1 November 2013

In 1992, Sharif supported ISI's covert activities in Kashmir, reveals book

PTI | Islamabad, October 31, 2013 | 14:52

Nawaz SharifPrime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asked the ISI in May 1992 to continue its covert operations in Kashmir, despite a stern warning by the US that it could designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, according to a new book by a former Pakistani diplomat.

Instead of changing his course, Sharif supported the spy agency ISI and the Army noting that Pakistan cannot shutdown military operations in India and to counter such a warning from the US he decided to allocate USD 2 million as a first step to reach out to the American media and the Congress.

In fact, Sharif made his then special assistant Hussain Haqqani in-charge of the lobbying efforts in the US, which the latter refused and then agreed to go to Sri Lanka on an ambassadorial posting, the book discloses.

The book 'Magnificent Delusions' by Haqqani, Pakistan's former envoy to the US, is slated to be released next week.

Giving a detailed first person account of the events in May 1992, after a letter in this regard from the then US Secretary of State James Baker was delivered to Sharif, Haqqani writes that the letter was first ignored by Sharif.

In the letter dated May 10, 1992, Baker threatened that unless Pakistan discontinued its support for terrorism in Kashmir, the US might declare it a state sponsor of terrorism.

"We have information indicating that ISI and others intend to continue to provide material support to groups that have engaged terrorism," read the letter dated May 10, according to Haqqani in the book.

"I must take that information very seriously," Baker wrote but discounted Pakistani claims that the support for the Kashmiri militants came from private groups and Islamist parties and not from the government. It appreciated Sharif's earlier promises that 'Pakistan will take distance itself from terrorist activities against India'," the letter said.

According to Baker, US law required applying "an onerous package of sanctions" against "states found to be supporting acts of international terrorism and I have the responsibility of carrying legislation."

The letter was delivered to Sharif by the then US envoy to Pakistan Nicholas Platt who also attached talking points along with. The talking points said that the US is "very confident" of its information.

"Your intelligence - Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate and elements of the Army are supporting Kashmiri and Sikh militants who carry out terrorism," Platt affirmed.

This support, Platt said, comprised "providing weapons, training and assistance in infiltration move all ambiguity. He insisted that "We're talking about covert Government of Pakistan support," the book says.

After Haqqani brought the seriousness of the content of the letter to Sharif, the Prime Minister immediately called for a meeting with his top national security team.

The meeting held a few days later was attended by the then Army Chief Gen Ashif Nawaz; the ISI head Lt Gen Javed Nasir and foreign secretary Shehryar Khan; and the author himself.

Pakistan still supports terror operations in India: US expert

PTI Posted online: Thu Oct 31 2013

Washington : Pakistan continues to support terror operations in India even after Nawaz Sharif has taken over as the new Prime Minister, a former top Pentagon official and an eminent defence analyst has told theUS Congress.

"They support terror operations in India with terrorist organisations. They support the Haqqani network and the Taliban in conducting operations against the United States and NATO and Afghanistan. They've got blood all over their hands with the casualties," General (Retd) Jack Keane said Wednesday.

Currently the Chairman of the Board of top US think-tank, Institute for the Study of War, Keane said during a Congressional hearing that he does not expect much from the current regime.

"This is a regime that is dominated by its military, who puts its military self above the state. We've got a weak civilian government, fundamentally corrupt. The economy is in the tank. We've got a raging insurgency. We've got an escalating nuclear power," Keane said.

Stating that terrorist safe-havens is a big issue, Keane recommended that US forces be permitted to target Haqqani network inside Pakistan.

"My recommendation to mitigate that risk is to permit targeting of the Haqqani network in those sanctuaries in Pakistan, and then you bring down Haqqani's operational network and certainly raise the morale of the ANSF forces to the point where they think they have a chance," he said.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said for Afghanistan to achieve security and stability, Pakistan is going to have to play a stronger and more positive role.

"Extremist groups like the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network have used areas in the Pakistan border as insurgent sanctuaries to conduct militant operations inside Afghanistan, without much resistance from the Pakistani intelligence and military forces, if not outright collaboration," she said.

"Because Pakistan is vital in establishing stability in the region, we must work with the government, but we must not continue to give billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan and hope and pray and wish that the prime minister will work with us. We must ensure that Pakistan is meeting certain benchmarks in its fight against these insurgent sanctuaries within its borders, or else Pakistan should not receive further US funding," the Congresswoman said.

China opens new highway near Arunachal Pradesh border

Published: November 1, 2013 03
Ananth Krishnan

Nearly 1 billion Yuan project comes to light after seven failed attempts over the past 50 years

China on Thursday opened a new highway that links what the government has described as Tibet’s “last isolated county” – located near the border with Arunachal Pradesh – with the rest of the country and will now provide all-weather access to the strategically-important region.

Chinese state media have hailed the opening of the highway to Medog – which lies close to the disputed eastern section of the border with India – as a technological breakthrough, with the project finally coming to fruition after seven failed attempts over the past fifty years.

China first started attempting to build the highway to Medog – a landlocked county in Tibet’s Nyingchi prefecture – in the 1960s, according to State media reports, in the aftermath of the 1962 war with India.

With Thursday’s opening of the road, every county in Tibet is now linked through the highway network, underlining the widening infrastructure gulf across the disputed border, even as India belatedly pushes forward an upgrading of border roads in more difficult terrain.

The official Xinhua News Agency on Thursday described Medog as “the last roadless county in China”. Before this week, Medog was the only one of China’s 2,100 counties to remain isolated from the highway network, according to State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

What the project will do

State media reports have focused on the development benefits that the project would bring and have sought to play down the strategic dimensions. Local officials said the road’s opening will bring down commodity prices and widen access to healthcare.

The road will also provide access to the border county for nine months of the year. That the government was willing to spend as much as 950 million Yuan – or $ 155 million – on a 117-km highway, with ostensibly few economic returns expected, has underscored the project’s importance to State planners.

Geopolitical Intelligence, Political Journalism and 'Wants' vs. 'Needs' ***

October 29, 2013
By David D. Judson

Just last week, the question came again. It is a common one, sometimes from a former colleague in newspaperdom, sometimes from a current colleague here at Stratfor and often from a reader. It is always to the effect of, "Why is Stratfor so often out of sync with the news media?" All of us at Stratfor encounter questions regarding the difference between geopolitical intelligence and political journalism. One useful reply to ponder is that in conventional journalism, the person providing information is presumed to know more about the subject matter than the reader. At Stratfor, the case is frequently the opposite: Our readers typically are expert in the topics we study and write about, and our task is to provide the already well-informed with further insights. But the question is larger than that.

For as the camp of those who make their living selling -- or trying to sell -- words and images grows exponentially via the Internet, the placement of one's electronically tethered tent takes on a new importance. This campsite has its own ecology, something scholars have taken to calling the "media ecosystem." We co-exist in this ecosystem, but geopolitical intelligence is scarcely part of the journalistic flora and fauna. Our uniqueness creates unique challenges, and these are worth some discussion in this space that is generally devoted to more specific geopolitical themes.

For the moment, let's skip how we approach subjects such as Syria's civil war, a protest by Colombian farmers or the tweet by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a chat with U.S. President Barack Obama in comparison to our colleagues in the conventional news business. Instead, let's go to the core dynamic of the media in our age and work back outward through the various layers to what we do in the same virtual space, namely, intelligence.

This requires some indulgence, so first, open a new tab in your browser window and go to the search engine Google. No cheating; you must do so before you continue this column. Now, type the following search terms: "David," "Goliath" and "mergers and acquisitions." Hit enter.

What you will see -- and please test us on this -- is essentially a survey of all the small companies of late that have purchased larger ones, along with strategies for small companies to target bigger rivals and maybe an essay or two on various sectoral consolidations. You could get the same information with a week's sorting of SEC filings. But instead, you have just circumvented that laborious process by going straight to just one of the "meta-narratives" that form the superstructure of journalism.

Meta-Narratives at Journalism's Core

Welcome to the news media's inner core. For the fundamental truth of news reporting is that it is constructed atop pre-existing narratives comprising a subject the reader already knows or expects, a description using familiar symbolism often of a moral nature, and a narrative that builds through implicit metaphor from the stories already embedded in our culture and collective consciousness. No writer can, and no writer should, resist these communicative tools. What better way to explain a small Italian tech company's challenge to Microsoft's purchase of Skype than to cast the effort as a "David vs. Goliath battle"? The currency of language really is the collection of what might be called the "meta-stories." Pick up any daily newspaper and you're sure to find Horatio Alger on the business page, Don Quixote in sports, Homer's Odyssey in the education news and a Shakespeare tragedy or two in the style section. They usually won't be clearly identified as such but you can find them. "David and Goliath" is just an unusually good example because it's irresistible to any scribe writing about a clash of Main Street and Wal-Mart. Storytellers proceed out of their own cultural canon, and Western journalists write from the Western canon.

To correct an institutional mismatch **

M. G. Devasahayam

The Hindu CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE: Events in recent years and months have struck at the very roots of the Army as an institution. Here, at the Republic Day parade this January. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

It is important to build a democratic civil-military relationship so that the nation does not face a crisis.

The editorial page lead article in The Hindu, “The general and his stink bombs” (September 30, 2013) flagged the “dysfunctional relationship between our democracy and the military.” This serious issue, directly impacting on a citizen’s security and country’s sovereignty, needs to be addressed in its proper perspective.

To do so, we need to draw on the centuries-old wisdom of Kautilya, reiterated in modern times by the General-turned-President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower: “When diplomats fail to maintain peace, the soldier is called upon to restore peace. When civil administration fails to maintain order, the soldier is called to restore order. As the nation’s final safeguard, the army cannot afford a failure in either circumstance. Failure of army can lead to national catastrophe, endangering the survival of the nation.”

This sums up the role performed by our military and the criticality of an abiding and democratic civil-military relationship, lest the nation should face a catastrophe. It should be realised that in war or conflicts, military men do not offer the “supreme sacrifice” just for money or rank. There is something far more precious called “patriotism and honour”, and this is embedded in the Indian Military Academy credo which none of the civil servants or politicians has gone through but most military leaders have. The civil-military relationship should be moored on such an anchor.

Not a democratic equation

This is not so in India’s current “democratic dispensation” wherein the politico-civil elite continues to suffer from the feudal-aristocratic mindset of Lord Alfred Tennyson (“Charge of the Light Brigade” – 1854): “Theirs not to reason why,/Theirs but to do and die.” This was reflected in the observations made by the Union Minister of State for Defence while delivering the Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Memorial Lecture in mid-2012: “The military forces have remained loyal to the elected government and have been its obedient servant.” Such an equation is not democratic.

Ironically, it is the military leaders who have attempted to define a democratic civil-military relationship. In his treatise “The Soldier and the State” (1998), the former Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, lays it down with a fair amount of clarity: “The modern military profession exists as part of the government insofar as the term ‘government’ includes the executive departments of the nation-state... Modern democracies therefore pay great attention to the supremacy of the political class over the military in governance, normally referred to as ‘civilian control of the military.’ This is clearly how it should be, since all ultimate power and decision making should be wielded by the elected representatives of the people.”

On the eve of demitting office in 2012, General V.K. Singh fully endorsed this view with a compelling caveat: “I am a firm believer in civilian supremacy over the military in a democracy. I subscribe to the views of Admiral Bhagwat. However, civilian supremacy must always be rooted in the fundamental principles of justice, merit and fairness. Violation of this in any form must be resisted if we are to protect the Institutional Integrity of our Armed Forces.”

The combined views of the former chiefs of the Navy and the Army set forth certain non-negotiable imperatives for the civil-military relationship: democracy as a vibrant and functioning entity with the “elected representatives of the people” running the government as per established democratic norms; the military profession existing as part of such government; civilian supremacy to be exercised by the “elected representatives of the people”; such supremacy to be rooted in the principles of justice, merit and fairness; a violation of this can be resisted to protect the institutional integrity of the armed forces.

The Slow Death of American Defense ***

October 31, 2013

The bottom may be starting to fall out of the U.S. defense budget. I do not refer to numbers when I say this. I am not interested in numbers. I am only interested in public support for those numbers.

For decades since Pearl Harbor, the American public has firmly and quietly acquiesced to a robust military presence around the globe in defense of freedom. The Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy in Hawaii in 1941 shocked the public into the immediate need to defeat the Axis powers. Then the Cold War reigned for 44 years following World War II -- ignited in the public mind by the Korean War. Because Communism represented such a demonstrable ideological and geopolitical threat, even those who were ordinarily isolationist put aside their reservations and henceforth became committed to a big army, a big navy, and a big air force. True, after the Cold War there was an urge towards reduced defense budgets, manifested during the Clinton presidency. But 9/11 revealed that as but a brief interlude. The defense budget thus skyrocketed during the younger Bush administration.

But now the world is changing in a number of ways that do not obviously argue for such a robust defense. Notice, I used the word "obviously." Certainly, defense needs are pressing, but they are becoming so in a somewhat subtle and obscure way. Thus, the public is having a hard time being convinced.

For example, defense experts understand the importance of "presence" -- that is, having enough warships and fighter jets in a region to reinforce American diplomacy, reassure allies and deter possible adversaries such as the Chinese. But the public may ask: Well, if there is no obvious and direct threat to the United States, couldn't we reduce the numbers of those ships and planes a bit -- or more than a bit?

And by the way, the public may also ask: Just why do we need a big army? After all, we're not going to fight anymore of those stupid wars in the Middle East. Actually, we might need a big army for an occupation of part of North Korea, if the regime there ever unraveled. But that is the kind of hypothetical example the public would naturally be skeptical about.

Of course, the public may not like the idea of a radical regime such as Iran's getting a nuclear weapon. Thus, the public may countenance an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities at some stage if negotiations fail. But if that attack ever involved more than just firing missiles from offshore for longer than, say, a week, the public could easily turn against the White House. And a war against Iran might require a campaign lasting many weeks, with many unintended consequences.

The American public just has never been enthusiastic about great military crusades unless the threat against the homeland is concrete and immediate. Policy intellectuals sometimes talk breezily about how Americans are willing to sacrifice. No! A democratic public, in fact, hates sustained sacrifice unless it involves its own core self-interest.

Indeed, humanitarian interventionists have been confronting this very dilemma for two decades now. Remember, the public tolerated humanitarian interventions in the Balkans even as it was never enthusiastic about them. And it tolerated them only because there were no American casualties. Once casualties mounted in Iraq, and Afghanistan looked increasingly like a stalemate, public support for those wars dropped precipitously.

An Agreement Among Unequals

SOUTH ASIA PROGRAMMore from this author...
OP-ED OCTOBER 29, 2013


China keeps sending seemingly contradictory signals, indicating that it is not ready for any meaningful compromise on the border but also that it wants a non-confrontational relationship with India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to China last week was, by all appearances, a success. Coming just a few months after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to New Delhi, it left the impression of healthy and sustained working relations. The trip was fruitful, producing nine signed agreements, including the much-discussed-in-India Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), as well as an agreement on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers. A closer look indicates, however, that the visit only institutionalised the status quo at best, or, if one takes a more pessimistic view of India's situation, reflected the deterioration of its regional position. To guard against the latter, India ought to strengthen partnerships with neighbours — China will certainly not be shy about doing the same.

The new BDCA, the fifth since 1993, commits the two sides to "maximum self-restraint". It states that neither side shall use its military capability against the other. The two sides will also have to give notice of patrols along the border and will ensure that "they shall not follow or tail patrols on the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas."

The agreement does not address the border issue per se and thus, to some extent, institutionalises the status quo. It has been criticised for de facto allowing what India used to consider border violations. While it is presented by both sides as a means of ensuring the safety of a border area (where, indeed, not a single bullet has been fired since 1975), the agreement is primarily a tool for the political management of bilateral relations. It does not constitute a guarantee against potential future incidents. The safety of the border area is likely to remain dependent on future political tensions between the two countries. The BDCA is, however, a pragmatic and realistic answer to a rapidly changing situation along the border, where the construction of new military infrastructure and the deployment of additional troops on both sides increase the risk of incidents.

What is perhaps more worrisome is the regional context in which the border agreement is taking place. China continues its longstanding strategy of counterbalancing India by supporting Pakistan; just days before Singh's visit, Beijing announced it would sell two additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan at a time when Islamabad is increasing its arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons. Moreover, India cannot ignore China's sudden diplomatic burst in Southeast Asia. President Xi Jinping recently visited Malaysia, while Li attended the ASEAN and East Asia summits before visiting Thailand and Vietnam. Beijing is trying to improve relations with its southern neighbours after years of tension, bringing tangible economic benefits to its new partners in the process. In so doing, it widens existing fissures among ASEAN states. Moreover, Delhi looks with increasing suspicion at Chinese arms exports to the region.

The effort may not be aimed primarily at India — observers underline the growing China-Japan competition in the area — but it will affect all of India's ASEAN partners. It is hardly a coincidence that Chinese analysts commenting on Singh's visit underline the contrast between the confrontational Japanese and accommodating Indian attitudes vis-à-vis border issues with China, and the independence of India's foreign policy, in a clear attempt to pull the two apart. Russia, India's traditional strategic and defence partner, is unlikely to be of much help as it needs to export arms to sustain its domestic defence industry and has become China's main arms supplier.

US-India Defence Trade: Sizing up the competition

By Col Woolf P Gross
Issue Vol. 27.2 Apr-Jun 2012 | Date : 30 Oct , 2013

US Secretary of Defence Leon E Panetta meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

American defence suppliers realise that India is perhaps the largest potential market open to them in the world today. But so do all the competition. This is not a market in which to make a quick buck. India qualifies as a valid customer fulfilling the three essential requirements, namely demonstrable and active threats to its national security, an abiding interest in addressing and staying ahead of these threats with leading-edge technology and a reasonably sufficient exchequer to be able to respond to these threats.

Any analysis of competition must be cognizant of India’s substantial and growing capability to cater to its own national security requirements…

In a recent op-ed, Commodore C Uday Bhaskar (Retd), former Director of the Indian Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses, noted that paradoxically, the world’s two largest democracies have had, “an estranged relationship for over 50 years.” That “estrangement” underwrote the virtual absence of the US as a significant defence supplier to India for most of that half-century. The notable exception perhaps proving the rule was the three-year US Military Assistance Program book — ended by the Chinese incursion in the fall of 1962 and the 22-day India-Pakistan War in September 1965.

The Bhaskar article underscored the Johnny-come-lately aspect of the entry, to be accurate, re-entry of the US into the contemporary Indian military supply context. The renewed relationship, an outgrowth of the mutually-stated US-India “strategic partnership” that was enunciated in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and accelerated following the 60-hour orgy of terrorism in Mumbai in November 2008, is just beginning to bear visible fruit with the delivery of C-130J military transport aircraft.

P-8I Multi-Mission Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Four international defence suppliers to India over the years in order of volume have been Russia and its predecessor, the USSR, Israel, the United Kingdom and France. Any analysis of competition, however, must be cognisant of India’s substantial and growing capability to cater to its own national security requirements. In point of fact, the hitherto largely public sector defence production establishment supplies the bulk of the needs of the military, paramilitary and armed police equipage. This capability encompasses virtually all of the wheeled vehicles required by the services, the bulk of small arms and crew-served weapons through light artillery, most communications and C2, and currently, virtually all naval and Indian Coast Guard surface vessels many of which are of Indian indigenous design. India’s complex of arsenals, ordnance factories and parastatal corporations domestically build a variety of tactical and transport aircraft, though predominantly of foreign design and/or under international licence.

India has been less successful in designing and developing more complicated military hardware despite several notable, perhaps notorious efforts, in this context. One recalls the abortive effort to create a multi-role fighter aircraft, the HF-24 Marut that began as a joint project with the other prime mover of the erstwhile Non-Aligned Movement – Egypt. The latter quickly dropped out of the picture and India’s focal aircraft industry company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), actually produced a number of HF-24s that went briefly into service with the Indian Air Force (IAF). In a more sophisticated follow-on to the HF-24, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the HAL has spent the last quarter century trying to operationalise the “Tejas” Light Combat Aircraft. Although the design is indigenous, the few LCAs flying to date are powered by the GE F404 engine with a possible shift to the more powerful F414 engine when/if the Tejas Mk II goes into serial production.

India has been less successful in designing and developing more complicated military hardware.

Making Sense of LoC: Internal Politics & Bilateral Firings

31 October 2013
D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS 

Why have our Line of Control (LoC) and the international border in J&K has suddenly become violent? After ceasing fire for almost a decade, what has substantially changed between India and Pakistan that is echoing along the LoC/IB in J&K? Especially, when there is a democratically elected government and the civil society at large in Pakistan prefer a positive bilateral relationship between the two countries? On its part, even if the Congress government has not made positive utilization of the ceasefire, certainly has never wanted to derail the process. So why has our LoC become violent now?

Primary reasons are on the other side of the LoC and international border, especially over the relationship between the military and the elected government under Nawaz Sharif. It is no secret that the relationship between Nawaz Sharif and the military, despite the efforts by his brother Shabaz Sharif, is not positive. Though the Sharifs were the product and protégés of the military and its ISI in the late 1980s and 90s, the relationship has changed dramatically between the two, when Nawaz Sharif sacked Jehangir Karamat and also his successor Pervez Musharraf. While Karamat left silently, a gentleman officer he is, his successor, the Commando staged a coup and imprisoned Sharif. The relationship between the PML-N and the military ever since is well known to everyone.

Before and after his electoral victory, Nawaz Sharif has been openly advocating better Indo-Pak relations, for two simple reasons. First, he is well aware, as a businessman, given the economic situation within Pakistan, he cannot pursue a hostile strategy towards India. A better relationship, especially over trade, J&K and gas pipelines will substantially help Pakistan. Second, he is also well aware, a positive relationship with India will also undermine military’s inputs into foreign policy making, especially relating to New Delhi and J&K. 

For Pakistan’s military, any independent foreign policy by the elected government vis-a-vis Afghanistan and India is unacceptable. While the civil society at large, including the retired military officials within Pakistan have been demanding a positive approach towards Kabul and Islamabad, they are not powerful enough to make an impact on the military. The military leadership is unlikely to accept any negotiations through the back channel between the two Prime Minsiters, as it happened between Sharif and Vajpayee through Niaz Naik and RK Mishra. Immediately after the elections, it was clear for the military that Sharif would revive the back channel diplomacy vis-a-vis India.

While the military in Pakistan is not averse to allow a track-II dialogue between the two countries, and even between the two parts of J&K, it is less likely to accept back channel diplomacy between the two Prime Ministers. Of course, even the track-II dialogue between the two countries today is packed by former military officials; hence the GHQ is comfortable with such an approach. In fact, it would be surprising to note, for some track-II dialogues, the military in Pakistan even sent serving officials!

BDCA with China and its Implications for India

October 29, 2013

The Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing and dialogues with Chinese leadership indicated a sense of optimism for the future of bilateral relations. Some of that optimism may be due to the more amiable persona of the new Chinese leadership. A scrupulous display of assertion and adjustment on key issues plus ably managing media-induced negativity by our mandarins were among hallmarks of the visit.

Significant among the nine agreements were CBMs in the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) including cooperation on Trans-border Rivers. The BDCA is a positive move but should be assessed for its implications for India. The proposal was first put forward by China, with some sense of hurry, in March 2013 ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India. Li seemed sure when he said “we hope that the seeds we have sowed today in spring will be harvested in autumn”.

New Delhi may have responded after great scrutiny. Confusing as it may have been for the Indian mandarins to decide whether to view BDCA as a sign of sincerity and intent by the new Chinese leadership or as yet another deception and denial tactic to stretch India along the LAC, the draft, followed by Depsang incursion in April, did not create a favourable first impression.

The new architecture admittedly is a rehash of previously signed (1993, 1996, 2005 and 2012) de-escalatory measures to thwart military face-offs along the LAC. Most of the Clauses outline mechanisms for exchanging information, consultations about military activities and enhancing communications between border personnel and headquarters. Of the nine, only Article VI (not to tail each others' patrols along the disputed borders) may actually become relevant in tackling real-time incidents. Equally significant is Article II addressing impending issues like the movement of nomadic herders (relevant to the Changpas on both sides.) Components enshrined in the previous pacts failed to avert PLA’s bellicose misadventure along the LAC.

While the nuances of the BDCA are yet to be fully understood, the intent may be to serve as new template to boost military interface and resolve incidents locally. It is unlikely that the pact will prevent new incidents. The past CBMs only served China consolidating in disputed areas. PLA intrusions, on an average, have been 250-300 times annually. The Government admitted 500 Chinese transgressions in previous two years - 90 percent occur in Ladakh. The present spin is that they are not intrusions but cases of transgression due to differing interpretation of ‘border’. In reality, incursions occur due to China’s never ending clamour for fresh claims i.e. in Chumur, Pangong and DBO-Depsang tracks in addition to two traditionally known disputed and in eight areas having differing perceptions. In a chilling revelation Shyam Saran report in August noted ‘area denial’ set by PLA patrolling – now de facto LAC 2- resulting in considerable shrink of Indian territory (640 sq km) in Eastern Ladakh. This negates claim of troops’ patrolling along our perceptions of the LAC.

Give Corruption a Chance

November 1, 2013

CORRUPTION, MORE often than not, seems to resemble a plague. Afghanistan, where the CIA and British intelligence (in competition with the Iranians) have quite literally been handing over duffel bags stuffed full with taxpayer money to Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and his associates, is perhaps the most prominent example of its invasiveness and hardiness. Nothing seems to be able to eradicate it. Immunization efforts fail. Mutations occur. The only course seems to be to attempt to adapt to it. For despite the efforts expended by several American presidents on behalf of Karzai’s administration, the United States has no surer way of ensuring influence and access to Karzai and his advisers than through direct cash payments into a slush fund designed to purchase the loyalty of important and powerful personages within the Afghan government. The bankruptcy of the Western strategy in Afghanistan could hardly be expressed in more vivid terms. Such failures in Afghanistan, not to mention Iraq, have occurred while the broader (and noncoercive) dimensions of “state building” or more generally “development” have also paid less-than-stellar returns. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the project of implanting “good” institutions in non-Western societies, whether through conquest (as in Iraq and Afghanistan) or through consensual, noncoercive means (as in Cambodia), has turned out to be a thankless task.

But is corruption really the source of the problem? Rather than viewing it as a pathology, as most Westerners seem to do, it is better to understand it as a type of currency used to establish and manage power relationships under certain systems of authority. As such, it is neither inherently unstable nor illegitimate. If the international community wants to eradicate corruption in the developing world, it is imperative to understand what it is, how it works, and why it is a potentially stable and legitimate system. Doing this requires stepping back and viewing the evolution of political order through a different set of lenses than most people are accustomed to, but the potential payoff for doing so is a greater sensitivity to how foreign societies actually work—and a deeper understanding of why changing them is so very difficult.

FOR SEVERAL millennia now human societies have created political structures that can be termed “states.” What we call the “modern state,” however, is a historically unique phenomenon that emerged organically in Western Europe by the nineteenth century and has been characteristic of Western political organization ever since. This modern state is defined by several characteristics, each of which is necessary for an entity to be properly termed a state. These characteristics are a monopoly on legitimate violence over a defined territory and population over which no higher authority exists. Defined as such, it is clear that what is being described is a type of political authority and critically, not a type of administration. Having a monopoly on legitimate violence over a defined territory and population does in fact require organization and administration. It does not, however, require a particular type of “administration” (specifically, it does not require what Max Weber called a “rational-legal” bureaucracy). It is, as is well understood, entirely possible (and logically coherent) to have a modern state operate according to principles other than those that define modern Western societies (that is, an administration or bureaucracy that functions on the basis of meritocracy underpinned by specific liberal notions of fairness and ethical conduct). In other words, it is critical to bear in mind that the problem that the development community is seeking to confront is not primarily a problem of administration (although these too of course exist): it is, instead, primarily a problem of authority. Having a modern state (replete with modern administrative forms) does not imply anything about how power and authority actually function within it. The modern state does not create the emergence of modern legal-rational forms of authority, and so simply creating those administrative structures will not do anything to guarantee that they actually function internally in a salutary way.

India & China: An Assessment of October 2013 Agreements

31 October 2013
An Overview of Contemporary Issues and Relations
Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Dipankar Banerjee
Mentor, IPCS 

History will acknowledge the Year 2013 as a good one for India-China relations. That this was during the last phase of the UPA II rule in India and when the Government was not enjoying a particularly good year domestically, should add to the credit of both. This, despite the fact that no new ground was laid nor any new path broken that would lead to an early resolution of outstanding issues. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s October meetings in Beijing, perhaps his last to China as the nation’s highest representative, will be remembered as a solid workmanlike visit that if carried forward, has the potential to lead to better things.

Both China’s top new leaders engaged with India this year. Xi Jinping met the PM at Durban on Mar 28 at the BRICS Summit. Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Delhi and Mumbai on May 19-21 in what was his first overseas visit after assuming the post of Premier. It is to the credit of China’s new leaders that in their first year in office, they have shown interest in improving relations with India. 

Xi Jinping was very forthcoming at his Durban meeting. He called on maintaining high level and increased reciprocal visits and contacts and strengthening strategic and political communication between both countries. He called on the armed forces on both sides to deepen mutual security trust and broaden exchanges and cooperation. Xi also called for both countries to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the border dispute “as soon as possible.”

In the joint statement at the end of the visit Li Keqiang and Manmohan Singh stuck to the formula that “India and China have a historic opportunity for economic and social development and that the realization of this goal will advance peace and prosperity in Asia and the world at large”. The joint statement also referred to progress in all other areas where cooperation was being addressed between the two countries. 

Let us have no illusions as to what led to these overtures. The US pivot to Asia, the present stand-off in South China Sea with ASEAN countries, as well as the contestation over Daiyoutai/Senkaku islands with Japan all adversely affect China. North Korea’s apparent autonomous position regarding its nuclear weapons and Tokyo under Abe becoming a ‘normal’ state with an Army and a more robust military capability, have all opened up many flanks for China. 

Along with this are the major domestic issues that keep the Chinese leaders awake at night. This includes how to legitimise the rule of the Chinese Communist Party over the entire nation? Correct the economic slow down and meet the challenges of a political transition at home. The nation of Sun Zi will not allow so many fronts to open up simultaneously. India offers a good opportunity to close at least one. While China does not consider India as a serious adversary, in combination and partnership with other powers and the USA it merits attention. 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in October came at an opportune time for both sides to look seriously at mending fences. The Border Defense Cooperation Agreement was appropriate to reduce possibilities of a clash on the border. Of course the BDCA did not go far enough. A significant step even before border finalization would involve; separation of forces, not increasing troop presence or undertaking military activity close to the border. This would call for a buffer or a no-man’s land. But, India cannot be expected to agree to it. China already has a large advantage and India has limited or no ability to close this infrastructure gap. Till then greater transparency of military activities and resolving these issues through increased border contacts would have to suffice. 

Another measure would be increasing military to military contacts at other levels and joint exercises. These were started and were going well till permission for a visit was denied by China to a senior Indian military commander in Jammu & Kashmir. Resuming senior military to military contacts and visits and increasing their frequency would help eradicate suspicion. 

Many more steps would be required before the border issue is resolved. The Tibetan question is paramount among them. As long as India wishes to use the Tibetan card we will have wait and watch. Meanwhile the move forward on sharing information on the Himalayan rivers is welcome. Measures such as these if implemented sincerely will act as additional confidence building measures. As would a liberal visa regime which would result in greater contact among peoples. Among all countries of the world India has probably the least people to people and civilizational contact with China. A liberal visa regime should address this earliest. 

To meet the aspirations and opportunities of the 21st Century will need greater cooperation between India and China. A task before the next government in Delhi would be to fulfill this for the good of the people of India. 

This series is published by IPCS in collaboration with the Chennai Centre for China Studies (CCCS) 

Avro replacement Programme on the Cusp of Hope and Despair


October 31, 2013

Some recent media reports indicate that questions have been raised about exclusion of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a Defence Public Sector Undertaking, from the Avro replacement programme of the Indian Air Force (IAF). This news comes on the heels of the earlier press reports writing off the project as a non-starter soon after the Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the month of May this year.

This will not be music to the ears of those who hammered out this game-changing model for acquisition-cum-indigenous production of a high value platform. But it may be too early to write a requiem for the project.

The RFP was issued to eight foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and they were given five months to respond. On their request, the deadline for submission of the bids has been extended by another two months. The bids are now due sometime in the month of December 2013. This shows that despite all the criticism about the viability of the project, both the foreign OEMs and their potential Indian Production Partners (IPPs) continue to see some promise in the project. A policy flip-flop at this stage could, however, make this silver lining vanish.

The Hawker Siddeley 748M Avro aircraft, inducted in 1960s, have been exploited by the Indian Air Force for close to half-a-century for transportation and other purposes. These have become obsolete and need to be replaced, particularly in view of the rising difficulties in maintaining the existing fleet.

The initial idea was to buy 56 aircraft under the Buy (Global) category as no one manufactures these aircraft in India. The option of asking HAL to manufacture the aircraft did not seem workable considering the urgency of replacing the existing fleet of the Avro aircraft and the heavy commitment of the HAL to a large number of programmes: manufacture of Su-30 MI, Hawk, Dornier-228, ALH Mk III, ALH Mk IV, Cheetal Helicopters and upgrade of Jaguars – just to name a few.

Teeth to Tail Ratio: Looking beyond the Obvious


For India, a country struggling to find its soul after centuries of foreign domination, the primary strategic objective would of necessity, remain the human development of its people. While this can only come about through a durable peace guaranteed by the power of its armed forces, the resources required for maintaining an adequate defence posture cannot be unlimited. The national leadership will meet the demands of the armed forces to the extent possible, but there are competing demands too, equally pressing, which have to be considered. It is therefore vital that the limited funds available for defence be put to the best possible use.

Within the military, as also in the political and bureaucratic circles, there is constant talk of reducing the ‘tail’ component of the force to provide funds for modernisation and strengthening of the ‘teeth’. The former refers to the various supporting services that deal with provisioning, repair, maintenance and other requirements of the force, both in peace and war. Over the years, a lot of flab has been cut and new efforts continue in this direction; but it must be appreciated that beyond a certain limit, reducing the logistic support component of a field force will be counterproductive and may lead to adverse consequences in war.

But are the logistic support elements of the Armed Forces the only component of the tail? A look at the larger national environment gives a different picture and suggests an alternative and more efficient method of reducing expenditure that could generate more funds for the modernisation process. Outside the ambit of the armed forces, a significant portion of the tail is found in India’s eight Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and 39 Defence Ordnance Factories (OFs), all of which come under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence (MoD). The DPSUs and the OFs were mandated to become the backbone of India’s defence production, but sadly, that promise remains unfulfilled. DPSUs were required to make the country self-sufficient in upper end technology items to cater for the strategic requirements of the Forces in terms of aircrafts, helicopters, warships, submarines, heavy vehicles and earth movers, missiles, electronic devices and components, alloys and special purpose steel etc. They account for 65 percent of the total value of production of the public sector defence industrial output, the remaining 35 percent being contributed by the OFs which deal with lower technology items. Despite massive financial and manpower outlays to these government public sector undertakings, we are still importing about 75 per cent of our requirements. In addition, as the armed forces are a captive market, the outflow from the defence budget for purchase of its requirements from the public sector is both astronomically high and of inadequate quality.

We should look into trimming our dependence on defence public sector units and not in the field force to reduce the tail component of the armed forces. This can result in huge cost savings as well as provide our soldiers with better and more reliable equipment and stores. A case study of the Ashok Leyland Stallion (ALS) vehicle, which is currently in service, is instructive. As of now, the Armed Forces have about 60,000 vehicles in their inventory. While exact figures are not available, the maintenance of this fleet at this level would perhaps require an addition of 6000 to 8000 vehicles every year.

The ALS is manufactured by Ashok Leyland, which is an Indian company. The Vehicle Factory Jabalpur (VFJ) undertook the manufacture of ALS in 1997-98 based on transfer of technology (ToT) from M/s Ashok Leyland Ltd. The aim was ostensibly to keep the large workforce available gainfully employed. However, in spite of the passage of so many years little progress in implementation of the ToT of these vehicles has been achieved by the factory. The progress of in-house manufacture of components/ assemblies remains poor, the dependence on trade for various items despite having ToT is high and the production costs are astronomical. The Army, unfortunately, continues to foot the bill.

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy,

October 23, 2013
Can Negotiations Crack the Deadlock in Afghanistan?

The war in Afghanistan is likely to be a "grinding stalemate" after NATO forces depart at the end of 2014, as long as the U.S. Congress continues to foot the bill for Afghan forces battling the Taliban, says CFR's Afghanistan expert Stephen Biddle. However, he says it's questionable to assume Washington's long-term financial support. The most practical course for Western powers in the long term is to support a negotiated settlement that "involves real compromise from both sides," although he says the process will be trying. Biddle says that the Pakistanis, who have protected the Taliban all these years, just want to ensure that the government that eventually emerges in Kabul is not pro-Indian.

The Afghan war now has been going on since 2002. Are we reaching the end of it? What's the prognosis?

President [Barack] Obama has said that in 2014 Afghans will have full responsibility for waging the war, and that it will come to "a responsible end." But the war will certainly not come to an end at the close of 2014. The U.S. presence might end, depending on decisions that haven't been made yet, but the war will certainly continue. And the long-term prognosis for the war is up in the air at this point. The conduct of the war militarily is basically stalemated, and my guess is that after 2014 it will continue to be stalemated.

A reasonable estimate of what Afghan security forces will be able to do after 2014 is that they'll be able to hold what they have, but I don't think they'll be able to expand the government's zone of control very much. And the Taliban will continue to hold some strategically important real estate, especially in the eastern part of the country, but also in some parts of the south. We're probably not going to see the Taliban rolling into Kabul and defeating the government militarily, but neither are we going to see the government defeating the Taliban militarily. What we're likely to get is a grinding stalemate that continues as long as the U.S. Congress pays the bills to keep the Afghan National Security Forces (NSF) fighting.

What is the likelihood, in your opinion, of that happening?

In the near term, the likelihood is quite good. My guess is Congress will pay whatever the administration requests for a few years. The problem is they have to keep doing that indefinitely, unless you think that the U.S. Congress's patience is going to exceed the Taliban's. And that's a pretty demanding assumption to make, because the Taliban is fond of the cliché that "the Americans have the watches, but we have the time." It is famously patient.

So, if there's no means for the Afghan government to bring the war to an end militarily, you're left with only two scenarios in the long-term: either the Taliban does in fact wait us out, when sooner or later the U.S. Congress shaves the appropriation to the point where the Afghan military can't function successfully, or we negotiate a settlement. Those are the only long-term plausible outcomes. So, I think in practical terms the acceptable end state for the West in this war is some kind of a negotiated settlement; and therefore the real issue is how do we get a settlement we can live with, what will its terms be, and what do we have to do in order to make those terms livable for us?

Over the past year there was a lot of publicity given to an effort to get negotiations started, and that didn't work out. Where do things stand now?

Negotiations are deadlocked right now, and there's a lot of skepticism and concern about the prognosis for talks--and this is understandable. This is a very hard negotiating problem in a lot of ways. Just in terms of the basic structure of the talks, these are hard negotiations. There are lots and lots of independent players with veto power: there's the Afghan government; there's potential opponents to a deal with in Afghan society, like northerners and women's groups who are typically very skeptical about concessions to the Taliban; there's the Pakistanis who are obvious veto players. There are at least three different Taliban factions, many of whom could decide not to go along with the deal. There's the U.S. government. There's the British government. There's the German government. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen associated with this soup.

Pakistan to Begin Exporting JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jets

By Zachary Keck
October 30, 2013

Pakistan will begin exporting the JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter jet next year Pakistani media outlets reported on Friday, citing unnamed officials from the Ministry of Defense Production.

According to a report that appeared in multiple Pakistani newspapers, “The Pakistan Air Force has been assigned [a] target of exporting 5 to 7 JF-17 Thunder planes next year and discussions in this regard are under way with Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Qatar and other friendly countries.”

The JF-17 Thunder aircraft is a low-cost, single engine multirole fighter aircraft jointly developed by China and Pakistan. It is referred to as the FC-1 Xiaolong by China.

The JF-17 is powered by the Russian-made RD-93 turbofan engine, although there have been reports that later aircraft may be powered by a Chinese-made engine due to Russian concerns that the JF-17 would compete for international sales with its own MIG-29 Fulcrum.

According to Sino Defense, the joint project was launched in 1999 with China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) as the lead contractor for the development and manufacture of the FC-1 Xiaolong and Pakistani Aeronautical Complex (PAC) being in charge of post-sale maintenance of the jet. However, in recent years Pakistan has begun manufacturing the JF-17 Thunder domestically.

The JF-17 Thunder’s initial purpose was to provide Pakistan’s Air Force with a cheap alternative to comparable Western fighters at a time when the U.S. and allies were sanctioning Islamabad following its 1998 nuclear tests. Pakistan took delivery of its first JF-17 from China in 2007, and inducted its first JF-17 Thunder squadron in 2010. Another squadron was inducted the following year. Altogether, Pakistan may procure as many as 250 fighter jets for its own Air Force.

China is reportedly still considering equipping the PLA Air Force with the aircraft, although this is generally seen as unlikely by most analysts. Comments made by Chinese military officials have also implied that Beijing does not intend to use the aircraft itself.

For a number of years now China and Pakistan have also been touting the export potential of the JF-17 Thunder. A seemingly endless number of countries have been floated as potential buyers of the aircraft. In 2010, it was reported that China and Pakistan had already offered the plane to Indonesia, and were targeting Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Congo, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Venezuela and Zimbabwe for sales. The same year Flight Global quoted a Chinese defense industry official as saying, “We’re talking with six to eight countries about the JF-17.”

Meet the Most Crooked Cop in Afghanistan

Posted By Dan Lamothe
October 30, 2013

Afghan police chief Sarwar Jan was accused of sexually abusing teen boys on U.S. bases in Afghanistan when U.S. Marines pressed to have him removed from power in a violent district in 2010. Turns out that might only be the beginning of his crimes, though. According to new documents obtained by Foreign Policy, coalition forces also believe he extorted money from civilians, operated illegal security checkpoints and was working with the Taliban, selling the insurgent group weapons and police uniforms for cash.

The accusations are outlined in a witness statement submitted in support of Marine Maj. Jason Brezler, who faces an administrative hearing in which Marine Corps officials could toss him out of the service for warning fellow Marines about Sarwar Jan through an email on an unclassified network.

One month after Brezler sent that message to Afghanistan, Sarwar Jan's teenage servant, Aynoddin, allegedly opened fire on Marines working out in a dusty gym at Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand province. Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, Cpl. Richard Rivera and Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley - all members of a police adviser team attached to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, from Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- were killed in that Aug. 10, 2012 insider attack. A fourth Marine, Staff Sgt. Cody Rhode survived, but sustained five gunshot wounds.

The incident underscores the mixed allegiances and hostilities of some Afghan commanders, 12 years into the war in Afghanistan. Commanders like Sarwar Jan frequently resurface in new assignments after being drummed out of their old ones. The practice frustrates military forces advising them and jeopardizes the coalition's mission, according to a new witness statementsubmitted on Brezler's behalf by Paul Davies, a British civilian who worked alongside the Marines and Sarwar Jan last year in Afghanistan.

"The re-cycling of corrupt, predatory and untrustworthy (in terms of the insurgency) senior police officers is one of the most disturbing and mission-defeating aspects of the current intervention," Davies wrote in a statement dated Oct. 23 and obtained by Foreign Policy.

Sarwar Jan took command in Garmser in 2012, shocking Marines who were aware of the police commander's alleged misdeeds in another district in Helmand, Musa Qala. Sarwar Jan's alleged sales of police uniforms to the Taliban were of particular concern in light of the rash of insider attacks that killed coalition forces last year, Davies wrote. In some of those cases, insurgents dressed as Afghan forces opened fire on coalition troops.

Sarwar Jan's unsavory background is getting new attention now as Brezler, a reservist, faces an administrative hearing in November that could end his military career. A board of officers in New Orleans, the home of Marine Corps Forces Reserve, will determine whether he is guilty of "substandard performance of duty and misconduct, or moral or professional dereliction" for his unclassified email warning about Sarwar Jan, according to an Aug. 30 memo sent to Brezler by Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, who leads the reserve command.

Brezler, a New York City firefighter in his civilian life, learned about Sarwar Jan while deployed as a civilian affairs officer to Musa Qala, Afghanistan, in 2009 and 2010 (They're seen together in the photograph above). Brezler and other Marines successfully forced Sarwar Jan out as the police chief there after receiving complaints about him. When Marines deployed last year sent Brezler an email asking about the police chief, he responded with a quick warning, and then realized som