Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 11 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 11 Jan 10

‘Substantial’ land lost to China: Report
New Delhi, January 10
The area along Line of Actual Control with China has "shrunk" over a period of time and India has lost "substantial" amount of land in the last two decades, says an official report.

At a recent meeting held in Leh which was attended by officials from the Jammu and Kashmir government, Ministry of Home Affairs and Army, it was agreed that there was difference in the maps of various agencies and that there was lack of proper mapping of the area.
The meeting was chaired by Commissioner (Leh) A K Sahu and attended among others by Brigadier General Staff of 14 Corps Brig Sarat Chand and Colonel Inderjit Singh.
While the absence of proper map was agreed upon, the meeting all the same felt, "however, it is clear and be accepted that we are withdrawing from LAC and our area has shrunk over a period of time." "Though this process if very slow but we have lost substantial amount of land in 20-25 years," it was said at the meeting held last month.
According to the minutes of the meeting, it was also identified that "there is a lack of institutional memory in various agencies as well as clear policy on this issue which in long run has resulted in loss of territory by the India in favour of China."
The meeting was called to ensure proper protection to nomads who move with their cattle to Dokbug area of Nyoma sector during the winter months every year. In December 2008, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) had damaged their tents and threatened them to vacate the land.
"They (Chinese) have threatened the nomadic people who had been using Dokbug area (in Ladakh sector) area for grazing since decades long, in a way to snatch our land in inches. A Chinese proverb is famous in the world - better do in inches than in yards," a report filed by former Sub Divisional Magistrate (Nyoma) Tsering Norboo had said.
Norboo was deputed by the state government to probe complaints of incursion of the Chinese Army in Dokbug area and threats to the local shepherds to leave the land as it belonged to them. The area has been used by the shepherds to graze their livestock as the area is warmer compared to other parts of Ladakh.
The SDM contended that it was another attempt by the Chinese to claim the territory as disputed in the same fashion as they had taken Nag Tsang area opposite to Phuktse airfield in 1984, Nakung in 1991 and Lungma-Serding in 1992.
The area of Dokbug and Doley Tango was frequented by shepherds and nomads from December to March every year during which their young lambs were capable to walk.
The SDM has also highlighted the fact that Army stopped these nomads from vacating the land. The nomads were terrified by the Chinese threats.
Last year, Chinese troops had entered nearly 1.5 km into the Indian territory on July 31 near Mount Gya, recognised as International border by India and China, and painted boulders and rocks with "China" and "Chin9" in red spray paint.
The 22,420 ft Mount Gya, also known as "fair princess of snow" by Army, is located at the tri-junction of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, and Tibet. Its boundary was marked during the British era and regarded as International border by the two countries.
Before this, Chinese helicopters had violated Indian air space on June 21 along the Line of Actual Control in Chumar region and also helli-dropped some expired food. — PTI

Chandigarh, January 10
The Corps of Signals, the Army’s information warriors, are celebrating their centenary this year. Many events spread across the year are being organised at various places to commemorate the occasion. The celebrations would begin with the release of the centenary brochure and Corps of Signals film by the President on February 15. Besides Delhi, events would be held in all operational commands of the Army and the Corps’ principal training institutions.

Seminars on communication and technical displays, displays by sky-diving teams, IAF’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team, Corps’ bands, dare-devils riders and martial arts experts, release of commemorative stamp and first day cover, inter-command sports competitions, adventure sports and social events are part of the centenary calendar.
A joint display by dare-devil motorcycle riders from the Corps of Signals and the Royal Corps of Signals, United Kingdom, is also expected at Jabalpur though it is yet to be finalised. The Corps of Signals was raised on February 15, 1911, and the journey has been a saga of rich heritage, professional excellence and operations. In recent years, it has taken rapid strides in establishing state-of-the-art information and communication technologies infrastructure in the Army and also laid modern communication networks in UN missions.
The Corps has successfully integrated various networks and systems, including satellites to deliver the “Network of Networks” to the Army. Mobile satellite communication is also being introduced, which would further enhance the communication capability of the Corps. 

Land scam: Will Generals face the heat?
NDTV Correspondent, Sunday January 10, 2010, New Delhi
Will army chief General Deepak Kapoor sack his military secretary? If he does, Lieutenant General Avadhesh Prakash will be the highest ranking official to ever meet this fate?

Over the next couple of days, General Kapoor is expected to take a decision on a land scam next to an army base at Siliguri.

The Eastern Army Commander has recommended the Military Secretary's dismissal, along with disciplinary action against the former commander of 33 Corps in North Bengal, Lieutenant General P K Rath - who took a decision under pressure from Lieutenant General Prakash.

The two are guilty for helping local businessman Dilip Agarwal easily get 70 acres of land, which the army had decided to buy.

Those batting for the accused generals argue:

    * Is the alleged involvement of top officers so grave as to warrant dismissal?
    * Will the evidence in the case stand scrutiny in a civil court?
    * If no money changed hands, what was the officers' crime?
    * When the land does not of belong to Defence, where is the land scam?

But the Army chief will have to go beyond the legal aspects. He will have to make sure justice is seen as done - to the rank and file of the Army - while not succumbing to media pressure in this high profile case.

General Kapoor has the following options:

    * He can issue a warning and let the Military Secretary retire.
    * He can give severe displeasure or a reprimand, which would result in the loss of some benefits
    * He can concur with the Army commander and dismiss General Prakash

Outside the armed forces, such a case would have been seen as a minor transgression. But for those in uniform, there are different and higher benchmarks that make a just decision much more difficult.

High alert along Indo-Pak border over infiltration
Press Trust of India, Sunday January 10, 2010, Jammu
Troops along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir have been put on high alert after reports of an increase in infiltration attempts into the state.

"There are intelligence reports of further increase in the cross-border infiltration attempts from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Troops have been put on high alert along the Indo-Pak border and have intensified round-the-clock patrolling," security officials said.

According to intelligence received, 1,000 to 1,200 militants are staged along the border in launching pads to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir from POK, they said.

In view of the foggy conditions, troops have been setting up more ambushes and intensified patrolling round the clock, they said.

"Militants try to take benefit of the thick fog to cut the fence and infiltrate as there is no visibility even at very close range during the night," a source said.

Police have also activated Border Village Defence Committees as another tier of security and are keeping a close watch inside the border belts.

Sino-Pak talks on joint strategy to meet challenges

By Iftikhar Ahmed Khan

Monday, 11 Jan, 2010 | 04:46 AM PST |

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China decided on Sunday to work out a joint strategy to effectively respond to threats to regional peace and security and to raise the level of their strategic partnership.

During the seventh round of annual bilateral defence and security talks, the two sides reviewed military cooperation and progress of various defence projects.

Proposals were made for collaboration in operational, training, intelligence, logistics and defence industrial fields, including indigenisation projects and joint ventures.

An official told Dawn that this time the dialogue had a greater significance because it took place against the backdrop of a statement made by Indian army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor about moving from a cold start doctrine to a proactive strategy of simultaneously waging a war against Pakistan and China.

He said both sides had taken the remarks seriously and vowed to frustrate attempts to jeopardise regional security.

The eight-member Chinese delegation was headed by Gen Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), while the Pakistani delegation was led by Gen Tariq Majid, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

The dialogue was aimed at sharing perspectives on a fast evolving regional security situation for developing a common insight into the emerging scenarios and coordinating common responses.

The discussion focussed on the impact of changing global security dynamics, progress in efforts against terrorism and violent extremism, the revised US strategy for Afghanistan, intra-regional disputes and posturing of involved states and strategic stability in the region.

It also focussed on terrorism-related threats and measures for the security of the Chinese manpower working in Pakistan.

Reiterating China’s solidarity and continuing support in meeting the challenges, Gen Ma said: “We acknowledge the great sacrifices rendered by Pakistan, its people and armed forces in combating terrorism for which Pakistan deserves the praise and gratitude of the entire world, indeed the mankind.”

Gen Tariq lauded China’s spectacular economic progress and technological modernisation to rise as a reckonable power in global politics and economy playing a crucial stabilising role in different regions.

He described the Pakistan-China strategic partnership as the bedrock of stability in the region.

“As the world grows more complex and regional situation more challenging, it has become even more critical to add greater depth and dynamism to this relationship.”

The JCSC chief hosted a banquet in honour of the Chinese delegation.

Defence analysts have said there was need for both countries to enhance the level of their coordination and work together to preserve peace in the region.

They said Pakistan and China were nuclear powers and had the capacity to defend their territorial integrity.

They said the armed forces of Pakistan had enhanced their level of operational readiness and were prepared to thwart any attempt to challenge its territorial integrity.

Candle exchange may not bring peace b/w India and Pakistan

Recent media reports of the ‘peace initiative` organised by two daily nationals of Pakistan and India though praiseworthy but only raises high hopes of the lay people of both countries. Negative results disappoint both the nations when clear objective and road map is not set as both parties need to show determination at state, Governmental and people level to accept each other and move forward. Mere candle exchange may not bring peace between arch rivals unless core issues are addressed in a compact and meaningful dialogue, and Kashmir remains and will be the bone of contention even in hundred years between two nations unless resolved according to the will of Kashmiri people as was chartered in the United Nation.

UN resolution, No 47 (1948) adopted by the Security Council at its 286th meeting held on 21st April 1948, is unequivocal in giving a way forward, “Noting with satisfaction that both India and Pakistan desire that question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”, But in last 61 years India and Pakistan are circling a round the question, but to accept that this remains an issue between them and sit together and resolve it.

Peace is good thing, but unless peace initiative and lawful drive is aimed with clear objective and supported by two countries governments and state machinery along with its intelligentsia and civil society , I am afraid the results will be negative and half hearted effort may even be dangerous as people have been disappointed many times and has been let down on each occasion by the ‘mind set’ which never accepted Pakistan’s existence to start with, and halted any efforts of peace responded by violence and intrigues.

If anyone has any doubt, they must read latest stir caused by Deepak Kapur, the Indian Chief of Armed Forces who is willing to fight at two fronts with China and India simultaneously, and the views of Editor of Indian Defence Review, Mr. Bharat Verma who recently wrote in his journal that ‘new Delhi is its own enemy, when it permitted the creation of a pure Islamic state on its borders,” and Mr Verma further wrote in his thesis that, “many conveniently propose the myth that a stable Pakistan is in India’s favour. This is a false proposition. The truth is that Pakistan is a bad news for the Indian union since 1947-stable or otherwise. ” I disagree with the Indian author as Pakistan emerged as a result of a successful struggle for independence by millions of Muslims of India who felt t hat two nation theory is the only viable option to preserve and protect each other’s identity and core values.

Indian Hindus too got liberated after remaining under Moghuls for over 6 centuries and then British Raj through the same process due to Gandhi’s vision. Independence was neither granted through diplomacy, nor as a charity. It was snatched on the basis of fundamentals of the modern day democracy, one man one vote’ principle and majority of Muslim populated areas vowed to join the newly established idea of ‘Pakistan’ where they saw security, identity and a peaceful enjoyment of civil and political rights, and a freedom of religion, culture and values.

Seeing both the declaration of 21st February 1999 at Lahore and 5th January 2004 at Islamabad between both countries, there seems to be a desire for resuming a dialogue and a need to promote confidence building measures and then onwards peaceful resolution of Kashmir. But disruption seems to be an end on each occasion. I guess If ‘Kargil’ debacle had not derailed the ongoing dialogue, we could have progressed a little more with India with a new relationship and determination to resolve the inherent issues. What happened in ‘Kargil’ is still unknown and no commission was set up to investigate the reasons behind which halted the civil dialogue. Though i n Britain on one scientist ‘Dr David Kelly’s death, then Prime Minister Blair knowingly that he may loose his premiership, initiated a ‘Judicial enquiry’ headed by Lord Hutton. I guess that’s the difference between two democracies an open, fair and impartial one and a ‘controlled’ one, and India and Pakistan must move forward on a route to a greater dialogue to save its nations from plunging into poverty, weaker civil system(s) where army has an edge due to ongoing conflict for last 62 years.

As long as this issue remains unresolved, the security situation between both will never normalise and ‘mind set’ will win and As long as India keeps dreaming the disintegration of Pakistan, it will survive as a viable state as the very negativity serves the purpose of knitting this crowd of 170 million people into a nation, whenever it is confronted by its arch rival. Two main parties, (Muslim League & PPP), Pakistan Army, and robust civil society are the protectors of the ‘two nation theory’ and the soul of Pakistan, which can never be tarnished unless the spirit of acquiring a nationhood status is alive.

Wishing for Peace is not a weakness but is a symbol of tolerance, but begging peace is not a viable option. On one side we have a war threat, and 10,000 cusec feet water blockage at Chenab, (a real situation) and on the other we are advised to hold candles for wishful visiting armies, (an idealistic approach) which will not go well with the people of Pakistan unless CBM’s of a concrete dialogue are evident paving way for the solution of Kashmir with an acceptance of each other as neighbours not perpetual enemies.


By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

Pak-US FlagsPakistan-US relations that had soured after 1990, warmed up after 9/11 when Pakistan agreed to fight US coined war on terror as a frontline state. Their relations are apparently still friendly but clouded in suspicions and mistrust. Whatever steps taken by government of Pakistan for the benefit of US interests and at the cost of earning displeasure of the people of Pakistan are received with mixed feelings. No sooner Pakistan’s actions are applauded by some US officials; these are promptly washed off by other officials or US media through censures and ‘do more mantra’. Barring few, there is general consensus in Pakistan that it has suffered immensely because of its purported friendship with USA. It has lost much more and gained very little. Indian factor has played a prominent role in coloring the perceptions of US officials and widening trust deficit. Indian lobbyists are feverishly burning midnight oil to further widen this gulf and to turn USA hostile against Pakistan. They would have succeeded in their designs if the US military had achieved some of the objectives of war on terror and had gained an upper edge in Afghanistan and US economy had remained stable.

The US had to reconsider its policies in the wake of continuously deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, which forced Obama Administration to rush in 21000 additional troops from Iraq in 2009 to stabilize the situation. US-UK joint operation in Helmand turned into a fiasco and ISAF suffered heavy casualties. When no improvement could be affected another heavy reinforcement of 30000 is being dispatched. This is in spite of US claim that not more than 100 Al-Qaeda operatives are operating in Afghanistan. At the same time, Washington has decided to start pulling out its troops from Afghanistan by July 2011 onwards and has also stepped up its efforts to win over Taliban. Its futile endeavour is however to break linkage between Al-Qaeda and Taliban and to invest in alternative leadership of Taliban that can stand up against Mulla Omar. It has not made breakthrough on any front. Death of seven CIA agents at US base in Khost is the latest debacle and an indication that Taliban-Al-Qaeda nexus is intact.

Looking around, one finds obtaining situation in Central Asian Republics (CAR) where US economic interests reside unfavourably disposed towards USA. This is because of resurgence of Russia and its increasing grip over CAR, growing military and economic power of China and defiance of nuclear North Korea. Nuclearization of Iran and its anti-Israel and anti-US policies are a pain in the neck both for USA and Israel. And so is Iraq where the US having shed river of blood and spent colossal amounts has failed to stabilize it. Shia elements aligned with Iran are ruling the roost. Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon refuse to get cowed down by Israeli belligerence and remain in a fighting mood. Turkey which had refused use of its airspace and territory to US troops for invasion of Iraq from the north in 2003 retains its Islamic identity and independence of thought and action. Syria too maintains its warrior spirit against USA and Israel. It had fiercely reacted to a single drone attack on a border village last year which restrained USA from making another attempt. Whole of impoverished Africa is in ferment because of western looters policy of divide and rule and wanton plunder of their wealth.

Al-Qaeda has grown in size and strength. Apart from its bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has bases in Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and North Africa. While Yemen has heated up, in Somalia, Al-Shabaab linked with al-Qaeda has gained control over more than 90% of Somali territory. Al-Qaeda is linked with all Islamic movements like Afghan Taliban, Chechnya movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamic movements in certain Far Eastern Asian countries. US ambassador in Islamabad has admitted that the US has credible information that large number of terrorists are homing towards Yemen and Somalia. Till recent the flow from Africa and Iraq was in the opposite direction. This reversal of tide has occurred because of brilliant successes achieved by Pak Army in Swat, South Waziristan and other troubled spots in the northwest. Pro-active and aggressive posture adopted by Pak army together with planned troop surge in Afghanistan has shrunk space for the militants forcing them to flee to safer havens elsewhere.

Somali coast off Indian Ocean has become another hotspot where pirates have posed a serious challenge to western commercial interests. From 2008 onwards, several daring raids have been carried out by Somali sea pirates to seize foreign ships for ransom. This practice is still continuing despite formation of joint counter-piracy force by Asian-Western countries. All these militant activities in various parts of Muslim world indicate that Al-Qaeda that was confined to Afghanistan till September 2001 has spread its tentacles far and wide and has now become an international organization. Aiman al-Zahawari based in Iraq has emerged as a strong and influential leader and like Osama bin Laden has successfully evaded worldwide hunt against him.

War on terror instead of getting curbed has become uncontrollable. It has not only made the lives of Americans highly insecure but has also made the world as a whole unsafe. Lots of hopes were pinned on Barack Obama to undo wrongful policies of George W. Bush and to promote peace and harmony in the world. He has proved to be huge disappointment. Instead of calling off senseless war on terror he is stoking it further. Resurgence of Taliban power in Afghanistan has deflated his fervour to some extent but not his resolve since he feels that he somehow would lose next election if he adopts defensive strategy. He has however been forced to revise his Pakistan specific Af-Pak policy in which the two countries were integrated into a single battle zone and India given a key role in Afghan affairs. It has belatedly dawned upon his team that what to talk of turning defeat into victory, exit from Afghanistan would become impossible without Pakistan support. This realization has compelled Washington to keep Pakistan on board with a heavy heart and it is these days trying to show its soft face.

Not only about 80% of Afghan territory has come under the influence of Taliban, rigged presidential election has made the position of unpopular Karzai more fragile. Performance of Afghan security forces predominated by non-Pashtuns is below average. The US is spending huge amount to expand and upgrade the quality of National Army and the police so that frontline duties could be assigned to them within next two years. There is however little hope for tangible improvement without the induction of Pashtuns. Likewise, Afghan regime will be unable to gain credibility as long as Pashtuns are denied their rightful share in power.

Rumbling within NATO countries based in Afghanistan is getting louder since they can see the writing on the wall. So is the case with American public which no more supports war on terror and wants its soldiers to return home. The US has so far spent over $38 billions but anti-Americanism among the Afghans has multiplied since they want them to leave. Anti-Americanism in Pakistan too has peaked because of biased and discriminatory policies pursued by Washington. Latest provocative step is the new discriminatory law framed to screen visiting Pakistanis on American ports while excusing India.

The US can upturn its image in Pakistan if it stops drone attacks in FATA and provide civilian nuclear deal to Pakistan similar to the one provided to India. It can boost its image if it forcefully forbids India to carryout covert operations against Pakistan using Afghan soil and restrains it from stealing Pakistan water. Other steps that can help build trust and confidence are construction of hydel power projects and provision of greater access to US and EU markets for Pakistani products. Pakistanis will become pro-America and be a willing partner to safeguard US interests from a position of respect and honour if the US helps Pakistan in easing the debt burden and plays a pro-active role to solve longstanding Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris and UN Resolutions. These two acts would go a long way in dispelling misgivings and mistrust harboured by people of Pakistan and in building mutually sustaining and durable strategic partnership premised on mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual trust.

Practically, such an occurrence is far-fetched and a pipedream since Indo-Israeli lobbies enjoying strong influence over policy makers in USA would never allow it to happen. In 2010, distrust and antagonism would accelerate rather than de-escalate since the security situation in Afghanistan would keep spinning out of control. It would leave politically weakened Obama Administration with no choice other than to continue following Indo-Israel dictated dual faced policies of harming Pakistan under the garb of friendship. While making Pakistan more dependent upon IMF and US aid, tunnel-vision US leaders would release aid miserly, keep on blaming Pakistan for US failures and intensifying pressure to commence operation against Maulvi Nazir, Gul Bahadur and Haqqani network and intensifying as well as widening scope of drones. At the same time, it would keep expanding its presence in Pakistan to be able to hunt Pak nukes. Such hypocritical recourse would give short term benefits to India and Israel and a sadistic pleasure to USA but in the long run all will be losers. Those wishing for mutually beneficial relationship are living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

Indian Army Commander visited forward posts in Siachen Glacier in Ladakh Sector

Ladakh-J&K(India), November 08 (Vijay Kumar) – Lt Gen BS Jaswal, AVSM, VSM, GOC-in-C Northern Command visited Fire & Fury Corps in Ladakh in J&K. This was his maiden visit to this region after assuming command of the Northern Army. The GOC-in-C Northern Command accompanied by Lt Gen SK Singh, AVSM, General Officer Commanding, Fire & Fury Corps visited forward posts in Siachen Glacier and posts in Ladakh Sector.

Lt Gen BS Jaswal interacted with troops and conveyed his appreciation for their dedication and commitment in guarding our country in most inhospitable terrain under extreme climatic conditions and stressed the need for alertness at all levels.

GOC-in-C was briefed by General Officer Commanding, Fire & Fury Corps about state of operational preparedness, training activities and recent infrastructural .

Sunday, January 10, 2010
More on Indian Army War Plan Flap

Rather than quickly dying out, the Indian Army war plan flap picked up a little steam this week.  In Pakistan, both Syed Saleem Shahzad of the Asia Times Online and Ayesha Siddiqa in Dawn saw fit to write about it.  In India, a bit more information about the plan itself was offered in Ongoing Revision of Indian Army Doctrine by Ali Ahmed on the IDSA website.  I'll start by considering the Indian report, since it offers a little more information about the plan:

    At a closed door seminar in the last week of the last decade, the Indian Army reviewed its doctrine. Presumably, it is gearing up for facing the challenges of the current decade and beyond. This is apparent from the sound bytes of the Chief on the occasion in which he referred to preparing for a ‘two front’ scenario. Armies as institutions cater for the ‘worst case’. A ‘two front’ scenario being the ‘worst case’ for India, the Army is evidently in the midst of thinking through how it would cope. Its earlier largely Pakistan specific ‘Cold Start’ strategy has been perfected over the past half decade. Over the same period, the Army in conjunction with the Air Force had moved towards a more offensive stance even against China with the IAF moving additional air assets towards that front and the Army raising two mountain divisions as part of a mountain strike corps. The new posture was termed ‘active deterrence’ as against the ‘dissuasive deterrence’ that was practiced earlier. The two distinct postures are perhaps being amalgamated to cater for the ‘worst case’ scenario.

This changed my opinion of the importance of the issue slightly.  While the changes and the seminar in which they were discussed are not significant news, as a hook on which to discuss an Indian army change to more aggressive war planning in general it might be important.

For the reader who wants to go into the details, it is worth noting that the 2004 edition of the Indian Army Doctrine which this conference discussed changes to, is  available on the web.  This is, of course, only the part which is widely distributed in the Indian Army and which Pakistani intelligence could presumably get a copy of anyway, so the really secret stuff is not included.  On the other hand, if an army is to carry out a war plan there are limitations on how much can be kept secret.   After all, a war plan is only useful if enough people know enough about it to perform their roles in it successfully.  So even the public part of the plan contains a fair amont of information.

To return to the issue at hand, a little more detail about the changes is offered:

    Logically, a ‘two front’ strategy comprises first knocking Pakistan down by a blow from a Cold Start and then transferring the centre of gravity to the relatively slower paced, but more portentous conflict in the eastern Himalayas. As called for in the Draft Nuclear Doctrine of 1999, India’s conventional forces are to be of the order as to negate any call on India’s nuclear capability. Therefore any doctrinal and organisational moves of the military to cater for conventional capability to take on the worst case are mandated. However, despite growing defence budgets, the capability requirement of prevailing on both fronts may be an onerous strain.

The gist of this is that the Indian army is in a position which resembles the position of the German army before World War I.  They are a match for their traditional foe, which in Germany's case was France.  That foe has an ally, which for pre-WWI Germany was Russia and for India is China, which is rapidly building up strength.  It is not surprising that the Indian army is considering a strategy similar to the Schlieffen Plan.

As everyone knows, the Schlieffen Plan did not work.  Indians should consider the possibility that some of the problems of the Schlieffen Plan might affect India's new war plan as well.  The Schlieffen Plan didn't really provide a good solution for war against only one member of the opposing alliance.  At one point in the run-up to WWI, the Kaiser asked the German Army if it was possible not to attack France. He was very upset to learn that was no plan for doing this.  In the current situation, what happens if China wants to attack India but Pakistan does not?  If Pakistan does not attack India, the Indians would have a choice between attacking Pakistan, which would add another large army to the ranks of their enemies, or taking a risk that Pakistan would join China in attacking India after India moved its forces away from the Pakistani border.  Not to mention the fact that an Indian attack on Pakistan, while strategically  defensive because it was motivated by a desire to free forces to fight a Chinese attack, would be seen by the rest of the world as aggressive.  This would have unpredictable, but probably undesirable, diplomatic consequences.

A second issue with this plan is that Germany was in a position where they could mobilize more quickly than Russia, giving them the opportunity to move first.  The reverse is true here.  China can attack Arunachal Pradesh without tipping off India, because it doesn't need to mobilize all of China to do so.  In 1962, China did this, and India lost the resulting war. It could happen again.

So in the long run a plan to defeat Pakistan, and then defeat China, if China and Pakistan combine to attack India, will not meet India's requirements.  But it is not clear what will meet India's requirements, other than a larger, better equipped and better trained army of course.

With luck, this issue will remain obscure.  After all, the best solution is to avoid war between India and China, thus reducing the matter to something discussed in obscure blogs like this one.

This brings us to the Pakistani reaction to this flap. In General Alert in Pakistan, Syed Saleem Shahzad  introduces General Tariq Majid, who was reportedly the other general widely considered for the Chief of Staff post.  General Tariq Majid is apparently not keen on cooperation with the US:

    From mid-2009, he was at the forefront of the initiative to start a dialogue process with the Taliban, an issue he discussed with senior visiting US military officials. This raised the ire of some sections of Pakistan's strategic quarters which were closely allied with the American war in Afghanistan. Some officers even boycotted Majeed's meeting with his American counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, in violation of all protocols.

    However, Majeed continued to air his views, which emphasize dialogue with militants. He believes that the American war machine has been badly sucked into Afghanistan and that Pakistan should distance itself from being pulled into that quagmire.

    Gradually, Majeed's arguments have taken hold and in the past few weeks there have been some developments concerning Pakistan's dealings with the US.

    A stringent mechanism has been adopted in issuing visas to Americans, which has restricted American defense contractors in Pakistan. Their growing presence in the country has for some time been a bone of contention. US diplomats, too, have been under pressure, such as being forced to use regular immigration counters at airports.

This piece is not really about India, and seems to use the Indians chiefly as a hook for bashing the Americans.  Since there is no shortage of hooks for bashing the Americans, presumably another hook will be used for the next one.

Ayesha Siddiqa offers something a bit more serious in her column in Dawn. Titling her piece India's Challenge, she points out that India doesn't have the capability to attack and overwhelm Pakistan:

    India’s challenge
    By Ayesha Siddiqa

    The Indian army chief had spoken of a capability that India desires but does not possess at the moment. Taking on two neighbours militarily and ensuring a ceasefire on its conditions is New Delhi’s dream. But it does not have the capacity to translate this into reality. In fact, India does not even have the capability to successfully try out ‘cold start’, its strategy to allow the Indian military to strike specific targets inside Pakistan and pull back without incurring a high cost. The basic assumption is that if India targets terrorist training camps or headquarters in Pakistan and pulls out without holding Pakistan’s territory or annihilating its military, Rawalpindi will have no excuse to deploy nuclear weapons.

    Theoretically, such an adventure is possible because it is based on another calculation that the Indian army will not waste time in regrouping but would already be regrouped to carry out a strike. Official sources believe that activating ‘cold start’ could mean Pakistan deploying nuclear weapons at forward positions or keeping them ready for use. Such a situation would result in India deploying its arsenal as well, making the atmosphere highly charged.

    Thus far, the Indian strategy is not in place. It requires complete inter-services harmony and would essentially be a joint services operation which could only succeed if well simulated. So far, there is no indication that India has this capacity. There are internal problems in establishing a new force structure. The establishment of this would indicate that headway is being made in bringing necessary changes to the organisational structure.

    So, should Pakistan just laugh off Kapoor’s statement? It would be wiser to understand the nuances of the statement which are more important than the actual content of what he said. It basically indicates the shifting of plates in terms of civil-military relations in India. This is not to suggest that the Indian military is getting ready for an internal coup or that it could take over politics or even wage a war on its own.

This is true, as far as it goes.  India didn't attack Pakistan after 11/26. Arguably, this exposed "Cold Start"  as a paper tiger.  On the other hand, she misses the key point that the new Indian Army doctrine may be inspired not by strength but by weakness.  If the Indian army thinks the way the Germans did in 1914, they may conclude that it is better to fight now than later, and push for war when they get the weapons bought after 11/26.

This is an obscure issue, of little importance in itself.  But then, so was the planning of the German General Staff in 1912.  So it may be worth paying some attention to, and considering the possibility that China's growing strength, relative to India, could push India into adventures against Pakistan that we would all regret.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal