26 February 2013

Indian rocket carrying seven satellites blasts off

By  Venkatachari Jagannathan
25 February 2013 

An Indian rocket carrying seven satellites - the Indo-French satellite SARAL, world's first smart phone-operated nano satellite, a space telescope satellite and four other foreign satellites - Monday blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, around 80 km north of Chennai. 

A little after 6 p.m., the rocket - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C20 (PSLV-C20) - standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 230 tonnes hurtled towards the skies ferrying seven satellites to sling into orbit. 

President Pranab Mukherjee and scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) rocket mission control room intently watched the rocket's progress towards the heavens, escaping the earth's gravitational pull with a one way ticket. 

ISRO officials are hoping that the agency's 101th space mission and also the first of the 10 planned for 2013 will turn out to be a grand success. 

The PSLV-C20 rocket is expected to deliver its main luggage - the 407-kg SARAL (Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA) and six other foreign satellites 794 km above the earth. 

The entire flight sequence - lift-off to the ejection of the seventh satellite - will take around 22 minutes. 

The successful launch of the satellites will take ISRO's tally of launching foreign satellites to 35. ISRO started putting into space third-party satellites for a fee in 1999 on its PSLV-C2 rocket. 

Since then India has been successful in launching medium-weight satellites for overseas agencies. Initially ISRO started carrying third-party satellites atop PSLv rockets as co-passengers of its own remote sensing/earth observation satellites. 

In 2007, ISRO for the first time launched an Italian satellite - Agile - as a standalone for a fee. 

Failing On Terror Yet Again

By Kanwal Sibal
26 Feb , 2013 

Hyderabad is bloodied again by terrorism, exposing once more our failure to marshal the political will, the legal instruments, the organizational structure and the required technical skills and manpower resources to combat this grave threat to the nation. 

…we have politicized the terrorism issue for electoral reasons so much that any corrective action will be interpreted with political bias… 

Admittedly, combating terrorism is extraordinarily difficult because a few individuals armed with rage, rudimentary bomb making techniques and the most ordinary means of “delivery” like tiffin boxes and bicycles can cause mayhem in crowded localities in our overpopulated and disorganized cities when they choose. 

More importantly, terrorism has a vast international dimension outside not only India’s control but also of countries more powerful, resourceful and determined to fight terrorism than us. At its centre is the sense of grievance nourished in Islamic circles against the enemies of Islam and the moral legitimacy accorded by religious texts as interpreted by them to the act of killing innocent people haphazardly as redressal. 


While it would be unrealistic to expect the government to provide total protection to the public against any possible terrorist attack, the people can legitimately expect credible and comprehensive steps to secure their lives against such deadly violence, without being necessarily able to emulate the US success in this regard. 

Pakistan Army’s Graveyard of Imperial Pretensions-Afghanistan

By Dr. Subhash Kapila 

The projected drawback of United States and NATO Forces in 2014 has once again rekindled Pakistan Army’s imperial pretensions over Afghanistan. Post-2014 scenarios being discussed in the strategic community paint dismal scenarios of Afghanistan re-emerging as a global and regional hotspot with destabilising spill-over effects all around. 

This phenomenon chiefly arises from Pakistan Army’s compulsive strategic obsession of enslavement of Afghanistan on the implausible plea that Pakistan needs ‘strategic depth’. 

Pakistani scholar, Syed Farooq Hasnat, a former head of the Middle East section of the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies, rightly observes in a recent work that Pakistan could have stayed out of events in Afghanistan both in 1978 and 2001 ‘with little strategic impact on its own society.’ His observations need verbatim reproduction in italics to drive home the point that Pakistan Army’s imperial pretensions lie now buried in Afghanistan. 

“The strategic requirements of Pakistan are a world apart from those of Afghanistan. It is true that events in Afghanistan had a bearing on upon Pakistan, at least twice in recent history in 1978 and then in 2001, but that was because of choice and the improvised policies of Islamabad. Otherwise, Pakistan could have stayed out of the events in Afghanistan with little strategic impact on its own society. The meddling in Afghan affairs had its negative repercussions, which not only involved the tribal areas of Pakistan but other parts of the country were radicalised, as well. It wreaked havoc upon the centuries-old liberal and accommodating Pakistan society by inducting alien cultures of bigotry, extremism, and fanaticism.” 

Rightly concluded above is the strategic reality that both in 1978 and in 2001, Pakistan was pushed into interventions in Afghanistan because the Pakistan Army’ own volitions, perceiving that by doing so it would achieve the upper hand in Afghanistan’s affairs courtesy serving as the strategic handmaiden of the United States to further US security interests. 

In both 1978 and 2001, the Pakistan Army was in power and control of Pakistan’s policy formulations. In both cases the Pakistan Army in collusive military collaboration with the United States made Afghanistan a battleground victimising the Afghan people for no complicity of their own. 

U.S., Pakistan seek breakthrough to thwart bomb makers

By Barbara Starr 
February 25th, 2013 

A cloud of dust rises from an Afghan road after US troops destroy an IED in their path. 

The United States and Pakistan will begin working together on a new fertilizer formula that could be a significant technological step to limit the ability of terror groups to make improvised explosives and car bombs using the ingredient. 

An agreement to try to make a product more inert was reached last week after Pakistani officials from Fatima Group, a major fertilizer manufacturer, met with Pentagon officials. 

"Such a long-term solution would be a true scientific breakthrough," Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the head of the Pentagon's Joint Improved Explosive Device Defeat Organization, said in a statement. 

Barbero met with Fatima representatives to urge them again to take steps to control fertilizer inventories. The meeting itself was a step forward since the Pakistani government previously had stopped the U.S. military from talking directly to the company.

Fatima Group is the Pakistani-based producer of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN). It was developed as a non-explosive alternative to ammonium nitrate, long a key ingredient in homemade bombs used widely in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. But it can be converted into an explosive mixture. 

Hundreds of American troops have been killed by improvised explosive devices containing the material. 

Pakistan and the United States will now work on a "reformulated" CAN product in hopes of reducing its effectiveness in homemade bombs. 


By Ashok Ganguly 
February 26 , 2013 

South Asia faces the dangers of terrorism and the challenges posed by a restless Afghanistan, writes Ashok Ganguly 

Malian soldiers fighting in Gao 
The recent announcement that France intends to ‘reoccupy’ Mali and the news of the attack by terrorists on an oil and gas complex in Algeria have reignited the spectre of an unrelenting drive by a diverse but well-organized and well-armed group of terrorists around the world. The Sahel is gradually becoming an exclusive territory providing a fertile launching pad and virtual ‘nationhood’ to a diverse group of terrorists flying the banner of jihad. 

France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain as well as some other European nations, which have experienced terrorist attacks, each has a sizeable immigrant population that, in spite of the best efforts of European countries, has resisted integration into the adopted country’s culture, language and ethos. These significant groups of underclass citizens are a source of deep disaffection, and a major threat to civil society. 

France’s rush to prevent Mali from being overrun by Islamist rebels is work in progress with an uncertain outcome. It is, however, an indication of the heightened alarm about terrorism in France, and may be a reflection of a Europe-wide apprehension. In this context, France’s intention to ‘reoccupy’ Mali may signal the 21st-century edition of the white man’s burden. 

The celebration of the ‘Arab Spring’, in retrospect, definitely appears to have been naïve and hugely premature, as indeed were the pursuit of victory and return of the rule of law in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, the world is confronted by the steady and unrelenting rise of terrorism, which has now become too big to ignore. The growing size and shape of global terrorism and its unintended consequences are indeed acquiring grotesque proportions, while the rest of the world stumbles towards a fearful and uncertain future. 

Cauterizing the wounds of 1971

February 26, 2013 

AP HEART OF THE MOVEMENT: ‘The movement at Shahbag is seeking to obtain what people feel is justice for the crimes committed, and also in terms of closing that chapter.’ 

For more than two weeks, the Shahbag area in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka has been the centre of an extraordinary protest, with tens of thousands converging there every day peacefully to demand that those convicted of 1971 war crimes must be given nothing less than the death sentence. In this interview with Nirupama Subramanian, Bangladeshi writer, columnist and development worker Farah Ghuznavi, who was in Chennai for The Hindu Lit for Life 2013, described the protests as a popular response to a national wound festering since 1971 that also mirrored present-day frustrations in the country, and said international concern about the shortcomings in the trial were “partially justified” but not of a scale that negated the outcome. The interview took place last week: 

What’s happening at Shahbag in Dhaka? 

I think you’re seeing a popular outpouring of frustration. It appears to be centred on one issue, but I think it’s wider than that. Essentially, we’ve been having the war crimes trials, which have been 40 years in the making. The first verdict was for someone who was sentenced in absentia to hanging; the second verdict was for somebody who is in the custody of the law enforcement authorities and the verdict was life imprisonment. And in response to that verdict, there was an outpouring of popular frustration which led to the throngs that you see in Shahbag. 

What’s the frustration about? He’s been convicted. 

The severity of the sentence. There was a feeling that if the previous verdict was death, the second case was at least as strong, and that it should have been given a similar verdict. Perhaps more importantly, there is a major concern that the [Jamaat-i-Islami] to which these two belong has previously been in an electoral alliance with [the Bangladesh Nationalist Party], and if that party comes to power in the next elections, there’s a chance that people [sentenced] to life imprisonment would not serve those sentences. 

But it’s also important to see what’s happening in Shahbag as a multifaceted protest. For the common man or woman in Bangladesh, there isn’t really a pressure valve to let off steam about various things that are not working. Shahbag for many people is a channel for actually being heard and making their presence felt. 

Sequestration’s Impact on America’s Military

By Harry Kazianis 
February 26, 2013 

The Diplomat's editor Harry Kazianis spoke with Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment Senior Fellow Mark Gunzinger concerning Sequestration and its possible effects on America's pivot to Asia. 

1. As Sequestration looms, America has made a commitment to "pivot" or "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific. One part of this is shifting military assets into the Pacific. In an era of greatly reduced resources, what impact will this have on the defense component of the pivot in terms of readiness and available manpower if forces are needed in a crisis (defense or non-defense related aka tsunami or earthquake etc.)? 

Major cuts to the defense budget will impact the U.S. military’s readiness to respond to crises in all geographic regions. The impact will be more significant if the Defense Department is forced to make uniform percentage reductions across its programs without regard to its strategic priorities, which is what the sequester will do unless Congress acts to modify the Budget Control Act of 2011. It is highly likely that sequestration could delay Asia-Pacific rebalancing initiatives that DoD might pursue. For example, funding may not be available to harden overseas military facilities to ballistic missile attacks, or establish new locations that U.S. forces could disperse to in the event of a crisis. It could also reduce exercises and training activities the U.S. military undertakes with our Pacific allies as part of an overall strategy to maintain regional stability. As for shifting more assets to the Asia-Pacific, a sequester will likely cause DoD to revisit its timing for doing so, especially if it results in significant cuts to the overall size of our nation’s air and naval forces. 

How will India respond to civil war in Pakistan?

by Sunil Dasgupta, UMBC and Brookings Institution
February 25th, 2013 

In 1971, India intervened militarily on behalf of Bengalis in the civil war in East Pakistan, dividing the country in two and helping to create Bangladesh. 

In 2013, prospects of another civil war in Pakistan — this time one that pits radical Islamists against the secular but authoritarian military — have led once again to questions about what India would do. What would trigger Indian intervention, and who would India support? 

In the context of a civil war between Islamists and the army in Pakistan, it is hard to imagine Pakistani refugees streaming into India and triggering intervention as the Bengalis did in 1971. Muslim Pakistanis do not see India as a refuge, and Taliban fighters are likely to seek refuge in Afghanistan, especially if the United States leaves the region. 

A more selective spillover, such as the increased threat of terrorism, is possible. But a civil war inside Pakistan is more likely to train radical attention on Pakistan itself than on India. 

In fact, the real problem for India would be in Afghanistan. India has already staked a claim in the Afghan endgame, so if Islamists seek an alliance with an Afghan government favoured by India, New Delhi’s best option might be to side covertly with the Islamists against the Pakistani army. But this is unlikely, because for India to actually side with Islamists, US policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan would have to change dramatically. 

Conversely, for India to back the Pakistani army over the Islamists, Indian leaders would need to see a full and verifiable settlement of all bilateral disputes with India, including Kashmir, and/or the imminent fall of Pakistani nuclear weapons into the hands of Islamists. 

In the first case, a Kashmir resolution is not only unrealistic, but also likely to weaken the legitimacy of the Pakistani army itself, jeopardising the army’s prospects in the civil war. In the second case, Indian leaders would need to have independent (non-US/UK) intelligence, or alternatively see US action (such as a military raid on Pakistani nuclear facilities) that convinces them that nuclear weapons are about to pass into terrorist hands. Neither of those triggers is likely to exist in the near future. 

*The Case for Land Reform in India

By Tim Hanstad
February 19, 2013

Rooting out poverty is difficult. In the case of India, however, addressing landlessness has already improved the lives of millions and sparked inclusive and sustainable economic growth. 

TIM HANSTAD is CEO of Landesa, an international organization that partners with governments to help secure land rights for the poor. 

Three new books look at poverty from the bottom up, painting a vivid portrait of the lives poor people live. In focusing on individual behavior, however, the books neglect a crucial political question: how to get governments to improve the situation. 

A farmer works in a cabbage field in Tripura, India. (Jayanta Dey / Courtesy Reuters) 

The most powerful predictor of poverty in India is surprising. It isn't caste. And it isn't illiteracy. It is landlessness. More than 20 million poor rural families across India own no land, and millions more lack legal rights to the land they work and live on. Landlessness contributes to many of the social ills associated with poverty: malnutrition, illiteracy, conflict, child marriage, and women's disenfranchisement. It thus casts a shadow over the prospects of both individual families and the nation. 

So who are the landless? For the most part, India's rural landless are day laborers and tenant farmers. Demographically, the landless population spans ethnic groups, age, and geographic location. The rural landless work for a variety of employers, from individual landlords to large corporate farms, and usually have no way to escape grinding poverty. Neither do their children: rootless families often migrate with the seasons, keeping their children out of school and in the fields to supplement family income. 

A second landless group, farmers who tend and live on small plots of land that they do not officially own, is no better off. Studies show that there are tens of millions such farmers who lack legal ownership of their plots. Many of India's tribal communities, for example, have worked on the same farmland for decades but lack a secure title. Accordingly, many of them are hesitant to make long-term investments in their land. Costly projects, such as planting trees or building a well, a greenhouse, or a permanent residence, are unthinkable because these farmers cannot be sure they will be around to reap the benefits. Such farmers are doubly challenged. Without a legal title, they often cannot obtain government credit or enroll in poverty alleviation or agricultural extension programs -- state initiatives that are meant to help them. 

Island Nations Play China, India

By Harsh V. Pant
9 January 2013

China’s new ties with Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka sink India’s influence over Indian Ocean

LONDON: A quiet Chinese challenge to India’s pre-eminence in South Asia through diplomatic and aid effort has now been extended to small island nations dotting the Indian Ocean. While China, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations fight over specks of islands and reefs in East and South China Sea, mainly because of undersea resources, islands in the Indian Ocean are emerging as a new focus for struggle. The latest hotly contested arena: Maldives, a chain of 26 islands about 1000 kilometers due south from India. With just 320,000 nationals, Maldives has assumed a disproportionately large profile primarily because of its geopolitical position astride strategic sea lines of communication and China’s attempt to win influence. 

The rivalry was brought to light when Maldives canceled a lucrative contract granted to Indian and Malaysia companies amid speculation that a Chinese company was behind the move, although the reality could be more prosaic. In November, the Maldivian government unilaterally terminated an agreement with India’s GMR Infrastructure, Ltd., and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad to operate and modernize Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male, citing irregularities in the award of the $511 million contract. 

The two firms were jointly awarded the 25-year contract in 2010. The largest Indian foreign direct investment in Maldives had huge symbolic importance for India’s profile in the atoll nation. GMR took the battle all the way to the Singapore Supreme Court, which ruled that Maldives indeed had the power to take control of the airport. GMR intends to seek compensation of more than $800 million from the Maldivian government for terminating the deal whereas Male is insisting on a forensic audit from an international firm. 

Many in India had expected New Delhi to escalate the conflict, by declining to release annual budgetary support of $25 million, forcefully reminding Male about its security dependence on India. Ignoring such calls, the Indian government has been quick to convey to Maldives that, if there were political reasons for the contract’s cancellation, these “shouldn’t spill over into a very, very important relationship, a very valuable relationship” between the two states. Two days after the project’s cancellation, the Maldives defense minister flew to Beijing. 

Food for thought


Modern nationalism demands that a citizen's highest loyalty be to the nation-state

The Indian Express carried a series of articles recently about group identities and rights in a liberal democracy. Ignoring the by now familiar inanities about a much-analysed politician from western India, it was interesting to note that no author had bothered to address a most important construct: the nation. Fashionably considered archaic in some circles, the nation has nevertheless shown an uncanny ability to persist. The omission is even more striking considering that the context was Indian, a state whose fractured nation-building project has been unnaturally complicated. 

What is a nation? Simply put, it is an imagined political community that is inherently limited and sovereign. It is a product of subjective consciousness, a human collectivity that regards its common identity as the basis for preserving or claiming some sort of political-territorial self-determination. Usually based on ethnicity, language, and/or religion, few nations – France and the United States to borrow the authors’ examples – have formed themselves on civic values. The core of being American is loyalty to the US Constitution, upon which all oaths are sworn. Similarly, the French view the Declaration of the Rights of Man as equally sacrosanct. As a result, there exists a concrete container of abstract ideas which defines what it is to be American or French. The French Revolution threw open the gates to all – including Jews – who swore to uphold the ideals of the French state. Similarly, hyphenated identities such as Irish American, African American, or Muslim American have one thing in common – American. 

The United States and France both serve as role models for the Indian state. However, one should also remember that both states have had a rather turbulent experience forming their civic national identity. The First French Republic sent troops into the Vendée to persuade them into the French hexagon; US laws on immigration, slavery, and extermination (not to forget internment) shaped the US experience. 

Today, the French have no hyphenation as immigrants are expected to assimilate and genuinely become French. Immigrants can choose to remain ghettoised in their original communities and that would hardly devalue their citizenship, but they’d not be able to embrace the fullness of their adopted land. 

However, as an immigrant nation with no past to speak of, hyphenated identities evolved naturally in the United States as there was no parent culture for immigrants to assimilate into. Unlike France which had an explicit declaration of rights and an implicit expectation of participation, the United States only had an explicit demand of loyalty to the constitution. 

India: Still at the Center of the Indian Ocean

By Nilanthi Samaranayake 
22 February 2013

India nurtures close security ties with island states in ocean that bears its name 

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Is India’s influence declining in the ocean named after the country? That seems to be the conclusion of some analysts after Maldives’ cancellation of an airport development contract with an Indian company in November. These concerns are elevated by China’s increased engagement with smaller states in the Indian Ocean, including Maldives. Given the legacy of the 1962 war between China and India and ongoing competition for influence, New Delhi is right to have suspicions about Beijing’s intentions in its neighborhood and whether smaller Indian Ocean countries are playing the two sides off each other. But the fact is that India’s position in the region remains strong due to longstanding and growing security cooperation with smaller neighbors as well as the Indian Navy’s expanding capabilities. Just in the past week, New Delhi’s influence has been underscored by former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed’s decision to seek refuge in the Indian High Commission in Male after a Maldivian court ordered his arrest. 
India is a rising naval power and has the natural advantage of geography in the surrounding ocean. Moreover, India is connected to smaller countries in the region through entrenched ethnic and historical ties. President Mohamed Waheed has discussed Maldives’ “preferential relationship” with India, and a former Maldivian foreign minister has stated that “nothing will change the fact that we are only 200 miles from Trivandrum,” referring to Maldives’ proximity to the Indian city. India feels security obligations to regional states and has displayed its operational reach through campaigns in Sri Lanka and Maldives. In 1987, it intervened in the Sri Lankan civil war through the Indian Peace Keeping Force. Likewise, Indian armed forces intervened in Maldives in 1988 following a coup, and after the 2004 tsunami the Indian Navy was first to provide critical disaster relief to Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia. 

Aside from such extraordinary circumstances, India has enduring and growing military relationships with island nations in the Indian Ocean. India deputes a navy officer to manage the National Coast Guard of Mauritius, where two-thirds of the public is of Indian origin. In 2007, New Delhi built a monitoring station in Madagascar that relays intelligence back to Mumbai and Kochi. India is also installing a network of coastal radars in all 26 Maldivian atolls that feed back to India. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard frequently assist Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius in maintaining security by providing maritime surveillance, hydrographic surveys, training, and maritime military equipment and repair, in addition to engaging these countries in exercises. In contrast, China has not provided such maritime assistance, except for two patrol craft and training to Seychelles. India concluded the DOSTI exercise with Maldives in April, even adding Sri Lanka to this two-decade bilateral engagement. The three countries will soon sign an agreement to advance maritime domain awareness in the region. India’s military ties with postwar Sri Lanka are now deeper with the resumption of the SLINEX naval exercise in 2011, and the two countries began an annual dialogue between their defense secretaries in 2012. Beyond bilateral relationships, New Delhi is gradually assuming a greater leadership role in Indian Ocean institutions, such as the economic and diplomatic forum Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). Far from India’s influence waning, all these measures reinforce the country’s strong security relationships with Indian Ocean countries. 

The Roots of Terror

February 24, 2013 

The twin blasts in Hyderabad that killed 16 and injured 119 people have once again brought terror in the spotlight. A lot has been said and written about the government’s apathetic attitude towards terrorism, the accuracy or otherwise of intelligence inputs, the inadequacies in the police system, the non-functioning of CCTVs and so on. However, the same things were said about 26/11, the Delhi High Court blast, and other terror outrages. Therefore, the need of the hour is to go beyond the obvious questions and focus on ‘why.’ 

Why doesn’t the government heed the points raised by security experts? Much of what experts recommend is pretty commonsensical; at any rate, it is not rocket science. More CCTVs; better trained, equipped, and motivated cops; police reforms—one need not be a K.P.S. Gill to know the importance of all these things. So, why doesn’t the ruling elite open its eyes and see that Islamic terror is evil? Or is it that its eyes are open and it just doesn’t want to see? 

This brings us to the compulsions of the parties that have ruled India since independence. Right from the days of Mahatma Gandhi, it has done everything to placate the fundamentalist sections in the Muslim community. Be it the pan-Islamists who spearheaded the Khilafat Movement or many issues after Independence like the uniform civil code, the Shah Bano case, or the recent efforts to provide reservation to Muslims, the GOP has always mollycoddled the most retrograde elements in the community. Concomitantly, forward-looking Muslims were ignored; Rajiv Gandhi, for instance, dismissed the concerns of Arif Mohammad Khan during the Shah Bano controversy. 

The ruling elite feels comfortable with the bodies like Dar-ul-Uloom of Deoband and Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind (Organization of Indian Scholars), the bodies whose ideology is similar to that of Al Qaeda and Taliban. Former Dar-ul-Uloom head Mohtamim Maulana Marguhul Rehmani once said, “True, Dar-ul-Uloom is the ideological fountainhead of Taliban.” 

Apologising for Amritsar is pointless. Better redress is to never forget

By William Dalrymple
23 February 2013

If Cameron feels real contrition he should make teaching of the British empire a compulsory part of the GCSE history syllabus

David Cameron at the Golden temple in Amritsar this week. He declined to apologise for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, but said we must 'learn lessons'. 

On 13 April 1919 a large group of Punjabis protesting against British rule gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. They were incensed at the arrest of two of their leaders, and for 24 hours the city had been consumed by riots. At five in the afternoon, General Reginald Dyer marched into Jallianwala Bagh with 140 troops, most of them Gurkhas, but with a few Sikhs and Baluchis as well. Having blocked the exits, they fired into the peaceful and unresisting crowds until they had exhausted all their ammunition. Official estimates put the casualties at 379 killed and 1,200 injured. Popular estimates put the casualties as much as 10 times higher. 

The massacre was a major turning point for the Indian freedom struggle and, along with Gandhi's Salt March 11 years later in 1930, was one of the two forces that gave India's march towards independence its unstoppable momentum. For a generation of Anglophile Indians brought up on British propaganda that British rule was just and uncorrupt, and that it had replaced centuries of arbitrary tyranny at the hands of brutal Muslim invaders, Jallianwala Bagh was a moment of revelation. Rabindranath Tagore immediately gave back his knighthood. The Nehrus were radicalised overnight. Gandhi lost his faith – intact until that point – in British justice, and wrote that he had "underrated the forces of evil" in the British empire. 

But Jallianwala Bagh was by no means the worst atrocity committed by the British in India. Following the British conquest of Bengal in 1757, the province was left devastated by war and high taxation, then stricken by famine. According to Edmund Burke, the women of Bengal suffered mass rape at the hands of East India Company tax collectors. Certainly the wealth of Bengal rapidly drained into British bank accounts, while its prosperous weavers and artisans were coerced "like so many slaves" by their new British masters, and the markets flooded with British products. 

More horrific still were the actions of the British army sent into Afghanistan in 1842 to take revenge for the massacre of troops during the retreat from Kabul earlier in the year. All the villages in its path were looted and torched and the women were raped. When the army got to Kabul the city was deliberately consigned to the flames. 

THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD - New Delhi’s dilemma over a federal foreign policy

By Krishnan Srinivasan 
25 Feb 2013

In India’s federal system, as stipulated in the Constitution, there is a clear demarcation of powers between the Centre and the states, and the subject of foreign policy vests exclusively with the Centre. Therefore, the conduct of Indian international relations is the sole responsibility of the government at the federal level. This is the practice followed by all federal democracies, such as the United States of America, Canada, Australia and Germany. For example, Washington overruled Judson Harmon’s doctrine of absolute sovereignty over natural resources in conceding Mexico’s claims for compensation on the Rio Grande, and Ottawa has deftly managed Quebec’s unceasing efforts to tilt the country towards the Francophonie by categorically asserting its right to treaty-making powers. 

In the past, the external role of the Indian states was severely restricted; they were involved only in the implementation process, and that too, primarily in the conduct of cultural and economic relations. Currently, to New Delhi’s growing discomfiture, the intervention of the states has vastly increased, as revealed by the instances of the government succumbing to pressures from West Bengal on the draft accord with Bangladesh on the sharing of the waters of the Teesta river, and from Tamil Nadu in regard to India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

To some extent, this deviation from the Constitution’s prescriptions is indirectly New Delhi’s own fault. The ministry of external affairs has come to the conclusion that the making of foreign policy could no longer be confined within its four walls, since foreign and domestic policies are normally held to be two sides of the same coin. This conclusion led to the opinion that foreign policy expertise had to be more open to consultations and interactions with influential circles such as the media, non-resident Indians and civil society, especially in the form of business and academia. These connections are now reasonably well-established and growing stronger, the recent establishment of an Indian Association of International Studies being one more step in this direction. 

Foreign Funding of NGOs

By Prashant Reddy

Should FDI in India’s thinktank sector worry us? It is a debate long overdue 

Should FDI in India’s thinktank sector worry us? It is a debate long overdue

In 1976, at the height of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, India’s Parliament enacted a piece of legislation called the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. It prohibited political parties and ‘organisations of a political nature’, civil servants and judges, as also correspondents, columnists and editors/owners of registered newspapers and news broadcasting organisations— and even cartoonists—from receiving foreign contributions. 

The very fact that the Act makes a specific reference to cartoonists should be hint enough of the establishment’s paranoia vis-à-vis the ‘invisible hand’ of foreign powers back then. During a Rajya Sabha debate on the proposed bill on 9 March 1976, the term ‘CIA’ (Central Intelligence Agency) was mentioned at least 30 times by different legislators, while ‘Lockheed Martin’ (a military aerospace corporation) came up at least six times in the context of alleged instances of Americans pumping dollars into governments worldwide to buy influence during the Cold War. 

The sentiment of the times was captured by the following statement made during that debate by Khurshid Alam Khan, father of India’s present Minister for External Affairs: “The CIA’s doings all over the world have very clearly indicated as to what could be done by foreign money and foreign interference.” 

In 2010, a different parliament, with opposition members who had not been imprisoned like those in 1976, unanimously voted to update the law by passing the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). In fact, the Parliamentary Standing Committee that examined the bill was headed by the BJP’s Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, and it had no major objections. 

Two Pakistans coexist side by side

By Hassan Siddiq
February 25, 2013  

To witness two realities in one country, one needs go no further than a suburban coffee shop in Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan. Among the fashionably dressed men and women sitting there, the news that some radical Muslim has shot a young girl named Malala Yousafzai for the sin of attending school sounds incomprehensible, as if from another world. The dissonance between the two Pakistans is even more dramatic as the world reports more on Malala than media do in the stable, educated part of Pakistan. 

Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Pakistan has evolved into one country with two disparate cultures. Former President Pervez Musharraf deregulated state control over media, and ever since thousands of local and international channels have opened up, exposing Pakistanis to a plethora of issues, new cultures and hip urban lifestyles of global cities. 

Urban middle class youth are quick to adapt their lifestyles to those of peers in Western cities. Yet the Islamic revivalism wave has not left Pakistan untouched, and various traditional and religious organizations have resisted influence of foreign cultures, often in unfortunate and violent ways that get much coverage in international media. 

The young urban middle class of Pakistan, mostly neglected by international media outlets, are well wired into the world of Internet and satellite channels. Managers at multinational corporations, software engineers or customer relation officers by profession, a good number ultimately work for clients and bosses sitting in London, New York and other global hubs. An even larger number of Pakistani professionals maintain active profiles on international freelancing websites, offering services ranging from content writing to iPhone applications development. As a result, Pakistan has been consistently ranked among the top Asian contractors on oDesk, a freelancing website that pays hired workers by the hour. Thousands of young adults who have studied or worked abroad in the Middle East and the United Kingdom returned home to join companies in Pakistan. 

Financially independent, the young Pakistani professionals aspire to a modern lifestyle seen on television or experienced abroad. Until a few years ago, the workday’s end would mean changing into baggy shalwar kameez, traditional dress for men and women, catching an hourlong episode of a family-centric sitcom like Alpha Bravo Charlie on national television and eating a roti dinner before heading to bed. Nowadays a night out could entail going out, dressed in famous Spanish Mango styles, catching Salman Khan in a Bollywood action thriller and eating a hamburger at Hardee’s followed by a frozen yogurt at Tutti Frutti. 

al-Qaeda’s 22 Tips for Dodging Drones

 21 Feb 2013

Al-Qaeda's list of 22 tips for dodging drone attacks - including at least one believed to originate with Osama bin Laden - has been found hidden inside a manila envelope in a building abandoned by Islamists in Mali.

A Reaper drone flying over Afghanistan 

The document includes advice such as "hide under thick trees" (believed to be bin Laden's contribution), and instructions for setting up a "fake gathering" using dolls to "mislead the enemy". Found by the Associated Press in a building in Timbuktu, the ancient city occupied by Islamists last year, the document is believed to have been abandoned as extremists fled a French military intervention last month. It is a Xeroxed copy of a tipsheet authored by a Yemeni extremist that has been published on some jihadi forums, but that has made little appearance in English. The list reflects how al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghbreb anticipated a military intervention that would make use of drones, as the war on terror shifts from the ground to the air. 

The document also shows the coordination between al-Qaeda chapters, which security experts have called a source of increasing concern."This new document... shows we are no longer dealing with an isolated local problem, but with an enemy which is reaching across continents to share advice," said Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA, now the director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institute. 

While some of the tips are outdated or far-fetched, taken together, they suggest the Islamists in Mali are responding to the threat of drones with sound, common-sense advice that may help them to melt into the desert in between attacks, leaving barely a trace."These are not dumb techniques. It shows that they are acting pretty astutely," said Col Cedric Leighton, a 26-year-veteran of the United States Air Force, who helped set up the Predator drone program, which later tracked Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. 

Incentivising Pakistan to act against terrorism

by Rohit Singh
22 Feb 2013

The savage beheading of two Indian soldiers in Mendhar by Pakistan Army regulars on January 8, 2013, has once again brought the volatile Line Of Control (LoC) into sharp focus. The shrill and acerbic television debates following the incident has divided analysts into two groups: one, which is demanding tough action including “limited war” against Pakistan and the other cautioning against further escalating tensions with a nuclear armed neighbour. Lost in the dim, however, is the fact that the LoC, which was once described by former US President Bill Clinton as “the most dangerous place on earth,” has witnessed several low and high intensity clashes between the two armies since 1948 and even in the past five years. In fact, small arms fire and artillery duels between the two sides was a regular feature up till November 2003, when both sides signed a ceasefire agreement. 

The barbaric nature of the present incident, which has perhaps led to the greatest escalation along the LoC in the past decade, has raised many questions on the motives of the Pakistan Army behind the grave provocation. Four important questions emerge; one, is the brutal act by Pakistan a counter to India’s alleged actions at Uri ; two, if not, why should Pakistan seek to attract attention with this brutality; three, will Pakistani non-state actors attempt another 26/11 type attack and, four are there any counters to deter Pakistan and its cohorts? 

A close look at the ceasefire violations by Pakistan since 2003 brings out the fact that most of these incidents have occurred in areas south of the Pir Panjal Range or in the Jammu division. The Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district (in which the two jawans of 13 Rajputana Rifles were killed on Tuesday) accounts for a lion’s share of these violations. This is because the Pakistan Army enjoys a relative tactical advantage in this sector by virtue of its occupation of certain dominating ridges overlooking the Indian defences and the major terrorist camps and launch pads at Tattapani (Hotspring) and Kotli are located close to the LoC across Mendhar. Krishna Ghati sector, especially the Mendhar belt, has been a traditional route for infiltration as the slopes along the LoC are thickly wooded and several gaps exist at places where the Mendhar river and other small nallahs flow across the LoC to join the Poonch river in PoK. In the past four years alone, several infiltration attempts have been made in this sector. 


By Jayshree Bajoria and Beina Xu
February 21, 2013 


China is North Korea's most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food, arms, and fuel. China has helped sustain what is now Kim Jong-un's regime, and has historically opposed harsh international economic sanctions in the hope of avoiding regime collapse and an uncontrolled influx of refugees across its eight hundred-mile border with North Korea. But after Pyongyang's third nuclear test in February 2013, experts say that China's patience with its ally may be wearing thin. This latest nuclear test, following one in 2006 and another in May 2009, has complicated North Korea's relationship with Beijing, which has played a central role in the Six Party Talks, the multilateral framework aimed at denuclearizing North Korea. 

These newly surfaced tensions have complicated foreign policy decisions within the ranks of Beijing's new leadership, ushered in at the beginning of 2013, as high-level discussions between China and North Korea have stalled since December 2012. CFR's Scott Snyder and See-won Byun of the Asia Foundation say that the incident has "dampened China's hopes for regional engagementthat were raised by a series of bilateral consultations in Beijing among U.S., PRC, and DPRK special envoys in February." While Beijing continues to have more leverage over Pyongyang than any other nation, experts say the tests could worsen relations and many have urged China's new leadership to consider taking a tougher stancewith its neighbor. 

Strong Allies 

China has supported North Korea ever since Chinese fighters flooded onto the Korean peninsula to fight for their comrades in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1950. Since the Korean War divided the peninsula between the North and South, China has lent political and economic backing to North Korea's leaders: Kim Il-Sung (1912-1994), Kim Jong-Il (1941-2011), and his son and successor Kim Jong-un (1983-). 

Test Means

Li Bin, Senior Associate
February 4, 2013 


Beijing recently carried out its second test of an interceptor missile, but that does not mean China has decided to build a national missile defense system. 

China recently carried out its second missile intercept test, which U.S. observers may be tempted to interpret as a sign that Beijing is planning to build its own national missile defense system. But before jumping to conclusions, the nature, purpose, and consequences of that test need to be carefully analyzed. 

A January 28 news report from Xinhua News Agency said that “China again carried out a land-based mid-course missile interception test within its territory Sunday.” But the Chinese version of the same statement includes an extra, important word: “China carried out a land-based mid-course missile interception technology test (中国在境内进行陆基中段反导拦截技术试验)” (emphasis added). As a result of the omission, the test may be misunderstood as involving a system meant for deployment

It is true that China’s economic capacity has been growing very quickly in recent years, allowing Beijing to do much more than it could before in developing its military strength. Still, there is ample reason to doubt that Beijing has made a decision to develop a national missile defense system. 

The crucial use of the word technology means that China was trying to assess capabilities. In this case, Beijing was likely trying to better understand current U.S. capabilities and how its own compare. 

Testing a Technology Rather Than a System 

China’s first missile intercept test took place on January 11, 2010, and the English version of the statement marking that effort was an accurate translation of the Chinese: “China conducted a test on ground-based mid-course missile interception technology within its territory on Monday” (emphasis added). China’s two tests thus far have focused on developing and understanding missile intercept technology rather than assessing performance of a deployable missile defense system. 

Head of the Dragon: The Rise of New Shanghai

18 Feb 2013

Pudong New Area and the Huangpu River, Shanghai. [Photo by wecand

Shanghai, 1989 

Two decades ago, when Shanghai’s leaders looked out over the new New China born of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms, it seemed history had gone off the rails. It wasn’t Shanghai, the city that invented Chinese capitalism, but Deng’s new experimental instant metropolis, Shenzhen, on the border with Hong Kong, that was brimming with factories and drawing thousands of ambitious young people from across the country. It was as if Deng had held a great national casting call for China’s next business hub and upstart Shenzhen had gotten the part Shanghai assumed she was destined to play. Hoping to set things right, Shanghai officials lobbied their superiors in Beijing, urging them to reopen to the world China’s historic global gateway city and financial center. 

Back then even Deng’s pro-market political allies were wary of Shanghai. Some officials worried that unleashing China’s cradle of cosmopolitanism and revolution could upend their rule. Others fretted that the symbolism alone would aid their ideological enemies. Deng was already beset by anti-market factions within the Party who warned that his new Special Economic Zones for international investment would become “foreign concession zones” reborn. Though Deng had been able to overrule them in creating Shenzhen, the symbolism of their critique would be much more salient in Shanghai, a city that had actually been a grouping of foreign concessions during China’s “Century of Humiliation,” from the Opium War through World War II. 

China's Secret Foreign Policy

By Richard Lourie
24 February 2013

Everyone is afraid of China. One reason is an instinctive reflex to avoid anything enormous moving at great speed. But even more important is that China's true intent can't be gauged. Is China a threat to the world order, or at least to its region? Is it a rival to the U.S. or an enemy? Should it be balanced or contained? Or should China be envied and admired for its achievements in accruing wealth and power? 

China is difficult to decipher because China itself has not yet made up its mind about its true direction and aspirations. China, however, most likely will have to make those decisions during the next decade under its new leader, Xi Jinping. External conditions — threats to China's energy sources, territorial disputes, the North Korean nuclear gnat — combined with internal tensions — restive populations in Tibet and Xinjiang, anti-corruption protests and social media, the budgetary issues caused by an aging population — will cause the country, or at least the regime, to show its true colors. 

In some respects, China is a natural candidate for a vengeful nationalism because of its deep-seated feeling of humiliation, which New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman calls "the single most underrated factor in international relations." Just as European textbooks routinely refer to the Hundred Years' War, Chinese texts and maps routinely refer to the "Hundred Years of Humiliation," the foreign domination during the opium wars of the mid 19th century to the Japanese occupation in the mid-20th century. 

One answer to the Chinese enigma lies in how the Chinese overcome that humiliation. Will China settle accounts with the West by building a society that is more productive and stronger than the deadlocked democracies of Europe and the U.S.? Or will China need to humiliate the West by turning it into a servile debtor while pilfering its economic secrets from its computers? 

In that sense, the Russians are lucky. Except for some fighter jets and weapons systems that the Chinese haven't yet reverse-engineered, Russia has few R&D secrets worth stealing. Moscow's worries concern the population imbalances in the Far East: sparse on the Russian side of the border, burgeoning on the Chinese. 

China: Post- Party Congress Scenario: Policy Indicators in Two Speeches of Xi Jinping

By D. S. Rajan

With an eye on discerning any policy indications, the rest of the world is paying attention to the two speeches made by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping in the post-Party Congress period – first in early December 2012 and the second on late January 2013. 

Full texts of the two speeches have not so far been officially released in the People’s Republic of China (PRC); but their summaries are now in the public domain. The overseas Chinese language media have carried reports on the first speech, based on a report from a source with credentials in China and the state Chinese language media in the PRC have revealed features of the second speech. 

The first ‘Southern Tour’ speech of Xi Jinping made early December 2012 appears to be important in the matter of understanding Xi Jinping’s outlook on the political and economic reforms in the country. It was under circulation within the party in the middle January 2012. The website www.dw.de, of 25 January 2013 and China Digital Times of 26 January 2013 carry an analysis in Chinese language, of the speech, done by Gao Yu, a Chinese journalist based in Beijing, a former employee of the China News Agency (Zhong Xin She) and Economics Weekly of China and a detainee for her participation in the 1989 students movement. 

An important portion of the speech was devoted to answering the questions – Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate and what lessons the CCP can learn from the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Viewing that the main reason for the collapse was that “the ideals and beliefs had been shaken in the Soviet Union”, Xi Jinping in his speech, said, “In the end, the ruler’s flag over the city tower changed overnight. It’s a profound lesson for us! Dismissing the history of the Soviet Union and the CPSU, dismissing Lenin and Stalin, and dismissing everything else are to engage in historic nihilism, which confuses our thoughts and undermines the Party’s organizations on all levels.” Xi added in his speech that the lesson for China from the disintegration of the Soviet Union is that “we must stand firm on the Party’s leadership over the military”. He pointed out, “In the Soviet Union, the military was depoliticized, separated from the Party and nationalized and the party was disarmed. A few people tried to save the Soviet Union; they seized Gorbachev, but within days it was turned around again, because they didn’t have the instruments to exert power. Yeltsin gave a speech standing on a tank, but the military made no response, keeping so-called ‘neutrality.’ Finally, Gorbachev announced the disbandment of the CPSU. A big Party was gone just like that. Proportionally, the CPSU had more members than the CCP does, but nobody was man enough to stand up and resist”. 

Reform was the other prominent theme in Xi Jinping’s ‘Southern Tour” speech. Xi said, “The essence of our reform lies in carrying out all round reform. I do not approve the view that under reform, certain areas will remain backward; in concrete terms, certain areas getting reformed and others not so, is not the issue. Certain areas may remain unaffected by reform, even for a long time, but it does not mean there should be no reform. Some define reform in terms of Western universal values; if Western political system is taken as norm for reform, our reform concept will get distorted. We should conduct reform under the path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. We are in the stage of primary stage of socialism. We should pay attention to both short term and long term goals. Following the important ideologies of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong thought, Deng Xiaoping theory, “Three Represents” and the Scientific Development outlook, we should realize the greatest dream for renewal of the Chinese nation. “China dream” is indeed our ideal .Of course, all communists must cherish a higher ideal, i.e Communism”. 

China, Gwadar and Sea Lanes of Communication: ‘Economic Offence’ or ‘Active Defence’?

By Shanta-Maree Surendran
Research Intern, IPCS 
25 Feb 2013

In February 2013, the Pakistan government handed over control of Gwadar port to China. The desolate surrounds and negligible shipping activity at Gwadar belie the port’s central role in renewed debate about intentions and implications of China’s interest in the Indian Ocean Region. Is China’s investment in Gwadar indicative of a trade and resources agenda or a military one, and are these mutually exclusive?

China's Port Policy: Plan First, Plan Ahead

China’s port policy focuses on energy and economic interests. This aligns with national objectives centring on growth and stability (China’s White Paper, 2010). Transport development and securing access to resources and trade are prioritised as part of a pragmatic and proactive approach to achieving national objectives. The method espoused and practiced by China to accomplish increased efficiency, economy and safety of transport has been a ‘plan first, plan ahead’ strategy (Zuyuan, 2008). The priorities were initially nationally focused but now also extend to international behaviour and action.

Sea lanes of communication (SLOC) are critical to China’s growth and stability. 90% of China’s foreign trade is carried by sea and over 80% of her oil imports arrive through the Malaccan Strait. A ‘plan first, plan ahead’ strategy has seen China focus on SLOC to secure access and position so as to facilitate long-term progress and protection.

China’s port policy, and the associated objectives, in itself does not present a threat. It is the tacit military dimension to the policy that ignites speculation and debate. China’s National Defence document states: ‘The state takes economic development and national defence building into simultaneous consideration’ (China’s White Paper 2010: 7). Simultaneous consideration does not necessarily equate to simultaneous action but the pairing of these two elements, in both cultural doctrine as well as official documents, suggests that observers of China’s economic-driven activity would be wise to acknowledge military development as an implicit companion. This partnership cautions wariness regarding Chinese management of Gwadar port.