24 December 2012

Why the existence of Pakistan is not in India’s interest

Issue Net Edition | Date : 24 Dec , 2012 

Pakistan has been a thorn in India’s left side for 65 years, and amazingly, India has tolerated its pain and irritation, against most odds of human nature. After four wars and multiple proxy wars waged by Pakistan, it still doesn’t count as much for India – a big elephant that is difficult to move. India’s Pakistan policy practices restraint and constraint against an enemy that hates it, that was born in conflict against India in brutal bloodshed, and even now hopes one day to overcome a weak India. 

Pakistan still has the energy and gumption to promote proxy wars in India via Nepal, Bangladesh, and, of course, Kashmir. 

Despite all the difficulties that Pakistan has faced and faces – internal political turmoil and terrorist threats, external issues in Afghanistan, an economy that is on the verge of collapse, and being condemned around the world for its export of terrorism – Pakistan still has the energy and gumption to promote proxy wars in India via Nepal, Bangladesh, and, of course, Kashmir. Which concept of rationality in the modern world can accept Pakistan’s belligerent and incongruent worldview, at a time when the civilized world wishes peace and economic prosperity against a threatening climate, growing population, an oncoming oil crisis, and worldwide economic woes? 

Chinese Aerial Patrols Over Senkaku Islands

December 24, 2012 


On 13 December 2012 it was reported that China carried out its first air patrol over the Senkaku islands. This involved a government owned Y-12 of the Sea and Ocean Administration (SOA) – China’s equivalent of a Coast Guard. Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighters to vacate this ‘intrusion into their airspace’. While this incident ended without any further untoward developments, similar events in future have the potential to spiral out of control. 

International Law and Norms on Aerial Intrusions 

Civil Aircraft Intruding into Sovereign Airspace 

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) lays down very clear procedures for civil aircraft operated on scheduled or non-scheduled operations to enter another state’s sovereign airspace. 

A state’s sovereign airspace extends vertically up from the land borders till the demarcation of air and outer space defined by the arbitrarily set Karman line at 62.137 miles (100 kilometres) above mean sea level (AMSL).1 Over the seas the limits of sovereign airspace extend upwards till the Karman line from the 12 nautical mile (nm) territorial waters limit. 

Civil aircraft are required to obtain prior permission of the state concerned with intimation of their purpose, route to be followed, flight parameters, load or passengers carried, etc. Such aircraft are to proceed only once cleared to do so. Further, in situations where such aircraft stray from their stated/permitted paths or approach prohibited areas, they may be intercepted by armed fighter aircraft of the state owning the sovereign airspace concerned. ICAO also lays down the procedure to be followed by the interceptors and associated ground or air based controlling Air Defence radar stations: contact the straying civil aircraft and inform it of its divergence from the agreed path and to get it to alter course appropriately. Alternately, the aircraft may be asked to land at a suitable airfield. Should contact through Radiotelephony (R/T) fail, the interceptors are to use clearly laid down manoeuvres and signals to instruct the straying civil aircraft. 

The December GCC Ministerial Meeting and Improved Integration in Gulf Military Forces

Dec 24, 2012 

The US cannot hope to achieve a successful resolution to Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, or establish security in the Gulf, without the support of its military partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE all provide important contributions to the effort to deter and defend against Iran, and any threat to the export of some 20% of the world’s oil supplies. They provide forces, basing rights, and political support that is a critical part of efforts to persuade Iran that it must negotiate, and their support will be equally critical in US efforts to contain Iran or carry out preventive strikes. 

USCENTCOM already plays a critical role in integrating the forces of each state into a more effective military deterrent and warfighting capacity. So do more than $64 billion in new arms agreement the US has signed over the last half decade. Despite this assistance, there is no way that the individual Gulf states, or even the GCC as a whole, could bring to bear the capabilities the US can provide. These assets include the mix of US intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, battle management, and high technology capacities, as well as valuable lessons gained from recent warfighting experience the US can apply to training and exercises. 

At the same time, however, the effectiveness of both the Gulf Cooperation Council and the military forces of each member state is severely undermined by their lack of integration, interoperability, and willingness to work together. The US cannot and should not deal with internal security issues and lower level threats. It should not have to be the prime integrator for all GCC military activities, and the GCC should be evolving towards steadily less dependence on outside military aid over time. 

Key Gulf leaders recognize that the heritage of national rivalries and tensions has undermined cooperation and the GCC’s regional interests. They see the need to strengthen the GCC, give it more unity, and make it a more effective alliance. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has taken the lead in pushing for such improvements and a broader form of unity within the GCC. The GCC is addressing these issues at its December 2012 Ministerial meeting. Hopefully it will go beyond words and gestures, and take real measures towards protecting its interests and regional cooperation that have been necessary since its founding. 

The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared analysis on the steps the GCC could and should take in the face of the growing threat from Iran, the continuing challenge of Al Qaida and other forms of terrorism, and the possibility that some regional state like Yemen could become a new source of threats. This paper is entitled Moving Towards Unity: Expanding the Role of the GCC in Gulf Security. It is available on the CSIS web site at http://csis.org/files/publication/121224_GCC_and_New_Challenges_Gulf_Sec...

Karachi: Dangerous Portents

The recent confrontation between the judiciary and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan does not augur well for Karachi, the largest city and the commercial hub of Pakistan. MQM, which primarily draws support from Mohajirs- the Urdu-speaking migrants from India, has for long dominated Karachi and other urban conglomerates in Sindh. It has the capacity and muscle power to bring Karachi to a halt. However, the population dynamics in Karachi has been changing significantly and the percentage of Urdu speakers in Karachi from 54.34 per cent in 1981 has been coming down consistently, both on account of large-scale migration into Karachi, as well as lower population growth rate of better educated Mohajirs. Consequently, the population of Mohajirs in Karachi has come down well below the crucial 50 per cent mark. 

MQM tried to make up for its shortage of numbers by manipulations. By aligning continuously with the ruling dispensation in Islamabad most of the time since 1988, it used state machinery to eliminate the strongholds of all its opponents within the city. More significantly it indulged in gerrymandering to carve out parliamentary and legislative constituencies, where ethnic divisions ensured voting along ethnic lines and the favourable numbers ensured MQM victory. Consequently, 17 out of 20 MPs from Karachi, and 30 out of 38 Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) from Karachi belong to the party. The party also controlled the local government in Karachi since 2002 and the Nazim of Karachi belonged to MQM, till the post was abolished in 2010. 

However, this political domination of MQM was seriously threatened, when the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on 26 Nov 2012 to carry out a fresh delimitation of constituencies in Karachi in order to prevent political polarisation along ethnic lines. The fact that in entire Pakistan the delimitation had been ordered only in Karachi appeared conspiratorial and incensed MQM leadership. MQM chief, Altaf Hussain, in his speech from London on 02 Dec 12, termed the judicial order for delimitation before a census as an attempt to snatch the MQM’s mandate and asserted that the people of Karachi would not allow it to succeed. He further questioned as to why similar order was not passed in respect of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the law and order situation was equally bad. On 05 Dec 12, the Supreme Court further provoked the MQM by directing the ECP to carry out door-to-door verification of voters with assistance from the Army and the Frontier Corps though the MQM had already stated that it would oppose any such move if it was confined only to Karachi. 

The World War on Christmas

Five places where Santa really does have to watch his back. 

It's that time of year again when Americans head home, gather with family and friends, snuggle up by the fire, and watch cable news hosts inform us about the secular liberal assault against Christmas. To these unhappy warriors, it seems every "Happy Holidays" sign, religiously neutral public display, or White House Christmas Card featuring the president's dog is a slap in the face to America's Christian values. 

Fox host Bill O'Reilly -- the undisputed champion of Americans' right to tinsel, crèches, and holiday-specific corporate signage -- recently exhorted his viewers to "stand up and fight against this secular progressivism that wants to diminish the Christmas holiday." 

"We have to start to fight back against these people," he averred. 

Evidently, the warnings of O'Reilly and his fellow Christmas defenders are working. A recent poll by the left-leaning group Public Policy Polling found that 47 percent of Americans believe that there is indeed a "War on Christmas." 

Never mind that a quick glance at any network commercial break or a casual stroll through a department store should reveal that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in America. But that's not true everywhere. Here's a look at five places where the War on Christmas is all too real. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images 


This Central Asian dictatorship is one country Santa will be skipping this year. According to the Associated Press, local media reported earlier this month that President Islam Karimov's regime has banned the local version of Santa Claus from television. 

9 Stories That Will Move Markets in 2013

From the U.S. deficit to Mideast turmoil, the issues that could have the biggest impact on the global economy in the coming year. 


If 2012 was the year of the "fiscal cliff" and unlimited bailouts in Europe, what will 2013 be? Making economic and financial forecasts is never easy -- and I usually stick to the long-term variety -- but here are some of the topics that may sway global markets in the coming year, for better or worse: 


In the eurozone: The person who helped to calm markets most in 2012 was probably Mario Draghi, who became head of the European Central Bank only a year ago. With one short statement -- punctuated by the line "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough" -- he committed to keeping the euro area together essentially by printing as much money as necessary to buy up its bonds. The question is whether his credibility will last through another year. Even if the common currency is safe for now, it will not be stronger unless Draghi can force finance ministers to accept new rules about how countries enter, leave, and act in the euro area. Even then, setting a single monetary policy for a group of economies at different stages of boom and bust will be a thankless task. Their economies need to come into closer synch for the euro area to work as planned -- and that's unlikely in 2013. 

Enterprise vs. Enterprise

Which is better, the starship or the aircraft carrier? 

This has been an eventful month for the most famous ship name in the world -- the USS Enterprise. On December 1, the U.S. Navy retired the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) -- the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier -- after a remarkable 51 years of service. At the same time, the Navy announced that the third Ford-class supercarrier (CVN-80), due to be completed around 2025, will be named Enterprise. And, not to be outdone, the producers of Star Trek Into Darkness, the next Star Trek movie, released a trailer previewing the film that is set to hit the big screen in May. 

So how will the new supercarrier Enterprise (CVN-80) compare to the starship Enterprise (NCC- 1701)? Foriegn Policy put the question to naval analyst, former U.S. Naval War College professor, and science-fiction fan Chris Weuve: 

The Enterprise is the name of the most famous ship in science fiction. And it was also one of the most famous names in U.S. Navy history, even before Star Trek. Why did the Navy name the third Ford-class supercarrier the Enterprise? 

India can grow like China if domestic issues settled: Nick Bloom

Last updated on: December 24, 2012

The share of manufacturing in India's gross domestic product can go up to 30 per cent if the country implements labour reforms and relaxes regulations, according to Nick Bloom, professor, Stanford University. He tells Dilasha Seth in an interview that India could grow as fast as China if the country sorts out its domestic challenges. Excerpts: 

With India's economic growth down to 5.3 per cent in Q2, what are the deterring factors according to you.

Domestic issues are India's real problems rather than external ones. So my analogy is like, India is like a boxer with a hand tied behind its back. The government has tied the hand behind with labour regulations, permits, licensing, etc. So, if the second hand is unleashed, then India can grow faster.

Imagine that you are a businessman, and want to open a factory. It is really hard with so much of regulation, so you move to Singapore, Hong Kong or US.

Are you saying that if India addresses these domestic hurdles, it can tread a high growth path like China?

If the domestic issues are sorted out, India's growth rate could be at least as fast as China. The government could increase growth by getting rid of most of these regulations.

India's growth rate is lower than China's, as China is a more free market. There are much less labour regulations and the rule of law is very strong.

So what can drive India's growth in the medium rate is going to be how much the government can do to push through the retail FDI (foreign direct investment) and the land acquisition Bill.

The manufacturing sector has been a drag on the overall economy...

India has a very small manufacturing sector. Every country around the world, which have achieved a massive growth rate, is through manufacturing. No one has really been able to achieve high growth like agriculture to services.

The Future of Special Operations

Beyond Kill and Capture 

Tempting as it would be to pull all Western forces out of Afghanistan soon, the United States should leave some civilian and military advisers behind. Using advisers isn't risk free, but such a strategy could help ensure Afghan stability at a relatively low cost and become a good model for use elsewhere in this age of austerity. 

Bergen captures the paradoxes of bin Laden's demise superbly, drawing on his excellent government sources, his deep knowledge of al Qaeda, and his reporter’s instincts (which got him into the Abbottabad compound just after the raid). His book is full of fascinating details and illustrates the immense pressure on national security bureaucracies to provide options to policymakers and then reduce the risks associated with their implementation. 

Managing Editor Jonathan Tepperman interviews CFR adjunct senior fellow Linda Robinson on the increased importance of U.S. military special operations. 

Sun's out, guns out: a U.S. special operator in Afghanistan, August 2002 (Scott Nelson / Getty Images) 

Over the past decade, the United States' military and the country's national security strategy have come to rely on special operations to an unprecedented degree. As identifying and neutralizing terrorists and insurgents has become one of the Pentagon's most crucial tasks, special operations forces have honed their ability to conduct manhunts, adopting a new targeting system known as "find, fix, finish, exploit, analyze, and disseminate." They have adopted a flatter organizational structure and collaborated more closely with intelligence agencies, allowing special operations to move at "the speed of war," in the words of the retired army general Stanley McChrystal, the chief architect of the contemporary U.S. approach to counterterrorism. 

Implementing McChrystal's vision has been costly. Spending on sophisticated communications, stealth helicopters, and intelligence technology; building several high-tech special operations headquarters; and transforming a C-130 cargo plane into a state-of-the-art flying hospital have consumed a large (and classified) portion of the total special operations budget, which has increased from $2.3 billion in 2001 to $10.5 billion in 2012. The investment has paid clear dividends, however, most dramatically in May 2011, when U.S. Navy SEALs, operating in coordination with the CIA, raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden. 

Clear and Present Safety

The United States Is More Secure Than Washington Thinks 

The recent deal over the debt ceiling guarantees that the U.S. government will reduce its spending on foreign policy, which will force America to scale down its ambitions abroad. 

Despite all the ominous warnings of wily terrorists and imminent attacks, there has been neither a successful strike nor a close call in the United States since 9/11. The reasonable -- but rarely heard -- explanation is that there are no terrorists within the United States, and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad. 

Given the threats it faces, from nuclear-armed autocracies to terrorists, the United States cannot afford to scale back its military, argues Paul Miller. Micah Zenko and Michael Cohen reply that the danger of these challenges is vastly exaggerated and that an overly militarized foreign policy has not made the country safer. 

This certainly lends credence to Ron Paul's philosophy and foreign policy approach. 
Tamson H. comments on 

Clear and Present Safety 

Last August, the Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney performed what has become a quadrennial rite of passage in American presidential politics: he delivered a speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His message was rooted in another grand American tradition: hyping foreign threats to the United States. It is “wishful thinking,” Romney declared, “that the world is becoming a safer place. The opposite is true. Consider simply the jihadists, a near-nuclear Iran, a turbulent Middle East, an unstable Pakistan, a delusional North Korea, an assertive Russia, and an emerging global power called China. No, the world is not becoming safer.” 

Not long after, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta echoed Romney’s statement. In a lecture last October, Panetta warned of threats arising “from terrorism to nuclear proliferation; from rogue states to cyber attacks; from revolutions in the Middle East, to economic crisis in Europe, to the rise of new powers such as China and India. All of these changes represent security, geopolitical, economic, and demographic shifts in the international order that make the world more unpredictable, more volatile and, yes, more dangerous.” General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concurred in a recent speech, arguing that “the number and kinds of threats we face have increased significantly.” And U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reinforced the point by claiming that America resides today in a “very complex, dangerous world.” 

Within the foreign policy elite, there exists a pervasive belief that the post–Cold War world is a treacherous place, full of great uncertainty and grave risks. A 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 69 percent of members of the Council on Foreign Relations believed that for the United States at that moment, the world was either as dangerous as or more dangerous than it was during the Cold War. Similarly, in 2008, the Center for American Progress surveyed more than 100 foreign policy experts and found that 70 percent of them believed that the world was becoming more dangerous. Perhaps more than any other idea, this belief shapes debates on U.S. foreign policy and frames the public’s understanding of international affairs. 

In the United States, the chances of dying from a terrorist attack or in a military conflict have fallen almost to zero. 

The Future of History

Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class? 

Selections from the Foreign Affairs archives tracing the ideological battles of the past century and the evolution of the modern order. The authors include Harold Laski, Victor Chernov, Paul Scheffer, William Henry Chamberlin, Giovanni Gentile, Erich Koch-Weser, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Isaiah Berlin, Benedetto Croce, Leon Trotsky, C. H. McIlwain, Alvin Hansen and C. P. Kindleberger, Geoffrey Crowther, David Saposs, G. John Ikenberry, Azar Gat, Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel, and Nancy Birdsall and Francis Fukuyama. 

Today’s troubles are real, but not ideological: they relate more to policies than to principles. The postwar order of mutually supporting liberal democracies with mixed economies solved the central challenge of modernity, reconciling democracy and capitalism. The task now is getting the system back into shape. 

Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose leads a conversation with the renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama on "The Future of History," Fukuyama's most recent contribution to the magazine. 

Gideon Rose and Francis Fukuyama take on "The Future of History" with Charlie Rose. 

Liberal democracies need to move beyond simplistic choices, such as that between more and less regulation. The real question is not how much regulation but to what end. 
John H. comments on 

The Future of History 

Something strange is going on in the world today. The global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the ongoing crisis of the euro are both products of the model of lightly regulated financial capitalism that emerged over the past three decades. Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators. Something similar is true in Europe as well, where the left is anemic and right-wing populist parties are on the move. 

There are several reasons for this lack of left-wing mobilization, but chief among them is a failure in the realm of ideas. For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right. The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counter­narrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual ­debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests. 


Social forces and conditions do not simply “determine” ideologies, as Karl Marx once maintained, but ideas do not become powerful unless they speak to the concerns of large numbers of ordinary people. Liberal democracy is the default ideology around much of the world today in part because it responds to and is facilitated by certain socioeconomic structures. Changes in those structures may have ideological consequences, just as ideological changes may have socioeconomic consequences. 

Why Your Intuition About Cyber Warfare is Probably Wrong

Journal Article | November 29, 2012 

Since the dawn of time, when one caveman first struck another, humans have relied on a natural understanding of their physical environment to conduct warfare. We have an inborn ability to understand the laws of the physical world. In order to shoot an artillery round farther, just add more powder; to provide cover for protection against bullets, hide behind a rock. A private might accidentally shoot the wrong target, but the potential damage is limited by the maximum range of his or her rifle. The laws of physics, however, are counterintuitive in cyberspace. In cyberspace, our understanding of the “laws of physics” is turned on its head. Weapons can be reproduced instantly, “bullets” travel at near the speed of light, destroyed targets can be brought back from the dead, and a seventeen year old can command an army. As human beings we are at a distinct disadvantage when thinking intuitively about cyber warfare. In this article we study where our intuition fails us in cyber warfare and suggest alternate ways to think about the conduct of cyber war that account for the vast differences between the kinetic and the non-kinetic fight. A correct understanding and appreciation of these differences and common misconceptions is absolutely necessary to conduct cyber warfare and to integrate cyber effects into the kinetic battlefield. To ground this work we need to define the term “cyber.” There is significant and evolving debate regarding the precise definition of cyber. For purposes of this article we define cyber as a spectrum of cyberspace operations including Computer Network Attack (CNA), Computer Network Exploitation (CNE), and Computer Network Defense (CND). 

The Attacker has the Advantage over the Defender 

In classic military doctrine, the defender has a distinct advantage over the attacker. In today’s model of cyber security, defenders build layers of defenses to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical assets. Security professionals pour millions of dollars into such defenses, but with only limited success. A Maginot Line strategy rarely works in cyberspace because attackers need only find a single flaw to launch a successful attack. Perfect defense is impossible; the astronomic complexity of the software and hardware woven into our information systems and networks is beyond human comprehension. As an example, the Windows XP operating system alone has more than 45 million lines of computer code, creating an immense attack surface. Many aspects of computer security cannot be solved by computers, such as determining the exact operation of a piece of untrusted software. Attackers however, can probe these complex systems to find a flaw and are frequently successful. Hardware and software monocultures, such as widespread use of a single operating system or web browser, amplify the impact of these discoveries by facilitating widespread compromise. Against a determined adversary, many security experts believe we cannot keep our computers secure, compromise is simply a function of time and dedicated resources. Common defenses, such as antivirus systems are reaching the end of their usefulness and cannot be relied upon for effective defense. Even air-gapped networks, not directly connected to the Internet, have proven vulnerable to mobile malicious code. Recent research indicates that defenders must field 1,000 times the resources (money, people, time, compute power, etc.) to reach parity with attackers in cyberspace; this is not a winning proposition for the defender. 

Figure 1: In cyber warfare, adversary tactics evolve on a daily basis, unlike the notional Krasnovian Army formerly used in training exercises. (Image Source: Krasnovia.com

We aren’t Fighting the Krasnovian Army

During the Cold War, military planners could rely upon relatively fixed threat doctrine, see Figure 1. We knew the capabilities of threat units and could plan accordingly. In the cyber domain, threat Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) are constantly changing. One day we may have a distributed denial of service attack, the next day a phishing attempt. We could also have a drive-by download, a USB stick dropped in a parking lot or something else entirely new. The list goes on and on because new capabilities and TTPs are developed on a daily basis. Adversaries include well-resourced nation states and large online criminal organizations; however, even small groups and individuals can join the fray and have a tremendous impact. In some ways we are already at war. We have much to learn by studying insurgency and applying those lessons in cyberspace. 

US Navy – Between Peace and the Air-Sea Battle

December 24th, 2012 

US Naval War College Review – A War at Sea strategy. 

For Russia, deepening friendship with India is a top foreign policy priority

Published: December 24, 2012
Vladimir Putin 
The Hindu MULTIVECTOR COOPERATION: Joint high-technology projects can yield products that India and Russia can offer to markets of third countries. 
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Special Arrangement 

A new level of partnership can be achieved by developing business, scientific and technological, and humanitarian ties 

I am glad to have an opportunity to address the readers of one of the most influential Indian newspapers — The Hindu. As my visit to New Delhi is beginning, I would like to outline approaches to further development of the strategic partnership between India and Russia. 

This year marked the 65 anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. During the past decades we have acquired vast experience of working together and achieved progress in a range of fields. Political epochs changed but the principles of bilateral ties, such as mutual confidence and equality, remained the same. I would like to stress that deepening of friendship and cooperation with India is among the top priorities of our foreign policy. And now we have every reason to say that they have really unique special and privileged character. 

The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step. The developments in the first decade of the 21 century confirmed that it was a particularly significant and timely step. In fact, today we, the whole civilization, face serious challenges. These are unbalanced global development, economic and social instability, lack of confidence and security. 

In that situation India and Russia show an example of responsible leadership and collective actions in the international arena. 

Economic ties can overcome strategic constraints

Several factors restrict India from playing a more significant role in the changing geostrategic environment. The only way to emerge out of this cauldron is to concentrate on building comprehensive national power with marked emphasis on economic and trade relations 
Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (retd) 

In the near absence of an indigenous military-industrial complex of its own, India is largely dependent on foreign vendors for its security as well as nuclear power needs. Lately, India has emerged as one of the leading nations in weapon procurements from abroad. Major powers that rely heavily on weapons trade vie with one another to secure these multi-billion dollar contracts. India thus finds itself subjected to devious influences and pressures from the competing powers.

The Indian Navy’s US-made Boeing P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft. 

India, however, is quite conscious of the sensitive nature of the problem and tries for decisions that are entirely merit based. The endeavour is to maintain equitable relationships without showing bias towards any one of them. For, it is not only the military hardware that India needs from these powers but also their wider cooperation in furtherance of its national objectives. This has come out clearly in India finally choosing the French Rafael fighter aircraft against heavy pressures from the Russians and the Americans in favour of their MiG-35 and F-16 respectively. 


The necessary reforms will hurt vested interests 

The decline of the economies of Europe, the United States of America and Japan robs us of markets but provides opportunities. Commodity prices will fall, technology imports become cheaper and cheap investment funds easier. But India must overcome the crisis caused by the paralysis in government. Superficial reforms are not the answer. We need basic changes, more difficult than the ones in 1991. In 30 years we have twice introduced dramatic reforms. 

Indira Gandhi was hailed as Durga after the victory over Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. But the euphoria disappeared soon with the oil ‘price shock’ of October 1973. Arab countries were ‘punishing’ the US for supporting Israel after Syria attacked it. 

Over the next three years, crop failures, ideological resistance to food imports, a growing current account deficit, extravagant government expenditures, rising fiscal deficits, and consequent inflation (double digit from 1972 to 1974) created an economic crisis. The oil embargo by oil-producing Arab countries (finally removed in March 1974) added to our woes. Those years also saw student strikes in many places, and a threatened national railway strike by two million workers which could have destabilized the country. Jayaprakash Narayan started a movement against the government which gathered wide support. The economic crisis compelled Indira Gandhi to introduce a vicious economic package. Government expenditures were slashed, taxes raised, wage increases frozen, and dividends capped. These measures quickly brought down double-digit inflation to normal prices. 

The 1991 crisis saw fiscal deterioration (current account deficits, rising foreign borrowings), foreign exchange reserves covering only two weeks of imports, and double digit inflation following oil price increases after Iraq invaded Kuwait. India was a substantial external borrower, and the downgrading of its credit rating made overseas borrowing difficult. But it was the macroeconomic policies of earlier years that created the crisis. 

P.V. Narasimha Rao made fundamental changes in policy directions. Principally, the fiscal deficit was contained; the economy was opened up and liberalized. Industrial licensing was removed, as was import licensing, income taxes and import tariffs were reduced considerably and rationalized, tax administration was computerized and made efficient, restrictions on technology imports were removed, new sectors like information technology and electronics were allowed to grow, and other obvious restrictions on the economy were removed. 

India’s triumph in rice

Published: December 23, 2012

India has emerged the world’s largest rice exporter, displacing Thailand from its leadership position, with rice exports in marketing year 2011/12 (October-September) placed at a record 10.4 million tonnes. This rise to the top follows the Indian government’s decision in February 2011 to lift a four-year ban on exports of non-basmati varieties of rice paving the way for a rise in exports. That rise, however, was favoured by a decision in the same year of the Thai government, under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, to improve the lot of its farmers by introducing a Rice Pledging Scheme under which it procured stocks at an enhanced price of 15,000 baht (US$420) per ton - a 60 percent increase over 2010. This obviously raised the domestic price of Thai rice. If India had not entered the market, the Thai government’s decision to buy rice at prices exceeding the world price would have temporarily reduced its sales to the world market. By increasing stocks with the Thai government and reducing global tradable supplies quite significantly, this would have pushed up global rice prices and allowed Thailand to return to the export market. But India’s entry and increased exports from Vietnam at the prevailing price prevented that rise, resulting in a fall in Thai exports and the loss of its position as the world’s leading rice exporter. Thailand’s “loss” was India’s gain, as Indian non-basmati rice turned internationally competitive.

India’s exports proved price competitive despite the fact that the government had raised the minimum support price quite significantly. Higher support prices had in fact resulted in an increase in stocks with the government. But this did not affect open market availability adversely, because of a record production104.32 million tonnes of rice in 2011 due to a good monsoon. Procurement during the 2011-12 marketing year touched a record 35 million tonnes. Moreover, despite an indifferent Southeast monsoon during 2012, procurement in the marketing season starting October 2012 has also been high, with procurement as on December 12, 2012 placed at 13.4 million tonnes, raising expectations that the government’s target of 40 million tonnes of rice procurement during 2012-13 would be realised. The net result is that stocks of rice with the central pool are substantial. As on December 1, 2012 stocks exceeded 30 million tonnes—far higher than the buffer stock and strategic requirement of 13.8 million tonnes on January 1 of the marketing year. Adequate supply meant that all export surpluses during marketing year 2011-12 were mobilised from the open market, rather than from surplus stocks released by government agencies. Yet, the export surge has not thus far resulted in any surge in domestic rice prices, given the favourable demand supply balance.


 Published: December 22, 2012

What’s wrong with Indian men? KALPANA SHARMA 

No easy answers. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury 

This is a question more people need to talk about and not be satisfied with clichés or the usual solutions. 

Another horror; another rape. This time in a moving bus; at a time of the night when people are still on the roads in Delhi; in a populated area and not some remote jungle. Each time you read news like that of the bestial gang rape of a 23-year-old para-medical student in Delhi earlier this week, your senses are numbed. What is happening to us? What is this brutality we witness all so frequently now? Can it ever stop?

I doubt if we will find a satisfactory answer in the short run. But it is a question that more people need to talk about and debate and not be satisfied with the clichés, the usual solutions or even some unusual ones.

I spent last weekend in my old school, a place where I had five happy years before completing my schooling. It is an all-girls residential school with a substantial proportion of day students. Our memories of our school days, when some of us met again after many decades, were those of the fun times, the carefree years, of a place where we felt safe and were not inhibited from expressing our views. Of course, the very fact of a compulsory school uniform imposed a level of conformism but even within that girls found ways to assert individual personalities — a tuck here, a stitch there. And hair always remained the ultimate expression of rebelliousness — refusing to be neat was the preferred statement of individualism.

All these years later, the girls in that school still wear the same school uniform but they have changed, as has the world around them. They exude the same confidence some of us did. I want to be a Cordon Bleu chef, one girl told me. Another said she wants to be a lawyer — but with the army. Another became really excited when I mentioned I was a journalist. Clearly, for these girls no career is out of reach. 

On Foreign Policy, Why Barack is Like Ike

By Fareed ZakariaDec. 19, 2012 

Illustration by oliver munday for time 
One of the least controversial judgments about Barack Obama’s first term is that he has been a good foreign policy President. Certainly that’s what the American public believes. It has given him high marks on overseas affairs for much of his presidency, especially after the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden. In the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney, who had relentlessly attacked Obama in their two previous matchups, decided that the wisest course was to agree with the President on virtually every foreign policy issue. 

But what has been the character of Obama’s foreign policy? Most Presidents gain fame and respect in this realm because of some large-scale project. Franklin Roosevelt led the U.S. to victory in World War II, Harry Truman organized the Marshall Plan and NATO treaty, and Richard Nixon opened the door to Communist China. While Obama has accomplishments to his credit, the signature trait that has helped him steer the country well—and receive credit for it—is what he has not done. 

Obama’s foreign policy has, above all, been characterized by strategic restraint. At a time when old orders are changing and new forces are emerging, he has kept the U.S. engaged and at the forefront of these trends, but he has been wary of grand declarations and military interventions. 

Obama came to office believing that the U.S. had overextended itself militarily. He believed that the cost of extravagant involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan had been the erosion of ties with allies and the worsening of relations with adversaries. He set out to change things, restoring diplomacy but also systematically drawing down in Iraq despite the advice of most of his military leaders. He experimented with a buildup in Afghanistan, partly because he was outfoxed by the generals, but he soon found a way to begin reducing that mission as well, shifting from counterinsurgency to counterterrorism. He set constraints and limits to the U.S.’s military intervention in Libya and has been wary of a new one in Syria. He has navigated a path on Iran that has increased pressure and tightened sanctions while refusing to rush into war—so far. 

Such restraint is much harder to execute than it may appear. In a world without a serious military rival, the U.S. becomes the world’s emergency call center. When trouble brews anywhere, it brings with it cries for the U.S. to get involved and solve the problem. That’s an opportunity, but it comes with huge caveats. American military intervention cannot always create a stable new liberal order. It often generates its own negative consequences that unfold for decades. It can also throw a President entirely—and disastrously—off course. 

Rude awakening for Pakistan

Inder Malhotra : Mon Dec 24 2012

Despite making major mistakes, the Indian armed forces displayed tactical superiority to hold the balance in the 1965 war 

As described in ‘From Gibraltar to Grand Slam’ (IE, December 10), for Pakistan’s first military ruler, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the moment of truth arrived at 4 am on September 6, 1965. He was roused from his bed and informed that the Indian army was on the march towards the prized city of Lahore. This took him completely by surprise. After brief consultations with his top commanders and civilian advisors, the first man he met was understandably the United States ambassador, Walter P. McConaughy. According to Khan’s principal confidant and biographer, Altaf Gauhar, the envoy started by telling him: “Mr President, the Indians have got you by the throat.” Khan replied: “Any hands on Pakistan’s throat would be cut off.” He still believed that on the battlefield, Pakistan “would defeat the Hindu”. 

There is no point going into daily details of the war as it went on because most of these have been discussed threadbare. Attention should focus, therefore, on crucial landmarks and major mistakes both sides made in the heat and dust of war. Pakistan’s greatest folly was to go on lying to its own people, telling them that the Indian invaders were being “thrown out”. Come the ceasefire, and the rude reality could no longer be hidden. 

On the Indian side, it became evident on the very first day that coordination between intelligence, then the monopoly of the monolithic Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the army, was appalling. As our armoured columns advanced, they discovered that Pakistan had dug the Ichchogil Canal as a tank trap of which they had never been informed. Which of the two institutions was to blame became a major dispute then, and, to an extent, remains so even now. The IB maintained that it had conveyed the necessary information to the government and the army headquarters. It wasn’t its fault if the army leadership failed to pass it on to the formations in the field. The army denied this vehemently, and never let up on its trenchant criticism of the IB. 

The second failure of both the army and the IB was more serious, and it came to light most embarrassingly. To compel the Pakistan forces still struggling to occupy Chamb-Jaurian to return hastily to defend their motherland, the Indian army opened a second front in the Sialkot sector. An important calculation behind this action was that Pakistan, like India, had only one armoured division that was frantically trying to defend Lahore. But, totally unknown to India, Pakistan had raised a second armoured division that met the Indian attack in and around Sialkot. 

The third unfortunate feature of the Indian situation was that cooperation between the air force and the army left a lot to be desired. The IAF seemed to be concentrating on establishing air superiority rather than providing ground support to the troops. 

A trial for the future of Bangladesh

Published: December 24, 2012
Haroon Habib 

The war crime tribunals were set up to address a deep-seated national demand for justice, but they are facing a hostile campaign by vested interests at home and abroad 

December is a landmark month for Bangladesh. It is the month of the liberation of the country from Pakistan in 1971. And it is also a reminder of a great national tragedy — it was during the same month that year that the marauding Pakistani army and their local agents systematically eliminated hundreds of secular intellectuals just before the liberation on December 16, 1971. It capped a nine-month orgy of violence against civilians in which three million people were killed, 400,000 women were raped and 10 million people fled for bordering Indian States as refugees. 

This year, as the country celebrates four decades of its independence, it also faces the task of completing a historic trial against the perpetrators of those horrific crimes. 

The trial was long overdue. The events following the bloody coup in 1975 in which Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was assassinated, and the divisive politics thereafter, caused many delays in reckoning with the cruelties. When Sheikh Hasina came to power, this was on her agenda. The move towards justice began on March 25, 2010, under a domestic law framed in 1971. But the path is yet not easy.

In the crucial last year of its tenure, the Hasina government faces, on the one hand, street protests by opposition parties positioning themselves ahead of the elections, and on the other, organized opposition against the trial by the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, the party that had opposed Bangladesh’s independence, supported by the Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Abandoning Afghanistan

DEC 31, 2012, VOL. 18, NO. 16 • BY GARY SCHMITT

When Senator Barack Obama was running for president back in 2008, he accused the Bush administration, his opponent Senator John McCain, and their supporters of taking their eyes off the ball by fighting a war in Iraq and ignoring the “necessary war”—the war in Afghanistan. Well, four short years later, by Obama’s lights, Afghanistan is no longer the necessary war but a war to be ignored, a war to be “ended” regardless of the strategic consequences of doing so precipitously.


It’s now clear that Barack Obama’s only abiding interest in Afghanistan was rhetorical, allowing him political space to pull American troops out of Iraq as soon as possible and, once done, to begin the same process in Afghanistan. Even the surge of 30,000 more American troops that began in 2010 was, in hindsight, intended to be less a strategic game-changer (as the earlier surge in Iraq had been) than a stopgap measure to stabilize a deteriorating situation. Smaller than what had been requested by the generals on the ground and put fully in place for only one fighting season, the surge allowed the president to appear serious while, in fact, providing him cover for pulling the plug on the war effort altogether.

Make no mistake, pulling the plug he is. Despite internal Pentagon reports that indicate the Afghans will not be ready to take over combat operations in 2014, news accounts have the White House pushing for cutting the remaining 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan this coming year by another 20,000 to 30,000, with the likely goal of leaving fewer than 10,000 noncombat troops in place by the end of 2014. This is not just a race to the exit but a full-out sprint. And once again it’s a decision made against the best advice of the commanders in the field, who would like nothing more than to hold the current force levels constant through at least the 2013 fighting season.