20 November 2013

India’s Emerging Blue-Water Navy

Delivery of a new aircraft carrier caps a mostly impressive year for the Indian Navy.
By Nitin Gokhale
November 19, 2013

On November 16, the Indian Navy finally took delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Adm. Gorshkov, at Sevmash Shipyard in northern Russia's Severodvinsk town. The acquisition marks a new phase in India’s quest to become a true blue-water navy.

The handover ceremony of the 44,570-tonne carrier is sure to have generated more than a passing interest within the PLA Navy and across the rest of the continent, since India will be the only country in Asia to have two aircraft carriers in its fleet. Admittedly, the 55-year old INS Viraat is “long in the tooth” as India's Navy Chief Admiral D. K. Joshi himself described it in a recent interview, but it will continue to operate until India's locally built carrier INS Vikrant becomes operational by 2017. 

At the moment, only the U.S. Navy brings that sort of capability to Asia. Although it is coming five years late – the original delivery was scheduled for 2008 – the Vikramaditya will give India the ability to project raw naval power in its “near abroad” as well as in its extended neighborhood. With a capacity to carry two dozen Mig-29 K fighter jets and 10 Kamov helicopters at any given time on board and fitted with the latest sensors and missiles, the brand-new aircraft carrier will boost the Indian Navy's firepower significantly.

But the Vikramaditya is not the only reason why the Indian Navy feels upbeat about its future capabilities. Naval aviation, long treated as a poor cousin of surface combatants in the Indian Navy, is exhibiting some new chutzpah of late. Days before Defence Minister AK Antony and flew to Russia with Joshi, the nation’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the purchase of four more Boeing P8I maritime patrol and antisubmarine aircraft in addition to the eight already contracted. The first of these eight planes was in fact parked at INS Dega airfield for everyone to see when Joshi formally inducted the newly acquired Advanced Jet Trainers Hawks into the Navy, to take training of Naval fighter pilots to the next level. Thesecond P8I landed in India on November 15.

Five Years On, Mumbai Terror Masterminds Still at Large

By Bruce Riedel
November 18th 20135:45 am

Five years after the horrific terrorist attack, the leader of Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Tayyiba hasn’t been brought to justice—and chilling details of an American jihadi’s role have emerged.

Five years ago, the city of Mumbai was attacked by Pakistani terrorists in the most important terror attack since 9/11. The 10 terrorists’ tactics have been copied by others since—for example, just weeks ago in Nairobi. We know a great deal more today than ever about the attack, its planners, and the critical American hand in the plot.

Two fabulous five-star hotels were the main targets. The Oberoi and the Taj hotels were attacked by teams of terrorists from the Pakistan-basedLashkar-e-Tayyiba group (LeT), along with the city’s train station, a restaurant that catered to foreign visitors and the rich, a Chabad House for visiting Israeli and American Jews, and the city hospital. Between November 26 and 29, 164 people died and over 300 were injured by the 10 terrorists. Six Americans were among the victims. In India, the horror is known as 26/11 and the battle to kill the terrorists as Operation Black Tornado. For the terrorists and LeT, it was Operation Bombay.

LeT had carefully chosen the targets and meticulously researched them over several years. They received considerable assistance in doing so from two sources—the Pakistani intelligence service, called the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate or ISI, and al Qaeda. Each had its own agenda for the operation. But the targets were the same—Indians, Americans, and Jews—the targets of the global jihad started by al Qaeda in the late 1990s. I pointed this out to President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team at the time in several briefings in my role as South Asia transition director after his election. The attack was intended to change dramatically the future of South Asia, perhaps even by provoking a war between the two nuclear powers rising in the subcontinent.

Today, perhaps the most shocking element of the Mumbai attack was the role played by David Coleman Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, in the intelligence collection that preceded the attack.

Today, perhaps the most shocking element of the Mumbai attack was the role played by David Coleman Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, in the intelligence collection that preceded the attack. Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to conspiracy to commit murder based on his role in the Mumbai attack. Headley was born Daood Sayed Gilani in Washington, D.C., in 1960. His Pakistani father worked for Voice of America. Headley got into trouble with the law as a youth and was arrested on drug charges. He became an asset of the DEA and was sent to spy on Pakistani drug dealers. In 2002, according to his guilty plea, he joined Lashkar-e-Tayyiba on a visit to Pakistan. Over the next three years, he says he traveled to Pakistan five times for training in weapons handling, intelligence collection, surveillance, clandestine operations, and other terrorist skills by both LeT and the ISI. He also developed contacts with al Qaeda.

Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence

Source Link
ISSSP Reflections No. 8, November 18, 2013
Authors: Arun Vishwanathan, S. Chandrashekar and Rajaram Nagappa

In an article in the FAS Strategic Security Blog, Dr. Hans M. Kristensen has quoted various statements by scientists of the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) related to modernisation of India’s missile program to arrive at the conclusion that the development and deployment of longer range missiles with multiple warheads and quick-launch capability would “indicate that India is gradually designing its way out of its so-called minimum deterrence doctrine towards a more capable nuclear posture.”

Though the arguments advanced in the paper appear logical and persuasive, they remain anchored in the Cold War logic. The two-party logic cannot be applied to understand the complex dynamic that underpins the relationship between the Sino-Pak alliance and India. Such a caricature of the more complex dynamic tends to misrepresent the realities of the relationship between these countries. 

It is fairly obvious to anyone familiar with the terrain of nuclear weapons, delivery vehicles and the weaponisation of space that it is the dynamics of competition between the US and China that acts as the trigger for many of the current happenings in Asia including South Asia. The US as the dominant power in the world is determined to preserve its preeminent status for as long as possible. It will do so irrespective of the reactions that such actions would evoke across the world. China in the pursuit of its own national interest will also act in ways to counteract and moderate the US power, especially with regard to fighting a conventional war over Taiwan.

Pakistan - in conjunction with its all-weather friend China - is using the threat of escalation of all problems with India to a nuclear war. By doing so, it is trying simultaneously to nullify India’s superior strength and weaken her internally by using state sponsored terrorism as a weapon of war by other means. Nuclear weapons including battlefield nuclear weapons are a part of its strategy to prevent any type of Indian military intervention to any act of overt and covert aggression that Pakistan may impose on India. 

India, which has fought a border war with China and numerous wars/conflict with China’s ally and partner Pakistan, has had to respond in suitable ways to ensure that her own national interests are protected. The paper, by shifting the onus of responsibility for all these happenings on to Indian shoulders chooses very conveniently to ignore these fundamental drivers for the current state of affairs.

In one paragraph towards the end of a largely India-oriented discourse on the perils of an uninformed nuclear weapons strategy, the author does refer to some of the developments in China and Pakistan. However he does not elaborate as to how those developments, which have often preceded Indian responses, should affect India’s strategies. This selective myopia converts a larger problem of war and conflict between the countries involved in, - which nuclear weapons may have a role to play - to one of India’s approach to nuclear war and nuclear deterrence as seen through a Cold War lens. As we shall see the current happenings in the Asian region suggest that this is not so.

Chinese Actions

It may be worthwhile to review some of China’s actions that are largely aimed at the US but have an inevitable impact on India’s actions and strategy. The threat is very real for India given that China deploys nuclear capable missiles like the DF-3, DF-4/4A and the DF-21 across its bases in Qinghai and Yunnan province. These missiles have the capability to reach all parts of India. 

China’s ballistic missile forces by moving from liquid fuelled missiles to solid fuelled missiles with increased mobility have reduced vulnerabilities and improved response times. The development of the new Type-094 Jin-class nuclear powered submarines and the JL-2 SLBM will further enhance China’s second strike capabilities and promote nuclear deterrence with the US and other nuclear weapon states. 

5 years since 26/11 attacks, 5 mysteries about Headley

November 19, 2013

Was 26/11 conspirator David Headley working for the CIA, the ISI or the LeT? Did he know more about the Ishrat Jahan module? Five years since the terror attacks and we are yet to find clear answers on the many mysteries regarding this man. Vicky Nanjappa reports

In a week from now it will be five years since India witnessed the most horrific terror strike on its soil -- the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Arrested CIA mole-turned-terror operative David Coleman Headley will without a doubt continue to be the most mysterious person in this entire episode.

Reading his interrogation report over and over again would indicate that Headley has not spoken everything that one should know. Be it his contacts in the Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence or even the Ishrat Jahan episode, Headley has never spoken anything clearly.

An officer with the National Investigation Agency who had questioned him in US in 2010 tells rediff.com that Headley is clearly hiding a lot.

“Although he has nothing to lose at the moment, it is clear that he is still under pressure,” the officer says.

The NIA is aware that it will never get to question Headley again. The first time the agency was allowed to quiz him was part of an American move to woo India. The very fact that the US allowed India to get access to David Headley was itself surprising since that country has a stringent policy of not allowing anyone to access its nationals.

As such an extradition is completely ruled out and everyone in Indian security agencies is aware of it. 

Mystery 1: Was Headley an LeT operative or ISI agent?

Was Headley an agent of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or the ISI? He speaks at length about his connection with the Lashkar, but is very guarded when it comes to the ISI. He speaks of a Sajid Mir and a Major Iqbal who had assisted him during the 26/11 attacks, but does not spill the exact details about them.

Indian agencies say that he was working for both the Lashkar and the ISI. With the Lashkar his concern was only the 26/11 attacks and he was paid $25,000 by them.

However, along with this he was also carrying out instructions from the ISI. While the Lashkar ordered him to survey the hotels which were attacked, the ISI was particular that Headley provides them with a map of the nuclear facilities in India.

On his return to Pakistan, he had met with the bosses of the ISI and the Lashkar separately and passed on information individually to each outfit.

Mystery 2: If Headley was passing info to US, why weren't the US alerts specific?

The US has claimed that it had alerted India in 2006 itself about the possibility of such an attack. Intelligence Bureau officials in India, who had dealt with the same, say that the alert was extremely vague in nature.

There was no clear cut mention about an American national surveying targets in India. The Indian agencies too worked on this alert and had in fact mentioned the same to the crime branch of the Mumbai police.

While the US intelligence stated vaguely that the Lashkar was planning a major attack, the Indian agencies went one step ahead and said that it could be an attack from the sea.

What the intelligence agencies in India question is why the US did not keep Headley under surveillance after they realised that he had turned rogue?

“He was very much in the US and normal practice indicates that once an agent turns rogue, the heat on the person doubles. However, that was not the case with Headley and this raises a very major doubt,” an officer points out.

In New Delhi the suspicion is that it was Headley who was giving information to the US intelligence agencies regarding the attacks.

“Headley was the in know of all of the attacks details, and if it was him (who was passing inputs to then US) then why were the alerts not specific,” ask the Indian agencies.

Mystery 3: How did Headley manage to leave US, enter India?

Headley appeared to have had a cake walk in India. The first ones to be blamed are the immigration team in India which normally allows US citizens into the country without much verification. The second question is how did Headley so easily manage to leave the US after turning rogue?

The big question is how did a rogue agent manage to get visa papers and enter India? Investigators quote run of the mill instances regarding this aspect and say that the documents were forged. However, the fact is that he came to India more than once and still no one smelt anything fishy.

The problem is that when the investigations into Headley commenced in 2009 after his visa documents were missing from the Indian consulate in Chicago for a considerable amount of time. This broke the tempo of the investigation and even when the NIA officials visited the US to question Headley they did not have the access to these papers.

After much protest and repeated requests by India, the papers were mysteriously found in the record room of the consulate from where it had gone missing. The investigators in India said that this led to a great deal of confusion.

Worse, during the questioning the Indian sleuths were not able to ask relevant questions regarding Headley’s travel details. His answers were that his friends Tahawwur Rana had helped him and till date India has not got access to this man.

Mystery 4: Who was Headley's 'honey bee'?

The latest revelation is regarding Headley’s Indian “honey bee” who helped in the 26/11 conspiracy.

However, Indian agencies call this a fiction of the imagination by the US agencies who could have planted the same on the British authors Cathy Scott and Adrian Levy. The fact is that Headley did have a lot of local contacts and despite investigators not mentioning anything to this effect it is clear from the earlier parts of the probe that he was in touch with some locals.

Right from day one, the investigators’ ‘Focus only on Pakistan’ message was clear. The idea was not to dilute the case against Pakistan but in the long run the Indian investigators only ensured that some key anti-national elements within the country were allowed to get away.

Headley’s “honey bee” could have been a low ranking intelligence informer in India. These informers have no loyalties and can share anything to earn a quick buck. Headley roamed around with the elite and gained access to hotels without being doubted. In turn he also kept in contact with local informers whose information was passed on to him by the ISI who also keep a tab on the Indian informers.

Mystery 5: Does Headley know more about Ishrat Jahan module?

The Ishrat Jahan case is another mystery attached to the Headley probe. While this has no connection to the 26/11 attacks, the manner in which Headley spoke about her is an indication that the Lashkar had a deadly module coming up in India aimed at big time political assassinations.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has given a clean chit to Ishrat and termed the encounter as fake. However, what the CBI did not do was to give a clean chit to the rest of the persons with her -- which raised a big doubt as to what she was doing with those persons.

In the words of Headley quoted from the NIA investigation report, which has surprisingly gone missing but a copy remains in rediff.com’s possession, “On being asked about Ishrat, I state that in late 2005 Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi introduced Muzzamil to me. Zaki spoke about the accomplishments of Muzzamil as a Lashkar commander. Zaki also sarcastically mentioned that Muzzamil was a top commander whose every big project had ended in a failure. Zaki added that Ishrat Jahan module was one of Muzzamil’s botched up operations. Apart from this I have no other knowledge of Ishrat Jahaan”.

The NIA claims that it did not investigate further since there was nothing concrete that Headley had said. The fact, however, remains that they cannot cross-verify the information yet again since the chances of questioning him again are impossible.

Accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia:Importance of Chabahar to India

Issue. 4

Aryaman Bhatnagar and Divya John
08 November 2013

This report seeks to examine the significance of the Chabahar Port for India. It discusses the constraints and challenges that lie ahead for India in this regard as well as the steps taken by Tehran to develop the port.

Love in the Time of Bollywood

India's Strained Romance Revolution
November 14, 2013

A couple stands near the seafront during heavy rains in India's financial capital Mumbai June 7, 2008. 

At nine every morning, Sana dons her burqa and rides pillion on her father’s scooter. He drops her off at the all-women’s college in Bhopal where she is completing a Master’s degree in English literature. On most days, though, Sana does not attend classes. Once inside the college gates, she throws off her burqa, changes into her “Westerns” (typically low-rise jeans and a fitted t-shirt), and leaves. Her boyfriend of two years, Aftab, picks her up on his motorbike, and they zoom off to spend the day together.

Sana’s hometown is the sleepy capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Situated on the banks of a glorious lake, Bhopal is beautiful. But it is known around the world for something else: an industrial disaster in 1984 that killed 2,259 people. Today however, Bhopal seems much like any other bustling Indian city. Next to sepia Mughal-era ruins are the familiar signs of urban development: glitzy new shopping malls, McDonald's, and bright new coffee shops, such as Bake-n-Shake and Cafe Coffee Day. These are the kinds of places that one can take a boyfriend when cutting class, and they are filled with young couples in love.

Despite the new additions to Bhopal’s landscape, though, it still is not easy to carry on an illicit romance. “I can never let my family find out,” Sana says. “If they do, they will drag me out of college and marry me off.” In fact, she has been betrothed to her cousin, a customary practice in her Muslim family, since she was 16. At the time of her engagement, Sana says, she was too young to understand what was happening. She was still in school and had, until then, led a rather sheltered life. She only realized the implications of her engagement after she began college. But by then, she had “adjusted” to the idea of marrying her cousin. In all these years, she has met him only twice. She is still expected to marry him when she graduates. Of her boyfriend, Aftab, she says, “I would love to marry him, but my family does not agree. He is Shia; I am Sunni. Also, he is unemployed.”

China’s Energy Rebalancing: A New Gazpolitik?

China’s energy rebalancing may be as important and difficult as its economic equivalent.
By Hamid Poorsafer
November 18, 2013

China’s rapidly growing economy has put the nation’s political leaders under pressure to secure energy resources for stable development. The country’s urbanization and economic rebalancing will have substantial consequences for the world’s energy markets. According to British Petroleum (BP), China will account for 25 percent of growth in total energy demand through 2030 while accumulating an energy production-consumption deficit greater than that of the U.S. or Europe. China’s 2012 energy mix comprised 68 percent coal, 18 percent oil and only 5 percent natural gas, compared to 20 percent coal, compared to 37 percent oil and 30 percent natural gas for the United States.

Many countries have mapped energy policies tied to the year 2020, a key inflection point for countries to benchmark and evaluate their policies. In November 2010, the EU outlined an ambitious plan to reform its energy markets and integrate its internal market by 2020, in addition to placing several environmental and efficiency targets. In November 2000, Russia approved the Main Provisions of the Russian Energy Strategy to 2020, providing key export and production targets for its hydrocarbons. Similarly, China’s main state planning agency body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), wants natural gas to make up 10 percent of China’s overall energy consumption mix by 2020, up from 4 percent in 2012.

China’s aggressive pursuit of natural gas is being driven by increased supply availability from shale and larger LNG markets, while Beijing is intensifying efforts to displace coal in favor of natural gas for greater environmental sustainability. Natural gas emits less carbon dioxide and zero sulfides compared to coal. One study has estimated that economic losses caused by pollution in 2010 came in at 1.1 trillion yuan, more than double the total from 2004. General Electric stated in a white paper that China could save $820 billion in environmental costs by 2025 by doubling its current natural gas consumption at the expense of coal. The more apparent the economic losses from poor environmental management become, the more pressure there will be for China to increase natural gas consumption and switch from coal. Still, aggressive natural gas expansion will require China to think about how it fits into its energy security scheme.

China’s ‘leapfrogging’ in high performance computing

15 Nov 2013

In June 2013 China once again surprised the world scientific community by introducing the fastest supercomputer in the world, the Tianhe-2 or Milky Way-2.

TOP500 project lists the top 500 supercomputers of the world on the basis of a parameter called LINPACK benchmark. The biannual list is usually released in June and November. The benchmark was an idea conceived by Jack Dongarra. In simple terms, it’s the rate at which the supercomputer solves floating-point operations and is evaluated by making the supercomputer solve a dense system of linear equations.

There are two things that set the Tianhe-2 apart from the top ranking. Firstly, it is the first supercomputer in the world which can perform a sustained computing speed of 33.86 petaflops per second—which means it can perform a total of 33,860 trillion calculations per second. Secondly, it has almost twice the speed of the next best system on the list, which stands at 17.59 petaflops per second. The previous title holder was Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, now in a distant second place.

The Tianhe-2 isn’t the first super computer to emerge from China. China’s foray into the super computer field started with the introduction of Yinhe-I in 1983 with a performance level of 100 megaflops. Almost ten years later in 1992 it introduced Yinhe-II, achieving a performance of 1 gigaflop. Yinhe-III, an upgraded version of Yinhe-II introduced in 1996 achieved the performance level of 13 gigaflops, but it was still far behind the top supercomputers of the world.

But in 2009 China introduced the Tianhe-I which was immediately ranked as the world’s fifth fastest supercomputer in the TOP500 list. In November 2010 China took the top ranking for the first time with the Tianhe-1A, with a computing speed of 2,566 teraflops. Though the system lasted on the top spot for only a short while, it was an important moment in China’s supercomputing history. Since then China has progressed much in this field and Tianhe-2 is likely to stay right at the top for at least another couple of years.

China considers technology as a core component of projecting a nation’s capability and prestige; national strength is allied to the ability to flex its muscles on the technological front. Supercomputing stands at the forefront of technology, with extensive use in practically every field, especially defence applications.

The USA began the initial surge in production of supercomputers and has until today stood at the top with reference to the number of systems in the Top500 list. Other well-represented countries include France, Germany, Japan UK and India. China’s growth in this field has been unprecedented. Its obsession with technology and related fields can be fathomed from the fact that in the list released in November 2001, China had just three systems in the TOP500. China now has over 65 systems in the June 2013 list, including the number one position.

There are several ways that China managed to achieve this growth. The foundation of this model rests on China’s economic and technology programs following the liberalisation of its economy under Premier Deng Xiaoping. As well as its five year plans, China has three core policies which have aided in the development of Science and Technology (S&T). These are the 863 plan formulated in 1986, the 973 plan (1997) and the MLP plan (PDF) of 2000.

China’s ‘leapfrogging’ in high performance computing

Source Link

The Strategist - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute Blog

Nabeel A Mancheri, Research Fellow, Institute of Social Science, Tokyo University and Viswesh Rammohan, Research Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies

In June 2013, China once again surprised the world scientific community by introducing the fastest supercomputer in the world, the Tianhe-2 or Milky Way-2. TOP500 project lists the top 500 supercomputers of the world on the basis of a parameter called LINPACK benchmark. The biannual list is usually released in June and November. The benchmark was an idea conceived by Jack Dongarra. In simple terms, it’s the rate at which the supercomputer solves floating-point operations and is evaluated by making the supercomputer solve a dense system of linear equations. The Tianhe-2 isn’t the first super computer to emerge from China. China’s foray into the super computer field started with the introduction of Yinhe-I in 1983 with a performance level of 100 megaflops. Almost ten years later in 1992 it introduced Yinhe-II, achieving a performance of 1 gigaflop. Yinhe-III, an upgraded version of Yinhe-II introduced in 1996 achieved the performance level of 13 gigaflops, but it was still far behind the top supercomputers of the world. China considers technology as a core component of projecting a nation’s capability and prestige; national strength is allied to the ability to flex its muscles on the technological front. Supercomputing stands at the forefront of technology, with extensive use in practically every field, especially defence applications. In the article, Nabeel A Mancheri and Viswesh Rammohan analyse China's surge in super computing, particularly its introduction of the fastest supercomputer in the world, the Tianhe-2.

For the complete article click here

Iran Has a Right to Enrich—And America Already Recognized It

Muhammad Sahimi|
November 19, 2013

The recent intensive negotiations in Geneva between Iran and P5+1—the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany—over Iran’s nuclear program did not result in an interim agreement. The negotiations are to be resumed in Geneva on November 20. One of the thorniest issues is Iran’s claim that, as a signatory of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has, under Article IV of NPT, a fundamental right to accessing all aspects of nuclear technology for peaceful uses, including uranium enrichment on its soil. So far the United States has refused to explicitly recognize Iran’s right to uranium enrichment. In her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 3, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who leads the U.S. delegation in the Geneva negotiations, made the following statement:

it has always been the U.S. position that that article IV of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty does not speak about the right of enrichment at all [and] doesn't speak to enrichment, period. It simply says that you have the right to research and development. And many countries such as Japan and Germany have taken that [uranium enrichment] to be a right. But the United States does not take that position. We take the position that we look at each one of these [cases]. And more to the point, the UN Security Council has suspended Iran's enrichment until they meet their international obligations. They didn't say they have suspended their right to enrichment, they have suspended their enrichment, so we do not believe there is an inherent right by anyone to enrichment.

Another thorny issue, which France claimed motivated its objection to the emerging accord, is the heavy water nuclear research reactor under construction in Arak (southwest of Tehran), which is not expected to come online before late 2014, at the earliest. The reactor’s spent fuel contains plutonium, which can be used for bomb making if Iran can reprocess the spent fuel. But Iran does not currently have any reprocessing facility or even the know-how to undertake such a course of action.

Who is right?

Historically, the United States recognized an Iranian right to enrich in the 1970s, although the U.S. has no authority to interpret the NPT in an arbitrary manner that suits its interests. Many legal scholars disagree with the U.S. position. Ironically, in the 1970s, the U.S. offered Iran both uranium enrichment and spent-fuel technologies.

A bit of history

As first pointed out by this author in 2004, the Ford administration recognized Iran’s right to uranium enrichment, fuel reprocessing, and related technologies. On March 14, 1975, in National Security Study Memorandum 219signed by then deputy national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, President Gerald R. Ford directed

"a study of the issues involved in reaching an acceptable agreement with the Government of Iran which would allow nuclear commerce between the countries—specifically, the sale of the U.S. nuclear reactors and materials, Iranian investment in the U.S. enrichment facilities, and other appropriate nuclear transactions in the future."

President Ford then instructed the U.S. negotiators to offer Iran uranium enrichment and reprocessing facilities. Specifically, National Security Decision Memorandum 292, dated 22 April 1975, stated that the U.S. shall "permit U.S. materials to be fabricated into fuel in Iran for use in its own reactors and for pass-through to third countries with whom we have Agreements."

The Silliness of "China in Africa"

November 19, 2013

Since China forayed into African markets in the mid-2000s there has been ongoing speculation surrounding what China is doing in Africa, how it is doing it, and why. In media and policy circles the rhetoric relentlessly stresses ‘China in Africa,’ failing to realize that such lopsided and macro analyses obfuscate more than they illuminate.

China’s political and economic engagement in Africa is deep. Between 2009 and 2012, China’s direct investment in Africa grew at an annual rate of 20.5 percent. While negligible in 2000, trade between the regions hit $195.8 billion in 2012 and is estimated to reach $385 billion by 2015. China’s engagement is also far-reaching. Public and private firms construct roads, hospitals, schools, stadiums and training centers for the exchange of technology and knowledge. State-owned energy companies explore for oil; manufacturing firms operate factories in remote African cities; and Chinese entrepreneurs sell knick-knacks in roadside shops. There is much at stake, and much to be said about, Chinese activity in Africa.

Yet two problems plague the mainstream ‘China in Africa’ narrative. First is the near-constant depiction of African states as pliant third-world clients of either West or (now) East, rather than proactive global actors. Second is the tendency to speak about Africa as a unified aggregate rather than a continent comprised of fifty-four diverse countries, each with its own history, policies, agendas, competitive advantages and ambitions.

So far (and still) African states are seen as exploited by China, a country whose political and economic power supersedes their own. In this way, they are relegated to passive actors in the relationship. Yet African states are not, and never have been, passive. Historically, the continent’s many countries have employed various diplomatic tactics to advance their political and economic agendas. French Africanist Jean-Francois Bayart famously argues that African governments participate in global affairs through ‘extraversion:’ academic parlance for a variety of precolonial strategies—coercion, mediation, appropriation, rejection, flight, trickery—aimed at remaking constraints brought on by unequal power relations into opportunities. Precolonial states managed their foreign relations in ways that enabled them to glean sufficient resources to boost their domestic legitimacy and pursue their political objectives.

Chinese Military’s General Armaments Department Propels Caliber of Cadres

E-Mail- cedex@live.com

A working meeting of the Military Information-Retrieval Language Compilation and Management Committee of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was recently held on November 1, 2013 in Beijing. With as many as 30 leaders from the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CCP Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the general headquarters/departments of the PLA and related major organisations belonging to the PLA in tow for the event, the discussions centered on accelerating development of compilation and management of military information-retrieval language of the PLA.

The Military Subject Terms Compilation Committee of the PLA was founded way back in 1987 and later was renamed the Military Information-Retrieval Language Compilation and Management Committee in May 2011. This outfit is primarily responsible for compilation, management, application, theoretical research and standardisation of military information-retrieval language of the PLA.

It was reported that Liu Sheng, Deputy Director of PLA’s General Armaments Department (GAD), Liu Chengjun, President of the Academy of Military Sciences (AMS), and Sun Sijing, Political Commissar of the AMS attended this meeting. The GAD is the leading organ responsible for the policymaking and supervision of weapon system design, development, production, procurement, maintenance, and the life-cycle management across all services in the PLA.

Established in 1998 by merging the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defence (COSTIND) with few other organisations in the General Staff Department and General Logistics Department, the GAD ranks fourth among the four general headquarters in PLA’s protocol order, and is headed by the Department Head and Political Commissar, Wang Hongyao, who are assisted by four deputy heads and a deputy political commissar. As per the Chinese government’s White Papers, the GAD administers the provision of equipment for the armed forces. Under it are departments in charge of overall planning, equipment for all services and arms, procurement for Army's military equipment R&D, general-purpose equipment support, electronic information infrastructure, etc. Its main responsibilities are to formulate strategies, programmes and plans, policies, and rules and regulations for equipment development, organise equipment R&D, experimentation, procurement, combat service, maintenance and support, and administer the PLA’s funds for equipment buildup.

In the past few years, the GAD’s focus on high tech knowledge has been evident by virtue of regular lectures being held on the subject—a follow up of instructions issued by former CMC Chairman Hu Jintao. Hu emphasised upon intensive and sustained efforts on high-tech knowledge, for which the GAD mapped out a detailed plan. In this reference, a talk on “National S&T Innovation Program and S&T Innovation Development of National Defense,” was organised earlier which explicitly focused on scientific and technological innovation and the revolution in military affairs. These forums are often considered to being a platform for putting forth breakthroughs achieved by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in executing national, scientific and technological innovation programmes in recent years. In fact, the GAD’s role in reforming China's military industry has been instrumental with a view that the industry should be restructured in accordance with changing times.

Responding to Chinese Article on the-Six Wars China is Sure to Fight in the next 50 Years

On 08 July 2013, a Hong Kong daily Wen Wei Po, published an article titled “the six wars to be fought by China in the next 50 years”. The daily has close links with the Chinese Communist Party of which the Central Military Council and the People’s Liberation Army is a part. As per this article, China will wage six wars to reclaim territories lost by China to the British in the Opium War of 1840-42. The period when these wars will occur is as stated-
  • First War, Unification of Taiwan (2020 to 2025).
  • Second War, Reconquest of Spratly Islands (2025 to 2030).
  • Third War, Reconquest of Southern Tibet (Arunachal) (2035 to 2040).
  • Fourth War, Reconquest of Senkaku and Ryuku Islands (2040 to 2045).
  • Fifth War, Unification of Outer Mongolia (2045 to 2050).
  • Sixth War, Taking back lands lost to Russia (2055 to 2060).
The article has been further published in a blog and has been possibly written in consultation with a defence analyst. Of interest to India is the mention made of the third war to be fought for the reconquest of Arunachal Pradesh from 2035 to 2040. Prior to this war China would have unified Taiwan and captured Spratly islands. At this time, China’s military power would have enhanced and would be almost comparable to the United States (US). The author candidly states that though India would be lagging behind China, it would be militarily strong and a direct war would result in some losses for China.

The article suggests that a direct conflict with India should be avoided. Instead, forces that could disintegrate India such as inciting Assam and Sikkim for independence should be encouraged. Alongside, advanced weapons could be given to Pakistan to enable it to conquer Kashmir by 2035. China could then use this opportunity to launch a blitzkrieg to capture Arunachal Pradesh. Only if this fails, should the final option of launching a full scale offensive to capture the state be made.

Unlike the Indian Armed Forces who are directly controlled by the Government, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its supreme authority the Central Military Council (CMC) comes directly under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The PLA has been making plans for a considerable period as to the modus operandi to deal with Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia and Russia. Viewing the three options against India, the first option deals with creating or exploiting insurgency in parts of India’s Northeast states. The situation in Sikkim is extremely peaceful and despite China’s persistent efforts, it would be extremely difficult to create insurgent activities in the state. Out of the remaining seven states, insurgency at a low scale continues in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Out of these three states, Assam has a border with Bangladesh and Bhutan while Nagaland and Manipur have a border with Myanmar. In as much as Assam is concerned, operations conducted by the Bhutanese Armed Forces and the support given to India by the Awami League Government in Bangladesh have resulted in weakening of the insurgency movement. The slow transformation to democratic movements in Myanmar have resulted in greater interaction between the Myanmar Government and Indian Government leading to lesser support to Naga and Manipuri rebels from China through Myanmar. Overall, the law and order situation currently has improved and the Security Forces have been able to control the situation. However, a lot will depend on the result of elections in Bangladesh, which are likely to be held in January 2014. In case the Awami League does not return to power then the possibility of the insurgency gathering momentum post 2014 cannot be ruled out.

Japan and India: Watch This Space

November 18, 2013

MUMBAI, India-For all the world's focus on China's ascendancy, the developing strategic and economic entente between Japan and India may be just as important in shaping Asia's future as the rise of their giant neighbor. "India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia," said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a speech earlier this year. No region has seen a similar "rise in freedom, opportunity, and prosperity over the last half century." But nowhere else are threats to these values more at risk, given the instabilities posed by China's emergence, and the potential for conflict among distrustful Asian powers.

In many respects, India and Japan could not be more different. One has more poor people than any other nation on earth. The other was the first non-Western society to fully modernize. The order and discipline of Japanese society contrast vividly with the hustle and bustle of India's cities. India is the world's youngest big country, while Japan is aging more rapidly than any other developed society. India's traditional foreign policy of non-alignment and opposition to Western hegemony in world affairs contrasts with Japan's status as a model U.S. ally for over 60 years. Japan remains shackled by its postwar pacifist constitution and normative constraints on the use of military force; India is a state with nuclear weapons that is engaged in one of the world's largest conventional military buildups.

Yet the complementarities between the two powers on opposite ends of the Asian landmass are equally striking. Japan is a capital-rich, technology superpower; India has teeming supplies of human capital and the world's largest labor pool. Japan has the world's most advanced infrastructure, while India's own requirements exceed in scale those of any other country. Unlike many other Asian societies who suffered the effects of Japanese militarism before 1945, Indians comfortably acknowledge that they do not have "history issues" with Japan of the kind that color Tokyo's relations with nations across East and Southeast Asia.

In many respects, a strategic and economic partnership with India could catalyze Japan's renewal as a 21st century great power - one no longer as dependent on the United States, and one better diversified to compete with emerging economies. For India's modernizing leaders, few countries afford a better prospect for a development partnership than the nation at the forefront of the industrial and technological revolutions that have transformed the face of Asia. Perhaps most fundamentally, as rival civilization-states to China and victims of territorial conflict with it, Japan and India have the most to lose from potential Chinese hegemony in Asia - and the most to gain from working together, and with the West, to ensure that the future Asian order remains pluralistic rather than Sinocentric.

The importance of being Indonesia

Pallavi Aiyar

QUIET DIPLOMAT: Indonesia’s new international stature was on show at the APEC forum this year. Photo: AP

Indonesia can talk from a position of confidence to everyone, from its ASEAN cousins to western powers, and also countries such as Egypt and Tunisia

In a continent dominated by behemoths like China and India, the archipelago of Indonesia can sometimes find itself in the shade. But increasingly, this populous, Muslim-majority democracy is feeling confident enough to assert its presence on the international stage — and with good cause.

It is South-East Asia’s largest economy and has been averaging a brisk growth of 6 per cent in recent years. With a youthful population of over 240 million people and a burgeoning middle class, the country’s transition from military dictatorship to vibrant democracy has put paid to notions that Islam and democratic values cannot coexist. Moreover, while size gives it clout, Indonesia does not have direct stakes in the rivalries that roil the region. It is therefore a natural choice for the crucial role of mediator in a neighbourhood increasingly shaped and squeezed by China’s rise on the one hand, and the United States’ “pivot” to the region, on the other.

At the high table

Indonesia’s new international stature was on display in October when, in a two week-period, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono played host to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in between hosting leaders from Russia to Japan at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum held in Bali. Mr. Yudhoyono’s foreign policy formulation of “a thousand friends and zero enemies” suddenly appeared to be more than overheated rhetoric.

The APEC summit was immediately followed by more summitry in Brunei as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Plus Three meetings got under way. The issue du jour at all of these meets was the one where Indonesia’s bridge-building skills are most needed and have been most obviously on display: the South China Sea.

With fierce disputes breaking out between an ascendant China and many of ASEAN’s 10 members, notably Vietnam and the Philippines, it is Indonesia that has emerged as the soother of ruffled feathers. It nods understandingly at the concerns of all parties, while nudging them towards dialogue.

Letter from Tangier

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
By Reva Bhalla

Morocco rarely figures into international news headlines these days, something of a virtue in this restive part of the world. The term Maghreb, which translates as "land of the setting sun," eventually came to denote a stretch of land starting in the Western Sahara and running through the Atlas Mountains and ending before the Nile River Valley, encompassing modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. However, the Maghreb originally meant the lands that define Morocco, where the setting sun marked the Western frontier of the Islamic empire.

This evening in Tangier, I watch as ribbons of intense red and orange weave through plum-tinted clouds and settle behind the mountains on the Spanish coastline. Those mountains that almost seem a stone's throw away are where a Moroccan general, Tariq ibn Ziyad, massed his troops for a conquest ordered by the sixth Umayyad caliph in the early 8th century to expand the frontier of the caliphate to the Iberian Peninsula. Jebel al Tariq, Arabic for "the mountain of Tariq," eventually came to be known as Gibraltar, the highly strategic narrow strait where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet. When the light is just right, you can see cerulean waters of the Mediterranean sharply contrasting with the dark moody waters of the Atlantic in a strategic aqua-hued borderland.

Tangier and the Spanish-controlled city of Ceuta slightly to the east are the closest Africa gets to Europe. Consequently, this prized tip of the Maghreb was rarely held by Morocco's local inhabitants, who were too weak and outnumbered to compete effectively with the seafaring powers of the Mediterranean that were more interested in building trading outposts en route to Iberia than in venturing into the Maghrebi hinterland. But Morocco is also much more than its coastline. The country is defined by its mountainous spine, flanked by the coastline to the north and the Sahara Desert to its south. The Atlas chain starts south of Marrakech and runs northeast into Algeria, breaking only at the Taza Gap, a narrow access point to the Atlantic.

The highlands are inhabited by Morocco's local natives, given the name Berbers by Greeks and Romans who regarded them as "barbari," Greek for "barbarians," who refused to adapt to their ways. In contrast, Berbers often use the term "Imazighen," which translates as "freemen," to describe their tribal community that is defined by their fighting prowess and raw, independent spirit. Stuck between entrenched and defiant Berbers in the mountains and a coastline that frequently fell prey to the Europeans, early Muslim settlers focused on the plains and mountain passages in the interior, where the ancient cities of Fez and Marrakech developed as the political and cultural hubs of the Maghreb and linked trans-Saharan trade with maritime commerce in the Mediterranean.

The Virtue of Distance

Unlike in many of its ill-defined neighbors to its east and south, there is a geographic logic to Morocco's boundaries that has allowed it to develop a strong identity over the centuries. With Islamic power centers far away to the east in Baghdad and Damascus, Morocco was able to cultivate a much more experimental relationship with Islam. The territory's large Berber population was slow to adapt to the religion when it arrived in the 7th century, eventually developing their own heterodox interpretation of Islamic teachings. Early Moroccan dynasties meanwhile swung between dry literalist and philosophical Sufi interpretations of Islam. In the 12th century under the Almohad dynasty, Muhammad ibn Rushd, known as Averroes in Europe, founded a philosophical movement in the Maghreb that both popularly and controversially infused rational Aristotelian philosophy with Islamic theology. This tradition of liberalism in theology continues to this day as contemporary religious-political movements in Morocco espouse a postmodern Islamist model to attract youth who are semi-fluent in Western philosophy but who, out of frustration, are searching for an alternative to the current system.

Radicalism as a challenge to Ethiopia

Aman Sethi

RESISTANCE: Muslims in Addis Ababa protesting government interference in religious affairs, in a file shot. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Sporadic outbursts of violence across Ethiopia show how state intervention in religion has alienated sections of Muslim youth and generated the kind of anti-regime sentiments the government had hoped to defuse

A knock on the door well after midnight. Mohammed Hassan Abdalla opens the door to find that a posse of policemen have come for his elder brother, Sheikh Abdulsalam Abdalla, a preacher in the local mosque in this rural settlement of Wabe, 300 km southwest of the Ethiopian capital, of Addis Ababa.

The sheikh is away, so the police arrest Mohammed and Abdul Qadir Turah, a disciple staying in the house, and take them to Sheikh Abdalla’s paternal home where they arrest his wife. As dawn breaks over the low hills surrounding Wabe, residents returning from the first morning prayer spot the police and their captives.

An agitated crowd gathered, an eyewitness recalled: “We chanted, ‘release our children, what was their crime’?” The crowd threw stones, the police opened fire, and two young men in the crowd, Habib Wabe and Jamal Adam, fell to the asphalt highway and bled to death from their bullet wounds.

By four in the afternoon, the confrontation between the crowd and the police had moved to the neighbouring town of Kofele; four more civilians died and 62 were arrested before order was restored.

Radicalism & alienation

Sheikh Abdalla is in hiding, as are three other senior clerics from Kofele: Mohammed Gamadi, Haji Qasim Mereso, and Tabesso Gamachu. Residents say little of their absence, except that their sheikhs have been persecuted for resisting the government’s attempt to alter the beliefs of Ethiopia’s approximately 30 million Muslims.

Government officials maintain that the men are wanted for calling for a violent jihad against the Ethiopian state.

The violence in Wabe and Kofele “was ignited by Sunni Muslim jihadist groups probably linked with al-Qaeda and world number one terrorist groups,” says Desta Bukulu, Kofele’s most senior administrator. “These conservative groups have been working for a long time in this area.”

The recent attack on a mall in Kenya by al-Qaeda-affiliated militants has East African governments worried that the battle between African Union forces and the hardline Islamist Somali militia, Al Shabab, could radicalise Muslim youth in neighbouring countries.

Yet, sporadic outbursts of violence across Ethiopia illustrate how state intervention in the realm of religion has alienated sections of the Muslim youth and, analysts say, produced the kind of anti-regime sentiments the government had hoped to defuse.