” of hydrocarbons and ONGC is buying an 8.42% share of Conoco Phillips’ holidngs in Kazakhstan. It also is buying equity (albeit modest) in Azeri fields around the Caspian.

Yet despite the urgency for India, if not Central Asia, of strengthening those ties, India is failing to keep pace with its rivals, particularly China. New Delhi knows this to be true as does every analyst who observes its efforts in Central Asia. For example, despite the importance of the so-called TAPI pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India, no international firm is ready to finance the project. This failure occurs even though the U.S. supports an expanded Indian role in Central Asia, and the American presence vastly enlarges the political, economic and military space available to India. Indeed, Washington’s presence allows India to play, or at least aspire to, a greater Central Asian role than it could achieve on its own. Washington also counts on New Delhi playing an expanded role in Afghanistan and Central Asia as its troops depart Afghanistan.

While India plays a large role in Afghanistan, focused principally on building human capital and physical infrastructure, improving security, and helping the agricultural and other important sectors of the country’s economy, it nevertheless continues to lag China and Russia. India’s difficulties in Central Asia also confirm that, unlike Russia, China sees India as not just an obstacle in its own right, but as a U.S. stalking horse and continues to obstruct Indian efforts to enhance its presence in Central Asia. As we approach 2014 it seems clear that absent that U.S. role (and despite Russian support), China and Pakistan will probably succeed in checking India’s ability to project meaningful economic or military power into the region, including its ability to negotiate contracts for energy supplies.

Yet India certainly cannot depend on Russia to advance its Central Asian interests. Indeed, according to U.S. experts, India’s effort to refurbish and maintain an air base at Ayni in Tajikistan was quashed when the Tajik government told India that Moscow opposed any foreign bases there regardless of whom they belonged to.

India clearly needs a partner to be effective in Central Asia, while China does not, and China intends to exploit that advantage for as long as possible. Certainly China has far outpaced India to date throughout the region, regarding both energy acquisitions and the building of a long-distance transportation, trade and infrastructure network despite India’s rising wealth and power. China’s ability to compete successfully against India is visible in its accelerating consolidation of its own version of the Silk Road. Neither is this rivalry occurring only in Central Asia. The same process took place in the Sino-Indian competition that China won for a gas pipeline from Bangladesh and Myanmar to China rather than India. And Indian analysts worry with good reason about China’s increasing presence in the smaller countries of South Asia.

We also see this trend with the cornerstone of Indo-American aspirations for a post-Afghanistan economic structure, the New Silk Road strategy in Central Asia and Afghanistan. This project aims to help stabilize Afghanistan and prevent it and its Central neighbors from succumbing to violence. But it also seeks to bypass Russia, Iran and China while linking India with Central Asia – and ultimately Europe – help develop all those economies, and provide a major new investment opportunity for U.S. business.

Even before 9/11, analysts saw increased opportunities for Indo-American partnership in Central (and South) Asia. C. Raja Mohan observed as early as 1999 that U.S. activism and presence was likely to increase on India’s peripheries, including Central Asia, while Indian interest in those peripheries was also growing. Further, in areas like Central Asia a broad agenda of promoting regional and subregional cooperation awaited both Washington and New Delhi. Mohan called for a project to foster economic and political pluralism in the neighborhood, protect energy and sea lanes, and combat terrorism and the drug trade.

Undoubtedly, the Silk Road project and its accompanying vision reflect the accuracy of Mohan’s argument. But 14 years later, despite much dialogue, India is still essentially a minor player in Central Asia and is not competitive with China or Russia. Unquestionably, some of this stems from the fact that Pakistan’s geography and deliberate policy of obstruction cuts India off from Afghanistan and Central Asia. But that is by no means the exclusive or even primary reason for India’s strategic failure here. In 2010, analysts Marlene Laruelle, Jean-Francois Huchet, Sebastien Peyrouse and Bayram Balci found that despite the already visible Sino-Indian rivalry, India’s business presence remained “minimal.” Indian policymakers may have proclaimed Central Asia a key priority of Indian foreign and security policy, especially as India’s comprehensive national power grew. But despite this rhetoric, by 2010 India was clearly not an influential power in Central Asia. Neither has it become one since then.

Thus, analysts find that not only is India in a sense geographically excluded and able to act only at a remove, while lacking the comprehensive global power projection capabilities of the U.S., “its prospects are fluid and subject to relations with other powers and regions.” While it would like to be and claims to become a regional balancer, relationships with Pakistan, China, Russia, and the U.S. constrain its ambitions, which are best served under conditions of regional cooperation. Yet regional cooperation is the last thing that characterizes Central Asia and India suffers accordingly. In fact as Laruelle and Peyrouse found, talk of India’s important priority in Central Asia and efforts to cut a major figure there are more aspirational than actual and “its discursive activity by far exceeds the reality of bilateral relationships.”

So while India has acquired a stake in the Satpayev block in Kazakhstan, it is a long way behind China, and not just in energy access. This is not for want of trying. Just in the recent past India has launched discussions with Kazakhstan about extending a pipeline to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline project (TAPI), acquiring a block in Kazakhstan’s Kashagan block for about $5-6 billion, and extending the pipeline from TAPI all the way to Russia. But the TAPI project is at so early a stage, not even a study has been commissioned. India also seeks to expand its civil nuclear energy cooperation with both Russia and Kazakhstan. It is also concurrently negotiating with Rosneft to buy a stake in two blocks in the Sea of Okhotsk, Magadan-2 and Magadan-3, and is even keen to gain a foothold in Arctic projects while expanding in Siberia and the Russian Far East (RFE).

Yet China already receives 40 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan, a figure that is projected to rise to 65 bcm when the Uzbek and Kazakh pipelines are added. This failure – both vis-à-vis China and in regard to maximizing India’s overall posture – is not primarily due to Pakistani obstruction but probably owes more to the well-known difficulties India has encountered in framing an adequate energy policy, as the catastrophic blackout of 2012 shows.

Moreover, many scholars believe that India suffers from a congenital difficulty in thinking and acting strategically. As Charles Ebinger has noted, China has regularly and successfully outbid India for gas deals in Central Asia , Africa, and Latin America. Now China is also expanding its portfolio to include coal and uranium. Since China holds over $2 trillion in foreign reserves and is not encumbered by democracy, it can move much more quickly and decisively than India can. And India’s bureaucracy if notorious for grinding and foot-dragging while China’s is almost equally well known for its ruthless effectiveness.

India’s comparative failure clearly emerges in regard to Tajikistan. It recently welcomed Tajikistan Vice President Hamid Ansari, who signed deals to expand cooperation in information technology, energy, health, education, trade, commerce, mining and agriculture. At least formally, both governments also stressed the importance of cooperation in dealing with the expected security threats from Afghanistan.

While India will collaborate with Tajikistan in establishing an IT center of excellence and a Central Asia e-network, the extent of bilateral cooperation is in fact small compared to China’s record.

China has been able to invest vast sums of money in Tajikistan’s infrastructure, telecommunications, uranium and other minerals, and even force Tajikistan to cede it land rich in minerals in an arrangement that essentially gave China the land for free.

Similarly, despite the shared Indo-Tajik concern over security, there is no effective security cooperation with India and its armed forces certainly do not take part in bilateral or joint military exercises with Central Asian states to anywhere like the degree that the PLA does. It could not even hold onto its base at Ayni.

Likewise, while India is certainly interested in exploring for energy sources in Tajikistan, China as mentioned is on track to receive 65 bcm of natural gas annually from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the next few years.

So despite the fact that Indian commentary warns that India cannot afford to delay and must now move to set up a regional grouping involving Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan to check Pakistan’s “nefarious” aims, in fact China is already quite far ahead, and its regional organization will certainly include Pakistan, its ally if not client.

In fact, China is well advanced in its process of building its own “Silk Road”, well before the joint U.S.-India project goes anywhere. Ansari and other Indian officials may therefore say publicly that there is no clash between India and China to increase their respective stakes in Tajikistan or other Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan, but it is doubtful if any one of these governments or anyone else believes that.

This Indian failure also reflects on the U.S., which as it withdraws its forces from Afhganistan aims to leave behind a training and advisory force and an econmic structure in its “New Silk Road” strategy. But to the extent that Washington cannot pay for this strategy and India cannot compete with China, it is hardly surprising that, according to U.S. analysts, Uzbek President Islam Karimov laughs whenever someone tries to talk to him about the Silk Road. This also means that states like Uzbekistan will look for real security wherever they can find it and while they may wish India well, it is doubtful they will rely on New Delhi more than on Moscow and Beijing, which are in a much stronger position to deliver on their rhetoric.

India is in many ways an appealing example to Central Asia and especially to Western governments looking for a partner there. But as the West departs Afghanistan and Central Asia for lack of real resources, India will have to stand by itself and stand taller than it now does if its appeal is to be translated into something that is both practical and enduring.

Stephen Blank is Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute.


June 18, 2013

Teaching People To Overcome Biases With Games At Origins, Global Intelligence Forum

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Inspired by the announcement of Intelligence Advanced Research Project
Agency's Sirius Program a couple of years ago, I set out to design a tabletop (i.e. card) game that would help people learn more about cognitive biases and hopefully learn to limit the effects of some of the worst of them.

My first two attempts were ... OK ... but I couldn't quite get them to work.  Either they took too long to play or playtesting suggested that the learning effects were too small.

One day, though, it hit me - a design that was both manageable in terms of time and had good evidence to suggest that it would teach people not only how to identify bias situations in real life but also to apply effective strategies for mitigating the effects of those biases!  In short, I had a good game with proven mechanics and a testable hypothesis -- I was off to the races!

This summer (finally), I am taking my best design, The Mind's Lie, on the road to actually test it.  First up is the Origins Game Fair this week in Columbus, Ohio.  I need participants to test the game and I figured where better to go than one of the world's largest tabletop game fairs?

We have a booth and will be recruiting potential participants for an experiment to see if the game actually works (we are also recruiting for new students, so if you are in the Columbus area and are interested in learning more about our program for you or your son or daughter, do not hesitate to drop by). 

We will be playing the same game at the Global Intelligence Forum in Ireland in early July.  GIF is unquestionably my favorite conference (and not only because Mercyhurst sponsors it...).

It is the only place I know where intel professionals from all over the world and from across all three major intelligence sub-disciplines - national security, law enforcement and business - meet to talk about how to improve the practice of intelligence.  It is exciting intellectually, in a beautiful town on the coast of Ireland, and is still small enough to actually get to know some people (some pretty interesting people, actually...) instead of just bumping into them.

This year, if The Mind's Lie works like I think it will, the participants will get the opportunity to walk away with a better ability to evaluate evidence in an unbiased manner as well - worth the price of admission, I think!

If you are in the Columbus area this weekend drop by.  We will be showcasing The Mind's Lie and all our other games for intelligence analysts in booth 745 in the exhibit hall.  If you haven't made plans to go to the Global Intelligence Forum, there is still time to register - hope to see you there!

The Foreign Policy Impact of Iran's Presidential Election

Geopolitical Weekly
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 - 04:02 
By Michael Nayebi-Oskoui and Kamran Bokhari

Iranians went to the polls Friday to elect outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's successor. Candidates reported few serious problems with the process, and the losers sent congratulations to the eventual winner, Hassan Rouhani.

Compared to the political instability that followed Ahmadinejad's 2009 re-election, this process was relatively boring. But however the news media felt about the election, Iran needs domestic stability if it is going to change its foreign policy in a very challenging geopolitical environment.

Domestic Stability

Domestic stability has been the first goal for any regime that would project power from Iran's central highlands. The Persian Empire first emerged only after a central power subjugated the various groups of Indo-Iranian, Turkic and Semitic peoples within its borders. The suppression of 2009's Green Movement is only a recent example of a strong state apparatus quelling internal dissent. For millennia, various Persian regimes have sought to keep such domestic pressures at bay while foreign powers have sought to exacerbate these tensions to distract Iran or make it vulnerable to invasion.

In today's Iran, structural economic stresses that have persisted under decades of sanctions are coming to a head while sectarian competition in the region has halted the expansion of Tehran's regional influence. The clerical regime that currently rules the Iranian mountain fortress understands the threats from beyond its borders, but like its predecessors, it must make peace at home before it can address external challenges.

Much of the Western, and especially U.S., coverage of the Iranian elections centered on Rouhani, a figure known to many in the West. He took part in the Islamic Revolution and had ties to Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic. He also has ties to Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's second clerical president, and is a representative of the current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, on the Supreme National Security Council. Rouhani served as secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council for 16 years. As an extension of this position, he was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005. It was during this period when Rouhani's foreign policy credentials became best known in the United States and Europe. It was also during this period when Western and Iranian nuclear negotiators came closest to reaching a deal. 

Paradoxically, Rouhani combines conservative and reformist tendencies. As a cleric, he does not seek fundamental changes in Iran's power structure of the sort Ahmadinejad sought, but he also advocates cooperation with, and outreach to, other branches of Iran's power structure such as the military and civilian politicians. While defending Iran's nuclear program and regional agenda, he understands that simply issuing ultimatums to the West and escalating tensions rather than striking compromises will not win relief from sanctions. In this regard, he resembles the reformist former President Mohammed Khatami, under whom Rouhani served as chief nuclear negotiator. Rouhani can be expected to adopt a less incendiary tone in foreign policy than Ahmadinejad and to cooperate with other domestic power centers, like those of the supreme leader and the military and security forces.

Iran's domestic woes give it an incentive to pursue the kind of pragmatic engagement and dialogue with the West Rouhani was known for, especially on issues such as Iran's nuclear program and Tehran's interests in the Levant, Iraq and Afghanistan. This means Friday's election represents a relative success for the Islamic republic, though it denied the West's desire for a disruptive election that would see Iran's clerical regime fall.

Ahead of any meaningful traction on its foreign policy agenda, the Iranian government had to re-engage its electorate, something it has accomplished with this election. Tellingly, aside from current nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, seven of the eight candidates approved to run in this election campaigned on moderate or even reformist platforms, in stark contrast to the nationalist rhetoric of the firebrand Ahmadinejad.

Although largely unaffected by the regional unrest in 2011, the clerical regime needed to demonstrate both to its citizens and foreign capitals that the Iranian people could still bring about change at the ballot box, not just through the streets. Given the choice, the Iranian people chose pragmatism in relatively free and fair elections.

Though the Islamic republic cannot be changed overnight -- long-term structural changes are needed to revive the Iranian economy -- Rouhani's campaign and election have provided a relatively immediate, low-cost way to lessen some of the domestic pressures on the regime. Large-scale demonstrations in support of the president-elect following the announcement of his victory took place in Tehran and throughout many of Iran's urban centers, without the involvement of state security forces. For now at least, this suggests Iran's large and increasingly frustrated electorate seems to have been appeased. 

While it is, of course, too early to know how his presidency will play out, the Rouhani administration at the very least will not begin its tenure plagued with doubts regarding its legitimacy of the sort that greeted Ahmadinejad's second term. Also unlike Ahmadinejad, the president-elect has the opportunity to bridge deep divisions within the clerical elite. With clerical authority and the supreme leader no longer under attack from the presidency, and with convincing electoral support behind him, Rouhani has already overcome the largest hurdles to amending Iranian policy at home and abroad.

Foreign Policy Shifts

It is in this framework that the West hopes to eventually re-engage Rouhani and Iran. Fiery rhetoric aside, Ahmadinejad also sought a strategic dialogue with the West, especially as his competition with the supreme leader prompted him to seek foreign policy wins. But the infighting that resulted from Ahmadinejad's attempts to undermine the pro-clerical structure of the republic impeded any progress in this arena.

If Rouhani can get the clerics behind him and accommodate the interests of Iran's military and security forces and the broader electorate, his chances of reaching a dialogue or negotiated settlement with the West will be much improved.

Guiding much of this will not be just the change in personalities but Iran's shifting geopolitical environment. Since it is no longer on the regional offensive, Tehran's previous defiant rejection of American interests is now incompatible with long-term Iranian goals in the region. 

There is still much work to be done at home before Iran can switch gears, and Iran's president-elect still faces considerable challenges to enacting any major shifts in policy. Rouhani must still convince many of the stakeholders within the regime that he can be trusted. He must protect the economic interests of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while building a relationship with Iran's larger and often overlooked regular army. He must also manage his relationships with Rafsanjani, his most influential political backer, and with the supreme leader. Rafsanjani and Khamenei are competitors, and although the approval and eventual success of Rouhani's candidacy may hint at a broader clerical rapprochement, the supreme leader will not take kindly to attempts by Rafsanjani to rule through Rouhani. Rafsanjani, however, is unlikely to stop trying to capitalize on the successes of his protege.

Against a backdrop of domestic political reconfiguration, gradual diplomatic outreach to and from Iran can be expected. Parliamentary elections in 2015 will provide greater insight into how much change Rouhani can attempt, and it is along this timeline we should expect to see Iran seriously re-engage in negotiations with the West. In the meantime, little substantive change will occur beyond more careful rhetoric regarding both Iran's nuclear program and Tehran's support for the embattled Syrian regime. While challenges to both Iran's domestic policy realignment and outreach to the United States thus remain, Western and regional hopes for such change endure. 

Read more: The Foreign Policy Impact of Iran's Presidential Election | Stratfor 
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June 17, 2013

Raman Ji ,Good Bye with tears.

Vikram Sood remembers his friend and mentor B Raman, who passed away on Sunday.

In our trade and profession we hunted together -- my friend and mentor, Bahukutumbi Raman and I. Today I miss him and in grieving for him, actually I grieve for myself.

My friend for 40 years, not 30 as I had Tweeted in my grief, Raman was a core professional. But he was more. Strong on loyalty and professional excellence. Loved irreverent gossip yet immensely secretive professionally. A man seriously and earnestly devoted to his profession for whom detail was everything.

A very private man, it took a while to get to know him after I was sent to understudy him and eventually take over from him, in 1972. There would be days he would be very quiet, not rude, just immersed in whatever he was doing. I could sit there all day and read volumes of intelligence material and leave quietly without even a word. Or not have shown up that day.

There were other days he would be gossipy and cheerful with many stories to tell of his days in Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] recounted with a loud chuckle. He did spend time moulding me, taking me through the paces, the dos and don'ts of an analyst and what makes a career intelligence officer. Over time the bond grew and even when we disagreed, both knew that we merely made a point and moved on. 
Our career paths took us along different routes in 1974 but we met again, professionally, in 1983 when I took over from him once again and finally, in August 1994 when he retired. But he did not really retire. Such men rarely do. His frequent assessments, analyses and reports on events were a touchstone for most of us in the business of intelligence reporting and assessments.

All of these are now on his blog for posterity to read and learn. Over time his writings became legendary, like the man himself. Later, he was called in to help the government with the task force on intelligence following the Kargil [ Images ] Review Committee, he became a member of the National Security Advisory Board and once again called to assist in the Naresh Chandra Committee review.

Raman's career took him through tumultuous times of the Cold War, the Indo-Pak war and the Liberation war in Bangladesh of 1971, the Naga and Mizo rebellions and the peace talks, the Sikh insurgency of the 1980s and finally, the ISI led campaigns in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] in the 1990s of which the Mumbai [ Images ] bombings of March 1993 were an important and monstrous milestone.

Raman was the only Indian intelligence officer with three books to his credit. Two of them were Intelligence: Past Present and Future and A Terrorist State As a Frontline Ally. He writes about his experiences in his last book, The Kaoboys of R&AW.

In this book, Raman is remarkably chatty as he takes the reader through his days in the intelligence world and its interactions with the powers that be. Raman expresses his anger at the US State Department of the Bill Clinton [ Images ] era pressuring us on Pakistan and the eternal hyphenation between India [ Images ] and Pakistan that was the hall mark of the nineties till Kargil 1999.

His final remark on the US and perhaps the Western attitude is still valid when he says 'An over-anxiety to protect Pakistan from the consequences of its misdeeds still continues to be the defining characteristic of policy making in the State Department.' Secretary of State John Kerry might do himself a favour by heeding Raman's last warning ' ... I am convinced in my mind that if there is an act of terrorism involving the use of weapons of mass destruction one day, it would have originated from Pakistani territory.'

The last chapter of this book contains his assessment of the organisation he served so selflessly and his advice for the managers of intelligence in the country. We would do ourselves immense credit if we follow at least some of the ideals and goals he sets out.

Raman the man has passed, Raman the legend remains.

B Raman, India’s seasoned spymaster and trenchant US critic, dies at 77

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN | Jun 17, 2013, 12.52 PM IST 

B Raman, one of the founders of India’s spy outfit RAW and the public face of its underrated and understated analysts community, passes away in Chennai.
WASHINGTON: His last tweet on May 30, as he battled the final stages of terminal cancer, read, ''Hanumanji willing, shd be back home coming Saturday.'' But as his life ebbed away over the last fortnight, Bahukutumbi Raman might have noted, in his usual dry and dispassionate manner, that (1) Hanumanji was not around (2) Hanumanji must have had other pressing matters and (3) One should prepare for scenarios without Hanumanji.

That's the standard government memo template he used for many years to convey matters of great strategic pith and moment to his fans, friends, and followers. He was not given to hyperbole or emotion or drama. Through the months of his cancer treatment, he tweeted about it in a matter-of-factly tone, once chastising someone who was persuading him to eat -- ''Affection for terminal cancer patients shd be simple and normal, not instructive.'' Through pain, medication, and therapy, some of which he disdained, he kept up a steady feed of advice, counsel, guidance, and inquiry to his constituents in the strategic sphere. It included telling the Government of India on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Tokyo that ''Ind-Japan shd make China's seeming strengths into strategic vulnerabilities.''

On Sunday evening, the 77-year old Raman - Raman mama to some of his acolytes - one of the founders of India's spy outfit Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the public face of its underrated and understated analysts community, passed away in Chennai. In the arcane world of espionage, where practitioners generally keep a low profile (particularly in India), Raman became a prolific contributor to public discourse on intelligence matters, often challenging conventional wisdom, and going upstream of establishment flow, especially on Pakistan and the United States. In a political establishment that is increasingly in thrall of Washington, he repeatedly counseled caution and vigilance, a result of what he saw as repeated American betrayal of Indian interests.

In fact, the United States was the only country that riled him up in conversations - not even Pakistan, which he dismissed as a basket case beneath contempt. He said he ''always loved the US...and always liked the American people'' but he despised Washington's policies. ''There is one American species, which I could never bring myself to like during the 27 years I spent in the intelligence community -- the officers of the US State Department,'' he writes in his memoirs, The Kao-boys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane, the title being an admiring tribute to the RN Kao, RAW's principal founder and first chief.

Two incidents, both relating to Pakistan -- and to one individual in particular -- deeply colored his perspective of Washington and its mandarins. The first came after the 1993 Mumbai blasts engineered by Pakistan through Dawood Ibrahim. Raman headed the counter-terrorism division of RAW at that time and rushed to Mumbai soon after the serial explosions that killed 259 people, just two weeks before the first World Trade Center attack by Ramzi Yousef. Among the evidence gathered by the police were detonators and timers that were of American origin. On the advice of then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, Raman said he shared this evidence with US experts, and at their request, allowed them to take the material back to America. Bad mistake, he later regretted.

A few days later, Raman said, the Americans gave an unsigned report saying the detonators and timers were of American origin and were part of stock given to Pakistan during the Afghan war in the 1980s. The report gratuitously added this did not necessarily mean the terrorists got them from the ISI. It pointed out that in Pakistan there was a lot of leakage of government arms and ammunition to smugglers and expressed the view that the terrorists might have procured them from the smugglers.

''When I asked them to return the detonator and the timer as promised by them they replied that their forensic experts had by mistake destroyed them. They did not apparently want to leave any clinching evidence against Pakistan in our hands,'' Raman wrote later. ''This was a bitter lesson to us that in matters concerning Pakistan one should not totally trust the US. They would do anything to ensure that no harm came to Pakistan.''

By that time, ties between Washington and New Delhi had already sunk to an alarming low, thanks largely (in Raman's view, which was broadly accepted in Delhi) to Robin Raphel, a low-level diplomat US President Bill Clinton had appointed as an Assistant Secretary to the newly created South Asia bureau in the State Department. Raman saw Raphel, who served both in New Delhi and Islamabad as a Pakistan partisan (where her husband Arnie Raphel had been the ambassador and died in the plane crash that killed Zia-ul Haq in August 1988).

In fact, soon after the 1993 Mumbai attack, Raman had had a run-in with the Americans, who had quickly issued a travel advisory asking its citizens not to travel to India and its diplomats posted in India to call off all their tours. That effectively grounded Thomas Pickering, who was the US ambassador in New Delhi but had been transferred to Moscow. When a US official called to seek his counsel on the security situation and whether Pickering could leave for Moscow, an irate Raman snapped "Who am I to give advice to your ambassador? Your State Department never consulted us before issuing the advisory, which is totally unwarranted. You tell your ambassador to seek the advice of his department."

''Those were the days when we were not afraid of ticking off the Americans and we had full confidence that the political leadership would totally back us. Not like today, when we bend backwards to curry favor with the Americans,'' Raman wrote in a column many years later, maintaining in private conversations that Americans selectively backed terrorists or turned a blind eye to terrorism when it suited them.

By the time he retired in August 1994, his ties with -- and view of -- Washington had reached a nadir, propelled by his indirect showdown with Raphel. In his memoir, he recalls an "ack thoo" moment in his final days in office that carried his dislike for the State Department to an extreme. ''I felt like vomiting and spitting at the State Department officials. I might have done so had they been there,'' he writes.

The provocation for an intelligence analyst (who typically can see various shades of gray) to express such black-and-white anger was purportedly a secret letter written to then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao by the then Indian ambassador in Washington, Siddharth Shankar Ray, in which Ray conveyed the State Department's view that RAW was trying to destabilize Pakistan. ''The State Department officer, who had previously served in the US Embassy in New Delhi, asked the Ambassador to tell New Delhi that if the R&AW did not stop what the State Department described as its covert actions in Pakistan, the US might be constrained to act against Pakistan AND India for indulging in acts of terrorism against each other,'' Raman writes. According to the message, the State Department officer said: ''You have been asking us for many years to declare Pakistan as a State-sponsor of terrorism. Yes, we will do so. But we will simultaneously act against India too if it did not stop meddling in Pakistan.''

The episode caused Raman to go apeshit, particularly after the missing detonators incident that had weakened India's case against Pakistan in nailing it for the 1993 blasts. To him, this was Raphel, who had already angered New Delhi by raising questions about Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India, batting for Pakistan, to save it from being named a state-sponsor of terrorism in 1993 during Nawaz Sharif's first term (Sharif saved Pakistan from the stigma by sidelining the then ISI chief, the minimum demanded by Washington)

Raman recalls his meeting with Narasimha Rao on this issue:

''What kind of covert actions you have in Pakistan?'' Narasimha Rao asked.
''We have been actively interacting with different sections of Pakistani society, which are well disposed towards India and extending to them discreet political and moral support,'' I replied.
''Since when?'' he asked.
''Since 1988, when Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Punjab increased in its brutality and evidence came in from one of the Western intelligence agencies that they had received confirmation that Talwinder Singh Parmar, one of the terrorists of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada, who had participated in the blowing up of the Kanishka, the Air India aircraft, in June,1985, off the Irish coast, had been given sanctuary in Pakistan by its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate. Rajiv Gandhi asked us not to confine any longer our contacts to only the ruling circles of Pakistan, but to diversify them and start interacting with others too — particularly those who think and wish well of India,'' I said, and added: ''We had also kept you informed of this when you took over as the Prime Minister in 1991 and subsequently.''

''Yes. I know. But, why is the State Department talking of acts of terrorism? Can any of your actions be misinterpreted as acts of terrorism?''

''Definitely not, Sir.''

Narasimha Rao thought for a while and said: ''Let me have a draft reply to the Ambassador, directing him to strongly deny the allegations of the State Department. Don't discontinue your interactions. We have every right to maintain contacts with all sections of Pakistani society. We need not be worried if the Americans dislike this.''

Years later, with the gradual improvement in ties that followed the Kargil War, the nuclear deal, and the 26/11, Raman became more temperate in his views, although residual mistrust remained. He began to engage US interlocutors more after his retirement, and many of them in turn overcame their hostility or reservation towards him after recognizing that much of his analysis of Pakistan as the epicenter of world terrorism was spot-on. In a tribute written soon after his death, Teresita and Howard Schaffer, former state department officials and seasoned South Asia hands, recalled meeting him last in Chennai early in 2012, ''over a cup of tea and his usual acerbic conversation, in Chennai. He was characteristically harsh in his judgments of both the US and Indian governments over the Maldives, the topic of the hour.''

''We often disagreed, but he was always worth reading,'' they said, indicating that Raman's ''spitting image'' was a thing of the past. But, they conceded, "he was deeply mistrustful of traditional US links to Pakistan, which he believed blinded Americans to Pakistan's involvement with terrorism."

They also spoke about his "very dark view" of Pakistan, recalling that a few days after the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, he published a blog arguing that India should exact from Pakistan the maximum pain short of war: ''A divided Pakistan, a bleeding Pakistan, a Pakistan ever on the verge of collapse without actually collapsing -- that should be our objective till it stops using terrorism against India." Much of his insights on Pakistan, which began to be recognized in Washington in recent years, were based on first-hand sources from within Pakistan, who he met in secret trips to Bangkok.

But towards the end, he was sanguine that Pakistan was embarked on a self-destructive course and there was little that India could do or needed to do, as Pakistan went down the tubes. His attention had turned to China.

He had a few close friends with whom he engaged in pow-wows on strategic matters over some modest drinking (for himself, two small pegs on weekdays and two large on weekends) and ''murukku'' from Grand Sweets of Adyar, in Chennai. He loved the crunchy, oily snacks, and one friend recalls him joking, "I drink so that I can enjoy the murukkus.'' At a more profound level, his inner circle saw that he was obsessed about educating people of India about security threats and thought the Indian media treated security issues too casually.

He rarely spoke about his personal life. He was single for many years and the scuttlebutt in spook circles was his Twitter handle, @sorbonne75, pointed to a French connection in his past life. He described himself as a ''analyst, seminarist, columnist, likes scotch and travels, tomorrow's mind.'' Always the method man, he rounded it up with an epitaph from Rene Descartes' Discourse on the Method: Je pense, donc je suis -- I think, so I am. Amen, Bahukutumbi Raman.