24 June 2014


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The deteriorating situation in Iraq is giving Congress pause about President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, with fears that hard-fought gains could be wiped out by a resurgent Taliban. 

Senior Obama administration officials insist Afghanistan is not Iraq, with a population far more receptive to a continued U.S. presence and the promise of a new unity government. But the officials could offer no assurances that Afghanistan won't devolve into chaos after Americans leave, as Iraq has. 

"There's no guarantee," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told a Senate panel Wednesday. "It is up to the people of Afghanistan to make these decisions, their military, their new leadership that will be coming in as a result of their new government." 

The U.S. military mission in Iraq ended in December 2011 after eight years of war that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and more than 4,400 U.S. lives, a conclusion welcomed by a war-weary nation. The Obama administration had proposed keeping a residual U.S. force in Iraq to continue training Iraqis, but Baghdad rejected Washington's demand that its troops be granted immunity for prosecution while in the country. 

In the absence of the Americans, the fast-moving Sunni insurgency of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has prevailed over Iraqi security forces, conquering several cities, and is threatening the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described for Congress on Wednesday how some Iraqi security forces abandoned the fight against the ISIL. 

"Two divisions and part of two, and one national police organization did in fact throw down their arms and in some cases collude with (ISIL) and in some cases simply desert in northern Iraq," Dempsey said. 

Lawmakers fear a replay in Afghanistan after 2016 when U.S. forces leave. Last month, Obama announced that about 10,000 troops would stay in Afghanistan at the end of this year but be fully withdrawn by the end of 2016. 

In a private White House meeting Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pressed Obama about his definitive timetable for drawing down American troops, especially in light of the crisis in Iraq. The president defended his plan as the right approach, according to a congressional aide familiar with the talks who wouldn't discuss it publicly by name because the meeting was private. 

*** Information, the new force multiplier

Dinesh Kumar

WHEN Karachi airport came under attack from the Taliban on June 8, the Pakistani Army took the unusual measure of keeping the media in Pakistan pro-actively informed about its anti-terrorist operations through Twitter. During such sensational incidents in today's age when rumours appear to travel faster than the speed of light, often with disastrous consequences, the Pakistani Army resorted to this innovative measure considering that much was at stake. The outcome of its use that night should make a subject of study for any student of Communication Studies. But in the meantime it has marked an interesting innovation from which the Indian security establishment could learn. 
The armed forces will have to guard against information lag and equip themselves to prevent rumours from spreading

Curiously, 10 days later on June 18, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) asking them to enhance its presence on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. It is not known whether the decision was influenced by the Pakistani Army's recent resort to using Twitter or whether it stems from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s penchant for using social media for dissemination of information and perception management. 

As of now, the Indian Army is making limited use of Twitter and Facebook, which again is confined to being used by the Army's Additional Director-General (Public Interface) or ADG (PI). Its limited utilisation is mostly confined to “safe” subjects. Otherwise the three services make use of their respective public relations officers (PROs) posted in the Ministry of Defence and their various respective formations around the country. 

Overall, the structure and functioning of the MoD's public relations establishment has remained largely the same. Service officers posted as PROs around the country technically come under the directorate of public relations in the MoD, headed by an Additional Principal Information Officer who in turn belongs to the Indian Information Service. PROs posted in news active formations such as in either or both the Srinagar and Nagrota-based corps headquarters (both located in Jammu and Kashmir) are functionally under their respective commands. On occasions this has led to difference in views, if not friction, between the MoD's directorate of public relations and the PROs who are under direct instructions from the ground formations.

Fighting the enemy within Pakistan's counter-insurgency policy had until now lacked cohesion

Gurmeet Kanwal

ON June 15, 2014, the Pakistan army finally launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb (sharp and cutting), its much delayed ground offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan. The army claimed to have killed approximately 180 TTP and Uzbek terrorists on the first two days, including the mastermind of the twin terrorist attacks on Karachi airport on June 9 and 10. 
Pakistani army vehicles head towards North Waziristan for a ground offensive against Taliban militants. AFP

According to the Karachi Airport Security Force, 29 people had died in the suicide attack, including all 10 terrorists, while 24 had been injured. On the same day in the latest manifestation of continuing sectarian violence, Sunni extremists killed 23 Shia pilgrims travelling by bus in Balochistan. These two and other recent attacks are clearly indicative of the ability of Pakistan’s terrorist organisations to strike at will and underline the helplessness of the security forces in taking effective preventive action.

Despite facing the grave danger of a possible collapse of the state, the Pakistan government’s counter-insurgency policy had until now lacked cohesion. The commencement of a peace dialogue with the TTP in February 2014, despite the abject failure of several such efforts in the past, allowed the terrorist organisation to re-arm, recruit and train fresh fighters. In March 2014, the TTP had offered a month-long cease-fire. The army honoured the cease-fire and refrained from active operations, but TTP factions fought on. On April 16 the TTP withdrew its pledge and blamed the government for failing to make any new offers.

In the face of mounting public and army pressure, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reluctantly agreed to approve military strikes. He was apprehensive that Gen Raheel Sharif, COAS, may unilaterally decide to launch an all-out offensive. The army had been recommending to the government for quite some time that firm military action was necessary to deal with the menace of home-grown terrorism. The PM is now backing the army fully and has said that he will not allow Pakistan to become a “sanctuary of terrorists” and that the military operation will continue till all the militants are eliminated.

Addressing Dhaka

C. Raja Mohan | | June 24, 2014 

If Modi chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination, Swaraj is now packing her bags for Dhaka.

Arriving in Dhaka on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has a two-fold task. One is to revive the momentum in bilateral relations lost during the final years of the UPA government and the other is to explore the contours of a comprehensive strategic partnership with Bangladesh that could become the touchstone for the new government’s quest to transform relations with neighbours.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi got off to a great start by inviting all the leaders of the subcontinent to join his swearing-in ceremony last month. That all invitees, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, showed up underlined the fact that our neighbours have been eagerly waiting for a productive partner in Delhi. If Modi chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination, Swaraj is now packing her bags for Dhaka.

In Bangladesh, as elsewhere in the world, expectations are high that Modi will be a more credible interlocutor than his predecessor. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had the right convictions on what India ought to do with its neighbours, but he did not have the unstinting support of his own party. Nor did Manmohan Singh mobilise public opinion behind his strategic regional initiatives.

Nowhere was the gap between diplomatic ambition and political weakness more evident than in the UPA’s engagement with Bangladesh. In 2010, Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched a bold effort to reinvent Indo-Bangla relations. Dhaka addressed India’s concerns on cross-border terrorism by extending unprecedented security cooperation. Delhi removed most tariff barriers on Bangladeshi exports to India.

An Enclave Strategy for Iraq

The Washington Post

Fareed Zakaria

June 19 -- Can Iraq hold together? It’s worth examining what is happening in that country through a broader prism. 

If you had looked at the Middle East 15 years ago, you would have seen a string of strikingly similar regimes — from Libya and Tunisia in the west to Syria and Iraq in the east. They were all dictatorships. They were all secular, in the sense that they did not derive their legitimacy from religious identity. Historically, they had all been supported by outside powers — first the British and French, then the superpowers — which meant that these rulers worried more about pleasing patrons abroad than currying favor at home. And they had secure borders.

Today, across the region, from Libya to Syria, that structure of authority has collapsed and people are reaching for their older identities — Sunni, Shiite, Kurd. Sectarian groups, often Islamist, have filled the power vacuum, spilling over borders and spreading violence. In Iraq and elsewhere, no amount of U.S. military power can put Humpty Dumpty back together.

There are exceptions. Algeria remains an old-fashioned secular dictatorship. Egypt, perhaps the longest-functioning state in the world, has reasserted the old order by using force. The Gulf monarchies — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates — have withstood the turmoil partly because of greater legitimacy and mostly because of massive patronage systems. And most hopefully, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia have reformed enough to keep revolutionaries at bay.

The old order was probably unsustainable. It rested on extreme suppression, which was producing extreme opposition movements, and on superpower patronage, which couldn’t last. The countries with significant sectarian divides and in which minority groups ruled — Iraq and Syria — became the most vulnerable.

An NSA for hard times

Shashank Joshi
June 23, 2014

Ajit Doval clearly believes that national security begins at home. Reflecting his career in the field, his writings are marked by a consistent emphasis on the primacy of domestic problems over foreign ones

The foreign policy of Narendra Modi presently serves as the Rorschach test. Pundits can read into it what they wish. For some, Mr. Modi will jump-start India’s moribund economy by plugging it back into world economy, boosting trade and investment flows with friend and foe alike. Others hope for a ruthless hawk who punches back against Chinese border incursions and Pakistani terrorist attacks, a man who will replace 10 pusillanimous years with a new era of vim, verve, and — when necessary — violence. Sometimes these two Modis come together. In America’s Foreign Policy magazine, Mr. Modi is cast as a Gujarati Ronald Reagan: an ideological west coast moderniser to clean the stables after Manmohan Singh’s hapless Jimmy Carter.

In truth, we have had few glimpses of Mr. Modi’s foreign policy in action. Inviting South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders to his inauguration and picking Bhutan for his first foreign trip were shrewd moves, but both were in keeping with Dr. Singh’s long-standing and admirable emphasis on South Asian regional integration. Mr. Modi’s proposed visit to Washington in September was viewed as an act of wise magnanimity, but he had always insisted that his own visa travails would never be allowed to interfere with Indian foreign policy. And it is too early to judge his government’s performance with respect to the 40 Indian workers abducted by jihadists in northern Iraq.

At the helm

However, there is another source of clues. Since 1998, Indian Prime Ministers have appointed a National Security Advisor (NSA). The post is a powerful one. Its occupant enjoys excellent access to the Prime Minister, holds a key position in India’s nuclear chain of command, and sits atop the intelligence agencies.

Mr. Modi’s predecessors chose all but one of their NSAs from among the nation’s senior-most diplomats. The exception was former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief M.K. Narayanan, who filled the seat in the crucial years from 2005 to 2010 when the U.S. and India struck a series of historic deals. Mr. Modi has now sent out an important signal in appointing as his NSA one of Mr. Narayanan’s protégés: former IB chief Ajit Doval, a highly decorated intelligence officer who until his appointment had been leading the right-leaning Delhi think-tank, the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF).

Mr. Doval is an acclaimed spook. He is reputed to have infiltrated the Golden Temple in the 1980s posing as an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer, spent many years in Pakistan, turned in insurgent leaders in Mizoram and Kashmir, and negotiated the infamous release of hostages aboard hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814 in Kandahar in 1999.

Security starts at home

Fortunately for analysts, Mr. Doval has left a rich seam of writing on national security issues, running to tens of thousands of words. It would be unfair to Mr. Doval to treat these as a perfectly formed body of thought. Moreover, officials’ behaviour in government frequently diverges from their rhetoric in opposition. But Mr. Doval’s arguments could help us understand the sort of advice that Mr. Modi might receive.

First, Mr. Doval clearly believes that national security begins at home. Reflecting his career in the field, his writings are marked by a consistent emphasis on the primacy of domestic problems over foreign ones. Indeed, as early as 2006, Mr. Doval argued, “India’s internal vulnerabilities are much higher than its external vulnerabilities.” He therefore sees the most dangerous foreign threats as being those that target India’s domestic weaknesses, and lays stress on the importance of growing and equipping State police forces (he calls for a minimum of 200 policemen per lakh population). But his severest warning is directed elsewhere: “I consider infiltration of Bangladeshis the biggest internal security problem. Bangladesh supports the demographic invasion of India.”

Chinese Analysts Interpret Modi’s New India

June 19,2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Arunanchal Pradesh, near the Chinese border. (Source: Pakistan Today)
The landslide victory by Narendra Modi in India’s national elections has raised questions throughout Asia about India’s role in the region. Chinese experts have watched the transition with great interest, many seeking historical analogies to explain the new leader. One of the most optimistic is the idea that Modi could be “India’s Nixon,” a concept which originated in The Shanghai Institute for International Practices, and which forecasts an “opening to China akin to the U.S. President’s. This optimistic analysis also suggests that, given his focus on the Indian economy, Modi could choose to emulate the PRC’s model for economic growth, and thus draw inspiration from Deng Xiaoping. Others have expressed the fear that he might prove to be an “Indian Shinzo Abe,” playing to nationalism and intensifying a border dispute with China.

While the China-India border has been stable and largely quiet in the decades since the Sino-Indian Border War in 1962, last year’s standoff at Dalit Beg Oldi fed suspicion in New Delhi, especially as it came just ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India and the PRC claimed not to have made any wrongful incursion. Chinese analysts fear a Japanese effort to build a democratic coalition in Asia. A contest between two security visions, one implicit in the United States “pivot” and alliance system, and the other set out by Chinese President Xi Jinping during Shanghai’s CICA Summit, could shape the larger environment in which the BJP makes its foreign policy. Echoing Xi's ideas, Chinese experts suggest that Beijing may be able to leverage Modi's development ambitions to enmesh Delhi in a Chinese version of regional order.

Strategic Competition and the Status Quo: Chinese Concerns About India

India’s relationship with China has been fraught with distrust since the collapse of the historic friendship attempted under Nehru and Mao, and the Sino-Indian Border War which followed in 1962. Just this past year, despite a goodwill visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the Indian government announced its approval of the Himalayan “mountain strike force” which would allow India to move troops into Chinese territory for the first time. Approval of the long-debated “strike force” was likely influenced by the Himalayan standoff that preceded the visit of “the smiling Chinese Premier,” as Li was described by an Indian newspaper (Indian Express, May 22, 2013).

The government of Manmohan Singh ushered in new levels of India-American cooperation. This concerns Chinese foreign policy thinkers who believe that India could become part of an American “containment” policy. In April 2012 India tested the Agni-5 ICBM, expanding the scope of India’s nuclear deterrent, and bringing the whole of China in range for the first time. “India’s border patrol policy is only one small part of its military readiness against China,” wrote Palash Ghosh in theInternational Business Times, also quoting Kapil Patil, from the Pugwash Society, a New Delhi-based military research group: “India’s overall land warfare strategy vis-à-vis China is determined by its deterrence posture, layered at both conventional and nuclear levels. Maintaining credible nuclear and conventional capabilities is therefore essential, not only for deterring the Chinese military threat but also for improving India’s overall bargaining position in border settlement talks with China” (International Business Times, April 9).

Narendra Modi was vocal about the territorial dispute during his campaign, famously stating this year at a campaign rally in Arunachal Pradesh, a de facto province of India which China claims as its own territory, that “The world does not welcome the mindset of expansion in today’s times. China will also have to leave behind its mindset of expansion” (South China Morning Post, February 22). His words at an Ex-Servicemen’s Rally in Rewari in September 2013 were even more direct: “Everyday, we are surrounded by dangers...China keeps threatening us often, it intrudes our land [sic]. Not only this, it is trying to bar down the waters of Brahmaputra, to capture Arunachal Pradesh from us” (www.narendramodi.in).

Chinese foreign policy experts have suggested that this is merely campaign trail rhetoric. The Sino-Indian border has remained largely stable in decades since the Sino-Indian Border War of 1962. However, the intensification of China’s territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines could offer an Indian prime minister an opportunity to work with other regional powers against China in pursuit of its territorial claims.

Chinese analysts have closely watched India’s, and Modi’s, interest in strong relations with Japan, which would likely complicate China-India relations on any level that is not purely economic. Though a scholar of China-India relations, Professor Wang Dehua, President of the Special Commission for South-Asian Studies, Shanghai Association for International Studies, and Vice President of Shanghai Institute for International Strategic Studies, is thinking about Japan. “They are trying to establish an Asian NATO; they call it the Democratic League. Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan, Australia, Philippines and Singapore, under the United States. Do you think that the Democratic League in Asia could be formed?” he asked with concern (Author’s Interview, Shanghai, May 23).

The United States is expected to remain in the background of China-India relations, both as an active player in Asia, and also as a power which China can use as a foil to promote its own approaches to India and the world. Chinese popular media has spoken of the notion of India as a major player in a world in which “the small clique of America, Old Europe and Japan is the competitive opponent of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa],” “the American people have started to become sick of taking on the burdens of global responsibility,” and “China’s defense budget continues to grow by double digits while actual American military budgets ceaselessly slide” (Youth Reference, in Xin Chuanqi, No. 17).


By Amitava Mukherjee

It is significant that Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, has made Bhutan his first port of call after assuming office. This is quite in consonance with Modi’s declared policy of building up cordial relations with neighboring countries. But beneath this diplomatic posture, an apparent tension clearly permeates the corridors of power in New Delhi so far as Bhutan is concerned. The twenty-first round of negotiations between Bhutan and China held in October last year in regard to disputed border areas has decided to conduct joint technical surveys in the northern sector, without laying any stress on the northwestern sector which has so long dogged the Sino-Bhutan relationship. This is likely to lead to consternation among Indian strategic experts, who may be debating whether Bhutan has already decided to give in to Chinese demands over its northwestern areas.

So far as Indo-Bhutan relations are concerned, New Delhi’s principal headache is the Chumbi Valley, an arrow-like protrusion of southern Tibet separating Bhutan from the Indian state of Sikkim. It is a tri junction of China, India, and Bhutan and enjoys unparalleled strategic importance in the whole of the eastern Himalayas. It is very near to the Siliguri Corridor, called the ‘chicken’s neck’ due to its long and narrow shape, which is India’s only gateway to its northeastern part. Any Chinese push down the Chumbi Valley resulting in control of the Siliguri Corridor would cut off all the northeastern states of India from the mainland.

Narendra Modi will go to Bhutan keeping in the back of his mind a report from the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s external intelligence organization, which says that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has recently built an all-weather road from Gotsa to Lepola via Pamlung in the disputed northern sector of the boundary between China and Bhutan. Nothing more of the RAW report has come to light, and it is not known how much of a transgression, if any, China has committed in this regard.

In 1954, China first published a map claiming considerable Bhutanese areas. In 1958, it not only published another map claiming even larger areas of Bhutan, but forcibly took possession of considerable amounts of territory. This made Thimphu turn to Clause 2 of the 1949 Indo- Bhutan treaty, which stipulated that Thimphu would be guided by India in its conduct of external relations. In 1962, Bhutan made its southeastern part available to the Indian army for safe retreat after it was vanquished by China. Aggressive postures by China continued and it was only in 1984 that the two countries opened negotiations for border settlement. Ultimately, Beijing agreed to renounce its claims over 495 square kilometers of areas in the north, but continued to stake claims to the 269 square kilometers of areas in the northwest, which are adjacent to the Chumbi Valley.

The reason behind China’s insistence on these areas is obvious. Through the Chumbi Valley, China can conduct pincer operations to cut off India’s northeast, and then by claiming the Siliguri Corridor it can threaten the city of Kolkata and the whole of eastern India. But at only 30 miles wide in its narrowest stretch, the valley is extremely narrow for military maneuvers, so Beijing has been trying to expand the Chumbi Valley by incorporating the neighboring Doklam Plateau of Bhutan into it.

There is every indication that China will leave no stone unturned in trying to gobble up the contested Bhutanese land, and its claim is no longer restricted to the Doklam Plateau alone, but touches other strategically-important neighboring areas like Charithang, Sinchulimpa, and the Dramana pasture lands. Although in 1998, Beijing entered into an agreement with Thimphu promising to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, it has extended road networks in Zuri and Pheeteogang ridges overlooking the Charithang Valley, thereby creating tensions. There are also reports that China has not only put forward newer claims to over 300 square kilometers of territory in northern Bhutan, but has actually taken possession of 8,229 square kilometers of Bhutanese areas in 2013. In doing so it has reportedly bumped off some forward posts of the Royal Bhutan Army. But if China ultimately constructs railway lines connecting Lhasa-Zangmu-Shigatse and Yadong (at the opening of the Chumbi Valley) then India will be presented with a real threat to its Siliguri Corridor.

It must be admitted that the present Sino-Bhutan relations transcend hawkish eyes in China on Bhutanese territories, or even the PLA’s aggressive incursions resulting in discomfort for the Royal Bhutan Army. After the opening up of the Druk kingdom and two successive general elections, a new electorate comprised mostly of young people has emerged in Bhutan, which has been showing all kinds of restlessness to come out of Indian tutelage. They are not satisfied with the mere revision of the 1949 Indo-Bhutan Treaty in 2007, but expect an independent domestic and foreign policy for their country. That Jigme Thinley, the last prime minister of Bhutan, had attempted to forge a diplomatic relation with China should be viewed in this context.

Certainly Tsering Tobgay, the present prime minister, and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are more favorably disposed towards India than the previous prime minister and his Druk Phuensum Tsogpa (DPT). The withdrawal of subsidies by India on petroleum products on the eve of the last general election was viewed by many as an attempt to discredit Jigme Thinley and pave the way for the victory of Tsering Tobgay. But it has to be kept in mind that China has firmly entrenched itself with several stake holders of Bhutanese politics and economy, particularly the newly emerging business class.

India is still Bhutan’s biggest trade partner. New Delhi accounts for 75 percent of Bhutan’s imports and 85 percent of its exports. India still trains the Bhutanese army through the Indian Military Training Team. But several pressure groups are working within Bhutan to divert the course of its journey towards China. A case in point was the Bhutan Post Corporation Limited’s (BPCL) decision in 2012 to purchase Chinese public transport vehicles, instead of the long standing practice of buying India-made vehicles, through an agency named Global Traders and Gangjung owned by the son-in-law of the former prime minister Jigme Thinley. The reason proffered for such a decision was the BPCL’s stand that buses purchased from the Tatas (an Indian business house) had developed trouble within one year of their purchase.

It can only be hoped that during his forthcoming tour of Bhutan, Narendra Modi will send a message that Indo-Bhutan relations will henceforth be carried on in the right spirit. In spite of off-and-on hiccups in the bilateral relationship, there has been no dearth of attempts from the Indian side to stand by Bhutan. New Delhi has already committed Rs. 4500 crores towards Bhutan’s 11th Five Year Plan which will continue up to 2018. In addition, another 500 crores of will go towards the Economic Stimulus Package. Moreover India has decided to build up a 10,000 megawatt hydroelectric capacity in Bhutan by 2020. However, the mega hydroelectric project-based economy has been resulting in a rapid outflow of rupees. On three previous occasions, India has extended massive credits to the Druk kingdom to tide over this rupee crunch.

Amitava Mukherjee is a contributor to Geopoliticalmonitor.com, where this article first 

After the victory, the unravelling

June 23, 2014 
After the victory, the unravelling
Former PM Indira Gandhi 
The afterglow from the Bangladesh war soon faded, and Indira Gandhi found herself besieged.

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Looking at yesterday to explain today, tomorrow: Leaders of all opposition parties, united only in their hatred of Indira Gandhi and divided by everything else, jumped on the JP bandwagon.

Indira Gandhi’S finest hour was rather short-lived. The afterglow of the liberation of Bangladesh faded surprisingly fast.

One reason for this was the sudden failure of rains by the middle of 1972. This natural disaster came at a time when her government’s overflowing granaries had been emptied to feed the 10 million refugees from Bangladesh. To make matters worse, heavy expenditure on the war had sharply drained government funds and foreign exchange reserves. Acute shortages and rising prices of food and other essential necessities caused deep unrest even among those who had earlier adored the prime minister.

She could hardly do anything about the cruelty of the rain gods. But there was something that she could and should have controlled, but didn’t. This destructive factor was corruption, a part of India’s life from time immemorial, which was assuming enormous proportions in her time. Because of her supremacy, her henchmen, flaunting their loyalty to her, became both corrupt and arrogant. When serious and plausible charges were made against them in the press or even in Parliament, they told her that the attack was not on them but on her. She evidently believed this, because she started using her brute majority in Parliament to stonewall all allegations. That is how the deathless evil of Parliament’s disruption, sometimes for the entire session, began.

Kairon dissociates from sons

Ambala, Saturday
June 23, 1964

Kairon dissociates from sons

MR. PARTAP SINGH KAIRON today publicly dissociated himself from all activities of his two sons — Surinder and Gurinder.

In a Press statement, Mr. Kairon lamented: "I wish I could have done it earlier". He added that he did not desire to seek any public office and would engage himself whole-heartedly in constructive work. Devotion to the great national organisation, the Congress, loyalty to its "able and experienced leadership" and service of the masses, would remain his "sole occupation" the statement added.

Mr. Kairon received Pressmen in the working room of his house and handed them the statement. It said: "I accept the verdict of the Das Commission with all humility. Whatever I have to say by way of explanation, I shall do so later".

The following is the text of his statement:

"As a direct consequence of the Das Commission's report, I have already quit the office of Chief Minister. I have done so as a disciplined soldier of the great organisation to which I have the privilege to belong and to maintain high standards of public life.

"While I lay down the charge of my office, I must share my feeling with the people who have wished me well and shared my grief and sorrow and have all along identified their interests with mine, throughout my efforts they gave me unstinted support and affection.”

“The keynote of the report is that my two sons have amassed wealth in different ways and that in doing so they sometimes exploited my name and mis-utilised official machinery. Thus it is mainly for the doings of my sons that I have come to suffer. It is not the first time in the history that it has so happened. I take the opportunity to publicly dissociate myself from all activities of my two sons."

Kao’s memoirs — an insight into RAW roots

SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNEKao’s memoirs — an insight into RAW roots Reveal how India helped create Bangladesh
Unravel Delhi’s troubled relationship with USShyam Bhatia

New Delhi, June 22

Fresh insight into the roots of India’s external intelligence agency has been provided by the memoirs of its legendary founding head — Rameshwar Nath Kao — who served as a security adviser to Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Until today, not much was known about Kao, except that he was passionate about Alsatian dogs, had an obsessive compulsive disorder and was admired by his counterparts in the West, who praised him for his quick mind and sartorial elegance. Before Kao died some 12 years ago, he dictated his memoirs to a devoted secretary, but left strict instructions that they were only to be released in stages — 10, 20 and 30 years — including how India helped create Bangladesh in 1971, how India took over Sikkim and detailed comments about New Delhi’s often troubled relationship with Washington.

Some of the interesting insights about how Kao helped build the agency, best known to Indians as the Research Analysis Wing (RAW), will not become available until 2032. For, the present researchers will have to be content with the two files that have become available for the public to examine.

Kao was known in his life time as one of the “char piyaras” of Indira Gandhi, along with PN Haksar (Principal Secretary), TN Kaul (Foreign Secretary) and RK Dhavan (Private Secretary). His files are listed alongside letters and documents from the private collection of Haksar.

So are documents linked to such exotic subjects as the Municipal Mazdoor Union, Bombay, 1957-86, the Pataudi State Praja Mandal and the Punjab Conspiracy Case Proceedings (1930-33). Kao reveals in his memoirs that he was born in the city of Benares in 1918 and was the son of a Deputy Collector, who died prematurely when he was only five years old.

The family then moved between Benares, Baroda and Mumbai until Kao was admitted to read law at Allahabad University in the late 1930s. He took the exam for the Indian Police Service in 1939 and was admitted to the Police Training College, Moradabad, in 1940 where he had his first close contact with white Britishers who appeared to him as semi-literate, crude, rough.”

Later in his memoirs, he comments on how in India “the British deliberately adopted a stance of racial superiority and arrogance, which was highly irritating and provoking.”


By Abdul Basit,RSIS
The upsurge in terrorist violence in Pakistan this month indicates the trajectory of its home-grown terrorism by Islamist insurgents well beyond 2014. Besides a strong military response to win the fight against militants, the political leadership must take ownership of the war and demonstrate strong political will.

TWO HIGH-PROFILE attacks in Karachi and Balochistan have highlighted the resurgent threat of home-grown terrorism by Islamist insurgents in Pakistan. On 8 June 2014 militants from the Islamic Uzbekistan Union (IMU) and their Pakistani counterparts mounted a brazen terrorist attack on Pakistan’s biggest airport in Karachi. In the five-hour long siege, around 39 people, including 10 militants and 12 security personnel, were killed.

Meanwhile, three suicide bombers of a Sunni militant outfit Jaish-ul-Islam (Army of Islam) targeted a hotel hosting around 300 Shia pilgrims in south-western Balochistan province’s Taftan town, killing 30 people. The Shia pilgrims were returning from visits to shrines and holy places in Iran.
Implications of airport attack

The attack on Karachi airport virtually stymied the peace process between the militants’ umbrella group, the Pakistan Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan TPP), and the Pakistani government. It has pushed the country’s political and military leadership onto the same page. The public anger over the attack allowed the embattled Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce a military operation in North Waziristan Agency, along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. On 15 June the Pakistani Army formally launched the military operation, Zarbe Azb (Sword of the Prophet) against local and foreign militants in the Agency.

The Different Taliban Worlds

June 10, 2014

World headlines have spotlighted two branches of the Taliban in recent weeks with the release of U.S. POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the assault on the Karachi airport in Pakistan. CFR Senior Fellow Daniel S. Markey, a leading expert on the Taliban, explains the different goals and tactics of the groups: the Afghan-based and focused outfit that negotiated Bergdahl's release, and the Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the airport attack and is in regular combat with the Pakistani state, military, and civilians. Markey says that the Pakistani government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is trying to negotiate a peace accord with the latter group, but the military leadership is losing patience with the lagging negotiations. As for the United States, he says, there is also a "waning patience for curtailing drone strikes if the Pakistanis don't start taking the fight to the Pakistani Taliban in a more significant way." 
Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, after an attack by Taliban militants on June 8, 2014.
Are there two separate Talibans or one coordinated Taliban? 

If we look at the Afghan Taliban, we are basically talking about the group that ran Afghanistan right up until just after 9/11. Their remnants and their leader, Mullah Omar, by most accounts are said to be based somewhere inside Pakistan, probably inside Balochistan. And then you have a significant offshoot that also swears allegiance to him: the Haqqani Network, based further to the north in North Waziristan, also inside Pakistan. The Afghan Taliban is notable for having hosted bin Laden and embracing a worldview that is backward, violent, and extreme. However, they are Afghanistan-oriented and focused. There really have been no instances of the Afghan Taliban turning their guns on the Pakistani state, attacking the people of Pakistan, or, more importantly in this case, the military. 

So, the Pakistani Taliban is different? 

Climate Change

June 2014

The Global Governance Report Card grades international performance in addressing today's most daunting challenges. It seeks to inspire innovative and effective responses from global and U.S. policymakers to address them.


In 2013, international cooperation to mitigate the threat of climate change was insufficient and, at times, verged on complete disarray. Overall, the success of the regime hinges upon curbing emissions and promoting low carbon development, and in these areas progress stalled. As a result, despite positive developments on the margins, international action to arrest climate change earned poor marks.

At the global level, political discord continued to obstruct preparatory negotiations for a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. Fundamentally, major emitters appeared to lack the political will to curtail emissions. Furthermore, tensions remained high between developed and developing countries that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) over appropriate emissions reduction targets and adaptation aid for poorer countries.

To be sure, discrete efforts at the national level were increasingly dynamic. For example, the United States launched a more sector-specific regulatory approach, and individual states pursued local initiatives to limit carbon emissions. Similarly, Chinese provinces established experimental carbon exchanges. Nevertheless, it remained unclear whether these narrower approaches will have a meaningful impact on global climate change.

In addition, international donors did not provide enough financial support to help developing countries arrest and adapt to climate change. Furthermore, multilateral frameworks, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, set up to help reduce emissions struggled to implement their mandates. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a grim report warning that the planet’s carbon budget—the amount of carbon the earth can safely retain—would be depleted in fifteen to twenty-five years.

This review identifies four major areas for improvement. First, the Obama administration should fully implement the 2013 Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions, while Congress should take more comprehensive action. Second, China should enact measures to cut emissions, particularly through reducing its reliance on coal and ensuring implementation of its existing environmental regulations. Third, countries should seek to build momentum for a post-Kyoto agreement in 2015. Fourth and finally, UNFCCC parties should build on the success of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation initiative.

The New Great Power Triangle Tilt: China, Russia Vs. U.S.

June 19, 2014
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin sign $400 billion gas deal

WASHINGTON: The careful diplomatic stagecraft behind President Barack Obama’s recent European visit to celebrate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and to rally the Western alliance against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was all but swept aside by strong new currents in geopolitics. While Obama talked tough in Poland to reassure NATO’s vulnerable eastern members, Russian President Vladimir Putin happily visited with his Western European friends who buy huge quantities of natural gas from him. French President Francois Hollande not only hosted Putin at a dinner, he refused to cancel a $1.6 billion sale of warships to Moscow.Meanwhile, as Putin and Hollande dined in comfort at the Elysee Palace, Russian special forces were supporting an offensive by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine that overran a key border control headquarters and threatened to open a land corridor between Russia and the recently annexed province of Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The Chinese, sitting on Russia’s southern and eastern flanks, did not miss this split in the NATO alliance. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin agreed in Shanghai on a joint statement papering over any concerns that the PRC might have about Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, and the two countries signed a massive $400 billion energy deal to seal what both sides hope is a budding counterweight alliance to the West.

While Obama spoke in Europe of Russia’s perfidy and the need to strengthen NATO, Beijing celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators by eliminating virtually all domestic dissent. Perhaps most tellingly, as Putin attended D-Day celebrations, a high-ranking Chinese general told a regional security conference in Asia that U.S. inaction in Ukraine was an unmistakable symptom of America’s strategic “erectile dysfunction.”

“Withdrawing from wars, especially where there is not a clear-cut victory, is tricky business,” and it’s difficult to “avoid sending the signal that you’re disengaging not just from the wars, but from your broader international responsibilities,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a recent talk at the Council on Foreign Relations. Former President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger managed it for a time after Vietnam with their bold diplomatic outreach to China, effectively splitting the communist bloc at a moment of U.S. vulnerability. “We had better relations with the Soviets, and better relations with the Chinese, than they had with each other,” noted Gates, a Kissinger protégé. “There are no such opportunities now.”

Indeed, Moscow and Beijing have rejected what they view as the United States’ aggressive post-9/11 doctrine of regime change and democracy promotion. With the US withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, and our failures to act boldly in Syria and Ukraine the Chinese sense an opportunity to push back against U.S. power. That is also the subtext to Putin’s forceful move to keep Ukraine in Russia’s strategic sphere of influence as a buffer against the West, and China’s aggressive actions in pressing claims to disputed islands and airspace in its near abroad.

Still Indispensable

In a recent speech at West Point, Obama made a strong case that the United States still stands firmly atop the global pecking order. The U.S. military has no peer, our economy remains the largest in the world, new drilling technologies make the long-sought goal of U.S. energy independence suddenly plausible, and, as Obama noted, from Europe to Asia “we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations.”

“So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation,” Obama said, resurrecting a description of American power coined by the Clinton administration in the unipolar moment of the post-Cold War 1990s. “That has been true for the century past, and it will be true for the century to come.”

In arguing that rumors of American decline are in some cases greatly exaggerated, Obama has a point. In his recent book, “Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint,” author Bruce Jones notes that of the top 20 economies the world, 15 of those countries are U.S. allies. Equally important, the potentially challenging powers often referred to as the “BRICs,” (Brazil, Russia, India and China) face a dilemma as they attempt to elbow their way into more prominent positions in international affairs: their economic ascent and well-being is dependent on a stable world order underwritten by U.S. power. Thus they cannot successfully challenge U.S. leadership without undermining their own interests.

“I think the Obama administration is right to play the long game, recognizing that when it comes to managing the challenging ascent of the BRIC countries, even the most powerful country in the world must make tough choices in terms of when to lead, and where to focus its resources and energies,” Jones, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said in an interview. “It’s important to note, however, that in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the only effective deterrence to regional rivalries and conflicts is still U.S. military power, and the willingness to use it.”

Putin apparently believes it when he says the breakup of the former Soviet empire was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” He rejects outright the post-Cold War expansion of Western military and economic alliances (NATO and the European Union, respectively), as well as the U.S. strategic goal of a “Europe whole and free” that undergirds it. He opposed U.S. actions against allies and has drawn a red line against what he sees as Western encroachment in Russia’s “sphere of privileged interests” in the former Soviet space. With Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and this year’s annexation of Crimea, Putin has demonstrated a willingness to use military force to defend those red lines.

“Putin is the single most powerful leader in the Kremlin since [Joseph] Stalin, because he doesn’t even have to deal with the [communist-era] Politburo,” said Strobe Talbott, who helped manage U.S.-Russian relations in the 1990s as a senior State Department official in the Clinton administration. “So the largest country on the planet in now engaged in territorial expansion and aggressive nationalism, and that country also happens to be one of the two major nuclear weapons powers,” said Talbott, speaking recently at the Brookings Institution where he is president. “That’s taking us back to the geopolitics that got us into two World Wars in the 20th century, and made a hash of the late 19th century.”

A Rising China

While Russia rejects the U.S.-led world order, China is challenging it as a rapidly rising power that demands more influence in international affairs. With its sustained and meteoric economic growth China has replaced Japan as the world’s second largest economy, and it may surpass the United States as the number one economic power this decade. Beijing has increasingly thrown that power around by staking claims to disputed islands in the South and East China Sea, proclaiming an air defense zone that no one recognizes, and pushing back against the U.S. military presence in Asia.

On a visit to China last year, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs,witnessed first-hand the complexity of maintaining a stable Asia-Pacific order at a time when Beijing is chaffing against its constraints.

“When I met with my Chinese military counterparts they said, ‘This is great, we’re going to take a blank sheet of paper and build a new relationship.’ And I replied, ‘Well, not so fast.’ It just so happens the United States already has some writing on our paper, so it’s not blank,” Dempsey told me in a recent interview. For starters the United States boasts historic treaty alliances with South Korea, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines. “And I said, ‘Surely you wouldn’t ask us to ignore those relationships?’ Well, of course the Chinese would love for us to ignore them!” said Dempsey. The United States has no choice but to try and manage those complicated relationships and a patchwork of controversial territorial issues in the Asia-Pacific region, he said, “with a China that’s rising in the international order, and Chinese leaders who may not feel that they’ve had a sufficient voice in establishing that order.”

A Sino-Russian Alliance

In times of East-West tensions in the post-Cold War era, Moscow and Beijing periodically flirted with a strategic partnership as a counterweight to the U.S.-led transatlantic alliance. Most notably that occurred during NATO’s Kosovo campaign in 1999 against Moscow’s ally Serbia, which included the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade; in the run-up to the Iraq invasion that was opposed by both Moscow and Beijing; and during the current crises in Ukraine and the South China Sea that prompted the recent signing of an energy pact between Russia and China.

Natural impediments have prevented a lasting strategic alliance between China and Russia, including their own territorial disputes in Siberia; economic trade between Russia and Europe, and between China and the United States, that far outweigh their trade with each other; and the strategic dichotomy between a revisionist power intent on reversing the current world order, and a rising power focused on bending it to Beijing’s will.

“In the 21st century of globalization, the major powers like the United States, Russia, China and Europe are bound together by tightly integrated web of mutual economic interests,” said Nicholas Burns, director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a former senior State Department official. As a declining power Russia is going to discover that it can’t realistically divorce itself from Europe, he said, just as China as a growing power understands that it’s most important relationship is with the United States. “Though balancing that relationship with Beijing will be the most important strategic challenge we face,” said Burns.

The current crises in Ukraine and the South China Sea that have driven Moscow and Beijing into each other’s arms also underscore the fundamental weakness in the Russia-Chinese alliance: both have led neighbors in Europe and Asia to seek strategic partnerships with the United States and to strengthen their military capabilities.

“I think the energy deal between Russia and China does represent geopolitical pushback against the United States, but the hegemonic impulses behind Russia’s annexation of Crimea and China’s aggressive claims to disputed islands and airspace are pushing their smaller neighbors to embrace the United States,” said Thomas Pickering, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia and number-three in the State Department. “That’s why I still think the United States’ geostrategic position remains strong relative to Russia and China.”

Despite those natural advantages the very fact that a revanchist Russia and a rising China have found common cause in opposing the status quo power of the United States is a worrisome development, especially at a time of war-weariness and retrenchment in Washington. Even Richard Nixon’s post-Vietnam outreach to China didn’t deter a Middle East crisis in 1973 that very nearly had the United States and the Soviet Union fighting on different sides of the Arab-Israeli war.

New Alliance May Not Last

“The Obama administration is probably right that a geopolitical alliance between Russia and China will not prove lasting, but we should be worried that Moscow and Beijing are both reacting to what they perceive as a combination of American provocation and weakness, which is dangerous,” said Dmitri Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest. Before World War II, he noted, Western politicians and commentators rightly predicted that an alliance between a communist Soviet Union and a fascist Nazi Germany was unlikely and unsustainable. “And they were right, the Hitler-Stalin alliance only lasted a couple of years,” he said. “But in that short time Germany conquered Poland and occupied France, and created an entirely different geopolitical reality. Likewise, even a short-term Sino-Russian alliance, if mishandled by the United States, could cause us huge problems.”

Ukraine Is Winning the Information War—But Here’s the Bad News

Ukraine has a propaganda problem. Nearly every day, dozens of Russian news outlets spin a story about the rise of fascism in the embattled country, despite the collapse of the far right at the ballot box.

“Ukraine needs to do direct marketing to convince the world we’re not—as the Russians claim—a failed state,” Vasyl Myroshnychenko—an organizer at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center—told The Atlantic.

The Kremlin spends a lot of time and money manipulating the media. Following Pres. Vladimir Putin’s re-election in 2012, the Kremlin culled independent news outlets, created sweeping blacklists of Internet sites deemed subversive, launched a campaign targeting non-governmental organizations—all the while expelling outspoken foreign journalists.

For foreign audiences, Moscow spends hundreds of millions of dollars per year on English-language propaganda in the hope that it can control, or at least shape, any story Russia is involved in. The government has even organized online trolling in the comment sections of The Guardian.

This is—to put bluntly—all part of a broader strategy by the Kremlin to expand Russia’s sphere of influence using both hard and soft power.

Faced with such a campaign, what chance does a broke and relatively tiny country like Ukraine have at winning a media war? It turns out, a pretty good one.

To a certain extent, the Internet has leveled the playing field. Now that Ukraine has elected a government—its citizens are mobilizing in new ways. Crowdsourcing, independent news blogs and new media agencies are taking on Moscow’s media empire and winning.

However, a sympathetic ear in the West won’t save Ukraine or bail out its economy when Russia turns the screws. There’s also a risk Ukraine’s success could lead to a presumption among Ukrainians that Western governments support them more than they actually do. 

Ukraine’s new media

There are dozens of examples from the past few weeks of Kiev trouncing Moscow in the information war.

On June 12, three T-72 tanks rolled through portions of eastern Ukraine. Kiev said Russia supplied the tanks to pro-Kremlin separatist rebels.

Moscow’s foreign ministry said that was false information. Russian media—if it mentioned the story at all—couched talk of the tanks deep within articles about a Ukrainian armored vehicle crossing the border into Russia.

World Refugee Day: Global forced displacement tops 50 million for first time in post-World War II era

News Stories, 20 June 2014
Global forced displacement 1993-2013 (end-year)

GENEVA, June 20 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency reported today on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.

UNHCR's annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments and non-governmental partner organizations, and from the organization's own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully 6 million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012.

This massive increase was driven mainly by the war in Syria, which at the end of last year had forced 2.5 million people into becoming refugees and made 6.5 million internally displaced. Major new displacement was also seen in Africa – notably in Central African Republic and South Sudan.

"We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "Peace is today dangerously in deficit. Humanitarians can help as a palliative, but political solutions are vitally needed. Without this, the alarming levels of conflict and the mass suffering that is reflected in these figures will continue."

The worldwide total of 51.2 million forcibly displaced represents a huge number of people in need of help, with implications both for foreign aid budgets in the world's donor nations and the absorption and hosting capacities of countries on the front lines of refugee crises.

"The international community has to overcome its differences and find solutions to the conflicts of today in South Sudan, Syria, Central African Republic and elsewhere. Non-traditional donors need to step up alongside traditional donors. As many people are forcibly displaced today as the entire populations of medium-to-Iarge countries such as Colombia or Spain, South Africa or South Korea," said Guterres.

Displacement data in the annual report covers refugees, asylum-seekers and the internally displaced. Among these, refugee numbers amounted to 16.7 million people worldwide, 11.7 million of whom are under UNHCR's care and the remainder registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. These totals alone are the highest UNHCR has seen since 2001. In addition, more than half of the refugees under UNHCR's care (6.3 million) had at end 2013 been in exile for more than five years.