26 November 2012

Four Years Hence: A Review of the Coastal Security Mechanism


Pushpita Das

November 26, 2012

Anniversaries provide an occasion to assess the achievements and setbacks in any endeavour as well as formulate plans for the future. In this context, the fourth anniversary of the 26 November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai provides an opportunity to review the measures that were put in place subsequent to the event to secure India’s coasts from sub-conventional threats. In fact, many of the measures had already been recommended by the Group of Ministers’ Report of 2001, but the government was not motivated enough to implement them because of lack of threat perception from the sea. The November 2008 attack, however, once again brought to the fore the vulnerability of India’s coasts and the urgent need for ensuring coastal security.

During the last four years, the Indian government has made concerted efforts to build a robust coastal security mechanism. To begin with, the existing multilayered patrolling and surveillance arrangement have been furthered strengthened. The Indian Navy has been brought into the folds of the coastal security mechanism and entrusted with the overall responsibility of maritime security including coastal and offshore security. The Indian Coast Guard has been assigned the additional responsibility of patrolling the territorial waters as well as coordinating between the central and state agencies. The procurement and recruitment plans of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have been approved and funds sanctioned to provide both these services with additional manpower, assets and infrastructure thus enhancing their capabilities.

Unfinished Tasks from 26/11: Lest We Forget

Unfinished Tasks from 26/11: Lest We Forget

Paper No. 5312 Dated 26-Nov-2012

By B. Raman

As the nation observes the fourth anniversary of the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, there are still many unfinished tasks arising from the strikes to which attention needs to be drawn. These are the following: 

The Government of Pakistan is yet to complete the prosecution and trial of the seven masterminds of the strikes. They have been arrested, but the trial against them before an anti-terrorism tribunal of Rawalpindi is being repeatedly adjourned under some pretext or the other, thereby making a mockery of the trial.

Pakistan has not taken any action against the officers of its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who had helped the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in carrying out the strikes. We find ourselves without any diplomatic or covert action options to force the Pakistani State to act against them. This dramatically illustrates our powerlessness in the face of the continued sponsorship of terrorism by Pakistan against Indian citizens in Indian territory.

Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the LET and its political wing Jamaat-ud-Dawa, continues to be a free man. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected all the evidence produced by us against him.

"Peace" for Gaza: Lessons from Israel’s “brutish” stand-off with Hamas


Abhijit Singh

November 26, 2012

A cease fire has been called to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, after both Hamas and Israel gave their go-ahead to a peace plan proposed by Cairo, and facilitated, in small measure, by the good offices of the US President and Secretary of State. Tensions had flared up on November 14 after Israel assassinated a commander of Hamas’ military wing, apparently in response to rocket attacks in Southern Israel by Hamas cadres. An unrelenting Hamas continued with the firing of explosive projectiles, leading to retaliatory attacks from Israel killing over 140 Palestinians.

Israel’s efficient defensive shield – the Iron Dome system – intercepted a majority of incoming Hamas missiles, keeping the number of casualties down to just five on its side of the border. But more than the physical harm caused in the crisis, it was the strain of dealing with the rising tide of public anger across the Middle East that rattled the leadership in Tel Aviv.

There has been a series of demonstrations in many parts of the Islamic world to show solidarity with the Gazans. Hamas and its allies in the Middle East have accused Israel of arrogance, high-handedness and the use of disproportionate force in putting down the resistance in Gaza. Israel, in turn, charged Hamas with the indiscriminate firing of rockets into its territory. Both sides, no doubt, have a valid point of view, and a compelling account to present. But Israel, the stronger contender, has completely shut its eyes to the travails of the Palestinians. Gaza has, for a long time, been under a crippling economic blockade, with Israel stopping virtually all items of daily needs entering the Hamas controlled territory. Tel Aviv has not articulated any clear condition for the blockade to end, only resorting to more cruel and harsh methods of imposing its ban on the movement of goods.

Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age

Across the world, the battle for free speech is pitting governments and corporations against activists and average citizens.


Freedom of speech is under threat around the world. On one side of this battle are governments and corporations seeking, to various degrees, to set limits on what is acceptable to say and what is not. On the other are ordinary citizens and activists demanding that their voices be heard -- voices that, in this new age of smartphones and social media, are harder than ever to silence, even as technology puts new implements of censorship into the hands of autocrats. In many cases, the battle is being joined in societies that are struggling with the powerful repercussions of free expression for the first time.

The 'Grexits' of 2013

The four geopolitical buzzwords that could be just around the corner.

This year brought fears of a "Grexit," a "fiscal cliff," and, yes, the "G-Zero," my own term for the U.S.-China nexus. What are the catchphrases that will tell the story of geopolitics next year?

ChiMils: You've heard of ChiComs? That's the shorthand that U.S. government types use to describe China's Communist leaders. But 2013 will remind us that China's government is not the monolith many imagine -- and that the country's military sometimes runs its own games. The ChiMils, China's military elite, have long been among the country's most influential interest groups. But as the fifth generation of Communist leaders embarks on a complex and ambitious economic reform project, we're likely to see the ChiMils stir up more trouble, to increase their budgets and assert a bit of autonomy.

4 Digital Threats to Worry About

From hacktivism to cyberwarfare, the dangers that define the digital age.

1. Privacy violations: Internet privacy is dwindling. Every purchase you make, flight you take, website you view, file you download, person you call, and email you send is tracked, and these profiles are then stored indefinitely and often sold to the highest bidders -- whoever they may be. Personal data long thought to be confidential simply isn't anymore. Consider your identity while walking down the street. Facial recognition technology has passed from law enforcement to the public realm -- Facebook uses it in many countries, gathering data from images to recognize you (unless you know to opt out of the feature). That's a violation of your right to privacy, right? Wrong. And who's to say Facebook's photo database, growing by several billion photos a month, won't be handed over to law enforcement agencies or corporations in the future?

The Opposite of Thinking

The key ingredient missing in our policymaking these days? Creativity.

Once again, Foreign Policy has with characteristic humility compiled its list of leading Global Thinkers. How we could possibly identify the top 100 thinkers on a planet of 7 billion people when we've never met a fairly considerable number of those people is not something we dwell on when discussing our methodology. Suffice it to say, the list is impressionistic. (OK, it's more than a little ridiculous. But this is a tradition, so let's just keep that between us, shall we?)

Dubious or not, there is something even more, shall we say, curious about the idea of a foreign-policy magazine doing the ranking. For starters, policy itself is more or less the opposite of thinking. It implies the development of a set of rules or guidelines that shape and direct actions. In fact, however, policy is designed to help keep people who aren't actually policymakers from doing any thinking at all at critical moments. And it doesn't take much more than a cursory look at how well things are going here on this little planet to reveal that foreign policymakers are not doing such a great job with all the thinking they are allegedly being paid to do.

The Imperfect World of George Soros

The billionaire investor wants to understand what it means to live in a world that we cannot fully understand.

George Soros cites Isaiah Berlin as an important intellectual influence, so it makes sense to see Soros through one of the Riga-born philosopher's best-known lenses -- the division of the world intofoxes and hedgehogs. In his public life, Soros is a broad-minded fox: As a hedge fund manager, his success rested on his ability to make many different bets every day. In his philanthropy, Soros is foxy too, supporting, under the broad umbrella of "open society," dozens of causes in dozens of countries.

But intellectually, Soros is a more narrowly focused hedgehog. He has been pondering, articulating, elaborating, and publicizing variations on one big idea for more than half a century. The way he describes that central thought today is "the significance of imperfect understanding as a motive force or determinant of history."

The Lady and the General

Meet the political odd couple driving democratic reform in Burma.

The most unlikely of political partners are driving the astonishing democratic transition in Burma. One of them is no surprise: Aung San Suu Kyi, the inspirational global icon who for recent generations has defined nonviolent struggle against oppression. The other, President Thein Sein, is an unassuming former general who rose to the senior ranks of the very military junta seen as responsible for Burma's decades of misery, but then had the courage to steer the country in a new direction. Neither sought this unusual pairing, but together they represent the most hopeful turn for Burma in half a century.

Burma before World War II served as one of the rice bowls of Asia, and its people aspired to the region's best standards of health, education, and prosperity. But the country's darker post-colonial legacies included bitter ethnic divides and an unfortunate role in the center of the neighborhood's Cold War intrigue, as the Soviet Union, China, and the United States each vied for strategic position and ideological cohorts. Following a 1962 coup, the military justified the decades of misrule to come by the need to hold the country together with whatever force necessary and resist any form of foreign domination -- real or imagined. The generals drove the country to ruin.

The FP Survey: The Wisdom of the Smart Crowd

The world's top experts weigh in on the year gone by and what's on the horizon for 2013.

For the fourth year in a row, Foreign Policy polled our list of the world's leading thinkers to ask about everything from the Chinese Communist Party's grip on power to Hillary Clinton's electoral prospects in 2016. So here's a look at what this brilliant collection -- everyone from presidents to dissidents, activists to artists -- has to say about the year gone by and what's on the horizon for 2013.

Charts show number of respondents out of 65.

Participants (65): Daron Acemoglu, Ai Weiwei, Joyce Banda, danah boyd, Willem Buiter, Chen Guangcheng, Yevgenia Chirikova, John Coates, Eliot Cohen, Rima Dali, Roger Dingledine, Esther Duflo, Mohamed El-Erian, Martin Feldstein, Jonathan Haidt, Husain Haqqani, Farahnaz Ispahani, Jameel Jaffer, Robert Kagan, Robert D. Kaplan, Abraham Karem, Eugene Kaspersky, Maryam al-Khawaja, Daphne Koller, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Kai-Fu Lee, Bjorn Lomborg, Ma Jun, Thomas Mann, Patrice Martin, Moncef Marzouki, Nick Mathewson, Nadim Matta, Ed Morse, Richard A. Muller, Charles Murray, Adela Navarro Bello, Andrew Ng, Beth Noveck, Martha Nussbaum, Norman Ornstein, Ricken Patel, Thomas Piketty, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani, Nabeel Rajab, Raghuram Rajan, Tariq Ramadan, Shai Reshef, James Robinson, Emmanuel Saez, Sana Saleem, Sima Samar, Ruchir Sharma, Radoslaw Sikorski, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Hew Strachan, Scott Sumner, Sebastian Thrun, Vivek Wadhwa, Wang Jisi, Jocelyn Wyatt, Yu Jianrong, Luigi Zingales, Jonathan Zittrain, Slavoj Zizek.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Chen Guangcheng on freedom, violence, and the possibility of a revolution in China.

In terms of foreign policy, the United States places too much importance on interests. It should place importance on humanity's values. Democracy, rule of law, constitutionalism, human rights, especially human rights -- they should make that number one!

Before my escape, many friends among human rights activists, common people, and intellectuals felt a very strong sense of powerlessness. Some friends told me that after this thing happened, this voice of powerlessness is almost entirely gone. I think it's really great. I've always wanted the common people to believe that one's own strength can change everything.

The Global Thinkers' Book Club

From psychology to biography, economics to tech, see what some of the world’s top minds are reading.
NOVEMBER 26, 2012

When FP chose this year's 100 Global Thinkers, we asked each of them to tell us the top three books they read in 2012. Their responses ranged unsurprisingly wide -- from Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson and John Lewis Gaddis's of George Kennan to Katherine Boo on Mumbai slum life and James Fallow on China's booming aviation industry. But theses eight books -- three of them written by current or former Global Thinkers -- drew the most recommendations. From psychology to biography, economics to tech, see what some of the world's top minds are reading.

The Stories You Missed in 2012

Ten events and trends that were overlooked this year, but may be leading the headlines in 2013.

The conventional wisdom holds that India and Pakistan, which remain locked in conflict over everything from the disputed territory of Kashmir to the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, while pointing dozens of nuclear-armed missiles at each other, are not going to cut a permanent peace deal anytime soon. This year, however, the perennially feuding neighbors finally notched several key positive developments that had nothing to do with borders, nukes, or terrorism. In short, both sides may be realizing that political tension is bad for business.

Economic activity between the two bitter enemies has long been pitifully minimal. Until now, that is. In 2009, only 1 percent of India's trade was with Pakistan, and only 1.7 percent of Pakistan's was with India. A total of one customs post is open along their 1,800-mile border. But that has been changing. Trade between the two countries increased ninefold to $2.7 billion between 2004 and 2011 and is likely to increase further after the signing of several key trade agreements this past September.

2012's Global Marketplace of Ideas and the Thinkers Who Make Them

The backlash after the heady Arab revolutions of 2011. The rumblings of war with nuclear-aspiring Iran. The bloody persistence of Bashar al-Assad in civil war-torn Syria. Not to mention a Europe mired in its biggest crisis since World War II and an American presidential campaign that distracted and depressed in equal measure. If ever there were a year for Big Ideas, and a frustration at not hearing them from our leaders, 2012 was it.

Which made it all the more rewarding -- if even more challenging than usual -- to identify this year's Foreign Policy Global Thinkers. It's particularly inspiring to have settled on a most heroic and unlikely pair as our top honorees for 2012: Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein, the once-jailed dissident and the longtime general who joined hands to open up one of the world's most repressive dictatorships. It's also testament to the notion that individuals and their ideas can truly change the world, a theme that resonates in ways large and small throughout this year's list, from digital-age visionaries like Sebastian Thrun (whose robot cars may just make him the Henry Ford of a new era) to rare political leaders like Malawian PresidentJoyce Banda, who is imagining a new Africa freed from toxic corruption. Still, many others on this year's list are there not necessarily for reinventing the world but for waging its ever-more complicated intellectual battles -- think Paul Ryan budget austerity versus Paul Krugman stimulus. If you want to shape the global conversation, you have to be a part of it.

Indeed, if there's one theme to this year's list, it's all about the perils and possibilities of free speech in this globalized age. As Columbia University President Lee Bollinger notes in a powerful essay, "Today, we quickly experience how censorship anywhere becomes censorship everywhere."

In an age when ideas, good and bad, travel the world at hyperspeed, we are proud to celebrate the brave thinking of those at the cutting edge of this global debate over freedom of expression. Welcome to the global marketplace of ideas, 2012 edition.

That Other War

The bloody conflict you didn't read about this week is in Congo, and it threatens to redraw the map of Africa.

KIGALI, Rwanda — One of Congo's biggest eastern cities fell to a powerful rebel force on Tuesday, Nov. 20, in a war that may redefine the region but has produced little political action by the United Nations, the United States, and international powers that heavily support neighboring governments -- notably Rwanda, a Western darling and aid recipient -- that are backing the violence, accordingto U.N. experts. The fighting has displaced nearly 1 million people since the summer, and the battle for the city of Goma marks the latest episode of a long struggle by Rwandan-backed rebels to take control of a piece of the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- a struggle the rebels are now decisively winning. The fighting has also highlighted the ineptitude of the United Nations mission, one of the world's largest and most expensive, charged with keeping Congo's peace.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday "to request that he use his influence on the M23 [rebels] to help calm the situation and restrain M23 from continuing their attack," as the U.N.'s peacekeeping chief put it. And French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius affirmed that the rebellion in Congo was supported by Rwanda, expressing "grave concern." But the violence has only escalated since. The U.N. Security Council called an emergency session over the weekend, but its condemnation of the violence, demanding that the rebels stop advancing on Goma and insisting that outside powers stop funding the M23 rebels, have all simply been ignored. The Security Council announced it would sanction M23 but did not even mention Rwanda, the main power behind the rebellion. And even as the fighting has intensified, the U.N. mission in Congo has been making public pronouncements about new access to drinking water for people in eastern Congo -- producing a surreal image of the war.

The New Breakout Nations

Forget the BRICs. Meet seven unheralded countries to watch.

The excitement that drove the discovery of "emerging markets" in the 1980s and the easy money that turbocharged growth during the booming 2000s are over. The most hyped countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- are all slowing sharply, taking the average growth rate in the developing world back to the old normal of about 5 percent. Today's global economy is all about moderate, uneven growth, with stars emerging in previously underappreciated nations. Forget about the BRICs -- these seven countries are the real breakout nations to watch:

1. Philippines: This country's huge wealth in natural resources is still largely untapped, and its long stagnant per capita income is still less than $3,000 -- but that means it has lots of room to grow. Since his election in 2010, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino has worked to finally deliver his political dynasty's promise to restore the luster of the Philippines of half a century ago, when it was billed as the next East Asian tiger. Aquino has overseen economic reforms that have made government spending more transparent and pushed for more tax revenue. And thanks to success in the outsourcing industry, the Philippine economy has watched incomes grow and new wealth spread.

Why Family Is a Foreign-Policy Issue

Helping women strike a work-life balance would change the world more than you might think.


I have a split personality these days. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I give speeches on work and family -- and the changes America needs to make to enable more professional women to get to the top. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach a course on the politics of public policy and give speeches about a wide range of foreign-policy issues. My audiences for the work-and-family talks are often interested in foreign policy as well, but for most people in my foreign-policy audiences, that "work/family stuff" is a completely separate arena, a sideline at best. Sure, individual women and men will often tell me privately that they appreciated the essay I wrote for the Atlantic this summer on why I gave up my high-profile State Department job to return to Princeton University and my two teenage sons, but they see no real connection with the foreign-policy world.

They're wrong. The connection is there, and it's a very important one: If more women could juggle work and family successfully enough to allow them to remain on high-powered foreign-policy career tracks, more women would be available for top foreign-policy jobs. And that would change the world far more than you think, from giving peace talks a better chance to making us better able to mobilize international coalitions to reordering what issues governments even choose to work on.

The Best Small Ideas of 2012

In our search for dramatic solutions to poverty, we sometimes miss the small innovations that could make a big difference in reducing inequality.


For all the laments we heard this year about inequality and calls to Occupy this or that, very little was actually done to close a wealth gap that, in some countries, has reached Gilded Age proportions. In the United States, the economy sputtered along and the presidential horse race soaked up most of the oxygen, while Europe spent most of 2012 peering into the abyss. In short, it was a year sorely in need of big ideas.

A look behind the headlines, however, finds an abundance of seemingly small ideas that are quietly changing the world in big ways. One comes from Nadim Matta (No. 25 on this year's Global Thinkers list), whose Rapid Results Institute works around the world to get things done by helping people set wildly overambitious 100-day goals and then meet them. Other innovations also flowered where most people aren't looking, and they are changing the lives of people who often go unnoticed: the world's poor.


In foreign aid: Ethiopia wants more of its children to stay in school. The Department for International Development (DFID) wants to help. Normally, the British aid agency would give Ethiopia money for building schools, hiring teachers, or taking other specific steps. Ethiopia would have to provide regular reports about how the money was used. Would the program work? No one would ever know.

This year something different is happening: DFID has decided to pay only when something good comes out. Ethiopia can do anything it wants to increase school attendance, but it will only get DFID's money when there are measurable results. For every extra student who takes the 10th-grade exam, Ethiopia will get a payment. For every extra student who passes the exam, another payment.

The idea, in the early days of a pilot, comes out of the Washington-based Center for Global Development, which calls it "cash on delivery." Cash on delivery could make foreign aid work better, allowing countries to do what they think works, rather than following rules made by a faraway donor. It also could raise political support for foreign aid in wealthy countries. Under cash on delivery, foreign aid is never wasted; if a program doesn't work, taxpayers don't pay.

With social impact bonds: Many social ills can be prevented, and prevented cheaply. Getting the chronically homeless into supportive housing, for example, both improves their lives and saves money. Other programs are proven to prevent crime or avoid hospitalizations. They, too, are bargains. But governments don't invest in prevention -- they're too short of cash. It's a vicious circle, and an increasingly expensive one.

This year New York became the second city, after Peterborough, England, to experiment with a new financial instrument that has attracted attention around the globe: the social impact bond. New York wants to run a program to keep young men jailed at Rikers Island from ever coming back. Investment firm Goldman Sachs is providing nearly $10 million to finance the program. The government will repay Goldman if the program works -- if it cuts recidivism. And Goldman can make a profit of $2.1 million if it really, really works. If it fails, the government pays nothing.

Although untested, the model is so attractive that governments all over the world are already scrambling to set up social impact bonds, and development groups are trying to design them to deliver services in poor countries, such as preventing malaria, increasing contraception coverage, or finishing the job of eradicating polio.


As welfare: This year, the World Bank made a remarkable announcement about the first of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, which aims to cut extreme poverty in half. Despite the global economic crisis of the last few years, it was achieved -- five years ahead of schedule. One big reason is China's economic growth. But the second most important reason is probably a welfare program called conditional cash transfers, or CCTs.

CCTs started nearly simultaneously in Mexico and Brazil, which are still duking it out for credit. (Mexico, through former Deputy Finance Minister Santiago Levy, had the first nationwide program, but Brazil, thanks to the efforts of former Brasilia Gov. Cristovam Buarque, implemented the idea first.) The idea is to give the poorest people cash to relieve poverty now -- but condition that cash on actions that will help the next generation. In Mexico's Oportunidades program, which covers a fifth of the country, families get cash if they keep their children in school and attend regular medical checkups and health workshops on topics like nutrition and preventing dengue fever. In Brazil, the program has contributed to a stunning drop in inequality.

What's new about CCTs is their application just about everywhere. Pushed by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, they are now used in at least 35 countries and cover half a billion people. In many countries, the CCT program is the first social welfare system ever -- or the first one that works. CCTs are usually successful because handing out cash is relatively easy for even bad governments to do right. The hard part is that when recipients increase their use of health clinics and schools, countries have to build more of them, and in places that didn't have them before.

Instead of food aid: When famine occurs, wealthy countries tend to give food, especially the United States, by far the world's largest donor of emergency food. Shipping grain abroad was designed as a way to help American farmers. But it has always been a lousy system for helping starving people. It is inefficient: Shipping and storage cost as much as the food, and transport costs are now rising with oil prices. It's also slow: Hungry people need food now, not four to six months from now.

What works better? Cash, or its equivalent in vouchers. The idea is old -- it was discussed, among other places, in Amartya Sen and Jean Drèze's 1989 book, Hunger and Public Action. What's new is the bear hug it's finally getting from food donors. The World Food Program is moving away from shipping grain toward using cash -- this year a third of its donations will be in cash or vouchers -- as are other major donors such as Britain. The holdout is the United States.

In some places where people go hungry, grain is needed because no food can be found. In others, however, the market works -- or would work, if people could afford to buy anything.

Cash has other advantages. It allows people to buy the foods they normally eat and helps local farmers and shopkeepers -- who are often put out of business when grain comes in from outside. Giving money also eliminates the horrifying scrum to grab a sack of grain thrown off the truck, which robs the weakest of the chance for food, and robs everyone of dignity.

Instead of refugee camps: The more than 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, like refugees everywhere, get support from U.N. agencies such as the World Food Program and the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But Lebanon hasn't set up a camp for them; they get vouchers for buying food in local shops. Refugees from the Iraq war in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan got bank cards. They took out money from cash machines, bought food, and paid rent. They lived as close to a normal life as they could.

Refugee camps save lives -- millions of lives. The problem is that once an emergency is over, the refugee camp persists. The world's largest refugee complex, in Dadaab, northern Kenya, is 20 years old, and there are people who have never stepped outside it. In many camps, refugees are essentially prisoners -- people victimized twice.

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has spent years fighting for alternatives to what it calls the "warehousing" of refugees. Those alternatives are starting to take hold: UNHCR now looks for ways to support refugees outside camps, giving them money and services instead. This method runs best when the money that would otherwise be spent on camps is given not only to refugees, but also to their hosts to pay for the services the refugees use.


Microinsurance: Microcredit -- tiny loans provided to poor people with no standard collateral that were a revolutionary idea when Bangladesh's Muhammad Yunus first promoted them 38 years ago -- is old enough to have offspring. Now those spinoffs are promising to help the poor in ways credit alone can't.

This was the year of microinsurance, which now covers some half a billion people with small policies to protect their lives, health, crops, and vehicles. Poor people need insurance even more than wealthier people. With insurance, the poor can take important financial risks, such as keeping their children in school or planting their whole field, instead of just a part to save money.

But it was never feasible for insurance companies to write micropolicies; the cost of issuing a $20 policy is the same as that of a $200,000 policy. They needed cheap ways to assess risks and damages, sell policies, and pay claims. Now those channels exist. Crop insurance, for example, is possible today for small-scale farmers because of localized weather data from satellites and computerized weather stations. With information about rainfall, insurance companies don't have to make costly visits to farms to verify crop damage. And they can sell their policies and make their payouts via cell phone, thanks to the spread of cell-phone banking in Africa.

Microfranchising: Microcredit provides, well, credit. Everything else that goes into a business is up to the borrower. But not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, and everywhere in the world new businesses often fail. So microcredit begat the microfranchise. Remember the Avon lady? She's a microfranchisee, a borrower who's given a business in a box.

There may already be as many as 2,000 microfranchising companies in poor countries, among them Fan Milk, with 25,000 vendors selling ice cream and juice by bike in seven West African countries, and Ruma, with a network of 10,000 vendors selling cell-phone airtime throughout Indonesia. Now, microfranchising is taking on another role: New organizations like Living Goods in Uganda help poor people start businesses selling medicines, nutritionally fortified foods, or water filters to villagers who otherwise wouldn't know about or be able to buy these products. The new idea with microfranchising is to make it a sustainable distribution channel -- one with a known brand, a tested model, training, and inventory bought at bulk rates -- for getting life-changing goods into the hands of the poor.

* * *
Three common threads run through these ideas. They all devolve power away from donors, letting poor people decide what to buy with cash or letting poor governments choose how best to combat social ills. They all uncover new resources: Governments are finding private investors to fund programs; insurance makes the poor's few assets more valuable; cash instead of in-kind donations enlists the energies of its recipients. Finally, all these innovations in one way or another are financial products. Inequality is stubborn because the people at the very top of society resist attacks on their excess. But here's a big idea: Maybe financial creativity can finally start to help reduce inequality by bringing up the very bottom.

Time Slipping, U.S. Ponders Afghan Role After 2014

Published: November 25, 2012

WASHINGTON — American and allied military planners are drawing up the broad outlines of a force that would remain in Afghanistan following the handover to Afghan security after 2014, including a small counterterrorism force with an eye toward Al Qaeda, senior officials say.

Under the emerging plan, the American counterterrorism force might number less than 1,000, one military official said. In a parallel effort, NATO forces would advise Afghan forces at major regional military and police headquarters but most likely have a minimal battlefield role, with the exception of some special operations advisers.

Final decisions on the size of the American and NATO presence after 2014 and its precise configuration have not been made by the United States or its allies. But one option calls for about 10,000 American and several thousand non-American NATO troops.

The planning for a post-2014 mission has emerged as an early test for President Obama in his new term as he tries to flesh out the strategy for transferring the responsibility for security to the Afghans. But it is not the only challenge: After the White House decides what sort of military presence to propose to the Afghan government for after 2014, it must turn to the question of how quickly to reduce its troop force before then.

Lord Of The Border Pillar 638

November 26, 2012 
by Team SAI

Col N N Bhatia (Retd)

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 is synonymous with liberation of Bangladesh that commenced with Pakistan launching of Operation Chengiz Khan on 3 December 1971 through pre-emptive strikes on 11 Indian airbases. The war effectively came to an end after the Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces deployed to protect Eastern Wing of the country signed Instrument of Surrender on 16 December 1971 and East Pakistan seceded as an independent country of Bangladesh. During the course of the war, though the major Indian focus was on the Eastern Theatre mainly to liberate Bangladesh, many notable battles were fought in the Western Theatre too to contain and destroy our adversary. One such Battle was “The Battle of Boundary Pillar (BP) 638” fought by 13 Kumaon on 9 December 1971 near Longewala in Jaisalmer Sector against utter combat confusion and heavy odds.

The Great Thar Desert and Cholistan

The Great Thar Desert that sweeps across the southern portion of the Indio-Pakistan border presents a formidable obstacle to operations by major military formations. In addition to climatic extremes and lack of water, road and rail connectivity are scarce and vehicular movement is generally restricted to the area’s few tracks. The eastern portion of the great Indian Thar desert is called Rohi or Cholistan which is a barren tract. The name Cholistan comes from Cholna, a Saraiki word meaning ‘moving’. The landscape consists of succession of shifting sand dunes rising at places to a height of 500 feet with vegetation peculiar to sandy tracts. None the less, both India and Pakistan committed significant forces in this barren region and planned advances across the border. Pakistani General Headquarters (GHQ) had allotted this vast desert theatre just a single 18 Division supported by some paramilitary and irregular troops that had had two brigades opposite Jaisalmer and one in the down south in Naya Chor. On the Indian side, the Southern Command with two regular divisions and two sector headquarters was responsible for this theatre.

The Karachi-Lahore railway is very vital link connecting West Pakistan with its only port with hinterland. Rahim Yar Khan (RYK), about 170 km north of Jaisalmer is an important communication centre in this area, which is 65 km from Kishangarh on the Indian border. The Pakistanis were naturally very sensitive about RYK and to forestall Indian offensive against it, made an ambitious race plan towards Jaisalmer.

The strange march to the 1965 war

Inder Malhotra :
Mon Nov 26 2012

On June 30, 1965, an agreement on settling the Kutch conflict was signed (‘Prelude to a war’, IE, November 12) and the process of forming a three-member international tribunal to settle the issue continued all through July. And then, on August 5, some graziers in the Kashmir Valley spotted Pakistani infiltrators, many of them evidently soldiers in mufti, and reported this to the authorities. Eighteen years earlier, Pakistan had used precisely the same stratagem of sending in “raiders” as the first step in its first invasion of Kashmir. Yet the Indian government refrained from declaring Pakistan’s diabolical action to be an act of war. Presumably, Lal Bahadur Shastri hoped that the strong personal message he had sent to Field Marshal Ayub Khan would solve the problem.

Inexplicably, New Delhi delayed the announcement of this grave development until the late evening of August 8. The next morning I took the first available plane to Srinagar. There was fear in the air but life in the city seemed to be going on normally. At 6 pm, when the whole Valley went under curfew, the mood changed. Suddenly, there appeared in my hotel room Sushital Banerji, a dear friend and an outstanding civil servant. In numerous capacities, he had handled many of Kashmir’s myriad crises. He insisted that I pick up a change of clothes and my shaving kit to accompany him to his home.

Only on reaching there did I discern the cause of his anxiety. The situation was fragile and chaotic. Infiltrators were getting dangerously close to Kashmir’s capital, and nobody senior to Banerji was around to direct the beleaguered administration. The dynamic state Home Minister D.P. Dhar and the equally effective chief secretary, Mangat Rai, had gone off in opposite directions to inspect how the rather paltry paramilitary forces and the police were coping with the Pakistani challenge.

An inconvenient truth

Ayesha Siddiqa ,
Hindustan Times
November 25, 2012

First Published: 22:26 IST(25/11/2012)
Last Updated: 22:31 IST(25/11/2012)


On this day, four years ago, Mumbai was attacked by terrorists who managed to kill 166 people and injure many others. Will the victims and their families ever get a closure, even with last week’s hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the sole terrorist who was captured alive on 26/11? This is a million dollar question, more so because the terror group that was behind the attack — Lashkar-e-Taiba — is still alive and kicking.

The 26/11 case is a complicated one because while the crime took place in India, the command and control was reportedly with men stationed in Pakistan. There are seven suspects of the Mumbai case incarcerated in Pakistan’s Adiyala jail where they are undergoing an in-camera trial. The legal proceeding is taking a long time for three reasons: first, a cloud of suspicion hangs over the exchange of information pertaining to the case. While New Delhi says that it has provided sufficient information to convict the suspects, Islamabad says the information given to it cannot be presented as evidence in a court.

Second, there is sympathy within certain State institutions for the LeT as its trained warriors are available to the Pakistani State. Third, due to a number of reasons the judicial system seems to have lost its capacity to try terror suspects.

Beijing-Delhi Express

C. Raja Mohan : Mon Nov 26 2012, 03:48 hrs

The second round of the India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, held in Delhi today, is expected to generate a preliminary agreement to explore Beijing’s participation in the long overdue modernisation of Indian railways.

India is said to be considering three major areas for collaboration with China — the development of high-speed rail networks, expansion of heavy freight haulage and the upgrading of major train stations. In all these fields, India is a laggard and can help itself by opening the door to the new world leader, China. Beijing has the money, technology, expertise and experience to accelerate the transformation of Indian railways.

The rail sector, in fact, captures the story of the divergent developmental trajectories that Delhi and Beijing have pursued in the last few decades and explains why India has fallen behind China in so many areas. But is Delhi capable of grasping the counter-intuitive truth that the road to political parity with Beijing runs through deeper economic collaboration with Beijing?

FOR FARMERS TO GET MORE- FDI in multi-brand retail

Commentarao: S.L. Rao

Foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail has nothing to do with agricultural development. It enhances the negotiating ability of large retail chains. If they sell fresh vegetables and fruits, they will buy from present trade channels. But the traditional small retailers who will be hurt will be the ones in the vicinity; not the five million or more retailers in India. The proposal to create a new regulator, presumably to ensure fair competition, is superfluous. Fair competition can be ensured by the Competition Commission of India.

Brands refer to packaged manufactured products, not fresh products like fruits and vegetables. Yet every spokesman and proponent of FDI in retail, juxtaposes the ‘logic’ that it will lead to consumers getting lower prices for fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers getting better prices for them, and profit for retailers. FDI in retail is said to transform Indian agriculture, lead to increased agricultural productivity and production, and put India on a sustainable path of high growth.

Siachen Again!

By Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal
Issue Vol 27.3 Jul-Sep 2012 | Date : 27 Oct , 2012

De-militarisation is a process that consists of several logical steps: ceasefire, authentication, demarcation, withdrawal, re-deployment and verification. It is a concept that formal and informal working groups, researchers and defence analysts have concurred as one of the best possible solutions to the Siachen problem. Reams of paper have been consumed in determining the process and procedures of verification, authentication and lines of redeployment. Ideas have been discussed in official Government to Government talks, Track II meets and think tanks. Use of technology and methodology to map, confirm and monitor have been deliberated upon threadbare, and in some cases, a general consensus has even been arrived at. So where then is the stumbling block?

On April 06, 2012, an avalanche wiped out the battalion headquarters of the 6th Northern Light Infantry (NLI) at Gyari, located west of the Saltoro Ridge in the Siachenarea, instantly burying 138 Pakistani soldiers and civilians under several feet of snow. The victims included the Commanding Officer, a Company Commander and the Medical Officer.

Analysts agree that the two nations are engaged in a futile conflict in some of the most inhospitable terrain…

Having lost over a hundred soldiers in the unfortunate accident, General Kayani, Pakistan’s Army Chief was distraught during his visit to the area as any military leader would have been. His remarks in subsequent days, about the demilitarisation of Siachen evoked a fair deal of response from varied quarters.

Why Israel Didn’t Win

Adam Shatz

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The ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas in Cairo after eight days of fighting is merely a pause in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It promises to ease movement at all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but will not lift the blockade. It requires Israel to end its assault on the Strip, and Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets at southern Israel, but it leaves Gaza as miserable as ever: according to a recent UN report, the Strip will be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020. And this is to speak only of Gaza. How easily one is made to forget that Gaza is only a part – a very brutalised part – of the ‘future Palestinian state’ that once seemed inevitable, and which now seems to exist mainly in the lullabies of Western peace processors. None of the core issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict – the Occupation, borders, water rights, repatriation and compensation of refugees – is addressed by this agreement.

The fighting will erupt again, because Hamas will come under continued pressure from its members and from other militant factions, and because Israel has never needed much pretext to go to war. In 1982, it broke its ceasefire with Arafat’s PLO and invaded Lebanon, citing the attempted assassination of its ambassador to London, even though the attack was the work of Arafat’s sworn enemy, the Iraqi agent Abu Nidal. In 1996, during a period of relative calm, it assassinated Hamas’s bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash, the ‘Engineer’, leading Hamas to strike back with a wave of suicide attacks in Israeli cities. When, a year later, Hamas proposed a thirty-year hudna, or truce, Binyamin Netanyahu dispatched a team of Mossad agents to poison the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman; under pressure from Jordan and the US, Israel was forced to provide the antidote, and Meshaal is now the head of Hamas’s political bureau – and an ally of Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi.

Our Man in Kabul?

For the U.S. and its allies, Afghanistan is now a two-front war: a military struggle against the Taliban and a bitter political rift with the Afghan president.



As the American military presence in Afghanistan has expanded in recent years, the Obama administration's relations with the Afghan president have declined dramatically. As WSJ Kabul correspondent Yaroslav Trofimov explains to Weekend Review editor Gary Rosen, Karzai opposed the "surge" strategy from the start and feels vindicated by its setbacks.

The darkest pages of Afghan history are reserved for a traitorous king named Shah Shuja. Enthroned by British invaders in 1839, he was ignominiously slaughtered once the routed infidels left.

President Hamid Karzai knows this story well. He hails from the same Pashtun sub-clan as the reviled 19th-century monarch. In their leaflets, poems and songs, the Taliban relentlessly mock Mr. Karzai as the modern-day Shuja, a ruler imposed by outsiders and destined to meet an unhappy end.

China lands fighter jet on new carrier in show of force

China lands first jet on aircraft carrier

SHANGHAI | Sun Nov 25, 2012
(Reuters) - China has carried out its first successful landing of a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, state media said on Sunday, a symbolically significant development as Asian neighbors fret about the world's most populous country's military ambitions.

The home-built J-15 fighter jet took off from and landed on the Liaoning, a reconditioned Soviet-era vessel from Ukraine which only came into service in September this year.

China ushered in a new generation of leaders this month at the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, with outgoing President Hu Jintao making a pointed reference to strengthening China's naval forces, protecting maritime interests and the need to "win local war".

China is embroiled in disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam over South China Sea islands believed to be surrounded by waters rich in natural gas. It has a similar dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, or Mao Zedong?

By James R. HolmesNovember 26, 2012

Last week we kicked off the winter term in the Naval War College’s Intermediate Level Course, dubbed Strategy & War. We spend the first week of seminars with the giants of strategic theory, namely Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Mao Zedong. That provides a platform from which we vault into historical case studies for the balance of the course. We encounter the rest of the greats—Thucydides, Alfred Thayer Mahan, Sir Julian Corbett, David Galula—along the way. At the outset of any seminar I like to canvass the students about their predispositions toward strategy. Solomon-like, I decree that each person justify his choice by listing a favorite passage from that theorist’s writings.

Does Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, or Mao speak to a particular group of people more, and why? Which concepts find more favor? Mao tends to finish third, probably because he carries heavy historical baggage. In six years of overseeing seminars, I have never had a Maoist class. Whatever the Chinese Communist Party chairman’s strategic ingenuity, it’s hard to overlook the mounds of dead Chinese bodies stacked up during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, when Mao made the transition from tearing down a state to building his own. By my unscientific count, around a quarter of students ‘fess up to being admirers of Maoist works such as On Protracted War. On the whole, setting aside Mao’s third-party candidacy, seminars generally incline slightly to Clausewitz’s On War or to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

'U.S. Can't Squeeze China Out Of Myanmar'

That was the message that China sought to convey to President Barack Obama as he completed his eight-hour visit to Yangon (Rangoon) on November 19, 2012


'U.S. Can't Squeeze China Out Of Myanmar'. That was the message that China sought to convey to President Barack Obama as he completed his eight-hour visit to Yangon (Rangoon) on November 19, 2012, during which he met President Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and addressed the students of the Rangoon University.

Ever since the US and Myanmar started moving closer to each other last year, the Chinese have been keeping a watchful eye on the interactions between the leaders of the two countries without any sign of undue panic that Myanmar was sought to be weaned away from China as part of the USA’s new Asia policy.

President Thein Sein too and his officers maintained regular military-to-military exchanges with China in order to reassure Beijing that opening-up to the US would not be at the expense of traditional close relations with China and that the Chinese military leadership should have no reason to fear any dilution of the strategic ties between the two countries, including the relations between the armed forces of the two countries. Before going to New York in September 2012 to attend the UN General Assembly session during which he met Mr Obama, Mr Thein Sein took care to visit China.

Beyond the affair

by Mark Safranski — November 23, 2012
Why the Petraeus affair really matters

Initially, as Washington, D.C. scandals go, the one enmeshing former CIA Director, General David Petraeus could not have been more impeccably timed or skillfully managed. Despite many months of secret investigation by the FBI, the scandal involving the iconic general, who was also a key administration figure, conveniently did not come to light during the heat of the presidential election. General Petraeus abruptly resigned November 9th, stepping down admitting to an affair, allegedly with his biographer and former military intelligence officer, Paula Broadwell, who for many days skillfully eluded efforts by reporters to discover her whereabouts during the height of the media storm. It seemed possible that the fall-out of the affair would be confined to the reputational damage done to the Petraeus and Broadwell households and official Washington would move on to speculation regarding who the President might nominate to be Petraeus’ successor as CIA Director.

It was not to be. Instead of quieting down, the Petraeus scandal blossomed like a fireball, engulfing General John Allen, USMC, the commander of NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, subsequently merging with the already rancorous dispute between the Obama administration and Congress over the investigation of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The administration, which had hoped the resignation would preclude Petraeus from testifying, saw Senators and Congressmen, angry that the FBI had failed to properly inform them, compel the former CIA director to come before closed door hearings of the intelligence committees. In secret testimony, Petraeus revealed, contrary to the administration’s position, that UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial Benghazi talking points from the CIA had later been “edited”, leaving Republican senators furious and determined to block any nomination of Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

If the reaction to the Petraeus scandal, which did not appear to involve any official misconduct, were merely another symptom of the normal partisan political dysfunction in Washington, the matter would have already faded. Unfortunately, the timing of the scandal in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election and symbolic nature of General Petraeus himself, having been lionised for his leadership role in two still-controversial wars, has served as a catalyst, inflaming existing divisions and pointing to the potential of long term effects upon the conduct of American policy, unfolding for some time to come and likely for the worse.

Einstein’s Office: Genius in the Details

Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Einstein's office at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, photographed on the day of his death, April 18, 1955.

The death of a public figure of Albert Einstein’s stature is the sort of event that, literally and figuratively, stops the presses. No scientist has been more famous, no antiwar activist ever argued his case with more conviction, no exemplar of genius has ever been as frequently invoked (albeit in language often dripping with sarcasm: “Nice going, Einstein!”) than the German-born father of modern physics. So when word came on a Monday morning in April 1955 that Einstein had died, at age 76, at New Jersey’s Princeton Hospital, the victim of an aortic aneurysm, the scramble was on to recount the story of his life and, as urgently, his death.


Gwynne Dyer

Let’s be fair: there is some sort of pattern here, but it is not very consistent. Five times in Israel since 1980 a right-wing government has called an election without launching a complementary military operation. The right lost two of those elections outright, more or less tied two others, and won only one of them decisively.

On the other hand, critics of Israel point out, three times since 1980 right-wing Israeli governments have combined an election campaign with a major military operation against some Arab or Palestinian target. This, it has been argued, yields decisive electoral success for the right. Menachem Begin’s government won the 1981 election three weeks after carrying out a dramatic attack on the Osirak research nuclear reactor that France had sold to Iraq. Most said the reactor, which was closely supervised both by the French and by the International Atomic Energy Agency, was not suited to the large-scale production of enriched uranium and posed no threat to Israel, but the attack was popular in Israel.

Ehud Olmert’s coalition launched the “Cast Lead” onslaught against the Gaza Strip in December 2008-January 2009. The three-week campaign left 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. The election was held a month later; Binyamin Netanyahu emerged as the leader of a new right-wing coalition.

So here we go again, perhaps? Netanyahu is still the prime minister, and the next elections are due in January. What better way to ensure success than to go and bash the Palestinians again? Almost two weeks later, with more than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis dead, his reelection is assured: Israelis overwhelmingly support the current military operation. That’s the case that is made against Israel. Does it hold water? No, it doesn’t.

What Next for the Oil and Gas Industry?

Programme Report

John Mitchell with Valérie Marcel and Beth Mitchell, October 2012
Download paper here

Download Executive Summary

The oil and gas industry is under pressures that will transform it. The effect of other industries on oil demand, the increasing opportunities for non-conventional oil and gas that offset perceptions of limits to conventional resources, and the shift of growth to Asia will all compel the industry to look for growth in value rather than volume, to distinguish between the expanding markets of developing countries and the declining markets of the private sector in developed countries, and to target technologies to a diversity of resource opportunities outside the state sector and to specialized partnerships within it.

How the industry changes is important for those who invest in it, depend on its products or try to avoid the environmental and social effects of using them, or who look for tax revenues from its activities.

Pakistan: Regional Rivalries, Local Impacts

DIIS and Chatham House Report
Edited by Mona Kanwal Sheikh, Farzana Shaikh and Gareth Price, October 2012
Download paper here

This DIIS/Chatham House report considers the interplay between regional tensions and Pakistan's internal conflicts.

The report consists of an overview chapter focusing on the impacts of Afghanistan, China, Russia, India, Iran and Saudi Arabia on Pakistan’s major challenges: troubled borders, ethnic secessionism, the presence of foreign fighters and indigenous militancy, tensions over water and ideological battles. The subsequent chapters focus separately on selected provinces, administrative divisions and urban centres in Pakistan, namely: Balochistan, FATA, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Gilgit–Baltistan, Punjab and Sindh.

Refugee-Camp Militarisation in Bangladesh and Thailand

Refugee-Camp Militarisation in Bangladesh and Thailand

Vol - XLVII No. 47-48, December 01, 2012 | Navine Murshid

Special Articles

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This article gives an overview of the factors that lead to the militarisation of Myanmarese refugee camps in Bangladesh and Thailand, using insights from the ethnic composition of the refugees in each country, the role of international organisations and non-governmental organisations, as well as the capacity and desire of each country to control militarisation. The evidence is largely gathered from interviews of aid officials, reporters and refugees in both refugee-hosting countries.

India and China Trading with the World and Each Other

India and China
Trading with the World and Each Other
Vol - XLVII No. 44, November 03, 2012 | Silvio Beretta and Renata Targetti Lenti

Special Articles

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Analysing the competitive and complementary position of India and China in the world economy and evaluating bilateral trade in commodities between them, this paper shows different paths of specialisation and an intensification of bilateral trade. Indian comparative advantages are still concentrated in the traditional sector and in some manufacturing sectors, while China has specialised in mass exports of cheap goods, becoming competitive in exports of electronic goods. India and China complement each other in many areas, as revealed by a growing inter-industry trade, and there is ample room for them to further increase bilateral trade and exchange valuable experience and learning with each other.

Our disaster management is a disaster

November 06, 2012

Sushant Singh

At Quora, the website which promises to get great answers to our questions, one recent entry caught my eye: “Should Hurricane Sandy hit Mumbai to clean the garbage in the city? Mumbai is very untidy, people throw trash on roads, highways, the stations are pathetic. So I guess Hurricane Sandy can at least clean the trash here.” Thankfully, the question was tagged as #sarcasm, and has been flagged as needing attention from moderators. “What on earth could possibly make you look at a hurricane as a natural vacuum cleaner?” was the first answer, an instinctive response for most of us.

While this exchange is a telling comment on our civic amenities and municipal services, it also points to our casual approach towards natural disasters.

Not only are the government agencies ill-prepared for disaster management, the public is equally unconcerned about the perils of a natural disaster. Take the example of Mumbai. On July 26, 2005, the city received 994mm of rain, the eighth heaviest ever recorded 24-hour rainfall figure. It resulted in overflows from an already inadequate drainage system.

Deluge: The 2005 floods in Mumbai

The overflow failed to drain out to the sea because of the maximum high tide level of 4.48m at that time. The deluge claimed the lives of 900 people and left thousands stranded across the city. A CORFU study blamed damming of upper reaches of the rivers, infilling and levelling of the first and second order streams, constriction of the mouth of Mithi River and Mahim Bay and reclamation of riverine wetlands for the disaster. Siltation and clogging of drainage arteries resulted in reduction of river widths and depths compounding the problem of flooding.

Encroachments inside the riverbed as well as on the banks choked and constricted the water courses, and aggravated flooding risks.

GDP: India and China to surpass G7 nations by 2025

Last updated on: November 19, 2012

While China's economy may very well outrace the combined euro zone by the end of this year, India is likely to jump over Japan's economy, according to a latest report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The report, titled "Looking to 2060: long-term global growth prospects", also predicted that the Asian pair will be bigger than the USA, Euro zone and Japan.

The Paris-based OECD, which is an elite-group of industrial democracies, predicted the outcomes on a hypothetical scenario rather than a firm projection in a bid to understand long-term trends in the global economy.

The OECD said that the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of China and India was likely to exceed that of all the current Group of Seven (G7) rich economies by around 2025.

Already, in 2010, the two economies output was just less than half the G7's GDP.

The report, basing its projections on 2005's purchasing power parities (PPP), measured China and India to account for 28% and 11% respectively of the total output of 42 major economies by 2030.

Comparatively, US will be 18%, Euro Zone 12% and Japan 4%.

The OECD sketched global growth of 3% a year over the next half-century, driven mostly by improvements in productivity and replenishment of human capital.

Asa Johansson, one of the authors of the report, said that although the report presents a hypothetical scenario instead of a firm projection, "The extent of the expected shift in economic power away from developed countries was striking."

Reuters reported that at market exchange rates, it will take emerging markets a bit longer to seize the crown - for example, Goldman Sachs reckons the BRICs quartet of Brazil, Russia, India and China will overtake the G7 by 2037.

The report mentioned that till 2020, China will continue to have the highest growth rate from all the countries.

But around this time, it will be surpassed by India and Indonesia as its working-age population will continue to decline.

China's savings rate, which now exceeds 50% of GDP, is likely to plunge by no less than 40 percentage points by 2060, half of this drop due to ageing.

China still has a considerable start over India, through strong productivity growth and robust investments during the past decade.

So, although the pair will grow seven times in the next five decades, China's per capita income will be 25% higher than the present US income in 2060, when India will still be at half the present US income.

Even under these circumstances, China will be just short of Spain and France and ahead of Italy.

The OECD said that globally current account imbalances will be back to pre-crisis levels by 2025-2030, potentially undermining growth in the absence of ambitious policy changes.

The OECD further assumed that the global financial crisis will have no permanent effect on trend growth rates.