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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

From Today's Papers - 14 Jun 201




High Court ruling can make the Armed Forces Tribunal infructuous

The Delhi High Court has recently ruled that High Courts are constitutionally empowered to review decisions of the Armed Forces Tribunal, even though the Armed Forces Tribunal Act stipulates that such appeals lie directly with the Supreme Court. The Tribunal was set up for quick redressal of grievances and judicial review of court martial orders, relieving the High Courts of a huge backlog. The ruling defeats this very purpose and takes us back to square one.

Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)  Newly commissioned IAF officers during the passing out parade at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal Newly commissioned IAF officers during the passing out parade at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal. A judicious and speedy grievance redressal mechanism in the armed forces is essential for effective functioning of the services as well as for maintaining exacting standards of discipline and ensuring high morale. Photo: PTI  THE defence services had been clamouring for an Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) for decades, essentially because the civilian courts took years and even decades to decide their cases. These inordinate delays had an adverse impact on discipline, morale and functioning of the military. Take just two cases. The Sixth Pay Commission gave Brigadiers more pension than Major Generals. It took the Punjab and Haryana High Court three long years to address this simple anomaly. Some five years later the case is still doing the rounds of the Supreme Court. Air Vice Marshal Masand, with outstanding service record and a pilot of great repute with the Vir Chakra to his credit, was superseded for promotion to the rank of Air Marshal. Long after he retired, he is still fighting his case in the civilian courts. Perhaps his children will have to continue the fight after he has left the scene.  Since the AFT has come into existence, its benches spread across the country have done a commendable job and have been deciding cases, not only with great scrutiny and application of mind, but with equal promptitude. They are moving quicker that the fast track courts, reinforcing the maxim that justice delayed is justice denied.They have been able to decide cases that have been hanging fire in civilian courts for as long as half a century. Though the AFT is established on the lines of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), they differ in one essential aspect in that the AFT reviews cases of defence services which have separate laws and courts of their own. These courts have full judicial powers. The AFT was set up after long prevarication, dithering and delay, recommendations of the law commission and innumerable articles in the national press pressing for its dire need.  The composition of the AFT was worked out with a view to relate it to the composition of the courts whose verdict, besides other service issues, it would also be called upon to review. This was so because civilian courts are generally not conversant with the military's working, systems, ethos, environment, and the circumstances under which it is required to operate and discharge its duties in peace and war. These special conditions require a rigorous law, quite apart from the general civilian laws. There was a time that for this obvious reason, civilian courts were somewhat reluctant to take on the military's cases. However civilian courts, for no apparent reason, now seem to adopt an altogether different approach.  As per the AFT Act, rulings and verdicts of the AFT can be reviewed only by the Supreme Court. The very purpose of setting up the AFT was to provide a dedicated forum for quick redressal of grievances and judicial review of court martial orders with the provision for just a one-stage review (Supreme Court in this case) for armed forces personnel, as disposal of cases in civilian courts took a long time and this inordinate delay impinged on the discipline and good order in the defence services.  The Delhi High Court, in its recent ruling noted that High Courts are constitutionally empowered to review decisions of the AFT, not withstanding the fact that the Armed Forces Tribunal Act of 2007 stipulated that appeals against AFT's orders would rest directly with the Apex Court. A Division Bench comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Suresh Kait further ruled, "AFT, being manned by personnel appointed by the executive, albeit in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, cannot be said to be truly a judicious review forum as a substitute to High Courts that are constitutional courts and the power of judicial review, being a basic feature of the Constitution, under Article 226 and Article 227 of the Constitution is unaffected by the constitution of the AFT." Further, tribunals can perform a "supplemental as opposed to a substitutional" role vis-a-vis the high courts, the bench held.  The AFT was set up to exercise appellate jurisdiction with respect to orders, findings or sentences of court martial and exercise original jurisdiction with respect to service disputes. This ruling puts the very purpose of having an AFT somewhat infructuous and takes us back to square one. It is in fact, a leap forward into the past. It will bring about the same painful and frustrating delays and their impact on the military's discipline and functioning as they existed before the promulgation of the AFT Act. The Delhi High Court, in its infinite wisdom, deep understanding of the Constitution and legal acumen, has turned the very idea and rationale of setting up the AFT on its head.  Now article 227(4) of the Constitution, on which the Delhi High Court has relied in passing the above noted order, provides superintendence of High Court over all courts/tribunals falling in its jurisdiction but it specifically excludes court martial cases. Therefore and quite simply and logically, it cannot have power of superintedence over the Armed Forces Tribunal that has appellate jurisdiction over verdicts of court martial cases. Further when there is specific provision for appeal against verdicts/orders of the Tribunal under sections 30/31 of the Act to only the Supreme Court, then how could a writ petition be entertained by a high court.  High Courts are already overloaded with work and the backlog runs into a million cases and it is to bypass this legal quagmire and the necessity for quick disposal of defence services cases that the AFT Act of 2007 was promulgated by the government as an act of Parliament and as such became a law, where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was in the consultative loop. In case the rulings of the AFT are to be subjected to review by the high courts and later by the Supreme Court then the purpose of establishing the AFT is defeated.  On an earlier occasion, a High Court gave a ruling that court martial should record a "speaking order". Now the composition and working of a court martial is akin to the jury system, which for too obvious a reason does not record a "speaking order". Unfortunately, defence services did not contest this ruling in the Supreme Court and court martial proceedings are now required to be accompanied by a speaking order. The judge advocate, who is on the court martial merely to render advice to the members on purely technical legal issues and has no voting right, is the only one who is qualified to write a speaking order. Consequently the judge advocate has come to exercise undue influence over the court, which in reality and practice has altered the very character and working of the court martial.  To avoid inevitable delays in the finalisation of defence services cases dealt by the AFT, in case these are subjected to review by the High Courts as well, the order of the Delhi High Court must be contested in the Supreme Court by the service headquarters. The need for early disposal of defence services cases hardly needs any emphasis.


# he Armed Forces Tribunal was inaugurated on August 8, 2009. It came into being after the Armed Forces Tribunal Act was passed by Parliament in 2007. # The Act provides for adjudication by the tribunal of disputes and complaints about commission, appointments, enrolment and service conditions in respect of those covered by the Army, Air Force and Navy Acts, respectively, and hearing of appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial. The Tribunal has original jurisdiction in service matters and appellate jurisdiction in court martial matters. # In addition to the Principal Bench located at New Delhi, it has eight regional benches comprising one or more courts at Kochi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati and Chandigarh. # Each court is held by a two-member bench comprisng the judicial member, a retired High Court judge and an administrative member, a retired service officer of the rank of Major General or above. This enables the court to draw upon legal as well as service expertise while deciding cases. Most cases pertaining to armed forces personnel that were earlier pending before various High Courts have been transferred to the AFT.

China dams worry Delhi

India asks its Beijing mission for details of Brahmaputra ‘diversion’ Ashok Tuteja/TNS  New Delhi, June 13 China’s reported plan to divert the Brahmaputra from its upper reaches has raised the heckles of the Indian establishment which has sought details about the project from its embassy in Beijing.  “We are trying to get more details both from the government and our mission and then depending upon the report that we get, we will be able to make an assessment and take appropriate diplomatic steps,” External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters here.  Official sources said India had been in touch over the matter with China, which, in turn, said the projects on the Brahmaputra would not affect the flow of the river into India.  “We have been in touch with the Chinese side and the matter has been discussed with them on more than one occasion,” the sources said. The sources said the government verified every report on the Brahmaputra issue and had so far found no evidence on any diversion of the course of the river.  “There is nothing to indicate to that effect,” they said, when asked whether satellite imageries have found any change in the course of the river in China. The sources pointed out that India had a good architecture of dialogue with China on almost all issues, including trade, border, economic cooperation and consular matters.  Asked why India and China could not have a water treaty on the lines of the one India had with Pakistan, the sources explained that the two countries already have a mechanism for meetings of experts on water issues.  The Brahmaputra flows for about 1,625 km inside the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and for a further 918 km inside India. This is not the first time that tension appears to be building up between India and China over Brahmputra projects, which could affect the flow of water into India.  While Beijing last year announced the construction of a $ 1.2-billion hydel power project on the Brahmaputra (known as Yarlung Tsangpo in China), it maintains that this project will not impact the flow of water to downstream countries like India and Bangladesh. While the run of the river Zangmu dam is meant to deal with shortage of power in Tibet, China is said to be also considering diverting the waters in the upper reaches towards Xinjiang.  Experts in China have come up with a new proposal, separate from the earlier approved western canal plan, which seeks to divert water towards the northwest. Unlike the earlier plan, the proposal is likely to slow down the flow of the Brahmaputra, especially in the lean season.  The BJP was quick to react to these reports and demanded that if there is fresh evidence of China’s intentions then India should immediately take up this matter with the neighbouring country.  “These reports are of real concern to India. Since the last two years, there are reports that China wants to divert Brahmaputra waters from the Himalayas. If it is diverted, we will have real problems which will affect the economy of the whole region,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.  The BJP MP had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha last year. “The government had said it has taken up this issue with Chinese authorities.... If there is fresh evidence (of China diverting the waters) then we must immediately take up this issue with China,” Javadekar said.

Reports of China diverting river water, India seeks details

n the wake of reports that China may divert Brahmaputra waters, India today said it has sought a report from its mission in Beijing and would take appropriate diplomatic steps after assessing the situation.  "We are trying to get more details both from the government and our mission and then depending upon the report that we get, we will be able to make an assessment and then take appropriate diplomatic steps," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters here.

He was commenting on reports that China is considering plans to divert Brahmaputra waters from the Himalayas and this would affect India.  BJP was quick to react to these reports and demanded that if there is fresh evidence of China's intentions then India should immediately take up this matter with the neighbouring country.  "These reports are of real concern to India. Since the last two years there are reports that China wants to divert Brahmaputra waters from the Himalayas. If it is diverted we will have terrible environmental, ecological and real problems which will affect the economy of the whole region," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.  The BJP MP had raised the issue in Rajya Sabha last year.  "Government had said it has taken up this issue with the Chinese authorities. If there is fresh evidence (of China diverting the waters) then we must immediately take up this issue with China," Javadekar said.

Def Secy on 4-day visit to Moscow; discussion on military ties

New Delhi, Jun 13 (PTI) India and Russia will discuss a range of issues over their military ties during Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar's visit to Moscow, which comes after New Delhi expressed "disappointment" over the Russian Navy backing out from a joint exercise at the last minute.During his four-day visit starting today, Kumar will hold talks with his Russian counterparts and discuss various issues including the last-minute decision by Russian Navy to not hold an exercise with Indian Navy ships, which had gone there for a joint drill, officials said here.Early this month, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma had expressed "element of disappointment" after the exercises were not held at the final stages.The future of the Army to Army exercise, which was planned to be held this year, will also be discussed between the two sides, they said.The delivery schedule of the Akula Class Nerpa nuclear submarines and the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov are also expected to come up for discussion, they added.Under a confidential pact, India is leasing an Akula Class submarine from Russia, which is expected to be delivered by the end of this year.The two sides will also review the progress in work on the Gorshkov, which is undergoing retrofitting at a Russian shipyard and is expected to join the Indian fleet by 2013.India and Russia had arrived on the final price of the ship after a series of long negotiations.The two sides will also discuss the joint development projects undertaken by them including the fifth generation fighter aircraft and the multirole transport aircraft programmes.

India Should Develop ICBMs: Top Officer

A top Indian military officer has urged his country to create ballistic missiles able to reach other continents, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday (see GSN, June 9).  "India should pursue an ICBM program to acquire ranges of 10,000 kilometers [6,200 miles] or even more. Breaking out of the regional context is important as the country's sphere of influence grows. We have no territorial designs on any country, but India needs the capability to match its sphere of influence," Indian air force head Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik told the newspaper.  New Delhi presently intends to limit missiles in its strategic arsenal to ranges of roughly 3,100 miles, enabling the potential delivery of warheads to China and Pakistan, according to the Times.  "There's no point capping the missile program at 5,000 kilometers. If we have the technical capability, we should build on it," Naik said, becoming the first top-level Indian military officer to promote such a move while still in uniform.  India's Agni 3 missile has a range of about 1,860 miles and is the nation's sole missile capable of hitting locations in Chinese territory, the newspaper said. The nation intends in 2011 to conduct its first trial flight of the Agni 5, a ballistic missile with a designed range of roughly 3,100 miles (see GSN, June 6).  India holds the fundamental capabilities for creating ICBMs, "but where the warhead should go or what the range should be will have to be a political call," said a senior scientist with the Defense Research and Development Organization.  The creation of an Indian ICBM would cost more than $2.2 billion, roughly 6 percent of the country's annual defense expenditure, according to the Times.  China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are so far the only countries to possess ICBMs, some of which have ranges exceeding 9,300 miles, the Times reported. Ballistic missiles transport their payloads by temporarily entering outer space.  "As of now, New Delhi has no strategic need for deploying ICBMs. But there's no legal regime that stops India from acquiring intercontinental reach," said Ashley Tellis, a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times, June 11).  Meanwhile, Russia and India intend within 12 months to undertake work on a Brahmos cruise missile variant capable of flying at five times the speed of sound, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, March 22).  “[The] main parameters of the hypersonic Brahmos 2 missile have been coordinated, and we will start practical works within a year,” program co-director Alexander Maksichev said.  Separately, development is under way of an air-launched version of the Brahmos supersonic missile, he said; initial trial flights of the weapon could take place next year.  “Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets will the first carriers of the air-based modification of the Brahmos missile. We hope it will fit other aircraft, as well,” Maksichev said.  In addition, Russia in April started placing Brahmos supersonic missiles on one of three warships under construction for the Indian navy at Kaliningrad Yantar shipyard.  The Brahmos missile weighs 660 pounds and can carry a nuclear or conventional warhead up to 180 miles. The weapon was initially tested in 2001

Army mulling over increasing strength by 16,000 officers

New Delhi, Jun 13 (PTI) With increasing commitments on both its eastern and western fronts, the Indian Army has proposed to increase its sanctioned strength by another over 16,000 officers.During a recent meeting attended by high-level Defence Ministry and Army officials, a proposal to increase the number of officers by another 35 per cent was discussed, Army sources said here.The proposal comes at a time when the Army is facing a shortage of 12,349 officers against its sanctioned strength of around 46,500 officers and the other two sister Services are also facing similar shortfalls.On the need for expansion, they said the Army has expanded its strength by two divisions in the Northeast along the China border and is also involved in counter insurgency operations in the North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir and increased strength was required to cater for future plans also.Recently, Defence Minister A K Antony had said the shortfall was partly attributed to accretions from time to time, tough selection procedures, difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk involved in recruitment and training.A number of steps have been taken by the Government to attract youth to join the armed forces, which include increase in tenure of Short Service Commission (SSC) officers from 10 to 14 years, increasing promotional avenues for officers by restructuring of officers cadre.Overall, the armed forces are facing a shortage of 15,004 officers including 1,818 in the Navy and 837 in the Air Force. The IAF is short of 426 pilots.

Catch-22 of defence spending

A typical national purpose has two vital components, national development and national survival. Masses like to be prosperous and secure. These two facets support each other as much as they compete with each other. National development without security attracts aggressors and national security at the cost of development degrades social security and erodes public welfare. Balance between the two is essential but is difficult to achieve. Meltdown of Soviet Union and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq are two contemporary examples of imbalance between national development and national security.  There are many ways of looking at a defence spending; each approach leads to differing perceptions. First let’s take a look at Pakistan’s budget from the ‘broader picture perspective’. Outlay of our national budget (Rs 2767b) is 14.2% higher than the previous year, net revenue receipts ( Rs 1529) are expected to be up by 11%, and size of PSDP (Rs 730b) shows an increase of 58% from the revised PSDP figures of 2011. Foreign remittances are likely to reach $12 billion mark by the close of this year, foreign currency reserves have reached $17.3 billion and exports grew by 28 percent during the current fiscal year. Foreign assistance (Rs 414b) is expected to be 42.7 percent or Rs 124 b higher than the current fiscal year. On expenditure side, debt servicing (Rs 1034b) shall consume 37.4% of the total budget expenditure. Within this framework, defence budget (Rs 495b) is 17.9% of total expenditure. Defence budget is up by 11.4% from the closing year. Going by this frame work it appears that that by and large our traditional pattern of broader budgetary contour has been preserved vis-à-vis defence spending.  Defence spending in the outgoing fiscal year was Rs 586 billion, about 23 per cent of 2010-11 budget; by adding pension-related expenses of Rs 71.9 billion in the outgoing fiscal year the total spending would come to Rs 658 billion or 25.6 per cent of the total budget. Likewise, if we add to next year’s budget additional Rs 150 billion that the government has allocated, almost half of which was billed under the Armed Forces Development Programme and Rs 73.2 billion paid from the civilian account as military pensions, the net allocation stands at Rs 718 billion, that accounts for around 26 per cent of the total budget. However, these practices of funding defence spending through other heads are a common practice. Many countries including Indian and China also plan their funding of defence spending in a similar format.  Budget’s main distribution is: 41 percent (Rs 206.4 billion) for human resource related expenses, 26 percent (Rs 128.2 billion) for operating expenses, 23 percent (Rs 117.5 billion) for physical assets, and 8.6% (Rs. 42.6 billion) for civil works. The share of three services is rationalized based on the strength of the each service and the requirement for the weapons and equipment. Remainder amount is further divided into various sub-heads. Expenditures on ‘Defence Production Division’ in the new financial year have been estimated to the tune of Rs 1229.725 million.  Archives indicate that in 1996-97 defence spending consumed 26.25 of the budget. During 2001-2, defence allocation was 20.87%. Over the last few years, there has been a decline in the defence budget in practical terms. There was no raise in defence allocations in 2009-10. During year 2010-11, in term of GDP share, the defence allocation was 2.6 percent; whereas, despite an increase of 12 percent, the GDP share of defence allocation for the next year (2011-12) would go down to 2.4 per cent.  There has been a steady decline in defence services’ slice in the GDP cake over the years. This shortfall can be attributed to inflation, which has been around 12-14 percent; moreover, dollar-rupee parity, rising cost of equipment, fuel and food are some of the factors which have been quietly eroding the purchasing power of our military.  Now let’s take a look at our defence spending with respect to threat perception, our main threat emanates form India, this year she has raised the defence allocation by 11.59%, last year it was jacked up by 30%. India considers Chine as her principal enemy. This year China has upped its budget by 12.7%. Here again Pakistan’s increase in defence budget appears compatible within the context of triangular pattern of threat perception. However, Indian and Chinese economies with a growth rate of 9% support a competitive escalation in military spending whereas Pakistan with an almost stagnated economy (GDP growth of around 2.4%) is trapped in an unenviable situation.  Our federal revenue is insufficient to even pay for its current expenditure. Federal government plans to spend (Rs 2,504 b) Rs 975 billion more than its revenue. It expects provinces to generate a combined surplus of Rs 125 billion. As a result, the overall fiscal deficit is envisaged to come down to Rs 850 billion, that is the IMF prescribed deficit of four per cent of GDP.  Chances of Pakistan’s economic bounce back in short to medium timeframe are remote, likewise there are no prospects of taking an early break form the quicksand of strangulating triangular threat assessment paradigm. Indian economy is 12 times of our economic outlay and is growing around 4 times faster. Our inflation is 15% while India has been able to contain it to 7%. Our tax to GDP ratio is 8% while India’s ratio is 20%. Our GDP is up by paltry 2.4% while we are constrained to up our defence spending by 12%. China’s defence spending to GDP ratio is 1.4%, India spends 1.83% whereas and Pakistan’s ratio is 2.4%. This certainly is not a sustainable preposition for Pakistan.  Another perspective of viewing the budget is from volumetric perspective that is in dollar form, because that represents the raw purchase power. Chinese Budget for the 2011-12 year is US$ 91.7 b, Indian spending is US$ 36.03 b and Pakistan plans an outlay of US$ 5.764 b. Pakistan’s disparity vis-à-vis the Indian armed forces in 2001-2 was 1: 3.5; it has now accentuated to over 1:7. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), actual military defence expenditures of India are $41.3 billion.  The Economic Survey 2010-11 estimates that the war on terror has cost Pakistan $17.8 billion in the current fiscal year, which is nearly 70 percent of the country’s total exports. According to candid estimates, Pakistan has suffered a loss of about $70 billion between 2001 and 2010. Assistance from the United States is rather insufficient when compared to the losses being suffered by the country. Pakistan gets $600-800 million a year under the Coalition Support Fund. During the recent years, flow of CSF was often interrupted on one flimsy pretext or the other. Over the preceding decase, Pakistan received US $ 8.6 b agianst an expected amount of US$ 13 b under CSF. Of this only US$ 2.6 was allocated to defence services, rest was utilized by the government for budgetry support.  At policy level Pakistan needs to embrace intellectual agility and functional culture to link our national security to national economy. Incidents like operation ‘Geronimo’ and the terrorist attack on PNS Mehran have eroded the public confidence about the capacity and capability of our armed forces. Nevertheless, there is a national consensus about funding the essential security requirements. For their part armed forces need to identify their flaws and take corrective steps; apart from other steps financial belt tightening is certainly overdue.  —The writer is international security, current affairs analyst and a former PAF Assistant Chief of Air Staff.

India needs a robust national defence policy

We need to differentiate between the 9/11 attacks on the US by a non-state entity like the al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden and the attacks in Mumbai on 26/11 conducted by a state-sponsored and supported group — the Lashkar-e-Taiba.  While Osama declared ‘war’ on the US, Pakistan has been professing a desire for peace with India, and at the same time carrying out acts of war through surrogate terrorist groups, controlled by its premier external intelligence agency, the ISI.  The US response to the 9/11 attacks was swift, often based on imperfect intelligence, but unwavering in its aim of destroying the non-state attacker with its leadership being the primary target.

Osama was tracked to the Abbotabad area of Pakistan and killed in a clandestine operation by US Navy Seals without any prior permission from Pakistan. We should expect more such operations against the successors of Osama — never mind Pakistan’s sovereignty.  Our response to the 26/11 attacks was to raise a national clamour for ‘punishing’ Pakistan which denied any complicity on its part in the attacks and sought from us details of the attackers (if they were Pakistani citizens) so that they may be brought to justice under Pakistani laws. Meanwhile, we proceeded against the solitary attacker captured under Indian law and currently he is on ‘death row’ awaiting the outcome of his mercy petition.  The information sought by Pakistan was supplied to them but barring a bland statement that the information supplied was not legally tenable evidence, nothing worthwhile has been done. Unlike the US, India is not contemplating a reprisal raid on, say Karachi or Lahore.  We have refrained from any trans-border action against Pakistan and after a few half-hearted and unconvincing threats to diplomatically enforce sanctions, we have resumed ‘normal’ relations with Pakistan — even holding talks on major territorial disputes like Siachen and inviting the Pakistani prime minister to watch a game of cricket.  But nothing brings out the comparison between the US and India as clearly as the response to acts of asymmetric war. Whereas we acted strictly within the bounds of international law, the US set its own interests above the constraints imposed by considerations of national sovereignty and borders — even of its close ally — Pakistan.  The US achieved its aim. We have not.  Does this mean that international relations must be conducted on the basis of ‘Might is Right’ and not on the civilised framework that has evolved in the past 100 years or so? Is there a possibility that we can achieve immunity acting in a civilised manner, if possible, from the 26/11 variety of attack? And, if not possible, can we identify courses of action within the framework of existing international law, to bring the perpetrators to justice?  To build immunity involves, first of all, deterrence at local as well as national levels. Under a National Security Policy, our vulnerabilities in all border states and island territories primarily and later in the rest of India must be assessed. Adequate consolidation of likely targets and adequate forces to deal with the envisaged threats must be achieved.  The initial costs and recurring expenditure must be funded by the government. Even then immunity could fail to deter some entities. Here our National Security Policy must clearly state that India will retaliate with all means considered necessary, including military operations against any country which violates our sovereignty.  This may be preceded or supplemented by a slew of diplomatic and economic measures such as recall of ambassadors and suspension of trade, overflights and confidence building measures and so on.  Military action, when taken, must be swift and decisive against a well-chosen target. This will invite reactions from Pakistan, leading to escalation of conflict to the level of a conventional war. We must be prepared for it. There may be some nuclear ‘brinkmanship’ too. This should be dismissed with contempt as the use of a nuclear weapon by Pakistan will bring about its own extinction.  Resurgent India will have to deal with a plethora of threats from Pakistan. Major ports, airfields, landmark buildings, power stations, surface communication systems, major defence installations/depots as well as our island territories are vulnerable to the 26/11 type of attack.  Openly proclaiming a National Defence Policy catering, inter alia, for strong reaction, should banish forever the tag of ‘soft state’ that India has carried for so long.  The writer was chief of army staff, 2000-2002.

Pakistan nuclear terror: an interview with Stanford's Scott Sagan

U.S. relations with Pakistan have worsened rapidly in recent weeks.  Osama bin Laden’s hideout in the garrison town of Abbottabad raised suspicions that Pakistani security officials might have been sheltering America’s most wanted. On the other hand, after the U.S. killed the terror chief, officials in Islamabad expressed outrage over President Barack Obama’s decision to violate their sovereignty.  Last weekend CIA director Leon Panetta flew to Pakistan to confront officials with evidence that military insiders had tipped off Taliban fighters to an imminent U.S.-backed raid on camps where they make bombs for use against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. These tensions are worrisome given that Pakistan has one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing nuclear arsenals.  To get a better sense of the risks that the arsenal could fall into terrorist hands, GlobalPost spoke with Scott D. Sagan, one of the world’s leading authorities on Pakistan’s nuclear program.  Professor Sagan is the co-director of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and the co-chair of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Global Nuclear Future Initiative. Before joining the Stanford faculty, he served as a special assistant to the director of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. He has served as a consultant to the office of the Secretary of Defense and at the Sandia National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is the editor of Inside Nuclear South Asia (Stanford University Press, 2009.)  The interview was edited and condensed by GlobalPost.  To what extent should we worry about the security of Pakistan's weapons or fissionable material will end up in the hands of terrorists?  I think that the security of both Pakistani nuclear weapons and Pakistani fissionable will remain a serious concern for the United States and all international actors.

We invaded Iraq with the goal of seizing weapons of mass destruction, and we're engaged in a standoff with North Korea and Iran over their nuclear weapons initiative. Pakistan has a bigger and more aggressive program, and before 9/11 it was actually the target of U.S. sanctions because of its arsenal. Why has the U.S. chosen to engage Pakistan over its nuclear program, and does this policy still make sense 10 years after 9/11?  Pakistan is in a different category than the cheating regimes under the non-proliferation treaty — that is Iraq, Iran and North Korea — for two reasons. One is that Pakistan never signed the non-proliferation treaty, so its pursuit of nuclear weapons was something the United States did not want, but it had no legal standing to say that Pakistan was violating an international agreement that it had signed.  That's not the case with Iraq, Iran and North Korea, all of whom were caught violating the non-proliferation treaty, which they had voluntarily signed and ratified. Pakistan's actions were unfortunate, but they were not illegal.  The second reason is that the United States has strong geo-strategic reasons to seek Pakistani assistance with respect to the conflict in Afghanistan, and the long-standing war with Al Qaeda and other groups.  Pakistan has very much been both an ally and adversary. They have not been fully supportive of all U.S. goals, but have been supportive of some U.S. goals. And given Pakistan's position and its longstanding use of its own terrorist-supported activities against India, they've been playing a double game with respect to the war on terrorism — fighting some terrorist organizations groups that threaten the regime, but using others as a surrogate in the conflict against India.  Washington has an unusual relationship with Islamabad in that we provide billions in aid and we sell F-16s that could be used for nuclear weapons delivery. At the same time, we currently have a Pakistani executive from a Maryland trading company in custody on suspicion of supplying materials for Islamabad's nuclear program. So we’re trying to stop Pakistan from growing its program at the same time we're trying to safeguard it. And we're also taking steps that —perhaps unintentionally — help them use the arsenal. Is this policy working?  The U.S. government has had a longstanding internal debate about whether to isolate Pakistan and punish it for its nuclear weapons program, or to engage Pakistan to try to contain the program and reduce its size and growth. The policy has been of mixed success.  Before 9/11 the United States government had minimal ties to the group within the Pakistani military that had responsibility for nuclear weapons. According to many press reports, after 9/11 the United States government cooperated by selling some technology and providing some training, not for the delivery of nuclear weapons, but rather for the safety and security of nuclear weapons, fearing an Al Qaeda or related group's attack. What the U.S. government doesn't know, because Pakistan is so secretive in this area, is what Pakistan has done with those technologies and training programs.  It is believed — and I think this is accurate — that under normal peacetime circumstances, the Pakistani military keeps all or virtually all of the weaponry inside well-armed and guarded Pakistani military bases. That doesn't mean that those weapons are entirely safe, but it means that they are relatively safe from terrorist seizure. The greatest danger there would be an inside threat of some sort.  The real danger, I believe, comes if the Pakistani military fears an attack, by either India or the United States. Under those circumstances — whether they're fearful of a raid against their nuclear weaponry, or a military attack using missiles or bombers — they have every incentive for the sake of deterrence, to take the weapons out of their bases and move them to the countryside where they will be less vulnerable to an attack from India or the U.S.  The danger is that makes the weapons more vulnerable to a terrorist seizure, either from an insider or from a terrorist organization. Such a seizure would not require penetrating the defenses of a military base to get to a weapon. Rather, terrorists could simply attack a convoy with nuclear weapons in the countryside.  So as contorted as the current U.S. policy seems, maintaining some level of trust between the U.S. and Pakistan is critical.  It is very much in the United States' interest to persuade the Pakistanis that, despite the Osama bin Laden raid, the United States has no desire for any kind of raid against Pakistan's nuclear forces. If they fear that we're going to do that, that will actually make matters worse, because they would have the incentive to hide the weapons in the countryside, or to place them on the mobile launch systems that they've created, and that makes them more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.  Some experts say the recent attack against the PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi and in 2009 against the Army’s General Headquarters amount to a virtual blueprint on nuclear assets. Would you agree?

China upgrading air force rapidly, says IAF chief

The Indian Air Force could lose its combat edge over rivals in the neighbourhood in the next 10 years if it fails to keep pace with its modernisation targets, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik has warned. He said China had embarked on a "modernisation spree" and there had been "considerable development" of infrastructure and "induction of assets across India's northern and eastern borders".  "If the IAF has to maintain technological superiority, our plans for critical acquisitions for the next 10 years must stay on track. If not, others will catch up," Naik told HT in an exclusive interview.  Asked to assess the modernisation of the Chinese air force, Naik said it was consolidating "quantitatively and qualitatively" at a rapid pace.   "IAF is also in the process of upgrading its assets and developing new facilities," said Naik, who is credited with speeding up India's biggest military contracts such as the $10.2 billion (Rs 45,900 crore) deal for 126 fighter jets and the $4.1 billion (Rs 18,450 crore) tender for 10 C-17 military transport planes.  The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is pushing ahead with the induction of Sukhoi-30s, JF-17 Thunder jets, J-10 strike fighters, airborne early warning and control systems, mid-air refuellers and air defence systems to transform itself into a credible air power.  China's J-20 stealth fighter is expected to add a new dimension to its capabilities.  The Communist neighbour faces daunting modernisation challenges, given the fact that its air force is saddled with more than 2,000 Soviet-design fighters from the 1960s. The PLAAF reportedly operates more than 3,500 aircraft compared to the IAF's 700 fighters.  With an annual economic growth of 10%, the Chinese have been able to invest large sums in military modernisation. Beijing's official defence budget is pegged at $92 billion (Rs 4,14,000 crore), but Pentagon estimates its actual defence spending to more than $150 billion (Rs 6,75,000 crore).  India will spend $36.5 billion (Rs 1,64,415 crore) on defence this fiscal - 1.8% of its GDP. But experts argue defence spending should be around 3% of the GDP, seen in the backdrop of China's rising military might.  The IAF plans to tone up with future acquisitions, including 300 fifth generation fighter aircraft, 140 light combat aircraft, six midair refuellers, 80 Mi-17 helicopters, 22 attack helicopters and 15 heavy-lift choppers.

The Peace Process That Matters Most

When asked how he envisioned India and Pakistan's relationship developing after their bloody partition in 1947, Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah would tell the story of two brothers who clashed over the division of their inheritance. Eventually, they went to court, and Jinnah represented one of the brothers through the bitter proceeding. Two years later, Jinnah met with his client and asked how he was getting along with his brother. He replied, "Oh, once the case was decided, we became the greatest friends."  Jinnah believed, as later recalled by Hastings Ismay, then-chief of staff to the Indian Viceroy, "that once partition had been decided upon... all troubles would cease, and they would live happily ever after." Sadly, it was not meant to be. Jinnah died within a year of partition. And "happily ever after" dissolved into three wars that left 15,000 dead, a blood feud in Kashmir that has claimed up to 100,000 lives, and nearly three decades of dispute over a Himalayan glacier.  In the latest chapter, just five weeks after U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, testimony from the trial of a Chicago businessman charged in the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai seems to confirm India's suspicions: that Pakistan's intelligence agency supported terrorists operating on its soil, and helped plan the attacks that killed 164 people while wounding 300. Until the Mumbai attackers are brought to justice, said Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram last week, relations between India and Pakistan "could not improve."  While international attention remains focused on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, when it comes to global security, resolving the crisis between India and Pakistan may be the peace process that matters most. In the wake of bin Laden's death, there have been numerous proposals for what Pakistan must do next. Four that I support include: arrest all jihadist groups; place military and intelligence services under civilian rule; drastically reduce the nuclear arsenal; and invest more in health and secular education.  But underlying these difficult tasks is the most monumental challenge of all: Pakistan must learn to love itself more than it hates India.  "What Pakistanis desperately need is a new narrative by their leaders -- a narrative that does not blame India and the U.S. for all the country's ills," says Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid.  Nobody has played the India card more effectively than the Pakistani military. Empowered in the 1980s by massive aid from a U.S. government intent on preempting a repeat of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in Pakistan, Pakistani generals took control of the nation's defense and foreign policy programs -- and never gave it back. Today, Pakistan's military claims 16 percent of the nation's budget (while education gets 1.2 percent). The generals claim that the funding is necessary, not to fight extremism -- but to fight India.  "The Pakistan military spends its time thinking about how to defend itself against the non-existent threat of an Indian invasion (hence defense in depth involving Afghanistan), how to prevent India encircling Pakistan through its development programs in Afghanistan (hence the support for the Taliban), and how it can tie up the Indian military by making it fight in Kashmir (hence the support for Kashmiri insurgents and terrorists)," former U.S. Ambassador Peter Galbraith, a lifelong friend and advisor to the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, tells me. "In reality, beyond the fear of terror, Pakistan looms about as large in India's thinking as Canada or Mexico does in the U.S. thinking."  It is hard to say which is more dangerous: a Pakistani military that manipulates public fears to preserve its power -- or one that actually lives in an alternative universe where India is plotting Pakistan's demise. In truth, the last thing that the Hindu-majority India wants -- with 133 million Indian Muslims -- is to invade a country that would bring another 180 million Muslims.  "But," as Maleeha Lodhi, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, writes me, "with 60 million Pakistanis under the age of 24, there is great potential in Pakistan waiting to be unlocked -- if it can find the means to govern itself better."  This is an economic challenge as much as it is a military one. As Brahma Chellaney, one of India's top strategic thinkers, said to me, "The road to Pakistan-India cooperation lies not through Kashmir but through Washington." Since 2001, Pakistan has received $20.7 billion worth of U.S. assistance, about two-thirds of it military aid. That balance is shifting. In 2009, Congress committed $7.5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan through 2014.  Bin Laden's death within 30 miles of Islamabad has put a spotlight on the Pakistani military. The U.S. should take advantage of this moment to continue re-crafting the relationship from a short-term military alliance to a sustained economic and social partnership, in four ways:  First, root the relationship in trade, not aid. Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., recently called for Washington to "move beyond the begging bowl." A new report from the Center for Global Development provides a good starting point: offer duty-free, quota-free access for all Pakistan exports to the U.S. market for at least five years. As Haqqani says, it would create economic opportunity and foil extremists' designs to exploit unemployed Pakistani youth;  Second, increase U.S. incentives for investment, including credit programs for Pakistan's small and medium-sized businesses;  Third, publicize the many economic benefits that would accrue to both nations if India and Pakistan were to normalize relations, an idea a top Indian official told me is "supported at the highest levels of the Indian government."  Fourth, use leverage from the recent U.S.-India nuclear deal to nudge India, as former Indian Foreign Secretary M. Rasgotra suggested to me, "to create a final settlement on the existing line of control in Kashmir, but then soften it by turning both sides of Kashmir into a Free-Trade Area."  September 11th brought tragedy in Pakistan before anywhere else -- for it was September 11, 1948, that Mohammad Ali Jinnah died before his vision for Pakistan was realized. Perhaps his great-grandchildren will find a way to create the "happily ever after" he long craved.  Stanley A. Weiss is Founding Chairman of Business Executives for National Security, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington. The views expressed are his own.




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