26 March 2014

Declassify Henderson Brooks' report

The tactics employed in 1962 have no relevance today

Kuldip Nayar

Indian troops show a banner asking Chinese troops to withdraw. A Tribune file photograph

I was a correspondent of The Times, published from London, when Neville Maxwell was its South Asia correspondent. He operated from New Delhi and we often discussed matters concerning India and other countries, particularly China.

That he was anti-India would be an understatement. His hatred towards the country was patent in his dispatches. For example, he wrote after the second general election in 1957 that it was the last poll of the country because democracy was not suited to India's genius.

I have not seen any of his writings to admit that his reading was incorrect. He reminded me at times of British die-hards who exploited India to make their country rich and indulged in unspeakable atrocities to keep us a colony. Both Maxwell and I often compared India's development with China's. Otherwise progressing democracy, he praised China's authoritarian regime. He honestly believed that it was India which attacked China and therefore titled his book as "India's war on China".

The utility of the book was the reproduction of certain portions of the report by Henderson Brooks, appointed by the government to probe reasons for India's debacle in the 1962 war against China. He reportedly blamed New Delhi, particularly Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, for "shoving" India into a war against China when the former had not provided shoes to the soldiers who were moved from Kashmir to face the Chinese.

I was then the Press Secretary to Home Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and knew his unhappiness over the building up of China's Premier Chou En-Lai by Nehru. The latter introduced him to the world figures and took him to Bandung at the first non-alignment conference. That Nehru was never the same after the defeat and died early because he felt personally betrayed. Although Sardar Patel had warned him through a letter not to trust China which would one day attack India, Nehru was obsessed by a Socialist country and he, to his grief, could not transform India into that mould.

Chinese takeaway: PLA Goes Out

C. Raja Mohan | | March 26, 2014 

The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines had 227 passengers aboard. (AP) 

Chinese military operations, in waters far from its shores, in search of the ill-fated Malaysian airliner have demonstrated Beijing’s impressive maritime capabilities and the strong political will to use them. India’s hesitant response to the humanitarian emergency, in contrast, has brought into sharp relief the diminution of India’s defence diplomacy under A.K. Antony’s extended tenure in South Block. 

Immediately after the disappearance of the Boeing 777 aircraft, flight MH 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, on March 8, the Chinese navy embarked on its largest search and rescue mission ever. Beijing deployed four warships and five coast guard vessels along with helicopters and fixed wing surveillance aircraft in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. Among the warships were two of China’s most advanced amphibious ships (called landing platform docks). The 20,000 tonne vessels, equipped with helicopters and boats, including hovercraft, can carry up to 20 armoured vehicles and 800 troops. 

Once the attention turned to the Indian Ocean, China ordered nine vessels to head to the region. Four vessels led by the LPD Jinggangshan travelled through the Malacca Straits to the Bay of Bengal and five others, led by the LPD Kunlunshan, set sail through Indonesia’s Sunda Straits to the southern Indian Ocean. Once possible debris was sighted west of Australia, the squadron in the Bay of Bengal headed south. A scientific research vessel returning from an expedition to Antarctica was asked to join the Chinese flotilla in the southern Indian Ocean. Imagery from China’s satellites — Beijing has a vast military space programme — confirmed sightings by others and helped limit the search to the southern Indian Ocean. China also deployed two IL-76 transport aircraft of the Chinese air force to Perth in Western Australia to reinforce the search for the remains of MH 370. 

Non-War Ops 

The rapid deployment of multiple military assets by the Chinese armed forces in search of MH 370 underlined the People’s Liberation Army’s new emphasis on what it calls “military operations other than war”. After Chinese leader Hu Jintao called on the armed forces to fulfil their “new historic missions” at the end of 2004, the PLA has focused on organising, equipping, training and deploying its armed forces for a range of operations other than war, including humanitarian assistance, emergency rescue and disaster relief. 

**** From Estonia to Azerbaijan: American Strategy After Ukraine

Geopolitical Weekly TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014 


As I discussed last week, the fundamental problem that Ukraine poses for Russia, beyond a long-term geographical threat, is a crisis in internal legitimacy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent his time in power rebuilding the authority of the Russian state within Russia and the authority of Russia within the former Soviet Union. The events in Ukraine undermine the second strategy and potentially the first. If Putin cannot maintain at least Ukrainian neutrality, then the world's perception of him as a master strategist is shattered, and the legitimacy and authority he has built for the Russian state is, at best, shaken. 

Whatever the origins of the events in Ukraine, the United States is now engaged in a confrontation with Russia. The Russians believe that the United States was the prime mover behind regime change in Ukraine. At the very least, the Russians intend to reverse events in Ukraine. At most, the Russians have reached the conclusion that the United States intends to undermine Russia's power. They will resist. The United States has the option of declining confrontation, engaging in meaningless sanctions against individuals and allowing events to take their course. Alternatively, the United States can choose to engage and confront the Russians. 

A failure to engage at this point would cause countries around Russia's periphery, from Estonia to Azerbaijan, to conclude that with the United States withdrawn and Europe fragmented, they must reach an accommodation with Russia. This will expand Russian power and open the door to Russian influence spreading on the European Peninsula itself. The United States has fought three wars (World War I, World War II and the Cold War) to prevent hegemonic domination of the region. Failure to engage would be a reversal of a century-old strategy.

The American dilemma is how to address the strategic context in a global setting in which it is less involved in the Middle East and is continuing to work toward a "pivot to Asia." Nor can the United States simply allow events to take their course. The United States needs a strategy that is economical and coherent militarily, politically and financially. It has two advantages. Some of the countries on Russia's periphery do not want to be dominated by her. Russia, in spite of some strengths, is inherently weak and does not require U.S. exertion on the order of the two World Wars, the Cold War or even the Middle East engagements of the past decade. 

The Russian and U.S. Positions

I discussed Russian options on Ukraine last week. Putin is now in a position where, in order to retain with confidence his domestic authority, he must act decisively to reverse the outcome. The problem is there is no single decisive action that would reverse events. Eventually, the inherent divisions in Ukraine might reverse events. However, a direct invasion of eastern Ukraine would simply solidify opposition to Russia in Kiev and trigger responses internationally that he cannot predict. In the end, it would simply drive home that although the Russians once held a dominant position in all of Ukraine, they now hold it in less than half. In the long run, this option -- like other short-term options -- would not solve the Russian conundrum.

The challenge is skilling

March 25, 2014 

Targets and budgets are only part of the solution. What is more interesting are the innovative design and delivery models being set up to respond to job-market realities. 

By: S. Ramadorai and Varad Pande 

No government can ignore the task of making young India job ready. 

Heard of “Velu the Welder”? This simple “welding simulator” is transforming the welding landscape in India, which today faces a scarcity of two lakh skilled welders. By training at 30 per cent less cost and in a considerably safer way, it is preparing thousands of youths to take up lucrative welding jobs that pay anywhere between Rs 15,000 to Rs 1 lakh a month. “Velu the Welder” is a small part of a skilling transformation that India is undergoing today. 

India’s working-age population will rise by 12.5 crore over the coming decade, and by a further 10.3 crore over the following decade. It is almost a cliché to say India is sitting on a demographic dividend. That is, with its growing young workforce, it can look forward to decades of high productivity, economic growth and upward social mobility. What is often ignored is that this tale assumes two things — first, there will be availability of productive jobs and second, there will be skilled workers to take on the jobs being created. While the first is often talked about, the second, skilling and re-skilling “young India” to become “job ready”, is equally important, and often treated as secondary. Survey after survey shows that the lack of a job-ready workforce is one of the biggest constraints facing Indian industry. By 2022, it is estimated that unless action is taken, there will be a gap of 10.3 crore skilled labourers in the infrastructure sector, 3.5 crore in auto and 1.3 crore in healthcare, to name a few. 

Skilling is an appropriate area for government intervention as it is an example of what economists call a “market failure” — employers on their own will not invest enough on skilling employees (what stops employees from being poached once they are trained at the company’s expense?), and employees have limited ability and willingness to pay for skilling. They are often unaware of the full “return on investment” and are also often credit-constrained, with little recourse to collateral free credit. Left to its own, the market would therefore create far fewer job-ready workers than the economy needs. 

Exposing inadequacies in emigration policy

March 24, 2014
Emigration in 21st-century in India

Our approach to emigration is not well defined. It is ad hoc or even schizoid. The colonial record of thousands indentured labour shipped to work in sugarcane fields in distant lands continues to haunt us. However, postwar trends in global migration and the impact on economic development have softened our responses somewhat. What distinguishes the current trend from the past is that it is the result of the free will of the individual(s) seeking new pastures to better their lives. Despite several hurdles, globalisation offers a window of opportunity to many.

One significant feature of the present day emigration is its links with financial flows. In 2010, it was estimated that flows of money from immigrants back to home countries were around $440 billion, of which $325 billion went to developing countries. A World Bank Report (Migration and Remittance Flows: Outlook-2013-16, 2 October 2013) showed India as the largest recipient of remittances in 2013 estimated at $71 billion. It was $70 billion in 2012. These remittances make a major contribution to the economy by way of balance of payment support and to investment and growth. Responding to these trends, since 1980s, the government has taken several steps and offered incentives to sustain the flow of remittances. Annual Conferences are held with potential investors (NRIs) (pravasis) and these get wide media coverage. Individual states, e.g. Punjab, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh send teams or hold conferences abroad to court remittances and investments.

In the early years, emigration was concentrated in Kerala and a lot of work was done on the impact of migration and remittances in that state. The book under review provides a mine of data to show that the migration from other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc. far exceed Kerala. In the aggregate, the share of South has declined from 71.75% in 2000 to 38.35 in 2012 while the share of North had risen from 16.66% to 39.19% during the same period. The data are based on emigration clearances. Despite the vicissitudes attached to migration, the authors show the great potential and relate it to ‘new sources.’

Given this background, there is reasonable expectation that the policies of the Government of India towards emigration would be well settled, dynamic and proactive. Unfortunately, this is not so. Indeed this book is an expose of the inadequacies of our policy framework and institutional failure both at the central and state levels. The book has been written by two authors who are well versed in the area both in terms of academic attainment and administrative experience. Krishna Kumar is the founder Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Prof. Irudaya Rajan is associated with the Centre Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram, which has pioneered studies on migration to the GCC countries.

Brazil-India partnership would be win-win

By Abhismita Sen 

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. 

After disappointing itself for decades, India is now emerging as the swing state in the global balance of power. The world started to take notice of India’s rise when New Delhi signed a nuclear pact with former president George W. Bush in July 2005, but that breakthrough is only one dimension of the dramatic transformation of Indian foreign policy that has taken place since the end of the Cold War. 

In recent years, India has enjoyed consistently high rates of growth and steady improvement in human development. It is estimated that India will overtake Japan in terms of gross domestic product by 2020. On the international stage, India is a nuclear power. The country is rich in natural resources and a majority of the population is educated. It is also the biggest exporter in the world of software services and workers. India has been a World Trade Organization member since January 1995. 

India is now universally accepted as one of the fastest growing economies of the world. However, like all other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), India mixes high growth in some sectors with a low-to-average rate of general development. Much of the foreign investment that comes in is used to feed the teeming millions in the country. India also faces many threats, including jihadist terrorism and a persistent Maoist insurgency, and is overshadowed by China in its ambition of assuming the leadership of South Asia. Among the most important associates of inequality are caste and religion, with the caste system still denying basic amenities to many people in the countryside. 

India’s political dealings with its neighbors have not been very successful. Terrorist attacks across the Pakistan-India border or via Kashmir are the main source of India’s concern in the west. A radical Islamic Pakistan would be more than a nightmare for India, with Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities a constant concern. Its arsenal of warheads, developed with Chinese assistance, is at least as large as India’s and probably larger. India’s overtures toward Nepal have not been very prudent. After its king dissolved the parliament, India stopped its support for Nepal – including the delivery of weapons that were needed for the fight against Maoist terrorists. 

It lies in India’s interest to safeguard the status quo. China is the most important neighbor of India. Both nations have tried to forge amiable relations in BRICS summits although border tension still exits. Bhutan acts as a buffer between India and China. There is concern that a “corridor for terrorists” might be established from Nepal, through the northern part of India and Bangladesh. India’s relationship with Bangladesh considerably deteriorated after the recent disputes over the waters of the Teesta River. 

Unshackling the Armed Forces: Need for Greater Delegation of Financial Powers


March 25, 2014

Eight years after the financial powers delegated to the armed forces to incur revenue expenditure were last reviewed in 2006 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is still in the process of considering further enhancement of those powers.

India does not maintain a Defence Inflation Index, unlike countries like the United Kingdom1 , but it does not require to be established empirically that practically everything that one buys from the revenue budget costs several times more than what it cost eight years back and, therefore, there is a need for enhancement of financial powers.

The recommendations of a committee set up in 2009 to review the delegated powers were accepted by the Defence Minister in December 2010 but soon thereafter these were held in abeyance because of the perceived fear that there was a large scale misuse of the delegated powers and that implementation of committee’s recommendations would result in excessive delegation of powers.

More than three years after this astonishing development, MoD is nowhere close to establishing large scale misuse of delegated powers. A study by a senior official of the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) was commissioned by MoD, which produced a voluminous report on ‘misuse’ of delegated powers but none of this could stand the subsequent scrutiny based on the response from the services. In any case, it remains a mystery as to how such large scale misuse could take place considering that most of the delegated powers are exercisable with the concurrence of the officers from the same department.

As for excessive delegation of powers, the enhancement recommended by the committee in 2010 was based on the principle that at least 5 to 10 per cent of the procurement proposals must keep coming to MoD so that there is greater scrutiny of all high value proposals and, more importantly, the MoD official continue to be familiar with complexity of revenue procurement. Such an exposure is necessary for those who are involved in policy making. This recommendation did not make any material difference in so far as the proportion of cases that were being dealt with under the delegated powers in 2006. The enhancement, more or less, would have maintained that proportion after adjusting for inflation.

In any case, MoD could have scaled down the recommended enhancement if it was considered excessive but it chose not to do so and to defer the matter, which is now under consideration by another set of committees.

Northeast: Uncertain Relief

Veronica Khangchian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

India’s troubled Northeast continues to witness varying levels of insurgency related violence, as well as tensions between various ethnic groups, with troubles further compounded by external agencies and a proliferation of new rebel formations. Nevertheless, insurgency-related fatalities in the region have seen sustained and dramatic improvements, from a recent peak of 1,051 in 2008, collapsing to 246 fatalities in 2011. Though 2012 saw a reversal of this trend, with 316 killed, the region saw a significant improvement in 2013, with 252 killed. A multiplicity of enduring insurgencies has weakened considerably, either disintegrating or seeking peace through negotiated settlements with the Government. However, the mushrooming of new militant outfits and splinter groups in the region, the worst of which is witnessed in Garo Hills of Meghalaya, continues to renew the menace in the region.

Fatalities in Militants Violence in India's Northeast 2005-2014*


Source: SATP, *Data till March 23, 2014 

The two States worst afflicted by insurgency in 2012, Nagaland and Manipur, recorded dramatic declines in insurgency related fatalities. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal database,Nagaland dropped dramatically from 61 [six civilians and 55 militants] in 2012 to just 32 [11 civilians and 21 militants] in 2013. Internecine clashes within the State also declined from 43 incidents in 2012, resulting in 53 persons killed and 23 injured, to 18 incidents in 2013, resulting in 12 killed and 11 injured. 2012 had witnessed intense factional killing between Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland–Khaplang (NSCN-K) and NSCN-Khole-Kitovi (NSCN-KK), which visibly slowed down in 2013. Factional killings amongst the Nagas had spiked after the formation of NSCN-KK on June 7, 2011, and the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF), a Manipur based outfit, on February 25, 2011. Further, seven incidents of fratricidal clashes [resulting in nine killed and two injured] between Naga militant groups were recorded outside Nagaland in 2013, as against such 13 such incidents [resulting in 27 killed and 10 injured] in 2012. Fatalities in Nagaland had registered an upward trend, till they peaked at 145 in 2008, but fell drastically in 2009 and 2010, in the aftermath of the signing of the Covenant of Reconciliation in mid-2009. However, this emerging trend saw a reversal after the emergence of ZUF and NSCN-KK in 2011. Nagaland faces fresh challenges in 2014, carrying forward tensions from the December 2013 incidents between the Rengma Nagas and Karbis of Assam. 2014 has already recorded 11 fatalities, including 10 civilians and one militant.


March 25, 2014 

Last year, Pakistani journalist Nadeem Paracha published an article called “Malala: The real story (with evidence)” on the website of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper. The article argued that schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot not by the Pakistani Taliban, but by the CIA—and with blanks. The shooting had been completely staged.

The triggerman? Robert De Niro (“posing as an Uzbek homeopath”).

Paracha was clearly satirizing Pakistani conspiracy theories, but some of his countrymen took him quite literally. One obscure newspaper, The Lahore Times, even published an article (later removed from its website) reporting Paracha’s article as fact. Dawn eventually posted a disclaimer noting that the article was fictitious. One might wonder how anyone in Pakistan could fall for Paracha’s outrageous story. It also featured an account of Malala bungee-jumping, and a photograph of a Pakistani spy in a Spiderman mask. Then again, this is a country where some contend the CIA, using mysterious weather-manipulating technologies, caused the catastrophic floods that hit Pakistan in 2010. Where some insist Osama Bin Laden was Jewish. And where some suggest the Pakistani Taliban is a CIA asset.

Conspiracy theories have long flourished in Pakistan. One Pakistani newspaper editor has quipped that they constitute the country’s only growth industry. It’s easy to understand why: they’re planted in educational curriculums, propagated by a powerful security establishment, promulgated by influential religious leaders, and peddled by wildly popular private television channels—all in an environment where facts and transparency are often elusive.

Yet, there’s another reason for the popularity of Pakistani conspiracy theories: many contain kernels of truth. And unfortunately, these tend to be about the United States. Here are four in particular that aren’t as cockamamie as they may seem.

1. The CIA is everywhere in Pakistan.

Many Pakistanis believe the CIA is always hovering, watching, and plotting, and that all Americans in the country—investors, diplomats, journalists, development workers (including an NGO worker kidnapped in 2011)—are either spies or connected to them.

This is obviously untrue. Nonetheless, between 2008 and 2011, U.S. intelligence operatives had a sizable on-the-ground presence in Pakistan. Exact figures are hard to obtain, though Anatol Lieven estimated that by 2010, “hundreds of new CIA operatives” had entered Pakistan.

Two major factors account for the CIA’s decision to ramp up its presence. One was the increasing strength of militancy in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which in 2008 prompted Langley to expand a drone war that had begun in 2004.The CIA used Shamsi airbase—a Pakistani military facility in Baluchistan province—to launch drones, with assistance from employees of Xe (formerly Blackwater), who loaded missiles onto them.In fact, much earlier, after U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan in 2001, and until 2011, CIA operatives were stationed at Shamsi (they also had a presence at Shahbaz airbase in Sindh province). According to the International Crisis Group, the CIA used both bases for intelligence gathering.

Iran-Pakistan Pipeline: Is There Scope for Hope?

25 March 2014
Ayesha Khanyari
Research Intern, IPCS

The stalled Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline is symptomatic of the reshuffle in the bilateral relations between India and Iran and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. As Iran shifts its focus towards India, Saudi Arabia has channelled its efforts towards strengthening ties with Pakistan.

The fate of this pipeline project has constantly faced uncertainty with Pakistan repeatedly running into problems be it due to its own financial shortcomings or due to pressure from the US. Tehran, on the other hand, is exhibiting signs of frustration. Iran successfully completed the construction of the required 900-kilometer stretch of the pipeline in its territory, and threatens to evoke the penalty clauses of the 2010 Ankara agreement between Tehran and Islamabad, over Pakistan’s delay in proceeding with construction. The agreement states that the construction of the pipeline is due to be completed by 2014 and if either side fails to meet the deadline, the defaulter will have to pay a penalty of $US 1 million a day.

The project was stalled after Tehran refused Islamabad the $2 billion financial support the latter had asked for building its side of the project. Additionally, Pakistan claims that the threat of US sanctions was a major impediment to the successful completion of the project.

To evaluate the future of the IP project, three important questions need answering:
Are the US sanctions solely responsible for the stalling? Has Pakistan completely given up the idea of actualising the project, or is there hope for it to materialise? Will India be willing to take the project forward?

The Saudi Factor

Incumbent Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on assuming office, assured Iran that his government was committed to the IP pipeline project. Then what changed? Pakistani officials state that Western sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme spells the impossibility of the realisation of this project. The US fears that Iran will be able to check the growing influence of the US and exert political leverage in Pakistan, if the pipeline were to materialise. However, the issue of sanctions is not a new problem, and Pakistan was well aware of it even at the time of signing the agreement. 

Saudi Arabia is highly sceptical of the increasing US closeness towards Iran after the interim agreement over the nuclear issue was signed between Iran and the P5+1. It fears an unopposed Iran in the region and has embarked on its own diplomatic offensive to isolate Iran. The U-turn on the IP pipeline creates a rupture in the Islamabad-Tehran relationship owing to what Shahbab Jafry calls ‘riyal politics’ in hisarticle, ‘Saudi’s new riyal-politics’, published by Pakistan Today. “Riyadh will flush Pakistan with defence contracts and petrodollars in return for military, missile and perhaps nuclear technology,” he says.

Afghanistan 2014: Near-Term Political Projections

Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy
Research Officer, IPCS 
Email: rajeshwari@ipcs.org

The upcoming months hold several changes for Afghanistan. They can be categorised under politics, security and economics, with implication for both the country, and the region. This article assesses the political aspects of the transition, and answers the following questions:

What are the potential trends that can be expected in the country? Will the elections be free, fair and inclusive? How stable will the Afghan parliament be after the elections? 

Electoral Process: Conjectures

Ethnic identities play a huge role in the social and political governance in Afghanistan. Hence, an election in this country, where there are seven major ethnic groups and many other ethnicities that collectively make a considerable chunk of the population, dominance by one ethnic group on another in the overall national governance will not be viable. Although the ethnic groups in the country will team up to fight outsiders, the infighting among them in the absence of an external threat/enemy is a well-known fact.

Afghan identity politics is somewhat like that of India’s, where every group has to be substantially represented. The upcoming presidential election, hence, is a manifestation of how well this reality is understood among those in the country and those aspiring to govern the nation. All presidential candidates have chosen their two vice-presidential candidates from different ethnic backgrounds. While, interestingly, all the presidential candidates are Pashtuns, the running mates all come from varied backgrounds. This essentially means that there cannot be any region that can be completely in favour of one candidate alone. Votes from every region will be split between different candidates, given the diversity in the choice of running mates – who hold sway on regions.

Resultantly, predicting the outcome of the polls is not an easy task. However, given the attrition rate among the presidential candidates, the latest withdrawal being from former Afghan Defence Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak, it is likely that the 5 April election will lead to a run-off and the final results will not be out until May.

AFGHANISTAN Click for PrintPrint Critical Cusp

Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

With less than a fortnight to go for the all important Presidential Elections scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014, a wave of terror strikes has enveloped the length and breadth of Afghanistan. In the most recent of major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) at least nine persons, including four foreigners and five Afghans (including two children and two women), were shot dead by Taliban terrorists inside the luxurious Serena Hotel complex in national capital Kabul, in the night of March 20, 2014. The attackers managed to smuggle pistols past security checkpoints and then hid in a bathroom, eventually springing out and opening fire on guests and hotel guards. All the four terrorists were killed in the subsequent operation by the Security Forces (SFs). The attack took place despite recent security reports rating Serena Hotel, guarded round the clock by dozens of security guards armed with assault weapons, among the highest-risk locales in the city. The hotel is frequented by foreign officials and the Afghan elite.

In another incident earlier in the day, Taliban terrorists killed at least 11 people, including the Police Chief of Jalalabad District, and wounded another 22, in a suicide bomb attack and gun battle at a Police Station in Jalalabad city, Nangarhar Province. The assault began with two explosions just before dawn targeting the Police Station and a nearby square, close to compounds used by international organizations, including the United Nations. The initial attack was carried out by two suicide bombers, one of them driving a three-wheeler vehicle. Afghan SF personnel, with the help of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopter gunships, launched retaliatory fire. The ensuing gun battle lasted for over three hours, at the end of which six Taliban terrorists, all of them wearing suicide vests, were killed.

On March 18, 2014, a suicide bomber riding a rickshaw blew himself up outside a checkpoint near a market in Maymana, the capital of Faryab Province, killing at least 15 civilians and injuring another 46. The explosion took place some 200 metres away from the Provincial Governor’s residential compound.

On January 17, 2014, at least 21 persons, including 13 foreigners and eight Afghans, were killed in a suicide bombing by the Taliban, at a Lebanese restaurant, Taverna Du Liban, in Kabul. Wabel Abdallah, the International Monetary Fund’s Resident Representative in Afghanistan, was among the dead. Three attackers were also killed. The restaurant, popular among foreigners and wealthy locals, is located in an area that houses several diplomatic missions.

According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management’s (ICM's) South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), since the beginning of 2014, a total of 682 persons, including 141 civilians, 101 SF personnel and 440 terrorists, have been killed in terrorism-related incidents across Afghanistan (data till March 23, 2014). The country has recorded at least 45 major incidents in 321 deaths during this period. More worryingly, 21 out of these 45 incidents were suicide attacks, accounting for 132 killings.

Violence recorded a significant escalation through 2013. SATP data indicates that at least 6,363 fatalities were recorded through 2012, including of 2,754 civilians, 893 SF personnel and 2,716 terrorists, rising to 7,074 fatalities in 2013, including 2,959 civilians, 1,413 SF personnel and 2,702 terrorists - an increase of 11.17 percent in overall fatalities.

India, Pakistan Remain Lacking in Nuclear Security

India and Pakistan both have inadequate nuclear security provisions. What do they need to do? 
March 24, 2014

The Nuclear Threat Initiative‘s 2014 Security Index, “a unique public assessment of nuclear materials security conditions in 176 countries, developed with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),” scored both India and Pakistan rather poorly for nuclear material security. The NTI’s ranking examines nuclear material security indicators among the 25 countries known to possess weapons-usable nuclear material and this year’s ranking put India in 23rd place and Pakistan in the 22nd place. Only Iran and North Korea — two nations largely ostracized by the international community for their nuclear programs — scored lower. Despite its higher internal instability, Pakistan came out ahead of India on the NTI 2014 Security Index.

India’s low score on the NTI Security Index is mostly due to a series of bureaucratic failures and delays. India remains a relative newcomer to the community of normal nuclear weapon states. Despite the fact that India never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, its landmark 2006 civil nuclear cooperation deal with the United States and its eventual receipt of a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008 made it the first nuclear weapon state outside of the NPT framework to engage in civil nuclear commerce.

India’s nuclear security problems are myriad. Despite having excellent multilateral compliance, including fully implementing UN Security Council resolution 1540, poor regulations and laws that merely suggest but do not require oversight keep India’s nuclear security provisions below optimal levels. Two years ago, at the last Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, India pledged to establish an independent regulatory agency for nuclear material security but has failed to do so. Other major shortcomings for India include a failure to hedge against insider threats to nuclear materials and protect materials during transport. While India’s threat environment is far less dangerous than Pakistan’s, terrorist groups have plotted to acquire nuclear materials in India.

According to India’s Economic Times, the Indian delegation to the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague will focus on “gaps” in the international nuclear security legal framework — an area in which India is rather exemplary — to avoid drawing attention to India’s enduring shortcomings in nuclear materials security. Given India’s looming elections and the probability of the incumbent coalition falling from power, it is unlikely that the institutional and legislative changes needed will occur anytime soon (P.R. Chari has a piece over at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that examines the reasons for this in greater detail).

Saudi grant kills Iran-Pakistan pipeline

Mar 21, '14 
By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

KARACHI - A US$1.5 billion donation to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia is hotly being debated in the country's parliament, political circles and among the analysts. The main question being under what deal Riyadh disbursed the crucial amount to help the cash-strapped country make short-term economic gains? What has Pakistan guaranteed or promised to do in return? Many believe Saudi Arabia killed many birds with one stone.

Saudi Arabia did what the US could not do to keep Pakistan away from a $7.5-billion gas pipeline project with Iran. In a tit-for-tat deal, Saudi Arabia might have persuaded Islamabad to cancel the Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline project, which is vital to end energy shortages that are crippling Pakistan's economy.

Pakistan's oil minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, after receiving funds from Saudi Arabia last month, reportedly said work on the pipeline was not possible because of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Iran over its nuclear program. Iran has warned that Islamabad is contractually obliged to complete the project which would allow Tehran to export gas to its southeastern neighbor.

"Iran has carried out its commitments ... and expects the Pakistani side to honor its own," Iran's deputy oil minister Ali Majedi was reported to have said. "They should even pick up the pace of work and make up for falling behind schedule in constructing Pakistan's [780-kilometer] side of the pipeline."

Iran has already laid the pipeline its side up to its border with Pakistan. Financing has been the key issue for Islamabad. Islamabad has so far failed to secure the required funding for the IP pipeline due to the threat of sanctions from the US. Pakistan had been asking Iran, China and Russia to fill the finance gap.

Ironically, Saudi Arabia's $1.5 billion donation was the amount Pakistan needed complete the portion of pipeline on its territory. But this donation, or "gift" as called by Ishaq Dar, Pakistan's finance minister, could not be used to finance the construction of the IP pipeline.

The Saudi grant has, however, helped Pakistan to shore up its foreign exchange reserves. It improved the health of the Pakistani rupee, which appreciated 6% to a nine-month high against the US dollar within a week.

Beijing's Caribbean Logic

Published on The National Interest (http://nationalinterest.org)

March 25, 2014

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Robert Kaplan’s latest book Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific [3] (copyright 2014, Random House). Mr. Kaplan will be appearing at the Center for a New American Security [4] to discuss his work on March 25, 2014.

American policymakers bristle at China’s gunboat aggression against Japan in the East China Sea and against countries like Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea. But to understand what China really wants, they need to understand their own history better: particularly America’s diplomatic and military history in the Caribbean. The Caribbean may now suggest a geopolitically obscure place useful only for winter vacations, but for generations of Washington foreign policy professionals in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was the region of choice to advance careers – the equivalent of the Middle East today.

The Greater Caribbean (including the Gulf of Mexico) is roughly the size of the South China Sea - 1,500 miles in one direction and 1,000 miles in the other. Whereas the South China Sea can be dubbed the Asian Mediterranean because of its centrality to the Indo-Pacific world, the Greater Caribbean can be dubbed the American Mediterranean because of its centrality to the whole Western Hemisphere. For as the mid-20th century Dutch-American strategist, Nicholas J. Spykman, observed, the basic geographical truth of the Western Hemisphere is that the division within it is not between North America and South America, but between the area north of the Amazon jungle and the area south of it. Colombia and Venezuela, as well as the Guianas, although they are on the northern coast of South America, are functionally part of North America and the American Mediterranean. So once the United States came to dominate the American Mediterranean, that is, the Greater Caribbean, and separated as it is from the southern cone of South America by yawning distance and a wide belt of tropical forest, the United States had few challengers in its own hemisphere. The domination of the Greater Caribbean, by providing domination of the Western Hemisphere, left America with resources to spare for influencing the balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere. First the Greater Caribbean, next the world, in other words: such was the history of the United States in the 20th century with its two world wars.

Han Nationalism in China

Raymond Lee
Last Updated: : Thursday 20 March 2014


Great interest has quickly been developing in the international community about the rising Han nationalism in China. Most of the media spotlight was cast on China’s latest military adventurism and Beijing's assertive foreign policy against neighbouring countries regarding island disputes in East and South China Sea. More and more attention has also been paid to the escalation of unrest in Xinjiang.

This report illustrates the main aspects of Han nationalism and explains its recent growth. The analysis shows that Beijing intends to promote Han nationalism to resolve problems of political legitimacy during the transition process of power under Xi's new leadership. The rising Han nationalism could be exercised towards developing a stronger China as long as China simultaneously keeps decent economic growth and maintains social stability, and provided that unrest in Xinjiang unrest is successfully pacified and no military conflict breaks out in Pacific Asia. 


Over the past several years, great interest has quickly been developing in the international community about the rising Han nationalism in China. (1) Most of the media spotlight was cast on China’s latest military adventurism and Beijing's assertive foreign policy against neighbouring countries regarding island disputes in East and South China Sea. (2) More and more attention has also been paid to the escalation of unrest in Xinjiang, which demonstrates severe conflicts between Beijing's scale-up stability measures and the Uyghur resistance to Han rule. (3) The two news topics nicely delineates the essential feature of Han nationalism: there is a growing sentiment of Chinese nationalism in the PRC's leadership, which leads to their application of tougher measures to defend national interest in international and domestic arenas, regardless of international criticisms. (4)

Under these ostensible signs, there are deeper reasons that exist for rising Han nationalism in China. While China is largely able to maintain political and social stability under fast modernisation, top leaders face three arduous problems. First, how can they justify the huge developmental gap as well as the many socioeconomic problems in the current capitalist economy that runs counter to the official communist ideology? Second, how can they justify the one-party authoritarian regime and maintain CCP’s political legitimacy? Third, how can they successfully achieve transition of power the first time round without Deng Xiaoping’s political arrangement in the post-Deng era? (5) The answers to all these three questions all converge on a single solution: promoting Chinese nationalism to regain the nation’s glory by achieving great power status that gives utmost legitimacy to the new CCP leadership whilst quieting any dissident voice under the supreme nationalistic goal. 

The Main Aspects of Han Nationalism 

Mao Zedong had publicly criticised Han chauvinism and claimed that Chinese nationalism denotes a multi-ethnic nation which includes Han majority and other 55 ethnic minorities on an equal basis. (6)However, the terms "Chinese nationalism" and "Han nationalism" are often used interchangeably, (7)for the fact that most of the minority people have been highly sinicised except Uyghur, Tibetan, and a few minorities in the Northwest China. In reality, the main discourse of Chinese nationalism is established on the history of Han people and most cultural elements are directly linked to the Han identity, including the language, customs, moral codes, Confucianism, and shared memory. Therefore, Han nationalism is often applied to a political ideology by which people not only identify themselves as Chinese but also advocate the unity and prosperity of the Chinese people, though the definition of the Chinese is subject to change. 

China’s Slowing Fixed Asset Investment

The slowdown will have repercussions for a number of other sectors. Can Beijing find a new source of growth? 

March 24, 2014

China’s rate of growth in fixed asset investment is declining, and while this technical measure of infrastructure, property, and plant and machinery is not as eye-catching as say, consumer sentiment, this particular indicator has been bolstering GDP since the global financial crisis hit China. Its decline means not only that GDP will have to come from other sources in the near future, but that there will be knock-on effects in a number of sectors, including infrastructure, real estate, construction, metals, and machinery, that will compound a slowdown in growth.

China’s investment in infrastructure and real estate has been enabled by a large increase in funding through non-traditional means—i.e., not through bank loans, but through, rather, the shadow banking sector, which includes funds from a number of under-regulated, under-monitored sources such as trust companies. A surge in liquidity stemming from trust companies and other shadow banking entities fueled China’s infrastructure and real estate boom. What is more, stimulus provided by the Chinese government for construction of infrastructure helped to maintain China’s high rate of GDP growth, but returns to both infrastructure and real estate have declined, and shadow banking loans have soured, revealing weaknesses in productivity of these sectors. But that’s not all.

First, declining growth in infrastructure and real estate will have a direct impact on the construction sector, as fewer individuals are employed to work either on government or privately owned projects. The construction sector consists of building, planning and management services, and material provision and installation. Most of the sector is occupied by private enterprises that will lose business as fixed asset investment growth falls off. This sector is labor-intensive and will result in unemployment if its decline is unchecked.

Second, the metals sector will also suffer fallout from a decline in the infrastructure and real estate sectors. The metals sector was boosted by growth, particularly in the infrastructure stimulus packages put through by the government in recent years. Production of steel and aluminum are expected to turn downward as demand for these materials for use in construction declines. Smaller metals producers will face potential bankruptcies as the sector experiences a slump in growth.

Third, China’s machinery sector is expected to decline; production of construction machinery was the most lucrative component of the machinery sector in recent years, and as construction slows, so will domestic demand for construction machinery. High levels of competition in the machinery market due to high fixed costs may result in potential failures of less profitable machinery producers, while machinery producers that remain in business will have to turn to other sources of revenue.

Why the Ukrainian Army Threw Up Its Hands

MAR 24, 2014

Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea have pulled off an impressive feat: ceding a large chunk of territory to an invading army without firing a shot. The question is whether they will be perceived as heroes, traitors or just a sad bunch of guys in ill-fitting camouflage betrayed by their commanders in Kiev.

Russian troops and local pro-Russian militias are now in control of most Ukrainian military bases on the Crimean peninsula, after bloodless "stormings" in which armored vehicles broke through garrison gates, some warning shots were sounded and, in some cases, stun grenades were used. Russian forces took pains not to harm any of their formal adversaries, and the 22,000 Ukrainian troops stationed on the peninsula managed to refrain from shooting at Russians. Only one Ukrainian serviceman has died since Russia invaded the peninsula with unmarked troops in early March, and it is not entirely clear who shot him in the neck.

For their peaceful abdication, the troops received praise from both sides. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked "those Ukrainian servicemen who did not go the way of bloodshed." On Friday, acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said that "despite enormous losses, Ukrainian troops in the Crimea have done their duty," which apparently consisted of buying time for Ukrainian armed forces elsewhere "to prepare for defense, to achieve full combat readiness and begin a partial mobilization."

By "enormous losses," Turchynov meant the hundreds and possibly thousands who have defected to Russia from the chronically underfinanced, underarmed and even underfed Ukrainian army. "I've been serving for 15 years, and in these 15 years the Ukrainian army has given me nothing, not even a dorm room," warrant officer and Crimea native Maxim Shumeyev told the BBC's Russian service. "As I served the Ukrainian people, so I remain to serve the people of the Crimea."

To the extent that the Ukrainians defied the Russians, their efforts were largely symbolic. In one famous video, a small Ukrainian unit marches, unarmed and singing the national anthem, on three unbadged Russian soldiers sent to bar their way to the Belbek airbase. The march took courage, and the unit commander, Colonel Yuli Mamchur, quickly became a hero to many Ukrainians. 

Mamchur also expressed the exasperation of local Ukrainian officers with their commanders in faraway Kiev. "Under constant pressure from the Russian military, the local population and local government, we have oral orders to hold on, not submit to provocations and not to use weapons," Mamchur said in a YouTube video less than two weeks after his march. "To avoid armed clashes, I ask you, as soon as possible, to make a considered decision concerning further action by unit commanders in case of a direct threat to the lives of servicemen and their families." In the absence of orders from Kiev, Mamchur threatened to fall back on Ukrainian military regulations, which, not surprisingly, require servicemen to open fire on armed intruders. The orders never came, and Mamchur's unit still never fired a shot: When the Russian came to take it over, the Ukrainians again sang the national anthem.