21 November 2013

Globalization Isn’t Dead, It’s Only Just Beginning

Once upon a time, globalization simply meant the export of Western culture to the rest of the world. Now the world is turning the tables

There’s been a lot of talk these days that globalization is dead, even reversing — and for good reason. It seems that many of the factors that had been driving globalization have run out of steam. The growth of trade, which has long outpaced the expansion of the world economy, has slowed in recent years. Negotiations to forge a new global-trade agreement, the Doha Round through the World Trade Organization, have been stalled for years. Evolving technology is altering the manufacturing industry and convincing some U.S. firms to shorten supply lines and even “reshore,” returning factory work back to America and making production more local and less global.

But ignore the naysayers: globalization is very much alive and well. The White House, for instance is engaged in a renewed push for free trade with proposed pacts with the European Union and a collection of Asian and Latin American nations under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. More importantly, though, globalization is changing in key ways. It is knitting together a society that, more than ever, is truly global.

In the past, globalization was to a great degree a one-way street — from the developed to the developing world. Money and technology flowed from the U.S. and Europe into China, India and other low-income countries, drawing them into the global trading system. The process was the same with ideas (democracy, capitalism, Marxism) and culture (popular music, social networking, fast food, Hollywood movies). Emerging nations had few connections between themselves, and limited influence over world politics and finance.

Now, though, the rise of China, India and other emerging economies is shifting that old, one-way globalization into a new, vibrant multilateral globalization, with major consequences for how our world works.

Look at what’s happening in the global economy these days. The giant populations of China, India and Indonesia were participating in the world economy mainly as workers; they had meager economic power in their own right. Not anymore.

More than half of humanity now lives in South and East Asia, and Chinese and Indian consumers have become the most sought after in the world. Global commerce is changing as a result. General Motors, for instance, sells more cars in China than in America; Yum! Brands cooks up more Kentucky Fried Chicken for Chinese diners than Americans. Hotels and travel agencies from Paris to Bali are striving to accommodate Chinese and Indian tourists. The storied design houses of Europe have opened lavish flagship stores in Asia, which is set to account for more than half of the world’s luxury-goods market within the next 10 years.

Emerging-market companies are becoming equally important global players. Apple’s chief rival is not a European or even Japanese company, but South Korea’s Samsung; China’s Huawei is the new force in telecom. Firms from emerging nations are becoming more important global investors and job creators too. Chinese pork processor Shuanghu is buying America’s Smithfield; Ford offloaded Volvo to China’s Geely and Jaguar to India’s Tata. Companies like China’s Lenovo and India’s Wipro are true multinationals that employ people throughout the globe.

A Dangerous Interregnum

Published: November 18, 2013

LONDON — In his Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci wrote: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

The world is once again living an interregnum. It is poised between inward-looking old powers and reluctant emergent ones. The post-9/11 era is over; it has bequeathed an exhausted America.

Morbid symptoms include a dysfunctional United Nations Security Council, a Syria that bleeds, an American economy squeezing its middle class and a Europe that leaves its youth jobless. But does anyone want the superpower’s mantle?

According to a survey this year by the Pew Research Center, 83 percent of Americans think the president should concentrate on domestic policy, against 6 percent who believe his priority should be foreign affairs. That is the lowest recorded number for foreign policy concerns since Pew’s survey on national priorities began 15 years ago. In 2007, 39 percent thought the president’s primary focus should be domestic, as compared with 40 percent for foreign.

This is the national mood behind the withdrawal from Iraq, the looming pullback from Afghanistan, the last-minute retreat from military strikes against Syria, and a possibly imminent (and highly desirable) interim deal with Iran on its nuclear program. If there is a single phrase America has taken to heart it comes from Robert Gates, the former defense secretary: “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.”

The immense toll in lives and treasure of Iraq and Afghanistan — wars the country will try to forget rather than memorialize — explains part of the inward turn. So, too, does a feeling that something is skewed in an economy where for many the relationship between hard work and reward seems lost. But there is something more, a very American pragmatism that has understood the power shift now underway and wants the nation to husband its resources after a reckless decade.

When an exhausted Britain in imperial decline passed the mantle of global power to the United States, the transition was relatively seamless, an affair between cousins. Today America’s travails inspire schadenfreude but nobody much wants the keys to the kingdom.

Never have the ambitions of the European Union been so circumscribed. Consumed with internal problems, particularly those of the euro, it has lost coherence. Europe, for the foreseeable future, will spend more time debating its internal architecture than defining its external objectives.

The French-German alliance, the motor of integration, is frayed to the point of near rupture. Germany needs France less and has shed many of its complexes, but history and self-absorption mean it will punch below its weight, doing enough to avert European implosion but not enough to give Europe renewed impulsion. America’s inward turn finds Europe introverted, unable to take a leadership role on any crisis but its own.

Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is a spoiling power above all, still driven by the notion that, as he once put it, the Soviet Union’s collapse was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Its ambitions lie in turning back the clock.

China, the heir apparent to nobody’s world, has scarcely a word to say on Syria, less still on Iran. Stability is its watchword, with an eye on full development by midcentury. It still needs America as an offsetting power in Asia. It is heavily invested in the avoidance of any American economic debacle. Peaceful rise means cautious rise. Neither China nor India shows much interest for now in new organizing principles for the world.

Nuclear perfidy

Issue Net Edition | Date : 20 Nov , 2013

Nuclear Plant

Big powers purported nuclear blindness is on the rise. Not that the malady is new – squints, Nelson’s Eye, blisters in the eyes, all compounded. The whole game is to permit selective nuclearization of the world based on perceived national interests including through unholy under the table collusion. The ‘nuclear club’ are the P-5 (US, Russia, UK, France, China) that are considered to be ‘nuclear weapon states’ under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

There have been at least nine unnatural deaths of Indian scientists and engineers at just BARC and Kaiga nuclear facilities in the last three years. Is it very difficult to visualize who is behind slowing down India’s nuclear excellence in this manner…

The P-5 are well known, US and China being signatory to CTBT and balance three having ratified it. Then are the declared nuclear states (India, Pakistan and North Korea) that went nuclear post the NPT having come into force in 1970. The P-5 have problems in admitting these countries to the exclusive elitist nuclear club. North Korea, incidentally, has the distinction of joining the NPT and then withdrawing from it in 2003. Finally are the undeclared nuclear powers like Israel and South Africa albeit South Africa developed nuclear weapons but then dismantled its nuclear arsenal and joined the NPT. It is, however, not clear whether the ‘dismantling’ included ‘destroying’ the nuclear weapons but even if it did, technically, South Africa continues to have the capability to develop nuclear weapons – same as Japan since Tsutomo Hata, Japan’s Prime Minister before demitting office in June 1994 acknowledged in the Diet (Japanese Parliament) that Japan indeed possessed the know-how to develop nuclear weapons. Most countries including Japan in any case maintain certain quantity of fissile grade Uranium under pretext of research and development. Incidentally some 3,50,000 Japanese chemical munitions remained on Chinese soil once World War II got over, which are still being destroyed.

Israel is believed to be the sixth country after P-5 to have developed nuclear weapons. Though Israel has never conducted a nuclear test, Mordechai Vanunu, former Israeli nuclear technician told the British press in 1986 that Israel developed nuclear weapons in early 1960s in conjunction France. Estimates as to the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal vary from 75 to 400 warheads. The ambiguity whether Israel will not be the first to ‘use’ or ‘introduce’ nuclear weapons in the Middle East has continued despite the Eshkol-Comer MoU between Israel and US of March 1965. However, the message by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister at the UN General assembly on 1st October this year was explicit referring to Iran’s nuclear program as “credible military threat” and stating that if Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.

Shyam Saran: Xi Jinping's Deng moment

Shyam Saran 
November 19, 2013

China's ambitious reform road map could transform the country's economy, but it conceals a return to old-style authoritarianism

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held its much-anticipated Third Plenum from November 11 to November 15, 2013. It was billed as being as significant and historic as the first-generation reforms inaugurated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978 and the second-generation reforms, also pushed forward by him in 1992 against conservative opposition within the party. The latest plenum has adopted a comprehensive, ambitious and far-reaching road map for political, social, economic and legal reform. Analysts have identified as many as 60 separate decisions covering virtually every sector of national endeavour. These must be implemented by 2020, when the "China dream" of renewal and rejuvenation proclaimed by its new paramount leader, Xi Jinping, will be realised. If ambition is indeed translated into practical action, China's regional profile in Asia is likely to become unassailable. It would also have a more credible claim to a global status rivalling the United States. This will fundamentally alter the geopolitical landscape in which India must find its own place.

The plenum has marked the emergence of Xi Jinping as the undisputed leader in the mould of Deng Xiaoping, and away from the more collective leadership format we have seen in the past two decades. The reform blueprint bears his personal stamp. It was Mr Xi, rather than the head of the executive, Li Keqiang, who introduced the decision document.

The document marks Mr Xi's own version of the well-known Chinese principle of "walking on two legs". Sweeping economic reforms are to be accompanied by much more pervasive, elaborate and effective security controls. Thus, while there will be a "leading group" to design, implement and monitor the reform programme, there will also be a parallel "national security committee", which will co-ordinate the different instruments of state security towards ensuring that economic reforms do not endanger social stability or the political primacy of the Communist Party. The setting up of these two powerful bodies at the central level, outside the normal party and state hierarchy, will also serve to strengthen the power and authority of Mr Xi, to whom they will be expected to report.

Some may consider that such "neo-authoritarianism" is not compatible with the greater embrace of free-market principles. However, for the past three decades, China has successfully juggled these two apparently contradictory principles, thereby achieving spectacular economic success with relative political stability. It remains to be seen whether this formula, now christened the "Beijing consensus", will continue to be as successful a template for the future as it has been in the past. If it continues to deliver results, as Chinese leaders both hope and believe, then the liberal and free-market capitalist system will face an existential challenge, particularly if recovery in the Western world continues to be anaemic.

Several plenum decisions are noteworthy. On the political side, the abolition of the labour reform camps is an important break with the country's Stalinist past. So is the decision to do away with the urban registration, or "Hukou", system, which has created a pool of more than 200 million migrant Chinese urban dwellers who have no access to urban services or social protection. The removal of barriers to population mobility will have far-reaching social and economic consequences, as will the partial relaxation of the unpopular "one child per family" rule.

Chidambaram meeting Taliban leader shows India hasn’t learnt from its mistakes

Nov 14, 2013
(FM P Chidambaram has greeted…)
By Brahma Chellaney

The image of then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh - after having just chaperoned three terrorists to freedom - walking hand-in-hand with the Taliban regime's foreign minister, Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil, on the runway at Kandahar Airport in late 1999 still haunts.

Now, FM P Chidambaram has greeted Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef in Goa.

Spanish-born US philosopher George Santayana's warning is particularly true for India: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

India's ad hoc, personality-driven diplomacy has stood out since independence for not learning from mistakes and continuing to display naivete.

In 1999, no sooner had the hijacked IC-814 flight landed in Kandahar than a hallucinating Jaswant began briefing the media about the great opportunity it presented to drive a wedge between the Taliban and its sponsor, Pakistan.

In truth, he scripted an unparalleled cavein - a foreign minister flying to terrorist territory to hand-deliver three terrorists. Now fast-forward 14 years: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his advisers are feeding the nation their hallucination that engagement with the Taliban can help drive a wedge between that thuggish militia and Pakistan, and thereby aid India's interests in Afghanistan.

It would appear from Singh's policy machinations that he is seeking to also drive a wedge between Pakistan and its "freedom fighters" in J&K by facilitating the New Delhi talks recently between Pakistan PM's envoy, Sartaj Aziz, and Kashmiri separatists.

Zaeef's Goa visit, in reality, is part of a broader US-initiated effort to make an American deal with the Taliban internationally acceptable. Washington is seeking a deal with the Taliban as a face-saving way to end its war in Afghanistan and also to safeguard the military bases it plans to keep there after 2014.

To bolster that effort, the US has kissed and made up with Pakistan, restoring generous aid to that country and working closely with the Army and ISI chiefs there. This effort has also involved promoting better Indo-Pakistan relations.

Washington, for example, strongly supported the Singh-Nawaz Sharif meeting in New York. To justify the planned Faustian bargain with the Taliban - despite the major regional implications it holds - the Obama team is drawing a specious distinction between Al Qaeda and the Taliban and differentiating between "moderate" Taliban amenable to a deal (the good terrorists) and those that rebuff deal-making (the bad terrorists).

Zaeef is a "good" terrorist and has been rewarded (like Jaswant Singh's friend, Mutawakil) with a plush house in Kabul. The US, moreover, has facilitated both the Taliban's opening of a de facto diplomatic mission in Qatar and the overseas visits of some "good terrorists" to places ranging from Berlin to Tokyo. It has now roped in India to lend legitimacy to its effort.

By playing host to Zaeef, India has exposed the lack of consistency and direction in its foreign policy. No sooner had Singh decided to boycott the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka owing to human-rights concerns there than his government welcomed the Taliban mafioso. Contrary to claims that foreign policy is becoming hostage to provincial satraps, both these decisions actually mesh well with the Congress Party's vote-bank interests.

Lost in all this is the age-old wisdom: He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon.

The writer is an expert on strategic affairs

Indian Army Successfully Tests BrahMos Block-III Deep Penetration Variant

November 20, 2013
India tested a “block-III variant of BrahMos with deep penetration capability” from a mobile launcher.
The Indian Army test-fired an advanced version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system on Monday. According to The Hindu’s Business Line, a "block-III variant of BrahMos with deep penetration capability was test launched from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher.” The test was reportedly successful. It specifically focused on the missile’s deep penetration capability and took place in Pokhran, Rajasthan. According to an official "The launch has successfully validated the deep penetration capability of the supersonic cruise missile system against hardened targets.” The tested missile was able to successfully follow a predetermined trajectory, and hit a hardened concrete target with perfect accuracy given its supersonic velocity. The BrahMos is currently the fastest cruise missile in production capable of delivering a conventional warhead, traveling at speeds of up to Mach 3.0. The missile is a joint effort between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia (its domestic defense research agency). Times of India reports that the Indian Army has incorporated two regiments of the missile into its arsenal, with a third expected to be added soon. The Indian Navy has also inducted the missile, using it across several frigates and destroyers. The Indian Air Force will test an air-launched version of the missile shortly. The Brahmos-II is currently under development and is expected to be the hypersonic successor to the original BrahMos. India’s former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has pushed for the development of an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) variant of the upcoming hypersonic missile, saying that the "missile should be able to deliver its payload and return to base.” In general, the surface-to-surface variants of the BrahMos have seen the most extensive testing. Its penetration capabilities had been impressively demonstrated in the past at sea when a single BrahMos cruise missile was able to effectively pierce the hull of a free-floating ship, destroying it entirely. That test, in 2010, rendered India the first country to have a maneuverable supersonic cruise missile. The deep penetration block-III variant expands this capability greatly, allowing the BrahMos to destroy reinforced targets.

Information Warfare: Chinese Cyber Warriors Ignore The Limelight

November 20, 2013

Earlier this year it was revealed by Western Internet security researchers that a specific Chinese military organization, “Unit 61398” has been responsible for over a thousand attacks on government organizations and commercial firms since 2006. China denied this, and some Unit 61398 attacks ceased and others changed their methods for a month or so. But since then Unit 61398 has apparently returned to business as usual. The Chinese found that, as usual, even when one of their Cyber War organizations was identified by name and described in detail there was little anyone would or could do about it. There was obviously a Chinese reaction when the initial news became headlines, but after a month or so it was realized that it didn’t make any difference and the Chinese hackers went back to making war on the rest of the world. Unit 61398 is believed to consist of several thousand full time military and civilian personnel as well as part-time civilians (often contractors brought in for a specific project). 

China's Cyber War hackers have become easier to identify because they have been getting cocky and careless. Internet security researchers have found identical bits of code (the human readable text that programmers create and then turn into smaller binary code for computers to use) and techniques for using it in hacking software used against Tibetan independence groups and commercial software sold by some firms in China and known to work for the Chinese military. Similar patterns have been found in hacker code left behind during attacks on American military and corporate networks. The best hackers hide their tracks better than this. The Chinese hackers have found that it doesn’t matter. Their government will protect them.

It's been noted that Chinese behavior is distinctly different from that encountered among East European hacking operations. The East European hackers are more disciplined and go in like commandos and get out quickly once they have what they were looking for. The Chinese go after more targets with less skillful attacks and stick around longer than they should. That's how so many hackers are tracked back to China, often to specific servers known to be owned by the Chinese military or government research institutes.

The East Europeans have been at this longer and most of the hackers work for criminal gangs, who enforce discipline, select targets, and protect their hackers from local and foreign police. The East European hacker groups are harder to detect (when they are breaking in) and much more difficult to track down. Thus the East Europeans go after more difficult (and lucrative) targets. The Chinese hackers are a more diverse group. Some work for the government, many more are contractors, and even more are independents who often slip over to the dark side and scam Chinese. This is forbidden by the government and these hackers are sometimes caught and punished, or simply disappear. The Chinese hackers are, compared the East Europeans, less skilled and disciplined. There are some very, very good Chinese hackers but they often lack adult supervision (or some Ukrainian gangster ready to put a bullet in their head if they don't follow orders exactly).

For Chinese hackers that behave (don't do cybercrimes against Chinese targets) the rewards are great. Large bounties are paid for sensitive military and government data taken from the West. This encourages some unqualified hackers to take on targets they can't handle. This was noted when a group of hackers were caught trying to get into a high-security network in the White House (the one dealing with emergency communications with the military and nuclear forces). These amateurs are often caught and prosecuted. But the pros tend to leave nothing behind but hints that can be teased out of heavy use of data mining and pattern analysis.

Where Do The US and Pakistan Go From Here?

November 20, 2013 

The pre-2011 status quo in US-Pakistan relations is not coming back. Now's the time to determine its replacement.

In case you missed it, over the weekend, Politico Magazine published an incredibly incisive and candid excerpt from Husain Haqqani’s book-slash-memoir, Magnificent Delusions, on his tenure as Pakistan’s Ambassador the United States. Haqqani brings a credible insider’s voice to the debate about the increasingly-fragile U.S.-Pakistan relations. His thesis? "Pakistan and the United States have few shared interests and very different political needs.” There has been a fair amount of recent writing from experts on both sides of the relationship arguing for its termination, or at least trimming down its scope. Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran and Brookings expert, published a book earlier this year arguing that the United States’ strategic realignment in South Asia is long overdue and could keep the region from nuclear war. Riedel knows what he’s talking about; he was after all, the sole man in the room with Bill Clinton and Nawaz Sharif in 1999, just prior to the latter falling victim to a bloodless coup by Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani military. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Daniel S. Markey also published a book earlier this year arguing for a profound strategic redraw of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, based on a variety of factors – from demography to new geopolitical realities. It is perhaps of little surprise that American strategic thinkers have taken to recasting the utility of the relationship after the post-9/11 rapprochement between the two countries, under Pervez Musharraf – out of necessity – ended so dramatically with the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout in 2011, a few clicks from Pakistan’s premier national military academy. Neither American author really advocates for a complete clipping of the tether – that would be far too irresponsible for the United States. Riedel advocates greater rapprochement with India while responsibly managing a strategic re-imagination of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship along more realistic lines. Markey, who makes it clear that the U.S. can’t simply abandon Pakistan right in the title of his new book – No Exit from Pakistan – outlines a limited array of policy options: "defensive insulation, military-first cooperation, and comprehensive cooperation.” Whatever their disagreements, most South Asia experts in the United States in 2013 seem to see a need for serious change in the U.S.-Pakistan dynamic. Haqqani is not so sanguine. He teased his argument in a Foreign Affairs piece earlier this year that made waves. His title and thesis then – somewhat glib to American ears – was “Breaking Up is Not Hard to Do." The strategic friction between the United States and Pakistan has somewhat always existed since the end of the Cold War, and has ebbed and flowed with the times. In Haqqani’s view, the bin Laden raid marked the beginning of an ebb beyond the point of no return – irreparably damaging the bilateral relationship. Between the evidence found after the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and the fact that bin Laden was found a stone’s throw from the Abbottabad military academy, the complicity of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistani military in aiding and abetting terror, and undermining civilian democracy in Pakistan, has been apparent. Haqqani, in his writing, recalls being told as much point blank by his American counterpart, Marc Grossman, and internally agreeing; "As Pakistan’s ambassador, I could not tell my American counterpart that in my heart I agreed with his analysis,” he writes. Haqqani, who has since the events described in his memoir been the subject of controversy in Pakistan, continues to describe a series of intense anecdotes ranging from his interactions with star negotiator and Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke to President Obama. He further cites demography, politics, and public opinion in both countries in support of his “break-up” thesis. I encourage The Pulse readers to read the piece and draw their own conclusions. In my reading, Haqqani’s account of U.S.-Pakistan relations could precipitate the beginning of a more profound strategic divergence for the two countries. Even without mentioning the burgeoning rapprochements between the United States and India and Pakistan and China, experts on both sides of the fence find plenty intrinsically troubling with the U.S.-Pakistan marriage. Haqqani, who is now treated as a traitor by much of the Pakistani elite establishment, represents a small sliver of the contemporary elite in that country. Absent from much of this discourse is the voice of the Pakistani military elite who hold a discrete set of strategic objectives and perceptions from the civilian elite. These objectives include an existential need to thwart India in Kashmir and elsewhere, fomenting a chronic state of instability in Afghanistan, and preserving Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent at all costs. Haqqani asserts that the military now see the ultimate American objective in Pakistan as complete denuclearization. Nawaz Sharif’s election and the successful transfer of power from one civilian government to another earlier this year was somewhat encouraging. However, when I saw Bruce Riedel speak earlier this year and asked him if the results of that election would really matter for the nature of the U.S.-Pakistan bilateral, he seemed less sanguine – neutering the military’s influence in national politics and priorities wouldn’t happen overnight. Nevertheless, Sharif’s government has taken bold steps to assert civilian supremacy over the military in Pakistan with the announcement that his government would prosecute Musharraf for treason. With General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s retirement also looming, the military may temporarily take a backseat in Pakistani politics. Amid this air of uncertainty between the Durand and Radcliffe lines, the United States finds itself at a crossroads. Whatever the outcome, the pre-2011 status quo seems unlikely to be one of them.

China’s Assertiveness in South China Sea: Vietnam’s Response and Implications for India

Maj Gen (Retd.) P K Chakravorty

Brunei Darussalam recently hosted two summits from 08 October to 10 October 2013. The first was the ASEAN summit which was held on 08 and 09 October followed by the East Asian summit on 10 October 2013. The Chinese President Xi Jinping was the most prominent dignitary present in these meetings as neither the American or Russian Presidents were present. Naturally the issue regarding South China Sea (SCS) did not generate much heat and the Sultan of Brunei noted good momentum between ASEAN countries and China over the conflicting territorial claims in the SCS. The Chinese stated their request to countries not directly involved to stay out of the dispute. Further, they emphasised that freedom of navigation in the SCS has not and never will be an issue. This was the biggest concern to nations like Australia whose 60 percent trade passes through the region. China was able to steer these conferences without any difficulty and in the absence of a strong American presence was able to push its own agenda. However, the fact remains that the issues remain unresolved and Chinese forces are creeping into this region with skill and dexterity.

In July 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had called on the People’s Republic of China to resolve the SCS territorial dispute peacefully. China replied that the US should keep out of the issue. The US Department of Defence issued a statement on 18 August 2010 where it opposed the use of force to resolve disputes in the SCS and accused China of assertive behaviour. Issues kept simmering and in May 2011, Chinese naval ships attacked and cut the cable of a Vietnamese exploration ship. On 01July 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry asked all nations to resolve the disputes in the SCS amicably. This was accepted by all members and China has emphasised that bilateral solutions will be found. Thereafter, in the meetings held at Brunei in October, China has endeavoured to guide the discourse on SCS that is favourable to its line of thinking with the prospects of joint exploitation of hydro carbon resources of the disputed sea bed.

Vietnam’s Cooperation with India on oil exploration in the region

India’s Oil and Natural Gas Commission Videsh Limited (OVL) has been present in Vietnam for a reasonable period. The exploration license was acquired in 1988 and commercial production began in 2003. Later in 2006, OVL acquired two more blocks in the SCS for oil exploration. These were Blocks 127 and 128. Drilling in Block 127 did not reveal any hydro carbons and OVL decided to return both these locations back to Vietnam. However, Vietnam persuaded OVL to continue drilling in Block 128 despite opposition from the Chinese explicitly stating that the area of Block 128 was within Vietnamese waters. On the insistence of Vietnam, India concluded an agreement for cooperation in hydro carbons for a period of three years in 2011.

Germany Needs a Permanent Naval Presence in the Indian Ocean

November 14, 2013

The call for more German engagement in international security is not misguided. There are core interests to protect between Gibraltar and East Asia. As politics by other means, this includes showing the flag East of Suez.

Maritime Core Interests

Recently, James Rogers argued that European geostrategy in the Indo-Pacific is not European, but rather only British and French. He was right. However, with both countries’ political, social and economical travails, it is doubtful Paris and London will be able to accommodate their ambitions. In the name of European interests, other European states have to get involved; this applies in particular to Europe’s present economic powerhouse: Germany.

The Baltic, North Sea and North Atlantic are NATO/EU-inland-seas. Since 1991, they are not subject to military considerations and are therefore relatively safe. Germany’s maritime core interests are located in a corridor from Gibraltar through Suez and Malacca to the Ports of East Asia. Stability in the maritime arena is almost entirely provided by the US. However, a bankrupt America is unlikely to provide additional free-rides to the Europeans.

It’s For the Interests

The German Navy needs to contribute to stability and security in the Indian Ocean, because the world’s fourth largest economy is heavily dependent on exports and global trade. In 2012, the total value of all goods shipped from Europe to Asia was 816 billion Euros (Holslag 2013: 157). No doubt, Germany’s industry has done its share of this total value. Andrew Erickson, in addition, has outlined why the Indian Ocean is so important for Europe:

“The Indian Ocean is not just a source of raw materials; it is also a vital conduit for bringing those materials to market. Most notably, it is a key transit route for oil making its way from the Persian Gulf to consumers in Europe and Asia. Seventeen million barrels of oil a day (20 percent of the world’s oil supply and 93 percent of oil exported from the Gulf) transits by tanker through the Strait of Hormuz and into the western reaches of the Indian Ocean. (…) In terms of global trade, the Indian Ocean is a major waterway linking manufacturers in East Asia with markets in Europe, Africa, and the Persian Gulf. Indeed, the Asia–Europe shipping route, via the Indian Ocean, has recently displaced the transpacific route as the world’s largest containerized trading lane.” (A. Erickson: Diego Garcia, p. 23)

German vital interests, shared by its European and global partners, are therefore safe and secure sea-lanes. Needed are stability ashore and the absence of state and non-state sea-control, which could become hostile to German interests. Combating piracy and terrorism as well as contributing to disaster relief and mutual trust building are therefore security challenges Germany must tackle in the Indian Ocean to pursue its interest of geopolitical stability.
Source and legend: Int. Seabed Authority

In addition, Germany has also resource interests in the Indian Ocean. Its deep sea is blessed with metal resources and Berlin is already working on gaining exploration rights. German research ships pay regular visits to the Indian Ocean. In the coming run for deep sea resources, Germany will not stay absent. When the deep sea mining starts (probably after 2020), the expensive ships are easy to target and very vulnerable. Due to Rare Earths, Manganese and Cobalt, mining in the Indian Ocean could become of extreme economic importance. Blue-water operating ships need blue-water protection, otherwise pirates, terrorists, criminals or even other states may conclude that the German ships are easy to capture.

Of course, the Indian Ocean’s resources will be subject to international diplomacy. However, diplomacy needs a backbone; often that is an economic, but sometimes it has to be a military one. If all you get from Berlin is words, nobody will pay attention to its interests. Showing the flag is therefore a way to make oneself heard.

China’s Reactor Sale to Pakistan: The Known Unknowns

November 15, 2013

The announcement of Chinese reactor sale to Pakistan has stirred much frenzy in the Indian as well as in the western media, raising the questions about violations of the export guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s (NSG) by China. On the one hand, the Indian Foreign Secretary Mrs. Sujata Singh, while addressing reporters on October 19, 2013 said that China’s plans to build the reactors in Karachi “are a matter of concern for India”; while on the other hand, country’s deputy national security advisor said that, “every country is entitled to progress” and that reactors being supplied to Pakistan are meant for civilian purposes. New Delhi is reported to have, conveyed its objections at both the political and official levels to China, as well as the Nuclear Suppliers Group in the last few months over the proposed sale of two more Chinese nuclear reactors to Pakistan. The contradictory statements by Indian officials may have caused some degree of confusion about the legality and correctness of the proposed Chinese reactor sale to Pakistan in the minds of Indian analysts, who, however, are not alone in such confusion.

The reported offer of China to sell 1000 MWe reactors to China has raised a number of issues to be studied. What are the contours of the “grandfather” exception to fullscope safeguards allowed under Para 4(c) of the NSG Guidelines Part I? Is this sale, as also the earlier contract for 2 additional 340 MWe reactors at Chashma, in violation of NSG Guidelines, in view of China’s admission to NSG in 2004? How far are these nuclear sales by China to Pakistan a reaction either to the July 2005 Indo-US Nuclear deal or the NSG exemption to India of October 2008? What do these sales say about the China-NSG relationship? And finally, is this sale the last of reactor sales by China to Pakistan?

China and NSG

The NSG was formed in 1975 and currently has 46 members. China was the last among P-5 states to join the NSG as a member. In 1993, the first contact of NSG representatives with members of the Chinese delegation in the IAEA General Conference in Vienna was unsuccessful since China did not show any keenness over joining the NSG. At the 1996 Buenos Aires plenary Ambassador Pasi Patokallio informed the NSG members that, “the conclusion from my talks with China is clear: the single major nuclear supplier outside the confines of the NSG is no closer to joining us despite our repeated entreaties. The Chinese position is adamant. I was told in no uncertain terms that China will not apply the full-scope safeguards requirement as a condition of supply”1 At almost every subsequent meeting between China and NSG, held as part of NSG outreach activities, the Chinese response to NSG appeal to China to join NSG, was usually that, “its position concerning nuclear export controls remains the same in that it does not accept IAEA full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, but that it supports the nuclear non-proliferation.”

However, at the 2000 NSG Plenary, the outgoing NSG Chair reported to NSG members that, during a meeting held as part of NSG outreach activities, “China has informed that its nuclear export policy does actually comply with NSG Guidelines, included the “fullscope safeguards” principle.”2 And that the Chinese were apparently “keen to be informed in the future about NSG activities.”

The repeated pleas by NSG members to China that it joins NSG seem to have had some impact on China. According to the NSG chair, during the 2001 outreach talks, “Regarding the full scope safeguards provision, Ambassador Sha emphasized that this requirement could affect existing and potential future cooperation between China and Pakistan. In the view of our interlocutor, the implementation of the so-called "grandfather clause" could create problems.” Subsequently the following year, according to report by the NSG chair, “China was interested in how the NSG handled existing contracts (the so called grandfather clause), and how it might be interpreted to apply to nuclear cooperation with India. We explained the contents of the grandfather clause, but noted that there were differing views on whether it might apply in particular instances.” This issue of interpretation of the grandfather clause will be discussed later.

Why Would Russia Sell China Su-35 Fighter Jets?

Given China’s history of stealing Russian defense technology, Moscow’s thinking is hard to understand.

November 19, 2013

Truthfully, the state of Russia-China ties gives me a headache.

First, I understand the rationale for both sides to develop large agreements for natural resource sales—it’s clearly in both of their national interests. China needs them (having a majority of the imported resource that powers your economy, namely oil, go through narrow straits that could be blockaded is probably not a good plan), Russia wants to sell them (what else does Russia have to sell these days). However, military sales of Moscow’s best equipment, even as a report from the Want China Times suggests is still being negotiated makes little sense, well…at least for Russia that is.

As I have stated on several occasions, Russia has a number of reasons to hold off selling even one of its most capable jets to China. Readers of Flashpoints are familiar with the tale of Russia’s last large jet sale to China, the SU-27. When Russia’s defense industry was on its back in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, China purchased US$1 billion worth of the then-advanced fighter. Plans were laid for an expansion of the agreement for up to 200 jets to be sold, with large quantities to be assembled in China. The deal then fell apart after the first 100 or so jets were delivered when Moscow accused Beijing of essentially replicating the jet and prepping it for resale under the renamed J-11 and J-11B. China has allegedly copied at least one other fighter jet of Russian origin, the SU-33, renamed the J-15.

For their part, Chinese officials denied such allegations. According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal back in 2010, Zhang Xinguo, deputy president of AVIC, tried to claim the jets were not a copy.

“You cannot say it’s just a copy,” Zhang declared. “Mobile phones all look similar. But technology is developing very quickly. Even if it looks the same, everything inside cannot be the same.”

In a piece for the People’s Daily, Chinese officials would also defend the J-15, the alleged copy of the SU-33.

Geng Yansheng, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, explained, “The world military affairs have an objective law of development. Many weapons have the same design principle and some command and protection methods are also similar. Therefore, it at least is non-professional to conclude that China copied the aircraft carrier technology of other countries only by simply comparison.”

The deal that is being considered now, at least according to the report mentioned above, sounds similar to the SU-27 sale. According to WCT, “Beijing sought a promise from Moscow to set up a maintenance center in China as part of the contract” and that “Chinese experts must be able to maintain and repair Su-35 fighters with training provided by Russian advisers.”

Effectively, Russia would be giving up a tremendous amount of technical knowledge and knowhow to China with very little safeguards to stop a repeat of the SU-27 incident. While Russia would gain a large sale for its arms industry, thinking long-term – and recalling the fact that Russia-China relations historically have not exactly been a model of peace and prosperity – Moscow might want to think twice about such an agreement.

For China, there are a number of reasons such a deal would be attractive. China has documented issues producing fighter jet engines, and even the ability to take apart and dissect Russia’s latest military wares would be of use. And for all the talk of 5th generation fighters, America is the only nation so far to deploy such a craft, with various well-documented glitches along the way. A more traditional craft could be of great value to Beijing while it perfects a stealthier fighter for the future. Also, considering the long range of the SU-35, such a plane would be of great value to loiter over disputed territories in the East and South China Sea for extended periods of time. Indeed, if Beijing buys into all the talk about Air-Sea Battle (ASB) being all about deep strikes on the Chinese mainland, an advanced fighter jet to defend the homeland does not seem like a bad investment in the long term.

China and the Uyghurs

An Uyghur leader talks about last month’s incident in Tiananmen Square and the plight of his people.

By Justin McDonnell
November 20, 2013

Alim Seytoff is president of the Uyghur American Association. He recently spoke with The Diplomat’s Justin McDonnell about the attack in Tiananmen Square in late October, China’s efforts to blame a terrorist movement, and the likely consequences for the Uyghur people. Beijing has blamed the Tiananmen Square attack on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), entrenched in Central and West Asian regions. How has China responded to the separatist group in the past and what steps are they taking to strengthen national security? Since 9/11, China called every instance of alleged violence involving Uyghurs the work of ETIM in order to justify its brutal suppression of the Uyghur people's legitimate demands for human rights, democracy and freedom. Today, we do not believe ETIM exists as an organization. Nobody has any substantive evidence of its existence. Even China never identifies where it is and who its leader is. However, this has not prevented China from invoking the name of ETIM every time something happens involving Uyghurs to justify its crackdown, mute international criticism of its gross human rights violations of the Uyghur people and sow fear among the Han Chinese to win its support for such brutal suppression. 

Every time China invokes the name of the shadowy ETIM, Chinese security forces target all Uyghurs, not just so-called ETIM members, treating them as terror suspects. China has already done everything possible to strengthen its national security in East Turkestan by turning it into the world's biggest police state and a concentration camp for the Uyghur people. Why has the U.S. failed to call this a terrorist act? I believe the U.S. is closely watching this issue. It has not called it a terrorist attack because Chinese claims cannot be verified by an independent and international organization. Furthermore, there are many holes in Chinese claims. How could a 70-year old woman be a terrorist and ETIM member? Who would bring his wife and aging mother along on a terrorist attack? Therefore, a responsible government like the U.S. will not jump to conclusions and call it a terrorist attack. The U.S. also knows that China will take advantage of any U.S. agreement with Chinese on this issue and aggressively repress the Uyghur people as it has done for the past decade, since the U.S. enlisted ETIM as a terror organization. China has scolded Western media for suggesting that the attack was linked to a failed ethnic and religious policy. Is Western media guilty of what Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei has called “connivance with terrorists?” The Chinese position is that anyone or Westerner who doesn't agree with Chinese government claims on this incident is equal to "connivance with terrorists." 

Stability and Growth in South Asia

Publisher: Pantagon Press
ISBN 978-81-8274-748-7
Price: Rs.995/- [Download Now]

About the Book

This book examines the forces and processes which have led to relative political stability or unleashed trends in that direction in some countries of South Asia. It also delves into the factors that have stimulated economic growth in some countries, and impeded economic growth in others. Eminent authors from the region examine how far the positive political and economic trends in the region are irreversible or lend themselves to internal convulsions or external influences. There is also a focus on how far inter-state relations within the region have led to stronger intra-regional co-operation, particularly in the economic field. The potential of SAARC as a regional organisation in promoting intra-regional integration, as an instrument of political and economic growth, has been authoritatively examined. The book brings together the thoughts, experiences and insights of South Asia’s leading academicians, policy makers and media persons on this highly important subject of South Asian stability and growth with respect to the recent past and the foreseeable future.

About The Editor

Ms. Sumita Kumar is Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. She specialises on South Asian security issues with a special focus on Pakistan. Her research publications have covered a diverse range of issues concerning Pakistan’s foreign policy, internal politics and security. She has published chapters in books and articles in journals published in India and abroad, as well as in the Indian media. Her recent research publications have dealt with Pakistan’s energy security, Pakistan’s strategic thinking, Pakistan’s foreign policy and the Pakistan economy. She was a member of the IDSA team that brought out the Pakistan Project Report in April 2013, titled Pakistan on The Edge and the report in June 2012, titled Whither Pakistan? Growing Instability and Implications for India. Her publications include a chapter on “US Measures Against Pakistan’s Nuclear Policies, 1990-2001”, in Michael Brzoska and George A. Lopez (eds.) Putting Teeth in the Tiger: Improving the Effectiveness of Arms Embargoes, Emerald Group Publishing Ltd., Bingley, 2009. She co-edited the book India’s Neighbourhood: Challenges Ahead, IDSA & Rubicon Publishers, New Delhi, 2008.


Sri Lanka’s Potemkin Peace: Democracy Under Fire

Asia Report N°253 13 Nov 2013


Sri Lanka’s ethnically-exclusive regime continues to close political space and consolidate its power. Recent moves that create a perception of progress have not weakened the power of the president, his family or the military or brought reconciliation, ended human rights abuses or reduced impunity. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won a landslide victory in September’s long-awaited northern provincial council elections. Yet, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration is reluctant to allow devolution to begin, preferring to maintain de facto military rule in the north. It faces increasing social and communal pressures elsewhere, too. Journalists, human rights defenders and critics of the government are threatened and censored. With opposition parties weak and fragmented, continued international pressure and action are essential to stem the authoritarian turn and erosion of rule of law, realise the devolution of power promised in the constitution and start a credible investigation of alleged war crimes by government forces and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE).

The long-awaited northern province elections – the result of intense pressure from India, Japan and the U.S. – are welcomed internationally. However, the TNA-controlled council will almost certainly have to battle the president to claim even its limited powers, which can be enjoyed only with central government cooperation. No provincial council has ever been permitted to exercise all powers granted by the constitution’s thirteenth amendment, which established a degree of devolution. The constitutional and legal context is not favourable to the TNA, especially under the current chief justice, appointed after his predecessor was unconstitutionally dismissed in January 2013. The TNA will also be under pressure from a restive Tamil constituency that was wooed during the campaign with strongly nationalist, sometimes pro-Tamil Tigers statements but is sceptical the council offers northern Tamils real power. For the election to be a meaningful step toward resolving the ethnic conflict, Colombo would have to abandon its hostility to devolution and reverse its policy of militarisation, centralised control and creeping Sinhalisation of the north.

To succeed, the northern provincial council requires financial, technical and political support from the international community. India, the U.S. and other influential governments should make clear to Colombo that diplomatic pressure will intensify if it pushes through constitutional changes that weaken or eliminate provincial councils. Working with multilateral development agencies, those governments should aim to prevent further regression through state- and military-assisted demographic change in the north and east.

Syria’s Sectarian Ripples across the Gulf

Published: November 18, 2013
By: Frederic Wehrey

This Peace Brief, one of a five-part series on sectarianism in the Middle East, reviews how the Syrian crisis has affected the Gulf Arab states.


Like the Iraq war and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon’s 2006 war, Syria’s internecine conflict has enabled the Gulf’s ruling families, media commentators, clerics, parliamentarians, and activists to invoke and amplify Sunni-Shia identities, often for goals that are rooted in local power politics.

By-products of the mounting sectarian tension include the fraying of reform cooperation among sects and regions, and pressure on the Gulf’s formal political institutions.

Traditional and social media have served to amplify the most polarizing voices as well as provide reform activists new means for cross-sectarian communication that circumvent governmental efforts to control or block such activities.

About This Brief

Frederic Wehrey is a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on political reform and security issues in the Arab Gulf states, Libya, and U.S. policy in the Middle East more broadly. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Sectarian Politics in the Gulf From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings (Columbia University Press, December 2013). This Peace Brief is one in a five-part USIP series on sectarianism in the Middle East.

The Gulf Arab states have been major players in Syria's war and, in turn, the war's effects have rippled across the domestic landscapes of the Gulf in ways that are often unseen but nonetheless significant. Chief among these has been a rise in sectarian partisanship by official and non-official actors alike. Like the Iraq war and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon's 2006 war, Syria's internecine conflict has enabled the Gulf's ruling families, media commentators, clerics, parliamentarians, and activists to invoke and amplify Sunni-Shia identities, often for goals that are rooted in local power politics. There is little danger that sectarianism will escalate into violent conflict across the Gulf, but it has nonetheless fostered a toxic political environment, casting a chill over cross-sectarian reform cooperation, eroding the position of moderate bridge-builders, and potentially radicalizing segments of Sunni and Shia youth. Gulf regimes are mindful that managing these consequences requires a delicate balancing act: They are fearful of sectarianism's potential to spin out of control, yet they also see in it a useful reminder of monarchy's indispensability as an arbiter over a fractious and divided citizenry.

U.S. Nuclear Triad: You Get What You See

By Michael Bruno
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

November 11, 2013 

When President Barack Obama declared that his national security officials agree they can cut the U.S.'s deployed, strategic nuclear arsenal by up to one-third beyond planned limits if Russia and the U.S. ratified a new nuclear-reduction treaty, he received the expected, seemingly knee-jerk, criticism from the far left and right of the American political spectrum.

But what came as a surprise was the political resistance that quickly sprung from the middle of both parties, despite their historic, bipartisanship support of nuclear cuts from the Nixon administration's original Strategic Arms Limitation Talks to the latest iteration of a Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (Start) early in Obama's term.

Take centrist politicians from the Great Plains. “A strong ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] force is absolutely critical to our national defense strategy, and I won't support anything that puts our American security in jeopardy,” says Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, where Malmstrom AFB and its roughly 4,000 workers are responsible for one of three Minuteman III ICBM fields. He and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) issued a joint communique with the state's lone congressman, a Republican, after Obama's June 19 speech in Berlin.

Why are the moderates suddenly resisting? Because unlike in previous rounds of nuclear reductions, further cuts to warhead inventories now will spur existential questions of the “delivery platforms” on which they are flown. Analysts and officials across the field believe that cuts beyond the 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on 800 platforms mandated under the New Start treaty with Russia by February 2018 would put one or more legs of the triad of U.S. nuclear-armed bombers, submarines and land-based ICBMs at risk. This is especially likely because costs and federal spending have gained prominence in Washington.

Still, Montana's congressional caucus and everyone else concerned with cuts can breathe easier, as there is little cause to worry in their lifetime, starting with the fact that Russia seems opposed to any additional Start-like deals. But it is also because an unprecedented slew of forces beyond just politics and foreign relations—including military and economic—are combining to keep the U.S. nuclear triad alive and well for decades to come.

“We see this as the best means to continue to promote strategic stability at a reasonable cost, while hedging against either technical problems or future vulnerabilities,” says James Miller, undersecretary of defense for policy. That is despite Obama's Pulitzer-Prize winning vision of a world without nukes, the 2011 Budget Control Act with its threat of annual sequestration cuts over a decade and the fact that each triad leg—and the warheads they carry—will have to undergo high-priced upgrade or life-extension programs in the next 20 years.