12 July 2014

Defence Budget 2014-15

G. Balachandran
July 11, 2014
Interim Budget

The interim budget presented in Parliament was a status quo budget. The 10 per cent hike in the interim defence budget with respect to both budget estimate and revised estimate of 2013-14 allocation was no upward or downward revision of the defence allocations provided in the previous budget & represented the erstwhile popular term of the 80s ‘the Hindu rate of growth’ to cater for inflation. While the overall 2013-14 allocations remained the same, the capital allocation was, however, revised downward by 9.07 per cent or Rs.7868.48 crore, which has been added to the revenue allocation.

What Has Been Ailing the Defence Budget in The Recent Past?

All watchers of the defence budget hoped that the much needed inescapable & overdue corrections will come when the new government that is formed after the elections presents the budget. The anxiety was because of the loss of direction seen in the defence budget allocations over the years was beginning to adversely affect the capability needed to take on the current & emerging challenges to national security. Although when absolute figures of defence are seen they create a perception of substantial increase over the years but when put in context the picture is different. A comparison of the Defence expenditure of 1997-98 and 2013-14 and that of the central government expenditure and the GDP is tabulated below.

Table no 1 (All Rupees in crores)

2013-14 (RE)
Increase over 1997-98
Defence Expenditure
Central Government Expenditure
GDP at Market prices

Defence expenditure which was 2.24% of GDP in 1997-98 has come down to 1.79% of GDP in 2013-14 and this gradual decline is depicted in the chart No 1 below. The two spikes on increase in 2008-09 and 2009-10 are on account of pay commission arrears:

Chart No 1

The relationship with the Central government expenditure has similarly been of a steady fall as may be seen in chart No 2

Chart No 2

Three major heads of expenditure account for around 75% of the Non Plan Revenue expenditure. These are Interest, Defence expenditure & Subsidies. At the turn of the century these accounted for 70% of the Non plan expenditure with Interest accounting for 40%, Defence 20% and Subsidies 10%. Today they account for 75% of the Non plan Expenditure with Interest accounting for 34%, Subsidies 23% and Defence 18% (Details given in chart no 3 below.

A leadership moment

Ajay Chhibber | July 12, 2014

For India, the new bank could be a great opportunity to get long-term capital for its huge infrastructure needs. Source: Reuters


At BRICS summit, a chance for India to start on a path that leads to the UNSC.

Next week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend his first BRICS summit. This is a historic opportunity to position India in a changing global order. India today punches below its weight on global issues. It is a member of the G-20 but plays a marginal role in guiding global discussions. A previous BJP government put India into the nuclear club, and this government could take us all the way to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The BRICS summit is an opportunity to start down that path.

The prime minister made a bold start by inviting all SAARC leaders to his inauguration. With festering problems in its own neighbourhood, India is no doubt distracted locally and thereby hobbled in projecting its power more broadly in global affairs. With a better functioning SAARC, India can speak on global issues with a stronger sub-regional backing.

India’s most clearly stated international goal is to have a seat on the UNSC. On the basis of its size as one-sixth of humanity and the third largest economy (PPP adjusted), its claim cannot be challenged. Yet, progress on this issue has been glacial. India today has very few senior positions at the UN. No Indian heads a single UN organisation. China, besides having a permanent UNSC seat, heads three UN organisations. Brazil has strong interests in trade and agriculture and now heads the FAO and WTO, positions it won with greater strategic clarity and concerted effort.

Getting a permanent UNSC seat will also require building coalitions with other key aspirants, such as Brazil and South Africa, and getting the support of China and Russia, which are permanent members. The BRICS summit is a chance to open the dialogue.

The most immediate concrete idea for discussion will be the new BRICS bank, which will rival existing multilateral banks with call-in capital of $50 billion. This is an important signal but will eventually require a bigger capital base, which could come from increasing the contributions of the existing members to at least $100 billion or bringing in other large G-20 developing countries as contributors. For India, which has maxed out its borrowing capacity at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the new bank could be a great opportunity to get long-term capital for its huge infrastructure needs.

Germany and Japan are two other key aspirants to the UNSC with whom India can and must ally. The big powers must be made to realise that global peace will require India’s active participation, a position that can only be reached when India begins to play a more strategic role, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, in helping broker positive solutions.

Possible Collapse of Pakistan: Quantifying the Fallout

IssueVol 23.1Jan-Mar 2008 | Date : 28 Jun , 2014

The overall situation appears to be quite hopeless, and under these conditions, it is only the army that can keep the country together. A military state of emergency is therefore definitely on the cards. It is also very possible that Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif (together) may call in the International community (mainly the US) to help, once they realise that they will not be able to handle the militants. But before any of this happens, we will witness considerable policy confusion both in Rawalpindi and in Washington, as both sides desperately hunt for answers.

Expected Fallout

The Sindhis now have no stake left in the Union

With Benazir gone, the Sindhis, who are mainly into business, have no common interest with either the state of Punjab, the lawless north west (including the Peshawar area), Balochistan or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Therefore it’s just a matter of time before they sum up the courage to demand a separate state. There are however issues of mental attitude here as Sindh is not Balochistan. Sindhis are traders , not warriors like the Baloch.

If Stratfors information is correct, it would mean that the US and Europe have no real interest or strategic rationale any more for keeping Pakistan together. They will let it fail as it will then allow them to independently target the militants in the various breakaway states.

Benazir’s killing in Rawalpindi has its own significance too. Rawalpindi is Pakistan’s military headquarters. It is also located in the Punjab and this has implications for near term Punjab-Sindh relations. Sindh has a lot of Punjabi settlers besides a huge Mohajir community. The Mohajirs are Bihari Muslims and the Sindhi’s hate them as much as they hate the Punjabi settlers. The recent chain of events therefore has made a civil war between these rival groups very likely.

If violence breaks out in Sindh, Musharraf most likely will send the (mostly Punjabi) military to Karachi to stop the killing. The military however will itself come under attack in Sindh, as being dominated by the Punjabis they will not be seen as a unbiased force. It could then turn out to be a Serbia/Bosnia like situation. Any military action by Musharraf in Sindh could thus create more problems than it would solve.

India’s immediate worry: Civil war in Sindh

For India the main threat is of millions of refugees crossing the international border as a result of the civil war in Sindh. This event that could be just six months or a year away needs to be planned for, and the Indian government will do well to plan the deployment of close to a million men of our armed forces on the western border to prevent a massive refugee problem.


Politics and play - Ramachandra Guha

In his recent book, History in the Making, J.H. Elliot makes an interesting distinction between two different kinds of nationalist ideologies. On the one hand, there is the “chosen nation” syndrome, where a country is said to have special “spiritual, biological, [or] racial characteristics” that shall make it dominant in global affairs. On the other hand, there is the “victim nation” syndrome, where a poor or defeated country tends to attribute its “misfortunes to others and to ignore or disregard failings closer to home”.

Elliot is a scholar of Europe and North America, and his examples come naturally from those continents. At various points in their histories, the Spaniards, the British and the Americans have thought of themselves as the nations chosen by god to lead the world out of darkness into light. However, the Poles, the Serbs and the Catalans have seen themselves in very different terms — as brave, persecuted people whose territory and liberties were snatched away by perfidious foreigners.

How does Elliot’s formulation resonate with the nations of South Asia? Pakistan is very clearly a “victim nation”. Those who led the movement for a Muslim homeland in the 1940s did so on the grounds that if India was to be given independence as a single country, the Hindus in general — and the wily Brahmins and the greedy Banias in particular — would persecute those of other faiths.

Six-and-a-half decades after the creation of Pakistan, a sense of victimhood persists. Many Pakistanis still blame foreigners for their troubles. Some demonize India, while an equal (or possibly greater) number demonize America. The bad Hindu neighbour and the worse Christian superpower are held responsible for sectarian violence, political instability, economic insecurity, and more-or-less everything else.

Bangladesh also originated out of a sense of victimhood. From the 1950s, there was resentment in East Pakistan over discrimination against the speaking and writing of Bengali. The Bengalis also complained of economic exploitation by West Pakistan. These sentiments gave rise to a wider movement for political separation. The protests were suppressed by the Punjabi-dominated Pakistani army, leading to a large-scale flight of refugees into India. Eventually, the Indian Army intervened, and in December 1971 the new nation of Bangladesh was born.

Forty-two years after Independence, Bangladesh remains to some extent a victim nation. The memories of Pakistani brutality persist, and are often invoked in popular discussion. To these are added complaints of more recent origin, against the overbearing attitude of Big Brother India. Even so, my sense is that the Bangladeshi intelligentsia is more willing to acknowledge the domestic sources of their nation’s problems. Witness the vigorous civil society organizations in the country, which have done groundbreaking work in microcredit, rural healthcare and women’s education. That the social work sector is so much weaker in Pakistan is partly a consequence of the continuing tendency of Pakistanis to blame other nations for their misfortunes.

What of Indian nationalism, then? At least as enunciated by its leading thinkers, it was not animated by a blind or excessive sense of victimhood. Claims for swaraj from the British raj did not deflect reformers from the need to cure the manifest ills of their society. Late 19th-century thinkers like Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Jyotiba Phule knew that discrimination against low castes and women was not the fault of the white colonizer, but a product of traditional Indian customs and practices.

This open-minded orientation was carried forward by influential nationalists in the 20th century. Rabindranath Tagore argued that Indians should glory in the illumination of lamps lit everywhere in the world. When, in the 1920s, Gandhi’s movement seemed to be taking a xenophobic turn, the poet issued the Mahatma a series of stinging rebukes, which hit their mark. Gandhi began a course of self-correction, which led him to stop demonizing Western ideas and institutions. By the 1930s, he was saying that, after Independence, he would “love” to see India become an “equal partner with Britain, sharing her joys and sorrows”.

Pakistan: Worse Than We Knew

by Carlotta Gall
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 329 pp., $28.00

Alexandra Boulat/VII

A pro-Taliban rally in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, circa 2002

During the Afghan elections in early April I was traveling in Central Asia, mainly in Kyrgyzstan. I wanted to inquire into the fears of the governments there as a result of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. What did they think of the growth of Taliban and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Officials in each country cited two threats. First, the internal radicalizing of their young people by increasing numbers of preachers or proselytizing groups arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Middle East. The second, more dangerous threat is external: they believe that extremist groups based in Pakistan and Afghanistan are trying to infiltrate Central Asia in order to launch terrorist attacks.

Islamic extremism is infecting the entire region and this will ultimately become the legacy of the US occupation of Afghanistan, as the so-called jihad by the Taliban against the US comes to an end. Iran, a Shia state, fears that the Sunni extremist groups that have installed themselves in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on the Iranian border will step up their attacks inside Iran. In February Iran threatened to send troops into Balochistan unless Pakistan helped free five Iranian border guards who had been kidnapped by militants. (The Pakistanis freed four of the guards; one was killed.)

Chinese officials say they are particularly concerned about terrorist groups coming out of Pakistan and Afghanistan that are undermining Chinese security. Although China is Pakistan’s closest ally, its officials have made it clear that they are closely monitoring the Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang province, who are training in Pakistan, fighting in Afghanistan, and have carried out several terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.

Terrorist assaults from Pakistan into Indian Kashmir have declined sharply since 2003, but India has a perennial fear that Islamic militant groups based in Pakistan’s Punjab province may mount attacks in India. Many Punjabi fighters have joined the Taliban forces based in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, and they have attacked Indian targets in Afghanistan. India is also wary of another terrorist attack resembling the one that took place in Mumbai in 2008.

For forty years Pakistan has been backing Islamic extremist groups as part of its expansionist foreign policy in Afghanistan and Central Asia and its efforts to maintain equilibrium with India, its much larger enemy. Now Pakistan is undergoing the worst terrorist backlash in the entire region. Some 50,000 people have died in three separate and continuing insurgencies: one by the Taliban in the northwest, the other in Balochistan by Baloch separatists, and the third in Karachi by several ethnic groups. That sectarian war, involving suicide bombers, massacres, and kidnappings, has gripped the country for a decade.

Is Afghanistan the Next to Crumble?

(U.S. News & World Report)
June 24, 2014

Afghan security forces leave the site of burning NATO supply trucks after an attack by militants near the Pakistani-Afghan border, June 19, 2014

Amid the stunning rout of Iraqi forces in northern Iraq, many have asked whether a similar reversal of American foreign policy goals is possible in Afghanistan. The answer is a qualified yes.

Of course, Iraq and Afghanistan have a number of differences, urbanization, wealth, history, and geography among them. They have in common a lengthy U.S.-led intervention combining efforts to build a military force with the creation of a government. Iraq, like Afghanistan, held elections in the waning days of American involvement, to form a multi-ethnic government. As with Iraq, the U.S. military is announcing plans to leave Afghanistan on a note of cautious optimism.

In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, there is widespread disaffection with the government. In fact, it is not uncommon to hear Afghans refer to their government as a mafia. Corruption and patronage dominate both governments, ranking among the world's worst according to Transparency International. The defense and security sectors of both countries are assessed at a high risk (PDF) of corruption, ranking in the bottom third worldwide. Moreover, the absence of a coherent political strategy in Afghanistan to address issues of factionalism, patronage and corruption has contributed to the development of a government that few seem willing to fight for.

In both countries, a persistent bias toward combat operations over institutional capacity-building and governance prioritized the here-and-now over the long haul. As a result, efforts to develop intelligence, logistics and sustainment capabilities lagged far behind efforts to reach manpower and equipment goals.

Of course, it is too early to say that these failures will lead to a collapse of the military, but few attempts have even been made to ask the question. There is at least a basis for concern: A 2010 audit (PDF) by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction found that both corruption and infrastructure failures had a corrosive effect on morale within the Afghan National Security Forces.

Impact of Talibanisation

IssueCourtesy: Aakrosh| Date : 09 Jul , 2014

The most serious implication of this onward march of the Taliban has been the radicalisation of Pakistan’s armed forces. As the armed forces draw their manpower from the same society, its composition is bound to reflect the biases of the society. General Musharraf, after two assassination attempts, did try to cleanse the army of radical elements and succeeded in purging overtly religious generals. However, the junior officers and other ranks by and large reflect the prevailing views of the society. Most of them still believe that the war against Taliban is America’s war and have reservations about fighting them.

The growing Talibanisation is eroding the state structure, and the unravelling of Pakistan is a distinct possibility. For the first time since its creation, there is a threat to the cohesion of the Pakistan army…

Every single attack on a military installation has borne clear marks of collusion by elements from within. Many PAF and Pakistan army personnel, including six officers, were convicted of attempts on General Pervez Musharraf in December 2003, when he was the president. An army soldier, Abdul Islam Siddiqui, was hanged on 20 August 2005, after court martial for the same offence. In April 2012, one of the six convicts, an air force technician Adnan Rashid, who had been sentenced to death, was freed by the Taliban in a daring jail break in Bannu.1 As early as 2006, six middle-ranking officers were court-martialled for refusing to fight in FATA.2

On another occasion, an anti-aircraft gun was discovered on the flight path of General Musharraf’s plane when he was taking off from the Rawalpindi airbase on a pitch-dark night. In September 2006, most of the 40 men arrested for attacks on Musharraf were mid-ranking PAF officers. The conspiracy was uncovered when an air force officer used a cell phone to activate a rocket aimed at Musharraf’s residence in Rawalpindi. The rocket was recovered, and its activating mechanism, also a cell phone, revealed the officer’s telephone number.3 The PAF confirmed in 2009 that it had acted against at least 57 personnel following the December 2003 assassination attempt against Musharraf. Six of these men were sentenced to death; others were arrested or dismissed from service. Over 100 PAF men faced disciplinary action in the aftermath of the murder attempt. However, the possibility that some of the accomplices evaded arrest cannot be ruled out.4 There were numerous instances of sabotage in the PAF to prevent aircraft from being deployed against the militants.

The absence of trust

Khaled Ahmed | July 12, 2014

How it’s taking a toll in Pakistan.

Housewives wanted stable market prices as always, one of them thought of the kitchens of the poor.

How it’s taking a toll in Pakistan.

On Sunday, June 8, the Taliban attacked the Karachi airport and killed 18 security personnel. All 10 attackers were killed in the battle that ensued. Most TV reporters and anchors, who took it upon themselves to interpret what was being reported live, did not miss the opportunity of pinning the terrorist attack on “foreign countries”, the label regularly given by derelict police officers to India. Then the Taliban, led by a psychopath named Fazlullah, announced that they had done the deed.

But the retired military officers who appeared on TV to comment on terrorism were not blindsided in the same way as the police officers. Their accusations, however, were based on a professional lack of trust all armies are taught to cultivate: “Don’t look at the expressed intent of India; look at its perceived capability.”

The message is: don’t trust India if you have to frame a strategy of national security. (This applies to all armies of the world.) The United States and Israel are thrown in as allies of India and, therefore, rated equally dangerous. If you are a strategist, think black and white and lean on nationalism to avoid intellectual accountability; strategy won’t work if it is shot through with intellectual relativism.

But politicians with their uncertain survival kits can’t afford to be so Manichaean. They tend to “trust” the enemy and its expressed intent and ignore its concealed “capability” of “assured destruction”. That is why in India and Pakistan, military officers tend to think poorly of politicians and will exercise pressure through popular opinion to ignore their policy directives of “peace”. In India, army officers are more inclined to favour the warlike BJP; in Pakistan, they like the religious parties, whose seminarians fight the jihad of covert war to set at naught the theory of military balance of power. The world, after that, is “asymmetrical”.

Some nations are warlike and have no use for trust. Some nations are trading communities based on trust. Armies created by warlike nations are different from the armies created by trading nations. In one case, they are instruments of national pride; in the other, repositories of national gratitude. In the first case, the lack of trust as a communal trait makes economic function difficult. In today’s economically interconnected world, trust as a national trait must be cultivated even if it goes against the grain of the warrior willing to die for honour.

Trust was described first as social capital, that unquantifiable sector that relies on faith among individuals, encourages networking and results in coordinated action needed for competitive economic function. In addition, “trust” yields good governance, better education, lower crime and increased civic participation. Civil society is the matrix within which trust functions as a value. Civil society is the mediator between the state as a coercive apparatus and the citizen, and it can gel around political parties, human rights organisations, professional guilds, etc.

Within this networking, there is the function of trust. Let us imagine that it grows out of man’s transcendence of the animal sense of territoriality. The “other” is not seen as hostile, but presumed to be benign. This is trust. A tribal society or a society less socially advanced will have a low level of trust. An analogy with dogs will be apt. The stranger will be approached with suspicion, then his behind will be sniffed, so to speak, before some kind of acceptance is allowed.

How South Asia Resolves Maritime Disputes

South Asia’s use of international tribunals to settle maritime disputes should be emulated in East Asia.
July 10, 2014

As Ankit noted earlier today, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled on the maritime dispute between India and Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal this week.

According to news reports, the court awarded 19,467 square kilometers (7,516 square miles) of a total disputed area of 25,602 km to Bangladesh. More importantly, both countries praised the ruling.

“It is the victory of friendship and a win-win situation for the peoples of Bangladesh and India,” Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali told a news conference on Tuesday, Reuters reported. He added: “We commend India for its willingness to resolve this matter peacefully by legal means and for its acceptance of the tribunal’s judgment.”

India’s Ministry of External Affairs also released a statement hailing the court’s ruling in Bangladesh’s favor. “The settlement of the maritime boundary will further enhance mutual understanding and goodwill between India and Bangladesh by bringing to closure a long-pending issue,” the statement said. “This paves the way for the economic development of this part of the Bay of Bengal, which will be beneficial to both countries.”

This is not the first time that India and Bangladesh have peacefully resolved a territorial dispute. Back in 2011, India and Bangladesh reached a bilateral agreement to resolve their disputed land borders

This is also not the first time an international tribunal has peacefully resolved a maritime border dispute in South Asia. At the same time it filed the case with India, Bangladesh asked another tribunal to resolve its maritime dispute with Myanmar according to the terms of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Myanmar, like India, agreed to submit the case to the tribunal and abide by its ruling.

That case, which also concerned resource-rich parts of the Bay of Bengal, was brought before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. The court issued its ruling in in May 2012, and in that case too Bangladesh claimed a victory (it was not a complete victory, however, as the court ruled in Myanmar’s favor on some issues). Although the Myanmar government did not hail the court’s decision as India did, it has honored the ruling.

In both of these cases, the maritime borders had been disputed by the countries in question for decades, and this plagued the larger bilateral relationships. Moreover, in both cases bilateral negotiations to settle the issues failed to resolve them. The failure of bilateral negotiations is what led Bangladesh to seek international arbitration. Notably, both Myanmar and India agreed to submit the cases to the tribunals.

Myanmar: Displaced Kachin Face Bleak Future

A displaced ethnic Kachin family in a camp in the Kachin Baptist Church in the Myanmar-China border town Muse in northern Shan State.

Many forced from their homes by fighting, conditions are grim for the Kachin people in north-eastern Myanmar.
By Brennan O`Connor
July 10, 2014

The rain is coming down hard, flooding some of the temporary canvas shelters provided by the UNHCR. Families are moving their bedding into the church’s community hall where they will sleep for the night. Despite the obvious discomforts the hundreds of ethnic Kachin recently displaced by fighting in northern Shan State can still count their blessings. At the Kachin Baptist Church (KBC) in Muse; a trade city in north-eastern Myanmar on the border with China, they are safe, especially Zau Gun. He was captured by the Tatmadaw (Myanmar armed forces) and forced to carry heavy mortar rounds as they fought against some of his own people: an alliance of Kachin, Ta’ang and Shan armed groups. With the rain bearing down on the tin roof of one of the church’s offices, Zau Gun tells his sad story.

“At the time I was so afraid, I thought I was going to die,” he recalled. In the early afternoon, several days afterfighting broke out between the Tatmadaw and ethnic rebels nearby, about 100 government soldiers from Light Infantry Division 88 arrived at his little village in Munggu Township. At gunpoint, they spared no time in collecting all the villagers for questioning, separating the men and boys from the women and girls.

“Are you a soldier? Where is your gun?” they asked him. “I don’t have gun,” he answered. By then, his four children were bawling at the sight of their father with hands tied while six soldiers loomed menacingly over him. They told Zau Gun he would be killed if his wife who was tending their vegetable plot didn’t return home; she arrived moments later.

“They took four of us as porters that day,” he recalled in a confident voice, which seemed in stark contrast to what he had endured.

The men were forced to carry the soldiers’ ammunition as they travelled on foot around the front line, sporadically fighting with the ethnic armed groups. “They told me they won’t withdraw from the area until they kill all the Kachin people,” Zau Gun said.

“We weren’t allowed to speak to each other,” he said, explaining they kept them together at night, but if they stirred in their sleep they would investigate.

Exhausted and sick from carrying heavy loads for long hours at a time, Zau Gun asked a captain to release him on the seventh day. Once free, he returned to his village only to discover it was abandoned. Eventually Zau Gun was reunited with his family in the nearby Wing Seng village where many of the displaced had gathered. Days later, he heard one of the other porters had escaped; the remaining two were released less than a week later.


Wasbir HussainExec Dir, Centre for Devp & Peace Studies, Guwahati & Visiting Fellow, IPCS, New Delhi 

India and China signed three MoUs during Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari’s recent five-day visit to Beijing from 26 Jun–1 Jul. One of them was on the ‘flood data’ of the Brahmaputra River – also called the Yarlung Tsangpo in China. In the past, we have heard of similar MoUs between the two neighbours on the Brahmaputra, and it is all about the sharing of the hydrological data of Brahmaputra River during monsoons. In the latest MoU on the subject that was signed on 30 Jun – in presence of Indian Vice President Ansari and his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao – Beijing agreed to provide 15 days’ additional hydrological data - from 15 May 15 to 15 Oct each year.

Bluntly put, the latest MoU on the Brahmaputra flood data means nothing as an additional 15 days worth of hydrological information will not enable India to deal with the problem any differently. What India needs is input from the Chinese side on dams and other projects Beijing is pursuing or intends to pursue based on the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo. The510 MW Zangmu dam built at the Gyaca County in the Shannan Prefecture of China’s TAR is expected to be commissioned next year. What must be noted is that Beijing has givenclearance for the construction of 27 other dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo River that flows 1625 km across China, and 918 km through India in its downstream course.

Moreover, China actually plans to divert water at the Great Bend, located just before where the river enters India, also known as the "Shoumatan Point"; and also intends to build hydroelectric power projects that could generate 40,000 MWs of power. The plan to divert the Brahmaputra is a reality because China wants to solve the water scarcity in its arid northern areas. The diversion of the water is part of a larger hydro-engg project, the South-North water diversion scheme, which involves three man-made rivers carrying water to its northern parts. If the water is diverted, the water levels of the Brahmaputra will drop significantly, affecting India's Northeastern region, and Bangladesh. Estimates suggest that the total water flow will fall by roughly 60% if China successfully diverts the Brahmaputra. Besides, it will severely impact agriculture and fishing as the salinity of water will increase, as will silting in the downstream area.

China Developing a New Hypersonic Air-Launched Cruise Missile

Bill Gertz
July 9, 2014
Washington Free Beacon

Report Reveals Chinese Military Developing New Scramjet-Powered Hypersonic Missile

China’s military is working on a jet-powered hypersonic cruise missile in addition to an advanced high-speed glide warhead that was tested earlier this year.

A Chinese technical journal disclosed new details of research on what China’s defense researchers are calling a hypersonic cruise vehicle.

A line drawing of the scramjet-powered vehicle shows that the concept being studied for eventual construction is nearly identical to an experimental National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scramjet vehicle called the X-43.

Publication of details of work on the powered hypersonic cruise vehicle indicates China is pursuing a second type of ultra-fast maneuvering missile capable of traveling at speeds of up to Mach 10—nearly 8,000 miles per hour. Such speeds create huge technical challenges for weapons designers because of the strain on materials and the difficulty of control at high velocities.

Large numbers of Chinese military writings in recent years have focused on hypersonic flight. However, few have addressed scramjet powered hypersonic flight.

The Washington Free Beacon first disclosed Jan. 13 that China has conducted the first test of an unpowered hypersonic glide vehicle that U.S. intelligence agencies believe will be used to deliver strategic nuclear warheads through U.S. missile defenses.

The January test of the Wu-14 hypersonic vehicle signaled the beginning of what analysts say is the start of a new high-technology arms race to build high speed maneuvering strike vehicles.

The United States is developing both scramjet-powered and glide-hypersonic missiles. Russia’s government has made development of hypersonic missiles a priority.

The Chinese report outlines in technical detail how a scramjet-powered cruise vehicle operates at speeds greater than Mach 5 and discusses how to integrate airframe design with scramjet propulsion.

A scramjet is an engine that uses supersonic airflow to compress and combust fuel, creating a highly efficient propulsion system with few parts.

The report analyzed “preliminary design methods for airframe/engine integrative configuration.”

The analysis “may serve as a basis for quick preliminary design and performance evaluation of airframe/engine integrative configuration” for a future Chinese hypersonic cruise vehicle, the report said.

If You Do Business in China, You Are Going to Be Spied On by Chinese Intelligence

Nina Xiang
July 9, 2014

Corporate Espionage Impacts Doing Business In China

A sex tape is always intriguing.

In this case, my curiosity was aroused by a secretly-filmed alleged sex tape of the former China head of British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and his girlfriend, which was sent to senior executives at GSK as a teaser for whistler-blower documents.

So I talked with Steven Feldman, professor of business ethics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, about it.

He shared with me some anecdotes about hidden surveillance while doing business in China. For example, he say he knows one major American company that had an office in Shanghai. The board of directors of the company wanted to come over to Shanghai to have a board meeting. But the company’s China head was unable to get the electronic bugs out from his boardroom, because it’s illegal to own the equipment to search for electronic eavesdropping in China.

Another company said they had to be very careful when buying new buildings in China because a lot of the office buildings are filled with electronic eavesdropping bugs.

Finally, an executive of an American company sent a fax from his hotel in China to the U.S. to get advice on a business deal. Later, when he talked to his Chinese counterpart, surprisingly (or not), the Chinese already knew the content of the fax.

Prof. Feldman’s advice? Foreign companies need to be very careful guarding their information while doing business in China.

He also talked with me about his observation of China’s current anti-corruption campaign, and what kind of role “the middleman” plays in China’s complicated business environment.

Please click here to read or listen to all the interesting insights Prof. Feldman had to share.

Ukraine’s Pro-Putin Rebels Prepare for a Last Stand

Driven out of a major stronghold by the Ukrainian army, separatists have pulled back to the east’s biggest city. 

DONETSK, Ukraine — They call it the “authority bra”: The push-up undergament worn by a certain type of female official in the more Soviet parts of Eastern Europe is not about sex but power—and it works. (Try standing up to officialdom with that amount of cleavage brandished at you.) It’s a popular look in Donetsk and was worn like a flak jacket by the formidable ticket collector who ushered me off the train at the central station of city waiting for a siege. Kiev was a world away. 

I arrived on Saturday, July 5, and the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, the headquarters of the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk” (DNR), had gone into lockdown. Following Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko’s June 30 announcement of the end of a unilateral ceasefire between the government and pro-Russia separatists, news was coming through that the Ukrainian army had pushed DNR forces out of the nearby town of Slavyansk after three months of heavy fighting. 

The city streets were almost empty. Nobody was enjoying the weekend sunshine. Outside DNR headquarters, the city’s occupied central administration building, several bored-looking, tattooed militia guarding the entrance fiddled listlessly with their Kalashnikovs. 

Since pro-Russia separatists took control of the city three months ago all journalists need official accreditation from the DNR press office to work in the city. After a cursory search of my bag I entered the building. Months of occupation have not been kind and rubbish is strewn across the entrance hall. Taped to the wall is an exasperated sign: “Don’t be a pig. Clean up after yourself.” 

The city is now bracing for imminent conflict. Fighters have been pouring in from Slavyansk. 

The press office is housed on the fifth floor and run by Claudia, an efficient woman who is trying her best to arrange my accreditation and organize interviews with DNR officials. Information on the situation, she explains, is scarce. What is clear is that several thousand DNR fighters led by Igor Strelkov (the head of the Donbass people’s militia) have left Slavyansk in convoy and are, she says, on their way to Donetsk, though she has no idea where they are now or when they will arrive.The original plan was to go to Kramatorsk but, she says, it seems the Ukrainian army has captured that town, too. 

Everyone in the office seems aware that the conflict may just have entered its end game and people are discussing worst-case scenarios. Just in front of Claudia’s desk sit two men in their early 20s—one with tousled dark hair and a slack jaw, and a dirty blond with a partial squint. Their functions remain unclear. “What’s the drill if all electronic communications are cut?” says dark-hair. “We use birds, right?” His friend grunts in agreement. “What were they again?” he continues. “Chickens, swans?” 

Israeli Ground Invasion of Gaza Strip Viewed As Increasingly Likely

July 10, 2014
Israeli ground operation in Gaza increasingly likely, risking unintended escalation involving Syria and Hizbullah
IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly

Israeli soldiers stand guard at a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border after a night of rocket fire, on 9 July 2014. Source: PA
Key Points 

Hamas is seeking to draw Israel into a ground invasion of Gaza, as the group’s military wing seeks to re-establish itself as the key decision-maker, and to return the movement to its origins as a resistance organisation. 

The Hamas-Israel conflict is unlikely to end in the coming week or two, and a ground invasion in which Israeli troops will be vulnerable to ambush and anti-tank rockets is increasingly probable. 

Frequent rocket fire is likely to target key Israeli assets such as ports and airports, which will probably force their shut down. Risks of actual physical damage will be strongly mitigated by the Iron Dome missile defence system, but will increase political pressure for a ground invasion. There will be a high risk of a three-front war if Hizbullah attempts to relieve pressure on Hamas by attacking Israeli positions along the Golan Heights and Shebaa farms, or firing rockets from south Lebanon. 


Hamas appears to be seeking to draw Israel into a ground invasion of Gaza, in which Hamas calculates it can inflict heavy casualties on Israel. However, this risks an unintended escalation that draws Syria and Hizbullah into the fray.

Hamas’s military wing, the Ezz Eddine al-Qassam Brigades, on 8 July sent a seaborne unit to attack an Israeli position in Askhalon, southern Israel; and fired rockets against Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and against Jerusalem, which were intercepted by Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.

IHS had assessed that Hamas does not desire an escalation at a time when it is besieged by Egypt and has just reconciled with President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Movement. However, it appears that the military wing of Hamas is seeking an escalation with Israel in an attempt to force Israel and Egypt to end the siege of Gaza and restore Hamas’s credibility as a resistance movement, as they perceive that the political processes of peace with Israel and reconciliation with Fatah have failed. An IHS source claims that Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal has lost control over the militant arm, and that he was not aware of the military wing’s intent to launch rockets against central Israel or of the 12 June kidnapping and subsequent killing of three teenage Israeli settlers.

For its part, Israel on 8 July authorised the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to call up to 40,000 reservists, and conducted hundreds of air raids on Gaza. It would take Israel two to three days to recruit the reservists. The exact number of reservists it calls in will be the key indicator of Israel’s intent to launch a ground invasion.


During the 1996 Israel-Hizbullah conflict, Hizbullah succeeded in imposing new rules on Israel, forcing the latter to accept that the militant group would retaliate against attacks on Lebanese civilians by attacking Israeli civilians. Hizbullah’s objective was to sideline civilians and change the nature of the conflict with Israel into a war of attrition waged by its guerrilla arm against the IDF in southern Lebanon. For Hizbullah, the 1996 conflict succeeded in forcing Israel to limit its retaliation options against Hizbullah, and, despite a ceasefire being agreed, fighting continued and many Israeli soldiers were killed or wounded until Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.

Despite the loss of life, each conflict with Israel ended with Hizbullah expanding its arsenal, improving the sophistication of its forces, and expanding the set of targets that it could attack in Israel, as well as the number, range and firing rate of its rockets.

Hamas is seeking to draw Israel into a ground invasion into Gaza, as it calculates that it can impose a high number of military casualties on Israel using ambushes against dismounted infantry and Kornet missiles against armour. Moreover, Hamas probably assesses that a ground invasion would be an opportunity to capture Israeli soldiers, which can then be used to negotiate prisoner exchanges and the easing of the blockade by Israel and Egypt.

Hamas calculates that by expanding the range of its rockets, it can impose significant economic damage on Israel by forcing its civilians into shelters, ports to shut down for fear of ships being hit by wayward rockets, and airports to close, while at the same time disrupting the mid-year tourism season. This, in Hamas’s view, compensates for Israel’s disproportionate ability to inflict damage on infrastructure and private properties and its ability to impose a very high number of casualties, both military and civilians. Hamas is extremely unlikely to have taken the escalatory steps of launching a raid on Ashkalon and firing rockets at central Israel without Iranian assurances that Iran would rearm the group and help it rebuild its capabilities after this ongoing round of conflict ends, as it did following the 2008 and 2012 conflicts.


The Israeli military sees the need to regularly reduce the capability of Israel’s Arab rivals through frequent, limited military confrontations at a time of its choosing in which the IDF overwhelms its foes with its firepower. However, Hizbullah and Hamas have succeeded in building up their capability after each conflict with Israel. This led Israel to attempt to destroy Hizbullah entirely in the 2006 conflict, an objective it failed to achieve partly due to its heavy reliance on airpower.

Israel fears that a success in the P5+1-Iran nuclear negotiations, at least by the end of 2014 if not in the coming weeks, would allow Iran to significantly boost the funding of Hamas and Hizbullah, and to recreate a similar movement in Syria. As such, there is a high probability that Israel would calculate that it needs to weaken Hizbullah and Syria ahead of the conclusion of the negotiations. An Israeli war with Syria and Hizbullah would inflict heavy damage against Israel due to Syria and Hizbullah’s ability to fire a high number of rockets. However, Israel would probably calculate that by severely damaging the Syrian and Lebanese armies, it would force Hizbullah into a longer war against the Sunnis, which Israel would use to its advantage. Moreover, Israeli officials have regularly said that a war with Hizbullah is a question of when, not if.


In the increasingly likely event of a ground invasion by the IDF against Gaza, there will be a high risk of Hizbullah choosing to relieve pressure on Hamas by conducting attacks on Israel’s northern border, either in the Golan Heights or in Lebanon itself. IHS assesses that Hizbullah was probably responsible for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack south of the Golan’s Majdal Shams in March 2014, to which Israel responded by shelling Syrian army positions. Although Hizbullah most likely does not wish to fight on two fronts as it is engaged in a war on the side of the Syrian army, and increasingly so in Iraq, it will probably calculate that Israel does not wish to fight a two-front war either. This risks drawing both sides into an escalation that neither side wants but that is based on the two sides misreading one another’s strategic intentions, and raises the risk of a four-way conflict involving the Syrian military’s missile forces, Hizbullah, Hamas, and Israel.


Hamas’s escalation makes it unlikely that Israel would be able to avoid a ground invasion of Gaza, despite its evident reluctance, although it will attempt to limit this to attacks on Gaza’s fringes, and will seek to avoid being drawn in deeply into Gazan territory. However, Hamas is likely to fire its longer-range rockets, such as the Buraq-70 and the Fajr-5, from deep within Gaza in order to force Israel’s hand. This would bring Israeli targets such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem, including ports and airports there, into range.

Hamas is likely to be able to fire up to around 10 missiles per day towards central Israel, and the port cities of Askhelon and Haifa. The risk of damage is strongly mitigated by the Iron Dome. However, Iron Dome in southern Israel risks being overwhelmed by the intensity of the rocket fire: on 8 July, Hamas and other groups fired up to 80 missiles in a matter of minutes. However, this risk will be very low around Haifa and Tel Aviv, against which Hamas is almost certainly unable to sustain this kind of firing rate.

Moreover, in the event of a ground invasion against Gaza leads to a high number of Israeli military casualties, there will be a severe risk of lightly armed Israeli settlers attacking nearby Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and of attacks by lightly armed Israeli citizens against Israeli Arabs in Haifa, Nazareth, and East Jerusalem. This will raise civil unrest risks throughout Israel, as well as the risk of Palestinian protesters in the West Bank attempting to breach the Barrier Wall that separates the West Bank from Israel proper.

Last, although Israel and Hizbullah will both seek to avoid a two-front war, there is a risk that Hizbullah action against Israel aimed at relieving pressure on Hamas would lead to a broader conflagration, as a result of Hizbullah miscalculating and of Israel seeking to weaken Hizbullah ahead of a final Iran-P5+1 agreement.

The Coming War with the Caliphate

July 10, 2014

The Coming War with the Caliphate

Osama bin Laden may be dead, but his vision of an Islamic caliphate transcending traditional international borders is becoming a reality in the form of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS has transformed itself from a terror group into a viable proto-state with a civil governance arm and a regular army capable of taking and holding cities and defeating the conventional armies of established nation-states. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi has declared ISIS a Caliphate with himself as Caliph. This new proto-nation is every bit as dangerous to United States security as was the original al Qaeda infestation in Afghanistan. It now has a former Iraqi chemical weapons production facility and a number of fighters who have U.S. passports. We will have to fight them eventually. That war will not come under this administration, and if it does, any action taken will likely be some feckless combination of airstrikes and halfhearted aid to the Iraqi government; that would be throwing good money after bad at this point.

When that war comes it should not be a counterinsurgency or a series of pinprick counterterrorist strikes merely designed to take out the leadership of ISIS. The capabilities of the new Caliphate have gone far beyond mere insurgency or terrorism. If the Caliphate is to be defeated, it will require a series of ground actions using large combined arms forces to destroy the conventional military forces in the areas where they have gained control. I am not suggesting a refight of the ground war in Iraq. This is not about helping Maliki who has made his own bed, nor is it about helping either the Syrian rebels or the Assad regime in Syria. Those are other sets of issues. The coming war will be about naked U.S. self- interest and eliminating a threat before it coalesces enough to attack us in our homeland. If we buy the Iraqis time to get their act together or help the Syrian moderate rebels by eliminating extremists in the Syrian anti-Assad ranks, it would be icing on the cake, but destroying ISIS' conventional military capability would be the primary objective.

Why are ground forces needed? Although the armed forces of the new born Caliphate are experienced regulars, they are largely composed of light infantry that can easily blend into the Sunni population. Al Baghdadi knows that tanks and armored vehicles are easy targets for U.S. airpower and will largely eschew them. Armored vehicles are also hard to maintain; at this stage in its development ISIS forces don't need them. It will take boots on the ground to root out the foreign fighters from the civilian population; an indiscriminant air bombing campaign would make permanent enemies of the Sunni populations of Iraq and Syria that the Islamist forces of the caliphate have infested.

What would such a campaign look like? Each fight would resemble the Second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, but with one major difference. Once the areas where the conventional military power of the Caliphate are eliminated; we leave. The Syrians and Iraqis will have to sort out the aftermath. We tried nation building and it didn't work. Once the Caliphate's conventional military capability to project power and governance institutions have been eliminated, the organization formally known as ISIS will revert back to the status of a non-state terrorist organization.

Seized nuclear material in Iraq 'low grade': U.N. agency

VIENNA Thu Jul 10, 2014 

The flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flies in front of its headquarters during a board of governors meeting in Vienna November 28, 2013.

(Reuters) - The U.N. atomic agency said on Thursday it believed nuclear material which Iraq said had fallen into the hands of insurgents was "low grade" and did not pose a significant security risk. 

Iraq told the United Nations that the material was used for scientific research at a university in the northern town of Mosul and appealed for help to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad". 

Iraq's U.N. envoy this week also said that the government had lost control of a former chemical weapons facility to "armed terrorist groups" and was unable to fulfil its international obligations to destroy toxins kept there. 

An al Qaeda offshoot, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, took over swathes of Syria and Iraq before renaming itself Islamic State in June and declaring its leader caliph - a title held by successors of the Prophet Mohammad. 

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "is aware of the notification from Iraq and is in contact to seek further details", IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said. 

"On the basis of the initial information we believe the material involved is low grade and would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk," she said. "Nevertheless, any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern." 

Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a July 8 letter that nearly 40 kg (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at the university. 

"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," he said.