2 February 2014

Can you Trust the Pakistani Army?

Issue Net Edition | Date : 01 Feb , 2014 


Held after 14 years, the meeting between the Indian Army and Pakistani Army Director Generals of Military Operations at Wagah on 24 December 2013 naturally made media headlines. The discussions were reportedly related mostly to the Line of Control (LoC). The last such meeting was held in 1999 after the Kargil conflict. As per media reports, the atmosphere was cordial, positive and constructive. The Indian side reportedly took a forceful stand against the killing and beheading of our soldiers and repeated border violations that had soured relations. Both DGsMO are said have displayed commitment to maintain the sanctity and ceasefire on the LoC and agreed to re-energize the existing mechanisms; making the hotline between the two DGsMO more effective and result oriented, informing each other if any innocent civilian inadvertently crosses the LoC ensuring his / her early return etc. The bit about making the hotline between the two DGsMO “more effective” was somewhat intriguing because the periodicity of the two DGsMO to talk is fixed and more importantly, the provision of additional contact over and above the fixed periodicity on any occurrence (s) warranting activation of this hotline too exists – with complete conversation recorded on both ends. 

How can you trust Pakistan … more importantly with 40 anti-India terrorist camps running full swing in Pakistan with full military support… 

A week after the above meeting, on 1st January 2014, was the bi-annual exchange of prisoners’ lists between India and Pakistan under the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan handed over a list of 281 Indian prisoners (49 civilian and 232 fishermen) in Pakistan while our MEA also handed over the list of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails (257 civilian and 139 fishermen). But what has always been denied by Pakistan is the 54 Indian Armed Forces personnel believed to be in Pakistani jails; 29 from the Army (including 15 officers) and 25 pilots from the Air Force and Navy – all officers (24 Air Force and one Naval pilot). Though these personnel were reported missing in action, denial by Pakistan that none out of the 54 are in Pakistani custody exposes the lies and treachery. This despite the fact that 93,000 Pakistani military Prisoners of War (POW) were returned by India post the 1971 Indo-Pak War. All this despite clear evidence of Indian POWs in Pakistani jails like: Major AK Suri, 5 ASSAM – his name was announced in Punjab Durbar program of Radio Lahore on 6th – 7th January 1972. His father received handwritten notes from Major Suri dated 7th December 1974 and 14, 15, 16 June 1975 – last three from Karachi disclosing that there were there were 20 more Indian officers detained on charges of spying. Indian national Mukhtiar Singh, repatriated from Pakistan on 5th July, 1988, confirmed Major Ashok Suri was in Kot Lakhpat jail at that time; Flight Lieutenant V Tambay, 32 Squadron Air Force - Pakistan Observer, dated December 5, 1971 carried news ex Rawalpindi datelined December 4, 1971, that five Indian pilots had been captured alive. 

China–Ukraine Increasing Bonhomie

 by Brig Amar Cheema in IDR 31/1/14

Ukraine Geostrategic importance

In the altered geostrategic map of 1992,Ukraine has started understanding its strategic importance. West’s interest in Ukraine, to become a part of European Union may be frustrated for now, as Ukraine has temporarily suspended signing the Association Agreement with the EU. But this signifies a tussle between the Russians and the European Union to control Ukraine. By trying to severe Ukraine from Russia through a de facto “Orange Revolution” US had plans to dominate Eurasia, via its allies the EU, the reminiscence of the Cold War era quiet evident. Meanwhile the seeds in the garb of democracy, economic prosperity and stability are in the process of crafting another fragile nation; protestors had demonstrated their wrath at the Independence Square in Ukraine against their government’s failure to sign political and free-trade accords with Europe. The country is politically divided and is economically in debt. At this stage two important events, namely Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s intervention in supporting Ukraine through financial aid, by offering $15 billion in loans and a steep discount on natural gas prices[1] and the Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych visit to China, illustrates the presence of undercurrents in this region. For Ukraine, the president’s visit to China, may fulfill dual target , firstly to get the much required financial help from China, because China’s largesse are well known especially to those nations which are strategically important , secondly to use it as a leverage to manipulate Russia and buy time to deal with EU. Whether Ukraine succeeds, depends on the reciprocity shown by these two countries.

China’s nuclear umbrella to Ukraine will not directly impact India but it is an indicator that China is surely capitalizing all its opportunities to become a major power to reckon with.

Russian Interest

Ukraine is geo -strategically important to Russia, because firstly both the countries share a long border (Moscow is 480 kms from Ukraine) and Russia could get cut off from Caucasus if Ukraine- Kazak opening were tempered with, secondly Ukraine gives Russian the access to the Black Sea. Russia’s naval base is at Sevastopol and more so Russia does not want its military encirclement via NATO. Therefore, the Ukraine President’s recent decisions of not becoming a member of EU or NATO can be considered as a victory for the Russians, but this is a very fragile one and in future it will test Russia’s capabilities in having a friendly Ukraine as its neighbor. Meanwhile the reemergence of Russia is due to Russia adopting some smart maneuvers, especially asymmetric ones, which comprise liberal manipulation of its energy resources through diplomacy and its inherent military strength. Russia’s North –South-East –West energy strategy if played intelligently can bring big dividends. Russia as such has the World’s largest known reserves of natural gas, and the demand for this in Europe has increased significantly .Considering UK, amongst other nations, has become a gas importer from being an exporter depicts a shift in the energy game. Russia’s giant company Gazprom has signed contracts not only with Denmark, Netherland, Belgium but also with France Germany and England. Russian oil initially use to pass through Ukraine ,hence Ukraine had played an important part as a transit country, but its hostility to Russia and the disruption in supply chain, made Russia rethink its strategic options. In a move to lessen its dependence on hostile transit nations Russia has diversified its options. Its Nord Stream gas pipeline completely bypasses Ukraine and Poland. Its South Stream also bypasses Ukraine, but in a strategic move Russia involved the former WARSAW nation and now a NATO and EU member Bulgaria, to participate in its South Stream Project. This onshore section will cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia and the gas pipeline will end at the Tarvisio gas metering station in Italy.[2]


Southasiaanalysis : Paper No. 5636 Dated 24-Jan-2014
By Dr. Subhash Kapila

China’s emergence as Asia’s most prominent ‘regional spoiler state’ and its strategic trajectories betraying its ambitions to emerge as Asia’s most predominant power has left Japan and India to shoulder the challenges of operating as the twin pillars of Asian security.

Argued for nearly a decade in my Papers has been the strategic reality that China alone cannot exclusively grab the Asian strategic space and that Asian strategic space has to be shared by China with Japan and India. China down the years has demonstrated that it has no intention to allow this and that on the contrary China has increasingly indulged in escalation of its territorial disputes with Japan and India thereby strategically down-size them.

Asian security and stability in 2014 stands greatly endangered by China’s military provocations and military brinkmanship extending from the India-Tibet Himalayan borders in South Asia to South China Sea in South East Asia and finally to conflict escalation at Japan’s doorsteps in the East China Sea (Senkaku Islands).

With China not emerging as the leading stakeholder in Asian security and stability, and contrarily emerging as the major challenge to Asian security, Japan and India now have to strategically operate as the twin pillars of Asian security and stability.

Indicators exist that strategic realities have dawned on both Japan and India that they not only have to add substance to the Japan-India Strategic & Global Partnership 2006 but also hasten the process of their respective defence build-ups and strive for creation of an indigenous Asian ‘balance of power regime’ incorporating other Asian nations threatened by China’s military waywardness.

Japan-India Strategic & Global Partnership 2006 comes into detailed focus with the forthcoming historic visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day 2014 Parade and celebrations which was preceded by an equally historic visit of Their Imperial Majesties, The Emperor and Empress of Japan.

Related to these two significant events in the Japan-India relations extensive media analyses have appeared in the Indian media highlighting the imperatives of a continued and reinforcing Japan-India Strategic Partnership in a comprehensive sense.

In this Paper therefore I would not like to indulge in a repetitive analysis but focus on how well-equipped Japan and India are strategically and militarily to shoulder effectively the onerous challenge of emerging as the twin pillars of Asian security and stability in the face of unremitting conflict escalation and military brinkmanship by China.

China, it needs to be recalled has engaged in a massive build-up of its conventional military machine, nuclear weapons arsenal and its armoury of its nuclear ICBMs. China also has been engaged in an extensive build-up and expansion of its naval power including nuclear-powered and SLBMs equipped submarines. All in all China has amassed disproportionate military power, unrelated to its threat perceptions and now also a strategic concern for leading global powers like the United States and Russia.

Nuclear Umbrella

C. Raja Mohan
29 January 2014

There was some flutter recently at reports that China was opening a "nuclear umbrella" for Ukraine. "Nuclear umbrella" is about a nuclear weapon power protecting a non-nuclear weapon state, usually a very close ally, against atomic threats from others. In nuclear jargon it is called "extended deterrence". China has in the past tended to avoid alliances and insisted that its nuclear arsenal was meant for national defence and not for securing the interests of any other nation. It had always denounced the US nuclear umbrella extended to its neighbours, Japan and South Korea. Given this background, there was much speculation if China was changing its policy on extended deterrence. 

The speculation was triggered by a joint statement issued by Chinese President Xi Jinping after a meeting with the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, last month. The joint statement said: "China pledges unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the nuclear-free Ukraine and China further pledges to provide Ukraine nuclear security guarantee when Ukraine encounters an invasion involving nuclear weapons or Ukraine is under threat of a nuclear invasion." 

The confusion appears to have been caused by a misreading of the statement in a section of the Chinese media and mistranslation and over-interpretation by a few Western analysts. A closer reading of the statement, however, suggested China was merely offering boiler plate assurances to Ukraine, which had given up its claim to nuclear weapons after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. 

Since the mid-1990s, all nuclear weapon powers had been issuing similar assurances, both negative and positive, to non-nuclear weapon states. Under the "negative assurances", the five permanent members of the UN Security Council promise non-nuclear weapon states that they will not attack or threaten to attack them with atomic weapons. Under the "positive assurances", the P-5 offer to come to the aid, the nature of which is deliberately left ambiguous, of non-nuclear states threatened by atomic weapons. Few in the world take these statements seriously. 

Pak Connection 

From New Delhi's perspective, the Western speculation on China offering nuclear protection to Ukraine is largely academic. India's problem is rather different. It has long struggled to come to terms with China's sustained nuclear and missile cooperation with Pakistan. 

Beijing has gone way beyond offering a nuclear umbrella to Islamabad, by actively assisting the Pakistan army to build nuclear weapons in the 1980s and manufacture missiles in the 1990s. The depth of the connection has led some to argue that the Pakistani atomic armoury is but an extension of the Chinese arsenal. 


January 29, 2014. 

On January 20th India successfully tested its new Agni IV IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile). This test was in combat configuration with the missile launched from its 8x8 transporter/launcher vehicle. The Agni IV is a 17 ton, two-stage, solid fuel missile that was first tested in 2011. It has a maximum range of 4,000 kilometers and a payload of one ton. During tests it has landed with a hundred meters of its aiming point, which is satisfactory for the nuclear weapon the missile is designed to deliver. Because of the success of this test the Agni IV is expected to enter mass production later in 2014. 
  • Agni IV is, as its name implies, part of family of missiles. India began work on the Agni series in the 1990s and this effort was accelerated after India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons in 1998. All the Agni missiles use solid fuel. 
  • The Agni I is a 12 ton missile that was first tested in 2002. It has a maximum range of 1,200 kilometers and a payload of one ton. 
  • The Agni II is a 16 ton missile that was first tested in 1999. It has a maximum range of 2,000 kilometers and a payload of one ton. 
  • The Agni III is a 48 ton missile that was first tested in 2006. It has a maximum range of 3,500 kilometers and a payload of 1.5 tons. 
  • Agni IV was originally called Agni II Prime as it is basically a replacement for the Agni II. 
  • The Agni V is a solid fuel missile that is still under development. It is supposed to have a maximum range of 5,000 kilometers and a payload of one ton. 
  • There is said to be an Agni version in the works that would have a range of 10,000 kilometers, which would make it an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile). 
While the initial target for Agni missiles was Pakistan, in the last decade China has become the primary destination. It took a while for India to accept this shift. This wasn't easy. For example, in 2008 India halted development work on the Agni III because it was really only useful against China. Since India had been working hard to develop better economic and diplomatic ties with China, putting the Agni III on ice seemed a good idea at the time. It was also believed that shutting down the Agni III project would save a lot of money, as each Agni III built would have cost $20 million. Not a good investment for a weapon that will only antagonize a nation you are trying to develop better relationships with. This halt did not last long and now the Agni III is in service. It can hit targets throughout most of China. The Agni IV missiles will also be aimed at China. 

Is Burma really buying submarines?

29 January 2014

For the past six months, there have been intermittent reports in the news media and on specialist websites stating that Burma (Myanmar) is developing a submarine capability. If this is true, it has important implications not only for Burma and the region, but also for the wider international community. 

However, equally dramatic stories about Burma have emerged in the past, only to prove misleading or false. 

This is not the first time Burma has been linked to a submarine sale. In 2003, it was claimed that the military government had held discussions with North Korea on the purchase of one or two small submarines. The 110-ton Yugo and 370-ton Sang-O classes were mentioned. Despite the limitations of both designs, Burma's interest in these boats was said to reflect a wish to police its territorial waters and help deter an invasion.

According to Jane's Defence Weekly (JDW), Burma eventually opted to purchase one Sang-O class submarine, but was forced to abandon the deal in late 2002. It was suggested that the project had been scuppered by the cost of the boat, and perhaps belated recognition by the country's military leadership of the technical difficulties of keeping it fully operational.

These reports were never confirmed, but other developments gave them some credibility. For example, after the 1988 uprising, Burma's new military government launched an ambitious plan to modernise and expand the armed forces. This included a naval rearmament program. In 1999, it was reported that Burmese naval officers had undergone unspecified 'submarine training' in Pakistan.

Also relevant was the fact that in the 1990s Burma started to expand its defence ties with North Korea. If the generals were interested in acquiring other weapons from Pyongyang, possibly including ballistic missiles, so the logic went, why not a few submarines? If Korea was prepared to sell Yugo-class boats to Vietnam (which it did in 1997), why not to Burma?

Over the next decade, Burma's navy acquired several new ships, some armed with anti-submarine weapon systems, but the emphasis was clearly on surface warfare. Claims by an activist group in 2010 that India had provided training for Burma on a Foxtrot class submarine, and that Naypyidaw was considering the purchase of two Foxtrot boats from Russia, could not be verified. 

During a visit to Russia in June 2013, however, Burmese Commander in Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reportedly opened discussions for the purchase of two 3000-ton Kilo-class diesel submarines (pictured). It was also claimed that he secretly visited the St Petersburg naval dockyard. A number of commentators have stated that Burma hopes to create a submarine force by 2015

Burma was said to have chosen the Russian Kilos over Pakistan's ageing Agosta-70 boats. Also, in April 2013 about 20 Burmese naval officers and ratings reportedly began basic submarine familiarisation and training in Pakistan, probably at the Submarine Training Centre, PNS Bahadur. This prompted JDW to suggest that 'Myanmar is finally taking concrete steps towards developing a subsurface capability'. 

TWQ: China’s Unraveling Engagement Strategy - Winter 2013

By Jeffrey Reeves
Dec 1, 2013

What for years has been seen as the core of China’s most stable relations—economic exchanges with small and developing states on its periphery such as Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar—has now become counterproductive and a source of China’s self-defeating foreign policy.

TWQ: Japan under Abe: toward Moderation or Nationalism? - Winter 2013

By Mike M. Mochizuki and Samuel Parkinson Porter
Dec 1, 2013

Because Abe need not face another national election until summer 2016, Japan may finally have a stable government for the first time in almost a decade. But will the July 2013 electoral victory embolden him to pursue his nationalist agenda, or will he remain moderate and pragmatic?

Asian Security: Impact of the North East Asia Strategic Quadrilateral

by subhash kapila 30/1/14

News Analysis: Silver lining to China-Russia trade clouds by Xinhua 

Asian security and stability is nowhere more impacted than by the power- play and balance of power in North East Asian strategic quadrilateral comprising Russia, Japan, China and the United States and this is a strategic reality that has prevailed ever since 1945 when the United States and Russia emerged as superpowers.

The North East Asia Strategic Quadrilateral comprises Russia, Japan and China as the resident powers in North East Asia and the United States as the non-resident power but perceiving North East Asia as strategically crucial for American Homeland security and for its balance of power politics to ensure its continued global predominance.

The power play and the ensuing balance of power in North East Asia is not only confined to this strategic quadrant of Asia but spills over all the way to South East Asia and South Asia or more succinctly put impacts the entire Indo Pacific Asia. It also impacts the entire Asian Heartland.

North East Asia in the last decade stood strategically neglected by both the United States and Russia as the two most dominant powers. United States stood strategically distracted by its military imbroglios in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia’s strategic resurgence had not extended to North East Asia mainly because of its strategic compulsions visa-a-vis the so-called Russia-China strategic nexus which failed to add or complement Russia’s strategic weight and postures.

This strategic vacuum in North East Asia facilitated an exponential military rise of China without any checkmating by the United States and Russia as the two dominant powers which could have done so.

The onus of facilitating the emergence of the ‘China Threat’ which now envelops Indo Pacific Asia lies squarely on the shoulders of the United States as after 1991 disintegration of the Former Soviet Union it had emerged as the sole Superpower and global policeman. The United States had not only contributed handsomely to the economic rise of China fuelling its military rise but also endangered Asian security as a whole by molly-coddling China ignoring the imperatives of facilitating the rise of Japan and India as the other legitimate Asian powers.

North East Asia has been forcefully thrust in the global strategic consciousness as in the run-up to 2014 China has switched over from its much publicised and much trumpeted ‘peaceful rise of China’ to a robust and unabashed use of China’s ‘hard power’ accumulated in the last decade without any checkmating. Gone are the US think tanks treatises emphasising and glorifying the use of China’s ‘soft power’.

China after signalling the world in 2009 with its public display of its stupendous military might felt strong enough to indulge in its use of ‘hard power’ first in the South China Sea against Vietnam and the Philippines and now in the East China Sea against Japan. Both South China Sea and East China Sea conflict escalations by China have now emerged as global ‘flash-points’. Concurrently, China also started displaying its use of ‘hard power’ on the India-Tibet border encouraged by India’s timid strategic responses.

The ripostes to China’s military rise in North East Asia and its wider strategic impact, and so also its threatening contours, have emerged in the shape of the United States Strategic Pivot to Asia in2009 and Russia’s Strategic Pivot to Asia Pacific in 2012. Both implicitly are targeted at checkmating China’s unrestrained military adventurism in Asia Pacific.

The strategic landscape in North East Asia today presents a complex and challenging picture as Russia, Japan and the United States are all engaged in reassessing their strategic postures and re-positioning themselves to cope with an overly overbearing China obsessed with a single-point fixation of emerging as a superpower and fashioning a new bi-polar global strategic structure of United States and China which regrettably United States also endorsed spasmodically.

20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age

JANUARY 22, 2014 
Robert O. Work, Shawn Brimley 

Written by CNAS Chief Executive Officer Robert O. Work and CNAS Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley, 20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age calls upon the United States to prepare for war in new era in which “unmanned and autonomous systems will play central war-fighting roles for the United States, its allies and partners, and its adversaries.”

The authors warn of a not-too-distant future where “guided munitions and battle networking technologies have proliferated widely and are employed by both state and non-state actors,” making all military operations more deadly and costly. At the same time, and notwithstanding changes in the strategic environment, the spiraling costs of personnel and crewed combat systems means the U.S. armed forces will likely be smaller in the future than in the immediate past. In response to both of these trends, the authors argue that U.S. planners will increasingly turn to unmanned and robotic systems for answers, and these systems will be increasingly capable and autonomous in action.

China's Wild West

The Problem With Beijing's Xinjiang Policy
JANUARY 26, 2014

Chinese military police ride past a Uighur woman on main street in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, July 2009. (Nir Elias / Courtesy Reuters)

Last October, a sport-utility vehicle sped onto a crowded Beijing sidewalk and exploded at the foot of Tiananmen gate, killing five people and injuring nearly 40 others. In the aftermath of the attack, the Chinese government declared the explosion an act of terrorism committed by Islamic jihadists from western China. Meanwhile, the foreign media turned the spotlight on the home province of the attackers -- China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region -- where some nine million Turkic-speaking Muslims, known as Uighurs, have lived under the control of the Chinese Communist Party since 1950. This arrangement has not been altogether peaceful; just this week, for example, local police gunned down six people in the city of Xinhe.

In the aftermath of such violence, newspapers have been quick to publish stories about the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a militant Uighur separatist group, and Beijing’s recent crackdown on Uighur dissidents. Scores of reporters have questioned whether ethnic nationalism or religious extremism was to blame for the bloodshed in Tiananmen. But the media has largely overlooked a more fundamental issue: How Beijing’s drive to develop the region economically -- in the face of an already resentful and restless minority -- has failed to create stability there.

Yet the central government and the Uighurs have not been the only players in the story of Xinjiang’s recent economic and social development. During Zhang Chunxian’s tenure as Xinjiang’s party chief, which began in 2010, the relationship between the regional government and Han immigrants has been just as important. It is the latter group’s support for Beijing’s economic plans that has made Xinjiang at once more lucrative and more restive.


January 23, 2014

Many distinguished scholars, journalists, and strategic analysts have provided compelling visions of why and how the People's Republic of China (PRC) would conduct a naval and military campaign in the Indo-Pacific basin. Several viable U.S. responses to such a Chinese operation have been articulated. These include a blockade-based “offshore control strategy” to deprive China of resources and trade, and the “Air/Sea battle” operational concept involving a joint U.S. naval and air power effort to directly combat Chinese forces in the Western Pacific littoral. Both visions suggest allied participation and perhaps can be combined into an overall military strategy. Before moving further however, it is useful to examine current and evolving Chinese strategic “centers of gravity” and look at how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has conducted recent military actions. Past Chinese conflicts may not provide a complete picture for U.S. leaders, but perhaps offer a window into how the PRC thinks about its military activity.

Changing Centers of Gravity

The most important center of gravity for post-revolutionary China has been the survival of Communist party authority over the state. The definition of the Chinese Communist party however has changed since the official Party program of “Modernization and Stability” began in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. While the rest of the Communist world collapsed in the face of the perceived superiority of the Capitalist system, the Chinese party was able to adroitly turn the Communist system on its head and adopt the best practices of its Western opposite number. The “modernized” China now resembles a large corporation rather than the revolutionary state of Chairman Mao Zedong. Its Politburo, with orderly successions of authority, and Party Congresses filled with departmental representatives reporting on modernization efforts are similar to a Corporate Board of Directors reporting to a meeting of shareholders. The economic model fits well as the Chinese party essentially “purchased” the loyalty and support of its citizenry. The exchange of traditional Marxist patterns of life including poor quality consumer goods, overt repression, and little or no upward mobility for economic growth, security and prosperity has served to insulate the Chinese Communist leadership from pre-1989 style criticisms. One wonders if Mikhail S. Gorbachev lays awake at night wondering why he did not attempt the Chinese method for the Soviet Union. While the Party itself remains the principle Chinese center of gravity, the continuing prosperity and support for the party from the PRC citizenry is nearly equal in importance to that of the party itself since both are mutually dependent on each other's support.

The growing prosperity of the average Chinese citizen is supported in large part by the vast system of ocean-going trade that fuels “Wang Q. Public’s” accelerated standard of living. Heritage Foundation analyst Dean Cheng has stated that as of 2010, 85% of all Chinese trade moves via ocean routes. The upward trend in the percentage of China’s maritime trade as part of overall Chinese economic activity shows no sign of abating as Chinese citizens now expect and demand a higher standard of living. Any disruption in this seaborne trading system for a significant length of time could call into question the Communist Party’s ability to deliver its promise of better living standards. A maritime blockade of China, either from distant chokepoints like the Strait of Hormuz or from closer locations such as the Malacca Strait could over time seriously reduce confidence in the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to deliver prosperity.


Paper no. 5638 
southasiaanalysis : 28-Jan-2014
by Muhammad Nawaz Khan

A new debate has been started in the strategic thinking and discourse, on publishing the story that appeared in the Washington Free Beacon dated on January 13, 2014, specifying that on January 9, 2014.

China held the first of what could be a series of tests to check on the speed of its new experimental hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) which would approach its target at a velocity of up to 10 times the speed of sound. Basically dubbed as WU-14 by Pentagon, this development interpreted to be designed for mounting on intercontinental ballistic missiles, as when the hypersonic vehicle is detached from the missile, it could travel as fast as Mach 10 from near space on the way to striking its target. Beauty of the HGV is that it can perform hypersonic precision strikes while maintaining a relatively low altitude and flat trajectory, making it far less vulnerable to missile defences.

The hypersonic vehicle represents a major step forward in China’s strategic nuclear and conventional military and missile programmes. It represents a significant military advance for Beijing. With the integration of strategic analysis and planning into technical research, China’s pursuit of hypersonic and high-precision weaponry promises to be faster and more focused than that associated with its previous anti-satellite and ballistic missile defence related research and programmes. China’s military affairs specialists believe that the hypersonic vehicle test is a significant milestone and appears to be a part of China’s development of warfare weaponry that would assist China’s overall weaker military forces to defeat the more technologically advanced militaries.

Whereas, Washington claimed that this artillery is aimed to distribute warheads through United States (US) missile defences. Rather, this hypersonic missile delivery vehicle has the capability of penetrating US missile defence system and delivering nuclear warheads with record breaking speeds. American defence strategists are responding to the China’s test in a way that this hypersonic glide vehicle will travel from the edge of space at speeds ranging between Mach 8 and Mach 12, or between 6,084 miles per hour and 9,127 miles per hour. Such speeds would challenge the current system of US missile defences, including a combination of long-range interceptors, medium-range Sea and land-based interceptors, and interceptors designed to hit incoming missiles closer to targets.

Basically on the one hand, the testing of the ICBM hypersonic warhead is the first practical achievement of a large-scale programme to create hypersonic weapons, a programme that China is translating into life. China has been engaged in developing hypersonic cruise vehicles for several years. In July 2012, the Chinese media reported the commissioning in China of a unique high-speed wind tunnel capable of testing model aircraft at speeds of up to Mach 9. Now China has reported the flight test of a hypersonic cruise vehicle. But China's recent test shows that Beijing may deploy its ICBMs with hypersonic warheads in the foreseeable future. None of the existing missile defence systems can bring down a hypersonic glide vehicle, so once China starts deploying such warheads, it will boost the reliability of its nuclear forces and add to stability of its strategic nuclear forces in the face of existing missile defence system. It is safe to assume that the People's Republic of China is following Russia's and US and will not limit itself to the development of hypersonic technologies in the interests of its strategic nuclear triad.

On the other hand, once China gets its non-nuclear hypersonic weapons, it will be in a position to much more effectively counter any carrier strike forces. China is making progress in manufacturing very powerful high-speed missiles to kill enemy aircraft-carriers, one such missile being the DF-21D anti-ship missile, which China has already made. The moment China obtains a more manoeuvrable hypersonic cruise missile to attack carrier forces, the aircraft-carrier defence system is dead, and the concept of world fleet development should be revised.


January 31, 2014

Both South Korea and Japan have peacekeepers in South Sudan where, for the last two months, there has been a civil war. When the civil war began in mid-December the South Koreans found they didn’t have enough ammo for any sustained action, something they might now have to deal with given the number of locals shooting at each other and the civilians and foreign aid workers the South Korean troops would have to defend. So on December 22nd they asked the nearby Japanese contingent if they could spare any ammo and the Japanese promptly sent 10,000 rounds. It turned out that the additional ammo was not needed and on January 10th it was returned to the Japanese. 

All this was a big deal in South Korea, where hatred of Japan has been a major national passion for over a century. Although South Korea and Japan have many reasons to be allies, they have a difficult time making formal agreements to cooperate against North Koreas or Chinese aggression. When pressed on this South Korea points out that because of the widespread antipathy towards Japan for past events the Japanese must do something dramatic to improve their popularity in South Korea. This quick loan of ammunition was not all that dramatic, but it does help. 

The South Korea anger towards Japan can be traced back to when Korea was a brutally treated Japanese possession from 1910 to 1945. The four decades of Japanese occupation were very cruel. Think how bad the Nazi occupation of conquered countries was during World War II and realize that the Japanese occupation of Korea was much worse and for much longer. The Japanese don’t help with their post-World War II attitude that Japan was a victim because it was forced into World War II by evil Westerners and was only trying to help its neighbors by occupying them and treating them badly. Japanese have a hard time understanding how their victims don’t appreciate all that Japan tried to do for them. What the foreigners do remember is what the Japanese did to them, something the Japanese tend to downplay or deny outright. 

It’s popular in Japan to believe that after they defeated, after a brief war, Russia in 1905 they should have been accorded more respect by the West. The Japanese seemed to overlook that fact that most European countries had defeated Russia a one time or another. Even Sweden had done so, and later on even tiny Finland would as well. The problem here was that everyone but Japan saw Japan as a major bad guy during World War II. 

As a result of the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese War Japan got control over Korea in 1910, along with some German colonies a decade later for joining the allies during World War I. Japan expected more for its World War I support and these resentments led to increased aggression against China and, eventually, to attacking the United States and European possessions in East Asia in 1941. The United States liberated what is now South Korea while the Russians did the same in North Korea. 

Officially, South Korea suggests that Japan cede to South Korea claims on Dokdo Island in order to improve relations. South Korea has long been willing to sacrifice good relations with Japan over the issue of who owns the uninhabited Dokdo (Takeshima to the Japanese) islands in the Sea of Japan (East Sea in Korean). Both countries have been sending more air naval reconnaissance missions to the islands, and the mass media in both countries have been jumping all over the tension. Japanese politicians would take an enormous domestic political hit if they managed to get the votes to give South Korea Dokdo. But it would make Japan popular enough in South Korea to get the long-desired (by defense officials in both countries) cooperation treaty. 


The Asian Age : 28 Jan 2014

China’s transfers of sensitive technology to Pakistan in violation of the nuclear nonproliferation regime is receiving flak from the US. But Islamabad cites US’ civilian nuclear agreement with New Delhi to claim parity.

The recent revelation that China is negotiating to build three new nuclear plants worth $13 billion in Muzaffargarh district of Pakistan’s Punjab province reinforces the longstanding reality of the former purposefully undermining India’s national security.

Even though China’s mega nuclear deals with Pakistan are dressed up as responses to acute electricity shortage crippling the latter, the dualistic civil-cum-military nature of nuclear technology and the history of Sino-Pakistani collusion in nuclear weapons and missiles leave little to the imagination about their true strategic intent.

Claims that Chinese-aided nuclear power will address Pakistan’s electricity blackouts are exaggerated and only believable in a long-term perspective. It is more timely and cost-effective if Pakistan imports power from India, a prospect under discussion between the two neighbours — it could lead to India supplying 2,500 megawatts to relieve Pakistan’s struggling economy.

The real reason behind Sino-Pakistani nuclear energy cooperation is containment of India. India has always been in the crosshairs of the “all-weather alliance” between China and Pakistan since the 1950s. The alliance encompasses conventional and non-conventional military quid pro quos, material and diplomatic assistance to each other during Chinese and Pakistani wars against India, critical infrastructure construction such as the Chinese-built deep-sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan province, tacit understandings for Pakistan to moderate Islamic extremism in China’s restive Xinjiang region, and general foreign policy coordination at multilateral forums with a view to countering India’s positions and opportunities.

To cite Hussain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, “for China, Pakistan is a low-cost secondary deterrent to India”, while “for Pakistan, China is a high-value guarantor of security against India.” Notwithstanding the tectonic shifts in global geopolitics that accompanied the end of the Cold War, the utility of China to Pakistan and vice versa remains entrenched to this day because of their shared animus towards India.

China has nuanced its hardline pro-Pakistan stance on the Kashmir dispute, but the fundamentals of the Beijing-Islamabad axis are rock solid and manifesting in new avatars like nuclear energy cooperation. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif mentioned the proposed three new Chinese-aided nuclear plants within closed doors to his Cabinet earlier this month. The announcement came on the heels of a prior agreement for China to provide two separate nuclear power reactors worth $9 billion in the southern metropolis of Karachi.

China’s troublesome transfers of sensitive technology and equipment to Pakistan in violation of the nuclear nonproliferation regime are receiving flak from the US. But Islamabad cites Washington’s civilian nuclear agreement with New Delhi, which had also acquired nuclear weapons while staying out of the nonproliferation treaty (NPT), as a counter-argument to claim parity.


January 31, 2014

In 2007, China secretly sold Saudi Arabia improved ballistic missiles with U.S. approval Newsweek magazine is reporting.

According to the report, which cites a “well-placed intelligence source,” in 2007 China secretly sold Saudi Arabia DF-21 solid-fuel, medium-range ballistic missiles. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency quietly sanctioned the deal after confirming that they were not the nuclear-capable variants of the missiles.
The U.S. support for the deal stands in stark contrast to previous Sino-Saudi missile deals. Specifically, in the late 1980s Saudi Arabia clandestinely purchased DF-3 missiles from China, which the U.S. later exposed publicly and harshly criticized the deal. The arms deal created significant concern in some circles over fears that Riyadh’s purchase of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles signaled the Kingdom was intent on developing nuclear warheads.

The Newsweek report tries to play up the possible nuclear angle on the newer DF-21 missile deal, although there’s little reason to think this is Saudi Arabia’s reason for purchasing them given that it already possesses the DF-3 missiles. The report also notes that the DF-21 ballistic missiles have a shorter range but better accuracy than the DF-3 missiles.

Although the greater precision of the DF-21’s are important, perhaps the DF-21’s biggest advantage is their solid propellant and road-mobile ability. Their solid-fuel allows them to be launched more quickly and requires less maintenance, which is especially advantageous to the Saudi military which often requires significant foreign assistance to operate more advanced weapons systems. The fact that they have road mobile launchers gives them greater survivability, although this characteristic isn’t particularly necessary given the kind of threats Saudi Arabia faces.

The deal is interesting in a number of different ways. First, it shows China’s growing advanced weapon sales in the Middle East. Last year, Turkey announced that it had selected a Chinese air and missile defense system over a number of U.S. and European alternatives. China has a particular interest in furnishing Saudi Arabia with advanced military technology given Beijing’s heavy reliance on the Kingdom for oil.

Additionally, it reveals the dysfunction of America’s foreign and national security processes. That Saudi Arabia turned to China for advanced missiles is almost certainly because the U.S. would not provide comparable missiles to Riyadh. Advanced weapon sales to Saudi Arabia can be controversial in the U.S. as evidenced by the amount of effort former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had to devote to get through a deal to sell Riyadh more F-15s, as well as upgrade existing ones.

Still, in the end the U.S. ended up approving the DF-21 missile sale. Although the CIA took action to ensure that the DF-21 missiles aren’t nuclear capable, this can always change at a later date. Thus, the U.S. not only lost potential revenue in selling Saudi Arabia the missiles itself, but it also lost control in the process.

Big Dig

How to Hold Miners -- And the Governments They Work With -- Accountable
JANUARY 29, 2014

A dump at the Kumtor open pit gold mine in Kyrgyzstan, April 3, 2013. 

For the world’s mining industry, the past few years have been turbulent. Politicians, citizens, workers, and stakeholders all want a greater share of the profits, and mining companies have seen national governments raise taxes and demand the renegotiation of contracts on more favorable terms. Some governments, including that of South Africa, have even considered nationalizing mines outright.

One reason for the friction is that mines in rich countries have become increasingly depleted, making miners more reliant on deposits in less developed countries. That entails significantly more risk; poorer countries are precisely the places in which the potential for corruption and resource nationalization is greatest. 

Another reason is that commodity prices have soared. Even after a drop this year, prices for many metals, minerals, and gems are still roughly double what they were ten years ago, and profits have risen accordingly. The world’s 40 largest mining firms brought in about $500 billion in 2012, compared to $100 billion in 2002, according to a study by the think tank Chatham House. Yet many host governments never anticipated such a rise in mining revenue when they initially negotiated contracts years or decades ago. They claim that most of the windfall has bypassed them, and that might be true -- there is so little public information available about how much governments really get on average, and therefore it’s often impossible to determine what constitutes a good deal. Further, without good data, all sides are prone to suspicion, frustration, and -- quite often -- disputes that eventually kill investments and thwart development.

But the fog of secrecy might be lifting. Resource-rich countries are increasingly looking to consultants, advocacy groups, and development agencies to help them negotiate with miners from a more informed position. And miners are doing the same in the hope of avoiding the conflicts that have plagued them in the last few years. The upshot is that, over the next few years, the resource-extraction industry, and mining in particular, will become more transparent than ever. Mining firms will probably see less profit, and poor and middle-income resource countries will get more. That can go toward addressing their populations’ basic needs and speeding up development -- or it can be lost to corruption. 

In 2011 -- before the first ounce of copper or gold was extracted from the mine -- Mongolia became the world’s fastest-growing economy, thanks to the work of building the mine and the infrastructure around it.


Calls for transparency in the mining industry are nothing new. Initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Publish What You Pay (PWYP), both of which were established to push for disclosure in mining and energy, are each roughly a decade old. Advocacy groups began by pushing miners and governments to disclose financial flows between them, but that didn’t force a major change. Some of the world’s most corrupt politicians have signed on to voluntary disclosure regimes, accepted praise and additional aid from the developed world as a reward, and then simply carried on with graft and theft. Now, however, advocates are looking to collect more details. They want contract terms disclosed, for example, and instead of detailing the lump sums of financial flows they want the information separated by payment. Eventually, as the details pile up, industry watchers hope that they can monitor specific mines to see if contracts are adhered to, and can spot corruption and other problems much faster.

The Arab Spring: Back where it began in the Maghreb, but no further

29 January 2014

Tunisian MPs celebrate after approving the country's new constitution on 26 January 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi.

It all started in Tunisia three years ago and has gone full circle. The Arab Spring has blossomed into progress with the passage of a new Tunisian constitution by an assembly representing an overwhelming majority of citizens and without the exclusion of political parties. Initially foreseen for 14 January, the anniversary of the fall of former strongman Ben Ali, the final vote on the new constitution on 26 January is a potential watershed.

The path to democracy is still long and strewn with obstacles. The next steps for the technocrat interim government are an election law and the appointment of an election commission, followed by general elections. The reason for optimism is the constitutional assembly itself, which has passed a compromise text involving all deputies elected in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution. In the time since, the process has been in danger of derailing a few times, when the main Islamist party abused its position in the assembly and when two prominent secular politicians were assassinated.

Yet Tunisia has no history of army strongmen taking the reins when they consider the ship of state in danger. And this for a good reason: the army has been kept small since independence and the two authoritarian rulers, Bourguiba and his successor Ben Ali, always relied on the police for propping up the regime.

This hated repression apparatus was swept away in the immediate aftermath of the revolution. Rather than risking civil war, and jolted by violent eruptions around them, Tunisia's politicians chose to compromise, proving that it is possible in the Arab world.

This is the first and so far only example of its kind. The rest of the picture, in the Maghreb and elsewhere in the Arab world, is bleak. The contrast is especially stark when compared with the simultaneously adopted new constitution in Egypt, where only a third of the population chose to (or indeed was allowed to) vote and the Muslim Brotherhood was banned as a terrorist organisation.

As Arab anchor state, Egypt has a constant place in international headlines. The Maghreb less so, whether in its smaller (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) or larger (these three countries plus Mauretania, Western Sahara and Libya) form. There are occasional exceptions for Libya, with an instantly recognisable former strongman and major oil export capacity. 

The Limits of Turkey's Interest Rate Hike

JANUARY 29, 2014 

A Turkish man stands in front of a foreign exchange shop on Jan. 28 in Istanbul. (GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)


With a dramatic hike in Turkey's overnight lending rate from 7.75 to 12.5 percent announced on Jan. 28, Turkish Central Bank Gov. Erdem Basci followed through on his earlier promise to use interest rates as a weapon to defend Turkey's currency, the lira. While the hike is a bolder-than-expected move designed to jolt investor interest, Basci is still, in effect, using a sword to fight off a barrage of artillery as a wrenching political crisis continues to erode investor confidence.


Turkey has been desperately trying to stem the plunge of the lira, which has declined about 10 percent against the U.S. dollar since the start of the year. Like several other once-celebrated emerging economies, Turkey has seen a rapid outflow of short-term portfolio investment that Ankara had been heavily relying on to help cover its burgeoning current account deficit, totaling $60.8 billion, or roughly 7 percent of gross domestic product, for January to November 2013.

The capital flight has been driven in part by the U.S. Federal Reserve's withdrawal of stimulus measures, which has limited Turkey's access to cheap liquidity. With the Federal Reserve's Jan. 29 announcement that it would again reduce its monetary stimulus, Turkey is now applying all of its tools to stabilize the lira, even with the knowledge that the move is unlikely to have a lasting impact. This is because Turkey's financial troubles have been greatly exacerbated by a deep-rooted power struggle that is only going to intensify in the lead-up to local elections in March, presidential elections in August and parliamentary elections in 2015.

Foreign investors have been chiding Turkey's government for its unorthodox method of defending the currency, until now consisting mostly of foreign exchange auctions and withdrawals from the central bank in order to avoid raising interest rates, a move the government feared would limit growth. But Turkey's government has also been operating under heavy political constraints, resulting in swings in both its economic and political behavior. In this particularly volatile election season, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been loathe to turn to measures that would slow economic growth and thus undermine his party's standing.

In the days leading up to the central bank decision to raise the interest rate, Erdogan remained publicly defiant, urging the central bank to stand strong and not give in to the so-called interest rate lobby, which he charged with trying to undermine Turkey's growth. When nationwide protests spun up from a Gezi Park demonstration in 2013, Erdogan declared war against the same nebulous interest rate lobby, which he accused of fanning the demonstrations out of greed and desire to topple the government.

Cyberwar Fears Pose Dangers of Unnecessary Escalation

Tangled Web
By Martin C. Libicki

Mar tin Libicki is a management scientist at the RAND Corporation.

In their zeal to protect themselves in cyberspace, countries need to ensure that they do not trigger even greater threats beyond cyberspace, particularly military or economic forms of retaliation. At a time when the reported level of cyber incidents continues to rise and when cyber risks are perceived as growing even faster, the odds are increasing that a country will find itself in a cyber crisis. Such a crisis could take many different forms: the escalation of tensions associated with an actual, major cyberattack; the suspicion that such an attack has already occurred and must be countered; or the simple fear that an attack might soon occur and must be preempted.

Cyber crises are less likely to emanate from the unavoidable features of cyberspace than from each side's fear, often exaggerated, of what might result from its failure to respond. To avoid the unnecessary escalation of such crises, national cyberdefense agencies should monitor the messages and signals they send out about their own cyberoperations, sharpen their analyses of how potential adversaries would likely perceive the escalatory aspect of offensive strategies, and take additional cautionary measures to manage perceptions.
Thick Fog of Cyberspace

The normal human intuition about how things work in the physical world does not always translate well into cyberspace. The effects, and sometimes even the fact, of cyberoperations can be obscure. The source of the attacks may not be obvious; the attacker must claim them, or the defender must attribute them. Even if the facts are clear, their interpretations may not be; even when both are clear, policymakers may not necessarily understand them.

The subjective factors of cyberwar pave paths to inadvertent conflict.

The subjective factors of cyberwar pave paths to inadvertent conflict. Uncertainties about allowable behavior, misunderstandings of defensive preparations as offensive ones, errors in attribution, unwarranted confidence that cyberattacks are low-risk because they are hard to attribute, and misinterpreting the norms of neutrality — these are all potential sources of instability and crisis. Here are three examples of the kind of perils that lurk:

Computer network exploitation — espionage, in short — can foster misperceptions and possibly conflict. Everyone spies on everyone, even allies. But one side tires of having its networks penetrated. Perhaps the frequency and volume of exploitation crosses some unclear red line; or the hackers simply make a mistake tampering with systems to see how they work and unintentionally damage something.

One side's defensive preparations can give the other side the notion that its adversary is preparing for war. Likewise, preparing offensive capabilities for possible eventual use could be perceived as an imminent attack. Because much of what goes on in cyberspace is invisible, what one state perceives as normal operating procedure, another could perceive as just about anything.

Because much of what goes on in cyberspace isinvisible, what one state perceives as normal operating procedure, another could perceive as just aboutanything.

Ben Barry: Is Robert Gates right on British defence?

Date: 17 January 2014

By Ben Barry, Senior Fellow for Land Forces

Former US Defence Secretary Roberts Gates has told the BBC that ’with the fairly substantial reductions in defence spending in Great Britain, what we're finding is that it won't have full spectrum capabilities and the ability to be a full partner as they have been in the past’.

This was refuted in a subsequent BBC interview by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that the UK had ’a massive investment programme of £160bn in our defence industries, in our equipment‘ and concluded that ’we are a first-class player in terms of defence and as long as I am prime minster that is the way it will stay’.

Who is right? The short answer is that they are both right. But the next UK government is likely to face further hard choices about defence capability in the planned 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

The IISS assesses that the 8% defence-spending reduction over five years made in the 2010 SDSR produced a 20–30% reduction in overall UK conventional military combat capability across the three services. The British government decided that its armed forces should do less, reducing the level of strategic ambition. For example, the planning assumption for troops conducting an enduring stabilisation operation was reduced from 10,000 deployed personnel to 6,500. Readiness was also reduced, with more time being allowed for mobilisation and deployment. This allowed the Army to reduce its regular troop numbers by 20% and the transfer of much of its logistics capability to the reserve.

Frontline combat strength was also cut, including the RAF’s Harrier jump-jets and the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, although these are due to be replaced by the F-35 Lightning II andQueen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers at the end of the decade. Some other capabilities were also dropped, including maritime patrol aircraft and the Army’s nuclear, biological and chemical defence regiment.

Gates is therefore right to say that the spectrum of UK defence capabilities has reduced. And if he is seeking to imply that the overall reduction in defence capability means that the UK’s ability to be a military partner to the US has reduced, he is also correct. Officials in Washington are concerned that the United States’ own reductions in military capability will make them more dependent on allies, both politically and militarily, so reductions in British forces will give them no comfort.