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Showing posts from May 17, 2009

INTERNAL SECURITY: Man who ushered in a new work culture at Home Minstry

P.Chidambaram Home braces for taskmaster PC NISHIT DHOLABHAI New Delhi, May 23: Home ministry bureaucrats are bracing for a tough time when P. Chidambaram returns as their boss. “He knows his subject, one cannot bluff to him,” a senior official said. Chidambaram, who replaced Shivraj Patil following the Mumbai attacks, had ushered in a new work culture at the ministry, forcing senior bureaucrats to rush in by 9am for his first briefing of the day. PC rarely left before 7pm and worked on deadlines. The pressure has been the heaviest on the secretaries, the chiefs of the Intelligence Bureau and spy agency RAW, and the additional secretaries and joint secretaries. Chidambaram revived the multi-agency centre, which co-ordinates among the various intelligence agencies, so inputs from across the country and abroad got analysed regularly. That will continue, ensuring long hours in the intelligence establishment. The senior


B.RAMAN (What will be the impact of the global financial and economic melt-down on the Chinese economy? This question should be of interest to the other countries of the South and the South-East Asian region. If the Chinese economy is badly affected, they too are likely to feel the negative consequences of the down-turn in the Chinese economy. Keeping this in view, we have been bringing out a periodic "Chinese Economy Monitor" based on open information. This is the seventh in the series) ASSESSMENT Driven by an increase in domestic demand, the Chinese economy has started showing signs of a recovery. The signs are stronger in the interior provinces in Central and Western China where the industries are not dependent on exports than in the coastal provinces where the manufacturing sector is dependent on exports. While domestic demand, encouraged by the Government's stimulus package of last November, is increasing, exports continue to decline, but the rate of decline i

INDIA: Setting up National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) a challenge

Economic Times, India 23 May 2009, 0236 hrs IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau NEW DELHI: Now that the multi-agency centre (MAC) is operating 24x7 to collate terror-related information, the Manmohan Singh government is all set to create a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as well to take care of operational aspects of the fight against terror. The recommendation for setting up the NCTC was made by the taskforce on ‘developing an integrated capability to address internal security challenges’ headed by national security adviser MK Narayanan. Among the other key proposals — some with set deadlines ranging from one month to three months — are the creation of special crack units in the states to handle terror emergencies, especially in key urban centres where NSG cannot be immediately deployed. The taskforce has, in its report, also sought the creation of a CISF-like industrial security force in each state to protect economic and infrastructure assets. In its report finalised r

International Conference: Summary of event by Kristan J. Wheaton Kristan J. Wheaton The ISF Conference began yesterday at the International Conference Centre in Geneva. It is a magnificent facility, with 640 attendees, and the speaker's list looks very interesting but the rules of the conference are going to cramp my style. The whole ISF is being held under the Chatham House Rule and this prohibits me from citing who said what. That said, I can report some of the ideas to emerge from the conference. Some of these ideas were unsurprising but some of them either had surprising twists or were brand new ideas entirely. I will start with the unsurprising ones first: The Parade of Horribles. Climate change, war, terrorism, energy, food and water shortages, the demographic time bomb, WMDs, cyberwar, economic collapse... Lawyers call a lengthy string of terrible things like this the "Parade of Horribles". It is a rhetorical device designed to engage atte

US Air Force leaders issue posture statement

Posted 5/22/2009 Updated 5/22/2009 5/22/2009 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top leaders presented the official Air Force posture statement May 19 to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. During their testimony, they focused on the upcoming budget as well as current and future Air Force capabilities.Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Norton A. Schwartz said that the United States today faces a spectrum of challenges to our national security and global interests. As an integral member of the joint team, America's Air Force provides the critical capabilities of Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power. "The United States Air Force is 'All In' today's joint fight. At the same time, our investments in new capabilities will ensure we are ready for tomorrow's challenges. The mission of the United States Air Force is to 'fly, fight, and air, space and cyberspace' -- as an integral member

PAKISTAN: Slouching towards balkanization

THE ROVING EYE Asia Times Online By Pepe Escobar *) Washington is focused on Balochistan like a laser. *) The geopolitical secret is not to antagonize but to court them, and offer them total autonomy. In an evolving strategy of balkanization of Pakistan - increasingly popular in quite a few Washington foreign policy circles - Balochistan has very attractive assets: natural wealth, scarce population, and a port, Gwadar, which is key for Washington's New Great Game in Eurasia Pipelineistan plans. *) McChrystal(Afghan Commander) still has the luxury of raising any amount of calibrated hell in neighboring Balochistan to suit Washington's plans - be they to provoke Iranians or incite Balochis to revolt against Islamabad *).....Pakistan as we know it would break up. India might intervene to subdue Sind and Punjab, keeping both under its sphere of influence. Washington for its part would rather concentrate on exploiting the natural wealth and strategic value of an independent Bal


B.RAMAN The operations of the Pakistani security forces against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliate the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) have been marked by a lack of intelligence, physical security in the non-tribal areas, an over-all strategy, direction and prioritisation of different stages of the operations. 2. The disconcertingly inadequate intelligence is evident from the fact that neither the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of the Army nor the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of the Ministry of the Interior seem to have the vaguest idea of the command and control of either the TTP or the TNSM. One knows more about the command and control of Al Qaeda than about those of the TTP and the TNSM. One knows a lot about their leaders---- Baitullah Mehsud of the TTP and Sufi Mohammad and Maulana Fazlullah of the TNSM--- but beyond that one knows very little. How are they organised, where are they trained, who are their individual commanders, where and how are

Somalian Piracy: Comments From An Expert

Guest Column By Vinod Goyal (We carry with pleasure the following comments received from Shri Vinod Goel, a reader of SAAG, on the article titled “ Somalian Piracy Update (As on May 11,2009)” written by B.Raman at --- Director, SAAG) I read your article updating Somali piracy posted on the internet under SAAG. Safety on the high seas is of special interest and concern to me. I am a Master-Mariner (one remains a Master-Mariner for life) and served the now defunct Scindia Steam Navigation Company. I was Chief Port Harbor Master in Nigeria and saw helplessly common piracy go unchecked at anchorage off Lagos where at one time about 300 ships were at anchor awaiting berthing. A lack of political will and possible nexus between the pirates and local authorities did not allow a robust response that would have halted piracy. In the United States I earned the MBA, MMA and Ph.D. degrees. I earned the MBA degree from the Illinois

An Israeli Prime Minister Comes to Washington Again

Source: STRATFOR May 18, 2009 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting Washington for his first official visit with U.S. President Barack Obama. A range of issues — including the future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israeli-Syrian talks and Iran policy — are on the table. This is one of an endless series of meetings between U.S. presidents and Israeli prime ministers over the years, many of which concerned these same issues. Yet little has changed. That Israel has a new prime minister and the United States a new president might appear to make this meeting significant. But this is Netanyahu’s second time as prime minister, and his government is as diverse and fractious as most recent Israeli governments. Israeli politics are in gridlock, with deep divisions along multiple fault lines and an electoral system designed to magnify disagreements. Obama is much stronger politically, but he has consistently acted with caution, particularly in the foreign policy arena.

US, Israel: Overstated Divergence

While differences are emerging, the divergence between the US and Israel on most key issues should not be overstated, Dr Dominic Moran comments for ISN Security Watch. By Dominic Moran in Tel Aviv for ISN Security Watch The usual pleasantries and platitudes of the public moments of Monday's White House meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu say little of the actual points of difference between the two governments as they warily negotiate their mutual relations. Too much is made of the divergence of opinion between Israel and the US on the Iranian nuclear program. While Israel would prefer further, rapid moves toward the implementation of punitive measures on Tehran, it understands that these are largely off the table, as is a direct unilateral military strike against Iranian atomic facilities. The formation of a predominantly right-wing Israeli government has no bearing on the possibilities for an Israeli attack, which woul

Quote of the day: N S Rajaram

Just as 'secularism' was a loser because people saw it for what was-- vote bank politics-- 'Hindutva' has also lost credibility. It was a cover for mental laziness and political and intellectual bankruptcy. In reality the youth of the country has spoken and told the NDA it is time for them to go and let in new blood.

Nobody believed that BJP believed its Hindutva

Hardline Modi pushed away voters, feels BJP ECONOMIC TIMES N.S. Rajaram,Bangalore,says: It is the same old story, looking for scapegoats instead of facing reality. The BJP must recognize that it looks like the Tired Old Party. It is easy to find scapegoats like Modi and blame the media, but where were the faces in the BJP to counter Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot & Co? They are not only young but educated, modern and articulate to whom the BJP had no answer. Even the 'second' rung of Shourie, Jaitley & Co are aging faces. So, what should the media do but project the aging face of the BJP, when there are no other faces? The BJP ran a bankrupt campaign. Nobody believed its Hindutva. Worse, nobody believed that BJP believed its Hindutva. 20 May 2009, 0539 hrs IST

SRI LANKA: Likely Scenarios

By B. Raman (To be read in continuation of my earlier note on the LTTE at ) The Ground Situation: 1. No reason to doubt the statement of the Sri Lankan Army about the death of Prabakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE), and other leaders of the LTTE. Doubts about the circumstances relating to their death will remain. These doubts will have no impact on the ground situation. Pointless wasting time and space analyzing the doubts. 2. Almost the entire Northern component of the LTTE, including the leadership and a large number of cadres, wiped out. The Northern component specialized in terrorism and in air and naval action. Its capability for conventional military operations on land was low. 3.The Eastern component of the LTTE, which had the largest number of well-trained conventional fighters, led by Karuna split from the LTTE leadership in March 2004. They accused Prabakaran of looking down u