12 January 2015

Bipartisan National Security Policy is vital

NN Vohra
Jan 12 2015

Excerpts from the presentations at theRoundtable on National Security, Key Challenges Ahead, organised by The Tribune National Security Forum in collaboration with the Indian Council of World Affairs

In the obtaining global security environment, our country’s foremost concern is to protect and safeguard our territorial integrity and ensure the safety and security of all our citizens. Sustained development and progress are possible only if there is peace and normalcy within the realm.

We are a large country, with land boundaries of over 15,000 km, maritime frontiers of over 7,500 km, open skies all around and multiple threats from various quarters. I shall reflect briefly on certain aspects of internal security.
The maintenance of national security faces serious challenges on many fronts, among which are:

Pakistan’s continuing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.

Activities of the Pakistan-based jihadi terrorist groups which have established their networks in various parts of India, particularly in the hinterland.

Activities of the Naxal groups which have established “liberated” zones in large areas, where their writ runs.

Organised crime and mafia groups, drug cartels, and fake currency networks whose unlawful activities are causing enormous damage.

Considering the serious security challenges faced by the country, it is urgently necessary that we must have a reliable security management apparatus which safeguards all important arenas of activity which would, inter alia, include food security, water security, economic security, energy security, science and technology security, environmental security and so on.
It is relevant to note that in the management of matters relating to internal and external security, a rather clear line has developed in the past decades. Thus, the Ministry of Defence is responsible for the defence of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for internal security. And then there are a number of central agencies like the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Joint Intelligence Centre, and several other institutions which provide important information and support to the Home and Defence Ministries and other authorities involved in security management at the central level.

One approach to security

In the years past, the Centre-State relations in the arena of security management have been largely based on periodic consultations. Such arrangements are inadequate in the obtaining security environment in which terrorists strike at will, with total surprise and lightning speed. If our response has to be prompt and effective, there is no scope whatsoever for any time being lost in consultations. On the contrary, it is of vital importance that we lose no more time in building the capacity to prevent, pre-empt and, whenever a situation arises, to effectively respond without any loss of time.

And this leads me to the next question — do we have a national policy and a supporting security management apparatus which can deliver an immediate response to a sudden terrorist strike anywhere in the country? The answer is that, so far, we do not have a cohesive National Security Policy which is fully agreed to between the Centre and the States. We also do not have a countrywide logistical framework, manned by thorough professionals, which has the capacity of speedily responding to any arising emergency.

Thinning patience

January 12 , 2015

Fifth Column - Gwynne Dyer

The language of the immigration debate in Germany has got extreme. German Chancellor Angela Merkel attacked the anti-immigration movement in her New Year speech, saying its leaders have "prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts."

The "anti-Islamisation" protests all across Germany fizzled out in the end. About 18,000 people showed up at one rally in Dresden, where the weekly protests by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) began last October, but that hardly counted because there are few Muslims in Dresden. Anti-immigrant sentiment in Western countries is always highest where there are few or no immigrants. In big German cities that do have large immigrant populations, the counter-demonstrators outnumbered the Pegida protesters ten-to-one. But the debate is not over.

Germany is taking in more immigrants than ever before: more than 6,00,000 this year. That's not an intolerable number for a country of 82 million, but it does mean that if current trends persist, the number of foreign-born residents will almost double in just ten years. That will take some getting used to - and there's another thing. A high proportion of the new arrivals in Germany are Muslim refugees. Two-thirds of those 6,00,000 newcomers in 2014 were from other countries of the European Union. They have the legal right to come under EU rules, and there's really nothing Germany can do about it. Besides, few of the EU immigrants are Muslims.

Hard road

The other 2,00,000, however, are almost all refugees who are seeking asylum in Germany. The number has almost doubled in the past year, and will certainly grow even larger this year. And the great majority of the asylum-seekers are Muslims. This is not a Muslim plot to colonize Europe. It's just that a large majority of the refugees in the world are Muslims. At least three-quarters of the world's larger wars are civil wars in Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya. It is easy to mock the fears of the "Pegida" - only five per cent of Germany's population is Muslim. But nine per cent of the children born in Germany in recent years have Muslim parents because of the higher birth rates of Middle Eastern immigrants.

A decisive shift - The changing concept of the public intellectual

Prabhat Patnaik
January 12 , 2015

The term, "public intellectuals", used to refer simply to intellectuals who addressed the public at large, instead of confining themselves to addressing only a small group of professional peers. They had their own specific views, their own political leanings, and even affiliations to particular political parties. The public was supposed to know these leanings and affiliations, but whether it knew these or not was not considered to be of any particular significance. The presumption was that the public, exposed to different views coming from intellectuals of different persuasions, would sift through them to make up its own mind on major issues. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, both ardent Leftists, were public intellectuals par excellence in this sense during my student days.

Whether these intellectuals were professionally "front-ranking", whether they were "morally upright", whether they had "impeccable integrity" were matters which were ideallysupposed not to affect the public's receptivity to their views; all that was supposed to matter was the intellectual substance of these views themselves. This, no doubt, was not the case in reality, where the intellectual's persona did matter; but the public being influenced by the personal qualities of an intellectual in assessing the worth of his or her intellectualposition was seen as a shortcoming, an instance of a thoroughly avoidable ad hominemreasoning.

Of late, however, a very different concept of a public intellectual has begun to emerge, which believes that a public intellectual must not have any affiliation to a political party, for that undermines the "autonomy" and "objectivity" of the intellectual. But "affiliation to a political party" can take a multitude of forms including even implicit ones, such as mere sympathy for a party, or making common cause with it, or refusing in principle to make common cause with its enemies (as Sartre had done vis-à-vis the French Communist Party); hence this second concept of a public intellectual which demands lack of affiliation with a political party must entail in practice that such an intellectual should have no notable political leanings.

What this means is that a public intellectual in this sense must take positions on each issue separately, and entirely on the basis of "rational arguments" and "unassailable" ethical considerations, without having any "ulterior" motive of any kind. And since the absence of ulterior motives must be demonstrably so, such an intellectual must strive for "credibility" with the public at large, which necessarily means inter alia being even-handed in his or her attitude towards the failings of both the Right and the Left.


Joginder Singh
Monday, 12 January 2015

The Pakistani Defence Minister has accused India of waging a low-intensity war against his country, when, in fact, it is Pakistan that has used proxy fighters against India, in violation of its bilateral commitments

There is nothing unusual about the pot calling the kettle black. It was prevalent even during Biblical times. In the Gospel of Matthew 7:3, Jesus, during a discourse on judgementalism, asks, while delivering the Sermon on the Mount: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

It is through this prism that Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif’s statement vis-à-visIndia must be viewed. On January 3, Mr Asif said that, “India wants to keep us busy in a low-intensity war or low-intensity engagement on our eastern border. They are pursuing the same tactics of keeping our forces busy on all fronts.” He then added: “In the past six-seven months, we have tried to better our ties with India so that peace can prevail. But it seems that they do not understand this language... I believe, we will now communicate with India in the language they understand”.

History teaches us that neither men nor nations learn much from the past. Despite having suffered crushing military victories not once, but on four occasions, at Indian hands, Pakistan has not learnt a lesson. And since it has not learnt from the mistakes of the past, it is doomed to repeat them. Perhaps, it’s time to remind Pakistan that India took 93,000 prisoners during the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh. The text of the surrender agreement is now public property, jointly owned by the Governments of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The document is on display in the National Museum in New Delhi. It reads: “The Pakistan Eastern Command agree to surrender all Pakistan Armed Forces in Bangladesh to Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding in Chief of Indian and Bangladesh forces in the Eastern Theatre. This surrender includes all Pakistan land, air and naval forces as also all paramilitary forces and civil armed forces. These forces will lay down their arms and surrender at the places where they are currently located to the nearest regular troops under the command of Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora.


Pavan Duggal

Cyber criminals and terrorists are increasingly using social media networks with impunity for not just the dissemination of their designs and intentions, but more significantly for the purpose of crowd sourcing and further giving effect to their illegal designs

The year 2014 proved to be a golden year for cyber criminals. Not only has cyber crime emerged as the number one challenge for all stakeholders but more significantly, cyber crime as a value proposition has started getting permeated in the Internet ecosystem values. There is an old age saying that wherever there is nectar, honeybees will go there. This dictum is demonstrated accurately in the phenomenon of emerging cyber criminals and cyber crime. Given the fact that social media is today a major component of people’s lives, it is but natural to expect that cyber criminals would also permeate social networks. However, the adoption and seamless integration of terror related approaches with social media have been more prolific in the past one year. 

The recent arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, creator of the highly influential Twitter account @ShamiWitness on the grounds of misusing a Twitter handle and for disseminating the terror philosophy of an organisation is only a case in point. This goes to show that this case is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. All over India, social media networks below the subcutaneous level have been fragmented by terror networks. Cyber criminals and terrorists are increasingly using social media networks with impunity for not just the dissemination of their designs and intentions, but more significantly for the purposes of crowd sourcing and further giving effect to their illegal designs.

No wonder, social media has also been plagued by an increased role by fundamentalists so as to further the cause of fundamentalism. More significantly, cyber terrorists are now increasingly using social media for reaching out to the target audience and for indoctrinating innocent young minds. In India, the advent of unregulated use of ethical hacking schools as institutions has further had a triggered effect. Every year, India is producing thousands of trained ethical hackers. However, in the absence of a regulatory mechanism on how to monitor the activities of these trained ethical hackers, these Indian trained personnel become fertile hunting grounds for cyber criminals and cyber terrorists.

Along with cyber terrorism, cyber naxalism is a big challenge which has already started impacting countries like India. We find that cyber criminals with their illegal intentions are also increasingly using social media for the purpose of propagating cyber naxalism-related thought processes and perspectives. No wonder, social media is now a double-edged sword. Even the inventors of social media could never have envisaged that it could be used in such a potent manner by cyber criminals and cyber terrorists. Unfortunately, the law appears to be a sitting duck when it comes to giving a helping hand to prevent and regulate the misuse of social media for fundamentalism and terrorist purposes.

India was one of the earliest nations in the world to have enacted a detailed provision on cyber terrorism. Section 66F was inserted in the earlier Information Technology Act, 2000, by virtue of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. The said provision defined in detail the offence of cyber terrorism, which was made a heinous offence punishable with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life. However, while the said Section was implemented in 2008, its invocation was not done in various cases for a variety of reasons. It is only in the recent Bangalore Mehdi Masroor Biswas case that Section 66F has been invoked. However, this case has demonstrated loopholes in the law and also how cyber criminals are a far more intelligent lot. They manage to exploit the loopholes in the law and try to limit their potential exposure to legal liability. Thus, the advent of new social media networks like Twitter and Facebook has demonstrated that Section 66F has remained a limited mandate provision and needs to be substantially increased in its ambit and scope so as to cover newly emerging and innovative misuses of social media by cyber criminals and cyber terrorists.

Millions rally for unity against terrorism in France

January 12, 2015

More than a million people surged through the boulevards of Paris behind dozens of world leaders walking arm-in-arm on Sunday in a rally for unity described as the largest demonstration in French history. Millions more marched around the country and the world to repudiate three days of terror that killed 17 people and changed France.

Amid intense security and with throngs rivalling those that followed the liberation of Paris from the Nazis, the city became “the capital of the world” for a day, on a planet increasingly vulnerable to such cruelty.

More than 40 world leaders headed the somber procession. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov setting aside their differences with a common rallying cry — We stand together against barbarity, and we are all Charlie.

At least 1.2 million to 1.6 million people streamed slowly through the streets behind them and across France to mourn the victims of deadly attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a kosher supermarket and police officers violence that tore deep into the nation’s sense of security in a way some compared to Sept. 11 in the United States.

“Our entire country will rise up toward something better,” French President Francois Hollande said.

Details of the attacks continued to emerge, with new video showing one of the gunmen pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group and detailing how the attacks were going to unfold. That gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, was also linked to a new shooting, two days after he and the brothers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre were killed in nearly simultaneous police raids.

The attacks tested France’s proud commitment to its liberties, which authorities may now curtail to ensure greater security. Marchers recognized this as a watershed moment.

“It’s a different world today,” said Michel Thiebault, 70.

Illustrating his point, there were cheers Sunday for police vans that wove through the crowds a rare sight at the many demonstrations that the French have staged throughout their rebellious history, when protesters and police are often at odds.

Many shed the aloof attitude Parisians are famous for, helping strangers with directions, cheering and crying together. Sad and angry but fiercely defending their freedom of expression, the marchers honored the dead and brandished pens or flags of other nations.

Giant rallies were held throughout France and major cities around the world, including London, Madrid and New York all attacked by al-Qaeda-linked extremists as well as Cairo, Sydney, Stockholm, Tokyo and elsewhere.

In Paris, the Interior Ministry said “the size of this unprecedented demonstration makes it impossible to provide a specific count,” noting that the crowds were too big to fit on the official march route and spread to other streets.

Later, the ministry said 3.7 million marched throughout France, including roughly between 1.2 million and 1.6 million in Paris but added that a precise count is impossible given the enormity of the turnout.

“I hope that at the end of the day everyone is united. Everyone Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists,” said marcher Zakaria Moumni. “We are humans first of all, and nobody deserves to be murdered like that. Nobody.”

On Republic Square, deafening applause rang out as the world leaders walked past, amid tight security and an atmosphere of togetherness amid adversity. Families of the victims, holding each other for support, marched in the front along with the leaders and with journalists working for the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. Several wept openly.

“Je Suis Charlie” “I Am Charlie,” read legions of posters and banners. Many waved editorial cartoons, the French tricolour and other national flags.

America in a tangle over aid to Pakistan

January 12, 2015

APTHE BASICS: “The deeper question that the transactions provoke is about the quality of the bilateral relationship given that U.S. lawmakers have routinely attempted to ramp up or suspend aid.” Picture shows Pakistani army troops riding military vehicles following an operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan. File photo

Several ambiguities exist in the discourse on how much — or how little — money has flowed from Washington to Islamabad and under what conditions

The U.S.’ complex relationship with Pakistan was back in the spotlight last week when it became evident to beltway policy-wallahs that a private diplomatic conversation between the American Ambassador in Islamabad and the Pakistani Finance Minister had been twisted into a formal press release hinting at the promise of $532 million in aid under a now-expired Act.

In two successive daily press briefings the State Department was quick to stoutly deny that the U.S. Congress had been notified about any such funds for Islamabad, and to spell out the minutiae of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act (KLB), also known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, under which the U.S. is authorised to finance its South Asian friend to the tune of $7.5 billion between 2010 and 2014.


Yet, apart from the apparent misreading of Ambassador Richard Olson’s comments, which some in U.S. officialdom generously characterised as a “publication mistake,” the episode has revealed several ambiguities in the broader discourse, in terms of how much — or how little — money has flowed from Washington to Islamabad under the rubric of the KLB, and under what conditions.

On the question of aid conditionality, officials in the U.S. went to great lengths to emphasise last week that not once since Hillary Clinton’s assurances in March 2011 had the State Department provided “certification” that the government of Pakistan was “continuing to cooperate with U.S. efforts to dismantle nuclear weapons-related material supplier networks and make significant efforts to combat terrorist groups.”

A moment of reprieve in Pakistan

January 12, 2015

The world might have never heard about Shafqat Hussain had Pakistan not briefly lifted its moratorium on executions. His case reflects a flagrant disregard for local and international rights and the harsh realities of Pakistan’s justice system

The night of the Pakistani Taliban massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar, the Pakistan Army bombed Northern Waziristan. The next day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted the moratorium on executions, which has been in place since 2008, for terrorism-related cases. Within two weeks of the massacre, Pakistan had hanged seven convicted terrorists. Six had been convicted of participating in the attempted assassination of then President Pervez Musharraf in 2003; the seventh was on the death row for his involvement in an attack on the Pakistan Army headquarters in 2009. Media reports now put the figure of those executed as between eight and 10 persons.

Last week, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, announced at a press conference that Pakistan intends to hang about 500 prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences within the next three weeks. Mr. Khan said that intelligence reports have predicted attempts at reprisals for the executions. “But we should not let our guard down if we want to avenge the victims of the Peshawar attack,” he said.

Pakistan has more than 8,000 people on death row. Its courts award death penalty for 27 types of offences, including murder, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and blasphemy, and several terrorism-related crimes. In 2013, according to Amnesty International, Pakistan sentenced 226 people to death, compared to 80 in the United States. Yet the moratorium on death penalty had ensured that no such sentence was executed since 2008 with the exception of a soldier. (Military personnel are exempted from the moratorium.)Hussain’s journey

The executions of five more men have been scheduled for January 14, at Karachi Central Jail. All have been convicted of sectarian murders. There was also to have been a sixth, Shafqat Hussain, until, under immense public pressure, the government stayed his execution earlier this week. Hussain has been on death row since he was convicted, a decade ago, a few months before turning 14, of killing a seven-year-old boy.

Hussain’s journey mirrors the path hundreds of thousands of rural poor in South Asia take to its energetic, growing cities in search of work. He grew up in Neelam valley in Pakistan-controlled-Kashmir. Hussain dropped out of school after his father, a farmer, had a stroke and was unable to work. His beautiful mountain valley had no work to offer. In early 2004, when he was 13 years old, he left his village with a friend and made the long journey across multiple cultures, weather systems, and 1,300 miles to the megacity of Karachi.

Photographs are a luxury for the South Asian poor. The sole picture of Hussain is a portion torn out of a group photograph taken before he moved to Karachi: a wiry boy in a white shirt and a thick black mop of hair. His long, oval face is tense; his green eyes stare self-consciously into the camera.

Karachi is a centrifugal construction site of a city. Hussain found work as a watchman for a half-built apartment complex in the North Nazimabad area. He kept an eye on the building materials and slept at the construction site at night. After the apartment block was complete, Hanif Memon, a cloth merchant, and his family were among the first tenants to move in. Memon’s wife would often leave her children with Shafqat while she ran errands.Claims and charges

Pak courts offer army the power it used to seize

Jan 12, 2015

LONDON: After Taliban gunmen massacred dozens of schoolchildren in Peshawar last month, Pakistan's two most powerful men convened an emergency meeting at army headquarters. Their body language, captured in a government-released photo, was revealing: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looked glum and ill at ease, while the man beside him, Gen. Raheel Sharif, the army chief, lectured confidently. 

To many Pakistanis, the symbolism was rich and unambiguous. After a tumultuous year, Mr. Sharif's government may still be hanging on, extending a nearly seven-year stretch of civilian rule. But otherwise, Pakistan's generals are back in the driver's seat. 

Under General Sharif, who took his post in late 2013 and is not related to the prime minister, the army has transformed its fortunes: triumphing over the government in a series of bruising public clashes, bringing unruly critics in the news media to heel, and winning broad support for a drive against Islamist militants in their tribal stronghold. 

Now, the military has claimed a victory that may turn out to be the most significant of all, allowing the generals deep inroads into an institution that has hounded them in recent years: Pakistan's judiciary. 

A constitutional amendment passed by Parliament on Tuesday empowered military courts to try suspected Islamist militants, opening the way for a rapid but rough-hewed judicial process that could move defendants from arrest to execution in a matter of weeks. 

The military, responding to public anger over the Peshawar killings, is moving fast: On Friday, it announced the establishment of nine new courts, with a promise that they would start work soon.

"The optics are very clear," said Salman Raja, a prominent lawyer who said he was hastily brushing up on military law. "The military is calling all of the shots." 

Among analysts and legal experts, the military courts have raised a slew of worries about the erosion of fundamental rights, the sidelining of the civilian judiciary and the prospect of soldiers' wielding untrammeled power in a country with a long history of military takeovers. 

But this time, Pakistan's generals have not grabbed power from the politicians. It was practically handed to them. 

Save for a handful of religious parties, much of the political system supports the military courts — even the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, which has long presented itself as a bulwark against an overbearing military. 

Many party stalwarts looked anguished as they voted against their consciences to support the military courts on Tuesday; some wept openly. "A little bit of me died today," said Aitzaz Ahsan, the party's leader in the Senate. 

Yet the vote went ahead — a powerful indictment, critics said, of a political class that seemed to be admitting not only that the country's judicial system was broken, but also that it was incapable of fixing it. 

"They seemed to capitulate with a sigh of relief," said Mr. Raja, the lawyer. "They feel the need to fight another day — or maybe not." 

Currying Favor Will Obama’s India trip produce more than just pomp and circumstance?


John Hudson is a staff writer for Foreign Policy where he chases down stories from Foggy Bottom to the White House, the Pentagon to Embassy Row. Between 2009 and 2012, John covered politics and global affairs for The Atlantic Wire. In 2008, he covered the August War between Russia and Georgia for Salon.com and other news outlets. Over the years, he's dug up resignation-causing FEC documents; unmasked world-famous Internet trolls; exposed bizarre Photoshopping by government media; and revealed a secret Iranian military facility. John's weakness is cold craft beer from his birthplace of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He's appeared on MSNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox News radio, and other broadcast outlets. 
Currying Favor
Across the Indian subcontinent, fanfare surrounding President Barack Obama’s trip to New Delhi this month is raising expectations for the next phase in U.S.-Indian relations.

Whether Washington can broker any meaningful accords from the visit remains far from certain, but the president will benefit from a palpable buzz surrounding the trip.

Just by setting foot in the country, Obama will become the only serving U.S. president to visit India twice and the first American to fill the role of chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on Jan. 26.

The extravagant celebration — a cross between a Soviet-style military parade and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day pageantry — honors the ratification of India’s constitution with a convoy of ornate floats, well-groomed camels, and newfangled ballistic missile systems.

The goal for Washington will be to advance its agenda on security, the environment, and bilateral trade, and repair ties with New Delhi after an embarrassing diplomatic tiff at the end of 2013 sunk relations to historic lows. Additionally, the high-level U.S. diplomatic push — which includes a visit this weekend from Secretary of State John Kerry — is meant to push back against Russia’s latest embrace of New Delhi, which included new defense and energy deals.

“The main objective is to build on the moment that has been in place ever since Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi took office,” said Michael Kugelman, an India expert at the Wilson Center. “India craves recognition on the global stage, and what better way than to have Obama in the country attending Republic Day at the request of the prime minister?”

‘Op TOPAC’: Confronting Strategic Asymmetry

09 Jan , 2015

“The Proxy War between India and Pakistan has no fronts, no rules of the Game and is not time bound.”

The seeds for disintegrating India were planted by General Zia as early as 1982-83, when his ISI paved the way for fundamentalist JeI and JKLF separatists to prepare for liberating Kashmir and spreading terror and disaffection in India. Though Op Topac,[2] is often credited as the brainchild of Zia, the doyen of the Indian strategic thought, the late Mr. K Subramanian has clarified that Topac was in fact, an Indian ‘Intelligence Assessment’ carried out by retired Indian army officers with the aim to evaluate the capabilities and predict the trajectory of the enemy plans.

Unlike the plans made in 1947 and 1965, Zia’s plan did not limit itself to the ‘liberation’ of Kashmir – it sought the ‘disintegration’ of India.

The preamble of the article published in the Indian Defence Review of mid 1989, clarifies: “The aim of ‘Op Topac’ is to draw attention of free thinkers, policy makers and defence planners to the dangerous potential of the current development in J&K. Part fact and part fiction, the scenarios visualised having been based on the trends, which have become manifest in the sub-continent in the last few years.”[3] The Indian analysts were accurate to quite an extent as events in Kashmir unfolded largely in the manner as had been predicted. However, despite their predictive warning before the storm eventually burst over Kashmir, very little pre-emptive planning was undertaken by the Indian establishment.

Having said that, Zia had also made a plan which generally conformed to what was put together as Op Topac. Zia aimed to bring final victory for Islamic Pakistan over Hindu India and therefore his campaign was not confined to Kashmir alone. The biography of a former Pakistan Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, who also was a former ISI chief, General Akhtar Abdul Rehman, titled ‘Fateh’ (Victory), authored by Haroon Rashid, provides a clue to the origin of the plan. As per the writer, Rehman was the mastermind behind the Afghan jihad and the one who developed Zia’s plan for liberating Kashmir which was put in place in early 1984 and aimed to culminate in an uprising in the valley by 1991.[4] Unlike the plans made in 1947 and 1965, Zia’s plan did not limit itself to the ‘liberation’ of Kashmir – it sought the ‘disintegration’ of India.

Pakistan’s Strategic Game

Review Essay: Pakistan and the Army- A Way of Life

Author: Ms. Ramya PS
January 9, 2015

Aqil Shah, The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan, Harvard University Press, 2014

C. Christine Fair, Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War, Oxford University Press, 2014

The prominent image of partition, the strength wielded by the Pakistan Army and the impending ‘instability’ caused by extremist militia- these remain the dominant images that come to mind when one reflects on Pakistan. This probably explains why most of the academic literature on Pakistan tends to focus on historical oscillation between military and civilian rule, forecasts on a shift towards a ‘democratic’ setup and the larger implications of the powerful Army’s control over national security. Several insightful books have been written on the political environment of Pakistan and the internal workings of the powerful Pakistan Army.

In the contemporary context, with the onset of the Global War on Terror, Pakistan found itself becoming a frontline state. This coupled with the much discussed first civilian transition of power in 2013 led many to contemplate that Pakistan was probably headed towards a civilian-led phase which would strengthen its democratic roots. Despite these significant changes, the larger fabric of Pakistan’s strategic milieu and the power retained by the Army remains critical. The tendency of the Pakistan Army to retain its power vis-à-vis the civilian leaders forms the core areas of research in order to obtain a holistic understanding of this nation-state. Two recent books, namely The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan by Aqil Shah and Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War by C. Christine Fair deals with the crucial theme of concentration of power with the Pakistan Army and its institutional culture.

Pakistan Army and Democracy

The broad theme of Shah’s book The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan, revolves around the crucial civil-military relations in Pakistan and the future of democracy in the nation-state. Literature on this aspect of Pakistan has been plenty such as Brian Cloughley’s A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections or the popular The Idea of Pakistan by Stephen Cohen. Furthermore, books such Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America’s War on Terror by Hassan Abbas provide several useful insights into the workings of the civilian leadership with the Army and nature of power dynamics that ensue within Pakistan. Ayesha Siddiqa’s book Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy provides an insight into the influence and stakes the Army has within the economy of Pakistan apart from the defence industry. Siddiqa applies the concept of ‘milbus’ to depict the inroads made by the Army into the national economy thereby indicating the overarching presence of the institution within Pakistan. Analysing the Army’s power through the concept of milbus, Siddiqa provides another dimension to the stakes and influence the Army has created for itself within Pakistan and the ensuing impact on the overall political fabric of Pakistan. Therefore, the literature available on the nature and power of the Pakistan Army is wide and covers several aspects.

Shah’s book uses a theoretical framework of civil-military relations and seeks to situate the case of Pakistan within this framework. Unlike Hassan Abbas or for that matter even Stephen Cohen’s book, which draw upon recent history to analyse and assess the power dynamics, Shah uses the historical narrative coupled with a theoretical model on civil-military.

Taliban Reject Afghan Cabinet Positions

January 10, 2015

The new Afghan government offered cabinet positions to members of the Taliban, but the posts were refused. 
It has emerged that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has offered the Taliban posts in the new Afghan government, which they have rejected. This news comes amid expectations that President Ghani will soon announce the shape of his cabinet. Afghanistan has beenwithout a cabinet for almost three months, a state of affairs widely criticized by various civil society groups and legislators in Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban. President Ghani’s failure to form a cabinet has been partly due to his disagreements with his chief executive officer (a prime minister-esque role), Abdullah Abdullah. Abdullah, who was the runner-up in Afghanistan’s recent election, and Ghani often have very different ideas on the types of policies and individuals needed for Afghanistan. This has led to challenges in forming a cabinet.

However, Ghani has promised to announce a cabinet within a week, as the continuation of the current state of affairs would have been intolerable. A source close to Ghani has argued that the government should be drawn “not just from the two teams, but from all parties in Afghanistan.” In this spirit, Ghani’s team offered the Taliban three cabinet positions. Mullah Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Wakil Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, and Ghairat Baheer, a close relative of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are the three individuals who were offered positions in the Ghani cabinet. The posts earmarked for them included the Ministry of Rural Affairs, the borders, and the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs. Ghani also considered appointing Taliban governors to three southern provinces: Nirmuz, Kandahar, and Helmand.

While the Afghan government has not yet commented on this news, sources close to the Taliban indicate that the Taliban turned down the offer because of the signing of security arrangements which would allow American and other foreign soldiers to remain in Afghanistan. Other Taliban demands for joining the government include changes to the constitution and immunity from prosecution.

Breaking News: French Police Have Paris Terror Suspects Cornered in House in Village of Dammartin-en-Goele northeast of Paris

January 9, 2015

French Police Corner Shooting Suspects, Who Take Hostage

DAMMARTIN-EN-GOELE, France — Brothers suspected in a newspaper terror attack were cornered with a hostage inside a printing house on Friday, after they hijacked a car and police followed them to a village near Paris’ main airport.

Security forces backed by a convoy of ambulances streamed into the small industrial town of Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, in a massive operation to seize the men suspected of carrying out France’s deadliest terror attack in decades. One of the men had been convicted of terrorism charges in 2008, and a U.S. official said both brothers were on the American no-fly list.

At least three helicopters hovered above the town. Nearby Charles de Gaulle airport closed two runways to arrivals to avoid interfering in the standoff, an airport spokesman said. Schools went into lockdown and the town appealed to residents to stay inside their houses.

The siege unfolded after the suspects hijacked a car in the early morning hours, according to police and security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the operation.

Tens of thousands of French security forces have mobilized to prevent a new terror attack since the Wednesday assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in the heart of Paris left 12 people dead, including the chief editor and cartoonist who had been under armed guard with threats against his life after publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. His police bodyguard also died in the attack, which began during an editorial meeting.

Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi were named as the chief suspects after Said’s identity card was left behind in their abandoned getaway car. They were holed up Friday inside CTF Creation Tendance Decouverte, a printing house. Xavier Castaing, the chief Paris police spokesman, and town hall spokeswoman Audrey Taupenas said there appeared to be one hostage inside. The police official, who was on the scene, confirmed a hostage.

Christelle Alleume, who works across the street, said a round of gunfire interrupted her coffee break Friday morning.

"We heard shots and we returned very fast because everyone was afraid," she told i-Tele. "We had orders to turn off the lights and not approach the windows."

The police official said security forces were preparing to intervene. The town’s website called on residents to stay home and said children would be kept at school.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said both suspects had been known to intelligence services before the attack.

Does Paris Terror Attack Show That Al Qaeda Is Still a Dangerous Threat?

Margaret Coker
January 9, 2015

Path of Terror Attack Suspect Points to Resurgent al Qaeda

The revelation that a suspect in the Paris terror attack received weapons training in Yemen deepens fears among intelligence officials that an al Qaeda affiliate with a long and deadly track record still represents a major threat.

The al Qaeda threat seemed dwarfed in recent months by warnings from the intelligence agencies of Western nations that their citizens who have left to fight alongside the extremist group Islamic State would return radicalized and ready to sow terror back in their home countries.

Islamic State also has launched a multipronged ideological and propaganda campaign aimed at dislodging al Qaeda as the dominant jihadist organization.

Despite Islamic State’s brutality in battles to control portions of Syria and Iraq, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has surpassed it in launching audacious and technologically sophisticated attacks against Americans and their allies in their own homelands.

Long before Islamic State coalesced into a global force, AQAP was known, and feared, by Western intelligence officials for its ability to attract and groom foreign-born Muslims for attacks using slick English manuals, with the help of the late American-born preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.
A fighter is seen standing in front of an image of Osama bin Laden, the late head of al-Qaeda, in the Yemeni town of Rada, southeast of the capital San’a in 2012.Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The head of the U.K.’s domestic intelligence agency reiterated on Thursday how seriously he and other intelligence agencies view al Qaeda, saying the group’s affiliates continue to pose an immediate threat and are planning large-scale attacks against the West.

China Punishes Xinjiang Officials Over 2014 Terrorist Attack

January 10, 2015

2014 was year of deadly terrorist attacks for China. Beijing is determined not to let history repeat itself in 2015. 

In September 2014, bombings in Xinjiang’s central Luntai County killed over 40 people, including six civilians, and left 54 injured. Now Xinhua reports that 17 officials from the area have been “punished for dereliction of duty” after the terrorist attack.

According to Xinhua, most of the officials were “given serious warnings,” but at least one, the Party chief of Terakbazar township, was dismissed from his post. The Party chief of Luntai County, Lin Fulin, was the most high-ranking official listed in the article as having been disciplined.

The move to discipline Party officials serves as a warning that local leaders will be held accountable if a terrorist attack happens on their watch. Xinhua emphasized that “Xinjiang is in the midst of an intensive crackdown on terrorism,” part of which includes increasing pressure on local officials to prevent attacks at their source. Zhang Chunxian, the top-ranking Chinese Communist Party official in Xinjiang, was recently quoted by the official Xinjiang news site as saying that Xinjiang’s “struggle against terrorism has entered a new phase, one that is more complex and more intense than before.” Xinjiang officials must go on the offensive and attack on all fronts, Zhang added.

As part of this comprehensive attack on terrorism, China is promoting a “people’s war” against terror. That phrase was in the spotlight again this week, as a Xinhua commentary underscored that China is “using every force in its power to deal a crushing blow to terrorist activities.” China has increased police readiness to deal with attacks, holding anti-terrorism drills across the country. Meanwhile, civilians are urged to give tips about terrorist activities to the police; in some localities, rewards of up to 500,000 RMB ($80,000) are available.

The spate of reports in Chinese media this week serves as a reminder that China is not easing up on its fight against terror. 2014 saw a shocking spate of deadly attacks on Chinese soil: the March attack at a Kunming railway station; an attack at a railway station in Urumqi in April; bombings in an Urumqi marketplace in May; and the previously mentioned attacks in Luntai County. All told, terrorist attacks in China last year killed at least 113 people and injured 368 more.

At the time, analysts argued that the deadly terrorist violence of 2014 (particularly the attack in Kunming) would spark a complete overhaul of how China deals with terrorism, in terms of both prevention and response. Counter terrorism has become a new focus for Xi Jinping and his government.

Majority of Australians Support Neutrality in Hypothetical China-Japan Conflict

January 10, 2015

Plus, Indian Air Force gets new Su-30s, invading North Korea, Putin and Tea Party conservatives, and more. Links. 

A few defense and security links to wrap up the first week of the new year:
A recent Australian poll found that 71 percent of respondents think that Australia should remain neutral in the event of a conflict between China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, even with the United States backing Japan. The poll goes against general trends in Australia-Japan bilateral relations. Under the two most recent Australian governments, the two countries have grown closer together. Australia, at the same time, does maintain close relations with China. Australia is considering awarding a major submarine contract to Japan’s Soryu-class offering.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) received its first overhauled Sukhoi Su-30 MKI. The Su-30 MKI is a major cornerstone of the IAF’s fighter fleet and the overhaul of the MKI will improve its capabilities as a multi-role fighter. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) noted in a press release that ”After the overhaul, the Su-30MKI aircraft (SB 027) is ready for IAF’s use. The serviceability levels of Su-30 MKI fleet will enhance greatly resulting in strengthening of air defense capabilities.” I explored the importance of the Su-30 for the IAF in a potential two-front war scenario last year for The Diplomat.

Over at Foreign Policy, Mark Lawrence Schrad takes a look at the similarities between the U.S. “Republican Party’s libertarian fringe” and Putin’s supporters in Russia. The piece appears to have been motivated by recent comments from U.S. conservative commentator Pat Buchanan that Putin is “one of us” — as Schrad notes, “a paleoconservative defender of traditional Christian values and a foe to ‘homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values’ personified by Barack Obama’s America.”

China’s rising Internet wave: Wired companies

ByYougang Chen, Jeongmin Seong, and Jonathan Woetzel 
January 2015

After a massive rise in Internet use by consumers, adoption by Chinese companies is catching up with that of the developed world.

Until recently, China’s Internet economy was consumer driven. The country leads the world in the number of Internet users, and Chinese enterprises deploy sophisticated e-commerce strategies. The same companies, though, have lagged behind the United States and other developed nations in using the Internet to run key aspects of their businesses (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1

China’s Internet has been more consumer than enterprise driven. 

That’s changing. China’s companies are quickly climbing the adoption curve. Their increased digital engagement will not only give the economy a new burst of momentum but also change the nature of growth. China sorely needs a new leg of expansion because the industrial growth of recent years—driven by heavy capital expenditures in manufacturing—will be difficult to sustain. The Internet, by contrast, should foster new economic activity rooted in productivity, innovation, and higher consumption.

This Iranian Paper Has More Guts Than the NY Daily News

January 8, 2015

Yesterday, two editors, one in New York and one in Tehran, received photographs of people holding up covers of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine whose offices were attacked for its controversial depictions of Mohammad. The cover in the photos didn’t actually show Mohammad—they showed a rabbi pushing an imam in a wheelchair. But even that was too much for one of the editors. They opened up their photo-editing software and pixelated the cover.

So which editor was it that chose to censor a photograph? Was it the one in Iran, where dozens of journalists languish in prison, where those imprisoned journalists are often denied necessary medical care, where access to foreign media is frequently blocked and where newspapers are always in danger of being closed by the government? Or was it in New York, where journalists enjoy state-level shield laws and live in a country that rarely censors or arrests members of the press?

The censor was in the offices of the New York Daily News, which has publishedseveral blurred photographs to illustrate the story.

Meanwhile, in Tehran, Shargh Dailytweeted both a picture of slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier holding up the rabbi/imam cover:

۴ تن از ۱۲ کشته‌شده حمله افراد مسلح به دفتر مجله طنز فرانسوی چارلی ابدو@Charlie_Hebdo_ کارتونیست بودند. - @BFMTVpic.twitter.com/JveERQXtHE

— روزنامه شرق (@SharghDaily) January 7, 2015

and a picture from Charlie Hebdo’s last tweet before the attack, mocking Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:

در حمله به دفتر یک مجله طنز در فرانسه ۱۱ تن کشته شدند. @Charlie_Hebdo_ به تازگی کارتونی از البغدادی منتشر کرده بود. pic.twitter.com/f0cY5RrgMM

— روزنامه شرق (@SharghDaily) January 7, 2015

Sanctions and Symmetry in the Iran Negotiations

January 9, 2015 

Notwithstanding the obvious asymmetries in soon-to-resume nuclear negotiations with Iran (it's Iran's nuclear program, not the U.S. one, that is being restricted; it's the United States, not Iran, that is sanctioning someone else's economy) the perceptual and political similarities that Americans and Iranians have brought to this encounter are striking to anyone who has been following the subject closely. To begin with, the chief policy-makers in each country clearly want to reach an agreement. On the Iranian side this includes not only the foreign minister who has been conducting the negotiations and the president who has been directly overseeing them but also the Iranian policy-maker who matters most: the supreme leader. It is almost inconceivable that Ayatollah Khamenei would have made it possible for President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif to have gone as far as they have already gone, and to sign Iran up to the commitments they already have made in the preliminary agreement reached in late 2013, if he did not genuinely share the objective of completing the negotiations and reaching a final agreement.

Both the U.S. president and the Iranian supreme leader have publicly voiced skepticism, however, as to whether the negotiations will in fact succeed. Probably the expressed doubts are is in each case partly tactical, to limit the perceived political damage to each leader should the negotiations fail. But the doubts probably also reflect genuine assessments of the challenges that each side faces in reaching, and securing domestic support for, an agreement.

That gets to one of the clearest elements of symmetry between the two sides. Each government is burdened with substantial opposition from domestic elements that oppose any U.S.-Iranian accord. The hardline opponents on each side act and sound remarkably alike. Each is embedded in a broader domestic political opposition to the incumbent presidential administration and is quick to exploit any setback to that administration for political advantage (and each realizes that if the nuclear negotiations can be torpedoed that would be a significant setback for the president they oppose). Each never tires of demonizing the other country and attributes the most malevolent intentions to it. Each fulminates about how its own country's leaders are supposedly conceding too much and giving away the store. Each couches its opposition in terms of getting a better agreement, when in fact it does not want any agreement at all.

A reminder of how much of a factor is hardline opposition in Iran came the other day when hardliners in the Iranian parliament forced a sort of no-confidence voteover how Zarif has been handling the negotiations. Zarif prevailed, but just barely. Only 125 of the 229 legislators present voted in his favor, with 86 voting against.