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Thursday, 21 July 2011

From Today's Papers - 21 Jul 2011




Illegal sale of weapons AFT’s no to stay court martial of officers

Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, July 20 While refusing to stay the trial by the general court martial (GCM) of some officers for allegedly selling off personal weapons in contravention of existing rules, the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today issued notices to the Union of India and the Army authorities concerned.  The GCM of some of the officers involved commenced at Hisar military station today.  According to sources, the officers will be arraigned separately. The trial of some other officers is already underway at Bikaner and more trials are expected to commence later.  A large number of officers and ex-servicemen had reportedly sold-off their non-service pattern (NSO) weapons, procured from Ordnance Depots at concessional prices for personal use to civilians at higher rates. A PIL filed in the Rajasthan High Court had alleged that these weapons were falling into the hands of dubious elements. Further, these officers had not taken prior permission from the competent authorities before selling their weapons. Based upon this, the Army had conducted a court of inquiry into the matter.  Documents attached with the petitions revealed that the Military Intelligence had complied a list of 113 weapons that were disposed off in this manner. The persons “involved” in the sale of weapons include three major-generals, six brigadiers and three women, presumably wives of officers. Some names figure several times in the list.  In their petition before the Tribunal, some of the officers held blameworthy have claimed that the said weapons were sold on cash payments by the ordnance depot on the basis of allotment made by DGOS. They have alleged that the particulars of all the officers and weapons are available with them, yet on the pretext of non-identification some officers have been left untouched which appeared a deliberate attempt to hide their identity. Also, no action has apparently been initiated to identify them even after the lapse of three years.









Pak military plotted to tilt US policy on Kashmir, says FBI    

Washington:  Pakistan's military, including its powerful spy agency, has spent $4 million over two decades in a covert attempt to tilt American policy against India's control of much of Kashmir - including funnelling campaign donations to members of Congress and presidential candidates, the FBI claimed in court papers unsealed on Tuesday.  The allegations of a long-running plan to influence American elections and foreign policy come at a time of deep tensions between the United States and Pakistan - and in particular its spy agency - amid the fallout over the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden at a compound deep inside Pakistan on May 2.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation made the allegations in a 43-page affidavit filed in connection with the indictment of two United States citizens on charges that they failed to register with the Justice Department as agents of Pakistan, as required by law. One of the men, Zaheer Ahmad, is in Pakistan, but the other, Syed Fai, lives in Virginia and was arrested on Tuesday.  Mr. Fai is the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group that lobbies for and holds conferences and media events to promote the cause of self-determination for Kashmir. According to the affidavit, the activities by the group, also called the Kashmiri Centre, are largely financed by Pakistan's spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, along with as much as $100,000 a year in related donations to political campaigns in the United States. Foreign governments are prohibited from making donations to American political candidates.  "Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose - to hide Pakistan's involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government's position on Kashmir," Neil MacBride , the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, said. "His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funnelled millions through the Kashmir Centre to contribute to US elected officials, fund high-profile conferences and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington."  A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy denied any connection to matter, saying, "Mr. Fai is not a Pakistani citizen, and the government and embassy of Pakistan have no knowledge of the case."  Law enforcement officials said Pakistan used a network of at least 10 unnamed straw contributors, which Mr. Ahmad helped organize, to make the campaign contributions and donate the bulk of the Kashmiri Centre's annual operating budget. The ISI would reimburse them - or their families in Pakistan - for the donations, the officials said.  Most of the straw donors who made contributions to the Kashmiri Centre and to politicians in the United States were identified only by code in the court document, though the investigation was continuing and eight FBI field offices executed 17 or 18 search warrants related to other suspected donors on Tuesday, an official said.  The goal of the group, according to internal documents cited by the FBI, was to persuade the United States government that it was in its interest to push India to allow a vote in Kashmir to decide its future. The group's strategy was to offset the Indian lobby by targeting members of the Congressional committees that focus on foreign affairs with private briefings and events, staging activities that would draw media attention and otherwise to elevate the issue of Kashmir - the disputed region between India and Pakistan that each country controls in part but claims entirely - in Washington.  The FBI said that there was no evidence that any of the lawmakers who received campaign funds from Pakistan were aware of its origins, and it did not name any of the recipients.  However, a search in Federal Elections Commission databases for contributions by Mr. Fai showed that he has made more than $20,000 in campaign contributions over the past two decades. The bulk of his donations went to two recipients: the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Representative Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana.  Mr. Fai made numerous - though smaller - contributions to Democrats as well, including to Representatives James P. Moran of Virginia, Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Gregory W. Meeks of New York, and $250 donations to the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Barack Obama.  Mr. Ahmad also donated to Mr. Burton, records show. For at least 15 years, Mr. Burton has been a champion for Kashmiri causes in Congress, appealing to Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama to get more involved in attempting to mediate a settlement between India and Pakistan over the border region. He has also endorsed allowing the Kashmiri people to vote on their own fate.  Mr. Burton said he was "deeply shocked" by the arrest of Mr. Fai, because he had known him for 20 years and "in that time I had no inkling of his involvement with any foreign intelligence operation and had presumed our correspondence was legitimate." He said he would donate the funds provided to his campaign to the Boy Scouts of America.  Both Mr. Fai and Mr. Ahmad also donated to Representative Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who visited the region in 2001 and 2004, meeting with Pakistani and Indian leaders and calling for a cease-fire. He also introduced a resolution in 2004 calling for President George W. Bush to appoint a special envoy to help negotiate peace.  A spokesman for Mr. Pitts said he had donated $4,000 - an amount equal to the donations his campaign received from the two defendants - to local charities in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.  Among the evidence that Mr. Fai was working for Pakistan, the affidavit said, are annual budget requests he allegedly submitted to his handlers along with lists of accomplishments and strategic-planning documents. Other documents and intercepts showed that they sometimes quarrelled over reimbursing him for the costs of trips or about contracts for which he had not gotten advance approval.  The board of the Kashmiri American Council comprises mostly physicians and lawyers from across the United States, and election records show that several board members have made significant donations to lawmakers who have championed peace in Kashmir.  Gulam Hassan Butt, a retired California physician and member of the council's board whose name does not appear in the donor database, said in a phone interview that the council carried out a "regular, honest, open campaign" with lawmakers and the State Department to get the United States to help resolve the Kashmir issue.  He also said he was unaware of any money that Pakistan's government might have provided to the Kashmiri American Council, but Mr. Fai did not inform board members about all the sources of the council's revenue: "Where does he get the money?" Mr. Butt said. "I don't know. Who gives him the money? I don't know."









Fresh twist to army chief's age row

In an unprecedented move, army chief General VK Singh has directly obtained legal opinion on the controversy over his date of birth from former Chief Justice of India VN Khare - the third opinion in his favour after the law ministry put his year of birth at 1950. If the defence ministry related stories      * Army chief set to retire in '12     * DoB row: Ministry seeks second view     * Age row: Law ministry rejects General VK Singh's claim     * Army chief’s date of birth: defence min reopens case  accepts the law ministry's advice and goes against Singh's consistent stand that he was born on May 10, 1951, favourable opinions from three former CJIs may give Singh enough room to seek judicial intervention. Singh has steadfastly refused to comment on the matter.  The controversy arose in May 2006 when two different dates of birth (DoBs) for Singh were detected in the records of the military secretary's (MS) branch, which put his year of birth at 1950, and the adjutant general's branch, which put it at 1951.  If the law ministry has its way, Singh will hang up his boots next year. If not, he will retire in 2013.  Singh was promoted as army chief in March 2010 on the basis of his 1950 DoB. But a junior official of the law ministry in response to a Right to Information query supported Singh's argument that he was born in 1951, citing his matriculation certificate.  The controversial opinion was overturned by the then law minister M Veerappa Moily, following advice from the attorney general, who held 1950 to be the chief's correct year of birth.  In Khare's opinion May 10, 1951 should be accepted as Singh's DoB.  Singh sought Khare's opinion after the law ministry stated that army rules debar any corrections in a DoB after two years of joining service and the matter should be buried following Singh's written undertakings, accepting 1950 as his year of birth.  Khare rejected this argument, saying, "It was done by Singh on the threat of 'appropriate action' to be taken by the MS branch," in an apparent reference to the commitment having been obtained under duress.  Earlier, the army had sought opinions from former CJIs JS Verma and GB Patnaik, who too backed Singh's contention. Khare said, "It is inexplicable why the MS branch chose to remain silent for 35 years."  Singh's application form for admission to the National Defence Academy, the Indian Military Academy dossier, the Army List and Recruiting Branch particulars verified by the Intelligence Bureau all list his DoB as May 10, 1950.







Army, Marine Corps: Who’s the Greenest Fighting Machine?

The Marine Corps has been in the limelight of late because of its savvy use of renewable energy in the battlefield. In Afghanistan’s Sangin District last year, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines went 90 days without the usual daily resupply of batteries. They recharged their batteries with solar roll-up blankets, and found ways to replace diesel generators with renewable power sources. Solar energy saved the unit an average of eight gallons of fuel per day that normally would have been used to run generators and vehicles.  The Army’s counterpart to the 3/5 Marines is the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, of the 1st Infantry Division, which deployed to Afghanistan in January with a panoply of green products and technology, although it has not made as many headlines as the 3/5 Marines. “The Army’s publicity on this hasn’t yet rivaled that of the Marine Corps’,” Army Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, told National Defense in April.  But Army leaders scoff at the idea that there is some sort of rivalry between the services.  “The notion of competition between the Army and the Marine Corps is really a Washington Beltway fabrication,” Richard G. Kidd IV, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, said July 20 during a bloggers' roundtable at the Army-Air Force energy forum in Arlington, Va.  Any perception that the services are in some sort of contest over who is greener only comes from questions “generated by the press or sometimes by elected officials,” Kidd said.  “We admire what the Marine Corps is doing,” he said. “We are working part and parcel with them. They have taken some technologies that were developed by the Army and are advancing them dramatically. We, the Army, are watching, and trying to incorporate what they do back into the Army.”  Kidd is more concerned about making sure that both services avoid duplicating investments in green-energy technology. It would “frustrate me,” he said, “if they are spending money doing the same things we have already done, and vice versa.” Projects should be complementary, he said.  The Army 1/16 Iron Rangers infantry battalion is “taking a whole suite of new technologies to Afghanistan and testing it,” Kidd said. “Marines are watching that, just like we are watching them.”  Kidd insisted that both services’ goals are the same. “We want to reduce the burden on our infantry, and our war fighters and our convoys. There is no competition between the Army and the Marine Corps. I wish them the best luck possible.”  So far, reports from 1/16 are encouraging, said Kidd. The battalion trained in Kansas before it went to Afghanistan. The unit took a wide range of solar panels and other technologies that were not in the Army’s standard inventory. “They’ve been extremely happy with it,” said Kidd. “It’s reduced the burden on our soldiers, reduce the amount of batteries they carry,” he said. “We’ll see what it’s like a year from now.” One of the unanswered questions is whether the equipment can withstand the rigors of combat.  One of the Army’s green technologies is a rucksack collapsible solar panel that recharges batteries and a “networked energy system” that connects batteries and power generators such as fuel cells and solar panels.  Wide-ranging green initiatives have been launched by all branches of the military, and most will take years to deliver the promised fuel savings, officials have said. In the immediate future, the priority is to reduce demand at Army and Marine Corps base camps in Afghanistan, so troops there can become less dependent on daily shipments that may, or may not arrive.









Turf battle over control of border

NEW DELHI: After demanding ``operational control'' over ITBP along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, the Army has now also stepped on the gas to scuttle the move to replace Assam Rifles with BSF along the border with Myanmar.  The Army, backed by the defence ministry, contends Assam Rifles is much better suited to guard the 1,643-km long border with Myanmar, especially in the backdrop of the ever-increasing Chinese strategic footprint as well as presence of Indian insurgent groups across the border.  While Assam Rifles is administratively under the home ministry as one of its seven central armed police or paramilitary forces, it works under the Army's operational control unlike the other six. The officer cadre of Assam Rifles, which has 65,000 personnel in 46 battalions, is also drawn almost entirely from the Army.  ``The Chinese threat from the eastern borders as well as the insurgency in the North-East is very necessitates the integration of the force deployed along the Myanmar border with the Army,'' said a senior Army officer.  ``Assam Rifles has vast domain knowledge and rich operational experience in the region. It bolsters the Army's combat edge by integrating into our overall operational role and profile,'' he added.  The home ministry, however, is dead against both the proposals. It does not want ITBP battalions along the LAC to be placed under Army's ``operational control''. Nor is it willing to junk its move to replace Assam Rifles with BSF at the Myanmar border since the former, it feels, is proving ineffective in dealing with both border protection and counter-insurgency.  These ongoing turf battles between the home and defence ministries over ``border management'', which have even befuddled the Cabinet Committee on Security, is putting paid to the long-standing aim to achieve the ``one border, one force'' security matrix.  As reported by TOI earlier, the large land borders with both China and Pakistan, as also Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, continue to suffer from a lack of coordination among the different forces deployed along them, ranging from BSF, ITBP and Sashastra Seema Bal to Assam Rifles and, of course, the Army, which report to different bosses and ministries.  This when both the Border Management Task Force after the 1999 Kargil conflict, and the subsequent Group of Ministers' report on ``reforming the national security system'' in 2001, had strongly recommended the ``one border, one force'' strategy.  ``Multiplicity of forces on the same borders has inevitably led to the lack of accountability as well as problems of command and control,'' held the GoM report. But since then, both the previous NDA and the present UPA regimes have taken only half-hearted steps to plug the gaps.










DRDO to conduct trial of short-range Prahaar missile tomorrow

BALASORE: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is all set to conduct trial of new indigenously developed quick reaction, short-range Prahaar missile tomorrow from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea.  "Ground preparation for the test-flight of a short range ballistic missile is complete and it would be taken up tomorrow any time between 9 am to 5 pm depending on weather condition," a DRDO official said here.  "This is a single stage missile fuelled by solid propellants, and being tested for the first time. It is surface-to-surface missile with a range of 150 km and can carry conventional warheads," a DRDO scientist said.  "The missile would be tested from the launch pad 3 in the ITR and as a safety measure, arrangement have been made to temporarily evacuate people residing within two km radius of the launch pad on the scheduled day of the launch," the official said.  Scientific Adviser to India's Defence Minister and Director General of DRDO V K Saraswat had recently said that the new 150 km range Prahaar missile "is going to be an excellent weapon" and would fill the gap between existing unguided rocket systems like Pinaka, Smerch and 350 km-range Prithvi-2 ballistic missile.









India's first military pilot to fly helicopters dead

New Delhi, July 20: Air Commodore S K Majumdar, the first military pilot to fly helicopter in India in March 1954, passed away here this morning. He was 83.   He passed away at 4 a.m. at the Research and referral Hospital , Delhi Cantt.  He had the distinction of being the first pilot in the Indian defence and para-military forces to fly the helicopter in India. He pioneered the concepts of usage of helicopter in India.  Born on October 7, 1927, Air Commodore Majumdar was commissioned in the Royal Indian Air Force in 1948 and retired in March 1977 after 29 years of distinguished service.  During his long innings in the Indian Air Force, he achieved many firsts. He was the first to fly a helicopter, an S-55 Sikorsky, in 1954. He was the first helicopter qualified flying instructor, the first to do an amphibious operation, the founder of the helicopter training unit of the Indian Air Force and the first to carry out a roof-top landing in 1959 .  A pioneer in mountain terrain operations, Air Commodore Majumdar evolved concepts of mountain flying in erstwhile NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh), Assam, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir, and displayed an astonishing degree of dedication and professionalism.  Having shown his exemplary mettle in various command and staff appointments during his illustrious career, he also acquired enviable accident free record.  In recognition of his yeoman service and pioneering work in the field of helicopter aviation, he was awarded "Sikorsky Pioneering Award" in 2004 by the Rotary Wing Society of India .










The China Challenge: A strategic vision for U.S.-India relations

y Lisa Curtis and Dean Cheng  India is keeping a wary eye on China’s rapid global ascent. Unresolved border issues that resulted in the Sino-Indian War of 1962 have been heating up again in recent years.  Indian policymakers are scrambling to develop effective policies to cope with a rising China by simultaneously pursuing both a robust diplomatic strategy aimed at encouraging peaceful resolution of border disputes and forging strong trade and economic ties and an ambitious military modernisation campaign that will build Indian air, naval, and missile capabilities.  By bolstering its naval assets, India will solidify its position in the Indian Ocean and enhance its ability to project power into the Asia Pacific. New Delhi also will continue to boost its medium-range missile programs to deter Beijing and to strengthen its air capabilities to deal with potential flare-ups along their disputed borders.  Meanwhile, China has also been paying increasing attention to India. China’s interests on its southern flank have led the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to strengthen its forces in the Lanzhou and Chengdu Military Regions bordering India.  The U.S. must keep a watchful eye on the trend lines in Sino-Indian relations and factor these into its overall strategies in the broader Asia region. A strong India able to hold its own against China is in America’s interest.  China’s increased assertiveness in the East and South China Seas over the past year has been accompanied by a hardening position on its border disputes with India. Last summer, India took the unprecedented step of suspending military ties with China in response to Beijing’s refusal to grant a visa to an Indian Army general serving in Jammu and Kashmir.  Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Delhi last December helped tamp down the disagreement, and military contacts have since resumed. Still, the incident shows the fragility of the Sino-Indian rapprochement and the potential for deepening tensions over the unresolved border issues to escalate.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India this week for Strategic Dialogue talks provides an opportunity to take India’s pulse on China and to discuss new diplomatic and security initiatives that will contribute to maintaining a stable balance of power in Asia. The U.S. should demonstrate support for Indian military modernisation and enhanced U.S.-Indian defence ties.  Despite U.S. disappointment over India’s decision to de-select two American companies from its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition, the U.S. is bound to conclude other major defence deals with India as it pursues an ambitious defence modernisation campaign, which includes spending plans of around $35 billion over the next five years.  Indeed, this year, the two sides finalised a deal worth nearly $4 billion for the U.S. to provide India with enough C-17 aircraft to give India the second-largest C-17 fleet in the world. Enhancing Indo-U.S. cooperation in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region is also an area of mutual interest that is ripe for new initiatives.  India’s rejection of the MMRCA has added a dose of realism to Indo-U.S. relations and reminded U.S. officials that the burgeoning partnership will not always reach the full expectations of either side. Still, the growing strategic challenge presented by a rising China will inevitably drive the U.S. and India to increase cooperation in defence and other key sectors, such as space, maritime security, and nuclear non-proliferation.  WHAT DRIVES SINO-INDIAN COMPETITION?  The drivers of the current Indian-Chinese rivalry are varied and complex. While China’s economy is several times larger than India’s and its conventional military capabilities today outstrip India’s by almost any comparison, Beijing has begun to take notice of India’s growing global political and economic clout, as well as the broad-based American support for expanding strategic ties with India.  For its part, India, long suspicious of China’s close relations and military support for Pakistan, views an increased Chinese presence in northern Pakistan and expanded civil nuclear cooperation between Beijing and Islamabad as particularly worrisome. Indian military strategists believe they must plan for the possibility of a two-front war with Pakistan and China even as they actively seek dialogues with both to diminish the chances of such a dire scenario.  At the same time, Chinese assessments of Indian military planning suggest a view in Beijing that New Delhi sees China as a major threat. One Chinese assessment concludes that the Indian military sees Pakistan as the main operational opponent and China as a potential operational opponent. It also describes the Indians as seeing China and Pakistan as closely aligned in threatening India.  The rivalry is also driven by the rapidly expanding resource requirements of each country, whose economies continue to grow steadily despite the global economic downturn. Competition over energy and water resources will increasingly shape the contours of their competition, as will each country’s efforts to expand trade and economic relations with countries that are in the other’s traditional sphere of influence.  SIMMERING BORDER TENSIONS  Long-standing border disputes between China and India continue to cause friction between the two countries despite ongoing border talks that started in the 1980s. India claims that China occupies more than 14,000 square miles of Indian territory in the Aksai Chin along its northern border in Kashmir (commonly referred to as the western sector), while China lays claim to more than 34,000 square miles of India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh (commonly referred to as the eastern sector). The two sides fought a brief border war in 1962 after China invaded the eastern and western sectors of their shared borders and ended up annexing the area of Aksai Chin, a barren plateau that had been part of the pre-partition princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. India also is a long-term host to the Dalai Lama and about 100,000 Tibetan refugees that fled after China annexed Tibet in 1950.  Meanwhile, according to Beijing, India is occupying territory unfairly claimed during the era of “unequal treaties.” The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has never accepted the validity of the McMahon Line as the demarcation of the Sino-Indian border in Tibet, viewing it as forced upon weak imperial and republican governments by the British Raj.  In 2003, each side appointed “special representatives” – national security adviser for India and vice foreign minister for China—to upgrade and regularise their border discussions. Since then, the two sides have clarified the mapping of the middle sector of their disputed frontiers (the border that demarcates the Indian state of Sikkim). However, there has been no exchange of maps of the eastern and western sectors under dispute.  China’s interest in consolidating its hold on Tibet and its perceptions of India’s expanding global influence and closer ties to the U.S. have led Beijing to harden its position on its border disputes with New Delhi over the past five years. China has increasingly questioned Indian sovereignty over the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and has stepped up probing operations along different parts of their shared frontier. The Chinese are also building up military infrastructure and expanding a network of road, rail, and air links in the border areas.  The hardening Chinese position can be traced back to comments made by the Chinese ambassador to India, referring to the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of China, in the run-up to President Hu Jintao’s November 2006 visit.  Moreover, in recent years, Chinese commentators have begun to refer to Arunachal Pradesh commonly as “Southern Tibet.” Prior to 2005, there were no Chinese references to “Southern Tibet” in China’s official media. In 2009, China opposed an Asian Development Bank loan, part of which was earmarked for a watershed project in Arunachal Pradesh — another demonstration that China is questioning Indian sovereignty over the state more openly.  These moves have signalled to New Delhi that the Chinese may be backing away from a 2005 border agreement, referred to as the “Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for Settlement of the Boundary Question.” More specifically, since the 2005 accord stipulated that “settled populations will not be disturbed,” India argues that China has violated the 2005 agreement by laying claim to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese interlocutors claim Tawang is part of Tibet because one of the Dalai Lamas was born there. The Chinese have objected to recent visits to Tawang by the Indian Prime Minister and the Dalai Lama.  In addition to raising questions about the status of Arunachal Pradesh, China has called into question Indian sovereignty over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2009, Beijing began stapling visas to Indian passport holders from Jammu and Kashmir. Furthermore, in July of last year, China denied a visa to Indian Lieutenant General B. S. Jaswal, chief of Northern Command, which includes parts of Kashmir. General Jaswal had intended to travel to Beijing to participate in a high-level China-India defence exchange. In response to China’s refusal to grant General Jaswal a visa, India suspended further bilateral defence exchanges.  The visa issue appears to have been resolved, as India resumed defence contacts with China last month by sending an eight-member Indian military delegation to China. The visit followed media reports that China had begun issuing regular visas to Indian residents of Jammu and Kashmir.  Since the 1999 Kargil border conflict between India and Pakistan, Beijing’s position on Kashmir seemed to be evolving toward a more neutral position. During that conflict, Beijing helped convince Pakistan to withdraw forces from the Indian side of the Line of Control following its incursion into the heights of Kargil in Kashmir. Beijing made clear its position that the two sides should resolve the Kashmir conflict through bilateral negotiations, not military force, but the stapled visas issue and Beijing’s refusal to grant a visa to the Indian army official from Kashmir have raised concern in New Delhi that China is reverting to a policy of favouring Pakistan’s position on Kashmir.  Indian commentators have noted that China’s backtracking from its neutral position on Kashmir would likely be met with subtle moves by India that increasingly question Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.  INCREASING MILITARY ACTIVITIES  Meanwhile, Chinese military activities in the region have expanded. In July 2010, the official newspaper of the PLA, People’s Liberation Army Daily, reported that units of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) were engaging in armed combat air patrols. These are believed to have been advanced Su-27 or J-11 (domestically produced versions of the Su-27) fighter aircraft.  The combat air patrols were followed by an August 2010 logistics exercise involving the newly constructed Qinghai-Tibet railway. This exercise marked the first PLAAF use of the railway for military purposes, with the Military Transportation Department of the PLAAF Logistics Department overseeing the movement of “combat readiness materials” to Tibet. This would seem to reflect a growing PLAAF role in maintaining security along the Sino-Indian border in the Tibetan area.  In October 2010, there were reports that the PLA had conducted joint (inter-services) live-fire exercises in Tibet for the first time. These reportedly involved armour, artillery, air, and electronic warfare units and a variety of new equipment. Given the emphasis placed on joint operations in PLA doctrine, such exercises are not surprising, but instead reflect the extent to which they are being applied across the military, not just opposite Taiwan.  Indian expert observers do not interpret China’s new-found assertiveness as preparation for imminent conflict, and they continue to calculate that the overall probability of another Sino-Indian war is low. However, they believe China may be trying to enhance its bargaining position in the ongoing border negotiations. The Indian observers note that incursions across the disputed borders are likely aimed at gaining tactical advantage to bolster Chinese territorial claims.  India has somewhat belatedly sought to match the Chinese moves and to reinforce its own claims in the disputed border areas by augmenting forces and constructing roads along the shared frontiers. These measures include the deployment of two squadrons of Su-30 MKI fighter jets in Assam and the raising of two mountain divisions for deployment in Arunachal Pradesh. India also has redeployed elements of its 27th Mountain Division from Jammu and Kashmir to the patch of land that intersects India, Tibet, and Bhutan and links India with the rest of its northeastern states.  India is reviving air fields along the border with China, including one in the Ladakh region.  India must increasingly factor the potential threat of conflict over its disputed borders with China into its security planning and projections. While Indian strategists assess that Pakistan poses the most immediate threat to India, they increasingly view China as the more important long-term strategic threat.  In order to deter Chinese aggression along India’s border, Indian strategists believe they must develop the capability to inflict severe damage on Chinese forces in Tibet. China has an edge over India with regard to overall air power. Given infrastructure constraints in Tibet, however, China’s ability to deploy significant air power on the border with India remains in question.  CHINA’S EXPANDING INFLUENCE IN SOUTH ASIA  China is consciously strengthening ties to its traditional ally Pakistan and slowly gaining more influence with other South Asian states. In addition to developing a port facility in Sittwe, Burma, China has invested in the development of ports in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, and Gwadar, Pakistan, and has offered assistance to Bangladesh in developing its deep-sea port in Chittagong. Because China imports about 70 percent of its energy requirements, its interest in developing these ports is primarily to help ensure uninterrupted access to crucial energy supplies.  China has already invested about $200 million in the Gwadar Port facility in the southwest part of Baluchistan Province in Pakistan off the coast of the Arabian Sea.  Pakistan’s defence minister recently claimed that Pakistan had invited China to start building a naval base at Gwadar; Chinese officials publicly dismissed the notion. It is unclear whether Islamabad made the statement without coordinating with Beijing or whether the episode was carefully choreographed to send a signal (mainly to the U.S. and India) about the potential impact of an even cosier Sino–Pakistani military alliance.  China maintains a robust defence relationship with Pakistan and views a strong partnership with Pakistan as a useful way to contain Indian power in the region and divert Indian military force and strategic attention away from China. The Chinese JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft is currently under serial production at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, and an initial batch of 250 to 300 planes is scheduled. China also plans to provide Pakistan with J-10 medium-role combat aircraft with an initial delivery of 30 to 35 planes. Other recent sales of conventional weapons include F-22P frigates with helicopters, K-8 jet trainers, T-85 tanks, F-7 aircraft, small arms, and ammunition.  The China-Pakistan partnership serves both Chinese and Pakistani interests by presenting India with a potential two-front theatre in the event of war with either country. Toward the end of the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, China reportedly demanded that India dismantle certain posts on the India-China contested borders, but the war ended with Pakistan’s acceptance of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire before China had an opportunity to act on its demands. During the 1971 Indo–Pakistani War, China took a less threatening posture toward India, possibly because of Soviet warnings to the Chinese.  China transferred equipment and technology and provided scientific expertise to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs throughout the 1980s and 1990s, enhancing Pakistan’s strength in the South Asian strategic balance. The most significant development in China–Pakistan military cooperation occurred in 1992, when China supplied Pakistan with 34 short-range ballistic M-11 missiles. Beijing also built a turnkey ballistic missile manufacturing facility near Rawalpindi and helped Pakistan develop the 750 km–range solid-fuelled Shaheen-1 ballistic missile.  China helped Pakistan build two civilian nuclear reactors at the Chasma site in the Punjab Province under agreements made before it joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2004. More recently, China is moving forward with plans for two additional new nuclear reactors for Pakistan (Chasma III and Chasma IV), but the U.S. has indicated that Beijing must first seek an exemption from the NSG for any nuclear technology transfers. The NSG members discussed the proposed Chinese reactor sale to Pakistan at their plenary meeting in late June 2011 in the Netherlands. China argued that the proposed sale should be viewed as part of the earlier agreement struck with Pakistan before Beijing joined the NSG.  An Obama Administration decision to allow the China–Pakistan nuclear deal to advance unhindered would contradict earlier statements by U.S. officials that the construction of the two new nuclear plants would be inconsistent with China’s NSG commitments. It could also jeopardise nuclear safety and security on the subcontinent, given that Pakistan’s increased access to civilian nuclear technology without sufficient legal context and safeguards poses a potential proliferation threat.  U.S. media reports claiming that 7,000 to 10,000 PLA troops were deployed to Gilgit-Baltistan in Northern Pakistan last summer to help rebuild areas devastated by the massive Pakistani floods raised alarm in New Delhi. Indian analysts also noted the presence of PLA logistics and engineering corps in the region to provide flood relief and to build infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, and dams. The troops are most likely construction battalions helping to build transportation links between Pakistan and China, possibly from Gwadar Port. Nonetheless, New Delhi would view with consternation the possibility of Chinese troops stationed on both the eastern and northwestern borders of Indian Kashmir.  China also uses military and other assistance to court the smaller South Asian nations and to help them enhance their autonomy vis à vis India. Beijing has sold modern missile boats to Bangladesh and provided extensive military aid to Sri Lanka to help it win the war against the Tamil Tigers in 2009.  China’s main interest in Nepal stems from its concerns over the large Tibetan refugee population there. Close to 20,000 Tibetans reside in Nepal, making it home to the world’s second-largest Tibetan refugee community. Beijing increased its involvement with Nepal after the March 2008 ethnic Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule on the eve of the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing.  Beijing has been pressing Nepal to tighten its borders with Tibet, which has led to a major decrease in the number of Tibetans able to flee to Nepal in recent years. China is also bolstering trade with Nepal and pursuing road-building and hydropower projects. INDIA “GLANCING” EAST  For its part, India is slowly building political and economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the individual states of Southeast Asia, which generally welcome India’s involvement as a balance to growing Chinese influence. India became a member of the East Asia Sum­mit in December 2005 and signed a free trade deal with the ASEAN countries in2009. India has also enhanced its naval profile in Southeast Asia, holding periodic joint exercises with Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.  Also with an eye on China, India has prioritised strengthening relations with Japan through increasing military contacts, maritime cooperation, and trade and investment ties. Tokyo has pledged $4.5 billion in soft loans for the Delhi-Mumbai railway freight corridor, and the two sides inked a joint security declaration in 2008, calling their partnership “an essential pillar for the future architecture of the region.” In 2007 and 2009, Japan participated in the Malabar naval exercises in the Indian Ocean.  In a significant turnaround from its past tough stance toward India’s nuclear program, Tokyo is currently negotiating a civil nuclear deal with New Delhi.  Contesting the Seas… Indo–Chinese strategic competition increasingly revolves around naval issues. India views with concern the Chinese military presence in and around the Indian Ocean and is carefully considering what it means for energy and sea-lane security. New Delhi is especially worried about Beijing’s potential naval expansion, including the development of its first aircraft carrier.  India is steadily increasing its defence budgets and focusing particular attention on building up its naval capabilities. In February, New Delhi unveiled its 2011 budget with an 11 percent increase for defence. India’s rising defence budgets and growing navy have begun to concern Beijing, as China’s energy lifeline that passes through the Indian Ocean side of the Malacca Straits will increasingly be vulnerable to India’s naval presence.  India has the world’s fifth-largest navy. It already has one aircraft carrier and is striving to put into place three carriers by 2020 as part of its naval expansion and desire to project power throughout the Indian Ocean. Difficulties in defence procurement and deficiencies in its own shipbuilding sector, however, could stall India’s progress in developing its naval capabilities. India has also carefully cultivated ties with the countries of the Indian Ocean rim, including Mauritius, Maldives, Seychelles, and Madagascar, providing these countries with naval support, such as offshore naval patrol vessels and staff and training. In February 2008, India convened the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, inviting participants from the littoral states to discuss maritime security. The United Arab Emirates hosted the second conference in May 2010.  India is pursuing better ties with Vietnam to try to check Chinese naval influence and access to the Indian Ocean. New Delhi initiated a new security partnership with Hanoi in 2000 that emphasized defence training, supply of advanced weaponry, and the potential for India to gain access to the South China Sea through the Cam Ranh Bay naval and air base. Indian officials have long understood the importance of Vietnam in the South China Sea and its potential to balance the Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean. The Vietnamese have demurred on granting India access to Cam Ranh Bay, and the Vietnamese–Indian security partnership remains limited. Vietnam has supported India in its quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and has helped to block Pakistan’s bid for membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum.  China, meanwhile, increasingly sees India as a maritime as well as a land threat. An assessment of the Indian military published by the PLA’s National Defense University Press observes that, since the 1970s, India has increasingly shifted its strategic attention toward the Indian Ocean. In the Chinese view, this shift began in the wake of the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, with increased construction of naval bases and forces and a concomitant expansion of Indian strategic guiding thoughts (zhanlue zhidao sixiang) to the Indian Ocean, and accelerated in the 1980s with the dispatch of Indian troops to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. While some of this naval effort is seen as being aimed at other states in the Indian Ocean region, especially Pakistan, the Chinese assessment also sees the Indian naval buildup as aimed at extra-regional military powers.  China’s growing dependence on maritime commerce to sustain its economy inevitably heightens its concern over Indian naval capabilities. The Chinese assessment is that the Indian military has expanded its area of operations westward to the Persian Gulf and eastward to the Straits of Malacca, encompassing the key sea lanes of communications (SLOCs) that Chinese oil imports must transit.  As China modernizes its navy, there is some potential for the PLA to establish a greater presence in the Indian Ocean. India fears—a fear associated with China’s port construction activities in Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and potentially Bangladesh—that these commercial ports might become naval ports of call. With China’s acquisition of several new nuclear-powered attack submarines and additional diesel-electric submarines, and also the introduction of an aircraft carrier (the Shi Lang), the PLA navy may choose to establish a longer-term, sustained presence in the Indian Ocean, in part to help safeguard its SLOCs.  …and Space. India has given indications that it is developing a military space program to match China’s expanding space capabilities. New Delhi has an advanced civilian space program and launches satellites for other countries, including Israel. Officials from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have announced their aim to use satellite-based communication and navigation systems for “security needs.” In 2010, the Indian Ministry of Defence unveiled plans for dedicated military satellites for all three of its defence services. Still, India’s space budget is one-third of China’s, which is publicly stated as about $2.2 billion.  There are also reports that India has shown growing interest in an anti-satellite (ASAT) capability. Media reports from March 2011 about India’s ballistic missile defense (BMD) program provide indications that such a system might also have ASAT missions.  Demographic trends feed strategic rivalry  India’s population will surpass China’s in about 15 years. While not a decisive factor in determining the overall power balance between the two Asian giants, this demographic trend will play a role in regional security dynamics.  The most striking difference in the Indian and Chinese demographic pictures over the coming decades is the onset of India’s youth bulge at the same time that China finds its population graying. U.S. Census Bureau analysts estimate that new entrants into China’s labour force may be near its upper limits of 124 million as the population of Chinese aged 20 to 24 peaks this year. India’s population of 20- to 24-year-olds, on the other hand, is not expected to peak until 2024 when it hits 116 million. While India’s workforce will increase by 110 million over the next decade, China’s will increase by less than 20 million, according to a Goldman Sachs study.  This demographic dividend could fuel India’s economy in ways that make it a peer competitor to China—in particular, pushing Indian growth rates ahead of China’s. At present, the Chinese economy is vastly larger than India’s. At more than $4.7 trillion, China’s GDP is four times India’s; its GDP per capita, at about $3,565, is three times India’s; and China produces about 12 percent of the world’s GDP while India produces about 5 percent. The Chinese also hold socioeconomic advantages over India that could play in Beijing’s favour: Adult literacy in China stands at about 91 percent, compared to roughly 61 percent in India.  Trade could mitigate other competitive interests  Trade and business ties between China and India have increased dramatically in the past decade. Bilateral trade has increased from around $5 billion in 2002 to more than $60 billion in 2010. During Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India last December, the two sides highlighted their growing economic relationship by pledging to boost trade over the next five years to $100 billion annually.  The rapidly expanding trade relationship between the two countries could help encourage a mutual interest in regional stability. While Beijing will almost certainly maintain close strategic ties to Pakistan, its growing economic stakes in India could motivate China to pay more attention to balancing its ties between India and Pakistan. On the other hand, some Indian analysts believe that China is pursuing a two-pronged strategy of lulling India into complacency with greater economic interaction while taking steps to encircle India and undermine its security.  What the U.S. should do  India must include the potential threat of conflict erupting over its disputed borders with China in its security planning and projections. While Pakistan presents the most immediate threat to India, Indian strategists increasingly view China as the most important long-term security challenge. Long-standing China-Pakistan security ties are a continuing source of angst in New Delhi and reminder of a potential two-front war. While India seeks to avoid conflict with China, Indian military planners also assess that they need to develop sufficient capabilities to deter an increasingly powerful and assertive China.  The U.S. should pursue robust strategic and military engagement with India in order to encourage a stable balance of power in Asia that prevents China from dominating the region and surrounding seas. New Delhi — not unlike many other capitals in Asia — balks at the idea of being part of an American-led China “containment” strategy. Some Indian strategists even favour a go-slow approach to the U.S.-Indian partnership in order to avoid raising Chinese ire. But China’s recent posturing on its border disputes with India leaves New Delhi few options other than to play all the strategic cards at its disposal, including deepening and expanding ties with the U.S.  One must also calculate that Chinese alarms over “containment” may in part be a tactic to prevent closer Indian cooperation with nations in the Pacific, including the U.S.  The partnership between the U.S. and India will almost certainly never develop into an “alliance,” given India’s core foreign policy goal of maintaining its “strategic autonomy.” But an elevated partnership that gives a nod to India’s growing political, economic, and military strength would signal a solidarity that could help deter Chinese military aggression and temper China’s ambitions to revise borders in its favour.  The U.S. and India share a broad strategic interest in setting limits on China’s geopolitical horizons. They can work together to support mutually reinforcing goals without ever becoming “allies” in the traditional sense. To this end, the U.S. should:  – Support India’s military modernisation campaign, including its quest for increasingly sophisticated technologies related to its strategic weapons programs. The U.S. advanced this goal earlier this year when it removed export controls on several Indian space and defence-related organizations. In January, the U.S. removed several subsidiaries of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and the Indian Space Research Organization from the Department of Commerce’s “Entities List,” which bars the export of certain dual-use technologies.  During the 1990s, the U.S. had pressured India to modify its nuclear and missile posture and opposed the deployment of India’s short-range Prithvi missile and the development of its medium-range Agni missile. The U.S. must recognise India’s need to improve its strategic capabilities in order to address potential challenges from a rising China.  Develop new initiatives for keeping the Indian Ocean safe and secure. India and the U.S. have participated together in informal low-level efforts to address piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. However, India has not joined the U.S.-led Coalition Maritime Force with combined task force (CTF-151), which the U.S. established as a major multilateral counterpiracy effort. India has been more interested in coordinating with other countries on a bilateral basis to address piracy rather than joining multinational anti-piracy organisations. In 2008, India initiated the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium to discuss maritime security with the other littoral states but did not include the U.S. in the discussions.  The U.S. should continue to work with India on maritime security while also seeking to convince New Delhi of the merits of adding the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia to a forum like the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. One of the main goals of the forum should be to agree to a code of conduct for naval vessels operating in the region and to develop an action plan for dealing with violations of the agreed code.  Additionally, the U.S. should consider engaging the Indian navy in such areas as anti-submarine warfare training and ocean surveillance capabilities. Improvements in these areas would help to reassure India, especially in the event of a growing PLA naval presence.  Remain engaged with the smaller South Asian states and fully exercise its observer role in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The U.S. needs to remain focused on its relations with Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh so that these nations do not perceive China as the main economic and political game in town. India is clearly the dominant power in South Asia, but China is making new inroads with these countries that could come at the expense of stability and democratic trends in the region. The U.S. should participate fully in SAARC gatherings and ensure that its presence and influence are felt throughout the region.  Increase cooperation with India to address cyber security threats. In December 2009, more than 200 computers belonging to top-ranking Indian government officials, including three service chiefs and former National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, were compromised in a hacking operation that originated in China. The U.S. and India have been slow to seize opportunities for cooperating on cyber security issues. The two sides should explore joint efforts to monitor foreign investments in critical Internet technologies and telecommunications in order to establish a means of sharing pertinent cyber threat and vulnerability information to enhance the mutual security of their networks.  Keep strategic messaging in the region consistent. The Administration faltered in 2009 when it promoted U.S.–China “cooperation” in South Asia as part of the U.S.–China Joint Statement. South Asia constitutes India’s immediate neighbourhood, and America’s interests in the region are far more aligned with India than they are with China. Stabilising Afghanistan and ensuring that it never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists is one example of the convergence of U.S.-Indian strategic interests in the region. If the U.S. is to forge a lasting partnership with India, it must start by recognising India’s predominant interests in South Asia, even as it promotes peace, stability, and economic progress throughout the Subcontinent.  Conclusion  Sino-Indian tension, particularly over unresolved border issues and naval competition in the Indian Ocean, will persist in the years ahead and could even precipitate armed conflict, although this remains a relatively remote possibility. The U.S. must seek to build closer strategic and defence ties with India, both to help maintain a peaceful equilibrium in the region and to help deter any potential aggressive action by China.  India’s decision to forego American planes to fulfil its fighter aircraft needs has added a dose of realism to Indo–U.S. relations. Nevertheless, the complex challenge presented by a rising China will inevitably drive the U.S. and India to elevate ties and increase cooperation across a broad range of sectors in years to come. There is a great deal the U.S. can do, carefully and deliberately, to facilitate this natural confluence of strategic interests.




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