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Monday, 19 October 2009

From Today's Papers - 19 Oct 09

More ex-servicemen to return medals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
More ex-servicemen would be returning their medals to the President on October 25 over what they perceive as “grave injustice” and the government’s apathy towards their welfare.

This would be the fifth lot of veterans to return their medals, vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen’s Movement, Major Gen Satbir Singh (retd) said.

He added that though the government had announced a few benefits for personnel below officer rank recently, the primary demands of the ex-servicemen remain far from being fulfilled.

Over the past few months, several thousand ex-servicemen from all over the country have collected and deposited their medals with authorities at Rashtrapati Bhawan as a mark of protest against the government’s attitude.

60 militants killed in Waziristan offensive

Pakistan jets, artillery target Taliban strongholds

Islamabad, October 18

Pakistani jets and artillery pounded Taliban bases for the second day today killing 60 militants in the lawless Waziristan region as ground forces continued their push into the strongholds of the Taliban and captured two key towns from them despite stiff resistance.

Five soldiers were also killed and 11 more injured in clashes that erupted yesterday after thousands of troops began advancing from three directions towards areas inhabited by the Mehsud tribe, considered the main base of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan led by Hakimullah Mehsud.

The Inter-Services Public Relations said 60 militants had been killed over the past 24 hours during “Operation Rah-e-Nijat” (Path to Salvation), the code name for the offensive in South Waziristan.

TV news channels reported that jets targeted militant positions in Ladha and Sarvakai, two key strongholds of the Taliban.

Check posts have also been established in Kotkai, where Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s home is located.

Thirty militants and two soldiers were killed as troops moving along the Jandola-Kotkai-Sararogha axis secured the areas up to Mandana, Kund and Tarakai. Four soldiers and many militants were injured in this region.

Security forces have taken control of Spinkay Raghzai and Ghazai areas in South Waziristan following fierce fighting yesterday, even as militants offered “stiff resistance” at Shahwangi and Khesora areas, officials said.

Troops moving along the Shakai-Kaniguram-Ladha axis moved 7 km into Taliban-held territory and captured strategic features.

Fighting is going on around Sherwangi, where security forces have been facing stiff resistance since yesterday. Twenty militants and a soldier were killed in this area, the military said.

Security forces had also secured important features and tactical heights around and south of Razmak, a key town in North Waziristan that is being used as one of the staging posts for the operations. Ten militants and two soldiers were killed in this area.

Four soldiers, including two officers, were also injured.

As the troops pushed into Taliban-held areas, they destroyed several vehicles and six 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun positions. Another gun position was captured in Wuzi Sar area. The troops also recovered IEDs, mines, arms and ammunition.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas has said the offensive has been launched to “dismantle the network” of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and to flush out militants in South Waziristan who were responsible for 80 per cent of recent attacks in the country.

The military’s casualty figures could not be verified as all access to South Waziristan has been cut off. The operation was launched yesterday after leaders of Pakistan’s main political parties endorsed the government’s plans to root out terrorism by taking on the Taliban in South Waziristan, saying they posed a threat to the country’s integrity.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had convened a meeting of political leaders on Friday at which they were briefed by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani about the need for an operation in the tribal region.

Before troops moved into areas inhabited by the Mehsud tribe, authorities imposed curfew and the military besieged the region by closing all key roads. Over the past few months, jets and artillery have pounded the region to soften the Taliban’s defences.

The army has mobilised two divisions or about 28,000 troops for the offensive. About 10,000 Taliban fighters, including 1,500 foreign fighters, are believed to be present in South Waziristan.

The operation has sparked a massive exodus of people. About 10,000 families have so far fled from the tribal belt to safe places like Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and Tank in the North West Frontier Province. NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said house owners and all property dealers had been warned to ascertain the identity of people while renting out their homes. — PTI

US aircraft forced to land at Mumbai

Shiv Kumar

Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 18

A US aircraft, with American marines among other passengers aboard, was forced by the authorities to land at Mumbai airport today for flying over Indian airspace without getting the mandatory military approval.

The Boeing 767 aircraft, with 205 passengers, including crew, aboard, belonged to Northern American airlines and had been chartered to ferry the marines attached to the US 205 Marine Unit. The air traffic control officials ordered the aircraft to land after its pilot was unable to provide the correct call sign at 7.52 this morning.

An Indian Air Force spokesman later told reporters in New Delhi that the commander of the aircraft provided air traffic control with a civilian Air Operations Routing (AOR) clearance sign when it is mandatory for aircraft carrying military personnel to obtain permission from the IAF.

Even though it was a civilian aircraft, while transporting military men and material it is classified as a military carrier, according to officials here. On landing, the aircraft was ordered removed to a remote parking bay of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The aircraft was subsequently given permission to leave after officials of the US Embassy completed the paperwork with the Minister for External Affairs, IAF and the Director General of Civil Aviation in New Delhi.

PTI adds: But due to the pilot's Flight Duty Time Limitations (FDTL), the aircraft is not likely to take off before tomorrow. "The aircraft will take off tomorrow as the crew have crossed their flying duty hours limitation," a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said.

The crew and the passenger are being lodged in a five star hotel in the city, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, the US consulate in Mumbai said it was pleased that the issue was resolved in a speedy manner. “We are pleased that we were able to resolve this procedural matter in an expeditious fashion and appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the Indian authorities,” the US consulate statement said. The crew and passengers would be staying in Mumbai due to crew rest requirement, the statement added.

Pakistan intensifies Waziristan operation

NDTV Correspondent, Monday October 19, 2009, Waziristan

Under tremendous pressure from America, Pakistani forces have launched a multi-pronged attack on South Waziristan.

Forces are making steady gains in the militants' strongholds in South Waziristan in the last 24 hours.

Gen David Pet-raeus, head of the US Central Command, is in Pakistan on Monday for talks with army commanders.

Army officials say the area is dotted with a lot of improvised explosive devices and mines.

According to army officials, five security personnel were killed and 11 wounded during the first 24 hours of operation.

60 Taliban fighters have been reportedly killed in the offensive.

Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have fled South Waziristan.

Around two thousand people took to the streets of Lahore on Sunday, demonstrating against perceived American involvement in Pakistani affairs, and against the ongoing Pakistan military operation in South Waziristan.

The protest was organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani Islamic political party, which was founded in Lahore and has its headquarters there.

Protesters waved banners and chanted anti-American slogans.

Second airspace violation by US; Indian authorities worried

NDTV Correspondent, Sunday October 18, 2009, Mumbai

A US military plane was grounded on Sunday after it violated Indian airspace. The plane with 200 marines was on its way from the UAE to Bangkok.

It was flying over Mumbai when it was noticed that the plane didn't have the required permission. It was later allowed to leave, but the crew are spending the night in Mumbai to get some rest.

This is the second such incident of a US aircraft flying over Indian airspace without permission, and comes a day before India and the US begin joint air exercises - by some coincidence, the exercise is aimed at improving coordination between military planes.

The North-American Airline Boeing 767 didn't have clearance from the Indian Air Force, a must for any foreign military aircraft in Indian airspace. The aircraft took off from Fujairah and was heading towards Bangkok.

Over Indian Air Space it identified itself as Reach-81, an identification or call sign, reserved only for US and NATO military flights. That's when Mumbai ATC noticed the plane wasn't cleared as a military flight and forced it to land.

Hours after the US Marines were grounded, the US Consulate told NDTV they were in touch with officials to resolve the issue, which they described as a routine matter.

"We are in touch with relevant officials to resolve the issue, which is a routine matter. We appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the Indian authorities. The crew and passengers will stay the night in Mumbai due to crew rest requirement," said the consulate.

In June 2009, the US had committed a similar lapse at the same airport, failing take the IAF's permission. A chartered aircraft was carrying American military cargo to Kandahar in Afghanistan from Diego Garcia island, south of Kanyakumari.

On Sunday, the US military plane got clearance to fly out within hours, perhaps because on Monday, the two countries begin a joint exercise in Agra, ironically, to improve coordination between military planes!

Indian authorities are worried that US military is repeatedly ignoring the mandatory procedures required for international air traffic. The incident is likely to be taken up at the highest quarters so as to avoid a repetition.

US aircraft forced to land at Mumbai
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 18
An aircraft ferrying US Marines between Fujairah in the UAE to Bangkok, Thailand and overflying Indian airspace was forced to land at Mumbai airport early this morning.

The Boeing 767 aircraft belonging to Northern American airlines chartered to ferry the Marines attached to the US 205 Marine Unit landed at 7.52 this morning. The Air Traffic Control ordered the aircraft to land after its pilot was unable to provide the correct call sign.

An Indian Air Force spokesman later told reporters in New Delhi that the commander of the aircraft provided air traffic control with a civilian Air Operations Routing (AOR) clearance sign when it is mandatory for aircraft carrying military personnel to obtain permission from the IAF. Even though it was a civilian aircraft, while transporting military men and material it is classified as a military carrier, according to officials here.

On landing, the aircraft was ordered removed to a remote parking bay of the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The aircraft was subsequently given permission to leave after officials of the US embassy completed the paperwork with the Minister for External Affairs, IAF and the Director General of Civil Aviation in New Delhi.

Indo-Myanmar border under mounted vigil
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Rangapahar(Dimapur), October 18
The porous India-Myanmar border in North East has been put under mounted vigil to check cross-border movement of militants and smuggling on arms into the insurgency-hit North East region through it.

“As a step towards fortifying the India-Myanmar border fencing is being raised along a 10-km stretch between Moreh and Tamu in Manipur by the Borer Roads Organisation (BRO) to check cross border movement of militants and illegal arms,” the GOC 3 Corps of Indian Army Lieutenant General N K Singh informed.

The 1643-km Indo-Myanmar border is characterised by rugged and thickly forested terrain and had remained hugely unmanned by security forces. Some parts of the border that touches eastern Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram are marked inaccessible thickly forested areas.

Smuggling of arms to India across the India-Myanmar border remains a concern though there has been mounted vigil. “Lots of groups based in the infamous ‘golden triangle’ are involved in the clandestine trade of weapons especially Chinese made arms to cater to the need of North East militants,” the Army commander said.

He, however claimed that smuggling in of weapons, especially small arms, to India through Myanmar border had reduced considerable of late due to mounted vigil by the Army, police and paramilitary forces that had led to recovery of average 100 weapons a year.

He said there was no report of involvement of any official agencies of China in the clandestine arms trade.

He further informed that there were camps of N-E militants in Myanmar. Some of these camps are of transitory in nature while some are bigger and permanent in nature having accommodation, habitat and training facility.

“We have taken up this issue with Myanmar authority which has been very cooperative. The issue has been discussed with Myanmar authority at various levels and a joint major operation was carried out some times back some time back and more such operations will be carried out as and when required. Some of the camps are there with local sanctions,” he informed.

These militants’ camps were close to the India-Myanmar border till six months back and now have been pulled back deeper inside Myanmar due to vigil mounted by Indian Army.

The Army commander denied reports about the commander in chief of the banned ULFA, Paresh Baruah shifting his base to Yunan province of China terming such reports as speculative in nature. He said there were agencies tracking the movement of the militant leader.

Jawan killed, pillar damaged in IED blasts in J&K

October 18, 2009 20:28 IST

Tags: IED, Jammu Frontier, Border Security Force, Lance Naik N K Murti, Poonch district



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An army jawan was killed in a landmine blast while a border-fencing pillar was damaged when an improvised explosive device went off in the Jammu region on Sunday, the police and the Border Security Force said.

Lance Naik N K Murti, belonging to 5 Maratha Light Infantry, was killed in the landmine blast near the Line of Control [ Images ] in Patrigali area in Poonch district, police said.

In another incident in Jammu region, a fencing pillar was damaged when an IED went off near the Paharpur border outpost in Kathua district, 60-km from Jammu.

No one was injured in the explosion, Inspector General BSF (Jammu Frontier) A K Sarolia said. Asked whether the Pakistan rangers or militants had planted the IED, he said it was being investigated.

© Copyright 2009 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Assessing babus
Need to make them efficient and accountable

Union Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrashekhar’s concern over the failure of the performance appraisal system for civil servants is timely. His suggestion for a third-party assessment in view of the existing system’s ineffectiveness to suitably reward the performers merits a fair trial. Unfortunately, though several committees have examined the issue over the years, nothing much has been done. The present system has major limitations. According to the Second Administrative Reforms Commission Report (2008), it lacks in suitable quantification of targets and evaluation against the achievement of targets. There should be no scope for confusion among civil servants over what is good performance and the level expected from them, by their superiors and the public. Since the present system shares only an adverse grading, an officer is unaware about how he/she is rated in work and efficiency.

The UPA government evolved a system that speaks of a participative work plan through a consultative process. But this has limitations. It does not adequately assess an officer’s potential and competence to shoulder higher responsibilities. While emphasising career development, it does not link it with performance improvement. Moreover, there are too many levels for numerical ratings and the new format does not remove subjectivity while assigning ratings to the officers’ attributes. Mr Chandrashekhar’s idea for a third-party assessment of civil servants, in cooperation with the superior authorities concerned, may look fair and objective. But it remains to be seen whether it would be free from the superiors’ bias or political influence.

The proposed Civil Services Code Bill, due to be enacted by Parliament soon, is expected to throw up a new system, unlike the current practice of annual confidential reports, which will evaluate bureaucrats on their job-specific achievements and the number of tasks that they perform as a team leader in a particular department. As people have huge expectations from the civil servants, a lot needs to be done to make them efficient and truly accountable. Why can’t they be subjected to the CTC (cost to company) formula of assessment as in the private sector? The CTC for bureaucrats should include not just their pay, DA and perks but also the costs incurred by delays and time overruns due to inertia, incompetence and poor performance. The people do want a more responsive and efficient administration.

Learning from China
India has the advantage of being young
by K. Subrahmanyam

Our strategists, retired diplomats, ex-service officers and media persons have been engaged in an intense debate on how to deal with a rising China which appears to be playing the game of nations to our disadvantage. China has had a decade and half lead in initiating economic reforms. It has consistently maintained a faster growth rate than India.

China has expanded its international trade at a pace not conceivable by India. Its military modernisation and infrastructure development are very much in advance of India. Its economic decision-making is not hampered by party politics. It is our neighbour and it has an unresolved dispute with us in respect of Arunachal Pradesh. It has ambitions of being one of G-2 with the United States in global financial system.

Though China disavows ambitions of being a hegemonic power, it shows all signs of moving towards that goal. This is evident from its nuclear proliferation to Pakistan and supporting Pakistan’s role as a counter-vailer to India, opposing the waiver of Nuclear Suppliers Group for India and permanent seat for India in the Security Council.

China is likely to overtake the US in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next couple of decades. In Asia there is only one nation which is comparable to China in terms of population, skilled labour force and potential in terms of GDP in the longer run and that is India. It is, therefore, natural in spite of all public declarations to the contrary that China should view India as a likely future rival and attempt to slow down India catching up with it. This should be a natural expectation in realpolitik.

There is no point in complaining about it and bewailing that China is playing the game of nations to our disadvantage. It is up to us to catch up with China in a realistic way.

We should bear in mind that some 50 years ago China was bracketed with India. China had its successful revolution two years after Indian independence. China had two man-made disasters, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution which resulted in 30 million deaths.

China from its revolutionary birth till 1990 for 40 years faced continuous security threats from superpowers. In spite of all that travail, China has become the second powerful nation in the world and its manufacturing hub and one of the significant leaders of international financial system. How did they do it and are there lessons in it for India?

The Chinese knew how to manipulate the international system to their advantage. Even as they were fighting their revolutionary war to capture power they made overtures to the US arguing they were not Soviet-type Communists.

However, the Americans in their short-sightedness, rejected their signals and firmly aligned themselves with the Kuomintang. Mao set out to woo a not- too-friendly Stalin. He agreed to Stalin’s harsh terms and obtained the Soviet military and economic aid.

China had to fight the Korean war and incur hundreds of thousands of casualties. The Soviet aid was used to industrialise China rapidly and develop its military forces and the military industry. The US used to transgress China’s territorial waters and its airspace regularly. The Chinese used to issue 457th, 571st and so on serious warnings to the US but observed restraint.

Their relationship with the Soviet Union deteriorated due to ideological differences with the Soviets cutting off their technology transfer on the nuclear weapons progrmme midway and withdrawing their technicians and stopping all their industrial aid programmes. The conflict worsened to the extent of erupting into armed conflict on the Ussuri river in 1989. There were signals of Soviet nuclear threat.

The great ideologue Mao, who conducted an annual ‘Hate America’ campaign, who talked of fundamental antagonistic contradiction between capitalism and socialism and whose pilot son had been shot down in the Korean war, had no hesitation in allying himself with the US to obtain extended deterrent security vis-a-vis the Soviet nuclear threat.

China provided bases for the US in Xinjiang to monitor Soviet nuclear tests when the Iranian Ayatollahs closed down the US monitoring bases in Iran in 1979. Then came Deng Xiao Peng’s economic reforms and opening up of China to US multinationals. The US companies used Chinese soil, Chinese labour and Chinese raw materials to make cheap goods to be exported to the US and the rest of the industrial world. The profits went to the multinationals. The Chinese export surpluses were not used for the benefit of the Chinese population but were invested in the US to enhance the credit availability to the US population to make them buy more consumer goods. Simultaneously, the Chinese reserves grew making China a major holder of US treasury bonds, giving it a leverage over the US.

By collaborating with the retail stores chains of developed countries and providing them access in China, the Chinese products are being marketed all over the world. And China has been transformed from an isolated ideological fundamentalist to a major member of the international community holding spectacular Olympic Games in three decades. No one will question today the independence of Chinese foreign and strategic policies.

All this has been achieved not by China ploughing a lonely furrow and insisting on self-reliance. From the beginning, China realised that it has to absorb investments and technology from the international system wherever they were available. Then came the added realisation that market access was needed and that in turn called for international collaboration. Instead of adopting a jingoistic attitude towards the challenge posed by China, there should be calm unsentimental strategic planning on how to deal with this problem.

India has a number of advantages. It is an English-speaking, democratic country. Its rise as a power does not cause concern to the international community unlike the case of China. The entire global arms market is open to India while China has at present no access to the US and European markets. India’s entrepreneurial system is better tuned to the international one.

Major powers have a stake in not allowing China from becoming an untethered hegemon in Asia. In the longer term, India has the advantage of a younger age profile even as China will be ageing. Therefore, the debate on the Chinese challenge should be conducted on constructive lines instead of the present display of unbecoming chauvinism.

Most of our people have forgotten that India did invoke the countervailing Soviet factor when faced with the Pakistan-China-US line-up in 1971. It is the stake of major powers in India as a potential balancer in Asia that resulted in technology denial regime against us being ended.

For Jawaharlal Nehru, nonalignment was a strategy in a bipolar world and not an ideology. Now that the Cold War has ended and the world has globalised, India is in a position to exploit the international system to its advantage without ideological hang-ups.

Bofors stigma delaying defence pact with Sweden?

Sandeep Dikshit

Agreements with other countries have been signed

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt coming in a month

Stockholm has posted a Defence Attache here to improve ties

NEW DELHI: While the government is all set to bury the ghost of Bofors, the stigma of alleged corruption behind the deal for artillery guns for the Army is delaying a defence agreement with Sweden.

The agreement has so far crossed the desk of three defence secretaries even as several pacts with other countries have been signed.

A month before Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt arrives here, primarily to push for the Grippen aircraft in the multi-billion dollar deal for fighter jets, an agreement is still in the works.

Sensing a renewed opportunity in the defence sector, at least six Sweden companies are active in the country but an agreement is yet to emerge.

Stockholm has already posted a Defence Attache at the embassy here to improve ties. The absence of a pact, signed with many countries as a tool to demonstrate political proximity, is jarring when seen against the possibility of Sweden emerging as an attractive destination for skilled Indians. To beat the effects of an ageing population, Sweden has decided to enforce new immigration rules which, it has conveyed, could be attractive to Indian nurses, doctors, IT technicians, engineers and electricians.

Although the Bofors company has since been sold to BAE Systems, the new management has, what it believes, a cold reception because of its name. The delay in signing a pact could be due to a similar hesitation by bureaucrats, feel diplomats. Repeated trials and cancelled tenders for artillery guns in which Bofors believed it had the edge, led its chairman to express his exasperation in public recently.

But the Army denies the Bofors name tag on one of the competitors was the reason for the absence of a decision on selecting the winner for artillery guns. It claims that sub-systems of competing guns were changed without following procedures.

“I really want to know what is the question so that I can give the right answer,” BAE Systems SWS Defence (formerly Bofors) Chairman Haken Kangert had earlier told The Hindu. Swedish diplomats have also expressed similar sentiments.

Hawk Eye

Khuda ke liye - wake up Pakistan

October 16, 2009

* 11 killed in suicide attack near a mosque in the cantonment area in Peshawar on Friday.

* 41 killed in simultaneous attacks on Police training academy Manavan, elite commando training centre and the Federal Investigations Agency (FIA) headquarters in Pakistan. The attacks were carried out by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

* Over 100 killed last week in attacks on the Pakistan army headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi, United Nations Food Programme Office in Islamabad and in the Peshawar market.


And yet Pakistan considers India its biggest enemy. Pakistan is like a drug addict. It knows terror is bad for its existence but is unable to kick the addiction. The military establishment and the ISI are addicted to terror. Terror gave Pakistan a high initially. Pakistani army generals felt on top of the world - literally invincible. That's exactly how drug users feel initially. On a high. And before you know it you are sucked in the trap. You keep thinking you are not a slave of the drug - the day you want you can kick the habit. But suddenly it is too late.

For the Pakistani military establishment it is too late. That's why even after the attack on the General Headquarters in Pakistan - the biggest slap in the face of the Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani - the country is dithering on cracking down on terror. For a country that takes immense pride in its army - a brigadier and a lieutenant colonel were killed by terrorists - the enemy is still not terror but India.

Only a drug addict does not know what is good for it and what is not. Not only does General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani consider Taliban a strategic ally, the army refuses to permit the government to even consider taking action against the professor of terror Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. In fact he is still invited to the Rawalpindi Corps Iftaar party. Saeed continues to be a General of the Pakistan army - minus the uniform. The Pakistani security establishment is addicted to the Lashkar e Taiba. The terror outfit continues to be an arm of the Pakistan army.

Who is paying the price for this fatal addiction? The common man on the street in Pakistan and in India. The hundreds of people who are being killed on the streets of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Kohat, Swat and in Waziristan are all Pakistani citizens paying the price of their army's teror addiction. But what is disturbing is the fact that the political leadership of Pakistan continues to be timid, weak and ineffective. They appear to be mere pawns in the hands of the powerful military commanders. The judiciary and the civil society that rose in a remarkable protest against General Pervez Musharraf seem to be running out of steam or scared to take on the lethal combination of military commanders and taliban militia.


Why do security analysts feel Pakistan is not sincere about cracking down on teror ? Because even after Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack, the Pakistani army well positioned to move in for the mopping up operations refused to do so. Instead it let the situation deteriorate. When Taliban commanders were fighting a bitter succession war, the army remained a mute spectator and sources say elements within the ISI actually tried to find a suitable boy to take over Mehsud's mantle.

Pakistan army generals still nurture the dream of re-gaining the strategic depth in Afghanistan when the US forces withdraw ``like in Vietnam''. Therefore, they do not want to eliminate the entire Taliban leadership. Pakistan is only cracking down on the Taliban elements who no longer believe in taking instructions from the ISI. So the moment Baitullah Mehsud started thinking and operating independently of the ISI, he became the bad Taliban. Remember even Benazir Bhutto had accused elements within the ISI and Pakistan army of colluding with Mehsud to kill her.


Strategic depth in Afghanistan is the reason that despite repeated attacks within Pakistan, its all powerful army is not willing to order a total crack down in the Af-Pak region. How can the Pakistan army order a crack down on the Taliban when they are seeking Taliban assistence in attacking Indian and Afghan interests in Afghanistan? US convoys and interests are repeatedly under attack by the Taliban. Is that possible if the Pakistan army seriously proceeds against them.

To justify getting the US aid, Pakistan army does go after the pawns and the foot soldiers in the Taliban but never the top commanders. On 8th October 2009, ISI used the Taliban once again to attack the Indian embassy in Kabul. Afghan Ambassador to the US Said T. Jawad went on record to blame the ISI for the latest attack on the Indian embassy.

This was the second attack on the Indian embassy in 15 months. both India and the US claim they have evidence of ISI involvement in the earlier attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. In fact the US claimed the ISI masterminded the July 7, 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. India's defence attache, a senior diplomat and ITBP personnel guarding the embassy were among 58 killed in the attack.

India has pledged $1.2 billion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, making it the sixth largest bilateral donor and this is bad news for those Pakistani generals who are seeking that strategic depth. For the sake of ensuring the US war on terror fails they are still willing to bleed their own people.


Al Qaeda and Taliban are growing in strength in Pakistan. Repeated attacks in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar are indications that the terrorists are not limited to Af-Pak border. They can strike at will deep inside the most secure locations inside the heart of Pakistan. After all what can be more secure than the office of the chief of the Pakistan Army - the General Headquarters. This is not the first attack on the GHQ - but the most audacious one beyond doubt.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has sent a clear signal in attacking the FIA office, the elite commando training centre and the police training academy Manawan. They have attacked the very fortress of anti-terror operations.

Pakistan is now gearing up to attack the Taliban in South Waziristan. Air operations will be easy. Pakistan Air Force will pound terror camps from the skies. But the real war will begin when the Pakistan army puts more boots on ground.

But for victory in those operation - the Pakistan army commanders will need to decide who their real enemy is - terrorists or India. And if India is still their answer - then the addiction is complete. Then the cancer of terror affecting the Pakistan army is in terminal stage.

Most security analysts feel the cancer is in its terminal stage... but there are still those who feel the civil society can once again rise to the occasion and force Pakistan's all powerful army to stop playing the double game - realise the true enemy is not India but terror. It is for their own good.

Analysis: Indian Army Chief's recent visit to Myanmar

by Mungpi

As the saying goes "Silence is Golden". India's policy of maintaining her silence over events unfolding in its eastern neighbouring country seems to have finally paid off as the Burmese military generals rolled out the red carpet for the visiting Indian Army Chief.

India's Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor on Thursday concluded a four-day visit to the military-ruled Southeast Asian nation. He had the rare opportunity of meeting the junta's number one military leader Snr Gen Than Shwe and second strongman Vice-Snr Gen Maung Aye.

While the Indian Army's Public Relations Department in New Delhi, refused to divulge details of the visit saying, "it will be uploaded on the ministry's website in a day or two," sources said the visit, except for Kapoor's meeting with the junta's top leaders, is not so significant.

According to Dr. Tint Swe, a New Delhi-based minister for the exiled-Burmese Government, the visit is part of the ongoing bilateral relations between India and Burma. "But his meeting with Than Shwe and Maung Aye is a significant sign for India," Dr. Tint Swe, who has long been a critic of India's policy towards Burma, said.

In recent months, several events have unfolded in Burma including the charge, trial and sentence of Aung San Suu Kyi over an unwelcome visit by an American, the latest news of US's Burma policy announcement and meetings between the Nobel Peace Laureate and western diplomats.

Despite the international outcry over the sentencing of the 1993 Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding recipient in August, India kept silent, except for a few media reports, citing anonymous sources in the Indian Government, saying India is quietly urging Burma to make its political process broad based.

Noticeably, since September-October 2007, when the Burmese generals brutally cracked down on protesting monks and civilians, India has made no critical comments against the Burmese junta, which seems to have impressed the regime. But the most awarding non-action of India for the generals in Naypyitaw, is its silence over the international outcry against the sentencing of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and its election plans in 2010.

Kapoor, who is visiting Burma at the invitation of his counterpart Vice-Snr General Maung Aye, is not a key figure in stamping any substantial deals between the two countries but his reception surpasses some of the United Nations special envoys, whose visits are aimed at facilitating political dialogue.

But this reception does not come free. India, since it took a 'U' turn in its policy towards Burma in the early 1990s, has largely invested in its resource-rich Southeast Asian neighbour with little expectation of reciprocation from the ruling regime. The most significant achievements of India's appeasement so far is in obtaining the shares of gas exploration in the A1 and A3 blocks of the offshore oil fields in the western coast of Arakan state. However, the combined Oil and Natural Gas Cooperation (ONGC) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) share of 30 per cent - 20 and 10 per cents respectively – has not been able to help India in gaining the rights to purchase the oil that will be produced.

Similarly, in another joint venture, India is all set to invest a US$ 100 million, which is known as the Kaladan Multi-Model in western Burma. The project, once completed, will connect India's northeastern state with Burma's seaport in Arakan state and allow roadway access into the country.

However, while India will invest the lion's share of US$ 90 million, it will also provide Burma a loan of US$ 10 million, the investment share of the Burmese government to the project, at a minimum rate of interest.

Statistics of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs shows that of the total volume of US $ 901.3 million bilateral trade for 2007-08 fiscal year, Burma's export constitutes US$ 727.85 million while India's export stands at US$ 173.46 million, leaving a large imbalance of trade between the two countries.

Dr. Tint Swe said "It's been over a decade now since India chose to engage the Burmese military junta. India should realize that it has not achieved any of its objectives related to national interest."

India said, engaging the Burmese junta was part of its 'Look East' policy and serves its national interest of countering increasing Chinese influence, flushing out Northeastern insurgents reported to be using Burmese soil as bases, and strengthening trade and commerce with Southeast Asia. But critics said, throughout the course of engagement with Burma, India has not been able to counter Chinese influence, and lost out in the race for purchasing gas from the field where Indian companies are holding stakes. None of the insurgent groups in Northeast India have been flushed out of Burmese soil and trade imbalance remains.

But it does pay to engage the junta and to remain silent over the political turmoil in Burma, as the Indian Army Chief and other officials visiting the Buddhist majority country are given warm receptions.

But was the reception given to Kapoor this week, an indication that the Burmese regime is ready to be more favourable and allow a certain degree of Indian influence?

Kapoor's visit came at a time when Burma is in the international media spot light over a number of issues. It is a time when the regime is lobbying the United States to re-engage it as a part of its game plan to win international support for the fifth step of its roadmap - elections in 2010.

Gaining Indian support would definitely mean a great favour for the Burmese junta.

Secondly, the regime is in a tight corner in dealing with domestic armed groups, some of whom are backed by China as a strategy of maintaining a buffer-zone with Burma. The regime, as part of its roadmap, wants to disarm these groups with or without using force.

Despite their attacks on the Kokang ethnic rebels in early August and eliminating the Peng Jiasheng-led Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), other groups, particularly the United Wa State Army (UWSA), known to be the largest rebel group, remain a stumbling block.

And the regime is definitely unhappy about China's stand on the Wa issue and would like, if China agrees, to eliminate them.

Kapoor's visit could not have been at a better time than this, when the Burmese generals for the first time in history publicly displayed their dissatisfaction towards China by publishing a news item in its mouthpiece newspaper about the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama visiting Taiwan.

"I think it would be too early to interpret Kapoor's visit and his meeting with Than Shwe as an indication that Burma is beginning to reciprocate," Dr. Tint Swe says.

He said, over a decade of cozy relationship has not proved favourable for India, and it is high time that India re-assess its policy towards Burma.


by Dr Subhash Kapila

Introductory Observations: India unveiled officially its new war doctrine on April 28, 2004 at the Army Commander’s Conference that took place last week. Obviously, the need for a new war doctrine was decades-long overdue, but it seems that the lessons of the Kargil War reinforced by the severe limitations imposed on the Indian Army in the run-up to and during Operation PRAKARAM in 2001-2002 hastened the Indian military hierarchy towards this end.

General Padmanabhan the Chief of Army Staff at the time of Operation PRAKARAM had initiated the process of formulating a new war doctrine and the fruitation now seems to have taken place after a series of major joint exercises between the Indian Army and Indian Air Force including massive live fire power demonstrations.

It seems that the new Cold War Strategy would now be discussed at various levels of three Services and fine tuned. Needless to say that in any future conflict scenario where a “blitzkrieg” type strategy is going to be followed; joint operations involving the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy would be an imperative.

Security requirements did not permit the spelling out of adequate details of the “Cold Start Strategy” by the Chief of Army Staff. However, it is not difficult to visualize what this new war doctrine conceptually incorporates as it is said to revolve around the employment of “integrated battle groups” for offensive operations.

Such strategy did exist in NATO and was being taught at the Royal British Army Staff College. Camberley, UK which the author attended in 1971. In NATO terminology, “integrated” groups for offensive operations existed at three levels. The highest was “ combat group” and “combat command” based on a divisional or brigade Headquarters (armoured/infantry mechanised) under which were a flexible number of “battle groups” (based on an armoured regiment/mechanized infantry battalion Headquarters) and the lowest was the “combat team” (based on an armoured squadron/mechanized infantry company Headquarters). The groupings at the each level were task-oriented in terms of varying composition of armour and infantry elements with integrated attack helicopters of the Army Aviation and the Air Force besides close support of ground attack Air Force squadrons. Also, was integrated Army Aviation surveillance helicopters. Command and control helicopters were available too.

Media, reports indicate that the new “Cold Start Strategy” visualizes the use of eight “integrated battle groups”. For the purposes of this strategic review the eight “integrated battle groups” being talked about will be taken to mean eight integrated armoured division/mechanized infantry division sized forces with varying composition of armour, artillery, infantry and combat air support- all integrated. This would be a fair assumption to be made for our discussion in case the intended aim of this new war doctrine is to be achieved.

The unveiling of a new war doctrine throws up a host of factors for discussion in terms of why a new war doctrine is required, what are the attendant factors in putting it into operation, the limiting factors that may come into play, the responses of the enemy to such a new war doctrine and a host of other associated considerations.

“Cold Start” War Doctrine-The Strategic Conceptual Underpinnings: In the absence of more details, and rightfully not spelt out due to security reasons, the strategic conceptual underpinnings of India’s new war doctrine can be envisaged as under:

* Indian Army’s combat potential would be fully harnessed. The distinction between “strike corps” and “defensive corps” in ground holding role will be gradually diminished.

* The offensive military power available with defensive corps in the form of independent armoured brigades and mechanized brigades, by virtue of their forward locations would no longer remain idle waiting to launch counterattacks. They would be employed at the first go and mobilized within hours.

* Strike Corps may be re-constituted and reinforced to provide offensive elements for these eight or so “battle groups” to launch multiple strikes into Pakistan, fully integrated with the Indian Air Force and in the Southern Sector with naval aviation assets.

* Obviously, then, India’s strike corps elements will have to be moved well forward from existing garrisons. It also means that Strike Corps would no longer sit idle waiting for the opportune moment, which never came in the last three wars. The Strike Corps remained unutilised.

On another plane that is at the politico-strategic or politico-military level this new war doctrine seems to be aiming at the following:

* Cutting out long drawn out military mobilization running into weeks.

* The above results in loss of surprise at the strategic and military level.

* The above also gives time to Pakistan’s external patrons like USA and China to start exerting coercive pressures and mobilizing world opinion against India as witnessed in Operation Prakaram.

* Long mobilization time also gives the political leadership in India time to waver under pressure, and in the process deny Indian Army its due military victories.

* The new war doctrine would compel the political leadership to give political approval ‘ab-initio’ and thereby free the Armed Forces to generate their full combat potential from the outset.

Cold Start Strategy” is Aimed at Pakistan and is Offensive Oriented- The Pakistan Army, (not the Pakistani people) has a compulsive fixation for military adventurism against India, notwithstanding the Islamabad Accord January 2004.

India in the past has been hamstrung in cutting Pakistan to size due to a combination of United States pressures coming into play in the run-up to decisive military action and the hesitancy of India’s political leadership. Military surprise was lost due to long mobilization times. The “ Cold Start Strategy” can be said to be aimed militarily at Pakistan and is offensive-operations specific.

“Cold Start Strategy”- The Indian Political Parameters That Need to Come into Play: Such an offensive strategy can only be successful if the Indian political leadership at the given time of operational execution of this strategy has:

* Political will to use offensive military power.

* Political will to use pre-emptive military strategies.

* Political sagacity to view strategic military objectives with clarity.

* Political determination to pursue military operations to their ultimate conclusion without succumbing to external pressures.

* Political determination to cross nuclear threshold if Pakistan seems so inclined.

If the above are missing, as they have been from 1947 to 2004, Indian Army’s new war doctrine would not add up to anything. For more detailed views on this subject, see the authors recent book: “India’s Defence Policies and Strategic Thought: A Comparative Analysis” (reviewed on SAAG website as “Igniting Strategic Mindsets in Indians:; SAAG paper no. 657 dated 09-04-2003)

India’s National Military Directives Need Change: Indian Governments, irrespective of political hues have shied away from enunciating India’s national interests from which flows all military planning. However, what can be called as a sort of national military directive, which the Indian Army under political compulsions stands fixated is “No Loss of Territory, Not Even an Inch”. Heads have rolled in the Army on this account in past wars.

“Cold Start Strategy” with its inherent character of mobile warfare using mechanized military formations, and especially where defensive formations may be called upon to undertake such operations, may at times involve some loss of territory in plains warfare.

If the above is not acceptable then strategically and militarily the status quo needs to be maintained with Indian Army fixated on linear defences. This author had argued against this as early as 1985 in an article “India’s Linear Fixations” in the Combat Journal of what is now called the Army War College.

India’s Strategic Military Objectives Needs to be Made Clear: India’s strategic military objectives need to:

* Shift from capturing bits of Pakistan territory in small scale multiple offensives to be used as bargaining chips after the cease fire.

* Focus on the destruction of the Pakistani Army and its military machine without much collateral damage to Pakistani civilians.

All the three armed forces have to synergise operations towards destruction of the Pakistan Army as it is that which enslaves Pakistan, impedes democracy in Pakistan and indulges in military adventurism against India, including proxy wars and terrorism.

It is for nothing that the Pakistani military rulers and the Pakistani Army have hid from the Pakistani nation the causes of their military failure against India in 1971, 1999 (Kargil) and a catastrophic defeat in January 2002 if India’s political leadership had not restrained the Indian Army during Operation Prakaram. “Cold Start Strategy” should therefore be aimed at the destruction of the Pakistan Army’s military machine. India’s Army Commanders can infer what this implies.

“Cold Start” War Doctrine-The Imperatives of Dedicated Air Force Close Air Support and Dedicated Ground Attack Squadrons: The Indian Air Force (IAF) would have a very crucial and critical role to play in the successful implementation of this new war doctrine. The “Cold Start” eight or so “battle groups” cannot undertake “blitzkrieg” type military operations without an overwhelming air superiority and integrated close air support.

The IAF would therefore have to proportionately assign its combat assets to cater for the following:

* Achieve overall air superiority so as to paralyse the enemy’s Air Force or render it so ineffective as to be unable to seriously affect the area of operations of the “Cold Start” offensive “battle groups”.

* Dedicate a fair portion of its combat assets for the air defence of the Indian homeland.

* Earmark dedicated close air support and ground attack squadrons in direct support of the “battle groups”.

The IAF would be hard pressed to execute the tasks from within its existing combat assets. Earlier, the IAF could initially allocate all its combat assets to achieve air superiority as any operations by “strike corps” would hope to subsequently follow.

In the new war doctrine scenario all these tasks would have to be concurrent. It was such a visualization that made this author in his strategic papers (“ India’s Strategic and Security 2004 Imperatives”: SAAG Paper no 884 dated 06.01.2004) reiterate that the IAF needs at least 70 combat squadrons. India has the financial resources to afford them. In any case even disconnecting from the new war doctrine requirements the IAF needs 70 combat squadrons in the context of India’s revised strategic frontiers discussed in an earlier paper of this author.

Indian Navy Aviation Support for “Battle Groups”: Besides its traditional tasks of sea control, naval blockades etc. the naval aviation support for the “battle groups” operations is a welcome step in filling some of the voids of IAF combat assets besides dividing the enemy’s aerial combat strength.

The Indian Navy, more importantly should concurrently be focusing in the new war doctrine scenario on amphibious operations deep in the enemy’s rear, so that Pakistan is forced to fight on three fronts, and in the process its resistance is fragmented.

India Will Have to Use Conventional Short Range Battle Field Missiles (SRBM) and Cruise Missiles: The entire success of ‘Cold Start” war doctrine would overwhelmingly rest on the application of long range devastating fire power and this would perforce have to include conventional SRBMs and cruise missiles.

Use of SRBMs and cruise missiles will not only help in softening enemy’s ‘Vulnerable Areas’ and ‘Vulnerable Points’ but also thicken fire support assisting “battle groups” operations. These assets would more increasingly be required in support of “battle groups” operations in case of bad weather when IAF combat power cannot be applied.

Associated with this would be India’s imperatives to accelerate her ICBM development and production which is India’s sovereign right. “Cold Start” war doctrine without ICBM back up would be susceptible to external pressures.

Inventories of these weapons have to be significantly expanded and the time is now to jump-start India’s defence production apparatus to this end.

Special Forces and Air Assault Capabilities Expansion and Employment in New War Doctrine: The successful implementation of the new war doctrine for force multiplication effect, for reinforcing the offensive punch and for exploitation of fleeting apparatus in fast paced military operations would call for sizeable employment of :

* Special Forces

* Air Assault Divisions.

* Air Cavalry brigades.

* Light infantry divisions with air-transportable combat power.

In the ‘Cold Start’ war doctrine scenario widespread use of the above forces including the capture and holding of airheads behind enemy lines would confuse the enemy, divide his reaction and counterattacks and spread panic. The Indian Army’s capabilities in this direction are limited and need to be comprehensive enhanced.

Logistic Support For Cold War Doctrine: Such operations which can be expected to be swift, fluid and rapidly changing directions of attack cannot rest for logistic requirements on Indian Army’s conventional logistic support which is ground based and wheel-based and incapable of swift cross country mobility.

Indian Army’s own aviation assets and heavier utility helicopters of the IAF would need significant mustering for logistic support of “Cold Start” battle group.

India’s strategic stockpiles of fuel, ammunition and military hardware spares along with “War Wastage Reserves” will have to be maintained at full levels at all times to enable “Cold Start” war doctrines to take off. Without these at full levels ‘Cold Start’ operations may end up as cold start.

Pakistan’s Responses to India’s “Cold Start” War Doctrine Enunciation: India’s ‘ Cold Start’ war doctrine stands discussed in a recent Corps Commanders Conference of the Pakistan Army, and even amongst their strategic experts. Curiously, the discussions of the latter seem diverted to Pakistan’s special relationship with USA post 9/11 and there appears to be an implied assurance that the “special Pakistan-USA military relationship” would take care of the challenges posed to Pakistan by India’s new war doctrine. Pakistani strategic analysts view the enunciation of India’s “Cold Start” war doctrine as :

* Putting pressure on Pakistan prior to peace talks.

* The growing Pakistan-Bangladesh nexus is also curiously drawn in as an Indian concern requiring new war doctrines.

Surprisingly, no major military analysis has emerged so far Probably, it would take time to digest and come up with responses.

Pakistan’s Military Challenges Arising From India’s “Cold Start” War Doctrine: Strategically and militarily, it can be visualized that Pakistan would be faced with a number of military challenges arising from India’s new war doctrine, namely:

* India’s “surprise” factor in terms of when, where and how “Cold Start” battle group would be launched.

* Fighting the air-battle in an environment where the IAF has a significant superiority in numbers and quality of numerical strength.

* Devising a credible anti-ballistic missile defence.

* Re-constitution of Pakistan’s “strike corps” and its three ‘Army Reserve’ formations which were so far configured and located to take on India’s three “Strike Corps”.

* When and how does Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent and its doctrine of “First Use” comes into play.

* How to offset India’s overwhelming long range artillery fire support.

* How to counter India’s force projection capabilities deep in Pakistan’s rear.

Pakistan cannot combat the Indian challenges by the oft-repeated bravado statement that “One Pakistan Soldier is equal to ten Indian Soldiers” leading to strategic wags countering “what happens when the Eleventh Indian Soldier emerges”.

If the “Cold Start” doctrine is applied in its purist form, then in terms of military operations it does not become a game of military numbers but a game in terms of military technological superiority in terms of weapon systems, firepower and aerial combat assets besides the force multiplication effects of the Indian Navy.

Pakistan would have to divert sizeable financial resources for its weapon systems build-up to counter this doctrine. Of course, it can look to its external strategic patrons like USA and China for assistance and military largesse, but there is a limit here.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Deterrent and the Myth of Pakistan’s Low Nuclear Threshold: The Indian political leadership and its national security establishment fed on US academia planted stories (probably officially inspired) of Pakistan nuclear deterrent and Pakistan’s low nuclear threshold have been inordinately awed by its fearful consequences.

Though this aspect is a subject of detailed analysis in a separate paper the following observations can be made:

* Pakistan has declared that it will go for nuclear strikes against India when a significant portion of its territory has been captured or likely to be captured. Secondly, when a significant destruction of the Pakistani military military machine has taken place or when Pakistani strategic assets (read nuclear deterrent) are endangered.

* India’s “Cold Start” war doctrine does not seem to be allowing Pakistan to reach at the above conclusions by indulging in deep long range penetrative strikes.

* The Indian doctrine seems to be aimed at inflicting significant military reverses on the Pakistan Army in a limited war scenario short of a nuclear war.

* Nuclear war fare is not a “commando raid” or “command operation” with which its present military ruler is more familiar. Crossing the nuclear threshold is so fateful a decision that even strong American Presidents in the past have baulked at exercising it or the prospects of exercising it.

* Pakistan cannot expect that India would sit idle and suffer a Pakistani nuclear strike without a massive nuclear retaliation.

* Pakistan’s external strategic patrons can coerce or dissuade both sides to avoid a nuclear conflict, but once Pakistan uses a nuclear first strike no power can restrain India from going in from its nuclear retaliation and the consequences for Pakistan in that case stand well discussed in strategic circles. Pakistan would stand wiped out.

When the obvious intention of India’s new war doctrine is not to cross the nuclear threshold, and it seems declaratory in content, then a higher responsibility rests on Pakistan’s external strategic patrons that their wayward protégé does not charge foolishly and blindly into the realms where even fools or the devil do not dare.

Pakistan’s crossing the nuclear threshold has crucial implications for USA and China too. In fact a USA-China conflict can be generated which may have its own nuclear overtones. Therefore it is incumbent on both USA and China to strategically declare that they would not countenance any Pakistani first nuclear strike against India i.e. crossing the nuclear threshold.

Pakistan proclivities to threaten nuclearisation of an Indo-Pakistan conventional conflict is more of a blackmail to force USA and China’s intervention. And if sincerely both USA and China are interested in South Asian peace and global security then Pakistan’s nuclear proclivities have to be pre-empted now with a strategic declaration against Pakistan as above.

India, in any case, has to be prepared militarily, eitherway, notwithstanding any such caution that may be imposed on Pakistan.

Concluding Observations: From the Indian perspective, enunciation of a new war doctrine was long overdue and it is significant for the following reasons:

* India now plans and is ready to act offensively against Pakistan for any perceived acts of strategic destabilization of India and proxy war and terrorism

* India moves away from its defensive mindset of last 50 year plus.

* India will now prepare to undertake offensive military operations at the out set.

* India has in declaratory tones enunciated that it will undertake offensive operations short of the nuclear threshold

The Indian Army, despite any limitations in its hierarchy of not being forceful to make the political leadership in the last 50 years plus to adopt strategies which are strategically desirable but may be politically distasteful, has done well this time to bring India’s war doctrine in public debate. The vast majority of the Indian public will be in support of any war doctrine that puts Pakistan into place and forces it to desist from proxy war and terrorism against India.

From the Pakistani perspective the following needs to be recognized with the enunciation of India’s new war doctrine:

* India will undertake offensive operations against Pakistan without giving Pakistan time to bring diplomatic leverages into play against India.

* India has declaratorily implied that in such offensive operations against Pakistan it will not cross the nuclear threshold nor prompt Pakistan into crossing it. Should Pakistan opt for crossing the threshold the onus lies squarely on Pakistan.

The United States and China have not come out with any response so far. Nor should they since national security interests of India need to be respected, as those of a responsible, politically stable and a mature regional power which has exercised restraint even to the extent of being ridiculed for its restraint.

Since a nuclear conflict initiated by Pakistan has global overtones and has the potential to bring them to conflict with each other, both the United States and China need to strategically declare that they will not countenance Pakistan, initiating a nuclear conflict in South Asia. Alternatively both USA and China, as Permanent Members of the UN Securing Council initiate steps jointly, to bring Pakistan’s (failed state WMD proliferator) nuclear assets under international control to be released only in the event of a nuclear threat.

Lastly, it needs to be reiterated that India may never have to put into effect its new “Cold Start” war doctrine if the United States and China restrain their wayward military protégé i.e. Pakistan from military adventurism and military brinkmanship. Also if United States and China wish to add value to their relationships with India, they need to desist from equating India with Pakistan when it comes to the prospects of the nuclear conflict in South Asia. India’s strategic maturity is not in doubt; it is Pakistan’s strategic maturity, which is in doubt. A nuclear conflict will take place in South Asia, only if the United States wants it and lets Pakistan permissively cross the nuclear threshold.

(The author is an International Relations and Strategic Affairs analyst. He is the Consultant, Strategic Affairs with South Asia Analysis Group. Email drsubhashkapila ***********)

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