27 September 2013

Central Asia and Afghanistan: A Tumultuous History

SEPTEMBER 24, 2013


Editor's Note: This is the first installment of a two-part series on the relationship between Central Asia and Afghanistan and the expected effects of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan on Central Asian security. Click here to read Part 2.

Contrary to popular perception, Central Asia is not likely to see an immediate explosion of violence and militancy after the U.S. and NATO drawdown from Afghanistan in 2014. However, Central Asia's internal issues and the region's many links with Afghanistan -- including a web of relationships among militant groups -- will add to the volatility in the region. 


Central Asia has numerous important links to Afghanistan that will open the region to significant effects after the upcoming U.S. and NATO drawdown. First and foremost, Central Asia is linked to Afghanistan geographically; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan share borders with Afghanistan that collectively span more than 2,000 kilometers (about 1,240 miles). The Afghan border with Tajikistan, along the eastern edge of Afghanistan, makes up more than half of that distance, at 1,344 kilometers. The borders with Turkmenistan (744 kilometers) and Uzbekistan (137 kilometers) run along Afghanistan's western edge. Most of the Tajik-Afghan border is mountainous and therefore poorly demarcated, and the topography of Afghanistan's frontiers with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is largely desert. 

Central Asia and Afghanistan also have important demographic ties. Afghanistan is an ethnically diverse country, with more than a dozen ethno-linguistic groups represented substantially in the country's population of slightly more than 31 million. The Pashtuns are the largest such group (42 percent), with Tajiks (27 percent), Hazaras (9 percent), Uzbeks (9 percent) and Turkmen (3 percent) constituting significant cohorts as well. The Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen populations are concentrated primarily in northern Afghanistan and are largely contiguous to their ethnic brethren across the borders in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Cross-Border Cultures

Historically, Afghanistan's borders with the Central Asian states did not exist in a modern sense; rather, they consisted of frontier areas that constantly shifted hands, given that warfare in the region was the norm. Indeed, the area comprising these states and northern Afghanistan was, at various times, part of a single state or empire. This changed with the coming of the Great Game between the Russian and British empires in the beginning of the 19th century. Russia's imperial expansion into Central Asia coincided with the growth of the British domain over India, and the result was the establishment of a buffer zone in what is now Afghanistan. This set the borders of Afghanistan as we know them and -- with the transition from the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union in the early 20th century -- led to a closing off of the borders between Central Asia and Afghanistan for the first time in history. The ensuing 70 years of Soviet rule in Central Asia created significantly different political and cultural identities among the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmen in the Soviet Union and those within Afghanistan, given the vastly different governing structures. 

However, ties were far from severed. Because of the geography of the border areas, interaction and movement between the peoples of Central Asia and Afghanistan was difficult to stop. Furthermore, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 created direct interaction between the Soviet Tajiks, Uzbeks and Turkmen and their ethnic cohorts in Afghanistan, with many of the former participating in Soviet military operations (in large part because of their ethno-linguistic ties). The Soviet Central Asians' exposure to their more tribal and religious Afghan counterparts (with certain groups becoming increasingly radicalized as a result of the invasion and the growing presence and strength of the mujahideen) also created a lasting impression among many Central Asians. 


Thursday, 26 September 2013
Archana Jyoti

Before the arrival of the Chinese in Tibet, Chamda’s lama had claimed, much to people’s delight, that the gods were on their side. British reporter Robert Ford knew that something more ‘Churchilian’ was needed!

One of the last witnesses of the Chinese invasion of Tibet has departed. Sir Robert Webster Ford passed away on September 20 in London at the age of 90. He had served several years as a radio operator in Tibet in the late 1940s. When the People’s Liberation Army led by General Liu Bocheng and his Political Commissar, a certain Deng Xiaoping, entered Chamdo, the capital of Kham Province in October 1950, Ford was the only white man around.

In Eastern Tibet, the Tibetans had difficulty in pronouncing ‘F’, so ‘Ford’ became ‘Phodo’; Sir Robert was then simply called Phodo Kusho or Ford Sir. During World War II, ‘Phodo’ served as a radio technician in the Royal Air Force. At the end of the war, he joined the British Mission in Lhasa as a radio officer. An audience with the 13-year-old Dalai Lama convinced him to continue to work for Tibet. He was soon transferred to Sikkim, where he worked under the supervision of the Political Officer-in-charge of Tibet Affairs.

When India became independent, Ford decided to return to Lhasa where he was offered a job by the Government of Tibet. He became the first foreigner to be given a Tibetan official administrative rank. In 1949, he was sent to Chamdo to establish a radio station. Lhalu Tsewang Dorje, the Governor General of Kham requested the Tibetan-speaking ‘Phodo’ and three young Kinnauri wireless trainees to quickly establish a first direct link with Lhasa. Lhalu, who could sense the forthcoming danger, was keen to strengthen the defences of Tibet’s borders. Unfortunately, he was soon replaced as Governor General of Kham by Ngabo Ngawang Jigme who did not believe in the Chinese threat.

In his memoirs, Captured in Tibet, Ford mentioned several anecdotes from another epoch. For example, he recalled that just before the arrival of the Chinese troops in the Fall of 1950, the most often repeated mantra in Chamdo was ‘The gods are on our side’. One day, everybody got excited as Shiwala Rinpoche, the head lama of the local monastery, had just performed a divination: The Chinese will not come. The great news spread like wildfire. There was a sigh of relief. The gods had finally won!

The Britisher in Ford commented that Rinpoche’s statement was perhaps good for morale “but it seemed to me that something more Churchilian was needed”. Indeed! In January 1950, Ford had heard an ominous communiqué broadcast by Communist China: “The task for the People’s Liberation Army for 1950 is to liberate Taiwan, Hainan and Tibet.”

On October 11, 1950, at 11pm, Ford had just finished speaking on the radio to his mother in England; he was preparing to go to bed, when he heard a faint tinkle of bells coming from the east. “As bells grew louder I heard another sound, the clip-clop of horse’s hoofs.” Ford immediately recognised an Army messenger riding towards the Residency where the Governor General was staying. He understood that the rider was bringing an ominous message: The PLA had crossed the Yangtze four days earlier.

All Eyes on Singh-Obama Talks

All eyes will be on the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama this week and what it produces. This is natural as our relationship with the US is, in many ways, the most important external relationship we have.

The US is our largest trade and investment partner as well as the biggest source of advanced technology, management practices and technical and financial consultancies for our economic sector. The people to people contact with the US is profound, not only because of the large population of Indian origin and the almost 100,000 students we have there, but also because of the influences imbibed by our younger generation.

The range of our engagement with the US is larger than with any other country, with over thirty on-going dialogues on various subjects, which implies a regularity of official exchanges on economic, political and security issues.


Our armed forces have the largest number of military exercises with the US, even though it is not our largest supplier of defence equipment. However, here too the US is making headway, with substantial orders already obtained, even as promises are being made of joint production of advanced weaponry and transfers of technology to rival Russia as our leading defence partner. The political commitment shown by the US leadership to remove the most contentious nuclear issue in our relations has raised expectations on our side that dramatic breakthroughs in relations will continue, even though we cannot define what they could be precisely. At the very least, we expect a trouble free relationship with the US.

On the US side, the expectations are more concrete and precise. They would want orders for the US nuclear and defence industries to materialize quickly enough as a quid pro quo for the nuclear deal. They want more access to the Indian market, for which financial and education sector reforms are considered necessary, not to mention improved regulatory frameworks.

To the old grievances have been added new ones relating to Indian protectionism as indicated by the decision to give preferential market access to locally established companies in the telecom sector, the retrospective application of our tax laws as in the Vodafone case and inadequate protection to IPRs as decreed by the Supreme Court in the Novartis case.

The Rise of the Rest of India

How States Have Become the Engines of Growth

Yes, Minister: supporters of Naveen Patnaik, New Delhi, June 2013. (Getty / Hindustan Times)

When Nitish Kumar became chief minister of the dirt-poor Indian state of Bihar in 2005, kidnapping was said to be the leading industry in the capital city of Patna. People searching for stolen cars were advised to check the driveway of a leading politician, who reportedly commandeered vehicles for “election duty.” Although known for his soft-spoken manner, Kumar cracked down hard. He straightened out the crooked police, ordering them to move aggressively against all criminals, from the daylight robbers to the corrupt high officials. He set up a new fast-track court to speed the miscreants to jail. As Biharis gained the courage to go out on the street, even after dark, Kumar set about energizing a landlocked economy with few outlets for manufactured exports. He focused on improving the yields of Bihar’s fertile soil and ushered in a construction boom. Within a few years, a state once described by the writer V. S. Naipaul as “the place where civilization ends” had built one of the fastest-growing state economies in India. And Kumar was recognized as a leader in the new generation of dynamic chief ministers who are remaking the economic map and future of India.

This generation includes the socialite turned statesman Naveen Patnaik in Orissa, the spellbinding orator Narendra Modi in Gujarat, the self-effacing Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh, and the quiet personalities of Sheila Dikshit in Delhi and Shivraj Singh Chauhan in Madhya Pradesh. As a result of their economic successes, these leaders have each won consecutive reelection bids; India now has six chief ministers who have returned to office for at least three terms in a row, a feat unheard of in a generation. Kumar and Patnaik represent ambitious regional parties that are ready to compete with the country’s two dominant political forces: the ruling Indian National Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. But the best known among these chief ministers is Modi, who now looks poised to run as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP in the next national elections, set for May 2014.

That these chief ministers have managed the double feat of economic success and political longevity belies the conventional wisdom about India’s doldrums. After a decade of strong economic growth, during which India was hailed as democracy’s answer to China, the bad news is back: New Delhi seems politically paralyzed in the face of the global economic slump. India’s GDP growth rate has fallen from near double digits to five percent, and the capital has been buried in scandalous headlines about corruption, power outages, and incompetent police.

The Object of India’s Ire

by Steven A. Cook 
September 26, 2013

The arches at Ferguson College. Pune, India.

Pune, India–My last two posts from India looked at the mistrust with which many Indians view the United States and the way in which the Palestine issue plays out here. There is no consensus on these issues, though. My meetings in Mumbai and Pune over the last few days have made it abundantly clear that along with those who are wary of American foreign policy, there are strong advocates of close U.S.-India ties. In addition, there are Indians who see the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in terms far different from my interlocutors in Lucknow and Chennai. As one academic specialist in international relations told me today, “India is Israel’s only true friend in Asia.” Yet there seems to be one country that has brought Indians across the country’s boisterous political spectrum together in shared enmity. If you guessed Pakistan, you would be correct, but that Indians generally despise Pakistan is a given—a lay-up for anyone who has ever glanced at a newspaper every now and again. Besides Pakistan, which is widely regarded as a rogue, terrorist state here, Indians have expressed a deep and abiding dislike for Saudi Arabia.

The sources of the India’s collective Saudi neuralgia lie in three areas:

1) There are 1.5 million Indian workers in Saudi Arabia—the largest number of expat workers in the country. Needless to say, the Saudis do not have the best reputation for treating the people who make the country run with much in the way of respect.

2) The Indians regard Saudi Arabia (and the United States) as the primary funder, political supporter, and diplomatic defender of Pakistan. To Indians, this support makes Saudi Arabia culpable in part when Islamabad-supported terrorist organizations target Indian security forces in Kashmir like today’s attack that killed 12 at a military base in Srinagar. They also hold Riyadh to blame for the regular skirmishes between the Pakistani and Indian militaries. Of course, the Saudis have significantly less influence with the Pakistanis than many Indians believe, but as always, perception matters and in the Indian view Saudis play a critical and malevolent role in the tense relations between Islamabad and New Delhi.

The Political Rise of India’s States

By Tridivesh Singh Maini
September 26, 2013

As India goes into the 2014 parliamentary elections, the country seems to be facing numerous challenges not just in the economic realm, but in other realms such as external security and increased crime – especially against women. This naturally has created a doom and gloom scenario, with the urban middle classes especially despondent with the current state of affairs.

Yet, amidst all the negativity it is important to note that India’s march forward is being pushed not only by a few metropolitan cities or front-line states. In fact, many state governments are delivering stellar growth rates and also coming up with welfare schemes and policies. This includes not only states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, but also states formerly considered economic laggards, such as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. Ruchir Sharma powerfully illustrated this in his 2012 book Breakout Nations.

As a consequence, regional leaders are beginning to play an important role even in national politics. The best example is of course Narendra Modi’s nomination as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Modi, who triumphed in three elections in Gujarat, was the party’s choice, much to the chagrin of other senior leaders in the party including senior party leader LK Advani. While Modi has been projected by the BJP, other regional rulers like Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who belongs to Modi’s party, and Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who walked out of the National Democratic Alliance after Modi was made head of BJP’s campaign committee, are also being touted as potential future leaders.

Apart from the BJP, the Congress also seems to have realized the necessity of strong leaders. A clear example of this is Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, who is running for a fourth term.

This significant political transformation in India, in which states are becoming more influential as a consequence of strong regional leaders, is also being recognized by other countries, which are reaching out to many of these leaders – most notably Modi, but also Nitish Kumar and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, amongst others.

This leads us to a crucial point. Many have argued that Modi’s election as PM would be a direct threat to the “Idea of India” due to his hardline image. But it would be appropriate for Indian intellectuals to debate, one crucial aspect of what many think is the Idea of India: a strong center. This idea is already being challenged on one level by this decentralization of political power occurring at the regional level.

Apart from this, it is also important for the outside world not to conflate the failure and policy paralysis of New Delhi’s government with a slowdown in India as a whole. It is imperative to recognize that India has not come to a standstill, despite the policy bottleneck in New Delhi.

Perhaps it is time for intellectuals and students of India to understand that all of this is part of the ever changing Idea of India. It is not one static idea, but a dynamic one that adapts to changing social, economic and political conditions.

Tridivesh Singh Maini is a New Delhi based columnist.

Singh Can Still Be King


If Manmohan Singh can show once more that he is capable of making difficult decisions, he could restore U.S.-Indian ties to their earlier upward trajectory.

Dr. Manmohan Singh will come to Washington this month on what could be his last visit to the United States as India’s prime minister. When Singh came to Washington previously, he was feted as the first State guest welcomed by President Barack Obama. This time around, the pomp and circumstance will give way to the toils of a “working” visit. It cannot be otherwise—and it could not have come too soon.

Singh’s last visit to the United States in 2009 was undoubtedly a triumph. The Indian growth story then was a coruscating one, and U.S.-Indian commercial ties offered endless promise. The U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation agreement had been successfully concluded and new access to nuclear technology worldwide lay on the horizon for the first time in close to forty years.

The bilateral relationship between the United States and India appeared destined for new heights, with the promise of deeper cooperation in defense, in international institutions, and on a range of global issues.

Today, the situation is markedly different on all counts. The Indian economy has tanked—ironically, at a time when it is led by an economist with the reputation of a reformer. India’s hard-won liberation into the world of nuclear commerce has been hamstrung by a new enslavement, thanks to its nuclear liability legislation.

And India’s relationship with the United States has faltered because of enervating political scandals in New Delhi; neglect and inattention at the highest levels; and, sometimes, deliberate Indian decisions to keep Washington at bay. In the United States, many policymakers have soured on India simply because it appears to be a difficult partner, unable to either appreciate or reciprocate the extra mile that Washington has often walked on its behalf during the last-odd decade.

In New Delhi, Indian leaders often appear chagrined by the United States as well, either because its regional policies towards China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan sometimes have a deleterious impact on India, or because of their perception that the Obama administration is fixated on demanding Indian recompense for past American favors.

These misaligned expectations have created a stasis in US-Indian relations, a reality that has provoked much commentary during the last few months. Manmohan Singh ought to do whatever he can to repair the damage not as a favor to Washington, but because it bears on his own personal legacy.

Ever since he took over as India’s 14th prime minister, Singh nurtured three challenging ambitions: To deepen the economic reforms he inaugurated at P.V. Narasimha Rao’s behest some thirteen years earlier and finally put India on the path of self-sustaining high growth; to effect a historic reconciliation with Pakistan that would unify the subcontinent once again as an economic entity; and to cement the extraordinary rapprochement with the United States that was begun by his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose bold initiatives laid the foundation for the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement that was finally clinched when Singh came into office.

It is indeed unfortunate that because of populist policies pursued by Singh’s own party — a disaster exacerbated by his own acquiescent temperament — his dream of liberating the Indian economy lies in tatters at just the moment when his government is running out of both time and options to repair the damage before it faces the electorate again.

Carnage of Christians and Other Minorities in Pakistan

On 22nd September, 2013, two suicide bombers targeted a church in Peshawar, killing over 80 people and injuring nearly 150. Entire families were wiped out. Many Christian households, who in any case barely eke out an existence in a country and society where they are treated as Untermensch (sub-humans, because they are not Muslims) lost their sole bread earner. Teachers, students, newly-weds, about to be married, pregnant women, children (around 20) were blown to bits by the jihadists fighting for the glory of Islam. Of course, this is neither the first time such a carnage of minorities has happened in the ‘Land of the Pure’, nor will it be the last time such a massacre has happened because if truth be told, an open season has been declared on minorities in Pakistan. Muslim minority sects, Shias in particular and within the Shia community, the Hazaras, have routinely come in the cross hairs of jihadist mass murderers. Other non-Muslim communities too have been targeted – Hindu girls are a favourite target, Ahmediyas subjected to the worst kinds of hate crimes, and Christians not only made victims to the infamous and obnoxious blasphemy laws but also pogroms in which entire neighbourhoods are burnt by rampaging mobs.

Every time an outrage such as the bombing of the All Saints’ Church in Peshawar takes place, there is the standard response in Pakistan: the government wrings its hands helplessly and issues a pro forma condemnation but does absolutely nothing tangible to prevent such an incident from being repeated; most politicians also issue similar pro forma condemnation not because they genuinely feel outraged, but because that is the politically correct thing to do; other politicians – to name just the most notorious of this lot, the Taliban defender and supporter Imran Khan, the flag-bearer of Islamist terror Munawar Hasan of Jamaat Islami and the Maulana who wants to run the Taliban but is currently running scared of them, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F – condemn the incident but then make the whole thing sound insincere and disingenuous by adding qualifications which are really short hand for not pointing the finger at the real perpetrators but deflecting the blame to an un-named ‘third force’ or insinuating a ‘foreign hand’ (which though not always specified is often an allusion to the US, Indian and Israeli intelligence agencies).

The ugly reality is however quite different from the spin that the self-serving and scared politicians, analysts and strategists give to gruesome acts of terrorism. A son of Maulana Maudoodi, founder of the Jamaat Islami, the party that serves as the ‘Mother of political Islamism’ and is arguably not only one of the political faces of the Al Qaeda but also partners Imran Khan’s party in running the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hit the nail on the head when he said that the bombing of the Peshawar church was a natural outcome of creating a state in the name of religion. But even this is a partial explanation of the blood lust that drives the jihadists. Pakistan's real problem isn’t so much that terrorists are running amok, but that Islamist terrorists are operating with impunity and, to an extent, with the sanction of state. In other words, more than terrorism, the problem is societal extremism and a communalised national mindset.

Durand Line: History, Legality & Future

1. Introduction

It was in the late 1880s, that the Amir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman, started demanding a clear defined border with India. The British too wanted to make a clear buffer state, free from its sphere of influence. While the Amir permitted the British to control Afghanistan’s foreign policy, he, in return, demanded zero interference from the British in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.

Campus terror

Khaled Ahmed Posted online: Fri Sep 27 2013
Why Pakistan is afraid of its universities.

Lahore was considered immune to the kind of terrorism being experienced by Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta, headquarters of the three other provinces. But last month, it was in Lahore that al-Qaeda was found operating its communications headquarters, from a large property that no one cared to check. Lahore is more like Islamabad, where al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists could be hiding in the outskirts, which have nearly 1,00,000 illegal squatters (most of them Pakhtun-Afghan), unplanned mosques, and the Arab-funded International Islamic University, where the founder of al-Qaeda, Abdullah Azzam, used to teach, and where al-Qaeda killers take sharia courses today.

In August, six terrorists, including four women, were arrested in Green Town in Lahore. Intelligence officials told reporters, “Al-Qaeda was operating an illegal gateway exchange, under the name of International Technical Hub, from [a] residence receiving signals from Afghanistan”. Additionally, weapons were found in the compound, which could have been used to keep kidnapped citizens before they were taken to the north for some destination in the tribal areas or Afghanistan.

Then, the Islamabad Police caught Hammad Adil, the Waziristan-trained upper-class mastermind of al-Qaeda. Adil, together with Abdullah Umar, the son of an army colonel who was dismissed for his terrorist affiliation, killed a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency who was prosecuting suspects in the famous 2008 Mumbai case, which involved terrorists from Pakistan whose confessions had cut very close to state involvement.

Tipped off in Islamabad, the ISI picked up six members of al-Qaeda’s suicide squad, along with their local handlers, from a Punjab University (PU) hostel in Lahore. Out of nine al-Qaeda members, four had taken special jihadi training in Miranshah in North Waziristan Agency, while the other five, from Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, were experts in electronic media and improvised explosive devices. From their physical appearance, the men looked like foreigners who often visited the Punjab University hostel.

An Arab national, who arrived in Lahore to organise a suicide mission, was provided shelter by the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami. The university had allotted a room to a statistics department student with IJT links, who had taken the Arab in. The vice chancellor of Punjab University, an Islamist whose book asserts that Jews dominate the world through global banking and that 9/11 had actually been choreographed by the Americans themselves, denies that PU is involved. According to the vice chancellor, he had registered over 70 formal complaints with the police about the hostel being infested with terrorists, but got no response. He said the IJT is so politically strong under the Jamaat-e-Islami banner, that arrested terrorists easily get sprung from jail.

Pakistani Government Strengthening Cybersecurity Measures to Protect Its Data From Foreign Eavesdropping (e.g. NSA)

September 25, 2013
Pakistan takes steps to protect itself from NSA-style cyber attacks
Javed Mirza
The News International (Karachi)

KARACHI: In view of the recent wave of stealing of sensitive official data by US National Security Agency (NSA), the National Telecom & Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) has framed guidelines/ techniques for protecting government business from possible hacking and cyber attacks. “Recent wave of stealing the sensitive official data by US NSA has raised serious concerns warranting the implementation of all policies and guidelines in true letter and spirit,” the Cabinet Division noted in a letter to all ministries, departments and divisions.

“USA being the leading country in the field of communication and IT is using multiple tools mainly through electronic surveillance, ground and air intelligence platforms like satellites, recording telephonic calls, gathering public pulse through e-mails filtering, radio monitoring, communication leaks, vulnerabilities in IT based networks carrying sensitive data and other sophisticated means, covertly or overtly,” the Cabinet Division noted.

All the government departments, ministries, divisions have been directed to study and analyse the guidelines and implement the same for safeguarding their official data.

The government officials and officers have been directed to avoid using private emails for exchange of official correspondence; official data should not be stored/ copied on personal computers and laptops and personal USB, which are connected to internet; no official/ classified information should be placed on internet via any means; uploading of sensitive information on social media should be avoided; uploading of videos and photos of official meetings should be avoided; downloading of software from internet should be avoided; and full compliance of existing policies/ directive, guideline and rules on the subject. Moreover, internet connections must be obtained from National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) as per policy; official personal computers (PCs) having sensitive data must not be provided with internet connection; contents placed on official websites must be properly scrutinised and approved for uploading; internet usage in government departments be regulated and access be provided with limited user privileges; internet computers be isolated and the network security must be ensured and internet provision be controlled by the highest administrative authority in the ministry, division or department.

All necessary precautionary measures must be adopted for safeguarding the departmental IT system/network infrastructure. According to the guidelines, legal and regulatory framework at national level is also very important. Cyber crime and cyber security laws need to be enacted and enforced as laws are deterrent control to secure cyberspace and hence to protect national security.

The Security Board noted that presence of sensitive/ official data on the web had made the government official entities hostage and vulnerable to hostile ingress and sudden access by unknown intelligent IT mafias, suspected hackers as well as individual secret agents.

Misuse of this information fairly acquired from such an advanced information resource through multiple hacking techniques may invariably cause serious threats to national security.

Pakistan being a frontline state in the war on terror and a key ally to its coalition partners is clearly confronting such threats for which a foolproof mechanism needs to be in place by all government officials to protect and safeguard sensitive government business and national interest.

Over past decade, in a number of such incidents by hostile agencies, hacker groups in an attempt to achieve break through of official security network/ IT centres/ networks of various government departments have been made to fulfil their political or strategically objectives.

Pakistan: Now the Christians, Next?

26 September 2013
D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS 

The latest attack on the Christians in Pakistan is a painful reminder of how intolerant and indifferent we have become as a society and as a State. This is not the first attack on the Christians and other minority communities in Pakistan and unfortunately, this is not likely to be the last attacks on them either. While it will be easier to blame a small group of terrorists and zealots, are they the ones to be blamed?

Since the entire South Asian region is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic at national and sub-regional levels, it would be a prudent exercise to find out why and under what situation the minorities become a target. This would help us – at the societal, national and state levels to understand the contemporary issues and also be forewarned, and perhaps prepared.

While the multiple theories from sociological and political science perspectives talks about how the “other” is created in a plural society, what is needed is not a theoretical discourse, but a practical debate on why this happens and what needs to be done to avoid such a societal calamity.

The question – why Christians are being targeted in Pakistan is perhaps easier to answer. Like the Ahemediya and the Shia communities, they are an easy target for the chauvinist and terrorist elements. They have become an easy target for the following reasons. First and foremost, the “minority” nature of these communities makes them an easy target. In certain societies, where the majority discourse takes place not on secular lines, but on religious beliefs, the discourse is likely to be majoritarian, favouring a particular community. From the news papers to televisions to educational institutions to text books, the debate is lopsided favouring the majority community.

Second, the minority communities do not have a voice, either on their own or someone speaking on behalf of them from the majority community. The Shia community in Pakistan tried to rally around and at times even present a violent discourse, but only inviting more violence. The Ahmediya, Christian and Hindu communities within Pakistan is extremely cautious in rallying around and make a strong protest, for they fear a worse reprisal from the terrorist and sectarian groups which claim to represent the majority community. Though in few occasions as it is happening the Christian community did try to raise its concerns heard, the minority communities are apprehensive and afraid.

Even the sane voices from the majority community – are either feeble or silenced. Remember what happened to Salman Taseer, the then serving Governor of Punjab, for raising his voice to support the minority community? He was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, while the rest was watching the assassin pumping bullets on a serving Governor of the most important province in Pakistan! What happened after the assassination was even worse. When the assassin was brought to the court, a section of the lawyers showered rose petals on him; the prosecution had a tough time making a case against a killer, who had killed no less than a serving Governor of Punjab!

Terrorist Attack: Persisting Parkinson’s Response ***

IssueNet Edition| Date : 26 Sep , 2013

The twin terror attacks in Samba today witnessed the expected response from our Parkinson’s afflicted polity – actions following previous set pattern, much to the glee of Pakistan and China. The empty official statements that ‘we will not let peace talks derail by these dastardly acts’. A minister with his artificial accent kept questioning what other political parties had done during their rule. A former diplomat who was earlier trying to justify withdrawal from Siachen and is currently referred to as “PMO’s Puppy” by his veteran colleagues, was seen justifying Manmohan Singh must meet Nawaz Sharif and ask the latter what his forces are up to. Surprisingly, a veteran kept suggesting that Pakistan should be asked to reduce the terrorist camps in POK – as if reducing 42 terrorist camps to say 25-30 will make any difference. Of course his political leanings and supine statements help his repeated appearances on the controlled national TV in backdrop of approaching elections.

…these attacks across the IB are not without the active participation / concurrence of the Pakistani Army; there is every possibility that regular Pakistani personnel participated in the attack; planning for these attacks would have been done by the Pakistani Military…

The Chief Minister, forever dreaming of himself as Sadr-i-Riyasat, keeps harping on talks with Pakistan in complete disregard to loss of lives of J&K Police and civilians leave aside his disdain of the military. What is different from the previous series of incidents? Arguably the only difference is Anthony not repeating “Terrorists came in Pakistani Army uniform” and the Army Chief repeating that ‘we are not wearing bangles’. So where is the peace that is to be talked about and what is the peace process that is being derailed?

What our jaundiced hierarchy cannot understand is the following: these attacks across the IB are not without the active participation / concurrence of the Pakistani Army; there is every possibility that regular Pakistani personnel participated in the attack; planning for these attacks would have been done by the Pakistani Military – more offshoots of the Karachi Project; terrorist camps in Pakistan and POK had been merged with the military posts / establishments even prior to Op ‘Parakaram’ to obviate India undertake their bombing like Israel does; Pakistani Army is actively involved in pushing terrorists across the border – a fact that even the polity of J&K and the central leadership does not deny; Pakistan’s foreign policy with its attenuated strategy of terror is evolved and controlled by the Pakistani Military over which Nawaz Sharif has absolutely no lien; Nawaz Sharif will be meeting Manmohan Singh from a position of psychological strength, more so, because the Paki establishment has already conveyed that any meaningful dialogue with India will be with the next government; should Manmohan Singh muster courage to raise the issue of terrorism, Nawaz’s standard reply will be “we too are victims of terror”; the Pakistani military will be laughing all the way home as the nose of its counterpart is rubbed in the mud, whether you wear bangles or not is not the issue!

China and the United States: A Symbiosis

Published on The National Interest (http://nationalinterest.org)
Source URL (retrieved on Sep 27, 2013)

The flurry of speculation and polemic that has characterized U.S.-Chinese relations in the past decade or so reached a new intensity with the leadership turnover in China earlier this year. As Barack Obama started his second term in office and Xi Jinping assumed power in March, renewed debates emerged about the future of U.S.-Chinese relations, still perceived as the two greatest competitors for hegemonic status in international affairs. However, the reevaluation of this critical relationship has in fact known successive rounds. With the shock of the recession, the economic “scramble” for Africa (both Xi Jinping and Obama visited Africa earlier this year with grand investment plans) and not least the agitation that China feels is instigated by the United States in South East Asia, the relations between the two countries have reached occasional strains. This relationship has also been punctuated by a few frictional episodes such as accusations of cyber spying against Beijing or inescapable dilemmas over environmental issues (both fearing that unilateral reductions of CO2 emissions would slow down their economies and reduce the leverage of one against the other).

Such moments added further conundrums to this critical relationship and scholars and policy analysts alike have been keen to propose their forecasts. In the field of international relations, the scholarly explanations for U.S.-Chinese relations are commonly divided among realists, liberals and constructivists, and ranging from pessimistic to optimistic scenarios. Realists predict inescapable security dilemmas and power balancing arising between the two countries, further complicated by regional dynamics and the possession of nuclear weapons by both. On a more optimistic note, the liberal argument stresses the economic interests and institutional connections between the two countries (including membership in international organizations) as enablers of trust and cooperation. The pacifying potential of economic interdependence as well as the a priori assumption that the two countries would act as rational actors are hypothesized as factors for cooperative and peaceful relations. Constructivists frame this relation in terms of the learning process the two countries undergo and the shifting norms that can occur with repeated interactions and elites’ socialization.

In this ongoing debate, practice often precedes theory, so the dose of optimism and pessimism about U.S.-Chinese relations varies as events unfold. However, the relations between the United States and China can be best described in the long run in the framework of symbiotic realism, which provides an analytical framework for international relations in an anarchic world of instant connectivity and interdependence.

Half Lives: A Preliminary Assessment of China's Nuclear Warhead Life Extension and Safety Program

Ian Easton and Mark Stokes 

Nuclear warheads and their associated delivery vehicles (ballistic and cruise missiles) represent the most powerful and potentially destabilizing weapons in the world today. While rapid advances in information and communications technology have endowed conventional weapons systems with the “intelligence” and precision to take on a greater number of strategic missions–for example targeting aircraft carrier groups and critical command nodes–nuclear weapons remain the sine qua non of deterrence. Indeed, while every nation’s leadership fears war to some degree, the threat of war is only truly horrific for a leader who faces an enemy armed with nuclear weapons.

Sunk Costs: China and the Pirates

September 26, 2013
By Andrew Erickson and Austin Strange

China’s response to piracy has had broader implications for its overall foreign policy. Part one of a two-part series.

Maritime piracy is one of many non-traditional security challenges that confront China and other states in the 21st century. After flourishing for over two decades, why has piracy elicited a greater response from China than have other security threats? The answer lies in the confluence of strategic, political and economic factors – particularly the last: in recent years, China has developed a burgeoning “ocean economy.” Across all three of these dimensions, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN)’s robust presence in the Gulf of Aden (GoA) through fifteen deployments since December 2008 demonstrates Beijing’s growing realization that inaction is becoming less affordable in the maritime commons. As China’s GoA approach shows, it has recognized the imperative of actively protecting its ocean economy lifeline.

Attacks in and around the GoA have produced the greatest threats to sea lines of communication (SLOC) stability for much of the 21st century, though Somali piracy plummeted during 2012-13 from its 2010 peak, largely because of coordinated naval operations in the region. Despite positive results, pirate attacks continue to trend subtly upward in less-governed maritime regions such as the Gulf of Guinea, and navies remain vigilant about the threat of global piracy. States concur that piracy is largely rooted in the failure of domestic governance institutions, which, in places like Somalia, are still extremely volatile and unstable. As China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN emphasizes, military action can only mitigate the scourge of Somali piracy.

Yet with no nation willing to intervene systematically on land, seaborne mitigation is the order of the day. Piracy threatens to disrupt SLOCs through which 90% of the world’s trade flows, creating major challenges for seafaring states. China is no exception. Antipiracy operations thus represent a critical test for Beijing, not only operationally, but also in terms of policy and symbolism. The economic incentives are perhaps the strongest.

The economic drivers behind the PLAN’s deployment to the GoA and its sustained presence there are inevitable products of China’s “going out” policy. In particular, China’s economy, even more than its military, is increasingly looking to the seas for new growth outlets. That in turn makes the links between SLOC security and the stability of China’s growing “ocean economy” ever more critical.

China’s first ocean economy linkage is energy security. China’s tenth, eleventh and twelfth five-year guidelines (for the years 2001-05, 2006-10 and 2011-15, respectively) emphasized the need to address environmental concerns and diversify energy supplies. More specifically, the plans called for China to boost natural-gas consumption and find new sources of oil to reduce its coal reliance. That would entail a significant increase in both oil and gas imports in the near future, making secure SLOCs even more critical for safeguarding energy supplies to fuel China’s economic growth. Virtually all of China’s transportation runs on oil, with no immediate substitute available. Oil is also irreplaceable as a fuel for the majority of China’s military air and naval assets, not to mention trucks and off-road machinery crucial to economic growth. Since China became a net oil importer in 1993, its oil import dependence has risen steadily to roughly half of its needs at present, with 80 percent of it delivered by sea. In other words, China currently relies on maritime transport for 40 percent of its oil. Domestic estimates project Chinese oil import dependence in 2030 to be between 65-80%. Moreover, China became a net natural-gas importer in 2007, and imports of shipborne liquefied natural gas (LNG) have begun to compete with traditional fuels in coastal China, both for residential use and in the booming shipping industry.

Kishtwar Riots: The Beginning of Ethnic Cleansing?

IssueNet Edition| Date : 26 Sep , 2013

In just three weeks the Kishtwar riots have entered the penumbra of media attention. Before they fade from memory, certain points need to be made. These riots are a vivid reminder of expulsion of nearly four lac Pandits from the Valley. Resemblance is uncanny. The same Hurriyat leaders who had engineered the expulsion of Pandits from the Valley have been behind inciting the Kishtwar riots.

The Hurriyat has cleverly kept a few Hindus and Sikhs for window dressing to give their ‘freedom struggle’ a façade of secularism. These minorities are intended to be kept safe only till the ‘freedom’ is attained…

There were two prominent players involved in cleansing out Pandits from the Kashmir Valley. Syed Ali Shah Geelani was the Amir of Jamait-e-Islami which controlled the network of mosques in Srinagar. It was these mosques that broadcast the message 24 hours a day to terrorize the Pandits. The message as translated from Kashmiri was: “We do not want Pandits in Kashmir. We just want their women.” Its ominous import was unmistakable. Little wonder that Pandit families with young women were the first ones to run away. The other leader was Muhammad Yasin Malik who led his then underground group JKLF in carrying out selective target killing of prominent Pandits. This added to the terrorization and accelerated the exodus. The Hurriyat has cleverly kept a few Hindus and Sikhs for window dressing to give their ‘freedom struggle’ a façade of secularism. These minorities are intended to be kept safe only till the ‘freedom’ is attained and then they along with the Shia Muslims will meet the same fate as the Pandits. Kashmir Valley is envisaged to become a 100% Sunni fundamentalist State, another North Waziristan, whenever it suits Pakistan or its acolyte, the Hurriyat leaders.

The fact that the Hindus of erstwhile Doda District which includes Kishtwar did not meet the same fate is thanks only to one factor, the Village Defence Committees (VDC) that the threatened hamlets and villages formed. These were then armed and played a major role in preventing the exodus of Hinds from that district as also in keeping the Jammu province safe. No security force can provide protection to every family in isolated villages. VDCs did a commendable job in that role. They not only secured their villages, but also kept the ‘freedom struggle’ away from the Jammu province. That essentially kept the insurgency confined to the Kashmir Valley, despite Pakistan’s best efforts. Consequently, the VDC were the favourite target of the terrorists and their overground supporters and they lost many lives. Under pressure from what India calls separatists but essentially Pakistani agents, the politicians of the Valley have never been very sympathetic to the VDCs. Mufti Muhammad Saeed of PDP had in fact tried to disband them when he became the Chief Minister. .

Why China Will Disappoint the Pessimists Yet Again

By Jim O’Neill Sep 26, 2013

China’s eagerly anticipated “hard landing” hasn’t happened yet, and recent indicators make me wonder (not for the first time) if it ever will. In the past two months, the Chinese economy has actually shown signs of accelerating.

Constant pessimism in financial markets about the country’s prospects is only partly guided by economic analysis. There’s also the faith-based view that growth as rapid as China’s simply can’t go on -- and that a non-democratic country really shouldn’t expect to prosper. Many skeptics have been highlighting China’s impending collapse for almost as long as I have been following the country. Maybe the skeptics should be viewed a little more skeptically.

By the end of this year, China’s gross domestic productwill be roughly $9 trillion, making its economy comfortably more than half the size of the U.S., and half as big again as Japan. I recall once projecting that China might be as big as Japan by 2015. The country’s far ahead of that optimistic schedule.

China’s economy is already more than three times the size of France or the U.K., and half as big again asBrazil, Russia and India combined. Of the four BRIC countries, China is the only one to have exceeded my expectations. The other three have done less well than I’d hoped.

As I mentioned in a previous column, China is in effect creating another India every two years -- making a mockery of those who’ve argued that India’s democratic model is more likely to deliver long-term economic success. China is already more than four times bigger than its southern neighbor. India’s economy won’t rival China’s for a very long time, if ever.
One Trillion

With GDP growth of 7.5 percent, inflation running about 3 percent, and a currency that’s rising gently against the dollar, China is adding about $1 trillion a year to global GDP, easily boosting its share of the total.

For many analysts, none of this is enough. According to a popular refrain, China might have staved off disaster in 2013 and papered over the cracks yet again in the short term -- but next year (or maybe the year after), the crunch will come. Supporting this notion is a question I’m asked all the time: If China’s doing so well, how come everyone always loses money investing there? Let me explore both issues a bit further.

It isn’t clear to me why China’s economy must deteriorate next year. China’s slowdown to its current 7.5 percent growth rate was well signposted by a sharp slowdown in leading indicators. Those measures, including monetary growth and electricity usage, are no longer flashing red. Coincident indicators such as the monthly purchasing managers’ index have picked up. Unless you believe that China is somehow doomed to fail, these signs are encouraging. They suggest that the rest of this year and the first part of 2014 might see slightly stronger growth.

The more resourceful pessimists next argue that the better growth signals are coming from parts of the economy where growth is unsustainable -- such as the urban housing market and government-directed investment -- from excessive growth of credit extended by shadow banks, and not from a broadly based expansion of consumer spending. If this were clearly the case, I’d be a pessimist, too, because a buoyant China needs consumers to take the lead.

Air Power and the IAF’s Strategic Transformation

Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, PVSM,AVSM, VM, ADC Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Air Staff
September 23, 2013

1. Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a privilege and an honour for me to be here this morning as I stand in front of such a distinguished audience to speak about a subject that is so close to my heart.

2. Coming to IDSA this morning, I was filled with a deep sense of admiration and gratitude for Late Air Cmde Jasjit Singh. In his 14 long year’s stint as Director IDSA and later as founder Director of CAPS, he groomed a generation of researchers and analysts many of whom are today renowned names in Indian strategic community. His untimely and sudden departure from the Indian strategic scene has indeed left a deep intellectual void, particularly in the realm of air power. On behalf of all the men and women of the IAF, I take this opportunity to salute a great air warrior, scholar and a brilliant strategic mind whose contribution to the Indian Defence Services will forever be remembered.

3. Ladies and Gentlemen, It is my firm view that the future will witness the continued pre-eminence of air power as the primary instrument of choice for all operational contingencies. It is with this underlying theme that I intend to share my thoughts with this august gathering today on “AIR POWER AND IAF’s STRATEGIC TRANSFORMATION”.

4. Before I talk about the future growth plan for the IAF and the specific challenges that I see ahead for us, let me take some time to first talk about why do nations need to invest in strengthening their military capabilities. And more specifically, how is airpower in general and the Indian Air Force in particular best suited to offer prompt multiple response options to the political leadership in times of national security crises.

The Need for Strengthening our Military Capabilities

5. Along with the other indices, Military Power of a nation is a very important constituent of the Nation’s Comprehensive National Power. During a talk here in Delhi, a few years ago, Ashley Tellis spoke on the importance of military power and I quote, “States cannot become great powers, unless at some level, they demonstrate mastery over the creation, deployment and the use of military force in the service of national objectives” Unquote.

6. As vital pillars of our national defence, the Armed Forces need to constantly examine the type of war fighting capabilities they will field as sovereign options, for employment of military force that no other country possesses. And as the Air chief, I always ask myself as to “What can the IAF offer in terms of Sovereign options?” My talk today will hinge on examination of these sovereign options and their role in steering the ongoing transformation of IAF.
Air Power – Cutting Edge of National Power

7. Air Power is only 110 years old but has provided immense freedom from friction that is inherent in surface operations. Before the advent of air power, sea faring nations capitalized the inherent advantages of maritime power and built empires with greater freedom in far away continents.

Air Power’s Defining Moment

8. With the resounding success of Air Power in the Gulf War, it replaced maritime power because of its ability to simultaneously interfere as well as influence land/sea operations. With its unique characteristics of versatility, flexibility, speed of response and tailorability, it provides us the much needed options at a time when constraining fiscal pressures leave us with fewer material resources to address a wide spectrum of challenges. Thus, air power has the qualities of achieving strategic advantages/effects, something which is somewhat lacking in land/sea power. This is the reason why nations have treated their Air Forces as their best form of defence and have invested heavily in this process.

Dominating the World: China and the Rare Earth Industry


Authors: Nabeel Mancheri, Lalitha Sundaresan and S. Chandrashekar
To read the complete report click here

The available evidence suggests that China’s current domination of the global Rare Earths (RE) Industrial Ecosystem is the result of a well-thought out carefully crafted dynamic long term strategy. China has cleverly used the dynamics of the transition of the RE industry from the growth into the maturity phase of the lifecycle to build a dominant presence in most value chains of the RE ecosystem. China controls not only the raw materials but also the production of key intermediates that go into many hi-tech growth industries.

In contrast the US which actually pioneered many of the breakthrough discoveries in RE materials has allowed its once dominant position in RE to erode. It is now dependent on Chinese largesse to make sure enough RE materials and intermediates are available for its use. The US today has no industrial capacity in RE allowing global market dynamics to move all of them to China.

The use of RE in critical green products like hybrid cars, wind mills, lighting, fuel cells and many other advanced consumer and industrial products suggests that the industry may grow considerably. China is well positioned to use its dominant position in RE as a part of its larger global strategic aims.

Through the tracing of the evolution of the RE industry in China the study also sheds light on how strategy is formulated and implemented in China. The other thing that emerges clearly from our study on RE in China is that strategy implementation is closely linked to strategy formulation. China seems to have in place methods and processes to ensure that the various arms of the government associated with the implementation of strategy, function in an integrated way to ensure that Chinese interests are well protected.

In the case of Rare Earths, China has successfully caught up and even overtaken major global players.