21 January 2013

India Is Losing the Race

As recently as 2006, when I first visited India and China, the economic race was on, with heavy bets being placed on which one would win the developing world sweepstakes.

Many Westerners fervently hoped that a democratic country would triumph economically over an autocratic regime.

Now the contest is emphatically over. China has lunged into the 21st century, while India is still lurching toward it. 

That’s evident not just in columns of dry statistics but in the rhythm and sensibility of each country. While China often seems to eradicate its past as it single-mindedly constructs its future, India nibbles more judiciously at its complex history.

Visits to crowded Indian urban centers unleash sensory assaults: colorful dress and lilting chatter provide a backdrop to every manner of commerce, from small shops to peddlers to beggars. That makes for engaging tourism, but not the fastest economic development. In contrast to China’s full-throated, monochromatic embrace of large-scale manufacturing, India more closely resembles a nation of shopkeepers.

To be sure, India has achieved enviable success in business services, like the glistening call centers in Bangalore and elsewhere. But in the global jousting for manufacturing jobs, India does not get its share.

Now, after years of rocketing growth, China’s gross domestic product per capita of $9,146 is more than twice India’s. And its economy grew by 7.7 percent in 2012, while India expanded at a (hardly shabby) 5.3 percent rate.

The New York Times 

Pakistan in Crisis Again

Paper No. 5373 Dated 20-Jan-2013 
By Kazi Anwarul Masud 

Pakistan could have descended into chaos if the political crisis that suddenly emerged recently had not been resolved. 

Canadian cleric Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s long march from Lahore to Islamabad protesting rampant corruption by the politicians and insisting on clean government had the possibility of interrupting once again the democratic process in Pakistan. Had that been the case then it would have been a repeat of military rule that has been the lot of Pakistan’s history for most part since its independence in 1947. 

The situation worsened with the Supreme Court’s order of the arrest of the country’s Prime Minister for alleged corruption. Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf was accused of receiving kickbacks and commissions in the Rental Power Plants case during his previous stint as federal minister for water and power. But then like many developing countries corruption is not unknown in Pakistan. In Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index Pakistan ranked 134 on the index with 42 countries ranking worse. In 2012, Pakistan's ranking dropped even further from 134 to 139, making Pakistan the 34th most corrupt country in the world. According to calculations by Transparency International, Pakistan has lost an unbelievably high amount, more than Rs8.5 trillion (US $94 billion), in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of Prime Minister Yusuf Raja Gilani. An adviser of Transparency International acknowledged that "Pakistan does not need even a single penny from the outside world if it effectively checks the menace of corruption and ensures good governance"( Wikipedia). 

The question that may be asked is whether corruption by itself can threaten democracy? The answer to such a question is difficult because corruption has become an integral part of the body politic of most countries including those where the military captures power promising to root out corruption but ends up being corrupt themselves. Dr. Tahirul Huq’s denunciation of politicians as being corrupt and his demand that the whole political process be overhauled to screen out corrupt people from politics resonated with the sentiment of the people. He alleged that billions of rupees were being taken away from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to be misused by ministers, MNAs, senators and MPAs. He claimed nowhere in the world development funds were given to legislators. 

Qadri claimed that a former prime minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, had told him in Melbourne that that he shelved a ‘massive investment’ project after a ‘top man’ from Pakistan demanded 30 percent kickbacks for it. Hawke remarked that the major reason why Pakistan could not progress was corruption at the top level. Qadri also said a former New Zealand prime minister had told him that ‘your prime minister, your leaders’ had 49 or 50 percent share in Pakistan’s largest state-owned projects. 

The Rafale deal and why it makes China nervous

January 21, 2013

The People's Daily, the Chinese Communist newspaper, says the sale of the Rafale fighter plane 'encourages, excites and spurs India's appetite and ambition to become a great military power while intensifying its aggressive and expansionist tendencies, which poses a serious threat to peace and stability in Asia.'

Does India have a choice, considering the People's Liberation Army's frantic speed of development, wonders Claude Arpi. 

There were six in contention; four were dropped, and one became the Chosen One: The Rafale. 

In French, 'Rafale' poetically means a 'sudden gust of wind.' 

It was one of the six fighter aircraft in competition for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, MMRCA, when the Indian Air Force wanted to acquire 126 polyvalent fighter planes. 

In April 2011, the IAF shortlisted two birds -- the Rafale produced by Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter (known in Europe as 'Typhoon') from EADS, the European consortium. 

It was a big deal worth $12 billion. You can imagine the stakes, especially for Dassault which a few months earlier, was unsuccessful in exporting its flagship plane to Brazil [ Images ] and the Emirates. 

Finally on January 31, 2012, the IAF announced that the Rafale was the chosen one. 

The 'deal of the century' was that 18 Rafales would be supplied in fly-away condition by Dassault to the IAF by 2015 (or three years after the signature of the contract) and the remaining 108 pieces would be manufactured in India under a transfer of technology agreement. 

The concurrent company did not let go easily and a lot of lobbying started. The British prime minister wanted Delhi [ Images ] to explain the reasons of favouring the French. 'The Typhoon is a superb aircraft, far better than the Rafale,' David Cameron [ Images ] said, adding: 'Of course, I will do everything I can --- as I have already -- to encourage the Indians to look at the Typhoon, because I think it is such a good aircraft.' 

Sri Lanka: Is Delhi Dumb?

Paper No. 5371 Dated 20-Jan-2013 
Guest Column: Dr Kumar David 

Dumb is used to describe a person who is bereft of brains, and of course its literal meaning is to be deprived of the faculty of verbal articulation. 

Not many people fit both definitions at the same time, but the Government in Delhi has managed a Double First! The international community (IC) has expressed itself in no uncertain terms and the governments of the United States, UK, Canada, and even Australia in low key because of other sensitivities, International Commission of Jurists, UNHCR, International Crisis Group, Asian Human Rights Association, Bar Associations of several countries including UK and even Indian newspaper leader writers. There has been universal condemnation and expressions of shock at the flagrant violation of the constitution, an unheard of kangaroo-trial of a Chief Justice (CJ), a witch-hunt, and finally a lynching by Executive President Mahinda Rajapakse and the sycophant parliament that kneels before him. Through it all Delhi has remained brain dead and voiceless! 

The common explanation is that India has enough on its plate both internally and with Pakistan and China that is does not want anymore and does not wish to intervene in the internal affairs of a neighbour. This is unacceptable when matters go so much out of hand that the fabric of democracy is ripped and freedom of life and liberty of the people of Lanka imperilled. Don’t take my word for it; here are abbreviated extracts from what an international body located in Geneva, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with no particular axe to grind on behalf of CJ Shirani Bandaranayke, stated on 18 January. 

“The removal of the Chief Justice through a flawed process is gross interference in the independence of the judiciary and a calamitous setback for the rule of law in Sri Lanka. Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayke was served notice of her dismissal and removed from her chambers and official residence on 15 January, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling that the parliamentary procedure to remove her violated the Constitution. Sri Lanka has a long history of abuse of executive power, and this latest step appears to strip away one of the last and most fundamental of the independent checks and balances." 

The jurist sworn in by the President as the new Chief Justice on 15 January, the former Attorney-General and Legal Advisor to the Cabinet, Mr. Mohan Peiris, has been at the forefront of a number of government delegations to Geneva in recent years to vigorously defend the Sri Lankan government’s position before the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms. This raises obvious concerns about his independence and impartiality, especially when handling allegations of serious human rights violations by the authorities. 

Just this morning we have received alarming reports from the Independent Bar of Sri Lanka of a series of death threats, acts of intimidation and even a couple of reported murder attempts against lawyers who have been supporting Chief Justice Bandaranayke, and the rulings of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal on her case”. END QUOTE. 

The Jihadist Eruption in Africa

The Wall Street Journal
Shiraz Maher 
January 17, 2013 

The hostage crisis that broke out on Wednesday in Algeria—where more than 40 Westerners were taken captive at a gas plant by al Qaeda fighters—ostensibly has its roots in Mali, Algeria's neighbor to the southwest. The hostage-takers claim that they acted in response to France's intervention last week in Mali to combat gains by a jihadist insurrection. But the story actually begins in Libya, where unintended consequences of the Arab Spring are now roiling North Africa and West Africa. When NATO forces decided to support the Libyan rebellion against Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, they could scarcely have predicted the impact of their involvement on the region's labyrinth of competing ethnic and confessional interests. 

Gadhafi had long drawn mercenaries from among the Tuareg, a nomadic ethnic group known as the Kurds of Africa because they are spread across five countries without a state of their own. In the early 2000s, Gadhafi began offering his Tuareg mercenaries privileges, including residency permits. When the Arab Spring spread from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya two years ago, and as his own regular forces began to defect, Gadhafi enlisted support from thousands of Tuareg fighters to suppress the rebellion. 

Gadhafi was killed in October 2011, but death failed to halt the malignant spread of his influence, which was already well known to his African neighbors. His Tuareg forces—armed, trained and on the receiving end of much hostility in post-revolutionary Libya—retreated to redoubts in Mali, bringing with them caches of sophisticated arms, including heavy weaponry and antiaircraft missiles. 

For decades, the Tuareg people have accused Mali's government of neglect, corruption and a failure to apply the rule of law. The influx of disaffected fighters from Libya revived their hopes of self-determination and culminated in October 2011 with the creation of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, known as the MNLA. Last spring, this militia overran several towns in northern Mali and declared independence. 

Although the MNLA's ascendancy highlighted the grievances of many northern Malians, the militia's success wasn't universally welcomed. Competing ethnic groups in the region, including the Songhai, Peuhl, Bella and Arabs, didn't necessarily want to be ruled by Tuaregs. 

Political expediency makes for strange bedfellows, particularly when exacerbated by the privations of war. Last spring, the MNLA—though secular and principally concerned with ethno-nationalist interests—tacitly joined forces with jihadists who operate across the Sahel, a band of semi-arid land that stretches across Africa along the southern Sahara. The MNLA's new Islamist allies included al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (though most of the fighting was done by Ansar Dine). Their goal: ensure that Malian government forces would be incapable of launching a revanchist campaign against the rebel-held north. 

The New Cold War in The Middle East

January 16, 2013

Because of its strategic location between the two twentieth-century centers of Arab power, Egypt and Iraq, Syria has been for many decades a bellwether of Arab politics, viewed widely in the region as the heartland of Arab nationalism. The fact that the first major pan-Arab nationalist party, the Baath, was established in Syria and the leading roleplayed by Syrian (including Lebanese) intellectuals and activists in making pan-Arab ideology popular contributed greatly to this perception. Moreover, whichever ideological or political trend emerged victorious in Syria came to dominate, more often than not, the Arab political scene. This was true in the 1950s and 1960s during the time of a "cold war" between “revolutionary” military regimes espousing the cause of Arab nationalism and conservative monarchies determined to hold on to their power and privilege. According to one analyst, today’s regional politics are showing signs of a new cold war, "and, once again, that broader conflict is manifesting itself in a struggle for Syria.” But this new cold war extends beyond the Arab world. Saudi Arabia is being challenged by non-Arab Iran. Also, the ideological lines of conflict are blurry. Arch-conservative Gulf monarchies, steadfastly opposed to democracy in their own countries, support democracy in Syria, along with non-Arab democratic Turkey. Meanwhile, the authoritarian Assad has the support of Iran, whose hybrid political system encompasses both clerical and representative institutions. 

Some argue that Iran’s role in the current regional cold war has introduced sectarian (Shia versus Sunni) as well ethnic (Persian versus Arab) divisions into the region. But Tehran supports Assad largely for strategic rather than sectarian (leave alone ethnic) reasons. Syria has been Iran’s only loyal Arab ally, even during the devastating Iran-Iraq War imposed on Iran by Iraq. All other Arab regimes, principally the Gulf monarchs newly flush with petrodollars, not only supported Iraq but largely financed Saddam’s war machine. Equally important, if not more so, is the fact that since the 1980s Syria has been the principal conduit for Iranian military and financial assistance to the Lebanese Hezbollah and, until recently, to Hamas. 

The relationship’s economic dimension also is important. Syria has become a crucial economic lifeline for Iran. As one analyst puts it [4], "As both countries become increasingly isolated from the international community their economic ties have become exceedingly more important.” These ties have included a $10 billion agreement signed just before the Syrian uprising began for the construction of a gas pipeline running though Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and reaching Europe via the Mediterranean. Additionally, Assad’s Syria is perceived by Iran as a part of the “resistance” front against Israel, one of Iran’s two primary regional antagonists — the other being Saudi Arabia. It is the authoritarian Sunni Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia and Jordan (and until recently in Egypt under Mubarak), that have fanned the fires of sectarian conflict by dubbing Iran’s support to Syria’s Alawite regime as sectarian and part of an Iranian effort to create a Shia crescent to dominate the Middle East. 


1.In swift retaliation against the French military intervention against Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadi terrorists in Northern Mali starting from January 11,2013, a group of pro-Al Qaeda terrorists, reportedly headed by Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri of Niger, raided on January 16 a huge gas production complex employing many foreign experts located at In Amenas at Tigantourine, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the town of In Amenas and 1,300km (800 miles) south-east of Algiers, occupied the plant, mined it and took hostage the Algerian and foreign workers. 

2.The gas facility, which is jointly owned by British Petroleum, Norway's Statoil and Algeria's state-owned oil company, employs hundreds of Algerians and 132 foreigners from France, the UK, the US, Norway, Austria, Romania, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines , Thailand and Colombia. 

3. The terrorists reportedly demanded an end to the French intervention in Mali and the release of some terrorists held in prison in Algeria. The Algerian authorities rejected their demands and raided the gas facility. After four-days of bloody confrontation, they managed to re-capture the plant on January 19,2013, after killing many of the terrorists, who before their death, are reported to have executed seven of the hostages taken by them. 

4.According to the Algerian authorities, at least 32 terrorists and 23 hostages died during the operation. Some foreign hostages are still unaccounted for.

5.The exercise of the hard option by the Algerian authorities of not bowing to the demands of the terrorists and taking military action against them has not been questioned by the Governments of the countries to which the hostages belonged. 

6. The French have been strongly supportive of the Algerian action despite the loss of many foreign lives. French President Francois Hollande defended the Algerian response to the crisis as being "the most suitable". He told the media: "When you have people taken hostage in such large numbers by terrorists with such cold determination and ready to kill those hostages - as they did - Algeria has an approach which to me, as I see it, is the most appropriate because there could be no negotiation." 

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
Kenneth Katzman. Congressional Research Service

 Terrorist Networks in Pakistan and the Proliferation of IEDs
Hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs

The China-Pakistan Alliance: Rhetoric and Limitations
Rosheen Kabraji. Chatham House

Modern Warfare is a Thinking Officer’s Game: Why the U.S. Military Needs More Leaders with Technical Educations

January 21, 2013 

As a student in Command and General Staff Officers’ School (formerly called ILE), I have experienced that much discussion revolves around the future of wars and the need for officers who can think critically. I strongly support this notion, but with a different perspective than a lot of the mainstream thinkers. As an officer who has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, I see the value my personal education has on my ability to perform daily. While there is an added emphasis on continuing education for officers in recent years, I think we institutionally miss the mark in that many of the degrees the Army encourages officers to focus on are in “soft science” and humanities topics like leadership, international relations, social science, and management. While these degrees are fine, I think that all branches of the Army would benefit greatly from more officers with technical education in engineering and mathematics, or “hard science.” The basic reason for this, which I will explain in greater detail below, is that hard science is about problem solving, and solving challenging problems is what the Army is often tasked to do in modern wars. 

Though there are still vocal opponents of the need to provide Army officers with added academic education throughout their careers, the challenge of the last decade of war has mostly silenced such critics. The notion that war is a thinking soldier’s game is absolutely true, and from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down, support for smart combat leaders is quite clear. However, I think we put too much emphasis on soft science and humanities type degrees. 

Certainly a solid officer corps needs leaders with diverse educational backgrounds, but the fact is that international relations experts are not necessarily good at solving military problems. Having just completed an assignment teaching Mechanical Engineering at West Point, I heard regularly the propaganda that Social Science and Leadership officers vigorously promoted, centered on the notion that on today’s battlefield, these are the skills an ambitious officer should focus on. I could not disagree more with this. My personal field is dedicated to the study of solving complex problems. Yes, many of them are math based, but not all of them. I argue that if an officer can break down and solve a complicated engineering problem, there is nothing preventing them from using the same analysis methodology to dissect and understand a complicated tribal/political problem in Iraq or Afghanistan just as successfully. 

On a very personal level, I saw the value of my technical education from the very start of my career. As a new tank platoon leader, I valued the fact that I truly understood how my tanks functioned. I had studied the engine and transmission in detail in the classroom, and had an entire semester long course on ballistic design related to how the main gun and machine guns work. When there were mechanical problems with my tanks, I often helped the mechanics solve them, helping keep the readiness rate as high as possible. My Soldiers noticed these skills as well, and it really made them see me as a stronger leader and subject matter expert much more quickly than I expected. The same was true when I was a Bradley scout platoon leader. These skills are also the reason I spend more than a year as a cavalry troop XO, including staying in place for deployment to OIF 1 at the request of my troop commander. 

The value of technical education is not solely in mundane maintenance tasks either. In Iraq, the fact that as an engineer I have a very solid grasp of how power grids and piping networks function as well as proper construction methods for infrastructure paid huge dividends. I was assigned as the Squadron Civil Military Affairs officer because of the technical knowledge I brought to urban utility analysis and reconstruction efforts. In my second tour as a cavalry troop commander, I experienced similar benefits from my ability to work with and manage construction contractors. Also, in planning troop combat missions, I often approached the process using the basics of the standard engineering problem solving process, which was very successful. 

Veneration of a fallen enemy: A Missionary View

Issue Net Edition

Date : 21 Jan , 2013 

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. 

Professional soldiers mutilate none, dead or alive, enemy or friend. Indeed, a martyred enemy is an object of sombre empathy and deep veneration. Pakistan Army soldiers – most of them – are highly professional and share the pristine military ethos with their Indian counterparts, as indeed that is so with the soldiers the world over. A more practical reason to uphold an impeccably honourable code of conduct lies in the eternal understanding that a warrior, if bereft of sublime moral fibre, will invariably be found to be cowardly in face of danger or death. 

Gentlemanly conduct therefore is intrinsic to the profession of arms, and the military fraternity across all frontiers finds its breach to be abhorrent, despicable, indeed, downright unacceptable. 

Meek capitulation of the Pakistan Army in 1971 after having sullied their calling in what was then East Pakistan, is the closest example of that eternal truth; that was experienced first hand by many of us. Gentlemanly conduct therefore is intrinsic to the profession of arms, and the military fraternity across all frontiers finds its breach to be abhorrent, despicable, indeed, downright unacceptable. Obviously therefore, the recent incident of decapitating a martyred Indian soldier to take the head back as a ‘trophy’, has raised widespread indignation in India – and surely even among the sensible in Pakistan. Consequently, as the stale farce of Pakistan’s show of indignant innocence is played out, Indo-Pak relations have touched another low. 

Motivated Barbarism 

Much analysis of the growing incidents of cease-fire violations in general, and this barbaric act in particular, has followed. Ramifications of this act on management of the Line of Control (LoC), growth of military-terrorist coalition in Pakistan and the situation in Afghanistan have been debated. Highly regarded analysts have expressed a range of opinions on these aspects. The observations range from the incident being attributable to Pakistani Army’s nexus with that despicable mutant – Hafeez Sayeed – and frustration in its failure to push terrorists across under the cover of cease fire violations, to the likelihood of playing out this episode to divert public attention from the bloody mess in Pakistan and to save the Pakistan Army from estrangement with the polity. 

The IAF at 79: The Challenges Ahead

SU-30 MK-1 Formation 

As the IAF strives to confront many challenges, it rightly means to transform itself into a capability-based force, rather than an adversary-centric one. In future, the service may have a critical role to play especially in situations demanding rapid response. The IAF’s focus is also shifting from the tactical to the strategic — a process that needs to be accelerated. Apart from combat aircraft, force multipliers such as AWACS, FRA, electronic warfare systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and space-based systems will greatly help. While aiming to “effectively respond to any attempt at undermining India’s national security,” as the CAS put it, will the IAF be able to not only mount a sturdy defence but also to take the fight to the enemy’s heartland? 
The overhaul of airborne platforms will be accompanied by a total revamp of the entire Air Defence system. 


In its long history, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has witnessed many periods of lull and lively spells, even some of major transformation. As on date, the service seems poised for a complete transformation. Addressing the IAF Commanders’ Conference in October 2011, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) said, “The IAF is witnessing an unprecedented phase of modernisation and capability enhancement and can effectively respond to any attempt at undermining India’s national security. The transformational change can be witnessed across the capability spectrum that includes not only combat platforms but also induction of force multipliers and air mobility platforms to provide strategic reach and operational flexibility.” 

Unprecedented is apt because the last time the IAF fleet was significantly overhauled was between 1979 and 1989 when combat aircraft such as the Jaguar, MiG-23 , MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Mirage-2000, transport aircraft such as the An-32 and Il-76 and helicopters such as the Mi-25/35 and Mi-26 were inducted. The Mi-17 fleet was also augmented through fresh inductions. The only other key procurement since then was the Su-30MKI in 1996. 

Pakistan: The Curious Case of Tahir-ul-Qadri

Pakistan - Articles 
21 January 2013 
Rana Banerji

The signing of a resolution with Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri on 17 January 2013 defused a dangerous political impasse brought about after the ‘Long March’ from Lahore to Islamabad and the follow up three-day sit-in with a huge following. Earlier, Qadri had announced an ambitious agenda from the Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore to cleanse the polity through electoral reforms and fresh elections under neutral Caretakers not bound by any time limit.

Who is Qadri?

In October 1981, Qadri formed the Minhaj-ul-Quran, a Hanafi Sufi Qadiriya Islamic foundation, inspired by the Saint Tahir Allauddin. It preaches a moderate version of Sufi Islam and has several international branches supporting inter-faith dialogue.

Qadri briefly flirted with politics forming a political party called Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) in 1989; but he functioned as an MNA only briefly under the then President Musharraf’s 2002 National Assembly Elections resigning mid-way through his term in November 2004. He left for Canada and took up citizenship there.

Qadri: A Conspiracy?

The manner of Qadri’s arrival, rumours of a red carpet escort from Chaklala Airport and the alacrity with which traditional political lackeys of the Military Establishment- the Pakistan Muslim League (PML Quaid-e-Azam) and the Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM)- made common cause with his demands initially, led to justifiable speculation that Qadri had been put to this agenda by the omnipresent ‘Deep State’, to prevent any collusion between the People’s Party and PML (Nawaz) in establishing a Caretaker Government and holding elections.

Not to be left behind and feeling pressure that Qadri might steal his thunder especially in Punjab, Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, threatened to level up to him with a ‘long march’ of his own. He announced a ‘seven point’ charter of demands which included the immediate announcement of the date of elections, formation of Caretakers without ‘mukmuka’ (collusion) between the two major parties- PPP and PML (N). Interestingly, he also wanted Asif Zardari to resign as President, on grounds of not being neutral and continuing to hold on to the dual hat of Head of State and PPP Party President, despite an adverse Lahore High Court verdict. However, he later changed his mind about joining the march after his supporters suggested this might be interpreted as a move to destabilise the democratic process at the Army’s behest. In effect, Imran would have fallen between two stools.

China's recent expansion of the maritime agencies

January 20, 2013

One of the things that I've been really focusing on in the past few months is the recent dramatic expansion of China's civilian maritime force. Much of this is caused by the border disputes with Japan, Vietnam and Phillipines. I think another part of this is the Chinese government supporting its domestic shipbuilding industry during the recent downturn in the global shipbuilding market. Before we start, here is a refresher course on what each of the agencies are about.

First, let us focusing on the expansion of CMS (Chinese Maritime Surveillance), which is beneficiary of the majority of the new cutters. From 2008 to 2011, CMS received 11 new large cutters with one of 3000+ ton class (Haijian-84), two of 1500+ ton class (84, 15) and 4 of 1000+ ton class (75、23、66、26). After that, we received the news 36 new cutters of 600 to 1500 ton for provincial CMS. Table below shows which provinces are getting them and where the cutters are built at and for how much.

Looking at this list, you can see that HP and WC are building the large cutters of 1000+ and 1500+ class, whereas the smaller cutters of 600 ton class are being built by less known shipyards like Guijiang, Huanghai, Tianjin, Xijiang, Chongqing, Nanhuang and Fuman. It's interesting that so many of the not well known smaller shipyards are involved in the process. Out of these, only Guijiang and possible Xijiang+Tianjin have really built cutters or auxiliary ships for PLAN. The cost of the cutters range from 53 million RMB ($8.5 million) for a 600 ton cutter at a smaller shipyard to 126 million RMB ($20 million) for a 1500 ton cutter at HP shipyard. Cost also varied based on the number of cutters that province has on order with the particular shipyard. Looks like each provincial CMS held some kind of RFP by itself.

Militants Threaten to Return to Central Asia after NATO’s Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 6 
January 14, 2013

Jund al-Khilafah (Source: kavkazcenter.com) 

On December 4, 2012, the deputy chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee, Kabdulkarim Abdikazymov, said to the press that Jund al-Khilafa was a “real threat” to Kazakhstan’s national security (Tengrinews, December 4, 2012). Similarly, on November 26, 2012, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security of Kyrgyzstan, Tokon Mamytov, warned that “there might be danger of an incursion from Afghanistan into Kyrgyzstan in 2013 or 2014” (Kyrtag.kg, November 26, 2012). Abdikazymov and Mamytov’s statements reflect concerns in Central Asia about “foreign fighters” currently in Afghanistan returning to their home countries after the planned US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2013. 

The last time a world power withdrew from Afghanistan—the Soviet Union in 1988—many foreign fighters from Southeast Asia returned to their home countries and used the financial and logistical networks and skills acquired in the war-torn country to form terrorist groups, such as Kumpulan Mujahidin in Malaysia, Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines. The question now is whether the several thousand Central Asians in Afghanistan present a “real threat” to their home countries, as Abdikazymov suggests, or whether the threat is only perceived. A review of three Central Asian militant groups based in Afghanistan—Jund al-Khilafah, which targets Kazakhstan, the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which targets Xinjiang, China, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)—shows that Central Asian fighters do not yet appear to be returning to their homelands. But history, as well as these groups’ intent, suggests that the threat of their eventual return to their home countries—whenever it may be—is real.

Jund al-Khilafah is based in the North Caucasus and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, and it carried out three separate attacks in Atyrau, Taraz and Almaty in late 2011 (Tengrinews, September 28, 2012). As evidenced by slain Tunisian-born Jund al-Khilafah amir Moez Garsallaoui’s connections to Mohammed Merah, who killed three Jews and four French paratroopers in southwest France in March 2012, Jund al-Khilafah also has international operational capabilities. There are an estimated 200 to 300 Kazakhstani militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, many of whom have financial relationships with Jund al-Khilafah supporters in Kazakhstan (September 9, 2011). This became apparent with the sentencing of Aidos Kusanov on October 8, 2012, who transferred 380,000 tenge (approximately $2,500) to Jund al-Khilafah in Pakistan through the Aqtobe-based militant group Ansar al-Din. Ansar al-Din has not claimed any attacks in Kazakhstan, but has issued numerous video statements condemning the Kazakhstani government on jihadist websites, such as hunafa.com and Kavkaz Center, and seeks to “establish links of material support” to “assist the families of the mujahideen,” according to its own propaganda (http://hunafa.com/?p=3839). 

AT THE LINE OF CONTROL - India should have a firm approach towards Pakistan

By S.L. Rao
21 Jan 2013

An Indian army soldier near the LoC 

Recent cross-border shootings on the line of control between India and Pakistan raise curious questions about country strategies and their timing. In 2014, the United States of America will downsize if not withdraw troops from Afghanistan; the year will also see the general elections in India that the ruling United Progressive Alliance has so far done everything to ensure losing — which would be after the elections have possibly taken place in Pakistan in 2013. 

What could Pakistan have sought to achieve by cross-border firings with killings and mutilation of Indian soldiers? Is it aiming to force India to dedicate more troops to the Pakistan border and reduce its flexibility of action in Afghanistan? Pakistan had developed nuclear weapons to deter India from military action in Pakistan. ‘Guerilla’ war was the preferred strategy intended to destabilize India, foment communal disharmony, and tie down Indian forces and funds. Is Pakistan repeating the same strategy to curry favour with voters and win the forthcoming elections? 

Pakistan, by its genocide in erstwhile East Pakistan, invited India’s intervention when around 20 million refugees crossed over to India. Bangladesh was a consequence. Surely, Pakistan would not again wage formal war with India. Instead, Pakistan’s State policy was (as Zia-ul-Haq put it), to “beg, borrow or steal” nuclear technology and develop nuclear weapons. 

The Kargil invasion by Pakistan was an aberration by Pervez Musharraf. He dubbed the invaders militants. Pakistan even refused to accept its dead soldiers’ bodies. In Kargil, Pakistan did not take account of India’s determination, its willingness to expend the maximum resources of people and weapons to defeat the invaders, and the will of the international community. Having lost all its wars with India, Pakistan cannot be intending the present conflict along the LoC to enlarge into anything more. 

The death of the reporter

January 21, 2013
Sandeep Bhushan 

In the television newsroom, the promoter’s fancies and political preferences have taken precedence over editorial judgement 

130121 -Lead - News Inc., and the death of the messenger 

The Zee “extortion” case in which the news network is alleged to have demanded Rs.100 crore in return for rolling back its campaign against steel tycoon Navin Jindal’s “misdemeanours” in coal block allocations (for the family owned Jindal Steel & Power Limited or JSPL), is a deeply layered story that deserves a closer look than has been provided by mainstream media. 

Were Sudhir Choudhary and Samir Ahluwalia, the two editors caught on camera allegedly “extorting” money doing so at the owners’ behest? Why did they have a near five-minute-long conversation with Zee owners soon after meeting officials of the JSPL, as claimed by the Delhi Police? Of course the matter is before the courts and it would be unfair to rush to any judgement. 

But the alleged scam points to a much larger story — the growing intervention of owners/promoters in determining the news content in TV broadcast news networks. The alleged “extortion” story vividly illustrates how TV broadcast networks function and where journalists stand today in the larger context of business consolidation and unrelieved financial crisis in the media. In many ways this is a landmark “story” in the history of the Indian media, especially TV broadcast journalism. 

Those who, like the present writer, have spent long years “reporting” politics in news networks are painfully aware of the growing micromanagement of news gathering operations by promoters. To be sure, this phenomenon is not new. The First and the Second Press Commissions (1954, 1982) had underlined the “power of the holder of a monopoly to influence his public in any way he chooses” and had called for proper controls. Robin Jeffrey, the celebrated chronicler of India’s print capitalism, was told by journalists of the Eenadu group who had been “directed” to back N.T. Rama Rao, that they were doing so “to protect our salaries.” 

The Radia tapes 

In television, the crisis has exacerbated ever since the global meltdown in 2008. The first evidence of it came in the wake of the Radia tapes. At least one of the stories which did not receive the kind of traction it deserved was the startling story of how Niira Radia, representing diverse business interests, served as “conduit” for the salaries of employees working in a particular news broadcast organisation. 

India to ramp up surveillance along LoC

Human intelligence to play a bigger role backed with top-line equipment

By Ajay Banerjee
20 Jan 2013

Almost two weeks after tensions escalated along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, India will ramp up its surveillance network by adding more gadgetry and by having more robust human intelligence network that will provide timely information on any such development on the Pakistani side along the LoC. 

At present, the Indian Army stationed along the LoC uses thermal imagers and long-range reconnaissance and observation system (LOROSS) to see movements across and also along the LoC. This is backed by other method of 'listening' radio waves of telephone networks and enemy radio systems. These equipments have terrain and weather related handicaps. 

Having a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that is capable of seeing through clouds, tree foliage and fog is an option but it would cost hundred of crores to have such radars all along the 724-km-long LoC that runs along some of the most inhospitable, dangerous, icy and rugged mountain terrain. 

At present India has one satellite RISAT-I that has SAR capabilities but that cannot beam pictures 24x7 of the entire LoC. A new set of sensors that have night capabilities could be tried out. The other option is SAR-capable unmanned ariel vehicles (UAVs) but that would again mean constant ground monitoring and flying. 

A final plan will be drawn up soon, immediately some steps have been taken to have aggressive patrolling. 

Manmohan’s message to Pakistan, ‘don’t mess with us’

Raj Chengappa 
21 Jan 2013
The Prime Minister took a calculated risk of raising the stakes with Pakistan because in any case India expects no progress in its relations with its neighbour till the general elections are over this summer.

As the heat over the LoC incident in Jammu and Kashmir begins to cool down with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid saying he is willing to consider the offer of Hina Rabbani Khar, his Pakistan counterpart, for a dialogue on the subject, it’s a good time to take stock of whether India’s response was adequate and appropriate. 

While initially the Manmohan Singh government exercised caution in its response, the Prime Minister upped the ante apparently when faced with strident criticism for his “weak” action from Opposition parties, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader in the Lok Sabha, while conveying her condolences to the parents of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, whose body was found decapitated at the LoC, demanded, “We should take revenge. Today the country is demanding that we should not be proved a weak government… If we do not get his head we should get 10 of theirs (Pakistan soldiers).” 

BJP President Nitin Gadkari even demanded that India take up the matter with the UN, forgetting that this was precisely what Pakistan wants, which is to internationalise the border issue again. In fact, the Pakistan government’s first demand was that the incident be referred to the almost defunct UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which India turned down.

Reaching out: Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh and his wife with the family of Lance Naik Hemraj, killed by Pakistani infiltrators at the LoC. — PTI 

Realising that the situation was getting out of hand, Manmohan Singh undertook a series of damage control measures. He dispatched National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to brief the BJP leaders about the incident. Then the Army Chief, General Bikram Singh, used his Army Day press conference to talk tough to Pakistan on the border, stating, “My directions are clear, I expect my commanders to be aggressive and offensive on the LoC.” 

‘Right messages’ went from Indian Army

Author: Ajey Lele | Research Fellow, IDSA
19 Jan 2013

…but the larger picture should not be lost sight of. There are elements in Pakistan who set one trap after another for India and our government is mindful of their games. A few threats apart, the peace process will continue 

India-Pakistan relations have come under severe stress over the past week after Pakistani troops crossed the LoC (line of control) and killed two Indian soldiers. Unfortunately, the New Year has begun with outbreak of violence in Kashmir since India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire nearly a decade ago. The situation has deteriorated further because the bodies of Indian soldiers have been found mutilated and a “barbaric” beheading of one the Indian soldier has taken place. After this incident there has been a huge outcry in the country. In a tough message to Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan any more. 

Tension along the LoC has been building since the firing and the death of the Pakistani solider on January 6. It all started few months back with the two sides exchanging sporadic firing. The beheading of the Indian solider has further complicated the issue. 

In order to narrow down the differences, a Brigade-level flag meeting between Indian and Pakistani authorities at Chakan-da-Bagh near the LoC in Poonch was held on January 14, but nothing much was achieved. There are ceasefire violations along the LoC. The need of the hour is to make efforts to defuse the situation as fast as possible. The two nuclear neighbours have already fought three and half wars in the past and there is no need to aggravate the situation now. 

The Indian military leadership has given the right messages after the “warming” of LoC. They have made is clear that they are ready for any eventuality and are prepared with multiple options. 

In short, they have mentioned that they know what their job is and how to do it. At the same it has been made clear that they would maintain the ‘sanctity’ of the LoC. Unfortunately, in certain other quarters there appears to be a lack of responsibility while addressing this issue. 

The Naxalite menace

Need to prepare an action plan

By Lt-Gen Kamal Davar (retd) 

Among the serious internal challenges before India today is the Naxal-Maoist threat, commonly dubbed as Left wing extremism (LWE). Alluded to publicly as being the most serious internal security challenge by the Prime Minister on more than one occasion, this threat currently spans nearly 170 districts spread over 16 states with a wide swathe running in the centre of the Indian hinterland from the Nepal-Bihar border to the Karnataka and Kerala borders in a south-west orientation, referred to as “The Red Corridor”. 

That some areas within this corridor are bereft of any governmental presence and control, referred to as “liberated zones” by these militants, should be a cause for serious concern to the governments both at the national and state levels. That this serious challenge to India’s security has cross-border linkages compounds the already serious ramifications of LWE in India. 

Growing from a small movement in 1967 in the remote village of Naxalbari in West Bengal, led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Charu Mazumdar, initially to primarily address local problems of landless, small farmers and farm labour from rapacious landlords, the movement has gradually developed into a malignant cancer engulfing, in varying intensity, nearly one-third of India. At least 48 districts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal have been seriously affected. The recent arrest of a leading Maoist leader, Kishenji, from Guwahati displays the growing spread of LWE to even Assam.

LWE embracing Naxal, Maoist, CPI(ML) and People’s War Group cadres have now grown to a widely dispersed yet interlinked, vehemently anti-democratic and a gruesomely violent movement which aims at the overthrow of democratically elected governments and all state institutions across the country. By conservative estimates, this movement has nearly 50,000 highly motivated armed cadres, many well-trained in the use of improvised explosive devices and landmines, and are equipped with sophisticated smuggled small automatic weaponry from China. The LWE hierarchy has a budget, based on an extortion economy of over Rs 1500 crore, to propel their violent struggles against the Indian state. That in the “Red Corridor”, even newly well-equipped police detachments trained to combat LWE have suffered large casualties, is nothing very surprising. Over 11,000 civilian and police fatalities have resulted in the last five years owing to LWE violence. The Dantewada massacre in April 2010 in Chhattisgarh, which resulted in 76 casualties to security personnel, is a classic case of the reach of the militants and the lack of operational preparedness of our counter-insurgency police forces. 

Is nuclear capability being used as a safety net?

20 January 2013

Ever since India and Pakistan confirmed, in 1998, what the world knew, that they were both nuclear weapon powers, there has been a paradoxical calm in the background each time the foreground has lit up with fireworks on their hot-and-cold frontier. This stems from an ingrained conviction that since full-scale war has become too dangerous neither country will tempt fate beyond manageable provocations. 

The evidence since Hiroshima deserves a thought or two. Nuclear power has not prevented conventional wars from changing the destiny of nations and shape of maps. Atomic bombs sat idly in megapower arsenals while war crawled to victory or defeat through its independent quagmires. Nuclear weapons have only established a contradiction: they are too powerful to be potent. 

Just five years after Hiroshima, Korea went to war with itself, and America's nuclear domination could not ensure victory for its troops or prevent bifurcation of Korea. France tested its bomb, ironically, in the Algeria Sahara on 13 February 1960. It was four times as powerful as that which flattened Hiroshima, but it made no difference in colonialism's bloodiest war: Algeria defeated France and became independent on 5 July 1962. Nuclear might did not prevent America humiliation in Vietnam or a Soviet catastrophe in Afghanistan . Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands despite Britain's nuclear missiles. In 1973, Egypt and Syria were aware that Israel had the ultimate weapons of mass destruction, but went ahead with the Yom Kippur offensive. The Pakistan army attempted its daring gambit in Kargil after the nuclear race with India had been well and truly launched. 

In fact, our subcontinent induces a perverse question: has the reassurance of nuclear capability become an encouragement for military mischief? Now that it is certain that there cannot be another 1971, when defeat split Pakistan, does this tempt the more radical or ultra elements in Pakistan , within and outside the army, to test the limits of conventional conflict? 

Such questions become acute at a time of disarray in Islamabad, such as now. Events have unhinged the principal verticals of the Pakistan establishment — an elected executive, the self-perpetuating armed forces and judiciary — from any common mooring. 

The Indian Spring

Published: January 17 

Americans dismayed by politics in Washington might find something familiar in what’s happening in India. Here, frustration with government has turned into rage. Last month’s gruesome gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman brought tens of thousands onto the streets. And while the protests have subsided, the anger is still palpable and media attention continues to highlight the problem of violence against women. More than a year ago, millions joined in nationwide protests against corruption. “The Indian people are the best in the world,” Arvind Kejriwal, one of the chief organizers of the anti-corruption crusade, told me. “But they have the worst governance, the worst politics.” In fact, the protests and rage are signs of India’s development.

In the past, mass agitations in India have been about religious nationalism or caste identity, or they have been demands for preferential treatment from the government. The more recent protests have a different character: They ask the government to perform its basic duties. Women are not seeking government spending on female empowerment programs. They are demanding that the police and courts function properly so that rape can be prosecuted in the manner required by law. 

This is all a consequence of the biggest trend coursing through India right now: the rise of a middle class. The people joining in these protests are drawn largely from cities and towns. In the past, they have tended to think of themselves as a small group, politically irrelevant in a rural nation and thus apolitical. Their usual response to India’s problems has been to expect little of government and to find private-sector solutions, from security guards to schools.

In the United States, most of the country considers itself middle class, and politicians pander to that vast group in every speech and policy proposal. In India, politicians have generally pandered to the villager, a view reinforced by popular culture. Village life in traditional Bollywood movies has been portrayed as simple and virtuous. Cities were centers of crime and conflict and housed a small, insular, educated elite that could fend for itself. 

But the past 20 years of economic growth has changed India. Such change has been apparent in economic terms, and now change is becoming apparent politically. By some measures, the Indian middle class is now more than 250 million strong, and 35 percent of the population of 1.2 billion lives in urban areas. These numbers are growing fast. This large and now-awakened middle class has an agenda — good governance — and is beginning to push that to the center of political life. If this becomes India’s new governing agenda, the country will finally get the governance it deserves. 

Fragile ceasefire, faltering rupee

Jan 21 2013

For Lal Bahadur Shastri, the last three months of 1965 required fire-fighting both at home and abroad 

AFTER protracted and painful negotiations, the India-Pakistan ceasefire in the 1965 war came into effect in the wee hours of September 23. But its beginning was so bad as to discourage any hope that it would hold. Indeed, in his broadcast to the nation announcing the cessation of hostilities, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was constrained to remark: “Even after accepting the ceasefire, Pakistan had behaved in a most unworthy and atrocious manner by deliberately bombing the civilian population of Amritsar and by shooting down an unarmed plane carrying the Gujarat chief minister”. 

He also instructed the army chief, General J.N. Chaudhuri, that if the Pakistanis fired, violating the ceasefire, the Indian army should fire back. The instruction was timely, because Pakistan chose to start violating the ceasefire the very next day. The number of violations shot up so fast that on September 27, the UN Security Council found it necessary to hold an emergency meeting and pass a resolution demanding “that the parties urgently honour their commitments to the council to observe the ceasefire”. Pakistan was unimpressed, and three days later, its foreign minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto explained in London why. He declared that the India-Pakistan ceasefire was “tenuous” and that it “would remain tenuous unless the Kashmir problem was equitably settled”. 

Bhutto was in London, on his way back from New York where he had gone to address the UN General Assembly to rake up the Kashmir issue. He did not succeed in doing so, but had the satisfaction of delivering a long anti-India tirade. Thereafter, the dual process of ceasefire violations at home and the vilification of this country at the UN went on for months. The lowest depths were reached on October 26, when the Security Council met in response to Pakistan’s request to consider “the fast-deteriorating situation inside Jammu and Kashmir”. Disregarding the chair’s repeated directive to stick to the agenda, Bhutto used such foul and vicious language against India that the Indian delegation, led by the usually imperturbable foreign minister Swaran Singh, walked out of the Council’s meeting for the first and the last time. 

Needless to add that the dangerous fragility of the ceasefire and Pakistan’s constant attempts at the UN to besmirch India’s image over Kashmir remained one of Shastri’s principal worries during the last three months of the year. But it was not the only one. The PM was troubled even more by the state of the economy and the problem of food shortage he had been wrestling most of the time. To this had now been added a very delicate problem — that of the external value of the rupee — and it had to be grappled with.