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Showing posts from October 4, 2009

China's naval nationalism: Has A K Antony blinked?

C. Raja Mohan Posted: Monday , Oct 05, 2009 at 1503 hrs Why is it all right for the Chinese Navy to operate in India's backyard and wrong, from the perspective of our Ministry of Defence, for the Indian Navy to conduct naval exercises in China's frontyard? As Beijing revels in its newly minted naval nationalism, New Delhi seems determined to curb the Indian Navy's enthusiasm to raise the nation's maritime profile. The MoD's decision, at the eleventh hour, to pull the services out of a multilateral naval exercise in the Western Pacific last week, begs some serious questions. Is the Minister of Defence, A K Antony, in sync with India's naval aspirations? Or has he begun to feel the heat from the Chinese pressures on our land borders? Questions about his uncertain naval vision arose when he refused to let the Navy join the international operations against pirates

Afghanistan opium survey 2009

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Read the full text PDF Afghanistan opium survey 2009... 02 October 2009The bottom is starting to fall out of the Afghan opium market. For the second year in a row, cultivation, production, work-force, prices, revenues, exports and its GDP share are all down, while the number of poppy-free provinces and drug seizures continue to rise. Yet, Afghan drugs still have catastrophic consequences. They fund criminals, insurgents, and terrorists in Afghanistan and abroad. Collusion with corrupt government officials keeps undermining public trust, security, and the law. The taint of money-laundering is harming the reputation of banks in the Gulf, and farther afield. The vulnerable are most at risk: drug use in Afghanistan is a growing problem, particularly among refugees. Drug addiction and HIV are spreading death and misery along opiate trafficking routes, particularly in Central Asia and Russia. Around the world, but especially in Europe, once aga

Africa - home of the world’s largest cyber pandemic

Source: IntelFusion The above map illustrates the projected arrival of broadband service to Africa in 2010 and 2011 via undersea cables. That’s the good news. The bad news, and the point of this post, is that Africa is home to about 100 million PCs, 80% of which are estimated to be infected with some kind of malware. This has occurred because the intense poverty throughout the continent has resulted in a pervasive distribution of pirated software and the inability to pay for Anti-Virus protection. Currently, most Internet access is via dial-up, but once broadband comes to Africa, all of those infected PCs will become an easy target for bot herders looking to build the next mega-botnet; Think about it. Almost a hundred million PCs with little to no AV protection connected to the Internet backbone via a super highway instead of a dirt path. What could a bad operator do with a botnet of that size? Pretty much anything he wants, including paralyzing an entire nation’s networked infra

Veteran questions Maoist fight

SANKARSHAN THAKUR Kumawat, the former BSF chiefNew Delhi, Oct. 3: One of India’s topmost anti-Naxalite strategists has questioned the Centre’s new “crackdown-first development-later†credo and warned that any use of air power against Maoists could saddle the nation with “Afghanistan and Iraq-like†security liabilities.“Development must go hand in hand with the fight against Naxalites; deprived people in the heartland cannot be expected to wait on their misery until the government is done with its long-haul campaigns,†Mahendra Kumawat, who retired as director-general of the BSF last month, told The Telegraph today.“The government is going to lose more hearts and minds to the Maoists if it forges ahead with a strike policy that brings nothing but bloodshed and disruption to people in the affected zones. That is going to multiply our problems, not solve them. I wish the government all the best, but i

Part of a larger game plan?

The Hindu, India Vladimir Radyuhin Dmitry Medvedev's hint that Moscow could go along with new sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme is believed to be part of a wider game targeting the nuclear programme of not only Iran but also Israel. Russia's apparent hardening of stand on Iran has been widely interpreted as a "reward" for United States President Barack Obama scrapping missile shield plans for Eastern Europe. Moscow, however, is abuzz with speculation of a wider chess game being played targeting the nuclear programme of not only Iran but also Israel. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week hinted that Moscow could go along with the new U.S.-lobbied United Nations sanctions on Iran's nuclear programme. "As to all sorts of sanctions, Russia's position is very simple, and I stated it recently. Sanctions rarely lead to productive results, but in some cases sanctions are inevitable. Ultimately, it is a matter of choice," Mr. Medvedev s

A Better Missile Defense

President Obama has adjusted, not abandoned plans for US missile defense in Europe, in a move that provides new opportunities for cooperation and may please the Russians - or not. By Andrin Hauri for ISN Security Watch When US President Barack Obama announced his decision to scrap plans introduced by the Bush administration for a missile defense system based in Eastern Europe in September, criticism followed suit. Republican Senator John McCain stated that the step called into question the US' commitment to securing NATO allies, and that “the decision to abandon it unilaterally is seriously misguided.” Others saw it as a capitulation to Russia that makes Iran happy or a sign of Obama of abandoning missile defense in Europe altogether. In reality, Obama has only shelved the former administration’s efforts for a specific missile defense system and not missile defense in Europe per se. The previous program - composed of a missile site in Poland and a radar network in the Cze

Pakistan on the Brink

Pakistani forces on alert Pakistan's inability to make substantive gains against the Taliban illustrates not only military recalcitrance but political impotence. Without a fundamental realignment of strategic priorities reinforced by targeted western aid, this lynchpin nuclear state will remain an incubator for terrorism. By Matthew Hulbert Despite the media-catching headlines rightly afforded to Afghanistan following its shambolic (if entirely predictable) electoral chaos in August, Pakistan still remains by far the biggest problem confronting the international community in South Asia. The recent death of Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud caused by US strikes in the SWAT offers telling insight into some of the potential opportunities – and tremendous challenges – Pakistan faces if it is to wrestle back large swathes of its territory from Islamic extremists and become a serious counter terrorism player. A failed state scenario is currently a little far-fetched, but bot

China worries neighbors as its navy comes of age

By LORO HORTA SINGAPORE — China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has made great strides in recent years as it seeks to come of age. While moving to demonstrate its clout, it also seems to recognize the need to reassure others that the intentions behind its modernization program are peaceful. Although Beijing has declared a policy of "harmonious seas," which it says is based on respect for equal access and freedom of navigation for all humanity, many remain worried. PLAN has become the priority of China's military modernization program, acquiring 30 submarines and 22 surface ships in the past decade, in addition to substantial numbers of maritime aviation assets and naval missilery. Conscious of the apprehension its military modernization program is generating, Beijing feels the need to reassure its neighbors and the world by portraying its naval and military expansion as benign and a natur

Why not try a trade system that optimizes each nation's interest?

By DIPAK R. BASU Special to The Japan Times Many of us thought that the World Trade Organization (WTO) was dead when the world financial and economic crisis demolished the myth of the benefits of free trade regimes, and that the poor of the world could rejoice. But suddenly, by some kind of voodoo trickery, it is back. Trade liberalization, the WTO promises, will bring benefits to all countries. In reality, rich countries have taken full advantage of the opening of markets in developing countries, while failing to open their own markets. Now the issue is agricultural trade, the most important issue for the poor of the developing world. At the WTO's Cancun conference in 2003, developing countries were expected to accept a deal whereby, in return for making minor reductions in import tariffs and subsidies, they would be forced to accept a regime of free-flowing investments. The Cancun conference failed mainly becaus

US doublespeak on proliferation

G Parthasarathy On July 8, 1996 the World Court held that states possessing nuclear weapons have not just a need, but an obligation to commence negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. The court also held that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be generally contrary to the principles of international law, though there was some doubt about the extreme contingency when “the very survival of a state was threatened”. Despite this World Court opinion, the United States, Russia, France and the UK reserve the right to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons whenever their interests so demand. The US and Russia together possess around 19,000 nuclear warheads; France has around 350 warheads and the UK 160 warheads. The 2005 US Doctrine of Joint Operations spells out several contingencies when the US could use nuclear weapons, including situations where it wants to “rapidly end a war on terms favourable to the US” or to ensure that American and international operations are su

Copenhagen negotiating text: 200 pages to save world?

David Adam The draft agreement being discussed ahead of December’s crucial Copenhagen summit is long, confusing and contradictory. It is a blueprint to save the world. And yet it is long, confusing and contradictory. Negotiators have released a draft version of a new global agreement on climate change, which is widely billed as the last chance to save the planet from the ravages of global warming. Running to some 200 pages, the draft agreement is being discussed for the first time this week as officials from 190 countries gather in Bangkok for U..N. talks. There is only one meeting after this before they meet in Copenhagen aiming to hammer out a final version. The Guardian’s environment correspondent has analysed the draft text which consolidates and reorders hundreds of changes demanded by countries to the previous version, which saw it balloon to 300 pages. It must be formally approved before negotiators can start to w

The Beijing Standard

China seems to believe that it can interfere in the internal affairs of other nations without entertaining any dialogue about is own domestic policies. Frank Ching Globalisation has impoverished some, enormously enriched others – China being a prime beneficiary of the latter – and closely connected far corners of the world. These growing connections have brought instant success to people and products, but they have also put countries under global scrutiny. While basking in the global adulation for its unprecedented economic growth and brilliant Olympic spectacle China, however, rejects the other side of connections. While Beijing is happy to go out into the world to export its goods, services and ideas, it finds fault with critical comments and scrutiny that come its way. In fact, China seems to believe that it can interfere in the internal affairs of other nations without entertaining any dialogue about is own domestic policies. As

HISTORY LESSONS: Isle of contention BY Raja Menon

Raja Menon Ever since Jaswant Singh dug up Jinnah to rediscover our history, he seems to have excited our young population. This is not surprising since half of them are below the age of 25 and have no knowledge of how differently things could have turned out in 1947. For many of us who lived through Partition or who heard unpleasant stories about those days, much of what is being rediscovered is passé. Give any one of us an opportunity and time to visit a good library, or even better, the British Public Records Office in Kew, and we could pull out a few stories that could astonish our young society. Since I was due to address a conference in the Andamans, and had heard anecdotally that we were almost cheated out of those islands during Partition, I went back into the records of the transfer of power. Even to my amazement, this is what the research revealed. The time is around April 1947 and Mountbatten has already fr

Will There Be A War In Asia?

Gordon G. Chang, 10.02.09, 12:01 AM EDT Weakening trade may increase tension. On Sept. 15, New Delhi labeled as "factually incorrect" reports that Chinese troops had wounded two Indian border policemen sometime in early September in northern Sikkim. If the shooting did indeed occur, it would be the first violation of a 1996 agreement between China and India not to use force along their disputed boundary. Because no rumor should be considered true until officially denied, it appears that these two nations may be entering into a period of renewed tension. Chinese soldiers have been patrolling more aggressively in regions claimed by both China and India--Indian analysts believe there are almost 300 Chinese border incursions a year--but New Delhi has sought to downplay Beijing's increased activity. As a result of the governments' reluctance to speak openly, no one talks about w


B.RAMAN "The Hindu" has reported on October 1,2009, that the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi has been issuing visas on a separate sheet of paper to Indian citizens born and resident in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). A Chinese Embassy spokesman has been quoted as claiming that this is not a new practice and has been done even in the past. 2.From a perusal of the two reports from its New Delhi-based correspondent carried by the paper, it would seem that one or two Kashmiris, who are citizens of India, with plain paper visas issued by the Chinese Embassy, were not allowed to leave the country by the Indian immigration and they complained to this correspondent. 3. While the Chinese Embassy has tried to make out that this practice is nothing new, it must have been of recent origin. Otherwise, the Indian immigration would have noticed it and drawn the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs. The veracity of the Chinese claim can be easily established by the Indian Emba


B.RAMAN According to reliable source reports from Tibet and Xinjiang, October 1, 2009, which marked the 60the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, was observed as a day of mourning by the Uighurs and the Tibetans in Xinjiang and Tibet. 2. Despite the strong security measures taken by the Public Security Bureau of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, pamphlets purported to have been issued by the Munich-based World Uighur Congress (WUC) calling upon the Uighurs not to celebrate the day managed to circulate in the Uighur-majority areas of the city. The pamphlet said: "On October 1st, 1949 Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China and incorporated East Turkestan into its territory. Since the land had been conquered by the non-Chinese Manchu emperors of China in the later part of the 19th century and renamed 'Xinjiang' or 'New Dominion', the people of East Turkestan had tried more than three times to throw of