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Saturday, 11 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 11 Jul 09

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Medvedev threatens US over missile shield

L’Aquila (Italy), July 10
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned the United States today that if it did not reach agreement with Russia on plans for missile defence systems, Moscow would deploy rockets in an enclave near Poland.

In sharp contrast to his positive words during President Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow earlier this week when the two reached broad agreement on nuclear arms cuts, Medvedev used a news conference at the G8 summit to return to Russia’s earlier tough rhetoric on arms control.

Referring to an order he gave earlier this year to prepare deployment of short-range Russian missiles in the western enclave of Kaliningrad to answer to any U.S. deployment of a missile shield in central Europe, Medvedev said: “If we don’t manage to agree on the issues, you know the consequences. What I said during my state of the nation address has not been revoked.”

Medvedev also appeared to change his tone on the missile defence shield itself.

During Obama’s visit he told the U.S. leader, using markedly softer language than normal, that “no one is saying that missile defence is harmful in itself or that it poses a threat to someone”.

But at the Group of Eight rich nations summit in Italy on Friday, Medvedev returned to a traditional posture on the system, describing it as “harmful” and “threatening to Russia”.

In Moscow, Medvedev and Obama agreed a target for cuts in nuclear arms and a year-end deadline for a reduction deal. Obama praised Medvedev as a “straightforward professional” leader.

Before his Moscow visit, Obama made clear he would not accept any effort by Moscow to link arms control to missile defence, and reiterated Washington’s stance that any system would be to protect against a threat from Iran, not from Russia.

He has been less enthusiastic about the plan, which will put a radar installation in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, than predecessor George W. Bush, but seems unlikely to abandon it without getting something in return.

The Czech Republic and Poland have signed treaties with Washington on the plan, with both governments making the project a priority to counter what they see as Russia’s continued influence in the region. — Reuters

CAG report comes down heavily on HAL
Slams firm for not meeting Army’s demand
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in its report released today has slammed the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited - a company under the Ministry of Defence - for having been slow in meeting the demands of the Army that needs good helicopters to service high-altitude areas in the Himalayas.

A large number of border outposts bordering Pakistan and China need choppers that have capability to fly at an altitude beyond 20,000 feet. As of now, the Army is compelled to rely on the old fleet of single engine Cheetah and Chetak helicopters which are of more than 30 years old technology. This was hampering operational preparedness.

The earlier version of the ALH - a few dozen supplied to the Army - cannot fly at heights that are more 17,500 feet. The Army wants a chopper that can go up to at least 23,000 feet. The upgraded version of the chopper with a more powerful engine was still not ready, said the CAG in its report that was tabled in Parliament.

The upgraded version has been “unduly delayed” said the report. The ALH is popularly called the “Dhruv”. Its only handicap is the restriction on altitude.

The CAG said, in December 2007, Ministry finalised three contracts with HAL for procurement of 105 ALHs, at a cost of Rs 9,490 crore. These ALH were to be fitted with the newly developed Shakti engine. The engine was to be jointly developed by HAL and Turbomeca. Even after five years of trying nothing has materialised. The delivery schedule for these three contracts was to commence from 2008-09 onwards provided the Shakti engine was evaluated by August 2008. Army Aviation (Maintenance Advisory Group) at HAL Bangalore stated in September 2008 that Shakti engine under development had a deficiency in power and necessary improvements were underway.

Expressing its doubts, the CAG said it was yet certain if the 105 choppers ordered in December 2007 at the cost of Rs 9,490 crore would be devoid of the shortcomings and meet the Army’s requirement.

The failure of the Army to acquire suitable choppers has led to considerable delay in de-induction of old fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which may impact operational preparedness of the Army adversely, especially in high altitude areas in forward locations, the reports opines.

The earlier order of choppers valuing Rs 1,747 crore contracted with HAL was inducted with technological gaps - altitude restrictions - which may impact operational preparedness of the Army.

Even after a decade of its development at a cost of Rs 2,488 crore , spent so far, the project was not meeting the time schedules.

In September 1995, the Army had projected a requirement of 99 helicopters to be inducted by 2007. The HAL has been asked be reduce the empty weight of the chopper and that it has not been able to do, the report said.

CAG pulls up IB for extra expenditure of nearly Rs 60 lakh

Press Trust of India / New Delhi July 10, 2009, 16:01 IST

The Intelligence Bureau(IB) had to shell out an additional nearly Rs 60 lakh for purchase of a plot for its Varanasi office due to delay in payment by its headquarters, a CAG report has pointed out.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has rapped the Bureau for the extra expenditure of Rs 59.61 lakh in purchase of the plot.

"IB purchased a plot measuring 1,600 square meters for its office building at Varanasi from UPHDB in September 2006 at a total cost of Rs 1.95 crore. Audit examination disclosed that the cost included an extra expenditure of Rs 59.61 lakh," the report said.

Country's auditor said the terms of allotment of Uttar Pradesh Housing and Development Board (UPHDB) indicated that the offer would be automatically cancelled if the payment was not made by February 28, 2005.

"The IB headquarters did not even initiate the proposal by the due date. This led to cancellation of the offer by UPHDB," the report said.

The offer of allotment of the same plot was revived by the UPHDB in February 2006 and their revised demand of Rs 1.79 crore included interest of Rs 30.64 lakh at 19 per cent from original due date of payment, CAG said.

"The discount of 10 per cent for timely payment was also withdrawn by the UPHDB in the revised offer," it said.

Army awaits Chutak project to solve power woes in Kargil

Ajit K Dubey/PTI / Kargil July 10, 2009, 13:56 IST

With no source of electricity in the Kargil sector, the Indian Army is eagerly awaiting the Chutak Hydel Power project to reduce its dependence on petroleum products for meeting energy requirements.

"We have to depend on generator sets for meeting our requirements for electricity as there are no power plants here. We are eagerly waiting for the Chutak Hydel Power plant to start functioning in Kargil so that we have to use lesser amount of petroleum products," Officers from Army's 'Forever in Operations' Division told PTI here.

The power plant is being constructed in Kargil by the National Hydel Power Corporation and will generate 44 MW electricity every year.

"It has four turbines of 11 MW each and is expected to start transmission of power by the end of September next year," they said.

The officers said that almost 50 per cent of the electricity produced from the plant would be surplus after meeting the requirements of the local population.

"After the requirements of the local population are met with, we will have around 50 per cent of it for our usage. We would be the captive consumers of the electricity from the power plant," they said.Once the Army starts getting power from the project, it can do away with the use of generators in its formations based in Kargil, Dras and Batalik towns and the units based on the main highway connecting these towns, officers said.

"A major chunk of our energy needs would be fulfilled in these three towns but we will have to still depend on generator sets at locations in high altitude areas and on forward bases where we can't supply power," they said.

They added that lesser dependence on the petroleum products would also help in curtailing the winter-stocking efforts of the Army. "Most of the winter-stocking by the Army is for petroleum products for keeping the troops warm during the winter season when there is heavy snow fall and temperature is way below zero. With posts at lower heights getting regular electricity supply, we will have to stock oil supplies only for posts at high altitudes," they said.

The road-link to the region remains cut-off from the rest of the country in winters due to heavy snowfall for around six months and Army stocks its supplies for winters in summers itself.

Afghanistan: a war we cannot win

The threat posed by al-Qaeda is exaggerated; the West's vision of a rebuilt Afghanistan ultimately flawed, says former soldier, diplomat and academic Rory Stewart

By Rory Stewart

We are accustomed to seeing Afghans through bars, or smeared windows, or the sight of a rifle: turbaned men carrying rockets, praying in unison, or lying in pools of blood; boys squabbling in an empty swimming pool; women in burn wards, or begging in burkas. Kabul is a South Asian city of millions. Bollywood music blares out in its crowded spice markets and flower gardens, but it seems that images conveying colour and humour are reserved for Rajasthan.

Barack Obama, in a recent speech, set out our fears. The Afghan government "is undermined by corruption and has difficulty delivering basic services to its people. The economy is undercut by a booming narcotics trade that encourages criminality and funds the insurgency... If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.

"For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralysed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people – especially women and girls. The return in force of al-Qaeda terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence."

When we are not presented with a dystopian vision, we are encouraged to be implausibly optimistic. "There can be only one winner: democracy and a strong Afghan state," Gordon Brown predicted in his most recent speech on the subject.

Obama and Brown rely on a hypnotising language that can – and perhaps will – be applied as easily to Somalia or Yemen as Afghanistan. It misleads us in several respects: minimising differences between cultures, exaggerating our fears, aggrandising our ambitions, inflating a sense of moral obligations and power, and confusing our goals. All these attitudes are aspects of a single worldview and create an almost irresistible illusion.

It conjures nightmares of "failed states" and "global extremism", offers the remedies of "state-building" and "counter-insurgency", and promises a final dream of "legitimate, accountable governance". It papers over the weakness of the international community: our lack of knowledge, power and legitimacy. It conceals the conflicts between our interests: between giving aid to Afghans and killing terrorists. It assumes that Afghanistan is predictable. It makes our policy seem a moral obligation, makes failure unacceptable, and alternatives inconceivable. It does this so well that a more moderate, minimalist approach becomes almost impossible to articulate.

Every Afghan ruler in the 20th century was assassinated, lynched or deposed. The Communist government tried to tear down the old structures of mullah and khan; the anti-Soviet jihad set up new ones, bolstered with US and Saudi cash and weapons from Pakistan. There is almost no economic activity in the country, aside from international aid and the production of illegal narcotics. The Afghan army cannot, like Pakistan's, reject America's attempt to define national security priorities; Afghan diplomats cannot mock our pronouncements. Karzai is widely criticised, but more than seven years after the invasion there is still no plausible alternative candidate; there aren't even recognisable political parties.

Obama's new policy has a very narrow focus – counter-terrorism – and a very broad definition of how to achieve it: no less than the fixing of the Afghan state. Obama combines a negative account of Afghanistan's past and present – he describes the border region as ''the most dangerous place in the world'' – with an optimism that it can be transformed. He assumes that we have a moral justification and obligation to intervene, that the US and its allies have the capacity to address the threat and that our global humanitarian and security objectives are consistent and mutually reinforcing.

Policy-makers perceive Afghanistan through the categories of counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, state-building and economic development. These categories are so closely linked that you can put them in almost any sequence or combination. You need to defeat the Taliban to build a state and you need to build a state to defeat the Taliban. There cannot be security without development, or development without security. If you have the Taliban you have terrorists, if you don't have development you have terrorists, and as Obama informed the New Yorker: "If you have ungoverned spaces, they become havens for terrorists."

These connections are global: in Obama's words, "our security and prosperity depend on the security and prosperity of others." Or, as a British foreign minister recently rephrased it, "our security depends on their development". Indeed, at times it seems that all these activities – building a state, defeating the Taliban, defeating al-Qaeda and eliminating poverty – are the same activity. The new US army and marine corps counter-insurgency doctrine sounds like a World Bank policy document, replete with commitments to the rule of law, economic development, governance, state-building and human rights. In Obama's words, "security and humanitarian concerns are all part of one project".

This policy rests on misleading ideas about moral obligation, our capacity, the strength of our adversaries, the threat posed by Afghanistan, the relations between our different objectives, and the value of a state. The power of the US and its allies, and our commitment, knowledge and will, are limited. It is unlikely that we will be able to defeat the Taliban. The ingredients of successful counter-insurgency campaigns in places like Malaya – control of the borders, large numbers of troops in relation to the population, strong support from the majority ethnic groups, a long-term commitment and a credible local government – are lacking in Afghanistan.

General Petraeus will find it difficult to repeat the apparent success of the surge in Iraq. There are no mass political parties and the Kabul government lacks the base, strength or legitimacy of the Baghdad government. Afghan tribal groups lack the coherence of the Iraqi Sunni tribes and their relation to state structures: they are not being driven out of neighbourhood after neighbourhood and they do not have the same relation to the Taliban that the Sunni groups had to "al-Qaeda in Iraq".

Afghans are weary of the war but the Afghan chiefs are not approaching us, seeking a deal. Since the political players and state structures in Afghanistan are much more fragile than those in Iraq, they are less likely to play a strong role in ending the insurgency.

Meanwhile, the Taliban can exploit the ideology of religious resistance that the West fostered in the 1980s to defeat the Russians. They can portray the Kabul government as US slaves, Nato as an infidel occupying force and its own insurgency as a jihad. Its complaints about corruption, human rights abuses and aerial bombardments appeal to a large audience. It is attracting Afghans to its rural courts by giving quicker and more predictable rulings than government judges.

Like some government officials, the Taliban has developed an ambiguous and sometimes profitable relationship with the drug lords. It is able to slip back and forth across the Pakistani border and receive support there. It has massacred Alokozai elders who tried to resist. It is mounting successful attacks against the coalition and the Afghan government in the south and east. It is operating in more districts than in 2006 and controls provinces, such as Wardak, close to Kabul. It has a chance of retaking southern towns such as Musa Qala and perhaps even some provincial capitals.

But the Taliban is very unlikely to take over Afghanistan as a whole. Its previous administration provided basic road security and justice but it was fragile and fell quickly. It is no longer perceived, as it was by some in 1994, as young student angels saving the country from corruption. Millions of Afghans disliked its brutality, incompetence and primitive attitudes. The Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek populations are wealthier, more established and more powerful than they were in 1996 and would strongly resist any attempt by the Taliban to occupy their areas.

The Afghan national army is reasonably effective. Pakistan is not in a position to support the Taliban as it did before. It would require far fewer international troops and planes than we have today to make it very difficult for the Taliban to gather a conventional army as it did in 1996 and drive tanks and artillery up the main road to Kabul.

Even if – as seems most unlikely – the Taliban was to take the capital, it is not clear how much of a threat this would pose to US or European national security. Would it repeat its error of providing a safe haven to al-Qaeda? And how safe would this haven be? And does al-Qaeda still require large terrorist training camps to organise attacks? Could it not plan in Hamburg and train at flight schools in Florida; or meet in Bradford and build morale on an adventure training course in Wales?

Furthermore, there are no self-evident connections between the key objectives of counter-terrorism, development, democracy/ state-building and counter-insurgency. Counter-insurgency is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for state-building. You could create a stable legitimate state without winning a counter-insurgency campaign (India, which is far more stable and legitimate than Afghanistan, is still fighting several long counter-insurgency campaigns from Assam to Kashmir).

You could win a counter-insurgency campaign without creating a stable state (if such a state also required the rule of law and a legitimate domestic economy). Nor is there any necessary connection between state-formation and terrorism. Our confusions are well illustrated by the debates about whether Iraq was a rogue state harbouring terrorists (as Bush claimed) or an authoritarian state that excluded terrorists (as was the case).

It is impossible for Britain and its allies to build an Afghan state. They have no clear picture of this promised "state", and such a thing could come only from an Afghan national movement, not as a gift from foreigners. Is a centralised state, in any case, an appropriate model for a mountainous country, with strong traditions of local self-government and autonomy, significant ethnic differences, but strong shared moral values? And even were stronger central institutions to emerge, would they assist Western national security objectives?

Afghanistan is starting from a very low base: 30 years of investment might allow its army, police, civil service and economy to approach the levels of Pakistan. But Osama bin Laden is still in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. He chooses to be there precisely because Pakistan can be more assertive in its state sovereignty than Afghanistan and restricts US operations. From a narrow (and harsh) US national security perspective, a poor failed state could be easier to handle than a more developed one: Yemen is less threatening than Iran, Somalia than Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan than Pakistan.

Yet the current state-building project, at the heart of our policy, is justified in the most instrumental terms – not as an end in itself but as a means towards counter-terrorism. In pursuit of this objective, Obama has committed to building "an Afghan army of 134,000 and a police force of 82,000", and adds that "increases in Afghan forces may very well be needed." US generals have spoken openly about wanting a combined Afghan army-police-security apparatus of 450,000 soldiers (in a country with a population half the size of Britain's).

Such a force would cost $2 or $3 billion a year to maintain; the annual revenue of the Afghan government is just $600 million. We criticise developing countries for spending 30 per cent of their budget on defence; we are encouraging Afghanistan to spend 500 per cent of its budget.

Some policymakers have been quick to point out that this cost is unsustainable and will leave Afghanistan dependent for ever on the largesse of the international community. Some have even raised the spectre (suggested by the example of Pakistan) that this will lead to a military coup. But the more basic question is about our political principles. We should not encourage the creation of an authoritarian military state. The security that resulted might suit our short-term security interests, but it will not serve the longer interests of Afghans.

What kind of anti-terrorist tactics would we expect from the Afghan military? What kind of surveillance, interference and control from the police? We should not assume that the only way to achieve security in a developing country is through the restriction of civil liberties, or that authoritarianism is a necessary phase in state-formation, or a precondition for rapid economic development, or a lesser evil in the fight against modern terrorism.

After seven years of refinement, the policy seems so buoyed by illusions, caulked in ambiguous language and encrusted with moral claims, analogies and political theories that it can seem futile to present an alternative. It is particularly difficult to argue not for a total withdrawal but for a more cautious approach.

The best Afghan policy would be to reduce the number of foreign troops from the current 90,000 to perhaps 20,000. In that case, two distinct objectives would remain for the international community: development and counter-terrorism. Neither would amount to the building of an Afghan state. If the West believed it essential to exclude al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, then it could be done with special forces. (The West has done it successfully since 2001 and could continue indefinitely, though the result has only been to move bin Laden across the border.) At the same time the West should provide generous development assistance – not only to keep consent for the counter-terrorism operations, but as an end in itself.

A reduction in troops and a turn away from state-building should not mean total withdrawal: good projects could continue to be undertaken in electricity, water, irrigation, health, education, agriculture, rural development. We should not control and cannot predict the future of Afghanistan. It may become more violent, or find a decentralised equilibrium or a new national unity, but if its communities want to work with us, we can, over 30 years, encourage the more positive trends in Afghan society and help to contain the more negative.

Such arguments seem strained, unrealistic, counter-intuitive and unappealing. They appear to betray the hopes of Afghans who trusted us and to allow the Taliban to abuse district towns. No politician wants to be perceived to have underestimated, or failed to address, a terrorist threat; or to write off the ''blood and treasure'' that we have sunk into Afghanistan; or to admit defeat. To suggest that what worked in Iraq won't work in Afghanistan requires a detailed knowledge of each country's past, a bold analysis of the causes of development and a rigorous exposition of the differences, for which few have patience.

The fundamental assumptions remain that an ungoverned or hostile Afghanistan is a threat to global security; that the West has the ability to address the threat and bring prosperity and security; that this is a moral obligation; that economic development and order in Afghanistan will contribute to global stability; that these different objectives reinforce each other; and that there is no real alternative.

The exact assumptions were made in 1868 by Sir Henry Rawlinson, a celebrated and experienced member of the council of India, concerning the threat of a Russian presence in Afghanistan: "In the interests, then, of peace; in the interests of commerce; in the interests of moral and material improvement, it may be asserted that interference in Afghanistan has now become a duty, and that any moderate outlay or responsibility we may incur in restoring order at Kabul will prove in the sequel to be true economy."

The new UK strategy for Afghanistan is described as: "International... regional... joint civilian-military... co-ordinated... long-term...focused on developing capacity... an approach that combines respect for sovereignty and local values with respect for international standards of democracy, legitimate and accountable government, and human rights; a hard-headed approach: setting clear and realistic objectives with clear metrics of success."

This is not a plan: it is a description of what we have not got. Why do we believe that describing what we do not have should constitute a plan on how to get it? In part, it is because the language is comfortingly opaque. A bewildering range of different logical connections and identities can be concealed in a specialised language derived from development theory and overlaid with management consultancy. What is concealed is our underlying assumption that when we want to make other societies resemble our (often fantastical) ideas of our own society, we can.

In 1868, Rawlinson's views were defeated. Sir John Lawrence, the new viceroy, persuaded Lord Derby's government that Afghanistan was less important than it appeared, that our resources were limited, and that we had other more pressing priorities. Here, in a civil service minute of 1867, he imagines what would happen if the Russians tried to invade: "In that case let them undergo the long and tiresome marches which lie between the Oxus and the Indus; let them wend their way through poor and difficult countries, among a fanatic and courageous population, where, in many places, every mile can be converted into a defensible position; then they will come to the conflict on which the fate of India will depend, toil-worn, with an exhausted infantry, a broken-down cavalry, and a defective artillery."

He concludes: "I am firmly of opinion that our proper course is not to advance our troops beyond our present border, not to send English officers into the different states of Central Asia; but to put our own house in order, by giving the people of India the best government in our power, by conciliating, as far as practicable, all classes, and by consolidating our resources."

A modern civil servant might express such an argument as follows: "The presence of Nato special forces, the challenging logistical and political conditions in Afghanistan and lack of technological capacity, are likely to impede al-Qaeda from posing a significant threat to UK or US national security. Instead development in South Asia should remain the key strategic priority for the UK government."

Lawrence might have been expected to have a more confident or arrogant view of British power than policy-makers today. But he believed that the British government lacked power, lacked knowledge (even though he and his colleagues had spent decades on the Afghan frontier) and lacked legitimacy ("the Afghans do not want us; they dread our appearance in the country... will not tolerate foreign rule").

The argument is contingent, cautious, empirical and local, rooted in a very specific landscape and time. It expresses a belief not only in the limits of Russian and Afghan threats but also in the limits of British power and capacity.

This is an edited extract from an article that first appeared in the London Review of Books (

*RORY Stewart has been a soldier, diplomat and academic and has travelled extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a student at Oxford, he was a summer tutor to Princes William and Harry. After a short period with the Black Watch, he joined the Foreign Office. He was British Representative to Montenegro in the wake of the Kosovo campaign. After the coalition invasion of Iraq, he was appointed deputy governor of Maysan and senior advisor in Dhi Qar, two provinces in southern Iraq.

His first book, The Places in Between, a New York Times bestseller, was an account of a walk across Afghanistan in the winter of 2001/2. In 2005, he founded an NGO in Afghanistan and moved to Kabul. He is Ryan Family Professor of the Practice of Human Rights and the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Pak marines trained Kasab, says report

PTI | July 10, 2009 | 18:16 IST

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone captured terrorist of the audacious Mumbai terror attack, was trained by the Pakistan Marines, an elite unit of the Pakistan Navy, says a report in The Week.

In its latest issue, the magazine quoting Kasab's interrogation report by an intelligence agency said he and nine others who struck Mumbai last November were taught combat techniques by the Pakistan Marines after being extensively trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) at its various camps.

The report said the terrorists underwent crash courses in surveillance, reading topographical maps, sniping positions, urban warfare and kidnapping.

The magazine also said Kasab's interrogators think that the terrorists could in "all possibility" have done a recce of the targets in Mumbai much ahead of the 26/11. It said that a senior Research and Analysis Wing officer had said that Ismail, the leader of the pack, did the recce with the help of local elements.

Kasab told the interrogators that he and his comrades were taken to sea briefly in the initial stages of the intensive training programme.

"The drills continued for two months in two separate installments. Nautical miles increased in time. And at a later stage, they were taught the specialised techniques in a 'built up' pool," the magazine said in a statement.

India’s wishful thinking

Sultan M Hali

P.K. Upadhyay, a Consultant for its Pakistan Project, with the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies and Analyses (IDSA), an Indian think tank, has come up with his latest report titled: ‘Talibisation of Pakistan: Implications for Jammu and Kashmir’. He claims that the Taliban represent a present and clear danger to Pakistan. This is because, firstly, they seem to have finally lost faith in Pakistani commitment towards their cause and are not willing to accommodate any more its policy of running with the Talibani hare and hunting with the American hound. Pakistan’s continuing failure to either come out of the US-led ‘War on Terror’ or at least prevent drone attacks from its soil, has convinced the Taliban–-Pakistan, as well as, perhaps, Afghani ones—that whether under a military regime like that of Musharraf’s or under a civilian set-up like the present Zardari/Gilani one, Pakistan has no desire to give-up the American financial and military goodies for jihad, which they seem to have concluded, is an expendable commodity for the Pakistanis.

He infers that it is no surprise that Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, alias Abu Saeed al-Masari, al-Qaeda Commander in Afghanistan has recently spoken of his hope that “Pakistan Army would be defeated (in Swat) and that would be its end everywhere.” Secondly, he continues to conjecture, Taliban, and the al-Qaeda, have a clear Islamist agenda, which is to introduce a strict Shariat-based order. It spares no quarters for such hybrid Pakistani ideas as ‘Islamic democracy’, exemplified by concepts like Nizam-e-Mustafa. They seem to have assessed that a large number of Pakistanis support their call for a strict Shariat-based Islamic order and that those who oppose it could be tamed. Therefore, they have begun to call their current conflict with the ‘oppressor Pakistani Army’ a ‘jihad’.

The “erudite” scholar’s punch line, putting words in the mouth of the al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan Abu Saeed al-Masari, is wishful thinking that the Pakistan Army would be routed in Swat, which would spell its annihilation. To support his flight of fancy, he surmises: “Between 2001 and 2007, there have been many ‘confrontations’ between Taliban and the Pakistan Army. On many occasions, the Pakistani media showed ‘columns’ of Pakistan Army moving into FATA areas to ‘quell’ the Taliban. However, nothing much was heard of those operations subsequently and there invariably were truce deals brokered by one or another mediator between the two sides.

Then there was also the case of Maulana Akram Awan of Chakwal, Sheikh of the Naqshbandiah Owaisiah order, threatening to lay siege to Rawalpindi in April 2001, demanding the imposition of Shariat in Pakistan. He was also supported by some former Army officers. General Musharraf had to negotiate with the Maulana and assure him that he would try to accommodate his demands in return for the former pulling out his men from Rawalpindi.” Mr. Upadhyay could not be further from the truth, since the Pakistan Army has already mopped up most of Swat and is fighting a grim battle to clean up FATA of the miscreants. Indeed the Pakistani Army is engaged in a struggle in which it has displayed extreme valour, especially its officer cadre, which has made the supreme sacrifice of its life in the line of duty. Various analysts have pointed out that this is the highest ratio of officer/soldier casualties in any war anywhere on the globe. This by itself depicts the obligation and commitment of the Pakistani Army, the courage, bravery and the audacity of its planners and fighting arms. It is surely destined for victory.

The other aspect which Mr. Upadhyay, speculates is the implication of terrorism in Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Indeed the AJK has been peaceful and devoid of terrorist activities till the June 26, 2009 event, when this threshold was crossed by a “pro-Taliban suicide bomber”, who blew himself-up in Muzzafarabad’s Shaukat Lines, killing two Pakistani soldiers and wounding three others. Hekimullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban leader claimed responsibility for the attack. Mr. Upadhyay states that apparently, Pakistan Army establishments in AJK are ‘soft’ targets for Taliban and one may expect an increase in the number of such attacks on them in the days to come, in tandem with the Pakistan Army’s increasing pressure on Taliban in FATA and other areas.

Perhaps the informed scholar knows something, which we do not. The knowledge he is apparently privy to is that India, which is reportedly sponsoring the miscreants in Swat and FATA, exasperated by the trouncing its surrogates have received on these fronts, now wants to open a new front in AJK through its infamous spy agency RAW in an attempt to destabilize Pakistan. Mr. Upadhyay “concludes” tongue in cheek: “There have been reports in the past about the presence of Pashtun gunmen in various parts of the Kashmir Valley along with local militants. An ‘al-Qaeda Jammu & Kashmir’ materialized after the July 2006 Mumbai train attacks. Taliban coming into J&K (Indian Occupied Kashmir) is not unthinkable. Whether they come or not, India has to gear itself up to deal with the situation by encouraging a build-up of Kashmiri Sufi sentiments—the Kashmiriyat-– as an antidote to religious radicalism of Taliban variety. This exercise, if successful, could pay rich dividends by strengthening Kashmir’s bonds with the rest of the country, whether Taliban come or not.”

Indian state terrorism has already wreaked havoc on the lives of the Muslims in Indian-held Kashmir; it has reneged on its promise to the UN to adhere to UN Resolutions to hold a plebiscite for the Kashmiris to decide their fate and instead turned them into cannon fodder. In the process it has massacred nearly a hundred thousand of them, raping their women, wounding and maiming millions and burning and looting their property. The world has remained oblivious to their plight. Now the harbingers of doom and gloom of the Saffron brigade want to repeat their atrocities and war crimes in the erstwhile peaceful valley of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This should be taken full cognizance of and thwarted with might.

Let us develop a military space programme

M P Anil Kumar | July 10, 2009 | 17:15 IST

In the first segment of his study of the Chinese and Pakistan military programmes and their impact on India, M P Anil Kumar, a former fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force, noted how China's military space programme could pose a threat to India. In this concluding piece, he looks at India's muted plans for space warfare.

The Indian Air Force fancies its transformation into an expeditionary force, a continental air force with strategic reach to defend India's geopolitical interest. The AWACS (the first one inducted on May 28th) will be the bellwether of this expeditionary force.

With the acquisition of force-multipliers like the AWACS, aerostat radars, aerial refuellers, Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters, unmanned aerial vehicles, etc, that old gospel of point air defence was given a burial and area air defence was elevated as the new article of faith. Many strands of the new credo were tested and practised in the exercise Gagan Shakti in October 2006.

Pakistan tried to acquire an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform (Boeing 707-based E-3C) from the USA as early as 1979 but failed. The Pakistan Navy will soon have a flock of ten Lockheed P-3C Orion long range, high endurance maritime surveillance airplanes.

Three of these are to be fitted with E-2C Hawkeye-2000 AEW suite. The Pakistan Navy also has a pair of ageing Breguet Atlantique maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The Pakistan Air Force in a few years will fly six Swedish AEW&C platforms (PS-890 Erieye radar mounted on SAAB 2000 turboprop).

Pakistan in all probability will invest and collaborate in the development of the ongoing Chinese AWACS project KJ-2000 on the Ilyushin-76 airframe and KJ-200 'Balanced Beam' AEW&C project on the Shaanxi Yun-8 airframe.

Apart from its standard scanning modes, the AWACS is designed to operate and 'fingerprint' in a silent surveillance mode known as the passive detection system (PDS). In this mode, much ELINT could be gathered from electromagnetic emissions, meaning peacetime PDS can excavate significant details of the adversary's tactics and orbat (order of battle). This knowledge is inestimable as it could tilt the balance decisively during wartime.

In sum, in another five years, the PAF and Pakistan Navy could jointly keep a constant vigil on the assets as well as activities of the Indian army, navy and air force.

Pervasive capabilities possessed by China and Pakistan have weighty implications for India during both peace and war.

To respond to China's calibrated hostility and Pakistan's incurable hostility, the Indian armed forces have to defend nearly 15,200 km of land frontier, 7,517 km of coastline (including Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep islands) and the airspace above it.

We need as many as 30 AWACS to patrol this vast geographical expanse round-the-clock, which is simply beyond our budget, which calls for a cost-effective, optimal deployment and employment of various ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) assets.

Since early warning is going to set the pace of air war and catalyse successful military missions, with the potential acquisition of AEW&C systems, Pakistan, through its force-multipliers, aims to nullify the IAF's superiority, and thereby shrink the asymmetry, achieve near-parity and blunt the Indian conventional deterrence in a way.

With Pakistan on course to achieve what can be termed 'AEW symmetry,' the IAF will perforce have to reboot with a different operational doctrine. (In all wars hitherto anchored by the AWACS -- from the Beqaa Valley air war in June 1982 to the 2003 Iraq war -- the Israeli Air Force and the United States Air Force blitzed and pulverised the adversaries under total AEW asymmetry.)

Should this disconcert us? Yes, and No.

Foremost, we need to acknowledge Pak capabilities and then use our heads to outwit, outgun and outgeneral the Pakistani military. Also, a state of symmetry does not mean a stallion will turn into a jackass. Force multipliers will retain its mojo and utility; AWACS will remain a strategic asset, retaining its punch. Operational tactics and strategies can be rejigged continually to beat the AEW-symmetry environment.

Among other things, the AEW symmetry will compel the IAF to relocate its combat aircraft squadrons further inland to increase survivability. This dispersed deployment in depth beyond the sweep of adversary's AEW/ESM systems is a long-term, capital-intensive process.

Even today, high-tech hardware is only as good as the man at the machine. Self-explanatory. Needless to add, the force with better leadership, training, innovation, motivation, aggression and tech-savvy personnel will naturally be the quicker one on the draw, and should carry the day.

Space ahoy!

How do we worst the AEW-symmetry in our unfriendly neighbourhood? One obvious first step is creating asymmetry through the assimilation of our space prowess. We need to develop and deploy space-based assets so as to cumulate sensor inputs, datalink it to the networked military command and control system from where it can be fed to the field units and commanders. This will enhance the battlefield situational awareness through real-time projection of the battlefield.

For this, the Indian armed forces will have to attain network centric warfare (NCW) capability, but they are just inching, not marching towards that goal. NCW will pivot upon the networking of terrestrial, nautical & aerospatial radars; AEW platforms; air defence fighters, missiles & artillery batteries; communication centres; electronic warfare systems and aggregation of other air defence assets of army and navy.

Thus, a net-centric apparatus will enable the military to interlock geographically scattered units to operate as a unified force, thus maximising our reach and offensive power, thus maximising our chances of aerospace dominance. Hence, the government's present piecemeal approach and hesitation to found an integrated, triservices NCW system are truly baffling.

Though we enjoy the edge over Pakistan in satellite technology, one cannot rule out China -- Pakistan's soul mate and an alleged, unapologetic proliferator -- sharing its know-how and intelligence with Pakistan. China is light years ahead of us in offensive space technology; so our endeavour should be 'space denial.' In case of Pakistan, we must go all out to achieve total 'space control.'

India must also prepare a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario -- China emerging as a 'rogue space power.'

These are easier professed than done. For, high-tech structures like an aerospace command require dedicated military satellites interlinked with other ISR infrastructure. Leave alone establishing a fully-operational aerospace command, we are aeons away from using space for real-time snooping, warning, jamming and guiding precision-strike munitions.

Policy stasis, the bane of this nation

With space having emerged as the fourth medium for military operations, the IAF had brought out its blueprint titled 'Defence Space Vision 2020' two years ago. The IAF had also laid claim to the aerospace command as natural progression for them, and therefore, wanted its bureaucracy to run it.

Since space-related technologies will be accessed by all three services, since future wars will be fought jointly and at theatre levels, since command and control will be executed via military networks, the Integrated Defence Staff is the most deserving agency to host the aerospace department.

Acknowledging this logic, last June, the defence minister announced the formation of an Integrated Space Cell under the IDS headquarters in Delhi to counter what he called 'the growing threat to our space assets.' The remit of this cell is, however, rudimentary -- to liaise with the relevant elements among the armed forces, the department of space and ISRO -- and the cell could degenerate into another talking-shop!

Though China's ASAT shocker and Pakistan's pains to attain AEW symmetry should have galvanised us into action, our establishment (the unhurried politico-bureaucratic setup) seems to be reading the hare and the tortoise fable, not 'Vision 2020' or related literature, and daydreaming about the Indian tortoise breasting the tape ahead of the Chinese hare! Well, the establishment is travelling mostly in time, not much in space!

(The US Department of Defense in 1973 created an Office of Net Assessment -- the Pentagon's internal think-tank. Many militaries have constituted a body comparable to the ONA since. Unlike military or national power, hard or soft power, Net Assessment focuses on intangible, even inconspicuous aspects that could be taken advantage of during a conflict.

For example, if a country's governmental decision-making is slack, strategists will flag this national character for exploitation. Hence somebody needs to drive home this point to our slowcoach mandarins that their chronic tardiness is in effect making them a fifth column.)

With space and time collapsing rapidly in modern warfare, the establishment of a triservices Space Command (under the IDS) cannot suffer further deferral. The Space Command should be charged with total administrative and operational control over the whole gamut of space warfare.

As space assets must be seen as auxiliary tools to serve our security requirements, let us develop a military space programme by investing in space technologies without being apologetic about it, without the typical Indian ambivalence, fence-squatting and dilly-dallying.

Given the national security implications, one can only hope that the defence minister will goad the lazybones and will infuse much-needed urgency, energy, purpose and direction to our military space programme.

Let me sign off on an optimistic note by quoting what General Colin Powell had said: 'Perpetual optimism is a force-multiplier.'

Tailpiece: Einstein provided an answer in 1905 to a puzzler still daring the 21st century scientists: the secret of eternal youth. Simply travel at the speed of light. Any object journeying at the speed of light does not travel in the time dimension, and therefore, does not age! But wait. Einstein himself dashed all hopes of intergalactic voyages to defy ageing with his famous energy equation E=mc2. How? Those with a bent for physics, read on.

Assume an object aiming to accelerate to the speed of light. The equivalence of energy and mass in the above equation means that the energy an object has due to its motion would add to its mass. So, as it accelerates, its energy would increase, which would in turn increase its mass. Gradually more and more energy would be required to propel and accelerate the swelling mass further and further. Soon, infinite energy would be needed to speed it up any more. Ergo, only waves without intrinsic mass can travel at the speed of light, thus nixing the prospects of human space excursions to retard ageing.

Is India planing to Attack on Pakistani Nuclear Plants

* Friday, July 10, 2009, 14:39

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The Indians working with their allies in the Karzai government have designed a foolproof plan to attack Pakistani nuclear sites using hired terrorists. They think they can pull it off and permanently damage Pakistan’s standing internationally and hasten calls for denuclearizing Pakistan. Any attack on Pakistani nuclear sites in the coming days will be taken as a declaration of war by India and will be dealt with equal force. There should not be confusion on this.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—India has paid terrorist leader Baitullah Mehsud and his well armed and trained terrorist army around U.S. $ 25 million to mount a spectacular attack on a major Pakistani nuclear site. A special force of around 500 recruits has been assembled and trained to mount the operation that is supposed to shock the world. The purpose is to create an event that will create a global media scare and convince the world of the need for military intervention in Pakistan. Another objective is to neutralize voices of reason within the U.S. government that believe Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure.

The bulk of the terrorists in the special 500-strong force put together by Mehsud have been trained inside Afghanistan by trainers suspected of having links to the Indian intelligence. Although most of the recruits are expected to be Pakistanis from Mehsud’s tribe, an unknown number of Afghan and Indian elements with special operations training have been inserted in the Mehsud group in order to ensure the success of this high profile operation.

It is not clear when this plan was conceived and whether the 500-strong force divided into crack teams to carry out the attack(s) is ready. But Pakistani officials are taking no chances. The nation’s security setup is on high alert. As for the nuclear installations, the managers of Pakistan’s strategic arsenal maintain unrestricted universal operability to fulfill the arsenal’s role as a deterrent. For them, no day is a normal day.

But this latest disclosure of a plan to attack the nuclear sites has raised alarm bells, to say the least.

A rough sketch of the plan and how the attack(s) are expected to unfold goes as follows:

1. A team or several teams of terrorists attack one or more Pakistani nuclear sites and attempt to enter the facilities.

2. Within each crack team only a small core is supposed to be equipped with modern communications equipment, special operations gear, and modern weapons; highly trained to exact maximum damage.

3. Where possible, the terrorists plan to break in and hold the fort, a la Mumbai attacks, in order to generate maximum media coverage and embarrassment for the Pakistanis.

4. The international media, and especially the main American and British news outlets, turn this into a global crisis, comparable to the Bay of Pigs in 1962.

5. The event generates enough pressure to justify an ‘international demand’ to neutralize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and force Pakistanis to accept ‘international’ supervision.

6. Depending on the aftermath, and after a few days or weeks, a small nuclear weapon is used somewhere, maybe against the US military or NATO bases in Afghanistan since it would be difficult to do it anywhere else, in order to confirm that the Afghan Taliban or generally the ‘Islamic extremists’ managed to steal a weapon from the earlier attack(s) on Pakistani sites.

This last point is critical. According to the available information, the mysterious disappearance of a senior Indian nuclear scientist and his subsequent death in May is linked to at least some parts of this plan. The scientist, Mr. Lokanathan Mahalingam, 47, had access to Indian’s sensitive nuclear information and worked at the prestigious Kaiga Atomic Power Station in the southern Indian state Karnataka, close to Project Seabird, a major Indian military base. His disappearance received limited coverage in the Indian media and there was almost a blackout on the circumstances surrounding how his dead body was found in a lake. The media in the U.S. and Britain also ignored the story. It is believed that Mr. Mahalingam was either involved in or had some knowledge about the planning for securing a small nuclear weapon that would leave no fingerprints, to put it this way, in order to execute the idea in paragraph 6 above.

The Indians have been working on this scenario for some time now.

On 16 May, the Israeli security website Debka under a story titled, ‘Singh warns Obama: Pakistan is lost,’ reported the following:

“India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told President Obama that nuclear sites in Pakistan’s restive frontier province are “already partly” in the hands of Islamic extremists.”

The Times of India, reporting the story, complained about “Washington’s misplaced confidence in, and [careless] approach towards, Pakistan’s nuclear assets,” and grumbled that “Pakistan is ramping up its nuclear arsenal even as the rest of the world is scaling it down.”

The Indian interest is obvious. But so is the Israeli interest. It is quite revealing that the story was broken by a news outlet known in international circles for its links to the Israeli government.

Official circles in Washington, including the White House, the State Department, Pentagon and CIA are cognizant of a history of cooperation between India and Israel in security issues. India’s security establishment is largely focused on Pakistan and on controlling Kashmir where the population is fighting the Indian military. At least in one incident, during the limited Pakistan-India war in 1999, the Israelis directly intervened to help the battered Indian army overturn a tactical victory by Pakistani and Kashmiri fighters.

As recently as two days ago, Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and an Obama adviser known for his strong anti-Pakistan views, wrote an article published at the Brookings Institute website that demonstrates how far the anti-Pakistan lobby is willing to go to prove that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is not safe.

In Mr. Riedel’s case, he went as far as lying.

He used a recent terrorist attack on a bus carrying employees of KRL, a Pakistani nuclear facility, to say that Pakistani nuclear sites are already under attack. What he conveniently ignored is that the said bus was in fact traveling through a densely populated part of the city and not anywhere near any nuclear site. The bus most probably became a target of opportunity because it carried a plate indicating it was a government vehicle.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement quoted by an Israeli source which was widely reported and never denied by the Indians, the Israelis or the Americans, was not the first to promote the alarmist and the unreal scenario of Pakistani nuclear weapons getting into the wrong hands. Mr. Singh came on record during an interview with CNN in 2005 to say this:

“I am worried about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets should President Pervez Musharraf be replaced, since there is always the danger of Islamic militants seizing power and taking control of the country’s nuclear assets.”

There is little question that influential parts of the Indian government are involved in exporting terrorism into Pakistan from bases inside Afghanistan. Attempts to incite ethnic unrest in Pakistan’s southwest were traced by investigators to Indians in Afghanistan. Pakistani investigators reached the same conclusion with some of the evidence found in northwest Pakistan where terrorists are killing Pakistanis. And now there are reports of an impending attack on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities using Baitullah Mehsud.

The Indians and those who are supporting them should be under no illusions. Any attack on Pakistani nuclear facilities in the coming days will be construed as a declaration of war by India against Pakistan. Knowing of Mehsud’s previous contacts with Indians and with Karzai’s people, any miscalculated attempt by his terrorists will not be seen as anything less than a direct Indian attack. In this case, Pakistan will consider itself in a state of war, and retaliate accordingly. There should not be any confusion on this.

Army dismisses soldier accused of murder from service

Jammu, July 10

The Indian Army Friday dismissed from service a soldier with the Territorial Army after he was named as an accused in a case of alleged rape and murder of a college student in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district, an official said.

Col D.C. Kachari, spokesman of the Northern Command of the Indian Army, which controls troops in Jammu and Kashmir deployed for guarding borders and counter-insurgency operations, said: "Ashiq Hussain Peer, a local of Tregham has been serving with the 160 Territorial Army Battalion in Kupwara district. He was allegedly involved in the death of Amina Masoodi of Tregham as per initial reports."

"The Army released him from service and handed him over to the police for a fair trial within four hours of the case being brought to the notice of the army. This is yet another instance of the army taking expeditious action against any soldier who is allegedly involved in any human rights abuse," Kachari said.

He added: "Ashiq Hussain and Amina Masoodi, both locals, studied together in a government higher secondary school at Tregham and were reportedly in touch with each other in recent times."

"This is thus a purely individual issue and the army, as an institution, has nothing to do with his subsequent actions on the personal front."

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