5 November 2012

A world forum for the India story

Klaus Schwab : Mon Nov 05 2012

Not long ago, India was ‘everywhere’. On the eve of the first World Economic Forum on India Summit, there are worries about its political discourse and action 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) was created in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation under the supervision of the Swiss federal government. The basic idea was that global, regional and national challenges cannot be met by governments alone, by business alone or by civil society alone. As I outlined in a book, also published in 1971, collaborative efforts are needed in a multistakeholder community and are the best way to achieve sustained economic development and social progress. 

In line with the multistakeholder concept, I considered the world as a big multistakeholder community, not split into a two-tier society of industrialised and developing countries, as it was then seen. Therefore, from the mid-1970s onwards, I made great efforts to include Indian participants in our meetings and activities. 

In August 1984, I took the initiative to invite Rajiv Gandhi, then general secretary of the ruling Congress party, to meet with business leaders at the Forum’s headquarters in Geneva. Less than a year later, the Forum convened the first India Economic Summit in New Delhi in cooperation with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Rajiv Gandhi, who had succeeded his mother Indira as prime minister of India after her tragic assassination just three months after his trip to Switzerland, welcomed the participants and delivered the opening address. And tomorrow, we will inaugurate our 28th Summit. 

The Summit has since become a significant annual event on the Indian calendar and has contributed substantially to the economic and industrial development of India and the promotion of understanding and collaboration between the international and Indian business communities. 

Personally convinced of the great potential of the country, I also made sure that India always had a special and privileged platform to carry its message to the world at our Annual Meeting in Davos, which is the world’s most well-known annual multistakeholder gathering. 

In a quote published in the book The World Economic Forum, A Partner in Shaping History: The First 40 Years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to the fact that, if a book were written describing India’s globalisation and liberalisation process, the Forum would “figure in the most prominent way in this history book”. 

Over the past decades, the WEF — which has at its core the world’s foremost 1,000 global companies — has evolved into a much more diversified organisation, continuously integrating other stakeholder communities. We are therefore proud that, in addition to the traditional strong business membership in India, the Forum integrates exceptional young Indian leaders from all walks of life. They are part of our active community of Young Global Leaders. 

The impressive intellectual power of India is also brought into our activities through the strong presence of Indian experts in our Network of Global Agenda Councils, which assembles the best thought leaders on specific global challenges, such as energy security, environmental sustainability, youth unemployment and many more. Also, for more than a decade, the Forum and the affiliated Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship have promoted and supported social entrepreneurs in many parts of India. The latest addition to the Forum family is the Community of Global Shapers, comprised of extraordinary young people in their twenties, with “hubs” being created worldwide, including in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. Moreover, NGOs, trade unions, women leaders and faith leaders have also become integral parts of the WEF community. 

Thus, the WEF has become the world’s foremost multistakeholder organisation, working together with governments and international organisations on presently over 60 projects, to improve the state of the world in areas such as tackling corruption, combating chronic diseases, improving environmental standards as well as economic competitiveness and many others. 

The multistakeholder orientation of the Forum is reflected in its Foundation Board, with representatives not only from industry, but also from public organisations, academia and civil society. No stakeholder group is allowed to hold more than 50 per cent of the seats on the Board. 

In line with our approach implemented worldwide, the Forum has had to adapt its Indian presence to emphasise its independent, neutral and particularly non-advocacy role. This means that we had to transform our formal cooperation with the CII into a more informal relationship, yet maintaining the cordial ties developed over so many years. Over time, this more independent approach will lead to the creation of a physical presence of the WEF in India to directly take care of our members and constituents. This would follow the pattern which we have established in other key areas in the world, with offices already in the United States, China and Japan. 

The WEF has stood by India in times when many foreign leaders considered the country too inward-looking and mired in domestic challenges. I remember how much energy I had to spend in the 1980s and 1990s to convince foreign leaders to join our summits in India. 

My conviction of the potential of India was confirmed when I saw India’s real GDP growth move from 5.6 per cent in the 1980s, to 5.7 per cent in the 1990s and to 8 per cent in the first decade of the 21st century. India became a darling of the international investor community — India was “everywhere”. The country became associated with a great, positive brand which underscored its increasing political, economic and business soft power in the world. 

Today, there are worrying signs partially related to the deterioration in the global economy that we have experienced since 2007: the macroeconomic environment is deteriorating with slowing growth and a worrying fiscal and foreign exchange situation. India urgently needs foreign investment, but the foreign investor community is concerned by continuing problems in infrastructure, notably energy and power. But even more worrisome is the current atmosphere of political discourse and action. The shadow of largescale corruption also considerably darkens the standing of India. 

The question about the attractiveness of India is also underscored by India’s position in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2013, ranking 132nd, and its ranking in the Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, where it currently stands at 59th place, compared with the other BRICS countries: China 29th, Brazil 48th and South Africa 52nd. More worrisome is that India has not improved its ranking over the past three years. 

In addition, a discussion among economists is now taking place whether India is caught in a middle-income trap, signifying that economic recovery is not automatically guaranteed as a cyclical process, but rather will require decisive and coordinated economic and political leadership to put the country on a different and more inclusive path for the next phase of its development. 

India has had a tremendous influence in shaping the world of today, and I personally still believe in a promising future for India, and have many reasons to do so: the quality of its entrepreneurs, the energetic leadership in an increasing number of its states and the significant multiplier effect of the reform and innovation policies should they be enacted. Having been an observer, partner and friend for nearly 30 years, my biggest concern is that India reverts to inward-looking tendencies, where its enormous human energies are absorbed by infighting and by attitudes where personal and sectoral interests trump true, responsible and responsive citizenship. 

The writer is Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

A Great Game Of Spear And Shield

AFP (From Outlook 12 November 2012) 
US scale-down in Afghanistan leaves a void in Asian security

A deepening of America’s ties with India will trigger shifts in the power paradigm in the age of China 

South Asia contains one of America’s most important long-term partners in sustaining a global order safe for the interests and values of free societies, India, as well as a fragile, nuclear-armed state in Pakistan whose weakening and radicalisation could be more consequential for American security interests than nearly any other single contingency. The region also contains a country, Afghanistan, that may not be the centre of Asia but is a centre of strategic competition among key Asian powers and has cost the West a decade of war to defeat extremism and build lasting stability. 

Over the coming four years, US leadership to shape this region will be essential, for both positive and negative reasons. Positively, the consolidation of a wide-ranging strategic partnership with India could change the course of history in the 21st century by establishing lasting habits of cooperation between the world’s largest democracies. Negatively, US leadership is essential to prevent Pakistan’s many pathologies—state complicity in terrorism, weak institutions, a foreign policy that exports insecurity among others—from spilling over in ways that undermine fundamental US (and Indian) interests in the future of Afghanistan, non-proliferation, the defeat of terrorism and the dampening of extremism. 

India is still in the process of casting off its legacy of non-alignment and statist economics. But its leaders have identified the US as a vital partner for India in the long term, just as American leaders have pursued a revolutionary strategic partnership with India with an eye on shaping the future balance of power and values in the international system. The US and India share a convergence of interests across the spectrum. Both seek to balance growing Chinese power and influence in Asia to encourage China’s peaceful rise. Both want to defeat terrorism, moderate extremism and promote democratic state-building in South Asia, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to ensure that responsible governments rule with a focus on internal development rather than fomenting external insecurity. Both want to ensure freedom of the maritime commons in the Indian Ocean, across which most world trade in energy flows. Both want to strengthen an open and liberal international economy in ways that will fuel their knowledge, technology and manufacturing sectors. 

The next US administration can work with India to take bilateral relations to the next level. This should start with a specific agenda to deepen the underdeveloped economic relationship between the two countries through robust investment and free trade agreements—matched by expanded opportunities for people-to-people ties in mutually rewarding commerce, education and research. Washington and New Delhi can cooperate more intimately on Afghanistan, the Arab Awakening, missile defence, maritime security in the Indian Ocean, East Asian security with partners like Japan, and in multilateral institutions like the UN. 

The overall objective of Indo-US alignment on the key issues facing our societies would be the construction of a preponderance of democratic power in Asia and the international system—with the US-India partnership at its core. India need not abandon “strategic autonomy” as part of closer US ties. On the contrary, American investment, training, trade and military sales are all designed to make India stronger and more prosperous. Only a strong and successful India can be strategically autonomous, given the growing challenges posed by its dangerous neighbourhood. 

Both India and the US have vital roles in ensuring Asia remains pluralistic and not Sino-centric. A closer Indo-Us relationship might curb Chinese military threats and deter revanchism. 

As America draws down its forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan will lose the leverage it has hitherto held on US policy by virtue of its control of the primary supply routes into that troubled country. This creates the prospect for a more mature and evenly balanced US-Pakistan relationship in which US policy concentrates not on buying off the Pakistani military, but instead on strengthening the development of Pakistani civilian institutions. US policy must not rehyphenate India and Pakistan, but rather pursue independent policies towards both countries that do not allow one country to hold US policy towards the other hostage.

The US may want to focus more on strengthening Pakistan’s economy and, in particular, its deficient energy sector, as a way to offset the rise of radicalism associated with the country’s chronic economic crises and to build goodwill among a population that is fervently anti-American. Liberalisation of trade, including duty-free treatment of Pakistani textiles into the US, will be as important (if not more important) than official assistance in this regard. India can play the leading role here by further lifting restrictions on trade and visas with an eye on strengthening Pakistan’s moderate majority that opposes the militarisation and radicalisation of the state and its foreign policies. 

In Afghanistan, the next American administration will need to fill out the existing strategic partnership agreement with a commitment to keep substantial US forces in-country: to train Afghan forces, contain Taliban attacks against state institutions, keep insurgents in Pakistan off-balance and ensure that neighbouring powers with predatory designs do not fill a vacuum that would otherwise be left by US retreat. Afghanistan’s 2014 elections will be pivotal to the post-Western dispensation of the country, and US engagement with friends like India will be key to ensuring that the gains the country has made over the past decade are sustainable. 

International support for Afghanistan will also be instrumental to helping it build a self-sustaining economy not dependent on foreign aid. In this regard, Afghanistan can serve as a gateway for South Asian trade and investment with Central Asia. Joint American and Indian approaches to the states of Central Asia can help that region sustain its independence from its neighbouring great powers. Central Asia could also be pivotal to India’s ability to secure energy resources to drive an economy that is expected to grow rapidly. And crucially, the more moderate states of Central Asia also play an essential, if often unrecognised, role in containing the export of Pakistani extremism. 

American policy, often working on parallel lines with India’s, can contribute to the process of democratic state-building and free-market economic growth in the other key South Asian states of Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, all of whom are underdeveloped, post-conflict societies in which the military plays a strong role. Bangladesh is especially promising as a potential partner for greater US engagement. Goldman Sachs has identified Bangladesh as one of its “N-11” economies or next-generation BRICS. Differentiated partnerships with both New Delhi and Washington will be critical to helping Bangladesh consolidate these gains and join India as part of a “South Asian miracle” of the kind East Asian economies have experienced. 

Beyond the many affinities that link the American and Indian people, and the many interests that compel their governments to pursue closer cooperation, India and the US have a vital role to play in ensuring that Asia remains pluralistic and free rather than Sino-centric. India’s rise requires China to be more cautious in its support of Pakistan—because Beijing now has more to lose from pursuing policies that undermine Indian interests. A closer Indo-US alignment would also give China a greater stake in stabilising its own fluctuating relations with India—because Chinese military threats and territorial revanchism risk putting China on a path to conflict not only with India, but with its American friends. 

Given America’s own stake in improving relations with a rising China, it is imperative for New Delhi and Washington to put in place joint concepts of operations and pursue joint planning for a range of scenarios related to Chinese activities in Asia. And it is essential for the US and India to work together in regional and international institutions to ensure that they uphold basic international standards. Our countries can also enjoy the multiplier effects of concerting with other like-minded Asian states, including Japan, America’s most important Asian ally and a growing partner for India. 

Looking ahead, the prospects for American renewal and Indian reform could recast the global balance of power and values in ways that make our two countries, more than China, the leaders of the 21st century. 

(Daniel Twining is Senior Fellow for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a former member of the US Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff responsible for South Asia.)

Indian prisoners of war holed till death in Pakistan

Published: October 24, 2012 

Capturing prisoners of war (POW) is as old as man kind and warfare. In the earliest history, men captured used to be either slaughtered or made slaves. The captured women and children were more likely to be spared but many times the purpose to capture women as concubines for sex, sexual abuse and pleasure. The first recorded usage of the phrase prisoners of war is dated around 660 AD. 

A prisoner of war (POW) or enemy prisoner of war (EPW) or “Missing-Captured” is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by the enemy during or immediately after the armed conflict. Captor states hold POWs for any range of legitimate and illegitimate reasons. They are isolated from the operations and released and repatriated on will or under international compulsions like economic sanctions, aid blockades in an orderly manner after the hostilities, to demonstrate military victory, to prosecute and punish them for the war crimes. They are also exploited for their physical labour and as recruits or conscripts to collect military and political intelligence. The Chinese, North Koreans, Israelis, earlier Japanese and Pakistanis are also known from to indoctrinate prisoners to mold their political or religious beliefs. 

About 56,000 soldiers died in prisons during the American Civil war. During World War I, about 8 million men surrendered and were held in POW camps until the war ended. At Tannenberg 92,000 Russians surrendered during the battle. Treatment to POWs till WW I was pathetic. Many died in captivity for want of treatment and poor medical and hygiene conditions in the cramped POW Camps. But conditions improved due to efforts of International Red Cross and inspections of camps by the teams of the neutral nations. The US Military made prisoners of war and missing and captured personnel as POWs and instituted “Prisoner of War” Medals. While some countries treat prisoners of war fairly well, the treatment in Germany, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan and China had been harsher. In China and North Korea it is believed that many prisoners of war were murdered, severely beaten, given summary punishments, brutal treatment and forced labour. 

After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, India had captured nearly 96,000 POWs from the erstwhile East Pakistan that included both military personnel and civilians. Pakistan also had captured nearly 400-500 Indian POWs primarily in the western sector. Most of the Indian POWs were released by Pakistan in June 1972 and I was one of the officers detailed by the Army Headquarters to debrief them. Like wise, all the Pakistani POWs were released by India after the Shimla Agreement without resolving intricate issues Kashmir, river water dispute, Siachin, Sir Creek and minority Hindus insecurity in Pakistan. That speaks volumes of poor Indian political decision making, conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy aftermath victorious war. With the result, there are 54 Indian POWs still languishing in the Pakistani jails for the last forty years under sub human conditions. Since talks on any issue with Pakistan always remain inconclusive and meaningless as country lacks sincerity, moral courage and is perpetually in the denial mode, these 54 Indians are holed up in the Pakistani jails until death. While capturing the POWs during the war is legitimate activity, the treatment of such war prisoners needs to be governed by the Geneva Convention, 1929. Both India and Pakistan are signatory to the Geneva Convention but who cares. 

Indian Families Quest to Search Their Kith and Kin 

In 1983, Mr G S Gill (brother of Wing Commander HS Gill whose plane was shot down over Badin on 13.12.1971and Pakistan Radio gave news of his captured alive the same day), Late Dr R S Suri (father of Maj AK Suri), Late Mr Kaura (father of Capt Ravinder Kaura), Late Mr A K Ghosh( father of Major AK Ghosh), Mrs Damayanti Tambay (wife of Flight Lt VV Tambay) and Mr Surinder Gosain (father of Flt Lt Sudhir Kumar Goswami 8956-F(P)) were sent to Pakistan as official delegation. They were conducted to only one Jail in Multan but could not locate any prisoner. Again in 2007 a group of 14 family members of the POWs were sent at the invitation of the then President of Pakistan but they could not locate them in the 10 prisons they were conducted to by the Pakistani authorities. 

There are no specific reasons as to why these POWs could not be located in Pakistani jails but some logical thinking could be as under: 

Prisoners were shifted from the jails being visited by the families. 

Over 35 years facials of prisoners and their relatives had under gone major change making recognition difficult. 

The abnormal physical, psychological and medical conditions of the POWs. 

Many may have converted to Islam, changing their names and hence difficult to locate. Some may have adopted aliases or nick names. 

Having given up hope and feeling let down by own country, community and families, POWs might have become bitter, changed loyalties to stay put in Pakistan and work as spies. 

Many may have perished in sub-human conditions of the jails or become lunatics to recognize any one. 

POWs fear reprisals after the visit. The prison staff and intelligence agencies rough them on giving evidence /information. 

Family members from India looking for their kith and kin were shadowed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies and their hotel rooms bugged and searched limiting free interaction amongst prisoners and the visiting delegates from India. 

During first visit in 1987, only one prison in Multan was visited while during the second trip visit was limited to 10 prisons across Pakistan. There may be no Indian prisoners in these jails or they were shifted prior to the planned formal visits to those jails. 

Documentation in Pakistani prisons is done in Urdu and the visitors were not conversant with the language. 

Capt Ravinder Kaura was missing believed killed in 1971 war in the western sector. parents had reconciled with his death but in 1989 or so one petty smuggler Mukhtiar Singh was released from Pakistani jail who in an interview with local papers mentioned that there were many inmates including Capt Kaura in the jail he was lodged in. Ever since the news, the family was rest less to know about Ravinder’s welfare and get him released from Pakistani imprisonment. A few years back one Roop Lal was released by Pakistan and he too stated numerous Indian including defence personnel languishing in Pakistani jails. He also said many were in poor health, under nourished, in shock and needed immediate psychiatric and long term complex rehabilitation programmes by specialists. More than that, they needed to be united with their families urgently for their emotional needs. I also came in contact with Mr GS Gill whose brother Wing Commander Gill and Dr Ms Waraich whose father Major Waraich are still in Pakistani captivity. The uncertainty, no news and the long confinement period has naturally wrecked all the waiting families of the victims. Dr Ms Waraich was just one year old child when her father became POW in the western sector and now she has her own grown up children who have yet to see their grand father. I learnt both from Mr GS Gill and Dr Ms Waraich that in 1983 and 2007 official delegations were sent to Pakistan to locate the missing personnel details of which are appended below. 

Evidence that Indian POWs are in Pakistani Jails 

Pakistani government says that there are no Indian prisoners in the Pakistani jails. But the legal, lawful, independent, impartial, authentic, documentary evidence from Pakistan, England, America and India, proves beyond reasonable doubts that certainly there are Indian POWs of 1965 and 1971 wars, who have still been painfully languishing in Pakistani jails for the last 40 years. 

Out of the 54 who went missing, 22 were pilots. Many of them were reportedly seen by Chuck Yeager, the famous former US Air Force chief, after the war while he was on an assignment in Pakistan. Yeager has mentioned this in his autobiography published in 1984. 

Kishori Lal, an automobile engineer-turned-spy now based in Ludhiana who had stayed in various Pakistani jails and was released in 1974, says that during his imprisonment in Kot Lakhpat Jail he had also met Flight Lieutenant Vijay Vasant Tambe and Major A.K. Ghosh, two of the 54 POWs. 

Maj Ghosh’s photograph behind bars was published in the in a December 27, 1971 Time cover story on the 1971 war is proof he was a POW. 

The name of Major Ashok Suri was mentioned on January 6 and 7, 1972 in Punjabi Darbar programme of Lahore. His father Dr. Ram Swaroop Suri of Faridabad had also received three letters from a Karachi jail on 7.12.1974, 26.12.1974 and 16.6.1975 stating that he was in Karachi jail along with 20 other officers 

Daljit Singh, repatriated on March 4, 1988, said he had seen Flight Lt. Tambay at the Lahore interrogation centre in February 1978. 

A book published in 1980 from Lahore titled ‘Bhutto Trial and Execution’ written by Victoria Schofield, a senior BBC London reporter, covering the period of 1978 states that the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, was detained in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore (page No. 59) reads: ‘Bhutto’s cell separated from a barrack area by a 10 foot high wall, did not prevent him from hearing horrific shrieks and screams at midnight from the other side of the wall. One of Bhutto’s lawyers made enquiries amongst the jail staff and ascertained that they were in fact Indian POWs who had been rendered delinquent and mental during the course of the 1971 war. 

One Mohanlal Bhaskar of Firozpur, who was in Pakistan jails between 1968 and 1974 and was repatriated on 9.12.1974, wrote a book (I was a spy of India in Pakistan) has mentioned that he spoke to Indian POWs Mr. Gill of the Indian Air Force and one Captain Singh of the Indian Army and also mentioned that there were around 40 POWs of the 1965 and 1971 wars who are languishing in Kot Lakhpat jail and had no chances of release in future. 

Mukhtayar Singh, who was repatriated from Pakistan on July 5, 1988, said Captain Giriraj Singh was lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail. Singh also reportedly saw Captain Kamal Bakshi in Multan jail around 1983. He said Bakshi could be either in Multan jail or Bahawalpur jail. There are numerous other such eyewitness reports. 

Flight Lt VV Tambay’s name was published in the Pakistan paper Sunday Pakistan Observer on December 5, 1971. It said five Indian pilots were captured alive but Pakistan did not include their names in the list of POWs at the time of exchange of prisoners as per Shimla Agreement and the Indian government had committed a blunder and forgot to secure their release. 

Daljit Singh, repatriated on March 4, 1988, said he had seen Flight Lt. Tambay at the Lahore interrogation centre in February 1978. 

The name of Flying Officer Sudhir Tyagi, whose plane was shot down near Peshawar on December 4, 1971, was announced over Pakistan Radio the next day. Ghulam Hussain S/o Hayat Dutt, who was repatriated from Pakistan on 24.3.1988, said that he had met Flying Officer Tyagi at Shahi Quila, Lahore in 1973. 

Flt. Lt. Harvinder Singh’s name was announced on 5.12.1971 on Pakistan Radio that he had been captured alive. 

Capt. Ravinder Kaura’s name was announced on Lahore Radio on 7.12.1971 during the war time and Mukhtayar Singh, who was repatriated on 5.7.1988, said that Capt. Ravinder Kaura was in Multan jail around 1981 and then later shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail. 

Rajesh Kaura believes his brother Capt Ravinder Kaura is alive in Pakistan 

ing Commander H.S. Gill’s plane was shot down over Badin on 13.12.1971. Pakistan Radio gave news of his captured alive the same day. 

Flt. Lt. Sudhir K Goswami’s plane was shot down over Sargodha on 5.12.1971 at about 7.00 p.m. The same day at 11.30 p.m. Radio Lahore announced his capture. 

Maj. SPS Warraich’s name was reportedly announced on 5/6th December, 1971 as being captured alive after he and Maj. Kanvaljit Sandhu were captured on 3.12.1971 from the Hussainiwala sector. He was subsequently reportedly seen in Multan jail in January 1972. Again he was seen in 1988 by Mohinder Singh s/o Banka Singh, who was repatriated on 24.3.1988. He said he saw him again in Kot Lakhpat jail in February 1988. 

Time magazine of London, dated December 24, 1971, carried a photograph of Indian prisoners behind the bars. The said photograph turned out to be that of Major A.K. Ghosh, who was not returned by Pakistan Govt. with the rest of the POWs. 

2nd Lt Paras Ram Sharma’s father heard his son’s particulars being announced on Pak Radio on Jan. 2, 8 and November, 29. 

L/NK Ram Lal (Retd.) (No. 9071130) of erstwhile 2 JAK Militia after his return from Pakistan said that he had met 2nd Lt. Paras Ram Sharma in Lahore jail for 5 days from 20.4.1973 to 24.4.1973 while awaiting his repatriation to India. 

Balwan Singh, an Indian prisoner who returned home to India on 3.10.1998 after 9 years in Pakistan prisons, claims to have met Indian, POWs of the 1971 war. He said there were seven jails in which the POWs were rotated. He distinctly remembered one of the POWs as Jagdish Raj who was being kept in Fort of Attock Jail with other POWs (L/NK Jagdish Raj figures in the list of 54 POWs) 

General Chuck Yeager of USA, who was on deputation with the Pakistan Air Force for training Pakistani pilots, has written a book of his role during the Indo-Pak war and has written in his book that he had interviewed about 20 Indian pilots in the Pakistani jails. 

Shri Rooplal Saharia had been in various Pakistani jails for 26 years from 1974 to 2000. He says that there were many Indian prisoners of war languishing in various Pakistani jails 

Shri Bhogal Ram of Kashmir had been in Pakistani jails for about eight years. In the year 1999 he had come to Rajkot to meet me and brief me about what he had seen in the Pakistani jails. Shri Jagsheer Singh and Arif Mohammed, who had returned on 10.8.2004 after five years in Pakistani jails, say that there are many Indian prisoners of war who have become very weak and have been passing very critical and painful life in the Pakistani jails. 

Shri Devinder Singh of village Sanbaura, Tehsil-Hira Nagar, District, Kathua, Kashmir, was arrested in Pakistan on December 20, 1989 and returned to India on March 17, 2005 through Wagah Border along with 10 other Indian prisoners. He says that 100 Indian prisoners were languishing in Pakistani jail in a very painful condition. Many of them had become lunatic and insane and had been painfully waiting for their release since 1971 Indo-Pak war. 

Leading human rights activist Ansar Burney claimed on 28 Apr, 201 as reported by the PTI that he had traced an Indian POW captured during the 1971 war in a jail in Pakistan. Burney said the Indian prisoner named Surjit Singh was arrested in 1971 and his family had been searching for him since then. 

In the recent NDTV recording on 25 August 2012 over the prisoners prominent Pakistani human rights lawyer Mr Awaish Sheikh had confirmed many people are in Pakistani jails and he would keep fighting for their release. He was lawyer for Surjit Singh and is now fighting for Sarabjit Singh and many others held illegally in both the countries. 

He had assured me repeatedly personally and through emails that he was willingly fighting cases of release of prisoners held in both the countries free provided families give the power of attorney in his favour and details of the prisoner(s). 

Surjit Singh in 1971 in Pakistan (left), Surjit Singh released by Pakistan in 2012 (right) 

NDTV show on the prisoners

Since May 2012, I am deeply involved in the release of the Indian POWs held in Pakistan for over 40 years. Through massive emailing and writings to both Indian and foreign media, my pleas were heard by two notably journalists both foreigners –Ms Sonya Fatah, New Delhi based Pakistani journalist who writes for the Times of India and the US based Lt Cdr Tammy Swafford who writes for The Daily Pakistan writing articles on the plight of the Indian POWs held in Pakistan. Through Sonya’s email I learnt for the first time that there were 18 Pakistani POWs holed up in India. She of course could not give me many details about them. Eventually these lead to the recording of the NDTV show on 25 Aug 2012 by Barkha Datt on the prisoners held by both the countries, which has not yet been telecast. There was large gathering of observers and eminent people from both India and Pakistan. Justice Katju of the Supreme Court, Mr KC Singh, former Foreign Secretary, Ms Sonya Fatah, the Pakistani journalist who wrote the article in TOI on 6 August on POWs issue Mr Awais Sheikh, lawyer from Pakistan who was counsel to Sarbajit Singh, Dr Waraich whose father Major Waraich is still POW in Pakistan, Wing Commander Grewal who was a POW in Pakistan and was lucky enough to be released after one year’s captivity, sister and daughter of Surjit Singh who got very emotional and some more personalities whose names I cold not recollect. A mother had come from Mumbai whose young son was missing for 7 years and reported only 4 years back that he was in Pakistani jail. One really wonders how he without passport and visa reached Lahore traveling by Samjhota Express. 

Through satellite connectivity Jawed Jabbar, former Federal Minister of Pakistan, Hamid Mir, of the GEO TV, a Karachi girl from Pakistan whose 3 brothers are prisoners (fishermen) too attended the recording. The recording had tense moments as both Mr Awais (Pakistani lawyer) and the former Federal Minister of Pakistan had heated argument over Sarabjit Singh and Kasab held in India for 26/ 11 attacks. It was heartening to learn that Mr Awais was doing yeoman service in getting prisoners from both side released on humanitarian grounds as many are still detained after completion of their punishment period. Justice Katju gave his views of holding on to Dr Siddique unnecessarily and pleaded passionately that he was caught up in a murder case where no one knows who fired and killed the victim and he was held for so long in detention. He pleaded to the Indian government for his release for his old age and professional qualifications that are needed for diseases mitigation. Mr KC Singh pleaded for regulatory mechanism that punishment given to petty criminals could be completed in home country. I stated that POWs were not criminals and during war, enemy countries have legitimate right to capture POWs. POWs are governed by the Geneva Convention and both India and Pakistan are signatory to this Convention. I also said that while India released 96,000 Pakistan POWs after Shimla Agreement, 54 of our POWs were still languishing in Pakistani jails. Most probably they were the initially missing believed killed servicemen. I also mentioned that after 1962 Sino- Indian War our POWs were released by the Chinese with in one year after the war. I also highlighted that after I raised the issue of releasing our 54 POWs held for over 40 years, suddenly Pakistan has raised the issue of 18 of their servicemen held in India but no one had specified in which war they were captured and if any initiatives had been taken by Pakistan to get them released. Mr Awais, the Pakistani lawyer asked for the list of Pakistani POWs in India and I gave him. This list was sent to me earlier by the India based Pakistani journalist Ms Sonya Fatah. I pleaded that POWs held by both countries should be released. Dr Waraich gave her sad experiences of the unsuccessful visit to Pakistan in 2007 with other relatives of the Indian POWs to locate them. She highlighted the trauma of uncertain suffered by the POWs families was immense. Wing Commander Grewal mentioned how he was captured, blind folded, interrogated and released after one year along with other Indian POWs held in Pakistan. 

The show ended inconclusively with the hope that all prisoners (other than Kasab type) should be released by both the governments. Mr Awais deserves our compliments for fighting for the release of prisoners held in both the countries to put an end to this human tragedy. In the end, I again request the Pakistani authority that legally, ethically and morally there is sufficient evidence of the unfortunate Indian POWs holed up in Pakistan. Pakistani leadership will do a great service to humanity and would acquire praise worthy statesman ship to unite these unfortunate victims of the war with their families in the twilight of their lives. Same holds good for the Indian leadership, too to release, if there are any Pakistani POWs on the Indian soil. If our governments do not relent, there is need for media, intelligentsia, human right activists, lawyers, educationists, Sufis, cultural, social and music groups, students- in fact the common masses of both the countries to unite peacefully in’ The Sub-Continent Spring’ like ‘The Arab Spring’ to improve bilateral relations and confidence building measures. To avoid face-saving, brinkmanship should be avoided. There would be no nemesis to either side by simultaneously exchanging prisoners at Wagah border for which nothing more is required than the positive will at both the ends. May the breed of the likes of Mr Awais Sheikh increase in the sub-continent. 


Ms Sonya Fatah article ‘40 yrs on, why are we unable to account for 72 prisoners of war?’ in the TOI dated 6 Aug 2012. 

Ms Tammy Swafford article ‘Madrigal for the Unaccounted’ published in The Daily Times, Pakistan 

NDTV Show recording held on 25 Aug 2012 

Personal contacts with Mr GS Gill, Dr Simmi Waraich, Ms Sonya Fatah and Mr Awais Sheikh, eminent Pakistani lawyer fighting for the release of the prisoners held both in India and Pakistan. 

Weakileaks on POWs 

ABOUT AUTHOR: Col NN Bhatia was commissioned in the Indian Army in 1963. He retired from the Army in 1995 and is now involved as human right and peace activist specially in getting Indian POWs held in Pakistan since 1971. He has appeared on the NDTV on the same issue recently along with Justice Katju of the Supreme Court of India, Mr Awais Sheikh, Mr KC Singh,former Foreign Secretary India, Ms Sonya Fatah, Pakistani journalist based in New Delhi & many others. He is in contact with Pakistani human right activist and Lawyer Mr Awais Sheikh, Ms Beena, Delhi based Pakistani journalist Ms Sonya Fatah, American journalist Ms Tammy Stafford who writes for Pakistani [papers,Ms Jasbir Uppal the Indian origin human right lawyer in UK, Brig (Retd) Rao Abid of Pakistan Human Right Activist, Brig Qadir(Retd) of Pakistan Army and like minded intellectuals, journalists & peace activists all over the world including India & Pakistan. He is prolific writer & writes for many journals in India.

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan: India’s Defence Vision

by Anuraag Sanghi 

on October 30, 2012 

With Agni, Brahmos missiles, Arjun MBT, Tejas LCA and the induction of a stealth fighter in ten years, Indian defence posture will have a profile that will intimidate any aggressor – adequately. 

A Puff Of Dust 

India’s collective memory plays strange tricks. 

British Raj no longer evokes outrage or indignation in India, within a few decades after the end of colonial rule. The same British Raj, who were overseers of India’s rapid decline from the richest economy to the poorest in a short span of 100 years. Britain’s rapid decline after the loss of India rarely registers on Indian minds. 

Inspite of a nuclear neighbourhood, defence issues are not electoral hot-buttons in India’s mind-scape. China and Pakistan apart, the three other nuclear powers, (USA, Britain, France) also have military presence in India’s immediate vicinity. In India’s collective memory, its remarkable rise from the Great Bengal Famine of 1941 to overflowing food godowns in 2011 is lost in the media din and NGO activism

But then, this par for the course, for a society that keeps re-indexing even heroes like Raghu Ramachandra and Yadu Krishna. 
Walk The Talk … 

65 years later, after the end of colonial rule, the Indian State, is trying to be all things to all people – with giant-schemes like MNREGA and AADHAR. LB Shastri’s policy of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan committed the Indian State to two objectives – India will not go hungry and India will not back down, militarily. To an India recovering from colonial loot of the British Raj, these were the two non-negotiables. 

Ten years after Shastri’s Jai Jawan Jai Kisan policy, by 1975, India had achieved food security at a national level. Defence parity with immediate and emerging threats was another matter – and will probably take till 2025. 

Today these may seem within reach – but back then in 1965, it the dark night seemed stretch endlessly ahead. 

Kargil Infographic – Source & courtesy – globalsecurity.org 
Trouble In The Barrio

India shares borders with two nuclear neighbors – unlike any other country in the world. India has also fought four wars with Pakistan, one with China and managed another war-scenario with Portugal. 

Pakistan had to eat crow on all four occasions. Indian acceptance of Chinese ceasefire, made the Chinese campaign look better than the probable outcome had the war continued. India’s Goa campaign, does not even find a mention in Indian military history – even though India stared down a Western-colonial power. 
Parity & Proportion 

Fifty years after LB Shastri’s death, by 2016, India will probably start seeing military parity in the modern era. Behind this parity, are two developments in India’s defence posture. 

One is the Indo-Russian development of the Brahmos missile. The world’s only supersonic missile, at many times the speed of sound, the Brahmos completes its attack in 5-10 minutes of its launch. There is currently no system whatsoever that can stop a Brahmos. Based on ramjet engines, Brahmos has no global rival

Flying just 15 metres above water level, Brahmos is virtually invisible to radar, when launched from a warship. Fully mobile, it can stop an invading land-unit. The air-version, to be deployed soon, will probably shoot down an enemy aircraft even before it enters Indian airspace. 
You Talkin’ To Me 

The Americans, without a similar missile, have been talking-up an electromagnetic railgun – which can only be launched from nuclear warships, due to enormous electrical requirements. These railguns under development for more than 60 years now, cannot knock out a Brahmos. Being very compact, Brahmos can be launched from multiple platforms. 

Further, Indo-Russian teams of defence scientists are developing Brahmos from supersonic to hypersonic missile. The Brahmos uses a ramjet engine technology that even the US or the EU don’t have. Brahmos effectively creates a 200 km barrier in Indian airspace, at borders and on the coastline – at a very low-cost. Guided by the Russian Glonass system, Brahmos is not dependent on the American GPS system. 

By 2025, India would have deployed enough numbers of Brahmos missiles, to deter any invader. 

The Big Whale 

Two – The other major development is the T-50 Fifth-Generation Fighter-Aircraft (FGFA). Currently, the only FGFA actually deployed is the the US F-22 Raptor. Grounded due to faulty oxygen-supply system, the F-22 may never be able to match the T-50 FGFA, based on current evaluations – and comes at more than three times the expected price of the Indo-Russian T-50 FGFA. 

Interestingly, India’s choice of Rafale, in the MMRCA tender, could be a crucial technology bridge that will enhance the Russian FGFA into a super-FGFA Indian version – like how the SU-27 became the SU-30MKI. For long, the SU-30 was a export product – and recently, the Russian airforce has ordered a domestic version, which is based on the Indian design

The choice of Rafale is closely tied to transfer of AESA-radar technology – which currently, apart from US and Russia, no other country has. The Eurofighter Typhoon is expecting to get that technology a few years down the road. France is forming a JV-company between Thales and BEL to produce the AESA radar in India
F-22 Raptor – Running or Hiding? 

Curiously, the US has decided to stop the manufacture of F-22 Raptor aircraft. The F-22 Raptor aircraft was also not used in recent Libya operations or sold to any foreign US ally. But, while the US was ‘unwilling’ to sell the F-22 Raptor, the US has pressured eight of its allies to join the newer F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project. So, while the US was reluctant to sell the older F-22 Raptor, it is very eager to sell the F-35 to it allies and client-States. 

Was the US hiding ‘secret’ technology – or hiding technology defects? 

The FGFA for USA + 8 Allies – The F-35 (JSF) Variants 

The next FGFA from the US, the F-35 is nearly US$250 billion in development, technically unstable, facing critical problems – and not yet in production. In contrast, the Indo-Russian T-50 FGFA is currently budgeted at less than US$40 billion. 

Delays and cost overruns have plagued the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – which at $238bn is the Pentagon’s biggest weapons procurement programme – and one variant of the plane suffered cracks in the bulkhead after it had flown just 1,500 hours out of a planned 16,000.The US Air Force has also had to ground dozens of F-22 fighter jets for the second time this year, after a pilot had experienced oxygen deficiency in the cockpit, officers reported in early October. The announcement follows the air force’s highly unusual step of grounding the entire Raptor fleet between May and mid-September, to allow engineers to investigate possible problems with the plane’s oxygen supply 

Elaborate tests and safety measures have nevertheless failed to locate the precise source of the fault. The latest case follows around a dozen previous incidents affecting F-22 pilots over a three-year period, the circumstances of which the US Air Force is reluctant to discuss in detail. 

At a cost of nearly $150 million a plane, the F-22 Raptor is designed mainly for dogfights against rival fighter jets, and the radar-evading aircraft were not deployed in the Nato-led campaign over Libya. 

Enormously complex, the F-35 project aims to deliver three versions of the aircraft. 

Cost apart, there is also the matter of design-logic. While the F-35 seeks to attack deep in enemy territory, relying on radar evasion through stealth technology, the T-50 FGFA is designed to ensure that air dominance is not lost. While the F-35 relies on stealth technology, the T-50 depends to extreme maneuverability to win an aerial dog fight. The idea of deep-penetration-and-strike mission by a stealth aircraft was thoroughly discredited after the Serbs shot down America’s stealth aircraft, F-117 Nighthawk with a vintage Soviet-era S-125Neva anti-aircraft system in 1999. 

The attack role of the F-35 will increasingly be the domain of cheaper missiles and drones – not expensive stealth aircraft. 

The Russians are not looking to make the aerodynamic tradeoffs to stealth that the US has made, for a variety of reasons including the effectiveness and costs of such stealth. Given that stealth in the real world would be far less effective than the advertised “metal marble” because the enemy may not always come exactly head on, nor use the radar’s that the F-22s were tested with. Nor would any future competent enemy only have one radar on (but rather a plethora of ground and airborne radars at various frequencies). Further, wear and tear in a real world operational scenario are likely to reduce stealth. 

On the other hand, T-50 will do a better job on denial of air-superiority, even against stealth aircraft. Since stealth aircraft have a small and low radar profile, a missile attack on a stealth-fighter will probably be unsuccessful – and a T-50 type of fighter plane may be a better aircraft for an aerial dog-fight with a stealth fighter. 

Main performance characteristics of Sukhoi T-50 fighter jet and similar foreign aircraft | Source & credit embedded in image. 
Models From Russia 

With three prototypes and nearly 150 flights to its credit, the T-50 FGFA will start rolling off Russian assembly lines in four years. 

Twenty-one months after first flight at Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Siberia, the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fleet recorded its 100th flight on 3 November. 

For perspective, the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme needed 31 months from the first take-off by the AA-1 test aircraft to pass the 100th flight mark. 

Europeans would still be tinkering with their 4G++ Euro-fighter Typhoon – even as India will be a FGFA manufacturer. 

One notable feature that India wants is a 360° active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar rather than the more conventional AESA found on the original Russian aircraft. A 360° AESA would be a first for any fighter on the planet, and it will undoubtedly be expensive. 

AESA, Waisa, Kaisa 

The 360° active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is already in use on the sub-sonic Indian indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C), mounted on a Brazilian Embraer aircraft using about 60 antennae and sensors

Work on the crucial transceiver unit is happening in parallel. Meanwhile the Russians are developing an AESA system using X-band radar antenna containing over 1,000 solid transmit/receive modules. India’s own development direction seems to be different from others. Russia’s offer to fully transfer AESA radar technology of Zhuk-ME system, from Phazotron-NIIR Corporation did not get much traction in India. 

The Chinese J-20 FGFA, by most expert opinion, is dead in water – without an engine, AESA radar, technologies that the Chinese lack. 

The Chinese J-20 (Mighty Dragon) fifth-generation fighter jet program is advancing in truly huge strides. The jet has already made over 60 test flights, performing elements of aerial acrobatics. 

In 2009, General He Weirong, Deputy Commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force estimated that the J-20 would be operational no earlier than in 2017-2019. Now it appears Chinese engineers have done a great job and the jet is much closer to being ready than expected. 

Created by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, this heavy fighter jet is the first military plane China has constructed on its own, without visible attempts at copying foreign technology. It resembles neither the American Raptor F-22, nor the Russian T-50 PAK-FA. 

Though peculiar forms of the jet and technical decisions allegedly realized in the vehicle might be questionable, one thing about this plane is an established fact. 

As of now, the J-20 flies with two Russian AL-31F jet engines it borrowed from the Russian Su-27 fighter jet that entered Chinese service in the mid-1980s. 

China also tried to put engines of their own on a second test J-20 vehicle, but the copycat of the Soviet engine AL-31F made by China is not in the same league as the Russian analogue for reliability and durability. 

The real problem is both AL-31F and Chinese version are engines of the previous generation. 

No question the Chinese jet is a prototype model and technology demonstration vehicle called to test new equipment and technology. Defined as a technology showroom, it may fly whatever engines its creator considers possible. But China has no working engine for a 5G jet. 

By 2025 

With the Brahmos and T-50 FGFA, Indian defence will be able to hold on against any force in the world. By 2025, India’s Arjun MBT platform will be stable. The LCA will be in a position to bulk up the IAF. Indian shipyards will start delivering aircraft carriers. Agni missile family will make for a formidable missile array that can attack targets 5000 miles away. 

Most importantly, this military parity will be achieved at a cost that India can sustain – and only India can manage. 

Following India, Russia has taken some baby-steps in initiating defence ties with Israel and France. Based on an expanding defence trade with India, by 2025 France and Israel may join the Indo-Russian defence alliance. 

This will further deepen the technology base – and drive down costs, to levels that Indians apart, no one even imagines. 
What about China 

If China has been given less importance in this post, it is for a reason. 

Between 1990-2000, as the Soviet economy went into a tailspin, Russian defence producers had no customers and no money. Cut-off from Russian State funding, defence production and research suffered. 

A year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a cash-strapped Kremlin began selling China a chunk of its vast military arsenal, including the pride of the Russian air force, the Sukhoi-27 fighter jet. 

For the next 15 years, Russia was China’s biggest arms supplier, providing $20 billion to $30 billion of fighters, destroyers, submarines, tanks and missiles. It even sold Beijing a license to make the Su-27 fighter jet—with imported Russian parts. 

Today, Russia’s military bonanza is over, and China’s is just beginning. 

After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier. 

Not only have Chinese engineers cloned the prized Su-27′s avionics and radar but they are fitting it with the last piece in the technological puzzle, a Chinese jet engine. 

In the past (few) years, Beijing hasn’t placed a major order from Moscow. 

Now, China is starting to export much of this weaponry, undercutting Russia in the developing world, and potentially altering the military balance in several of the world’s flash points. 

Russia’s predicament mirrors that of many foreign companies as China starts to compete in global markets with advanced trains, power-generating equipment and other civilian products based on technology obtained from the West. 

In this case, there is an additional security dimension, however: China is developing weapons systems, including aircraft carriers and carrier-based fighters, that could threaten Taiwan and test U.S. control of the Western Pacific. 

Chinese exports of fighters and other advanced weapons also threaten to alter the military balance in South Asia, Sudan and Iran. 

But no other Asian country has sought to project military power—and had the indigenous capability to do so—since Japan’s defeat in 1945. 

China’s rapid mastery of Russian technology raises questions about U.S. cooperation with the civilian faces of Chinese arms makers. 

While Russia worries about intellectual property, other countries are concerned about security. The arms programs China initiated two or three decades ago are starting to bear fruit, with serious implications for the regional—and global—military balance. 

The J-11B is expected to be used by the Chinese navy as its frontline fighter, capable of sustained combat over the entire East China Sea and South China Sea. 

Aircraft carriers and J-15 fighters would further enhance its ability to stop the U.S. intervening in a conflict over Taiwan, and test its control of the Western Pacific. 

China’s arms exports could have repercussions on regions in conflict around the world. Pakistan inducted its first squadron of Chinese-made fighter jets in February, potentially altering the military balance with India. 

Other potential buyers of China’s JF-17 fighter jet include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Nigeria, Morocco and Turkey. In the past, China has also sold fighters to Sudan. 

The potential customer of greatest concern to the U.S. is Iran, which purchased about $260 million of weapons from China between 2002-2009, according to Russia’s Centre for Analysis of the Global Arms Trade. 

Su-30MKI Fighter that has become the mainstay of IAF. Image source & credits embedded. 

Indian and Chinese defence contracts played a huge role in saving Russian defence industry. During this same period, to overcome supply disruptions, the Chinese decided to expropriate Russian defence products without licence or consent. 

It said that while more than 90% of China’s major conventional weapons imports came from Russia between 1991 and 2010, the volume of imports had declined dramatically in the last five years. 

Russia’s diversified customer base, which allowed it to take a tougher negotiating stance with China, particularly given anxiety about how China would use its purchases. 

“Russia is unwilling to provide China with advanced weapons and technology, primarily because it is concerned that China will copy Russian technology and compete with Russia on the international arms market,” said Holtom. 

“The nature of the arms transfer relationship will increasingly be characterised by competition rather than co-operation.” 

Russians cite many cases where China has ‘copied’ Russian defence items. 

It is an open secret that China has copied quite a number of Russian weapons. The list begins with Soviet I-15 and I-16 fighter jets, not to mention the legendary Kalashnikov rifle. 

The list continues with D-30 howitzer, BMP-1 armored vehicle, BMP-3, Malyutka anti-tank complex, An-12 military cargo plane, Strela-2 shoulder-fired missile complex, S-300 missile system, Msta-S howitzer, Smerch volley-fire system and other weaponry. The last rip-off report was referred to Su-33 deck-based fighter jet. 

China previously had the licensed production of Soviet Romeo submarines, which were dubbed in China as “Type 39.” Chinese engineers acknowledged that their developments were based on Russian state-of-the-art defense technologies. However, they vehemently denied the fact of blunt copying claiming that that they had considerably improved them. 

It may seem strange that Russia has not set forth any claims to China yet. However, China is Russia’s long-time partner in the field of arms trade and Russia is not willing to ruin relations with China. Does Russia overestimate the importance of defense cooperation with the Asian giant? China usually makes small one-time purchases that do not bring much profit to Russia. Moreover, the purchases are made to simply copy the original. For example, the Chinese bought one or two radars for fighter jets from Russia only to launch their serial production several years later. 

For close to fifteen years, China alongwith India were major buyers of Russian defence products. 

For almost two decades, it was close to the perfect match of buyer and seller. 

Denied weapons and defense technology from the West, China was almost totally reliant on Russia for the hardware it needed to jump-start an ambitious military buildup. And while the Russian economy teetered in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, huge orders from China helped keep a once-mighty defense industry afloat. 

After orders peaked at more than $2 billion a year early in this decade, Chinese arms deals with Russia shrank to almost nothing in 2006, and no major new contracts are in the pipeline, according to Russian, Chinese and U.S. defense experts. 

In the meantime, Russia – which, with its economy booming, is no longer dependent on arms sales to China. 

Some Chinese analysts suggest that Russia, the world’s second-ranked arms supplier behind the United States, is also concerned about the threat of competition from the Chinese defense industry. 

Russian analysts estimate that arms deliveries to China from 1992 to 2006 were valued at $26 billion. 

Total Russian arms exports over that period were estimated at more than $58 billion. 

With a Western embargo on arms sales to China having been in place since the Tiananmen (1989), it was these weapons from Russia that allowed the People’s Liberation Army to reduce a yawning gap in technology and firepower. 

Chinese experts say the army wants access to the most advanced Russian weaponry, including strategic bombers, tanks, attack helicopters and manufacturing technology for high-performance aircraft engines. 

A decade ago, as military spending shriveled, a slump in orders from China would have been disastrous for Russian arms makers. That is no longer the case, with the Russian economy growing at 8.1 per cent on the back of rising energy and commodity exports, according to official economic statistics. 

With Moscow running a budget surplus, there are orders in the pipeline to supply the Russian military with hardware that until recently could only be sold abroad. And overall arms exports remain buoyant, particularly to India, a long-term client that Moscow views with far less suspicion than China. 

Russia has also signed lucrative arms deals with new customers including Algeria and Venezuela in recent years. 

To add to Beijing’s frustration, some of the Russian transfers to India include weapons and technology that Moscow refuses to supply to China. Moscow and New Delhi agreed to begin the joint development of a new, so-called fifth-generation fighter, the Russian government announced in October. 

This aircraft would be a potential rival in performance to the U.S. F-22 Raptor, defense analysts say. 

India also agreed last year to buy another 40 Su-30MKI fighters from Russia for $1.5 billion in addition to an earlier order for 140 of these aircraft. Some military experts say this versatile, twin-engined jet is probably the best fighter and strike aircraft in the world. But Russia has not offered it to China. And Moscow is offering to sell India its latest fighter, the MiG-35. 

In nuclear submarine technology, Russia has also been more generous with India than with China, naval experts say. 

Still, with the Western arms embargo on China still in place, most analysts expect that Moscow and Beijing will eventually negotiate compromises. 

Probably the biggest break-point was when China offered a SU-27 aircraft in the international market. 

Last year, Russian aircraft sales internationally topped $3 billion – second only to the US. But others too want a slice of the aviation pie. 

Fake Su-27s are widely offered in the world arms market. “Sooner or later, Russian arms traders will face competition from the Chinese colleagues,” he told RT. 

China was given the design plans for the Russian fighter jet in 1995, when it promised to buy 200 kits and assemble them domestically. After building 100 planes, the Chinese said the Russian plane did not meet specifications, only for a copycat version soon to appear – “Made in China” – without copyright. 

The threat from China is real, and it will be difficult for the Russian aviation industry to maintain its lofty position, and soar further unless it manages to better protect its intellectual rights and also find new ways of co-operating with its eastern neighbor. 

Although it made its maiden flight over 30 years ago, the Su-27 remains the bedrock of the Russian air force, and is highly popular abroad. 

Some are calling for calm over the controversy. While the similarities between the two planes are clear, experts say the Chinese J11B does not have the latest Russian high-tech features and will be no match for it on the international market. 

Russia went to the extent of arresting a Chinese national in Russia on charges of industrial espionage – a rare event in Russia. 

Russia‘s security service has revealed that it arrested a suspected Chinese spy who posed as a translator while seeking sensitive information on an anti-aircraft system. 

The man, identified as Tun Sheniyun, was arrested on 28 October last year, the federal security service (FSB) said in a statement cited by RIA-Novosti news agency. 

It was unclear why the FSB disclosed the arrest on Wednesday, less than one week before the prime minister, Vladimir Putin, travels to China on an official visit. 

The alleged spy was acting “under the guise of a translator of official delegations”, the statement said. 

He had “attempted to obtain technological and maintenance documents on the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system from Russian citizens for money”, it added. 

Last year, Russia delivered 15 S-300 systems to China, a popular Soviet-era arms export, as part of a deal signed several years earlier. 

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the centre for analysis of strategies and technologies, a defence thinktank in Moscow, said: “They [the Chinese] are trying to copy this system illegally. They’ve already copied a whole series of our weapons. 

“They’re trying to clone the S-300, to serve their interests and also to export. As I understand it, it’s not all working out. They probably wanted extra documentation to better deal with this task of reverse engineering.” 

Earlier this year, Ukrainian authorities jailed a Russian man for six years, claiming he was stealing military secrets to further China’s aircraft carrier programme. 

In the past two years, Russian customs officials have also accused two Chinese citizens of attempting to smuggle spare parts for Russian fighter jets across the border. 

Hat Tip 

While China and Pakistan are pariahs in the international arms bazaar, India is a preferred customer. To India’s policy makers and handlers must go the credit for positioning India as a lead partner in the global arms bazaar. 

Traditionally Russia has been a stable and safe partner for India. The US has usually avoided arms sales to India – fearing leakage of technology to Russia. However, for its latest F-35 stealth fighter, the US has decided to waive all its habitual hesitation. France, Italy, Israel, Sweden, Britain are all willing to sell any technology, product, service or components that India needs. 

China is richer and Pakistan, more mercenary and desperate – yet … 
Short, Little Man With A Big Dream 

It has taken seventy years, and LB Shastri’s slogan of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan is on the verge of coming true. For most of the last fifty years, India has been criticized for its slow decision-making, its exhaustive processes, its complex negotiations. 

When Pakistan joined CENTO and US armed Pakistan. When Nixon met Mao. When Israel defeated the Arab alliance in the 1973 war. When Reagan ‘partnered’ with Pakistan to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. After each of these events, commentators lamented about India’s ‘missed’ chances and predicted disaster for the last fifty years. Yet after each decade, India has emerged a step ahead. 

Who would have thought, seventy years ago …