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Showing posts from September 6, 2009

GILGIT-BALTISTAN: THE AQ KHAN PROLIFERATION HIGHWAY---PART I

B.RAMAN On September 7,2009, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan signed what was called the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, purporting to introduce administrative, political, financial and judicial reforms in the Northern Areas of Jammu & Kashmir, which has been under Pakistani occupation since 1947-48. The order re-names the Northern Areas as Gilgit-Baltistan, thereby seeking to obliterate the linkage of the area with Jammu & Kashmir. 2..Addressing a press conference the same day, the President of the Gilgit-Baltistan branch of the Pakistan People's Party ( PPP) Syed Mehdi Shah said that Zardari had instructed the authorities concerned to prepare a comprehensive plan to accelerate economic development in Gilgit-Baltistan. He claimed that the Zardari Government had given internal freedom and all financial, democratic, administrative, judicial, political and developmental powers to the Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan. He s

Should RMB be a reserve currency?

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=4&theme=&usrsess=1&id=267982 I find it strange that people should debate whether the RMB should be a reserve currency when it is officially still under exchange control. We still remember that as late as 1993, China used foreign exchange certificates. As we have seen from the experience of Yen and Euro in the previous articles, there are both advantages and disadvantages for a national currency being used as a reserve currency. The obvious advantage is the seigniorage, but in a world of almost zero interest rates, this benefit is very small indeed. The second is the increase in financial services and commercial business that comes from the global use of the reserve currency. New York and London benefit considerably as international financial centres that trade financial products denominated in global currencies. The third advantage is the prestige of having a reserve currency. There are also disadvantages. A reserve currency

CHINESE MILITARY "GREATLY DISPLEASED" BY INDIAN MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHINA

B.RAMAN In a report under the heading "China Refutes Trespass Claims" carried on September 10,2009 , the "Global Times", the English-language daily published by the Communist Party-owned "People's Daily" group, has quoted a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of National Defence as saying that Chinese border patrols strictly abide by the relevant agreements on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along the India-China border and have never carried out "provocative actions" towards India. According to the paper, he said on September 9: "The recent reports by Indian media of intrusions are groundless and irresponsible." The previous day, Jiang Yu, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, had described the India reports of a Chinese troop intrusion into Indian territory near Mount Gya in the Ladakh region as "groundless and incorrect." 2. The "Global Times" has quoted a source "close to the Chinese

DESPITE HARMONIOUS URUMQI CAMPAIGN, CITY FAR FROM NORMAL

B.RAMAN The authorities of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, have launched a 'Harmonious Urumqi' campaign to improve the relations between the Uighurs and the Hans and between the residents and the administration. Under this campaign, which was launched on September 6,2009, 7,000 police officers and other public servants described as 'harmony squads' have been visiting families in various sensitive parts of the city to appeal to the families to help the authorities maintain inter-community harmony and social order. While launching the campaign, Wang Lequan, the Secretary of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said: "The officials will go door to door to explain policies and solve disputes." 2. In spite of this campaign, the atmosphere in the city is far from normal. Though there have been no public demonstrations by the Han residents after September 5 and the local mosques have

Indo-Tajikistan Relation on a convergence course

http://www.dayafterindia.com/sep109/international5.html Quaisar Alam Tajikistan is on a high prism of India’s foreign policy radar for quite sometimes. With India heralding its presence globally, strategically, economically, and diplomatically, the resonance is bound to reflect on the geo-strategic continental shift. Yes, Indo-Tajikistan Relation is on a convergence course! The current visit of Indian President Pratibha Devising Patil to Tajikistan on September 6 provides a rare backdrop to pin our thoughts on India’s perception to regional security issues in South and Central Asia. The area is caught in the vortex of security threats and security challenges that may emerge episodic but are formative. The major threat to regional stability originates from Afghanistan-Central Asia border in the sphere of drug traffickers and radical extremists besides, commonality on a host of issues underlining between India and Tajikistan. Agreements After making her successful trip to Mosco

Global solidarity to denuclearize

By DAISAKU IKEDA Special to The Japan Times http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20090908a1.html If nuclear weapons epitomize the forces that would divide and destroy the world, they can only be overcome by the solidarity of ordinary citizens. This solidarity has the power to make hope an irresistible force transforming history. Although the threat of global nuclear war has diminished since the end of the Cold War, the number of states with nuclear arms has nearly doubled since 1970, when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) entered into force. There are still some 25,000 nuclear warheads in the world. At the same time, there is rising fear that the spread of nuclear weapons technologies and materials through the black market will unleash the nightmare of nuclear terrorism. In recent years, there have been signs that at last the world is getting serious about eliminating nuclear weapons. In a speech delivered in Prague in April, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his r

Burma a Thorny Territory for China

By Michael Sainsbury http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/09/08/burma_a_throny_territory_for_china_97142.html The tarred and guttered road that runs through the new part of the sleepy town of Nansan in the remote south of China's Yunnan province suddenly turns to dirt. As it continues, there's a small border post, and lo, it's the northern part of Burma's multi-ethnic Shan state. Last week, a stream of about 30,000 refugees walked and drove across that border fleeing an attack by the Burmese government that killed as many as 500 people, mostly ethnic Han Chinese. While some returned, many have not and more are coming across at Qingshuihe, 80km down the road. In that rugged and often impenetrable country, China just got itself a new headache to add to the freshly throbbing one in its racially riven province of Xinxiang. It's a problem that has highlighted the increasingly deep and potentially fragile ties China has with its fellow totalitarian regime acros

CHINA WATCH: Flawed response to incursions

Claude Arpi http://www.dailypioneer.com/201314/Flawed-response-to-incursions.html Incursions by the Chinese Army into Indian territory are making headlines in the media again. This is good. Not because the Chinese persist with trespassing into Indian territory, but because media coverage brings to light such disturbing happenings. Instinctively, not to say genetically, India’s political leadership prefers to hide the truth, to not “hurt our Chinese neighbours’ feelings” or “makes things worse”. Keeping with India’s diplomatic tradition, Foreign Minister SM Krishna said after recent incidents of Chinese incursion, “With China, I think the boundary has been one of the most peaceful. So, there is no issue on that.” He added that there “is a built-in mechanism which is in place and which takes care of such incursions. India has so far acted with restraint, maintaining that the Line of Actual Control with China is not very well defined”. We could ask the question: Why is the LAC not wel

The Chinese Conundrum

The days when enthusiastic young Indian politicians spoke of Chindia are long over. China did not respond in kind, either then and certainly not now. The 'trust deficit' remains Arundhati Ghose http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?261739 At a recent Conference in Shanghai discussing ways in which bridges could be built to span the 'trust gap' between India and China, a visibly perturbed Chinese scholar felt that there was more that was negative about China in the Indian press than the other way round. Having assured him of the freedom of the press in India, the Indian side responded with equal concern at the spate of virulent articles on India in the Chinese media. There has been, of late, a spurt of articles critical of either country, and while many of the views from India do not reflect the government's position and the Chinese articles might, the possible reasons for the recent increase in these adversarial verbal exchanges need to be addressed. Si

Northern Errors

Rekha Chowdhary Tags : Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, Kashmiri separatists Posted: Tuesday , Sep 08, 2009 at 0246 hrs http://www.indianexpress.com/news/northern-errors/514237/0 A significant development has taken place with regard to the status of Gilgit-Baltistan — a part of the erstwhile undivided state of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistani control since 1947. Bordering Afghanistan, China and India, the area was perceived as strategically important for Pakistan and therefore was isolated from the rest of ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’. Treated as a separate administrative unit comprised of Gilgit, Baltistan, Hunza and Nagar, it was designated as the ‘Northern Areas’ and was denied any kind of legal or political status. While Pakistan-administered-Kashmir (though controlled by the federal ministry of Kashmir affairs) had some semblance of political governance, this area merely had administrative status. Under the direct control of Islamabad, it was governed by civil administrators.

Saudi Arabia's political clout in Pakistan

C. Raja Mohan http://www.indianexpress.com/news/saudi-arabias-political-clout-in-pakistan/513951/0 AMIDST the clamour in Pakistan to put the former president Pervez Musharraf on trial for his many unconstitutional acts, one of his advisers Mushahid Hussain declared that 'just one phone call from Saudi Arabia will stop all the non-sense' about sending the General to the prison house. Hussain is a former editor who morphed himself into a politico and served many masters including Nawaz Sharif. Hussain has not lost any of his reputation for utter clarity (bordering on the cynical) and the capacity to cut through a complex debate. The House of Saud has not yet dialled Islamabad. It has done one better. It has summoned all the top figures of Pakistan to discuss the latest political crisis. Among those who serenaded themselves in Riyadh last week were Rehman Malik, a close adviser to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Gen. Musharraf himself. Sharif heads for Saudi A

‘Pak plans plutonium push’

Rashme Sehgal http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/news/top-story/‘pak-plans-plutonium-push’.aspx New Delhi Sept. 7: Pakistan is poised to expand its nuclear bomb-making facilities by producing an additional 20 kg of plutonium each year from the two plutonium-producing reactors nearing completion at Khushab, situated on the border of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province. In an article titled "Uranium Constraints on Pakistan’s Fissile Material Production", to be published in Routledge’s prestigious magazine Science & Global Security, a group of scientists monitoring Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme believe this will push Pakistan’s capacity to produce an additional four atomic weapons every year. Dr Rajaraman, co-chair, International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), pointed our that as of 2007 Pakistan was likely to have accumulated a stock of over 1.4 tons of highly enriched uranium, which would enable them to make between 50 to 60 nucle

US NO HURDLE IN INDIA-RUSSIA TIES

President Patil’s Russia visit from September 2-6 to launch the Year of India signifies continuity in our close ties with Russia. The foundation of this relationship was built during the Soviet era and both countries benefit from this legacy. Its underlying durability resides in shared geo-political interests, a strong defense relationship, Russia’s willingness to go further ahead with us than others in the nuclear and space sectors and in transferring sensitive technologies, its readiness to acknowledge our primacy in our region and shun policies that may encourage our neighbouring countries to counter us. Our respective views on acceptance of diversity, respect for national sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of countries on the pretext of promoting specific political and economic values, and multi-polarity as a code word for more participative decision making in international afairs, have much in common. A critical element is the trust we can repose in Russia in

Will Gulf of Aden be a new LoC for Navy?

Shankar Roychowdhury http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/opinion/opinion/will-gulf-of-aden-be-a-new-loc-for-navy.aspx Sept.08 : A few months back the Russian warship Admiral Panteleyev, reportedly responding to a distress signal from the tanker Bulwai Bank, under attack from Somali pirates 120 km east of the Somali coast, tracked down a captured Iranian trawler being used as a command-and-control ship for pirate vessels, and apprehended 12 Pakistani nationals on board, including its captain, Mohammad Zamal. Russian investigators found that those apprehended were well trained and familiar with weapons handling (seven AK-47 assault rifles as well as pistols were recovered), as well as with military and naval procedures. There are other persistent media reports of "well-trained" Pakistanis directing Somali piracy operations near the coast of East Africa — off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden. If this is correct, it would appear to indicate that Pakist

Scientists need to reassure army on H-bomb yield: Ex-Indian Army chief

Agencies Tags : VP Malik, Pokhran, nuclear tests, APL Abdul Kalam Posted: Sunday , Sep 06, 2009 at 1448 hrs New Delhi: VP Malik "I don't think we can be convinced easily by people who are not scientists": VP Malik http://www.indianexpress.com/news/scientists-need-to-reassure-army-on-hbomb-yield-exindian-army-chief/513569/0 With some scientists questioning the efficacy of the hydrogen bomb tested in Pokhran over a decade ago, former Army chief V P Malik has said the armed forces need to be "reassured" by the nuclear establishment on the exact yield of the weapons developed by them. "They need to be reassured about the weapon system they use and about the planning of what kind of the yield they have when they hit the target," Malik, the Chief of the Armed Forces during the Pokhran-II nuclear tests, said to a private TV channel. Terming the recent comments of former DRDO scientist K Santhanam, questioning the yield of the thermonuclear device tested

A Consulate in Lhasa

Is China Really Serious About Improving Ties With India? Claude Arpi http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=3&theme=&usrsess=1&id=267498 Jujian Hua, a director at the Tibet's Foreign Affairs Office, recently made a startling declaration: "India can set up a Consulate in Lhasa". He kindly added: "That depends on India." Jujian told an IANS correspondent: "The local government (of the Tibetan Autonomous Region) attached great importance to trade, culture and tradition, including tourism." A day later, the Indian government clarified that it had never approached the Chinese authorities for permission to open a Consulate in Lhasa. An official said that there was no question of discussing this issue with China: New Delhi had no plans to open a Consulate in the Tibetan capital. In the not too-distant past, India had more than a Consulate in Lhasa; it had a full-fledged Mission till the end of 1952. India had inherited several rights a