17 July 2014

Cast a wider Net

Hardeep S Puri 
17 July 2014
Source Link

The revelation explains a phenomenon that earlier appeared inscrutable, that of employees of multinational internet and telecom majors masquerading as spokespersons of the Indian telecom and internet industry.

The summoning of the US charge d’affaires to South Block on July 2 on the issue of snooping by the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) was a welcome step. The revelation that the BJP was targeted for snooping as long ago as 2010 is not at all surprising. It can now be mentioned that immediately after India was elected to the United Nations Security Council in 2010, a request was made by the permanent mission of India in New York to South Block, asking for safeguards against precisely such an eventuality.

By no stretch of definition can the then main opposition party in India or, for that matter, the Indian delegation to the UN, be regarded as requiring surveillance by the NSA if the concern is anchored in the desire to counter terrorism. Equally, to try to defend the sweeping collection of phone and internet records on the grounds that it was only gathering “metadata” is profoundly misleading.

The radio silence from the UPA government on revelations by Edward Snowden almost two years ago that the NSA engaged in massive snooping operations at a global level, including telephone conversations of leaders of other countries, was in marked contrast to reactions from other countries. Brazil’s cancellation of a state visit to Washington DC at the invitation of President Barack Obama and the public expression of outrage, including the recent expulsion of the senior-most intelligence operative by Germany, a close ally of the US and Nato partner, stand out in contrast. The Indian protest under the UPA was low-level, belated, feeble and pro forma.

It would have been embarrassing for the government of India to condemn such a practice by the US if, for example, Vodafone and/ or AT&T were to come out with a public assertion in response that they were extending similar services to India at the request of the then government. Recent revelations by Vodafone that India was among the governments which asked it to snoop/ wire-tap calls, e-mails and text messages going into and out of the country have surprisingly not received the attention they should have.


 Claude Arpi
17 July 2014
Source Link

If India is to ever know the full story about itself, and to share it with the rest of the world, the Government has to make official records and documents accessible to the people

The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report is in the news again; for the wrong reason this time. The Rajya Sabha was informed by Minister for Defence Arun Jaitley that “the Henderson Brooks report on 1962 Indo-China war is a ‘top secret document’ and disclosure of any information about it would not be in the national interest.” Strange, I thought, since the old Australian journalist Neville Maxwell had ‘released’ most of it in March.

At that time, Mr Jaitley had rightly written on his blog that it was not in the larger public interest to keep documents ‘top secret’ indefinitely. “Any society is entitled to learn from the past mistakes and take remedial action. With the wisdom of hindsight, I am of the opinion that the report’s content could have been made public some decades ago,” he wrote.

It is irrelevant why the Defence Minister has changed his mind; he probably realised that in the annexure, some maps would have shown that in 1962 India had set up posts in areas which were not in all certainty part of Indian territory. The Defence Ministry could have easily released the report keeping some annexure and maps as ‘classified’; that would have avoided a new controversy. Was Mr Jaitley’s mind possibly too much on the Budget?

A debate is nevertheless healthy because the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report is only the tip of an iceberg. At a time when the Prime Minister speaks of good governance, transparency and accountability, the fact that there is no proper professional declassification policy in India, is quite appalling. As a result, for decades, the history of modern India, has been hijacked by one party. Very few today realise the extent to which history has been confiscated. One could ask, why is it so important for a nation to know its past. Mr Jaitley was right when he said a society is entitled to learn from its past mistakes, but for this, history has to be based on the nation’s own archival sources.

To give an example, recently two known scholars of the University of Cambridge, Ms Lezlee Brown Halper and Mr Stepan Halper, wrote a book titled, Tibet — an Unfinished Story. The book is mainly based on American documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, which ensures public access to all US Government records. The FOIA legally carries a presumption of disclosure; the burden is on the Government — not the public —to substantiate why information should not be released.

After receiving a written demand, any US agency is required to disclose the requested records, unless it can be lawfully withheld from disclosure under one of nine specific exemptions in the FOIA. If not satisfied, an appellant is entitled to appeal to a federal court.

Finally, the solution to a vexatious dispute


Finally, the solution to a vexatious dispute
Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty

A DISPUTE that had defied solution since Partition ended on July 7, 2014 when the Arbitration Tribunal on the India-Bangladesh Maritime Delimitation delivered its ruling. The court had concluded its hearings on December 18, 2013. The Arbitration Tribunal for the Delimitation of Maritime Boundary between Bangladesh and India was established under Annexure VII of the UN Convention of Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and was set up under the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, Netherlands. The Award of the Tribunal is binding on all parties. There is no provision for appeal. The rules of procedures, however, permit a party to seek any interpretation of the verdict within 30 days of receiving the verdict and the interpretation would be made available within 45 days.

International arbitration

Bangladesh took a sudden high level political decision to go for international arbitration in 2009, after 40 years of wrangling and disagreement between the two sides. The positions of the two sides had become entrenched and negotiations had reached a dead end. Bangladesh’s decision to seek international arbitration had surprised India. As High Commissioner to Bangladesh during 2009, the author was summoned by Foreign Minister Dipu Moni who sprung the decision in this hurriedly arranged meeting. She insisted on speaking to Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and the author had to call on his mobile and arrange the conversation. Dipu Moni kept pacing up and down the meeting room, clearly tense and nervous and wanted to convey the Bangladesh government’s decision personally to the Indian External Affairs Minister. The Sheikh Hasina government had assumed power after a period of political turmoil in Bangladesh and the Indian government, in a spirit of friendship and accommodation, accepted Bangladesh’s decision and agreed to international arbitration.

Final award
It is note-worthy that the total area under question is about 3,66,854 sq km. India had claimed that this area should be divided in the ratio of 1: 3.44 in favour of India while Bangladesh had claimed that it should divided in the ratio of 1: 1.52.
The award has finally split the area in question into 1 : 2.81 in favour of India which is clearly closer to India’s claim.
A confusing aspect of the award is the concept of grey areas, wherein India enjoys rights over the water column and Bangladesh over the seabed and subsoil.
This will merit closer examination and will require considerable cooperation between India and Bangladesh.

Dealing with ‘expansionist’ China

Trade relations won't make China soften its border claims
G Parthasarathy
Source Link

Prime Minister Modi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the BRICS Summit in Brazil on Tuesday. AFP

ADDRESSING an election rally in Arunachal Pradesh on February 22, Mr Narendra Modi called on China to shed its “mindset of expansionism”. He averred: “Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and will remain so. No power can snatch it from us. I swear in the name of this soil that I would never allow this state to disappear, break down, or bow down. China should shed its expansionist mindset and forge bilateral ties with India for peace, progress and prosperity of both nations”. China made the predictable noises, with Prime Minister Li Keqiang congratulating Mr. Modi on his appointment and President Xi Jinping sending his Foreign Minister Wang Yi with a personal message of greetings.

Did these gestures signal any substantive change in China’s policies, either on its outrageous territorial claims on Arunachal Pradesh or the continuing intrusion of its troops across the Line of Actual Control? The answer is clearly in the negative. Just on the eve of Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s visit to the Middle Kingdom, China published yet another official map depicting Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. While the UPA government had claimed that new “mechanisms” had been agreed upon to curb cross-border intrusions, the intrusions continued.

Any talk of a more robust military response to Chinese adventurism is ill-advised. The NDA government has inherited a situation where our armed forces are inadequately equipped and lacking in numbers. It would take a minimum of five years before the armed forces are adequately equipped and manned to be able to present a more self-confident response to Chinese adventurism. New Delhi should, however, now reorient its diplomacy by taking note of the fact that Chinese assertiveness is directed not only against India, but also towards all its maritime neighbours with unilateral declarations on delineation of its maritime boundaries.

Just as China's claims on Arunachal Pradesh have no legal or historical basis, its claims on its maritime boundaries with all its maritime neighbours are in violation of the UN Convention on the Laws of the Seas. China has used force to seize disputed islands claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam and to explore for offshore oil and gas. Tensions with Japan are escalating because of China’s claims to Senkaku Islands, controlled by Japan since 1894. China's unilateral declaration of an “Air Defence Identification Zone” beyond its borders has been rejected by South Korea and Japan. Its territorial claims on its maritime borders face challenges from South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Defeat Talibanisation

The Statesman, 17 Jul 2014
kuldip nayar

I find it strange that New Delhi is not seriously considering the pros and cons of what happens once the American and Nato forces reduce their presence in Afghanistan to just a few thousand troops. US Secretary of State Kerry has visited Kabul to devise policy for after the withdrawal. But New Delhi is not in the picture.

No doubt, most Afghans have the best goodwill towards India because it has helped them to set up hospitals, schools and build roads. Yet Islamabad, which considers Afghanistan its “strategic depth,” wants the country to be its satellite. New Delhi has tried to persuade Islamabad to let Kabul be independent and sovereign, but Pakistan has not bitten the bullet.
It all started when the Soviet Union sent its forces into Afghanistan to impose their ideology on a state which was saturated with Islamic ideas. America used the opportunity to bleed the Soviet Union by training fundamentalists in Pakistan to make inroads into Afghanistan without considering the long-term repercussions. And once the Soviet Union started retreating from Afghanistan, Washington lost all interest in the territory, leaving behind arms and other equipment in the field itself. The fundamentalists used those weapons to propagate their strict and disciplinarian interpretation of Islam.

Islamabad had in its mind the use of armed and trained Taliban against India and there are numerous examples to testify that insurgency in Kashmir was nothing but a by-product of a bigoted stance to shut out the participation of non-Muslims in governance, however unwittingly demanded. I recall when I met in Kabul a leader from the Masud group, anti-Taliban in ideology and pro-India in its approach; he told me that the road to Kabul goes through Islamabad and if New Delhi was really interested in stopping the tide of fundamentalists, it should have a serious dialogue with Pakistan.

It is a pity that India refused to have any truck with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was Pakistan’s confidante. No doubt, he is a nasty person to deal with, but if we had fixed our eyes on the situation that would develop a decade later, we could have swallowed some of his anti-India rhetoric. But all this is now history. The two countries, particularly India, should formulate some strategy to thwart the Taliban onslaught, which is bound to take place once they are sure that the Western forces are not in a position to match their weapons.

Pounding Gaza with impunity

Vijay Prashad
July 17, 2014 

APLIFE AND HOPE: The Palestinians will have to pick up the pieces, with aid from U.N. agencies, the Arab states, and their own resilience. Picture shows a bombed residential complex in southern Gaza.

With Gaza reduced to Hamas, 1.8 million people who live in Gaza are made responsible for Hamas. This is the doctrine of collective responsibility, illegal by international law

On July 9, the second day of the Israeli assault on Gaza, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, had three Palestinian Members of Parliament removed from the room: Ahmed Tibi of the Arab Movement for Change as well as Ibrahim Sarsour and Masud Ghnaim of the United Arab List. Their crime: being critical of the Israeli attack on Gaza, which has by now claimed close to 200 Palestinian lives and injured almost a 1,000 Palestinians. Mr. Feiglin, who has said that Arabs are “a gang of bandits,” then offered his own military strategy. The Israeli government, he said, should cut off electricity to Gaza so that its hospitals would be paralysed. “The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza,” he said, “is not redder than the blood of our IDF [Israel armed forces] soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter [Gaza].”

Mr. Feiglin is not alone. During Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad wrote in The Jerusalem Post that Israel needs “to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima — the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki too.” This year, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that it was time to “eradicate the Hamas regime in Gaza.”

Hibernation of terror

Israel justifies its actions by saying that Hamas has a “culture of death,” which can only be confronted by death itself. Hamas, however, denies that it had anything to do with the abduction and murder of the three Israeli teenagers and says that it has not violated the 2012 ceasefire. Its rockets fired after Israel began its aerial bombing of Gaza. Israeli politicians have rhetorically conflated Hamas with everything bad that ever happens in the region — “Hamas” has come to stand for the devil. With Gaza reduced to Hamas, 1.8 million people who live on the Gaza Strip (140 square miles) are made responsible for Hamas. This is a classic definition of the doctrine of collective responsibility, illegal by international law.

What does the language of “flatten” and “eradication” mean in the context where a politician calls for dialysis patients to be killed and hospitals to be bombed? So far, Israeli bombs have hit al-Wafa hospital, which is why international solidarity activists have now moved in as a human shield to protect the facility. Israeli bombs also flattened the Center for Disability in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, killing two disabled girls. At least forty children are confirmed killed by Israel strikes over the first four days of the Operation.

Hospitals are not the only sites that have been hit. The U.N. agency that runs schools in Palestine, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, reports that nine of its schools have been hit in Gaza City, Middle Area, North Area, Khan Younis and Rafah. The UN’s organisation for humanitarian affairs, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), provided numbers of the dead and mentioned that because the water and sewer infrastructure has been struck, 350,000 Gazans have lost these services. Three quarters of Gaza has no electricity — Feiglin’s hope is close to realisation. Jens Laerke of UNOCHA said, “Our aid workers on the ground report that people in Gaza are gripped by fear, the streets are empty and the shops are closed.” Gaza, in other words, has gone into the hibernation of terror.

Lessons from the Henderson Brooks Report

15 Jul , 2014

Lessons from the Henderson Brooks Report

The Government’s ‘White Paper’ relating to India-China Boundary issue, published between 1951 and 1960, clearly indicated the adversarial bilateral relations between India and China. The increasingly acrimonious exchanges on the boundary question indicated that it could precipitate matters and result in armed clashes. The incident in Longju on August 25, 1959 and Kongka Pass on October 21, 1959 were pointers to the determination and political will of China to stake her claims even at the cost of a war. This should have been the turning point for India; she should have begun preparing for an armed showdown to secure her territorial integrity. Raising of additional Infantry and Artillery units and formation Head Quarters, raising of Headquarters IV Corps, augmenting the transport fleet, inducting additional helicopters and transport aircraft, constructing roads, and redeploying forces to meet possible contingencies should have been commenced in right earnest then. Such preparation was mandatory to support a strategic decision of the magnitude as was emerging.

“Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear…….when there is mutual fear men think twice before they make aggressions upon another” —Hermocrates as attributed by Thucydides

This Report was ordered by the Chief of Army Staff to record the events of the 1962 War…

After fifty years the Henderson Brooks – Bhagat Singh Report (herein after referred to as Report) has wormed its way into the public domain through a foreign source. It is intriguing that a copy of the Report was accessed by a foreign journalist who was evidently treated to a ‘personal’ copy of a highly classified document. It may be asked whether the copy with Maxwell was a draft copy or one of the final copies. How was it accounted for? Our desperate desire to please the ‘white man’ is so very clear from this episode.

As has always been stated by the Army, this Report was ordered by the Chief of Army Staff to record the events of the 1962 War as they unfolded and analyse the details of the course of tactical level of operations to draw relevant lessons. Unfortunately, the Government of the day did not think it necessary to order a similar inquiry into the decision making process which involved the Ministries of Defence (MoD), External Affairs (MEA), Home Affairs (MHA), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Cabinet Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). After all, the MoD or the Cabinet Secretary’s office would have had the secretarial responsibility at all meetings at the highest level of government decision making. The cover up by the Government of India (GOI) includes the arena where the National Security Strategy was formulated and the decision to firstly, draw firm lines depicting the International Boundary with China was taken and secondly, the decision to establish posts as far up to our then stated International Boundary was taken.

It is intended to study the military lessons that emerge at various levels from the War. At the same time, the aim is to assess how these have been incorporated in the military operations planning process in the current scenario to increase the level of preparedness against any misadventure by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

India should have begun preparing for an armed showdown to secure her territorial integrity…

Why Finance Minister Jaitley disappointed Defence Minister Jaitley

Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd)
July 15, 2014 

The finance minister hiked the total defence expenditure from Rs 203,672 crore in FY 2013-2014 to Rs 229,000 crore for FY 2014-2015. Though the increase appears substantial, it is insufficient to undertake the military modernisation necessary to meet the emerging threats, feels Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd).

In the first Budget presented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's National Democratic Alliance government, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley -- who also happens to be India's defence minister -- increased the allocation for defence by about 12.5 per cent over the revised estimates figures for the previous financial year, including a hike of Rs 5,000 crore on the capital account for military modernisation.

He also announced the government's intention to raise the Foreign Direct Investment limit for defence manufacture from 26 to 49 per cent. Though both of these are welcome developments, they fall short of the high expectations that had been generated as the Modi government was perceived to be more concerned about national security and about making India militarily strong than its predecessor.

The finance minister hiked the total defence expenditure from Rs 203,672 crore (revised estimates) in financial year 2013-2014 to Rs 229,000 crore (budgetary estimates) for FY 2014-2015. The increase of Rs 25,328 crore is 12.44 per cent more than the allocation for FY 2013-2014 and Rs 5,000 crore more than the allotment planned in the interim budget presented by the United Progressive Alliance government in February 2014.

Though on the face of it the increase appears to be substantial, it is insufficient to undertake the military modernisation that is necessary to meet the emerging threats and challenges and address the issues of 'critical hollowness' in defence preparedness raised by then army chief General V K Singh in March 2012 in a letter to the then prime minister.

Also, the 12.5 per cent increase will be partially neutralised by the high annual inflation rate that hovers between eight and nine per cent (8.28 per cent in May 2014). Similarly, the steep fall in the value of the rupee against the US dollar and the inflation in the prices of weapons and defence equipment -- that is normally between 12 to 15 per cent per annum -- together erode the value of any increase in the defence budget on the capital account.

The net effect is that the defence budget, which now stands at a low 1.74 per cent of India's projected GDP for FY 2014-2015 and 12.75 per cent of the country's total government expenditure, has been stagnating in real terms in recent years, even if it has not actually declined.

While presenting the Budget, the finance minister said, 'Modernisation of the armed forces is critical to enable them to play their role effectively in the defence of India's strategic interests. I, therefore, propose to increase the outlay for defence by Rs 5,000 crore over the amount provided for in the interim budget.'

Your money, our agenda

J Shivakumar/Inder Sud

Aid agencies should fall in line with India’s policy priorities, which lie in infrastructure

The relevance of foreign aid for India is open to debate. Thirty years back, India topped the list of foreign aid recipients. But foreign aid as a share of GDP has since been shrinking and today, it accounts for less than 0.3 per cent of India’s GDP. Indeed, India now gives more in foreign aid than it receives; 2014-15 indicates aid outflows at $1.3 billion while net foreign aid receipts are $665 million.

There are also questions about the effectiveness of foreign aid. There is an over-emphasis on volume and insufficient emphasis on concrete, measurable outcomes. There are also questions about alignment of donor priorities with those of the country.

Increasingly, in response to pressure from their developed country masters, donors promote difficult social agendas, ignoring the reality that social change can only happen if it is home-grown and not imposed from the outside.

Not surprisingly, a number of middle-income and rapidly developing countries are shying away from foreign aid. Only in a handful of poor countries — generally small, and mostly in Africa — does foreign aid remain a significant player in development.

On the other hand, some successful developing countries — Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Chile from the years past, and China more recently — have been able to prime examples of effective utilisation of available aid.

A strategy for aid

The Modi government, with its ambitious development agenda, can follow a similar strategy. Free-standing analytical, advisory and technical activities should support only India’s development agenda, not the donor’s. The bulk of their investment support should be shifted to large infrastructure development.


By Chintamani Mahapatra

The US’ influence in South Asia is fast diminishing and this trend is likely to continue deep into the future. In the aftermath of World War II, South Asia was considered a strategic backwater by the US policymakers. Additionally, South Asia offered little economic opportunities to the US corporate sector. With the solitary exception of turning Pakistan into an alliance partner, the US cared little about this region.

Even in the realm of alliance politics, the US had little to offer Pakistan. Pakistan’s membership in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and the Central Treaty Organization, and the US’ military assistance to Pakistan was ineffective during Pakistan’s military misadventures against India. It was only after the late 1970s’ Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan that Washington got critically involved in South Asia.

The US’ interest in South Asia deepened in the post-Cold War era in view of Indian economic reforms, nuclearisation of the region and the pivotal role Afghanistan played in the terrorist attack on the US in September 2001. As the US once again turned Pakistan into an alliance partner in the war against terrorism and established an extraordinary strategic understanding with India, South Asia occupied substantial priority in the US national security agenda.

The US’ war in Afghanistan that began in 2001 is about to come to a close. The US troop withdrawal from this country is indisputable. Irrespective of debates over the probable level of US engagement in Afghan affairs post 2014, it is almost certain that the closure of billions of dollars worth of war in Afghanistan will trim Washington’s influence in South Asia. The resilience of the Afghan Taliban and limitation of a superpower’s abilities to confront non-state-actors will question the US’ credibility in the region.

Secondly, the US leverage over Pakistan in the post-Afghan war phase will dry down with an almost automatic cut in the US military and economic assistance to Islamabad. History will unquestionably repeat and the US-Pakistan alliance will terminate, as was the case after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.

Thirdly, the US’ influence over India, resulting from an innovative “strategic partnership” project during former US President George Bush’s era may not survive his successor Barack Obama’s administration. The enthusiasm of the first Obama administration to further elevate this partnership was short-lived and the second Obama administration has paid less than modest attention to India.

There is no doubt that the election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party under the leadership of now Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with a strong popular mandate, has generated sizeable excitement in Washington. Hope of revival of the earlier impetus in the Indo-US strategic partnership has been rekindled. Obama’s invitation to Modi to visit Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal Desai’s trip to India soon after the new government assumed office, visits by influential Senator John McCain and Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns to prepare the ground for the Indo-US strategic dialogue between Secretary of State John Kerry and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj are all signals of Obama’s renewed interest in India.


In recent years, terrorism inspired by religious extremism as increased targeting the international community. Terrorism has become a virus, today no person, no country, no state is safe. China which was more secure than other states is now under the new wave of religious extremism. Those extremists are targeting innocent people, for them life of others is nothing.

Religion, which is supposed to give man relief and a sense of security, has become a set of mere habit, without spirit. With the growing over-emphasis on religious rights, misinterpretation of religious messages and formalism by the orthodox clergy; many youth, intellectuals and the educated are showing signs of silent indifference towards religion. We are facing the multiple challenges, in order to understand the problems of the modern era like growing trends of hostility, religious extremism, terrorism and radicalization in our societies which have broken the social fabric. Thus, leading the world nowhere but towards an ultimate uncertain and catastrophic future which has detrimental effects for our societies.

In this scenario, effected countries need a comprehensive strategy to defeat and de-radicalize those forces.

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a radicalized group which is operating from Xinjiang province of China. It is an Islamist and misinterpreted influenced religious terrorist organization that trains in the lawless boarder area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is part of loosely connected with global terror network. ETIM has planned and carried out many terrorist attacks in China it also links connection with other terrorist’s organizations of other states.

ETIM is using its all tactics to spread its radicalized form of Islam in the Uyghur autonomous region. Last week Chinese government released detailed evidence of how the ETIM is using the internet to incite terrorist activities in China. While, the recent findings show that many terrorists in China are ordinary people who have become religious radicalized by watched online terrorist materials calling for violent Jihad to ensure plane in heaven.

One terrorist namely Mirzat was caught after attacking people at a game room in Hotan, Xinjiang told that he was told that jihad would save me from judgment after death and ensure a place for him in heaven. This religious radicalization of common people may create more problem than regular trained militants because these radicalized people spend their daily life with common people and share and preach their ideas with other. So, it creates a chain of radicalized people who do not care about their life but to killed innocents for the sake of heaven.

In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks, Chinese leaders have assurance that the culprits will be severely punished and increase its security measures. No doubt that Chinese government has the capability and confidence to crack down on the radicalized terrorists. Authorities have arrested and punished many terrorists but only punishment and not enough for this radicalized mindset.

Chinese government should launch a de-radicalization movement in the Xinxiang province. Like other religious radicalized states are active to de-radicalize those elements which are creating problem for the society. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the states which are under this process with different means and methods.

De-radicalization programs for captured jihadi fighters have had mixed success in the different parts of the world. The de-radicalization program of Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan (Swat) and US effort in Iraq are good examples for effective de-radicalization program in China. The authorities should assess and enable program to better focus their resources on individuals who can be de-radicalized while screening out those who cannot be de-radicalized under current conditions. Once evaluated, segregation minimizes detainee networking, and further recruitment and radicalization.

*** China and Strategic Imbalance

By Mohan Malik
July 14, 2014

‘This is the decade of power transitions in Asia.’ 

The recent Shangri-la meeting in Singapore saw some sharp exchanges between Chinese and other participants. Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig protected by more than 80 naval vessels in the South China Sea four days after President Barack Obama’s “reassurance trip” to China’s East Asian neighbors in April 2014 was widely seen as a deliberate and calculated provocation.

Yet China’s move fits a pattern of advancing territorial claims on its periphery through coercion, intimidation, and the threat of force through what may be called “paramilitary operations short of war” (POSOW). China’s drilling rig is also a political statement of Beijing’s resolve and capability to control and exploit the South China Sea and deny it to others – and this message is meant as much for Washington as for Tokyo, Hanoi, Manila, Jakarta, and New Delhi. While exploring oil in the disputed waters, the $1 billion oil rig is supposedly drilling a big hole in Washington’s “pivot strategy” insofar as it undermines Washington’s credibility as regional security anchor or security guarantor. In essence, it makes a mockery of Obama’s security assurances to regional countries against Chinese coercive tactics aimed at changing facts on the ground. Beijing calculates that neither the mighty United States nor China’s weak and small neighbors would respond with force to counter Chinese incremental efforts to turn the South China Sea (SCS) into a “Chinese lake.” China is known for doing things in small steps and piecemeal, quietly, patiently, eventually bringing the pieces together “when the conditions are ripe.”

The key reason for China’s aggressive posturing on the seas is the tectonic shift in Beijing’s strategic environment that occurred following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. For the first time in its long history, China no longer faces any threat whatsoever on its northern frontiers and this immense geopolitical development largely explains Chinese military’s expansionist moves on its eastern seaboard and southwestern frontiers. It is worth recalling that the successive Chinese dynasties built the Great Wall to keep out the troublesome northern Mongol and Manchu tribes that repeatedly overran Han China. In 1433, faced with increasingly bold raids made by Mongols and a growing threat from other Central Asian peoples to its land borders in the northwest, China’s Ming rulers halted Admiral Zheng He’s expensive ocean voyages so as to concentrate their resources on securing the Middle Kingdom’s land borders. From the 18th to 20th centuries, threats first from the ever-expanding Czarist Russia and then the Soviet Union kept the focus of Chinese military planners on their northern frontiers. Except for a very brief period of bonhomie in the 1950s, Beijing was preoccupied throughout the Cold War with the threat from the north until the Soviet collapse in 1991.

Despite Moscow’s geopolitical concerns about Chinese encroachments in Russia’s Far East and the loss of Central Asia to China’s growing influence, President Vladimir Putin – faced with isolation by Europe and the United States following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continuing unrest in eastern Ukraine – has accepted unpalatable terms from China to clinch a massive gas pipeline deal that will diversify Russian energy export markets away from Europe, and make China Russia’s major ally. On a whole range of issues, Russia, along with China, is challenging the postwar international order. Even though China has backed Russia neither on Georgia nor on Crimea, Putin believes the ties between Moscow and Beijing are at their “peak.” If a “Sino-Russian alliance” is being resurrected, then in a complete reversal of roles from the early Cold War era, China – not an economically and demographically shrinking Russia – is the stronger partner in this alliance. As in the past, entanglements in the West have once again led Russia to make concessions in the East. Beijing’s game plan is to make Russia economically dependent on China just as the West has become addicted to the cheap Chinese manufactured goods. India will need to re-calibrate ties with a Russia that plays a second fiddle to China and joins Beijing in arming Pakistan.

How Much Will China’s GDP Continue to Grow?

July 15, 2014

Measuring the country’s true output remains problematic, but some reasonable hypotheses can be made. 

China’s economy appears to be slowing to some extent: the frothy investment in factory expansion and property is cooling, and the government has taken some steps to stimulate the economy. At the same time, a raft of reforms have been promised, from financial reform to serious structural change. As a result of uncertainty caused by the economic slowdown and impending reforms, as well as by existing distortions in measuring GDP, GDP growth has been somewhat unpredictable.

Long-run predictions for China’s GDP growth near 2020 currently range from 5 to 8 percent, a wide enough gap to imply vastly different domestic and international policy shifts. At 8 percent growth, China would be able to maintain its pace of reforms and continue to purchase U.S. treasuries (as long as its exchange rate remained fixed). At 5 percent growth, millions of Chinese workers would become unemployed or underemployed and China would purchase fewer Treasuries, forcing the U.S. to change its own economic model. Much additional internal and external rebalancing would be required as the global engine of growth unwound.

Short-run predictions are closer to the mark. The government quarterly and annual growth target for 2014 is 7.5 percent. Pre-second quarter forecasts were somewhat low until mid-June, with Nomura predicting a 7.4 percent growth rate, Barclays projecting a 7.2 percent growth rate, and JP Morgan forecasting a 6.8 percent growth rate. By mid-June, analysts had increased their estimates to 7.4 percent or 7.5 percent. The short-run forecasts are more accurate since the government target is more or less required (and additional funds may be spent to meet the goal), and since dramatic structural changes are less likely to occur within a quarter, half, or even a year.

However, predictions are difficult when GDP measurement may be inaccurate, even for the present day. China’s GDP calculations have often been viewed as inaccurate – usually overstated – as local officials and sectors inflate production numbers in order to please higher level authorities. GDP data is also collected and calculated by the National Bureau of Statistics within two weeks of the end of a quarter, criticized by some as too fast to be accurate. Some external calculations have not been much better. A World Bank report released in April even stated that China’s GDP was already much larger than had been previously calculated and was poised to overtake the U.S. economy this year. Doubts over the underlying International Comparison Program methodology used in the World Bank study have undermined the impact of results.

The question then remains, how can we measure GDP and how can we predict how much China’s GDP will grow in the long run?

The US Will Make More Strategic Mistakes Than China

July 15, 2014

Ironically, the strengths of the U.S. domestic system are the exact reasons why its foreign policy often makes mistakes. 

As the competition between China and the United States intensifies, an interesting question is who is going to make more strategic mistakes or be more likely to make grave strategic mistakes. The answer to this question will partly determine who is going to win the competition and thus be able to shape international order according to their will. The surprising answer, however, is that the United States is more prone to a fatal strategic error. It is surprising because the U.S. is still the only superpower and much more powerful than China is. Being the more powerful side means that it has more room for strategic errors, and in this case, the U.S. might have more breathing room than China does. Nonetheless, the U.S. is still going to make more strategic mistakes than China does. Why?

Let us first examine the records of both countries’ foreign policies in the last 20 or so years since the end of the Cold War. The record of the U.S. foreign policy is not pretty after the end of the Cold War. As Stephen Walt points out, bad decisions often are made by states, especially great powers. The Iraq War is a big mistake for the U.S., as is the Afghan War. These two wars combined have cost the U.S. between $4 to 6 trillion , according toone study from Harvard University. More importantly, despite such huge costs and tens of thousands of lives lost during the wars, Iraq and Afghanistan are still a mess, as the emergence of ISIS in the former clearly demonstrates. Unfortunately, the U.S. foreign policy establishment does not seem to have learned the lessons yet, as hawks are again calling for intervention. And recently the U.S. is antagonizing both China and Russiasimultaneously, which would be the biggest strategic mistake if China and Russia were to form an alliance against the U.S.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from two major structural problems: fragmentation, with certain key players and/or interest groups having too much influence as a result, and an expansionist liberal ideology.

One can argue, as Walt did, that a small group of neoconservatives engineered the very costly and wasteful Iraq war. Unfortunately for the U.S., it is impossible to limit the influence of such individuals or any other interest groups. Another example is the huge influence of the Israel lobby groups on U.S. foreign policy, as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt convincingly demonstrate. Also, the U.S. Congress hurts U.S. national interests, for example, by opposing UNCLOS despite the fact that many prominent U.S. military officials and politicians support its ratification. Again, in this case it is a small number of Republican Senators who strongly oppose any international treaty, which, in their view, would weaken American sovereignty.

Another structural problem in American foreign policy is its obsession with democracy promotion abroad. While democracy promotion might ultimately be a good goal, the way the U.S. has been doing it is problematic as it often uses force to impose democracy on other states. Scholars have shown that military intervention cannot generate sustainable democratic institutions. Perhaps the U.S. is too ambitious and tries to do too much too soon; it is time now to slow down and do less with restraint, as one prominent strategist argues. Unfortunately again, given the dominant position of liberal ideology within U.S. domestic politics, restraint will never be a popular option unless the U.S. were to suffer a catastrophic defeat.

Chinese infrastructure spreading its tentacles around India?

July 10, 2014 
By : ANI News 

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor linking Kashgar in China with Gwadar Port in Pakistan took another step forward last week, with the announcement of preliminary studies into a railway between the two hubs. 

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor linking Kashgar in China with Gwadar Port in Pakistan took another step forward last week, with the announcement of preliminary studies into a railway between the two hubs.

The 1,800km-long rail link will run through Islamabad and Karachi, as well as disputed territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Zhang Cunlin, director of Xinjiang's Regional Development and Reform Commission, announced this project, which will be enormously expensive considering the mountainous Himalaya terrain the railway must pass over.

There are other latent challenges too, with Pakistani militants conducting brazen attacks against key infrastructure such as airports.

A rail line, which has been in the offing for some time, will add to an earlier deal to improve the existing Karakorum roadway (which will include 200km of tunnels), as well as a proposed pipeline that will allow oil and gas offloaded at Gwadar to be pumped all the way to Xinjiang Province in China.

This USD18 billion corridor, supervised by the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor Secretariat inaugurated last August, will form a major trade gateway between the Middle East/Africa and China.

Chinese infrastructure investment in Pakistan includes Gwadar Port managed by China Overseas Ports Holding since February 2013. An international airport will also be constructed at Gwadar, and a fiber-optic cable will be laid from the Chinese border to Rawalpindi.

Pakistan is not the only beneficiary. China financed Sri Lanka's second international airport as well as Hambantota Port. China is funding Chittagong Port's modernization and a new deep-water facility at Sonadia to meet demand for cargo facilities.

The National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC), currently chaired by Xu Shaoshi, oversees Chinese involvement in these projects. The monolithic NDRC came in from criticism in March 2013 after it mandate was expanded rather than reduced by the National People's Congress. Major state-run corporations and banks (e.g. China Development Bank) are the primary agents executing and funding these contracts.

Such visionary and large-scale infrastructure projects on its periphery have India concerned about potential security implications. Is China deliberately containing and encircling India?

Indian academics and media quickly seized upon the 'string of pearls' theory that China was establishing a series of ports from which to dominate the Indian Ocean region. However, this notion is not backed by any substantive evidence to date, although this is not to say China could exploit such nodes in future years.

Instead, the revival of the 'Silk Road' belt and many other infrastructure projects are perhaps better seen in an economic-security light. China feels particularly vulnerable in that domestic factory floors rely on a regular and secure flow of raw materials and energy resources.

Much of its oil now travels 12,000km by sea through the Malacca Strait chokepoint, for example. In the event of conflict with neighbors and the USA, it would be very easy to place a tourniquet on this arterial lifeblood of the Chinese economy, since the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) does not yet have the strength to deploy long range to fully protect economic interests.

Japan Sweats Its Energy Grid

July 15, 2014

A grid built around nuclear power is destined to be perpetually pushed to its limit. 

Japan’s sweltering summer is well underway, and the effects of all of Japan’s 48 nuclear reactors remaining off-line are in evidence everywhere. Most trains now have at least one car that provides “light air,” or fan only service with no air-conditioning, companies and government buildings are also limiting their use of air-conditioning, train stations are turning off escalators after peak hours, and the iconic Japanese “salaryman” attire with full suit has given way to “cool-biz,” or short-sleeve shirt with no tie. Hand fans are out in full force as people slowly make their way through Japan’s crowded and humid cities.

This is Japan without its nuclear reactors, and many people appear to be willing to sacrifice their comfort to live without the fear of another nuclear disaster. Several recent events underline this popular opinion. On July 3, government sources who spoke with Reuters said that the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear facility, which is owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), will not be restarted this year. As the world’s largest nuclear facility, the two reactors the company expected to start this month would have played a crucial role in Tokyo’s energy supply, situated just 300 km (180 miles) northwest of the capital. Some of the government sources said the restart could be pushed back as far as next year, while TEPCO said back in January that if it was unable to restart its Kashiwazaki plant, it may have to raise energy prices by this fall in order to sustain itself, although the sources said the government warned TEPCO against raising prices.

The government’s new safety standards, instituted last July by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, have also driven up costs for Japan’s 10 major utility companies that operate nuclear reactors. Sources in the industryhave said that the new safety measures have increased costs by 50 percent from last year to 2.2 trillion yen ($21.6 billion). Those costs are expected to rise further as companies foresee additional measures, likely in order to meet the NRA’s standards for restarting their reactors. New Safety costs at TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki grew from 320 billion yen last July to 470 billion yen at present, after it applied for NRA clearance last September. The increased safety costs are also expected to cause utilities to raise electricity prices.

And despite the massive amount of money and effort both the government and TEPCO have poured into the cleanup effort at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, plans to lift the evacuation advisory for Kawauchi, which is within the 20 km exclusion zone, were postponed after Reconstruction Agency officials met with residents who were skeptical of government claims that radiation levels had fallen to safe levels. Citizens of the city began extended stays in April, yet they said insufficient repairs, poor living conditions, and pockets of high radiation still preclude permanent resettlement.


he ruins of Saint Elijah's Monastery founded in 595 AD south of Mosul by the Christian monk Mar Elia. Photo by Doug, Wikipedia Commons. 

“The sound of the shelling was terrifying. In my street no-one was left. We were the last family to leave,” explained Janda, an Assyrian Christian from Iraq.

Her family of six fled the town of Qaragosh (also known as Bakhida and Hamdaniya) 30km east of Mosul, in northern Iraq, leaving their home in the middle of the night.

Travelling by car, they crossed into the capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan, where they sought shelter in a sports hall in the mostly-Christian district of Ainkawa, in the Kurdish capital Erbil.

Janda is one of an estimated 10,000 Christians who fled from the Nineveh Plain – the region to the north and east of Mosul – to Erbil in the space of days in late June to escape militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and their clashes with Kurdish armed forces (Peshmerga). The aerial bombing campaign of the Iraqi Security Forces against ISIS has added to the concern.

“We are scared because we have heard rumours that ISIS decapitates people,” said Ammar, another Christian, who also left Qaragosh with his wife Iman and their two children, and found refuge in a cramped hall. “What happened to Christians in Syria – we expect the same fate,” he added.

In recent months reports have come out of Syria of churches being burned and Christian communities being attacked and forced to convert to Islam. While not all of them are true, they have stoked deep fear in the Iraqi Christian community.

So far there has been only minor damage to churches inside Mosul – a statue of the Virgin Mary removed and some black ISIS flags hung in place of crosses – though last week two nuns and three orphans went missing, feared kidnapped.

ISIS began its military offensive into northern Iraq in early June, seizing control of large sections of the provinces of Nineveh, Salaheddin and Kirkuk, to add to the swathes of Anbar Province it has held since the turn of the year. On 29 July, it declared the formation of an Islamic caliphate.

Although people of all faiths and ethnicities are among the 1.2 million people who have been displaced since January, rights groups warn that Christians – along with Iraq’s other religious minorities such as Shabak, Turkomans, and Yazidis – are particularly vulnerable to ISIS and also to any political and geographical splits in the country that may come about in the future.

“A clear pattern is emerging whereby ISIS is deliberately targeting Iraq’s minorities as well as others suspected of opposing the group, singling them out for detention and abduction,” explained Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser, currently in northern Iraq.

A JOB HALF DONE - India needs to build on its considerable resources in Iraq


This is the story of how, in its second month in office, Narendra Modi’s nascent government almost scored a win that might have equalled the World Cup in football and then lost it like Argentina in the final lap. But unlike the losers in this year’s World Cup final, Modi’s government did not miss opportunities. It scored a deliberate self-goal after a triumph in the semi-finals and then shifted the goalposts making it harder for it to triumph in the final match. The temptation to use football metaphors here is irresistible. During a week when championships, goals and victories are talking points everywhere, diplomacy need not be exempt from the norm. Given that, the thread of this column resonates totally with sentiment in Argentina associated with football’s biggest event this week.

The Modi government’s successful repatriation of nearly 50 captive nurses from Iraq, working perfectly in tandem with the Congress-led government in Kerala, is a score in diplomacy that easily rivals any comparable success in a global sporting event like the one the world watched in wonder this week. Indian diplomacy has few equals elsewhere in pulling off such a feat at a time when much of the world is confounded about how to deal with a volatile Iraq teetering on the edge of a precipice.

What India has achieved with the safe return of its nurses is, however, a job half done. Its final match is yet to be played in Iraq, to use football language once again: the prize cup would be the repatriation as well of about two score construction workers in Mosul of whom little has been heard through the celebrations over the liberation and homecoming of the women, almost all of them from Kerala.

Instead of continuing to hold the fragile threads that secured the nurses’ release, and carefully working on those threads to the logical end of a safe passage for all Indians, the self-goal came when an unedifying competition erupted within the top echelons of the Modi government to claim credit for the remarkable feat of safely getting the nurses home. Through a series of orchestrated leaks and media plants, the days immediately following the semi-final victory, so to speak, witnessed a scramble to spin theories about who did what and why the nurses were released by their captors.

At the same time, in the real world of Indian diplomacy, those who did their utmost to bring about a happy end to the travails of the nurses have been discreet. The real actors in the complex plot are not in any rush to claim credit: instead they are continuing their efforts, silently, to complete their job of bringing home the Mosul labourers, which makes it easier for self- appointed spin masters to spread misinformation.

The most fascinating aspect of the Modi government’s success in the mess that is currently Iraq is that many of the consequences in the drama involving the nurses were actually unintended. For instance, it turned out to be fortuitous for India as it divined ways to deal with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that one of ISIL’s leaders happens to be a man by the name of Izzat Ibrahim. Ibrahim was once one of the most feared men in Baathist Party-ruled Iraq: he was Saddam Hussain’s interior minister, a post from where he could make any number of his enemies — or even those whom he imagined were his enemies — simply disappear without a trace or question. Ibrahim also happens to have a lot of respect for India and Indians like most of the Baath Party leaders who were in Saddam’s inner circle — or outermost circles, for that matter — in those heady years of Indo-Iraqi friendship. By no stretch of imagination is Ibrahim an Islamist. It is even possible given what Saddam’s Iraq used to be that this man had no god whom he feared or looked up to.