15 February 2014


 February 2014 | G Parthasarathy 
India and Japan, along with Asean member states, are coming together to craft a stable balance of power in Asia, in the face of a Chinese push for hegemony in the continent

When Prime Minister Narasimha Rao embarked on his ‘Look East’ policies, as India moved from an era of socialistic stagnation to economic liberalisation, his primary aim was to accelerate economic growth by integrating India’s economy, with the fastest growing economies in the world, in East and Southeast Asia. The primary focus of attention was on closer economic integration with member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, across the Bay of Bengal, with Myanmar acting as the land bridge to these countries. The relationship with Japan remained stagnant, because of strong Japanese objections to India’s nuclear programme and tests in 1998.

Just over 15 years later, India’s relations with Japan are blossoming. This was evident in the reception accorded to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when he was the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations. Japan has, for too long, chosen to remain on the sidelines, on issues pertaining to regional security, as some of its neighbours and even allies like the US, never tired of reminding it, of alleged atrocities in World War II. But, present generation Japanese leaders like Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe believe that Japan need no longer feel inhibited in playing a role commensurate with the immense economic power and military potential of their country. While linked to the US in a military alliance, the Japanese feel that recent American actions indicate that the two countries are not entirely on the same page, on how to respond to growing Chinese aggressiveness on the latter’s maritime borders with South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. China has not hesitated to use force in asserting its maritime border claims with Vietnam and more recently the Philippines.

Tensions between Japan and China have escalated sharply over the disputed Senkaku Islands, which have been under Japanese control since 1895. The US-Japanese Defence Treaty covers defence of these islands. Provocative Chinese maritime actions near these Islands and beyond, together with a unilateral Chinese Declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone, require all foreign aircraft flying across the East China Sea to identify themselves to Chinese authorities. These actions have raised serious concerns. The Chinese ADIZ unilaterally extends Chinese sovereignty over the East China Sea. It challenges Japan’s sovereignty over the Senkaku islands. Unlike India, which responds meekly to Chinese intrusions, Japan has reacted strongly to Chinese provocations.

The Economist explains Why Indians love cricket

Feb 4th 2014,  by Bagehot

TO OUTSIDERS, the magnitude of Indians' love for cricket is as incomprehensible as its feverish intensity. On February 4th India awarded the Bharat Ratna, its highest civilian honour, to Sachin Tendulkar, a recently retired batsman. Millions in India, a country of 1.3 billion people and only one nationally-popular game, celebrated wildly. When India's national side plays a big game, an estimated 400m watch on television. Yet cricket's take-off in India is a highly improbable development. The game is demanding to play properly, requiring space, a good turf pitch and expensive equipment—which only a relative handful of Indian cricketers have access to. Most will never strap on pads or bowl with a leather ball. So why do they so love the game?

Contrary to what many believe, India’s success at cricket does not explain it. Between 1928 and 1956 India's hockey team won six consecutive Olympic gold medals, a domination Indian cricketers have never threatened to rival. Despite having more cricketers than the rest of the world put together, India has only fairly recently become consistently competitive at cricket.

Nor was cricket's conquest of India a colonial design. India's 19th-century British rulers never intended to proselytise their favourite game--but this was the original, and perhaps most important, reason for its astonishing spread. Anxious for the prestige that the British attached to the game, some of the richest and most ambitious Indians—including Parsi and Hindu business communities in Bombay and princely rulers elsewhere—began playing it off their own bat. Thus, cricket became a game of the Indian elite, loaded with political significance, which it has never lost. The fact that Jawaharlal Nehru, India's Old-Harrovian first prime minister, also opened the batting for the Indian Parliament side was a symbol of a wider retention of British culture and institutions. No other sport has ever received such top-level patronage in India. But Indian cricket was not only elite. From its earliest days in Bombay, it was also popular. Vast crowds turned out to watch the first Parsis and Hindu teams take on their colonial rulers and each other. This reflected the time and place; surging growth in Bombay's textile factories had spawned a new class of organised labour, with a modicum of spare time and money. It perhaps also reflected the hierarchic nature of traditional Indian society.

More recently, the game's popularity has been massively increased with the growth of mass media—especially television. In 1989, India had around 30m households with a television. Now it has around 160m, an explosion that has been partly driven by cricket: because it is the media product most Indians most want to watch. In turn, India's cricket fan-base has been many times multiplied, and the character of the national game has changed. No longer elite, Indian cricket is now emphatically populist. What was once an English summer game has become in India a celebrity-infused, highly politicised, billion-dollar industry. In this confection, cricket’s storied gentlemanly ideals, of good manners and fair play, are, at best, only dimly apparent.


Will India Join China’s Maritime Silk Road?

C. Raja Mohan |
From the Chinese perspective, it was smart move to invite India to join the maritime Silk Road project. (Photo: Reuters)
Like most great powers in the past and as one of the world’s greatest trading nations China wants to be great maritime nation.

India is apparently ready to join China’s grand ambition to construct a maritime silk road linking the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans according to a Press Trust of India report from Beijing on Friday evening.

Seriously! The outgoing UPA government might have a hard time selling the idea to the Indian strategic establishment that has long been wary of Chinese navy’s rising naval profile in the Indian Ocean and viewed with much suspicion Chinese construction of port infrastructure in Pakistan (Gwadar) and Sri Lanka (Hambantota).

The PTI report cited Chinese officials to say that Beijing extended the offer to India in the just concluded round of talks in Delhi between the Special Representatives of the two countries, India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and the Chinese State Councillor.

Although there has been no word yet from the Indian side, the idea of a ‘maritime silk road’ has been right up the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s foreign and security policy agenda. Like most great powers in the past and as one of the world’s greatest trading nations China wants to be great maritime nation.

Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao put the idea of Beijing’s ‘maritime destiny’ at the centre of Chinese grand strategy in the 21st century and oversaw the dramatic expansion of the PLA Navy. Hu’s naval assertion, however, frightened Beijing’s neighbours, from Japan to India through the Association of South East Asian Nations and increased maritime tensions in Asia’s waters.

Xi is now trying to promote a broader framework to make China’s naval rise less threatening. Central to Xi’s strategy has been extension of the “Silk Road” concept that has largely been discussed in relation to China’s policy towards Central and Inner Asian regions to the maritime domain.

During a visit to South East Asia last October, Xi articulated the concept of the ‘maritime silk road’ and insisted that the region could gain from expanded maritime cooperation with China. In January this year, Xi proposed the maritime Silk Road project to a senior delegation from the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

This week, the idea came up in the discussions between the Sri Lankan foreign minister G.M Peiris and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing. According to report issued by the official Xinhua agency, Sri Lanka response was enthusiastic. Beijing and Colombo now hope to build their maritime cooperation in a variety of areas ranging from connectivity to fisheries and environmental protection.

From the Chinese perspective, it was smart move to invite India to join the maritime Silk Road project. But Delhi is likely to be torn between two competing ideas—one is working together with China in the maritime domain and the other is the long-standing goal of limiting Beijing’s influence in the Indian Ocean. If the onus of rejection is on India, the last word on this is unlikely to come from the UPA government.

(The writer is a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Delhi and a contributing editor for The Indian Express)


10 things you should know about the Reliance KG-D6 gas deal

Ready reckoner on the KG D6 gas basin controversy

Stratfor: Why So Much Anarchy?

by Robert D. Kaplan

Twenty years ago, in February 1994, I published a lengthy cover story in The Atlantic Monthly, “The Coming Anarchy: How Scarcity, Crime, Overpopulation, Tribalism, and Disease are Rapidly Destroying the Social Fabric of Our Planet.” I argued that the combination of resource depletion (like water), demographic youth bulges and the proliferation of shanty towns throughout the developing world would enflame ethnic and sectarian divides, creating the conditions for domestic political breakdown and the transformation of war into increasingly irregular forms — making it often indistinguishable from terrorism.

I wrote about the erosion of national borders and the rise of the environment as the principal security issues of the 21st century. I accurately predicted the collapse of certain African states in the late 1990s and the rise of political Islam in Turkey and other places. Islam, I wrote, was a religion ideally suited for the badly urbanized poor who were willing to fight. I also got things wrong, such as the probable intensification of racial divisions in the United States; in fact, such divisions have been impressively ameliorated.

However, what is not in dispute is that significant portions of the earth, rather than follow the dictates of Progress and Rationalism, are simply harder and harder to govern, even as there is insufficient evidence of an emerging and widespread civil society. Civil society in significant swaths of the earth is still the province of a relatively elite few in capital cities — the very people Western journalists feel most comfortable befriending and interviewing, so that the size and influence of such a class is exaggerated by the media.

The anarchy unleashed in the Arab world, in particular, has other roots, though — roots not adequately dealt with in my original article:

The End of Imperialism. That’s right. Imperialism provided much of Africa, Asia and Latin America with security and administrative order. The Europeans divided the planet into a gridwork of entities — both artificial and not — and governed. It may not have been fair, and it may not have been altogether civil, but it provided order. Imperialism, the mainstay of stability for human populations for thousands of years, is now gone.

The End of Post-Colonial Strongmen. Colonialism did not end completely with the departure of European colonialists. It continued for decades in the guise of strong dictators, who had inherited state systems from the colonialists. Because these strongmen often saw themselves as anti-Western freedom fighters, they believed that they now had the moral justification to govern as they pleased. The Europeans had not been democratic in the Middle East, and neither was this new class of rulers. Hafez al Assad, Saddam Hussein, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Moammar Gadhafi and the Nasserite pharaohs in Egypt right up through Hosni Mubarak all belonged to this category, which, like that of the imperialists, has been quickly retreating from the scene (despite a comeback in Egypt).

Pakistan’s Kashmir dilemma

12 February 2014
Shujaat Bukhari
Editor, Rising Kashmir

When Pakistan officially observed February 5 as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ Wednesday last, the atmosphere was more euphoric this time. The main reason could be the transition of power from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to Pakistan Muslim League (N) headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PPP government was not averse to Pakistan’s Kashmir cause but since it was heavily burdened with security challenges in the country, it could not devote much time towards this fundamentally important issue for Pakistan.

Except for getting the hard-core constituency involved in the renewed Kashmir ‘strategy’, though only at the public posturing level, Nawaz Sharif has also been treading a cautious path since he took over in May last year. Right from his campaigning to initial statements as Prime Minister, he did not sound belligerent vis-a-vis India. He invoked the 1999 Lahore Declaration, of which he and the former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee were the architects, to pick up the threads on the peace process. He did not come clear on Pakistan’s Kashmir policy and continued to go in circles, singing the peace tune for resolving all outstanding problems with India.

However, at the same time he did not oppose any hardliner as well. Since Nawaz Sharif owes his return to power partly to extremists in Pakistan, he continues to keep his Kashmir policy under wraps except a few pronouncements mainly when he is in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK). When he was quoted as having cautioned about a fourth possible war in case Kashmir was not resolved, during a meeting of Kashmir Council in Muzaffarabad, his office not only denied it but also suspended three officials responsible for the “leak”.

Nawaz Sharif has left the questions on Kashmir mainly to be fielded by his Foreign Policy Adviser Sartaj Aziz and others. He tries to distance himself from making a direct or meaningful reference over Kashmir when it matters a lot. And to re-infuse official confidence on days like February 5 is no more than posturing to keep Pakistan’s Kashmir constituency as well as separatists in Valley in good humour. There is no denying the fact that Pakistan is a principle party to Kashmir dispute and its involvement in final resolution cannot be ignored and is rather inevitable. 

What is choking the Indian defence budget?


February 14, 2014

With the economic growth for the current fiscal likely to be below 5% and the next year’s projection being equally modest, any fanciful increase in the allocation for defence for the coming year (2014-15) seems unlikely. The suspense will be over shortly when the interim budget for 2014-15 is presented next week.

Modest increase in allocation is, however, less worrisome than the fact that the defence allocation/expenditure has been steadily going down as a percentage of the Central Government Expenditure (CGE) - from 15.24 per cent in 2004-05 it came down to 12.23 per cent (based on the BE figures) in 2013-14.

The Services and the strategic community in India have long been complaining of inadequate allocation for defence. For the year 2013-14, the projection made by the Ministry of Defence and the actual allocation at the BE stage were as follows1:

Rupees in crore
Air Force
Air Force

Modernising the Army’s Tactical-level Communications Systems


February 14, 2014

The MNCs manufacturing defence equipment have been rushing to India as the country is likely to spend approximately US$ 100 billion (Rs 250,000 crore) over the next ten years on defence acquisitions. This has been evident in the recently concluded DefExpo 2014.

However, most of this expenditure will be on weapons platforms like main battle tanks, 155 mm artillery, infantry combat vehicles, fighter aircraft, ships and submarines and very little on command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems (C4I2SR). In fact, the modernisation of communications systems has lagged far behind that of weapons platforms, particularly in the Indian army.

While some modern frequency-hopping radio sets with integral encryption devices have been introduced into service in recent years, networked communications, which form the backbone of an effective command and control system, need substantial upgradation. The existing Plan AREN system that is designed to roll forward and keep pace with offensive operations in the plains has been in service for almost three decades and is based on outdated and bulky technologies like second generation radio relay hubs.

Requests for Information (RFI) were floated for a Tactical Communication System (TCS) for offensive operations and a Battlefield Management System (BMS) for communication at the tactical level in defensive operations a few years ago, but since then the acquisition process has meandered continuously and this has resulted in prolonged delays in introducing both these systems into service.

The new optical fibre network being laid as an alternative to the 3G spectrum surrendered by the armed forces will go a long way in providing modern land-line communications in peace stations and to limited extent up to the war-time locations of higher formation HQ. However, future communication systems will need to provide wide-band data capabilities to facilitate the real time transmission of images and battlefield video while on the move all the way down to armoured and artillery regiments and infantry battalions.

This will be done by the BMS, which will be integrated with the Army Static Communications (ASCON) system. ASCON is the backbone communication network of the army. ASCON provides voice and data links between static headquarters and those in peace-time locations. It is expected to be of modular design so that it can be upgraded as better technology becomes available. The BMS is meant for communications from the battalion headquarters forward to the companies and platoons. It will enable the Commanding Officer to enhance his situational awareness and command his battalion through a secure communications network with built-in redundancy.

Talk by Lt Gen SA Hasnain (Retd), on "Kashmir 2014: A Review and Prognosis"

January 6, 2014
Event: Other

The Internal Security Centre at IDSA conducted a talk by Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd) on 06 January 2014 on the topic “Kashmir 2014: A Review and a Prognosis”. Gen Hasnain provided a strategic review of the Kashmir situation through the 1990s and 2000-2013 followed by a prognosis for the period 2014-18. This involved analyzing key concerns like the effect of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdrawal on Kashmir, issues pertaining to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K and the need to take Operation Sadbhavna to the next level.

Followings are the key points brought out by the speaker in his talk:

Highlighting the strategic importance of Kashmir, Gen Hasnain argued that it is important to keep in mind the October 1947 ‘Instrument of Accession’ and the 1994 joint resolution of the two houses of the Parliament, asserting the idea that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) is an integral part of India. Having said that, he laid emphasis on changing the narrative for Kashmir against established narratives and then went on to analyze Kashmir’s current status and where is the situation heading.

After years of antipathy and anguish, many people claim victory in Kashmir today. But the question is, can a victory be declared when there isn’t even an articulated political and military aim? Gen Hasnain felt that while a military aim existed in vague terms, a political aim in Kashmir has been eluding for long possibly because of the unclear external and internal dynamics. . Militarily, infiltration has been taken care of and every year the numbers of successful infiltrators in the valley are dwindling – all thanks to the Line of Control (LoC) fence which was constructed in 2003-4 that changed the mathematics of terror; more terrorists being eliminated than the numbers that could successfully infiltrate. Politically, however, he stated that there is a long way to go and the Army would have to continue to be the lead agency in supporting and rebuilding efforts; this is because of the outreach that it has and the organizing will and zeal to bring normalcy in Kashmir. No other agency has the strength and capacity to pursue the agenda of simultaneously preventing terrorist revival and stabilization. However, the Army’s presence and lead status will always be exploited by inimical elements to question the Government’s intent and resolve to integrate Kashmir. Continuing antipathy towards the Indian establishment, disappointment in governance, unresolved issues of thousands of surrendered terrorists, failure to take stock of the youth, and most importantly the growth of radicalization in Jammu and Kashmir, will continue to add to the negativity surrounding the transition.

India and Defence Exports: Silver Lining to a Dark Cloud

13 February 2014
C Uday Bhaskar
Member, Executive Committee, IPCS

Defexpo India, held in New Delhi in February, showcased a wide range of land, naval and internal security systems with as many as 624 companies participating - both foreign and Indian. The 368 foreign companies were drawn from 30 different nations who collectively represent the dominant global arms export cluster.

India, which now ranks among the world’s top arms importers (US$ 3. 3 billion in 2010), is clearly a valuable customer, and conservative estimates suggest that if the GDP growth remains robust, over the next decade, Delhi would be spending as much as US$ 100 billion in acquiring major military inventory items from Indian and foreign entities.

However Defexpo is about India seeking to demonstrate its own capability in this hugely competitive market, and some of the global indicators are stark. As per the Stockholm-based SIPRI’s estimates, for 2011, the world’s four major arms exporters were (in US$ billion): US 9. 98, Russia 7. 87, France 2.43, and China 1.35. The 15th country in the list is South Korea with an arms export figure of US$ 225 million. In the same year - 2011 - India ranked at number 54 and had total exports of a mere US$ 8 million.

Clearly, India has to review its arms and military export profile in an objective and holistic manner. While India in the last four decades has made some significant design and development progress in a few critical areas such as missiles, nuclear weapons, nuclear propulsion satellites and to an extent in warships - the track-record in the larger spectrum of conventional arms is distressing.

The unalloyed truth is that there is not a single credible major military inventory item/platform that is truly Indian designed and manufactured. This includes the spectrum of personal weapons, artillery guns, tanks, ships and fighter aircraft. Yes, there are sub-systems that have been introduced and some major breakthroughs are in the pipeline (such as the main battle tank) but they are yet to be realised.

Here, the historical context is instructive. The first modern gunpowder factory was set up in Ichapur, West Bengal by the East India Company in 1787, and a gun carriage unit in Cossipore near Kolkata in 1801. Almost a 100 years later, Ichapur was converted into a rifle factory in 1902 and these factories played a valuable role in World War I.

Assessing Japan-India Relations: A Chinese Perspective

Bo Zhen
MA Politics (International Studies), SIS, JNU
11 February 2014

On 27 January 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended his three-day visit to India. The visit was important particularly in light of the strenuous ties between Asia’s two top economies over a dispute over islands in the East China Sea. Prime Minister Abe’s visit brought India and Japan closer as they covered significant grounds for bilateral cooperation. The two countries signed a series of agreements covering national security, economic development, weapons importation, joint military exercises, cultural exchanges and other aspects of cooperation mentioned in the Joint Statement.

Abe’s visit showed Japan’s desire to strengthen the strategic bilateral relationship with India at the time of rising tensions in the region. However, the two sides did not discuss China who has territorial disputes with both. The main focus was on practical cooperation and neither initiated talks about China because the symbolic meaning of Abe’s visit was already very strong - increasing Chinese economic and military capability has pushed India and Japan to stand closer. The first joint naval exercise between India and Japan was held in Japanese waters in 2012. Economic ties between both have been strengthened further, with the bilateral trade amount increasing by 80 per cent in the last five years, almost reaching USD 18 billion.

Japan’s Containment Strategy: In India’s Interest?
Japan’s effort is obvious and it is true that India and Japan have many mutual interests, especially in the aspects of trade and economic cooperation, infrastructural investment, hi-tech industry, maintenance of regional security etc. However, it is still too early to say that Japan’s wish to contain China is an advisable choice not only for itself but also for India. Before Abe’s high-profile visit, many political preparations were done, including the visits by the Japanese Emperor and Japan’s defense minister. Despite Japan’s recent efforts to strengthen ties with India, it would still be very difficult for Japan to get India involved in its containment strategy.

Firstly, it is not likely that India would follow Japan’s plan blindly. For a long time now, India has implemented an independent foreign policy which is based on the non-alignment strategy. History, domestic conditions and complicated cultural and religious nuances have determined that India would not simply comply with orders by other countries. 

Secondly, it is very natural and meaningful for Japan and India to enhance economic cooperation, but to convert this cooperation into motivation to contain a third party is another story. Moreover, Indo-Japanese economic cooperation could avoid political motivations. In a globalised world, Japan is one amongst many of India’s economic partners. In 2011, bilateral trade between China and India was USD 73.6 billion, which was more than five times the trade amount of India and Japan (around 14 billion USD) in 2011, and it is speculated that this will increase to USD 100 billion in 2015. Since the BRICS has become an important economic cooperation organisation and is posited to plays a key role in the world arena, mutual economic relations among the members will definitely be enhanced in the future.

Thirdly, it has become clear that India has become a crucial player not only in the South Asian region but in globally as well, and this is attributed to its unique geopolitical position. India is the continental bridge connecting West Asia and Southeast Asia, and it therefore acts as a link to East and West Asia. The strategic importance of India would not allow the US or Japan to enjoy their strategic advantages freely. It could be postulated that in the 21st century, geopolitics continues to dominate the foundation of India’s foreign policy.

Could Iran and India be Afghanistan’s ‘Plan B?’

By Rajeev Agarwal
February 14, 2014

Amidst disagreement with the U.S., Karzai seems to be looking at other post-2014 options. 

This is a landmark year for Afghanistan. After more than a decade of war, the country is set to transition into a new era, one it hopes will be less turbulent and will offer the beleaguered nation peace, stability and growth. Over the coming year, Afghanistan is scheduled to undergo a political transition, courtesy the presidential elections due in April, and a security transition (already underway), with the full withdrawal of international combat troops by the end of this year.

While the political process is underway and is seen as more of an internal decision for the Afghan people to make, the security transition holds the key to a secure future for Afghanistan. Critical to this is the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. Although the BSA has been finalized and was even cleared by a loya jirga (an assembly of elders) in Afghanistan last November, President Hamid Karzai has not been willing to sign it, much to the frustration of Washington, which warns that a “zero option” could have adverse consequences for Afghanistan’s security post 2014. With the current impasse unlikely to be broken soon, Karzai is looking at “Plan B” options. In this context, Iran and India may have a role to play. Given their strategic interests in Afghanistan as well as trends over the past months, these two countries could well offer Afghanistan a critical lifeline during a period of transition and uncertainty.

Events in recent months indicate to three clear policy strands. First, Karzai is unwilling to sign the BSA soon (at least until the April presidential elections) and is looking for bigger bargains. Second, visits by Karzai and his ministers to Iran and India in recent months are clearly aimed at shoring up support in a situation where U.S. military support may not be forthcoming. And third Karzai is now hedging his bets when it comes to direct talks with the Taliban given the absence of any clear initiative by the U.S. In all of these initiatives, India and Iran could be key players.

Take Karzai’s trips to India and Iran in December last year. Both visits came after the BSA was passed by a loya jirga and, interestingly, shortly after Iran and the U.S.-led P5+1 had signed an interim deal on the Iran nuclear issue. While in Iran, Karzai found support when President Hassan Rouhani declared, “We are concerned about the tensions arising from the presence of foreign forces in the region and believe that all foreign forces should exit the region and Afghanistan’s security should be ceded to the people of that country.” Coming from Iran at that juncture, it was a major show of support for Karzai. The two countries also agreed to sign a “pact of friendship and cooperation,” which could include aspects of political, security cooperation and economic development. This would complement a separate border and security agreement signed earlier in August.




 21-22 JANUARY 2014



The Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) organised a seminar on Night Vision in collaboration with Indian Military Review on 21 & 22 January 2014 atManekshaw Centre. The seminar focussed on critically analysing components of night vision capability which are imperative for national security capability development. The seminar was well attended by serving officers of the Armed Forces, distinguished veterans, officers from the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), members of the strategic community and representatives from defence industries. 

Inaugural Session 

Welcome Address: Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch, SM, VSM (Retd), Director, CLAWS 

Velocity and momentum are key facets of conflict, which in the modern age has even greater salience. The ability to progress conflict through the night contributes to the above as also to increased battlefield transparency, giving the side with better night vision capability a tremendous advantage over its adversaries. Night vision devices are vital for operations against terrorists and insurgents who tend to move and operate by night and constantly resort to using the terrain for camouflage and concealment.


TTP under Mullah Fazlullah: What Next for the Pakistani Taliban?

14 February 2014

D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS

Almost two months after the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud, the former head of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), by a drone attack in the Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where does the TTP stand today? Is it demoralised, or renewed, under the leadership of the new head, Mullah Fazlullah? More importantly, how would the TTP evolve from here, under the leadership of its new leader, who is believed to have been personally chosen by Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban? 

Will Fazlullah make the TTP a more “veritable arm” of the Afghan Taliban and fight for its political cause in Afghanistan? Or will he convert it into a jihadi organization, fighting for a religious cause within Pakistan?

TTP Today: Has it Become Weak after the Assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud?
On the first question, today, the TTP has certainly not been weakened. Despite losing several of its leaders (more due to drone attacks, instead of Pakistan’s anti-militancy operations), the TTP remains a deadly organisation. Recent attacks, even after the assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud late last year, proves how active the TTP has remained.

Mullah Fazlullah’s measured response to the Pakistani State’s offer for talks also highlights the absence of panic and/or anxiety in the TTP ranks. In a calculated move, it has announced a committee consisting Maulana Abdul Aziz, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) leader Maulana Sami ul Haq, and Jamat-e-Islami (JI) leader Professor Mohammad Ibrahim; two more nominated members, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Mufti Kifayatullah, refused to be a part of this committee. 

The fact that the TTP has chosen leaders of political parties as its representatives illustrates the confidence it has. On the other hand, the political leadership in Pakistan has displayed a lot of angst and undertaken extensive preparation, cutting across party lines. The All Parties Meeting for the umpteenth time recommended initiating a talk about talks with the Pakistani Taliban, again. Clearly, the TTP still thinks it is not weakened vis-à-vis the State.

How to Manage Afghanistan, Courtesy of the British Empire

February 13, 2014

Modern Afghan "Ring Road" follows ancient caravan routes 

Any recent perusal of the news from Afghanistan would lead an intelligent observer to conclude that the impending U.S. withdrawal will be a complete catastrophe. All of the gains from the last 13 years in the form of improved governance, infrastructure improvements, advances in the status of Afghan women etc are in immediate peril if the U.S. withdraws all of its forces. The U.S. departure is dangerous in that there is not a follow-on plan for what to do with Afghanistan. This is another circumstance where the “long imperial afternoon” experience of the British in Afghanistan during the 19th century provides a useful solution. Like the U.S., the British Empire had more pressing concerns than Afghanistan and could ill-afford to station large numbers of troops there for extended periods. For the British, Afghanistan was not a country, but more of a geographic location populated by a host of small tribal nations. Rather than try to fundamentally alter these tribal relationships, which proved unsuccessful, or make it one of the formal “pink bits” on the imperial map, the British embraced them at the extreme “local” level and were largely successful in maintaining peace in the Central Asian hub for many decades. The Afghan wars fought by the British were more about mistakes the British made in carrying out their own policy rather than provocations by the Afghans. The U.S. can still withdraw the vast bulk of its troops from Afghanistan as planned, but it must also realize that this central “hub” of the Eurasian continent cannot again be totally left to its own devices.

Connecting Asia: South Asia as a Strategic Bridge

13 February 2014
D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS 

So much is happening around South Asia today; if the region is smart in understanding the nature of these changes and makes use of its potential and geographic location, it could become a strategic bridge between four huge land masses – West Asia, Central Asia, China and Southeast Asia. Besides the above four, there is a huge opportunity for the region in the Indian Ocean as well. In fact the Indian Ocean could be seen as a maritime bridge between the Pacific, Atlantic and the Red Seas.

While there is so much of a negative focus on what is happening in Afghanistan and Iran, there are also substantial positive developments in that region. Two primary developments have been related new initiatives such as CASA-1000 and the TUTAP. CASA-1000 is a unique project attempting to link Central Asia and South Asia through an electricity grid, with Afghanistan as the center of this project. TUTAP is another project, though in the initial stages of design – involves Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, linking them with sale and purchase of power depending on demand and supply.

According to recent news reports, CASA 1000 would involve transmission of 1300 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The World Bank is involved in this project and the above countries are seriously placing the necessary infrastructure on this. Along with the Abu Dhabi Investment Fund and Kuwait Fund for Development, the World Bank has agreed to finance the construction of electricity lines. The US is extremely support of this idea; only few days before, there was a meeting in Washington discussing the prices.
Parallel to this process, there has also been positive developments with the much discussed and much delayed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. 

An earlier commentary in this column discussed the recent developments relating to the TAPI and concluded that 2013-14 very well could be the tipping point in realising this huge project. Unfortunately, there are no such positive developments on the other pipeline project in this region involving Iran, Pakistan and India. India provided the first jolt by delinking from the IPI pipeline, primarily due to pressure from the US.

Report on Round Table Discussion with Mr Shuja Nawaz, Director South Asia Center



A Round Table discussion with Mr Shuja NawazDirector, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council was held at Conference Hall, CLAWS Office, on 29 August 2013. The RT was attended by faculty from CLAWS, think tanks and universities.

Opening Remarks: Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch, SM, VSM (Retd), Director, CLAWS 

The Director welcomed Mr Shuja Nawaz and introduced him to the audience as the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within” and“FATA: A Most Dangerous Place”. He is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he won the Henry Taylor Award. He was a television newscaster and producer with Pakistan Television from 1967 to 1972 and covered the 1971 war with India on the Western front. He has worked for The New York Times, the World Health Organisation, as a Division Chief for the International Monetary Fund, and a Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has widely written and spoken on military and politico-economic issues on radio, television, and at Think Tanks. He was Editor of Finance & Development, the multilingual quarterly of the IMF and the World Bank. He is now Director, South Asia Center, The Atlantic Council of the United States. 
The Director then invited Mr Nawaz to speak on “Afghanistan-Pakistan relationship and managing trans-border challenges”.

Mr Shuja Nawaz

2014 is a misnomer for the drawdown, as the President of the USA has basically checked out of Afghanistan for quite some time. Domestic pressures in the US have precipitated a withdrawal as early as 2013 but it is difficult to complete the shifting out of materials which would require a longer presence. In terms of actual fighting operations, however, there has been a return to a much smaller footprint of 38-40,000 troops which before the next fighting season in 2014 will make it much harder for the US and coalition forces, many of whom have already said that they want out.

Why Is China Really Provoking Its Neighbors?

February 13, 2014

What are the Chinese up to? Why raise tensions as much as they have in the Pacific Basin? Beijing's recent declaration of new fishing rules in disputed territorial waters has raised the ire of maritime neighbors and the consternation of the United States. It follows on the heels of the recently declared air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, above disputed islands in the East China Sea, which led American B-52s from Guam to overfly the region -- as a challenge to China's declaration and as a statement in defense of Japan, which also claims these islands. In the face of American and Japanese military resolve, can China even defend its claim to the Diaoyu (Senkaku in Japanese) island chain? Or can China truly dominate the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea?

China's bark certainly seems bigger than its bite, as the saying goes. China is acting in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea from, in some respects, a weak position. Indeed, China's various ground-based and airborne early warning systems -- needed to defend the new ADIZ -- are either too far away or still in production, while Japan is further ahead with this type of platform, which has been part of its military for decades. China's naval logistics and long supply lines make formal occupation of islets in the Spratlys difficult to obtain and harder to maintain.

To be sure, with the exception of Japan, China's navy and coast guard can overpower any single local competitor. But China cannot overpower any combination of states that includes the United States. And any overt act that changes the status quo -- occupation of islands, military confrontation or, for that matter, the establishment of an air defense identification zone -- threatens to do just that: draw in the United States. Meanwhile, the Philippines has been vocal in calling for expanded U.S. naval and air assets in and around its archipelago. And Washington will soon shift one of its most modern aircraft carriers to a forward deployment in Japan.

But what if the Chinese regime merely wants to raise tensions with the United States for the sake of a domestic audience, while avoiding actual conflict with it? That is a risky proposition, but it does explain China's behavior. In fact, it explains China's actions across the whole Asia-Pacific region -- actions that garner explosive headlines but are in other ways somewhat benign. The Chinese have coast guard ships circling islands, and those ships occasionally push a Philippine or Vietnamese fishing boat around. It is mainly bluster and puff. In almost all cases the Chinese are not fundamentally altering strategic realities, for they cannot. Preponderant Chinese naval and air ability is not yet there. Unsurprisingly -- again, in most cases -- the United States is largely ignoring these Chinese actions. In other words, there is no demonstrable American naval buildup in the region.

Friendless China

Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research, is the author of Asian Juggernaut, Water: Asia’s New Battleground, and Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis. 
FEB 13, 2014

HONG KONG – At a time when China’s territorial assertiveness has strained its ties with many countries in the region, and its once-tight hold on Myanmar has weakened, its deteriorating relationship with North Korea, once its vassal, renders it a power with no real allies. The question now is whether the United States and other powers can use this development to create a diplomatic opening to North Korea that could help transform northeast Asia’s fraught geopolitics.

CommentsChina’s ties with Myanmar began to deteriorate in late 2011, when Myanmar decided to suspend work on its largest and most controversial Chinese-aided project: the $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam, located at the headwaters of the Irrawaddy River. The decision shocked China, which had been treating Myanmar as a client state – one where it retains significant interests, despite today’s rift.

CommentsThe bold decision to halt the dam project may have hurt Myanmar’s relationship with China, but it was a positive step for its relations with the rest of the world. Indeed, a major political shift followed, bringing about the easing of longstanding Western sanctions and ending decades of international isolation.

CommentsBy distancing himself from China, North Korea’s young dictator, Kim Jong-un, could well be signaling a desire to move in a similar direction. Of course, if he is seeking a thaw in relations with the US, he has a long way to go. His welcoming of former American basketball star Dennis Rodman has generated only controversy in the US, and his apparent execution by machine-gun of a former girlfriend (as reported by a South Korean paper, citing unnamed sources in China) is no way to endear oneself to the American heartland.

CommentsFor most observers, the episode that triggered the deterioration in China’s relationship with North Korea – the execution of Kim’s uncle by marriage, Jang Song-thaek – simply reflected North Korea’s erratic and obscure politics. For China, however, it was personal. The treason charges leveled against Jang – China’s most valued friend in North Korea’s regime – included underselling resources like coal, land, and precious metals to China.

CommentsBut China’s carefully nurtured “blood relations” with North Korea have been souring almost since Kim succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011. In an early show of defiance, North Korea seized three Chinese fishing boats, detained a reported 29 people on board for 13 days (during which they were allegedly abused), and then demanded $190,000 in compensation for illegal fishing in North Korean waters. Kim went on to rile China further by carrying out his country’s third nuclear test.

CommentsUnsurprisingly, China’s state-run media have responded to Kim’s attempts to chart an independent course by accusing him of pursuing the “de-Sinification” of the hermit kingdom. But, beyond an anti-Kim propaganda campaign, China’s options are limited, not least because it has a strong interest in retaining access to North Korea’s vast reserves of iron ore, magnesite, copper, and other minerals – just as it retains access to Myanmar’s massive and undeveloped reserves.