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Monday, 11 May 2009

From Today's Papers - 11 May 09

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From p1

Many within the intelligence and military set-ups agree with the assessments and complain that India is not even playing catch-up. They believe China's 'String of Pearls' strategy to create locations of strategic importance such as ports and military bases in the Indian Ocean region has been a success. On land, China is moving quickly to occupy crucial positions Nepal and Bangladesh, which India is ceding.

"India has good cause to feel threatened because of China's quick expansion and opaque nature of their military plans. We must presume there will be a clash," warns Prakash.

Many experts who have been watching this India-China race lambaste the government for its short-sighted, sometimes arrogant, mostly complacent diplomacy that is accelerating India's losing streak. Officials in agencies dealing with the neighbourhood — navy, army, intelligence, etc — say their suggestions are often ignored.

Examples of the failure of India against Chinese aggression are seen in Lanka and Nepal. Through the chaos there, China's growing clout is getting clear. It is showing how poorly India conducted itself.

In Lanka, it is with Chinese fighter aircraft, guns, and bullets that the army is fighting the LTTE. The Chinese are also developing the massive, strategic Hambantota port. There is even a Chinese military warehouse on the island.

In Nepal, "we have lost the entire advantage we had in the last two days (when Prachanda resigned) because at the highest levels we are just plain afraid of the Maoists without a proper understanding of them," said a recently retired senior officer, who for years handled the country. "We should have stood up for civilian supremacy over the army, and we should have helped to stabilise the democracy there. Instead we messed it up, to China's advantage."

The story is similar in other countries in the neighbourhood. In each of these, India is being outwitted by the Chinese to occupy a strategic position. In many of these countries, the Chinese are building ports, roads, and railways. They have opened up pipelines of cheap military wares and money to almost every one of them, and the communist country is moving with alacrity to emerge as the most important player in Myanmar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Until recently, India was the most important partner of many of these countries and New Delhi's "soft power" diplomacy worked better than the Chinese dragon's aggression.

(Next: Focus on Sri Lanka, Nepal)

India Faces Serious Risk
of Another Mumbai-Style Attack: US Expert

By Arun Kumar

With Pakistan's "jihadist Frankenstein monster" forcing its army to remain focused on India, a retired CIA expert on South Asia has warned of a serious risk of another Mumbai-style attack on the country.

Noting that the post-Mumbai era of significant tension between India and Pakistan has not come to a close yet, Bruce O. Riedel says, "there is a serious risk of another Mumbai-style attack."

This "would ratchet up tensions and make the Pakistani army even more determined to keep 80 percent of its manpower focused on India rather than on the threat posed by the internal jihadist problem," he said in an interview with Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think tank.

There are a few tentative signs of Pakistan realizing that its army and the intelligence service has created a "jihadist Frankenstein monster", said Riedel who chaired a special task force to develop President Barack Obama's policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"But it is far from clear that they acknowledge that the existential threat to Pakistan's freedoms comes from within" he said. "I think the army remains focused on the external threat posed by India."

"Of course, here the 'Frankenstein' [monster] is a self-fulfilling prophecy because extremist groups, in this case Lashkar-e-Taiba, attacked India last November in Mumbai," said Riedel, now senior fellow at Brookings Institution, another think tank.

Suggesting that tension between New Delhi and Islamabad is back to a very high level, the expert said: "In that sense, the 'Frankenstein' (monster creates) the conditions for the army to be focused on India."

Riedel also warned of "a real possibility of a jihadist state emerging in Pakistan sometime in the future. And that has to be one of the worst nightmares American foreign policy could have to deal with."

A growing coalescence of jihadist militant groups, not just in the tribal areas, but in the Punjab and in the major cities including Karachi "is threatening the very survival of the Pakistani state as we have known it," Riedel said.

Describing Pakistan as "a base of operations for repeated attacks on India going back to the hijacking of an Indian aircraft in 1999," he said:

"Indians feel that they have put out the olive branch on more than one occasion and instead of a reciprocal response, they've gotten more terror."

India has shown remarkable restraint over the years, but "there has to be some point at which India's tolerance is pushed too far, he said. "Of course that's exactly what the jihadists want."

"They want the situation constantly boiling on the India-Pakistan front that diverts the Pakistani army away from them, providing them (Islamic militants) the conditions that allow for them to grow and fester in Pakistan," Riedel said.

As the "situation remains dire" in Pakistan, he said "it is crucial for Congress to pass the five-year $7.5 billion economic aid package for Pakistan without too many conditions on the bill, so that "we can send a signal to Pakistan that we're in this for the long haul and that it's not a conditions-based relationship."

Pakistan's military, mullah, ISI mix

Lieutenant Colonel Vijay A Mittal (retd) | May 09, 2009 | 10:02 IST

Faultlines (Lancer Publishers, 2009, Rs 495), a compilation of editorials by Bharat Verma, published in the Indian Defence Review, presents to his readers, a single source to access, refer and assimilate his views on the global geopolitical scenario and more specifically of the Indian subcontinent.

In a series of articles published over a span of 11 years, he deliberates upon the impact of the emerging geopolitical situation on the nation's security and well being, analyses their implications and at each time presents assessments which have stood the test of time with the accuracy of their predictions.

He traces the origin of the Indian faultline to the Indian emperor who laid down his arms in victory as he could not stomach violence as also to the ancient policy of Indian rulers who met an invading army not at the frontiers of their kingdom, but close to the seat of power where they remained firmly entrenched with their army. This was akin to allowing an adversary in a soccer match to dominate your half of the field and obviously goals would be scored.

The Indian psyche of abhorrence for violence, which manifested in attempts to absorb, appease or amalgamate the invading armies, put foreign rulers at the seat of power in Delhi with ease. Unfortunately, this mindset continued even after gaining Independence.

Instead of taking a realistic look at the reasons for the country's history of subjugation, the leadership, unable to comprehend the dynamics of military power, delinked the military component from its foreign policy, thus settling for a defensive defence policy. This, despite inheriting an excellent military machine with an offensive orientation under its erstwhile imperial mantle.

The author goes on to describe the threat perceptions to our territorial integrity through the medium of existing faultlines in the country and concludes that the Indian Faultline engulfs most of the eastern half of the Union. These are in the form of export of instability, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, arms, drugs and demographic inversion.

The main culprit is Pakistan through its military, mullah and ISI mix. The Western half is relatively peaceful and generates most of the wealth along with the South. With India predicted to be the third largest global economy by 2025, the result can be imagined if the Eastern half along with Kashmir could be put in order.

He urges that to emerge as a great Asian power the next generation waiting to take over the instruments of power in the near future should erase the Indian Faultline from the map and psyche.

On the other hand, the Pakistani Faultlines present an even grimmer picture. After the break up of Pakistan in 1971, instead of emerging as a more cohesive unit geographically, politically, economically and in orientation, 33 years hence, nearly 55% of Pakistan is witnessing vicious insurgencies which could lead to further vivisection. More than half the country has slipped into anarchy and the remaining may also follow if Islamabad does not carry out a drastic reassessment of its nationhood.

The role of the Chinese is analysed in great detail. China realised that India is the sole Asian power that could frustrate their designs of unrivalled supremacy in Asia. Adopting the Sun Tzu principle, 'To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting', they found a willing proxy in Pakistan to which China transferred for the first time in history, nuclear weapons and missile technology to countervail and further boost its anti-India strategy.

Over a period of time, further proxies were added in the form of Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar which were under the spell of Beijing, thus shrinking India's influence in its own vicinity without having to take recourse to war.

Whilst tackling the global geopolitical scenario and the role of the only superpower, the USA, the following points are highlighted by the author: The grave folly committed by the Bush administration of waging a war against Iraq in the midst of an ongoing war against terrorism in Central Asia. The diversion of resources not only resulted in a stalemate, but also degraded the military power in both sectors. The Iraq takeover should not have been undertaken till the gains in Afghanistan were consolidated.

Post 9/11, the American need for Indian support is greater than ours for them. Also, the unjust war launched in Iraq, rapidly turned into a pitched battle between the American-led coalition forces and the Islamic fundamentalist forces in Asia.

With Asia largely Islamic, American presence in these countries becomes untenable. By declaring China as a strategic competitor, the US has further reduced its manoeverability in Asia.

Rising anti-American sentiments in the Asian Islamic world and the increasing US-China clash, will require the US to have a strategic tie-up with us. American operations in Central and West Asia are unsustainable in the long run without healthy partnerships with think alike powers located in this geographic region as the US conducts them at extremes of its reach.

Therefore, the US need for an alliance with India is far greater than realised. India also holds the geo-economic card to emerge as the largest buyer from the US in the near future.

The strategic advantages which India possesses are highlighted. These are firstly, the geographical location and size which lend it the advantage of both a continental and maritime power and which in turn makes it possible for New Delhi to impact and influence West Asia, Central Asia and South East Asia.

The other strategic advantages vis-a-vis its neighbours are those of having a young, highly skilled population, access to superior weapons technology from the West, Israel and Russia which is unlikely to be available to China and the Islamic countries in the near future and also a large, happening market in Asia.

The author argues forcefully for an offensive pro-active outlook when advocating the future strategies to be adopted by India. These range from the audacious to the most unique and cover a vast spectrum of strategies which include the forging of new alliances, tackling the global menace of terrorism in concert with the US, enhancement of our military might, forging of industrial alliances to leapfrog the technological gaps, skillful use of the media as a force multiplier as well as some corrective internal actions such as repeal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and reversal of the adverse demographic change of population in Assam and other North Eastern states.

The strategy proposed vis-a-vis Pakistan is highly audacious and considered too radical to find acceptance by the Indian leadership or by the international community.

A fair share of attention is devoted to the country's military power. Despite inheriting one of the finest military machines with a formidable reputation of winning wars in distant lands on attaining independence, lack of understanding of military power combined with naive and utopian dreams on the part of the Indian leadership, has landed the military today with the unenviable burden of undertaking policing tasks internally.

Arguing that the foreign policy of a nation is primarily dependant on the strength of two legs -- economic and military power -- the author calls for the utmost priority in the honing and nurturing of the military power in the national development agenda. Unfortunately, this is not so.

The story of shortages of critical equipment, bungling in acquisitions, bureaucratic red tape, complicated procedures and political incompetence to appreciate the relevance of military power continue to hinder the enhancement of our military prowess.

The other problems are also deliberated upon like the shortage of young officers and the aging military leadership profile and solutions offered. The topic of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), is given due prominence. The advantages to be gained by New Delhi by the appointment of a CDS are highlighted.

Bharat Verma'S editorials produced in his book, Faultlines, display his tremendous grasp and depth of understanding of the global geopolitical environment and their impact on India. He raises many pertinent questions vis-a-vis the nation's security and discusses them threadbare. At each stage, he offers assessments which are uncanny in their accuracy as borne out by subsequent events.

The one drawback of the book is that being a compilation of his editorials published over a span of eleven years, large portions of the articles on similar subjects, though separated by a period of time in their publication, tend to be repetitive in varying degrees, thus lending a touch of monotony in their reading.

Had he reproduced the essence of his editorials in a suitably structured book covering the various subjects in continuity from their inception to the present day, the tedium of repetition would be eradicated and at the same time provide continuity of reading to the reader.

Notwithstanding the above critique, Faultlines, provides an excellent source of reference and education in the field of international relations, strategy and military doctrine as it affects India and its reading is highly recommended for the Indian intelligentsia, personnel of the civil and foreign affairs services, military officers, students of political and military science and most importantly, the Indian political leadership.

Lieutenant Colonel Vijay A Mittal (retired) lives in Pune.

Pakistani nukes are safe, says US general

Press Trust Of India, Monday May 11, 2009, Washington

A top US military officer on Sunday expressed confidence over the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

"With respect to the nuclear weapons and sites that are controlled by Pakistan, as President Obama mentioned the other day, we have confidence in their security procedures and elements and believe that the security of those sites is adequate," General David Petraeus told the Fox News in an interview.

Petraeus is the Commander of the US Central Command, which among others have Afghanistan and Pakistan under its jurisdiction. Recently Petraeus was reported as saying in the US media that the next two weeks are very crucial for the future of Pakistan.

"The reports of what I said were a little bit more than what I actually said behind closed doors several weeks ago, at which time I said that, in fact, the next few weeks would be very important and, to a degree, pivotal in the future for Pakistan," he said.

"I think that that has been proven accurate. Now the Pakistani government, military, people have all responded, and certainly the next few weeks will be very important in this effort to roll back, if you will, this existential threat, a true threat to Pakistan's very existence that has been posed by the Pakistani Taliban," Petraeus said.

Expressing satisfaction over ongoing military action against the Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, Petraeus said: "There is a degree of unanimity (in Pakistan) that there must be swift and effective action taken against the Taliban in Pakistan."

This is reflected also, as has been announced by the Pakistani leaders, the shift of forces from the eastern part of their country faced off against India to the North-West Frontier Province areas where the fighting is already ongoing and where more presumably will be conducted, he said.

"This is a Pakistani fight, a Pakistani battle, with elements that, as we've mentioned, threaten the very existence of the Pakistani state," Petraeus said.

Responding to a question on Al Qaeda, General Petraeus said its leaders are based in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. He believed that Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri are still in charge of Al-Qaeda.

"I don't think anyone can give you any kind of accurate location for bin Laden or, frankly, for Zawahiri other than a general description of where that might be, but certainly, they surface periodically," he said.

"We see communications that they send out. Of course, they periodically send out videos in which they try to exhort people and to inspire individuals to carry out extremist activities," Petraeus added.

Plans on to fit BrahMos missile on Su-30MKI aircraft

New Delhi (PTI): Even as the IAF is grappling with its first Sukhoi mishap, India has decided to hold talks with Russia to fit BrahMos cruise missile on to the Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft.

"The mishap will have no impact on our plans to equip the BrahMos on the Su-30 MKI. We are holding talks with Russians at the end of this month to discuss installation of BrahMos launcher on the heavy air superiority fighter," a Defence Ministry source told PTI here.

On April 30, a Pune-based Su-30 MKI crashed over the Pokharan range in Rajasthan after carrying out a routine firing range, killing the co-pilot, Wing Commander P.S. Narah.

After the incident, the IAF has kept its entire fleet of Sukhois on ground and is jointly investigating the cause behind the accident with Russian experts from the Sukhoi Corporation.

India has sent two of its Su-30 MKIs to Russia where the airframe of the aircraft will be modified to accommodate world's only supersonic cruise missile on the aircraft's under-fuselage.

The supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, is developed jointly by India and Russia.

"The work is expected to be completed on the aircraft by early 2010 but we have not set any deadline yet for competing the programme," an official said.

The aerial version of the BrahMos will be nine metres long and once fitted, can auto-launch itself towards the target after being released from the aircraft by the pilot.

After being fitted on an aircraft, BrahMos will be the only cruise missile with the capability of being launched from land, sea and air.

The missile has already been inducted by the Army and the Navy.

With a range of 290 km, the missile has a capability of carrying 300 kg conventional warheads at a speed of around 2.8 Mach.


"Is Indian Army a sacred cow?" roared Arun Dhati Roy at Karachi Press Club in Pakistan on May 08, 2009 and then answered it in affirmative. She is the judge, prosecutor, investigator and of course the accuser, too. Here is what she said:-

"--------------------------The Indian army is quite a sacred cow especially on TV and Bollywood. But at the same time if you talk to the people in the Indian army, they say that they feel that the media is very critical of them. I don’t share that view. I think it is a sacred cow. People are willing to give them a lot of leeway.-------------------------------------"

Arun Dhati Roy is in Pakistan these days to understand what she says, in her own words, "------I am here to understand what you mean by Taliban----------------------" I don't understand what was the need for her to understand Taliban and then go on to lambast the indian army in a foreign land? Why did she go there------- To understand Taliban or stand by her benefactors in their times of crisis? What was ther compelling need to discuss Indian army in foreign land? She did not stop at that. She went on to say that RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) has infiltrated the Indian army. Here is what she ranted in the same dialogue with Pak Media:

"---------------------The RSS has infiltrated the (Indian) army as much as various kinds of Wahabism or other kinds of religious ideology have infiltrated the ISI or the armed forces in Pakistan.-----------------"

Well! If you do not believe this, read this piece by SALMAN SIDIQUI on May 09, 2009 in the internet edition of THE DAWN News Paper of Pakistan. Here is the link:-

I do not want to sit on judgment on her activities in Pakistan. I do not know whether she has gone on her own or it is an orchestrated visit by her benefactors in Pakistan. There are many in Indian media too, who have been cultivated by Pakistan. It is for no rhyme and reason that she goes on to advocate KASHMIR's secession from India and she unequivocally supports 'FREEDOM FIGHTERS in kashmir. She sure speaks Mushareff's language on Kashmir. I care too hoot for what she says but----------

I certainly feel concerned if someone makes such irresponsible statements on the foreign soil, about the institute which is the SPINAL CHORD of our fledgling nation. Her action is nothing short of treason. I don't know how has she claimed that Indian army was a sacred cow? A SACRED COW IS IMMUNE FROM ALL KINDS OF ACCUSATIONS AND ALL MISTAKES ARE CONDONED. If you criticise the so called SACRED COW , it would be construed as an OFFENCE. But is it so? Her own statements falsify her visualisation of the poor Indian army army--who is blasted away by every TOM, DICK and HARRY. Unlike the PAKISTAN ARMY, supposedly her benefactors, Indian army does not enjoy a special status in the Indian Nation. Unfortunately, ARMY is prohibited by Indian Military Law to openly speak against such falsehoods and so it can not retaliate to put these critics back in their place.

Let me do a reality check for you. Didn't you see poor soldiers crying hard and crying aloud for removal of anamolies in the SIXTH PAY COMMISSION? Was it a HOLY COW doing so? This is NOT the way a SACRED COW OUGHT TO BE TREATED. Then, as and when any small mistake or an act of omission and commission takes place, while performing their duties in J&K and North East, the soldiers are taken to task by Indian Media and Courts. In certain cases even fake and false reports of rape and molestation are blown out of proportions. Even simple cases of searches in these areas lead to motivated accusations of misbehaviour by soldiers. in what way is the Indian army a sacred cow, then? Was it a sacred cow that it punished its TEHLKA ACCUSEDS openly, while all others majestically walk the corrodors of power in new Delhi? I would like to ask the writer of the "GOD OF SMALL THINGS" whether SACRED COWS , if they are sacred, are not to be treated as GODS OF SMALL THINGS and condoned for all their faults. The fact is: they are not.

If you go to North East, you will find a large number of court cases against the soldiers for their acts of omission and commission during their employment in insurgency operations. Some of them have to appear in the courts after many years, even after retirement. Are they immune from such court cases and legal processes? If not, how are they sacred?

As for as RSSisation of the army is concerned, one feels like laughing. One does not know as to what was her source of information but it was not so easy to do "RSSISATION'' of the army. One ' Lt. Col Purohit' does not make army; as also one AFZAL GURU does not make Muslim community of India. (Even PUROHIT's case seems to be politically motivated!) This is not my concern. I am sure army will react to this and if the need be sue Arun Dhati Roy in the court for damages.

I am raising this issue because I ask if there was no way to check such MEDIA HYPED CELEBRITIES from making irresponsible and anti-national statements that too on the foreign soil? What are her or her benefactors motives, if not to undermine the morale of the army? Her sources of funds must be investigated. It would be interesting to know as to who has sponsored her Pakistan visit? Was it TEESTA STELAVAD's NGO ? If VARUN GANDHI can be booked under NSA, can she not be booked under NSA and put behind bar for life. Is brave MAYAWATI ready to do this?

I am really exasperated with this kind of irresponsible ranting by uninformed and self-acclaimed celebrities. I hold no brief for the army. I know there would be some corruption there as soldiers too are part of the same Indian society---which is thoroughly affected by it. We do not get soldiers from HEAVENS to behave as angels, nay sacred cows. Today, Lieutenant/ Major Generals aret courtmartialled and sentenced to imprisonment. How many high civil officials and celebrities are sent to jail? Are we condoning their sins as of CELEBRITIES ,be it of MEDIA, POLITICS or of SOCIAL FIELD? Does it happen to ARUN DHATI ROYS or TEESTA STELAVAD even after Supreme Court had passed strictures against them? You remember the SIT report on STELAVAD's MANUFACTURING OF EVIDENCE ON GUJARAT RIOTS, DON'T YOU?


If ARUNDHATI ROY or anyone has something to divulge about the army's misdeeds be specific; disclose the details----------------do not abuse it BECAUSE THE LAW OF THE COUNTRY PREVENTS SOLDIERS FROM OPENLY EXPRESSING THEIR OPINION ON PERSONS LIKE ARUNDHATI ROY. I personally feel the GOVT of INDIA should INVESTIGATE FINANCIAL DEALS & DEEDS OF THIS LADY. Supreme Court must take note of such irresponsible statements or some Lawayer ought to file a suit against her. LET ARMY GO TO COURT ON ITS OWN, IF NO ONE DOES.

I am asking IESL (Indian ex-service men league) and IESM ( Indian exservice Men Movement) to sue this lady for making such flimsy accusations of RSSisation of army. LET THERE BE NO DOUBTS THAT INDIAN ARMY,ALONG WITH ITS RANK and FILE WAS MORE SECULAR THAN THESE ARUNDHATI ROYS and TEESTA STELAVAD. Time is come when legal action must be taken against such people.

Services to have joint training centres
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
To rationalise capital costs and promote jointness in training and operational capability, the three services are in the process of setting up common training institutes catering to specific areas.

Christened Armed Forces Training Institutes (AFTI), these would impart training to personnel of three services in aspects of warfare, logistics and maintenance that are common to all.

This includes nuclear, chemical and biological warfare, unmanned aerial operations and maintenance of helicopters like the indigenous Dhruv advance light helicopter.

There are a number of common fields where the three services are running their independent training establishments. The armed forces have already clubbed together some of them, resulting in cost-effectiveness and qualitative improvement in training.

There are also instances where the training establishment being run by one service is being made use of by the other services. The IAF is training Army helicopter pilots at its Basic Flying Training School in Allahabad and providing ab-initio training to naval and coast guard pilots at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal. Naval personnel are undergoing UAV training at Bathinda.

Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff had earlier carried out a review of the tri-service institutions and brought about changes in their training curriculum to bring in aspects enhancing jointness within the services.

Based upon its observations and recommendations, the process of establishing joint Armed Forces Training Institutes (AFTI) with focus to enhance jointmanship and optimise resources is underway.

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