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Friday, 2 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 02 Jul 2010

  A new great game China's moves in Kabul need to be watched
by Harsh V. Pant  A confidential Pentagon memo has suggested that there are $1trillion worth of minerals under Afghanistan and that the country could emerge as "the Saudi Arabia of lithium". Other estimates have suggested that the reserves could be worth as much as $3trillion. The previously unknown deposits include huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium. This has fuelled speculation that Afghanistan has the potential of getting transformed into one of the most important mining centres of the world. To take advantage of this renewed global interest in the nation's resources, Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines has hosted a meeting in London as a first step towards opening its mineral reserves to international investors. The ministry is in touch with nearly 20 mining investors from around the world on developing the iron ore deposits in the Hajigak area of Bamian province.  But clearly it is a long way off before Afghanistan can take advantage of its geological wealth. Under the prevailing circumstances of conflict and tribal tensions, mining companies will only have limited interest in going into the country, especially as it takes up to 20 years for a mine to start earning profits. Mineral mining is an extraordinarily expensive and time-consuming task. Countries with a history of conflict have only experienced more war and corruption as a result of their mineral wealth.  More likely, the real winners from the new-found underground treasure in Afghanistan are likely to be the warlords and, of course, China. It is China's voracious appetite that is driving most mineral prices up today. And it is unlikely that China will be deterred by conflict to invest in Afghanistan. The discovery in the late 1990s of minerals in eastern Congo gave a new life to the civil war in the country. Beijing wooed the Congolese government for access to the country's resources and much of the resources eventually flowed to China. Beijing's traditional aid policy is premised on its "non-interventionist" foreign policy agenda and no covert political strings. China's state companies bid for concessions all over the Third World, taking risks that private ones can't.  Under the US security umbrella, Chinese investments in Afghanistan are flourishing. The state-owned China Metallurgical Group has a $3.5 billion copper mining venture in Logar province. Beijing is yet to view the stabilisation of Afghanistan and elimination of terrorist havens in the country as shared goals of the West. China will be the leading contender for the development of new Afghan resources and China's influence will grow with its ability to control the flow of funds. Given China's worries about Afghanistan providing a refuge for Uighur separatists, it is reasonable to expect that the goal of a stable central government in Kabul that provides no havens for terrorists is the one China shares with the West. Moreover, a stable Pakistan is also in China's interest.  The Obama Administration has already asked China to contribute troops to the Afghan effort. Yet Beijing continues to free-ride, relying on Washington to provide security for its limited interests. It is possible that China's awareness of its growing need for foreign export markets will make it a "responsible" global power, but there is little sign of that yet happening. This is likely to exacerbate tensions between Washington and Beijing in the coming months as domestic political pressure builds on the Obama Administration to leave Afghanistan.  The news of Afghanistan's new-found mineral wealth arrived recently along with the United Nations report that the security situation in that country had deteriorated significantly in recent months with roadside bomb attacks during the first four months of the year increasing by 94 per cent compared with the same period last year. The Taliban believe that they need only wait out the NATO coalition and what may seem the inevitability of its departure. The July 2011 deadline was intended to force Karzai to address urgent problems like corruption and ineffective governance. But it may have had the opposite effect, convincing Karzai that in a year from now, he will be on his own.  Though the US is at pains to underline that July 2011 "will be the beginning of a conditions-based process" and that the deadline will be debated in the military's formal review of progress later this year in December, there are few who are willing to bet at the moment that the Obama Administration has the stomach to stay for much longer in Afghanistan. Karzai in particular seems convinced that Americans will not be able to stay the course.  Not surprisingly, he is trying to craft a more autonomous foreign policy. Kabul is now dealing with Islamabad to shape the aftermath of what they fear could be a more abrupt withdrawal of US troops than is now anticipated. Pakistan's military and intelligence chiefs have visited Kabul in recent weeks to discuss a wide range of possible cooperation, including mediating with Pakistan-based insurgents. Though there are serious differences, this is being viewed as Karzai's attempt to look beyond the US in his national security imperatives.  The news of Afghanistan's newly discovered natural resources comes at a critical time for the nation. The Karzai government is among the world's least effective. It is likely to squander a large portion of the windfalls from its mineral wealth. But the competition for influence over Afghanistan will take a different trajectory as China will try to emerge as the most important player in the new gold rush and the US will try to regain its lost initiative. India cannot be a mute spectator to these far-reaching developments in its vicinity. It has a significant stake in the stability and economic prosperity of Afghanistan and, therefore, should be prepared to participate in the new great game about to commence in its neighbourhood.  The writer teaches at King's College, London.

Narayanpur Attack Naxals' savage face stands exposed Throats of three CRPF jawans were slit and heads of two others smashed 
Raipur, July 1 The brutal face of Naxals, who killed 27 CRPF personnel in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh, has been exposed with the throats of some of the hapless victims found slit and heads of a couple of them smashed.  According to preliminary post-mortem reports, the jawans were killed by the Maoists in a brutal manner and around three to four bullet wounds were found on the bodies of each of the 27 slain CRPF personnel.  "The Naxalites shot dead CRPF personnel from a distance and later, they slit open the throats of three and smashed heads of two other jawans," a top police official said.  The bodies of the CRPF personnel killed in a deadly ambush on Tuesday were airlifted from the remote thick forests of Dhodawyee, about 300 km from here, to Dr BR Ambedkar hospital here for conducting post-mortem examinations yesterday.  The official said though 27 jawans were killed, the CRPF personnel were able to foil the Maoists' attempt to loot the police armoury. "The police believes that around 15 Naxalites were killed in the cross-firing," he said.  A large number of heavily armed Maoists, perched on a hilltop, had opened fire with automatic weapons on a 63-member security contingent that was returning on foot from road opening duty. The dead included CRPF Assistant Commandant Jatin Gulati. "We had no inkling about the presence of Maoists," said an injured CRPF jawan recuperating at a hospital.  The Maoists fired upon the jawans with automatic weapons as they were on way back to their camp. The jawan said the contingent made a valiant effort in fighting back the Naxals for over two hours, resulting in casualties among the Maoists. He, however, could not say how many Maoists were killed.  "We are always ready as we know that encounters can happen anytime and I think that is why we could give them a tough fight and inflict more damage on them than they did to us," the jawan said. He said some of the Naxals perched on a tree started firing, diverting their attention.  Another jawan Parmanand had earlier said that the Naxals numbering around 200 were armed to the teeth. He said he tried to evacuate some of his wounded colleagues and secure weapons of the martyred personnel, but he himself got injured after being hit by four bullets. — PTI

CRPF facing 'undeserved' flak in Kashmir Kumar
Rakesh/TNS  New Delhi, July 1 A vicious propaganda coupled with Omar Abdullah-led government's flip-flop has brought the CRPF in the crosshairs of public anger in Kashmir even as facts suggest that it either had no involvement in some of the civilian killings it has been accused of, as in the case of deaths of three protesters in Anantnag on June 29, or it had to fire in self-defence, as in Sopore where its men even received bullet fires from the crowd on June 25.  An internal document prepared by the CRPF bosses says this much and the Home Ministry sources told The Tribune that their independent verification pointed to a welter of causes, including the polarised and prejudiced accounts in the local media, for the paramilitary force receiving the underserved flak.  The CRPF document says how things had been flaring up in Sopore, where death of two rioters on June 25 had sparked off the current round of protests on June 21 when militants launched several attacks on the security forces installations, including that of 22 RR of the Army, two installations of 179 battalion of the CRPF and the Sopore police station. A special police official (SPO) was killed in these attacks while a few others were injured, it says.  Things boiled over on June 25 when the police and the CRPF had to face mob fury as they zeroed in on two militants and CRPF inspector Rohtas Singh was shot in the leg by the militants hiding in the crowd. "A bullet-proof Gypsy of the 179 battalion was isolated, attacked, immobilised by puncturing two of its tyres and damaged very badly in the arson," it says. In the subsequent firing, two persons died.  The bizarre press conference of state cabinet minister Ali Mohammad Sagar on June 27 in which he accused the CRPF of going "out of control" and indulging in "unwarranted firing", only gave credence to allegations of brutality against the force despite the next day turnaround by CM Omar Abdullah.  The death of three persons in Anantnag on June 29 was due to police firings and the CRPF was not involved in those incidents, Home Ministry sources said.  Officials said CRPF personnel, coming from different parts of the country, were seen as a symbol of New Delhi by the hostile crowd and separatists and mainstream politicians find it easier to vent their ire at them than the local police.

Pakistan's right wing media: Terrorising the democratic space
Journalism is a gentleman's profession, but here in Pakistan, newly born liberalised media seems to be working up mob hysteria especially against politicians and the democratically elected parliament. CJ: Junaid Qaiser   Thu, Jul 01, 2010 09:51:14 IST Views:        30    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 1.0 / 1 votes            Pakistan Latest News :  How significant is the NRO quashing judgment? PAKISTAN'S PREDOMINANTLY right wing media's hostile propaganda against politicians and misrepresentation of information serve as a breeding ground for extremist aberrations in the society.  Journalism is a gentleman's profession, but here in Pakistan, newly born liberalised media seems to be working up mob hysteria especially against politicians and the democratically elected parliament. Media and its self-puritan anchors are continuously encouraging a pseudo-religious approach to politics and its hostile propaganda against democracy and against the West, which is very much suitable for extremist aberrations.  Mostly, TV talk show hosts and Ziaist brand analysts are seen to be duty bound to peddle anti-American anti-democracy conspiracy theories and bash parliamentarians. The right wing style media has been vociferously running stories of corruption, nepotism and malpractices of politicians and leaders in the parliament, and connect all these bogus stories to President Asif Ali Zardari.  Pakistan Peoples Party's government is portrayed by the media as too deferential to the United States. Several anchor persons exhaust all their energies in presenting the prejudice of US against the Pakistani nation. Pakistani journalists who unconditionally support their establishment started the campaign against Kerry Lugar Bill and coalesced anti-Western politicians, and Muslim fundamentalists — implausibly claiming that Pakistan's sovereignty was undermined and the country could end up as a US neo-colony.  Corporate plutocratic media, as a sole grand savior of the nationalism, sovereignty and morality, seems to be fomenting instability and despondency in the society. It is imposing and thrusting hard line teaching, eulogising dictatorship and count demerits of democracy. The stories have been written and presented to provide only one dimensional approach, world view and restrict the other independent thought process of readers/viewers. Turning a blind eye towards these obscurantists tendencies might prove costly to the nation.  Some talk shows have implicit sheer bias against the PPP government and parliament and they only counts it's demerits, they are packed with illogical and fact-less stories of corruption and falsifying evidence on important democratic issues. Some TV anchors have launched vociferous campaign against PPP government exposing corruption of ruling politicians.  President Asif Ali Zardari has been the favourite punching bag for a media trial for the last 22 years, fake and baseless stories of him kidnapping an expatriate Pakistani and extorting money by planting a bomb on his leg to duty evasions, he has faced all. Not a single anchor has ever raised and highlighted corruption and human cost during long military dictatorship. Why are corrupt army officials, judges and journalists beyond criticism in TV talk shows?  Alleged corruption from trafficking heroin to grabbing precious land; from taking kick-back on purchase of equipment (sub-marines included); how they have forgotten years of misrule by military dictators? Had they (apex court's independent judges) not taken oath under the PCO (a fake, illegal document), but no one is raising question of morality here? Why then, we concerned citizens wonder, media only discusses civilian corruption? All this reflects the undemocratic mindset prevailing in the media to demonise democracy and parliamentary institutions. In a way these talk shows erode trust in democracy.  Dictatorial regimes' policies aimed at perpetuating their own power at the cost of national interest and disruption of democracy and political instability have already created huge system deficit. Owing to our media sadly, not very much democracy appreciative – and due to irresponsible reporting and journalism, we have become apolitical nation and people have been losing faith and confidence in the democratic system and normative governance. All the above mentioned journalistic odds are eclipsing the future of Pakistan as a vibrant nation. Even media on occasions provide imputes of publicity to the terrorist groups and extremist aberration. This trend further confused the ordinary citizens. Therefore, efforts to counter terrorism and check extremism are needed to put an end to the above mentioned problems and to bring the nation out of prevailing quagmire of confusion and chaos.  Although we are living in the age of media abundance but still we are facing informational dearth, as pure citizens related issues and real political debates seem to be missing or lacking in our talk show democracy. It is just tug of war and main emphasis is on speculation and conspiracies rather than fact and democratic thought.  The media persons should adopt a highly detached and objective style, while informing readers and viewers about the significant phase of the story, they should neither take side nor condemn any politicians, sect or group. Rather one should document the facts objectively and then leaves it to the readers to judge the event and draw the conclusion. It should try to give a balanced rather a one sided or biased view against people's parliament.  While extremist groups are primarily responsible for denying space for pluralistic thinking and limiting the scope for democratic development, some newspapers in Pakistan are themselves involved in promoting intolerance in society. TV channels were guilty of providing the oxygen of publicity to the extremist ideology and in a mad race for breaking news many channels reported events without verifying the facts and often exaggerated the events.  There are flawed assumptions and speculations – misuse of the religious, political and national narrative by the hosts is the leading cause of extremism in the society. These political actors want a clash between the executive, legislature and the judiciary for their own ulterior motives. However, the political forces which represent the people of Pakistan and the current holders of high offices in other institutions have shown maturity by not getting into the trap of these political actors.  In the 'talk show democracy', political actors are, through their illogical and fact-less narratives, irresponsibly spreading confusion, conservatism and instability. Mainstream media mind and its conspiracy theorists do not want to see parliament complete its term and are prompting blue eyed politicians of the establishment ie, Ch Nisar Ali and Abid Sher Ali, who say that fake degrees can lead to midterm elections. It is a new wish and conspiracy of political actors. Pakistan Peoples Party's stated policy is very clear that, extremism, militants and terrorism in all forms and manifestations pose a grave danger to the stability and integrity of the nation. Its manifesto in election 2008 clearly described that- democracy never wages terrorism. Dismantle militant groups that take hostages and impose their writ through force and terrorism and militancy will be vigorously confronted.  The unprecedented successes made by the PPP led democratic government in the war against terror – today fully acknowledged by the international community — is a direct result of the national political will and consensus that gave legitimacy and effective strength to the military operations in Swat, Bajaur and FATA. Pakistan Peoples Party's government is fighting a decisive war against terrorism and we as a nation very much moving towards being a more rationale, humanist, tolerant and moderate society.  There appears to be a lack of vision and wisdom in media and its talk shows. Very little focus is on creating intellectual and physical structure to transform the society. Now they have become a norm with media and its anchorpersons, whose world view is very much narrow and they do nothing but to promote undemocratic mindset and intolerance. Even the content and debate in talk shows fails to highlight popular maxim of treating the evils of democracy with more democracy on the contrary they eulogising extremism and undemocratic point of view. Although Pakistan has come a long way, in terms of responsibility the private media scene is still it is embryonic stage. It should highlight and emphasis that federation must be strengthened through the process of democratic pluralism, social justice, cultural values and tolerance. Instead of hate speech there should be free responsible speech and media should build public consensus against extremism.  There is no effective citizen's oriented responsible journalism to transform the citizens into active and effective citizens. The need of the hour is to modernise news process with more emphasises upon developing humane, democratic and scientific approach among viewers and readers instead of stuffing them with hatred against politicians (real representative of peoples) and parliament. Only then we as a nation can develop our identity as a rationale nation that would ensure much needed peace and prosperity. Media needs to frame a code of conduct and strictly adhere to it and should build intellectual safeguards against extremism instead of becoming tool for its own economic and political promotion.

Chhattisgarh DGP blames CRPF, says can't teach them how to walk 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: July 02, 2010 01:44 IST  Raipur:  A day after Home Minister P Chidambaram asked state governments to review deployment of paramilitary forces, the Chhattisgarh Director General of Police (DGP) has blamed the CRPF for becoming easy targets.  The state police chief has said they cannot teach the jawans how to walk.  "What does responsibility mean? Responsibility means that the facilities that we can give, we give. Responsibility means that we together give deployment. Responsibility does not mean that we teach them how to walk  Home Ministry officials have told PTI that the government is working on a plan for reconfiguration, redeployment and strengthening of the paramilitary forces in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal phase-wise in consultation with the state governments.  "It has become necessary to review the deployment of forces and a suitable decision will be taken according to the operational requirement and developmental reasons," a Home Ministry official said.  However, no Central forces deployed in a particular state will be moved out from that state, he added.  The plan will be implemented first in Chhattisgarh where CRPF has faced maximum casualties in the recent past, the distances of troop posts will be reduced and in some cases the number of personnel will be increased while in other cases the posts will be relocated.  After Chhattisgarh, the plan will be implemented in Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal. (Read: Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: What went wrong)  Twenty seven CRPF men were killed in a Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. And the Maoists' savagery didn't end there. (Read: Naxals fired on us from tree tops: CRPF jawan)  The preliminary post-mortem reports said the Naxals pumped in 3 to 4 bullets into each of the bodies that were found. Several jawans had their throats slit open while others had their heads smashed and limbs severed. (Read: List of CRPF jawans killed) | (Watch: NDTV reports from Ground Zero)  Meanwhile, in yet another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh on Thursday, three informers were killed in Narayanpur district. What's worse, the Naxals left bombs under the informers' bodies, making it impossible for security personnel to remove them from the site.

Helicopter-mounted radar to tackle Naxal IEDs
July 02, 2010 03:40 IST Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  India [ Images ] is deploying cutting-edge technology to defeat a simple insurgent weapon that J&K militants and Naxals are using to lethal effect: the Improvised Explosive Device, or IED. Swedish company Saab has offered to partner India's Defence Research and Development Organisation in fitting Saab's CARABAS radar on India's Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), which would allow the scanning of wide swathes of territory to detect IEDs well before they can be exploded.  Naxal IEDs--explosives that are detonated with a timer, or with signals from a mobile phone, to blow up jawans or vehicles-- are blamed for over 60 per cent of all casualties caused by the group. In only the most recent example, on May 17, a Naxal IED, buried inside a metalled road, blew up a civilian bus in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, killing 36 people, including 12 Special Police Officers. Any movement of security forces in Naxal areas must be preceded by a painstaking manual search for IEDs. Many casualties have been caused during these search operations.  In the new system being evaluated, a Saab CARABAS radar, fitted in a Dhruv helicopter, does an aerial scan of the area in which security forces will be operating. The CARABAS radar is specially designed to detect metallic components of an IED, even when it is buried 5-6 metres below the ground. A computer quickly compares the image of each flight with the images of the previous flight over that area; any new metallic objects are highlighted, and their exact location mapped. Armed with that information, a bomb disposal team is sent to defuse the IED harmlessly.  Best of all, the exceptionally low frequency waves from the CARABAS radar ignore vegetation, reflecting only off man-made objects. This is especially useful in jungle terrain, where the dense foliage provides both visual and electro-magnetic cover. Naxal IED tactics involve burying IEDs several feet deep, sometimes under tarmac roads; such a system would detect even the deep-buried IEDs, which conventional, hand-held scanners, and even sniffer dogs, often cannot pick up.  "We have provided a radar at the request of the DRDO," says Inderjit Sial, the India head of Saab International India AB. "The DRDO will integrate it on the Dhruv ALH and then evaluation trials will be conducted. There is also a lighter version of the radar which can be flown on a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)."  The helicopter-mounted CARABAS radar weighs about 150 kg. The smaller version of the radar, which has been developed for UAVs, weighs just 50 kg.  Saab believes this surveillance platform has a very high potential in India. The company has indicated that, if India chooses to deploy the CARABAS/Dhruv platform, Saab would set up its global manufacturing hub for the radar in India.  The DRDO is carefully evaluating Saab's offer. Confirming that it is evaluating a foreign foliage penetration radar, the spokesperson stated, "We are seeking foreign collaboration in this field. Talks are actively on… but we have not yet made a final decision."  A key challenge the DRDO faces in integrating the CARABAS low-frequency radar on a UAV, or on the Dhruv helicopter, is the unusual shape and large size of the radar antennae, which look like two long poles. A place on the flying platform will have to be found for these antennae.

Pentagon backs US cos for Indian jet deal
Last updated on: July 02, 2010 03:00 IST Tags: US, Michele Flournoy, India, Asia Society Washington, US-India Defence Relations Share this Ask Users Write a Comment The US military industrial complex is pulling out all the stops to secure the $10 billion deal for 126 fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force and in its latest manifestation has co-opted a top Pentagon [ Images ] official to make a strong pitch for why this sale should be won by US defence manufacturers.  Leading defence manufacturers including Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Raytheon  on Thursday sponsored an Asia Society Washington breakfast meeting featuring Michele Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defence for Policy to deliver a speech titled 'Investing in the Future of US-India Defence Relations,' which was billed as a major policy speech on key defence and security issues in US-India relations.  Flournoy's remarks at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, did not contain any new policy formulations vis-à-vis US-India [ Images ] defence ties but made clear how important it was that India seriously consider the bids of the US defence manufacturers for the 126 fighter aircraft as a tangible catalyst to the burgeoning military partnership between Washington and New Delhi [ Images ] as part of the overall US-India strategic partnership.  Flournoy, who announced she would be visiting India shortly and would also co-chair the US-India Defence Policy Group, said that a major growth area in the US-India defence relationship was "our burgeoning trade in defence equipment, including the Indian purchases of C-130J and P-8I aircraft."  She declared, "US companies are eager to work with India as the Indian military continues its modernization," and then added: "Today, two American companies are among the leading competitors for a $10 billion sale of 126 advanced fighter aircraft to the Indian air force, currently the world's biggest defence tender.  And we are also looking at future sales of the C-17 aircraft.  Flournoy said, "I want to underscore that we in the Department of Defence do not view defence sales as mere commercial transactions. We understand that India is making a strategic as well as an economic choice when it makes defence acquisitions."  But she argued that "obviously, the commercial benefits of defence sales to the US economy can't be denied, but from a DoD perspective, these sales are most important to building a strategic partnership that will allow both our countries to cooperate more effectively in the future.  Whether the scenario involves humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism cooperation, or maritime security activities, having common equipment will allow more seamless cooperation."  Flournoy acknowledged that "India is, of course, also seeking to build its own indigenous defence industry, and is looking for the best technologies to use in its defence sector," and she reiterated that " the U.S. is committed to providing India with top-of-the-line technology, and we have backed up our commitment by approving the overwhelming majority of licenses requested last year."  She said that Defence Secretary Robert Gates "has made export control reform a key priority, and we see streamlining and modernizing our export control system as a national security issue, one that affects our ability to build effective partnerships."   Earlier in her remarks, the senior Pentagon official said that "some critics in Washington and New Delhi have suggested the Obama [ Images ] Administration is not as committed to US-India relations as its predecessors were. Other critics assert that this administration sees India solely through the lens of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Still others think that the absence of high-profile, headline-grabbing deals and accomplishments over the last 18 months suggests that we don't view this relationship as important."    Flournoy asserted that "such criticisms miss the mark completely," and argued that "the US-India relationship is not built on, and cannot be sustained on, grand gestures or brief moments of crisis, but on shared interests and values. She said that when she visits India in the next couple of weeks, she would reiterate that " the Pentagon is committed to further strengthening theseties through the enhancement of our defence relationship."  "This bond is grounded in common democratic values and converging interests that make India and US natural partners. The US and India have an overarching shared interest in promoting global stability and security. Increasingly our specific security interests are converging."  Then offering "just three examples," Flournoy said, "First, both the US and Indian economies rely on effective maritime security to preserve free passage in the Indian Ocean and surrounding waterways. Sea lines of communication are fundamental to our continued prosperity, and we have a mutual interest in their security. Second, both countries have an abiding interest in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Together, our efforts will help counter this threat to regional and global security, and third, we are both committed to promoting global stability and security."  Flournoy said, "India's post-conflict capacity building efforts span the globe, and it remains one of staunchest supporters of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations."

Why we should de-weaponize our vanity
 India's nuclear doctrine specifies no first use. This means we will not use the bomb unless our enemy first uses it on us Reply To All | Aakar Patel Who is our atom bomb aimed at? We have only two enemies: China and Pakistan. Our bomb is aimed at them. India's nuclear doctrine specifies no first use. This means we will not use the bomb unless our enemy first uses it on us. This reveals two things: 1) We have no offensive intention; 2) But we are concerned that China and Pakistan might. How valid is that concern? Let us look at what these states want from us. We were defeated by China in a short border war fought in 1962. China is stronger than us, and it controls the land that it wanted before the war. It withdrew from the parts it did not want. The position is to China's advantage, and it does not need anything from India except for us to formally convert the Line of Actual Control into the border. Monster: The nuclear warhead-capable Agni-II missile has a range of 2,500km. HC Tiwari/Hindustan Times Monster: The nuclear warhead-capable Agni-II missile has a range of 2,500km. HC Tiwari/Hindustan Times Though India's leaders have known this for 25 years, no government can agree to this. This is because it is difficult to sell Indians a new map of India with bits of Bharat Mata's anatomy lopped off. The textbook narrative of the war against China is irrational and emotional in India. However, India's governments have been mature and pragmatic on this matter. Their view has been to accept the defeat and to move on. Conflict is always avoided when the stronger side (China) enforces the status quo, and the weaker side (India) does not attempt to change it. China's nuclear doctrine also specifies no first use, and no use against non-nuclear powers. Our atom bomb is useless against China. What about Pakistan? Pakistanis believe we are in illegitimate possession of Muslim land (Kashmir). India is the stronger power and favours the status quo. The Kashmir solution India wants is to convert the Line of Control into the border. However, despite being militarily defeated by us, and losing half their country, Pakistan's leaders have not accepted the status quo. This is because Pakistanis will not let them lose focus on Kashmir. Pakistan's craving to defeat India keeps its army dominant even in periods of democracy. Pakistan is unstable because it keeps trying to compel the stronger power, though it has no capacity to do so. We cannot force it to change this behaviour, because we can no longer defeat Pakistan militarily as we could in 1971. But we must be aware of it. Also Read Aakar Patel's earlier columns Pakistan has only one enemy, and its atom bomb is aimed at us. Pakistan's nuclear doctrine warns that it could strike India first. This is because it recognizes that the conventional force of India is superior. Therefore Pakistan will use the atom bomb against India if it feels threatened. This has created an umbrella under which it can do mischief, because India is wary of the consequences of war. India was unable to punish Pakistan after Hafiz Saeed's boys killed 173 in the 26/11 Mumbai attack. Why? Because the Indian government knows that all military action carries the seed of a potential nuclear exchange. We have put ourselves in this position. Here's how. China tested in 1964, and became the fifth power to legally possess atom bombs. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed in 1968, but Indira Gandhi kept India out of it and went rogue, testing a bomb in 1974, hypocritically calling it a "peaceful nuclear explosion". Pakistan, which had just been cut in half by India, was compelled to follow under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Pakistan's programme became capable at some point during the Afghan war in the 1980s, as America looked away. Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India admitted that the "peaceful" bit was really a lie, and we weaponized our programme in 1998. Again, Nawaz Sharif was compelled to follow, at great loss to the economy, as capital fled Pakistan. Two nuclear states should quickly reach a state of non-conflict because of the danger to their populations. But India and Pakistan are special. Months after weaponizing its programme, Pakistan confidently launched war in Kargil. The world was scared, but we went at each other as if nothing had changed. When George Fernandes was defence minister, he was asked whether Vajpayee's adventure at Pokhran might not result in atomic exchange with Pakistan. Fernandes accepted that Pakistan might take a couple of Indian cities out, but he was confident that after that they "would be destroyed. Completely destroyed". Many Indians think nuclear war is like a football game: Pakistan scores two, we hit four, and we "win". Many Pakistanis also think in this fatalistic way, and they are generals serving in the army. Introducing atom bombs to the subcontinent has made India weaker, and Pakistan unhinged. India's focus after its stupidity at Pokhran has been on the economy. Our concern is how to get back to 9% growth and remain there for 20 years. But Pakistan's economy is in a death spiral. Its GDP grew 2% last year (its population grew 2.14%). Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says India can only prosper if Pakistan is stable. We can wish it, but what can we do to make it happen? We should de-weaponize the subcontinent. We should give up our atom bomb, and open up all our nuclear sites to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection. We should induce Pakistan to do the same, by signing a no-war pact with them. This means we will need to swallow our hurt every time attacks like the one on Parliament and in Mumbai happen. And they will happen because Lashkar-e-Taiba is more powerful than President Asif Ali Zardari's government. But we can do little about them even now, other than to be vigilant and attempt prevention. The threat to India is not from such attacks, but from the possibility that an unhinged Pakistan damages us through a nuclear exchange. We should absolutely and totally eliminate that possibility. Under our deal with the US, we have to open up 14 of 22 nuclear plants to the IAEA anyway. We should complete this, and end our military nuclear programme, which is not only useless, as we have seen, but actually damaging. This will also make our nuclear sites, which haven't been properly inspected in 35 years, safer. Indians have no culture of safety (the slab of Kaiga's reactor dome fell during construction) and India has the worst rail and road safety record on the planet. There's no reason to believe that the government runs our nuclear programme any more efficiently than it does the railways. Additional benefits will come from this move. Pakistan's proliferation will end, and it might be able to refocus on its economy. India will also save the money we are spending on atom bombs and delivery devices such as fancy missiles and fighter planes. Strategic experts say we can have the bomb without sacrificing benefits, but this isn't true. The reason hundreds of millions of Indian children will sleep hungry and die illiterate is that the state has no money. But India and Pakistan nurture their nuclear weapons of vanity. Beggars flashing trinkets.

Land of the generals
Jul 1, 2010 by  MUNISH SHARMA/REUTERS  The feeling that something is not quite right is strongest on the east side of the Grand Trunk Road, the frenetic trans-Pakistani highway. On the east side, the wrong side, sweating shopkeepers languish in the heat of early summer, waiting for the electricity to come back on—a routine they've become accustomed to. Pakistan is suffering from its worst energy crisis in recent memory.  Most Pakistanis, meaning the poor, must make do with as little as four hours of precious power a day.  Across the GT Road, as it's commonly called here, there's the dull hum of generators. On the west side, the right side, is where the generals reside. Their power is absolute, irrevocable, and, unlike what the rest of Pakistani society experiences, uninterrupted. As here in Gujranwala, 70 km north of Lahore, the situation repeats itself all over Pakistan, wherever there is a military cantonment or a Defence Housing Authority—wherever, in short, the army has set itself up in its plush, gated communities. The contrast is remarkable: on one side of the sweeping gateways, palatial homes set amid neatly trimmed gardens along smooth streets; on the other, potholes and poverty.  This is one of Pakistan's realities: since the founding of the country in 1947, its military brass has become synonymous with not only living well, but exerting its influence in every aspect of Pakistani society. And yet this most powerful of institutions is, today, under pressure as never before.  Criticism from the West over what is seen as a lacklustre response to Islamic extremism continues to mount, especially from the U.S., which since the attacks of 9/11 has given Pakistan US$18 billion in civilian and military aid. Claims that the military's all-powerful spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), is continuing to help the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan are further fuelling anger. Domestically, while the majority of Pakistanis struggle to survive, the military's ostentation is fuelling discontent. As is its approach to Islamic extremists: why support some, and target others—ultimately with support from the hated U.S.—as the army did in the Swat Valley campaign in 2009? "There is a fundamental disconnect here," says Aasim Sajjad, an assistant professor at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies in Islamabad. "The army claims to be the protectors of Islam in Pakistan but then they receive money from the U.S. to fight fellow Muslims."  That it is providing aid to some Islamic extremists seems clear: in a damning report released by the London School of Economics (LSE) on June 13, the ISI is again accused of supporting the Afghan Taliban, something it has for years denied doing. Unlike past allegations, though, the LSE discussion paper, authored by Matt Waldman, an Afghanistan expert at Harvard University's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, specifically accuses the ISI of not only tacitly supporting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, but of being a major player in its execution, including helping Taliban commanders with planning and logistics as well as funnelling them arms and ammunition. "The ISI orchestrates, sustains and strongly influences the [Afghan Taliban] movement," the paper bluntly states.  That support is, in part, intended to counter the increasing influence of Pakistan's arch-rival, India, on the government in Kabul. But at home, the Pakistani military continues to target some Islamic groups, including Pakistan's homegrown version of the Taliban in the country's Tribal Areas. "They've used the religious card when it's been convenient for them," Sajjad says. "Now, they're trying to create the illusion that there are good jihadis and bad jihadis. But the basic problem is the generals' dependence on jihad ideology as a tool of foreign policy. That hasn't changed."  That none of this does anything to alleviate Pakistan's deep-rooted social problems is something the militants have learned to capitalize on, and indeed use as a powerful recruiting tool. In a recent video message released by the Pakistani Taliban, its spokesman, Tariq Azim, referred to the "unholy army" and its wilful betrayal of Pakistan's poor. Militants regularly point to government and military corruption as a basic reason for their insurgency. "The militants have caught on," says one foreign aid worker, requesting anonymity for fear of an army backlash. "Their arguments strike a chord with the poor and disenfranchised. To be honest, they sound like Che Guevara railing against the American-backed elites in Cuba. They're revolutionary and it's just too bad that they are the only ones speaking out against the injustices entrenched in the Pakistani system."  And yet, Pakistan's military remains largely unchecked, in a country where democracy remains weak, and where a dominant ethos persists that places the defence establishment, which has ruled the country for half of its 63-year-existence, above all other political and judicial institutions. According to Ayesha Siddiqa, author of the controversial book Military Inc., which digs into the Pakistan army's burgeoning economic interests—a consequence of the years they have spent in power—Pakistan's military leaders and others have internalized the perception that democracy can't work in Pakistan, and the army is the only institution truly committed to ensuring the Pakistani interest.  "The generals genuinely believe they know better than anyone else what's best for Pakistan," Sajjad says. "They have become a social class unto themselves, the dominant social class in Pakistan, who possess an inordinate amount of power and money." In Gujranwala, locals refer to the top generals, the corps commanders, as "crore" commanders—a reference to their accumulated wealth (one crore in the subcontinent is the equivalent of 10 million rupees, or $120,000). According to Siddiqa, a senior general's net worth averages around $1.7 million. Where is all the money coming from?  For years, Pakistan's generals have been steadily infiltrating Pakistan's economy. Much of their activities remain secretive, as their businesses are not subject to the same oversight as public- and private-sector enterprises. The few companies run by the military that are listed on the Karachi stock exchange—Pakistan International Airlines, for example—have performed dismally. According to Siddiqa's research, other ventures in the steel and cement industries, sugar mills and fertilizer, to name only a few—have done equally poorly.  Still, the army has grown exceptionally fat, partly because of massive bailouts provided by the Pakistani government, at the cost of taxpayers. Siddiqa blames a lack of political will, a by-product of successive military coups, for the prevailing atmosphere of army rule in virtually every aspect of Pakistani life. Successive governments have pandered to the army's financial appetite as a way of legitimizing their own rule. Without the army's support, no political party can survive in Pakistan for long. "Politically, no one is willing to take on the army," says Sajjad. "No one has the courage to confront them. But to fundamentally restructure the system, you have to confront the army."  Ironically, it's the war against extremism that has provided the chink in what had previously been the army's seemingly impenetrable armour. Most Pakistanis understand the role the generals have played in stoking the fires of militancy in Pakistan, whether by creating resentment with their increasing ostentation or because of their support, past and present, for some extremist groups. Now, the increasing instability in the country and the army's apparent difficulty in containing it is disrupting the "parent-guardian" image the military nurtured over the past few decades. To regain the people's trust, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of army staff, admitted in a rare public apology on April 17 that an army operation in the country's restive northwest had gone horribly wrong, resulting in "the loss of precious and innocent civilian lives." He promised that measures would be taken to prevent any recurrence.  The thrust of the message emanating from Rawalpindi, the army's home base near the capital Islamabad, is for people to have faith in the army. "Our troops are capable of defending every inch of the country," Kayani was quoted as saying in April, during major military exercises—the largest in two decades—showing off the latest high-tech weaponry acquired from the U.S. as part of its reward for fighting the "war on terror."  "I strongly believe the army is trying to regain its lost pride," says Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, the secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, one of the country's leading political parties. "There was a time when the people would salute the army." That time appears to have passed, although it seems the generals themselves are having a hard time accepting it. In places like Gujranwala and elsewhere, they continue to dominate—and fuel even more resentment. Among other things, Siddiqa points out that while Pakistan "suffers from a deficit of 6.3 million houses," forcing upwards of 20 per cent of the population to live in slums, the army continues to follow a colonial-era policy of land acquisition, doling out prime real estate to its senior officers at massively discounted rates.  Former president Pervez Musharraf, a career soldier now living in self-imposed exile in London, England, "converted US$690,000 of army-granted farmland in Islamabad into US$10.34 million of movable assets," according to the 2008 Transparency International report on global corruption, before fleeing the country. Prime public land is often appropriated by the army for the construction of housing schemes and farming collectives that have elevated Pakistan's officers to what can best be described as land barons.  For years, analysts have blamed the growing divide between the rich and the poor as one of the driving forces behind radicalization in Pakistan. Now, it seems, the rich are the men in khaki.

'Ketchup Colonel' runs from pillar to post to prove innocence
Kingshuk Nag, TNN, Jul 1, 2010, 04.59pm IST It's one man's battle for honour and for erasing the stigma attached to his name. He is running from pillar to post but although those who should know are aware that he is innocent, they would not admit it publicly. This is the story of Harvinder Singh Kohli who as an Indian Army colonel refused to carry out the orders of his superiors to bump off in an encounter five militants that his men had taken into custody.  Instead, the militants — of the Assam Commando Group and captured in south Assam in August 2003 — were handed over to the civil authorities. But Kohli's bosses would not relent: his immediate superior, a brigadier, told him that "kills" in encounters were important and this is what mattered. If he could not kill anyone, then at least a "fake" encounter should be staged. An NDA cadet and brought up under the culture of obedience, Kohli made, what it seems now, the mistake of his life.  He dressed up five men and made them lie down on the ground. They were sprayed with ketchup and pictures were taken of them. The bosses were happy, so was Kohli. He did not have to kill anybody and his superiors were contented with pictures of the purported kill. Now the bosses, in order to keep the name of the regiment high, cajoled Kohli to recommend gallantry awards for his men (not for himself).  It was at this point that an anonymous complaint brought the lid off. An inquiry followed and then Kohli was court-martialled. At the end of it, he was dismissed. This was in November 2004, a little over a year and three months after that fateful night of August 17-18, 2003, when the fake encounter took place. Also dismissed was a junior of Kohli, the major for whose benefit the colonel had recommended a gallantry medal.  All through his court-marital proceedings, Kohli kept quiet and did not implicate his brigadier. It now transpires that plea-bargaining was going on through Kohli's 'defender', a lieutenant colonel. Kohli was told that if he pleaded guilty he would be left off with a two-year seniority loss. As a result of this, Kohli pleaded guilty, only to be dismissed. Actually Kohli was fooled: he was given to understand that there was plea-bargaining, but on the records of the court-martial proceedings there was no mention of this.  Now Kohli opened up: he contended that the fake encounter had been staged on the orders of his brigadier, S S Rao, and that this was in the knowledge of the brigadier's boss — Major General Ravinder Singh, general officer commanding, 57 Mountain Division. What is more, Kohli submitted taped transcripts of the conversation that he had with the brigadier. Following this, an inquiry was ordered and at the end of the investigation and general court-martial, Brigadier S S Rao was also dismissed from service. Kohli was happy because he had proven his point and looked forward to be reinstated.  But the then chief of the Army staff, who had to confirm the sentence of the general court-martial, let off the brigadier with forfeiture of five years of seniority and a severe reprimand. The major who had earlier been dismissed was also taken back to service after being reprimanded and loss of seniority of five years.  But funnily enough, Kohli was given no relief. The epithet of "Ketchup Colonel" had stuck on him and nobody wanted to reinstate him. After Kohli pleaded for many years, the Army headquarters decided to have a relook at the whole issue and take a holistic view. The matter has now been examined by the Army headquarters and the defence ministry.  The officials have agreed on file that Kohli's contention was valid and that it had been proven that the colonel had acted on the orders of his superiors. Moreover, Kohli had no personal interest in the matter. It also suggested that Kohli should be reinstated with five years' loss of service for the purposes of pension and promotion and a severe reprimand. But nobody is willing to bell the cat and actually order that he be reinstated, the stigma of "Ketchup Colonel" being so severe.

Indian navy commissions two new attack crafts
  09:01 GMT, July 1, 2010 8ak | Even as the Indian Army (IA) and Indian Air Force (IAF) continue to grapple with problems in its modernising program, which is taking place at a snail's pace, the Indian Navy (IN) continues to add new ships to its fleet.  In the latest development, the navy has commissioned two indigenously built Water Jet Propelled Fast Attack Craft (WJFACs) christened INS Cankarso and INS Kondul on Wednesday at Visakhapatnam by Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan. It may be noted that INS Shivalik had been commissioned into the fleet in April by Defence Minister A.K. Antony. The first commanding officer of the new attack crafts will be Arun Bahuguna (INS Cankarso) and Shashidhar R. Patil (INS Kondul).  Live Mint reports that the ships are fifth and sixth in the series of ten WJFACs being developed at a total cost of Rs. 617 crores for which the contract to Kolkata-based Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers was awarded in 2006.  The Hindu reports that INS Cankarso and INS Kondul, named after two islands off Goa and in Nicobar, have a displacement of 325 tons each and reach a speed of 35 knots. Each has a complement of four offices and 45 sailors. Both will be based in Goa.  Sify reports that the WJFACs are fitted with a 30-mm CRN-91 gun and Igla missiles and light and heavy machine guns, the crafts will be tasked to detect, locate and destroy small but fast-moving enemy surface craft engaged in covert operations.  However, in spite of adding new ships continuously to its fleet, IN is grappling with acute shortage in its submarine fleet. A very interesting article by DNA on the submarine crunch face by our water force.

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