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Monday, 11 August 2014

From Today's Papers - 11 Aug 2014

 Maoists kill 2 CRPF men

Raipur, August 10
Two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and another injured in an encounter with Maoists in Chhattisgarh's insurgency-hit Bijapur district today, the police said.

The exchange of fire took place in the forests of Murtunda village under the Basaguda police station limits in which two CRPF men were killed, said Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri.

A squad of 168th battalion of the paramilitary force was on an area domination operation in Basaguda region, located around 450 km away from the state capital Raipur.

When they reached Murtunda forests, the Maoists opened indiscriminate firing at them leaving two CRPF personnel dead on the spot and another injured, the IG said.

However, when security personnel launched retaliatory attacks, the rebels fled into the forests, the IG said.

Reinforcements have been sent to the spot, the IG said, adding that efforts are on to retrieve the bodies of those killed and injured. — PTI
There are no winners in the game
One wonders whether the Pakistan Prime Minister actually believes the army will come to his rescue in a time of crisis. Nawaz Sharif needs to take lessons from history for his own sake. It is a great plunge to take from the politics of confrontation to the politics of survival
Zahid Hussain

The elephant is already in the room and surely by invitation this time. A panic-stricken civilian administration has handed over the security of the nation's capital to the army at its own peril.
The Triple One Brigade, whom we hear about mostly in times of military coups, is now deployed around key government installations. All this is happening as Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri threaten, separately, to force the government out through a “revolution march”, providing enough fuel to keep alive our ever-active rumour mill. The development is ominous nonetheless.

One does not expect anything like the storming of the Bastille on August 14. Neither Khan's young brigade, nor Qadri's few thousand fanatical followers are the vanguard of revolution. But the government's own ineptness and paralysis is proving to be its unravelling. An absentee prime minister, a sulking interior minister and some other irrelevant members of the cabinet do not evoke much public faith in a crumbling power structure.

True to his self, Nawaz Sharif plans to counter the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) long march with unprecedented pomp and show on Independence Day, starting with a military parade and the hoisting of supposedly the biggest-ever national flag. Curiously, this military drill is not a routine part of Independence Day celebrations; it is taking place as the civilian administration has abdicated the responsibility of security of the capital, leaving it to the army to handle reported terrorist threats. This lends some credence to the opposition allegation that it is a deliberate move by the government to involve the military in the political conflict — with dangerous consequences. For sure, Article 245 has routinely been used in conflict zones in order give legal cover to security forces fighting insurgencies. But this provision has rarely been invoked in urban areas in times of peace. It was in 1977 that the army was summoned by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the height of the Pakistan National Alliance movement in Lahore and Karachi under Article 245. And that “mini martial law” was perhaps the beginning of the end of the Bhutto government. Article 245 was later also invoked by Nawaz Sharif in Karachi in 1998.

Surely one cannot draw a parallel between the situation then and now, but the outcome may not be very different. What is worse this time is that the army has been called in even though there has not been any serious incident of violence or a law-and-order situation that cannot be handled by civil law-enforcement agencies. One wonders whether it is pure naivety on the part of the prime minister or whether he actually believes the army will come to his rescue in a time of crisis. Sharif needs to take a lesson from history for his own sake. One oft-repeated argument offered by the government is that the invocation of Article 245 was linked with the operation in North Waziristan meant to give legal cover to the troops dealing with any militant backlash. But why has this only been exercised in Islamabad? Why not Peshawar, Lahore or Karachi? Interestingly, the provision has been invoked more than six weeks after the start of the operation. Is there any explanation for why now? Particularly since there has been virtually no major terrorist incident in the city during that period that it would require extraordinary measures?

It is now open season with Khan and Qadri having clearly pronounced their intention of bringing down the Sharif government. They may not be following a prepared script, but it is apparent that they cannot achieve their goal in a constitutional way. There is no way Imran Khan can force early elections with his party's relatively small presence in Parliament. He certainly would not have the support of any other political party for his demand. Early elections would only be possible if Sharif agreed to dissolve the National Assembly. But why would he do that with no serious challenge emanating from within the house? The only option left to Imran Khan is to increase public pressure through violent street protests. It is a big gamble that may have worked in a cricket match but surely not in the complex game of politics. Assuming that the PTI is able to mobilise hundreds and thousands of people for a prolonged sit-in and completely paralyse the capital. A protracted stalemate with the government unable to use the coercive power of the state would inevitably lead to complete chaos and anarchy. This would strengthen the military's position as the sole arbiter of power. Much before this stand-off, the military had already started reasserting its authority through rising tension with the Sharif administration on Musharraf's treason trial and a host of other policy issues. The public profile of the military leadership has further risen with the North Waziristan operation. The well-publicised picture of army chief Gen Raheel Sharif spending Eid with his soldiers on the frontline and with the IDPs in Bannu came as a sharp contrast to Sharif — missing from the scene and spending time between his two favourite destinations — Saudi Arabia and Murree. Sharif's lacklustre attitude has increasingly raised questions about his leadership capability. All that was certainly in Imran Khan's calculations when he decided to up the ante, declaring war on the Sharif government. It is not going to be that simple. He seems to be in a hurry to grasp power, but he may not be the winner in the endgame. Army intervention, which he may well be aware of, would not put him on the throne. There is no probability of early elections even if Imran Khan is able to create a situation for Sharif's exit. It will not be the politicians, but the generals who would then decide the future course. It’s yet another episode of the Pakistani political soap opera, a tragicomedy.

Banking on the army

    In 1977, the army was summoned by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the height of the Pakistan National Alliance Movement in Lahore and Karachi under Article 245.
    That mini martial law was the beginning of the end of the Bhutto government.
    Article 245 has routinely been used in conflict zones in order to give legal cover to the security forces fighting insurgencies.
Perpetuating the fiction of the failed state
The proliferation of glib terms like ‘failure’ and ‘rentier’ and ‘ungovernability’ are the mis-characterisations and deceptions of the new colonialism. Like the old, it presents the shadows of intervention as weightless and the obligations of aid as never, ever, nefarious.
Rafia Zakaria

These are familiar questions in Pakistan's current dark times: Is the state failing, has it failed, will it fail? These are all questions that have appeared in ink in Pakistani newspapers, fallen from the lips of new analysts, been scattered around by politicians.

A centrepiece in the scientific analysis of governance, a sense of gravity, is invested in the idea; and, consequently, “state failure” is imagined as an objective standard against which existing inadequacies can be tabulated. In the chaos of Pakistani politics — the inveterate corruption, the endemic nepotism, the lack of oversight and objectivity — the prospect of standards, especially objective ones, gleams and glistens. In this climate of developing-nation despair, therefore, the term “failed” state has been embraced.

Foreign commentators, many of whom make their living on their expertise on Pakistan's unravelling, have offered their own affirmations. Writing in 2012, following the immediate release of the Failed States Index 2012, Robert Kaplan — the chief geopolitical strategist for Stratfor — dictatorially declared: “Perversity characterises Pakistan.” Many of his ilk have happily followed suit, heaping all sorts negative terms, each supposedly attached to the pristine numerical objectivity of the “failed states measure”.

As it turns out, the term “failed state” is a hoax designed precisely to capitalise on the insecurities of struggling sovereignties like Pakistan. In an article published in the Guardian newspaper over a year ago, commentator Elliott Ross exposed both the term's origins and the nefarious intentions for whose fulfilment it was coined. The term and the Failed States Index which accompanies it is the child of a man named J.J. Messner, a former lobbyist for the private military industry.

Not only does Mr Messner not disclose this inconvenient fact about his past employment history, he also refuses to release any of the raw data that goes behind the index that he publishes.

Despite this, many political scientists who are usually quite vigilant about trawling through each other's data to verify claims have accepted the presence of the index in their midst. As Ross explains, this is not an accident. The term itself was coined by two men, Gerald Helman and Steven Ratner, both employees of the US State Department in 1992. In an article appearing in Foreign Policy (which also hosts the dubious index, that has since been renamed the Fragile States Index), the duo argued that new countries emerging on the world's map were incapable of functioning or sustaining themselves as members of the international community.

What these weak countries (which, it was implied, were near-delusional in imagining themselves as functioning equally in the international realm) needed was the “guardianship” of the Western world. This, in turn, would ensure the “survivability” of these poor hapless countries (Pakistan among them).

In simple terms, the idea of state failure itself was premised on the assumption that weak or new states should allow and welcome intermeddling from Western overlords whose “guardianship” was really something to be grateful for.

Unsurprisingly, in the years hence, the term has become a mainstay of justifying interventions and intermeddling via the “guardian” countries themselves or international institutions whose hold over global economics permits them similar licence. An attached plethora of jargon has emerged to support and affirm the concept, which is now alloyed with partners such as “ungoverned spaces”. All of them are geared towards the central purpose of defining countries in the developing world as crucially, inherently and ultimately lacking. The moral underpinning of this framing is that imperial overreach is not something dirty and unwarranted, colonial and corrupt, but necessary, even benevolent. The intervening states are grandfathering, helping along, assisting, and aiding. They are not meddling, provoking, or engaging in self-interested puppetry geared towards accomplishing their own strategic interests, positioning their pawns for their own proxy wars.

Words and typologies determine the way we see the world and our own position in it. The dominance of the jargon of state “failure” means not simply the lens of the world averted from the moral wrongs that emit from intermeddling but also Pakistan's own image of itself.

Poised against the idea that Pakistan is a “failed” country, the definition of nationalism or its attached patriotism becomes in turn equally deluded. If the world heaps the vacuous term “failure” in order to whitewash the strategic intermeddling of the more powerful on our borders, those opposing it imagine global isolation as a response.

In this oppositional game, opposing the vocabulary of failure seems to require, in turn, a denial of all inadequacies, an imagined utopian purification all poised on a turning away from the world. The cumulative result is a double distortion, where actual problems are hidden away under the dictates of political gloss from within countries or from their would-be overlords without. In studying international politics and global demarcations, those who are or would-be analysts of Pakistan's condition, or of the post-colonial quandaries and infrastructural inadequacies of any developing country, must be wary of the vocabulary of development and global benevolence.

In the proliferation of glib terms like “failure” and “rentier” and “ungovernability” are the mis-characterisations and deceptions of the new colonialism. Like the old, it presents the shadows of intervention as weightless and the obligations of aid as never, ever, nefarious. The arrangement of data, the selection of criterion, and the ranking of the always-wanting must, because of this, be open to epistemological questioning. The idea of the “failed” state is a fiction; digging out from its wreckage of selfhood and sovereignty requires not its discounting, but a double challenge that goes beyond both the incorrect characterisations of others and the real flaws we know to be our own.
Army chief visits Siachen Glacier
SRINAGAR: Chief of the Army Staff General Dalbir Singh Suhag on Sunday visited Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, as part of his three-day visit to Ladakh in J&K.

"The Army chief visited the Siachen Glacier. He paid tribute to the brave soldiers who had laid down their lives in this sector by laying a floral wreath at the Siachen War Memorial," a Srinagar-based defence spokesman said.

In his address to the troops at the Siachen Base Camp, the Army chief lauded the efforts put in by the brave soldiers of the Siachen Brigade.

The Army chief will visit forward posts of Eastern Ladakh and will review the Army's defence preparedness in that sector.

"This is Army chief's first visit to the region after taking over on July 31," the spokesman said.

The Army chief was accompanied by General officer commanding-in-chief Northern Command Lt General DS Hooda.

"The Army chief had a detailed interaction with the Army commander of Northern command and general officer commanding fire and fury corps on the prevailing security environment, infrastructure development projects and various initiatives undertaken by the Army in Ladakh Region," the spokesman said.

Gen Suhag also reviewed the logistical infrastructure available to the soldiers.

The Army chief will receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is likely to visit the Siachen Glacier on August 12.
US takes aim at Israeli antitank missiles 'Spike' in Indian arms market with its own 'Javelin' missile
NEW DELHI: Israel, better watch out! The US is going all out to shoot down the Israeli 'Spike' antitank guided missile (ATGM) with its own "Javelin" missile in the lucrative Indian arms market. Given the huge size of the Indian ATGM project, upwards of $3 billion, Israel is sure to strike back.

But for now, the US seems to have gained the upper hand. After earlier being rebuffed by India for not agreeing to "full" transfer of technology (ToT), the US is now promising to not only "co-pr ..
Defence Talks Key When Modi Meets Obama

NEW DELHI: New Delhi: US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to India was a carefully planned affair, orchestrated to derive maximum benefit for the visitors in a booming market. Each member of the team reflected the strategic role they would play in the overall dialogue. Deputy Secretary, Department of Energy Daniel Poneman, Under Secretary Dept of Homeland Security Francis X Tayor and the US Special Envoy for Climate Change, Todd Stern. Poneman, the second ranking officer in the Department of Energy, is known as a specialist in nuclear safety and proliferation. He naturally has to find ways to smoothen the wrinkles in the India-US civil nuclear cooperation, which is stuck over domestic Indian legislation on liability for suppliers. Hydrocarbons are an increasing area for cooperation, with Poneman meeting with Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas on the sidelines. He specifically highlighted that Indian companies should consider investing in US’s “vibrant” upstream hydrocarbon sector. Meanwhile, US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern called upon environment minister Prakash Javedkar for the first meeting of the India US Joint Working Group on combating Climate Change. Meanwhile, in another part of Delhi, Kaidanow and Taylor were holding talks with their counterparts in the security agencies and Ministry of Home Affairs as part of the Counter-terrorism working group.

Hagel came to India carrying a heavy burden. His famous faux pas in 2011 about India being a mischief maker in Afghanistan may have passed uncommented upon, but his mission seeking traction on the pending defence deals to the tune of `20,000 crore wasn’t a comprehensive success. He met with four crucial members of India’s political and security edifice—Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval—all in a day’s work. Sources had indicated that Defence is one of the “transformative” initiatives planned by the US around Modi’s White House meeting with Obama, certainly joint co-production, a la Brahmos between Russia and India. Among the top Indo-US deals include the 10 C-17 strategic lift aircraft for the Air Force worth `20,000 crore,  12 C-130J special operations planes worth `10,000 crore,  another eight P-8I maritime spy planes worth `20,000 crore, apart from the Harpoon anti-submarine missile and weapon locating radars. Deals worth `20,000 crore are pending for signature, which is on top of Hagel’s mind. Also on his agenda was the 10-year Framework for Defence Cooperation that expires in July 2015. Incidentally, neither Kerry nor Hagel even thought about missing their India trip, though both were fire-fighting international crises like the Gaza problem and ISIS.

Hagel’s India visit cannot be termed as an unqualified success because New Delhi insisted that the US should provide the same groundbreaking technology it gave its allies. Prominent member of Team Hagel, Frank Kendall is the lead for the US-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTII), which is described as one of the pillars to build a strategic defence partnership. Puneet Talwar is a supporting member of the DTII, with the additional mandate to seek opportunities in security cooperation, counter-piracy and peacekeeping. Hagel’s former deputy Ashton B Carter was the force behind the DTTI effort, which was signed in September 2012 when Hagel’s predecessor Leon Panetta was heading the Pentagon. Then, both India and US had agreed to take about a year to identify defence products to jointly develop and co-produce. Regarding the non starter, the two nations took a step forward by appointing their respective contact persons. In 2013, Carter had offered including the Javelin anti-tank guided missile for the Indian Army, Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin MH-60 Romeo helicopter for its Navy and BAE Systems Mk45 127mm naval gun for the Indian Navy as some of the products that could be co-produced through full technology transfer. But India hasn’t shown interest.

Talwar would be the third Indian-origin senior official making a round of New Delhi in this very busy year, along with Biswal and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets Arun Kumar. In fact, Kumar has earned a distinction of twice visiting India within a month. He first led a trade delegation in mid-July and then participated in the Strategic Dialogue on July 31. It will be up to Arun Kumar and his colleagues to pry open the Indian market. Currently, India’s share of total global US good exports is just 1.4 per cent and slightly higher for services at 2 per cent.  But their current numbers are not the real story; their growth potential is. Kumar said at a recent US house sub-committee hearing that two priorities for the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is to expand commercial opportunities for US exporters to India and to increase Indian investment into US. He pointed out that on the investment front, India is the 8th fastest growing source of FDI in US. Incidentally, ITA’s Indian footprint is its largest outside US, with seven outposts in New Delhi, Ahmedabad,  Bangalore, Chennai,  Hyderabad,  Kolkata and Mumbai. ITA also runs an advocacy centre, which helps American SMEs to bid for government contracts. Kumar told the House panel that in 2014, ITA has already helped US companies win $4.2 billion in contracts in India. John Kerr’s speech called for an annual $500 billion trade growth between US and India.

With European markets shrinking, corporate America is wooing expanding markets like India and China. India is currently US’s 11th largest goods trading partner with $63.7 billion in total goods trade during 2013. India was US’s 18th largest goods export market in 2013, accounting for 1.4 per cent of overall US exports in 2013, which it hopes to increase. US wants greater access to Indian markets, simpler rules of engagement and a stronger intellectual protection regime—meaning US opposition to Indian pharmaceutical industry producing cheap versions of costly life-saving drugs. A recent study of 68 Indian companies which have invested, conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry, has found they piped in nearly US $17 billion in the US. About one-third of the companies actively engage in Research and Development (R&D), having spent over US $340 million in R&D, thus contributing to more innovation.

So far, Hagel’s is the last scheduled incoming visit by a US official in the six weeks till Modi leaves for the US on September 25. “But, that doesn’t mean there would be no more of them dropping in. To prepare a prime ministerial visit, short notice trips could happen,” said an official. While their dates are not yet fixed, important meetings of the defence policy group and the Trade Policy group have been planned before the end of the year. These two are the main premier bilateral interactions and their revival is one of the key points on the joint agenda. In the past one year, there have been over 70 senior-level visits from both sides.

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