22 May 2014

Wanted: A National Security Commission

Lt Gen SS Mehta

The other models

The NSC in the US is chaired by the President. Its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

The National Security Council of the United Kingdom is a Cabinet Committee tasked with overseeing all issues related to national security, intelligence coordination, and defence strategy.

China may be the ‘new kid on the block’ in dealing with holistic national security but are fast, determined and focused learners. President Xi Jinping has recently presided over the first meeting of the recently established National Security Commission.

THE earlier article established that India does not in effect have a National Security Policy and has, as a result, bled consistently for almost 70 years without seriously attempting to staunch the bleeding. On the contrary, instead of seeking solutions or studying the models of successful countries in this upper-end seriously nation-building enterprise, we have adopted a peculiarly Indian escapism where we philosophically rationalise, even laud a patented propensity for inaction and comatose, sleep-walking stratagem in which "No decision" in itself becomes typified as a "decision" and thereby the subject of much insipid appreciation.
Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi
US President Barack Obama
Chinese President Xi Jinping
UK Premier David Cameron

It is instructive to study some examples of how others deal with issues of national security. First the US. The NSC in the US is chaired by the President. Documents state its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council and the Director of National Intelligence is the Intelligence Advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when it is considered appropriate.

The goal of nuclear disarmament

Ambiguity on China's 'no-first-use' policy
G. Parthasarathy

ON July 8, 1996, the World Court ruled that countries possessing nuclear weapons have not just a “need” but an “obligation” to commence negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. Nearly two decades later, the ruling of the World Court remains an ever-receding mirage. Even today, a quarter of a century after the Cold War ended, the US deploys an estimated 150-200 tactical nuclear weapons in NATO allies -- Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey. The US has held the position that it would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons for its security and to protect its NATO allies. The 1999 NATO Doctrine retained the option to use nuclear weapons against states for merely possessing chemical or biological weapons, even if they had signed the NPT. While the Soviet Union had declared that it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons, the Russian Federation adopted a “first-strike” doctrine in 1993, which was subsequently reaffirmed.

The Bush Administration was prepared to use nuclear weapons even against non-nuclear weapon states in regional conflicts. The 2002 Nuclear Policy Review called on the Pentagon to draft contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria. In contrast, the 2010 review by the Obama Administration avers the US will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states that are signatories to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations. It notes: “It is in the US interest and that of all other nations that the nearly 65 year record of nuclear non-use be extended forever”. India should move to get universal support for this reference of getting the “record of non-use extended forever”.

China adopted a “no-first-use” (NFU) policy in 1964, stating it would “not be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances”. It reiterated this policy in 2005, 2008, 2009, and in 2011. But, some Chinese statements have cast doubts on whether their NFU pledge would apply to states like India possessing nuclear weapons which have not acceded to the NPT.

The Pentagon has noted that “there is some ambiguity on the conditions under which China’s NFU would apply”. China has offered to sign agreements on “no first use” of nuclear weapons with the other five NPT “recognised” nuclear weapon states. It signed such an agreement with Russia and concluded a “non-targeting” agreement with the Clinton Administration, immediately after our nuclear tests. New Delhi should seek and obtain a formal confirmation from China that their NFU pledge applies to India.

Patterns of Naxal Recruitment

Uddipan Mukherjee

The fundamental core from which the ultra left-wingers derive their strength and energy are the dedicated cadres of the vanguard party. Even if the ideologues work in absentia, the party will move on if the cadre supply is in steady state. It is precisely this particular inflow of the recruits that deserves a telescopic view. 

I Patterns of Recruitment: 2012-13

In an online report, Anirban Roy informs about ‘missing youths’ in Assam – a scary prospect for the administrators and law and order authorities, though it is nothing unusual and beyond expectation (India Tea, 26 September 2013): “The census [in Assam’s Barak Valley] has become imperative as there are reports that the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is waging a ‘peoples’ war’ in mainland India, are in a massive recruitment drive in the tea gardens of South Assam to sustain its proletariat movement.”

Roy goes on to stipulate the numbers in exactitude: “There are reports that the Maoists recruited around 200 cadres in the state, mostly from the poor tea gardens of Barak valley in South Assam. The cadres have reportedly been sent to Palamu district in western Jharkhand for training.” Earlier in the same month, mainstream media reports had put across another glaring expose: “Maoists across Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand have reportedly ‘recruited’ nearly 10,000 children including girls. These children will serve as intelligence gatherers or perform chores as cooks and couriers for Maoists. Most of the minor recruits are in the age group of 10 to 15 and are given basic training to handle weapons.” (Niticentral, 7 September 2013)

To what extent that data could be classified as sensational is debatable as such wealth of information, in a much benign and routine format, has been corroborated by authors, commentators and activists. Arundhati Roy romanticises such child-recruits as part of the Maoist militia in “Walking with the Comrades” and Gautam Navlakha reports ‘considerable number of women’ in People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army [PLGA] and the militia in his “Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion”. In a manner loosely termed mechanical and technically statistical, the enumeration of Maoist recruitment in 2012-13 is warranted for an evolving discourse on the subject.

In February 2013, intelligence agencies of the state reported that the Maoists were forcibly taking away children from villages in Latehar and Lohardaga districts of Jharkhand. Asked about the lack of complaints, the Superintendent of Police cited the element of fear of the Naxalites (Hindustan Times, 12 February 2013). Whereas, going back in time, in the month of March 2012, the Maoists opposed a recruitment drive by the Indian Army at Bastar – their core bastion (DNA, 10 March 2012)

The Poll Message: Loud and Clear

21 May 2014
Shujaat Bukhari
Editor, Rising Kashmir

The results of just concluded elections to six Lok Sabha constituencies have come up with a mix of surprise and concern. While all the three seats in Kashmir valley have gone to opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s kitty, Ladakh and Jammu have been taken away by Bharatiya Janta Party. In the valley, the ruling National Conference (supported by Congress) had not expected decimation to the extent that its president would taste the defeat for the first time in more than 30 years. So was the case with former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who had tested electoral waters for parliament for the first time from his home turf. The results came as a jolt to the party as well as the coalition government as all the five sitting MP’s of Jammu, Udhampur, Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar lost the elections. This in other words meant that people had lost faith in the government run by the NC-Congress combination and also in the sitting MPs.

The verdict of people was based on different factors in all the three regions. But the underlying message was clear that people across the state were fed up with the misgovernance, rampant corruption and defunct administration run by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. His five- and-a-half-year old government has surely been gloating over the “achievements” such as Right to Information Act, Public Service Guarantee Act, strengthening the accountability institutions and the development projects, but people have not seen the “fruits” of such pompous measures and that is why the verdict manifested the anger people had been harbouring for all these years.

Even if they did all what they have been saying, but all these “good steps” were halted by the government itself. For example, RTI was weakened by amendments in RTI rules making it soft towards bureaucracy. The ministers challenged Accountability Commission’s power when they moved courts much before they would initiate a process. Developmental projects have been going on snail’s pace and the cry over empty treasuries has been growing louder. There are many more skeletons in the cupboard. But the arrogance of the political power centre at the highest level caps it all.


Apart from tasting an inept administration every now and then, lack of justice at the hands of the government played a vital role in writing the epitaph of the ruling coalition in these elections. It is a fact that nearly 70 percent people boycotted the elections, thus showing no faith in the instrument of vote, but the atmosphere rallying around the sense of insecurity and injustice had been building up since 2009 when two women were raped and murdered in Shopian and then the tragedy was dismissed as a “drowning” incident. Killing of 120 people, mostly youth in 2010 was another blow to people who lost their sense of security. Not a single person was booked for the crime of killing the unarmed youth. The last nail was the hanging of Afzal Guru that hit the psyche of an average Kashmiri very hard. Not that people were expecting much from the government, but the way the NC led coalition accepted his hanging and then denying body to his family as something fait accompli, exposed it as the most disempowered government. Anger had been brewing and a section of people gave vent to that.

Electronic silk road important for economic development

20 May 2014

Pointing out that even in the most information repressive regime of China and Iran, people continue to use foreign services, by-passing the local law enforcement, Dr. Anupam Chander, Professor of Law at UC Davis and Director of the California International Law Center, has reiterated the significance of free internet for entrepreneurship and economic development. 

In support of his arguments, Dr Chander pointed out the examples of success stories like that of WhatsApp, which exclusively relied on global infrastructure and outsourcing. 

Dr Chander was speaking at a conference on "Breaking the Web? Data Localization Versus Global Internet" at Observer Research Foundation in Delhi on May 2, 2014. 

Welcoming the panellists, Mahima Kaul, Fellow, ORF, raised several important questions on how to reconcile different views on data localisation for protecting local industries vs. Internet as a free platform for global trade especially in today’s Indian context. 

Making his presentation, Dr. Chander, who in his latest book "The electronic silk road" has dealt in detail with topics related to the day’s discussion, described the two generations of border control on data. The first controls the incoming information to a particular country (censorship regime); and the second controls the outgoing information (data localisation efforts), which according to him, is far broader in scope than the former. 

Dr. Chander presented a quick review of nine jurisdictions he had scrutinised for the protocols on internet, for a better grasp of data controls prevalent across the globe. He explained the varied nature of data control legislations world-wide and its consequences. He critiqued the Indian legislation, by which the transfer may be allowed only if it is necessary for the performance of the lawful functioning of the corporate body. The argument was that the consent from the authorities is subjective as it is difficult to prove the necessity of outsourcing information per se. He added that the existing rules could have perverse effects on the incoming data from foreign countries. He supported his statement with a specific rule which necessitated the consent of data subject in order to process the data coming from foreign countries in India. This effectively discourages foreign investments in India. 

He then went on to explain with detailed illustrations, the inefficacy of data controlling or localization in fulfilling any of the well-recognized rationales to control data. He scrutinized each of them separately and argued that over the time it will be clear that global competition, rather than protectionism, facilitates data security and privacy. 

Dr. Chander concluded his presentation on a rather concerned note about the dangerous synergy of total control over the local environment that the two generations of "data passports" can create, especially in the recent context of a Russian social network CEO forced to quit and flee the country because of the unethical demands from the government for personal information of the citizens. 

Dr Govind, CEO, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), emphasized on the need for a balanced approach, taking into account the developmental and economic aspects and the dire requirement of safety and security of internal data. He said incidents like the BGP routing mishaps in Indonesia and Moscow that resulted in hazardous one-way flow of data show the increasing vulnerability of core infrastructure which in a way demands balkanisation. Besides, the Snowden effect and the role of internet in recent socio-political uprisings have led several countries to seek methods of data localization. 

Mr. Partha Sarathi Guha Patra, Vice President & Head-Corporate Affairs, Wipro, gave an industrial perspective to the issue and agreed with Dr. Govind’s opinion on adhering to a middle path, notwithstanding the fact that any localization effort would prove detrimental to the way global business takes place especially with regard to economic integration. He also suggested that the causes (national security, data privacy and economic considerations) need to be addressed rather than the effects (data localization vs. global internet). 

Mr Rahul Jain, Principal Consultant, Data Security Council of India (DSCI) while clarifying the general stand of DSCI against data localisation or internet balkanisation, established some specific concerns of India that favour data localisation which are based on technical interactions with law enforcement, policy-making, intelligence and other relevant government agencies. His main points covered the issue of jurisdiction; especially the lawful access to data in an e-commerce environment, incompatibility of global instruments like the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and the Budapest Convention Treaty with developing countries’ scenario and the chain of custody in cyber-forensics. In light of these concerns, the government will definitely try to establish its sovereignty through data localisation. From the industry point of view, DSCI recommendation is to appreciate the concerns of local authorities and to respect the local law irrespective of the data storage location. 

India’s Next Cabinet Committee on Security-Credentials Imperatives

Paper No. 5704 Dated 20-May-2014

By Dr Subhash Kapila

India’s national security management and directions suffered extensively in the period 2004 to 2014 due to its ineffective Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) with limited strategic vision, limited national security expertise, and insensitivity to India’s threat perceptions.

That India’s national security has been set back by a decade is now widely accepted going by the critical commentaries swamping the public domain about lack of India’s war preparedness to face India’s major military threats from China and its strategic protégé and spoiler state in South Asia.

India’s military asymmetries with China have yawning gaps endangering India’s security and rendering India vulnerable to China’s political and military coercion.

India’s military superiorities over Pakistan which earlier checkmated Pakistan’s unrestrained military adventurism today stands whittled down and Pakistan has significantly narrowed the differential of India’s military superiorities.

India’s responses to Chinese intrusions into Indian Territory and Pakistan Army’s atrocities on Indian soldiers in border incidents were allowed to pass timidly without any substantial responses. This chiefly arose from the timidity of the outgoing CCS for whom the political appeasement syndrome even extended to appeasement of India’s military adversaries.

India’s defence infrastructure on the Tibetan borders against China are years behind schedule due lack of firm directions, control and inter-agency coordination flowing from the CCS. This severely restricts the operational movements and flexibility of Indian Army’s postures.

The outgoing CCS failed to stand upto the Finance Minister’s annual cuts of around Rs. 10,000 crores of the Defence Budget every year just before the presentation of the Annual Budget to balance the budget deficits. This set India’s defence acquisitions back by a decade.

India’s intelligence failures during the period 2004-2014 are glaring and especially in relation to terrorism strikes and internal security. The CCS was a hapless spectator and glossed over these failures. The CCS neither was it accountable itself nor sought accountability from the intelligence agencies.

The outgoing CCS failed to implement effective and coordinated “Border Management” on the Northern borders by allowing the Home Ministry to impede the Indian Army’s constant pleas that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police be placed under its operational control for effective and integrated ‘Border Management’. No wonder the Chinese intrusions into Indian Territory increased.

The list is endless and this litany of CCS failures can go on and on. Suffice it to say that the outgoing CCS composed of exclusively Congress Party political leaders failed to provide strategic directions, strategic postures including foreign policy thrusts, allowed India’s defence preparedness against China and Pakistan to suffer by their acts of political commission and omission.

Worse still the outgoing CCS failed to arrest the politicisation of Armed Forces appointments by a meddlesome Defence Ministry civilian bureaucracy and the same bureaucracy widening the “Severe Distrust” that has constantly plagued India’s civil-military relations which no political dispensation has been able to transform due to political expediencies.

The U.S. Needs to Modi-fy its India Policy

How Washington should engage with India’s new prime minister.
MAY 20, 2014

India has just voted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into power in a big way, putting Narendra Modi in office as prime minister. Modi is a pragmatist, focused on economic growth and good governance. But he's also a polarizing figure, under whose watch bloody Hindu-Muslims riots occured in 2002 in Gujarat -- leading the United States to deny him a visa in 2005. Although Modi has been exonerated by the Indian legal system, his past, coupled with concerns among the Indian and global human rights community, presents challenges for U.S. engagement. But the U.S. relationship with India is too important to allow drift to set in. Washington should meet Modi on pragmatic ground, and reframe the relationship in practical terms of mutually beneficial cooperation.

Modi spent most of his professional life in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteers' Organization, a conservative Hindu nationalist organization, and hails from a subordinate caste group, yet he rose from chief minister of Gujarat to prime minister in under 15 years. His political rise represents a story of merit unencumbered by disadvantages of birth. But he has become indelibly associated with the tragedy of the 2002 Gujarat riots, where intra-communal violence led to the death of more than 1,000 people, mainly Muslims. At best, Modi was seen as not acting quickly or decisively enough to prevent the mayhem; his detractors accused him of fomenting it.

Investigations that stretched over many years in India's notoriously slow-moving legal system left open questions about his culpability. In 2005, concerns about his role led to a U.S. decision to deny him a visa under a U.S. law concerning religious freedom. However, in 2012, a report commissioned by the Indian Supreme Court found "insufficient evidence" to hold Modi responsible for the riots, and on December 26, 2013, an Indian court delivered a judgment that ended a case against him for lack of evidence. Of course, as prime minister, Modi is eligible for a diplomatic visa; on May 16, President Barack Obama called to congratulate Modi on the BJP's win, and invited him to visit Washington "at a mutually agreeable time."

Meanwhile, Modi began to develop a reputation as a get-things-done, no-nonsense chief executive. He focused intensively on Gujarat's economy, ending the Indian endemic red tape. Against the backdrop of a slowing Indian economy and a difficult trade and investment environment, Modi's reputation for running a clean, corruption-free operation further distinguished him from the graft scandals emanating from other corners of the country as well as India's central government.

Modi's economic policy successes rehabilitated his reputation even before his legal situation fully resolved, leading to what the writer Gurcharan Das called a "moral dilemma." He was good for the economy, but was Modi good for society? Does Modi's vision of India favor the Hindu majority and eschew the idea of India as unity-in-diversity, forged through a composite heritage of many faiths?

An Agenda for the New Government: Policy Options for India in Afghanistan

Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy

This brief explore the potential future policy options for the Indian government and does not touch upon the initiatives already undertaken by New Delhi in Afghanistan. New Delhi must try to optimise its potential by drawing from its own strengths and experiences of dealing with several issues of a similar nature in India.

India’s ‘no-boots-on-the-ground’ policy and no or negligible interference in the internal issues of the country, and a development-led presence, have been fruitful. However, there is more to be done, and efforts can be classified in four sections: Development Cooperation (Education, Agriculture, Health, Public Transport, Technology, Social); Political Liaising (Inter-Ministerial and Inter-State/Province Dialogue); Trade and Investment; and Security Relationship

I  Development Cooperation

Indian investment in infrastructure-development in Afghanistan is, as mentioned, vast. What New Delhi must do now, is, expand/intensify its services/efforts in more areas. India is constructing the Afghan parliament building, schools, refurbishing hospitals, and so on, but must now expand/offer to further expand developmental activities. They can be clubbed in the following focus areas:


India would do well to invest more in education in the country. For Afghanistan, especially with a population where the median age is 18 years, there is a pressing need for an educated and skilled workforce – one that is central to drive a hobbling economy to acceptable levels and eventually, towards prosperity.

While New Delhi aided the establishment of the Afghan National Agricultural Sciences and Technology University (ANSTU) in Kandahar – symbolic, given its location on Tarnak farms, once the base of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – and provides several scholarships for Afghan students to study in India, there is a need to make this initiative more sustainable and one that benefits as many Afghans as possible.

New Delhi could:

Bring education to Afghanistan, while simultaneously providing scholarships to Afghan students for education in India. Most Afghans do not have access to even elementary education, let alone access to university-level education. The few thousand scholarships and fellowships that India provides, while greatly useful, are insufficient to successfully address the educational needs of the several thousand Afghan youth – who constitute a large chunk of the country’s population.

Establish more primary schools and colleges in the country. Provide incentives for Indian universities to collaborate with Afghan universities, and/or set up centres of higher education in the country. It would be more affordable and thus viable for several more Afghans to attend universities in their own country than to spend huge sums to cover fees and living costs in India – for not all Afghans make the cut for the scholarships.

Two nations or more?

Khaled Ahmed | May 21, 2014

Ahmed highlighted two apparently mutually contradictory concepts embedded in the two speeches made by the founder of the Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.


There is sub-nationalism in Sindh and Balochistan, where Muslim communities want out from the state of Pakistan.

On April 16, Lahore’s Human Rights Commission of Pakistan observed a day dedicated to late journalist-author Abdullah Malik and had Ishtiaq Ahmed, professor emeritus of political science, Stockholm University, and visiting professor at the city’s prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), reading his paper on “the ideational structure of the two nation theory which informs the very idea of Pakistan”.

Ahmed highlighted two apparently mutually contradictory concepts embedded in the two speeches made by the founder of the Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He went back to his address at an All-India Muslim League rally on March 22, 1940, explaining how the Muslims were a “separate nation” in India: “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality…

“The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literatures. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspects on life and of life are different.

“It is quite clear that Hindus and Musalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state”.

Read today, the message is: religions and culture separate people. On the basis of the idea of “self-determination”, therefore, the Muslim minority should be administered separately from the Hindu majority. The Lahore Resolution, passed the following day, was later called the Pakistan Resolution. It called for separate Muslim states (provinces) in contiguous Muslim-majority areas in India.

Xi, Karzai Discuss the Future of China-Afghanistan Ties

Post-2014 Afghanistan is the x-factor in regional security. Beijing looks to work with Kabul to ensure stability.

May 21, 2014

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is one of many foreign leaders in Shanghai this week for the Conference on Interactions and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). While in Shanghai, he met with President Xi Jinping to discuss the future of China-Afghanistan relations.

Xi said that China is “ready” to increase cooperation with Afghanistan, including offering “aid to the country’s reconstruction of peace.” Xi promised that China would work with Afghanistan on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Beijing’s ambitious vision for linking China to Europe via Central Asia and the Middle East. As part of this, Xi affirmed China’s support for increased investment in Afghanistan.

In an interview with CCTV, Karzai spoke highly of China’s “trust and friendship and support” for Afghanistan and said he and Xi agreed on the need for “even deeper and broader” ties. He also called the Silk Road Economic Belt “necessary for the broader development of this whole region.” Karzai said Afghanistan would support the project, because of its economic benefits and because of the bridge it would create between Central and South Asia and the West.

However, plans for investment and other economic cooperation between Kabul and Beijing remain highly dependent on the security situation on the ground. With NATO troops due to withdraw at the end of 2014, there are concerns that the Taliban and other militant groups might seriously threaten the government’s control over all or part of Afghanistan. This could create a nightmare situation for China, where poorly controlled, remote areas of Afghanistan act as a breeding ground for terrorists and extremists.

Accordingly, in his meeting with Karzai, Xi expressed his hope for “a unified, stable, developing and friendly Afghanistan.” Xi also promised to increase China-Afghanistan cooperation against what China calls the “three evil forces”—separatism, extremism, and terrorism. Karzai responded that Afghanistan is willing to work with China on those issues, and that he “expects China’s continued help for stability, reconciliation and development in Afghanistan.”

The failure of reconstruction

May 21, 2014

APREBUILDING: Some positive changes have taken place after the war but much remains to be done to support the local economy such as investing in appropriate rural infrastructure, controlling market price fluctuations, and supporting measures to strengthen co-operatives. 

As five years after the war is marked by militarised victory celebrations, who speaks for the continuing suffering of the survivors in the North and East?

What happens to a society and an economy after three decades of war? Over a hundred thousand people dead or disappeared, a displaced population, deteriorating social institutions and disrupted production was the starting point of reconstruction when the war came to an end in Sri Lanka in May 2009. Reconstructing such a society is a task of tremendous political, social and economic proportions. Five years after the war, there is visible rebuilding of infrastructure, a ubiquitous consumer goods market and the bold presence of banks and finance companies across the countryside. Reconstruction, however, has undoubtedly failed.

Social and economic crisis

The post-war impasse is meanwhile being debated inside the country and at international forums. These debates are rightly raising the problems of continuing militarisation, lacking accountability for the deaths and disappeared during the war, increasing centralisation of authoritarian state power and a stalled search for a political solution with little progress on devolving power to the minorities in the North and East. But they have little to say about the social and economic crisis in the war-torn regions.

The response in Sri Lanka to the landslide election victory of Narendra Modi is characterised byeuphoric claims by the Rajapaksa government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that the new regime in India will be politically favourable to the interests of the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil minority respectively. The impact of the economic shift in India with deepening neoliberal policies on investment and trade in Sri Lanka or support for reconstruction of its war-torn regions are hardly discussed. Indeed, the post-war political debate which has increasingly descended into hyper nationalist rhetoric — both in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu — rarely touches on the challenges of reconstruction.

As with any other society devastated by war, decades of disruption of production in the North and East curtailed capital accumulation. Consequently, there has been little investment in the region to upgrade existing production facilities and new productive ventures. The integration of these war-torn regions into the national and international market in recent years has led to further disruption of local production by market competition. The outcome is a depletion of production and employment.

Landpower: Al-Qaeda, Russia, Army Culture and More

SWJ Blog Post | May 20, 2014

We hoped to get this together for your reading enjoyment.

The Syrian civil war has allowed al-Qaeda to recover from its setbacks up to 2010. Its main affiliate in the region seems to be testing a new strategy of collaboration with other Salafist-Jihadist groups and a less brutal implementation of Sharia law in areas it controls. The extent that the Syrian civil war offers the means for al-Qaeda to recover from its earlier defeats will determine whether the organization has a future, or if it will become simply an ideology and label adopted by various Islamist movements fighting their own separate struggles.

The Russian Armed Forces have been undergoing major structural reform since 2008. Despite change at the most senior levels of leadership, the desired endstate for Russia's military is now clear; but this endstate is determined by a flawed political perception of the key threats facing Russia. This monograph reviews those threat evaluations, and the challenges facing Russia's military transformation, to assess the range of options available to Russia for closing the capability gap with the United States and its allies.

In a profession as large as the U.S. Army, trying to influence the way organizational members think about specific issues can be a vexing proposition. Certainly new systems, policies, and procedures can force changes in behavior, but often what senior decision makers truly desire is a shift in attitudes—a culture change across the entire Army. Recent calls for Army culture change have emerged in areas as diverse as cyber security, resilience, sexual assault, leader development, language proficiency, and even energy conservation.

Is Ulaanbaatar Running Out of Water?

‘Scarcity problems will emerge in 2015, and intensify from 2020 onwards.’
By Jacopo Dettoni
May 20, 2014

Once known for its abundant and immaculate waters, the Tuul River flowing through Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar is rapidly shrinking. The Tuul has historically swung from high-flow cycles to low-flow cycles, but it had never dropped to the levels touched between 1996 and 2012, when its average water flow fell to around 10 cubic meters per second, against a historical average of 25 cubic meters a second, according to figures from Mongolia’s Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology. Back in 2009, the river’s runoff appeared so compromised that a local environment news agency claimed it had become “a small creek.” The Tuul river feeds the aquifer that provides Ulaanbataar with most of its water. As its streamflow shrinks, the recharge capacity of the aquifer is also being compromised, at a time when the city’s water needs are booming. The threat of water scarcity looms large on Ulaanbaatar’s horizon.

“The city is indeed going to face water shortages in the near future,” Batsukh Baljinnyam, head of the technical and policy department of state water utility Usug, which is in charge of water and sewage services in Ulaanbataar, told The Diplomat.

“Scarcity problems will emerge in 2015, and intensify from 2020 onwards. We need to find new water sources.”

With 1.3 million citizens, Ulaanbaatar is home to around 40 percent of Mongolia’s total population and represents its natural economic hub, producing more than a half of its national GDP. Water use has grown hand in hand with the demographic and economic boom the city has experienced over the last 20 years. Today, Usug distributes some 160,000 cubic meters a day of water for domestic use. The company estimates that another 130,000 cubic meters a day are drained from the aquifer by private wells run by industries and individuals. At around 300,000 cubic meters a day, the city uses twice as much water as it did 20 years ago, and that thirst looks set to continue to grow.

As many as 746,766 citizens living in the poorer ger districts lack direct access to water and sanitation. Their domestic water use barely reaches 10 liters per day, way below the 50 to 100 liters per day the World Health Organization (WHO) identifies as the threshold to ensure that most basic needs are met. As the government develops its plans to improve water infrastructure in the ger districts and move some of the dwellers to modern housing, water domestic usage will rise: owners of modern apartments in Ulaanbaatar currently use more than 200 liters per day, according to 2010 Usug figures. At the same time, additional water will be needed to cater to the city’s growing industrial and economic activities. Total water usage is set to double by 2030 and triple by 2040, according to estimates by the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The view from Lanka: A landslide in the bovine-belt

Paper No. 5706 Dated 21-May-2014

Guest column by Dr Kumar David

This essay argues that despite a right-wing Hindutva victory democracy and secularism are secure, and secondly that Indian foreign policy and policy towards Lanka will hardly change.

On both internal secular-democracy and foreign policy, Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi, despite his parliamentary victory, has little room for alternatives even if he is so inclined. What will be new in the Modi-BJP administration is a drive to Indian style neo-liberal economics, though this will be resisted by mass politics which will recover and remobilise within the year if anti-populist austerity measures are on the agenda? The new government, despite its parliamentary margin, is not all that strong; it has Achilles heels on both legs.

The landslide was in an extended cow-belt; let me call it the bovine-belt. To Lankans cow-belt refers to the Hindi speaking cluster (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Delhi). To expand it to the bovine-belt, add Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Interestingly, less than 40% of India’s 1.2 billion live in the cow-belt thus defined; expand it to the bovine-belt and that adds another 300 million souls. If the cow-belt is the Hindi heartland, then the larger bovine-belt is presently the Hindutva heartland.

The parliamentary seats won by the BJP (NDA) were 282 (336), but 264 (320) of these were in the bovine-belt; that is to say the BJP/NDA performed appallingly in Kerala (0 out of 20 seats), Tamil Nadu (1/39), West Bengal (2/42), Telangana (2/17), Orissa (1/21) and it did not do well in most small states in the North East and elsewhere. This is a bovine-belt landslide, not an all India triumph. Since India employs a first-past-the-post system, even Utter Pradesh, where the BJP carried 71 seats out of 80, its vote share was 42%. Only in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (with Shiv Sena) did it poll over 50%.The big landslide was in the bovine-belt beyond the core cow-belt. Nationally, the percentage polls were: NDA 39%; Congress+ 24%; Others 37%.

The landslide in perspective

India’s first-past-the-post parliamentary system is no stranger to huge electoral victories. In the 1951, 1957 and 1962 elections Nehru led Congress to resounding victories securing between 360 and 370 out of 490 seats and 44% to 48% of the popular vote. In 1967 Indira Gandhi secured 289 of 520 seats and 41% of the popular vote. She climbed back to 350 seats with 44% in 1971. There is however a far more crucial difference between these victories and 2014; all of them were all-India based with endorsement across the country. It was no cow-belt story; it was an all-India phenomenon.

Indira was defeated in 1977 because of her 1975-77 emergency folly but she too lost to an all-India alliance of several parties. She swept back in 1980 in a Nehru style victory, and in 1984, after her assassination, Rajiv Gandhi, secured the largest victory in Lok Sabha history (414 seats and 49% poll). On both occasions support was spread throughout India. Starting with the 1989 Lok Sabha, it has been a run of minority governments but since they were India wide alliances, the government had an all-India complexion. This time the logistics are remarkably different; the landslide is limited to the bovine-belt. I emphasise this to assert the first of the new government’s two Achilles heels; it is in a real sense a ‘minority’ government.

Myanmar’s Buddhist Bigots

MAY 19, 2014

LONDON — There is perhaps no religion that Western liberals find more appealing than Buddhism. Politicians fawn over the Dalai Lama, celebrities seek out Buddhist meditation, and scientists and philosophers insist that Buddhism has much to teach us about human nature and psychology.

Even some of the so-called New Atheists have fallen for Buddhism’s allure. For most of its Western sympathizers, Buddhism is a deeply humanist outlook, less a religion than a philosophy, a way of life to create peace and harmony.

The Rohingya people of Myanmar take a very different view of Buddhism. The Rohingya are Muslims who live mostly in Rakhine, in western Myanmar, bordering Bangladesh. Early Muslim settlements there date from the seventh century. Today, in a nation that is 90 percent Buddhist, there are some eight million Muslims, of whom about one in six is Rohingya.

For the Myanmar government, however, the Rohingya simply do not exist. The government is conducting a national census; 135 ethnic categories are listed on the form. One ethnicity is conspicuously absent: the Rohingya, who the government insists must define themselves as “Bengalis” (that is, as foreigners). “If we ask a family about their ethnicity and they say Rohingya, we will not accept it,” a presidential spokesman, Ye Htut, said recently.

The problems faced by the Rohingya are far graver than a refusal by the state to acknowledge their identity. Their very existence is under threat.

Since 2012, there has been a vicious series of pogroms against the Rohingya. Villages, schools and mosques have been attacked and burned by Buddhist mobs, often aided by security forces. Hundreds of Rohingya have been killed, and as many as 140,000 people — more than one in 10 of the Rohingya population— have been made homeless. A report last September from the independent Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention suggested that “recent violence has moved beyond mere pogroms” and toward “the ethnic cleansing of entire regions.”

The anti-Muslim campaign has been led by Buddhist monks, who say their actions are in keeping with the demands of their faith. The principal anti-Rohingya organization, the 969 movement, takes its name from the nine attributes of Buddha, the six qualities of his teachings and the nine attributes of the monks. Its leader, a monk named Wirathu, has reportedly called himself the “Burmese Bin Laden.” Muslims, he told an interviewer, “breed quickly and they are very violent.” Because “the Burmese people and the Buddhists are devoured every day,” he argued, “the national religion needs to be protected.”

The extremist monk has proposed a “national race protection law” under which a non-Buddhist man wishing to marry a Buddhist woman would have to convert to Buddhism and obtain permission from the state. The proposalhas won support from Myanmar’s president, Thein Sein, and may become law by the end of June.

Myanmar: Is Tatmadaw Assuming a Proactive Role?

20 May 2014

Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Research Officer, SEARP, IPCS 
E-mail: aparupa@ipcs.org

The International Crisis Group’s (ICG) recent report, titled 'Myanmar’s Military: Back to the Barracks?’ has tried to elaborately update the readers on the role of Myanmar’s army – the Tatmadaw – in the country’s transition that began in 2011. Published in April, the report finely sketches the pivotal role of the army in Myanmar’s history, especially after its independence. Interestingly, towards the end, the report, illustrating Tatmadaw’s role in a future democratic Myanmar, emphasises on the need for a more proactive role by the army.

While the ICG asks whether the Tatmadaw is back to its barracks in the title, the report hasn’t provided a clear answer for the same. While the report suggests that the Tatmadaw is undertaking a proactive role in the three primary aspects of reform in Myanmar – political, economic and peace process – the report contradicts itself in many ways. 

The report suggests that although the Tatmadaw had explicitly agreed that transition in Myanmar was essential, there were apprehensions about a civilian-run government due to historical reasons. However, this apprehension did not have any impact on the proactive role the army has been playing in the Myanmar’s reform process. The report contradicts itself where it states that political reasons led the army to accept transition, and that it was not any benevolent act, and backed it with two reasons: First, over-dependence on China – that was not only providing political security to Myanmar but happened to be major investors and creditors to the country. The military regime understood and accepted the fact that the only way to counter-balance China’s power was via strategic relations with the US, and therefore transition was essential. 

Second, the pitiable economic condition of the nation was matter of shame for the Myanmarese leaders. The elites accepted the truth that change was essential for economic development. Although, at present, the military does not play any role in the day-to-day governance, it still retains substantial constitutional and political powers. Moreover, significant resources such as land assets, factories and others still belong to the army. 

The report touches up about the army’s negative approach to the idea of two-third majority to be changed as the required number instead of the quarter of the total number for any amendment in the constitution. A change to the two-third majority will curtail the army’s veto power to constitutional amendments. The Tatmadaw’s retention of these powers and negative approaches to changes contradict their claim to be proactive in the reform process. 

China: Empowering President Xi to Deal with Security Challenges

Paper No. 5705 Dated 21-May-2014

By Bhaskar Roy

Growing challenges to China’s national security, both external and internal, have assumed dimensions that demand new thinking and new strategies. China is no longer an East Asia power. It is striving to draw parity with the US. In the larger global context, therefore, areas of challenges are increasing. 

Internally, the challenges are more immediate and sharp. Terrorism/separatism activities by Uighurs have sharply increased and spread over a larger geographical area. Then there is the issue of social stability lurking in different forms.

In an effort to find an architecture to confront and counter these challenges, the University of International Relations International Strategy and Security Research Center of National Security (in brief National Security Center) released (May 06) China’s first Blue Book of National Security, in Beijing. The study covered the developments of the last one year to make its recommendations. The Blue Book is not a government document, at the same time it can be considered quasi official. There would be a classified section of the study which will be with the government. Public dissemination of the unclassified portion is to make a statement of transparency.

The study put special emphasis on the newly formed State Security Committee (SSC) headed by president Xi Jinping. It is the same as the National Security Committee (NSC). According to the report the SSC is the highest decision making body on national security, and will coordinate both domestic and overseas security. The concept of security has been broadened to include any development or instrument that can negatively impact China.

Four functions for the SSC/NSC were proposed by the Blue Book:
  • The national security strategy will no longer be confined to military issues but developed in macro and overall perspectives.
  • Develop new national security law to encompass military, political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, science and technology, information, ecology, intelligence, and other areas.
  • Develop policies to deal with major domestic and foreign security crises and emergencies.
  • The body should involve all major ministries and departments including not only state security, intelligence and military but also the foreign office and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan offices.

Keeping terrorism/separatism aside for a moment, the Blue Book recommendations are not really politically innocent. As party General Secretary, President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi Jinping had all the powers that normally the top leader should have. In fact, he did not even have to wait to take over the CMC that his predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin had to.

As the senior leader who brought to a close the Cultural Revolution and the leftist citadel, as well as reform and opening up, Deng Xiaoping only held the post of a vice premier and that of the chairman of the CMC. The vice premier’s post was to give him a governmental role. He had to perforce retain the CMC with him because at that time the military leaders were long marchers who refused to accept new leaders like Hu Yaobang as their head. Deng’s power and influence flowed from his career graph of a political leader, and also as a military leader during the Long March.

Xi’s intentions per se are good. He has to save the communist party which had gone into disrepute. Rescuing the party was the prime challenge. This and many other challenges were yet to be resolved.

To garner all power in his hand Xi would have to show that the existing structure was not capable of securing the core interests of China, that is, supremacy of the party and threats to the security and sovereignty of the nation. Mao Zedong used the threat from rightists to move the newly realized communists to support him.

China, the CUES, and Freedom of Navigation

20 May 2014
Vivek Mishra
Research Intern, IPCS 
Email: viveksans@gmail.com

The issue of freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific, particularly in the South China Sea (SCS) and the East China Sea (ECS), has been a disputative one, involving narratives and counter-narratives of what constitutes a ‘code of conduct’. The popular reckoning is that if a consensual code of conduct in the Asia-Pacific and its contiguous areas is worked out, geopolitical tensions emanating from the overlapping territorial claims of at least seven sovereign countries in this region – a large portion of which involves the SCS and the ECS – will be substantially subdued. 

For a long time the US has been pushing for a code of conduct in the Asia-Pacific without much success. However, on 22 April, for the first time, navies of 25 leading seafaring countries met in Qingdao, China, and agreed on a code – Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) – for regulating maritime behaviour of countries in the region. The signatory countries, among others, included China, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and the US, who agreed to the framework at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) 2014. In a rarity, China too agreed and promised its commitment to the principles of the CUES. 

China’s consent to the decision to have a consensual draft for monitoring maritime behaviour through better communication, and hence information, should be seen as the first step towards the much desired policy readjustments for China in order to be a part of the global maritime commune that accords with a commonly recognised agenda for peaceful maritime conduct.

Repudiation to Agreement: A signal?
Over the past few years, the WPNS has repeatedly brought the issue of communications code for this region to the fore, but have been torpedoed by China. At the 2012 Kuala Lumpur WPNS summit, China was the only country to oppose the CUES. After such vigorous attempts at fending off any such agreement for a maritime code in the region, why did China, in a volte-face, agree to a regional maritime code for navigation?