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Showing posts from October 25, 2009

The Future of Pakistan Recent history in Pakistan seems to bear a similarity to events in Iran during the rule of the Shah. The recent leadership of Pakistan has been similar in several ways to that of the Shah. In both countries the leaders were strongly backed by the United States. Both were involved in repressing or attacking their own people. In Iran, this led the revolution of 1979 which created an Islamic Republic. Could something similar happen in Pakistan? In 1953, the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammed Mosaddeq, was replaced by the Shah in a US and British led coup. The US and their CIA provided funding and support to the Shah during his resign, and helped to establish the dreaded SAVAK secret police force. SAVAK tortured and executed thousands during the Shah's rule, and imprisoned many more. 1n Pakistan, the democratically elected leader, Nawaz Sharif was deposed in a military coup in 1999 by General Musharraf

Mixed Signals as Iran Submits Nuclear Response Source: IHS Global Insights 30 Oct 09 Iran sent out mixed signals yesterday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took a relatively soft approach to the country’s co-operation over its nuclear programme; however, the Islamic Republic's response to an earlier negotiated nuclear deal appears to have fallen well below hopes. IHS Global Insight Perspective Significance Iran submitted a delayed response to a nuclear deal negotiated with world powers earlier this month, apparently seeking broad changes to the agreement which would allow for the shipment of low-enriched Iranian uranium abroad for further enrichment. Implications Hours before the response was submitted, President Ahmadinejad sent a conciliatory message stating Iran's readiness for nuclear co-operation and hailing the West's changed approach. His remarks also stressed Iran's own achievements in getting Western powers to come to the negotiating table; t

Dirty Diamonds in Panama

Poised to become a hub for the Latin American diamond market, Panama may also become a funnel for smuggling illegal diamonds abroad, writes Samuel Logan for ISN Security Watch. By Samuel Logan for ISN Security Watch Leaders from the global diamond trade met in Panama City on 13 October to persuade President Ricardo Martinelli to establish a tax-free zone for Latin America’s first regional diamond exchange. The lobbyists won over Martinelli, who by 19 October had publicly committed to support legislation in the Panamanian National Assembly designed to give free trade zone status to the Panamanian Diamond Exchange (PDE). Panama will also work to pass the necessary legislation to join an international diamond trading regulatory regime known as the Kimberley Process, Martinelli said. But observers worry that Panama’s role in laundering illegal diamonds mined in South America might only grow as the Central American country becomes a regional hub of the Latin American diamond trade


B.RAMAN "While the Pakistan Army has prepared itself well for the counter-insurgency style operations in South Waziristan, its ability to prevent attacks behind its back in the NWFP and Punjab is doubtful. Despite the spurt in suicide and commando-style terrorism in the NWFP and Punjab and even in supposedly well-guarded cantonments since the Lal Masjid raid in July,2007, the Pakistani counter-terrorism machinery has not re-fashioned and re-tooled itself to meet this threat. ....There is a danger of the NWFP and Punjab becoming the failed provinces of Pakistan if the Army's offensive does not succeed." ---- Extract from my article of October 17,2009, titled THE PAK ARMY OFFENSIVE IN SOUTH WAZIRISTAN available at ------------------------------- Over 90 innocent civilians----many of them women and children---- were killed in a timed or remotely-controlled car bomb explosion in a busy market area of Peshawar, the

Frozen smiles, limp handshakes

Vikram Sood Oct.28 : It was good to hear the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi speak of an irreversible China-India friendship. There have been manifest signs of improved ties with burgeoning trade, comprising our raw materials for shoddy Chinese manufactured goods, exchange of high-level visits, quadrilaterals in the form of Brazil, Russia, India and China and a trilateral mechanism with Russia and cooperation on climate change policies. The Chinese foreign minister is now in Bengaluru and Zhou Yongkang, standing committee member of the politburo, will visit India in November. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Chinese counterpart in Thailand last Saturday. Quite obviously, the smiles were frozen and the handshakes limp as the Chinese spoke of functional cooperation, which is quite different from President Hu Jintao’s formulation of a vision statement. This is one reality of apparent normality. There is, however, another reality which cannot be ignored. There has been a gradual

A rising China bares its fangs

G Parthasarathy The mouthpiece of China's Communist Party, People's Daily, claimed on October 14, 2009, that Indians have become "more narrow minded". It accused India of "provocation" on border issues with China and asserted that as "nationalism sentiment" rises, Indians are turning to "hegemony" in relations with neighbours. People's Daily called on India to give a "positive response" to China's efforts to resolve the border issue. Pakistan was referred to as one of the countries suffering from Indian hegemony, as India allegedly sought to "befriend the far (United States and Russia) and attack the near (Pakistan and China)". The Chinese conveniently forget how they colluded against India with the Nixon Administration during the Bangladesh conflict in 1971 and with the Clinton Administration, after India's nuclear tests in 1998. Whi

Yuan gaining currency beyond China

By Russell Hsiao Since December 2008, China has signed 650 billion yuan (US$95 billion) in currency-swap agreements with Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Argentina and Belarus, in order to promote greater circulation and convertibility of the Chinese currency (also referred to as the renminbi). Thailand is reportedly studying a possible currency swap agreement with China that would make it easier for their exporters to settle trade in the two currencies. According to experts, the increased regional use of the yuan for "invoicing, transaction and settlement purposes" could enhance its use as a "store of value". The global financial crisis has prompted Beijing to hedge the weakening US dollar by encouraging the regionalization of the yuan as a settlement currency for trade and other current account transactions in Asia, and bypassing the use of the US dollar. An article by People's Bank

India – China Truce at Hua Hin

By Bhaskar Roy The uncalled for polemics between the Chinese establishment which includes the Chinese official media, and the Indian media which was drawing in the Indian officialdom, was put into cold storage in the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - Premier Wen Jiabao meeting at Hua Hin, Thailand, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, on October 25. It was a welcome closure, at least for now, to a situation which was beginning to turn ugly. Dr. Manmohan Singh carried his own personality and Indian culture to the meeting. Economics Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen had commented recently that in the 60 years he has known the Indian Prime Minister he never ever saw him getting angry. But deep inside him Dr. Manmohan Singh has a steely resolve. In a warm statement made across the table he congratulated Premier Wen on the 60th founding anniversary of the People's Republic, and said India shared with China's progress. China&

Ilyas Kashmiri and Brigade 313: Some Myth Busters

By Divya Kumar Soti These days terrorist leaders in Pakistan get killed and resurrect more often than in the past. The latest instance is of Ilyas Kashmiri, a veteran militant leader having affinity with various outfits. He was thought to have died in a US drone strike in North Waziristan on Sep 14, 2009 and Pak intelligence officials were ‘dead sure’ of his elimination. But he managed to get entry into a list of terrorist leaders who have died many times. For example, al-Qaeda operative Al-Yajid has been eliminated about three times and there are again reports of his death in a recent drone strike, HUJI Chief Qari Saifullah too was declared dead but a weird Habeas Corpus found him in protective custody in Lahore. Ilyas Kashmiri surfaced through an interview to Asia Times. This led to lot of media flutter and various legends came into being about him. His relations with Pak military-intelligence establishment, his affinity with various terror outfits and his designation in Al-Qaed

India: Balancing United States and China

by Col. Rahul K. Bhonsle With the reemergence of Asia as the primary sphere of global engagement in the 21st Century due to power balance of population, production, information and military gradually shifting towards India and China, the West is now looking for an ally to retain its preeminence. China’s one party rule, power centric approach and huge economic and trade surpluses are admired as well as feared. On the other hand India with its democracy, soft diplomacy and a strong military appears to be favorably placed to balance the two poles of the global balance, China and the West. The United States has a number of policy objectives in engaging India, strategic, economic and socio cultural with a large Indian diaspora in America today. Some Indian analysts feel that one part of the relationship is also to balance a rising China, however there is a majority of Indians who hold the view that finally India and China will cooperate in

At old British base, US and India train for new wars

Manu PubbyTags : Indian forces, US forces, joint operationPosted: Tuesday , Oct 27, 2009 at 0442 hrsBABINA (JHANSI): Indian and American troops at Yudh Abhyas ’09, a joint exercise between forces of the two countries, in Babina on Monday After a tough fight, Indian forces manage to capture Abu Abida, the dreaded warlord who, with the covert support of a neighbouring state, had been pushing in heavily armed insurgents to subvert the country. As the terrorist is escorted out of the war zone with the help of American forces, the convoy is attacked by militants trying to free him. Within minutes, Indian and US Army soldiers mount a rescue mission, pummelling the enemy village with tank and Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) fire. US troops are air-dropped by Indian helicopters to mop up the remains. The setting might as well be Iraq or Afghanistan, where US troops face such situations on routi

India, U.S. to conclude three trade pacts

Special Correspondent The two countries issued a joint statement at the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum ENHANCING TRADE: Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma (left) with the U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk prior to their Ministerial level India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum meeting, in New Delhi on Monday. NEW DELHI: India and the U.S. on Monday agreed to fast-track and conclude within a given timeframe agreements on enhancing and deepening trade and investment engagement, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) cooperation agreement and an agreement for putting in place traditional knowledge digital library. The two countries also issued a joint statement at the end of the Sixth Ministerial Level meeting of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) with readiness to continue focus on agriculture, innovation and creativity, investment, services and tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Indian team was headed


B.RAMAN Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who discussed India-China bilateral issues with Prime Minister Wen Jiabo of China, on two occasions during his visit to Hua Hin in Thailand for the summit with ASEAN leaders, has maintained a studied ambivalence on the question of the reported plans of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh next month to declare open a hospital constructed with assistance from the Tibetan exile community in India. China has repeatedly protested against the proposed visit. The latest protest was handed over by the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi to the Ministry of External Affairs on the eve of the Hua Hin meeting between the two leaders. 2. Bilateral issues figured in the meeting of the two Prime Ministers in the margins of the summit on October 24,2009, as well as during a dinner hosted by the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for the participants in the summit. While the subject of the Dalai Lama's proposed visit did no

Moscow’s new aggressive military doctrine does not rule out bombing neighbours

Meanwhile, the Russian bear snarls... Moscow’s new aggressive military doctrine does not rule out bombing neighbours, says Ilya Kramnik Russia’s new military doctrine, which is to come into force in 2010, has provoked a heated debate, first of all because it stipulates preemptive nuclear strikes. Moreover, it says that nuclear weapons may also be used in local conflicts in case of critical threats to Russia’s national security. The wording has encouraged some people to say that Russia intends to use nuclear weapons in conflicts with its closest neighbours — former Soviet republics. A critical threat to Russia’s national security can come from different types of conflicts, including a large-scale war with a block of countries, or a hypothetical territorial conflict with one or several militarily developed countries. Since the armed forces of the former Soviet republics are not very efficient, it can be

Might of the Red dragon

Abhijit Bhattacharyya China is in no mood to play second fiddle to anyone any more. In its quest to emerge as a global power, it has sought to step into the vacuum created by the downturn in the US economy. With trillions of dollars as surplus funds, Beijing can afford to flex its muscles First it was a serving naval chief and then the incumbent air chief telling the media that India lags behind China in terms of military might. Fortunately the statements came from the highest ranking serving soldiers and not from a civilian source, or else it certainly could have posed a problem to the civilian ‘whistle-blower’ for leaking out ‘top secret classified information’, thereby ‘affecting’ the morale of our troops. It would be worthwhile to make an assessment of the scenario since 1997-1998 to the present day. Even in 1997-1998, as reported by Military Balance, the disparity between India and China was too glaring to go un

NATO plays a waiting game

By Pavol Stracansky BRATISLAVA - Corruption, doubts over Afghan leadership and faltering public support have emerged as the main stumbling blocks to a demand for more North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops in Afghanistan. NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, had wanted NATO defense ministers meeting in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava on Thursday and Friday last week to agree to raise troop numbers in Afghanistan. The United States and NATO troops commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has asked for 40,000 more troops. Rasmussen made energetic appeals to NATO states to endorse the general's plan, which also calls for a shift in strategy to do more to protect the Afghan population, and to train local forces and police. At the end of the meeting, Rasmussen said defense ministers had given their broad support for the McChrystal report. But it was clear that there would be no commitment fro

India's nuclear drive sparks safety fears

Siddharth Srivastava NEW DELHI - In hopes that nuclear power will meet its rising energy needs, India has embarked on a spending spree since a civilian nuclear deal with the United States last October removed sanctions that had long denied it access to the international atomic energy market. India has signed agreements with an array of nations to share and access nuclear fuel and technologies since the deal was completed. The most significant have been with Russia, the US and France. The government last week allocated sites for Russian, French and American firms to build five new light-water reactors. French firm Areva is earmarked to build a reactor in Jaitapur in Maharashtra state; Russian firms will build two plants, in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, and in Haripur, West Bengal; and US firms are set to build a plant in Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh, and in Chayamithi Virdi, Gujarat. "This important announcement [of the allocation