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Monday, 12 April 2010

From Today's Papers - 12 Apr 2010

Defence Ministry for better facilities in residential areas
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, April 11 Even as the ambitious Married Accommodation Project (MAP) for the armed forces has come in for critical review over time and quality control, the Defence Ministry is examining a Rs 100-crore proposal to provide infrastructure support and auxiliary services in the areas where new residential accommodation has come up under the MAP.  The proposal, falling under the ministry’s major works programme, is aimed at co-locating facilities like shopping arcades, schools, hospitals and vocational training centres with the upcoming residential complexes. Divided into three phases, the MAP is a mammoth project envisioning construction of 1,98,881 dwelling units across the country for all ranks. The first phase, which began in 2002 called for construction of 61,658 units, which was later scaled down to 58,391. In some stations, construction earmarked for this phase is lagging by over three years and till the end of 2009, a little above 41,000 units had come up.  As families began moving into complexes that were complete, issues like inadequate provisions for schools, utility shops and medicare facilities in the vicinity of these complexes began to crop up. In fact, the defence services have also requested the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for providing more schools and allied facilities under the MAP.  The ministry, on the other hand had maintained that the MAP was being implemented with the sole objective of providing accommodation to defence personnel and diversifying into other activities may dilute the focus on the main objective of the project. Since it may not be possible to include auxiliary services within the scope of the MAP, a separate proposal has been mooted.  Availability of married accommodation at military stations has been a major issue with the services. In some high-pressure stations like Delhi, the waiting period for officers runs into almost a year. According to the MoD figures, the availability of accommodation in the Army is just 45 per cent, while that of the Air Force and the Navy is 67 per cent and 72 per cent, respectively.  The ongoing second phase, which began in 2008, has a target of 66,727 units with the proposed date of completion being March 2012. To address quality concerns and overcome certain deficiencies observed during the construction in the first phase, structures coming up in the second phase are being planned in accordance with the latest technical data and design parameters devised for earthquake-resistance buildings.

 US-Pak ‘strategic dialogue’ It’s the beginning of a new phase
by O.P. Sabherwal  YET another phase commences in the volatile US-Pakistan relationship which has gone through such wild swings as few other nations have witnessed.  From a surrogate state, which Richard Nixon sought to shield despite its savage onslaughts on the former East Pakistan populace, to a steep decline in ties during the second Bill Clinton presidency, marked a drastic rearrangement in their relationship. Simultaneously, Washington rapidly upgraded its ties with India just as it frowned on Pakistan as a veritable “failed state”. This was reflected in the last Clinton visit to the subcontinent — five days of a warm presidential State visit to India as against a five-hour stopover in Pakistan.  In between was another chapter, the Zia-ul-Haq phase, which coincided with the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. General Zia was able to rescue Pakistan from a drift towards economic insolvency by willingness to pull the American chestnuts out of the fire in Afghanistan. Claiming the status of a frontline state, General Zia sought suitable rewards — “aid”, weapons and a pro-Pakistan tilt vis-a-vis India. A shrewd bargainer, he described the early American aid offers as “peanuts” and pulled off handsome bounties from the United States, plus huge undisclosed benefits as a bonus.  Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan nuclear chapter was a product of this phase of US-Pakistan relations. But for Washington turning a blind eye to a hefty clandestine buildup of the Kahuta centrifuge plant, there was little possibility of Pakistan acquiring its limited nuclear weapon status.  Now opens a new phase of US-Pakistan relations. The “Strategic Partnership” meeting in Washington in March was a high water-mark of the new phase. What are the factors at work that have brought about this turnaround?  America’s war with Al-Qaeda and their Taliban allies — now a virtual obsession with the US — drives the US policy makers to resurrect their drooping friendship with Pakistan. The war with the Taliban in Afghanistan is heavily dependent on Pakistan’s collaboration. Add to that the role that Pakistan as a moderate Islamic state can play in the American quest to mend fences with the Muslim world, now badly mauled by a string of developments — from Palestine to the fight with Islamic extremism worldwide. While these are the twin facets that primarily drive American policy makers to resurrect relationship with Pakistan, Washington would also, for the sake of old time relations, not like Pakistan to go under and become a “failed state”.  On the other hand, propelling Pakistani policy makers — both the civilian government and the Army — is, above all, the economic factor. Insolvency stared Pakistan in the face as early as 2006; and when the IMF loan, which served as a stopgap arrangement, was consumed, the Pakistan government (and the Army) had no other option. It is this that forced Gen Ashfaq Kayani to bend low for American help, and launch an all-out war on the Taliban in Waziristan. The rivalry with India is a second factor moulding Pakistan’s policies. It is widely recognised that Pakistan has lost the race with India — support from the US alone may possibly retrieve their lost cause, partially.  There is some commonality in this phase of US-Pakistan “partnership” with the earlier Zia-ul-Haq manoeuvres. Ironically, the Taliban and Afghanistan provide a common background. It was to rescue Afghanistan from the Soviet Union that General Zia offered Pakistani services for suitable rewards. The Taliban was built up as a joint endeavour — American arms and money, and the Pakistan Army leadership came together to create this Frankenstein. Now, in a turnaround, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have become America’s principal enemy, and Pakistan is offering help in dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan, provided Islamabad gets suitable rewards.  The Taliban, now being the principal adversary of the US in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Army with its long relationship with the Pentagon is willing to offer its services in this confrontation, in lieu of a matching reward. “Aid”, hard cash, is, of course, the first, and most urgent requisite to meet the economic crunch Pakistan faces. Besides financial aid, Pakistan hopes to get advanced military equipment from Washington as a gift. Although this equipment — from Predator drones, unmanned aircraft, to surveillance equipment, etc. — is being sought in the name of fighting the Taliban, Islamabad is sure that this will upgrade its strength vis-a-vis India too. “There are no guns that fire only in one direction” — this edict is Islamabad’s philosophy too.  At the beginning of 2007, Pakistan obtained IMF loans to survive. When the IMF loan was exhausted, it had no way but to turn to the US, its old friend, to stave off a calamity. There was no money for the Pakistan Army itself, and so it offered to launch an onslaught on the Taliban in Waziristan — bordering Afghanistan — to help close the porous border with Afghanistan on the understanding that this war will be paid for. The Pakistan Army has performed in Waziristan; the Pakistan Taliban has been badly mauled. Though overtly complaining against civilian casualties from American drone strikes in the Taliban heartlands, the Pakistan regime — no less the Army — has quietly surrendered a bit of sovereign rights — allowing American planes to slash Taliban targets inside Pakistani territory.  Now, Islamabad seeks matching rewards. The $7.5 billion offered by the US in three tranches to stave off the Pakistani economic crisis after the IMF aid was exhausted was the first step. This money will soon be gobbled up. So, the Pakistan Army is putting up a $ 35 billion bill for its heroics against the Pakistan Taliban. It wants ample rewards for the blood of 2500 Pakistan soldiers in this fight against the Taliban. That forms the basis of the “US-Pak Strategic Dialogue” — a new phase in US-Pakistan relationship.  There are a few peculiarities of this partnership. Taking a leaf from the experience of the Zia days, Pakistan is striking a hard bargain and is a bit reckless in staking claims — as with the bills of some $35 billion. Even if half the money comes, Pakistan will carry the day. The same applies to the demand for a civil nuclear deal. Nuclear claims can only push up Pakistan’s status, and even if the deal does not come about, nothing will be lost. Pakistani leaders are aware that past proliferation sins are still rankling the Americans. And so, the US has in polite language told them that an India-type nuclear deal is not possible. The Pakistani leaders, however, have a way of niggling and hope something will be gained by their nuclear posture. Say, a nuclear power station with American or Canadian technology — financed by Washington.  The other important aspect, besides a big aid package, in Islamabad’s “wish-list” — advanced military equipment, including unmanned spacecraft, Predator drones, surveillance equipment — is claimed to be needed in the war on the Taliban in the Wazirstan border with Afghanistan, but could easily be diverted against India.  On the US side, too, there is a “trust deficit”, and so the Americans have told their Pakistan friends that accountability — of the way Pakistan spends the money and uses the military equipment — has to be in place. American audit will have the final say, and this the Pakistanis do not like. There is a dispute pending on the second tranche, worth about $ 2 billion because the American audit disputes the expenses incurred by the Pakistan side on this account. Hopefully, Islamabad thinks the Americans will not be too hard on their demand for “audit” of the way the money is spent.  Here the commonalities with the Zia phase end. There are political hurdles in the way of this “strategic alliance” which are difficult to negotiate. One relates to Pakistan’s standing in Afghanistan once the Americans quit that country. There is mounting pressure against the Indian role in Afghanistan’s affairs too. The second political hurdle is in relation to India. While it is the Indian demand that Washington obtains compliance from Pakistan against Pakistan-based terrorist organisations, Islamabad seeks US help in resolving the Kashmir dispute in a way favourable to it.  New Delhi is exercised over several facets of the US-Pakistan “strategic relationship”. The Pakistani “wish-list”, of course, worries India a lot, understandably. The Predator drones in particular, since these will alter the Indo-Pak military balance. India is also concerned about the political space that Washington yields in Afghanistan. Above all, India seeks American pressure on Pakistan to ensure squeezing out of terrorist outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

 Challenge of insurgency Can the para-military forces handle it?
by Premvir Das  Securitymen pay respects to their colleagues who died in the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh Securitymen pay respects to their colleagues who died in the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh. — PTI  Soon after assuming charge on March 31, the new Army Chief, Gen VK Singh, highlighted his main tasks. One of these was to be ready for a two-front war, presumably implying Pakistan and China as the adversaries acting in concert. Another was the counter terrorism task in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North-East.  In regard to the Maoist insurgency, rated by the Prime Minister as the most serious of all threats facing the country, his position was that the Army would not like to be involved in such issues which were, essentially “law and order” problems. This stand, both logical and understandable, stems from the very ethos and training of the armed forces which prepare, indeed, equip them to deal with external aggression.  However, paradigms of national security have undergone changes in recent years which require that the theme of “we are there to safeguard the nation from external aggression” be revisited. The first and foremost duty of a nation’s armed forces is to safeguard its territorial integrity and sovereignty.  With increasing insurgency in the North-East and later in Jammu and Kashmir, counter-insurgency got added to the responsibility of the Army and its numbers increased progressively, presently standing at about 1.3 million.  The Army did not go into counter-insurgency readily but preferred that this role be taken by the para-military. In any event, it was hard put even to cope with the two nation state adversaries. Thus were born forces such as the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police et al.  By 1978 need was felt for a similar force to cope with needs of security in the coastal areas and the Coast Guard was born. Later, in the mid-1990s came the Rashtriya Rifles. Not all of them were of the same genre.  Over the last several years, these para -military forces have also grown considerably as internal security has acquired an increasing dimension in the country’s concerns.  Until recently, the Navy and the Air Force remained aloof from anything other than the nation state adversary, considering all else as diverting them from their primary duty. In any event, there was no requirement.  The terrorist attack in Mumbai on 26/11 changed all that. A daring attack was mounted from the sea in which the terrorists traversed through more than 500 kilometers of India’s water space unhindered and unchallenged.  Whatever structure existed to safeguard the coast in the form of the para-military Coast Guard and State Marine Police forces proved grossly inadequate and the Navy, as the manifestation of the nation’s sea power, was, understandably, called to question by the people.  New arrangements have now been made in which the Navy will bear ultimate responsibility. Much more remains to be done but “the buck stops here” principle has been established which requires the Navy to respond to situations not arising from threats from nation state adversaries. The same is true of its involvement in anti-piracy operations.  Let us go back to the Army. Assuming that the Maoist insurgency strengthens, will it jeopardise India’s integrity, is the question that might be asked. And, if that is so, can the Army just sit in barracks and do nothing, is the logical corollary. Since, the main threats are from within, and not from without, to safeguard the integrity and sovereignty of the country against them must be the duty and responsibility of the Army.  Undoubtedly, such duty is a horribly unpleasant one and should be undertaken only as the last resort, but if it comes to the crunch, we cannot shy away from it on the argument that the armed forces only fight external aggression.  Only recently, there has been ongoing action by an equally professionally competent Army in a neighbouring country targeting some of its own people, misguided or fanatic or whatever. And, if the Pakistan Army is not a force which merits emulation, one can cite the part played by the British Army in quelling the IRA insurgency in Ireland not so long ago.  Anyone who has been in uniform can understand the great aversion that the military would have to such scenarios but in these times, it does not help to shy away from what might well have to be done some day. To do it sooner rather than later, when the costs may be higher, would seem the right approach. Already, we appear to be nearing the stage when the moment of reckoning may not be far away.  The recent decimation of nearly a company of the CRPF in the jungles of Chhattisgarh shows that even the para-military response may not yield the desired result. The incident itself might be an isolated one but it portends a disturbing future. The sovereignty of the nation state is under serious challenge and this affront has to be met with the fullest power that can be brought to bear.  So, even as cognizance must be taken of the Home Minister’s assessment that the police and para-military forces can deal with the Maoists quite effectively, and one hopes that he is proved right, it will be wise for the country to start preparing itself for the military option.  It is not something that can be done in a day as considerable mental adjustment will be needed, not just in the military but equally in the citizenry. In short, we are at the crossroads when a new paradigm in the security of the nation has taken root in which the armed forces may well have to become involved.  Routine answers, as put forward in the past, may not pass the ultimate test that the armed forces must face, that their first and foremost duty is to safeguard the nation’s integrity and sovereignty from whoever and whenever. The bull must be taken by the horns.  The writer is a former Director General, Defence Planning Staff

India developing sub-sonic 1,000-km cruise missile 
Bangalore, April 11 India was developing a sub-sonic 1,000-km range cruise missile “Nirbhay” which could be used for a “variety of applications”, a top military scientist said today. The 1000-kg “missile is getting into some shape”, Dr VK Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.  He also said the flight-trial of air-to-air missile “Astra”, having a range of 45 to 100 km, was on the cards. Saraswat was delivering the keynote address at a national convention on “The frontiers of aeronautical technologies”, organised by the Aeronautical Society of India here.  He said India’s armed forces were looking for long-duration loitering missiles that could enter “enemy territory”, search targets such as radars, concentration of assets and “a variety of movements of enemy”, “home-on” the targets and “bang” them. “We need to develop loitering missiles”, he said. — PTI

After Dantewada massacre, commandos take over
NDTV Correspondent, Sunday April 11, 2010, Dantewada  Five days after the worst ever Maoist strike killed 76 jawans in Dantewada, the CRPF has restarted area domination operations.  This is exactly the same thing the 76 massacred jawans were doing and in the same area.  The only difference is that commandos sent in belong to the Special Action Force and have been specially trained to fight Naxals.  In the country's worst Maoist attack ever, at least 76 CRPF and a state police personnel were killed in an ambush last week, in the thick Mukrana forests of Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district. The dead include a Deputy and an Assistant Commandant of the CRPF, and a head constable of the district police.

Pak's nuclear arsenal is in 'safe hands': Gilani
Press Trust of India, Sunday April 11, 2010, Islamabad  Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured the world community on Sunday that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is in "safe hands" as he embarked on a visit to the US to attend the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.  "I assure the world, I assure the people of Pakistan that the nuclear capability, the nuclear programme is in safe hands," Gilani told reporters at the Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi before boarding a special flight to the US.  Noting that the summit had been convened as the world has concerns about nuclear safety, Gilani said Pakistan's "nuclear programme is in experienced hands and we have experience of over 30 years".  He said he has the entire nation's support on nuclear issues and that he had briefed the national security committee of parliament about his participation in the summit.  The parliamentary panel had "totally endorsed" the government's stance on nuclear issues.  Gilani will also hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.  Asked if he would also meet his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Gilani said a meeting has not yet been scheduled.  The premier's participation in the Nuclear Security Summit will be his first engagement in an international forum dealing with nuclear issues after he assumed the chairmanship of the National Command Authority, the body that controls Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.  The summit is aimed at evolving consensus on securing nuclear facilities and materials around the globe. Gilani's delegation includes Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.  The Prime Minister was seen off at the Chaklala airbase by members of the federal cabinet, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen Tariq Majid and the three service chiefs.  Before his departure, Gilani held consultations on Saturday with Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to prepare for the Summit.

Unstable Pak behind defence expenses: Chidambaram
Press Trust of India, Sunday April 11, 2010, Puducherry  Home Minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday that earmarking Rs 1,47,000 crore for India's defence budget was "absolutely necessary and inevitable" as neighbours like Pakistan did not have a friendly attitude towards the country.  "Had the neighbouring countries been stable, peaceful and were oriented in a friendly manner towards India, our allocation of such a big fund for defence in the budget would not have arisen," he said at a meeting organised by Puducherry PCC as part of the 125th year celebrations of party formation.  Referring to internal security, Chidambaram said the budget for the current fiscal is expected to be Rs 40,000 crores to address the requirements of paramilitary forces and the police.  "Terrorists, divisive forces and Naxals are on the prowl fomenting violence by exploiting and intimidating the poor and have-nots and more particularly the tribal people," he said, adding, allocating such amount becomes necessary "to manage the machinations of these elements.

Obama’s ambitious compromise
Syed Muhammad Ali  They say that democracy is a compromise. But sometimes these compromises are unpopular and politically costly or both. That is why marketing these compromises to the polity is a cumbersome but necessary occupation for most democracies. Sometimes these compromises are made with the opposition, sometimes with other states and sometimes with both.  The ‘New START’ treaty is one such compromise, which the US has made with both the Republicans and the Russians. Coupled with the Nuclear Security Summit and the Nuclear Posture Review, this treaty is aimed at generating the momentum, formalizing and eventually launching President Obama’s ambitious initiative of a ‘Global Zero’, leading to the anticipated reduction of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.  The Republican senators are calling both these events, as two big compromises that US can do without and three powerful Congressmen, including former Presidential hopeful John McCain, are lobbying hard within top military ranks to put pressure on the White House to ensure, that in return for a substantial reduction in the Russian nuclear arsenal, Obama Administration must not sell its new symbol of sustained US commitment to Western European security, the ABM shield. Such symbols are useful bargaining chips in Brussels, particularly when most NATO member states, including right-leaning Nicholas Sarkozy led France, are wriggling out of their commitment to contribute to the Afghan troops surge. The Russians have been openly critical of the US Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) shield in Europe, not only because the shield could be effective against Non-Iranian Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) but also to weaken US standing within NATO, which is dragging its feet on Afghanistan to put pressure on Washington to revert back to NATO’s original agenda of protecting Europe as its long-term core interest. But the toughest battleground for ‘New START’ is at home. The Nuclear Zero is not a new or radical idea and three years ago, in January 2007, Reagan’s secretary of state George Shultz; Nixon’s and Ford’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger; Clinton’s secretary of defense Bill Perry; and the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn, jointly called for a nuclear-weapons-free world in an article published in The Wall Street Journal. This article created the window of opportunity for both democrat and Republican lawmakers to openly debate its pros and cons.  According to the latest World Nuclear Stockpile Report complied by the Federation of American Scientists, currently the world has 23,300 nuclear weapons of which 8,190 are maintained in an operational or ready-to-use status. The US and Russian Presidents signed a new arms-control treaty, called the ‘New START’, which set new limits on US and Russian warheads and launch platforms, which are the lowest ever agreed. But despite Democrat-led euphoric attempt to paint it as a landmark event, it is not certain that in a polarized Congress, it will gain the two-third majority, needed to ratify the treaty, particularly when the looming mid-term offers Republicans a golden opportunity to weaken Obama on the Capital Hill for his sobering Afghan policy and blame him for using Nuclear Zero only as a political diversion from serious domestic issues such as poor economy and dismal unemployment rates hovering around ten percent. Republican Senator from Arizona Jon Kyl, has already demanded to know whether the “New START” treaty represents “a new era in global arms control or unilateral disarmament by the US.” It remains to be seen how long can moderate Congressman like Lugar blunt the pressure from hawkish Republicans who want to weaken Obama, by distancing themselves from bi-partisan efforts, which the Democrats could later use to salvage votes by sharing the blame on dicey issues.  Ironically, Obama’s stiffest opposition is not from the Republicans but the very people who make and safeguard US nuclear weapons. Many US nuclear scientists believe that American nuclear systems are aging, raising questions about the reliability of bombs, planes, and missiles. The U.S. Senate did not ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and though the White House hopes for a ‘favorable vote’ on the CTBT during the current Obama term, the Republicans strongly believe that the United States needs to preserve the option of testing the reliability of old weapons or developing new ones. In January, the directors of America’s three top nuclear laboratories told the US Congress that they couldn’t be confident that stockpile stewardship would work indefinitely to guarantee America’s arsenal. What it implies is that Nuclear weapon testing is still necessary. Wither CTBT! Being the sole superpower puts peculiar limitations on disarmament ambitions of the US. Even if Obama wants, he can’t cut America’s arsenal as much as he might desire. A significant decline or depletion of US nuclear capability may accelerate the lobbies in nuclear threshold countries under the US nuclear umbrella like Japan to seriously consider developing its own nuclear deterrent. In view of growing regional tensions and provocation like the North Korean nuclear testing and rising China, how long can Tokyo resist the temptation of developing its ‘sovereign deterrent’, will seriously restrict the content of what might Washington want to offer Moscow in terms of ‘substantial’ nuclear disarmament.  Obama administration’s second front is Moscow. The Russians conventional forces are a shadow of their Cold War era might and despite sustained effort to replenish its army, air force and navy, are increasingly dependent on nuclear weapons, both as an international and domestic status symbol and of course for their deterrent value. They are unlikely to agree to a major nuclear arsenal cut, without of course a major concession by the US, which irrespective of its content, could inevitably prove politically too costly for Obama administration, to retain democrat majority in the US Congress, beyond the mid-term elections.  Last spring, Obama declared in Prague that “in a strange turn of history, the threat of global war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.” That could be true for Moscow and Washington, which according to the Federation of American Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s latest estimates, jointly maintain 22,340 of the total 23,300 estimated nuclear warheads, held in various operational and dis-assembled states. As per this assessment, only the US and Russian nuclear arsenals constitute almost 96 percent of the total nuclear weapons held by the whole world and all the other states’ combined nuclear arsenals represent only 4 percent of the world’s total nuclear weapons. More importantly, for some states, keeping a safe, secure and reliable nuclear capability is not a luxury or status symbol but a geo-strategic necessity for survival in an anarchical world.  Many people in small states, particularly those with lingering territorial disputes, unsuccessful conflict resolution attempts, long and checkered history of hostilities and faced with large well-armed neighbors, believe that for them, maintenance of a robust nuclear arsenal is the only reliable insurance against war, particularly when their big neighbors continue to brandish massive conventional arsenal along their borders, coin aggressive war doctrines, resort to coercive diplomacy and regional strategic encirclement. For such small and insecure states, nuclear deterrent is not a symbol of prestige but an investment in regional peace and security and an instrument that in the absence of large conventional forces, ensures their territorial integrity and sovereignty in a relatively cost-effective manner. That is why, as a means to ensuring economic security to over 20 percent of world’s total population living in South Asia, Pakistan continues to discourage arms race in South Asia and views its well-guarded nuclear deterrent as ‘a cost effective factor of stability’ in this region. In fact, in view of the war on terror, which has cost Pakistan’s small economy over 40 billion dollars in the past 9 years, in order to prevent India from carrying out any adventure against its territory, thanks to the world’s fourth largest armed forces and an overwhelming 8:1 defence budget ratio, a robust and reliable nuclear deterrent inadvertently becomes the lynchpin of Pakistan’s national security policy, whose clear, unambiguous, dominant and long-term motive is to prevent conflict in South Asia, particularly in the absence of conflict resolution in the entire 62 years of its existence. In short, the global zero can only be realized if a ‘Conflict Zero’ is achieved in the world, which in view of the current world security architecture, its uncertainties and inequalities, is an even more ambitious dream, as old as Abel and Cain.  —The writer is associated with the Strategic & Nuclear Studies Department of the National Defence University, Islamabad.

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