8 April 2014

Life after Henderson Brooks

Apr 07, 2014

Given the hyperbole surrounding the jealously guarded Henderson Brooks Report (HBR), its disclosure, far from being a “grand denouement”, has turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic.

The main reason is that over the past half-century we have come to recognise the weaknesses of our archaic national security edifice, and cognitively realised that the roots of the 1962 Himalayan military debacle lay in our deeply flawed political system. Symptomatic of India’s post-Independence fantasy-world was Nehru’s rebuke to Army Chief General K.M. Cariappa: “It is not the business of the C-in-C to tell the Prime Minister who is going to attack us where. In fact, the Chinese will defend our Eastern frontier. You mind only Kashmir and Pakistan.”

Complex cartographic nuances of the Sino-Indian border and the ineptness of India’s political and military leadership in 1962, brought out by HBR, will provide material for endless academic discussion and analysis. However, there are other lessons to be learnt from this episode, especially since not much seems to have changed in the half-century that has elapsed.

For example, an April 2013 issue of the Economist identified three impediments which, according to the magazine, had thwarted “India’s ambition of becoming a 21st century power”. These were: the absence of a strategic culture, the distrust between a civilian ministry of defence (MoD) and the armed forces, and a dysfunctional defence procurement system. This shrewd observation by a foreign journal is close to the mark and all three factors deserve attention.

Setting India’s strategic house in order

Rakesh Datta

IAF personnel on parade. It is incredible that despite possessing the third largest army, fifth largest air force and sixth largest navy, the country is attacked repeatedly by its neighbours

ADDRESSING the last combined conference of the senior commanders of the three services there was nothing unusual in the Indian Prime Minister’s remarks that the strategic problems have shifted from the west to the east and so have the threats and challenges.

The pronounced tilt had, in fact, occurred long back after the end of the Cold War in 1991, while the post meltdown phase further intensified it. India’s security attributes in the new power structure descended into the worst kind of anarchical disorder. It was overtaken by dire poverty, economic exploitation, bad governance, inflation, population explosion, caste, religious and sectarian fundamentalism, divisive and fissiparous tendencies, terrorism and insurgency. At the same time, both Pakistan and China heightened tension along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by assaulting Indian troops and attempting to cross the border at various times with impunity.

The period immediately preceding 1991, and thereafter, had initiated a new kind of war where the adversary found it more convenient to hit strategic targets like the local population and such areas of domain falling under the C5I2SR spectrum. In fact, the Chinese and the Pakistanis had created departments long back that specialised in cyber warfare, while we are only now planning to have a dedicated new Army Cyber Command to look into the aspects of computer war gaming in a serious manner. Unaccustomed to combat cyber warfare techniques used by China and Pakistan way back in the late 1980s, the Government of India used to dismiss such electronic tactical advances as mindless and juvenile activities. How effective the new command will be to counter such cyber assaults, when the Ministry of Defence and the National Security Council Secretariat as well as a host of other important agencies had already suffered dosages of computer hacking, is yet to be comprehended.

One thing that is certainly assured is the shift from positional threats to assaults that are mobile in nature. The serial bomb blasts that hit India repeatedly during the 1990s would substantially vouch for it. As a country we debated for 24 long years on whether or not to nuclear weaponise. But once we took the decision to go ahead with nuclear weapons, the policy of no first use further emboldened Pakistan to test India on three occasions – the war in Kargil, the stand off during Operation Parakram and the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. Its success lay more in intensifying and fighting on all fronts like political, economic, religious and military.

We have failed to address Pakistan as our enemy and seem to have developed a fear psychosis vis-a-vis China. It has resulted in losing the strategic respect we would otherwise have earned from the peripheral countries.

A new foreign policy agenda

Published: April 8, 2014
Amitabh Mattoo

With an unsettled neighbourhood, an increasingly aggressive China and a politically weak and ambivalent U.S., India’s external environment is defined by uncertainty. Yet, unfortunately, in all the party manifestoes released so far, the weakest sections are on foreign policy

Foreign policy has rarely mattered in Indian elections, yet one of the biggest challenges the new government in New Delhi will face is in confronting an international system that has felt systematically let down by India over the last few years. The world is hoping — as are India’s impatient and angry young voters — for a quick recovery of India’s self-esteem and a more robust engagement with the international system. The challenges are enormous, and overcoming them will require leadership from the very top. Only a thoughtful, forward-looking and determined Prime Minister — aided by an equally deft External Affairs Minister — can get this task right. New foreign policy architecture is required here — radical reform, not piecemeal incrementalism. Only with all those factors present can India aspire to play the global leadership role it should be playing, and to advance its interests in a turbulent world.Footnotes in poll manifestoes

Unfortunately, in all the party manifestoes released so far, the weakest sections are on foreign policy. Most parties merely repeat the homilies and ideological positions of the past. The Congress manifesto, for instance, says: “We will continue to support the goodwill nurtured for decades amongst socialist countries”––a sentence that might have been crafted in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980, but which makes no sense today. The BJP seeks to blend, not very coherently, soft power: the task of “reviving” Brand India (on the strength of Tradition, Talent, Tourism, Trade and Technology) with the suggestion of a muscular foreign policy (“…where required we will not hesitate from taking strong stand and steps”). The CPI (M) will have “India join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a full member,” except that membership is not India’s by right, but subject to the decision of the existing members in the council of heads of states. The Aam Aadmi Party wants to recover “Sino-Indian civilizational exchange” — whatever that means. And the Trinamool Congress believes that the world is “one single family,” but that national security is “upper most.” Unlike political parties and shoddy manifestoes, the new government of India will not have the luxury of engaging with a make-believe world. It will need to act with immediacy on at least three fronts.

First, craft a vision for India in Asia in what is undoubtedly an Asian century.

Twenty years after the genocide in Rwanda

Published: April 8, 2014
Ban Ki-Moon

The United Nations and its partners are more frequently deploying human rights monitors to trouble-spots — “eyes and ears” that show governments and non-state actors alike the world is watching

Today in the Central African Republic, government and community leaders are struggling to help the country find the path of peace.

On Monday in Kigali, I will join the people of Rwanda in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the genocide, the reverberations of which are still being felt across an arc of uncertainty in Africa’s Great Lakes region — and in the collective conscience of the international community.

Each situation has its own dynamics. So does the Syrian conflict, which each day claims new victims. But each has posed a complex life-and-death challenge: what can the international community do when innocent populations are being slaughtered in large numbers and the government is unable or unwilling to protect its people — or is among the very agents of the violence? And what can we do to prevent these atrocities from occurring in the first place?

The genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica were emblematic failures of the international community. The scale of the brutality in Rwanda still shocks: an average of 10,000 deaths per day, day after day, for three months, with hateful radio broadcasts inflaming and inciting Rwandans to kill Rwandans.

The international community has since made important strides in acting on the lessons of these awful events. We are now united against impunity, epitomised by the establishment of the International Criminal Court. International and UN-assisted tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, are pursuing accountability and having a discernible deterrent effect on would-be violators of basic international norms. In a landmark judgement, a former head of state has been convicted of war crimes.

The international community has endorsed the “responsibility to protect”; States can no longer claim that atrocity crimes are a domestic matter beyond the realm of international concern. Growing numbers of governments and regional organisations are creating mechanisms dedicated to genocide prevention. The United Nations and its partners are more frequently deploying human rights monitors to trouble-spots — “eyes and ears” that show governments and non-state actors alike the world is watching. And since such crimes take planning, we are targeting the key risk factors, from the lack of institutions to grievances left unaddressed.

We are also acting more robustly to protect civilians, including from rampant sexual violence. Assertive peacekeeping approaches have defeated one of the most brutal militias in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Nations opened the gates of its peacekeeping installations in South Sudan to shelter tens of thousands of people from deadly threats. Twenty years ago, such steps would have been unthinkable. Today, this is deliberate policy, an example of our new “Rights Up Front” initiative in action — a lesson of Rwanda made real. These situations remain fragile, but the thrust is clear: more protection, not less.Setbacks

However, this work has faced regular setbacks. The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009 led to tens of thousands of deaths and a systemic failure by the United Nations to speak up and act. For more than three years, the international community has remained divided over the response to the situation in Syria, providing only a fraction of the necessary humanitarian funding while fuelling the fire with arms to both sides in the mistaken belief in a military solution.

The world needs to overcome these moral blind spots. Member States may have rival definitions of national interest, or be unwilling to take on new financial or military commitments. They may be daunted by complexity and risk, or concerned that discussions about an imminent crisis in other countries might one day focus on their own situations. But the results of this indifference and indecisiveness are clear: the bloodshed of innocents, shattered societies, and leaders left to utter the words “never again,” again and again — in itself, a sign of continuing failure.

Over the past decade, the Central African Republic has struggled for global awareness of its plight, and over the past year has suffered the collapse of the state, a descent into lawlessness, and gruesome mass killing that has instilled widespread terror and sparked an exodus. People are exploiting religious identity in the fight for political objectives, threatening a longstanding tradition of peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.

I appeal to the international community to provide the military support urgently needed to save lives, get police back on the streets and enable people to return to their communities. The African Union and France have deployed troops, but efforts by the European Union to launch a force have so far come to naught. There is an equally pressing need to start a political process in which reconciliation figures prominently. Any further spread of violence may engulf the wider region.Healing after violence

When the collapse of a country is this profound, the challenge may seem insurmountable. Yet history proves otherwise. The sustained support of the international community has helped Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste make dramatic transformations. Rwanda has registered notable gains in development, and other countries have healed after unspeakable violence. The Central African Republic can walk the same path. I will continue to stand with the government in charting a course that can build the stable and prosperous country its resources and traditions can make possible.

In Rwanda, I will visit the genocide memorial and pay tribute to the victims — as I have for other tragedies that have challenged the world, from Auschwitz and Cambodia decades ago, to others in our time. The international community cannot claim to care about atrocity crimes and then shrink from the commitment of resources and will be required to actually prevent them. Global leaders should do more to prevent the preventable, and to counter the cruelty taking place before our eyes. People everywhere should place themselves in the shoes of the vulnerable, from Syria to the Central African Republic, and ask themselves what more they can do to build a world of human rights and dignity for all. Let us show people facing dire threats that they are not alone or abandoned — and that the lifeline they need is on its way.

(Ban Ki-moon is Secretary-General of the United Nations.)

Printable version | Apr 8, 2014 http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/twenty-years-after-the-genocide-in-rwanda/article5883955.ece

A Soldier's Daughter

IssueNet Edition| Date : 07 Apr , 2014

My earliest childhood memories are of travelling on the pillion seat of a scooter, safely ensconced in my mother’s arms. I still remember the whiff of Mom’s perfume and the soothing comfort of snuggling in the soft contours of her arms. Dad got married when he was a young Captain, doing an instructional tenure in Mhow. I was born two years later, just before he rejoined his unit in a field area in the Kashmir Valley.

Luckily for all of us, families were permitted there and a small one room shack became home to us till we moved on posting just before my third birthday. I did not know it then, but those were the most stable years for us as a family. My recollections of the next five years are replete with constant movement, changing houses and schools every year with monotonous regularity.

It was not easy growing up as the daughter of an Army officer in the combat zone. It must have been harder facing up to the rigours of being his wife.

When Dad got posted to the Northeast, Mom had had enough. She moved to Delhi and we put up in hired accommodation. I joined the Army Public School in class three, that being the sixth school that I was attending. Growing up as the daughter of an Infantry officer was not easy. But in a sense, the challenges had only just begun, for Dad was destined to spend most of his service life away from us in some operational area or the other. For him, it was a continuous saga of missed birthdays, PTA meetings, annual functions and Sports days at school.

We missed growing up with Dad. He too, must have missed seeing his children grow during their most formative years.

During the winter of 1987, Dad’s unit moved from the Northeast to Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). My sister was four and I was eight years old. For the next two years, Dad fought a long and harsh war in a faraway land; we kids never realised how each day of that bitterly fought war was fraught with risk to life and limb.

Mom always carried a cheerful facade and never gave us a whiff of how worried she was. She not only bore the stress of her own separation but also by her vivacity and cheerfulness, insulated me and my sister from what could have been a very traumatic experience.

Yes, we missed Dad, but we never felt broken up by his absence.

Mom made sure of that by implying Dad’s presence in the house either while conversing with us or through regular letter writing. Every week we would write long descriptive letters to Dad; Our successes and foibles in school, our friends, our toys and the myriad other things which form part of a young girl’s life and which mean a great deal to a child. Dad’s letters were always awaited with a keen sense of anticipation, the postman’s footsteps sending us into fits of excitement.

We’d take the letter in our hand and run all over the house and scream “Papa’s letter is here!” and Mom would smile.

Dad’s letters never mentioned the war. In the world he created for us there were no landmines, no bullets whizzing at you from dark jungle hides, no horrors of death and maiming, or any talk of fatigue and hunger after marching days on end, searching for an elusive enemy.

India getting closer to a satellite navigational system

April 7, 2014
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Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is expected to become operational in less than a year from now. On 4th April 2014, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched the second satellite of this system, the IRNSS-1B, by using one of its most time-tested launch vehicle, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C24). This was PSLV’s 25th successive successful flight. The IRNSS will constitute of seven satellites. However, to make the system operational, four satellites are enough. The first IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013. With two more satellites proposed to be launched during the later part of this year, the system can be expected to be operational by the end of this year or early next year.

IRNSS-1B has been presently launched into a sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (sub-GTO) and, in the coming few days, it would be finally placed in circular geosynchronous orbit at 55 degree East location with the initial inclination of 31 degree with respect to the equator.

IRNSS is expected to provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Service (SPS) to be provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to specific users. This system is designed for a lifetime of approximately ten years. It is expected to offer accurate position information facility to users within the country and up to 1,500 km from the country’s political boundary line. This system would provide a position accuracy of better than 20 meters in the primary service area. The performance of the IRNSS-1A which was lunched almost ten months back has been confirmed satisfactory and now shortly ISRO would be starting the orbit test and evaluation process for IRNSS-1B.

With the advent of mobile telephones offering multifunction facilities, using of handheld navigational systems has started taking root in India in the recent past. In coming few years satellite based navigational tools are expected to be in a greater demand within the country. IRNSS offers range of applications from vehicle tracking and fleet management to terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation to integration with mobile phones to providing assistance in disaster management.

Globally, the most commonly known navigation system is the United State’s Global Positioning System (GPS). This system has a long history and is in use since 1978 however, it has been made globally available only since 1994 and is presently the world’s most utilized system. In fact, all these years satellite navigation has become synonymous with the GPS. Such system offers real-time position, navigation and timing (PNT) services globally. Although GPS transmits radio signals to users free of cost it needs to be remembered that this system is under the control of the US Air Force. The system essentially came into being for the purposes of military and has significant strategic utility for the United State’s security architecture. It has 31 operational satellites flying in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) at an altitude of approximately 20,200 km. Each of these satellite circles the earth twice a day.

Other countries pay real price for US' mistakes

IssueNet Edition| Date : 05 Apr , 2014

An American Soldier in Afghanistan

Recently The New York Times announced with breathless urgency that China was ramping up its military spending to $148 billion, up from $139.2 billion last year, adding that China already spent more than any country in the world, except the United States. The first impression was that American and Chinese military expenses were almost equal although the declared Pentagon budget last year was $575 billion. What the report does not say is that the US expenditure is higher than the next 13 countries, including Russia, India and China.

…the US has spent about $3.5 trillion or $7 million for every dollar spent by the terrorists. And yet from Libya to Pakistan, the world is in turmoil.

American researchers Chris Hellman and Mattea Kramer had calculated that cuts notwithstanding, the total national security budget for 2013 was nearly a trillion dollars. They had included various expenses like war funding, additional war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, on nuclear weapons and programmes, homeland security, pensions and retirement benefits and so on, which are not reflected in the declared Pentagon budget. In comparison, our defence budget is about a third of the Chinese budget and the gap will continue to grow over time. We are not in the big league.

Very often people wonder how the Americans have been able to keep terrorism under control and we have not. Apart from the major difference that we have a neighbour which actively sponsors terrorism in India and at other times just nurses them as reservists for future use, the US has invested massive amounts in trained manpower and its global redeployment, intelligence and surveillance, weaponry and equipment to meet new threats. There is a huge cost that the State incurs and a price the people pay by surrendering some freedoms for greater security. Once again we are not in the same league.

Chairman Mao's India War

By V Sudarshan
Published: 06th April 2014

Nehru with Krishna Menon 

When was the last time you saw a good story on India-China relations, one that quoted a foreign ministry official and had a couple of anecdotes worth recounting? One that explained what has been going on in our border talks for decades? If you can’t recall it is because our foreign policy mandarins dealing with China run a mile if they spot a journalist heading their way. They don’t want anything in the papers the Chinese might take note of. Initially, I thought it was some kind of speech impairment our ‘China bureaucrats’ suffered from. Yet, it is not that exactly. Nor is it the training. It is somewhat more complicated and can’t be explained in 580 words. It is the continuing backlash of Pundit Nehru having talked too much before 1962. 

In 1959, Nehru was openly implying China was a pushover and he had begun recklessly invoking phrases like “national pride and dignity” as he thrust his China policy ever-forward. Naturally, public opinion fed into it. On September 27, 1962, according to Henderson Brooks, a national newspaper carried a top secret government decision “to use force if necessary, to throw the Chinese intruders out. The army was accordingly instructed to take the steps necessary to clear the Chinese from Indian territory across Thagla ridge”. Our newspapers had begun comparing Nehru and his defence minister Krishna Menon’s tactics to Napoleon. It had reached Chairman Mao. In early October, days before teaching Nehru a Chinese lesson, he told assembled leaders in Beijing: “We fought a war with old Chiang (Kai Shek). We fought a war with Japan and with America. And with none of these did we fear. And in each case we won. Now the Indians want to fight a war with us. Naturally, we have no fear. We cannot give ground; once we give ground, it would be tantamount to letting them seize a big piece of land, equivalent to Fujian province… Since Nehru sticks his head out and insists on us fighting him, for us not to fight with him would not be friendly enough. Courtesy emphasises reciprocity.” (Henry Kissinger On China, p 268). Neville Maxwell points out: “Speaking five years after the border war, Krishna Menon conceded that it would have made better strategic sense ‘to let (the Chinese) come into Indian territory in depth before giving them a fight’”. But, he said, “this is a kind of thing we were unable to persuade our public opinion to accept then”. Menon thus admitted, without apparent qualms, that he and his PM had consciously gone against the dictates of strategic advantage to mollify an uninformed and shallow ‘public opinion’.

S N Prasad, chief editor of History of the Conflict with China, 1962, the official version of what happened (released for restricted circulation 28 years after the border war), notes, “The government was under tremendous pressure from the Parliament, the press and the public. Sadly, unfamiliar with military matters, these vociferous and strident opinions accused the government of a lack of will, and insisted the Indian territory, already occupied by the Chinese, must be liberated at the earliest. The debates in Parliament and editorials in national dailies make shocking reading today.” More shocking was what was happening on the ground.

Sudarshan is most recently author of Adrift

India-Pakistan: Bin Laden Continues To Terrorize

April 6, 2014: In eastern India nearly 40,000 police are being deployed, along with special equipment (sat phones and helicopters) to thwart Maoist threats to April 10 th elections. In the past the Maoists have been effective at disrupting elections by launching numerous attacks on polling stations and temporarily taking down cell phone towers to disrupt police communications. The police believe they have the antidote for all that. This is all part of the long-term campaign against the Maoists. In 2009 massive forces were deployed against Maoist rebels in eastern India. In many rural areas where the Maoists were long in control, the leftist rebels are now much weaker on the ground. The government sent 80,000 special police into these areas (including over 70 paramilitary police battalions). Initially the patrols by these police (who are operating as infantry and police) reassured the locals to the point where more people were reporting Maoist movements and locations. This led to more raids on Maoist camps and fewer armed Maoists to contest the police and intimidate civilians. The information gained from Maoist camps and prisoners led to the identification and capture of a lot more Maoist leaders (who often hide in plain sight in cities and towns). The Indian Air Force eventually sent some Mi-17 helicopters equipped to operate at night as well as UAVs. This provided the police with yet another advantage over the Maoists, who now lose even sleep because of the threat of night raids. The air force helicopters are armed, but only fire back if fired on. The helicopters are there for moving police and casualties. The military has been reluctant to get involved in the anti-Maoist campaign and it took a bit of effort to get the air force to help out. The decisive argument was pointing out that this enabled the helicopters to operate under combat conditions but without the risk of heavy losses. So in the end the air force decided it would be useful training. 

The anti-Maoist campaign has led to a rapidly growing list of veteran Maoist leaders being arrested and interrogated. Some of these men (and women) report that the five years of police pressure has hurt the Maoists but that the hard c0re members believe they can wait out the police campaign and rebuild down the road. That is because corruption and poor government in the rural east provides an unlimited number of new Maoist recruits. 

In the northwest India has completed over 70 percent of the new border fence on the 778 kilometer long Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Kashmir. The next phase of the project is to equip the fence with all-weather day and night sensors that will alert nearby soldiers and police if anyone tampers with the fence. 

The Indian Air Force admitted to parliament that Pakistan might also attack if there were a war with China because the Indian Air Force is under strength (34 fighter squadrons rather than the 42 there are supposed to be). Of course the reason for this shortage is corruption, incompetence and inefficiency in the military procurement system and parliament. Then again, the air force may be exaggerating because China has been having a hard time basing and maintaining warplanes in Tibet, which forms most of the border with India. 

Meanwhile Pakistan is having problems with its neighbors. Most Afghans blame the Pakistanis for any successes the Taliban have. There is some truth to this as it is no secret that ISI (the Pakistani CIA) created the Taliban in the early 1990s and Pakistan has been supporting Islamic terrorism since the late 1970s. In the last few years more evidence of this Pakistani perfidy has come to light. Officially Pakistan still denies that they sheltered Osama bin Laden, but it’s no secret that Pakistan still allows part of their tribal territories (North Waziristan and Quetta) to be sanctuaries for all manner of Islamic terrorists who operate inside Afghanistan. One of the biggest complaints Afghans have against the Americans is that the Americans are not more forceful in persuading Pakistan to shut down these sanctuaries. 

The Fall of Crimea

IssueCourtesy: CLAWS| Date : 06 Apr , 2014

It was the autumn of 1854 in Crimea. British, French, and Ottoman troops were in Crimea to battle Russia. The issue was over the question of who would have control of churches in the Holy Land – the Catholic Christians supported by France or the Orthodox Christians supported by Russia. To stake its claim, France sent its state-of-the-art battleship, Charlemagne, into the Black Sea as a show of force to the Ottomans who controlled the Holy Lands. The Ottomans quickly got the message, sensing that a France on their side would be stronger than a Russia on their side, and declared in favor of Catholic Christians. This was enough reason for Russia to move its armies into Ottoman-held territory.

The overthrow of President Yanukovych of Ukraine by a vote in Parliament is not altogether legal, either, even though his order to shoot that killed 88 protestors was not altogether moral.

A small victory by the Allies at the Battle of Alma after amazing blunders by both sides gave the Allies some confidence, given that planning and logistics were disastrous throughout the campaign. Moving into the Battle of Balaklava, a reserved and wavering British Field Marshall Lord Raglan supposedly ordered 700 cavalrymen of a light brigade into a suicidal charge against well positioned Russian guns. Only 195 were reported to return, and 500 horses were lost; the overall battle was a draw, but the commander of the charge, Major General James Brudenall, Earl of Cardigan, became a national hero and darling of England. He returned to England to celebrations and speeches, his picture in every shop window and biography in every noteworthy newspaper. Merchants sold a woolen jacket such as he wore, naming it the “cardigan”, which remains synonymous to the sweater to this day. Lord Alfred Tennyson immortalized the charge of the light brigade in a poem by that name, the words “half a league, half a league, half a league onward” reverberating hypnotically the single-minded gallop of thundering hoofs against an entrenched enemy, passionately inspiring generations of youngsters with courage, emotional heroism, sense of duty, and patriotism.

Former Indian Intelligence Officer Reveals New Details About Research & Analysis Wing (RAW)

April 6, 2014
Former Spy Reveals Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing 
Yatish Yadav
The New Indian Express

R K Yadav left the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) in 1989 with the reputation of being one of the toughest spies in the outfit. As a Class I officer recruited in 1973, Yadav served on the China desk and various other postings in Rajasthan and Punjab. Sources say he was close to R&AW founder-director R N Kao and his successor K Sankaran Nair.

Although little is known about the functioning of R&AW, Yadav in his upcoming tell-all book ‘Mission R&AW’ has given explicit details, including vanished R&AW spies and the external Intelligence agency’s role during the 1975 Emergency.

Vanished Spies

Although the CIA was found directly involved in compromising two R&AW officers Rabinder Singh and K V Unnikrishnan, Yadav claims that at least eight other R&AW officers managed to clandestinely migrate and settle in foreign countries like the US and Canada with the help of their spy agencies. Sikander Lal Malik, personal secretary to Kao for 17 years, managed to get two years’ extension after completing his mandatory tenure in New York.

Malik got a green card with the help of US officials, and resigned from the R&AW. Yadav says Malik settled in the US permanently in 1976 and he could have been debriefed enough to have extensive damage to Indian Intelligence.

Another senior field officer Ashok Sathe was recruited by the CIA while posted at the Indian Mission at Ulan Bator in Mongolia. Sathe was covering China operations and was later transferred to Khorramshahr, Iran.

Amitabh Bachchan's Top 25 Dialogues Of All Time

Last updated on: October 4, 2012 

One of Indian cinema's biggest icons Amitabh Bachchan turns 70 on October 11. We celebrate the superstar in a series of special features dedicated to him, starting today.

To think All India Radio didn't find his voice suitable enough to offer him work.

Whether they rue that decision or not is immaterial, what's significantly ironical is just how celebrated this rejected feature of Amitabh Bachchan's legendary persona went on to become.

In a stupendously quotable filmography lasting over five decades, AB's sturdy dialogue delivery has entertained, engaged, enticed and become inspiration for mimicry and tribute.

Whether he's dispatching threats towards his enemy, making comical observations, oozing poetry for his beloved, babbling philosophy in a drunken state, demonstrating an emotional outburst or merely introducing himself, Bachchan is the undisputed champ of dialoguebaazi.

Picking some of his most famous lines is trickier than it looks. There are simply too many to choose from. I could quite easily shortlist 10 from Deewar alone and so restraining myself to a single dialogue per movie policy. 

Here then, are 25 memorable onscreen quotes of the spectacular Indian superstar.

P:S: Join in the fun. Post your favourites on the message board.

Anand mara nahi, Anand marte nahi. 

Anand (1971)

Rajesh Khanna may have had the author-backed role and some of the most profound words but it's this succinct last line of Anand in AB's insightful tone that sums it best.

Zanjeer (1973)

'Jab tak baithne ko na kaha jaaye sharafat se khade raho. Yeh police station hai tumhare baap ka ghar nahi'.

And it is with this unforgettable display of aggression, the 'angry young man' phenomenon was launched.

Beyond the Afghan Polls

IssueNet Edition| Date : 07 Apr , 2014

With Afghanistan having gone to polls on 5th April, the die is cast. The Taliban having warned the public not to vote indulged in violence as expected. These included suicide bombings on the biggest hotel in Kabul, as also the election office in Kabul plus the shooting of two foreign women journalists just a day prior to the elections, one of whom succumbed to her injuries. The renowned German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus was shot dead and her Canadian colleague, Kathy Gannon seriously injured. While shooting of the two women journalists reaffirmed Taliban’s barbarianism, the Kabul hotel bombing forced withdrawal of election monitoring NGO bodies like the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The good part was the Afghan population defying the Taliban call not to vote. The enthusiasm was evident with first sight estimates of 58 percent votes having been cast and visuals of women voters casting their votes freely.

The Western media is hailing the election as first ever in Afghanistan sans any direct foreign assistance in the process but that can hardly be said in respect of foreign ‘interference’, for the CIA, EU, ISI would be intimately involved in the wheeling dealing to orchestrate results in their own interests, akin to the underhand maneuverings in India.

In the first round on April 5th, some 12 million voters had the facility to cast their ballots at any polling station in the country, this being the third presidential election. Security was tight with some 4,00,000 of the country’s police, army and intelligence services deployed for the polls. The good part was the Afghan population defying the Taliban call not to vote. The enthusiasm was evident with first sight estimates of 58 percent votes having been cast and visuals of women voters casting their votes freely. This is evidence that the population wants democracy and not return to the medieval rule of the Taliban. It is however unclear as to how many Afghans could not cast their votes. In 2011, the population of Afghanistan was reportedly 29,835,392 including 2.7 million Afghan refugees mainly in Pakistan and Iran. Then, in the current election there were reports of polling booths running out of ballot papers since voters were permitted to vote at any polling booth anywhere in the country.

What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

MARCH 19, 2014

Taliban recruits in 2008 in Quetta, Pakistan, where leading organizers of the Afghan insurgency are based.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, I went to live and report for The New York Times in Afghanistan. I would spend most of the next 12 years there, following the overthrow of the Taliban, feeling the excitement of the freedom and prosperity that was promised in its wake and then watching the gradual dissolution of that hope. A new Constitution and two rounds of elections did not improve the lives of ordinary Afghans; the Taliban regrouped and found increasing numbers of supporters for their guerrilla actions; by 2006, as they mounted an ambitious offensive to retake southern Afghanistan and unleashed more than a hundred suicide bombers, it was clear that a deadly and determined opponent was growing in strength, not losing it. As I toured the bomb sites and battlegrounds of the Taliban resurgence, Afghans kept telling me the same thing: The organizers of the insurgency were in Pakistan, specifically in the western district of Quetta. Police investigators were finding that many of the bombers, too, were coming from Pakistan.Photo
One of many madrasas in Quetta in 2008. CreditAlex Majoli/Magnum

In December 2006, I flew to Quetta, where I met with several Pakistani reporters and a photographer. Together we found families who were grappling with the realization that their sons had blown themselves up in Afghanistan. Some were not even sure whether to believe the news, relayed in anonymous phone calls or secondhand through someone in the community. All of them were scared to say how their sons died and who recruited them, fearing trouble from members of the ISI, Pakistan’s main intelligence service.

After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.

What I Wish I Knew: From Cadet to Lieutenant in Afghanistan




After ardently attempting once to write an essay on “what I know now that I wish I knew then,” I realized that writing even just a two or three paged paper is something cadets do not want to read. This being said, when I was posed with this task I swore I would do three things: 1) provide an honest answer, 2) express the truth in the most unvarnished way possible, and 3) keep things short. Therefore, I have decided to make a list that cadets can squeeze in between their class and sports demands, and their beloved naps and “Not Being At West Point” time.

1. You’re not going to be the greatest Platoon Leader Ever – This is hard to come to grips with for new lieutenants. Especially considering the competitive spirit among most West Pointers – and Soldiers at-large. The reality is most Soldiers in your future platoons will have between 5-12 platoon leaders before they become Sergeants First Class. Chances are they’ve had someone better than you. This is not a knock on personal talent or capability, but rather a matter of perspective. Excluding outliers, most new platoon leaders have zero experience in the Army. You are there to learn and make yourself better, not be the subject matter expert.

2. You may not be the greatest, but you’re the most responsible – Again, this is another facet that is hard to come to terms with. You may not be the most experienced in terms of tactics, time or doctrine, but you’re the only one that has been formally trained on leading. Your job is to take responsibility. You are the best qualified member of your platoon to pull your Soldiers together collectively and make things happen. You control your own consequences.

3. “Should” is the most dangerous word in the Army - As a lieutenant when your PSG, XO, CO and especially your Soldiers ask you questions – no matter how important – you cannot respond with “It should be done already, sir.” Or, “We should be at this grid coordinate.” Check on things and get oversight so you don’t have to say “I should not have done that, sir.”


By Adeel Khalid

Pakistan is at inflexion point while the talks with Taliban are taking centre stage in political arena. According to a recent news report, the committees representing the government and the Taliban agreed on to extend the ceasefire and take measures to speed up the dialogue process. The head of the TTP committee, Maulana Samiul haq, confirmed that the ceasefire would be maintained beyond March. However it is a crucial developmental stage in negotiating with Taliban but on government side, but it is reactive incoherent at policy front to border a defined agenda to put forth accordingly in this peace process which is evident from the contradictory rhetoric and unplanned agenda emanating from within the polity of different discourses; reflects inconsistency and irresoluteness on government part to tackle this existential threat.

However, the objectives sought to be achieved unclear and opaque. Obliviously the government cannot afford to accommodate any of the main demands of the TTP without compromising the Pakistan’s Constitution and the prosperity of the country. These demands include the release of hundreds of prisoners, including some high-profile people, and setting up of a “peace zone” to allow free movement of the Taliban. Finally they resist for Sunni (Sharia) rule in Pakistan and the creation of an Islamic Emirate in Pakistan and Afghanistan which are beyond negotiable point for the public, policy-makers and politicians alike.

What is required in essence is the TTP’s surrender? Can this be achieved through talks and at this time? The right time to negotiate with the TTP would be once it is militarily and politically on the defensive. Negotiations can succeed provided these are conducted with the “principles” drafted by the government of Pakistan. These principles should be in aligning with the Constitution of Pakistan.

Attrition: The Best Mercenaries Oil Can Buy


April 6, 2014: One of the many secrets in the Persian Gulf is exactly how many Pakistani military veterans are serving as soldiers and police there. There has long been a dig demand for Pakistani mercenaries because there are not enough locals available, able and willing. Another solution to this problem is the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, composed of the wealthy Arab Gulf oil states) which was formed to combine and coordinate the military forces of all member nations. The problem is that the total number of troops the member states can spare for a GCC emergency forces is not much more than 100,000. The GCC nations are mainly concerned with Iranian threats to the oil trade. The GCC states not only earn most of their income via 16 million barrels a day, most it from GCC members via the Strait of Hormuz but also get most of their food and other goods via freighters coming in via that narrow waterway that on the northern side is Iranian territory. So for more than a decade the GCC has made plans to deal with this Iranian threat. The key here is coordinating the air and naval forces of the GCC members, and close cooperation with foreign (especially American) allies. The GCC weapons are more modern and numerous than what the Iranians have. Add in American, and other foreign forces stationed in the Gulf, and the Iranians are up against a formidable force. While the Iranians have always been better fighters than the Arabs, the GCC states have sought to give their troops more training, using Western trainers and techniques. This may not have eliminated the Iranian advantage, but it closed the gap. Most of the trainers tend to be Pakistanis as well. The Arabs are well aware that Pakistan is a neighbor of Iran and the only Moslem state with nuclear weapons. Although Pakistan and Iran generally maintain good relations, the Arabs are determined to make sure Pakistan is an ally if the Iranians get really aggressive.

The Gulf Arab states have a long history with Iran, and other hostile outsiders. The solution has always been to seek unity and outside allies. In the 19th century, the coastal emirates (city states that depended on trade, pearls and fishing) allied themselves with Britain, for protection against the Turks (who controlled what is now Iraq), Iran (always a threat to the Arabs) and the interior tribes of Arabia. Britain was interested in suppressing pirates (which often operated out of the emirates) and halting Turkish expansion. In 1971, seven of the emirates formed a federation; the UAE. There were immediate disputes with Saudi Arabiaabout where the land and water borders should be. Some of those disputes are still unresolved. The Saudis consider themselves the leader of Arabia, but most of the people in Yemen, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE often disagree. There is lots of friction. Nevertheless, in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council was formed by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and theUnited Arab Emirates. The UAE was the chief organizer of the council, and has constantly quarreled with Saudi Arabia over leadership issues. But when it comes to outside threats, especially the Iranians, there is less quarrelling and a lot more cooperation. It's uncertain if this will be enough to thwart the Iranians. Only an actual war will reveal the reality of the situation. 

Southeast Asian democracy: New time and take

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April 7, 2014

Anti-government protests in Southeast Asian countries have become quite a regular trend. In Cambodia, political unrest has become violent as the government employed forces fired on the protesters claiming increases in the minimum wage in January 2014. In Thailand, there is protest against the proxy government led by Yingluck Shinawatra. In Malaysia, protesters rallied against price hikes in petrol in the first week of January this year and in Indonesia, the rise of Joko Widodo aka Jakowi is largely viewed as a challenge to the established rule of Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono who is about to complete his second and last term as the President. All these protests have some commonalities; yet, they are different in nature, extent and implications.

The Cambodian unrest, led by the opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha is an effort to drive out Hun Sen government, which has been in power for nearly three decades. The Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) has won support from the garment workers and a section of the angry land owners who had lost their land due to the government’s policy of re-distributing land to the private developers since early 2000s. The Democrat Party in Thailand is keen on ousting the shadow government of Yingluck Shinawatra, who, along with the ruling Pheu Thai party, are alleged to act on the wishes of Thaksin Shinawatra, who is in self-exile to escape various charges of misuse of power as prime minister (2001-2006).

In Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand, the ruling parties have been losing popularity and the opposition gaining ground. In Thailand, the last election held on February 2, 2014 was not accepted by the opposition and they demanded for a Peoples Council for administration of the country. In Cambodia, for the first time, the Cambodian Peoples’ Party (CPP) lost significant number of seats to the Cambodian National Rescue Party, in the last election held in July 2013. Similarly, in Malaysia, the 2013 election results were the worst for the 56-year rule of the Barisan Nasional government led by Najib Razak.

While many of these anti-establishment feelings are internal to the Southeast Asian countries, it cannot be ignored that these internal changes will have implications for the Southeast Asian region.

Tibet Independence Flames Burn Agonisingly Bright

Paper No. 5682 Dated 07-Apr-2014

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Tibet independence flames continue to burn agonisingly bright with the unending stream of searing self-immolations in Tibet protesting the continued Chinese occupation of Tibet and demanding restoration of a “Free Tibet” and return of The Dalai Lama from exile in India.

Agonisingly, the flames that engulf Tibetans self-immolating in Tibet seem to be crying out to all those who globally profess as being champions of liberty and human rights and in a way are also lighting up the atrophied consciences of the United States, Europe and major Asian countries for not vociferously taking up the cause of Tibetan independence when on the other hand they strut around espousing lesser causes elsewhere around the world.

Historically with documentary evidence available, Tibet has been a distinct and a unique independent nation-state with its own currency, passports and an independent national flag. The latter figured in a National Geographic magazine issue on flags of global independent nations as far back as 1916. Tibet also had its own National Anthem. All of these national identity trappings of Tibet as an independent nation continued until Chinese Communist military occupation of Tibet in early 1950.

The United States, the West and major Asian countries wrongly acknowledged that Tibet was a part of China, disregarding all documentary and historically evidence available. Shamefully, geopolitical compulsions dictated political expedient policy postures, rather than political uprightness and convictions.

UN vote shows strains in Delhi's diplomacy

By Ramesh Ramachandran

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

In a departure from its familiar voting pattern on UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions critical of Sri Lanka, India on March 27 abstained from a vote on a resolution approving an independent international investigation into war crimes and human-rights violations allegedly committed by the government of Sri Lanka during the 2009 civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE.) 

The customary "explanation of vote" by the permanent representative of India to the UN offices in Geneva said, among other things, that:

1. "In asking the OHCHR [the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights ] to investigate, assess and monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, the resolution ignores the progress already made by the country in this field and places in jeopardy the cooperation currently taking place between the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR and the Council's Special Procedures. Besides, the resolution is inconsistent and impractical in asking both the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to simultaneously conduct investigations";

2. "India believes that it is imperative for every country to have the means of addressing human rights violations through robust national mechanisms. The Council's efforts should therefore be in a direction to enable Sri Lanka to investigate all allegations of human rights violations through comprehensive, independent and credible national investigative mechanisms and bring to justice those found guilty. Sri Lanka should be provided all assistance it desires in a cooperative and collaborative manner"; and

3. "It has been India's firm belief that adopting an intrusive approach that undermines national sovereignty and institutions is counterproductive."

After having voted for UNHRC resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013, India's abstention this year on the resolution presented by the US early in March is indicative of a course correction in New Delhi's engagement with Colombo. This is aimed at retrieving the ground lost in the intervening years, burnishing India's credentials as a relevant player in the island nation's affairs and signaling a return to bilateralism as the centerpiece of India-Sri Lanka ties (not necessarily in that order). 

If India's support for the resolutions in the previous years exposed an utter bankruptcy of ideas on how to engage with Sri Lanka (thereby implicitly admitting to a failure on the part of New Delhi either to influence the course of events or bring about the desired change in Colombo's disposition), the abstention should be seen as a belated attempt to pull the relationship back from the brink. Of course, it helped that the reaction from the regional parties was muted this year, giving New Delhi extra room for maneuver, and enabling it in the process to regain its voice vis-a-vis the states on foreign policy matters.

Russia and Vietnam Team Up to Balance China

Published on The National Interest (http://nationalinterest.org)
April 7, 2014

Justified emphasis on the current Ukraine crisis should not lead us to make the mistake of overlooking Russia’s policies in East Asia. Normally Russia’s policies in Southeast Asia do not get much attention. But they reveal important motifs and themes in Russia’s overall foreign policy and its response to China’s rising power and to trends in Asian security. Examination of those policies reveals much about Russian policy in Asia and in general. In particular they demonstrate Moscow’s quest for total independence and tactical flexibility as well as its habitual reliance on energy and arms sales in strife-torn areas as the instruments by which it seeks to gain leverage on regional security agendas. Moreover, they also demonstrate that like other powers, Russia is pursuing what may be called a hedging strategy against China in Asia. On the one hand it supports China against the US and on the other works to constrain Chinese power in Asia.

Southeast Asia’s importance to Russia has steadily risen due to Russia’s own pivot to Asia.[i] As part of that pivot, Moscow recently proclaimed its intention to pursue negotiations for naval bases in the Seychelles and Singapore.[ii] This is on top of Russia’s previously overt efforts to attain basing at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.[iii] Not surprisingly, these moves will not be welcome in China and they may be seen as representing (along with Moscow’s parallel rapprochement with Japan) Russia’s response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent invitation to join China “in guaranteeing security and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region.”[iv] In other words, even as Russo-Chinese cooperation against US power, interests and values continues on global issues and in areas of unimportance to China like Syria, Russia strives for geopolitical independence in Asia. Were Moscow to accept Xi’s offer, it would be admitting that it has become China’s “junior brother” in Asia; a role that Russia bridles at accepting.

Therefore Moscow is making these “chess moves” to Southeast Asia to demonstrate its true independence and great power status. While those attributes of Russia’ standing in Asia are debatable, there is no doubt that Vietnam, for one, has fully embraced Russia in an effort to get allies to restrain China even as it continues on its own accord to pursue a diplomatic resolution of outstanding issues with China. Indeed, Vietnam’s partnerships with Moscow and Washington strengthen its leverage vis-à-vis Beijing, thereby enabling it to pursue both military and economic enhancement and diplomatic resolution of disputed issues. Thus, despite the allegedly deepening Sino-Russian friendship (at least against the US), in fact Russia has quietly but openly resisted Chinese encroachments in Southeast Asia and is forging a deeper military-political relationship with Vietnam.